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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lowcut Socks

Six or seven years ago, my son played Jr. high basketball. He's in college now and on to other things. The basketball thing was a whole other story.

I was just thinking about that now as I was laying on the couch, looking at my feet, at my high tech WrightSock CoolMesh low cut socks from REI, socks that don't get wet, (or at least dry quick) hold the heat when its cold, don't make you sweat, never wear out and fit just below the ankle, where they don't constrict the circulation- and it got me thinking.

Back six, seven years ago , I had to buy low cut socks for my 'wigger' (White N-word) son, who was following the style of the ghetto 'ballers' who wore $100 sneakers and no socks. The boy didn't want to wear the low cut socks as they were only a 'fake' way to seem not to be wearing socks. This seemed phony to the boy, but the constant nagging from his mother and blisters on his feet at summer b-ball camp finally convinced him to wear the low cut socks. It was one of his first encounters with the false compromises that life forces on us.

Still - even though he was wearing the low cut socks as a compromise with his mother and his feet, those very same low cut socks were an anathema to the Bobby Knight wannabes who coached the young athletes in my neighborhood. Militaristic douche bags who could not seem to communicate at normal decibels, and who of course were only doing it for Jesus, these dumb dicks demanded an All-American look from their players and that meant socks that were two to five inches above the tops of the high top sneakers. It was a hard thing for the boy to deal with, and I had mixed emotions on the subject.

There is no getting around the fact that wearing no socks with expensive shoes is an olfactory nightmare. Remember the line in "Caddie Shack" where Rodney asked the skinny hoodlum who was bar tending "Hey Sabu, can you make a bullshot?" The kid answered, "Can you make a shoe smell?.." Well nothing can make a pair of 'Air Jordans' smell like no socks. I found myself agreeing with Bobby Knight for aromatic reasons, if nothing else.

White boy junior high B-Ball was about submitting to discipline,running in circles, doing endless drills, doing everything except actually playing the game. Individuality, flair and an artistic sense of the game was a ticket to the bench, which is where my son ended up. But I am verging on to the b-ball story which - is too long to tell - for now anyway.

Chris Everett played wearing low cut socks as I suppose other lady tennis players did. Not sure about Martina Navratilova. I think she wore higher socks. I am not going to draw any conclusions there.

So some girls and ghettos kids didn't like to show their socks above their sneakers. The local high school basketball coach threw kids off the team if they didn't 'show white' above the top of the shoe. The lines were drawn. At the time I wore high white socks on the weekends. The boy went to Catholic school, where at least socks length wasn't an issue.

Remember Alberto Juanorena who dominated the 1976 Summer Olympics and the great Tommy Smith in Mexico City? . High socks. They were my sock role models. At least until I got old and got a job that put me on trans-continental plane trips 2-3 times a month.

Well now - for me - its about circulation baby.

Try sitting on a plane for six hours with high socks that don't sag. You'll spend the next day trying to feel you toes.

I am a low-cut socks man now for life I think. I'm not trying to be ghetto baller, just trying to feel my toes. Not sure where that puts me on the big picture sock continuum.


Is Literature Obsolete?

The foolish title above is not a new observation but something that has been agonized over for as long as I have been reading and probably before that. Do we live on the edge of a new dark age, where all that we have will be digitally saved perhaps, (as this as yet unread blog is saved) ,but be unfathomable to the coming generations?

Marshall McLuhan said writing was a cool medium, which forces the reader on to 'actively' recreate the content in their mind and interpret it rather than allow it to be interpreted by the media itself. That is what happens when we watch TV or movies which presents content in a way that requires little effort to comprehend.

As a keen observer of the recently-minted young adults, I see something I think is strange and relatively rare in history. In the past, technology changed slowly, where the idea of 'revolution' was Jethro Tull's invention of the furrowed plow in 1700s, which allowed farmer's sons to stand on one leg and play the flute while putting in their crops. Aside from this, the values of one generation changed very little from one to the next

I am more different from my son than my father was from me. Even though I went to college and my father did not, we still saw the world in basically the same way. We got our information from books. He had to read manuals and blueprints to understand the engines on his ships. I have done the same, even though I have made my living with computers and their networks for the last 20 years, I have related to them in much the same way that my Dad did to his ship's engines. I read manuals to understand how they work.

I recently bought an Ericsson w580i cell-phone/music play/messaging/device/radio/photo/video maker and player/ voice recorder/ and remote control stick. Its dimensions are about one & quarter inch by three inches and a quarter inch fat. I was looking through the manual, looking back at the phone, trying to figure all the short-cuts etc. My son took it and in 30 seconds, with almost no effort showed me the major features. Digital Interfaces, whether Game-Boys, Windows, MACs, KDE, Gnome, I-Phones or clock radios are his backyard.

Of course people my age have no faith in the future - as kids we thought we'd be living in the age of the Jettsons by now - but in some ways this real future is much stranger than the robot butlers and flying cars of the Hanna Barbera cartoon.

Is my son any more ready than I am for what is to come? I read Philip K. Dick in the 70's. I sort of know the transitory nature of reality, which seems to be on the periphery of what is coming. Is there any device yet than can explain that to the boy? Books still seem to hold the key and will continue to, even though fewer and fewer people will know how to 'access' them.

We did have a Dark Age within historical memory. By the time of Gregory of Tours, in the 6th Century, the beautiful logical Latin of Pliny, Tacitus and Augustine was becoming a pidgin. But that was a good thing because it led to the great vernacular Literature that is our mother's milk today. So if we do have another Literary dark age caused by this sudden techo shift, well - a thousand years isn't that long in the grander scheme of things.

First Post

First Post. I'll skip the self-flagination that seems required for all who communicate outside themselves using a 'blog'. This site is going to be dedicated to what I am reading now, what I think about that reading, notes for future works of fiction and possibly comments on the technical and political scene I find around me. Another words the usual logorrhea associated with the idea of a 'blog'.