Super Blue-Bloods

The Bay Area has had front-row seats in the past couple of months for two major celestial events:  first the total solar eclipse (I’ve already lost the special glasses used to view that), then a few days ago, the total eclipse of a super blue blood moon (super because of its size at the moon’s closest distance to the Earth along its elliptical orbit, blue because it was the second full moon in the same month, and blood because of its color, imparted by red light from all the sunrises and sunsets on Earth passing through the atmosphere to be reflected back from the moon).  Shivering in my greatcoat and wiping the condensation off my binoculars at 4:30 in the morning, I watched the super moon gradually bleed red as it slivered into the pre-dawn darkness.

It brought to mind an early morning in my novel Fourth World Nation (the sequel to Fourth World), when Benn steps out during the Double Lunar Eclipse Festival to explore the Martian colony where he now lives:

“Low in the morning sky, Deimos and Phobos sat perfectly aligned as Mars moved between them and the sun, plunging both moons simultaneously into darkness.  Over the preceding hour, Benn had watched tiny Deimos, which was 20,000 km away and appeared like a slow-moving star in the sky, duck into hiding behind Phobos, which was not only larger at 22 km across, but also much closer, appearing more like a small moon.  Phobos, circling the planet at high speed from west to east, had swallowed its little brother, and now both sons of the ancient Greek god Ares (called Mars by the Romans) lay in their father’s dense shadow.  Q!  A double-lunar eclipse!  Benn had never witnessed one, simply because he had lived most of his life underground.  It was highly unlikely that anyone from Tharsis Colony had ever seen such a spectacle.

In contrast, everyone in Highland City was out in the streets to begin the holiday, despite the early hour.  All eyes, drowsy or alert, were directed upward for the duration of the eclipse, which, although relatively brief, did not disappoint the cheering crowd.  The rarity of the phenomenon, the surrounding media buzz, and above all, the opportunity to throw a city-wide party at five-thirty in the morning more than compensated for the brevity of the actual eclipse.  In fact, the festival would stretch through the entire day, from unusually early opening times for the downtown bars, to the Mayor’s Parade at ten, and the lunar-themed dinner menus at many restaurants.

Among the myriad festival events, Benn had highlighted a noon concert by the Highlander Symphony; the program on his da-disc featured “The Planets” by Holst; Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” transcribed for horn and Mars-harp; and finally, Panic and Fear, a modern piece by LaGuardia.  What a stark difference there was between Highland City, where wealth and a sophisticated population could support a “world-class” (albeit a small world) symphony orchestra, and Benn’s home colony of Tharsis, where the only musical ensemble was the five-man pit orchestra at Tharsis-on-Avon, the Shakespeare company.  At the thought of that singularly talentless quintet, Benn had to laugh.  Their conductor often made his musicians play over the actors’ voices, and Benn’s best friend Jace had sometimes stopped in the middle of a soliloquy to rail at them.  What had Jace called them?  Scurvy rogues?  Rampallions and fustilarians?  Was he making these up?  No, he remembered:  Basket-hilt stale jugglers!  At one particularly disjointed rehearsal, Jace had rushed downstage, drawing his cutlass and yelling, “Away, you cut-purse rascals, you filthy bungs, away!”  When the conductor responded with a rude hand gesture, Jace had raged on, “I’ll tickle your catastrophe; I’ll thrust my knife in your mouldy chaps!”  Hmm, Benn chuckled, maybe there was high culture at Tharsis, after all.

On this rare day off, the first thing that struck Benn—who had so far been shuttered away in an underground lab at MWI—was that Highland City clearly tried to fashion itself after New York Metropol—even their Mayor had been imported from there.  He savored the great outdoors by strolling aimlessly north on Av7, east on St46, then north again on Av5, stopping to explore the illogically-named neighborhoods.  Notably, there was no rise in altitude at Morningside Heights, neither park view nor terrace at Parkview Terrace, and he would have been shocked to find a river at Riverside Drive.  Pleasantly diverted, Benn wandered on, taking in the fascinating billboards and door signs on every street.  They reflected the City’s ethnic and cultural diversity (at least commercial diversity, down here at street level).  Overhanging the arched entrance to Nasser’s Lunch Site was a rocket ship that looked like chunks of meat on a skewer; its menu spoke with a Mideast Zone accent, promising an oasis of lush, exotic pleasures within.  Several doors down, Benn peeked into The Pho Chateau, a chain restaurant originally based in Earth’s Mekong District, which offered moon-shaped rice noodle dishes, served family-style in a Baroque white-and-gold paneled room, its high ceiling ringed by a slate mansard roof.  The menu at The Pho Chateau’s gilded entrance depicted dancing dumplings which accurately reflected the elongated shapes, if not the movements, of Deimos and Phobos.  Farther up Av5, a quasi-religious group calling themselves the Highland Druids hawked tiny Aresite amulets and gave demonstrations of Areodynamic cookery, which, they claimed, had healing powers tied to the phases of both moons.”

