The Tribe Hangs In There

I’m trying not to get my hopes up about the Tribe, but they’re making that difficult.

The Tribe played well at the beginning of the year, then hit the skids big time.  They lost a bunch of games and plummeted in the standings, and I thought the season was probably over.  But somehow, some way, they pulled it together and scraped out some stunning, last-minute wins.  Today Justin Masterson pitched a beautiful game, shutting out the White Sox 4-0.  With the win the Indians completed a four-game sweep of the Sox, in Chicago, and moved into a tie with Detroit for first place.

I don’t know how the Tribe is doing it — I really don’t.  They don’t have a star-studded lineup filled with potent hitters, and lately their bullpen has really struggled.  They’ve gotten pounded by the stud teams in the American League.  But these guys find a way to beat the bad teams, and so far that’s been good enough.  The fact that Detroit has fallen on hard times hasn’t hurt, either.

I’m still not expecting a lot from the Tribe this year — I’m really not.  But now we’re moving into July, the Indians have shown some admirable fortitude, and baseball remains worth watching for Cleveland fans.  Not bad!

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Presumed Familiarity, Feigned Interest

One other point about the wedding we attended on Friday:  weddings are an interesting opportunity to observe basic human social interactions.

Consider wedding reception tables, for example.  If you’re a member of the family you might be seated with other family members, or if you’re an old college chum you might be noshing with dormitory buddies.  If you’re just a random friend, however, you’re likely to be assigned to a table where most of the seats are filled by complete strangers.  That’s what we got on Friday.

It’s interesting how quickly you reach conclusions about people under those circumstances.  The woman seated to my right — whom I’d never met before — swept in, introduced herself as an old friend of the family, and then promptly launched into a long, inane story about her son, whom none of us knew, and his living arrangements in New York City which included some kind of terrible bathroom.  The story was apparently pointless, aside from the fact that it gave this woman something to talk about.  After five minutes or so, when she paused for a breath and then started to move into a story about her son’s roommate from Texas — an unknown person even farther removed from our realities — someone stepped in to end the woman’s tedious monopolization of conversation at the table.

As the interminable apartment bathroom story was underway, the other people at the table feigned polite interest in the meandering tale but exchanged some meaningful glances.  I’d guess that most of us immediately concluded that the woman was hopelessly self-absorbed and unwilling to engage in the normal social niceties — which require that you at least ask strangers some questions about their lives before you bore the pants off of them with a tale as long as Beowulf.

After that gruesome introduction, I shifted my attention to the left and tried to avoid any head turns to the right, lest the woman pull out her cell phone and begin to inflict a show of photos of her family, friends, and pets and tedious anecdotes about the latest family vacation.

The Bell Event Centre

IMG_4028The wedding that Kish and I attended last night was held in the Bell Event Centre in Cincinnati.  It is a stunningly beautiful facility, with an interesting history.  The ceremony was held in the former St. Paul’s Church, which is home to extraordinary stained glass windows, fabulous frescoes, a vaulted ceiling, and stunning tile work — some of which I tried to capture with my camera.  After the ceremony, the guests moved outside briefly for refreshments and hors d’oeuvres, and then returned to find that the church had been converted into a reception hall complete with a wooden dance floor.

What a neat facility!  It’s a shame that the lovely cathedral no longer functions as a church (it was decommissioned during the 1970s) but I am glad it is still being used and is available for the public to enjoy.

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From The Same Species As Einstein

IMG_4019Last night, as Kish and I were on our way down to Cincinnati, we saw this shining example of human intellectual capacity on I-270.  The fellow in the back not only was standing in the bed of the pick-up truck traveling about 65 m.p.h. on a busy highway, he was using one hand to hold the brim of his ball cap so that it wouldn’t fly off.

Do you think he’s registered to vote?

In Defense Of Marriage — For Everyone

Last night Kish and I attended the wedding of a friend’s daughter.  It was a lovely ceremony.  We heard, once again, the familiar words of St. Paul’s epistle about love and the importance of selfless commitment in loving human relationships.

IMG_4033Those of us in the audience who are happily married reflected, once again, on how fortunate we are to have found someone with whom we can share our lives.  Marriage allows us to make the ultimate pledge to our loved one and to go forward as partners.  There is no doubt that successful marriages enrich the lives of both spouses.  They say that two heads are better than one, and it’s true . . . but then, for the most part, two people are better than one.  It’s wonderful to have that special lover, partner, and friend that you can confide in and consult with, who will gently coach you on how to smooth your rough edges, who will work and sacrifice to make your collective lives better, and who will always have your back.  You can’t help but feel a certain blessed, happy pride that you are part of such a relationship.

When you get married, you don’t necessarily think about the legal aspects of the decision, but they nevertheless are part of the bedrock on which marriages are built.  Marriage is a legal commitment that, once undertaken, can only be undone by another legal action.  The legal aspect gives marriage a formality that distinguishes it from more casual relationships.  And the other legal benefits and rights that go with marriage — be they tax breaks, insurance advantages, pension preferences, or one of the many other consequences built into federal and state law, 401(k) plans, and the other welter of documents and provisions that govern modern life — make working together as a team much, much easier.

I’m a big fan of marriage, and I think it should be encouraged whenever couples have decided, after mature reflection, that they have found that special person.  That’s why I support same-sex marriage.  Marriage has made my life immeasurably better.  Why shouldn’t every couple, regardless of their sexual orientation, have the same opportunity for lifelong happiness?

Comfest, Before The Storm

IMG_4017It’s Comfest weekend in Columbus, and the Unkempt Guy, JV and I decided to wander down to Goodale Park to check out the festivities over the lunch hour today.  We chowed down on some brats, listened to music at several of the venues, strolled past the Peace Tent, and then hightailed it back to the office as a storm rolled in.  Alas, we didn’t quite make it, and despite our pathetic trotting attempt in the final stretch, a cloudburst soaked us to the skin.

It’s sunny once more in Columbus, though, and Comfest is a very fun, interesting event that makes Columbus a better place to live.  If you’re in town this weekend, check it out — and don’t let that Temperance statue dissuade you from grabbing a few beer tokens to add to your festive mood.