Friday, June 27, 2008

A-Rod is (still) a better shortstop than Jeter is or ever was, part MCMXVIII

Here's a little mini-post because I'm drinking and watching the Mets beat the tar out of the yanks. (I love Carlos Delgado, by the way. Never said a bad thing about that grand-slam-hitting Puerto Rican Adonis.)

Top 7th inning, Mets up 11-5, one out, nobody on, and Fernando Tatis grounds out to "third baseman" Alex Rodriguez. Here follows the play-by-play from Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, and Gary Cohen:

Keith Hernandez: You know, A-Rod's a nice-fielding third baseman.

Gary Cohen: Yeah.

KH: You gotta remember, he was a shortstop all those years--

GC: A Gold Glove shortstop.

KH: Yes he was. He came over to the yanks, moved to third and he...he can pick it over there. It's a nice play. A long hop, he backs up for the long hop. Strong arm.

GC: I remember he made that great diving stop on Tatis's ball back in the 2nd. Couldn't get a good throw away, but he's got a lot of range there at third base.

Ron Darling: And when he first went there, he agreed to play third base. It was tough for him right at the beginning, 'cause that ball comes with a lot of spin sometimes at third base.

[At this point, Brian Schneider grounds out to second. As the SNY team wraps up the inning, here's the key exchange, and yet another reason why Gary Cohen is the best play-by-play guy in the business.]

GC: And of course, the thing that the yankees never talk about is the fact that A-Rod is still twice the shortstop that Jeter is. But you're not allowed to say that here.

RD: [laughs, agreeingly]


--cut to commercial--

And yes, "agreeingly" is an adverb. Totally.

If the yanks don't ever win another World Series, it will be because Derek Jeter, Mr. Super Captain Clutchy-Clutchness was too much of a selfish douchebag to move to third. I really hope Jeter and A-Rod don't break up over this.

*fingers crossed*

Friday Classic Video: The next Eli Manning?

Just in case anyone forgot:

The New York Giants WON THE SUPER BOWL.


I can't quite place why this video reminded me. Something about a pass no one ever thought would work. And someone's head/helmet being involved. Anyway, enjoy.



Thank you College Pork!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Side Bar, Defend Your Motherfucking Boy. Again.

Here's what Don Imus said yesterday while talking to Warner Wolf about Adam "Pacman" Jones.
"He's been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005," Wolf said.
"What color is he?" Imus asked.
"He's African-American," Wolf responded.
"Well, there you go," Imus said. "Now we know."
Side Bar is going to tell us that he believes his explanation/apology, which is that he meant to imply that cops like to arrest black people (though not many other NFL players have been arrested 6 times in the last 3 years), and not that black people like to get themselves arrested.

I don't really care if Imus is a racist or not, I just wish he would keep his fucking mouth shut so we don't have to hear from Al Sharpton.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Social Networking Sites are Stupid

No, I do not want to join Facebook. No, I do not respond to messages on Friendster. No, I was not happy to join LinkedIn (I did it because a gie who is senior to me at the old job invited me, and then re-invited me, or whatever the fuck you call it, and it seemed like a dick move to keep ignoring him). But on the whole, I have this to say about Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, and all that other shit: Leave. Me. The. Fuck. Alone.

Look, the fact is, friendships run a natural course. You aren't supposed to be best friends with everyone. People enter your life, and exit your life, and the duration in between those two bookends is governed by what you have in common, how much you enjoy each other's company, and the experiences you've shared (or, in some cases, because your parents are friends and your mom makes you feel guilty about not hanging out with her friend's kid - why do you think these clowns included me in high school? Because they were nice? Hell no. Eileen hooked me up. But I digress).

The point is, these social networking sites artificially extend the duration of friendships beyond their otherwise natural conclusion. "Oh, look, Billy from Kindergarten is on Facebook." So the fuck what? There is a reason that me and Billy from Kindergarten haven't spoken in 24 years: we were never friends in the first place. Now I have to read that his favorite movie is Goodfellas, he works on computers, lives in Wayne with some girl he met at Rutgers, and his favorite movie is Goodfellas? Fuck that. And then what? Drinks? Dinner? Hell no. "OMG, Kelly from 8th grade totally Facebooked me the other day. She was so fucking hot when we were in middle school." We are old, married (in some cases), and not banging girls who were hot when they were 12. Stop it. All of you.

Scrabble? Come on. You fuckers know me better than that. You can play scrabble on-line in any number of ways. Please don't give me this "I just joined it for the games" crap. That's like these people who are still telling their wives that they are reading Playboy for the articles. Cut it out. You want games? Here. Every Nintendo game ever (except Zelda for some reason, but you can play that here). Now you can play Tecmo Bowl for free all day and not worry about Facebook.

Social networking sites are for college kids and teenagers who think that every time they study for an AP History test that they need to put some inspirational quotation on their home page to capture the moment, or who have nothing better to do but harass other kids with lower self-esteem by sending them insidious messages over the internet.

It's a series of tubes, dagnabbit.

Friendly Advice

As we embark on a weekend sure to be filled with way too much drinking, this seemed very appropriate.


Happy summer, from all of us at Where's Luke?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Blogiquette

A couple of ground rules to consider for the blog. I am curious what the other contributors think, as well as any of our readers (though in truth, we probably don't care what you say, and will decide the rules no matter what you think, and we might even make our decision based in part on the opposite of your opinion).

