Friday, September 19, 2014

Hester is Bester

A few weeks ago I went to a dinner party where the guest of honor showed up radiant with her handsome new husband.  The last time I saw her she was pale and quiet as she suffered through a humiliating divorce.  This time, there were cheers all around.

I thought of her this morning as I read that Devin Hester broke the NFL record for touchdown returns. Alas, Hestor danced his way into the history books for the Atlanta Falcons, not the Bears.  As a "dummy" fan who relies on the big play to keep me interested, Devin was my guy.

So, BOO on the Bears for letting him go.  And, cheers for him.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Powerful Stuff

It's not too often that we get to watch the powerful squirm.  The powerful operate out of the limelight.  Not in elevators.  Not where there are cameras.  And certainly, not where they are held to account by the rest of us.

Doesn't this whole Ray Rice/Roger Goodell, NFL thing remind you of Watergate?  The months of being able to sweep it aside.  The slow moving investigation?  Then finally, the smoking gun!  In Watergate it was the tapes.  This time it is the tape.

The reaction is typical of the response that the powerful mount.  An "independent" investigation.  (The ex-FBI guy hired to conduct the investigation is the NFL's lawyer.) Tsk. Tsk.  Now, every time there's a question about the scandal, the powerful can say: "It's under investigation."

I wonder if Roger Goodell, or any of the owners will eventually get on their helecopter and fly off to their affluent life.  In the meantime, I can't help but enjoy the moment.

Friday, September 5, 2014

To Another Joan

Joan is one of those names that has had its day.  My friends Phyllis and Barbara know what I mean. Joan Rivers and I fit into the same time frame.  I saw her once at Gulf Mill where there used to be a great theater in the round.  She was dirty (what went for dirty back then) and very funny.  Not lamenting the role of the housewife, or even being a woman.  She was doing the same kind of standup as the boys.

A few years back there was a biopic of Joan's life.  A few things in it remain vivid.  One was that her worst fear was to look at her calendar and see empty space.  She needed, desperately needed, to be working.  Why?  Later in the film she explains how many people she took care of.  Many relatives,  people who worked for her,  and their families.

She loved having big dinners at Thanksgiving.  There was a lot of thanks (and giving) in her heart.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Too much, too soon

The sportswriters are right.  The pressure on the young boys of the Jackie Robinson West team poured on them by the relentless media coverage is unfair.  It's unfair . . . and totally understandable.  Here we are in Chicago, reeling from news of young black boys and girls being cut down every week by gun violence. It doesn't change and it doesn't stop.

Then, along comes this team.  Bright black faces sporting bright yellow uniforms. Home runs.  Parents in the stands.  And it comes just at the same time as the stories from Ferguson, MO.  They are about as bad as any we've had in awhile. It's no wonder that we want these boys to win.  Win the game?  Or, win something good to take away some of the frustration and pain.

I love sports because it is the ultimate reality show.  As in life, the outcome unfolds and surprises.  So, reality will determine how far these Jackie Robinsons go.  It's a moment.  Let's enjoy it.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Let's Cheer for Them

Surprise!  There's a Chicago baseball team that is going to the World Series!  (Take that you lowly Sox and Cubs.)

Meet the Jackie Robinson West Little League team who are Illinois Champions.

With participation by African-American baseball players in the big leagues at an all time low, this is special . . . for now and for the future.

So let's get behind them.  It's about time we won something around here!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Death and the 4th of July

He may be a beast to his bosses, but Keith Olbermann keeps working because he is one of our great broadcast journalists.  Keith loves baseball and he loves the Yankees.  He poured that love into his piece commemorating the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's farewwell "I am the luckiest man alive" speech on the 4th of July at Yankee Stadium.  Remember, Gehrig was known as the "iron man",  but as ALS ravaged his young and vital body, Lou was able to find gratitude.

Earlier in the day, I read the riveting article in the New Yorker about the crushingly uncertain days of the Chilian miners.  The 33 trapped and starving men agreed to completely share the minuscle amounts of food on hand.  They were able to find solidarity.

In the evening, I went to my friend Lail's for her annual party.  She has a big, old house with a great screened porch, just perfect for the 4th of July.  My friend Jim said it best: "Everyone who comes to the party is someone you want to talk to or listen to."  We always have fun.

When an ambulance pulled up in front, we all said: "I wonder what's happening across the street."  But, it wasn't out there, it was right in Lail's living room that one of her guests had suffered enough heart trouble that the 911 call had been made.

This was a gathering of oldsters, with a keen sense of savoring the idea of "annual."

 Gratitude and solidarity indeed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


The last few days in rehab, I was able to get around on my walker and join the other oldsters on our beautiful patio.  When I mentioned that we should all be grateful to FDR (social security) and LBJ (medicare) for our lovely surroundings, many of them muttered that their children wouldn't be so lucky and their grandchildren probably won't even remember these benefits.

"Well, they have to fight for them", I said.  "None of this came easy."  The worst thing people can do is think that things are in place to stay.

I thought of this again as I am watching the programs on "Freedom Summer" remembering the 50th anniversary of the bus riders and others who fought for civil rights.  And now, to see the voting rights laws falling in those same southern states one by one.

I am feeling very grateful right now for my daughter and my friends who have stepped up to help me, keep me company, and let me know in so many ways that they care.  And, I am grateful to FDR and LBJ and the more compassionate country they made possible.  I would not be here at all without them.