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USMNT 2 - 0 Trinidad & Tobago

This was the win the U.S. needed and wanted, but based on what I saw last night, I'm not feeling real great about our chances vs. Mexico.

Trinidad & Tobago looked like they were suffering from altitude sickness most of the night (so did the U.S. in the first half), and at some point the game felt like target practice until -- thanks to the magic of Christian Pulisic -- we managed to build two nice goals. Mexico will not be as forgiving.

I think we can stagger our way into the World Cup finals in Russia thanks to, let's face it, pretty weak competition in the CONCACAF other than Mexico, but I don't see us walking away from Sunday night's game in Mexico City with any points to show for it.

The Indianapolis 500

I lived in Indianapolis for five years before I made it to my first Indianapolis 500, but since then I've been to every single one. This year's -- the race's 101st running -- was my fourth in a row, and though I no longer live in Indianapolis, I will be going back every single year I possibly can, for as long as I can. It is without a doubt my favorite holiday and my favorite day of the year.

Here's basically how a typical day at the Indy 500 breaks down (well, my typical day at the Indy 500):
Assuming you're staying in Indy, you leave for the track at about 8:00 AMTraffic depending, you get to your parking spot by about 9:00 AM9:01 AM start drinking11:45 AM leave for the walk to the trackNoon, get settled in for all the pre-race festivities ("America the Beautiful," "Back Home in Indiana," and the "National Anthem")Noon - 3:00 PM watch cars go whizzing by you at 200+ MPH3:00 PM to 5:00 PM work on getting back to your car and clear of a…

Review: Death of a Salesman, starring Zach Grenier, at the O'Reilly Theater (Pittsburgh)

Most of the works of fiction and theater that are closest to my heart are those that I read or saw first in my high school years. Not sure why this is, except that I had a couple outstanding literature teachers at the Linsly School -- specific shout-outs to Mssrs. Robert Hunter and Robert Fisher -- who breathed life into such American classics like Death of a Salesman at a time when my mind was more supple and impressionable than it is now and (perhaps more importantly) I had more time to pore over works of literature and absorb them. For this reason I have always had a soft spot for Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller...and also because it's a fantastic play.

What's amazing when you go back and re-read or re-watch something that you were first exposed to as a teenager is how differently it resonates with you. Reading this play at age 17 meant something completely different to me than watching it 20 years later. At 17 I pitied and even scoffed at the desperate characters of…

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina (Pittsburgh)

Let's start with the good stuff first:

Great atmosphere. Ate at this restaurant on a beautiful spring evening recently, out on their side patio, with a nice view overlooking the North Side of Pittsburgh. It has a great rustic yet contemporary South American feel. Great menu. If you're a meat-lover you'll have tons of options (after all parrilla means grill in Spanish) at Gaucho Parrilla Argentina. So many great steak-based dishes, one trip is not nearly enough.  Now, to the kvetches:
Bad logistical setup. Gaucho Parrilla Argentina has chosen to eschew the normal restaurant format of "sit down, order the meal, have someone bring it to you, eat" in favor of the format of "stand in line for 30 minutes and order at the counter" format. I don't know why this seemed like a good idea to them, but I can personally attest that I never even encountered this style of restaurant when I was in Argentina myself. So...idk what's up here. Portions are a little m…

New Yorker Fiction Review #174: "Pardon Edward Snowden"

Review of a short story from the Dec. 12, 2016 issue of The New Yorker...

This is a short story about a poet (meta) who gets asked to sign a petition regarding Edward Snowden. The petition is in the form of a poem -- called, in the story, a "poetician" -- and in the story the poet, Mark McClain thinks to himself: "...why not just have a petition in the form of a petition? Why drag the poem into the muck?"

Well...I might ask Joseph O'Neill why, if he wants to make a grandiose statement about the purity of the poetic art form, the noble struggles of the unheralded keepers of the flame of "real" poetry, about what a travesty it is that Bob Dylan got the Noble Prize for Literature, then drag this short story into the muck, why not just write an essay about it? The essay would have been far more entertaining, intersting, and convincing than this insipid and pretentious piece of "fiction."

The older I get, the less and less "serious" I g…