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Friday, October 29, 2004

This is Silly

This Red Sox fans as being happily miserable is so silly, I wonder why I am even responding. In my 36 years I have never met anyone like the people that some news media define as "Red Sox Fans". I believe this is a bit of an urban legend. The Red Sox fans I know, and over the years that is quite a sum, are not miserable doom sayers as the article would suggest. They are just regular fans who want their team to win just like those in L.A., Chicago and everywhere else in the country. I never met any Red Sox fan who wanted the team to lose so that they could feel superior for rooting for a team that always lost because somehow that made them a better fan. The whole concept is a bit nuts. Maybe there is a perception that a group of people who hold onto blind hope for so long just have to enjoy being miserable to do so. I would say let it go, its over.

It seems that this reporter had nothing better to do with his time than to bash New Englanders. Pretty ambitious to throw an entire region of the country under the bus. (And pretty easy, as he writes in L.A.). He probably needed a story so he fell onto the tried and true. When people talk about New Englanders being defined by misery it is not New Englanders who do so. Just as when people outside of New York talk about New Yorkers as being rude or East Coasters who believe that Californians are slackers and irresponsible. None of this is true and we all know it. But as long as people want something to talk about I suppose it will be there. I say after 86 years let the stereotype die, it was never true in the first place.

Red Sox Fans Need to Find a New Fret

From the L.A. Times: Red Sox Fans Need to Find a New Fret.

"I really never thought I would actually see them run onto the field after winning the World Series. World Series and Red Sox — you really don't equate the two. Now we can."

And that brings Red Sox Nation to a new, bizarre and almost unimaginable predicament.

What now?

For 86 years, Red Sox fans were defined by their suffering and misery — and the suffering and misery they inflicted on everybody else when they moaned on and on about it. For more than three generations, fear and loathing has been a way of life in New England — and wherever transplanted Red Sox masochists land.

Take away the torment and the torture and what do those fans have to live for?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Onion | Republicans Urge Minorities To Get Out And Vote On Nov. 3

Republicans Urge Minorities To Get Out And Vote On Nov. 3

Hell freezes over

The Red Sox get by the Yankees and go on to sweep the Cardinals in the World Series. I do not think I could have had a fantasy that equaled the reality. I read an article in which a red sox fan stated that the Red Sox had killed his father and now they were coming after him. All of that is gone. A lot has changed in the last two weeks.

1. Red Sox finally overcome the the center of the Baseball universe in New York

2. Red Sox win the Series in short order.

With that done things are now different. No more 1918 chants or G. Herman Ruth masks. The Sox can now develop a franchise rather than chasing the obsession of 1918. But the rivalry with the Yanks may have also been dealt a death blow. I think the games between the two will not have the same energy it has had over the past years, it won't be as important. We, the Red Sox, are just a normal franchise again. No more jeers or chants. We won't ever catch the Yankees in championships, who could?

I have a feeling that baseball will be better from now on. A Red Sox World Series gives hope to every other franchise, if the Red Sox could win, baseball's most consistent losers, so can we. Yesterday morning the Sox were chasing history attempting to overcome 86 years. Today, they are World Champs and next spring they will be just another franchise. How do I like it, I like it just fine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


For Rob:

And the Red Sox are World Champions!!!

I know you guys care about the news and history.

So why don't you check out what happened Today In Alternate History?

Riding a One-Away Train

L.A. Times: Riding a One-Away Train.

Assuming the Red Sox do win the World Series (jinx, jinx, jinx!!!), what can we expect to see out of the next few weeks? Will the death rate in the Boston/New England area jump as hundreds of old codgers finally give up the ghost and go happily to their great reward? What's the over/under on deaths during the ensuing riots (especially if the Series makes it back to Boston)? Will everything be overshadowed by the impending General Election?

Home Grown Terrorist

One of our very own home grown terrorists, Assam of America, provides some of his theological insights in: Becoming Muslim, which the server at University of Southern California helpfully provides access. Michelle Malkin provided the heads-up.

A Day in the Subway, as It Rolls Up a Century

The New York City Subway system turns 100 years old. Read this article from the New York Times marking the occasion: A Day in the Subway, as It Rolls Up a Century.

Trying to describe a day in the subway is a little like trying to take a snapshot of the wind. It's everywhere and nowhere in particular. You can feel it and hear it yet chase in vain to capture the essence of the life lived along some 700 miles of track, inside 468 stations, where New Yorkers have done everything they've done on the streets above and more. They've been born there and died there. They've lived there and eaten there and slept there and dreamed the dreams they missed during the too-short nights before. They've found their muses and their soul mates. They've lost their wallets and their patience and, sometimes, their minds.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Proof in a Higher Being?

I don't know which of the following is more exciting to my inner geek...okay, okay...and to my external geek.

William Shatner just released a new CD with Ben Folds. Yes I own it and it rules. It even includes a song with lyrics by Nick Hornby.

Los Angeles has a crazy Public Access TV show devoted to playing D&D called Dungeon Majesty. You absolutely must watch the teaser trailer. It reminds me, very fondly, of the masterpiece that is Dragon Strike.

Monday, October 25, 2004

World Two Games Away From Ending

Count Is 2 and Uh-Oh.

The Boston Red Sox are two wins away from their first World Series championship since 1918, two wins away from reversing the dreaded Curse of the Bambino, two wins away from, as pitcher Derek Lowe said, "one of the greatest parades in the history of sports."

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair

Crazy item of the month: School Says Halloween Disrespectful to Witches.

Should we ban the presentation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" in America classrooms too?

Third Witch:

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf (4.1.23)
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab, (4.1.31)
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Red Sox Homegrown?

I am happy for the Red Sox win, it is always good to see an underdog defeat the perrennial favorite. But many people when they complain about the Yankees say that it is the "best team money can buy." With the assumption that other teams are not. So let's compare the Red Sox to the Astros for "franchise" players -- players who have spent their entire career (including rookies) with just the one team. This won't count the minors because that is a fluid and crazy world. By my count, Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon are the only "franchise" Sox. I can add Lowe to the list since he only played 1/2 a season with Seattle and came with Varitek. Schilling was drafted by the Sox, but just started for them this year. So that is 4 "franchise" players. How about Houston? Why Houston? Cuz I was born in Texas and am pulling for a team who has never won the series, and is Texan, to win.

11 of 25 are Houston only players.

Brandon Backe (26)
College: Galveston CC
Drafted by Tampa Bay, first year with Houston first year as starting pitcher.

Roger Clemens (41)
College: Texas
Drafted by Boston, first year with Houston. Future Hall of Famer.

Mike Gallo (27)
College: Long Beach State
Drafted by Houston, second year relief pitcher.

Chad Harville (28)
College: Memphis
Drafted by Oakland, first year with Houston. Relief pitcher.

Brad Lidge (28)
College: Notre Dame.
Drafted by Houston, third year Astro. Closer.

Dan Miceli (34)
College: none.
Not drafted. Started with Pittsburgh, played with 10 teams. Relief pitcher.

Pete Munro (29)
College: Ocaloosa-Walton CC
Drafted by Boston (released before MLB). Started MLB with Toronto, third year with Houston. Relief/Starting pitcher.

Roy Oswalt (27)
College: Holmes JC
Drafted by Houston (23rd Round!!!), 4 years with Houston as Starting Pitcher. Hot shot young pitcher. Same calibre as Hudson and Mulder (Oak). (63 wins in 4 years, average 15+ wins a year).

Chad Qualls (26)
College: University of Nevada (Go Pack!)
Drafted by Houston, first year relief pitcher.

