Thursday, June 29, 2006

Kids and Cell Phones

I've thought about this whole debate a lot. I'm one of those people appalled at how the "next generation" is shaping up. It's one of the few things I'm not optimistic about. The reason it worries me so much is that one of my worst nightmares is having a kid that turns out to be a brat. My worst nightmare is having a kid I end up not liking very much. Of course, I'll have a lot to do with that, so these kinds of issues are on my mind.

Should a child have a cellphone? If so, at what age? What kind of restrictions should be placed on them?

It's a big issue, and I just read a pretty cool article about it over here.

My favorite graph:

Not only can you check your kids' whereabouts, but for an extra fee, you can have the system alert you whenever your kid goes beyond preset boundaries. That's right, you can be sitting there innocently surfing hard-core German fetish porn when -- beep-beep-beep -- an alarm goes off letting you know little Dakota has crossed the half-mile radius of the house and might be ... I don't know what. Smoking. Playing with matches. Joining the Taliban.

Some of these phones have GPS in them, and my first reaction is "great!" If my kid wants a phone (and here I'm thinking of teenagers) then you have to deal with the fact that I'll know where you are at all times.

Right now I still see cell phones for pre-college kids as something they want, not something that is necessary. I still don't see it as a "safety tool." Let's face it, I just got a cell phone a couple of years ago. At age 23.

So when I look back at my childhood/teenage-essence, I don't think it's necessary to have a phone. Does it make things easier? Sure. But do the negatives (becoming "one of those" people at such a young age (they'll have their college years to get into "that" phase), relying too much on technology, etc.) outweigh the positives (essentially, convenience and peace of mind)?

I don't know, but it's something to think of and figure out before you find yourself with a teenager who is addicted to being on the phone.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Check out this great article on Greg Maddux, one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

I was at the game yesterday (Third row, bleachers, you may have seen me on the two Prince Fielder homeruns) and I was thinking how cool it was that I was there in what may be his last season. Though, as the article suggests, Maddux has no intention of retiring.

Minor league tirade

I finally found video for the tirade a minor league manager threw the other day. Not as impressive as what I read but definitely worthwhile. I also liked what he said afterwards about wishing the umpires had more personality and how he thought the strike was over.

Check it out here:

It only worked for me by pasting it into RealPlayer or Windows Media Player.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Renteria talks about Boston

A cool article about Edgar Renteria and his feelings towards Boston Red Sox fans. He signed as a free agent and here's what his experience was:

"I don't know what the [Boston] fans were thinking, or what they were looking for from me," Renteria told the Boston Herald before Sunday's series finale between his new team, the Atlanta Braves, and the Sox. "I don't know if they were looking for 30 homers, like [Nomar] Garciaparra in the past did, but it was crazy. It was crazy because I never had been booed in my career."

Renteria, a lifetime .289 hitter with the Marlins and Cardinals from 1996-2004, batted only .276 in 2005 with Boston, with the second-highest number of strikeouts (100) in his career. Worse, the former Gold Glove shortstop committed 30 errors -- a staggering 19-error increase over his 11-error performance in St. Louis in 2004.

Looking to cut their losses on what they felt was a bad move, the Sox traded Renteria to Atlanta for third-base prospect Andy Marte. Marte was subsequently shipped to Cleveland in the deal that brought Coco Crisp to Boston.

"Nobody wants to have a bad year," said Renteria. "'If you work hard and play hard, it's bad if the fans boo you. But I guess that's life.

"But they don't know me. I wish they knew I worked hard for that team every day to get better. The second week of the season, they booed players who won the World Series for them. So I knew I had to do better. So I put more pressure on myself. I tried to do more than what I could do."

Knowing the Braves and knowing the Red Sox, I knew that the move to get him to Atlanta would pay off. Atlanta is a very intelligent organization and Boston is very reactive and sometimes irrational. In this case, they were both.

