The World According to Me

The World According to Me is a play on one of my favorite novels, "The World According to Garp," by one of my favorite authors, John Irving. While I am not nearly the writer Irving is, I hope that my musings will offer a unique perspective on life. If nothing else, I have something to look back on when dementia kicks in.

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Friday, August 13, 2010


So I just attempted to post my first blog report in three years and the internet ate my entry. Oh, there was some pithy comment about a seventeen-year-old girl failing to understand how her diatribe on the cosmetic industry's inability to effectively market itself to the Goth crowd might fall on deaf ears to the admissions committee at Yale.

Perhaps it will be another three years before I write again.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Shhhhhh, She's Sleeping

There is nothing—not skydiving, hitting a homerun, or ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins—that compares with holding your child. As I dexterously type this with just my right hand, the left is holding little Levyn Anabelle, the six-pound, six-ounce (actually now six-pound, three-ounce) joy of our life. The baby and I are letting Mrs. E catch some Z’s.

I can’t get enough of her cooing. It’s unequivocally the cutest sound in the world.

It’s amazing how when your child is born your priorities immediately and permanently shift. I haven’t really thought about work for almost a week. And you know what? I’m okay with that. Oh sure, eventually I’ll get back into the mode of writing several recommendation letters a day, worrying if a particular student has enough “safe” schools on his list, and fighting the evil empire known as US News & World Report. But I know that I will be engaging in all of those activities so that I can come home at the end of the day and see my girl’s pouty lips, darting eyes, and outstretched arms. And for now, I’m satisfied just sitting here watching her breathe, hoping she’s dreaming sweet dreams.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sports Landscape

I’ve been wondering recently whether there has been a time in the history of American sports where all of its major sports were dealing with scandal. The 1919 “Black Sox” dominated the news after throwing the World Series, CCNY rocked the college basketball world in the early 1950’s for shaving points, and fan favorite and all-time hits leader Pete “Charlie Hustle” Rose was given a lifetime ban in 1989 for betting on baseball. But, never have three of the country’s major sports (and, of course, what defines a major sport changes by era) simultaneously fallen under the dark cloud of indignity.

NFL: Football has clearly taken over as the #1 sport in America, at least outside the Nascar-crazy south. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, perhaps the league’s most identifiable superstar was indicted this week for hosting a dog fighting ring and criminally abusing dogs, often torturing them to death. Whether you’re a card-carrying member of PETA or just a normal human being, the allegations in this case are horrifying.

MLB: Once America’s pastime, baseball has seen a revival of sorts in the past decade. This restoration is due largely to an increase in the number of runs scored per game; more specifically, the home run barrage has aided the sport’s popularity. After all, “chicks dig the long ball.” In the past five years, however, under intense scrutiny brought on primarily (and ironically) by baseball superstar-turned-author Jose Canseco, people have begun to question the validity of the increased offense. What was once called the home run era has been dubbed the steroid era. It has all come to a head this summer as Barry Bonds is assaulting Henry (Hank) Aaron’s all-time home run record. As of this writing, Bonds is one homer behind Hammerin’ Hank.

NBA: Last among the three in terms of TV ratings, the NBA is number one in the hip-hop culture. Two weeks ago the sports wires were abuzz with the news that Todd Donaghy, a thirteen-year veteran referee, was found to have accepted money from the mob to affect the point spreads in NBA games.

As I am wont to do on Sunday mornings, I relaxed on the chaise while viewing Outside the Lines, a sports version of Nightline. The panelists were asked which sport is in a more dire position and which commissioner has a more difficult job. While on the face it would appear that Roger Goodell (NFL Commissioner) and David Stern (NBA Commissioner) have the greater challenges, I believe Bud Selig (MLB Commissioner) faces the toughest task of all. It is true that dog fighting and point shaving are PR nightmares. But these are (hopefully)isolated incidents. The NFL can banish Michael Vick if it wants (and if he’s thrown in jail they won’t even have to) and the NBA can chalk this up to “one rogue referee.” But baseball’s entire structure is under attack. And Selig is virtually powerless to do anything. When Bonds breaks Aaron’s home run record, Selig is in an untenable position. If he doesn’t publicly acknowledge the accomplishment, he is presuming a man’s guilt when nothing, but a heap of circumstantial evidence, has appeared. Plus, Selig no doubt feels some culpability as he has presided over this era. If he does praise Bonds, he is tacitly approving Bonds’ use of performance-enhancing drugs. This is additionally painful for Selig because of his friendship with Henry Aaron. Perhaps the most frustrating realization is that we might never know the truth (not only with Bonds, but in terms of the widespread use of drugs) and the game’s integrity will forever be in question. For those of us who still consider baseball to be the true American pastime, this is disturbing.

