Five at 8 – 3/19/09

Five things for the water cooler. Can any offices still afford water coolers?

  • Local newspapers took another step toward irrelevance during this baseball spring training season by ending the practice of printing out-of-town spring training linescores. No matter. Sports is a commodity best covered with online sites. The Hardball Times is one of them and provides an interview today with a segment of a baseball team that never gets any publicity — the people in charge of generating publicity. Dustin Morse, the Twins’ manager of baseball communication reveals all. Takeaways: (1) He finds it difficult to talk about work with his family and (2) Part of his job involves finding beds players like. Insert your own joke here.

    Speaking of baseball, cities are still considering building stadiums for professional baseball teams. Seriously. It’s still 1999 somewhere.

  • Are fathers irrelevant now? Yes, heavy stuff, but it’s a question that must be asked in the wake of the survey that shows 40% of children are being born to single mothers. It’s not the teens that are accounting for this — it’s adult women 25 and over. Here’s the data. A year ago, by the way, Slate ran an interesting story that characterized this “as a national catastrope.”

    The report also contains data on divorces, but Minnesota provides no data in this category. However, among our neighbors — South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, as if you didn’t know — divorces are down pretty significantly.

  • We interrupt this post for this update exclusively on News Cut. Sara Jane Olson’s clock radio has just gone off. Here’s some file footage of her trial 8 years ago to help tell the story. Now, then, where were we? I wrote a few days ago about the nature of forgiveness (bottom line: it’s hard), and a pastor up in New Hampshire is getting the “what for.” What for? Taking in a killer on parole. “Somebody’s cows getting out in the road, that’s the worst thing that happens,” a town selectman said. Well, until now.

    Speaking of forgiveness, Smart Politics’ Eric Ostermeier writes that requests for it in the case of Olson — who we’re hearing now has just put an English muffin in the toaster — are unfounded.

  • What can make you feel older than a M*A*S*H reunion special? A picture of Charles Manson at 70. It only barely surpasses Howard Hessman (WKRP) playing an elderly man on House.
  • On the day the NCAA tournament starts — and stops for some teams — here’s a fascinating article on the behind-the-scenes strong-arming to protect the Final Four trademark.

    This would be a great day to change your “you’ve got mail” sound effect to the U of M rouser. Here’s the audio file, which came from this page. If you’re the office contrarian, you want this file.

    • TabbyLeona

      About Dustin Morse frequent assignment to locate comfortable beds Twins players like… bed and mattress marketers take note!! Where can you find a better spokesperson?

    • bsimon

      “Are fathers irrelevant now? Yes, heavy stuff, but it’s a question that must be asked in the wake of the survey that shows 40% of children are being born to single mothers.”

      I wonder how they count the children of same-sex couples. Because gay people can’t be married, are their children counted as being born to single mothers?

    • Joanna

      Sorry, but speaking as a professional: Emiliy Yoffe in Slate=”Sociology:Ur doin it wrong!”

      I think the statistics about women over 25 choosing to not have abortions but not get married say a lot about changes in our society, but have more to say bout the possible irrelevance of marriage and husbands rather than fatherhood. After all, plenty of excellent parents are neither the biological parents of their spouse’s children nor the legally wedded partners of their biological children. And marriage did not make my father a good father, or my brother-in-law a decent human being, for that matter. Luckily, my nephew’s stepfather is an excellent dad, and my daughter’s father and his partner are wonderful parents, even though we were never joined in holy matrimony.