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Monday, May 31, 2004

West Wing Marathon 

Bravo is running a Memorial Day West Wing marathon today, counting down the top 10 viewer-selected episodes from the first four seasons. My personal top 10 (I'm a huge fan) differs from the ones aired, so I thought I'd list them here.

1. 17 People (S2): Toby steals the show and cements himself as the "voice of reason" in the Bartlett Administration. Even though this ep is a downer, I never tire of watching it.

2. Bartlett for America (S3): Christmas eps are always good ones, and this is the creme de le creme. Leo is in trouble and Josh tries to pull out all the stops to rescue him.

3. In Excelsis Deo (S1): The first Christmas Ep. Toby is again the focal point, and that's usually a good thing. The ending was the first of many outstanding montages in the series' history.

4. Let Bartlett Be Bartlett (S1): The gang serves at the pleasure of the president. Leo puts Bartlett in his place. West Wing idealism burns bight.

5. In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (Parts I and II) (S2): The Season Two premier splices the aftermath of the Rosslyn shooting with the early days of the Bartlett campaign.

6. Game On (S4): Bartlett's smugness usually turns me off. But it worked against GOP candidate Ritchie (maybe because I don't like James Brolin).

7. Posse Comitatus (S3): Another ending montage. Plus, Bartlett delivers one of the show's best-ever lines in his first onscreen encounter with Ritchie.

8. Commencement (S4): The last part of the show was an intentional blur. The mood, the setting, the music, the character interactions... it should have been the season finale.

9. Dead Irish Writers (S3): Subtle blend of humor and serious issues, complete with a Lord John Marbury appearance (which usually does the former).

10. The Supremes (S5): A great non-partisan episode that saw the return of TWW Idealism, and illustrated how government can still work.


Movie Review: The Day After Tomorrow 

At the conclusion of The Day After Tomorrow, I heard a guy near me applaud. Then a few more scattered rounds of applause followed. I'm guessing they were happy to be spared any further medocrity.

I wasn't surprised that DAT was an awful movie (and it is). I was, however, surprised that director Roland Emmerich apparently tried to make a serious movie. He seems to try to convince the viewer that this absurd, innane plot can somehow happen.

I've seen ridiculous movies that I still found entertaining (Deep Impact, Armageddon and Emmerich's own ID4) and I think all of them had storylines just as implausible as a global climate shift that occurs in a span of a week. But none of them portrayed their plots as some noble warning to change our ways. They also didn't use thinly vieled jabs to insult American leaders and policy.

Now there were parts of DAT that I enjoyed. The effects were great. But since the incessantly aired trailer has been promoting Mother Nature's role in the film for weeks, I felt a little disappointed. It reminded me of a comedy whose trailer promises big laughs, only to disappoint because nothing beyond the five-minute preview is remotely funny.

I also felt drawn in by the sappy father-son story. Call me sentimental, but with all the negative stuff out there these days about deadbeat dads and such, I have a hard time ripping something for showing a father put his son's welfare ahead of his own.

Ultimately, though, DAT just felt empty. I think the environmental lobby in the US overplays the severity of man's abuse of nature. After all, we've has Ice Ages before. Were SUVs and CFCs responsible in those instances? DAT's condemnation of humanity for causing this calamity is even sillier than it happening to begin with. Throw in the fact that it's clearly a propaganda piece, and not just a popcorn movie, and DAT is just hard to enjoy.


Astros-Cubs 5/31 

There's not much to say about today's game (or the past few games period for Houston). Roy O pitched fairly well, but Chicago took advantage of their opportunities better than Houston did.

Oh well. I was going to say that it was a miserable May for the Stros, but a 14-14 record, while not great, didn't lose them too much ground. Still, Houston has work to do over the Summer months if they want to make a run at the 95-100 win mark.

Maybe later tonight I'll compare April-May splits during Houston's recent era of perennial playoff contention.


Friday, May 28, 2004


Quick note: blogging will be non-existant the rest of today and all day tomorrow, for all four of my regular readers.

Astros host the Redbirds starting tonight. Check out Stain's OWA preview, to which I have nothing to add.


Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Secret is Out 


After a tough 15-6 loss last night, my softball team, TD Sanchez, gathered around to kick back a few pops and shoot the bull. Here's part of the conversation.

Me: So, that was a nice play you made over at third back in the 4th inning.
Buddy: Man, can you believe Adrianna got killed?
Me: Huh?
Buddy: Yeah, that was a great episode. Too bad they whacked the hot chick.
Me: What the hell, man? I haven't seen it yet.
Buddy: Hey, it's Wednesday night already.
Yep, the secret of the Sopranos whacking lasted an entire three days. I avoided discussion threads, office chatter and Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback, only to get caught off guard by the mother of all non-sequitors.

It was Wednesday already. Thanks a lot.



Yes, it was just two games, and it's just May, and half the Cubs roster is on the DL, but winning two from the boys in blue was a much-needed lift for a struggling Astros club.

I think the Astros fanbase is holding their collective breath about Andy Pettitte's left arm, but other than that, there isn't much in the way of negativity to take from the series.

It looks like Baggy found his power again (2 HRs in the last week), and what can you say about Lance Berkman? Lance has hit .390 in May to raise his average to .349 overall, and he's homered in 7 of the last 9 games (a sizzling .472 BA and 13 RBIs in that stretch). I think he's officially achieved Jessica Alba Red-Hot status (though a very different form of Red-Hot).

ADDED: Derek at Big Red C doesn't like losing to Houston.

The Astros are New Money, but not with the egalitarian sense one sees in movies, a la Trading Places. The Rocket Men do not spend their days breaking down societal barriers, showing the stuffed shirts how empty their lives have been as they sit in their penthouses, trapped in their stratified class system, thinking they're better than the hoi polloi and everyday riff raff.

No, they are New Money as boorish interloper. The Hawaiian shirt at the 21 Club. The loud snore at The Bolshoi. The Ugly American demanding a Diet Coke at the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
Oddly enough, I found the rant pretty funny. It sounds like something I'd say when UT loses to some scrub in football.


Gratuitous Washngtonienne Entry 

I can attribute more than half my traffic in the past week to Jessica Cutler, so I might as well continue to ride the gravy train (Lord knows, my Astros content isn't drawing Google hit after Google hit).

Today, Cutler corresponds with Wonkette.

OMG, I almost forgot! On the way to The Palm, my cab got rear-ended near Union Station! Need I say more?
So much innuendo, so little time.


'You've Got to Ask Yourself One Question...' 

Jayson at PoliPundit takes a break from politics to list his five favorite movie quotes.

I like his choices, but you have to scroll halfway down through his comments to find my favorite (or at least my favorite at this point and time):

"You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig."
Greatness. Is there a better scene in movie history, than the Mexican Standoff with Blondie, Tuco and Angel Eyes?

For everyone who said no: the waitress will be by shortly to pick up your man cards.


Morning Sports Shorts 

- Colorado is reinstating Gary Barnett: Isn't this a classic case of "Lack of Institutional Control"? Rick Neuheisel wins money in a bracket pool and Washington tosses him out the door. Barnett sits idly by while players and recruits rape co-eds, and he gets to keep his job. As much as I dislike Mack Brown, thank God we ended up with him instead of Barnett.

- Good night for ex-Astros: Pittsburgh's Daryle Ward hits for the cycle, while Vinny Castilla hit two bombs for the Rockies. I'm no sure Ward hit for a collective cycle in his entire tenure in Houston, but I wish him well. Maybe he'll pull a Luis Gonzalez spare-to-All-Star turnaround for the Pirates.

- Eddie George done in Tennessee: What's a broken-down, over-the-hill veteran RB worth on the free agent market? Please don't let Dallas find out.

- Bill Simmons on the Sox-Yanks: Frankly I'm tired of this rivalry already. They need a brawl or something to inject life back into it. Or more "JETER HAS AIDS" t-shirts.

- Michael Irvin belongs in the HOF: So says Peter King. I agree. Irvin was a warrior; the heart-and-soul of the Dallas Dynasty. BTW, I know his column ran on Monday, but I avoided it because he always covers The Sopranos. After a friend ruined that for me last night, I figured it didn't matter anymore.


Bad Day for the Longhorns 

First Augie Garrido saw his team lose, 5-2, to Nebraska. Then he got to deal with a reported arrest of two players (J. Brent Cox and Justin Simmons, according to the AA-S).

Texas plays an elimination game against A&M this afternoon.


Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The ACLU Hates Christianity 

But we all knew that.

Eugene Volokh looks at the ACLU's latest plan: attempting to force Los Angeles County to remove a small cross from its County Seal.

Once again we see anti-Christian sentiment rear its head (wearing an ACLU hat, of course), under the absurd guise of "separation of church and state."

As Volokh points out, though, the depiction of a cross in the seal is more about history than faith:

Religion is a fundamental part of California history, as it is part of the history of the country as a whole. There should be no constitutional obligation to extirpate all historical religious references from American public life. Even if the Court is right that government endorsement of religion is unconstitutional, courts must distinguish references that will be seen as endorsing religions from references that simply recognize religion's role in American history — and the seal seems to me to be well on the side of history, not endorsement.
This is a distressing situation. The secularists won't stop until religious faith is dead, and I fear that with each passing day, America is allowing that to become more of a reality.


