I'm not a Cubs fan but I'm rooting for the Cubs, for the same reason I rooted for the Red Sox in 2004. It's time. Also, their manager, Joe Maddon, attended the same college as my father, Lafayette, in the town of my birth, Easton, PA. They also have on their roster a player who starred at Villanova, my alma mater, in football as well as baseball: Matt Szczur. His name means "rat" in Polish and is pronounced a bit like the word "chore" if you put a "sh" in front of it, though the announcers cheat and call him Caesar. They've had to do that quite a lot because one of the starters, Anthony Rizzo, has emerged from his slump by using Szczur's bats. In fact, Szczur was interviewed from the dugout during last night's game - making him one of a very small group of non-starters ever interviewed during a championship game - and he mentioned that another player was wearing his leggings. But then Szczur is used to sharing what he has: While at Villanova, he donated bone marrow to a young Ukrainian girl.  

By Thomas Swick • Category: sports


10/20/16 09:16

I wonder how many votes Trump sent Clinton's way last night from people who want to see how he reacts to being beaten.

And by the way, why couldn't any moderator say to him, "Yes, we know you blame Clinton, but could you please give us some idea of your plan to remedy things?

By Thomas Swick • Category: Americans

take me out

10/19/16 09:05

Perhaps tonight, instead of throwing insults and accusations at each other, Clinton and Trump could just sit quietly and watch the Cubs-Dodgers game.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Americans

give us a break

10/18/16 08:02

Perhaps Clinton and Trump could do the nation a favor and just call off tomorrow's debate.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Americans

A Thai friend writes:

It is nearly impossible for non-Thais to apprehend and to understand the reason for the depth of affection Thais have for the King.  It is not merely the length of his reign; it is also the combination of certain mental dispositions of the Thai people and a truly great King. King Bhumibol’s constitutional powers were circumscribed but his moral authority, which blossomed out of his good works and dedication to his people, was boundless. One would be hard pushed to find amongst the Thai people more than only a few who would not have gladly and without hesitation laid down their life for this great King.  Indeed, half a century onto his reign, the Thai people unanimously bestowed upon their King the suffix of 'the Great'.  He is properly called 'King Bhumibol the Great'. If one can begin to understand even a little of this, one begins to have some insight into the Thai psyche.  The whole world does not think or perceive things in the same way. 

 To be illuminating, any explanation of the mental disposition of Thais and the sorrow Thais feel now must begin with the basics. The older generation Thais regard His Majesty as ‘father’; the younger generation Thais regard Him as ‘grandfather’ – and this in an oriental country where fathers and grandfathers continue to be more revered and to possess more authority than any modern westerner can possibly fathom; in an oriental country where the culture and the perceptions have not been influenced by the teachings of Sigmund Freud. A full explanation would go much deeper than this.

 Any visitor to Thailand during the official one-year mourning period would be well advised to behave with restraint and sensitivity, as if visiting the home of a very dear friend who has just lost his or her beloved father or grandfather. A visitor who goes further than this and dresses in black and white would win the love of all Thais with whom he or she comes into contact.

 Those of us who do the un-Buddhist thing of looking to the future are wondering ‘whither Thailand?’ The country is now adrift in every way, and there are forces that would destroy or radically change the country.  

By Thomas Swick • Category: Americans

The members of the Swedish Academy, tired of criticism that they favor obscure writers working in little-known languages, found an American rock icon whom millions more people have heard than read – infuriating, once again, our literary establishment.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Americans