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What my musings are all about...

Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.

The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.

The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Bubble #1

Guess I better be legit and say something about the Bubble. I've been reluctant because I believed the league would have been better to have frozen at the playoffs at the start of the COVID 19 shutdown. Yeah there were/has been a few instances of drama, but come on, no way these teams competing for the 8 spot had /have any chance of a an upset. So, we have Blazers instead of the Griz? 

Frankly, I wouldn't have minded if the first round  had been eliminated, or at least made a best of 5 series. Okay, okay, I get the $ thing. In a five game series I still wouldn't have missed that sensational last second 3 by Doncic, And the fifth game would have mercifully ended the series, so we could get to the real competition. While I'm on the Mavs, Doncic is playing with a sprained ankle and Przingis is sitting? It's playoff time, dude! 

Based on what I've seen, I have the Clippers playing the Bucks for the Championship, Probably most fans do, so no crystal ball. I'm a little concerned that teams have figured out how to play Antetekompo's twisting dribble penetration better. Saying that, he's still a FORCE. Both teams are seriously DEEP. 

Boards, defense and bench production are usually the definers of NBA Champs.  

In the West: Lakers have a chance to beat the Clippers. Some have opined, the Lakers don't need Avery Bradley. Wrong!

The Eastern Conference is a little more interesting. The Celtics have been playing inspired ball. But truly weak at the 5 spot. Raptors could make a series of it, if Ibaka and Gasol can be a consistent force on the boards. And then, there is the Miami Heat, my favorite upset team. I say that knowing they're a long-shot. But you gotta love the way they play together with their mix of young and vet players. go Igudala! How about coming back to the Warriors? You don't need the $. Vets max and lots of glory. Retire as a Dub. 

Back to the Heat. This is Spoelstra's best coaching season. He gets my vote for Coach of the Year.  

Another black man shot by police. In the BACK. That's not even right in B Westerns. You shoot someone in the back if you are a coward. The act speaks for itself. BLACK LIVES MATTER MORE THAN EVER. 


KINTSUGI     By Tom Meschery

     For Maurice Stokes & Jack Twyman

            When Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage

            by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when a thing suffered

            damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.

 

He fell on his head in 1957, which qualifies as history.

The damage was vast, paralyzed from the neck down.

 

You are too far away, too young, still flying through the air

with reckless abandon as if you have grown wings, falling

 

never enters your mind. Your legs propel you. You lift off

You keep your eyes on the spot of glass the ball will touch

 

and drop soundlessly through the net. You will descend

You’ve done this hundreds of times. No harm will befall you.

 

How do we repair our broken country? There’s not enough gold.

So much for metaphor. There was, instead, a teammate’s goodness,

 

a history of care: money raised, hospital bills paid, hands held.

It was the kind of righteousness like a salve keeping Maurice alive.

 

You were too young. Your wings were new to you. You yearned

for flight. It is not hard to imagine youth suspended in air.

 

The goodness was like gold. You could see beauty shining through

his skin. It healed but didn’t cure. The cracks were too grave.  

 





Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Sir Charles interviews Alt Right Richard Spencer and etc

Barkley: Do you call yourself a racist?

Spencer: No. I don't say I don't like black people.

Barkley: But you don't want blacks in your neighborhood?

Spencer; Right, but. ...

There are no buts, dude, you're a racist. This is me talking, Tom Meschery, but Charles Barkley, I bet is thinking the same thing.

Knowing ahead of time a lot about Alt Right, I didn't expect much else except blatant racism from Spencer, but what  I didn't expect was that Spencer looked like your average college educated guy, clean cut, well mannered, nothing confrontational, who might have played collegiate baseball or been a point guard on a Division Two team, gone on to grad school. Got his degree in accounting. Married the girl next door. Has his hair cut by a stylist. All American boy look. All American boy smile.

And there-in lies the danger.

You look at Donald Trump and there is no doubt he's a con man. You look at Richard Spencer and you see surface honesty. The evil is hidden by his quiet demeanor and non threatening rhetoric. But his soul is every bit as grotesque as the President's.

I watched the entire interview mostly for the stunned looks on Barkley's face. Spencer's arguments would have been comical if they didn't infect so many white men (Mostly men, but white women are not off the hook.)

I wished I could have been there. I would have said, "Dude, you're far behind the times. The vast majority of young people of all races don't give a crap about skin color. You and your ilk are already dinosaurs.

Okay, enough. Last and way more fun than interviews with racists. Congrats to Mahones for the stunning contract he signed. He is indeed the Curry of the NFL. Now, if only he can play golf like Curry. Got to love Andy Reed's good fortune to have a QB like Mahones for the future. Reed in my top five all time NFL coaches.

For all you fishermen out there in the wild, alone, no worries about COVID19, thinking only rainbow trout, here's an Old Rhyme for you:

How They Bite

Wind from the south, hook in the mouth.
Wind from the east, bite the least.
Wind from the north, further off.
Wind from the west, bite the best.

                     Anonymous




Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Black Lives Matter

This morning's Sacramento Bee ran a story about the NBA Kings' TV broadcaster Grant Napear's twitter gaffe, responding to DeMarcus Cousins' Twitter question what he (Napear) thought about
Black Lives Matter. Napier's answer was "All Lives Matter." A mistake that cost Napear his job. He claimed he grew up believing ALL lives "matter."  Emphasis on the ALL Who'd argue? But that is not the point. It  is common knowledge by anyone who reads a newspaper or pays attention to the news that this slogan is used by conservative racists to marginalize the notion of Black Lives Mattering. Given that Napear is a long time news man, especially one who has been around the NBA, a league with such a high percentage of black players, how is it possible he was not aware of this? Can Grant Napear be that obtuse? Doesn't pas the sniff test.