Ike: Countdown to D-Day 

Cathy Seipp's latest National Review column discusses the upcoming A&E docudrama Ike: Countdown to D-Day:

"Ike has none of Spielberg's cinematic brilliance, nor, since it ends just before the landings, even one depicted casualty. But I think it conveys more about the ultimate importance of this battle, and the heroism involved, than all of Saving Private Ryan's special effects with exploded brains and ripped-off limbs."
I had not heard of this project before, but I will make it a point to view the film, which premieres on A&E May 31. Read the whole column.


Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You... 

...a Jessica Cutler tell-all book!

Huh? What's really left to tell?

"We're thinking about [a book focused on] sex on the Hill in terms of 'The Devil Wears Prada': her experiences of working as an intern, nonfiction or fiction. Clearly she has something that she wants to get out there."
Wasn't the Starr Report a book about sex on the Hill? Cutler, I suppose, is better looking than Monica Lewinsky.

Oh, and from the "MoveOn.Org bashes Bush" Department of Shocking News Tidbits: "And this just in: At press time, Playboy called us for her number."

The Washingtonienne showing some skin? It beats the "Girls of Wal-Mart."


Al Qaeda Set to Strike? 

Yesterday I mentioned a two-week old report about potential Al Qaeda targets in the U.S.

A FoxNews report today echoes that. According to multiple intelligence officials, raised "chatter" indicates that Al Qaeda could have plans to strike the U.S. this Summer.

The intelligence does not include a time, place or method of attack but is among the most disturbing received by the government since the Al Qaeda attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the official said.

"There is clearly a steady drumbeat of information that they are going to attack and hit us hard," said another senior federal counterterrorism official, who described the intelligence as highly credible.
I'd be lying if I said this didn't put a little bit of a damper on the upcoming Holiday weekend.


Wictory Wednesday! 

Do you want to see John Kerry taking the oath of office in January? Of course you don't. So celebrate Wictory Wednesday by donating to or volunteering with the Bush Camapign.


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Divine Intervention? 

The Astros broke a 5-game slide tonight, with struggling Roy Oswalt besting Carlos Zambrano, who had looked like a Cy Young candidate thus far.

You might say "that's baseball." Maybe there's another explanation.

I've attended a Tuesday-night Bible Study since mid-April, and as I turned on the radio to leave tonight, I heard Milo call the final three strikes to clinch an important win. It made me wonder what Houston's record was on nights that I chose God over baseball.

Here's what I found:

5/25 CHI W 5-0
5/18 missed Bible Study
5/11 FLA W 6-1
5/4 PIT W 4-3
4/27 game postponed
4/20 STL L 3-5
4/13 @STL W 5-3
So... 4-1 on those nights. Not bad, especially considering the competition. Of course there's really nothing to that. But, I thought it was an odd occurrence.

Anyway, tonight was a much-needed win. Roy O dropped his ERA by 0.40 points, in a strong outing. Lance Berkman also hit his 11th bomb. Hopefully this gets the club back on a winning track. They gave up a lot of ground in the Reds' sweep, and with a long stretch against Chicago and St. Louis, a hot streak is not necessary, but will prove beneficial in the long run.



How depressing was the Cinci sweep this weekend?

I didn't laugh a single time at Stain's OWA preview, that's how depressing it was. Not a single time. Not even at this nugget of comedic excellence:

Wouldn’t it be funny when Sammy Sosa comes off the DL, and goes up to bat o­n the road, if the whole stadium erupted into fake sneezes? I can see it starting with o­ne little dainty lady’s sneeze, and then a couple of smartass guy’s sneezes, building quickly to a crescendo of fake honks and snorts from half the stadium. That would fucking rock.

That would be funny, but I still can't laugh. Remember in Major League 2 (Yes, I realize that most of us have spent years trying to forget that garbage)?

After Chicago's Jack Parkman homers to put the White Sox on top of Cleveland, a nurse hears a shriek from sidelined Indians manager Lou Brown's hospital room. She sticks her head in and asks if he's okay, and he responds, "this is tragic stuff."

Well that Cinci series was tragic stuff. And speaking of tragic stuff, ESPN's countdown of America's Ten Most Tortured Sports Cities resets the biggest stomach punch in Astros history: Game Six in the 1986 NLCS (Walt Weiss' magic glove in 99 really belongs on that list, too). If you haven't had a root canal today, and really need a pin fix, then check it out.

Anyway, Carlos Zambrano faces off against Roy Oswalt tonight; Greg Maddux and Andy Pettitte pitch tomorrow night. I'll be happy with a split.


Here's an Idea 

I found this via the Carnival of the Vanities, as seen linked on InstaPundit.

Interested-Participant issues an International Football Challenge to those Aussies that dis on the NFL.

I propose that the champion teams from both sports match up for a two game series, one with Australian rules, one with American rules. Final total scores from both games would be used to determine the winner. I'm fairly convinced that the contests would show the strength, intelligence, artistry and finesse of the American game and players are superior.

After that, maybe we can send our boys across the pond to take care of those sissy Euro soccer clowns.

I like what I'm seeing on I-P, by the way. Check it out.

ADDED: One other entry from I-P caught my eye. He mentions a 13-pound baby, born in Mexico, and says, "I imagine that giving birth to a 13+ pound baby has got to be painful."

I weighed almost 11 pounds and my mom has always said that I was the easiest of her four deliveries.


Young People Don't Like Bush 

A Newsweek poll place President Bush's approval rating at 47% in the 18-29 demographic.

Who cares? I bet that of the 351 people polled, maybe 100 of them vote. And of that 100, maybe half could give a reason for why they voted for their candidate ("No blood for Oil" and "Kerry is a Douchebag" don't count).


Texas Baseball: Omaha Bound? 

The UT baseball squad finished the regular season atop the Baseball America Top 25.

The Horns have gone 14-4 against teams ranked in the final poll (though BA might put out another poll after the conference tournaments this weekend). Rival Stanford checked in at No. 2, and without getting too presumptious, I'm sure that many fans would like to see a Texas-Stanford clash at Rosenblatt next month. I know I would.



Reds sweep Astros.

Yee Haw, bring on the Cubs. Ugh.


Al Qaeda Attack? 

This is actually a couple of weeks old, but Strategic Forecasting's Rich Burton takes a look at US Defense Readiness. The part that juped out at me was the list of possible targets.

Much more vulnerable targets, in our view, are likely to be found in Washington, D.C. (a symbolic city, where the brain trust of "Crusader" actions against the Middle East is found); New York City (the nation's economic hub, and home to a large Jewish population); and Texas -- Bush's backyard -- though visible targets are more easily found in major cities such as Houston or Dallas than in the capital city of Austin.

Emphasis is mine. That's a little unsettling. Along with millions of others, I watched the events of Sept. 11, unfold. But while horrified, I also knew that it was happening a long way from me. Now there is no doubt that these animals will try to hit us again at some point. Hopefully we've worked out our intelligence kinks enough to foil anything of the magnitude of 9/11, but all it takes is one guy with C4 strapped to his chest, to cause tragedy in the name of Allah.


Monday, May 24, 2004

God: 'Physicist Hacker'? 

Slate.Com's Jim Holt presents an intriguing theory from Physicist Andrei Linde, whose work with the Big Bang Theory earned him plenty of accolades.

Among the many curious implications of Linde's theory, one stands out for our present purposes: It doesn't take all that much to create a universe. Resources on a cosmic scale are not required. It might even be possible for someone in a not terribly advanced civilization to cook up a new universe in a laboratory. Which leads to an arresting thought: Could that be how our universe came into being?

"What my theoretical argument shows—and Alan Guth and others who have looked at this matter have come to the same conclusion—is that we can't rule out the possibility that our own universe was created in a lab by someone in another universe who just felt like doing it."

Well I'm not going to toss out my Bible and shun my Creationist beliefs, but it's an interesting read.


Concluding The Washingtonienne Saga 

In the most bittersweet moment since Luke set Vader's body on fire, I think it's time to put the Washingtonienne story to bed. It's been fun following this bizarre circus show, but I think it's officially jumped the shark.

The Washingtonienne (nee Jessica Cutler) spent Saturday evening out on the town with her biggest fan, the Wonkette (nee Anna Marie Cox).

Pictures were taken. A cell phone was lost. This morning, Mr. Wonkette made us scrambled eggs. Now, can we move on?

Works for me.

Before we move on completely, though, Eugene Volohk touches on the legal side of Ms. Cutler's termination.


Irresponsible Journalism? 

Maybe. I was checking out the front page at MSNBC.Com, and I saw this: 'The Sopranos' lose one of their own.


Of course a friend already blurted that out to me last night (I've missed the past three episodes), but what about the people that wanted to be completely spoiler-free? Here they are, looking for some leftist anti-Bush coverage, and MSNBC just blurts out a major development in the show's story. Fortunately I still don't know which character bit the dust, but it's still disappointing to semi-know what happens.

Oh, and yes, I realize the hypocrisy that I've just committed. But I majored in journalism, so it must be ingrained.



Tonight Houston tries to salvage at least one game from the weekend debacle with Cincinnatti. I don't know how it's possible to lose three games in a row to the Reds, especially with Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Wade Miller pitching, but they found a way.

Tim Redding gets the call, which to me, seems like sending in the Coast Guard to take over some piss-ant country, because the Army, Navy and Marines couldn't get the job done.

ADDED... I just realized that I am to blame for Houston's recent slide. I had anentry last week that compared pitching among the NL Central's perceived "Big Three." My analysis failed to look at Cincinnatti. This no doubt angered the Baseball Gods, who release their wrath (i.e. the Reds') on Houston's pitching staff over the weekend.

