Monday, February 28, 2005
That's good. Me?
Not so good. I just try and try to get to know you silly Americans, but I just can't. I'm not going to get angry, but, c'mon, my friends; Nike has a black golf ball? Man, you must be mad!
How, in all of Mohammed's world, can you play golf with a black ball. America, do you think this is Pee-Wee golf? Aren't golf ball white so you can see them in the long grass? Remember in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11", which was very good. Thank you Michael, I liked what you did with the goat story. Anyway, remember when Georgie was playing golf? We can all agree that he's a few rockets short of weapons of mass destruction, but even Georgie plays with a white golf ball.
Seriously America, do you need to go mad like an Afghani on opium with these balls. It's like marrying a sixth wife. Do you really need another? Who needs to take the time to coordinate their menstrual cycles and the constant yapping "When are you coming home? Osama Jr. needs new shoes? Blah! Really, the time to could be used more wisely. Like planning terrorist attack or making miniature Meccas out of Legos. But I digress. Try this one: It's like buying a pretty colored ball point pen that writes in invisible ink!
America, try worrying about something more important than a golf ball that you'll eventually lose like your fear of me!
Infidels! May bombs bursting in the sky be more than a catchy little ditty.
Sunday, February 27, 2005
State of Fear by Michael Crichton
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.
There's been a ton of political discourse over Michael Crichton's "State of Fear". Much like Ronald Reagan and the Republicans misread Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA and its message, so too have present-day GOPers over this book
Crichton's novel deals with some of the same blend of campy, informative and frenetic action that fans of his books expect. I am a fan of many of his books and probably have read more of his books than any other author. It's not as good as, say, "Jurassic Park" or even "Airframe" but it should keep Crichton fans well nourished.
A group of environmental terrorist are seeking to manipulate the weather and natural disasters to further prove their theories of global warming and rising ocean levels. Typical of Crichton's other works, an ensemble of one-dimensional characters including a know-it-all scientist, a rich philanthropist, two hot chicks and an everyman lawyer seek to thwart the "terrorists".
The Republican Party, which have longed to debunk the theories of global warming, have applauded this book as proof. "State of Fear", on the surface, fiercely defends this point of view, even using numerous graphs throughout the book, but the message is actually quite different.
As the title suggests the main theme of this book is the manipulation of fear in American society to achieve and maintain political power. Michael Moore. in fact, postulated the same idea in "Fahrenheit 9/11". As a professor in the book says:
"To the requirement of every sovereign state to exert control over the behavior of its citizens, to keep them orderly and reasonably docile...and of course we know that social control is best managed through fear."
In fact, "State of Fear" is less about the agenda Republicans seek than the one they already perpretrate on society. It's about spooking the country over gay marriage or spefically, the coordinated effort just in the past few days over the overuse of salt in American diets. Lawyers, media outlets and activists all in promoting the fear of something or someone in unison.
When I read a novel I usually can't help trying to cast the characters in the book. By the way, expect to see this book in the theaters in the coming years. It almost read like a movie treatment.
John Kenner: Beefed-up Jeff Goldblum
Peter Evans: Josh Lucas
George Morton: un-dead Jerry Orbach
Ted Bradley: Christopher Plummer
Sarah: younger Nicolette Sheridan
Jennifer: Hilary Swank
Thursday, February 24, 2005
If Pope John Paul passes away this weekend, will ABC cancel Monday's season finale of "The Bachelorette"? During the pontiff's last trip to the hospital, about three weeks ago, the LFR wondered if his passing during Super Bowl week would lead to postponement of the game.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
"You guys are like re-running stories," Bonds said to the huge group of reporters in attendance. "This is old stuff. It's like watching 'Sanford and Son.' ... It's almost comical, basically."
Medically speaking, other acne, mood changes and issues of a "short" stick, one of the telltale signs of steroids use is a heart attack.
Red Foxx's character, Fred G. Sanford (the "G" stands for "Great), exhibited both extreme mood changes ("Lamont, you big dummy" and "Lamont, how would like five across yo' lip?") and a chronically weak heart ("This is the Big One! I'm coming to join you, Elizabeth!").
Sanford's friends, Grady, Skillet and Bubba had no comment on Bonds' allegations.
Monday, February 21, 2005
I'm excited because we get to play on the field with a fence and infield grass. I can make believe that I'm a real ballplayer. I asked my Mom to buy me some Big League Chew bubble gum so I could stuff a big wad of it in my cheek and spit just like some of the A's players do. Rickey Henderson is my favorite player. I wanted to wear his number 35, but our numbers only go up to 12.
