Boston, here I come. I'll be back Monday with some parade stories.
(Thanks to Jeremy for the photo, which I've been looking for all week).
“I guess it makes sense that Halloween is followed so closely by Election Day. Maybe I should wear a mask when I vote, that way I won’t be so ashamed of myself.”
–Lewis Black, on “The Daily Show,” a few days before the 2000 vote.
In this election –the longest, most competive, and most bitterly fought of my lifetime, my thoughts have been generally consistent, with one exception on which I’ve “flip-flopped”: I used to be a political junkie. Now, I’m sick to death of the election and everything associated with it, and can’t wait for it to be over.
Is this the most uninspiring choice for president of all time? Kerry and Bush are unimpressive enough on their own that that appears to be the case, but then again maybe it just seems that way because both sides are constantly spewing so much hatred at the other- especially now that both sides have their own networks of blogs, radio stations, and news channel in order to foment the latest fresh outrage. By the 2008 election, we’ll likely have reached the point where no one ever again has to ever hear an opinion with which they disagree.
Either way, this is the first election in American history in which the bases of both sides legitimately believe that if the other guy wins, the Republic will cease to exist by the end of his term.
I have my issues with both Bush and Kerry, to be sure, but I don’t believe the worst about either man. I don’t believe that George W. Bush is stupid, or evil, or that he lied us into war with Iraq in order to enrich his oil buddies. Likewise, I don’t believe that John Kerry is a “flip-flopper” any more than any other politician, nor is he the most liberal Senator in the nation- and how can he be both? And I don’t see how the petty personal insults leveled at either man have any bearing on his fitness for office- I long ago came to terms with Bush’s often-mangled syntax, while at the same time “Kerry looks French” may very well be the most tiresome, meaningless insult in the history of politics.
But beyond all that, the election is about issues. And based on those, I’ll be casting my vote on Tuesday for John Kerry. What follows is an explanation of why; do not construe it as an attempt to try to change anyone’s mind.
As longtime readers of this blog know, I’m a lifelong Democrat who identified very strongly as liberal in my younger years, but never quite made the jump into full-fledged leftism, and in fact became more and more disillusioned with it as the years went on. I voted for Clinton in ’96 and Gore in 2000, but gradually became more and more comfortable with certain parts of conservative doctrine, especially in the areas of economics and foreign policy.
Then of course came September 11, which affected my worldview even more, as it did everyone else’s. I enthusiastically embraced President Bush’s war on terrorism, especially the liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban, and “My Pet Goat” notwithstanding, I greatly admired his decisions –not to mention, his speeches- in the months following that tragedy. And my newfound agreement with the president continued with the war against Saddam Hussein, which I supported and continue to support to this day.
When I began this blog in May of 2002, I sought to articulate how my previous politics collided with the events of the time. I was of course quick to embrace the Christopher Hitchens/Paul Berman position that support for a global war against jihadist fanatics was in fact the most liberal position imaginable. I also attempted to quantify this position as the following:
I myself fall into a group, along with many of my friends, of young Jews who remain generally liberal on most social issues, and loyal to the Democrats, yet quite hawkish in regards to the terrorist threat, unwavering in support of Israel, and very much opposed to the reflexive anti-Americanism and other lunacies of the far left. We're people who grew up surrounded by "progressive" leftism but never quite bought into it, yet don't feel comfortable joining up with the Republicans either.I gave this group a name- the “Kosher Scoop Jacksons”- and named several bloggers, including myself, LilB, Mike Silverman, and John Paul Pagano, as a Jewish auxiliary to Andrew Sullivan’s similar group, that he dubbed “the eagles.” Many readers and commenters, at the time, compared us to the original neoconservatives of the ’60s, and predicted that like Irving Kristol and Co., we'd all jump into the Republican tent soon enough.
I look now, nearly two years later: I’m voting for Kerry. So is LilB, so is Mike, and so is John Paul, who says “I am voting for Red Sox adulation, Arafat's demise and John Kerry.” Sullivan is backing Kerry, as are fellow “eagles” Jeff Jarvis, Daniel Drezner, and much of the Oxblog gang. So are countless non-blogging friends of mine who share my politics, including numerous readers of this blog (you know who you are).
Have these people all gone soft? All abandoned the War on Terror altogether? No, of course not- the truth is, we no longer trust Bush on it. We wanted badly for Iraq to go well, and it hasn’t. The forcefulness and statesmanship that Bush brought to the early War on Terror is no longer there- and his refusal to admit any mistakes whatsoever is worrisome, to say the least.
And on top of that, his penchant for pandering to his socially conservative base with radical proposals with no chance of passage- most egregiously, the Federal Marriage Amendment- have reminded all of us why we were always uncomfortable with Republicans in the first place. I find it hard to square such theocratic impulses with the sort of liberal democracy we're attempting, rightly, to establish abroad.
Did Bush lie about weapons of mass destruction? I don’t believe he did. But should he be held responsible for initiating a war based on evidence that turned out to be wrong? Of course he should- he’s the president, the buck stops with him. And while he didn’t order it directly, Bush also presided over the catastrophe that was the Iraq prison abuse scandal and must be held accountable for that as well- despite over-arching conservative spin that the REAL outrage of Abu Ghraib was that the New York Times put it on the front page too many times.
No, John Kerry isn’t perfect- I’d have preferred Dick Gephardt, Joseph Biden, or even John Edwards as the Democratic nominee. He does indeed have a history of taking the wrong side in foreign policy debates, especially during the Reagan Administration. But then, George W. Bush had a history of opposing nation-building. But that was before 9/11, an event that affected the foreign-policy thinking of just about every American. Kerry vows that he will take the fight to the terrorists, and I have no reason to believe he will not. Indeed, many ex-liberals have endorsed Bush say their problem is that they can’t trust Kerry on defense- but I say, the problem is that I can’t trust Bush.
A few other reasons why I support Kerry:
- Unlike the downright unlikable Al Gore and the lascivious Bill Clinton, John Kerry is by most trusted accounts a man of outstanding moral character- who, despite everything you may have heard from certain 527s, is a legitimate war hero.
He may not know anything about sports, and his wife may be a lunatic, but that doesn't mean Kerry can't be an excellent president.
- I’m not one of those “a vote for Bush is a vote for back-alley abortions” people, but I’d greatly prefer four years of Kerry judicial appointees to Bush appointees.
- Karl Rove is attempting to not only re-elect Bush, but to build a Republican supermajority in Congress. With the House remaining Republican for the foreseeable future and the Senate most likely staying that way too; a Democratic presidential term would strike a blow against one-party rule in America. And yes, I have sympathy for the argument that executive/legislative gridlock would work to restrain excessive spending.
- I would very much like for the attorney general to no longer be John Ashcroft.
And there’s one last thing. I call it “The Michael Moore argument.” As you may have noticed, since Bush assumed the presidency a sizable anti-Bush movement has emerged on the left, and as you also may have noticed, I don’t like these people very much. Their arguments are shrill, condescending, and hateful, and have a lot more to do with their hatred of Bush personally than any particular policy he has supported or advocated.
Their unofficial leader is Michael Moore, and conservative bloggers have had lots of fun this year acting as though Kerry and Moore are one and the same- even though Moore has never endorsed Kerry, the two men to the best of my knowledge have never met, and it’s virtually certain that should Kerry be elected, he’ll be turned on on a dime by the “Michael Moore Community,” once the first 100 days pass and the new president has neither withdrawn from Iraq, re-instituted the Great Society, or raised the minimum wage to $15/hour.
As blogger Michael Totten (an Eagle who has said he’s voting for Bush) pointed out in a piece he wrote called “The Hawkish Case For Kerry,” one advantage to a Kerry victory is that it would leave the anti-war/anti-Bush left essentially marginalized, once they no longer have a Bush to kick around anymore. And yes, these people are supporters of Kerry- but that doesn’t mean Kerry supports them, and doesn’t mean that a vote for Kerry is a vote for Michael Moore. I’m sure the majority of Klan members are planning to vote for Bush, but that doesn’t mean Dubya supports, or is tainted by, the Klan.
It’s impossible to get elected president of the United States without some crazies in your base. But the difference is, Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky would not have the ear of the president in a Kerry Administration. Pat Robertson and James Dobson DO have ear of President Bush.
Yes, I want Kerry to win. But even more than that, I'd like to see a fair, non-controversial election, one in which both sides accept the result and thus won't spend the next four years sulking about calling the other guy illegitimate. We'll always have partisanship, but more than anything else, I want to us advance towards a day when every single human event is no longer filtered primarily through the lens of extreme partisan warfare.
Unlike most Kerry voters, I won't be absolutely crushed if George W. Bush wins on Tuesday -though it would hurt me quite a bit if he won Minnesota. What I want to see more than anything else is a return to civility in politics- something I feel would best be achieved by a clean election, and a Kerry victory. In that order.
