Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rearranging the menu on the Titanic

My workplace is located near what, for lack of a better world, is an Amish mall. It isn’t really-it’s a complex of shops, a couple of which sell Amish goods. (I live near (relatively speaking) Pennsylvania Dutch Some furniture, some cheese, some baked goods-stuff like that. It’s new-it hasn’t been there for more than a year or so-but I haven’t been in it yet. Basically because it’s the sort of place where I think I will easily find things to buy, and it will typically not be stuff that I really need, and these are not the times in which that is wise behavior.

Anyway, as a consequence of this, every once in a while people, sometimes men but usually women and girls, come into my workplace in full Amish dress. People stare at them, obviously, because they look utterly different from everyone else, but it makes me wonder what they must be thinking. What I understand about Amish beliefs you can fit into a thimble and have room for your thumb-but as far as I know, their belief is that technology is sinful. I wonder how they must feel, walking amongst all this technology. Are you quietly confident, knowing your way is better? Envious? Curious? They can’t really be ignorant of it, not entirely-I mean, they see it being used when they come in here. So what are they thinking?

There’s a joke about that. I’ve heard it from a number of comics, but the one that comes to mind is Dave Attell- “The people I’m never afraid to make fun of is the Amish. How will they find out?”

On Adam Curry’s 800th Daily Source Code, a 2 plus hour FUBAR Friday Spectacular, he did another one of those segues only he can pull off-coming out of a segment about the financial crisis, he segues into Aerosmith’s “Eat The Rich”. I love the Internet.

Another great one was ending another financial segment by segueing into Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”. Not my favorite Billy Joel track, but it’s great to see my man get some love from AC. “Fire” is one of those Billy songs that I here so much-in stores and on the radio-that I am actually a little sick of it. I will bow to no one in my love for Billy-he is the artist I would take to a desert island if I had to listen to only one musician for the rest of my life. But I’m sick of that song.

Unfortunately, Adam ended an otherwise fine “DSC” by going into a long rap about “The Secret”, the book/DVD phenomenon that, I am led to understand, is all about affirmations and positive energy. Don’t get me wrong-I’m all for positive energy. As you may have guessed, I am a fairly cynical, generally negative person. I realize that creates a negative atmosphere, so I try to talk very little and reveal even less, as a general rule. I’ve been around positive people and negative people, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that positive people are easier to be with and attractive positive energy to them.

And let me say that, if you use affirmations or the Secret and it works for you, God bless you. As Jimmy Pardo would put it, I wish you a lot of luck.

But the whole affirmations thing has always made me suspicious. It seems like a sham-an awfully convenient way to blame people for their own misfortune. Now, people are to blame for part of the mess they find themselves in, to be sure. I own my poor decisions-I am living out the consequences of bad moves I made 20 years ago.

But to say to people that you have to picture the good thing you want to happen, or say the affirmation 10 times a day, and just wish it as hard as you can, and “the universe” will make it happen, begs the question-what if you do that, and it doesn’t happen? You didn’t wish hard enough? God doesn’t love you?

A number of smart, successful people-Adam, cartoonist Scott Adams, Oprah-say they have used this at points in the past, and it has worked for them. Good for them. The plural of anecdote is not data.

The universe doesn’t give a crap about you, or about me, or about anything. The universe is just a bundle of physical laws, with no morality to it. I can’t accept a credo that says to the people who drowned in New Orleans, “I guess you weren’t projecting enough positive energy. Sorry.”

My employers, in their infinite wisdom, decided to spend 8 hours on Thursday teaching me things that I already know. Solving problems I don’t have, and failing to solve (or, indeed, even face) problems that I do have. I don’t argue the fact that I can always learn tips and tricks-anything that saves me 10 or 15 seconds, I will happily adopt. But that’s not the problem-at least, not the whole problem. Saving me a few seconds here and there doesn’t allow me to answer a second phone call while I am still dealing with the first one. Talk about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Friday, October 24, 2008


A GOP talking head says we should be "outraged" that Barack Obama took his campaign plane to visit his dying grandmother, instead of questioning the halfwit's $150K of clothing expenses.

No comment required, really.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New York Gone?

The New York Times, apparently, is nearly broke. Wow.