Here's what he added about the fans:

"I don't think those fans have any confidence in their players," he said. "That's why they didn't win the World Series before."

I don't know that that's why they didn't win, but I agree with him on this and it's why I really never liked talking baseball with the average Red Sox fan. It was always "Trade this bum, he sucks!" after a strikeout, and "This guy is awesome" after a great play. Same guy too, it didn't matter.

Unfortunately, and I've said this before, the Cubs are starting to make that turn.

In case you missed it before:

Red Sox are the new Yankees
Cubs are the new Red Sox

Yankees Suck

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mariotti Saga continues

Finally, Mariotti says something worth talking about. Something that may actually have some substance to it and isn't being said simply for its shock value.

Now he claims that the Sun Times is biased in favor of the White Sox, that they have been for a long time.


I also find it strange that there was no media outrage at Ozzie Guillen using the word "faggot" like that.

Essentially, Guillen continues to hide behind his language excuse.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Faggot" in Latin America

From an article in the Sun Times about how Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox manager, has been using 'inappropriate' language. The writer thinks he should be punished, as anyone else in baseball would be for using the words. Guillen, however has an angle, as well as an explanation.

Ozzie Guillen was wearing a White Sox uniform. He was talking to a bunch of reporters, maybe 20 of them taking notes or holding tape recorders. He was sitting in the White Sox' dugout.

And these are the words that came from the face of the White Sox before Tuesday's game, referring to a Chicago writer he was angry with: "What a piece of [deleted] he is, [deleted] fag.''

He was angry with Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti, who was on his way to the NBA Finals. Guillen and the Sox have a feud with Mariotti. And in full disclosure, I obviously work at the same paper. But whatever you think of his columns or of him, that doesn't matter here.

I too detest Mariotti. He's the same as Ann Coulter and others who simply want to draw attention to themselves at any cost. It's about them, not about the issue their opinionating about. But anyway, it goes on:

After the game, I told Guillen what I was planning to say here, and I gave him a chance to explain. Here's what he said:

"I don't have anything against those people. In my country, you call someone something like that and it is not the same as it is in this country.''

It's all about courage

Guillen said that in Venezuela, that word is not a reference to a person's sexuality, but to his courage. He said he was saying that Mariotti is "not man enough to meet me and talk about [things before writing].''

This is something I can vouch for. When we say "hueco" we mean "chicken" or "lacking courage." It's an everyday idiom for a lot of people, especially around baseball. But, as the writer points out, Guillen is no dummy. He knows that doesn't fly in this country. Amazingly enough, the media hasn't jumped on him for his comments. Are they afraid of being politically incorrect.

Guillen certainly isn't. He added this at the end of the interview:

He also said that he has gay friends, goes to WNBA games, went to the Madonna concert and plans to attend the Gay Games in Chicago.

He goes to WNBA games? That means he's got nothing against gay people? Isn't that a shot at the WNBA? That's like saying you have a black maid as an argument that you aren't racist.

Jeremy Sowers

He's a prospect for the Indians. Check out this interview with the guy over at Baseball America. Seems like a real interesting guy.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen star in this thriller that came out of nowhere to surprise me and entertain the hell out of me. I won’t say much about the story but Owen and Aniston are two married people with kids and great careers. But, as with everyone in life and in the movies, there’s something missing. They meet on the train (in Chicago, no less) and strike up a relationship that eventually leads to more. Two or three times I whispered “She’s a bad girl.” Little did I know how bad she was. Ever hear her say “I think I want you to fuck me”? It’s great fun.

The way the story is told is great. It keeps you in suspense and in the dark the whole time. Very entertaining. I also like the way they decided to start the movie and that device they used. Very sneaky and very good.

Just go out and watch this thing, you’ll be glad you did.


This place over in the Fulton Market area is really cool. When you first walk in it feels like a bar (which is what that part of the restaurant is) and there are a lot of young, tan people walking around. In our case, there were also a whole bunch of gay guys lounging in front of the bar. If you get a table by the window here, you can look out onto the highway, which passes directly below. Lovely.