Russ Springer (36)
College: LSU
Drafted by Yankees, 7 different teams. Second time as Astro. Relief Pitcher.
Dan Wheeler (27)
College: Central Arizona JC
Not drafted. Started with Tampa Bay in 1999. Played for Mets, first year with Houston. Relief Pitcher.


Brad Ausmus (35)
College: Dartmouth
Drafted by Yankees (minors only), started with San Diego. Total 6 years with Houston (2 year interuption with Detroit 1999-2000).

Raul Chavez (30)
College: None
Not drafted, started with Montreal. Played one year with Seattle. Four years with Astros. Backup.


Jeff Bagwell (36)
College: Hartford
Drafted by Red Sox. Played entire career with Houston (14 years). Potential HoF (.297 average, 446 HR, 2289 hits, 1510 rbi with about 4 years left, but 1st base is very competitive). First Base.

Eric Bruntlett (26)
College: Stanford
Drafted by Houston. Second year as Pro. Back up Shortstop/Utility player.

Morgan Ensberg (29)
College: USC (Fight On!)
Drafted by Houston, 5th year with team, one year demoted to minors (2001). 3rd Base.

Adam Everett (27)
College: South Carolina
Drafted by Boston (minors only). Played whole career with Houston 4 years. Back up shortstop.

Jeff Kent (36)
College: UC-Berkeley
Drafted by Toronto, 5 different teams. Second year as Astro. High priced Free Agent type. HoF possible, compare to Sandberg [who deserves it](Kent 13 years .289 BA, 302HR, 1207 RBI, .983 fielding; Sandberg 16 years, .285 BA, 282 HR, 1061 RBI, .989 fielding).
Mike Lamb (29)
College: Cal State Fullerton
Drafted by Texas, first year Astro. 3rd base.

Jose Vizcaino (36)
College: none
Not drafted, started with Los Angeles. Fourth year as Astro. SS/2b


Carlos Beltran (27)
College: none.
Drafted by Kansas City Royals. Superstar 5 tool Free Agent type. First year as Astro. Center Field.

Lance Berkman (28)
College: Rice
Drafted by Houston. Sixth year with team. Very good.

Drum Roll Please…

Craig Biggio (39)
College: Seton Hall
Drafted by Houston. 16 years with team. What can’t he do? All Star Catcher and 2nd Baseman, average outfielder. One of the Premiere leadoff men in baseball. If he can play until he’s 41 he may hit 3000 hits. Almost certain HoF. Ask Bill James. According to his favorite measurement (Win Shares) Biggio is the best.

Jason Lane (28)
College: USC (Fight On!)
Drafted by Houston. 3rd year, backup outfielder.

Orlando Palmiero (35)
College: Miami, Fl
Drafted by California Angels (Anaheim), first year Astro. Definition of utility outfielder. Super consistent backup.

Funny thing, Houston has more players drafted by the Sox than the Sox do. But that is the nature of the game. Does this make Houston "morally superior" to the Sox? No. They had to pay a lot to keep the high end talent and the pickup of Clemens, Pettite, and Beltran show they are willing to go for the "superstar." I don't care if Houston is Pettite and Clemen's hometown, the team "bought" the players just like any smart team with the opportunity would. But 11 out of 25 players is pretty remarkable, and in the modern game rare, so I thought I would point it out.

Red Sox Win?

A strange thing happened on the Yankees burst toward the World Series. The Red Sox came back from an 0-3 series to win. This is first time a team has come back from an 0-3 hole to win the series in baseball history. To be truthful I am shocked given all the history. But anything can happen and that is why the games are played. How about that ... I guess we will see what happens on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Lifestyles of the Rich and Goofy

I know pointing to unintentional self-parody in The Nation is a little too easy (A magazine funded by rich people, written by rich people, read by rich people complaining about the rich is just a whole new level of self-parody - it's like The Onion without the selfawareness), but this time I just couldn't resist.

The Nation is actually trying to side with John Stewart against simplistic partisan political debate. Let me say that again. THE NATION IS COMPLAINING AOBUT SIMPLISTIC PARTISAN POLITICAL DEBATE! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! That's like... wait a second... I... just... can't... stop... laughing... Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

I'm waiting for their column denouncing political rags that are pet projects of the rich who's primary goal is to make sure the rich stay that way and the poor do too...

A Friendly Reminder.

Election day approaches. Make sure to read your voter information guides, particularly if you live in California. Research, research, research... Who signed the petitions on all these propositions anyway? Posted by Hello

Monday, October 18, 2004

Oh John, Where Forth Art Thou?

I do not receive broadcast or cable TV, and have not for many years (trust me, I don’t miss anything). That means that I have only seen The Daily Show a dozen times or so (though every time I have, I loved it), and I have not seen Crossfire in a decade (Wow, they have a bigger set, and audience and the hosts are younger).

I am sure by now you have heard about John Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire, and what many are calling the “take down”. You can see it

This seems to be being spun as the Stewart champion story, but does he not seem like a pompous ass who needs to come off his high horse? I think he’s been living in a bubble too long where he has not had to deal with people who opposing opinions to his own, and imagines that somehow, if he did, he would do it in a way superior to those who have the grand debate every day.

Well I say, fine, if you can do it better, hire some Republicans, Libertarians, whatever, John. We would love to see how you would change our political world.

UPDATE: Apparently I'm not crazy. Here's a quote form Jim Treacher...

"Stewart's been bugging me... I've been getting more and more annoyed with him trying to have it both ways, being an increasingly self-righteous advocate and yet deflecting criticism with 'It's just a comedy show!' Which is pretty much perfectly encapsulated in his 15-odd minutes on Crossfire . I remember when he was a lot more convincing about being a moderate, not that long ago . And I think his interview with Kerry is certainly fair game for criticism. But then again, calling Tucker Carlson a dick? Right to his face? That is a Golden TV Moment..."

"It was maddening when he lectured those guys and they wanted to talk to him about it, and he kept going, 'Wait, I'm just a comedian!' Clown nose off, clown nose on, clown nose off, clown nose on... It's just as much of a defense mechanism as his tie-straightening and that schmendrick voice he goes into (Art Fern?), and it's every bit as annoying.

.. Sounds like there's been a transformation going on over at The Daily Show, and I've just missed it because I haven't seen it in a year and a half.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

There's no Free Canadian Lunch

I've been saying for a while now that the reason Canadian drugs are cheaper is because they are subsidized by the Canadian taxpayer, and any attempt to import large amounts of drugs from Canada would be stopped. After all, why should the Canadians subsidize the American health system?

I’ll try not to gloat, but the other shoe has dropped.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Fair and Balanced

Schooling at UCLA is an interesting experience for a conservative like me. The campus, like most, is a hodge-podge of liberalism stewed with perceived ethnic tensions that is often hostile to those who disagree with them. Normally, to avoid any tensions, I just keep my mouth shut. However, due to their most recent action, I feel a need to be vocal because there is now no longer any semblence of neutrality among the official organs of student representation left.

So what am I talking about? Well, as many of you may know, Michael Moore is currently on his tour to get young adults out to vote [democrat]. He's been in SoCal for this part of his tour and you might have seen him on Jay Leno . Well, a couple days ago he was at UCLA to speak to the masses. Now, I have no problems with liberal speakers on college campuses. I think it promotes our first amendment rights, yada yada yada. What I do have problems with is the USAC (UCLA's undergraduate student government) used my funds to pay for a speaker I do not approve of and is unwilling and opposes recruiting a conservative speaker to balance this disparity out.

I'm sure Ann Culter or Sean Hannity, two people whose vitrol of the left is equivalent of Moore's of the right, would be willing to speak at LA. I'm also sure that USAC would never consider such "blasphemous" talk" from those "bigoted" [Nazi] conservatives. Alas, these are the same people who in their infinite wisdom why conservatives need Fox News.

