On to Atlanta

Eleven years to the day since the Cardinals shut the Phils out of post-season play, last night in the wild-card round, the Phillies beat the Cardinals in two, much to the chagrin of Alex Rodriguez — who, after the win, still insisted the Cardinals were the better team!   (J-Lo thinks Ben Affleck is the better man, so.)

It’s been such a roller coaster of a season. Covid, shortened season, injuries galore, losing streaks that seemed to last forever, and players who couldn’t play because they refused to get a vaccine. And through it all, including times when I was fed up and announced I would never watch them again, there was a small nagging voice that kept saying, “Yeah, but it feels like 2008.” (Which was the last time we won the Series.)

So here we are. The Phillies are never better than when no one believes in them except the fans. Buckle up, baby, we’re going to Atlanta!

And yeah, that Sosa’s save ended the game made it even sweeter:

 

Deer hunting with Jesus

Sometimes I think the GOP emits a special pheromone that attracts fools and money. — Joe Bageant, “Deer Hunting With Jesus.”

For some reason, I was thinking about my buddy Joe Bageant yesterday, and how we used to spend hours on the phone, talking about why progressives weren’t getting anywhere with working class voters. (Back then, they weren’t.)

I’d pick up the phone and hear that distinctive voice. “Hey, Susie, how ya doing?” I knew I could settle back for a long discussion that could go almost anywhere.

Joe was a hardcore socialist, which you already know if you’ve read any of his books. He was also impatient with overeducated progressives who thought everything would be okay if the working class would only wise up and take their advice. He was truly compassionate at heart, which made it hard for him to write people off for good.

But he trusted me because I was working class. (I think I passed the test when I talked about having sugar sandwiches growing up.)

I never did make it to his home in Winchester, Virginia for a visit. (The perpetual car problems.) Then, for a while, he was living in a fishing village in Belize, and he urged me to move there and join him. (Not that I was special, mind you — Joe just wanted all his friends to follow him around so we could create a little community of like souls.)

Then he moved to Mexico, and wanted us to come there instead. He was a little embarrassed, but he said he needed better wifi than Belize had, and had to be near an airport when he had to travel to paying gigs. He hated making money, almost as much as he hated talking about it. He was almost shamefaced by how much money he made on “Deer Hunting With Jesus,” and gave a lot of it away, especially to that village in Belize.

We really bonded over mysticism. Like me, Joe had done a lot of psychedelics; and like me, he’d had some transcendent experiences that changed the way he looked at things. “You know, there are a lot of people who would write me off if they knew about this,” he said.

“Same here,” I told him.

It was mutual assured destruction in the early days of the blogging business.

We talked for hours about our commonly-held opinions that progressives fucked up by writing off faith. Not religion (we both agreed it was too evil to save), but the yearning for some kind of spirituality. The part that connected us to everything. (I’ll bet some of you are rolling your eyes even now as you read this.)

Anyway, he was a helluva writer and story spinner, and I’m glad his death from lung cancer didn’t take too long. When I finally save up enough money to move, I’ll find his books in the boxes where I packed them years ago and read them over again.

It won’t be as wonderful as one of his phone calls, but it’ll be pretty good.

 

 

 

 

 

Trip talk

beach

Thanks, y’all, I had a lovely time with my grandkids.

Of course, since I seem to attract life’s complications, turned out the rental car did not have the GPS they told me it would, and in the unlit, dark environs of the Garden State Parkway, I missed my exit and ended up going about 40 miles out of my way — and got home an hour later than I expected. I’m still exhausted.

My grandson, who is on the autism spectrum, has a new fixation via his stepfather. He began yelling at his cousins, “I hate the Phillies! I hate them! Go, Mets!” But the cousins are older and they just laughed at him. (Fortunately, we have so many family members on the spectrum that no one gets singled out for it.)

I tried to explain to him that when it comes to sports, there are rules when family members back different teams and it’s important to remember that. But I don’t think I had more than 10% of his attention. Oh well.

The baby girl is beautiful and it was so great to finally hold her instead of looking at pictures. Thanks for your help in getting there.

