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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Kerry Courts Minorities 

Yesterday I touched on a column that advised ways President Bush could increase support within the Black community. Today's WaPo includes an article that shows Kerry's popularity level among minorities might not rank much higher.

Kerry has been criticized for not doing more to develop a relationship in the black and Hispanic communities, and he noted that many in both communities may be cynical about promises from politicians
The article goes on to mention some of the policies that Kerry intends to target -- e.g., college tuition incentives, greater access to health insurance -- should he reach the White House.

Here's what I want to know: why should minorities cling to a New England blue blood, who hails from one of the whitest parts of the country? At least President Bush has a record of working with Hispanics in Texas. And his plans involving vouchers and faith-based initiatives show a willingness to reach out to minorities that I have not seen from Kerry.

Kerry's solution, like any other Democrat, is to continue throwing money at problems and hoping that they improve. And to pay for all of this, he wants to roll back President Bush's tax cuts, which have led to more jobs and a stabilizing economy.

I realize that the GOP has a lot of work ahead if they truly want to reach out to minorities (as I believe the party does). But no one is going to convince me that John Kerry is ever going to out-do President Bush in this area.


Astros-Cubs 6/30 

Roger Clemens and Matt Clement are locked in a 1-1 pitcher's duel. Well, I should say that The Rocket still is. Chicago's Clement exited in the 5th with the bases loaded, trailing 1-0. But the Cubs got out of the jam and pushed across the tying run in the bottom of the inning.

I don't think I need to stress the importance of a win today, especially since St. Louis lost again to Pittsburgh.

Last day for All-Star voting

I'm happy to report that I have voted for Adam Everett more than 100 times today. We might not be able to beat the Cards on the field, but we can out-stuff the ballot box... hopefully.

Going... Going...

In a big "F-You" to all of the haters on Hornfans.com, Craig Biggio launches his second solo HR of the day to put Houston ahead, 2-1, in the 7th.

Just last night, Jim Deshaies lamented the lack of Astros HRs this season (they rank 13 of 16 in the NL). Then Carlos Beltran hit a rocket to the Waverly Ave. Now Bidge adds two more today. It would be a great time to start climbing in those rankings.

Paging Ugueth Urbina

Dan Miceli comes in to hold the game in the 8th... and promptly surrenders a HR... to Michael Barret.

I think I surrender, too. Brad Lidge comes on to get three outs, but with the game tied 2-2, Houston has to score a run AND keep Chicago from scoring in the 9th.

Does anyone think they can do that? If not is there any chance one of those other meat-chunkers can hold Chicago after that?

My new favorite Astro

At least temporarily... CARLOS BELTRAN. Houston's newest "Killer B" hits an 0-2 bomb in the 9th for the game-winner (Lidge shut them down in the bottom of the inning). Astros win!

Carlos, since coming over, is 8 for 20 (.400) with 2 HR, 2 RBI, and 6 runs scored. I hope his hitting can rub off on the rest of the team (it did on Bidge today).

I haven't checked out Throws Like a Girl today, but she might be ready to propose.

Now for a downer

Wade Miller went on the 15-day DL. I have no idea who is pitching tomorrow, but whoever does better bring his A-game. Houston faces Mark Prior.


Top 25 Sports Movies 

ESPN lists the top 25 sports movies of the past 25 years.

I guess this means that I should list my own favorites:

1. Field of Dreams- I love how it explores baseball's mystical side.
2. Major League- "Hey Bartender, Jobu needs a refill!" Classic lines abound!
3. Eight Men Out- Underrated classic. DB Sweeny wis always be Shoeless Joe to me.
4. Rudy- At the end of Return of the King, I kept picturing Frodo taking of his Notre Dame jersey, saying "let Samwise dress in my place."
5. Hoosiers- Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper.
6. The Natural- dah dahhhhh, dah da da dahhhhhh...
7. Miracle- USA! USA! USA!
8. *61- Barry Pepper nailed it. I begrudgingly give Billy Crystal his credit for this film.
9. Rocky- Still the last sports movie to win Best Picture.
10. A League of Their Own- Maybe just a guilty pleasure of mine.
11. Rounders- I don't care if you don't think Poker's a sport.
12. The Sandlot- It reduces baseball to what it is: a kid's game
13. Caddyshack- "There's no gambling at Bushwood sir, and I never slice." Classic lines abound (part II).
14. Rocky IV- Does anything better capture the Cold War?
15. The Mighty Ducks- It's the Miracle on Ice... for kids
16. D2: The Mighty Ducks- I'm a fan of any movie where the U.S. sticks it to Europe.
17. The Karate Kid- "GET HIM A BODYBAG... YEAHHHHHHH!" And Elisabeth Shue was hot.
18. Tin Cup- I've also made a 12 on a hole before. And Rene Russo is hot.
19. Jerry Maguire- Football movies usually blow. Good thing this is just sort of a football movie.
20. Bad News Bears- See #12
21. Seabiscuit- The Dude abides... as a rich horse owner.
22. Cobb- Any movie with a cameo from Roger Clemens is okay by me.
23. Little Big League- Goofy, yet endearing. I can't explain it.
24. Rocky II- Hey, he actually won this time.
25. Happy Gilmore- I've never been able to get his swing to work.

And I might as well... my 10 worst:

1. The Scout- It might be the worst movie ever.
2. Varsity Blues- No other movie has ever offended my Texas heritage in such a manner.
3. Rookie of the Year- I'm guessing Gary Busey needed a coke binge to get through this bomb.
4. No Hold's Barred- Wrestling is fake, but this movie's suckitude is 100% real.
5. Major League 3- Why?
6. Major League 2- I liked Parkman. The rest of it blew.
7. The Program- At least they lost to Texas.
8. Any Given Sunday- It was over-the-top; thus, par for Oliver Stone's course
9. Slap Shot- The ridiculous antics from the Hanson brothers is all that saves this overrated tripe from going to #1.
10- Rocky V- See #5.


National Kissing Day? 

I found this link at Instapundit (I swear, I have no idea how Reynolds finds some of the stuff he finds).

Amber at Class Maledictorian asks fellow bloggers to help her start National Kissing Day in the U.S. (they already have it in the U.K.).

How you can participate:
-Post on your blog or tell friends via email that next Tuesday is International Kissing Day. Write a kissing-themed post or share a sweet kissing story.
-Find someone to kiss. You have a whole week, so get cracking!
-Kiss 'em! Kiss now, kiss all week, but definitely kiss next Tuesday.
I can't recall any "sweet kissing story" off the top of my head. At the wedding reception I attended this past weekend, I do recall kissing some girl's neck while we danced. Then I learned that she was married.

Anyway, those of you, who are so inclined, lend Amber a hand. Kiss away!


Iraq: Then and Now 

Glenn Reynolds says that the overall effort in Iraq has succeeded:

Have we done as well as we might have? No. Could we still blow it? Yes. Has it been a success overall, and would we have considered it such in March of 2003? Absolutely.
I couldn't agree more.


Movie Review: Fahrenheit 9/11 

As I have not seen this (and been advised not to see it in theatres), I will post my friend Robert's review.

I won't waste a whole lot of time here, because the reviews and popular reaction to this film have me completely bewildered.

First of all, I liked Bowling for Columbine. It was funny...It was smart at times...it always asked good questions....I simply disagreed with the "answer" that life in a free capitalist democracy is inherently evil and that America is to blame.

Now, on to this latest "documentary".

All politics aside, it was pretty scattered and incoherent...flowed poorly and honestly didn't make a whole lot of sense. At its best it was pretty bad in this respect.

Injecting politics, and the truth...

This thing is a real shocker.

It is loaded with half-truths, distortions, and outright lies. I don't have time for all of them....but here's a couple of favorites...

The 2000 Election. "everything was going according to plan..." ABC, NBC, CBS report Gore (who won the election) as the next Presiden. Fox News decides they want Bush to be president -- so they take a slanted view on the news -- and lie -- to project George W as the winner. The head of Fox is good buddies with the Bushies. They cut a deal with their good ol boys in the SCOTUS...decide not to count the votes of black people...and go ahead and make W President even though he lost the election.

OK, folks...this is pure fiction, but at least it is funny.

What bothered me more was the fact he addressed the 9/11 terror attacks....without discussing Terrorism...or terrorists.... You see, this had nothing to do with terrorists. This was a big con, and it was all about Bush. More later...

O yeah, Iraq....I never realized what a happy, tranquil place it was before we intentionally bombed the shit out of tens of thousands of little brown-skin children. That Saddam was a pretty nice guy.

Anyway... back to the missing terrorists...

So, Bush hooks it up with his buddies in Saudi Arabia -- including Bin Laden -- got Cheney to hook up a back door deal with Halliburton...and put the master plan together.

Bin Laden kills Americans, including many minorities, while Bush would agree to hide the threat. Then, Bush would in turn let Bin Laden get away. Then, he could have an excuse to bomb Afghanistan and Iraq, so they could take all the oil money. This would flow back through Halliburtion -- or the Carlyle group we're a little confused...but somehow get back to George HW, George W, Cheney, Baker and gang. The real beauty of the deal is that they could send a bunch of poor black kids to get killed in the Middle East....in effect, getting paid to do a little Ethnic Cleansing.

It all makes sense...

So I was taking all of this in stride...already willing to discount it as absolute absurdity with no real consequence to the safety of Americans, our troops, or our political process....then a funny thing happened when the movie ended....

95+% of the packed theatre...in NW Austin...stood and applauded. Yell, screamed. "Don't forget to Vote !!" was the battle cry as they scampered out the theatre...passing others in line to say "Two Thumbs Up !!".

That was last night. I had a panic attack after that...and have since decided to say Fuck the World.

