In honor of this special day let’s revisit one of my favorite posts.
A friend of mine called me “crankypants” yesterday because of it, but I still hate switching to Daylight Saving Time. I’ve been congested and sleeping poorly the past week so I didn’t need to lose an hour of sleep on top of that.
Anyhow, I like this quote attributed to some unnamed Native American (who is thus probably entirely fictional) but speaks the truth:
When told the reason for daylight saving time the old Indian said… “Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.”
I also like this article “The 5 Stages of Daylight Saving Time” by fellow conspiracy victim Jennifer Fulwiler.
Earlier screeds against Daylight Saving Time:
I’ve read on several blogs and new sites about a recent study that apparently links research behavior at American universities with the NCAA Basketball Tournament. According to this study by Charles Clotfelter, after Selection Sunday when the tournament teams are announced, the number of articles viewed on JSTOR drop. What is really frustrating me about this study and all the people passing it along as a done deal in correlation is that it does not take into consideration one important factor.
Clotfelter doesn’t mention — and I haven’t seen anyone ask — what effect that Spring Break has on research behavior. Think about it. Every March colleges and universities have no classes for at least a week and many students leave campus for recreation, volunteer service projects, and job recruiting activities. Of course they’re not looking at JSTOR during Spring Break. Even upon returning to campus, many students aren’t going to head straight to the library, especially if their mid-terms were before Spring Break.
So yeah, college students may be watching basketball, but maybe Professor Coltfetter needs to revisit his assumptions.
Daylight Savings Time begins today meaning that we will have a greater risk of on-the-job injuries according to Scientific American. And The Christian Science Monitor reports that changing our clocks will cost us money. The Monitor rightly asks why is that we spring forward again?
Ugh! Join me in hoping that this silly — and dangerous — tradition will end someday soon.
While most kids look forward to Christmas, when I was a child, St. Patrick’s Day (along with Thanksgiving) was one of my favorite days of the year. It was a big day in my family usually involving going to the parade in New York and seeing family and friends we hadn’t seen in a while. Then there was the music, the stories of St. Patrick, the history of Ireland and the Irish in America. Growing up in a town where the dominant population was Italian-American, it also helped that there was one day a year where everyone wanted to be Irish. The element of pride was strong.
Things started to change when I moved to Virginia. If people celebrated St. Patrick’s day at all it was at a most superficial and sterotypical levely. Mostly it was just an excuse to get drunk. I thought St. Patrick’s Day would be better when I moved to Boston, but even in this most Irish of American cities I find the magic of my childhood lacking. I still look forward to St. Patrick’s Day but usually end up a little disappointed. Here are some things that contribute to my ambivalence:
Could be I’m just a grump. I’m cheered though that my wife brought home Dubliner cheese and Irish soda bread for supper which we enjoyed with (German) beer and (Italian) pasta. Then we danced to some Irish music with our little boy. I’ll need to find some new traditions to make St. Patrick’s Day as memorable for him as it was for me.
The recent hullabaloo over CitiGroup’s 20-year contract to name the New York Mets new ballpark has reminded me of some ideas regarding stadium naming rights. Corporate naming of venues is a trend already unpopular with sports’ fans but not really all that new. After all, the oldest surviving ballpark in baseball was named to promote the owner’s Fenway Realty Company. So I’ve put together a list of guidelines for stadium naming rights that may help future sports franchise, building management, and potential sponsors.
So that’s my take a sensible approach for stadium naming rights. As for CitiField, despite what some congress members have to say, I do believe that despite the support of taxpayer money, CitiGroup has the right to spend their advertising dollars for as long as they remain a company. If the deal does fall through though, I think Gil Hodges Field has a nice ring to it.
