WHEN THE ALARM WENT OFF, NO TRIUMPH TODAY

Alarm clocks are no longer a big thing in this house. There was time when every day — minus (maybe) Sunday was an alarm day. Garry didn’t need a clock. His head knew when he should get up, but I needed to at least set the clock, even if I woke up before it went off.

Frog has returned.

We got up. We didn’t whine about it either. It was one of Garry’s more lovable traits that if he had to get up, he just did it. He didn’t go into the rolling over and crying for mercy from on high because it was too early. He knew that when you had to get up, do it. No amount of begging would help.

The green, green of home. There are a few lily buds in there. No, really, there are.

For the last week, there have been “things to do” in the morning. People to see and call. Wait for so when they don’t show up, you can start trying to figure out what happened, then do it again.

We still have columbine, but it is finally fading.

The last time I had to do this — to meet the guy who is supposed to fix our front door — he neglected to arrive. It was also the day of James Comey’s Senate testimony. When the guy didn’t show up, I — at least — had another reason for getting myself moving. We rescheduled for today … and here I am.

Triumph is the day’s theme. It’s hard to find anything about which to feel genuinely triumphant, except maybe that this is the second day of bright sunshine in a region that has been starving for sun. I would have preferred a period of cooler weather before the real heat of summer hit, but you don’t get choices with weather. It does what it does and you are glad if it isn’t dropping a few feet of snow, blowing a gale, or doing a whole “torrential rain” thing.

Pink petunias

It’s going to be a hot one today, probably mid nineties. I’m trying to decide if I should turn on the air conditioning now, or wait until it gets truly unpleasant. There’s always the “save money on electricity and wait until you have no choice” versus the “do it now and keep the house cool from the start” option. I’m tempted to cool it down n the hopes of eliminating some of the ragweed that’s drifting through the air.

Orange hanging begonias on the back deck

While I was out yesterday, contemplating our lack of flowers, we got ourselves in gear in the latter part of the afternoon and went to the local nursery in Mendon for some flowers. No one had flowers in their garden, but the ragweed is in full bloom. Swell.

Usually, I can buy flowers in town. There’s a small flower shop. Not a nursery, but it sells beautiful plants on racks and on tables for a few months in the spring and later in the fall. I think they have a nursery outside of town. Not this year, though. Too cold, too rainy. And the stuff the grocery store is selling looks depressed and raggedy.

To be fair, the stuff at the nursery only looked a bit better. It hasn’t been a good year for the flowers. The complete lack of lilies and roses in my yard is a clear indicator of that. Maybe the flowers are politically depressed, too. I spent a good couple of hours yesterday taking some pictures and hoping to find some buds at least. A few lily buds, nothing noteworthy on the roses. And these are hedge roses. They always bloom. Always. It’s their thing. Blooming and growing the ugliest, sharpest, barbed-wire thorns on earth.

More orange begonias

Triumph is not the word of the day or the week or the year. There’s been nothing triumphant about 2017 in the U.S. It’s been a depressing grind, with ugly politics and ugly politicians. Too much rain, too much heat. Too much or too little of just about everything from the turning of the year to today.

I’m counting on the warm weather to somehow make it better. Owen is cutting the grass and I can smell it from here, that wonderful scent of green in the air. I’ve got two orange, hanging begonias out back. I wanted fuchsias, but they really wanted to offload these begonias — I must have looked like someone who could nurse an ailing plant back to life. They had caterpillars on them and I spent a miserable few minutes removing caterpillars, spraying poison, adding fertilizer, watering, and trying to make these sad plants perk up. They’re out on my back porch hooks. I may go back for at least one real fuchsia. A summer without them is like … well … a summer without fuchsias!

THE OLD WHARF, BOSTON – GARRY ARMSTRONG

BLACK & WHITE SUNDAY: TRACES OF THE PAST Y2-06

The wharf dates to the days before the American Revolution. Parts of it date as far back as mid 1600s. You can easily see how old the wharf is and the various ages of buildings from the 1700s to now.

The Beaver – a transport ship from Colonial days in Boston with modern Boston behind it.
Not sure how old the bridge is, but probably from the 1800s. It has been kept in very good shape.
The tea kettle weather vane atop the Tea Party Museum in Boston Harbor.