Frankly, I’m upset, disgusted, and dismayed. But more than that, I’m sad. I want to think that the games I’m watching are on the up and up. Otherwise, I might as well watch the WWE. At least they admit to doing ‘roids; or it shows up in their system when they commit a double-murder/suicide.

What a summer it’s been!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Technology Scares Me

Everyone who knows me understands that I don't always "get" technology. As a child of the 80's I tend to externalize blame and why should this be any exception. Therefore I find my science teachers (roughly from the years 1984-1996) culpable. I have discovered in recent years that I find science incredibly fascinating. How the world works, from evolution to medicine, is infinitely interesting. I thought all of those years I hated science; not true. Having said all that, I'm still not clear on the difference between neutrons and electrons or fission and fusion.

When my friend Ben showed me his new iPhone, what with its wireless internet access, music storage capability, and primary function to communicate with others via speaking, all I could say was, "Gee, that's pretty cool."

I'm not sure from whence my fear of technology truly stems. Despite the aforementioned dearth of quality science instructors, I can't in good conscience deflect all blame. I was, though, able to exact some measure of revenge yesterday with a daily bodily function. While on the phone with Time Warner, attempting to figure out why the cable was out in the bedroom (it turns out you need to actually plug in the cable from the wall for the unit to work), I was subjected to one of my least favorite forms of modern technology--the automated voice response system. While listening to the options, I inadvertently interrupted the system with a sneeze, to which I heard the following: "I heard you say, 'Customer service representative.' If this is correct, press one."

I fell asleep last night with a contented air, confident that the world isn't yet passing me by.


Sunday, July 22, 2007


I imagine that many of the coming entries will deal with the pregnancy. Since I shivered through our arctic bedroom (comfortable temperature is one of the casualties of a pregnant summer in New York) for most of the night, I had plenty of time to think of blog fodder.

Mrs. E and I spent the weekend on the east side taking a childbirth class at NYU. The course, for which we received a Print Shop-like certificate, was surprisingly excellent. I say surprising because I expected to be either completely bored or equally overwhelmed by a two-day, 12-hour class. However, our instructor Michele was quite adept at explaining the details of late-term pregnancy, labor & delivery, and immediate post-partem child care. We laughed, we cried. It was like watching any of the past several state-of-the-union addresses.

The seven couples with whom we shared the course fit some stereotypical pregnant couple archetypes. There was the older, Italian couple who brought either the husband's or wife's mother. I'm guessing it was the wife's mother because while dad slept through half the course, the old lady served as coach for the breathing exercises.

Couple number two was hardly noteworthy, except the husband spoke with an accent and though his name is Peter it was pronounced PEH-ter. My guess, based on his complexion, is that he hails from somewhere in northern Europe. What I actually said to Mrs. E is, "I'll bet he's one of those Norwegian punks!" For the record, I think I would actually like Norway. I mean, I like people from Minnesota.

We couldn't get a good read on the third couple. The husband, whom I dub "Lacoste Boy" since he wore three different solid colored Lacoste shirts over the course of two days, asked the most random questions. For example, "Now, is the drug they offer during the aforementioned stage biological or chemical?" I'm not sure if he works for an anti-terrorist government outfit or simply opposes man-made aids. As engaged as he was in the class, his wife was the only pregnant person who didn't ask a single question over the course of the two days. In fact, I estimate that every woman asked at least half a dozen questions. She didn't open her mouth. Lacoste Boy passed out yesterday during the discussion of C-Sections. It was approximately around the time when Michele mentioned placenta previa which would necessitate an immediate C-section. After a series of epileptic convulsions he finally came to in about five minutes. Incidentally, Lacoste Boy also sported Burberry socks. No, I'm serious.

There was an older couple who clearly had read way too much. Let me clarify. When I say older I mean they were in their late 30's or early 40's, which for a first child is on the older side. I recognize that people are having children later in life, but they were the oldest couple in the class. So if you are apt to be offended by my description then just use older as a relative term. At any rate, the husband spent a bit of time yesterday trying to convince everyone of the virtues of saving the baby's cord blood. Mrs. E and I had already looked into this and consulted our physician. I feel sorry for the others because I'm pretty convinced he or a member of his family works for Viacord. The wife was adamantly opposed to an episiotomy and seems to have used this as the sole factor in weeding out potential doctors.

We were particularly fond of the half-white, half-asian couple who seem like they're having a great time being pregnant. They, like us, don't take themselves too seriously. They asked important questions, but aren't stressing out more than is healthy.

There isn't much to say about the remaining couple other than the wife is due a day before Mrs. E and is half the size.

The breathing exercises were hilarious. I didn't mean to laugh, but I had to chuckle a little. I couldn't help but think of The Cosby Show episode where John Ritter (far and away my favorite childhood actor)and Amy Yasbeck guest starred as expecting parents. Ritter, of course, employed the same physical comedy that made him a star on Three's Company.

