Sunday, May 29, 2011

They can teach us about life and they can teach us about everything but we can learn nothing from LeBron James

Let us agree right now:  something is seriously wrong with LeBron James.  I am going to get to this reasoning the hard way.

I used to work in a place where a woman who was neither young nor "all there" also worked.  The rumor is that she came with the place when the company moved into that location but the truth was that her family was friends with the man who owned the company.  He asked them to find her something to do and she passed out the mail and ran errands among other minor jobs.  Of course, she was who she was and you could not change her.  If she didn't like someone, she would walk into their office, fart, and leave, or casually stop and cut the cheese and then continue on her way.  She would get very upset if things did not go her way; they weren't huge things but she liked things the way she liked them.  The best example of this is that she liked using the handicapped stall in the restroom.  She had no physical disability, she just liked the bigger stall as did others.  Whenever she would try to use it and someone else had beat her to it, she would pound hard on her chest with her fist.  My female coworkers who saw her do it would attempt to calm her while the stall was occupied so she wouldn't do it again and they were mostly successful.  Still, it was a primal statement that was alarming.

I have neither cable nor satellite television.  On Friday, three different people came to me and asked me what I thought about the game four of the Eastern Conference finals.  First, this is a big compliment to me because two of them really know what they are talking about and they asked me my opinion.  Second, I do enjoy chatting about certain sports and this was a delight.  Third, I had to remind them each that no, I don't have cable.  ("You don't have cable?  I would die if I didn't have cable.  Why don't you have cable?  I can't believe you don't have cable."  Cable television is a price I am not willing to pay but my cell phone is also not at all smart.)  However, since game clips were available, I said I found LeBron James pounding on his chest when he won to be a primal statement like the lady I worked with who just wasn't all there.  It was survival of the fittest.  It wasn't particularly sportsmanlike.  It was excessive celebration (on which the NFL frowns but this was the NBA).  It was also pointed out to me that Derrick Rose went to block him and was a few feet away from him and James fell down like Rose, who is smaller than James in every way, had knocked him down.  The refs called a foul and as James scampered away, he winked at the camera.  There is something seriously wrong with him.


Last week I talked about the fellow with the three kids whose son no longer likes LeBron James.  This fellow is one of the three people who spoke to me about sports.  I have a picture of Derrick Rose, airborne and about to sink a basket backwards and over his head, declaring him the MVP, hung on a cabinet over my desk.  It is one hell of a photo.  The fellow said about Rose, "Now there's a role model. He's modest, he's humble, he cares."  Yes, Derrick Rose is a very good role model.  However, I had to add, "You know something?  The best role model those kids have is you.  You are such a great dad and you are there for your kids every single day."  Say what you want about a sports figure, if you have great steady parents who are there all the time, those are great role models.  Derrick Rose is great, don't get me wrong, as are Israel Idonije of the Bears and Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but sane and constant parents cannot be beat.


Since the Bulls and the Hawks are done and, really, the Cubs and Sox are pretty stanky this year, and we know nothing about soccer in this town, everyone is waiting to see what happens with the NFL lockout.   This means a couple of months of writing about who the hell knows what up until the Bears start training but also if there is an NFL lockout.  Maybe I can track down a Bear somewhere and ask him questions about things.  As if a Bear would speak to me.


When marionettes roamed the earth
This past Thursday was Members' Night at the Field Museum of Natural History and we always go because we are big old geeks and nerds and we love that science stuff.  It's a great night for those who enjoy learning new things of the scientific variety.  Attendees are allowed almost everywhere, even in the second sub-basement.  I got to let two different tarantulas walk on my hands (feels like pipe cleaners having a stroll) but, like always, I had nothing to do with the Madagascar hissing cockroach.  I mounted a dried daisy on a sheet of cardboard in the herbarium.  I got a pretty close look at a live falcon in the ornithology department and saw excellent examples of convergence there as well.

Of special interest were the meteorites. My 23-year-old niece, who is, well, a genius, asked what we could learn from meteorites.  The geologist was very excited about this question and answered, "They can teach us about life and they can teach us about everything," with everything being the planets, stars, black holes, but not the Big Bang.  I have thought about that many times in the three days since and it is an interesting concept to ponder:  They can teach us about life and they can teach us about everything.

We were warned
There are many behind-the-scenes labs and storage places to visit but the oddest experience was in the mammal lab where they had the head of an okapi and had not yet removed its eyes.  The okapi looked as if it were checking out each of us with its left eye, which was the eye we could see.  There was no blame in its expression, no implied guilt, no rejection.   Kind of weird, kind of troubling, and supremely cool for a bunch of science geeks to see.

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