Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Where Have You Gone, Larry Bird?

August 23, 2019

Paul Simon slipped Joe Dimaggio into his song Mrs. Robinson, an idealic talisman of yesterday who slipped across the expanse of the outfield at Yankee Stadium and swung a gracefully heavy bat at the plate. He made baseball look easy, like water filling a glass. A natural. He might not have been the best hitter of his time (Hello, Ted Williams) or the most gifted outfielder to ever don the pinstripes (I think Mantle was a more dynamic player) but pure smoothness? A natural? That was Joltin’ Joe.

It’s also not something I can really feel any similarity to. I can’t relate to it. Who can? We have all had moments where everything slid into place and whatever we were doing just worked the way we envision it. But to seem so naturally gifted that this was the natural state?

This isn’t to say Larry Bird wasn’t crazily gifted.  Beyond the hours in the gym, the years playing, he just seemed to have an affinity for the sport of basketball.

At the same time, he was a big white guy with a two inch vertical. He was big, he was gifted at the sport, but he wasn’t necessarily physically gifted in the way of someone like Jordan or Dominique Wilkins or Lebron James. Where Bird was gifted was between the ears and in the heart.

Watch highlights of Bird playing, diving for loose balls, falling into the crowd, using his two inch vertical to pull down a rebound and you see someone who knew the game and knew where to go and when to be there, but who also just plain fought for everything. Larry Bird was determination given human form.

That’s the athlete I can identify with. I might not be as naturally gifted at anything as he was at basketball, but that need to have to scrap for everything? Yeah, I can get that. Having to work at something, to slog through the crap, and end up with a broken nose or smashed finger, yeah. That I understand.

It seems like there aren’t many Larry Bird’s any more. I see a lot of athletes who look very natural doing what they do, who look smooth and pretty and nearly effortless. Who go out and you can tell that there is a touch of separation from the person and the act, from the person playing the game and the game.

It’s a distance most of us can’t afford in our lives. If we allow ourselves to become detached we lose our edge, we lose our place, we lose. And in our lives it matters when we lose. It’s not just a game, it’s not just a tick in the win or loss column in the standings. It’s a house payment. It’s health insurance. It’s the well-being of our kids.

It’s a distance we didn’t see in Larry Bird. It’s a distance we don’t see in our mundane normal person lives.  I miss Larry Bird the basketball player. I miss athletes I can relate to. We need more Larry Birds.

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Anthony Bourdain Is Still Missed

August 14, 2019

The Wife and I have always enjoyed Bourdain, originally on his Travel Channel show, his CNN show, then we saw the precursor A Cook’s Tour on Netflix. Since he died, The Wife has seemed to lose interest in watching the last couple of seasons that we hadn’t kept up with but I have been diving back into it a bit.

Watching Parts Unknown now, with the knowledge of his death, there is something else to all of the little looks Tony gives people, places, meals, little glasses of local liquor passed around the table. It’s not so much hard to pair these images with what happened, but understanding the appreciation of love behind the glances.

I think I always had a hard time humanizing Tony. He was bigger than my life. He lived in NYC. He’d seen the world. He’d experienced various chemicals that I likely never will. He seemed loved or at least liked by damn near everyone. He made people smile and he smiled himself, seemingly effortlessly. In the words of Hunter Thompson, Tony was a man who stomped on the terra, at least in my eyes.

Now, watching him smile and flatter a lady in West Virginia fixing him spaghetti pizza, the sparkle in his eye. Him going to a small town football game. Him riding around in an SUV mutated into some weird all-terrain Appalachian assault vehicle. He looks happy. he looks like he is savoring the moment. All of the moments. And he’s there. Fully. Life is receiving his full attention.

I don’t know how he does it. I can’t do it. I feel pulled and rarely fully, entirely here. He’s so gentle. Behind the swearing, the smoking, the drinking, the bravado, he’s so gentle.

I never knew Tony. Obviously. Only through the television. Through books. Through interviews. Through the mountain of ephemera he sprinkled throughout the world. But I miss him. I watch these last few episodes, savoring them. I can always go back and re-watch them.

He will always be there in that way. But there will be no new moments. No new looks. All of the drinks passed around the table will have been drunk long ago. All of the barbecues gone cold. The laughter slipped away on the winds. These last episodes are the final new moments. And I will miss not having new ones. Selfishly, perhaps. I will miss him. And his stomping on the terra. Gently.

yep, that’s a lot of horsepower

August 12, 2019

This is probably just a reflection upon why I don’t really fit in with a lot of guys but I don’t see the fuss over the new Mustang. The most horsepower ever! well, made by Ford as a street legal production car. But even if it was just the straight up most powerful Mustang…so what?

