Saturday, June 13, 2009

The pitchers are doing their part

The Cub bats remain silent! I am trying to keep my cool and not start freaking out. But it's hard. Zambrano, Wells, Lilly and now Hardin have all turned in noteworthy performances, but they have received little or no support from the offense.

Fortunately, there's still Lou. I love watching him face the press, never more so than after a heartbreaker like today's 2-0 loss to the Twins. He's not happy, certainly. He looks weary, but not enraged. No excuses. No scape goating. He says we just need to hit the ball harder and more often. It's a 160+ game season, it's only June, and Lou's not throwing in the towel.

In Lou I trust.

Besides, last year we reliably won game after game after game in the regular season and completely fell apart in the play offs. Perhaps Lou is just implementing his secret plan for reversing that equation.

She missed a lot

My older sister, I mean. A little more than a year apart in age, just a year ahead of me in school, we spent our girlhoods as far apart as we could and still live in the same house. From my POV, it was because she hated me. She used to hit, kick, and pinch me when we were alone -- either trying to hurt me or make me yell, thereby getting a scolding from our icky grandmother for being "so damn loud all the time." (This continued until I moved out.) My things were "ours," while her things were "hers," and since she was both bigger and more coordinated than I was, it was easy for her to enforce this. She encouraged her classmates and the neighborhood kids to choose between her and me. Fortunately, the kids on the block chose me, which is why this morning it strikes me that she must have had a rather sad childhood.

As I was going about my cat-related chores (scooping the litterbox, freshening the water bowl and dispensing the kibble), I had first The Green Hornet and then Batman on. I was either 7 or 8 when these shows initially aired, and it amuses me now to remember how seriously my friends and I took them. We didn't think they were campy or funny, we were frustrated that no one understood what a great man The Green Hornet really was, and frightened that we may find the Dynamic Duo had been harmed when we tuned back in tomorrow -- "same Bat time, same Bat channel."

My sister never watched those shows. Or That Girl, The Man from UNCLE, The Monkees ... she had no interest in our backyard swingset, where my oldest friend and I swung for hours at a time, singing Beatles songs and comparing/contrasting the charms of The Cute One vs. The Quiet One ... she had a bike, but she never rode with us as we pretended we were racing around the block on thoroughbred horses ... she somehow managed to fight our genetic predisposition for the Cubs, so she never walked around with a transistor radio, listening to Vince and Lou on WGN radio like my baseball-obsessed friends and I did (though I do recall some of my friends actually preferred -- gasp! -- Johnny Bench and The Big Red Machine to my the Cubs). All the things I enjoyed were tainted in my older sister's mind, polluted by my very presence.

What did she enjoy? I know she and my icky grandmother used to polish her silver together a lot, and it meant a lot to my older sister to get it when Grandma kicked. She took sewing lessons. She got straight A's. We did watch Bewitched together, and agreed we preferred it to I Dream of Jeannie. We both played with our Barbies, but seldom together. (Mine was always dressing for a date with Paul McCartney.) I remember she liked doing jigsaw puzzles. Occasionally she joined us (or did her friends let me join them?) for tag. She was a far better athlete than I was and justifiably proud of her jump rope prowess. Blessed with dark hair and eyes, she tanned while I only burned, and lay in the yard slathered in baby oil, hoping to look like the California Girl she eventually became.

But I remember no music coming from her room. Not much laughter, either. She was not into Nancy Drew and didn't participate in the reading competition in our front yard. She didn't race to the drugstore to see who had the biggest photo on this month's Tiger Beat (Bobby, David or Donny).

With the compassion and perspective that comes with time and years (and years!) of therapy, I understand that she really didn't hate me. She was jealous of me. A high-maintenance, high-strung, colicky baby, she never got the undivided attention from my mom that she needed because I was born. Not my fault, not her fault, not my mother's fault. It's just the way it was. It's unfortunate that my parents didn't have the insight to handle it as we grew up and the competition grew more physical and virulent, but back in those days, such things weren't discussed.

Now that she and I are both middle-aged broads, and I know that she can't physically hurt me (though I wouldn't stand in front of her car and trust her to brake), I feel sorry for her. I was a funny, imaginative kid and my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Too bad she couldn't/wouldn't let herself do the same.

So hard to take Sarah Palin seriously

Even though I don't much care, the Palin-Letterman controversy has penetrated my consciousness, and I conclude that if the good Governor is really the future of the Republican Party, the Democrats have little to worry about.

David Letterman made a joke about Bristol Palin. Yes, it was in bad taste. Whatever. I'm not sure Bristol can claim to be a model of propriety after explaining to People that as a high school student-mom she breast fed before classes. Let's not forget this photo of Bristol was not a paparazzi shot. Young Ms. Palin posed for People and granted the interview. She has appeared of her own volition as a spokesperson for abstinence. So when Sarah Palin whines and complains that her kids aren't treated as delicately as the Obama girls, she's ingenuous. The Obama girls don't have a cause and they have yet to pose solo -- without their parents anywhere in sight -- for magazine covers. If anyone is exploiting Bristol Palin, it's whoever it is that may have influenced Bristol to put herself out there without making sure Bristol understood she may takes shots.

As far as young Willow Palin is concerned, if Governor Palin is so worried about her younger daughter's reputation, maybe she should stop talking about her. I didn't know Willow's name or that she was 14 or that she was in New York with her mother until Governor Palin kept repeating it on The Today Show and CNN.

The timing is very good for old Dave though. Conan was getting all the publicity for being the hip, new kid at 10:30 (CST). Wonder if Dave and Sarah are pulling an Eminem/Bruno on us.