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Monthly Archives: July 2009

Big Papi, say it ain’t so

Thing is, I love David Ortiz. I love his Comcast commercials from a few years back, where he told us about his recipe for mango salsa. I love his big, goofy, catlike smile. And, especially, I love his walk-off home runs that always seem to come at the right time.

Thing is: how many games were won by David Ortiz walk-off homers that wouldn’t have been won otherwise? More to the point, how many games would we have lost if he hadn’t been juicing?

Even more to the point: would we have won either the 2004 or 2007 World Series if Manny and Papi hadn’t had PEDs injected into them? And if so: does this invalidate two of the happiest moments of my life?

Or is it all ok, because the Yankees were juicing too?

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

that thing with the professor and the cop and oh yeah the president, part two

I’m starting to rethink the whole Prof. Gates thing, in light of the 911 call placed by the neighbor.
First of all, it was unfair of me to assume that the neighbor was like the “Crazy McCain Lady” from SNL, as funny an image as it was.  Listening to the tape, the woman seems more concerned that someone might be breaking into her neighbor’s house than concerned that BLACK people are breaking into her neighbor’s house.  She never mentions race at all.

So, really, I’m going to give her maybe 1% of the blame now.  The other two…. well, Crowley’s no racist, rogue cop.  Gates is no Black Panther militant.  They found themselves in a sticky situation.  My Dad put it best.  He said that “500 years of racial oppression drove Professor Gates a little crazy.”  Which sums it up perfectly.  Having said that… Crowley wasn’t trying to oppress anyone.  What fuels a lot of “white resentment” these days – not all of it, mind you – is the sense that, yeah, slavery happened and Jim Crow happened and years and years of oppression happened, but our generation was raised not to be racist, so stop blaming us for everything just because we’re white.  And whether that’s true or not, that black people are blaming living, breathing, not-particularly-racist white people for the fact that, 200 years ago, white people owned slaves, that’s the sense we sometimes get.

Still, it’s a lot harder to “get over it” when your heritage is conspicuous and geographically significant.   In other words, I’m Irish, so I should hate the English for what they did 200 years ago to my ancestors, but, honestly, I could care less.  And that’s probably because my people have pretty much been running this country for the last fifty years.   Another example: there has been anti-semitism in this country, but it never reached the level of, say, the Holocaust, so you’d be hard pressed to find an American Jew who really hates the Germans of today.   But slavery led to poverty, which led to crime and a lack of education, which led to white people thinking black people were violent and stupid, which led to black people resenting white people for looking at them that way, which led to… and so it goes.

None of this excuses anything anyone did here.  I still think Gates shouldn’t have yelled at the cops, for the same reason that none of us should ever yell things at the cops if we don’t want to get arrested.  I still think Crowley should have assessed the situation, realized that the only things under threat here were Gates’s vocal cords from all that yelling, and walked away.  But, no, the neighbor wasn’t racist.  The only person who brought up race was Gates himself.  Do I think Crowley would have arrested a white Harvard professor in the same situation, like, say, Alan Dershowitz?  I do not.   But then again, I don’t think Alan Dershowitz would have had any reason to assume he was being hassled on account of his race.

UPDATE (11:28pm on July 29th) : I just caught the neighbor’s press conference on NBC Nightly News.  She seems even more reasonable than before.

I think we all thought this thing was all about racism, and all about the cops vs. the Blacks, and, more importantly, all about “the Culture Wars.”   And I think that’s what we wanted to see, even me, who obviously wanted the neighbor to be some crazy, 60-year old Fox News viewer so that I could place all my blame on my personal enemy of choice – not blacks, not cops, but Willfully Ignorant Middle Aged White People.  When it turned out that the woman who made the 911 call was apparently “color blind,” around my age, and (more importantly) very hurt that people would assume she was some Crazy Racist White Lady.

So, look: we live only a few miles from each other.  I may have seen this person, walking around town.  We may even know some of the same people.   If she happens – due to some bizarre coincidence – to be reading this:  I am extremely sorry I lept to my own knee-jerk Liberal reaction about this whole mess, and – yeah, I’ll say it – it’s a little bit misogynistic of me that I assumed I knew anything about you because you were a woman who happened to call 911 on a man who was breaking into his own home.  I leapt to the conclusion that you were an emotional reactionary, and that was extremely unfair and ugly of me. I’m sorry.  This whole case is messed up, and I blame you 0% for it.

I did a Google search looking for a picture of the woman – Lucia Whalen – that I could put up here, and I found this article from the Kansas City Star.   In this case, a thousand words are worth a picture (I hope.)  Here are two of the best comments I’ve ever read on any online article ever:

Shouldn’t the neighbors have recognized Professor Gates? He does have a rather distinctive appearance and apparently has lived in his house for some time. Don’t they see him picking up his mail, driving to work, checking his lawn, or what ever?

I don’t know many people who live on my street. That’s the way life is today. I think, however, that I would recognize who belongs where.

I once locked myself out of the house and had to climb up on a stack of garbage cans and wriggle into a window. Either nobody noticed, nobody cared, or they were too busy laughing to dial the police.

~mrhistory


Whalen should be the one invited to the White House. She is actually the only one of the 3 people involved who behaved 100% appropriately.

~apop

Well, there ya go.   It has to be said: back in 1951, Ralph Branca, a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, threw a pitch to Bobby Thompson of the New York Giants.  Thompson connected, hit a home run, and won the pennant for the Giants.  This was huge, and forever connected Branca and Thompson in the annals of sports history.   The two became close friends and frequently gave public speaking engagements together.

