We’ve gone back to the drawing board, with the goal of giving Zephyr a fresher look.
We’ll be back soon!
We’ve gone back to the drawing board, with the goal of giving Zephyr a fresher look.
We’ll be back soon!
Good thing I’m not a Lakers fan because the wise guys around town are now starting to refer to the locals’ defeat against the who-are-they Mavericks as the Mother’s Day Meltdown — which is what you call a game where the reining NBA champs blow a game — and a series finale — by more than 30 points, and where two of their starters are sent to the locker room after committing flagrant fouls. An old pal in the Valley is probably even now grinding his teeth; I will not call him.
But then it’s not a mentally challenging game anyhow: ten guys in their underwear and sneakers running up and down a wood floor, throwing a large ball through a hoop. Nothing there to like, whatsoever.
Still, prior to Sunday there was something to regard: the team was the only winner in a city of millions in nearly a decade. Otherwise, its pathetic sibling is constantly embarrassing, both baseball teams have run out of excuses, our hockey teams have always skated on thin ice, and even the college teams draw a blank. Happily, the good people of L.A. have consistently refused to provide a home for a professional football team for at least 15 years and more. No need for still more grief from that genre.
So does it matter? Need we aspire to being known as Titletown, U.S.A.? Can’t we just settle for mediocrity in sports? Can’t the city that has foisted “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Bachelor” on a weary nation be happy with third place?
I rather like it. To me, it just makes good sense and is decidedly more civil. (Back to the Lakers: Remember how last June the thugs tore up sections of downtown as they put their shoulders into “celebrating” a championship? And last month how they beat the shit out of a guy who had the temerity to sport the colors of an opposing team at Chavez Ravine?) There’s a calmness to never reaching the pinnacle of the games that boys play that feeds that wonderful hope of “wait ’til next year.”
You’ve heard it before: So-and-so was a great hitter. To bad he never won the World Series (Dodger Andre Ethier, great hitter and master spitter, comes to mind, especially if he fails to be traded). So-and-so was a fabulous quarter back, but he never won a Super Bowl. But does that really diminish them, along with the exploits of countless other players who excelled?
I think one of those bottom lines here is a lack of interest in the games themselves. This is, after all, the city that seemingly invented showing up at Dodger Stadium just in time to catch the third inning and then heading for the parking lot at the bottom of the seventh. And now, of course, attendance has been reduced by nearly half as the Dodgers start their annual August fade two months early. I just happen to be one of those weird types who actually likes to be there well before the first pitch is thrown, but I’m usually in slight company.
So I guess what I’d like to see here is loyalty based on love of the game, which is hardly the same thing as endless frustration over not carrying home the trophy. Sorta like the loyalty of Cubs fans, or the Red Sox — who to date have not played to an empty seat for more than 650 games — or the Knicks or the Sacramento Kings, who recently went to court to keep their hapless team in town. And more, fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who built a new stadium to retain a baseball franchise in the Steel City for a team that hasn’t hung out World Series bunting in years.
As the Lakers’ trophy from last year gathers dust — along with the aging collection of the Dodgers’, Angels’ et al — it’s worth remembering that Perfection is the Enemy of Excellence.
…And no, I’m not a for-hire domestic, despite the details of my housework skills in the Tuesday post. Getting paid, for me, would ruin everything. I’m one of those rare people who actually enjoys a dust mop, especially if I can escape real work. I’ve told friends that getting the home front in shape is actually therapeutic. But the emphasis is on the “home front.” Working your floors is not in the cards.
Nor, for that matter, is getting carried away with it. I do have limits.
Now, as I proceed with this, it’s worth mentioning that the business of writing is forever the problem of finding something to write about, and for me that means thinking about a subject long before I approach the laptop. As often as not, that can entail considerations of some pretty minor stuff. So be forewarned: you are not about to read profound stuff here, at least not today. Then again, no less than Thomas Wolfe was famous for composing countless pages regarding the towels that hung in his bathroom. Slow day, no doubt.
So in this instance I concern myself with the humble business of housework and how it plays into my chosen work; that is to say, it works for me. Not for every writer; probably not even most. But for me it’s a worthwhile component.
