Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sorry to my faithful readers for not updating

Despite my lack of a job I have been keeping very busy with various outings, such as to the New York Athletic Club for squash today and to watch the Twins beat the Yankees tomorrow. In addition, my blogging machine's wireless internet has been sputtering and I usually prefer to blog with my personal computer advantage. But there are ideas in the pipeline that will be up on the site soon. Also, Dan and I discovered a big fan of the blogs last night, so we will discuss this meeting in a post over on Delino I believe.

Monday, July 25, 2005

When will it be Marquis' turn?

A new day, a new article about blogging. That's what it's been like in The New York Times the past week or two. Today's feature article in the Arts section was about video blogging (or vlogging), while Sunday's articles discussed a Carrie Bradshaw wannabe and the dangers of blogging from work (something I don't have to worry about...yet...there was also a depressing article about the founders of but I would prefer not to discuss that). My question now is: when will the Yale blogosphere be featured in an article? There's a great story there, starting with Finnegan and continuing to Marquis and whatever new blogs will be started in the coming months. If anyone from any publication of any sort would like to read An Unabridged History of the Bloggies: From Finnegan to Marquis, just let me know. I'll be waiting to hear from you in my office, also known as my living room.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Playing poker with Alfonse... a one-of-a-kind experience. The Alfonse I am talking about is of course Alfonse Silvestri, one of the stars of last year's New York-Boston Poker Challenge. Here is a clip of Alfonse muttering about busting out of that event. Alfonse seems to spend all of his time in one of the many underground New York poker clubs (he used to focus his playing energies on beating the games at Playstation, but most recently I saw him at the new club Broadway), providing a running commentary of every hand and losing all of his chips at least three times every night.

One hand a couple of nights ago was particularly interesting for the manner in which Alfonse tried to flaunt the generally accepted rules of poker. This took place during the $1-$2 blinds no-limit Texas Hold 'em game. The pot was around $25 and a flop of AKx was checked around when a J came on the turn. One gentleman bet $15, when Alfonse, next to act raised to $85. Everyone else folded, and the original bettor reluctantly called. The river was a total blank and it was checked to Alfonse, who fired in a bet of $75. Now, the other player clearly did not want to call this bet, but he took his time in thinking about it, to the point where Alfonse started offering to lower his bet to $50, then to $25! Of course everyone else at the table objected to this bargaining, so Alfonse then told the other guy to throw in the whole $75, but then he would give back $50 to his "friend" after the hand. And this was what transpired, as Alfonse quickly turned over QT for the nuts and scooped the pot before paying his "friend" back. Even though he clearly had the nuts, it would have been awesome to see Alfonse turn over a pair of jacks or something...

One last poker comment I want to make is about the propensity for people at a table to say "nice hand" to other players when they are not even involved in the hand. It's one thing to say this when someone truly makes a smart play, but another thing altogether to say it after someone gives another player a bad beat. Anyone who plays in card rooms has surely heard this kind of thing very often and it is a pet peeve of mine...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Talking Hockey

Most of you probably are not hockey fans (and I am only a moderate one), but that said, I just wanted to write a brief commentary on the future of the NHL. While the league obviously destroyed its credibility as one of the so-called "4 major sports" with the lockout, it has a chance to become a relatively mainstream sport again quickly because of the nature of the new rules agreed upon by the players and owners and because of a 17-year-old named Sidney Crosby.

Most importantly, the new rules eliminate the red line at center ice (allowing for longer, more exciting passes that will hopefully lead to more offense), limit the size of goalie pads and other equipment (again making it easier to score goals), and add a shootout to a game that is still tied after overtime (this means no more tie games). These rules should lead to an increase in goals that might help bring fans back and make new fans of the game. Americans love lots of scoring in their sports, so this is a step in the right direction.

