May 21, 2002


QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Hey, try telling her that the grains of sand are rough and she’s all smooth. I hear that’s the secret Jedi Pickup Line. Personally, I think he should have gone with 'Wanna feel my light-saber?'" —Scott Keith, internet WWE reviewer, on the veritable cauldron of dating potential stemming from the love scenes in "Star Wars—Episode II: Attack of the Clones."

BEFORE 9/11: Four days have passed since the story broke that President Bush did indeed receive warnings prior to September 11 of a plot by Osama Bin Laden's terror network to hijack airliners. The general consensus since then (shared by just about everyone who's not a Democratic congressional leader) has been that there really wasn't anything the president could've done, the threat wasn't specific enough, and besides, the government gets crazy tips about attacks pretty much every other day. Perhaps, but at the same time, there's literally no doubt in my mind that if the same news had come out about President Clinton receiving such a threat, Bush's current defenders wouldn't quite be so forgiving. That says something about a political culture in which reactions to any revelations or other bit of news have nothing to do with truth or common sense and everything to do with partisanship. While I did not vote for President Bush in 2000 and don't see myself doing so next time either, I have been very impressed with his conduct thus far in the war and feel that he has, to use the cliche, "grown into the job." However, I do find it a bit disturbing that such a crucial bit of information was literally on the president's desk at the time of the attacks, and also that now, eight months later, is the first we're hearing of it.

STRIKE-OUT: I'm not looking forward to this fall's likely baseball strike, but I am looking forward to reading Peter Gammons' take on the events. With all of the lazy journalists nationwide who merely blame all of baseball's labor problems on the "greed" of both sides, Gammons is among the few who truly understand the history and complexity of each side of our national pastime, which despite possessing what I consider the best on-field product, is unquestionably the most ineptly run of any major American sport besides boxing. Here's Gammons:
"Baseball continues to be the only entertainment industry where those that run the business continually tell their consumers how bad their product is. So it is since the owners, two days after an unforgettable World Series, chose to try to contract two teams and run their business into the ground. It is amazing as they set up a labor stance that failed in 1994 — unless many owners consider it a victory that they shut down the World Series — and have spent seven months trying to vilify the product they theoretically are marketing."
Clearly the loathsome commissioner Bud Selig deserves the lion's share of the blame (indeed, after testifying about baseball's cooked books earlier this year, he should be under indictment for lying to Congress). But both the union (led by Donald Fehr, father of my old college roommate Mark) and the other owners have an obligation to get in Selig's way in order to prevent the sport's suicide. Until then, why do I have this aching feeling that the day the strike starts, the Red Sox will be in first place...

SEA OF CARTERS: Minnesota Vikings receiver Cris Carter's Monday deadline for a new contract has passed, though there has as of yet been no announcement of his promised retirement. Interestingly enough, Cris Carter lined up as a Vikings receiver for several years in the early '90s along with Anthony Carter (no relation) and Jake Reed, who is the half-brother of current Vikings defensive back Dale Carter. Cris Carter is also the brother of Butch Carter, who as coach of the Toronto Raptors in the late '90s presided over superstars Vince Carter (no relation) and Vince's cousin, Tracy McGrady. Toronto was also the home of Joe Carter, the MVP of the 1993 World Series while with the Blue Jays, despite his having no relation to Cris, Butch, Dale, or Vince. Also no relation to any of the aforementioned Carters are former President Jimmy Carter, former Mets catcher Gary Carter, '80s sitcom star Nell Carter, "ER" character Dr. John Carter, or "X-Files" creator Chris Carter.

AND ONE MORE THING...: Another receiver for the Vikings in the late '80s, who was also a kick returner, was Buster Rhymes, who is NOT related to the rapper Busta Rhymes, nor are they the same person. Though it is possible, dare I even say highly likely, that the hip-hopper named himself after the former Oklahoma standout.

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