What’s to Bless and What’s to Blame?

Brad Keselowski won a Pocono classic in the Xfinity Series. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, June 11, 2017, 11:35 a.m.

This week’s NASCAR Monster Cup shindig is at Pocono Raceway. Unsurprisingly, it’s in the Poconos of northeastern Pennsylvania. The mountains aren’t very high compared to the Blue Ridge. They are minuscule compared to the Rockies. They are scenic, though. I used to enjoy visiting.

My first visit was in 1989. I had gone to a friend’s wedding in Pittsburgh. I thought, well, the track is in the same state. The drive on Sunday was grueling. It’s a long way from Pittsburgh to Long Pond. It’s a long way back. I nearly fell asleep at dusk in Indiana. Indiana, Pennsylvania. I revived myself looking at the statue of James Stewart. He was from there.

By Monte Dutton

I hope this 400-miler isn’t anticlimactic, but it will be hard not to be. Brad Keselowski brilliantly won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, and it’s not often I use such an adverb to characterize a race in that series. Keselowski, who was the Sprint Cup champion the last year I wrote about it full-time, passed Kyle Larson on the final lap, culminating a stirring comeback. I was glad I got finished mowing the lawn in time to watch it.

The IndyCar race from Texas dragged on until past midnight. The term that comes to mind is “too much of a good thing.” That race was run as if a bunch of fighter pilots decided they wanted to have a dogfight without leaving the ground. It was won by willpower in the form of Will Power.

Some say IndyCars ought to be equipped with canopies in the interest of safety. I think they ought to be run inside laptops because that’s what it looks like. The real race appears to be run using special effects. How do they manage to photoshop the action with only a seven-second delay? It must be the way that a sporting event in my high-definition living room occurs two seconds later than the regular-definition screen in the bedroom.

It would have been a perfect time to go live to Pocono and ask a NASCAR driver if he’d like to “do the double” (Indy-Charlotte) next year.

Hell, no. The Coke 600 is exciting enough for me.

An astronaut would say this. The only man who ought to “do the double” was Evel Knievel, and he’s gone.

It was must-see TV, though the ratings are unlikely to support this view.

Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

 

Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck race was in Texas, in the form of an IndyCar undercard. The winner was Christopher Bell, though the replays seemed to show Chase Briscoe ahead when the track’s flashing yellow lights were activated.

(Getty Images for NASCAR)

It turns out those yellow lights, which have been in use at Texas Motor Speedway for many years, were just a publicity stunt. They weren’t hooked into race control, as the small, non-flashing, lights were. In order to justify the awarding of the race to Bell, not Briscoe, NASCAR officials basically had to reveal that the track’s rolling lights – they make it look as if yellow bands of light are chasing each other around the track’s catch-fence perimeter – were little more than a spectacular hoax.

No one ever disclosed that as long as their accuracy wasn’t an issue. When the high-ranking NASCAR official with his hand on the switch yells “put her (yellow flag) out!” and flips it, the fancy light show doesn’t activate. Apparently, that requires some other fellow to say, “oh, yeah,” and flip another switch as soon as he gets around to it.

This whole, convoluted story is emblematic of the way NASCAR does business. No one ever knows how things work until they don’t work well.

On the one hand, I’d like for today’s race in the Poconos to be without such drama. Other drama, such as the last-lap pass in Keselowski’s Xfinity victory, would be marvelous. Races like that don’t happen at Pocono Raceway often. It’s not a bad place, though. It’s an interesting place. A fan has to pay attention.

Fortunately, the Red Sox aren’t on until tonight.

 

(Steven Novak design)

Ever since I started writing fiction, fans have asked me to write a novel about stock car racing. I kept it a secret while I was working on it. Now it’s out. Lightning in a Bottle is the story of the next big thing, 18-year-old Barrie Jarman.

(Steven Novak cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs. They’re all signed and reasonably priced. Lightning in a Bottle will be in stock shortly.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are also available at Emma Jane’s, 105 East Main Street on the Square, Clinton.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

If you’d like me to ship you a signed copy, you can find my address and instructions here. If you want to speed the process up, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with my PayPal account.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

(Joe Font cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

 

Gimme That Old-Time Promotion, It’s Good Enough for Me

The Talladega draft. (Harold Hinson/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, May 4, 2017, 6:25 p.m.

It occurred to me yesterday morning. What NASCAR needs is a ground game.

Monte Dutton

Just hand the ball to Jimmy Brown, or pitch it to Gale Sayers. (It’s not that I’m old enough to use the names of heroes many today know nothing about. I take relish in it. There was really no need to use this comparison at all. By ground game, I meant the kind politicians talk about, the one that used to be called “getting out the vote.”)

NASCAR needs to put fannies in seats. Empty seats don’t buy hot dogs. They don’t even stand up to hear Restless Heart perform the national anthem.

Oh, the excuses.

It was a tad warm. It was a little cool. The race takes too long. I might miss The Walking Dead. The wi-fi’s slow. Some tickets are cheaper than they were five years ago. All sports are experiencing a slump (which explains the 5,000 who watched Alabama play Auburn … in volleyball.)

