Rear Window Ethics Rear Window Ethics: October 2004

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Japanese Businessmen

This is pretty hard to believe...

Japanese Businessmen

Election Fraud

I just got a call from my friend Tali, who is working in D.C for the year but was flown to South Dakota to work on Tom Daschle's Senate re-election campaign in what has turned out to be a very close race. I'm proud of her for just jumping out there and doing something she's never done before, as well as going somewhere she's never been before to do it.

Incidentally, one of the girls she works with in D.C. was just charged with voter fraud, which was interesting to me considering about 1 in 10 articles in today's Washington Post were about that very subject. It's quite disheartening to me to read them.

The problem in Leon County: Students at Florida State and Florida A&M universities, some of whom signed petitions to legalize medical marijuana or impose stiffer penalties for child molesters, unknowingly had their party registration switched to Republican and their addresses changed.
...
The college scam has also made an appearance in Pennsylvania, along with a separate scam last week in Allegheny County, where election officials received a flurry of phone calls about fliers handed out at a Pittsburgh area mall and mailed to an unknown number of homes. The flier, distributed on bogus but official-looking stationery with a county letterhead, told voters that "due to immense voter turnout expected on Tuesday," the election had been extended. Republicans should vote Tuesday, Nov. 2, it said -- and Democrats on Wednesday. A criminal investigation has been launched.
...
In Wisconsin, a flier is circulating in Milwaukee's black neighborhoods that purports to be from the "Milwaukee Black Voters League." "If you've already voted in any election this year, you can't vote in the presidential election," the flier reads. "If you violate any of these laws, you can get ten years in prison and your children will get taken away from you."

Here for the entire article.

It's pretty disenchanting that with election day less than 48 hours away, not only is this going on, but that it is happening on such a wide scale and so rampantly in swing states across the country. It makes me think that there's really no way this election will be decided on Tuesday. It will end up being another drawn out, legal affair that severely tests this country's ability to stand by such a messy, inaccurate, and absolutely archaic system of national voting.

Possible silver lining? If either presidential candidate wins the election without the popular vote, I don't think citizens will stand by such an antiquated election process as the Electoral College.

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Saturday, October 30, 2004

Red Sox Parade

Today the city of Boston showed the difference between the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox.

After the Pats won their first Superbowl in team history, I was at their victory parade as it went down Boylston St. It was pretty insane, with crowds lining the route about 10 deep, people hanging from signposts and sitting atop T stations, and the general aura of "championship" warming the 1.5 million fans that came out on such a bitterly cold day.

Even then, on the day we celebrated our football team's vicotry, we couldn't help imagine what it would be like if the Sox won it all. Today, after 86 years of frustration, the city got to see the answer to that question.


Where fans stood ten deep at the Pats parade, they were lined twenty to thirty deep today. The route was twice as long, starting at Fenway and going to city hall before it turned and went INTO THE CHARLES RIVER to take a victory lap up and down the Boston and Cambridge sides.

It was a reminder that this city, which has such a dominating football team at the moment, had forever been and forever will be a baseball town. It was a a fantastic way for this city and this region to really begin to digest the fact that we all finally won. The football season will be over in January, and we all hope the Pats can win it all again, but we also know that come February, we'll have smiles on our faces because of this historic Boston Red Sox team that finally brought the best city in baseball another championship.

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Haloscan

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Unfortunately, this deleted the old comments on the blog. Sorry, everyone! I feel bad about that, so please, you know, comment so I don't.

On the brighter side, this means that people who aren't Blogger users can leave their comment without it being anonymous.

Thanks, guys.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Today is Jocelyn's Birthday

So I'm not really writing anything new here. It's been a good day so far, and we have dinner reservations at a place around the corner, so it should continue to be a good evening.

This morning we were eating cereal and watching the news, and she turned to me and said, "Umm... can I have my presents now?"

I told her that in my family, we give birthday presents at night during or after dinner. Yeah, she wasn't playing that game. She basically said, "Nope, I'd like them now, please."

It was cute. This wasn't a Veruca Salt-type request, though it sounds a little like it when I write it. She just wanted her presents.

As for now, it's off to the Common to see foliage. Fole-ee-edj. My mom, calls it Foll-ej. Wrong, mom. Wrong.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Day After II

I can't tell whether it was the unbelievable hangover, the fuzzy memories, or the fact that the impossible happened, but this morning I didn't really know where I was or what had happened when I woke up in my bed.

My left knee is completely messed up from the header I took while running out the door of our apartment building last night. It hurts a lot. My ankles are really sore and tight, and I have absolutely NO idea why. My head is still very groggy, but I'm beginning to wrap it around the concept that they won.

We won.

Maybe it was the unending stream of Bud Lite pitchers that came to our table at the bar last night, or maybe it was simply a reaction to what was going on--a mild black-out if you will--but memories of last night are only coming back in fragments.

I remember sitting at the table before the game, thinking about how strangely confident I felt. I just knew they were going to pull it off, but at the same time, that sense of knowing it was so foreign to me that it made me very uneasy.

I remember Trot's hit off the wall, and freaking out about how much balls it took to green-light him on a 3-0 count with the bases loaded.

I remember realizing that they were going to win. It was beyond my confidence earlier. It was absolute. I knew it. It was in the bottom of the 7th and the entire bar was on its feet cheering while I sat dazed in my chair.

I remember how fast the last three outs of the game went. They flew by! Before I could even come to grips with the fact that this was it, it was over. And within seconds I was screaming, hugging, jumping up and down, and eventually sobbing. I ended up in a seat in the corner for a solid twenty minutes just crying my eyes out.

And I do remember, vividly, my spectacular spill out of my apartment doorway that sent me sprawling onto the sidewalk in front of many many people. Nice.

I called so many people last night, but I don't remember all of them or whether I got through to everyone. But I just want to say that I love all of you. They did it. We did it. This, as ridiculous as it sounds, is a life-changing experience. I'm just so glad that people who have been rooting since 1967 and before were able to see this in their lifetimes. I'm so proud that I was able to see it, and will be able to tell my children about it (or at least what I remember of it).

There's a parade tomorrow.

God Bless The Red Sox

I can't type. Too drunk. Too messed up. I ran into an old friend tonight. Ridiculous. The most surreal moment in my life was the Red Sox winning the World Series. I cried like a baby for an hour.

Unbelievable.

Sox, you made history. I called people and sounded like an idiot. Amazing. Amazing.

Can't type anymore. too drunk.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

World Series Eclipse

Does anyone think it's strange that on a night when the Red Sox could win the world series for the first time in 86 years, that there is a lunar eclipse that's scheduled to happen during the game?

This is a complete movie moment in the making. Which wouldn't be that surprising, really, considering the bevy of cinematic situations that have occurred this post-season:

  • Curt's bloody ankle, ala Roy Hobbs in The Natural.
  • The Red Sox being within two outs of being swept in the ALCS.
  • Epic, game-winning at-bats by David Ortiz

If the Red Sox won the World Series on a night when there was a lunar eclipse, that would just add on to the list.

Today there was a great Bill Simmons column about a thread on Sons of Sam Horn. It's a series of over a thousand posts from people wishing the Sox good luck, and remembering for whom a World Series victory would mean the most.

"Win it for my Grandfather (1917-2004) who never got to see the Red Sox win it all but always believed. And for my Dad who watches each and every game wishing his Dad was there to watch with him."

"Win it for my 10-year-old son Charlie who fell asleep listening to Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS assuming the Sox would win. When he awakened the next morning, he asked me, eagerly, "Did we win, Dad?" When I told him, gently, No, we did not win, his anguished moan startled me. I knew I had raised him as a Red Sox fan and I began to question whether that was a good thing.

"Win it for my boss, a dear friend who lost his dad unexpectedly in March of this year. More than once this season, I've seen him glance at the phone after a game, half-expecting his father to call to commiserate, rejoice, or just shoot the breeze -- I've also seen the sadness in his eyes as he realizes that the call isn't coming. Win it for his dad, a lifelong fan who never had the opportunity to witness his beloved team taking it all.

