The Garden

A squash-friendly blog for our times

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Oh, let me mention one more thing I did in D.C. over the weekend, ok? At the Sackler Gallery, I took in an exhibit of Raghubir Singh's photographs of India. The exhibition is called Auto Focus, because Singh structured all of the photographs around (and often through) an Ambassador, the cute little vehicle that is an Indian icon. The idea was witty, and the photographs are all about striking colors. The exhibit, which is definitely worth an hour of your time, ends August 10.

I'll next be visiting the Sackler sometime this summer to see a show featuring Isamu Noguchi's ceramics, produced during three visits to Japan. That exhibit begins this Saturday and runs through September 7.

The World Badminton Championships, set to begin on May 12 in Birmingham, England, have been postponed due to SARS. Several Asian nations would apparently have been unable to send teams. However, the World Table Tennis Championships, set for Paris in May, are still on.
Whew, I won't have to sing the praises of Adriano Panatta for a week. As I predicted, under threat of Panatta, Pete Sampras isn't going to play in next week's Italian Open. According to the ridiculous AP story that I linked, Sampras's withdrawal "send[s] a strong signal" that he does not plan to play clay-court tennis this year. You think? Why would anyone have ever thought that Sampras, who last played in September at the U.S. Open, would suddenly start playing again on clay—clearly his worst surface. If Sampras ever plays another professional match, and I'm not sure he will, it'll be on grass.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Please help bring the term "marmalade-dropper" to North America. Thank you.
Eugene Volokh has another update on his Roomba experiments. I'm sure he'll work all this into a law review article soon.
Wimbledon has decided to stop requiring players to bow and curtsy to the royal box, while it has reaffirmed its decision to pay women less than men. Could the All England Club have possibly gotten that any more wrong? The tournament is special because of the charming traditions. Yet, it's ditching one of the most charming and keeping the most offensive. Ugh.
I've had my head in a memo all evening long. (I hate having to take work home.) I hope my two-and-one-half blog fans don't feel too much like I've been neglecting them. I'll try to do better.

If I'd had some time today, I was going to try to properly review the Hirshhorn Museum's Gerhard Richter exhibition, which I took in on Saturday. After this long day of work, though, I'm not sure how well I can even remember what I was going to say (or what I saw on Saturday). I like a lot of Richter's work, especially his pieces that are mostly gray or color blocks. I was particularly struck by a couple of all-gray paintings that are all about texture. What's really striking, I think, is how many different types of work Richter has tried. There are abstracts, works that are downright photographic (his photographs are apparently as blurry as mine), plays on the Old Masters, and a lot more. I'm not sure that I can really call myself a Richter fan (few of the pieces really forced me to contend with them, and I often puzzled at his focus on off-the-canvas contexts that just aren't that interesting), but the array of his interests is compelling. I wouldn't recommend a trip to D.C. just to see the exhibit, but it's definitely worth a few hours if you're already there. The exhibit ends on May 18.

I can't wait for the Hirshhorn's next big event, which calls for the entire complex to feature—for the very first time—the museum's permanent collection. I've been to the Hirshhorn so many times that the permanent collection is familiar and comforting. It'll be awfully nice for some of these old friends to be stars again.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

I guess you've noticed that Methuselah is now the world's top tennis player. Again.
While I was in D.C., I managed to visit a couple of genuinely interesting gift shops. Odd, huh? One, which I'd visited before, was the Department of Interior's Indian Craft Shop. I could easily spend a month's salary there whenever I visit. (But, no, Mom, I didn't spend my lunch money.) I was sorely tempted this trip by some beautiful Yupik carvings. By the way, if you're thinking of visiting the Craft Shop, be sure to take valid i.d. and be prepared to pass through Interior's metal detector. The shop is, after all, in a federal building.

While I was in Interior's neighborhood, I happened by the World Bank's InfoShop. I had no idea that the World Bank had a store, but I now know that it's the place to browse for books on international development and culture. I can't imagine how big the market is for books on Albanian agriculture, but I spent a happy hour at the InfoShop looking at books on human rights, the politics of food, and the like.

I had good intentions, but I didn't manage to blog at all while I was in Washington, D.C., for a few days. Sorry. I was in D.C., principally, to visit the Smithsonian Craft Show. Naturally, I parted with a few bucks while I was there. I have a new ceramic mug by Eileen P. Goldenberg and a small wooden box by Jay and Janet O'Rourke. (Longtime readers will know that I have a thing for wooden boxes. But I probably own more pottery than anything else.)

