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Manhattan Loft Guy

Sep. 22, 2013 - Sunday diversion has to feature The Great Rivera


still baseball season, of course

No need to get into a discussion of whether Mariano Rivera is ‘the greatest closer ever’ in Major League baseball (the 9th-inning [only] closer being a fairly recent development) but we can all agree that he has been One Heck Of A Reliever. Personally, I like to remember the way Jon Miller would intone it on Sunday Night Baseball a few years back: The Great Rivera. Obviously, with Rivera retiring this year and all the tributes in all the ballparks and all over the media and inter-tubes, there is no shortage of Rivera attention, even adulation.

But if you missed Ian O’Connor’s piece from ESPN-NY you should do yourself a favor.  Much like a certain religious figure I could mention, Rivera does not appear to present himself as a saint, or even as someone better than you, me, or the next guy.Yet he really seems (I hope the hype is real) to value the interactions he has with people (regular people, if you will). While he has the rare ability to seem genuinely interested in each person as a person, and to take some time to go out of his way to interact with people who might appreciate the opportunity to talk to him, the key (for me) to the O’Connor piece is the impact he has on the ‘regular’ people he talks to.

Rivera puts his fame to good use by talking to people in such a way that they feel inspired by him to deal with the (often trying) circumstances of their lives. Read the piece.

One thing it reminded me is that each of us has the ability to (as they say) commit random acts of kindness and that we may never know the impact they may have on people. Whether it is to inspire them to commit similar acts, or to just remember you well, these deposits at The International Bank of Karma are things you may be able to draw on later.

Permit me a personal story …. A day or two after I read the O’Connor piece and started thinking about  featuring The Great Rivera in a diversion not focused on his pitching career, I was in a favorite bar with my daughter and her friend. Our lubricated host took the occasion to remember, and thank me, for a simple act I had long since forgotten. It seems that 20+ years ago, back when I had regular Sunday Plan seats at Yankee Stadium, I gave him my pair of tickets one afternoon so that he and his wife could take  their then-infant son to his first Yankees game. No way would I remember something like that, but he remembered well enough to try to impress my daughter (23?) years later.

The point is not about The Wonderfulness Of Me (I could not use the tickets; they didn’t cost much), but that every day we have opportunities to relate to people in what are (to us) small ways that can, somehow, some day, be the basis of a wonderful memory for them, or even better, to make a true difference in their lives.

Use your power for good, my friends.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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Sep. 14, 2013 - diversion about nomenclature in a different sport during BASEBALL season (sorry)


words have meaning, no?

Thoughtful piece that I missed last week by the thoughtful guy who has the impossible job of being ombudsman for ESPN, So what if ESPN refused to use the R-word? If you’re already familiar with The Issue of how to refer to the Washington franchise of the NFL, you’ll probably still learn something (if nothing else, about ESPN’s self-defined role in the world); if you’re not up to speed, this is a good place to start.

To me, it’s a no-brainer, though one with potentially big (negative) consequences for ESPN as well as with huge potential (positive) consequences for the world and (ultimately) for ESPN. To me, it’s as simple as it is put by ESPN’s Dan Graziano (see the Lipsyte piece for the quote and a link): the name should never have been used in the first place because it has always been used as a slur by members of a dominant culture against a minority.


You can talk about tradition and loyalty all you want (many have, and continue to), claiming a connection to The Team Name That They Don’t Mean As A Slur, but that kind of pretzel logic doesn’t do it for me.

This is almost too simple ... suppose there was another dictionary definition beyond the one on Meriam Webster online for “k*ke”, one that offered a “(b)” usage

K * K E

(b) a member of the Portland, Oregon team in the National Football League

and imagine that this fictional Portland team featured a yarmulke on their helmets and their fans attended games with crudely stylized ritual symbols of Jewish religious practice and tradition (tallit, chai, and a menorah they would light every time the K*kes scored). (Don’t get me started on the food offerings at the fictional stadium.)

Of course the good people of Portland are not anti-semites, now or when the team was formed long ago. In fact, team lore is that the name is an homage to their scrappy equipment manager when the team was formed, Harry “The K*ke” Myerson, but that account is thought by some to be mere legend.

You can do this for almost any group, so knock yourself (and your imagination) out. Simple question: should such a name survive in a civilized society? Tougher question: what does the fact that this is controversial for the Washington NFL franchise tell us about our level of civilization?