I read through almost a hundred of these posts, and they gave me chills. This whole thing is surreal. Whether the Sox win it in the next few days, or blow it in the most spectacular and horrible fashion yet, I am sure to be bawling my eyes out somewhere. Go Sox.

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World Series 3.2

One win away. We're just one win away. The Red Sox could win tomorrow night's game, and they would have won their first world series in 86 years. After knocking on every piece of wood I can find, I can honestly say that it would be one of the most insane things ever.

So why do I feel guilty about it? Why do I feel like somehow we don't deserve this?

I mean, the Red Sox fan base is probably the most passionate I know of. We root, and root, and root some more--even after devastating losses that make us want to ball up our team garb, throw it into a trash can full of gasoline, and light it all on fire for good.

We sold out every game this year, and most of the ones last year as well. We spend inordinate amounts of time discussing the Red Sox with friends, on talk radio, online, even to people who really couldn't give a damn.

I myself have been following the Sox since I can remember. I have very hazy memories about the 1986 World Series, and have paid very close attention to the team for every season since then. I have gone to over one hundred games at Fenway Park. I feel like I know the guys on this team like they were my goofy relatives, or college buddies.

But somehow I still feel like I don't deserve to see this happen.

I think of the old man wearing a Sox cap I encountered while walking late at night after last year's Game 7 loss to the Yankees. He thought that was the year. He thought, after a lifetime of rooting for a team that consistently failed, and failed so spectacularly, that he would actually see them go all the way. But what about all the people who didn't even make it that long?

There is an entire generation of Sox fans that were born, grew up eating, drinking, breathing Sox baseball, and never saw them win. They died, and never saw them win it all. I've been a fan for the vast majority of my lifetime, and the number of years I've followed this team pales in comparison to so many others.

But then I think of another generation. The generation that is reaching its end. This might be their last chance to see this happen. And if it happened, boy, if it happened...well it would be something people would remember forever.

It's been said that if the Red Sox win the World Series, they'll go from a franchise with a tormented past and a nationally recognized plight, to just another baseball team.

If they win this thing, and that happens: fine with me.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

World Series 3.1

What!? What's that!? The Cardinal fans are booing?

No way! But they're the best fans in the world! They never boo!

Apparently they do, after a disastrous inning of base-running blunders. Suppan should have scored from third on a one out ground ball, but got hung up and thrown out at third.

Idiot.

And now the fans are booing. Best fans my ass.

World Series Game 3

So this is what it feels like to have a lead in a series. I had forgotten in the days since our sweep--

Ah, my pizza just got here.

Anyway, since our sweep of Anaheim, that 7 game series against New York felt like a year. It feels very strange to be up 2-0 right now.

It's raining in St. Louis, and I think the game's going to be delayed for an hour or more. Unfortunate. Stupid post-season baseball starts so late that nobody goes to bed until 1:30am at the earliest. Kids can't stay up and watch the most exciting baseball all season because MLB is obsessed with having the games in prime-time.

I look forward to hearing Red Sox fans in the broadcast tonight, because so many people flew to St. Louis for the game because it was cheaper to buy a flight, a hotel room, and scalp tickets to the game there than it was to go to a game here. They can put those self-righteous Cardinal fans in their place.

Let's go, Sox.

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New Visitors

It's nice to see so many new people here. I never really expected anyone to ever read this stuff, and I'm always surprised when I look at my site stats and see that, in fact, a few people do.

I realize that with the current Blogger system, if you're not a member, you can't leave your info. It has to be under Anonymous.

If you like anything I've written (unlikely) and want me to read some of your stuff (more likely) leave your blog url in the comment.

Thanks,

Travis

Baby Rant

I don't know if I've ranted about this before, but if I have, I apologize in advance. This is just a topic that really strikes me as singularly important, and upon which I should air my grievances.

At what age do babies cease being 'it' and become 'he' or 'she'? I figured that, you know, when they're BORN with either a penis or a vagina that people would start getting in the habit of referring to them by the pronoun of their particular sex.

Apparently not.

I have no idea why this resonates so sourly in me, but whenever I hear a commercial for some product aimed at babies and mothers (of which I hear plenty considering I'm at home all day) I usually hear the same damn thing:

"...keeping baby dry and happy..."
"...helps soothe baby's sensitive skin..."
"...fabric softener keeps baby's blankets soft and warm..."

Is it so hard to add the word 'your' before 'baby'? They're not talking about someone named Baby. They're talking about YOUR baby. Use this product for YOUR baby. YOUR baby will love it. You'll get more sleep because YOUR baby won't wake up crying in the middle of the night.

Parents refer to their newborns as 'the baby'. Why not 'he' or 'she'? I realize that babies are strange little alien-like creatures that don't even know how to communicate properly, let alone speak in complete sentences, but is that perhaps because we treat them like inferior morons? We dress them in the colors that society deems appropriate according to their gender, but refuse to refer to them verbally with that label.

What if, when a baby is born, you just started talking to him or her like a normal person, making jokes they don't understand, staying up late watching Sopranos with them, getting upset at them when they don't have dinner ready for you when you get home, etc.? Instead, we talk in some unintelligible spew of 'goo goos' and 'gah gahs' and refuse to call them by anything besides 'it'. It's time for babies to take on some responsibility in this relationship.

Yeah yeah. You're thinking, "but babies are incapable of adult thought and comprehension, that's why we goo and gah at them, to help their cognitive development as loving, expressive people. And how could a baby make you dinner? They can't reach the counter, and the stove would be hot and dangerous."

To you people I say, your babies are just lazy. Stop calling them 'baby' or 'it', stop treating them like idiots, and calmly explain to him or her that they need to put up their share of cash if they want to live in your house, beneath your roof, with your heating and grocery bills.

Then see that baby jump up and get a paper route.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Boson's Own Sunset Cannon

Ah, sunset in the North End. You always know when it happens, as every day the USS Constitution marks this event by firing a cannon from its deck. I'll be sitting here doing work, reading, or maybe watching TV, and all of a sudden a thunderous blast echos across the harbor and into my apartment.

'Old Ironsides' as the ship was affectionately dubbed by her crew, repeats daily an age-old tradition of shooting in vain at our good old solar beacon. I have no idea why it started, or why they still do it. Perhaps the crew was angry at the inevitable transition to nighttime that befell them every twenty-four hours. Perhaps they believed it would build character, to ritually participate in such a fruitless attempt of marksmanship. Perhaps they just liked blowing things up.

One thing's for sure: I don't think we're ever going to hit the sun with a 19th Century naval deck gun.

But this does not deter our brave members of the Charlestown Historical Society, who go through each day wearing uncomfortable period clothing just hoping, waiting, and dreaming of finally nailing that ol' star right in the ass with ten pounds of iron. Or maybe grapeshot.

For the rest of us civilians, the sunset cannon is simply a helpful reminder that it is...sunset. It's a good thing we have that reminder, too, because without it we might slide right into evening and then eventually night without realizing that it was once day. I for one sure am grateful to have a startling explosion reverberate through our quaint neighborhood to keep us all in line, and to make us grateful that no matter how far we advance as a society, we can still tell time by detonating things.

Explosives

Question: Where did explosives go?

Answer: I don't know.

NYT

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 24 - The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.

The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year.

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World Series Game 2

Schilling had his tendon sutured to his ankle again and it worked. He pitched 6 innings and gave up 1 run. Pretty sweet. Even despite the 4 errors that Boston committed, they pulled another win out, this time more decisively.

It may be Schilling's last start this post-season, as he felt discomfort the day before today, leading the Sox medical staff to anticipate shutting him down instead of risking further injury to his ankle.

We went to our local bar for the Pats and Sox games tonight, and spent almost 8 hours there. Ridiculousness. I think we gave our waitress a 30% tip, or something like that. It was worth it, though, as the Pats won their 21st in a row, and the Sox took a 2-0 lead in the World Series.

World Series.

It still seams weird to write.

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Sunday, October 24, 2004

The Titanic

Umm...I don't even know what to say about this...

LINK

Guy Upstairs--Update

Nish, in a brilliant moment of recollection and recognition, finally realized what was going on upstairs. Up until last night, we didn't quite understand the incessant outdated pop music thudding through our ceiling, and we were often astounded by the number of thuds and crashes that came from upstairs.

