Saturday, November 22, 2008


Yesterday's post was pretty incoherent, mostly because I was just tired. I shouldn't blog when I'm tired.

I'm still tired, but I'm going to try anyway.

During my podcast listening today, there has been a lot of discussion about the potential bailout of the auto companies.

This kind of aggravates me. These are the same companies that opposed seat belts and emission laws and fuel efficiency rules and air bags and building smaller cars, and now they come crying to the government for help? On private jets?

Similar to the financial bailout, it feels like this one is inevitable-literally millions of jobs are at stake, in not only the auto companies but also the suppliers and other associated companies. But it also feels like they deeply do not deserve it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Remove one letter from BCS...

President Elect Obama came out strongly against the current college football system in an interview with 60 Minutes last week.

For those of you who don't know, the college football national championship is determined by means of sheep's entrails, sophisticated computer programs, and tarot cards. President Obama disagrees, and thinks a tournament should be established.

This had been a longstanding bone of contention in the college football world. Everyone wants a tournament, except the only people who are responsible for it, who are making oodles of money the way things are now.

Personally, I see the value of a tournament-like any sports fan, I can appreciate a clear, relatively controversy free champ.

But in general, I am against it, primarily because these are supposed to be amateur athletes. The fact that we do not have a well designed championship is not a great tragedy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What you choose is your choice.

Brilliant "Radio Lab" podcast this week, about choice and neurology.

One of the scariest recent discoveries, for me, is the whole business about deciding before you decide-according to MRI studies, your brain makes a decision before you are aware of it. For example, a person in an MRI machine is told to pick between colors or shapes, and to raise their hand the moment they have decided which one. The thing is that the brain shows the decision making activity before the subject signals they have decided.

So you decide before you decide. Wierd.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And baseball season never ends....

A couple of quick notes about baseball, which is always being played in my heart.

Tip O' The Hat to Our Man DP for winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award for the 2008 baseball season.

Wag O' The Finger to Theo, who deals All Purpose Super Guy and Starting Center Fielder of the All Name Team Covelli "Coco" Crisp to the Kansas City Royals for reliever Ramon Ramirez. Admittedly, Ramirez looks good, but Crisp was...well...Coco. An absolutely superlative defender in center field.

Of course, fan memory being what it is, I will immediately type "Coco who?" when Ramirez strikes out Jeter with two on and two out in a tie game at Fenway.

Judge Not

I have subscribed to Sports Illustrated, on and off, since the 1980s. They have always had a back page essay, inside the back cover, like a lot of magazines do, with an essay from a columnist, usually offering simply a different take on the news. With SI, it's often a criticism of a notable sports figure or trend, or a heartwarming story of a hardworking amateur or a retired pro.

This week, it was the latter, and Selena Roberts' story about retired power forward Derrick Coleman. (

Derrick Coleman was a phenomenally talented basketball player, a coach's dream on the court-tall, with a wingman's range, the length and strength to score, rebound, and defend inside and the accuracy to shoot from outside. After starring at Syracuse University, Coleman was a Number One overall pick by the New Jersey Nets. He played well as a pro, but his teams did not win any championships, but things got sour with trouble with coaches and the law, and he wound up a vagabond-drifting from team to team, earning great money but disappointing team after team by showing up out of shape or seemingly disinterested.

Anyone who followed the NBA during the 1990s knew who Derrick Coleman was, and his name would probably evoke a sad shake of the head. All that talent, we thought, and a ten cent head. Lazy, we thought. Just in it for the money, we thought. I was among them, seeing the flashes of greatness and wishing he could sustain it for a full game or a full season. I don't think this was racism-Coleman is African American-but I'm sure it figured into it, made the stereotype easier to believe.

These toxic player-coach-team-fan dynamics always have at least two sides to them, and at best, I think we learn 1 1/2 of them. I don't know Coleman, and I don't know his side of the story. But when you're an obsessive fan, and you've seen the beauty of the game unfold in front of you, it seems impossible to believe, almost criminal, that someone gifted with such a physique and such talent would seemingly squander it.

This week's "Point After" was the story of how Coleman is using his NBA millions to help his Detroit neighborhood. He has invested in a strip mall that includes a barber shop, farmer's market, and pizza franchise to provide services, and, most importantly, employment, in his old neighborhood.

So, I'm sorry. Mr. Coleman, I apologize for all the bad things I said or thought about you. Clearly, you were a decent human being, and fans should think before they speak.

Imagination Station!

Thanks to the indomitable Katie, whom you should not call Kathleen(, for the Imagination Prompt Generator (, a nifty little page that prompts you with a topic to blog about.

Today's Prompt is

"Were you ever rushed to the hospital? What for?"

Oh my, yes. Never in an ambulance, though.

In the last couple of years, I have been hospitalized twice for cellulitis. Before that, it would be cellulitis again in college, a few sports wounds in high school, and emergency surgery the summer I was about to turn 5, for a urinary matter that goes without further discussion.

Oh, and by the way...

I don't cry. Ever.

What happens is, when I watch "The Replacements", and Shane Falco, played by Keanu Reeves, gives that little speech about pain healing and chicks digging scars and glory lasting forever, is that something gets in my eyes. Both of them. Every time.

But it's not crying.

