Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Monday, October 24, 2005


Does MTV hate music? I can understand if a channel supposedly based on music runs some original programming during primetime, or after school, or on Saturday mornings, or whenever the heck people watch TV, but the execs at MTV have simply taken it too far. Next time you have a minute, scroll through your TV schedule and check out the lineup on either MTV or VH1. What you’ll see is about 14 consecutive episodes of My Super Sweet Sixteen, 8 episodes of Road Rules Vs. The Real World, 10 of Pimp My Ride, 6 of Room Raiders, 6 of The Real World and whatever other refuse they are producing these days. This comprises about 99% of the current lineup. Tucked somewhere in there is (maybe) a half hour of Total Request Live, during which they show partial (!) versions of the day’s most requested videos. I guess people just call in their favorite songs, because I’m not sure how anyone would have gotten a chance to see the video beforehand to decide they’d want to see it again. On VH1 they have the 2:00 am to 4:00 am block of videos. But I’m not sure MTV even has that anymore. Who cancelled Insomiac Theater? Honestly, when are these videos being shown that people can decide which one to request? It just boggles my mind that even at 3 o’clock on a Tuesday morning, they’re airing out a 7 week old episode of My Super Sweet Sixteen, a show so utterly loathsome that I’d rather my eleven year old daughter watch live footage of naked people shooting each other in the head.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


  1. Frank Thomas

  2. Joe Jackson

  3. Eddie Collins

  4. Luke Appling

  5. Nellie Fox

Poison Control

It's almost unbelieveable to think that there are still three more years of slow motion freight train wreck left in Bush's presidency. As long as America makes it out alive, maybe that's a good thing. Yes. At this point, I'm really glad he won. I truly am. I'm even starting to wish I'd voted for him. Just so I could say that I had foresight enough to have a hand in the crippling of the corrupt modern Republican agenda.

Time for another analogy folks. The Bush presidency is like if you drank a giant gulp of turpentine. The poison control people will tell you, "don't make yourself puke! It'll do more damage on the way up!" Well, electing Kerry would have been like puking. Oddly enough, I sort of barfed in my mouth when I voted for him, but that's another story. The point is, if America can ride out the pain and suffering of the rest of Bush's term, the long term result will be much better than if we'd tried to intervene in the middle. People are already starting to see what a joke the GOP legislative agenda is. They're slowly starting to realize that what Tom DeLay's been telling them was grape juice is really a big old jug of that turpentine.

And at this point, what else can a man do but drink a big glass of milk (midterm elections?) grab his aching stomach, and hope there's no permanent damage.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The News

Two stories I’ve been sort of following lately: the ongoing investigation into the outing of a covert CIA operative, and the John McCain/Colin Powell/anybody-with-an-ounce-of-integrity vs. BushCo anti-torture amendment fight. My 50 yard line for these two stories are Talking Points Memo and Andrew Sullivan, respectively. My prediction: both of these stories will end badly for the Bush administration. This prediction of mine will come as no surprise to some of my readers. “You hate Bush!” they’ll say. “You’re rooting against him.” Well, I do, and inasmuch as I’m rooting for my beloved USA I suppose the second accusation would be true as well. But even so, no matter how objectively I try to view Bush’s situation, there’s no escaping the fact that the dude is just in a world of shit. Katrina, this Harriet Miers fiasco, fiscal conservatives jumping ship one after another, torture, Social Security, absolutely awful poll numbers, the specter of indictments swirling re: the Plame case, the stink of graft surrounding DeLay, Abramoff, and the rest, and on and on. Any way you slice it, it’s ugly

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

World Series in Chicago

This Saturday, the World Series will begin in Chicago. The Sox are in the World Series. There is a Chicago baseball team in the World Series. It doesn’t sound any less amazing no matter how or how many times I say it. This hasn’t happened since 1959, which means that it has never happened in my entire life. Actually, I’m sure the median age of the world population is less than 46, so it’s pretty safe to say that for the majority of humanity, this is the first time they’ll see a Chicago team in the World Series. It really is unbelievable that it’s been this long. Out of thirty teams, there are two from Chicago. Every year there is a 14 to 1 chance (or 1 out of 15 for the non-gamblers out there) that Chicago will host the fall classic. When I was young, and there were only 24 teams, the odds were even better at 11 to 1. When my father was a kid and there were only 16 teams, the odds were still better at 7 to 1. You’d think after so much bad luck, it’d start to even out. Maybe it has. As a Chicagoan, I’m thrilled to have the World Series in my city. I’m happy for the White Sox and their fans because I know what it’s like to love a team that never wins anything.

Some ask me how I can support the White Sox through all this, seeing as I am a Cub fan and a Cub fan must necessarily hate the Sox. All I can say is that this supposed hatred of the White Sox by Cub fans is a fiction cooked up by people who have no idea what they’re talking about. True Cub fans hate the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets and in even the blackest of hearts there is no hatred left for anyone else. True Cub fans couldn’t care less about the White Sox. It’s the Sox fans who hate the Cubs, not the other way around. So when the Sox are good, like they are now, I am free to support them. Just like you sort of root for a speed-skater at the Olympics. You’ve never rooted for them before, and you don’t really know who they are, but it’d be nice if they won.

