Archive for June, 2009

Matt Bai Should Concede Logical Defeat

Matt Bai argues in New York Times Magazine that the art of conceding defeat is lost. He posits that Norm Coleman’s extended challenge of his Senate loss to Al Franken is just a microcosm of a broader cultural trend towards resisting defeat. Bai claims:

What happens in politics, however, can almost never be extricated from the culture at large, and the lost art of losing nobly is by no means an exclusively political phenomenon. At the upper reaches of society, we litigate ever more readily and accept misfortune with ever less stoicism. Being fired from a job becomes the beginning of a negotiation, while a routine school suspension instantly goes to appeal. In part, this is probably the inevitable reckoning for a culture that gives trophies to every Little Leaguer because, as the saying goes, we’re all winners. Shouldering defeat is, after all, a skill that has to be learned early, like speaking Mandarin or sleeping through the night. Then, too, we are guided by an unflagging faith in modern technology — a sense that no discrepancy is small enough to defy absolute quantification. A blown call on a home run hooking foul used to be part of the game, a generations-old lesson in the randomness of adversity. Now the crowd breaks for hot dogs while the instant replay delivers its verdict and the homer is revoked. There are no more bad breaks in life — only bad umps.”

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Fun Times at Malibu Sands

So “The N” has been running the “Malibu Sands” episodes of Saved by the Bell for the last few days. For those of you who don’t remember (shame on you), Malibu Sands was the beach club where the gang worked the summer after their junior year. Some thoughts upon re-watching: Continue reading

Don’t Throw Twitter Down the….

There is a lot of good scholarship out there on the history of invention and technology. What is not as well documented, however, is the history of peoples’ reactions to technology. If recent history is any indication, this is how certain technological developments were greeted:

The wheel? God, your generation just doesn’t know the art of carrying heavy loads across long terrains.

Why would anyone ever need a phone? What do you need to say to someone who isn’t there? Don’t you have more important things to do?

How big of an ego do you have to actually own a car? What do you need to do that can’t be accomplished on foot?

Twitter is the latest luddite lightning rod. People don’t really understand Twitter: What is it for? Why do you need to know what other people are doing CONSTANTLY? What can you say in 140 characters? Continue reading

What to Eat in NYC

New York City (NYC) has a lot of really good food: So much good food that it is very difficult to decide where and what to eat when in the city. The question I pose here is this: If someone is in New York City for the first and only time for a day and can eat three foods/meals what should they eat? Before moving on let’s put forward two assumptions about this person to make my job a bit easier: 1. He has a very diverse palate and is willing to eat foods of most cuisine. 2. He is well-traveled and intends to continue traveling and dining in other cities.
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Watching Alone?

One of the most common social outings is going to the movies. Ironically, the process of going to see a movie is inherently antisocial. Think about it: You go into a dark theater where talking of any form is discouraged for two hours and are (hopefully) mesmerized by the film on the big screen. During the movie, you will have virtually no social interactions with the friends that accompany you (I exclude affectionate teen couples from this generalization) besides the occasional shared laugh. In fact, an argument can be made that having friends present detracts from the diversionary experience of the movie by reminding you of reality. Ever go with a friend to a movie who laughs at absolutely everything? Or talks excessively during the movie? This actually detracts from your movie watching experience by preventing complete immersion in the film.

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Monday Medley

What we read while they did everything besides read Lolita in Tehran.

  • Speaking of DFW, if you’ve always planned on reading Infinite Jest and just never had the time, this summer is the perfect chance to start. We at NPI heartily recommend it.
  • Ever wonder the daily routine of your favorite writer or artist? The fascinating Daily Routines blog compiles the daily routines of an array of interesting people ranging from Immanuel Kant to C.S. Lewis.

How to Buy a Sports Jersey

Good, Ehh, Lol, Ehh, So Fitting, Ugh, See No. 3

Good, Ehh, Lol, Ehh, So Fitting, Ugh, See No. 2

We’ve all seen them. We’ve all laughed at them. We’ve all wondered the process behind wearing them. Hell, we all own at least one.

They are Bad Sports Jerseys.

Here are the 14 basic Do and Do Not Do’s of sports jersey purchase:

  1. Never buy the discounted jersey of someone who has just left the team. There is a reason the jersey is on sale. This is acceptable if and only if it is a well-crafted joke. For instance, a Plaxico Burress Giants’ jersey—down to $20 last year—would make a great gift for any friend with a poor history of gun control. Even better: complement the gift with a pair of loose-fitting sweatpants and the promise of a night at The Latin Quarter. Then slowly reveal the Antonio Pierce jersey you bought for yourself. Nothing can go wrong. Continue reading

Steroids, Popularity and David Ortiz

It is no surprise that Alex Rodriguez is not popular at Fenway Park. He’s not really popular anywhere, and Boston fans in particular have never been very fond of the Yankees. Nevertheless, I was still a little surprised when the Yankees went into Boston a few weeks ago (June 9-11), and A-Rod was greeted with a pretty loud and forceful “You do steroids!” chant.

Now, as a Yankees fan, I’ve never had much respect for fans of the Red Sox, but this seemed beneath even them. To taunt an opposing slugger for juicing requires ignoring a pretty giant elephant in the room: Continue reading

The Original Pizzeria Uno: A Review

pizza 1

This week the NPI crew, the Lawgorrhea crew, and a Chicago native ventured to the original Pizzeria Uno to try Chicago deep dish pizza. Let me start by saying, as a native New Yorker who is very proud of his state’s culinary accomplishments, I’ve always been skeptical of the deep dish as competition to New York Pizza. Here are some notes, some of which may cover deep dish more generally and some of which may be specific to Uno. Continue reading

Al Roker is Not Bob Woodward

Some things to consider when watching this video:

—Today’s network, NBC, just happens to be the same network that airs I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

—Al Roker was not forced at gunpoint to interview Spencer and Heidi.

—The exploits of Speidi have been by far the most discussed aspect of I’m a Celebrity...

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