This is indeed a great day in baseball history. Simmons weighs in, as does Gammons. In the Globe, here’s Dan Shaughnessy; since the Curse has been his life for the past couple of decades, I expect him to now immediately retire from journalism.
Blogs are at it too, including the Dirt Dogs, RSN, and lifelong fans Sheila and Joe. As for the “Win It For…” thread, it’s still going strong. Check out page 51, featuring the first posts after the Series ended.
On a lighter note, check out UltimateBalls, a baseball parody site brought to you by the guys who have spent the last couple of years imitating Gammons, Varitek, and Epstein on Friendster. And proving that Sox fans will be Sox fans, then there’s this classic New York Post lede:
October 28, 2004 -- A Staten Island couple's dream of a perfect wedding at a Massachusetts inn turned into a nightmare when a Red Sox-loving busboy got drunk, chanted, "Yankees suck!" and threatened to beat up the groom and guests, according to police in Salem, Mass.
At any rate, this is a wonderful moment in baseball history, and I’ll be up there for the parade on Saturday.
Words I never thought I'd write: The Boston Red Sox are World Champions.
The Sox swept the Cardinals- the team with the best record in baseball- never trailing at any point in the series. Congratulations to all of my friends and readers who are Red Sox fans, and others who have been waiting for this moment for their entire lives. For some more stories of that kind, check out the soon-to-be-legendary "Win It For" thread on Sons of Sam Horn. And of course, Bill Simmons tomorrow.
On a personal note, this year continues my streak of seeing the final out of the World Series every year since 1985. But '91 was the only year that I saw it in person.
UPDATE: Yes, Fox's coverage of the postseason pretty much sucked from start to finish. But their closing credits of the Series contained a masterstroke: it closed with the still photo, from the "Cheers" opening credits, of the guy behind the bar holding up a newspaper reading "WE WIN."
As a young fan I used to always love the closing montage of World Series highlights every year, and this was a nice reminder.
I don't like it. With the Red Sox, as of this writing, 15 outs away from winning the World Series, I want to see Boston right now, celebrating something they've been waiting for for 86 years. Yes, I understand wanting to crack down on drunken behavior after the events of last week, but that girl didn't get shot because of cameras in the bars. And I know they're showing Sox fans in New York and LA, but it's not the same.
Also, in honor of tonight's lunar eclipse, they're playing "Total Eclipse of the Heart." After "Old School," I don't know how anyone can take that song seriously again- "I fuckin' need you more than ever!"
Whatever's wrong, I hope it hurts. A lot.
UPDATE: Rumors are circulating that Arafat is already dead; Roger L. Simon, along others, has instituted a death watch. I can see this devolving into a "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead" sort of situation.
I'm too tired to endorse Kerry tonight so I'll do so tomorrow; besides, today was Sullivan's day. Never before has so much attention been granted to the presidential endorsement of someone who's not a U.S. citizen and can't vote.
The curse isn't supposed to end this easily, is it? Then again, I suppose coming back to beat the Yankees was the hard part.
I'd be remiss in not pointing out that the "rhymes with Tigger" scandal at Brandeis started one year ago this week.
As an “Office” junkie, I greatly enjoyed “The Office Special” last week- great to see the characters again, and it was much better than getting knobrot from some tart. I also caught “Shaun of the Dead” the other night- call it “’The Office’ With Zombies”- and liked it a lot too.
Anyway, on the “Office” special the greatest character on the show, Finchy, told a story about being introduced to a co-worker named “Isaac Hunt” (say it in a British accent, and you’ll get the joke). Assuming this must be an old joke, I checked around the internet, only to find this:
President Bush Signs Recess Appointment of Isaac HuntAnd speaking of Isaacs, LilB was in Boston for Games 1 and 2, where he went to the Cask and Flagon, met Conan O'Brien, and came up with empirical evidence that a blinking Red Sox hat can get you laid. It never worked that way with the beer hats.
President George W. Bush today signed the recess appointment of Isaac C. Hunt, Jr. to be a Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Peter Gammons actually filed a column today. I suppose it’s understandable that he took the last month or so off; it’s not like the team he’s been covering for 25 years just made an historic comeback or is in the World Series or anything.
Stacy Rotner, the 14-year-old genius lawyer who was recently fired on “The Apprentice,” is available for speaking engagements and personal appearances. Wait, what? She’s 26? And not actually a “genius”? Oh well, doesn’t mean she can’t follow Omarosa’s career path.
I'm back from my business trip and will assume regular blogging tomorrow; in the meantime, enjoy my look at the coming Yankee meltdown on Hardball Times.
Speaking of baseball, Red Sox are up 2-0. I'll be happy if they win even one game in St. Louis, becomes Schilling seems destined to win Game 6 (and the Series) back at Fenway. I hope to be up in Beantown next weekend.
The Red Sox win Game 1 11-9 on a home run by Beck lookalike Mark Bellhorn, putting them three wins away from the end of the Curse. I may well be in Boston next weekend for the unprecedented celebration, and a Sox win would I suppose ensure that no one in Boston will give a shit if Kerry loses. (Well, maybe in Cambridge they would).
I'm off to DC in the morning for a conference and then Philly on the way back; I may make an appearance at the Andrew Sullivan/Wonkette blogger confab, set to feature an appearance by Minnesota rock legend Bob Mould. Be back Tuesday; watch for both my Yankee essay and my official presidential endorsement.
In a recent "Savage Love" column, Dan Savage gave sex advice to a young Saudi man who had just emigrated to Canada and was having trouble with his sex life due to the repression he'd dealt with in his homeland. Some smug bitch had a problem with this, and wrote it accordingly this week:
"While SAUDI is partially to blame for having the poor judgment to ask you about sexual ethics, your statement, 'Unlike the country you left behind, there are no morals police in the part of North America where you live' smacks of haughty, imperialistic condescension. You totally ignored the fact that the values he was taught as a Muslim have a deep and completely valid cultural context that needs to be considered when dispensing advice."Ugh. It greatly pains me that anyone could see a crypto-theocratic, gay-bashing, woman-bashing terrorist nation like Saudi Arabia as a "completely valid cultural context"- and even worse, that such an attitude is "liberal." It's not- it's reactionary. And even the very liberal Savage agrees:
"Did I imply the superiority of morals in Canada to values taught in Saudi Arabia? Jesus H. Christ, SOS, I feel terrible about that. So let me set the record straight: I never meant to imply the superiority of morals in Canada over values taught in Saudi Arabia. I meant to state, loudly and clearly and for the record, the absolute superiority of morals in Canada over values taught in Saudi Arabia.Yes, I think I can say with confidence at this point that my favorite liberal weekly columnist is Dan Savage.
Let us count the ways in which Canada is superior: equality of the sexes, political and religious pluralism, a little thing called democracy, and, of course, the radical notion that consenting adults are free to have sex with other consenting adults without having to worry about being lashed or beheaded in public."
I didn't see it, but tonight on "Saturday Night Live" Ashlee Simpson was apparently caught lipsynching, as a pre-recorded track of the singer performing her hit "Pieces of Me" began playing before she began singing. The clip is here; it's unbelievable how silly these singers look dancing when they're not singing simultaneously.
Does this mean SNL's musical performances are always lip-sunk? How long have they been? Maybe the sketches should be pre-recorded too- that way, they'd no longer be ruined by giggling. Expect to hear a lot more about this in the coming days.
The IFILM download service skyrocketed with the Jon Stewart/Crossfire thing a few weeks ago; this should be just as big.
From a commenter on Marc Cooper's blog:
"If David Horowitz' brand of political pathology - a formulaic hysteria that routinely feeds readers the spew of Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Dick Morris and John O'Neill - is what you consider 'formidable', god forbid that you ever pick up a copy of The Weekly Standard. Those guys actually trade in ideas - crazy ideas, but ideas nonetheless. Horowitz will print any damn thing that serves his unbridled contempt for a promisciously defined 'Left' - contempt that boils down to little more than self-hatred in a time-warp. Of course, in Horowitz' case, the self-hatred isn't entirely irrational."
I should say first, that I was on business conference calls and at a tech trade show today, and the very first thing mentioned on every call and in every panel was “the Sox” and the “Curse.” But I give Yankee fans credit- they’ve taken the loss in stride, with generally good sportsmanship. The day after the presidential election, I don’t expect the backers of the side that loses to behave nearly as cooperatively.
FYI, I'll be posting a lengthy exegesis on the future on the Yankees, probably tomorrow night or sometime over the weekend.
Meanwhile, in Boston, the death toll from the series thus far stands at two: the Emerson student who was killed in the riot, and that guy in Lawrence, Mass. who shot his friend after Game 5. Don't worry, mom- whenever I get up there- hopefully soon- I promise to be careful.
In the NL, the Cardinals won Game 7 tonight to set up a rematch of the 1946 and 1967 Series- giving the Sox yet another curse to try to break. And no, we won’t get the Red Sox/Astros matchup and its attendant presidential-candidates-home-state angle, and even though I predicted it in April, I’m glad it didn’t happen. I’m sick to death of the election, and watching these baseball games has been and will continue to be a welcome, much needed respite from political news.