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DOES EVERY SPORT HAVE ONE? – RICH PASCHALL

The Openly Gay Athlete, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

If you have read any stories about gay athletes in professional sports you would certainly know about it.  That’s because no matter how often it has been stated, any article that mentions a gay athlete will state that he is “gay” or even “openly gay,” as if telling you he is gay is not enough.  I guess if you tell the press you are gay, then you are pretty open about it, and you certainly can’t take it back.  Reporters follow around openly gay athletes just for the purpose of asking them what it is like to be openly gay and play ______ (fill in the sport here).  I wish just once the athlete would respond that it is the same as being “openly heterosexual.”

Perhaps they should ask the reporter what it is like to be “openly heterosexual” and asking the same stupid questions.  Of course, that would be stereotyping sports reporters as straight and we certainly do not want to jump to conclusions.  Maybe someday we will have an openly gay sports reporter, but I digress.

You can point to many sports and talk about the one gay athlete, and it is usually just one brave person who has spoken up.  Michael Sam created such a stir when he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams that an ESPN sports reporter actually reported on his shower habits in the preseason. Seriously, “google” it. It must still be in cyberspace. ESPN later apologized.

Jason Collins was the first openly gay basketball player in the NBA causing big “sports” news, and Brittney Griner is a lesbian professional basketball player.  Griner married another WNBA player in 2015.  All of this means these players will from now on be referred to as that “openly gay player.”

If people think these players are among the first gay players in the sport, they can think again.  Hall of Fame basketball player and current television analyst Charles Barkley was asked by sports host Dan Patrick if he ever played with a gay player and got this surprising response, “Yeah, of course I did. Everybody did. Everybody played with a gay teammate, Dan, and it’s no big deal.”  Maybe it is no big deal to most teammates but it sure seems to be a big deal to reporters.

Soccer has Robbie Rogers of the Los Angeles Galaxy.  Boxing has featherweight Orlando Cruz.  Professional wrestling has Darren Young but I always consider that as acting rather than a sport, and there are plenty of gays in acting. Ice skater Johnny Weir came out in 2011 after indicating for a long time that his sex life was a private matter.  In his case, no one was surprised when he came out.  He has since retired from the sport.

Some well-known athletes in other countries have come out and have not faced the constant barrage of gay questions.  Twenty two year old British diver Tom Daley, well-known to the British public most of his young life, famously came out at the age of 19.  While it caused a bit of stir at first, that a national diving champion came out on You Tube, the press seems to have moved on after a short period of curiosity.  Here they would have hounded the poor boy constantly.

Despite the media circus surrounding gay athletes, the major sports seem to want to prove that they are inclusive and welcoming to gay athletes.  Of course, it is hard to do that when athletes are reluctant to come forward. If everyone has had gay teammates as Charles Barkley suggests, then there must be many who are afraid to say anything, and work to keep their private life completely private.  Such was the case for professional baseball player, Billy Bean.

Major League Baseball, despite its long history, has only had two former players publicly state they are gay.  One was Glenn Burke who died in 1995 and the other is Billy Bean, now 53.  Bean regrets walking away from baseball after a couple of years with the Tigers and Dodgers, a year in Japan, and some time with the Padres, but he was tired of hiding who he was.  It wore him down as he explained in his book, Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life In and Out of Major League Baseball.  He had no idea how to reach out for help dealing with his secret while he was a player.  He also had no idea that major league baseball would one day reach out to him.

In June of 2014 MLB summoned Bean to a meeting in New York City to ask him about his experiences and to talk about baseball.  Bean went and talked for hours as detailed by sports writer Ken Rosenthal in his FOX Sports column, How Billy Came Back to Baseball.  The sport that had trouble welcoming Jackie Robinson and other black players did not want to be seen as the sport afraid to welcome gay players, so they reached out to Bean.  Billy had, after all, written a book on his experiences and what he learned from them, and was also a speaker to LGBT groups.  In fact, Billy was speaking at a LGBT Sports Summit in Portland, Oregon when he got the call from Major League Baseball.

When Bean learned they had a role for him in baseball he did not seem to immediately embrace the idea.  “I’m not going to be your token gay person that you’re just going to put on a podium,” he kept telling them.  They got it.  Bean said if he had someone to reach out to when he was playing, he might not have quit.  So now, Bean will be that person.  He will be the Ambassador for Inclusion.  To honor the league’s workplace code of conduct, to provide education and outreach, to speak and to listen, Billy Bean will be there because no one was there for him.  If you ask him now, he will probably tell you “It Gets Better.

List of LGBT Sports people, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

AT THE NURSERY – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Marilyn was negotiating some hanging flowers and I wandered around with the camera. It turns out, a nursery is a good place for shooting. Lots of color, shapes, textures. Lots of stuff to do on a warm, sunny (at long last!) Saturday.

 

Flower of the Day – June 11, 2017