Thursday, January 28, 2010

Allyson's sister and her husband visited us this week, and the four of us went up to the Cinque Terre for a couple days. On Monday we hiked from Corniglia to Vernazza, a four-kilometer trek through woods and over a mountain. About thirty minutes into the hike, we suddenly encountered four cats on the trail. They were very excited to see us. Apparently they thought we would feed them. Alas, we had no cat food on us. So, if you ever happen to hike this particular trail, you might want to bring some along!

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

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Allyson on the train home from Bologna, 18 January 2010.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


My friends at Uni Watch recently reported that the Phillies will be breaking out their 1970s powder blue uniforms at least once this year. That is a welcomed development, for I consider the powder blue to be the best uniform in Phillies history – mainly because they wore it when I was a kid, and the Phillies meant everything to me.

The news also reminded me of a mystery that has long baffled me. It concerns the space inside the P on the Phillies’ uniforms in the 1970s and 1980s. Section 1.11(e) of the official rules of Major League Baseball says, “No part of the uniform shall include a pattern that imitates or suggests the shape of a baseball.”

In 1970, the Phillies unveiled a new uniform with a new stylized P logo – and, in the space inside the P there was clearly a pattern that imitated or suggested the shape of a baseball.

By 1976, however, the baseball inside the P on the uniform had disappeared, and that’s how it stayed until the late 1980s, when it mysteriously reappeared!

(Odder still: Around 1979, it seems the space inside the P was briefly changed to make it look less like a baseball.)

What happened? After several seasons did MLB officials suddenly realize the uniform violated the rules, forcing the Phillies to change it? If so, did MLB subsequently grant the team a waiver to put the baseball back inside the P? Or was it all just the vagaries of uniform design at the time, an inconsistency due to a serious lack of attention to detail (a not at all unlikely scenario)?

Anyway, it’s something that, in my slightly obsessive way, I have always wondered about...

UPDATE: My brother Howard points out that the uniform of the Seattle Pilots also depicted a baseball. Seems a little small to me, but probably in violation of the rule.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Check it out: The good folks at American Road magazine are having a contest to win a copy of my book. Of course, by now I'm sure you've already purchased several copies.

Allyson and I had a GREAT time in Bologna! It's a medieval college town with tons of great restaurants, bars, and museums. Highly recommended! On Saturday we had lunch at a great little place called the Drogheria, whose owner held court (entertainingly) throughout the meal. At another restaurant, only the men got menus with prices listed on them; the women got menus with no prices! On Sunday we went to a fascinating science museum at the university. It included a large collection of life size models of fetuses with various defects. Definitely a must-miss if you are pregnant or even *thinking about* having a child! (FYI, same goes for the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia.) Anyway, we really did have a good time and the weather was perfect: gray and cold!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

HTEA got a very nice mention on the popular blog MetaFilter yesterday.
Happy New Year everybody! Been meaning to post something for a while but I've been lazy and don't have much news to report anyway. I've been working on the next book (ms is due in five months and one day!). Wrote about 2,500 words yesterday, not too bad. This weekend we're taking a short trip to Bologna, next week we have some company (Allyson's sister and her husband!). Time seems to be flying by lately...