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[personal profile] copperbadge
Last night, R and I watched a bunch of documentaries, including one on Willie Nelson, which referenced his smash album Red Headed Stranger.

R: In the RV park, Red Headed Stranger is the only album I feel comfortable playing over my external speaker system. It’s the only music everyone can agree they like.

Sam: Isn’t Red Headed Stranger a concept album about going on the run after murdering your family?

R: People can relate. 

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Come in, please, come in. I can’t entertain you shipboard as I once could, but there is tea and plenty of food, and I understand you’ve done well for yourself at the gambling tables. I suppose I can afford to lose a little now and then. My late first husband was a wealthy man and I magnified his wealth – well, you know how.

I think there should be discipline in everything, you know, even lawlessness. When I ruled the sea and the Red Flag Fleet, no one disobeyed me. Literally. Those who did were beheaded. But, on the other hand, I think my rule was mainly benificent. Did you know I forbade those under my command to steal from villagers who supplied us? That only made sense, of course. Death was also the sentence for any assault on a female captive. One makes these laws when one grows up as I did.

I also insisted that anything taken from town or ship was to be presented, registered, and given out amongst all – oh, the original taker got a percentage, and twenty percent is better than nothing, you know. That’s how you keep a sailor happy.

My dear second husband, he also issued some laws, I suppose, but they weren’t written down or very well enforced. What were they? Who knows. What does it matter? My laws were what mattered.

Eventually, of course, it became easier just to tax the local cities than to keep sacking them. Nicer for all concerned and not so much work for us. Bureaucracy will have its day, sooner or later, always.

That is how I came to be here, you know; several years ago, after I defeated their entire Navy, the government offered amnesty to pirates. Well they might; what other option did they have? But I was wealthy, so why should I continue to work when I was no longer a criminal? It was in 1810 that I left crime behind forever and opened this little gambling house. Here I am content, you know, and I think I will be until I die. Hopefully not for a long, long time!

Oh, I am called many things. I was born Shi Xianggu, and I am called Cheng I Sao, sometimes, but mostly I am known as Ching Shih – the Widow Ching, wife of two pirates, but a pirate empress myself.

(After all, it’s Talk Like A Pirate day, not Talk Like Every Pirate day. I chose Ching Shih.)

(Also if you enjoyed this, consider dropping some spare change in my Ko-Fi!)

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(no subject)

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:45 am
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[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Before we start, a quick note because I've had a handful of issues with this lately -- if you want to bring a cause to my attention the best way to go about it is to fill out the Radio Free Monday form (also linked from the sidebar of my tumblr page). It's not just that I might not see a post tagged to me or that it saves me a ton of time, but also that it makes sure I get the information I need to describe the situation, link the appropriate pages, and name and gender people correctly.

The form doesn't ask many questions, doesn't pull any metadata (literally it doesn't even record the date you entered the information), and is as anonymous as you want it to be -- there are options for complete or partial anonymity for the person submitting the item.

Ways To Give:

[tumblr.com profile] prismatic-bell linked to a fundraiser for Congregation Beth Yeshurun and their attached day school, which were flooded by Hurricane Harvey, which hit two Jewish neighborhoods in Houston especially hard. The families are currently attending Temple Brith Israel, and the children from the day school have had to scatter among several schools temporarily. You can read more about the damage here, reblog here, give directly to the rebuilding fund, or purchase toys and learning materials or replacement books for the school directly through Amazon.

[tumblr.com profile] reesa-chan is preparing for surgery and gathering supplies to make recovery go as smoothly as possible, but they're coming up short on a few things and surgery is looming. They have a Amazon Wishlist available here and have their paypal giving page here.

Anon linked to a fundraiser for [tumblr.com profile] poplitealqueen, who is trying to help her mother get some experimental medical treatment which might allow her mobility without the use of a wheelchair. You can read more and reblog here (including links at the top to Patreon and Ko-fi) or give directly to their Ko-Fi here.

[tumblr.com profile] quinfirefrorefiddle linked to a fundraiser for [tumblr.com profile] niines9s, who is trying to escape an abusive home and needs funding for housing after graduation. They are offering commissions and also taking donations; you can read more, reblog, and find paypal information at their post.

