Saturday, January 24, 2015


Today I was several feet away from my boyhood hereo, Willie Mays.

I suppose I could have even shouted out a question, a compliment, a hello, a thank you.


It was like a reverent aura surrounded him.

Yeah, he is, you might say, a mere mortal, a baseball player. One of us.

Then, again.

But such elan!

And it is still there.

"Did you ever know you were my hero?" says the song.

When I was 9 years old or so, I tried to call Willie Mays in San Francisco across the country from me, on our Princess phone. I did not get through.

What would I have said?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

an infinity of the unnameable

"In other words, apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there?" 

-- Harold Pinter

Ah, who else but Harold Pinter, the renowned master of the white spaces of silence in conversation (or lack thereof)?  

To answer the question, an Infinity of the Unnameable.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Two billboards I've seen feature the word "Comfortable" and a picture of a comfortable sneaker. It's a local ad for the Vineyard Church. Well done. Simple. Understandable. Direct. Remember-able.

I salute the fact that the church is emphasizing radical hospitality.

"You are welcome here." 


That's always a great start, for any relationship.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

the walking cure

In the absence of talking, what is there? A silence of sorts. A sorta silence. A sordid stillness. Assorted illness. A walk in the park. Or in the dark. Or daytime stroll. Or jellyroll. A pleasant diversion. Or lucid immersion. A delicious excursion. Or slumbered encumbrance. This. That. The other.

Friday, January 16, 2015

the talking cure

Is talking a cure? A cure for what? Can the cure from talking be quantified? And a host of other questions. So, I've talked. And talked some more. And left some barbs. And been stung. Just like everybody else. "What I meant to say" is what we resort to." As T.S. Eliot put it in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," "It is impossible to say just what I mean!" He added: "That is not it at all, / That is not what I meant at all." So, today, right now, I am feeling as if talking in fact ruined some situations. It would have gone better without the talking. That's how it feels. Of course, this goes against the tenets, the premises, of modern life. You can't go silent. You can't hold it in. You've got to talk. Really? This moment, I'd feel better not having talked out, as they say, some situations, though that's naive, sure, because it would have been inevitable, wouldn't it, the talking? Talking? Naw. Give this blabbermouth touching or tasting or feeling or smelling any day of the week. (But, psssst, don't tell my therapist.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


On days of frigid clarity, how do you name the sky, its "blue" that is not blue (why resort to that adjective?), nor cerulean or cyan, but a higher register, a squint-inducing celestialness, brighter than beryl or azure or ultramarine, not sapphire or turquoise or teal, but something sky-ey, something beyond words, something clear and cold yet invitingly warm, something heavenly, just for today, this moment?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

life skills coordinator

I see where the Washington Nationals baseball organization has hired Rick Ankiel as "life skills coordinator," to mentor their minor leaguers.

Where was such a coach when I needed one? 

Would I have listened (i.e., practiced what he or she preached) if such a mentor were assigned to me?

Does anyone ever listen to such advice when young?

It is an intriguing title.

Life Skills Coordinator.

What skills get coordinated?


And is it too late for me to receive (and act upon) such guiding, coaxing, coaching, nudging, encouraging, admonishing, ameliorating, correcting, rectifying, advising, pushing, and coordinating?

Friday, January 09, 2015

solo inherent vice

I went to the movies, by myself.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Is there?
I saw "Inherent Vice."
Rather liked it, not sure why; maybe because of its mix of comedy and film noir. Some combination, eh? (And I enjoyed the acting performances. Does acting by itself ever carry a film? And if you have to remark on the acting, doesn't that count as a negative for the movie as a whole?)
Make of it what you will: a man goes to the movies solo on a Friday night, and the movie he sees is "Inherent Vice."

Thursday, January 08, 2015

internal medicine

I saw a sign on a doctor's office:


What is that? Does a priest practice internal medicine? Is it what a metaphysician looks into? And then what would external medicine consist of?

Monday, January 05, 2015

benevolent amnesia

"The thing I really cherish about the work is the done-ness. When it's finished I tend to develop a benevolent amnesia." 

-- Leonard Cohen, as quoted by Rob Sheffield (@robsheff) on Sept. 18, 2014 on Twitter.

Don't you love that phrase "benevolent amnesia"?

Who doesn't need or want some benevolent amnesia now and then?