Saturday, November 20, 2010

Half Season Update

NYU-HJD (so named because when the team was first formed it was made up of mostly orthopedic surgeons at the Hospital of Joint Diseases, from whom we also received some funding; of course the docs and dollars are all gone yet the name remains, indicating the mixture of loyalty, laziness, and lack of creativity that has plagued the team on and off the ice since its inception) has reached the midpoint of another season. A ragtag group of lovable losers, never weres dramatically outnumbering has beens, the current incarnation is probably my favorite HJD composition in the 6 years(!) it's been active at Chelsea Piers. "Favorite" being more an evaluation of team personality than team success, as our 3-5 record doesn't do justice to a league worst goal differential that is -3 red lights per game (there is no red light, obviously). Our division houses a very mixed bag of players who basically can't skate, some who grew up playing competitively and are actually good, and everything in between. Goal differential aside, I think our team has the ability to do some damage in the playoffs. If we get some puck luck. And if we make the playoffs first.

As a devoted empiricist and avowed chronicler of the human condition (particularly mine), I try to diligently and accurately record my box car stats every season. It helps set goals and facilitates sober evaluative reflection and blah blah blah, I'm a sad, pathetic person looking for a reason to stay alive... here we go with my season thus far:

Few notes: 1) This division's teams' names are atrocious and speak volumes about the quality of hockey. 2) My realistic goal for the season was to get 1.5 PPG, and my ideal if-everything-breaks-right goal was 2.0 PPG. I'm currently at 1.57, so I'm not too displeased (though my shooting% is 24 which is a tad above my historical rate of 16-20% so I can expect a little regression there... fuck sabermetrics). 3) The DNP was due to my wedding and I think the goose eggs around it can be reasonably attributed to wedding-anxiety and -exhaustion, respectively (I feel like I'm going to be blaming a lot of things on that wedding over the next 50 years), so I'm cautiously expecting a bigger 2nd half performance (individually, the team will continue to be terrible, I imagine). 4) I am the kind of player that has to be top-6 or I'm basically useless. With a Bob Kudelski-type release, I'm decent with the puck but awful without it; I have no idea what I'm doing in my own end; and I'm one of those players that, when the puck is tied up along the wall, I'm firmly on the wrong side of it, waiting, hovering, hoping it randomly squirts out to me. Think Phil Kessel meets Alexander Selivanov. That said, I've scored or assisted on a Lemieux-esque 58% of my team's goals (in the games I've played). Speaking of Super Mario:

I think the numbers are pretty clear, but I'll spell it out for you just in case: I will go down as the greatest D5 hockey player in Chelsea Piers history. And then I will own one of the teams and get a local government to subsidize my private money-making arena and grow a beard that looks ridiculous and no one will ever criticize me for anything. There it is.

Also, this Norwegian kid is ridiculously sweet and he would be the best player on our team. And he's ten years old. Sick.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Wretched of the Earth, Indeed

The UN's annual A-to-Z of global wealth, poverty, health and education highlighted in its 20th anniversary edition that despite "growth surges" in the Asia-Pacific region, it is becoming ever more difficult to break into the rich club of nations.

Oil-rich Norway -- with its 81.0 years of life expectancy, average annual income of 58,810 dollars and 12.6 years of schooling -- has now topped the Human Development Index (HDI) for all but two years since 2001.

Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Ireland took the following places in the top five. Zimbabwe came bottom of the 169 nations ranked, behind Mozambique, Burundi, Niger and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Zimbabwe, where in stark contrast life expectancy is just 47 years and per capita income 176 dollars, has come bottom of the table for the past five years.

DR Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe have seen their HDI value fall below 1970 levels in the four decades since, said the study.

"These countries offer lessons on the devastating impact of conflict, the AIDS epidemic and economic and political mismanagement," said UNDP administrator Helen Clarke, the former New Zealand prime minister.

Now, I understand that Ms. Clarke is referring to the reasons why those countries' HDI levels have fallen since 1970 and is not really commenting on how they got there in the first place, but isn't the more trenchant lesson on the devastating impact of being colonized by a European nation? I wonder what the HDI level would be for an aggregate of all peoples living in North American Native reservations?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lesser of Evils Still Pandora-Level of Evil

A bunch of good folks I sincerely like and respect will take part in the farcical, biennial public relations competition that masquerades as representative democracy in this country. Most of the people I happen to know will vote for candidates of the Democratic Party. I think they are making a big mistake. If these people, like me, believe in things like that the US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and its bombings and/or targeted assassinations - either way, war crimes - in Pakistan and Yemen are illegal and, more importantly, immoral; that the public should not subsidize business costs while corporations privatize profit; that the short-term interests of corporate shareholders in the US should not be placed above the long term interests of the larger community, especially with respect to climate change and the survival of the species; and that the "international community" is more than just Washington and whoever happens to agree with it, see, e.g., Iran's enriching of uranium and Israel's occupation of Palestine, etc. etc.; then they are voting for a party that holds fundamentally inconsistent views and goals. I don't understand the desire to do such a thing. Perhaps it's a desire to not feel small and inconsequential in the world, to not feel like you've been lied to your whole life, or worse, that you believed the lie. Maybe it's the desperate grab of the lever that retains some symbolic meaning in the face of increasing atomization and alienation, a silent cry that whispers, "things are not that bad, we're just a ways off from justice and egality, this act absolves me while at the same time keeping me safe from the consequences of real action." I don't know what the reasons are at this point, and I don't really care. I do know that there is one business party in the US, with two factions that are more different in personality than substance, and that this business party is fanatically committed to a highly sophisticated class war at home and a brutally violent imperial empire abroad (where corporations have replaced viceroys). And I think that the sooner the educated, white, liberal professional class that is my peer group comes to realize this, the sooner the cannibalization of the Democratic Party can occur and a new, legitimate opposition movement will foment. The only time I'm voting soon is for Palin/Beck 2014.