TV is all that matters. Never mind that TV ratings are swooning, too.

You can feel the rumble every time the the steel chariots roar by. (HHP/Harold Hinson photo for Chevrolet)

NASCAR has managed to run off its once-loyal fans, and the ones who straggled in when it became fashionable are now really into mixed martial arts. Or, hell, they might spend all their free time watching President Trump.

For the umpteenth year in a row, the Emperor spent the offseason buying new clothes, and once again, more and more people notice he’s really naked.

If tracks disassembled, detonated, and melted more grandstands into scrap metal, they’d be phone booths. The goal, openly divulged, is to increase the market value of the remaining seats. In other words, it will be easier to charge $100 apiece for them if there are fewer.

What would I have done? I’d have left those desolate grandstands on the back stretch, recruited scout leaders, baseball coaches, bandleaders, Campfire Girls, Future Farmers of America, Beta Clubs and the Royal Ambassadors of the Baptist church to sell the tickets for 10 bucks a pop, let the kids keep $5 of each ticket for themselves or their organization, park the buses and expose them to racing, no matter if the whole program did no better than break even.Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

The first step in rebuilding this fan base is getting them while they’re young. If the only way kids watch is on TV, it’s the most they’re ever going to do. No one has to make them think that being there is important. Being there really is important. They’ve got to feel the vibrations, smell the fumes, hear the fury of powerful engines, and experience the pulse quickening that unfurls with the wave of a green flag.

It’s breathtaking. Take some breaths.

That’s what I mean by a ground game. Turn out the fans. Don’t just open the gates.

Ever since I started writing fiction, fans have asked me to write a novel about stock car racing. I kept it a secret while I was working on it. Now it’s out. Lightning in a Bottle is the story of the next big thing, 18-year-old Barrie Jarman.

(Steven Novak cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs. They’re all signed and reasonably priced. Lightning in a Bottle will be in stock shortly.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are also available at Emma Jane’s, 105 East Main Street on the Square, Clinton.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

If you’d like me to ship you a signed copy, you can find my address and instructions here. If you want to speed the process up, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with my PayPal account.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

(Joe Font cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

Another Sunday from a Distance

Chase Elliott leads the field at the start of the Daytona 500 (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, February 27, 2017, 8:30 a.m.

Four years have passed. I still pay close attention to NASCAR. It’s not the same as being there. I try. Until, well, now, I wrote a Bleacher Report column each Monday morning during the season. That web site, like many others, is cutting back on NASCAR coverage, either that or they wanted a younger perspective and were nice enough not to tell me that.

No more race tracks in my background. I can’t afford it.

So this is where I stand. I write NASCAR blogs in hopes that they will persuade you to buy one of my novels, which is one of the strangest and least successful marketing programs known to man. It doesn’t match the grand scale of, say, Nature’s Bakery.

Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500. He is a familiar face. He deserved it. He is a fine restrictor-plate racer who somehow managed not to win the first 63 such races of his career. He was due. He was overdue.

Beyond that, I watched the Truck race on Friday night. I was writing about a basketball game when the Xfinity race was being run. A reply of that crashfest is on TV right now.

Chase Elliott (r) captured the pole position for the Daytona 500. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. qualified 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

As best I recall, a driver named Ali Baba won the Truck race, and Reed Ryan won Xfinity. OK, it’s Ryan Reed. He’s pretty familiar, though I’ve never met him or anyone else who has come along since January 4, 2013. He won the same race the year before last. It just seems as if every young driver is named either Ryan or something – Cade, Cal, Case, Chase, Cody, Cole – that begins with a “C.” There are a few stray Brendans, Ians, Jonathans, Nicks and Seans running around ovals at various rates of speed.

The Trucks winner is really named Kaz Grala. I once enjoyed kaz grala, a sweet confection, after a souvlaki plate at a restaurant in one of the boroughs of New York.

So I’m a fan.

If I was there, of course, I would know much more about Kaz Grala, not to mention all the other bright, young comets just starting to burn across the night sky. Lots of races are going to burn across the night sky, too, because out of all the bright appeal inherent in NASCAR’s bold new changes, one talking point isn’t making the races shorter. The Daytona 500 lasted as long as a 14-inning baseball game between the Red Sox and Yankees, and anything longer than that qualifies in some backward societies as infinity.

I watch the races and the ballgames, anyway. No telling how many prizes I could have won had I used this time more wisely.

The circus moves on to Atlanta while I have a home race every week.

(Steven Novak cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs. They’re all signed and reasonably priced.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

If you’d like me to ship you a signed copy, you can find my address and instructions here. If you want to speed the process up, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with my PayPal account.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

 

Ain’t No Use to Sit and Wonder Why

(Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, December 30, 2016, 9:07 a.m.

It wasn’t the best of nights to drive over to Presbyterian College for a basketball game. It wasn’t the best night for a basketball game, period.

The Belk Bowl was on TV. Arkansas led Virginia Tech, 24-0, at halftime. The game seemed safely in the Razorbacks’ hands.

