Wednesday, September 25, 2002


In July, I wrote about the 419 Coalition, an organization set up to fight the Nigerian Scan ("We need help embezzling funds, and we're willing to pay you big time."). Well, I just read about someone who fell for it. Amazing.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

The Solheim Cup

Congratulations Patty Sheehan (captain), Juli Inskter, Laura Diaz, Rosie Jones, Michele Redman, Cristie Kerr, Meg Mallon, Beth Daniel, Wendy Ward, Emilee Klein, Kelli Kuehne, Kelly Robbins, and Pat Hurst.

They were the United States women's team for the Solheim Cup, and they beat the Europeans (15.5 to 12.5) at the Interlachen Country Club (Edina, Minn). The Solheim Cup is a team golf competition. It's thrilling to watch, and very different from the usual round of televised golf. The matches are played as foursomes, four-ball, and singles match play. Instead of playing the course, the players play against the other's score, which is a subtle difference. It was very exciting to watch.

The men's version of the Solheim Cup is the famous Ryder Cup, which will played next week.


The bit at the start of tonight's Emmy Awards with Conan O'Brien and The Osbournes was so funny, I wish I had the VCR recording it. Ozzy and Conan got a wide audience tonight, and they wasted none of their time together.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Revs Entering Post-Season

The New England Revolution soccer team took a season that was certainly considered forgettable and futile in July, and turned it around. Big time. They have not lost in their last five games, and tonight, they entered into the MLS playoffs with authority (New England scored three goals in the first half). The regular season ends this weekend. And the Revolution will be part of what's next.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Greg Berge

I was going to write about the recent primary, and how my democratic candidate for governor, Tom Birmingham, lost.

While composing my thoughts, I remembered something Greg Berge said to me: "Politics is all about self-interest." Or was it "Voting is all about self-interest?" I couldn't quite remember, so I did what every web-enabled person does: I punched him into Google. And lo and behold: Greg Berge.

Greg was the resident curmudgeon, instigator, and smart-ass at my first job out of college. He was also an author (he received royalty checks from a study guide he published for some text book). He wrote documentation for our technical products, but he always made it clear that his first love was baseball (specifically, the Mets). Or was it Cornell Ice Hockey? Or was it a love of reading, or being smart?

He taught me baseball. Opened my eyes to it. It was Greg who got me out to Fenway Park to see my first pro baseball game ever. He also taught me how to score. He has memorized the last half-inning of Game 6 (1986), and he keeps index cards of statistics of every player that he's ever personally scored. When the weather was nice, we would play catch (catch!) in a field near the office.

He also taught me how to be a fan. Or rather, how to be a fanatical fan. In the Fall and Winter, he took a road trip to Ithaca every weekend to watch the Cornell ice hockey team. He published a newsletter for fans of The Big Red team. The fact that I was from a competing school in the same division made our brief relationship that much more interesting.

Did we get close? Does it matter? He was an influence. I was a kid, all too happy to enjoy someone else's knowledge. Of course, he reminded me that I should go and get my own knowledge. Or maybe did I figure that out myself?

Monday, September 16, 2002

Random Thoughts

Emptying out some random thoughts:

The New England Patriots really looked good last Sunday against the New York Jets (NFL). I'm reading A Season on the Brink, and it's getting me really psyched for basketball. I was enthralled by Howard Stern's rebroadcast of his 9/11/01 show (which I downloaded from the USENET News). I will be voting tomorrow. I am glad that The Sopranos has finally started their season.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

9/11: Waves of Hatred

September 11, 2001. Nine eleven. 9/11.

I feel that the nation is still too close to 9/11 to extract broader lessons, although we're trying. I still feel concern that as a nation, our leadership isn't exploring the roots of the hatred that ultimately resulted in these attacks. Is this our wake-up call? Then what is it a wake-up call for? To rely less on oil? To be mindful of our culture's manifest destiny, and how it might alienate other cultures?

