Are Editorial Columnists Parasites?

Opinions are a lot juicier than “just the facts”, and a lot more fun to write (see: what I am typing right now?).


Misha at several weeks old.

Although the internet has exponentially expanded and power and prevalence of opinionated “journalism”, the op-ed section of newspapers (or news outlets) remains the most glorified space for such pontification.

The NY Times has recently received a lot of much-deserved flack for its stuffing the editorial section with “controversial” Never-Trumpers. The Wall Street Journal has become notorious for its right-wing columns. For some reason, we have simply come to accept that this word vomit from very important people is separate but equal to the hard news sections of papers. And what’s wrong with a little provocation?

Tonight I came across an op-ed so mean-spirited and bad that it helped me remember that just because an editorial is an opinion, that doesn’t mean real news publications should make them adhere to real standards of journalism. If the question(s) that an article provokes are difficult or uncomfortable, that is fine. But they must not be questions that have already been answered. 


Misha parasitically snoozing on my lap.

We should not confuse a columnist’s hot-take as contributing to “the conversation” when it is derived from their ignorance or even mendacity.

Especially when science is involved (such as climate change), “opinions” are of significantly less value when there is readily available evidence and/or logical reasoning to explain or counteract whatever uneducated claims are being made.

And it bothers me because there is a lot of malice behind the challenging of conventions and learned wisdom in the Trump Era, not solely limited to the political sphere. Take, for instance, the article that inspired me to write this blog post at three in the morning: Chris Reed’s screed that dogs are actually parasites.

Not only does Chris Reed attack both dog owners and their dogs in an underhanded manner, but he smugly asserts he will be attacked online for his radical truth bomb or whatever he thinks it is that he wrote, most likely in under an hour to meet a deadline (see, anyone can sucker punch, but these people, not the Mexicans, are the people I’ll be competing against in the journalism job market).


Misha parasitically posing for teatime.

I will now assert that Chris Reed is 100% wrong, and that is not an opinion, that is an established fact of science, one he should have researched before he wrote his piece.

The question Chris Reed is asking, underneath the nastiness, is actually a good one, or would be if it hadn’t already been studied comprehensively: when dogs, or any animals, form a relationship with humans, are we just projecting emotions onto them, or is there a shared intention and understanding between us?

The scientific answer has slowly but surely moved from “non-human animals are organic automatons without a soul and whose actions and reactions are hardwired, instinctual behavior that is completely different from the self-aware human experience” to “yes, many animals, especially mammals or those whose intelligence it is easy to recognize (octopuses), do in fact have objective emotional lives” and, even if the process is not yet complete, we are now able to more fully understand other animals perceptions of themselves and the world around them.

Advances in neuroscience, and arguably science ethics as well, mean scientists can study and observe brain function and development to prove that our dogs do not merely play-act companionship, but feel an attachment to their owner/parent.


Misha parasitically eating my slipper.

Yes, Mr. Shitsnack cites some articles and books in his diatribe (although he links an article, not the book, in the embedded link for the book). No, they do not prove “dogs are parasites” nor do they offer a substantive refutation of the latest scientific consensus, nor do they try (the book he cites is from 2001 yet may already be anachronistic).

I mention he is underhanded in his argument: knowing that it’s somewhat shaky ground to argue against dogs in the year 2018, he devotes some sentences to condemning the extremes some dog owners will go to, including plastic surgery, designer meals and other luxury excesses. See, people who love their dogs are crazy!

Except this really has nothing to do with dog-ownership at all. These complaints about absurd pet pampering are about material status, fetishism and attention-seeking.

There is not a slippery slope from spending “too much” time with your dog to buying it a dream doghouse in Majorca. In fact, the people who go to such dumb lengths demonstrate a misunderstanding of their pet and its emotional needs, similar to how parents who obnoxiously spoil their child (this was never the case with me, pay no attention to the crates of LEGOs in the family basement) are hurting, not fostering, love and socialization.