The Blue Hose (4-8) were 3-0 with the writer in the stands. One of the W’s (Furman, his alma mater) had been regrettable. The Big South season was opening with a game against Liberty University (6-8). The writer had no financial incentive to attend. He just thought stupidly, like some fan, that going to the game might bring PC some luck.

By Monte Dutton

He wanted to go “as some fan” because he wanted to sit in the stands, with popcorn and a soft drink, and yell things like, “Hell, ref, I’ve tried to liberalize my views on traveling, but he double-pivoted!” The writer tried to temper his critiques, though. At least once, during the first half, he yelled “good call” even though it had gone against the Blue Hose. Another time, when others near him howled at a block, he offered his view to the guy sitting across the aisle. “Actually, I thought it was a good call.”

It was the writer in him. Part of being a fan made him feel guilty. Part of being a fan took him back years earlier, when it had all been for fun. Before he wrote about it.

Whatever it was, it was in vain. Liberty won. The writer left when the Flames pulled ahead by 20 and got home in time to see Virginia Tech, the team that had trailed, 24-0, pull away from an Arkansas team that looked like it inserted the earbuds and listened to Marley at halftime.

Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

The writer had high hopes for Oklahoma State and Colorado, but only the former’s were realized. Cowboys won big over Buffaloes back in the old days, too.

Then the writer tried without success to placate himself with other television offerings, but they were all reruns because, apparently, everyone on TV goes home except football teams and their roadies. He jiggled around with his phone, trying futilely to do something practical like get people on social media to buy his books. He reviewed all the discouraging facts, figures, assumptions, intuitions and superstitions, in descending order that happened to be the order they were in.

He couldn’t get sleepy even though it was well past time for Nature to enforce a cease-fire in his synapses. He never slept well and, after precious few hours, not at all. The writer rose at a little after six because he got weary of not being weary. He made some coffee that, for once, he didn’t need, and marveled at the poet William Butler Yeats’ apparent fascination with recommending a click on “Famous Texting Fails!” Yeats, who died in 1939, is hip beyond his years.

Breakfast was the writer’s first constructive act since before the basketball games.

Then he backslid and wrote a blog.

(Steven Novak cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs. They’re all signed and reasonably priced.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

If you’d like me to ship you a signed copy, you can find my address and instructions here. If you want to speed the process up, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with my PayPal account.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Note that my third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, is on Kindle sale at $.99 through December 31. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

This Game Is Friday Morning at Six

(Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, December 28, 2016, 10:01 a.m.

Live, from Seventh Fifth Savings & Loan Ballyard, home during the summer months to the Gitmo Waterboarders of the Florida Keys League, for the first annual John Ford Movies Stagecoach Bowl. I’m Nat Bumppo, and my partner is ex-All Pro linebacker of the San Diego Evacuators, Sledge McKittrick. Sledge, this is the first bowl appearance for the Okefenokee State Community College Swamp Buggies, and this is a young squad.

By Monte Dutton

That’s right, Nat, the future is definitely ahead for the Buggies. Next year, OSCC becomes Okefenokee State University, which will not only mean they’re OSU, just like Ohio State, but also that head coach Shill McMuffin will be able to utilize a junior class for the first time.

The Swamp Buggies come into this game riding a two-game win streak, but they are underdogs to 5-7 New Miss.

Slack Manassas is probably coaching the best 5-7 team in the nation, Nat. Do you realize that the Angry Americans have lost to Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, Texas A&M and Stony Brook by a combined total of only 119 points?

Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

That’s right, Sledge, they’ve hung in there every week until almost halftime. Here’s public-address announcer B. Clyde Fitzroy:

Friends, seniors and injectors of life into our local economy, please remove your straw hats and welcome Nashville recording artist Jim Clancy Bobtom for his unique rendition of Our National Anthem:

Oh-ohhhh, say kin ya suhheeee …

Let’s take a break for the two minutes this national anthem is going to require for this word from TCM’s upcoming telecast of She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.

What’d you say, Nat? Two minutes.

Yeah. Two minutes.

I’m going to slip out on the roof and have a quick smoke. Be right back.

Okefenokee State has won the toss and deferred until a crucial home game next year against Vanderbilt. Deep for the Americans is J’Uquillunamian Phillips, a 5-10 speed merchant from Philadelphia, Mississippi. He’s a red-shirt graduate student who just received his master’s degree in exotic herbs. High, end-under-end kick, fielded by Phillips at the six.

He’s gone, Nat!

Well, he had just one man to beat, Sledge, but New Miss will start out at its own 16. The senior signal caller for the Angry Americans is John Lee Pettimore of Copperhead Road, Tennessee. The agriculture major takes the snap, fakes the jet sweep to Jalloquille Means, steps back …

He’s got Phillips deep, Nat. He’s behind everybody!

J’Uquillunamian comes down with it. Let’s see if he’s in bounds, Sledge. No. Ruled out of bounds. Incomplete.

His friends call him Quill, Nat.

Who?

J’Uquill … uh … Phillips. Just call him Quill, Nat.

It looks like the play may be under review. Let’s look at the replay.