I will be sacrificing a chicken today to appease the BBGs (or maybe just eating Popeye's). Look for Tim Redding to pitch lights-out tonight.


Saturday, May 22, 2004

Washingtonienne Has a Name 

And it's Jessica Cutler. Wonkette has an exclusive interview with Ms. Cutler, while the ILoveJennaBush recently featured on HornFans has a picture, which Ms. Cutler herself insists is not a good picture of her (Wonkette agrees).

ILoveJennaBush also has T-shirts and lists some of the names of her flings, including a staffer in Joe Liebermann's office.

You can also find the original archive of Washingtonienne here.

What an exciting couple of days in the blogosphere.


Friday, May 21, 2004

I Wish 

ESPN's Jim Caple must play in a vastly different softball league from the one my team plays in.

Players who could barely hit the ball out of the infield are smashing windshields in the parking lot. Run totals are soaring like gasoline prices. There's talk of altering the mound to help the pitchers. The game is scarcely recognizable from what it was just a decade ago.

I'm talking, of course, about softball bats.

TD Sanchez has hit exactly one HR (on regulations fields) since I began playing with them last Fall. And I've seen opponents hit maybe two in that span.

Maybe we just need to pony up $350 and get one of those state-of-the-art bats.


Kerry: Hold on a Minute! 

An AP report says that John Kerry might push back his offical nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate in order to try and counter the sizeable Bush/Cheney financial advantage.

Maybe he's buying the Democrats some time to try and find a better candidate?


Astros-Reds II 

The Stros visit Cinci-nasty for the first time this season with a 4-game weekend series. Why do they call it Cinci-nasty, you ask?

Two words: Skyline Chili. Stain sums it up best in his OWA preview:

Anyway, as you may have heard before, Cincinnati is the place where chili goes to die. If you took a bowl of Cincinnati skyline chili, and tried to feed it to a Texas dog, the dog would tell you to lick his balls. And I’m pretty sure it’s still legal in Texas to shoot someone who puts cinnamon or chocolate or noodles in chili. Especially if they’re going to feed it to a poor dog.

My roommate, whose sales region used to include the 'Nati, also says that Cinci is full of mullets and a particular brand of female that he terms SOFAs (my second favorite acronym behind FUPAs).

Anyway... the Reds trail Houston by just two games in the NL Central, so taking at least three of the four would be nice. I have no idea how Cinci continues to win. Todd Van Freaking Poppell is making a case for their fifth starter, and the other three guys we see this series have ERAs upwards of 4.50.

I mentioned my disdain for the Reds prior to the first series with them. It hasn't changed. Astros win big this weekend. Roger gets No. 8, Dotel discovers the strike zone, and Baggy finally leaves the yard again!

Lastly, it seems that Latin America's favorite bat-corker, Sammy Sosa, has landed himself on the DL. The reason? He pulled a muscle sneezing. Stain has some fun with that gem of a story:

· That must have been o­ne honker of a sneeze that Sosa belted the other day. He ripped o­ne loud enough to sprain a ligament in his BACK. Every UT grad within earshot thought Gabriel had blown his f--king horn.

· I’ve never sneezed hard enough to sprain my back, but o­ne time I did take a dump that was so awesome, my back cracked. But it didn’t put me o­n the f--king disabled list.


He Got the Part about Kerry Right, Anyway... 

I found this link via Andrew Sullivan: Johnkerryisadouchebagbutimvotingforhimanyway.Com.

The name isn't the only funny thing. The site's tired anti-Bush content on the inside is even funnier. "How F--ked We are Right Now" made me laugh harder than Chris Rock's latest comedy special.

Those kooky Democrats!


Stupid is as Stupid Does 

A recent Fox News poll on the US economy has Neal Boortz annoyed with the collective stupidity of the American public. He complains that an "amazing 49% say it is getting worse," despite all of the indicators that point toward a resurgent economy.

Where does this ignorance come from? More importantly, how can a free society that depends so much on the basic intelligence and ability to survive of its citizens continue to survive? People this stupid need to live under dictators, hopefully benevolent. They aren't smart enough to manage their own way through the complexities of liberty. The more of them there are out there, the more threatened our freedoms become.


Avoiding Athens 

Glenn Reynolds thinks that America should skip the Olympics.

I'm torn on this. I have little doubt that Athens will prove itself the worst Olympic host of my lifetime, and possibly ever. But I'd hate to see the US bow to threats of violence. On the other hand, I don't want to see our athletes in danger, nor do I wish to see an event of unity, like the Olympics, turn into a war zone.


Save Washingtonienne 

I'm glad this story hasn't died yet. Wonkette reports that "Save Washingtonienne" bumper stickers have been sighted on the Hill.

And what of the Washingtonienne herself? Back to blogging.


How About: "Let America Be Kerry-Free"? 

Wonkette has a few thoughts about the new Kerry slogan, "Let America Be America Again."

We'll give them this: It does capture the essence of Kerry's rhetorical style -- stilted, yet empty.

Did he finally tire of: "Bring. It. On."? Pity. I was kind of hoping for a Kirsten Dunst/Gabrielle Union cheer-off at the Democratic Convention.


What's Wrong With Roy? 

Astros Ace Roy Oswalt last won on April 16. Since then he's lost three games and had three no-decisions (Houston lost all three of the no-decisions).

Roy's ERA remains a semi-respectable 3.73 after last night's 6-2 loss to Florida, but something obviously isn't right. In his last two outings, Roy has allowed 5 runs both times, and Florida touched him for 11 hits.

Oswalt contends that "It's just the little things that are going wrong." I didn't get to see either game, but it seems that a few mistakes here and there cost Roy. Maybe he could get a few pointers from Tim Redding.


Thursday, May 20, 2004

Everyone Hates Us...That's Great 

D magazine's blog had this gem overheard at lunch recently:

While dining at Stromboli's, I didn't have to eavesdrop to hear the half-dozen HP 8th-graders seated next to me. I don't know what started them on this topic of conversation, but HP 8th-grader #1 said, "The entire world hates the United States. The United States hates Texas. Everyone in Texas hates Dallas. And Dallas hates Highland Park."

"Everyone hates us," said HP 8th-grader #2 with a slight, almost boastful laugh. "That's great."

They then wondered what was taking their pizza so long.

So true.


Catching Up With Cat 

I can't believe I hadn't seen this before. The beautiful and talented Cat Osterman has a running diary over at TexasSports.com. She'll update it for the duration of her stint with Team USA Softball.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Longhorn/USA Pitcher, Cat was named Player of the Year in 2003, leading Texas to the semi-finals of the Women's College World Series. Hopefully she'll bring the USA a gold in Athens this summer.


NL Central: One Quarter Down... 

Okay, we're not officially through 1/4 of the season, but Houston and Chicago both have 39 games under their belts, and St. Louis has played 40. So I thought I'd look at a few comparisons between the Big 3.

through May 19
Houston 24-15 (projects to 99-63)
Chicago 23-16 (projects to 95-67)
St. Louis 21-19 (projects to 88-74)

Entering the season, the pitching staffs in Houston and Chicago drew the most attention. "Experts" were split on which team had the better rotation, and neither has yet established themselves.

Here is a look at the 1-5 guys in each rotation so far, compared to each other:

H- Oswalt (2-2) 3.34 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
C- Wood (3-3) 2.82 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
S- Morris (4-3) 3.69 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
advantage: Chicago, clear
H- Pettitte (4-1) 3.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
C- Zambrano (4-1) 2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP
S- Williams (1-4) 4.69 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
advantage: Chicago, clear
H- Clemens (7-0) 1.72 ERA, 0.96 WHIP
C- Maddux (3-3) 4.41 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
S- Suppan (3-4) 3.75 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
advantage: Houston, clear
H- Miller (5-3) 3.02 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
C- Clement (5-3) 2.53 ERA, 1.09 WHIP
S- Carpenter (4-1) 3.86 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
advantage: Chicago, slight
H- Redding (2-3) 5.29 ERA, 1.53 WHIP
C- Mitre (2-2) 4.93 ERA, 1.62 WHIP
S- Marquis (2-3) 3.58 ERA, 1.34 WHIP
advantage: St. Louis, clear

A few things jump out. Carlos Zambrano is a stud. He's almost rivaling Clemens. And despite missing Prior, Chicago hasn't missed much. Based on stats thus far, I'd give them the edge over Houston, with St. Louis a clear third (but in better shape that what many expected from them). Jason Marquis has been a surprise, though Woody Williams has been awful.

I expect that if and when Prior comes back, Chicago will maintain a slight edge over Houston in their respective rotations. Andy Pettitte has performed well since his opening start debacle, and with Tim Redding turning the corner (hopefully for good) the Astros have five solid starters. Cubs fans need to hope that Kerry Wood doesn't spend much time on the DL, or else the pendulum could swing toward Houston.

I will try to get to the offensive side later, but I can say that Houston shows a clear edge there in every category except HRs.


Can Star Wars be Saved? 

MSNBC Contributor Christopher Bahn has a solution: fire everyone. He suggests relieving George Lucas of control, getting rid of half the cast, and making Episode III a stand-alone story, independent of the first two prequels, designed only to transition into the original Star Wars.

Bahn's thoughts on those deserving the axe...

- Geroge Lucas, Writer/Director: "has not come up with a single witty or memorable phrase in the four hours of prequel trilogy out so far."
- Hayden Christensen, Anakin Skywalker: His "attempts to put on the magisterial rage that must become Darth Vader’s hallmark instead sound like a tenth-grader whose dad won’t let him borrow the car."
- Natalie Portman, Amidala: "has all the regal presence of a mallrat shopping at her local Fashion Bug."

