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11.07.2005   6:56 PM
Now That's What I Call Cheerleading (Part 69)
Tired of TO-centric tirades? Consider the case of two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders who were arrested yesterday at a bar in Tampa for (drumroll please) having lesbian sex in a bathroom stall.

Well, not exactly. Apparently Renee Thomas, a 20-year-old, hit somebody and was arrested for that. And then was charged with presenting false ID to the police, which I suppose is what you do when you're underage and in a bar. As for the having lesbian sex part of the allegation, that's what witnesses said. Then again, this was in Tampa Bay and the Panthers had just broken open a pint of whup-ass against the led-by-the-wrong-spawn-of-NFL-Hall-of-Fame-QB Bucs. I suppose Thomas and her "friend," 26-year-old Angela Keathley, were lucky they weren't accused of having three-way sex with long-time Tampa Bay denizen and coke fiend Dwight Gooden in that stall. Or of seducing a Devil Rays batboy.

In a post "Debbie Does Dallas" world, American men have been preconditioned to expect cheerleaders in bathrooms to get down-and-dirty with each other in situ, just as they expect single gals to drop to their knees for pizza delivery boys and say they ordered extra sausage. Don't even get me started on pool boys.

So is the true genesis of this "crime" an animus against cheerleaders in general, lesbian/bi-curious cheerleaders, or opponents' cheerleaders? I know fans of cheesy porn the world over will have their eyes on Tampa Bay for at least the next 20 milliseconds.

And That Other Thing . . .

About that pesky T.O. bloke: The word from the Eagles is in, and he is out -- for the rest of the year. Isn't this just yet another case of T.O. being T.O. being an asshat? Philly, didn't you know that when you got him? Baltimore, aren't you glad he isn't your problem?

Suspension for 4 games, inactive the rest of the season. He's taken being "Keyshawned" to a new level.

The Eagles had to know T.O. is more than willing to slam anyone to get out of his relatively lousy contract. And it is a lousy contract for someone of his playmaking ability -- $9 million in bonus and salary last year, $3.5 million this year for an average of $6.25 million a year. (As for the $49 million over seven years quoted in most accounts, you always figure what the payout is over three years; after then either the salary is too high for cap purposes and the player is cut or a new contract is negotiated, almost as a matter of course.)

So this past offseason the Eagles should have asked what it would cost to keep T.O. quiet through the 2007 season. By telling T.O. to live with his contract, they cast the die for this season. Given his history, who in their right mind in Eagles management could have expected him to act like a "consummate professional," rather than the pass-grabbing mercenary he is? No one player can win a championship, but the absence of a true standout can definitely ruin a team's chances.

Obviously the agent who failed to file the paperwork necessary for T.O. to become a free agent after the 2003 season set this whole crazy circus into action and shouldn't be allowed to represent children at Little League tryouts. And compared to what T.O. said about Jeff Garcia in San Francisco, Donovan McNabb got off easy. Still, cancer is as a cancer does, and T.O., thy name is carcinoma.

On Donavan and The Rest of the Season

After the T.O. suspension announcement but before Sunday night's kickoff, I was all set to tell Green 5 to shut it down for the season. But obvious miscues aside (the halftime nonspike and the fourth-and-4 INT), Donavan was actually moving pretty well for someone with his injury report. Perhaps more QBs should develop sports hernias.

Still, the Eagles are playing with an offense out of balance -- an offense that is incapable of running, rather than one that simply chooses not to. And without T.O., there is no deep threat to force opposing defenses to lie back and thus open up room for the underneath routes to Bryant Westbrook and L.G. Smith. The one touchdown the Eagles got against the Redskins was just a short crossing route that Reggie Brown was able to snake past the Washington secondary. In short they were contained.

So should Donavan shut it down? I'm not convinced about anybody else in the division. New York looked terribly mortal against the sad-sack Niners, and any team that can just hold onto the ball should be able to pick apart their D. And in the big D, Swami Kahuna sees a future without Flozell Adams anchoring an offensive line, which means the potential for a world of hurt for Drew Bledsoe. Finally, the Redskins could easily be 2-6 or even 1-7 at this point; Washington has clearly used up their luck in this season where they just squeaked by the Bears and Seahawks, stole one from the Cowboys on Santana Moss's coming-of-age party, and were lucky to face an Eagles team clearly in disarray.