And how exciting- another “Last Game of Roger Clemens’ Career.” I enjoyed it almost as much as the other five.
A certain reader who happens to have the same first and last name as myself points out that should Jason Marquis of the Cardinals pitch to Gabe Kapler of the Sox, it would be the first batter-pitcher matchup between Jews in a World Series in 25 years.
At any rate, it should be a great, great series, shared by the two best baseball towns in America. And while I respect the Cards a whole lot- sorry, C!- this just isn’t their year. Sox in Six.
And finally, despite an incredibly busy day today, I swore the first thing I’d do when I got to the office was read the Bill Simmons column. It’s titled “The Nation’s Independence Day,” and honestly, I was nearly moved to tears. It’s the best column ever by Sports Guy, and I’ve read just about all of 'em.
Compare this to what he wrote the day after last year’s Game 7:
If the Red Sox were a girl, you would probably just break up with them. You would call them on the phone, explain to them calmly that you can't take it anymore, let them down as gently as possible, then move on with your life.Sure is a good thing Bill kept the Olde Towne Girl around, huh?
UPDATE: The girl killed was an attractive young white woman, so the New York Post naturally puts her on the front page. The Sox fan shot by his friend was a dark-skinned Dominican-American- the Post didn't see fit to cover that story at all.
Yes, you can support Kerry and not be a crazy, Bush-hating conspiracy-spewing lunatic. It pains me that I even have to say that, but a few things in my in-box right now demonstrate just how many people I’d rather not be on the same side as- if only the other side weren't even more repugnant.
There are the daily e-mails pointing out such factoids as “the smarter states are for Kerry, and dumber states for Bush,” while letting me know such useful info as how I can “Meet Michael Moore.”
Then today I got a press release to alert me that an ad has been placed in dozens of alternative newspapers consisting of a letter from more than 70 Nader voters from 2000 –including Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and Cornel West- endorsing John Kerry for president. Now I read on about 15 conservative blogs a day the ludicrous notion that John Kerry and Noam Chomsky are, essentially, one and the same. So it’ll REALLY help John out with swing voters to have the staunch backing of the vile linguist himself.
Speaking of Ralph, I had to laugh at this KausFiles analysis of the race in Wisconsin:
Nader won 3.6% of the Wisconsin vote in 2000. But [reader] P.M. reports "unlike in '00, Nader has absolutely no visible presence or campaign here in Madison (a good place to judge his efforts -- Madison is ground center for the left-of-left-of-center vote in Wisconsin)."I love Madison and spent a ton of time there in my youth, but I think another two or three “left-of”s might be necessary to get across that town’s general political orientation.
This is such an awful, uninspiring choice for president this year that we’re getting lots of “Hawks For Kerry,” “Liberals For Bush,” “Kerry Haters For Kerry,” and stuff like that. Whenever I finish it this weekend, I’ll be presenting “The Hawkish Liberal Case For Kerry And Against I-Hate-Bush Movement.” But I’ll be sure to give it a better title first.
Funny- the day after the Bill O’Reilly sex scandal broke, the New York Post just happened to have a picture handy, and ready for publication, of accuser Andrea Mackris, when no one else did. It couldn’t be because they went right upstairs and grabbed it from the Factor’s offices, could it?
And then, whaddya know- the Post just happens to publish unflattering stories about Mackris every day for ten days- first there were multiple stories about Mackris being kicked out/banned from various bars as the result of altercations, that she had a “crush” on O’Reilly, and that her lawyer had previously filed a “similar” lawsuit on behalf of another client.
Then Thursday came the coup de grace- not only did Page Six report that Mackris is “drowning in debt,” but a two-pages-later report on “Mackris’ CNN Antics,” describes her as “extremely high maintenance,” while accusing her of plotting the lawsuit months in advance, while sharing that she “was once sent home for wearing a bra-less, midriff-baring outfit deemed inappropriate by management.”
You know, if I didn’t know any better I’d think the Post was running interference for the O’Reilly side in order to help a Murdoch brother out. But they wouldn’t do such a thing, would they?
Initial thoughts (The Red Sox won the pennant! The Red Sox won the pennant!):
Congratulations, first of all, to all of the Red Sox fans who have been waiting their entire lives for what they just saw. On top of all the Bambino/Bucky Dent/Aaron Boone/A-Rod stuff, this is historical because no team as ever before clawed back from a 3-0 deficit, and the Red Sox have never before defeated the Yankees in a playoff series or, I believe, a pennant race.
As for Yankee fans, my condolences… except fuck that- do I feel sorry for them? No! Of course not! You've had enough glory for one lifetime, let someone else have a turn for once.
On the other hand, I can’t wait for Sports Guy tomorrow. Read these pre-Game 7 letters as a warm-up.
The Post is going to be very, very, very fun to read for the next month or two. And hell, I may even listen to WFAN tonight.
Imagine how differently the season would've gone if the Red Sox had made the deal for A-Rod. I could see a "Plot Against America"-like novel growing from this premise.
Tomorrow night’s Houston/St. Louis Game 7 will almost be an afterthought after this. But I'll watch it anyway. And while I picked Houston to reach the series both at the start of the season and the start of the playoffs, I'm rooting for the Cards, because Boston and St. Louis are the two best baseball towns in the country, and neither has hosted a World Series in awhile.
At any rate, thank you, Yankees and Red Sox, for deflecting our attention away from the presidential election for a few precious days.
Oh, and one more thing: the Curse isn’t broken quite yet. They still have to win the World Series.
Speculation continues on whether Martinez might actually pitch tonight, and the Sox quickly get two more baserunners- run up the score! Meanwhile, Loizia is replaced by the equally un-scary Felix Heredia- who nonetheless forces a double-play.
God Bless America:
I hate the Yankees, but I love Tynan.
(I’ve been wrestling with connection issues, now solved, since the 4th; otherwise, the last few innings would’ve been more in-depth. Anyway…)
For reasons known only to himself, Francona brings Pedro into the game on two days rest, instantly reinvigorating the long-dead crowd with the “who’s your daddy” thing. Double by Matsui, double by Sheffield. Bad, bad idea, Tito. This may be the most nonsensical managing decision since, well, you know.
Matsui scores, Sheffield scores. Lofton steals second. Olerud strikes out on a 95mph pitch… McCarver suggests that oh, maybe this might be the biggest out of the game- and Nixon catches it in right. Red Sox 8, Yankees 3.
If it stays fair, it’s gone, and it’s FAIR! Home run for Mark Bellhorn off new pitcher Tom Gordon. Everyone else is out, so it’s Red Sox 9, Yankees 3.
The Pedro Experiment is over; someday we may know what the hell that was all about. I think he demanded to go into the game to atone for last Game 7, but that’s just my theory. The new pitcher is Mike Timlin. Jeter grounds out, and after a great Doug Mientkiewicz catch, McCarver dubs him “the human vacuum cleaner”- I don’t even have a joke.
The camera cuts to Mayor Bloomberg- a Boston native who was a Red Sox fan until three years ago- in full Yankee gear. I hope he hurts a LOT right now.
A-Rod strikes out, and Sheffield grounds out. Three outs away.
Every Red Sox fan in the country is thinking the exact same thing right now: “they’re gonna blow it.” Even if Doug the Human Vacuum Cleaner gets a hit to put two runners on with none out. Two flyouts move Trot Nixon to third and then home for the 10th run, bringing in Mariano Rivera.
Despite the near-riot last night, I give the Yankee fans credit: not a single one of them appears to have left the Stadium.
Remember my prediction about Damon having an at-bat after midnight? So I was off by 15 minutes. Inning over. Red Sox 10, Yankees 3.
Timlin stays on the mound. Matsui starts with a single. Fielder’s choice by Williams, one out. Posada popup- one out away. Lofton walks, and Embree relieves Timlin to face pinchhitter Ruben Sierra. I don't know why they're even bothering. Grounder to second, and it's over.
Red Sox 10, Yankees 3, Boston Wins Series 4-3
Another homer by Jesus H. Damon, this time for two runs. Too bad he didn’t get a hit until Game 6, or else he’d be series MVP. The idea is broached of bringing Estaban Loiaza into the game, which I wholeheartedly support. And here he comes! The Sox load the bases.
After Trot Nixon strikes out, we get an interview with the truly freakish-looking Jim Leyritz. He’s rooting for the Yankees, despite having playing for both teams; he doesn’t mention that when he played for Boston they hired a PI to tail his wife. But then the Sox leave the bases loaded. Oh well. Red Sox 8, Yankees 1.
I may someday watch the “Apprentice” parody, but I don’t think I’ll ever watch the “Apprentice” imitator.
Our first Cask & Flagon remote of the night. Man, I wish I was there. Lowe pitches another perfect inning.
