THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH
”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
OPENING DAY EDITION. This is one of my favorite pictures of my boys when they were young. We were at an instructional day at Victory Field, the home of the AAA Indianapolis Indians, now a farm club of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The boys were waiting their turn to go down on the field and participate in drills with the players and coaches.
As you can see, my older son (the blonde looking impatient) has dirt all over his hat and his game face on. My younger son, resting his head on his arms, has a shredded place on the bill of his cap where the dog had taken a big bite out of it. A photographer from the city paper captured them — and the spirit of baseball — perfectly.
I consider tomorrow a national holiday. It’s Opening Day of the Major League baseball season. The Yankees will take on the Tampa Bay Rays, Arizona will play the Giants in SF (Steve Scott, will you be there?), and then the World Champion Chicago Cubs will play a night game against their arch rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals.
As wonderful as these big league games are, over the years their main contribution to my adult life has been to provide the seasonal context for the local teams our family has watched, coached, and played on with a community of friends. We’ve watched our kids grow up together. We’ve yelled at the umps together, jumped up and cheered and also hung our heads in disappointment together, groomed the fields, shared food and drinks, worked the concession stands, and pontificated to each other about the right way of playing the game.
In my mind, baseball is as American as apple pie because it’s about a community of people living together in freedom and joy. The game provides leisure for neighbors to spend a few hours together and share a common experience that I have found to be almost sacramental.
Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.
• Jack Norworth/Albert Von Tilzer, 1908
Here is a glimpse, courtesy of the New Yorker, at the new face of capitalist zeal:
Fiverr, an online freelance marketplace that promotes itself as being for “the lean entrepreneur”—as its name suggests, services advertised on Fiverr can be purchased for as low as five dollars—recently attracted ire for an ad campaign called “In Doers We Trust.” One ad, prominently displayed on some New York City subway cars, features a woman staring at the camera with a look of blank determination. “You eat a coffee for lunch,” the ad proclaims. “You follow through on your follow through. Sleep deprivation is your drug of choice. You might be a doer.”
Here’s the video for the ad campaign.
Jia Tolentino, the author of the New Yorker article, also tells the story of a Lyft driver who was recently celebrated for picking up extra passengers while she was in labor, dropping them all off just in time to get to the hospital to have her baby. She comments:
At the root of this is the American obsession with self-reliance, which makes it more acceptable to applaud an individual for working himself to death than to argue that an individual working himself to death is evidence of a flawed economic system. The contrast between the gig economy’s rhetoric (everyone is always connecting, having fun, and killing it!) and the conditions that allow it to exist (a lack of dependable employment that pays a living wage) makes this kink in our thinking especially clear.
Discussions of this sort can always benefit from a little Dilbert…
As you’re working yourself to death, you might want to imbibe some of this potent brew from South Africa to sustain you. It’s called “Black Insomnia,” and and each cup of it has more than four times the caffeine of a regular cup.
In the ongoing battle for the “world’s strongest coffee” crown, the unfortunately named Death Wish Coffee Company appeared to be the most legitimate previous king. However, according to Grub Street, Black Insomnia says that after an independent analysis of its beans and its competitors’ beans by a lab in Switzerland, Black Insomnia’s coffee was the “clear winner.” Caffeine Informer says Black Insomnia has 702 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce cup; meanwhile, Death Wish has 660 milligrams. For the record, both brands offer up more of the mild upper per 12-ounce serving than the 400 milligrams medical experts recommend you consume in an entire day. And to give this whole thing a bit of perspective, a “normal” 12-ounce cup of coffee will only have about 150 milligrams of caffeine. Meanwhile, a can of Coke only has 34 milligrams of caffeine. By comparison, the soda’s basically a sleep aid.
Though caffeine might be its primary selling point, Black Insomnia also wants customers to know its product is “strictly pure coffee” – apparently achieved from sourcing the most highly caffeinated Robusta beans (as opposed to the more flavorful Arabica beans) – all “without a burnt and high acidic flavor.” Its coffee still offers “a nice walnut and almost sweet taste profile,” the brand writes.
Of course, if you’re more old school, you might take the advice of the original Joltin’ Joe…
SOME PEOPLE ARE WORKING WAY TOO HARD AT CHURCH-SHOPPING…
These are well done! Written by John Crist. Visit John Crist Comedy for more videos.
HERE’S A NAUGHTY PASTOR TRYING TO WORK THE SYSTEM
Here’s the scoop on a story from my neck of the woods:
A Columbus pastor who claimed his family was robbed of about $11,000 in cash and valuables while he was preaching at church has been arrested on felony charges of insurance fraud and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Justin K. White, 38, 3255 Sunrise Drive, senior minister at First Christian Church since May 2011, is accused of arranging with a juvenile to stage the Dec. 18 burglary at his Skyview Estates home on the city’s northeast side in order to file an insurance claim for the lost items, court documents in the case state.
What is even worse, of course, is that Pastor White tried to cover up the crime (the cover up is always worse, ya know) with pious language, and that his congregation and neighbors generously gave gifts and support to the family, thinking that they had been through a terrible ordeal.
The news story of the burglary at the White home resulted in national news coverage, with White reporting the family received an outpouring of kindness from local residents and the church congregation in the aftermath.
Two Columbus police officers, friends of the White family who did not want to be identified, replaced the family’s stolen living room television the same day of the burglary with a new one they purchased as a gift. Among the items White reported stolen were coins in his daughter’s piggy bank, jewelry with sentimental value, Xbox consoles and games and computers.
“We already have prayed as a family for the people who did this,” White told a Republic reporter Dec. 19, one day after the burglary. “Really, they are the ones who are truly struggling.”
It seems that the juvenile White enlisted for the burglary had been meeting with the pastor for spiritual counseling and ended up becoming the minister’s drug supplier. If he’s not already, the Rev. White will probably be standing in this line very soon…
QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
THIS WEEK IN MUSIC
A song encouraging the kids to keep workin’ on it…