The games people play

Seven about to hit .... view larger

I’ve always been of the opinion that Forbes was a relatively staid (and useless) magazine that was primarily concerned with two things: the Making of Money and the Making of More Money. When a game company newsletter alerted me to an interview with their founder at Forbes, I was stunned by the immensity of what I found.

Forbes Special Report on Games is staggering … it’s as if Malcom Forbes himself looked down from whatever high perch he occupies and said LET THERE BE GAMES. And lo, there were games. Everything from Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card talking about morality in video games (I’m sure there’s a cheat code to unlock that) to Civilization author Sid Meier on learning from games (I learned “Uninstall that damn game from the office computer”) to deeper pieces like the one that explores how social networking sites are turning into games (hey, you can now buy fake friends on MySpace!)

Photo is Seven about to happen three different ways by fd. Hey Flickr geeks, this fd is THAT fd, the fd of fd’s Flickrtoys.

The Old Ball Game

Every Young Man's Dream vy SOUTHEN

I believe this photo, Every Young Man’s Dream by Ryan Southen, is my favorite baseball photo, ever. And I have seen a lot of baseball photos, probably more than most of you. I say this not to brag, but as fact. My father, Allan L. McFarlane loved the game of baseball in a way that brought him and and out of close dancing with the game.

His dad caught for GM’s semipro team and he was a good enough pitcher to get a scholarship … then blew his arm out. Tommy John surgery had not yet been invented. He attended hundreds of games and brought me to many as well. I saw one of Ron Leflore’s first home games and can still hear my dad say after LeFlore beat out a hard infield grounder “You’ll never see a man run that fast on a baseball field again because I never did until today.” He had a sports TV show and I met folks like Al Kaline and Mark “The Bird” Fidrych as his rookie season and brief legend was born. He schemed with Bill Veeck to have a White Sox catcher catch a ball thrown from the Sears Tower (they had to give it up when informed the ball would have killed the catcher). He was the GM of the Wausau Timbers, a Class A ball club in Wisconsin that somehow had 12 future major leaguers including Harold Reynolds for one magical season.

Beyond all that, he taught me to play the game and love the game. I was a cheap date as a kid. A tennis ball, my glove, the barn wall and my imagination were about all I required to stay amused – enraptured with the myth of the greatest game.

I tell you this so you might know how happy I am that these magical Detroit Tigers are starting the World Series tonight. And also how sad I am that my dad can’t be here to watch just one more Series.

All Quiet on the Midwestern Front

6th Grader's Riff on the American Flag

Sigh. I remember when I used to be funny. Now it’s nothing but articles like this one where Lou Dobbs tries to rally the middle class to charge up Porkchop Hill and take the US back from the forces of the Kaiser (played artfully by Dick Cheney with a huge supporting cast from both sides of the aisle. This isn’t Republican v. Democrat, it’s special interests v. the disinterested. Dobbs’ quite excellent piece talks about how our elected officials are swamped in an army of lobbyists (just 63 in DC in 1968, now over 34,000 spending over $2 billion per year), how politicians love to focus on distracting wedge issues like gay marriage, the pledge of allegiance, school prayer, judicial appointments, gun control, stem cell research and welfare reform, and how disengaged our electorate has become. He concludes:

Without that strong, clear and vibrant voice, all the major decisions about America and our future will be made by the elites of government, big business and the dominant special interests. Those elites treasure your silence, as it enables them to claim America’s future for their own.

PHOTO CREDIT: Unknown 6th grader. Person who posted this and other flags by kids said…

“The split red and blue on the flag shows how America is split by the current government. The faces represent other nations and the headphones represent America’s closed mindedness to other nations.”
–Student artist’s own words.

This art was exhibited on a bulletin board of a gifted and talented magnet shool in the US. I won’t name the school for fear that it might alert federal agents to investigate and intimidate the teacher or the school for being “anti-american”.

Dammitall. I am sick of this. Can we please have our country back?

Adam Morrison’s Mustache Goes Big Time

Adam Morrison’s Mustache has jumped the shark, but you saw it first on NBA Comix. 😉

Just to pretend that I didn’t just watch a gratuitous mustache cartoon (twice), I’ll pose the question: See the EA Sports web address? How long (in weeks) do you think it will be till YouTube allows you to embed alternative URLS (for a fee) in any video hosted by YouTube?

I guess 5 weeks.

Saw another where Morrison says People make a big deal out of me crying. I think more people should cry … and when I get into the NBA, more people will cry. I think he’s my new favorite non-Piston.

This Spartan Life takes on Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is the concept that all publishers of web content, from personal blogs to giant e-commerce sites, are treated equally by ISPs and are equally accesible to users. This cornerstone of internet democracy has never been written into law and recent attempts at doing so have been blocked by powerful lobbies in Washington. This leaves us all vulnerable to the discretion of the telecoms as to what sites deserve a special fast lane. The level playing field of neutral gateways is what fostered the innovations we now value so much as the public's internet.  

Check out Can't Buy Me Web from This Spartan Life (a talk show in game space)