Of course, I am “biased” and like many others am lucky enough to have had some wonderful dogs in my life, include two family pets, some slobbery flatmates and one pupper who I rescued in Korea. I have also wondered in the past if, in letting them sleep on the bed or whine for treats or take the lead on walks, I am ceding “alpha male” territory or letting myself be taken advantage of.

On some level, it doesn’t matter, especially since pets often provide a necessary therapeutic role in our lives. This is definitely the case with me. Also, I have been curious enough to want to know ‘the truth’, not go with my first instinct or last instinct or pick a fun affectation with which I can harass pet-owners at parties. I am sure there are local libraries in San Diego where this mansplaining moron can educate himself with some free book-learning.

To wrap this all up as an appeal to better journalism, yes, even op-ed writers have a responsibility to use their platform with knowledge and integrity. A big-city paper should not be printing half-baked arguments that are merely better-worded versions of what you can find in the comments section. If the writer cannot hold himself up that modest standard of competency, then their superiors should replace them with someone else who is up to the challenge.


I foolishly interpreted this tongue wag as affection. It could just as easily be parasitic indifference.


I Made A Four-Dimensional Portal Out of Artichokes

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Just kidding. I don’t even eat artichokes!

But I wanted a clickbait title.

I’m reading a science fiction book about space. It’s a fun book–so far–but for the frustrating trite trope that aliens achieve > light-speed travel through “bending” space or utilizing hidden dimensions to find shortcuts over otherwise impossibly distant locations. EVERY STORY THAT EXPLAINS THIS USES THE EXAMPLE OF FOLDING A PIECE OF PAPER SO 2D “FLATLAND” PEOPLE CAN QUICKLY GET TO EACH OTHER ON A MAP.

I have given much thought to this and come to the irrefutably correct conclusion that THIS KIND OF TRAVEL IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!

Try to imagine the fourth dimension for a moment. Or at least, try to imagine the fourth dimension as a SPACIAL dimension. Since it’s slightly easier to conceive of the fourth dimension as time (TEMPORAL).

Spoiler alert: you can’t. It’s impossible. The fourth dimension is infinitely greater than our 3D world, just as our 3D world expands infinitely off from a 2D surface. We can very crudely describe 4D shapes just as we can draw 3D shapes in 2D. Tesseracts, or “hypercubes”, are fascinating for their hints of a world ‘beyond’ our own, a glimpse into the next frontier.

But accessing this fourth dimension as a means of circumventing the rules of e=mc2? I am skeptical!

Let us turn again to the oft-used analogy of the folded piece of paper. As you can see from the picture below, the conventional wisdom is that when the folded sections “touch”, they form a connection to one another.


This is only superficial. In truth, we have no way of knowing whether two-dimensional beings could travel in such a manner. The paper trick is actually a poor analogy because as this thin as it is, there is still ‘depth’ to the sheet. The two sheets “touch” but they don’t actually become ‘one.’ I don’t think there’s any way a two-dimensional plane with ZERO depth could be linked by a 3D mechanism. Imagine being a “2d” being on this piece of paper, which we will call “flatland” because everybody does because it was the title of the Edwin Abbott book. annotatedflatlandcover

As the other side of Flatland was folded towards your side, you would not be able to see any of this happening (I suppose if you could look far enough and the view was unobstructed you would notice your 2d universe bended back on itself). The descending portion of Flatland is unlikely to affect the other half of Flatland in any way, until it actually touches. But  I still don’t understand how they might ‘join’ together in a way that you can travel between the two parts of Flatland. Because Flatland has no third dimensions, the two halves of their universe could be infinitely close and yet have no affect on one another, nor a way to bring the two together. The two sides of Flatland could somehow “join” together in some crazy cataclysmic scenario; or one side could actually fold ‘into’ the other. But in that case, the two halves of Flatland are connected via an infinitely small portion of 2d space. No matter what the case, whatever contortion of Flatland that allows such tricky travelling requires the aid of an extra-dimensional “force”, for which we currently have no analogy.