Agree, Agree, Disagree. I didn't think Portman was a problem in the first two.

Here's the real problem: People forget that it's the 21st Century. Star Wars, for many of us, was a breakthrough film in the late 70s/early 80s. We were young and seeing this new genre of epic sci-fi movies with state-of-the-art effects and sound was an amazing experience.

Now, after being inundated with mindless action movies and explosions for two decades, the new SW movies come along. They're not really that different than the originals (don't give me this bad dialogue or wooden acting tripe; the originals had plenty of that), but it's a different era, and the way we judge movies is different.

And of course there will always be those people that live so far in the past that nothing will satisfy them. The new trilogy could be Schindler's List, and those folks will still complain that Lucas ruined the franchise, as if it somehow belonged more to them than to him. People like that make me sick. It's a level of arrogance that must be strived for, because I don't see how it occurs naturally.

I, for one, look forward to Episode III.

ADDED: MSNBC has posted some of the fan responses to the story.

I also visited TheForce.Net for their reaction to the reaction:

While the responses are interesting to read, MSNBC tries to give the impression that 99% of the fans agree with the writer. We know for a fact that MSNBC received MANY letters critical of the story author from passionate fans because we received copies of them. Even if the letters cannot be posted because of language or subject matter, the fact that they ignored the fans that support George, Hayden, and Natalie is disingenuous and hurts the credibility of the original arguement.


Pardon Me While I Throw Up 

Al Gore says that John Kerry "is not sexy enough to be president."

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Gore said, "There are only three things that get you elected president—sex, sex, and sex—and John Kerry, I believe, lacks all three."

Attempting to place his remarks in an historical context, the former Democratic standard-bearer continued: "To be successful in a run for the White House, you need to have raw, almost animalistic sexual power. JFK had it. I have it. I'm not sure that John Kerry has it."

Gore has animalistic sexual power? Good thing this is all just a joke. I'm pretty sure that having sex with Al Gore would make one guilty of necrophilia.

Getting back to the "article," I love the alleged Kerry retort:

"My friends, let me say this: I'm too sexy for my shirt," Mr. Kerry said, before enumerating a long list of other things for which he was too sexy, including his car, his cat, his hat, Milan, New York and Japan.


Astros-Marlins 5/19 

Is Tim Redding back? He certainly made a case for it last night, with his third consecutive quality start, and second against Florida.

In his last three starts (@ATL, FLA, @FLA) Redding has:
- lowered his ERA from 10.57 to 5.29 (0.98 ERA during that stretch)
- allowed just 15 hits and 4 walks in 18.2 innings
- compiled a 2-0 record
- surrendered just 2 HRs
- pitched at least 6 innings each time

Contrast that to his first four outings (@MIL, MIL, STL, CIN):
- allowed 18 ER in 15.1 innings (10.57 ERA)
- gave up 26 hits and 7 walks (2.19 WHIP v. 1.04 in last three)
- compiled an 0-3 record
- surrendered 5 HRs
- failed to make it out of the 5th inning each time

It's a great turnaround, but Florida and Atlanta rank 14th and 11th, respectively, in NL Team Batting. Milwaukee, St. Louis and Cinci rank 3rd, 5th and 8th. For now, the jury is still out. Redding's next start comes on Tuesday in Cinci.

Other thoughts from last night:

- Lance Berkman is 7-for-his-last-10. Nice.

- Nicer: Alyssa Milano drinking a beer in the stands at Pro Player Park. She was watching her boyfriend, Carl Pavano, pitch. If I were a Fox SW cameraman, my lens would stay focused on her all night.

- I said, prior to the series, that Houston's bats would come alive in the dead Miami air. Yes, I am a genius (or somesuch).


We're All in This 

Letters from soldiers in Iraq aren't hard to find in the Blogosphere. But blogger/Reservist Austin Bay writes a pre-emptive message as he prepares to ship out to the mid-East.

Bay contends that all Americans are involved in this war, whether they realize it or not. (Link via Instapundit)

America's wealth makes it easy to create the perception of distance, that "here" and "over there" aren't intimately linked. American successes in the War on Terror have created, for a vocal segment of the America body politic, the illusion that 9-11 didn't change things too darn much. The inevitable difficulties of war ... lead another vocal faction into the delusion that America is somehow responsible for fomenting the conflict.

That clan touts figment utopias and fantasy options that ignore the difficult facts. This war cannot be willed away, it cannot be won by slick talk or poignant U.N. resolutions. The war is not America's fault. ... We are now fighting a worldwide, "simultaneous war" in at least two dozen places around the planet, with the fight in Iraq key to America's long-term strategy.

Removing Saddam began the reconfiguration of the Middle East -- a dangerous, expensive process, but one that will lay the foundation for true states ... where terrorists are prosecuted, not promoted.

Go read the whole thing.


Wednesday, May 19, 2004


Austin pop-punk kings Dynamite Boy released their new self-titled CD yesterday. I have not bought it yet, but when I do, I'll post a review.

DB plays a release show on Saturday, May 22, at the Back Room (ugh) with the greatness of Cruiserweight.

You can listen to the new album here, and check out a review here.


Cold War and the War on Terror 

The Baseball Crank argues against Cold War-era "containment" as a valid option in the War on Terror.

The problem of the war on terror is, we need to change the behavior of regimes in the region - either by external pressure, internal pressure, or regime change - and we need for our own safety to do so ASAP, not four decades from now. The reason Saddam was first in line (after the Taliban) is that his behavior was most intractable and least subject to change, but others are due for more pressure next. Just living with him wasn't an option.

Containment isn't always a workable option; it wasn't in World War II or several other historical conflicts. It isn't now. It's frightening that many Democrats don't understand that.

Agreed, though I don't necessarily think this falls into a Democrat/Republican divide. His point remains valid, though.


Staff Woes 

I'm a little late on these, but Wonkette has a series of entries about the controversial Senate staffer-turned-blogger Washingtonienne.

Just in case you're confused about who this girl is and why Wonkette is making a big deal about her, the Washingtonienne created a stir by blogging about her trysts with various figures on Capitol Hill.

This stuff is funny. Check it out. Wonkette also links to more fallout coverage of the recently canned staffer/blogger.

The guys at HornFans.Com's Austin 3:16 Board will love her.

ADDED: The whole situation could just be a sham (though still pretty funny). Wonkette's latest entry casts doubt on the story's validity. BTW, I removed some of the random links from earlie. This last one has a convenient list of all related Washingtonienne entries.


My favorite potty-mouthed liberal blogger also mentions Colin Powell assistant Emily Miller, who has been pissing off media types on Capitol Hill for quite some time.

In just six months on the job, Miller, 33, who controls access to Powell, seems to have made more enemies than usual among the reporters who cover the State Department. "Her manner is brusque, abrasive, demeaning," said one, asking to remain anonymous so as not to be frozen out of interviews with Powell. "She's not doing the secretary a service; she's doing him a disservice."

Miller's fairly attractive. I think I might be in love.


DVD Review: Miracle 

In the 24 years that have passed since the 1980 Olympics, the world has turned upside down. The once-mighty Soviets -- the Evil Empire -- have fallen from superpower to step-child. The Cold War that threatened the existence of mankind on this planet is a distant menory, replaced by a War on Terror many take believe does not threaten them at all.

In short, Miracle faces the daunting task of capturing a feeling that no longer exists.

Think back to some of the more popular films of the past that were set against the Cold War backdrop: Rocky IV, Red Dawn, or War Games. What do they have in common? They all portrayed an "us v. them" mentality that spoke to the audience, no matter how silly the premise.

What typical 1980s American didn't go crazy when Rocky started landing a flurry of rights and lefts on the indestructible Ivan Drago? Who among you would deny choking up a little when American captors spent their last few living moments belting out "America the Beautiful" before a Soviet firing squad.

We live in a cynical age now that has forgotten that era. Those movies seem corny and unrealistic today, and objectively speaking, they always were. But they represented a mindset that was very real at the time.

My one complaint with Miracle is that it hardly even tries to capture that mindset. When the USA upset Russia enroute to the 1980 Ice Hockey Olympic gold medal, the Cold War was still very much in doubt. And even seemingly petty events, like an ice hockey game, held huge political ramifications.

But Miracle doesn't show that. It explores important themes like the cameraderie of the American team, and the drive of coach Herb Brooks. But it fails to truly portray the patriotic fervor that enraptured the nation, because of that team's remarkable Olympic run.

It does take a few stabs. The buildup for the Soviet game is by far the film's highlight. Brooks, who has already told us he is not one for sentimental inspiration, delivers a calm -- yet powerful -- locker room speech that culminates with the spine-tingling entrance of his team into the arena, amidst a chorus of "USA! USA! USA! chants."

But that's it. The game itself comes off as anti-climactic, apart from the most famous hockey soundbite ever, "Do you believe in Miracles?" Yes, Al Michaels, I do. And honestly, I believe in "Miracle."

What it lacks in the political, patriotic sense, it makes up for in the story and the acting of Kurt Russell as Brooks. He rules his team with an iron fist and the film shows how his drive instilled the discipline, confidence and conditioning required for the Americans to pull off the greatest upset in sports history.

Russell stands out, in one of his best performances, against a largely no-name cast of players. I like that. His team wasn't about stars, but rather a group that would play together as a collective group.

As far as the action is concerned, Miracle presents the best depiction of hockey on film that I've ever seen in a movie. The players fly and the hits are intense.

