Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday music, 3/1/2015

Park Street Church Sanctuary Choir

Choral Introit

We Praise Thee
Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev
Anthem
Salvation Is Created

Pavel Tchesnokov

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Red Sox spend a lot of money on Cuban teen. A LOT of money...


And apparently, there was good reason for doing so.

Keith Law (ESPN):
If Moncada were in the 2015 MLB draft, he'd be the first or second pick...He'd be a top-10 pick in any draft class, given his potential to play somewhere in the infield and hit for average and power; even if you want to cap his ceiling as that of an average regular at second or third, that's at least a $15 million-a-year player, and the Red Sox would recoup most of their investment before Moncada hits his second year of arbitration.
It may turn out to have been money just thrown away, but it sure looks like they have added a lot of talent to the organization in the last year. And, of course, by signing Moncado, we get the secondary benefit of the Yankees not getting Moncado. So that's a good thing, too...

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Don’t Blame Staples

Kevin Williamson, National Review Online:
San Francisco is raising its minimum wage from $11.05/hour to $15/hour, and the owners of Borderlands, who already were barely able to make the shop a going concern, announced that they would have to close. The minimum-wage hike meant that the store was going to go from making a princely $3,000 a year to losing $25,000 a year. Of course, you’ll still be able to get your sci-fi and fantasy novels – from Amazon, or from another similar operation without the labor costs involved with running a conventional bookstore. Which is great if you’re Jeff Bezos, but kind of stinks if you’re the sort of sad character (ahem) who likes to lurk around in bookstores. I’m perfectly happy to see every Staples clerk replaced by something sold to Staples CEO Ronald Sargent by Jawas offering a deep corporate discount. But, damn it all, I like bookstores. (And if San Francisco continues raising its minimum wage, the robots are ready.)

In San Francisco, the people who were bemoaning the impending closure of Borderlands admitted sheepishly that they’d voted for the minimum-wage hike. “It’s not something that I thought would affect certain specific small businesses,” one customer said. “I feel sad.”

Yeah, Adam Smith feels sad, too, you dope.

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The Daily Show host is leaving.

My reaction to the news that Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show is to quote, again, Screwtape.  Because this is what I always hear on the rare occasions that I'm unable to avoid listening to  Stewart1...

But flippancy is the best of all. In the first place it is very economical. Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny. Among flippant people the joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour-plating against the Enemy that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter. It is a thousand miles away from joy: it deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practise it...

That sums up Jon Stewart for me.  "The joke is always assumed to have been made.  No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it."   And, of course, his audience, and his fans, are convinced of their own moral and intellectual superiority.  The cloud of smug emanating from every frame is intense. 

The downside is that he'll no doubt be replaced by someone just as bad, doing the same sort of schtick.  And no doubt he'll pop up somewhere else, doing the same thing.

But I'll manage to continue not watching...




1 - I don't ever watch his show, but there are enough people who do, and enough commentary about it, and enough viral videos demonstrating his awesomeness in interviews with relevant political figures, that I've seen quite enough of him, I believe, to comment. So I shall.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

What Shall We Give?


One of the pieces that the Park Street Church choir and orchestra performed at last night's Service of Lessons and Carols is this gorgeous piece, What Shall We Give? Here's the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing it, conducted by its composer Mack Willberg.



Their choir and orchestra are larger than ours, but so is their space. I may be (ok, am) biased, but I think it sounded just as good in Boston last night as it did in this lovely video...

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lexington fifers and drummers take Tea Party Ships and Museum honors

The headline is wrong, as there were no pipers present (well, none playing pipes anyway) but the sentiment is right.

Lexington pipers take Tea Party honors | Boston Herald

Congratulations to the William Diamond Juniors!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

From homeschool to teachers

Hmmm...The Point at Fitchburg State - From homeschool to teachers
Students Sarah Comeau and Elisabeth Beverage are ending their time at Fitchburg State to become educators. Both are hard working teachers who are ready to hit the ground running in their fields, but unlike some of their fellow education majors, they have been asked the same question over and over again; “Why did a homeschooler want to become a teacher?”

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Red Sox Hot Stove (11/19) - Jon Lester

Lester offer on the table:

The Boston Red Sox made a contract offer to pitcher Jon Lester when he met with the team's owners earlier this week, according to a major league source.

The terms of the offer were not disclosed, and the source said he did not expect Lester to make a quick decision.
For what it's worth, Peter Gammons said yesterday that, while the Cubs are going to talk with Lester, and would like to sign him, they think that he's going back to Boston. That would be a good thing.

