Thursday, April 27, 2006

3/23/2006 - Can't forget the Motor City

I really intended to write 3 posts about the city of Detroit and I've been putting it off for weeks.  I'm finally going to make good on my self-imposed word, starting with a story from Ace Virtual Reporter Zenith.  Zenith, an erstwhile resident of this lovely city sent me the following story from her youth:

    "Every year, somewhere between July 1st (Canadian Independence) and July 4th (US Independence) the cities of Detroit and Windsor hold a major fireworks display called the 'Freedom Festival'.  Both cities contribute a lot of money towards this extravaganza to celebrate liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness (and whatever Canada stands for).  One year, when I was 13 (or so) my mother obtained tickets to ride a ferry down the Detroit River to view the fireworks. 

    It had the potential to be majestic. 

    It was majestic floating down the river, watching the sunset and listening to the music.  Then the fireworks started and with the beautiful colors came the loudest noises ever.  I knew that I was scared of the sound of fireworks.  It had never occurred to me that it would be louder on the river (the source of the fireworks was another boat on the river) and that there would be nowhere to hide.  So here I was, stuck on a boat at night, in the middle of the Detroit River, trying hard to maintain my teenage composure.  Freedom had a much different meaning for me when I walked off the boat that night."

Hmm.  This story sounds oddly reminiscent of one of my own memories a VW bug, lemon drops and all the screaming I could produce.

8,100 steps today.  SISS-BOOM-BAH!

3/22/2006 - Amazin'!

I have decided to follow (somewhere between "ignore" and "root for") the New York Mets.  Why?  I recently spent some time with my parents, during which I discovered that my father isn't really into baseball this season.  Not that he doesn't like it, just that he hasn't had time for it.  While this is not, technically, a crime, it is very sad to me.  Were it not for my father, I would not be the sports fan I am today, and I would be missing out.  Was it not my father who took me Shea and Veterans so many years ago, so we could root for the likes of Doc, Straw, HoJo and El Sid?  Was it not my father who taught me how to keep score (and instilled in me importance of watching the pitch count)?  Was it not my father who bought me "Pure Baseball," the best book on baseball that I have ever read?

In fact, it was.

So, this season, I shall expand my horizons by watching a few Mets games (on, of course), reading the NYT (Zumbrano appears to be having issues) and listening to Mets podcasts (haven't yet -- too much basketball).  If my fiendish plan works, I shall engage my father in many a conversation about the upwards bound Mets and their likely post-season performance.  How often does one get to listen to sports radio and engage in filial piety at the same time?

Side note - starting with this post and for the next 2 weeks, you will notice much less footage at the bottom of the post.  On the 21st of March I became quite sick (as was my wife -- we were a pair).  I had intended to go back to work on the 22nd but rather found myself lying in bed all day.  Somehow I managed to pick a few thousand steps, but I really wasn't the same for a good couple of weeks.  Enough about that.

4,600 steps today.  Ah-choo.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

3/21/2006 - And now back to our regularly scheduled blog

So I faced a dilemma after my vacation. I was about 3 weeks behind on the blog when I left and I did no blogging during, leaving me a whopping 5 weeks behind on this date. What to do?

Props to my sister-in-law for the suggestion. I am about to blog Detroit, so SIL recommends that I just take a few weeks and hang out there. So in Detroit was fun and I will have much to say about it.



13,000 steps today. Cheers,

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

3/20/2006 - This break was brought to you by

Passover. As anemic as my posting has been over the past couple of weeks, it will be more so as I take 2 weeks to roam about the country.

Thanks for standing by.

12,100 steps today. Cheers,

Friday, April 07, 2006

3/19/2006 - D-Fense

The end of the NBA regular season is approaching and I am hoping that my devoted readers will forgive me if I embark on a series of intermittent posts reflecting on the game as my team (the Nets) marches towards possible victory.  Knowing my audience, and the die-hard basketball fans that they are not, I will attempt to reflect on the sort of interesting tidbits that require no taste for the game.

The Nets have just won their 14th game in a row, a rather unimaginable feat made all the better by knowing that they did so against many of the best teams in the league.  Throughout the streak, critics have complained that there was something unreal about the streak, that it made the Nets appear to be better than they actually are.  I think I know why and I think that the critics are wrong.