The other factor that the NHL is very fortunate to have in place when they drop the puck on the 2005-2006 season is their version of LeBron James. Sidney Crosby is the best young hockey player since Mario Lemieux, and as luck would have it, he will be lining up alongside Super Mario next season for the Pittsburgh Penguins (David Stern would have ensured he was playing for the New York Rangers, but this might be second best...besides he could join the Rangers in a few seasons). Crosby absolutely dominated the Canadian Hockey League the past two seasons, recording 120 goals and 183 assists in 121 games. An offensive talent like this will be central to marketing the new-look NHL and ideally will put fans in the stands. You can also be sure that Pittsburgh will be prominently featured in the schedule of nationally televised games.

It will be interesting to see how everything shakes out this summer in the build-up to the season. Although the NHL might never be as popular as it once was, it is good to see that the league is taking steps in the right direction to overcome the disaster that was 2004-2005.

Me! Me! Me!

I admit it. I have enjoyed Terrell Owens' various antics on and off the field over the last few years. I especially liked the Sharpie incident and think he's a funny guy. That said, I think that the way he is currently complaining about his contract is disgusting. He has 6 years left on a 7 year, nearly $49 million contract that he signed last year (!) and he is one of the highest paid wide receivers in the entire NFL. Yet he appears to have little interest in honoring the terms of his contract and is trying to push for a trade because he wants "to do what's best for my family." Well I would imagine that it's best for his family to stay in Philadelphia, where they presumably settled last year, and continue to make $7 million a year (a paltry amount of money that they might be able to eek out a decent life on) instead of moving to a whole new city for who knows how long or short a time.

But the worst thing to me about this whole issue is that there is a decent chance that Owens will get exactly what he wants. He is that important to the Eagles' Super Bowl chances, and we all know that the chance to win the Super Bowl trumps everything, even an athlete's totally uncalled for greed. I'm impressed so far, however, that the Eagles have said that they will not change Owens' contract, but I just don't know what will happen if Owens continues to hold out. Will the team get fed up and trade him? Or will they just let him sit and play for no one. I for one wouldn't mind seeing this, as it might set an example for future hold outs who refuse to honor their contracts. But this scenario has almost no chance of playing out.

I hope that Owens will finally agree to play for the Eagles (although it will suck for me as a Giants fan) because he has no other option, but at this point anything could happen. However, no matter what happens, he has become yet another poster boy for the me-first, second, and third generation of athletes.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Fun with the Jumbotron

So last night, while I was out at Shea Stadium watching the Mets take care of the Padres 7-3, I was struck by something I noticed in between innings on the Jumbotron (known as Diamond Vision at Shea). Now we all know that the man (or most likely teenage boy) who operates the Jumbotron likes to have a little fun now and then. This is most obvious in one of my favorite Jumbotron activities: the Kiss Cam. Here, the Jumbotron trains its cameras on unsuspecting couples at the game and puts pressure on them to kiss. This method is usually successful a few times, before the man in charge goes for the punchline to his devilishly brilliant joke...he puts the camera on two coaches in the dugout! This guarantees guffaws throughout the stadium and another victory for Mr. Jumbotron.

What I saw last night was that the operator of the Mets' Diamond Vision screen knows exactly what he likes to see on his screen at all times: an attractive woman. Now I have no problem with this policy of course, but I can imagine that it might have been a little awkward for the woman who appeared on the screen no fewer than four times during last night's game. It was as if Mr. Jumbotron was stalking this woman in front of 30,000 people. The first time she probably liked it, the second time she might have been surprised, the third time a little creeped out, and finally she decided that she is never going to another Mets game again...unless she can be on the Kiss Cam instead.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Trivia Night with the boys

Well, after running the gauntlet of Anna Liffey's trivia night on 4 or 5 occasions last year, we decided it was time to test out the waters in the New York City scene. After a late start to the night, we ended up at The West End for their 9 pm trivia game. Using our on-again, off-again team name of Car Wash Change Thief Action Squad, we were ready to play the game. But oddly enough, there were only 7 other teams there. Anna Liffey's routinely had 25 or even 30 teams fighting it out for the trivia title, but apparently the Upper West Side is not exactly the trivia mecca that Whitney Avenue is.