UPDATE: I got those odds just totally wrong. Its even worse. Since there's a Chicago team in each league, and all we need is one to make it to the World Series, than it's almost like the odds of rolling at least one "one" in two rolls of a die. The odds of that are 1/6 + 1/6, which is 1/3 or, stated in odds, a 2 to 1 shot. Since the Cubs are in the 16 team NL, their chance is 1/16, while the Sox's chance in the smaller AL is 1/14. That would make the chance of at least one Chicago team making the series at 1/16 + 1/14, which equals 15/112 or odds of nearly 6.5 to 1. Those are pretty good odds, people. Now why has it been so long?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Salad Bar

This is a few days old, stale as a slice of white bread left on the counter overnight, but I don't care. Some people take the salad bar approach to religion, taking what they like from the different disciplines out there, maybe adding some of their own, and tossing it all up in a great big mix. Oregon Christian Coalition leader Louis Beres takes this philosophy to a whole new level. Turns out in addition to being anti-gay and anti-abortion, he is rabidly pro-pedophilia.

He who is without sin...

P.S. And before you guys get started, let me make clear that chuckling at the hypocrisy of a man who is full of judgment is not equivalent to passing judgment yourself.

Drive By

I saw about five minutes of some mindless program on the tube a few weeks ago and it's troubled me ever since. Some standard-issue beautiful people were playing charades (and watching this are the same people who say baseball is boring?) and up came "Got Caught Doing a Drive-By" as the thing to act out. This is what caught my eye and why I lingered on the program for four minutes and fifty-five seconds longer than I normally would have (mission accomplished?). As they played the game and mimed "Drive-By," the actors were laughing about what they were doing. Now how on earth is a "Drive-By" an acceptable thing to be miming on TV in front of kids? There is nothing funny or interesting or amusing about "Drive-bys." A "Drive-By" is when someone propels a slug of metal at another human being in hopes that it will tear open their flesh and cause their life to end. For some perspective, what if the charade came up "Strangled a Prostitute in a Hotel Room?" What then? It's sad that in a land with literally millions of middle-class black people, we feel compelled to fuel this ridiculous gangsta-movie myth that sticking a gun out a car window and killing people is just part of life.

White Sox Win

I can't figure it out. How could every ump on the field miss the call? I've seen the replay about 15 times now and I haven't seen the ball hit the ground yet. Oh well, it's about time a Chicago baseball team got a call like that. Maybe getting first base was a gift, but Ozuna stealing second to get into scoring position, Crede driving him in with double to left, Buehrle pitching 9 sparkling innings (including absoulutely schooling Garrett Anderson in the top of the ninth with a guy on third) were simply good baseball. I don't think the homeplate ump was calling a very good game anyway. He kept calling low strikes on Sox hitters, which no doubt contributed to their swinging at virtually every ball in the dirt from about the sixth inning onward. Which could be why Pierzynski swung at that low pitch? Baseball is a funny game.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Sunday Random 12

  1. Will You Love Me Tomorrow? (Carole King, Tapestry)

  2. So Jealous (Tegan And Sara, So Jealous)

  3. Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll (The Killers, Hot Fuss (Deluxe Edition))