To Eagles fans I say this season is not over, and that opportunities abound during the NFL's second semester. Donavan should ride again, and Andy, you need to establish the run over the remainder of the season (not necessarily a 50:50 run-pass ratio, but just enough to keep opposing defenses honest). And for the front office, get what you can in trade for T.O. -- which is what you should have done before the season started once you decided not to renegotiate this year. And if the answer is "nothing," then just cut his ass and screw the suspension.

8.04.2005   7:50 PM
Well, it's finally come down to the eviction.

I haven't posted anything since February, which is about the time my parents, brother Chris, and I got serious about selling the folks' house in New Jersey. They've been living in Florida for the past year and a half, and ostensibly held off on selling the New Jersey place as long as my sister, who continued to live there, kept up the property tax payments and utilities. Which would have been fine, provided my sister was responsible and sane.

Some other time I'll tell the long, drawn-out tale of how my sister tried to convince my parents to sell their home to her for about half its worth, and then said she could buy it if my parents held the note (since no bank loan officer who wanted to stay employed would give her enough for a dog house). The request for her to leave willingly (ignored), and subsequent notification that she was going to be evicted. The "dirty tricks" she pulled. But not now.

Tuesday, August 9, at 1:30 p.m. EDT, an officer from the Bergen County's Sheriff's Office, a locksmith, and a clean-up crew will meet me and the realtor to carry out the eviction. Even now I can't really believe it. Yesterday I told the Readers' Digest version of events to my godmother's son, Roy, who was sure I was kidding. I wish I was.

So 14 trips from Virginia to New Jersey down, with any luck only two or three to go before the house is cleared out and sold. My ass now knows every pothole of the New Jersey Turnpike, my stomach has had its last chicken-fried steak ever.

2.22.2005   8:13 PM
It's Oil Prices, Stupid
It would be overly simplistic to say that the United States went to war in Iraq over oil -- except that when you get to the bottom of it all that's essentially the case. There are several twists and turns that lead to this conclusion, but nothing we all can't figure out with coaching over a couple of beers.

What they said: "We're looking for weapons of mass destruction." What they meant: "We're lookin' to fix these here A-rabs so they don't bend us over a barrel when they sell us oil." What became of it all: Them thar' A-rabs and other Muslims are now in a position to bend us over said barrel of oil, which is currently trading north of $51.50. Ouch.

To put it nicely the United States now lacks the capacity to force anyone else in the world to do anything they don't want to do, all because W got a giant hard-on for Saddam Hussein, much like the one Saddam got for Satan in South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. The U.S. military is now spread thinner than Ashlee Simpson's talent, so the Bush administration is now forced into a policy of Selective Appeasement that means that security threats in Iran, North Korea, and Russia can only be met with the diplomatic equivalent of W standing in front of world leaders saying, "I dare you to knock this battery off my shoulder before I inadvertently choke on it." Will there be peace in his time? I truly doubt it.

So, boys and girls, what's the matter with high oil prices? Doesn't the money just end up in the pockets of U.S. oil companies and multinational businesses that put the money back into the U.S. economy? The money is more likely to end up in the hands of those who aren't above directing it toward people with world views closer to Osama bin Laden than the Dalai Lama. Money spend on oil/energy is money that isn't spend on hiring more U.S. workers, investing in U.S. companies, research and development, and buying American products. Not that there are as many American products to buy, since the likes of Wal-Mart make the lion's share of what they sell in the People's Republic of China, where workers are lucky to bring home more than a few hundred dollars per year that I can guarantee you they will not be spending on U.S. products.

Don't be surprised if within five years most unionized U.S. airlines cease to exist -- high oil prices mean high jet fuel prices mean higher ticket prices plus lower airline profit margins mean United = Depleted and U.S. Airways = U.S. Grounded. All of which makes for less travel and more stupid, sheltered Americans with less freedoms and even less propensity to use them.

But there is hope at the end of the day: Perhaps enough of us will be moved to throw the bums out once enough of our pockets are pinched at the gas pump.

1.05.2005   6:12 PM
New Year, Schnew Year
Let me say it right off the bat: I hate New Year's Eve.

