One thing that always kills me about
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
One thing that always kills me about
Monday, October 29, 2007
It doesn’t really feel quite the same as last time, but I’ll take it. My only real wish is that Joanna could have been watching with me, but oh well. It’s still a great moment to see your team come through. However, I try not to use terms like “we did it” or refer to the team as “us.” I only do that to refer to other fans. It’s just weird to think you had an effect on the outcome of a game or a season. The fan base helps, but the team still has to win.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
One thing in particular that got me thinking, on a trip up to Worcester last night to a Worcester Sharks game with my Fraternity, was how well the NFL will do in their effort to globalize the sport of American football. I understand their desire for growth, but how realistic are they being?
If you live in England, you likely don't follow American football. You know what it is, but it's a foreign sport played primarily in one country on a different continent. You wouldn't really know any of the players. They're American. They went to American colleges, and some of them (e.g. a guy on the Dolphins) doesn't even know they speak English in London. Why would you really want to pay attention to them? The NFL is simply too American, in both culture and content, to be a global success. Soccer, the prime example of the global sport, has several top leagues that have international players from various continents.
American football is also not an Olympic sport, since no other countries are any good at it. It would be a joke. No other countries play it at the youth level, so there aren't many sports icons for youths in other countries to worship. They simply don't understand what it's like. I grew up playing hockey and watching it on TV, wanting to become my favorite players like Cam Neely and Ray Bourque. If you live in Germany, and don't play American football, you can't really say you'll ever become Ray Lewis or Reggie Bush. It's just not realistic.
There's nothing wrong with an American sporting organization to try to globalize, but it only really works if the culture and composition allows it. It just doesn't seem like American football has the substance to make it on the global stage. Despite the sell-out at Wembley for today's game, it doesn't mean the sport has staying power in that market. It's simply a novelty, or as Tony Kornheiser said on PTI the other day, it's a rock concert. Sports like basketball and ice hockey, or even baseball, have international players with professional leagues in other countries already. They have a better shot at successfully globalizing. Football just doesn't fit the mold. It's a great sport, but it's all American, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
The Sox got off on a good note last night with a win. I don’t normally dwell on big wins, since they count the same. They could’ve won 1-0, it still counts the same. That being said, it was still a great start by Beckett, and hopefully they can keep it going tonight against a rookie pitcher from the
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
You’re 45 years old, and have been on the trailing edge of the technology craze since you were in your late 20’s when PC’s started coming about. You remember the days when offices only had a few computers, and they were often shared by many people. You don’t feel you’re cut out to “get it” and get the most out of the technology, and it simply isn’t worth your time. So, as technology expands faster and faster, you are less and less likely to use it. Since things become obsolete so quickly, you don’t see a reason to keep up, and fall behind more and more. Didn’t that computer they’re selling for $500 cost $1000 when you bought it a year or two ago? Where did your money go? Should you even bother wasting your money, knowing you’ll learn the technology too slow to keep up?
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
“Do you know what its like to see a noose and feel hatred?”
“You don’t have the right to disagree because you are privileged.”
Monday, October 22, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Have you ever been driving down the street and saw some one, either walking, on a bike, or in another car, that you thought “Wouldn’t it be interesting to be in their shoes for a day?” I know it sounds odd, but it occasionally happens to me. Not too often, only when I see some one that I think is interesting. It usually has to do with the look on their face, or what they’re doing.