At the field, my coach, Mr. O'Sullivan--I don't like him because he yells too much--put me in left field. During infield practice, Mr. O'Sullivan yelled at me because I didn't throw the ball to the cutoff man. He kept hitting me flyballs and kept yelling.
"Let's go, Tavares! Pick up your feet!"
One ball flew over my head. I picked it up and threw it as hard as I could, but the ball flew over the second baseman's head. All of sudden I didn't feel like playing today. I wanted to cry instead.
"Ahh!!! Tavares! Get in the dugout!"
As I was running past Mr. O'Sullivan, he laughed at me and put in his stepson Casey. Now I'm wasreally mad because Casey is the worst player on the team. He doesn't even know the rules of baseball! Mr. O'Sullivan walked into the dugout and didn't say anything to me. He was yelling at Casey's Mom about something through the fence so I didn't want to bother him.
The White Sox were on the field and they fielded the ball and threw it so perfectly that it made me nervous. They were only out there for less than five minutes before they ran off the field. Their coach was giving them high-fives and laughing with them. I wish I had a coach like that.
My Aunt and Uncle from San Jose were coming to the game, but they hadn't arrived yet. They're always late. My Dad calls my Aunt "The Queen" because she always does was she wants. By the fourth inning, they weren't at the game yet which was alright because I was still sitting on the bench. Our assistant coach, Harold, told me to warm up because I was going into rightfield the next inning. I picked up my mitt and started playing catch with Harold. I felt better with Harold because he didn't yell. He always called me Rickey Henderson because I could steal bases.
The bottom of the fourth came and I ran out to rightfield. It was cool because their was a fence around the outfield. I ran towards the fence and acted like I was making spectacular catches over the fence.
"Tavares! Get your head in the game!" yelled Mr. O'Sullivan.
We were winning 8-4, because the big Swedish kid kept walking everyone. Slowly the White Sox starting scoring runs and Mr. O'Sullivan kept yelling. I was getting bored because nobody was hitting the ball to me.
In the top of seventh, my Aunt and Uncle finally showed up. They sat in the bleachers with my Mom and Dad as I came to bat. The score was 8-7, now. I was scared because the Swedish boy threw much harder than anybody else in our league. My last time up was alright because he threw four balls and I walked. This time was tougher.
The first pitch came in for a strike. The second I was able to hit but it went foul. Mr. Sullivan kept yelling from the third base coaching box.
"Tavares! Stay alive! Keep your eye on the ball!"
The next pitch came in faster than the others. It was coming close to me. I tried to move out of the way, but the pitch hit me in the leg. It really hurt. I mean a lot. Mr. O'Sullivan and Harold ran towards the batter box and asked me if I was okay. I said yes but I lied. I ran to first base and tried not to rub my leg because big leaguers never rub their injuries. We didn't score anymore runs and were still winning 8-7 going into the last inning.
We were all excited because we were about to beat the best team in the league. We just needed three more outs. I ran to my position in right and checked my leg. It still hurt. There was a big red spot and the stitches of the ball were imprinted on my skin.
The White Sox loaded the bases and scored the tying run. The next batter hit a groundball to our third baseman and he let it through his legs. The White Sox scored the winning run and we lost.
Mr. O'Sullivan yelled at him really loudly. All of us were sad. Mr. O'Sullivan kicked the garbage can in our dugout and yelled at us to pick up the equipment. I was trying to put on the catcher's mask in the bag when Mr. O'Sullivan grabbed it from me.
"Tavares! You're doing it wrong! Give that to me!"
I picked up my hat and mitt and walked out the dugout towards my parents. My Mom said, "What happened?" I started crying.
"What's wrong? Why are you crying?"
"Because I hurt my leg."
One of Michael Jackson's greatest fans, Anna Weeteh, also known as Anna Banana, vehemently supports the King of Pop. Here's some of her grand jury testimony in the Jackson molestation trial:
Question by lawyer: Hello, Ms. Amarante.
Answer by Anna: HEELLLLOOOOO!!!
Q: Can you spell your name for the court reporter?
A: A-N-N-A, Anna
Q: And your last name?
A: A-M-A-R-A-N-T-E, Weeteh.
Q: Thank you.
A: Know what happened?
Q: Excuse me?
A: My Daddy 'tupid. Anna no going to my Daddy's house. My Daddy bull.
Q: Ms. Amarante, can we get back to the questioning.
Q: Did Mr. Jackson ever give you wine in a Diet Coke can?
A: NO!! Mommy say no! Yucky Coke.
Q: What did you drink, then?
Q Pesi? Oh, you mean Pepsi.
Q: What is your favorite Michael Jackson song?