Nat, it looks like to me that not only did Quill have one foot down, he had both feet inbounds, and, see there, freeze that, right, uh, there, he’s got the ball clearly secured. Now, okay, he runs five more yards before he ever goes out of bounds. I think you’ll see this call overturned.

I’d call that indisputable video evidence, Sledge. Let’s go down to referee Bruton McGillicuddy.

Upon review, the ruling on the field stands. Second down!

And so on. By the time the national championship game is played – that’s James Madison against Youngstown State, best we know as of this moment – no one will be able to focus their eyeballs.

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs. They’re all signed and reasonably priced.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

If you’d like me to ship you a signed copy, you can find my address and instructions here. If you want to speed the process up, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with my PayPal account.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Note that my third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, is on Kindle sale at $.99 through December 31. Links to print copies are below.

Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

(Design by Steven Novak)
(Design by Steven Novak)

Spanning the Globe for the Constant Variety of TV Sports

Sonoma comes next, but that's another week. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sonoma comes next, but that’s another week. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

L&LComplete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, June 20, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

Wow. I’m a bit overwhelmed.

I can’t come close to quantifying all that happened in my living room. By extension, it was, oh, from Oakland, Plum (Pennsylvania), Newton (Iowa), Omaha, Boston, Le Mans (France) …

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

The grass didn’t need mowing (later this week, I expect). I had clean clothes, though I seldom wore them (the clean ones). My guitar(s) could use new strings.

I had just completed the first draft of a manuscript for my next novel. I was in need of relaxation. Damn it. I’d been passionate all week. I needed to unwind.

Forget about your cares / It is time to relax / At the Junction.Theme from Petticoat Junction

Apparently, it was hot outside. I suspect it might have been. I went through a drive-through.

Dustin Johnson, the big galoot, won the United States Open. He’s a South Carolinian, born in Columbia, college at Coastal Carolina, now lives occasionally and officially in Myrtle Beach. He has heretofore been noted for superhuman skills and a frail psyche in the major championships of golf. On Sunday, Johnson kept his wits while, all about him, other golfers were losing theirs. He played against type. For the past few years, I’ve been rooting for him against type. He kicked some type ass.

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

Then there was the basketball game. Game Seven of the NBA Playoffs. A stereotypical battle between the bruising East (Cleveland Cavaliers) and the graceful West (Golden State Warriors), descended from Lakers against Celtics. None of the first six games had been close. The seventh was. The fiercely aggressive Cavs from the long-derided Rust Belt city came from two down to win three straight for the title. So was the great LeBron James defined forever.

Other Kings besides Le Bron. (John Clark photo)
Other Kings besides Le Bron. (John Clark photo)

It’s sort of rewarding to watch a great sporting event without a heavy rooting interest. Often it takes a rooting interest to watch passionately, but watching dispassionately, caring about the outcome but not obsessed by it, can be just as enjoyable and more relaxing.

The difference might be whether one curses at the TV or not. I sounded more like Jed Clampett. I be dogged. Hoo, doggie. No exclamation points. Oil. Black gold. Texas tea.

(I wrote the words above with the full knowledge that those old enough to remember The Beverly Hillbillies are outnumbered by those who don’t. On the other hand, there’s TV Land.)

Do you remember having a mistaken opinion about what a word means when you were a kid? For some reason, I once thought Chanticleer had something to do with Christmas. The reason I learned what it means was probably the existence of it as a nickname at Coastal Carolina University, which, as a fellow state school, synonymized (spontaneous word invention) Gamecock.

Whatever. One Chanticleer won the U.S. Open, and a coop full of them won its first game at the College World Series. Admittedly, I only saw the final inning of CCU’s 2-1 victory over Florida. My schedule proved too crowded. If I’d had two more sports, college baseball and hemispherical soccer, to switch back and forth from, I’d have a splint on my right thumb now.

Big Papi in Atlanta a few years back. (Monte Dutton photo)
Big Papi in Atlanta a few years back. (Monte Dutton photo)

For passion, I had a pair of Red Sox victories over the Seattle Mariners at Fenway on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, the night they lost, David Ortiz hit his 521st home run, tying him not only with the wondrous Ted Williams but also with Willie McCovey (another favorite of mine) and Frank Thomas. Ted was my dad’s greatest hero, him and Johnny U. I doubt Jimmy Dutton turned over in his grave, but he definitely noticed. I never saw Williams play, but he’s the reason I’m a Boston fan in baseball. My dad handed him down to me, and I adopted his successor, Carl Yastrzemski, in left field.

The Colts left Baltimore, and Unitas died too young, but Fenway Park is still a constant, better than ever. Yaz was even in the TV booth for an inning not too long ago.

(Photo by Richard Prince for Chevy Racing)
(Photo by Richard Prince for Chevy Racing)

Le Mans. I’ve never been within an ocean of the race, but I have a story that relates to it. The late Chris Economaki was the greatest all-around authority on auto racing I’ve ever known. I don’t think Chris would make a strenuous objection to the notion that he was not without an ego.

One day in Daytona Beach, Ken Willis, the irreverent and wisecracking scribe of the local daily there, and I were trading irreverences, when, all of a sudden, he asked me if I knew what year Fireball Roberts ran the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I said that I thought maybe it was 1962 but pointed to Economaki and said, “Ask Chris. He’ll know.”

