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March 01, 2007

Texans Make Changes

And that includes letting a couple of popular players go.

By waiving offensive tackle Zach Wiegert, defensive tackle Seth Payne and receiver Eric Moulds, the Texans cleared up salary-cap space for the start of free agency on Friday and provided opportunities for some younger players to solidify their positions on the team.

Wiegert, 34, and Payne, 32, suffered season-ending knee injuries last season. Moulds, 34, saw his performance drop off over the second half of the season.

Expected to replace them as starters are offensive tackle Eric Winston, defensive tackle Anthony Maddox and receiver Kevin Walter.

"We all face difficult decisions at this time of the year," Texans general manager Rick Smith said. "We're doing everything we can to improve our team."

The Texans saved $3.07 million on Wiegert and Payne. Moulds, who played one season in Houston, wasn't a cap casualty.

"We have several areas we want to improve," Smith said. "We've got a couple of free agents we've targeted, but we're going to be prudent financially."

Like it or not, these are older guys who needed to go. The team has struggled since the beginning, and Coach Gary Kubiak is moving in a different direction from that of the Capers era. Young players stepped-up last season and are ready to take the roles filled by these older guys.

And on another interesting note, discontent over QB David Carr's role on the team is bubbling up. This comment comes from teammate Dunta Robinson.

Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson said Wednesday night that he believes it is time for quarterback David Carr to be traded. "It's just my opinion, but I think it's that time," Robinson said. "We haven't won. I'm not saying it's David's fault, and I'm not saying he can't be a great quarterback with another team. But he's been here for five years, and the best we've been able to do is 7-9. I just think it's time for us to make some moves that'll help the Texans become a winning team."

That he is making such statements publicly tells me that the sentiment is much more widely shared on the team. The question is, do the Texans listen to this sentiment that is shared by players and fans alike?

|| Greg, 05:39 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 28, 2007

Enquiring Minds DIDNT Want To Know

Too much information WAAAAAAY too much information!

FILM Queen DAME HELEN MIRREN has admitted she didnt wear undies at the Oscars.

The star, 61, revealed her saucy secret on US TV as she showed off the gown she wore to the awards.

It was all made for me so I didnt have to have any underwear, she told presenter OPRAH WINFREY.

It fitted me like two angels hands, she giggled, cupping her boobs to illustrate the point.

I cried when I put it on, it is a work of art.


|| Greg, 05:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 27, 2007

Let The Rodeo Begin!

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo begins tonight, the first of twenty consecutive days of excitement pitting man against farm animal -- and bringing some of the best in concert entertainment to Houston.

That distinct farm animal smell, the click-click of spurs and signs advertising every food imaginable "on a stick" have returned to Reliant Park.

That's right it's rodeo time.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo kicks off today, bringing thousands of youth livestock raisers to Reliant Park.

This year's 75th anniversary edition also features a new rodeo scoring system with more prize money, a different entertainer every night of the 20-day event, and a carnival with hair-raising rides and heaps of fried food.

It's a diamond anniversary organizers promise you won't want to miss.

"This is going to be a fun year," said Leroy Shafer, the show's chief operating officer.

Seriously, the rodeo is one of the best entertainment values I've ever encountered -- tickets for tonight's competition and the post-rodeo concert by George Strait could be had for a face value of under $20.00. Try getting into any concert by a top-name star for that price anywhere else. And its good to know that the money made at the rodeo goes for scholarships for Texas students.

Cowboy up!

|| Greg, 05:06 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 24, 2007


There is a movie coming out in the next few weeks that has a real potential to impact America for the better. It is "The Ultimate Gift" and is a movie about charity. Over at its official website, they describe the movie as follows.

When his wealthy grandfather dies, trust fund baby Jason Stevens anticipates a big inheritance. Instead, his grandfather has devised a crash course on life with twelve tasks or gifts designed to challenge Jason in improbable ways, sending him on a journey of self-discovery and forcing him to determine what is most important in life: money or happiness.

Now the movie itself is based upon the book of the same title, which was published several years ago, and motivated many of its readers to engage in wonderful acts of charity towards their fellow human beings. It looks like the movie has the potential to do the same, given that at the 300 preview screenings that have been held so far there have ben over $5,000,000 in charitable donations made. There is no reason to believe that there will not be more of the same once the movie opens on 800 screen nationwide on March 9, 2007. The film itself is quite powerful, if the clip they have posted online is any indication, so there is definitely reason to hope that this movement towards charitable giving, initially begun among readers of the book and continued in the previews, will continue among the viewers in the general population.

Speaking as a teacher, I hope many of my students see this film and are changed by it. Too many of them are influenced by the culture of conspicuous consumption and wealth at any cost found in popular culture. A movie like this has the potential to open their eyes and let them see that there is something more to life than the hedonistic pursuit of pleasure and property.

For more information on the film, visit the official site of the movie "The Ultimate Gift" and the grass-roots movement its starting to help charities and give to others.

Paid Endorsement.

|| Greg, 12:00 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 17, 2007

Britney Seeks To Regain PR Advantage Over Anna Nicole

The lengths that a talentless white-trash skank like Britney Spears will go to steal press coverage from a dead talentless white-trash skank like Anna Nicole is pretty frightening.

Britney Spears appeared in a tattoo parlor in the San Fernando Valley with her head shaved completely bald.

Video on KABC-TV showed the newly shorn Spears with tiny tattoos on the back of her neck as she sits Friday night for a new tattoo a pair of red and pink lips.

She just wanted something real small on her wrist, something dainty, Max Gott, the tattoo artist at Body and Soul in Sherman Oaks, told the TV station. She got some cute little lips on her wrist.


This seems to be a sign of Spears flunking out of rehab.

Hey, Britney -- your 15 minutes are up. Have Howard K. Stern send you some of whatever Anna Nicole was taking and have your publicist call us in the morning.

|| Greg, 04:01 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 12, 2007

Chicks Win With Whiny Anthem -- Is Country Music Industry Ready To Make Nice?

Let's see -- a group that no longer considers itself country and is no longer played by country radio got top country music honors from an organization whose voters are primarily drawn from outside the country music industry. Hardly a vindication, in my book. But the NY Times disagrees.

After death threats, boycotts and a cold shoulder from the country music establishment, the Dixie Chicks gained sweet vindication Sunday night at the 49th annual Grammy Awards, capturing honors in all five of the categories in which they were nominated.

The Dixie Chicks took home Grammys for the top three awards: record, song and album of the year. Their Taking the Long Way (Open Wide/Columbia) won best country album and Not Ready to Make Nice also captured best country performance by a duo or group with vocal. That song is an unapologetic response to the furor set off in 2003 when the bands lead singer, Natalie Maines, made an off-the-cuff antiwar remark to London concertgoers: Just so you know, were ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.

But Sundays awards were the Recording Academys rejoinder to the country music radio establishment, which ignored the album. Accepting the award for song of the year, Ms. Maines joked, For the first time in my life, Im speechless. But she found her voice on later trips to the stage. Im very humbled and I think people were using their voice the same way this loudmouth did, she said, self-referentially, after Taking the Long Way was named album of the year. The Dixie Chicks sweep of the major Grammy categories served as a sharp counterpoint to their shut-out at the Country Music Association awards in November. The Recording Academy consists of members across the nation who work in all genres of music. The Country Music Associations membership is concentrated among artists, engineers and executives tied to the Nashville establishment.

In other words, these awards are really meaningless, and probably are best seen as a political swipe at the president by an entertainment industry that has always rejected him.

And I think the positioning of the group's performance and introduction by Joan Baez indicate that the night's awards were less about the group's artistic accomplishments than their political activism.

The Dixie Chicks got the last laugh Sunday night. Rejected by the country establishment, the polarizing group was tickled to find itself in the warm embrace of the broader Recording Academy, which honored the Chicks with five Grammy Awards -- including the three biggest: album of the year, record of the year and song of the year.

The Texas trio also won for best country group vocal and best country album. The latter award was especially surprising since they were excommunicated from the church of country music in 2003 after singer Natalie Maines popped off about President Bush and the war in Iraq. Upon bouncing to the podium after the result was announced, Maines said what just about everybody inside Staples Center was probably thinking: "That's interesting." She closed her gaping mouth just long enough to grin mischievously, then said, "Well, to quote the great Simpsons, 'HA HA!' "

"Not Ready to Make Nice," the group's defiant answer to the angry country fans who'd criticized the group for criticizing Bush, won song of the year, the industry's top writing award. "I am, for the first time in my life, speechless," Maines said. Earlier, the protest singer Joan Baez had introduced the Dixie Chicks as "three brave women who are still not ready to make nice."

I've said it before -- the band has every right to make its political statements, ad to remain as defiant as they want. That is part and parcel of the First Amendment. However, country fans have every right to refuse to buy their CDs and concert tickets and country radio has every right to refuse to play their songs on the radio in response -- also protected by the First Amendment. And frankly, most of us don't feel any particular urge to make nice either.

|| Greg, 05:42 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 06, 2007

Will Texans Dump Carr?

Maybe, according to owner Bob McNair, who has long been one of the troubled quarterbacks big supporters.

David Carrs future with the Houston Texans remains in limbo. Owner Bob McNair remained non-committal about Carr on Tuesday, saying he is still being evaluated and any decision on whether the fifth-year quarterback returns next season will depend on what the Texans can accomplish in free agency.

David has been inconsistent, and weve said that McNair said at a Texas Bowl luncheon at the JW Marriott. Hes had some good games and hes had some games that havent been as good. Hes a tremendous athlete. Weve got to get better consistency there, either with David or with some additional help. We need more consistency at quarterback.

McNair has been one of Carrs biggest supporters since the team drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick during their expansion season in 2002. But after five straight losing seasons that support appears to be waning. McNair has not publicly endorsed Carr in recent months and has declined to speculate on the quarterbacks future with the team for the 2007 season.

McNair said the entire team is currently being evaluated by general manager Rick Smith and coach Gary Kubiak.

It will all come down, of course, to who they can bring in to replace Carr under center. Personally, I think a year or two with Sage Rosenfels at the helm would be acceptable, if the team could pick up Kevin Kolb or a comparable quarterback in the second or third round. Properly developed over that transition time, the new quarterback would not be rushed in too soon or have to take the many hits that have left the current starter gun-shy.

Heck, I wouldnt even mind seeing Carr back, so long as he and Rosenfels enter training camp competing for the starting job rather than with the decision made before the first practice snap is taken. Such a move would be good for both of them.

|| Greg, 05:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 04, 2007

Colts Win Super Bowl XLI

Coming back from an opening kick-off return for touchdown and an early interception, the Indianapolis Colts have won Super Bowl XLI in convincing fashion, 29-17. Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy finally have earn their Super Bowl rings!

In a sloppy, exciting, rainsoaked NFL title game Sunday, the Colts defeated the Bears 29-17 behind 247 yards passing from Manning, the star quarterback who finally won the big one after nine record-setting seasons that was missing very little besides a championship.

It was a surreal scene for the NFL's showcase game, played indoors or in perfect weather for almost all of the previous 40 years, but not this time.

In a good ol'-fashioned South Florida soaker the first Super Bowl to be played in the rain the football squirted loose and bounced all over the waterlogged field. It resulted in eight turnovers, including two late interceptions thrown by Chicago's Rex Grossman that sealed the game for Indy.

And it has just been announced that Peyton manning is the MVP of this year's game! Another well-deserved honor for the league's most dominant quarterback.

To me, though, the most interesting moment were the words by Tony Dungy, when there was an attempt to turn this victory into something about race. He brought it all into perspective -- and paid tribute to opposing coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears -- by noting that it was about showing that you can win coaching the Lord's way.

|| Greg, 09:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Super Bowl Halftime Show -- Well Done!

Even though I initially thought we might be treated to a performance by Aunt Jemima in drag when I saw that kerchief, I was pleased by tonight's halftime performance.


Phew! CBS got through the halftime show without a "wardrobe malfunction." The Artist Formerly Known as a Munchkin of Wardrobe Dysfunction began by singing "Let's Go Crazy," but he didn't.

* * *

The closest thing to a fashion statement Sunday night was an odd kerchief on his head. So the NFL had no repeat of the 2004 Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake show, which happened the last time CBS broadcast the game.

The 48-year-old Prince, who rose to stardom in the '80s with his distinctive fusion of R&B, funk, soul and rock, once looked androgynous and produced songs that (lest we forget) drove Tipper Gore nuts (and made her a fat target for anti-censorship types like Frank Zappa).

Musically, the diminutive, erstwhile prodigy from Minneapolis kept it old-school, rockin' the house with "Purple Rain" and other golden hits.

He delivered one of the best Super Bowl halftime shows - ever. Consequently, he didn't come across as a painfully safe choice - or a has-been, the rap against the previous couple of Super Bowl halftime acts, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones.

Now if we can just get some more decent performances in the future, we won't have to worry about the awkward "dead period" in the middle of the game.

|| Greg, 08:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Doesn't This Make It Porn?

If there is any truth to this story, then the film in question must have an NC-17 rating slapped on it. Anything else legitimizes pornography as an art form.

Sienna Miller and Hayden Christensen are said to be convincing in their "Factory Girl" love scenes. The reason? The sex is for real, a source told the New York Daily News.

"It's not simulated," the insider said. "They're really doing it"

* * *

The News reports that Miller had a romance with "Star Wars" actor Christensen while on a break from her ex-boyfriend Jude Law but then jilted him.

"They spent about a month hanging out," a Christensen pal told the News. "But then she decided that she didn't want a relationship. Hayden was devastated. He really fell for her."

Added a friend of Miller, "Sienna wanted to try to make another go of it with Jude. But again, it didn't work out. At the end of last summer, she and Hayden ended up in Toronto for more shooting. They hadn't talked in six months. But it turned out to be a great reunion."

It was during this "reunion" that the two former lovers, both 25, reportedly did the deed for the world to see.

Seriously -- are we going to start seeing REAL sex scenes on the big screen in the future? Or are we going to take a stand and draw a line here?

|| Greg, 07:22 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Super Bowl XLI

I'll be watching -- but I think I'll skip the festivities at this establishment a a couple miles up the road, even though they've been advertising for two weeks.


Oh, yeah, and by the way, even though I lived many years in the Chicago area, my wife and I are big fans of Peyton Manning, so you can guess where I stand on this one.


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February 02, 2007

Last Potter Book Slated For July 21

Well, the end is fast approaching for the beloved Harry Potter series. All will be revealed, now that JK Rowling has written the last words of the saga of "the boy who lived".

J. K. Rowling, the author of the record-setting Harry Potter books, announced yesterday that the seventh and last installment in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be published on July 21.

That will be just eight days after the release of the film version of the fifth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, promising a huge summer for fans of the young wizard.

Millions of fans around the world are fiercely anticipating the final installment. But the end of the series, in which Ms. Rowling has hinted she may kill off one of the main characters, comes as a bittersweet finale not only for readers but also for the publishing companies, booksellers and licensees that have cashed in on the international phenomenon since it began more than nine years ago with Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone.

And it will be sad, givent he international phenomenon that hte books have been for the last decade. And while there are at least two additional movies to be made, one wonders if we really have seen the last of the young wizard and his friend. Will Rowling be able to resist the call to write additional books about Harry Potter? Or will she kill the hero? And will death be sufficient, or will he make an unexpected return like Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes did after an apparent tumble over a waterfall?

Only time will tell.

Oh, and as a side note, the big screen's Harry Potter is branching out with a nude scene in Hairy Potter and the Happy Trail Equus on the London stage.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Last Potter Book Slated For July 21" »

|| Greg, 05:36 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 28, 2007

Bollywoold Legend Nayyar Dies

This may surprise some of you, but my wife and I are both fans of India's Bollywood films. Really.

Back when my wife taught at a school with a 20% Asian student body, she had many Indian students. They introduced her to a number of aspects of Indian culture, including this one. And while we do not speak the language, many of the films are available with subtitles so we can enjoy.

That is how I became familiar with the work of O.P. Nayyar, who died today in India.

Indian music director O.P. Nayyar, who composed some of Bollywood's most memorable tunes of the 1950s and 60s, died on Sunday after a heart attack at his home outside Mumbai, a news agency reported.

Nayyar, 81, was famous for the use of Punjabi rhythms in his music and is credited with making stars of several leading singers, including Asha Bhosle, Press Trust of India said.

Indian film director Mahesh Bhatt described Nayyar as ``an audacious man who was a king in his time.''

Nayyar, who always dressed in white and was never seen without his distinctive black felt hat, was born in Lahore in what is now Pakistan in 1926.

He got his first break in 1949 when he was appointed music director on ``Kaneez'' (Junior), but recognition came with 1950s movies like ``Mr and Mrs 55'' and ``CID.''

Nayyar may have died, but his influence lives on today in much of Bollywood cinema.

|| Greg, 09:07 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 27, 2007

A Fan Favorite For American Idol

I've not followed American Idol this season, and have had only mixed interest over the last couple of years. However, I think I've found the person I want to see win -- Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Jarrod Fowler of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

A Sailor assigned to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) has become a celebrity almost overnight as millions of Americans watched him advance to the next round of the "American Idol" competition on national television Jan. 16.

Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Jarrod Fowler said he has received numerous telephone calls, e-mails and even a few requests for his autograph after his audition for FOX's hit series "American Idol" competition aired earlier this week.
Fowler, who has spent much of his time over the past two days giving telephone interviews to local radio and television stations, says he was totally caught off guard by all of the attention.

"It's not just being on national television," said Fowler, "it's the chance to represent the entire crew of USS Ronald Reagan. I really want to say thanks to everyone who helped get me here."

The audition, which was taped back in September, took place in Minneapolis while Fowler was on leave. Fowler said he wore his uniform to the audition in order to represent both the Navy and the crew of Ronald Reagan.

* * *

Ronald Reagan is the Navy's newest Nimitz-class aircraft carrier and completed its maiden combat deployment in support of the global war on terrorism in 2006.

Let's hope Jarrod Fowler can win one for the Gipper -- and for every man and women in our nation's uniform at a time when too many Americans are ready to betray them and their mission in Iraq and the war on Islamofascist terrorism.

|| Greg, 11:22 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 26, 2007

Tailgating A Crime At Super Bowl

The NFL promotes tailgate parties at every stadium in the league. Indeed, it is one of the attractions of the gameday experience.

But at the Super Bowl this year, tailgating is banned even at venues not part of the stadium complex, including private property.

Die-hard football fans attending the Super Bowl game at Dolphin Stadium are getting a rude awakening after finding out that no tailgating of any type will be allowed on game day within one mile of the stadium.

"There is no tailgating allowed in the Dolphin Stadium parking lots," Sue Jaquez, a member of the Super Bowl XLI Host Committee, confirmed on Tuesday. "And there is no tailgating anywhere within a one-mile radius of the stadium." "And there are no RVs allowed."

* * *

Detective Nelda Fonticella of the Miami-Dade Police confirmed the Super Bowl rules.

If caught grilling or consuming alcohol within that one-mile radius of Dolphins Stadium, fans initially "will be warned and asked to pick up their things and leave," Fonticella said. "We're trying to make this a pleasant experience for everyone, and there will be plenty to do in the week leading up to the game."

I can understand the on-site issues but banning tailgating at off-site venues seems to be a bit of a draconian approach.

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January 25, 2007

What Do You Think?

A football player promises a fan during an interview that if his team makes the Superbowl, he will take the fan along. The team makes the SuperBowl. What should happen?

That is a controversy raging in the Chicago area, after Bears safety Chris Harris made such a promise to Bryan Lange during a 40-second interview for a public-access television show.

Months before the Chicago Bears clinched their first trip to the Super Bowl in 21 years, safety Chris Harris stared into a video camera and promised to take fan Bryan Lange with him to Miami if the team made it to the big game.

The apparent promise -- made during a 40-second interview with a public access television show last June -- might have seemed like a longshot at the time.
But now that the Bears are in, thanks in part to Harris' big plays last Sunday, Lange is trying to hold Harris to his words.

Lange, a construction worker from Crystal Lake and a Bears season ticket holder, has set up camp on the road to Halas Hall this week with a sign saying, "Chris Harris You Promised.''

He also posted a clip of the interview he filmed at a charity event at www.psychobabble tv.com/chrisharrispromised.

In it, Harris tells Lange -- who goes by the name Chong on a show called Psycho Babble -- that his goal is to make it to the Super Bowl.

Says Lange: "If you guys make it to the Super Bowl, I'll sell my Harley to go.''

Harris replies, "You won't have to sell it. I will give you tickets.''

Lange replies, "I'm going to hold you to it. I've got you on tape.''

Harris, looking at the camera, then agrees: "It's on tape. If we win, he's going.''
Lange concludes the interview by saying, "Chong is going to the Super Bowl with the Bears on Chris Harris' dollar.''

Harris agent calls Langes demand unreasonable, based upon the fact that Harris only can purchase 15 tickets and has about 40 family members who want to attend the game. Lange and his supporters think Harris ought to take him along. Personally, I think someone in the Bears organization ought to scrounge up a ticket to keep a fan happy and get some good publicity out of the deal.

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Does This Bode Well For The Colts?

Or will they just be well rested for the big game?

Bears finally asleep as cold wave hits Russia

Oh -- wrong bears!

|| Greg, 05:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 22, 2007

"Razzie" Nomination Thrills My Wife

I am married to a wonderful woman, who I love dearly. I can think of only one character flaw that she has (well, other than voting Democrat -- just kidding, dear!). That is her ability to hold a grudge for a very long time.

And ever since we first started dating, I've known that she held a grudge against a certain no-talent actress she knew growing up -- one she refers to as "that bitch" and whose appearance on a television screen causes a quick grab for the remote.

And so this "professional recognition" for her childhood rival warms my beloved to the very depths of her soul.

At least someone was happy Sharon Stone reprised her notorious femme-fatale role with "Basic Instinct 2."

The box-office bomb received seven nominations Monday for the Razzie Awards that mock the bottom of Hollywood's barrel, among them worst picture and worst actress of the year.

* * *

Stone previously won a Razzie as worst-actress for 1994's "The Specialist" and "Intersection."

"She's what we call a Razzie repeat offender. Perhaps even a recidivist," Wilson said.

"Basic Instinct 2" also had a nomination for worst screen couple for Stone's "lopsided breasts." Also nominated were co-star David Thewlis for worst supporting actor and the movie's director, Michael Caton-Jones.

And as my darling shouted when she heard that second nomination -- "They aren't even real!"

|| Greg, 04:05 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 18, 2007

Vick In Drug Scandal?