Anon linked to news about a Christian group, Faithfully LGBT, who are fundraising to aid transgender people with gender-confirming surgeries as a way of atoning for religious discrimination against transgender people. You can read and reblog the story here or give directly to the Tithe Campaign here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

News To Know:

Anon linked to a post called Saving Your Grades From A Mental Health Crisis, which is about what to do if you're in college and dealing with mental illness.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

Emmys 2017

Sep. 17th, 2017 08:10 pm
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[personal profile] alethia
Emmys 2017 )

Top of the Lake

Sep. 17th, 2017 12:00 pm
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[personal profile] marina
I have been writing a post about Top of the Lake for literally like 4 years. FOUR YEARS. I keep writing drafts and never finishing them, because it all just feels so enormous and too much and I need like an entire day to get all my thoughts in order.

But, it's happening today friends. IT'S HAPPENING TODAY. SO HELP ME, THERE WILL BE A POST. It will be cobbled together from different drafts I've started over the years, but IT WILL EXIST.

So, below are my thoughts, which were written a few years ago, before I'd seen Mad Max: Fury Road, before Jessica Jones, before Wonder Woman.

Anyway, this post is still not even a fraction of the thoughts I have in my head about this show, BUT. We are doing this. THIS POST IS GETTING POSTED.

*

Well, there's now not one, but two versions of Broadchurch (both starring David Tennant!) and I still haven't gotten around to the show that, to me, is the far more subversive, far more interesting, far richer and more beautiful original version of what has now become a multi-season franchise.

I haven't been able to write about Top of the Lake until now because my talents do not lie in talking about the things I find overwhelmingly amazing. I had to wait such a long time for the edges to fade, for this show to settle in my head and become digestible (this is after multiple viewings, because of course I rewatched parts of it ad nauseum) and analyzable and describable.

The non spoilery version is this: Robin (Elizabeth Moss) is a detective who comes back to her small town in New Zealand to visit with her gravely ill mother. At the same time a 12 year old girl in the town is discovered to be pregnant. Robin is called in, because of her big city specialist training, to help interview the girl - however the girl claims she remembers nothing, and Robin ends up leading the investigation into what happened. To unravel this mystery Robin will have to face old friends and enemies, the local gang, police corruption and the secrets of her own family.

If you, like me, are utterly bored by detective stories and mysteries, let me attempt another pitch: Top of the Lake is probably the greatest story I've ever seen about a heroine who is flawed and competent and human, who's allowed to unravel, whose power is never undermined even when she's as low as she's ever going to get, even when the odds are insurmountable. Robin is a heroine you root for when, like Buffy, she has nothing left but herself, her body, her wits. She's someone you root for while you recognize her blind spots, her privileges, her biases. Robin is someone who always, always comes through. Stripped down to the bone she rises, like Lazarus, unstoppable in her passion, her moral duty to do right by the marginalized, her incredible strength.

The amazing thing about Top of the Lake is that it's about a girl who loses everything, but never loses herself. It's about trauma, it's about survival, it's about revenge, it's about justice, it's about compassion and love and forgiveness, it's about asking the ugly questions about ourselves and being uncomfortable and trying as hard as you can to be the best person you can be. It's about trying to make sure no one has to suffer the way you've suffered.

And of course - Jane Campion is an amazing director, and stepping into her world for 7 episodes was like suddenly finding myself in an alternative universe where complex, challenging visual stories are told for me, as a woman. Where the male gaze is not even a distant memory.

Here's one last way of putting it: Robin and Leslie Knope (of Parks and Rec) are two extremes on the same continuum. Leslie is Robin in a light-hearted, brightly lit comedy - Robin is Leslie in a graphic, gritty detective story. Robin is the grown up version of Veronica Mars. The settings, the moods, the tropes are different but the women are the same - beacons of resilience, fortitude, open-eyed optimism, competence, who are the heroes rather than the victims of their narratives.

spoilers )

*

And now an addendum written by today!me:

Top of the Lake is the spiritual mother of so many modern shows, and I'm so happy (SO SO HAPPY) that I get to place it a broader than ever tapestry of women heroes of all kinds.
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[personal profile] copperbadge
Wow, you guys, the me of 2014 was such a good bro, he bought an extra three years of premium-level warranty coverage on his laptop.

I wasn’t even looking for whether I was still covered by warranty, I just assumed I wasn’t, but I went to Dell’s website to get the model number of my laptop so I could look up how to open it up properly and fix the terrible groaning noise my fan is making. And Dell was like hey, here’s your model number, also your warranty is good through June of 2018. 

I’m still gonna try to open it up and fix the fan myself, but if I can’t, I can send it in and get the fan fixed AND get a repair on the housing that’s starting to crack. 