Then Nish, in all his glory, figured it out.

"It's Dance Dance Revolution!" He excitedly called from the other room.

Indeed it is. A number of the thuds and bangs we hear happen to be almost in sync with the beat of whatever song is playing, leading us to believe they are caused by a person with the dancing ability of someone who would play that game in their own home. Also, the '90s pop music that streams down into our apartment several nights a week without fail is a dead giveaway, in our minds.

Then again, our upstairs neighbor also listens to this music without the aid of his Playstation 2 and its insane dancing game. I'm pretty sure you can't dance in that game to Enya, but I don't really know.

There is also the question of the other random crashes, thuds, and general uproariousness. They happen all throughout the day. So I'm still slightly attached to my "one foot hopping" theory in the matter.

World Series 1.8--Foulke

YES.

Foulke hangs on.

Game 1 goes our way. Whew.

You know that thing I wrote about, saying how this series doesn't seem to have as much of a pressure feeling in it? Yeah, that was a lie. I just didn't know. It's my first World Series since I was five, you know. I'll get the hang of this thing.

It was an ugly game, but I guess it's good to know your team can hang on and win even after playing like SHITE. I just don't want them to have to do it for the next 6 games.

The guy upstairs has played 'Let's Get it Started' so many times tonight you'd think he was running a Top 40 radio station from his apartment. I think he does Tai Bo up there or something. Crash, bang, boom, thud, stomp. It sounds like an old Batman television episode.

Clementines are no longer a problem. That's all I'll say about that...

World Series 1.7--God Bless You, Mark Bellhorn

A 1-2 count, a sure strike-out for Bellhorn. But no, he drives it off the Pesky pole for a two-run homer. Up by two runs again. Hopefully we can hang on this inning.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

World Series 1.6--Manny's Errors

Manny just committed two errors in one inning, both of which resulted in runs. He over-ran a ball on the ground, and then slid and dropped a line drive. The game's tied again. GOD DAMNIT.

I honestly can't believe we're even tied in this game. Four errors, a handful of walks given up. It's disgusting. The Sox are playing like absolute crap. Like they don't belong to be on this stage. Or maybe it' s just that they can't bear playing in games unless they're gut-wrenchingly close.

Come on, boys.

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World Series 1.5--World Series?

Wait, this is the World Series? Every few innings I have to check myself to make sure. This is surreal.

Francona and Larussa are battling it out as far as pinch hitters and and bullpen management.

The drums are going again upstairs.

We have a two run lead.

The clementines are NOT feeling good...

World Series 1.4--Kelly Clarkson

She's singing 'God Bless America' before the 7th inning stretch. YES! Haha, she got clipped, the PA system clipped her voice. Probably a good thing, she was riding flat on those higher notes.

The guy above us is going ballistic on his conga drum set. Seriously, I don't know how he can bang away like that for so long. Wait. I think he's done. Now he's just doing his usual crashes and bangs and huge thuds as he apparently puts it away.

Maybe he only has one leg, and has to hop, hop, fall all over the apartment? It would make sense with the amount of noise he manages to make up there.

World Series 1.3--Tie Game

Oops. Errors, walks and bad pitches on 0-2 counts just hurt us pretty bad. Then again, we knew we were going to have to score more than seven runs from the beginning, so I don't feel horrible.

Ben Affleck is at the game (shockingly) and with Jennifer Garner.

Those clementines are starting to catch up with me...

World Series 1.2--Bye bye knuckle ball

Well, Wakefield either has the knuckler or doesn't. Tonight he had it, and then he didn't. He walked the bases loaded, gave up a sac fly that Millar cut off and then threw into the dugout, and left the game with a two-run lead.

I knew going into tonight that the knuckle ball is a crap shoot, and I'm glad we have seven runs right now. I could use some more, though.

They just showed Steven Tyler who sang the national anthem before the game. He was wearing a weird hat and looked like a woman. His anthem was pretty hard to believe, though, with some questionable lyrics as well as a little scatting in there at the end.

I'm eating too many clementines tonight, but they're just so delicious!

World Series 1.1--Sox Rolling

The Sox have knocked Woody Williams out of the game in the 3rd. They're having great at bats, taking and fouling a bunch of pitches, and then hitting the ball hard all over the place.

Nish and I were just talking about how different this series feels compared to the ALCS against New York. I feel so relaxed watching this. I realize that it's game one, that they're ahead and looking good, and that it's only the third inning, but the element of constant fear is just not there with the Cardinals. Even with Pujols (poo holes) and Rolen.

I could get used to watching games again without feeling generally terrified at all times.

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World Series 1--Off To a Bang!

First inning. The Red Sox pick up where they left off against the Yankees with David Ortiz smashing a slider from Woody Williams over the foul pole for a three run homer, followed by a double by Millar and an RBI single by Mueller.

Wakefield's knuckler looks to be alright tonight. It usually bites harder in cold weather, but it's awfully windy tonight, which can dry up the air and make it harder to throw.

Regardless, one inning, 4-0 Red Sox.

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Haymarket

Nish and I stopped by the open market today to pick up some produce for the week. As I was waiting for them to bag my two pounds of broccoli crowns for a buck, an middle-aged woman who spoke little to no english was thumbing through a pile of peas.

She snapped one to look at the inside and the guy at the counter yells, "Hey, you can't do that. You snap one, you buy the whole thing."

The woman looked back at him, pretty much scared out of her mind.

He continued, "You break it, you buy it. I don't go into your house and break stuff."

She managed to reply, "I...I don't have a house..."

The guy stood staring at her for a while, and then mumbled, "or whateveah else you got to live in. I don't break stuff..."

Uncomfortable...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Single White Female meets Bad Santa?

From Today's Salon.com:

Oct. 22, 2004  |  DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. -- A woman came home from vacation to find a stranger living there, wearing her clothes, changing utilities into her name and even ripping out carpet and repainting a room she didn't like, authorities said.

Douglas County authorities say they can't explain why Beverly Valentine, 54, broke into an empty home and started acting like it was her own.

During the 2 1/2 weeks the owner, Beverly Mitchell, was on vacation in Greece, Valentine allegedly redecorated the ranch home, ripping up carpet and taking down the owner's pictures and replacing them with her own.

The case came to light when Mitchell, who lived alone, returned home Oct. 4 to find the lights on and a strange car parked in the driveway. Mitchell called police, who went in and found Valentine, who at first pretended she was renting the home.

Later, Copeland said, she admitted she broke into the house with a shovel and was squatting there. She was charged with burglary.

Authorities found a gun and $23,000 worth of Mitchell's jewelry in Valentine's car.

Valentine had the electricity switched over to her name and moved in a washer and dryer and her dog.

Copeland said she was even wearing some of Mitchell's clothes.

That's just strange. Very strange. My favorite part is definitely the hanging up of pictures.

Tired of This Election

It's a strange transformation that has come over me in the last few weeks. I went from devouring any news piece on either candidate, watching CNN a few hours a day, and scrutinizing each debate, to really just wanting this thing to be over.

I think it's because in the remaining weeks before November 2, the campaigns basically lost it. They went crazy. Ridiculous threats are being thrown around by the candidates as inevitable if 'the other guy' wins, polls are jumping around all over the place or not moving at all, and it's all just a bit tiresome.

There's nothing new to talk about anymore. What has been said has been said. As Larry David said in his NYT op-ed piece, if you're still an undecided voter, then you must just be an attention whore. I really don't think that people are even listening anymore. At least I know I'm not.

Maybe I just have to tune out for a while before the election, considering it's likely to be drawn out like 2000, what with the closeness of the race and plenty of pending lawsuits concerning voter fraud in swing states.

Let's just get this over with...

Stupid People In The North End

While out to pick up some milk, etc. today I overheard the following from a waspy, overly touchy, middle-aged couple:

"Oh honey, look! Look at that!"
"What is it sweetie?"
"Look at that sign over there."
"Which one?"
"The one in the shop window. 'Parking for Italians Only'. Hahahah"
"Oh that IS rich! Hahahaha."

