When is a card not a card?

The new Pokemon Trading Card Game expansion set, Astral Radiance, hits stores May 27. Or May 23. Or this past weekend. Somehow these things find their way into certain stores ahead of official release dates as “pre-releases,” a phrase somewhere between a Buddhist Koan and an oxymoron.

It’s a little bit confusing to me when exactly these cards, of which my son is already enamored, will be available. Oh, you can buy them now and we have. They’ll certainly take your money for a little bit of cardboard. But somehow they don’t become real for a couple weeks, real as in their value in online games or as official currency in the world of Pokemon. They’re not really Pokemon cards; they’re just pieces of cardboard until the gods of Pokemon bestow their virtual blessing.

Get it?

Me either.

Once again I’m a little too literal and a little too 20th century for this world.

Better get my eight year old to explain it to me.


Broadway Blueshirts bring it!

Most of life is a bore, and you’ve got to filch excitement whenever you can.
Sudden-death overtime in Game 7 of an NHL playoff series?

That’s a sure thing.
Just when I thought hockey and basketball were done for me this year, my childhood heroes of the Garden come through.

Fifty in the books

Today’s broadcast of Math and Musings is our 50th episode.

An homage to the 50th episode of Politics After Dark, today’s episode takes a nostalgic turn to Binghamton and fifty years of history.

Find that little purple button on your phone and enjoy.

Series ended(?) up being a winner

Sunday night was the concluding episode of Winning Time, HBO’s series on the 1980s Lakers. Apparently there will be a Season Two, so let me instead say concluding episode of Season One. (Until today I’d had no idea there would be more than this single set.)

I’ve had mixed feelings about Winning Time since I panned its first episode two months ago. I feel as though it got better, though not necessarily any more true. In fact, as the season went on it seemed to get more and more fictional, and more and more, well, actionable. Though I said some time ago that I hadn’t heard any former Lakers players in arms about their depictions… now I have. And if I were them, yeah, I’d probably be upset. Nobody looks too great in this one, with the possible exception of future commissioner David Stern, ironically one of the few people depicted who can’t sue.

(He’s dead, by the way.)

I guess the thing to remember is that it’s not a documentary, it’s a TV series.

And in the end (or at least the end of this season)… a damn good one.

Still got it

Friday on Math and Musings I made a cryptic reference to “other things” I had going on this weekend besides the Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day. I didn’t want to say too much in case it was a flop, but having gone successfully I’ll now make note of Loudoun County’s “Run the Greenway” road race, a soggy affair held Saturday morning along Virginia’s Route 267. Let the record show I never drive on 267 because there’s a toll, but for the novelty of running on this highway I’d brave even the Binghamton-like conditions I encountered.

I never run in bad weather because I never really run in nice weather either. Ain’t my thing anymore. But it was my thing for many years, and like falling off a bicycle you just never forget. I walk up to the starting line and figure I can still do it. Same reason why I never practice the piano. I practiced for like 30 years. Now I pretty much got it.

Running in a road race? If it sounds interesting I’ll do it even in a downpour.

Because I still got it.

Different channel, same story

My hometown baseball team (that would be the Washington Nationals) had an odd mix of old and new yesterday: weekday afternoon game played… on the Internet. Yeah, broadcast live on YouTube, it was refreshing to see MLB embracing the new medium.

Unfortunately for the Nats it was the same old result. With the loss they held on to last place in the NL East, already nine and a half games behind the Mets.

That hurts in any era.

I’m from the government, and…

Headline from one of my local rags, Loudoun Now, from its April 28, 2022, issue:

“Requiring Affordable Units Has ‘Minimal Impact’ on Developer Profits: Consultant.”

(O’Connell does spit-take.)

Yeah, actually I’m not sure whether I should laugh or just #smh on that one.

“Minimal impact on profits.” That’s rich (pardon the expression). Don’t worry, you’re not going to lose that much money.

This is the best argument my local government comes up with? Relax, businessmen, we’re not messing up your projects that much.

Don’t people in business love it when government folks tell them how to run their affairs? At least this one’s honest, in that they’re upfront about the fact this will cost them money. Just not that much. Only gonna hurt a little.

To paraphrase an old Ronald Reagan line: I’m from the government and I’m here to hurt you only a little.


As always, I’ll take it

I sometimes benefit unnecessarily from working for an extremely woke employer. I’m not at all religious, but I get a lot of religious holidays, including today’s.

Still wondering?

It’s Eid. Eid al-Fitr, or so they tell me, a Muslim holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan. Or so they tell me. I take the celebrants’ word for it on these things.

Originally my employer (that would be my local public school district) had tomorrow as the day off, a weirdo middle-of-the-week holiday that would have meant going to school on Monday then having Tuesday off.

Yeah, nobody wants that.

Some weeks ago district officials informed us that they were switching the day off to Monday to better reflect the true spirit of Ramadan or some such thing.


I have my doubts, but once again… I defer to the celebrants.

Nobody seems to be complaining.

Me included.

NBA playoffs are never easy to predict

Six weeks ago I said either the Nets or the Sixers would be heading to the NBA Finals (and Phoenix and Miami wouldn’t be). I still stand by these statements. (It’s gonna be Sixers-Warriors, by the way.)

Great as my forecasting abilities are, I certainly didn’t think the Nets would be swept in their first round series with Boston.


This is like the 1990 A’s getting swept by the Reds in the World Series.

Yeah, you have to be over 35 to get that reference.

If you’re under 35 check your phone.

Putting the show in Showtime

On a previous episode of Math and Musings I suggested that no one on HBO’s Winning Time was being misrepresented in any unfair way (read:actionable), though I was sure it would come eventually.
Yeah, I think that time has come.

Sunday’s episode was pretty loose with the historical accuracy and I’m sure people will get sued.
But damn it was good television.