Hot Air: Fortunetelling

Y’know, these horoscopes really hit the nail on the head sometimes.

[ h/t to Vanessa Shinmoto. ]

Double Talk

Here’s the link to the podcast of yesterday’s Big Talk, an encore presentation of my January 2020 chat with university chancellor and diversity pioneer Charlie Nelms. It’s Part 1 of a two-parter with the wrap slated to air next Thursday, April 2.

Catch Big Talk every Thursday at 5:30pm on WFHB, 91.3 FM.

My Annual Spring Watch

Every year, baseball’s Opening Day stands as a landmark in my Spring Watch. That annual vigil begins soon after the New Year. I figure, we’ve gotten past football’s regular season and the holidays and even though it’s the dead of winter, we’re rapidly advancing to those delicious days when the weather is bearable for humans and there’s light in the sky.

Harry Belafonte

I start the Watch on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, January 15th, usually by watching the documentary, King: Montgomerey to Memphis, narrated by Harry Belafonte (as cool a guy as ever lived) and directed by Sidney Lumet. (It was the only documentary Lumet, who helmed Fail-Safe, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, and Network, ever directed.)

Next comes the Super Bowl about two weeks later, followed by Valentine’s Day and the opening of baseball’s spring training camps in Arizona and Florida. I mark few of these days for the own sake but as progressive standards in the march toward sane weather.

And, speaking of March, my birthday falls in the first week of the month. That’s another landmark. Then St. Patricks’ Day and the beginning of the NCAA basketball tournament. April Fool’s Day and baseball’s Opening Day fall around the same time, appropriate for most of my life as a Chicago Cubs fan, considering from the age of 11 when I fell in thrall to the team (gee thanks, Ma!) until the year 2015, only a fool would honestly believe the Cubs could accomplish anything of note.

Finally, there’s Easter. By that Sunday, the clocks have already been turned forward and, even though there’s a good chance of snow and/or sub-freezing temps now and again, there are just as likely to be glorious days in the low 70s. My Spring Watch, by then, would be concluded.

Counting down all those big days during the Watch helps me survive the winter with hope and a modicum of sanity.

This year, of course, one of those landmarks has been robbed from me. Opening Day for my beloved Cubs had been slated for yesterday, March 26th, in Milwaukee. The game wasn’t played due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Nevertheless, my Spring Watch goes on. The forsythias out in front of the house are having an orgy…

… and the grass is becoming more and more green and lush and will continue to do so over the next few days with predicted rain showers.

This is a spring like no other. In a lot of ways, I feel as though I’m 10 years old again, being grounded for two weeks or more by my mother. Poor Ma, she never learned that grounding me didn’t work. There were long stretches when I’d be grounded after every single time I went out. Grounding was her knee-jerk response to me coming home late. And I came home late every time. I don’t know why; perhaps I was born w/o an internal clock. All I know is, I was busy playing ball in the alley or riding my bike all over the neighborhood and the next thing I knew it was 5:05 pm. Already five minutes late (Ma was a stickler), I’d figure, Dang, I’m in for it now anyway, so I’d decide to stay out another five, ten, or 45 minutes. I’d walk in as Ma was putting dinner on the table and, as I washed my hands, she announce I was grounded for two weeks.

I often concocted phony excuses to get out of the house during those groundings. There was basketball practice, I’d say, even though I hated playing basketball and rarely did so. A little older, I told Ma there was Drama Club at Amundsen Park. That was a real dodge — I loved being on stage. Once I told her I had to go to the park every day for Junior Citizens meetings during an ungodly long grounding. Somehow I would up being named Junior Citizen of the year, as bizarre and unexpected an award as I’ve ever received. At that time, any rational observer would conclude I was far more likely to win hoodlum of the year — and, I confess, I’d have been more proud of that.

Now, in my 60s, I feel as though I’m being grounded again. I hate it just as much as I hated it when I was 11 or 12. Only this time I’m not coming up with schemes to get around it.

The stakes are a tad higher this time around.

Peace In Our Time

Update: It’s been more than two weeks now that The Loved One and I have been self-quasi-quarantining. I’m happy — and shocked — to report we haven’t declared open war on each other yet. In fact, there haven’t even been border clashes to date.

There was one little harrumph the other day but nothing came of it. Even at this advanced age I surprise myself.

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