Friday, October 15, 2004

It's all in our heads.

War on Terror, What War on Terror.

I wonder What Christian thinks about the filmmakers take on Straussians. All I really know about old Leo is that Wolfowitz and Christian are both fans, but I'm guessing that summing up his philosophy as "liberalism is evil" is, as Derrida would say, reductionist.

This seems to be the new meme from the supporters of Islamic Fascism - it's all about Al Queda. I'd like to ship the filmmaker out to Suddan, Somilia, Iran or Chechnya and let him dig graves for a while.

The Days of the PMRC are officially over!

Dungeons and Dragons has hit the big time, or at least a modicum of legitimacy. That's right, John J. Miller of National Review Online has a piece about this weekend's 30th Anniversary Celebration of the creation of D&D.

Junk Mail

Found on The Nation:

This article can be found on the web at


Junk Mail

[from the October 18, 2004 issue]

The following solicitation from the Republican Committee to Re-elect the President (GOP-CREEP) reached us by mistake.

Dear Friend of the President:

We head toward the November Presidential election in a time of global terrorism, a sputtering economy, everybody getting fat and nobody getting educated. But let's get serious. Come November, only money can safeguard an unbroken continuation of that vital balance of power between the Executive branch and the Executive branch's friends.

Invest in your future. Give till your stockholders and employees hurt. Contribute now to the 2004 Republican Presidential re-election campaign!

"It's fair to say that anybody who opposes the re-election of our President is a gutless weasel traitor!" --Fox News


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• $1 billion: Invasion of the country of your choice by US forces*

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• $125 million: Discuss a legal case with the Supreme Court Justice of your choice

• $75 million: Presidential support of the Death Sentence for Gay Marrieds bill--includes a speech by Attorney General John Ashcroft

• $50 million: Be CIA head for the day

• $25 million: Declare a Homeland Security Department Orange Alert

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• $5 million: Write President's Saturday radio address

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* depending on availability

"Where's Joe McCarthy when our nation needs him?"
---Ann Coulter

Join the 2004 Re-election Budget Brigade of pre-millionaire Republicans and select from among these unique thank-you gifts:

• $1,000: Giant Mission Accomplished display banner

• $500: 500 Wanted Dead or Alive Osama Bin Laden posters

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Think that's it? You don't know the Republican Committee to Re-elect the President! Deliver your contribution in CASH (small bills, please!) and you'll receive a No-Strings Postdated Blanket Presidential Pardon--so you can finally enjoy peace of mind when you violate the law.


Pssst! Be A Phantom Donor!
Too shy or too culpable for out-in-the-open political giving? A senior Republican Party deniability expert will meet you in your nonreciprocity-treaty nation of exile or anyplace--anytime, anywhere--to receive your donation and guarantee anonymity!
Extra Bonus! Phantom Donors receive the coveted Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia "Secret Santa" Medal, awarded for exemplary tact in making unrecorded political donations!
Isn't the re-election of our President worth money that would otherwise just be gathering dust in some offshore bank account, corporate slush fund or buried strongbox? Let's review:
Your gift of more than $1.5 million in cash brings National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to your door for an inside personal briefing on what she didn't know about Iraq's WMDs and when she didn't know it (if she is able to recall)! For another $l million, "Condi" will smile!


Foil the Democrat terror coddlers and their "fair and square" election tricks. Your contribution to the Republican Committee to Re-elect the President will buy pre-tested voting machines...private detectives...personal political smears that look just like TV spots...an Iraqi government that listens--and much, much more!

Back in Boston, 1,918 Reasons to Hope, Pessimistically

Red Sox Win!!! (Hell Freezes Over; Pigs Fly): Back in Boston, 1,918 Reasons to Hope, Pessimistically . Pam Belluck and Katie Zezima report

"I think in their heart of hearts a lot of people weren't surprised they lost last year," Mr. Stout said. "I think if they don't win this year there'll be some genuine devastation because things seemed like they were lined up. If they find another way to lose in an excruciating fashion, that would make it exponentially worse."
Overall, an interesting article from the New York Times, which may require a subscription, that investigates some of the strange behavior of that most lovable of losers, the Boston Red Sox fan. These poor folks build themselves up into a lather every year, just to have their hopes, dreams, and aspirations brutally crushed by one of the greatest teams in the history of professional sport. (This behavior is not unique, or even remarkable, as this report on Detroit Lions Superfans shows.) It's kind of like being a Nordiques fan during the years of the "Battle of Quebec."

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Real Dish on Gojira

For those of you who want a Meet the Feebles look behind the scenes of the Gojira (Godzilla) franchise will want to read this piece by Rodger Jacobs.

Sample Quote:

RJ: There have been various reports for years about your behavior on the set of the 1964 film “Godzilla vs. Mothra” ---

GOJIRA: Yes, yes, yes. Let’s get one thing straight: Mothra and I did not get along for one simple reason. She came from the Method school of acting. She was Susan Strasberg’s room mate in New York in the 1950s –

Red Sox/ Yankees is more hype than reality

I can only speak for myself but this whole Red Sox/ Yanks thing is really more media than reality. Do I hate the Yankees, NO. They spend the money for the team they have, the league says its fine. They don't break the rules, the Sox are just as guilty at 125+ million. I am sure the Jays, Rays and others hate the Sox as much as some people talk about the Yankee payroll. I don't hate them, and I suspect most fans feel the same way, it only upsets me that my team loses to them. Sure there are psycho fans out there, look at the guys who attacked K.C's first base coach. As I have said before, it is just a game ... it is only a distraction. It does not establish self worth nor does it mean that New York is better than Boston. It may make the fans feel better to win and a rivalry is good for business. It puts buts in the seats, sells jerseys, hotdogs and who's your daddy t'shirts. Does it really matter, no not at all.

What it creates is a media circus where Fox can pimp Star Wars dvd's while putting the team logos into the advertisements. They show the brawls, the bidding wars and so on to fuel the fire. They want the fans to get wrapped up into it ... because it is good for business. Sell the rivalry and ratings go up. I am sure that for the majority of fans they want their team to win because they grew up with those teams and everyone wants to win because quite simply it feels good to win. So we all want to win, we want to be on top.

I don't hate the yankees or their fans, I only want my team to win. I am not a slave to the hype and even if the Sox lose, so what. As with most baseball fans, there is always next season because only one team can win each year. Last year it was the Marlins in Baseball and the Patriots in football. I was glad for the superbowl win, it was a good feeling. But I would have gotten over it if they didn't win. Sports are a distraction from life and that is the bottom line.

Today, when people are being beheaded, shot, blown up and other unpleasantness, I feel silly getting sucked into a yankee/ red sox debate. I will still root for them to win but with everything else going on it won't bother me if they lose. So if some folks want to get their head all sucked into this thig more power to you. It is only baseball and it is fun while the game is on after that my time is better spent on other things and at my hourly rate it is easy to decide where to put my energies.

Sidekick Supernova

Recently the media has decided to return its attention to DC's Green Arrow title because the Arrow is once again at the fore of today's social issues. Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, recently acquired a new sidekick after going years without one (many of those years spent 6 feet under ground, but that is another story). In the new AP article they discuss the new sidekick as someone who is struggling with more than just crime. The added struggle is that she is HIV positive. From the article:

In the latest issue of "Green Arrow," published Wednesday, a teenage runaway named Mia -- who has been in the care of the title hero for two years -- discovers that her time spent as a street-dweller and prostitute has resulted in her picking up the virus.

The news that she has HIV leads her to push Green Arrow even more. Fighting crime, Winick said, is what she wants to do with her life. "So he allows her to slap on a costume and become his sidekick, which has the silly name of Speedy," Winick said. "It's not as a death wish, but she can't fool around anymore. This isn't about an abbreviated life span. It is about life having focus," he added.

