April 26, 2005

Various & Sundry

Went to Clipper’s minor league baseball game the other day and it was like a deep tissue massage. A deep bone relaxation overtook me and I could feel my lids drop anchor. The contest against the Durham Bulls had a timeless quality. The sun shown on the field in the way it does in the Wrigley Field of memory, like it did during the old Saturday Game of the Week back in the late Lou Brock Era. The stadium was built in 1927 and so has a baseball-y feel about it; sadly it's due to be torn down.

I went to the Triple A game in lieu of a Red’s game I'd planned to see. And I found not knowing who the players were was less an impediment than I thought. The sheer beauty and poetry of the diamond still works after all these years. The umpire waits until the catcher is in his squat and then lightly puts his left hand on his left shoulder to steady himself that he might call the pitch in a timeless ritualistic gesture. And so it goes, pitch after pitch, as the Bulls spray the ball all over the field. The good thing about not being emotionally invested is that you don't much care who wins...

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Read some of the delicious "Bleak House" over the weekend. I have a favorite character who makes frightening sense – a layabout who asks little of life and others. He never works but is full of the good cheer of a clear conscience. He owns nothing because there are always friends to mooch off, friends who are partially won over by his exuberance (a byproduct of his never having to work). I find myself sometimes wanting to subsidize layabouts if only because I figure somebody should get to do it, if only so the rest of us can live through them vicariously. Dickens has a hilarious paragraph about how this character asks little of life but then lists a large laundry list. For me it would go something like this:

"I ask little of the world. I am a humble sort of modest means, asking only for a patch of brilliant sky, a landscape in which to wander, a few thousand books to get lost among, a steak dinner every once in awhile, frequent vacations, a healthy supply of Guinness and Beck’s Dark, a few cigars of the Dominican variety, daily Starbucks...". Simple needs indeed.

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