Blue Jays 10, Orioles 7, Mustard 1!

For context, especially about my sheer elation at Mustard winning a race, see here

I do a lot of things by myself.  Most of the time I am fine with that. It allows me to meander, to lollygag, perchance to dilly-dally. It’s fine.

There was something about going to a baseball game alone that took “quirky loner” dangerously close to “anti-social and pathetic.” I went anyway. The universe rewarded this brave act with a beautiful day and with “David.” I had the best time I have ever had at a baseball game.

It was Kids’ Opening Day, and so there were lots and lots of kids. This was good. These are my people. It was going to be fine.

I settled into my seat next to a family with a boy, about seven years old. He commented on every pitch, knew something about every batter, and was a whiz at checking the scoreboard when he didn’t know something.  He kept an eye on the scores of other teams, especially the Red Sox / Yankees game. The best thing about him was that he was full of joy. We chatted like we’d known each other for years and that joy was infectious. Except for the fact that the Toronto Blue Jays won, it was a perfect day.

David predicted Adam Jones was about to hit a home run, and Adam Jones hit a home run. He predicted another batter would strike out, and the batter struck out. He was on a roll.

He was wearing a Steve Pearce jersey. I’ve been considering buying a Steve Pearce jersey! He danced to every song. I taught him the Y-M-C-A dance.  He was thrilled when the Wave started.

Every time there was a bugle/”Charge” he wanted it to be a double “Charge,” for his sister. Because she likes  double “Charge”! The Oriole Bird visited.  Foul balls came into our section about four times — one landing in the glove of the man right in front of David’s father. The cameraman came by and David and his dad were up on the big screen!  The frozen lemonade vendor came by. Frozen lemonade is his favorite!  I love lemonade! When the condiment races started, he cheered . . . “MUSTARD”!  We cheered together.  I took video and it’s almost worthwhile to hear his pure joy, but there must be something that prevents recording because the video itself is worthless.  Nonetheless, Mustard won!bird

I told David that I always cheer for Mustard and I was happy when he did. He said he always cheers for Ketchup but for some reason today it felt like Mustard would win. I am not making that up.

His family asked if he was bothering me. I told them he was making my day. It was fine. They said he’d just told them he made a new friend.

Besties. For nine innings, we were besties.

At the seventh inning stretch, the family went for a walk and an unpleasant man brought his family to sit in their seats. This wasn’t fine. David wasn’t there for “Thank God I’m A Country Boy,” and I figured they’d found somewhere else to sit. But they came back, and Unpleasant Man left with minor disruption. It was fine again.

 At some point in the middle of all this, I remembered last season when I’d decided I would buy season tickets and would go even if it were by myself.  I’d rather do something alone than be with someone who’s not having fun. But when it came down to the day, it didn’t seem fine.

I also thought about the justification for new rules to speed up the pace of the play, one such justification being that it would appeal more to children. When I asked David how he knew so much about baseball, he said he learned it from watching with his granddad and his dad. He spent well over three hours completely thrilled and in the moment, not once playing with any sort of electronic device or showing any sign of boredom. I think he could have lasted longer, completely happy. When things were quiet, he found something in the stadium that was interesting: the new broadcast station’s logo, the clock that enforces the new rules, a bird circling over head. Something tells me that left to his own devices, he would find joy in meandering, lollygagging, or dilly-dallying.

I went to the ball game alone and was rewarded with the gift of seeing it through a child’s eyes. I had the best time I have ever had at a ball game. It was more than fine.

 Have you ever pushed yourself outside your comfort zone and been glad you did?

In the forecast this weekend: men swinging sticks.

Every interfaith relationship inevitably has its moments of compromise. Moments when the passionate beliefs of One must yield to accommodate the passionate beliefs of The Other. This is the story of one such occasion for one such relationship.

I wish I could tell you more, but One–or maybe the Other— does not want to be written about, not even under a pseudonym, such as One or the Other.It’s too bad, too, because One or the Other. is one of the most unintentionally funny people I have ever known.

Right now, for example, a mystery I call Operation Black Bean is underway. Last night we discovered that we were both avoiding the black jelly beans left over from Easter. (Even people of differing faith can agree that black jelly beans are icky.) Today, sixteen black jelly beans are strategically lined up on the deck railing. I know there is a purpose to this. I just don’t know for sure what it is. That is what makes it entirely fascinating and/or amusing. I do know enough to wait for the mystery to reveal itself and then it will be funny and I will laugh. On the inside.

