Cold Open

The Climate Change World Series
John Tarleton, The Indypendent
Oct 27, 2017

Conservatives don’t like when political issues intrude into their sports spectacles — unless it involves ostentatious displays of veneration for the U.S. military — but climate change appears determined to make its presence felt by both players and fans during this year’s Fall Classic, or Late Summer Classic if you prefer, given that autumn doesn’t come around much anymore until November at the earliest.

Temperatures at the beginning of Wednesday’s Game 1 in Los Angeles were 103 degrees. This occurred as the West Coast was blanketed by another heat wave and marked a record for a baseball playoff game. The Dodgers won a battle of home runs 3-1 with Justin Turner’s two-run shot in the sixth inning just barely floating over the left field wall to provide the winning margin.

Gametime temperatures for Thursday’s Game 2 dipped to a mere 93 degrees but the home run barrage escalated with a World Series record eight home runs soaring through the warm, still night air, as brush fires burned apocalyptically a half-mile away from Dodger Stadium.

The World Series moves to Houston for three games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It will be played in a climate-controlled environment beneath Minute Maid Park’s retractable roof. So global warming won’t have any impact on the games themselves. However, keep in mind the World Series is shifting from the scorching heat of Southern California to the Gulf Coast metropolis that became the poster child for a dystopian climate future two months ago when it was inundated with as much as 50 inches of rain by Hurricane Harvey.

Basic services have been restored and the Astros have vowed to bring home their first championship for their storm-battered fans. But amid the excitement the Astros have created, piles of storm debris are still waiting to be picked up in many Houston neighborhoods while many families struggle to rebuild the lives they had before the storm amid a faltering response from the federal government.

Category Four hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September. However, the storms didn’t dent enthusiasm for baseball on an island that has produced some of the game’s greatest stars, including the Astros’ all-star shortstop Carlos Correa and the Dodgers’ Kike Hernandez who hit three home runs in the final game of the National League Championship Series. However, finding a place to watch the World Series when three-fourths of the island still lacks power is a daunting challenge. Some fans traveled as much as five hours to be able to watch the Game 2 fireworks, the Miami Herald reports. One fan described it as “free therapy” while another acknowledged this might be the last time he gets to watch a baseball game alongside his father as he prepares to leave for the mainland and a better life that no longer seems possible in Puerto Rico.

Baseball is a welcome diversion from the larger troubles strickening our planet, but if we want to address climate change we’ll all need to step up to bat for earth — even if the Trump administration has refused to take the field.

It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, or Ashley Nicole Black for that matter.

Hurray! It’s finally time to talk about Gun Control!

Smart Glasses don’t help if you won’t wear them.

John Hodgman!

Judge John Hodgman

I Am Sorry for This Scraggly Mess on My Face
By JOHN HODGMAN, The New York Times
OCT. 21, 2017

Here is a secret: All middle-aged dads dream about the end of the world as we know it. It is a comfort to them. For some, the fantasy is blunt, vengeful and aspirational. The zombie epidemic is a very popular apocalypse scenario among middle-aged men for a very simple reason: When chaos consumes civilization, you can start over. You get to be young again.

The apocalypse I dreamed of was different, and presented a different consolation. I dreamed of the end of everything.

Some people live under threat of death from early in their lives. But as a straight, middle-class, white man, the concept that I was not immortal had honestly never occurred to me. And as an only child, I found the idea that the story of creation might go on without me as the hero not merely terrifying, but insulting. But there are moments of clarity in life when all the lies you tell yourself fall away. I remember it as a physical feeling. I was halfway through my 40th year, Mustache 2 in graying bloom, and I was suddenly gripped, just above my stomach, by the dumb, offensive truth we always avoid. Everything ends. Nothing lasts. Not even John Hodgman.

Lucky for me it was 2012. And here were the ancient Mayans and their contemporary acolytes to predict the end of all things, a global cataclysm that would swallow us all. I obviously did not really want the world to end, but I took strange comfort in thinking that I would be there, and that the story of creation would end with me.

You may have noticed that the world did not end in 2012, as the Mayans predicted. Very embarrassing. And, another illusion dropped away. I was not a main character of existence. I would age, be replaced and forgotten, and eventually free up space for younger, hungrier, smarter souls, and that was exactly right.