Lost in Translation – Why it Breaks Your Heart

lost-in-translationI re-watched Lost in Translation the other day – I got the idea after stumbling onto this interview with Bill Murray on the Charlie Rose show. (Do yourself a favor – take 50 minutes out of your life and watch this clip. Three-quarters of the way it becomes a spiritual experience.) One of my life’s dreams is to have Garrison Keillor read a poem of mine on his Writer’s Almanac radio show. Now I have a new one, and that’s to spend an hour or two hangin’ out with Bill Murray.

But that’s not likely to happen, so I streamed Lost in Translation over my laptop in the afternoon on the kitchen table (it’s on Netflix) instead. And even under those less-than-ideal movie watching circumstances, I was so completely taken into the world of this film that 48 hours later I’m still heartbroken. That’s really the only word for it. I fell for it pretty hard ten years ago, but this time it’s a whole different thing. Why would a beautiful film leave me so rattled?

In one way, this movie leaves an impact because it is such a total sensory experience. It’s filmed using natural light exclusively – apparently this is rarely done – so it looks warm and real. There’s very little camera “action” or panning – it’s like a documentary made of perfectly framed photographs – so it’s slow, and peaceful, and hypnotic. The acting is as subtle – and sublime – as life. It has Scarlett Johansson (sigh). And the soundtrack is as enrapturing as a Buddhist temple.

But there’s something else at work here. I suppose my personal circumstances – divorced, surprised, wondering here at the halfway mark if this is all there is, and what could possible come next, if anything – make me particularly susceptible to elegiac paeans to love and delayed gratification and the meaning of life, especially when so gracefully, honestly presented, with characters you can’t help but like.  I also know, as a poet-wannabe, I’ve been mostly silent for two years, trying to translate deeply felt experiences into words but finding it impossible to do, a kind of poetic laryngitis. And this is just like the characters in the film, who are so bewildered by their circumstances – physically as well as emotionally exhausted – they seem to lack the vocabulary to express what it is they’re experiencing in their own lives, even as they experience it. So this is a work of art that transcends commercial appeal, and gets right to the heart of what it means to be lost – in another country, in one’s life. And it leaves you wistful and moved and yes, heartbroken – for them, and I suppose for yourself, if that’s where you are at that moment in your ride.

Over at Wikipedia there’s an analysis on the movie’s themes and aesthetics, which is cool. But first, go stream it while you can, and break your heart in the best way possible.

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Ya Gotta Relax – The Panic in Met-Land

Panic_Button_XSmallI’ve been a Mets fan since 1976. That’s 37 years and that makes me an authority. A lot’s happened over those years, most of it bad. I can count the championships since then on one… finger. I’ve had to watch that other NY team with envy, the one people in Papua New Guinea would probably recognize and which wins a lot. But there are reasons to be proud. My team’s worth $2 billion, apparently. It’s got 5 million fans. They’ve given the world Ya Gotta Believe, It Ain’t Over ‘Til it’s Over, The Grand Slam Single, the best come-from-behind World Series win ever, and they sometimes have the word “Amazin’” before their name. Not too shabby.

And when the team’s winning, it owns the town. Yes, this is true, even though someone born after say 1983 would find it hard to believe.

Still, it’s been a really lousy five years. Before that it was a really lousy… five years. Before that we had a good run and a World Series but then a really lousy… bunch of years. A brief trip to the World Series, and then more bad years. I’m back to 1969 now if you’re keeping score.

Let’s face it. They lose a lot.

But it doesn’t matter. They’re my team. They were my grandfather’s team. I’m going to turn my back on my grandfather? Real fans don’t bail on their team in the face of logic or statistics or decades-long losing streaks. Fanatics dive into the breach, yet again.

At least, that’s what I thought until this week, when the Yankees signed a catcher we didn’t want and the Cardinals signed a shortstop who didn’t want us and suddenly it’s unbridled hysteria all over the internets. What makes me particularly nuts is that I love to read hot stove rumors and dream, but right now I can barely scan a twitter feed for all the hyperventilating.

I think what’s most frustrating is that all of this collar-tearing comes at a time when any fan with any knowledge should be as optimistic for the future as any other time in their history (possibly the early 80s would compare). Here we are, with outstanding young pitchers, some promising, athletic and gritty everyday guys, a manager who gets them to play hard and smart (no missed cut-offs for this team – even McCarver would cheer), financial scandals safely in the past, lousy contracts off the books, and lo and behold, a team in the absolute tank three years ago is on the verge of something very special, gearing up for a sustained run.

