Championship, baby! Can you feel it?
Since Devin Brown is a younger version of the soon-to-be-retired David Wesley, i.e. can't really shoot lights-out anymore, we basically picked up Cedric Simmons for free. Hey, it's not my money. But Simmons is a long shot blocker and he's certainly an upgrade - albeit a slight one - over the since-departed Scot Pollard. He might even play more than 15 minutes this season. But we'll certainly all miss Scot's wacky hair and quotes.
As for Pavlovic and Sideshow Bob, they'll arrive in time. After this season, if someone is willing to pay Varejao the $10 million+ that he's seeking as a defensive specialist/flopper, more power to him.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Championship, baby! Can you feel it?
Saturday, September 29, 2007
"Coalition forces surveillance elements observed a group of men setting up and firing mortars in the Doura neighborhood of southern Baghdad. After they fired the mortars, the men hid the mortar tube nearby," a U.S. military statement said.And what's the surest, most ethical way to eliminate such a threat? KABOOM!
The U.S. military said it estimated two or three people were killed or wounded but could not give a precise figure as the bodies were removed before troops arrived at the scene.We regret that we've pissed off everyone in Iraq so much that when someone fires at us, instead of sending in troops to root out the freedom-hating minions of the Old Man of the Mountain and avoid harming those whose crime was to be born on top of our oil, we blow the fuck out of everything. Now, does everyone have their story straight?
"We regret when civilians are hurt or killed while coalition forces search to rid Iraq of terrorism. Terrorists continue to deliberately place innocent Iraqi women and children in danger by their actions and presence," the U.S. statement said.
"I know *I* regret it!"
Sad endings all around, but since the brain-eaters flourish in warm climates, it's a good thing the earth isn't heating up!
"Grrr. We could use this against our foreign enemies. And domestic. Grrr."
(H/T to Pissed On Politics.)
America is dumb. Legions of hairy beer swillers are so fascinated by shiny objects hurtling around an oval for three hours that ESPN can devote chunks of its programming (fuck you, Brad Daugherty, talk hoops!) to this, ahem, sport, but nary a hockey game is to be found on the tube until the last round in June. I'm not naive enough to think that it's anything but financial. Capitalism makes the world go 'round and there are simply more Bush voters than there are fans of SCTV. So, until this country wises up; or Hell, after proven to exist, freezes over; or ESPN is alright with shelling out millions for a 1.7 rating, we puckheads south of the border whose cable company doesn't carry Versus are forced to watch highlights on the internets, thereby shedding productive man-hours from our respective companies' bottom lines. How 'bout them gilded apples, you fucks? Anyway, here's what's going to happen in the NHL in 2007-08. Or not.
Atlantic: N.Y. Rangers. Hockey is the one sport where a team with obviously less talent can outwork a superior one on a regular basis and knock their ass out of the playoffs. The Rangers added big-time free agents Chris Drury and Scott Gomez - both of whom have the required grit - to Jaromir Jagr and a solid goalie, but is their blueline tough enough and can they discover a new source of chemistry that Nylander and Jagr had? Pittsburgh has oodles of offensive power but, oh, that inconsistent gloveman. As for the rest, New Jersey is Martin Brodeur and an annually-shrinking supporting cast, Philly has a bushel of young talent but isn't ready and the Islanders are a joke.
Northeast: Ottawa. They finally showed some cojones last spring and should hold off Buffalo, who will slip a bit with all the free agent losses, but the retention of Thomas Vanek and the emergence of young winger Drew Stafford should help offset that and they still have Ryan Miller between the pipes. Toronto should vie for a playoff spot if new goalie Vesa Toskala can handle the Canadian version of the New York sporting press, and Montreal and Boston are garbage. Hard to believe the Habs and former MVP Jose Theodore were the darlings of the league just a few short years ago.
Southeast: Carolina. Don't let the inordinate amount of injuries last year color the fact that this is the best all-around team in the division. Tampa Bay is still pretty good but which editions of Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Vaclav Prospal will show up? Atlanta doesn't have enough talent outside of Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk and Florida is terrible, and even Tomas Vokoun can't save the young guys every night. But Washington, after adding playmaker Michael Nylander to set up the two Alexes, Ovechkin and Semin, could sneak into the playoffs.
Central: Detroit. Even if world-class flake Dominik Hasek acts up or submits to the ravages of old age, there is no way anyone else is taking this division. Nashville held a fire sale in the offseason and will drop like the credibility of the Democratic Congress, St. Louis is rebuilding (with an aging Paul Kariya and Keith Tkachuk?) and Columbus, ostensibly "my" team, continues to flounder in so many spectacular ways. Then there's poor Chicago. Saddled with a joke of an owner who finally decided to relieve some of the fans' pain by croaking the other day, young center Jonathan Toews broke his finger and will miss 2-3 weeks. Sure, it's not that much time, but given that he plays for the Blackhawks, I'm sure the finger will get infected and he'll miss a month or two. At which point gangrene will have set in and it'll have to be amputated.
Northwest: Vancouver. The Canucks have the best goalie in the league not named Martin and just enough offensive talent to win a bunch of 2-1 and 3-2 games. Minnesota, by trading inconsistent Manny Fernandez to Boston, handed the goalie job to Niklas Backstrom, which, if uber-talented/oft-injured Marian Gaborik can stay on the ice, should be enough to push Vancouver to the limit if not pass them outright. Colorado and Calgary should both make the playoffs, the former on the strength of its offense, the latter because of Mikka Kiprusoff. Finally, Edmonton. Did they really go to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals a couple of years ago?