I always feel so exhilarated and creative when I'm at shows like the Smithsonian's. But a day or two later, like today, I always feel like my normal, steady, lawyerly self. Sigh.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Yes, I'm apparently not the only one who wanted a Roomba. Eugene Volokh is keeping us informed about his. UPDATE: Here's another update on Volokh's Roomba. (Random aside: I think Eugene should run an experiment on how much his dogs shed every day. My Black Lab can produce a startling amount.)
Wimbledon is changing the way it awards wild cards to British players. I'd feel a lot more generous about these wasted wild cards if there was even a hint that British tennis was becoming the least bit competitive. Right now, however, there are only two British men's players in the top 100. And the top British women's player is ranked 157th in the world.
Some of my beloved Kansas City Royals are worried about being exposed to SARS during this weekend's games in Toronto.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

My choice for the 2003 World Snooker Championship, former world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, was eliminated today in the first round of play. The loss occurred despite a remarkable sequence in which O'Sullivan cleared the table in six-and-one-half minutes (I think that's called a maximum). Courtesy of the BBC, you can watch video of that sequence here (Real Player required).
Some New Zealand health officials want to ban the sale of junk food to children. (Just writing that made me, truly, want a burrito.) Probably unrelatedly, New Zealand's population today hit four million.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Whew. It took all seven games, but the hometown Flyers are moving on in the playoffs.
How gay are you? The Gay-O-Meter will tell you.
Happy Land Run Day! As anyone who took his required—well, required in all the cool places—course in Oklahoma history in ninth grade can tell you, on April 22, 1889, a land run was held in Oklahoma Territory to open the Unassigned Lands. (Of course, these "unassigned" lands had originally been meant for Native Americans, who had been removed from their homes and sent to what became Oklahoma, but our Government changed its mind, you know? Not for the last time.) Some 50,000 people participated in this first Oklahoma land run, settling a significant chunk of what is now west central Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City, Guthrie, and Edmond. The events surrounding the land run gave us the terms boomers, sooners, and eighty-niners.

Oh, and Happy Earth Day, too. I guess that one is somewhat better-known.

Monday, April 21, 2003

The New York Times yesterday contributed to the ever-growing literature on the passion of TiVo viewers (link via The Volokh Conspiracy). The Times article said what all the articles say: TiVo owners proselytize, they say TiVo changed their lives, TiVo viewers haven't watched a commercial in months. Yadda, yadda, yadda. And it's all true. I can be a relentless crusader when it comes to TiVo: Gosh, it's no wonder everyone avoids me at dinner parties.

Still, the Times article did note one downside to TiVo ownership. If you're not careful, you could end up watching so much television that you don't have a real life anymore. When I first got my unit, I wanted season passes to all my favorite shows, and I also wanted to watch most of the "suggestions" that TiVo recorded based on its ever-changing understanding of my interests. I'd come home and watch episodes of Ground Force, Designing for the Sexes, and Match Game—all before I even started watching what I actually intended to watch in the first place. At some point, I got wise. Just a few more days, though, and I'd probably have been staying up all night, every night, watching Lost in Space and The Facts of Life. Or worse. Ugh.

Worries about SARS have caused the big guys in sumo to reconsider this summer's planned jungyo to South Korea.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

On what must have been a difficult day, following the death of his mother, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher finally has his first Formula One win of the season. Schumacher won despite having to take one more pit stop than runner-up Kimi Raikkonen.
AP writer Jim Heintz defends the souvenir t-shirt. It's about time someone did, I think. And please don't think I'm shallow, but Heintz's treatment of the t-shirt struck me as almost profound. He convinced me that a t-shirt really "is a complex weave of symbols and implications."
If you celebrate it, Happy Easter! And, in that vein, here's a link to a site where marshmallow Peeps reenact various scenes in rock'n'roll history (link via Shattered Buddha). Yes, really.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

The 2003 World Snooker Championship is underway, and I knew you'd want to know. I think I'll be rooting for Ronnie O'Sullivan, the English snooker ace and former world champion who copes openly on the snooker tour with depression. (Prozac is not viewed as performance-enhancing by snooker officialdom, I guess.) You can catch live BBC coverage of the snooker championship here. Snooker, they say, is a great sport for TV.
Also in today's Herald are stories about a counterfeit Paul Gauguin painting that fooled a dealer and led to litigation.
Cannabis could be the 21st century's aspirin, according to a story in today's New Zealand Herald.
Leipzig, one of the largest cities in eastern Germany, has been selected by the national Olympic Committee to compete to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. The bid will somehow have to address the abuses of the former East Germany's sports machine. Other 2012 contenders: New York, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, London, Paris, Rome, and Budapest.

In completely unrelated news, a recent court decision means that German brothel owners will probably have to start printing price lists for customers. Please add your own punch line here.