I mean, come on. NOBODY thinks those signs are funny. I'm getting a little sick of tourists.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Suck it, Spike

Spike Lee, who has always been outspoken about his hatred of the Red Sox apparently couldn't handle last night's defeat very well. For all the smack he has talked in the past, he didn't have much to say after the game, except for the fact that he hopes the Sox lose the World Series. He has actually said before that he prays the Sox NEVER win a series while he's alive. Let's prove him wrong.

He was not the only celebrity at the game last night who went home unhappy:

He said ``It ain't over 'til it's over,'' but even Yogi Berra knew it was over for the New York Yankees last night when he fled the House that Ruth Built in the eighth inning when the Bronx Bombers were on their way to a shocking 10-3 shellacking by the Boston Red Sox.

     Yogi, along with other Yankees die-hards, appeared dazed in disbelief to have witnessed the whoopin' that knocked
Joe Torre's team out of yet another World Series appearance.

     Crazy-coiffed corporate titan
Donald Trump, who watched the action from owner George Steinbrenner's luxury box, bailed shortly after Berra.

     
Spike Lee, who before the game predicted the Sox fans would be ``cryin' in their beer'' in Boston, exited the park only shaking his head.

Funny how they couldn't stick it out in the end, despite how much they claim to be fans. I was at the 19-8 loss, and I can say that even after being humiliated in our own ballpark, plenty of fans stayed through the end of the game. After all, we figured it was the last time we'd see our team in person until next year. Apparently those guys just didn't have the stomach for it.

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The Day After...

This is insane. The fact that a game can hold this much sway over millions of people is absolutely insane. The city of Boston is possibly the happiest place to be in the world right now.

Everywhere you walk, people are talking about the Red Sox. Whether they're talking to friends across the country on their cell phones, explaining to them how the series unfolded and how it was almost an embarrassing sweep, or spending all day calling in to radio stations to talk about it, or discussing with the local shop owners about the pitching rotation for the World Series--people have gone mad. I love it.

Traffic in this city--normally horrendous--has never been more cordial. I walked across the street and got honked at, and when I turned around, rather than seeing some angry guy giving me the finger, I saw the driver point to my Sox cap and gave me the thumbs up, screaming "yeah!" and driving on.

People are walking the streets with unwavering grins on their faces. And I'm one of them. Just walking down the street, thinking about the last two weeks makes me smile and laugh out loud. And everyone else around me is doing the exact same thing.

Windows in the apartments and cafés and shops that I pass by have today's front page of the Globe and the Herald taped up to face the street, next to homemade 'Go Sox!' signs. Paul Revere's statue is still wearing his Red Sox shirt and hat, just like he was when they were down by three games last Saturday.

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It's really something. And the amazing thing is, this is nothing compared to how it would be if they beat Houston/St. Louis in the World Series. What!? World Series? I can't believe I'm even typing those words in reference to this year's team now. This is just the best.

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Red Sox Win Pennant (on a T-shirt)

I couldn't resist making some sort of T-shirt for this glorious occasion. I would have just left it to the guys at Fenway park, but I was afraid theirs would have included stuff I'm not too keen on, i.e. jokes about AIDS, gay-bashing, misspellings, etc.

Go Sox

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Nike Ad

I'm still up at 3:30am just soaking it all in. I take breaks from reading all the articles pouring out from Boston and New York to sit back and smile like an idiot.


Here's a pretty cool ad that aired directly following tonight's game. It looks as if a few people did believe they could pull this one off, after all.


The old guy's shaking hands in the end are what get me.

Link

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Red Sox Win

I don't even know where to begin.

Think, Travis.

Think.

Finally, after an year of waiting, I have my catharsis.

This is the most special team of any sport that I follow closely that I can ever think of. I love every single guy on this team. There's not one person who I think shouldn't be here, or that doesn't play hard, or that I dislike in the least. They're all a bunch of hard-working "idiots" who love the game, and love to play for us in Boston.

Is there a better way this could have gone down? Not in the least. This was beyond epic. This was monumental. Not only did the Sox get to the World Series for the first time since 1986, but they did it against the New York Yankees, and they did it in seven games, and they did it coming back from a three game deficit.

They made history. We all watched history. And there's not a better group of guys I would have wanted to make it.

Watching clips on TV afterwards, everyone is so happy. Anchors on Sportscenter are grinning like morons. Peter Gammons can barely put together a sentence. Jerry Remy has not been able to relax his face in the last two hours.

Last year was one of the most painful things I've ever been through. That sounds melodramatic, but it's true. It is far and away the most painful moment of my 'conscious' sports fan life. I do have vague recollections of the 1986 World Series, but I mean, I was five.

I remember this complete feeling of helplessness last year. Like someone came out of nowhere and sucker-punched me in the stomach. My sister was crying in my room. My stoic roommate was bawling outside in the back yard. I went for a walk and ran into an old old man who had a look of bewilderment on his face, as if he had just seen his last chance of seeing a Sox World Series in his lifetime.

But now it's all washed away. Not that I really mean this, but: They could lose the Series and I wouldn't be that upset. Nothing like I was last year. This was their World Series, if you ask me. And they won it in the most dramatic fashion possible. The most dramatic fashion ever in the history of the game.

It's amazing to think back just four nights ago when they were two outs away from being swept. Two outs! And they somehow pulled that one out. But then they pulled another one out! It was inconceivable. But not as inconceivable as coming to Yankee Stadium and winning two in a row, making a total of four in a row, to win the series.

I couldn't be happier right now.

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ALCS 7.7

UNBELIEVABLE.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

ALCS 7.6

Derek Lowe is pitching so well, and for some reason Francona is going to pitch Pedro in the 7th. I don't really know why. I would stick with Lowe until he's done. I guess Francona just doesn't even want him to get into trouble.

The Sox are still hitting the ball though. It's never over in Yankee Stadium. Run Slut.

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ALCS 7.5.1

Well, I asked for more runs again, and we got them. Johnny is making up for his offensive absence in this series in spades. Love him.

In other news, what is with Jim Leritz's jacket? Black leather American League jacket with the emblems of each club all over it? I mean, I'm not a fashion whore, but that is just gross. Not to mention the matching black leather golfer's cap backwards.

I still want more runs. Lowe needs to set them down three in a row here.

ALCS 7.5

The Yankees got a run on a stupid hit batter, a steal, and then a Jeter single. Miguel Cairo is such a bastard. On ANY other team he wouldn't even be starting, but since he's stuck in this cushy lineup he hits clutch doubles out of nowhere. With his gap tooth and middle-school necklace. He dives over the plate like nobody I've ever seen, and he's not even a power hitter.

Lowe got out of the inning, but the Stadium crowd is back in the game with the lead down to 5. The bullpen started warming up. We'll see how long Francona leaves Lowe in now. Short leash. Short leash.

Vasquez is now in some kind of groove. I'd like them to upset that here.

ALCS 7.4

Lowe needs to not walk people anymore. It ended up being harmless, but with a 6 run lead walking people is how you get into trouble with the New York Yankees, in the Bronx, in a deciding Game 7 of the post-season.

No more walks.

But more runs, Sox. More runs. Pour it on. I don't think I'll be satisfied or able to stop thinking pessimistically unless they put a 15 spot on the board. Then I could relax a bit. But not now.

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ALCS 7.3

YES!!! RUN SLUT! JOHNNY D!!! Grand Slam on Vasquez's first pitch of the game.

ALCS 7.2

YES! Brown is out of the game. He didn't have anything tonight. Really wild, and he left his sinkers up to high. God Bless David Ortiz! I was so angry with Dale Sveum for sending Damon on Manny's single, but David made it all better.

Except of course that it would be 3-0, not 2-0 now.

They need to keep the pressure on here. Runs. More runs. I'm a runs slut: I'll take any I can get.

ALCS 7.1 Sox Montage

Rather than do any work this afternoon--an attempt that proved quite futile--I went to work on a little montage of images from the series that ends tonight.

Turn up your speakers and click here.

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ALCS 7

Well, here we are. Everyone thought we'd be here. Then no one thought we'd be here. Then people had a crazy inkling that we might be here. And now we are here.