The World Serious

Last night, Philadelphia got out to a 1-0 lead with a 3-2 win over the Rays in Tampa. As I write this, Tampa is trying to close out a 4-1 lead in the ninth inning which, if they can hold on to it, will obviously tie the series, 1-1.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


People are trying to paint this as a "Biden Gaffe".

Really? Saying that a potential Obama presidency will surely be tested? That's a gaffe?,housing101908.article

THIS is a gaffe-GOP congressmen were paid off by a lobbying firm to help kill a bill that would have improved regulation of Freddie Mac. So much for the whole "Evil Democrats expanding government over our saintly protests" idea that McCain is selling.

Guilt By Association Is A Bitch

Apparently, al Queda, emerging from their rathole, have told a guy who told a guy who posted on a site that they would prefer McCain for president. Of course, McCain forces are freaking out about this, saying that, of course, it isn't true, and it's silly for anyone to think so.

Yet it was perfectly legitimate for McCain forces to trumpet the fact that Hamas did the same thing for Obama during the primaries?

Turnabout blows.

Funny David Sedaris piece

Funny David Sedaris piece on the election.

I had an unwilling discussion with a coworker who is also working part time for our local Republican candidate for Congress. (Our current representative is retiring, so it's an open seat.) There are the usual claims and counterclaims-you're a tax and spender, you're a crook. Et Cetera, Et Cetera. I really don't have much opinion about the race. I'll probably pull the letter for the Democrat, but we'll see. They're both local politicians, so we don't have much to go on in terms of their abilities. My coworker was pretty insistent that Obama is a socialist. I tried not to get into it with him, but in 2008, that's kind of like calling someone a Whig.

The World Series is tonight. I think the Rays are deeper, and better, and will win in 6. If the Phillies don't win tonight, they are in deep trouble, because Hamels is the only pitching matchup that they win hands down. As Bill Simmons said on his podcast, I will pull for Philadelphia, if only for public safety reasons.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Grand Theft Meme

Meme stolen from:

What is your favorite thing to wear? Red Sox t shirts

Last meal you had at a restaurant: Appetizers at TGIFriday's

Name one thing that scares you: The future

Who was the last person in your bed? My beloved

What were you doing at 7:00am? Staring at Sportscenter dreading the day

Last person you hugged? My beloved

Does anyone you know want to date you? Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce

When was your last encounter with the police? Hmmmmm....we have off duty officers who work where I work, so I guess that's it. My last adversarial one would have to be getting pulled over in Browns Mills, New Jersey because my license plate was off the system. I had changed to one of the fundraising plates, and apparently, they removed my old plate from the system before my new one had arrived in the mail.

Have you ever driven without a license? Inadvertently

What time of the day is it? Nearly midnight

Who/What made you angry today? My supervisor being unwilling or unable to answer a simple question.

Do you want anyone? How? Sexually? Yes.

Do you like birds? Not particularly

Do you download music? Yes, but I pay for it.

Do you care if your socks are dirty? Not at all. I mean, I don't care if they LOOK dirty. I care if they ARE dirty.

Opinion of Chinese symbol tattoos? Don't care.

What are you doing tonight? This.

Do you like to cuddle? Sure.

Do you love anyone? Many people.

Whose bed did you sleep in last night? Mine

Have you ever bungee jumped? No.

Have you ever gone whitewater rafting? No. Canoeing, though.

Has anyone ten years older than you ever hit on you? More howls of derisive laughter.

How many pets do you have? None.

Have you met a real redneck? Yes.

How is the weather right now? Cold.

What are you listening to right now? This Week in Tech, a podcast.

What was the last movie you watched? On TV? JFK. In a theater? The Clone Wars.

Do you wear contacts? No.

Where was the last place you went besides your house? Work.

What are you wearing? Denim shirt, black khakis, New Balance sneakers, and a loosened tie.

What's one thing you've learned this year? John McCain is shameless.

What do you usually order from Starbucks? Frappucino of one flavor or other.

Ever had someone sing to you? My wife does that a lot.

Have you ever fired a gun: Yes, a rifle. At boy scout camp.

Are you missing someone? Yes.

Favorite TV show? Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles

What do you have an obsession with? The fiction I'm trying to write.

