Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Donovan To L.A.=To A-Rod In Boston

The acquisition of Landon Donovan by the Los Angeles Galaxy brings to mind an interesting question. When was the last time a superstar while in his prime was acquired by his bitter rival?

I truly can't remember one in any sport. Roger Clemens signing with the New York Yankees comes to mind, but he was already 38 years old and most in the Red Sox Nation already despised him way before landing in the Bronx. Jason Giambi signing with the Yankees comes close but a bit one-sided. I don't think the Yankees believe the A's exist other than to feed them their stars

This is the equivalent of Alex Rodriguez being traded to the Red Sox or Larry Bird being traded to the Lakers.

While in San Jose, Landon periodically tormented their Southland neighbors. Nothing rankles Galaxy supporters more than the most famous California Derby in the 2003 playoffs, known as "The Game" when Landon and the Earthquakes rallied from a 4-0 aggregate deficit with 77 minutes remaining to net five goals to beat L.A. The sting of this loss even dwarfs losing to the MLS Cup to the Quakes in 2000.

Galaxy fans hate this guy. Here's a sampling BigSoccer.com's bulletin boards:

'galaxycrazy' says, "I am more upset about Landon coming here than Fishy [Carlos Ruiz] leaving, since his leaving has always been a possibility. I've grown to hate Landon unless he's wearing a USMNT jersey, and I think the feeling is mutual with most Galaxy fans."

'cosmojado' says, "Well I'm going to need some strong kool-aid for that much stronger than what most of you have been drinking."

'Femfa' was a little more abusive, "I mean, Landon wants to play in Los Angeles. The scum. How dare he? Let's post old pics of him and titter about how gay he looks.

Whither Landon?

Whither Landon?
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.
So America's Golden Boy is coming back to the states. Landon Donovan, the former San Jose Earthquakes #10 is ending his four month odyssey in Germany's Bundesliga and returning to Major League Soccer with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Presumably, the greatest soccer player ever produced by this country is a quitter. After accomplishing everything domestic soccer in this country has to offer--two MLS Championships in San Jose and a sparkling run at the 2002 World Cup--he has reportedly cut short his career in Europe with the German club, Bayer Leverkusen.

This amounts to a talented Triple-A ballplayer foregoing a chance at the Majors so he can continue "tearing up" the Minors.

His Euopean vacation amounted to a mere nine matches. Two of which he started and was so ineffective that the manager substituted him shortly after halftime. Donovan's lack of playing time obviously bothered him, but why would he expect to be handed a spot on the starting XI without earning it?

The final straw aparently was Bayer Leverkusen's Champions League match versus Liverpool where, in the squad's most important match, the coach found him wandering around the field and had some observers believing he was hiding from the ball. The subsequent criticism from the German press was reportedly so hot that the thin-skinned midfielder began talk of returning to MLS.

Donovan has proven that he cannot be counted upon to bring America to next level as a soccer superpower. His antics are so juvenile that they beg to answer the question as to whether soccer's upper class demographic in this country is the real problem.

Donovan was raised in Redlands, CA near Santa Monica, an upper-class seaside community where soccer clubs are the norm and "Soccer Mom's" are a dime a dozen. He grew up in a middle to upper class, suburban lifestyle. He was a soccer prodigy from a young age; actually signing his contract with Bayer Leverkusen while still a junior in high school.

Donovan's problem is that he has never been in a situation where he didn't begin at the top. Nowhere in his life history did he have adversity. How can the American soccer public count on such a player to dare dream of hoisting the World Cup trophy. Especially when throughout the world, soccer is played primarily by the poor. The country that has won five World Cups has always had the makeup of poor, downtrodden kids who have raised their lot in life by toiling on dusty, sunbaked soccer fields and kicking old, patched up balls into torn nets.

Donovan is the rich kid who can't adjust to adversity. Is this the best we have to offer?

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Constitution Is Just A Piece Of Paper, I Guess

Fla. Governor Threatens The Republic

Is it possible that Jeb Bush, Florida's Governor and first bro to the President is about to intervened into the Terri Schiavo crusade.

Jeb Bush is reportedly under extreme pressure to use his "powers" as governor to force the reinsertion of Shiavo's feeding tube. To some small segment of America this might seem heroic, especially to the American Taliban faction of the Christian Coalition.