Pacific: Anaheim. Front-to-back, still probably the most talented team in the league even if Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne decide to enter the old folks' home, but San Jose will certainly make things difficult for the Ducks; they're deeper than Anaheim, but it's difficult to get over the proverbial hump and they haven't yet. The Stars are on offensive life-support, and the regular season brilliance of Marty Turco won't be enough to challenge for the Cup even though he - finally - carried that brilliance over into the postseason. Los Angeles and Phoenix remain non-entities.
Eastern playoff teams: Ottawa, N.Y. Rangers, Carolina, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, New Jersey and, oh, what the hell - Washington. Always some weirdo that crashes the party.
Western playoff teams: Detroit, Anaheim, Vancouver, San Jose, Minnesota, Colorado, Calgary, Dallas.
Stanley Cup Finals: Ouch. This is difficult, as there isn't a Scotty Bowman-led Montreal or N.Y. Islanders 1982 vintage in the league but about 8-10 teams - if they catch the requisite breaks - that can win the thing. If the Penguins were a bit sturdier in goal, they'd be the pick, but since Marc-Andre Fleury isn't quite ready for primetime, I suppose that this is the year the Senators finally get to drink cheap hooch out of Lord Stanley's tub as it winds its way from parade to family gathering to unspoken orgy in the back of a seedy Kamloops strip joint. Ottawa over San Jose. Or Detroit. Or Anaheim. Maybe.
Friday, September 28, 2007
The officials say the Iranians fully understand that while the United States could destroy Iran's major nuclear facilities, it would be far harder to manage the probable response, which could include heightened attacks on American forces in Iraq, possible retaliation on Israel or the destabilization of governments from Lebanon to Pakistan.Very true, especially since Mahmoud is personally directing all insurgency actions in Iraq itself via his NUCLEAR-powered Supervillian® Mind Control Device. What to do, what to do...I've got it!
So discussions now center on cutting off even more lending to the Iranians and - for the first time - supplies of technology and other goods. But that would require severing, one by one, deep ties between European and Iranian businesses, and necessitate what Mr. Hadley called a consensus for "aggressive action, even if that means compromising their commercial interests."Come on, Old Europe, help out a bosom chum. Not like it's our money. We've got oil scratch, and lots of it. So, aggressive action *wink wink nudge nudge* is the way to go? I'm sure some of the top brass will agree with that!
"This constant drumbeat of war is not helpful, and it's not useful," said Adm. William J. Fallon, the senior American commander in the region.I wonder what the over/under is on how long Fallon keeps his job.
Inside the Administration, senior officials say they have also considered organizing a regional forum to confront Iran, using as a model the "six party" talks with North Korea, an effort to put pressure on that country from all its neighbors. But in the Middle East, officials say, the idea has hardly gotten off the ground.Given what a positive influence we've been in the region, I'm as surprised as you are. But cast aside your worries, the military itself is here to save us from folly, just like the framers intended. And here you thought all the bloviating about a supine press corps proved that the system was indeed broken. It's not, so shut up about it.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I can respect the conviction behind the vote, Dennis, but this is as good as you're going to get today. So maybe a yes vote would've been in order instead.
"You're right, Randal, a yes vote certainly would've been the way to go."
*Far be it from me to not parlay an obscure X-Files reference into an opportunity for some gratuitous Scully worship.
"I wish the Speaker had all the power you just described," she scolded Blitzer, when he suggested the House simply cut off funding for the war. "I certainly could do that. That doesn't bar the minority from bringing up a funding resolution. They have their parliamentary prerogatives as well."If you certainly could, perhaps you certainly should. Though that would get in the way of playing nice, which has worked so well for you before.
Blitzer asked if Pelosi was simply "telling your angry base" that "there's nothing you can do" given Republican obstructionism.We've been paying attention. Maybe you should start doing the same.
"How could you have ever gotten that impression?" Pelosi lectured Blitzer, adding condescendingly "for those who pay attention" that she said Democrats will "hold this administration accountable, time and time again for the conduct of this war."
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
In the latest of a series of exchanges, Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote Rice to urge that she "reconsider the unusual positions you are taking." Congress has a "constitutional prerogative" to look into the issues, he wrote, and she is "wrong to interfere with the Committee's inquiry."Damn, Henry, you did bust out the white gloves. You devilish scamp!
A separate hearing, on Blackwater, is scheduled for next Tuesday.I hope they do a stirring rendition of "I can't recall." I just adore that tune.
Calling the department's position "wholly inappropriate," Waxman wrote that "unless the President is prepared to make an assertion of executive privilege over the Blackwater documents, the State Department has no authority to prevent their transmission to Congress."Terrible play, Henry. Bush hasn't dared to use executive privilege before, but now that you've given him this opening, you'll never get the answers! But at least the lack of cooperation will free up valuable time for us to continue winning hearts and minds.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
The Good: Edwards and Winslow show that they're still playmakers, and Cribbs made a big return for the second week in a row.
The Bad: The run defense is still laughable (we'll make anyone look like a Pro Bowler), and where the hell was Jamal Lewis? You weren't down by 40. Balance, Romeo, balance.
