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


 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.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Game. Set. Match.

 (" Roger Federer Says He Will Retire from Tennis")

He was like Cary Grant with a racquet in his hand. An elegance to his game and to his demeanor.

Never a hair, a word or a shot that appeared out of place. He made all the hard work seem not so hard after all.

20 majors doesn't begin to tell the entire story of Roger Federer. He was an ambassador for his sport, with a dignity in his bearing, giving everyone who watched him or competed against him the full measure of his effort and respect.

He was part of a three headed monster, along with Nadal and Djokovic, who swallowed up a generation of accolades. Each with his surface of preference, the grass of Wimbledon seeming to be greenest when Roger trod upon it.

There is question as to which among them can lay claim to the title of G.O.A.T. But there can be little doubt that the game of tennis itself is far better for having been able to count Roger Federer among its ranks for nearly the last quarter of a century.

 It has been an honor and a privilege to bear witness to a quality man bringing so many special qualities to his chosen field of endeavor.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

A Noun. A Verb. And Rudy Guiliani

 ("Rudy Guiliani Is Alone")

In 2001 the country was desperate for a stabilizing force wrapped in red, white and blue. From the smoldering embers, out of a plume of smoke, emerged a walking, talking symbol of America's enduring strength. But Rudy Guiliani was just a mirage, a hero in the moment, of the moment.

Several years later, I went to a series of political discussions in New York City. One of the participants was the former Mayor. My most vivid recollection was how the audience almost snickered at his thoughts. Even then he had become a caricature, an embarrassing display of what many among us there perceived as a bewildering look at a man going off the rails. Clinging to an importance that was rapidly slipping through his fingers.

He has long since become the Emperor with no clothes. And what remains is but a small man, engulfed by his insatiable desire to remain relevant, to feel once more as he did when, for a terrible moment, he was the calm in the eye of the storm.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

People in Glass Houses

 ("With Malice Toward Quite a Few")

What is it they say about people in glass houses?

Democrats have been turning the other cheek for decades. Leaving the Republicans free to fabricate and aggravate, to create animosity as the centerpiece of their platform. Division and dissension their calling cards.

National unity is a fiction long since dissolved. Joe Biden has spent a lifetime reaching across the aisle trying to find compromise where none was evident. But even he has his limits and two years of aggravation, of countering lies and biting his tongue, while trying to bring this country through a pandemic and a war in Ukraine that has wreaked havoc across the globe, have given him ample cause to lash out at those who do little to make America better, stronger and more moral.

I am sorry if Mr. Stephens feels aggrieved by having to face the truth of the failures of a large portion of this nation. But our wake up call is long overdue. And leaving the messaging, and the "facts" to the Republicans is no longer an acceptable option. 

Monday, September 5, 2022

The 60 Day Unwritten Rule and the Definition of Irony

 ("As midterms near, election rule raises dilemma for Trump inquiries")

"Unwritten rules" protecting a person who never found a rule he couldn't break. Quick, get out the definition of irony.

Remember James Comey and the breaking news 11 days before the 2016 election that something involving Anthony Weiner maybe, kind of, didn't exactly clear Hillary Clinton from precisely what wrong doing we weren't certain? And then Mr. Trump played this nothing burger into 4 years of Hell in America.

So, please excuse me if I don't have a great deal of sympathy for the party that continues to treat Mr. Trump with a respect he in no shape or form deserves. And I cannot find just cause to halt an investigation on a person NOT RUNNING for office in 2022 just because it could possibly, maybe have an impact on races involving other people not named Trump.

If that is the standard we establish, then we have now trumped (pardon the intention here) the "last year of the presidency, no Merrick Garland Supreme Court nomination rule"(one which the Republicans demonstrated in 2020, thank you Amy Coney Barrett, only applies to Democrats). And while we're at it, why don't we just say we can never investigate Donald Trump because he might one day decide he wants to see how close he can come to destroying our democracy and, well, we don't want to look like we are putting our finger on the scale.

And, oh by the way, this 60 day unwritten rule decision is Merrick Garland's to make? Now I have to look up the definition of irony on steroids.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Of Haystacks Calhoun and Tag Teams

 It was 3 against 1. The 3 of us never stood a chance.

The last 4 days, my son, wife and I were privileged to be in charge of the care of a soon to be 4 year old. Well, in charge is not really an accurate term. More like holding on for dear life.

Parenting, or in this case, uncleing and grandparenting is definitely not for the weak of heart or mind. There is good reason to leave this responsibility to the people who first began the sequence of events leading to this moment.

I used to watch tag team wrestling when I was growing up. You know, one person getting the poo kicked out of him or her, crawling to the edge of the mat and, with the last possible ounce of life remaining, barely be in fingertip contact with their partner who then rushes to the rescue. That, in essence, is what a date with a little being of endless energy is like. Except harder.

Did you ever fake like you have to go to the bathroom just to try to catch your breath? But has the pitter patter of little feet followed almost immediately in your path and the door swung open before you have even taken up residence in your point of refuge?

I absolutely adore my granddaughter. She is all the superlatives you can gather up and put on a platter. Every day with her is sunshine. But even the sun has to rest, which is why it invented clouds and catnaps.

Don't get me wrong. She can entertain herself for long stretches, singing songs, playing with her toys, coloring, hopscotching. I am getting tired just writing this list. But even in her solitary times, the 3 of us were on call, at the ready, much like "Chase is on the case." Next activity but the next thought away.

It is like running a marathon, taking a sip of water and heading back out for another 26 miles 185 yards. While her mind and body are growing by the minute, mine are shrinking. Over the last few days I have been swimming more than I have since I was in summer camp, been on several play dates, scurried around more than one playground, been wholly unable to locate the hider in hide and seek, biked, hiked, drawn my letters and numbers, made several beautiful colored drawings for my son, daughter or son in law, learned my standing long jump is still pretty darn good, watched cows, eaten plenty of pizza and ice cream (at least we have identical taste in food), been entertained by Bluey (if you have not yet been introduced to her, run directly to Disney Plus immediately), read a lot of bedtime stories and generally been hugged and kissed a bunch. Which is absolutely the only thing I ever need to do all this and whatever else is asked of me, again and again, for as long as she allows.

Yesterday afternoon, our daughter arrived. Along with the 1 year old version of the soon to be 4 year old. The 1 year old making what we did look like child's play as he tried to set a land speed record for crawling and finding some way to wreak temporary  havoc.

How did my wife and I ever survive bringing up 2 young children? And how will our daughter ever remain intact until the cavalry, in the form of her husband, arrives later today to be her tag team partner?

If memory serves, Haystacks Calhoun weighed about 600 pounds and, maybe only by way of apocryphal recollection, sometimes fought alone against a tag team duo of highly skilled opponents in the ring. 

I only know for certain he never would have stood a chance in hell against my grandkids.