In the same morning sports page is a reaction to police brutality toward blacks by ex King Thebo Sefolosha, who found himself on the receiving end of police brutality himself, "It's not just a few bad apples." It (racism) is deeper than that... part of a culture. There is no longer any way to avoid this horrible truth.


BLACK LIVES MATTER

      “Baffling distant galaxy proves dark matter.”

               Sacramento Bee, March 30 2018

According to science, dark-matter slows galaxies down.
If dark matter didn’t exist, the cluster of stars
in a newly discovered distant galaxy, would have
spun apart. This, the astronomer claims, proves
dark matter matters. On the next page of the newspaper,
there is the account of the shooting death of Stephon Clark
and the poignant photograph of Reverend Al Sharpton
embracing and being embraced by Stephon’s brother.
What could it possibly matter that we understand
the universe better, when we don’t understand the life
of a young black man standing in his granny’s backyard
on a dark night looking at his cell phone, texting.
Or, perhaps, he was watching the Golden State Warriors
playing basketball without their four stars, which slows
down the rest of the team, making them vulnerable.
I’m only guessing that’s what Stephon was doing.
He could have been writing a poem, checking tomorrow’s
weather, looking at photographs of his children.
But I like the idea that he was, like me, watching
the Warriors, wondering when Curry and Durant
would be back, hoping Klay’s thumb would heal,
that Draymond would return soon - before the bullets. 

                                            Tom Meschery  



Thursday, May 28, 2020

Fair is Fair

Major League Baseball made a major league mistake in its financial proposal to its players. They peeled back the rind covering their greedy fruit. The proposal was this: players with minimum salaries would keep about 47% of their original salaries this year while the multimillionaire stars would lose more than 77% under a sliding scale.

I'm going to make this very simple. This proposal is only fair if the owners (all multimillionaires) agree to reducing their net income by 77%. Unlike the players who would simply lose income, the owners would have to use the 77% to help our country during this pandemic.

And if they claim their 77% on their taxes as donations, then the players would have the equal right to claim their loss of income as a business loss.

I'm going to assume the owners of the other three major professional sports leagues will not make the same mistake baseball owners did, treating their WORKERS so shabbily.


The Last Dance    By Tom Meschery

     “We grow small trying to be great.”

             David Hockney

So what if it was the truth. I like my heroes in the sky where they belong
not down here mucking around on earth with the rest of us shmucks.
Remember Jordan lifting off behind the free-throw line, his tongue flapping,
to win the dunk contest? I swear to God, I nearly pissed myself. So do I really
give a shit if he was a martinet, or that he gambled stupidly, or that he needed
to blame teammates for his own failures as a human being? There are enough
knuckleheads in the world I don’t need another one. But, there sure as hell
are not enough heroes, already too many of them outed by the media
for their peccadilloes. I’m guessing David Hockney came to his conclusion
by looking into the universe, perhaps watching some distant star over-heating,
explode into fragments. That’s sort of the way I feel about Jordan now
after watching The Last Dance, breaking into the smaller components
of his life, becoming another same-o-same-o dude I encounter every day
crossing the street, dodging traffic, heading for the deli for a quick lunch
before back to work. You know, like the guy sitting at the desk next to me.   



Monday, May 25, 2020

What's Enough Wealth, Tom Brady?

This morning I read that Tom Brady is generously not costing the Tampa Bay Police Department whatever it takes to guard the waters around his 30,000 square foot mansion

Wow! I'm so impressed.

Which brings me to the subject of superfluous wealth. I'm betting there are a great number of Tom Brady's in the United States of America who are so rich, a 30,000 foot home seems, well, reasonable.
I'm thinking of a number of star athletes, and owners of teams. But rich athletes represent only a fraction of the uber rich in our country - all of whom, I dare say, live in comparable mansions.

I asked one astonishingly rich man once why he needed to live in a 40,000 square foot mansion. He had a wife and only two kids. His answer was, "I don't need to, I chose to." My incredulous silence prompted, "And because I earned my money and can do what I want with it."

Wow! I was so impressed.

This is the mindset of the Rex Rich, the 2% of the wealthy that control 98 % of our country's bucks.
It is sadly the mindset of most people who accumulate a great deal of money; they earned it, no one has a right to tell them how to spend it.

I'm not sure such a mindset will ever change, no matter what political party rules our country. Donald Trump and his greedy minions represents merely a more grotesque example of the superfluously wealthy.

But here's a hypothetical:  What would happen to Tom Brady and his  family if he had to live in a more modest dwelling, say around 5,000 square feet, in an ordinary gated (I can see the need for gated if you were a well known athlete) community, no lack of amenities, room in his backyard for a pool and patio. Perhaps not a tennis court. Would Tom Brady and family suffer greatly? And what if Tom Brady's mindset was a deep desire to use his wealth to help society? Over and above his tax write off foundation, all the wealth he really does not need for a happy, carefree life? And what if all uber wealthy professional athletes followed Tom Brady's lead?  And what would happen if all the other non-athletes of great wealth, follow the lead of the professional athletes? What if, for example, Bill Gates said, "I can live happily on four million dollars a year. And every bit of money I earn above that I'm going to spend on making our society a better more ethical place to live for all the people?

Wow! Then, I'd be really impressed.


Of what is truly important in a materialistic world, I offer to  all this small poem:

In the Mountains on a Summer Day

Gently I stir a white feather fan,
With open shirt sitting in a green wood.
I take off my cap and hang it on a jutting stone;
A wind from the pine-trees trickles on my bare head.

                        Li Po
                        Translated by Arthur Waley