E Pluribus Mores

Archive for June, 2012|Monthly archive page

Humbly the Net Minder Asks

In The Crease on June 16, 2012 at 9:49 am

My friends, rink mates, denizens of the great Canadian pastime, humbly the net minder asks:  “Is there something wrong with the back of the net?”  Is it a shameful place where no puck may go?  A net shadowed stygian trapezoid that once entered otherwise stout-hearted defensive stalwarts might fear return?  What evil lurks that one might shun it so?

Now some might ask, wasn’t the Great One from his office desk behind the goal able to flip the puck over the crossbar, off the goalie’s helmet and into the net?  While this is so, let me answer the question with another:  do we play with anyone whose last name rhymes with Schenectady?  And didn’t I just see the same move on a highlight reel from Pavel Datsyuk?  And yes, while we skate with no fewer than six Russian players, oddly none of them has a middle name of Valerievich…or plays for the Red Wings.   So might we not conclude that were the puck to be lost to an opposing player behind the net it would not readily find its way to the business side of the crease?

This being so, one cannot help but admire the raw skill of the player slicing between two fore-checkers, weaving his way around the center, leaving in his wake more blue jerseys than an edited scene from the Outlaw Josey Wales.  Who cannot be awed as he passes the puck between his legs, bouncing it twice on his stick then flipping it to his back heel he prepares to leap upwards as if for a scissor, overhead kick.  Seeing him there frozen in time, he is like some great work of art, with all the manly grace and beauty of a balletic chorus interlude from an Italian operetta.  If he were carved in marble by some Renaissance master, the sculptor might name the scene, Cupid on a Half Shell with Dorthy Hamill Angle-Grinding the Fender of Her Camero Outside Joe’s Garage.  Or perhaps we might call it by its less exalted name:
Three Goals to One.

I realize that much lies beyond my understanding, that while humans have walked on the moon and descended to the abyss of the ocean, there remains so much yet to comprehend.  But truly, is there something wrong with the back of the net?

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Listening

In Uncategorized on June 15, 2012 at 9:52 am

Growing up, Mom was a nurse. We were talking this morning, and she said, “I was a nurse back when we did most of the job by listening. If a machine wasn’t working properly or there was a change in a patient’s condition, we heard it. Now there is a machine for everything, and nurses don’t listen, because they don’t have to.”

I said that it reminded me of the myth from Plato’s Phaedrus where the adviser to the Egyptian king introduces his new invention of “writing.” The passage:

Socrates: I heard, then, that at Naucratis, in Egypt, was one of the ancient gods of that country, the one whose sacred bird is called the ibis, and the name of the god himself was Theuth. He it was who [274d] invented numbers and arithmetic and geometry and astronomy, also draughts and dice, and, most important of all, letters. Now the king of all Egypt at that time was the god Thamus, who lived in the great city of the upper region, which the Greeks call the Egyptian Thebes, and they call the god himself Ammon. To him came Theuth to show his inventions, saying that they ought to be imparted to the other Egyptians. But Thamus asked what use there was in each, and as Theuth enumerated their uses, expressed praise or blame, according as he approved [274e] or disapproved. The story goes that Thamus said many things to Theuth in praise or blame of the various arts, which it would take too long to repeat; but when they came to the letters, “This invention, O king,” said Theuth, “will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memories; for it is an elixir of memory and wisdom that I have discovered.” But Thamus replied, “Most ingenious Theuth, one man has the ability to beget arts, but the ability to judge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their users belongs to another;
[275a] and now you, who are the father of letters, have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite of that which they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem [275b] to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.

Moral: A wise man listens to his Mom.