This could be interesting.

Michael Vick reluctantly surrendered a water bottle to security at Miami International Airport that contained a residue "closely associated with marijuana," police said Wednesday.

The Atlanta Falcons' quarterback entered a concourse Wednesday morning at the airport with the 20-ounce bottle. He eventually handed it over and boarded his flight to Atlanta. But his initial reluctance to turn over the bottle aroused suspicion among airport security screeners, a police report said.

The bottle was found to have a hidden compartment that contained "a small amount of dark particulate and a pungent aroma closely associated with marijuana," the report said. The compartment was hidden by the bottle's label so that it appeared to be a full bottle of water when held upright, police said.

No decision has been made on charges, league discipline, or actions by the Atlanta Falcons.

|| Greg, 05:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 11, 2007

Feinstein To Propose "Sore Losers Revenge Act"

Not that I believe that professional sports franchises ought to be able to loot the public coffers for new facilities, but I don't believe that the federal government has any place interfering in the decision of non-essential entertainment businesses choosing where to set up shop.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation today aimed at blocking the 49ers from leaving San Francisco by giving National Football League owners the right to vote on all franchise moves.

The measure, called the Football Fan Protection Act, would require an anti-trust law exemption.

Baseball has a much broader anti-trust exemption and has had only one franchise move, the switch of the Montreal Expos to Washington, D.C., in the past 25 years. In a similar period, the NFL has had seven franchise moves, Feinstein noted, including the Raiders, who moved from Oakland to Los Angeles and then back again in search of the best stadium deal.

Feinstein, a Democrat who was mayor of San Francisco when Candlestick Park was remodeled for the 49ers, was furious last November when she learned that the team's owners, John and Denise York, had broken off talks with Mayor Gavin Newsom over a new stadium at Candlestick Point and were instead undertaking negotiations with Santa Clara on a new South Bay stadium.

"This legislation is designed to slow the movement of NFL teams and prevent communities from suffering the financial and intangible costs of these moves," Feinstein said. "Our football teams are more than just businesses. They are a common denominator that cuts across class, race and gender to bond the people of a city. They are a key component of a city's culture and identity."

Imagine if she actually gave a damn about keeping major employers from moving rather than something as trivial as a sports franchise -- and I say that as a season ticket-holder for our local team.

|| Greg, 03:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 08, 2007

Why The Dixie Chicks Are Not Played On Country Radio

It isnt corporate censorship so much as it is consumer preference. This article explains the situation rather clearly.

Locally, none of the three major country stations say they have a ban on Dixie Chicks music but they also haven't played the group's music in years.

"We don't really have an official policy," said Mark Wilson, programming director at Cat Country 100. "We basically play the songs that test well and unfortunately, their songs just don't test well."

This goes not only for new music, but also the group's old hits songs that used to top every country station's playlist.

"We didn't really ban them per se, but like most of the other country stations, the hate scores on the music they put out has come out so high that it makes it impossible to play them," said Mark Phillips, programming head at Gator Country 101.9. "They had a bunch of great songs that tested power gold that's our top oldies category and when you take out all those songs at once, it leaves a giant vacuum in your music library."

Quite frankly, the girls pissed off a lot of country music fans with their rhetoric about the president and their subsequent whining about non-existent censorship and insulting comments directed at country music fans. The result is that they produce a strongly negative reaction from a sizable segment of the audience and the desire to hear their more pleasant early work is simply not that great on the part of the rest of the audience. And lets face it if 1 out of 4 (or even 1 out of 10) listeners will turn the station because a group is played, that is deadly to a stations ratings and profit margin. On the other hand, most listeners are not so anxious to hear the Dixie Chicks that they will leave a station because they are not played. Thus, it is merely economic common sense not to play them.

And that is no more censorship than the decision of the local R&B station to not put Alan Jackson into their rotation.

|| Greg, 04:30 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (43) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 07, 2007

Tragedy For USC

There are few college sports programs I dislike more than the University of Southern California. I'll root against them in virtually any game in which their opponent isn't Michigan, Michigan State, or any team from the state of Florida (especially Miami).

But today my heart is broken for the Trojans and their fans following the senseless death of their incredible young kicker, Mario Danelo.

Police said there was no evidence pointing to suicide in the death of Southern California kicker Mario Danelo, whose body was found about 120 feet down a rocky cliff.

"I have no indication per se that it was a criminal event," Lt. David Pierson, commanding officer of the LAPD Harbor Division detectives, told the Los Angeles Times. "But we exhaust all leads to ensure that we're making the right categorization of the case."

Pierson said investigators had information that Danelo was out with friends Friday night and that he was last seen around midnight. His body was found Saturday afternoon near Point Fermin lighthouse in the city's San Pedro section.

Pierson said police had no information as to whether Danelo had been drinking and that there was no evidence he committed suicide. Martha Garcia of the Los Angeles Police Department said the body showed signs of traumatic injuries.

I cannot even begin to imagine the depth of the loss being experienced by the Danelo family at this time, and my prayers are with them. May God reach out and comfort them in this time of tragedy.

|| Greg, 02:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 03, 2007

A Well-Deserved Award For DeMeco Ryans

Last April, we Houston Texans fans expected that the defensive rookie of the year would be wearing our uniform. After all, we had just taken Mario Williams with the first pick of the draft. Surely it would be him.

Well, we were half right.

The winner of that honor is a Texan -- but not Williams. It is DeMeco Ryans.

DeMeco Ryans came into the NFL as Houston's second choice to bolster its defense. He leaves his first pro year as The Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The linebacker, chosen at the top of the second round of last April's draft 32 spots after the Texans made defensive end Mario Williams the first overall selection was a runaway winner of the award announced Wednesday. Ryans led the league in solo tackles with 126, and his 156 total tackles were 33 more than the next-best rookie, Detroit linebacker Ernie Sims.

In fact, no rookie in the last 20 years had more tackles than Ryans, who was an All-American at Alabama in 2005. And Ryans had more tackles than any of the other five linebackers who won the award this decade, including Brian Urlacher and Shawne Merriman.

"It's always nice to be touted as one of the best and have a big-time stat, but I credit that to the other 10 guys that are around me on defense," Ryans said. "We wouldn't be talking about me without those other 10 guys out there."

This young many has bee absolutely incredible -- and clearly outshined Williams. he's also become a fan favorite, with a winning personality and a genuine warmth shown towards the people of his professional home. And the great thing is that we know there is more to come from this kid, that he has yet to reach his full potential.

So congratulations, DeMeco -- you earned this one.

And I'll keep that autographed football in the place of honor it deserves.

|| Greg, 06:04 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 25, 2006

James Brown -- RIP

I guess the choir of angels needed a little more funk. The Godfather of Soul and an American icon has left us on the day we celebrate the birth of the King of Kings.
James Brown, the dynamic, pompadoured "Godfather of Soul," whose rasping vocals and revolutionary rhythms made him a giant of R&B and an inspiration for rap, funk and disco, died early Christmas morning. He was 73. Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday and died around 1:45 a.m. Monday, said his agent, Frank Copsidas of Intrigue Music. Copsidas said the cause of death was uncertain. "We really don't know at this point what he died of," he said. Along with Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and a handful of others, Brown was one of the major musical influences of the past 50 years. At least one generation idolized him, and sometimes openly copied him. His rapid-footed dancing inspired Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson among others. Songs such as David Bowie's "Fame," Prince's "Kiss," George Clinton's "Atomic Dog" and Sly and the Family Stone's "Sing a Simple Song" were clearly based on Brown's rhythms and vocal style. "He was an innovator, he was an emancipator, he was an originator. Rap music, all that stuff came from James Brown," entertainer Little Richard, a longtime friend of Brown's, told MSNBC. "A great treasure is gone." If Brown's claim to the invention of soul can be challenged by fans of Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, then his rights to the genres of rap, disco and funk are beyond question. He was to rhythm and dance music what Dylan was to lyrics: the unchallenged popular innovator.
And without a doubt, we have lost a icon of American culture, a man whose influence on the musical scene went from sea to shining sea and around the world. It's hard to believe that he is gone. Let me also note that Brown certainly could make a claim the title of "the hardest working man in show business" -- he had concerts scheduled for this week, and was to perform live on one of the New Years Eve shows. It took Death itself to silent that magnificent voice and still those dancing feet.

|| Greg, 12:25 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 24, 2006

Oh, What A Game!

Houston Texans: 27
Indianapolis Colts: 24

It only took five full seasons, but the Houston Texans have FINALLY beaten the Indianapolis Colts!

It doesn't take a Heisman Trophy winner to run through the Colts' defense. But on Sunday it certainly made it easier.

Ron Dayne, who won the award in 1999, had a career-high 153 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and Kris Brown kicked the winning 48-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Houston Texans their first win over Indianapolis, 27-24.

The loss denied the AFC South champions the chance to clinch a first-round playoff bye.

It was the first time Dayne had gained 100 yards since September 2001 with the Giants.

The Texans (5-10) used Dayne and rookie Chris Taylor to eat up the clock and exploit the Colts' suspect run defense, ranked last in the NFL, while taking pressure off David Carr and the struggling passing game. The win broke a nine-game losing streak to the Colts (11-4).

It was, to say the least, a fantastic game -- and one I am glad not to have missed.

|| Greg, 06:19 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 13, 2006

Yaphet Kotto -- A Favorite Of Mine

David Benzion over at Lone Star Times mentioned this little piece on one of my favorite actors today.

Kotto, 69, is producing and starring in a two-hour TV pilot that he says is inspired by The X-Files. He's also pitching publishers a book on the making of Live and Let Die, a film that joins the four-volume James Bond Ultimate Collection, new in stores this week.

Kotto had quit acting soon after ending six seasons as star of NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street. "People say you disappeared and criticize you for being away," he said. "But what am I supposed to do? Die on a set? It's too much."
So Kotto, who had worked steadily since the '60s, slipped away.

"I was tired, so I split. I went to the Philippines, built a restaurant and laid down on the beach for two years. I also hung out in Hong Kong and Europe. I got away from acting and movies. Then the bug bit me, and I came back to L.A."

The LST piece mentions that Kotto is Jewish and supported Steve Forbes for president in 2000, presumably making him a Republican.
I cant wait to hear more about the television pilot.

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December 01, 2006

Two Bowl Teams In Houston

It is nice to see UH have success again, given the number of former students I have go there to play football -- and Rice hasn't been to a bowl game in my lifetime. To have both going to bowls in the same year is nothing short of amazing.

For years they've been crosstown rivals in despair, suffering loss after loss while fans waxed nostalgic about long-vanished gridiron prominence. At times their supporters could only empathize with the bittersweet lament of the perpetual loser: "Been down so long it looks like up to me."

As Chronicle sportswriter Richard Justice observed, "Every year around this time, we gather to bury football at Rice and Houston. We hurumph that the Owls and Cougars will never again be respectable, that their time has long since passed."

Not this holiday season. Both Rice and UH can hold their heads high. Tonight at Robertson Stadium, the latter faces Southern Mississippi for the Conference USA championship, with the Liberty Bowl on the line. Meanwhile Rice is packing its bags for a trip to the Big Easy and the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 22 to face the Sun Belt Conference champion.

Houston's comeback started in earnest in 2003, when coach Art Briles arrived and put gifted freshman quarterback Kevin Kolb at the helm of his unorthodox offense that was initially as entertaining for its shifting formations as its scoreboard results. The Cougars went to the Hawaii Bowl that year, and after several disappointing seasons have bounced back to amass a 9-3 record.

Rice's rise has been meteoric, with first-year coach Todd Graham taking a team that was 1-10 last year and started 0-4 this season to a 7-5 finish and their first bowl appearance in 45 years. It's fitting that the two Houston teams faced off at the start of the year; the Cougars scratched out a come-from-behind, 31-30 victory.

Both teams are reaping awards for their performances. UH's Kolb has been named C-USA player of the year, while Rice coach Graham is the conference coach of the year. Meanwhile, Cougar coach Briles is in the running for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

Now that Rice and UH have discovered the formula for winning seasons, fans might just start getting addicted to success. Cougar supporters can do their part by bundling up tonight and filling chilly Robertson Stadium to root their hot team on to Memphis.

Looks like Houston may have something to root for this bowl season.

|| Greg, 05:05 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 12, 2006

This Slope Sure Looks Slippery

I'm not a fan of video games. I don't play them, and haven't done so with any regularity since the days of video arcades, featuring Space Invaders Tempest and Frogger. So I really don't have any knowledge about the game Bully. But I find the implications of this suit and the possible outcome to be quite disturbing.

The Bully is taking a beat-down. Game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. was ordered to demonstrate an upcoming video game titled "Bully" for a judge to determine whether it violates Florida's public nuisance laws. Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Ronald Friedman issued the order yesterday.

The move is a major coup for conservative Miami attorney Jack Thompson, known for his crusades against pornography and obscene rap music, and now the video game industry. He claims that the makers of the game have designed a "Columbine simulator" in Bully, which follows the life of a prep school student as he navigates the social ladders of a fictional school called Bullworth Academy.

Thompson filed the lawsuit a month ago, claiming that the game would violate Florida's public-nuisance laws, which are more typically used to prosecute environmental polluters. Besides Take-Two, the suit also names retailers Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and GameStop Corp.

"My view is that the game potentially impinges on public safety," he said. "I'm pretty sure that the game is harmful to minors."

Since the game has not been released yet, how does this idiot lawyer know that it is a "Columbine simulator", And even if it were a "shooting gallery" game set in the halls of a high school, would that make any difference from a First Amendment standpoint? After all, if the game is a public nuisance, what about movies, television shows, and music that glorify certain sorts of anti-social behavior. Might a judge be able to declare them to be a "public nuisance" subject to special regulations or outright bans, the guarantees of the US Constitution notwithstanding? Heck, I could see lawsuits declaring certain religious groups to be a "public nuisance" because of their unpopular or "intolerant" (read that "in accordance with traditional Christian teaching") teachings constituting a threat to others

A better move, from my point of view, would be to declare Jack Thompson, the lawyer in this case, to be a public nuisance, to strip him of his license to practice law, and to forbid him to file any future lawsuits seeking censorship of others.

After all, if you don't like the game then don't buy it and don't allow your kids to buy it. I realize that some folks have a real problem with such radical concepts of personal responsibility over government regulation, but it strikes me as much more important from the standpoint of balancing individual liberty over government power.

|| Greg, 04:29 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 11, 2006

Peter Jackson Options Temeraire Novels

I mentioned new author Naomi Novik's series">series several weeks ago as one of my favorite new finds. Look's like Peter Jackson is interested in giving them the Lord of the Rings">Lord of the Rings treatment.

Naomi Novik has written three fantasy novels chronicling the Napoleon-era adventures of a swashbuckling ship captain and a heroic dragon named Temeraire who fight to rescue Britain from a French invasion.

Now she has a dramatic tale of her own: Geek Girl Makes Good.

Ms. Novik has just sold the film rights to all three of her books to Peter Jackson, the director of such blockbusters as King Kong and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The deal has completed her ascent from a computer programmer to a virtually unknown writer to a newly minted member of a select group of authors J. R. R. Tolkien among them whose novels could receive the extravagant high-tech, big-budget Jackson treatment.

Sitting in the living room of the tidy Upper East Side apartment she shares with her husband, Charles Ardai, Ms. Novik, a petite, pale and bookish-looking 33-year-old, said she had always hoped her novels would catch Mr. Jacksons eye.

I fantasized about Peter Jackson, said Ms. Novik, surrounded by bookshelves crammed with Star Wars figurines and vintage toys that bring to mind the apartment of the lead character in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Before we ever sent the books to Hollywood, really, I was talking, we were joking with friends. Even my parents were saying, Wouldnt it be wonderful if the man who did Lord of the Rings bought your books?

Im a big geek and a fangirl, she said, referring to her penchant for fantasy fiction. If you wanted to make a dragon movie, I would be incredibly excited about it, just for that. And if its mine, so much the better.

It is nice to see science fiction and fantasy works going more and more mainstream instead of being treated like escapist fare for pimple-faced teenagers with no friends. Some of the best writing today is found in the genre, which is so much more than Star Trek and Star Wars.

By the way, to give you a quick taste of what reviewers are saying of Novik's work, I encourage you to look at this.

Reviewing her first novel, His Majestys Dragon, in The Washington Post, Rachel Hartigan Shea wrote that the book contained a generous dollop of intelligent derring-do. The Times of London called it Patrick OBrian crossed with Anne McCaffrey: historic, seafaring adventure, with dragons.

And now, coming soo to a theater near you!

And speaking of Anne McCaffrey, when will we get a film or television adaptation of the Pern novels?

|| Greg, 04:22 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 02, 2006

Suspend Haynesworth For The Season!

Injuries are a part of the game of football. So are late hits. I can even accept the occasional “dirty hit”, with appropriate sanctions applied.

But a premeditated action calculated to injure an opposing player, engaged in well after the whistle has blown? That goes far beyond what anyone will recognize as a legitimate part of the game.


Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was ejected early in the third quarter Sunday after he kicked Dallas center Andre Gurode in the face. Now the tackle expects to be punished and knows he deserves it.

* * *

Julius Jones had just scored on a 5-yard run, putting Dallas up 20-6 in what wound up as a 45-14 victory. Gurode's helmet came off, and Haynesworth, standing over him, used his right foot to kick Gurode in the head.

Gurode said they hadn't been talking or having any exchanges that led to Haynesworth kicking him twice. He received stitches above his forehead and beneath his eye.

"In all my years of football, this has never happened to me. I've never been kicked in the face like this, and I've never seen anybody kick nobody else in the face," Gurode said.

A flag was thrown, and Haynesworth followed an official toward the Titans' sideline, protesting.
Haynesworth pulled off his helmet and slammed it to the ground, prompting another flag. Referee Jerome Boger disqualified Haynesworth, and the player walked off the field after talking briefly with Titans coach Jeff Fisher.

This was not accidental. The play had stopped and Haynesworth looked around before assaulting Gurode. Gurode eventually required 30 stitches to his face, and was unable to return to the game due to blurred vison.

Unfortunately, Titan’s coach Jeff Fisher doesn’t appear to understand the gravity of the situation.

The coach called Haynesworth's actions unacceptable and promised he would be punished by the Titans even if the NFL disciplines him. "It's ridiculous to get to that point. Two back-to-back penalties like that, there's no place for it," Fisher said.

Excuse me? No place for back-to-back penalties? How about “there is no place for actions that would get you charged with a felony if they took place off the field”? Or maybe “there is no place for actions calculated to gravely injure a player, especially after the play is over”?

Haynesworth needs a long suspension – perhaps encompassing the rest of the season – for his misconduct. I would encourage the local prosecutor to consider filing criminal charges in this case. Michael David Smith over at AOL Sports Blog thinks that Gurode should sue Haynesworth. What this thug did cannot, in any way, shape, or form, be classified as “just a part of the game.” And I say this fully acknowledging that Haynesworth has acknowledged that his actions are indefensible.

By the way, I expect that Haynesworth will get a very cool reception the next time he comes to play here in Houston. Andre Gurode is a local boy – a graduate of the school where I teach. I’m sure the fans will give Haynesworth hell.

UPDATE: Looks like the suspension will be for five games, which is unprecedented in NFL history. But I'm still not sure that it is adequate.

The NFL handed down an unprecedented five-game suspension on Monday to Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth for kicking Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode in the head.

That length of suspension represents the biggest on-field disciplinary action in league history. Charles Martin held the previous high for a suspension, sitting two games for his bodyslam of Bears quarterback Jim McMahon on Nov. 23, 1986.

"There is absolutely no place in the game, or anywhere else, for the inexcusable action that occurred in yesterday's Titans-Cowboys game," commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

"This is an unprecedented suspension," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "I feel like his actions on the field were also unprecented."

The coach indicated that Haynesworth would not appeal the decision.

"I felt there needed to be some serious action taken from a discipline standpoint, and I think what the league has done now is adequate," he said.

The suspension will cost Haynesworth $190,070 -- $38,014 per game -- which adds up to five-seventeenths of his 2006 base salary of $646,251.

"I think five games, five paychecks is substantial," Fisher said.

The suspension takes effect immediately. Haynesworth can return on Nov. 19 for the Titans' game at Philadelphia.

That means that Haynesworth will be with the team when they come to Houston, Gurode's hometown, on December 10. I want to encourage every fan of the Houston Texans to make sure that Hanesworth is the recipient of the sort of contempt he deserves from every lover of the game. Indeed, I encourage fans in every city to boo haynesworth and make sure he knows that we don't need his sort in the NFL.

And fortunately, there is still the possibility of prosecution.

The action could potentially cost Haynesworth more than a suspension from the football field. The Nashville, Tenn., police department issued a statement saying it "stands ready to assist [Andre] Gurode in criminally prosecuting [Albert] Haynesworth if Gurode so chooses."

Gurode's cooperation appears key to any charges being filed against Haynesworth.

"In assault situations, an affirmative desire for prosecution and an acknowledgement of cooperation from the victim, in this case Gurode, are preferable before officers and prosecuting attorneys move forward with the development of a case," the statement continued.

|| Greg, 02:40 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

September 24, 2006

Chris Simms In Hospital -- NBC Reports Condition Critical

But Simms' team denies that this is the case.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Chris Simms was taken by ambulance to a Tampa hospital Sunday afternoon.

Several news sources say Simms is in critical condition, although a top official with the Buccaneers is denying that report.

Officials at St. Joseph's Hospital, where Simms was taken, are not commenting on the quarterback's condition.

Buccaneers' general manager Bruce Allen this evening vehemently denied to NBC Sports that Simms is in critical condition. However, Allen confirmed that members of Simms' family, including his father, former NFL quarterback Phil Simms, had been contacted.

Simms was hospitalized a short time after the Buccaneers' last-minute 26-24 NFL loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Simms appeared to experience medical problems during the game. He was hit hard several times by Panthers defensive players and was taken out of the game in the third quarter. Announcers said Simms had suffered from dehydration in the 90-degree-plus heat and high humidity in Tampa.

Regardless of the case, let us offer prayers for his recovery -- after all, football is only a game.

UPDATE: Simms has had his spleen removed.

Tampa Bay quarterback Chris Simms had his spleen removed after taking several hard hits in Sunday's 26-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers and was resting in a hospital, the Buccaneers confirmed in a statement.

"Chris Simms suffered an injury to his spleen during today's game and was taken to the hospital," said Buccaneers team doctor Joe Diaco. "He underwent a spleenectomy (removal of the spleen) this evening and is in stable condition. Chris is doing well and we anticipate a full recovery."

