Depressing local baseball game

The Bangor Lumberjacks game Monday night was depressing, to say the least. Only about 75 people were on hand on a beautiful, long early summer evening, leaving the stadium that holds 3,000 looking suprisingly vacant.

There was no vibe whatsoever, thanks to a stadium experience lacking both video replay and the crowd noises most people relish in a live game. All this deafening quiet at UMO’s Mahaney Diamond, even though the food is relatively cheap and good, and you can easily get a great seat for under $5 bucks! More, there were plently of mid-inning opportunities for parents to send their kids running around the bases, racing the mascot, and tossing tennis balls for prizes and laughs.

The Lumberjacks are trying their hardest, with sharp uniforms, a highly visible mall outpost, and a reasonably enjoyable, professional time at the ballpark. Why people aren’t responding in greater numbers is not suprising, but it is interesting. You can’t fire off the excuse that people simply cannot afford it, because the local movie theatres are more expensive and are consistently filled night after night.

Perhaps location is the key, and next season or the one after, when the team is at Husson in Bangor, buzz will form around this new property and seats will fill.

In the meantime, people seem much too comfortable in their chairs, watching the Sox game on TV with the sound down and the radio turned up. They are playing great right now, after all.

Saint Hillary draws her plans for the throne

Nevermind the instantly boring campaign 2004, a race that ended in mid-April around the same time as Saddam Hussein’s rule. (Sorry, Deano, you won’t even get a chance to be the next Nader!) With campaign 2004’s long, weaving season out of the way, thanks to the military we embedded with those reporters in Iraq, it’s now best to set our arched eyebrows towards the presidential election of 2008.

The first big story of what the networks are already calling Crowning Hillary the Great in Oh Eight is the debut of Senator Hillary Clinton’s fake book last week. With that, campaign 2008 begins, as Hillary’s unbearably stupid interview with Barbara Walters last week has quickly materialized as her kick-off event. In case you doubt this, believe it or not, the interview’s toughest question came when Walters actually asked Clinton, “”Are you a saint?”” (Babs is just begging for it–Cheri O’Teri don’t hold back!)

The Blogsphere’s liberal left contingent, which is less than 5% of the total scene anyway, has been hilariously silent for Hill’s book debut, perhaps because blogs are all about truth, and no truthful blogger (even a dem-blogist) could ever approach the book without mentioning (er, disclosing) that it is written entirely by a ghostwriter. It’s even funnier to mention that I bet Hill didn’t even pen the jacket’s fake handwriting-scrawled title herself, either.

Thankfully, neither of these pesky truths about the book have gotten in the way of the major media’s truth brigade, and since they’re overwhelmingly liberal anyway, a vast majority of them have been right in line with Walter’s carefully-lobbed softballs in terms of their coverage. These are good signs for Saint Hill as she puts out those early feelers for 2008, as her fake book’s debut has generated more coverage in a week than the nine democratic dwarves have warranted all spring.

She’ll need only a few more easy pieces to complete her pre-campaign victory lap, and at least a few of them besides the full adoration of the media are assured. First off, she’s set herself up to win whether or not Willy keeps it in, so she’s got obstacle numero uno out of the way right there. Secondly, there appear to be no more qualified Bushes in line (though who can tell, really), and with that, it appears that the right has no candidate more formidable than Lazio was the last time she walked in.

I’m afraid there may be only one great write hope for the majority of polled Americans who say they do not want Hillary to be president, even these five years out. It’s the buzz that Election Bore in 2004 will herald the rise of the blog as the next stage of Web-enabled campaigning. If this widely-growing pundit premonition turns out to be insta-correct, then perhaps the right-leaning blogsphere will wield enough influence in 2008 to keep Saint Hillary’s army chomping at the gates.

On second thought, all may be lost after all. For if that is the case, Mrs. Clinton could simply follow in her own footsteps and premier the ghostwritten blog. Hey Begala, I smell a thunder-stealing dem catch-phrase: It’s the blog, stupid!

on his way

In a few short weeks, our baby, who is not even born, will own more things than we do.

He’s already well on his way. After a suprise baby shower in Connecticut this weekend and several scattered items besides, we’re grateful that his room is filling up fast with gifts from people who have never met him, never talked to him, never seen him except in small grainy black and white pictures with arrows pointing to his tiny hands.