Has anyone ever said you looked like a celeb? Once. When I was a lot thinner, a girl told me I looked like Corey Haim, I think. Or Corey Feldman. Or Cory Snyder. Cory something.

Who? See above.

Who would you like to see right now? Billy Joel in concert.

Ever had a near death experience? No.

Are you afraid of falling in love? I already fell.

Have you ever been caught doing something you weren't supposed to? Yes!

Has anyone you were really close to passed away recently? No.

What's something that really bugs you? People who don't want to face the consequences of their policy decisions.

Taco Bell or Burger King? Burger King, only because I usually get an upset stomach from Taco Bell.

Next time you will kiss someone? Probably tomorrow morning.

Favorite baseball team? The Red Sox. Duh.

Ever call a 1-900 phone number? Yes.

Nipple or Nose rings? Neither.

What's the longest time you've gone without sleep? Close to 24 hours probably.

Last time you went bowling? Maybe 2 years ago.

Where is the weirdest place you have slept? The front seat of a friend's car, because rain was flooding our tents.

Who did you last speak with on the phone? Probably a customer.

What does your last received text message say? A tweet from Robert Scoble.

What's the closest orange object to you? The cover of WC Heinz' novel "The Professional"

Monday, October 20, 2008

So that's it.

As the great A. Bartlett Giamatti once put it, we are left to face the fall alone. Of course, the World Series is coming up, Tampa Bay against Philadelphia, but Boston's offseason has begun. Effectively, we're in the same boat with all the other teams in baseball-we're not going to win the Series, either.

I guess the offseason has to focus on another big bat, maybe two-either we need a full lineup of strong hitters, more like Tampa, or we need another big bat to pair with Ortiz. Of course, Ortiz being Ortiz would help, too.

The World Series starts Wednesday.

Interesting articles in the New Yorker last week-a long piece on a French bond trader who helped bring the markets down, and a piece on Joe Biden, and a long piece by Malcolm Gladwell on the nature of creativity-late bloomers versus prodigies.

I love the New Yorker-it reminds me that there are other intelligences out there somewhere.

Blogging does that, too.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

When the music's over...

....turn out the lights.

Young David Price pitched a scoreless ninth, and Tampa wins, 3-1, and takes the series, 4 games to 3.

The Tampa Bay Rays are American League champions.

Nothing to be ashamed of for Boston. We gave it all we had, just fell a litle short.

Disappointing, but not horribly so.

They were just a little tiny bit better.


The journey is over-the journey that started in March is over.


Congratulations, Rays.

ALCS LB III: G7: The Final Countdown

Top Seven

Youkilis pops up.

8 outs left.

Drew gets a walk

Jason Bay singles sharply to left.

Mark Kotsay, who is a beautiful human being, flies out deep enough to right to get Drew to third.

7 outs left.

Jason Varitek, who is number 25 on the list of Hitters I Most Want Up Right Now, whiffs on a ball in the dirt.

6 outs left.

Bottom Seven

The Other Aybar sends a long, looping homer into the left field stands. Sigh. 3-1.

Navarro flies out softly to right.

Baldelli strikes out swinging

Bartlett flies out to center.

Top Eight. Gross now in right field.

Cora singles on a bad hop grounder to short.

Maddon takes Garza out for Dan "Nautical" Wheeler.

TBS plays Billy Joel's "Pressure".

Crisp singles to right.

Our Man DP flies out to left, just missing it, for the first out.

5 to go.

JP (Thurston) Howell (what is WITH this team and initials?) on to face Ortiz.

Ortiz grounds into a force, first and third with two out

4 to go

Chad Bradford, the Human Groundball Machine, on to face Youk.

Our Man Youk works a walk.

Bases loaded. Young David Price, last year's number one pick, on now. Nasty pitcher.

JD Drew, Certified Postseason Hero(TM), takes called strike three on a pitch a foot outside. SIgh.

3 outs to go. I really think this is it.

ALCS G7 LB II: All I ask of you... one more win


Our Man Youk grounds out to third.

Drew pops out.

The Bay State whiffs. Garza is looking as sharp as Lester.

I'm not sure if I can take a 1-0 game.

Bottom Four

Iwamura knocks a clean single to left, Tampa's first hit.

BJ (Coming) Upton whiffs.