The similarity to New York City had already struck Benn at a high-society dinner party.  Here’s another excerpt from Fourth World Nation:

“From his long wait in line, overhearing the nasty comments that the cream of society made about one another, Benn had concluded that the oldest families in Highland City enjoyed far less prestige than the newer ones.  Some even referred to them dismissively as Oldies (at least they weren’t called Martians, a distinction enjoyed only by natives of Tharsis)!  Benn thought again of the archived black-and-white films.  Unlike the New York high society they were trying so hard to emulate—where the oldest established families, many with Dutch or English surnames, looked down on social climbers and the nouveau riche—here, wealthy Oldies like the Monroes were perceived as the most backward colonial subjects.  It was the recent arrivals from Earth who occupied all the positions of power.  Unlike the early settlers of colonial New Amsterdam and New York, whose philanthropic families became permanent fixtures of city life, their modern equivalents on Mars had become largely irrelevant, as a growing technocracy rapidly supplanted the old plutocracy under the PWE.  Still, the old families understood the rules governing fashionable society.  They had defined local tradition, and that was something the diverse newcomers craved.  Therefore the Monroes and other Oldies were invited to high-society events; however, whispered the young technocrats and their spouses to one another, the blue-bloods should not let that further puff up their leathery egos, which some compared to overstuffed, old-fashioned club chairs.



A Body of Evidence

My son Christopher, a first-year medical student, has just begun his Anatomy course, marking with a pen the body landmarks and dissection lines on the skin of the female cadaver assigned to his dissection group.  Lines in place, the scalpel comes next.  He said it was his first experience in medical school that imparted such a visceral sensation, with no pun at all intended.  Unlike him, I remember needing to lean lightly on humor on my first day in the very same Anatomy class, when the four of us students first met our cadaver in the fall of 1976, that of a skinny man in his nineties:  it was surely a solemn, awe-inspiring moment, but also made us (I had just turned 21) a bit nervous and anxious– and in such circumstances, we often resort to humor to ease our discomfort.  With all respect, we voted to name our cadaver Slim.

In the year 2196, organs are grown in situ by injecting specialized stem cells intravenously, but there have been notable mishaps.  Here’s an excerpt form my first novel, Fourth World, in which Dr. Nestor Neelin demonstrates on a cadaver, whose name is Bob.  The course he teaches is Recombinant Anatomy:

Neelin dived in quickly:  “Now if you’ll observe:  here in Bob’s brain, there sit not one, not two, but look– three temporal lobes!  Bob, you see, suffered a devastating stroke in his sixties, and in those early days of therapeutic stem cell infusions, an effort was made to replace the lost brain tissue.  This effort marked a step forward in stem cell technology, prior to which most tissue types, such as brain, liver, eyes and so on, required engineering in vitro, then transplantation of the developed tissue to the patient.  The new targeted stem cells, in contrast, could be infused intravenously, and would find their way to their appropriate location, guided by seeker molecules implanted in their membranes.  There they would differentiate to the desired organ, thus obviating the need for a transplant procedure.  In Bob’s case, the infused stem cells did develop into a temporal lobe as planned, but unfortunately, growth stimulators infused at the same time caused the partially necrotic lobe to regenerate within his already-crowded skull– leaving him, quite literally, with not enough room to change his mind!”

Many in the audience, confused by this last phrase- was it meant to be funny?– consulted their data-discs only to find their screens blank.  Only one laugh could be heard, a loud “HA!” coming from the opposite side of the hall, some twenty rows below Lora.  “Ha-HAH!” the same voice persisted.  And that was how Lora finally located Benn.