The basic value is that it’s mundane; there’s no powerful thinking involved. In addition, there is minor accomplishment: something was disheveled, now it’s well-organized. Sweep it up. And doing that can aid in getting my thoughts organized as well, because there are certainly times when just sitting there at a desk doesn’t move the ideas forward.
Back in my corporate days as a copywriter and speech writer, I followed a similar approach. In the course of an eight-hour day I would almost never sit in front of a computer and simply type from nine to five. More typically, I’d physically write for a half-hour, then get up and walk around and annoy people for 15 to 20 minutes, come back, stare at the words I’d already written, do a little more roaming, and then come back and peck out more words. And so it would go throughout the day, with my final production perhaps a thousand to 1,500 words, and having reached a good stopping point. If a 2,500- to 3,000-word speech was needed in a couple of days I could do that as well, but the pace for most days went pretty much in the former way.
Slow stuff? Not really. On average, writers consider a thousand words a days work, whether working in an office or at home (I shoot for about 600 words in these guys). Hemingway liked to reach about 400 words on a successful day, and he stood at a lectern and wrote longhand while doing it. Most of the process is thinking about what you want to say. There was a cartoon a long time ago wherein a guy is sitting at a typewriter in a back room, while his wife is looking through the door with an impatient expression on her face. The caption — his reply to the look — reads: “Just because I’m not writing does not mean I’m not writing.”
So having something to do as the process moves ahead…helps to move the process ahead. Some writers create amazing salads, some clear brush and some pull on their sneakers and run as the ideas percolate. My preference is to wax hardwood floors…and, as I’ve mentioned, do the occasional window. Just not every day.
Unlike the joining of the Royals last week, there will be no horses at the wedding of Mike and Sabrina on Saturday. Nor will there be a special Rolls-Royce, polished to within an inch of its life, nor a towering cathedral and Elton John. But it will be sweet, with all of the Pacific nearby. That much we can count on.
But will the Rice Krispies Treats, cut in the shape of hearts and surrounded in Saran wrap, be ready? Will the ranch survive a white glove test? Will the guests coming in from near and far hit their flight connections?
I’m just a guest in all of this, a friend of the family, with no official ties. Kris, as the surviving parent, will be the First Officer, while I endeavor to (1) help out where I can; (2) behave myself at the ceremonies; and (3) otherwise, try not to get underfoot.
On a very small scale, I went through some of this many years ago, nuptials that didn’t even make the local paper. Yet ironically, in the three decades and more as a single guy I’ve found myself as an invited guest to a surprising number of weddings. Given that I can manage a tie and shined shoes, I suppose I was an easy choice. Plus, I can hit the dance floor with adequate ease, and free drinks do have a lot of appeal. But I never sought them out; I always had to be asked, and that pretty much depended on which circle of friends I was moving in at the time. Some years back that entailed a lot of weddings, like it or not, and reminiscent of “Four weddings and a funeral,” which we watched last week. Of late, things have been quiet on the “I do” front.
Until now. Kris’ daughter announced her — and Mike’s — intentions last year and the countdown has been underway ever since. As I said, my own event was fairly low-key, but this one is major, and really, I had no idea. Never mind how much. I don’t know and probably will never ask. Suffice it to say that there are gowns, site selections and confirmations, food galore, booze, dinners, doubtless a minister or priest, musicians and on and on. You know: the usual stuff that no bona fide wedding can do without.
I’ve had nothing to do with any of it. Well, lots of encouragement here at the home front, otherwise I’ve wisely — I think — left it all in skilled, more experienced hands.
Different story here at the house, where guests will be arriving on Thursday. Kris passed on ordering a new roof, but she has re-painted most of the baseboards and cleaned every light fixture in the place, while I did every window, inside and out. Last weekend we shampooed all of the carpets, plus the washer and dryer have been going non-stop as we laundered everything that wasn’t nailed down. The errant dishwasher has been replaced, along with throw-rugs, and new pillows for the kitchen chairs. And every picture in all the rooms has either been moved and/or augmented with artwork that I pulled out of my storage bin.
The bathrooms remain in place.
Well, you know how it is: you can also count it as spring housecleaning. In any case, I think we’re ready, and we hope for the best for the bride and groom. All they have to do is get married.
And all I have to do is pull on my new suit — bought expressly for this event — and provide sure guidance to a very small sign that identifies the location of the wedding. No problem, right?