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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Archive for September 2011

Carpenter produces miracle

Chris Carpenter saved his best start of the year for the last day of the year. His two-hit, one-walk complete game capped a spectacular month of pitching by the hurlers on my fantasy team and gained me two points in WHIP. Those two points moved me from fifth to sole possession of third place. I finish in the money.

My final stats:

.2686 batting average (3rd, up one place in the month)
230 HR (1st, post to post)
930 runs (2nd)
936 RBI (1st, post to post)
126 SB (4th, down one place in the month)
3.74 ERA (8th)
1.2628 WHIP (5th by 0.0001 – literally the difference of one hit or walk over the entire season – up from 7th)
1279 K (2nd, up from a tie in 3rd)
90 wins (2nd up from 4th)
5 saves (10th)

In September, my pitchers threw 287 2/3 innings and produced 259 Ks and 341 hits and walks, a WHIP of 1.185. Latos and Carpenter were as untouchable this September as they were decrepit a year ago.

That’s all I have to say about this for now. Sorry, Liz.

A danger of outsourcing journalism

I think newspapers need to focus locally to survive. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, here. Newspapers need to focus locally to survive. See? I just said it again.

On June 2, Postmedia papers announced that Christie Blatchford had joined the company and would publish a column. Here is a selection of Postmedia papers’ announcements:

Montreal Gazette:

Columnist, feature writer and award-winning author Christie Blatchford is coming to The Gazette and Postmedia.

Blatchford was named National Columnist on Wednesday. She will bring her inimitable style of news reporting and opinion writing to the Postmedia chain of papers as of June 13. She will write on issues ranging from crime and courts to politics, from native affairs to Olympic sports, and whatever else catches her fancy.

Saskatoon StarPhoenix:

Columnist, feature writer and award-winning author Christie Blatchford is coming to The StarPhoenix and Postmedia.

Blatchford was named National Columnist on Wednesday. She will bring her inimitable style of news reporting and opinion writing to the Postmedia chain of papers as of June 13. She will write on issues ranging from crime and courts to politics, from Native affairs to Olympic sports, and whatever else catches her fancy.

Calgary Herald:

Columnist, feature writer and award-winning author Christie Blatchford is coming to the Calgary Herald and Postmedia.

Blatchford was named national columnist on Wednesday. She will bring her inimitable style of news reporting and opinion writing to the Postmedia chain of papers as of June 13. She will write on issues ranging from crime and courts to politics, from native affairs to Olympic sports, and whatever else catches her fancy.

Although I could, I need not go on.

OK, so Blatchford is a national columnist writing on supposedly national issues. So what does Postmedia’s Canada get today? Blatchford wrote about a murder trial in Toronto that is of practically zero interest outside of Toronto.

It’s a trial for second-degree murder. It’s not even first-degree murder! Seriously, though, Blatchford’s column is simple court reporting. She puts forward no lessons, draws no parallels, and starts with a cheesy lead: “After lunch at a Toronto McDonald’s on a sunny spring Saturday last year, a six-year-old girl was tucked safely into her booster seat in the family car, pink knapsack at the ready, when her parents began quarrelling.”

You’d think that a lead like that would start an article talking about the effect on a child of her mother killing her father, but no. Like I said, this is a straightforward piece of court reporting.

My lead above? My lead states that newspapers need to get local to survive. None of this is local, except to Toronto. It’s just another cost-saving measure gone wrong. It’s cheaper to pay one occasionally irrelevant columnist than to hire an eager reporter in each client city.

Can someone at Postmedia please chime in and tell Montrealers and other non-Torontonians why we should continue to pay for content like this? Me? I’ll be grading the work of journalism students who I hope can get work some day.

Catching a breath

Elvi has pneumonia and has spent pretty much two and a half weeks in bed.

I’m doing a lot of seeing doctors, a lot of preparation to teach, a bit of teaching, a lot of chauffeuring children, and a bit of taking care of Elvi.

The CPAP machine is tolerable, but I don’t see too much benefit from it yet. I still need a nap, although that nap is earlier than it used to be. For some odd reason, I only sleep four hours with the mask, wake up for an hour or so, then go to sleep again. Also, the mask has made me break out in pimples on the bridge of my nose.

New disorder

In spring, Elvi noticed a poster for an upcoming sleep study. I love bending the path of future medical science in my direction, so I signed up. In return for an evening in a sleep lab, I would get an assessment of my sleeping and $50. What’s not to love?

I went in the night of August 11. I had electrodes on my chest, head, and legs, along with a blood-oxygen sensor on a fingertip and a microphone on my forehead. Bands around my abdomen and chest recorded expansion and contraction. They don’t let you sleep naked, so I wore boxers that, I later discovered, were somewhat crotchless. I went to sleep around 11:30 p.m. and at 2:00 a.m., the tech woke me to hook me up to a CPAP machine with a nasal mask. They woke me and kicked me out at 6:00 a.m. The group offered me another $50 for a follow-up experiment in which I’d hook up a home-based kit with the bands, microphone, and oxygen sensor – I did that, too.

So, here I was, $100 richer off the fat of the scientific land. I had a hunch something was up with my results since the nice lady running the study said I should soon hear from a sleep doctor. Today, I saw him.

The doctor showed me my results and the squiggly lines were dramatic. I have pretty bad sleep apnea, so bad that I never entered Stage 3 deep sleep. With the CPAP mask on, my sleep was normal and deep. He measured my 18.25″ neck and looked in my throat, which, he discovered, is unusually narrow. (Sorry, boys, I’m taken.)

He suggested a host of possibilities, from a fitted mouthpiece through CPAP through surgery. He says I’ll live another 40 years and thinks surgery to remove my tonsils and widen my throat is worth a try over 40 x 365 = 14,600 nights hooked up to an air tube. For now, though, I’m going to try CPAP – starting next week, when I have an appointment for a fitting.

The doctor said it’s possible that my sleeping problems have been causing my depression rather than the other way around. Once I start my sleep therapy, he told me, I may be able to stop taking the citalopram.

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