Archive for April, 2008

Getting my hands dirty

Posted on April 28, 2008. Filed under: Random Thoughts | Tags: |

It had been a long week. Lots of daily work stuff going on, some good, some bad. You know, one of those weeks we all have.

But this weekend, I actually did something different. I unplugged as much as I could, and my wife and I went out, bought some plants and replanted our garden. It’s not anything that no one else has done. We couldn’t find a way to use Web 2.0 technologies to make the event more social, interact with gardeners worldwide, or set up a system in which the plants could communicate via FriendFeed.

We didn’t even take any pictures.

But at the end of the morning, as it started to rain, I packed up the bags of weeds, old plants and dead leaves, went inside and took a shower (Because I was actually dirty, not because it’s the appropriate thing to do each day), and today, feel like I actually did something that I’ll be able to see two months from now without having to use a search function of any kind.

Of course, now I am posting it on a blog to end the romance of it all. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

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A year later, I guess Pedroia can stay

Posted on April 23, 2008. Filed under: Sports | Tags: |

Dustin PedroiaImage via Wikipedia

A year ago today, a rookie second baseman named Dustin Pedroia knocked in his first runs of the season, as a 2-hit performance got his average back UP to .205. It dropped down to .172 by May 1.

I guess we’re glad the boo-birds calling for Alex Cora to play every day last year didn’t get their way.

ESPN – Dustin Pedroia Stats, News, Photos – Boston Red Sox

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A belated case of Bad Voodoo

Posted on April 18, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

I was realizing recently that I have been posting a lot of crap. Not badly written, but just sort of mundane items. So here I sat, looking for inspiration.

Then I decided to catch up on Frontline.

I hadn’t watched the April 1 episode, called “Bad Voodoo’s War,” until tonight. Want to remind yourself of what 140,000+ Americans face in Iraq and Afghanistan? Watch it.

Don’t want to remind yourself? Then definitely watch it. I find that regardless of what your position on the war, and whether we should be there or not — the true cost of the conflict, and the true heroism of those who are there, is most evident when you actually look at it through human eyes. These guys are the real deal, and it’s really easy for people here to forget about it.

I think recently, I have been one of those people. I haven’t thought about the war as much, except as a piece of Congressional testimony. I’ve thought about taxes. I’ve thought about health care. I’ve thought about politics. I’ve thought about my fantasy baseball team.

So for a little while… I’m thinking about Iraq – not as a cause, or a struggle against terrorism, or anything else, except as a place where real people are doing real work, in real danger.

So if you haven’t considered any personal war stories recently, here are 30 of them. Take a closer look at who they are. The only difference between them and the other guys is that they documented their lives for Frontline. And told a hell of a story. Here’s to them – hope they make it home safely. Thanks.

Bad Voodoo Platoon — Team Members

Watch “Bad Voodoo’s War” at

(NECN aired a great documentary about the pain the families of New England’s fallen have faced, which has picked up a lot of awards, called “Remember Us.” It’s another worthwhile view – and I would bet we bring it out for more airings around Memorial Day.)

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Suddenly the Fenway beer lines don’t seem so bad

Posted on April 14, 2008. Filed under: Random Thoughts, Sports | Tags: , , |

So, I got a chance to go to Fenway this week with my wife and my friend Steve. Of my many observations, a few little nuggets of note. First, public thanks to Steve, who has the kind of seats that make you appreciate Fenway even more, get you on TV when they show the first base coach, and give you a legitimate chance of catching (or getting killed by) a foul ball. Kinda makes you pay attention.

Three observations:

1. Those people who have the really good seats, and you wonder how they got them? Yeah, I still have no idea. Steve said something about a neighbor who had tickets since Cy Young was on the mound…

2. There is no such thing as a warm April night at Fenway.

3. And they serve beer in the seats in these expensive seats! Sounds sort of elitist, but I was thinking about it economically, and really, if you are spending $2 per minute (or more) for the game, 15 minutes in a beer line would be a drag.