There were only 13 questions in the entire game, yet it took almost two hours to complete (if any one is particularly interested in the scoring system, ask in a comment and I will answer). And despite our rigorous training, we only managed to finish in 4th place, so we had to pay for our bad beer, instead of getting a free $50 bar tab. The two major questions that we missed (which cost us a chance at winning) were:

1. What band released the 1978 album You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish?

2. What female celebrity proposed to her boyfriend on June 26, 2005 during a motocross race?

You can easily find the answers to these on the internet, but if you don't want to, you can guess.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The real Marquis is alive and well

He is ready for a Triple-A rehab stint along with my favorite former Met, Edgardo Alfonzo.

Adrian Beltre or How I got a $64 million contract and learned to stop worrying about hitting

I've always found the idea of a so-called "contract year" to be a little bizarre. Do players really not try their hardest for 2 or 3 years, then, when they realize that they will need a new contract at the end of the season, become much better hitters or pitchers? I find it hard to believe that it is so easy to improve that much all of a sudden. Yet invariably, players such as Adrian Beltre come out of nowhere (well, he was always potentially one of the best third baseman in the league...whatever that means) to hit .334 with 48 home runs. So, of course, Beltre, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, was rewarded by the hitting-poor Seattle Mariners with a five-year contract for $64 million. The Mariners also signed Richie Sexson, a better hitter with a better track record, for much less money. Sexson is far out-performing Beltre this season and the Mariners are in last place, having scored the fewest runs in the American League. Go figure.

Back to Beltre, it is simple and instructive to look at his career statistics. Now I cannot explain what caused him to have such a fantastic season last year, but what I can do is look at his track record. I understand that players tend to hit their primes in their late 20s, so Beltre may be on the upswing of his career. That said, he was pretty consistent before last season. Consistently mediocre at the plate. From 2001-2003, he produced three extremely similar seasons (the only major difference was in games played in 2001, but he was on pace to post similar totals to 2002-2003 in most categories), each with an OPS (on-base plus slugging effective measure of offensive production) in the range of .714 to .729. Now an OPS in the low .700s is not very good. In fact, this season, it would be below the league average (as Beltre currently is with his .706), and certainly not to be expected from someone who is supposed to be a star.

Last season, Beltre's OPS shot up to 1.017, one of the best in the National League. Beltre went from being a reasonably bad hitter to being a great hitter (for comparison's sake, Derrek Lee is having a career year this season, putting up numbers that he will have difficulty sustaining this year or matching next year, but at least he was always a good hitter, unlike Beltre). So it should not be surprising that Beltre would suffer a drop-off this year. All of his numbers, except for doubles, are way down this season and he is laughing all the way to the bank. The Mariners were perfectly reasonable in expecting better than a .706 OPS and 9 home runs at this point in the season, but not that much better. Beltre is yet another example of the terrible economics of sports and the foolish people who run front offices. If they signed free agents based on the last 3-5 years, instead of just one, they might make some wiser decisions.

A great idea

Unfortunately I did not come up with this idea myself, but I did take advantage of it on my train ride from Montpellier to Nice a few weeks ago. You see, a company in France called CineTrain has decided to set up kiosks at various train stations around the country and rent out portable DVD players and movies to train riders. You simply select the movie or movies you would like to watch, you pay 10-20 euros and they give you a DVD player and headphones (if there are two of you, you can get a second set of headphones at no extra cost). When you arrive at your destination, you drop the DVD player and movies off at the kiosk there and you are done (if there is no kiosk, you can also mail the DVD player and movies back for free, they give you the packaging). A great way to pass the time, especially if you've already read 3 books on your previous train and plane rides...

I feel like fewer people take long train rides in America than in Europe, so maybe this business has better potential only in Europe, but I'm not sure. Also, as long as airlines continue to not provide personal entertainment centers for every seat on many trans-Atlantic flights, I think that this business has potential to expand to flights as well as train rides. Well, only time will tell, but if you're ever on a train in France, check this out...