Once you go into the main dining room though, that’s a whole different story. The ceiling is suddenly way up there and the décor is outstanding. There is a lot of red and a lot of color, but it’s never too much or opulent. The waiters are all wearing little mini-ties, which make them look like clowns (there was also Cirque du Soleil on the plasmas that night, it’s the theme, after all). The food was incredible, the waiters were very nice, very helpful. They could’ve ruined it by being haughty or pretentious, but the place just isn’t like that.

Some girl got a volcano of chocolate with a candle in it on the table next to ours—it was her birthday, and we all chimed in and sang. Very happy atmosphere.

We had three of the ceviches, which, unfortunately, weren’t anything spectacular. The Guatemalan chicken was so tasty and spicy, I loved it. The Guacamole, which they are well known for, was tangy and delicious. We had ice cream for dessert, and it too was great. Very gourmet ice cream, the good stuff.

I was glad I went to this place, it’s a real cool spot to go eat and hang out. Too bad the ceviches weren’t tastier (or bigger), but no place is perfect.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Whole Foods no longer sells live lobsters

Read about it here.

Interesting to me because of the DFW essay connection about his experience in the Maine Lobster Festival.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Charlie Trotter's

My parents went last night. My mother had heard so much about this quasi-restaurant that she was really excited to check it out. She is big into cooking and is a damn good one herself (still the best cheesecake I've ever tasted), so this idea of a chemist opening a restaurant that has been as lauded as this one interested her. I guess the idea is to match up certain foods along with wine to more efficiently stimulate the taste buds...or something like that.

But so they came back last night and looked so tired. My mom was disappointed and my father just kept saying how snobby the waiters were. The wine was good, the food was good, but the waiters were fake and snobby and the place reeked of pretentiousness and high-society snobbery. They were not happy. Plus it was SUPER expensive. I won't say how much but it was pretty crazy, I could've gone to Guatemala on that bill!

I hate those kinds of places, you'd think they would treat you well if you're paying that much. After all, you're already IN, you're part of that scene once you become a customer. I don't understand being treated like that once you're PART of the damn club or group or whatever.

Beats me, but fuck Charlie Trotter.

Mariotti on the World Cup

From an article by Jay Mariotti in the Sun Times:

So why even try to be part of the global football culture? Why force-feed ourselves into an elite party when we don't have the pedigree or the passion, when we fail to get a buzz over teams squeezing maybe a minute or two of cumulative excitement out of a 90-minute match? This sports nation in 2006 is about football's speed and hard knocks, basketball's speed and creativity, NASCAR's speed and crashes. If we want to hang out, ponder strategy, drink beer and watch life go by, we attend baseball games and cheer home runs, 1-2-3 innings and catcher-to-catcher knuckle sandwiches.
Soccer? On the food chain, it ranks somewhere above lacrosse and below Sudoku.

Later on, after mentioning how horrible the US team played against the Czech Republic, he adds:

America wasn't ready for the elite world stage and probably never will be, at least in our lifetimes.
It would be wrong to suggest no one in this land cares about the World Cup. In ethnically rich cities such as Chicago, interest is huge in neighborhoods and bars. But the people who drive this U.S. sports engine needed a specific reason to care.
That reason disappeared Monday. Wake me up in four years.
On second thought, don't.

And this is exactly the problem with the mentality in general, not only in sports, in this country. Here is the world’s biggest party, bigger than the Olympics, and the people like Mariotti say, “Eh, we lost to some country I can’t place on a map, I don’t care.” His article starts by talking about how Americans just don’t have the passion for soccer the way other countries do, which is fine. But then he makes the connection that if the US were to win, that would change things. Sure, but doesn’t he know that of the billions of people watching the World Cup, most of them can’t even cheer for their own team?

