Month: October 2003 (Page 1 of 2)

Paging Orson Welles

(Make no mistake; there will be some discussion of LeBron James in this space later today.)

All this heightened solar activity has me thinking: why isn’t anyone taking advantage of this? It’s Halloween week, for crying out loud! I don’t care so much about sporadic cell phone usage, Arctic communications being cut off, or high frequency radio being wiped out at times. What better time to put a modern version of War of the Worlds out there? It’s the perfect confluence of world (I guess solar system) events, timing, and general unease.

I’ve always been fascinated by the original War of the Worlds broadcast. A link below tells the story of the impact it had on the nation. What’s most amazing to me is how much things have changed in the space of our grandparents’ lifetimes. Less than 70 years ago, the nation was so unsophisticated and dependent on one form of communication that a clearly identified radio play could spread unsubstantiated news reports and panic across the nation in less than an hour. Other than the sophistication and communication aspects, 1938 and 2003 aren’t much different. Then, they were still struggling to shake the Depression. War was a year away in Europe, and everyone feared what the US role would be. Pearl Harbor was three years away. Today, we’re coming out of a fairly deep recession. We’re in the midst of the war on terror. 9/11 and it’s resulting uneasiness is just two years in the past. As in 1938, we wonder what America’s role in the world is and what the implications for our health, safety, and security are.

A modern War of the Worlds would never work as effectively as the original. In 1938, you had the radio and nothing else. Outside urban areas, you generally had one choice for local radio coverage. If you wanted to listen to something else, you had to manually tune around to find a signal strong enough to fill the living room. Today, if say NBC decided to do a War of the Worlds, you have 100 other stations with different coverage proving whatever is on NBC is a movie. We’re pretty sure there aren’t any advanced life forms on Mars with the capability of launching an interplanetary invasion. Lip-synching entertainers, confidence scams, or urban myths can hoodwink us. But the days when an entire nation could get totally freaked out by a piece of fiction are long gone.

I wish some enterprising writer/producer living in a cheap apartment in LA took the massive releases of energy from the sun, added some sinister, imperialistic life form, and whipped up a piece of work that even if for only a few minutes, made my skin crawl just a little when I walk out to get the mail today and look up at the sun. Lacking that, I’ll dig up my MP3 of the original War of the Worlds this afternoon. I’ll imagine myself as a teenager in 1938, living on a farm somewhere far from a big city. I sit in front of the radio with my family, working on my lessons for school while gramps and granny listen to big band music. Suddenly, an announcer breaks in talking about explosions on Mars…

NBA Diary

Tuesday might have been the real Opening Night for the NBA, but Wednesday was my Opening Night. The wife was working. The Pacers on early; LeBron vs. the Kings late. With some help from some rare evening caffeine, and the picture-in-picture button, I made it through the night.

8:00 – Pacers vs. Pistons on local TV. Scot Pollard, the hometown team, and Larry Brown. Magic vs. Knicks on ESPN. Drew Gooden and Tyronn Lue. How do I choose? Maybe I should do it based on announcers. The local team is Al Alberts (how many Alberts announcers are there?) and Clark Kellogg. On ESPN, we’ve got John Saunders and Bill Walton. Looks like I’ll be watching the Pacers game.

Loads of plot lines in Detroit. Rick Carlisle, coaching his first game for the Pacers, gets to watch his former team raise their conference championship banner he helped them win last year. Benching Jamaal Tinsley for Kenny Anderson. Larry Brown starting what could be his last opportunity to get back to the NBA Finals. Good stuff. Unfortunately neither team seems interested. 6-3 Pacers at the first time out, five plus minutes into the quarter. Eastern Conference basketball!

I flip over to ESPN and hear Bill Walton call Drew Gooden Dwight twice. Walton sucks, but I never thought he would sink to Fred White’s level. HOOOOOOORRRRIBBBLLEEEE!!!!

Clark “I Have a Metaphor for Everything” Kellogg compares the Pacers learning Rick Carlisle’s system to moving into a new house. Fascinating!

