Entertainers, drug dealers, fans and junkies

I’ve been reading Saga, a critically acclaimed comic series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Think about a cross between Romeo and Juliet and Game of Thrones by way of Star Wars, and you’ll have the general idea.

Alana and Marko are our star-crossed couple, members of two warring species in a conflict that has lasted so long that the origin has largely been forgotten and the actual fighting is done by proxy through conscripts and allies on different worlds. Yet somehow, they end up falling for each other and have a baby… and that puts them on the run from both sides. Can’t have someone showing that it might just be possible to not be at war, after all.

While they’re on the run, Alana briefly works as an actor on the Open Circuit, a kind of virtual reality successor to television. And she has this conversation with Yuma, a set decorator for the bad soap opera she works on:

Alana: We’re not soldiers, we’re entertainers.

Yuma: Like hell. We’re drug dealers.

Yuma: It’s true, the Circuit has only ever existed to pacify an angry and hopeless population.

Alana: Maybe shitty shows like ours, but what about actual good ones? I got into “Filament City” when I was young, changed the way I thought about poverty.

Yuma: And what did you do? Join a nonprofit organization? Volunteer at a soup kitchen? Or did you lock yourself in a tiny room, shut the blinds and mainline every transmission like a junkie?

Yuma: Some art might have the power to change people, but the Circuit can only ever change the way we feel, and never for very long.

— Saga Chapter 20, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

And you know what? It kinda hits home, not just about television but about a lot of our entertainment in 2018.

Art can change people and give them something to aspire to… just look at all of the folks who ended up in science because of Star Trek, for one example. People have found love through fandoms. People went on to become authors and artists after starting with fan fiction and fan art.

But Netflix, Hulu and the internet put so much entertainment at our fingertips that it’s easy to get lost in the escapism. And as someone who’s managed to watch whole seasons of a series in a weekend, I do wonder what I might accomplish if I pulled the plug.

But that’s just it… I wonder. And odds are pretty good that I’ll go back to watching Lost in Space shortly after I hit the “publish” button.

So yeah, I might be a junkie…

(But check out Saga and Lost in Space, they both look pretty good so far.)

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Posted in Gardening

Getting ready for a spring that waits to be

I spent a good part of my free time last week trying to get the yard ready to plant our garden, although I always insist that I keep more of a plant menagerie than a proper “garden.”

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This year’s big project is the construction of a raised flower bed, approximately 16 feet wide by two feet deep that will be home to eight Astilbe plants that we’ve been growing inside since late February. A couple of them are now around 15 inches tall and they’re more than ready to go outside, as soon as the weather cooperates.

While a love of baseball was something I could share with my father, I got into gardening to have something I could share with my mother. And by now, I need to see pretty, colorful signs of life to help get through winter just as much or more than she does.

Posted in Autographs, Star Trek, Star Wars

A few new autographs…

I’m loving the New York Mets’ start this season (9-1 is the best in franchise history), but I haven’t been having a ton of luck with baseball autographs lately. I went 0-for-5 with the requests I mailed out to spring training camps and just got a return to sender from Dusty Baker last week.

I started working on my non-baseball autograph collections more this year, and I’ve gotten four new photos to add to my albums this week.

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First up is a signed photo of two of the members of the cantina band from the original Star Wars film. Speedy Turtle Autograph Service ran private signings with Kim Falkinburg and Jibralta Merrill, two ILM staff members who were drafted to play band members and my dual-signed photo arrived on Monday. Continue reading “A few new autographs…”

Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

Where have you gone, Willie Harris?

The other day I was talking to my friend Bart, who is excited about the start of the Minor League Baseball season. He was telling me about how he did getting autographs at the Trenton Thunder’s annual meet & greet event on Tuesday, and about some of the teams that are coming in to Arm & Hammer Field in April.

First on the slate are the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. “Guess who’s their manager?,” Bart asked.

I had no idea. (I think I’m doing pretty well to know Jay Bell is managing the Trenton squad.)

Willie Harris.”

“Oh, yeah, I remember him with the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals,” I said.

“I’ve got a photo to try to get signed,” Bart said. “In fact, it was one you took when he was one of your guys.”

“Are you sure you don’t mean Lenny Harris?,” I ask.

“You wrote Willie Harris, 2011 on the back,” he said.

“But Willie Harris never played for the Mets,” I say, even though I’m not sure any more.

A quick consultation with Baseball-Reference.com reveals that Harris played in 126 games for the 2011 New York Mets. A check of my photo archive showed that I attended at least one of those 126 games.

And I still have no memory of anything that he did as a Met.

I wonder how many other Mets I’ve completely forgotten about since I started following baseball.

Don’t get old.

Posted in Baseball, Binghamton Mets, Camden Riversharks, New York Mets, Newark Bears

Mets spoil Nationals’ home opener

I’m really enjoying the first week of New York Mets baseball in 2018. Today, they spoiled the Washington Nationals’ home opener by beating them 8-2.

Michael Conforto returned from the disabled list and homered in his first start. Yoenis Cespedes hit his third home run of the season. Jay Bruce made his first home run of the year a grand slam. If Jacob deGrom didn’t quite have everything working, he battled and he got the outs when they really mattered.

I know the Mets are not going to keep up this pace to have a 135-27 season, but I’m gonna enjoy this run while it lasts.

Odds and ends

Posted in Odds & ends

A touch of spring

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Before I headed over to the ballpark on Tuesday to catch the Mets’ game, I stopped at Macy’s Herald Square flagship store to check out their 2018 flower show. If you’re in the area, you can check in out through April 8th.

Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

Get out those brooms (and umbrellas)

The New York Mets swept an abbreviated two-game series from the Philadelphia Phillies this week, but I think the bigger news is that the teams were able to play two out of three after Monday’s snow out.

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My view of Citi Field from the exit of the Mets-Willets Point subway station

My friend Vinny invited me to join him for Tuesday’s game, but I have to admit I had my doubts that it would be played. It rained most of the afternoon, and a light mist continued to fall through the night.

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Rusty Staub may be gone, but not forgotten. This banner outside the right field gate is one of a few places you’ll find Rusty Staub’s picture at Citi Field.

Continue reading “Get out those brooms (and umbrellas)”