A: Beat It!
Q: What other artists do you like?
A: 'donna, Purple Rain, Koma Karmia, 'N Sync.
Q: You mean Madonna, Prince, the Culture Club song, Karma Kameleon and 'N Sync.
Q: Could the court reporter please note that Anna answered the last question by doing the breakdancing "wave" motion.
Q: Anna, did Mr. Jackson ever touch you?
A: Yessy Yes. Boy, toucha my cu!
Q: Cu? What's a cu? Can the court reporter please note that Anna is now in addition to doing the wave, now doing a variation of the Charleston and sticking her tongue out.
Q: What is a cu?
A: My Butt!!
Q: Is it true that you are known for being a human road map. That you can tell people exactly which direction to get to certain places, yet you could not give the directions to Neverland Ranch?
A: Want a sandwichzinha?
Q: Huh? Please note that Anna has now raised her fists to me.
A: Eddie call me. Say love me. My brother mau-mau.
Q: Your honor, I would like to dismiss this witness before things get out of hand.
A: Love you!!
Saturday, February 19, 2005
It can safely be said that either Major League Baseball or a surrogate "alerted" The Sun of Canseco's debt to the Bay State. A small, inconsequential paper like The Sun could be easily duped into printing such a story. I've been to Lowell. I bought nine pounds of linguica there last December. There's nothing there!
This is a very typical media trick purportrated by organizations to deflate the momentum of a product, star or pop culture sensation. When attacked, first smear your opponent.
Michael Jackson was accused of child molestation. In short time there were stories insinuating bad parenting on the part of the accused mother.
The former terrorism czar under President Bush, Richard C. Clarke, accused the administration of botching the war in Iraq. Quickly, there were stories all over the news that place Clarke somewhere between a crackpot and a grumpy old man. This is standard procedure.
There is a perception that Canseco is promoting his book solely for the money, which may be true but also does not eliminate the fact that his accusations may be true. This story surely adds weight to those claims, but does not allow any rational person to deny his allegations when coupled with our suspicions and grand jury testimony in this scandal.
Major League Baseball is going to have to come up with a far more effective smokescreen than this to make us forget that a known steroid cheat like Barry Bonds is about to shatter one of the games most hallowed records.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
During his teenage years before he emigrated to the United States, my father served on whaling expeditions that would usually yield a couple gray whales a week. Growing up in poverty, the seas were the only place that could feed a family of nine. My grandfather surveyed the seas for signs of whales in a lighthouse on a hill. My father claimed that my grandfather really didn't do anything but use the binoculars to peep on women working in the fields below.
Hunting for whales might seem like an exotic adventure filled with danger, but it really wasn't. Only once in those four years did any problems arise and that was the story that piqued the interests of my friends:
One summer morning, my grandfather spotted the ocean spray of some gray whales in the distance and loudly rang the huge copper bell in the lighthouse. A motley crew of skinny young boys quickly assembled, running for their small, ramshackle houses near the docks. The long, thin boats were manned by nine men. On the high seas I always romanticized the idea that my Dad was the guy who stood over the whale menacingly holding the long, sharp harpoon and violently pierceing it into the whale's blubber and forcing the huge leviathan to moan in pain.
My Dad had the mundane job of holding the rope that was fastened to the harpoon. His duty was to make certain that the rope was wet or it would burn when the whale tried to flee.
On this day, the captain of the boat made of huge mistake. He wasn't well thought of by the crew because of his lack of attention to detail and a quick temper. The common procedure was for the whaling boat to pull up near the front of the whale. This was done because the pain of the harpoon would provoke a sharp reaction from the tail of the whale.
The whale was making it difficult for them to reach their desired target, so the captain instructed the harpoon man to stab the whale near the tail. He followed his commands and stuck the whale. The whale's montrous tail rose from the water and swatted the wooden boat into pieces. The whole crew was in the water for the next hour while another boat came to the rescue. They all knew what was going to happen next. The whale was bleeding and the blood naturally attracted sharks in the area.
One of the older crewmember named Manuel, first saw the ominous shark fins circling in the distance. Manuel was one of the few crewmembers who had a wife and family. He began sobbing, crying out their names.
"Maria! Jose!, Rui! Manuela!"
In the end, the sharks never came close to the wreckage and Manuel was reunited with his beloved family and my Dad was stocked with a whale of a story.
My Dad has always maintained a reverence for the majestic beasts that he once hunted. My Dad battled and slayed the monsters of the sea. What did yours do?
UCLA--University of Chabot, Lower Alameda; Hesperian High; Cha-Blew-it; C.I.T.--Chabot Institute of the Thoughtless and Cal State-My Parents Are Forcing Me To Be Here.
