April 17, 2004

The long-awaited return of Prime Suspect will air tomorrow on your local PBS affiliate, going head-to-head with The Sopranos, Alias, 24 (preempted Tuesday because of Bush's press conference), and State of Play (on BBC America). And they all start at 9:00 p.m. !! This may be the Greatest Single Night in the history of the boobtube (ironically, it is also the start of TV Turn-Off Week), and it would take two TIVO subscriptions to capture it all. Her appearance, however, will not be until next week's episode.

April 15, 2004

I think we can safely say that Kobe has been forgiven for Sunday.

April 14, 2004

Mention "Nagano" to an American hockey fan, and they will as likely as not refer to a team that pillaged through the Olympic village en route to ignominy. Say the word to a Canadian, and they will sadly remember the Gretzky/Sakic/Roy-led Dream Team that came home without a medal. But if you say the word to a Czech fan, will they think, "opera"? Matt Welch informs us over at Hit & Run that a production based on the Czech Republic's gold medal winning team has debuted recently in Prague, to the delight and consternation of high, middle and low-brow alike. LA Kings fans might be interested that the protagonist of the piece is "Milan Hnilicka", whose real-life counterpart currently tends goal for the team's minor league affiliate.
Hard to believe the next football season is only five months away....
Just two weeks after its debut, Air America has been pulled from the airwaves in L.A. and Chicago due to a legal dispute with its radio "landlord" (actually, the company which allows it to use its spectrum). Listeners in sunny California who tuned in this morning expecting to hear Al Franken's take on last night's press conference instead got something akin to Spanish language Christian radio. Anyways, Air America Radio has filed for a temporary restraining order, here.
I don't care what political views you hold or what party you belong to, anyone who was not thoroughly depressed by the stumbling, incoherent performance of the President tonight is missing a heart. His pre-9/11 actions have been in the spotlight recently, but this evening's almost surreal outing in prime-time showed that he's still the same clueless hack that he was when he took office. It was the most embarassing effort by a political figure since Dan Quayle debated Lloyd Bentsen.

But tonight there was a feeling of melancholia, a sense that he was just going through the motions. Regardless of how one might feel about the 2000 election or about George Bush as a person, I'm sure there was a time, possibly on the day he was sworn in, when he dreamed of greatness, that he could be another Lincoln, another FDR, someone who would make a difference in the lives of his countryman in a positive way. It's safe to say that's not going to happen, and he knows it. He has spent a large chunk of money in the last two months, against an opponent who has either been convalescing or on vacation, and he has barely nudged the polls. His wartime stewardship has come under question, his lackadaisacal approach to terrorism before 9/11 (something that we can all plead guilty to, by the way) is under withering assault, and now the press and public can barely contain their laughter at the fact that he can't go before his own commission without having his Vice President hold his hand.

The obvious historical analogy is with Warren Harding. Also a late bloomer, with modest political aspirations at first, Harding could be a little prick, too, but he also had this almost puppy-dog desire to be "one of the boys". Like Bush, he didn't have the heart to fire any of the incompetents in his retinue, and it drove him to an early grave.

After tonight, it wouldn't surprise me if Bush decided he didn't want any of this anymore; that the "war on terror" took precedent over his own ambitions, and that rather than face the distraction of having to campaign for reelection while all hell is breaking loose in the Middle East, he would focus his energy on "staying the course" in Iraq, and not seek a second term. He would look statesmanlike, could hand-pick the GOP nominee before the convention, and the election could be a referendum on his policies without the distortion of his contentious personality. Then he could retire to his "ranch", and hope that, in time, the American people would look back and remember what it was they liked about him, and perhaps forget his ineptitude in dealing with the economy, the runaway deficits, the ineffectual strikes against Al Qaeda, and the ongoing debacle in Iraq. Even now, he can still do some good.

April 13, 2004

The Day After: Bush's reaction to the August 6 briefing.
Now that Barry Bonds has caught him on the all-time home run list, I thought now would be as good a time as any to post this tribute to the Say-Hey Kid, by the late actress and raconteur, Tallulah Bankhead.

April 12, 2004

Local legend Marc Cooper has started a blog, and he has an hilarious yet smug take on the official website of Our Favorite Shiite, the Ayatollah Sistani. This type of snark is a key reason the left gets wiped out in that half of the country that still believes in creationism, et al., and it's probably not a good idea to send insulting e-mail to one of our only remaining friends in Iraq, but still...if I have to give up certain practices because they are Makrooh, then the terrorists will have won.

April 11, 2004

Howard Owens has a nice encapsulation of what-I-did-last-night, here. Little to add, except that the League Fathers of arena football might consider adding a little defense to the sport; it was easier to score than at an SC sorority mixer.