We envision a helper mechanism in a “wormhole”, some kind of tunnel between two portions of 3D space that allow one to circumvent the rules of sublight travel. hLZYNSc

It’s some awesome, heady stuff. Perhaps there are 4d aliens who can not only see 3d beings but for some benevolent urge decide to “help” us by construction such connections.

As of yet, however, there’s nothing in OUR technology or even understand of physics that would allow for such a thing to exist. We’ve never seen one and we don’t even really know what one would look like (although the most interesting guesses in fiction involve a spherical “portal” through which you can see the other side, as in the film “Interstellar”. I think it’s wonderful to imagine such a device and it would be foolish to say such things cannot exist, after black holes exist and they don’t make a lick of sense, either.

But as of now I still view extra dimensions as things that are inaccessible, possibly even non-existent except as mathematical concepts. Or they may be beyond the grasp of three-dimensional humans (or other aliens/animals).



Donald Trump and Women and Stuff

This will be brief:

Our new President is a serial abuser of women, and views on women are, unfortunately, as repugnant as possible and this is not hyperbole. He has physically assaulted women of all ages against their will, objectifies his own daughter, has made underage girls undress in front of him. Et al.

People knew this and yet 60 million plus Americans, including women, voted for this man anyway.

This leads me to believe the following:

Only preemptive (large-scale, societal, educational) changes, not punitive or prescriptive ones, will ever change rape culture.

This can be applied to many other things, such as health care, or political participation, but I’ve got this on the brain for now, so this is what I’ll write about.

Prescriptive measures to combat assault on women are important. Legal measures to protect women’s rights are important (Roe V Wade, et al).

One of my ‘favorite’ films is “Clockwork Orange”, in which the opening sing the main character brutally rapes a woman in her own home while cheerfully chirping “Singin’ in the Rain.” One of the many messages of this film is:

We should not wish for a society where would-be rape rapists ‘cannot’ rape, we should wish for one where would-be rapists (ie young men) do not want to rape at all.

That is, while in the real, present world we must contend with rape crises and physical assault, we need less people focused on how to weed out, identify and punish these people, and more people focused on how to stop generating such mentalities in the first place.

Most of the discussion on rape, on the internet at least, I have observed, is aimed at comforting the victims, and that a very important and noble goal. It is not enough. Without looking up any statistics, I’m going to go out on a limb to say the number of assaults on college campuses and in America at large has not gone down in significant numbers, despite the growing number of women, and men, who “understand” the issue or have internalized various studies or axioms, and can consider themselves pseudo-experts on the subject.

The drive for sex is innate. The link between sex and power and how this manifests itself in casual rape, is not. Boys aren’t born with the predilection towards slipping roofies into cocktails. Bill Cosby is made, not born.

This is because we are taught that the drive towards power, and power over others, is extremely important, and sexual conquest (for men) is one of, if not the strongest, marker of power. Most things in our culture, but particularly education, emphasize this. And sexual education in particular is quite terrible.

I feel like I have spent most of my young adult life learning and unlearning many myths about sex, and I’ve never watched porn in any significant amount (that’s being generous; I can truthfully say the amount of actual ‘porn’ I’ve watched or consumed totals less than one hour). 

A lonely blog post nobody will read is not enough time or space to adequately grapple with these issues. So let’s skip to the end.

When we allow powerful people to get away with doing these terrible things, is that we as a society are not concerned with these things either. The problem with abusing people is not because it will hurt them, but because you might get caught or punished hurting them.

I believe that too many progressives, overwhelmed by the root causes of many societal ills, and unable or unwilling to tackle the extremely difficult talk of CHANGING MINDS, believe it is enough to simply attack the perceived enemy and fight injustice through brute force of will.

This is simply not enough. It is worse than not enough. Prescriptive Social Justice Will LOSE. Each and every time. Because problems like racism and rape and economic disparity are caused by inequalities of power to begin with, and when you fight against the dominant mindset or power, the already powerful always seem to win. This is why I hate Identity Politics.

This seems like a good place to stop.