Good job, 2014 Sam. You had no idea the crazy shit that was ahead of you but by god you knew you’d need three years of warranty. You and me, buddy, we’re fucking killing it in the adulting department lately. 

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Me: R’s in town this weekend so we may meet up.

Mum: Send me a picture of you and R when you’re hanging out!

Me: Not sure when it’ll be yet but I’ll do my best. It’s a little uncertain right now.

Mum: If it were certain, I’d be worried it wasn’t really R.

She knows us both so well. 

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Yuletide noms!

Sep. 14th, 2017 06:24 pm
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[personal profile] astolat
They close tomorrow so hurry and get your nominations in!

Mine are:

Witcher: Geralt, Emhyr, Ciri, Dandelion (duh)

Dragonriders of Pern: Menolly, Robinton (I totally want Menolly/Robinton NOT SORRY)

Dune (the book): Paul, Jessica, Stilgar, Feyd -- I don't know exactly what I want here, I think I want some outsider POV on Paul maybe?

My runners-up were:

Rome: Pullo, Vorenus, maybe Octavian -- man, I would love a story that undid what the show did to Octavian in S2 so much

Gladiator: Maximus, Commodus

Brimstone: Ezekiel, The Devil

Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon: Eric, Hank, Sheila, Venger

Battle of the Planets: Mark, Jason

and my perennial hope-springs-eternal Dracula: the Series: Lucard (hope doesn't really spring very far lol)

I am totally not mentioning these here in hopes that someone has a spare nom they wouldn't mind using on one of these. ;)

Yuletide nominations end in 3 days!

Sep. 13th, 2017 01:45 pm
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[personal profile] roga
Just a short PSA to nominate your yuletide fandoms before the 16th :-)

I have nominated Younger (TV), The West Wing Weekly (for gen fic but uh I want it), and Captain America (Movies) RPF, because I need more Anthony Mackie fic in my life. Reserving the right to change stuff in the next 3 days, but I think that's where I'm going.

*

I went to the beach for the first time this summer on Friday afternoon. It's a little weird that I hadn't been to the beach in over a year, but as much as I enjoy the ocean, I somehow never end up going too much; it's hot, and there are like five whole weeks when it's blocked by jellyfish, and I'm not a huge fan of going to the beach alone. But we spent some time in the ocean, and paid $5 for a chair and parasol, and I got some floating time, which is my favorite thing.

'Going to the beach' is for me, by definition, going into the ocean with 100% of my body. So like, I might see the ocean other times of the year, might even take my shoes off and stroll through the shallow waves, but it's not going to the beach unless I'm all in, which is why I only do it in the summer, when the water's warm enough. I do know from past experience that what I consider too cold is completely reasonable for others (mostly non-Israelis), and I recently looked up sea water temperatures to understand what the real difference is.

Here's what I discovered:

1. If seatemperature.org is to be believed, it's not just that the Mediterranean is warmer than the ocean, it's that Israel is located along the warmest parts of the Mediterranean.

2. I've always hated going in the sea in Eilat because the water there felt freezing. This same website's map of Red Sea temperatures felt validating for a moment - Israel is at the top right fork of the sea where it branches out at the top of that map and I thought, aHA, you can SEE how freezing it is! But it didn't quite make sense, and other websites show that the water temperature is a lot higher than that. Today for example Tel Aviv has 30c/86f degrees water, and Eilat has 25c/77f, which doesn't seen like it should be quite that big a difference. I wonder if the water in Eilat feels colder because the outside temperatures are usually so much hotter? Tel Aviv is 31c/88f degrees, today, while Eilat is 39c/103f.

I have been thinking about Eilat mostly because I was trying to plan a short trip to Jordan, which can only happen via the Eilat border crossing. My family's never been, and while Dad has no interest, my mom and sisters want to go and I was looking into options for day trips to Petra. The main deterrent were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' travel warnings. They've pretty much had a constant travel warning to Jordan for the past... many years, but it was a medium threat level; something we were worried about but were willing to maybe brave, if not for the super special ISIL warnings that came on top. Then two days ago the government issued a renewed warning, upgrading the threat level to high, and that was the end of that idea. It's fairly futile and a lot to ask for but damn, I wish we can fast forward to whenever this whole thing is over and we can peacefully travel to our neighboring states. At least some of them.

(Researching for this trip, I was interested to learn just how much prices have changed. When I went to Petra 9 years ago, I paid around $170 for an entire day trip. These days, I assume in order to encourage tourists to spend the night, Jordan has special prices for single day visitors to the country: a $60 visa which is waived if you stay overnight, and the price of entry to Petra for single day visitors has risen to $132 - and that doesn't include any of the surrounding travel and transportation costs. It's... a bummer, but I'd be willing to give money if I could, you know. Get there.)

