"Baseball players make their livings doing something they have done since they were small children; every player has a physical history, a source for the reflexes that get him through a game. Mark Teahen is no exception. This odd swing of his -- the reason he's a good hitter but not a power hitter -- has a rich provenance. There was nothing to do in Yucaipa except play baseball -- or, at any rate, nothing else he wanted to do. Every afternoon he and his two brothers would go out into the backyard for a game of Wiffle ball. Right field -- the natural power zone for a left hander like Teahen -- ended at the back of the house. If you hit the ball on the roof, it got stuck in the gutter, so the boys declared what would have normally been a home run an out. It was left field, a low brick wall, that tempted the hitter. Reach out over the plate and serve the ball into left field, and you had yourself a home run. Mark and his older brother Matt, both lefties, developed an extreme tendency to go the other way, to try to hit the ball over the left-field wall. Only his younger brother, Mick, the lone righty, learned to pull the ball and hit with power.
In Anaheim that afternoon, Brendan Donnelly quickly got ahead of Teahen, 0-2, and then tried to put him away with a pitch on the outside corner. Teahen reached out -- and when he reached he traveled backward in time . . . he was reaching not for Brendan Donnelly's fastball, he was reaching for . . . a Wiffle ball and trying to flick it over the left-field wall. He was reaching out as a small, fast high-school middle infielder who was not designed to hit home runs . . . he was reaching the way a small boy who doesn't know he will grow into a big man reaches, just hoping to poke the ball into the hole between third and short and beat it out. He was reaching out the way he had always reached out. They had tried to stop him from reaching out. To teach him power. They had tried to sever his game from its roots. And he didn't let them. And that was why his bat made hard contact with Brendan Donnelly's sinking fastball. That's why he was here now. In the big leagues. Standing on first base. Safe."
"Imagine an alternate world identical to ours save one techno-historical change: videogames were invented and popularized before books. In this parallel universe, kids have been playing games for centuries—and then these page-bound texts come along and suddenly they’re all the rage. What would the teachers, and the parents, and the cultural authorities have to say about this frenzy of reading? I suspect it would sound something like this:
Reading books chronically under-stimulates the senses. Unlike the longstanding tradition of gameplaying—which engages the child in a vivid, three-dimensional world filled with moving images and musical soundscapes, navigated and controlled with complex muscular movements—books are simply a barren string of words on the page. Only a small portion of the brain devoted to processing written language is activated during reading, while games engage the full range of the sensory and motor cortices.
Books are also tragically isolating. While games have for many years engaged the young in complex social relationships with their peers, building and exploring worlds together, books force the child to sequester him or herself in a quiet space, shut off from interaction with other children. These new 'libraries' that have arisen in recent years to facilitate reading activities are a frightening sight: dozens of young children, normally so vivacious and socially interactive, sitting alone in cubicles, reading silently, oblivious to their peers.
Many children enjoy reading books, of course, and no doubt some of the flights of fancy conveyed by reading have their escapist merits. But for a sizable percentage of the population, books are downright discriminatory. The reading craze of recent years cruelly taunts the 10 million Americans who suffer from dyslexia—a condition didn’t even exist as a condition until printed text came along to stigmatize its sufferers.
But perhaps the most dangerous property of these books is the fact that they follow a fixed linear path. You can't control their narratives in any fashion—you simply sit back and have the story dictated to you. For those of us raised on interactive narratives, this property may seem astonishing. Why would anyone want to embark on an adventure utterly choreographed by another person? But today’s generation embarks on such adventures millions of times a day. This risks instilling a general passivity in our children, making them feel as though they’re powerless to change their circumstances. Reading is not an active, participatory process; it’s a submissive one. The book readers of the younger generation are learning to 'follow the plot' instead of learning to lead."
"A couple of years ago, I started noticing that the sites I preferred using were generally the sites that used larger fonts and widgets than average. At the time, I thought to myself, big is going to be the wave the future on the internet. Now I'm not talking huge like 30 point fonts or anything, but bumping things up can definitely help..."
* Makes clicking easier (Fitt's Law)
* Enhances Readability
* Helps prevent information pollution
* Forces tough decisions
"I know these streets like the back of my head."
"Tomorrow at this time…it will be Wednesday."
"The smell of indifference was deafening."
"Oh, that will be a cake in the woods."
"He's living off the fat of my sweat!"
"I heard that out of the corner of my eye."
"Even a blind beaver falls off a log once in awhile."
"I threw down the carrot and he picked it up and ran with it."
"It's like a monkey on the back of the elephant in the room."
"I don't mean to throw a wrench, I mean a monkey, into the tools."
"I got under your goat."
"You heat it until it doubles to about three times its size."
"Is it hot in me or what?"
"Don't you hate it when you lock your keys out of your car?"
"It's like watching paint grow."
"The winds of change aren't what they used to be."
"The system is humming like a clam."
"You need to take the bull by the balls and run with him."
"Two cats out of the bag are worth more in the nest."
"Anything worth doing is a lot more difficult than it's worth."
"Not to toot my own horse, but......"
"We do things by the pants of our ass!"
"Today, one of the Vatican's most lucrative sources of income is a two-pump gasoline station located about 50 yards south of St. Peter's. A steady stream of cars pull up to fill their tanks with gas that costs up to 30% less than it does in Italy because it isn't taxed." (The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2005; Page A1 "In Vatican City, A Cardinal Works To Balance Budget")