The traffic on Broadbridge is average for a Thursday afternoon. The people in their cars are on their way home from work, and look happy. Jake keeps on pedaling towards the intersection with Huntington Turnpike, and stops at the corner to wait. Seeing that no one is coming, or at least no one is paying attention, Jake makes his move. The rush of a bit of danger gets him excited. He makes it across just fine, but when he cuts quick to cross Broadbridge, some one in a white hatchback almost hits him, and they lay on the horn. Jake is startled, and angry. It’s been a tough week. He loses his temper for a second. What right do they have? He’s just a guy getting to where he needs to go, just like them. People should be more understanding. He turns on his bike and yells back “Fuck you!” to the driver, and keeps moving. Not the sort of fun he was planning.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I heard another great piece on On Point with Tom Ashbrook yesterday. This time the topic was gambling in
I'm not a big gambler, at all. I seldom, if ever, gamble, on anything. I wouldn't say it's necessarily a religious issue, though I do think it is a sin to throw your money away aimlessly. To me it’s simple numbers. Why should I waste my money? The odds are against me. I’m not that good at the games I play. I don’t find it fun to see my hard-earned money go to waste. So why should I waste my time losing money? I don’t even like buying in to a $2 poker game. Guys at school gambled all the time, but I never partook in anything that dealt with real money. I draw the line there. Once in a while I got involved in a stupid wager that was some physical task that the other person had to do (we cleaned our own house every day), but that was just good fun. I think spending my time on something worthwhile is great.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I should probably do more research on this, but from what I’ve read so far, I simply don’t understand the reasoning for the condemnation of an incident that happened in
Apparently this is a long-pending issue, which makes sense. The incident did happen 92 years ago, back when
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
On Saturday night, I went on a “ghost walk” around
Our guide was an interesting fellow, equipped with a top hat and a shovel. He didn’t sound like he was from the South, and he used the phrase “sure enough” exactly 137 times, or thereabouts. In all, we walked over a mile, and visited about six sites, mostly houses. The last house we visited was
The night before, I had met a friend of my dad’s cousin Bob, with whom we were staying at his house. Her name was Jane, and she was a very sweet woman from
I live in a town that has a cemetery that is nationally renowned for its
One of the questions I asked the girl in high school was if it were possible that orbs could simply be dust on the camera lens or a lens flare. She didn’t bite. She stuck to her theories. That’s fine. I also asked how fog played its part. From what I remember, she said it was not simply fog, but how it moved or didn’t move that mattered. Spooky. I then went on to say, and I regret saying this, that “So, from what you’ve said, I could theoretically own a fog machine and a copy of Photoshop and declare myself a ghost hunter.” She went red, and I felt bad afterward, but it was an honest question.
In my opinion, it’s all about your subconscious. Is it really a ghost? How can you know? Try this out. Gather a few friends this Halloween, and tell them you’re going to visit a haunted graveyard or a house, or something. Then, go in the middle of the woods somewhere and pretend you heard/saw/felt something. See what your friends do. I can almost guarantee you that, if not at that moment, they will tell you they also heard/saw/felt something. If you are told to look for a ghost, you will see one. It’s all in your head. You seldom hear of ghosts in malls or office buildings. It’s always in places where people think they’ll be, like abandoned hospitals or graveyards, and it’s never somewhere new or recently settled. Wouldn’t you think there’d be more ghosts in cities, where more people have lived? You never hear one of those ghost stories, except in Ghostbusters. Man, that was a good movie.
Monday, October 15, 2007
I spent the weekend in lovely Wilmington, North Carolina, visiting my sister, who is a freshman at UNCW. Being from the North, I have to admit: Southerners are good people. They certainly know how to show, and have, a good time, which is why I always enjoy trips down there.
That got me thinking: why is it that people from the South are, on par, friendlier than people from the North? I will use the Mason-Dixon line as a border, so basically any state north of Maryland on the east coast is in the North, and vice-versa for the South.
My first thought was obviously the weather, which is likely. North Carolina has much milder season changes, so you don't get that bitter cold and sweltering heat extreme temperature change overnight like in the North. But they do have hurricanes, which can't be fun. That's got to add a degree of stress, at least for part of the year. Blizzards suck, but I've never really had to worry about losing my house in a flood. I guess it breaks down to the extremes, though. If you don't have to worry when the seasons change, maybe that puts you into an easier state of mind. That, and heat slows you down. Look at the Thai people as an example for that. They simply can't get angry. It's too tiring.
I then thought it was the food. Southerners eat differently than Northerners. We have our various chowders and Canadian bacon. They have their grits and hush-puppies. Maybe they eat more fatty foods, which slows thing down and eases it up. Plus, who wouldn't be friendly after some good ol' country barbecue?
It then dawned on me that it could be a façade. Maybe it's just a Northerner's perception of the friendly South. After all, Southerners aren't always friendly to other Southerners. Look at all the race riots in the past. Those were times of Southern Hospitality, right? And what about the bitterness that still survives 142 years after the end of the Civil War (a.k.a. the War of Northern Aggression)? My sister actually heard another student say, in response to the question "What is something you have learned so far in school?", "Well, I've learned to accept Yankees a little more." Where's the consistency?
The truth of the matter is that it's about perception. I do believe, ON AVERAGE, Southerners are friendlier than Northerners. There may be some hidden racism lingering, but the North isn't exactly the ideal candidate for a racial Utopia. Judging by extremism works both ways, but it is funny to consider from time to time. All in all, I do enjoy visiting the South.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I was driving down the road today and eventually ended up behind an elderly driver. It was at a traffic light, and the driver took a few seconds to see that the light had turned, then almost forgot to use their turn signal, and didn't leave much room for drivers behind them to get by. Not the worst driver in the world, but hardly safe.
