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Sunday, October 2, 2022

D

 ("One Year Old Offered Sixty Million to Sign")

Once upon a time there was the six million dollar man. Now a baby commands ten times this price.

He does not yet even stand for more than a few blinks of an eye on his own two feet. He still requires naps in both morning and afternoon. And his entire vocabulary consists of "momma" and a sound that vaguely resembles "moo". But there is something about him that brings  hordes to his door, begging for an audience.

His dad first noticed it when his son was but a few days past his first half birthday. "Once he sat up on his own he became obsessed with playing ball. Rolling it gently to him initially. Then within weeks at almost full speed. He could go to his left or right. Even if he went from sitting to falling over, he could right himself and still throw out the imaginary runner."

The arm. There is video of him at nine months crying for his bottle (sorry, wrong video). There is video of him at nine months playing catch (from a sitting position of course) with his dad from twenty feet. At ten months from fifty. And on his first birthday from a hundred and twenty five.

Rumors abounded. But when someone who attended the birthday bash had his own film not only of the cake being all over virtually every inch of the face and hair of the center of attention, but of his unleashing a laser to his dad from one end of the yard to the other, life in this otherwise normal household became anything but.

By the next morning at 8 AM, Scott Boras had been in contact. By 1 PM he was at their front door, unannounced and uninvited. And from there it has only become evermore unrelenting.

Offers for his picture on a Wheaties box. Requests to appear on late night TV (don't they know about bedtime?). From morning until he cuddled with his stuffies at night. Without pause. And then, last week, the unsolicited offer from the Yankees arrived.

Sixty million signing bonus. Guaranteed payment of his educational costs (they hope to have him play at the alma mater of their new center fielder). A permanent suite for his family at the Stadium. Aaron Judge to babysit every other Saturday night, without charge, during the off season. And best of all, a new stuffy of his choosing each week until his parents tell him he is too old for such things.

This is more than he can comprehend. No, not the terms of the deal. Just, literally, all the big words.

For the moment at least, no offers have been accepted. "We just want his life to be like that of any other child of his age." (at least those who can't throw a baseball like a major leaguer, while seated) 

Meanwhile, Scott Boras is still calling every day. And showing up on Sundays. With a stuffy in one hand.  And a contract in the other.

 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Say It Ain't So Joe

 ("The Supreme Court Is Broken. Where's Biden?")

He has never been a bully and the bully pulpit is an ill fit for Joe Biden.

While the Supreme Court has been battered and bruised by the  2016 non-appointment of Merrick Garland and the in your face installation of Amy Coney Barrett four years later, by the pretzel twisting construction of the Second Amendment in Bruen and the refusal to adhere to judicial  precedent in Dobbs, President Biden will not rail at ills he cannot fix.

The inherent problems with the structure of the Supreme Court, of placing such immense power in 9 men or women, not elected, not subject to any true oversight, not limited in the length of their tenure, are myriad and unrelenting.

But Joe Biden, unlike his predecessor is a pragmatist. Joe Biden, unlike his predecessor, does not rant just to hear the sound of his own voice. Joe Biden attacks issues he has a fighting chance to win.

Say it ain't so Joe. 

Not on this one. Not now, and sadly, likely never.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

About Last Night

 Our country is weighed heavy with issues from climate change to gun control, immigration to abortion, Russia to China, voting rights to the makeup of the Supreme Court, to a seemingly endless array of politicians and media personalities who leave us shaking our heads in distress and wondering how it ever got this bad. And then there is Aaron Judge.

His name starts with not one but two A's because he is that good. He is the all-American boy, adopted at two days old, married to his high school sweetheart, a loving son, and by the way, a larger than life star in his chosen undertaking.

If sports is intended as a distraction from the burdens we all carry with us, then Mr. Judge in 2022 is the perfect serum, the antidote to what ails. 