If you don’t agree, let’s turn the backpages a few years, shall we? These cheapo New York Mets once had one of the highest payrolls in the game, consistently. We were experts at locking up formerly good players on the second half of their careers into long-term contracts that killed our ability to improve – players that were surly, boring, and hard to watch. Does anyone remember The Worst Team Money Can Buy? How about bleach and firecrackers? How about bullying veterans banning the media from the clubhouse? How about a closer who did nothing except break our hearts, over and over? Or one of more recent vintage who preferred spending the summer resting in Florida on the team’s dime?

Here we are finally free of the last of those crappy contracts, yet all over the blogs you see a screaming demand for the team to sign up the next set, or else (and apparently “or else” means boycotting the year, or becoming a YANKEES FAN.)

I’m not against free agents, and it’s not my money, and if a player is superb and the best at the spot, sign him up. The problem I guess is that we haven’t signed anyone like that yet, the media has declared that we won’t, and so fans are ready to jump ship with a noose around their necks.

It’s not even the Winter Meetings yet. Slow down folks. The fear in Metdom is stressing me out.

If we start April with essentially the same team as we ended September, I’ll be pissed off. But it’s November. Do we really want to push this team to sign a middling player to a huge contract that will haunt us for the next five years, out of the apparent strategy to “show you’re serious about winning”? Getting the best players is how to show you’re serious about winning. Signing a .280 hitter for $100M is probably not.

I posted something like this over at Metsblog and got hit pretty well for it in the comments section, which is something of a war zone these days, with most of the wounds self-inflicted.

The thing that’s puzzling to me is that, by its very nature, baseball is not built for the immediate gratification crowd. The game is long, the season is long, and almost every team’s fans have to put up with long cycles of rebuilding. We just cleaned out our overpriced under-performing contracts. So we’re supposed to sign new ones because…agents and reporters and back pages say so?

For me, this team is actually moving in the right direction for the first time in a long time….building from within and staying off the “junk” of overpaid veterans on the second half of their career. I want a ten-year-run of greatness, and I’m willing to be patient for it.

At least until the end of December.

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Shot Down in Flames – Netiquette in the 21st Century

flame-warThe other day I wrote a thinking-out-loud post about physics and the nature of time. Since I’m just a marketing guy and know nothing about science, I posed the question over at /physics. I got some replies and learned a little too.

But then someone wrote this:

This post made me angry at you and its hard to explain why. Id like to take this opportunity to call you stupid.

That’s word for word. Spell for spell too.

I have to tell you, it stung – for maybe half an hour. I could feel heat in my face like I’d been insulted in a room full of people. I never met this guy, no one would ever know it was me, but even so I was really embarrassed and very pissed off.

So I did what anyone would do – I spun out a response that cut this guy to shreds. I wrote so fast my fingers were falling off. Anyone can come up with a killer insult, especially when you get to work on it over and over. Mine was good, let me tell you. It ended with a smart summation about spelling and grammar and their role in illustrating one’s apparent intelligence.

I didn’t send it. It’s like that rule about writing emails to your friends or co-workers when you’re angry: You write it out, save it as a draft, wait a day, then delete. Keeps your friendship – or your job – alive. Back in the 90’s I got into a nasty email war over politics with my best friend, who was also my best man, and after that we didn’t speak for a year. We patched it up eventually, and then he died unexpectedly, and I can’t even imagine my grief if we’d let that stupid flame war go un-doused.

In this particular case from /physics someone else came along and put this guy in his place for me – which is always the more effective way – by reminding him that “physics enthusiasts don’t promote science by calling people stupid.”  I mean, really.

Anyone’s who’s ever posted an opinion online has almost certainly been blasted in return. Browse the comments section of a sizable website and watch the flames fly. And for what? Making an argument by calling someone “libtard” “teabagger” or “idiot” might make you feel good about yourself, but it’s not changing any minds, and isn’t that the point? If an argument’s valid it’ll stand up on its own. If you want to win someone over, a little humility goes a long way.

The more our interactions take place virtually, the easier it can be to forget that there are people on the other side of the Ethernet. Tossing flames across a website is like screaming at the car that cuts you off; the distance makes you brave. But bump into someone at a store by accident and you’ll be friendly, polite and apologetic. That’s the difference between building community versus social disorder, and given the choice, I think the more preferable one’s fairly obvious.