After passing that driver, I began to recall a discussion I have had before: should elderly drivers be required to take a driving test to stay on the road? When I was a senior in high school, one of my classmates gave a stirring speech on the subject during our "Senior Speakouts." Their point was a little more severe, that all 70+ year-olds should be taken off the road. I don't quite agree with that sentiment, though. There are drivers in that age category that are far better than drivers my age or other younger generations. There's also no sense in taking all drivers off the road just because a good number of them are dangerous.
What I think should happen is this: once a driver reaches age 70, have them take a quick road test to see if they're able to drive safely enough not to cause a huge car wreck every day. No, you can't test for everything, but it's at least something. Some drivers are just terrible.
There are three obvious issues about this (I like to play my own devil's advocate):
Issue 1: It isn't fair to require some one to take a driver's test just because of age.
Resolution: Sure it is. As people get older, their motor skills suffer. If this is such a universally accepted fact, along with the idea that most insurance companies require physical exams at certain ages, why not have them take a test? If they're good drivers, then they should be fine. The other issue is that most tests the elderly go through are to prevent harm to them, but a bad driver could injury many others. The risks involved are greater overall.
Issue 2: Who would pay for this?
Resolution: The drivers would, initially, but see Issue 3 why this would make sense.
Issue 3: What about the AARP? They're a powerful group, and have strong lobbyists.
Resolution: True, which is why making this a state law might not be the best thing to do. Instead, states could offer strong incentives to the elderly drivers who take and pass tests. Perhaps they make the costs tax deductible, or they encourage insurance companies to offer reduced rates. It would save both entities money, as many elderly drivers are involved in automobile accidents (or cause them). What might happen (and the AARP would have some influence in this, though) is that insurance companies will raise rates for elderly drivers, so they'll feel the pinch (with their limited and fixed income) and would want to save the money. This approach is more of a "soft" requirement, as no law would be made, but that's what I like so much about it. Let the market do the work.
On a side note, I know elderly drivers who are very, very safe. I know it's not fair for them to be required to take a test, but if they pass, look at the money they'd save! And, it'd be sort of a badge of honor.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I read a fascinating article in the Boston Globe today, online, called "The Downside of Diversity" by Michael Jonas. It's about a study performed by a world-renowned social scientist named Robert Putnam. The study, which was done in 41 communities throughout the United States and included 32,000 people, resulted in some interesting findings regarding the effect of diversity in a community's "social capital." Putnam coined the phrase, which deals with "the social networks that are key indicators of civic well-being." After initially publishing his raw data in 2000, Putnam has spent the past several years going through the data to test the theory he came to at that time: diversity can often be bad for a community's civic well-being.
What's really perplexing about the study's findings is that it seems to go against the very fabric of the American social policy, which promotes diversity. But, it turns out, diverse communities often lack trust, charity, and optimism about society. It was often the case that people in diverse communities didn't trust people like them! For example, a black Baptist in a community with several other races and religions was less likely to trust a fellow black Baptist in that community than if they lived in a community with a majority of black Baptists. Less diverse communities seemed to have more overall trust, which is downright odd to learn.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
I read an interesting little article about a girl in northern England who overdosed on coffee. She’s fine, and fully recovered, but you have to admit, that’d be a strange way to go. Coffee overdose.
The girl apparently drank seven double espressos while working at her father’s sandwich shop. Seven. Double. Espressos. After being sent home by her father, probably for a dash of hyper behavior, she came down with a fever and began hyperventilating. After a trip to the emergency room, she was sent home and has had some lingering effects. She now can’t stand the sight of coffee, which I’m sure is a difficult working environment.
A couple funny things came to me while reading the article. The first was the father’s reaction, specifically his quote: “She did not realise she was drinking double measures.
"I have always stressed to my children the importance of moderation but she got caught out on this occasion.”
Now, I’m sure the guy was just busy, or maybe he wasn’t there the whole time, but the fact is: she drank seven coffees in less than a full work day. Never mind “double measures,” SEVEN COFFEES. I’m not addicted to caffeine, but I have had my share of coffee, and if I had three in a morning, I’d be feeling it, and would probably start. It’s not like booze, which can be spread out a little more (except for the hard stuff). Seven double espressos is asking for trouble.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Very entertaining game today for Spurs. Liverpool is a bit weak this week, especially after a tough loss in the Champions League. Both teams had their chances, and Spurs scored two great, almost identical, goals. But, Liverpool tied it up at the end. Disappointing, but Tottenham got away with a point at a tough venue. Still, it would've been a great win. Oh well. They're moving up in the table.
