August 12, 2014
Back in the 1960s Jonathan Winters was one of the most popular comedians. He was a master of improvisation, was particularly quick of wit and an overall funny guy. One of the movies he starred in was “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” where Jonathan was one of a wide cast of comedians over the last 30 or so years (Mickey Rooney, Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, Buddy Hackett, Phil Silvers, Dick Shawn, Buster Keaton, Don Knotts, Jim Backus to name a few; oh, yes, the 3 Stooges and Jerry Lewis).
A few years ago I saw an interview where Robin Williams noted that Jonathan Winters had a major influence on his comedic life. In many ways they were very similar and I enjoyed the work of both men. It was as if Robin picked up and carried on the soul of his teacher.
I have often wondered how a soul is passed on to another generation. Surely it does happen, for even Plato and Socrates wrote about it in their philosophies. The mystery which all great philosophers could only hypothesize or speculate about, was how this was accomplished. How are unique souls passed on.
With the passing of Padua Prep who has picked up its soul, or who will pick up its soul? Just a few random thoughts on a hot August night.
[By the way, the photo is of the Grand Canyon, Yavapai Point specifically, at sun set, taken in May 2014. The place is wondrous and awe-inspiring. Was there a soul here?]
August 3, 2014
I’ve been trying to find a Latin phrase for “the corpse is still alive.” The best I could come up with is “Vivens Mortua est,” but I believe that is more akin to the “living dead” which connotes quite a different image. My GP is curiously quite fluent in Latin, so on my next office visit I’ll query him. Be that as it may, I am still here, though I’ve been through the valley of darkness. It must have been one of the stages that Eric Erickson missed in his stages of man, since I thought I had achieved complete consciousness by now. I was wrong about that, but I am still here trying to enjoy what the Good Lord deems worthy to present me.
Spring has come and gone, and while it was invigorating while it lasted, there was nothing to animate me to get excited about what is to come. For some reason I have been fascinated about the world that Bill Belichick builds every year. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that he creates a complex entity (a team) every year to face other complex entities (other teams) to engage in a complex game of football. I’m not going to try to defend him; I’ll let his record speak for itself. I’m just happy to be able to witness what he is able to achieve when it seems that the world and the gods are against him.
That leads me to the annual visit to Patriots training camp 2014. I usually go once every year with my wife, but this year I went twice since I take a bunch of photos and the first batch got screwed up. If you had never been to a training camp of any kind, it sort of is a unique experience—sort of where the tire hits the road kind of thing, since in this current era of hype, sound bites, and advertising, this is the stage where you have to put up or shut up, so to say. In one sense it is brutal, but in another it teaches many life lessons.
Anyway, what Bill Belichick does during his practices is to play rock music to simulate crowd noise. It’s part of his whole football philosophy of “situational football.” So, what comes on for one of the first songs during practice on 7-30-2014 is Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days.” Beside being a great song, it starts me thinking about what does this song mean. In many ways the lyrics are ambiguous, but the general feeling they depart is that the best days have passed us by. So, while I think this is a great song, I hardly think the best days have passed us by. They have passed us by if we forget all the gunk and oppression that was thrown our way while the “glory days” were happening. The “glory days” were tough, period.
Thinking back on the Padua experience I tend to think they were “glory days,” i.e, halcyon days, but in many ways they were not. They simply were glory days as every day is a glory day if we meet the challenge of every new day—“situational football” in Belichick-speak.
So, besides having a déjà vu regarding about his whole experience, it is interesting to note a sports commentator’s take on the photo to this blog’s post, namely, “the four horsemen,” alluding to the four horsemen of the 1924 Notre Dame football team. Clearly, it is a loose analogy, since Bill Belichick (coach), Daryl Revis (24, corner back), Rob Gronkowski (87, tight end), and Tom Brady (12, quarter back) are not in the backfield as players. But, it does connote the potential power of these four players.
Only time will tell. So, onward…