After last night's ridiculousness, I just don't know if I can handle watching this game. When A Rod slapped the ball out of Bronson's glove I got that shiver down my spine and tenseness in my body that reminded me that the Yankees ALWAYS win this game. The Yankees are the most clutch team in baseball history, and they win this game.

Tonight in my head I'm going to have to fend off images of the Yankees winning in terrible and dramatic fashion. But I'm also going to have to fend off images of the Sox pulling it out. As much as I want to believe, I just can't let myself out there anymore. It hurts too much. Until the 27th out is recorded tonight, the Yankees are going to win this game. That's what I tell myself.

God I hope. I just hope we can do this. Please.

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Administration by Divine Right

Looking back at this site, I realized I forgot to post here one of the more intriguing NYT articles I've read in the past week. It's written by Ron Suskind, who has been the target of a major discrediting effort by this administration of late.

The piece discusses the growing number of Republicans who are 'frightened by the White House's 'kill-or-be-killed' desire to undermine public debate based on fact', and the inner-circle's reliance on religious ideology over constructive criticism and fact.

A small quote from the very LONG article. This is Jim Wallis who is a leading member of the Sojourners, a 'Christian ministry whose mission is to proclaim and practice the biblical cal to integrate spiritual renewal and social justice.'

'Faith can cut in so many ways,'' he said. ''If you're penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. That can be a powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it's designed to certify our righteousness -- that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There's no reflection.

''Where people often get lost is on this very point,'' he said after a moment of thought. ''Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not -- not ever -- to the thing we as humans so very much want.''

And what is that?

''Easy certainty.''

link

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ALCS 6.6

For the entirety of the last of the 9th inning I could feel my pulse in my head, my arms and my legs. All of them were throbbing as I tensed every muscle in my body in anticipation of each pitch. My mind was a battle between visions of Foulke striking out Sierra/Clark for the last out, and a classic Yankee victory walk-off home run. I wanted to let the latter image in so in the quite possible event that it happened, I wouldn't feel so surprised, angry and deflated. But at the same time, I didn't want to overload my mind with negative images, so I let myself hope as much as I could without worrying about being crushed by the game's outcome.

And they pulled it of. By God they pulled it off.

What an amazing performance by Curt Schilling. Seven strong innings on an ankle that must have been hurting. He had to go long into the game because Boston's bullpen was shot, and Lieber was keeping the Sox at bay and out of New York's bullpen as well. Schilling had sutures put in his ankle to stabilize the injury, and Fox kept cutting to close-ups of his sock, with blood stains oozing from underneath the athletic tape. Amazing. Very Roy Hobbs-esque.

I don't quite know which was the more gutsy and amazing playoff pitching performance of my lifetime: Pedro in the ALDS Game 5 in '99 where he came out with a hurt back and pitched five no-hit innings to win the game with only two of his pitches working OR Schilling tonight. Both left their respective Game 1s with injury and got the loss. Both were questionable regarding an appearance later in the series. Both came in, still injured, and gave the performances of their lives.

I can't say enough about Keith Foulke. His arm is rubber by now, and he still sucked it up, even though he didn't have his best control, and saved the win for the Sox. Truly magical stuff.

They even won the game without anything from Manny or David Ortiz, which is saying something after the last two late-night heroic efforts buy Big Papi.

I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. For all I know, Kevin Brown will find a way to silence their bats and Lowe will be jittery. For all I know, the Yankees will win, and it'll feel like last year's Game 7 all over again. But this time, I feel about as confident that the opposite might occur.

Why not us?

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

ALCS 6.5

AROD YOU CHEATER!!!

You can't do that! You cannot hit the baseball out of someone's glove as they try to tag you. The umpires overturned ANOTHER bad call and now the Yankee fans are going berserk. Sort of like when the Red Sox fans lost it in '99 with the 'fantom tag' except this was the right goddamn call.

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ALCS 6.4

It's up to ol' Saturn Nuts now...

ALCS 6.3

I called Bernie Williams' home run. In the early innings Nish asked me who I thought would hit the token solo dinger for the Yankees and of course it would be Bernie, who has more post-season home runs than anyone. Of course, that's kind of a crappy stat what with the three rounds of playoffs now.

Schilling looked rattled for a bit, but seemed to dig down and get those last two outs, the final one on a strike out with a nasty splitter in the dirt.

It looks like he may be done though now, as the Sox just congratulated him in the dugout.

We have the fat part of the order coming up. We NEED runs.

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ALCS 6.2

7th inning and wait...wait for it...

And yes, the Yankees are cheating right now.

Of course they trotted Ronan Tynan out to sing 'God Bless America' with his own unique 14 minute rendition. Not only does he start with the preamble/verse that no one sings EVER, but once he finishes that he moves on to sing the verse at some unGodly largo tempo to stretch it out on cold nights like this.

Bastard. His voice sucks anyway. What classically trained singer has intentional voice breaks like this guy? No one.

Hopefully the extra cold doesn't affect Schilling, who is pitching so well for us with is ankle all screwed up. Here we go...

ALCS 6.1

Lieber has thrown a lot of pitches, but seems to have calmed down since the home run. Lots of fly ball outs by the Red Sox.

I really hope those two double-plays in the first couple innings don't end up as a factor in the end of this game.

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ALCS 6

Schilling looks okay! His velocity isn't way high, but he's staying above 90 with the fastball, so that's good.

In other news, the Sox have a freaking 4 run lead. Bellhorn hit a home run to drive in three. Huge. The umpires thought a fan grabbed it Jeffrey Mayer-style but they overturned it and got it right in the end.

We need to hold on. We need to score, and we need to hold on.

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Bush vs. The Laureates

Today's NYT:

Why is science seemingly at war with President Bush?

For nearly four years, and with rising intensity, scientists in and out of government have criticized the Bush administration, saying it has selected or suppressed research findings to suit preset policies, skewed advisory panels or ignored unwelcome advice, and quashed discussion within federal research agencies.

Administration officials see some of the criticism as partisan, and some perhaps a function of unrealistic expectations on the part of scientists about their role in policy debates.

I remember hearing stories about this a few months back, how groups of very esteemed scientists signed angry letters to the President asking him why his administration insisted on disregarding or even skewing their research when it came to his public policy. The question is, I guess, are the 48 Nobel Laureates who endorsed Kerry simply trying to use their status as pillars in the scientific community to help their candidate? Or are they truly do dismayed with this administration's tactics when it comes to science that they are acting out of their beliefs as researchers, physicians and academics?

link to the article

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Stewart on Crossfire

Finally! I've found a site that has links to the video from this great interview with Jon Stewart on CNN's Crossfire.

He basically said what needs to be said as far as chiding the media for wholeheartedly contributing to the polarizing of America. i mean, a show where two talking heads--one from the left, one from the right--throw shallow, personal jabs at the opposing side and call it "debate" is one of the reasons why the partisanship has escalated in this election to a new and ridiculous level.

People on the right think that if those on the left disagree with them, they're attacking their moral character. People on the left think that those on the right are trying to impose their morals on them. Both sides are incredibly patronizing of each other to the extent that it makes me want to vomit.

So here, watch Jon Stewart tell over-paid blowhards what Americans want in their media: LINK

Florida, Florida

Today from The Guardian:

Gordon Sasser first got the feeling that something strange was going on when the telephone pierced the silence of a weekday afternoon at his house on the swampy fringes of Tallahassee, in northern Florida. An automated voice had some surprising news: Did he know that he could now cast his presidential vote by phone, and could do so right now, using the keypad? Sasser's suspicion that somebody was trying to trick him into thinking he was casting a vote -- presumably so that he wouldn't cast a real one -- was far from unique.

James Scruggs, another Tallahassee resident, remembers a similar unease about the young woman who phoned him at home, insistently offering to collect his absentee ballot to ensure its safe delivery.

Then there was the elderly woman who called the local elections office last week to register her husband for an absentee vote. According to office staff, as she hung up she made a point of thanking them: She wouldn't have thought to get in touch about her husband, she said, if it hadn't been for their helpful call the night before, when someone had taken her own details, assuring her that she was now registered and would receive a ballot. But the elections office makes no such calls.