Willis said, “Hey, Chris, what year did Fireball run Le Mans?” Willis pronounced it with the “s” on the end.

Apparently, Chris didn’t know the answer, which he could not possibly admit, so he stood up out of his chair, said, very loudly, “It’s le-MAH!” and walked swiftly out of the room.

Miraculously, by the way, 1962 was indeed the year Daytona Beach’s own Fireball Roberts competed at Le Mans.

Sam Hornish Jr. and son celebrate in Iowa. (Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sam Hornish Jr. and son celebrate in Iowa. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

I miss Chris. He watched me play music twice in the Poconos, offering his acerbic reviews between songs.

Anyway, a Toyota dominated the race and broke down with three minutes remaining. It was sort of the most dramatic ending since the one Hollywood and Steve McQueen staged 46 years ago for the movie Le Mans. Porsche won. The new Ford GT won its class. Most of my time watching the race was spent in reverie, fascinated at the spectacle of all those magnificent machines roaring around and occasionally sending up roostertails that had nothing to do with Chanticleers or Christmas.

A substitute teacher won the Xfinity Series race in Iowa, where, of course, if you build it, they will come. Okay. Sam Hornish Jr. is also an Indianapolis 500 winner, but his NASCAR career never hit the heights and eventually tumbled into the skids, and winning the race might not really make much difference at this point in his career, other than being laudable and, as people always say when they’re trying to get you to do something, “it looks good on your resume.” Sam Hornish and I have approximately the same need for a resume at this stage in our lives.

So, yeah, I’m glad he won.

William Byron stands atop the NASCAR Truck world. (Getty Images for NASCAR)
William Byron stands atop the NASCAR Truck world. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

On Friday night, I also watched the Trucks race at the Track of Dreams. In summary, this kid William Byron is really something. He’s the hottest Roman candle out there below the high-dollar fireworks of the Sprint Cup Series.

The poor Atlanta Braves. They swept the New York Mets on a weekend when I didn’t even notice.

What do I do for an encore? Oh, work on some fiction. Go see some high school players pitching and catching. Catch a little Legion ball.

Write these.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

My new novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, is a crime thriller.

Set in the hills of Kentucky, Crazy of Natural Causes is a fable of life’s absurdity, seen through the unique perspective of ruined coach Chance Benford.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories, all of which are derived from songs I wrote.

All three of these books, already autographed, are available at L&L Office Supply, 114 N. Main St., Clinton.

Most of my books are available here.

Fox Left Me Thumbstruck

This isn't Le Mans, but how else am I going to use this photo? (Richard Prince photo for Chevy Racing)
This isn’t Le Mans, but how else am I going to use this photo? (Richard Prince photo for Chevy Racing)

L&L

Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, June 19, 2016, 10:44 a.m.

Like all users of social media, I am the unfortunate repository of great deposits of useless information. Recently I stumbled upon a story noting that the intensity of the grip of young people has declined 30 percent over the past 30 years.

This, of course, would explain the rash of baseball bats flying into grandstands in recent years. I thought it somehow must be the gloves. I thought maybe The Big Guy mistakenly put on his sliding gloves instead of his batting gloves or his driving gloves or his riding gloves.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

I’m sure my hands have weakened — of course, I’m a Dustin Johnson drive past being young anywhere but at heart, and my doctor might quibble with that if I made the mistake of asking him — but I’m satisfied my fingers are in the pink. They got a workout on Saturday and not just at this keyboard.

I had a classic First World problem. Fox Sports turned me into an easy-chair Sherlock Holmes.

The United States Open golf tournament, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and various NASCAR activities in Iowa moved around the Fox family of channels like military families. The program guide didn’t help. Thursday’s rain delay of the Open in Pennsylvania caused dominoes to fall around the globe in general and my living room in particular.

The Silver Fox, David Pearson, circa 1977.  (Thomas Pope photo)
The Silver Fox, David Pearson, circa 1977. (Thomas Pope photo)

Fox. Fox Sports 1. Fox Sports 2. Fox Business. Michael J. Fox. John Fox. Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox. David Pearson, the Silver Fox. Little Foxes. Foxy Brown.

It’s still going on. I just looked up and poker was on Fox Sports 1. Back to Fox network. Eureka! I have found the golf! I feel like Meriwether Lewis. Or Old Tom Morris.

Just to let you know I’ve done my research here, let the record note that Foxy Brown is both a 1974 film and a rapper. She may be hosting the NHRA later if it rains at Oakmont.

Imagine if the remote control had never been invented. Imagine if I had to keep getting up and down, changing the channel.

Of course, it defies belief that the great scientists who took off enough time away from making laundry detergents perpetually “new and improved” to invent cable, satellite, high-def, cool names for prescription medications, and some advances I skipped right over or never noticed, would never have invented the remote control.

The world would be simpler, and handshakes would be firmer.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

My new novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, is a crime thriller.

Set in the hills of Kentucky, Crazy of Natural Causes is a fable of life’s absurdity, seen through the unique perspective of ruined coach Chance Benford.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

I collected 11 short stories, each converted from a song I’ve written, and called it Longer Songs.