1 We're Not Gonna Take It-Twisted Sister
2 You Shook Me All Night Long-AC/DC
3 Highway to Hell-AC/DC
4 Hard to Handle-Black Crows
5 She Talks to Angels-Black Crows
6 Let Love Rule-Lenny Kravitz
7 Code of Silence-Bruce Springsteen
8 None but the Brave-Bruce Springsteen
9 Lift Me Up-Bruce Springsteen
10 Watching the Wheels-John Lennon
11 Give a Little Bit-Goo Goo Dolls
12 Float On-Modest Mouse
13 1985-Bowling for Soup
14 Have You Ever Loved a Woman-Bryan Adams
15 Let's Get Together-Al Green
16 Sittin' On (The Dock of the Bay)-Otis Redding
Monday, February 14, 2005
Jose Canseco has publicly accused his former Bash Brother, Mark McGwire of steroid use during an era where the A’s won three consecutive American League pennants and one World Series championship. These accomplishments are bogus.
The two most feared hitters in baseball at the time, arguably, did more to intimidate and win games than any other part of those teams. Might this have been a reason why so many other teams hated the A’s. What observers thought was jealous at their winning ways may have actually been contempt for their cheating ways.
The most interesting part of this burgeoning scandal is how high it will reach into the hierarchy of baseball. Canseco and McGwire were subordinates to manager, Tony LaRussa and general manager, Sandy Alderson.
LaRussa went on to manage the St. Louis Cardinals and has continued to add more to his resume that universally hails him as one of the most innovative and highly credible figures in baseball.
Alderson left the A’s to work as a vice president in the commissioners’ office.
LaRussa and Alderson lead us to believe they knew nothing of Canseco and McGwire’s cheating. LaRussa is quoted as saying that there were a few players on those A’s teams that he knew were using steroids. Is it fair to question LaRussa’s credibility in defending McGwire? Who were these players then? Dave Henderson? Felix Jose? Dave Parker? Parker was also involved in baseball’s others scandal, the cocaine problems of the early 80s.
In Alderson, we have a specific officer in baseball’s front office that is truly complicit in the steroid boom of the 1990s. Looking back now, what was Alderson’s real reason in the dubious trade of Canseco in 1992? It was very odd that a team that was leading their division and poised for the playoffs proceeded to trade one of their best players, thereby completely changing the makeup of a successful team with a month to go in the season. Did Alderson know something about Canseco then or did he think an equally volatile Ruben Sierra and two serviceable pitchers (Bobby Witt and Jeff Parrett) would put the A’s over the top?
Whether you watched the 1989 A’s with passing interest or popped champagne in celebration, other aspects of those teams need to be viewed differently, now.
The A’s pitching in those days were a haven for rejuvenating flagging careers or ones that never succeeded. Most notably it was because of one pitch--the split-finger fastball. Roger Craig, the future manager of the San Francisco Giants brought the pitch with him to the Giants from Detroit in 1986. The pitch that looked like a fastball but suddenly dipped just as it reached the plate revolutionized the game. After a few years, a backlash against the pitch grew. Some opposing players and managers openly speculated whether there was more to the pitch than splitting two fingers far apart. Successful split-finger pitchers like Jack Morris, Rick Reuschel, Don Robinson, Mike Scott and Dave Stewart were routinely accused of illegally scuffing the baseball for more movement.
Is it plausible to wonder whether the A’s pitchers were also cheating? Pitchers like Stewart, Gene Nelson, Rick Honeycutt, Mike Moore, Storm Davis, Scott Sanderson and Hall of Famer, Dennis Eckersley all came to the A’s during this period with careers like that never quite took off or were in serious decline. Did this controversial pitch constitute cheating or a very novel and fair approach by a good pitching coach and manager?
LaRussa, himself, posed the question yesterday when he wondered whether Canseco’s allegations would taint the exploits of those teams. Maybe the one with the most to lose in all of this is people like LaRussa. In the coming weeks and months, will we begin to shift the prevailing wisdom of LaRussa from the law-educated revolutionary manager to the meandering enabler who allowed winning come before unethical behavior under his watch.
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Since bits of Jose Canseco's book implicating some current Major Leaguers of steroids use were reported by the New York Daily News, MLB apologists have repeatedly popped up.
Apologists like Tony LaRussa, Walt Weiss and, of course, Bud Selig have a had one common refrain: attack the truth and credibility of Canseco. He feels he's been blackballed by baseball therefore he has an ax to grind. He needs to money. He's jealous of Mark McGwire's success. Or as Jason Giambi said yesterday, "He's delusional".
