August 22, 2014 / 26th of Av, 5774
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Dan Brosgol

  • It’s that time of year again, the time of year when lower-level soccer clubs across Europe are fighting for Champions League qualification. While the top-flight European league place their top finishers right into the group stage, the domestic champions of nations like Kazakhstan, Romania, Azerbaijan, Slovakia, and, yes, Israel, have to make their way through a handful of qualifying rounds in order to win the right to play in the Champions League come fall. By the end of August, 10 small ma...

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  • Thursday was an odd day, a day in which I fought with National Grid (and won), played a basketball game against a team of kids half my age (and lost), and generally cringed whenever I looked at the news. I also ran, got my bike fixed, tried to sell my car, went to work, had two kids go to the doctor, and had one kid step on a nail. And there was definitely more.

    Despite my adventures around town, I will never forget when Twitter went bezerk when the plane went down over Ukraine,...

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  • Until Friday, I had never heard of Earth To Echo. But I saw the title pop up on the Moviefone app, watched the trailer with a few of my kids, and on a sparkly July afternoon I headed off to Woburn and took three of them to see it.

    What a good decision. Beyond the new leather recliners in the theater, the movie was a total win. It’s a movie about adolescence and hope, alienation and friendship, life and adventure, all seen through the eyes, smartphones, and videoc...

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  • In my house, there’s always someone in preschool. We’re staring down the barrel of year number eight in a row of non-overlapping preschool years, with another four, at least, coming up. The good news is that it’s on the way to work and convenient for me. The bad news is that preschool keeps getting more expensive. Obviously there’s an easy way to solve that problem—stop having kids!—but clearly we weren’t into that approach. So no need to p...

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  • If you know me, you know I love brisket.

    I’ve written about it, I’ve bought the expensive Whole Foods variety, I’ve bought the cheaper Market Basket variety, and I’ve been alarmed at the recent brisket shortage due to Arby’s… but now I’ve really done it.

    This week we’re up in the White Mountains and it’s been another extravaganza of StoryLand, Clark’s Trading Post, the Kancamagus, and being 140 miles away from work,...

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  • There’s nothing like a good crisis to change the course of history.

    Case in point, David Kalis, who witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union while on a month-long trip to Leningrad, and ended up staying for another two-plus years as the country transitioned into a quasi-kleptocratic, Mafia-flavored, not-so-capitalist nascent state. His new book, Vodka Shot, Pickle Chaser, takes the reader on a wild ride through those heady times.

    As we follow the author through his ti...

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  • I love soccer jerseys. I could buy one a week and still find a new one that I want. But every four years I am generally disappointed with the national team jerseys for the World Cup- it always seems like the manufacturers are trying too hard to be minimalistic, or clever, and fail.

    Important note: I hate collars on jerseys. They really don’t belong. So if you happen to like one of the collared shirts, go for it. I’m not going near them. Also, I also vastly prefer long sleeves on so...

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  • Let’s settle something right off the bat: there is no ancient tradition of eating dairy foods on Shavuot.

    In fact, it’s not even ambiguous. The Torah talks all about first fruits and the early summer harvest of wheat, and not at all about dairy. The specious connection between milk products and Shavuot only emerged centuries later, one of those lovely rabbinic inventions based solely on the “land flowing with milk and honey” verse.

    So while I apologize...

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  • On May 15 we had our fifth kid.

    That’s not a typo.

    Having five kids is countercultural—after all, we aren’t religious, or rich—but I guess we’re just old school. Since a rainy day in August 2003 when my oldest arrived, to last week when the newest one said hello, a lot has happened. Two new cars, a new house, a handful of new jobs, three Red Sox championships, countless iPhones, Barack Obama…you get it.

    So, with one eye looking forward ...

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  • With the Champions League final in the rearview mirror and all major European domestic leagues now over, the focus of the soccer universe has shifted abruptly to the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, which begins in 15 days. The best players in Europe are meeting their national teams all over the world as the last slew of international friendlies get underway. Most of the 32 teams heading to Brazil, in addition to many that aren’t, are getting three warm-up games in before they d...

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