One anti-abortion group is actually using the Easter week imagery of Pontius Pilate in regards to Jeb's role in allowing Terri Schiavo to die according to Salon.com's War Room:
Crossroads for Life beseeched Bush not to "repeat Pontius Pilate's mistake this Good Friday." Drawing parallels to the death of the Christ -- Jesus' mother was named Mary, and so is Terri Schiavo's! -- the group said that Bush, like Pontius Pilate, must now ask himself whether he should stake his political career on the life of a single person.

Luckily, Jeb Bush is the smarter, more thoughtful of the Bush boys, so we can somewhat hope he'll do the right thing. The right thing would be to uphold the court's opinions--the 19 separate courts--a majority of which are presided over by Republican-appointed jurist.

The picture of Jeb Bush sending law enforcement into Schiavo's hospice room should be extremely disturbing to all Americans and a foreshadowing of a nation under dictatorship. No small words, but completely true.

It is under a dictatorship where the government repeatedly contradicts the majority opinions of its people. A dictatorship has no regard for the law of the land and uses force to apply its unwelcomed agenda.

The courts of this land and over 200 years of constitutional tradition and law are being trampled over by the party that supposedly cherishes freedom and justice...just not in America.

This is not just a group of opportunistic Republican politicians either throwing up a smokescreen or rewarding a successful interest group--Christian activists, but a party that is furthering its radical brand of Neo-Conservatism.

They loathe having women in control of their reproductive organs. They find it acceptable to hold captives in far-off lands for years without ever charging them with a crime nor allowing consultation with a lawyer. And now, they seek to decide whether your suffering loved one can or cannot die.

Today, we must be very worried about our once-cherished civil liberties. In just four years they have been repeatedly taken from under us and no end seems in sight.

If I Ever Look Like This; Pull The Plug

Also known as my Pope John Paul II impression. I regularly contort my face when someone asks, "How's the Pope doing?" Fine, if you call this good.

America Speaks Through Personal Empathy

Many times on this blog, I have illustrated how the media, controlled by the Republican establishment not the so-called "liberal" one, will retaliate by way of the "smear". MSNBC.com posted a story about Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael, complete with numerous innuendo and quotes from people who say he was a shelfish philanderers bent on getting rid of his handicapped wife.

The evil picture of Michael Schiavo the cad, abusive husband was also run on Fox News and CNN, of course, in the name of a balanced story. Is it not despicable to pile on a man whose wife is near death, but can you have a good story without creating a villian whether it's fair or not?

I have a low opinion of the intellect of the American people, but I don't think they're being duped by this charade. Polls indicate that they side with Schiavo's wishes, for one, on legal grounds that he should have the right to pull the feeding tube from his wife, but more importantly, based on personal empathy.

I think most everyone naturally applies their personal wishes upon this issue regarding themselves or close loved ones. I keep hearing people say, "I don't want to be a vegetable" and neither would I.

The notion that people do not want to be limited in their ability to live or be an imposition on others is powerful. We've all had loved ones who have suffered through illness and this is why we're all so riveted by the basic premise of a woman in Florida being allowed to die.

I personally feel great sadness towards Terri Schiavo's family. From afar, we can easily make the call to let go devoid of any contact or memories with Mary, and feel it's for the best. I know it's hard to let go, but I also know that the healing from this will take a long time to set in and may be worse because it's been pushed back fifteen years.

Why couldn't Michael Schiavo and Terri's parents just sit and contemplate the moment without having to coldly stand in front of TV cameras and screaming journalists. Why can't they just sit around Terri's hospital bed and relive their memories of her or just simply cry and cry. In some ways, Terri's impending passing should fall secondary to their state of mind. She will be in a better place while the survivors must deal with the loss and oddly a nation of voyeurs and opportunistic, sociopathic Republican politicians.

This is reality televison run amok.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Olbermann Tries To Steal My Thunder; But Makes Good Point

Keith Olbermann, the MSNBC host of "Countdown" and former ESPN anchor had a interesting insight in his MSNBC.com blog, Bloggermann.

Forget the fact that the posting, "Bonds retiring? I Told ya so" tries to steal my thunder by taking credit for adept forecasting. On February 8, 2005, nearly two months after my own epiphany on Bonds he said:

"That's if he ever comes back for that operation that he just had. What happens if that's a career ending surgery and they 'butcher' something? That would be quite a story, too."

Aside from the LFR's back-slapping, Olbermann raises a new angle to Bonds' bombshell today. According to Olbermann, baseball's new steroid-testing policy does not test players on the disabled list as Bonds will surely be placed to begin the season.

