Archive for August 6, 2009

Wise Catch

August 6, 2009 Leave a comment


Yes, I know, I’m way late on this, but as I already explained earlier this evening, my trip to New York two weeks ago has completely wrecked my blogging. And in fact it was because of my traveling that day that I didn’t see the catch in the first place. I’m referring of course to White Sox outfielder Dewayne Wise’s historic catch two weeks ago tonight of the fly ball that Tampa Bay Ray batter Gabe Kapler hit to open the top of the 9th, thereby preserving the perfect game that pitcher Mark Buehrle would complete two batters later.

As you may recall, I landed at JFK around 5:00 PM two weeks ago, with Joel due to land 52 minutes later. But he didn’t arrive for over 3 hours. The good news, for him, is that while he was stuck in Boston on his JetBlue flight as it awaited permission to take off, he was able to watch the game on the small TV screen in the seat in front of him, on ESPN via satellite. The good news for me is that I wasn’t stuck on an airplane any longer. But I didn’t have access to TV, so I missed the excitement. Well, if only I knew, I could have followed the game, pitch by pitch, on my iPhone.

In any case, once Joel arrived, as we drove off in our rental car, he asked if I heard about Buehrle’s game. A no-hitter, I asked? No. A perfect game? Yes. And in the hotel that evening, I saw the highlight of the game, Wise’s catch. I can’t find the video on youtube or I would embed it in this post. You can see it, if you haven’t, by going here.

This past Sunday’s NYT had an excellent article by Tyler Kepner on the catch and on other great catches in baseball history. See also the accompanying slide show with photos of Wise’s catch and seven more. (Of those shown, I’m partial to Dewey Evans’ catch in the sixth game of the 1975 World Series.)

From Kepner’s article: Read more…

Categories: Baseball

Flat Earth Bipartisanship

August 6, 2009 Leave a comment


Paul Krugman has wide enough exposure that I have generally not linked to his columns or blog. You don’t need me to point you to him. But I was struck by a short post of his two days ago, so I will over-ride my practice of Krugman eschewal in order to bring it to you. In the post, he gives yet another example of the mainstream media’s guiding principle that every issue must have two sides.

Long ago I said that if liberals said the Earth was round, while conservatives said it was flat, the news headlines would read “Shape of the planet: both sides have a point.” But I encountered a new wrinkle today.

I was tentatively scheduled to be on a broadcast dealing with — well, I won’t embarrass them. But first they had to find someone to take the opposite view. And it turned out that they couldn’t — which led to canceling the whole segment.

In a way this goes beyond my original point, which was the unwillingness of the news media to referee a controversy by actually reporting the facts. Now it seems that a fact isn’t worth reporting unless someone is prepared to deny it.

Krugman links in his post to his column from November 1, 2000, written just a week before the election. I followed the link and realized that I remember reading the column. Krugman kept saying, in the run-up to the election, that Bush was flat out lying on economic issues. People didn’t want to listen, and most of the media Bush him a pass, as they continued to do for years. Read it and weep.

Categories: Journalism


August 6, 2009 Leave a comment


On the heels of my finishing Fred Kaplan’s new book 1959: The Year Everything Changed (about which I blogged last week), the NYT had an article in this past Sunday’s automobile section on the peak of the automobile tailfin craze, yet another 1959 highlight.

Inspired by aircraft of the 1940s, tailfins inched upward through the ’50s to reach their zenith on the 1959 Cadillac. That car and many others presented a comic-book vision of travel — over the earth and through space — that was to evolve in the early ’60s into less fanciful designs more attuned to the actual spacecraft that were by then putting Americans into orbit.

“Tailfins embodied a feeling of prosperity and jet-age excitement,” said Jeffrey Leestma, president of the Automotive Hall of Fame here. Last weekend the Hall of Fame made tailfins the theme of its annual classic car show, which included 40 models.

This Sunday, another collection of fins will command attention at the Meadow Brook Concours d’Élégance in Rochester Hills, Mich. A display called “Fins and Chrome: The Convertibles of 1959” will feature 14 models, including one of each of the Big Three’s car lines.

