September 21, 2002

Sorry for the lupicaesque cliche, but MEMO TO COMISKEY PARK: feel free to evict any fan who takes off his shirt during the game, especially if he (or his son) is covered with tattoos. Left untreated, such a situation always ends tragically.

September 20, 2002

This may be an unfair comparison, since, granted, I'm not a tennis expert or anything, but, looks aside, Andy Roddick is pretty much a male version of Anna Kournikova, except she may win a Grand Slam event sooner.
Admittedly, I didn't think this was a big deal when I first saw the headline. I mean, "Seven Mets Suspected of Using Pot" is not exactly a coffee spit-take sort of story, especially since the big drug story in sports last year concerned allegations that 75% of the NBA (you know, basketball players, as in, real athletes) were using. If it's only 7 players, the Mets clubhouse has to be a den of bible-thumpers. Having been publicly called out by TalkLeft on this story, though, I must confess that however much I would like to see pot legalized, thereby making its legal status consistent with the public's moral consensus on the subject, I have no problem with a team setting standards on drugs and alcohol that are much higher than those of the rest of society. Professional athletes are not jazz musicians, who might need to smoke pot to take the edge off after a night of performing; they get paid substantial sums to be in the ultimate physical shape, and the steady usage of marijuana is seemingly not conducive to hitting a 98 mph fastball from Eric Gagne (I could be wrong about the subject, though; I have it on good authority that one of the few decent players on the Detroit Tigers won't play unless he's baked). But I would hope that the club's policy on drugs would be consistent with its policy concerning beer, booze, and fast food; if the Mets want an explanation as to why their team went south this year, they should look to the star catcher who sees nothing wrong with getting hammered after every game, or the first baseman who apparently views weighing 300 pounds as his career objective.
Please read the text of the draft resolution, to be approved shortly by Congress, giving the President unlimited authority to start a war with Iraq and any other nation he sees fit. As neither of the Senators from California are up for election this year, there is little I can do to vent my displeasure at the ballot box concerning the craven manner in which the Democratic Party has once again acted. It is perhaps telling that the one senator who is most likely to do the right thing on this issue, Paul Wellstone, is the one facing a challenge from the Green Party. Ironically, quick passage of the bill will probably assure a big election night for the Democrats, because it will neutralize the Iraqi war as a political issue seven weeks before the election; after the resolution is approved, foreign policy differences will not be a big factor in local congressional races. But its passage will only show how unfit the current Democratic party is to govern, and why control of Congress just doesn't matter, in spite of the handful of judicial nominees the party can stall in the Senate.
My uncle's memorial service is Saturday up in Kernville, so I will miss most of the year's grand social event at Joxer's, the Hockey Draft. Every year, the hockey fans in the bar get together and draft players by according to the number of points they will score. And this continues for about ten or twelve rounds (of picks, not beer). It costs $50 to enter, it's open to the public, and the winner gets a grip of money and a lot of Molson. And remember, its a contest, not a pool.

September 19, 2002

Frankly, I'm surprised this sort of thing hasn't happened more frequently. Part of the charm of going to a baseball game is that the players and the field are relatively accessible, so it isn't difficult for any fan who so desired to jump onto the field and join the festivities. For years, "Morganna" became a cult celebrity by simply running onto the field and kissing an athlete, with what had to be the acquiescence of the home team. About six or seven years ago, some nutcase attacked Randy Myers of the Cubs after he gave up a game-tying home run in the 9th inning. In the same ballpark last year, Chad Kreuter of the Dodgers was assaulted by a fan while catching in the bullpen; when he and his teammates responded, they were showered with alcohol by the assorted rummies. Considering the ease with which guns can be obtained, it's inevitable that at some point, some drunk fan is going to run onto the field and kill someone.
OK, I defended LA columnist Jill Stewart last week, but this was too good to pass up. A while back she won a libel suit that had been filed against her by a local politico whom she had called a "poverty pimp", and her subsequent article about the suit was filled with smug, self-congratulatory praise, repeating the slur in almost every sentence (btw, attacking left-of-center African Americans is her specialty, along with implying that unionized teachers are the spawn of satan; several years ago, she actually started a jihad against a local black Democrat in the State Assembly for using his family's house as his residency for his district, when, in fact, the cad had occasionally been spending the night with a member of the opposite sex in another district !!). In any event, check out this letter to the editor entitled "How un-PC" (scroll down a bit), written in the same spirit.
The latest word is that Bison Dele, along with his boating companions, were killed by his brother with Dele's own handgun (no doubt following a heated discussion about the Second Amendment). Since this appears to be in French jurisdiction, the death penalty won't be involved, if and when they capture him.

