Cerebral Kotex

Please excuse the offensive title, but I am currently in a battle over gender issues with my sociologist daughter, Lilly. While most of her research in her PhD studies relates to food access, she is keenly attuned to issues affecting women. For example, a while back she produced a research paper on gender bias in student evaluations of faculty. I will describe as well as I can how she does her research and then will follow with an example of my own.

Lilly authored her paper with two colleagues. She and another male colleague each taught two sections of an introductory sociology course, one as themselves and one as the other. They graded all of the students’ work together using the same rubric. At the end of the course the students evaluated the faculty member on the same criteria.

The faculty member perceived as male received slightly higher ratings in each of the twelve categories. While this was a small sample the implications were evident. It appeared that both males and females held women to a different standard than they did their male counterparts. The paper garnered a small amount of national press which made me and my wife extremely proud. You can read more about her paper at The Huffington Post through this link:


I consider myself to be one of the good guys regarding the roles of males and females, and she continually reminds me of my vestigial Neanderthal bent. As a thirty year educator and general stat-head I have occasionally taken upon my own research studies albeit somewhat less professionally.

The Dookie Project

My friend Tyrone, who is somewhat less enlightened than myself, often begins a conversation with a provocative research question such as “Why don’t women have a sense of humor?” I tried to explain to him that his use of anecdotal evidence is unscientific and possibly even misogynistic. Something happened however that gave us the opportunity for a slightly more refined test. While heading into an office for a doctor visit with my wife, I saw a sign that caused me to laugh out loud. I immediately took out my phone and took a picture of the sign.

DookieAs you can see, this doctor has a name that is also used in some cultures as a piece of excrement. Besides being used as a noun, it can also be used as a verb similar to crap, poop, or shit. Like many men, I am of the firm belief that everyone should try to be twelve years old at least once per day. During one of these moments, I laughed at this sign. Of course, my wife did not. What really torqued her off was when I took out my phone to photograph the sign.

“You’re going to send that to Tyrone, aren’t you?” she asked.

“Of course I am,” I replied. “He’ll get a big laugh out of it.”

The fact that she knew I was sending this to Tyrone indicated that she also knew at some level, that this was funny to somebody. I texted the picture to Tyrone with the caption, “If you don’t laugh at this, I’ll eat my hat.” For good measure, I sent it to my friend Marcus with the comment, “I’ll pay you $50 if you don’t laugh at this.” Tyrone called me back immediately still in the throes of laughter. When I called Marcus later to find out if I owed him a fifty, he said, “Of course I laughed, but my wife didn’t get why it was funny.”

My feedback to date was split completely along gender lines, or possibly maturity lines assuming that they are not the same thing. I began to deepen my research by sending this to both males and females with the simple question, “Did you laugh?” The results continued to be pretty much the same. Cousin Beth didn’t get it, but her husband Rob laughed out loud. I wasn’t sure he’d get the reference, but he reminded me that he grew up in the Bronx. My nephew Mike was offended at the mere suggestion that he didn’t laugh, while his mother Judy was unamused. My daughter Lilly admitted to laughing, but that was pretty clearly at me rather than with me.

It continued pretty much along these lines until I had enough data for a conclusion. It appears that women indeed do not have a sense of humor. You can decide for yourself who’s research is more sound. Oh, and by the way, the Huffington Post has yet to interview me regarding my research.

© Copyright 2015 – Robert O’Connell. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert O’Connell with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Favorite Uniforms – Volume II

I am going to use this blogspace occasionally to discuss my favorite sports uniforms. Feel free to respond to me with your own thoughts or nominations. I’m continuing out with baseball, my favorite sport, and now onto the American League franchises.

New York Yankees – I HATE the Yankees. I always have and I expect that I always will. I actually like the classic and unchanging uniforms and I like that they continue to leave the names off of them. The pinstripes make them look like they are all business.