I don't care whether you're conservative or liberal, Democrat, Republican or Independent, the idea of organized voter fraud really just makes my anger at this already corrupt two-party system boil over. Partisan election officials on both sides seem to be doing their best to keep certain groups of people from voting, by adding names to the possible ex-felons list, confusing the elderly, and using untested technology that may not be able to perform a recount if needed.

If the Supreme Court has to decide another Presidential election I don't know what will happen to this country. The overwhelming cynicism (as I raise my hand) will grow exponentially until the powers that be have their wish: an electorate that doesn't give a shit anymore.

ALCS 4-5


Those bastards. Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.

After the horrible, truly awful game I went to on Saturday where the Sox lost by 938 Billion to 8, I had given up. I didn't watch most of Game 4 because I just knew they would crumble. Once the Yankees got the lead I turned the tv and radio off. It was just sort of a fluke that I managed to check the score before going to bed, and saw that it was the 10th inning and the game was tied.

I sat there and watched it on tv in the dark living room. I put the game on mute because I was sitting there, ready to watch my team play its final game of the season, and I was in no mood for Tim McCarver's partisan announcing when the Yankees would inevitably sweep the series.

Somehow, that didn't happen. David Ortiz hit a walk-off home run into right field and the Sox stormed out of the dugout to celebrate.

And even though I told myself I wasn't going to do it, I watched today's game from start to finish. It was well worth it.

Both teams had so many chances to put it away, and neither seemed to be able to do it. The Sox kept scrapping away, playing 13 of the 14 innings with Yankees on base. The bullpen was nearly flawless, and Timmy Wakefield put in a tremendous effort to pitch the final two innings, holding back those terrifying New York hitters until Ortiz could win it for the Sox again.

So the long and short of is: I'm back. Those bastards brought me back. In truth I was back even before Game 5 began, but now I'm sitting up late at night glowing about the victory, writing about it here, and thinking about things like momentum, bullpens, and starting pitchers for the next game (or even two).

Of course, this is all contingent on the fact that I'm fully aware that the Sox are just going to make it harder on me when they inevitably blow it either tomorrow or Wednesday down in New York. I hate them playing there, it's just too scary. Those big Yankee home runs always seem to happen like magic, and I know they will in the next two games.

But I'm still back.

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Monday, October 18, 2004

"Major Address on Terror!"

That's the way today's Bush stump speech was billed as, and it's the way the last few have been as well. The funny thing is, there have been no new initiatives brought up in the speeches, but by labeling them "Major Addresses on Terror" all the cable news networks are obliged to show them live.

Bush did make a major address today, however. It seems like it was just a bit over a month ago that the Bush campaign was backpedaling from a statement Dick Cheney had made to the effect that if John Kerry were to be elected the U.S. would be more likely to suffer another terrorist attack.

Today Bush stopped just short that mark, but made sure no one mistook what he was saying.

REUTERS:

"Sen. Kerry's approach would permit a response only after America is hit," Bush said, seizing on what he called the Massachusetts senator's "long record" of showing "poor judgment on the great issues of war and peace.

"Sen. Kerry's approach would permit a response only after America is hit," Bush said, seizing on what he called the Massachusetts senator's "long record" of showing "poor judgment on the great issues of war and peace.

"He said Kerry "has chosen the easy path of protest and defeatism" by refusing to acknowledge "progress" in Iraq, and he questioned Kerry's commitment to democracy-building in the Middle East.

"He has not made democracy a priority of his foreign policy," Bush said, citing his positions on Iraq and Afghanistan. "Is he content to watch and wait, as anger and resentment grow for more decades in the Middle East? Let me repeat that. He says that preemptive action is unwise, not only against regimes, but even against terrorists organizations."


It looks like both campaigns are going to be treading a thin line when it comes to the rhetoric they'll be whipping out in the next few weeks. If you thought it was ugly before, just wait.

But on the brighter side of things, early voting began today in certain states, and Florida has already had significant problems!

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Split from the Splitters?

The New York Times > International > Europe > U.S. Episcopal Church Is Urged
to Apologize for Gay Bishop


The Anglican church was created over differences in opinion with the Catholic church regarding divorce. Could the U.S. Episcopal church do the same with the Anglican? It seems either that, or perhaps a splintering of the US Episcopal church into groups that refuse to recognize gay clergy and gay marriage or groups that tolerate those things, may be in the future.

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Supreme Court

Gerrymander v. Dems

Friday Night Lights: The perfect remedy to Varsity Blues

Peter Berg's film based on Buzz Bissinger's best-selling non-fiction book belongs on the trophy wall next to other great high school sports movies in Hoosiers and All The Right Moves. Varsity Blues was a pale attempt at a more fictional screen versions of Bissinger's book, full of cliché moments, stylized cinematography and some pretty rough acting. Lights, however, follows the book closely, emulating its journalistic and documentary style until you feel like the players on screen are real, not Hollywood-ized caricatures.

And that is the important part of this film. The groundbreaking book showed America what is very wrong, and indeed right, in the most high-stakes football played at the high school level. The wonderfully understated acting by the entire cast fits perfectly with Berg's concept of the book. In order for this true tale to hit home actors have to be believable; they have to be real.

As for Berg, he does a good job using the camera to enhance the energy and the emotion of the film without getting in the way. There are few stylized camera movements if any, and the simple quick cuts during the games work effectively. At the same time, he doesn't feel the need to cut from a shot if it's bearing in on one of the characters, because we as an audience need to take long looks at these players who are treated--and abused--like professional athletes, but are in truth only seventeen years of age. The lingering shots help remind us that these are just kids, that they're young and fragile, despite how tough they may seem on the gridiron.

While the film is shot in a semi-documentary style, it does have some big hints of Hollywood in some parts of the dialogue and unspoken narrative. For the most part these scenes don't get in the way, and at the conclusion of the last game a very touching moment between two characters seems right in place. The emotion of the movie is heightened because of its authenticity, but the sentimental scenes just serve as a perfect garnish for the film's affect on its audience.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Bravo

Well, that was a terrible game. A terrible game to watch, a terrible game to go to, a terrible game for the Sox to have played. I'm done. I'm done with them. Talk to me about them in February, maybe.

Tonight, as Nish and I sat in the good seats we had moved down to once the score went past 14 billion to 8, Rudy Giuliani walked past me. I wanted to say so many things to him, namely that he's a smug prick, a racist bastard, and a shameless opportunist. Too bad he was being escorted by his own little security force. As if he's still in office or something.

I mean, Giuliani was a classic example of a politician taking credit for anything good that happened under his watch, whether it had anything to do with him. At the end of his term he was going out with a wimper, losing in his Senate bid, holding on to a low approval rating in NYC, and basically heading into the sunset of American politics. But wait! He was Mayor on September 11th, and by George, he told the nation we were going to be alright, he stayed up without sleep, and he successfully merged his image with the most significant attack on US soil in history.

Now he's poised to use the spotlight, the bravado, and the character he has taken on after 9/11 to move onward and upward in national politics. What an opportunistic prick. Plus he wears that stupid Yankee hat that has PD and FD on each side of the cursed symbol. You can't do that. It's not fair. The Yankees are bastards, and have nothing to do with Police and Firemen who make laughingly small amounts of money compared to Steinbrenner's overpaid team. It has been said before, but it bears repeating: Above all else, FDNY and NYPD shirts and hats show that we Americans may struggle, but can bravely go on shamelessly merchandising in the face of horrific tragedy. Yay.

Nish and I really had to keep ourselves from yelling and possibly assaulting a group of college-aged girls outside the park with Yankee shit on. I hated them so much.

So yeah, that's my rant. Screw this shit. I'm done. Baseball's over, which means more time for Netflix.

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Saturday, October 16, 2004

Game

So I'm going to the game tonight. I'm excited, but I'm worried that being at the game will only exacerbate feelings of anger and depression if the Sox should lose and be down 0-3, all but sealing their failure in this series.

And yes, that type of pessimism is what I expect almost everyone in the stands to have.