To all my Chosen family and friends: I hope your fast is easy today and that you are sealed in the good book for another year. Not to mention, shabbot shalom.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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Sep. 11, 2013 - this day comes again, mournfully as always


why does it always catch me by surprise (and by the throat)?

Turns out that I am a broken record. In thinking about posting today I was going to start something like “As recently as this past weekend, I thought that this would be the year in which I finally spend a September 11 like a September 10, or any other day in September. Uhhh …. NO.” It started feeling just like a 9/11 last night and got worse today, perhaps because I drove a friend to LaGuardia this morning and so went up and down the BQE starting opposite lower Manhattan at precisely (you can’t make this stuff up, folks) 8:46 AM.

Then when I looked through the Manhattan Loft Guy archives to just post some past links (rather than composing something more raw at length), I came across this from last year (which sounds like the year before that, and the yeare before that …):

I am grateful that the media orgy from last year’s [2011, obviously] 10 Year Anniversary has not been repeated, but I am in the same place as I was then:

I thought this year would be different. That I would be able to read stories and look at video and images from ten years ago, and even to (finally) write something about my own experience of That Day (on That Day, and since).

But I am not, and this year turns out to be no different, except that it is much worse, with the saturation of stories and images on all media all the time. Exponentially more ‘coverage’; exponentially more heads talking.

The links to past Manhattan Loft Guy posts on this date, from [2012’s] post:

2010: same day, another year (from a mother who lost a daughter and a not-yet grand-daughter) [fixed the link 9.13]

2009: 8 years, still fresh  (one of my least favorite people channels one of my most favorite)

2008: September 11, again (New York names, as of 2008)

2007: (see 2005)

2006: September 11 / 343 firefighters (“How many cities in this country even have 343 firefighters??”)

and 2006: September 11 / read the names (all the names, as of 2006; “It turns out that I am most definitely not able to post much of anything today, and still unable to read (let alone watch) what passes for media coverage of the fifth anniversary.” and “As this is a blog about Manhattan real estate, please reflect as you read the names on the many places around the globe these New Yorkers came from (or their families came from in an earlier generation). A terribly sad, terribly potent cross-section of the global village that is Manhattan.”)

2005: (how did I not write that day? probably as in my first 2006 post, above)

Peace out.

Peace out, indeed.

Here’s what I can add this year: this nice story about the Tribute In Light from Jamie Manson, one of my favorite writers on the National Catholic Reporter. Looking forward to that tonight….

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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Sep. 8, 2013 - Sunday diversion is spiritual but from an exceedingly political (and contentious) source


making strange bedfellows

Skip this post if you get antsy when someone talks about Spirituality (as in “that weird stuff is not for me”) or if reading anything on an oh so lefty politics forum like the (infamous) Daily Kos will do bad things for your blood pressure. Personally, I am rather left in my politics, but try not to let that be a problem in how I relate to people (in real estate, and in general). Sunday is a church day for me (as well as, often, a work day), and a day in which I seem more receptive to considerations of the divine.

I’d already come across a few worthwhile essays in the inter-tubes this morning appropriate to my Sunday head before unexpectedly coming across a beauty on Daily Kos. As noted, I am an old lefty; also, a long-time lurker and daily reader (6 years?) on Daily Kos, though I don’t think I have ever registered and certainly have never commented or diaried there. Whatever your view of Daily Kos, you need only understand that comments there can get very heated to understand this post.

If you are with me this far, I will not spoil the punchline, but go to this after midnight diary, I Am Not Fighting With Anyone on Daily Kos Anymore, for an elegant, thoughtful, generous and (to me) spiritual essay about the costs and ethics of argument and our responsibilities to ourselves and others. Wonderful grist for Sunday reflection, or reflection on any day, by any (thinking) person.

Be good to someone today. (If that advice is not overly pious for you.)

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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Sep. 4, 2013 - a tale of 2 kidneys, 4 years ... 4th Kidneversary already


a sweet new year, no?

If you are a loyal long-time reader, you know this personal datum about The Guy at Manhattan Loft Guy: 4 years ago today I entered Columbia Presbyterian Hospital with two kidneys but left with one kidney. The wife of someone who works in the same school as my wife entered with two dysfunctional kidneys and left with one very excellent, high functioning kidney. I bring this up every year at this time not to boast (everyone does what everyone can, right?) but to go all Sally Struthers on ya. That’s below, but here’s the history, for you loyal long-time readers whose memories are (well) (you know):

I posted this the morning of, as we were heading to surgery: September 4, 2009, do any of you people know how to pray?

