Thanks to Two Red-Bearded Men for Good News (for a Change)

Two men with red beards are stealing headlines these days, and what a relief it is. Instead of prime-time, all-the-time breaking news about close encounters of the sexual kind, all of us -- especially sports fans and art buffs -- have good news for a change. It's as refreshing as a relief pitcher walking through an infield of sunflowers.

Mark McGwire, the latest sultan of swat, and Vincent van Gogh, who lusted for life rather than love, happily have become our focus. McGwire's grand slams have revived an all-American pastime, revitalizing all of us as boys and girls of summer. With the arrival of the flower power of van Gogh's paintings at a major art exhibit, our obsession now is with color and form, texture and tint of an artist's palette.

From mouths encircled by red beards came words that provoke thought and inspire affection. Vincent, the introspective artist, once said, "It is only when I stand before my easel that I feel in any way alive." Yet he left us heir to canvasses that brighten our world and a literary record that explains them.

In becoming a legend, McGwire brought us a true Americanism. "I am in awe of myself," he said unabashedly of his accomplishment. He gave us a sustained spectacle of home-run history -- and gave us back a little innocence.

This summer, families have pulled together watching this unprecedented home run streak by a genuine native son of baseball. This fall, families will line up together to admire paintings by a beloved artist whose work has become part of our familiar decor, even part of our own psyche.

McGwire and van Gogh, an unlikely duo to be sure, red beards and all. We are charmed by their intensity and drawn to their talent. We thank them for good news when we needed it most.

-M.L. Faunce

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VolumeVI Number 40
October 8-14, 1998
New Bay Times