"My brother Zac": The Guardian has excerpts from Zacarias Moussaoui: The Making Of A Terrorist, a soon-to-be-published biography of the 20th hijacker written by Moussaoui's own brother. Interesting stuff.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Dining in darkness has reached the Lower East Side (link via The Kitchen Cabinet). As I noted almost six months ago, a popular restaurant in Berlin offers this unusual, um, ambience.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

I don't know if Pete Sampras's career is over or not. He may still play on grass this year at Queen's Club or Wimbledon. This story notwithstanding, I sure don't believe there's any chance he'll actually play on clay at this year's Italian Open. If I'm wrong, I'll sing the praises of Adriano Panatta for a week.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Memo to Knight-Ridder Newspapers: If you're purposefully trying to kill the Philadelphia Inquirer—once one of the nation's foremost newspapers—you're doing a bang-up job. In fact, I've given up. From now on, I'm going to buy the New York Times and/or the Washington Post and get my local news from, well, probably nowhere. Let's review how you've systematically botched things up.Blecch.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

As I understand this Washington Post story, United States Olympic Committee reformers realize that their proposed restructuring would violate the Olympic Charter—because members of the International Olympic Committee would not automatically become members of the USOC's governing body—but simply don't care. Odd.
I sure hope I get the Tennis Channel, which is set to debut on May 15. My cable provider, though, may think G4TV is where it's at.
How about those San Juan Expos, huh?
My beloved Kansas City Royals won't win 162 games this year, but they may still win 161.
Serena Williams is human. She can actually lose. Could the loss be the reason she's decided to skip the German Open?
Memo to the Museum of Fine Arts: Displaying a dozen or so 1930s artifacts isn't really an exhibition of modern design. I could do better on eBay with a mediocre budget and a PayPal account. Goodness.
Before and after my 40-hour game marathon, I found time to enjoy some of Houston—a city that I'd previously not explored too much. Some of the highlights of my stay:I still wouldn't say that Houston is one of my favorite cities; it's spread out, a bit ugly, and smells of energy money. But there was an awful lot to do there this past weekend, and I'll look forward to another chance to visit.
It wasn't one of the Mensa Select© winners, but my favorite game of the weekend was Burn Rate, a witty game that sends up the dot-com economy while being an extremely lively—and sound—card game. If you're looking for a new card game to play, check it out.
I spent the past several days in Houston, mostly playing games. Really. I was one of the judge's at Mind Games 2003, an event in which members of American Mensa chose the five new board and card games entitled to be marketed as this year's Mensa Select© games. This year's honorees were Octiles, TransAmerica, Cityscape, Blokus, and Fire & Ice. Of the five, I was a big backer of Octiles, a game of constantly-changing geometry. It's an elegant game played on a beautiful board.

And, hey, I guess this means there's actual "news" in the blog. How novel. Watch out, Drudge Report: Here comes the Garden.

Monday, April 14, 2003

I guess I should take more frequent breaks from the Garden. While I was away, and dealing with nondigital life, my site traffic was startlingly high—thanks (really!) to links from JD2B and a mad tea-party.

By the way, regular blogging will return tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I'm just not going to have time to blog the Masters or the Masters protests. If Tiger Woods is in contention, though, I bet Kate at The Kitchen Cabinet will have the happy news.
I'm not usually wild about sweet, but PhotoJunkie got me. Awwww.
The streak continues: Kansas City 9, Detroit 6. Woo hoo!
The United States must defeat the Slovak Republic in September to stay in the Davis Cup's main draw. Will I be any more confident by then? I hope so. But the Slovaks will have home-court advantage....
Remember when Kimi Raikkonen won the Brazilian Grand Prix? Well, maybe not so much. UPDATE: Not so much at all.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Please forgive the sporadic blogging over the next few days. I'm feeling a little under the blogosphere, and—at the same time—I have a lot going on. Things should be back to normal, whatever that is, by early next week.
Monica Seles is self-actualized, too, you know? I don't have too many heroes, but Seles is definitely one of them.
The governing body of chess has formally adopted the World Anti-Doping Code. (I'm not making that up, I swear.) What's next? Yahtzee fans everywhere promise to go straight?'s Jon Wertheim says tennis star Jennifer Capriati exhibits "unregenerate vulgarity." Ouch.

Monday, April 07, 2003

The president of Ferrari, which has had no successes in the Formula One season's first three races despite having the fastest cars, says he's still confident. Ferrari is set to introduce its new 2003 racing cars at the next event, the San Marino Grand Prix. We'll soon see if that's reason for optimism, I guess.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Anyone who has spent time in Louisiana can assure The Word Spy that turducken is real.
The hard times at Ferrari continue.
I wholeheartedly endorse the advice given by a mad tea-party's Alice about selecting law school classes. If, after reading her good advice, you're still floundering, here are some additional thoughts:To synthesize all these guidelines: Take classes that interest you. When I was taking classes in sports law, communications law, and the like, I realized there was only a small chance I'd ever get to use the knowledge professionally. And some of the things you'll find interesting might even be useful later on. For reasons that still aren't clear to me, I enjoyed Wills & Trusts and ended up taking an Advanced Trusts Seminar. Do whatever it takes to get you through the three years, even if it's thinking about the Rule Against Perpetuities. Plus, when you find something you like, you'll have a clue as to what kinds of jobs you should be looking for. I loved Federal Courts, and, hey, that helped me finally develop an employment strategy.