The school at which our spouses work did a piece about our new connection for the community newsletter, which got a link in my January 20, 2010, adventures in nephrology / about that kidney donation....

The prior anniversary posts are (slightly) different ways to tell (mostly) the same story:

The chances are pretty good that you are one degree of separation from someone who needs a kidney donation; you may even be that close to someone (else) who has made a living kidney donation. While the need is remarkably common, finding a kidney for transplant is a tough needle to thread.

Not everyone is suitable or interested in donating a kidney while alive; I understand that. What I don’t understand is someone who would not make arrangements for their kidney (and any other usable parts) to be used to benefit others after that person is done using them. I.e., has died.

It’s really simple to register your intention to donate on your demise. It’s really needed. I won’t make you click through the past Manhattan Loft Guy posts: go to the NY Organ Donor Network for links with information and resources, one of which (spoiler alert!) will take you to this NYS Department of Motor Vehicles link to register on-line as a donor (it’s a little cumbersome to set up; you can also do it by mail but you won’t, so take the time to do it on-line), with bonus videos from Dr. Oz.

If you don’t know who Sally Struthers is, think commercials for charities. Hence this from my first anniversary post:

I feel like Sally Struthers
Thousands of people die every year without having gotten the organ donation that could save their lives. Millions of people die every year without having made arrangements to donate any usable organs. You can do something about that today.


We are having dinner tonight to celebrate, even though it is Rosh Hoshanah. I like this closing from last year’s post:

If you have a different way to do something good today, feel free to improvise. And send some warm thoughts my way, and Susan’s, on our anniversary.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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Sep. 2, 2013 - it’s Labor Day: go to a sale, eat a hot dog, wear white (and straw), and remember LABOR Day



things I did not know


How do you get to be so old and not know stuff like how Labor day came about? I have touched in past years on the (big picture) origins of Labor Day in the US, but did not realize the degree to which the national holiday was a response to a very specific episode of collective action by workers that was not supported universally in the American labor movement. That would be the Pullman Strike of 1894, as I discovered clicking The Wiki this morning, by unskilled railway workers who attempted to shut down railroad service west of Chicago after the boss of their company town reduced their pay but not their rent.

Some of the ironies, or surprises (to me): Samuel Gompers of the American Federation of Labor opposed the escalating activity of the American Railway Union, as did many “establishment” unions; a principal organizer was the noted socialist Eugene V. Debs, but he was not (yet) then a socialist (he read while in prison for his work promoting the Pullman Strike); the national holiday was created in direct response to the ending of the Pullman Strike (a unanimous [!] vote in Congress 6 days after the strike ended), designating a September Monday rather than May 1 to avoid association with International Workers Day.

And, of course, that with the tradition of retail sales on this “labor holiday”, many retail workers had to work overtime.

If you like a 5-day workweek, an 8-hour workday, or not having to start working at age 12, thank a union member.


[UPDATE: I swear, I wrote the above before seeing that Pauil Krugman used the Pullman Strike in his Labor Day column today in the New York Times. Smart guy!]

© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Sep. 1, 2013 - diversion: an obituary featuring the most famous mutineer