After taking several hard hits to the rib area during the game, Simms missed only two plays due to what was believed to be dehydration. He also experienced what was beleived to be cramping, but now appears likely to be the effects of the injury which required this surger.

I'm guessing the Tampa Bay QB will be out for a while

|| Greg, 06:36 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

September 08, 2006

Everyone? Really?

Well, celebrity doofus Brad Pitt has made one of the most inane public statements of all time regarding his relationship with Angelina Jolie, who has been involved with most every sort of strange sexual kink.

"Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able," the 42-year-old actor reveals in Esquire magazine's October issue, on newsstands Sept. 19.

Everyone? Really?

Does this just a pathetic way of saying/not saying that they support homosexual marriage? Or do they include incestuous unions in there, too? How about polygamy/polyandry/polyamory?

Knowing Angie, it could be all of the above -- that way she could have Brad, her brother, and her lesbuian ex-lover all tied up in her dominatrix lair. As noted above, she's done it all!

I won't speculate about the couple's position on the rights of the perverts who advocate Man/Boy love -- or whether he thinks freaks like John Mark Karr ought to be able to marry their pre-pubescent obsessions, just like Muhammad did.

|| Greg, 05:29 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

September 06, 2006

Artery-Cloggers Top Fair Food Awardees

I’m serious as a heart-attack – which is precisely what you may get with these innovations in carnival cuisine.

This year’s Big Tex Choice Awards, given to the top two State Fair vendors for creative food ideas, may have proven that anything fried and dusted with powdered sugar is delicious.

The second annual contest is a preview of the many foods that patrons will see at this year’s State Fair of Texas, which kicks off Sept. 29 and runs though Oct. 22.

Winning this year’s contest was the battered Fried Praline Perfection for best taste, and the cup of dough-rolled Fried Coke was named most creative. Each winner received a trophy.
* * *
The six finalists

Deep Fried Cosmopolitan — A fried pastry filled with cheesecake and topped with a cranberry glaze and a lime wedge. Served on a stick.

Donkey Tails — Large all-beef franks, slit on one side and generously stuffed with sharp Cheddar cheese, wrapped in a large flour tortilla and fried until golden brown. Served with mustard chili sauce or Ruth’s salsa.

Fernie’s Fried Choco-rito — A flour tortilla stuffed with marshmallows, coconut, candy bar pieces, caramel morsels and cinnamon then dipped in pancake batter and deep-fried to a crispy, crunchy outside and sweet, gooey inside. Drizzled with honey and topped with whipped cream.

Fernie’s Fried Mac-n-cheese — Texas-sized bites of macaroni and cheese, covered with a layer of garlic- and herb-flavored bread crumbs and deep fried until crispy outside and hot and cheesy inside. Served on a stick with a side of dipping sauces.

Fried Coke — Smooth spheres of Coca-Cola-flavored batter that are deep fried, drizzled with pure Coke fountain syrup, topped with whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry. Served in souvenir contoured glasses.

Fried Praline Perfection — Plump coconut and pecan pralines, battered and fried to a rich golden crust. Served warm with powdered sugar.

I think I’m going to be sick – and I haven’t even been on the Tilt-A-Whirl yet!

H/T Lone Star Times

|| Greg, 06:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Whom The Gods Would Destroy, They First Make Mad

That quote from Euripides certainly ran through my mind when I read this description of the new documentary about the Ditzy Slits Dixie Chicks.

Filmmakers have created a nonchronological story to emphasize the Greek tragedy behind the Dixie Chicks' spiral into country music's public enemy No. 1. The Chicks vs. President Bush, the Chicks vs. Toby Keith, the Chicks vs. country radio -- every antagonistic angle is covered, and yet Maines, Emily Robison and Martie McGuire persevere, with their chroniclers providing a sympathetic tone to their every struggle.

And their actions following Natalie Maines’ stupid comment about President Bush while on stage in England certainly appear insane to me.

Maines is seen backstage at Shepherds Bush Empire asking for an update on the just-launched war in Iraq; within hours -- with cameras rolling -- she offhandedly says, "We're ashamed the president is from Texas," the home state of both Bush and the Chicks. She makes the statement, turns to a bandmate and laughs.

The press makes hay of her comment, and the Chicks and management go into damage-control mode, which will last nearly three years. There's the famous nude Entertainment Weekly magazine cover shoot, the Diane Sawyer interview and the protests at concerts.

Yes. But there is something that gets out. Rather than apologize for offending their fans (which would have been sufficient for me, who was prepared to buy tickets for their 2003 concert in Houston), they sounded a defiant note. Rather than acknowledge that those who were offended had a right to disagree, the band instead painted themselves as the victims of some McCarthyistic furor. Not only that, but they and their supporters acted as if the band was entitled to airplay and album sales – an insane proposition that placed the band’s freedom of speech above the rights of the rest of the American public.

The Left likes to tell us the Ditzy Slits Dixie Chicks were censored for their political speech. There is some truth to that claim – but not the way that the advocates for the band would have the public believe. Millions of Americans did censor band by turning them off and refusing to buy their albums and tickets. Hundreds of radio stations, reacting to listener pressure, censored them by dropping the band from playlists. All of this censorship, though, was of a sort that the Constitution permits – and at no time did the government act against the band, which is prohibited under the First Amendment. The rights of the band were respected, but so were the rights of millions of Americans to express their disapproval with their wallets.

After all, while the girls have every right to speak and sing, they have no right to an audience or a paycheck

|| Greg, 06:36 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

September 04, 2006

Crikey! Stingray Kills 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin

When one engages in dangerous pursuits, it is not surprising that one loses one's life. But death itself is always a surprise -- and so this morning we hear of the sad death of The Crocodile Hunter.

Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday by a stingray while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.

Irwin was at Batt Reef, off the remote coast of northeastern Queensland state, shooting a segment for a series called "Ocean's Deadliest" when he swam too close to one of the animals, which have a poisonous barb on their tails, his friend and colleague John Stainton said.

"He came on top of the stingray and the stingray's barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart," said Stainton, who was on board Irwin's boat at the time.

Crew members aboard the boat, Croc One, called emergency services in the nearest city, Cairns, and administered CPR as they rushed the boat to nearby Low Isle to meet a rescue helicopter. Medical staff pronounced Irwin dead when they arrived a short time later, Stainton said.

Irwin was famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchword "Crikey!" in his television program "Crocodile Hunter." First broadcast in Australia in 1992, the program was picked up by the Discovery network, catapulting Irwin to international celebrity.

Irwin is also known for one of the worst movies ever made -- 2002's "The Crocodile Hunters: Collision Course".

This is a truly sad event, especially for his wife, Terri, and their two children, daughter Bindi Sue, 8, and son Bob, who will turn 3 in December. May they be comforted by the fact he died doing what he loved.

|| Greg, 07:44 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 29, 2006

Domanick Davis Watch

Will his injuries lead to his losing a spot on the roster of the Houston Texans?

Running back Domanick Davis, the Texans' career rushing leader, is in danger of not making the team this season.

Davis, who missed five games in 2005, has not practiced since the first week of preseason because of a bruised left knee that is unrelated to the arthroscopic surgery he underwent on the same knee in December.

Unlike Wali Lundy and Vernand Morency, Davis has been unable to be on the field to impress his new coaching staff, specifically head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Troy Calhoun. Kubiak said Monday that if the regular season began today, Lundy would start against Philadelphia.

Each day, Kubiak grows more concerned about Davis' lack of availability. The roster will be reduced to a final 53 on Friday, one day after the Texans close the preseason at home against Tampa Bay.

"I'm very concerned," Kubiak said. "There's not much we can do about it, but I'm very concerned about that situation.

"It'll be a tough decision for the final 53. We'll make the decision based on what's best for Domanick and the team."

The Texans will have several options. They can make Davis, 25, part of the final roster and wait for him to get healthy. They can place him on waivers. They can put him on injured reserve, which means he wouldn't play this season. They also could trade him, which is unlikely because he's damaged goods.

We here in houston -- especially the season ticketholders -- will be waiting to see what happens here.

And for the first time, I wonder if we didn't make a mistake in letting Reggie Bush slip to the number 2 pick in the draft by picking Mario Williams, who has not developed quite as fast as some of us have been hoping.

|| Greg, 04:35 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lightning Knocks Station Off Air

I missed this story.

KSBJ (89.3 FM) ihas been off the air due to a lightning strike. The Christian music station has long been known in the Houston area for its slogan, "God Listens".

Listeners who have tried to tune in to KSBJ 89.3 in the past couple of days have likely gotten silence. As KHOU-11 reports, that's because lightning hit the Christian station's tower earlier this week:
A Christian radio station was knocked off the air after its tower was hit by lightning earlier this week. KSBJ-89.3 FM The station, KSBJ 89.3 FM, has a main tower in Plum Grove, near Cleveland. It was hit at about 8 p.m. Tuesday and is operating at reduced power, the station said.

Typically, the station, which has a contemporary Christian music format, broadcasts at 100,000 watts, but is currently operating at only 50 watts.

The station said that crews are working to repair the problem, but that it will be several days until it will be completely fixed.

The station said that listeners can instead hear programming on their website, at www.ksbj.org.

We presume God is still listening, and doesn't need the full 100,000 watts.

I'll let you fill in your own punchline.


|| Greg, 04:13 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 24, 2006

Anyone Else Troubled By This?

I know it is just a game and I know it is just Hollywood -- but something just strikes me as wrong about the decision to group Survivor contestants by race.

Get ready for a segregated "Survivor." Race will matter on the upcoming season of the CBS show as contestants will be divided into four tribes by ethnicity. That means blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians in separate groups.

The announcement was made on CBS' Early Show. Host Jeff Probst says the idea "actually came from the criticism that 'Survivor' was not ethnically diverse enough." He says the twist fits in perfectly with what "Survivor" does, saying the show is "a social experiment. And this is adding another layer to that experiment." Probst says contestants had mixed reactions to the racial divisions.

This time the new Survivors are stranded on the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. The castaways include a police officer, a heavy metal guitarist, an attorney and a nail salon manager. The new season of Survivor debuts September 14th.

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August 23, 2006

Crazy Man Dumped By Paramount

No matter how much money Tom Cruise makes for a movie studio, there is still a limit to the odd behavior that studio will take.

Paramount Pictures will end its longstanding relationship with Cruise/Wagner Productions, actor Tom Cruise's production company, citing his erratic behavior, according to a published report.

Sumner Redstone, CEO of Paramount owner Viacom, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that appeared in Wednesday's edition that Cruise's controversial behavior over the last year - including advocating for Scientology and denouncing the use of antidepressant drugs - was the cause for the move
The movie company is concerned that Cruise's behavior hurt his most recent film, "Mission: Impossible 3," said the report.

"As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal," Redstone was quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal. "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount." .

Cruise paints this as a mutual agreement, but it seems petty clear that he was dumped.

|| Greg, 05:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 20, 2006

Tagged By The Book Meme

Book Meme from Anna Venger.

And just for the record, I will not use the Bible as an answer because, for me, it would feel like trivializing Scripture.

1. One book that changed your life: I'd have to say the first one, whatever that was, back when I was 50 years old. I've not been far from a book since then -- but if I have to select a particular title, it would be The Brethren by Woodward and Armstrong, because it awakened in me a scholarly interest in law and the Constitution that lay dormant just beneath the surface back during my junior year of high school.

2. One book that you've read more than once: Gee, that could cover a lot of territory -- but let's go with something a little off-beat. When I was a high school junior, I bought a paperback during my lunch break one Saturday while working at the base PX. It was L. Neil Smith's The Probability Broach, and I have probably read it at least once every other year since then -- and I still have the original copy I bought in 1979. It awakened me to libertarian political philosophy in a way that my earlier encounters with Heinlein had not, and also opened up the world of alternate history science fiction to me.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, another favorite that I first encountered as a high school junior (curious, isn't it, that my first three selections would all come from one very specific formative year -- what do you make of that?). If I had a chance to toss a few more books in the lifeboat, I'd want Forester's Hornblower Saga and O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels.

4. One book that made you laugh: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Don't panic! And, uh, it seems to be another one I read at age 16!

5. One book that made you cry: The Robe -- it is every bit as melodramatic as the epic movie based upon it. When I was 12, my mom and I found her copy (given to her as a gift for her First Communion) in a trunk. I still have it tucked away safely, three decades later.

6. One book that you wish had been written: Well, maybe I should say the one book I wish the author had finished writing. That would be 21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey by Patrick O'Brian. The author passed away while working on this, the 21st volume of his epic series of the British Navy in the Age of Nelson. The published version is raw, incomplete, and much of it consists of the author's semi-legible scrawl. There is enough there to make any fan wish that the old man had lived to complete it.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: The Deputy, by Rolf Hochhuth. This blood libel against Pope Pius XII ignores teh historical record and the assessments of his contemporaries (including no less than Golda Meir) to falsely accuse the pontiff of complicity in the Holocaust. Similarly, I would add The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the most pernicious work of anti-Semitism ever published.

8. One book you’re currently reading: Gee, I've read a great deal in the four weeks since this post. I've read all three books in Naomi Novick's Temeraire series, Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation, and am currently working on Harry Turtledove's latest "Settling Account's novel, The Grapple.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: You may be surprised by this, given my tagline above. I've repeatedly promised myself that I would read David McCullough's biography of John Adams, but have never gotten around to it.

10. Tag five others. This is hard, given that I wanted to tag Dan from Gone Mild, only to find that he has this same meme up. So I'll start with three fellow teachers -- Hube from Colossus of Rhodey, Darren from Right on the Left Coast and EdWonk from The Education Wonks. Then I'll tap my felow CD22 political blogger, Chris from Texas Safety Forum, because despite to all the jokes we make about them, Aggies do know how to read. And to give the list an international flavor, I'll add an Israeli friend, Avi from Tel-Chai Nation. Don't let me down, boys!

|| Greg, 11:28 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 19, 2006

No Sympathy For These Folks

Let's remember -- the only folks who censored the Dixie Chicks were tehir former fans, who decided that they would prefer not to direct their dollars to entertainers who clearly despised them and their values. In doing so, they exercised teh same First Amendment rights as the Dixie Chicks, to speak out vocally, in writing, and with their hard-earned dollars to make a political statement of their own. That this has effecively killed the Chicks' career is too bad -- they are a talented group of girls ane I will admit that I like much of their early music.

But the censorship the girls met up with is of the sort that the Founders clearly recognized as legitimate, for the Constitution only forbids GOVERNMENT censorship. No where does the Constitution require that I buy their music or listen to it on the radio -- nor does it require that any radio station play it or any music store stock it. What's more, nothing in the Constitution requires them a recording contract after their album sales trail off and much of their concert tour gets cancelled because of sparse ticket sales.

Which leads us to today's New York Times.

Sitting at a table in early August, Bobby Braddock, the longtime songwriter, lamented the conservatism of the country music industry that was demonstrated when the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks became a target of fury three years ago after saying she was ashamed that her band and President Bush shared the same home state.

Asked whether his recent song “Thou Shalt Not Kill” would have airplay, Mr. Braddock said, “Oh, never.”

“Something political will not get played on country radio unless it’s on the conservative side,” he added. “If you show both sides, it’s not good enough. It’s got to be just on the right.”

Country music, the genre of lonely hearts and highways, lost jobs and blue-collar woes, has become a cultural battleground. Conservatism is widely seen as having the upper hand, a red-state answer to left-leaning Hollywood.

Democrats on Music Row, the country music capital here, have grown frustrated with that reputation. A group of record-company executives, talent managers and artists has released an online compilation of 20 songs, several directly critical of Mr. Bush and the Iraq war.

The price for the set is $20, with most of the proceeds going to the group, which calls itself Music Row Democrats and is using the money to support local and national candidates who share its values.

In other words, this is a political fundraiser, not merely a statement of principle.

So while I admire the folks involved in this project for speaking their mind, please understand that I won't be buying their album or calling my local stations to play the music.

Indeed, I will use the information about the writers and performers to determine my future music purchases -- because as an American, I am free to do so, just as they are free to make asses out of themselves and alienate much of the country music fan base.

Because contrary to the views of these music Row liberals, "Dixie Chicking" an artist is a patriotic act, not an unAmerican one.

And if you disagree, consider this -- how many pro-Bush songs and pro-Bush artists make it on to rap and urban stations?

|| Greg, 03:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 18, 2006

Poor Little Celebrities!

No more tax-free freebies just for showing up at awards shows!

Movie stars appearing at the Academy Awards will no longer receive the lavish goody baskets they have come to expect -- worth as much as $100,000 each and including freebies such as iPods, resort vacations, coupons for laser eye surgery, jewelry and high-priced lingerie -- because of a crackdown by the federal tax collector.

The Internal Revenue Service and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences yesterday announced they have reached a settlement on undisclosed taxes owed to the government on the "gifts" received at the Oscars in the last several years, through 2005.

The academy also announced it will no longer give out the bags, saying the board quietly voted last April to end the practice. In recent years, the academy has given the bags -- also known as gift bags or swag -- to as many as 200 hosts, performers and winners on Oscar night. "There's no special red-carpet tax loophole for the stars," IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said in a prepared statement. "Whether you're popping the popcorn, sitting in the audience or starring on the big screen, you need to respect the law and pay your taxes."

Typically, if the IRS finds someone has failed to pay taxes but no fraud is involved, it assesses back taxes, interest and penalties for only the preceding three years. In this instance, if 200 people received $100,000 baskets in each of the three years through 2005, the taxable non-cash income would be $60 million.

All of which means that these over-privileged buffoons might have to buy their own rhinestone encrusted cellphones and Tempur-Pedic mattresses.

|| Greg, 04:17 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 08, 2006

But I Thought They Were Soooooo Popular

I guess you can get the Left-nuts to spend %12 to buy a CD, but not shell out $50 a head to go to the concerts.

Several concerts on the Dixie Chicks' ''Accidents & Accusations'' tour have been canceled after slow ticket sales, but the group says it has replaced them with other dates.

Kansas City, Houston, St. Louis, Memphis and Knoxville are among 14 cities no longer on the original schedule released in May, according to a revised itinerary posted Thursday on the Dixie Chick's Web site.

Other shows, including Nashville, Los Angeles, Denver and Phoenix, have been pushed back to later dates.

The North American leg of the tour kicked off July 21 in Detroit. Billboard magazine and other trade publications have reported lackluster sales in some markets, particularly in the South and Midwest.

Group spokeswoman Kathy Allmand said Monday that the total number of North American dates remains the same, with several Canadian cities added in place of the U.S. shows.

Oh, dear -- they are going to focus on the mighty Canadian market! I guess that means that Americans still are unwilling to forgive and forget their continuous insults to their country, their president, and their troops -- and to country music fans, who at one time made the girls a success.

And I just love this statement.

The trio released a statement last week attributing the changes to attempts to ''accommodate demand'' and said more dates might be added next year.

Seems to me that they are attempting to accommodate a lack of demand.

|| Greg, 05:48 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 07, 2006

Garbage In -- Garbage Out

Imagine that -- what goes in their ears impacts kids' thinking and sexual behavior.

Teenagers whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, a study found.

Whether it's pop, rock, hip-hop or rap, much of popular music aimed at teens contains sexual overtones. Its influence on their behavior appears to depend on how the sex is portrayed, researchers found.

Songs depicting men as "sex-driven studs," women as sex objects and with explicit references to sex acts are more likely to trigger early sexual behavior than those where sexual references are more veiled and relationships appear more committed, the study found.

Teens who said they listened to lots of music with degrading sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having intercourse or other sexual activities within the following two years as were teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music.

Exposure to lots of sexually degrading music "gives them a specific message about sex," said lead author Steven Martino, a researcher for Rand Corp. in Pittsburgh.

This is sort of intuitive, if you ask me. We have known for generations that advertising impacts the consumeproductpreferences and purchasing decisions of consumers. That is why so much money is spent on advertising, and why government restricts certain sorts of advertising. Why would the constantly repeated messages oin music not have a similar impact?

Not that there really needed to be this sort of study. Those of us who teach could have supplied researchers with all the anecdotal evidence necessary to reach this conclusion.

|| Greg, 04:57 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 24, 2006

A Few Good Books

I am, as my wife will tell you, a voracious reader. My tastes are varied (though I particularly enjoy science fiction for escapism), and so I read a wide variety of different literature.

Over the last few weeks, I've read a number of good books that I would like to offer up as suggestions to my readers.


This is NOT an ideological recommendation -- it is one based upon readability. Bennett has written a history of the US (up to the eve of WWI) that is not only strong on facts but also entertaining. While very much written from a traditional perspective, Bennett does not fail to point out the less-proud moments in our nation's history. He also sprinkles the book with tidbits and asides that make his subjects, so often presented as dry, wooden figures by academic historians, come alive. For example, while the correspondance between John Adams and his beloved Abigail is well known, I never imagined that the microfilm of their letters, laid end to end, would extend over five miles. Those who love history -- or who want to love history -- would do well to add this book to their collection.


I'll admit it -- when Anne McCaffrey decided to pass her much-loved Pern series on to her son, Todd, I was frightened. After all, Anne had developed Pern over the course of nearly four decades, beginning with the Draonriders Trilogy, expanding it with the Harper Hall Trilogy of juvenile novels (which take us into more mundane life on Pern) and then expanded with novels set in much earlier periods of Pern's history and some which complete the story begun in the initial novels. Todd has brought us into a different world -- one which looks to the common people of the planet -- in particular the outcast and marginalized of society. This novel looks at the miners of Pern -- and the Shunned, those expelled from the Holds for crimes great and petty. While this might not be the best of the Pern novels to begin one's acquaintance with Pern (you really need to read the Dragonriders Trilogy for that), this is a worthy place to continue the friendship.



If Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey are among your literary heroes, I strongly encorage you to read of the exploits of Charles Edgemont of the Royal Navy, for he is another fighting captain of the Napoleonic Wars. A relucant hero, Edgemont earns his reputation and first command at a young age when he is the senior surviving officer aboard a stricken ship at the battle of St. Vincent. He rises to the challenge -- but finds his most pressing battle is for the heart of a Quaker girl, Penny Brown, whose faith presents an obstacle to their relationship. The battles are fierce, the romance touching, and the issues of faith handled with respect and dignity. By the way, Hornblower and Aubrey each mak a cameo appearance in the first two novels -- yeah, a bit of a gimmick, but a pleasant (though brief) surprise. By the way -- how captivating are these books? I read the first in two sittings, and the second in a single marathon sitting. I literally could not bring myself to put them down. I cannot wait for Jay Worrall to bring us the next installment of this charming series.



