Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Around The Horn

  • This is one of the scariest things I've read in a long time. It gives real insight into what fascists hardcore feminists really are. Choice, shmoice. It's a review by Slate writer Meghan O'Rourke of Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World by Linda Hirshman. The book's thesis is essentially that women have a moral responsibility to work outside the home.

    The writer says:
    ...[B]uried beneath Hirshman's overblown rhetoric is a useful idea....namely, that our obsession with choice prevents us from asking tough questions about how to achieve further equality. "Deafened by choice, here's the moral analysis these women never heard," she says: Until there is more equity in the cultural norms for child-rearing and household tasks, each time a woman decides to "opt out" she is making a political decision that reinforces an already ingrained social inequality. Women who believe otherwise suffer from a mixture of false consciousness and impractical idealism. It's when Hirshman is at her most radical—when she sets aside the language of personal fulfillment in favor of injunctions about the collective good—that she is at her most valuable.

    ....Her stubborn insistence is refreshing. Unlike others, she is willing to come out and say, in no uncertain terms, that the luxury of making our own decisions as if they had no larger implications isn't ethical at this point in time. If that makes feminism unpopular, so be it; but shying away from persistent inequality by invoking the language of "choice," she observes, is hardly feminism. If you buy her argument, then even if you find it hard to leave your baby at home, and even if you find the workplace sometimes less-than-fulfilling, it's important—to society as a whole—that you work. This sounds extreme, but of course it's the lesson every man is taught when he's a boy: Your responsibility to society—the way to become an adult—is to work.
    Read it. If you're anything but a cyborg, it'll send chills down your spine. In all the ominous talk about "theocracy" you hear coming from the Left, never forget that it's the leftists in America who have the scary totalitarian instinct.
  • A friend and coworker of mine was in New York the other day to interview Ann Coulter, and knowing my fondness for the poison pen, he was kind enough to have her sign her book for me. She wrote:
    To John,
    Best wishes to a great American.
    Enjoy the invective!

    Ann Coulter
    Pretty cool. My friend said she couldn't have been nicer.
  • Yesterday, I saw a headline that said, "University set to fire Ward Churchill." But I momentarily misread it, thinking it said, "University to set fire to Ward Churchill."

    "I'm cool with that," I thought.
  • When I was in high school in St. Louis in 1986, they were having a two nights of concerts at the Fox Theater to celebrate rock legend (and St. Louis native) Chuck Berry's 60th birthday. Among the guests to play with Chuck: Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, and Etta James, among others. I remember desperately wanting to go (several friends of mine even worked on the sound crew), but I didn't get to. Anway, they made a movie about it called "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll," which is being re-released on DVD after 20 years.

    The participants in the project found out that Chuck Berry really isn't a very good guy:
    ...Berry refused to show up for filming each day until [a producer] gave him a bag of cash, which is how he used to be paid for his slapdash concerts. She estimates that Berry cajoled upwards of $800,000 out of the production, a hefty sum given that the budget was $3 million. [Director Taylor] Hackford was forced to give up his director's fee in order to stem the tide of red ink but ended up with the DVD rights.
    The director did not find it to be a pleasant experience.
    "Nobody is ever gonna know what really goes on inside that head. No one's ever gonna do the entire picture of Chuck Berry because it's just too deep and dark."
  • Here's the best article ever written about soccer. My own view of the sport has never been better represented:
    The historic [U.S.] game with Italy ended in an epic 1-1 tie. But in what was ballyhooed as one of the greatest games ever played by an American team, the United States failed to score. The goal credited to the Americans was scored by an opposing player who--oops!--accidentally kicked the ball into his own goal.

    Think about this about this for a moment. It just about sums up everything you need to know about soccer, or football, as it is known elsewhere.

    Soccer is the perfect game for the post-modern world. It's the quintessential expression of the nihilism that prevails in many cultures, which doubtlessly accounts for its wild popularity in Europe. Soccer is truly Seinfeldesque, a game about nothing, sport as sensation.
    I'm getting this one framed. (Hat tip: Justin Taylor)

And that's how we play "Around the Horn."

Related Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, June 23, 2006

From Ye Olde Mail Bag

I see we have some post-NBA Finals reaction in the mail bag:
From: andrew
To: thecalvinator@hotmail.com
Subject: absurd blog entry
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 18:29:34 -0700 (PDT)

your [sic] words:
>As I said, I don't watch except for the finals.
>So despite living in South Florida, this
>is my first real look at this Heat team.
>My newest copy of SI has Dwayne Wade
>on the cover, and I'm told his is
>the best-selling jersey in the NBA.

