Archive for October, 2007

31
Oct
07

All Hallow’s Eve, a poem

I don’t normally do reposts, but I thought it might be fun to toss this one up again for the holiday in question.   Happy Halloween, everyone.

The sun is setting, the sky is red,
and each grave mutely marks the dead.
Dead leaves on the dead grass lie.
Through the wind, you’ll hear a cry,
“As you are now, we were before.
We once lived, who live no more.”

The moon arises, smeared with clouds,
The dead arise, wrapped in shrouds.
Above each grave, where each was laid
A ghost hovers, a baleful shade.
To us the living, they do implore:
“We once lived, who live no more.”

All Hallow’s Eve, the dead arise.
From mouths long dead come voiceless cries.
Beneath the moon they walk the land.
Forever cursed, forever damned.
They hover just outside your door,
They who lived, but live no more.

What they lost in life they seek
With baleful eye and bloodless cheek.
Tormented souls, of hope denied,
Mutely haunting where they died.
They haunt the night, cold and hoar,
They who lived, and live no more.

No requiem aeternam given,
Never saved and never shriven.
They walk the night and haunt our dreams,
Crying out with voiceless screams.
Hope and peace they all forswore
They who lived, and live no more.

The dead will wait another year
To walk the earth and wander near.
Returning to their earthen graves
These tortured and despairing slaves
With dying cries their fate abhor
“We once lived, who live no more.”

–Stephen P. Smith

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29
Oct
07

How sweep it is!!

A picture is worth a thousand words, folks! And lest anyone forget, you heard it here first!

To their credit, the Colorado Rockies made it interesting right to the end, but ultimately they were mowed down by the Red Sox’ baby faced assassin, closer Jonathan Papelbon.

One hundred years ago, the Boston Red Sox were the dominant team in baseball.  After an 86 year drought, the Sox have won two World Series in four years.

Those days have returned.

-Smith

27
Oct
07

Joe Torre: a tribute from a Red Sox fan

We have to get one thing straight right off the bat: I am a hard core Boston Red Sox fan, born and raised a proud and long suffering citizen of Red Sox Nation. I used to get hives at the mere mention of names like Bill Buckner, Bucky Dent, and Aaron Boone. But all that changed in 2004, when the Red Sox banished the curse of the Bambino, (a curse of years of inept management, if the truth be told) humiliated the New York Yankees right there on their home field, and blew away the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series almost as an afterthought.

That part of me, the yahoo Red Sox fanatic, is glad that Joe Torre is finally gone. Joe Torre’s Yankees made my life miserable for eleven years, starting in 1996, Torre’s first year as manager of the Yankees. In those eleven years, the Yankees finished first ten times, the sole exception being 1997. After that, it was nine straight years of having to endure the Yankees finishing first, the Red Sox finishing second. Every freakin’ year.

But I am not just a Red Sox fan; I am also a human being who loathes injustice, which is just a fancy way of saying I don’t like to see anyone getting screwed. And Joe Torre got screwed. Big time. By the very people who should have been the first ones to appreciate everything that he did for them. By offering him a one year contract with 2.5 million dollar pay cut, the Yankees management may not have actually fired him, but they basically insulted him into quitting.

Any baseball fan worth his Cracker Jacks has to appreciate the greatness of Joe Torre, irrespective of their hometown allegiance. Prior to his arrival, the Yankees were a collection of overpaid perennial mediocrities. Apart from a Wild Card berth in 1995, the Yankees last visit to the playoffs prior to Torre’s arrival was 1981, when they went to the World Series, blowing a 2-0 series lead to lose to the L. A. Dodgers in six games.

Torre changed all that. His managerial record with the Yankees will be the stuff of legend: 12 seasons, 10 American League East first place finishes, six American League pennants, and four World Series championships. It is an astounding record of uninterrupted success.

But even more than that, what always impressed this Red Sox fan was his dignity and class. In the old days, Red Sox fans really did hate the Yankees, and they were a pretty unlikable bunch. Thurman Munson, Lou Piniella, Reggie Jackson, and of course, the odious Billy Martin were like comic book villains to our Red Sox heroes like Luis Tiant, Bill Lee, and Carlton Fisk.

But no one with half a heart could hate Joe Torre. Enjoy beating him? Absolutely. But you can’t hate him. It is no coincidence that in May of 1999, making his first visit to Fenway Park after missing the first several weeks of the season while battling prostate cancer, Joe Torre received a standing ovation from the same Red Sox fans who had spent their entire lives booing anything Yankee.

I was never prouder to be a Red Sox fan than at that moment.

His skills as a manager were never more on display than this season. The Yankees were a train wreck in May, tied with the Tampa Bay Devil Dogs, er, sorry, that’s Devil Rays, for last place in the AL East. Many big league managers would have been hard pressed to keep the players away from each others’ throats, let alone find a way to win consistently. Yet somehow Torre kept it all together and by August the Yankees seriously threatened the Red Sox’ hold on first place.

