Thursday, February 26, 2009


The Mercury News is running articles about a potential move of the A's from Oakland to San Jose these days. They officially nixed plans for a new stadium in Fremont, and San Jose is experiencing that hope which springs eternal etc. I find this interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the series of nasty articles the Merc was running when we first moved here which lambasted city government for spending lots of money on environmental impact studies and the like. Fickle.

As someone who used to live cheek-by-jowl with the proposed stadium site, I have some opinions. First, the neighborhood is feeling a little worn out on development. The city council hasn't been terribly friendly to residents who want to preserve what walkability we have and create more. Any time a developer whimpers that they can't possibly build new high-density housing if they don't put residences instead of retail at street level, planning commissioners hold their little hands and protect them from the big bad neighborhood. This doesn't instill confidence in the process.

Second, a lot of the people in the neighborhood worry that a stadium would cause no end of congestion and noise. With the HP Pavilion just up the street, they know what they're talking about. If the city wants a stadium, there needs to be good planning and budgeting to handle traffic and crowd control. Get creative! Someone, somewhere must be able to design a public service campaign to make it socially unacceptable to pee all over the neighbors lawns and parks on the way back to your car after a sporting event.

I realize I'm sounding grumpy here, but if I had confidence that planners could get these little things under control, I'd be the biggest cheerleader for moving the As to SJ. As many loyal readers know, back in Chicago we were big Sox fans. Our good friend Job cleverly rented an apartment just a few blocks away from Comiskey, which meant that we spent a lot of time at his house enjoying BBQ, free parking and a leisurely stroll to the games. It was wonderful! I've missed being able to get to MLB games since we got here. No desire to go all that way to see the Giants, the A's are my area team of choice, and transit there is kind of a pill. Fighting traffic to Fremont so that we can take BART the rest of the way to the stadium is a little more stressful than it needs to be. And we could WALK if the A's move to SJ's proposed stadium.

My friends over by the train station are worried that a stadium would turn them into a ghetto, but I think the opposite would happen, given what I saw in Chicago. Wrigleyville is a happening place, drunken fratboys peeing on the grass after games notwithstanding. Big fans will be willing to pay decent money to live near the stadium. I think if anything, the proposed stadium would raise property values, which I know would relieve everyone over there.

A clever A's management would notice but not mention the fact that the South Bay has a high concentration of kids along the autistic spectrum. A built in fan-base of stats keepers who would make lifelong fans. Sure, you'd have to tone down the music at the stadium and not set off fireworks after every home run if you want to sell tickets, but that seems like it would be better for everyone anyway. A total win. (For those who don't know me well, I'm NOT making fun of people with autism. I'm making fun of baseball stats and fandom in general.)

Who knows-maybe some of the passion and excitement around the hockey team just up the street would rub off on the A's and keep the fire in their bellies. I'd love to see the A's move to my neighborhood, but I'm doubtful it'll happen.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Comic Time Waster

Many thanks to the Belgian Atheist for this-I think. It is very hard to watch hockey and laugh at creative test answers all at the same time.

For you educators out there, save your best ones!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Darwin Day

If Chuck Darwin was around today, he'd be 200 years old. As it is, it's been a mere 150 years since he published Origin of the Species. Look how far we've come! Understanding where we've been helps us understand where we are and where we're going, and Darwin's research opened up that possibility for us. And, it was not without personal and professional risk to himself. So yay for courage in defense of intellectual freedom.

Regardless of whether you think Abraham used velociraptors as sheepdogs, or Jesus rode a triceratops through Jerusalem rather than a donkey, or Noah was a co-conspirator in a great fossil burying scheme, or the earth is only 6000 years old or your horoscope is true, today is a good day to learn more about a fascinating man and the theory that has done so much to improve your quality of life today.

Happy Darwin Day!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Apropos of Nothing

Elise has decided that it is great fun and very funny to tickle people on the neck. This does not thrill me as I am generally just annoyed by small hands reaching up and grabbing at me at random times. Stick-in-the-mud Mommy, anyway!

So that got me to thinking about what Vulcan kids do as they grow up. (Not thinking hard, mind you, just thinking.) Do they explore the boundaries of socially acceptable physical humor? Do they practice the neck pinch thing at inopportune times? Then, of course, I got to thinking what would happen if a human kid got adopted into a Vulcan family. (Yes, it was 4am, how did you know?) I'm imagining something akin to Will Farrel in Elf. And I'm imagining Elise tickling Leonard Nimoy, or maybe that uptight dude who played his dad on TNG and what they'd do with her. The neck pinch we understand, but this tickling stuff? That's just weird. Elise would either be the most popular mind-meld partner out there because she'd be a completely known quantity, or they'd all avoid her like the plague.

I think I'm glad we're Earthlings.