You know, the hatred of Bush is pretty widespread...and I knew this. The surprising thing is how blind and ignorant that hatred is.

This thing was transparent, guys. Either they were too Dumb to see through it, or simply didn't care about The Truth.

I do not recommend viewing. Watch Bowling for Columbine instead.

Very Sad...and Evil.


A full discussion thread follows at LM Fanzone.


Wictory Wednesday! 

18 more to go...

With the radical Left re-energized over Fahrenheit 9/11, we on the Right must do the same. Now is the time to donate to, or volunteer with, the Bush campaign.

The Wictory Wednesday blogroll is growing, too, so if you haven't checked that in a while, scroll down to see what you're missing out on.


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Augie Garrido and 2nd Place 

This whole post-CWS debacle has gotten out of hand. Everyone around the country now sees fit to bash Augie Garrido and Texas for not taking part in some made-for-ESPN second place ceremony.

Stop it.

I don't recall Bob Stoops' Oklahoma Sooners going back out to the Sugar Bowl field for any lame runners-up presentation. John Fox and the Panthers didn't take the stage after the Super Bowl, either.

But now Garrido is "classless" because his team, which lost in heartbreaking fashion, chose to remain in the locker room, rather that take away from Cal State-Fullerton's moment in the spotlight. It's crap, and everyone that perpetuates this ignorant opinion is full of crap.

Texas lost. They had no business on the field after the game. CSF fans didn't want to see Texas get a trophy. I don't think Texas fans did either. Besides, Garrido was told that returning to the field was optional. And even if it wasn't, it's ridiculous to ask 25 kids, who have just had their hearts ripped out, to go back out to the field. No other sport does it. Why should college baseball be an exception?

This entire episode is nothing more than a chance for (a) The self-appointed, self-righteous "class police" to make a hubbub by singling out someone else for their alleged shortcomings, and (b) Texas-haters (and there are a lot) to get in a few pot-shots at the UT program. Both instances prove only that the finger-pointers are truly the ones that lack said class.


Reaching Out to African-Americans 

Star Parker, president of CURE, Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education, offers this advice on how Republicans can win over the Black vote: Use the Black church.

Nationwide, there are 65,000 black churches, with more than 20 million members and $50 billion in revenues. Republicans need to build on this base, already with Bush on social issues, and help blacks make the logical connection between their faith and the importance of individual freedom and personal responsibility.
The Democratic Party perpetuates its Black support by preaching fear and playing racial emotion to their favor, and they do a great job of it. The GOP faces a daunting task if they hope to ever change that. Parker suggests the best avenue that I've seen yet.



I'm hesitant to label this week's series with Chcago as a "must win." Houston certainly needs to win, but would dropping two-of-three signal the death knell of the 2004 season? Probably not, since they sit just two games back in the Wild Card race.

Nevertheless, if the Astros want to step us as a true contender, they have to start some sort of a winning streak at some point. Maybe it's tonight. A solid showing against the Cubbies, before hosting Texas in the "We're not Rivals" finale this weekend, would give Houston fans confidence in the team's ability to turn things around in July.

We'll see. Stain predicts a 2-1 Astros win. I'm recusing myself from making any predictions. Pitching matchups look as such:

Tuesday Andy Pettitte (4-1, 3.46) v. Glendon Rusch (4-1, 4.15)
Wednesday Roger Clemens (10-2, 2.73) v. Matt Clement (7-6, 2.98)
Thursday Wade Miller (7-7, 3.35) v. Mark Prior (2-1, 3.28)

At a glance it appears that Houston's first two games look more winnable than the rubber game. But Whitey has pitched well in his last four outings. With Carlos Beltran in the mix, maybe Houston can score enough runs to complement the three quality starts we're all hoping that we get. Again, we'll see. I'm feeling a faint tingle of confidence, but that could be post-Mongolian BBQ heartburn.


INsite: The Pregame Tailgate (July 2004) 

The Pregame Tailgate
by Andrew Fox

I’m looking at my calendar right now and it has me puzzled. We just entered July this week, right?
The Texas Rangers own first place in the American League West, so surely we can’t be any further into 2004 than mid-April. At the same time, the Houston Astros’ recent swoon tells me that late September must have already arrived.
I think the Detroit Pistons just won the NBA title, too. Does that mean we actually hit a time warp back to the late 1980s? It’s all confusing.
Sorry TPT fans, 2004’s craziness has left me too scatterbrained to pen a coherent column this month. You’re going to have to settle for some random thoughts.

-I think I know why Augie Garrido’s baseball squad lost in the CWS finale. Mack Brown obviously had their food poisoned. It makes perfect sense: The Tobacco Road Con Man couldn’t stand the thought of another Garrido title, which would obviously accentuate Brown’s shortcomings on the gridiron, and he ensured that it didn’t happen. Now when OU spanks Texas in October, Brown can lament, “Texas baseball was the best team in the country, and they lost, too.”

-Does anyone in Austin actually give the Horns a chance to win in Dallas this season? When I buy NCAA 2005 this month, I’m fully expecting the Dynasty mode to automatically proclaim OU the winner in that game. If Electronic Arts wanted to make a realistic game, they’d create a feature that would blast “Boomer Sooner” as soon as you try to play OU with Texas. Instead of the game, you’d pull up a screen with the entire OU team giving the Horns down hand sign, while flashing “WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU” in bold letters.

-One of the actual NCAA 2005 features allows gamers to create signs for their fans. I really hope that it doesn’t have a profanity filter.

-Madden 2005 is also due out soon. It will include a new detailed storyline feature. Gamers will have to deal with realistic scenarios involving players. I suppose that means that Keyshawn Johnson will complain about his playing time, Kyle Turley will randomly start on-field fights, and Ricky Williams will fail a drug test or four.

-Speaking of Ricky, the shaved head just doesn’t look right on him.

-My friends and I have decided to make special T-shirts when we travel to Boulder for the Colorado game. We’ve narrowed the designs to either “No Means No” or “I’m a CU Football Recruit.” I’m thinking that either one will put us in equal danger.

-The Major League All-Star game visits Houston this month. I remember when Astros fans thought that it would serve as a prelude to the World Series. I also remember when Howard Dean was the Democratic front-runner. Which notion seems sillier now?

-I’m not really sure when Sportscenter jumped the shark, but I’m positive that Stuart Scott deserves all of the blame.

-I hear that the United States soccer team has made its way into the FIFA top ten. Something tells me this is karma for all of the Euros that have found their way to the NBA. America dominating that worthless continent would go a long way toward turning me into a soccer fan.

-This past month, America lost a very special part of its history. I’m talking about the Longhorn FanZone, which shut down after a four-year run as one of the Internet’s most popular Texas fan sites. Its owner, Bob Wheeler, mysteriously disappeared last fall, and the site had gone severely downhill since, but I still felt a tinge of sadness to see it die.

-Does anyone else think that Peter Gammons deserves a royalty every time the U.S. Government prints a $20 bill?

-Chris Simms could be the opening day starter in Tampa Bay this season. I would think that John Gruden consulted the schedule before even contemplating that decision. Fortunately for Simms and the Bucs, if he does end up starting, Tampa does not make any road trips to Dallas this year.


Morning Sports Shorts 6/29 

WWE's Brock Lesnar to the NFL?: I don't know a lot about Lesnar, but I've seen him a few times, and he's a brick wall. It might be too late to learn football fundamentals, but he's got the athletic ability to compete. Imagine Lesnar going head-to-head with Kyle Turley. Maybe the WWE could lend an extra referee for that confrontation.

Missing: NC trophies: I thought it was usually just the Tallahassee Dillard's and Foot Locker that saw merchandise get swiped. If Florida State wants to prevent this type of theft in the future, they should hire Mack Brown. I can guarantee he'll provide no trophies to steal.

Best NFL RB?: This head-to-head pits Priest Holmes against LaDainian Tomlinson. It's almost a "Coke or Pepsi" argument. When your team is as bad as San Diego, though, it really doesn't matter how well your guy runs the ball.

No trade for Dirk: Straight from the horse's mouth: "And while we are on the topic of fantasy masquerading as fact, let me set everyone straight. The Mavs will not trade Dirk. We have never discussed a trade with Dirk or Steve for that matter."

Al Gore's lawyers are ready: The NL All-Star voting at SS is coming down to the wire. The Cardinals' Edgar Renteria leads Houston's Adam Everett by six votes with two days left in the balloting. This would really seem more appropriate if a Marlin or Devil Ray were involved. Go vote for Adam!


Monday, June 28, 2004

Back Home From Omaha 

So Texas did not win the CWS after all. There have been greater tragedies in the world, so I'm not too upset. Besides, The Sports Guy clearly states the rule for fans of championship teams:

12. After your team wins a championship, they immediately get a five-year grace period: You can't complain about anything that happens with your team (trades, draft picks, salary-cap cuts, coaching moves) for five years. There are no exceptions. For instance, the Pats could finish 0-80 over the next five years and I wouldn't say a peep. That's just the way it is. You win the Super Bowl, you go on cruise control for five years. Everything else is gravy.
I assume it holds true for college baseball.

Anyway, catching up has been a pain, and it might be another day or two before I resume my normal blogging routine. In my absence, I have to thank Matt for picking up the slack. He did a great job with the Astros-Rangers series (and I have to say that I feel very out-of-the-loop with the Stros right now) and everything else.


Saturday, June 26, 2004

Rangers/Astros Game One 

We might elevate sports way too much in this country, but if there is such a thing as a sports figure being heroic, Kenny Rogers was just that in the Rangers' 3-1 win over the Astros on Friday night.

With the bullpen depleted from the 18 inning game the day before, Rogers went out and didn't even let the bullpen warm one person up as he threw less than 100 pitches and allowed only 3 hits in his second complete game of the year.