Last night, after a seeming eternity, he nudged past Babe and sidled up to Roger. Almost a century ago the Great Bambino was the one who dwarfed all others, in the size of his personality as well as in the arc of his game and his homers. Today there is another giant wandering the streets of the Big Apple. 

With his speak softly but carry a big stick aura, we have a humble hero, a present day echo of Lou Gehrig, who now gives us ample reason to All Rise.

The world's dilemmas will still be there to greet us when we awake in the morrow, but at least for today, there is double A.

Thank you Aaron. Just please don't keep us waiting so long for 62.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Speaking in Exclamation Points

 ("O'Rourke  Condemns Dehumanizing Stunts")

If you haven't noticed, Republicans speak in exclamation points. From the governors of Texas and Florida to the former President, messaging does not come in nuance or subtle distinction. It appears in existential threats, in hyperbole and dire forecasts. In Fox News and Alex Jones. The intention is to capture your attention, no matter the means to the end.

And while Beto O'Rourke hopes that the shenanigans of Greg Abbott will prove insufficient defense against the reality of the Dobbs decision, we well know how easily the public eye is diverted (see James Comey and Hillary Clinton's emails).

Beto O'Rourke, fully comprehends the extreme difficulty of scoring political points as a Democrat in Texas. See his AR-15 declaration and the political poo this caused there - or his unsuccessful effort to unseat a master of the ludicrous, Mr. Green Eggs and Ham himself. Merely railing against the moral bankruptcy of a Republican opponent is not a winning strategy in the Lone Star State.

Without his own exclamation point, I fear this could well be Mr. O'Rourke's Alamo.

I wonder what Mr. Comey is up to these days. 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Why Him?

 ("What We Will Miss Most About Roger Federer")

Why him? 

Because those who play individual sports stand without cover before us. Greatness,  or something less, on full display.

Week after week and year after year we attached to Tiger Woods. His triumphs visceral. His struggles engrossing. His resurrection, personal and professional, almost beyond adequate description.  

Roger Federer suffered losses with as much emotion and dignity as he celebrated his wins. For two decades we were drawn to his heart nearly as much as we were to his game. He gave us everything he possessed. We gave him unfettered love in response.

In the 21st century, these two men have captured our attention in ways that others, whose accomplishments take place as part of a team have not, cannot. 

Rafa and Novak had the great fortune, and misfortune, to play alongside Roger. They will forever be but in his shadow, no matter what the numbers say. There can only be one number one, one to whom we have attached in ways that go far beyond what the record book reports.

As we watch Roger Federer's tearful exit from the stage, those are our tears he wipes away from his cheeks. He stood alone on the court. He leaves with millions walking beside him.

Friday, September 23, 2022

You Can't Make This Stuff Up.... Unless, of course.....

 ("Trump Claims He Declassified Documents. Why Don't His Lawyers Say So In Court?")

Richard Nixon when asked if a President could do something illegal, responded: "Well, when the President does it, that means it is not illegal."

Donald Trump just did him one better.

Jimmy Carter admitted to committing adultery in his heart many times, a sin for which God forgave him.

Maybe Mr. Trump would consider that one an asterisk on his presidential thought equals deed credo.

When even his lawyers can't get up the nerve to repeat the "I declassified them in my mind" fiction, you know 45 has gone a few bridges too far.

You can't make this stuff up. Unless, of course, you are Donald Trump.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

60

 Aaron Judge does not hit baseballs for a living. He destroys them. And so, in game 147 of a season that has become spine chillingly extraordinary, he has sidled up to Babe and is staring Roger square in the history books. He is now producing home runs at a clip that makes it seem they are coming off an assembly line.


No No Nanette brought us George Herman Ruth. The Yankees "feeder" team, Kansas City, handed over Roger Eugene Maris. God, or at least pinstripe magic, delivered Aaron James Judge, bigger than a baseball player was supposed to be and better this season than even our wildest imaginations would have allowed.

 Maris hit 61 in '61. 61 years ago.  This is what destiny looks like. Only larger.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

The Perfect Shot

There were hundreds of them. All staring at the same point in the distance. All waiting for nothing more than darkness. To show them what they could not see.