And if you want more information follow this link. Apparently, they too would like to expand.

Where do my readers come from?

Apparently, they come from all over the world (but mostly from Delino and Death/Media)...

What caught my eye in particular was this referring URL.

This URL comes from Now for those who do not know, Google is a major worldwide internet search engine and the internet suffix .ch refers to pages that come from Switzerland. So, apparently, from what I can gather, a native French speaker from Switzerland decided that he or she would like to search the internet for the words "burrito" and "catalan." Obviously Marquis was the 99th closest match, so said internet surfer decided to click on the link and take a peek at the work that I am doing over here. The real question is: will he or she come back?

I would say it might be more likely if the page looked like this.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The other football

The second sports story that dominated the news (only the G8 summit and the Olympics were bigger at all in any subject) at the beginning of July was the saga of Steven Gerrard, captain of Liverpool Football Club.

Gerrard, a local Liverpool boy, grew up with the team and it is the only team that he has played for since he was 7 years old (at the top level since he was 18, he is now 25). So he had some serious allegiances. Also, this past season, despite finishing a disappointing 5th in the English Premier League, Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League (inspired by Gerrard's goal to come from 3-0 behind in one of the greatest comebacks in history), the biggest prize in club football. So Liverpool (the team I support by the way) is clearly capable of competing with the best clubs in Europe. Yet for all this, Gerrard seemingly inexplicably appeared destined for major rivals (and defending Premier League champions) Chelsea this summer. For a flawed, but somewhat accurate analogy, imagine David Ortiz (if he had grown up in Boston and always been there) leaving the Red Sox to join the Yankees this season.

Gerrard's actions were absolutely outrageous, and his jersey was even burned in effigy. Then something remarkable happened. He changed his mind. He decided to stay with Liverpool. Just like that, he determined that he was making the wrong decision and he just couldn't bear to leave home. Now obviously his thought process was much more complicated than that (and it helped that Liverpool was still offering him the salary of 100,000 pounds per week), but Gerrard's reversal gave a glimmer of hope that some athletes still do care about the fans and what they think, and that even star players can maintain strong allegiances to just one club.

In a happy ending, in his first competitive game back for Liverpool, Gerrard scored his first-ever professional hat trick in a 3-0 victory.

Some long-awaited sports content

Being away for three weeks in Europe made it difficult to follow American sports to say the least. Not having a blog until the end of that trip made it even more difficult to blog about sports. That said, I will try to start blogging more about sports issues in honor of my one faithful reader who has expressed interest in the subject.

But before tackling the American sports world, I will instead provide some discussion of the European sports world. I have already addressed the wonders of Gaelic sports in previous posts, so I will move on to some other tidbits about the Olympics and of course football (soccer to you Americans...and me).

First, the Olympics (I know I addressed them earlier, but this is another story). In the days leading up to the announcement of the host city for the 2012 Games, it was clear that Madrid, New York, and Moscow had no chance to win, so it was a two-horse race between the bitter rivals London and Paris. London knew that Paris had been the favorite all along, so the bid committee decided to pull out all the stops and bring in a number of star Olympians past, present, and future (and David Beckham) in order to drum up some late support. Now what I found to be most fascinating was the manner in which Beckham came to be the dominant figure in this delegation. This point once again proved that the choice of host city was not truly about the Olympics, but about popularity. Here is a sampling of what went on during the press conference (in which there were about 10 British athletes on stage):

Reporter #1: So, Mr. Beckham, what do you think it will be like to have the Olympics in the East End of London, where you grew up?
Beckham: Well, it will be splendid to have them on my "manor" (everyone in the room laughs, this is the signature line of the press conference)
Reporter #2: How do you think the Olympics will help England as a whole? Mr. Beckham?
Beckham: The Games will provide role models, etc...
Reporter #3: So now a question for Mr. Beckham. How did the Olympics enhance your career?
Beckham: Well I was never actually involved in the Olympics, except as a fan.
Reporter #3: That's ok, just speculate.
Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe: Well, I would...
Reporter #3: Let's hear from Beckham.