Anyway, here are photos from my last time there, which is what I'll have to settle for for now, I guess.

*

After putting off going to the dentist for, let's not mention a number here but just say years, I've finally started getting various treatments. Don't think there's anything gross here but I assume not everyone wants to read about dental health. )

The best advice I got from a friend who had also procrastinated going to the dentist for years like me, was: don't leave the clinic before you've already scheduled your next appointment. This has proven to be excellent advice, and is 100% the reason I've been following up treatments, so. In case anyone needs prodding: you just need to muster up the courage/energy to make that first appointment, and then don't leave until you've scheduled the next, and you're good.

(no subject)

Sep. 13th, 2017 10:29 am
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[personal profile] marina
I know everyone is tired of hearing how busy I am, lol, but this week has been truly ridiculous. In a lot of ways it's been filled with wonderful things, as well as boring stressful things (contacting city hall, the water company, the electric company...), and in a way I'm grateful that I can survive this kind of week now, disability-wise, since I definitely couldn't have a year ago. But I'm... intensely at the end of my rope, and things are not going to calm down for like, at least another 48 hours, and IDK if I can honestly survive that long.

stuff and things )
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[personal profile] copperbadge
You guys today I researched someone who is such a rank evil motherfucker that the person who was going to meet them to ask for money came over to my desk after seeing my research and was like “What a rank evil motherfucker.” 

And I was like I DIDN’T EVEN PUT THE WORST OF IT IN BECAUSE WE CAN’T PROVE THE WORST STUFF SINCE IT’S ALL TECHNICALLY SPECULATION BY LIBERAL WATCHDOG GROUPS BUT I KNOW THEY DID IT. They gave millions of dollars to climate-change denial (which I learned today is referred to as CLIMATE INACTIVISM) two weeks ago. 

But I am heartened that a) the fundraiser saw through my VERY CAREFULLY professionally neutral report to the truth of the matter and b) they called their boss and were like “I’m not taking this meeting” and THEIR BOSS read my report and said “Yeah this is a PR disaster waiting to happen, don’t take the meeting.”

And normally I’d be like “yes take their money, take it all, take them for everything you can wring from them” but what makes this one so unsettling is that their donations always come with creepy post-contract strings. If we take the money, we’re gonna pay for it down the line, so I’m just as glad we aren’t. 

Once in a while in my profession I come across someone who is such a force for destruction on an international scale that I genuinely hope they will die in some very public and ironic way. I yearn for the day I read of their demise.

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(no subject)

Sep. 11th, 2017 07:40 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Anon linked to a fundraiser for Melissa, a trans girl who recently escaped an abusive home and is struggling to make ends meet. She has been unable to get car insurance, and is also recovering from expenses and injuries from a recent accident. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] nivcharayahel and her sister are raising funds for help with September's rent, to avoid eviction; they are dealing with recent unemployment and underemployment. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] butnotinthisone is dealing with fallout from hurricane Harvey, including being unable to return to their apartment due to continued flooding; their apartment is on the first floor and they will likely be facing property loss and damage from the water. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

Help For Free:

[livejournal.com profile] rua_m linked to Zooniverse, specifically their Weather Rescue project, which allows you to help recover forgotten weather data by transcribing Ben Nevis observatory records. Zooniverse is a great site that lets people participate in citizen science and historical preservation by categorizing and transcribing documents; I'm actually a member and work on some of their animal-related stuff.

Anon linked to Halloween Lifestyle, a Halloween website recently put up (and so still a little sparse) by the mother of [tumblr.com profile] nextrrickanvils. You can read more and reblog here or go directly to the site here.

Housing:

[personal profile] in_the_bottle is looking for a new housemate in London, in Fulham SW6, bordering Hammersmith. Two professional females, at least one fandom friendly. You can read more and get in touch here; they also have an ad up on SpareRoom here with photos.


And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
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[personal profile] copperbadge
On April 1, 1985, a piece by George Plimpton was published in Sports Illustrated, called “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch”. It presented a new rookie pitcher for the Mets: Sidd Finch, an aspirant Buddhist monk and French horn aficionado, who could throw a pitch around 160mph. If you’re not familiar with baseball, a 90mph pitch is a good ticket to the majors, and the fastest pitch on record is around 105mph. The article was a joke, of course – April Fool’s – but the reaction especially among Mets fans was electric. Within sports journalism it’s widely considered to be one of the best hoaxes of all time.

