I'm Qwerty

known to some as Bob Gladstein. As it said on this blog’s former location, I am Post-boomer, reformed New Yorker, religion-free, car-free, boss-free. My office is my bedroom, and I’m not even a prostitute, by most people’s definition of the word. I’m also an internet marketing consultant based in Somerville (aka The Ville) Massachusetts.

04 June 2010

How Perfect Is Perfect

I’m no fan of baseball. Even when Red Sox Nation cowboys up with the Idiots in the Fall (whatever that means), I just can’t get into it. That’s partly because I’ve got issues with relating the so-called “home team” (a corporation that contracts with individuals from all over the world to perform a job which involves significant travel, but is located about half of the time here) to my home town (a place where I’ve actually chosen to live). I find the concept of loving a player because he’s one of us and then despising him a year later because he signed a contract with another team completely ludicrous. He was one of us for the same reason he’s now one of them. If Boston’s teams were made up of Bostonians and New York’s teams were made up of New Yorkers, then maybe it would mean something to me when Boston’s team beat New York’s team.

Frankly, I’m not a sports fan in general, but baseball stands out for me as even more boring than the rest. About ten years ago, Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated made the following semi-scientific observations during a playoff game between the Yankees and the A’s:

Time of this A’s-Yankees game: 3 hours, 15 minutes.

Time the baseball was actually in play, including pitches, batted balls, foul balls, pickoff attempts, relays, throws to bases and anything else even Bob Costas might consider actual sporting activity (and I was being generous with the stopwatch): 12 minutes, 22 seconds.

Percentage of time that the ball wasn’t in play: 94.

Percentage of time my cerebrum wasn’t in play: 94.

Number of baseball players crushed by unexpected fiery chunk of Planet Zorbig hurtling to earth: Not nearly enough.

Times I plan on watching baseball on TV ever again: 0.

Sounds about right to me. Even if I’m not rooting for a particular team, I can enjoy and appreciate basketball, hockey, or football (no, not the misnamed American kind), but baseball just bores me.

Armando Galarraga - AP imageSo consider all of that my admission that I’m no expert on America’s Pastime. With that in mind, I’d like to talk about this concept of a “perfect game” — and I mean that in the sense of Major League Baseball’s definition of a perfect game rather than my own, which I guess would be one that’s rained out before it starts. It’s been in the news for the past few days because of this guy having his perfect game taken away by a bad call.

28 January 2010

Facts Are Fun(gible)

I just watched Obama’s first official State of the Union address. I thought he did a pretty good job, but it certainly wasn’t as memorable as some of his speeches in the past. I also thought it demonstrated his continued move to the political center, which doesn’t particularly thrill me.

But this post isn’t about Obama, or the speech, really. It’s about CNN, and my pal Tom Foreman, whom I’ve written about before, as I’m sure you’ll recall. (Sure, I’m sure.)

Wolf Blitzer told us that CNN’s great and powerful political team was going to be fact checking Obama’s speech. First he cut to Ali Velshi to discuss Obama’s claims about how many jobs have been created or saved by the stimulus, and Velshi was very clear from the outset: we don’t know.

Next Wolf introduced Foreman, who was posted at one of CNN’s touchscreen monitors (which I believe they still refer to as “magic”). Foreman’s monitor was filled by a form containing four checkboxes:

  • · True
  • · Somewhat True
  • · Somewhat False
  • · False

Foreman introduced video of this section of the address:

Let me repeat: we cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95% of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, and food, and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven’t raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime.

We cut back to Foreman, ready for the truth, and he, putting a big X in the “True” box, said something to the effect of “Surprisingly, that’s true.” I was shocked. Even with the “surprisingly” or the “believe it or not” or whatever word or phrase Foreman used, he put that X in the True box. Wow.

Then he pointed out that some folks would argue that giving tax credits to people who make so little that they don’t actually pay taxes shouldn’t really count as tax cuts, and that some might say that a one-time reduction in taxes isn’t exactly a tax cut per se. Then he added an X to the “Somewhat False” box.

He marked two of the four boxes in response to one question. So CNN’s crack fact checking team has determined that Obama’s statement regarding tax cuts is both true and somewhat false.

That’s not fact checking. It’s pointing out that people with different opinions are going to come to different conclusions. Why bother calling it “fact checking” if you’re just going to tell us that?

No wonder I never watch CNN anymore.

09 September 2009

No Prē For Mē

My ancient Nokia will be sleeping with the fishes soon. It works about half the time. When it works, everything’s just fine. The rest of the time, it’s silent — no ringer, no sound through the earpiece or the speaker, and that makes it kind of tough to make a call, or to notice that someone’s calling me.

Not that a mobile phone is vital for me, of course. I work at home, and I have no life, so my VoIP land line is all I need most of the time, but I do leave the house on occasion. In fact, I discovered that the cell was dying when I tried to phone for a taxi a few weeks ago. That’s when I discovered that public phones (remember those?) have become astonishingly rare these days.

So the time has come to get a new phone. This will only be my third cell phone, as I was pretty late in joining the mobile communications revolution (being stuck on a stopped train for an hour or two some time around 2002, unable to call the person I had left work early to meet to tell them I was stuck on a stopped train convinced me to get one) and I use my phones until they croak, oblivious as I am to fashion, technology, and fashion technology. The Nokia doesn’t even have a camera. Don’t ask me how I’ve survived. I guess I’ve just been lucky.

So, what to get… Friends of mine with iPhones and Androids just love them, but I’m on Sprint, so those are out. I suppose I could get a Palm Prē (which I like to pronounce as “pompry,” for some reason), but I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Aside from the fact that I just don’t need something that fancy, the advertising campaign for the phone has kind of put me off a bit.

I saw The Man Who Fell to Earth when it first came out in the US, so I think I was about 13. I’ve got a thing about eyes, so I had nightmares about that face, along with the scene in which Bowie’s character first removes his human disguise, including the contact lenses.

I absolutely love the film. I even wrote a paper I’m fairly proud of about it in grad school: “Alienation and the Subsequent Development of Sexual Identity in The Man Who Fell to Earth.” But that doesn’t mean I want to buy a phone from Thomas Newton’s long-lost sister here. Hell, their species have sexual organs in their palms — remember how that moist touch made Candy Clark lose it? The phone probably has alien reproductive goo all over it.

I don’t know… CNET gave the LG LX370 a pretty positive review, and there was nothing in there about alien DNA. Maybe I’ll get one of those.

By the way, I think Tilda Swinton might be one of them too.

23 April 2009

A Cunning Plan

I’ve got a plan — a cunning plan.

I’m going to rob a bank.

I’m going to buy a gun on the black market and take it to a big, busy bank. I’m going to shoot the place up a bit and maybe take some hostages, just to show them I’m serious. And I’m going to get a lot of money. Cash money.

Is this a dangerous plan? Yeah, I suppose it is. Is it illegal? Don’t be so quick to answer. Wait until you hear what I’m going to do with all that money.

First off, I’m going to pay off a bunch of old credit card debt. That will free up the banks to loan that money to small businesses.

I’m going to take the rest of the money and spend it like there’s no tomorrow. I’ll walk into a store and just say, “Give me one of everything.” It won’t even matter what they sell. And I’ll give a bunch of money to someone else and tell them to do the same thing: just buy lots of stuff.

I bet the owner of that store is going to end up hiring one or two new employees after that.

Sure, I’ll have broken the law.

But results matter, right?

You can’t prosecute me if I help out the economy. I’m just serving my country.