Unlike sleepy midwestern towns like Indy, games in big cities like Detroit bring out the big stars. Tonight, Kid Rock is courtside. Apparently he sang “God Bless America” before the game. I’m sure that was a touching moment rivaling the Irish tenor who sings at each Yankees game.

For the ER watchers, remember Dr. Pratt’s roommate the last couple years? The extremely large fellow who was mentally challenged after taking a bullet to the head? That actor is now doing commercials for Bank One. I wish I had known that when we secured our mortgage through Bank One. I would have asked for an autograph or something.

Coaching moves I like: Larry Brown forcing Ben Wallace to become more active on offense. He’s a phenomenal athlete. There’s no reason he shouldn’t contribute more than just rebounds. He doesn’t have to be great, just demand attention from the defense. Rick Carlisle benching Jamaal Tinsley. Tinsley has been erratic over his first two years. Kenny Anderson has reached crafty veteran status, and has played for Carlisle before. He will be steadier as the team attempts to learn a whole new offense. This is the first time Tinsley has ever not started a season opener. It’s time to figure out whether he’s the long-term answer at the point. I think this is an excellent way to challenge him to compete every minute he’s on the court, as well as take some pressure off while he learns the offense.

I said I couldn’t become a Pacers fan until Reggie Miller retires. I’m wavering on that. Reggie is still a whiny little bitch, but the Pacers have a ton of young talent. Jermaine O’Neal, Al Harrington, Ron Artest, Jonathan Bender. I almost wish they had hired Larry Brown back just so I could watch him try to trade every player on the roster. I fear I’ll turn into my man E-bro in NoCal (which would make me D-bro in Indy). Sure, E-bro is still a Uge KU fan, but he knows more about what NBA big men have sweet drop steps than the next recruiting class. He understands the intricacies of the illegal defense call more than the race for the Big 8+4 title. The Lakers, not the Tigers, are his most hated foe. Our cable operator better carry ESPN Full Court or I’m getting the dish we inherited hooked up so I can avoid that fate.

Forget picture-in-picture, I had to switch to split screen late in the game. In New York, Tracy McGrady finally decided to start playing and the Magic stormed back to send the game into overtime. Simultaneously, the Pacers decided to stop scoring with 2:30 left and allowed Detroit to come from ten down to take a lead. Fortunately, the Pacers closed things out. They’re 1-0 since I moved to town!

ESPN is great. They switch away from overtime to show the first 30 seconds of the Cavs-Kings game. “Must show first 30 seconds of LeBron’s career!” Appropriately, as soon as they switched back to the game in New York, LeBron started going off. Serves them right.

I’m not totally buying into the LeBron hype, but I do lean towards being pro-LeBron. I like him because of his imperfections, his vulnerability, and his attitude. Jordan came into the league polished and dripping with confidence after three years of college and a superlative performance in the Olympics. He looked perfect, he played like no one before, and had a savvy that belied his age. LeBron, on the other hand, has a hint of nervousness and uncertainty about him. You can tell he knows he belongs, but he’s just not sure what to expect yet. He has that little under bite and some stubborn acne that make him seem like a kid. He’s a work in progress and I’m interested to see how it pans out. Even the young fella taking Jordan’s number tells you something about his makeup.

This whole King James thing, though, is a little much. In a couple years there are going to be little heathen kids like me that go to their grandmother’s, see her King James Bible, and think it has something to do with the life and times of LeBron.

Bill Laimbeer in the studio for ESPN? Please.

When is Carmelo Anthony going to blow his hair out and let us see the real deal?

I’ve said this before, but I think if you’re sitting in the front row at a basketball game, you’re talking on your phone, and you stand up and wave at the TV cameras constantly, you deserve to be shot. I want military marksmen in the rafters. It will be good practice for them. OK, OK, that’s a little harsh. We’ll use rubber bullets, mini sandbags, or paintballs and just put massive welts on people. That should teach them a lesson and help fight terror at the same time.