Leadoff hit for Mueller. Damon comes up again and… a near-out at second devolves into an error, as His Holiness advances to second, Mueller to third. Buck with the potential-jinx comment, “everything’s going the Sox’ way”- and then they fail to score. Ugh.
1-2-3 inning for Lowe. Wow. Keep him in the game!
The Sox go down 1-2-3 as well- and the inning is filled with idle speculation about whether Pedro, who’s warming up, will enter the game. Come on, don’t be silly.
Jeter and A-Rod ground out, both to Orlando Cabrera. Somewhere, Nomar Garciaparra watches in his living room, wincing.
Tim McCarver speculates on whether this will be the “greatest win in franchise history,” going through a bunch of history that anyone watching this game already knows backward and forward. Which somehow doesn’t jinx the final out of the inning. Still 8-1; six innings of one-hit ball for Derek Lowe.
At 8:30 PM, Johnny Damon steps in against Kevin Brown. If Damon doesn’t have at least one at-bat after midnight, I’ll be shocked. After stealing second he’s thrown out at home- but then Ortiz homers- Red Sox 2, Yankees 0.
1-2-3 inning. Sheffield must not have remembered his BALCO cream.
That commercial with Joe Buck and “Leon.” I just watched “Midnight Cowboy” the other night, so I have a hard time hearing the name “Joe Buck” without imagining the announcer showing up to the game in a cowboy getup, or perhaps reinventing himself as a street hustler. Or maybe Tim McCarver should swap accents and start calling himself Ratso Rizzo.
(And so what if these jokes are all five years old?)
Bucky Dent threw out the first pitch? Just for that, should the Red Sox win, they need to run out to left field and tear down the Babe Ruth monument after the game. And of course Yogi Berra’s been involved in every pre-game ceremony. Of the Great Old Yankees, he’s pretty much the only one still alive.
Anyway, Brown loads the bases, and he’s out after one and a third innings- way to earn $105 million, guy. Luckily, he resists the urge to punch any inanimate objects on the way to the showers.
GRAND SLAM, Johnny Damon. Too bad it’s so not over at all. Meanwhile, I’d like to thank the director for cutting straight to Jason Giambi- another wonderful use of $20 million this year. Anyway, inning over. Red Sox 6, Yankees 0.
Buck says, “there’s not a single Sox fan anywhere in New England who’s comfortable with a 6-0 lead in Yankee Stadium.” Exactly. Posada is the Yankees’ first baserunner after a walk, but that’s all they get.
Nothing of note happens, until an outro by David Lee Roth. Better that than the inexplicable playing of Public Enemy’s “Welcome to the Terrordome” at the close of Game 6.
If the New York Yankees have friggin’ Tony Clark- who the Tigers waived a few years ago- starting at first base for them in Game 7 of a playoff series, then no, they have no business winning. He makes the first out. But Jeter knocks in Posada to put New York on the board. I’m wondering why Mike Myers is warming up, but then I remember the Sox have a big lead. It just doesn’t FEEL like a big lead. Still, the inning is over. Red Sox 6, Yankees 1.
They just showed Pedro in the bullpen, and they’re saying he could pitch an inning. Just as long as it's not the 8th. Any inning but the 8th.
I'll be live-blogging Game 7 tonight. Let's go Sox.
UPDATE: Since my connection is being iffy, I'll just be posting three innings at a time.
My generally positive review of "Team America: World Police" is online at Hot Movie Ticket.
I noticed it a long time ago, but a Slate writer had some fun on LexusNexis and found a bunch of transcripts that prove it without a shadow of a doubt: Bill O’Reilly is obsessed with porn.
This doesn’t make him guilty of the allegations, of course, but he’s featured segments and guests related to pornography pretty regularly for as long as I’ve been watching the show, and always with laughable justifications. One time, I remember him bemoaning that the Hollywood movie studios are all in business with the porn industry, which is a problem, because he learned from the movie “Boogie Nights” that porn is mob-controlled (Huh?) Then, during the 2000 election, he had on a European porn star who he identified as “one of Al Gore’s biggest supporters.”
Meanwhile, Frank Rich claims that he asked for O’Reilly’s new childrens’ book at a book store, and the clerk thought he was asking for porn. Giving new credence to my long-held theory that if any pundit is more obsessed with porn than O’Reilly, it’s Frank Rich. Before he started writing the same this-week's-#1-movie-illustrates-why-Bush-sucks missive every Saturday, his column was all pron, all the time.
And speaking of sneering, condescending stuff from the weekend editions of the Times, did you catch that Ron Suskind piece in the Sunday magazine on the faith of George W. Bush? I don’t deny that there’s some truth to it, but don’t you think that if Suskind had had his druthers, the piece would’ve been published under the title “Christians Are Scary, Bush Is One Of Them, BE VERY AFRAID”?
Here's an interesting Jewish Week piece on the Jewish community in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and how it's divided by Minnesota's first-time-ever swing-state status. Special added bonus: some quotes from my dad, whose sentiments on the election are quite similar to mine.
It may have taken some help from the umpires, a phalanx of riot police, and a miracle performance by Curt Schilling and his bionic ankle, but the Boston Red Sox have pulled off a baseball first, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to the Yankees to tie the ALCS 3-3 and force a Game 7.
The only thing I have to say about that controversial Rodriguez/Arroyo interference call? That never would've happened if the Red Sox had gotten A-Rod.
Game 7 is Wednesday night; the Red Sox are poised to make history in so many ways.
CLARIFICATION: By "help from the umpires," I mean that the umpires helped the Red Sox by making the right decision on both the Bellhorn homer and the A-Rod play.
Game 6 of the ALCS is just underway as I’m writing this; I for one was rooting for a rain-out, since I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have five hours to commit to these games every single night.
At any rate, my college pal Dan got married on Sunday, and the wedding falling right in the middle of the League Championship Series got me thinking five years back to 1999, when we were in school in Boston, and the three teams primarily rooted for by Brandeis students (Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox) all made the LCS round in the same year. All my friends were regularly journeying to Fenway and/or down to New York for the games, and I was constantly deluged with requests for tickets, since my roommate at the time happened to be the son of the president of the MLB players’ association.
Two things I’ll always remember about that postseason, and both involve this weekend’s groom: the Braves/Mets series followed the same trajectory as this year’s ALCS: the “bad guys” (the Braves) jumped out to a 3-0 lead, after which the good guys (the Mets) won the next two, with Game 5 going a ridiculous amount of extra innings. Dan, a Mets fan, was trying really hard to get tickets, and while he wasn’t able to score any for the three Shea games, he did get seats for the if-necessary Game 7- in Atlanta. I was asked if I wanted to drive down- though I'm a lifelong Braves hater, a length-of-I-95 road trip probably would’ve been too much. At any rate, the Mets lost Game 6- during which we had "Shea Stadium Night," complete with burgers, brats, and hot dogs (all kosher, natch) cooked on Dan's George Foreman Grill.
The week before that, the Red Sox were facing the Cleveland “Baseball Team” Indians in the first round, and after losing the first two games the Sox won the next two at Fenway, forcing a deciding Game 5 back at the Jake. The night of Game 5 was the 21st birthday of one of our friends (Seth, one of Dan’s groomsmen), so a bunch of us decided to go to a bar to celebrate- and since a semi-injured Pedro Martinez had entered the game and was in the process of pitching six perfect innings to seal the series victory, we made our way towards Fenway.
The area was hopping- even though the game was in Cleveland- and the celebration began in earnest as soon as Pedro recorded the final out to force an historic ALCS against the Yankees. A non-stop “Yankees Suck” chant began almost immediately, morphing into “that guy sucks!” when a lone Yankee fan emerged (the chant later evolved into “Jeter Fucked Him In the Ass- Doo-da! Doo-da!). After about twenty minutes, police emerged to quiet the crowd and tell them to either get in line for playoff tickets or go home. The crowd was finally silent, until a lone homeless man emerged, singing:
“Boom Boom- Let Me Hear Ya Say Pedro- PEDRO!”
Then we spent the next few hours at the Cask & Flagon. I’m still a Twins fan, but I believe that night was when I first began to identify with Red Sox Nation, and to this day I’m rooting for them to finally get past the Yankees and into the World Series.
As for Dan and his Mets, the following year, he and I finally made it to Shea for the NLCS, and saw the Mets win the pennant against St. Louis.
That’s it for stories; Mazel tov, Dan and Marti!
Ebert didn’t address the Kermit/Piggy thing in his column this week, but we’ve got a new perspective on it regardless, thanks to a comment posted today, by a Mr. “Spriggit D. Fingerpig,” to my original Kermit-and-Piggy BlogCritics piece from more than two years ago:
"There is something here that needs to be considered, thoughtfully, carefully, and thoroughly. What is that something, I hear you ask?Wow. I don’t even know where to start.