real people, who did amazing things
Who doesn't love a great obituary? I don't mean (merely) an obituary for a great (or famous) person, but a well written obituary that teaches you, or reminds you, about fascinating things. Tom Christian of Pitcairn's Island died in July, but his obituary did not hit the New York Times until last week. If you are wondering if Pitcairn is one of the little islands off the coast of Maine, or of South Carolina, here is a hint: going back a bit in Tom’s patrilineal line, his “Christian” forebears were Frederick, son of Daniel, who was son of Thursday, who was son of Friday, who was son of Fletcher. That takes the line back to the 1780s.
Of course there have been 3 movies made about great-great-great grandpa Fletcher, but I can’t remember if I saw either of the first two before reading the novel on which the movies were built. i must have been 12 or so when I read the full trilogy: Mutiny on the Bounty, Pitcairn’s Island, and Men Against the Sea. I don’t remember much about that middle book (if I have the sequence right), but I still remember Men Against the Sea. Christian and the mutineers cast “bully” captain Bligh adrift in an open longboat with 18 loyal crew members in the south Pacific without charts or compass. Bligh lost one of his men who was killed by natives on a nearby island (30 miles from where they’d been cast off) at which they tried to land to secure provisions, but then navigated the open boat in the open sea 3,618 nautical miles to the Dutch East Indies using a quadrant and a pocket watch. This 47 day voyage was said to be the greatest open sea navigation in recorded history.
Christian and a group that included Tahitian men and women left a larger group in Tahiti, then headed out to avoid the Royal Navy. As The Wiki puts it, they “ rediscovered Pitcairn Island, which had been misplaced on the Royal Navy's charts” (!). By the time a ship of the Royal Navy discovered Pitcairn in 1814, only one of the mutineers was still alive. (He was later given amnesty; the group on Tahiti was captured in 1791.)
The fact that there are 3 Mutiny on the Bounty films testifies to the hold on human imagination of the first part of the trilogy. The two other parts are less cinematic, but the middle story certainly captured my imagination.
Read the obit for what ‘modern’ life on the island has been like in Tom’s lifetime. What a strange and wonderful world we live in….
© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Aug. 18, 2013 - diversion is the opposite of the muck: a heartwarming story of staggering friendship


why do people do the good things they do?

This story by Bryan oops Cave Curtis on Grantland is why Grantland is Grantland: The Stokes Game tells the story of NBA player Maurice Stokes and his teammate and guardian Jack Twyman. If you don’t know the basic story, read it as a window into a wonderful account of when pro basketball players were really brothers; if you do know the story, read it as a wonderful refresher that will also tell you things you did not know.

Personally, this stuff has been familiar to me since I was a kid playing basketball, going to basketball camps, starting to follow the NBA, but I had forgotten how young Stokes and Twyman were:

When the Shooter decided to devote his life to caring for Stokes, he was 24 years old. "What am I going to do?" Twyman told a teammate. "I'm from Pittsburgh, he's from Pittsburgh. He didn't have any family here. I just did it."

Twenty-four years old! Making a decision to take care of a guy for the rest of his life, which he did faithfully. It is easy to sentimentalize the relationship between Twyman and Stokes, to gloss over the details of what it meant for Twyman to do this; heck, it is hard not to do that any time you try to tell a story like this.

Twenty-four years old! Making about $15,000 a year but dedicating your life to somehow, some way, taking care of a teammate.

Even if you know what Stokes said the first time he could communicate on a typewriter, this will make you stop and blink a bit:

As part of Stokes's therapy, the hospital staff hung a sling near his bed. Stokes placed his left wrist in the sling, and it allowed him to suspend his hand above a nearby typewriter. Stokes typed his first sentence for Twyman. It was a difficult task and it took him about a week to complete. The sentence read: "How can I ever thank you for all you've done?"

Especially if you are tired of hearing about ARod, Tejada, Braun and the rest of that tawdry business, read the wonderful Cave Curtis piece.

Twenty-four years old!

Just last night I was speaking to the partner of a deceased friend. That friend had a few signature greetings, one of which was “did you make a difference today?” Twyman made a difference every day. Like my friend Charles, he’s an inspiration. Human, with faults, no doubt, like each of us.


Saints do walk among us.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Aug. 10, 2013 - diversion is but more immersion in the muck

another stab at ARod, of course

Having gone off on insincere Ryan Braun not once, but twice (July 27, diversion: the baseball I told you so edition), I'd hate anyone to think that I am soft on #13 if I didn't have something (diverting?) to say about this Never A "True Yankee" fellow, Just because he wears The Pinstripes. Tut, tut, my friends. I am not claiming a badge of honor, but I have long believed The Rod was a serial abuser of PEDs, so never fully embraced him, even in the '09 euphoria. The problem with talking about him now is that he is such a piñata, and no one who swings at him wears a blindfold.

Here is my bottom line today (subject to change tomorrow, of course): the guy is almost certainly very guilty of significant baseball sins (obstruction of MLB "justice" among them), but Selig has forced him to appeal, which (because Selig prudently decided not to go to war against the Players Association) gave ARod the right to play pending the appeal. (Sorry, Evan Longoria, but that procedural safeguard protects all union members.)

