Hey Ladies, I Hear He’s Available — At Least for Now!

November 25, 2010

Don’t say you weren’t warned, ladies!

Lying Liars and the Scarifying Lies They Tell

November 25, 2010

Is there anything these people won’t lie about?  It’s becoming increasingly clear that not only do Republicans have no prescription for improving the country, and that they have only one goal now that they’re back in a power-sharing relationship (namely, to throw sand in the gears of the Obama government) — but that the only arrow in their entire quiver is fear.  Scare Grandma; scare the poor; scare the middle class.  Brown and black people are scary; George Soros is scary; “elites” are scary; the Obamas (yes, including Michelle) are scary. Jesus, even Barbara Bush is scary; Sarah Palin isn’t.  Raising the tax rate on the superrich is scary; increasing it on the middle and working classes isn’t.  Inflation is scary (even when it doesn’t exist!). Be afraid of opposition to government-sponsored torture; but don’t fear what torture has turned us into. Be afraid of government bailouts; but don’t fear banks, bankers, and hedge-fund con men.

It’s disgusting.

OMG!! (Don’t Tell Faux News!)

November 24, 2010

Courtesy of DailyKos:

Damn those Christ-hating, unAmerican, elitist, Socialist Republicans!!!

Quote of the Day

November 21, 2010

Courtesy of DougJ over at Balloon Juice:

Personally, I’m starting to get tired of the Palins, mostly because as one commenter put it the other day (I can’t remember who), I can’t keep track of which one is calling people faggots on Facebook, which one got pregnant, which one David Letterman made fun of, and which one is on Dancing With The Stars.

This is response to Frank Rich’s NYT column of today, in which he argues that The Hillbilly from Wasilla could win the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

As if. . . .

Mom, This One’s for You

November 19, 2010

Writers Get One Right

November 19, 2010

As hard it might be for hardcore baseball fans to believe, sportswriters voting for the American League Cy Young Award overcame their historic prejudice in favor of wins and rightly recognized Seattle’s Felix Hernandez as the AL’s best pitcher. Winning only 13 games in back of the historically bad Mariner offense, King Felix nevertheless led the league in ERA, innings pitched, and batting average against; and finished second in strikeouts (by one).

And don’t give me that “What about C.C.?” crap.  Yeah, Sabathia led the league in wins with 21. Big deal — he went 10-1 against the three last-place teams in the league. The writers overlooked the wins and gave the Cy to the best pitcher in the league — by far.

They Want ALL Latinos to be Democrats

November 19, 2010

It simply amazes me that the Republican party can be so, what’s the word, STUPID.

As one of its first acts, the new Congress will consider denying citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States.

Those children, who are now automatically granted citizenship at birth, will be one of the first targets of the Republican-led House when it convenes in January.

This is, well, amazing — and yet not. Not, because it’s par for the Republican course.  Not satisfied with getting less than twenty percent of the Latino vote, the GOP is intent on getting that number down to the single digits. More power to ’em, I say.  They simply can’t honestly believe that this legislative proposal will solve any problem, let alone help with the issue of illegal immigration. But, as They Say, when all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Perhaps Republicans have heard of the Constitution? Here’s a refresher, from the Fourteenth Amendment:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

Not “some”; not “white”; not “legal”; not “Republican.”  ALL, you nitwits. . . .

So good luck and Godspeed with that legislative agenda.

Shoe, Meet Other Foot

November 19, 2010

OK, so maybe some on our side take politics a little too seriously as well. . . .

Finally, Some Dems with Stones

November 18, 2010

This is what the Democratic Party needs more of — members willing to take it to the GOP and force them to defend their hypocrisy in public. Following new Republican Representative Andy Harris’s meltdown at freshmen orientation, progressive Dems are calling on their rivals to forego their government-sponsored, taxpayer-funded health care plan, the very same kind of plan the Rethugs have argued that “the voters” shouldn’t have access to.  We need more of this kind of behavior from our party’s members, not less. Obama’s naive hopes for “compromise” with the GOP will never happen, so the adult alternative is fighting for principles — and that starts by going on the offensive and making the Rethugs defend unpopular positions.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

November 16, 2010

Not sure what we’d do for humor around here if it weren’t for the Republicans. Having pledged themselves to repealing “Obamacare,” one of the GOP freshmen House members pitched a fit when he learned that his government-provided health care plan doesn’t kick in right away.

Is this what they meant when they said that Congress has to “listen to the voice of the voters”?  Excluding, of course, the 50 million or so of “the voters” who don’t have health insurance, whether it kicks in today or 28 days from now.

What a bunch of reprehensible nitwits. . . .