I’m not sure how other people drive, the roads they travel, but stop lights hate me. And they are everywhere. And even where there are no stop lights, out on the free way with the speed limit cranked up to 70 there are cops. I had to travel 30 minutes, one way, four times this weekend. I saw an average of two cops each way, with their little radar guns out. Looking for to chuck some money into the coffers, shoving us into a civic minded tithing.

So, what does it matter? The new Mustangs aren’t even exceptionally pretty or unique. For me, they just sort of bleed into the sea of cars surrounding me. I can get it if you just like Mustangs. If you collect them. If you know the history.

But the most horsepower ever. I don’t get the selling point outside of it just appealing to some dumb lizard part of the human (mostly male, but that’s only my opinion) composition.  On top of it just being a pointless number, it doesn’t saw how well that force is transferred to the wheels, how much wheel hop it suffers, etc. It has a 0-60 time around 3.5 seconds, I guess. So…you can get to the next red light really quickly.

This is just another thing that goes hand in hand with people only buying trucks and SUVs, the death of the American sedan and mini-van, etc.

Status.

Appearance.

Buying into this notion others have already bought into, whose validity comes only from its acceptance.

I think this is why I like the Cube, when it was being made. It was just odd. It’s why I appreciate VW bringing back its bus. And why weird little cars on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, like the Nissan Figaro has so much appeal for me.

And I shouldn’t throw stones. I know there are things that I buy into without really knowing why. There has to be. But the most horsepower ever. I just don’t get revved up by the fuel in that line.

20 pounds in five hours

April 10, 2019

So, I was back at the auto mechanic’s today.  I feel like it’s been a second home lately from the brake jobs to wiring issues to whatever. I had a flat tire this morning, pumped it up hoping for the best. Lost twenty pounds in five hours and it was back to the mechanic. He was super nice, though. After all of the money I’ve given him, he took a screw out of the tire, plugged it up and sent me off gratis.

I think I used gratis right.

Lately, I have been having a hard time moving past things like this. Things that disrupt my day. It feels like my nerves are just shot. Even a little thing just fucks it up. My mood is crap. My temper is crap. More and more often I find myself consciously backing away from dealing with everyone. Just because I know it could all go to hell pretty quickly over relatively minor things.

Anyway. 20 pounds of air pressure in five hours.

Cancer Blowing In The Wind

April 4, 2019

There are times where even I have to comment on the level of stupidity I am forced to witness. The idea that wind turbines cause cancer is just stupid. It’s not even misinformed, it’s not informed at all. And, honestly, it’s this sort of stupidity that makes it increasingly difficult to respect folks who vote republican in general, and who support this president in particular.  People can disagree on issues where there is a level of honesty, and where the points being debated are actually debatable. I’m pro choice, but I can understand the moral argument against it. And, frankly, the gut level uneasiness for the procedure itself outside of morning after pills. I get where there is an argument there.

But things like this, where a politician is just saying random stupid dishonest crap? He knows it won’t matter, he knows the GOP will protect him and, in the end, support him. They’ll find some roundabout way of arguing he’s right, or more likely they’ll say he’s joking. It’s just as shitty of a joke as it is a dishonest statement, though. Hey, you’re going to get cancer! What about that is funny? It’s not, and he wasn’t joking. He was lobbing political red meat because that’s all he does.

I’m just going to end it here. I think I just had to gripe about the stupidity of this for a moment.

This isn’t like donating a building

March 15, 2019

The whole college cheating thing is clinging to the headlines, largely on the backs of a couple of actresses. The details are ugly. Some wealthy people paid to cheat on exams. They paid to bribe coaches of some less popular (but usually “elite”) college sports to help grease the skids to get kids in on for athletic reasons when the kid never played the sports in question. Yeah, some other deserving kids probably missed out (or maybe some other wealthy kids didn’t get in unfairly because these other wealthy kids beat them to the punch. Oh, the irony.).

But I just keep going back to this line I heard on the radio, from whatever government agency was giving a press conference about it. “This isn’t like donating a building.”

well, bullshit.

It’s wealthy people exploiting a system because they have a bunch of money to get what they want. The issue is that these folks paid a lot of money, but I don’t think they paid new library money. And that’s the problem. In a weird way, they were bringing the whole “buy my kid into a great school” down a notch to a lower level of crazy wealth. This isn’t just for the ungodly wealthy, but now the purely godly wealthy can do it, too.

And for someone like me, yeah, this is functionally the same as the guy who donates a building to get his kid in. Either way the school is admitting a kid who didn’t earn it. Either way a deserving kid is supposedly not getting that spot because they couldn’t donate enough money to have a residence dorm named after them.

If you want me to take this seriously, then remove the influence of money entirely. How you do that, I don’t know. But until you do, I’m not going to get up in arms over an actress blowing $15K to make sure her daughter had some kickin’ SAT scores. It’s just life in America. It’s how it works.