So here are some basic, simple netiquette rules for commenting on the web, and they come down to two:

  1. If flamed, don’t respond. It does absolutely no good and makes no difference anyway.

  2. Respond to someone online whose opinion you don’t like as if you are standing in front of them at a party and they’re a friend of your boss.

Basically, act like an adult, not a child, and we’ll surely all get along.

So let’s chuck the easy arrogance that comes from anonymity, and let’s act in our virtual worlds just like we’d act in the real one, OK?

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How Long is a Moment in Time?

speed-of-lightThe “power of now” is everywhere these days – you can’t browse a Facebook feed without happy GIFs reminding you to stay centered, slow down, live in the present. It’s nothing new – Buddhists have been teaching this for thousands of years. It’s great advice, and here in the age of anxiety it’s one I’m trying to embrace.

But this got me thinking – what is “now” anyway? I had some fun with my kids and asked them to clap their hands at the exact moment when “the future” became “the present” but before it flipped to “past.” Of course it’s impossible to do. And so, new-age psychology aside, it seems we never actually experience “now.” As soon as we label a moment it’s already happened. We can grasp “now” conceptually as an aid to help us make sense of things, but practically speaking the present doesn’t seem to exist. And this is puzzling. We’ve developed senses that see and touch, but here we are, spinning through space while time constantly shifts from future to past, yet each present moment eludes us.

Now, I’m not a physicist, so bear that in mind as we go on here. According to the theory of relatively, nothing in the universe can travel faster than the speed of light. The universe may expand infinitely in terms of physical space but seems to have some hard corners that contain it in other ways. The speed of light is one, absolute zero is another; maybe there’s a self-protecting law against traveling backwards in time.

But we are always traveling forward through time. We’re on a linear path from “now” to the future, and along the way there are countless “time points” when individual moments pass by. And the rate that these moments pass changes depending on one’s perspective. Einstein says that if you were on a space ship capable of approaching light speeds, the closer you got to the speed of light, the slower time would pass relative to others who are not traveling at that rate. This is the basis for the thought experiment where a twin takes a space trip near the speed of light and returns one year older while his brother aged a lifetime. On the space ship, it would feel that only one year had passed; to the twin back on earth, a lifetime would have gone by just as “normally.”

Even so, at some point, there must be a moment that happens “now” – a point in time before the future has shifted to the past. This must be an extremely short period. Take an atomic clock, which ticks at the frequency an atom resonates, 9,192,631,770 cycles per second (so much for trying to mark a moment with a hand clap.) You couldn’t count that high if you started at your own birth and never stopped until you died of old age – that’s a huge number. Yet each one of those billions of cycles moves from “about to happen” to “has happened,” with some specific moment in between. How long does that moment last?

Here’s a metaphor I sometimes think about. Let’s say time is like a movie, where every instant passes the way still images flip along in a movie reel at a specific flicker rate. We never actually see the individual images, but they surely “exist” for a defined length of time (the actual flicker rate of a projector is defined in Wikipedia if you care). Perhaps there’s a universal “flicker rate” of unique time moments moving from future to past. Get closer to that rate, and you get closer to individual moments “flipping” from present to past. In a paradoxical sense, the faster you go and approach this rate, you in a sense slow time down. When an object actually reaches that speed the object would also cease to move forward along the linear path of time; it would freeze in time.

I had a notion that such a rate might be equal to speed of light. I posted that over at /physics, and got some thoughtful (and mostly nice) comments which show how little I know about practical physics. To me, relativity shows that time stands still at the speed of light, so I saw some correlation there. But I’ve toned this post down somewhat as a result.

But beyond the length of time it takes for a moment to pass, it’s possible there are beings in the universe which experience reality at different rates of time. To them, the planets which appear frozen in space to us might be spinning around the sun at an astronomical rate to them, like electrons buzzing around a nucleus. Or conversely, they might live at a slower rate and can “see” the rotation of an electron. Would we even sense these beings? Could they be alongside us all the time, only out of phase and therefore beyond our respective awareness? Or maybe entire civilizations exist in a single moment of time that passes – to us – at the rate of a hand clap. And maybe ours passes just as quickly to them. The physical macro and micro cosmos are immense. Perhaps time as a dimension is just as incomprehensibly vast.

Once again: I’m not a scientist. I’m just a guy getting through a divorce with way too much time on his hands. I may be completely misguided here, and if you happen to be a theoretical physicist who stumbled onto this post, leave a comment and set me straight. But let me down gently.

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I Bet Robert Frost Never Needed an MFA

OK, so this is going to sound bitter.