Clinton at the Booth

Clinton at the Booth

By Ernest Lawrence Thayer and Dakota McKee.

Image result for hillary clinton baseball

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Democrats this year,

The court stood four to four, the next appointment was unclear.

So when Trey Gowdy lied at first, and Chaffetz did the same,

A pall-like silence fell upon the pundits in the game.


A straggling few got up to warn of working-class despair. The rest

clung to the hope and change they said was sooner manifest.

They thought, “if only Clinton could but get a whack forsooth-

We’d put up even money now, with Clinton at the booth.”

Image result for hillary clinton baseball

But Gore preceded Clinton, as did also Kerry, John.

And the former was too boring, while the latter was too wan.

So upon the liberal multitude grim melancholy sat.

For there seemed more than little chance of Clinton going splat.


But Silver crunched some numbers, to the wonderment of all.

And Trump, the much despised, had hands alleged to be small.

So when the spring had ended, and men saw what had occurred,

There was Clinton safe in first and…Gary Johnson third????


Then from the social media, and more they hashtagged every yell,

It rumbled through the Facebook, on every Mac and Dell.

It pounded on the keyboard and shot down Alt-Right trolls

For Clinton, “Nasty” Clinton, was advancing in the polls.

Image result for hillary clinton baseball

There was ease in Clinton’s manner as she stepped into her place,

There was pride in Clinton’s bearing, a practiced smile on her face.

And when, responding to the cheers, she lightly spoke the truth,

No stranger in the crowd could doubt she’d do well in the booth.


300 million eyes were on her as she brushed away the dirt,

The media tongues applauded for a pantsuit, not a skirt.

So while the creeping Donald talked of walls with flippant lip,

Defiance flashed in Clinton’s eye; no need to jibe the ship.

Image result for clinton baseball

And when the toupee-covered Trump came hurtling through the air.

And Clinton stood a-watching him in haughty grandeur there.

Close by the statesman Sanders, his Bern unheeded in debate.

“That ain’t my style,” said Clinton. “America is already great.”


From the RNC convention, there went up a muffled roar,

like the beating back of refugees from a distant Arab shore.

“Benghazi! Lock her up!” shouted someone with a gun.

And it’s likely they’ve have said so, even had not Clinton run.


Image result for trump supporter

With a smile of teeth-whitened clarity Clinton’s visage shone,

She stilled the rising tumult, and bade the race go on.

She signaled to the caucus, though progressives wouldn’t deign.

But Clinton still ignored it, and the VP was…Tim Kaine :/


“Rigged!” cried the maddened Trumpettes, others warned of WikiLeaks.

But no scornful look from Clinton in the race’s final weeks.

Though they saw her face grow stern and cold, they saw her muscles strain,

They knew that Clinton wouldn’t let them down: she had a great ground game!!!

Image result for clinton ground game

One final curve from Comey, overshadows Pussy Gate.

He blusters with cruel violence, she waits for November 8.

And now the states will hold the vote, the polls open and then close.

And now the airwaves chatter with force: who was it that they chose?

Image result for clinton watching votes

Oh somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,

The Klan is cheering somewhere, and right-wing hearts are light.

And somewhere men are laughing, with pseudo-populist inflection.

But there is no joy in Mudville. Or New York. Or Chicago. Or Los Angeles. Or Miami. Or San Francisco. Or Philadelphia. Or Washington DC. Or Portland. Or Columbus. Or Detroit. Or Milwaukee. Or Atlanta. Or Cleveland. Or Denver. Or Fresno. Or Hartford. Or Albuquerque. Or Chappaqua. Or Toronto. Or London. Or Paris. Or Beijing. Or New Delhi. Or Jerusalem. Or Rio de Janeiro. Or Mexico City. Or the Maldives. Or Seoul. Or Tokyo. Or Moscow. Or Cairo. Or Istanbul. Or Budapest. Or Brussels. Or Reykjavik. Or Madrid. Or Casablanca. Or….