Yes, [scourge] of mupppet-humpers everywhere. Foam may squash well, but rubbing against it for protracted periods of time leads to a horrendous case of foam-burn. It's like carpet-burn, but more insidious; it lets you think everything is hunky-dory, but then after fifteen minutes of porking miss Piggy or rogering Rolf, bam! Foreskin like slice of ripe tomato in your Whopper. It's raw, it burns, and it makes you wish like hell you had used the J-lube, or at least a condom…
Even Kermit laments this; needless to say, only 99% of our frog friend is green. The remaining 1% is red, and raw, and bleeding. He's been mistaken for Jewish on numerous occasions as a result.
So, remember girls and boys: Foam-burn. The silent scourge.”
Jon Stewart vs. Tucker Carlson was quite a scene, and ranks up there with Chris Matthews/Michelle Malkin, Chris Matthews/Zell Miller, Ron Silver/Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and Bill O'Reilly/Andrea Mackris in the panethon of great cable news smackdowns of this election campaign.
And notice that none of the presidential debates even make the top five. Though I agree with Paul that the debates would've been more interesting if Ali G had been the moderator. We may have gotten a straight answer from Bush on why no BLTs were found in Iraq.
A Slate piece lays out five nightmare scenarios in which the 2004 election ends up decided in the Supreme Court once again. The first four don’t bother me too much- after all, it happened in 2000, and the Republic survived- but what really concerns me is the fifth: what if there’s a terrorist attack, on Election Day, in one or more U.S. cities?
It both surprises and disturbs me that this isn’t something that’s being talked about all over the place. Suppose terrorists strike a major city on election morning- or, even worse, more than one major city, say in more than one swing state. Or what if one or both of the candidates were assassinated? Does the election go on? If so, wouldn’t the attack have disenfranchised people in the places that were attacked? And worst of all, is there any plan whatsoever in place to deal with such an emergency?
Yes, I know the Bush Administration brought up the idea of postponing the election in the event of an attack, and the reaction from the Church of I-Hate-Dubya was to fear that he was planning to declare himself Dictator For Life. But in addition to the natural worries about terrorism, we’re also facing the very real possibility of a full-blown constitutional crisis. All of which scares me a hell of a lot more than Bush/Kerry winning.
From a newspaper in PNG:
Nero Proposes Anti-Money Laundering Law
PAPUA New Guinea should come up with a law against money laundering if it’s serious about combating corruption, said a top Ombudsman official.
Ombudsman Commission Deputy Director of Leadership John Nero said there could be continuous numerous talks about how to fight money laundering, but unless a law against this is put in place, nothing could stop the crime.
You'd think "Nero" would be one of those names that no one would ever try to use in politics again. Sort of like "Benedict," "Agnew," "Hitler," or "Caligula."
Sorry for the lack of posts the last few days; I've been sick. In fact, all I've done in the last 72 hours -aside from attending a friend's wedding- is sleep, and watch the Yanks/Sox games.
Speaking of which, what was I saying about this baseball postseason not being exciting? The Sox are now down 3-2 going back to New York, just as they were in last year's ALCS that they almost won. I think David Ortiz had to get the game-winning hit, in order to atone for what may have been the most laughable base-stealing attempt I've ever seen.
And don't forget about the NL- even though the Astros-Cards game started three hours after the AL game, Jeff Kent's game-winning homer came about 20 minutes after Ortiz's hit. Meanwhile, my forecast of a Sox-Astros series is looking more and more possible...
Stay tuned tomorrow, for some political commentary, as well as a movie review or two.
The most controversial part of the latest PHST (Paris Hilton Sex Tape) isn't the sex- it's that the tiresome heiress supposedly tosses around the n-word several times.
I love this- as though there are people out there who had this idealized, reverential attitude towards Paris before, until she stumbled by revealing her true colors. Just breaks your heart, I tell you.
There's even talk of a boycott of Paris' various products. Guess I inadvertently joined it, three or four years ago.
Last night I went to the one and only New York area date of the “Vote For Change” tour, as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band headlined a show at Continental Arena that also featured John Fogarty, Jackson Browne, Bruce’s wife Patti Scialfa, and a few special guests.
The tour is aimed at getting Dubya out of office, and while I do support that cause, I was a bit pensive about contributing the generally sleazy MoveOn.org, as well as with spending time with the sort of element that tends to frequent such events. But still- it’s Bruce, in New Jersey, and what could be better than that? Some stream-of-consciousness observations on the night:
- Now perhaps it was because everyone in the lineup of acts was north of age 50, but the crowd was much more of a Springsteen crowd than a MoveOn.org crowd- exactly the sort of clientele you’d expect to see at the lone Bruce show on the tour. Furthermore, I probably saw fewer Kerry shirts than I did Yankees jerseys, and these were for people who had decided to spend the night not watching Game 2.
- When I saw a guy in the parking lot pop open a Shasta-style half-can of Budweiser, I knew we had an authentic Jersey crowd, although as with most Springsteen concerts, it appeared the only African-American in the building was Clarence Clemons.
- Everyone in my row was checking the Yankees’ score on their cell phones and radios throughout the show, but no one seemed particularly concerned with how the presidential debate was going.
- If the Protest Warriors had shown up, they’d have had very little work with, because I saw few-to-no anti-Bush signs or t-shirts, and even people wearing Bush paraphernalia without incident. One girl wore an “Abort Bush” shirt, which reminded me of how someone spraypainted “Abort Dukakis” on a highway overpass in Minneapolis during the ’88 campaign, and it stayed there for more than ten years.
- Not sure if this is only for concerts, but Continental Arena has no championship banners up for the Nets or Devils, but does have one hanging from the rafters commemorating Bruce’s 15 sold-out shows in ’99, next to the Seton Hall flags. And for some reason there was no American flag hanging next to the scoreboard, although there was a Canadian flag. Must be ‘cause it’s a hockey arena.
- Aside from a few songs that were tangentially about Bush, and a speech or two by Bruce towards the end, the show was refreshingly free of political sanctimony, except from videotaped messages from various participants in the tour that ran between sets. One of them featured commentary by Max Weinberg- and I must say that after ten years of seeing him appear in Conan skits in his persona as an unreconstructed pervert, it’s hard to take his political commentary seriously.
- Patti Scialfa got the festivities going with a generally uninspired set, provoking the best heckle of the night: “No more Bruce’s wife! Vote For Change!
- Jackson Browne’s set wasn’t so great either, although it came alive when Little Steven, and then Bruce himself, came out for duets. Then again, I’ve been a classic rock fan all my life, and even after last night I’m not sure I can name more than two Jackson Browne songs.
- Bruce and E Street came out next, starting with an incredible 1-2-3 punch of “Born in the USA,” “Badlands,” and “Lonesome Day.” Then Eddie Vedder came out for a surprise appearance, joining the band on the Kerry theme song “No Surrender” and then “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” before Vedder and the band sang Pearl Jam’s “Better Man”- unquestionably the evening’s highlight.
- John Fogarty then entered the festivities, joining E Street on the Bush-bashing anthem “Fortunate Son” before segueing into his new song “Déjà Vu.” My lord does Fogarty look old- ever notice how rock stars age differently than the rest of us? Not sure if it’s the drugs, plastic surgery, or whatever else, but have you ever met a 60-year-old who looks anything like Fogarty, Dylan, or Neil Young?
- Instead of introducing the band like he usually does, Bruce went into a political speech about how he was sitting at his breakfast table, saw in the paper that New Jersey is a swing state, and shouted “get me to the Meadowlands!” A funny rant in which he sounded more like Lewis Black than himself. This concluded with an awesome “Born to Run” which I thought closed the show, but…
- The Dude would’ve been happy, as Fogarty returned for a Bruce-backed set of Creedance classics, including “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Travelin’ Band.” It was with great disappointment that the performance of “Proud Mary” did not include a surprise appearance by Ike Turner.
- The show closed at about 12:30 with all of the above performing both “What’s So Funny (About Peace, Love, and Understanding)” and “People Have the Power.” Always something to have eight guitars together on one stage.
- All in all a great show despite the lackluster first two hours. Although one highlight was when we were walking through the corridor between Continental Arena and the Giants Stadium parking lot, and hundreds of people began singing “Thunder Road” spontaneously.
Keith Olbermann’s blog, Bloggermann, is finally online. Since Keith’s old ESPN.com column from circa 1996 was I believe the first thing I ever read regularly on the internet, I’ve been looking forward to the blog for quite some time.
I don’t usually like anti-Bush humor sites, and I don’t usually like “All Your Base”-style internet obsessions. But this is brilliant. The POW/MIA poster is my favorite part.
Chris Rock has been tapped as the host of next year's Academy Awards, becoming I believe the first man to host both the Video Music Awards and the Oscars.
I love Rock, but he's been in a bit of a slump lately- his most recent standup special was subpar, and none of his movie vehicles have taken off, with the singular exception of "Pootie Tang."
Rock's material may not be what's traditionally the Academy's cup of tea, although since my little personal nightmare is of "Fahrenheit 9/11" winning Best Picture, whatever the host does is the least of my worries.
