My 9/11 Problem–and Ours

[Rather than try to scratch up something new for 9/11 commentary, here's the note I wrote last year. It sums up my thoughts on this awful day.]

My God I am sick of 9/11 commentary. Aren’t you? I have usually managed to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks with some considered thought. But at this point I’ve nothing left to say.

Now, you could argue I already did my 9/11 duty with a pair of columns (here and here) on the US Seals’s killing of Osama bin Laden, but… not so much. I’m done, spent, all out of cards and rabbits. No damn cat, no damn cradle. So I’ll mark this 9/11 instead by looking back at some of the wise and foolish things I said about the events arising from that dread day.

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NRA Approved Artwork

While most of my friends in DC were busy watching President Obama’s speech, I thought up a whole new art form. The artist would use a gun to make a bunch of bullet holes on a canvas or template in a pattern to create an image. I call it bulletpointillism.

Ode to Clint Eastwood

Last night I saw upon the chair

A little man who wasn’t there

He wasn’t there again today

Oh, how I wish he’d go away


Sock It to Me

A lot of ideas have been kicked around for the ingredient that changes a mere house into a home. Many of these are cliches — home is where the heart is; home is where you hang your hat; etc. — but the tranformative difference I’ve always subscribed to was: home is where you lose socks in the wash. By that criterion, even months after moving in I am sadly still not home.

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I Got to Second Base!

The Bellingham Bells lost last night to the Wenatchee AppleSox — yes, seriously, they’re called the AppleSox — in the third game of a three game, elimination series. That means they won’t be playing for the league championship this weekend.

With the Bells done and my dad and kid brother’s team over for the year, this will mean considerably less baseball blogging. For those readers who were getting sick of it, indulge me in one last story for the foreseeable.

This story is about a much younger version of your diarist. It was sometime during my fourth grade year. We had moved to a new house and new school in Tacoma — from University Place to the North End — called Sherman Elementary.

I was never popular in K-12, but add “the new kid” and you can understand why, when we had a T-ball game in PE, the pecking order operated the way it did. The captains of both teams figured, “He’s weird and he can’t hit,” and so I was picked dead last, grudgingly, and stuck at the back of the lineup.

Now, I had a secret: I could hit — not just connect for a base hit, but really crush the heck out of the ball. But they didn’t know that, so when it finally got around to my turn at the plate, it seemed like a fun idea to torture both teams.

“Come in,” yelled one of the outfielders when he saw I was up at the T and they moved to about midfield. I looked at them, mustered a certain look on my face and… hit the T.

They came in further. I put on the same look and missed again, this time intentionally swinging over the ball.

They came in further so that they were just on the periphery of the infield. I screwed up my face again, cocked my bat and swung away. It hit the fence on one bounce. The outfielders ran like crazy to try to contain the damage.

Several runs scored. I walked to second base and could have made third easy. “Run!” the folks on my team screamed. But remember I was picked last, so second base seemed about right.

Hells Bells

The Bellingham Bells baseball game last night was highly contentious and a little bit tragic. The Bells overtook the Walla Walla Sweets’ early lead, then fell apart.

Both the coach and the starting pitcher got tossed for yelling at the umps over bad calls. The Bells almost but didn’t quite manage a 9th inning attempt to put the egg back together again. They lost 7-6.

Tom Hanks reminded us that there is no crying in baseball. Yet shouldn’t there be an exception when you lose to a team whose city is known globally for its onions? (Or its prison, thanks to The Offspring.)

Tonight is the last game of the season, with fireworks after. Of course I’ll be there. Saturday is the only guaranteed home game of post-season play. Unless they’ve sold out by the time the box office opens tonight, your diarist’s attendance there is a lock.

“Why?” you might wonder:

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Plenty of Joy in Mudville

Here’s a picture of the postgame prayer after the last game of the season for my father and kid brother’s Sunrise Baptist softball team. Dad, praying, is indicated with a halo below, and an arrow points to the kid.

For beer leaguers and those of you who’ve never been to a church league game, that’s how it works…

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