Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Miscellaneous: Today’s Random Connection

The other night I take down my copy of David Mamet’s 1988 play Speed-The-Plow. Yes, I keep Mamet around the house. Why? To learn some craft. To have a sense of How Things Are Done. To “study.” Because I – I feel that ... look. Like the man says, if you have to ask ...

Two Hollywood executives are considering a pair of potential projects. One is a prison movie starring a box-office draw. The other is a book being given a courtesy read. A book by “A Very Famous Eastern Writer.” A book called The Bridge, or: Radiation and the Half-Life of Society. Or, as the execs call it, The Radiation Book. Here’s how some of it goes:

“The wind against the Plains, but not a wind of change ... a wind like that one which he’d been foretold, the rubbish of the world – swirling, swirling ...”

And more:

“What was coming was a return to the self, which is to say, a return to God ... And the man saw that ... things were ending. Yes. That things must end. And that vouchsafed to him a vision of infinity.”

What is it? “It’s a novel about the historical effects of radiation.” Yes, but What Is It About? Simple. It’s about The End Of The World. It’s about a man and a child. It’s about what we all feel. Everyone is frightened. Everything is breaking down. Things as we know them are over. Or, to quote the coverage: “the device of God, in all things, to prepare the world for its final decay.”

In other words, it’s Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

Not that I’ve read the book. I don’t do everything Oprah tells me to do. Besides, I’m waiting for the movie.

Sports: My Impoverished Fantasy Life

In Slate, David Roth writes about how fantasy baseball has destroyed his ability to enjoy the game – and, to his eternal shame, to root unabashedly for the New York Mets, currently riding high atop the NL East.

Every season I say I’m going to join a fantasy league, and every season I don’t do it. I couldn’t tell you why. It just doesn’t interest me. Apparently, the only people left who still watch baseball games for the pure pastoral joy of the sport are Bob Costas, George Will and me. Company that’s not as august as you’d think. Just once I’d like to see one of those guys reach for his wallet when the hot dog vendor comes around.

MLB’s Extra Innings package is pitched to fans who can’t watch their hometown teams. That’s why I sprang for it. But the true market is fantasy fanatics who want to follow their rosters in real time.

You’d think access to a dozen-plus ballgames a day would up my interest in fantasy play. Nope. My viewing remains Mets-centric. Take last night. I caught most of the Mets/Giants game, an extra innings corker that ended with Armando Benitez, a former Mets reliever, getting called for two balks against Jose Reyes to bring the tying run across the plate before Carlos Delgado’s solo HR took it for the Mets in the bottom of the twelfth.

To quote Strangers With Candy, “If you’re paying for cable and not watching TV, you’re losing money. It’s just simple economics.” So on I went to the end of the Braves/Brewers game, hoping the Mets’ division rivals would fall even further back. (They did.) I closed the evening out with a little of the Mariners/Angels. All games that I watched and enjoyed, you know, as games. No divided loyalties. No sweat involved.

OK, I sweated a little during the Mets game. But that’s the price of being a true fan.

Other baseball notes: Sports Illustrated on how Mets’ GM Omar Minaya transformed the team into a contender. Hat tip to my brother Sean. And a terrific baseball blog with a focus on the Los Angeles Dodgers written by ... Alyssa Milano?!?