The Ugly: A fucking blocked field goal? Well, at least it wasn't a Hank Hill quick kick special. And good to see that Derek Anderson is back in a comfortable place, making plays for both teams. But the ugliest thing today, by far, were the Eagles' throwbacks. NFL, stop it. Please. Old school uniforms are only cool if it's Rick Barry-style Golden State, a Minuteman or a fucking knight. Actually, anything but Depression/WW2-era NFL. Rods and cones in the 30s and 40s must not have fully evolved yet.
Bonus Good: The Indians back in the playoffs. Do not fuck it up, gents.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
"I'm just the driver."
Sitting at home, sans enfants for once, my wife and I decided, as I watched a pearl of sweat teasingly cascade down her cheek and roll with agonizing languor onto the curve of her neck, to do what any consenting adult couple would do in such a hot, humid situation. We went to the movies.
But what to see? Both of us being fans of horror, even cheesy, C-grade junk like the Resident Evil series (hey, continent-sized plotholes and shitty acting be damned; they have fucking zombies, dammit!), its new entry would've been a possibility if not for the new David Cronenberg movie, Eastern Promises. With 2005's brilliant A History of Violence, Cronenberg seemed to have finally shed the unfortunately derogatory label of being "just a horror director." As if that's a bad thing. What is horror but the pain of everyday life given a splash of color. Who hasn't had to deal with a serial or spree killer, a legendary monster, a sadistic pervert, a genetic mutant? Well, unless you've been to a Republican National Convention, I suppose you wouldn't have. But enough digressing. With A History of Violence, Cronenberg told the story of smalltown everyman Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) who, upon foiling a robbery by killing the would-be thieves, becomes a local hero. A mobster shows up claiming that Stall is actually a Philadelphia hitman. The mental and physical dynamic between Stall, his wife, their children and the world around him as his secret comes out into the open was as horrifying as any blood-stained slasher flick. Teaming up once more with the still-underrated Mortensen, Cronenberg again invites us into that milieu outside the law, savage, vicious and, yes, horrific.
Mortensen plays Nikolai, a driver for a Russian crime syndicate based in London and headed by Semyon, beautifully played by Armin Mueller-Stahl, who facial expressions seamlessly shift from genteel family patriarch to sadistic malevolence. Nikolai, in dealing with Semyon's unstable son, Kirill (Vincent Cassel), proves his loyalty to the family as a fixer - with a certainly appropriate sobriquet, the Undertaker - while we catch glimpses of the cold, stoic man's growing doubt in both his words and his body language. Anna (Naomi Watts), a nurse at a local hospital, comes into possession of the diary of a quite young Russian mother who had died giving birth. In time, after translation by her uncle, Anna becomes entangled in the grimy web spun by the Russian criminals. Nikolai gains the very best graces of Semyon, becoming a full member of the Vory v zakone syndicate, all the benefits therein for the price of unquestioned, unbending loyalty, while the desire of Anna to find a place - and justice - in the world for the newborn child and the nefarious machinations of the underworld speed towards a man who is certainly more than just the driver.
Nary a drop of brightness throughout, the gritty and rain-soaked thoroughfares of London provide the perfect backdrop to the grainy, noirish feel of the film. The much-talked about fight scene more than deserves its attention. Stark, unexpected, brutal, it's a brawl of the streets. There is no stylized gunplay, no overdone Hong Kong martial arts, just a raw physicality rarely seen in any movie of any genre.
The acting is superb in all corners. Each vignette between any combination of characters comes across as lifelike in both appearance and speech. It would've been so easy for Kirill to be nothing but sound and fury, histrionic melodrama, but Cassel maintains a perfect balance between psychosis and a legitimate desire to please his overbearing father, his king, all while trying to carve out his own niche. Watts takes what could've been a stock character, the concerned nurse/civil servant, and gives Anna an earthy flair and a toughness in the face of the constant threat of disappearance, death, or even worse as she maintains her relentless, yet realistically portrayed, pursuit. But the star of the show is unquestionably Viggo Mortensen. Playing Nikolai with the cold efficiency that the character demands, Mortensen skilfully eschews any weak sentimentality when a shot of humanity is required. I can't speak a lick of Russian or Ukrainian, but it certainly comes across as pretty goddamn authentic. This is an Oscar-calibre performance. The man can flat out fucking act.
Eastern Promises is another feather in the cap of both director and star, and the rest of the cast and crew maintains the high level of quality from start to finish. This is just a first-class film that's deserving of any accolades it receives and of your hard-earned money when it comes out on DVD. Magnificently brutal, brutally magnificent, it's both. Go see it.
Friday, September 21, 2007
9/11 changed more than a day care worker saddled with a roomful of babies hit with diarrhea. Apparently, there's no more questioning of anything, too. As for Peter King's too-many-mosques comment, Rudy! is right. I think he did explain it quite adequately. I understood exactly what he meant. No one can tell the difference between butter and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!
- you're always right!
Democrats failing to pass anti-war bill. In between bouts of burning miniature American flags and watching porn while smoking a nice, big bowl as our kids, who we only had to get that big fat government check each month, subsist merely on bread and water in the dank, damp basement, us on the left like to complain about the ridiculously misleading headlines splattered over countless dead trees and the inscrutable tubular latticework that is the internets. "The Democrats didn't fail, the Republicans failed the country!" And the articles themselves are often not much better.
