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September 24, 2005

Socks and Sandals

I wore sandals to work today and after lunch I bought sneakers. After buying the sneakers, I put my sandals back on without taking off the socks I had worn to try on the sneakers.

I was going to write tonight about wearing socks and sandals together. I was poised to wax poetic about the epic tradeoff between unfathomable levels of foot bliss and the terrible stigma that society attaches to those who engage in this practice. I would weigh the pros and the cons of committing such a fashion faux pas while in search of simple comfort. And I would conclude in the end that Lynn would never let me get away with it.

But first I googled and I found that I am not at all alone in contemplating this ageless question:

The debate rolls on without my help, it would seem, and yet the majority of the populous seem to fall squarely for fashion and against comfort. Yet tonight, Matt related a story to me of two women whom he overheard in a bar (I believe the word used to describe these women was 'hot') discussing how irresistibly attracted one of them was to men who can successfully pull off wearing socks with their sandals. I may be a novice at this, but that's enough justification for me to proclaim today proudly that I am a soxer!.

Edited to add the link to which Wing alerted me.

September 22, 2005

Playoff Baseball Futility Breeds Poor Hygiene

From an SI.com article:

Men are dirtier than women. So scientists confirmed by spying in public restrooms, watching as one-quarter of men left without washing their hands... The worst hygiene was at Atlanta's Turner Field baseball stadium, where 37 percent of men left the bathroom without washing, and 16 percent of the women did.

Such meaningful statistics do not come as a surprise to us bleeding-blue-and-orange Mets fans.

September 21, 2005

Let's Play Two

Lynn, Eugene, and I are playing in the BSSC's Frostbite Softball League with the Fightin' Funbaggers. The core of the team were Lynn's classmates at Northeastern Law. With Big Blue Moxie we played against them this past summer, and now we've joined forces to storm out to an overwhelming 4 - 3 record so far in the eight game season.

In any case, yesterday the Funbaggers had a doubleheader under the lights at Billings Field in West Roxbury. A few thoughts from the games:

  • I don't think I'd ever played a doubleheader (or equivalent) in any sport ever before in my life. Two tennis matches back-to-back? Nope. Six bowling games in a row? Nope. Little League? Youth soccer? No way. Eugene suggested mini golf, but I can't recall ever playing 36 holes of "Garden Golf" in a single outing.This is one of those oh-so-important existential questions that I sometimes wish that I could pose to an omniscient oracle. Ah well.
  • Due in part to our Murderers' Row-esque lineup and in larger part to the opposing pitcher seemingly being convinced that home plate was two feet closer to the pitcher's mound than it was, we scored a boatload of runs in the first two innings. My contribution to the rallies? In both innings I--batting seventh--was responsible for the first out of the inning by grounding into a fielder's choice.
  • After we built a low two-digit-runs lead (say 19 or so), we surrendered eight runs with two outs in the 4th inning and five runs with two outs in the 5th. The bad guys' 5th inning only came to an end when All-Star centerfielder Lee Feigenbaum ranged far to his right, staggered under a mile-high popup, stuck his glove in the air, closed his eyes, said a small prayer to six or seven minor deities, and caught the ball. Phew.
  • My batting was vastly improved in the second game when I was responsible for our team's first, um, RBI when my weakly yet cleverly stroked fly ball to centerfield used all of its cunning to convince the fielder's glove that it had no interest whatsoever in catching the softball. Later in the game my true batting abilities finally shone through as I walked and beat out an infield grounder.
  • Lynn had a spectacular day punctuated by a triple and a thrilling-but-not-effective bare-legged slide into third base. Ask her to show you her scrapes; she's inordinately proud of them.
  • (We won the first game; lost the second.)
  • When I was young, my Dad's single biggest critique of my sports (in)abilities was that I had an odd tendency to drop to a knee as I caught a ball hit at me. Relapse: Late in the second game, as I gracefully patrolled the vast terrain of short-centerfield, a line-drive was smoked at me. I didn't have to move an inch to get to it, yet I added a bit of drama to an otherwise dull game by sliding onto my backside as I made the catch. I'm truly a fan favorite.
  • This was two games of recreational softball, yet I was tired by the end of the second game. My conclusion? Ernie Banks must've been in much better shape than I am.

September 19, 2005

No One Deserves Lung Cancer

My sister, Randi, is a lot more gifted with words than with web design. From No One Deserves Lung Cancer:

Last June, my father died at the age of 56 after a nearly two-year battle with lung cancer. His story challenges the very fundamental perceptions people have of lung cancer patients.

For Dad

The stated purpose of my blog is true, but while composing it I realized who the single best target member of my audience would be: Dad.

I could always tell Dad any little thing--no matter how whimsical or irrelevant--and he would listen and reply with unbounded and genuine interest and enthusiasm. During the sporadic days of my old web log and sports log, Dad was my single biggest inspiration for writing. I could always count on receiving an email response from him the same day that I would post. These weren't single-line responses either; they were well thought out comments, discussions, and questions on whatever arbitrary topic I had written about.

Anyway, because he would have enjoyed reading this blog as much as anyone, I'm dedicating this blog to Dad. I wrote the following about three weeks after Dad died last year, and it captures many of my feelings about Dad:

Always There

"Always there." Two little words, but together they speak volumes about the
person that my Dad, Steve Feigenbaum, was. Within those words are Dad's
soaring passions, his fierce loyalties, his sparkling smile, and his
endless love. Dad taught me innumerable things in the times we shared, but
perhaps most of all he taught me that an openhearted life of "always there"
can yield untold vigor and joy for many, many people.