“General Motors and Chrysler became involved in a game of one-upmanship in fins,” Mr. Leestma said. “And they grew to a huge extent by 1959. By 1963 or so they were completely gone.”

Despite my two trips to Dearborn this past winter, I didn’t make it to the Automotive Hall of Fame. Too bad. I sure would have enjoyed the show two weekends ago. As a substitute, be sure to see the slide show that accompanies the NYT article.

Categories: Automobiles, Design

9 Zucchini, 2 Squash

August 6, 2009 Leave a comment


Maybe an overflowing garden is one of those topics that is more interesting to the possessor than to others. But what’s the point of having a blog if you don’t get to write about topics in a self-absorbed way?

We have a garden. It’s still a novelty, and one we pay insufficient attention to. Gail’s time in culinary school finally inspired her two years ago to take the plunge. But, you know, we aren’t ones to get our hands too dirty. We talked to our gardener, who agreed to construct a raised bed and to re-work the irrigation system in order to bring water to it. Then we spoke to our brother-in-law Jim, raised on a farm in Wisconsin and still a farmer at heart, who agreed to plant the garden. Well, Gail helped with the planting. I didn’t.

And then the slugs came. Gail decided gardening wasn’t so much fun after all. We had a modest harvest and called it a day.

Last year we decided to let the garden lay fallow. We didn’t reach a careful, scientific consensus on this. We just didn’t bother doing anything.

I suggested this year that Jim might have missed getting to plant last year and might be hoping to do it again. Gail checked with him. He was indeed eager to help. Gail bought seeds, Jim planted, vegetation arose. Gail picked a couple of small peppers. Some rhubarb. She clipped lettuce leaves for several June and July salads. She wondered where the tomatoes were. The plants were tall but weren’t bearing fruit.

Two days ago Bert, our carpenter, pointed out that we might want to pay attention to the zucchini. We walked over to the garden with him and were stunned. More zucchini than we could use in a year, and all of the huge. I always hear about people trying to unload their zucchini. Now we’re the unloaders. We brought them in yesterday morning. Nine of them, any one of which would satisfy my zucchini desire for months, given that I’m not even fond of it. And two squash. The tomatoes have appeared, though they are far from ripe. There are a few beautiful peppers. We’ll be paying closer attention for the rest of the month.

Do you want a zucchini?

Categories: Food, House

Blogger Block

August 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Writers Block

I set a record in July for number of posts. 57. My old record was 36, achieved twice. I ended the month by choosing a new design for the blog. And then I had my first blogger block since I started last September. And not because of a shortage of material. The starting point of the problem, I believe, was my departure for New York two weeks ago today, the day of the Tour de France’s time trial. Then there was the long-anticipated climb of Mont Ventoux two days later, and a day after that was the concluding stage, which ended as I was boarding my return flight to Seattle. It took two more days for me to get fully caught up. I had so much I wanted to say about the Tour — not just the event itself, but the odd experience I had in my attempts to follow its final four days. But I wrote about other matters first, since the moment seemed to have passed, and now it has really passed.

And then the painters arrived, a week ago today. They’ve been in the house the last six weekdays, and they still have a ways to go, what with the remodel upstairs, the entire exterior of the house, and the kitchen. With that and other remodel activities, the house is noisy and messy. The weekend might have been a peaceful opportunity to blog, but we were hardly here. Friday night we saw Gail’s niece (in from Idaho), her new baby, and assorted other family members. Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon were Gail’s 35th high school reunion. I got to meet some people I’ve heard of for years and some I never heard of. The cheerleaders. The LA make-up artist who now practices here. The LA chemical engineer who left the city and his career behind in order to raise his kids in Vermont. The government employee who has been stationed all over the world but now lives in Fairfax, Virginia. I always pictured Gail’s classmates as immature kids. All my images were of the past. Although I shouldn’t have been, I couldn’t help being surprised Saturday night when I saw how old they all look.

And now I have a new reason not to blog. I pre-ordered a book from Amazon back in May and it arrived yesterday. A thriller, a sequel to one from a year ago that I read when we were in Ojai and Montecito that July. I’m 70 pages in. But I’m going to force myself to write a few posts before going back to it.

Let’s get to it.

Categories: Writing