For my collection – I would be proud to wear a flannel replica of the Yogi Berra home pinstripe. He’s the only Yankee who is so adored that he transcends my ban on all things Yankee.                    yogi Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles have always been colorful but still tasteful. They’ve also had a lot of very good players. I prefer the cartoon Oriole face on the caps from the 70’s over the ornithologically correct bird from both earlier and later. They went overboard with color during the Disco Era as seen below.

osFor my collection – I’m going to get weird here. Since I can’t decide on an Oriole, I’m going to pick an Eddie Gaedel St. Louis Browns jersey with the number 1/8 on the back. If you don’t recall, Mr. Gaedel is the little person that owner Bill Veeck sent up to bat earning a walk in his only professional plate appearance.


Boston Red Sox – This is yet another franchise that I don’t much care for. They also have had some great and some interesting players. I prefer the classics to any of the colorful jerseys and the weird throwback shown here.

rs1For my collection – You can’t go wrong with Ted Williams, but that one is kind of obvious. I’m tempted to pick the ill-fated Tony Conigliaro, but that may be too obscure. An old Baba Ruth would be snarky, but that was pre-number, so no one would get it. Sign me up for a Carl Yastrzemski. I’ll stand in the box with my bat held straight up just like he did. yazTampa Bay Rays – This is a relatively new team with a lot of different jerseys, but none of them particularly special. For one of the league “Turn Back the Clock” promotions, they designed faux 1970’s era uniforms that were absolutely hideous. Ray2For my collection – I’ll take one of the yellow-sleeved fake throwbacks with Evan Longoria’s number. ray1Toronto Blue Jays –The jerseys with the blue jay in the center is the nicest.
For my collection – I’m going for the Joe Carter World Series version. He looks so happy after hitting a series winning homer, one of two in history. jaysDetroit Tigers – This script “D” is iconic and always looks great. Some of their road jerseys are nice as well.

For my collection –This is the first place where I just could not decide on one. As a matter of fact, I chose three Tiger tops, A current Miguel Cabrera road jersey, A road Al Kaline flannel, and of course, a Hank Greenberg home jersey to honor a fellow member of the tribe.


Minnesota Twins – I like the TC caps for Twin Citties. The script Twins is probably my favorite. This franchise also included the original Washington Senators. A Walter Johnson would be neat, but again, he predates uniform numbers so no one would know who’s jersey it was.

For my collection – I would opt for a Harmon Killebrew flannel.killer
Kansas City Royals – I never cared for the baby blue and dislike the more recent variations even more.

For my collection – While George Brett might seem the obvious choice, I just didn’t much care for him. I would take a Dan Quisenberry. He was a decent player, had a great name, and left us too early from brain cancer.

QuizCleveland Indians – The Indians have had some hideous uniforms to go along with their terrible teams. Below are two examples. Ick, right?


For my collection – I like the Luis Tiant vest with the red sleeves underneath in spite of the racist, preening, Chief Wahoo.

TiantChicago White Sox – This is the franchise that has taken the most risk with its uniforms, mostly to horrible results. Below are a couple of examples, including the short pants with lapels that died a quick death.


Here are some even worse ones that thankfully lost a uniform contest. WS1981 ContestFor my collection – The Dick Allen version in red would be my choice. He was one of the biggest iconoclasts in baseball. DickOakland Athletics – The A’s went insane with green and yellow in the late sixties and have been there ever since. They had every permutation of green, yellow, and white tops matched with white or yellow pants.was on the table. AsFor my collection – I’d have to get the Reggie Jackson uniform from the 1971 All-Star Game in Detroit. Reggie hit a home run off of Doc Ellis of the Pirates that was the hardest ball I’ve ever seen hit. It hit the light stanchion on the stadium roof and was still going up at the time. Look for it on Youtube. Reggie Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – I’ve never been in love with their jerseys but the early ones are okay except for the weird hat with the halo on it. HaloFor my collection – Definitely a Nolan Ryan.

RyanHouston Astros – This team has the most polarizing jersey in baseball history and of course, my personal favorite. But, before they became the Astros, they were called the Colt .45’s for a few years. Imagine today having a gun on your jersey. The “C” was made up of the smoke from the barrel!

Colts2I did like the shooting star version that the Astros adopted next. RustyFor my collection – I continue to be in love with the rainbow jerseys from the early eighties. I’m going with a Doug Rader, a total goofball who was immortalized in Jim Bouton’s Ball Four.

