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Five Things About Me Meme

This goes around the internets. I'm not tagging anybody, but here are the beans that I'm spilling:

1. I wake up in the morning and I like to have a cup of coffee. The question is, which cup am I to pour my coffee into? I like the "Love Philadelphia" cup the best, so if that cup is clean, I'll grab it. But what if it's dirty? I might avoid the cup with a teddy bear opening a christmas present on it. What loser came up with such an offense to good taste? Whoever he is, he should be lashed. Is that supposed to be "cute"? I hate the whole idea of "cute." No man wants to be "cute." "Hot" maybe, but not "cute." No thanks. But ...but .... there's a thin line between love and hate. So maybe, just below the surface, I secretly love "cute." Is that why, if "Love Philadelphia" is dirty, I grab the teddy bear opening a christmas present?

2. When bedeviled by some problem, I used to get on my bike to take a long ride, thinking that, as the miles rolled by, I could mull over the problem, maybe get some new insights. When the ride was over, two hours later, maybe I would have some solid thoughts about my problem. What I learned though, is that as I ride, my mind empties out, and I really never think about my problem. I realize that I'm riding to take my mind off my problem, and that works too.

3. This is "flow," and it's one of the reasons I love basketball. I love the rhythm of basketball. I just love the game, and I always have. For some, it's about winning, but what I love is not winning but rather the feeling I get when I hit a jumper or make a sweet pass. Not to say that I don't play to win; I do. It's just that, when it's over, I really don't care if I've won or lost. In one of my favorite novels, Un mundo para Julius, by Alfredo Bryce Echenique, a young kid, Julius, comes of age in Lima, Peru. Julius likes soccer, but he likes to play the first half on one side, and the second half on the other. Isn't that the ideal? I really don't like to hang out with other basketball players once the game is over; I would much prefer the company of artistic types. But still, there's something magic about the game of basketball in its abstract essence.

4. Two great pleasures. When I wake up in the morning, I take quite a while to become fully human. I need coffee (as for the cup, see #1 above), and I need a puzzle. There is something enormously satisfying about filling in the blanks of a crossword puzzle with letters, or a Sudoku with numbers, while sipping on some java, and, in days gone by, with my friend Shumi the cat on my lap (I have an affinity for children and animals). Once that is over, I can get on with my day, but not before. Rest in peace, Shumi. You were a beautiful animal. The other great pleasure is cooking in the evening or the afternoon, with a glass of wine and some music playing. Cooking up a mess of collard greens, some black beans, a stew, whatever. Chopping onions, chopping garlic, peeling dicing, all while listening to Dexter Gordon blow a chorus or two, or an old Bob Marley joint, or whatever; that is pure happiness.

5. In different stages of my life, I've had different obsessions. In my twenties I was learning Spanish, playing bass in rock bands, studying, chasing girls. In my thirties I was reading novels, in Spanish and in English, as if there were no tomorrow. Now, in my forties, I'm obsessed with music. I'm constantly looking for something fresh, something excellent, and so often that means getting into the time machine and heading back to the twenties, the thirties, the forties, the fifties, (etc. etc). Some listen to music for nostalgic reasons. My dad dug Louis Armstrong, not the hot fives or hot sevens, or any of that magic from the forties, but the exact recordings he listened to when he was a teen. And surely the music that his mom, my grandmother, disapproved of. I don't listen to music for nostalgic reasons. I just need that rush that I get when I hear something fresh, or something simply, unequivocally, excellent. like Duke Ellington.


A) I like gray, rainy days. If it's sunny, you feel an obligation to be outside; but if it's rainy and gray, then you can listen to records and read magazines indoors, guilt free.

B) I hate having cold ears, being cold in general. I'm the guy with the head band and the scarf. But I prefer cold weather to hot weather. The ideal is cold weather, but being dressed appropriately. People ask me, how can you ride your bike in such cold weather? I'll tell you how, it's all about being dressed right.



April 2018



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