>Let me say: I'm not impressed.
let [sic] me say this is some comical stuff..you admit you never saw the guy play and then you proceed to slam him after seeing him play the first two games of the finals. how [sic] rediculous [sic] does what you wrote look now? my [sic] advice to you, don't write about things you no [sic] nothing about. anyone [sic] who has watched wade over the past three seasons knew he was a special player.

Dear Andrew,

I think you may be overestimating my importance a mite. Enjoy the win and relax a little bit. How sad it must be to be so bitter even in victory! But since you took the trouble to write....

I'm not the least bit embarassed by what I wrote. I've written many, many things to be embarassed about. That's not one of them.

Let's give this some thought. Why do you think I specifically mentioned that I hadn't watched Wade play? Think about that a minute: why would I have pointed that out? Indeed, that was the whole POINT of the post: Wade is a celebrated player, and yet showed nothing in Games 1 and 2 of the NBA's biggest showcase. Nobody who'd only seen him in those two games would have any idea what all the fuss was about, and considering it was the NBA Finals, there were millions of people watching in exactly that position.

I figured that "he was a special player," seeing as though he was on the cover of SI and all. Duh. If you're anything other than a dull literalist, you'll understand that the real point I was making was that "Dwyane [sic] Wade is not even close to playing up to his capability." After that, he began to play in a way far more consistent with his reputation, obviously. Of course I was more impressed in Games 3 through 6. Who wasn't? What, are you saying I should have been impressed with games 1 and 2? I don't think even Wade would say that.

And my larger point, namely that the comparisons with Jordan are inane, still stands. Show me any two consecutive games in the playoffs where Jordan didn't show anything. Show me two Finals games where he didn't show anything. Show me a time Jordan would ever have missed two crucial free throws in a huge game like Wade did at the end of Game 6, which have been forgotten only because Dallas missed a wide-open 3-point opportunity.

He's a nice player, and I was rooting for the Heat to win. I'm excited, and I think Wade has a great future. But my post was correct: Games 1 and 2 were an embarassment to him, and he's not in Jordan's universe. It's okay. He doesn't need to be. Nobody else is either. But Jordan never embarassed himself in big games, and if a Martian were to come to earth and randomly select from history one Jordan Finals performance to watch, he'd never find a game where he was wondering what the big deal was at the end of it.

That's the difference, and that's what I was saying. And I was (and am) right. As always.

John Rabe

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Will They Use The Bubble Tops?

To the astonishment of anyone who watched the first two games of the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat are (is?) the 2006 champions. South Florida is euphoric after years of basketball futility.

I'm coming up with this one off the top of my head, but I believe this is the first time in NBA history that a team without a plural nickname has won it all. The Jazz had a couple of shots, but never closed the deal. It may even be the first time in major team sports (unless you count hockey as a major team sport, which nobody does). Of course, it doesn't hurt that neither the NFL nor Major League Baseball has any teams with singular names, but still...

I'm told (and the ABC broadcast reiterated) that a Mavericks victory parade route had been developed and published in Dallas sometime around Game 2. Heat players mentioned it as part of the inspiration for their sudden turnaround.

If it's true, that's the most ill-advised parade in Dallas since the presidential motorcade snaked through Dealey Plaza.

Related Tags: , , , , , ,

Monday, June 19, 2006

Bits and Pieces

  • For Father's Day, my family gave me a book I've been asking for: Guests of the Ayatollah, about the Iran hostage crisis that ultimately sunk Jimmy Carter's presidency (who says all things don't work together for good?) by Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden.

    The first 80 or so pages I've read are outstanding. Amazingly, I read several chapters out loud yesterday to my kids (13 and 12), and they were riveted to it.
  • Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation argues compellingly that President Bush's recent, sudden "support" of the Federal Marriage Amendment was a half-hearted, cynical ploy to throw an artificial bone to his conservative base, whom he knew would roll over and chew on it without demanding any real substance.

    He writes:
    Did the Majority Whip in the Senate twist arms until it hurts on the Marriage Amendment? No. Did the President talk with Senators, trading things as he did with the drug benefit? No. Was the Right angry about this? No. I asked one of the most visible and important leaders of the pro-family movement if he had conscience problems attending the event at the White House, since he and the rest of us were props in a non-effort to pass this Amendment. Without hesitation this major leader said, “Not at all. I felt we had to enforce what little this President did.”
    Would that this president truly cared as much about traditional values as Bill Clinton did about abortion rights.
  • In watching the NBA Finals, I've noticed that when one team goes on a roll and the other team naturally calls timeout, Hubie Brown constantly needs to tell us what a "good timeout" it was, as if a chimpanzee wouldn't know to call timeout in that situation.

    My son and I have really started having a good time with this. Last night he said, "You know, this series has had a lot of poorly-played basketball, horrible shooting, and terrible free throws, but we've seen some really great timeouts. I've just enjoyed the good, fundamental timeout work we've seen from these two teams."

