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Smells like victory

Archive for October, 2008

Brad Listi

The Triumphant Death of Don the Bowler

October 31st, 2008
by Brad Listi

You may have read this story, the one about 62-year-old Don Doane of Ravenna, Michigan. For more than forty-five years Mr. Doane was a member of the same bowling team. Mr. Doane and his teammates competed in a local league at the local lanes over at Ravenna Bowl.

On October 16th, for the first time in his entire life, Don Doane bowled a perfect game. Strike after strike after strike after strike. He couldn’t miss. He was in The Zone. A perfect score of 300. Total glory.

And after the final pin had fallen, Don Doane raised his hands in the air in miraculous triumph. He pumped a fist. There was a huge cheer. His teammates swarmed around him in a frenzy of joyous excitement.

And then Don Doane collapsed suddenly and fell to the floor and died of a massive heart attack.

Efforts to resuscitate him failed.


 

 

This story makes me think. More specifically: It makes me think about how I sometimes think about my life. How I often sit around wondering: How is this story gonna go? What’s going to become of me? How will I fare going forward? What’s the point? Is there a point? What will happen? What will I make happen? Will things go my way? Will things not go my way? How important is luck? What should I do? What should I not do? Is everything passing me by? Am I missing opportunities? Will things take a tragic turn? Will I run the table? Will it all end well? Will it all end badly?

One wonders.

That is, if one is anything like me.

Life, inevitably, is an exercise in loss. You live long enough, and you lose everything. Every relationship ends. Everything you have goes away. You disintegrate. All of your physical gifts wither and dissipate. It’s all about loss, in the end. Acceptance of loss. The ability to handle loss with grace. The ability to lose.

Don Doane.

One of the anonymous majority. A regular man from Michigan. (I’m assuming he was regular.)

Don the Bowler.

Don is dead now. And in his death, he made quiet national news.

A perfect game.

He bowled a perfect game—his first and only perfect game—and then, suddenly, he died. Surrounded by his friends.

Everyone was wearing bowling shoes. One imagines they were all drinking beer.

It’s one of the more triumphant deaths I’ve read about in recent memory.

-BL


Rebecca Adler

California’s Propositions are Keeping Me Up at Night

October 31st, 2008
by Rebecca Adler

SACRAMENTO, CA-

For the past several hours I’ve been staring into the darkness and begging myself to shutup so I can get a bit of needed rest. But I’m too anxious and my mind is racing. I don’t think I’ll be sleeping until this damn election is over. It’s not so much the presidential election that has me worried. It’s all of these ballot measures that are so important but have somehow been forgotten in the higher ratings mud-slinging and fear-mongering of the presidential candidates (Don’t get me wrong though, I’m still completely freaked out about the presidential election, especially after seeing all the crazies on TV and Youtube).

I cast my ballot about three weeks ago by mail and had been able to convince myself that I’d done my part and I’d just have to wait for the results. That was, until tonight (or, last night, as it were). I went to a Proposition Party with my boyfriend. No, this was not a party where people proposition you. It was a party where each person was given a ballot proposition to research and discuss with the group so we could each make educated decisions about how we vote on Tuesday. And that’s when I realized how truly scary this election is, at least here in California. (more…)


TNB TV

Halloween Special with the Pixies

October 31st, 2008
by TNB TV




TNB TV
Please enjoy this assembly of clips from famous horror movies, set to the music of the Pixies and their song called “Dead.”


TNB Photo of the Day

Apple Bobbing

October 31st, 2008
by TNB Photo of the Day




I Caught One!
Joe Munroe captures Halloween on a farm near Lebanon, Connecticut, 1951.


Bradley Parker

Najib’s Sister and her Shattered Dream

October 30th, 2008
by Bradley Parker

YOKOSUKA, JAPAN -

In Afghanistan, death is a much bigger problem than it is in the United States.

