Saturday, September 24, 2005

Saturday scramble

♦ One of the more troubling articles I've read recently was last week's New Republic cover story, "After Shock," by Douglas McCray. (You need a subscription to read the article, so type in username john9241 and password trooper - Thanks, BugMeNot!) It details how San Francisco will become the next New Orleans if it doesn't take steps to prepare for the next big earthquake. And if the article is to be believed, San Francisco has a long way to go with disaster planning.

♦ So I watched a tape of Everybody Hates Chris, the sitcom of Chris Rock's childhood, which looks like the critical darling of the new fall TV season. It's definitely funny; Chris's dad could easily become one of my favorite TV characters, with his penny-pinching math. ("That's 49 cents of spilled milk dripping off this table! Somebody's gonna drink this milk!")

But I think its critical popularity speaks to how most current sitcoms are deprived of originality, creativity, and humor. It's a good show, but I'm not sure it's that good a show. But hey, it's either this or Joey (which Everybody Hates Chris beat in the ratings, by the way. UPN beats NBC - there's a headline for you.)

♦ Thanks to Mis Hooz for introducing me (musically, not personally) to the Bloc Party. I'm quite out of it when it comes to music these days, so getting a copy of "Silent Alarm" in the mail was refreshment for my ears. My first impulse when recommending a band is to compare them to a more familiar sound, but that can get reductive - especially when nothing I come up with does these guys justice. So if you're intrigued despite my complete inability to describe Bloc Party's sound, the band's official web site has a few MP3s to sample.

♦ Another somewhat troubling set of articles ran in the Washington Post this week. Sam already touched on this at Blue Cats and Red Sox, but if you're not familiar with this, here's the story: The Sunday edition of the Post ran a feature on Baseball Chapel, and the increasing role that prayer, Bible studies, and worship services is taking in locker rooms all around the major leagues. This article focused primarily on the Washington Nationals. Interesting stuff. And then, there's this passage:

The players not only pray, but they also discuss personal matters -- marital tension, addiction issues, family illnesses, financial stress -- drawing sometimes surprising lessons. Church was concerned because his former girlfriend was Jewish. He turned to Moeller, "I said, like, Jewish people, they don't believe in Jesus. Does that mean they're doomed? Jon nodded, like, that's what it meant. My ex-girlfriend! I was like, man, if they only knew. Other religions don't know any better. It's up to us to spread the word."

Well, as you might imagine, implying that Jews are destined to eternal damnation caused a bit of a stink. I think Ryan Church, the player quoted in the Post article, is guilty of ignorance, more than anything else. It's difficult for me to criticize him for that, especially when he appears interested in educating himself. But how about the chaplain who reportedly nodded in affirmation? Can we call that irresponsible, to say the least?

Two days later, in response to complaints and protests from Jews and Christians alike, the Nationals suspended the team chaplain (Jon Moeller) and issued an apology from Church.