Hilary Clinton has lost the election. 😦

Image result for donald trump baseball



Dakotaland Movie Reviews: The Blair Witch Snowden

Brief Disclaimer: This movie is only playing at Dakotaland Theatres…and possibly the Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, CA. But this hasn’t been confirmed.

The Blair Witch Snowden, directed by the ghost of Oliver Stone, is a new kind of horror film.

Although the techniques used are not new, the forms and synthesis of styles creates an experience unlike any other. By the end of the credits, the audience will probably leave shocked in a stupor of dread.

The premise of the story is deceptively simple. A handful of teenagers set out into an unnamed forest in search of Edward Snowden, a fugitive from the US government. Although the setting is never clear, it appears to be set in the indeterminate near-future where Snowden has decided to live out his days as a Robin Hood-like figure in the woods.

One of the idiots in the party suggests capturing him and bringing him back to civilization and justice. A superficial discussion of his history and the political controversy is given. One of the troupe posits he want insane.

Anyway, from there things get weird. Although nobody is killed, the teenagers find that one by one, their cameras are being mutilated and destroyed, the film burned, or if its a digital camera, the battery melted with a creepy, hand-written note about e-waste and toxic chemicals. Soon the group is reduced to one stupid camera phone and they are understandably terrified. Although they’ve been able to film snippets of a shadowy figure dancing in the background, the culprit is never fully seen.

One of the teenagers kills himself for ambiguous reasons.

Eventually they find a house in the middle of the woods. It turns out to belong to Joseph Gordon Levitt, who explains to the flummoxed kids that he is representing Snowden on Snowden’s behalf, and anyway it’s only a  movie. But as Snowden, JGL explains to that the cameras the teens have been carrying are being monitored by the NSA and they are being tracked. He then turns to the audience, breaks the fourth wall, and informs them that they are being tracked as well by a camera in the corner of the theater. He warns them that now that they’ve seen “The Blair Witch Snowden”, their names will appear on a database that cross references political dissidents and gullible theater-goers.

The film then rolls to credits, where instead of listing the creators of the film, the movie ends by listing all the names and occupations of those who attending that particular screening. In the post-credit scene, JGL surrounded by the dead teenagers reveals himself to be half-robot, laughs maniacally and says “you’re next.”

Overall I’d recommend the film to fans of horror and political thrillers in general. but the shaky cam effect is annoying.

4 out of 5 stars.

How to communicate climate change to a Nazi Vampire

Nazi Vampires are notorious climate deniers, but convincing them that global warming is real isn’t as easy as hitting them with the facts.


The more you tell Nazi Vampires that climate change is real, the less likely they are to believe it is a result of greenhouse gasses, as opposed to the weather station in the North Pole that is controlled by the Jews.

Here are some ways you can discuss climate change in a persuasive manner, one that could get Nazi Vampires to start caring again.

  1. Describe your personal experience at the Jewish Weather Station.  There is no way you can fool Nazi Vampires into believing the weather station does not exist. But you can you a personal, emotional story to diminish its impact and explain why the Jewish Weather Station couldn’t possibly account for ALL of the warming. For one, the Jews can manipulate the weather, but they can’t really change the inputs to the atmosphere. Just as Jews can redistribute wealth but they can’t always create the wealth from nothing. At the Weather Station, the Elders of 00e546cf0d8755a776207d939bdc556eClimate simply take the overall, global conditions of the atmosphere at any given time and determine how to put all that heat and precipitation to the most advantageous use. As most Jews are granted a free ten-day internship at the Weather Station (our secret birthright), most of us can talk about how boring and cold it is up there, and how rather than manipulating the weather with malicious intent, most of the Jewish Weather Wizards are just bored and pressing buttons at random. A problem? Maybe. But not a cause of climate change.
  2. Remind Them of Hitler’s Impeccable Environmental Record. Hitler was many things: a painter, a Fuhrer, a lover of cinema, but instead of harping on the differences of opinion, the only way to appeal to Nazi Vampires is point out commonalities. Everyone knows Hitler was a vegetarian. But did you know he also enacted Conservation Laws to help save the Eurasian Lynx? Although his genocidal death camps and unprecedented military-industrial machinery required fossil fuels, it was Hitler’s greatest wish to imagine a future where tank manufacturers developed hybrid vehicles and Besides, googling “Hitler’s environmental record” demonstrates a lot of people believe you can draw a straight line from the Third Reich to the Green Party, anyway.hitlerdeer_thumb
  3. Explain how Renewable Investment Will Benefit Nazi Vampires.  Combating climate change is an opportunity. Remind the Nazi Vampires that they were once the innovators. The Autobahn. The Volkswagen. The Blood Orange Tree. How many Nazi Vampires once feasted on the blood of innocents in this beautiful abandoned seaside hotel:

