1.14.2005

Showdown


Tomorrow at 4:30 p.m., the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets will square off at Heinz Field in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game. This guestblogger hails from the Iron City; our host Cap'n Pete fashions himself a Jets fan, for whatever reason.

Look for a battle much like the debates that occur on the pages of Coney Island: tenacious, hard-hitting, and mostly one-sided. The Jets don't even stand a chance.

The Steelers are coming off a 14-game winning streak, led by rookie phenom Ben Roethlisberger. Here is a team that mixes true talent with true grit, representing a town of hard-working, no-nonsense, gold-hearted folks. The Jets aren't even from New York--they play their "home" games in New Jersey.

Cap'n Pete has conveniently skipped town for the game, presumably to avoid witnessing the carnage in my presence. May the best team (read: Steelers) win.

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1.11.2005

What's in Your Fanny Pack?

A panel of technology leaders assembled by the Lemelson-MIT Program has come out with their long-awaited list of the top 25 innovations of the past 25 years. According to CNN, "Back in 1980, the expression 'you can't take it with you' carried a lot more weight than it does today--mainly because 'it' weighed too much. Over the past quarter century, though, scientific innovation has made almost everything portable."

The list includes cell phones, laptops, ATMs, memory storage disks, hybrid cars, and many more (20 more, to be precise). But one scientific innovation is noticeably absent from the inventory, especially since the group sought to recognize "non-medically related technological innovations that have become widely used since 1980, are readily recognizable by most Americans, have had a direct and perceptible impact on our everyday lives, and/or could dramatically affect our lives in the future."

That's right: I'm talking about the leather fanny pack. We "couldn't take it with us" because we had nothing to carry it in.

Sure, we had purses and pouches, backpacks and billfolds. But none were so stylish, streamlined, and superbly sensible as this wily wonder worn around the waist.

Ideal for navigating the crowds on Fifth Avenue or scaling the summit of Mount Everest, a fanny pack is the perfect companion for any excursion. (If you find yourself in London, however, be sure to call it a bum bag. For our friends across the pond, "fanny" refers to another part of the female anatomy--similar in location, but vastly different in function.)

I was recently visited by the Fanny Pack Fairy, so look for me out making the scene. But watch your step. You never know what I might be packing in that hip pack strapped to my hip.

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porter?

i go to work at 6:45.
work.
on the way home i resolve to take a month off from drinking and eating fast food. would like to lose weight and it's a waste of money.
return at 5:00
when i get home i get my daughter off to gymnastics and my wife and son to the library. i sit down and do work related work until 7:15.
7:15 is dinner when everybody will convene at the house. i had already started the soup boiling. there is a basketball game i would like to watch on espn. i don't get espn. so to a bar i must go.
son is refusing to eat. i really want to see the game. i feel justified in leaving the family at dinner to go watch a game. wife says, "go, just don't be stupid." she means don't spend too much and don't drive drunk. i say i'll just smoke now and have a soda at the bar. dinner seems to be going well. tip off was at 7:05. i'm now seriously feeling the family obligation pull. i don't really need to see a game on monday night.
DO I GO?

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1.10.2005

It has happened to me


Statistical Research Methods. this is what i remember. there was this thirty something guy. a little ugly with a developed belly. his arms and jewlery emanated self love. plus he didn't get it (statistics) i naturally did being an ex-baseball card collector. enough. he looked at my paper and saw my doodling of a golf course.
i smile. this is his opening of course. never smile at ugly guys.
hey, you got the golf fever too.
too? if you have it... no way.
once you get it you start buying clubs that you don't need. every year you must have the newest technology. i even got a job at the country club tending bar at nights. some teachers don't think a teacher should tend bar. i'm even wearing a ping shirt and i have a set of wedges in the trunk of my new car.
boy are we different.
phew.

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Two Announcements (updated)

1. Check out Chief Jason's post about his encounter with wild dogs (perhaps dogg is more apropos). It's a good little story.

