Archive for April 11, 2009

BU vs. Miami

April 11, 2009 Leave a comment


I’m talking college hockey. NCAA national championship, earlier this evening, number one ranked Boston University versus Miami University in the championship game. A painful, dramatic, beautiful game. And a game whose live broadcast we had to miss. I already noted a few posts ago that we missed today’s Masters golf third-round coverage because we attended a wedding. We left it early, after the ceremony but before the party, because we had a memorial service to attend back up here in Seattle. We had just enough time to stop at home and watch the final pair putt out on the golf course, then switch to the hockey game in its second minute before leaving for the memorial. As it turns out, we left the memorial and got to our car exactly as the game ended. But we did record it.

Why do I care? A brief explanation.
Read more…

Categories: Sports

Why They Stay

April 11, 2009 Leave a comment


The indispensable blogger hilzoy strayed yesterday from her usual domain of philosphy, politics, and law to write a powerful, personal post on why women don’t leave abusive men. It’s not long. I recommend reading it in its entirety. A short excerpt:

So imagine yourself, in love with someone, on your honeymoon or pregnant, when suddenly this guy just goes ballistic, often for very little reason, and hits you. For a lot of women, this is profoundly shocking and disorienting. There are things that are comprehensible parts of the world, even if they’re rare, like having your car stolen; and then there are things that are unexpected in a completely different sense, like having your car turn into an elephant before your eyes: things that make you wonder whether you’re completely crazy. Being beaten up by someone who apparently loves you is one of those things.

What this means is that precisely when a woman needs as much confidence in her own judgment as she can muster, the rug is completely pulled out from under her. And it’s not just that she questions her judgment because she got involved with this guy in the first place; she questions her judgment because something so completely alien to the world she thinks she knows has just happened.

Categories: Family, Life

Immersed in Digital Cerebration

April 11, 2009 Leave a comment


The New Yorker’s George Packer had an extraordinary post at his blog two days ago. I’ve meant to link to it since then. Here it is.

The short version. Packer has a leak in his roof, hires a local roofer, an Italian from Brooklyn, and they chat. The roofer explains why he hates what cell phones are doing to people. Excerpt below, but read it all.

It turned out that cell phones had become a major headache in his work. Customers called him all the time, expecting him to hear every little complaint even while he was wrestling with a roof hatch. Meanwhile, they were more and more unreliable, not answering their phones, missing scheduled appointments. Even worse: they had no common sense any more. They called him about a leak in the first-floor ceiling—two stories below the roof—without bothering to check the second-floor radiator, which he discovered to be standing in a pool of water. It had all begun in the last couple of years, and it was driving him and every other contractor he knew crazy. They were all noticing the same thing.

“It’s the technology,” the roofer said. “They don’t know how to deal with a human being. They stand there with that text shrug”—he hunched his shoulders, bent his head down, moved from side to side, looking anywhere but at me—“and they go, ‘Ah, ah, um, um,’ and they just mumble. They can’t talk any more.” This inadequacy with physical space and direct interaction was an affliction of the educated, he said—“the more educated, the worse.” His poorer black customers in Bedford-Stuyvesant had no such problem, and he was much happier working on their roofs, but the recession had slowed things down there and these days he was forced to deal almost entirely with the cognitively damaged educated and professional classes.

“They hire someone—this has happened several times—so they don’t have to talk to me,” he went on, growing more animated and reddening with amazement. “It’s like they’re afraid of me! So they hire a guy who’s more comfortable dealing with a masculine-type person. I stand there and talk to the customer, and the customer doesn’t talk to me or look at me, he talks to the intermediary, and the intermediary talks to me. It’s the yuppie buffer.” … This was a completely new phenomenon in the roofer’s world: a mass upper class that was so immersed in symbolic and digital cerebration that it had become incapable of carrying out the most ordinary functions—had become, in effect, like small children with Asperger’s symptoms. It was a ruling class that, out of sheer over-civilization, was quickly losing the ability to hold onto its power.

Categories: Culture, Education, Society

Cool Video

April 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Okay, this is pretty silly, but I can’t resist. I’ve watched it several times in the last week. (HT: Andrew Sullivan.) Now I’m sharing it. Click on Auto Tuning below.

Auto Tuning from Casey Donahue on Vimeo.

(Unfortunately, I can’t figure out a way to embed videos from Vimeo directly into wordpress blog posts. They allow embedding of youtube videos, so you can see an image from a video in the blog post and can click and play it within the post. But in this case all I can do is provide the link.)

Categories: Music

Kenny Perry’s Masters?

April 11, 2009 2 comments
Kenny Perry, 2002 US Open, Bethpage Black

Kenny Perry, 2002 US Open, Bethpage Black

It’s Saturday night, between days 3 and 4 of the Masters golf tournament, one of my favorite sporting events of the year and my absolute favorite in terms of television coverage. (For decades, CBS has agreed to have very few advertising interruptions during its broadcast, which is part of what makes the coverage so good, but even better is that they also have no promos of upcoming shows, no telling us 5 times an hour what shows are coming up tonight, or when 60 Minutes will be on, or whatever. Just golf. And, of course, it’s the Masters. Great golf. Great setting. Beautiful shots.) My general preference is to have nothing else going on on Masters weekend, but in recent years, I rarely seem to be so lucky. In 2003, I spent the final day heading to Pullman, Washington with my colleague Michael Halleran for the opening that evening of the annual meeting of Pac 10 (+ Hawaii and Alaska) arts and sciences deans. In 2004, the final day coincided with Easter, as happens from time to time, meaning we had company and couldn’t just watch all day. In 2005 we were visiting my parents in New York. In 2006, I had to take Joel to the airport so he could fly back to LA for school at the end of spring break. In 2007 we had the Easter conflict again. Last year, we found ourselves flying to O’Hare and renting a car to drive east on Masters Saturday, and driving back to O’Hare on Sunday, though we did catch the very end at the O’Hare Hilton. This year, yet more conflicts. The wedding today the daughter of a cousin of Gail’s. Easter tomorrow. Sigh.

But, we do have satellite radio in the car, so we could listen to some of the coverage as we drove down to the wedding, some 40 miles away from here, and listen again as we drove back. We got back to the house as the final pair, Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell, arrived at the 18th green and putted out. The result, as you may know, is that Perry is tied for the lead with Angel Cabrera, Campbell finishing two strokes back. Will Kenny win tomorrow? Will I be able to watch it tomorrow? More later. But for now, a few words on Kenny.
Read more…

Categories: Family, Sports, Travel