kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pas de deux

When I think of famous pairs, I think of Lunt and Fontanne, Beavis and Butthead, Mick and Keith, Buck and Bubbles, Abbott and Costello, Heloise and Abelard, Gilbert and Sullivan, and Fred and Ginger. And, of course, of Paul and Woody. (I've switched their names in order to protect their identities.)

I had the good luck of looking up an old pal on the Internet (which is now on computer!), tracked him down, and it turned out he and another friend of his (and mine) were coming to Cincinnati, to see the Reds turn in whatever pathetic performance they might muster against a team--with the possible exception of the Phillies (see below)--with almost nothing but a glorious history of pathetic performances. They got me a ticket, I drove down, and we caught up. Great weather, interesting conversation, a less than riveting ballgame, and they paid for everything. How cool is that?

Typically, all of us had lost a bunch of hair, gained a bit of weight, and we were wiser indeed (but with so much further to go). I first met Woody in 1975, when he was a naïve, enthusiastic freshman; I met his friend Paul--who is, more or less, still a naïve, enthusiastic freshman--a bit later. I hadn't seen either of them for about 20 years, but as has been pointed out by many others, perhaps a good sign of friendship is that one can step back into these conversations without missing a beat. These two make a point, each summer, of visiting a different ballpark and taking in a game (or three), a fine idea, very much following in the footsteps of the afore-mentioned Heloise and Abelard.

In addition to catching up on mutual friends and what they had done (and to whom), we discussed important things, such as identifying the three rivers that meet at Pittsburgh to give their old ballpark its name; to see if I could name, from memory, the starting 9 of the 1967 St. Louis Cardinals (I could); and the role of unions in a global economy (here Woody started sounding like he had spent too much time paying attention to certain kinds of law professors).

The day was great, capped off by Paul's idea of walking on the wild side: appetizers and/or dessert at Applebee's. Eatin' good in the neighborhood. It was like hanging with Tupac and Notorious B.I.G..

It was a most enjoyable time, and reminded me of how important both old and new friends are to making our way through this particular spatio-temporal fragment of the cosmos. I think the entire experience can be encapsulated by the moment Paul looked at me, after a brief, contemplative silence, and asked slowly, carefully, and thoughtfully:

Kurt, do you respect knuckleballers?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Hero

While I've been teaching a course on film, I've gotten to read some interesting things, and watch (or re-watch) some very great movies. Somehow this got left off of my top 10 list, but I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

R.W. Emerson and the Phillies

Sunday night, July 15 2007, the Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Phillies to hand the Phillies their 10,000th loss.

I know Emerson said a "foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," but I think people don't give this franchise sufficient credit. They have one World Series title (a bit flukish, to my mind) in 1980, beating a better but very inexperienced Kansas City Royals team. Tug McGraw doesn't thrown one under Brett's chin, which apparently got into his head? Willie Wilson doesn't set the World Series strikeout record? Maybe it goes otherwise.

Other than than, they've had Carlton (bad trade from the Cardinals), Richie Ashburn, Grover Cleveland Alexander (whose greatest moment came in the 1926 Series, for the Cardinals); Mike Schmidt, that guy who bet on baseball and was banned for life, John Kruk and various other mullets, Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams (best known for giving up the Series-winning walk-off homerun to ex-Cub Joe Carter), and a couple of other guys (who remembers Billy Hamilton?) They also seemed to have their fair share of jerks: the betting guy, Darren Daulton, Larry Bowa, and, of course, their fans.

Other than that, they've sucked for a really long time, and for much of that time, they really sucked. I think one should admire consistency when one sees it, and with the Phillies, they've really sucked for a really long time. How bad do you have to be to need a 1,900+ game winning streak to get to .500? To lead the Cubs by 400+ losses?

I like to think 10,000 losses is 100 seasons with 100 losses each season. Admittedly, the Philllies started sucking before 1907, so there is that. But for a good part of that time, they only had a chance to lose 154, not 162, games.

The Phillies website notes

No one could have realized it at the time, but when the Phillies were formed in 1883, history was in the making. Now, as the 21st century begins, the Phillies are the oldest, continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional sports.

That is one of the finest statements that the glass is half-full of water I have ever seen.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Quick One

If you go down to my post for April 1, I wrote this:

Biggio gets his 3,000 hit with his team 14.5 games out of first. Sounds just to me.

It turns out the Astros were 13.5 games out of first when Biggio got his 3,000 hit.

Sorry for the mistake.