Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Flash: "To Be Fair"

The 52/250 Flash has rotated another cycle around the sun. Almost. This week's theme is "spontaneous combustion", and my entry, "To Be Fair", is located ici.

100 Words: "Learning To Read"

Velvet Verbosity hosts the 100 word challenge here, and, in her spare time, negotiates Mideast peace. This week's prompt is "Spirit", and my entry is called "Learning To Read".

What's that word?" It was his constant refrain these days.

"That says "Wine and Spirits"," I told him.

"What that mean?"

"That tells us what this store sells."

"Which one we gettin?"

"We're going to get a bottle of wine."


"Mommy asked me to. She needs to bring it to a grownup party."

"There be presents?"

"No, buddy." I didn't think I could explain to him that being an adult meant you had to go to parties and pretend to like people because your boss was there.

"That sounds boring."

"It is, pal. I assure you."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's way past Friday, but the Flash is the Flash

The 52/250 Flash is located at This week's theme is "Silence", and my story, "Still Small Voice", is here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This Seems Apropos

A video using digital tools to retell the nativity story. Very clever, I thought.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Post That Will Almost Certainly Get Me Into Trouble

Since I can't think of anything useful to say, I figured I should get myself into loads of trouble by updating my Top Five Celebrity Crush list. 
1.Aditi Roy from NBC Philadelphia

2.Christine Woods, most recently of ABC's "Flash Forward"

3.Nataly Dawn from Pomplamoose, aka The Girl On The Hyundai commercial

4. Sela Ward

5. And, of course, Flo from Progressive.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Kevin Smith On Life

Film director Kevin Smith with a mini monologue on the meaning of life, originally posted on Twitter but collected into more coherent form on his blog here. Well worth your time, IMHO.

(Fair warning- Smith is a potty mouth, so I would have to consider this link NSFW. But if that sort of thing really offends you, I'm not sure why you're reading this, frankly.)

Friday, December 17, 2010

100 Words: It's All An Act

The 100 Words Challenge, elegantly hosted, run, and ruled over benevolently by Velvet Verbosity over here, is the leading online 100 word challenge since the battle of Austerlitz. This week's word is "Act" and my entry is called, "It's All An Act".

I did something wrong, and she came to fix it for me. I watched her work, her fingers dancing over the keys in a rehearsed rhythm. It was something simple, but in the intense bureaucracy we worked in, this was something she could do, and I couldn't. She was so beautiful, I had trouble breathing when she was nearby, with her jet black hair, gentle tan skin, and hourglass figure concealed by thick clothes because of the wintry conditions we worked in. I was in love with her, and she had no idea.

"What?", she said.

"Nothing," I lied.

Flash Fishing!

The Friday Flashes are up! This week's theme is "Missed The Bus", and my sports-themed story, "I'd Rather Be Fishing", can be found here

Thursday, December 16, 2010

RIP, Bob Feller

Rob Neyer on the passing of one of the true greats, Rapid Robert Feller.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Vatican doesn't have an Office of Irony, I guess?

Shirtless acrobats performing for the Pope. In case you're wondering, this is not one bit gay at all. Nope.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Five Things That Aren't Taking Place At Hogwarts

Since I can't seem to bring two words together harmoniously lately, here's five things that I've read that aren't Harry Potter novels and don't suck:

1.Becky on writing and not writing, and who's a writer and who isn't.

2.Writing Goddess on the check being in the mail.

3.The Sports Guy on purple, and green, and the difference between.

4.Rob Neyer on the Red Sox' new 100 million dollar man.

5. The always brilliant Phil Nugent on being too smart.

Friday, December 10, 2010

100 Word Challenge: Uno

In a recent survey of people I know personally, 98% of Americans believe Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge is the most important 100 word challenge available online since the dawn of recorded history. The Word This Week is "Wild", and my entry is called, simply, "Uno".

The cards, worn by years of use, were a sort of family tradition. Games of Uno, after dinner, throwing the Skips and Reverses and Draw Fours around, trying to lay down your last card and win. It was simple enough for kids, but adults joined in too. I looked at her, over my cards-my first serious girlfriend, all eager eyes, gorgeous legs, and a soul full of mischief. She slid a bare foot inside my pants cuff, playing a "Wild-Draw Four". I drew the four cards and mock scowled.