One more thing on the whole Lester situation. There's at least one talk show host in Boston who has downplayed the possibility of Boston signing Lester, and disparaged the team for not signing him last spring, and has said, more than once, "they could have just signed him last spring." Maybe they could have. Probably they could have. But could they have signed him to a contract that a) would have made both sides happy and b) would have been significantly less than he's going to end up signing for now? It takes two sides to make a deal. The team could not unilaterally choose a contract; they had to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. It's possible that both sides could legitimately want to get a deal done and still fail to come to agreement on what's a fair deal under the circumstances.

How many players get to their free agency seasons and take significantly less than market value? Maybe he's willing to give Boston a "hometown discount," and take a little less from Boston than it would take for someone else to sign him, but neither side knew, last March and April, what the market value for Jon Lester would be. So there was no way to know what was a hometown discount and what was a bad deal for the player. I'm sure that Boston could have come up with an offer that he'd have signed, but probably only by over-paying in such a way that both sides would have known it was not market value. Basically, last March, the Boston Red Sox were bidding against themselves.

So I tend to find the criticisms of them for failing to sign him last March overblown. Disappointing? Sure. Evidence of venality or gross mismanagement? Nonsense.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Red Sox Hot Stove (11/12) - Jon Lester

By the way, let me just say this about Jon Lester. Jim Bowden, at ESPN, thinks he's going to sign for 6 years at $138 million. If I were in charge of the Red Sox I would do that in a heartbeat. I understand the reluctance to go long on older players. I not only understand it, I agree with it wholeheartedly. That said, there are two things that would influence me in making this decision. (You know, beyond the mere fact that they seriously need a top-of-the-rotation starter.)
  1. I believe that Lester will age well. Looking at his body type, looking at the time that he missed while younger due to cancer, I am reminded of Roger Clemens. I never thought that Pedro would last as long as he did, but Lester looks to me like the Clemens, Schilling, Colon body type, thick through the midsection and upper legs, that tends to distribute the stress over more of the body rather than concentrating it in the shoulder and elbow. I think Lester's still pitching effectively in 2020 and would have no problem signing him through that season.

  2. I think it's overrated that some people cannot play or pitch successfully in Boston. Vastly overrated. That said, there's always a concern when you bring a free agent in about how he'll fit into the organization. Will there be friction in the locker room? Will he be unhappy in the living and working environment? Will he sign here and wish he hadn't? (Looking at you, Carl Crawford, and you, Adrian Gonzalez...) There's no such concern with Lester.
That said, I suspect that Bowden's wrong, and it's going to cost more. More dollars per year, and maybe more years, too. (I think that 6 years is more likely than $23 million per - I think he's more likely to get 6/$150 or even 7/$160 than 6/$138.) Whatever he gets, I hope it's from the Red Sox, because I'd really like to have him back. I primarily want good players on my teams, but if the good players are good people (at least, as nearly as we can tell) and easy to root for, that's even better. I'll be a happier Red Sox fan in 2015 if Jon Lester is pitching for Boston than if he's not.

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Red Sox Hot Stove (11/12) - Pablo Sandoval

Will there be Pandamonium in Boston?

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Wednesday that the Giants and Red Sox are the favorites to land free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval, but “unless [Boston] makes a big play, [San Francisco is] the favorite.” Rosenthal also report that the Red Sox are weighing other options. Hanley Ramirez has been widely reported to be one of the options the Sox are considering to take over duties at third base next season.


Third base was an abysmal pit of despair for the Red Sox in 2014. They started with Middlebrooks, who got hurt. (Whether that's a good or bad thing is debatable.) They moved Bogaerts over shortly before his offensive collapse began in earnest*. So there's little doubt that Pablo Sandoval would represent a likely significant upgrade to the lineup over what they had in 2014. But. The fact is, he's been a very good player in two of his six full Major League seasons and a slightly better than average player in three of them, including the last two. As he would be a significant upgrade, I would not necessarily have a problem with them bringing him in, but I don't love his game** and definitely don't love it as a six-year contract at pretty big money.

So if it were up to me, this would not be option number one. But, as long as the years and dollars are not too outrageous, I can live with it. Certainly, that would be a big improvement expected at one position.




* - Obviously, there are many who consider those two items to have a cause-and-effect relationship rather than just correlative. I'm not willing to go there. I'd need some compelling evidence to believe that Bogaerts was dreadful because he was at third and not just while he was at third. Just the fact of the performance does not qualify as prima facie evidence to me, and there's nothing else I'm aware of. But there's no question that he was dreadful while he was at third.

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