Sunday, August 20, 2006


I hate to say it, but lately the New York Times has not been very satisfying for me. There are a few must reads, but not as many as before summer. Maybe that's the problem. Summer. Anyway, below are some must reads, with an interesting twist at the end from the international Catholic press. By the way, this post is experimental, as I am doing it using google's Writely program. We'll see how it works out.

I generally really enjoy the main New York Region story. It is often introspective (on a citywide basis) and charming. And I am not a guy who uses "charming" often. Today's was about apartments that every major city has that you really wonder about. Apartments that are directly against expressways, next to the el, or otherwise in a location that seems bizarre. In specific the Times talked to people who lived at the mouth of the Holland Tunnel, next to the Gowanus Expressway, at the top of a very steep hill on Staten Island, and in the middle of an industrial zone in the Bronx. It turns out that people often value these apartments for their . . . well . . . value. They are often well-situated, but relatively cheap. It also seems to take a certain type of person to live in a place like that. I have a better idea of who that is now than I did before. Plus the apartments are pretty wild.

Also, the really fantastic Keeping Score column had a piece today on overuse of young pitchers in the major leagues. The spot focused not on total innings pitched, but on the extent to which the total innings pitched exceeded previous career highs. In specific, when innings get to be 30-40 more than previous career highs, the player is heading for a breakdown. Of course, they could not resist the old pure innings analysis, giving us this graphic, which is theirs, not mine:

Third, the Times had an article about a town an hour east of Eugene, Oregon. The town was prosperous when the local timber industry was thriving. However, the wood was cut down, the timber was milled, and regulations changed to allow the forest to grow back. People made $15-$21 an hour in the mill. Now the mill is closed and people are camping in the forest because they are homeless. All that one hour from Eugene, home of the University of Oregon. I am guessing that there should be a financial transition program at Oregon . . .

Finally, at least from the Times, there is an article about the fact that people don't take two week vacations in summer anymore. I wonder what a two week vacation is like. It's long, I bet.

Moving on the special National Catholic Reporter bonus coverage, apparently Pope John Paul II (aka JP II) left some unpublished writings that were not completely unsympathetic to Marxism while bad-mouthing elements of American-style capitalism. Shocking! The Pope was critical of American-style capitalism?!? Economic disparity is a problem? See the following from a 1998 speech by JP II to see why it is hard to be shocked:
One is aware of the need to look beyond the mere economic dimensions of human labour, and to overcome the opposition of the inflexible laws of capital, to the urgent need to defend the dignity of the human person. These values must be safeguarded in a "market" that is always in danger of forgetting that "the goods of creation are meant for all. That which human industry produces ... with the contribution of work, must serve equally for the good of all" (Sollicitudo rei socialis, n. 39).

In actual shocking news, apparently Pope Pius XII, aka "Hitler's Pope," ordered that Jews and others the SS might be looking for be hidden in convents. The Tablet, a very good English Catholic paper reported it. I am struck by the fact that Pius XII's record is in such disarray that ordering that "more than ten Jews and non-Jews" were sheltered. More than 10? Wow. That rivals the work of some Belgian farm families!


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