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Drudge, Hypochondria, and the President

I'm convinced that Drudge is a total hypochondriac. He's got about 20 stories about the swine flu up right now.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, but he is leaning a bit too far in the panic direction.

On the other side is TechCrunch, which has a story up, saying that "panic" is being spread over the web

I disagree. I think these types of flu are a bit scary, and with the federal government now working on it, it's a legitimate news story.

(I bet we find, eventually, that like the last big scare of the bird flu, that this is not just some random thing, that there is a big-picture story that caused this. It turns out the avian flu was caused by chicken farmers in China giving Tamiflu and other antivirals to their chickens. It didn't work, surprise surprise, but what did happen is that they helped create a flu bug that did not get better when you took Tamiflu. This is something I learned about from a doctor because it hurt me directly: I got the flu and couldn't take Tamiflu to get better.)

The thing that worries, me, however, is that Drudge has such animus toward Obama.

I don't know if there's anything to the story that Obama met and shook hands with a man in Mexico City who died the next day from the swine flu, but I do know that if it happened to President Bush that Drudge would have had that story front and center.

Denver's Altitude claims another

Harry Kalas died today, the day after leaving the Mile High City.

For those of you who don't know him, you probably know his voice. He was the announcer for the Phillies forever, and was also the voice behind those great NFL films, the ones that looked so great because they were shot on real film instead of video. They always seemed to show two rows of huge men with steam coming out of their snouts on some frozen turf. The voice just boomed out. I have a few of the choice ones on my iPhone that always make me smile when they come up in the random cue.

I got to meet Kalas, when Denver hosted the All Star game. I went with a pal to the Wynkoop back when Hickenlooper was still just a barkeep, before he went into politics.

Kalas was there on the patio with Hickenlooper, one of the world's biggest Phillies fans, and Hick was just soaking up every moment with this small, chain-smoking man. I didn't know who it was because when he was speaking in the group he just sounded like a regular guy. He was very slight, and was wearing a polyester suit. I figured maybe he was an uncle of Hickenlooper or something, the way he looked at Kalas with such reverence. Then I figured it couldn't be a relative because Hickenlooper must have been a foot or more taller than Kalas.

So I whispered to my buddy, trying to figure out who it was, and then learned it was Harry the K, the original "Outa Here!" guy. He had some amazing stories, very fun to listen to, but he was not at all boastful about any of it, he was just a very polite guy telling funny stories and then trying to deflect as much attention away from himself as he could.

And smoking non stop. 

I wonder how much of his amazingly deep and powerful voice for such a small guy was actually just created by the damage of all that smoke.

Poor guy. Threw out the first pitch a week ago. Flies up to Denver because he's not the kind of guy who takes days off during the baseball season. Has some trouble breathing here but doesn't make a fuss. Goes with the team to the next stop and dies while writing out the lineup for that day's game. 

This very well done story of his death doesn't specifically blame Denver, but it's hard not to make a connection when we've seen it so many times before here. You just need all the lung capacity you can get here.

You will be missed, Harry.

Don Baylor is da man

Look, I just want to be the first to say it. Don Baylor is the man.

Pitching will always be an issue in Denver, but I'm convinced that the reason the ball hasn't been "popping" off the bat the way it did when Baylor was the manager has less to do with the "humidor" than it does with the fact that Don Baylor wasn't around.

Now that he's back, hitters are listening to him and the ball is leaving the yard a lot.

Yes, yes, we are only three games into the season, but the Rockies have not yet played in Denver, and already they are second in the league in hitting and second in homers.

Tulo is on pace to hit 120 home runs this season! Helton hasn't hit one yet, but you know spigot will open up soon enough.

So you read it here first: If the Rockies do well this season, Don Baylor deserves a LOT of the credit, and by the way it will be a lot of fun to watch and listen this year.

Gay Marriage, Marijuana, and the march of time...

Several quick odds and ends before my next post, which will be a big and very positive review of The Unlikely Disciple...

  • Two excellent posts in a row from the FiveThirtyEight guys, showing how gay marriage and marijuana are on an almost inevitable march toward legalization. Those guys nailed it during the election, and they are still finding their footing now with no election to talk about, but with those two posts I expect to learn a lot from them in the coming years.
  • In the marijuana post, it points out -- without comment -- that my generation (X) smoked less pot than either the boomers or the millennials. Doesn't really surprise me... even at NYU in the 80s, I saw very little pot smoking. Maybe I just ran with a nerdier crowd. I'm not advocating for or against legalization here, but I will say that I think smoking pot in general is somewhat narcissistic, which is why it makes so much sense that both the boomers and the millennials toke up. 
  • My post from April Fool's Day was, mostly, a joke. I am not crowdsourceing my life. I have to say, however, the idea was posted as a joke but the more I thought about it the more it grew on me. I guess I want it both ways: I don't want to do it right now, but I do want to be thought of as the first person to ever crowdsource his own life. Hmmmmm.
  • Baseball is back. Ahhhhhhhhh.

First Person to Crowdsource My Entire Life

I am announcing here that I will become the first human being to crowdsource my life.

That's right: All decisions about my life will be subject to the whims of the Internet. 

I've been reading with interest how excellent crowds have been at designing T-Shirts, fixing the patent system, guessing the weight of a pig and much much more.

Basically there are lots of ways for companies to save money and make money by using the wisdom of the crowds to solve problems, come up with new ideas, and spread the word. That's great for companies, so why can't it be great for a person?

Here are the ground rules: You, the internet, can tell me anything that I will do, as long as it is not against the law. Also, my family is off limits, so if you tell me that I need to go have an affair with Chuck's sister, well, I'm not going to do it, even if she totally does look like Wonder Woman.

So, by this time next year I'll make a full report on what you, the Internet, has told me to do.

Be gentle!