Does it completely atone for the omissions? No. After all, if it were just a hocky game, who would have cared? But I'll be lenient, because hey, we won the gold. And we're still a superpower.



Wictory Wednesday! 

Have you donated to the Bush Campaign yet? Well what are you waiting for? If you've already donated, then get over to the Offical BC04 site and register your friends to vote!

Check out the BC04 Blog while you're there. It seems that Senator Lurch has drawn rare criticism from the NYT.


Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The Perfect Unit 

Randy Johnson throws the year's first no-hitter, a 27-up, 27-down beauty against the Braves. Arizona wins 2-0 on RJ's second career no-no. Congrats to Randy!

I've never been a Unit fan, save for the three months he wore a Houston Star. But he's been one of the best pitchers in baseball for a decade, and it's always exciting to see great pitchers throw masterpieces like that.


Astros-Marlins 5/18 

I'm not going to do a running play-by-play, but in the top of the first, Houston continued their disturbing, season-long trend of stranding runners, leaving the bases loaded.

Fortunately, they did at least get one run. Now they've added two in the second.


6-1 Houston through five innings. The Astros' bats have chased Dontrelle Willis, while Wade Miller is going strong.

Compare the performances of Whitey and the D-Train tonight versus last Wednesday:

May 12
Miller (L) 5.2IP 4H 3ER 5K 3BB
Willis (W) 9 IP 6H 2ER 1K 2BB

May 18
Miller (W) 5.2IP 7H 2ER 5K 3BB
Willis (L) 4IP 11H 5ER 4K 4BB

I'll update that once Miller exits. Even though flip-flops of that sort are as common in baseball as in a John Kerry strategy meeting, the fickle nature of the Baseball Gods never ceases to amaze me.

UPDATE: Houston takes it, 9-2. While Whitey's numbers didn't end up much different than last week's, Florida tacked on two of those runs in his final two-thirds of an inning. He failed to make it out of the sixth inning for only the second time this year, but at least early on, he didn't seem hampered by the tender neck that expedited his exit last time out. With a seven-run lead, I'm sure that Jimy Williams didn't want to take any chances.

As far as D-Train is concerned, his sophomore season bears a resemblance to the inconsistency that marked Wade's 2003 campaign. Willis started out with three strong outings, then saw his ERA climb almost four points in his next three starts, heading into the back-to-back appearances against Houston. That feast-or-famine production should worry Fish fans. Excluding the first Houston outing, Willis' best performances came against Philly and Montreal twice. He didn't fare as well against San Francisco, LA and Houston.


Chronicling Dubya 

The Baseball Crank takes a swing at the Bush Record.

If you take off your partisan hat for a minute, leave aside your view of how good or bad the various Administration efforts have been, step back and ask yourself what the Bush Administration has actually made happen, it's a pretty extensive list for just under three and a half years in office.

The Crank lists 17 specific areas where the Bush Administration has made a significant impact. Check it out.


Bar Hopping in Austin 

Now this is interesting. BarStar.Com ranks Gingerman as the No. 1 bar in Austin (of 115 listed).

I didn't even realize Austin had 100 bars. Now that I think about it, that number might be on the low side. And having that many, or more, is probably a necessity if you hope to crack the Top 5 in binge drinking.

I don't like their rankings -- too many highly ranked cheesy, shiny-shirt venues. They definitely don't have enough dives toward the top. I do like Gingerman, but I'd probably put Lavaca Street at No. 1 (BarStar lists it at No. 9).

Check it out, if you live here in Austin anyway.


2012 Olympics: NYC? 

New York has made the finalist list to host the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Jeff Jarvis hopes they don't get it.

And are the Olympics worth it? There's little magic left to the event, following drug scandals and chronic politicization. The expense is great and the return minimal at best. I don't think we want to win this contest.

I disagree.

Maybe it's because I live in an American-centric world, but no country puts on a show like the U.S. when it comes to the Olympics. In my lifetime, we've hosted the Summer games twice (LA '84; Atlanta '96) and the Winter games twice (Lake Placid '80; Salt Lake City '02), and the only comparable foreign event was the 2000 Sydney games.

I have a nagging feeling that this Summer's Olympiad in Athens will fail miserably. But that's all the more reason to get the games back in the U.S. as soon as possible.


Astros-Marlins Round II 

Following a dismal 2-4 home stand, Houston hits the road today for a mid-week tilt with the Fish. Didn't we just do this last week? Indeed we did! After winning the first game, we saw Dontrell Willis pull a 180 and shut us down in game two. Then Octavio Dotel pulled a Mitch Williams in the rubber game.

The Astros bats have been abysmal lately. So naturally, I expect them to sizzle like a Jack McKeon stogie in the dead air of Miami. That's how baseball works. Of course Houston pitches a banged-up Whitey Miller, Tim Redding and a hard-luck Roy O, who hasn't won in his last five starts (not entirely his fault), so the bats better show if Houston wants to avenge last week.

Foghorn pulls relief duty in the OWA preview. Good stuff, especially this gem:

“Hey, is that Ricky Williams toking a fattie in the stands?”

And here I thought that he just blazed apple-flavored tobacco from a hookah.


Chaging the Rules 

Golf World's Ryan Herrington would like to do just that. He offers 18 ways to make golf "more exciting, fair and enjoyable."

Most of them work for me, but I disagree with a few.

1. Hold the men's and women's U.S. Opens concurrently
Few things in golf rival Sunday at a major championship: Its distinctive combination of anticipation, tension and jubilation is embraced by competitors and fans alike. Yet what if you multiplied that feeling by two?

I'd say that's more like multiplying the feeling by 1.00000001.

12. Offer more Masters tickets to the public
For many, a ticket to the Masters is a pass to golf's very own Disney World, the chance to see Augusta National GC in person the ultimate fantasy fulfilled. Given roughly 40,000 are allocated for the practice rounds and complaints about overcrowding are rarer than the azaleas failing to bloom on time, why not make another 5,000 available to the public during competition days, when only 30,000 are in circulation?

I'd love to walk Augusta during the Masters. But our capitalist society dictates that Augusta CC can sell however many tickets as they'd like. I wouldn't want to force them to do otherwise.

15. Reinstate Masters invitations going to PGA Tour winners
There are five words that, when uttered in the euphoria of victory on the PGA Tour, could make the hair stand up on the neck of even the biggest humbug.
"I'm going to the Masters."
At least that was the case until four years ago, when Augusta National GC did away with the tradition of inviting the previous year's tour winners to the tournament. In trying to beef up their field by using the World Ranking and the money list as entry criteria, tournament organizers tossed away much of the drama fans and players looked forward to each Sunday during the season.

See No. 12. If we're going to change the Masters at all, then I'd vote for re-instating Gary McCord before either of his suggestions.

18. Hold an LPGA event at Pebble Beach, St. Andrews and Augusta National
Is there a golf fan who wouldn't be curious how Annika Sorenstam might fare at Amen Corner? Or whether Laura Davies could reach Pebble Beach's home hole in two? Or if Juli Inkster could get up and down from the road on the 17th at St. Andrews?

Possibly, Not Likely, Not Likely


DVD Review: House of Sand and Fog 

I hate to use the word "great" with this film. Truthfully, I've had a hard time coming up with any description that appropriately describes this film.

Powerful? Perhaps. Poignant? Certainly, depending on the viewer.

HoSF paints a bleak picture. Its tale of perseverance doesn't capture the triumph of the human spirit, but rather the destruction caused by self-centric behavior. There are no heroes in this story, no redemption and no happy ending.

Jennifer Connally plays a recovering alcoholic, whose has lost both her father (death) and her husband (abandonment) in the past year. Ben Kingsley stars (and I mean stars -- his performance ranks among the best I've seen in quite some time) as former colonel in the Iranian army, now searching for the American Dream.

In her battle with depression, Connally shuns correspondences that lead to the county mistakenly re-possessing her house -- the house her father left her. Kingsley, who has worked night and day to save money, quickly buys the house, and from that point a struggle ensues to claim ownership.

Ron Eldred completes the triangle of disfunctionals, as a deputy sherrif with marital problems, who ultimately serves as the catalyst that destroys the lives of everyone involved.

HoSF creeps along at a slow pace, but even with my short attention span, it never lost my interest. Director Vadim Perelman, in his first feature film, develops his characters gradually and subtley, chronicling each one's descent. He also uses imagery of the thick, rolling fog to create an ambiance of despair.

The amazing thing is that Perelman takes this rather inane plot -- people's lives ruined because of a house -- and makes the house immaterial. It's not the house that drives their irrational behavior, it's their own pettiness: greed, selfishness, condescension.

In the end it all culminates with a heartbreaking episode that leaves only one question: Was a house worth this much pain? The answer? Of course not. But like most of the themes in HoSF, that just illustrates yet another dark aspect of human nature: the consequences of our actions are often realized too late.



Monday, May 17, 2004

Post-Byron Nelson Thoughts 

It was a fun weekend in Dallas, even if Sergio Garcia bested Tiger for the 2004 Nelson Championshp.

A few thoughts from the TPC-Four Seasons in Las Colinas:

- Golf is easily the most intimate professional sport. By sheer luck (good for us, bad for Tiger Woods), we got the opportunity to stand no more than 10 feet from Tiger as he tried to save par on the 14th. Woods' drive missed the fairway by a bunch and it rolled to a stop just a few feet from us. Huddling around him as he punched the ball back toward the fairway was, according to Matt, akin to standing in the lane as Michael Jordan shot a free throw. I had seen Tiger before, and stood close to him before, but it's hard to describe the surreal feeling that you get from being that close to greatness. In case you were wondering, he hit a perfect recovery shot, based on the thunderous applause from the green-side gallery.