Day After Reaction:
Good gracious, I guess LeBron was ready for the NBA. Utterly ridiculous, 25 points, 9 rebounds, six assists, 4 steals, 2 turnovers. He looked steady and composed all night. After Sacramento ran out to a 19-point lead, he calmly led the Cavs back. They even took the lead in the fourth quarter before losing in one of the most difficult places to play in the league. The kid still needs a lot of work, but he’s clearly ready physically and at least for now, mentally. We’ll see how he holds up after a few bad games, or in late February when his season would normally be ending. I was struck by LeBron’s form on his jump shot. From the shoulders down, he looks exactly like Jordan. He has that 45-degree turn that Jordan always had. One foot slightly higher than the other. He even threw in an old man Jordan turnaround, fade away jumper in the first half. If he can just get the shoulders and arms to do what Jordan’s did, the shots will fall consistently.

The savior has arrived, and it looks like we get to believe the hype this time. Stay strong, LeBron! Don’t be Kobe!

D’s Notes

Day four of “Eastern Standard Time”. I fell asleep before kick-off Monday night, waking when it was already 10-0 Miami. I’m struggling with the concept of being an hour ahead of most of my coworkers (why aren’t they in the office at 6:30 in KC when I turn the laptop on?). Also, finishing my workday around 5:00 local time and still getting calls for an hour is odd. I’m sure my West Coast clients appreciate the voice mails I leave them at 5:00 AM their time. The rest of the world changes their clocks. In Indiana, you have to change your life.

Anyone catch the NBC Nightly News last night? Some outstanding publicity for the state of Kansas. Our favorite wacko minister from Topeka (name purposely not used here, but we’ll call him FP. E-mail me if you don’t know whom I’m referring to.) and his followers are back in Casper, WY trying to place a monument in a public park saying that Matthew Shepard “entered hell” the day he died. “We’re not preaching human hate, we’re preaching God’s hate. And God hates those who live lives of sin,” a group member said. Casper is having trouble stopping them because, get this, they have a monument to the Ten Commandments in the same park. City lawyers say allowing that to stay put opens the doors to anyone else who wants to put a monument in the park. Ironic, isn’t it? You might think to yourself, “Let’s see how Mr. First Amendment feels about this one.” I think FP and his phollowers are all mentally ill, harboring more issues than we can ever imagine, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t spew their hatred. In fact, in this case, I think it’s made a lot of people who wouldn’t normally be protective of a gay man’s legacy realize that it deserves preservation. Sometimes it takes people like FP, the Klan, and Louis Farrakhan to get the general public to understand that a fringe issue really isn’t that fringe. I don’t feel as strongly about religious monuments in parks, etc. as opposed to court rooms (Come on, it’s a park. Your kid can still run around and play if the Ten Commandments are posted and you’re an Atheist. Get over yourself.) but this is exactly the can of worms I was talking about. You can’t selectively open the door to certain religious views and keep others out. FP may be living in a world that hasn’t evolved in thousands of year, but he’s still sharing what he believes to be his religious truth. The most horrible thing is Shepard’s family has to relive his death again through all this.

Tom Brokaw’s reaction to the report was classic. Leading into a commercial, Tom said, “We’ll be back in a moment,” then let out a long, heavy sigh. Fair and balanced indeed!

The Shaq-Kobe drama is absolutely awesome! I’m loving every minute of it. I’m not totally convinced it’s all real. I have a hard time believing Phil Jackson would let it get to this point if it was 100% true. Two of the most media savvy players in the game today, a big off-court distraction, and I’m supposed to believe they aren’t somehow playing us? Fake or not, it’s been fantastic to read/watch. Two NBA superstars, and teammates no less, ripping each other up and down in the media. This is how people get killed in the hip-hop world (Another reason I’m not convinced it’s real. They sat next to each other on the bench last night.). In a time when loyalty is to contract and agent rather than team and city, when pre- and post-game get-togethers by opponents are commonplace, and where everyone tries to avoid bulletin board material, these exchanges are a throwback to the glory days of the 1970s when everyone hated everyone else. On TNT’s always-brilliant studio show last night, Charles Barkley looked at his cohosts and said, “If any of you all ever call me fat, I’m kicking all your asses.” I want to see Shaq go after Kobe. Maybe toss him around the gym a little. Exclusive footage by a local reporter that just happened to still be in what was supposed to be a closed workout. Grainy, out-of-focus footage of Kobe slamming into some chairs as Karl Malone attempts to stop the Diesel from closing in to finish the job. Of course, we’ll never actually see a punch or any other contact, so we’ll never know what really happened. This needs to happen, and sooner rather than later.