But evidently that is not enough for the Steinbrenners. Rumor has it that George Steinbrenner is now too ill to really be running things, and it is his son Hank who is actually steering the ship. Significantly, the Yankees didn’t start to recover until George was banned from baseball in 1990. By the time he was allowed to return in 1993, he seemed to have learned a lesson about letting his baseball people actually make the baseball decisions. The less George did, the better the Yankees did. Happily for Red Sox fans, Hank has seemingly inherited his father’s penchant for both wanting to be in control and for making really bad baseball decisions.

This does not bode well for the Yankees.  By all accounts, Torre enjoyed the almost fanatical loyalty of his players.  He could manage the Toledo Mud Hens next year, and his players would follow him there.

Torre deserves to be Manager of the Year. I really hope he gets it, just to spite them.

Classy to the end, he refuses to bad mouth the people who have treated him in such an ungracious fashion. At a press conference today, he again passed up an opportunity to vent what must be some very pent up anger, and instead chose to thank the New York fans for their loyalty.

Of course, one needn’t feel too bad for Joe Torre. He is rich, and famous, and can walk into the office of any baseball or television executive and name his price. And as I said, the Red Sox fan in me is a little glad he’s gone. But I have to admit the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry will not be quite the same without seeing Torre’s ever dour visage glaring out of the Yankees dugout.

This is one Red Sox fan who wishes Joe Torre continued success.

Preferably in the National League.

-Smith

26
Oct
07

World Series Redux

There won’t be a whole lot of blogging over the next few days, as I stay up past midnight each night relishing the sight of the Red Sox dismantling the pretty boy–and hopelessly over matched–Colorado Rockies.

Hey, I have my priorities.

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver and the rest of the ludicrous Fox Sports team are twisting themselves into knots trying to find something positive to say about Colorado. Buck is just trying to make it interesting, but McCarver’s blatant National League bias–which he also displayed during the 2004 World Series–is nothing short of annoying.

The bad news? Blogging will have to wait a few days. The good news? It should all be over by Sunday. My prediction: Sox sweep. And I have a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin champagne sitting on top of my TV, just waiting to be opened when it happens.

My next post will be entitled: Why God is almost certainly a Red Sox fan.

-Smith

17
Oct
07

Greetings from sunny california

I survived a six hour plane ride and my own fear of flying. Six hours of renaissance music helps. I’m probably the last person in the western hemisphere who hasn’t traded in his Walkman for an iPod, but that’s only because iPods are evil.

My sister was kind enough to let me use her computer. It’s good to be the big brother.

I’ve decided I like palm trees, 80 degree weather in October, and having the ocean on my left when I walk north. There seems to be a burrito stand on every street corner, which is unsettling, but there’s a Starbucks on all the other corners, so that’s okay.

I may never come back.

I’ve spent the day making candles in my sister’s candle shop (I guess that’s what happens when you visit a self-employed relative for your vacation). It’s fun, actually. Not all that dissimilar from blending tobacco, my usual occupation. Just like in the blending room, the scents get into your head, and you’re in your own little world, which is where I usually like to be anyway. Plus I can smoke my pipe as I work, a definite plus (take THAT, Henry Waxman!)

So now it’s off to dinner, drinks, and cigars. I could get really used to this.

-smith

16
Oct
07

goin’ to california

It’s been a shitty year.  Divorce will do that.  Yeah, I’m over it for the most part, but I know my head and heart still really aren’t in the game.  There are still too many things in my life that remind me of her, at a time when I’d rather simply forget she ever existed.

So I thought a change of scenery would so me some good.  A big change of scenery.  A “let’s go to the opposite side of the country” change of scenery.  I’m taking a week off and going to visit my sister in California.  I’m going to enjoy the sunshine.  I’m going to walk on the beach.  I’m going to help out in my sister’s candle business.

I’m going to party my ass off.

When I come back, hopefully it will be with a better attitude towards life in general, and blogging in particular.  I’d gotten into a groove with this blog for awhile, and then I got side-tracked with the atheists (yeah, I know, blame the atheists for everything, why don’cha?).  On top of that, I’m a bit of a manic depressive, and a depressive period usually follows a manic one, which is where I’m at right now.  I just haven’t felt like writing much.  Hopefully, when I come back, that will have changed.

It always makes my day when I see comments on my posts.  Hopefully some of what I have written has made you think, or smile, or cry.

But no matter what, it’s been fun knowing all of you.   See you all (hopefully) in a week.

-smith

15
Oct
07

The Wild Swans at Coole, a poem

No, I didn’t write this, but I wish to God I had. This was written by W. B. Yeats, the great Irish poet who lived from 1865-1939. This is the poem that first got me excited about poetry in the first place, back in my teens. When I first read this poem, something came alive inside me that never died, even though it slumbered for many years. I just wanted to share this beautiful poem with everyone. I hope it moves you as much as it has always moved me.

~

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans.

The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

W. B. Yeats




taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood" ~ Dr. John H. Watson ************************
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