1. I bopped in to see what was happening over at The Cool People, The Night People, a Facebook group I belong to made up of people who regularly tune in to Billy Collins' poetry broadcast. One of the members posted a picture from Rye, England and it made me think of Clare, the woman who originated the blog Three Beautiful Things. I had this moment when I wondered if the guy who posted the picture might be Clare's husband.
Clare kept her site online, but she stopped making Three Beautiful Things posts back in 2014. Today, I paid her site a visit and quickly discovered the Rye photo was not taken by her husband (!).
I did discover, however, that with the onset of the pandemic, Clare began writing daily Three Beautiful Things posts again.
A surge of joy coursed through my body.
Clare's 3BTs, in contrast to what I've decided to do with the format, are usually short, one or two sentence observations about her garden, children, writing group, and other heart warming details from her daily life. I've decided to write longer posts. I use this format as a way of chronicling a more detailed account of my day to day life and to occasionally develop thoughts that run through my head.
I did a little bit of sleuthing and found Clare's business email address and wrote her a note expressing my delight that she'd returned to posting and telling her that I have continued to write daily Three Beautiful Things, with some interruptions several years ago.
Just now, I visited her blog. She posted receiving my email as a beautiful thing! She refers to me by my blogging pseudonym. I am beaming. Here's what she wrote:
3. To get a message from a blogger I haven't heard from in a long time. Raymond Pert over at Kellogg Bloggin' has kept the faith while I was away: he has been using the 3BT format since 2006. I was ridiculously pleased to hear this: it felt good to know that someone had kept the little flame alight when I could not.
If you'd like to check out Clare's blog, here's the address: http://threebeautifulthings.blogspot.com
2. Bill, Diane, Val, and I had a boisterous session on ZOOM today. It's hard to pinpoint a central idea, but I'll just say that much of our conversation centered around growing older, about passing from one stage of life to another. Related to this discussion, at least in my mind, was an adjacent discussion we entered into about the immeasurable value of the arts and letters -- in particular we discussed the life enhancing qualities of poetry and music and discussed the ongoing power of Beethoven, Copeland, and Bebop jazz. We also discussed our ideas of what it means to be a strong person, as opposed to a weak one, and agreed that the arts are a sustaining source of strength and agreed that living life primarily as a transactional undertaking, primarily concerned with money and assigning worth to things (like education or the arts) primarily in terms of their monetary value or money generating worth, is not, when it comes to the inward life or to our relationships with others, sustaining or strengthening.
3. Around 4:30 this afternoon, two playoff games started at the same time. In the NBA finals, the Lakers and Heat got underway with Game 6 of their series and the American League Championship Series opened with Tampa Bay playing Houston.
Once Bill, Diane, Val, and I bade one another farewell, I decided to tune into the basketball game, but when the Lakers went ahead by twenty-eight points as the first half ended, I lost interest and flipped over to the baseball game. The Lakers won today's game 106-93 and are the 2020 NBA champions.
Things were much more interesting in the baseball game. As I picked up the action, I started to remember that a year ago I had been intrigued by the Tampa Bay Rays.
They are the most flexible team I've ever watched play baseball. (At least I think they are. I'll think about this some more.)
They use a variety of starting lineups, making their bench deep, and many of their players are reclamation projects, players that have been cast off by other teams, but have found new life with the Rays.
The Rays are not an offensive powerhouse, but rely on strong pitching and nearly flawless defense. Watching the Rays, I honestly never know how long a particular pitcher is going to work because the Rays' manager, Kevin Cash, likes to use multiple pitchers in a game, denying their opposition the advantage that comes with batting against any one pitcher very often.
The Rays' pitching staff is deep, features several flamethrowers, and the defense works in concert with the pitchers, shifting where they position themselves, guided by the pitcher/batter matchup, to the point that once in a while the Rays will pull an infielder and put him in the outfield. I don't think I'd seen four outfielders in a game since the old days of slow pitch softball!
Houston entered this series with Tampa Bay after their series with Oakland in which they hit twelve home runs in four games (a playoff record -- matched by Oakland in this very series).
In tonight's game, Jose Altuve blasted a solo home in the first inning and I had to wonder if the Astros were going to continue their home run barrage. But, thanks to a combination of Rays' starter Blake Snell settling down, some sparkling defensive plays by the Rays, and the Rays getting mostly great relief pitching from their bullpen (the one wobbly performance was saved by a great defensive play), the Astros didn't score another run and Tampa Bay did what they seem to do best: they won a game decided by a single run. Tonight the score was 2-1.
A limerick by Stu: