Saturday, July 28, 2012

Where was Roger?

I was disappointed last night watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in London.  Where was Roger Bannister?  When he didn't appear earlier, I fully expected him to be the one to light the Olympic flame.

A long article in The New Yorker several years ago told a  fascinating story of how the four minute mile was finally broken.  It seems quaint now but this was one of the records that seemed impossible to achieve.

The historic race took place on May 6 1954.  As President Obama tried to emphasize last week, success does not happen alone.  The campaign to beat the record was a collaboration between Bannister and his  colleagues who agreed to be the pace setters.  Any of the three could have been chosen to accomplish the feat.  Chris Chataway and Chris Basher went on to have stellar running careers, but Roger Bannister is the name that looms large in the history books.

Bannister went on to have a long career as a neurosurgeon.  It's a great story of human achievement.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Football Defines America . . .

Or, does it?  As I was watching the NCAA press conference announcing the severe sanctions against Penn State, this thought kept creeping up: what if there was an "NCAA" that had the power to impose sanctions on Wall Street?  Just as I was thinking this, the press conference speaker described the moral catastrophe at Penn State as a result of a "too big to fail" mentality at the school. Yes, they used those words.

On the same theme, is everyone going to just throw up their hands and say that the NRA is "too big to fail?"  And leave it at that?

Frank Rich has written an excellent article on the spike in nostalgia for the "better America" that we used to have in the 1950s.  I agree with him that the idea that we were "better" then is bad memory and bad history.  No black person in the south (or north for that matter) is going to have a tear in his eye remembering all-white "Mayberry."

What is "better" is NOW.  What is better is that we elected a black President.  The rest of the world gave us credit for this.  Why can't we?

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Went to the Movies. . .

. . . and got shot and died.  No, I'm not part of the plot.  It isn't like "The Purple Rose of Cairo" where the point is that the audience goes up on the screen and becomes part of the movie.  No, I'm just here for the midnight show of the Batman film.  It's the summer blockbuster and I want to be at the first show.  The midnight show.  Just here to watch.  Guns?  Blowups? None of it is real.

Funny how this happened.  And now I'm dead.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The American Dream

Facing an unemployment crisis, Natalie and Diego form a startup (homemade cookies and hand designed cards).  When traffic at the original location (pictured here) proved to be too meager, they moved over to Bill's office where they immediately sold out.

Ah, small business is alive and well.

Monday, July 9, 2012

In the Beginning . . .

Creation myths are powerful things.  Mess with them at your peril.  Chris Rock learned this last week when he called the Fourth of July "the white man's holiday."  And,  when he added: "the slaves must have enjoyed the fireworks."  That was enough to bring out the outrage army.

Adam and Eve has inspired many more paintings and poems than the Big Bang Theory.  But, maybe that will change a little now that they're calling the beginning of mass "the God particle."

Today I saw a remarkable film: "Beasts of the Southern Wild."  It's not exactly a creation myth but it addresses all of the primal themes.  It explodes with visual and emotional intensity.  I'm going to do some research into who made it and who funded it.  Films like this are so rare.  Don't miss it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July Tiebreaker

Some people remember the moon landing, the Kennedy assassination,  Obama in Grant Park as great moments in history.  Since I'm a tennis nut, my history takes me to the grass courts at Wimbledon on a memorable Fourth of July.

This was the 1980 tiebreaker between John McEnroe and Bjon Borg.  It was the fourth set,  went for 22 minutes, produced 34 contested points.  Set point and match point went back and forth endlessly.

I was visiting friends at their cottage on Lake Michigan.  The hosts kept calling that "dinner is ready."  They sounded more and more annoyed with each call.  I simply couldn't tear myself away, and I never regretted being a rude visitor.  They ate without me.

Now, it's the Fourth again and I'm happily watching the matches.

By the way, do you remember who finally won that match?  (No fair googling.)

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Wardrobe

I went to the memorial event for Jerry Stern at his home.  It was a grand party that Jerry would have loved.  A few days before,  I asked Kathy if I could have one of Jerry's wonderful hats.  Something to remember him by.  I came away with a great Borsalino.

Anyone who ever saw Jerry would remember how he dressed.  Phillip said: "He would put on a suit and tie to watch TV."  What some don't realize is that Jerry seldom bought any of his clothes at retail.  He combed the thrift shops and vintage stores for his choices.  His genius was in putting it all together for his unique look.

One time Jerry was at a party and met his friend Don.  Don complimented Jerry on the "beautiful shirt" he was wearing.  Jerry chuckled and said: "You should like it Don, it used to be yours."  Sure enough, Don''s name was on the laundry tag on the collar.

I'm going to love wearing that hat.

This is my first blog at this site.  Elsa set this site up for me awhile ago.  I intended to use it for business, but now I will used it for my personal blog as well.  I'll play around with it to get better at including some photos.  Thanks to everyone who let me know that they were looking forward to my blogging again.