"...a guy rehabilitating a knee injury is not required to be tested for the drug use. If, say, a particular player had been using steroids all these years and needed to let the steroids clear out of his system, the absolute best place for him to be right now would be on a pair of crutches."

This may sound conspiratorial, but remember, of the two sluggers involved in the Balco investigation; Bonds' story has been the one most concocted in slithery legalese by his lawyer, Michael Rains. Conversely, Jason Giambi has focused more on rebuilding his public image with chipper interviews and autographing everything in sight.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Bonds Is Off The 'Juice'

Let the Eagle Soar!
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.
I'm really getting tired of Barry Bonds and his antics. I'm especially tired of hating him so much.
Now, he's indicating that his baseball career may be over. The Associated Press reported that he used the word "tired" 14 times within 10 minutes. Does this sound familiar? Here's an excerpt from the December 2, 2004 Lunatic Fringe Report:
Could we imagine a scenario in the coming weeks where Bonds hangs up his cleats and settles for third on the all-time homers list? There are many convenient excuses that one could conjure. He's burned out. He's old (he has already begun to use this line last season), maybe the fun isn't in the game since his father died last year or the old 'I want to spend more time with family' schtick.
Since this is a blog, let's look at the real facts, so I don't insult your intelligence like your newspaper and television does. As a friend of mine, who is active in the local track scene says, there are certain obvious markers to steroid users. One, they seem to die early. Two, they start getting injured more often, especially after the quitting the "juice". Third, their large belly seems to defy the logic of a healthy workout regimen.

Point blank, what we are seeing with Barry Bonds is actually a success for baseball's steroid policy. In addition, the saturated media attention and peer pressure of an entire baseball-loving population is forcing athletes to play clean. Bonds is off the "juice" and we're being to see its effects.

In the past four months or since the steroid story became white-hot, Bonds has underwent three knee surgeries and constantly complains of being tired, whether it's physically or euphemistically. It leads to one conclusion: Bonds is a 40-year-old athlete whose body is naturally telling him his exact age.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Fall of Big Mac

Mark McGwire's testimony to the House subcommitee was as bone-jarring as any his mammoth blasts.

In 1987, I sat in the bleachers (they were really bleachers back then) with Bobby when McGwire hit is 39th homer of that season. The homer that landed near us set a Major League record for a rookie. I've been there since the beginning. The year before, I sat in the upper deck with my Uncle Richard and watched this tall, gangly redhead try to play thirdbase. Woa, we better find this guy another position! The A's left spring training in 1987 with a hot-shot firstbasemen that was touted as a possible Rookie of the Year. Do you remember his name? (Read below for the answer)

In 1988, Bobby and I again revelled in one of McGwire's homers. During the World Series, McGwire's game-winning homer in the 10th inning set us into a frenzy. In the celebration, we even pointed towards announcer Joe Garagiola, who was doing play-by-play for NBC Sports and he pointed back!

I've been there for all it. I knew he couldn't hit Randy Johnson at all. I knew that a trip to Tiger Stadium in Detroit meant about five homers in a three-game series. I was even there when they traded him. I was even there when he seemed to forget that we loved him. I was there when he discarded us for his new family, the Cardinals fans. I remember exactly where I was when he hit that generation-shattering 62nd homerun. And now I there when the whole world saw the real face of Mark McGwire.

The man who was once larger than life in fame and physical stature was made a snivelling, whiny, little man by smarty pant, nerdly Congressman in suits. The Revenge of the Nerds, I guess?

McGwire's statements or lack thereof, would not have seemed so glaring if wasn't the only one saying them. Unforturnately, for McGwire, he was the only ballplayers not to deny using steroids. Palmeiro forcefully denied using them even going so far to punctuate his words with a rigid pointed finger. Sosa denied it. Thomas denied it. McGwire though was different. For Godssakes, he was choking up just reading his prepared statements!

Instead, McGwire glaringly answered a litany of pertinent questions by invoking the Fifth Amendment. Other time he attempted to shield himself by using his retirement from the game as some sort of excuse or by using the ubiquitous, "Let's move on" or "Let's be positive".

Quite ironically, Mark McGwire has been involved in baseball's greatest and worst single moments in the last 30 years. Judging by today's testimony, the worst is still to come.