    He's a real chip off the ol' smart-aleck block.
  • Of course, all of that was before Josh Howard actually cost Dallas Game 5 with the worst timeout since Chris Webber.
  • Okay, the MJ comparisons are still way overdone, but I'm starting to see a little bit of what the Dwyane [sic] Wade hype is all about. And I've only recently noticed that he doesn't know how to spell his own first name.
  • I was out of town on Thursday and Friday. Here's what I did at work on Thursday (scroll down the Thursday, June 15th). When I grow up, I want to be George Grant. And I'm not even kidding. This guy has forgotten more this morning than I've ever known. And he couldn't be a more enjoyable guy to hang out with.

    And here's what I did on Friday. The folks at Answers in Genesis couldn't be nicer either. I really have a great job. Though after looking at these photos, I'm finally now convinced that I really need to lose some weight.
  • Now that the World Cup of soccer has had a few days to really get going....nope, still don't care.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Way We Were

At halftime of the NBA Finals game last night (just before detectives discovered Dwyane Wade and brought him out of hiding), ABC aired a touching feature about a young kidney transplant patient whose life was touched by fellow transplant patient Alonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat.

It reminded me of another touching true story involving the philanthropic Mourning.

When I worked at KFNS sports radio in St. Louis in the early 90's, we producers were looking to get some guests on the air. One of the ways we frequently did this was by "ambushing" (as we called it). "Ambushing" was simply calling a sports team's hotel, asking for the room of a player, and when he answered (the majority of them, suprisingly enough, register under their own names) asking him if he'd come on the air with us for a few minutes. It wasn't a fun job because many players understandably didn't care to be bothered in their rooms and could be a bit terse. Occasionally, however, there were some really nice ones, even among the stars. I recall Greg Maddux, Curt Schilling, Chipper Jones, and Andy Benes as being particularly friendly and accomodating. And NHL players were uniformly wonderful.

Anyway, ambushing wasn't the most fun in the world, so we'd get interns to do it when we could. One day, probably in '94 or '95, I asked one of our interns to try Alonzo Mourning in his room during a Heat road trip. The intern dutifully looked up the hotel number in the NBA media guide, got Mourning on the phone, and asked him if he'd be willing to come on the air with us for a couple of minutes.

"What's your name?" Alonzo asked.

"Tim Brinks," repeated the intern.

"And where are you guys at?" inquired Mourning.

"St. Louis," said Tim.

"Well I'm going to come up there and find you, and I'm going to #&$@^!& kill you!" quipped 'Zo before slamming down the phone.

Good times.

Related Tags: , , , ,

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sports Shorts

A few sports observations from the weekend past:
  • We've entered the once-every-four-years cycle that's even less appealing than the presidential election: the soccer World Cup. This is the period when every major media outlet tries to bang the drum for the world's most popular (and boring) sport, which is about as popular in America as a tight belt at a rap concert. Sports Illustrated, ABC, ESPN, and the usual suspects are already days into their month-long campaign to try to make us feel like parochial rubes for not enjoying "the world's sport."

    I'm sorry, but I refuse to feel guilty for rejecting something that's only enjoyed by Europeans and other third-worlders. If it's such a tremendous jewel in the worldwide crown of athletics, why is ESPN giving priority to things like the College Baseball World Series and showing the whole soccer shmear on ESPN 2?

    Remember, these are all the same media outlets that have been trying to push the moribund WNBA on a clearly-unwilling American public for years now. For 3 1/2 more weeks, the major sports outlets will keep acting as if we cared about the World Cup, and for 3 1/2 more weeks, we will continue not caring.
  • I'm not a big NBA fan. Probably because St. Louis (where I grew up) had no NBA team, I've always been much more interested in college hoops. But I do watch the NBA finals.

    Is it too late to cancel this year's finals due to a lack of interest? Yes, Dallas finally turned things on a bit in third quarter of last night's game, but other than that, this series has been brutal. I've had to turn over to old series on ESPN Classic just to see somebody score. If turnovers and balls clanking off the rim are your idea of entertainment, then this is the series for you. Personally, I'd just as soon go watch the guys at the court near my house. They clank just as many shots, but it seems like less of a ripoff since they're not actually getting paid anything.
  • As I said, I don't watch except for the finals. So despite living in South Florida, this is my first real look at this Heat team. My newest copy of SI has Dwayne Wade on the cover, and I'm told his is the best-selling jersey in the NBA.

    Let me say: I'm not impressed.

