Adam Bernero

June 9, 2006

The Phillies just signed a 29-year-old minor leaguer to help fill out their AAA staff. Bernero could probably pitch in the Phillies pen. In 2005, he struck out 7.09 per nine innings, and had a 3.08:1 k/bb ratio and a 4.03 FIP. Not great numbers, but servicable. He's probably better than Ryan Franklin who this season has a 6.69 FIP and strikes out less than 5/9 innings with a 1.56 k/bb ratio. These are the type of signings the team should be making. Low-risk moves to strengthen weaknesses and provide depth.  

In "The Anatomy Lesson," Nathan Zuckerman is tortured by searing neck pains. He lies on his floor helpless, unable to do anything other than wallow and copulate. His pain is a very real physical manifestation of his writer's block, and anxiety over the success of Carnovsky, and the deaths of his family. His only remaining dream is to give up, go back to the University of Chicago, and become a doctor. Although the book has a hopeful ending, its unclear where Zuckerman will go, and what he'll do. Years later, he'll reemerge in Prague.

The protagonist of "Everyman" is afflicted by the worst pain of all: the realization that he will die. Pain is absent. The nameless protagonist goes from hospital bed to hospital bed, but hardly feels anything but despair. Even when there is pain, it is washed over; the book is not about suffering in the short run, but about a long decline. Physical anguish becomes mental strife.

Zuckerman is an artist cripled by success. Our "Everyman" is a successful Ad Man with dreams of being an artist. He has had the day job that Zuckerman dreamed about at his worst moments, and lived it as well as he could. Zuckerman has the artist's life Everyman always wanted, or pretended he could have. Neither are really happy.

The core of "Everyman", like "The Anatomy Lesson", is the struggle to find a happy life in the face of the realization that you will die: Everyman literally dying, and Zuckerman losing his ability to write. Neither book reaches a satisfying conclusion. Death is always going to become both of them; Zuckerman is just further removed. The novels are both extremely personal, both extremely close to Roth. One gets the sense that the only thing stopping him from dying is writing, and that his immortality is voluminity (probably not a real word). For my part, as long as the books are as well done as "Everyman", which is by no stretch of anyone's imagination one of Roth's better books, I'll do my part to keep him alive by reading.

Thanks (or very unthanks) to Bryan for pointing out the lack of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disney World. 

For everything you'd ever want to know about Mr. Toad, see:

Or just check out this line from the Mr. Toad wikipedia article:  "it was once an attraction at the Magic Kingdom park in Walt Disney World, but after a long protest against its closure, Mr. Toad's journeys to nowhere in particular were put to an end in 1998 and the ride was replaced the following year with The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (attraction)."

Still, Josh is right. Mr. Toad will be reborn at Disney Uptown.  

While pancakes may not be salad, they sure are tasty. This morning Jennifer made cornbread pancakes for me and Josh. Robby scoffed at our non-double meat food. We tried to convince him that Monsanto was now genetically monitoring corn to be made out of turkey, but a trip to google convinced him otherwise. Jen's pancakes were quite good.

Anyway, later in the day, after recovering from a bit of a J.P. Morgan induced vertigo, it was time to eat again. I went with Josh to the store where he was buying supplies for Ethiopian Shiro and Injera (Josh quite frequently decides to make his version of authentic ethnic cuisines without key "native" ingredients. He usually substitutes with splenda or sass). Anyway, while we were out, I considered buying cake mix. I would have, but Robby's apartment doesn't have a working oven. This is because Robby considers all cooking methods that don't involve meat encountering fire too bourgeois. But I digress…

Anyway, while watching part of the NBA finals, I remembered that duncan hynes scientists spend countless hours in the lab devising new and better ways of fucking up cake mix, then revising their recipes thusly, making them completely foolproof and capable of conquering the world! Cake mix is even rumored to spontaneously turn into cake if left on the shelf too long.

So I bought cake mix, and decided to cook it like pancakes. After burning a few and making a few more that resembled omelettes or scrambled eggs, Josh and I managed to make some damn tasty cake-flapjacks. Actually, I made good cake-flapjacks. Josh added seltzer, flour, sugar, chocolate chips (not all of these ingredients in the same batch)–ocassionally deglazing with milk, and managed to make bread pudding. While it wasn't cake it was great. You really can't mess cake mix up.

Best salad of the day.