New Astro Carlos Beltran went 2-4 with a double.


Friday, June 25, 2004

Bill Simmons' NBA Draft Diary 

Bill Simmons gives us his annual NBA Draft diary. This time from a suite in the Ritz Carlton Boston with his father.

Some highlights:

Possible No. 1 pick Dwight Howard on his changing fortunes: "I went from an '84 Crown Victoria that only goes up to 84 miles an hour to a new BMW that goes up to 160." Wow. You can almost hear the Orlando front office screaming, "Change of plans! Change of plans! Get Okafor on the phone!"

7:45 -- Charlotte can't take Okafor fast enough. Seriously, I'm not sure they even started the clock. They borrowed Dwight Howard's car and raced to the podium at 160 mph.

7:53 -- When it comes right down to it, there isn't a more secretly exciting phrase in sports than "The Clippers are on the clock." That's right up there with, "I'm here with Mike Tyson" and "Have you seen these pictures of Latrell Sprewell on his yacht?"

8:30 -- Dick Vitale uses the phrase "flat-out" three times in less than a minute, followed by an life-altering split-screen argument between Vitale and Stephen A. Smith. If you missed it, you can see a continuous replay of this moment on the new ESPN channel, ESPN 666.

8:45 -- My dad's take on Stephen A.: "I feel like I'm being yelled at."

8:56 -- With the Celtics on the clock, ESPN runs footage of the Johnson-Brown-Forte picks from 2001 just to torture me. Thanks, guys. You forgot to show Lenny Bias trying on the green Celtics hat. I feel sick.

9:10 -- Not only is Bilas now refusing to use verbs, my dad just called Al Jefferson "Al Harrington" for the third time tonight. Things are heating up.

9:33 -- Utah takes 7-foot-5 Pavel Prdzswsbqzpdne, who stands up and immediately whiffs on two high-fives. Not a good start for the Pavel Era. Katz calls it a "safe pick." Of course, the USA Today's scouting report mentioned that Pavel "takes medication for a hormonal disorder related to pituitary gland." I don't know if "safe" was the best choice of words, not after the Gheorge Muresan Era and Giant Gonzalez's wrestling career. Jacko quickly jokes, "Must improve: Genetic deficiency."

9:53 -- Not only is Nelson headed to Orlando, but Utah trades Pavel to Dallas for a future first-rounder and the rights to Pavel's royalties from "My Giant 2."

(All right, I'll ask: What's the point of picking someone at No. 21, then trading him to a 50-win team that's about to get Shaq? So you can move backwards 8-to-10 spots in any of the next five drafts? Did Elgin Baylor consult them on this trade?)

Greatness as always.


The New York Times renamed The Waffle Times? 

Just like their favorite presidential candidate.

Andrew McCarthy points out the hypocrisy of the newspaper, which last week in an editorial told us:

As for Iraq, the commission's staff said its investigation showed that the government of Mr. Hussein had rebuffed or ignored requests from Qaeda leaders for help in the 1990's, a conclusion that directly contradicts a series of public statements President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney made before and after last year's invasion of Iraq in justifying the war.

But this week tells us:

Mr. bin Laden's organization" (more on that below) regarding the possibility of joint efforts against the Saudi regime, which was then hosting U.S. forces. To be clear, the document records that it was Iraq which initiated the contacts, and that bin Laden finally agreed to discuss cooperation only after having spurned previous overtures because he "had some reservations about being labeled an Iraqi operative.

Emphasis added.

Well worth the read.


The Eyes of Texas are Upon Omaha 

The matchups are set as the Longhorns will face Cal-State Fullerton for the national championship in a best of three series that starts Saturday night at 6 PM.

Fullerton, of course, is Augie Garrido's former team.


The Silver Boot Duel: Part I 

The hated Houston Astros visit Ameriquest Field in Arlington this weekend, as the Rangers and Astros revisit their storied rivalry once again. Well, perhaps I overstated it a bit, but both teams come off exciting days for them. Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 18th inning to lead the Rangers to a sweep over the Seattle Mariners, while the Astros bolstered their postseason chances by acquiring Kansas City outfielder Carlos Beltran in a three way deal that sent Octavio Dotel and catching prospect John Buck away from H-Town.

The pitching matchups look like this:

Friday: Kenny Rogers (9-2 3.54 ERA) v. Wade Miller (7-6 3.46 ERA)
Saturday: John Wasdin (1-0 3.09 ERA) v. Tim Redding (3-6 5.27 ERA)
Sunday: Ryan Drese (4-4 3.63 ERA) v. Roy Oswalt (5-6 3.91 ERA)

The Dallas Morning News mentions that Rogers was moved up to Friday due to Thursday's extra innings game depleting the bullpen. If Rogers runs into trouble Friday night, John Wasdin will be used in relief and Ricardo Rodriguez would make his first career Rangers start Saturday night.

I think the Rangers take two out of three in this series. They are playing really well right now and play especially well at home. Beltran will a welcome addition to the Astros, but you have to wonder what their bullpen will look like now that Dotel is gone and Lidge is the closer.

UPDATE: The Astros might not be done dealing, as they are rumored to be close to acquiring Detroit Tigers closer Ugueth Urbina.

I like Urbina. He was great for the Rangers last year. You gotta wonder why the A's didn't go after him if he was available instead of trading for the shaky Dotel? Salary considerations? Urbina doesn't make that much, maybe $3-4 million for one year.


NBA Draft Thoughts 

I know by now you've probably gotten tired head from reading about the NBA Draft, but here are my quick thoughts on the draft last night:

--Orlando taking Howard and trading for Nelson is a clear indication that Tracy McGrady is gone. They are building for the future, and a future that includes those two players isn't a bad one. If Grant Hill can come back and make any impact, the Magic might not be a bad team in the next couple of years.

--How many PGs can the Chicago Bulls have?

--I like Boston's selection of Delonte West and Tony Allen late in the first round. Both are good players who are seasoned in big games. Allen is a defensive lockdown player, always good in this day and age.

--The Mavericks get Devin Harris and Pavel Podkolzine in two draft day deals. Harris I like, Podkolzine I do not. But time will tell how these players will work out, or if they even play a game in a Mavericks uniform as Shaq trade speculation continues to swirl around the team.

--Golden State taking a center at 11 tells us that Erick Dampier is indeed gone.

--Utah is testing Larry Bird's theory of more white guys being good for the NBA.

--Shaun Livingston might be the best player to come out of this draft.

--Congrats to former Longhorn Royal Ivey, who goes to Atlanta in the second round.

--The Trailblazers reached for Sebastian Telfair.

--Please give the draft back to TNT. I'm begging you.


Thursday, June 24, 2004

A Few Thoughts.. 

...before I turn in for the night. In a little less than seven hours I'll board a flight for Omaha, Neb., for two of my best friends' wedding. Hopefully I can make it to the CWS while I'm there. Anyway, I'm out on blogging this weekend, but hopefully Matt can pick up the slack with the Lone Star Series up in Arlington.

- A month or so ago, I mentioned the correlation between my missing Astros games to attend Bible Study and Houston winning those games. Well I think my missing Astros games to play softball has a negative correlation. But TD Sanchez wins again!

- Today's 7-6 Texas win over Georgia was quite possibly the best -- and most nerve-wracking -- baseball game I've ever seen (that my team won, anyway).

- Despite the Houston loss tonight, I think that the Houston-Texas MLB series this weekend should be a good one. I haven't looked at the matchups, so no prediction, except to say that it will probably wind up 2-1 either way.

- Carlos Beltran would look great in Brick and Sand.

- I hate flying.


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

More on Free Speech 

Legislation prohibiting indecent speech on the radio and network airwaves is a step closer to becoming law. Jeff Jarvis feels that we've started down a slippery slope that might ultimately prohibit any form of indecency (which is subjectively defined, as he points out, by unelected officials) in any form of media.

Other radio and TV stars and stations should have been mobilizing their listeners to make their voices heard in Congress and the FCC, to make them scared of this Smart Mob. But they didn't because it was happening to Stern and they don't like Stern and they were afraid of the Dumb Mob.

Cable networks should have protested and lobbied but instead, they stood by because it was another medium, it was only radio, and they kept their heads down because they are afraid they're next. They are.

Newspaper editors should have been writing editorials protesting this government invasion of free speech because they live by the First Amendment every day; they of all people should be the First Amendment's greatest defenders. But they stood by because it's only radio and only Stern and they're snots.

Internet creators -- you, me, anybody who publishes content on the Internet -- should have protested loudly and organized our opposition for fear that they will come after us next. And they will. Mark my words: The rationale that is used to go after radio and TV will be used to go after cable and satellite and the Internet because, hey, they all go into the home. A few of us protested and suffered attacks for it but too many remained silent.
I'm not fully buying into his "the sky is falling" mentality. He frequently cites Howard Stern in his examples on this subject, and frankly, I couldn't care less about the plight of Howard Stern. Yes, I believe that free speech should be protected. But free speech doesn't give a hack like Stern the right to go on the radio each morning and broadcast his lewd, peurile shtick to any kid with a radio, without any guidelines for what is and is not acceptable. Broadcasts should be subjected to standards the same as anything else. I will agree with Jarvis, however, that the consequences for indecent content are much too stiff.


Morning Sports Shorts 

Melo to Greece: I can't blame a lot of NBA stars for not wanting to put themselves at risk in Athens. But I'm glad to see Anthony added to the squad.

Rudy T to LA?: "Never underestimate the heart of a champion." If anyone can find the pulse in LA's fractured organization, then Rudy T is that guy.

Texas-Fullerton in CWS?: The Horns and Titans are each one step away from the best-of-three Championship series. Standing in their respective ways are the last two hopes from the SEC, Georgia and Sotuh Carolina. Interesting sidenote: Texas and South carolina have now both advanced to three consecutive CWS Semi-Finals.