"You are wild," I told her.

"Yes, I am," she agreed.

Time for a 52/250 Story Flash!

It's Friday, the theme is Urban Convert, and my entry is aqui.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

5 Little Pieces of Awesome

1. ESPN's interesting piece on John Lennon's assassination and Monday Night Football's role in breaking the news.

2. Joe Posnanski on kids and the disturbing habit they have of growing up.

3. Rob Neyer on the late Ron Santo, who belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame

4. Lexi, making life simple again.

5. And Scott Adams on why we're all doomed.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A 100 Word Win!

Velvet Verbosity, commissar and dominatrix of the 100 Word Challenge, saw fit to choose my little screed, "It's Not About The Anchovies", as her pick of the week. It was a tough word, anchovies, and, obviously, I solved that by not writing about them at all.

Thanks to VV and all the players at this strange little game.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Nobody Told Me

As we approach the anniversary of John Lennon's senseless death, I was reflecting, listening to the marvelous "Instant Karma" collection of cover versions that came out a few years ago to raise money for Darfur, just why this man who did a healthy portion of his work before I was born, and who died before I really knew he was, has such a hold on me.

Lennon admitted in interviews he wasn't the best guitar player or singer in the world, and a fair minded listener would agree. I think what holds me when a John Lennon song is on is his brutally honest lyrics- he admits to being scared and vulnerable and as confused as everyone else is by the world.

That seems to be a theme of work that I enjoy- the sense that life doesn't make any sense. John Lennon reminds me, across decades, that it didn't make sense to him, either- and if that means I'm crazy, then at least I'm in good company.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Flashing on Friday: An offseason baseball story

The 52/250 Flash is up, and my contribution to this week's theme, "The Palm of your Hand", is here. But you should stay and read the good ones, too.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

100 Words: It's Not About The Anchovies

The 100 Word Challenge is here, and has been shown, with a healthy diet and regular exercise, to result in weight loss for most people. The prompt this week is "Anchovies", and my entry is called, "It's Not About The Anchovies"

"Why are you getting so mad about anchovies?," he asked. He was watching a basketball game, tall men in white trying to defend a metal rim against other tall men wearing green.

"It's not about the anchovies, Steven," she said. It was about being ignored. Being slighted. Having your needs come last, if at all. It was about having another baby because you needed a boy. It was about your career ruined so that his could soar, it was about your dreams allowed to die like worms on the sidewalk.

"It's not about the anchovies," she repeated softly.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Low Expectations

Michael Solender, who obviously has pretty low standards, has elected to publish a piece of mine, "Je t'adore", in his online flash fiction publication Microw, available here.

It's All Over!

NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as A Month Of Mental Illness, No Sleep and No Friends, ends today. Keen readers of the sidebar note that I am, as they say on Sportscenter, a winner winner chicken dinner- I managed to write 50000 words between November 1 and November 30. This wins me, essentially, nothing at all save the artwork you are looking at. There is a company called, an Amazon company, that will publish the book for free, but my book is many weeks or months from being ready for ink and paper.

It was an ordeal this year- a self imposed one, but still. It really consumed a lot of my life and a whole bunch of my free time, but I did it. It's done. It's strange how a burden I put on myself created a lot of real world stress.

Monday, November 29, 2010

RIP Mr. Kershner as well...

Another loss in entertainment, as Irvin Kershner, director of The Empire Strikes Back, the darkest and best of the Star Wars movies, has passed away.

Don't Call Me Shirley

There are a million tributes to the late Leslie Neilsen across the Internet this morning.

This is another one.

RIP, Mr. Neilsen.

Lest I forget...

The 52/250 Flash went up on Friday, and my contribution, located here, is called "Score".