    This is probably self-evident, but let us put these inane Michael Jordan comparisons aside once and for all now. Jordan was an unearthly player who somehow found a way to even get better when everything was on the line in the finals. Wade has folded like an origami carnation. I'm sure there's some reason somewhere for all the fuss over Wade, but I ain't seen it. True superstars like Jordan, Magic, Bird, and Isaiah all made their bones in the finals. Wade, meanwhile, is currently in the Federal Witness Protection program working at a bank in Provo.
  • That commercial with neighborhood sports being played by little kids who have full-sized athletes heads (like Derek Jeter and Peyton Manning) isn't cute, it's downright disturbing. I think I had nightmares about it last night.
  • And speaking of commercials, what's the deal with the Haines commercial with MJ and Kevin Bacon. Kevin Bacon? What, was Tom Berringer unavailable? Who seeks to bolster Michael Freaking Jordan--King of All Celebrity Endorsers--with Kevin Bacon? And what kind of work is Bacon having done? He ages slower than Pat Riley.

Related Tags: , , , , , , ,

Friday, June 09, 2006

Glass Houses

Tony Hendra, an author and former National Lampoon writer who occasionally jots for the always-silly Huffington Post, isn’t taking kindly to Ann Coulter’s new book or her comments promoting it.

Writing as God, the liberal Hendra (without any hint of knowingness) goes after Coulter precisely the way she argued liberals always do in her book Slander: by attacking physical appearance. Writes Hendra:
That can't you keep a man or have kids, because you're literally inhuman - a cold-blooded vertebrate, a bipedal reptile, a hilarious genetic joke. How would your millions of pinheaded fans feel if they knew that you were actually...an advanced form of velociraptor? That you never wear backless outfits because there are vestigial leathery batwings sprouting from your shoulder-blades? That even if some male could fertilize you you'd lay eggs? That if those eggs hatched you'd eat your young? Because that's what you're hardwired to do, Ann, you poor little velociraptor, you.

…Ann, you don't know Me. You've never spoken to Me in the 45 years of your twisted, spoilt-brat existence. You don't believe in Me or any of My works least [sic] of all that being the God of love the only thing I hate is hate - the force that drives every cell in your bony sunken-faced velociraptor frame. Yours is a faith of convenience shining bright - and about as deep - as aluminum foil.
Well. And this from the pro-women party.

I don’t know if the only thing God hates is hate itself. In fact, I’d be willing to bet just about anything that God really, really hates child molesters. Of which Tony Hendra is one.

Oops. Yes, Tony fails to mention that, either in his little note from God, or in his books on his supposed spiritual awakening. It’s hard to imagine anything more misogynistic than what he’s written here, but Tony Hendra’s repeated sexual abuse of his daughter when she was young probably tops it.
In speaking to The Times, [Hendra’s 39-year-old daughter Jessica] authorized a reporter to talk to two therapists who treated her, as well as three friends in whom she confided, and her husband and mother. All said that Ms. Hendra credibly told them at different junctures of being molested, one of them when she was 12.

…During the interview, Mr. Hendra at first simply impugned Ms. Hendra's accusations. When informed that friends and therapists said that Ms. Hendra had told them of abuse, he was quiet and sounded shaken and, saying that these were developments he was unaware of, asked if he could have five minutes to catch his breath and then call back.
He called back 45 minutes later and made up some story. Incidentally, those accusations don’t appear in the National Enquirer; they come from the liberal "paper of record"--the New York Times.

So I wonder if all the wild-eyed liberals at the Huffington Post feel better today, having just taken a theology lesson from an unrepentant child molester?

Related Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

By Popular Demand

I present to the world....Buck.

And one more. He sits like this, which seems uncomfortable to me.

The Mark Of The Dense

Okay, enough of the 666 stuff today.

First of all, there’s good reason to believe that the current popular conception of the biblical meaning of this number is simply wrong.

But aside from that, where are we getting the idea that today is even 6/6/6 to begin with? It’s actually 6/6/06. There’s a zero in there. Why do the 666 mavens get to just drop the zero? I don’t think so, bubba. If today is 666, then so is 6/6/16, 6/6/26, etc. We have one every decade. It’s no more legitimate to arbitrarily drop the zero out than to drop any other number out.

You had one year in which you could legitimately find a 6/6/6, and that was in the year 6 A.D. Except in 6 A.D. they didn’t even know yet that it was 6 A.D., so it passed them right by. They didn’t figure out the A.D. years until centuries later.

So I hope I've made my point. I'm off now to the license bureau to have the microchip implanted in my forehead that will allow me to buy and sell at Sam's Club.

Related Tags: , , ,

Monday, June 05, 2006

All Is Vanity

Why does life have to be like this?

Why do things like this not happen to Barry Bonds when he's on the way to breaking major home run records?

Why would Albert Pujols go on the disabled list for the first time in his career a). when he's having one of the greatest seasons of all time, and b). he's on my fantasy team?

Related Tags: , , ,