These are the first few novels of Charles Stross' "Merchant Princes" series. The series combines an old cliche (a foundling who is secretly royalty) and combines it with two of my favorite science fiction themes -- alternate histories and traveling between parallel universes. The series follows Miriam Beckstein, a technology reporter from Boston, and her discovery that she has the ability to travel between (at first) this world and a very different one. Lo and behold, this discovery leads to her being caught up in the political intrigue of her real family -- a noble family in a feudal world. But wait, there are twists and turns coming, as it turns out that her new-found family has a rather interesting business, and that her return to the fold disrupts the entire system of alliances that exists. Oh, by the way, there is a long-lost renegade branch of the family that appears on teh scene, leading to the discovery of a THIRD universe -- one which Miriam makes the most of. The third novel is definitely a bridge to the rest of the series, and so we will have to wait until next year's installment to see where this is all headed (Stross has already inked a deal to take the series through Book 6 -- one a year through 2009). The author, Charles Stross, has written a number of other novels that deal in different aspects of science fiction -- including at least one that is a must for fans of Lovecraft's Cthulu books. And to think I discovered this series by accident, when I noticed the paperback edition of The Hidden Family on the rack at Krogers! Good things are found in unexpected places.

Feel free to talk about any new discoveries in the comments below.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT: Conservative Cat, Mark My Words, Bullwinkle Blog

|| Greg, 12:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 15, 2006

The 10 Least PC Movies Ever

It is sad that some of these movies are on the list -- they are among those I would rate as Hollywood comedy classics. And one just breaks your heart, because even though the criticisms of it are accurate it is a snapshot of American culture and a masterpiece of music and animation in film.

Let me give you a few examples -- you can read the rest.

There is the classic parody of the formula western.

“Blazing Saddles” The granddaddy of them all when it comes to language and situations that wouldn’t fly today. Mel Brooks’ Western spoof came out in 1974, when certain indelicate references to race and womanhood could still elicit guffaws rather than protests. Cleavon Little plays Bart, an African-American who is assigned by evil politician Hedley Lamaar (Harvey Korman) to serve as the new sheriff of a town in the hopes his presence will so offend the citizens that he’ll drive them out so Lamaar can grab their land. Because the townspeople apparently were expecting a white man, Bart isn’t exactly embraced. A particular slur that starts with the letter that comes after “M” is sprinkled liberally throughout, but there are also plenty of sexual references as well, including the scene soon after Bart arrives and the folks dive for cover when he reaches into his pants to retrieve a document and says, “Excuse me while I whip this out.” Since Brooks is an equal-opportunity offender, he assaults the sensibilities of Native-Americans, Jews, Chinese, Irish, women, horses, the handicapped and others. If “Blazing Saddles” were pitched in Hollywood today, Brooks would have been hastily escorted off the lot, and executives would quickly issue a statement that the move had nothing to do with him being short and Jewish.

And another parody -- this one of the string of disaster movies that made box-office gold in the 1960s and 1970s, although I will agree that the pedophilia jokes are a bit much.

“Airplane!” Directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker skewered the disaster genre in this 1980 release that hurled one gag after another at audiences without the slightest regard to whether it rubbed anyone the wrong way. There was the bit with the two black gentlemen seated together whose speech is incomprehensible to the flight attendant until Barbara Billingsley of “Leave It To Beaver” fame offers to translate, explaining, “I speak jive.” There was Peter Graves’ Captain Oveur, who makes suggestive remarks to a young boy visiting the cockpit including, “Do you like gladiator movies?” There was the little boy who asks a little girl seated next to him how she likes her coffee: “Black, like my men.” There were the repeated drug references by Lloyd Bridges (“Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up sniffing glue.”) There was the Air Israel plane wearing a yarmulke. And on and on. Today the PC police would have to hire extra help in order to monitor this one picture.

And then the fantastic parody of liberal political correctness itself.

“Team America: World Police” Few political satires exist at all. Fewer still jab the right and the left equally hard, and do so using marionettes and extremely bad taste. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of “South Park,” made this 2004 parody of the old “Thunderbirds” TV series with the intent of ridiculing all elements of the war on terror. It includes a reference to the Film Actors Guild by showing a news clip with the words “Alec Baldwin — F.A.G.” They make fun of the Broadway show “Rent” with their own called “Lease” that includes the song, “Everyone Has AIDS.” The film ridicules foreign languages like Spanish, French and Arabic by boiling them down to caricature levels; Kim Jong-il, the bad guy in the movie as in real life, greets people with “Herro” and calls weapons inspector Hans Blix “Hans Brix.” This picture is politically incorrect in the most virulent manner because it exists not to express a point of view, but rather to harpoon a broad section of the famous and powerful while offending as many as possible.

I guess the point is that parody and satire really have no place in cinema today -- it makes liberals uncomfortable.

And then this classic -- offensive, but because of the time in which it was made and teh bit of culture it keeps frozen on film.

“Song of the South” This mixture of live action and animation probably doesn’t fit snugly into the category of politically incorrect comedies, simply because it isn’t a straight comedy but more a lighthearted family picture. Also, the depictions of African-Americans here weren’t mean to elicit laughs, but were done in earnest in an attempt to portray life in a particular time period, right after the Civil War. But there’s no doubt this could never be made today the same way. In fact, Disney has refused to even release the film on home video in the United States (although it is available overseas) because the portrayals of African-Americans would create a firestorm today. Uncle Remus, a wise old black man, tells the story of Brer Rabbit and his pals to cheer up little Johnny, a white kid. But most of the black people are shown as subservient to whites. This isn’t exactly “Birth of a Nation,” but in terms of racial stereotypes, it’s in that ballpark. “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” won the 1947 Academy Award for Best Song.

Must we really sanitize our past as a way of making a better future?

Anybody want to offer their own list?

|| Greg, 03:17 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 27, 2006

What If…

America fell under the sway of the Islamists?

Jeff Jacoby offers a review of Prayers for the Assassin, one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Life in an Islamist United States would be largely unfree and intolerant, if the experience of countries where radical Muslims have achieved power -- Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, and Afghanistan -- is any guide. But what would that mean in American terms? That's the question a remarkable new novel sets out to answer. Prayers for the Assassin, Robert Ferrigno's latest thriller, is set 35 years in the future, when most of the United States has been transformed into the Islamic Republic of America. Under the new regime, America is a country in which university professors can lose their jobs for being "insufficiently Islamic," cellphone cameras are illegal, and men can only dream of "loud music, cold beer, and coed beaches." There is still a Super Bowl, but the cheerleaders are all men. Mt. Rushmore still exists, but the presidential faces on it have been blown up.

Some of you may remember my post from earlier this year, in which I was role-playing a candidate for president of the Islamic States of America. It was related to this book – and through your assistance, I won an autographed copy as one of those who successfully beat my computer-run opponents.

I join with Jacoby in urging you to read this book.

|| Greg, 03:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 18, 2006

Star Trekking!

I'll admit it -- I am a science fiction fanatic. When I'm not reading scholarly historical works, I'm found carrying a science fiction novel of some sort -- my latest discovery being Charles Stross and his Merchant Princes series (which I have devoured over the last two weeks along with a couple of Andre Norton's Earthsea novels).

And yes, I love Star Trek -- but I don't know that my love goes quite this far.

Paul Sieber was wearing a "Star Trek" uniform in the deep Virginia woods when he found himself surrounded by a leathery-looking gang.

Fortunately, the ruffians were dressed up as Klingons, and Mr. Sieber, with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, was preparing to film them with a $6,000 digital video camera. At times like this, Mr. Sieber, the writer and director of "Starship Farragut," must come to grips with the obvious — not all Klingons are trained actors — and bellow, "Quiet on the set!"

From these Virginia woods to the Scottish Highlands, "Star Trek" fans are filling the void left by a galaxy that has lost "Star Trek." For the first time in nearly two decades, television spinoffs from the original 1960's "Star Trek" series have ended, so fans are banding together to make their own episodes.

Fan films have been around for years, particularly those related to the "Star Wars" movies. But now they can be downloaded from the Web, and modern computer graphics technology has lent them surprising special effects. And as long as no one is profiting from the work, Paramount, which owns the rights to "Star Trek," has been tolerant. (Its executives declined to comment.)

Fan fiction has been around for a long time. Some authors have encouraged it -- even anthologized the best of it. But the development of computer technology has made it possible to make technically good video fan fiction and the internet has made its distribution quite easy. The NY Times article lists no fewer than five different groups making their own Star Trek episodes -- and tells us that there may be as many as two-dozen around the world, creating Star Trek apocrypha in a multiplicity of languages.

One has to ask, though, what such devotion and activity will mean for the future of Star Trek on television and in theaters, as well as the future of video entertainment as a whole. Do these niche productions signal where "Big Media" should go? Or is it the detritus left behind after the networks have moved on?

Or is it simply a throwback to a more innocent time, as science fiction has grown darker and less escapist over the decades?

|| Greg, 04:38 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 17, 2006

Just Call Them The Dixie Victims

You know, I would have thought that these girls might have learned to shut up by now -- you are entitled to your opinion, but how where and when you express them can have consequences.

But no, Natalie Maines has to open up her mouth again.

"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism," Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism."

And I don't understand the nexcessity for buying Dixie Chicks CDs and concert tickets when they insult my beliefs. I don't see why she thinks we should care about her opinions on matters political, given her lack of expertise in the field. And I don't see why she doesn't get the message about the views of Americans as the group's concert tour goes belly-up.

The real sad thing about the whole Dixie Chicks fiasco is that Emily Robison is married to a very talented artist, Charlie Robison. His career was just taking off on the national stage when the controversy broke in 2003 -- he was one of the three original judges on USA Network's Nashville Star but left "for family reasons" at the end of Season One -- but he failed to meet the commercial expectations that the spot gave him following the Chick's controversy.

MORE AT Michelle Malkin, Below the Beltway, Paxalles, California Conservative, Narcissistic Views, No Speed Bumps, World According To Carl, Noisy Room, Lead & Gold, Hillbilly White Trash, Flopping Aces, Unalienable Right, Capital Region People, Conservative Musings, Real Ugly American, Reality & Sanity, Stuck on Stupid, Darleen's Place, Donkey Cons, American Mind, Church and State, Expose The Left, Ed Driscoll, E. L. Frederick, Chicagoray, Sister Toldjah

|| Greg, 02:01 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 14, 2006


Even the trashiest of white trash have some standards, in my experience. And those standards appear to be significantly above those of Britney Spears.

Britney Spears' "Eeewww!" factor is apparently on the rise. The pregnant pop tart did more than just pick up a few pink thongs at the Victoria's Secret in Mission Viejo, Calif. According to Us Weekly, she got down on the floor next to the cash register and changed 9-month-old Sean Preston's dirty diaper. "Britney then tried to hand it to an employee," says a source. "The salesperson wouldn't take it."

Speaking for the vast majority of American, I have a quick message for the talentless pop-star.

The world does not revolve around Uranus, honey – or around the anus of any children you see fit to spawn.

Buy some couth, buy some class -- hell, just buy some common sense and common decency.

|| Greg, 04:29 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Infernal Bridegroom In NY Times

Before my Darling Democrat got sick, she and I used to volunteer as ushers at Stages Theater in Houston. One of the highlights was the annual "Tamalalia" show put on by a local theater troupe, "Infernal Bridegroom Productions". Imagine my surprise to find them featured on the homepage of the New York Times this morning.

HOUSTON, June 13 — The punk-rock club where Infernal Bridegroom Productions stages its shows is in a rough neighborhood, far from this city's velvet-curtained theater district. So it is not surprising that the troupe's latest offering, "Speeding Motorcycle," is equally far from some of the traditional fare offered at the city's more conventional sites.

An original rock opera, "Speeding Motorcycle" consists entirely of songs by Daniel Johnston, a musician and artist whose childlike and hallucinatory work chronicles his mental illness.

"We have stranger tastes than the norm," said Anthony Barilla, Infernal Bridegroom's artistic director. The company's founder, Jason Nodler, wrote and directed "Speeding Motorcycle," which features several actors playing the role of Joe Boxer, a man who has lost his mind after being rejected by the woman he loves. Flat-top, plasticine headgear gives the impression that the crowns of their heads have been chopped off, leaving a black, felt-lined nothingness inside. Captain America and Casper the Friendly Ghost make cameo appearances. The score, meanwhile, ricochets from toe-tapping, feel-good songs to discordant, despairing dirges, a reflection of Mr. Johnston's bipolar disorder.

This unusual production has won over critics. Everett Evans wrote in The Houston Chronicle last week that " 'Speeding Motorcycle' should be the cult hit of Houston's summer."

I've not seen this show, but i will tell you that the productions put on by this group are always entertaining if. . . unusual. So if you find yourself in Houston, i encourage you to look them up and get tickets to "Speeding Motorcycle", or whatever production they are doing when you are here. You will not be disappointed.

|| Greg, 04:41 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 12, 2006

Big Ben Banged-Up Badly

Personally, I consider anyone who doesn't wear a helmet on a motorcycle to be an idiot. And when you make the money that Ben Roethlisberger does, one would hope that he would have the sense not to take the chances involved in riding one with a bare head -- and that the Steelers would have included a helment requirement/motorcycle ban in his contract.

That is what makes this accident particularly nonsensical.

Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger, the youngest quarterback to lead a team to the Super Bowl championship, broke his jaw and nose in a motorcycle crash Monday in which he was not wearing a helmet.

Roethlisberger was in serious but stable condition, Dr. Larry Jones, chief of trauma at Mercy Hospital said before surgery.

The player's agent, Leigh Steinberg, described the injuries to The Associated Press and said he did not know if there was further damage.

"He was talking to me before he left for the operating room," Jones said. "He's coherent. He's making sense. He knows what happened. He knows where he is. From that standpoint, he's very stable."

Roethlisberger's mother, Brenda, was crying as she arrived at the hospital.

That's a damn scary thing for anyone, but especially for a franchise player like Roethliaberger. Fortunately, early reports are encouraging.

The accident itself sounds horrifying.

Roethlisberger was on his black 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa -- the company calls it the world's fastest bike for legal street riding _ and heading toward an intersection on the edge of downtown. A Chrysler New Yorker traveling in the opposite direction took a left turn and collided with the motorcycle, and Roethlisberger was thrown, police said.

The other car was driven by a 62-year-old woman, police said. They didn't immediately release her name and no charges were filed.

Witness Sandra Ford was waiting at a bus stop when she said she saw the motorcycle approach. Seconds later, she said she heard a crash, saw the motorcyclist in the air and ran toward the crash scene.

"He wasn't moving and I was afraid that he had died. ... He wasn't really speaking. He seemed dazed but he was resisting the effort to make him stay down," said Ford, who didn't realize the motorcyclist was Roethlisberger.

Ben, I may be a Houston Texans fan -- but I wish you well. Recover quickly and completely.

|| Greg, 07:38 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 07, 2006

God – Too Offensive For A G Rating

I am, to say the least, shocked. A movie written and produced by a pair of Baptist pastors has been given a PG rating – because some people might be offended by the Christian religious themes.

"Facing the Giants" cost $100,000 and resembles a fusion of the Book of Job and a homemade "Hoosiers," or perhaps a small- school "Friday Night Lights" blended with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association movies that used to appear in some mainstream theaters. Sherwood Pictures used local volunteers as actors and extras, backed by a small crew of tech professionals.

The movie includes waves of answered prayers, a medical miracle, a mysterious silver-haired mystic who delivers a message from God and a bench-warmer who kicks a 51-yard field goal to win the big game when his handicapped father pulls himself out of a wheelchair and stands under the goal post to inspire his son's faith. There's a prayer-driven gust of wind in there, too.

But the scene that caught the MPAA's attention may have been the chat between football coach Grant Taylor _ played by Alex Kendrick _ and a rich brat named Matt Prader. The coach says that he needs to stop bad-mouthing his bossy father and get right with God.

The boy replies: "You really believe in all that honoring God and following Jesus stuff? ... Well, I ain't trying to be disrespectful, but not everybody believes in that."

The coach replies: "Matt, nobody's forcing anything on you. Following Jesus Christ is the decision that you're going to have to make for yourself. You may not want to accept it, because it'll change your life. You'll never be the same."

So I guess faith has joined sex, swearing, drugs, alcohol, and violence as unacceptable fare for children in our society.

Have we really descended so far into moral degradation?

Or is it just the entertainment industry?

|| Greg, 06:17 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Roger Clemens Comeback Trail

This certainly warms hears here in Houston!

Only Roger Clemens could draw a standing-room crowd, a national-television audience and four different mascots, all to watch him play a little ball with his son.

For Clemens, every pitch has become a production, every outing a family photo op. His first appearance of this season, alongside his oldest son at Class A Lexington on Tuesday night, was the ultimate baseball greeting card come to life.

Playing at a minor league stadium near Kentucky's famous horse farms, with one son at third base and the rest of the family in a luxury suite, with the song "Rocket Man" blaring through the speakers and fans wearing "Rocket Relaunch" T-shirts, Clemens gave up one run in three innings to the Lake County Captains. By the time he was finished, an artist's rendering was being auctioned at a souvenir stand.

The most poignant father-son moment was also the most genuine. In the top of the third inning, Koby Clemens walked solemnly toward the mound at Applebee's Park. His father braced for words of advice about the next hitter. "One more strikeout," Koby Clemens said, "and everybody in the stadium gets wiper fluid."

Roger Clemens, suddenly aware of the promotion that gives Lexington fans free windshield wiper fluid if the home pitcher records a strikeout in the third inning, reached 93 miles an hour and notched his fifth and sixth strikeouts of the game. "It was just like normal," Koby Clemens said. "Striking everybody out."

The only blemish was a first-inning home run by Lake County center fielder Johnny Drennen, who wears Clemens's No. 22 and sent one of his split-fingered fastballs onto the roof of the Pepsi Party Deck in right field. Even Drennen was awarded reluctant applause.

He remains simply the best.

And I have to wonder -- we will soon get the Rocket back in the rotation with local product Andy Pettitte. Does local poy Nolan Ryan still have a few good innings left in his arm?

|| Greg, 05:15 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 02, 2006

Oriole Irony

I'm probably teaching English III this summer in summer school (I'll know in a few hours). If I do, I will use this story to teach the concept of irony.

This is a story about fate, a story about a curse -- if you care to believe in such things. It is a story about coming to grips with them, and maybe, just maybe, reversing them. It is a story about a 12-year-old boy in a black T-shirt who is now a polished 22-year-old man with a marketable talent. And it is a story about a beleaguered baseball team that may be preparing to take a wild stab at manipulating fate by confronting it head-on.

Jeffrey Maier, a future Baltimore Oriole? Oh, dear heaven. The blood of Orioles fandom boils at the very thought of the name, let alone the thought of such a traitorous alliance.

Could the deities that control the vagaries of baseball have conspired to put the kid who probably cost the Baltimore Orioles a shot at the World Series title on the Orioles as a player? It looks like it could be that way.

Ah, the irony or it all!

And the chance for a little bit of redemption and forgiveness after all these years.

|| Greg, 09:37 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

June 01, 2006

Why Is This Necessary?

Must every form of entertainment Make A Statement?

Years after she first emerged from the Batcave, Batwoman is coming out of the closet. DC Comics is resurrecting the classic comic book character as a lesbian, unveiling the new Batwoman in July as part of an ongoing weekly series that began this year.

The 5-foot-10 superhero comes with flowing red hair, knee-high red boots with spiked heels, and a form-fitting black outfit.

"We decided to give her a different point of view," explained Dan DiDio, vice president and executive editor at DC. "We wanted to make her a more unique personality than others in the Bat-family. That's one of the reasons we went in this direction."

The original Batwoman was started in 1956, and killed off in 1979. The new character will share the same name as her original alter ego, Kathy Kane. And the new Batwoman arrives with ties to others in the Gotham City world.

"She's a socialite from Gotham high society," DiDio said. "She has some past connection with Bruce Wayne. And she's also had a past love affair with one of our lead characters, Renee Montoya."

Is this really necessary? And I ask not because of bias against homosexuals, but because this appears to be introducing an extraneous political statement where it does not need to be. Is there no place safe from PCism?

|| Greg, 11:12 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (9) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 31, 2006

Armstrong Exonerated

Does this finally settle matter for the Euro-trash who have maligned one of the greatest athletes of our era?

Dutch investigators cleared Lance Armstrong of doping in the 1999 Tour de France on Wednesday, and blamed anti-doping authorities for misconduct in dealing with the American cyclist.

A 132-page report recommended convening a tribunal to discuss possible legal and ethical violations by the World Anti-Doping Agency and to consider ''appropriate sanctions to remedy the violations.''

The French sports daily L'Equipe reported in August that six of Armstrong's urine samples from 1999, when he won the first of his record seven-straight Tour titles, came back positive for the endurance-boosting hormone EPO when they were retested in 2004.

Armstrong has repeatedly denied using banned substances.

The International Cycling Union appointed Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman last October to investigate the handling of urine tests from the 1999 Tour by the French national anti-doping laboratory, known by its French acronym LNDD.

Vrijman said Wednesday his report ''exonerates Lance Armstrong completely with respect to alleged use of doping in the 1999 Tour de France.''

Now we know that Armstrong accomplished his feats without artificial enhancement.

We also know that a bunch of flaccid Frenchies have again shown their national character -- No Courage, No Class.

And we confirm this simple truth -- we grow 'em bigger and better in Texas.

|| Greg, 10:16 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Rocket Returns

And about time!

Roger Clemens and the Astros have officially reached an agreement, according to a person in the negotiations who told the Chronicle. A press conference will be announced shortly.

Clemens, whose 341 career victories are more than any person alive, went 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 2004 while winning the National League Cy Young Award, extending his record Cy Young collection to seven.

After helping the Astros to the National League Championship Series in 2004, he was 13-8 with a major-league best 1.87 ERA last season while helping the Astros reach the franchise’s first World Series. Although Clemens flirted with Boston and the Rangers, his former Astros teammates laughed and cautioned that he’d return to Houston.

Clemens’ signing should bolster the club.

“It will add a boost to the team,” ace Roy Oswalt said. “Any time you get a guy like that in the rotation, it would be great.

"We have to have a spark, and hopefully he will give it to us.”

Catcher Brad Ausmus was pleased.

“I think it’s a huge boost to our pitching staff,” Ausmus said. “Why? That’s a stupid question. He’s a horse. He’s probably the best pitcher in the history of the game. He’s the type of guy that for a full season you can count on for 200 innings.