Today in American History — Nov. 15, 1956

November 14, 2010

On Nov. 15, 1956, Elvis Presley‘s first Hollywood movie, Love Me Tender, debuted at New York’s Paramount Theater. Originally entitled The Reno Brothers, the movie co-starred Richard Egan and Debra Paget. Elvis plays Clint Reno, the younger brother to Egan’s Vance, a Confederate soldier.

Clint and Vance are both in love with Kathy (Paget), but Clint marries her after hearing that his brother has been killed in the war.  Turns out, Vance was alive, and when he returns to Texas, trouble ensues. While not dead, Vance is in a jam: he has robbed a train of some Federal money, and the Feds are on his trail. Vance is devastated about losing his love, who still has feelings for her brother-in-law.

Vance wants to return the stolen money, but his Confederate confederates have another idea. Bad becomes worse, and a shootout, involving the Feds, both brothers, and Vance’s gang, results in Clint’s dying — in the arms of Kathy.

That’s right — in his movie debut, Elvis dies in the end. But not before he gets to sing his monster hit, the eponymous “Love Me Tender,” along with three other songs.

Trivia: according to Wikipedia, Love Me Tender was the only movie Elvis made for which he did not receive top billing.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

November 14, 2010

To all the Teatards and other Rethuglicans out there, here’s your challenge: solve the budget deficit without raising taxes or cutting Social Security, Medicare, or defense spending. Dare ya, you idiots. . . .

Makes Me Wanna Holler

November 14, 2010

Dan Shaughnessy is at it again. Barf. . . .

Decision Points Derided

November 12, 2010

No more calls! We have a winner in our “Best Smackdown Review of Decision Points” contest. Thanks to all who participated, but no one will do better than this.

“W has the self-awareness of a bison”!! That sound you hear is Gore Vidal laughing in his grave.

Losing is for Suckers

November 11, 2010

You see this kind of thing crop up now and again on the Web, but it’s always amusing to observe how some on the Right see everything in political terms. I mean, come on — it’s a SOCCER GAME, for heaven’s sake! — but Our Man Barry couldn’t wait to try his political “experiment” (his word) when asked to substitute-coach.  Perhaps “amusing” isn’t quite the right word — perhaps “head-smackingly insane” is better.   (Read Edroso’s take-down of Rubin’s post here — it’s way better than anything I could do.)

Seriously, though, Rubin’s post is just another example of one of the real problems plaguing not just the Right (though they’re the worst), but a lot of Lefties too — they take politics far too seriously. Not everything is political, and politics isn’t everything. Telling people to “get a life” doesn’t begin to address my frustration with the situation — too many on the Right can’t compartmentalize, can’t appreciate that much of life goes by unaffected by political events, trends, and decisions. And that that’s what makes life, well, so enjoyable. Fun. Interesting. Inexplicable. Confounding.

As Freud noted, “Sometimes a soccer game is just a soccer game.”

I’ve “Discovered” a “New” Author

November 10, 2010

UPDATE: Finished The Given Day this afternoon — I can’t recommend it highly enough! Wonderful read — lots of characters, but Lehane’s writing makes it easy to keep track of them — and perfectly set up for a sequel to follow Danny, Nora, Luther, and the Babe into the 1920s.  Can’t wait!!

Sometimes I’m a little slow to the party when it comes to popular culture, but I’ve recently become a Dennis Lehane fanatic. I read an enthusiastic review of his 2008 historical novel The Given Day and decided to check him, and it, out.

So I meandered over to the library to see if we had it, and upon finding it I discovered that Lehane was the author of Gone, Baby, Gone and Mystic River among other novels. I picked up GBG and THG and dove in.  I started with GBG (without having seen the movie) and learned that it was the fourth (I think) in Lehane’s series involving the private detective duo of Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. I read it — and was flabbergasted.

It’s awesome.

As others have noted, Lehane is a magician when it comes to dialogue — not just realistic but truly authentic. Regardless of their race, class, or ethnic background, his characters speak in a gritty, honest way that simply pulls the reader in. In addition, the story — in this case, it involves a missing little girl, her drugged out mother, and a cast of baddies — is fast-paced and very compelling. I couldn’t put it down, devouring it in two nights.

Having finished it, I set The Given Day aside and became determined to get the other Kenzie-Gennaro books; I did so at The Strand Bookstore in New York City (thanks, Amy!) and was bummed to see that they didn’t have them all. I bought the first one, A Drink before the War, and gulped it down in a couple of sittings as well. I wasn’t disappointed — same style of dialogue, same cool plot — though it was weird going back to the beginning of the relationship of the two detectives, having previously joined it later in time with GBG. So now I’m trying to get my hands on the other parts of the series, Prayers for Rain, Mystic River, and Sacred.