The issue: Cockblogging.

The description: This is Open Bar's term, and while to me it sounds like an online diary focusing on one's penis, it has come to mean posting to the blog immediately or shortly after another contributor has posted, thus demoting (in terms of position and thus prominence on the site) the earlier-in-time post.

My opinion: I am torn on this one. Part of me thinks it is silly to prevent the other contributors from posting whatever and whenever they want, but I too know the pain of putting up an absolutely spectacular post, only to have it demoted within hours, if not minutes, by some nonsense about how "fucking awesome" America is. Should we consider a six-hour rule? A twelve-hour rule? If so, what about the fact that everything Open Bar posts hits the site between 2:00 and 5:00 a.m.? Does that change the analysis. I think I am leaning towards no rule on this. As long as you put something substantive/funny/engaging/interesting on the site, and you are not posting merely to bury another post (which I don't believe anyone has ever done), we should all be encouraged to post without any time restrictions.

The issue: Commenting on Posts

The description: It has been suggested (perhaps "implied" is a better word) that one should not post -- particularly if such post is "cockblogging" another's post (see above) -- without first commenting on the earlier-in-time post.

My opinion: I will readily admit that I really like it when people comment on my posts, particularly when it is one of my co-contributors and they approve of a piece that I spent a lot of time preparing. That said, I cannot see how we can make it a prerequisite to posting that you comment on earlier posts. Sometimes no comment is necessary, sometimes if you can't say anything nice, etc., and sometimes you just don't feel like it. Anyone disagree?

The issue: Labels

The description: Labels are the funny/informative tags applied at the end of the post. I probably should have just called them "tags," and then you would have known what I meant without the need for this description. When you post to the blog, there is a separate field for adding tags, and if you begin to type one that has already been used, Blogger fills it in for you (which is nice).

My opinion: We have enough. In fact, we have 381 of them, compared with 364 posts (including this one). Yes, I counted. There is nothing you can add to this blog that cannot be covered by one of the existing tags. I think we should only use pre-existing labels from now on. Which is to say you can only use labels that Blogger auto-fills for you as you type them in. Sometimes it's a bit of a stretch, but it generally works, and that makes it funnier/more interesting anyway. I am not sure how often we will use tags like "Yorvit is a stupid name," and "poster-board is the new construction paper," but more standard ones like "Mets," "Barack-ing My World," and "Dogs raping children--funny?" will be used all the time. I guess the only problem is that we would have to police ourselves pretty carefully, and it might be a rule that no one wants to/is willing to enforce.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Patti Solis Doyle...is hot

Schwing!

Poor, poor Willie.

The guys over at Y2K had a nice run of posts today on Wilhelm Von's firing. I won't go into it much, except to say that I don't think it's gonna make much of a difference. Wilhelm didn't make Moises Alou 476 years old. He didn't cast a Sucking-at-Baseball spell on Carlos Delgado. He bears no blame whatsoever for Billy Wagner's three straight monstrous chokes.

Wilhelm was there, however, for the magical 2006 season. (Suck on my cock for eternity, Yadier Fucking Molina.) Which makes it all the more insulting the way the Mets handled this whole thing.

Tough day all around.

Which brings me back to the picture at the top. As you may have heard, Patti Solis Doyle, Hillary's old campaign manager who got fired because Mark Penn and Bill Clinton (both of whom had the real power in the campaign) messed everything up, has taken the position of Chief of Staff for Barack's Vice Presidential choice. Seems like a bit of a slap in the face to Hillary, but it could also be a coming-together maneuver. Apparently, Ms. Doyle is an old buddy of David Axelrod, Barack's Karl Rove-dude. We'll see how this all plays out.

But most importantly, how come no one ever showed me a picture of this lovely Latina? When you hear "campaign manager," a sexy mamacita isn't exactly what jumps to mind. (Also, what kind of a Latin name is "Doyle"? Or is she like a chica Bill Richardson?)

So I have an important question.

Which sounds better: Patti Solis Bar, or Patti Open Bar?

¡Me gusta!

Wilhelm Von Randolph

Peace out, Willie.



I like Willie as a person, but I'll tell you the exact moment I lost faith in him as the manager of the Mets. It was 0.04 seconds after he said (paraphrasing), "Yeah, there are some bumps in the road right now, but it'll all be that much sweeter when we're sipping champagne." Because at that moment I knew the team would never play with any sort of urgency as long as he was the manager. And they haven't.

The only energy on the team comes from Reyes, who acts like a clown a lot of the time, and Wright who, God bless him, seems to carry the weight of the entire team from a player representation standpoint. Carlos Beltran has as much personality as some old crusty gym socks (what?).

PS - don't look now, but Carlos Gomez is the spark plug of that Twins team. Lead off hitter, tons of energy, kindof brash in a good way. His numbers aren't through the roof, but he's certainly respectable, and once he ups his on base percentage, he'll be a force to be reckoned with.

I predict two hours before I get cockblogged (that's my new favorite phrase).

PPS - a quick thought exercise. Imagine this, the Mets signed Yorvit Torealba or some other catcher. Instead of Carlos Gomez, they trade Blastings Milledge et al. for Johan. Here's the twist. The pitcher bats 8th in the lineup, Carlos Gomez bats 9th and starts in right field every day. Blasphemy, or really good idea that only Tony LaRussa would have the guts to try?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hey Hank Steinbrenner: You know what else was cool in the 1800s? Slavery.