Astros owner Drayton McLane negotiated deep into Tuesday night with Roger Clemens’ agents, and he headed to Houston early Wednesday morning.

“We worked on it last night, so that’s why I’m going to Houston right now,” McLane said as he boarded his private airplane in Temple. “We’ve worked to try to get this thing done.”

McLane has been optimistic for weeks, and he has made definite progress with Clemens’ agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks.

And while we are bringing back the old guys -- what shape is Nolan Ryan's arm in?

After all, the Astros are already 6.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

UPDATE: If you do the math, Clemens will get $14 million for four months in the majors.

Roger Clemens and the Astros have officially reached an agreement, according to a person in the negotiations who told the Chronicle. A press conference is set for 11 a.m. to announce the signing.

The deal is a pro-rated $22 million agreement, a major league record for a pitcher. Clemens will start at Class A Lexington, then go to Class AA Corpus Christi, followed by a trip to Class AAA Round Round before landing in Houston on June 22, Clemens' agent Randy Hendricks said today.

UPDATE 2: My earlier source on the prorated contract seems to have been wrong. These are the correct figures.

When he is added to the major league roster, he gets a one-year contract worth $22,000,022 -- his uniform number is 22. Because he won't be playing the full season, he gets only a prorated percentage of that, which would come to about $12.25 million if he rejoins Houston in late June. The tentative goal is to have him start against the Minnesota Twins on June 22 -- if he's put on the big league roster on that day, he would earn $12,632,307.

|| Greg, 09:11 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 30, 2006

Liz Taylor On Larry King Live

My Darling Democrat paused while flipping channels during a commercial.

How sad!


Am I the only one who thinks she looks like Brando in drag?

|| Greg, 07:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 24, 2006

Jeb For NFL Commissioner?

This could be interesting.

Could Gov. Jeb Bush's future be in football instead of politics?

While U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has publicly flirted with the idea of becoming the next commissioner of the National Football League, Bush has been privately approached to gauge his interest in the job.
Bush, who spends his Sundays each fall watching pro football, acknowledged Tuesday that the NFL job was broached during a recent meeting with Patrick Rooney Sr., owner of the Palm Beach Kennel Club.

Rooney is the brother of Dan Rooney, who owns the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and co-chairs the NFL's search committee looking for a replacement for Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

This could be interesting – if the league is willing to hold the job for an extra six months so that Bush could finish his time as Florida governor.

And let's be honest -- it gives him a rather public position from which to build popularity for a run for president in 2012 or 2016.

|| Greg, 06:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 21, 2006

Madonna's Blasphemy

I'd love to say this is beyond belief -- but give Madonna's penchant for the outrageous (including sex with a saint's statue come to life in her "Like a Prayer" video two decades ago), I'm not surprised.


MADONNA kicked off her new Confessions world tour in Los Angeles on Saturday – and showed it will be her most controversial routine ever.

As my snap shows, at one point Madge appears hanging from a cross, which is sure to stoke up a backlash from Christians.

Maybe I'll have some respect for her blasphemous tendencies when she insults the Islamic beliefs, teachings, and symbols.

Oh, that's right -- that won't happen.

Muslims would kill her -- Christians will only criticize her and create lots of publicity for the tour and album.

|| Greg, 10:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Who Cares About The Dixie Slits?

I'll be honest -- I enjoyed listening to the Dixie Chicks, but I joined the boycott when they started all the anti-Bush trash-talk. Yes, they had a right to take the position they took -- but I have every right to express my disapproval by refusing to buy their product.

Well, they are at it again, hoping to turn their bush Derangement Syndrome into commercial success. But I don't think this is the way to go.

The Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines apologized for disrespecting President Bush during a London concert in 2003. But now, she's taking it back.

"I don't feel that way anymore," she told Time magazine for its issue hitting newsstands Monday. "I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever."

And we should take your views into consideration because...?

But probably the most significant reason I won't buy their new CD has nothing to do with Natalie's politics -- it has to do with this statement.

For band member Martie Maguire, the controversy was a blessing in disguise.

"I'd rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith," Maguire said. "We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do."

Well, I wouldn't want to limit you by contributing to your commercial success. I'll stick with Reba, Kenny Chesney, and a few old Chris LeDoux CDs. But thanks for making it clear that you aren't interested in those of us who helped build your career in the early days. We'll pass those sentiments on to country radio stations around the country.

» The Tech In Black links with: Dixie who?

|| Greg, 08:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

May 20, 2006

A Travesty For the Ages

When babe Ruth hit 714 homers in his career, the only "artificial enhancements" he used to stimulate his success were booze and hookers. Barry Bonds is the steroid king. That makes the milestone he has reached illegitimate in this fan's eyes. Number 714 simply does not count -- and his records and accolades should be expunged once the BALCO investigation is over. The number 714 should be deemed an achievement legitimately reached by Babe Ruth alone.

he agonizing wait is over for Barry Bonds. He and the Babe are even at 714.

Bonds tied Babe Ruth for second place on the career home run list Saturday, ending a nine-game homerless stretch with a shot into the first deck of the elevated stands in right-center during San Francisco’s 4-2, 10-inning victory over the Oakland Athletics.

“This is a great accomplishment because of Babe Ruth and what he brought to the game of baseball and his legacy in the game of baseball,” Bonds said. “This and a World Series ring to me would be the ultimate. He changed the game of baseball. ... It’s just great to be in the same class.”

No, Barry, you are not in the same class as Ruth, Aaron, and Mays. You are in a no-class all your own.

|| Greg, 11:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 17, 2006

I Wondered When This Would Happen

My wife has been speculating on a secret marriage for the couple for several months – now it looks like we at least get an engagement out of the romance.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban will tie the knot, the country music star's publicist has confirmed.

"They are very happily engaged," said publicist Paul Freundlich. He declined to discuss details of their wedding plans, and Kidman's publicist did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.

The Oscar-winning actress broke the news to People magazine Monday after hosting a weekend gala event in New York.

"He's actually my fiance. I wouldn't be bringing my boyfriend," the magazine quoted her as saying in a story posted on its Web site.

No date yet, so I guess I will keep hearing about this one.

|| Greg, 06:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 03, 2006

Young CD Panned

This may be one of the greatest single lines from a music review in history -- and a sign of the growing importance of blogs in our national dialogue.

"Living With War," however, seems to be a couple of years behind the curve, coming across like a series of stale, somewhat superficial lefty blog posts set to fuzzy rock as Young attacks (and mocks) the Bush administration while declaring war on war.

No wonder the KOSsaks and DUmmies think this is the most important musical release since some caveman named Og beat a couple of rhytmically beat a couple of rocks together while Ug blew air through a hollow-ed out bone.

|| Greg, 04:42 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 02, 2006

Denzel’s Kid Signs With Rams

Looks like the kid may have some talent – I hope he catches on with the team.

The Rams have gone Hollywood.

Not only is new coach Scott Linehan the brother-in-law of actor Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in the movie "The Passion of the Christ," but now the team has signed the son of Academy Award winner Denzel Washington.

Running back John David Washington, the leading career rusher at NCAA Division II Morehouse College, is among 10 undrafted free agents the Rams have added in the wake of the weekend's NFL draft.

* * *

John David Washington, 5 feet 10 and 200 pounds, said his success in football had nothing to do with his father's success in films.

"This is my thing," he told the Los Angeles Daily News. "My father supports me 100 percent, but there's nothing he did as far as his star influence to get me here."

In the same interview, Denzel Washington said: "For a kid to have that dream and be this close, and for a dad who had the same dream and didn't make it, needless to say I'm very proud and happy for him. . . . Nothing would make me happier than to be known as John David Washington's dad."

John David holds Morehouse records for rushing yards in a game (242), season (1,198) and career (3,699). He was the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's offensive player of the week six times and an all-conference selection after his senior year.

Having taught a number of kids who went on to play Division I and Division II ball, I know what work it takes to get to that level. Having coached one who plays in the NFL now, I know how much more it takes to go to the next level.

Congratulations, John David Washington – and proud poppa Denzel, too. Good luck.

|| Greg, 06:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 01, 2006

Questions We Want Answered On 24

As fans will tell you, there are always questions galore about 24. USA Today’s Robert Bianco asks some important ones – and tries to answer them as well – as we enter the final 5 hours of this season’s day.

1. Is Defense Secretary Heller dead?

Chances are Audrey Raines' father went over the cliff in his car. But it's also possible that he rolled out at the last minute, because people on shows like 24 are born knowing how to do such things. (I can't change lanes and the CD at the same time.) I'd guess the writers want us to wonder about his fate — but then again, the show often races over its plot holes, which sometimes causes fans to invent mysteries that don't exist.

Speaking of unanswered questions, Bianco even asks about my favorite one from last season – What happened to Behrooz?

|| Greg, 06:00 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

And She Can Kiss My. . .

I bow before the massive intellect of Madonna and her keen insights of the political issues facing the nation.

Madonna radically altered her music to attack US President George W Bush during her appearance at California music festival Coachella, yesterday.

The Hung Up singer thrilled fans with a six-song set in the Sahara Dance Tent, and took a cheeky swipe at the US leader by changing her song lyrics.

During an energetic rendition of her song I Love New York, Madonna roared, "Just go to Texas and suck George Bush's d**k."

What a class act she is!

|| Greg, 05:58 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Worst Attempt To Explain Away A Murder

Chaka Khan's son is on trial for murder.

She says he is a kind, loving man who wouldn't hurt anyone.

But I think his explanation of the events hurts himself almost as much as it did the victim.

[Damien Patrick] Holland is charged with killing Christopher Bailey, 17, an aspiring rapper who was staying at the home Holland shares with his mother, girlfriend and five-year-old daughter.

Holland testified earlier this week that he never intended to kill Bailey when he poked at him with an M-16 assault rifle. The two had been discussing an affair the younger man claimed to have had with Holland's girlfriend.

Holland cried in court as he recalled how Bailey fell to the floor, bleeding from his face.

Yeah, I always go around poking folks with the official weapon of the US military. Seems to me that he is either a murder, or too stupid to be allowed to walk free.

After all, one of these can (and in this case did) do more than put out an eye.

|| Greg, 04:41 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will The Rocket be An Astro Again

That is the big question in Houston today, now that the Astros can go after Roger Clemens.

Can Roger come out and play?

That's the question the Astros plan to pose today to the representatives for free-agent pitcher Roger Clemens, though it's unlikely the ballclub — or anyone else — will get an answer any time soon.

Today is the first day the Astros can officially start negotiating with Clemens, who has said in recent weeks that he likely won't have a decision on his future until June or July.

Still, Astros general manager Tim Purpura plans to call agents Randy and Alan Hendricks to begin laying the groundwork to lure Clemens back for a 23rd season, which would be his third with his hometown Astros.

The only question is -- are the Astros willing to spend the money on one of the greatest living pitchers, despite the fact he is my age? After all, estimates are that he will cost the club that signs him some $20,000,000.

|| Greg, 04:36 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 30, 2006

Brokeback Moron

What else can you call Jake Gyllenhaal, the star of a homoerotic western who insults the US military as a part of the promotional work for his upcoming anti-American/anti-military flick, Jarhead.

"The US soldiers were sent to the desert for 122 days and they sat in the same tent and did nothing, except a little too much masturbating."

I'd love to say I'm astounded -- but I'm not given that stars in Hollywood are required to prove their contempt fo the nation before they can succeed.

This America-hating dolt forgets that the reason there was so little combat was the fact that the Iraqis folded like a house of cards -- they were trying to surrender to news crews, unmanned drones, and particularly attractive camels. Not to mention the fact that the US irrationally listened to the demands of the UN to leave the Iraqi dictator in power after liberating Kuwait from its invaders -- resulting in a dozen years of continued oppression of the Iraqis and the need to clean up the mess today.

My wife's cousins was one of those wounded when a SCUD hit his barracks. One of my co-workers had a nephew who was MIA after his unit met up with an Iraqi patrol -- and who thankfully turned up alive in an allied medical unit with wounds that were not life-threatening. I wonder if Jake would be willing to face either of them and make such a comment -- and if he would walk away under his own power if he did.

Americans -- time to do our duty. Let's make sure this Saddamite pretty-boy no longer has a career in film or television, and that he ends his days doing dinner theater outside Hoboken for the rest of his life.

|| Greg, 10:41 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

There Was No Confusion

Cops in California destroyed a newspaper box because they thought it contained a bomb.

They weren't far off.

A newspaper promotion for Tom Cruise's upcoming "Mission: Impossible III" got off to an explosive start when a county arson squad blew up a news rack, thinking it contained a bomb.

The confusion: the Los Angeles Times rack was fitted with a digital musical device designed to play the "Mission: Impossible" theme song when the door was opened. But in some cases, the red plastic boxes with protruding wires were jarred loose and dropped onto the stack of newspapers inside, alarming customers.

Sheriff's officials said they rendered the news rack in this suburb 35 miles north of downtown Los Angeles "safe" after being called to the scene Friday by a concerned individual who thought he'd seen a bomb.

Times officials said the devices were placed in 4,500 randomly selected news boxes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in a venture with Paramount Pictures designed to turn the "everyday news rack experience" into an "extraordinary mission."

It was just that, at least for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department arson squad, which destroyed the box.

"This was the least intended outcome. We weren't expecting anything like this," said John O'Loughlin, the Times' senior vice president for planning.

The devices are to remain in the boxes until May 7, two days after the film is scheduled to open.

The Tom Cruise flick should have proved itself a bomb by that date.

With luck, it will self-destruct and save the bomb squads of major American cities the trouble of blowing it up.

|| Greg, 10:06 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 29, 2006

Well, Shows What I Know

I said the "smart money" was on Bush. The "smart money" was wrong.

Let's hope that the money put out by Bob McNair and the Houston Texans to sign Mario Williams was even smarter than the "smart money".

Mario Williams, Reggie Bush and Vince Young all went in the top five of the NFL draft Saturday as expected. Not Matt Leinart.

The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner took a slide to No. 10, finally picked by Arizona after several teams in desperate need of a signal caller passed on the Southern California quarterback.

* * *

Williams went No. 1 overall to Houston, one day after the North Carolina State standout defensive end signed a six-year, $54 million contract. Bush, who teamed with Leinart at USC and was projected to be the top pick overall, next went to New Orleans.

The Titans went for a younger, faster version of the aging Steve McNair, taking Young of national champion Texas at No. 3. And the Jets, who have Chad Pennington recovering from his second rotator cuff injury, pleased their large, loud contingency by choosing Virginia left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson fourth.

Let's be honest -- the Texans were awful last year, and their defense ranked 31 our of 32. Williams isn't a bad pick, when considered in that light. Heck, nobody would have been a bad pick, given how bad the Texans were last year.

And I still think they should have taken D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

|| Greg, 01:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dude -- You Are 62 Years Old!

Keith Richards.

No other comemnt necessary.

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was hospitalized for a mild concussion he suffered while vacationing in Fiji, reportedly after falling out of a palm tree.

I guess a Rolling Stone gathers no moss -- but might try to harvest a few coconuts.

|| Greg, 01:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 28, 2006


Well, Saturday is the big day -- my beloved (if pathetic) Houston Texans have the first pick in the 2006 NFL draft. They've told local boy Vince Young not to wait on a call from them. They have dissed my preferred choice, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, by not even talking to his people -- despite the desperate need for help on the offensive line. That leaves twon names that they have mentioned -- DE Mario Williams and RB Reggie Bush. Smart money is on Bush.

But I wonder if this story changes things.

Reggie Bush's parents failed to pay $54,000 in rent for the year they lived in a house owned by an investor in a sports marketing agency that sought to represent Bush, the owner of the house said late last night in an interview at The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Yeah, that's right -- Reggie the Golden Boy is now the subject of an NCAA investigation, hours before the name of the top pick is going to be called out. Does this concern the Texans, especially given that owner Bob McNair has gone out of his way to cultivate a squeaky clean image for his team? Will McNair, Kubiak, Casserly and Reeves not merely break the hearts of Texans fans by drafting someone other than the Young man who grew up here, but do so with a player who appears to be dirty and whose team was out-classed by Vince and the Longhorns in the Rose Bowl? Does the appearance of impropriety change the equation?

We'll wait and see.

* * *

And while we are at it, let's take this opportunity to begin our all-weekend Linkfest and Open Trackback celebration.

Link back here with your posts that you believe should go high hin the draft -- your blogs "franchise players" if you will. I won't limit the number of posts you link back with, but do ask you to exercise prudent judgement.

But remember the Rhymes With Right Rules.

No Porn. No Ads. No Problem.

OTHER OPEN TRACKBACKERS -- Voteswagon, TMH Bacon Bits, Stuck on Stupid, Adam's Blog, Third World Country, Liberal Wrong Wing, Blue Star Chronicles, Conservative Cat, Tor's Rants, Uncooperative Blogger, 123Beta, Church and State, Cigar Intelligence Agency

» Cigar Intelligence Agency links with: Weekend Linkfest Party!
» The Uncooperative Blogger links with: Minuteman Volunteers Build Fence in CA

|| Greg, 12:46 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

April 27, 2006

Skynyrd 3:16

Neil Young, at some time in his drug-hazed life, came to believe that American’s give a damn about his political beliefs. And while I will concede a passing interest in some of his earlier works, I can guarantee that I won’t be adding his current rant to my music collection – regardless of the fawning reviews from some critics.

Just reading the lyrics makes me realize that this CD is gonna suck.

Let’s impeach the president for lying And leading our country into war Abusing all the power that we gave him And shipping all our money out the door

He’s the man who hired all the criminals
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
And bend the facts to fit with their new stories
Of why we have to send our men to war

Let’s impeach the president for spying
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
By tapping our computers and telephones

What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees
Would New Orleans have been safer that way
Sheltered by our government’s protection
Or was someone just not home that day?

Let’s impeach the president
For hijacking our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected

Thank god he’s racking down on steroids
Since he sold his old baseball team
There’s lot of people looking at big trouble
But of course the president is clean

Thank God

False, inaccurate, and just plain ignorant. And it doesn’t have a beat you can dance to.

I still think the best response to the political ravings of Neil Young was made over three decades ago -- and I'll just update it slightly.

Well I heard mister Young sing about him Well, I heard ole Neil put him down Well, I hope Neil Young will remember A Red State man don't need him around anyhow.

Sweet home America
Where we're red, white and blue
And the president's true
Sweet Home America
Lord, we still are true to you.

|| Greg, 06:19 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Broken Hearts In Houston

Once our new coach committed to David Carr, I had no illusions abotu Vince Young becoming a Houston Texan. Others still nursed that hope. Those hopes were dashed yesterday by GM Charley Casserly came out and said that the UT quarterback, a product of HISD's Madison High School, was not even a consideration in the Texans draft plans.

And one of those who was stung was the local hero himself.

Former University of Texas quarterback Vince Young had been aware of media reports that the Houston Texans had no intention of selecting him with Saturday's first pick in the NFL draft, but he was still surprised when general manager Charley Casserly admitted it publicly on Wednesday.

On the day the Texans made their first breakthrough in contract negotiations with Southern California running back Reggie Bush, Casserly explained at the team's annual pre-draft news conference why the team believes it's necessary to draft a player at another position, either Bush or North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams.

"Yeah, I was still surprised when I heard about it," said Young, who came to New York this week to participate in events leading up to this weekend's draft. "I know what the media's been saying about them not taking me, but I wanted to play for my hometown team.

"If they don't want me, well, I know it's a business. I'm kind of disappointed, but I have to get ready for the draft and be prepared to play for the team that wants me."

I'm disappointed by the announcement, but only because it confirms that D'Brickashaw Ferguson will go elsewhere, even though he best fits the team's needs.

As for Young, the local boy will likely match up against the Texans twice a year -- division rival Tenessee will likely take him.

|| Greg, 04:18 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 25, 2006

I Wish Houston Would Draft Him

After all, the Texans have had no offensive line during the first four seasons -- that is clearly the team's most important need. D'Brickshaw Ferguson should be my team's first draft choice.

He was named for a priest in "The Thorn Birds" and is a youth minister with a degree in religious studies, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that D'Brickashaw Ferguson is considered more of refined, polished pass-blocker than a bulldozing, menacing run-blocker among the offensive line prospects in the NFL draft.

But because of his extraordinary seven-foot wingspan and exceptionally quick feet, the University of Virginia all-American is projected to be among the first five selections in Saturday's NFL draft, possibly as high as No. 2 by the New Orleans Saints.

* * *

Ferguson, 6 feet 6 inches and 308 pounds, added about 10 pounds after playing in his last college game, a 34-31 victory over Minnesota in the Music City Bowl in Nashville. He then further cemented his place among the top 10 NFL prospects with outstanding workouts at the Senior Bowl in Mobile and the NFL combine in Indianapolis. Those performances also alleviated any concerns NFL teams might have had about a knee injury that caused him to miss two games last season, the first time in his college career he was sidelined.

Looks like we will get Reggie bush instead -- hope there are some good linemen in the later rounds, otherwise he will spend much of next season on his ass behind the line of scrimmage.

|| Greg, 04:58 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 21, 2006

Hurrah! More Star Trek!

A new Star Trek feature film is coming – and it is a prequel!

More than three years after the last "Star Trek" movie crashed at the box office, the venerable sci-fi franchise is being revived by the director of the upcoming "Mission: Impossible" sequel, Daily Variety reported in its Friday edition.

The as-yet-untitled "Star Trek" feature, the 11th since 1979, is aiming for a fall 2008 release through Paramount Pictures, the Viacom Inc. unit looking to restore its box-office luster under new management, the trade paper said.

The project will be directed by J.J. Abrams, whose Tom Cruise vehicle "Mission: Impossible III" will be released by Paramount on May 5. Abrams, famed for producing the TV shows "Alias" and "Lost," will also help write and produce.

Daily Variety said the action would center on the early days of "Star Trek" characters James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, including their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and first outer-space mission.

The projected release date is 2008 – and I’ll consider breaking my own Viacom boycott to get my USS Enterprise fix.

This does mean, though, that there will be no Chekov or Sulu – and maybe no Uhura.

Shall we start speculating on possible actors to fill the roles of Kirk, Spock, and other beloved characters?

|| Greg, 07:54 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 18, 2006

Celebrity Baby Births -- What An Irony (OPEN TRACKBACK AND LINKFEST)

We all remember the Tom Cruise/Brooke Shields dust-up over post-partum depression and psychology vs. Scientology. And we all have been flooded (to the point of nausea with the news of the Tom/Kat love-child. {*gag, choke, wretch*}

I was, on the other hand, blissfully unaware that "Pretty Baby" Shields was going to have another baby herself.