RaderThe only downside is that Yogi Berra had to wear one, which just isn’t right.Yogi2Texas Rangers – I just never connected with the Rangers or any of their jerseys. It could be a Texas thing. The Rangers were briefly a later version of the Washington Senators.
For my collection –Frank Howard was a favorite of mine. He was 6′ 8″ and wore glasses. He didn’t look much like a ballplayer, but when he hit the ball, it was like a rocket.

FrankhowardSeattle Mariners – This is another new team with mediocre uniforms.

For my collection – I’m going to get weird. Even though the Mariners had nothing to do with the Seattle Pilots other than playing in the same city, they used the Pilots design for throwbacks. I’m taking an Ichiro Suzuki model.

ichiroHere are some “Turn Ahead the Clock” jerseys from recent years. They are all ugly.


Please feel free to share your opinions with me,

My next visit to uniforms will stay with baseball and include some movie favorites, Negro Leagues, and a few other oddities.

© Copyright 2015 – Robert O’Connell. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert O’Connell with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


This is a story of mind-blowing surprise, or at least it was for me. The problem is that I haven’t found anyone my age or younger who really gets it. As such, this may jump around a bit as I provide some background.

Lunch – A few months ago, I met two of my fellow authors from my writer’s group, The Parkland Writer’s Café, for lunch. One of the young ladies was Alice, who published her first novel, Acapulco, at the age of 91. The other was Fedora, who published a wonderful novel called Jaffa Beach, a few years ago. I recommend them both and they are available on Amazon. Fedora had been working on a memoir, and I was helping her out. She was born in Romania and lived there during the communist occupation. She later moved to Israel during both the early years of the country and her marriage. She and her husband subsequently came to America and spent time in New York, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Detroit, and currently Delray Beach, Florida.

Fedora’s memoir consists of an amazing array of stories, both heartwarming and heart-wrenching from all of these places. I had suggested that she create a three volume series entitled An Immigrant’s Tale, with each volume being called individually, Song of Romania, Song of Israel, and Song of America. She had put her Romania stories in chronological order, and had brought me several photographs of her life and family in Romania to get ideas for a cover.

Fedora had spent much of her life as a concert pianist before becoming an author, and this is where things got interesting. It seems that Alice was also a semi-professional musician and I was also pretty versed in the subject. My musical background is strictly amateur, but my grandfather, Oscar, was an extremely talented violinist and I had significant exposure to classical music as a youth.

While looking through Fedora’s pictures and discussing her background for a book bio, I asked her a question.

“Forgive me for asking this, Fedora. I know that you performed professionally as a pianist, but can you give me some perspective as to what level of a musician you were?” I asked.
She reached into her bag where she had kept her photos and pulled out a photocopied page containing two pictures and a lot of writing in Russian. Even though I could not read a word of it, my mouth fell open.

KABOOM!!! Mind blown.

1958 – In 1958, at least two significant things happened. In July, I was born. Okay, maybe not so significant, but two weeks prior to that event, something bigger happened.

This was during the height of the Cold War between Communist Russia and the United States. Russia held the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Competition for pianists, violinists, cellists, and singers. This was the classical music equivalent of the Olympics. In an upset as significant as the 1980 US Hockey gold medal or possibly even David beating Goliath, a 23-year-old Texan named Van Cliburn won the prize for the piano competition. I know this doesn’t mean much today, but this was as much a watershed event for classical music in America as has ever taken place. Van Cliburn came home to a ticker-tape parade in Manhattan, still the only classical musician to be so honored. He was on the cover of Time Magazine and appeared on Ed Sullivan. If by chance any young people are reading this, you can google these things. They were quite a big deal at the time.

Since my grandparents were classical music fans and also wanted to inspire my brother and me, they took every opportunity to make us watch any televised performances by Van Cliburn and explained the significance. To me, he was as big as or possibly bigger than Elvis or the Beatles at the time. By now, you must be wondering why any of this this is important.

Lunch – I stutter to Fedora, “Is this what I think it is?”
Fedora tells me that a former colleague of hers went to a recent Tchaikovsky Competition and had the opportunity to see their archives. He was able to photocopy the original program from the inaugural competition. On facing pages were the picture and bio of two of the participants, Van Cliburn and Fedora.