2. I saw this guy's writing in a prominent publication a few weeks back so I e-mailed him and asked him to write here at Coney Island. He accepted. He has won countless awards for his achievements, including perfect attendance, and seems overqualified for a simple blog such as this. His spelling is impeccable and his wit is hardly unwitting. I'm sure you'll make him feel welcome, so give it up for...

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Politics of Delusion?

In a new article from Sojourner's Magazine, Jim Wallis has done a much better job of characterizing the liberal/conservative dilemma than any of my feeble attempts over the past few months (including my most recent HaloScan exchange with Cap'n Pete). Here are a few excerpts:


The competing ideological options, from which we are forced to choose, are perhaps at their lowest ebb in compelling the involvement of ordinary citizens in public life. It is not that people just don’t care, but that they feel un-represented and unable to vote for anything that expresses their best values. That is a serious political crisis, and we need better options. . . .

Simply put, the two traditional options in America (Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative) have failed to capture the imagination, commitment, and trust of a majority of people in this country. Neither has found ways to solve our deepest and most entrenched social problems. . . . The political Right and Left continue at war with each other, but the truth is that these false ideological choices themselves have run their course and become dysfunctional. . . .

To move away from the bifurcating politics of liberal and conservative, Left and Right, would be an enormously positive change and would open up a new "politics of solutions." Right now, Washington responds to a problem or crisis in two ways. First, politicians try to make us afraid of the problem, and, second, they look for somebody to blame for it. Then they watch to see whose political spin succeeded, either in the next poll or the next election. But they seldom get around to actually solving the problem. The media make everything worse by assuming that every political issue has only two sides instead of multiple angles to view and solve the problem. Addicted to conflict as their methodology, the media always seem to want to pitch a fight between polarized views instead of convening a public discussion to find serious
answers.

As Glenn Reynolds would say, read the whole thing. Wallis has done a nice job of describing the problem, but I wonder if his "politics of solution" is merely a pipe dream. His "fourth option" sounds almost utopian:

It is "traditional" or "conservative" on issues of family values, sexual integrity and personal responsibility, while being very "progressive," "populist," or even "radical" on issues like poverty and racial justice. It affirms good stewardship of the earth and its resources, supports gender equality, and is more internationally minded than nationalist - looking first to peacemaking and conflict resolution when it come to foreign policy questions. The people it appeals to (many religious, but others not) are very strong on issues such as marriage, raising kids, and individual ethics, but without being "right-wing," reactionary, mean-spirited, or scapegoating against any group of people, including gays and lesbians. They can be pro-life, pro-family and pro-feminist, all at the same time. They think issues of "moral character" are very important, both in a politician’s personal life and in his or her policy choices. Yet they are decidedly pro-poor, pro-racial reconciliation, critical of purely military solutions, and defenders of the environment.

Uh, sounds good to me. Where do I sign up?

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Bright Morning Ward

There's something happening when Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and M. Ward get together on stage and play. I should say more, but I can't right now.

It's just magical.

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1.09.2005

Which One Most Accurately Describes You?

Conservative
adj 1: resistant to change [ant: liberal] 2: opposed to liberal reforms 3: avoiding excess; "a conservative estimate" [syn: cautious] 4: unimaginatively conventional; [syn: button-down, buttoned-down] 5: conforming to the standards and conventions of the middle class; "a bourgeois mentality" [syn: bourgeois, materialistic] n : a person who has conservative ideas or opinions [syn: conservativist]

Progressive
adj 1: favoring or promoting progress; "progressive schools" [ant: regressive] 2: favoring or promoting reform [syn: reformist, reform-minded] 3: (of taxes) adjusted so that the rate increases as the amount increases [ant: regressive] 4: gradually advancing in extent 5: n 1: a tense of verbs used in describing action that is on-going [syn: progressive tense, imperfect, imperfect tense, continuous tense] 2: a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties [syn: liberal] [ant: conservative]

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TAKE ME TO CONEY ISLAND