Nazi Vampires have long eschewed solar energy for its vampire-burning side-effects. But make them see the flip-side; since Nazi Vampires spend all of the sunlight hours dreaming about a new Reich, investing in solar energy could be a great source of passive income. Also, requesting a home retrofit to take advantage of net-metering is a great way to lure unsuspecting installers into their castle. I’ve already got their viral campaign slogan ready: #soulless, not solarless

To Summarize: Hey, Nazi monsters, don’t leave climate adaptation to the zombies just because it’s a no-brainer. Nazi Vampires may not have a soul, but we all share one sol. And at the end of the day, everyone can make a difference.

The Worst Fake LEGO Ever

I’m a LEGO elitist and a baseball snob.

So nothing makes me sadder than a product that manages to insult both these sensibilities.

The following images hurt my feelings like nothing ever could.


I learned of this atrocity when googling to find out the possibility of LEGO producing (mini-scale) ballparks. There’s a website called LEGO “Ideas” where you can submit fan-made products in the hope of getting ten thousand supporters, after which the idea goes up for review with important people in the company. This is no gimmick; the system has already churned out some really cool stuff like LEGO pinball mazes, female scientists and other science gizmos. (its also inspired the crappola LEGO Minecraft, but whatever, nothing is perfect) 21110

Alas, a knockoff brand called “OYO Sports” has acquired the rights to all MLB-licensed block-toy merchandising. I first saw their overpriced figurines last spring training and assumed they were some Chinese fabrication, but it turns out that they’re based in Boston (the packaging is done in the US, its only the plastic model molding itself that is done overseas. Hurray?) “OYO Sports” also appears to be a bit of a misnomer as ‘sports’ are the only thing in their model toy line. There is no “OYO City” or “OYO Pirates” line (unless you count the Pittsburgh Pirates, anybody want a Mark Melancon minifigure?)

Full disclosure: I have an OYO Sports figurine of NY Met Yoenis “Yo” Cespedes, currently he is dancing in a very LEGO Trevvi Fountain in my bedroom.

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So OYO sports started out by making pro sports minifigures with crappy printing, but now they are making fake sets too. You can buy a team ballpark cart (wtf?), a clubhouse press scene, and a baseball diamond. The latter is what fuels my outrage.

Building a LEGO sports stadium would be a dream project, something others have already undertaken. LEGO doesn’t have the license to make a replica of, say, Fenway Park, but others have tried. Still, it’s a shame there will be no ‘official’ LEGO baseball stadium, to go with the LEGO hotels and airports and cinemas they’ve put out over the years.

Here’s the rule about building a LEGO stadium: the field is the LEAST INTERESTING PART OF THE CONSTRUCTION. All you need is a flat green piece. You can buy a big one from Toys R. US for $7.99.


As a friend put it, “OYO has cut their field up into 151 pieces so they can pretend they have a 151-piece set.” This “set”, by the way, is sitting on top of…a flat green piece. Kind of stupid. It’s a 2D puzzle with minifigures sitting on top of it, except a baseball diamond is, uhhh, kind of a lame 2D puzzle.