- The dynamic that Tiger Woods brings to an event is nothing short of amazing. I've been to the Nelson when he wasn't there, and it's just a different atmosphere. It's still a great event no matter, but when Tiger is on the course, it really is electric.

- One thing about golf galleries: there are way too many "wannabees." We sat on the teebox at No. 3 through about ten pairings yesterday. After almost every tee shot, someone around us had to comment on what a great shot it was, even though most were no more spectacular than a major leaguer ripping a single up the middle. "That's a golf shot" is the most annoying phrase in the sport, next to "get in the hole, ball!"

- Wannabees notwithstanding, it really is amazing to see these guys hit some of the shots that they hit. No. 17 is a long par-3 with a pond to the front-right of the green, and bunkers on the left. I'd probably have to lay up to avoid getting wet, but the pros drop their shots right into the middle of the green. Like the commercials say, "These Guys Are Good."

- Walking the TPC-Four Seasons each year re-affirms my belief that most of these guys are legitimate athletes. Competing on the PGA Tour requires endurance, skill and a whole lot of concentration. And the Nelson isn't even one of the most challenging courses on tour. People knock golfers, but shooting four under-par rounds is an impressive accomplishment.

- Golf's popularity surge during the Tiger Era has come at the expense of some of the sport's etiquette. Tiger played with Mark O'Meara, a two-time Major winner, on Saturday. He's an established pro, who should command as much respect as anyone on tour. But many patros didn't extend that courtesy. I saw a large number of them walk away after Tiger would finish a hole, often while O'Meara was setting up a putt. Tacky.

- Apparently people cheered when Vijay Singh went in the water on Sunday. Tackier.

- The autograph scene at No. 18 is always a strange sight. I maintain that few things look as pathetic as some middle-aged guy pushing through kids to get an autograph. I wonder if half of the signature hounds even know whose autograph they're getting?


Reefer Madness 

Ricky Williams failed his second NFL drug test over the weekend. Next time he gets caught, the former Heisman winner will face a four-game suspension.

I've heard plenty of stories about Ricky in the past, so this doesn't surprise me. But I am disappointed. I don't care that he smokes pot, to be honest, and I don't want to get into whether or not marijuana should be legal. But I think that this shows a degree of selfishness. Miami has made a huge investment in Ricky. He's the focal point of their offense, and a leader on their team. Why jeopardize your career, and potentially risk the success of your teammates, to get high?

Yes, I understand that a lot of NFL players probably smoke pot. But the simple fact is that it violates a rule that each and every player agrees to follow when he signs that million-dollar contract. Ricky deserves every bit of his $650K fine. I hope it serves as a deterrent from a third offense.


Movie Review: Troy 

Critics don't like Troy. A lot of them don't, anyway. That's because they don't see it for what it is.

The whole saga of the Trojan War plays out like a storyline from the WWF (er, WWE now). There are few real good guys or bad guys, just a collection of flawed characters that you cheer for because of their flaws.

Take Achilles, for instance, a "hero" in the mold of a current-day "Stone Cold" Steve Austin or The Rock (forgive the pro wrestling references, for those of you who didn't spend college in front of the TV on Monday nights), a me-first warrior that fights for himself, concerned only with his personal legacy.

Then you have Agamemnon, the Vince McMahon of the ancient world. A never-ceasing thirst for power fuels his every decision, and his biggest star, Achilles, also serves as his chief rival for the adoration of the populace.

Throw in a double cross (i.e., rival Prince Paris kidnaps Spartan Queen Helen, Agamemnon's sister-in-law), an epic battle, cowardly pandering (Paris again, pulling a classic Ric Flair run-for-cover in his battle with Menelaus) and a conclusion based on deception (like a manager on the ring apron, the Trojan Horse distracted Troy's forces just long enough for the Greeks to hit them over the head with a steel chair) and you have a timeless piece of literature that could sell for $29.95 of pay-per-view.

Instead, you get it for $8 at the local multiplex, and instead of The Rock battling Austin, you get Brad Pitt and Eric Bana. You get a lot of good action, a healthy dose of schmaltz, and in the end, an entertaining interpretation of Homer's epic.

Sure, Troy has its less-than-perfect moments. The dialogue is flat-out bad in some places, and some of the casting choices raise questions (Pitt, despite a good performance, just doesn't jump out to me as Achilles). The movie also doesn't follow The Iliad as closely as most literary purists might like, but then again, it's called Troy, not The Iliad. If you want Homer, read the book.

But all of that aside, Peterson still captures the essence of the Trojan War. A story such as this has the potential to fail miserably in a film translation, and it doesn't. It's not just an all-action, no-substance popcorn flick. Peterson develops distinct characters that rise and fall, confronting their fate and redeeming themselves when necessary.

I would have liked to see more of Odysseus, and a little less "woe is me" pathos from Hector, but I'll get over it, because of what I did see. That's nearly three hours of classic mythology played out on the big screen.



Friday, May 14, 2004

Secularism Run Amok 

David Limbaugh's latest column addresses what he calls "Secularist double standards."

There is too much good content to isolate a single pull-quote, so I would recommend reading the entire column. It's a short read, and it articulates a part of the Secularist v. Traditionalist debate that often goes ignored in the mainstream media.


Kerry: What Kind of President Would He Be? 

Glenn Reynolds' asks -- and attempts to answer -- that question in his latest MSNBC column.

I think it's fair to say that if Kerry wins, he'll win based on anti-Bush sentiment among Democrats and swing voters. But although the anybody-but-Bush vote might be good enough to get him into office, once he's elected it will evaporate: the dump-Bush voters will have gotten what they wanted, and they won't have any special reason to support any particular policy of Kerry's -- or even Kerry himself.

It is a scenario worth evaluating. Should Kerry win (and I still don't expect it), he'll face a Republican House with a clear majority, and at this point, the Senate will likely end up 51-49 either way (or split). Neither of those will favor a Democratic administration at all, much less one that lacks a clear vision or direction.

Even the most adament of Kerry supporters would have to admit that the campaign has focused more on why Bush shouldn't be re-elected, than it has on why Kerry should be elected. Granted there is time to fix that, but even with Bush's recent troubles, the Kerry campaign has not managed to make significant progress in the polls.


The Byron Nelson Classic 

Ah yes, my second favorite weekend of the year (although if the one in October keeps up its recent trend it will drop in the rankings) is upon us as The Byron Nelson Classic teed off in Las Colinas yesterday morning.

5 of the top 6 golfers in the world are here as everyone enjoys the treatment they receive at this tournament (better than anywhere else, it is said) and of course to pay tribute to the legendary Byron Nelson. David Toms said this week that it is pretty hard to say no when Byron himself walks up to you and simply says, "are you going to play my tournament?"

But it isn't simply about the golf...

The Nelson is the unofficial start to the Summer in these parts, as the women dress up in their best clubwear to walk the grass from the entrance to the Food Pavillion. Three inch heels at a golf tournament? Only in Dallas.


Tigers, Take 2 

The Rangers travel to Detroit this weekend to try to avenge last weekend's series loss to the Tigers...their first and only series loss since April 18.

Some random thoughts:

--I'm eager to see this Frankie Francisco kid that the Rangers called up to replace Doug Brocail (who went on the DL with appendicitis). Reports are that he has hit 99 mph on the radar gun and consistently throws in the 94-97 range. John Hart says he has the best arm in the organization. Francisco was aquired in the Carl Everett trade to the White Sox last Summer.

--How did Carlos Almanzar not get a look in Cincy last year?!? The story goes that Almanzar had an ERA around 3 the entire season in Triple A (Indianapolis?), but was continually passed over when the Reds called up minor league pitchers until he finally just walked out. Almanzar had a 15/2 K/BB ratio in 18 innings of spring work with the Rangers and hasn't stopped since then, replacing Jeff Nelson (who is now hurt himself) as CoCo Cordero's primary set-up man.

--It's been lost in the shuffle of the Rangers' surprising start and the play of Young, Blalock and others, but Gerald Laird has to be the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The catcher is batting over .300 and is second in the league in throwing out baserunners. He hasn't been completely looked over, however, as Tim Kurkjian says that Laird is "ahead of where Gary Carter was at his age."

--Alfonso Soriano continues his strong play in the field, still errorless since the season's first week. He has also been a positive influence in the clubhouse. This guy is untouchable right now if I'm the Rangers.

--Rafael Palmeiro contines to tarnish his legacy:

Rafael Palmeiro told the Chicago Sun-Times this week that he realizes he
made "the biggest mistake of my baseball career" in August when he rejected
a trade to the Cubs. Said Palmeiro: "Looking back, I should have come here
[Chicago] in a heartbeat, but I didn't know then what I know now....I
remember going on a road trip to New York and Toronto. I must have called
[Rangers owner] Tom Hicks three or four times in the 10 days the Cubs gave
me to decide. I think there was a genuine desire on his part to keep me,
but his baseball people must have told him that they wanted to go in another direction because there were no talks about an extension or money. I asked
them, 'If I am not the direction you want to go, please tell me,' but they
never said a word."

That's right, Raffy. Apparently everyone knew that you weren't going to be back this year but you. And it's not like if you were traded you couldn't have signed back here. In fact you would have had a better chance because the Rangers wouldn't have had the arbitration deadline in December to worry about.