Plimpton eventually expanded the article into a novel in 1987, and I finally got around to digging it up and reading it – it’s what I’ve been reading on the train to the last few Railcats games of the season. The Curious Case of Sidd Finch, as a novel, is in a way a time capsule; it captures a very weird era for the country and a pre-player’s strike, pre-Moneyball era for baseball. But it’s not really a book about baseball, despite Plimpton being primarily a sports journalist. It’s easily accessible if you don’t know a ton about the game, primarily because neither does Sidd Finch.

Rather, the book struck me as drawing heavily on what I think of as the “parable novel”, a genre popular in the seventies – part religious/philosophical treatise and part self-help book disguised as a fictional narrative (the most famous is probably Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach).

The novel’s narrator and fictional author is Robert Temple, a former journalist living in Florida and suffering from a decade-long writer’s block; he literally can’t write anything, including shopping lists and notes to self. (I’ll come back to this.) By a chance of fate he learns that the Mets have a rookie player named Sidd Fitch who can throw a 160mph fastball with uncanny accuracy, but who is still uncertain he actually wants to sign with the club. After getting thrown out of his boarding house for bringing a girl over, Sidd and his girlfriend Debbie Sue end up living with Temple at the request of the Mets, who hope Temple can convince him to sign with the team while he attends spring training in Florida.

It’s a really compelling read with enjoyable characters, and there’s some good tension set up in the question of whether Sidd will sign with the Mets, and whether it would be good for both Sidd and the sport as a whole for him to do so. And I appreciated that the one full pro game Sidd pitches isn’t the climax of the book – this is not a book about sport but a book that uses sport to meditate on other matters.

It does have its issues, however. Temple, the narrator, draws the reader in because we understand that he was a writer and no longer is, but we don’t know why – we know he’s suffered some terrible psychological blow, just not exactly what: 

If he had taken the time to check it out, he would have discovered that I was not capable of writing a paragraph, much less a line of copy. I was a completely defused member of the communications industry. 

[….]

I took my sister by the elbow afterward and I said, “Well, that’s my problem, isn’t it? I’m not really alive. I’m perhaps a quarter alive.”

“You’re coming along,” she said. 

I think it would have been best for that information to come out slowly in drips here and there, perhaps eventually being told more fully when Temple explains to Sidd or Debbie Sue why he can’t write. Instead we get an early-on chapter about it – basically a brief autobiography where he goes to Vietnam to cover the war as a journalist, has a breakdown, and retires to Florida where he fills empty days with pointless tasks as a way of keeping himself alive. It’s…not the most interesting chapter. And then he can’t really explain it to the others because we’ve already sat through it once. 

This complicated history is also a problem with Sidd, our young pitcher – Sidd is struggling with both his faith and what his purpose in life should be, and that’s immediately something people can identify with. The issue is that Plimpton, the actual author, built on the biography he created for Sidd in the Sports Illustrated article, which was a joke and thus comedically complicated. Sidd is an orphan from England adopted by an English anthropologist who then died in a plane crash when Sidd was a teenager, and he found Buddhism while looking for his father in the Himalayas. Sidd also, randomly, is very good at the French horn. This is a complex backstory for a baseball player and it’s not entirely well-told within the boundaries of the book, though it’s also a pretty ripping adventure story as Sidd runs away from boarding school to look for his dad and eventually ends up an aspirant monk who uses Buddhists lung-gom teachings to train himself to throw a 160mph baseball.

We never really get to the heart of why Sidd walked up to a Mets talent scout one day and decided to get himself recruited; there are hints here and there, and it does lead to a masterful set of discussions about why baseball is a game for mystics:

“Why baseball?” Frank Cashen asked. “Why didn’t he go back to England and play cricket?” 

Dr. Burns put his fingertips together. “Baseball is the perfect game for the mystic mind. Cricket is unsatisfactory because it has time strictures. The clock is involved. Play is called. The players stop for tea. No! No! No!” Burns sounded quite petulant. “On the other hand, baseball is so open to infinity. No clocks. No one pressing the buttons on stopwatches. The foul lines stretch to infinity. In theory, the game of baseball can go on indefinitely.” 

[…]

“I got very interested in the idea of causing a commotion at Point B when standing a long distance away at Point A. To throw an object that connects those two points is a very heady thing to be able to do…especially if you can do it time and time again with accuracy. It is something archers and hunters know all about – the trigonometric closing of lines.” 

