September 14, 2004


I am in a "Magazine Writing" class and one of the books for the course is Michael J. Bugeja's Guide to Writing Magazine Nonfiction. I was reading the assigned pages yesterday when I came across the following in a chapter entitled, "Magazine Basics: importance of Audience":

This is why magazines exist. Few people, even family members or loved ones, give you what you want or tell you what you want to hear. Think about it. Say you like astronomy. You wake up your lover at 3 A.M. to see Orion on the horizon. The first time, the lover might think the tryst is romantic and might stumble out to the balcony with a glass of wine to peer in a telescope. The second time, the lover might sigh and spend two minutes on that balcony and then stumble back to bed. The third time, the lover doesn't get up. So the astronomy enthusiast buys Sky and Telescope and lets the lover sleep. That's good for the magazine, the enthusiast, and the lover.

That is, without a doubt, the most amusing passage I have ever read in a textbook. The mere idea that someone making a point about magazines would say "lover" six times in one paragraph, use the word "tryst" once, and invent a scenario involving getting "your lover" out of bed, drinking wine, and looking into a telescope on a balcony is marvelously absurd.

Also, did the language in that paragraph remind anyone else of the Will Ferrell "Professor" character from Saturday Night Live, where he and his "love-ah" invite other couples over and jacuzzi with them?

PROFESSOR: Yes. Come here, love-ah. Let me hold you in my big strong arms. What say we make love right here in our favorite chair?

LOVER: Mmm ... I'd like nothing more, love-ah. [She sits on his lap.]

PROFESSOR: Ahhh ... Ow! Ow, my back!

LOVER: What? Love-ah, what?


LOVER: Love-ah?


No? Maybe it's just me. Here's some other stuff ...

  • I had a bit of a dilemma last night, because Johan Santana was pitching against the White Sox on one channel and the World Series of Poker was running on another channel. I decided to go with the Twins game whenever Santana was on the mound and poker when the Twins were batting or a commercial was on.

    So my night was filled with Santana's changeup and Greg Raymer's hypnotic shades.

    Just once in my life I'd like to sit behind a stack of chips that big (I've given up on being able to pitch like Santana).

    Fortunately, the WSOP was on commercial break while the Twins began to unleash their nine-run sixth inning on the White Sox, so I didn't miss that. I also didn't miss the American League Central race ending.

  • With yet another dominant performance (7 IP, 7 K, 2 H, 0 ER), Santana improved to 18-6 on the year, increased his AL-best strikeout total to 240, and lowered his ERA to a league-leading 2.76. In fact, only Randy Johnson has more strikeouts (257) or a better ERA (2.75) among all major league starting pitchers.

    Santana will likely have three more starts left this year to try to become the first Minnesota 20-game winner since Brad Radke went 20-10 in 1997. During my lifetime, only three Twins -- Radke, Scott Erickson and Frank Viola -- have won 20 games in a season.

    Santana has been the best pitcher in baseball this year, but I really think his chances of winning the AL Cy Young award will come down to whether or not he can get that 20th win. It shouldn't, but I think it will. His final three starts will likely come against Baltimore, Cleveland and New York.

  • Speaking of poker, my own poker play has gone in the tank ever since I wrote about it here last week. I had a big dry spell, but won a $20 Sit & Go tournament yesterday to restock my bankroll a little bit. I guess I'll have to put off quitting school and going pro just a while longer.
  • The defense of my "NFL Expert Picks" title from last year over at Seth Speaks is off to a good start. I went 12-4 picking games for the opening week of the season, tied for second place and one game behind the leader, Jeremy Kovash, who went 13-3. I went 176-80 (.688) last year, winning by two games, so I'm right on track.
  • On the other hand, my fantasy football team didn't do quite as well. Had I started the right people, my team would have run away with a victory, but Curtis Martin's 206 yards and two touchdowns were on my bench.

    Instead, I took a 20-point lead into Monday night and ended up losing by 12 as Ahman Green went for 116 total yards and three scores and Brett Favre threw for 143 yards and a touchdown for my opponent, and my lone remaining player, Green Bay kicker Ryan Longwell, scored me just seven points.

  • Magic Number: 8

New article at The Hardball Times: The End of an Era: Little Joe Goes For-Pay

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