Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Picnic and Athletic Ineptitude

“I just want to play ball.”

Everyone was there … cousins Tom, Dick, Bob, Bill, Jimmy, Ken, … ; uncles Bob, John, Louis, Rudy, … ; even cousins Kathy, Betty, Joan and Barb . We were all milling about, waiting for the food. The rain had chased us to my aunt and uncle’s garage.

We lacked athletic ability. None of my generation had received even freshman numerals. This, however,  kept no-one from participating in our slow-pitch softball game. The uncles were as interested in playing as the cousins; perhaps because the game was an activity that could almost be called exercise.

Today’s outing, the last one of this season, had been planned for weeks. Its dawning with dark, threatening clouds
Credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos
dismayed me, but I quickly adapted an attitude of willful disbelief.

I was looking to not only play softball, I was also looking for  redemption, for last time   I had seriously screwed up. In the final inning I made a mental error, allowing several runs to score. In our at-bat, I struck out to end the game – could one be any more inept?

This bothered me. A lot. And I needed a real, lived reason to believe I was not the completely inept athlete I was sinking into believing I was.

“Scattered showers all day, particularly over the northern part of the city.” My heart leaped; we were going to the southern part.

Mom and several aunts conferred about having the picnic. I could not bring myself to lobby for it. I feared having to fess up to feeling inept.

“It’s only a game.”

“But my error … “

“It’s only a game.”

“I struck out!”

I was not up to that again. Finally, “Well, let’s give it a go.” My cloudiness lifted, as though this decision negated the threat of bad weather.

We had barely begun when the first rain fell. It soaked us instantly, reduced the infield to a mess of mud and water, and left the rest of the ball-field a mess of sodden grass

As fast as that happened, those not playing picked up the entire set of picnic apparatus and  moved it to the garage: the lawn chairs, the coolers, the long folding tables with red and white checkered tablecloths. Three grills were going, one with hamburgers, some with cheese, some without. The second grill cooked hot dogs, bratwurst and, my personal favorite, Polish Sausage. A two burner electric hot plate contained two pots, one heating home-made Calico beans and the other German Potato salad.

American potato salad completed the menu. Unless you count the corn-on-the-cob. One could have a wonderful enough picnic without roasted corn-on-the-cob, but we never did.

Music blared getting the bodies of my aunts and uncles moving to the rhythm … music from Laurence Welk, Liberace, Benny Goodman, some Jazz from Stan Goetz thrown in, and some good ol’ fashion polka music.

The odors of it all mixed nicely with the music, getting not only one’s taste buds and olfactory gland in high gear, but also getting some of the older generation actually executing some nice dance moves on the garage floor. “Yahoo!” “Lookin’ good!”

I did not respond; perhaps the music was not to my taste. Although my olfactory senses were sharp, and I liked to eat, the aromas and sights did not raise my spirits. Even the Polish, along with corn on the cob oozing with melted butter, failed to do that. Perhaps I realized the salvation I so desperately needed would have to wait until a still more distant next time.
If you would like to comment but don't care to use the comment field, send an email to  walter.comments@inkfounta.in.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Hannibal is a Little Bit Deathnote

I just finished watching the latest episode of Hannibal, and thought about what I like about it.  How did it not occur to me until now?  Not only does Hannibal have an anti-hero, but it's named after him.

Wikipedia gives the classical definition of an anithero:
"...a leading character in a film, book or play who lacks the traditional heroic qualities..."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Oh, How I Admire Her

She and I‘ve shared a life
Lo, these many days …
Months … years.

She’d encourage;
She’d challenge me;
Sometimes she’d challenge
when I was not in the mood
But she was not deterred.
Perhaps especially when I was not in the mood,
Knowing, no doubt,
That’s when I really needed it.

She always knew more
Than she had any business knowing.
How was that?

I’d wonder, “How’d she know that?”
“An old soul,” a friend of hers said.
Spiritual insight.

It was scary;
I got used to it.

And she lives for others
Giving freely what she can
Always caring.

A saint, you think?
I dunno.
She is my helpmate,
My friend for life,
My wife.