What were the chances of the two little girls sharing a birthdate?

God! I wish I had put 20 bucks on this in Vegas -- I could retire on the winnings.

* * *

Well, this is going nowhere fast. Why not make it into a linkfest thread?

Feel free to trackback with your good stuff. I won't limit the number of links, but do request that you practice reasonable restraint.

And don't forget this major rule.

No spam. No porn. No problem.

|| Greg, 10:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 28, 2006

Uhhhhhh… No. Make that "Hell No!"

Sharon Stone clearly needs to be drug tested.

Stone, 48, who appears naked in a soon-to-be-released sequel to the provocative 1992 sex thriller Basic Instinct, said Senator Clinton had an intimidating sexuality that would cost her votes.

"I think Hillary Clinton is fantastic, but I think it is too soon for her to run (for president)," Stone said in the latest edition of Hollywood Life magazine.

"A woman should be past her sexuality when she runs. Hillary still has sexual power and I don't think people will accept that. It's too threatening."

But while Stone wants the 58-year-old Senator Clinton to wait until her sexuality subsides, singer Madonna is urging her to "go for it" in 2008, even though the timing might not be right for Americans to put their trust in a woman president.

Seems my wife’s old classmate has a bit of a “fatal attraction” going on here.

And for the record, I have no problem with a sexy female presidential candidate. I’d vote for Condi in a heartbeat.

MORE AT Michelle Malkin

|| Greg, 07:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Alec Baldwin – Elitist Liberal

You’ve got to love it when the rich liberal elite show their contempt for the working man.

Consider this insult directed at Sean Hannity.

Hannity, furious that Baldwin allegedly broke a promise to appear on his show before Whitman's, wasted no time ripping into the liberal activist.

"Welcome to WABC, considering you were supposed to come on my program last week and you didn't show. What happened?" Hannity demanded.

"Why would I want to come on with a no-talent, former-construction-worker hack like you?" Baldwin answered.

Notice the insult – “former-construction-worker”. What’s the deal here, Alec? Do you really think you are better than those who work with their hands – or those who have raised themselves above their blue-collar roots?

Or is it that you are still pissed-off that you lost the plum-role of Jack Ryan to the much-more-talented Harrison Ford – who was working construction before he got his break into the acting biz?

MIRE AT Michelle Malkin

|| Greg, 07:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 22, 2006

Rice Says No To NFL Post

I suppose this should not surprise us at all.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a big football fan, ruled out applying for the job of NFL commissioner after Paul Tagliabue retires.

"Unfortunately, it came open at the wrong time," Rice said Wednesday, clearly amused when a reporter posed the question. "Obviously, I'm very busy as secretary of state, and I intend to continue to be secretary of state as long as the president of the United States will have me."

Well, let the Secretary of State’s decision be duly noted, and may the search committee begin its work in earnest.

|| Greg, 07:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Chef Is Back?

But who will supply his voice?

Contrary to popular assumption, "South Park" fans have not seen the Chef sling his final serving of hash.

The character, who until last week was voiced by Isaac Hayes, is back tomorrow in the first of several new episodes of Comedy Central's top-rated show.

The episode, "The Return of Chef" (10 p.m.), has the school-cafeteria cook returning after a hiatus to the bucolic town that Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman call home. According to a brief description released by the network, the gang is happy "to have their old friend back, [but] they notice that something about Chef seems different. When Chef's strange behavior starts getting him in trouble, the boys pull out all the stops to save him."

Work on the episode began last week, after news broke of Hayes' decision to quit the show because it skewered the Church of Scientology, of which he's a member.

"There is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry toward religious beliefs and others begins," Hayes, 63, said in a statement last week.

A Comedy Central spokesman would not confirm or deny that Chef's voice in tomorrow's episode is provided by Hayes, but he did reiterate that Hayes is no longer involved with the show. However, it would not be difficult to weave together existing dialogue from Hayes. And it is not unusual for Parker and Stone to deliver episodes at the last minute.

It's unclear whether tomorrow's episode involves Scientology.

But Parker and Stone's penchant for topical sacred-cow-bashing is well-known. So it would not be a stretch to assume that "Chef Returns" is the latest salvo in the battle between "South Park" and the religion that counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its devotees.

I cannot see the show getting rid of Chef – but I suppose there are a number of other voices who could fill the role nicely.

So tell me – whose voice do you think we will hear coming out of Chef’s mouth? Tell me in comments.

|| Greg, 07:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 20, 2006

Who Will Replace Paul Tagliabue?

She has called it her dream job in the past, and the sport is one of her passions. Could Condoleezza Rice be moving to the NFL?

Paul Tagliabue is retiring as NFL commissioner in July after more than 16 years on the job.

The 65-year-old commissioner has led the league since 1989, when he succeeded Pete Rozelle, and agreed last March to stay to complete the television and labor deals.

He finally got that done 12 days ago, finishing the most arduous labor negotiations since the league and union agreed on a free agency-salary cap deal in 1992.

"I believe that now is a positive time to make the transition to a new commissioner," Tagliabue said in a statement.

Roger Goodell, the NFL's chief operating officer, and Atlanta general manager Rich McKay are the two leading candidates to succeed Tagliabue. Baltimore Ravens president Dick Cass is considered a dark horse.

Well, it was an interesting career path suggestion.

|| Greg, 07:51 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 19, 2006

Is It Time To Boycott Law & Order: Special Victims Unit?

I'm dead serious here. After SVU co-star/conspiracy nutjob/moonbat Richard Belzer made these comments on Bill Maher's show, I think it might be appropriate.

Belzer: “Okay, fine. No one questions the nobility and the honor that these men and woman who are serving and what they're doing. No one questions that. But now they're targets, they're not going out. Now they're just protecting each other and they're in the middle of a civil war. So it's really not fair to have these people who volunteered their lives to protect our nation under false pretenses to now be, to have targets-”

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, over loud applause for Belzer: “Ask them. Ask them if it's fair! Wait a minute, wait a minute. My stepson, wait a minute, my stepson-”

Belzer: “That's bullshit: ask them! They're not, they don't read twenty newspapers a day. They're under the threat of death every minute. They're not the best people to ask about the war because they're gonna die any second.

So, Mr. Belzer, those on-site are not in the position you are to evaluate the war? You know, those fignting and (sometines) dying are not capable of making an evaluationof the situation -- but some dub-ass actor/conspiracy theorist is mopre than qualified to do so because he reads the same wire-service reports out of the twenty different newspapers every day?

Not only that, Belzer and Maher indicate a certain contempt for the troops, even as tehy proclaim sympathy for them.

Ros-Lehtinen: “Wait a minute! You are talking about my stepson, my stepson who just finished last week eight months of duty-”

Belzer over Ros-Lehtenin: “God bless your stepson. Doesn't mean he's a brilliant scholar about the war because he's there. (applause) And God bless him.”

Ros-Lehtinen, quite agitated: “Oh, you are though! You are though? Okay.”

Belzer: “Well I have more time, I'm not there. My life is not under threat.”

Ros-Lehtinen: “Thank you. I'm glad.”

Maher: “I think the point he's trying to make is that a 19-year-old who is in that army because he probably couldn't find other employment-”

Ros-Lehtinen: “He's a college graduate. He's a Marine officer. He volunteered for the Marines.”

Belzer: “He's the exception for the rule.”

Ros-Lehtinen: “He's not the exception for the rule. I've been there-”

Belzer: “You think everyone over there is a college graduate? They're 19 and 20-year-old kids who couldn't get a job-”

Ros-Lehtinen: “Yeah, you know because you've been there and-”

Belzer: “What, I don't fucking read!? Don't do that!”

I love the blasphemous use of "God bless him" by Belzer. He's just indicated that he thinks this Iraq vet is an unemployable dullard who was duped into joining the military and is too stupid to know what is going on around him -- but "God bless him." But Belzer, having read the newspaper this morning, claims to be an expert on the war in Iraq.

I'll be finding something else to watch as long as Belzer remains on SVU. I encourage American patriots to do the same.

MORE AT: 24 Hour Blender Repair, Plains Feeder, Iowa Voice, Cursed by a Classical Education, Andric's Delusions, Nashville News, Diary of a Holywood Refugee, So Put Your Hand In Mine, Center for Sanity, Talk Show American, Right Winged, Protein Wisdom, Blogging Man 2007, NewsBusters, American Conservative Daily

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT: Conservative Cat, Stuck on Stupid, Adam's Blog, Samantha Burns, Third World Country, Liberal Wrong Wing, Bacon Bits, Real Ugly American, Camelot Destra Ideale, Voteswagon, Uncooperative Blogger, Blue Star, Jo's Cafe

» Sister Toldjah links with: Hollywood wacko of the week
» RightWinged.com links with: Actor Richard Belzer Hates The Troops
» Diary of A Hollywood Refugee links with: Richard Belzer - Ignorant Asshat

|| Greg, 12:30 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (3) ||

March 17, 2006


Neverland Ranch is Kaput.

Michael Jackson has shut down his Neverland Ranch for good.

Employees were summoned to the ranch Thursday at 5 p.m. PST in staggered groups, given back pay for 12 weeks through today, and were told the ranch had been shut down by the California Department of Labor.

In fact, Jackson made the decision to lay off more than 60 loyal staffers after making them wait through three months with no pay. Their health insurance ran out on February 28th. Last week, the State closed the ranch because Jackson carried no workmen's compensation.

Despite misleading statements from Jackson’s spokesperson Raymone Bain, I am told that Neverland is indeed closed except to Jackson’s family members and security staff.

Some of the employees of Neverland had been there with Jackson since he bought the place in the late 80s. A few actually had worked for the previous owner. They leave without pensions or the ability to apply for COBRA health insurance. All they can do now is apply for unemployment. My sources say many of them have already done that.

I wonder – will the California legislature look into the working conditions of employees of major entertainments, and regulate that industry? Or is it only the productive sector of America that has to bear the burden of government imposed labor rules?

|| Greg, 04:02 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 16, 2006

Whining Critic Invents Insult

Alan Jackson has covered the Bocephus hit “Texas Women" for years. He changed one line up last night in Houston, and the Chronicle’s critic wants to complain about it.

He did, however, manage a cheap dig during a cover of Hank Williams Jr.'s Texas Women. Jackson inserted the line, "I'm a cowboy fan/Not a Brokeback man," which drew cheers from the crowd. It was a smudge on an otherwise shining performance.

In other words, Joey Guerra so needs to find something to criticize in a stellar performance by a talented performer that he has to stoop to whining that a man singing a song about his love for women asserting his heterosexuality in a humorous manner reminiscent of Jay Leno or David Letterman.

Get a life, dude.

And remembr -- those who can, do; those who can't become entertainment critics.

|| Greg, 06:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 13, 2006

Debased “Art”

This is sickening!

An artist invited Germans to come and be symbolically gased with car exhaust fumes in a former synagogue. Jewish leaders and media commentators say he is belittling the Holocaust and insulting its victims. But hundreds of people have lined up for the experience.

Santiago Sierra, a Spanish performance artist, pledged on Monday to hold talks with Jewish community leaders outraged by his project to give people a sense of the Holocaust by pumping lethal car exhaust fumes into a former synagogue and letting visitors enter one by one with a breathing apparatus.

Sierra, known internationally for his controversial work, led hoses from the exhaust pipes of six parked cars into the building in the town of Pulheim-Stommeln near Cologne to create lethal levels of carbon monoxide there.

* * *

There has been damning criticism from the German media. The Kölnische Rundschau newspaper said Sierra's "art horror light" led to just the kind of trivialization Sierra claimed to be fighting. "What Santiago Sierra is doing in the Stommeln synagogue indeed takes your breath away, unless you're a visitor, in which case you get plenty of oxygen, take zero risks and are even caringly accompanied by a fireman," it wrote.

"That's quite a contrast with the countless victims of the death camps. How pretentious to seek to evoke their horror and fear of death in such a cheap way! In a cynical game which yields no insight whatsoever."

"At a time in which ever fewer authentic witnesses are alive to tell of the Nazi terror, we have to find serious and appropriate ways to give young people a sense of responsibility for the present and the future, without apportioning guilt," the paper said. "Sierra's work degrades history to a fictional spectacle and only does damage in this respect."

Thank God this is not taking place in America – your tax dollars would probably be paying for this “little synagogue of horrors” belittling of the Holocaust.

|| Greg, 08:02 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 07, 2006

Fill InYour Punchline Here

One attendee at Sunday nights Academy of Friends AIDS fundraising gala in San Francisco made this unintentionally funny comment.

Caralee Schmitt, who attended the event with her husband, marveled at the cowboy couture on display Sunday, which she had never seen growing up in Bozeman, Mont.

"My father was a cowboy, but not at all like these kind of cowboys," said Schmitt, who lives in South San Francisco.





|| Greg, 08:58 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 01, 2006

On The Passing Of Octavia Butler

She was one of the shining stars of science fiction, a woman who rose from the humblest of origins to become one of the leading ladies of her genre.

Octavia Butler has died in a tragic, senseless accident, at the age of 58.

Octavia E. Butler, considered the first black woman to gain national prominence as a science fiction writer, died after falling and striking her head on the cobbled walkway outside her home, a close friend said. She was 58.

Butler was found outside her home in the north Seattle suburb of Lake Forest Park after the accident Friday, and died the same day. She had suffered from high blood pressure and heart trouble and could only take a few steps without stopping for breath, said Leslie Howle, who knew Butler for two decades and works at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle.

Butler's work wasn't preoccupied with robots and ray guns, Howle said, but used the genre's artistic freedom to explore race, poverty, politics, religion and human nature.

"She stands alone for what she did," Howle said. "She was such a beacon and a light in that way."

Fellow Seattle-based science fiction authors Greg Bear and Vonda McIntyre said they were stunned by the news and called it a tremendous loss, and science-fiction Internet sites quickly filled with posts dedicated to her.

"We've lost the most intelligent and capable voice in the genre," one fan wrote. "Octavia was the SciFi I picked up when I realized that there could be more to SciFi/fantasy than simple escapism."

She was, and remains, the only science fiction writer to receive a genius grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

I was not a devotee of Ms. Butler’s work, but I held her in high esteem. She is one of those authors who my students introduced me to during my years teaching English. There was something in her style, and her personal story, that spoke to my students, especially my black girls who found a role model in Ms. Butler. And I believe it is that, most of all, that leaves me with a sense of loss – she inspired my children to read, and to think.

|| Greg, 12:46 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 14, 2006

And Her Opinion Matters Because...?

To paraphrase Homer Simpson, "Celebrities -- what don't they think they know?"

Pamela Anderson is boycotting the Kentucky Derby. The 38-year-old actress, who is an animal rights activist, says her opposition to animal cruelty in all its forms means she can never go back to the famed horse race.

"It makes me want to avoid Kentucky altogether, which is sad because there are so many great people there," Anderson said in a statement released Tuesday by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Anderson, a PETA member who attended the Derby in 2001 and 2003, has been involved in anti-fur ads and a campaign to raise awareness of what she calls abuse of chickens in processing plants that supply poultry to Louisville-based KFC.

"Like most people, I don't want to support cruelty to animals, whether it's forcing horses to race for our amusement or scalding chickens alive for our plate," Anderson said. "We have to be more evolved than this."

Last month, Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher refused Anderson's request to have a bust of KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders removed from the state Capitol. Fletcher cited Sanders as a state icon and KFC called Anderson's attack a misguided publicity stunt.

You know, Pamela Anderson is simply a bubble-headed, buble-breasted celebrity with an opinion. It isn't based upon anything substantial, but she somehow thinks that the fact she looks marginally good in a swimsuit makes her an expert about things.

But remember -- this is one of those folks who thinks it is a good idea to videotape sex acts with her spouse and leave them lying around where others can get their hands on them. That should tell you all that you need to know about her judgement.

So this may, pass me some white meat and a mint julep on Derby Day.

|| Greg, 05:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 12, 2006

Have they Nothing Better To Worry About?

I've always loved the song, and never even considered teh race issue.

DURHAM, N.H. - A ’70s rock song used to rally fans at University of New Hampshire hockey games for perhaps a decade, “Black Betty,” is no more.

Athletic Director Marty Scarano told the campus newspaper The New Hampshire that the rollicking 1977 song by Ram Jam was banned because it is “theoretically racist.”

The NAACP deemed the Ram Jam version of the old song offensive to black women three decades ago, and UNH has received intermittent complaints about it for years, the Concord Monitor reported yesterday.

Two years ago, a student group that studied diversity at the school said it should be banned. Scarano said a more recent complaint pushed him to outlaw it, but he did not say who complained.

Dominated by repetitive “na-na-na-na-nas,” “bam-ba-lams” and the exclamation “Black Betty!” the song has been played at the starts of the second and third periods of UNH hockey games for more than a decade, according to a school Web site.

I'm offended by the ban -- I guess that means they will have to ban the ban on "Black Betty".

Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam) Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam) Black Betty had a child (Bam-ba-Lam) The damn thing gone wild (Bam-ba-Lam) She said, "I'm worryin' outta mind" (Bam-ba-Lam) The damn thing gone blind (Bam-ba-Lam) I said Oh, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam) Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)

Oh, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
She really gets me high (Bam-ba-Lam)
You know that's no lie (Bam-ba-Lam)
She's so rock steady (Bam-ba-Lam)
And she's always ready (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)

Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
She's from Birmingham (Bam-ba-Lam)
Way down in Alabam' (Bam-ba-Lam)
Well, she's shakin' that thing (Bam-ba-Lam)
Boy, she makes me sing (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty BAM-BA-LAM

By the way, if anyone bothered to check, the song is the product of that great ofl bluesman, Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter.

|| Greg, 09:07 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 10, 2006

Car Gets Bonus, Extension.

I would have to speculate that the team won't be drafting hometown hero Vince Young with that #1 pick. This kind of contract really means that Carr will remain quarterback for the forseeable future here in Houston.

The Texans exercised the three-year, $8 million option bonus on quarterback David Carr's contract this week and expect to hire Mike Sherman as assistant head coach/offensive line next week.

Although Carr's extension has been widely reported since November, when owner Bob McNair first said he would give the quarterback the $8 million before the last game of the season — Sunday's Pro Bowl — it wasn't official until this week.

An announcement is expected today.

Not only does the extension give Carr the $8 million bonus, but he receives base salaries of $5.25 million in 2006, $5.5 million in 2007 and $6 million in 2008.

The first pick in the 2002 draft, Carr earned $22 million in his first four years with the Texans, not including incentive bonuses. Barring a career-ending injury or restructuring of his contract for salary-cap purposes, he'll earn $46.75 million over the first seven years of his career.

I'm still thinking that we need D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the offensive lineman from Virginia, but we would have to trade down in the draft a few spots -- he is a great player, but not great enough to be the first overall pick. I'm unable to think of an offensive lineman in years who would have been.

|| Greg, 05:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 08, 2006

Aaron McGruder: Left-Wing Fraud

I don’t see how the Boondocks creator, whose career began as a protégé of Jayson Blair, is even entitled to call himself a cartoonist any more.

“The Boondocks” now runs in 300 papers but Aaron McGruder no longer draws it. He outsourced that duty to Jennifer Seng, a Boston artist, explaining that he thinks he's a better writer than artist. * * * In similar style to the strip, the cartoon series is outsourced. McGruder flew to Seoul, Korea to oversee the initial animation.

Seems to me that Aaron McGruder, a left-wing radical who has become a corporate sell-out and does not even do his own artwork for his cartoon, is probably best described by the words he placed in the mouth of Rev. Martin Luther King in a recent episode of his creation’s Cartoon Network show – a “trifling, shiftless, good for nothing nigger”.

|| Greg, 06:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 01, 2006

NBC To Insult Christians On Will & Grace

This is just sick. And not just because of the casting of a no-talent skank like Britney Spears as a Christian.

Britney Spears will guest star on an episode of "Will & Grace," NBC announced Tuesday.

The pop star will appear as a Christian conservative sidekick to Sean Hayes' character, Jack, who hosts his own talk show, on the April 13 episode, the network said.

Jack's fictional network, Out TV, is bought by a Christian TV network, leading to Spears contributing a cooking segment called "Cruci-fixin's."

Utterly tasteless!

» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: Offend us and we'll KILL!!
» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: Muslim students views on the Danish boycott

|| Greg, 06:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

January 26, 2006

Free Speech=Censorship

I love it when a liberal becomes a complete hypocrite – insisting that his right to free speech and an audience trumps everyone else’s right to raise a voice in opposition.

There is such a thing as bad publicity after all.

Creators of "Jerry Springer - The Opera," the musical that sparked outrage among conservative Christians when shown on British television, say protests and lobbying have dented ticket sales for a tour in what they call a blow to freedom of speech.

The outcry, which culminated in more than 60,000 people complaining to the British Broadcasting Corporation when it aired the profanity-laden show last year, has also undermined plans to take the award-winning musical to Broadway.

"Despite having a show which has won all the best musical awards and critical praise, I would say that it looks to me like (lobby group) Christian Voice are winning the audience battle," said Jon Thoday, the show's producer.

So it seems that the threat to free speech here is the speech of Christians calling the show blasphemous and profane – a description that most would argue fits the show.

Sorry, Mr. Thoday, but the peaceful speech of your opponents is not a threat to free speech – it is the ultimate triumph of free speech.

|| Greg, 07:11 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 25, 2006

Because He’s Weird, He’s Weird – Come On

He’s moved to the Middle East, and now he’s wearing a abaya – will this guy ever stop the move into Bizarro-World?

MANAMA, Bahrain — Pop star Michael Jackson was spotted shopping in a Bahrain mall today, hiding his face behind a veil and donning a black robe traditionally worn by women in the Gulf.

He was with three children, apparently his own, who also had their faces covered by dark scarves. An unidentified woman accompanied them.

The pop star, who seems to be settling in the Persian Gulf, was seen leaving Marina Mall in the Bahrain capital, holding a child by the hand. On the way out a back door, he shook hands with security guards.

The woman — also dressed in the black robe called an abaya, jeans and a scarf that partially covered her face — had the two other children. All three children were wrapped in black scarves and wore yellow shirts and sweatpants or khakis without robes.

Since his June acquittal on child molestation charges in California, Jackson has made several trips to Bahrain as a guest of Sheik Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the son of Bahrain's king. He reportedly was negotiating a position as a consultant with a Bahrain-based company that plans to set up theme parks and music academies in the Middle East.