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Frayed Ends of Sanity

As usual, James Hetfield says it better than I could.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turn Off The Blue Light

Rob Neyer on the Red Sox, a.k.a The Known Universe's Most Important Sports Team, failing to resign Victor Martinez, the ubiquitous V Mart who made this season so entertaining, at least if you were a Tampa Bay Rays baserunner. 4 Years and $50 million dollars, Detroit? For a catcher who can't, uh, catch? As the mighty Spongebob Squarepants once put it, good luck with that.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Something I Could Not Care Less About airport security. Esquire has an excellent post up about the kerfluffle about the full body scanners and the attendant fuss they are creating. As I understand it, if you refuse the full body scan, which apparently makes you look like a naked ghost, you are forced into a full body pat down. All this has brought about all sorts of agita, including videos like that one.

Now, I don't care. I can't even afford to fly a paper plane. And, as the Podfather himself Adam Curry puts it, this is all security theater. It's not preventing anything. From the final paragraph of Esquire's take, about true security- genuine, boots on the ground, knocking on doors law enforcement style security:

"This is how genuine security is created in a free society: through investigation, through self-interest, through civic-mindedness, through individual awareness, and through respect for liberty and the common desire for it. We want as a people to be safe — to live in peace in order that we may pursue our happiness. We work to make it so. It wasn't the TSA that caught the shoe bomber or the underwear bomber. It was us, the passengers. How pathetic that those in charge of our security ignore all that in favor of the alternative: total control."

Friday, November 19, 2010

What Have I Been Doing Instead Of #Writing? Watching This...

Flashback with 52/250: "Disguised"

The 52/250 crew is back at it again, with a raft of stories you can find here on the theme "Lost In Translation". Mine is here and is called "Disguised".

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Things I Don't Understand, Volume MCMXVII

Why this occupies so much media time in this country. Congratulations, blah blah blah. I'm sure William is a decent guy- at least he went and tried to serve his country and do some good, unlike certain recent leaders of this country. But it is mystifying that this is the lead story on my national morning news shows, all day every day, the fact that the scion of a hereditary royal family has asked someone to be his wife.

Monday, November 15, 2010

So.......I guess I didn't win?- "Available Light"

The fine folks at NPR host a three minute fiction contest, which I learned about after they had already had five rounds of it, where they ask for short stories based on parameters set by a famous author. The current round was hosted by Michael Cunningham, author of the utterly marvelous novel "The Hours". The rules were that you had to start and end with phrases he gave you-"Some people swore that the house was haunted" at the start, and "Nothing was ever the same after that" at the end. (Kind of a Halloween thing.) The story had to be less than 600 words, which, they say, takes about 3 minutes to read aloud- thus, the three minute fiction contest.

So I entered, and I didn't win.

Now, they got 5000 entries, they say, which isn't surprising, and the fact that I didn't win is even less surprising. But one of the rules was that the story couldn't be previously published, so I couldn't publish it here. But I didn't win, so I'm going to call that parameter null and void. And I think this isn't bad, frankly. So here it is- a 600 word story, using the rules set out as shown. Call it "Available Light", yet another title cribbed from Neil Peart. I hope he's not a reader.

“Some people swore that the house was haunted?”, she demanded. “A ghost story? Come ON, Dad.” She was ten years old, but she had already mastered the swooping, mocking tones of a teenager. I had warned her about the indignities of camping- the bugs, the dirt, the animals- all things she could forgo for a weekend with Aunt Jennifer, reading stories to toddlers and changing diapers by day, talking Twilight and painting toenails at night. But she cheerfully agreed to join me, which put us here, next to the lake, night creeping in around us, sitting around a small fire.

“Tell me a real story. Tell me how you met Mom,” she said, her innocent face paining me in the jumpy light. With Carolyn dying before she turned 2, my daughter didn’t know her mother as anything more than a framed picture, so she hungered constantly for stories of her as a breathing, feeling adult instead of the spectral presence she was.

“That old thing? I’ve told you that before.” I knew why she wanted to hear it again-it was like a World Series announcer telling a story that seasoned fans had heard before- you knew it already, but you listened for the smooth curves and the satisfying ending anyway. You wanted the rhythms of it more than the meanings of the actual words.

“I know,” she said dreamily, “tell it again.” After her phone died, then mine did, we resorted to swimming, sunning ourselves on the rocks, reading, talking, and just breathing in the crisp air and listening to the thousand small noises that made up the quiet of outdoors. She had been writing furiously in her notebook while I cooked- perhaps a scrap of poetry, or a story, or a letter to a friend. Do kids write letters any more? Probably not.

