Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Into the Abyss?

So Costco has these great yoga/sleep pants. Cotton/poly blend, really comfy. So much so in fact, that I'm wearing them now and I'm considering getting enough pairs for every day of the week so I can wear them... every day of the week. They're THAT comfortable.

Should I be worried about this? Are yoga pants the modern-day equivalent to those awful elastic-waist polyester abominations? I guess what I'm asking is... is this the first step to old ladyhood?

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Once more, with feeling

I've started this post a dozen times and erased because each time it comes out whiney and self-pitying. Let's just say that aside from the Tigers nice 9th inning homerun to take their 2nd in a row and my friend Bee passing her national exam (YAY!), I would like this day to otherwise not have happened. It was yucky and neither my kids nor I were at our best. Stephen's off the hook since he's out of town. The rest of the Spencers would like a do-over.

Friday, April 23, 2004


He gets on at the same bus stop every morning; pasty-faced with short bushy hair, and eyes that might be kind if they weren't so beady. I'd guess he's close to my age and I'm pleased to note his hairline is receding. He doesn't look like he gets laid regularly. He might live with his mother.

I imagine that he sees me sitting there with Sophie, my Howard Dean button still proudly displayed, and feels a similar dislike. I think he must know that if I were alone and didn't have to set a good example for my child I'd find a way to unapologetically spill coffee on whatever shite book he has his pointy nose stuck in.

The first time I noticed him, he was reading one of Anne "I'm a nutjob harridan from hell" Coulter's collections of questionable research pathological lies. I probably snorted and surely rolled my eyes. I almost asked, "You do know there's at least one lie on every page of that book, don't you?"People must buy her books since she continues to write them, I'm just amazed that anyone could actually her seriously. On the east side, maybe, but in Seattle proper?

Today it was "Rumsfeld's War" written by someone whose tongue is shoved so far... well, let's just say it's a loving portrayal of the principled genius (*snort*) whose hands are stained with the blood of hundreds of our soldiers as well as that of the innocent Iraqi civilians that he insists we're there to help. Right. The same hands that shook Saddam's back when he was the enemy of our enemy and we really didn't care if he butchered his own people.

I loathe what this man chooses to read, the lies he chooses to believe. If I was alone on the bus ride, I'd be sure to always have a book to whip out in protest - Franken, Ivins, Clarke - to hold up like a silver stake of truth against the screed. I want to be aggressive in my liberalness, in-your-face about my contempt for the "values" his reading material upholds.

But Sophie is with me so there are no dueling books today, though my eyes ache from the rolling.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Today's Scorecard

The Good...
Happy Birthday Eddy Arnold! I heard this morning on NPR that Eddy is 96 years old today - I never would have guessed he was still alive. Eddy is a country singer, GOOD country, not the Lee Greenwood/Toby Keith bullshit that passes for country music today. One of the first albums (yes, the vinyl kind) I ever owned was this one and I loved it. Loved his versions of Tom Dooley, Ballad of Davy Crockett, and especially Tennessee Stud. 96 and still countin'. Thanks Eddy.
The Tennesee Stud was long and lean
the color of the sun and his eyes were green
He had the nerve and he had the blood
And there never was a horse like the Tennessee Stud

The Bad...
Is W2 in the STRK column too much to ask? IS IT? Tigers lost to Minnesota, 4-3. Damn it.

The Ugly...
As good as the Good is and as bad as the Bad is, the Ugly is truly, disturbingly ugly. Seems we learned one lesson from Viet Nam. Don't let the people back home see the kids coming back from the war in body bags.... it's really bad for PR, and helps them remember that it's not just a video game, that there is a cost to our aggression that has to be paid in blood. So sadly, this story doesn't suprise me at all. It outrages me to near incoherence, but it doesn't surprise me.

A woman who had the audacity to take a photo of flag-draped coffins being loaded up to come back to the States has been fired. The photo was published on the front page of last Sunday's Seattle Times.

Land of the Free folks. Nothin' to see here.

Why do you hate America?

Move along, now. Go buy something.

Or else.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Ode to the Peep

You shine and sparkle with sugary goodness
yellow and blue and pink,
connected to your siblings like paper dolls,
marshmallow siamese quintuplets.

Package open and aged to perfection,
chewy and stale
you fill my mouth with wonder.

Oh peep peep peep
I cannot eat just one.
My blood glucose rises, crescendos, crashes...
And then you are gone
leaving but a few scattered crystals
and a memory of bliss.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

ReFocus Pocus

Talk about your bad timing... enabling comments right before I ran out of things to say. Honestly, I feel like I haven't had an interesting thought in my head for weeks, certainly nothing that's seemed blog-worthy.

And there, in a nutshell, is the problem. I've posted a few things that I really liked, that turned from just an observation of an event or how I was feeling on a certain day into something more, and now I've gotten myself into a space where I'm feeling like every time I write here there has to be a Point.

And that's not working for me at all. So I'm going to try getting back to the way I started... popping in here every day, however briefly, with a little something - pointless or no.

So for today, here's a great quote that resonated for me in my current state of baseball obsession. Yeah. I'm still there. The Tigers are playing .500 ball right now - not great, but so very much better than last year that it's still damn cool. But it's not just Tiger baseball I'm obsessed with, it's the whole sport, from Nathan's t-ball games to looking for cards on eBay to recommiting to my absolute loathing of the Yankees and everything they stand for. I'm reading, talking, watching, listening, dreaming, worrying, writing, and loving baseball. There is no end in sight.

What? Oh right. The quote. It's from Good Enough To Dream by Roger Kahn A really terrific read, it's the chronicle of the 1983 season of the Utica Blue Sox, the Class Single-A minor league ball club that Kahn bought into as President. Reading it has both made me want to buy my own minor league club and has shown me that doing so would likely be the death of me.

