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  • September 28, 2011

In gen­eral, I think it’s stu­pid when pitch­ers throw at oppos­ing hit­ters to “send a mes­sage” about some­thing that hap­pened ear­lier in the game or in a pre­vi­ous game. If a guy shows you up by admir­ing his home run, you should be more embar­rassed by the fact that you served up the pitch than you should be by the way the guy watches it leave the park. (I think it’s worse when umpires and announc­ers make a big deal about it. If no one says any­thing, then it’s just a bit of pri­vate com­mu­ni­ca­tion between ballplay­ers. Why make a big deal, cause a brawl, and force MLB to issue fines and sus­pen­sions?)

But this in excep­tion.

Ted Lily is pitch­ing for the Dodgers tonight in a mean­ing­less game against the Diamondbacks, the divi­sion champs who are play­ing for play­off seed­ing. And tonight, I hope Lily sends a mes­sage to Ryan Roberts.

Last night, Roberts hit a walk-off grand slam to cap a dis­as­trous (for the Dodgers) bot­tom-of-the-tenth. With two outs, pitcher Blake Hawksworth for­got to cover the bag on a rou­tine ground ball that should have ended the game. That led to the homer, which was painful but was hardly the worst thing that’s hap­pened in a sea­son that’s been over for weeks now.

Here’s the prob­lem: Roberts did­n’t just trot around the bases, and he did­n’t even joy­ously skip around them. He did Gibby’s trot.

I don’t care if Gibson is his man­ager, or that the man him­self approved. That trot is holy, and that moment belongs to the Dodgers. With an owner who’s doing every­thing he can to flush decades of tra­di­tion down the toi­let, we can­not abide some uppity, overly-tat­tooed mid­dle infielder claim­ing such a sacred moment for his own after win­ning a mostly mean­ing­less game on a lucky swing against an over­worked rookie only clos­ing games because every­one else is injured.

I should also note: In con­trast to some of our other NL West com­pe­ti­tion, I don’t par­tic­u­larly hate the DBacks. Their fans are too fair-weather to be obnox­ious, they beat up on the Giants this year, and this year they’re actu­ally a group of scrappy, like­able play­ers man­aged by a base­ball hero. So I don’t begrudge Ryan the right to cel­e­brate, and I would­n’t care if he’d sim­ply “shown up” the Dodgers… they cer­tainly deserved a bit of sham­ing after that. But this was over the line. This aggres­sion will not stand.

Stand up for your team, Ted Lily. Teach Ryan Roberts a les­son he won’t for­get.

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  • August 30, 2011

Steve Jobs:

Creativity is just con­nect­ing things. When you ask cre­ative peo­ple how they did some­thing, they feel a lit­tle guilty because they didn’t really do it. They just saw some­thing. It seemed obvi­ous to them after a while. That’s because they were able to con­nect expe­ri­ences they’ve had and syn­the­size new things. And the rea­son they were able to do that was that they’ve had more expe­ri­ences or they have thought more about their expe­ri­ences than other peo­ple.

 

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  • August 7, 2011

In my role as direc­tor of con­gre­ga­tional learn­ing at Temple Isaiah, I’ve been work­ing on ways to effec­tively use tech­nol­ogy to improve the learn­ing expe­ri­ence in the reli­gious school class­room. This post is the first in a series on ideas to make it hap­pen.

What is it?

AppletvhandApple TV is a box you con­nect (via HDMI) to a tv or pro­jec­tor, and you log it onto your wire­less net­work. Once it’s con­nected, the Apple TV can play YouTube and Vimeo videos and stream Netflix con­tent. Even bet­ter: Using a tech­nol­ogy called AirPlay, it can play music, videos, and photo slideshows from any com­puter (Mac or PC, as long as it has iTunes installed) or any iOS Device (iPad, iTouch, iPhone) on the same net­work. Also, cer­tain iOS apps take advan­tage of the same tech­nol­ogy to have video from the device (like a news video from the CNN app, or a radio seg­ment from the NPR app) dis­play via the Apple TV up on the attached projector/television.