Like father, like douchebag.

So Chien-Ming Wang broke his foot the other day while he was running the bases. He's out till September or something. Tough break for the yanks. I feel bad for them. Really.

Anyway, so I'm watching the Mets-Angels game tonight, and that topic comes up, and Gary Cohen utters some serious brilliance (with Ron Darling doing color):
Gary Cohen: Anyway, so Wang gets hurt, and that's bad. But it led to the most idiotic statement of the year, coming from Hank Steinbrenner.

Ron Darling: The year's not even done yet, and you're giving it number one already?

GC: I've gotta read this to you. He said -- Hank Steinbrenner, speaking from Tampa today, says, "My message is simple. The National League needs to join the 21st century. They need to grow up and join the 21st century," saying that the National League should adopt the DH. [Some game action occurred, but I have DVR, so I can skip ahead through that shit. Nice, right? Get DVR if you don't have it. I'm speaking particularly to LJT, who's a caveman.] Hank Steinbrenner says, "I've got my pitchers running the bases and one of them gets hurt, he's going to be out. I don't like that, and it's about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s." I mean, are you kidding me?

RD: Oh God...

GC: Does this guy have a filter?

RD: I don't think he does.

GC: That is one of the most idiotic things I've ever heard.
By the way, the Designated Hitter was instituted in 1972.

Hey yankee fans: This is the person running your team.

So the true question must therefore be:

Is Hank Steinbrenner the new Isiah Thomas?

Oh, I hope so.

And God bless Gary Cohen.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Repre-motherfucking-sent

Hell to the yes. Who's with me? Mrs. Side Bar, I know you're with me. Anyone else?



Clearly Danny and Jon only agreed to come back for like 5 hours and left at lunch time. I'd be willing to bet that's not even them in the background when the 5 of them are dancing. I love that at one point they go to a triple shot of Jordan, Joey, and Donny and not a 5 shot of all of them.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mets acquire Trot Nixon; players respond with their best cliches

That hat looks like it was on the '86 Mets.

Moises Alou and Ryan Church, who were supposed to be the Mets' starting corner outfielders, have faced quite a lot of injuries this year. One because he's really, really old, the other because he has a concussion fetish or something. (Seriously, Ryan? Twice in like two months?)

Corner outfielders generally are there to provide offense, which, when Alou and Church do in fact suit up, they do quite well. However, their replacements -- Angel Pagan (also now hurt), Endy Chavez, Fernando Tatis, Damion Easley, Marlon Anderson, Nick Evans -- haven't exactly torn the cover off the ball.

Today came news of Omar Minaya's surprise solution: Trot Nixon! You may remember him from the Red Sox of not too long ago. I remember that he put a lot of baby powder on his hat and a shitload of pine tar on his helmet, which seemed to start a trend.

At this point, anything new is good for the Mets. Trot could fail horribly, rediscover his 2003 form (.306/.396/.578), or -- most likely -- have no impact whatsoever. But hey, all we gave up for him was "cash considerations or a player to be named later," a.k.a. nada.

But the announcement of the acquisition led to some awesome quotes by Mets players and officials. I can't possibly mock these quotes as well as those guys from Fire Joe Morgan, but I thought I'd post a few here:
Omar Minaya: "Everything that I've heard about the guy is that he's a gamer."

David Wright: "He's a hard-nosed player. He's a guy who's going to go out there and get dirty. He's a guy that plays with a lot of intensity, and I think that's a good thing both on the field and as a clubhouse guy. He's been on a championship team. He knows what it takes to win and he'll go out there and give you something day in and day out."

And here's the real gem, from Pedro Martinez (Trot's ex-teammate): "He looks like a little grouch all the time, but in reality, he's a great person. A good family man."
So:

The Mets need to replace the offensive output they lost when their corner outfielders were revealed as DL whores. The answer, you would think, would be a guy who, like, hits home runs or something. But rather than go for that, we got a guy who is:
  • a gamer
  • hard-nosed
  • dirty
  • intense
  • a clubhouse guy
  • someone who was on a team that won a championship four years ago
  • going to give you something day in and day out
  • grouchy-looking
  • a good person
  • a family man
But...can he hit? Can he field? Can he run? Is he good at anything that occurs on a baseball field?

I'm not saying I want them to sign Barry Bonds (who sounds like Trot Nixon's archnemesis, if they were in a comic book), but despite Trot's tearing shit up in the minors this year, the guy couldn't even make the big-league roster this spring.

Although, with the Mets playing as sucktastically as they have been, maybe, just maybe, Mr. Pine Tar Family Man could help. Even a little bit.

Oh fuck it, just sign Bonds.

not serious about that

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert died


As I'm sure you've heard, Tim Russert died today at age 58.

We here at Where's Luke? are all weekly watchers of Meet the Press. It was, without a doubt, the can't-miss program on politics. (Okay, Daily Show too.)

