Saturday, May 26, 2007

On God

“I WOULD LIKE to believe there is a God, but I think it is better to say I'm not sure there is a God and live your life with kindness and respect for people than to say I know there is a God and then do bad things.”

—Rafael Nadal

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Death of Animals

THE CHICKENS ARE DYING. The old hens have been good to us, laying their eggs to give us food. If you've never eaten a farm-fresh egg with its orange-yellow yolk rich as sweet cream, then you haven't eaten an egg. But the first batch of layers, from the spring of 2003, are getting tired now.

It can't be easy pushing out eggs every day. But their efforts don't go unappreciated. If I could pet them, I would, but they don't like that too much. Even though they know me, know I bring them grain and scraps, even break their own eggs, which they devour like starved children, their instinct tells them I'm a predator and they scurry away when I offer up my empty hand.

How a domesticated animal processes this contradiction, I'll likely never know.

So I talk to them. Tell them I love them. Especially the two that are so tired they can't even get up to eat anymore. Soon, their carcasses will be food for foxes. Now, the chickens are dying.

And even though I didn't name them, their passing makes me cry. And that's just the way it is.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Third Time's the Charm: Nadal Achieves Hat-Trick

Click to enlarge

Rafael Nadal makes history. His 6-2, 6-2 thrashing of Fernando Gonzalez in the final at the Foro Italico makes Rafa the first player in history to win the Italian Open three times in a row.

Whatever happens, I wrote yesterday, I expect another war tomorrow. Silly me. I forgot that Fernando is a headcase who plays like crap in finals. After today, his career record in finals is 7-10.

Dare I say had Filippo Volandri not succumbed to Gonzo's backhand slice, we'd surely have had a more competitive final. And if not that, at least some atmosphere as the crowd tried to will their man to victory. I know. Woulda, shoulda, coulda.

Instead of a war, we got a routine, run-of-the-mill drubbing so devoid of energy it felt like a practice session.

Oh, well.

At the end of the day, fans of Rafa and history certainly have something to celebrate.

Happy Mother's Day

TO ALL MOTHERS, I hope your day was peaceful and full of love.
May your children honor you.
To Jennifer, be well.
To Mama, stay strong as you grieve. You're in my prayers.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Rafael Nadal Breaks John McEnroe's Record

It was far from easy. But Rafael Nadal outbattled Nikolay Davydenko 7-6(3) 6-7(8), 6-4 in an 3 1/2-hour nailbiter to bring his claycourt winning streak to 76 matches. With the win, he breaks John McEnroe's 75-match winning streak on indoor carpet, and stands alone among men with the longest winning streak on a single surface in the Open Era.

This was a grueling, all-out war of attrition. Rafa was no where near his best and Kolya dictated play for most of the match with his flat deep shots that dragged the Spaniard all over the dirt. But Rafa, who arguably has the biggest heart on the men's tour, fought his nerves, his fatigue, and his relentless opponent to finally take the match on his first match point.

The match featured a whopping 15 breaks of serve. Nadal broke 8 times; Davydenko, 7. The Russian wasted a set point in the first set before dropping the breaker meekly, and he needed 5 set points before closing out the marathon second set. Interestingly, Rafa served for the match at 5-3 and never got to a match point, even in the 18-point tiebreak.

As did the first two sets, the third set opened with an exchange of breaks, but the first player to draw blood eventually won the set. The victory extends Rafa's record in Rome to 16-0 and sets him up to become the first player in history to win the Italian Open three consecutive times.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Stupidity of Loss

“IT WAS POISONOUS, unnatural to let the dead go with a mere whimpering, a slight murmur, a rose bouquet of good taste. Good taste was out of place in the company of death, death itself was the essence of bad taste. And there must be much rage and saliva in its presence. The body must move and throw itself about, the eyes must roll, the hands should have no peace, and the throat should release all the yearning, despair and outrage that accompany the stupidity of loss.”

—Toni Morrison

Alfred A. Knopf, 1973
© 1973 by Toni Morrison