I told her the story-my sweeping run into the post office, not looking where I was going, headed for the outgoing mail slot, the solid hip check I gave her mother, sending us both sprawling-the apologies, laughter, and conversation that led to coffee, and then dinner, and a sudden rush into romance, and a tiny wedding, and within a year, the red, screaming, wide eyed gift of her birth. I told her of the late night feedings we would have in bed together, falling asleep with her with neither of us watching “Monday Night Football” when her mother worked the night shift. I told her of the hurricane of work and obligation that robbed us of sleep, but we undertook joyfully, goggle eyed with the wonderment of new life. I told her of her mother’s tangled hair, soft brown eyes, proud smile, warm laugh, and tender heart.

I didn’t tell her of the soreness that became pain. The pain that became one doctor, and then another, and another. I didn’t tell her of words like biopsy and malignancy and radiation, of her beginning to walk when her mother no longer could. I didn’t tell her of long afternoons walking hospital corridors carrying her, and later urging her to color in the corner of the room as her mother slept fitfully. I didn’t tell her of the black fits of rage that brought me to near tears as I drove her home alone. I didn’t tell her how she had lost her mother, but I had lost my only friend.

“Then she got sick?”, she asked.

“Yeah,” I told her, “Nothing was ever the same again after that.”

Saturday, November 13, 2010

100 Word Challenge: Service Time

9 out of 10 dentists surveyed recommend the 100 Word Challenge for their patients who engage in online literary challenges. This week's word is pleasure, and my entry is called "Service Time"

“My pleasure,” she said. It was the corporate line, drilled into them when they were trained. Just say it, regardless of whether you mean it, and after a few slipups, she incorporated it into her patois. “Number 4 Meal with Fries and a Sprite? Certainly. My pleasure.” Over and over again, for hour upon undercompensated hour. Pleasure was something to hoard, to be won, not a prize to be handed out to every caller. She sighed, careful not to let the mic pick it up. “Welcome to Chick Fil A, may I take your order?”, she asked with false cheeriness.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I managed to not mess up! Uh, hooray? "No Returns"

The fine folks at 52/250 have put up this week's stories, and I managed to actually submit mine on time this week. The theme is "Bad Haircut", and my contribution, called "No Returns", is located here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A quick quote, before I go back to my writing

" 'You're awfully good. If I didn't love you for anything else I'd love you for decisions.'

'They're easy to make when you haven't seen how too many of them can turn out.' "

-Hemingway, "The Garden of Eden"

Monday, November 08, 2010

If I Could Be Anyone, At Any Time In Recorded History...

I might be Duff McKagan (the blond who isn't the drummer) on the day this video was made.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Can a Flash be A Flash Without Me? Apparently.

The 52/250 Flash is up here this week, the theme being "Least Favorite". You should go read it. However, my work is NOT there, only because, I assume, I forgot to send it in.


So here it is, "Least Favorite", NOT part of the 52/250 Flash, because I'm dumb.

“Oh, great,” Natalia said under her breath. “Bacon.”

Of all the food products she dealt with behind the sandwich counter, bacon was by far her least favorite. It just looked wrong, with its marbled surface, all dried up but somehow still greasy, looking like a dog treat. Sure, she was a vegetarian, too - one of a group of idealistic high school freshmen who tried it as a weight loss method and social protest, she was the only one who found it easy to maintain as the years went by - but the bacon here was just gross.

She looked over her slim glasses to try and see who ordered the bacon-filled sandwich. It was probably him, seeing a middle aged fat guy with a grizzled goatee staring at her. You need less bacon and more sit ups, she thought, then made a mental note to add that to her notebook. It might work well in her novel.

She hated her glasses, they made her look geeky. She longed for contacts, but she didn’t even bother to mention it- she sensed what her mother could and couldn’t afford, and had stopped asking.

She made the sandwich mechanically, just another sandwich, hour upon endless hour. She had become someone who just existed, not her favorite way to be. She finished, called out the sandwich’s number, and the hefty guy came forward immediately and took it from her.