I've read a bunch of different reactions, but I think it's gonna be hard to top Ezra Klein's:
"Whatever my issues with Russert's coverage, he was there, week after week, night after night, playing the bulldog against politicians in the way he thought best. It was quite a commitment to American politics, and over the years, gave rise to some remarkable moments. Because I think folks should be remembered for their best work, here's a transcript of his September 2002 interview with Dick Cheney. If the press had been as skeptical and aggressive in the run-up to the war as Russert was on that morning, sitting next to the vice president, we never would have invaded Iraq. But for now, it's going to be strange indeed to turn on the TV on Sundays and not hear his voice. Presumably, he's up somewhere beyond the cloudline, hectoring God about His inconsistencies. 'But Lord, in Exodus 6:12, you clearly said...'"
I'd also like to think that upon meeting up with Jesus, Tim breaks out the trusty old white board and scribbled some numbers down, explaining, "In the ongoing contest for souls, I think Satan has some weaknesses in these demographics..."

Okay, that wasn't nearly as good as Ezra's, but I had to get the white-board thing in there.

Also (and I know this is way too soon, but it's the blogosphere and this is some cutthroat shit) I'd like to be the first to recommend Chuck Todd for the next host of Meet the Press. If you saw the interview with Chuck shortly after Tim died, you could see clearly that he had been balling his eyes out. He was a big fan of Tim, and I'm sure if anyone could sit in that chair and be a worthy successor, it'd be Chuck Todd.

[The following stuff I added later, some sentimental stuff, so feel free to stop reading now.]

I know none of this was all that profound or anything, just sort of a gut reaction. I'll leave it to the other guys here to write something with a bit more perspective. But I just wanted to add one or two more things.

In all sincerity, it's particularly tragic that he died two days before Father's Day. From all accounts, he was an amazing father. He also wrote a book about his dad, Big Russ. He had just returned from a vacation with his family to celebrate his son's graduation from Boston College.

Regardless of whether you thought he was a crappy interviewer or was more influential than he deserved to be, he did ultimately seem like a decent guy in a field full of the total opposite. He was fair with people, he let them talk -- both of which are rare, both in politics and in life. (I warned you about the sentimental stuff.)

It's not a perfect comparison, but it kinda reminds me of when Heath Ledger suddenly dropped dead. One of my first thoughts was, Why him? Of all the people in that field who are just total douchebags, this one seemed like an okay guy.

Eh, who knows. As it says in the tag, death sucks.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fists of Fury

About a year ago, the American news media spent several days consumed by a racial slur made on the air by Don Imus, which ultimately led to his ouster. The clip, showing Mr. Imus denigrating a basketball team comprised primarily of African-American women, percolated on the internet for a day or two, found its way on to the nightly news, and played in what at times felt like a constant loop on MSNBC, CNN and Fox. At the time of his firing, some (including yours truly) observed that Mr. Imus's position near the center of the political spectrum was lethal to his chances of escaping the conflagration unscathed, because neither the right nor the left saw "one of their own" as the target of the attack.

More recently, Jeremiah Wright (and by association Senator Obama, who was a member of his congregation) was vilified by many on the right for sermons deemed anti-American and that were filled with the kind of racial animus that most people of good conscience would prefer did not infect thoughtful debate on national political issues.

But the story plays out a little differently when a right-wing media outlet is the source of equally vile slander. On June 6, 2008, E.D. Hill, a Fox news anchor, previewing an upcoming segment on body language, wondered aloud whether the tapping of closed fists by Michelle and Barack Obama on national television was, "A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab?" (emphasis added). Here is the clip (the offending segment is right at the beginning; the balance of the clip is included because it demonstrates the gratuitous nature of the teaser (i.e., she never gets back around to explaining what in the world she was talking about by referencing a terrorist)):



The offending jab, initiated by Mrs. Obama and followed by her husband, is familiar to even the occasional sports fan, not to mention anyone under the age of 30, as a casual salutation or congratulations. A high five for the 21st Century. It is difficult to imagine Ms. Hill making a similar comment (ore even taking note) had Bill and Hillary Clinton exchanged a fist bump, or if John and Cindy McCain had done so. (Though perhaps an older candidate would have appeared to be trying a little too hard at a gesture that, by any objective account, came naturally to the Obamas; indeed, it was perhaps the only unscripted moment of his entire evening). But Mr. Obama is not any candidate as far as Fox is concerned: not only is he black, he's a Democrat to boot. The nerve.

There is of course no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Obama is a terrorist (in fact, he was the candidate who opposed the war in Iraq -- a violent engagement designed to achieve political ends). Instead, Mr. Obama is an American citizen of partial African descent. But this inconvenient truth is no barrier to Fox's "news" anchors, who demonstrate again and again that Fox's credo - "we report, you decide" - is at best tongue-in-cheek. Worse still, this is hardly the first time that Fox has engaged in a less-than-subtle campaign to link Mr. Obama with Islamic terrorism. He attended a Wahhabi madrassa, didn't you know?

A terrorist, at least in common parlance, is one who uses violence for political ends, someone who kills innocent people with bombs, airplanes and hacksaws. We revile terrorists in this country, and we are scared of them. But every few months, another slip-up at Fox; another misstatement, or report taken out of context. And each time, because of both the color of his skin and the content of his character - or is it the lack of theirs? - Senator Obama is linked with terrorism.