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For the past sev­eral days, there’s been a lot of chat­ter on the inter­webs about a sug­ges­tion (which seems to have really taken off with this HuffPost arti­cle by Rabbi Jason Miller) that peo­ple boy­cott put pres­sure on Delta because “Delta will add Saudi Arabian Airlines to its SkyTeam Alliance of part­ner­ing com­pa­nies and would require Delta to ban Jews and hold­ers of Israeli pass­ports from board­ing flights to Saudi Arabia.” My col­leagues on UPGRD​.com, Matthew and Hunter, have offered thought­ful and thor­ough responses, as have pod­cast con­trib­u­tors Ben and Gary. Normally, I’d stay out of this to avoid the redun­dancy. But since I’m in the unique posi­tion of being an occa­sional UPGRD con­trib­u­tor and also some­one who works pro­fes­sion­ally in the Jewish com­mu­nity, I felt like I should jump in. Below is the sec­ond of two posts on the topic, both of which are cross-posted on my UPGRD​.com blog and on my per­sonal blog.

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This is amaz­ing.

Hot Dogs

by Christopher Walken

Do you enjoy eat­ing hot dogs? I hope you won’t be put off by my frank­ness when I tell you that I absolutely love them. In fact, I enjoy no food item more than a freshly-boiled hot dog. Now, I’ve done a lot of movies, and it’s true that I’ve worked with quite a few celebri­ties who did not share this opin­ion. I’m sorry to say that these peo­ple have always angered me.

There are two types of peo­ple in this world: those who eat hot dogs when­ever it is pos­si­ble to do so, and those who opt to do other things with their free time. Who do the lat­ter think they are kid­ding? What pas­time could be more reward­ing than the con­sump­tion of hot dogs? I haven’t yet found one, and I don’t expect to in my life­time. Unlike other foods, hot dogs can be eaten at any time, in any place, and it is not nec­es­sary to cook them. Now, I ask you: Why not eat hot dogs? They are deli­cious.

I carry a bag of hot dogs with me wher­ever I go. I eat them from the bag when­ever I get the urge, regard­less of the cir­cum­stances. When I make a movie, my hot dogs are my co-stars. If, in the mid­dle of a scene, I decide I want to con­sume a hot dog, I do so. I waste the direc­tor’s time and thou­sands of dol­lars in film stock, but in the end, it is all worth it, because I enjoy eat­ing hot dogs more than I enjoy act­ing. This both­ers some peo­ple. I was sup­posed to por­tray Batman, but when Tim Burton learned of my hot dog crav­ings, he asked Michael Keaton to wear the cape. To this day, I am peeved about this.

When we filmed The Dead Zone, I ate over 800 hot dogs a day. It was nec­es­sary. My char­ac­ter needed to come across as intense as pos­si­ble, and I found the inspi­ra­tion for that inten­sity in my intense love for hot dogs. The direc­tor, David Cronenberg, said that he would never work with me again. I kept eat­ing hot dogs when the cam­eras were rolling, and that seemed to bother him. I say fuck him. He does­n’t even like hot dogs.

I would like to end by empha­siz­ing once again that I really like to eat hot dogs. If any of you peo­ple dis­agree, I loathe you. I despise you. Not only that, but I also despise all your loved ones. I want to see them torn to pieces by wild dogs. If I ever meet you in per­son, I’ll smash your brains in with a fuck­ing bat. Then we’ll see who does­n’t like hot dogs.

Next week: My thoughts on Woody Allen, hot dog hater and shitty direc­tor.

Source: The Onion, some­time in the late ’90s, pre­dat­ing their cur­rent web archive.

(via Gruber, on American McCarver)

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  • June 30, 2011

This isn’t a town hall meet­ing on Parks and Recreation, but it feels a lot like one.

- Hunter (on the mis­han­dling of the “Delta hates Jews” PR mess)

I’m glad the man and his potty mouth have returned to reg­u­lar writ­ing.

For the past sev­eral days, there’s been a lot of chat­ter on the inter­webs about a sug­ges­tion (which seems to have really taken off with this HuffPost arti­cle by Rabbi Jason Miller) that peo­ple boy­cott put pres­sure on Delta because “Delta will add Saudi Arabian Airlines to its SkyTeam Alliance of part­ner­ing com­pa­nies and would require Delta to ban Jews and hold­ers of Israeli pass­ports from board­ing flights to Saudi Arabia.” My col­leagues on UPGRD​.com, Matthew and Hunter, have offered thought­ful and thor­ough responses, as have pod­cast con­trib­u­tors Ben and Gary. Normally, I’d stay out of this to avoid the redun­dancy. But since I’m in the unique posi­tion of being an occa­sional UPGRD con­trib­u­tor and also some­one who works pro­fes­sion­ally in the Jewish com­mu­nity, I felt like I should jump in. Below is the first of two posts on the topic, both of which are cross-posted on my UPGRD​.com blog and on my per­sonal blog.