According to the CIA Worldfact Book, the average Afghan newborn will only live about 46 years, if lucky. Afghanistan has the world’s second highest infant-mortality rate – 166 out over every 1000 children die in their first year – and the second worst maternal-mortality rate – 1,900 deaths out of every 100,000. In Afghanistan, just staying alive is a challenge.

I learned this because in September of 2007 the U.S. Navy sent me to Kabul.

(more…)


David Breithaupt

Speaking of Artifacts

October 30th, 2008
by David Breithaupt

COLUMBUS- OH

Yesterday was cold enough to wake my winter coat from its summer slumber. Temperatures sank into the 30s and I could see my dog’s breath linger in the air like an afterthought. I went through the coat’s pockets which seemed full, as if containing some seasonal time capsule, so I commenced an inventory. There were gloves, my hat, an inch or two of what seemed like fine leaf compost, two grape Dumdum lolipops which my bank always palms off on me, $1.25 in change, a ticket stub to a movie I don’t recall seeing and a broken Bic ball-point pen. This was last winter’s autobiography, patiently hibernating until now, when I clean and ready it to be filled with a new season’s worth of trinkets and souvenirs. This is my life boiled down, if I were to be hit by car or die on the sidewalk from a stroke, my pocket contents would say, this is the kind of man he was, a lover of mulch, patron of the cinema and connoisseur of hard candy. My epitaph at last.

(more…)


TNB Photo of the Day

‘Happy Hour’ Cover by Yoshitomo Nara

October 30th, 2008
by TNB Photo of the Day


Japanese Pop Squared
Please enjoy the cover of ‘Happy Hour,’ an album by Japanese rock band Shonen Knife. It was designed by renowned pop artist Yoshitomo Nara.


TNB TV

Kermit the Frog Sings “It’s Not Easy Being Green”

October 30th, 2008
by TNB TV




TNB TV
Please enjoy this clip of Kermit the Frog singing “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”


TNB Photo of the Day

“Chair,” by Allen Jones (2005)

October 29th, 2008
by TNB Photo of the Day


Have a Seat
Please enjoy this piece of artwork called “Chair,” by Allen Jones (2005).


TNB TV

Brando in Last Tango in Paris

October 29th, 2008
by TNB TV




TNB TV
Please enjoy this infamous clip from Bernardo Bertolucci’s ‘Last Tango in Paris’ (1972). Critic Pauline Kael called it “the most powerfully erotic film ever made.”


Uche Ogbuji

“BEFORE you, mother Idoto, naked I stand”

October 28th, 2008
by Uche Ogbuji

BOULDER, CO-

The title is the beginning of “Heavensgate”, by Christopher Okigbo, the greatest modern Nigerian poem, and I think the greatest modern African poem.  Okigbo is my patron saint, and my personal Janus (he died in the war that gave life to me), so it’s appropriate to pour out for him before I take a draught.  The second proper and good thing for me to do is to introduce myself.  I’m Uche Ogbuji, computer engineer and aspiring poet (I think I have a fair bit of skill with verse, but I set pretty daunting standards for myself).  I recently started reading TNB, following my dear friend Erika.  I’ve enjoyed my time here, so I was thrilled when she recommended me to Brad as a contributor, and twice thrilled when Brad welcomed me.

(more…)


Kimberly M. Wetherell

NaNoWriMo No Mo’

October 28th, 2008
by Kimberly M. Wetherell

BROOKLYN, NY -

I’m a filmmaker.

A multi-hyphenate.

Writer / Director / Producer is usually how it goes.

Except if I were to choose the order, it would be Director / Producer / Writer.

When I write, I prefer punchy, active sentences.

I don’t usually go much further than: Who? What? How?

Let everyone else fill in the blanks.