Boo to everyone who gave Kobe standing ovations during the preseason. Innocent until proven guilty, yes. But there was nothing good that has come out of the early testimony, even if we ultimately learn it was a consensual encounter. I don’t expect much out of anyone in the public eye, certainly not fidelity. But Kobe has held himself up to be different, better, more committed than others his entire career. He’s benefited greatly from that image. I don’t think you applaud the man for being just like everyone else. Worse than everyone else, really. I wonder how many of the people that applauded him had their kids next to them but were whining about, “What will I tell my kids?” during the Clinton impeachment. I finally have a tangible reason to dislike Kobe. I was never sure why I didn’t like him, but now I am.

Good, Bad, and Ugly

Good: Marlins win in six. Josh Beckett is a freaking stud. His arm may fall off, he may succumb to all the temptations that will be available to him, or he just may have pitched the best he’ll ever pitch. But I love the fact his first postseason experience was much better that Roger Clemens’ first experience. I’m not sure why I’ve become obsessive about hating Clemens, but I have. Jeff Loria may be one of the worst owners in baseball, and a personification of all that’s wrong with the game, but he ain’t George Steinbrenner. Then again, King George may be good for baseball. If he spends $200 million next year to try to win again, the rest of the game may finally shape up and put some kind of measures in place to help give better opportunities to sign and keep players to the smaller clubs. More on this subject later. Why was George wearing thick, dark sunglasses for night games this week? Trying to hide his wildly dilated pupils from everyone?

Bad: Dallas loses to Tampa Bay convincingly. After the Bucs’ loss last week, this one was easy to call. Hopefully the Tuna gets the ‘Boys back in gear.

Ugly: I was at a friend’s house watching Purdue-Michigan Saturday. Clearly in an effort just to piss me off, ABC didn’t show the KU-K-State score until late in the Purdue game. As soon as I saw 42-6, I thought, “I hope Whittemore didn’t get hurt.” Sure enough… Now we’ll really see how good of a coach Mangino is. Texas A&M and Nebraska were legitimate reaches for wins if our defense showed up in those games. Now he has to keep the team’s attitude up through a tough three game stretch and hope they’re still in a position to play well when Iowa State comes to town. 6-6 still gets you to a bowl game in the Big 12, and even if it’s done with a fifth string QB, it’s a huge lift for the program.

It’s 35 in Indianapolis this morning. No snow, though. Hopefully you all remembered to change your clocks this weekend. That extra hour I have before football starts is brutal. It just begs you to get off your ass and do something, and you end up missing the first half of the early games. As the local NPR announcer said this morning, while the rest of the nation went back to Standard Time, we stayed on Twilight Zone Time.

D’s Notes

Dumb sports announcer comment of the week: “Hard to believe” that Dick Vermeil coached in his first Monday Night Football game since 1981 this week, according to Al Michaels and Lisa Guerrero. Why is that hard to believe? He was retired from coaching for almost 20 years. The Rams weren’t expected to be good when he took them to the Super Bowl. He retired again after winning the Super Bowl. His first two years with the Chiefs, they weren’t good either. So really he’s coached five years since 1981, and until this season, he never coached a team that was viewed as interesting enough to put into the MNF lineup. Idiots.

Speaking of MNF, I was disappointed when they showed a shot of Lake Merritt that there wasn’t a reference to Gut Fest.