Speedy was originally a boy sidekick, but the character is now grown up and goes by the more mature name of Arsenal.

I read the title and think that Winick is taking the title in interesting directions. In fact, I think the title has been better since Kevin Smith left it early on, but that is another story.

What I find disturbing about the article is its lack of history. They, I am quite certain, truncate the Winick quote regarding Speedy to focus on the fact that it is a tremendously lame name. Which it is. But do they focus on the fact that Green Arrow's sidekick has a dark past of his own? No. Those of us in the know have with us the knowledge that Speedy himself had a little problem with Heroin.

Cover of Green Lantern Green Arrow Posted by Hello

The consequences of drug use Posted by Hello

Point of fact, the Green Lantern/Green Arrow title was one of the titles signaling the death of the hopeful Silver Age and the emergence of the tarnished Bronze Age of comics. No longer was politics black and white, no longer were social issues to be ignored, to hell with the US Senate and their censure of EC and earlier publishers! That was the rallying cry of the Bronze Age, a legacy we still see the effects of in titles like The Authority and once again The Green Arrow.

I think it is great when social issues are discussed and incorporated into the narrative of a comic title. Judd Winick is doing a good job of it here and handling the subject of HIV far more sophisticatedly than Marvel handled its first gay hero. Marvel chose an obscure hero and had him fight "Major Mapleleaf" for 22 pages while arguing about AIDS and Homosexuality. You see, Major Mapleleaf's son had HIV and was gay so the Captain had to beat up the media for covering a baby's plight. Real mature stuff. DC had already built in a best friendship relationship with the Flash and his former villain The Pied Piper. Once again an obscure character, unless you are a Flash fan and know the Piper's role in the Rogue's Gallery, is the one who is gay, but the relationship was presented narratively and maturely rather than as a statement in a 22 page fight.

The Green Arrow title is excellent, and the way it is handling Oli's new ward is also very mature. They have dealt with sexual issues, prostitution, drug use and many other mature themes. Green Arrow hasn't been alone either. Green Lantern recently left the Earth, for a period of time, after a friend had been attacked in a story referencing the horrible murder of Matthew Sheppard.

So, in summary, DC good/Journalists who don't read comics bad.

*This article originally referred to Major Mapleleaf erroneously as "Captain Canuck."

We now interupt the continuation of the Yanquis/Red Stockings Cold War for the following message

This title was one of my favorite comics as a kid. I particularly liked this issue for its combination of "natural" threats in a "supernatural" world. You can see the shadow of the Phantom Stranger, who is one of those overly powerful mystic characters in the DC universe (see The Spectre or Dr. Fate for further examples), but the villain is a person in a skeleton suit. The issue takes place during Carnival (farewell to the flesh indeed) and the "villains" do indeed use magic in the book, but the cover is amazing. Posted by Hello

Of course, if you read how Aristophanes refered to his political opponents, you wouldn't think this was patently offensive and innappropriate for reasoned political discourse. Posted by Hello

The Top Of The Ninth

If [the Red Sox] were your girlfriend, you'd break up with them.

Pessimissim hangs heavy in the air over at The Top Of The Ninth, a sports blog claiming to represent the thoughts of Red Sox Nation. They smell something in the air, they see a pattern repeating itself. It's fall and it's time for another Red Sox collapse.

Only one question remains: will the rest of this season be told as a tragedy or comedy?

The Boston Red Sox: Where Pessimism and Realism Become Synonyms.

A picture from a very unhappy Boston Red Sox fan: The Boston Dirt DogsPosted by Hello

The most recent back cover from the New York PostPosted by Hello

Yankees 3, Red Sox 1

Yankees 3, Red Sox 1

Yankees up 2-0.

Are they worth booing now?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Mickey Mouse Supports Ralph Nader

Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes Ralph Nader's petition to be placed on the November ballot in Pennsylvania. An examination of the signatures indicated thousands of false signatures including notables such as Mickey Mouse and Fred Flintstone. (From KYW News Radio 1060). This was another example of payment for signatures gone wrong.

Yankees 10, Red Sox 7

Yankees 10, Red Sox 7

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Slice: America's Favorite Pizza Weblog!

The less said about Slice: America's Favorite Pizza Weblog! the better. I only write that because I have no native expertise, or even much of an opinion, regarding the state of the art in the commercial pizza industry. I'm always amazed that there is no topic so obscure that some intelligent people don't have opinions about it. I'm just reminded of something Homer Simpson once said: "The Internet exists to tell us what some nerd thinks about Star Trek."

In related news on the same pizza blog, Darth Vader is apparently in cahoots with Pizza the Hut to rob local pizza delivery men.

Confession of a Red Sox fan

I think Joe Torre is one of the classiest guys in professional sports. In an era were coaches and managers call their players out through the media, (i.e. throw them under the bus) and respect for the opposition is not expressed in any meaningful way, Joe Torre always seems to take the high ground. I recently heard an interview he gave with "Mike and the Mad Dog" on AM 66 in New York. He had every opportunity to throw a few daggers at the Sox or plant a seed of doubt in case of a stumble in game one due to the Rivera situation. But that is not Joe. Instead, he acknowledged that the series would be tough, the Red Sox are a good club, and Rivera's situation was one that the club stood behind him on (acknowledging that Rivera would be missed but little else). Respect for all in the sport off the field and settle the games on the field -- this seems to be his philosophy. Even when interviewed when playing the worst teams in the A.L. he has never taken a shot. So, I tip my hat to Joe Torre, even though I hope he loses this series.

Since I am giving my two cents anyway, I think Rivera, with his 50 plus saves, makes him a legitimate Cy Young candidate.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Who is responsible for copyright violation?

That is the question Hollywood would once again like the Supreme Court to answer. When VCRs were new Hollywood tried to sue the VCR companies to prevent piracy and lost. The Supreme Court said the studios would have to go after the individuals responsible because there were "legitimate" "fair use" reasons for the creation of the VCR which didn't violation intellectual property rights. You all know the drill, things like back up copies and owning rights in multiple formats. Now Hollywood is going after P2P (or peer to peer) program creators, and once again the issue is piracy of individuals using someone else's technology. The question will of course be: are there any "legitimate" and "fair use" reasons for the existance of P2P software? This is what the Supreme Court will have to decide and depending on the decision the Legislature will have to create investigative tools to go after the "pirates." This could mean the ability to "track" transactions (both with a warrant say or post-transaction) of a suspicious nature. Or require the release of user info.

I personally think the SCOTUS' decision will mirror the Betamax one, I am sure that Morpheus and their kin have some arguments for fair use and I can think of some P2P uses that I think are legitimate. Let's say two individuals writing a novel together need to share files and want constant access or graphic designers, or comic books etc. But maybe not, we'll see.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Two Down, One to Go

I am shocked, shocked to find liberal political bias in this establishment...

Democratic lies are better than Republican lies

If you ever dreamt of playing a pirate game with the Car Wars creator

Car Wars is one of the best board/wargames ever created. Obviously inspired by the Mad Max films, Steve Jackson Games created this beauty of a game in the early 80s by combining two of America's great loves. That's right Guns and Cars. The game takes place in a less oil dependent future where "duelists" drive electric cars and blow the hell out of one another for money. If you can find a copy of "Deluxe Car Wars" on eBay it is well worth the time and money.

Anyway, it appears that Mr. Jackson has created a little game that he likes to run at conventions. This time, players battle one another with Lego Pirate Ships. This isn't a published game and you can't buy it. But the rules are shareware and if you look through the linked site you can see that "Evil Stevie" himself runs this game about four times a year. It's your chance to meet a legend, blow him out of the water, and go "Aaaarrrr!"