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  • June 29, 2011

A designer knows he has achieved per­fec­tion not when there is noth­ing more to add, but when there is noth­ing left to take away.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, on his 111th birth­day
(orig­i­nally via Carmine Gallo)

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  • June 28, 2011

Arash Markazi sums up how a lot of us feel:

I know the ter­ri­ble thing that hap­pened to Brian Stow on open­ing day, I know what’s hap­pen­ing on the field, I know what’s not hap­pen­ing in the stands. And I know what’s hap­pen­ing in the court­room. I know all this but I still go to the games because real­ity has always found a way of sus­pend­ing itself when I’m at the sta­dium. I still have the same feel­ing enter­ing the park­ing lot off Sunset Boulevard I did when I was a child with my father…

…Feelings such as that are deep-rooted. I’ve loved the Dodgers for as long as I can remem­ber. It’s a fan­dom that was passed on to me by my father, and I’m not about to throw it away now over a time period I hope to tell my kids about when I take them to Dodger Stadium some day. That’s why I can’t allow McCourt to change my feel­ings about the Dodgers and why I refuse to let him chase me away from a place that has given me so much joy over the years.

There is noth­ing com­pli­cated or con­flicted about my feel­ings for McCourt. I don’t like him, what he’s done. It doesn’t take me very long to come to this con­clu­sion and move on with my life. The truth is I don’t even think about him when I’m at Dodger Stadium. Even when I’m sit­ting in an almost-empty sec­tion of the sta­dium. He is the fur­thest thing from my mind as I watch the game with a Dodger Dog in my hands and Vin Scully in my ears. Maybe I’m cling­ing to mem­o­ries that will never be recap­tured and set­ting myself up for more heart­break but I can’t help it.

The Dodgers and Dodger Stadium still rep­re­sent some­thing spe­cial to me, some­thing more impor­tant than court cases, divorce set­tle­ments and los­ing streaks. Judging from the empty seats around me, this puts me in the minor­ity. But I can live with that. I’ve lived with this team all my life.

Amen.

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  • June 7, 2011

In light of the Weiner scan­dal, Jeffrey Goldberg com­ments on Jewish women:

I’m not going near the ques­tion of what Jewish women do or don’t do in bed, but suf­fice it to say that Jewish women are ter­ri­bly, and con­tra­dic­to­rily, stereo­typed by soci­ety, and, often, by Jewish men them­selves. Either they’re dark, hot-blooded sluts (a com­mon Wasps fan­tasy, by the way — some of my best friends are Wasps with Jewish women-fix­a­tions) or they are, as Weiner would have it, the frozen cho­sen. The truth, of course, is that all women are dif­fer­ent, but I’ve noticed a cou­ple of things over the years: 1) A great num­ber of Jewish women pos­sess an irre­sistible com­bi­na­tion of sex­i­ness, intel­li­gence, ambi­tion, and a deep capac­ity for love; and 2) Many Jewish men, the less manly-men, in par­tic­u­lar, are intim­i­dated by these super­star Jewish women…

…I know this sounds as if I’m adver­tis­ing for a Jewish woman, but, thanks to the great philo-Semite Malcolm Gladwell, I found the best one, thank you very much.

Jeez.

Seeing as he and I both man­aged to over­come our eth­nic pre­dis­po­si­tion to being intim­i­dated by strong Jewesses (in other words, I get where he’s com­ing from, I guess), it sounds to me like he’s brag­ging. (“Congressman Weiner rep­re­sents a cliché stereo­type, but check me out. I can han­dle the Jewish ladies.”)

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  • May 28, 2011

(cross posted to my upgrd​.com blog)

A part of me wants to write a long post ana­lyz­ing the prob­lems with CNNMoney’s “Best Frequent Flyer Programs.” I’m really tempted to go point-by-point in order to illus­trate just how stu­pid their rank­ings are. Their cri­te­ria are incon­sis­tent, their expla­na­tions for why cer­tain pro­grams are best ignore the fact that other air­lines offer sim­i­lar (or even bet­ter) perks, and they totally ignore the fact that the pro­grams avail­able from domes­tic-only* dis­count car­ri­ers don’t allow for inter­na­tional and pre­mium-class redemp­tion.

