Sunday, October 2, 2011

Being true to your team

Last week was the annual observance of employee appreciation at my place of business.  There were prizes ranging from crap to decent.  There were stupid games and there were interesting games.  We were treated to lunch or breakfast on four of the five days and something that happens every year at least once during the week happened again which is not enough food was ordered, which sends the managers out to apologize.  The managers in my area are nice people and it's a shame they have to apologize for something that isn't their fault but they know someone has to do it. They never talk smack about the committee that orders the food, just apologizing and being loyal corporate citizens.

The biggest thrill for almost everyone is that they get to wear jeans all week long.  Jeans from decades past are excavated and worn proudly with declarations of comfort (and to again let Sergio Valente have his day).  Friday of the week, everyone is also allowed to wear a shirt for their favorite sports team.  This year, everyone was decked out for the Bears.

One of my coworkers is not more than five feet tall and that may be giving her height she doesn't have; she is simply short.  She had on her well-worn Brian Urlacher jersey and it looked like a dress.  Another gent wore a very strange looking Bears jersey, also Urlacher.  "So yours is an unofficial jersey," I said.  It was just off, with orange stripes on the sleeves, an orange number 54, and the name in orange and all lacking official white piping around the edges (except officially it would have been white everything with orange piping).  Yes, the external labels all declared it to be an official NFL jersey, but nothing about it looked right.  "NO!" he said emphatically, "This is an official NFL jersey!"  He paused and added with a grin, "But I it off the back of a truck."  Urlacher is a popular guy.

Our IT guy is not like most IT people:  He knows what he is doing; he has a lovely personality and gets along with everyone; if there's a computer problem, he will not act like he is a gift from the gods of digital processing and become difficult -- he will just fix the problem.  Friday morning he was doing some work in my area and I could not believe my eyes.  This great guy was wearing a Cutler jersey, number 6, and the jersey was new.  I made many disparaging remarks about the Bears QB and engaged him in conversation and his bottom line was this:  "Don't be saying bad things about my quarterback."  He agreed that Cutler could improve and he would not say the Bears should jettison him.   For every argument he had for keeping him or how he could improve, I had an argument for sending him packing or how he was just not going to improve, ever ever ever.  But the lovely guy refused to say Cutler bites and you have to admire that sort of loyalty.  It made me look toward the game with hope.

There is hope and there is also new movie out called, "50/50." and I wanted to see it, so I did.  I watched the beginning part of the pocket squares guys -- doing shtick, in fact, featuring Jimmy and his hair --  but then scampered off to a bargain matinee.  The movie is about a young guy with a great friend, a beautiful, artistic girlfriend, and nutty parents who finds out he has Stage 4 cancer.  Sounds like a super-ultra-mega bummer?  It's not.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the guy with cancer, Seth Rogan is his friend, and their friendship was real like your friendship with that person you knew in school or your work friend or the friend you got to know in that acting class.   When you can toddle off to the multiplex and see acting that doesn't seem like acting?  That is great acting.  When I got in the car after the movie, I got the very good news that the Bears had just beaten the Carolina Panthers, 34-29.

This score gave me the great hope I'd been craving.  It was a running game and the stars of the show were Devin Hester and Matt Forte.  I listened to the usual wrap up radio program I like.  They interviewed Lovie Smith who said it wasn't a great game but it was a win.  They interviewed DJ Moore.  There were other players interviewed.  They talked to each other.  Then it occurred to me that no one was mentioning Jay Cutler.  They kept using the term "running game."  If it were Jay's game, it would be called a "passing game."  When they opened the phones to callers, the first one mentioned Jay and things got kind of sad.  They said Jay was sacked a couple of times.  They said, "Oh, it was a running game."  They, like my job's IT guy, were trying to be loyal but Jay is just making it so hard.  "You can't be running the show all the time," said one the bravest but lamest of the broadcasters except that is Jay's job, to run the show.  Still, it was a win and we go on to the play the undefeated Detroit Lions on Monday, October 10.  Yes, those undefeated, 4-0 Detroit Lions who beat Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys today in the Palace of Fine Football in Arlington, TX.  In the meantime, I will follow the lead of my coworker and at least think about being loyal to my QB, the sackable Mr. C.

Last week, you will recall I joined the birdwatchers as they looked for and mostly found birds.  I enjoyed the walk and was invited to come again or, to put it more right, I invited myself to come along and was allowed to do it.  I found my binoculars and I saw birds, but mostly, I was watching the birdwatchers.  I followed their lead and saw a white-capped sparrow, a goldfinch, and various gulls.  We also saw and heard dozens of high school runners who were competing in a nearby running event and decided to mess with nature by pounding through on the trails of the Magic Hedge and, at one point, over the ropes that mean "Do Not Disturb," crashing through nature itself.  Yes, you can imagine that the birds heard them, too, and felt the earth pounding, and made themselves scarce.  The added show was that Lake Michigan was all churned up with giant waves and crashing into the breaker, at one point sounding like a gunshot and at another, like thunder.  Of course there were people insisting on walking on or next to the breaker, getting drenched or risking getting swept into the lake.  One man wore autumn's least favorite footwear:  flipflops.  Either he got left home before his wife saw, his wife thinks he is a hopeless idiot, or the dog really did eat his shoes.

But look!  A monarch stopped and cooperated.  I can identify a monarch butterfly and if you couldn't before, now you can, too.
Migrating home, stopping to pose for a glamour shot.


Thank you, Blue Kitchen! Blue-Kitchen.Com very kindly posted this video from the evening of opera a few weeks ago.  It's wonderful, it's "Barcarolle" from "Tales of Hoffman," and it's one of my favorites.  Renee Fleming, as regal as a queen, and Emily Fons, also terrific, provide an exceptional interpretation that I will never forget.

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