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Archive for January 11, 2009

Madoff, Kitt, and g-dropping

January 11, 2009 Leave a comment

I wrote about g-dropping here and here and here during my two-month obsession with Sarah Palin. (It seems like a dream now. Does she actually exist? Did she really run for vice president? Wake me up.)

I return to this topic via an unexpected route, with stops at Bernie Madoff and Eartha Kitt. How do these all connect? Let me explain.
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Categories: Language, Music, Today's News

The World Is What It Is

January 11, 2009 Leave a comment
Pat and Vidia Naipaul

Pat and Vidia Naipaul

I finished Patrick French’s riveting biography of V. S. Naipaul (The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul) just before dinner yesterday. I already wrote at the end of November about my desire to read it, after I read George Packer’s lead Sunday NYT review of it the week before. And I wrote at the end of December about having started it, with additional comments just a few days later. I didn’t expect to devote yet another post to it. Yet, it is an extraordinary book, and I can’t let it pass without additional comment.
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Categories: Books

NFL: For the Birds

January 11, 2009 Leave a comment

As I watched the Eagles beat the Giants in their NFL playoff game today, I suddenly realized that the three teams qualifying up to that point for the four slots in the NFL conference championship games next Sunday were the (Philadelphia) Ravens, the (Arizona) Cardinals, and the (Philadelphia) Eagles. I had to think for a moment about the two teams yet to play for the fourth slot, to see if maybe birds would sweep all the slots. Then I remembered — (Pittsburgh) Steelers vs. (San Diego) Chargers. And the Steelers have since gone on to beat the Chargers, grabbing that fourth spot. So, it happened! Four bird teams playing for the conference championships next Sunday: Cardinals vs. Eagles for the NFC championship and Ravens vs. Steelers for the AFC championship.

That’s right, isn’t it? A steeler is a common bird in western Pennsylvania, no? That’s why a Pittsburgh team is called the Steelers. (See video above.) Well, I hope so, because the 14 teams in the AFC other than the Ravens and Steelers definitely aren’t birds. So the only way two bird teams from the AFC can meet is if the Ravens play the Steelers.

Actually, I wasn’t quite sure that the other 14 AFC teams aren’t birds. I was a little confused about the (Buffalo) Bills. “Bill” sure sounds bird-like. Birds have bills. Mammals don’t. Amphibians don’t. So a Bill must be a bird. But after further research — I asked Gail, who knew, and then confirmed her explanation on-line — I discovered that the Bill of the Buffalo Bills is Wild Bill Hickok. The All-America Football Conference of the late 1940s had a Buffalo Bill team that merged with the Cleveland Browns when the Browns entered the NFL in 1950. When the new American Football Leauge was created in 1960, Buffalo was given a team and once again took the name Bills. Wild Bills, not bird bills. That leaves the Ravens and Steelers as the only AFC birds.

So there you have it. Four birds fighting next week for the chance to go to the Super Bowl. Go Birds!

Categories: Animals, Sports