Sports Talk sucks: CNNSI's Jeff Pearlman vents about the inanity of most Sports Radio shows. I would agree with most of his comments, but this one made me roll my eyes: "To any scribe with half a brain, sports talk radio is Satan's spawn." Give me a break -- those poor sportswriters. Most sportswriters are wannabe athletes, who use their status to rail on actual athletes. Every time I see one rip a team or a player, it makes me think that the writer was the kid that used to get picked last on the playground, and now he takes out his frustrations on the rest of the sports world with his keyboard.

A&M might turn things around: I'm not buying it, but Stewart Mandel seems to think that the Aggies could bounce back this season. I remember last year, when everyone in the media hailed Dennis Franchione's hiring as the death knell to Mack Brown's Lone Star dominance. It didn't happen then, it's not happening this year, and I don't ever see it happening. Fran is just not that great of a coach.


Wictory Wednesday! 

19 to go...

It's Wictory Wednesday, which means that once again, I'm asking all of my readers to help fight the forces of Kerryism in America.

Please head over to the official B/C'04 site to donate or volunteer. And don't forget about the Wictory Wednesday blogroll over in the sidebar. The President's numbers are looking better in recent days, and we can all help continue this momentum.


Freedom of Speech/Moving Right 

Great read via Instapundit: High School student Bryan Henderson details his struggle for free speech at school.

On a unrelated note, Glenn Reynolds also includes a quick review of The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America , a book that he's currently reading.

I'm somewhat skeptical of their thesis, which is that America is moving almost inexorably rightward. There's lots of interesting stuff, though, and I suspect that they're right that Democrats are desperately afraid that this Presidential election might be their last chance to avoid a long term Republican ascendance.
While I think that would be a mostly good thing for our country, I just don't see that as the case. Looks like I'll be headed to the bookstore upon my return from Omaha this weekend. If any readers have read it, I'd like to hear your thoughts.


The Problem with the Anti-War Crowd 

As I'm going through my second reading of John Miller's The Cell, I was struck by a few observations that I'll try to write down here as I go along in the next few days/weeks.

Many of those that oppose the Iraqi war do so because of no visible connection between the events of 9/11/01 and the Iraqi government.

They miss the point.

9/11 was one small part of a larger global war. We have been at war with radical Islam for nearly 20 years now, really ever since Osama bin Laden's army kicked the Soviets out of Afghanistan.

Many think that this new war on terror began on 9/11. That was just a manifestation of this war, an awakening for many in this country to the threat of Al-Qaida. What was one of the first things you heard on that fateful day?

This was the first attack by a foreign terrorist on U.S. soil.


How quickly we forget the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed 6 people.

The very same building but truth be told, by the time 9/11 occurred, not many would even remember 1993.

Then you have the bombing of the USS Cole, a mere 11 months before 9/11. Again, sadly enough for many Americans it didn't even register on their radar.

Marine barracks. African embassies. Pan Am Flight 103. The Khobar Towers. Ramzi Yousef's plan to simultaneously blow up American airliners in mid-air.

Twenty years of terrorism against this country, but many want you to forget all of that and only use participation in the 9/11 plot as justification for military action or diplomatic pressure from here on out.

This isn't a movie. You don't have a clean beginning and a clean end. No, there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government took part in 9/11. But who cares? There is evidence out there that Al-Qaida and Iraq have connections. Saddam Hussein gave money to families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Is it really inconceivable that someone with such a hatred of America facilitated any one of these attacks? Or gave input on them?

Why should we have fought the Germans in WWII? After all, it was Japan that attacked us?

I think it is inherent in our Western culture (or perhaps this is a new phenomenon) that everything must be in black or white. But unfortunately in this new war on faceless enemies, shades of gray are the rule. 9/11 was a terrible event in this nation's history, but it was far from the beginning and is far from the end. Hopefully what it turns out to be as history runs it's course is a turning point.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Random Thoughts Rangers/Mariners 

Kevin, an esteemed member of the FoLM, and I took in the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners game at Ameriquest Field tonight.

Some random thoughts:

--Yes, folks, your Texas Rangers are in first place in late June. This time last year? 20 games out give or take a game.

--Did Rod Barajas find a tree that had been struck by lightning and use the wood for a bat? He hit his 10th home run of the year tonight...he had 3 all of last year.

--A 10-2 game that ends in 2 hours and 27 minutes. Not bad.

--David Dellucci doesn't use The Godfather music anymore. Boo.

--Lady behind me: "He's the designated hitter because he's the best hitter, right?"

--Last year Ryan Drese was a nominee for the worst Rangers pitcher ever, which is a tough field already. This year the guy is showing he can be a strong #2 starter in this league. Kudos to him.

--My All-Star ballot (which I left on the ground): AL: C: Jason Varitek; 1B: Carlos Delgado (I know he's hurt, but he's still the best); 2B: Alfonso Soriano; 3B: Hank Blalock; SS: Michael Young; OF: Vlad Guererro, Jermaine Dye, Manny Ramirez

NL: C: Mike Piazza (doesn't he play 1B now?) 1B: Albert Pujols; 2B: Luis Castillo; 3B: Scott Rolen; SS: Edgar Renteria; OF: Miguel Cabrera, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr.

--I hated the Rangers alternate uniforms when I first saw them, but like them now.

--It's still hard to beat a night at the park with a beer and some nachos.


Astros-Pirates 6/16 

Roy O is getting squeezed like like fresh Minute Maid OJ tonight. I missed the umpire lineup, but whoever it is behind that plate, he's not giving anything around the outside corner.

As a result, Pittsburgh erased a 2-0 deficit in the 3rd, and they now lead 3-2 heading into the 4th. As per usual, Houston's having trouble driving in baserunners.

Clutch hitting? You're kidding

Morgan Ensberg picks up a two-run triple with two outs in the 7th, atoning for the inning-ending double play he grounded into in the 2nd. Astros lead 5-3 heading into the 9th. Three more outs and they can start thinking about a possible sweep.


Astros play-by-play announcer Bill Brown: "Brad Lidge has gone 14 1/3 scoreless innings."

Pittsburgh LF Jason Bay: HR into the Crawford Boxes to end that scoreless streak, not 15 seconds later.

Thanks, Bill. Fortunately, Brad Lidge sets the next three hitters down to save a 5-4 Houston win.

Roy-O settles down

After the rough 3rd (4H, 3ER), Roy only gave up three more hits the rest of the way. He climbs back within a game of .500 with the win (5-6, 8IP 9H 3ER 0BB 5K). I think that he pitched well, even with the big inning. Because he couldn't get the call on the corner, he was trying to come back inside and the Pirates hitters teed off. Roy kept his composure to shut down the Bucs the rest of the way.

Looking ahead

Houston has a chance to extend a winning streak to four games for the first time in more than a month. The Astros move back into a tie for fourth in the division, and they're just four games out of first.

We've still got a long way to go, but for the first time in a few weeks, the sun has poked its head through those charcoal clouds.


Al Qaeda and Saddam 

It's "put up or shut up" time for the Bush Administration, one WaPo columnist writes, in regard to pre 9/11 links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.

But as Glenn Reynolds points out, everytime someone "puts up," it's Big Media that promptly "shuts up." He references two sources. The first link mentions a former Hussein officer, who apparently doubled as "a very prominent member of al Qaida." The second one includes quotes from 9/11 Commissioners, which have largely gone ignored.

Here's the problem: the Left, and most major media outlets, don't want to recognize any links between Saddam and Al Qaeda, UNLESS they specifically show that Saddam helped orchestrate 9/11. The mere fact that the two bodies worked in conjecture on any other plots, or had plans to develop subsequent attacks against American interests or the American mainland, don't seem as important to them.


Why Do I Blog? 

I found this link from Lorie at PoliPundit. La Shawn Barber asks her readers, "why do you blog?," and they respond. (more response)

I started blogging as a way to supplement my monthly writing at INsite Magazine. I enjoy writing for INsite, but it doesn't reach a lot of readers, and as an entertainment magazine, it doesn't allow me to comment on politics.

I realize that my catch-all blog is no Instapundit or the like, but hey, I'm still fairly new to all of this. I'm not sure what I'm going to do, though, once baseball season ends. My Astros content accounts for a sizeable portion of my entries. We should have some interesting football writing this Fall, as well as more election coverage, so hopefully it will keep us busy.


My Last Words on Fahrenheit 9/11 

...at least until I see the film (IF I see the film).

Columnist Christopher Hitchens writes an extensive critique of Michael Moore's project at Slate.com.

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.
It's a lengthy read, but if you have plans to see the film, then I would urge you to the piece before venturing to the theater, or least to read it afterwards.


Morning Sports Shorts 6/22 

T-Mac to H-Town?: A decade ago, Orlando gift-wrapped an NBA title for the Rockets. I'm not sure that acquiring McGrady from the Magic accomplishes that much... yet. But count Houston among the West's contenders. Memo to Greg Popovich: it might be time to think about making a deal, especially with the persistant Shaq-to-Dallas rumors, or else your Texas dominance could come to an end.

Gammons talks trades: Zito to Texas? Texiera and Cordero to Oakland? This doesn't appear to be anything more than a list of trades that would make sense. But if there's really something there, then Ranger fans would have to like that deal.

NL All-Star Voting: The only real race is at SS. Houston's Adam Everett sees his lead slip since the last update. St. Louis' Edgar Renteria might catch him. But the real intrigue here is: how does the NL cut their field to just four Home Run Derby participants. Their squad includes Bonds, Griffey, Sosa, Piazza, Rolen and Pujols. They might just turn the actual game into Home Run Derby.

