Archive for August, 2008
I’m seriously bored boring this Labor Day weekend. Thank goodness there’s U.S. Open tennis on TV to keep me sorta halfway entertained. If you need something to get you going, maybe one of these links will help.
- A British cartographer thinks internet mapping is destroying history by leaving out local landmarks. “We’re in real danger of losing what makes maps so unique,” she says.
- One of the most stunning, exciting upsets of the Beijing Olympics was Matthew Mitcham’s win in platform diving. In the last round, his nearly perfect dive allowed him to overtake China’s Zhou Luxin, who’d led from the very start of the finals. Bafflingly, NBC—which spent an amazing amount of time discussing and detailing the friends and families of other divers—never mentioned that Mitcham, whose partner was in the stands, was one of the handful of openly gay men in the Games. Later, NBC both defended and apologized for its decision. (As always, Outsports is the place to look for news of interest to gay sports fans.)
- In other news Olympic sports news, a United States archery coach faced criticism that his religious proselytizing crossed ethical boundaries. In this NYT article, the coach, Kisik Lee, said archers needed an empty mind and that he wasn’t sure whether non-Christians could achieve that. (None of the American archers earned medals in Beijing.)
- The death of Dave Freeman, the man who wrote 100 Things to Do Before You Die, caused BBC News Magazine to ask why ‘before you die’ books are popular. I own only one, 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die, but it’s just something I browse through once in awhile; it’s no life mission for me. Are people really looking for life missions in checklist form?
- In a fascinating Q&A in Salon, historian of religion James P. Carse, author of The Religious Case Against Belief, disputes the idea that the world’s great religions have any underlying unity at all. Transcendence, for instance, is a Christian/Western notion, he says, one that’s difficult to find in Buddhism and not a real emphasis of Judaism. Carse also argues that poets inspired religion. I’m not entirely sure I fully understand Carse’s central thesis, but I’m putting The Religious Case into my to-be-read pile.
I obviously picked the wrong Mets-Phillies game to attend. On Tuesday night, the Phillies—in a game lasting more than five hours—came back from 7-0 to win, 8-7, in 13 innings. The Phillies used so many players (including eight pitchers) that catcher Carlos Ruiz had to play third base. And the Phils stole the division lead from the evil Mets.
But I went to the park on Wednesday. And on Wednesday, the Phils went up 3-1 early, in a tense game, only to lose, 6-3. The loss handed the division lead back to the evil, evil Mets.
It probably shouldn’t have happened. Although pitcher Rudy Seanez took the loss in the boxscore (weirdness: Seanez took the win on Tuesday!), manager Charlie Manuel deserved the demerit. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth and a one-run lead, Manuel kept Seanez in the game to face Carlos Delgado, who’d been, by far, the hottest hitter of the night for the Mets. When Delgado came to the plate, fans were begging Manuel to put closer Brad Lidge, who was already all warmed-up, into the game. But Manuel stuck with Seanez, apparently intent on using the oh-so-effective Lidge for only three, not four, outs. Delgado homered, tying the score. Manuel did finally bring Lidge into the game in the eighth—but only after Seanez put another Met, Carlos Beltran, on base.
Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. Lidge didn’t look at all sharp, allowing a double and a two-run single after Seanez’s departure. But by then, the momentum was with the Mets. It felt like there was no stopping the Mets.
On Wednesday, anyway.
I’ve been a remarkably bad blogger this month, I know, but I just can’t drag myself away from the Olympics. Open-water swimming must be watched, you know? Last night, though, I did manage to stay away from the television long enough to see the Phillies trounce the Dodgers, 8-1.
After the red-hot first half of the season, the Phils have cooled; they’re now two-and-a-half games behind the dreaded Mets. So when pitcher Kyle Kendrick gave up a run in the first and didn’t look good in the second, I started to get That Bad Feeling™. Again. But Kendrick pulled it together, and he started getting support—and a lot of it—from his teammates. Ryan Howard had a homer. (Adorable) Chris Coste had a homer. Chase Utley had a homer. It felt like the good old days of May and June. Maybe the Phils can make another run at the division title in the next month….
Last night’s game was my first chance to boo see Manny Ramirez in Dodger blue. And even better, it was future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux’s first start as a new Dodger. (I don’t think I’d ever seen Maddux pitch in person.) He looked good early on, retiring the Phillies on (literally) a handful of pitches in the first two innings. But Maddux really let the game get away from him in the fourth and fifth innings.
I’ll remember the game, too, because I attended with a friend—let’s call him D.—who is moving to New York next week. If it’s possible for a gay man to have a man crush on a straight guy, well, I have one on D. He’s suave, knowledgeable about sports, tall and dashing. I’m going to miss him.