A couple of years ago I wrote a post about why I think Daylight Saving Time is evil. As we spring forward our clocks today, and try to shake off the sleepiness, have more heart attacks, feel more blue and find the roads even more dangerous than usual, let’s look back at my alternate plan:
A better solution is to just change hours. A regular work day would be 8 am – 4 pm. Baseball games would start 6:30 pm. Prime time tv starts at 7 pm. Bars that have last call at 2 am would now call closing time at 1 am. People stay up too late anyhow. My solution would mean that daylight would be “saved” and no one would ever have to change their clocks and most importantly, no one would mess with my sleep.
For more on the dangers and inconveniences of Daylight Saving Time:
A couple of years ago I wrote What do Presidents do when their term is up?, possibly one of my most well-researched and better written posts. In it I examined the post-Presidential career of every US President who survived his Presidency. The post was prompted by a suggestion that if Hillary Clinton became President, that her husband former President Bill Clinton could be appointed to her vacant spot in the Senate.
Well, now we have the answers to that question. Looking back at the post, there are a couple of things that make me chuckle. First, Hillary Clinton didn’t get elected President, but left the Senate anyway to join President Obama’s cabinet. Second, I noted that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer would appoint Senator Clinton’s successor, but since that time Spitzer’s governorship has come to an ingnomious end. Instead, Governor David Patterson appointed Kirsten Gillibrand as New York’s new junior senator.
And thus Bill Clinton continues his “retirement years” as the husband of the Secretary of State. Meanwhile, as of January 20, 2009 we have another former President George W. Bush. I can only hope that he follows the example of Jimmy Carter in making his post-Presidency years better than his time in office.
I don’t usually do celebrity obituaries on this blog, but I want to make an exception for the folk musician Odetta who died yesterday at the age of 77. She was a talented musician with a powerful voice and amazing guitar skills. I call her a “folk musician” but she adeptly performed and interpreted all types of music — blues, jazz, spirituals, and folk ballads from all over the world. It’s quite impressive to hear a black woman sing The Foggy Dew, a song about the Irish rebellion. Like other artists of the Folk Song Revival of the 50′s & 60′s, Odetta dedicated her efforts to the Civil Rights movement and other positive social change.
Just watch this clip below of Odetta singing and strumming “Water Boy” and try not to be blown away. I dare you.
I first became acquainted with Odetta through a boxed set of LP’s that my mother owned called Folk Song and Minstrelsy, which despite the odd name was a collection of artists of the Folk Revival. One entire record of the four-disc set was dedicated to Odetta songs. I’m particularly fond of “No More Cane on the Brazos” which demonstrates Odetta unique guitar skills.
On March 18, 2000 I saw her perform at Club Passim in Cambridge. I particularly remember her standing in the middle of the audience singing a cappella, her voice filling the room. I also remember that Susan & I were the youngest people there who weren’t brought along by our parents. After the show, I spoke with Odetta and she noticed the age discrepancy. I told her about listening to my mother’s record and she responded:
That night I bought a copy of her album To Ella (dedicated to Ella Fitzgerald, and do I ever wish I saw her perform when I had the chance). Odetta signed it:
“To Liam –
Go Well –
Stay Well –
I listened to the audiobook of The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower (2008) by Robert Baer and I can tell you right now that this isn’t going to be a good review because this book presents such a different understanding of Iran than any other perspective I’ve ever encountered. Here are the highlights as I understand them:
I obviously know only a little about Iran and the Mid East in general, and Baer seems to be stacking the deck to support his thesis and has certain obvious prejudices (especially against Sunnis/Arabs. Yet its a compelling argument, and a very nuanced understanding of today’s Iran. It’s not likely that American politicians will follow any of these suggestions, and perhaps with good reason. Still it’s an eye-opening account that challenges the accepted wisdom.
Some professional reviews:
Author Baer, Robert.
Title The devil we know [sound recording] : [dealing with the new Iranian superpower] / Robert Baer.
Publication Info. Westminster, Md. : Books on Tape, p2008.
Description 8 sound discs (ca. 74 min. each) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.