So where is the outrage? Where is my Al Sharpton to charge to the airwaves demanding that E.D. Hill be fired, or at least held out for public scorn? Is there any public figure who speaks for individuals of good conscience who are shocked and appalled by the depths to which Fox News will sink to smear liberal and left-leaning political and public figures. Senator Obama himself cannot (and should not, in my view) dignify such scurrilous remarks with a response. Likewise other Democrats, whom Fox can shake off as partisan hacks making much ado about nothing. John Stewart, Michael Moore, and Al Franken are dismissed as far left comics with an agenda.

And that's the problem. When Mr. Imus was castigated for his remarks, no one came to his defense because he was not a player in the game. When Jeremiah Wright yelled "God Damn America!" it was the curse heard 'round the world, and politicians and pundits on the right lined up around the block to dole out their lumps. But when one of their own says or does something that is morally repugnant (or in this case, racially and culturally insidious), any would-be critic is deemed to have their own "agenda," dampening the impact of their criticism. And these tautological justifications are blindly accepted by the very people who constitute the target audience for the slander in the first place. Ergo propter hoc indeed.

This is not to say that there have been no consequences for the slur. Ms. Hill was removed from her anchor position (a move Fox insists had nothing to do with her on air remark), and she also "apologized" for linking the Obamas with terrorists. Naturally, though, hers was a non-apology, and in so doing Ms. Hill managed to use the words "terrorism" and "Obama" in the same breath, subtly reinforcing the slight for which she was purportedly demonstrating some level of contrition. Or, as the New York Times observed:
It is, of course, one of those non-apology apologies. Ms. Hill says she was simply reporting how the gesture was “characterized in the media” — without any reference to where she had seen it reported that way. It’s a shameless dodging of personal responsibility for an ugly act.

Here's the clip:



There are also a number of independent outlets -- MediaMatter.com, the site responsible for spreading the word about this comes to mind primarily -- that are waging a campaign to make Fox answer for this kind of ethno-racial slander, and require a real apology of Ms. Hill.

But whatever minor fallout results, it seems unlikely that there will be any "major" consequences: Imus got fired, Obama had to leave his church, and E.D. Hill offers a disingenuous apology that reinforces the very stereotype that got her in trouble in the first place. And that's too bad. We hardly need a political correctness officer for the airwaves, and I doubt anyone but the most sensitive viewers and listeners have an appetite for a constant barrage of reporting on gaffes and mis-statements by radio and television hosts (indeed, one of the primary criticisms of Media Matters is that they just need to relax a little bit; too much Ned Flanders and not enough Homer). But we also need to draw the line somewhere, and comparing a candidate for President of the United States to a terrorist based on nothing more than the color of his skin and his African heritage seems to be a pretty reasonable place to start.

Perhaps the "marketplace of ideas" is strengthened by a news organization that will spin its coverage right, rather than left. And perhaps CNN and MSNBC and the New York Times and USA Today are out of step with "average" Americans. But no matter what value is contributed to public discourse by having a conservative slant on one channel, nothing is gained by such an appeal to the absolutely lowest common denominator. Here's to hoping that Fox eventually gets the message.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stay out of the ocean!

I see nothing wrong with this at all.

I've hesitated to write much about about a certain topic near and dear to me, as there has not been what economists would call "definitive proof" or "evidence" to support me. But now, after unearthing a true piece of groundbreaking and life-altering journalism, I feel the time has come. (And yes, I'm aware of The Sun's prior reputation as something of a tabloid, but I think this piece proves they've turned the corner.)

Many of you likely enjoy swimming. Some of you stick to pools, some even venture into the occasional lake. But, as I've been saying for years, stay out of the goddamn ocean!

Why, you might ask?

SHARKS EAT PEOPLE.

But don't take it from me. Here's how Jose Leonardo Castillo, a former economist who now sees the light, of Mexico's internationally renowned National Fishing Institute (they're like NASA down there) put it:
"One theory we're investigating is that a group of sharks have developed a taste for humans."
Didn't you see Jaws? Aren't you aware how vicious and single-minded these marvels of evolution are? And yet every summer I hear at least one (usually more) story of sharks eating people. Stupid surfers. Dumbass kids. Old people. Everyone is vulnerable.

You know why? The ocean is the shark's home. If a shark walked in through your front door, you'd be totally within your rights and morals to shoot the fucker and eat it. Fuck him. My home is my castle and whatnot. Well guess what you're doing when you step into the ocean for a nice little dip. You're doing the equivalent of a shark breaking into your house!

You keep your food and children in your house, right? Where does a shark keep his?

Jesus! And we humans are supposed to be the species capable of reason and rational thought.

I have absolutely zero pity for the "victim" when I hear about a shark attack. As Vincent Vega said, "You play with matches, you get burned." Sure, the experts (read: economists) tell you the odds are incredibly slim. You know what else is slim? A shark who hasn't recently eaten.

Yes, perhaps, maybe, I suppose I might be a bit extremist about this. I sometimes get "pool spooks" when I think something has brushed past my leg while swimming (yes, in a pool). And before my idiot cohorts throw the obvious at me in the comments, this fear had nothing to do with me getting banned from LJT's Fourth of July parties. That was for stealing cookies and hitting my brother, completely legitimate reasons. But the point remains the same, if you go in the ocean voluntarily and a shark eats you or even part of you, it is 100 percent your fault, shithead. Not only are you intruding where you don't belong (Do you have fucking gills?), you're a pretty easy piece of meat for a species that has survived for millions of years without evolving much at all.