And so on and so really was astonishing. So everyone in London who wanted the Olympics should really be thanking David Beckham for contributing his time and celebrity status to the bid.

On second thought, the football will wait for a separate post.

Rednecks and Hockey Players Beware...

...Spanish men have made the mullet their national hairstyle, and it is now sported by many women as well! This trend was truly astonishing to me during my time in Madrid and Barcelona. But what was even more incredible was that Spanish men still manage to get beautiful non-mulleted Spanish women all the time! (I could understand the mullet-mullet relationships...)

Now I noticed that Spanish men are much more aggressive with women than the average always-uncomfortable-talking-to-girls male student at Yale, but I would think that the women could resist these overtures if they took one look at their paramours' haircuts. The Spanish men have great success, however, so maybe this fact teaches the lesson that getting girls is not about your haircut, but about how much you pester them.

More content... forthcoming.

It's been a busy week over in the real world, so blogging has been tough. First there was the trip to Atlantic City, which will be discussed in detail over at Delino, but I will mention it here as well in a subsequent post. Then there was the typical squash at the Yale Club, followed by a Friday with no internet at home (hence no blogging...)

Saturday was Glengarry Glen Ross on the Great White Way. It was fantastic by the way, and I highly recommend it to everyone in or near New York (if not, you should definitely see the movie). Liev Schreiber (Yale Drama grad) was particularly good as Ricky Roma. After that, I spent some time with the Delino crew and you will see the fruits of our labor soon enough...

Today, friends from school visited, so I was otherwise occupied...I clearly owe more content to you all, my faithful readers, so expect some more soon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

307th Visitor Contest

That's right folks, Marquis has had nearly 307 visitors in its short but glorious history. Well it's really 307 visits, but let's not split hairs here...

In honor of this momentous accomplishment (as it was that 3 generations of a Chinese ruling family ensured the long-lasting success of a dynasty, so it is that 307 page views ensures the long-lasting success of a blog), I am offering the person who gets Marquis over the hump so to speak, a book containing every Marquis post ever written, along with a framed and signed copy of his or her favorite post. Let the refreshing contest begin.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Eat your heart out Stephen Hawking

Rick Hoyt once ran a marathon in 2 hours and 40 minutes...well ran might be the wrong word...he pumped his fist while his father, Dick Hoyt, pushed him the entire way in an aerodynamic wheelchair. Check out the Hoyts in action:

This picture reminded me of the time that Dan and I entered the wheelbarrow race on field day in 6th grade. Except that both of us can walk and talk.

(Editor's Note: I hope that Dick Hoyt doesn't read Marquis, because he could probably kick my ass. But I do hope that Marquis Grissom does read Marquis.)

Bloggin' ain't easy

Nostradamus may make it look as much with his average of 100 posts a day, but for us mere mortals, a blog post is not always an easy thing to produce. Sure I could just put up a piece of shit post linking you to some funny article or picture, but I already did that a couple of days ago. So of course on Friday I wrote what I thought to be one of the finest posts in the short history of this blog and got zero comments...come on people, a little something for the effort? To be fair there were three comments on Delino, but I now know how Dan and Tom feel sometimes when their babies don't get the proper attention. All this said, I don't really care, and I will continue to produce the best posts that I can whether you people care or not...but if you like what you see, let me know...and if you don't like what you see, let me know and I will take away your commenting privileges.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Delino: Behind the Laughter

As many of you know, before I received the Small, Speedy, Early 90's Black Players Fellowship for this summer, I worked on the blog created by the previous winner, my brother Dan. I was his assistant in every meaning of the word and I just wanted to share with you, my loyal readers, what this experience was truly like. You all only see Dan's brilliant finished products, you don't see the blood, sweat, and tears (all of which used to be mine) that actually go into each and every post. Now that my position has been outsourced, I feel that it is time for you to hear my secrets.

