Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sick Again

So, not long after that last post, your Humble Correspondent, being susceptible to the thousand shocks that flesh is heir to, checked himself into Hotel Illness. (By The Way, the over/under for Tortured Music And/Or Literary References In This Blog Post is currently 3.5. I advise you take the over.)

Turns out I was developing a leg infection, which makes me wonder where exactly it is my legs have been that cause them to come down with all these infections. I'm a fairly fastidious person, personal cleanliness wise, and yet my legs, apparently, are out doing unspeakable things without me. Bad form, legs.

So after approximately 36 hours of feverish delirium, I am well enough to pretend to be alive, and appear to be able to function- well enough to go back to work, anyway. I am going to live, it seems-and whether or not that is a good thing I will leave, as the hoity toity math books put it, as an exercise for the reader.

A Few Things I Noticed Since I've Been On The Moon:


When I called the Person In Charge Of Such Things to tell them I couldn't work yesterday, the reply I got was that "it was a good thing" I "called early enough."

Uh, what?

Listen, I'm calling you because I can't go to work. Not because I don't feel like it, not because it would be uncomfortable for me to do so. Not because I don't feel well. I WAS CALLING BECAUSE I COULDN'T DO MY JOB. PERIOD. At the moment I called, I probably could have spelled my name, if you spotted me two letters. Higher thought was pretty much out the proverbial window. I wouldn't have been any more able to work if I had called you later, or even not at all. I'm very sorry to have inconvenienced you with my body's frailty, but it happens. If I call out sick, it's because I'm unable to function enough to perform competently. That's it.

As I like to joke to coworkers, if I called in sick every time I didn't feel well, you'd never see me again-I haven't felt well in more than 20 years.

Hey, American Business? If you're wondering why you keep getting reports of bad service from your customers, why don't you start treating your employees more like human beings and less like pack mules with a better evolved central nervous system?


I spent the day yesterday in bed watching Ken Burns' "Baseball", which I have been buying disc by disc from the Baseball Hall of Fame, because I'm stupid. (I'm paying $25 per disc, and I've seen all 9 on sale for $100 or so. Once again, if you had any doubt from reading this blog, relieve yourself of that doubt right now- I'm stupid.) I only stopped when there was, y'know, baseball on-I then watched the Naughty Fish climb back into their series by beating the Walker Texas Rangers, and then the Twinkies climb out of theirs by being dominated by the MFYs. (If you need to know what that stands for at this point, I'm not sure what to tell you. It's the nickname for one of the two sides of the Civil War, preceded by an act which Freud alleged was a subconscious motivation for men.)

Now, I say "watched", using the term loosely. I was feverish, and prone to dropping off to sleep at various points. But I was conscious for probably 60-70% of it.

I have seen bits of it, the way I usually catch such things-stumbling into it on PBS, or when MLB Network plays it during the offseason. But I haven't exposed myself to so much of it all at once as I did yesterday.

Oh my goodness gracious, it's good.

If you're a baseball fan (like I am), and you haven't watched it (like I hadn't), you have missed something special (like I had).


Yesterday, as @ebertchicago so calmly noted on his Twitter feed, "John Lennon should have been 70."

Anyone who reads as much history, speculative history, and science fiction as I do, knows that playing "What If?" is a fool's errand.

But I've always been a fan of fool's errands.

One of the more tantalizing ones is told very well in one of Spider Robinson's later Callahan's books. (I've seen it elsewhere, but whether it is true or not only one living person knows for sure. Call it a rumor based in fact. Or something.) At one point in the mid to late 1970s, a businessman offered the Beatles $1 million to get back together. (It may have been $1 million each, I don't know. I suspect it would have had to be to get them to do it-all four were pretty wealthy, I suspect, at that point. I don't know, but it really doesn't matter.) The appeal made news, of course-and, as a joke, the producer of the fledgling Saturday Night Live show, Lorne Michaels, went on SNL one night offering the Beatles $20, during the show, to reunite. The kicker is that, again, according to the story, Paul McCartney was visiting John Lennon in his apartment at the Dakota in New York City, and they are watching the show together. Now, the show is, of course, live-and it is performed and recorded in New York City-a short cab ride away. So the two Beatles look at one another and shrug and figure, as a lark, they would go down to the studio and take Michaels' offer. So they call a cab. The cab never comes, or they change their mind, and nothing happens.

The way Robinson tells it, of course, you picture the two Beatles jamming with the SNL band (it would be ragged and sloppy, but I suspect you could step into any recording session in the world in 1975 and ask the musicians to play "I Saw Her Standing There", and they'd probably be able to do it without too much trouble), falling back in love with their music, then either touring, maybe (how big would THAT have been) or going back to record at Abbey Road together, and maybe, just maybe, when the troubled loner with the "Catcher in the Rye" paperback and the Charter Arms revolver shows up that night in December 1980: the key point in this alternate universe-Lennon isn't there.

Of course, Lennon may not have done any of that. Maybe he and McCartney would have quarrelled again right after SNL, and history plays out as it did anyway. He could have become a more popular Bob Dylan or Neil Young, if he had lived, living off of past glories, but still pushing forward, offending some fans while making some new ones. Perhaps his years of drug abuse and drinking would have caught up to him in the end, or perhaps he would have simply expired from cancer or some other more natural cause like George Harrison, not seeing 70 in any case.

We're left, in the end, with history as it is. We're left with this, and other suggestions of what might have been. We're left with sons without fathers, a wife without a husband, and a world without an artist.

That sucks.

Happy birthday, John, wherever you are.


Today (in my hemisphere, which is, truth be told, really the better hemisphere), 10/10/10, is Binary Answer Day. The Answer To The Ultimate Question To Life, The Universe, and Everything, as all Douglas Adams fans know, is 42. And 42, expressed in binary, the language that computers speak, is 101010.

That is so awesome I can't even describe it.



  1. Hope you get better.

    Callahan's? Cool...

    $25 for a DVD of something that was government-funded is way too high. $5 per disc would be more than enough to cover the media, shipping, handling. PBS should have it for free on its web site. They'd do well to follow the example of NPR, another government media operation, which offers its stuff for free.

  2. Thank you. I'm better-not well, but functional.

    BIG Callahan's geek here. Used to be on the alt.callahan newsgroup way back in the early 1990s, logging on at my father's office.

    I didn't buy it from PBS-I am a member of the Baseball Hall Of Fame Supporters-and they have a Video Of The Month Club (or words to that effect.) I believe the Hall gets a cut of the proceeds from the sale of the discs, which is part of the reason why they are so high.

    They are repackaged-not in the Ken Burns packaging. I think Burns must have licensed them to the Hall for sale as a fundraiser. (BTW, Major League Baseball endorses the Hall, but doesn't pay for it. It's a private organization.)

    I was just pointing out the lunacy of me buying something in that manner-somehow, in my head, $25 every few weeks is fine, whereas $100 or $125 all at once is unacceptable-that's why I never bought them as a box set. The math doesn't add up.

    That being said, Ken Burns is a private individual-he makes his films to earn his living. The fact that he sold them to PBS doesn't change anything about them.

    And, hauling the dead horse out of the barn once again, public broadcasting is a rounding error, federal governmentally speaking-and public funding is 10% of their budget. They are publicly funded the way I own part of the Grand Canyon because I pay income tax.

    I really do wish they would just zero out the public money so that conservatives will have one less rock to throw at government.


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