In the meantime, I’ve started The Given Day, which unlike the aforementioned is a historical novel. Set in Boston (the same setting as the Kenzie-Gennaro books) in 1918, it tells the stories of Boston cop Danny Coughlin and Luther Laurence, an African American on the run from troubles in Tulsa. Lehane has chosen a great time and place for this novel — the end of World War I, the horrible flu epidemic that really takes off in Boston, the Boston Police strike — and many interesting historical figures wander in and out of the narrative. People like Babe Ruth, Calvin Coolidge, Samuel Gompers, Jack Reed, Eugene O’Neill, W.E.B. DuBois, and a host of others.

I started it Monday night, and got so into it last night that I was up until 3:00!  Lehane hooks you right away, with a long prologue about Red Sox star Ruth wandering from a stop at a train station in Ohio into a nearby ballfield where two black teams are playing. Eventually Ruth, some of his Red Sox teammates, and members of their World Series opponents, the Chicago Cubs (the two teams are travelling together from Chicago to Boston), join the game. It’s stunningly done, and I can’t wait to finish it!

So if you’re looking for a good read, pick up any Dennis Lehane, and I guarantee satisfaction. And if you’ve read any of his other work, please share your comments!

Cool Website of the Day

November 8, 2010

I love this website — even if I don’t always get the joke! Here’s a sample of what you might find (click on cartoon to enlarge):

You Must Watch This! Very Brief Clip

November 8, 2010

Coolest trickeration play I’ve seen since Nebraska’s Fumblerooski!

Sparky Anderson, R.I.P.

November 7, 2010

Sparky Anderson began to manage the Cincinnati Reds at exact time that I began to follow my hometown team: 1970.  I was 9, and Sparky was 36–both of us youngsters, in our own way.  And so were most of the players on his first team–no position starter was older than 30, and three–Johnny Bench, Bernie Carbo, and Davey Concepcion–were just 22 that season.  Sparky and his team grew up together–and I along with them.

Sitting on the deck at our house on Ellenwood, or sneaking my transistor under my pillow so I could listen to Al Michaels (and later Marty Brennaman) after Mom turned off the lights, I rooted for my team, with its prematurely white-haired manager and its collection of sluggers and speedsters.  (I cherished my Tommy Helms model baseball glove, even though he was neither slugger nor speedster, purchased three years later with my own money, earned from delivering the Dayton Daily News each afternoon.)  Listening to the games on WLW, I was too young to understand the import of Sparky’s approach to handling his pitching staff–not only was I 9, but a left fielder to boot–but as I got older I came to see that his “Captain Hook” persona was simply his way of making the best out of a generally league-average pitching staff.  And that approach helped make guys like Pedro Borbon, Rawly Eastwick, and local hero Will McEnaney stars in our eyes–young players bailing out “old” guys like Jack Billingham and Fred Norman (told you–“average”).

Sparky would walk from the dugout to the mound, head down, hands stuffed into the back pockets of his pants, or the pockets of his shiny red warmup jacket, depending on the temperature, taking small steps and being extra careful not to step on the first-base line–bad luck and all–then, on reaching the mound, take the ball from the pitcher and touch an arm to signal to the bullpen for yet another reliever.  Seemed like this scene played out two or three times every night–sometimes, every inning–and yet I didn’t mind the delays that inevitably ensued. I knew Sparky was trying to get another win by squeezing every bit of talent out of his pitching staff–and it worked.

The Reds won at least 95 games in six of Sparky’s first seven years.  Four NL championships. Two World Series.

And all of it done by a short, white-haired, constantly tanned, malaprop-prone little genius.

I was none of those — but Sparky was my guy.

God bless you, Sparky. And thanks.

The Blog is Back!!

November 6, 2010

I’m back, baby! Took several months off, but I’ve got my mojo workin’ and I’m rarin’ to go!

My Daughter’s Graduation Speech

July 6, 2010

Our daughter Amy graduated from Colts Neck High School as salutatorian and is off to Columbia in the fall. Here is my wife’s video of Amy’s speech, delivered at the beginning of the CNHS graduation ceremony on June 24.

We’re incredibly proud of the young woman Amy has become–and we love you, Amybird!

(The video is courtesy of my wife, who seems to have had a couple of spasms during the speech. Forgive her–she was battling her emotions while trying to film the event, and overall, she done good.)

World Cup 2010, Day 8

June 18, 2010

Well, what’s left to say? The U.S. got totally hosed by an in-over-his-head referee.  The wave-off of the winning goal was only the most ridiculous of a passel of ridiculous calls made by that idiot. Although I’m clearly biased, I think even neutral observers would agree that the U.S.-Slovenia game was easily the most exciting of the Cup to date.  End-to-end action, big-time momentum shifts, asinine officiating–the game had it all. The Yanks should have impressed the world with its second-half determination and verve, and I have to think that that will carry over into the Algeria game.

