No explanation needed

January 29, 2009

Maybe he could get a cell with a view of the outfield?


Blagojevich: HE GONE!

January 29, 2009

The flying circus that was the Rod Blagojevich administration is now a matter of history.  Rod, we hardly knew yeh.


edit:  It is now 5:10 local time, and not 18 minutes have passed since the conviction in the senate.  Local news is outside the Blagojevich estate, watching his security personnel removing the governor’s personal effects from security vehicles, and driving off.  It is like the passengers of the Titanic running for the last lifeboat.

One teenager was seen outside his home wearing a box on his head with the words “Alfred E. Newman for Governor”.

Lt. Governor Quinn (not yet sworn in) has informed the former governor that he has 24 hours to clear out his offices.  Illinois has no mechanism for replacing a Lt. Governor, so there will be no new Lt. Governor until there is an election.

Joe Torre on the Yankees

January 25, 2009,136637


Joe Torre, the more than respectable manager of the Dodgers, formerly the long time manager of the Yankees, and likely a shoe in to the Hall of Fame for his success with the Yankees has written a book about his experience.

Seemingly to the surpise of no one except Yankees fans, people in the New York advertising community, and ESPN executives, Mr. Torre has a lot of negative things to say about the Bronx Bombers.  Among other things:

— Yankee teammates did not like Alex Rodriguez (he’s likely a nice guy, but once he’s on your team, you can bet the World Series isn’t in the picture).

— Yankee team doctors informed Yankee ownership of Torre’s cancer before informing Torre himself.

— Despite countless division titles, AL championships, and World Series championships, Yankee GM refused to speak in his defense at his final meeting with Yankee leadership.

On the one hand, writers of tell-all books generally lose respect, unless they are in fact of acting in the role of a whistle blower for something insidious.  In this case, the Yankees are insidious for baseball.  Joe Torre is a respected manager.  Anyone outside of New York Yankeedom has known for years that the Yankees are not a very respectable organization anymore.  Thus, all things being equal:  Joe Torre’s claims vs. Yankee denials, most of the baseball world will believe Joe Torre, and will certainly not think less of him for giving the inside scoop on the organization damaging baseball more than any other.

High School Sports and Violence in Chicago

January 23, 2009

The past year has been far from a good one for teenagers in Chicago.  The murder rate is high for young children.  Hardly a weekend goes by when another teenager is buried after being shot.

This past weekend, a school in Chicago has seen violence at consecutive basketball games …. one of their players was shot after a game, and yesterday night, a fight broke out on the court after the game.  Amazingly:  the school in question is North Lawndale College Prep;  one of the better schools in the Chicago Public School System.

After this and other problems at games this year, the CPS has decided to take some drastic steps:

1.  All varsity games will start at 4 pm.  This is to keep the number of fans down, and to get the games over before it gets too late.

2.  Visiting team fans are not welcome.

3.  If there is a history of problems between the two teams, there will be no fans allowed to attend the game.

Imagine that:  no parents allowed!

As a person who has worked football, basketball, wrestling, swimming, etc, etc at high schools for years, I can tell you that there are some parents, and some students who do not “get” what high school athletics is about.  For the most part, they are singled out, ejected, and have been told in no uncertain terms that they have lost their privilege to attend games on campus.  In one case, I know of a parent who attended an away game, and was identified by our administration to the opposing school, who kept a close eye on him until he screwed up, and was ejected.  Football dads, soccer moms …. basketball parents …. I have seen them all.

It is simple:  parents and fans:  you may be trying to make sure your kid knows how much they love you, or you may be trying to attract a lot of attention because you like to draw a lot of attention:  DON’T!!  You are embarassing your kid (you can’t believe how sad it is to see a high school boy cry when he sees mom hauled out of the gym.

Now having said that the bad apples are the distinct vocal minority, I agree with the CPS and their extreme measures.  Why?  The CPS does not have the personnel to provide adequate security at games when the troublemaker minority is a little bigger than at most schools.  When you are overmatched, you have to sometimes take extreme measures, and I think that is where the CPS is at.

There is something of a conundrum that has not come to pass yet, but soon might:

We are currently in the heart of conference play, so the Chicago Public Schools are all playing themselves.  However, as February rolls in, this will change.  When the State playoffs start, some Chicago Public Schools are scheduled to host suburban schools in the state playoffs.  Some of those state playoff games will certainly be the last game in the high school career of a lot of players.  Suburban parents may be currently shrugging their shuolders and saying “what do you expect from City kids”, but that could be an issue when they are the visiting parents not invited to attend their son/daughter’s game.

Time will tell how this sad state of affairs plays out.

Vive le French Poodle!

January 22, 2009


The headline:  “Former French President Chirac hospitalised after mauling by his clinically depressed poodle

It only sounds like a joke.  In fact, it appears to be true.  the former president of the French was treated as an outpatient.  And yes, the dog is being treated for depression.

My grandmother owned a poodle … vicious nasty rat dog that it was.  It is quite possibly the only breed of dog that I have not so fond memories of (those that I have actually met).

White Sox House

January 21, 2009

I’m going to pass along just two things about our new president.

1.  There is great reason to celebrate the fact that the United States finally overcame one of its greatest demons in electing a president with African heritage.  Racism is sadly far from gone, but this is a great moment for people who sat there hearing about America: The Land of Opportunity, where anyone could be anything they wanted, and then knowing that certain jobs were pretty much off limits.

