Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/17/19: Goose 'n the Tree Breakfast, Quick Trip to CdA, More Lewis Black

1. I decided to make a quick trip to Coeur d'Alene and stopped on my way at Goose 'n the Tree for breakfast. I ordered the Continental Divide. It features scrambled eggs, refried beans, sirloin tips, and mexi cheese served over two corn tortillas, all smothered in chili verde sauce. It comes with a side of hash browns. I loved the blend of flavors, especially the chili verde sauce, and the variety of textures. The breakfast sustained me for much of the rest of the day. All I had for dinner was a salad combining Romaine lettuce, jasmine rice, and black beans topped with the olive brine vinaigrette I've been experimenting with.

2.  My plan was to get in and out of Coeur d'Alene quickly. I got a hair cut and went to Pilgrim's and bought a couple bricks of tofu and a bag of bulk jasmine rice and drove straight back to Kellogg.

3. Back home, I felt sluggish. I napped, recovering from being up early to feed Charly. I found another Lewis Black comedy special on my list of television offerings and had a bunch of good laughs. The show I watched was taped just after Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had both been nominated for the presidency, but before the general election. Lewis Black had a heyday. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/16/19: U. S. Open, Father's Day Family Dinner, Interviews

1. I spent much of the day watching the final round of the U. S. Open golf tournament today. As seems to be more and more the case as I age, I didn't favor any one of the leaders very strongly -- I enjoy them all -- and hoped to see these players play well. Over the years, in preparing courses for the U. S. Open, the United States Golf Association has tightened fairways, grown the rough thick and tall, and let the host course's surfaces get hard and fast, making it very difficult for the players to score. I have cringed watching some of these U. S. Opens. I prefer to watch players play in conditions that allow them to go after scores, but penalize poor shots; too many times, for my enjoyment, the players in the U.S. Open have played defensively and had to be tentative.

Sunday's conditions at the Pebble Beach Beach Golf Links seemed just about right. Pin placements looked challenging to me, but not impossible. The greens were not baked and crispy, but reasonably accepting of well struck shots. The rough was thick, the fescue high, and the Pacific Ocean, on the holes that ran along the the water, was gorgeous and intimidating. Repeatedly, I looked at what these players faced as they marched from hole to hole and wondered how they do it, how they can play so powerfully and delicately and shoot superb scores on this majestic and very difficult golf course.

The tournament winner, Gary Woodland, played a terrific final round. I think golf history will laud him for years to come for the courageous 3 wood he rocketed 263 yards on his second shot on the 14th hole to put himself in position to birdie the hole and pick up a stroke on his titanic challenger, Brooks Koepka, which he did; he also seized the moment at the 17th's hourglass green when he recovered from a mediocre first shot by clipping a delicate wedge from the fringe of the green, striking it perfectly over the ridge in the green's center, and rolling the shot very near the pin, saving his par.

2. My viewing of the U.S. Open was interrupted around 4:00 by a special Father's Day edition of family dinner at Carol and Paul's. My nieces, Cosette and Molly, joined us. Carol and Paul offered us grilled shrimp and a variety of other chopped ingredients and sauces so we could each fix ourselves soft-shelled shrimp tacos. Carol made a very tasty rhubarb crisp for dessert, served with Blue Ribbon French vanilla ice cream.

3. I returned back home in time to see the Gary Woodland play his last four holes and enjoyed the tension of his success at keeping his lead over Brooks Koepka. When Fox's coverage of the tournament ended, I flipped over to the Golf Channel. I listened to Woodland, Justin Rose, and Brooks Koepka answer questions from members of the media and was very impressed with their grace and sportsmanship. As much as anything, when I watch sporting events, I enjoy when competitors have earned one another's mutual respect.