Fedora Van Cliburn

No translation needed.

“Wait…Whaaaat? You were there?” I asked.

“Sadly, no,” said Fedora. “My family had applied to emigrate to Israel for several years. At the last minute, the communist regime decided that it would be embarrassing to allow me to represent Romania. Thankfully, shortly afterward, we were able to leave.”

“That’s even more amazing,” I said. “It means that you could have won.”

“Impossible,” said Fedora. “I was no Van Cliburn.”

“That’s my point,” I replied. “Don’t you see? Every other participant knows that they lost, that they were no Van Cliburn. You were and still are, the only one on the planet who still had a chance.”

© Copyright 2015 – Robert O’Connell. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert O’Connell with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Favorite Uniforms – Volume I

I am going to use this blogspace occasionally to discuss my favorite sports uniforms. Feel free to respond to me with your own thoughts or nominations. I’m starting out with baseball, my favorite sport, and I’m limiting the first installment to the current National League franchises.

New York Mets – The Mets were the team of my youth, so I have a bias toward their uniforms. I grew up with the 1969 championship flannels and those are still my favorite both home and away. I do not care for any of the enhancements over the years including the championship 1986 versions.

weisFor my collection – While I’d consider a ’69 Koosman, Grote, or Agee, I think that I’d opt for an Al Weis just to see how many people would know who it was without the nameplate.

Philadelphia Phillies – This is one that I consider to be pretty standard and slightly above the middle of the pack due to its longevity. Again, bias slips into the picture because of my lifelong hatred of the Phils. I do however, have a slight affinity for their jerseys of the late sixties because of the unusual font they used for their numbers. I remember Deron Johnson in the on deck circle in his number eleven with the two oddly shaped ones.

SchmidtFor my collection – I wouldn’t turn away a classic Mike Schmidt. He was after all, the greatest third baseman ever.

Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos – I can take or leave the Nats jerseys. Quite frankly, they have too many variations, including the caps. The one thing I like is the pretzel “W” on the red caps, but I liked it more on the old Senators caps. I will address that when I get to the American League. The Expos uniforms are another story. They used a lot of color without looking gimmicky, particularly on the caps. They had an interestingly stylized logo. They used a different font for their numbers and used lower case in their team name. All of these factors combined into an exotic look for the first non-American team. I don’t care so much for the pale blue ones, but the white…magnifique!

RustyFor my collection – Rusty Staub, without a doubt. Love the uniform and love the player.

Atlanta Braves – The old script with the tomahawk is classic, particularly in flannel, but I was never a big fan. The racist image of Chief Wahoo may have been a factor. The ’74 blues from when Aaron broke Ruth’s record were interesting including the odd lower case A on the caps. Overall, I put this in the middle of the pack.

SpahnFor my collection – A ‘50’s era flannel Warren Spahn would work for me.

Miami/Florida Marlins – I traded in the Mets for the Marlins when I moved to Florida in 2002. I never cared for the teal of Florida and I never liked black tops from their latest World Series appearance. Their new gaudy tops in Miami are no better. They may be a good fit for their bathhouse-looking stadium that they stole from the taxpayers, but they don’t look like professional ballplayers.

DtrainFor my collection – Stanton is a stud, but I’ll bet he’s playing elsewhere in three years. Miggy wasn’t here long enough. Uggla faded too quickly. I would definitely go with the D-Train. Dontrelle Willis was such a pleasure to watch here.

Pittsburgh Pirates – This is another classic. They also had a gaudy colorful phase in the 70’s and 80’s. Their 1979 World Series against the Orioles was great, but was also the epitome of baseball in the disco era. Several National League teams wore the pillbox style old-fashioned caps for the bicentennial in 1976, but only the pirates stuck with them for several additional seasons. They even put stars on them for certain accomplishments like the buckeyes on the Ohio State football helmets. Pops Stargell and the Pirate Fam-i-lee actually wore their bizarre outfits well. Still, the giant Dave Parker in head-to-toe yellow was a bit much to take.

ClementeFor my collection – I’m a Stargell fan, but did anyone ever look more perfect in a baseball uniform than Roberto Clemente? While I love the flannels, the Pirates were among the first to switch to knits. I’ll take the 1971 Clemente.

