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July 26, 2008


hit and run

Elliott deserves special mention in this subject matter.


Wiki is sort of interesting on Southpaw. The OED vs the Baseball Machine. I wonder where it really comes from.

By the way, I suspect real causation from lefthandedness that is still largely unimagined. Those are motor impulses from the other, is it better, half. And if better, for what?

hit and run

My guesses for sports where the lefty advantage is most dramatic - bowling and fencing. Bowling? Yes, a lefty often has the left side of the lane to his or herself and can carve their own personalized groove in the oil used to surface the lane.

Obama bowled a 37.


Baseball fields are ideally built with homeplate in the southwest corner of the field. Wind and sun, I guess. So when the pitcher stands on the mound facing the hitter, his left arm is hanging to the south and the right arm to the north. Thus, the term Southpaw for a lefty. In all my baseball days I never heard of a Northpaw though.

Clear as mud?


Yeah, Wiki claims that baseball batters faced east, but the OED has a reference to southpaw only three years after the first organized baseball game.

Barney Frank

So, shouldn't something similar provide an edge in boxing? Sure, but at the professional level, try and get a fight. I assume that lefties do fine in amateur tournaments where their opponents can't simply refuse to schedule them. This was covered in Rocky.

Precisely Tom. In amateur boxing lefties are considerbly more prevalent. I used to box as an amateur and drove righties nuts. I am ambidextrous which made it even tougher; Sugar Ray Leonard, though a rightie would often switch to confuse an opponent as well.
But it is axiomatic in professional boxing that unless a lefty is so good that it is impossible to ignore him (usually through a great amateur career) he will not get a fight as a pro against a top contender.


Someone has probably linked all this stuff before, but on the off chance...

Yesterday, James Lewis at AT had an insightful read on what makes Obama sooooo uninteresting as a person:

Obama's two (count 'em, two!) autobiographies are all about his sense of inferiority. "Dreams of My Father" really has to do with the ego crunch of being abandoned by one's idealized father; it's a tough thing for any kid. Obama's mother was also an intermittent presence, and abandonment is the overwhelming theme of his early life. "What's wrong with me that my parents aren't here?" That's what abandoned kids end up asking themselves.

Only Barack's grandparents and a series of father figures made up for that yawning gap, and that was never enough. So Obama discovered his (made-up) racial identity as a solution -- he would Save His People to fill that hole in his soul.

Obama is a mixed-race man who has no American slavery in his family past; growing up in Hawaii he never encountered Jim Crow segregation. But Obama chose the identity of American black victimhood in spite of his very favored life.

Obama's messianic persona, his need to Save His People, was his way of filling that childhood hole in his soul.

Barack's run for President is his big chance to make up for those haunting feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness. So for the Obama campaign, grandiose ego display is the answer to persistent feelings of being small and insignificant.

Barack is constantly trying to convince himself that he is OK. The outside world is just a crutch to prop up his self-esteem. But the US Constitution says nothing about the Presidency serving as psychotherapy.

This morning Steve Sailer writes:

MSM starts to notice Obama's biography gap

Gabriel Sherman's article "End of the Affair" in The New Republic recounts a lot of gripes reporters have with the arrogance and secrecy of the Obama campaign. Most of it is the usual dull whining, but this is interesting:

"Reporters who have covered Obama's biography or his problems with certain voter blocs have been challenged the most aggressively. "They're terrified of people poking around Obama's life," one reporter says. "The whole Obama narrative is built around this narrative that Obama and David Axelrod built, and, like all stories, it's not entirely true. So they have to be protective of the crown jewels." Another reporter notes that, during the last year, Obama's old friends and Harvard classmates were requested not to talk to the press without permission."

Better late than never, I suppose ...

By the way, can you imagine being asked not to talk to the press about some guy you went to school with without his permission?

Sailer provides a link to Sherman's article, which can be read in its entirety without a subscription.


Only left-handed people are in their right mind! Why be a "galdiator" when you were created to be "caesar".


Good stuff, Anduril. I started to object that I'd read that second piece earlier than this morning, then I realized that it was Sherman's I'd read, and Sailor's that was this morning. Thanks.


There is an advantage to being only mostly dead.


Why be a gladiolus when you could be a narcissus?


Well, now we know. Obama finds the hoopla over his decision to not visit wounded soldiers...drum roll please...a distraction.


Visiting gladiators is not for narcissists; the contrast is not becoming.


Having played a fair amount of competitive tennis, gotta say that a lefty has a pretty decent advantage. Ask McEnroe.

As for 4 out of our last five presidents being lefty, I think the MV has it wrong relating to Reagan as left handed(being one of the past five). A link to pic of him throwing a baseball right handed is under my name. I tried to visualize the man signing something, legislation or whatever, and seemed to remember him signing right handed too. No picture yet but I'll keep looking.