I grew up in a house with books, the same books that probably filled a lot of mid-century, book-of-the-month-club suburban homes – there was Michener and Wouk and The Thorn Birds, and there was The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird and Fahrenheit 451.Sometimes I’d stand there quietly with my father, looking over the titles until, with a grunt of remembrance, he’d take one down and hand it over. I can remember very clearly the time he pulled down a paperback copy of Catcher in the Rye – I think I was fourteen – and I don’t care if this is a cliche, but it’s been in every living room I’ve ever had since and it ruined me as a fiction writer. But it started everything.

Poems-of-Robert-Frost-Modern-LibraryAnd so did the other one that still sits on my bookshelf and always will: My father’s Modern Library, schoolboy collection of Robert Frost, published in 1946 with a forward by the poet himself. I love that book, not just because it’s filled with my father’s junior-high sketches. It was the first time I got that ringing thrill from reading a poem.

I’m sure you don’t hear Frost’s name in graduate programs anymore. But here in the real world, his work feels as relevant as anything you come across in the poetry journals today. Too often, a lot of contemporary poetry suffers from an “MFA-style,” a secret code of wink and nod allusions that only graduate students care about. You look at poetry contest winners and inevitably they’ve got that MFA, and at the same time they’re writing inscrutable works, basically verbal acrobatics. Yes, the poems are well-crafted and ask a lot of the reader. But they’re often cold and barren, lacking emotional – or human – impact. Poems are not written by computers as an analytic exercise in word craft. They’re aimed squarely at our humanity. Or should be, anyway.

Maybe I am bitter. I’ve not won a poetry contest and probably never will. So maybe it’s all about that. I write poems about felt experiences, and I use straightforward language that anyone would understand, so it could be I’m just too simple-minded for the deep thinkers out there. It’s possible.

I’m not suggesting that we start elevating Hallmark Card writers to Nobel Laureate. Clearly there is a distinction between sappiness and seriousness. Ultimately the kind of work that I enjoy is the stuff that hits you in the gut and the brain. It’s a fine line between sentimentality and sublimity, and writers who live in that space are the ones I admire. My guidelines are poems that can be spoken out loud and make an impact without a thesaurus and mental jackhammer to comprehend. People poems, I suppose. I understand part of this is taste, and some will prefer more cerebral poetry and I suppose that’s OK.  And obviously there are great exceptions to my complaint. Fabulous poetry is being published in plenty of establishment publications. Take a spin through The Writer’s Almanac and you may never leave your laptop. I’m very specifically talking about the journals and contests where unknown writers, outside of academia, don’t have a chance. It hurts writers everywhere, because it makes it appear that poetry is too sophisticated for “the rest of us” who don’t attend graduate schools, and just want to be moved by a work of art.

For the record; I have an MFA (more accurately, a “Masters in English with a Concentration in Writing” he says imperiously). There’s nothing wrong with MFAs. I had a great experience with mine and learned a great deal. What I’m complaining about is this “old boy/girl network” where a prosaic approach is promoted to the exclusion of other less academic styles, and which seems to fill up poetry journals today.

So back to Robert Frost, whose work connects on both the deeply felt and cognitive level, and I don’t know what else poetry is supposed to do. His work is about the pains, joys, wonders and sorrows of being alive. I’ll leave you with this one, a Frost poem which continuously grows in meaning as I grow older, as I look for emotional peace in the midst of conflict, uncertainty, and fear, much of it self-created, to find the wonder and humor in it all:

On Looking Up By Chance to the Constellations

You’ll wait a long, long time for anything much
To happen in heaven beyond the floats of cloud
And the Northern Lights that run like tingling nerves.
The sun and moon get crossed, but they never touch,
Nor strike out fire from each other, nor crash out loud.
The planets seem to interfere in their curves,
But nothing ever happens, no harm is done.
We may as well go patiently on with our life,
And look elsewhere than to stars and moon and sun
For the shocks and changes we need to keep us sane.
It is true the longest drouth will end in rain
The longest peace in China will end in strife.
Still it wouldn’t reward the watcher to stay awake
In hopes of seeing the calm of heaven break
On his particular time and personal sight.
That calm seems certainly safe to last tonight
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Carl Sagan, Denial, and Our Little Blue Jewel

Carl Sagan's CosmosThe other night, on a whim, I watched Cosmos on Netflix. I remember watching it as a kid, on my parents’ Sony Trinitron, back in 1980. I figured it would be hokey, dated and laughable.

I was wrong.  It’s a moving, provoking experience. Everyone on the planet ought to give it a try.

