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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I need a ticket to see the Arctic Monkeys on August 3

The title pretty much says it: I need a ticket to see the Arctic Monkeys on August 3. Even Stub Hub is sold out. If you have a spare ticket, please contact me.


Monday, July 27, 2009

the greatest

Yesterday afternoon I was at the new Yankee Stadium watching the Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics, but my thoughts were in Cooperstown, New York, where my favourite player of all time, Rickey Henderson, was being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

No one played the game with as much gusto or bravado as Rickey. And no one ever referred to himself in the third person as much as Rickey. Besides his many achievements, he probably holds the record for the most head-first dives as well. We should all live our lives with as much reckless joy as Rickey Henderson, the greatest.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

a gap in the rules of Major League Baseball

I have reached the limit of my baseball knowledge and must ask the help of my readers in resolving a bothersome question. In last night's game at Yankee Stadium between the Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles, a play occurred that I cannot figure out what to call. It was the top of the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on third base with Baltimore's Brian Roberts at bat and New York's Phil Coke pitching. Coke threw a wild pitch past catcher Jose Molina. Roberts ran home, Molina retrieved the ball and tossed it to Coke who was covering home plate, and Roberts was tagged out by Coke. As a defensive play, it's simple: catcher to pitcher, 2-1. But what is the action of the runner called?

Let's start by figuring out what the play was not. First of all, Coke's wild pitch was not scored a wild pitch because there was a putout on the play. (The same holds true for errors without adverse consequences for the team on defense: if the first baseman drops a fly ball but gets the batter out at first base anyway, no error is charged.) Second, the runner's action cannot be ruled caught stealing because attempting to steal on a wild pitch is not an attempt to steal.

ESPN's detailed play-by-play summary of the game refers to the play this way: 'B Roberts out at home on runner's fielder's choice.' What the hell is a 'runner's fielder's choice'? How can there be a fielder's choice when the ball was not put in play by a batter? My search last night, via Google, of the phrase 'runner's fielder's choice' yielded 166,000 hits, several of which were people asking, what the hell is a runner's fielder's choice?

That leaves me with two questions:
1. How would you name the runner's play?

2. Do you accept the term 'runner's fielder's choice', and, if so, what does it mean?
Many thanks to anyone who has insights about these important matters.

Update: I have corrected an error in my description of the play.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

this guy's on crack!

I've always wondered whether certain Republican wingers like Senator Jefferson Sessions (R-AL) were on crack. We may now have the answer.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Kiarostami's new film 'Shirin'

I have reviewed Abbas Kiarostami's new film Shirin for my latest contribution to 3 Quarks Daily. It is an amazing film that should be seen by all. In my review, I suggested a connection between Kiarostami and, improbably perhaps, Pedro Almodóvar. Do feel encouraged to click the link and read it at 3QD. Thanks.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

never fly Ryan Air

Yesterday, I travelled by train from Saint Andrews, Scotland to Glasgow-Prestwyck Airport in order to catch a flight to Stockholm on Ryan Air. By the end of the day, I was back in London fuming. What happened?

When I arrived at the airport, Ryan Air's check-in staff informed me that I would have to pay £225 to bring my luggage with me. That's about $380. I would then, of course, have to pay the same amount to bring my luggage back from Stockholm for a total of $760. How much luggage did I have with me? It was less than I carried from New York to London in June on American Airlines with no extra fees for weight.

I tried to be imaginative about other options, but there were none. I either had to pay $380 twice or allow Ryan Air to destroy my belongings. They put a figurative gun to my head and said: give us your money or your belongings if you want to get out of here.

At the moment, their website advertises fares of £4 from London-Stansted to as far away as Bratislava, Krakow, and, yes, Stockholm, not including 'optional fees/Charges'. I don't see how protecting oneself from criminals, i.e. Ryan Air, could be 'optional', but that's what they call it. According to Wikipedia, Ryan Air's business model depends on what is called 'ancillary revenue', which means revenue from sources other than the ostensible main service provided, e.g. baggage fees rather than air travel tickets. In Strabonapedia, their business model is called 'extortion'. If you fly with them, you are directly supporting organized crime.

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