Here's a statistical oddity for you. I think all three candidates in 92 were left handed. Bush, Clinton and Perot. What are the odds?

Alan Gunn

Are there sports other than polo in which you aren't allowed to play left-handed? (It's a safety thing in polo--a lefty and a righty going after the ball from opposite directions would be on a collision course, so everyone has to play right handed.)

I know of one left-handed baseball player who learned to throw right-handed because he was too small to be considered for a lefty position, all of which except for pitchers are for power hitters: Luis Alicea, who used to be the Cardinals' second baseman. Impressive feat.


Another link to Reagan signing something right handed under my name. Still, 3 out of the last 5 presidents being left handed is quite an anomaly. And of course, it would have been four of five had Gore prevailed (shudder).


My daughter is a lefty and she drove me nuts as she was growing up. Lefties think differently, see the world slightly askew. Not for them, but relative to how the rest of us do. She was/is very much into the arts and very physical. Sports, dancing, her favorite job was working with the whales at Sea World and doing shows. She is very non-confrontational, yet very much her own woman and holds her own. And once she is sure she is on the right track, get out of her way.


Let me add my welcome back to Jane's, anduril.

JM Hanes

I think my mother once told me that when she was growing up, a lot of schools made kids learn to write with their right hands, even if they were lefties, so a photo of Reagan at a signing ceremony might not be actually be definitive. A lot of lefties are quasi ambidextrous, and in a game where right handed mitts might be hard to come by as a kid, a photo of his stance at bat would probably be more dispositive. Just sayin'.

hit and run

I'm left handed, but like Alicea mentioned by Alan Gunn above (though just in softball, certainly not in the majors in baseball) taught myself to throw right handed when I blew out my shoulder.

I golf right handed. And bat left handed. And if I try to do the opposite in either, it is painful to watch.

And while I am left footed in soccer, I practiced enough right footed growing up that I am now not sure, if I had a chance to win a million dollars by kicking a 30 yard field goal at half time at the Super Bowl, which foot I would choose.

Barney Frank

Hey H&R, you are a rare one. Left footed and left handed is not too common.

I'm a lefty for detail work, writing, painting, drawing etc, but dribble a basketball predominately right handed and shoot with my left although I'm a fair shot with my right.
I throw a conventional frisbee toss right handed but can only do trick throws left handed.
Worst thing for me is I naturally learned to shoot a gun left handed but my dominant eye (and the one with better vision) is my right.
Don't get me started on scissors, one thing I do not do well right handed.


I remember when schools tried to switch left-handers to right. My 1st grade girlfriend was the object of such silliness and it really confused her.

My Mom was ambidextrous, but she always said it was because of years of playing the violin. She wrote with whichever hand was the most convenient, golfed right-handed, but played tennis left-handed and strangely, did jig saw puzzles with her left.

I'm right-handed but I've been told that I'm left-eyed, whatever that means, and my left hand is much stronger than my right, which probably explains why I always use the left to open pickle jars and ketchup bottles (unless there is a strong guy around to ask).


Barney, when my daughter was 12 the only thing she asked for as a birthday present was a pair of left-handed scissors.


When I said lefties see the world slightly askew in reference to my daughter, I hadn't seen Hit's left-handed admission. If anyone makes my case, he is the perfect example. Delightfully askew.

hit and run

Frisbee and scissors, I do rightly. Scissors, surely because of the lack of lefty scissors growing up (which is the same reason I golf right handed). But the frisbee? No idea.

Sara, ::grin::

Barney Frank

She was/is very much into the arts and very physical. Sports, dancing, her favorite job was working with the whales at Sea World and doing shows. She is very non-confrontational, yet very much her own woman and holds her own. And once she is sure she is on the right track, get out of her way.

Almost an exact description of me except for the whales. Well, and the gender thing too.

JM Hanes


"I've been told that I'm left-eyed, whatever that means"

Almost everyone has a "dominant" eye, and there's an easy way to find out which one it is: Point to an object across the room. While still pointing, focus on the end of your finger and first close one eye, then the other. Your finger will appear stationary to your dominant eye, and it will appear to move off target with your weaker eye.

Being left-eyed, as I am, in a right handed world has only been problematic when it comes to shooting either shotguns and cameras. When you raise a shotgun to your right shoulder to sight down the barrel with your right eye, you'll end up sighting diagonally across it with your left eye instead (like the pointing exercise in reverse) unless you actually keep your dominant eye closed -- which means you'll also be squinting slightly which doesn't help.