Alas, I wish I could say that these terrible kits don’t besmirch the good name of LEGO itself. But these bad knock-offs exact their own toll in this globalized market: the more other companies acquire attractive licenses, the more LEGO must compete with licensing of its own. More and more LEGO has receded from producing their own quirky brand of sets, and instead sells models of junk from your “favorite” movies and TV shows. Prince of Persia! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Dr. Who! The brand is alive, but my childhood is dead.

Yankee Book Reviews: Jeter’s Folly and Posada’s Journey Home

As a lover of many things literary and a watcher of any things baseball, I was excited to pick up two books at a local bookstore that were bestselling novels written by famous baseball players: Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.


It was no surprise to me that athletes as talented as those two–Jeter is an all-time great, Posada is his well-ringed teammate–would try their hand at authorship. There is much crossover skill between being able to swing a bat and being able to write a compelling story. After all, Derek Jeter already had 3.465 hits, so what’s one more? From the author’s about page:

Derek Jeter is a true legend in professional sports, and a role model for young people on and off the field, and through his work in the community with his Turn 2 Foundation.” 

Imagine my surprise, then, that Posada’s book turned out to be the real gem, while Jeter’s left me a little disappointed. We’ll take a look at the former first:

The Journey Home, by Jorge Posada is a re-telling of the classic story The Odyssey as transposed to a modern day baseball setting*. The scenario works as follows: It is 2012; a winter hurricane (Sandy?) has damaged Yankee Stadium, which is undergoing repairs indefinitely, forcing Jorge Posada and his teammates to play all their games on the road. The legendary Derek Jeter is out with a knee injury and Alex Rodriguez, that greatest of villains, is suspended for the year for performance enhancing drugs. Thus while Posada and the rest of the Yankees are separated from the city he loves, the lascivious A-Rod attempts to woo Posada’s wife at her flat in the Bronx (he sends her a picture of himself as a centaur in the opening chapter).


Dead Yankee legends play the role of the “Gods” in this Universe: Yogi Berra, God of wit and wisdom, is Posada’s protector, Babe Ruth corresponding roughly to Bacchus as the God of chili dogs and Ballantine beer, et al. The King of the Gods, (recently deceased) George Steinbrenner devises a difficult schedule for what he considers an inferior Yankee team.

The Yankees’ episodic journey back to New York cleverly mimics Odysseus’ travails in astonishingly clever ways. Some of the highlights:

  • A four-game battle against the San Francisco Giants and demigod Buster Posey stands in for an encounter with the Cyclops.
  • “Sea monsters” attack in the form of two wild arms for the Seattle Mariners, Antonio Scylla and Bruce Charybdis, who headhunt and aim for the ankles. Luckily Posada is wearing a knee brace already and so takes the HBP without casualty.
  • A kinky affair with Charlize Theron during a road series in Anaheim. She ties Posada up and refuses to let him leave the hotel room until Yogi Berra intervenes, with the help of the Players Union.
  • During an off weekend, Posada “descends into the underworld of Tampa” and plays an old-timers game with a bunch of retired Yankees, many of whom he played with in the great battles of 1998-2001.
  • Another series in Detroit takes them to the “Lotus Eaters”, as an opposing pitcher attempts to drug the lineup. Lou Gehrig, God of the “C”, makes it rain so they don’t have to play the next day.

Although their adventures don’t necessarily escalate in magnitude, as the season drags on and their playoff chances increasingly in doubt, we appreciate Posada’s plight, especially as he gradually becomes the lone elder statesmen on the team (most of the opening day roster is traded or injured or sent to the minors) and learns to mentor the rookies and newbs on playing like a “true Yankee.” We relate to his quest to find his place among the pantheon of baseball heroes, and when he does finally return to New York (spoiler alert!) he does so having developed a more profound sense of self, confidence which carries over to his bedroom prowess and rekindling of passion of his marriage (sorry, A-Rod!).

The book ends with the Yankee Gods taunting rookies in the bullpen on the last day of the regular season. It’s really hilarious.


