THE GAME

The energy of joy
the joy of energy.

Connection made with
eyes to hearts
possibilities made
only with actions,
a dance of others
wind and weave
back and forth
culminates with a
basket dunked
or a 3 pointer
sunk.

The joy of that basket
the energy to get there
is shared
player to player
mascots to the bench
trainers to cheerleaders
coaches to yelling crowd.

The refs absorb that energy
as they race to be even and fair
despite the infectious psyche that
travels like delicious laughter.

Magic is visited upon every occasion,
only seen or felt through that joy
and connection, eye to heart and heart to eye.
A connection because they all share
that moment
that precise speck of magic
that seals that unforgettable moment
that basket, that block or that steal.

The crowd revels in and returns
that energy, that joy
and the circle of why
we ‘all’ play continues….

Learn to love the bomb….

Stephen Colbert will be back on the nation’s screens in September, when he starts doing the Late Show as his name sake comedy show on CBS.  If you have not become familiar with his personal story, it is a key part of how he performs and lives.  He was the last of 11 kids, when he was 10 his next two older brothers, with his father, were killed in a plane wreck.  That changed his life irrevocably…at the age of 10 life gave him his first bomb.

In the world of stand up comedy he was taught to ‘love the bomb’….learn to love it when you are failing on stage doing your standup.  Because once that is learned nothing can hurt you, nothing can beat you down.

He was raised a Catholic, it seems to be the invisible ever present context of his perspective to life.   He is interviewed in the magazine GQ this month…and this is what drives his thinking…how to learn to embrace his tragedies and love how they have formed his perspective…..from the magazine GQ:

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“That day after he got back from Michigan, we eventually got around to the question of how it could possibly be that he suffered the losses he’s suffered and somehow arrived here. It’s not just that he doesn’t exhibit any of the anger or open-woundedness of so many other comedians; it’s that he appears to be so genuinely grounded and joyful.

He sat silently for a while and then smiled. “Yeeeahhhh,” he said. “I’m not angry. I’m not. I’m mystified, I’ll tell you that. But I’m not angry.”

There were such depths in the way he said “mystified.”

“That might be why you don’t see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It’s that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”

It was hard to talk about these things, he said. “I want to answer in ways that are not pat. And so I want to take a moment and think of a way to answer that isn’t pre-packaged.”

There was a time when he’d done a lot of press for his old show, which inevitably entailed answering some version of this question over and over. And then he decided to stop, refusing even to do any exit interviews when The Colbert Report came to an end. “I can’t imagine why anyone wants to hear anything about me anymore,” he said. “This is not meant as resistance, or pejoratively. I’m just being honest.” And so the challenge was “to find a way to do press that isn’t just a carbonated version of a drink I brewed many, many years ago. Just throw effervescence into a drink I’ve already brewed.”

He didn’t have to do this. He was exhausted. He had so many other things to do that day, meetings stacked up for the next few hours, people peeking in through his office window hoping to grab a moment of his time. He could have certainly given a version of the answer he’s given before. Or he could have said, Come on, man, right now? Just let me eat my chicken with hot sauce in peace, will you?

Instead he said, “So my reaction when I hear that question isn’t”—he shifted into a somber, sonorous voice—“ ‘Oh, I don’t want to talk about that.’ It’s that I don’t want to say this—ready?” He snapped his fingers and locked eyes with me in a pose of dramatic intensity. “MY. MOTHER.” His face softened. “But the answer is: my mother.”

He lifted his arms as if to take in the office, the people working and laughing outside his door, the city and the sky, all of it. “And the world,” he said. “It’s so…lovely. I’m very grateful to be alive, even though I know a lot of dead people.” The urge to be grateful, he said, is not a function of his faith. It’s not “the Gospel tells us” and therefore we give thanks. It is what he has always felt: grateful to be alive. “And so that act, that impulse to be grateful, wants an object. That object I call God. Now, that could be many things. I was raised in a Catholic tradition. I’ll start there. That’s my context for my existence, is that I am here to know God, love God, serve God, that we might be happy with each other in this world and with Him in the next—the catechism. That makes a lot of sense to me. I got that from my mom. And my dad. And my siblings.”

He was tracing an arc on the table with his fingers and speaking with such deliberation and care. “I was left alone a lot after Dad and the boys died…. And it was just me and Mom for a long time,” he said. “And by her example am I not bitter. By her example. She was not. Broken, yes. Bitter, no.” Maybe, he said, she had to be that for him. He has said this before—that even in those days of unremitting grief, she drew on her faith that the only way to not be swallowed by sorrow, to in fact recognize that our sorrow is inseparable from our joy, is to always understand our suffering, ourselves, in the light of eternity. What is this in the light of eternity? Imagine being a parent so filled with your own pain, and yet still being able to pass that on to your son.