Big game today for the Red Sox. Let's see how it goes. But... I'm looking forward to the Yankees game, too. It'd be unfortunate if they're eliminated so soon...
I wanted to try to put a video in one of the posts, so here's a goofy one from a zoo in Thailand:
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Thanks to those few people who get Google Notifier alerts about certain topics for making comments on a few of my recent posts. I got a good one from some one named Causal about my post yesterday. I'd just like to highlight a few things he said. First off, I respect your opinion, and think you're a smart individual, Causal. I won't dispute your ability to formulate a good argument. Instead, I just want to point out a few things.
"Holding government officials accountable for their actions strengthens our democracy. Letting lawlessness stand weakens it."
True. That's completely valid, and I agree with you. Lawlessness should never be allowed. But, in this particular case, you're pointing out an extreme. You're using the slippery slope mentality, indirectly, to argue that what is happening is currently, or is leading to, complete lawlessness. However, what MIGHT be happening is a bit of a disagreement on the current state of lawmaking. The Patriot Act is the hot topic, and parts of it have been found to be unconstitutional, but it is not necessarily Bush. It's Congress. You're placing blame on one person, which is oversimplifying.
"Some previous impeachment attempts were considered a waste of time because they were pursued for things that didn't rise to the level of a Constitutional crisis, which is what the Impeachment tool was intended for. The argument that we can't impeach Bush because there are previous presidents who also did bad things is the same as the argument you might hear from your child that you shouldn't punish him because the neighbor's kid did the same thing and didn't get punished."
Ah, an argument by analogy. Always a fun one. I'll let the "Bush is like a child" inference go, though. Let's just address the first part of that paragraph. As soon as you start using the subjective approach to impeachment proceedings, you leave yourself open to criticism. Who decides when it's a waste of time? The people? Congress? My mentioning of previous Presidents, namely FDR, was to point out the situational similarities, not to make an excuse to just not do it altogether. People nowadays seem to jump on the impeachment bandwagon because they see everything and anything the President does that they disagree with, then, after a while, add it all up and shout for impeachment. Looking back at history, there are cases where Presidents made decisions they felt were right that blatantly violated the Constitution AT THAT TIME. But, laws were passed afterward and things are different. It's all part of the changing political dynamics. The world changes, and to continually use the slippery slope mentality, as I will point out in the next part of the comment, is not solid logic.
"Besides, Bush can still do a lot of damage. Our troops, Iran, and our Supreme Court are all endangered so long as he remains in office. Waiting until Bush is out of office will leave us complicit in any further crimes he commits. The Union of Concerned Scientists has estimated that the death toll from a "tactical" nuclear weapon of the kind Bush is contemplating using in Iran would be at minimum 3 million men, women, and children. The path of death would stretch across country boundaries into India."
This is blatant ignorance on your part, Causal, I'm sorry. The other day, a bill passed through the Senate (vote was 76-22) known as the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment. Many people are crying out that it's another step towards war with Iran. Basically, it states that Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard is a terrorist organization, and more money should be spent by the U.S. to deal with that group. Here's a quote from the bill: "It should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran." You are placing ALL of the blame on "war-hungry George Bush," and yet you mention nothing about this amendment. How do you expect the Senate to impeach such a "dangerous man" if they are passing laws like this?
You and I don't live in the same reality, Causal, but I admire your determination.
Friday, October 5, 2007
I listen to a bunch of podcasts throughout the day. One of my favorites is "On Point with Tom Ashbrook," an NPR production. Today, they had a podcast with Christopher Dodd (D - CT), a United States Senator. He's one of my senators, so I figured I'd give him a listen.
Dodd is very much a dark horse candidate in the Presidential race. Right now he's not even registering in national polls, and I thought his response was interesting when asked "How are you going to respond to this lack of popularity at this point?" He basically said it was too early to know, that we have months until the first primary, and that "money doesn't win an election." Well, that would make sense for some one with good values, like Jimmy Carter (and look at how his Presidency turned out!), which Dodd… sort of… has. He's basically a Catholic guy from Connecticut who has a slightly above-average Senatorial career, and does a whole lot of Republican-bashing. In the podcast, he said "We should stop screaming at each other and pull together." That's a nice sentiment, but how does that fit in with the rest of his stance on how "pretty much anything the Republicans want is wrong"? How can you bring people together when you can't even respect the other party?
