Saturday, May 29, 2010

All Good Things...

Well, the winning streak ground to a sudden, bitter halt last night. The land of sausage, cheese and beer provided yet another backdrop to a wasted start by Johan. He's all about winning, but he's also only human; it's surely crossed his mind a time or nine that, with even poor run support, his record could mirror Pelfrey's. And goddamnit, I just knew it was going to be Corey Hart.

As for Manuel removing Santana after only 105 pitches, color me perplexed. I always try to give the benefit of the doubt, since I'm neither in the dugout nor privy to all the ins-and-outs of a 162-game season. But Johan is the ace. He owned the game and deserved to see it through. I'll chalk it up to another case of "Jerrymandering", i.e. Manuel deftly maneuvering around the obvious.

It's funny how elements of the blog sometimes intersect. The Moscow metro map in "Firefox" resembles the cover of "Sounds of The Universe".

As for the actual key of the cosmos, apparently it's B-flat. That makes me wonder if there are or could be some synergies with Phi, otherwise know as the golden ratio. Also, isn't B-flat the predominant key in Jazz?

It's not as though I'd need an excuse, but Memorial Day gives me extra pause. As I sit here in relative lima bean-less safety, blathering ceaselessly about matters entirely unimportant, there are men and women under fire. "World War in HD" is marathoning and HBO's "The Pacific", its exemplary follow-up to "Band of Brothers", just concluded. It never ceases to amaze me that human beings can somehow function, excel and ultimately triumph in conditions that would make mere mortals crumble. The carnage, both physical and emotional, is unfathomable.

I'm ashamed to admit that I was born and raised in rural New Jersey. No, not because of the usual aspersions, but because I'd never taken the time to learn of John Basilone and Robert Leckie. Growing up just a town or two from Raritan, I'd driven past Basilone's memorial countless times. I'd inferred that he was obviously important, but that's where my initiative ended. After seeing John Seda's gritty portrayal, I'm inclined to head home for the sole purpose of seeng his monument up close and personal.

In a similar spirit, I just picked up Leckie's book, "Helmet For My Pillow". His prose is perfectly attuned to the persona put forth by actor James Badge Dale. A sportswriter for the Bergen record, he enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after Pearl Harbor. From Parris Island to Peleliu, "Peaches" was right in the thick of it. His was a life lived, that is for sure, and it's inspiring that even a regular Joe from the Garden State can do the unthinkable and get the girl, to boot.

Hand-in-hand with this book is Eugene Sledge's, "With The Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa".  Sledge's story took a bit longer to unfurl, but by God did it ever. The things he and his fellow Marines endured were, as Leckie opined, "sobering to the soul." I also found it interesting that Sledge's lifelong friend and fellow Marine Sidney Phillips served right at Leckie's side in the 1st Division. It's a small world, war or no war.

Not to be overlooked is the effort of actor Rami Malek. If his performance doesn't garner an award, I'll be convinced the voters are the same dolts who'd overlooked Viggo Mortensen in "The Road". The arc of Malek's character, "Snafu", was bold and broad. He was an aloof jerk to the new guys. Just when you think he's turning a corner towards something resembling redemption, he sinks even further into depravity.

Finally, with conditions around him devolving into incomprehensible depths, he seems to turn a corner. Your disgust gives way to a glimmer of appreciation. He's human, he's wounded, he's at the end of his rope. By the end, I couldn't help but wonder what sort of life awaited him. Ambling off through the steam wafting across the train station platform, I felt a pang of what he, Sledgehammer and Burgin must have felt upon finally parting: I didn't want to say goodbye and hardly knew how. 

So, to all those who've served, and especially to those toeing the line right now, thank you. Thank You. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. 

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