And in case you don't remember it, here's my response to the announcement of last year's Oscar host, Bill Kristol.
On the heels of Al Franken’s rumored candidacy for a U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota when it comes time to face Norm Coleman, a group of “Minny” bloggers are attempting to draft James Lileks to run in the 2006 Senate race against Mark Dayton. I can’t see how either idea could possibly work, although Lileks would certainly be at an advantage should the subject of obscure sci-fi or Goofy ever come up in a debate. Then again, we all know James and Nat’s favorite mall is Southdale, where the most prominent department store is… Dayton’s.
Though for a state that’s elected a college professor (Paul Wellstone), a news anchor (Rod Grams) and a pro wrestler (Jesse Ventura) to statewide office in the last 15 years, I suppose none of the above would be much of a stretch.
UPDATE: Lileks addresses the rumors:
“If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve. If mailed the paychecks nevertheless, I will cash them with a heavy heart: really, the people of Minnesota deserve so much better.”And speaking of Franken, do you think he’s done yet with his chortling about the O’Reilly sex thing?
I don’t even have a joke. Just read this:
Escort Service Boss Convicted Of Pimping, Money Laundering
SAN DIEGO -- A man behind a prostution ring that may have brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars could go to prison for more than 11 years.
Allmighty Master Supreme Mayo, 26, was convicted Tuesday of one count of pimping and eight counts of money laundering. The defendant, who will be sentenced Nov. 16, was acquitted of pandering, authorities said.
I was at the Springsteen concert tonight (full report tomorrow), so I missed both the presidential debate and Game 2 of the Yanks-Sox series. But an observation: remember that Weekly Standard piece a couple months back that traced the Red Sox' surge and Kerry's slide to the night he threw out the first pitch at Fenway? Seems like things have reversed themselves since then, on both ends. Which isn't to say they won't again. More than once.
I think I hoped to live my entire life without the words "Bill O'Reilly" and "sex scandal" appearing together- but they did today, as the Fox News host is being accused of "lewd behavior" by a former underling. I'm sure he's thrilled, to have this happen three weeks before the election with Fox News on an all-time ratings high. According to the Smoking Gun,
he subjected her to repeated instances of sexual harassment and spoke often, and explicitly, to her about phone sex, vibrators, threesomes, masturbation, the loss of his virginity, and sexual fantasies.Yikes. Isn't this usually the type of stuff Bill wants people to "shut up" about?
O'Reilly, meanwhile, has countersued; to this I recycle the line that got me my one and only Instalanche: ""for someone who bitches all the time about the nefarious influence of 'the trial lawyers,' O'Reilly sure seems to sue people an awful lot."
"We’ve got two people who want to drive the car, and most people in the car want to drive to Miami... Kerry is an experienced driver, he has a capable team of people with him, but he wants to drive to Boston. George Bush, you ask where he’s going and he says, ‘Miami. Miami or bust. I’m going to Miami.’ But every time he gets behind the wheel, the car goes into the ditch. That’s our choice."-Walter Russell Mead, articulating why he's a swing voter, in a New York Observer piece on "smart undecideds." I generally agree with its premise that people who haven't decided yet aren't necessarily stupid- some of them can't decide because they know too much.
Game 1 of Yankees/Sox is tonight; a few notes:
-Bill- a lifelong Mets fan- has changed his blog to Red Sox colors for the duration of the ALCS, such is the depth of his Yankee antipathy.
-An e-mailer to National Review’s The Corner calls Cardinals-Astros the “Red State Championship Series,” while Yankees-Red Sox is the Blue State version. In fact, all four playoff teams in the AL came from blue states, while in the NL all were red except the Dodgers.
-A bird crapped on Sports Guy’s shirt, so he’s convinced that’s an omen for the Red Sox (a wonderful series- for me to poop on?) But I do like the Vito Stapafore reference- that’s all I’ve thought about, the three times since then that I’ve been to Yankee Stadium.
- I stick with my preseason prediction: a Boston-Houston World Series, with both League Championship Series going 7 games. With practically nothing memorable happening in this year’s first round –aside from the beautiful sight of Atlanta’s annual collapse- we’re certainly due for some magic.
-And finally, here’s a great series preview, which complains that we haven’t heard enough about Yanks-Sox ‘cause of “Midwest media bias.”
“’Warlord’ is a hard word. I prefer to call them 'regional leaders.'"--Afghan President Hamid Karzai, as quoted by TNR via William Safire. I’m thrilled about the historic elections in Afghanistan, though I remain worried about the continued influence of the Taliban, as well as the various warlords.
Which brings up an interesting question that I’ve always wondered about- how exactly does one become a warlord? ‘Cause it sounds like not a bad gig- control large swathes of land, answer to no one, and come to work in a robe. In fact, warlording doesn’t sound too different from George Costanza’s description of Kramer’s life:
Do nothing, fall ass-backwards into money, mooch food off your neighbors, and have sex without dating.Then again, the “ass-backwards into money” and “mooch food” parts would most likely refer to stealing the entire money and food supplies of the region.
Regardless- if you’re reading this, Mr. Karzai, I’d like to apply. Now that they’ve had elections, it’s about time Afghanistan had its first Jewish warlord.
The attorney for running back Ricky Williams said Monday he believes Williams will be allowed to return to the NFL "as soon as possible," clearing the way for talks with the Dolphins.For some reason I picture Ricky’s attorney as Dr. Gonzo from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Hey, for a guy who once hired Master P as his agent, it’s not such a stretch.
I have an extra ticket for the Bruce Springsteen/John Fogarty concert Wednesday night at the Meadowlands- e-mail if interested.
A version of my Hoboken story from last month has been published in The Current, the weekly entertainment supplement in the Hudson Reporter newspaper. The much longer original edition is available here.
Yes, the Twins season is over, after they dropped three straight games to the Yankees, including two in Minnesota. The series had the exact same result as last year's ALDS, with the the Twins winning the first game in Yankee Stadium and then New York taking three in a row to set up an ALCS against Boston.
What went wrong? Well, there are lots of theories that I don't feel like going into right now, though I do think there's something to the theory that small/large market differences really come out in the playoffs. At any rate, the Twins have so much organizational depth, and so many young players ready to rise, that I expect to see them back there for years to come. And one of these times, they'll finally get beyond the first round.
For more end-of-the-season thoughts, here’s Gleeman, Bonnes, and Batgirl.
Two celebrity deaths were announced late last night: The erstwhile Superman, Christopher Reeve, succumbed to unknown causes at the age of 52. I’m no expert on the “Superman” films, but I do remember that “Superman II” was one of the first movies I ever saw in the theater, and I had great admiration for his work on behalf of finding a cure for paralysis after his mid-‘90s accident.
Also passing away last night was Ken Caminiti, the National League MVP in 1996 and I believe the first major leaguer to admit to using steroids, who was 41. Caminiti’s life trajectory was the sort of thing we’ve seen a lot more of in wrestling than baseball: steroid use throughout his career, graduation to harder drugs that ended that career and got worse in retirement, and legal trouble, followed by death in his early 40s. A sad story indeed.
There was also a thankfully false rumor last night that Gary Coleman had died.
I only saw the first half, nothing either candidate said made much of an impression on me (except for Bush’s reference to “the internets”- let’s see the right-wing bloggers who worship him defend that one), and while I’m certainly pulling for one of them, I’m honestly so sick of the protracted battle that I’m ready for the whole thing to be over. My feelings on the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry are remarkably similar.
“[Hilary Duff is] as emotionally dynamic as an Oreo cookie — a programmed flirt on the outside who's all sweetness and light on the inside. She makes me long for the comparatively Dostoyevskian depths of Sandra Dee.”-Owen Gleibermann, reviewing “Raise Your Voice” in Entertainment Weekly.
From a TNR piece called “The Case Against Jimmy Fallon”:
“The Jimmy Fallon we know--the "Saturday Night Live" alum who can't keep a straight face during a sketch--seduces young female viewers because of his boyish ineptitude. The 30-year-old has made a career of channeling a twelve-year-old who watches too much Pee Wee Herman.”
Yes, the third baseman had a long and distinguished career with many teams that consisted of lots of great moments. But let's get real- years from now, all I'll remember about him is this:
Chomsky-baiting blogger John Paul Pagano ran into Howard Zinn at a gas station in Newton, Mass. Seeing as how John describes Zinn as a “socialist supporter of real evil,” and his girlfriend as “Central Casting Newton/Cambridge gray-maned earth goddess, complete with skirt and epicene knee-socks," I really really wish I'd witnessed this encounter in person.
I'm heading out of town for the weekend, so analysis of the rest of the Twins-Yankees series will have to be of the wrap-up variety. I'll be back Sunday with thoughts on that as well as the presidential debate.