Getting Started

March 6, 2019

Alright, it’s been a rough month or so. We’ve had a couple of funerals. We’ve been sick. I’m in the dumps from both. And the weather. And just the sheer monotony of the every day. The house is cold. And dark. I scratched my face shaving a couple of days ago and haven’t been able to shave since because I don’t want to just scrape the scabs off. It’s healing, though.

I’m opening the curtains as much as possible.

I’m trying to eat more citrus. I don’t know if that helps or anything but to hell with it, I’m doing it.

The wife is pushing to go see family this weekend, there’s a birthday party for a former neighbor. We went up last month for said funeral. We’ll go up in April for Easter’s. Making the whole idea of going to Michigan worse is that our oldest is at his dad’s this weekend, my niece won’t be around for my daughter to see because she’ll be off doing stuff. And at some point the in-laws want to do a birthday party thing for me, one of the other in-laws, and I don’t know who else.

I’ll be 39. I don’t give a shit about my birthday any more, especially if it means having to stay and do more stuff back at “home.” I’d rather just stay at my actual home.

What sucks is that I know I’ll probably be going to see family this weekend. I really just don’t want to be on the road like that.

down and out in the living room

February 21, 2019

We’ve been sick here for going on two weeks now. Well, I have been. The Girl brought home a head coldish thing with the runny nose and what not. Eventually I got it (of course).

Now it refuses to leave.

I thought the worst was over. The runny nose is (mostly) gone. The hacking cough is (mostly) gone. Never a fever that I know of. But today I just feel unconscious. I have no energy. I have no push. I have nothing. I just want to crawl back into bed. I’ve medicated myself. Got nothing. I’ve taken a nap. Didn’t really help. Took a shower. Ditto.

Just blah. Been a year of constant sickness and I’m just tired of it.

talks of circadian rhythm

February 12, 2019

I’m apparently going to be up now. I’ve been up for a little over an hour, it’s now 532am. I don’t know why I woke up when I did, I only had a little over four hours of sleep at the time, but I did. It was that hard, snap awake. The kind you know you’re not going to recover from. so I just got up. checked on the kids. Took the dog out. Somehow ate an hour away like that. For waking up so early, I feel like I’ve already lost time today.

Feels like I just lose time every day lately. Try to move forward, take two steps back. Keep having appointments pop up and they are never for the time I thought they were. It feels like everyone is just randomly changing appointment times on me, but I know I probably just wrote the wrong time down on the calendar.

Had to make decaf this morning because the wife is working from home. Caffeine is like gasoline for her. She has it in the morning, she says it keeps her up in the evening. Can’t sleep. I don’t understand it, really. I think I’ve just inured myself to it. The caffeine, that is. I go through a pot of it most days. I think it picks me up at the time. I think. But it definitely doesn’t keep me up nights.

Listening to REM right now.  About to sign out of this. Maybe take a shower. Had to look up the meaning of inured. I put it down without thinking and worried I didn’t know what it actually meant. I knew it, though. Oddly reassuring. Maybe update later with a real update. I even have pictures, if I can figure out how to put them into these things.

If not, have a good day folks.

corn fritters

February 11, 2019

More notes from the funeral a week ago. We took a substantial amount of food from the in-laws, mostly sides that we later discovered only I would eat (my wife hates onions, The Boy hates everything outside of four staples – pizza, tuna melts, pizza, and Arby’s, and The Girl is four. She eats like four year olds which is just mercurial and odd).

This included a massive foil tub of corn, I assumed canned, that looked to be dumped into the tin, heated up, and plopped on the table. Yeah, it was pretty plain. I’m not a huge fan of plain corn, though The Girl, embracing her fourness, pouted to school on morning because she really liked corn and really wanted corn. She got corn later.

A four year old only eats so much corn, though. I had to find something for it. I hit upon a recipe for corn fritters, which I altered a bit, but not really enough to share either fully as my own or as someone else’s. The basics of the batter was 3-1-1 with three parts corn kernals to one part milk and one part flour. The consistency turned out well, and if I make more fritters, I’d probably start with a similar ratio to go along with whatever I’m chucking in with it.

They turned out a bit bland. We didn’t think of this going in, but we did think that the fritters wouldn’t be enough of a meal for the wife and I so we also microwaved a packet of this dal bhakara (black lentil curry). I don’t get anything for clicking on the amazon link, btw, it’s just the first thing I found with what we used. It provided the right amount of spice to make the fritters really palatable.

It ended up being a decent little meal, and it used up the majority of the leftover corn. Which was oddly important to me. For whatever reason, being given this food that was leftover from the funeral felt like something that needed to be used and not just thrown away. That there was something a bit extra to this that needed to not be wasted. It was nice finding a way of using up the majority of the corn before it just aged itself out and had to be tossed.