Some were famous. Most never would be. But they were all there hoping to capture a moment of magic.

It was the night of a full moon. The harvest moon. The orange moon. There was some app that told them this was where they should be. 

My son was meant to be a photographer. Most days when we are together, at some point in that day, he pulls out his phone, or his camera. He sees things my eyes miss. The little details. The angles that escape my attention. The hints of light in the petals of a flower. The bug that has stopped to contemplate its place in the universe.

Often, like today, he pauses in our journey to look upon larger objects of majesty, mountains as far as the eye can imagine, streams and lakes, the colors of earth and sky. Or, the harvest moon over the Manhattan skyline.

When he suggested we drive to this point where there was nothing except the beauty of the Hudson between here and there, I anticipated a few others might be similarly inclined.

We rushed to arrive in time for him to set up, tripod and camera at the ready. When we neared our destination there were cars lined up like we had stumbled upon an all you can eat free buffet. A policeman standing guard, advising those who dared stop their vehicle where the road narrowed, to find another home.

And then I saw the sea of cameras, closely followed by those who had carried them to the perfect spot, for the perfect shot.

And what immediately struck me was that my son's lens was as a Lilliputian among an army of Brobdingnagians. The others must be able to see the freckles on the face of the moon.

They stood in large clusters, each cluster but a few yards removed from the next. Each certain that they had chosen well. Each waiting impatiently for the light to fade.

There was a haze in the sky. The effects of fires almost 3000 miles removed from here. There was concern that it would obscure, that it would subtract from the possibility of greatness. 

And then there were murmurs. My eye not nearly able to know what the quiet fuss was about. Even my son struggling to get in on this party.

In but an instant, this posse moved, almost as one, tripods and cameras in a dead run. This location now seemed slightly askew. Trying with a quiet desperation to land on the next small sliver of land where everything important in this world was in absolute alignment.

For the next 15 minutes, maybe more, all eyes were as one. Each click a chance for a tiny sliver of immortality.

These adventures with my son mean everything to me. I am addicted to the adrenaline rush he feels, as if it courses through my own veins.

When the famous photographer had packed up his equipment and headed off into the night, even I knew that the best possibilities were now past. And soon thereafter the army began to dwindle in size, as the moon rose too high in the sky, or moved into a position where reality no longer met expectation and imagination.

Next month there be a sighting of another full moon, and another group searching for the image that cracks the code. If good luck allows, my son will be the one to bag the prize that night. For me, just being by his side is all the luck I need.



It Is the Hope You Extinguish - (AN ODE TO GOVERNOR DESANTIS)

 It is the hope you extinguish

The light shining from their eyes

It is the hope you extinguish
When you parade them through the skies
It is the hope you extinguish
When you masquerade them with your lies
It is the hope you extinguish
When even the charade of decency dies


I hope you are proud of who you have become
Proud of what you have done
Proud as a father of a son
Proud as if you'd won


It is the hope you extinguish
The light shining from their eyes 
When all that remains is the whys 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Why Is He Still Here?

 ("Why Is There Still No Strategy to Defeat Donald Trump?")

Why have we not not been able to say bad riddance to Mr. Trump?

Those who are drawn to him are enamored with a different genre of writing than the ones who find him abhorrent. Fiction is their game of choice, where immigrant is spelled terrorist, where the melting glaciers are only bad for polar bears, where their man is a victim of cruel and unrelenting examination by those who refuse to accept his vision, where two plus two equals whatever he says it does and where innocent even after proven guilty is the one rule of law that exists in his universe.

Donald Trump remains because the idea of Donald Trump, not the ideas of Donald Trump under harsh light, are paramount. A heroic figure, this Don Quixote, willing to fight to the death for those who believe like him, who believe in him. Willing to march into Hell for a heavenly cause.

And that is, and will forever be, why reason and reality do not stand a chance against such an impregnable foe.