I vote that the greatest invention of all-time is the hard drive MP3 player. I decided to secretly allocate some funds from our wedding account a few months back (that’s a joke, I got permission to make my purchase) and while I really wanted a fancy iPod, I got a slightly larger (CD player size) Creative Labs Nomad with twice the disk space for about $150 less. After a few weeks of diligent efforts, I managed to get all the MP3s on my computer hard drive transferred as well as all the CDs I wanted to rip loaded. Now, every piece of music I own is on one easy to carry device. I can take it when I travel, or just hook it up to the speakers in my office and let it play all day. While a lot of people create special play lists, I prefer to load music by genre, hit shuffle, and let it play. I always have a hard time looking at my music collection and selecting what I want to listen to, so this is perfect for me. There’s nothing like jumping from the Beatles to the Flaming Lips to Dean Martin without any input from me.

ESPN Classic showed the Roberto Clemente edition of Sports Century twice Monday. I thought I knew the story of Roberto, but turns out I did not. I never knew that sports writers in Pittsburgh made fun of his Puerto Rican accent by writing his quotes the way they sounded, “Ever seence I been in da beeg leagues, I hup heet da ball meeny times.” Keep in mind this was in the mid-50s, so this wasn’t someone trying to be funny. It was a mean spirited way of reminding an outsider that he was different and inferior. As Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci pointed out, those same sports writers no doubt cleaned up quotes from many of the southern white players who spoke less than perfect English. I didn’t know that Roberto was widely considered to be a whiner and injury faker. I also didn’t realize how outspoken Roberto was about matters of race. I always thought that he was such a hero to Latin players because he was the first Latin superstar. Now I realize it was because unlike Jackie Robinson who was forced to bite his tongue, Roberto demanded respect for Latin players and was a beacon for youngsters throughout the Caribbean. When he died while attempting to help earthquake victims in Nicaragua, he cemented his status as a Latin icon.

I was really hoping our last memory of Roger Clemens would be of him head hunting Miguel Cabrera then Cabrera calmly taking him out of the park, opposite field immediately after. Still a punk, after all these years.

Speaking of Cabrera, he’s everything Carlos Beltran should be. When he steps to the plate, you know something exciting is going to happen. He has an aura that he belongs, he knows it, and he’s out to make an impact. Despite all his skills (probably more pure skills than Cabrera) Beltran often seems disinterested or distracted. He does amazing things too, but you don’t expect them to happen. I’ve just thoroughly cursed Miguel Cabrera’s career.

Pity the East Coast fan. Last night’s game ended at approximately 12:24 AM. I can’t wait for Sunday, when Indiana keeps its head firmly in the sand and forces us to wait until 8:00 for game seven to start.

I loved VH1’s “I Love the 80s”. While they it didn’t resonate the same way, I enjoyed “I Love the 70s” immensely as well. In fact, I don’t think I moved for nine hours Labor Day while watching the 70s marathon. So I think you can guess how I feel about “I Love the 80s Strikes Back”. Another ten-hour block of great television. Keeping all the breakout stars; Hal Sparks, Mo Rocca, Rachael Harris, and the pure genius of Michael Ian Black; was an inspired move. However, why are they continuing to give Rich Eisen airtime? ESPN finally ran his ass out (of course, they replaced him with some other no-talent ass clown, to use an Office Spaceism) and they pollute this tremendous program with his presence. He continues to offer the same banal, pedestrian observations. However, this time he’s sporting the unshaved look, apparently to add an edge to his commentary. What’s outstanding, though, is his attempt to bite Michael Ian Black’s style. Fortunately, he’s not nearly good enough to pull it off, so it just annoys me more. There is no Stuart Scott, which is nice.


Some songs you never really understand when you’re young and innocent. When U2’s Achtung Baby! was released in 1991, “One” was an immediate standout track. A co-worker at my summer job in 1992 was talking to me about music one day, and said that he hated U2 but loved “One”. I said I liked it, but didn’t think it was the best song on the album. “You’ve never had your heart broken, have you?” he asked. I hadn’t yet, but later when I did go through an especially messy breakup, I tracked him down and said, “I understand “One” now.” During that period, I latched onto “One” thinking that somewhere in the bitterness, anger, and sadness of the song there was a hidden answer to all my questions about love and loss. I was wrong about that, but it was comforting to know that others felt the same pain I felt at the time.