--Chan Ho Outta the Park continues to suck.

--Ryan Drese does not.

--The Yankees and A-Rod come to town next weekend. I can't wait.



My buddy Yogi used to tell me that he was going to make me a shirt that said "F*** the 86 Mets." I guess when I we became friends, the Mets were still a sore spot with me.

That's not so much the case anymore, but I still like seeing Houston beat New York. And after dropping this latest series to Florida, the Astros need to take at least two of three from the Mets this weekend at Minute Maid Park.

Fortunately, when you trot out Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens, a series win looks promising. So screw just winning, BRING OUT THE BROOMS!

On a sad note, this is likely the last time we'll get to see John Franco visit Houston as Major League ballplayer. It's probably the last time we'll see the 93-year-old visit Houston alive, period, though with his 6.59 ERA, I'm not sure he's not dead already. As much as I've detested Franco over the years, it's hard to deny what a great player he's been. He'll finish his career with 420+ Saves and an ERA below 3.00. Those numbers are similar to Rollie Fingers, and only 40 saves behind Lee Smith. I'm not sure if it lands Franco in Cooperstown, but that's a helluva career.

Quick note: Stain is taking a brief sabbatical from the OWA preview, but Waldo pulls a Billy Wagner and fills in nicely.

Speaking of Piazza... For Sunday's game, I predict that the much-balleyhooed faceoff between Piazza and Roger Clemens will consist of seven inside pitches, five timeout calls while in the batter's box, three nasty glares, two really nasty glares, and o­ne "nanny-nanny-boo-boo". The media should accept no less.

Good stuff. Check it out.

One other thing I'm looking forward to with this series: The Baseball Crank is a Mets fan (from what I gather), so he'll probably have comments about the series throughout the weekend.


Republican Babe of the Week 

Jersey GOP has a new Republican Babe of the Week up: Miss USA Shandi Finnessey.

A Republican, she told Reuters she would use her position to help explain America's involvement in Iraq. "What needed to be done had to be done," she said

The former Miss Missouri also says that she's "totally single and looking."

She's a good-looking girl, and a Republican. But I'll bet she's a Cardinals fan.


Astros-Marlins 5/13 

Tough loss for the good guys last night. But as tough as it was to see Houston blow a 2-1 lead in the 8th, it paled in comparison to the crazy end of San Antonio and LA... TWO buzzer beaters? Insane.

A few thoughts:

- Despite their record, Houston has endured a lot of bad luck this year. That continued with the bases-loaded play in the 8th that gave Florida the lead. Jose Vicaino grabs a high chopper down the line and lands on third base. But when he throws home, Brad Ausmus doesn't realize that Viz has forced the out at third, so instead of tagging the runner coming home, he touches the plate and throws to first. What should have been a tie game with two outs and runners on first and second, became 3-2 Marlins, one out, and runners on first and second. It was the difference in the game.

- Watching a slow team like Houston each day makes you appreciate the team speed that Florida has. I wuld love to see Astros minor leaguer Willy Taveras blossom into a Juan Pierre kind of guy. Man, he can fly. On two occasions last night, he made routine grounders into close plays.

- During Craig Biggio's early season tear, many people noted that his batting stance change (i.e., dropping that leg kick) was helping him cut down on strike outs, especially with sliders, which have plagued him for years. Last night, he struck out twice, fishing for sliders both times. Neither pitch was even close.

- Houston has frustrated me all season with their inability to drive in runs in key situations. Yes, they lead the league in runs scored (despite ranking just 9th in HRs), but how many times have they left runners in scoring position in clutch at-bats? Twice last night (7th and 8th) they had batters ground into inning-ending double plays, when they had a chance to put up a big inning.

- Tim Redding pitched well. Despite the loss, that is two sraight quality starts for Tim. Great Sign!

- In 1998, Houston won 27 games in it's last at-bat. Milo called them the "Cardiac Kids." Almost 20% into this season, the Astros have ONE win in their final at-bat. That's something worth watching as the season progresses.

- Dan Miceli just doesn't get enough credit for the job he's done this year. He pitches at least every other night, and most nights, he shuts batters down. In his one inning in last night's loss, he struck out the side.


Thursday, May 13, 2004

Free Beer! 

Too bad you have to buy NHL season tickets to get it, and Tampa Bay Lightning tickets at that.

Maybe the WBNA should try that approach.


The Fall of Troy 

Brad Pitt's new blockbuster isn't the only Troy making headlines this week. Dallas surprised no one today by releasing disgruntled RB Troy Hambrick.

I think most Dallas fans will echo my "Don't let the door hit you..." attitude on this move. T-Ham didn't exactly endear himselves to the Cowboys' faithful with his open criticism of Emmitt Smith back in 2002, or with his anemic 3.5 yards per carry average as a starter last season.


The Nick Berg Video 

I had a brief entry on Berg yesterday, but I have avoided commenting on the actual video thus far, and for several reasons.

First, I have not watched the video. I saw some of the stills, but that's it. I'm squeamish. I don't like watching those TLC or Discover shows where they're doing surgery, and the sight of excessive real blood makes my stomach churn. The still of a terrorist holding Berg's head was ghastly enough.

Second, yes, the murder makes me squeamish. But it also infuriates me, and I don't want to spend the next few days posting nothing but "turn the mid-East into a parking lot" entries.

After reading this e-mail on Andrew Sullivan's site, though, I might have to force myself to watch it.

The entry doesn't have a specific link, so I'll post it all here:

"I just saw the Nick Berg video in its entirety. It is a case study in evil personified. These guys are cowards. They are creatures. After seeing this video I was initially shocked, scared and deeply disturbed. 30 minutes later though I was very, very angry. My view of Islamic terrorism is now set in concrete. These Islamists must be defeated. We need to take off the gloves. Every American should see this video to see the true nature of these Islamic terrorists. If evil ever infected anybody, its those guys murdering Nick Berg and posting it for everyone to see. I really feel extremely bad for Nick's family. I wish I could give each one of them a big hug and say "I love you" to them. I wish I could help them through this horror."

Cowards -- every one of them.

ADDED: Glenn Reynolds has an extensive collection of opinions over at InstaPundit.


Ted Kennedy Says Something Ignorant? No Kidding? 

I listened to Mike Gallagher on the way to work this morning, and he had quite a few objections with the thoughtless, inappropriate remarks made by Ted Kennedy on Monday in regard to the Iraqi Prisoner situation.

As a refresher, Sen. Kennedy had this to say:

"On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, 'Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?'. Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management: U.S. management."

Kennedy sickens me. Anytime an elected official uses an unfortunate incident, or even a tragedy, to score political points, you can bet that Kennedy is involved. If for no other reason, the assassinations of JFK and RFK had horrible repercussions on this country, because they allowed the black sheep of that family to ascend into the upper echelon of American politics.

Kennedy, as blogger T. Bevan notes, is an "oxygen thief." (Thanks to InstaPundit for the link).

Bevan writes:

What sort of dysfunctional moral compass must one have to make such a comparison?

It's one thing for someone like Michael Moore to utter garbage like this at the film festival in Cannes. It's something altogether different for one of the country's highest elected officials to speak these words in the well of the United States Senate.

The sad thing is that Moore makes more of a contribution to society than Kennedy, not that it takes much to earn that distinction.


The Montreal Spidermen? 

It appears that the Montreal-by-way-of-Puerto Rico Expos might have a name change in store -- The Spidermen. Since they're from Canada, though, maybe it should be the Spidermans (e.g., the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs).

Now that Major League Baseball has decided against placing Spiderman logos on the bases, the commissioner’s office is looking for other innovative ways to incorporate advertising into the game. After huddling together over the weekend, Selig and chief operating officer Bob Dupuy have come up with a bold new idea: Order the Montreal Expos to play the rest of the season in Spiderman suits.

Most players are unhappy about the change. Shortstop Jose Vidro worries that the suit makes him "look like a fag." Pitcher Brad May, however, doesn't share that sentiment:

“When I do an autograph session in my Spidey suit, I always get a huge crowd and everyone loves me. When I do one in my Expos uniform, people mostly just spit on me and try to stab me with their pens.”

Holy marketing mishap, Batman! Good thing that the article is just one of the many humorous piece of Satire at The Brushback.Com.

Truthfully, if Bud Selig tried a stunt like that, would it surprise anyone? Probably not. Thanks to the guys at OWA for pointing out the site.


DVD Review: Honey 

Honey wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. But it wasn't really good, either.

Honey tells the story of an urban girl, who aspires to dance professionally, and in an hour-and-a-half, it captures her rise-and-fall-and-rise-again.

For the most part, Honey conveys a positive message: Work hard and be true to yourself and you can achieve great things. She also displays a selfless side that often isn't found in movies that are based at today's youth. Based on that alone, I give it good marks.

Of course the movie beats you down with awful dialogue, predictable plot points, and enough cheese to keep Velveeta in business for the next decade.

Being the shallow male that I am, I watched this solely for the love of my life, Jessica Alba. And yes, even as a "hood rat," she was her enchanting self. But I really hope she starts to get some roles that take her beyond, "yo, whassup?" I couldn't stomach her TV series, Dark Angel because of that garbage, and the cheesy ghetto slang hurt Honey just as much.

RANT: Why do media/entertainment types insult audiences with that kind of dialogue? I know plenty of people that speak in what the condescending elitist types would call "ebonics." And say what you want about their language skills, they don't sound corny and forced the way it comes off on the screen (*cough* Stuart Scott *cough*).

