Anything but boring

…what I see is not chaos but home. A prose style that interrupts itself, that can’t seem to make up its mind, promises me the thing that I open a book looking for: a friend. That friend might be insufferable (Hello, Mickey Sabbath!) or maniacally self-involved (Bonjour, Marcel!), but what she won’t be, her parentheses assure me, is distant, withholding.

~ Ben Dolnick from, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/opinion/parentheses-coronavirus-writing.html

Say what you will about the Times—no really, go ahead, I’ll wait—but I am frequently glad that I keep the old Grey Lady in my RSS reader. skip skip skip skip yawn skip and then oh-hello! This piece is fun, and his perceptions about parentheticals and asides is something along with which I nod. (I shall torture my mother-tongue as I see fit.) Meanwhile, if I can get you to say, “not boring”—my goal isn’t so low, but while aiming for the stars I’ll settle for it—if ever asked to assess my blog. (Yeup, that sentence is broken just to make you read it multiple times.) A few days ago I was talking about texting. Today’s ramble through the brambles—is that a movie title? …it should be—feels like a postscript to my bit about how texting, (in it’s various forms,) slots in as sub conversation but supra full-on prose. Because I feel that my writing is as close as I can get to having a conversation… if you were a blind mute whom I couldn’t see.

End of line.

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Baseball

If I stick with it, however, my mind eventually downshifts — quieting the noisy neuronal clamoring for easy entertainment, and leaving instead an unencumbered attention of a type that I often seek in my work.

~ Cal Newport from, https://www.calnewport.com/blog/2015/04/11/deep-habits-listen-to-baseball-on-the-radio/

Once or thrice I’ve heard a baseball game on the radio. This would have been back in the 80’s when with some neighborhood friends—brothers, whose father was a plumber—we’d occasionally ride to a baseball game. The kind of game where we were playing as kids; semi-organized little league games at random churches’ baseball fields scattered around the Pennsylvania rolling hills. A homerun into left-field was in the graveyard and into right-field was in the corn field. I can’t convey in writing what it sounded like riding in the truck with the radio on; some combination of a monotonous announcer with a touch of crowd noise, a big ‘ol truck engine—this was the plumbing truck full of plumbing supplies in the back—a 5-speed manual floor shift and 3 rowdy kids with the windows rolled down and the smell of fields and manure and baseball gloves.

I think I had something else to say about baseball and focus when I started typing. But I forget what it was.

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Dam!

If memory serves, this was shot from the new-ish highway bridge that carries the interstate above the canyon. I love the complexity of how everything is all jammed down into the canyon.

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Let’s grab a kayak

Let’s grab a kayak to Quincy or Nyack
Let’s get away from it all

~ Lyrics by Tom Adair

The secret to life, of course, is to first get away from it all, then grab that kayak. Because wherever I go, there I find myself. The things that one wants to “get away from” are all things over which you exclusively have control. That stack of papers that should be filed… This mountain of debt… That broken air conditioning… Even really hard things like mortgages, needy pets, frenemies, toxic family members… you are in control of how you act and how you assess those things.

Have you truly and honestly examined the things in your life which are weighing on your mind?

You have? Great! That’s the easy part.

The hard part? Let go. Toss things out of your life. Realize the hearse has no luggage rack. 15,000 years from now nothing you did or worried about will matter at all. You have exactly this one lifetime. Apprehend why each thing is in your life and appreciate it, right now. Build things up. Help people. Create. …we humans are creatures meant for social interaction, of course. But no regrets. No could’a should’a would’a.

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Our responsibility

We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.

~ Richard Feynman