This is a sampling of some of the duties I had to perform for Dan, along with some of Dan's peculiar habits that he probably didn't want you to know about :

To begin with, I had to bring Dan printed out copies of all the blogs (including Delino) twice a day, once over breakfast at noon, and once before bed at 2 AM. This schedule was strict and if I was even a minute late, my salary of 10 of Dan's jokes a day would be cut in half.

Then there was the issue of feeding the great blogger. This task was expensive, but relatively straightforward while we were in New Haven. But on vacation, either home in New York or around the country or the world, things were much more difficult. You see Dan took his lunches from 5 places, all in New Haven: the Doodle, Ivy Noodle, Gourmet Heaven, Bulldog Burrito, and the Burrito Cart. No substitutes. Thus, every afternoon, I would get him a sampling of his favorite dish from each restaurant and he would choose his favorite and throw away the rest while I salivated at the prospect of eating a few scraps of leftover dining hall food. For dinner, Dan kept things simple, only requesting a steak from Central Steakhouse and some broccoli rabe. I would only get to eat if the broccoli rabe was too garlicky. As you can imagine I racked up quite a few miles on Metro North, but it was all worth it for me when Dan wrote that Jay Leno post!

Dan also had the habit of asking me to laugh at every single thing he said. This was usually pretty easy, as Dan is the original funnyman after all, but things could get awkward, such as the time when he told me that he had spent all of his money investing in Bulldog Burrito. He said that owner Jason Congdon had a worldwide business model that would make his company the next Mexicali Grille. After that failure, my salary was cut altogether and I couldn't laugh for a week.

As you can see, it was never easy being Dan's assistant. Although Hu Jintao has been working hard to try to follow in my footsteps, he constantly sends me e-mails wondering why Dan is so picky. I just tell him an old Confucian proverb: "If you can't laugh at genius, you might as well laugh with genius." Meanwhile, over at Marquis I have my own assistant, but I treat her a little bit better than Dan treated me. I pay her 20 of Dan's jokes per week.

A very quick check of

After a brief discussion about my mostly formless future with my mom, I decided to take a look at I've heard on television that they often provide jobs to people in need of such things, so I thought I would give the site a try. I entered the keyword "journalism," set the location to "New York," and let the magic happen. Here is a typical job being offered under these specifications:

Managing Editor
Company: Avon Products, Inc. Location: New York, NY 10020
Status: Full Time, Employee Job Category: Publishing/Printing
Relevant Work Experience: 5+ to 7 Years Career Level: Experienced (Non-Manager)
Education Level: Master's Degree

I thought this site was for college kids or something...I guess it's for people in their 20s and 30s who have been laid off?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Little Slice of Heaven

The Guinness Storehouse: Home of the Perfect Pint(s)

Next up: Bush analyzes James Joyce

Check out this gem from The Onion:

Bush Regales Dinner Guests...

Anarchy? More like senseless violence...

A quick note on some of the G8 Summit protestors:

Many people have gone to Scotland inspired by Live8 or any other reason to try to peacefully influence a change in the policies of the most powerful nations in the world. Unfortunately, other people have gone to Scotland simply to wreak havoc on small towns near the Gleneagles hotel and the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. After seeing some of the footage of the attacks by these anarchists, I was absolutely shocked and appalled by their actions. The most amazing thing was that their violence was directed not at world leaders, but at the cars, homes, and Burger Kings (McDonald's was secretly thrilled...) of Scottish people who just happened to be living in the wrong place at the wrong time. This degree of aggression is disgusting and I feel terrible for the Scottish people whose communities are being attacked. The authorities should make a strong example of these anarchists in order to show future would-be "protestors" how not to behave. (Maybe put them in a "Battle Royale" situation?)

For more information: See this article or this one

Back home in the states where no one seems to care about the Olympics or the G8 Summit

Back in New York, I now remember that it is summer. Dublin's summer is like the end of a New England fall, so I haven't worn shorts in a week. But I'm sure it won't be long before I am complaining about the heat again, just like before I left when it was in the 90s...