In the meantime, enjoy this image:
Top headline on AOL News right now:
BUSH, CHENEY CONCEDE
What's this? A dream for the Bush-haters- the president giving up on the election three weeks before the fact?
But below that, in much smaller type:
IRAQ HAD NO WMD
Still a big story, but not quite as big as the other would've been.
I saw "I Heart Huckabees" tonight, and generally enjoyed it, although I felt it played like a film school exercise: Make an entertaining and funny movie in which the characters speak in nothing but psychobabble. I liked the movie because it had some good performances and five or six great scenes, but ultimately I let the psychobabble slide because I thought we were supposed to be laughing at it.
That is, until I read this interview with director David O. Russell and star Jason Schwartzman, which revealed that, you guessed it, both men not only take the film's nonsensical philosophy seriously, but actually see some grand political subtext behind it! But even worse, "Three Kings" director Russell threw in this nugget:
"Nothing has substantiality, beyond temporary, impermanent being. The only really woken-up point of view that is openhearted and loving is the one that is going to not even hate them. Gandhi said, 'Don't fight Hitler. You'll become like Hitler. You'll start having a military-industrial complex like Hitler.' I gotta tell you, there's some truth in it."Now normally I'm not one to play the whole juvenile gotcha game with Hollywood types. But did Russell actually just say we were wrong to fight Hitler?
Much as I despise the omnipresent I-hate-Bush culture, I’m willing to tolerate it for just one night, provided the Boss is involved. Yes, I’m going to see Bruce Springsteen, my favorite living musician, on Wednesday night as part of his Vote For Change tour; joining him on the bill will be John Fogarty (Creedance, man!) and Jackson Browne.
I do have some trepidation about contributing to the coffers of a sleazy organization like MoveOn.org, but what the hey- even though I’m sick to death of obsessive, single-minded Bush-bashing, I am still nominally a Kerry supporter. Should be an interesting blog entry that night, for those of you who enjoyed my protester-baiting RNC coverage.
The Washington Post ran a goofy article today about conspiracy theories, centered around this stupid belief lots of people seem to have that a plane didn’t really crash into the Pentagon on 9/11. Like all those “people scared about the draft” stories, the piece finds such theories inherently worth writing about, for no reason other than “people are talking about it.”
Worst of all, no where in the story does the author even bother to, say, debunk the theory that the Pentagon crash was faked. Or, oh I don’t know, ask the question of why the plotters of such a hoax would bother to stage an explosion while simultaneously making an entire airplane disappear. I guess it’s a sad day when we know we can trust Snopes more than the Washington Post.
Centrist hawk Michael Totten, whose views are as close to mine as anyone out there, gives us the Liberal Case For Bush, following last month’s Hawkish Case For Kerry. I highly recommend both. Meanwhile, watch for my official presidential endorsement in the next week or so.
The ALDS is tied 1-1 tonight after the Yankees defeated the Twins 7-6 in 12 innings. In a game eerily reminiscent of last year's ALCS Game 7, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire sent closer Joe Nathan out to pitch the 12th- the closer's third inning of work- and even after Nathan gave up two walks on eight pitches, he remained in the game to face the reigning AL MVP (A-Rod), who subsequently tied the game with a ground-rule double, opening the door for a game-winning sac fly by Hideki Matsui.
As Jeremy said tonight of the manager, "you know, Gardy is an acronym of Grady."
No, I'm not bitter, because we now head home for two games, one of which will be started by the unbeatable Johan Santana. And besides, no team that fails to score more than one run in that many innings off friggin' Tanyon Sturtze deserves to complain about losing in the 12th. I just get the sense that as long as the mediocre managers of opposing teams keep leaving their standout pitchers in games long after they've lost all effectiveness, the Yankees will never lose a playoff series ever again.
At least the "good guys" won the other two games Wednesday. The Red Sox moved closer to their second straight ALCS with a decisive Game 2 win over the Angels, while the Astros trounced the Braves in the NL. While I normally have trouble referring to Roger Clemens as a "good guy," I'm proudly in the Roger column as long as he's facing the Braves. The organization that gave us owner Ted Turner, the tomahawk chop, and John Rocker, the Braves are easily the most despicable team in all of professional sports, and their annual playoff collapse is honestly one of my favorite parts of being a fan.
Both AL Series resume Friday; I know I'm ready for a break after tonight.
My review of the lackluster "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" is online at IOFilm.com. Speaking of which, someone has been plagiarizing my IO stuff; once I figure out who it is we'll organize an official lynch mob.
UPDATE: My London-based editor says they "dealt with him, which means the cat’o’nine tails and a month in the stocks." Anyone care to translate?
The Twins beat the Yankees 2-0 tonight in the opening game of their Division Series, to capture home field advantage.
Yes, it was a thing of beauty- but I'm not getting too cocky, especially considering that tonight's victory was practically identical to Game 1 of last year's ALDS between the two teams, in which the Twins also beat the Yanks in the Bronx, also with Johan Santana pitching and Torii Hunter making a big catch and the Yankees making all sorts of stupid mistakes. The Yanks made none of the same miscues for the remainder of the series, and swept the next three games.
But for some reason I feel better this year. Maybe because the Twins just beat New York's only remaining dependable starting pitcher, and this Twins team has a lot more pop than last year's did. Game 2 tomorrow at 7 Eastern; be sure to check the below blogs for more analysis.
Comic legend Rodney Dangerfield has died at the age of 82. The New York Times obituary shamefully reserves mention of "Back to School" to the 13th paragraph.
On the eve of the Twins’ playoff run, the Star Tribune has profiled several members of the growing Twins-blogger contingent.
Now it should be noted that the Strib has had sort of a love/hate relationship with the Blogosphere in the last year or so- their feuds with the local coterie of conservative bloggers known as the Northern Alliance have been well-documented, and they run a site called “My 2 Cents” that may in fact be the worst blog I’ve ever read. This all led up to columnist Nick Coleman's oft-quoted, oft-mocked anti-blog jeremiad that ran last week.
However, the paper in the last month or two has made more of an effort to better understand the blogging phenomenon than most major papers, running a generally competent overview of the Rathergate scandal while placing a link on its website to a comprehensive list of political blogs that I’m happy to be on. In addition, the Strib has been hosting one of the best Twins blogs, John Bonnes’ “TwinsGeek,” since the start of baseball season.
The baseball story is relatively well-done, as it appears the author has in fact read blogs before and even was familiar with some of the ones talked about. Here’s the main part, here are some quotes, and here’s a “best of” package. But how exactly do you write about Bat-girl without mentioning Lego-Vision?
(And speaking of Ms. Ursu, she makes a Lego-free Page 2 appearance today.)
At any rate, I’ll be blogging here every day of the Twins’ postseason- even taking precedence over this week’s presidential and VP debates. I made my predictions yesterday, and all I predict today is that the New York papers will use the word “Minny” dozens of times this week. If my bleatings are not enough, check out Aaron Gleeman, TwinsGeek, Bat-Girl, Seth Speaks, The Bad Twin, and Will Young.
You’d think my appearance the other week in Ebert’s column would forever put to rest the question of whether or not Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy are an actual couple- if “Muppets Take Manhattan” didn’t first. But in this week’s edition of the column, Roger runs a letter from a reader who claims to have interviewed Kermit himself in 1999, when the frog said this:
“This whole romance thing is just a figment of the pig's imagination. It's not true. There is nothing going on there whatsoever," he said. "I don't know whether or not she knows it, but she certainly should be aware by now. She tends to still be out there telling people that we're married or we're dating or all that stuff, but it's just not true.”That’s what Kermit claims. But check out this billboard, currently displayed prominently in Times Square:
Now why on Earth would Kermit agree to participate in such an ad campaign, were the “rumor” not true? Would Mike Piazza allow his likeness to appear on a billboard that says “dates a man- baseball star”? Methinks Kermie’s in a bit of denial over the whole pig-dating thing.
“Cheney can't be a neocon. He isn't Jewish." –Paul Wolfowitz. This comes on the heels of James Wolcott’s dismissal of Midge Decter, in Vanity Fair, as “the Livia Soprano of neoconservatism.”
ThisFish learned recently that P. Diddy, of all people, is a fan of her blog. I’m happy to say that I too have a relatively famous musician as a faithful reader- one who I can say with complete confidence is much more respected by rock critics nationwide than Diddy ever will be.
Because for all of Diddy’s success, has the Star Tribune ever referred to his music as “positively Dylanesque”?
PTI host/Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon, on a panel at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern (his alma mater), had this to say about covering the Olympics:
"I went to the beach volleyball courts as much to look at the scantily clad athletes as to see the results of the game… If looking at cute girls is a crime, then lock me up.”The quote, while a bit lecherous, is nonetheless completely consistent with everything Wilbon has ever said and, more importantly, is in line with about 100% of the media coverage of beach volleyball in this year’s Olympics. Remember how every newspaper (and every male-authored blog) in America ran the Kerri Walsh/Misty May celebration pictures the next day?
