1. We spent last weekend in Chicago, Dr. Mrs. Q attending the Association for Psychological Science convention, and me squiring CJ all over Windytown. Saturday night we had dinner at the thoroughly enjoyable Santorini in Greektown. Having just finished Dave Grazian’s book about the urban nightlife hustle I was uncomfortably aware that the general air of carefree Mediterranean revelry was carefuly constructed by the management. But it works! And the food is delicious and plentiful! And you can order cheese on fire! Good Greek food is almost impossible to find in Madison; I told the maitre d’ at Santorini that if he had friends looking for a business opportunity they could make a mint running a restaurant here. He responded with an excellent point I’d never considered. In Greektown, a dozen Greek restaurants within a few blocks support a wholesale importer/distributor in the same neighborhood. If you run a Greek restaurant where there aren’t any others, you’ve got to bring in your food from the nearest distributor — which for Madison would be three hours away, in Greektown. And if you’re doing that you can’t sell dinner at $13 a plate the way Santorini does.
  2. Speaking of Greek things on fire, Nick Markakis continues to impress; at 24, he’s the best hitter on the team, and unless you have a really high opinion of Adam Jones, that’s going to stay the case for many years. Monday he broke out of a mini-slump and tagged the Yankees for a single, double, and homer as the Orioles won 6-1. Then again, he went 0-for-6 last night in what might have been the Orioles’ finest game of the year — twice the Yankees went up by four runs, and twice the Orioles came back; Dennis Sarfate picked Derek Jeter off second to end a threat; in the top of the 11th, with the bases loaded, Brian Roberts snagged a rocket off the bat of Alex Rodriguez and turned it into a 4-2-5 double play. The Yankees did score a run that inning — but at that point, they looked down into the musty bottom of their bullpen and all that was left in there was LaTroy Hawkins. A third of an inning later, with the bases loaded, unlikely hero Alex Cintron smacked a first-pitch Hawkins hanger to the warning track and the Orioles were 10-9 winners. We’re still not a very good team — but we do have a deep, competent bullpen, and it makes a big psychic difference if you’re a fan. You check the score, it’s tied, and you feel like you’re going to win. And then you do win! OPA!
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