Northeastern's own Carlos Pena grounds into a fielder's choice, and then the Desperate Third Baseman hits it the other way for a double that scores Pena.

1-1. Tampa fans have some life now.

Carl Crawford whiffs on a high hard one.

Top Five.

This game is movin'!

Both pitchers are very sharp. Hopefully Boston has made Garza throw more pitches than Lester.

MK Ultra pops out.

Tek grounds out.

Cora is frozen for called strike three.

Bottom Five

The Lesser Aybar hits a flare into the left field corner, just missing a pop fly homer, and cruises in with a double.

Navarro works a 3-0 count. Trouble.
He grounds a slow ball to short, and Cora cannot make a play.

Two on, none out.

Baldelli singles to left, scoring Aybar. 2-1.

Jason Bartlett, who hits about as well as Jeb Bartlett, is up now.

Bartlett whiffs on a low curve. One down.

Iwamura grounds out to the mound on a jam shot, advancing the runners.

BJ Upton, a bad mamma jamma, hits a soft liner to short for the third out.

Phew. Not good, could have been worse.

Top Six

Coco hits a little dribbler, but is thrown out at first.

Boston only has one bleedin' hit in this game. They're working some deep counts, but so far only the one safe blow.

Our Man DP battles Garza to a 3-2 count, then works an 11 pitch walk.

Big Papi now.

Misses the first pitch by a mile, an outside fastball. Then another one, which he takes for a ball. Then a hard one, inside and up, that he misses by a foot. Then another fastball, way down and away, for a ball. Then a fouled off slider, in. Then a very close fastball, outside, for a 3-2 count. 99 pitches for Garza. Big pitch here. Navarro comes to the mound. Papi whiffs on a high hard one, up and in, and Pedroia is thrown out stealing by a mile for the third out.

Damn. That seems like a turning point.

Bottom Six

This might be the end, beautiful friend, the end....

Pena pops out.

Longoria flies out.

Crawford flies out to deep center.

So, Seventh Inning, Red Sox Nation turns its lonely eyes to you...woo woo woo....

ALCS LB G7: So this is it...

Game Seven, American League Championship Series
Boston @ Tampa
Jon Lester vs. Matt Garza
As Ian Astbury once put it, "This is where it all ends..."

Top One

Coco tries to bunt his way on, and Matt Garza throws about 800 miles an hour to first to get him easily.

Garza tries to sneak a ball past Our Man DP inside, and like trying to sneak sunrise past a rooster, he lines it into the left field seats for a quick 1-0 lead.

Big Papi walks.

Our Man Youk flies into the right field corner, and Papi has to hustle back to avoid being doubled off.

JD Drew, Minister of Clutchiness, strikes out swinging.

Bottom One

Makes one wonder which Lester we're going to see-the tired one or the brilliant one.

Hopefully the latter.

Willy Aybar is the DH for Tampa? Seriously? That's the best you can do?

Iwamura grounds out.

Upton hits an artillery shell to the base of the wall in right, but Drew catches it.

Lester seems to have his velocity back. He's hitting 95 with location.

Pena strikes out.

Top Two

Interesting commercial for JG Wentworth-not usually the kind of commercials you get during baseball. There was an article in the New Yorker about those companies-the kind who get people who won lotteries or lawsuits to agree to

Sittin on the Dock of the Bay whiffs.

Mark "Line Drives are my business, and business is good" Kotsay hits the ball hard up the middle, but Jason Bartlett at short throws him out.

Jason Varitek, Oh Captain My Captain, takes a gorgeous curve for strike three.

Bottom Two

Evan Longoria, the Desperate Third Baseman, grounds out to short.

Carl Crawford, who is a Man Among Boys, whiffs.

The Other Aybar grounds to third.

Top Three

Alex (not Joey) Cora flies out to left.

Coco whiffs.

Our Man DP takes one off the forearm.

DP steals on a ball in the dirt-no throw.

Then Papi strikes out, ending the inning.

Bottom Tree

Dioner (Dont Call me Jaime) Navarro whiffs, swinging wildly and late at an outside pitch.

Rhode Island's own Rocco Baldelli takes called strike three. A lazer on the outside corner.

Jason Bartlett pops out.

Jon Lester is a machine.