Such was the case today. Several defeated players waited for Gary Woodland to leave the 18th green and greeted him with handshakes and embraces. More petulant players would have gone straight to the locker room, cleaned up, and left the premises as quickly as possible. I believed both Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka when they told  reporters that they were happy for Gary Woodland. (Justin Rose played the last two rounds with Woodland and when Woodland executed that marvelous chip shot on 17, Rose gave him a congratulatory fist bump. It was awesome.) In his post-tournament session with reporters, Gary Woodland was modest. He reviewed his key shots, described his mental state during the round, and answered a series of personal, Father's Day questions. He didn't gloat, but expressed gratitude for all those who helped him over the years to make his victory possible.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/15/19: U.S. Open's Third Round, Fun with Salad, Dave Chappelle and Lewis Black

1. Today I watched the third round of the U. S. Open golf tournament unfold. The Pebble Beach Golf Links confronted players with a daunting challenge. The course's surfaces grew more firm. Holding shots on Pebble Beach's small greens grew increasingly difficult, but not impossible. The rough was thick, appropriately penalizing wayward shots.  Over the years, I've seen much more severe course conditions in U. S. Open tournaments, conditions that, for me, drained the joy out of watching the tournament. I enjoyed watching what I saw today: it was possible for players to break par, but it took exceptional play. I'll just say that when I was young and played golf, I underestimated the importance of a golfer being able to recover from trouble on a course. Today's leaders in the U. S. Open recovered beautifully from errant shots that landed in sand traps, thick grass, tall stalks of fescue, patches of ice plants, and near trees. Sometimes it took deft chipping and putting; sometimes a well-placed explosion shot; frequently it meant converting a difficult putt, whether from long distance or from that purgatorial 3-7 foot range.

I won't even try to predict how this tournament will turn out. Gary Woodland leads by a stroke and has combined power and finesse to play superbly; Justin Rose is a stroke behind him after a scrambling round, punctuated by rolling in one knee knocking putt after another; two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka is only four strokes back and is playing with consistency and confidence; right there with him is another very solid player, Louis Oosthuizen along with journeyman and blazing putter, Chez Reavie. And, who knows? Rory McIlroy is five strokes back, but is capable of mounting a comeback, especially if he can manage to score under par on the par five holes.

2. I've been having fun making salads composed of Romaine lettuce, jasmine rice, garbanzo beans, garlic stuffed green olives, feta or Parmesan cheese, and cucumber. I made a dressing consisting of unmeasured amounts of olive oil, olive brine, vinegar, Dinon mustard, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. This dressing, like the salad, leaves a lot of room for experimentation with ingredients and I doubt I can replicate either the salad or the dressing. I'll keep playing around with both, having established some core ingredients and knowing that I love salads made of lettuce, rice, and beans.

3. I dropped myself into two worlds of profanity, coarseness, brilliant insight, irony, irreverence, and unfiltered observations this evening by listening to two hour long comedy shows by two performers, both raised in Silver Spring, MD: first, Dave Chappelle and then Lewis Black. They dizzied me. They made me laugh, too, but they both made my head spin. I'll leave it at that.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/14/19: Understanding the Sewer, Road Trip, Back Home with Charly

1. At breakfast, Buff explained to me what the City of Kellogg's concern is with damaged sewer lines coming out of residences into the main lines: soil or dirt. It is costly to treat sewage with dirt in it. So, when the City of Kellogg had main sewer lines repaired/replaced around town, it was a good time to see that lines, like mine, get repaired. I had speculated that the main concern was that sewage would be seeping into the soil; turns out, the main concern is soil coming through cracks and other brokenness in the 70 year old clay pipes into the sewage. I get it. I'm on board.

2. Ed can buy a roll of snoose at a pretty good discount at the Fightin' Creek Smoke Shop and Market not far from Worley, so we hopped in his newly purchased 2016 Camry and rocketed down. As long as we were in the neighborhood, we also bopped over to the Cd'A Casino. I spun some reels for a while and then went to the Red Tail Bar and Grill and enjoyed a bowl of chicken tortilla soup and a tall single shot (kind of weak, just like I wanted) gin and tonic. It was quiet in the bar. I could keep an eye on developments at the U. S. Open golf tournament. As always, Ed and I had a good drive down and back and got in some high quality yakkin' about all sorts of things. It was a good trip.

