Thursday, May 29, 2008

various thoughts

A few things on my mind.

One is my dislike of the self-righteous attitude that the National League has in its steadfast refusal to utilize the DH. How can it be that every minor league in the US as well as the AL uses it but the sanctimonious National League refuses to on the grounds that they're either a) "old-school" or b) too pure? If National League pitchers could hit, then it would be one thing. However, most pitchers do not hit particularly well. There are a few exceptions, such as Micah Owings of the Arizona Diamondbacks. I would like to hear from both sides of town about this issue, White Sox and Cubs fans.

Two: A few weeks ago, Richie Sexson, a fading player for the Seattle Mariners, threw his batting helmet at the Texas Rangers pitcher and instigated a fight. He was suspended for five games. The Texas announcers ripped him roundly. To all Tex-ASS Rangers fans, let me say this:

Your team is in no position to give lectures on sportsmanship and winning. I will accept lectures from Red Sox and Yankees fans, but not rural Texas fans with pickup trucks.

Three: Speaking of the pot calling the kettle black, Dan McNeil of ESPN 1000 is in no position to lecture recently deposed talk show host Mark Madden of ESPN Radio in Pittsburgh. This guy McNeil was suspended for over two weeks last year for calling a Comcast Chicago female employee the B word (ask me offline what that word is) and in 2006, got into a major tussle with co-host Harry Teinewitz where both parties were suspended for a couple of weeks. No wonder ESPN 1000 likes DeFalco. Even if he doesn't have wide horizons, he stays out of trouble.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Stanley Cup finals not what I want

The Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins are playing this week for the Stanley Cup. Detroit has won the first two games by a combined score of 7-0. I don't like these teams or cities because a) they're union cities, Detroit for autoworkers and Pittsburgh for steelworkers and b) These cities aren't big enough to draw fans who aren't from Detroit or Pittsburgh. New York and San Jose would have been my preference. The Rangers would draw New York fans and people who hate New York teams winning.

In any event, the Chicago Wolves are playing the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Penguins on Thursday for the Calder Cup, the AHL (Triple A hockey) Championship. Good luck to the Wolves.

For more information log onto or .

Indiana Jones and other weekend stuff

Well, my Dad came in for the weekend. He was working in Indiana so it was easier to stop over in Chicago for shabat. It was a nice time.

Sunday afternoon I went with my cousins to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It was a good movie, maybe not as good as the previous Indiana Jones movies of the 1980's, but good nonetheless. As an observant Jew, it is harder and harder to find good movies to watch. Most of them have schmutz (literally means filth, in practice, is used to described nude/sex scenes in movies) or some of these movies are shoot-em-ups which are boring. See the Rambo movies or anything with Steven Segall. Some are politically oriented such as Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore.

I don't want to totally give away the movie but there are some twists in this movie involving the Jones family. There were previews for some other summer movies such as Hancock, starring Will Smith. I would consider seeing that one. Wall-E a Disney animation film is coming out soon as well.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

random sports thoughts

Some of these thoughts are Seattle-related, others more general.

The Mariners are in for a long year, even if they somehow can pry Ken Griffey Jr. out of Cincinnati. The team has too many singles hitters on it and not enough multi-talented players.

I really hope that the Seahawks can make one more trip to the Super Bowl before the core of the team gets too old. It may be a while before they get back if they can't do it this year. Arizona and San Francisco will get better and are much younger without the age that the Hawks' stars have.

It's a good thing that the Cubs and Sox are off to decent starts, because we don't have much else in this town to feel optimistic about. I have no confidence in the Bears or Bulls and even if the Blackhawks young talent base makes the playoffs next year, they won't be a Stanley Cup contender for a couple of years. Usually a team needs to take its lumps in the playoffs before breaking through.

The San Antonio Spurs sure are good. A smaller city version of the New England Patriots. Even one of their stars is married to an attractive actress, just like the Pats' Brady is with Gisele Bundchen. I think they will top the Lakers in 6 or 7 games.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Question for people

In the last few months, the price of gas has shot up tremendously, and we are now paying over $4 a gallon for gasoline. It used to be around 2-3 dollars a gallon. One thing that I advocate is drilling in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge). I know that there are a lot of environmentally conscious people in Chicago and other parts of the country who are adamantly opposed to such a thing. We keep importing oil from the Saudis and another reason why food prices are up is because we are using more corn to produce ethanol. That leaves less corn available for food.

While I personally take mass transit, A) I don't care for it so much B) It is less convenient in Chicago than other eastern cities and C) Many people NEED cars to get around. How can this oil problem be solved?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rooftop event

Well the Rooftop event was good. I met a lot of nice young professional people. Moreover the Ark hopefully raised a decent amount of money. While the cover charge was steeper than normal, they had to pay to rent the Rooftop, food and personnel.

