Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's a Kind of a Family. It's a Kind of Insanity.: This Isn't L.A., It's Boston

It's a Kind of a Family. It's a Kind of Insanity.: This Isn't L.A., It's Boston

With 250 candidates running for president of Red Sox Nation, it is pretty hard to predict who will win -- and so, you really have to vote for a person who captures your heart, mind and imagination trusting your own opinion, not the opinions of pundits or the publicity machine of "big name" candidates. So, I'm backing a grass roots candidate named Rob Crawford.

Why? Well, I read an article on Rob's MLBBlog where he describes his values and what he would do if President of Red Sox Nation. His focus is people: About helping people who are down due to illness and don't have easy access to getting Red Sox Tickets. About helping people who are kids and would really love to attend a Red Sox game but can't find a way. For both of these groups, Rob proposed mechanisms for getting these people tickets to games that would change their lives. And finally, about helping people feel good about the Red Sox and themselves by singing. Rob's I’m A Member of Red Sox Nation is a wonderful song that sticks in your head and the music video below is fun to watch.

So, how can you find out about Rob and vote for him? Time is of the essence. Rob has already made the cut -- he is one of the top 11 vote getting finalists. The next two days will narrow the 11 finalists (down from 2500) to a group of 3 who will then have a run-off election. The judges will use two criteria to separate the wheat from the chaff:
  1. The number of visitors to each candidate's Red Sox blog, and
  2. The number and quality/tone of comments on each candidate's Red Sox blogs.
To advance this cause, I invite you to click on Rob's blog:

By simply clicking on this link and thus visiting Rob's blog, your interest will be registered by the "officials" who will determine which candidates advance. Thus, clicking on this link is like a vote for Rob.

And if you would like to have an even greater impact, add a positive comment to Rob's blog. (Apparently the judges are READING all the comments to help them decide!)

Last Wednesday night Rob attended a speak-out for the candidates. His comments began with these words:
    Hi. My name is Rob Crawford, and I'm not famous. I'm not a TV baseball personality. I've never played for the Red Sox. My face is not on a plaque in Cooperstown. I have not won a Pulitzer Prize. And I don't have a column in the New York Daily News. I have devoted my career to teaching kids, coaching kids, and raising money to support teachers and kids. . . . [read more on Rob's blog].
October 5 Update: I'm sad to report that Rob did not win the Presidency. But, I still believe in his ideals and hope that he continues to spread his message. Please see my comment on Rob's blog.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Randy Pausch

WSJ Video about Last Lecture

Complete Last Lecture (at end of this article)

Randy Pauch's Website

from the Wall Street Journal:

CMU has a lecture series entitled "Last Lecture Series," in which top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. For the audience, the question to be mulled is this: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?

It can be an intriguing hour, watching healthy professors consider their demise and ruminate over subjects dear to them. At the University of Northern Iowa, instructor Penny O'Connor recently titled her lecture "Get Over Yourself." At Cornell, Ellis Hanson, who teaches a course titled "Desire," spoke about sex and technology.

At Carnegie Mellon, however, Dr. Pausch's speech was more than just an academic exercise. The 46-year-old father of three has pancreatic cancer and expects to live for just a few months. His lecture, using images on a giant screen, turned out to be a rollicking and riveting journey through the lessons of his life.

See the short 2 minute video here. Read the article here. Below is the full video, 1 hour 44 minutes. That is long, but if you need some inspiration, watch it in increments.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Saving History: Revolution in Boston

Saving History: Revolution in Boston

Below is a preview of a documentary developed by our Lexington friend Rick Beyer.

If you look closely right after the 50 second mark you can see Marsha (blue) and Rick's daughter Bobbie (red) off to the right. Marsha and Bobbie were extras on Rick's shoot in downtown Boston in August. You may also see Marsha's back in the full program, looking at a display case.

The program is airing on the History Channel starting this Saturday September 22, 2007 at 8PM.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Across The Universe

Across The Universe

Did you grow up in the '60s? Do you like the Beatles? Have I left anybody out? If you answered no to both questions, skip to your next activity.

For the rest of you survivors, make a date to see Across the Universe, Julie Taymore's wonderful fantasy musical weaving of a '60s love story using the songs of the Beatles. This isn't a particularly complex story -- sort of like Romeo and Juliet mixed with Hippies, Greenwich Village, Viet Nam, 1968 Columbia Student Revolt, and the Beatles.