3. Back home, Charly had dragged herself to the back door where she greeted me, glad to see me back because she was ready to eat. Charly has been getting up around 4:30 or 5:00 (sometimes earlier) to eat in the morning, so her second meal of the day has been a little earlier than usual. I wish Charly's hips and hind legs could improve, but they continue to slowly deteriorate. Nonetheless, as always, she got herself down the back steps, out into the yard, enjoyed some sunshine and a little sniffing around and basking in the sun, and got herself back up the stairs and into the house.

When Charly and I are in the house together, Charly always situates herself near me. These days, she spends much of the day lying down and she enjoys being close to my feet, sometimes in contact with my ankles. That's exactly where she plopped herself in the Vizio room as I watched the golf coverage conclude and listened to the talking heads on today's episode of Around the Horn, which aired earlier, discuss the Raptors' win over the Warriors.

I had contemplated a trip uptown to the Inland Lounge, but, I opted for going to bed early where I discovered that my shoulder has healed to a point where I can sleep on either my left or right side with only minor discomfort. It's still getting better.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/13/19: Sewer Inspection, Rose on Fire, Raptors Win

1. As part of the City of Kellogg's Sewer & Roads Rehabilitation Project, homeowners in the area where I live were informed 3-4 years ago that they might be responsible for repair or replacement of the sewer line running from our houses into the main line, located in our back yards. The City notified me back in November, 2018, that their video inspection showed that I'd need to have work done on the line running from my house.

Today, a plumber/sewer guy came to the house, did his own video inspection, took some measurements, and explained what approach he thinks would work. Before long I should receive an estimate of the cost.

The City of Kellogg is requiring that this work be completed by the end of 2020 and I'm very happy that neighbor Kellee and I teamed up and had our properties and our sewer lines inspected today so that the work will be done way ahead of the deadline.

2. While and after the plumber/sewer guy performed his inspection, I went into the Vizio room and watched a few hours of the television coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament. Around six o'clock, I changed stations in order watch Game 6 of the NBA Finals and so I missed Justin Rose's scorching birdie-birdie-birdie finish on the last three holes and missed him seizing the tournament's lead after one round.

3. I'm enjoying how my partisanship for sports teams has melted away as I've grown older. I flipped on tonight's NBA Finals' Game 6 hoping for good action between Golden State and Toronto. I love both of these teams and tonight they played a thrilling game. In fact, it was unbelievable watching the Warriors scrap desperately, a team already decimated by injuries who then lost Klay Thompson late in the third quarter when he landed awkwardly after Danny Green fouled him on a drive to the basket. Thompson tore his ACL. The Warriors' scrapping got even more desperate. They were, yes, an inferior team without Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, but they seemed more dangerous to me, playing with desperation and abandon. Unbelievably, the depleted Warriors had a chance to win this game in the closing seconds, but Steph Curry missed a three point shot and the Raptors hung on to win.

After the game, I had fun listening to Scott Van Pelt interview different players from the Raptors and I enjoyed Van Pelt's conversation with Tim Legler about this game and its many, many improbabilities.

I hate sports injuries. By that, I mean I hate players getting hurt. Golden State's injuries, I thought, changed them from a polished team of superb shooters and passers and skilled defenders into a ragtag team of fighters who challenged Toronto to the very limits of their talent. Desperate, undermanned teams often play with an almost reckless abandon that makes them unpredictable and, in the short run, very difficult to defeat. I admired how the Raptors rose to the occasion. Their run to the championship was scintillating and laudable.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/12/19: I Drove Today, Lilacs Reinvigorated, Baseball Tonight

1. During the day, when I'm moving around, my shoulder feels pretty good. I drove the Sube for the first time since Sunday and only experienced slight pain. I went shopping at Yoke's. On June 13th, I will ride my bike back to the park for the opening of the Silver Valley Community Market. I'll ride with vigilance.

