Saturday, March 08, 2008

Whither the Mets?

Celizic: The geriatric, injury-riddled Mets may be lucky to win eighty games this season.

Marchman: The Mets may have no serious competition in the National League. (Unfortunately, two of the most credible contenders, the Phillies and Braves, are in the Mets' division.)

Wake me in September.

Update: Nick asks if this means I expect the Mets to be "standing somewhere in between" come September. Well, let me put it this way: my estimation of the probability that the Mets will be at the top of their division in September is 25%; my estimation of the probability that they will be somewhere in the middle is 55%, and my estimation of the probability that they won't be standing at all is 20%. So, yeah, I guess I do.

The point of my post is kind of like that great Who song, "Won't Get Fooled Again." I don't want to go through the emotional ups and downs of last season, which got resolved into comfort by mid-August, then abruptly plunged into despair at the end of September.

Twiffer: I like roller coasters, too. In baseball, however, I'd rather not have that abrupt plunge at the end. (I know, Red Sox fans became inured to that; however, after two championships in three years, they may be starting to forget.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Woman wanted for Vampire Weekend.

The opening page of Vampire Weekend's website has the following under "news":
The name of this band is Vampire Weekend. We are specialists in the following styles: "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa","Campus", and "Oxford Comma Riddim."
(Note the use of an Oxford comma in the second sentence.) In other contexts, however, they've called their musical genre "Upper West Side Soweto." Here they are doing "A-Punk":

Watching and listening to these guys, I can't help but think of another group that had phenomenal success beginning about thirty years ago, Talking Heads. (There's a short account of the one time I attended a Talking Heads concert here.)

Let's compare the two groups:

1. Fancy college degrees. Talking Heads: Yes. Vampire Weekend: Yes.

2. Twee lyrics. Talking Heads: Yes. Vampire Weekend: Yes.

3. Architectural references. Talking Heads: Yes. Vampire Weekend: Yes.

4. African pop influence. Talking Heads: Yes. Vampire Weekend: Yes.

5. Punk influence. Talking Heads: Yes. Vampire Weekend: Yes.

6. Foreign-born member. Talking Heads: Yes. Vampire Weekend: Yes.

7. Woman member. Talking Heads: Yes. Vampire Weekend: No.

So, it seems that VW lacks only one element of Talking Heads' formula for mega-success. Guys, you gotta getta gal.

Thanks to Homer Fink of Brooklyn Heights Blog for turning me on to VW.

Update: Homer has referred me to the MySpace page of another group with an Ivy League pedigree, Cambridge-based Chester French. "The Jimmy Choos" is a lively rocker that appeals to my inner shoe fetishist, and "People" sounds remarkably like Wild Honey period Beach Boys.

Second update: Perhaps providing support to Brain Tracer's theory about the psychic qualities of MP3 players, on my way home from my office my iPod played "And She Was" by Talking Heads, then followed it with VW's "Mansard Roof."

Monday, March 03, 2008

Lenci's locks must go! (But it's for a good cause.)

Friend and erstwhile colleague Ed Lenci is known, among many things, for having a fine head of hair. But, come St. Patrick's Day, Ed (who has Hibernian heritage on the distaff side) will repair to Jim Brady's, where a razor will sweep over his scalp, leaving him bald as a cue ball. The purpose of this exercise in aesthetic cruelty is to raise funds to fight something far more cruel: childhood cancer.

Ed and others have responded to the challenge made by St. Baldrick's Foundation, an organization which runs the world's largest volunteer-driven fundraising event for childhood cancer research. So far, its efforts have met with tremendous success: St. Baldrick's raised over $12 million in 2007 and, since its inception in 2000, has raised over $34 million. Its goal is to raise $17 million in 2008. (It has nothing to do with Baldrick in Blackadder.)

To make a donation and support Ed's sacrifice, go to St. Baldrick's website and click DONATE NOW. On the page that pops up, you will see spaces for entering Ed's name under the heading "Search for a Participant or Team." You need only enter "Lenci" in the appropriate box and hit "go." On the page that next pops up, you'll see Ed's photograph and below it the words "Donate now." Click "Donate now" and you will be taken to the page where you can make your donation securely using your Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express card. Donations to St. Baldrick's are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.