And by choosing the deliberately provocative penalty of 211 games, Selig must have known he gave ARod no choice to appeal, and the union no choice but to back him. The union has to find out the limits of the Commissioner's power, and ARod ... well, every 16 games is worth about $2mm, so he's pretty motivated to see if an arbitrator will lop off even "a little" bit of the 211 games. Say he ended up twice what Braun got (65 games): that would save ARod about $8mm. Please don't tell me that you're certain that you would not appeal, if you were in ARod's shoes.

So fans get to boo, and commentators both professional and amateur get to comment, often amateurishly. Ugly stuff, but life goes on, and the Yankee season continues to circle the drain.

Emotionally, I am with Tyler Kepner in today's New York Times about ARod fatigue (though I am rather shocked a beat writer got to call a player "unctuous"). Cynically, I am with Dave Zirin in a dialogue post on the Times this week, about Selig And His Owners getting way too much credit and way too little blame for catching the "dirty players" years after they generated millions and millions for the owners (and I remain bemused and disgusted about the degree to which the NFL and other leagues still get away with doing much less than MLB has done). Romantically, I am with the elegant Doug Glanville, who wrote elegantly (and sentimentally) about baseball achievement and baseball fame and baseball numbers (yes, I still sit in the pews at The Church of Baseball).

So take your swings at The Human Piñata until you are tired or bored. It ain't just ARod, it ain't evil (or unreasonably "selfish") of him to appeal (or to exercise his bargained-for) rIght to play, and Bud Lite ain't no saint. Yes, it would be nice if the appeal can be heard within a few weeks, but I am not on that committee so don't blame me (or ARod) for the process.

Opening day, by the way, is less than 8 months away. Go watch a Major League Baseball game (or two) before then. Preferably, one not involving steam with NY on their shirts.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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Jul. 27, 2013 - diversion: the baseball I told you so edition

a new day dawns
The big baseball news of the week made my jaw drop when it hit alert screens all over the inter-tubes. (No, speculation about Yankee 3rd basepeople does not qualify as “news”.) When Ryan Braun (and the toughest employee union in the country) conceded a 65 game suspension it showed that two things are very likely to be true: the evidence coming out of the scummy Biogenesis folks is very strong, and Major League Baseball is going to go very hard after everyone it can reach. So … many more shoes to drop.

If you care about MLB at all and if you’re a Manhattan Loft Guy reader for a good while, you may remember my diversionary post about the last time this bubbled strongly. In my February 26, 2012,
diversionary Sunday: Ryan Braun is NOT "innocent", I pointed out the limits on what had been established when Ryan Braun won his appeal. In light of this week’s plea bargain, Braun was obviously as guilty then as he is now.

There’s a long piece yet to be written by me about the contradictions inherent in the “relationships” between sports celebrities and fans (they’re performers who don’t owe us anything; but why are they marketed by teams and purveyors as likable and reliable?), but for now (if you have the appetite)I will just link to one of the more thoughtful (less hysterical) pieces holding Braun to account (from
Josh Levin on Slate) and some links to the guy I linked to the last time that are in performers-are-just-performers camp (Craig Calcaterra, here, here, and here). I again disagree with Calcaterra, but he is making a case about as well as it can be made.

Particularly if you don’t need those links, or have much of an appetite for this tawdry stuff, I offer Forget PEDs, Baseball Is Fun As Hell Right Now from Jonah Keri Grantland, not as an antidote so much as a suggestion. Even a Yankee fan can appreciate this stuff. Not in the Bronx in 2013, but it’s a beautiful game.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jul. 4, 2013 - for your holiday reading pleasure, a wonderful declaration, indeed


an oldie and goodie
Here's the text (when was the last time you read it?):

Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

 For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

I posted that content in my very first July 4 post, July 4, 2007, so this could be a Six Years Ago Today on Manhattan Loft Guy post.

head's up for memory lane tripping
You are going to see a lot of __ Years Ago Today on Manhattan Loft Guy posts this month. We land in Santiago de Chile tomorrow morning, beginning my first 2-week vacation in ... forever. Rather than worry about not posting, or worry about not vacationing while taking time to post, I have a sequence of past Manhattan Loft Guy posts from the 7+ year, 2,000+ post archives. I really should do that more often, not as a labor-saving device (as there is not much labor saved), as there is some really good stuff in my back list. Hope you enjoy!

© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jun. 16, 2013 - diversion for baseball fans who need a diversion


(looking at you, NYY fans)
I am pretty sure that the starting line-up for the New York Yankees on Friday night against the Angels of etc, etc California included 4 guys batting between .100 and .199, and a guy without a hit this year (.000). With the Bargain Basement Boys (Overbey, Wells, Hafner, Youkilis) seemingly having hit the wall, regressing to their (recent) mean, Tiexiera going down again with his wrist, Cano having dropped 30+ points in his average in a few weeks, and the pitching looking oh so mortal (rather than the extraordinary we had hoped to get used to), it seems that this team will go only as far as Brett Gardner and Jayson Nix will take it. Hint: not far.

So it was heartening (for me, at least) to read two book-end feel-good stories from Sports Illustrated last week about major league players seeking redemption of sorts. And finding it (so far). Lest you think “redemption” is too strong a word, or seek to revoke my poetic license, I offer for your consideration
The redemption of Jason Giambi, the Indians' leader extraordinaire, and Domonic Brown (finally) having a breakout season for Phillies.

Giambi was, of course, a hugely productive hitter in his prime, a prime reached and extended no doubt by cheating with steroids. He gets a lot of credit, in this article and elsewhere, for having apologized publicly for that, but I recall his weird press conference as being notable for definitely being an apology, though not explicit about exactly for what.


Even fans who watched as many game as I did, and who read as much as I did, never get to know players; we get intimately familiar with their public avatars. In Giambi’s case, a happy go lucky lug who hit baseballs very hard, very far, often enough, with a tinge of surfer dude. Ben Reiter makes the point that fans seem to have forgiven Giambi and Andy Pettitte their admitted PED involvement not just because they admitted and apologized but (watch this move closely; my italics might halp):

It is that Giambi, like Pettitte, is the type of person who would do such a thing, stand up in public and admit that he had erred. He is a good man who could not resist the temptation to do something wrong, yet he remained a good man -- as he always was, beneath the hair, and the tattoos and the menacing mien. Lesser men wouldn't admit what they'd done, and they did not, and still do not.

I’d like to believe this. Heck, I do believe this (though provisionally, of course). Giambi and Pettitte were
my guys and the press seemed to like them. But I am leery of thinking much more than that they got better tactical advice, or for some other unknown reason made a different choice, than the Idiot Rocket, the Obstinate McGwire, the Silent Palmiero, or the Linguistically Challenged Sosa.

Reiter is on Team Better Man, for sure. Nice piece, with apparently true stories about the regard in which the very part-time, very old Giambi is held by his teammates and manager. Feel good story, indeed, about a guy who is hanging on, doing things The Right Way and (perhaps) atoning.

Albert Chen’s story on Domonic Brown (type that carefully) is about a guy with All The Promise In The World who seemed to have been lied to. But (spoiler alert!) he has recently become


the best story in all of baseball and the hottest hitter on the planet, with one of the strangest, most astonishing and most spectacular home run binges in recent memory.

Lord knows Phillies fan need some diversion at least as much as we of the Evil Empire do, but they probably already know every twist and turn in this saga. The rest of you might learn something here.


You’d like to think this young man’s hard work will pay off (but thousands of ball players work hard, only a few have the talent to make the hard work pay off), and you‘d like to see his good attitude rewarded. At least, I would. Go Dom! And much success Jason; maybe you will make a wonderful manager some day.

Yankee Summer of Discontent resumes at 3:35, the struggling Sabathia against the wonderful Weaver. Yanks are in the bottom third in the league in scoring, ahead of the Kansas City Friggin’ Royals by 2, and the Houston (AAAA) Astros by 4. That just ain’t right, but seems destined to continue.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jun. 9, 2013 - diversion: late score seals the win

believe it or not, not everyone is talking about it

You know the setting ... late in the high stakes match a guy on the visiting team scores in a most improbable fashion just a few ticks of the clock before the game ends. His club's fans marvel, while the home fans grumble, or shuffle out in silence. Great sporting events can do that. Of course I am talking about Brad Evans’ first international goal for the US men's national soccer team Friday night, scored during stoppage time against Jamaica to give the US a win they'd seemingly wrapped up earlier, only to surrender a tying goal very late in regulation time.


Not everyone is talking about it because almost no one could find it on television late Friday night. A CONCACAF qualifying match for the 2014 World Cup, yet it was largely absent from American teevee! I happened to be following along with match reports while bouncing around the 'net, so saw the late US lead at 1-0, then the heartbreaking tie at 1 in the 89th minute, then the very improbable goal by Evans to give the US the lead 2 minutes into 4 minutes of extra time. The US now sits pretty, with two home games coming up that should secure their position in The World's Greatest Tournament next year.