All sharks do is eat and swim and make baby sharks. You're a goddamn human being. Read a book. Play a game. Tell your kid you love him. And for God's sake, teach him life's most obvious lesson:

Stay out of the ocean!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cross Words About Crosswords

I've been known to hop on a bandwagon or twelve, so I figured I might as well do it again and I wrote my own crossword. Actually I would suggest that everyone do this. It is just ridiculously fun coming up with clues and answers.

First off, credit where credit is due:
Side Bar is the originator of the 199Teaneck Crossword. Incidentally, I got cockblocked on my answer key earlier, but here it is for y'all.

Walt Clyde responded in kind with his fabulous 199Teaneck #2. Answer keys and everything. He ain't being stingy with his stuff. I'm sad to say I only got 50-60% of it.

Joey Did It did it again with 199Teaneck #3. Again with answers and junk. Again, only 50-60%, but I loved all the "psycho" clues. Inspired.

So here it is. Incidentally, please comment because I'm a whore.


Perhaps you want to see the full size jpg.
You might want to download the pdf.
Maybe you want the solutions as a pdf.
Maybe you want to look at the page that made the puzzle for me.

A Conversation With the Next President

A hypothetical interview with Barack Obama, November 7, 2008, on the Today Show with Matt Lauer.

ML: Good morning Mr. President-elect, first off let me congratulate you on being elected the forty-fourth President of the United States, and on being the very first African-American in our nation's history to hold that office. Can you describe how you feel at this moment?

BO: Thank you so much, Matt. Of course there is a range of emotions that accompanies such an awesome responsibility, but I think the two that rise to the top are humility and gratitude. I am grateful to my family, my friends, my staff, and the thousands of volunteers who made this campaign a success. And I am humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me, and I am honored to serve. We are going to do our best, and like we've said all along, Matt, we're fired up and ready to go.

ML: Your success today is at the same time the failure of another man. What did you say to John McCain when he called you yesterday afternoon to tell you he was not going to challenge to the certification of votes in Ohio and was conceding the race to you?

BO: Well first of all Matt I would disagree with your characterization of John McCain's campaign as a failure. John McCain received over 50 million votes in this election, and should be commended for the fine race that he ran. I think it says a lot about our country that so many Americans wanted to be heard in this election, and clearly we need to reach out to the millions of Americans who voted for my opponent. I am going to answer to them for the next four years just as I am going to answer to the millions of Americans who voted for me.

ML: You mentioned the total vote tally, and of course you defeated Senator McCain by almost 10 million votes in the popular vote. But the electoral college was a different story, and were it not for your victory in Ohio, I might be having this conversation with Sen. McCain. What does it say about our electoral system that someone could win the popular vote so overwhelmingly, but just barely secure a win in the electoral college? And what would have been your reaction if you had lost in Ohio, giving Senator McCain the presidency despite your large margin in the popular vote?

BO: Well fortunately Matt we don't have to have that conversation this morning; we won not only the popular vote but also the electoral vote now that Senator McCain has decided not to challenge the certification of the vote in Ohio. It is of course troubling that the will of the American people might be thwarted in this way, the way it was in 2000, and it is something we will have to look at as a nation. This is not a partisan issue, it is an American issue. The electoral college serves the important purpose of ensuring that all Americans are heard and are relevant in the most important decision we can make as a nation, but we also need to make sure that no person or group of people has a disproportionate say over the election of a president.

ML: Let's talk about Ohio for a moment. On Wednesday morning, we awoke to yet another Presidential election that could not be decided on election night. The count in Ohio was within 0.1%, in your favor, which under state law meant that a recount was mandatory. At the same time, the McCain campaign raised allegations of improper counts in heavily Democratic counties. When the recount was over, you were ahead by less than 10,000 votes, and some members of the McCain campaign said privately that they were confident that they could have at least twice that number of votes disqualified in Cuyahoga County if they could make their case to a Federal judge. Did you win in Ohio, and was it fair?

BO: Yes and yes, Matt. We won Ohio by about 9,000 votes. It was a hard fought campaign, and we owe a lot to Vice President-elect Strickland for his tireless efforts in his home state. Not only did we win, we won fairly. The votes in Ohio were counted twice, and each time we came out ahead --

ML: -- but what about the McCain campaign's allegations that they could have votes in Cleveland disqualified --

BO: Well Matt I cannot tell you today what some supporters of John McCain think they could have done had the Senator elected to drag this nation through months of litigation and over the manner in which ballots were cast and votes were counted. While the McCain campaign was exploring its options in Ohio, we were looking at Virginia and Florida. We lost both of those states by tremendously narrow margins, but we lost them nonetheless. We had already decided that we would not challenge those results because of the uncertainty and prolonged animosity that would result from another election decided in the courts. I think John McCain was equally unwilling to put the country through such an ordeal, and I think he is to be commended for recognizing that our lead in Ohio was sufficient to withstand any legal challenge, to win the state, and therefore the election.

ML: Switching to Iraq. Over the last few months, the situation on the ground has deteriorated rapidly, with a new insurgency challenging Iraqi forces, and American soldiers remaining caught in the middle. What is the solution, and to what extent is President Bush required to consult with you on the conduct of the Iraq war between now and your inauguration in January?