A pot-smoking songwriter becomes a national hero, and it’s nothing but trouble in The Audacity of Dope.

The Intangibles is set in the South during the 1960s and is about civil rights, bigotry and high school football.

Most all my books can be found here.

Signed copies of Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, and Longer Songs are available at L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton, S.C.

It Happens Every Spring

Thanks to the Crusaders, I've got one game left. (Monte Dutton photos)
Thanks to the Crusaders, I’ve got one game left. (Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 10:13 a.m.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

It’s a strange sensation for this time of year. I mourn the loss of baseball.

Oh, the Boston Red Sox are playing a doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals this very day. Late last night, I switched back and forth between a baseball game and election results. The television season is young.

I’ve written about high school baseball and softball since the weather started warming. Mostly baseball. Clinton, Laurens and Laurens Academy all had successful season. The Crusaders are still having theirs. They play in Lexington Thursday for the SCISA (South Carolina Independent Schools Association) Class A state championship against the Holly Hill Academy Raiders. Last night I watched LA force a third game by defeating Holly Hill, 6-5.

Shortstop Nick Johnson
Shortstop Nick Johnson

It’s been whittled down to a nub, though. I’m going to miss the ping of the bat.

I like TV. I’ve grown adept at reading while it’s on, not to mention writing this. It’s no comparison to being there. TV does not provide enough stimulation to the senses.

On TV, I do not sit in a press box on the roof of the visiting dugout, trying to figure out of whom the burly man bellowing below reminds me.

DSCF3128
Ryan Sneed

Eureka! It’s Robert Duvall in The Great Santini!

Even with high definition, I don’t bother to trace the slow degradation of game-tattered uniforms, partly because major-league uniforms are seldom tattered and soon replaced. By season’s end, the white trousers of Clinton’s Brayden Gibbs were sliced open across the right leg, and the red pinstripe down the side was disconnected and hanging at the top. The Red Devils were winning. Gibbs wasn’t about to complain about an old set of togs.

Josh Urwick
Josh Urwick

I arrive home and follow a standard routine. Put some coffee on. Fire up the Surface. Hook up the camera. Download the photos. Get the coffee. Edit and crop the photos. Send the best ones in. Make sure the scorebook adds up. Write the story, transcribing in quotations on the fly. Proofread. Send in the story. Wait for it to pop up online while watching late-night baseball or talk shows. Writing, and perhaps the coffee, leaves me unready for sleep. I read to relax and work my way slowly toward a mindset conducive to sleep.

Holly Hill's Jem Mott makes a pitching change.
Holly Hill’s Jem Mott makes a pitching change.

I’m going to miss the reaction of kids being interviewed who aren’t accustomed to it. Some are wonderfully spontaneous. Some are wonderfully scared. Sometimes I yell or motion to a player that I’d like for him to hang around for a while so that I can talk to him, while at the same time recording what his coach has to say.

This warning gives him a short period to think about what he’s going to say. He might think of how much he wants to credit his teammates even for deeds he performed alone.

Will Price
Will Price

“What were you thinking as you waited for the pitch you hit to the opposite field for the game-winning double?”

“I was thinking about my teammates who supported me.”

Really. I thought you might be thinking about how you should stay back and wait for a fastball on the outer half. Perhaps I should try another question.

Price went 2-for-4.
Price went 2-for-4.

Sometimes I feel stupid listening to the harried questions I asked as I transcribe the tape. I listen to my mumbling questions, wondering how anyone could possibly understand them and realize why the kid tried to turn the attention to the team, because there’s no “me” in team even though there is an “m” and an “e.”

Next year Clinton High will open a new baseball field, one with a grass infield and a press box. Obviously, this will prevent being rained on because, in every season, some rain must fall, but I’m going to miss sitting at a folding table directly behind the plate of The Sponge, trading remarks with scoreboard operator Zack Wofford, public-address announcer Buddy Bridges and assorted others, primarily because it offered such a great view of the pitches. I learned more about the Red Devil pitching staff than I ever would have from a higher vantage.

Hanks Avinger hit a three-run homer but also took the loss.
Hanks Avinger hit a three-run homer but also took the loss.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to sit down there at the new place. Even a shabby home is a home, though. I’ll miss the interaction with the fans and watching them sometimes as much as the game.

At LDHS, I’ll miss the conversations with athletics director Mark Freeze about anything and everything. Almost all of it was off the record by assumed agreement. Besides, my baseball stories have no convenient place for ruminations about bluegrass music and stock car racing. Except this one.

DSCF3102I probably won’t miss music blaring from speakers almost painfully nearby. I’ve grown accustomed to it, though.

I’ll miss the experience of watching a kid win the game while his father is announcing it on the P.A. I’ll miss watching the flight of a long fly ball to right field, with the bases loaded and the outcome riding on whether or not a streaking kid can intersect it. I’ll miss the cries of fright and then relief when he can.

Baseball on TV is slightly artificial. The heart of baseball is in its roots.