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Scary Campaign Ads

Today's NYT:

"Oct. 16 - In one of President Bush's latest advertisements, a clock ticks menacingly as a young mother pulls a quart of milk out of a refrigerator in slow motion, a young father loads toddlers into a minivan and an announcer intones ominously 'weakness invites those who would do us harm.'

In one of Mr. Kerry's recent commercials, a man shoots a machine gun into the air, a car bursts into a huge orange fireball and a group of Iraqi men carry what appears to be an injured person on a stretcher as an announcer says, 'Now Americans are being kidnapped, held hostage - even beheaded.'"


So now, after much accusation and rhetoric about different sides playing the 'fear factor' in this election, you can actually see it happening in back-to-back ads within several minutes of each other. Why did we even have the debates? This is just so much more fun, and through the miracle of commercials, the candidates don't have to actually say anything. They can just sit back and say, "I approved this message (which is meant to scare the shit out of you and convince you that if you don't vote for me you're going to die a horrible death, and it will hurt, and everyone you know is going to die too, and it will be sad, and America will die.)

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Billions in reconstruction money

NICE!

Where did $ go?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Wake Up

I've been bogged down in my depression about the Red Sox to the extent that I've managed to miss a news cycle here and there with important content.

Today's NY Times:

Oct. 14 - With less than three weeks before the election, Ralph Nader is emerging as just the threat that Democrats feared, with a potential to tip the balance in up to nine states where President Bush and Senator John Kerry are running neck and neck. Despite a concerted effort by Democrats to derail his independent candidacy, as well as his being struck off the Pennsylvania ballot on Wednesday, Mr. Nader will be on the ballots in more than 30 states.

...
"[Kerry]'s not his own man," Mr. Nader said on Tuesday in a telephone interview from California. "Because he takes the liberals for granted, he's allowing Bush to pull him in his direction. It doesn't show much for his character."


Why does this worry me?

I voted for Nader in 2000. I did so because I was upset with the political system, disenchated with the candidates, and didn't feel like the party platforms were different enough from each other for me to care about either Gore or Bush. True, they and did have different records on certain issues, but the concept of this country's corrupt two-party system silencing any voices of dissent from outside it was enough for me to vote independent. I didn't necessarily agree with all of Nader's beliefs and positions, but I did agree with his notion that the RNC and DNC, left unchecked by true democracy, were simply two corrupt, nihilistic juggernauts.

This wasn't a new feeling. I actually campaigned for Ross Perot, for God's sake. The spirit of standing outside the polls in the rain on November 2 with a Perot sign in my hand was the same as my vote for Nader. My support had little to do with the men, and more to do with the over-arching meaning their candidacies brought to their respective elections.

So why am I not voting for Nader this year? I still believe the two-party system to be incapable of true democratic ideals, because the system perpetuates itself by stymieing outside thought. The DNC sued the Nader campaign this year to keep him off the ballot in many states, a move that proved unsuccessful for the most part. That's ridiculous. The Commission on Presidential Debates is run by the RNC and the DNC! Of course no third-party candidates are allowed debate, because they would upset the status-quo.

But I'm still not voting for Nader this year. To be sure, I have no great love for John Kerry. I'm not inspired by him, and I don't believe he is capable of changing this country in any drastic measure. I just know I don't want Bush.

Is selling myself out like this, throwing my beliefs and ideals under the proverbial bus, right? I don't know. Part of me fears that once I have cast my ballot, voting for the 'lesser evil' rather than for my belief in free, independent, democratic thought, I won't be able to turn back. Part of me fears that by compromising my ideals, I won't be able to stand by them any more. That they'll be tainted by my willingness to disregard them.

I'm not a Republican or Democrat. I don't blindly follow the platform, candidates and belief structures imposed upon me by corrupt party leaders. I'm democrat, with a lower-case d. At least, I know I am until this November 2nd.

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ALCS 3

People in the North End aren't ready to give up, even if I've already come to grips with the fact that they are going to lose--so that when they do I won't die, and if they don't, I'll be wonderfully surprised.

I noticed while doing my laundry that Paul Revere has made his statement on the matter...

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

ALCS 2.3

GOD DAMNIT.

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The skies over Boston glow blood red in anger over this ALCS.

I just don't understand it. Why does this happen to us? Pedro goes out and gives as good an effort as can be expected of him in Yankee Stadium and the best offense in the league can't score runs against a decidedly mediocre talent in Lieber. WHY!?!?

People who don't follow sports and don't follow teams that consistently blow it big time often don't understand this reaction. Why should I care so much about a baseball game? Why should I watch it and pay no attention to the final debate tonight? Why should I get extremely upset when my team does this poorly in a series and will have to pull off a literal miracle to advance to the World Series?

Because, in my estimation, I have spent about 350 hours watching this Red Sox team over the course of the season. I have probably spent another 50 hours reading about them. 400 hours of my life was devoted to this team because I love them and because I believed in them and because I thought they had a good chance at making history this year. And now it all looks like it will go down the toilet. Gone, just like that.

There's no way to explain it. Our ace pitcher who has been playing on a bad ankle all year suddenly pulls up limp in the first game against New York, leading to a loss. He was our trump card. He was the reason we were a better team this year. Now he probably won't pitch again until next year (after surgery no less, which itself is always a scary prospect for an older pitcher).

I understand that most of the country doesn't care about the history between these two teams. I understand that most people don't care who wins. But, God, it kills me when I see Yankee hats all over the country, like some sort of front-running disease. In my heart I feel like the country wants New York to win, and keep doing it forever. That's the American way, right? Always win.

All I want is to be able to experience what it would be like to have my team, a team I have followed for as long as I can remember, a team that is long overdue, win a fucking World Series. It's bad enough that dream is looking rather impossible this year. It's much worse that it's that way because of the Yankees.

I think I would have rather not even gotten to this point than to lose to NY again on such a grand stage, where the entire country will be pulling for the juggernaut and the moronic commentators will use it to fuel the hours and hours of footage they love to show in which the Red Sox blow up when it most counts.

I am so angry right now, it's ridiculous.

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ALCS 2.2

Pedro is holding his own. He's got one more inning in him at most. But the Sox bats are pathetic right now. They're making Lieber look much better than he is.

I'd like to take this time to express how much I hate Yankee fans. Just sitting watching TV and seeing them in the park, all trashy and annoying, God it kills me. Jack Nicholson is there again tonight. I hate him now.

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ALCS 2.1

Pedro doesn't have it tonight. He's thrown 46 in two innings. His hook is good, but he's missing his spots a bit, and the Yankee hitters are making him work.

Lieber, who legitimately is not good, seems to be killing Sox batters. You never know, though. They could score 5 in one inning again.

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ALCS 2

Here we go again.

It looks like Schilling just couldn't find his groove last night because of the ankle, so Pedro is going to have to pitch great for them to come back to Boston 1-1 on Friday.

I had a vision of a Brady/Bledsoe AFC Championship-like event happening tonight. In that game, Brady, who had been the phenom for most of the season, went down because of his (gasp) ankle. Bledsoe, who had been the star of the team for years, stepped up, ready to prove that he wasn't washed up yet, and that he deserved respect from the fans. He threw four passes down the field in a drive that ended in a passed touch down. Bledsoe was the reason they won that game.

This season Pedro has been sitting second chair to Schilling since mid-June. Curt was a workhorse, a true stopper that managed a way to win and didn't miss a start. To his credit, Pedro didn't really miss one either, but it was clear in this town that he was being overshadowed by the presence and pitching of Schilling.

Tonight Pedro can go out there and pitch a great game, showing that he does have #1 stuff, that he isn't washed up, that he deserves a contract from Boston at the end of the season, and that his ego isn't bigger than his ability. He could throw a hero's game, keeping the Yankees in check while the team rallies around him to find a way to win--something they have had trouble doing this season with him on the mound. He could add to his legend.

Or he could not, and they'll fail, and they'll come back to Boston 0-2, and I'll be at Game four to potentially see them lose the series...

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

ALCS 1.4

Well, shit.

If nothing else, this Sox team showed they aren't going to lay down for anyone.

It just infuriates me when I see Yankee fans sitting in the stands "praying" or crying. What the fuck?! Your team has won more times than anyone. You have no right to sit there like that. I hate you.