His Campaign Against Lazy Bees is another story that would probably have you in stitches. But among the worthwhile life lessons I learned from my father, who was NotElvis (a pseudonym, by the way), the top three are

  1. “Lefty loosy, righty tighty”
  2. “Measure twice, cut once,” and
  3. “It’s not nice to laugh at someone who is being unintentionally funny.”

You’ll just have to take my word for it:  the lazy bee thing was hilarious.

bird dancing

Life ain’t nothin’ but a funny, funny riddle!

As with many interfaith relationships, we respect each other’s core beliefs. In our case, our respective deities are grown men who swing sticks at balls while faithful followers look on. Where we differ is in the details.

While he doesn’t understand the bonding rituals of a large bird dancing to “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” or cheering for one’s favorite condiment in the animated races on the scoreboard, or the charm of Adam Jones delivering a pie to the face, try as I might, I cannot appreciate the finer points of yelling at a ball to “Get in the hole!” or “Baba-bouie!” or last weekend’s “Mashed potatoes!” Oh, yeah? And cheering for Mustard is stupid?

He believes Tiger Woods could stand at home plate and hit a ball clear out of the stadium with very little effort. I believe it would add a degree of difficulty if someone were throwing the ball directly at Tiger at upwards of 90 miles per hour. We have spent more than a little time considering which viewpoint is more valid. And then Mustard and Ketchup are off to the races and we drop the whole pointless discussion.

Baba-bouie!

Baba-bouie!

This weekend our beliefs collide and one will have to concede, to accommodate the other. I will give away the first of my season tickets to Orioles Sunday home games or he will pass on the pollen-free opportunity to watch men swinging sticks at balls at the Masters Tournament from the comfort of the living room couch.

What will it be?

The beautifully landscaped, azalea-lined grounds of Augusta in HD 4K or the view from the first-base line of glorious Oriole Park at Camden Yards?

Peanuts and Crackerjacks or pizza delivery?

“Get in the hole!” or “MUSTARD! MUSTARD! MUSTARD!”

I don’t know for sure. Either way it’s shaping up to be fun.

For now, though, please excuse me. I’m going to go see a guy about some jelly beans.

Also….Let’s go O’s.

From here to Vernazza

It started out like any other weekday and then…boom… a chance encounter with a typical downtown pothole. Thank you, Winter That Will Not End.

One thing led to another and eventually I found myself sitting in the repair shop “lounge,” while behind the scenes a team of people crunched the numbers on just how important — in dollar amounts–it was to me to get on with my day.

While I waited, transported by the dreamy crooning of Barry Manilow circa 1977, I checked email.

The day was about to change for the better.

Much better.

There in the inbox were not just one but two messages that would make this more than a typical Wednesday.

First was the message from the publisher. They loved the manuscript of Hippie Cahier, The Missing Years. An Unauthorized Autobiography.

Yes!

Time to celebrate…just as soon as the car is. ..

Wait!

The next message: “Forget stupid winter. Join us in Italy.”

Of course. That was it! I would go to Italy!!

So here I am, less than 24 hours later, sitting at my desk and totally making this up.

But wouldn’t it be nice?

 

 

 

Why I’m boycotting boycotting (and why it’s ok if you do or don’t).

Judging by one of Twitter’s trending hashtags this morning, today we’re boycotting Indiana.  I regret to inform you that my understanding of the underlying issue is intentionally uninformed. While I am sure I should care deeply and passionately, and it is my duty to whomever is offended by whatever it is that Indiana lawmakers have done, I have my own struggles to deal with: winter weight gain, inter-season wardrobe problems, a social engagement that I’d completely forgotten about.

Things are tough. Needless to say, I’m maxed out on righteous indignation. So, I’m just going to go with the understanding that Indiana is on Twitter’s bad side this morning — and btw, India, you’re on Twitter’s less literate bad side (I saw #BoycottIndia and — I am sorry — laughed out loud).

I can tell you that  I vow not to visit Indiana today, or for that matter India. In the interest of full disclosure, this is not an expression of solidarity, although I am sure, based on  the apparently unanimous outrage, that solidarity is called for. It’s just that I have this thing this evening that I’d forgotten about and so there’s no time for me to do anything Indiana (or India) related. I don’t have a thing to wear that fits and that says, “Yes, it’s Spring, but it’s FREEZING.”