The person reading a screenplay has neither the time nor the patience for long, esoteric descriptions about the Hero’s freakish allergy to shag carpeting. Nor do they care to read extensive passages about the psychosomatic development of said allergy due to the heartache caused by one Love Interest after their first sexual encounter in 1978 in his Aunt Rita’s Airstream, which had not only the floor, but the walls lined with the stuff; and who, years later, coincidentally enough, happens to be standing across the room from Hero at a party. Unfortunately for Hero, he notices her just after having lost his trousers in a round of Strip Twister.  Having fallen on his pants-less ass in shock at the sight of her, his derriere begins to swell three times its normal size. (131 words)

(more…)


TNB Photo of the Day

Tom Wesselmann, “Still Life” (1962)

October 28th, 2008
by TNB Photo of the Day


What’s Behind That Door?
Please enjoy “Still Life” (1962), a mixed media masterwork by Tom Wesselmann.


TNB TV

Salman Rushdie on Niccolò Machiavelli

October 28th, 2008
by TNB TV




TNB TV
Salman Rushdie talks about the unfair legacy of Niccolò Machiavelli.


Erika Rae

Tangoing with the Devil, Outsourced Karaoke, Pictures of Me in a Dirndl, and a Terrifying Ending

October 28th, 2008
by Erika Rae

BOULDER, CO- 

I love Halloween.

Cheap plastic costumes, sweaty make-up, canker sores on the morning after…or were those my grad school years?

When I was a kid, I was taught that Halloween was bad.  There is not a child in all of Christendom who does not understand that Halloween is the devil’s holiday.  And yet, we can’t seem to help ourselves. What kid doesn’t get off on dressing up beyond recognition so they can stuff that orange plastic pumpkin with enough candy to snuff a small, primitive tribe of diabetics off the map?  Is there anything more fun than crinkling down the street high on milk duds in a pack of underage hoodlums?  What other holiday can compete?  Sure, Christmas promises loot and yule log comfort – but does it really compare to the rush of smashing somebody’s lawn zoo to bits as swift and concise punishment for not turning on one’s porch light?

(more…)


Reno J. Romero

Thirty-Four Plates of Ham and Eggs

October 27th, 2008
by Reno J. Romero

LAS VEGAS, NV -

Over a hearty Mexican dinner, I decided to wake up early and throw in some NFL picks. I don’t normally gamble. This was probably my fourth parley card I’ve ever played. But I figured, what the hell. After all, it was the first Sunday of the NFL 2008-2009 season.

Fall. Football.

Life was pleasant and reasonable once again.

The only thing disturbing me was the Presidential run for the White House. It was a circus. It was ugly and I was in the middle of it neck-deep.

Obama.

John.

The young buck.

Gramps. (more…)


TNB Photo of the Day

Jim Dine, “The Robe Following Her Home” (1985)

October 27th, 2008
by TNB Photo of the Day


“The Robe Following Her Home”
This Jim Dine painting was completed in 1985.


TNB TV

T.J. Hooker Opening Credits

October 27th, 2008
by TNB TV




TNB TV
Please enjoy the opening credits to the 1980s hit television show ‘T.J. Hooker.’


Irene Zion

Two-Year-Old Children Can Always Surprise You

October 26th, 2008
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

Back in 1986 Benjamin was two years old.  His colic, drooling and projectile vomiting were in the past, and he was a delight.  All the siblings wanted to play with him. He was very verbal and had actual conversations, which were quite enchanting.  He already had opinions and pint-sized plans for his life. Anyone will tell you that he has always been special, even his siblings who are rabidly jealous.

Our after-dinner ritual was to send all five kids, ranging in age from 15 years old to 2 years old upstairs to play in the playroom for the few minutes it took for Victor and me to make and have a cup of coffee, just a few minutes to relax, just a FEW minutes.  This worked splendidly for several weeks, perhaps months.

(more…)


TNB Photo of the Day

Richard Hamilton, “Just What is it That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?” (1956)

October 26th, 2008
by TNB Photo of the Day


Groundbreaking Visuals
Richard Hamilton’s “Just What is it That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?” (1956) is one of the earliest examples of pop art.