Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Musings of an idle mind

I'm currently in Philadephia on a layover. On the plane flight here, I was reading "Coming of Age in the Milky Way" by Timothy Ferris. I'm truly enjoying the book. It's definitely one of the best books I've read in a while, explaining our current understanding of the universe by telling the historical story of how we came to this understanding. This approach really resonates with me, and it all makes so much more sense when explained this way.

For me, at least, there is a real benefit to taking a little time off of one's life and thinking about things. It amazes me that at 37 I'm still trying to make sense out of life, just as I was as a teenager. In the intervening years, I think the only thing I've really figured out is that life is relative. Just as Einstein blew away the static universe of Newtonian physics with the idea that everything in the universe is relative to the point of reference you choose to observe it, I think that the meaning of life depends greatly on how you choose to view it.

They key point here being that you can choose your view point. If you choose to view your life as a unique collection of experiences, then life becomes all about going and doing things. If it seems really important to reach an understanding of things, then life becomes all about education and intense study of the world around you. If life is short and then you die, then you turn to drink, of course.

Very few of us choose any single point of reference, but try to strike some sort of balance of the things that are important to us. (Perhaps "greatness" is acheived by a very purpose driven life, pursuing things doggedly from a single point of reference.) I know I am constanting rolling things over in my head trying to decide exactly what it is that I want, so I can actually go about doing that.

But "real life" intercedes and you get so busy living your life that you don't have time to ponder such things. Just maintaining the life you've put together so far takes up so much time. There is a house and cars to take care of, as well as children who need love, attention, and guidance. There's the necessary career to pursue, both to fulfil some sense of professional purpose and to fund everything else. Then there are the other commitments in life, some of which you find yourself amazed that you volunteered for.

What I find is that the more that "real life" dominates my time, the more confused and frustrated I get about things. I feel like I am no longer in control of my life, forced into patterns established by decisions I made long ago, either consciously or not. That's why a little time away to organize my thoughts and feelings is so important. I can take a moment off, choose an external frame of reference, and make sense of my life. Hopefully that means I can later return to it with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication.

It now occurs to me that this is a long rambling chain of consciousness that probably only makes sense to me. I should probably take the time to to go back over it, edit it, and rework it into a nice, readable little discourse of the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything. But, that would take more time than I have, and if I wait to do that, it will never get done. Maybe I need to accept a little less "perfection" in my life, and work with what I have available to me. So, here we go, it gets posted as is.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Why I Love the New York Yankees

I live in an area where most of the baseball fans are Red Sox fans. So I get a lot of (mostly) good natured ribbing about those Damn Yankees.

And I get why fans of other teams hate the Yankees so much, I really do. It's easy to hate the team who dominates so much, who never seems to give anyone else a fair chance. The team that "buys its way to the top." I get it. Who wants to root for a team whose owner cares more about winning than heart?

But the Yankees represent something else entirely to me. To me, watching a Yankees game even now, puts me back in time. I'm eight years old, staying up late, watching the Yankees with my grandmother, who loved them more than anyone I know. It's part of a family tradition that reminds me of where I came from.

And Yankees history is full of the story of America. It's the story of an orphan boy named George Herman Ruth, who grew up to be loved by all of America as Babe Ruth. It's epitomizes the work ethic of the immigrant in Iron Man Lou Gehrig, whose mother wanted him to be an engineer. It's a team that boasts of greatness in men like Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. But its also the team that remembers great contributions of men like Bucky Dent, providing a key home run right when the team needed it, despite being last in the batting order.

It reminds us that hard work pays off, that if you keep at it you can celebrate another victory. Then Yankees proved to us in the Eighties that you can't take anything for granted.

It reminds us that life is full of ups and downs. The Yankees celebrate 27 World Series victories. They also mourn the loss of players like Thurmon Munson, taken before his time. Don Larson pitched his perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's single-season home run record, but never got the respect he deserved.

The Yankees have a full cast of characters, that are like the zany people in your family you tell stories about. There's "Holy Cow" Phil Rizzuto. Yogi Berra whose comments on life strike everyone with their ironic simple deepness.

When I see that classic "NY" emblem I think of all these things. When I stepped foot into the old Yankee Stadium - the House That Ruth Build - as an adult, I remembered when my parents took me there as a kid. And this year, when I visited the new stadium for the first time, I had my two kids there with me. While I hated to see the old stadium go - it was a pile of rubble then - I was reminded that life moves on, and that's not always a bad thing. We are always still connected to the past.

While things always move forward, while there are always new players and new stadiums, they are still the Yankees. Still telling the story of America. We love to see Derek Jeter play now just as much as those that came before us loved to watch the legends play. As he does so, he wears the same pinstripes, the same NY cap. And that has the power to make me eight years old again, so I can sit with my grandmother one more time, and stay up late, and watch the Yanks pull off another ninth inning win.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The night of the living dead blog

It certainly has been a long time since I posted anything here.  I’m honestly wondering if anyone will even notice.

To be honest, this is more of a test post than anything else.  But maybe it would be good for me to start writing some again – help me sort out everything going on in life.

But not tonight.  Tonight all you get is this zombie entry.

Friday, September 21, 2007

On Reading

So it's been a year since I started posting my reading list here (via And it turns out that I've read 15 books in that year. Not as much as I'd like, but not too bad.

There was a time period when I commuted exclusively on the bus, and got over an hour each day of uninterrupted reading time. During that time I was reading about a book a week rather than my new average of a little over one a month.

There is such a pleasure in reading a good book. Reading is both entertaining and informative - It's amazing to me how many people don't enjoy reading. But I guess there are things that would amaze other people that I don't enjoy.

The only thing I keep comming back to is that as citizens, we have a certain responsibility to keep ourselves informed of the situations the world is facing - and reading is such an important part of this. If you think that you can get true in-depth informaiton on broadcast news or CNN, you are sadly mistaken.

I wish I knew what I could do to convince others of the importance and joy of reading, but I guess I'll just have to start with this blog post for now.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sunshine on my ears can make me cry…

At one point this last weekend, Vicki sang John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulders” for Katie. Katie really liked the song and quickly learned the words. She constantly wanted us to sing it to her.

I have a John Denver “Greatest Hits” CD, so I decided to pop it in the stereo and play it for her. She loved it. She loved it too, much really. It’s all she wants to hear now. I’ve even tried playing other John Denver songs, but apparently they don’t measure up.

So, this morning we had to listen to it before we left the house. When we left the house, we had to bring the CD with us and listen to it in the car. I had to explain that she couldn’t take the CD with her to daycare. She actually took that pretty well, but I had to promise to play it for her again tonight.

But the really amazing thing about this all is how it has shown me how much I really love Sunshine on my Shoulders and Little Girls.

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Friday, August 24, 2007


Very few people will get the same kick out of this as I do. But I just had to post it. If you don't get why it's funny, don't worry - I'm sure you're not alone.

In case you're wondering, I made this image myself via
this website.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What I did for my summer vacation

I've been meaning to write this for awhile. But as usual I am late in posting my blog entry.

We took a family vacation in Maine this year. It was really nice - we split our time between the pool, the beach, and some exploring of the towns.

Katie enjoyed living in the "different house", sleeping in the big girl bed, and the wonders of the beach.

But the best part was just hanging out the three of us - something we don't get to do that often. It's amazing how we let our lives get so busy that we don't have time to really spend with the ones we love - even if we are physically with them every day.

What I learned from the experience is to make the effort to do a little something each day - a mini vacation.

If only I could relocate my office to the beach...

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