SEC will investigate Krispy Kreme Donuts

When the first Krispy Kreme opened in Crenshaw, Jody and I would have these donuts two to three times a week. That was four years ago and we haven't had one since, not just due to diet. I think we "over did" it with these because they started just tasting too sweet. Anyway, it appears that Krispy Kreme is now formally under investigation. (Sorry if that link requires a subscription).

Thursday, October 07, 2004

A Proper use of money

Working for a non-profit 501(c)(3) which prides itself on its nonpartisanship and hard work on a small budget, I often find myself baffled by the behavior of other "charitable" organizations. Whether it be due to their obvious partisan nature, Rock the Vote or Tides anyone, or due to some recent scandal regarding their salaries and expenses (Irvine?), I am continually finding organizations who push the limits of the allowable. But sometimes I find something which absolutely baffles me for a different reason, the "usefulness" test.

The purpose of a nonprofit organization is to do charitable work, or good works, in the community. Thus, we have grant giving organizations or advocates for the homeless or YouthBuild organizations. Within the realm of good works there is a great deal of latitude, everything from soup kitchens to Pew's academic research qualifies. So when I read Myrna Blyth's new column on National Review Online I was surprised by something that seemed to fail the usefulness test. In essence, the John Templeton Foundation has decided to fund a new publication, In Character. This "journal" can be described as follows:

In Character is about the nature and power of the everyday virtues - virtues such as Thrift, to which the first issue is dedicated. Each issue of the magazine will examine how a particular virtue shapes our vision of the good life.

Each “single-virtue” issue will examine a virtue from different perspectives, bringing together scholars and journalists versed in public policy, the humanities, religion, and the sciences. In Character - and its initial group of writers and readers - represents a wide diversity of intellectual interests, political views and religious affiliations.

The journal is intended to foster an appreciation of the virtues themselves - and to prompt a widespread discussion of the virtues in American life.

In Character will be distributed free to about 1,800 opinion-makers in the English-speaking world. The law professors, members of the clergy, policy wonks, poets, physicists, medical ethicists, bloggers, atheists, bishops, philosophers, statisticians, actors, economists, historians, business leaders, and journalists on In Character’s list are politically and professionally diverse. What ties them together is the attention their opinions command and their ability to interest an audience outside their own professional specialty.

The first issue is dedicated to the virtue of Thrift.

Myrna Blyth, in her article, defends the need for such a journal. After all, who is against the promotion of virtue? (At least in the modern context, feminists I am sure have a heyday with the Latin meaning "manliness" but that is another converstion). Everyone wants to live in a virtuous society in which people live harmoniously etc. We, naturally, differ as to what constitutes such a society. This is where In Character is supposed to fill in the gap. It provides a wide array of opinion and a forum for discussion of virtue, a kind of public debate if you will that examines the many sides of any quality of virtue. I imagine little time is spent celebrating the vicious. The authors come from a wide variety of political backgrounds and includes on its free mailing list both Rich Lowry and Toni Morrison. So far this sounds like a good idea, discussion of the good society is in the interest of the "public good."

So...what is the catch? Why is my utilitometer jumping like crazy? I hinted at it above. Let's look at some further description:

Foundation executives came up with the idea for In Character in order to make opinion leaders more aware of the virtues or principles that Templeton considers important. Riley says, "The goal of In Character, first of all, is to examine these virtues then explore the link between virtue and personal happiness and virtue and the public good."

Who are the "influentials" who will be getting the magazine and who, Riley and the foundation hope, will soon be thinking about the lost virtue of thrift? They include the presidents of Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, and Cal Tech; editors Rich Lowry and Victor Navasky; writers Toni Morrison, E. L. Doctorow, and Malcolm Gladwell; publishers Jason Epstein and Jonathan Galassi, as well as Diane Ravitch, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Dr. Sherwin Nuland, Susan Sontag, and more than 1,900 others. Oprah is also on the list.

So...what we have here is a useful resource that is only available to 2,000 people, give or take a dozen. I know that the Foundation does good work, they donate about $40 million a year to research etc., but why couldn't they just make this a FREE resource. Maybe skip print publication entirely and offer it as a pdf resource. Sure there would still be a financial divide in who can use the resource, but it would be an order of magnitude more people benefitting. Brookings and CIRCLE do stuff like this all the time. I guess we only need the "enlightened" to gain the benefit of such discussion, they can pass it on down to the plebians. Let the Philosopher Kings reign from on high.

At least Myrna Blyth is on the mailing list and will parse out kernels of wisdom from National Review Online. As much as she can without violating copyright, after all. But maybe I am jumping the gun and their "Press Release" website is temporary and we will all be able to participate in the dialogue. Let's hope so.

Death and those left behind

I remember talking with Christian regarding his mother on a couple of occasions although only briefly. His touching passage reminds me of the passing of my own father in 1995, I was 25 and he 54. His lung cancer, which he had fought bravely for more than three years, had spread to his brain. This came on quite suddenly, My brother and I were on a flight from Reno back to Boston when he passed, it was Christmas Eve. I can't look at Christmas eve the same. Now it is somber and I generally look for time alone to reflect and examine my life and wonder what my father would think of where I am in the great race.

I realized that for me the funeral had no closure, it was just an extension of the pain I felt and the well wishers did little to ease the despair I felt. The senselessness of it are what struck me most. My father was an alcholaholic most of his life and smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. Additionally, our relationship was troubled until I returned from Desert Storm, the only thing we had in common until then was the Red Sox and the Patriots. It was the only thing we could talk about when I was in High School. It seemed that when we finally found an area of mutual respect and a reasonable closeness he was gone.

The reasons for my father's self destructive nature have troubled me as much as Christian in trying to understand his mother. I have come to no answers only theories. My father was a Green Beret in Vietnam and admitted to me that at times he had nightmares as a result. He was an orphan and had no family to speak of. He was closed mouthed about his beliefs and did not talk openly about matters of the heart, or soul. So it has been hard for me to know the man I feared as a child. All I can say today is that my father was a rough natured person with a good heart, who wanted me to think things through for myself and make my own decisions, he gave me a love for baseball and taught me how to hit a ball and to box, he taught me that even if the Patriots, or Red Sox, suck you still root for them because they are our team, and he taught me that pain is nothing more than a state of mind. But the one thing I remember best was something he said at my High School Graduation, "Do better than me." I try to reach his example.

I am not as poetic as Christian, it is not in my make up. But I suppose what I want to say is that for me, I keep my father's values and direction. I have a few times that I remember, one of the best was having a cackling competition when the Tales from the Crypt was still running. I have to thank Christian for reminding me to remember more than one day a year. Additionally, I want to extend my own sympathy for the pain that he has to deal with on such a personal day in his own life. I also feel honored for him to think enough of us all to share such personal thoughts.

A Day to Listen to the Velvet Underground

I am only 33 years old, but today marks the end of my first six years without a mom. That is an awkward sentence, but it best captures my sentiments. I am not an orphan, I still have a father. In fact, he should be receiving his Halloween card shortly. Yet a part of me is still very much missing, a large part. October 7th, 1998...10,7,98...those numbers loom large and ominous in my heart and this is the first year I am not completely overwhelmed by them.

My wife and I have intimate conversations often, it is one of the joys of marriage, and she and I were discussing death the other day. Her grandmother had just died at the age of 92. My wife explained it this way, "When someone dies, the world feels a little less complete. Bird songs aren't as joyful, and sunrises are slightly less beautiful." Displaying, as she often does, the magnificence of unedited, awkward, and spontaneous verbal poetry. She was also correct. C.S. Lewis opens his book A Grief Observed with another observation about death:

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.

I still feel this way, not everyday...today.