(ED.-Tonight ESPN is reporting that the brother of Bison Dele has been apprehended, but that he is in a coma.)
Believe it or not, we are still looking for contributors (amateurs, preferably) to the new college football weblog, Condredge's Acolytes. Feel free to contact me if you are interested.
One of the more laughable rumors (being taken seriously by Kausfiles not surprisingly) is the claim that Ahnolt is about to enter the California governors race as a "write-in" candidate. Just besides the logistical difficulty involved in getting several million people to spell his last name, there is simply the problem that among most voters, particularly in the Golden State, the Terminator is viewed as something of a right-wing joke. The entire point of floating such rumors is to gratify the ego of the celebrity, who can pretend that he is not simply an action star but a person of substance as well. In a few years, I guarantee you that we will hear of Rob Reiner (or Sylvester Stallone, or Ben Affleck) doing the same thing, and hopefully the LA Times will not report those rumors as credible either.

September 18, 2002

Tom Daschle may do nationally what Gray Davis has done for California: make the Green Party the only legitimate route for liberals to take. The Senate's craven action in scheduling a vote on a war with Iraq before the November election not only circumvents efforts by the U.N., our European allies, and most of the West to remove Saddam short of war, but it also indicates that the Democratic party is too compromised to offer anything remotely resembling a "loyal opposition". There has been one party, though, which has used its influence in the halls of power to ask the tough questions about Iraq, and in particular the futility of engaging in unprovoked hostilities in that region: the Republicans !!

Fortunately, our leaders in Congress have been focused on more serious issues, like debating whether to honor the Williams sisters (thanks to Adam Felber for the link).
As noted below, the French police and the FBI are now treating the disappearance of Bison Dele and his girlfriend as a murder investigation, with the focus being on his brother, who was detained shortly after they went missing on an identity theft charge, then released. Dele's catamaran was found late last week, and according to one tip, investigators are looking into a possible fight on board that led to the murders. The more I find out about Dele, the sadder this story gets.

September 17, 2002

According to TalkLeft, a longtime crime reporter for AP was let go recently because he allegedly invented sources to boost his articles. Of course, I'm shocked. I mean, who could believe that such a thing could happen in American journalism. The poor guy will probably have to wait weeks before he will be allowed to sub in for Chris Matthews on Hard Ball. Or even worse, he might have to go into entertainment or sports journalism !!!
I just found out that my Uncle Sid passed away last weekend. I hadn't seen him since my dad's memorial about four years ago. His memorial is up in Kernville this weekend, and I'm trying to figure out something to say my grandmother, who has now lost two sons. What I did knew of his biography wasn't all that pleasant: he served in the Navy, was agoraphobic, alcoholic, smoked two packs of Camels, suffered through severe depression, and couldn't hold a steady job. Whenever we visited, though, he was always the most interesting person in the room, and I loved the fact that he practically lived in the public library, reading everything he could get his hands on, and developing a thorough knowledge of politics. About ten years ago, he came out of the closet, which is rather late in life for that sort of thing, but it seemed to put him more at ease in fighting his demons. I feel bad that I didn't know him better.
Keith Olbermann points out the obvious mistake made by the Shoney's patron last week when she decided to tip off the authorities about the "terrorists" in the next booth.
Speaking of snitches, my sympathy for Noelle Bush is unabated in light of this article. It must be hard enough kicking a cocaine habit and being Jeb's daughter without having to share a rehab center with Linda Tripp. Any liberal who gets any sense of schadenfreude from that story deserves to spend time in purgatory with Christopher Hitchens.
The real scandal about the resignation of Bob Greene, the MJ-toesucking hack from Chicago, isn't that he had a consensual relationship with a legal age high schooler ten years ago, but that he was forced to resign after the whore apparently tried to blackmail him. I had thought one of the cool things about Bill Clinton overcoming Ken Starr's witchhunt several years ago was that it was going to become much more difficult in the future to extort a public figure because of his sex life; after all, if Clinton could have an affair with an intern, lie about it, only to have the public forgive him and turn on the assorted drunks and perverts who later tried to impeach him, than maybe a public figure who is gay, or an adulterer, or had a messy divorce, or is a single parent, or whatever would have an easier time in the future being judged on the substance of his views. I guess I was wrong. Greene should issue a statement saying that the only people who can judge him is his family, and then sue the fishwrap.
So far, I am getting good reviews for the new "look". The links and my e-mail address are now aligned properly. And today would have been F.Scott Fitzgerald's 106th birthday, had he taken better care of himself.

