November 11th, 2009

Whale fluke

Eleventh hour, eleventh day, eleventh month

Veteran's Day was originally Armistice Day. Armistice means "truce"; it means that fighting's stopped. And it can mean that an entire conflict is over. When fighting is needed, soldiers do the fighting. "Our" soldiers, "their" soldiers -- they're all soldiers, a greatly wide swath of personalities, body types, and levels of life experience. Being a soldier is part of what they do, after some of the most intense training imaginable, and then -- we hope -- the conflict ends and the soldiers still with us can head into the rest of their lives.

We remember the people who fight. We remember the times when they could stop fighting. We hope that they are allowed to do things other than fighting.

Thank you, everyone who's managed to be a soldier.

Still Likes Dogs

Last night my dream-self reminded me: I like dogs. And I miss dogs.

VERY cuddly and snuggly with dogs, I was. I also saw Bob Denver actually made to look suave, I also wandered around an apartment complex that felt like the one I lived in back in Hermiston, Oregon -- somehow right next to the neighborhood in Oakton, Virginia where I'd lived before, and I also got shaved with a straight razor (which I've never had done in this life, and even my dream-self was glad someone else was doing it).

But it was the getting-cuddly-with-dogs thing that struck me the most.

Phew. I still like dogs.

"Anti-Soccer Whines...One in a Series"

From writer, film critic, and passionate sports fan Shawn Levy: a damn fine explanation for why so many people love soccer, posted for those who don't get it but are willing to think about why:
For one thing, football is hard. You are playing on a vast field (an entire NBA court can fit in the 18-yard box) and must use your feet to attack a goal opening of only 24-by-8 feet defended by 11 guys, the last of whom is free to use his hands to stop you. This would be challenging if you could pick up the ball and run with or throw it, or if you could stop play every few moments to strategize, or if you could substitute specialist players in and out of the game -- all of which happen in other games-with-balls.

But football is the most fluid and ceaseless game, and feet are less reliable than hands, and goalkeepers are generally big and springy fellows, and goalposts and crossbars often seem designed to repel shots rather than spin them into the net.

...So, yeah, it's difficult to score at all in football and particularly with the other team intent on stopping you. But why is that acceptable? And how are 1-0 and 0-0 results involving two teams trying not to lose supposed to be good entertainment?

Well, I can tell you what it's like from the perspective of an invested fan.
And he does. Read the whole thing, if you please. There are better quotes than the above that I don't want to give away.