And come to think of it, the rest of the "Holiday Season" can take a flying leap too.

I'm sick of people resolving this, scrambling to do that, and being so busy gifting, regifting, drinking, and stuffing themselves on ham/turkey/goose/baby whale that we forget the holidays should be about taking care of each other.

Sad to say that it takes a devastating tsunami to show what really matters. And frankly, I'm aghast it took the U.S. president four days to say anything about it, offer condolences, or announce any sort of disaster aid. Is that the best the United States has to offer? Do we have to be shamed -- yes, shamed -- to fork over assistance that should have been forthcoming immediately, without reservation or hesitation?

Consider this: Sandra Bullock donated $1 million on her own in disaster relief, one-fifteenth of what the United States originally offered. Formula One racer Michael Schumaker of Germany pledged $10 million, or two-thirds of the initial U.S. aid package. Good for them, shame on President !&*(wad.

So what that we later offered $350 million? Australia, which has a tenth of our population, has promised $810 million. Germany and Japan have been similarly forthcoming. What really gets me is that had I been advising the president, the White House (which apparently has been moved to Crawford, Texas) would have put out a release within hours of the tsunami declaring our condolences for the affected South Asian countries and offering whatever aid we could, including immediate Navy Seabee (construction battalion) and Army Corps of Engineers assistance in restoring roads in washed-out areas. What are these guys thinking?

11.05.2004   3:30 PM
We Suck
That's right: We are a nation of frightened children running with scissors. Into each other.

We worship at the altar of fear and misinformation, presided upon by pantsless priests.

We are the punchline to a global joke.

And we are a major reason why more of the innocent -- who we don't even bother to count or acknowledge -- will die.

8.23.2004   1:34 PM
Live (almost) From Newport Beach
Visiting the brotherland a.k.a. Newport Beach in the OC, and I've been at the beach every day since I landed Tuesday. On Friday I got an impromptu surfing lesson from some guys very unhappy with the fact I had pulled out a (heaven forbid) boogie board on their stretch of beach. The only way to deal with the potentially hostile natives was to take instruction with them (actually getting up on the board twice out of about 25 tries), and then partaking in a ritual they called "beer drinking" at a nearby beach bungalow.

Today I'm off to the Getty Center to view some art and stuff. (I wish there was an actual store called "Art and Stuff"; better yet a museum . . . )

Nearly three-year-old Katelin, my niece, continues to amaze me. Her favorite thing to do is to jump from chairs, sofas, and roofs in an effort to give her uncle and parental units coronaries. But she is a sweetie.

6.22.2004   8:04 PM
Hello, Cleveland!

If you're reading this blog, I'm guessing you remember the part in "This Is Spinal Tap" when our daft rockers get lost in the bowels of an arena and can't find their way to the stage. "Rock and roll! Er, not quite . . ." That's the way I feel about my country.

Here's a few tips, America:

1) The world doesn't hate us; they just hate what we're doing in Iraq, our sense that we're always right when we're often wrong, and our SUV/Big Gulp complex.

2) Sooner or later you have to pay the piper. (You could kill him, but you'll never, ever see another piper again.) So start thinking about balancing the federal budget, just like a sane person would balance his/her own personal budget.

3) Drive with care.

4) How about a little more respect for the people who serve you food, clean your clothes and offices, make copies, deliver your mail, and in general stop bad things from happening?

5) If you have to yell, go scream at the ocean (it can take it).

6) Just because it goes to 11 doesn't mean it belongs there all the time.

My Return to the Theater

Years after my less-than-triumphant sojourn on the boards, it my be time for me to return to the stage -- perhaps as a producer. With Mr. P. Diddy bringing back "A Raisin in the Sun," I thought it might be time to put a little juice and flavor back into some old standards. For example, how 'bout:

1) Oklahomie, a redux of "Oklahoma" that would star Damon Wayans, and as many other Wayans kin he cares to drag along;

2) South Central Pacific, where the SeaBees would be replaced w/ Crips, Bloods would be the Japanese, and Nelly Forbush would be played by Beyonce; and

3) The Motherf*(&#!ing Music Man, starring Samuel L. Jackson.

While this list is far from conclusive, I'm sure it's a good start.

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