As a member of his constituency, I don't like Dodd. He's the semi-brilliant son of the brilliant Connecticut Senator Thomas Dodd, and I almost never hear from the guy about anything. I'm not saying he's the beneficiary of nepotism, but it's a possibility. That's nothing new in politics, on either side. I'm not saying Dodd is a bad candidate compared to all Republicans (though I'd likely never vote for him over any Republican); he's just not a good candidate compared to other Democrats. I know this is bad logic (small sample size), but here's my beef with him: a few months ago, I sent an e-mail to Joseph Lieberman, Christopher Shays, and Dodd, about a bill concerning the fate of internet radio stations. I was hoping to hear back from Shays, my Congressman, but nothing came back. Same with Dodd. Lieberman wrote back to me TWICE, with all the information I wanted AND his stance on the issue. Lieberman lived up to his promise to stay connected with his constituents. So far, all I've ever heard from Dodd is "I'm running for President." Well, you're doing a lousy job on both fronts. I hope he doesn't get any votes.
Dodd isn't a bad person. He's a good Catholic (from what I've seen), and a good father, and I can respect that. But when he plays the same game as all the other lackluster politicians, why should any one Democrat favor him over Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? I'm not voting for any of them, but I sure would never favor Dodd.
On a side note, I did like Dodd's response to a crazy caller who compared his father's Nuremberg trials to the "necessary" pursuit to impeach Bush. He doesn't support it because it wouldn't be good for the country. Though I'm sure he'd love to see Bush impeached, at least he's not crazy.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the role of the President vs. the Constitution. Many anti-Bush people say his administration is passing all sorts of illegal bills that bash the Constitution. Let's assume that's true, which I don't agree with, but let's play this game for a minute. There have been times in history when certain situations required seemingly drastic action taken by the President and Congress. One is now, in the age of violent terrorism, and another was back in the Great Depression. Back in the Depression, FDR created several government-sponsored agencies (the Alphabet Agencies) to help spur job creation. It seems like a wonderful idea, right? Well, it was… against the Constitution. The Judicial System ruled that the role FDR took was illegal, and that government should not have full control of the economy, which was basically what it had. FDR is now heralded as a hero, and he broke the law! What did they do as a result? They changed the Constitution, for good reason. But, he still broke the law. FDR wasn't impeached, and his actions were found illegal at that time. If the Justice Department is behind Bush's plans against terrorism, does it make sense to impeach him now?
The other interesting part of FDR's socialistic plan is that it failed to help end the Depression. World War II ended it.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Well, TV is decent again. I've never been a huge follower of a major network show, but I do like to keep up with a few favorites. This year, it comes down to a few: The Office, House, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I'm also following a show on Adult Swim (late night on Cartoon Network) called Metalocalypse.
The two best among the group are probably House and The Office, though the other two are hilarious. House is the only show that runs a consistent 60 minutes, the others have either 30 or 15 minute run times, though The Office has three 60-minute episodes to start this season. I was thinking which one was the best on the way into work this morning, and I've decided to do a quick comparison of The Office vs. House.
The Office: Based on the British show of the same name, it's about a small branch of a fictional paper supplies distributor in Scranton, PA called Dunder Mifflin. It's shot in documentary format to make it appear realistic, but it is entirely scripted. Steve Carell is the star as Michael Scott, the boss, and he's very funny in the show. This season looks to continue the story of previous seasons, and it's been fine so far.
House: A hospital show with attitude. Dr. Gregory House, played by British actor Hugh Laurie, is one of the best diagnosticians in the world, and has gained a reputation for diagnosing patients in even the most extreme cases. This season is the first without his star team of three assistants, who either quit or were fired at the end of the last season. The humor is excellent, and each episode is extremely well-written.
Verdict: Although both aren't original themes, I'm giving the edge to House.
I might come up with more categories later, but overall, I like House slightly better.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
I’ve had a slight fascination with linguistics for a short while. I like learning about the origins of words. It just seems neat to me. I’m from
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
That's it for today.
Monday, October 1, 2007
This probably won’t happen, but don’t you think it would be funny if Mike Gravel actually won the Presidency? I’d personally rather like to see some one like Ron Paul win, as far as extremists go, but I think Gravel’s a funny guy.
* Colorado vs. Philadelphia: Colorado in 5