For those of you who thought I was talking about the French guy hitting this shot against The King with 23.99 seconds gone on the shot clock, here is a bonus link from Slate last year about the steady Spurs and the (gasp) hypocrisy of American sports fans. Everyone is talking about that goal, of course.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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May. 27, 2013 - no barbecue until you remember, please

new link, then some reprise
You're all grown-ups, so can do what you want. But if you begin your holiday festivities today before acknowledging that the holiday today is a somber one, you're not doing it right.

I was going to run some past Memorial Day notes today, but I can't resist
this story from Talking Points Memo (it must be elsewhere on the inter-tubes today, right?). We visited the National World War II Museum in New Orleans a few months ago, and probably paused in front of the case that has a diary of a 22 year-old Marine killed in Palau in 1944. I did not spend any time looking for relatives in any photos or exhibit material, but a 90 year-old lady did ... and found the diary in which she is prominently featured, including with a photograph taped to the cover.

Imagine how surprising that must have been! A nice read for Memorial Day.

this reprise is also nice, with links to the origins of the holiday and to my post about Pat Tillman, from past Manhattan Loft Guy holiday posts.

Now you can open that beer or eat that hot dog.

(c) Sandy Mattingly 2013

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May. 18, 2013 - odd diversion from space

even if you have seen it before, worth another look
The expression "winning the Internet" was never so apt as its use this week to describe a space oddity: the Canadian astronaut departing from the Intenational Space Station recording
a music video featuring him singing and playing guitar to,David Bowie's "Space Oddity" about the immortal (I can dream, can't I?) Major Tom and his radio sidekick, Ground Control.

A wonderful song, of course, especially for people of a certain age (I am looking at me, Manhattan Loft Guy).  To say that this is an otherworldly rendition is trite, but true. Gotta love a singing astronaut, not to mention that the ISS has a guitar on board. (It was edited and mixed here on earth, with piano track added 'locally'.)

If you have not seen it, you must. If you have, you may as well watch it again. Commander Hadfield wins the internet! It had been viewed over 13.5 million times as of a littlw while ago. (Who are the 3,128 people who gave it thumbs down??)

 © Sandy Mattingly 2013



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May. 12, 2013 - diversion for mothers (and mofos) on a beautiful Sunday


(on which it, somehow, forgot to rain)

I flagged this item from Gothamist when it was fresh on April 29. Today is a good day for a lovely (they say “phenomenal”) aerial photo of New York City, taken from a plane approaching LaGuardia. There’s a lot of the Bronx, and mostly Manhattan from about 180th Street, looking straight down the island on 10th Avenue with the Upper West Side in a bit of fog and a rumor of downtown at the top in the center. Brooklyn and Queens are barely featured, but that’s the Williamsburg Bridge in the top left.


Of course, click on the image for a full screen view.


Cool pic. Makes it look as though New York is the center of the world (of course). Happy day to all the mothers, and to all you folks with mothers. And to my friends the mother----ers (you know who you are): happy day to you, too!

© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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May. 11, 2013 - diversion: do we need to see patterns where none exist?


Big Data = opportunities

Data are information, not knowledge. The New York Times Well blog post this week (Are ‘Hot Hands’ in Sports a Real Thing) is based on a study of five entire seasons of free throws in the NBA (Well says only "an entire season", but click the link to the study) and 50,000 games bowled in the Professional Bowlers Association, testing the hypothesis that a ‘hot’ athlete is demonstrably able to stay ‘hot’. I read the piece and the comments, and was almost persuaded that it is not suitable for a Manhattan Loft Guy diversion because I am not prepared to read (re-read) closely enough to determine for myself how justified the criticisms of this study are. But then I realized that this uncertainty (depth) may make it more diverting.


Read it yourself, if you care about statistics, basketball, or bowling. It is just a blog post, of course, about a study that “[s]ubject[ed] these numbers to extensive (and, to the layperson, inscrutable) statistical analysis”. I need to re-read it, as well.


I was intrigued by this bit of commentary in the blog post about the study, which is sometimes how I feel about Manhattan loft sales data:


we probably imagine and desire patterns where they do not exist. But it may be that we also are capable of sensing and responding to some cues within games and activities that are almost too subtle for most collections of numbers to capture.