Nantz to the Booth: Coming in 2007 to CBS... Super Bowl XLII, a Tradition Like None Other.

No crying in golf: CNNSI's Pete McEntegart wishes PGA pros would stop whining about Shinnecock's "unfair" course. Normally I'd agree that millionaires should shut up and play the game. But Sunday's U.S. Open finale was the most absurd golf spectacle since Jan Van de Velde triple-bogeyed his way to British Open immortality in 1999. There's tough, and then there's insane. Shinnecock was the latter.


Monday, June 21, 2004

Affleck Wins Poker Championship 

Back in high school, our freshman squad once played an opponent that sent a girl to the plate in the last inning. Though we led by at least ten runs, our pitcher threw his best stuff and struck her out. He said he couldn't imagine how embarrassed he'd have been, had he given up a hit to a girl.

The poker pros in this past weekend's 2004 California State Poker Championship probably know what our pitcher would have felt like. They didn't give up any base hits to girls, but they let the former Mr. Jennifer Lopez, actor Ben Affleck walk away with the $356K first place prize.

I guess he bluffs better than he acts.



The time is now, Astros fans. I'm making the bold prediction that Houston's four-game set with Pittsburgh will make or break the rest of the season. Anything less than three wins will signal the death knell of Astros baseball in 2004.

After a weekend series win against Anaheim, hopefully the guys have put their losing ways behind them. And with the All Star game fast approaching, now would be a great point to run off some wins. Houston's favorable pitching match-ups have me confident that they can grab momentum heading into this weekend's non-rivalry with Texas.

Monday Josh Fogg (4-5, 6.57) v. Tim Redding (3-6, 5.00)
Tuesday Kris Benson (5-6, 5.00) v. Roy Oswalt (4-6, 3.95)
Wednesday Ryan Vogelsong (1-7, 7.62) v. Pete Munro (1-0, 1.69)
Thursday Sean Burnett (0-1, 4.35) v. Roger Clemens (9-2, 2.84)

On paper the Astros look as if they could sweep all four games. But I don't want to get carried away (like last week). So I predict the Stros take three of four against the Bucs, who I think have already been mathematically eliminated from NL Central contention.


Democrats Hate Bush More then Bin Laden 

From James Lileks (link via Instapundit):

For the last few weeks I’ve had this gnawing belief that bin Laden got lucky by attacking during Bush’s term. Conventional wisdom says the opposite, because Bush fought back. But he’s the enemy now. I ask my Democrat friends what they’d rather see happen – Bush reelected and bin Laden caught, or Bush defeated and bin Laden still in the wind. They’re all honest: they’d rather see Bush defeated. (They’re quick to insist that they’d want Kerry to get bin Laden ASAP. Although the details are sketchy.) Of course this doesn't mean they're unpatriotic, etc., obligatory disclaimers, et cetera. But let's be honest. People are coming up with websites that demonstrate ingenious technology for spraying anti-Bush slogans on the sidewalks; it would be nice if they sprayed "DEFEAT TERRORISM" or "STOP AL QAEDA" now and then. Wouldn't it?
I'd say that Lilek's makes a reaching generalization, but I don't think that's necessarily the case. A friend of mine had his car vandalized twice, simply for having a Bush sticker. On one occasion, someone ripped half of it off. The other time, an "International Terrorist" sticker was placed just below the B/C'04 sticker. Most of those on the left really have a burning hatred of President Bush. And why is that? He wasn't hated in Texas like that, even by the hard-core lefties. I get the feeling that any Republican these days is going to get the same treatment from the loony Left.


Morning Sports Shorts 6/21 

Junior reaches 500: And baseball's collective fanbase breathes a sigh of relief. Griffey's pursuit of HR immortality has dominated sports coverage for a few weeks now, much to the chagrin of those like myself. Hopefully Greg Maddux will hit a dry spell soon, giving us a few weeks off before the "Maddux chases 300 wins" fervor heats up.

No SEC-cess in Omaha: Considering how much Southeasterners enjoy their barbecued pork, it seems fitting that the Hogs went 2-and-BBQ in the CWS. A fellow SEC team -- either LSU or South Carolina, will join Arkansas in elimination today. I seem to remember everyone raving about the greatness of the SEC last week. 1-5 through three days doesn't sound so great.

Dungy the dad: Peter King pens a great Father's Day piece about Colts coach Tony Dungy. BTW, King's in the basement for the next month, which makes for another reason why July Mondays will suck.

USA Soccer advances: It's two years until the World Cup, but qualifying has already begun. I hear the U.S. is currently ranked No. 8 in the world. I don't really follow soccer, but I enjoy watching us stick it to the Euros and South Americans, being as their lives revolve around soccer and most us in America couldn't care less.

Goosen wins at Shinnecock: Mickleson came close to winning a second Major in a row, but Goose outlasted him. That course was insanely tough, especially on Sunday. Had Sunday's conditions (which I hear are normal) been present all weekend, no one would have finished under par.


Sunday, June 20, 2004

Rangers Sweep Marlins 

Francisco Cordero for the second time this week blew Kenny Rogers' chance at his 10th win, but it didn't matter as Hank Blalock's 2 run homer in the top of the 11th sent the Rangers back to Arlington with a 4-2 win to cap off a sweep of the world champion Marlins.

The Rangers now sit 1/2 game out of first place after the A's lost to the Cubs today. The Mariners and the Astros visit the ballpark in Arlington this week.

And Texas now holds a 9-3 record against the 3 of the 4 teams they have played from last year's championship series.


Prepare Yourselves, Mavs Nation 

Tracy McGrady and Shaquille O'Neal want to play together in Dallas, a Florida newspaper is reporting this morning.

"We talk all the time about it," McGrady told FLORIDA TODAY on Saturday. "Me and the Big Fella are trying to get to Dallas together now."

I'm cautiously optimistic about this proposed coup that the Mavericks would pull on the rest of the NBA. I think you could do both without giving up Dirk Nowitzki, but I'm not sure who you would have to give up to Orlando if you already give up Walker and Jamison to the Lakers. Possibly Steve Nash in a sign and trade?

Michael Finley's contract fits, but he also is signed for the next 4 years, not an attractive option to any team wanting to clear salaries.

Pants would fly off all around Dallas if this happens.


Friday, June 18, 2004

Ousting Saddam: A Necessary Move 

Was Saddam planning post-9/11 attacks on the United States? Russian intelligence says that he was. Glenn Reynolds covers all the bases on this new story.

Bush's strategy was preemptive, for which he was criticized at the time. And this information seems rather more significant than the 9/11 Commission's claim that it can't prove a Saddam connection to the earlier attacks. It will, however, receive far less media attention, since there's no anti-Bush angle.


Wishing I were in Omaha 

The 2004 College World Series opens today, and here I am in Austin. I should be touching down in Omaha right now, but instead I'll head there next Thursday... for a wedding. Perhaps I can squeeze in a game. We'll see.

Last year I sat in Rosenblatt Stadium when the Horns kicked off their title defense against Miami. It was an awe-inspiring experience. I've been to tons of huge Texas football games, and I saw Texas clinch a Final Four berth in a Burnt Orange sea of fans at the Alamodome two years ago. But I think that college baseball's mecca tops them all.

When Texas opens CWS play against Arkansas tonight, I won't be in Omaha, or even the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas, where I watched Texas beat Rice two years ago. Instead the venue will be Legends sports bar, which holds a history of good mojo for us. My friends and I watched Texas clinch the 2002 CWS there, and we intend to sit at the same table. I'm even wearing the same clothes.

Still, I'm a little disappointed that I won't get to visit "Little Texas" this afternoon, or mix it up with the Arkansas fans. So in the spirit of reminiscing about my favorite UT sports experience, I thought I'd post the column I wrote last July about my trip to Omaha.



The Pregame Tailgate (July 2003)

By Andrew Fox

This month we celebrate the birthday of our great nation, so I thought I’d write July’s TPT about some of the things that make our country the greatest on Earth. The following is an account of my five days in Omaha during June’s College World Series. Baseball, Beer and the pursuit of happiness – You can’t find anything more American!


3:30 PM: My friends Chris and Stephanie greet me and we proceed to DJ’s Dugout for our first round of “pops,” as the locals call them.
3:35 PM: Another round, bartender!
3:42 PM: Chalk up round three. You know where this is headed.
7:01 PM: We move to Boston’s sports bar to watch my pre-CWS pick LSU play Stanford. Oh yeah, Game Five of San Antonio-New Jersey is coming up, too. *Yawn*.
7:03 PM: Our 5-gallon “Team Pitcher” arrives and the TV on our table has the ballgame on. Only a Jessica Alba lap dance could make this better!
8:45 PM: Stanford has a 6-2 lead, and the two best teams in the NBA have combined for 63 first half points. So much for sports and for my lap dance comment. A Jessica Tandy dance would outdo these snoozers.
9:37 PM: We enter Harrah’s casino in nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa, and bad signs abound. Our blackjack dealer has a long dirty-blonde mullet and a gold chain, beers cost money, and the joint’s lone attractive girl accompanies a guy sporting a molester mustache. This place makes Shreveport look like the Bellagio.