I also postulate that just as important is Mr. Obama’s mixed racial heritage.  I work with a gentleman who is caucasian, and married to a wonderful woman who happens to be African-American.  It has weighed heavily on him for many years about his children (a fine son, and a cute as a button young daughter).  The worry is of course that there are White communities and African-American communities, but not too many spots in society for people who fit into both or neither.  To say the least, both he and his wife worked diligently on Mr. Obama’s campaign, and both stayed at home with their son to watch someone just like him become president.

I’m pretty conservative in many areas, and left of center in others.  I’ve not been a fan of Mr. Bush’s policies, and am not automatically sold that Mr. Obama is the savior of the nation.  I wish him all the best of luck in getting things not only fixed, but getting the nation on the right course in areas we have never been on the right course for.  Sometimes, it requires a man who can instill hope like that to get things moving.  Here’s hoping that he moves in the right direction.

2.  In addition to his many heritages, here is a rather funny animation from Youtube reminding us all that he is not just from the Sout’ Side ….. but Sout’ Side Irish!


2009 films — firming up

January 19, 2009

Now that 2009 is in, and frankly after six days off due to holiday, weekend, and weather, I thought I would peruse the films up and coming.


Outlander (limited opening Jan. 23)

An alien crashes to Earth in medieval Scandanavia, and must forge an alliance with the local Vikings to destroy a large alien predator that he has brought with him.  The trailer showed promise:  Alien meets Beowulf, sans the half-naked Angelina Jolie.  I wonder if the English teachers at school will schedule a last minute field trip.


 Fanboys (February 6)

Based loosely (very loosely) on a true story, a group of Star Wars fans travel to California to get a copy of Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace so that their friend can see it before he dies.  I can hope it is funny.


Under the Sea 3D (February 13)

A sequel to Disney’s Deep Sea, Jim Carey narrates this nature documentary showing the wildlife in the oceans off of Australia, and the effects of global warming on the oceans.


Watchmen (March 6)

I know nothing about the graphic novel this is based on, but the look seems interesting.  The March 6 date was contingent on a lawsuite with the studio, but that looks to be over, and the show is back on.  The murder of a costumed hero prompts an investigation by other heroes.  In short:  a superhero movie very likely unlike any other.


Race to Witch Mountain (March 13)

A brother and sister with out of this world powers are aided by a cab driver and an astrophysicist in their attempt to return to their spacecraft, and to head off an invasion of the Earth.  It sounds a little darker than the original films of the 1970s, though I can only think that it balances “the Rock’s” appearance in the film.


Monsters vs. Aliens (March 27)

Not the latest installment in the Ellen Ripley saga, this is an animated pic from Dreamworks.  The government has been collecting citizens who have been transformed into monsters.  They come in handy when aliens come to Earth and humanity needs someone to defend them.  Reese Witherspoon and Stephen Colbert are among the voice talents.


Earth (April 24)

Whittled from the British documentary Planet Earth, James Earl Jones takes over for Patrick Stewart as narrator for this odyssey which follows whales, polar bears, and elephants on their annual migrations.


X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1)

Hugh Jackman is back in this prequel to the X-Men franchise that shows the beginnings of the surly, gruff-but-lovable adamantium skeletoned antihero.  One of the big developments will be if the film will be as dark as director Galvin Hood wants, or if the studio gets the warm fuzzy PG-13 rating it wants.


Star Trek (May 8)

J.J. Abrams is really throwing out a lot of history to rebuild the mighty franchise.  Undoubtedly, there will be longtime fans who will be howling from the rafters, though it might just grow a new generation of fans who (sadly) gave up on the franchise.  The trailer has been one the most popular trailers listing at imdb for several months (both the initial teaser, and then both actual trailers).  This means that there may be enough people out there ready to jump on board again, or that a few fanboys have been watching them over and over and over again.  Either is possible.  I hope J.J. hits a home run on this one!


Terminator Salvation (May 22)

The long (25 years) awaited prequel to James Cameron’s seminal work puts none other than The Dark Knight himself (Christian Bale) in the role of humanity’s savior, John Connor, as he leads the rag tag humans in their push to destroy SkyNet (with lots and lots of terminators in the way).  The governor will not be in attendance.  Anton Yelchin, who will be handling the role of Pavel Chekov in Star Trek slips into the fatigues (but not Linda Hamilton ;-0) of Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese.  The big question will be if the director (McG) can overcome a less than stellar past of directing to bring home a film that could finally end the franchise on a high note.


Land of the Lost (June 5)

Will Ferrell stars in this spoof of an already pretty cheese laden 1970s kid show which will have everything from Chaka and Tyrannosaurs to pylons and sleestaks.  Can you spoof something that is already that cheesey?


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 29)

I was disappointed when Optimus and co. came to the big screen.  Great effects, but I didn’t think much of the story or character development.  This time, the Deceptacons are coming to Earth for revenge.  Word is:  after the success of the first film, Michael Bay secured a much bigger budget which will allow dozens of robot-vehicles to be brought to life (c’mon Dinobots!).  I am not convinced I would like this one better, and may wait to see this on disc.


The Wolf Man (November 6)

With all of the tween vampire and werewolf inspired films out there filled with budding romance, modern angles, and kiddy fare, its time to go back to where it started with Lon Chaney’s original turn as the man beast.  Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro takes on the role of the doomed nobleman while Anthony Hopkins plays dear old dad.  The trailer really seems to emphasize the gothic aspects of the film.  Throw in Hugo Weaving and this film appears to be a can’t miss.


The Box (November 6)

Cameron Diaz stars in this film inspired by an episode of the 1986 version of The Twilight Zone written by Richard Matheson.  A couple receive a box which allows them to strike it rich, as long as they don’t mind a total stranger dying.