Because men don't do that.

I just figured I'd clear that up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy BlogSecret Day!

It's BlogSecret day. Inspired my the immortal PostSecret, (, BlogSecret is run by Nilsa (, who has collected secrets from more than 70 blogs, and exchanged them. Every blogger who participated, including me, submitted a secret and recieved one in return. We are to post the other person's secret on our blog, and somewhere, out there, is ours.

So here, unedited, is someone's secret. All I know about this secret is that it was (presumably) written by a human. Though not, in this case, me. The secret is everything between the quotation marks.

"I've racked my brain for days trying to think of what my secret would be. I'm not a very secretive person in the sense that I have a lot to hide so this was pretty difficult. I'm a quiet person and I pretty much keep to myself and those I'm close with, so naturally I don't go parading stuff around. People make mistakes. It's human nature, right? Everyone has to have a something. I eventually realized the something about me, that I'm very embarrassed of. For a big part of my youth, I was a kleptomaniac.
I'm not talking about gum from the gas station. I'm talking about cd's, (a lot of) clothes from major retail stores, and basically anything I could get away with. Hostessing at a restaurant was the first job I'd ever had, and believe it or not, when women would accidentally leave their purses at the tables, they were left at the hostess stand to be kept "safe". So no one would steal them. Well, guess what I did? I went through them, and checked for money. I wish I would have gotten caught. I would literally steal $100 worth of panties from a store in 10 minutes tops. I would get loads of clothes and tell my parents my friend's let me "borrow" them. Why couldn't I get caught? I always told myself, "Well, I'm under 18, the most that can happen is community service, and hey - it can't be that bad!". I stole cheap jewelry from cheap little teeny stores. I stole make up from pharmacies. I would take a big bag to the mall, and shove stuff in it while hiding it in the rack, so no one can see. How did nobody see?? It was about the thrill. The rush was amazing walking through the detectors and not hearing them go off.
I wish I could have slapped my young ass into the future. I wish I would have known how stupid I was being and how much trouble I most likely caused for those businesses. Seeing a lot of my friends at the time get caught and get in major trouble curbed my appetite for theft. Thank God. Growing up and maturing made me realize how wrong it is.
I am such an honest and trustworthy person. I am so loyal, and caring and compassionate. I honestly do not know where that phase in my life came from. I believe it was because I wanted to fit in. My family hasn't ever been a financially comfortable family, and so I felt that was the only way to get the things I wanted, like my friends had.  I don't really want people to know this fact about me, because it's not who I am, and I would never want anyone to feel like they couldn't trust me."

Monday, November 17, 2008

In other news, rain is wet

Apparently, Yahoo's Jerry Yang, who has watched his company's stock close under $11 after refusing a $33 offer from Microsoft, is going to leave his post as chief executive, bringing an answer to the question, "what do you have to do to get fired?" Well, not fired, exactly-but they weren't begging him to stay, either.

A Century of Stone

The Phil Nugent Experience: A Century of Stone#links

Phil Nugent on the inimitable IF Stone's 100th birthday.

Phil's point is an excellent one- the whole Will Leitch/Buzz Bissinger electrons/dead trees dichotomy is a false one, and like all false beliefs, including sacrifice bunting, Communism, and the value of reality television, it will collapse under its own weight.

What matters is content. It doesn't matter what the form is.

The MSM is annoyed because we're not treating their every utterance as holy writ? Well, tough. Source your stories better. Do your freaking JOBS better.

We're here-the consumers are here. Smart companies will find us and sell us stuff. Dumb companies will go broke.

And I won't weep for them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Visually striking

This ad ran in the New Yorker a few weeks ago, and I found the image incredibly arresting.

That shoe doesn't even seem possible, though. Could anyone even stand in that shoe, never mind walking?

And so, onwards...

On into the next thousand posts.

While out bloghopping, I came across Lilyspeak, and the following challenge: Take a letter, and list 10 things that you love that begin with that letter.

P is my assigned letter.

So, Ten Things That I Love That Begin With The Letter P:

1. Punctuality-I hate being late, and I don't appreciate people who are late. As Chris Rock puts it, there is on time, and there is late.

2. Pedro-as in Martinez, the baseball player. One of the greatest of all time. At his peak, the most dominating pitcher I've ever seen. Fiery, combative, able and willing to get batters out by any means necessary.

3. Pepsi-specifically, Diet Pepsi. Other than Coke Zero, my favorite beverage.

4. Pajamas-specifically, lounging around in them with nowhere to go and no reason to do anything other than watch a good movie and have breakfast in bed. Very rarely happens.

5. Paul Simon-one of my very favorite lyricists.

6. Podcasts-I have become an inveterate podcast listener. Among many, "Never Not Funny", and "Countdown" are my favorites.

7. Power Plays-one of the most exciting plays in hockey-whether fraught with danger, if your team is defending, or opportunity, if they are attacking, they almost always result in something thrilling happening.

8. Pepperoni Pizza. 'Nuff Said.

9. Posner-specifically Gerald Posner-attorney and author who writes very readable books about famous cases, like the JFK assassination and the OJ trial.

10. Peace-what can I say, I'm for it. World peace, personal peace, mental peace, all of it. I'm pro peace across the board.