Larger cameras are designed for right eyed people too; the viewfinder is placed off center so that your nose doesn't get in the way. Viewfinders can be a fussy proposition in any case, and the weakness of my right eye would be a problem even if I could comfortably manage to keep my left eye closed for the better part of an afternoon field trip. In order to use my left eye, I have to turn my head (meaning my nose) sideways to the camera. It's not just that it's uncomfortable, however, it's that the camera ends up misaligned with the picture plane (i.e. at an angle to your subject) and the right side of the camera drifts upward. Unless you compensate by shifting your stance and pulling down to the right, one side of your picture or your subject will be out of focus and your horizon line will be skewed. I've taken some ten thousand photos just this year, and I still screw that up.


I believe polo is the only sport that can't be played left-handed.


JMH: Thank you. It was my eye doctor who told me about being left-eye dominant. Said it would be great if I were a pro golfer. But, cameras and gunsights are always a huge problem for me. Now I understand better why.


Hey, JMH, I never realized that about the camera. It certainly explains why I take lousy pictures -- I am right-handed, but am almost blind in my right eye.


JMH: I just reread your explanation about photography and it reminded me of a trip. My girlfriend flew back to Indianapolis to help me drive a rental truck and my car back to Calif. We took some sightseeing side trips along the way and both of us were taking lots of pictures. This predated digital. So when the pictures came back, I couldn't believe how much better hers were than mine when we were standing side by side and shooting the same scenes. I chucked all mine and got duplicates of hers.

I thought it was the difference in cameras, although she was using a cheapy point and shoot and I was using a much higher quality 35mm. But it wasn't the picture quality as much as it was composition. Mine just seemed off somehow. Her pictures were always framed perfectly for the people, scenery and light. Mine were always slightly askew.

Wow, three times in one day I got to use my all time favorite word askew, a close cousin to my second most favorite, amok.



Please update us on your grandson, if you don't mind.


(San Diego) Sea World's killer whale show is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Highly recommended if you've never been there.


bad, he is doing really well. For only 4, he is completely tuned in to his care, has learned to read his sugar monitor and already knows what he needs to do if it is too high or too low.

He told me just recently that he now knows when he starts to feel "weird." Weird means low sugar. And just yesterday, he said, "wow, I'm hyper, better have Daddy check my sugar." Hyper is sugar too high.

I also got a lessen in sugar free as only a 4 year old can give a lesson. He goes around checking everything. He can't really read yet, but he has learned the word "free" and assumes any time he see it, it means sugar free. For awhile there, he would insist you taste his sugar free soda, juice. Lifesavers, or Popsicles, whatever, so he could inform you, very imperiously I might add, that there is absolutely no difference, so there! LOL.

This month, I've got 3 more here from Indiana. Two 2 year olds, a 4 year old, a 7 year old and an 11 year old. Christian (4) balked alittle when he realized he could not always be the center of attention. Today, we are having a pool party for the 7 year old since her birthday is this week. Had to go out and meet a bunch of our neighbors to find some with kids near the same age. Hope I survive it, although thankfully I'm not required to do much but be the Gramma.


He sounds awesome!! I love his can-do attitude. Enjoy being Gramma and rest up afterwards.


Reinhard Goebel (Musica Antiqua Köln) learned to play the violin the reverse way:

He plays [i.e., bows] the violin left-handed (that is, reversed from the usual set-up) since some problems with his left hand meant he had to switch sides after he had already learnt the violin right-handed.

- Wikipedia

I call that impressive. I can't even imagine fingering any stringed instrument with my right hand. Funny, when you think about it.


My right eye is very weak, too..Hmm. I suppose if I shoot a gen I should just aim it to the left of the target?


A gen? Is that some kind of beetle? Use a pliers instead. Either hand.


gUn--sorry wise guy.

Barney Frank

When I was a kid I would crane my neck all the way over the gunstock to get my right eye on the sights. Unfortunately, to remedy things I learned to close my dominant eye rather than learning to shoot right handed.

Some of the stockmaking outfits make custom crossover stocks for people who can't train themselves to shoot with their other hand or who have lost sight in one eye altogether.
Ugly as a mud fence but they apparently work.


Both my brother and my oldest daughter bat left handed. Everything else they do right handed.


I just did JM's test. Right eye dominant. And I'm right handed. Left hand is almost useless, except when I type. I have a harder time hitting the right keys with my right hand than my left hand. Explain that...

Barney Frank

I have a harder time hitting the right keys with my right hand than my left hand. Explain that...

Try crossing your hands.
Should help.


xeodd havd

Nope. Didn't work.



Jeff at Protein Wisdom has said goodbye, au revoir. No bloggy no more-y! Guest bloggers still wandering around in shock wondering what to do next.



Do they say why?


centralcal, I commented in the other thread but forgot to ask: will Protein Wisdom go on without Jeff? I couldn't tell exactly what the plan was. Jeff didn't seem like he was shutting it down, only that he himself would no longer be posting.

