Last night I sat through a full nine innings of Single-A minor league baseball. Once the sugar high of Cracker Jacks and funnel cake wears off, it can get pretty old, if you plan on actually watching the game. There’s missed balls, botched plays, and everything else that reminds you why they call it the minor league instead of, say, the majors. But on a positive note, three hours and four pretzels later, I can definitively say that not everyone in professional baseball takes drugs. That’s probably news after this week, when major league baseball suspended Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun for the rest of the year without pay for his involvement with the Miami clinic Biogenesis, who apparently gave him enough supply to fill a Duane Reade. And I’m talking about one of the big ones down in the city, where they sell groceries and lawn furniture.
According to President Obama “Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago.” Initially my reaction to his remark is he is playing to his constituents. After all, why not take advantage of the rabble rousing as he has done before. But my acquiescence quickly turned to anger.
I recently attended a meeting of former Peace Corps volunteers who had served in Iran. We shared the fundamental perspective that Iran should be an ally, not an enemy, and that the current standoff is the result of government mistakes on both sides.
The year was 1936 and this now grizzled and sometimes forgetful WWII Veteran sat in the front seat of the family Chevrolet with his father; a good spot from which a fourteen-year-old could observe and prep for that future day, when he might become a responsible driver. We had just pulled up to the tanks, in front of the local gas station and the proprietor came out to greet us, the ever-present chamois in hand. “What’ll it be, Al,” he asked, to which my Dad replied: “The usual; fill’er up, John.” To which John responded, as follows: wiped both the rear window and windshield; checked the tires, then opened the hood to check both water and oil. When all of these were done, he filled the gas tank.
Last week some of the economic benefits of the federal health care reform law became evident. The Cuomo Administration released its estimates on the costs of health insurance for those who must pay for coverage – people who don’t get health insurance from the government or their employer. Virtually all New Yorkers will have to have health coverage by January 1, 2014.
These days, there seems to be an endless flow of contemporary action/sci-fi adventures featuring evil forces that are determined to destroy humankind. The latest of the lot is PACIFIC RIM, and it involves what happens when the world-- the entire world-- must unite to thwart some colossal, murderous monsters of the Godzilla variety.
A few years ago, it was unusual to come across a film made for the post-sixty-year-olds. Even among art house cinema films, the focus was pretty much on the thirty-somethings. Then, in 1999, Tea with Mussolini and its aging cast of Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith received art house distribution and made some money. Five years later, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith reteamed for Ladies in Lavender which also made a profit.
A few months ago as we drove to an appointment, one of my daughters and I bonded around the British rock band, Led Zeppelin's 1971 classic, "Stairway To Heaven." With some uninterrupted time and the windows rolled up tightly in the car, we let loose. Every word, melody change, and voice inflection of lead singer Robert Plant's that we could remember, we imitated. We even tried to imitate those famous instrumentals that build the song up in a crescendo from a quiet renaissance style recorder solo to a battle of angsting, angry guitars and screaming lyrics. Finally, we put our voices together to echo Plant's heartrending acapella solo: "And she's buying a stairway...to heaven."
If 40 is the new 30, then American sprinter Tyson Gay has a long decade ahead of him. Because at 30, he’s suddenly looking quite old, especially compared to the emergent track stars Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake of Jamaica, who at 26 and 23 make Gay look like at parent at a Taylor Swift show. Gay has certainly aged years in the past several days, when it was revealed that he tested positive for a banned performance enhancing substance. That has forced him to withdraw from next month’s world championships in Moscow, where he would have but faint hopes of topping a field that has since passed him by.