Thursday, March 24, 2005

Hip replacement

Recently two new students were assigned to one of my fitness classes. As I was leading the class in stretching exercises the new students were amazed at how limber I am. "I'll bet I know why," one of them said, "it's because he has had his hips replaced."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


One of my students just told me that I remind her of "some old dude" she saw in her history book. She couldn't think of whom. Another student helped her out. "Ghandi?" she asked. "Yeah, that's it! Ghandi!" the student said.

I love teaching. I am not kidding. This kind of stuff makes me laugh, and is one of the main reasons I enjoy spending my days around young people.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Ozymandias. How far the mighty have fallen.

I watched with interest last week the congressional hearing on steriods in baseball. (C-Span. My favorite channel.) Players, administrators, union reps, and owners were being questioned by various congressmen about their knowledge of steroid use in baseball and about their ideas on how to resolve the problem. I don't really like Donald Fehr or Bud Selig, so I rather enjoyed watching them squirm at some of the direct questioning they were getting from congressmen. It was especially funny to hear congressmen misprounce the names of Fehr and Selig.

What I did not enjoy was watching Mark McGuire as he was being questioned by congressmen. (I like McGuire. I think he has been good for baseball, but I cannot have much sypmpathy for him if he cheated.) He had said in his opening statement that he had been advised by counsel to not answer questions about the past - specifically about whether he had ever used illigeal performance enhancing drugs. Yet (as you might guess they would) congressmen asked him directly whether he had ever used steroids. Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro, two other players on the panel, had already answered that question with an emphatic "No; never." You could tell that McGuire was uncomfortable emotionally: his mouth was dry; he was struggling to put words together into meaningful sentences; trying to answer "around" the question without actually responding to it. (McGuire doesn't have the gift of doublespeak like most politicians.)

As I watched this I was reminded of a poem, "Ozymandias," in which a traveler in a barren wasteland encounters the toppled and broken statue of a former king. The inscription on the statue invites the reader to "look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" But around the statue now spreads nothing but sand.

I remember the night that Mark McGuire broke Roger Marris's single season home run record.
Thousands of cameras flashed to capture the glorious moment as he rounded the bases, hugged his son, and acknowledged the Marris family seated nearby. -- And now here he was squirming on national television as he was being accused of cheating, and had no answer. How far the mighty one has fallen.