TrespassesCoverMy new novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, is a story of politics, corruption, drugs, mistakes of young and old and crime.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that began in songs I wrote.

Crazy of Natural Causes is set in the hills of Kentucky. Chance Benford is a football coach who has to reinvent himself in the aftermath of disaster. It’s a fable of coping with the absurdity of life.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

The Intangibles is a story of the South, high school football, civil rights and desegregation, set mostly in the late 1960s.

The Audacity of Dope is the story of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking singer-songwriter who accidentally becomes a national hero and is thus forced to act like one.

It’s a Dirty Sport, but Somebody’s Got to Watch It

Now this guy, Ned Jarrett, knew how to race on dirt. (Ford Motor Company)
Now this guy, Ned Jarrett, knew how to race on dirt. (Ford Motor Company)

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, July 23, 2015, 9:44 a.m.

My memory is mostly photographic. If you ask about some NASCAR incident, I won’t remember it by fact but by image. I’ll have to look up the facts, but, in my mind, I’ll see a wreck, say, and I’ll know where it was because of the perspective of the image or because I see “Talladega” or “Atlanta” on the wall behind my image of cars crashing.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

So my memory of attending NASCAR races on the then-dirt of Greenville-Pickens Speedway involves the smoky image of Richard Petty roaring into the turn in a Plymouth Road Runner, and I’ll know those races were in 1968, and I can see that lovely Petty blue blended with the swirl of the red clay dust. The track was paved in 1969, and my image of Bobby Isaac driving the K&K Insurance Dodge Charger to victory is unclouded by having to squint to see it on the back straight.

Big Diamond Raceway in Pennsylvania. (Monte Dutton photo)
Big Diamond Raceway in Pennsylvania. (Monte Dutton photo)

While I covered NASCAR, there were no dirt tracks, but I sometimes traveled nearby to watch the masters slip and slide. Jim McLaurin and Rick Minter accompanied me to 311 Speedway in Madison, North Carolina, near Martinsville, Virginia, and Len Thacher and I spent a marvelous night at Grandview Speedway in Pennsylvania. I drove alone from Pocono to Big Diamond to watch USAC Sprints, and David Poole and I drove over to Eldora to watch Midgets back before Earl Baltes sold the place to Tony Stewart. The mental snapshots of all those trips are vivid.

Bobby Isaac (Getty Images photo for NASCAR)
Bobby Isaac (Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

My trips got rarer when I ran out of people who’d go with me, and now I find it amusing that a few Truck races at Eldora have turned all my colleagues who wouldn’t have gone to a dirt track with a gun on them into boosters declaring them the greatest of them all.

Back then, they wouldn’t have gone to a dirt track for Marriott Points.

I suspect many of dirt-track racing’s great media champions have never been to one that isn’t named Eldora.

It was a grand show last night, but the racing wasn’t any better than when I watched Billy Hicks win at 311 or Steve Francis capture the Shrine Race at nearby Laurens Speedway.

Curtis Turner (Getty Images photo for NASCAR)
Curtis Turner (Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

Plus, I watched it on TV. I expect many of those now hyperventilating watched it on TV, too, albeit from the refuge of the Eldora media center, where they had tighter access than I to all the glowing remarks from drivers who have less experience racing on dirt than they have watching it.

The true fan test of appreciating dirt-track racing isn’t from the living room. It’s better in person, and it’s better when most of the drivers have a clue about how to do it.

Christopher Bell's celebratory dust-out.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Christopher Bell
Christopher Bell’s celebratory dust-out. (Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Christopher Bell

I’m neither surprised nor displeased that a dirt tracker, Christopher Bell, won the Mud Summer Classic. Nor am I surprised that the Dillon brothers, Austin and Ty, did well, because the first time I saw either of Richard Childress’s grandsons race was at 311 Speedway.

One of the reasons dirt tracks fell off the NASCAR radar screen was growth. The box score lists the attendance at one of those long-ago Petty victories at 7,200, which was a packed house at Greenville-Pickens. NASCAR left the dirt tracks, though, because they were untidy and NASCAR wanted races that were tidy.

When I go to a dirt track, I wear safety glasses or goggles because I also wear contact lenses, and without protection, it feels not unlike having thousands of tiny needles fired at my eyeballs.

USAC Sprint cars at Big Diamond. (Monte Dutton photo)
USAC Sprint cars at Big Diamond. (Monte Dutton photo)

If it’s hot — and when isn’t it? — do not wear a white shirt to a dirt track. It will never be white again.

The last time Minter and I drove down to Madison, on the Saturday night before a Martinsville Sprint Cup race, the next morning I drove to the race before the sun came up, and I left it long after the sun went down. The next morning, when I drove home, I noticed people gaping at my Honda, the one I still drive, and discovered it was no longer blue but rust-colored. It had red clay caked all over it. I pulled off the highway in Salisbury and ran it through a car wash lest I feel compelled to live out of it.

It’s worth it. Dirt tracks are great, but they’re not for the casual watcher (someone wisely pointed out to me the other day that “casual fan” is as much a contradiction in terms as “tail end” or “forward bite”) or the captain of industry. They are uncouth places to “wine and dine.” Dust is a much better condiment for hot dogs than sushi.

