Thoughts from the Recorder: On Grantland
I wanted to write about the World Series on Monday. I wanted to write a wrap-up about the culmination of the Royals journey, a journey that started last October and ended on November 1st with Kansas City sitting on top of the world. I wanted to write about the sheer joy of seeing a team come together, about the sheer joy with which that Royals team played baseball, about the fact that even in the most dire of moments, this team always felt like they would rise above everything.
But I didn’t. Because my heart was broken a few days earlier when ESPN announced that they were shuttering Grantland for good.
The People We Know
It’s hard to believe how many people you get to know throughout your whole life. I mean like really get to know. They float through our vision like a love we may never feel or a flavor that remains unknown. We know they are present; always present. But once they cease to exist, we seem to long for them more than before. There’s an absence that’s hard to explain and yet it’s so obvious. We should have known all along. The lives and people we strive for seem apparent to the lucky ones. The rest of us are left wishing we had hoped just a little bit more once they’re gone.
Goodbye, Sir Terry Pratchett
Sir Terry Pratchett, author of scores of novels including the sprawling Discworld series, died yesterday at the age of 66. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007, but continued writing, finishing his final book last summer.
Pratchett was a comic genius. Howard Tayler, author of Schlock Mercenary, held up Pratchett’s work as a hallmark of comedy, and said that there are some things that, if you don’t find them funny, you won’t find anything funny. He was a master of world building, creating the Discworld, a disc shaped world on the back of four elephants swimming through space on a giant turtle named Great A’Tuin, and populating it with a range of characters full of personality and foibles. [Read more…]
Thoughts from the Dugout: Let’s Play Two
Ernie Banks passed away on Friday, January 23rd, 2015, eight days before his 84th birthday. He was a Chicago icon, a Hall of Fame shortstop who won two MVP awards while playing his entire career for the Chicago Cubs. He never made it to the postseason, but was widely regarded as “Mr. Cub”, a beloved figure in spite of his team’s mediocrity – or because of it. He was the first player in the modern era to be identified as an offensive force while playing shortstop, a position not known at the time for prolific offense.
A Brief Farewell to Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A.
One of the greatest creations in television history is ending its run tonight. When the series finale of The Colbert Report airs tonight on Comedy Central it will be the end for Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A. For the nine years that the Report aired and for eight years before that as a correspondent on The Daily Show, this character has been bringing hilarious (and sometimes poignant) life to the poorly-informed and rage-filled Id of the American body politic. Though the character was conceived of as a satire of empty cable news bloviators like Bill O’Reilly, he eventually grew beyond that into a refraction of the overweening pride and self-regard of our entire political sphere in all its inane insanity. [Read more…]
Thoughts from the Dugout: Utterly Unexpected
The World Series continues, and we’ve seen a multitude of different games. We’ve seen blowouts, we’ve seen pitching masterpieces. We’ve seen close games decided by bullpens, and games decided by defensive lapses. As of this writing, the Giants have taken a 3 to 2 Series lead, with the series returning to Kansas City. This gives the Royals a chance to first pull even and then to contend for the title in a Game Seven which nobody predicted. Conversely, it gives the Giants a chance to win their third Series in five years, on the road no less, cementing one of the weirdest dynasties of our age.
The Addison Recorder’s Tribute to Robin Williams
Robin Williams passed away earlier today at his Tiburon, CA home at the age of 63. The Marin County authorities have ruled his death an apparent suicide by asphyxiation. We’re as saddened by this news as everyone else here at The Addison Recorder, so a tribute to the man and his work is in order. A few of us will share our thoughts and memories. Feel free to leave your own in the comments.
Three Up, Three Down: Thoughts from the Dugout
We are over a third of the way through the baseball season, and I’m averaging about one baseball column every three weeks. Three might as well be a theme of the column this week, and while I apologize for leaving my dedicated baseball readership bereft of material (to all five of you — sorry guys!), I am glad to announce that we’re back this week with as much topical news as I can muster. Unfortunately, the most topical thing is tremendously sad, so I’ll save that for last.
At this point in the season, we can start to see team narratives developing, and whether certain teams are flukes or not. Rather than do an all-out power rankings (of which I have one planned for the All-Star break), we’ll take a look at just six teams. (Well, five, but again, we’ll get there.) Three of these teams are doing quite well, exceeding expectations, or have a nice story going for them. Three of them are in the doldrums, fading, or have been beset with loss. As always, the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint, but we’re far enough along to take a look at some things and say “Hmm, well, that doesn’t seem so bizarre anymore”.
Enough about this. Time for a game of Three Up, Three Down.
A Cinderella Story: The Addison Recorder’s Brief Tribute to Harold Ramis
Hollywood has sucked hard so far in 2014, in ways that have nothing to do with the quality of movies. The best are dying and dying so fast.
In the aftermath of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, so eloquently memorialized here by Alex, the number one clip I kept seeing over and over on the Internet was of the Lester Bangs scenes in Almost Famous, the scenes that made Hoffman feel like our cool older brother or uncle. In the same way, Harold Ramis, native of Addisonian territory, graduate of high school in Edgewater, former member of both the Second City and the Chicago Daily News, could truly be seen as a father figure for our generation.
Two examples from my personal life: I got my first pair of glasses just after I turned four years old in 1988 and I’ve worn them ever since. Back then, I had all the action figures and the Ghost Traps AND the firehouse headquarters playset for Ghostbusters. I watched the movie over and over and never missed the Saturday morning cartoon show. And Dr. Egon Spengler–Harold Ramis–was my hero. Venkman and Ray got the laughs, but Egon knew all the science. Egon came up with the plans that worked and kept the team together. Egon wore glasses and it didn’t keep him on the sidelines or make him be treated like a nerd the way all the other characters I saw who wore glasses were treated.
And in my family, every time somebody says the line “I just talked to her last week…she was going to make a pot for me!” we all crack up.
But I need to take this beyond me. All of us who write for The Addison Recorder exercise our purely creative muscles beyond non-fiction in one way or another. Harold Ramis’s work shaped our ideas on how to be entertaining. How to be hilarious. How to tell the truth in an inventive way.