“It was a very healthy reciprocal acceptance of suffering,” he said. “Which does not mean being defeated by suffering. Acceptance is not defeat. Acceptance is just awareness.” He smiled in anticipation of the callback: “ ‘You gotta learn to love the bomb,’ ” he said. “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10. That was quite an explosion. And I learned to love it. So that’s why. Maybe, I don’t know. That might be why you don’t see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It’s that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”

I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.

I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien’s mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears. “So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”

He was 35, he said, before he could really feel the truth of that. He was walking down the street, and it “stopped me dead. I went, ‘Oh, I’m grateful. Oh, I feel terrible.’ I felt so guilty to be grateful. But I knew it was true.

“It’s not the same thing as wanting it to have happened,” he said. “But you can’t change everything about the world. You certainly can’t change things that have already happened.”

Consider that this is coming from a man who millions of people will soon watch on their televisions every night—if only there were a way to measure the virality of this, which he’ll never say on TV, I imagine, but which, as far as I can tell, he practices every waking minute of his life.

The next thing he said I wrote on a slip of paper in his office and have carried it around with me since. It’s our choice, whether to hate something in our lives or to love every moment of them, even the parts that bring us pain. “At every moment, we are volunteers.”

JOEL LOVELL is an editor for This American Life and a story editor at The Atavist.

…not in a row…

For the last 12 days I have had a monster cold..hacking  like I was going to cough up Detroit..which then turned into a sinus infection..and now is just too much…so a visit to the 24 hour emergency/urgent care clinic will be today’s major activity…it is open from 8-3 on Saturdays. It seems a Steve Wright joke has turned into prophecy.

Steven Wright is one of my favorite comics…his jokes are so obvious it is painful.  “It’s a small small world…but I wouldn’t want to paint it.”  His straight deadpan delivery makes them even funnier, so matter of fact.

“I put my humidifier and dehumidifier in the living room…and let them fight it out.”

My favorite one:

“I pull up in my van to the Mini-Mart down my street, the owner is locking up the door to a dark store.  I say Hey!  Whatcha’ doing?  The sign says 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The owner looks at me and says….Not in a row.”

The web site for the urgent care clinic says on the top banner….24 hours a day 7 days a week…and then on a side bar…gives hours M-F 7-7…and Saturday 7-3…

Too funny….

the semicolon project

This young woman says it brilliantly..how depression, at a very young age…even for those that are the societal ‘picture’ of perfection..suffer…and fall way down the rabbit hole….she is a strong soul…and we can learn from her…..great piece….

hpwritesblogs

FullSizeRender-1FullSizeRender Today I went to a tattoo artist, and for $60 I let a man with a giant Jesus-tattoo on his head ink a semi-colon onto my wrist where it will stay until the day I die. By now, enough people have started asking questions that it made sense for me to start talking, and talking about things that aren’t particularly easy.

We’ll start here: a semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going. 

In April I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. By the beginning of May I was popping anti-depressents every morning with a breakfast I could barely stomach. In June, I had to leave a job I’d wanted since I first set foot on this campus as an incoming freshmen because of my mental…

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Mint + Lemonade

Sandy is my own dose of refreshing brilliance!

Grassroots & Gardening

As we begin the 90-90 season in Washington (90 degrees, 90 percent humidity), it’s an appropriate time to introduce a refreshing drink from the Middle East.

When I visited Sam in UAE, we toured an ancient neighborhood of Dubai. After several hours we were hot and sweaty and parched. He suggested a local drink, mint lemonade, as a sure pick-me-up. I wasn’t so sure, but readily agreed. Getting out of the sun was my priority.

We sat silently in the late afternoon shade while the waitress slowly made her rounds and eventually produced our drinks. The mint lemonades in tall icy-cold glasses were curiously green. Herbaceously green.

Mint Lemonade Mint Lemonade

I took a sip. Mmm. It was so refreshing. The mint, the lemon, the ice all combined to create a drink that washed away the heat. After a few sips, we were alive again, talking, enthusiastic about our evening plans.

Since…

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Modern Day Mary Magdalens?

More power to these women….I am with them….

The Dish

The trailer for God’s Daughters, a documentary exploring the lives and ministries of Roman Catholic Womenpriests:

In an interview, director Luc Novovitch considers the Vatican’s view of these women:

We have to be honest: the Catholic Church has never be a beacon of progressive or even open-minded thinking. They decided centuries ago that it was a men’s affair, and they will cling as long as they can to their power. Womenpriests must be a direct threat. They are open, simple, and authentic in their faith. They favor a loose and open organization. And they are qualified to be priests. One needs a Master of Divinity to be considered as a candidate. And if admitted, it takes years before being ordained.  Womenpriests are capable and serious, and that is competition for the male-dominated church!

JoAnne Viviano recently attended an ordination service by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests:

Bishop…

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