When You’re Up and the Internet is Down

On our recent flight home from the West Coast, the passenger seated next to us was in a panic because the Internet wasn’t working and she couldn’t retrieve her emails.  Meanwhile, my paper-based information device was working just fine.


Across the aisle numerous 70-something jet setters were screen-bound, enveloped in the new normal.  They were more stoic and resigned about the lack of email, while the middle-agers stewed as the stewardesses relayed their apologies.


Meanwhile, youth was served by watching videos or listening to loaded tunes whereas I, in my reverie, mused while annotating actual pages.

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Chihuly Garden & Glass Part 2

Chihuly Garden and Glass






















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Chihuly Garden and Glass


Thrown through a car windshield by the force of a head-on collision, leading to the loss of his left eye age 35, Dale Chihuly is a gifted glass artist whose work in asymmetry and irregularity may have been influenced by his one-eyed status.  Like many other geniuses, he has been played by lifelong mental health issues of the manic-depressive variety.  But man, when he is up, what a creative genius he is, as evidence in Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Washington.


















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Why is This Game Show Different From All Other Game Shows?

You all know what “HQ” stands for, right?  Of course, it stands for “Haggadah Questions” – like “Why is this night different from all other nights?”  Just kidding, of course.  Actually we don’t know for sure what HQ stands for, because the developers of the fastest growing iOS phone app outside of Waze isn’t telling.  The best way to familiarize yourself with the quiz show phone app is to watch an entire episode.  It’s basically a multiple choice Jeopardy on steroids.

HQ appears twice daily, at 3PM and 9PM, with registrants primed to play the game on their phones.  The gent in the video above is slick-talking proud Jewish comedian Scott Rogowsky, who usually hosts the evening festivities, while the afternoon game is hosted most often these days by self-described Phillies fan Sarah Pribis.

This afternoon we played HQ as a family, drawing Pribis as the hostess.



These are no mere four Haggadah questions; more like 12-15 questions that get progressively harder very quickly.  You only have a few seconds to answer the questions, making it virtually impossible to game the system (I said, virtually impossible).  To gain a sense of the level of difficulty, answer this question without looking it up:


Well of course, the question was selected to pay tribute to one of the guests who’ll be featured at tonight’s Passover Seder, Rabban Gamliel.

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One could guess the correct answer by deduction, knowing just the middle initial of the Presidents without the full name – Warren G. Harding, as opposed to James K. Polk or Rutherford B. Hayes.  But yes, H-Qties, the correct answer is:


And they just keep getting tougher, with the really hard ones being known as savage questions.  Well, I’d like to tell you more about this addictive game, buy my job is to pique your curiosity.  But for now, on to the original HQ …



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The “Or No” Meme

Its been a couple of years since I pointed out a trite language meme, “Whatever” in 2015, which was pre-dated by “So Much” in 2014 and “Oh-My-God” in 2012.  Those were all declarative phrases/add-ons, but this year’s winner is a superfluous add-on to the end of a question:  Are you ready, or not?


Actually, that is the meme, but it isn’t expressed as “or not”.  Instead, “or no” is substituted for “or not”.  So in the example above, if you’re speaking with someone who can respond, then the tag-on “or not” would be superfluous.  If you say to someone who’s hiding “Ready or not, here I come”, the “or not” opposite side of the coin is appropriate.  Because the answer to the question doesn’t matter — you’re coming regardless.  But when the person you’re addressing is available to answer, then “or no” adds nothing.  It’s mere linguistic filler.  Listen carefully, and you’ll hear people increasingly pose questions this way:  “Will you be right back, or no?”  Why not simply ask “Will you be right back?”  The irony is that in texting, language has become truncated.

So do you get my point, or no?


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Con(fidence) Man

“Where it began, I can’t begin to knowin’ …

Was in the spring , then spring became the summer.”

It was evident to anyone watching Gabe Kapler’s moves during spring training that he was a micro-manager, perhaps to a fault.  He was either going to be hailed as brilliant if the club played well, or a failed experiment  – a kind of Frankesteinian hybrid of Gene Mauch and Chip Kelly, if the club didn’t succeed.  Talk about positive energy is all well and good, but if it doesn’t show up in the win column one has lots of ‘splainin’ to do.

What should be most concerning about today’s inauspicious managerial debut by Kapler was not that he outsmarted himself with data-driven chess moves, but that he didn’t answer post-game interview questions in a way that would invite comfort in his “level of confidence”.  Sure, it’s only one game of a very long season.  But Kapler’s tendency in spring training was that he played musical chairs with the pitching staff at a dizzying pace – even after they were “stretched out”.  So his early yanking of his ace shouldn’t have been a total surprise.  But what he said after the game when it was obvious that the move backfired was surprising:

“We believe in all of our pitchers,” the manager said. “I believe in Hoby Milner’s ability to come in and get (Freddie) Freeman and (Nick) Markakis out.”

Another Spring Training juxtaposition:  This felt more like the Chicken Dance after Take Me Out of The Ballgame.

Here’s the main issue (and it ain’t rocket science).  A big selling point about the bullpen over the winter was the signing of free agent Tommy Hunter, and the re-acquisition of Pat Neshek.  Problem is, Tommy Hunter is on the DL, and Pat Neshek was “unavailable” today due to an injury-to-be-determined-later.  That means that the bullpen was significantly depleted, and it would behoove Kapler and the Phils to have their starter go as deep into the game as possible.


But for some inexplicable reason, only 68 pitches into the game and keeping Braves’ hitters masterfully off balance, Gabe Kapler sent his ace a message that he had more confidence in a pedestrian reliever to get Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis out than he did in Aaron Nola to continue.  I’m not sure what the bigger problem is here, Kapler’s inability to say he made a mistake in not letting Nola go deeper into this opening day, or insisting that he made the right move that just happened not to work out.  You’re right about one thing, Gabe.  It is going to be a long season.

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Start the Season Now!

At the end of the clip showing Ian Happ’s hot start to the spring, after his third homer in four days, the announcer opines: “Start the season now!”  Well now is upon us, with the Cubs opening against the Marlins in Miami – the first game of opening day.

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And there stands Ian Happ, at the top of the lineup in CF, who will take the first swing of the 2018 major league baseball season, having been too hot in that spot for Joe Maddon to sit him down.  It’s a rather historic day, the first one in 50 years since all major league teams have their opener scheduled on the same date.  March 29 also marks the earliest date on which the season has started since the Gregorian calendar was conceived.

Had I given it more forethought, Elliot and I would have taken the ride from Boynton to Miami to take in Ian live this afternoon.  I’ll be rooting for #8 to have a great opening day, and continuing to make it hard for Maddon to sit him down.  And if you have the chance, be sure to read this phenomenal article about Ian shared by Aunt Pam and posted online yesterday.  If you don’t get goose bumps reading it, check your pulse.

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