In other news, London won the right to host the 2012 Olympics, leaving thousands of disappointed Parisians, millions of delighted New Yorkers, and further evidence that the bid selection process is entirely political. (On a side note, for those of you in America who probably saw little coverage of all this, the video for the Moscow bid was particularly funny, featuring a bear walking through the streets and President Putin speaking in rough English about wanting to show how much Russia has distanced itself from its Soviet past.)

Paris had been the firm favorite for most of the process and after visiting the city last week, the citizens appeared to be strongly in favor of the bid and the city's facilities looked to be in order. (Ok, I didn't actually inspect the Stade de France...but I did take a straw poll of two Parisians and watch some French news...) But then, upon my arrival in Dublin, just four days before the final vote, I began to watch the British channels SkyNews and BBCNews. They, along with David Beckham, told me that London was making a strong final push, with the support of all sorts of athletes and leaders, including a late appearance by Tony Blair in Singapore. All of a sudden London was making this a legitimate two-horse race. Then of course Jacques Chirac made his comments about British food that were probably true...but not very politically savvy. Instead of pushing Paris forward as Blair did with London, Chirac may have led to the French bid's ultimate demise.

All this may or may not be news to too many people, but the point is this: The process should have been based simply on determining which city would be best prepared to host the Games in 2012, not on a glorified popularity contest. I have no doubt that London is an excellent choice to host the Games, but I just question the final moments that may have inspired the victory of their bid. A final push should not be a necessary part of the process. The selection of the host city takes around two years, and by the end of that time it should be pretty clear what each city has to offer and the voting process should be fairly straightforward.

Instead the IOC milked the last few days for all they were worth, getting five cities, countries, and their leaders to grovel for the right to host an event that will probably end up being detrimental to the economy anyway (see Time Europe for a good article on this). The Olympics are a fantastic and important worldwide spectacle, and they will be given a good home in London. Let's just hope that next time the selection process is a little less political...

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Truly, this would be the most popular sport in America if properly packaged. The fastest field game in the world truly wowed me today as I watched it in a pub in Dun Laoghaire. Kilkenny defeated Wexford in a captivating encounter that left me fascinated by the players' skills and by the fact that no one was seriously injured.

This sport is played with 15 to a side and is a cross between field hockey, lacrosse, football, and have to see it to believe it...

Best or worst sport I've seen in awhile?

I'm talking about Gaelic football.

I wish I knew the rules, but from what I could figure out just from watching, it is a combination of rugby, basketball, football, american football, team handball, and gaelic football. It also appears to be the most tiring game in the history of sports.

Two teams of many men run back and forth on a field that must be at least 150 yards long and 50 yards wide trying to score goals in a soccer-style net or through rugby-style goalposts. Each goal is worth one point, but they are scored in separate tallies, and I have no clue how they are related. The players wear no padding and are only sort of allowed to tackle each other.

I greatly enjoyed watching Limerick (that's LHGCWELKJ in Gaelic) destroy Carlow (CFJKLFKJGHFD in Gaelic) in both soccer goals and rugby goals.

Rejoice Thirsty Masses (an old Actual Rod chestnut)

When Dan and I arrived in Barcelona, we noticed something strange...every sign/menu/description of painting was in both Catalan and Spanish. For those of you who don't know, Catalan is the language spoken in Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region of Spain of which Barcelona is the capital (I believe). It is similar to Spanish, but with more X's. People actually speak this language in their daily lives.

Upon our arrival in Ireland, we noticed that every sign/menu/description of painting was in both Gaelic and English. Now Gaelic is the ancestral language of the Irish, but unlike Catalan, I have not heard a single person actually speak the language. I suspect that the entire language is some kind of fraud perpetuated to give Ireland more of a foreign feel.

Given this information, I think one thing is clear. Every sign/menu/description of painting should be written in English only.