“One” is a hauntingly beautifully song. It’s understated musically, serving as a soundtrack to Bono’s equally reserved vocals. For a band that made its name shouting out political anthems, the restraint used here makes the song even more effective. Bono’s lyrics are some of the most pointed and brilliant of his career. It’s difficult to listen to lines like:

“Did I ask too much, more than a lot? You gave me nothing now it’s all I got.”


“You say love is a temple, love the higher law. You ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl. And I can’t be holding on to what you got when all you got is hurt.”

and not immediately place them in the context of a hurt you’ve suffered. Every thing about the song suggests the nights when you sit alone, staring at the ceiling, replaying the conversations with your lost love over and over. Evaluating, deciphering, and tearing apart every word in an attempt to find an explanation for the pain you feel. There are thousands of breakup songs, but few are as effective as “One”.

Even if “One” wasn’t one of the best songs of the post-punk era, it would be tremendously important in the mythology of U2. In 1990 the band was based in Berlin and working on the tracks for Achtung Baby! They were the biggest band in the world and felt the pressure to explore new musical avenues. Bono and the Edge became enamored with the burgeoning electronic music scene that dominated German clubs. They kept pushing the band down a more modern, synthetic sound for their new songs. Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen did not have the same connection with the new sounds. They were rooted in early R&B and classic rock and roll. They felt there was little room in the new sound for a traditional rhythm section. As tensions escalated, the band began to discuss throwing in the towel. The four had long had an agreement that if they ever reached the point where they couldn’t make music together, they would chose friendship over the band and put U2 to rest.

Then, one day, while working on yet another song that seemed to be going nowhere, Edge picked up his acoustic guitar and starting playing a riff he had been working on. Larry and Adam listened for several minutes, then joined in. Bono began improvising lyrics. By the next day, “One” had been written and recorded. It was the first song during those sessions that spoke to each member of the band. From there, they ripped through the remaining tracks, and soon they had the second masterpiece of their career. In addition to being one of their finest moments both musically and lyrically, “One” may literally have saved the band.

I was lucky enough to stumble into free tickets to the Elevation Tour stop in Kansas City in November 2001. It became the most incredible concert experience I’ve ever had, largely because of “One”. After almost two hours of new songs, classics, and a few unexpected rarities, Bono gave a brief speech about how honored they were to be touring in the US in this very strange time, just ten weeks after 9/11. He held a single finger up in the air, and Edge strummed out the familiar opening riff. As the band eased into the song, the names of each person who died on 9/11 began to roll on the video screens behind the stage. Flight number, building, FDNY, NYPD, etc. served as the identifier for each group of victims. As each group was honored, applause rang through the arena. Along with “Bad” and “I Will Follow”, “One” was a song I HAD to hear that night. Quickly, my desire just to stand and sing along with Bono went away. Like 14,000 other people, I could only stare at the names. They went on and on and on. For some reason, nearly 5,000 deaths had lost its impact after viewing the footage over and over again. But as the list continued for nearly five minutes, even when displayed three columns across, the gravity of the loss came back. Suddenly, the song wasn’t about someone who broke your heart in college (when you’re supposed to break your heart). It was about the terror of that day, of mourning, and of coming together. A song written about the end of a relationship ended up being as uplifting as any forced, feel good song written in the immediate aftermath, “One life but we’re not the same, we get to carry each other, carry each other, one….” It was a truly profound experience in a night full of memorable moments. As the final names rolled off the screen during “Peace on Earth” looking around Kemper all you could see were palms pressed against cheeks as people wiped their tears away. For a long time afterwards, when we would hear it, S. would ask me to skip to the next song because she couldn’t help but think about the concert and the seemingly endless list of names. For me, the memories of that lost love have been replaced. Now when I hear “One”, I think of the emotional impact of that night. I think of the unity that was in the crowd. And I think of how a breakup song is really about collecting yourself and moving on. Thus, “One” served as a perfect theme for the months after 9/11.

