by Bruce Buschel
“If anyone can beat cancer, it’s John McCain. A true American hero.” — Sen. Richard Blumenthal
John McCain will not defeat cancer. And cancer will not defeat John McCain. Cancer is neither an opponent nor a binary condition. A medical team finds it, cuts it out, poisons it, irradiates it, and prays for the best. If they are successful, if your stars are aligned, your cancer will go into hiding and lurk just outside the gates of good fortune for a long time.
The courage of Senator McCain — war veteran, POW survivor, and presidential candidate — has never been in question. But cancer cares nothing about heroism, and only five out of 100 people outlive glioblastoma; according to the best studies available, their survival was not due to willpower or fighting spirit. Teddy Kennedy and Beau Biden lacked for neither and both were felled by the disease. If “battling cancer” has long been a misguided metaphor, it seems spectacularly inapposite in connection with the redoubtable John McCain. …
Uptown Oxy & Downtown Oxy; In Full Control of Controlled Substances
BY BRUCE BUSCHEL
This will be a story about the glories of fatherhood, if you can hang in there. Let’s get the embarrassing bits out of the way first: I am going into the hospital today to have an abscessed fistula sliced, drained and stitched. Sitting will be a challenge for a while.
If you are still with us, this is where the story actually begins:
It is 6 AM and I have just finished showering with a fresh bar of anti-bacterial soap that was specified in the pre-op guidelines. I can have one cup of black, unsweetened coffee before 8 AM because the “procedure” starts at10 AM. The last morsel of food was consumed before midnight (as per the rules) and I am presently getting dressed in loose-fitting clothing (as per same rules) when the phone rings. It’s the surgeon’s office. The “procedure” is being pushed back to noon. Why that is is left to my imagination. And yours. …
by Bruce Buschel
You are reading these thousand words because of the image. We understand. That’s why the image is here. That’s what this piece is about: the image. And your gaze upon it.
Go ahead, take another gander. Or two.
To your average surfer, it may not appear much different or more provocative than a slew of other images tossed in your face every night and every day, willy nilly, popping up, scrawling down, flashing, even as you innocently shop for a t-shirt or search for the etymology of scatology, but, rest assured, this image is different. Less is more. Way more. …
The Villanova Wildcats stalked out of the NCAA tournament late last night, sending shock waves throughout collegiate athletics, and as a consequence, the Final Four has only three teams.
Scheduled to play Oklahoma in the semi-finals tomorrow night, all 14 Villanova players vowed to “boycott the NCAA Tournament until their #Final4Demands are met.” Those demands include financial remuneration, health insurance, irrevocable scholarships, and control of personal marketing rights for all players in the 2017 tournament and beyond.
(The full 38-page statement can be found at www.final4demands.com, which has been down since last night due to heavy site traffic.)
The National Championship now hangs in limbo — as do the office pools of more than 50 million Americans. Las Vegas bookmakers have halted wagering on the remain three scheduled games and have instead started taking bets on whether the remaining games will be played at all. The odds currently stand at even money. …
By Bruce Buschel
Your cat needs litter. It’s Saturday night and your usual outlet is closed until Monday, so you go to the nearest supermarket. You best hurry. It closes at midnight and E.D. is turning 20 tomorrow and she deserves a kitty litter she can appreciate, and by appreciate we mean soil, freely.
You start reading the cardboard boxes and plastic jugs in the kitty litter section. One long shelf is dominated by Purina products called TIDY CAT. The first is called Instant Action. Sounds good. The next one is called Breathe Easy. Sounds good too. A third is MULTIPLE CATS and the next is 24/7 PERFORMANCE. Then there’s one made for “Small Spaces” and another guaranteeing “TIGHT CLUMPS.” That’s a half dozen kitty litters without moving a step. The words are not just footnotes, nor mission statements, they are proud titles, front and center, in large and loud letters, in several fonts and several hues, willy nilly upper and lower cases, boldfaces and slender script and fancy drawings. …
Remember when Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were banned from baseball? That’s right. Banned from baseball. That knucklehead commissioner thought he could erase Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays from our hearts and minds, our childhoods and record books, not to mention a certain quaint museum in Cooperstown, New York.
It was around then when I promised you a story. I try hard not to welch on my deals. It took a while, but here it is.
It happened in 1983, when gambling was a deadly sin everywhere except Nevada, New Jersey, and the basement of your local church. Mantle and Mays needed gainful employment. So they went to work for the Claridge Casino and Bally’s Park Place, respectively, as “public relations executives.” They shook hands with the hoi polloi and played golf with the whales. They earned $100,000 a year. …
by Bruce Buschel
I am sitting in my car waiting for the courthouse to open when I see this on my smart phone: “Results of a study by AAA indicate that motorists using hands-free technologies in their cars could miss stop signs, pedestrians and other vehicles while the mind is readjusting to the task of driving. Drivers can be distracted for 27 seconds after changing music or dialing a phone number.”
The courthouse opens for business. I am patted down by a dyspeptic cop. He is looking for cell phones and guns. I have neither. In short order, the bailiff offers me a deal; plead guilty, pay $250 and receive one point on your record; if you want to fight the ticket, a court date will be set and you have to engage a lawyer and costs will spiral upward and the points will be between 3 and 5. …
So I’m reading this short story by Etgar Keret called One Gram Short when I come across this sentence: “It still doesn’t sit right, but when Avri puts it that way it’s hard for me to say no without coming off like a penis.” I read it again. Just like you just did. Penis. Penis? What does he mean? It seems like the wrong word, imprecise, too anatomical, or just a lazy translation. The story was written in colloquial Hebrew by Keret and translated by Nathan Englander. Englander is no lazy interpreter. He wrote What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, a collection of eight short stories that was in the running for a Pulitzer Prize. He has converted lots of short stories and The New American Haggadah too, a jazzy version of the sacred text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder (seder means order). …