Basketball is a game of scoring.  Unlike in where 2-1 is a high scoring game, basketball is a game of points.  Teams frequently top 100.  If the Nets had gone on their streak by suddenly scoring 120 points a night, the critics would have stayed in their arm chairs and not commented.  But rather, the Nets achieved there streak by suddenly stepping up the defense.  A statistic that is frequently mentioned is how often the Nets have held the opposition to under 20 points in a quarter (as opposed to 24 or 25 which might be considered a league average quarter).  The funny thing is that, despite this achievement, critics tend to denigrate the individual Nets players as not being good defenders.

Why?  There are few good defensive stats.  It is easy to measure who scores a lot of points, and who helps whom score a lot of points.  But defense is hard.  There are blocked shots and steals, but typically you don't see much of these, so they don't explain the difference between scoring 100 points and only scoring 85.  There are rebounds, but that doesn't really explain why the other team missed the shot.  And there is opponents shooting percentage, but it's hard to say whose responsible for that.

The Nets are clearly doing something right, but nobody is measuring it back to the individuals, a problem that is endemic to the sport.  I actually think that I have a method for measuring such statistics.  Oh, it would cost $1,000,000 to implement with no guarantee of success, but it's a method alright.  I actually had a chance to pitch it to the Nets once.  I came across the name of someone in HR, responsible for hiring and sent her in my method.  The response?  No response.  They laughed at Einstein, too.

20,100 unrequited steps today.  Cheers,

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

3/18/2006 - The youngest bloggers

And now, as promised, some of the world's youngest bloggers (with much thanks to Daniel H.).

I'd like to start with Alex's basketball notes. At first I gave Alex extra points because he pulls for the Nets, but then I noticed that he writes excitedly about any team that does anything cool. Fair enough.

Next is Khayyami who blogs very well, but much like I would expect an 8-year old to blog. Then again, I have seen adults who blog less lucidly than Khayyami.

I dreamt last night about a horse. Not about a horse. About something. I hate my hair.

Finally, there is Rohan. Daniel and I both think that Rohan is getting some outside help. I am generally ashamed at how much poorer my grammar is than Rohan's.

We also found several blogs of babies under the age of 1. I have decided that these count no more than my fridge's blog:

I feel a bit cold today. Something stinks in the state of Denmark. No, that's just my vegetable crisper. Don't these people care about me? 3 steps today. Cheers.
I'm going to give the nod to Khayyam. Khayyam, feel free to comment on my blog to claim your prize.

18,900 immature steps today. Cheers,

Monday, April 03, 2006

3/17/2006 - For Carmen Miranda

Re-reading the previous post made me realize that I had to post the following (with credit to Trout Fishing in America):

It's called Apple-Piney
Its top is kind of spiny
It's tasty but not tiny
I want to make it mine-y
I promise not to whine-y
Or even start to cry-ny
But my eyes might shine-ny
'Til I get apple-piney

It tastes great with strawberry
Except in Feburary
That's a better month for cherry
Or reading Che Gueverry
You might try with some mango
Or maybe nectarango
But always when you dine-ny
Include some apple-piney


It was on Lag B'Omer
We saw Manny hit a homer
It went out of the domer
Way up in Torontomer
My daddy got all munchy
He wanted something crunchy
And I said "Well then try-ny,
"Some of my dried apple-piney."

It's called Apple-Piney
Its top is kind of spiny
It's tasty but not tiny
I want to make it mine-y
I promise not to whine-y
Or even start to cry-ny
But I would give my heiny
To get some more apple-piney!

16,200 pineapples today. Hooray!

3/16/2006 - Comber, ON

Last stop in Canada (for now). Here I am in Comber, ON. So what's to do in Comber? I started out at the Comber and District Historical Society Museum, which had a lovely exhibit on farm life in an earlier era (hint: no GMOs).

Unfortunately, that's about all I found. So I will end this segment of my journey with the following words of wisdom, from Trout Fishing in America:

"Pico de gallo
You ought to give it a try-o
Even if you’re from Onatri-i-o
It’ll get you by-o
Don’t get it in your eye-o
Unless you want to cry-o
So come on don’t be shy-o
Eat some pico de gallo"

17,500 southern steps today. Cheers,