BO: Well first off Matt, President Bush is the President of the United States until January 20, 2009. While I look forward to the opportunity to sit down with President Bush and ensure a smooth transition -- especially during this dangerous time for our troops and our nation -- the conduct of the Iraq war is ultimately his responsibility --

ML: -- but what if he wants to send in more troops despite your intention to withdraw troops --

BO: Well Matt we have said for a the last year that we would like to begin bringing the troops home, but the time and manner in which we do so will of course have to be dictated by circumstances on the ground. Having said that, I think it would be very unfortunate if President Bush were to send more troops to Iraq at a time when we need to be disengaging from that country. I've said all along that we need to be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. An increase in troop levels now will do nothing to secure the American people. That is George Bush's number one responsibility today, and it will be my number one responsibility come January 20, 2009.

ML: Would you make any efforts to stop him from sending more troops to Iraq before he leaves office?

BO: Together with all Americans I would try to persuade President Bush that such a move would be ill-conceived and ill-time, but as President-elect I have no constitutional authority to do anything more.

ML: Speaking of the Constitution, three weeks ago today, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas announced his intention to retire at the expiration of the current Supreme Court term, which ends in June of 2009. Many have speculated that this was a political maneuver intended to mobilize support on the right for John McCain's struggling campaign. Do you believe Justice Thomas will retire at the end of the next term, and if so, how will you go about replacing him?

BO: Matt I take Justice Thomas at his word, and I have never believed that his announcement was political. However, until he resigns from the Court, whenever that may be, he is a sitting member of a co-ordinate branch of government and I wouldn't be inclined to say more on the topic than what I've said already.

ML: But if he does resign, there will be no African-Americans left on the Court. Would you feel obligated to replace him with a black Justice?

BO: Absolutely not. If an when there is any vacancy on the Court, we will conduct a thorough search for the most qualified candidate, whoever that may be. We will look for jurists who recognize that the Constitution does not present us with static, immutable rules, but rather with fixed principles that have to be applied dynamically as our nation progresses and develops. My political opponents would accuse me of supporting judicial activism, but I think that's wrong. We need Supreme Court Justices who understand that the brilliance of our founders lay not in the creation of a set of commandments that would hold true in all circumstances, but rather in the formulation of an organic, living Constitution that is hard-wired to accommodate and adapt to evolution in our society and ourselves.

ML: Switching to the economy, you were opposed to the so-called "gas tax holiday" that your opponent supported throughout the campaign. It never got any traction in Congress, due in part to the fact that Democrats would not support a measure opposed by their candidate for President. With the national average for a gallon of gas now approaching $5.50, do you think you made a mistake in opposing some form of tax relief for motorists?

BO: Matt the gas tax holiday would have provided -- at best -- a few extra dollars per family at a time when our roads and bridges are crumbling. I was not willing to promise Americans a short-term solution at great long-term cost. I think most Americans recognized the proposed gas tax holiday for what it was. Our solution to the energy crisis is not going to come in the form of a one-time tax break of $80 or $90. The only way out is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil through alternative and renewable sources of energy, and to change the way we consume fossil fuels.

ML: President-elect Barack Obama, thank you for your time this morning, and congratulations on your historic victory.

BO: Thank you Matt.


What? A man can dream, can't he?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Deep Thoughts

Some random musings:

I hate when people come in to my office and say "can I interrupt you for a second"? You just did, assface, now get on with it.

When it comes to meaningful sports moments in my life, I turn into an 8th grade girl. I want to celebrate every fucking anniversary imaginable. David Tyree and I just had our four month anniversary, and I just know we are going to make it to five. Sometimes I find myself doodling "2-3-08" on my notepad when I am on a conference call.

Have you ever tried to change the channel at someone else's house?AUX/CAB/TV/STEREO/DVD. What the fuck? It can't be done.

Obama picking Hillary as his running mate would be like that episode of Saved by the Bell where Zack and Screech (with the help of Slater, Kelly, Lisa and Jesse) each tried to sabotage the other's version of the school song, only to have them work it out in the end, and "combine" the two songs into a completely different song that was way better than the other two (side note: ten points to anyone who can come back with lyrics to any of the three songs on their own). How is it similar, you ask? Because there is no way it could ever fucking happen in real life.

Have you ever noticed how much pointless shit there is on the internet?

John McCain looks absolutely miserable campaigning for President. He is looking around, fake smiling at gun nuts, fascists and every kind of redneck and thinking to himself, "that house better be fucking nice." I have a theory that even McCain is going to vote for Obama. Someone needs to look into this.

Do you ever fart in your office, thinking "it's my office, what the hell," only to have someone walk in your office like two seconds later and instantly know what happened? Me neither.

Let me be the first to tell knee-jerk reactionists everywhere: if John McCain becomes President by winning more electoral votes despite losing the popular vote it is NOT racism. It may be stupid, but it's happened before with two white guys, so every wannabe Jeremiah Wright out there just needs to calm down right now and accept that this might happen.

Ok, I'll be the first one to say it: The Office is getting kind of lame.

I have absolutely no clue how to play any video games any more. I look at the controller for XBOX360 II Nitro Plus or whatever the hell it's called and I break out in a cold sweat. Other than fit into small spaces and look hot in a swimsuit (too weird?), there should be nothing an 8 year-old can do that I can't. How the fuck did this happen? I'm not even 30 (tick-tock, tick-tock).