“Thanks,” he said, and smiled. His eyes were wrinkled, but kind.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

100 Word Challenge: Show Me Something

The 100 Word Challenge resides here, and could save you 15% on your car insurance. The word this week is "harsh", and my story is called "Show Me Something"

Her track suit was tight, electric blue, and it glowed where the sun hit it. She was blonde, of indeterminate age, and standing very close to me.

“What would you say, sir, “ she said with a posh British accent, “if I told you this all natural cleanser would get a coffee stain off of your shirt in 15 seconds, and if it didn’t, I’d give you 50 American dollars? All natural, no harsh abrasives, no scrubbing.”

She peered at me, her pale blue eyes searching me out, looking at my Dodgers t shirt and my eyes.

“Go ahead,” I said.

One hopes Mr. Larson's estate got PAID

Macy's is now running a commercial featuring one of the songs from "Rent", a musical that I have a positively unhealthy fondness for. I am trying to remember James Hetfield's dictum that, if I'm going to accuse someone of selling out, I should at least have had an offer made for something of mine first. (Implying that it's a little easier to sell out if someone is willing to make you set for life-it would be hard to turn down that kind of money.) So I will leave it with the wish that Macy's took care of the composer's family. (Jonathan Larson, the composer, died before the show opened on Broadway.)

And if you haven't seen "Rent", by all means please do so. It's marvelous.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

NaNoWriMo: It's Everywhere You Want To Be

Current Word Count: 3906
Goal for Today: 5000

This is thrilling, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

NaNo UpDate

Current Word Count: 2181

Goal for End of Day: 3500-4000

Oh, my.

A movie is coming out based on Ernest Hemingway's unfinished novel, "The Garden of Eden". It certainly looks very adult, very passionate, very intriguing. The novel is odd-very Hemingway, in places, and very different in others. Of course, he died with it unfinished, so who knows what he really intended for it. But the movie, at first glance, seems true to the manuscript that remained. I wonder how successful a movie about grownups doing grownup things will be in 2010.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What Do I Want?

What do I want?

I've been asked this question a lot lately. I've been asking it of myself, and other people have asked it of me.

I have given lots and lots of different answers, most of them at least partially in jest.

-$252,000(I don't know why that particular number. It would solve a lot of problems, though. Arguably, the only problem it doesn't solve is "owing someone $253,000.")

-World Peace

-Musical talent(If I have longed for one thing that I do not have above all else, it is that. I love music and it frustrates me to no end that I can't produce it.)

-The ability to pursue my passions and earn a living while doing it.

-Overwhelming physical attractiveness

-For this dang cold to go away already.

Among other things.

NaNo starts tomorrow-really, tonight at midnight. I'm going to do it again. I don't know if I'll finish-writing all 50000 words in 30 days. Nobody does until they try. If what comes out is less than nauseating and plausibly editable, I may just clean it up and self publish it. (Rest assured, if you are a regular reader, you won't miss out. I will pimp it like mad.)

Gretchen Cello says she writes to "heal humanity with art". Given her outrageous talent, she probably could. Kelly at Ordinary Art would probably laugh at that. She says stories should be as big as people. Hemingway said writing was an obsession- the only thing that hurt worse than writing was not writing.

I don't know what I believe.

Scratch that.

To quote Crash Davis, I believe in "the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days."

I don't know what I want. I have never been entirely sure who I am. I don't know what the next 30 days are going to be like. I don't know who will win the election on Tuesday.

But I know the ball drops at midnight.

Join us. Admission is free, and you only have to be slightly insane.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Perhaps stupid, but still funny.

Via the Daft Scots Lass, 101 Halloween costume ideas:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Immortals Aren't

Rob Neyer reminds us that baseball's immortals will not last forever.

I may, indeed, be cracking under the strain.

A very funny Gilbert and Sullivan parody, dealing with the fabulous NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, which rears its lovely head Moanday, November 1.

Warming Up On Flash Fiction Friday

This is my Flash Fiction for 52/250 this week. The theme was "Tombstones", and, as you will see if you read it, I went in a direction you might not necessarily have expected.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Best Five Players Born On My Birthday

The fine folks at Wezen Ball have a little list on their site today of the best 5 baseball players born on each day of the year, so you can look up the best five players from your birthday.