  4. Don't Change Your Plans (Ben Folds Five, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner)

  5. Be Aggressive (Faith No More, Angel Dust)

  6. Everything's Not Lost (Coldplay, Parachutes)

  7. Come And Get Me (Jay-Z, Vol. 3...Life And Times Of S. Carter)

  8. Little America (R.E.M., Reckoning)

  9. Toilet Tisha (OutKast, Stankonia)

  10. Burning Too (Fugazi, 13 Songs)

  11. Down Slow (Moby, Play)

  12. Love Song (The Cure, Disintegration)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Billy Buck

When the ball rolled thru Graffanino’s legs into center field last night, you knew it was coming. The slow roller, the easy out, the “who’s leading off next inning?,” the grey Boston uniform, the legs. You knew it was coming. Not Tadahito Iguchi’s game winning three-run home run two batters later, although maybe some die-hard Red Sox fans saw that one coming too, but the inevitable Bill Buckner comparison. I suppose baseball announcers just need something to say, that they just need to keep air passing through their vocal cords and whatever shapes of the tongue and lips are most convenient at the moment are created without a second thought. It is unfortunate, though, that almost twenty years later, we must still squeeze the bellows onto this ember whenever it threatens to go out. Young boys watching the game with their fathers will ask, Who’s Bill Buckner? And instead of hearing about a player who collected over 2700 hits over a twenty-two year career, they will hear the old fiction about how Billy Buck blew the Red Sox’ best chance for a Series win in almost 80 years. Of course, the Red Sox finally won it all last year in convincing fashion, robbing the 1986 loss to the Mets of some of its romance. The ghosts of hard luck do not appear in such number as they once did when summoned by the magical words “Bill Buckner.” But we insist on repeating them. Bill Buckner must be the goat. If he is not quite the talisman he once was, he is still the dictionary definition of the word “failure.” But why Bill? Why not Calvin Schiraldi, who threw the ball so straight and steady that the Mets could not help hitting it and that the Cubs could not help immediately signing him after the season was over? What about Bob Stanley, who threw so wildly even though he knew Rich Gedman, perhaps the worst defensive catcher in World Series history, was behind the plate? There are those misguided fools out there who actually have tried to tell me that all Buckner had to do was field the ball and step on first and the Red Sox would have won. For these moments I wish I had a giant loudspeaker so I could play the “strike” sound effect from Family Feud right into their ineffectual, ill-informed ear. For all those who don’t know, I’m going to let you in on a well kept secret: when Buckner let the slow roller off the bat of Mookie Wilson go through his legs, THE GAME WAS ALREADY TIED. An out there would have ended the inning, but there is no earthly way that the Red Sox could have gone on to win that game. Just as there was no earthly way they could have gone on to win the next game. In 1986, the Red Sox waved goodbye to their chance at a Series the very moment that Rich Gedman waved at a ball that a high school catcher wouldn’t have let by him. And still, after all these years, Buckner takes the blame.

That said, HELL YES!!! GO SOX!!! And if you think I mean Red Sox, you are sorely mistaken.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


How come aluminum foil has the cutting teeth on the main box, whereas plastic wrap has the cutting teeth on the lid?


Some constructionists claim to be above interpretation of the Constitution, preferring a strict translation of the original intent. Notwithstanding the fact that the law is filled with words such as "reasonable," which virtually beg a person to interpret, unless one holds regular communion with the dead, how is discerning intent, with respect to the Constitution at least, any different from interpreting law? The answer to this question, of course, is that to discuss it at face value is to completely miss the point. No one is advocating for a new approach to the law. Much like "state's rights" of old, which was code for the continuation of Jim Crow, "original intent" is simply code for criminalizing abortion. It's really is that simple.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"Sunday" Random 12

  1. Friendship Station (Le Tigre, Le Tigre)

  2. I Feel The Air (Of Another Planet) (Stereolab, The First Of The Microbe Hunters)*

  3. Black (Pearl Jam, Ten)

  4. Oscillate Wildly (The Smiths, Louder Than Bombs)

  5. Seasons Of Love B (Original 1996 Broadway Cast, Rent)

  6. Tourette's (Nirvana, In Utero)

  7. Slow Hands (Interpol, Antics)

  8. Four Sticks (Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV)

  9. Return (OK Go, OK Go)

  10. Like Suicide (Soundgarden, Superunknown)

  11. Exodus (Bob Marley & The Wailers, Exodus)

  12. One By One (Billy Bragg & WILCO, MERMAID AVENUE)
The appeal of a consequence
Perfect as it couldn't say no
Met by a cold body of air

The Society Speaks Out

A few days old here, but thank God for the Jesuits. It's about time someone within the Church spoke out against the ridiculous idea that homosexuals are unfit for priesthood. But what else could we have expected from Pope Benedict XVI? Deep down, I knew this would happen. My initial reaction to Ratzie's election to the papacy was utter disbelief that such an angry, judgmental, backwards-looking individual was actually going to be the next pope. I wanted to believe that he'd resist the urge to spread hatred and division. But I suppose that even though the Holy Spirit is supposed to work through the Church, this is still the real world and even popes have real free will and make real mistakes. So here we are. No African pope. No South American pope. No spirit-of-love pope. Instead, we get a pope who makes it a special point to single out gays, a group of people Jesus never even mentions once, as a inferior class of human. They used to call Ratzy God's Rottweiler, and I guess that made a lot of people feel good that the Church was now going to bare its teeth and kick some ass. Sorry to say, though, that God does not own or need a Rottweiler and needs no one to assist him in doling out judgment. Some may applaud Benedict for remaining true to what some people like to call moral absolutes. But this isn't about eternal and immutable truths. The Church does indeed change with the times and it is good that it does so. They used to force Jews to wear yellow back in the day. Long ago, the pope told Christian knights that they would go immediately to heaven if they joined the Crusades and killed as many Muslims as they could. Thankfully, they grew out of those shameful policies of hate. I was hoping for more of the same good sense when it came to their treatment of gays. After all, it was only recently that Pope Paul(?) wrote that gays were not inherently evil. Too bad Benedict seems to disagree. The Gospel of Jesus is, in a nutshell, "love everyone, unconditionally, all the time." Talk about an eternal and immutable truth. Not to pass out uniforms, nor to punch membership cards, nor to create excuses for hate-filled people to slip into violence, but to spread this message of love alone is the reason why the Church was established. Unfortunately, my Church seems to have lost sight of that.

This blog is based on a true story.