Monday, April 22, 2013

Barack Obama as Jackie Robinson

Maureen Dowd has written a scathing criticism of President Obama in the New York Times.  Referring to the debacle on the gun vote, she rips into the President.  He didn't mount a vigorous campaign. He didn't threaten enough Senators who could have been pried off the fence.  He didn't go full "Lyndon Johnson SOB."

Jackie Robinson was not chosen to be the first black baseball player in the major leagues because he was the most talented.  He was deemed to be the most intelligent and hopefully the most stoic.  His job was not to directly challenge the brutal eruption of racism, but to endure.

Obama endures everything that is thrown his way.  He goes out and speaks eloquently. He figures that the opposition will be shamed into doing the right thing.   Maybe in the long run it works that way.  For a time.  The civil rights laws that the SOB got passed are being overturned.  Daniel Ellsberg gives way to Bradley Manning.

When No. 44's number is retired, his hair will probably be as white as No. 42's.  And eventually we'll love him the way we love Jackie.

And the guns endure.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston on my mind

Boston plays out in special ways for me.  As a teenager I visited family friends in the summer, and as a college student, I attended Harvard summer school.  I loved the place.

An infamous connection with beantown occurred in the late sixties.  I was divorced and my mother staked me to a fancy cruise.  Would it be unkind to think she was hoping a rich son-in-law might be the payoff?  I ended up with two union bosses from Boston.  They were up from "the dig" probably with dues money. Married, but no wives on board.  They insisted that the fancy French chef prepare corned beef and cabbage.  Yes, it was a trip.

The last time I was in Boston was when I went to visit my friend Camille who had moved there in the '80's.  It was New Years eve and Boston had invented "First Night."  It was celebrating free cultural events all over town.  We were in a happy crowd waiting to get into a performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Just like the happy crowd waiting for their runners to make it to the finish line.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Connected and Not

DISCONNECT opened yesterday in seven or eight major cities.  This is was happens with smaller, independent films. In Chicago, the major newspaper critics gave it 4 and 3 1/2 stars.  If it catches on, like The Intouchables, the film may become a blockbuster. While I think  DISCONNECT deserves a big audience, it tells a far different story than a feel good fantasy.  It is immediate and real.  I felt so little distance between myself and the people on the screen that their pain played out in my body, and I can't get the story out of my mind.  Even if I wanted to, the reminders are everywhere.  Another teenager hanged herself because of cyberbullying.  Another college on lockdown. And...and...and. . .

Bill came to Chicago to show the film at a fundraiser.  It was a scholarship fund at his high school in memory of his favorite teacher, who guided him into the world of literature and film. Lots of his friends (and mine) showed up.  Afterwards, several of us went over to Gene and Georgetti's restaurant.  Remember that place?  You can't believe it's still in business, except that it is.  Nostalgia night.

 I didn't see anyone checking their cell, or pulling out their tablet.  Lots of catching up  and good conversation.  Lots of connection.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

In the Minority Again

I was interested when I heard that Ron Johnson, the Apple person who had created those marvelous looking retail stores, was taking over stodgy old  JC Penney.  And, I was excited when the first JC Penney insert showed up in my Sunday paper:  White. Clean. New name (JCP). Great design. Colorful logo. This was worth investigating.

The closest JCP store was miles away in a northwest suburb.  But,  my curiosity propelled me to the Golf Mill Mall.  I was not disappointed.  A few departments had been transformed to the Apple ambiance.  And, the clothes (mostly t-shirts, sweaters, jeans) were inviting.  Sephora, the makeup place, had been installed as a store-within-a store.  The salespeople were extremely capable and flexible. (I got to use the "wrong" coupon.)  I was a very happy customer.

I looked around at the rest of the merchandise and thought:  "Mr. Apple is going to have his hands full for the next few years."

Silly me.  Why should good old JC Penney change for the likes of  Steve Jobs?  Or Ron Johnson?  Or me?   It didn't.  Ron Johnson was fired last week.

Maybe I'll go back one more time for the clearance sale.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Roger Ebert Figured it Out

I read Roger all the time because I never gave up my subscription to the Chicago Sun Times.  Roger wrote this in his memoir, LIFE ITSELF, and I hope to keep it in mind.

I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do.  To make others less happy is a crime. . . I didn't always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

I chose this picture because he never gave up on himself right to the end.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cell Memories

A few years ago, a journalist wrote an article about her visit to a therapist who practiced "Emotional Liposuction."  The words stuck with me so strongly that I wrote down his name and number.  The idea is that the therapist, using techniques that sounded like reiki or healing touch, draws out of the cells memories that are lodged there and cause pain until their energy is released.  Makes sense to me.

 Going through my papers, I came across the Liposuction name yesterday.  A sign, or a coincidence?  Maybe this is exactly what I need to get rid of some of the pain I walk around with every day.  Funny how putting powerful chemicals into our bodies seems perfectly reasonable, even when we have to ignore all of those side effect warnings.  And, it's covered by insurance. But, imagining cell memory -- and a cleansing -- seems so squishy and thus unsupported by the powers that be.  I'm going to investigate it.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Big Day

Today features the White Sox home opener and April Fools Day. Coincidence or prophesy?  It would be too soon and too sad to describe the Sox season as a joke.  The wonderful thing about opening day is that every team is a winner when they take the field.

I like that baseball begins in the spring. . . just when our spirits are ready for a lift.  When you live in a cold weather city like Chicago, you know how to appreciate those early rays of sun.

Here's another thing about baseball that makes it fascinating to me:  infinity made real.  No clock, no time.  That's a concept an oldster can take to heart.