Neelin held his right hand up.  “I have one more example of quackery to show you.  Bob, you see, was a victim not only of technical incompetence, but of outright fraud.  Late in his life, he fell out of a Banyan tree while bird-watching in the district then known as Australia.  He sustained a pelvic fracture and had to enlist the help of a migrant clinic in the back country, in order to regenerate the broken bone.  They infused him with an unidentified stem cell, his diary shows, but the end result was only discovered at Bob’s post-mortem.”  Neelin appeared to be rummaging around in Bob’s intestines.  He finally pushed them toward the back with outstretched fingers, exposing two thin bony structures pointing upward from the pelvis.  Puzzled interns frantically interrogated their data-discs, again without success.

“Their treatment provided Bob, bless his original heart, with these two extraneous bones, which you see protruding here.  These bones did nothing to help Bob with his pelvic fracture, but he would have found them useful– very useful indeed– had he… been… born… a…”  Neelin paused expectantly.

“A kangaroo!” shouted Benn triumphantly.

Neelin released Bob’s intestines with a loud flop and whirled around to face Benn.  “A kangaroo or any marsupial– excellent!  Young man, you are the first intern in over two decades to recognize these as epipubic bones:  their function is to support a marsupial’s pouch.  Excellent!  Your name, please?”


Shameless Commercial II

At a large trade tasting of the wines of Bordeaux held in San Francisco yesterday, a friend– the owner of a great chateau in St. Julien– told me he had downloaded and started to read Fourth World Nation, the second book in the trilogy.

“Oh no,” I replied (despite an initial flush of success and gratitude– maybe it was time for a translation into French!).  “The series is meant to be read in order– so it’s better to start with Fourth World, and then move on to Fourth World Nation.”  Otherwise it would be hard to understand Benn’s abilities, his relationship to Lora, and why they are running away from the Pan-World Electorate.

In going back to Fourth World, my friend would probably be amused by Chapter Eight, in which Dr. Nes Neelin holds a tasting of the Greatest Wines of the Century in the Mellon College dining hall.

Ever since Fourth World Nation came out on Amazon, I’ve been working assiduously on the third novel in the trilogy, in which the setting shifts from Mars back to Earth– in particular, my old stomping grounds of Malaysia and Singapore.  With a minimum of spoiler alerts (I won’t even mention its title), here’s an excerpt:

As a young linguistics student at Cambridge University, Wesley Stuart had appeared in numerous collegiate theatrical productions, including some by his favorite playwrights, Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward.  Which one was he channeling now?  Someone in between, perhaps.  Chou Xia-Yu had found his classmate’s talents amusing, and was therefore willing to tolerate his sporadic spoofing of British Peers, or “p-p-pompous p-persons of p-p-privilege,” as Stuart sometimes put it.

How had a charming but harmless thespian, a Bohemian polyglot such as Wes Stuart, ended up as the PWE Superintendent of Singapore?  Chou knew very well the final step, having promoted Wes to that position during his time as Leader.  Before that, Wes had served for eighteen years as a minister in the British Parliament, a local governing council of the Pan-World Electorate.  There was, of course, no longer a distinction drawn between the House of Lords and the House of Commons (nor had there been for almost a hundred years), but the Stuarts had occupied a seat in Lords since the seventeenth century, and on the day Wesley Stuart had staked his claim by strolling ever-so-naturally through the grand entrance to Parliament, no one had thought to object.  Even the vehement stand taken by The London Stage, a cultural review published and edited by Wes, against the long-lost traditions of aristocracy— which still glowed in the hearts of many Britons like a warm coal among the morning ashes— had drawn nary a negative comment from his fellow ministers.  He may have written and acted as a traitor to his class, but that class now existed only in a dense fog of London nostalgia.

As he closed the front door, Stuart affected a different accent.  “Roit this wye, lidees and gents,” he pronounced like a circus barker, with a bow and a broad sweep of his arm.  Lora walked slowly past him into the living room, pausing to gawk at two huge bronze Buddhas flanking the entryway.

“Wes, you haven’t lost your touch,” said Chou.  He flashed a momentary smile, then cleared his throat pointedly.

