Saturday, April 17, 2010

It has not been a good week for essays, at least not for the ones I've read.  If you've read anything that I've missed, please let me know in the Comments section.

Here is a recycled, but timely, C.J. Chivers piece about the Korengal Valley, and you can read Jeff's post for an update on what's changed since last August.

C.J. Chivers, Esquire - The Long Walk: Afghanistan (and Its Future) as You've Never Seen It

Eight years. Nearly eight years had passed since B-52 strikes and a Northern Alliance offensive had chased the Taliban from power in Kabul and President Bush had spoken triumphantly of American ideals and American power. Nearly four years had passed since the SEALs had died on this mountain, a battle far enough back to have been memorialized in a book. And still the Americans were here, sweeping the same ground, headed toward the wreckage ahead, somewhere up there, in the dark.
Each man silently peered down his dim green cone, breathing deeply, picking his next footstep, walking on.

And in honor of my favorite season, baseball season, getting fully underway, here are a few diamond stories - a new one, a classic, and (The Weekly Reading goes multimedia!) a must-see movie.

Marty Dobrow, - Mixing memory with desire: Lary Hasenfus, a 58-year-old knuckleballer, finds new life on the collegiate mound
 So it was no surprise that when he was sent out to the bullpen, the dugout came alive with chatter: "Now's the time, Larry. Go get 'em, seven. Here we go, Larry, Larry Kid."
Looking like some sepia-toned image from Ken Burns' movie studio, Larry wipes the sweat from his handlebar mustache (a follicular time machine: gray in the middle, reddening as it curls out to the sides). He then swings both of his arms behind him, kicks his right leg in the air and delivers the ball right into the catcher's target.
Larry is raring to go at age 58.

Richard Ben Cramer, Esquire - What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?
He's always first, 8:00 A.M., at the tennis club. He's been up for hours, he's ready. He fidgets, awaiting appearance by some other, any other, man with a racket, where upon Ted bellows, before the newcomer can say hello: "WELL, YOU WANNA PLAY?" Ted's voice normally emanates with gale and force, even at close range. Apologists attribute this to the ear injury that sent him home from Korea and ended his combat flying career. But Ted can speak softly and hear himself fine, if it's only one friend around. The roar with which he speaks in a public place, or to anyone else, has nothing to do with his hearing. It's your hearing he's worried about.

Sugar, Written and Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Sugar tells the story of a young Dominican baseball player who earns himself a spot in the minor leagues and his struggle to adapt to life in America.  It's shot in the style of a documentary, and, while fictional, is inspired by the true stories of hundreds of Latin youngsters who have come to the U.S. seeking major league glory.  It's as much about the immigrant experience and coming-of-age as it is about baseball, so don't shy away if you aren't a fan.  Just see it - trust me.



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