On Wednesday, the Senate blocked legislation by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., that would have guaranteed troops more time at home; it fell by a 56-44 vote with 60 votes needed to advance."The Senate didn't block it, the Republicans did!" Then, of course, The Great Newspaper Controversy, wherein 22 cowards joined Der Leader's Righteous Indignation Brigade to condemn legal - as of now - dissent.
But you know what? Maybe these headlines have been right all along. Let us forget, for just a moment, the bloodshed, the lies, the surveillance, the corruption, the illegal and immoral occupation of a sovereign nation - no matter how dysfunctional it was, is, and ever will be. Here's one more chance to show the American people that you aren't the real chickenhawks.
Democrats, meanwhile, are trying to force Mr. Bush into the uncomfortable position of vetoing a bill covering 10 million children before any spending bills reach his desk. They are casting the president as the compassionate conservative who forgot his compassion.Along with the Democrats - so often championing the cause of the little guy - as the party of fighters who forgot how to fight, these two sides of the same coin of wankery would make nice bookends for a shelf of empty rhetoric and endless capitulation.
Or you could, just possibly maybe sort of if you kinda sometimes feel like doing so, not back down.
But, Pariser said: "We're not accountable ultimately to the Democrats. We're accountable to people who want a swift end to the war, and that's the end goal here."The people. Remember them?
For MoveOn's supporters, the special notice from Bush may only serve to validate its confrontational style. "I think he just raised MoveOn several million more dollars," said Erik Smith, a Democratic media consultant.Who knew that if you showed yourself to be a fighter, win or lose short term, you could eventually come out on top. How about it, Dems?
Yesterday, almost two weeks after the ad ran, MoveOn found itself in an unenviable position: almost universally condemned by Senate Democrats and Republicans.Bookends.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Temperatures at its south pole are about 18 degrees warmer than elsewhere on the planet - not much for a planet with an average temperature colder than 320 degrees below zero."Unka Dick, I solved global warming! We just need to stop the sun - heh, heh, Neptune is by Uranus. Get it, Unka Dick? Uranus!"
The apparent reason is that the south pole has been in the summer sunlight for about 40 years.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Giuliani told reporters he has made 91 trips to 35 countries in five yearsGuess you can't pick up the speaking fees if you don't go and speak.
and many governments seek him out for advice on security.Yes, here's what not to do. And now for my favorite sentence of the piece:
Many have lauded him for his leadership in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, which he said few American leaders could have predicted.No, wait. Maybe it's this one:
"I don't think of Sept. 11 as being my defining experience. I think if it was I wouldn't have been able to handle it," he said.Reality is a harsh mistress. Better not tell your wife. Or your cousin. Or whomever you're shacking up with these days.
The U.S. military has introduced "religious enlightenment" and other education programs for Iraqi detainees, some of whom are as young as 11, Marine Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, the commander of U.S. detention facilities in Iraq, said yesterday.Since our military is already so enlightened, I'm sure this will go without a hitch.
"You will come to Jesus...you will come to Jesus..."
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
"Gonna vote for me now?"
Jim Thome for the Hall of Fame? Buster Olney says, as of right now, probably not and, given that the atmosphere surrounding the game continues to be choked with the slimy residue of the hulking cheaters of yesteryear, it's not surprising. Thome has always struck me as a guy who derived his power from being "country strong." He's just a naturally big dude, like a Frank Thomas.
Someone passes a numerical milestone and water cooler talk ensues, and these days it's been happening with some regularity. To Olney's credit, he points out the things that might hold some back from a "yes" vote, so let's take a look at them one by one:
He currently ranks 67th in RBI, despite playing in an offense-rich era. There are 10 players with more RBI than Thome whose names have already appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot who haven't gotten in - guys like Jim Rice and Harold Baines and Andre Dawson. For Thome, a power guy whose credentials are built on run production, that's a problem.Our renaissance on the diamond started to flower in 1994, the same year that Thome started receiving serious playing time. And flower it did, mainly by bashing the hell out of our opponents' pitching staffs. Let's take a look at yearly, individual RBI totals for the Indians, Thome in bold:
1994 (1st in AL runs scored): 101, 80, 76, 62, 60, 57, 52
1995 (1st): 126, 107, 90, 82, 79, 73
1996 (2nd): 148, 116, 112, 76, 67
1997 (3rd): 105, 102, 101, 88, 83
1998 (6th): 145, 96, 88, 85, 66
1999 (1st): 165, 120, 116, 108, 88
2000 (3rd): 122, 106, 106, 89, 73
2001 (2nd): 140, 124, 100, 74, 69
It's evident that he couldn't compare with Albert Belle at his peak, nor Manny Ramirez over the long haul (truly one of the finest hitting spacemen of all time) but the Indians were never a one-man show. When you're surrounded by that much slugging talent, especially when batting fifth a good part of the time, someone's going to steal a few of your RBI opportunites on occasion.
He's never finished in the top three in MVP voting in any season, which is unusual for a Hall of Fame candidate whose credentials are built on power. The only current member of the 500-homer club about whom that is true is Rafael Palmeiro. Everybody else was either an MVP or finished second at one time or another.I can't argue with this reasoning. What I can argue is that many baseball writers are fucking morons. Juan Gonzalez has two MVPs. Alex Rodriguez won one of his on a last-place team (that finished 25 games out of first), as did Andre Dawson in 1987. Justin Morneau was the AL MVP last year, and he wasn't even the most valuable player on the Twins. And let us never forget the travesty that was the 1999 Gold Glove award of the aforementioned Palmeiro who started only twenty-eight games at first base. Writers probably get it right more often than not when it comes to these things, but man, when they're wrong...