(Trivia question: Rob Nelson. This lefthanded firstbaseman was an opening night starter. Along with Kevin Seitzer of Kansas City, Matt Nokes of Detroit and Mike Greenwell of Boston, Nelson was viewed as a hot prospect. He hit .167 in April and the A's sent him to AAA-Tacoma. He hit .178 in five years with the A's and San Diego Padres.)

March Madness Picks

I've got three midterms tomorrow, but I've still got time for March Madness, baby! Here are my Final Four picks and tournament upsets:

Chicago bracket: #1 Illinois
Albuquerque: #4 Louisville
Syracuse: #1 North Carolina
Austin: #3 Syracuse

*15 of the last 16 Final Four teams have been seeded #4 or greater.

National Championship: Syracuse over Illinois 62-60.

Upsets: #10 Creighton over #7 West Virginia, #10 Old Dominion over #7 Michigan State, #11 UTEP over #6 Utah. I have UTEP advancing to the Sweet 16.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Satellite TV Revolution

One of the most unlikely and ironic unintended consequences of President Bush's forays into the Middle East is the recent developments of democratic revolution.

I say "unintended" because it would be foolish to present the slow-simmering uprisings in Lebanon and the about-faces in governance by Egypt and Saudi Arabia as anywhere near the top ten in Bush's everchanging reasons for invading Iraq. Whether the reason was capturing Osama bin Laden, weapons of mass destruction, oil, Saddam Hussein, or democracy--he finally found a reason that panned out.

Nevertheless, whether the nearly one million anti-Syria protesters in Beirut are a direct result of the pressure the administration has exerted in the region for the last three years were merely a coincidence or "perfect storm" of factors, the facts are that they are occurring under President Bush and its his accomplishment to reap. President Reagan did the same thing by telling Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" referring to the Berlin Wall. In actuality, the Soviet model had been disinegrating for decades. Reagan was lucky to be there at its conclusion and subsequently kicked the last slab of concrete and won, for now, historical praise.

Other than the self-proclaimed genius that is Bush geo-politics, what could be the factors that's leading to this groundswell of burgeoning democracy? Satellite television.

For Americans, the beauty of satellite television is 500 channels (and nothing on...), on-demand programming and dirty movies. To the rest of the world, especially the oppressed world, satellite television means unfettered access to an unvarnished and thoroughly opposite view of the news. It's the prime reason that Saddam Hussein and ayatollahs in Iran banned satellite dishes. They are what the printing press was to the enlightenment. A method by which people under dictatorships like Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and formerly Iraq can learn not only what going on in the world but more importantly, how the world views them. Not only is the news effective, but also in the traditional method of promoting western ideas and attire throught sitcoms and movies.

In Iran, which without any western intervention is about to withdraw from its religious underpinnings, has nearly half its population under 14 years of age. In addition, the state has foundered when it comes to finding work for this large underaged class. Unemployment is floating around 20 percent. What you have in Iran is a huge, impressionable demographic already drawn towards western taste and with plenty of time to watch TV. A recipe for change? Sounds better than looking for rockets under stones in the desert, to me.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The Argument For A High-Calorie Diet

Oldest Person in the World
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.

Brazilian born Maria Olivia da Silva's birth certificate reads: February 28, 1880.

If this is what 125 years looks like then grab me twelve Big Macs and a 32-ounce cup of lard with lemon. Goddamnit!

Family and friends says she still lucid and rational. Who wants to talk to a 125 years old person? What would we talk about? President Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations or that new cartoon character, Betty Boop?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Reasons Osama Hates America #2

I pity you Americans. I spit on you. Pa-tuwee!

Why do you American filth thik you're so funny--so clever? If I say, "Surely, you don't think goat cheese goes well with peanut butter," why do you feel it appropriate to say, "First off, don't call me Shirley." This is not funny, American pigs.

I have remorse for many of you who spend their entire life waiting for the one moment when can you reply to this question. The other day, I was at the library here in Tora Bora. This guy says, "Whoa chief, do you have your badge?" This stinking guy says, "Badges? I don't need no stinking badges!" My mouth was, as you say, agape.

What is the meaning of this anyway? Do you think you are all comic geniuses like Rich Little or even Howie Mandel? That guy kills me. I asked all infidel Americans: How could you allow Paramount to cancel his daytime talk show. You know who I blame? That Don Rickles. He thinks he's so funny, but nothing he says is funny at all. Why does he call people hockey puck? What is hockey, anyway?...But I digress.

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times; May bombs bursting in the sky be more than a catchy little ditty!

Love, OBL