The Hypocritical Hall of Fame Electorate

In 1965, the Astrodome opened to the public in Houston. The world had never seen a stadium like it before, leading some to call it the Eighth Wonder of the World. Houston’s fledgling baseball team, the Colt ’45s, was renamed the Astros. Although they finished 9th with a poor record of 65–97, attendance was quite high as people came from all around to see the Astrodome. Judge Roy Hofheinz’s vision of major-league baseball in Houston was fully realized.

Fifty years later, there will finally be a plaque in Cooperstown with an Astros cap as Craig Biggio was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Continue reading

A Picky Eater Goes Abroad

Perhaps it’s just all those movies I’ve seen in which outlandish caricatures of people from other countries engage in huffy, exaggerated outbursts whenever a foreigner—usually an American, natch—commits a cultural faux pas, but I can’t stand the idea of doing so myself. Before I travel to another country, I do some homework. I research cultural differences and look for red flags of behavior that’s considered normal in America but would be unacceptable there. I try to speak the language. I make every effort to not attract any more attention than necessary. The idea of perpetuating the stereotype of the unworldly American tourist who doesn’t bother to learn the language or customs of the country he’s visiting, and expects all the locals to speak English and cater to him, is mortifying to me. The vast majority of visitors from other countries I have encountered in America seem to have done their due diligence when coming here, and most of them have learned quite a bit of English—which I find rather impressive, given how complex English is—so I figure it’s the least I can do. Continue reading

On Being Stubborn

A couple years ago, we switched TV providers in part because we weren’t able to watch the Rangers on a regular basis with our previous provider. Before we went with that option, my wife looked into MLB.TV to see if we would be able to get the Rangers games that way. I’m pretty sure she looked online for information about the service, but I envision her experience as a conversation that might have gone something like this: Continue reading

Facebook is Taking Over Our Lives

Before you ask, no, I’m not going to quit Facebook. As I’ll point out shortly, that wouldn’t fix this problem.

Lots of people spend way too much time on Facebook. For better and for worse, it’s the most popular social network on the internet, and the #2 most popular website overall (as of May 10th, 2011), behind only Google. While I won’t bother to find sources for my conjecture (because, really, it would take longer than I care to spend researching it), I’m pretty sure Facebook has changed many lives—again, both for better and for worse. Continue reading

Daylight Saving Waste of Time

This last weekend, we observed the “spring forward” part of Daylight Saving Time. And it occurred to me that this is a waste of time, and causes more trouble than it’s worth. Now, I’m all for making better use of daylight. But consider the following:

  • Daylight Saving Time this year runs from March 13 to November 6. That’s almost 8 months. We spend nearly twice as much time under DST as we do under “standard” time. There’s something intrinsically wrong with this.
  • Twice a year, everyone has to go through all the clocks in their house and reset them. They have to adjust their internal body clocks.
  • Systems all over the world must keep up to date with the rules, when they take effect, and if they change. Not following the rules precisely can have dire consequences.

Continue reading