There are two things that are still difficult for me to do six years after my mom died when I was 27 (she was 46).

I have a hard time remembering truly happy moments with her...on command. Happy moments enter my consciousness at random moments and seldom on the anniversary of her death. Glimpses of her nymph-like smile...brief auditory illusions of her laughter enter my mind. But the majority of my memories are neither happy nor sad, they are the memories of everyday activities, evening dinners and the question which ever looms over the head of a teenager, "Have you finished your homework?" I remember watching videotapes with her on many occation, though none as awkward as the time we watched The Hunger, just the two of us and an erotic vampire film. I remember feeling both uncomfortable being aroused by the film, in my mom's presence, while at the same time finding the situation hilarious. This moment just came to mind. There are many more like it, I just can't remember them on demand. In all honesty, I remember my mom as a happy person, a person who added joy to the world. Which is why I have my other difficulty.

I can't understand my mom's addiction, and eventual death due to how it ravaged her body, to heroin. I try, by reading/watching/listening to and about other addicts. I know the narrative of my mom's addictive cycle, I can see each step of her hopeless journey. That's not what I can't understand. I know the things that led to her addiction. What I can't understand is the overwhelming power of it, how addiction stole my mom from me...day by day. Oddly, some really shallow things help. They are a poor substitute for true knowledge, and seem trite when I think hard on them, but they help. These things include the music of the Velvet Underground (in particular, you guessed it, Heroin) and Iggy Pop, the films Permanent Midnight (which I saw just after her death) and Trainspotting, the book and film versions of Razor's Edge, and the writings of C.S. Lewis among other things.

I am the only member of my immediate family I know of who believes in God. I was raised secularly. Strange as it sounds my mom found comfort, though she was baffled by it, in my belief. She once asked if I believed, expecting me (the first college student in my family) to laugh at the absurdity of the question. I told her I did and her response lingers with me to this day, "Really?" Her eyes looked at me...proud, confused, unbelieving, yet hopeful. I never was able to tell her that hope was what faith was all about ("Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen" Hebrews 11:1). It isn't about "knowledge," little of life is about actual knowledge. This is why Socrates asked us to know ourselves, that is a difficult enough task. Let alone the ability to acquire actual knowledge of something else.

I was notified of my mom's death by answering machine. A series of messages of an ever-worsening condition. Siezures...followed by emergency medical action, my wife and I later read the medical records to piece together a timeline, to see if there was an heroic effort to save my mom. There was. It is not the best way to be notified of death, answering machine, I think it is the worst. I also wish that my mom had been buried not cremated, I would have liked to have had the chance to speak, to say my own words. Instead, I will share the two poems I think best capture the way I feel. One is gender confused (for my situation not its own) and the other is written from an older generation to a younger one, but they will have to do.

The first is by W.H. Auden (and yes it's the poem from Four Weddings and a Funeral but that is such a lovely scene.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

The second is by Wordsworth:

SURPRISED by joy--impatient as the Wind
I turned to share the transport--Oh! with whom
But Thee, deep buried in the silent tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind--
But how could I forget thee? Through what power,
Even for the least division of an hour,
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind
To my most grievous loss?--That thought's return
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore,
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,
Knowing my heart's best treasure was no more;
That neither present time, nor years unborn
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.

The Iraq war and other subjects

Let me start by saying that I have always respected Christian's opinions on almost all subjects. (Although, some his movie choices are not my own). With that said, I have to disagree with my friend on this point. I am not sure if I agree with Christian on being in Iraq now if we had another President. I think given the status of the World in the months leading to the Iraq invasion, it may have been just as likely, if not more so, that US forces may have been in North Korea or Syria or both. Iraq may have continued to be a pressing problem for U.S. interests but I am not convinced that an Iraq invasion was unavoidable.

I would also like to hear more about Education, Health Care, Crime control, states rights, and immigration in this election. It is telling that no candidate is talking at all about immigration. With the exception that both candidates think that terrorists should not be allowed to immigrate. We have a 600 pound gorilla in the millions of illegals in the nation and no one has a stance. How is that possible? I just want to hear it "Amnesty" or "Border Patrol" --- just pick one and let us choose.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

No WMD's in Iraq!

No WMD's? http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/06/iraq.wmd.report.ap/index.html

Not that I am that surprised, My unit spent a good deal of time rounding up munitions once the first Gulf War was over. (And then we detonated them, not a smart move ... theory of some doctors has it that this is what caused Gulf War Syndrome. Low grade nerve gas being released into the air with these mass detonations.)

Who won the V.P. debate?

First is there any question less important? Talk about a useless function. Cheney and Edwards sit at a table for an hour and a half and act as mouth pieces for their bosses. I am not sure why people want this, but we have it. I admit I watched it, and I feel pathetic for doing so. It didn't change a thing in my mind. But, as I lean closer to voting democratic for the first time in my life, I have to admit that Cheney did not appear as sinister as he did in the 2000 election. However, as a local media personality stated here in Philadelphia, "I would not trust him with my dry cleaning."

What are these years?


Detroit Tigers winning the World Series

Welcome to Waffle House!

Mmmmm, waffles.

Can Anyone Tell Me What Happened During These Years?


Who is really in need of a case worker?

Red Sox fans may be a bit rabid, and full of false hope; however, I don't think Sox fans are the ones tilting windmills, you can find those folks in New York (or among their bandwagon jumpers). But as to the teams that have been getting it done here are the hard facts.

2003 World Series Champs: Florida Marlins
2002 World Series Champs: Anaheim Angels
2001 World Series Champs: Arizona Diamondbacks

Sorry to confuse the issue with facts.

The history of Boston Red Sox losses, collapses and defeats.

Check out this excellent resource for all of us who are tired of listening to Red Sox fans: SoxSuck: The history of Boston Red Sox losses, collapses and defeats. After reading this I realize they do have a reason to complain. They aren't ALL just whiney, self-indulgent retards. Obviously, God hates the Boston Red Sox. Woe unto you and your family!

There is a site claiming to show the ways that the Yankees Suck, but we all know that's not true. The webmaster must be some semi-literate parolee from Lowell who managed to steal a computer and is now spreading filth across the internet. Stop him before he blasphemes again!

In summation: we all know the self-evident truth. The Yankees are the only team worth rooting for in Major League Baseball. Even the Mets are merely like the Moon, appearing to be worth veneration simply because they reflect the light of the Sun which is the Yankees. You are a deluded fool if you think different. DELUDED I say!!! I don't even know why they keep playing the games. MLB should just crown the Yanks World Champions for all time and be done with it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

VIVA LA REVOLUCION (brought to you by Halliburton)!

I don’t’ have a lot of notes about the VP debate this evening; I think Cheney won, I don’t think anybody cares. But Edwards constant references to Halliburton chafed my butt, as it always does, because it shows the absolute moral bankruptcy of the faux-liberal movement that has taken over the Democratic Party.

Fifteen years ago when I was hanging out with these faux-liberals, before I realized they weren’t really serious about liberalism, I remember having a discussion about “We are the World” and all the other celebrity charity records that were coming out at the time (this was at an Amnesty International meeting). I was dismayed when several people at the meeting were not going to buy any of these records. When I asked why, they said, “Those celebrities don’t really care about African poverty, they just want to stroke their egos.”

To which I said, “So, given the moral choice between stroking a celebrity’s ego, and letting a child die a horrible, suffering death from starvation, you choose to let the child die?” I will give them credit for realizing their ridiculous position once I pointed it out.

I feel the same way when people argue that Halliburton may have made some profit from the Iraq war – who cares? Given the moral choice between letting Halliburton make some profit and letting the Iraqi people suffering under an oppressive dictator who has murdered over 1.3 million of his own citizens, you choose to let the Iraqi people suffer?