If you are like me, you may want to try to sit away from others in the theater so that you can enjoy yourself and hum along. The actors themselves do all of the singing of the songs and their performances are really good. Shows you how wonderful the Beatles song are. This is the type of film that you can see more than once -- in the same sense that you can see a Shakespeare play more than once or listen to a music album more than once.

Clearly an Oscar contender. Marsha and I loved it -- especially seeing it Saturday night in the Harvard Square Theater where I also saw Bob Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Review in the 1970s...

Sunday, September 16, 2007



I was looking around the web today (that sort of like saying I was looking around the world today) and ran across this beautiful web site by an Lebanese artist / designer that I find delightful. Poke around and you will see some wonderful little pieces of art, craft, and design.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


LibraryThing | Catalog your books online

There is a fine line between hoarding and collecting. Collecting at least gives you an excuse / explanation.

This is a website devoted to lists of books -- as well as interrelationships between books. In addition it seems to have a large collection of discussion lists about books.

Perhaps you have detected a trend with my pleasure with lists? It's true, I admit it that I have a fascination with lists -- especially complete ones.

Time to stop, I have already revealed enough of my private obsessions...

Monday, September 03, 2007

I can't express how embarrassing this is...

From: Harry Forsdick
Date: Sep 3, 2007 1:46 PM
Subject: Quechup: Avoid it like the plague
To: Friends


Yesterday, I signed up for a social networking group called Quechup. Due to some ambiguous wording on the website's part, I thought that they would just be checking my address book to see if people on it were already members of Quechup. But noooo, they just went ahead and spammed my entire address book of more than 2000 entries with an invitation forged from me asking people to join this wretched website.

Many people have signed up and responded to me that they have taken my advice since I follow this stuff. Needless to say, I am very upset that I have spent my reputation with you on this matter. See the Post Script to this message to read an explanation about how this happened.

If you did sign up, you can cancel your membership by logging in and then looking for something like "membership" menu. At the bottom of the menu is the cancel operation. I can't be more precise since I have already canceled my membership and can't see the user interface.

To see another explanation about all of this please see:

Extra Spam, Hold the Quechup | Wise Bread

and read the comments on this blog entry:

Quechup And Mass Hysteria

Some people have observed that now that Quechup has my address book, they can use it (and all of the other lists they have collected) to send spam whenever they want. Although this is true, I think people are kidding themselves if they think that their email address is not already on one or more spam address lists.

But, if you are that special someone who has never gotten spam, and you suddenly start to get spam, I apologize in advance for my misstep.

Someone called me up today and said that after she received "my invitation" her AOL system stopped working. She was unable to login to AOL. In addition, when she called up her husband and her daughter, they were also unable to login to AOL. What should she do to fix this?

Needless to say, something like this causes people to assign the cause of every subsequent mishap in their life to the most recent one that has been uncovered and explained.

Although I am willing to apologize for some things, I am only willing to assume a certain amount of responsibility for the failures you may encounter in the rest of your life :-)

-- Harry

P.S. On some further reflection about how I fell for this, here are some observations:
  1. I purposely sign up for new websites (or at least new to me) to see what they are all about. Part of my MO is to try stuff out and take some chances. This strategy has always worked well for me, but there are some risks that I usually avoid.

  2. The mechanism for finding people on many social networking sites is one that Quechup is using. The idea behind the mechanism is to see if people with the same email address as is in your address book already belong to the social networking site. If they do, you can link up to those people, if you want. Quechup asks you if you want to use this mechanism using the same descriptions as other social networking sites use. There are two differences in Quechup's mechanism: they don't ask you if you want to invite anyone, and they just send messages to the unfortunate people on your address list.

  3. To complicate matters, lots of my friends pay attention to my recommendations because I keep up to date on these matters -- or should I say, used to pay attention... When I go through my thought patterns on this incident, that's actually what happened to me. A classmate from Yale got caught up in this mess and he Quechup spammed everybody on the list. I saw the invitation and figuring that this guy was reliable, signed up to see what he was excited about. The rest is history.
So, as a result of this experience, I have added the following item to the list of things I think about when dealing with the Internet:
  • Before signing up for a website, go to Google and search for it's name. If I had done that, I would have discovered in the first 4 hits the SPAMing of Quechup.