Month: August 2008

Scoring a Walk Off

Walk Offs.  The name is pretty descriptive.  One pitch and the game is over.  And last night, I had the chance to see one in person.  From my perspective, nothing in sports is so exciting.  You may ask, “What’s the difference in a walk off in baseball and a sudden death touchdown or field goal in football, when the last score wins it all?”  (I recall Curt Gowdy liked to rename these extra periods “Sudden Victory” in place of “Sudden Death.”)  What about the last second shot in basketball? Here’s why…in baseball, the walk off comes as part of the normal course of the game.  Baseball is famous for not having a clock.  This infuriates some when it is 11 p.m. and you have babysitters at home or an early morning alarm clock is on the horizon for work.  But there is no sudden death (or sudden victory) in baseball.  When you win with a walk off, it means that the home team has won in the course of the normal rules of the game.  It …

An End-of-Summer Farewell to the Pool

The first thing to know is that I’m not a very good swimmer.  The second thing that’s important to know is that I love our neighborhood pool.  And here at Labor Day weekend, I’m sad to see it close for a host of reasons. We were so pleased when we moved to Silver Spring early in 2000 to find several nearby pools that are part of Montgomery County’s wonderful network of neighborhood pools.  Candice, with her usual thoroughness, visited them all in the hopes of finding the one that was right for us.  We had vague thoughts of Andrew and Claire joining a swim team, but we really didn’t know what that meant and it really didn’t play much of a role in our decision.  In the end, we settled on Franklin Knolls, which was an older pool, nestled in a grove of trees at the end of a dead-end street, that just struck us as having a family – yet slightly funky – feel that would fit us. The pool was family oriented and Andrew …

Jon Stewart Is the Dean of Convention Anchors

As the Democratic convention comes to a close, I found this article from the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle to be right on target.  It is a telling media milepost as political convention TV coverage unfolds over the next two weeks: Jon Stewart is now the dean of commercial network political convention anchors. The old guard is either retired, deceased or disgraced. For the past two nights, Stewart’s show – The Daily Show – has brilliantly skewered the cable news from the left (MSNBC) and right (Fox News).  Thanks to my colleague and friend Melita Juresa for sharing this article. More to come… DJB

Irish Band Solas Plays in Arlington This Week – Recommended!

One of the great Irish bands of the past decade will be playing twice in Arlington, Virginia this weekend.  The band is Solas and since the late 1990s they have been hailed as the best Irish band to ever emerge from the United States.  I agree.  Led by the terrific Seamus Egen, they exhibit superb musicianship that is infectious, and their new album also includes duet work with the Canadian band The Duhks.  Solas will play at a CD-release party on Friday evening, and then will follow that the next day with a concert as part of Planet Arlington’s World Music Festival. Solas is a great live band – which you can see in Arlington and (for those outside Washington) on the joint CD/DVD album SOLAS:  Reunion – A Decade of Solas.   A great concert and a great band.  More to come… DJB

Three Cups of Tea

Those who receive emails from my father know that I could fill up a blog by just passing along the great material he sends my way. As I watched the political convention tonight, I thought that a recent book recommendation from my father was worth passing along. So, this posting is from Tom Brown: Last week I read Three Cups of Tea, One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (Penquin).  I had the good fortune to hear the author, Greg Mortenson, this past Saturday night at the local Friends of the Linebaugh Libray meeting.  In addition, Brian Lamb interviewed him recently on C-Span. What Greg has done is build schools, primarily for girls, in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  The hard cover edition had in the title “. . . one man’s mission to fight terrorism and build nations one school at a time.”  He objected to the “fighting terrorism” but the published thought it needed that to sell.  It didn’t. So he got his way in …

Pandora Radio and Ben’s Chili Bowl

A couple of random topics about unique institutions that you may find of interest… Pandora Radio – My friend and colleague Scott Gerloff introduced me to Pandora Radio, the Internet radio station that allows you to program your own music.  If you’ve never tried Pandora, I recommend you pay it a visit.  No matter your musical taste, you’ll enjoy it…because you get to program it! In a posting today on the Bluegrass Blog, there’s a story about the difficulties Pandora is facing due to royalty issues with the music industry.  Check out the blog, learn more about Pandora, and become a listener.  Let’s hope we can all enjoy it for a long time to come. Ben’s Chili Bowl – There’s a Washington institution celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and the blog at PreservationNation captured the celebration at Ben’s Chili Bowl on historic U Street in a posting today.  The Washington Post also had a terrific article earlier this week that covers the history – and future – of Ben’s.  After coming back from two weeks …

Wrapping up the Western Trip

After the first day back at work, I have pulled together a few final observations from the road and even more photographs from our trip out west. #1 – Acoma Sky City (see Claire’s photo at left) is one of the most moving and beautiful places in America.  If you ever travel near Albuquerque, take the time to travel about an hour west and see this extraordinary place. #2 – Follow your spouse’s good instincts when you travel.  When we pulled into Gallup, NM after spending the day at Acoma, Candice really wanted to attend the Native American Tribal Ceremonial gathering that was taking place, to see the dancing and cultural displays.  I was tired and didn’t follow through, and so we ended up resting in the hotel.  Two days later when reading a regional paper we learned 1) that the event itself was pretty spectacular and 2) that PAUL McCARTNEY was in Gallup that evening and had attended the event to watch the dancing.  Apparently he was traveling on Historic Route 66 and decided …