And in today’s dog-bites-man story, England choked. What a horrible display. Rooney was a non-factor, the defense continues to appear slow-footed, and Gerrard and Lampard still haven’t figured out how to work together in midfield. If Slovenia plays like it did versus the U.S., the Three Lions will be bounced out of the Cup and will no doubtedly be crucified by Fleet Street.

Other Cup notes:

  • How horrible a coach is Raymond Domenech? In a game crying out for a single goal, he neither started nor subbed Karim Benzema or Thierry Henry–and kept that stiff Nicolas Anelka in for far too long. He’s coaching France for the last time–his successor has already been named–but you think the French Federation might be wondering if they should just cut him loose tonight?
  • What happened to the offense of Germany?  And will it return?
  • By my count, only one Western Hemisphere team has lost so far–and that was Honduras’s loss to Chile, a fellow W. H. compadre.
  • The officiating has generally been good so far–except for the cards.  Cahill (straight red), Klose (two yellows), Findley (yellow), Khune (straight red)–all were exceptionally ridiculous and will have a major impact on the remaining games.
  • The U.S. got hosed.
  • Argentina has won twice, but they’ve got a big problem on defense–one can’t avoid the sense that the Albiceleste thinks it beneath. Talk about a team taking on the personality of it coach. . . .

World Cup Post of the Day

June 18, 2010

By far the coolest sign seen at the World Cup so far!

This Day in American History — June 13, 1966

June 13, 2010

“You have the right to remain silent. . . . ”  On this day 44 years ago, the Supreme Court rendered its decision in Miranda v. Arizona, requiring law enforcement officials to inform suspects of their constitutional right against self-incrimination, as well as their right to legal representation before answering questions. The ruling came as a result of the conviction of Ernesto Miranda, who had signed a confession in which he admitted to the kidnapping and rape of a teenage girl in 1963.  Miranda’s lawyer argued at trial that his client’s confession should be inadmissible, as he was not informed of his right to remain silent and to have legal representation prior to questioning; that argument was overruled, and Miranda was convicted and sentenced to 20-30 years on each charge.  The Arizona Supreme Court rejected Miranda’s appeal in 1965, and his conviction stood.

Until June 13, 1966. Chief Justice Earl Warren was joined by Associate Justices Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, Abe Fortas, and William Brennan in overturning the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling; in dissent were Associate Justices John Marshall Harlan, Potter Stewart, Byron White, and Tom Clark. The Miranda ruling is probably one of the best known Supreme Court rulings of the twentieth century, thanks mostly to the bevy of cop shows that have aired since the 1960s.

“. . . and anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

World Cup 2010, Day 3

June 13, 2010

Group C, Slovenia 1, Algeria 0—bo-o-o-o-o-o-ring; the kind of game that haters would point to to justify their hatred. Algeria’s long passes rarely connected, and they had a hard time adapting to a crisper, shorter-passing approach. Slovenia was hardly better, scoring only on a goalie mistake almost as bad as Robert Green’s, and that against a side that was down a man. (The red card against Algeria’s Ghezzal was totally uncontroversial; his decision to hand-ball the pass down in the box was a stupid one.) Neither team looked in the same class as their group opponents.

That said, the win puts Slovenia atop the group and therefore makes them dangerous. The U. S. almost certainly has to beat Slovenia now; a draw probably won’t be good enough.  The fact that they must win will make the Yanks more aggressive—but will that play into Slovenia’s hands?

Group D, Serbia 0,  Ghana 1—much more interesting game than the day’s first one. Not only are both teams are better than Algeria and Slovenia, but the game had a much better flow, especially in the second half. Ghana are an entertaining squad, with their youth, quickness, and speed resulting in some compelling play. Still, Serbia’s center-backs locked down the Black Star attack in the box for most of the game. Lukovic’s second yellow card, in the 74th minute, was a legitimate call, but the Serbs played well down a man, with a couple of real chances on the counterattack (Kingson making a remarkable save on one).

The key, of course, was the 83rd-minute penalty for handball. Kuzmanovic complained vociferously, but none of his teammates did—because the referee was absolutely right in his call. Gyan easily nailed the PK, and that was ball game (though the Serbs did have a couple of chances in the last ten minutes).

Group D, Germany 4, Australia 0—What’s to say? Germany dominated the pitch in every way, especially in midfield, where the Socceroos allowed the Germans far too much possession. For much of the game, Germany put on an impressive of short, crisp passing and gorgeous, on-target crosses. Unlike most of the games so far, the score was indicative of the quality of the two sides.  The red card call on Aussie Tim Cahill was certainly rash but almost just as certainly irrelevant to the outcome.  Die Mannschaft looks the class of the Cup as we approach the midway point of the first series of matches.  I can’t wait for their matchup with Ghana; both teams will probably go through, so their game won’t be determinative of anything, but they’re clearly the best two in Group D, and that makes the game something to watch.