Thursday, September 26, 2013

Finding Glimmers of Hope in Another Lost NY Mets Season

All hail Lagares, the biggest bright spot on another losing team.
Another New York Mets season is about to be put in the books and with it a few negative streaks are extended. It's the team's seventh straight season missing the playoffs, their fifth straight season with a losing record, and the third consecutive losing finish under the promising, stats-savvy front office led by general manager Sandy Alderson.
While it's become an overdone cliché to mock the misery of the Mets franchise, this hapless 70-something win season offered glimpses of realistic hope for the near future and was actually quite entertaining to follow throughout the year as a devoted fan. I watched nearly every game of theirs throughout the spring and summer, only losing touch with the team as they fell into a late summer funk which coincided with an injury to the team's best hitter, David Wright.

Eclipsing any other story about this year's team was the ascent of Matt Harvey to superstardom. The 24-year-old starter spent a large chunk of the season pitching as well as anyone in baseball and even got to start the All Star Game in Queens but succumbed to an elbow injury in late August, sending Mets fans into a deep depression.

Beyond Harvey's five-month flirtation with the Cy Young award, there are still reasons to see this Mets season as a step forward for the franchise.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Picasso's Guernica

I recently re-watched one of my favorite films of all time, Children of Men, and the appearance of Picasso's Guernica caught my eye. (In the film we see the original 20 ft x 10 ft masterpiece serving as a mural in a character's dining room.) I've since been reading up on this painting a bit and watching documentaries about it.

Inspired by the despicable bombing of a civilian Spanish village by German and Italian planes in 1937, the shattered, sharp, and screeching imagery gives a unique, haunting depiction of the horrors of war. With the recent stream of bullshit pouring out of American media and government concerning the desire of the United States to drop bombs on Syria (drop bombs on who?), I've thought about this painting a lot.

A tapestry of Guernica hangs inside the United Nations building and in 2003, while Colin Powell and American military officials gave a press conference detailing the urgent need to invade Iraq (in the name of "freedom" and "peace" of course), the tapestry was covered up by a large blue curtain so as not to appear in the background. Don't want to give people mixed signals, I guess.

From Wikipedia:
Guernica has become a universal and powerful symbol warning humanity against the suffering and devastation of war. Moreover, the fact that there are no obvious references to the specific attack has contributed to making its message universal and timeless.