Sifting through through recent deed records for downtown Manhattan loft sales between $500,000 and $5,000,000 (as I do for my Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008, sometimes weekly) I often feel patterns that may or may not exist, patterns that will never show up in conventional data-crunching because the data are never deep enough, never similar (comparable) enough at that level. My mind, playing games (shooting free throws).


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Apr. 28, 2013 - diversion / needlessly painful baseball

stop me if you've heard this before
If you are a mild baseball fan you are aware that catchers take a lot of punishment; a more serious fan is aware that Yankee catcher Francisco Cervelli suffered a broken hand last week when hit by a foul ball, just as the catcher watching that game from the Toronto dugout suffered the same injury, in the same manner, last season. Cervelli had surgery and is expected to be out at least 6 weeks; I believe Arencibia was out longer last year. You'd think a major league baseball team would take all reasonable steps to avoid avoidable injuries that could cost them a catcher for extended periods. I am here to tell you you'd be wrong.

Cerrvelli's injury, like Arencibia's, was completely avoidable. I have a particular friend with whom I watch baseball games long enough that we often talked about the defensive deficiencies of Jorge Posada. He has heard this rant many times since.  Posada started as an infielder and converted to catcher late, so he has a bit of an excuse. But on a team with Tony Pena as coach, with Yogi Berra a frequent presence, you'd think they would teach Proper Catcher Technique. Wrong! I was taught as a 12-year old the right way to protect your throwing hand.

It is a technique so simple, so obvious, and so effective that I am dumbfounded not to see it used by guys who, you know, get paid millions of dollars to stay on the field. With no one on base, your throwing hand is always tight behind your thigh when receiving a pitch. (You sometimes see this done, even by pros.) With a base runner, you receive the pitch with your throwing hand firmly against the back of your glove, with fist clenched around your thumb. You can get the ball into your throwing hand at least as quickly from here as from the usual hit-me-please position (hand dangling inside the thigh). You should never get hit by a foul tip in this position, unless you have to scramble for a pitch in the dirt.

I have never heard a discussion of this on a major league telecast (though I did not have the sound on for Friday's game with Cervelli's injury). Not by know-it-all Tim McCarver, not by Yankee announcer John Flaherty, not by Bob Uecker (all former catchers in the bigs). In addition to coach Tony Pena (who had the reputation as a great defensive catcher in his playing days), the Yankee manager Joe Girardi was a pretty good catcher back in the day. Both of them watch Francisco Cervelli jeopardize his career (and the team's future) every day, while Cervelli leaves his throwing hand in hit-me-please position. Friday night, he got it (you're welcome).

I can't be the only one who was taught The Right Way To Play as a youngster. And we were just playing for fun. Personally, if had millions of dollars riding on my staying healthy, and avoiding unnecessary injury, I'd do everything I could.

Note to Self ... watch to see if post-injury Arencibia still leaves his hand in hit-me-please position, or if he has learned to protect himself, his career, and his team. Another Note ... watch to see if Mike Sciosia's catchers protect themselves.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Apr. 7, 2013 - diversion from the archives / still a beautiful city


still, time lapsed

My April 14, 2012 diversion, beautiful Saturday diversion / beautiful city, time lapsed, is worth another look. Still diverting, still lapsing, still New York, still with a (slight) Manhattan loft neighborhood angle. If you’ve seen it before it should make you smile; if you’ve not seen it before it should make you smile. Win-win!


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Mar. 16, 2013 - diversion / baseball games! old baseball games

it’s beginning to feel a lot like … Opening Day
Snow flurries aside, it is getting to be baseball season, finally. If you’ve been following the game for a while, there will be something in this compilation on SBNation that will make you smile, as you remember the game (or the specific play) featured. If you are a baseball nut, you might be inclined to go the official MLB site to watch some of these games (and others!) in their entirety.

My personal favorite from this collection: Bo Jackson running across the wall.

Play ball!

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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Sandy Mattingly is Manhattan Loft Guy; now with The Corcoran Group (http://corcoran.com/ ; but see the disclaimer at the bottom of the page), he can be reached most easily at Sandy@ManhattanLoftGuy.com or 917.902.2491, and followed on Twitter @ManhattnLoftGuy (note "mis-spelling"). After 7+ years, the blog has moved. Links here on RealTown will work for the foreseeable future, but new posts (and all the old content) has migrated to ManhattanLoftGuy.com.

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