11:30 AM: I awake to the nasty morning-after taste of beer mixed with homemade breakfast burritos, amazed that I’m not covered in vomit. My wallet tells me I broke even at Harrah’s. I don’t remember.
3:45 PM: We finally drag our hungover selves to Rosenblatt Stadium for Texas’ opener with Miami. The place is a madhouse, full of fans from, well, pretty much just Texas and LSU, though non-particpant Nebraska is well represented.
4:03 PM: We unload two reserved seats for $40 to buy three general admissions for $7 a pop – a $19 profit!
4:34 PM: Chris’ friends, stocked with coolers of Busch Light, insist that we join their tailgate. My Texas manners prevent me from declining their generosity.
5:24 PM: We head toward the stadium. Our benefactors toss us three beers apiece and tell us “good luck with the GA line.”
5:29 PM: Good luck? The GA line stands 700 deep, and admission has halted to one-in, one-out. We might have made a bad decision earlier.
5:57 PM: The same scalper that offered us a single for $60 two hours ago now asks $70 per for three tickets. My negotiating skills prove just slightly more effective than Jimmy Carter’s and $165 later we find our seats.
7:45 PM: Texas’ ongoing 10-2 rout continues a weekend of snore-fests. I need beer.
8:51 PM: ESPN cameras ignore my “canEs should Start Praying Now” sign, as Texas wins, 13-2.
9:21 PM: The nearby convenient store runs out of beer. We hurry to an overflowing McFly’s tavern, but for $3 Coors Light tallboys we brave the crowd.
11:32 PM: Time to try the Ameristar casino – fewer mullets, better looking girls, but less luck. I lose $20.


4:45 PM: South Carolina eliminates LSU. So much for my pick. We head to Chris’ parents for a Father’s Day dinner.
9:46 PM: Fullerton knocks Stanford into the loser’s bracket at the same time Chris’s dad lobs his 103rd “Texican” comment at me.
10:23 PM: San Antonio wins the NBA title. It’s my third favorite moment of the night, behind the Omaha Steaks at dinner and watching the surprisingly good Tears of the Sun – Monica Bellucci… yummy.


4:37 PM: Chris has to work, so Steph and I slam a six pack as we stake out the general admission line before Texas’ game with Rice.
4:51 PM: We find our seats, but with an hour til gametime, we return to the parking lot and Steph uses her feminine wiles to score us beers.
6:31 PM: Texas leads, 2-0. My buzz tells me we’re going to win the CWS again.
7:13 PM: We relocate to better seats, following a quick detour for more beers. Rice subsequently explodes for a 7-run inning
9:18 PM: Rice closes out Texas, 12-2, and Steph and I meet Chris to drown our disappointment over pitchers at Boston’s.
2:14 AM: I polish off the last of our beer and fall asleep watching the Sopranos. The only thing that sucks worse than Texas’ loss is Paulie Walnuts.


9:57 PM: I land in Austin and learn that Texas beats Miami to avoid elimination. I dream about a CWS title again, and smile, because while 12 months separate me from another Omaha trip, only 12 minutes separate me from another beer.



Ah yes, I return from my blogging hiatus to bring you....a preview of a series most of you don't even care about.


The Rangers enter the weekend as the best team in all of Texas, but are struggling lately after getting swept out of Cincinatti. The club catches the Marlins in the midst of a modest 2 game winning streak.

The pitching matchups:

Friday: John Wasdin (0-0 5.79 ERA) v. Brad Penny (6-4 2.62 ERA)
Saturday: Joaquin Benoit (2-2 5.76 ERA) v. Dontrelle Willis (6-3 3.33 ERA)
Sunday: Kenny Rogers (9-2 3.71 ERA) v. A.J. Burnett (0-2 6.28 ERA)

Wow. The Rangers might be lucky to win one in this series, as injuries have dealt a blow to their starting rotation. Wasdin makes his second start of the year, and somehow I don't remember his first one being as bad as his ERA indicates.



Houston and Anaheim have a weird semi-connection in the baseball cosmos. Had things worked out a little differently in 1986, the two clubs could have very well played in the World Series.

But Donnie Moore served up a two-out, two-strike homer in the 9th inning of Game Five (with the Angels leading the series 3-1 over Boston). The Sox took the series in seven. And Umpire Fred Brocklander blew a call, also in Game Five, that kept Houston from scoring the winning run and taking a 3-2 NLCS lead. NY won that series in six.

It doesn't seem like 18 years have passed since then. But they have. Anaheim exorcised their demons with a World Series two years ago. Houston's demons, though, still exist.

So that brings us to this series. Both teams enter on on the heels of a recent skid. A month ago this would have looked like a potential World Series preview. Now it looks like one team trying to right the ship, while another tries to just keep it afloat. I'm not making any predictions, though I will say that the pitching matchups should favor Houston. Too bad you still have to score to win.

Friday Kelvim Escobar (4-2, 3.27) v. Pete Munro (0-0, 2.79)
Saturday Ramon Ortiz (2-5, 5.32) v. Roger Clemens (9-1, 2.46)
Sunday Jarrod Washburn (7-3, 5.31) v. Wade Miller (6-6, 3.77)

Hopefully Houston can eke out a few W's, but I'm not sweating it. This weekend, the Stros take a backseat to the Horns. In honor of the pending sixth National Championship in Texas Longhorn baseball history, I'm concentrating my efforts on the team that doesn't fold before the flop when the stakes get high. Go Horns!


A Soldier's Words 

I found this essay on Little Green Footballs, penned by a U.S. Marine. (emphasis is mine)

I can speak with authority on the opinions of both British and American infantry in that place and at that time. Let me make this clear: at no time did anyone say or imply to any of us that we were invading Iraq to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction, nor were we there to avenge 9/11. We knew we were there for one reason: to rid the world of a tyrant, and to give Iraq back to Iraqis.

None of us had even heard those arguments for going to war until we returned, and we still don’t understand the confusion. To us, it was simple. The world needed to be rid of a man who committed mass murder of an entire people, and our country was the only one that could project that much power that far and with that kind of precision. We don’t make policy decisions: we carry them out. And none of us had the slightest doubt about how right and good our actions were.

The war was the right thing to do then, and in hindsight it was still the right thing to do. We can’t overthrow every murderous tyrant in the world, but when we can, we should. Take it from someone who was there, and who stood to lose everything. We must, and will, stay the course. We owe it to the Iraqis, and to the world.
Semper Fi, Major! God Bless our troops.


Morning Sports Shorts 6/18 

9.5 hours til the Horns roast the piggies...

Kobe in, Shaq out?: Now I'm no NBA guru, but if I would take the big man over Bryant. Shaq has reached the Finals without Kobe, but Kobe's never gotten there without Shaq. Kobe's younger, I realize, but Shaq is still the most menacing force in the league.

Rahman's return: Former heavyweight champ Hasim Rahman's third win in 99 days apparently has him back in title contention. What does it say about boxing today that Rock, who went 0-3-1 after upsetting Lennox Lewis, attains the WBA's No. One contender slot by beating up three tomato cans? I think that Glass Joe could contend in today's heavyweight ranks.

NBA Finals Q&A: Bill Simmons asks -- and answers -- the tough questions about the recently concluded NBA Finals. Remarkably, he nevers asks -- or answers -- how he stayed awake through that snoozer of a series.

Emmitt's No. 1: Is Emmitt still continuing this charade of a post-Dallas football career? The real losers in this sad story are the fourteen Cardinals fans who have to go through the annoying process of manually moving Marcell Shipp into the starter role on Madden 2005. Of course half of them will just end up creating themselves as the RB, complete with 100s across the board on the attribute levels.

Tony talks about the CWS: Tony Gwynn gives a preview of the College World Series, which starts today. He's hesitant to over-prop any specific team. C'mon Tony, it's okay to tell the truth: Texas is going to wax the field.

Delhomme gets $58 Million: Something tells me that as this became public, Jim McIlvaine called the Panther's QB to congratulate him.


Thursday, June 17, 2004

Astros-Cubs 6/17 

The Astros can't buy a break. It's bad enough that they're playing mediocre baseball lately; but it gets worse when the Cubs break open a 2-2 game with an inning-extending Texas Leaguer in the 7th. Mo Alou's lazy, two-out pop-up fell between three Astros, and with no need to tag, Corey Patterson scored easily from second. Alou later scored.

Six outs from a sweep.

Break out the brooms

Three outs away.

The Stros are about to endure their second four-game sweep in a month (The Reds did the deed in Cincy a month ago). The last time Chicago swept a four-game set in Houston, yours truly was just a blip on a sonogram. How fitting. Houston's season right now is just a blip on an EKG, in serious fanger of flatlining.

Wise words from a not-usually-wise man:

"Astros right now are on the respirator." - Bill Worrell

Do not go gently into that good night

Berkman doubles, Jason Lane homers, but Houston loses 5-4. Hey, did I see a RFer go deep? Wow. For some odd reason, though, I miss Dalgy.



Jeff Jarvis looks at the political biases of various forms of media/entertainment.

He's on target with most of his analysis. I disagree, however, with his thoughts on television:

TV -- outside of the news (let's not get into that), isn't TV rather apolitical? Oh, sure, there's your random anti-Reagan miniseries and the message snuck in here and there. But I think this will be the next frontier of political entertainment. See Al Gore's new network. It won't be as overtly political as Air America, they say, but it will have a world view, of course. And I'll be you'll see some efforts to create the Norman Lear or the anti-Lear in politically hued sitcoms and dramas.
Television leans left without a doubt. Murphy Brown, Ellen, The West Wing -- you're never going to see critics assail them for pushing right-wing ideas. And then there's MTV -- the bastion of liberal propoganda, as well as the Left's agenda-setter for today's youth -- which is a category all by itself. I can think of one show, 7th Heaven, that regularly displays Conservative values, but it's buried in the trash heap that is the WB. TV, as Jarvis says, can be "apolitical" to a degree, but it's certainly not devoid of politics, and when agendas start creeping into programming, they're almost always of the liberal persuasion.


Electoral College Watch 

I haven't looked at this in a while, but here are the latest projections from the three sites that I've been watching over the past six months. Remember that each site has different methods for determining their projections, as well as what constitutes a "toss-up."