I think what’s so striking about this show is how it captured that stunned sense of wonder we experience when, on a dark night, with a quiet mind, we look to the stars. And then we’re struck: everything we are, just a spec of dust, floating in a universal expanse on an unfathomable scale of distance and time. Mostly we experience our lives in such an immediate, moment-to-moment way that when the scope of the universe hits us, we’re completely undone. It’s a kind of shock. All those galaxies, filled with all those stars, like droplets in the blur of a cloud. And that’s us on one of those drops, our entire history – protozoa to pyramids to iPhones – just a single note in an enormous symphony.

And that’s the macro cosmos. What about the micro cosmos, the uncountable cells just in our own bodies, each cell as vast, relatively, as the space between galaxies? The mind blanks at the glare. If the macro and micro cosmos are that vast, random and uncertain, where does that leave us?  So there’s the best explanation for religion that I can think of – it grounds us with perspective, gives a base to organize the immensity into a safer, sensible place. It’s more pleasant to pretend that we live in a human-centered cosmos with a kindly wizard directing events in a just manner.

For an organized-religion skeptic like me, it’s hard not to see this as classic denial, an eyes-closed way to give order to the randomness. We prefer certainty; uncertainty is a scary way to go through life. But at what cost? Certainly tricking ourselves that the universe is meaningful and our souls are immortal does make getting up in the morning a lot easier. But taken to other places, denial could be one of the biggest dangers to our existence, because it keeps us from acknowledging all the real and growing threats to our fragile blue bubble. I’m thinking about congressmen from certain reddish states who claim the world is really only 9,000 years old, or that evolution is a scam, or that global warming is the biggest lie since Joseph Goebells. Mass denial always looks flimsy when it happened “back then” – witch trials, the Inquisition, flat-earthers – but the denial we live with today is a lot more potent: Nuclear warheads on hair-trigger alert, rising seas, melting ice caps.

I get where denial comes from. Most of human history – as brief as it has been – has existed under a kind of warfare; war with each other and war with the environment, a daily exercise in survival against what was “out there” which might and often did kill you. Until yesterday, just about, we’ve been living through unrelenting battle fatigue. Add to that, we’re probably the only species on earth to have an awareness of our own mortality. We are sentient, we are finite, and we know it. What an unlucky draw of the evolutionary cards. Denial seems like a welcomed biological pain killer.

The problem is that it’s outlived its usefulness – most of us in the industrialized world don’t have to worry about our day-to-day physical survival. I’m not talking about denial in the Freudian, emotionally protective way. I mean a kind of macro, social denial that’s keeping us from tackling big problems, because it’s easier to pretend they don’t exist. But when you see that little pebble of ours floating in so much immensity, you can’t help but feel alarmed. I think this is what astronauts talk about when they come back from space, and why many have become passionate environmentalists.

Joseph Conrad got it right in the Heart of Darkness; mix power with denial and all kinds of horrors follow. What started out as a beneficial defense mechanism now threatens our willingness to address serious, man-made challenges. We are capable of creating the circumstance that can lead to our own annihilation. We know better, but we do it anyway. Has any other species in earth’s history acted in such a dysfunctional manner, wherein their own actions led to self-annihilation? I’m sure there have been times where a species’ natural behavior caused a change in their environment leading to extinction.  This is certainly the cause for many extinctions, give or take a meteor or two.

The difference, until now, was that such situations were localized; never before has a species been able to negatively impact the biosphere on a global level. And it’s a remarkable bit of chance that we’re here at all. Maybe, as Carl Sagan says, there are billions of bubbles of life like our earth; maybe life is as ubiquitous as the planets around the stars. Who’s to say. I only know about this one, and it’s a jewel.

We have great tools at our disposal to positively impact many of our modern dangers – human tools built through uniquely human capabilities of ingenuity, creativity, curiosity, organization, empathy, adaptability, and reason. We know how to fix our problems. We’re fixing some now.

So I’m hopeful – although it remains to be seen – that we can collectively look at reality straight on and not blink. Although I don’t know for sure, I imagine that this was one of the goals for Cosmos, a way to show the astonishing odds that we’re here at all, and the urgency needed to protect our home. Otherwise we are destined to be just another failed experiment, a dead-end branch of DNA that flourished beautifully but briefly in the immeasurable void.

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Me and the Mets

mr.metI am a Mets fan, in the full sense of the word: I am a fanatic. I like to rail against fanaticism in the real world, but I get a pass for baseball. It’s ridiculous, basically. It’s a game and it doesn’t matter. So why does a horrible ending to a Mets season cut me off at the emotional knees?