Did anyone see the Mariners' manager completely lose his shit the other night? It was a perfect rendition of Will Ferrell's locker room freak out from Old School except that he was totally serious.

I watched some dude climb the New York Times building yesterday around 6:30 p.m. All these people were stating up at him, and one guy says to himself, "man, I hope he falls." "Me too," I thought to myself, "me too." He didn't fall.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

199T(eaneck): Update

This crossword puzzle was created by Side Bar.

It is very clevah - test your '90s Teaneck trivia (click on the image to enlarge to legible size).



If you want to print it, it might be easier to download the PDF.

Click here for ChuckJerry's answer key (side note: link temporarily disabled). I haven't consulted Side Bar as to the accuracy of my answers, but I'm pretty sure these are right. The one that I could not get (that I claim is ungettable) is 16 down.

Seeing as how this has become a group post, I am italicizing my comments. I think Max should have gotten 16 down, and I am pretty sure my brother will get it too. I have received a lot of criticism for 19 across, which may be mis-spelled. If you think you have the correct answer to 19 across but it doesn't fit, remove the "h" from your answer. I spelled it without the "h" and many have suggested that was in error. I was planning on putting the answer key up in a few days, but I thought Chuck gave it a bit prematurely, so I have disabled it for now. Hope everyone enjoys this . . . I thought I had given a nod to everyone, but Open Bar may be right . . . I think his clue got deleted before I published because it was screwing up the rest of the puzzle. The clue was: There's one in Cali, and he's friends with all of them. Answer: "hollywood"

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Two Entirely Random Things

First a funny joke:

How do you make Holy Water?
You boil the hell out of it.

Second:

I don't care what any of you say. This is the greatest play in the history of baseball.

Pedrobama

Even saw the lights of the goodyear blimp
And it read ice cube's a pimp
Drunk as hell but no throwing up
Half way home and my pager still blowing up
Today I didnt even have to use my a.k.
I got to say it was a good day.

Pedro comes back - and wins, absent a Heilman - on the night that Sen. Obama clinches the Democratic nomination. Are you kidding me?

The only way this week could get any better would be for Barack to take David Wright as his running mate (am I the only one who thinks this is a brilliant idea? Hello? Virignia?). Whatever.

Somewhat more seriously, though, I thought that one of the more telling aspects of this evening's events was the different speeches by the three -- now two -- candidates for President. I recognize that I am going to favor any speech given by Sen. Obama over any speech given by Sen. McCain because, well, I favor Sen. Obama. But there was more to it than that. The cadence of his speech, the ease with which he brings the crowd to a crescendo and then guides their descent back down from a frenzy (side note: eat it, OB), and the growing substance behind his message (one example: on Iraq, he has gone from calling it a mistake, without more, to calling it a mistake, acknowledging that there are no good solutions left, and implying that a reduction in troop levels will have to be done slowly and with great caution), all combined to make his -- by far and away -- the most energizing and exciting speech of the evening. He is not a Clintonian debater (yet) but the rallies this guy is going to stage over the next few months are going to be legendary. The contrast to McCain could not be more stark.

Sen. Clinton gave a nice presentation, but her message about why she is sticking around - for universal health care, for working Americans, to strengthen the country, etc. - merely reinforce what we already know: that she is holding out for some concession from the Obama campaign that she has not earned before she will formally concede.

Lastly, Sen. McCain was simply awful. I think the crowd in the room was largely to blame, because I have seen him give better speeches, but whatever the reason, I thought he completely blew an opportunity in front of what I assume was a large television audience. His stunted delivery as he tried to highlight what's wrong with Sen. Obama's "change" message was completely lost on the crowd. Using a constant refrain as a rhetorical device, he would mention a policy position of Obama's that he wanted to challenge, and end with, "my friends, that's not change we can believe in." The problem was that the audience was left to wonder whether they were supposed to applaud the closing or deride the preceding statement. It resulted in a mixture of tepid applause and groans from the crowd, who only really got in to it at the very end.

I am not ready to guarantee victory in November, but I am a hell of a lot more confident this time around than I was in 2004. And at the end of the 8th, the Mets are up 9-3, and there is still no sign of Aaron Heilman.

I have to say it was a good day.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday Disturbing Video: How Can Democrats Hate Obama So Much?

The first -- and, more likely than not, the last -- in our new series "Monday Disturbing Video."

This lady has the right to think and do whatever she wants with her vote, but I am constantly amazed at the vitriolic reaction that so many Democrats seem to have to Barack Obama's now inevitable nomination as the Democratic candidate for President.

For my part, I can explain my strong dislike for Senator Clinton, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman. (We have tried to do so, both comically and seriously, here, here, here and here. And who can forget here and here?). What I have not heard is a corresponding reasoned explanation from Democrats who just hate Obama (like this woman in the video below) for any reason other than his race. I am not talking about people voting for Hillary because they think she has more experience, or they prefer her health care plan, or think the gas tax holiday was a sound idea, etc., etc. I don't agree with those people, but they are fine and normal and well-adjusted people in my book (well, maybe not people who thought the gas tax holiday was a good idea, but you know what I mean). It's just that I cannot fathom what this guy has done to bring out the absolute worst in members of a political party that lays claim to being the more open and inclusive of the two major parties.

And so, without further ado . . .