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October 31, 2008

We Are the Champions

That “we” in the title is a bit disingenuous. Sure, I live near Philadelphia, home of the World Champion Philadelphia Knockerbackers, er, I mean Phillies. But as someone lacking the “sports gene,” it’s not fair that I enjoy the sweet rewards of championshipdom without having suffered through 28 years following the allegedly losing-est team in baseball (a pointless statistic if ever there was one). Nevertheless, I’ll take it! Wooooooooo-hoo!!! World Champs, baby!!! But I didn’t feel like I belonged at the parade today, ya know?

For example, I confess I didn’t know a single Phillies player until a month ago. Now I know a good three or four.1 I even watched some of the games. I couldn’t watch the final game on Wednesday, unfortunately, but did soak up some of the energy from the packed house at McGillin’s waiting for the game to start, the cheers from patrons at Ly Michaels when the Phillies scored, and the crew working at Jim's Steaks where Kenric and I grabbed a bite on our way home. Even though I didn’t get home in time to see the final out, it was an exciting and historic night, and I am so happy both for this city and for all of the Phillies' real fans.

1I knew most of the Phillies during the Sixties when I was a kid. I liked baseball cards, even though I didn't know a thing about baseball.



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October 28, 2008

SEPTA’s Train View

I didn't bring a proper coat for the raw, blustery weather today and didn’t want to wait on the train platform any longer than necessary, so I decided to check SEPTA’s Train View before leaving work. My train was reported “on time.” Yay.

The train was actually seven minutes late, although Train View still insisted it was on time. Right after we boarded, the conductor announced that we would not be leaving the station because there was debris on the tracks ahead of us. [1.2MB mp3 1:16]

I kept checking the Train View page and finally noticed a big red alert at the top of the page (“30 minute delay on inbound service due to weather-related problems at Rosemont”), but my specific train was still “on time.” Amazingly, we did start moving after about 30 minutes. Eventually my train disappeared from the Train View listing, around the time it should have if it was actually on time, although we were still far from our destination. Clearly I can’t rely on Train View at all. (That seems true of the entire SEPTA system—it works fine most of the time, but you just can’t rely on it.) Train View does seem to be working for some lines in that there are always some trains that show a delay, but I wonder how Train View actually works since it did not show any delay at all for my train. I think I will start logging the Train View status for my regular commute. That should net me a Pulitzer, don’t you think?

October 10, 2008

Roosters at York Fair

This tidbit in Saveur about the different names for the Rice Krispies spokescharacters (Snap! Crackle! & Pop!) around the world caught my eye, because it started with this:

Just as a French rooster sounds unlike an American one...

Now wait a second. Sure, every language uses different words to imitate animal sounds (Wikipedia has a long list at onomatopoeia), but I can’t believe that the actual sounds that animals make are different. Or maybe that’s not what they meant.

In any case, it provides an excuse to post a recording of roosters crowing I made at the York Fair about a month ago. Interestingly, each one sounded unique, but I don’t know whether that’s because they were of different breeds, or if they were just expressing their individuality. I wish I could tell you the breed of each rooster on the recording, but they only crowed when my back was turned—very sneaky. Two bonus sounds: There’s a turkey gobble about two-thirds in, and the rhythmic honking at the end is from geese when people got too close to their cage. [980k mp3 1:03]



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Hey York is my hometown. :)

Really? You know, I think I knew that, actually. Anyway, my in-laws live there, and we visit them regularly.