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Month: October 2011

World Series Game 7

Are you watching the World Series right now? Surely you are! I am watching it too. Here is the Win Probability Graph for the game:

Source: FanGraphs

Whichever team the line is higher on is the team with the greater probability of winning, based on the game events that have transpired. The graph updates in real time. So, if you read this after the game, you will see who won the game. If you are viewing the graph now, you will suspect the Cardinals are going to win the World Series. Having these win probability graphs is interesting. It’s like turning on your navigator to get your estimated arrival time to a location you know the route to.

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After Hours

In my youth, I would listen to Glen Hollis wax poetic about love and then select a choice tune to reflect the staggering loneliness, passion, or regret his caller had just confided to him about. I loved to listen to the program, and because I was a teenager, I judged people for being so woefully tragic. “You miss your husband, who is spending every night working late with his secretary, huh?” I would snicker, and continue, “You may not be wise to what is going on, but I am. I’ve watched enough Lifetime specials to know what is up. And it is not your husband’s work ethic. It’s something else. Something that might make you angry. I mean I don’t know. Maybe he is working hard. Why do I assume the worst? Glen, Glen why don’t I believe in love? Forget this caller! What song will cure my jaded, lonely heart?! Will my next sixteen years be as romantically dull as my first sixteen?! GLEN!?”

Those fun times are behind me, and Glen no longer hosts the after hours radio program. Now, there is Delilah, a female, syndicated version of Glen Hollis. Delilah shares his empathetic tone and affinity for soft rock, but there is something slightly different about her. I couldn’t put my finger on it until tonight, when I heard the following:

Female caller: Hello! I just wanted to call in. I feel so lucky to have a wonderful family, and two wonderful children.
Delilah: Do you feel lucky, or blessed?
Me (I’m always part of the conversation): Pop quiz, hot shot! Lucky or blessed?
Female caller: Um?
Delilah: Do you feel lucky, or blessed to have two wonderful children?
Female caller: Well, at first I could not have children, but now I have two. So that is lucky.
Delilah: If you could not have children before, but now you have them, that is God’s work.
Me: Perhaps with some luck thrown in from the adoption agency.
Female caller: Uh
Me: Obviously you got the answer wrong, dummy. Methinks this call did not go as you expected it would.
Delilah: (cutting her off) I know just the song for you, and I am going to play it, for your blessed good fortune.

And then Steve Winwood’s Higher Love started to play. I’m sure it was a toss up between that and Madonna’s Like a Prayer.

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An Unflattering Portrait

As you may have heard, U.S. intelligence has uncovered a potential attack on the Saudi ambassador to America. Mansour Arbabsiar stands accused of soliciting a Mexican cartel member for carrying out the assassination on U.S. soil. The most fascinating thing about this story is not the absurdity around the plot, but the language being used to describe Arbabsiar. Normally, when you hear about terror suspects, you hear things like, “He was always really quiet and withdrawn,” or “I didn’t know him that well.” Arbabsiar’s acquaintances and friends have not been so kind. Rather than gracefully allow his actions to go down in history as yet another misguided attempt to change the political landscape, they have used this opportunity to publicly elaborate on all of his flaws, ranging from his sub-par business acumen to his romantic shortcomings. Articles about Arbabsiar read more like an unsatisfactory employee’s annual review more than they do like a profile of a killer.

“Business associates described Arbabsiar’s organizational skills as marginal.”

“At his estranged wife’s house outside Austin, neighbors described Arbabsiar as man who could be kind of annoying.”

“But he was also renowned for being almost comically absent-minded, perpetually losing keys, cellphones, briefcases, anything that wasn’t tied down. He failed at a succession of ventures from used cars to kebabs.”
-Washington Post

“There is a certain bewilderment in Corpus Christi that anyone as apparently hapless as Arbabsiar could get involved in an international conspiracy.”
-Washington Post

“Many of his old friends and associates in Texas seemed stunned at the news, not merely because he was not a zealot, but because he seemed too incompetent to pull it off.”
-New York Times

I can’t help but laugh as I read all of these articles and quotes about him, because if I were him, I would say, “Thank…you…for…defending me…but that’s enough…” And if I were his parents, I would slap my hand against my forehead and pine for a smarter son.

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Introspection Framed by Current Events

We are possibly hiring a new employee, if she’ll have us. One of my bosses has given her my phone number and encouraged her to give me a call to learn more about the company and ask me any questions she might have about working in our environment. “Be honest,” I was instructed.
“Okay,” I agreed.

But agreeing to such a task has forced me to brainstorm potential conversations, inspired by recent events. If she called me at this very moment, this is how the conversation would go:

Her: Hi I’m ____, and ___ told me to give you a call, do you have a moment? I wanted to ask you some questions about the company.
Me: Yes hello! I’m so glad you’ve called. And I absolutely do have a moment.
Her: Well thanks!
Me: So, I suspect you are going to ask the question the late Steve Jobs presented during his Stanford graduation speech. “If I knew I was going to die tomorrow, would I want to be spending today doing what I’m doing?”
Her: Uh
Me: Well to be honest, I think that’s a frighteningly personal question, and I’m a little surprised you would ask it.
Her: I did not ask it.
Me: Right. Listen, I think it’s a great question, so don’t worry too much about that.
Her: Uh
Me: And it’s culturally relevant.
Her: Yes.
Me: So, the answer is probably no. I mean, if I knew I was going to die tomorrow, I would freak out and spend my time trying to squeeze in so much that I might explode pre-foretold-disaster.
Her: Okay.
Me: But if I had to select a small handful of activities, no, I’d probably be working on a book. I would love to write a really great story.
Her: Well what is stopping you?
Me: You are full of great questions today.
Her: Fine.
Me: I don’t know.
Her: So…would you recommend joining this company?
Me: Yeah.

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Focus on your ability

Gossip Girl is back. And so am I.

“Uh, I had no idea the two were related,” you think. That is very astute. Normally there would not be a connection, but Monday’s episode was so inspiring that I knew I would be doing a disservice to the internet community if I stayed silent. Specifically, there are two big revelations that I must blog about.

1) Serena Vanderwoodsen is now a production assistant. To demonstrate the chaos that accompanies such a role, she has adopted the sloppy ponytail. She makes it look chic, so I trust the sloppy ponytail is back in style. This means my sloppy ponytail is also in style. I am thrilled.

2) Foster the People’s “Houdini” is fabulous. It was on the episode, so I bought it. I like to mentally cry, “Sometimes I want to disappear!” with all the angst I’m now too old to justifiably feel, but still do. I’m so full of angst. The song also has a refrain that goes, “Focus on your ability!” Focus on your ability!” So it’s unique because the song has anguish, but it also has an inspirational message that resonates. It’s perfect.

That’s about all that is worth sharing about the season premier of Gossip Girl this past Monday. Everything else that happened on the show made me suspect that I am getting too old to watch the show. *Eyes narrow.*

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