There’s only one logical thing for our almost-never-updated blog to do (other than popularize the use of extended adjective constructions in English): start a tumblr!

Clearly, this too is a poem of the highest order. In a statement made today to Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones (Link to the full article here, about whether carbon dioxide causes global warming or not, Lindsey Graham strung together the following paragraphs:

It makes sense to me that the planet is heating up because you can measure heat. It’s not a stretch to say that what goes into the air is contributing to global warming, but I don’t want to be in the camp that says I know people in Northern Virginia will never see snow. At the end of the day, I think carbon pollution is worthy of being controlled, whether you believe in global warming or not. I do believe that all the CO2 gases, greenhouse gases from cars, trucks, and utility plants is not making us a healthier place, is not making our society better, and it’s coming at the expense of our national security and our economic prosperity. So put me in the camp that it’s worthy to clean up the air and make money doing so. This idea that carbon’s good for you. I want that debate. There’s a wing of our party who thinks carbon pollution is okay. I’m not in that wing.

And in response to the question, why is carbon dioxide bad?

“I just think it’s bad … the reason I don’t hang out in traffic jams and get out and suck up the wind is I think this crap is bad for you. We’ve had an increase in asthma cases, if you’ve ever been to Thailand stuck behind 400 motorcycles, it’s a lousy place to be. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist in my view to understand that the stuff floating in the Gulf , if you burn it doesn’t make it better for you. If you wouldn’t go swimming in this stuff, why would you burn it and want to breath it?

I cant parse it in the slightest. Maybe you theory types have some insight.

thoughts on “lost”

May 24, 2010

these will be brief.
on the internet, that magical, mysterious vortex, someone paraphrased this stephen king quote quite skillfully:
“if being a kid is about learning how to live, then being a grown-up is about learning how to die.” repurposed it thusly:
“If reading Harry Potter was about learning how to live, then watching LOST was about learning how to die.”

now, i am not going to gush, nor will i enter into a spoiler-filled rant (though if you do not want to be spoiled, you should not even be on the internet, honestly).
all i want to say is this:

learning how to die was the entire point of the show. fuck all the science fiction. fuck all the mythology.
the theme of the show was about learning how to die.
sometimes it’s random. sometimes it’s heroic. it’s always final. whatever happens happens.
dying alone is something no one should endure. live together, die alone is now re-understood.

i think this theme was the entire reason so many characters had the names of enlightenment philosophers, to nudge us towards the righteous theme of de montaigne’s essay, “to philosophize is to learn how to die.”

in that regard, the finale was unspeakably on the mark, unspeakably touching.

while it is true that threads remain unraveled, and certain questions tug at the corners of my brain, i appreciate the experience overall, as well as the courage to confront and welcome death.

die together.

I reproduce here, in its entirety, a post-it note found stuck to a study carrel in a library. It is, without question, a poem of the highest order:

Oscar Wilde
Wiki – Harold Bloom – Anxiety of Influence
-Saul Bellow-NYer

We rarely talk about baseball here at the Salad. This is largely because our particular brand of deconstruction doesn’t seem to advance the cause of sabrmetrics. (There is the notable exception of my piece on Kyle Drabek, where I argued that the residue of the signifier was enough to make him a good draft pick. Leider, I left out the jargon so it doesn’t count.) No, until such time as we’re able to do away with the ball-strike and out-safe binaries, Yesterday’s Salad will mostly sit out commenting on our national pastime.

But we will comment on Ryan Howard’s contract since lost in the kerfuffle over whether Ryan Howard’s extension is a good deal or a bad one are the discrete pieces of knowledge it gives us about Ruben Amaro, the Phillies GM.

1. Amaro is not afraid of old position players. We already knew this from the Raul Ibanez signing, but the Howard extension confirms that Amaro suspects that so called “old player skills” can now translate into production by old players. It doesn’t hurt that Ryan Howard’s conditioning has improved considerably in recent years and he looks less and less like Mo Vaughn and Cecil Fielder every day.

2. The Hometown penalty is real. Credit goes to Will Leitch for this one. It used to be said that  players would offer “hometown discounts” to continue playing with their current teams. If anything, the opposite is now true. Certain players are more valuable to their current teams than they are to other teams because they already play there and are identified as being singular causes of winning. Consider the outrage over the Phillies’ trade of Cliff Lee. Lee wanted more money than the Phillies were willing to offer, and a large portion of his demands clearly resulted from the Lee mythology that had developed in Philadelphia during last year’s postseason.

3. Conversely, being a winning team is/enables/exposes a market inefficiency. Roy Halladay took a below market deal to come to Philadelphia since he determined that being a Philly was a good way of getting to the postseason. There are players of a certain caliber who value winning as much or more than money itself. These players want to be on winning teams and will take less money to be on the winning team, lowering their acquisition cost. Yet this efficiency is only available to teams with the demonstrated ability to win (some matrix of actual won-lost record, perceived strength of franchise, and payroll).

Consider a hypothetical from the independent film world where actors will often work for scale to make a prestige picture with a high-chance of winning Academy Awards. John Travolta might normally want 10 million plus to star in “Pulp Fiction 2: Where Vincent Vega Never Goes to the Bathroom,” but he’d be willing to sign for much less if Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ke$ha (in a “heart-rending dramatic turn” that “could only come from the mind of Quentin Tarantino”) all took reduced salaries to make the film a-go.

Could investing in Howard and locking in those wins actual lower the cost of the next win? In other words, there might be an additional value to sunk costs.

4. Baseball economics vs. Real Economics. Finally, what will the global market be in a few years? Obviously the baseball market is influenced by the real economy but we don’t quite know in what way. Is it a lagging indicator or reasonably recession proof? Certainly inflation will help balance out Ryan Howard’s contract but will it really balance it out? Rob Neyer suspects not, though there’s always the possibility that it could.

For example, what if we were to experience another financial panic (let’s bring back this term once and for all)? Ryan Howard’s contract might end up looking pretty good compared to the cost of a win in the miserable “Oops! I did it again Depression of 2013” free agent market (a result of president Palin dismantling derivatives controls coupled with a strict no-bailout policy that leads us into a hyper-inflationary mess [shudder]). Or, more reasonably, what if the US economy resembled that of the late 1970s and we were suddenly in an era of double-digit inflation? Again, Howard’s contract might look a lot better.

Teams certainly consider all sorts of baseball and financial factors when offering a contract. What this clause presupposes is, maybe they also consider macroeconomic factors? Unfortunately that’s an area where no one really knows what’s going on, and Glenn Beck style gold purchasing might be a real loser in a deflationary economy. So to with Ryan Howard.

When following coverage of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill (let us call it the
“Oil  Slick”),  I  cannot  help  but draw comparisons to the Dust Bowl of the
1930s,  which  exacerbated and prolonged the Great Depression. Both natural
calamities  occurred  during periods of economic weakness, characterized by
high  unemployment  and  sluggish  or  negative  growth.  Both  occurred in
relatively  impoverished  areas of the country where wealth is dependent on
natural  resources  (agriculture for the Dust Bowl, fishing/tourism for the
Oil  Slick).  Those  who  will be directly impacted are people who are most
vulnerable to any sort of unanticipated calamity.
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