Saturday, December 19, 2009


This is an Outside magazine profile of Laura and Guy Waterman. I heard about their story on the incomparably wondrous "To The Best Of Our Knowledge" ( They are a couple who were avid outdoorspeople and were living and working deep in the New England woods, writing and working on wilderness conservation. The reason why they are featured in the profile and on the show is that Guy Waterman, in early 2000, made it clear he was going to commit suicide, walked up into the mountains, and froze to death. I'm currently reading her book "Losing The Garden", about her marriage.

The stunning and somewhat noteworthy part is that Mrs. Waterman knew what he was planning to do and didn't try to stop him. Comedian Doug Stanhope tells a joke in his act about suicide being like leaving a movie halfway through-if the first half of the movie has been horrible, you really don't have any reason to believe the second half is going to be any better. Laura Waterman seems to have a similar attitude-she let her husband go because she loved him-he made sure she was taken care of, but he had grown tired and miserable at the prospect of more life, and didn't want anything else to do with it, so he left it.

This is a stunning way of thinking. It's realistic, and I can't deny the logic of it. It goes against our typical way of reasoning-in the West, we seem unable to admit that life has an end the same way it had a beginning. It's an involving story, if not a particularly cheerful one. Worth your time.

I'm not prepared to judge her, or him-that's not my job, and I can't even understand my own marriage, never mind someone else's. It's a compelling, if sad, testimony.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

As Spongebob likes to say...


This is the Imagination Prompt Generator, a little dohickey that gives you a prompt for those times when you're stumped to come up with a blog post. Now, I don't have to blog-certainly, none of you have been clamoring for my wit and wisdom, banging on my virtual door, begging me for my views on Tiger Woods, or health care reform, or reforming Tiger Woods, or the health of tiger care. But I am nothing if not stubborn-just ask my son-and I can't help but feel that I am not doing my bloggerly duty if I don't, you know, say something.

So the prompt I settled on was

"Nothing matters..."

Well, that makes me think of a couple of things. First of all, this:

Jaymz and the boyz bringing some semi-soaked noyz, 10 full years ago. It's really a beautiful little song, that I don't think gets enough credit. Kirk Hammett can really play the 'ol six string.

The second thing I think of is the late Tug McGraw, who is nowadays better known as Faith Hill's father in law. He was also a major league pitcher for a number of years, and he used to say he had a frozen ice ball theory, which he would use when stuck in a jam on the mound. He would imagine that, billions of years from now, when the Sun has gone out and the Earth was just a frozen ice ball hurtling through space, no one would care whether or not he got that particular hitter out. Which is true-many more of the people reading this will know who Faith Hill is than those who will know who Tug McGraw was, and the Earth, as of this writing, is not yet a frozen ice ball hurtling through space.

So, with the comforting notion that nothing that you, I, or anybody else will ever do will amount to anything at all, at least cosmologically speaking, I bid you adieu.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holy Moley! There's Baseball News!

Well, after an off season that began with a Hermida, a Boof, a Tug, a Marco, and another Ramon Ramirez (because every team should have a spare), the Red Sox went Full On Kevin's Mom yesterday, inking former Angel John Lackey for the starting rotation and former Brewer Mike Cameron for the outfield spot soon to be vacated by Everyone's Formerly Favorite Canadian, Jason Bay.

Well now.

There are questions left to be answered, still-the Mike Lowell deal to Texas is being held up because the American Hero has health issues (do tell!), and, to paraphrase Casey Stengel, if you don't have a shortstop, you're going to give up a lot of singles to left field. The informed speculation (read: wild a$$ed guessing) is that Cowboy Clay Buchholz will be dealt away, probably for San Diego's young heartthrob Adrian Gonzalez. But all in all, a busy day for the Carmine Hose.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

100 Words On Hope

This is Velvet Verbosity's 100 Words Challenge-write a post of exactly one hundred words centered on a given topic. This week's challenge is "Hope". The Blog Nosh Magazine Loads of Hope carnival is located here , hoping to bring attention and buzz towards Tide's "Loads of Hope" program, which is bringing a mobile laundromat to Americans affected by disasters.

Here's my entry.

"We chose him. He told us to hope. He told us he was hope.

We chose him, people still strive, and suffer, and get sick, and die.

We chose him, people still cry, rage, scream and shout.

We chose him, people still lie, cheat, and steal.

We chose him. He can't fix it all. Maybe no one can.

People still reach out, hold hands, extend words of comfort.

People still hug, and kiss, and hold, and wonder at the sky.

People still love, and marry, and hold new babies.

We chose him, and we go on, and there is hope."

(NSFW) Rick Astley with narration

A very clever version of the Rick Astley video for "Never Gonna Give You Up", with a narration of the video's activities. Very funny, very NSFW.

Teach Your Children Well

The irrepressible Dan Carlin ( has another great Hardcore History program this week, this time about the history of children and how their role in society has changed throughout history. He makes several interesting points, one of which is: if we are more aware of child abuse than we ever have been (which seems inarguable), why is there still child abuse? Wouldn't we have eliminated something so counter to the health of our species?

You don't need to know anything about history to be aware of the fact that, until shockingly recently, utterly appalling treatment of children (and women, and non white people, too) was completely acceptable behavior. Carlin makes note of these things, and tries to explore some of the reasons why this could be-how could people who came up with so many great ideas (democracy, Hamlet, the printing press) be so daft and stupid in other areas? And you have to agree that child abuse is damaging to the long term health of the adult-and yet, you would think we would see these effects throughout history, wouldn't we? Or do we, and we just can't see it?

Tons of interesting ideas to toss around, especially when you're ignoring Christmas shopping you have to do like I am. Carlin concludes by echoing a thought I have quoted here before. I orginally heard it from baseball historian Bill James-look kindly upon the mistakes of the past, in the hope that future generations will look kindly on yours.

There's another analogy from baseball that fits here. (I, unlike your ordinary mortal blogger, can link everything to baseball.) It is often asked in baseball circles why it is that pitchers could throw 500 or 600 innings per season in baseball's prehistoric era, and even 300 innings in relatively modern times, while the 2009 league leader pitched 233 innings, widely considered to be the maximum for a modern hurler. People with modern training methods and nutrition should be able to exceed the limits of the past, right?

The answer is a complicated one-it is certainly harder to get a modern hitter out, and modern baseball philosophy has changed as well, along with a dozen other factors-but the one I am thinking of is the fact that the 300 inning pitcher of 1969 (league leader Gaylord Perry with 325) is at the summit of a selection bias-the ones who were able to pitch that much were able to survive shoulder and knee and back and elbow problems. There were numerous pitchers who could pitch that well for 9 innings, or 90, but who were injured and never heard from again.

Similarly, the appalling losses of women in childbirth and children themselves, both to infanticide and simple death and disease, create a world where you have to abuse your children-you can't afford to get too attached to them, because they may be gone. The society we have now was somehow built on the survivors of all those dozens of risks that befell women and infants-a horrific, macabre, real life version of Survivor. (Carlin makes this point well. Spider Robinson has a story about this, too, which I wish I had handy, about a woman who is immortal, but has had to follow the roles of women throughout history-burying dozens of children and spouses as the years go by.)

Cheerful, ain't I, on this rainy, gray Sunday?

Anyway, if you're a pod person, go download Dan. He's worth your time.