My Inability to Run Straight During Momentous Sporting Occasions

I’m running on the treadmill at the Mizzou rec tonight, moving at a fairly high speed, when something momentous occurred: Middle Tennessee State completed a hail mary touchdown pass on the final play of the game to beat Florida Atlantic, 14-13.

And I, so shocked by this sudden development, nearly fell off the treadmill.

Had the game involved two slightly more notable teams or, you know, not been played on a Tuesday night, I might have completely lost control and ended up with a face full of rapidly rotating belt.

Paging Tracy Chapman

Before heading off to Rosh Hashanah services tonight, I was sitting around, deciding whether or not I really wanted to attend services and weighing one question in my mind: with so many problems in the world these days, why should I even believe in God?

Then I remembered one pretty good reason, and headed off to services.

Shana tova, everyone.

Leave Your Name and Number? No More.

I was reading a profile of Paul Feig today when I came across this line:

Feig’s voice-mail message says, “Please leave your name and number and I’ll, um, y’know, call you back.”

Reading it, I realized: that message is about to go extinct.

With cell phones now, I don’t need callers to leave their number. I’ll have a missed call from them when I go to check my voice mail. Soon enough, as more people move away from landlines, the “leave your name and number” message will be as dead as, well…. an actual machine that you keep in your office to record messages.

Is That a Chiefs Jersey?

Walking around campus here in Columbia yesterday, I spotted a rare sight: a Kansas City Chiefs jersey. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Missourians are proud of their teams, and most years, garb from the Chiefs or the St. Louis Cardinals is everywhere on campus.

But with the Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams rating as two of the worst teams in the NFL this year, fans are a bit more reserved about showing their affection. In the month since I’ve returned to Mizzou, I’d yet to see a single Chiefs or Rams jersey on campus. Such is the state of football here in this state (unless, of course, you’re talking about the football played at the state university.)

Debatable Facts

In 5th grade, John Chapman nearly won the Wood Acres Elementary School election after promising to add Coca Cola, Diet Coke and Sprite to the drinking fountains. Jeff Luse won the student government presidency instead when he promised to bring Cal Ripken to school. Cal, it should be noted, never made that visit.

This Spring, I watched as Spain’s José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Mariano Rajoy argued for 10 minutes in a Presidential debate over a chart that showed some sort of correlation between potatoes and prices in Spain. The chart, however, was unlabeled, so it was unclear whether it was showing the change in potato prices in relation to time or something else, like the number of goals scored by Fernando Torres on Wednesdays during a full moon. So the two men yelled at each other over this chart, without anyone being sure exactly whether or not prices were going up or down, or even when these prices had changed. The debate was hailed the next day as a major step forward for Spain’s still-growing democracy, but I’m still waiting to see Zapatero’s first measures on the potato problem in his country.

Tonight’s debate reminds me again that while debates really can be a positive step forward for democracy, it’s almost impossible to keep up with all of the facts/less-than-facts referenced in such a format. It’s tough to judge these things until these guys take a closer look at what was said tonight.

Of course, I wouldn’t expect the networks to wait quite so long to make their call on who won.

Application Conglomeration

A few days ago, I read this New York Times story about the effect of new technology in our everyday lives. The Times article references one recent piece from The Atlantic, but I thought instead of another article from the same magazine, published last fall. It’s about multitasking, and how people aren’t very good at it. (Me, especially.)

So why is it that all of my friends are going out and buying an iPhone or a Blackberry? (Does any college student send out so many emails to warrant the use of a Blackberry?) Why have I set up Adium to show me AIM, Gmail chat and Facebook chat simultaneously? Why is it that new acquaintances are amazed to hear that I’ve survived the last two years without text messaging? (Apparently, we should actually be polling the youth vote via text.) Why is it that yesterday, when reading a book while riding a bus home from campus, a few kids actually asked me how I found time to read?

We’re inundated by new technology that should be simplifying our lives, but instead, I’m seeing friends as distracted as ever.

What ever happened to minimalism?