Are We Serious?

The earth has been in existence for three billion years, so they say. Recently, give or take a few hundred thousand years, our species has come up with answers to all the problems our planet is facing. It’s like until we showed up to manage things, the entire world was at risk of being annihilated.  So how are we doing? The human race has a self-centered smugness that infers our planet isn’t going to make it unless we assist, guide it so to speak, or act as some kind of steward.

We may think we can manage the earth but the reality is that it pretty much does what it wants, when it wants. As example: when was the last time we stopped an earthquake, changed the direction of an approaching hurricane, or made it rain for a hundred days in the Sahara desert? Don’t get me wrong –we are certainly capable of messing up the natural order of things – like dumping chemicals in a river, running raw sewage into the ocean, or inflicting wars on our species. So we can do a better job of managing that. The other stuff, I’m not so sure.

There may come a day when we’ll be able to control the weather, make arid areas fertile, and put an end to pollution. I think that time is getting close…right after every country loses interest in waging war and building nuclear weapons. Oh yeah, and after we figure out how to make some interest on our investments so we can survive the future financially. Looks like a pretty sure thing to me…

Book Review: The Red Serpent by Larry Merris

It was Jean Marchaud’s dogged persistence that got him into trouble more than any other trait. Persistence turns into obsession when his world is shattered by unspeakable tragedy, his sense of well-being shaken to the core by unexplained events and a force so invasive it has tainted every level of government, business, and religion worldwide. Now a race to stop the bloodletting begins. In bizarre quirks of fate, Marchaud’s association with an old Interpol cohort, an alluring philologist, an ex-Mossad rabbi, and a powerful Jewish family becomes the mission to unravel a triad of ancient enigmas. Together they must battle their way through Europe, outwit assassins, and defend against overwhelming foes. One will survive an actual death experience; most will make it back But can they convince nations to aid them in their quest? What happens if they run out of time? And how do they mastermind the phenomenon that can change civilization forever?

via Book Review: The Red Serpent by Larry Merris.

Why Don’t I Like Baseball…?

They call it the great American pastime. Frankly, I can’t understand the fascination with watching nine men on a hot summer day trying to hit a ball zinging towards them at ninety-eight miles per hour. Nor do I understand a season that begins in March and doesn’t end until late October, during which no less than one hundred and sixty-two games are played. Please understand I have attended some high-profile games in my life: summer of ’62, Washington Senators versus the New York Yankees at DC Stadium, Whitey Ford pitching, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris at bat. What do I remember from that game? Summer in Washington, hotter than hell, unbearably long, and couldn’t wait for the game to be over. In retrospect I saw some pretty great players, but at the time they were nothing special to me.

As a kid I tried out for Little League.  My mother, having been a pretty formidable athlete in her own right, convinced the coach to try me out for pitcher. First pitch, batter hits a line drive right to my head.  I’m practically out cold and crying like a baby as I limp off the field. As a teenager I tried out for Teener League.  I’m catching, the batter swings and lets the bat fly – in my face of course – resulting in several stitches above my eye. Again, not a good start. The next year during tryouts a fast ball hits my right thumb and my hand swells up like a grapefruit. I’m convinced that baseball is a curse!

Now for a little more background. I was an unwitting baseball brat.  My mother played semi-pro women’s baseball similar to that proclaimed in the film with Geena Davis as “A League of Their Own.” I was the team mascot, or the team pain-in-the-ass, depending on who you asked. I had to attend every game, and in the seventh-inning stretch my job was to pass the hat in lieu of admission. I sat on the bench with the players, had a very short attention span, repeatedly pissed off the coach, and needed a player assigned to keep an eye on me during each game. I could never focus enough to watch a whole game even though, like the Major League game in Washington, there was some pretty great baseball being played.  In fact, my mom was hailed as one of the best pitchers in semi-pro ball in the east and was even recruited for the professional league. For me it was always another long, hot summer and I had better things on my mind.

In some ways I enjoy America’s pastime – like when the season draws to a close, fall is in the air, and the greatest sport in the world is reappearing on gridirons across the USA. But for now it’s only March, and another less-than-intriguing sports season is under way. Might as well hunker down for that inevitable long, hot summer. I do have other things to accomplish. If I can stay focused, maybe I’ll even write a book…



Everyone Has a Fish Story…

I have a phobia about fishing. Maybe phobia isn’t the right word, but I find fishing boring and a waste of time. Growing up, I was surrounded by fishermen and women. It was a way of life and, obviously, a sport my folks loved. It wasn’t that I didn’t try my hand at fishing; I actually baited hooks, reeled in a few keepers, cleaned, cooked, and ate them.  Problem was, I never had the patience to cast my line and wait for a fish to bite. As a youngster I would often lay my rod down and walk off, much to the consternation of my Mom and Aunt, who incidentally both loved to fish.

I blame fishing for causing me to become easily bored. It actually ruined me for a lot of things like playing cards, watching baseball – well that’s another story – or watching golf on TV (sort of like watching grass grow). My wife says it wasn’t fishing that caused this but a slight case of ADD that has never officially been diagnosed. She says I can’t stay focused and am often like a train veering off the track. Funny, I never noticed. But if it’s true, it’s because of fishing.

I’m now retired, but unlike a lot of fellows my age, I do not fish and probably won’t. It isn’t that I didn’t try. I went to fly fishing school with a couple of buddies and almost bought the expensive rod and reel, the boots, and that neat vest. At the last minute I became lucid and backed out, blaming boredom. My buddies had a different take on our fishing adventure. They said it was from getting hung up in trees and bushes. Actually, any plant life could snag my cast. I told them it wasn’t my casting but the fish gods casting on me a spell of impatience. It’s as good a way as any to explain a mild case of ADD.



If You Could Live Your Life Over…

Would you?

How many times have we heard people say “if only I could live my life over again?” Really! What would you accomplish by doing that? Oh sure, there are some people who have, no doubt, lived a horrid life and could possibly redeem themselves. But for the rest of us, give me a break. We only seem to utter that phrase when we hit a streak of bad luck or realize we’ve made a foolish choice.

Whenever I try to analyze a part of my life that could use a re-run, I always fall into the same old pattern – I can’t think of any. Instead, I remember the times growing up as a kid: getting bumps on the head after my grandmother told me not to jump on the bed or netting a trip to the hospital and four stitches to the head after volunteering to be the caboose on a swinging, human school-yard train. Do I wish these things hadn’t happened? Of course.  Are they reason enough to relive that part of my life? Absolutely not! Boys learn from doing stupid things. It’s in their DNA.

Like all of us, however, I did make some life choices that I question. I enlisted in the Navy instead of going into the Army ASA but actually that turned out all right. I chose not to go to college directly after graduating from high school but matriculating later proved to be a good choice. How about girlfriends, marriage, or divorce?  Now we may be getting close to some do-over possibilities, especially when we start playing the “what-if” game. When I look back on those parts of my life, I’m saddened because I cannot change what has already transpired and there are times when I wish I could.

I believe we are here for a specific purpose, we are here to learn from our successes and our mistakes and for some unusual, god given reason we don’t get to watch a replay and do the scene over and over till we get it right. That’s Hollywood, come to think of it, they’re no doubt the reason people want to live their lives over again…figures.