What does it mean to live a life of "always there?" For Dad, it meant that in
all aspects of his life, from day-to-day minutiae to long-term outlooks and
plans, he always knew, expressed, and acted on exactly what he wanted and what
was best for the people he loved. It was very difficult to know my Dad a little
without knowing him a lot. His energy and warmth would draw people close, and,
once close, Dad's true self was always there. He never minced words, and he
lay bare his soul for all who would get close to see, to enjoy, and to learn

You need only have met my Dad on any August day to know the passion for the
Mets or his hatred for the Yankees that would gnaw at him one day only to
invigorate him the next. Chance to call on a Friday or Saturday night in the
fall or winter and you'd learn of his ardor for Penn basketball. All was not
lost should your call go unanswered, as Dad's musical love and talent was
evident in his rendition of a rewritten version of "Blue Moon" on our
answering machine. Dad's passions were definitely always there.

Dad was always there to answer questions, no matter how trivial, or to hear
stories, no matter how irrelevant. He'd stop everything he was working on in
the middle of tax season to talk to me on the phone, and regardless of whether
I wanted to ask him an accounting question for a friend, chat about the latest
Mets game, or discuss plans for an upcoming vacation, he was happy to oblige
and indulge. And yet, he was always there for his clients as well, working
late into those cold winter nights, dotting every 'I' and crossing every 'T',
caring about their livelihoods and their lives, right up until his final days.
I doubt that any of Dad's many, many friends and family members have ever
known someone who would take as forthright an interest in the smallest details
of their lives as Dad did.

Dad's Judaism was always there throughout his life. His uncomplicated and
unchanging beliefs taught me the warmth and joy that can come from Jewish
traditions. I could always look to Dad as my model for dovening in shul,
leading Friday night Kiddush and Ha'motzi, and singing melodious haftarahs.
The perfect Passover Seders that Mom organized would never have been complete
without Dad joyfully leading them. Passover will never, ever, be the same
without Dad. Of all the religious traditions that I learned from Dad,
duchening impacted me the most. I will never lose my memories of standing on
the bimah and chanting the priestly blessing, together, with Dad always there
at my side.

Growing up, Dad was always around to share good times with. I couldn't begin
to count the number the number of tennis matches, croquet games, aerodarts
games, leaf races, or simple games of catch that he played with me during the
summers in the Catskills. Our vacations in the Caribbean were filled with
great times, and when Mom and Randi wanted to ride Space Mountain at
Disney World but I was too afraid, Dad was always there to ride the good ol'
People Mover with me, again and again.

One tiny incident from my childhood stands out. Near the end
of my brief and unspectacular little league experience, I found more and more
that as I stood in the outfield during twilight games I had trouble picking up
the ball off the bat. I told Dad this, and I have vivid memories of seeing my Dad
trot out along the left field line to stand 50 feet away from me to help me know
when the ball was headed my way. It probably seemed frustrating,
insignificant, and embarassing at the time, but remembering it today fills me
with overwhelming gratitude and longing for Dad.

How can a world function without someone who was always there? I can't imagine
existing without Dad's presence as a rock-steady anchor in my life. How can Dad
not be around to discuss the Mets? How can Dad not be working late at the
office on a cold March night? How can Dad not be leading a Passover Seder?
These questions seem the height of absurdity to me, yet they are the impossible
truth that we face now. I know that many people who I love very much believe
that Dad is still always there, watching and enjoying all of the lives of his
beloved friends and family. I do not know if this is so, though I hope so
dearly. What I do know, is that I owe Dad what little I can do to be an "always
there" presence for the people I love. I'll also make sure to cherish and
share all my love and memories of Dad. In these ways, at least, Dad will truly
always be there.

Lee Feigenbaum
July 1, 2004

September 17, 2005


Billy Joel wrote:

A picture postcard
A folded stub
A program of the play
File away your photographs
Of your holiday

And your mementos
Will turn to dust
But that's the price you pay
For every year's a souvenir
That slowly fades away

Every year's a souvenir
That slowly fades away

The words are wistful and discouraging, the music delicate and longing. Yet I do not think that Billy stirs up an image of the insubstantial yet oh so significant pieces of our lives only to callously toss them aside in the second stanza. Rather, he acknowledges the inevitable triumph of time over trinkets while giving us an out. Our lives' souvenirs fade slowly and therein lies our opportunity. While the postcard sits carelessly on the corner of our kitchen table... while the stub remains folded inside our wallet... while the program still lies undisturbed at the bottom of our desk drawer... before time has robbed us of our souvenirs, we have our chance.

We can take out our souvenirs and share them with ourselves, share them with each other. In doing so, we transform the postcard, the stub, and the program into indelible memories of the European trip, the baseball game, and the Broadway musical. And by sharing them, these integral moments in our lives survive not only in our own memories and in our souvenirs, but also in the memories of the people we love.

That then, is how I view this blog. It's a chance to share the moments of my life--big and small--with the people I care about and who care about me. Whether it's the people we meet, the food we eat, the games we play, the games we watch, or simply the thoughts we ponder, they'll be here to retell, relive, and remember. Most entries here will be far more concrete than this one, but all are born of this ideal.

The mementos may turn to dust, but the memories persist.