“Ah.  By that you mean my touch of craziness,” replied Stuart, feigning embarrassment.  “Well, you were ever the serious one, Chou.  Always getting straight down to business, eh?”  He gestured at the furniture crowding his living room, which consisted of a club-style sofa and three leather wingback chairs (“Water buffalo,” he announced proudly) surrounding an ornately-carved Indonesian hardwood kopi table with a tall Chinese vase at its center.  Bookshelves overflowing with publications in several different languages lined the walls.  Everyone settled into a comfortable seat, but Ari plopped herself down on the edge of the low table, shifting it sideways on the marble floor by a millimeter or two.

Stuart lunged forward and steadied the vase, even though they both knew there was no danger of it tipping over— and besides, it was made of an indestructible polymeric material, the product of multispecies recombinant DNA.  “Oi sye, steady on, young pip!  That’s from the Ming Dynasty, innit?”

Not bloody likely, not unless the Ming Emperors had access to genetic engineering, thought Stuart with an inward laugh.  Ari felt a wave of irony and smiled innocently at her host:  she had liked him immediately, sensing his openness, his affection for Chou, and above all, his excellent humor (what Wes himself might have termed his “infinite jest”).


Hope Marches On II

It took me a few days of wrestling with my own ambiguity, to digest the meaning of the Women’s March this past weekend.  Because of the crush at the San Francisco Civic Center last year, I decided to join the march in Oakland’s Lake Merritt Amphitheater.  With the change in setting, it’s hard to make an accurate comparison, but the women’s movement has clearly evolved, probably as a result of all the trauma following Trump’s inauguration.

Last year the focus was on women’s rights and equality, with other intersecting issues on the periphery:  immigration, racism, LGBT and sexual freedom, and so on.  This year, the signs looked different, more extreme:  “Feminism without intersectionality is simply racism!” and “Destroy white feminism!”  Large, diverse groups of men and women (none of them wearing pink hats) formed drum circles in support of undocumented immigrants, Dreamers, Black Lives Matter, universal healthcare, and against ICE, the Wall, Harvey Weinstein, nuclear buttons and of course Donald Trump.  From the stage, women spoke and recited poems on sexual harassment and assault; #MeToo has definitely changed the movement’s trajectory.  There were more commercial sponsors, more pleas for money and voter registration than last year, but also a stronger sense of activism and long term personal commitment, as opposed to donning pink hats and marching on any given day.  Hats show solidarity, but solidarity, although necessary, is not sufficient for true empowerment.  Some signs this year read, “Marching is important, but running is more important.”

Last year, with a new march, a movement more fluid in nature, I wished for greater focus on the central issues (e.g. equal pay for equal work).  But this year the movement has grown and solidified to the extent that intersection with other causes, such as racial oppression and immigration– rather than what the Women’s March has been accused of, namely appealing only to white middle-class women in an effort to get more votes for the Democratic party– has now become crucial.  The pain and anger felt by women is multi-faceted; these different facets, after the divisive year we’ve just gone through, have a brighter light than ever shining upon them.  The different causes and effects of pain are more clearly distinguishable than ever, and the movement should engage all of them.

Maybe lose the pink hats next time, the sense of victimization which the hats symbolize.  Instead, roll up your sleeves in true empowerment, ready to work, write, organize, run for office.  In my struggle to understand the movement’s new face, it helped to read this morning’s news, in which Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Dr. Larry Nassar to 40-175 years in prison for sexual assault.  In giving all the victims a voice and her personal support, she urged them to “Leave your pain here” and to go forth and live their magnificent lives.  Be a former victim, and do great things.  For me, that sums up the crossroads where the women’s movement now finds itself.

This Is Not A Drill

Alert:  a policy missile of the Trump Administration is heading your way.  Seek shelter immediately.  This is not a drill.

Within the next few weeks, ICE officials will conduct a massive sweep of neighborhoods and workplaces in San Francisco and other Northern California cities to strike against sanctuary laws that aim to protect undocumented immigrants.  They plan to arrest and deport more than 1500  people, which will unavoidably destroy families, disrupt essential services such as healthcare, and instill fear in communities of color.

The federal government faces a shutdown this weekend if our Chaos President and Congress can’t resolve the DACA issue, which is entangled with the Great Wall of Mexico, and now funding for children’s healthcare as well.  The GOP’s holding CHIP hostage in order to get money for the Wall truly demonstrates the cynical nature of political football:  option plays, end runs, mis-directions, flea-flickers, razzle-dazzle.  Just win, baby.