In Guatemala, we went crazy with the World Cup, we knew the names of all the players, we knew how good they were, and so on. Guatemala has never been in a World Cup. This isn’t just about nationalism or patriotism, this is about the biggest party in the world. It just happens to revolve around soccer.

But Mariotti’s article is spot on when it comes to the American psyche: “Wake me up in four years. On second though, don’t.”

That’s fine, we don’t want any party poopers at this rager.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Traveler

Check out my boy Nelson's crazy trip to Europe via his online journal over at

Here's how he describes it:

Holla Holla!! Thanks for checking out my travel journal; I should update this far more than my website (which was once in three years I think). Anyway, my journey this summer should take me through: Iceland, Slovakia, Germany (World Cup yo), Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro (the world's youngest country, holla), Serbia, FYR Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, and Greece. Of course, there will probably be many detours along the way, so check often for new pics, crazy stories (hopefully none which include falling in the Greek Isles and busting my face), and miscellaneous ramblings.

Godspeed to you Nelly, Godspeed!

World Cup

Unfortunately, because of the timing thing, I can’t watch as many games as I’d like. I’m at work all day and the only games I’ve been able to see are in the morning, before I come in. But I get to see one of the most powerful parts: the players coming into the stadium and standing before the swelling crowd to hear their national anthems.

There is no feeling in the world that can compare to hearing your national anthem being played over the loudspeakers, so that everyone there can hear it (has to hear it), right before competing in an international event where you are representing your country.


Even watching these guys (today it was Ukraine and Spain) standing there listening to an anthem that means nothing to me fills me with that buzz and electricity that takes over your whole body.

I wish more Americans could feel that, especially when it comes to the World Cup.

Tiger Woods, Death, Arnold, and the Zone

This excerpt is from an article about Tiger Woods coming back to golf after his father’s death. He’s talking about how hard it was to even practice again because a lot of the memories he has of his recently deceased father are intertwined with golf. He says, though, that he’s looking forward to competing:

"I'm so focused on what I need to do," Woods said. "Everything else kind of goes away. That's something I'm really looking forward to."

It reminds me of something Arnold Schwarzenegger once said in Pumping Iron about how zeroed in he got before competitions. He told the story of his mother calling him right before he was to compete in a bodybuilding competition to tell him his father, who he loved very much, was dead. He says he just said “OK” and “Yes,” telling his mother that there was nothing he could do. She was shocked. Then he went to compete. It didn’t hit him until after how callous he had been, but that it’s part of what a great athlete does in order to perform—in order to be that good they have to go into a zone where no one can touch them, not even the death of a loved one.

While I’ve been in a similar “zone” many times, I don’t think I could ever be that deep into it where my reaction to that kind of thing would be so blah.

And I kind of feel bad about it.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Sucky Draft Story

Check this story out. The kid was picking up the phone to hear the news that he had been drafted in the first round by the Mariners and he hears a pop in his elbow. Looks like surgery too.

Talk about shitty luck. For both the team and the player.

Bad headline

Montana Democrat gets shot at Senate seat

Turns out it's about the guy "getting his shot."

I was so disappointed.

Ball Four

This book is a classic. It was one of the first books to really tell all the juicy tales about pro baseball and everything that went with being a ballplayer—women, drinking, etc. So I decided to pick it up. The guy has a pretty interesting story to tell, but it was so long ago. Plus, it’s in the form of a diary, so there are a lot of meaningless details strews throughout the book. I just couldn’t keep reading, it felt like I was weeding through a whole lot of nothing to find something interesting. Plus it’s over 400 pages, so I stopped way short of that. He’s got an engaging writing style, very open and honest, which makes him even more interesting because of the contrast between him being a ballplayer and being a writer (the prose here is WAY better than in Canseco’s recent book—it makes Bouton look like Foster Wallace).

Anyway, for those of you who were into baseball in those days and knew the players, it may be interesting. Otherwise, it’s kind of blah.

World Cup

I can't wait.

Check out this short article on the passion that this event awakens every four years.