I don't know how Alice got to be so smart about law school while she was still there, but—trust me—she is.

Kieran Healy has an interesting post about DVD packaging. I even like the Lacan and Baudrillard references. And I can completely relate to his frustration.
In the one undecided Davis Cup tie, Switzerland has defeated France, 3-2. In what I correctly thought would be the key match, Roger Federer prevailed. But it wasn't over French No. 1 Sebastien Grosjean, who was pulled from the line-up due to an injury. Federer easily defeated replacement Fabrice Santoro, clinching the tie for the Swiss.

In the end, I only predicted two of the four ties correctly. Bummer. In my defense, I guess, I had some serious doubts about Russia's chances over Argentina. And, you don't have to believe this, but I would've picked Switzerland over France if I'd known that Fab Santoro would have to go into the line-up. Really. I swear. Fine, don't believe me.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Woo hoo! My beloved Kansas City Royals have gone 5-0 for the first time in the franchise's history. And it's totally unexpected. Hope springs eternal and all that, you know.
I've done pretty well with my Davis Cup predictions. The only real Day 1 surprise for me was how well Mark Philippousis played in his win over Jonas Bjorkman.

All of the Day 2 doubles action is now complete, too. Australia, Spain, and Argentina all clinched victories. Gosh, the Russians, the defending champions, have played badly in losing to Argentina. And, once again, props to David Nalbandian, the Argentine player who is quickly becoming one of my favorites. In the one still-undecided tie, I continue to like France's chances, but it will surely all come down to tomorrow's first singles match between Sebastien Grosjean and Roger Federer.

Hey, I started a new streak last night, as I saw the Houston Rockets beat the hometown 76ers, 88-79. (I should apparently be kept away from all local sports teams.) The Sixers looked awful in the third quarter, after Keith Van Horn left due to an injury. I'm still a fan, but I have to say that I was bit underwhelmed by the Rockets' Yao Ming. He scored 20, but a big chunk of those were from the free-throw line. He often seemed out of position, and he did not dominate under the basket like a huge center should.
Forgive me, but I need to stake a claim:And now back to our regular programming.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

I promised to handicap the Davis Cup quarterfinal-round ties that begin tomorrow, and—darn it—I'm a man of my word. About this, anyway.This is going to be a great weekend for tennis.
Mike of gave us the skinny today on his new job. He's officiating at Christian-style weddings in Japan. Here's how he ended his post:The entire post is priceless (just scroll down to the 4/03/03 entry).
Happy 30th Birthday, Designated Hitter Rule! I know most baseball purists don't like the DH, but—you've got to admit—it made the American League what it is. One of my all-time favorite players, Hal McRae of the Kansas City Royals, was one of the best designated hitters ever.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Iraq's Olympic headquarters were bombed on Monday. As I mentioned several days ago, bad things are alleged to have occurred there.
The International Skating Union has decided to test its new computer-based judging system during next year's Grand Prix series. The controversial interim system will continue to be used at next year's major events. If ultimately approved, the new judging system would mean the demise of the "perfect 6.0" that all figure skaters crave. Gosh, I'd miss that. (I still have serious doubts about reducing the artistry of figure skating to formulae.)
The Tennessean reviewed Nashville Star: The Finalists, a CD featuring (duh) the finalists from USA Network's American Idol-ish talent competition, Nashville Star. The highlight of the review (link via Reality Blurred):I've been watching Nashville Star, and I picked up a copy of The Finalists last week. I don't think you'll want a copy if you haven't been watching the show, but I agree that it's not half bad. I particularly like Prentiss Varnon's version of "Hey Good Lookin'" (how could the "celebrity" judges have cut him last week?), Brandon Silveira's cover of "Act Naturally," and Anne Louise Blythe's "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me" (although I didn't like anything else she did on the show before she was eliminated). Probably the best of the CD: Buddy Jewell's "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye."

If Jewell doesn't win the recording contract, there's no justice.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Tonight, I finally broke my streak of winless Flyers games: Philly 4, Columbus 0. The Blue Jackets didn't give Flyers goalie Roman Cechmanek much to do. "I stand there for 10 minutes and nobody was shooting," he said. Relatedly, Cechmanek was today named the club's most valuable player (and I was there for the presentation of the trophy).
Reality Blurred is delightful today. I particularly like the blurb about Trading Spaces's Hildi burning walls and decorating with shards of glass.


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