Way better than Hot Wheels

Surfing is better than the Hot Wheels track and cars I played with when I was seven.

Jim and I used to set up the long orange track from the radiator cover – which was four feet high – in the living room at 50 East 96th Street, and run it down the length of the 60-foot hall.  We’d race our best cars against each other.  We spent hours doing it and looked forward to it whenever we could.

082507hotwheelsmiklosz.jpgIt was like heaven.

Then, when I was 16 – after some years of no Hot Wheels, mind you – there came surfing.  And it was like a way of life.  I mean, we did it, talked about it, dreamed about it, bragged about it, pretended we were cool in front of the girls because of it…we were surfers, it was our identity.  As far as I recall, Hot Wheels never had that spell – of determining identity.

So moving to New York City, my surfing days will become…few.  If any.  I suppose I could take the A train out to Rockaway Beach the way I did once.  But there are skyscrapers in front of you as you drop in on that mushy left break, and you always worry that someone’s going to swipe your bag on the beach, so you hide it behind a trash bin somewhere.  Not the same as Good Harbor Beach.

So I’m sad about that.

But then I think of heaven.

Because of Jesus, we are promised something even better than surfing, and perhaps even way better than Hot Wheels.

That’s kind of what I’m hanging my hat on.

photo:  miklosz

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Font

Veer has exquisite typefaces.

My favorite among those shown on the first page is Savoir Faire.  Clean, crisp, elegant, 083107savoirefaire.giftolerably illegible at times.

When I first got into desktop publishing – a latecomer to it, I’m sure, in 1986/87, which I subsequently left in 1990 – I went through a brief affair with Palatino along with the rest of the Mac world, and then flirted with Copperplate for headlines.  Juxtaposing Helvetica Black and Helvetica Light, and using 60% screens for heads, was my next fling.

All in all, I was a rake, never settling with one for very long.

Savoir Faire I could commit to.

“Beer pong”

083107elkojote.jpgThe Wall Street Journal, which I normally find very helpful in its digestion of the day’s news, had an article on beer pong that unhelpfully compared it to a “cross between ping pong and beer chugging.”

Have they forgotten the game of quarters, long practiced in both frat houses and bars?

No mention of this is certainly a sign of the WSJ‘s editors having been tee-totalers, Temperance Union charter members, or in receipt of kickbacks from USA Table Tennis.  It is still too early to know whether Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp takeover of the Journal will have any effect on the paper’s accuracy with regard to beer hall frivolity.

photo: elkojote

Optimizing interactive interfacing technologies

A bio I…encountered…online for a man who works with a consultant in the homeland security field mused as follows:

“[Dr. Joe Smith] a medical neuroscientist, has an MD/PhD  from [West Coast] University, is the [employee title] of the Institute for Interventional Informatics and has gained international recognition for pioneering new methods of physiologically based human-computer interaction. [Smith’s] research efforts have focused on advanced instrumentation and new methods of analysis which can be applied to evaluating various aspects of human function as it relates to human-computer interaction, this effort was to identify methods and techniques which optimize 083007sradion.jpginformation flow between humans and computers. [Smith’s] work has indicated an optimal mapping of interactive interface technologies to the human nervous system’s capacity to transduce, assimilate and respond intelligently to information in an integrative-multisensory interaction will fundamentally change the way that humans interact with information systems. Application areas for this work include quantitative assessment of human performance, augmentative communication systems, environmental controls for the disabled, medical communications and integrated interactive educational systems. [Smith] is particularly active in technology transfer of aerospace and other defense derived technologies to the fields of health care and education. Specific areas of interest are: advanced instrumentation for the acquisition and analysis of medically relevant biological signals; intelligent  informatics systems which augment both the general flow of medical information and provide decision support for the health care professional; public accesses health information databases designed to empower the average citizen to become more involved in their own health care; and advanced training technologies which will adaptively optimize interactive educational systems to the capacity of the user. “

Frankly, I think he has done so much interactive interfacing, optimally speaking of course, he has left the rest of us scratching our heads and not knowing how to transduce, assimilate or respond intelligently.

photo:  sradion

Jeter

The Red Sox are playing the Yankees right now on NESN.  (That’s “New England Sports Network,” Channel 51 on Comcast cable, for you non-New Englanders.)  Karen became a Yankees fan when we lived in Manhattan.  We both remember a woman named Jenny from Trinity Baptist Church, where K and I met, who was absolutely, hopelessly in love with Derek Jeter.  When Karen and I got nominated to serve on some church committees and went away to a retreat center in Rockland County with the rest of the lay leadership, the Yankees were in one of their umpteen World Series.

082907yankeesdr-evil.jpgThey were playing…whoever…just somebody…doesn’t matter, really…whoever they were whooping that year with the bajillions that Steinbrenner pays his players.  But I must admit, it was a pretty exciting game, and we were all taking a break from meeting and Janelle, Karen, I, and many others were huddled around a small TV in the common room and shouting for Jeter and all the others that year, in 1996.  The Yankees went on to win.  Of course.

Of course, I became a Red Sox fan in 2004.  Not after the Idiots won the Series, mind you.  No, it was Game 4 of the League Championship Series, when they were down three games to none against the Yankees and facing extinction for the season as they always do, always at the hands of the Overpaid Boys from the Bronx.

And the Sox won.  And they won the next game.   And the next.  And the next.  And they handed Steinbrenner’s Boys the worst defeat in baseball history, setting a post-season record for the first team to come back from 3-0 in games.  Against the Yankees.

So I figured in Game 4 as they started to turn it around:  Hey, these guys have something.  They have spirit.

And they beat those Damn Yankees, and they went on to sweep the Cardinals.  It was magical.

My friend Barry, a lifelong Sox fan who grew up in Springfield and Quincy, looked in the obituaries a day after the Series win, to see which 86-year-olds had died the day before the Sox won, having waited their entire lives to see the Sox win the first series since their win in 1918 and fallen one day short.

I sense that a few of those folks had seats with a slightly better view than atop the Green Monster.

photo:  Dr Evil