If what we’re saying is that spreading Democracy simply requires paying money to Halliburton, I say we get out a map, a dart board, a checkbook and start the revolution!

The New York Times Finds Facts

The other day I learned that Michael Moore hires the former head of The New York Times’ fact finding department to check Moore’s movies before they are released. I have to admit, I’m a little shocked… who knew The New York Times had a FACT FINDING department? They should try putting some of those facts in their paper, I think readers might be interested. Though that me be asking a little much of an organization that thinks finding facts is so difficult, it requires an entire department.

Has anybody told Tom Maguire? (I am assuming, of course, that Tom Maguire is simply unaware that the organization he works for HAS a fact finding department, where he could, you know, actually get some facts, if that’s what he wanted to do. I wouldn’t want to presume that reporters at NYT would actually willfully ignore the fact finding department where they could find out things like, I don’t know, the fact that the war on terror actually exists.)

I imagine the fact finding guy (I’m assuming it’s only one guy, ‘cause, could they possibly need more than one?) at the NYT is a lot like the Maytag repair man. It’s a good job, you’ve got a lot of free time, and the editorial department doesn’t bother you much. In fact, the only rule they gave him when he was hired was, “Don’t bother Maureen Dowd.” His predecessor had made the mistake of approaching Maureen with some facts after the 2000 election, and she lit him on fire.

I’m sure he’s an earnest fellow; graduate of NYU, natch, with a degree in Post Modern Third World Feminist Economics as Seen Through the Works of The Beastie Boys – the curriculum for which consisted mainly of protesting. He had originally considered majoring in Post Capitalistic Documentary Filmmaking Without Oppressive Positivistic Propaganda Instincts; which involved making documentaries by not actually filming anything. After all, filming things suggests there is some objective reality to be represented by the act of being filmed, and editing together these images of “reality” invited the audience to make value judgments about those beings, human or otherwise, who appear in the illusion of objective reality and their actions - Besides, if you actually filmed things, who would have time for all that protesting? He had passed over a degree in Protesting the act of Protesting to Protest the Reductionist Belief in the Truth Being Protested for obvious reasons – though he had attended a protest protesting the protest degree.

He had finally settled on Post Modern Third World Feminist Economics as Seen Through the Works of The Beastie Boys because in the fourth year they actually let you read a book. He had gone even farther, and put in a lot of extra protesting time during his sophomore year so he could convince them to let him write a paper. He did, and wrote one that posited that not all straight white males were completely evil. After all, there were a few, like himself, who had managed to get a degree in Post Modern Third World Feminist Economics as Seen Through the Works of The Beastie Boys, certainly this education would reverse their destructive instincts enough so they would be neutral – he didn’t believe in the racist notion that some straight white males might actually be good. He felt he proved there were at least four or five, maybe even six, who were not completely evil.

This paper got him the job at NYT because under pressure from outside groups to be more intellectually diverse they had decided to hire some “right wingers”. He had cemented that reputation when he argued at the DNC cocktail parties that Christopher Hitchens didn’t deserve to be tortured and murdered in the middle of Times’ Square just for supporting the Iraq war. He argued that it would be sufficient to amputate Christopher’s hands and tongue – so he could no longer speak or write – and place him in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. Unfortunately Maureen Dowd overheard him, called him a, “Fascist, nazi, racist, sexist, fascist sexist, nazi racist, nazi racist fascist, republican lover”, tossed her vodka gimlet in his face, and lit him on fire.

Forcing the Taking of a Breath

It should be noted that three of the individuals invited to participate in this forum are on various sides of a longstanding generational feud. That feud is, naturally, the battle between the Red Sox and the Yankees. Two of the three are Sox fans (David and Rob), one of whom is a "home grown" fan (Rob--if I remember correctly is a Bostonian or at least from MA) the other a BC Ph.D. candidate and convert. One the other side of the feud is Fritz, a convert to the Yankees and native Michigander who never found it in his heart to root for the Tigers as loyally as he does the Lions and Red Wings. Namely because he was introduced to baseball in New York, and as any New Yorker will tell you, "Everything is better in New York!" Just ask a New Yorker.

New Yorkers will also say things like, "How can anybody live anywhere else?" or "Living anywhere else isn't living!" These are, naturally to commit a logical fallacy, ridiculous statements.

Fritz, in his loyalty to his adopted team, has agitated members of the other side of the feud. In fact, he seems to get a kind of pleasure from it. This is a less than magnanimous behavior, but not necessarily vicious. Though it may appear so to Rob or David. I think the underlying tone of Fritz' comments is sarcastic, I know so. He often chuckles when he writes what he writes. But tone of voice can't be heard on the internet. The reason Fritz does this is he had an exchange with a rabid Sox fan earlier this year when he asked, jokingly, for empirical evidence that Sox fans were better than Yankees fans. Fritz was flamed and ironically it was Fritz himself who found a study proving by empirical data Red Sox fans were in fact more loyal (in thick or thin) than Yankees fans. He told this other person this information and they continued to yell at him, or as close to yelling you can get on the internet.

Since then, I think Fritz has decided to become a bee in Red Sox fan's bonnets.

In the end, I think Rob's comment captures it best. The Yankees aren't even worth Booing!

BTW, the Sox (with Schilling pitching) are in the process of destroying the Angels today. I only hope that this is an entertaining series. The Angels are a season worn team and the Sox are much healthier. Both teams healthy and I would say Angels in 4, but now I gotta be realistic and go the other way.

Oh, and my dream is that the Yankees will recruit a Cy Young caliber pitcher who is in a post Cy slump only to have him become a complete washout after joining the Yankees. Oh wait, that's Esteban Loaiza!

And now for something completely different...

Though Fritz will probably disapprove...Many of us on this list, at one point or another, fantasized about being a Fantasy Novelist. Here is the answer to our prayers!

What Happened to Rhetoric?

Another idiot compares Cheney to Goebbels.

I'm afraid that I'm doing something just as bad by appealing to ridicule. However, I think it should be fairly obvious to everyone that comparing Cheney to one of the arhitects of the Holocaust is a non-starter. No matter how much you disagree with the administration and its actions, nothing that has happened in the last four years can compare to the horrors of Nazi Germany. Just because your party is not in power it does not mean that you are oppressed.

By the way, how many opposition parties were there in Nazi Germany? How often could you write a column in Nazi Germany criticizing the regime and not expect to go to jail?


Enough is enough

Look Fritz,

I like to think of myself as a fairly open minded person. In fact, I thought this little back and forth between Red Sox and Yankees was light hearted ... until your last barb. I think you need to relax. Baseball is just a game and you take it too seriously. Calm down, life is too short.

The New Trend in Negative Campaigning

"I'd say if you live in the United States of America and you vote for George Bush, you've lost your mind." -- John Edwards.

I'm imagining Mary Beth Cahill pulling Edwards aside and saying, "No, John. Going negative means attacking THE OTHER CANDIDATE, not the voters!"

"Reality" vs. Scripted TV

The other day in the office I asked Fritz, "Hey...What do you think the 1980's would have thought about modern reality television shows?"

His answer was quick, humorous, and to the point, "Isn't that what The Running Man is all about?"

This immediately brought to mind the brilliant 1990 video game Smash TV. A game that is now available for Gen-X nostalgistas on the Play Station 2 as part of a compilation game disk.

I think to a certain extent Fritz hit the nail on the head, especially when it comes to shows like Fear Factor and Survivor, but there are also the mean versions of Cable Classics. What do I mean by this? Well, cable is semi-famous for its off-kilter shows like Trading Spaces and This Old House or even semi-biography series about "real life" situations. These shows have become the The Swan,Big Brother and The Apprentice type television shows when a competative element is added to the existing formula. Shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition are just a natural extension of the older cable shows. Think Bob Vila with a sledgehammer, actually doing the work and not leaving it all up to his various sidekicks.