You got your dirt-track fans right here. (Monte Dutton photo)
You got your dirt-track fans right here. (Monte Dutton photo)

Many of NASCAR’s present-day movers and shakers are out of their elements at Eldora, though they are able to tough it out in the comfort of their refuges from the dust and smoke.

The race is a nice, little diversion. It’s quaint.

A year ago, when Kyle Larson’s truck spent more time on the wall than off it — one of the TV announcers actually said he hit it 433 times, and I laughed so hard — you would have thought he’d not only done it by design but because he possessed more skill than Curtis Turner.

Me? I thought it was embarrassing.

Once upon a time, it was not unusual for NASCAR's finest to race on dirt  ... or know how. From top, Buddy Arrington, David Pearson, and Cecil Gordon.
Once upon a time, it was not unusual for NASCAR’s finest to race on dirt … or know how.

Trucks are unwieldy on dirt. Stock cars are unwieldy on road courses. It’s part of their charm, but the allure of real dirt-track racing isn’t charm. It’s control of the uncontrollable, in addition to power, boldness, courage, and skill.

I enjoyed the race, too, but if I really want to see racing that will blow my mind, I’ll go to Laurens Speedway on Saturday night.

Of course, I doubt I will. I won’t be able to find anyone to go with me. To paraphrase one of my favorite stanzas from the philosopher Tom T. Hall, they might pat your fanny and say you’re a dandy, but they still don’t like dirt tracks in Daytona Beach.

 

My new novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, has one small reference to a trip to Talladega, but mainly it’s crazy in other ways. Please take a look at it here: http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Natural-Causes-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B00YI8SWUU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436215069&sr=1-1&keywords=Crazy+of+Natural+Causes

Most of my previous books, some of which are about racing, are available here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

 

St. Andrews, Loudon, and the Clemson Spieths

Perhaps I could use some reflection. (Monte Dutton photo)
Perhaps I could use some reflection. (Monte Dutton photo)

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, July 16, 2015, 9:15 a.m.

No, I didn’t get up at 4 a.m. to watch the British Open, though I left the TV on when I went to sleep so that, at some point, I’d roll over, peer at the screen, mutter, “I’ll be dogged,” and go back to sleep.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

I started watching it at 7, though. At the time, Jordan Spieth was tied for the lead, Tiger Woods was grimacing, at which he remains world class, and it occurred to me that, while there is no logical NASCAR match to The Open Championship or any other championship, except its own, New Hampshire Motor Speedway is as close as it gets.

St. Andrews is in the northeast of Great Britain, a little over halfway up the coast of Scotland, and Loudon is in the northeast of the United States. The Old Course is quaint, and, in its way, so is the track.

Why I quit golf. (Vince Pawless photo)
Why I quit golf. (Vince Pawless photo)

The 1970 Open at St. Andrews, won by Jack Nicklaus over Doug Sanders, was the biggest reason I started playing golf. Guitar was the reason I stopped. When I was a kid, I used to pretend I was playing in the British Open, mainly because I usually played at little more than a cow pasture known as the Rolling S. (The last time I was there, the Rolling S had been greatly enhanced, almost to the point where it didn’t even remind me of St. Andrews, or Carnoustie, or Troon, and it’s located many miles from the ocean, though it does have several ponds.)

Watching Tiger Woods languishing made me think that Dabo Swinney missed the perfect opportunity to declare his team the Clemson Spieths. Coach Swinney hosted his annual media golf tournament on Wednesday. Of course, I wasn’t there, but I saw it on the 11 o’clock news, or, rather, the sports, which comes on right before Jimmy Fallon.

My mind has been as distant from sports as it ever gets, probably because (a.) the New York Yankees took two out of three from the Boston Red Sox, whom I prefer, before the All-Star Break; (b.) I watched a movie instead of the Home Run Derby; (c.) I watched two PBS documentaries instead of the All-Star Game; (d.) my new novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, will be released next Tuesday; and (e.) I’ve been polishing up my next novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, just to have it ready at the opportune time.

Fluor FIeld, Greenville, South Carolina.(Monte Dutton photo)
Fluor FIeld, Greenville, South Carolina.(Monte Dutton photo)

Facebook reminded me this morning that my most recent, and possibly last, visit to Fenway Park was three years ago tonight. The Red Sox won that game in spite of the fact that Bobby Valentine managed it. In the interim, I’ve been to one other major league game, about a dozen of the minor variety, and many involving collegians, mostly the ones wearing blue hose at Presbyterian College.

Hence the moniker Blue Hose.

Adam Scott just took his first official swing of The Open Championship. The graphics on screen predictably listed him at “even.”

Tiger Woods is way back, but, on the other hand, Paul Azinger just said that Dustin Johnson “plays like a panther.”

Then again, it’s only Thursday.

 

Before the release date, July 21, you can purchase Crazy of Natural Causes at the low, low advance price of $3.49: http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Natural-Causes-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B00YI8SWUU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436215069&sr=1-1&keywords=Crazy+of+Natural+Causes

Most of my books, fiction and non, can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1