I continue to ice my shoulder. At night, however, my shoulder suffers. I'm not moving around and it tightens up some. Charly has been wanting to eat between 4-4:30 a.m. and so after I feed her, I'm not going back to bed, but getting ice on my shoulder at that early hour and then it starts feeling better. As I wrote yesterday, there is a small area that where some pain persists and a small area in the arc of my arm's movement that hurts. But the majority of the pain is gone and I've gained a lot of function back when using my right arm.

2. Three guys with a good sized truck, a chain saw, and pruning shears worked on the lilacs in back.  Brian thought major work hadn't been done on them in 15-20 years. I wondered if a tree service crew had ever worked on them. I know, when Mom was alive, that a few times I cut some deadwood out of them. I know Everett has. I am pretty sure Mom put Paul to work back there. But we all did minor surgery. Today, this crew cut these lilacs way back, freeing them of three huge truck loads of dead material, giving them a chance, essentially, to start over again. Brian will return in the early spring and help train the new growth. The lilacs might not have blooms next year. In the long run, however, these lilacs should prosper from having nutrients going to living shoots. Things look very different in the back and, for now, a once tall and spreading green and dead branches screen is all but gone. In time, though, I trust healthier growth will sprout back there. Before long, I'll start thinking about what I might do with the new empty spaces along the back fence.

3. I've been listening almost every day to the ESPN podcast, Baseball Tonight, with host Buster Olney and I've taken an interest in the surge in home runs being struck this season. I've heard some say the baseballs are wound tighter and so have more juice. Others say that pitchers are, by and large, throwing faster pitches and hitters are, by and large, taking bigger all or nothing upward swings (strikeouts are also on the rise). One consequence of this current trend is that, on the whole, fewer baseballs are in play during a game. It means that we fans experience less action -- fewer base runners, fewer stolen bases, fewer time when one of my favorite baseball moments occurs and that is when a hitter smacks a line drive into the right or left field gap with the bases loaded and his double clears the bases.

With all this said, this evening I realized ESPN was broadcasting the Astros and the Brewers and that their game had gone into extra innings, fourteen innings to be precise. The Brewers won the game and, it almost goes without saying, that the Brewers' game winning hit was a mighty parabolic home run smashed by Mike Moustakas. Much of the Brewers' performance in this game was all or nothing. The team hit four home runs, three solo shots and Moustakas's two run blast. The Brewers also struck out twenty-four times.

Did I enjoy the innings I watched?

As a matter of fact, I did.

When I was a Little Leaguer, our defense used to chatter when a batter came up. One string of chatter went something like this: "Come on big babe, he can't hit, ay ay, ay ay -- Swing!" We peppered out chatter with "hun now"s (a variant of Roger Craig's "humm baby") and we used to encourage our pitchers to "rock and fire".

I don't know a lot about pitching mechanics and approaches to pitching in the major leagues, but, last night, the Astros ran a relief pitcher out for the last two innings named Cionel Perez and he could rock and fire. His windup was built on the concept of rocking back and little and then vaulting forward, slinging the pitch with the momentum gathered by the movement from rocking back a bit to lunging forward. I loved watching him.

Cionel Perez ended up being this game's losing pitcher. He surrendered Mike Moustakas's game winning rocket. But, he epitomized for me baseball's infinite variety. Rarely do two pitchers look the same on the mound; rarely do two hitters look the same at the plate. Baseball players come in a wide variety of sizes. I've always loved this about baseball and, as I watched the last innings of this game, I enjoyed each team's variety. Players are not only various in their size, but in their temperament, their nationalities, and their age.