Anyone else wanna bet Crowley and Gates go out on the road together, signing autographs and making speeches?  Crowley used to teach a class on how not to be an evil, racist cop, and Gates is obviously used to making presentations to his classes.  This will happen.  I guarantee it.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

that thing with that Professor guy and the cop and oh yeah the President

I wasn’t going to write about this – I really wasn’t – but it happened in my back yard, so I gotta say something.

In case you haven’t been listening to certain easily excited newspeople lately, the Big Story is that Obama’s healthcare plan is looking like it might actually happen some white cop arrested some black Harvard professor in his own home for reasons the President referred to as “stupid.”  Well, actually, he said “the police officers acted stupidly.”  He wasn’t calling the cops stupid, because, really, he knows better, and if you think that’s what he said, you need to stop listening to that crap.

Look, I’m not going to recount the exact who’s, where’s, and what’s of the story, because everyone’s heard about this thing and everyone has an opinion on whose fault it is.  No one has all the facts, except those who were there, but everyone’s leaping to judgment, and I am nothing if not a lemming when it comes to this sort of thing.  So, here’s how I break it down in my own guilty, white, liberal head:

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Posted by on July 25, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

PANDAS!!!!

So, I’m at work, and this is on a OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT COMPUTER, so I really, really, really shouldn’t be posting this right now, but I gotta share this with ya cuz it’s pretty much the greatest thing ever.

The website of the National Zoo in Washington, DC features something called Panda Cam, which is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a Cam, where you can see teh PANDAZ!!!

Which is very relaxing and wonderful, actually.   Pandas are awesome, even when they’re just sitting around eating stuff.  I swear to God, watching this will make you happy, no matter what.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

WBCN: requiem for the rock

This Guy Right Here, at a WBCN event at Harper's Ferry

Note: In case you hadn’t heard, WBCN, the Rock of Boston, is closing up shop in mid-August after 41 years of broadcasting.  You probably know this, but I’m a DJ there.   This is mostly about my experience at the station – there have been plenty of obituaries written about 104.1 in the last few days.   Go read them, especially Danny Schecter’s.

It was January 2003.  I was driving back home from work, with a take-out order of egg lemon soup from the Greek place that I had ordered in hopes of fending off one of my nasty sinus infections.  I was driving on 495, it was about 5 o’clock at night, it was snowing lightly, and my phone rang.  It was my mother, telling me that she had received a phone call from Steven Strick at WBCN.

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we are coming

Watch Torchwood: Children of Earth when it rolls around on BBC America next week.   Just watch it.  I don’t care if you’ve never seen Torchwood, or if you don’t like science fiction, or if you don’t get BBC America, or if you don’t own a television, or if you don’t have eyeballs.  Find some eyeballs and watch it.   Best piece of serialized science fiction television ever.  Ever.

“But, Andy, Battlestar Gal-

“EVER!”

(do not question me, for I am GEEKUSA.)

What’s it about?  Well, without spoiling anything, it’s about this: one fine day, every child on the planet stopped and said, in unison, “WE ARE COMING.”  Turns out the “we” is an alien species who’s using the kids as a megaphone to announce their arrival.  The aliens do not have the best of intentions.  Neither, in fact, does the British government.   Things go very quickly from Independence Day to V for Vendetta. And that’s all I’m going to tell you.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2009 in doctor who, tv

 

mr. fancy-pants rock star tells us how to be big n’ famous like him

I think this may be Photoshopped from a picture of Borat, but whatever.

Nine Inch Nails monopticon Trent Reznor recently posted a list of awesome ideas for artists to get super-successful using the Web, and it makes a hell of a lot of sense.   Anyone with a blog, YouTube series, webcomic, band, photoblog, or anything remotely creative should print this out and paste it next to wherever they do their creative interwebs stuff.

His points make a lot of sense.  This really is a weird new world and, so long as you can create a solid base, you’re probably going to make a lot more money from merchandising than you are off of your actual artwork.  Amanda Palmer recently blogged about a spontaneous Twitter conversation that led to the spontaneous production of a spontaneous CafePress T-Shirt that netted her about $19,000 in one night, although to be fair, she (and Mr. Reznor) already have a pretty solid fanbase, and it’s unlikely you or I are going to score mad cash off of our sweet new T-shirt slogan (“What Do Fratboys Wash Their Hair With?  Natural Bro-tanicals!”) until we, too, amass an army of screaming teenagers in black tights.

Anyway, Janko on GigaOM weeded through The Trent’s original post, and came up with Five Important Points that make as much sense for YouTubers or Flash artists as they do for bands.  You’re not going to make any money off your content, you’re going to make your money off of a fanbase that likes your content enough to support it by buying t-shirts and things.  The Brothers Chaps were able to quit their jobs and spend all day making Strong Bad and Homestar cartoons because people kept buying their schwag (I’m thinking of them because I’m wearing my old Strong Bad shirt today.)  And you’re going to build a fanbase by giving your stuff away for free.  Crazy, right? 

The folksiest Web 2.0 pioneer there ever was.

Except… hasn’t public broadcasting essentially operated off of this principle for years?  We’ll give you quality programming for free, and if you like it, you’ll support us with your donations, and you’ll “buy” our tote bags and This Old House mugs and DVD collections of Miss Marple.  That’s right, fellow New Englanders – Fritz Wetherbee and Elaine Pasternack over at New Hampshire Public Television were doin’ the new media revenue thing twenty years before anyone.   As Trent says, any song you could possibly want is only a click away, so music and media are now free no matter what we do.   You want to make money as an artist?  Embrace it.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2009 in i hate teh internetz, music, not here, politics