30 June 2009

Red Sox Fans > Yankees Fans

Or, Things I Learned at the Game Last Night

  1. The Orioles starting pitching, after Uehara, really is awful.
  2. Camden Yards is gorgeous and perfect for baseball, but we really could use some cool evening breezes - 82 degrees and humid at 9:30 at night is slightly too much for me.
  3. Despite the (i.e. yet another) loss, the game was probably worth it just to watch Alex Jones steal one from well over the center field all. There's a decent photo here, but I have to ask how it is that the Baltimore Sun has no photo of this amazing catch.
  4. Finally, I learned that Red Sox fans come out in droves and fill up Camden Yards, just like Yankees fans. I learned that on "Prime Game" nights you will not only pay more for an extra ticket, but you will have to endure opposing team's fans being much louder than Orioles fans. However, and most importantly, I learned that the Red Sox fans are MUCH more pleasant to deal with. They were much less arrogant and obnoxious than the Yankees fans, seeming to be there for the game rather than to "be seen" rooting for their team and proving to everyone that their team existed on a different plane than baseball - which appeared to me to be the Yankee's fans m.o. The guys next to us last night stood with all the Orioles fans to applaud Jones's incredible catch.

26 June 2009

And another multiple choice question

Is Clarence Thomas...

A. Insane
B. An Idiot

I've actually read his dissent in Safford v. Redding and found it truly shocking – well beyond the expectations I would already have for Thomas. School officials strip-searched a 13 year-old girl, including making her pull back the elastic on her bra and underwear, all in a failed attempt to locate the suspected Ibuprofen – yes, that's right, the contraband they were explicitly looking for was Ibuprofen – that they could not find in her backpack or clothing. The Court in its 8-1 decision found this a violation of the girl's 4th amendment rights. But not Thomas. His logic goes like this:

The reasonable suspicion that Redding possessed the pills for distribution purposes did not dissipate simply because the search of her backpack turned up nothing. It was eminently reasonable to conclude that the backpack was empty because Redding was secreting the pills in a place she thought no one would look (emphasis added).

That is some powerful logic. Well, it's powerful at least if you are using a logic textbook written by Orwell or Kafka. It's conspiracy theory and Bush-like authority theory elevated to the level of Supreme Court decision.

19 June 2009

This is worrying

The fact that of the entire population of the US House of Representatives, I find myself agreeing only with one, and his name is Ron Paul – coupled with the fact that I find the reasons he gives for his vote not just persuasive but downright eloquent....all this, is worrying.

10 June 2009


1. The sports lived up to my hype:
  • a flawless final round 65 gives Tiger another victory
  • Federer becomes 'the greatest player ever'
  • Pens and Wings head on to Game 7

2. It's got to get worse for the housing market:

05 June 2009

Sports Update

It's a good time for sport, and it's about to get better:

French Open
With Nadal's first ever loss at Roland Garros, Federer has the chance to final win this title and thereby achieve the "Career Grand Slam." This extra excitment at the French will only add to the anticipation of Wimbledon. If you didn't see last year's final between Nadal and Federer, and you are a fan of sports, then I'm very sorry for you.

I would also note that Nadal may be the most genuine individual we find who is also a sports megastar. Everyone could learn from his press releases. Here's how he announced that he won't be able to defend his title at Queen's, due to an injury:

To play in London has always been special for me, to play at the Queen's Club is an honor and the fans in the UK are among the best I have ever seen, always supporting me since the first time I played there. I have been having some problems in the past months with my knees and [need to] get ready for the grass to play at Wimbledon. I hope I can be ready to compete by then. I am really sorry and I hope that the people at the tournament will still want me to come next year.

Stanley Cup Finals
It's pretty simple: if you can't enjoy this year's Cup Finals, then you have no business ever trying to become a hockey fan. It's the best hockey I have seen since I watched the Oilers win a few cups in the 80s.

This week's Memorial Tournament (Jack's tournament), is a serious tune-up for the US Open. This year the US Open returns to Bethpage Black, making this the first time in history that the US Open has been played back to back on public courses. Bethpage will have 3 par 5's over 500 yards and is likely to increase its almost mythic status as one of the hardest golf courses in the world. Tiger seems to be headed in the right direction, and everyone hopes that Amy Mickelson's treatment for breast cancer is progressing such that Phil can be there to give Tiger a good run.

04 June 2009

Multiple Choice

A. The housing market is near bottom now, with some great deals on certain properties. With the $8K housing bribe, historically low interest rates, and deals to be had, now is THE time to buy - especially if you can get a property at 35% to 45% off peak prices.

B. The housing tumble has barely started. Foreclosures in May will be at an all time high (fact), the Alt-A crisis is as big as the sub-prime crisis, and we now have a looming 'prime crisis' when people with good credit and some assets lose their job or walk away from their mortgage because they are under water. With interests rates sure to rise significantly over the next few years and the effects of the recession yet to really hit the housing market (the housing collapse CAUSED the recession, but there will be a feedback loop), prices have much further to go. With a very FLAT bottom still a couple of years away, you would be INSANE to buy right now.

Please give precise and convincing evidence for your answer. And do it quickly, because we're having an awful time trying to figure out if we should put in an offer...

02 June 2009

A small slice of my very peculiar utopia

As the post below revealed starkly, and as many out there already knew, I play golf. It's important to note the construction of that declaration. First, despite the somewhat odd contribution from a commenter (on the previous post) unknown to me, I'm not making any claims about whether golf is a sport - an inane debate that I refuse to engage in. Next, golf is not a verb. One does not 'go golfing'. I don't care that people say that, they are just as wrong as if they said they were going 'tennising'. One plays golf, or plays a round of golf. In Britain, one can even 'have a game' of golf or ask 'how was your game?' but that construction walks a fine line that few Americans can pull off.

Now, when I say 'I play golf' I mean something much different than when a lot of Americans, today, say it. For me it is not a past-time, but a passion. I want to play golf not to enjoy the outdoors (though that is a nice side-benefit), nor to drink beer, nor to smoke cigars, nor to ride around in a ridiculous golf cart. I play golf in order to get better at playing golf. It is a terribly difficult and endlessly frustrating game; it is unconquerable, unmasterable, and tests any individual's limits of patience. And it's a very different (and mostly better) game when there is some real pressure involved - when each shot matters. This is why tournament golf is actually a totally different game, and why most people who say they play golf are talking about something different.

Given my line of work and given my friends, I know almost no one who plays golf. One reader of this blog is an exception, and perhaps the only one I can think of. So in addition to all the other things I'm whinging about above, there's the issue of always having to join up with strangers when I play.

That's all context...on to the story

Yesterday it was about 72 degrees here with bright blue skies and almost no humidity. And I got a text inviting me to join a foursome that included:
1) a veteran competetive amateur in the area who has won a number of local and regional tournaments.
2) another local who has qualified for the mid-amateur twice and won his local club championship by 23 strokes (!)
3) a senior on a top NCAA golf team who qualified for the US amateur last year.

It was a dream round. After 8 holes our foursome had 8 birdies. They partnered me, the relative hack, with #3 (no, not that #3) and together we shot about 66 better ball. He was 3 under after 6 and finished around 70. I held my own with a 74. Our oppenents were both around that number as well. In addition, they gave me strokes, and were not happy about it as the round went on. So I netted a few dollars in the end...But it wasn't about the money and it was only about the match to the extent that twice on the back 9 I had to make difficult par putts when my partner had bogied, and it's hard to describe what it's like when you feel all that pressure and then execute properly.

To paraphrase Bob Johnson, it was a great day for golf.