Pedro is going to have to pitch one hell of a game tomorrow, with chants of "Who's Your Daddy" coming from mentally challenged Yankee fans.

I don't know what to say about Schilling, except that I hope he can pull his body together for his next start. Saturn Nuts will also have to pitch the game of his life. Damnit.

Damnit.

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ALCS 1.3

Ortiz, hit it far but not far enough. Luckily, Matsui over-ran the ball, and it's a one run game.

I can't tell whether it's the four glasses of freezing cold water that I've drunk or the game, but I'm shivering.

ALCS 1.2

Varitek, YES! 8-5, now.

3 runs down. Even if they lose this game, it's not embarrassing.

The Yankees aren't even cheating tonight. No Ronan Tynan? That means no ridiculous verse on top of the usual chorus of "God Bless America" tonight. They must be more confidant than usual. I wonder if they have Ronan in a back room of The Stadium just in case things get close enough that they're nervous.

3 runs isn't that bad at all. They can do this. Come on, Sox.

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ALCS 1.1

Sorry, Yanks. No perfect game or no-no tonight. Aren't Yankee fans so clever, with their strike-out signs? It's just so great. Fuckers.

Jack Nicholson is at this game. Of course he's a Yankee fan. He's a Laker fan, as everyone knows. What a douche.

It's pretty ridiculous that all my respect for him as an actor in Cukoo's Nest, Terms of Endearment, As Good As It Gets, etc. can be wiped away by the fact that he's a front-running fuck.

ALCS 1

Fuck. The game isn't even over and I'm completely pissed and demoralized. Somehow the best offense in the game can't do anything against Mussina. Even more disturbingly, Schilling was pretty much pathetic against the Yanks. Fox, of course, is raising questions about his ankle.

The ridiculous thing is that this is one game of a possible seven. The Yankees, if they win this one (which they probably will) will have to win three more. Somehow, right now, during this game I feel completely at their mercy. Even Kenny Lofton is playing well--a perfect example of crappy, washed-up players joining the Yankees and somehow becoming better than they truly are.

Fuck.

This feels terrible.

Here Goes Nothing

We'll take all the luck we can tonight. Even if it is in the shape of a Dominican midget that Pedro seems to have decided is some sort of charm.

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Monday, October 11, 2004

ALCS

Why?

Yanks vs. Sox again. I feel like it was a few months ago when I stormed out of the house and onto the street after Game 7, leaving my poor sister to sob alone in my room.

Are we ready for this? I don't mean the teams. I mean the fans. Shouldn't there be some rule about needing a breather year in between these type of things? This might be too much. The rivalry has been so hot on the field for the last three years, but it's been even more heated in the stands. As my friend Dave (Yankee fan) noted, after this is all over "the streets of New England will be flowing with someone's blood."

Now don't get me wrong. I'm excited. I feel good about the Sox's chances. They're a different team this year and so are the Yankees. But I can't help but think about last year's series. Parts of it are so vivid in my mind, and others are clouded by psychological barriers erected after Boone hit his inevitable home run in the 11th inning.

I remember the power of our bathroom last year. First Nish found that if he left the room and went to go to the bathroom with the radio on in there, the Sox would do something great. The key was, you had to be DOING something in the bathroom at the time. You couldn't just sit on the toilet and pretend. Whoever controls this stuff knew exactly what was going on. Therefore we had to take turns during key spots in the games. I can't forget sitting on the toilet when I thought the Sox were going to bite it in Game 6 and Manny and Ortiz tied the game that they went on to win.

I remember walking around in a kind of daze before Game 7. All day I was doing work, but I couldn't concentrate on anything. I was so excited and so nervous.

That's all back now.

In typical playoff baseball fashion, I have been run by superstitions during the Sox games this October. I wear the same T-shirt. My Sox hat rests in same spot each game. I sit in the same exact spot on the couch.

I don't know if I can continue this, though. I tried to take my superstitions from the Oakland ALDS series last year into the Yankees series with no success. Perhaps I need to create a new set altogether.

These are things I think about on the eve of this series. Am I ready for it? You bet. Am I scared? Absolutely. Is it ridiculous to talk this way about baseball? Perhaps...but no.

No.


P.S. Tim McCarver is a bastard, partisan Yankee broadcaster in national broadcaster cloth. I would love to hear New Yorkers scream and howl if we had Jerry Remy do the color call on Fox. What a crappy network, with their exploding radar gun numbers and fucking Dodge Ram bass line segues.

P.P.S. Today in a press conference, Curt Schilling stated, "I'm not sure I can think of any scenario more enjoyable than making 55,000 people from New York shut up."

Hot.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Upstairs 90s Party

The guy who lives directly above Nish and myself is strange. I have never spoken to him, nor have I had any other communication with him, directly that is. I think he is sending us an indirect message, however. The message? Let's party like it's 1999.

Almost every night we are bombarded by his stereo as it sends thumping, sub-woofing bass lines through the plaster of our ceiling. When he turns the volume up high we are also fortunate enough to make out the treble range of his Hi-Fi hypnosis, giving us the joy of knowing exactly what song he is playing at the time.

And it just so happens that these songs are often by a little band known as--you guessed it--Ace of Base.

Yes, my friends, just the other night Nish and I were serenaded by strains of "She leads a lonely life...oh ohohhhh..." and "Life is demanding, without understanding..."

His dubious plan does not end with simply pounding our psyches with Scandinavian pop. It seems my upstairs music-lover is also an aficionado of the entire _____ Jamz series, including but not limited to:

Jock Jamz
All Star Jock Jamz
ESPN Presents: Jock Jamz 5
Ultimate
Stadium Jamz

In addition to my sudden urge to gain about 80lbs, paint my naked chest and dance around to these spectacular albums while screaming at imaginary television cameras, I have also unconsciously ordered several thousand glow sticks online. Why, you ask? But of course, to "do crazy glowstick techno hand motions" with.

It's not always 90s, however. I'll give him that. He can change it up every once in a while with a fringe act that covers multiple decades. Last weekend he busted out Madonna's Immaculate Collection in its entirety. And then some. The single disc somehow played for about three hours.

Seriously, folks. Throw on whatever neon you own, perhaps a flannel shirt or two around your waist, some parachute pants and wonderbras if you've got 'em and come on over to dance the Macarena. For here at 484 Commercial St. it's all 90s, all the time.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Church? What happened to you?

Yesterday Joc and I were walking around downtown, ambling around the Christian Science mall on a beautiful day and walking into a shopping mall as one is prone to do at times. First off, I would like to say that as someone who does not often frequent malls, I was surprised and a little scared by the fact that the Prudential Mall and Copley Place, two malls that are several blocks apart in the city, actually connect to each other with some sort of horrifying umbilical tunnel of commerce.

More disturbing, however, was the fact that apparently there is a chapel in one of malls (I don't know which because they confused me with their incestuous web of connections until I didn't know where I was anymore). There was a chapel, and a packed Mass or service or whatever you want to call it being held while we were there. In a mall.

Jocelyn's natural reaction of course was, "If my church were in a mall, I would go every Sunday!"

How does this work? Is the church affiliated with the mall? Is it the First Commercial Church, where instead of communion wafers you eat Necco wafers from one of those bulk CandyConnection stores? Where with each dollar you put in the collection plate you receive 1% off any purchase from the Cinnebon next door where the congregation gathers for fellowship and Bible/Sale Circular study following the service?

On a similar note, after we walked back to the North End, we could hear bells from the Old North church pealing over our heads and through the streets of my quaint neighborhood. As we got closer to the historical landmark, we noticed there was an abnormally large amount of animals outside its doors. When I say abnormally for a church, you probably think maybe one or two. No, like 40 different pets and their owners were outside taking pictures and shit.

Apparently there had been some sort of Pet Blessing service an hour earlier, where people brought their pets to be blessed and lined up as if to take communion, only to have their pets' heads touched individually by the minister. What the hell is that!?

My real question: Are they cool with snakes considering the Biblical implications and all? I'm betting no one brought a snake to be blessed at the service, because snake-owners are weird and creepy. But what would happen if someone did? Now there's food for thought.