Yes, I know baseball goes through trends. Right now, in large part because of what statistical analysis reveals, teams don't worry about batters striking out a lot because the statistical benefits of home runs offset the damage of strikeouts. It's kind of like the three pointer in basketball. The benefits of making some three point shots offsets the damage of missing a bunch of them, so teams keep jacking them up and major league hitters keep, as old broadcasters used to say, "swinging for the downs".

Within any trend in baseball, though, is each team's variety and that variety always keeps me intrigued and coming back for more.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/11/19: Icing, About Writing, Weed Eating

1. Icing my shoulder is working. Today my right arm's range of motion and my reach increased. Areas around my shoulder that had been painful previously, didn't hurt today. Once again, when I am still, no pain. My guess is that the one small area that is tender is going to take some time to heal, so I will continue to ice it and not put undue demands on how I use my right arm. The whole situation felt much better today than it did, say, on Sunday evening when I wrecked on my bicycle.

2. Scott Shirk wrote me an email asking how he might become a better writer. In responding today, I had fun revisiting the ways I think about writing in relation to Thich Nhat Hanh's exploration of being and non-being in his book Being Peace. Writing this letter reawakened what I cared the most about when I was a writing instructor.

I don't know if I was right or not, but, as an instructor, I always thought that good writing was inseparable from the cultivation of inward freedom -- the freedom to see things in multiple ways, to explore connections between seemingly unrelated things, to be awake to the world's variety, and to exercise the freedom to write by letting it rip, trying to forget about grades and performance. I knew then and I know now that this wasn't a very academic approach. I also knew as our composition program became more preoccupied with assessing its own success, that I didn't possess a single objective means of measuring whether students who came to enjoy writing, felt free to let it rip, and who explored the world and their writing by exploring the copious nature of concepts, ideas, and experiences actually met the officially stated objectives of the writing courses.

I don't think I ever surrendered to the idea that such assessment was possible.

Retired, I don't miss assessment. I don't miss course objectives. I don't miss trying to meet those objectives while simultaneously resisting them.

I miss the experience of trying to cultivate freedom. I miss the laughter, fun, and joy some students experienced when they became less preoccupied with achievement and grades and discovered they often wrote better, in my view, when they quite trying so damn hard to write better and let it rip.

3. In preparation for a small crew coming to the house on Wednesday, June 12th, and cutting back the lilacs, I hired a junior at KHS to come over and use his weed eater to cut back all the growth around the lilacs in the rear of the back yard and to take what he mowed down off the premises. He did just what I asked and earned himself a little more money toward the work he wants done on his truck. I asked him if he pulled weeds or did he just remove them with his machine. I had a sense he didn't pull weeds and I was right. If I ever decide, though, that I'd like more weed whacking done, I'll get back in touch with him again. I'm very happy that the tree guys are going to have much easier access to the lilacs thanks to the work this high schooler did back there today.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/10/19: Shoulder Update, Furnace and Washing Machine, Warriors Against All Odds

1. Today turned out to be a good day to rest and ice my shoulder as much as possible. Some good news about my shoulder, in answer to concerns different friends brought up: I can lift my arm as if I were raising my hand in school. The lifting is interrupted by some pain, but I can use my right arm to put things away up high. Even with my shoulder pain, I was able to unload the dishwasher, put the dishes away, clean off the counters, and wash the dishes by hand that needed to be. On Sunday night, after my wreck, I couldn't sleep on either my right or left side, but Monday night I could sleep on my left side. I like to sleep on one side or the other and this was a relief. Much of the initial pain I suffered is gone and now I can pinpoint where my shoulder is angry. I am the most inhibited when I reach down (not up).  Since shifting gears in the Sube requires reaching down, today I'll go out to the car and test my ability to shift and I'll play with the steering wheel and see how that feels. When I am sitting still or when I am working on my Chromebook, tablet, or phone, I don't feel any pain. That's both a relief and encouraging.