 

Cancer checkup

a doctor's desk

I went to the hospital this week for my annual followup. The surgeon asked, “Where’s your sidekick?” She meant my late cousin, who usually accompanied me on my visits.

“She died a few weeks ago,” I told her.

She teared up. “Oh no,” she said. “The last time I saw her, remember? We were talking about her dating adventures on Tinder.”

As it turned out, I said, after a few duds, she met a really nice guy — another cancer survivor. “She was really happy for the last year of her life, and he was with her when she died,” I said.

Which, really, is the happiest of endings when you think about it. She went out of this world knowing she had someone she loved, and was loved.

Passing the hat

Road

Thank you so much. You guys are the best. — Susie

I had one of those “perfect storm” weeks — first, my dear cousin and friend Deby died Sunday night (I loved her without reservation — she was the best of all people and I already miss her dreadfully),  my seven-year-old cell phone finally went kerblooey ($264 for a replacement on eBay), and when I went to buy an AC refrigerant kit yesterday (I have a friend coming to put it in today), it was $139 PLUS $20 TAX, and I am a little freaked out. I didn’t budget for all this.

And as we all know, AC is no longer a luxury. Turns out my car is too old to use the cheap stuff (which is “only” $59) and honestly, I don’t want to kill the ozone layer any worse than I have to.

What a frickin’ week.

Things I learned today

Dryer Vent

  1. Don’t cheap out on any duct work that involves venting carbon monoxide.
  2. It’s not just women who pissed off about Roe. The plumbing guy who worked on the vent is maybe early 30s, long hair, bunch of tattoos. Could have been a Trumper. Told me he never voted before, but he will now. “You’re telling me my little girl can get raped, and she has to carry that child? No fucking way!” That is a GOOD dad.
  3. I am cautiously optimistic.

Coming attractions

Knee Replacement

I’m having double knee replacement surgery in September, and since there’s some preparation involved, I’m a little distracted. So I thought I’d mention it.

I’m feeling pretty good about the surgeon. He does more of these than anyone in the world, and it’s a good rule of thumb to choose the surgeon with the numbers. I’m also impressed by the comprehensive pre-surgical requirements aimed at avoiding infection. (Plus, he was referred to me by a friend who is the pickiest person ever. He did her knees, and she’s been bugging me for a couple of years to go see him.) So I’m feeling optimistic. (Except for the part where they told me I would cry and tell myself I wish I’d never done the surgery.)

The story of my not-walking is a very long one. Back in 2007, I had an fracture in my ankle from falling out of a tow truck. But since the hospital ER  said I only had a mild sprain, I didn’t find out for another year. After six months or so, things were so bad that I had to crawl across the room and pull myself up on the furniture to get around. I finally saw an ortho guy who insisted I just needed a shot of cortisone — which ruptured my ankle ligament an hour later!

In between, there was a car crash, cancer, covid, and Trump.

For a while, I’ve been unable to walk any distance, or even stand up longer than a minute. I do a lot of wall-leaning. I’ve seen lots of doctors (I was worried it was neurological from the untreated Lyme disease), but no one had any answers for me — until I was seen by the knee experts. The physician’s assistant asked me to stand up, looked at me and said, “You can’t stand, can you?” I said no. She asked if I was wobbly when I walked; I said yes.

She said the arthritis in my knees is so bad that she was surprised I functioned for so long. The muscles and ligaments in my legs were shortened up from my knees trying to adjust, and part of my rehab would be trying to stretch them out again.

So assuming the pandemic isn’t really bad by then, I’m going in a couple of days before my birthday. Probably three days in the hospital, then 10 days in rehab. I am very excited at the idea of walking again. (Or even standing.) Possibly riding a bike again!

But I have to be cleared by a bunch of doctors before then, so forgive me if I miss the occasional post.

P.S. I’m not sure about additional costs. I have to be cleared by a dentist, and I don’t have insurance for that. I have no idea what they’re charging for xrays, etc., now. And I probably need an exercise bike for recovery.