Had a fine time relaxing in the Hamptons over this surprisingly sunny weekend. I wouldn't have minded too much if it rained, though, since I enjoyed having the time to read and poke around online and such. And it had been a long time since I devoted the better part of a Sunday afternoon to reading the Times. My 4-and-a-half-year-old nephew came along, looking for some entertainment, when I was just picking up the NYT Magazine (which I'd left for last). He looked at it, and then at me, and then he asked, "If it's not interesting, why does it have a robot on the cover?"
His assumption that the NYT Magazine was "not interesting" was probably the result of an earlier exchange with some other grown-up, but I prefer to think it was a completely spontaneous pronouncement. In any case, his point was well taken. Why was I seeking out the content in the NYT Magazine when I could be doing something rewarding, like playing with my nephews? We ended up watching the last half of the Yankees-Orioles game, after which everybody went outside to play some backyard wiffleball, with rules made up Calvinball-style by the aforementioned four-year-old. After making contact with the ball, he trotted proudly around the "bases" we'd established, then headed off into the far reaches of the yard. "I'm still running the bases!" he called back to us. "There's lots more of them over here!" Eventually he finished his victory lap and came back to establish a new rule: all players called "out" had to sit in "Baseball Jail" (the nearby Little Tykes playhouse) until someone else got out and took their place. Baseball Jail is sort of like the pickle jar, but more awesome. And more challenging for those of us over 4 feet tall. Frankly, I think baseball's popularity would soar if the MLB adopted some of these rules.