If you would like to comment but don't care to use the comment field, send an email to  walter.comments@inkfounta.in.

Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Engender Innovation

The other day I was with friends, and one of them did something curious.  Curious to me that is.  I honestly wanted to know why she did it that way, so I asked.  That was my first mistake.  She promptly told me she was, "...in no mood to argue."

You see, it took me a long time to figure out that my female friends don't like to be disagreed with, and even longer to learn that they call disagreement 'arguing'.  Now she had me stumped yet again.  I hadn't disagreed or argued.  As the night wore on, she eventually relaxed enough from my transgression to explain to me that she meant that she, "...doesn't like to be questioned about everything she does".

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cathedrals and Churches IV

 As I have done several times recently
this week I am promoting the upcoming website of my friend, and self-professed Catholic Geek, Travis by previewing pictures of churches and cathedrals that he is going to be featuring on his site. This time it's two churches local to the Twin Cities.

Church of Saint Charles Borromeo
St Anthony, MN

This large but simple worship space is crowned by a vast dome lit by eight sets of three lightly colored windows. The lack of ornament accentuates the simple and evocative power of color.

This mural rests above an elegant stone high altar and statuary scene. The nave is exceptionally narrow – focusing one’s attention immediately on this image.

Mural of Christ
Church of Saint Thomas More
( p.k.a. Church of Saint Luke )
Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN

If you get a chance, even if you're not into churches but, perhaps, "just" art or architecture, stop by one  or both of these.
If you would like to comment but don't care to use the comment field, send an email to  walter.comments@inkfounta.in.

Monday, April 14, 2014

When You Need a Lyft

The other day I was late for work.  No, no; it's true.  It's a long story, but I found myself five minutes away from work in the middle of nowhere.  No houses or businesses for a mile.  Reaching for my trusty cell phone, I did what I only do in case of emergency; I called a cab.

Not for the first time, the cab company failed me.  This time it was for an unexpected reason.  They said that they only serve addresses.  That's their decision, and with no addresses nearby, I was out of luck.  An hour later I showed up at work, and when I got some free time, I started looking for a better way.  I found one.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


"I now pronounce you dead as a door-nail. Goodbye good friend."

No, please, don't get out the mourning materials and sympathy card for me ... although I do appreciate the thoughts. What died is my computer; suddenly; unexpectedly; without warning. I had another computer "death," about which I recently wrote ( see http://www.inkfounta.in/2013/08/techie-writer-writer-techie_21.html ), but that was slow, gradual, and the computer never did actually die. I replaced it before it had the chance ... so if I could not find important files it was because I was careless ( or, perhaps, better, "stupid;" you decide ); the computer still lived when I replaced it. This time I had no warning, and I was dependent on the backup regimen that every good techie has.

As of this moment, my replacement computer has been in my hands for a day less than two weeks and I was on retreat ( about which I'll likely write in a future post ) for three-plus days after receiving the computer. We also replaced my wife's computer, I am the senior techie in our house and responsible for such things, so I am still recovering.

I had a good backup regimen in place ( like every good techie ), so I recovered almost all my data. But, there are many little, free utilities that I had installed to make my life easier. It seems like every time I try to do something else, I realize I am missing one of these. Finding, downloading and installing has taken a chunk out of my productivity and the edge off my generally positive attitude. 

And that, friends, is ( at least in part ) why you are reading about my technical travail rather than, for example, my silent, preached, retreat at a Jesuit retreat facility near here. 
If you would like to comment but don't care to use the comment field, send an email to  walter.comments@inkfounta.in.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Independent Thinkers Need not Apply

A friend recently suggested that we go along with Okcupid's suggestion that we all boycott Firefox because it is made by Mozilla, which is run by a man who personally opposes gay marriage.  This was the first I'd heard of it.  My first thought was, "Why should I care?"  Personally, I don't care about Okcupid's opinion on gay rights anymore than I care about Brendan Eich's.

After brief consideration, I realized do care.  I care a lot.  How dare they attack someone's place of business just for employing someone who has a viewpoint they disagree with.  No one is even suggesting that he is using his position to further that belief in any way.  Mozilla is an innocent bystander.