On the subject, Village Voice sex columnist and feminist Tristan Taormino made some similar comments a few weeks ago:
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Americans Misty May and Kerry Walsh dig and spike. Sure, I was partial to May, whose ample ass wasn't made for the standard-sized bottoms, thus providing plenty of bare cheek for Walsh to grab and slap when they scored. But those bikinis do not eradicate their amazing athletic ability. They are fierce competitors and hot babes, and one does not discredit the other.Amen to that.
Michael Wilbon is one of the best sportswriters in America, and the fact that he’s vocal about appreciating female beauty is one of the more refreshing aspects of his persona. Please please please don’t let this turn into a major scandal. Please.
The baseball regular season ended yesterday, and with it ended the careers of Edgar Martinez, Art Howe, Andres Galarraga, and the Montreal Expos.
After an incident which will surely make the annual shameful events list –a game on the second-to-last day of the season between the Twins and Cleveland (Baseball Team) Indians was called after 11 innings so that technicians could prepare the Metrodome field for that night’s college football game- the Twins fell one victory short of home-field advantage in the first round, and will thus open on the road against the Yankees for the second straight year.
The Twins lost last year’s ALDS in four games and were swept by New York just last week, yet some Twins fans maintain hope regardless: the Yankees, despite a juggernaut of an offense, have unquestionably their weakest starting pitching staff of the Joe Torre era, and with both Johan Santana and Brad Radke going twice in a five-game series, the Twins match up quite well. And interestingly, all three teams that the Twins have faced in their previous World Series appearances- the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Braves- are in the playoffs this year.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox will face the Angels in round 1, in a rematch of the legendary 1986 ALCS- I fully expect Dave Henderson to throw out the first pitch, and SportsCenter to run one of their hushed-toned segments on Donnie Moore.
Over in the NL, what looked to be the most talented team in the league going into the season, the Cubs, somehow failed to make the playoffs, instead finishing a mere third in their division behind playoff teams St. Louis and Houston. The Giants didn’t make it either, although there was something comforting about the Dodgers and Giants fighting to the last day of the season.
Therefore, the perpetually-underachieving-in-the-playoffs Braves will take on Houston, while St. Louis battles the Dodgers.
Ergo, my predictions are the following:
ALDS: Twins in 5, Red Sox in 4 (Much as I’d like to see the Red Sox win the ALCS in Yankee Stadium and tear down the Babe Ruth statue Saddam-style, I can’t deny Johan).
NLDS: Astros in 4, Cardinals in 5 (The Astros get their first playoff series win in franchise history; going against the Braves is the only circumstance under which I’ll root for Roger Clemens.)
ALCS: Red Sox in 7
NLCS: Astros in 7
2004 World Series: I stick with my pre-season prediction: Just three days before Boston and Texas square off in the presidential election, the Red Sox will meet the Astros –in the process, greeting old friends Roger Clemens, Jeff Bagwell, and
Jimy Williams- and make a much better showing than their presidential counterpart. Red Sox in 6.
(Incidentally, I got the AL playoff participants exactly right, but on the NL side I correctly guessed only that the ‘stros would be the wild card.)
Village Voice columnist/conspiracy monger James Ridgeway writes about how New Jersey has descended from a safe Kerry state into swing-state status, using 9/11 as an explanation for why (the same doesn’t apply to New York, where it actually happened, but nevermind). Here’s James:
According to a recent Newark Star Ledger–Eagleton poll, a quarter of the [NJ] population thinks about 9-11 every day. A presidential candidate must show firm resolve in this area; Bush apparently is perceived as doing just that, while Kerry is perceived as unclear.Ridgeway, in writing this, clearly means to paint New Jersey as 9/11-obsessed because, a full quarter of them think about 9/11 every day.
My reaction was the opposite- only a quarter? Is there anyone reading this right now who can honestly tell me that they don’t think about 9/11 every day?
Which closer would you rather have for the next month- Mariano Rivera, Eric Gagne, or John Kerry?
The Washington Times reports that Washington’s gay community is among the numerous groups opposing the new DC baseball stadium. Why? Because the new park would necessitate the shuttering of several gay entertainment establishments, and due to current zoning laws, they could not be relocated to anywhere else in the District.
How about this for a compromise: build the stadium; compensate the owners of the businesses; change the zoning laws to allow the building of a new gayborhood elsewhere in DC; and give the team money to sign Mike Piazza, and/or other players known to be popular in the gay community. Wouldn’t everyone be happy then?
Star Tribune: “Psycho Beauty Dead at 77.”
I've known quite a few "psycho beauties" in my time, but none ever starred in a Hitchcock film.
Thomas Friedman is back from hiatus, and his first column's thesis- "If only the Bush team had gone after the remnants of Saddam's army in the Sunni Triangle with the brutal efficiency it has gone after Senator Kerry in the Iowa-Ohio-Michigan triangle"- is nearly identical to something that ran in The Onion a few weeks ago- "Bush Campaign More Thought Out Than Iraq War." Which isn't to say that they aren't both right.
"That was a yabba-dabba dooba hit!"-A pedestrian on Sixth Ave. today, after seeing one cab rear-end another at the corner of 26th and 6th.
While the Yankees completed their sweep of the Twins to clinch the AL East I, a registered Democrat and registered Twins fan, watched the presidential debate with a group of Yankees-leaning Republicans. But I had a great time with the gang of bloggers and others, so I had no problem putting our baseball and political rooting differences aside for one night.
Karol and Jessica and Ace have roundups of the evening, but essentially we left the first bar (site of a “bipartisan debate party”) because the assembled backers of both candidates couldn’t stop heckling at the TV and each other. The second place was a bit better, although I did have to step between a couple of near-fights. My favorite moment was probably when a girl sauntered up to Jessica, noticed the “W” sticker on her arm, and immediately ran away, giggling like Jimmy Fallon. “I felt like a rare and exotic animal at the zoo,” she writes in her comments.
Also on hand- the Communists For Kerry. As usual, half the people present tried to fight with them, while the other half didn’t get the joke and tried to join them.
At any rate, I watched the full debate once I got home, and I agree with the general consensus that Kerry was as impressive as ever, and certainly was the winner. Yes, it was kind of embarrassing that he called the KGB headquarters “Treblinka,” and that he stated, erroneously, that New York shut down the subways during the RNC. But the senator more than made up for it by exhibiting a forcefulness and confidence that had been missing from his campaign for the past three or four months. And while I’m not one to often harp on Bushisms, the president’s attempt to use the word “vociferously” may have been the campaign’s funniest moment that didn’t involve Howard Dean.
As I said, most pundits- even Fox News and most of the righty blogs- either gave the debate to Kerry or called it a draw. The only one to call Bush the clear winner? You guessed it, Hugh Hewitt- author of a new book which all but calls for one-party rule by the Republicans. It’s hard to imagine what would have to happen in a debate for Hewitt to call it a victory for Kerry- Bush, in the first ten seconds, losing his balance and cracking his head open on the podium?
UPDATE: This is genius:
"There were these two scary men wearing the same suit on almost all the channels of the TV. They were arguing about who was the bravest of them all, and I just couldn't even think about sex. At least, not in any kind of organized way. And if I did think about sex when the two scary men were on, I was very ashamed, especially when I imagined what kinds of breasts the men would have if they were women. (The man on the right: Big, pumped-up artifical breasts hard as bowling balls. The man on the left: Droopy, grey, old-lady breasts with long hairs on the downward-pointed nipples.) I was up all night shivering, I was so afraid."(Via Radosh).
Josh Marshall found a gem this morning: Fox News briefly posted an Onion-like story about a John Kerry appearance this morning, in which Kerry provided some, uh, suspect quotes:
"Didn't my nails and cuticles look great? What a good debate!" Kerry said Friday.What I'm guessing happened here is that an FNC staffer was having some fun writing a fake Kerry story, and mistakenly forgot to change the fake quotes to the real ones before hitting "send," so it ended up on the website for part of the morning. It's embarrassing for them, sure, but come on lefties- please don't turn this into Rathergate, okay?
"It's about the Supreme Court. Women should like me! I do manicures," Kerry said.
"I'm metrosexual — he's a cowboy," the Democratic candidate said of himself and his opponent.
A "metrosexual" is defined as an urbane male with a strong aesthetic sense who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle.
It's sort of like in the '70s when the Boston Globe forgot to change a joke headline for an otherwise pro-Jimmy Carter editorial that went into the paper as "More Mush From the Wimp." Google the phrase today, and you'll find a couple of dozen articles and blog entries, all about Carter, that weren't entered in error at all.
Oh yay, Paris Hilton has another sex tape. If it does anything to hasten her departure from public consciousness, then I'm all for it.
I give the last word on Paris to Bill Simmons:
"It's like the Paris Hilton thing -- she can't act, she can't sing, she's not funny, she's not smart, she's not interesting, she's not even that attractive ... and yet she's an A-list celebrity right now. Some things just can't be explained."