Toward the end of the day we learned about the apgar score. The baby is measured at one minute and five minutes after his or her birth and is assigned a score of 0-2 on each of five criteria (color and responsiveness, are two examples) for a maximum of ten points. Healthy babies have a score of at least seven. Like my hole cards in my last hand of Texas hold'em online, my future Heisman-winning quarterback will secure a pair of tens!


Thursday, July 19, 2007


We saw Sicko last weekend, the new Michael Moore documentary vilifying the American health care industry. I realized, while I was trying to scrape up my jaw from the sticky, Coke-drenched floor, that the fact that I used the word “industry” to finish that last sentence is what’s wrong with our structure. The film is excellent. Sure, Moore is polarizing because he’s an unabashed, lightning rod liberal whose techniques are dubious. And yes, his speech at the Oscars a couple of years back was inappropriate. I know many left-wingers who find him reprehensible. But the dude knows how to make movies. And even if he’s exaggerating a little for effect, he’s not making this stuff up.

How is it possible that we--the richest country and lone superpower (so they say)--have a worse system than El Salvador? EL SALVADOR!!!! That’s right, the same El Salvador where over a third of the people live below the poverty line; the El Salvador whose early history was marred by revolutions and coups; yes, even the El Salvador that forbids abortion under ANY circumstance. In the name of Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez, what is going on here?

I don’t want to be branded as a socialist; God knows I have a healthy respect for money, particularly that which resides in my wallet or bank. But I would be willing to pay more in taxes for better health coverage. As Moore attempts to illustrate, it’s not only uninsured individuals at risk. We, the insured, have much to fear. Insurance companies exist to make money, not protect people. In fact, the more people they protect, the less money in their pockets. No wonder they deny so many claims. It is an illogically, flawed system.

It’s a good thing that, like Fame, I’m gonna live forever.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Mrs. E and I are watching So You Think You Can Dance, a dancing version of "American Idol." We contend that the dancers on this show, who beautifully contort their bodies and bend like rubber bands, are far more talented than are the karaoke-like singers on Idol. For those who were unable to see tonight's show, here is the quick synopsis:

8:03 -- What is Mary Murphy wearing? She looks like a zebra with leggings on her arms.

8:05 -- Wade Robson, clearly smoking some narcotic, espouses his notion of how he wants to see humans on stage, not just dancers. What?!?

8:14 -- Dominic and Sabra are freakin' awesome! It's a bit curious that Sabra kept saying in the opening piece that Dom always drops her during their lifts. At first I thought she was joking, but then she continued to harp on it.

8:31 -- I've warmed up to Cat Deeley since the first year. She's quite sappy, but I suppose she serves her purpose well. But she is REALLY thin. Far too thin if you ask me. Incidentally, can anyone explain to me why (it seems) so many of our reality shows are hosted by British imports? You know, we could've kept those accents if we liked them so much.

8:32 -- Hok and Jaimie disappointed tonight. Hok is an unreal talent. But, like Cedric (eliminated last week), he lacks the technique that most of the dancers possess. This is why the street, hip-hop dancers typically don't make it to the end of the competition. Eventually, the audience catches on that they have lots of style, but very little substance.

8:42 -- Pasha and Sara were bland. Mary is 100% correct. While they may have been technically correct with their ceaseless jazz hands, they did not connect with the audience. And those outfits! I know they danced to a Queen song, but did they need to raid Freddy Mercury's (may he rest in peace) closet?

8:56 -- Mary clearly has channeled Mrs. E because every comment that comes out of my wife's mouth inevitably is echoed by Mary mere seconds later. For example, after Neil and Lauren's routine, Mrs. E said, "What is this supposed to mean?" After acknowledging that she liked the performance, Mary raised the very same issue. The only difference between Mary and Mrs. E is that the latter doesn't screech every five minutes like she's descending from the top of a roller coaster.

9:07 -- Danny is this generation's Tommy Tune--lanky, terrific extensions, and a joy to watch. Finally, as Wade points out, Danny has made an emotional connection. Can he chill with the sweat, though? It looks like he just stepped out of the pool. Anya is boring me more and more each week.

9:18 -- Same Dan Karaty hip-hop motif: boy chases girl, but girl is a nasty bitch. Sooooooo cliche.

9:19 -- Remember Brittany Spears' slutty Catholic school uniform from that video? Lacey's outfit is the slutty version of that!

9:25 -- Whereas in the past two or three weeks it has been difficult to discriminate between so many outstanding performances, this week's routines were underwhelming. I wouldn't be surprised if any of them are booted, nor would I be too disappointed. The tension is mounting. Oh, were it only Thursday night already!!!