The best five players born on my birthday were Buck Ewing, who caught for 18 years before the turn of the 20th century, Jim Gilliam, a very good utility infielder for the Dodgers in the 1940s and 50s, Paul Derringer, an irascible pitcher for the Reds in the 1930s, Red Rolfe, a third baseman for the Yankees in the 1930s, and Dan Pasqua, a somewhat forgettable outfielder for the Yankees in the 1980s.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Doghouse Riley Explains It All

Doghouse Riley, who is even more hardcore than Phil Nugent, with a cogent preview of next Tuesday's election:

"Y'know, no one's gonna goad me into defending Democrats, but Reality is a different matter. The Democrats aren't in whatever situation they're in (election results are a week away; maybe we can wait that long to count the votes) because of hubris; they're where they are because they've been running from Ronald Reagan for thirty years. They found themselves, last January, with two bad choices: a compromised healthcare bill, or a failure to deliver on the healthcare promises their landslide President had made. Surprising at least one observer (me, who expected them to fold yet again), they took option A. They are now blamed for this; had the vote gone the other way they'd be blamed for that. And they are to blame, because even if they couldn't see which way the wind was blowing they could've checked in with 1992 again. They didn't lose those fights through supreme self-confidence. They lost because they thought they could win by refusing to fight. It's stupid, and when you see a crowd of ostensibly smart people doing something stupid--assuming that surprises you in the least--you look for some ulterior reason. And that reason is they're still running from Ronald Reagan thirty years later. They're afraid to propose the United States of America spend money on programs that benefit anyone other than the wealthiest 5%, for fear of being called Tax n' Spenders, and they're afraid to cut the astronomically absurd "Defense" budget for fear of being called unpatriotic. They're afraid to make corporations pay fairly, and in full, for their benefits and for the sound operation of a free and just society, and they're afraid to make them pay for shipping American jobs overseas. They're afraid of Roger F**king Ailes. They're afraid of using the system to their advantage the way Republicans do without blinking, and they're afraid of their own constituencies. They're afraid of Ben F**king Nelson and Evan Bugwit Bayh. Mostly they're convinced, and have been for some time, that electability is more important than being right or doing what's right, and they're convinced that corporate donations are more important than defending a belief system."

Oh, boo.

So it's not a cell phone, after all. Sigh. I liked it better when I didn't know.

A little investigation revealed this, which seems very much like what the woman is holding in the video.

Oh well.

Cell Phones in 1928?

OK, this is just downright wierd.

I'm willing to admit right up front that this could be a fake, but take a few minutes and watch this.

Filmmaker and Cinephile George Clarke has recorded a YouTube video where he plays a snippet from the DVD extras on Charlie Chaplin's "The Circus". When you view the clip, you see a woman walking by holding something that looks for all the world like a cell phone to her ear.

The clip was from the Hollywood premiere of "The Circus" in 1928.

Again-this could be a fake. This could have an innocent explanation.

But I'll be darned if I can figure out what it is.

h/t Dvorak Uncensored, at

Celtics 88, Heat 80

In one of the most anticipated debut nights for one of the most anticipated NBA seasons in my memory (and, given their labor issues, what may be one of the last NBA seasons in my memory), my Boston Celtics tipped over the LeBron Express, defeating the Heat, 88-80.

This will produce much snickering, as the Heat, with the renowned trio of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade, three of the best players in the league, are supposed to, according to conventional wisdom, make mincemeat of their opponents, win every game by 30, and take the championship with ease.

The Heat are indeed a very good basketball team-no team with that much talent could be less than decent. And, after trailing by 15 at halftime, the Heat made a ferocious run, mostly fueled by James, to make the final score as close as it was.