Count me in with the folks who write left-handed and do everything else right-handed. Oh, except smoke - I smoke left-handed.


Huh - weird. I'm left eye dominant (in which said eye has no peripheral vision) right handed, with more strength in my left arm.

I'm starting to feel like a pretzel.


Here's a little photography trick you can use with friends and loved ones. Instead of posing them, prefocus on an unaware subject and call their name. When they turn around, catch them in a more natural pose rather than an arranged shot.

Mike G in Corvallis

All these comments, and yet nobody has mentioned this:

Inigo Montoya: [fencing] You are wonderful.
Man in Black: Thank you; I've worked hard to become so.
Inigo Montoya: I admit it, you are better than I am.
Man in Black: Then why are you smiling?
Inigo Montoya: Because I know something you don't know.
Man in Black: And what is that?
Inigo Montoya: I ... am not left-handed.
[Moves his sword to his right hand and gains the advantage]
Man in Black: You are amazing.
Inigo Montoya: I ought to be, after 20 years.
Man in Black: Oh, there's something I ought to tell you.
Inigo Montoya: Tell me.
Man in Black: I'm not left-handed either.
[Moves his sword to his right hand and regains his advantage]


Lefty punters cause fits for punt returners because the ball spins the opposite way.

Lefthanded batters run "faster" to first base. This is a bigger advantage than it may first appear to be.

Both lefthanded batters and lefthanded pitchers are in MLB in far higher percentages than their prevelance in the general poplulation.


Handedness is not an either/or thing, but a scale on which few people are entirely one way or the other. There are various tests that reveal the different aspects. One of them: clasp your hands, fingers interlaced. The one with the thumb on top is considered the dominant hand for that action. Doing it the other way will feel strange. I'm a righty generally, but a lefty for that. Google for handedness tests for more.

Donna V.

I am completely left-handed except that I've always thrown a ball with my right hand. My uncle was a left-handed pitcher in the minor leagues in the late '40's and early '50's.

Cameras are a problem and I would imagine shotguns would be too. I've tried aiming closing my left eye instead of my right. The only way the lid stays down for more than a couple of seconds is if I hold it shut with my fingers. Obviously, that would not be an option in boot camp. (I assume all military personnel get issued right-handed rifles and the southpaws have to learn to shoot right-handed.)

In meetings, I still take notes on a pad balanced on my knee, even if a table is right in front of me. It's a holdover from college days when all the lecture hall desks were for righties.

Donna V.

And then there's the case of Ronald Reagan. He wrote with his right hand, but discussion has abounded that he was switched from his natural tendencies when he was young by strict schoolteachers

Not at all uncommon among born lefties of his generation. The nuns who taught my father made him write with his right hand - the left hand was the "devil's hand." The post-Vatican II nuns who taught me didn't bother with that stuff.

Lefties need to watch it in Asian and Muslim countries (take note, John and Barack). In those countries, I've read that the only acceptable use of the left hand is for, er, personal hygiene. Holding a fork or chopsticks in the left hand is considered pretty bad mojo.

Charlie (Colorado)

Here's a statistical oddity for you. I think all three candidates in 92 were left handed. Bush, Clinton and Perot. What are the odds?

Roughly 1 in 1000. (1 in 10 cubed.)

Math Geeks R Us.

Charlie (Colorado)

Jeff does that every so often. He can be a bit of a drama queen; this time it kind of sounds like he's got some other gig going. Since he's carefully brought in a half dozen other people, he could have said "I'm really busy, sorry", or even just not posted much. (Which, in fact, he hasn't been.)


I remember in Girl Scouts learning to knit. My Grandmother had already taught me, so the leader had me helping other girls. One was left-handed and just couldn't get it until I showed her. The leader came over and said, "oh you knit left-handed." My Mother told me later it was old German-style knitting and you throw the yarn with the opposite hand. Who knew?

JM Hanes

"I suppose if I shoot a gen I should just aim it to the left of the target?.....gUn--sorry wise guy."

Better stick to gens and litigation, Clarice. While it might be tempting to take aim at the left, you would actually have to compensate by shifting to the right.


Donna V. Most of the civilized world washes their asshole with their left hand post defecation instead of smearing the remains around with paper. Much cleaner really. But they then only eat with their right hand, because the left is considered unclean, as it is. Strictly, you cannot eat with other people with your left hand, which is why the Muslims chop off the right hand of thieves; it was to ostracize them from dinner, which can be lethal.


Excellent Rocco, and for a group, just make a loud or strange noise. Not "Cheese". That's guaranteed to get a cheesy shot. Barking is a good one. People grin when you bark.


Re the Reagan movie anecdote: wouldn't the director have told him to use whichever hand worked better with the camera angle?

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