Saturday, April 05, 2014

Friday, April 04, 2014

A To Z Challenge, Day Four: Depression

Depression isn't the blues.

It isn't glamorous, or dramatic, or artistic.

It isn't disappointment, or being sad.

Depression is a disease, a horrible, grasping thing that changes people, destroys lives, and kills people as dead as Julius Caesar and Ty Cobb.

If you're depressed, get help. Please. Before it's too late.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

A To Z Challenge, Day Three: Cancer

Like my favorite podcast host Matthew Berry, I, and This Blog, have always opposed cancer. Among the shocks that flesh is heir to, the big C has never been a big worry for me. Not because it isn't serious, but because I always assumed something else would get me first. (Like the late Mickey Mantle once remarked, if I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.)

Cancer is an unusual disease, as such things go- it's not an organ or system failure, like diabetes or MS or heart disease. It's not (well, not entirely, at least not as far as we know) an invasion from outside. It's a cell's own machinery gone haywire, controls broken or missing, normal functions gone crazy. It's a ninja disease, sneaking in and wreaking havoc, and the one sure risk factor we know of is being alive.

Cancer has now touched my family, making me think about it in a way I never have before. (Obviously, I've thought about it before. But i can only think of so many things, so some (koalas, the balance of payments, forechecking) get shoved to the back burner.) It is now real for me, like it has been for so very many others, and I feel an awful kinship now that I did not ask for and would like to give back.

(Boring technical note: as far as I know, I have legally, morally, and ethically posted each and every day (all three of them.) I cannot understand why Blogger seems to think I posted three times on March 30th. I did not. I'll try to obey whatever witchcraft Blogger wishes in the future.)

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A To Z Challenge, Day Two: Baseball

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again."
-James Earl Jones as author Terence Mann in the film "Field of Dreams".

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

A To Z Challenge, Day One: America

(This post is part of the A To Z Challenge 2014.)

I'm going through one of those phases I go through. Suddenly I can't get enough of the Revolutionary War and the Founders, and I'm tearing through books like I'm in college again, even listening to Joanne Freeman's Yale course via ITunes U, burning through Mike Duncan's marvelous podcast Revolutions, and starting through the Gordon Wood books on Audible. This, like any fever, will probably abate in time, and I will become obsessed with something else. 'Twas ever thus.

I'm not someone who is regularly overcome with patriotic feeling. It always seems false and phony and holier than thou to me. (I don't think less of you if you have those feelings. I'm just saying that I don't.) I instinctively distrust whenever a feeling is assumed to be universal, because I don't think anything ever is.
The more I learn and relearn about this period (I'm quite forgetful), I am struck by a simultaneous awe for what occurred against tremendous odds, and a sense of shame at how much was left out, and how very imperfect they all were, and how many Americans still struggle to this day for their "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

Baseball historian Bill James, talking about another systemic injustice, the color bar in Major League Baseball, once pointed out that we should look kindly upon the mistakes of the past in the hopes that future generations look kindly upon our own. The more I learn about the world, the more convinced I am that I don't know anything about anything, and everything is more complicated than I thought it was.
I still hate the Yankees, though.