When it comes to reality TV, I have fairly strong opinions about what I enjoy or don't enjoy. I don't tend to enjoy the shows that substitute "meanness" for "dramatic conflict." I prefer shows like The Great Race over Survivor. Nobody gets voted off the Race. That doesn't mean there aren't "villains" or "b*%ches" on Race, but the conflict is the Race itself and not who is getting voted off this week. Maybe that is why it keeps winning Emmys. Even if its ratings are lower than Survivor. I also like the better versions of the "real life" biopics. So I like Blow Out the short run show about Jonathan Antin's new hair salon, or the first The Restaurant before they brought in a "villain" for the second season. Starting up and running a business are difficult enough to create natural conflict. You don't need to insert artificial conflicts into the environment.

So far MOST reality TV is drama based, hence all my comments regarding conflict. We'll ignore America's Funniest Home Videos and the other reality "comedy" shows. Being dramas these shows need some sort of conflict to drive the narrative and keep audience interest. That's why there are the "alliances, politics, and b*%ches/b@$tards" in many of these shows. Without these tropes these shows would be like watching marmots eat, sleep, and breed (which explains why Big Brother is so dull). What strikes me as funny though is that in "reality" TV the conflicts seem more artificial than in "scripted" TV.

I watch a ton of scripted television. From Boston Legal to Scrubs to the new LAX my evenings are filled with drama and comedy, and sometimes the rare adventure tale. Add to these shows the two to three movies I see in theaters each week and you have quite a full schedule, but I can read and watch a 22 or 44 minute show. I love scripted television, and the central requirement of scripted shows is, obviously, writers. This is why I am keeping a close eye on the WGA and their reactions to reality TV.

Some comentators worry that if the WGA strikes that reality TV will be able to fill the time and completely satisfy the pallete of the audience. But I think is a non-issue. Even if true, for the sake of argument, one of the things the WGA is fighting for are reality TV writer's rights as well. Reality TV writer? Yes, reality TV writers. They are an underpaid, and underappreciated group of individuals who do more than just come up with "concepts." They also help structure events and competitions to maximize dramatic stress on the shows. Besides, once reality TV dominates (which I am sure it will for a time) the salaries will eventually have to rise. Right now the networks are getting a kind of old school studio deal (cheap and controllable labor), but that won't last. Sure, everyone wants to be a star and get their 15 minutes of fame, but the people who make that fame are going to want their share of the proceeds. The more the shows make, and they make a lot, the more leverage the employees will have in negotiations. Especially since I don't watch shows for producers to rake in all the money. Not that there is anything wrong with producers making a ton of money, I do in fact actually watch some TV based solely on the producer. It is just that the higher the descrepency the more leverage the unions will have to create a RTVGA (Reality Television Guild of America) or pull the employees into existing union structures. Once this happens and reality costs go up to the levels of scripted TV we will see more balance.

What concerns me is not the long-term picture, which I am optimistic about, rather the short-term. There are a lot of talented, and not so young, writers out there and a lot of developing but rough young writers out there. I worry about how long the situation will last and then how good the new writers will be. Few writers are born comedy/dramatic geniuses. After all, if I remember correctly, one of Seinfeld's most embarrassing moments is that he was fired from Alf.

I wonder....

Where does this whining perception come from. The Red Sox fans I know, much like the Cub, White Sox, A's, O's and M's fans I know, are not whiners. Rather they are loyal to a fault to their clubs. The administration of these clubs may be different but that is not the fault of the fan. I will also be the first to admit that the Red Sox admin. should have just shut up about the 180 mil. + spent by the Yanks in the off season. There is not a lot of room to level the charge they did when the Blue Jays are lucky to spend $50 mil. a season, a far cry from the 125 spent by the Sox this season. But the fans don't whine ... All fans are loyal and just want their team to win. The Sox may have been waiting longer than most clubs but if you talk to an Eagle fan, I think your opinion on Sox fans would change.

Beantown bliss

Jayson Stark from ESPN lists some reasons why the Red Sox will win the World Series.

Just ask for the blue guy. That will be me: I'll be in the corner, holding my breath.

It might even be a good thing for the Red Sox to win the World Series. There will suddenly be a whole lot of people with a whole lot less to whine about. Read this fellow's blog: Curse of the Bambino.

Kerry's Bankrupt Foreign Policy

Martin Peretz of The New Republic reveals the moral bankruptcy of the Kerry foreign policy. He writes:

On Iraq, I am with Bush. Yes, I am repelled by how he and his crowd play fast and loose with the facts, by their elevation of their foreign policy reasoning into some kind of catechism. Still, Iraq without Saddam Hussein is like Russia without Josef Stalin: By no means perfect, but a vast improvement. Mahdi Obeidi, the former head of Iraq's nuclear centrifuge program, recently published an op-ed in The New York Times arguing that, were Saddam still in power and had international sanctions expired, as they inevitably would have, Baathist Iraq could easily have plunged back into the atomic game. The world has much to thank the United States for on this count.

The Bushies' big mistake was to take a far-too-hopeful view of Arab politics. They thought moderation and tolerance would be the inevitable legacy of Saddam's fall. But they underestimated the deforming injuries Saddam inflicted on the Iraqi population. And they underestimated the cultural gap between us and them. (In this, they were aided by generations of Arabist diplomats and professors who downplayed cultural difference. Ironically, it is just these types who are now saying this optimistic view is naïve, which it probably is.) The Bush administration underestimated the bloody zealotry of Iraqi factions, both secular and pious. It did not comprehend that Al Jazeera and much of the Arab media would root for the killers. It did not grasp sufficiently that Iraq's neighbors wished the Iraqis ill, that Syria--a brutal Alawite minority regime that has slaughtered thousands of Sunni militants--would give them free passage to do mayhem next door. But, by contrast, Kerry would have done nothing to disempower the Iraqi Baath, and, if by some miracle he had, he would have done nothing to disarm the murderous mobs that have arisen in its wake.

Notwithstanding both the administration's grievous lack of candor and its clumsy postwar planning, the use of force against Iraq was just. What kind of "just war" theory would see in the defeat of Saddam anything but a quintessential good? There wasn't in Iraq even the fantasy of an idealized Viet Cong. And, as for those who execute and behead the wretched and the miserable, who explode bombs and cars so that random poor people seeking work will die, who murder the insufficiently pious and ordinary shop owners and civil servants and happenstance patients in hospitals in the thousands and thousands, why would anyone cast these killers as hapless victims of empire? Indeed, the ruthlessness of the suicide bombers and the mercilessness of the decapitators are reasons, in and of themselves, for the United States to stay and fight. Before the toppling, Iraq was governed by the routine terrorism of a cruel regime. Now, it is under siege by terrorism, plain and simple. We will see whether Lieutenant General David Petraeus--placed in charge of building an Iraqi army that will fight--can overcome this. The gloating hypercritics may yet be astonished. But the very notion that there could be in Iraq, with its history of tyranny over eight decades since Gertrude Bell carved it out of whole cloth, a reasonably free election in 13 or 14 or 15 of the country's 18 provinces is a genuine, even astonishing, accomplishment.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Not worth Booing

The Yankees are not tough enough to even boo, Twins in 4.

And furthermore...

And furthermore, I move that the Boston Red Sox be elminated from the playoffs.

Friday, October 01, 2004

"Factual Errors" in Last Night's Debate

It appears that in addition to Kerry thinking the KGB had files at a WWII deathcamp and Bush arguing that HE increased spending to reduce nuclear proliferation that both candidates committed more than a few factual errors last night.