Mickey & The Duke

I turned 38 today.  All things considered, I feel pretty much the way I did when I was 37.  Naturally, though, with turning a year older I have been thinking about mortality (and yes, I know 38 is young) and how it has been 20 years since I was 18 – unbelievable!  While checking out my sites today I saw this write-up on the passing of Duke Snider.  The article naturally mentions Mays and Mantle, and I was startled to read that Mantle was only 63 when he passed away.  I remember reading the referenced SI article when I was in college.  He mentioned in it how exciting it was to order a diet Pepsi instead of a drink when he was out.  The next week a recovering alcoholic wrote a letter (must have been two weeks later – I think that was the lag time back then in the snail mail days) saying that Mantle would not enjoy ordering diet tonic after a while when the honeymoon of not drinking ended.  He never got to that point, I guess – he had a much-publicized and controversial liver transplant and then he died not much more than a year after the article.

What a sad story.  He seemingly had it all – talent, fame, adulation, money, goodwill, championship rings – but in reality he never realized his potential both as a player (despite the stats and the rings, which were astonishing) and as a person, with his life derailed by chronic infidelity and boozing (all of which would have been exposed immediately in this era of Deadspin and TMZ – Mick’s tale would have played out very differently today.  It is quite a contrast to the story of the Duke, whose one blemish, according to the article, seems to be that he had some tax issues (I think the quoted judge, in his assessment of Snider’s character, is a little over the top).

So there you have my 38th birthday musings.  I suppose it is appropriate, since baseball cards, trivia, playing ball and watching baseball games dominated my life until I went away to college, and following the game and its history is still a huge part of my everyday existence.

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February 27th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Editorial And Letter From His Eminence

I normally do not comment on problems at other Orthodox churches but I find it necessary to link to these two writing from our Metropolitan – you can read them here and here, with a Greek version of the editorial here.  I am doing this for several reasons.  One, the issue of our financial commitment to the Archdiocese, and how it relates to the Metropolis, is not always understood by parishioners.  Two, the Metropolitan has asked us to distribute these writings to help clarify the issue.  And, last but not least, there is much confusion in the communities due to articles published in a certain Greek-American newspaper.  As always, His Eminence puts it best, so I will end this with his preamble to the linked writings:

Various stories are circulating in the Press and on the Internet, both here and throughout the world, dealing with the unfortunate developments in the St. George Parish in Lynn, Massachusetts.  They are fraught with misinformation and crafted to seed division among the clergy and laity of our Archdiocese.

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February 22nd, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Latin Bumper Sticker

I was on my way to GOYA last Tuesday and I saw a bumper sticker on the car in front of me.  It had a column on each side and a Latin phrase, one which I didn’t recognize (not that I know Latin) in the middle.  I tried repeating it to myself – I love looking up Latin phrases when I come across them – but luckily came to a red light behind the car, so I was able to write it down as a text and save it as a draft.  I suppose this violates the texting while driving law, even though I was not moving, but how is this any different from jotting it down on a piece of paper?  Anyways, I got to GOYA and we tried to crack the case.  Even though some of the kids take Latin and we had our advisor Lorelei, who speaks Romanian, we couldn’t figure it out.  I looked it up online.  Here is the Latin text from the bumper sticker:

Si hoc legere potes eruditissimus es sed parum distas

So – the meaning?  Basically, if you can read this you are well-educated and far too close!  Very clever indeed.

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February 19th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Being Greek…

You have to love being Greek.  Below is a photo of the “remote control guide” taped to the wall in the TV room at our AHEPA lodge:

The bulk of the sheet is taken up with a diagram of the remote.  The instructions, if you can’t read them, say 1) Turn system on 2) Press TV 3) Press Input until Greek program appears.  And that is pretty much all you need to know if you wish to watch the television at the AHEPA – turn it on and press the button until you see the Greek show, and you are all set.  I love being Greek :)

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February 13th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Quincunx!

I just finished a fascinating thriller called Impact by Douglas Preston.  His books, both solo and with Lincoln Child, are the kind that keep me up at night so I can read as much as possible, even though the loss of sleep will haunt me the next day – they are that good.  This book is about as close to science fiction as I get in my reading.  Preston depicts a small Maine fishing village, a California space research lab, Cambodian illegal gem traders, and Washington bureaucrats all with stunning depth and, as far I can imagine, accuracy.  He also throws in the occasional fun word like desuetude or quincunx.  Desuetude I kind of knew, or at least could figure out from context, but quincunx threw me for a loop.  You can look it up – it is basically four things in a square with a fifth in the middle, like the pips on the five side of a die.  The only thing I could figure out from the word itself is that it had something to do with the number five.  There are lots of words like this – tricycle, quartet, etc.  But there are also words with a number root that have lost their original meanings.  Decimate means to kill ten percent of something but it is now used to denote a total rout.  I had thought section meant one-sixth of something, but Merriam Webster does not seem to bear this out and traces the origins to a Latin word for to cut.  Sextant, the thing sailors would use to figure out where they were, has origins in the number six, so maybe that is what I was thinking.  There are others but I am blanking…

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February 10th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Snow Chronicles

Here in Worcester we have received a ridiculous amount of snow with no mild days in between – everything that has fallen is still around.  We have actually had to truck snow out of the Cathedral parking lots since there is no more street parking, there is so much snow talking up spaces, and the construction has temporarily made some spots unavailable.  This is the first time in my 5+ years here that we have had to remove snow.

He is not going to like this, but Chris Fourkas deserves a huge shout-out.  Chris, among other sterling service to our church, plows us out each year at no cost.  This saves us, I imagine, 20-30k annually.  Chrysostom not only plows but has been coordinating the removal.  He also turns up at the Cathedral at odd hours to move snow.  Last week I received the thrill of my life when I got to drive his Bobcat around:

In other Cathedral snow news…we had the flat roofs – the auditorium and the office/Tonna Room/hallway link –  cleared yesterday of snow.  I had been thinking about this after seeing reports of up to 100 different roofs collapsing in Massachusetts in the past few days.  We kind of hemmed and hawed on whether to clear the snow, and then on Friday the engineer for the building project strongly suggested we do it.  So yesterday a team of 19 guys got up there and shoveled all the snow off.  This was packed, heavy snow which only would have become heavier with tonight’s freezing rain.

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February 5th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Christians In Egypt Protecting Muslims From Attacks During Prayers

Thanks to George Stifo for the image and title.

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February 3rd, 2011 by Fr. Greg