In fact, Giambi was certifiably delusional at a press conference yesterday where he apologized five times but never answered what he was actually apologizing for.
All these statements about Canseco have a grain of plausibility, but the facts have clearly been laid out. Major Leaguers have been using steroids and grand jury testimony shows that the biggest stars in the game have admitted to them. Barry Bonds, Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Canseco and the recently deceased 1996 National League MVP, Ken Caminiti are guilty.
When is Major League Baseball, which is also complicit in this epidemic, going to come clean. The damage has been done to the game and its hallowed records, but cannot be quantified in the physical damage done to the athlete's bodies.
Some believe Giambi's pituitary gland cancer was accelerated by steroid use. Caminiti is dead. Who can guess which Major Leaguers will slowly waste away from steroid use in the same manner as the former Raider, Lyle Alzado.
Sadly, in addition to wondering who will win the World Series, this spring will bring with it whispers of who looks skinnier and who looks less bulky. Let's cut with hiding what everybody already knows: after all these years, the baseballs weren't juiced, the players were.
Friday, February 11, 2005
Be there with your walking shoes for Suzao! Entry fee is $20 before May 10th and $25 after.
Visti www.balf.org for more information.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Said Palmeiro: "I categorically deny any suggestions that I have ever used a performance-enhancing drugs other than weiner pills."
(Any suggestion in the accompanied photo that Palmeiro is applying some his weiner enhancing techniques on Canseco is purely speculative)
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Many forget that this run by the Pats began inauspicously. It's rarely mentioned anymore that New England's victory over the Rams in 2001 was one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history. The Pats were 14 points underdogs to the high-flying Rams.
Last year, the Pats again squeeked by the Panthers on kicker, Adam Vinatieri's second game-winning field goal. Believe it, these Patriots are one of the finest teams ever assembled in NFL history and for this reason they will rout the Philadelphia Eagles in Jacksonville to make history sure of their dominance.
It's hard to prognosticate Super Bowl's because they are so superficially hyped and account for so much more emotion than any other games. It is wholly believable that the Eagles have fallen victim to the adage of "just happy to be there". They seemed way to ecstatic to have the NFC Championship monkey off their back. New England, on the other hand, showed their remarkable poise that is very reminiscent of the BIll Walsh-Joe Montana Super Bowl years in San Francisco.
It is foolish to debate the similarities of Tom Brady to Joe Montana but the similarities in sheer confidence and dominance of these Patriots' teams under Bill Belichick and Walsh's 49er teams are eery.
In general, both teams rarely made mistakes, at least, costly ones. Both jump on their opponents neck and never relent, Both have quiet, universally lauded head coaches who seemingly adapt to any situation. And both teams make forming predictions very simple.
It will go down like this on Sunday. Much like New England's playoff victories over the Colts and Steelers, it will be the underrated and injured secondary of the Pats that will be the catalyst to victory.
Corey Dillon may loom large in New Engand's offensive approach. He just may be Tom Brady's biggest obstacle to three Super Bowl MVPs.
After a very competitive three quarters, the Patroits will pull away and win their third Super Bowl trophy, 38-24.
Friday, February 04, 2005
"Paul McCartney, in a peach-colored sweater and faded jeans, sat in a ballroom full of cameras and reporters Thursday, playing a new role 41 years after the Beatles stormed America: the restorer of Super Bowl decency and family values. So many years ago, the moptops from Liverpool were viewed as sinful corrupters of our youth."
Perception is a funny thing, isn't it?
Those same rabble-rousing English boys are now regarding as some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century. Makes you wonder how this generation's crop of bad boy recording artists' will be view in the same way. The early 80s rap trio of Run DMC is already lauded as godfathers of rap albeit with broad strokes.
Going back to the 1920s, Jazz was relegated to closed doors and alley ways. The name "jazz" even had a profanely sexual connatation. What is Jazz today other than a dying artform? Along with the Declaration of Independence, baseball and apple pie; a uniquely American creation.
Can you imagine the day when old men routinely chat about the those "old" rappers. C'mon on Billy, turn that music off and listen to some Snoop Dogg? Naw, Grandpa, that's old people's music.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
It would be hard to imagine the NFL commissioner, Paul Tagliabue staging the Super Bowl a week later even if the attention of the world is on Rome rather than Jacksonville. There are precendents for this sort of crossover of news and sports.
In 1963, the late commish of the NFL, Pete Rozelle, famously went forward with the week's games after the death of President John F. Kennedy. Conversely, Major League Baseball and the NFL both cancelled games after 9/11.