New for December

The simmering Yankees stadium debate finally exploded last month, and if this brings to mind dinner spattered on the ceiling, you're not far off. Two public hearings on the plan to dump an $800 million playpen for George Steinbrenner's minions into a public park in the Bronx turned into public melees, replete with chants of "Shame!" and public officials being booed off the stage.

Fortunately, all this took place just in time for my long-awaited Village Voice article on the hidden public costs of the Yanks and Mets stadium deals. (I won't spoil the ending, but let's just say there are plenty of zeroes after the number.) And no sooner had that article hit the newsstand than another $75 million in hidden costs revealed themselves, which I duly reported on, along with the first installment of Bronx meeting chaos, for the Voice's web-only edition.

Speaking of the web - and of stadiums costing the public more than you think - I also wrote a piece for about Judith Grant Long's groundbreaking research on the true public costs of sports facilities. (Subscribers-only, sorry.) Then, because I am a glutton for terms like "post-Katrina economy" and "gim-crackery," I spent a couple of hours chatting with BP readers about stadiums and various related topics. (This one everybody can read.)

Finally, for those of you who've been patiently waiting for the "backordered" sign on Field of Schemes' page to go away, I have bad news, good news, and more good news for you. First, the bad: The initial paperback print run of FoS is almost sold out, so Powell's and other bookstores won't be able to reorder copies just yet. Now the good: Common Courage Press plans to print a new edition next fall, just in time for your early Christmas orders. (And early Hanukkah orders. And, er, late Sukkot orders.)

And finally, the other good: You can still get Field of Schemes via mail order direct from the publisher, or from my own private stash if you want it signed by the authors. Well, by one author, unless I happen to pass by the Bronx Zoo on the way to the post office.

I think that's it for now. Best of luck surviving the holidays, and see you in the brand new year 2006 - hopefully with fewer disasters (though I'm not counting on it).

Props: This month's go to my two favorite online serials: My pal Brandon spent a week listening to nothing but freeform radio station WFMU, and lived to tell the tale. (See the right-hand box for subsequent installments.) It's like the perfect distallation of why WFMU is both the greatest radio station on Earth, and something that even its own DJs admit you'd have to be insane to listen to all the time. Then, for a palate cleanser, head over the Roots and Grubs, my other pal Matthew Amster-Burton's awesome new blog about food as viewed through the eyes of his not-quite-two-year-old daughter Iris (and her restaurant reviewer poppa). My only problem: I keep reading the blog subtitle ("Dada put a hearty dinner on the table") as being the opening line of Tristan Tsara's memoirs...

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