His defense may not hurt him, but it doesn't help him, either.Thome was an absolute butcher at third, but at first, he has a career .994 fielding percentage. Yes, certainly not the be-all, end-all of fielding statistics, but good enough for a guy that, compared to the other eight players, stands around the vast majority of the time.
He is one of the all-time leaders in OPS, but some of the OPS argument is diluted by the fact that nine of the 19 greatest OPS hitters are currently playing.Four of the other ten benefited from the juiced-up ball of the 1930s against a field of all white players, Rogers Hornsby a bit earlier against a field of all white players and Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial would be all-timers in any era. As for Mark McGwire, we know he's a cheating bastard. But let's toss OPS in the garbage and open up adjusted OPS, which is a more accurate barometer. Thome moves into a tie for 34th all-time, behind the active players Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Frank Thomas and Manny Ramirez. And ahead of Willie McCovey, Mike Schmidt, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Mathews, Reggie Jackson and Eddie Murray, Hall of Famers all.
He ranks 105th all-time in runs scored, behind Steve Finley, Luis Gonzalez and others.This is where raw totals can get an argument into trouble with the uninformed voter. Olney is correct, but Thome has played over 400 games less than Gonzalez and over 500 less than Finley. Prorated over 162 games, Gonzalez has scored 91.4 runs, Finley 90.5 and Thome 107.2. In addition, Finley was at the top of the lineup a wee bit more than Thome. Not to mention once more the fact that Thome played on exceptional teams. There were runs aplenty scoring before Big Jim even reached the plate.
In summation, Thome has hit a ton of homers and drawn a ton of walks, but he hasn't been extraordinary at scoring runs or driving them in, and to get into the Hall of Fame, you either have to be exceptional at one or the other.Which is certainly a shame. Olney is right in that he thinks Thome's raw totals will eventually be enough to land him in Cooperstown, but it's sad that the discussion even needs to be had. But then again, this is the same august body that still hasn't figured out that the best all-around third baseman on the planet during the 1960s belongs in the Hall.
*Yes, Thome really did say this to a local television sports reporter back during the Indians' halcyon days of the mid-to-late 90s. I wish I had it on tape.
Now the commies are at it again, so you know what's coming next.
He [Mike McConnell] is trying to hold the line against what some, mainly Democrats, see as excesses in the new Protect America Act, but also is pressing to strengthen it. Congress hastily adopted the measure last August based on McConnell's warnings of a dire gap in U.S. intelligence."When I say "boo!" you say 'who should I be scared of today, sir!'"
The Protect America Act allows the government to eavesdrop, without a court order, on all communications conducted by a person reasonably believed to be outside the United States, even if an American is on one end of the conversation."Unka Dick, this guy's in Walla Walla. Sounds kinda furrin'. That's not 'murka, is it?
"No, George, it's not. Nor is this guy in New York. Which is in England."
"It's sad what they did to Tony."
"Yes, it is, George."
Monday, September 17, 2007
The Good: Otto Graham. Frank Ryan. Brian Sipe. Bernie Kosar. Derek Anderson? As I've said to anyone who'll listen, we are accumulating some nice offensive talent (Kellen Winslow, Braylon Edwards, Joe Thomas, Eric Steinbach, solid veteran Joe Jurevicius), and Anderson does have a strong, if scattershot, arm, and Cincinnati does have a shitty defense but, WHAT THE FUCK? And when did Phil Savage invent a time machine to steal the 2003 version of Jamal Lewis? I completely expected the Bengals to do what they did, but for this group which looked historically abysmal last week to outperform these guys - well, just imagine the Republicans coming out against Bush en masse and joining the Democrats to end the war, enact universal health care and promote progressive taxation. And sticking to it.
The Bad: The defense still sucks, no matter how you slice it. The euphoria of the lightning-in-a-bottle performance of Anderson and Co. is the only thing keeping legions of talking heads from casting an endless stream of aspersions against this sad bunch. Since there's no way we're now the 21st century version of Air Coryell, I would hope the coaching staff spends a lot of time working on it. Try anything. New schemes, kidnapping Champ Bailey and Dwight Freeney, alchemy, invoking the dark lord Satan, sending opponents to black sites in Central Europe and Syria, whatever works.
The Ugly: Todd Grantham in tomorrow's team meeting. Marvin Lewis in tomorrow's team meeting. Cincinnati's supposedly sure-handed receivers dropping passes left and right in the fourth quarter. Oh, and the defenses. Ninety-six points, eleven touchdown passes, and over 1,000 combined yards of offense? What is this, Tecmo Super Bowl?
We just outscored the Bengals, the Texans are 2-0 while looking like a real NFL team, the Saints have gotten waxed twice and Joey Galloway continues to defy all known laws of aging in professional sports. It's early, but a drug-fueled Vegas trip is probably one of the few things more unpredictable than an NFL season.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
La scène du dessus est un reflet de comment je me sens quelquefois quand j'essaie faire disparaître les vagues de l'imperfection grammaticale dans mes rédactions françaises. Ce week-end, notre prof exige que le temps soit absorbé d'un petit article sur le voyou et le poète, François Villon.* So, for my 1.3 readers, go check out the links to the lower right. As indicated, they are indeed non-stupid and many (okay, all) of them contain far superior analysis and/or snark to what you'll find here. J'espère que vous avez un bon week-end !