Except for one thing. They bring you the beer. They open it. They pour it. You give them your ID. They check it. They give you your beer. AND THEY STAND RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU THE WHOLE TIME! I mean, hey, it’s a beer. In a seat. At Fenway. So, I’m willing to put up with a lot.

But it’s worse when the fine people in the row in front of you order their four beers and you can watch the nice vendor pour and serve. And pour and serve. And pour and serve. And pour and serve. Or even better, when the guys in the row behind you order their beers and your view gets blocked by the person in front of you who now has to use the rest room after enjoying his frosty cool beverage, but can’t get by the very pleasant vendor who is pouring. And serving. And pouring…

The Way Fenway Should BeThe Way It Was

Which one did I see more on the night? The one on the right.

Of course, if Steve wants to invite me again, I’m willing to reevaluate. Because hey, I’m a giver.

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New England’s Metal Tulips

Posted on April 9, 2008. Filed under: Random Thoughts, Weather | Tags: , , |

Look in a New England garden this time of year, and you can see them sprouting. Daffodils and tulips. (I think they’re tulips, right? I’m no garden guy.)

Look on the roadways, and it’s metal tulip season. What’s a “metal tulip?”

Objects in mirror are colder than they appear

They’re those little mobile things we call convertibles. At this time of year, they are seen in 35 degree weather like this morning, with the top down, but the windows rolled up and the heat cranked high enough that they create a little pocket of global warming around them. (It’s metal, and it’s bowl-shaped, like a tulip. Work with me here, please.)

I’m not complaining. I see them, and their counterparts, as another sure sign of spring.

Other roadway horticulture:

The two-wheeled thistle: A motorcyclist so bundled up that they look like a puffball riding a bicycle.

The steaming rose: A car with a sunroof open in weather cold enough that you can see the heat exiting the car into the surrounding atmosphere.

Oh, and don’t take pictures of objects in your rear-view mirror while driving. Do as I say…

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It’s just a fantasy…

Posted on April 6, 2008. Filed under: Random Thoughts, Sports | Tags: , , |

Once again, I am faltering at my regularity with which to post to the Yankee. I’ll blame it on the New York Times story about the dangers of blogging, but really it’s just my own disorganization and busy-ness. And part of it is sports. I am a sports fan, and this time of year is like my mecca. It’s even better than the fall confabulation that is the baseball home stretch combined with the beginnings of football, basketball and hockey, because you have two sports coming down to the wire, plus the beginning of baseball (which is sometimes more downright fun than the end), plus all sorts of random things — like today, I wanted to see (but missed) the FA Cup semifinal. Oh, and then there’s the Final Four.

And for me, baseball is made a little more fun because I (drum roll please) play fantasy baseball. Before you click away, i’ll tell you why I am hooked, and it’s more than the numbers. (I am an accountant’s son, but still…) Here’s what I like – I get to pay attention to more than just the Boston Red Sox. I get to pay attention to more than just the majors. I get to care whether Rick Porcello can make his way quickly through the minors. I get to wonder whether John Patterson can find his talent and resurrect his career. In looking at the numbers, I actually get more invested in the stories of the individual players who make up the game. The average Sox fans cares about 5 players. I care about all 25, in some form. And there’s a group of people I got to see this weekend — a group I only see once per year — and we have a kind of fun common bond.

So I end up preparing and studying Major League rosters more than I might otherwise. OK, a lot more. But for those of you who dismiss it as a bunch of nerds playing with numbers, well, you’re right to a point, but there are interesting stories here that are a little bit more than the average Joe watching at home (or Johnny working at Burger King, for you Keith Foulke fans,)  might get out of it.

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The fine line between clever and Fool-ish?

Posted on April 1, 2008. Filed under: Random Thoughts | Tags: , , |

So, open question to the world.

What’s your take on April Fools Day pranks, and whether reputable news organizations (well, ones that try to be reputable) should or shouldn’t take part in a little Foolery. I had a couple of ideas myself, but am a strong believer that things like this need to be done well to work, and I didn’t have the time to do it well.

So, can news people have a sense of humor and get away with it? I have been surprised by the number of people I thought might say “Yes” to that question, who look at me aghast and say, “Hell no!”


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