2. Late in the morning, Robert came by and tuned up the furnace. It's clean. It's running well. I'll have Robert return in the year 2021. Not long after that, Sherri and Brock pulled up in front of the house in the WattsMobile, removed the washing machine I'm replacing and moved the new one in, installed it, and ran it through its paces and declared it ready to go.

3. During the day, I read that the Warriors' Kevin Durant would return to the court tonight against the Raptors. Rehabilitating a calf injury and, possibly, a fragile Achilles tendon, he hadn't played since May 8th. He returned to action tonight. He played for twelve minutes. He knocked down his first three three point shots. Seeing him back in action was scintillating. But, early in the second quarter, he planted his right foot, about to create a shot for himself, and suddenly he fell to the floor. He sat, massaging his right Achilles heel. Staff, along with teammates Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry, helped him off the floor and into the locker room. All evidence, minus an MRI scheduled for June 11th, points to Durant having suffered a torn Achilles tendon. If that's the case, Durant will most likely miss the entirety of the 2019-20 season.

For the Warriors, the joy of Durant's return turned into the grief of losing him.

By halftime, the Raptors had cut the Warriors' onetime fourteen point lead to six points. The Warriors went into their locker room at halftime and learned what they could about how bad Kevin Durant's injury was. I've heard reports from Doris Burke and Brian Windhorst about that halftime locker room. It was like a morgue.

I thought of Shakespeare's Henry V. The Warriors were akin to King Henry's troops at the Battle of Agincourt. The Warriors were depleted. Durant was out. Iguodala, Thompson, Cousins, and Looney were all playing with fresh injuries -- in fact, Looney would leave the game, his injury aggravated,  in the fourth quarter and not return. The Raptors had the Warriors outmanned. They looked physically stronger. Their bench is deep and reserves Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet were making strong contributions.

I knew that Warrior coach Steve Kerr did not give a rousing King Henry-like speech at half time, rousing his players by referring to them as "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers", but the post-game interviews I heard with Draymond Green, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson were packed with references to Kevin Durant as their fallen brother and allusions to the crippled condition of their team. The Warriors did band together. Against nearly insurmountable odds, they rallied their weakened bodies and their mournful spirits and won this game.

Get this: in the last 20 years in the NBA playoffs, in 96 games, teams have entered the last three minutes of their games with a six point lead and won 93 of those games.

That's right. Teams trailing by six points with three minutes to go, before tonight, were 3-93.

Now it's 4-93 because the Warriors got three three pointers from Curry and Thompson, defended the Raptors fiercely on Toronto's last possession, overcame an offensive basket interference call, a goal tend, and a moving screen violation, all by DeMarcus Cousins, and miraculously won this game, 106-105.

As I've written before, I tend to think and write less about how teams lose games and more about how teams win games. The three treys that Thompson and Curry hit late in this game were as graceful of shots under duress as I've ever witnessed. I also thought, and Tim Legler's post-game analysis supported my thoughts, that the Warriors' defense in the last fifteen seconds confused Kawhi Leonard, especially when Iguodala left his man down low to come out high and double team Leonard along with Klay Thompson, forcing Leonard to pass to Fred VanVleet who passed to Kyle Lowry who was harassed by Draymond Green and missed the Raptors' final shot badly.

Looking ahead to Game 6 on Thursday, I once again think the Raptors have a decided physical advantage over the Warriors. It's hard to imagine the Warriors overcoming the hardships they are enduring and finding a way to win back in Oakland.