*I count about 37 errors, give or take a few. At least I'm not trying to speak it. Now that is some Grade A hilarity.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Voter roll purges, if incorrectly done, can be a factor in determining election outcomes - particularly in tight races. Unlike most of the "voter fraud" cases cited by GOP activists, where a handful of registrations - usually in the single digits - from big voter registration drives are found to be erroneous, purges can effect thousands of voters. In Florida and Missouri in 2000, a total of 100,000 legal voters were incorrectly removed, according to academics and local election officials. In Cleveland in 2004, voter purges were a factor behind long lines and people leaving without voting as poll workers dealt with people who did not know they had been removed from voter lists, various media reported.I don't know what this loon is talking about. Everything went smoothly.
Another lying liar who'll suffer no ill effects from any political fallout because Very Serious People recognize that there was certainly no malicious intent on the part of Mr. Bond. There has to be an office pool going on at La Maison Blanche as to who can bullshit Congress the most. Not like it's a crime anymore, so everyone join in!
Come on, John, help me out. Wouldn't it have been a small price to pay to add some crocodile tears this time? Sacrifice for the war effort! Nice job on the choice of shirt, though. Looks like you just came back from an pleasant, uneventful jaunt through Baghdad. Sounds like it, as well, but I think you got too much sun. Hope things weren't expensive.
Aw, fuck it. We'll try it your way. Better make sure the Green Zone has a nice golf course, though. "Watch this drive."
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Reports of Mr. Olson's candidacy suggested that President Bush, in choosing the third attorney general of his presidency, might defy calls from Democrats and choose another Republican who is considered a staunch partisan to lead the Justice Department.Chuck?
"Clearly if you made a list of consensus nominees, Olson wouldn't appear on that list," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who led the Judiciary Committee effort to relieve Mr. Gonzalez. "My hope is that the White House would seek some kind of candidate who would be broadly acceptable."My hope was that you guys showed something vaguely resembling a backbone against ScAlito, Johnny Reb and AbuG in order to set a precedent that you weren't, in fact, the party of gutless clowns. Too late now. Why?
Aides to Mr. Bush are calculating that Democrats, who spent months clamoring for Mr. Gonzalez's ouster, will pay a political price if they try to block confirmation of a new attorney general. The thinking inside the White House is that Democrats cannot call for new leadership at the Justice Department, then block it.Bingo! Getting called names by Very Serious People hurts!
Mr. Leahy said in a statement this week that he wanted the White House to find a nominee with "a proven track record of independence to ensure that he or she will act as an independent check on this administration's expansive claims of virtually unlimited executive power."Watch out, Rip Van Winkle. Your sleep record is in jeopardy.
"Evil will always triumph because good is dumb!"
Late afternoon update:
Bwahahahahahaha! I'll believe it when I see it.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Good luck, Chuck. (Sorry, no gratuitous Jessica Alba pic. You know how to use the internets.)
I'll repost this next week when Derek Anderson/Ken Dorsey/Brady Quinn/Don Strock helps contribute to a blowout at the hands of the Bengals.
Cleveland Sports Update:
I can't believe I didn't notice this before, but the George Mikan-in-reverse of professional sports owners, Ted Stepien, had finally departed this mortal coil to be with the Super Magical Jesus Baby. You young types are spoiled with the current King James-led Cavs. Under Ted, there was some bad, bad basketball. Thank the aforementioned SMJB for giving us World B. Free to make things mildly interesting by chucking up 752 shots a night as we recovered from the fuckery of Ted.
Bin Laden's new appearances underline the failure to find the terror leader that President Bush vowed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks to take "dead or alive."If one could've shown the world in 2002 this article, there would've been soul-straining outrage, aneurysms and spittle-soaked sidewalks. Now, not so much. Sure, some talking heads on both sides will issue reassuring platitudes and speak about our lost loved ones, but the occupation will go on, the Democrats won't do what's necessary to stop it - being scared shitless of an unpopular, petulant child and his minions - and bin Laden will someday die a free man, having achieved one of his goals of turning the Great Satan into a worldwide laughingstock, not least among the Iraqis themselves. They don't matter, nor do the American people. But don't worry, bloodthirsty 28-percenters, you can save the Cheetohs-fueled rage for something important, like Teh Gay, the Invasion of the Swarthy or the Godly cause of blastocyst-Americans. Us lefties will never forget 9/11. Kind of hard to when every day brings more death.
On Sunday, Bush's homeland security adviser Francis Fragos Townsend sought to play down bin Laden's importance - and added a taunt, saying he was "virtually impotent."
But terrorism experts say al-Qaida's core leadership is regrouping in the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.
"Those wacky terrorists. What're you gonna do?"
Monday, September 10, 2007
After that, another four brigades would be withdrawn by July 2008, he said. That would leave the United States with about 130,000 troops in Iraq.So, was the surge good for you, too, baby? Petraeus said the report was original work, that he didn't cut and paste from Conservapedia or copy any of the scribbling on the White House bathroom stalls. Anyone not paid by a wingnut slush fund or wilfully ignorant would've had a hard time buying any of the poorly-staged theatre today. It could've been really fucking hilarious if not for all the dead bodies.
