Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I find myself at a bit of a crossroads here at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, and the crux of the biscuit, as Mr. Zappa once put it, is the name I chose for this unassuming enterprise when I first logged on back in November 2004. At that point I envisioned SLIFR as a place where I would entertain my dual interests-- movies and baseball. In fact, I hoped by writing more about my favorite sport that I would somehow learn more about it, soak up more of its intricacies, its strategy, its history, and consequently learn how to write about it intelligently and with feeling. So it made sense to me to find a name that would combine those interests uniquely and memorably.

The first name I chose and posted under (for two whole posts, as I recall) was the woefully inadequate The Good, The Bad and the Dodgers, which didn't evoke the movies very strongly, and seemed to imply something about the quality of the Dodgers (which, unfortunately, was borne out during the agonizing season in 2005 that was to follow) that made me uncomfortable. I finally settled on SLIFR, which twinned the obsessions in an intriguing (to some, inexplicable) way. But as the 2006 season began to loom ever closer on the horizon, and even as far back as the 2005 off-season and the winter trades, I began to realize that my muse for baseball writing, such as it was, was no longer there. I still follow baseball, and the Dodgers, as enthusiastically as I ever have, but it has become clear to me over the past few months that baseball really has no major role to play in what I want to continue to do with this blog.

So, basically, I'm staring down the possibility of a major name change. Good old SLIFR's days may be numbered, I'm afraid, as half of the title has been rendered close to irrelevant.(I'm also about to embark on a serious change of formatting for the site, but more on that later.)

I've tossed around a couple of titles that I like, and many that I don't, and I'll keep them to myself for now. What I'm hoping is to enlist the help of any of you readers out there who might have a good idea, gleaned from your familiarity with this blog or perhaps just your own cleverness and intuition, of what might be the best choice for renaming this blog. So I now humbly solicit your suggestions in the hope of coming up with a really good title that grabs attention and suggests, either plainly or obliquely, what typically goes on at this address.

"So your blog gets a new title, D.C., but what," you might ask, "is in it for me?" Excellent question. And I think I have an excellent answer. I propose to keep track of everyone who submits a serious suggestion, and at such time as I decide on a name, if I pick yours you'll get the Criterion DVD of your choice (sticker price $39.95 or less, please!) to show for your efforst on my behalf.

And if I should, after all the submissions, decide on one of my own, I will draw a name randomly from a hat containing the names of all who made serious suggestions and that person whose name comes up will get the Criterion DVD.

If this sounds like something you'd like to try, please register your suggestion in the comments column of this post. The contest is open-ended-- it'll conclude when I either see, in the comments or in a fevered vision in my head, the winning name. That could happen tomorrow, and it could happen two months from now. (Gee, I hope it's not two months from now.) But I promise to keep you up to date, however it plays out. Thanks in advance for taking the time. I'm looking forward to all your great ideas!

UPDATE: 9:09 a.m. 7/19/06 Flickhead and Manaotupapau have suggested that I stick with the tried, true and established, and they make a good argument for it. I should have included that option in my original post, but since I didn't last night, I'm doing so now. And also, since I already made the DVD offer, if I should decide to stay with SLIFR after all I will transfer the DVD contest to a drawing among those who have submitted answers to Professor Kelp's Chemistry Test instead. Cheers!


Flickhead said...

Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule is an imaginative title with a touch of surrealism, while the blog has an established identity. A name change seems entirely unnecessary.

manaotupapau said...

I came here to say... well, it turns out flickhead beat me to it. Why change it! You've got a cool name, it's now been recognized and is probably building up an audience, and who knows - in five months you might find you want to write about baseball again. But if you have to have something more movie specific, how about: Sergio Leone and the Infield of Dreams Superfly Rules of the Game. :)

Sal said...

Well, it seems to me that you would've never brought up the topic if it wasn't something that was really weighing on your mind. I don't know if you would consider this a seriously legit suggestion, but if you want to change it why not consider tweaking it a little.
Something like "Sergio Leone and the Seventh Ining Stretch" or make it a play on a famous film title, like "Baseball or How I Love the Movies but not the subtitles." Ok, OK so maybe that last one wasn't so legit but I thought it was kinda funny.

I like the tweak idea but I also like the tried and true as well.

The Moviegoer said...

I also think it would be a mistake for you to give up the trusted SLIFR brand name too. But I also very much want to win a free Criterion DVD, and so I humbly suggest the name "Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger and McCormick," which has the advantage of sounding authoritatively businesslike and completely ridiculous at the very same time.

That Little Round-Headed Boy said...

Do what you feel like, Dennis. Its your blog.

However....knowing some of your tastes, here is TLRHB's Top 5 List of new blog titles for SLIFR:


See, I think your original blog title is sounding better all the time, don't you????

Cerb Chaos said...

For a minute there I thought that you meant the blog's days were numbered. As to a new name, I couldn't care less as long as it contains the same kind of posts that I've come to expect; although Sals suggestion of "Sergio Leone and the Seventh Ining Stretch" seems to roll of the tougne better for me. If you really want a name that gets rid of the "baseball" part of your blog, I'm not sure I can help you.

Steve said...

I would have suggested The Chrome-Plated Celluloid of Destiny.

Or Weasels Ripped My Film.

Or Beyond the Valley of the Cozz. (Feel free to slap me for that one.)

But then, TLRHB has already suggested Shut Up 'n Play Yer Movie! Which is so patently the correct answer, if indeed you change the title.

Peet said...

How about:
Sergio Leone and the Cinematic Cavity Rule?