But the Blue Sox obsession, that we had to win, infected me as surely as it dominated Jim Gattis [the Blue Sox Manager]. I noted that a Korean passenger plane, Flight 007, had been shot down over Russian airspace, killing everyone aboard. I thought, One more move in the nuclear chess game that the United States and the Soviet Union play each day. That stress would pass. The real game was here at Murname Field, which had become the center of my world. The great issue was whether the Blue Sox won or lost. If that makes little sense in retrospect, it still was so for most of us during the final week of the season. We didn't want World War III to break out just then because it would have disrupted the pennant race.

I definitely relate. And goddess help me, it's only April.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Blah blah blah

I've enabled comments for anyone who's so inclined as to make use of 'em. If you can't be nice, at least try not to get me slapped with an FCC fine, okay?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The National Pastime

For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

Until his retirement after more than 30 years as the radio voice of the Detroit Tigers, Ernie Harwell began his opening day broadcast with these words from The Song of Solomon. It was, for me, the signal that spring had truly arrived, full of new beginnings and the possibility that this could be the year that we'd go all the way.

I love baseball. Many of my friends are mystified by this fact, but there it is. I love the history, the lore, the sound of a game being called on the radio. I love going to the ballpark, eating hotdogs, singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" with a lump in my throat. There are few things as satisfying as getting a successful wave started; double that if both decks manage it at the same time.

I've been a fan nearly as long as I can remember, and the team of my heart is, and will always be, the Tigers. Sure, I root for the Cubs (oh the heartbreak!), and now that we're in Seattle I've adopted the Mariners as my new hometown team (and have come to accept that my kids' primary alliance will be to the M's), but I will remain a die-hard Tiger fan until the day I snuff it - and probably beyond.

Sometimes it's easy. Memories of 1984 make my heart swell with pride even 20 years later (20 years!? Is that possible?). Sparky Anderson was manager and life was good. I lived and breathed baseball that summer, as the Tigers set a record for the best start in major league history (35-5), and then never looked back. We took the pennant and the World Series vs. the San Diego Padres in 5 games. Bless you, boys.

And sometimes, not so much. Last year was dismal, made bearable by only two things: 1) Alan Trammel, one of the best shortstops in Tiger history, and an incredibly decent man, came on as manager and 2) the boys rallied at the end of the season, winning 4 of their last 5 games to avoid the dubious record of having the most losses in a single season. They ended the season at 43-119, allowing the 1962 New York Mets (40-120) to keep their crown. Small miracles, but we'll take 'em.

The 2004 season started on Monday, and the Tigers opened it with a win. And not just any old squeaker of a win... a 7-0 shut-out of Toronto. Their follow-up victory on Tuesday brings it to a division-leading 2-0. Woo and hoo. And eternal optimist that I am (as all Tiger fans are required to be), I can't help but think "This is the year, baby! We're in the running! It could happen!"

As I've devoured sports news coverage for the last few days, I came across a statistic that gave me pause. The last time the Tigers were over .500 was April, 2001. I find that remarkable not only because it highlights just how bad it's been for Tiger fans, but also because it illustrates how in just a few years EVERYTHING can shift.

It's hard to believe how much has changed in our country since then, how dark and how full of loss the last three years have been. I have no doubt that history will look back on these times and shake its head at the unbridled greed and naked aggression of those currently in power. As a nation we've turned our back on compassion and social justice, spit in the face of the international community, and seriously weakened the democracy that has served us for over 200 years by allowing the government to pick and choose which civil liberties we get to keep.

And the death count keeps rising, both ours and theirs.

I think back to last year when I bought Mariner tickets at the beginning of the season. The march to war had begun, but the first battles had not yet been fought and I was very worried about the potential for terrorist attacks at home. 9-11 notwithstanding, we've remained relatively untouched by the random and frequent violence that other countries contend with as part of everyday life, but with the policies we pursue, I have to believe, with much dread, that our time will come again.

Feeling as I did at the time, I wondered if it was a fools errand to be buying those tickets, one game in every month of the season. If we were attacked, I certainly wouldn't be taking my family to watch a baseball game, gathering with tens of thousand of other sitting ducks in a juicy, visible target.

But then the Tiger optimism kicked in. I decided that getting the tickets would be my act of faith in the face of fear, my declaration of intent to the Universe to keep on keepin' on. I hoped the Universe would respond with kindness. Thankfully, it did.

And now here we are, a new baseball season upon us. Our government continues its destructive policies, seemingly unable or unwilling to learn from past mistakes. The violence grows, the atrocities multiply, and that anxiety is stronger than ever. Going over bridges, riding public transportation (as I do nearly every day), gathering with large numbers of people... I worry. I ache for the families of those who have died, and for those who undoubtedly will - theirs and ours.

I hold my kids close and shower them with kisses and hope that the world they are growing into will be better than the one they see now. Together we look forward to the first Mariner game of the season we'll attend in a couple of weeks.

2004. The election year is upon us and the stakes have never been higher. What happens over the course of this summer and fall will define us in the eyes of the world and set our future trajectory. Healing and community or might makes right? Liberty and justice for all or I've got mine and I'm taking yours too? The 1984 dream season or the despair of 2003?

I'd like to think that this great start by my Tigers portends a turning of the tide, that we're coming to the end of a dark, dark run of luck into the light of reason and sanity. As bad as things look right now, the world can turn on a dime and one fantastic double-play can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. In a final burst of optimism, there's one more statistic I'd like to share. The last time the Tigers started out with a 2-0 record on the road was... 1984.

This could be the year.