New boss, same as the old boss.
The Good: No one died.
The Bad: Everything else.
The Ugly: The quarterbacking, the offensive line, receivers dropping passes, the run defense, laughable punting from the injury fill-in. I suppose I could've just said "everything else" again, but I wanted to pad the post so my reader would feel he/she/animal-human hybrid was getting his/her/its money's worth. But, no point in dwelling on such a typically spirit-crushing loss, so I'm done.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Republican Fred Thompson said Friday that terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden is "more symbolism than anything else" as the presidential hopeful warned of possible greater al-Qaida threats within the United States.Bushism has been so devastatingly effective, that the greatest criminal genius since Hitler, no, since Satan himself, has been relegated to a mere #2 man in his own outfit.
Later in the day, and after Democrats had been critical of his earlier remarks, Thompson took a much tougher stance. [ed - and just look at that width!] "Apparently Osama bin Laden has crawled out of his cave long enough to send another video and he is getting a lot of attention," he said at a rally in Mason City. "He ought to be caught and killed."Thank you, Mr. Writ Large for that insightful and penetrating examination of such a perplexing issue. But honestly, who would classify that language as tough? Certainly not The Maverick.
"Osama bin Laden and his henchmen must be hunted down - and as President, I will," McCain said in a statement. "My presidency will be al-Qaida's worst nightmare."Don't you feel excited? Pumped up? Yeah, motherfucker! Crush! Kill! Destroy! Come on Rudy! bring it on home!
Campaigning in Florida, Giuliani said it's "a very, very important objective to capture him and take him out."Weak stuff, Rudy!, weak stuff. Where's the closest fascist bloodlust? The rank disregard for your enemies and all of those blessed to serve under your megalomania? Some symbol of all that is good and righteous with the Republican party you are. Quick, someone tell Rudy! that Osama is a ferret. You're just not the man I thought you were. Wait. What's that? Fred, you have something to say?
Asked whether the U.S. should have focused on getting bin Laden instead of going to war in Iraq, Thompson said: "It's not an either or situation. Saddam Hussein was on the cusp of having defeated the United Nations and the free world and the United States. He had certainly had weapons of mass destruction and the capability of reviving his nuclear program."Red meat. Delicious. Can't you just feel the crimson run everywhere, the life pouring out of your hapless victim? The whole goddamn free world was locked in the iron grasp of Saddam, the most dangerous force of evil since (guess who?) Hitler, or that Iranian guy. Or Lex Luthor. He's just really bad, so take that, candyass Defeatocrats! Fred Dalton Thompson. Ronald Wilson Reagan. Wow, I can't tell them apart at all! But don't forget about Crazy Uncle John skulking in the shadows! But go ahead and ignore the fact that the most wanted man in the world is still free.
Pretty fucking scary that Rudy!, possessor of the most aggressively sick and twisted mind of the lot and, you know, the Republican frontrunner, was the most laid back yesterday. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Just look at him drool in anticipation of cracking open your kid's skull and eating his brains.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Bush said that during his talks with Roh, he reaffirmed the U.S. position that Washington will consider the war formally over only when North Korean leader Kim Jong Il actually dismantles his nuclear program.That's fine and all, keeping up the face of Manly Man of Manliness Toughguyism, but I'm so confused. Does this mean that the Cold War isn't over, either? I thought we won that! You lied, history books, you fucking lied! Which wars are or are not still going on? Is this World War IV? The world is so complicated! Woe is me! If only there was a serious adult person around that radiated thoughtful leadership to help me through this Byzantine political labyrinth.
Bush, now looking irritated, replied: "I can't make it any more clear, Mr. President. We look forward to the day when we can end the Korean War. That will end - will happen when Kim verifiably gets rid of his weapons programs and his weapons."Fuck that. I look forward to the day when we can end the Civil War. Now, how about somebody explain to me what's going on!
"There was clearly something lost in translation," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in a rushed e-mail to reporters.Yeah, Roh hadn't anticipated just how much more of a dick Bush is in person and it merely caught him off guard. No harm, no foul. For now.
Bonus Fun with captions!
"Pooty Poot! I can't look into your soul unless you turn your head!"
Thursday, September 6, 2007
The comics from ABC's satirical The Chaser's War on Everything left authorities red-faced yesterday after the security breach only metres from the Sydney hotel where US President George W. Bush is staying.Gonna need more oil money to pay for some better security, I guess.
Gents, get the war machine 'a rollin'.
"I don't see a funny side to what's happened today. I don't see a funny side at all," NSW Police Minister David Campbell said.Fascists just don't have a sense of humor like they used to.
Another autumn approaching, the leaves changing hues later and later each year thanks to the nefarious influence of vile treehuggers, another season of gridiron mediocrity in Cleveland. So, without further Apu, here are some pointless predictions for your reading displeasure, most of which are sure to turn out wrong. Why, you ask? Since the NFL expanded playoff participation from 10 teams to 12 in 1990, there have been a minimum of five new playoff teams each and every year, and neither conference has had all of its division winners repeat since Dallas, Minnesota and the L.A. Rams did in 1978. Which means that my NFC predictions, based on past history (a mathematically limited sample size, to be sure), will likely turn out incorrect. But I can't in good faith pick anyone else to win these divisions until one of these Next! (registered trademark, The ESPN Hypemachine) teams actually does something on the field.