But, I think all of us who love to watch sports agree. In any given game, especially at the championship level, there is always the possibility that the unlikely, even the miraculous can happen. That's why we watch. If the Warriors find a way to win Game 6, I don't know that I'd consider it a miracle, but I would say that Golden State found a way to pull off the highly unlikely.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/09/19: *Crime Junkie* Podcast, Family Dinner, I Had a Bicycle Wreck

1. I hosted family dinner tonight, so I worked during the day in the kitchen getting things cleaned up and preparing food. Out of the blue, I put on a podcast I'd never heard of, let alone listened to, called Crime Junkie. I, by the way, am not a crime junkie, not by any definition of my own and not by the definition provided by this podcast's host, Ashley Flowers. But, I thought it might be interesting to listen to while I worked in the kitchen and I was right. It had an episode devoted to an awful serial murderer named Israel Keyes. Keyes' crimes had come to my attention several years ago because of a case in Alaska and at least one Alaskan Facebook friend was posting about it and about his suicide in 2012. Listening to this podcast, found here, brought the grisly story back to me. I probably won't return Crime Junkie anytime soon. I think after watching about four episodes of Forensic Files on Saturday and listening to a few of these podcast episodes today, I've encountered enough true crime stories for a while. If you'd like to check out the Crime Junkie webpage and look at the list of episodes and see pictures, interrogation videos, and other material related to each week's subject, just click here.

2.  Because a bluegrass group, the Ginstrings, were playing a free concert, sponsored by Radio Brewing, in the Kellogg City Park, we ate family dinner early tonight, around 4:30. During our cocktail time, Christy and Everett enjoyed a gin and tonic, Paul poured himself a glass of red wine, and Carol, much to my delight, dove into my craft beer stash. I suggested she might enjoy trying Block 15's chocolate, raspberry stout, Love Potion #9. She split the 16 oz can with me. If you've ever had one of those not overly sweet but semi-sweet chocolate-y truffles, one that has a touch of bitterness to complement its chocolate flavor and one that also has was made with a hint of raspberry, that's what this beer tasted like. It was just what I like in a chocolate-fruit stout. Later Carol popped open my bottle of Ex Novo's Nevermore barleywine, poured herself a moderate amount and put a stopper in the bottle and returned it to the fridge. I didn't try it -- I drank my stout too slowly -- but I'll give it a taste later on.

Dinner was simple. I made two hamburger steaks buried in mushrooms and onions and I made three or four steaks that combined hamburger and German sausage, also buried in mushrooms and onions. I steamed a head of cauliflower and grilled Romano lettuce on the stove top and seasoned it with Montreal Steak Seasoning and Parmesan cheese.

We all left the kitchen table and retired back to the living room and Paul raised some theological questions about the authority of the ordained and I enjoyed reflecting on this question and others as I understand them within the context of the Episcopal Church of the USA. The Episcopal churches where I have worshiped over the last thirty-five years or so have emphasized the interrogative over the declarative in wrestling with different questions related to a life of faith. Not every Episcopal church is fundamentally interrogative and in the worldwide Anglican Communion, many dioceses invest much more top down authority in the ordained bishops and priests than the dioceses I've been a part of in Oregon, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Spokane.

It's always fun to discuss these theological and church related questions. These discussions always make me grateful for the experience I had at Whitworth College and the many students and faculty I encountered and talked with whose Christian experience and ways of seeing a life of faith varied greatly (sometimes wildly) from one another.

3. I jumped on my bicycle and pedaled to the Kellogg City Park. Upon arrival, I steered between two of those low to the ground concrete slabs that mark parking spots and my left pedal hit one of them and I went flying off the bike and hit the grass pretty hard.  I gathered myself, checked out my bike, and joined Carol and Paul to listen to the Ginstrings play bluegrass music.

My right shoulder absorbed most of the impact of my fall and, as I listened to the music, I started to feel nauseous. I also concluded it would be smart to go back home and start icing the area of impact. So, I only heard the Ginstrings play about two tunes and bade Carol and Paul farewell.

I arrived home, parked my bicycle, and pulled a huge ice pack out of the freezer, got a towel and began icing my shoulder. The nausea subsided and I could feel the shock of the trauma to my right shoulder wearing off. I just wanted to go to bed.