On the mall outing, Jackson wore an abaya, pants, a white shirt and men's shoes. His head and face were wrapped in a black veil and he also wore black gloves.

The veil, abaya and gloves were of a style typically worn by conservative Bahraini women.

Uhhhhhhh…. Yeah.

|| Greg, 09:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 08, 2006

Vince Young -- Going Pro

In a move that has set the sports world -- especially here in Houston -- buzzing, University of Texas quarterback Vince Young has announced that he is skipping his senior season and going pro.

Texas junior quarterback Vince Young will enter the NFL draft and forgo his final year of college.

Young made the announcement official this afternoon at a press conference in Austin. A close family friend told the Chronicle of the decision earlier today.

"I wanna thank God for being in the position I'm in today ... I was ready to move on to the next level ... Hard work has paid off a whole lot," Young said this afternoon while thanking his family, his pastor and Texas coach Mack Brown.

Young thanked Brown "for all the things you have done for me ... on and off the field." Young said Brown made him a better man.

"He has the blessing of God, the pastor and his family," said Yolanda Lezine, Young's godmother and the family media's spokeswoman told the Chronicle earlier today. "It's his decision. Everybody is going to support him a 110 percent."

In a statement, Brown said he met with Young and his family this morning and fully supports Young's decision.

``We love Vince and appreciate all the great things he's done for the University of Texas on and off the field,'' Brown said. ``We'll miss him, but want him to do as well in the NFL as he did in college.''

There are a lot of Longhorn fans bemoaning this move right now, because there are questions about who will take over for Young (30-2 during his time at UT) at quarterback.

But here in Houston, there is an even bigger question.

Young's hometown Houston Texans have the first pick. Young said it would be wonderful to play in Houston, but realizes he could wind up somewhere else.

One those possibilities is Tennessee, which has the third pick. Young counts Titans quarterback Steve McNair among his close friends. He said McNair told him "go with your heart" in making his decision.

Let me tell you -- this Houston Texans season ticketholder would love to see Young play here, but I wonder if this would be the best place for Young, who grew up in a tougher part of Houston. One of my former students was drafted in the third round a few years ago, and I was relieved that he went to a team up north. After all, I knew some of the guys he was friends with as a kid, and I didn't want them around him as hangers-on. I feel something similar about Vince, who beat my team school's team in an epic battle a few years ago.

Besides, what Houston really needs is D'Brickashaw Ferguson from UVa, the top offensive lineman in the draft, to shore up a weak offensive line. Vince young's decision makes it possible for us to trade down a little furhter and get a little more between now and draft day.

Still, it would be one hell of a fantasy to have Vince Young scrambling around the way he did at the Rose Bowl.

|| Greg, 08:05 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 05, 2006

Hokies Should Dump Marcus Vick


Michael Vick is the quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons. His little brother Marcus is the quarterback of the Virginia Tech Hokies. Hopefully the school will have the integrity to make Marcus the FORMER quarterback of the Hokies.

Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick may face disciplinary action yet again in the wake of actions in Monday’s Gator Bowl that athletic director Jim Weaver called unsportsmanlike and unacceptable.

Late in the first half against Louisville, Vick looked down, paused and stomped on the back of the knee of Elvis Dumervil — the Cardinals’ national Defensive Player of the Year.

Hokies quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers yelled at Vick during the game and was critical of his actions in interviews with the media afterward. With a day to review the play, Weaver weighed in.

“The unsportsmanlike conduct of quarterback Marcus Vick ... is unacceptable behavior and contrary to the Hokies Respect Campaign,” Weaver said in a written release. “Such on-field action is not reflective of Virginia Tech football nor of the values we hold at Virginia Tech. I and my colleagues in central administration are embarrassed, and this athletic administration will not condone such acts of unsportsmanlike conduct. We will review and assess this incident further and deal with it accordingly.”

Marcus has hardly been a model of decorum during his college career.

During his stay in Blacksburg, the junior has appeared in court for charges that include reckless driving, possession of marijuana and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He’s had to perform community service, attend drug counseling and forfeit his driver’s license for eight months.

He’s a convicted criminal — purportedly rehabilitated — but also Virginia Tech’s All-ACC quarterback. He rallied the Hokies to a comeback Gator Bowl victory to cap a fine season. But it came a year after he served a semester-long suspension from school that cost him the entire 2004 season for prior indiscretions.

Taking into account the school’s comments in 2004 when he was suspended, along with Weaver’s statement Tuesday, Vick’s future with the team is uncertain. The day in August of 2004 when Vick was suspended, Tech president Charles Steger said that if Vick returned to the school and team, it would be a “last-chance opportunity.”

Steger added, “If there is any more trouble, his Virginia Tech career is effectively ended.”

His blanket statement did not indicate whether on-field infractions were included.

Not that the school has held him to that high of a standard thus far this year.

What is clear is that Vick has fallen short of his stated goal from that day. “I will work hard to improve myself as a person,” he said then. “I want to bring pride to the Hokies. I want to bring pride to the Vick name.”

But there wasn’t much pride in his apology earlier this season for flipping off fans in the West Virginia stands. Nor was there much glory in being called “a no-character individual” by Dumervil after the latest game and drawing reviews like the one from Rogers.

The time has come for officials at Virginia Tech to act. Dump Marcus Vick from the team, Yank his scholarship, and tell him he has until sundown to get out of Blacksburg.

UPDATE -- 1/6/06: Much to their credit, Virginia Tech has thrown Vick off the team.

Virginia Tech on Friday kicked embattled quarterback Marcus Vick off the football team, citing the cumulative effects of numerous legal transgressions and his unsportsmanlike conduct in the Jan. 2 Gator Bowl.

The announcement from university president Charles Steger came on the same day that coach Frank Beamer met with Vick and his mother in their Hampton Roads home, the school said in a new release. Beamer informed them of the decision during the meeting.

Vick, who already was on a short string after being suspended from school in 2004 for several legal problems, came under new and intense scrutiny this week after he was caught on tape stomping on the left calf of an opponent during the Gator Bowl.

No flag was called on the play, but Vick did not help himself by claiming it was accidental, even though the frequently shown replay betrayed that claim. He further hurt his cause by claiming to have apologized to Louisville All-American defensive end Elvis Dumervil for the incident, but Dumervil said no such apology ever was offered.

Then, on Friday, even more legal trouble for the junior surfaced when it was revealed that he had been stopped for speeding and driving on a suspended license in Hampton on Dec. 17, Cpl. James West said. His license had been taken away in August 2004 when he was cited for reckless driving and marijuana possession in New Kent.

That means that Marcus Vick has three choices.

Vick said before the Hokies' 35-24 comeback victory in the Gator Bowl that he planned to return for his senior season with the Hokies. Now, his choices are to declare for the NFL Draft by the Jan. 15 deadline, transfer to a Division I-AA school so he can play next season or transfer to a Division I-A school and sit out a year.

NFL teams with any class have only one choice -- refuse to draft him (that means he will probably end up as an Oakland Raider, since they condone lawlessness and rule breaking).

His antics may have seriously harmed his NFL prospects.

One NFL general manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity because Vick hasn't entered the draft, said the quarterback's draft prospects would depend on how he looks in pre-draft workouts and how he answers teams' questions about his past off-field troubles.

NFL teams will be worried about Vick's off-field problems, the general manager said, but might take a chance on drafting him because of his obvious skill. The general manager said his early guess is that Vick would be a mid- to late-round selection in the seven-round draft, but he pointed out that one team willing to take a risk can change that forecast.

I offer only two words to any pro team thingking about spending a draft pick on this guy -- Lawrence Phillips.

UPDATE -- 1/7/06: Well, Vick's initial plan of action is to go pro.

Friday night, Vick told The Virginian-Pilot that he would turn professional.

“It’s not a big deal. I’ll just move on to the next level, baby” he said when spotted at a Virginia Beach restaurant.

Asked if that meant he would enter the NFL draft, he said, “Yeah, definitely.”

I hope you get picked last and earn the title of "Mr. Irrelevant", baby.

LINK TO: Southern Appeal

|| Greg, 05:03 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 04, 2006

Texas Longhorns -- National Champions!


In a stunning comeback led by junior quarterback Vince Young, the Texas Longhorns snapped the 34-game winning streak of the USC Trojans and seized the title of National Champions!

PASADENA, Calif. -- Thirty six years in waiting. Texas won tonight's Rose Bowl and the national championship in a spectacular 41-38 comeback win over USC.

Quarterback Vince Young was the difference-maker, scoring the winning touchdown in the dying seconds en route to a 200-yard rushing performance. With nineteen seconds on the clock, Young made a 9-yard dash count and added the two-play for good measure to seal the win.

Earlier, the Trojans gained some breathing room with 6:42 left in the game when quarterback Matt Leinart hooked up with Dwayne Jarrett on a 22-yard play for a 38-26 lead, but the Longhorns responded immediately with a 17-yard rushing touchdown from Vince Young with 4:03 remaining.

Just look at the stats put up by Vince Young, whose effort tonight makes you question why the Heisman Trophy went to USC running back Reggie Bush (with his fellow Trojan, QB Matt Leinart) rather than the Longhorn quarterback, who finished third in the balloting.

Texas Passing
C/ATT -- 30/40
YDS -- 267
TD -- 0
INT -- 0

Texas Rushing
CAR -- 20
YDS -- 200
TD -- 3
LG -- 45


I'm not surprised by the outcome, having seen Vince Young do something like this once before, in 2001, to a team that everyone said was better than his. His performance was amazing.

One of the most incredible high school football games of all-time was played last Friday at the Houston Astrodome. Houston Madison with their All-American quarterback Vince Young met Galena Park North Shore, the No. 1 5A team in Texas and the No. 5 team in the country by USA TODAY.

North Shore scored 58 points and had 605 yards of total offense, but lost to Young and his Madison team by an amazing 61-58 score. Madison managed "only" 530 yards of total offense. Both teams came into the 5A quarterfinals with perfect 12-0 records.

Young, as expected, was brilliant, and he combined with Courtney Lewis (5-10, 180, 4.4) to overwhelm the overmatched Mustangs defense. The Madison quarterback completed 13 of 20 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns and added another 192 yards rushing with three more scores. Lewis scored five touchdowns and also rushed for 129 yards."

That night I left the Astrodome in tears, having watched young men for whom I cared deeply lose a hard-fought game. Tonight my tears are tears of joy at seeing Vince Young lead a team to victory.

Hook 'Em, Horns!

|| Greg, 11:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 01, 2006

Texans "Win" Reggie Bowl, Lose To 49ers

Looks like Reggie Bush will be plying his trade here in Space City, as the Houston Texans dropped their 14th game of the season to San Francisco.

The Texans had so much to lose if they won their season finale. They nearly did it anyway.

Instead, the San Francisco 49ers salvaged some pride in their own miserable season — and the Texans got on the clock for the NFL draft in April.

Mike Adams lateraled his second interception to Ben Emanuel for a 35-yard return in overtime, Joe Nedney kicked a 33-yard field goal with 3:52 left and the 49ers earned their first consecutive victories in more than two years with a 20-17 victory Sunday.

But after one last loss, fans of the Texans (2-14) might have felt like the real winners: Their franchise clinched the top pick. Houston now has the chance to choose Reggie Bush, the Heisman Trophy-winning tailback from USC who's widely expected to enter the draft.

"Whatever happens in this game, it won't have any effect on me," Bush said in Los Angeles, where he's preparing for Wednesday's Rose Bowl against Texas. "Obviously it will just (affect) who gets the first pick in the NFL draft. ... Like I said from Day 1, I won't be worried about it until after the season."

My wife and I spent much of the game speculating about possible trades of draft picks. After all, Domanick Davis is a good RB, and the receiver corps is acceptable. We need an offensive lineman -- and Virginia's D'Brickashaw Ferguson would fit the bill nicely, but probably shouldn't go in the first spot.

And sources close to the Texans are reporting that the long-expected firing of Dom Capers will happen tomorrow. But there is a surprise.

Coach Dom Capers' firing has been a foregone conclusion for weeks, but a highly placed team official said today that general manager Charley Casserly will return to the Texans and remain in charge of the personnel department. Capers' firing will be made official Monday morning and announced at an afternoon news conference at Reliant Stadium.

Speculation is swirling around possible head coaches for the Texans.

The Texans are expected to interview, among others, Washington assistant head coach/defense Gregg Williams, Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Buffalo defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, Chicago defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and possibly New York Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis.

The Texans also are expected to interview one or two college head coaches with NFL experience.

I've also heard Wade Phillips mentioned, which would go over well with Houstonfans. After all, his dad was the Oiler's coach for years.

|| Greg, 09:07 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 24, 2005

They Have Forgotten

It is a sad commentary on some of the most undeservedly over-privileged individuals in America when they can't be bothered to show support for the men and women serving our country in the Crusade Against Islamist Terrorists.

During world war two American troops away from home for Christmas were entertained by Marlene Dietrich, Bing Crosby and the Marx Brothers. Even in Vietnam Bob Hope was guaranteed to put in an appearance. But soldiers in Iraq are more likely to get a show from a Christian hip-hop group, a country singer you have probably never heard of and two cheerleaders for the Dallas Cowboys.

Just as the seemingly intractable nature of the war has led to a growing recruitment crisis, so the United Services Organisation, which has been putting on shows for the troops since the second world war, is struggling to get celebrities to sign up for even a short tour of duty

t is a far cry from the days following the September 11 2001 attacks, when some of the biggest names in show business, from Jennifer Lopez to Brad Pitt, rallied to the cause. "After 9/11 we couldn't have had enough airplanes for the people who were volunteering to go," Wayne Newton, the Las Vegas crooner who succeeded Bob Hope as head of USO's talent recruiting effort, told USA Today. "Now with 9/11 being as far removed as it is, the war being up one day and down the next, it becomes increasingly difficult to get people to go."

Newton said many celebrities have been wary of going because they think it might be seen that they are endorsing the war. "And I say it's not. I tell them these men and women are over there because our country sent them, and we have the absolute necessity to try to bring them as much happiness as we can."

Fear is also a factor. "They're scared," country singer Craig Morton, who is in Iraq on the USO's Hope and Freedom Tour 2005, told USA Today. "It's understandable. It's not a safe and fun place and a lot of people don't want to take the chance."

O course, there are some -- on all sides of the political spectrum -- who are willing to travel to bring some cheer to the troops.

Some of the entertainers still willing to travel are die-hard true believers - rock musician Ted Nugent carried a Glock handgun to shows in Iraq last year and said in a radio interview that he manned a machine gun on a Humvee. But many of the USO's regular performers are fierce critics of the war, among them the comic and star of Good Morning Vietnam, Robin Williams, who told USA Today he would like to return to the Middle East in the spring for what would be his fourth tour since 2002. "I'm there for the [troops], not for W," he said in a reference to the president. "Go, man. You won't forget it. You'll meet amazing people," is his message to stars that ask him about the tours. But the comedian said he mostly tries to keep politics out of the show after he did a few jokes about Bush's brainpower at a base in 2003 and got a chilly reception.

Other critics of the war who regularly perform include the leftwing comedian Al Franken (who is headlining the current tour along with Christian hip-hop group Souljahz) and the punk legend and actor Henry Rollins, one of the Bush administrations most vocal critics.

The tradition of beautiful women thrilling the troops has continued - although while Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell showed up in Korea and Vietnam could boast Raquel Welch, in Iraq they have had to make do with sometime pop singer and reality TV star Jessica Simpson.

Others who have travelled to Iraq include 50 Cent, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

But it appears that a lot of these folks have now retreated to a September 10 mentality.

|| Greg, 08:02 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 22, 2005

A Tragedy Strikes A Respected Opponent

I am a Houston Texans fan -- a hard statement to make this season, I know, but a true one.

Over the last four seasons, I have watched my team play the Indianapolis Colts eight times, and I have come to have a great respect for their coach, Tony Dungy. By all accounts, he is a decent man.

Tragedy has struck the Dungy family.

The 18-year-old son of Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy was found dead in his Tampa-area apartment early yesterday. Police said there was no sign of foul play and that an autopsy to determine the official cause of death will be conducted this morning. Results were expected to be announced later today.

James Dungy, the second oldest of five children of Dungy and his wife Lauren, was a student at Hillsborough Community College and had graduated last spring from North Central High School in Indianapolis. Over his father's 10-year tenure as an NFL head coach, he had been a frequent presence at practice and on the sideline on game days when Dungy coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996 to 2001 and, over the last four seasons, the Colts.

My deepest condolences to the Dungy family.

|| Greg, 09:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 13, 2005

Does This Indicate A Possible Direction For The Future?

The Houston Texans have brought in Dan Reeves as a consultant.

Frustrated and disappointed with a team that has the worst record in the National Football League, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has hired four-time Super Bowl coach Dan Reeves as a consultant in a move that ultimately may determine the fates of embattled general manager Charley Casserly and head coach Dom Capers.

After a 13-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday — the Texans' third consecutive defeat in the final seconds of regulation or in overtime — McNair called on Reeves, a fellow University of South Carolina alumnus, to help evaluate the personnel on his team, which has just one win in 13 games this season.

"None of us are happy with the performance of our team," McNair said Monday while introducing Reeves at a news conference. "We all want to do everything we can to improve our team. That's what this effort is all about."

McNair said he has hired Reeves for "a couple of months" but added that the relationship could last longer.

"It could be that it develops into some sort of longer-term relationship," McNair said. "A lot of that depends on Dan and how he wants to use his time, how productive it's been, how much he enjoys it, and how much value he can bring on a continual basis."

This Texans fan wonders if this foreshadows the eventual successor to Dom Capers or Charley Casserly – or both. Given that we are only three games from the end of the season, there is not much that Reeves can do to substantially help the 1-12 franchise turn the season around, but he could point the team in a new direction following the end of the season. Reeves is a proven winner, and these first four seasons have shown us that the current leadership is not what is needed to create a winning tradition.

UPDATE: The Chronicle's John McClain proposes a scenario in which Reeves will get the job of coach. Sounds rther like how Dick Cheney got the VP nod in 2000.

|| Greg, 06:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 06, 2005

Will Harry Die?

One British paper is reporting that Harry Potter may die at the end of Book 7.

HARRY Potter may die in the next book in the series because author JK Rowling wants to kill him off, it was claimed last night.

Actor Jim Dale - the voice of the teenage wizard in the US audio books - believes the seventh and final instalment will spell the end for Harry.

He made the astonishing claim after meeting with the writer to discuss his characterisation of the parts.

The revelation will shock millions of die-hard Potter fans.

He said: "She's lived with Harry Potter so long she really wants to kill him off." Predictions about the fate of Harry in the seventh book have enthralled millions worldwide.

No name or publication date have yet been released, although it is expected by early 2007 at the latest.

I would hope that Rowling has the sense not to kill off her hero. Conan Doyle tried that, throwing Sherlock Holmes into the falls with Moriarty, only to contrive his return in the face of popular outrage. The boy wizard has captured the public imagination like no other fictional character in my lifetime – I would hope that Rowling would leave open the possibility of some sequel by letting Harry survive. Even if there is no sequel, the very act of allowing a “happily ever after” ending will keep alive the series’ underlying theme of home in the face of adversity.

On a ligheter (?) note, Captain Ed offers some insights into how the book might end in the hands of an author other than JK Rowling.

On the other hand, we could also explore what others might do to justify Harry's death. Suppose, for example, that Rowling let Howard Dean write the last volume. We could then get treated to Voldemort as a misunderstood victim, or perhaps a bad guy but no worse than the arrogant and arbitrary Albus Dumbledore, who tried to control the wizarding world just as surely as Tom Riddle. Why, Dumbledore taught Voldemort almost everything he knew! And the Ministry of Magic spent years denying Voldemort's danger, so obviously they are to blame for all that has happened, not the evil wizard (as if there is any such thing as evil). Harry, therefore, is little more than a fool that chose the wrong horse and got himself killed for it. Good thing, too, because if he survived, he would get blamed for all the deaths that occurred just because he found it necessary to oppose Voldemort.

Now that would make one creepy ending for a delightful series.

Yes, it would be creepy, Ed – But surely no one could be so lacking in moral fiber as to believe that the war between good and evil is lost simply because a modest but rising death toll accompanies each victory over the evildoers.

|| Greg, 02:42 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 04, 2005

The Agony Of Defeat

Surely the Houston Texans couldn't blow a lead in the final seconds of a game two weeks in a row.

Could they?

A game filled with blunders, fumbles and penalties ended in familiar fashion for the Houston Texans.

Matt Stover kicked a 38-yard field goal with 6 seconds left, giving the Baltimore Ravens a 16-15 victory over the bumbling Texans today.

Kris Brown's fifth field goal with 1:08 to go to put Houston in position for its second win of the season. But for the second straight week, the Texans (1-11) let a seemingly certain victory get away.

Speaking as a guy with season tickets (Section 541, Row M), I hope Dom Capers is packing and that Casserly and McNair are already looking at how to use that #1 draft pick.

|| Greg, 07:25 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Country Fans Still Love Garth

They cost $25 a pop and are available only at Walmart -- and have been flying off the shelves.

What are they?

The Garth Brooks boxed set.

The country's biggest- selling album is available at only one retailer, and it's being considered No. 1 only because the retailer says so.

Wal-Mart, which inked an exclusive deal with Garth Brooks this summer, says it sold half a million copies of the six-disc "Limited Series Boxed Set" through pre-orders and one day of store sales (Nov. 25), outpacing the disc that Nielsen SoundScan reported as the chart-topper, System of a Down's "Hypnotize."

Wal-Mart chose to bypass the SoundScan system entirely by not putting a scan code on the $25 boxed set.

SoundScan, the music industry's official sales tallying company since 1991, creates two charts weekly -- one that goes to Billboard magazine and does not include exclusives such as the Brooks box, and a "comprehensive" chart that includes all sales. An Alanis Morissette disc released this year at Starbucks first, for example, was not included in the Top 200 until it was available at multiple retailers.

Wal-Mart was rather dodgy with sales info about the Brooks "Limited Series Boxed Set," which comprises the albums "Sevens," "Scarecrow," "Double Live" and "The Lost Sessions" plus the DVD "All Access."

The retailer would not disclose the exact number sold nor the number of boxes available for sale, noting they don't give out sales figures for any merchandise. A company spokeswoman says the Brooks set became Wal-Mart's all-time top-selling music item after only three days of sales. Due to its limited run, it is quite possible the set will be sold out by the new year if not Christmas.