AFC East: New England. Come on. It's not even a contest. Miami's offensive line is crap, its defense is getting grey and Trent Green is already 85 years old; Chad Pennington is fra-gee-lee (must be Italian!); the Bills keep losing players. But Lee Evans is the best receiver no one knows about and football player Marshawn Lynch is going to be a hell of a football playing running back for his football team. Sorry, momentarily possessed by the ghost of Joe Theismann. I'm better now.
AFC North: Pittsburgh. I'm honestly surprised that the so-called pundits are still on the Baltimore bandwagon. Roethlisberger will bounce back. McNair is getting long in the tooth and their offense, despite some name players, won't score enough points. Brian Billick only has a ring because of Ozzie Newsome's drafting. The Bengals [insert obligatory crime joke here] and the Browns don't have enough playmakers on both sides of the ball. Cliché enough yet for ya?
AFC South: Indianapolis. See AFC East. Jacksonville's schedule is pretty easy, but Houston and Tennessee both suck in their own special ways, Vince Young's potential notwithstanding. And none of those teams has Peyton Manning.
AFC West: San Diego. They're not going 14-2 again - they barely had any injuries last year - but Kansas City is on the way down for awhile, Oakland is half a team, and recent Shanahan squads often tease and often finish around .500. Hurts when you don't have Elway to bail your ass out every week, don't it, Mike? Try signing some more Browns d-line castoffs.
AFC wild cards: Jacksonville, where new/old guy David Garrard need simply to not turn the ball over because of the weak schedule and a punishing defense/running game, and Cincinnati because Carson Palmer is the best quarterback in the league not named Tom or Peyton.
NFC East: Philadelphia. Both lines are deep if not especially stacked with all-timers and they upgraded the depth at receiver, too. We'll see if the Trotter brouhaha galvanizes the team, ala the 2004 Patriots, or McNabb sulks. Or gets hurt. Again. The rest of the division - on second thought, probably not the Giants - can challenge for a wild-card spot in this thin conference. They'll just beat each other up, but one of them will sneak in.
NFC North: Chicago. The best of a bad lot. The defense won't be that good again and Rex is Rex, but the Vikings are horrible, Martz will screw up the Lions like he did the Rams and the Packers are too young, though methinks they'll be better than most talking heads assume.
NFC South: New Orleans, by default. Too much went right for America's New Team last year, and how can you not root for them if your name isn't George W. Bush, but Carolina has plenty of issues, such as Delhomme quickly becoming worse than mediocre and a constantly injured RB crew, the Bucs have too many question marks - can Garcia replicate 2006? can Michael Clayton and Maurice Stovall finally complement Joey Galloway? - and Ron Mexico's old team is stuck with a bad combo of thinning talent and malaise. And Joey Harrington, who, to his credit, hasn't murdered any dogs as far as we know.
NFC West: Seattle. Still the division's most talented team on both sides of the ball, but the gap is closing. Man, I fucking hate sports clichés. The yawning abyss of competition ruthlessly burns the air into nothingness while its gaping maw bites deep into Seahawk blood and bone, shattering its dessicated spirit into so many scattered shards of remorse. There, that's better. The Cardinals have plenty of skill position talent but the o-line remains noisome garbage, the Rams chances are like those of the Packers except with a better QB/RB combo and a weaker defense and the 49ers, for all of their hype, overplayed their statistical line last year. They're not ready just yet.
NFC wild cards: Ugh, might as well just draw names from a fucking hat. What the hell. The Packers because of their young and talented defense and the Redskins over the Cowboys because they've shored up the defense and can't have that many injuries again whereas Dallas resembled an expansion team at times down the stretch last year, and they have new coordinators and there's no way in hell Terrell behaves himself in Year Two.
The Cleveland Browns: record, 5-11; arrests, 1, so far. Let's not be the Bengals in this regard. Dumabss. How come it's never the long snapper or the extra dime back?
First start for a Man Named Brady: Week 8, after the bye.
Super Bowl: New England over Philadelphia.
That's called going out on a limb, folks.
The willingness to consider alternatives represents a shift by Democrats and is a recognition of changing political and practical realities they face in grappling with Iraq and its future.Translation from Congressperson [insert name of Democrat here]: "we were cowards for so long, we couldn't possibly fight back now. We would be labeled flip-floppers. And worse. See how you like getting called names by Beltway punditry and Cheetohs-stained 28 percenters!"
Bipartisan by any other name would smell as noxious.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
I love the smell of propaganda in the morning.
On a lighter note, sure, the insignificant gods of some minor* religion may require two goats for appeasement, which of course means that our Superior, Asskickingest God requires, oh, I don't know, mass human sacrifice, but fear not, True Believers. All that bloodshed in Iraq has got to count for something with the big guy, no?
*"Hindu. There are 700 million of us."
"Aw, that's super."
Saturday, September 1, 2007
The great Ian Hunter with special guests Brian May and Joe Elliot.
Enjoy your weekend, America. The preaching and propaganda campaign for Sun and Sand Hijinks 2.0, starring Louis VII and Bernard of Clairvaux, er, George Bush and Dick Cheney, will be starting soon, so rest up!