Scott Elliot: Kerry 210, Bush 159(toss-ups: 16 states; 169 EV)

Federal Review: Kerry 227, Bush 222 (toss-ups: 7 states; 89 EV)

Gerry Dale: Bush 249, Kerry 221 (toss-ups: 6 states; 68 EV)

As you can see, this can easily go either way. Terry Neal, WaPo's Chief Political Correspondent says just that in his latest mailbag:

You all might find this interesting. Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, has done a state-by-state analysis and concluded that if the election were held today, Kerry would win the Electoral College by 274 to Bush's 264.
But he cautions:
"1. This is CLOSE. Anyone who believes that the election could not go either way is too partisan to be helped.
"2. A June map is NOT predictive of the November results. The world will turn over several times between now and Election Day (137 times, to be exact).
"3. While the electoral total is a squeaker today, we caution that the November results may not be nearly as tight. This election could break clearly in one direction come fall, or even (as in 1980) during the last week of the campaign because of late-unfolding events..."
Neal also says that, despite some people's insistence upon Bush changing his running mate, the President fully intends to keep VP Cheney on the 2004 ticket. I'd personally love to see a Condi Rice or JC Watts ride shotgun with President Bush. Maybe we'll see one of the two -- or maybe even both -- wage their own Presidential bids in the future.


9/11 Panel: Air Defense Faltered 

The 9/11 Commission issued a report today, which says, among other things, that Vice President Cheney's orders to shoot down hijacked aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001, came too late to do any good.

I can't imagine what the reaction would have been, had U.S. fighter jets destroyed those planes.


Terrorists: Michael Moore Fans? 

Maybe Michael Moore doesn't hate America. But some of his newest fans most certainly do.


Dalgy Traded to NY 

I'm a little sad to see Richard Hidalgo head to the Mets.

After a promising 2000, the Astros RFer slumped in 01 and 02, before putting together a quality 2003 campaign. But after a hot start this year, he's done little since April, and his recent demotion signaled a likely end to his Houston tenure.

I had hoped that Dalgy would continue to produce the way he did last year, but he simply hasn't. And with the Stros dropping 20 of their last 32 games, this change was almost imminent.

I'll miss Richard's bat (oh let us remember the good times) and I'll really miss watching that cannon throw runners out from deep right field. Best of luck in NY, Dalgy!

Lots of discussion at OWA. I'm not sure where the Astros go from here. We pick up RP David Weathers, but our OF, from a fielding standpoint, just lost its only bright spot.


Astros-Cubs 6/16 

I watched about three innings of the game last night before I left to go play softball (more on that later). Houston was ahead, 1-0, when I turned off the TV, but I wasn't shocked to later find out that they lost, 4-1.

Since I saw relatively nothing, I'll say relatively nothing, except that it looks like Tim Redding had a good start.

Astro in Exile, who is obviously less squeamish than myself, has poured through the Houston Chronicle's doomsday coverage, and has some commentary worth checking out. Oh, and like Tina Turner, Throws Like a Girl's breakup with the Astros was short-lived.


While most Astros fans endured more disappointment last night, my softball team, TD Sanchez, doled it out. We began the second round of Summer I play with a 3-1 record, facing the Regulators, whom we defeated 24-8 last time out.

Sanchez started slow, and we found ourselves trailing 5-4 after three innings. Where were our bats? What was going on? We weren't playing like the team that averaged 19 runs a game in the first half of the season.

Then we clicked. The bats woke up and we put an 11-spot on the board in the top of the 4th. The Regulators went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning, and we responded with six more runs in the 5th. Because of the run rule, we just needed to hold them to fewer than two runs in the 5th to end the game. But, those Regulators are wily. They scored five runs, prolonging the game by one more inning.

That brings us to the top of the 6th. Yours truly leads off, with a 22-10 lead. Now, I've been slumping lately -- maybe it's because I always wear my Stros hat during games. But dating to last game, I'm 0-for-my-last-6, and in softball, that's a Dalgy-esque slump. So you could say that I was due, and even to get the mojo going, I switched to a thicker-barrell bat.

I stepped to the plate, dug in, and took my to practice cuts. Then I settled into my stance -- a modified Craig Biggio hands-up, bat-high, with a little bit of a Gary Sheffield waggle. And the pitcher put one right in my wheelhouse. I smacked that thing about five feet short of the fence, and by the time the LF got there, I was standing on third with my first softball triple.

Now I have no power and no speed, but the stars obviously aligned and God, sympathetic to my plight as a disgruntled Astros fan, showered his grace upon me. I felt like Ozzie Smith in the 85 NLCS. We ended up winning 26-12, and my recent hitting woes seemed like forever ago.

Now if the Astros could just figure out how to hit.


Morning Sports Shorts 6/17 

Now he gives the ball back: 28-year old Matt Starr has decided to give up the now-infamous foul ball that he caught at Sunday's Ranger game. I felt bad at first for the little kid that Starr kneed as he went for the ball, but this story has long jumped the shark. Seriously, 14 years from now, all the memorabilia he's received will be worth enough to pay for a semester of college (or at least the books).

Buffalo ranks 3rd-most tortured: ESPN's countdown of tortured sports cities places Buffalo at No. 3. Tortured? I'd say they're more bitter than tortured. In the Fall of 1999, a good 3-4 months after the Stanley Cup finals, I was visiting a friend, who apparently lived in the same complex as a displaced Buffalo resident. He had a Bills flag flying from his apartment, and in the window there was a huge sign with a simple message: "No Goal!". Let it go, man.

Jackson's return to LA slim: CNNSI's Jack McCallum says that Kurt Rambis might man the Lakers bench next year. I always loved Rambis and his cult following back in the 80s. As for Jackson? Who knows. Most Lakers fans probably worry more about Kobe, who McCallum speculates could head to the Big Apple, fulfilling David Stern's ultimate wet dream. I'd just as soon see him tearing up the Colorado Penal League.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The U.S. Open 

The U.S. Open starts tomorrow at Shinnecock Hills in New York. Shinnecock plays a lot like a British Open course, according to the golf gurus out there, and anything right around par should be in contention this weekend.

Tiger Woods' last major victory came in the 2002 U.S. Open, at New York's Bethpage Park. As always, he'll be among the favorites. Though he's gone seven majors without a win, he seems confident:

As far as seven majors without one, yeah, it's a long time concerning the fact that I was winning there, it seemed like just about every other one, but at least I've been in contention. If I was not in contention those seven major championships, I would not be happy at all. I had a chance to win two of them. I felt like I had a great chance to win two of them, and I've been in there with a chance going into the weekend at just about every one, so it's just a matter of putting all four rounds together.
I feel compelled to pick Tiger, because he's going to win again at some point, and he's played well lately. But that's such an obvious pick. Instead, I offer my Top Five (lines according to MSNBC, which lists Tiger at 5:1):

Ernie Els 8:1
Padraig Harrington 25:1
Darren Clarke 30:1
Chad Campbell 40:1
Lee Westwood 80:1

I had to throw in a few longshots, but I really like the way Els has played lately. Still, I'm cheering for Tiger.


College Football 'Nevers' 

This CFN piece about things that have never happened in college football is three months old. I generally try to avoid that site (I get enough anti-Texas garbage from the traditional media), so I just found it today.

[sarcasm]Here's something I had never seen before[/sarcasm]:

Texas coach Mack Brown has won 146 games over 20 years, but has never led a team to a conference title.
It also mentioned how Texas has never played either Michigan or Ohio State. That changes in 2005-06, when the Horns and Buckeyes meet in a home-and-home.

And that's two [sarcasm] tags in one day for me -- something that had never happened before.


So What Are You Trying to Say? 

Every WashingtonPost.Com front-page article today includes either this exact paragraph, or a slight variation of it:

Also today, the panel investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks said it found "no credible evidence" that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had worked with al Qaeda on the 9/11 attacks or any other missions in the United States.
[sarcasm]Well if the 9/11 Panel says it, then it must be true.[/sarcasm]

ADDED: Glenn Reynolds (and his loyal army of InstaPundites) is all over this, and the 9/11 Commission isn't really coming off as the most trust-worthy group.


Al Qaeda Still a Threat 

Today's WaPo states that al Qaeda originally planned to use up to 10 planes in its Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., striking both coasts, as well as FBI and CIA headquarters.

The lengthy article also details a decade worth of al Qaeda planning, which at one time suggested "taking over a nuclear missile launcher in Russia and forcing Russian scientists to fire a nuclear missile at the United States," among other ways to strike our nation.

The article also provides yet another reason why military intervention in Iraq was necessary:

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said that despite losing much of its leadership in the U.S. war on terrorism, al Qaeda is still dangerous and may now be more far-flung.

Pistole said the FBI views the war against terrorism as a "generational" one that may not be won until future generations in the Muslim world are weaned away from radical anti-American views.
This isn't going to happen at a United Nations negotiating table. It's going to happen when we physically go in and replace these despotic regimes with democratically elected governments. And it's going to happen when bordering nations see the effects of freedom, and have no choice but to grant it to their citizens, or else face the same consequences as Saddam Hussein.

Read the whole thing.


Wictory Wednesday! 

20 to go...

Today is Wictory Wednesday, and you all should know the drill by now. Take some time today to visit the official B/C'04 site and donate or volunteer.

Also, check out the Bush Blog. President Bush looks poised to make a strong showing this November within the Black community (granted, "strong" is in comparison to the 10% or so that Republicans usually get), due in large part to his position on vouchers and faith-based initiatives.

Also be sure to check out the Wictory Wednesday blogroll on the sidebar. There are a lot of worthwhile sites with good content.


Morning Sports Shorts 6/16 

Pistons win the NBA title: The night wasn't a complete loss for LA. I heard that after the game, Shaq won the freestyle contest over at the Shelter.

