Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Here's Nancy McKenzie. our George Bowering Baseball Trivia Quiz gal

However, firstly, secondly and marginally more importantly? Today, this very day, happens to happily and coinkydinkally coincide with Dr. Stompin' Tom Connors's B-Day (b. 1936). Plus? In Other Words, this blog, home of The IOWerZ Bar 'n' Grail? Today, right about now? We turn three!!1! Wowzers!!1! Holee Molee!!1! Zowee!!1! Happy B-Day 2 He and We!!1!

Key of B, Maestro!

Happy B-Day 2 We Happy B-Day 2 We In Other Words? Our Bar 'n' Grail now turns 3 Zo? Ha-Ha-Happy B-Day 2 Wee We Oui :)!!1!

Story continues below advertisement


On that sky-high note? You have no idea how greatly it engladdens yours truly to announce the recipient of The George Bowering Baseball Trivia Quiz Trophy, the one where the individual who answered the eight questions concerning Bowering's lifelong love affair with the game hand-in-gloves the autographed first-edition copy of Bowering's begenerous gift to both baseball lifers and Bowering worshippers, the millions of same, The Diamond Alphabet (Book Thug).

Nope. Etobicoke's Nancy McKenzie did not identify the titles of the collections of Bowering Baseballiterature he either edited or writ; thus, she will not receive the now officially out-of-stock forever IOWerZ T-Shirt, the one the creator of The Great George Bowering Baseball Trivia Quiz sports in this terrif pic gracing this, my last post, none other than the better half of the enviably and admiringly copacetic union of Jean Baird and George Bowering.

Amazing pic of Jeanius, eh? She wears our T-Shirt! She always does what it takes and goes the distance to help make In Other Words the wonderful Bar 'n' Grail it is; and, for that (among many reasons), I shall always remain grateful. So many of you always came through; but, none came through the way both Leonard Cohen and Jean Baird did so do. (Hold that thought.)

For now, back to the recipient of The Diamond Alphabet: Nancy's the niece of the man who conceived the idea of Wiarton Willie. Amaziah? Of course. She also sent her correct responses on Ground Hog Day and informed yours truly of her lineage. Well, I would rather hear about her relations than the bulloney I hear behind the scenes on the back channels, the diurnal raves, rants, rips, rabble-rousings, roars, screeds, squeaks and yadda-yadda-yawn I discover in my GMail Box daily. Dear Lard . . . How many cowards live in this country (if you can even call *that* living)?

Congratulations, Nancy McKenzie! Thank you for proving the answers do exist if one goes a-GoGlink as well as proving your baseballogical chops! Too bad you won't allow us to include a pic of you; but, we do understand your shyness and respect your boundaries (not to mention the fact you did your research during work hours and do not own a home computer and do not want your boss to see what you do during those hours when you are supposed to be writing press-release materials for your bank manager who wields a heavy-handed hatchet whenever she gets the op. Nope. I kid you not. "Chop, chop!" That's her favourite expression, according to our brilliant lifelong lover of both the game and the work of our Inaugural Parliamentary Poet Laureate):

"I do own many of George's books and have collected others over the years," concedes our ace, "but, this means so much to me. I am so happy I have an autographed copy of The Diamond Alphabet. I can hardly wait to read it!"

Story continues below advertisement

For the record? Here, again, the eight questions avec their correct responses and the-bottom-of-the-ninth bonus one left unanswered by our otherwise bang-on beauty:

1. Can you name Bowering's favourite baseball team?

The Boston Red Sox.

2. How many baseball books has Bowering either written or edited in total? (If you can correctly identify all of them, you will additionally receive a collector's-item bonus IOWerZ T-Shirt now officially considered a rare collector's item in its own right since there ain't no more for you to score. Sowwy.)

Five. Baseball: A Poem in the Magic Number 9 (poetry); Poem and Other Baseballs (poetry); Baseball Love (memoir); Taking the Field (Editor: A collection of baseball short stories); and — Ta da! — The Diamond Alphabet.

3. Who is Bowering's all-time numero-uno favourite hitter [whom I actually met during my Floridian daze at Boog Powell's, nyah-nyah!]?

Story continues below advertisement

Ted Williams [a.k.a. The Kid, The Splendid Splinter, Teddy Ballgame, The Thumper,].

4. The prolific author of more than 90 works possesses a huge baseball-cap collection he understandably off-shows with pride; but, one cap will never join the others since Bowering considers it anathema to even be caught looking in the same room with one [even if it's his BFF wearing same]. Which team's cap does he abso-deffo refuse to collect in no uncertain terms? [I agree with him completely on this oh-so-un-fine set of doodlie-dandies, BTW.]

The New York Yankees. [Who else bites so badly, huh?]

5. For which team is Bowering "The Official Loudmouth Fan?"

The Vancouver Canadians.

6. Bowering hung up his cleats when he turned 65; at that time, he turned to a kinder and gentler team sport. Which one?

Bowling with the Kootenay School of Bowling. [Its Commissioner? None other than our favourite west-coast correspondent, the pictured beautiful (inside & out) wife of the subject of this Quiz, Jeanius Baird. You go, Grrl!!1!]

7. During his Twilight-League playing days, Bowering sported authentic Major League Baseball pants from the double-knit era. Which team's pants from that era did he wear?

The Cleveland Indians. [For accuracy's sake, readers need to know said pants were originally worn by an actual Indian player.]

8. At which MLB park did Our Man George throw out the first pitch?

Miller Park, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers.


