Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lumbar Roll...

For years – as my doctor advised – I carried one of these around and propped it against my back when I sat. The roll tends to nudge your spine into a better curve, eliminating back pain. Most people do not know what it is, and of course they ask. That's what this blog entry is about.

People often asked me, “What is that?” Or, “What do you call that?” They were always politely interested in my answer, but I'm sure none of them ever expressed a desire to buy one for themselves.

Suppose you do carry a lumbar roll and someone asks you this less common question: “What do you have in there?” In my limited experience, that person is likely to be seriously paranoid. (I've always felt that my lumbar roll not only improved my spine, but also helped me to identify psychotics.)

Only once did I encounter someone who knew what it was. On my second day of carrying it, I visited Manhattan and took a subway ride. And of course I forgot that I had propped the roll against my back (I had been fortunate to get a seat in the subway car). When I got up to leave, the man next to me picked it up, waved it and shouted, “You forgot your lumbar roll!”

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Do you care about the Jet's Safety against the Patriots? (2012)

If you care about the safety that resulted from Sanchez's failure to handoff to Shonn Greene, I will tell you exactly what happened. The announcers, during the game, misanalyzed this play badly, and I can't bear to let their explanation stand.

The ball fell loose when Sanchez tried to hand it off to Greene. But Sanchez did not mishandle the ball.

NFL handoffs are carefully planned. The quarterback extends his hand to give the ball to the runner at a specific spot, at a specific moment. It was obvious to everyone that this play was messed up by the defensive player Wilberforce, who bulled his way into the Jets' backfield. In fact, if you look at the replays, you will see that Wilberforce, and the Jet trying to block him,  were standing exactly where Greene was going, to receive the handoff. Greene could not bear to run into these two men; if he had, there would probably have been a fumble anyway. You can see Greene change direction, darting just a little closer to Sanchez. He was aiming for daylight, to the right of the Jets blocker. Had he been able to run there, he might have gotten away from Wilberforce.

However, Greene's change of direction meant that he was closer to Sanchez than expected. Sanchez was reaching past him, and a fumble resulted.

I would like to have a quarterback who could think incredibly fast in these situations. Sanchez should not have handed the ball off at all. And perhaps Greene should have done something else, as well. But you can credit Wilberforce for this fumble, by occupying the spot at which the handoff was to occur.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Laundry Hamper does not lie:

In our home, it's my responsibility to clean the clothes that go into our washer/dryer machines. Sometimes we have laundering emergencies, but usually I know it's time to do laundries when the laundry hamper is full.

I'm always surprised when the laundry hamper looks full. "It's not time to do laundry yet," I say. "We must have plenty of clean clothes."

But I do what I know I must: I take everything out of the hamper and sort it into the piles that must be washed separately. I look at those piles and at last, every time, I acknowledge the obvious:

The laundry hamper does not lie.

By the way, if a never-ending stream of laundry depresses you because you can never "finish" it, or - similarly - if there are always dirty dishes waiting to be washed, garbage to take out, etc.: take hope from an idea I have blogged about before. These never-ending streams are like oil pipelines. Your job is to keep them flowing, not to let them clog. You wouldn't dream of finishing the work of a pipeline, would you? 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Multitasking (not):

I settled down at my iMac to do some serious writing. And then I almost got up to get my iPad. I'm playing several Words-with-Friends games, and also another game where, from time to time, I get notifications when I can perform decisive actions. I thought it would be nice to have the iPad beside me, notifying me when it was time to interrupt my writing and play my games.

WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT? Why would I want to make sure my train of thought is interrupted time and again when I'm trying to concentrate?

I left the iPad in another room.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Ears Played a Wonderful Trick on Me:

My ears, or perhaps the part of my brain that tries to make sense of what my ears hear, played a trick on me this evening. I turned my car radio on just in time to hear the end of a baseball inning. It was a playoff game, and the Yankee pitcher had worked out of a jam. The announcer, rather excited, said, “Men on second and third and none out, and Voldmort didn't score.”

(I should mention that I've always assumed the 't' at the end of Voldemort is silent.)

Voldemort, Baltimore. Baltimore, Voldemort. I definitely will not root for Voldemort.

By the way, apologies for the long silence.