Anyway, despite it's flaws, I rate Honey as a decent movie. It's definitely worthy of more than the 3.5 it received at the IMDB. I'll even bump my rating up a point, partly to counter the haters, but mainly because of beautiful Jessica.



Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Here's something you don't see everyday, a gang fight organized on the Internet.

The fight took place in Garland, Texas. When I saw "Texas high-school brawl" in the teaser link, though, I felt sure that it would be Killeen. Maybe this Internet fad hasn't been dumbed down enough for them yet.

Gilberto Silva, whose sister was among those charged, said police arrested everyone in the videotape, whether they were fighting or not.
"It was just a regular fight," Silva told the newspaper. "A riot is when innocent people get hurt. No innocent people got hurt."

Something tells me that most "regular fights" don't involve two dozen high school kids and Internet planning.


More Jesus Controversy 

Today's AA-S looks at theories presented by several scholars, who claim that Jesus was not the Messiah, and that He never intended to be worshiped.

"A lot of people are desperate for this," Loehr said. But he acknowledged that many Christians would reject his ideas, which dispute the notion of Jesus as a deity.

Loehr said the four Gospels were written decades after Jesus' death, so the seminar fellows rely on portions of other Gospels not included in the New Testament and other ancient texts that they believe paint a more accurate picture of Jesus.

For that reason, Loehr said, his message will not appeal to Christians who believe the Bible is inerrant.

His message obviously would not apeal to me, but I have no problem with looking at alternate viewpoints when it comes to these matters. Frankly, though, I don't see how someone can call himself a minister, while blatantly rejecting Scripture.

Loehr says, "If you've been given the choice between the teachings of Jesus and the creeds and dogmas of Christianity, pick Jesus." How can you "pick Jesus," if at the same time you're saying that the Book, which serves as the foundation for everything Jesus said and did, is errant and based on mistaken translations and interpretations?

Now I will agree that the "creeds and dogmas" (many of which are Man-ordained) often get in the way of the true meaning of Christianity. But how can you likewise ignore something like "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." Are we to "pick Jesus" only when it fits this theory?


Boortz on Berg 

Neal Boortz has the best articulated piece that I've read thus far on the brutal murder of American Nick Berg by Islamofascists.

Compare the two cultures. While America is investigating the abuse of Iraqi prisoners ... while America is preparing to punish those responsible ... while America is apologizing to the families of the prisoners and their countrymen for the actions of a few soldiers, and preparing to pay these families large sums of money .. while America is trying to do the right thing, Arab Muslims are slaughtering an innocent American civilian who's only crime was he was looking for a job trying to improve the Iraqi communications infrastructure.

This was a terrorist attack. It was an attack by Islamic terrorists, only this time it took five men to kill one American. One American civilian, or 3000 ... it's terrorism all the same.


Will this finally convince you that we are in the midst of a war? It's a World War. ... These are the people we are fighting. They are vicious relentless Muslim animals who will not stop killing innocent Americans and who will not abandon their dream of a world dominated by Islam until they are utterly and completely destroyed. These are people without a conscious who believe that the way to redeem their honor is to brutally slaughter innocent human beings, and this they do in the name of their god.

The unfortunate humiliation of Iraqi soldiers at the hands of a few American soldiers has become a sideshow. It's turned into a sickening soap opera of political posturing. I hope -- as Boortz does -- this tragedy serves as a wake-up call.


Wictory Wednesday 

Remember that today is Wictory Wednesday! Head on over to the Official BC04 site to donate or volunteer. I plan on sending my second $35 donation here in the next week.

Staying on the election front, things are looking a little dicey right now for President Bush, but not necessarily bleak, accoring to several of the Electoral College trackers that I visit.

Scott Elliott's Election Projection has Kerry leading Bush 311-227, as of May 8.

Winston at Federal Review has Bush leading 290-248.

Gerry Dales shows Bush ahead, 248-221, not counting those states that he deems too close to call.

In the interest of fairness, or equal time, or whatnot... Pollster John Zogby says that "Kerry will win the election." One of PoliPundit's relief bloggers disagrees.


Astros-Marlins 5/11 

I didn't get to see last night's game, but I caught the post-game recap and Milo sounded as happy as an old man can sound (excluding that first hit of Viagra).

Roger Clemens (7IP, 3 H, ER, 11K) proved again that he's not of this world. From the Houston Chronicle's game story:

Astros manager Jimy Williams is normally not one to express his emotions in public, but even he's to the point where he can't help but show delight at the incredible start Roger Clemens has put together.
"Do you know how lucky you are to be seeing what you're seeing out here?" Williams said. "You have to cherish these moments and see what's happening. It's very special, and it's happening in Houston."


Wade Miller faces Dontrell Willis, last season's rookie sensation, in tonight's game.


More Love for Sweet Jessica 

The Sports Guy hates lists. But he obviously loves Jessica Alba.

No. 2. Every list is completely subjective and almost always ridiculous.

They shouldn't make you angry. Really, they shouldn't. For instance, FHM's most recent "100 Sexiest Women" list ranked the Olsen Twins at No. 21, Jessica Alba at No. 35, and the Band Camp girl from "American Pie" at No. 48. Take it from someone who's seen all four of them in person -- sandwiching those other three around Jessica Alba is like ranking the greatest NBA players ever and putting Larry Bird between Pat Cummings and the Van Arsdale twins. This shouldn't make me angry. Really, it shouldn't.

I saw that list. It horrified me. I want to say that it actually listed Ms. Alba at No. 9, but I could be wrong. Eight women should never come before JA, especially when one is Jennifer Lopez.

Oh yeah, and the Sports Guy actually does mention sports in the column. But it's the NBA, so I stopped reading.


Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Heisman Hopefuls 

It's never too early to start looking at potential Heisman contenders, and the boys in Bristol already have a list.

No name jumps out at me as a favorite, mainly because USC's Matt Leinart lacks the weapons he had last year, and Florida's Chris Leak is just a sophomore. A pair of senior RBs, Texas' Ced Benson and Auburn's Cadillac Williams, fell short of expectations with 1,300 yard seasons a year ago, but both played well late in the 2003 season, and expect both to be in the hunt.

Last year's winner, Oklahoma QB Jason White, tries to become the second player to win back-to-back Heismans. I think he'll end up being the second Ty Detmer, though, not the second Archie Griffin.

A few darkhorses draw mentions, including:

Texas Tech QB -- Whether it's Sonny Cumbie or Robert Johnson, they're certain to put up big numbers in Mike Leach's system.

My early pick? Williams. Despite playing in the Deep South, the SEC gets a lot of East Coast clout. Williams should turn in a productive year, and 1,600 yards could get him the hardware.



Jealousy is a horrible characteristic, but I have to admit I'm jealous as hell of the Florida Marlins, who visit Minute Maid Park tonight to open a three-game set with the Stros. The Fish have won two World Series in their decade-long existence. Houston hasn't even won a playoff series in four times that long.

Of course the Marlins bought the first title and immediately went Blue Light Special afterward (Houston reaped Jay Powell and ol' Pee-Hands from that fire sale), but I'm sure all 15,000 baseball fans in Miami don't care. Last year, no one gave Florida a chance to accomplish anything but get through the playoffs before their 150 year-old manager died (I think The Mirage had that listed on their futures board). But the Marlins came through with the unlike World Series win, defeating the Evil Empire and sending The Rocket, Roger Clemens, into retirement.

Not so fast. Clemens takes the hill tonight against the team that denied him a ring last season. Anyone want to bet that Clemens won't be fired up tonight? (Or that Jack McKeon lives to see birthday number 151?) As long as Gary Darling or CB Bucknor aren't behind the plate, I think the Good Guys get the win, both tonight and for the series.


Old 97s- New Album  

Old 97s bassist Ken Bethea writes about the new album, Drag It Up, on the offical band site.

It's hard not to compare an album with those that came before it. Drag It Up is our most personal. We recorded it on 8 tracks, which pretty much means there was very little studio trickery. What you'll hear, or maybe I should say, what you won't hear is second-guessing, sleight of hand or revisionist thinking. Whereas Too Far To Care was an idealistic album made for big cars and air guitars, Drag It Up is better served by thinking and driving on Sunday afternoons in the middle of nowhere. Fight Songs was urban, hitchhike to rhome was a giant demo and Satellite Rides was hitchhike's opposite, that is to say, for us (four hacks from Texas) a wonderful recording of near-perfect performances. Wreck Your Life was the spiritual predecessor to Drag It Up - punk rock recorded over the course of a few days in a Chicago attic. We have grown - albeit kicking and screaming - into a complex, philosophical and mortal band. I feel good about what we've done. It's our brains, our breath, our fingers, our soul.

July 27 can't get here soon enough. I'll have to work on an updated ranking of my favorit Old 97s songs before then. You can see the current list here.


Spidey-Gate Revisited/Separating the Men from the Boys 

Mark Cuban extolls the marketing brilliance of MLB's Spiderman 2 promo fiasco.

Whether or not the ads actually appeared on the bases was irrelevant. In fact, I never thought they would ever appear on the bases. What was the point? If they put the ads on the bases, they would lose the opportunity to go through all this again. If they pull the ads, citing fan rebellion, they create the opportunity to play this game at least 1 more time.

Brilliant. Congrats again to MLB and Sony. Why didn’t I think of putting the Spiderman ads on the corner of the backboards in the playoffs…

Cuban also has an answer for the NBA's problem with high schoolers jumping directly to the pros: "Stop guaranteeing rookie contracts."


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