[…]

I suddenly had a clear image of what Sidd was doing to the game. It was what the listeners were suggesting – he was changing the properties and the essence of the ball itself. It struck me how often the ball is inspected during a game, as if anyone who touches it has to make sure the ball has not changed its properties. If the ball disappears over the fence, another, like a youngster’s dream pinball game, emerges from a black sack at the umpire’s side. He looks at it and gives it to the catcher, who rubs it briefly, and after a glance fires it out to the pitcher; he looks at the ball and rubs it with both hands, his glove dangling from its wrist strap, and then, as he stares down at the catcher for the signal, his fingers maneuver over its surface feeling for the comfort of some response – yes, this time it will do exactly as he wishes! […] Football players do not have this kind of kinship with their ball. Most of the players don’t even touch the thing during the course of a game. It sits stolidly on the grass. The center comes up over the ball from the huddle and barely giving it a glance turns it under his hands; his eyes are staring across the line of scrimmage at the unpleasant visage of the nose guard opposite. A defensive tackle is so uncomfortable with the ball that if he chances to pick it up on the practice-field he tends to throw it end over end to get rid of it. […] Tennis balls are not kept on the mantlepiece. Too many of them around. Who cares?
 

But there’s never that moment where Sidd says, this is why I came to America to play baseball. Especially since he knows so little about it going in. I suppose Plimpton had to make him a foreigner so he wouldn’t know much about the sport, but honestly, you can grow up in America and not know much about baseball, especially at the pro level. Though I do enjoy some of the eccentricities of the game that Plimpton chose to focus on: 

“They have shown me the heavy ring that one slides on the bat to make it seem lighter. I had thought originally that the heavy ring was a talisman to bless the wood. No! One has only oneself to rely on within the confines of the batting box.” 

There’s also some pretty lowered stakes in this book because everyone, even Sidd, is wealthy. Temple can afford to do nothing all day for a decade while still seeing an expensive private therapist about his writer’s block (and eventually supporting Sidd and Debbie Sue when they move in) because his family is rich and supportive. Sidd, an innocent who travels with very little, still has access to his father’s fortune and has a mansion waiting for him in England. Debbie Sue, the free-spirited beach bum that Sidd falls in love with, comes from a wealthy family and was attending an ivy league school before she left it all behind to windsurf full-time in Florida. Even the most desperate people in the book, namely the coaching staff of the Mets, are only desperate to get Sidd to play. Nobody’s life or livelihood is riding on anything in the book, which to me makes it slightly less effective as a philosophical treatise because everyone starts from a place of wealth and comfort. On the other hand, it does allow the reader to engage fully with the psychological side of things, and there’s something to be said for not having to worry about where Sidd’s next meal is coming from:

Rather haltingly, Sidd asked me if I would come to New York and see him through August and September…perhaps share an apartment. He didn’t feel he was going to feel at ease in the city. Over the phone he made one of his brilliant vocal imitations – the sound of a taxi horn, a police siren, and the sigh of a bus pulling away from its passenger stop.

“There are no mantras,” he said, “to take care of this sort of thing.”

All that said, it is a really fun book. Everyone in it is charming and funny, Sidd’s bewilderment over the rituals of pro baseball is touching, and there’s an interesting hint of threesome-ness (probably unintentional) to the bond between Sidd, Debbie Sue, and Temple. As a baseball fan I appreciated the thought Plimpton put into how and where the characters and the sport interacted, and you can tell he has a genuine love of the game. He also appears to have done his research about Buddhism – it’s not just a stand in for woo-woo esotericism, the way it was a bit in the original article. There is some of that, but there is also a lot of genuine discussion of Buddhism which seems, in my admittedly very limited experience, to be correct.

Sidd smiled…very much as Dennis Brain probably had on the stage of the Jubilee Hall. “There’s a saying of Buddha,” he said. “Be earnest in cessation although there is nothing to cease; practice the cessation although there is nothing to practice.” 

So yeah, do recommend The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch if you’re interested in baseball or just in a pretty good story about a baseball player. 

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Sep. 8th, 2017 08:00 pm
romantical: (Dane1)
[personal profile] romantical
I came home and found out Don Williams died today. He was probably my father's favorite artist (tied with Charlie Pride), and hearing that made me start crying like I'm mourning my dad all over again. It seems ridiculous because it's been almost 17 years, but brains are dumb.

Anyway, here is my dad's favorite song: Amanda. And his favorite from Charlie Pride for good measure: thorns of life
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