But truth be told, I’m actu­ally thank­ful for arti­cles like CNNMoney’s. For those of us who actu­ally want to get the most out of our miles — namely inter­na­tional pre­mium-class awards — it’s prob­a­bly bet­ter if peo­ple blow their miles on crappy domes­tic coach tick­ets. Sure… it breaks my heart that poor saps who don’t know bet­ter are blow­ing valu­able miles on tick­ets they prob­a­bly could buy out-of-pocket when they could be using the same amount (or just a bit more) to fly in lux­ury to exotic locales. But with a lim­ited quan­tity of high-value redemp­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties, I’m just as happy to have less com­pe­ti­tion for the seats. Every busi­ness trav­eler who insists on fly­ing Southwest (even though he could get bet­ter élite ben­e­fits and could use the miles to take bet­ter vaca­tions if he flew United or American or what­ever) is one less per­son I have to com­pete with for an upgrade, one less per­son to snap up that first class seat to Europe before me, one less per­son in the élite line at the air­port.

(And I’ll ven­ture a guess that if every­one used fre­quent flyer pro­grams to their full poten­tial,  those pro­grams would stop being so lucra­tive for the air­lines and great redemp­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties would get rarer.)

So sure… Southwest, Virgin America, and Jetblue have excel­lent FF pro­grams. Sign up now. Fly those air­lines exclu­sively. Enjoy your “A‑list” sta­tus and your free coach flights from Oakland to Boise.


* Yes, I know that some of the “domes­tic-only” dis­count car­ri­ers fly to a hand­ful of loca­tions in Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. Whatever.

Amy Pohler at Harvard’s grad­u­a­tion:

As you nav­i­gate through the rest of your life, be open to col­lab­o­ra­tion. Other peo­ple and other people’s ideas are often bet­ter than your own. Find a group of peo­ple who chal­lenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. No one is here today because they did it on their own…You’re all here today because some­one gave you strength. Helped you. Held you in the palm of their hand. God, Allah, Buddha, Gaga—whomever you pray to.

(the video of the whole speech)

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  • May 19, 2011

Doug Mataconis on Scott Walker’s move to end a pro­gram that allows gay cou­ples hos­pi­tal vis­i­ta­tion rights (or, to be more spe­cific, his attempt to stop defend­ing the laws of his state and the rights of his cit­i­zens in court against extrem­ist anti-gay hate groups):

I really have to won­der what kind of per­son would seek to pre­vent two peo­ple who are in a rela­tion­ship from mak­ing what­ever arrange­ments they want to allow the other to visit them in the hos­pi­tal, and what right the state has to tell hos­pi­tals that they can­not honor those requests.

Is the GOP hatred for gays so per­va­sive that they could really be this cold and heart­less?

Yup. Apparently, it is.

Or as Jed Lewison puts it:

Gee, gay-bash­ing is just so fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tive, isn’t it?

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  • April 21, 2011

From Dahlia Lithwick’s excel­lent d’var torah arti­cle, “The Fifth Passover Question: Who’s going to lead the Seder?

Passover is really the only Jewish hol­i­day in which most house­holds tap some layper­son to be pro­fes­sional clergy for a night, and—as my friend Lisa observed yesterday—it’s thus apt that this hol­i­day cel­e­brates one of the most reluc­tant lead­ers in all of bib­li­cal his­tory. Here is poor Moses, beg­ging to be relieved of the respon­si­bil­ity of Sherpa-ing his peo­ple from one dusty place to another—pleading unfit­ness, a speech imped­i­ment, and the absence of mean­ing­ful lead­er­ship qual­i­ties. And here we all are, thou­sands of years later, plead­ing unfit­ness, per­for­mance anx­i­ety, and the absence of mean­ing­ful lead­er­ship qual­i­ties.

Stop me if this is start­ing to sound famil­iar.

Maybe the real les­son of Passover is that nobody—in any generation—feels fit to lead a bunch of other peo­ple, but they do it any­way, because in the end some­body has to. Maybe it’s not just the story of the Exodus we are pass­ing down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion, but the trick of lead­ing, when all you ever wanted to do was fol­low.

Hmm.