I positioned myself in bed as comfortably as I could, but I couldn't sleep on my right side the way I like to and it took me a while to go to sleep, but I did. I had to, as always, get up two or three times to use the bathroom and it was a struggle to get out of bed, but I figured it out, returned, and went  right back to sleep. At about five o'clock, Charly wanted to eat and started whining and I know that once she starts the whining for morning food, she won't stop until she gets her way.

I figured out how to get out of bed, fed her, and got the ice pack back out, went back to bed, and positioned the ice pack so that half of it was icing the front of my shoulder and half of it the back. I fell right back to sleep, woke up about 90 minutes later and returned the ice pack to the freezer to prepare it for my next treatment.

I'm happy to say that I'm having no problems sitting here typing this blog post. In fact, as I sit here typing, I'm in a comfortable sitting position and I don't feel any pain. But, once I get up to do things, my right arm's mobility is limited.

Today, Monday, the furnace man comes to tune up the furnace and later this afternoon Watts will deliver the new washing machine. If, when these parts of my day are finished, my shoulder isn't feeling much better, I'll go have it checked out.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/08/19: The Lowe Post Show, *Forensic Files* Jag, Subway

1. If you follow sports at all, you know that from the broadcasting/talk show end of things, it's noisy. Lots of voices, lots of analysis, lots of opinions. It can be challenging in the midst of all this cacophony to decide whose voices to listen and whose to filter out. Although more than two voices exist that I never filter out, the two voices I pay the most attention to are Doris Burke and Zach Lowe.

I wish Doris Burke were working these NBA finals as a play by play analyst rather than doing what she's been assigned: buttonholing coaches between quarters for in-game interviews, interviewing a star of the game right after it, and chasing down injury updates in both teams' locker rooms ("Mike, they've stitched up the cut under VanVleet's eye and say he'll be back on the floor shortly" -- ABC doesn't need a mastermind like Doris Burke to do that kind of reporting.)

Over the years, Zach Lowe has written deep and detailed analysis of what happens in NBA games and has deftly supported his analysis with video footage of what he's explaining, whether it's how different teams defend the pick and roll, how Steph Curry gets himself open so often in the Warriors' offense, or what happens when the Warriors gang up to defend Kawhi Leonard and leave a shooter like Danny Green unguarded. Often his analysis of basketball, for me, is like reading the most intricate analysis of, say, Helen Vendler breaking down a Shakespeare sonnet. I don't understand all of it, but the 80-90 percent of what I do understand expands my understanding and helps me watch NBA games and read Shakespeare's poetry more insightfully.

Well, this is all to say that Zach Lowe also hosts a podcast, The Lowe Post, found here.

Look at the list of episodes, and you'll see the ones I've recently been enjoying:  his talk with Doris Burke, another with Jeff Van Gundy, yet another with Chris Herring, and his conversation with Richard Jefferson. Zach Lowe leavens his geeky basketball expertise with good humor, so every minute of these conversations is not nitty gritty technical talk, but is well-balanced with stories (as a kid in Manasquan, New Jersey, Doris Burke loved the Oakland Raiders!) and witty repartee.

Listening to The Lowe Post Show helped make cleaning the kitchen today much more enjoyable.

2. Every once in a while, I get on a jag watching Forensic Files on Netflix. Without commercial interruption, each episode lasts 22 minutes and it's fun to watch the forensic experts with their magnifying glasses, microscopes, infrared gizmos, computer hard drive readers, and other technological instruments bring (apparent) order and clarity to one messy case after another. I love how figuring out the case always hinges on some minute detail: a Reese's peanut butter cup wrapper, a thin wire buried in a pile of debris, the tip of a latex glove, a chip of paint, a carelessly discarded cigarette butt, or analysis of brain cells.

3. All those computers and other high tech instruments inspired me to jump on the Chromebook and order a 6 inch Italian B.M.T. at Subway with a little bag of potato chips. I walked down to the Gondolier and bought a pint of milk so I'd have milk for my morning coffee and strolled to Subway on my way home and picked up my dinner.