9/11 will serve to remind everyone that the current affairs of the United States are on a world scale. Our affairs and our values were somehow repugnant enough for some militants to plow airliners into a building full of people. Why? And more importantly, how do we diffuse the hatred?

I hate what these terrorists have done. But I don't hate who these terrorists are, do I? Do we? Aren't they human, like me? Hands, feet, heart, brains. Don't they breathe the same air I do? Aren't we all part of the human race?

History can be seen as waves of hatred between humans. These waves, these swells, form a rough and raging sea that over time becomes calm, after we learn about who we hate. Who were the Indians? The African Americans? Who were the Japanese? Who were the Irish? The Italian? The Polish? We, as Americans, learned who they were. Hate gives way. Until the next wave.

Today, we're threatening to act on Iraq, a Muslim nation. What is our goal here? To punish a man for building weapons of mass destruction? OK, but we better not be acting out of a hatred towards a people we barely know.

How do we diffuse hatred? I don't know. It's easier to act locally (i.e. to control my-self). But how do we as a country diffuse this hatred? How does our government diffuse hatred?

A hateful act took place on 9/11. Are we adding fuel to this fire?

9/11 Remembered

For people in my demographic (early thirties), 9/11 will be our 12/7 (December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor). But unlike 12/7, 9/11 has a resonance that's aided by the deep offerings of our modern media. There will be so many ways, so many angles, so many television channels (!) to remember what happened that fateful day last year. Last year!

CBS will be rebroadcasting 9/11, a film by Frenchmen Jules and Gedeon Naudet, and I highly recommend watching this. The brothers were filming a documentary about firefighters, when both suddenly found themselves in the middle of "the most audacious attacks" the United States has ever seen. It's chilling to watch the footage from inside the towers that terrible day.

Last Sunday, the NY Times ran a magnificent article about the building of the World Trade Center. It's a mind boggling story. There was a tremendous amount of political fighting surrounding the project. There were also struggles in designing and then building this landmark. The frightening thought of an airplane striking the towers was actually articulated in 1968 by one of the owners of the Empire State Building, Lawrence Wien. The authors James Glanz and Eric Lipton suggest that the towers could have been safer, in its design, and in its construction. Super writing. The kind of article that I wish could have been longer.

Sunday, September 8, 2002

Out of the Medal Round

The US basketball team is out of the medal round in this weekend's World Basketball Championship. Yugoslavia and Argentina are playing for the gold medal. Both of these teams beat the US in this tournament.

Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Argentines Beat US in Basketball

In an amazing result, the Argentines beat the United States in a basketball game.

I watched the game tonight. I read in the paper this morning that if any team could beat the United States, it was Argentina, with their superior passing and well-distributed shooting ability. I snorted in contempt. Going into this game, the United States have won the previous 58 international matches. (Of course, we started sending professionals since 1992.)

The present US team is no dream team: No Shaquille. No Kobe. No Kidd. But we had NBA players. Reggie Miller. Ben Wallace. Paul Pierce. And it's standard thinking to believe that any US team is better than any other country's team in basketball. It's a given!

Tonight's game was marvelously played. By Argentina. Crisp passing. Great execution. And truly superior shooting. The US never lead. We were down by as many as twenty points. As a Celtic fan, I thrilled at every 3-pointer by Pierce, but the five individual talents on the US squad was no match for the five Argentines who played team basketball.

It's a slightly different world now: Sure, the best basketball players are American. Sure, the NBA is the best league in the world. But tonight, in a basketball game that counted, the US lost, and Argentina is celebrating surely their best sports victory in quite some time.

Sunday, September 1, 2002

Welcome to Beantown

September 1. On the way home from Jenn's Mom's place, we saw a bunch of cars laden with futons, mattresses, and filled with the packed plastic bags of what could only be college kids, streaming into Boston. We live well north of Boston. There was traffic at the exit that would take them to the final stretch into Brighton, Brookline, Newton, Cambridge and Downtown Boston.

Good luck you kids! Welcome to Beantown.

Me? I'm waiting for the first puck to drop.