Manic Monday

Yawn. Apparently the wife is tired of having withdrawal headaches when she doesn’t have caffeine, so she’s switched to the half-caffeine type of coffee. So here I am at 10:00 already breaking into the Diet Coke. Guess I’m addicted.

Basketball season arrived Friday night, yet I’m strangely still interested in football. The Dallas Cowboys are 5-1 and in first place in the NFC East. The Kansas Jayhawks are 5-2 and tied for first in the Big 12 North. Maybe the potential Cubs-Red Sox World Series wasn’t the sign of the apocalypse I should have been worried about. Dallas plays at Tampa Sunday, KU at Kansas State Saturday. We’ll have a much clearer picture of each team this time next week.

Sports Illustrated has some wacky stats on their college football section, and somehow list Texas Tech has averaging 74 points a game. They’re actually averaging a still impressive 47 ppg. I thought it ironic that if they really were scoring 74 points each Saturday, they would have a higher octane offense than Bobby Knight has each winter in Lubbock.

Speaking of basketball, I will attempt some kind of Big 8+4 coverage again this year. Being away from the area will affect my analysis a little, but I figure I can find time to read all the conference summaries, catch a couple games each week, and post something. All that will come on a separate site. I’m in the process of setting it up and will make an announcement when it’s available, as well as link to it on the right side.

Am I the only one who was shocked to hear Juan Pierre of the Florida Marlins accent be pure Cajun? I figured he was from the Dominican Republic, or with a last name like Pierre, maybe the rare MLB player from Haiti.

New Listening Post entry to come this afternoon (pending time to transfer it from hand writing to electronic).


Well, every bit of last night’s Red Sox – Yankees game seven could have been predicted. The Red Sox get to Roger Clemens early while Pedro Martinez is just good enough to avoid jams. The Sox give themselves an insurance run late. Then, as soon as the “X outs to the World Series” threshold hits, things fall apart. Just like the Cubs Tuesday, the Sox were up three runs with five defensive outs standing between them and the World Series. However, in this case, it was extremely curious managerial decisions that let the Yankees back in rather than an expertly placed foul ball. Let’s not kid ourselves, though, no matter what Grady Little did, the Yankees were coming back. And Aaron Boone fit the profile perfectly for ending the game in the bottom of the 11th inning. Another long, cold winter for Sox fans. More banners for Yankee Stadium.

Instead of rubbing the head of Babe Ruth’s monument before every start, why doesn’t Roger Clemens just wear a jersey that says “DICK” across the front? It will prove the same point and save him a lot of walking.

It was nice of Fox to stick with the game in the middle of the first until Pedro made his entrance. Of course, that meant we missed three first pitches in other innings here in Indy while the local affiliate was busy getting their promos in.

Speaking of the local Fox station, they’re pretty much like every other Fox station in the country: more fluff than substance. A little too tabloid, a little too much caffeine. Unfortunately, though, they’re not loaded up with eye candy. What’s the point of having a Fox station if it’s not staffed with former models attempting to break into the TV awards presentation field?

As enthralling as the game was, I was disappointed there was no World Poker Tour action on ESPN to watch during commercials.

There are expectant mothers throughout New England that are secretly glad Boston lost. They were not looking forward to the name Trot hastily being added to the list of possibilities by their husbands.

Joe Torre moves his slumping slugger to the seven hole. Grady Little keeps his pitcher, who’s clearly been struggling recently and despite his performance starting to lose his best stuff that night, in the game when he’s got a left-hander ready in the bullpen to face the three straight left handed Yankees about to come to the plate. Jason Giambi hits two home runs. Pedro Martinez lets the Yankees back in the game. Maybe it’s not just George Steinbrenner’s money that makes the Yanks good.

Mike Mussina did a nice job in his three innings. I loved his quote, though, from earlier in the series, “All I can control is sixty feet, six inches.” Very Elvis Grbac. Fortunately for him, the Yankees are far too professional to worry about that.

Doesn’t Kevin Millar look like he should have played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the mid-70s? He makes Dennis Leonard look cleanly shaved.