While the rest of music industry is aching for results that resemble those of Brooks and Wal-Mart, there's another degree of exclusivity that's helping keep sales limited to the stores: Brooks' tunes are not available for download.

I was there on the morning after Thanksgiving at 0300 hours -- and saw hardly a cart without one .

Garth, I know you promised the girls that you aren't going backout on the road -- but we really want you back, even if only in the form of recorded music and television specials. Country music needs you.

|| Greg, 07:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

November 29, 2005

Not A Government Matter

Despite the upcoming confirmation hearing for Samuel Alito and the stalled hearings on other Bush nominees – not to mention the delay in sending a constitutional amendment to the states banning gay marriage – Arlen Specter still has too much time on his hands. Now he wants to tell the Eagles how to deal with Terrell Owens.

Sen. Arlen Specter accused the National Football League and the Philadelphia Eagles of treating Terrell Owens unfairly and said he might refer the matter to the antitrust subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs.

Specter said at a news conference Monday in Harrisburg it was "vindictive and inappropriate" for the league and the Eagles to forbid the all-pro wide receiver from playing and prevent other teams from talking to him.

"It's a restraint of trade for them to do that, and the thought crosses my mind, it might be a violation of antitrust laws," Specter said, though some other legal experts disagreed.

The Eagles suspended Owens on Nov. 5 for four games without pay for "conduct detrimental to the team, and deactivated him with pay on Sunday after the suspension ended.

Arbitrator Richard Bloch said last week the team's actions were supported by the labor agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association.

How did the Pennsylvania RINO and expert in arcane Scottish law come to this conclusion?

Specter emphasized that he was "not a supporter of Terrell Owens."

"I am madder than hell at what he has done in ruining the Eagles' season," the Pennsylvania Republican said. "I think he's in flagrant breach of his contract and I believe the Eagles would be within their rights in not paying him another dime or perhaps even suing him for damages."

But Specter said, "I do not believe, personally, that it is appropriate to punish him (by forcing him to sit out the rest of the season). He's not committed a crime, he's committed a breach of contract. And what they're doing against him is vindictive."

Uh, Arlen, you are right – it is vindictive. But the Eagles are fulfilling the terms of T.O.’s contract – paying him every penny they legally owe him. They are simply not using the services they are paying for. That is simply a business decision. If they want to spend that money and keep him benched, they are within their rights to do so. It is no different than what goes on in radio and television – stations buy the rights to syndicated shows but to keep them out of the hands of rival stations, but do not broadcast them.

And Senator, therea re some folks who are much more versed in sports and labor law than you are who have a very different view on the matter.

"The arbitrator's decision is consistent with our collective bargaining agreement, and it simply enforced the terms of the player's contract," Greg Aiello, an NFL spokesman, said Monday.

"To have an antitrust violation, you have to have a contract or conspiracy in restraint of trade," said Robert McCormick, a law professor at Michigan State University.

Matthew J. Mitten, director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University, said, "We're in the labor arena, not antitrust."

And quite simply, Specter, there is no federal issue here – so shut up and let the Eagles take the course of action that is best for the NFL.

|| Greg, 07:34 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Doing It For Mama?

Well, now we know why that guy ran on to the field during the Eagle’s game against the Packers on Sunday. He was spreading his mother’s ashes, since she was an Eagle’s fan.

Christopher Noteboom, of Tempe, Ariz., ran onto the field holding a plastic bag, leaving a cloud of fine powder behind.

As he reached the 30-yard line, he dropped to his knees, made the sign of the cross and laid down on his stomach. Security personnel reached him moments later and he offered no resistance as he was escorted from the field.

The 33-year-old Noteboom, a native of Doylestown, said his mother died of emphysema in January 2005, shortly before the Eagles' Super Bowl appearance.

"She never cared for any other team except the Eagles," Noteboom told WPVI-TV after he was released from custody Monday. "I know that the last handful of ashes I had are laying on the field, and will never be taken away. She'll always be part of Lincoln Financial Field and of the Eagles."

Noteboom, a bar owner in Arizona, was charged with defiant trespass. He has a hearing scheduled for Dec. 27.

"It's bizarre, but we have a zero tolerance for people who run on the field," Police Inspector William Colarulo said. "We especially have a zero tolerance for people who run onto the field and dump an unknown substance in a stadium full of people."

Eagles spokeswoman Bonnie Grant said the team has declined requests to spread ashes on the field.

You know, if they changed their minds on allowing human remains to be spread around the field, perhaps they could assign such duties to Terrell Owens – I hear he isn’t working right now.

|| Greg, 07:29 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

November 28, 2005

Misplaced Priorities

Ordinarily, I would have deep admiration for any performer who announced plans to boycott Red China over the torture and cruelty that regularly occurs in that country. After all, that regressive dictatorship oppresses nearly one quarter of humanity, and the world ought to make their liberation one of its priorities.

Unfortunately, Sir Paul McCartney doesn’t give a crap about the lack of human freedom in China. He’s refusing to perform there because of the killing of dogs and cats for fur.

The ex-Beatle was given a preview screening of undercover footage taken in a fur market in Guangzhou, southern China.

Dogs and cats are shown being thrown from the top deck of a converted bus onto concrete pavements.

In another piece of footage, cats are seen squirming inside a sack before being thrown into a vat of boiling water.

Smiling, laughing workers are also filmed senselessly beating the animals to death.

The report, which was filmed by an investigator linked to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) campaign group, will be shown on Monday night on the BBC's Six O'clock News.

Sir Paul and wife Heather were close to tears as they watched the undercover report.

Sir Paul told the BBC: "This is barbaric. Horrific. It's like something out of the dark ages. And they seem to get a kick out of it. They're just sick, sick people.
"I wouldn't even dream of going over there to play, in the same way that I wouldn't go to a country that supported apartheid.

"This is just disgusting. It's just against every rule of humanity. I couldn't go there. If they want to consider themselves a civilised nation they're going to have to stop this."

So let me get this straight. The political oppression and general violations of human rights that occur on a daily basis in Red China and which have been known for years are not sufficient to get McCartney to stand up to the butchers in Beijing – but cruelty to animals put the Communist dictatorship beyond the pale.

Sir Paul – where are your priorities and sense of proportion? Why are animals more important to you than human beings?

|| Greg, 04:16 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

November 23, 2005

T.O. Slapped Down

As long as they pay him, the Philadelphia Eagles can deactivate loud-mouthed lockerroom malcontent Terrell Owens if they feel it is in the best interests of the team. Owens has no right under the NFL collective bargaining agreement with the players to actually play football. So says the mediator in Owens' grievance case against the Eagles.

For conduct proven to be a "destructive and continuing threat" to his team, an arbitrator ruled Wednesday that the Eagles were justified in suspending their All-Pro receiver for four games — and are within their rights to deactivate him for the rest of the year.

The Eagles will now look to trade or release Owens before next March, when he's due a $5 million roster bonus.

Arbitrator Richard Bloch wrote in his 38-page decision that there was "no violation of the labor agreement inherent in the club's decision to pay Mr. Owens, but not to permit him to play or practice due to the nature of his conduct and its destructive and continuing threat to the team."

Well, T.O -- sit home and count that cash. Oh, and don't expect to get picked up for next season, especially since not even my hapless Houston Texans are willing to put up with your crap for a chance to becoem a winner. Your skills simply do not overcome your personality defects.

|| Greg, 04:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

November 10, 2005

Texas Say No T.O.

I've got season tickets for the Houston Texans, so I would be glad to see Bob McNair's franchise do just about anything to improve fromthe dismal 1-7 start that we have seen this year.

But signing Terrell Owens is something that would make me walk away fromt eh four-season-old franchise. He is a malignant influence upon the game of football.

So it is with great relief that I read this from the Houston Chronicle.

Texans owner Bob McNair would love to have a chance to acquire a lot of NFL players to help solve his problems, but Philadelphia receiver Terrell Owens is not one of them.

During a break in preparations for Sunday's game at unbeaten Indianapolis, McNair was asked if he would consider signing Owens once Philadelphia has washed its hands of him.

"He's almost dismantled the Eagles; why would you wish that on us?" McNair said with a laugh. "I've already got enough problems."

The Texans are 1-7 and in need of help at a lot of positions, but McNair wouldn't consider the controversial Owens, who has been suspended for four games by the Eagles and was placed on the reserve/suspended list Wednesday.

Owens is hoping an independent arbitrator will rule that he can play this season — if not for the Eagles then for another team.

"Some things can overcome talent, and he's figured out how to do that," McNair said. "Football's a team sport, and when a player thinks he's more important than the team, it's just not going to work."

Amen, Bob. The last thing we need is the arrival of T.O. and his Circus of Self-Promotion here in Houston.

|| Greg, 05:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

November 09, 2005

A Message To T.O.

Well, well, Terrell – I see contrition comes late, and only after you’ve been told that the Eagles plan on sidelining your sorry, self-centered, arrogant butt for the rest of the season. No TV time, no on-field heroics, not highlight reels for you, not unless you can get yourself back into the good graces of Coach Reid, your teammates, and the Eagles management.

In your statement, you almost sounded sorry for your words and actions.

"I fight for what I think is right. In doing so, I alienated a lot of my fans and my teammates," Owens said, reading a statement outside his house outside Philadelphia.

No, let’s tell it like it is. You fight for Terrell Owens, for his press clippings and his personal satisfaction. Right has nothing to do with it. After all, we all know that Andy Reid is a straight-shooter, and look at what he said.

The decision resulted from "a large number of situations that accumulated over a long period of time, during which Terrell had been warned repeatedly about the consequences of his actions," Reid said.

Wanna know what you can do to make yourself beloved among fans and make it clear you are willing to sacrifice for the team? Here it is – demand that the team renegotiate your contract. Insist that you will not take a penny OVER the league minimum for the rest of the season. Demand that the contract drop any and all incentive bonuses beyond those tied to TEAM accomplishments, such as playoff and Super Bowl appearances. Include a gag order on yourself until training camp next year. In other words, make an entirely self-effacing move to show that you are really all about the game, not all about T.O.; prove to us that you recognize that you recognize that the game is more important than any one player.

Maybe then you will convince some of us that you are worth caring about or cheering for. Otherwise you will just b one more piece of rubbish cast by the roadside – talented, but too unstable and self-important to fit on the playing field with 10 other guys in the same-colored jersey.

|| Greg, 07:35 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

November 04, 2005

Prosecute Sony

If a hacker did this, there would be jail time involved. Sony’s installation of malicious and dangerous code on computers without disclosure merits similar treatment.

Earlier this week, computer security researcher Mark Russinovich published an analysis showing that some new Sony CDs install software that not only limits the copying of music on the discs, but also employs programming techniques normally associated with computer viruses to hide from users and prevent them from removing the software.

Russinovich's findings -- posted on the Web site (http://www.sysinternals.com/) that he runs with another researcher -- indicated that the CDs in question use software techniques that behave similarly to "rootkits," software tools that hackers can use to maintain control over a computer system once they have broken in.

He found that traditional methods of uninstalling the program would not work, and that attempts at removing it corrupted the files needed to operate his computer's CD player, rendering it useless.

Sony spokesman John McKay said the technology has been deployed on just 20 titles so far, but that the company may include it on additional titles in the months ahead.

Did you get that – Sony has knowingly installed programs that are hidden and which damage your computer if you try to play some of their CDs. Not only that, they plan to keep installing it, even knowing that attempts to remove the programs will destroy your computer. That arrogance is criminal, and merits prosecution.

|| Greg, 08:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 30, 2005

Texans Win -- We'll Take It

Well, they finally did it. The Houston Texans eked out a win over the Cleveland Browns.

The Houston Texans are winless no more.

They didn't find the end zone after their first possession today, but managed to eke out an ugly 19-16 win over the struggling Cleveland Browns and break a seven-game losing streak.

Kris Brown kicked a 40-yard field goal, his fourth of the day, with 2:45 remaining, to give Houston (1-6) the come-from-behind win. The winning kick was set up by a 63-yard kickoff return by rookie Jerome Mathis.

Houston's losing streak spanned back to a 22-14 loss to Cleveland in last season's finale. The loss is the third straight for Cleveland (2-5).

I'll telly you what -- the "Back Row Crew" in section 541 was pleased -- even if it was not the prettiest ballgame we have ever seen. While the hopes of a perfect 0-16 seqason were dashed, we have to console ourselves with the knowledge that a 10-6 season is still a methematical possibility.

Oh, and the consensus in our car was that Jerome Mathis is on his way to becoming the fan favorite. He is the "little engine that could" sort of player who made a couple of big plays that set up the success the rest of the team had.

By the way -- about those jerseys. Since you missed us today, we'll look for them on November 20 when you play the Chiefs.

|| Greg, 05:37 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 28, 2005

0-6 -- When Desperation Calls

I got an interesting phone message at home today.

It was from Dunta Robinson of the Houston Texans.

He was just calling to remind my wife and I how important we are to the team and that we really need to make it to the game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Dunta tells us it helps give the winless Texans a "home field advantage".

Our seats in the back of section 541 have been filled every game this year. We've cheered, even as we have watched some pretty weak football. We plan on making it to Reliant Stadium for the rest of the games -- even if the ultimate outcome is an 0-16 season. We will probably even renew our season tickets for next year, finances permitting.

A couple of wins would be nice at this point -- or at least a couple of games in which the Texans at least appear to be an NFL franchise. An offensive line to protect our quarterback would be a good move. If you want to really wow me personally, you could have Toro deliver a couple of jerseys to my wife and I -- sizes 3XL and 4XL, please, since we both like to wear them a bit big. But the key thing for me is that you improve the quality of the product on the field over the long term, starting in the short term.

But please understand one thing. I am a fan, and i will support this team. I may not be one of the maniacs in the Bullpen, and I may not be one of the folks with the dough for a luxury box, but I am there because I love the game and am willing to be loyal to a team that has gone the extra mile to make the experience of an NFL game a positive one. I have yet to deal with a member of your organization that has not done that -- and I can only point to positive experiences with stadium staff since some of the first-season glitches were resolved.

Still, the best thing you can do for me is improve.

Oh, yeah -- and those jerseys.

|| Greg, 10:02 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 19, 2005

A World Series For Houston!

At last, the Houston Astros make the World Series.

And after a season that began 15-30, no less!

Finally. After 44 years of waiting.

The Astros reached the team's first World Series with a 4-2 NLCS series victory after dominating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 in Game 6 tonight.

Houston leads 5-1 tonight after Morgan Ensberg singled in Craig Biggio for a seventh inning score of 5-1. Adam Everett's suicide squeeze scored Chris Burke in the sixth inning for a 4-1 lead for the Astros.

St. Louis' only score came on pinch-hitter John Rodriguez's sacrifice fly to center, scoring Mark Grudzielanek in the fifth inning to cut Houston's lead to 3-1.

Earlier, Jason Lane's solo home run in the fourth inning gave Houston a 3-0.

Tonight's scoring opened when St. Louis starter Mark Mulder's wild pitch allowed Brad Ausmus a run in the top of the third. Next up was Craig Biggio who singled in Adam Everett for a 2-0 lead.

Houston sent Roy Oswalt to the mound against lefthander Mulder.

Houston fans have watched the Astros get close many times, moving within one victory of the World Series in 1980 and again last year. The 1986 Astros also came close, although that club didn't have the NLCS lead the 1980 and 2004 Astros lost.

In the franchise's 44th season, Oswalt and Co. provided the ending nobody could have expected in June. They gave the city of Houston the celebration it expected Monday night, last year and in 1980.

Hurrah, boys -- I wish you the best.

And on a sadder note, farewell to Busch Stadium from this former St. Louisan.

|| Greg, 10:28 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 12, 2005

The Lust Barge

Maybe those helmets were a sign that the Minnesota Vikings are a horny bunch. Consider this story about a recent charter cruise involving a number of players from the team.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Department is investigating allegations of criminal sexual conduct by Minnesota Vikings players after a boat cruise on Lake Minnetonka turned into an out-of-control party that included lap dances and sexual acts, an attorney for the charter boat company said Tuesday.

Stephen Doyle, a lawyer representing the owners of Al and Alma's, a company that charters cruises on the lake, said cornerback Fred Smoot and another Vikings player, whom he declined to name, reserved a charter for a night-time excursion Thursday.

"From our end, I don't know the name of the other primary person, but we turned over to the police today documents that show signatures or credit cards or whatever was associated with closing this deal," Doyle said.

A woman called Mound police Thursday night to report "possible prostitution, drugs and live sex acts" on the two boats. According to the police report, the woman said she and her brother's girlfriend served as hostesses on the boats.

Doyle said he didn't learn details of what allegedly happened until he met with six of the eight crewmembers Tuesday.

Doyle said about 90 people were on the two boats. According to a Vikings player who spoke on the condition of anonymity, about 15 Vikings players were on a charter as part of what he described as a "team event." The player said he was unaware of any sexual acts and that the cruise lasted less than 90 minutes.

Doyle said he believed it to be a tradition for Vikings rookies and first-year players to take their teammates out.

Upon returning to the dock, the player said, there were no police officers present and he did not know of any problems on the boats.

It could be really interesting to see how this situation all plays out. After all, isn’t this just about sex, and isn’t there a need for us to all just move on. After all, who hasn’t had drunken public sex with a prostitute on a boat? Everyone does it – sort of like getting oral sex from a subordinate in the office and lying to your spouse and the American people.

|| Greg, 08:02 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

September 19, 2005

What Are Her Qualifications?

Well, this certainly settles matters. Gwyneth Paltrow has spoken on the policies of George W. Bush and found them wanting.

"I've always been drawn to Europe. America is such a young country, with an adolescent swagger about it," she said.

"But I feel that I have a more European sensibility, a greater respect for the multicultural nature of the globe. And it's a strange time to be an American now."
"I feel like we're really in trouble. I just had a baby and thought 'I don't want to live there.' Bush's anti-environment, pro-war policies are a disgrace."

I mean, what is the purpose of having any further discussions on the issue. After all, America’s most prominent and revered political commentators pointed out the obvious some years ago.

Actors – is there anything they don’t know?

Thank you, Homer Simpson, for helping us understand why we should heed Ms. Paltrow’s sagacious utterances.

|| Greg, 05:38 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 24, 2005

Aloha Oh My!

I don’t blog from Dear Abby often, but this letter is just too much.

Dear Abby:

I am 62 and my husband is 93. Our next-door neighbor, "Sam," likes to expose himself. Other than that, he's a good neighbor and always ready to help out.

One day, a couple of my women friends were over visiting, and Sam stood in his doorway naked as a jaybird, waving at them. Mostly, he does this when my husband has gone inside the house.

His behavior worries me. If anything should happen to my husband, do you think Sam would try to force himself on me? Could he attack me and try to rape or murder me, or is he just a nice guy who likes to expose himself, and not the least bit dangerous?

I don't want to be a bad neighbor, and I don't want my name revealed, but this neighbor is really making me uneasy. Should I report what he's been doing to the police?

SCARED in Hawaii

Have we really reached the point in this society where we worry about being “impolite” if we call the police over someone exposing themselves? Sure, nudism may be a valid alternative lifestyle, but the limits are reached when you stand in your doorway naked for the public to see. And I wonder – would she be so hesitant to act if it was her 12-year old granddaughter (or grandson) who he waved at naked?

|| Greg, 06:54 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 23, 2005

Brock Peters – RIP

When I have taught English, I’ve used the film version of To Kill A Mockingbird. I did so again this past summer, and once again enjoyed the masterful acting of Brock Peters as Tom Robinson.

He passed away today.

Actor Brock Peters, best known for his heartbreaking performance as the black man falsely accused of rape in "To Kill a Mockingbird," died Tuesday at his home after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 78.

Peters was diagnosed with the disease in January and had been receiving chemotherapy treatment, according to Marilyn Darby, his longtime companion. His condition became worse in recent weeks.

He died peacefully in bed, surrounded by family, she said.

Peters also had a special place in my heart because of his appearance in two of the Star Trek films.

May he rest in peace, and may those who loved him find solace at this sad time.

|| Greg, 06:54 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 17, 2005

A Little Harry Potter Fun

I read the Harry Potter books for fun, and to know what my students are reading. I’ve made a point of not delving into deeper political meanings.

Fergus Cullen, though, offers a conservative critique of the books.

I'LL ADMIT to liking the Harry Potter books, but I can't suspend disbelief any longer. The kid lives in the realm of big government, and it's interfering with my enjoyment of the Half-Blood Prince. Consider these facts about life in the wizarding world:

Huge government bureaucracies: Every time another department within the Ministry of Magic is mentioned, I wonder if the real threat to Harry's liberty is Voldemort or the Leviathan government, which has a branch overseeing all aspects of wizard daily life. There's the Improper Use of Magic Office, the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, even the Department of Magical Games and Sports, which may be needed to investigate steroid use among Quidditch players.

Wait until you hit the punchline.

|| Greg, 08:57 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 15, 2005

Why Does This Worry Me?

I guess the premise sounds interesting, but given who is behind it, I'm somewhat concerned.

Ben AffleckBen Affleck is in talks to create and write "Resistance," a potential drama series about a second American Revolution that he'll exec produce with Live Planet partner Sean BaileySean Bailey.

Separate from the deal for "Resistance," Bailey has inked a new two-year, seven-figure pod deal that will keep him at Touchstone TelevisionTouchstone Television though 2007. While Bailey remains a partner in Live Planet, the Touchstone pactpact is for his solo services as a scribe and producer.

As for "Resistance," project marks the first time Affleck will go it alone writing a pilot, and comes on the heels of his deal to script and direct "Gone, Baby, Gone". Affleck and Bailey co-created the 2002 Alphabet reality/drama hybrid "Push, Nevada."

"Resistance," to be produced by Touchstone and Live Planet, will be set in the not-so-distant future, imagining a United States that's been divided into separate countries following a pair of catastrophic terror attacks.

Ensemble skeinskein will follow a band of modern patriots who are attempting to bring back the Bill of Rights and reunify the country. One person familiar with the pitch said the show ultimately will be a hopeful hour because of its pro-democracy bent.

Now this sounds like something I would watch. But do you want to make a guess who the "bad guys" are going to be? I doubt they will be swarthy fellows named Muhammad and Akbar. I suspect that more than a few will have the title "Reverend", and that none will be "Imam".

But then again, I could be wrong. Affleck might actually make a real, honest-to-God patriotic show about in which folks try to restore teh Constitution as written, not as modified by the liberal courts of the last seven decades.

» The Colossus of Rhodey links with: Sounds interesting, indeed

|| Greg, 08:16 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

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