23 September 2009

"I see great things in baseball..."

"It's our game--the American game... It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us...."
-- Walt Whitman (as loosely quoted by Annie Savoy in BULL DURHAM)


There are many things about our country which are not all they could be, but there are still some things which remain as perfect now as they ever were.

Chief among such rare isolated examples of a Kind And Loving God is the grand and glorious game of baseball. Football may well be a more true reflection of our nation's violent and militaristic character, and basketball with its flamboyance and impossible feats of high flying athleticism might well be the jazz of our age, but baseball... it remains a pure portrait of where we came from, where we once hoped to see ourselves going, and where we can -- when the mood and winds are just right -- still imagine that we might yet return: that innocent and joyful place under a sky of blue, on a field of green, the smell of grass and horsehide and chalk dust hanging on a warm afternoon breeze, with all our "foes" still smiling friends who will salute our good fortune and buck us up in the aftermath of any inconsequential failure.

What's even more thrilling (again, in my opinion) is the occasional story that comes along which reminds us that perhaps not all such nostalgic golden-toned visions of America lay filed away in memory or fantasy, that instead there are places and moments where this quaint idea of Baseball as the embodiment of the best aspects of the American soul is not only real, but actually confirmed, appreciated and venerated.

We are reminded of this by those beautiful stories where we find baseball taking root in some strange place where its simple clean innocent joys have never before been known.

Like Iraq.

In a pretty wonderful little turn of events, Rachel Maddow of CNBC helped the first-ever Iraqi National Baseball Team find uniforms and equipment so that the Great American Game might have a fighting chance to find purchase in the war-torn sands of the Persian Gulf. Ebbets Field Flannels -- one of the coolest companies out there -- makers of the world's finest reproduction classic baseball jerseys, stepped in to design and manufacture some pretty cool duds for the Iraqi team, and copies of the unis are now on sale through the Ebbets Field website, with proceeds helping veterans of the ongoing hostilities in the region.

Read the the full story HERE and see if you can stifle a smile.

I dunno. Maybe old Walt was righter than he knew.

"Ilaab!" ("Play ball!")

13 September 2009

stand and pay respects both right and proper

A great man has left the stage.

Dr. Norman Borlaug passed away this weekend at his home in Dallas.

There's a good chance you don't know who Norman Borlaug was, or why his name ought be long remembered for accomplishments few humans can ever hope to match.

You see, Dr. Borlaug was a plant scientist, and it was his efforts to develop better hybrid varieties of dwarf grains -- hybrids which would be easier to grow, less prone to damage and drought, higher in yield, and able to sustain larger local populations -- which changed our world. These efforts to feed the growing third-world populations in the 1950s and 60s won Dr. Borlaugh the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, as well as the title-- offered with no hint of exaggeration or embellishment, it should be noted -- of "the man who saved a billion people."

If you want to learn a few details about a largely unknown man who quite literally changed the face of our world, take a few minutes to consider the impact and implications of Dr. Borlaugh's efforts. Just the reminder that there are in fact, good honorable men (and women) out there fighting the good fight, every day in a thousand surprising ways on a thousand unexpected fronts, is often enough to rinse away the stink of the normal everyday political cynicism and pop-cultural triviality we're usually shoveled.

Some people achieve fame for next to nothing, while others just quietly go about the business of actually leaving the world a better place than they found it.

proud of the good guys B

09 September 2009

still mostly nothing

... to report.

There have been some odd rumblings ad grumblings beneath the waves, and there continue to be a few such noises (and some might yet surface and blow steam and become actual official Items Worthy Of Mention...), but for now we're where we've been for a long time now: in a siege, pounding on the walls, and scrambling to find some new tactic or trick to bring to bear to help gain entry into yon Castle Hollywood.

In the meanwhile... real life remains real busy, and might soon get another new wrinkle added to the Pile O' Fun, but (maintaining the theme) I'll not talk abut that until it becomes something worth talking about.

I continue to see lots and lots of blogs continue to be lots and lots boring and non-updated, and it seems clear that Twitter killed the Blogger star, though what seems less clear is how or why Twitter is at all useful for a startling bulk of the people who continue to mass murder electrons via that site. Or technology. Or service.

Or whatever it "is." (And no, that was not a plea for any to offer explanation.)

Austin Film Fest suddenly looms scant weeks away. I mean, I guess "six" counts as "scant," but if not... screw it, who cares anyway.

Austin in October. Football and baseball and Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and PTA and Jr High Band and HS Cross Country and TaeKwonDo and dance and so on and so on until then and after.

Same as it ever was... same as it ever was... same as it ever was... same as it ever was...
once and future B