St. Louis Cardinals – The birds on the bat is classic but works much better in flannel. I also don’t care for the powder blue versions. The caps are classic and if you are going to use red, than make it RED, unlike some of the more subdued teams.
mccarverFor my collection – Musial would be great as would Brock. A Maris from ’67 would be cool. I would most like a Gibson, but it just wouldn’t look imposing enough on me. I’m going with a Tim McCarver flannel, just to be different.

Milwaukee Brewers/Seattle Pilots – They’ve had a lot of variety over the years particularly on their caps. The MB in the form of a baseball glove is clever, but looks a little Minor League. I don’t care for the blue and yellow either. The Pilots were only around for a year and had the ridiculous scrambled eggs on their caps.

YountFor my collection – This team is so devoid of players with personality that I am having a hard time picking a jersey. I suppose I can take the safe route and go with Robin Yount or Rollie Fingers. I may have to go with a vintage Pilots jersey for a conversation piece. If the Pilots jerseys weren’t so hideous, I’d pick a Jim Bouton in honor of Ball Four, the most important baseball book ever. I’ll go with the Yount road blue.

Cincinnati Reds – I truly hate the Reds. While I acknowledge their greatness, Pete Rose and Joe Morgan are two of my least favorite baseball players. I also don’t particularly care for Tony Perez (I could have driven in 90 batting cleanup for those teams), Barry Larkin, Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, Eric Davis, The Nasty Boys, Cesar Geronimo, George Foster, well, you get the idea. They have had little changes to their uniforms over the years other than the vests of the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s. Those were pretty cool, particularly when the behemoth Ted Kluzewski would swing multiple bats in the on deck circle wearing the vest with an undershirt with the barest of sleeves. That was intimidating.

                      Klu     Frazier

For my collection – I’d probably go with a Todd Frazier. My nephew played High School ball with him. If I had the arms for it, I’d go with the Klu.

Chicago Cubs – This is another team that I don’t care for. I hope they go another century without a title. Even their old uniforms are drab. If they made a Steve Bartman jersey, I would buy both the home and road versions.


For my collection – I’d have to go with the ’69 flannels. I’d probably opt for the Ron Santo over Ernie Banks. I always liked him and felt he should have made the Hall of Fame sooner. He retired at 35 and had he hung on three more years as a part timer, his numbers would have been unassailable.

Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodger home whites are my absolute favorite. They are clean and simple and the red number on the front really pops. For some reason, their uniforms always seem to be a brighter and crisper white than other teams.

SandyFor my collection – This is a tough call between the Jackie Robinson Brooklyn and the Sandy Koufax Los Angeles. As a fellow member of the tribe, I will go with the Koufax.

San Francisco Giants – This should be more popular than it is to me. They have some classic flannels and some great players. Other than the orange jerseys, they are pretty classic. Still, for some reason, the Giants have never resonated with me.

GiantsFor my collection – I’m going with a 1916 Christy Mathewson jersey. The downside is that it has no name or number, so it is unidentifiable. The upside…it’s plaid!!!

Arizona Diamondbacks – This is another relatively new team with hideous uniforms. They’ve had a lot of variety, but not anything special.

UnitFor my collection – I like Randy Johnson. I’ll go with the Big Unit from the World Series team.

Colorado Rockies – Purple and black are funeral colors, not baseball colors. Their uniforms are ugly and their history is filled with mediocre hitters with inflated stats and pitchers with even more inflated ERAs.

WalkerFor my collection – Only because I have to pick something, I’ll go with a Larry Walker.

San Diego Padres – The Padres have a candidate for the worst uniforms ever, a piss-yellow model in the early 70’s. From 1980 through 1984, they wore brown jerseys on the road with a stylized font. These were disco-era, but somehow still not bad.GwynnFor my collection – I considered a first-year Nate Colbert, but decided on the more obvious 1984 Tony Gwynn road brown.

For fun, I have added some pictures of the worst National League uniforms EVER….

pirates1Untitled  rock  pads p2 mets giants brew

© Copyright 2015 – Robert O’Connell. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert O’Connell with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.