Friday Four

Friday, June 08, 2012

1. James Lileks lampoons the hyperbole of what he calls "the overclass" and makes a few good points along the way as he opines about New York City's restrictions on the sales of sugar-containing soft drinks.

That's the moral world of these people: soda is villainous. The article is titled "Please save me from Sugary Big Gulps," and a grown man actually put his name on it.


Sick. Villianous. Poison. Abomination.

They're talking about a burger and a Coke. This must mean that the American Graffiti movie is the equivalent of Triumph of the Will.

As I said, it's not about health. If it was, no one would mention the cost of obesity. It's an issue only because the rest of us have to pay for it? If that's the case, then there's no end to the restrictions we can conjure up and impose with equal parts of sadness and resolution. Smoking was easy because it stinks. Trans-fats was easy because no one knew what they were; it's not like you go down the store to pick up some trans-fats. The soda laws appeal to the overclass because fat people are disgusting. [minor format edits, bold in original]
Lileks is right that his "overclass" sound ridiculous (regardless of the merits of reducing sugar intake) and that it has dictatorial impulses, but I don't think animus against overweight people explains the phenomena he catalogues as much as Lileks seems to.

2. Dr. McGillicuddy to the rescue! I have nicknamed several of my baby daughter's toys, one of them being a stuffed cloth doll we supposed might look like her as a girl when we got it. Thanks to my wife being of Irish descent, our daughter is mostly Irish, so I decided to give this doll an Irish-sounding last name to go with "Molly", which the doll was already named. Recalling a Lucille Ball character with an Irish name, I started calling the doll "Molly McGillicuddy". Mrs. Van Horn didn't like it, and didn't believe this was a real name, and said so right before I went out on foot with the baby on an errand. I figured I'd just google the name later on.

Along the way to the store, I spied what looked like an empty bottle of bum wine sitting on the sidewalk. Amused, I took a closer look and was floored by the name: Dr. McGillicuddy's Wild Grape. Needless to say, I took a picture for my wife's edification. She laughed and now allows me to call the doll Molly McGillicuddy. Since my wife is both an M.D. and a Ph.D., I now sometimes jokingly refer to the doll as "Dr. Molly McGillicuddy", or "Molly McGillicuddy, M.D., Ph.D."

3. David Pogue gives a rave review to an ingenious line of wireless, platform-independent earbuds.

4. Former U.S. Men's National Team striker Earnie Stewart is having a great second career as a soccer manager.
"He's good at analyzing what a team needs," van As said, "what type of players do and don't fit into the club."

I think I've become accustomed to what a team needs," Stewart said. "All those pieces in the puzzle, they have to fit. It begins on the technical side, but they're personality pieces, too. In the end, putting those pieces together, that's one of the things -- not to sound stupid -- but that I've always been pretty good at."

Recently, Stewart took [his club's] front office and board to see Moneyball. Outside-the-box thinking appeals to him. Everywhere he has worked, he operated on a budget that, relative to the club's direct competitors, was very tight. "You learn to be creative. You learn what's important for a team and club," Stewart said. "I've learned a lot at a smaller club, and then a bigger club and now a very big club in Holland." He puts strict spending caps on himself and has never spent more than 1.5 million euros on a transfer, a pittance for a club competing for the Dutch title every year. [minor format edits]
He hopes to eventually return to the U.S. and "be of importance to soccer". I hope he does.

-- CAV

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