Still, I am sure it is the American thing to do to take a stand with whomever is offended by the hell that Indiana hath wrought because that’s what the masses tell me is the cool thing to do. Judging by the clever Photoshop memes and the fact that even poor spellers are offended, it is bad. So shame on you, all of Indiana. Every single one of you. From now until the next trending boycott hashtag, I shall not visit Indiana.

As an aside, it took years for me to get over a boycott of that subset of Indiana known as Indianapolis. Eventually, and not without great personal turmoil and struggle, not to mention that my sainted father had shuffled off this mortal coil, it was Peyton Manning who (unwittingly) coaxed me into cheering for the Colts, albeit only in games where the Ravens had no stake.  Wouldn’t you know that it was also Peyton who allowed me to move on from a nearly lifelong boycott of all things Denver? (See Irsay v. Anyone Who Grew Up Loving the Baltimore Colts and Elway v. Anyone From Baltimore, et al.,  U.S. Court of  Rather Unfavorable Public Opinion).  What Peyton Manning has taught me, other than that Nationwide is on my side, is that eventually you have to let go of someone else’s grudge. It was freeing. This is my way of saying this: That Peyton Manning. Isn’t he adorable? But I digress. . . 

Learning to look at this picture without cringing has been part of My Journey. Thank you, Peyton. (Photo: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports)

Learning to look at this picture without cringing has been part of My Journey. Thank you, Peyton. (Photo: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports)

Earlier this week, or maybe it was last week, Elton John told us all  to boycott Dolce & Gabbana because Dolce, or maybe Gabbana, or maybe a guy named Hervé in Accounting, said something offensive. It is, of course, wrong to say something offensive, unless you’re arguing in favor of freedom of speech, in which case, it’s perfectly American to say something offensive, unless you’re Elton John, in which case, I’m completely lost inside this argument. Let’s just go with this: Elton right, Hervé wrong.

For the duration of that tiff, I am proud to admit that I did not buy a Dolce & Gabbana gown, not even off the rack. It would have been un-American not to join in solidarity with Sir Elton. The man didn’t write “Philadelphia Freedom” — not to mention  invade our brains with “Crocodile Rock” — only to be completely ignored by us Yankees in his time of need.

Also in the interest of full disclosure, my favorite perfume happens to be Dolce & Gabbana. It’s the only perfume that doesn’t give me a headache, except for when someone around me bathes herself in it and we’re stuck in an elevator together. When I found out Hervé had offended Sir Elton, I was a bit distraught. I can proudly tell you that I did not wear it for the duration of the boycott hashtag. Mostly because I was running late in the mornings this week and just pretty much forgot it. But please don’t tell Elton, or for that matter, Hervé. This thing is for them and their Twitter followers to hash  out.

While I’m fully disclosing left and right, I should tell you that I’ve stopped going to Chic-Fil-A.  I wish I could tell you this is staunch support of my friends who are offended by the underlying religious nature of the corporate structure or the beliefs expressed by its owners or some guy named Harvey in Accounting, but to be entirely honest, for the duration of that boycott, I was desperately waiting for it all to be over so I could savor a #1 with waffle fries and a lemonade. I don’t go to Chic-Fil-A anymore for three reasons: (1) I saw Food, Inc. and I can’t get it out of my head when I’m approaching any fast food establishment; (2) dietary restrictions imposed by my doctor, who, I am ready to peevishly admit,  was spot on about what certain ingredients  were doing to my joints; and  (3) Chic-Fil-A cravings have always manifested on Sundays, proof that God wants me to listen to my doctor.

 So there you have it. I lack the passion and commitment and righteous indignation to join the boycotting bandwagon. About the only thing I’m fully committed to boycotting is the word ‘boycott,’ because, I mean, come on. How sexist can you get? Why can’t it be ‘girlcott’ or ‘personcott’ or ‘carbon-based-life-formcott’? Boycott? Really,  America? I’m offended.

You can join me in boycotting ‘boycott’ or not. I won’t will try not to judge. But if you do, we’ll be meeting up for a rally at a Chic-Fil-A in Indiana next week. Please wear Dolce & Gabbana. Number 18 optional.

U.S. Secret Service to build mock White House called “Dave’s Place.”

This week U.S. Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy presented the agency’s budget proposal to  the  House Appropriations Committee. Essentially, deleting a lot of “factual stuff” here,  he made the case that many of the agency’s recent blunders are due in part to inadequate training facilities and so, naturally, we should build a replica White House, you know,  for training purposes.

