“We’re Baptized in This Water, and in Each Other’s Blood”

I was out running this morning, listening to the radio on my phone because we’re living in the future, when I first heard about the death of Philando Castile – the second Black person killed by pol…

Source: “We’re Baptized in This Water, and in Each Other’s Blood”

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Happy Birthday, Garland Jeffreys

One of my favorite artists celebrates another circuit around the sun. New York City street poet/singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys is 73 today. Best known for the 1970s hit single, “Wild in the Str…

Source: Happy Birthday, Garland Jeffreys

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I’m Going to Miss You, Andrew Shaw

Mutt, as he’s known to his teammates, is the reason why I first spoke publicly on my running blog about being gay. Last spring, as the Chicago Blackhawks were struggling to come back in a crucial f…

Source: I’m Going to Miss You, Andrew Shaw

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Your Friday Clash Song: It’s the Best Years of Your Life They Want to Steal

It’s been a busy week, so I haven’t been able to post since last Friday. But I couldn’t let the bizarre election results in the UK pass without posting “Clampdown” from London Calling (1979), perha…

Source: Your Friday Clash Song: It’s the Best Years of Your Life They Want to Steal

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Maybe I Shouldn’t Blog About the Cubs …

Cubs Brewers Box Score 20160519

Yesterday’s box score.

And today they head to San Francisco to take on the Giants, who’ve won eight in a row.

Jake Arrieta (7-0) starts for the good guys. So we got that goin’ for us. Which is nice.

© 2016 David P. von Ebers. All rights reserved.

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Late Night Cubs Confession

Cubs W Flag

Yes, I admit it. I bailed on last night’s Cubs-Brewers game in the 8th inning with the Brewers leading 1-0 and the Cubs having squandered several chances to tie or take the lead. I switched to hockey, as one does when it’s the playoffs and one’s baseball team is struggling. (Side note: The Penguins beat the Lightning 4-1 to take a two-games-to-one series lead, which made me happy because I have a bad attitude and I don’t want to see Tampa Bay, last year’s runners-up to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, win this the Cup year. It all makes sense if you’re both addicted to hockey and yet hopelessly partisan.)

Of course, the natural and probable consequence of my decision to change the channel was that the Cubs scored the tying run in the 9th, and ultimately took the lead for good in the top of the 13th. But it was more than just an ordinary early season extra-innings win. Brett Taylor at Bleacher Nation explains:

In the bottom of the 12th inning, the Brewers loaded the bases on an error, a walk (which was not actually a walk, but whateves), and another walk. That last walk came via Travis Wood, who’d replaced Hector Rondon. So Wood was left with the bases loaded, nobody out, and a single run giving up the game. He managed to get three pop ups (one to shallow center, and then two in the infield) to end the threat, which was shocking enough.

But then, thanks to the depleted bench, Wood got his own chance to bat with the bases loaded. And, in true weird baseball fashion, he worked a bases loaded walk to give the Cubs the run they needed to win.

This is the sort of win that, for better or worse, will only add to the evolving mythology of the Cubs’ 2016 season. Loading the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the 12th. The improbable safe exit from that frame, not by striking out the next three batters or getting somebody to hit into a double play, but by allowing three balls hit into the air – the first of which could possibly have scored the game-winner for Milwaukee. Then, too, the perhaps overly cautious decision not to send the runner on that first pop-up led to the invocation of the infield fly rulethe infield fly rule! – on the second pop up, as if to underscore the seemingly mystical quality of the game. And if that were not enough, Travis Wood, the very pitcher who first loaded the bases and then extricated himself from that jam in the 12th, came to the plate in the top of the 13th with the bases full of Cubs and drew a walk, which sealed the 2-1 victory.

Games like this make it increasingly difficult for a cynical Cubs fan to maintain his or her grip on reason, particularly when the team has gotten of to such an amazing start. The Cubs not only hold the best record in the Majors but are off to their best start since 1907the year they won their first World Series. With 124 games remaining, the Cubs could go .500 the rest of he way and still end up with 90 wins.

But a real baseball fan knows that there’s nothing magical or mystical about the game. You go out, you play, you win or you lose. As great as this season has been so far, there’s nothing inevitable about the Cubs reaching the World Series, let alone winning it. And – sorry, haters – there’s nothing inevitable about the Cubs choking and not winning the World Series, either. The only real truism about baseball, or any sport for that matter, is the well worn adage: That’s why they play the games.

I’m reminded of a meme I came across on social media the other day:

Stupid Facebook Meme (Miracles)

Miracles? No. What you’re describing is science. Just regular old science.

Likewise, the Cubs will win games if they score more runs than the opposition. That’s it. No miracles, no myths, no mystery. Just wins or loses.

Enjoy the randomness of the Universe, sports fans. It’s a long time till October.

© 2016 David P. von Ebers. All rights reserved.

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It’s a Brave New World: Running With A Hernia Edition

IMG_3516

We are living in curious times.

The mighty Chicago Blackhawks, winners of three Stanley Cup Championships over the past six years, lost in the first round of the playoffs to the St. Louis Blues, who, improbably, have now won two playoff series are tied with San Jose at a game apiece in the Western Conference Final. Meanwhile, Your 2016 Chicago Cubs lead the Majors with a sterling record of 27-10 (a .730 winning percentage), and, perhaps more remarkably still, the Chicago White Sox have the most wins in the American League at 24-15. (The Orioles have a slightly better winning percentage at 23-14.)

And while the very real – albeit still remote – possibility of a Cubs-White Sox World Series would undoubtedly open the Seventh Seal and usher in the Apocalypse, that’s not necessarily the most curious thing about the times in which we now find ourselves.

Nope. The most curious thing about the times in which we live is that, apparently, a reasonably healthy, running-obsessed, fifty-four year old person can develop a hernia from nothing more than getting old. And, curiouser still, that same person can be told by his family doctor that even though he developed a hernia out of the blue, and even though the hernia might hurt like the dickens when he starts to run each god-forsakenly-early a.m. when he typically heads out the door, that’s okay; he can keep on running until such time the darn thing can be taken care of. (Ordinarily, that means by surgery, in case you’re wondering how the taking care of a hernia is accomplished.)

So, here we are. Follow up appointment with the surgeon isn’t until next month; and who knows how long after that the actual procedure will occur.

And so we run, with the near-constant reminder of a hernia.

Or, at least I do, anyway. I can’t speak for you.

In any event, except for those first few steps early in the a.m. – which do, in fact, hurt – it’s mostly just an irritant. But I never would have guessed that it’s okay to run with a hernia, and that initial pain when I first step off is the kind of thing that would give a fairly knowledgeable runner pause. As in, I shouldn’t be running if it hurts like this, should I?

But what do I know. If the doctor says it’s okay to run till the procedure is scheduled, and the procedure’s not going to take place for weeks down the road, what am I going to do but run? I mean, I’m not going to take a couple of months off in prime running weather, am I? No, I’m not.

Unless, of course, as the doctor nonchalantly suggested, the darn thing should become (ahem) strangulated … in which case his sage advice was: Seek immediate medical attention.

And how would one know if it became strangulated? Oh, you’ll know.

Um … thanks?

So, there you have it. Running with a hernia is a thing, apparently. I guess it beats the alternative.

But I’d still keep my eye on those baseball standings if I were you. And maybe get your affairs in order. You know. Just in case.

© 2016 David P. von Ebers. All rights reserved.

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