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Talking Points

Edited by Carl Swanson


On Deck, No. 23
Baseball's new Hall of Famers are named next week, and Don Mattingly is on the ballot for the first time. The former Yankee is a sentimental favorite despite so-so stats: Top baseball number-cruncher Bill James calls his odds "slim in the short run but fairly good in the long run. Among those who have been selected years later, one can name a good many who aren't the player he was." Also, voting eventually switches from sportswriters to a committee of veteran players, which "tends to pick up guys like Mattingly more often." (That's how Phil Rizzuto got in.) High name recognition helps, too: "Players get elected just after they die, or on their deathbed, or after they run for Congress."

Can't Stand the Heat?
Never mind Anthony "Kitchen Confidential" Bourdain's gross-out tales: A recent New School panel revealed that it's restaurant personalities that are really overcooked. Mario Batali recalled how chef Marco Pierre White, criticizing his technique, once plastered him with a potful of risotto. Drew Nieporent once told an unhappily seated customer that "you make the table, the table doesn't make you"; the guy's friend cold-cocked him. Male colleagues hazed Anne Rosenzweig by giving her months of heavy-pot-lugging duty. Bourdain himself says he endured the field's "grand tradition" of verbal abuse -- and liked it.

Personal Jesus
The guy who went after Archbishop Egan last week has a private theology: that a green-eyed 30-year-old Columbia M.B.A., named Hypatia, is the reincarnation of the true Savior. And actually, it might check out: Hypatia lived in Alexandria, Egypt, from about a.d. 370 to 415. A noted mathematician and neo-Platonist, she fell afoul of the ascendant Christians; one day a mob attacked her on her way home, stripped her, and killed her with shards of pottery.

As the Bird Turns
Are you still picking at that Christmas turkey? A pathogen called Clostridium perfringens thrives in old bird and gravy that's cooled and reheated, and Erich Giebelhaus of the city's Department of Health recommends that turkey be kept for "one to two days at most." Even so, "we have no record of an official outbreak."


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