A Film to Help Baseball Fans Through the Winter

The film ends with a now legally blind 93 year old Hano celebrating his birthday, how else, by reminiscing about the great New York Giants pitcher Carl Hubbell and throwing a few screwballs, his and Hubbell's favorite pitch, to Leonoudakis. Leonoudakis crouches like a catcher, with his fielder's glove on his right hand, as both he and Hano, like the great Carl Hubbell are lefties, to receive the pitches. As the ball travels across about 30 feet, as far as Hano can throw now, it also travels across almost all of baseball history. The history contained in the arc of Hano's screwball is that of the personal stories, favorite players, beloved teams and memories of days in the bleachers that exists inside of all real baseball fans, even those of us who, unlike Hano, never saw the Babe, Don Larsen or Willie Mays.

Farewell to Leonard Nimoy

Spock's home planet does not exist in our universe, but for Nimoy and many of his biggest fans, it is real. Perhaps only Leonard Nimoy knew how to sit shiva on Vulcan, but today that is what they are doing on that not-quite-real planet. I don't know how to speak Vulcan, but I suspect at a time like this the phrase they use there is "Alav Hashalom." Farewell, Leonard Nimoy. We will miss you here on Earth.

Leonard Cohen at 80

Today, Mr. Cohen is probably best known for writing the song “Hallelujah,” which has been covered, often quite notably, by more or less everybody in the last 30 years. “Hallelujah,” is indeed a beautiful and memorable song, but the breadth of Mr. Cohen’s ability to write powerfully and evocatively about many subjects is extraordinary. Themes of betrayal and heartbreak are common in popular music, but the epistolary “Famous Blue Raincoat” explores the feeling of being cuckolded with unique despair. Mr. Cohen writes about sexuality as if sex was something that thinking grown-ups actually did. Lines like “you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind,” “I love to see you naked over there especially from the back. Oh take this longing from my tongue. All the useless things my hands have done,” or the song “Paper Thin Hotel,” are intelligent, and genuinely sensual.