Given the fact this post constitutes my last to the IOWerZ Bar 'n' Grail and I am moving on to greener pa$ture$, please indulge me while I say GOODBYE my way:

Today, I return the golden key to the silver door opening our IOWerZ dump, er, Bar 'n' Grail, recently revamped and up-spruced by none other than Sally Forth who did a lovely job duplicating the colour of Leonard Cohen's famous blue raincoat on our not-nearly so-sagging sectional sofa, thanks to her re-upholstering skills. The Thunderbird hood ornament, natch, goes to both POPE PAUL I (a.k.a. New York's Paul Ipolito) and ODDY (a.k.a. Saskatchewan's leo bloom), each of same granted six-months-yearly possession rights to it. Rare and fair, don'tcha think? The freshly reframed Elizabeth Smart poster viciously smashed by some Paddy-Whacker or other? Of course, that now belongs to Essex (a.k.a. BookFest Windsor's Co-Founder / Tireless-Worker / Director plus, most meaningfully, my BFF, Lenore Langs).

To wrap up the remaining gifts? The lava lamp as well as the mini-fridge? We voted unanimously to award those to Leonard Cohen and the Baird-Bowerings respectively, primarily because their support, both obviously and quietly behind the scenes, means the Cyber-World to all of we. In fact, Cohen (whose Old Ideas released last Tuesday already tops most every music chart on this planet including our own country's SoundScan one), grants yours truly permission to include a wee pic he made for me a decade ago after I finally left the hospital following the devastating attack Sunday 2 June 2002 that nearly killed me.

Later, I learned my odds (40-60) of surviving the near-slaughter / out-snuffing of my body that put me in a ten-day ICU coma thanks to contracting ARDS in the smasharama process (not to mention the utter and absolute destruction of my faith in the kindness of strangers and blindness of my so-called friends causing the onset of PTSD and severe Agoraphobia which I slowly overcome with arduous effort, believe you me; and, o' course, the final nail in the coffin of my faith in humankind at all)?

When I did exit the hospital with an oxygen compressor I needed to breathe for the next year, radial-nerve palsy and related afflictions continuing to this day, my dear friend, mon amio con brio, Ol' Leo, sent along a message of cherished encouragement and a picture he'd created to show how proud of me he was; well, now? Thank the Lard, he allows me to share it with you. I still believe he saved my life with his unconditional and unwavering support of yours truly (and, for that, I count the horseshoes on my arse daily):

Finally, with his love and blessing, I would like to express to you what he says far better than I ever could as the last words I ever tappy-tip in this bizthness, this ever-increasing bizthness I refer to as plastic journalism; and, for the sake of fairness, I am grateful I had the op to work with Peter Scowen and to come to know Linda Leith and am proud to call her a dear friend who cheered me on when the cruelty and onslaught damned-nearly drove me insane to the point where I occasionally howled all the way to the brink.

Thank you all, Dear IOWerZ and Regular Rez Commentarians, for proving POETRY still comes first for some of us, especially this one of us who could not have written the blogposts I done did right without the company of Mitch Belanger and Vicki Tyler, The Morning-After Show Hosts who start work when I do, at 5:30 a.m. each morning (out of 102 FM The Fox [North Bay]), the finest rock-radio station in the galaxy in my rarely humble opinion).

I refuse to acknowledge any of the negatives since I deeply and profoundly believe the best revenge is not wanting any. I do not hold grudges for the simple reason they grant the begrudged even more power. And, since A Course in Miracles, my Bible, unequivocally proves we always attack ourselves first and those who cannot forgive others — or me — really cannot forgive themselves, I leave you with a tune penned by our Nobel-worthy Contemporary Shakespeare which he grants me the right to reprint with his seal of approval since I am a member of The Order of the United Heart of Leonard Cohen, my beacon, my buddy, my damned-near perfekk Beautiful Loser (a.k.a. B'Loser):


TOWER OF SONG (From February 1998's I'm Your Man)

Well, my friends are gone and my hair is grey I ache in the places where I used to play And I'm crazy for love; but, I'm not coming on I'm just paying my rent every day In the Tower of Song

I said to Hank Williams: How lonely does it get? Hank Williams hasn't answered yet But I hear him coughing all night long A hundred floors above me In the Tower of Song

I was born like this, I had no choice I was born with the gift of a golden voice And twenty-seven angels from The Great Beyond They tied me to this table right here In the Tower of Song

So, you can stick your little pins in that voodoo doll I'm very sorry, Baby, it doesn't look like me at all I'm standing by the window where the light is strong They don't let a woman kill you In the Tower of Song

Now, you can say that I've grown bitter but of this you may be sure The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor And there's a mighty judgment coming, but I might be wrong You see, you hear these funny voices In the Tower of Song

I see you standing on the other side I don't know how the river got so wide I loved you, Baby, way back when And all the bridges are burning that we might have crossed But I feel so close to everything we lost We'll never, we'll never have to lose it again

Now I bid you farewell; I don't know when I'll be back They're moving us tomorrow to that tower down the track But, you'll be hearing from me, Baby, long after I'm gone I'll be speaking to you sweetly From a window in the Tower of Song

Yeah, my friends are gone and my hair is grey I ache in the places where I used to play And I'm crazy for love; but, I'm not coming on I'm just paying my rent every day In the Tower of Song

— Leonard Cohen


Western Union: So long. Sayonara. Good luck!

Undeniably, Judith Fitzgerald, Poetry Fellow of the Chalmers Arts Foundation / HannaH GrrL's DawgMa now looking through a brand-new picture window; and, MiGawd, the world really does occasionally show its various, beautiful and new full-moon colours by the light of the divine Deity, that famous Trinity I know holds me safe and close in its most sacred, most holy eternally glistering heart


(Tower Of Song © 1988-2012 Leonard Cohen, Sharon Robinson and Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada Company. Photograph of Jean Baird © 2012 George Bowering. Photograph of Leonard Cohen © 2002-2012 Leonard Cohen. All rights reserved. Used by written permission. Reproduction in any medium is strictly forbidden.)

Report an error
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at