Think people’s haaaaaaahts were beating haaaaahder in Boston after David Ortiz’s home run? “Six outs away! We’re wicked close! How about them aaaaaaapples?!?!”

Best sign at Yankees Stadium, “Mystique Don’t Fail Me Now”. Perfect timing.
Derek Jeter, 0-2, double. Bernie Williams, single. Hideki Matsui, 0-2, double. Jorge Posada, double. And like that Boston’s suicide hotlines light up.

Boston goes to extra innings in New York in a game they can clinch. Haven’t we done this before?

We all know what happened. You may ask, “How can you like the Red Sox and not like the cute little Cubbies?” Let me count the ways:
1 – The Red Sox, like every other team in the AL East, are not the Yankees. If you grew up in Kansas City in the late 70s, early 80s, at some point you’ve been a fan of every team other than the Yankees in the East because you hate the Yankees so much.
2 – Jim Rice. He was part of my holy trinity of baseball players growing up (George Brett and Eddie Murray being the other two). I would practice dropping the bat like Rice after I hit the ball. Plus, he wore my favorite number, 14.
3 – The Red Sox lose one heart-wrenching game every decade that keeps them cursed. Outside those games, they’re actually pretty good most of the time. The Cubbies are loveable losers. Their entire organization is built around the celebration of losing. The Red Sox actually want to win. There’s just this cottage industry of people outside the organization who have made money off of perpetuating the idea of a curse.
4 – I may not be a Cardinals fan, but I know enough to have had the hatred of the Cubs rub off on me over the years.
5 – Finally, some of my best baseball memories revolve around the Red Sox. The great teams of the late 70s through mid 80s that were loaded with talent, but always had some huge flaw (generally just having to play in the same division as the Yankees). Fenway’s distorted genius trumps the softball qualities of Wrigley any day. The Cubs were the horrible team that provided the only baseball I could watch when I was a kid in southeast Missouri. Piss off a kid, you never really get a chance to change it.

I want the Marlins to win, but why would I ever pick against the Yankees? They’ve got the money, the mystique, and the media. Yankees in five.

Sox Win, Cubs Lose

Another great day of baseball. The Red Sox and Yankees continued their heavyweight battle in the late afternoon and early evening, each team taking and losing leads, trading punches like Ali and Frazier. A couple wind-blown balls by the Red Sox and one massive, George Brett-like homerun from Trot Nixon, and we’ve got game seven: Pedro Martinez vs. Roger Clemens. Exactly what everyone was hoping for. I didn’t think the Sox had a shot yesterday. Dare I think they can actually win this thing?

I should feel bad about the Cubs losing, especially after Fox showed shot after shot of old women crying after the game (there’s no crying in baseball!). Yet I don’t. I would imagine cardiac hospitals throughout the Chicago-land area are extra full today. Kerry Wood’s tying home run in the second inning had to have affected performance of pacemakers implanted in Cubs fans. I don’t care about the foul ball Tuesday. The Marlins were clearly the better team. They beat Mark Prior and Kerry Wood in back-to-back games. They deserve to be playing next week. Wait ‘till next year, Cubbies. (Biggest game in 58 years at Wrigley, and Billy Corgan is who you get for the Seventh Inning Stretch? No wonder the Cubs never win.)

I Vote No

Sixteen Candles 16 years later? No thanks, especially if you make it for TV rather than the big screens and lose the PG-13/R rating option. Let’s count the ways this is bad:
No politically incorrect references to Orientals, a Chinaman named after a duck’s dork, retarded kids wearing red sweaters and tan trousers, alien breasts, public urination, shots of women nude in the shower, or oily-type beau-hunks. I bet you can’t even put Joan Cusack it the halo and make her try to use the drinking fountain these days. I doubt you’ll see Samantha get felt up by her grandmother, either.
On top of all that, you ruin the ending of the original movie. I don’t need to hear how Jake and Sam both suffered third degree burns when they kissed over her birthday cake and their shirts ignited. Or how Farmer Ted became an serial date-rapist based on his success that one weekend his freshman year.
This all sounds more like a bad SNL skit than a legitimate movie project.

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