A flash constituency

Glenn Reynolds has a great new article up on TechCentralStation about the power of horiztonal knowledge and how it has changed the world in the past 10 years-


With email, weblogs, bulletin boards, etc., I could, if the topic interested enough people, put together an overnight coalition – a flash constituency – without leaving the restaurant. (And in fact, some folks did pretty much just that recently, and succeeded in killing the “”super-DMCA”” bill before the Tennessee legislature.)

TCS: Glenn Reynolds: Horizontal Knowledge

Don’t be too sure of parity

With today’s news that the FCC would allow further deregulation of the media industry, effectively allowing fewer companies to own more media properties, it’s interesting to note a similar, if ironic trend, going on with the Web.

It’s conventional wisdom (for whatever that’s worth) that in traditional media, the fewer the companies the worse the user experience. For example:

  • Clear Channel owns thousands of radio stations, therefore only a handful of watered-down, corporate-approved songs make it into 60% of the nations radio market.
  • AOL/Time Warner owns several TV networks in addition to its movie studio, meaning that simple economics dictate crappy bomb movies will be shown over and over again on Comedy Central and TBS simply because they’re cheaper to buy and air repeatedly.
  • ..and you get the idea.

The irony here is that this situation- the few owning the many- is in the best cases a very good thing for the Web. Notice:

The best companies on the Web are focusing on the user experience, and they’re winning. There’s only a small handful of them right now, but it’s no coincidence that three of the top 5 Web companies are also three of the most popular, well-known Web sites in the world.

Amazon has expanded its simple, powerful interface to a new Web index, Alexa, which is still taking off. The biggest mystery of all is why the parent hasn’t reshaped their child IMDB.com in their award-winning image, considering it’s easily the best, most widely used and referenced movie & TV database online.

That’s not to mention the offline and online retailers who have moved under Amazon’s banner, and not the reverse- including CDNOW, Target, Toy’s R Us, and many others.

Google, the most popular search engine, is revolutionizing the online news habit with it’s , a smash after less than a year in existence. Though Google doesn’t own any subsidiary companies of note, they are a monopoly on search, the most user-centric tool on the Web, and they’re creating new usable ideas almost every week, from the news to text ads.

And there is one recent purchase of note that has made Google a parent company- Blogger, the first ever Weblog tool, was snapped up by Google last February. Though the once-leading Blogger is now sagging far behind the much more confusing, elitist MovableType software, it still says a lot about Google that they made the purchase, signaling an important trend towards the categorization and indexing of the disparate, dynamic blog culture.

Finally, there’s Ebay, the online auction site. Setting the pace with a clean, text-based design heavy on content and superior features for free, eBay strattles the lowest common denominator in an accessable way that attracts power users and alike, clearly the key to its brilliant strategy.

 

Die Another Day DVD

Sitting down to watch Die Another Day on special edition DVD, even though it doesn’t officially come out here in the US until tomorrow.

Thank you again, half.com.

The Teammates

Historian David Halberstam was on The Daily Show Thursday talking about his new book, The Teammates.

The book is about Red Sox legends Dom Dimaggio (yes he is) and Johnnie Pesky driving from Boston down to Florida for one last visit with Ted Williams, who has since passed.

Williams was the greatest hitter that ever lived, and Dimaggio and Pesky were his teammates during a time when men like Williams left the game to serve during wartime, and those who stayed behind stayed with the same team, often throughout an entire career.

Dimaggio and Pesky are two peas, both small, wiry men who made great players with their heart and attitude. Pesky, at 83 years old, is still employed by the Sox in this, his 57th year in pro ball.

It sounds almost too good to be non-fiction, but it is…these are the stories that make New England the most true, and best, part of this country.

The new Bond makes up for the breaking desk…

On this desk that I’m sitting at, the left side of the slideout keyboard tray has been steadily detaching from the side of the desk for the past few days…every time I hear an ominous crack, the left side of the keyboard tilts down slighty to the left, leaving us typing on an ever-growing tilt.

Of course, I could easily take the time to slide out the tray, drill a new hole in the side of the desk, and put the tray back in right…but I think we all know that’s not happening until it breaks.

In better news, I picked up the new Die Another Day from our friends at Half.com. It’s got an entire disc of special features that look pretty amazing according to MI6, and besides, it’s the best Bond film to come along since Goldeneye, at least…