I wish I could say Jeter’s book, Change UP, is equally entertaining. I can definitely give him credit for trying to make a book that, unlike Posada’s, offers a meaningful guide for self-improvement. But he fails from a tragic onset of myopia, an ability to offer advice that is Universal in application, beyond baseball.

For example, Derek Jeter discusses chronic depression and sources a bunch of famous psychological studies to demonstrate an informed grasp of the issue. But when it comes to solutions, he offers a passage like the following:

It was August 3rd, and I wanted to quit. For the first time all season, my on-base-percentage dropped below .400. I was no longer the league leader in sacrifice hits. An article came out this morning saying that statistically, I was even less valuable than my teammate Joba Chamberlain, and nobody liked him. This cloud of despair hung over me the entire game. I went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Someone in the mezzanine level booed me. And I felt like I deserved it. 

With little concern for myself or my team, I lied and told the manager I had a bone spur in my elbow. They put me on the Disabled List and told me to get back in shape in time for the stretch run. Feeling lost and helpless and desperate, I called my ex-friend Alex Rodriguez, who was out for the season for taking steroids. Although I thought the dude was a total bitchface, he knew me too well and offered to lend me his yacht and 50 percent of his harem to boot, as long as I paid for fuel. Two hours later I was off to Aruba and by golly, that was all I needed. The sex and sunshine made me feel better and offered me the clarity of thought to return and be a happy, healthy member of the lineup. Sometimes all you need is to take comfort from life’s small pleasures to be able to deliver in the clutch.”

And that’s how most of the book shakes out. Jeter loses his timing so he buys a multi-million dollar batting machine. Minka Kelly leaves him so he goes on tinder and has an orgy. He doesn’t win the MVP but he co-funds a celebrity golf outing with Donald Trump. An fashion company uses gay models to pimp out Jeter’s underwear line, which makes Jeter upset until he has them all fired and then has gay hate-sex with A-Rod, who he hates, and then gets his publicist to bury all the stories.

Basically, whatever Jeter does to “change up” his life is not applicable to anyone who does not play baseball at the highest level. And while I appreciate him for trying, the lack of realization or awareness does become disheartening. Especially since Jeter really does express progressive attitudes about the need to “change up” our diets, carbon-centric lifestyles, et al. And his ending mantra that “Everyone can become a Captain of their own soul’s, the MVP of their inner struggle” is upbeat but more becoming of a pinch-hitter than a legendary shortstop.

Overall Ratings:

Four balls and a bases loaded walk for Jorge Posada’s “The Journey Home”


Strike three and awarded first base on an errant throw for Derek Jeter’s “Change Up”





*at least that’s how I imagine it, I didn’t actually read the book

**see: first comment


Creatures of Cape Cod: Haikus

I was on Cape Cod teaching natural nature for two months. These are the things you will see in the tidal pools, explained in haiku form:

Green Crabs 13450708_10100262699514903_4736402517033323557_n

Got crabs? Me neither.

Wait! Here’s one walking sideways

in my open palms.


Moon Snails Moon-Snail-Shell-2-1

Waxing poetic,

The full moon snail penetrates

with its radula.



Mussels V Clams BlueMussels

Clams are white. Mussels

are black, but eating shellfish?

50 shades of gray.

Mussels, Clams and Scallops, Dead This Time

See that hole right there?

Someone used their radula

and drilled baby drilled.

Sand Worms IMG_4735

Have you read “Dune” by

Frank Herbert? That book sucks. But

worm casings (see photo) are neat.




Horseshoe Crabs tmp

An ancient species,

neither crab nor spider nor

spider crab. Spikey.



Hermit Crabs 13394090_10100262699614703_8217209012597514342_n

An ancient species,

neither snail nor spider nor

hermit-ty. But cute!

Sea centipedes sea centipede

So gross, but did you

see the Human Centipede?

That movie was nuts.




Sand 10885016_967202102113_1570920818616885764_n

I hate sand. I gets

everywhere. Not like you, dear.

You’re finer than sand.

Coniferous V Deciduous Trees

deciduous trees

know when to let go; the rest

keep pining away