Because I’m a fanatic, that’s why.

These days the team is bad from start to finish, and I think I prefer it that way. The creeping certainty that your season’s over around May 15 is a lot easier to bite down on than a sudden-death, kick-to-the-gut, season-killer in October. Still, it has become an annual ritual for me, just as the leaves start to fall, to look at the sky and ask an irrational universe why, oh why was I born a Mets fan?

I got to thinking about it when I read this friendly reminder from the NY Daily News about one of the worst home runs ever against the Mets, the one where Mike Scioscia – he of the puny three-homerun season – came out of nowhere in the ninth inning of the ’88 playoffs to break my heart. Against Dwight Gooden, no less, at the top of his game. I was there, perched in the stands watching the whole thing. I blame myself. The Mets were up two runs in the ninth, about to take a “commanding three-to-one lead” in the series, when Doc walked the leadoff batter, putting the tying run at the plate. Up came Scioscia. And silly me, I turned to a friend and said, with all the innocence of the innocent, “can this guy hit runs?” And bam, there it went.

And there it still goes, apparently, thank you NY Daily News. The reason that one sticks around in so many memories is because, in hindsight, it basically killed the team for a generation. It’s become what Mets fans look back to and say “there’s the moment when the rails came off.” And no, being a witness to history does not make up for it.

I’ve been a Mets fan since I was ten years old – I’m 47 now – so this is the longest relationship I’ve had  in my life. It’s been mostly an unhappy marriage. I could list out all the excruciating New York Mets failures, but why waste good bandwidth. Here’s a Google search with 1,220,000 results. Have it.

My sister – a Yankees fan – once asked me to come up with a good metaphor to describe the feeling you get when your team’s season ends with bitter disappointment. I told her it was like having your heart broken. It’s like when you’re a kid and your girlfriend goes to Florida on a family trip and falls in love with the lifeguard.  The baseball season runs day after day for months; you live and die with these guys night after night. You can’t help but get to know the personality of the team in what can only be described as an intimate way. When your team wins it all, you never lose them, because they’ll come back every anniversary to re-live the season. When your team loses, they go away. You never see them again.

So when the Mets season ends with a tough loss the whole world turns thin, gray and bleak. For a few weeks, anyway.

After a few weeks you realize that holding emotional water for a baseball team is pretty dumb, and anyway the Mets are in the running for that off-season’s big free agent. So you start reading MetsBlog again, and glancing at the sports page for trades now and then, and pretty soon it’s Christmas and “wait ’till next year” is actually almost there.

The last time they collapsed on me was 2008. What made that year particularly gut-kicking is that it coincided with the last game at Shea Stadium, and so it was a double dip of heartbreak. My grandfather took me to Shea Stadium in ’77; thirty years later I took my own daughter there. We did the whole thing: Number 7 subway out of Grand Central to Flushing Meadows, train loaded with Mets fans juiced up for the game. When the car rounded that last bend near Willets Point and the blue hunk of Shea rose into view, I watched her seven-year-old eyes open in amazement, just like mine on my first trip, when I kept asking my grandfather what all that green grass outside of the field was for, until he told me that all that green grass WAS the field. The reality is that Shea Stadium sucked – a leaky, smelly, cracked concrete dump. But my grandfather’s there. My daughter’s first game was there. They won two world series in that place. I still miss it.

Meantime, the world series is about to start, but I don’t really care. What am I going to do, root for the Cardinals? The Red Sox? I’m just biding time now for the Hot Stove. The Mets have a great, young core of pitching. So I’ll repeat that annual vow made by Mets fans everywhere: Just wait ’till the year after next year.

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Reading at the Princeton Library

I’ll be reading along with poet Dan Maguire on Monday, August 12 2013 in the Princeton Library, Fireplace 2nd Floor.

More information at http://www.princetonlibrary.org/events/2013/08/poets-library.

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Reading at the Bucks County Bards – Newtown, PA

I’ll be coming out of hibernation to read at the Newtown PA library as part of the Bucks County Bards series on Feb 15, 2013. More details: http://www.newtownlibrary.com/Events.html.

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Reading at the Hamilton Library – April 23

I’ll be reading along with poets Nancy Scott, Ray Brown, and Peter Dabbene at the First Annual Hamilton Library PoetryPalooza. In celebration of National Poetry Month. Open mic follows. More details: http://www.hamiltonnjpl.org/

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