by John Walters
I’m back! For now. The MH editorial staff (we still are without a publishing arm) has an assignment starting in about two weeks that will last for about three weeks. During that time, MH world headquarters will be fully unoperationable.
No people? No problem, or so say the Olympic organizers. The 2020 Olympics that are taking place in 2021 will be held without in-person spectators. We’re back to the bubble. You know what’s truly going to be weird? The Opening and Closing ceremonies.
Of course, it IS weird that the Euro Cup 2020 has been held in mostly full stadiums this past month, as have the NBA playoffs. And even in Canada, where fans were mostly not allowed in to watch Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup finals in Montreal, there seemed to be no problem with having 10,000 or so crazed Canucks neglecting social distancing mores as they watched the game play out on big screens just outside Molson Arena. What’s up with that?
Here’s the unorthodox—Darwinian?—thought we had last week: If you say that 4 million people on the planet are going to die of a disease in just 15 months, while more than 50 times that will contract it, it sounds rather bad. But if you say that less than 1/10th of 1% of the planet’s population will die of that disease, it really doesn’t sound so bad. And guess what? We could use to thin the herd a little bit. That sounds heartless, but here’s the thing: humans are the only species that goes out of its way to protect the weakest and least apt for survival. In the short term, that is a kind and compassionate gesture. In the long term, it is against the laws of nature and in fact harms the species (and planet) overall.
Now here’s the twist: by believing in a God that elevates humans above other species (a God that, arguably, was created by Man), we allow ourselves to cut in line above all other species every time. It’s a bad way of doing business. Eventually, we’ll pay for it.
The Disappointment We Felt When We Realized That Each Car Did Not Carry An Attention-Starved GOP Elected Official
The Tampa Bay Lightning just won its second Stanley Cup in a row. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Super Bowl champs. And the Tampa Bay Rays were one boneheaded managerial decision away (the lifting of Blake Snell) from at least forcing a Game 7 in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tampa does not have an NBA franchise. Also worth noting: Tampa Bay is not a city, but a body of water. It’s always been kind of odd that its teams add the second word. No one says Puget Sound Seahawks or San Francisco Bay Giants or even Boston Harbor Celtics.
Roger, over and out. If there’s one Grand Slam event that Roger Federer has owned over the past decade and a half, it’s Wimbledon. The Swiss Mister has won eight of the past 17 finals and appeared in another four of them. On the last day of The Championships, Federer has been their 12 of the past 17 years.
But yesterday, in the quarters, he went out in straight sets and got bagels—for the first time in his Wimbledon career—in the third and final set. At the racket of Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, the tourney’s 14-seed. Is this it for Federer, who turns 40 this summer? And when writers keep mentioning an athlete’s age every time they write about him or her, and you’re not Tom Brady, is this a sign to hang it up?
Novak Djokovic now is the only one among the Big 3 still in play this weekend and with a championship he’ll tie both Federer and Nadal with 20 career Grand Slam wins. Federer may play another year or so, but it says here he’ll never win another Grand Slam. He’ll finish third among the trio, even though legions of fans will insist that he is the greatest men’s player of all time. That may or may not be true. But he’s the most widely loved, or better said, the least polarizing.
Finally finished the Frank Capra autobiography, The Name Above The Title. It was a wonderful life, after all. Besides directing such classics as It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and It’s A Wonderful Life, Capra spent three years in the Army during World War II, being promoted to full-bird colonel and earning a Distinguished Service Medal (the highest honor a non-combat serviceman can receive). He also produced and directed, in the 1950s, a quartet of educational films that were shown on prime-time TV and perhaps later in your classroom. The one I remember best is Hemo The Magnificent.
What stood out most about Capra is that 1) he knew how to get things done and 2) he never let anyone take advantage of him, even if it meant walking away from a deal.
There’s also tons of philosophy in this book, from thoughts on authoritarianism and freedom to the nature of comedy. Brilliant stuff. One thing he also notes is that the age of 26 is the peak age for most people, where peak creativity and accumulated life knowledge experience. Before 26, you still have too much to learn. After 26, you become a little too conservative. He throws out a few examples, all of which took place when the following were 26 or just about…
Einstein…. announces Theory of Relativity
Alexander The Great… begins conquest of world
Lincoln… switched from itinerant life to law and politics
Shakespeare… wrote first major play, King Henry VI
St. Francis… converted from finery to a saintly life
Michelangelo… executed his Pieta
Churchill… elected to House of Commons
Pretty strong lineup. Makes you wonder why Jesus waited until He was 30 to get started. For what it’s worth, Capra was in his mid-30s before he really hit it big with It Happened One Night, which swept the Oscars in the four big categories.