But for now, the ancient Celtics showed the young folks how it was done, and it was great fun watching graybeards like Shaquille O'Neal cavort like their younger selves.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Then and Now

On the Paris Review's website, John Jeremiah Sullivan writes of his efforts to research a story on W. Axl Rose, the singer of Guns N Roses, for GQ Magazine. During the research, he managed to uncover this shot, of an 18 year old Rose being booked in his hometown in Indiana. As Sullivan puts it, "It’s the shots of him at eighteen that move me, though. He isn’t pretty yet, he hasn’t begun to think of himself as a rock star. He’s a boy-man, with a trace of fear in his pugnacious stare." 

Rose is an interesting person, in so many ways. There was a time when I wanted to be him, like millions of other young men. Would I trade his path for mine? He's never seemed happy, despite all the money, fame, and worship. Then again, neither have I.

Here's Rose, the 2010 vintage, performing Bob Dylan's "Knockin On Heaven's Door".

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Flash Of Inspiration!

Another week of 250 Word Wonderfulness is Up. The theme is "long lines", and my story, "Outbound", is here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

100 Word Challenge: Within You Without You

The 100 Word Challenge, Same As It Ever Was, Can Be Found Here

This Week's Word Is "Within".

My Entry Is Called "Within You Without You".

(No, I Don't Know Why I Decided To Capitalize Everything)

“What was that song called?,” she asked. “The one on ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’?“

I chuckled, looking at her head, bald from chemotherapy and radiation.  “You’ll have to be a little more specific.”

“The one with the Indian instruments.”

“Ah. The sitar. You must be thinking of ‘Within You Without You’.”

“I was just thinking about the words. When he sings, ‘life flows on within you and without you’? At the end?”



“It scares me, too.” Scares me in ways I can’t describe.

“I hate the thought of things still happening when I’m dead.”

“We all do,” I assured her.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday With The Wickedness Witch Of The West

Janera's journey into the world of wierdness takes us inside the occasionally functional mind of Tea Partier and US Senate candidate from Delaware Christine O'Donnell. Find the questions here if you dare.

1. On why she's anti masturbation: "If he already knows what pleases him and he can please himself, then why am I in the picture?"Have you ever heard a stupider statement? If yes, when?

That one is hard to beat. "Major combat operations in Iraq are over" might top it, though. Or "Nobody could have predicted that the levees would fail". 

2. “Physics put people in spiritual harm the way pimps put people in physical harm.”
Do you believe that prostitution should be legalized?

Pretty much, yes. It's an awful thing for someone to have to do, but if you honestly want to do it, you should be able to. That said, if it's illegal, it's illegal for both parties- convicting the woman and letting the man go free is reprehensible. 

3. “We took the Bible out of public schools. Now we're having weekly shootings. We had the 60s sexual revolution and now people are dying from aids.”What benefits do you think the 60s' sexual revolution has given us?

I think the Sixties more broadly gave us the idea that you didn't have to be someone you didn't want to be- not every woman has to be, or wants to be, a housewife. Sexually speaking, I think the notion that women can have sex for pleasure is a good thing, but both sexes need to take sex more seriously. 
4. “The Bible says that lust in your heart in committing adultery.”Do you think having a sexual fantasy when you're married or part of a couple is wrong?

If having fantasies is wrong, I don't want to be right. It's normal and natural. The Bible also says that menstruating women are unclean. 
5. On co-ed dorms: “What's next? Orgy rooms? Menage-trois rooms? Coedness is like a radical agenda forced on college students.”Have you ever been asked to participate in other than a one on one sexual experience?

Whenever I read something like this, I think that I must have just run with a dull crowd. 
No, never. 
6. “Creationism, in essence, is believing that the world began as the Bible in Genesis says, that God created the earth in six days, six 24 hour periods. And there is just as much, if not more, evidence supporting that.”What is your favorite dinosaur? Why?

This is a good contender for Question #1, as the most foolish statement I have ever read. 
I have always been fond of Triceratops and Brontosaurus. 
7. “I dabbled in witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I'm not making this stuff up."What's the strangest thing that you “dabbled” in?

Dungeons and Dragons, I guess. Tabletop baseball, too-except I've been "dabbling" in that for more than 20 years. 
8. "I am not a clone of Sarah Palin. I have my own thoughts."How different is Sarah Palin's political agenda from your own?