Cinematic Cavity Rule
Movie characters with particularly rotten, dirty, misshapen teeth always display them in closeups in a big, ugly smile.
--Ebert's Little Movie Glossery

Or just: Sergio Leone Rules! Hmm, perhaps not.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

[ Sound Of Loud Laughing ]
Man, oh, man, way to pop my balloon of pretension, guys! I appreciate all the different perspectives, and the comedy too.

Cerb, sorry for the confusion. No, SLIFR, or whatever it will be known as, will, for better or worse, continue. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with your new blog. I look forward to seeing what you ahve to offer!

Sal, it has been on my mind quite a bit lately, but I think, with everything else I've been thinking about lately, I've definitely let it weigh there to a degree that it doesn't really deserve. That said, I wish I'd thought of Sergio Leone and the Seventh Inning Stretch two years ago (bit fan of alliteration, me).

Manaotupapau, Flickhead, Moviegoer, last night, before I posted this little altar call, my wife was making exactly the same point-- there's nothing quite as convincing as respectable voices, independent of each other, coming to the same conclusion.

And TLRHB and Steve, as much as I dig the Zappa/Meyer-inspired titles (You're a Groovy DVD-- I'd Like to Slap You In Sometime!!!), I like TLRHB's concluding question even more.

I haven't decided yet, but maybe it's time to consider switching that DVD prize over to Professor Kelp's Chemistry test and putting an end to all this navel-gazing. Besides, all of you gazing at my navel is making me nervous!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Peet: Jack Elam would look "nice" peering out from the header of my blog, wouldn't he? :)

girish said...


Sergio Leone's Green Earrings popped into my head, but seriously--I'm in total agreement with Flickhead here: there's a surrealistic ring to SLIFR that no amount of premeditation could match. Stick with the tried and true would be my vote too.

Jim Emerson said...

You scared me for a minute there, Dennis. I'm glad it's only the name you're considering changing -- but (for what it's worth) I love that name, even if you don't regularly post about baseball. (I was never more of a baseball fan than when I could go to Chavez Ravine -- but, like many others, I've never been quite as big a baseball fan after Kurt Gibson's 1988 World Series homer. I mean, you just can't top that.)

Also, "Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule" is oddly easy to remember!

Ebenezer said...
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Ebenezer said...
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Edward Copeland said...

Even without much baseball talk, I think the blog's title is a great name and you should keep it.

Peter Nellhaus said...

Sergio Leone and The Rules of the Game - a not very subtle attempt to refer to Jean Renoir and sports simultaneously.

jeff_v said...

Steve Sax and the Kuleshov Effect

lucas said...

i like the original title too, partly because no one talks about the infield fly rule anymore, and there's something quaint and unique about it.

the 7th inning stretch? so played.

i too would like a dvd, though, so let me think...

this blog kills facists (but then you'd have to write about woody guthrie)

a best boy, a gaffer, and a projectionist--together forever (eh, that's not so good either)

the collected dreams of [insert someone cool]

ok, so all these ideas suck. sorry

Sal said...

Now I'd like to point out that I know for sure that you will never use this as your blog title, but I thought it had a very criptic sound to it and it would also instill laughter immediately once the words met the eye. OK, now that I've built it up way too much here it is...

"They pissed on my fuckin' rug"

Does that count for 2 entries into the drawing?

Murray said...

Hey, 68212 and counting visits to SLIFR according to your blogger counter. This is a title/name that people obviously remember and identify with. If it ain't broken, don't fix it. Keep the name Dennis.

Dave Robidenza said...

How about "Sergio Leone and the Return of the Fly Rule"? Kind of shows your devotion to the sacred and the profane in movies. Of course, someone will have to come up with a "Return of the Fly rule" to have the title make sense. Or take the pun to extremes and call it "Sergio Leone, Paul Winfield, The Fly and Mercedes Ruehl."

Campaspe said...

I love the name, and I am a fan of neither Leone nor the Dodgers. I am disappointed, though, that I can't go through the archives as I intended and find the post where you explained the connection. I had been meaning to do that. Perhaps all you really need is an essay on art forms that seem irreducibly American (baseball) but really aren't (Westerns).

herecreepwretch said...

Hi. I came across your blog on Jim Emerson's recommendation at scanners.

I would simply like to concur with everyone who thinks the name change is unnecessary. The name reminds me of the long poem "Baseball," by our new poet laureate, Donald Hall. The poem opens by imagining what it would be like to sit in Fenway with the German modernist collage-maker Kurt Schwitters and explain the rules and spirit of the national pastime to him. It then wanders in a kind of stream-of-consciousness collage of materials from the poet's life for nine "innings" without ever accomplishing its express purpose - and not worrying much about its lack of accomplishment.

This is what the title of your blog evoked when I first read it: a film buff sitting in the stands of Dodger Stadium explaining the arcane aspects of the game to his favorite director of spaghetti Westerns.

It's perfect.

Don't change a thing.

Murray said...

Well said! herecreepwretch well said. You just described the SLIFR title in the most perfect way. I never thought of it that way, but I will now always remember it just the way you described it.

Campaspe said...

Yes, I believe herecreepwretch just gave me all the explanation I need. Well done.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Herecreepwretch, if I wasn't convinced yet (and I was awfully close), you have indeed done it. That was beautiful. It actually brought a tear to my eye when I read it. If you don't mind, if I can think of some way to rework them, I'd like to incorporate your thoughts as part of my blog header somehow. Thanks so much.

Mr. Middlebrow said...


Count me among those who think you should keep the name (not least because of herecreepwretch's outstanding visualization of it). Also, you have what people in my bid'ness (advertising) call 'brand equity.' Not something to be dispensed with lightly.

That said, I couldn't help trying to think up a few new possibilities, the first of which could be a spin-off from the current moniker:





Anonymous said...

The Texas Leaguer Chainsaw Massacre