Stern disagrees with Bird: Bird thinks the NBA would benefit from more white guys. I'm surprised that Stern, an unabashed bleeding-heart liberal, doesn't concur. Wouldn't more whites represent some sort of reverse Affirmative Action program?

ESPN's Top 25 is a bunch of 'Bull': The '96 Bulls head the list of best teams during the ESPN era. I disagree. The '95 Nebraska Cornhuskers were never challenged in their romp to the national title. Their closest game was 14 points (they lead by twice that before letting the scrubs take over) and they won their bowl game 62-24 against Florida. I would put the Bulls 3rd, at best. The '98 Yankees set a record with 114 wins, and they only lost two more games en route to a World Series title.

The NCAA has no control: CNNSI's Mike Fish points out what many college football fans don't realize: The BCS has nothing to do with the NCAA. He argues that the NCAA should take back control of college football's championship system. I agree, but don't hold your breath. Too many people are making too many dollars under the current system.

Duval makes his return: I really wanted Duval to return to a Major before Mickelson won one, so that I could make a joke about much Duval sucks, but how he still was one more Major than Lefty. Alas, Duval still does suck. I'll be very surprised to see him make the cut at Shinnecock this week.

CNNSI mock NBA draft: The only thing I care about on this list is that there's no Lamarcus ALdridge to be found. The seven-foot sensation will take his game to the Forty Acres, not the NBA. Go Horns! I did notice, though, that they have nine foreign players slotted in the first round (not just foreign-born, but guys that spent last year playing overseas). The NBA really has become a melting pot -- especially among the three Texas teams. Each squad's best player hails from outside the 50 states.


An Imperfect Union 

Throws Like A Girl is dumping the Astros.

Astros, where are my miracle come-from-behind victories? Where are my clutch hits? Where are my playoff hopes? A girl gets tired of waiting.

Listen. We know nothing's going to change between us. Please try to keep your dignity.

I think it's best that you go. I know you just got back from a two-week roadtrip. I know you are presently in Houston for your longest homestand of the season. I know it's not so easy for you to pack up and leave. And listen, I have tickets Thursday, Friday and Saturday. But I can't see you right now. Maybe I'll go to eBay. Maybe I'll go stay at my mom's house this weekend. And you know, I got to meet Oakland just last week -- they've scored 75 runs since then, by the way, while you've scored -- what is it, 20? They seem nice.
I bet she thinks Brad Ausmus is hot.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Astros-Cubs 6/15 

Bouncing back?

A night after rolling over for Mark Prior, the Astros show a pulse against Carlos Zambrano. Houston leads 2-1 in the 7th, as Wade Miller has just exited after a gem of a game, which saw him throw just one horrible pitch -- a 3rd inning gopher ball to C Ramon Martinez.

Bizarre situation in the 6th: Men on second and third, one out, Astros up 2-1, and Dusty Baker intentionally walks Brad Ausmus to get to Miller. With Dalgy nursing a bad neck, Everett gimped up with a bad hammy, and Bags on the bench after getting a cortisone shot in his shoulder today, Jimy had no choice but to send Miller to the plate. Whitey popped up for the second out, and Craig Biggio saw an RBI single disappear when Aramis Ramirez smothered his blistering line drive.

So to recap:

a) Brad Ausmus gets a free pass.
b) Jimy sends the pitcher to bat with the bases loaded in the 6th inning of a one-run game.
c) Three Astros regulars are in uniform, but too banged up to play.
d) Aramis Ramirez, of all people, makes a Gold Glove defensive play.

Except for D, which I chalk up to blind luck, the other three scenarios were the right call, despite their oddity. Dusty has to walk Ausmus and force Jimy to either bat Miller or go to a thin bench. Likewise, Jimy has to send Miller up there with one out. And even though the three guys aren't an option, you don't want to send them to the DL and force them to miss more time than necessary.

Anyway, the Cubs got out of it unscathed (the second time that Zamabrano escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam). But, Miller's quality start (6.1 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 6K) has Houston in position to pick up a W.

Don't go anywhere yet, though, because with these two bullpens, we could still be looking at 7-6 game.

Taking one for the team

A called strike three, that is. Dalgy makes it off the bench to spell Orlando Palmeiro in RF in the top of the 8th, and promptly watches strike three for the second out in the bottom half of the inning. Hey, we don't want him to further strain that neck.

Bidge must be worried about his neck, too. He also watched strike three go by. Jason Lane, who tripled earlier in the inning, watches both strike out, from 90 feet away.

It's Dotel time. I think I'm going to go grab my laundry and pray that it's over when I get back.


Do I need to say what happened? This team sucks right now. I'm glad I have a softball game tomorrow night.


Rated R... for Ridiculous 

First Michael Moore complained that the Bush Administration was trying to keep his new film from reaching the masses. Now he's complaining that the MPAA has slapped it with an 'R' rating.

Moore says, "It is sadly very possible that many 15 and 16-year-olds will be asked and recruited to serve in Iraq in the next couple of years. If they are old enough to be recruited and capable of being in combat and risking their lives, they certainly deserve the right to see what is going on in Iraq."
Well thank God that Michael Moore is the first person to show what's going on in Iraq. Memo to Moore: Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ received an 'R' rating for the same justifiable reasons as your movie. Parents that wished their children to see it, took them to do so. I'm sure that any parent, who feels that your film delivers a similar impact, will follow suit.


NL All-Star Voting 

Both Jeff Kent and Adam Everett hold sizeable leads in the NL All-Star voting.

Here's a look at where all of the Astros regulars stand.

1. Piazza, M. Mets 950,296
2. Ausmus, B. Astros 587,268

1. Pujols, A. Cardinals 892,603
2. Bagwell, J. Astros 807,564

1. Kent, J. Astros 1,089,924
2. Giles, M. Braves 382,287

1. Everett, A. Astros 625,055
2. Renteria, E. Cardinals 545,697

2. Ramirez, A. Cubs 450,421
3. Ensberg, M. Astros 433,924

3. Sosa, S. Cubs 920,182
4. Berkman, L. Astros 762,248
5. Biggio, C. Astros 687,721
6. Alou, M. Cubs 550,690
7. Hidalgo, R. Astros 530,377

I'm guessing that NL Manager Jack McKeon will add Berkman as a reserve, and it's almost a lock that Roger Clemens will start on the mound.

I'm actually shocked to see Houston players fare so well. Astros never seem to rank high in the voting. The strong attendance figures certainly help, but with online voting, any team's fans can stuff the ballot box.


Ashcroft: Worst AG Ever? 

Stephen Green tackles NY Times columnist Paul Krugman's claim that John Ashcroft is the worst Attorney General in U.S. history.

Read the entry first. Then check out the comments, er drinks.


To Infinity and Beyond! 

Remember President Bush's January speech about the future of U.S. space exploration? I was thinking just a few weeks ago how we've never heard anything about it since then. Look for that to change in the next few days.

I'm all for it. As I argued in my pre-blogging days over at LM Fanzone (in a thread with the same title as this entry), space exploration offers the possibility to broaden our horizons, in both a figurative and literal manner. I believe that the impact of President Bush's plan on future generations will benefit us technologically, economically and maybe most important, spiritually.


DVD Review: Euro Trip 

I wouldn't rank Euro Trip among the best comedies of the past few years, but after a smorgasboard of depressing cinematic fare lately (City of God, Mystic River, Monster, House of Sand and Fog), I was in need of comic relief. Euro Trip delivered.

Euro Trip's plot is just slightly less illogical as Day After Tomorrow. But when you laugh at this movie, you're at least supposed to. The movie follows Scott, a recent high school graduate, whose girlfriend dumped him immediately after the ceremony, and three friends on a trek across Europe.

Them ending up in Europe is the illogical part (the first of many, actually). A bizarre e-mail gaffe with Scott's penpal "Mike," who was hoping to meet Scott in Ohio, results in an impromptu trip to the Old World. It turns out that Mike is actually Mieke, a beautiful blonde German. She's now blocked Scott's email address, and his only way to meet her is to find her in Berlin. So Scott and Cooper tell the folks they're going camping, and set off for Europe.

From there you can imagine what happens: the typical comedy of errors, with plenty of sophomoric slapstick, and more nudity than you can shake a stick at (pun intended). The two join up with friends Jaime and Jenny in Paris, who are already in the midst of a European backpacking vacation (please tell me what kind of parents allow their 18-year-old kids to go on an unsupervised wanderlust through a foreign continent?).

I'm not seriously dissecting a raunchy B-comedy, but that premise is so silly that I had to say something.

Euro Trip's humor misses as often as it hits, but its largely unknown cast keeps it from ever getting too low. Scott is a blend of Collin Hanks in Orange County and Jason Biggs in American Pie, but without quite as much whiny "poor-me" pathos. And though his sex-crazed sidekick, Cooper, fails to match the Stifler-esque wit and energy that I think the film tried to emulate, his subdued demeanor didn't detract. Throw in the lovely Michelle Trachtenberg as Jenny, a girl that's just one of the boys, and her twin brother Jaime, the anal nerd who saves the day in the end, and you get a predictable, yet enjoyable comedy.

Two scenes that really had me rolling:

- At the graduation party, alt-rocker Donny (apparently Matt Damon in a well-disguised cameo) dedicates an anniversary song to his "sex kitten," which turns out to be Scott's ex-flame, Fiona. The song? "Scotty didn't know."

- While in line to see The Louvre, the foursome encounters a costumed Frenchman doing the robot dance. Scott begins to mock him and a robot dance-off ensures. The a robot fight scene follows. I couldn't stop laughing at this stupid, funny, moment.

One thing I could have done without was the gratuitous penis shots. But there are plenty of boobs to balance things out.



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