On a different battlefront, the Trump Administration has unveiled a sweeping proposal to open nearly all US waters, including the long-protected California coast, to offshore drilling for oil and gas.  Florida, which has a Republican governor and Mar-a-Lago (not necessarily in that order), has been exempted from a proposed policy which would endanger coastal economies and the environment.  Not to mention ruining the view from Trump’s golf course, hence the Florida exemption.  California has been ravaged by a series of devastating fires and floods, natural disasters which can be linked to global climate change, while Trump shuns the Paris Accord and blithely (or perhaps corruptly) continues to promote fossil fuels. To me, the image of millions of acres and a thousand homes going up in flames, then many others swept away by the ensuing mudslides, is as alarming as an incoming nuclear warhead.

Trump continues daily to launch missiles of misogyny and rockets of racism; it seems almost an intentional distraction, when he flashes xenophobia, support for white nationalists, vulgar references to Haiti and Africa, attacks on the press, threats to the nation’s health coverage, and on and on.  The delayed-action bomb of tax “reform” has already hit its target.  While our attention is drawn to yet another outrage, he pushes the allegedly big nuclear button, risking the lives and well-being of millions of immigrants, Dreamers, sick children, coastal dwellers and, in the case of global warming, merely all future generations of humankind!

In Hawaii and Japan recently, nuclear alerts turned out to be false alarms.  This is not a false alarm; for many, it is a matter of life and death.  It’s hugely ironic to me that, when Trump passed his physical last week and was declared not to be (officially) demented or insane, I actually took that as bad news:  in other words, he is doing all of this on purpose, with intentional malice.  If Trump is “like, really smart” and a “stable genius,” he is also an evil one.

So seek shelter.  Or better yet:  on Saturday January 20th, the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, seek the protest nearest you.  Protest for racial equality, demonstrate for women’s rights, march for science and the environment, protect the Dreamers and other immigrants, reach out to one another and, as I’ve been urging all year, VOTE in this year’s midterm elections.

Most Likely to Secede

In the late 1970’s, my college friends in Connecticut sometimes teased me about coming from California:  a huge earthquake, they said, would one day split the state from the rest of the country, depositing it into the Pacific Ocean; better buy some oceanfront property in Nevada!  Perhaps they were thinking metaphorically of the degree to which California remained separate, in terms of its liberal politics, mindset, laid-back lifestyle, tolerance, diversity,  weather, inventiveness etc.  People here love to point out that, if ranked alongside all the nations of the world, California’s economy would be No. 6.  We have economic engines such as the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, famous Wine Country, Central Valley agriculture, biotech and space industries, superb universities, electric cars, Google, Facebook, Twitter, touristic natural beauty, great Mexican food and, well OK, Hollywood too.  Talk of seceding from the Union has always been a distant background noise, and not always originating from our own state:  didn’t someone in the Utah state legislature, about two years ago, propose that California ought to be cut off?

Our Chaos President’s negative attitude toward California seems to be– surprise!– making things worse.  He has moved to vastly expand offshore drilling along the California coastline, threatening coastal ecology and economies, as well as public health.  His tax “reform” will increase the federal tax burden for Californians, prompting the state Senate to come up with a creative counter-proposal.  He has undertaken punitive measures against sanctuary cities which are being challenged in the courts.  His FCC has overturned net neutrality rules, and the fight to restore a free and open Internet has moved from Washington DC to Sacramento.  He has withdrawn from the Paris Accord on climate change, so that Governor Jerry Brown now attends the international climate meetings and commits California to surpassing the terms to which the US previously agreed.  While Trump wants to prop up coal and oil, California is fast building up solar and other renewable energy.  Trump’s first move as president was to cancel the Trans-Pacific Pact, leaving the US on the sidelines while China expands its influence in Asia and Europe; California has prudently continued to negotiate its own, separate trade deals on the world stage.  Now North and South Korea have begun talks, encouraged by China and Russia– again leaving the US to worry from the sidelines, largely because of Trump’s bellicose schoolyard tweets about Kim Jong-Un.