It's too bad that the only single people who attend these types of events are either really Modern WRP types or Lakeview/Gold Coast types. However, it is the loss of those who use "frumkeit" as an excuse to avoid meeting members of the opposite sex.

Enough about that. The game was great, although after the sixth inning, when it was 12-2, I lost interest in it since the other team, San Diego, doesn't have the offense to come back from ten runs down.

Zambrano pitched well and the whole offense contributed. I don't remember anyone with more than 2-3 RBI's.

A Cub game is a happening. If there are Sox fans who frequent this site, I am sure that Sox games are fun, but Bridgeport is not Wrigleyville.

The neighborhood surrounding Yankee Stadium is not a place for the young professionals and the same goes for Shea Stadium. I don't know about Boston and Fenway Park. Red Sox fans can let me know about the atmosphere near Fenway Pahhk.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Flipping Out? a few 18 year olds or a whole community?

I bought Flipping Out?Myth or Fact: The Impact of the “Year in Israel” by three YU scholars, Shalom Berger, Daniel Jacobson and Chaim I Waxman. The book was a study about the impact that many Jewish Orthodox teenagers do today which is to spend their "freshman year" in Israel studying in a Yeshiva or Seminary.

It is a good book and one can get it through the following website:

I found it revealing and quite interesting. It seems that the year in Israel (or two or three) has more of an impact than 16-18 years in the US. One of the reasons why the Modern Orthodox community of today has shifted to the "Right" is because of close to a couple of thousand young men and women who studied in a Yeshiva or Seminary and have changed their priorities while studying in Israel. Here's an example from the book. There was a woman who wanted to work for an American Yeshiva in the office. Her mother and grandmother never covered their hair. However, she wanted to work there without covering her hair. One of the authors told her that if she didn't cover her hair, she couldn't work there. Dynamics have changed in the Orthodox community. Part of it is a reaction to the world around us and part of it is because people feel more comfortable doing things in a group and if the group is more involved in Jewish study, doing Chessed, etc. then consequently that is what those people will do.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

friend on CNBC

A childhood friend of mine, Aaron Katsman, made aliyah about 10 years ago and was on CNBC on the "Squawk Box" with his partner Zack Miller, a former Floridian discussing hot Israeli stocks and the investment opportunities in Israel. They did this as part of a series today called Israel at 60.

Here's the link.

For more about Israel Newsletter, go to

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Boys of summer slumping

The Cubs have lost 8 of 11 and the White Sox got swept by a Canadian baseball team. The Bears "starting" running back was arrested on BWI (Boating While Intoxicated). The NBA team is looking for a coach. They should be looking for a GM as well.

What is going on in the City of Big Shoulders?

NHL Final 4: Detroit and Dallas in the West and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in the East. My question is will Obama and Clinton drop the first puck in this series?

NBA: LA-Utah and New Orleans-San Antonio in the West and Boston-Cleveland and Detroit-Orlando in the East.

Had the Rangers beaten the Penguins, the ratings for the East Finals would be more attractive. Sorry Pittsburgh fans, we can't afford a small market team in Hockey. Same goes for Carolina and Atlanta.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

events to look for

Well, for all Jewish singles, Orthodox or not, there is a nice event next Monday, May 12th at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. The ARK, is having a young leaders event at one of the rooftops, or buildings near Wrigley Field. For a decent amount of money, you can see the Cubs and Padres play, have a Kosher Dinner and meet cool and interesting Jewish people.

For more information go to

Since these types of events are few and far between in Chicago, I decided to promote it and give kudos to this organization.

The Cubs are doing well so far this year so that's another plus. Even if they play poorly, they still draw nearly 3 million a year to Wrigley.

Friday, May 02, 2008

sports media critique

One thing that Chicago DESPERATELY needs is a more vigorous critique of sports media, particularly sports talk radio. In New York City, there's a guy name Phil Mushnick who does it quite well for the New York Post. Sometimes he's self-righteous, but he keeps the FAN yakkers honest.

Let's start with some of the back benchers at ESPN 1000. Marc Silverman is not particurlarly gifted and is a Mariotti wannabe. Carmen DeFalco is too limited in his background and life travels for my taste. Yet he is considered to be a rising star at ESPN 1000. Had I been 11 years younger and not Orthodox, I might gun for his job.

Mike Downey and Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune are pretty lame as sports columnists. I would can Downey TODAY that is how bad he is. Moreover, he's a partisan liberal hack with that column he did on Obama's brother-in-law. Let's see him write 900 nice words on a relative of a Republican official who's a sports coach.

Carol Slezak of the Sun-Times (or Sun-Slimes) is a feminist stuck in 1975 when all of the mean men weren't giving her a chance to participate in sports. She wrote a silly article on Danica Patrick's win of a race in Japan. Patrick is attractive but the sheen has worn off and she's just another driver.