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The Caltech T-shirt

October 24th, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Basketball, Journalism


As the pace of Baby Boomers leaving this dimension — a process that takes them, as newspapers a century ago might put it, “into the shadows” — I predict a sharp upswing in a very annoying post-mortem task.

Getting rid of the dearly departed’s T-shirts.

Boomers, or male Boomers, anyway, have been wearing T-shirts their entire lives, and here I am talking not about just undershirts, but shirts with messages or pictures on them. T-shirts. Meant to be worn in informal settings, or around the house.

And we never throw them out. Somebody might try to “help us” reduce the inventory of T-shirts in the drawer, when we are not looking, but we Never Throw Them Out, and by the time the Grim Reaper gets around to us, the pile of T-shirts will be enormous.

Which takes me to one of my favorite T-shirts: The gray and orange T-shirt from the “2007 Caltech ‘thinker, tinker and stinker’ Classic basketball tournament, above.

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Too Soon

October 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi

It was about 3 p.m. The air-conditioning had been off for four hours, and it was still mild inside the apartment.

I had an idea. A bit crazy, for October 23, but I thought I would give it a try.

Open the sliding glass door between the living room and the balcony … and close the screen … and see what happened!

About 30 minutes later, I realized I had to concede, in the way comedians do when they tell a joke about someone who has died — and gets no laughs.

“Too soon.”

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No Liverpool Fan

October 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Baseball, English Premier League, Football, soccer

I didn’t plan not to like Liverpool Football Club. It just worked out that way. Perhaps inevitably, because I came in contact with several of their fans.

As an American who paid scant attention to the Premier League until I went to work in the Old World … I had no violent opinions on much of anything in England’s top soccer division.

I thought Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers had cool names. I knew Manchester United was popular because a half-English guy I know (a Californian) used to tell me about them. (I pretended to listen.) I knew about Sheffield Wednesday because it’s a silly name. I knew Fulham because Brian McBride played for them.

I knew Liverpool was a prominent team, but I didn’t know we all are supposed to be reverential about it or should somehow mystically divine they are the only team worthy of a person’s support. Which probably is where the problems began.

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Following the Volvo Ocean Race

October 21st, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, The National, Volvo Ocean Race

This is a sailing event that lasts nine months, so it’s not like you need to follow it day by day on the first leg of the round-the-world race to have a sense of the eventual winner.

But I am doing just that. Following it day by day.

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The Narrower Newspaper

October 20th, 2014 · No Comments · Journalism, Newspapers, Sports Journalism, The National


Production journalists are creatures of habit. They know what will fit where. How many words with how many pictures. How to assemble four blocks, or five or six, to make a page. Fitting together shapes to complete a puzzle.

And coding it up becomes a synaptic exercise. Just put your fingers on the keys, and they will produce the needed type face and point size. Bang, plakat medium bold.

This comes, however, only after weeks and months of practice.

Thus, I am not sure I have known a production journalist who welcomed a remake in the look of a newspaper. Or a change in the size of the newspaper — which The National went through between last night and tonight.

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The Giants? I’m OK with That

October 19th, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Baseball, Dodgers, UAE

If we still lived in Southern California, I might feel differently.

But not only do I not mind the San Francisco Giants winning a World Series … I prefer it to the Kansas City Royals winning it.

How I arrived at this place:

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A Careful Return to the Beach in Abu Dhabi

October 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi

The beach? October 18? In Abu Dhabi.

Probably not a good idea.

But we gave it try, anyway, and aside from the part where we ate dinner on the terrace, mildly sweating the entire time … it went quite well.

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Kobe Back to Being Kobe?

October 17th, 2014 · No Comments · Basketball, Kobe, Lakers, NBA

It was just one exhibition game, but Kobe Bryant scored 27 points Thursday night.

After the ruptured Achilles and then the broken leg … I wasn’t sure he would score 27 again in a backyard game, let alone against an NBA team.

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Five Years

October 16th, 2014 · 1 Comment · Abu Dhabi, Paris, Sri Lanka, The National, Travel, UAE

It was on October 16, 2009, that we arrived in Abu Dhabi. Five years ago today.

It seems longer. Not in a bad way. More in a “hard to remember life before” kind of way.

A rule of thumb, among expats, is that if you do five years out of your home country, you never see it in quite the same way again.

Well, here we are. Five years.

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A UAE Hare-Brained Sports Scheme

October 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, The National, tourism, Travel, UAE

And I know a hare-brained sports scheme when I see one, having inflicted several dozen on myself over the past 30-some years.

This one is crazy enough not even I would have done it in my youth. Probably not. Well, maybe not.

And it involves 48 kids from the ages of 10 to 16.

Check this out. See if this is anything but hare-brained.

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