Since California is within range and directly threatened by North Korea’s nuclear weapons, shouldn’t Jerry Brown be attending those talks?  But California doesn’t possess a nuclear arsenal– or do we?  What about the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the threat to withdraw support for Palestinian refugees unless they toe the line?  Should Jerry clear some time on his schedule?  It was a dramatic moment when all but a handful of nations in the UN voted to condemn the Jerusalem decision:  isolating the US from former friends and allies in the Middle East, Asia and Europe must be the guiding principle of this Administration.  By so diminishing the international stature of the United States, Trump has increased the leadership role of California.

Should California secede from the Union, aside from the dubious legality of such a move?  The actions of the Trump Administration make it look as though the Union is seceding from California (as it is from the rest of the world)!  But despite that, I would argue against secession.  Spoiler alert:  Even in science fiction, forming a separate nation is fraught with unforeseen consequences.  In Fourth World Nation, the second book in the Fourth World Series, the Martian colonies declare their independence from Earth.  Here’s an excerpt:

When the applause finally stopped, Ran began by addressing Khalmed Salman.  “Superintendent Salman, you represent the Pan-World Electorate in this historic transition.  Do you have anything to say?”

Salman’s tone was stoic but contained something chilling, like a sharp blade buried just beneath the sand.  “Yes, perhaps historic to you, but not to the PWE.  By taking control of the colonies,” he said, his dark gaze sweeping the room, “you imagine that you have defeated us, but quite the opposite is true.  We will withdraw all of our personnel and resources to Earth, and in our absence, the consequences of your actions will become painfully clear:  the  law and order you have taken for granted will disappear; your Resistance movement will break up into factions pitted against one another; the material supplies necessary to maintain function in the cities will run out.  All remaining PWE ships will transport troops as well as any civilians who wish to depart for Earth.  Within four weeks, however, you can expect that a new fleet of fully-manned warships will arrive to retake the colonies.”

Or at least retake Congress in the mid-term elections.  On that optimistic note, I wish all my readers a happy 2018!



Let’s Go Giants!

The San Francisco Giants have just announced a trade of Denard Span (getting on in age, less athletic with every passing year), Christian Arroyo (came in with a big splash last year, then his batting flattened out) and two minor league pitchers in exchange for slugger and infielder Evan Longoria plus cash, from the Tampa Bay Rays.  They needed a big hitter badly, and Longoria is also a great infielder, but I hope he helps to revive the old magic in the Giants’ dugout.  In winning three World Series in five years, they seemed to outperform any expectations based on the sheer talents of individual players; it was always the combination of players, the team chemistry as a whole, that led to their surprising victories over teams which often seemed stronger, at least on paper.

Baseball provided me with a metaphor for the homecoming theme in Fourth World and has played a major part in both of my novels.  Now as I write, I’m trying to think of a role for baseball in the third book of the trilogy.  To tide you over, here’s an excerpt from Fourth World Nation:

“Suppressing his excitement, he nodded at Hank, picked up a bat and stepped up onto the field.  A thousand hostile baseball fanatics, many wearing black PWE uniforms, glared at him.  A metallic voice announced the substitution, to a chorus of catcalls and booing.  Even the programs clutched in the fans’ hands—supposedly there to provide objective analysis of the game—reacted poorly.  The crowd rained scorn on Benn as he stood at home plate, their expletives addressing everything from his Asian ethnicity to the “gouging” water rates set by Hydra.  Benn, however, focused his thoughts and heard none of the noise; to his ears, the diamond was still and quiet.  Behind him, the mobile QI umpire adjusted his mask.  The catcher shifted stealthily to the outer half of the plate, his shoes grinding into the red clay.  The pitcher Helmut rolled the ball deep in his glove, his fingers seeking its seams.  To Benn’s eyes, events unfolded as if in slow motion:  he anticipated the limited wind-up; the delivery from a low release point; the seams spinning centrifugally; the appearance of a red dot at the center of the ball.  It was a slider, unhurried in its journey toward home plate, where Benn waited patiently.  He flexed his knees, shifted his front foot forward, then planted his lower body firmly.   As the ball curved low and away, Benn extended his arms and kept his body balanced.  On impact, the bat exploded into a hundred shards.”

SF Giants fans, having winced at the loss of prospects Stanton and Ohtani, will now turn to Longoria and pin their hopes on him (and Posey, Crawford et al), that the dream of another World Series will not meet the same fate as Benn’s bat.  Come on, Giants, let’s go!