Happy Birthday, the United States of Erica

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7-4-2013

 

“Out on a spin in search of curry powder and hot peppers- a man on a voyage to the grocery- he stumbled onto the land of heroic Vikings and proceeded to get the credit for it. And then to name it America after Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian who never saw the New World but only sat in Italy and drew incredibly inaccurate maps of it. By rights, it should be called Erica, after Eric the Red, who did the work five hundred years earlier. The United States of Erica. Erica the Beautiful. The Erican League.” – Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor

I’ve tried to avoid all the patriotic and unpatriotic posts today. But, a few jumped out at me anyway.

On one extreme was the photo of the family dressed in red-white-and-blue for ‘God and Country Day’. On the other extreme was one who was going to wear black today and she didn’t celebrate for the first time in her life because of her newfound enlightenment.

But, the very best thing I read all day was from my acquaintance/friend, Jamie, who said,

“If Lee Greenwood sees his shadow, we get 6 more weeks of freedom.”

Ray Bradbury Was Spot-On

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“More sports for everyone, group spirit, fun, and you don’t have to think, eh? Organize and organize and superorganize super-super sports. .. With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. “ – Beatty in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

What insight Bradbury had here! I am still amazed at his spot-on look into the future. Now, I love a good baseball game, as long as I don’t think about it too deeply. I like to hike and swim, and I used to like to ride a bike and skate. But, I am so not a huge fan of pro sports, or even college sports around here ( sorry Alabama). I think it’s because I see what Bradbury saw – that sports has been given a much higher priority than education in many arenas. And if a kid can run or throw or win, he is often allowed special privileges and not held to the same standard as those who would rather read than race.

Oh, yes, the pursuit of happiness in full swing.

“Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn’t that right? Haven’t you heard it all your life? I want people want to be happy, people say. Well, aren’t they? Don’t we keep them moving, don’t we give them fun? That’s all we live for, isn’t it? For pleasure, for titillation? And you must admit our culture provides plenty of these.” – Beatty

Oh, Ray, do you know we even have a restaurant now called TGIF? If you listen to the radio (another entity that’s becoming extinct) it’s all about the weekend. What are you doing this weekend? How was your weekend? I have fallen into that trap, too.

But, really…….

That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecc. 1:19

Click HERE for a review of Fahrenheit 451 by Linda’s Book Bag

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

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Glory thought, ‘That strange and particular grace a man’s body seems never to forget. Scooping up grounders and throwing sidearm.’

from Home by Marilynne Robinson

Baseball. If ever there was a game that drew you home in more ways than one, this was it. This is it. A slice of Americana in a ball park on a summer evening. It’s the sport that takes you back to the empty fields of your childhood ala The Sandlot. It’s the slaw dogs, the popcorn, the cotton candy, and sometimes the beer. It’s the crack of the bat, the cheer, the organ. Each ballpark has its own personality, knitted together by grass and clay and bubble gum. Some might even be a Field of Dreams.

The announcers for these games seem like guys you’d want to have to dinner. Take Vince Scully for example. Just this morning my husband relayed something Scully said about Sandy Koufax in 1965: “A lot of people in the ballpark now are starting to see the pitches with their hearts… I would think that the mound at Dodger Stadium right now is the loneliest place in the world…. Sandy into his windup, here’s the pitch:Swung on and missed, a perfect game! ” (the crowd cheered for 38 seconds). There is a real connection here, a passion. Heart.

I wish more people could experience the comfort of being at a game, whether Little League or Major League; where it feels like one big family. Where little kids can run up and down the bleachers or run around the bases, where the fans come to expect the seventh Inning stretch and a round of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. There’s just nothing like it.

With the passing of Jose Fernandez, America has turned it’s eyes and hearts to baseball, at least briefly. Fernandez had only become a citizen in April of 2015, and the story of his journey to citizenship is one worth reading. And after you’ve read that, get yourself to a ballpark before the season ends. You’ll be glad you did.

Besides the ones mentioned above, here are some of my favorite baseball movies:

  • The Natural
  • Fever Pitch
  • Trouble With the Curve
  • For the Love of the Game
  • The Rookie
  • A League of Their Own

American Night

One morning as I was taking a 5:15 AM walk with my dog Loretta, we passed a maple tree that cast leafy shadows on the sidewalk. These shadows are caused by a street light shining behind the tree. Every time I pass this spot I think of the old black and white movies that portrayed night scenes but were obviously filmed during the day.

Day for night, also known as nuit américaine (“American night”), is the name of a technique to simulate a night scene. Mainly intended to avoid costly (and technically challenging) night filming, outside scenes can instead be shot during the day, with special blue filters and under-exposed film to create the illusion of darkness or moonlight.

I found it so very apropos when I learned that the term for this refers to “American Night”. In America we do love to call day night and night day. The things we once held dear and right and good are now often looked at as wrong, small minded or phobic. And the things we once knew to be immoral and offensive are now acceptable and lauded. Las Vegas brightly lights the desert skyline as it touts “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. But the lights of Vegas are like those of a carnival. When the garish, blinking neon lights are off, the rubbish, rust and grime are revealed. The genuine light lets us see the truth. So it is with our heart.

Isaiah 5:20- 21 Woe to them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to them that are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight!

The pictures below were actually taken in the daytime, but I edited them to look like night; the sun to look like the moon.ImageImage

This last one IS the moon

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