According to The New York Times, the budget also requests funds “to renovate a ‘live-fire shoot house’ and to repair and enhance a ‘tactical village’ training site that aims to recreate a city street environment.”

Presumably neither currently has a sufficiently appointed man-cave that also serves to impress the ladies. One wonders if the tactical village  renovation will include a replica of Cartagena, Colombia’s Hotel Caribe. Let’s face it: that whole thing was a major disaster that clearly demonstrates the need for better training. Lots of it. Am I right, fellas?

Bygones.

I borrowed this image from the Washingtonian because   my own image collection is inexplicably lacking in pictures of Colombian ladies of the night. It's an illustration by someone or something named "Gluekit." I don't know what that means.

I borrowed this image from the Washingtonian because my own image collection is inexplicably lacking in pictures of Colombian escorts. It’s an illustration by someone or something named “Gluekit.” I don’t know what that means.

Let’s get  back to the mock White House, shall we?

At first blush, $8 million seemed like a lot of pesos.* I was a bit taken aback, befuddled, you might even say, ‘aghast.’  Well, you might not say ‘aghast,’ but I would because it’s fun to say. Try it.

Anyway . . . $8 million? How many homeless children could this feed, and clothe, and teach to read and write?

It didn’t take me long to get on board with this idea, though. Here’s what I’m thinking:

For one thing, this is bound to attract those confused tourists who wander cluelessly around town, usually standing to the left on the Metro escalators—which, if you ask me, should be at least a misdemeanor—and who have been known to point at the U.S. Capitol and say to their charges, in all parental authority, “There’s the White House.” (I’m not making that up. I witnessed it myself. This is why I feel overly qualified to toss about the term “aghast,” all willy-nilly and such. I have no reasonable explanation for tossing about the terms “willy-nilly” or “and such,” other than it amuses me.)

Think about it: those people vote.

So all those people hop on a train, hop off near the faux White House,  inconveniencing no one as they block the escalators all willy-nilly and such, stopping at faux food trucks, picking up faux tee-shirts and other faux tchotchkes, and really, they’re none the wiser, unless they try to hop the fence during a live-shooting exercise. But you really shouldn’t do that anyway, so. . . .

Further, and along those same lines of thinking, since we’re putting  $ 20,596,261,778.49 COP into this live-action manly-man video game, there has to be some return on investment for the American people. To turn a profit, let’s make it a live-action video game for everyone: I’m thinking a bed-and-breakfast kind of thing.

If this is going to be an authentic and exact replica of the White House, it’s going to need people inside. I say we get a faux Commander-In-Chief to live there. I’m thinking  that guy who’s been seen around town who looks just like the President. We’ll call him Dave.

(I’m not entirely convinced it isn’t the President. It will not surprise me in the least when his memoirs come out and he writes about that day he ran into me on the street corner, because it’s kind of hard to keep such a momentous occasion a secret for too long.)

To avoid too much confusion, the faux White House should have a different name, something that appeals to middle America.

Something comfortable and cozy. Something man-cavey. I propose “Dave’s Place.”

For a reasonable rate that compares favorably to any downtown DC family establishment, and after you sign the proper personal injury release forms, Dave and the faux First Family will host you and your family to overnight lodging with complimentary continental breakfast, nightly tuck-in service, all the bells and whistles.  Also included in your package, ten minutes a day sitting behind the desk in the faux Oval Office, signing legislation or stamping vetoes or launching nuclear missiles for fun and games. The deluxe package will allow you to spend a luxury evening at a faux State dinner, where you’ll mingle with faux celebrities and faux world leaders. Choose your own, or allow Dave to choose for you, from Marilyn Monroe to Special Agent Elvis Presley. The Honeymoon Package will, of course, allow the special couple to stay in the faux Lincoln bedroom suite, because let’s face it, nothing says “romance” like Abe’s heart-shaped hot tub.

Kind of a little bit Disney, a little bit Sandals, but with the added adventure of federal agents shooting at you. I’m telling you, this could be big.

At first I was aghast, but now I am totally on board with this.  Please call your Congress-person** and have them vote thumbs-up for Dave’s Place.

White House South Lawn on  Friday at lunch hour.

Dave’s Place will look just like this.

*As I write this, 8 million USD equals 20,596,261,778.49 COP, or Colombian pesos. I knew you would be wondering, perhaps even enough to search for this footnote.

**If you’re not a U.S. resident, call any Congress-person. It won’t matter. You’ll get an intern who’s busy tweeting anyway.