I'm not entirely sure what Ms. Palin believes in, truth be told-she keeps saying one thing and doing something else. But, knowing nothing about an issue, if Ms. Palin favors A, I am pretty certainly going to be leaning towards B. 
9. "American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains."What animal would you like your brain cross breed with?

A Siberian Husky. They have always fascinated me. 
10. "[H]omosexuals [are] getting away with nudity! They're getting away with lasciviousness! They're getting away with perversion!"Have nude homosexuals ever interfered with your day?

Oh, constantly. 

No, of course not. What a homosexual does or doesn't do is of absolutely no business of mine. 

Accessories After The Fact

I have always been more of a baseball and basketball fan than a football fan. Even so, I still follow football pretty closely, playing fantasy and all that jazz. Much ink has been spilled, and electrons spent, on the series of vicious hits dealt out this weekend during the NFL games.

Two of the more devastating were the ones on Eagle DeSean Jackson and Raven Todd Heap, as shown here:

The Jackson hit:

The Heap hit:

The argument seems to go in a circle-it's a game predicated on violence, that at the same time punishes its employees when they exert TOO MUCH violence. With the speed and skill of today's athletes, it seems impossible to ask a player like Meriwether or Robinson to notice, within fractions of a second, that the pass that was thrown is no longer playable, and thus they must pull back and not exert themselves. And at the same time, if Jackson or Heap catches the ball, it seems that almost any violence is acceptable, since, of course, any other action endangers the team's chances of winning.

I don't know how to solve this-how do you legislate split second decisions like this? And how do you support a sport, a for profit enterprise, which thrives on the systematic crippling of its employees?

Monday, October 18, 2010

The yearly ritual: Once more, from the top...

"Yesterday it was my birthday/
I hung one more year on the line/
I should be depressed/
My life's a mess/
But I'm having a good time-"

Paul Simon, "Have A Good Time"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Speed The Meme

Over at Sunday Stealing, there are always questions to answer for your amusement. And since you folks just can't get enough of me, here are some answers. 

26. Do you like someone?

I had better. 
27. The last song you listened to?

Metallica, "The Ecstasy Of Gold"

28. What time of day were you born?

I don't know. I was very young at the time. 
29. What’s your favorite number?

24. It was my favorite baseball player's number, plus when I was in fifth grade, we all got numbers, and mine was 24. (The numbers, as I recall, were used to determine little privileges like who got to clap erasers, stuff like that, or to divide the class into teams for spelling bees.)

30. Where did you live in 1987?

Suburban Massachusetts. 
31. Are you jealous of anyone?

Anyone who seems to be handling things better than me-which means everybody. 
32. Is anyone jealous of you?

I can't imagine how or why.
33. Where were you when 9/11 happened?

At the doctor. I was in the parking lot of a grocery store when the second plane hit. 
34. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?

Conclude I probably didn't need that item anyway.
35. Do you consider yourself kind?

Yes. Kind of strange.  
36. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be?

Probably my upper arm. 
37. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be?

Spanish would be useful, but I have always enjoyed French. 
38. Would you move for the person you loved?

I did. 
39. Are you touchy feely?

I guess so. What does that mean, exactly?
40. What’s your life motto?

"You pay for your satisfaction/Somewhere along the line-" (Billy Joel, "Somewhere Along The Line")

41. Name three things that you have on you at all times?

Wallet, keys, phone
42. What’s your favourite town/city?

"Oh, I love that dirty water/Oh, Boston you're my home-"

43. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?

A toll to go across the Burlington-Bristol Bridge.

44. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?

I wrote one yesterday and mailed it this morning. 

45. Can you change the oil on a car?

If I have $24.95, I can. By myself? No.
46. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?

That she's getting married. 
47. How far back do you know about your ancestry?

I have seen a family tree that traces ancestry back to a privateer during the Revolutionary War. I only personally know back to my grandparents. 

48. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?

It might be, I'm ashamed to say, my sister in law's wedding. 
49. Does anything hurt on your body right now?

My abs hurt. I did EA Sports Active yesterday, and all that stretching did a number on me. Plus my toe, which the foot doctor operated on on Friday, hurts as well. 
50. Have you been burned by love?

Hasn't everyone?