September 16, 2002

Those of you who have ESPN Classic will no doubt be thrilled to know that it will be rebroadcasting tonight, for the first time in over two weeks, the fourth game of the 1993 World Series. Tomorrow, in between the half-hour team films it shows in lieu of replaying an actual NFL game, will be the woman's semifinal of the 1988 Australian Open. And don't forget, there's twelve straight hours of the "award-winning" SportsCentury this Friday !!

Well, I guess none of it is going to interfere with my watching the two big series involving the Golden State's baseball teams this week. In most years, if the Dodgers and Angels were in contention late (as happened in 1978, 1982, 1985, 1995 and 1997), most of the local attention would be on the Dodgers; the Angels have always been more of an after-thought for the local media, and if you live north of O.C., they are viewed more as an appetizer than the main course. This year, its been different. Even though the Dodgers are a game back, with a huge 4-game series with Giants starting tonight, almost all the local attention is on Anaheim, which has, for all intents and purposes, assured itself a playoff spot (after '95, though, nothing is certain). It's easy to see why: the Angels are an exciting, never-say-die team, while the Dodgers, now in the midst of a season-ending choke, are a team whose bland, boring nature reflects the personality of their manager, Jim Tracy, and come up well short in comparison not only with the Angels, but more importantly, with the team that has been its local rival for the affection of SoCal sports fans for over three decades, the Los Angeles Lakers. As a team, they haven't played with a sense of urgency since Kirk Gibson was here, and its no wonder that one of the truisms of LA sports is that the baseball season doesn't really begin until after the Lakers playoff run ends.
French police are treating the Bison Dele disappearance as a suspected homicide. That's about six weeks later than they should have done so, and about three months earlier than the DCPD did with Chandra Levy.
The LA Daily News has a cover story today about gangs, with a handy map showing where each has its territory in the Valley. My mom lives in an area controlled by Barrio Van Nuys (I always thought that we were a part of Mara Salvatrucha territory, so that may be an indication that the power of the Salvadoreans is slipping), and I used to reside on the outskirts of the Canoga Park Alabama gang. (More)
Well, I've changed the template, but I still haven't figured out a way to make the links (now on the right) cover a single line in a neat, orderly fashion. If this template isn't as good as the one I had before, let me know.

September 15, 2002

For most of us, blogging is a hobby, a fun way to pass dead time at the office, to relieve anger and stress (for me, especially; this site has been almost as good as therapy), to allow latent narcissistic tendencies to run riot, and to communicate with people you've never met. Let's hope that the people behind this collaborative blog have more free time in the future...a medical logistics support unit stationed in Afghanistan (thanks to Matt Welch for the link). Hopefully, the chickenhawks preparing for our upcoming adventure in Iraq will visit this site, to get some perspective on the people who actually serve (and die for) this country when we go to war.