Saturday, October 11, 2003

A little more news from Boston:

Last week, an NPR sports show produced at one of the local stations broadcast a skit about a Cubs vs. Red Sox World Series, which featured an interview with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, chowing down on hot dogs in the Fenway Park bleachers during game seven while waiting for their cue.

Well, the Sox aren't in the World Series yet, but as you know if you watched Saturday's playoff game with the Yankees, things are starting to get weird here already. The cover of Saturday's Boston Herald -- a classless cartoon of ace Pedro Martinez hog-tying Yankee pitcher (and former Sox ace) Roger Clemens -- didn't seem to presage anything good, and regrettably, it didn't. The game began with a subpar outing from Martinez marred by an apparent beanball, and ended with a grounds crew member scuffling with a Yankee relief pitcher in the bullpen in the ninth. And then there was the bench-clearing nonsense in the middle, starting when Manny Ramirez became incensed at a Roger Clemens pitch which was well out of the strike zone... high, and reaching its climax when Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer apparently charged at Martinez, and quickly demonstrated to the satisfaction of all concerned that he is no longer in fighting trim. But you wouldn't know about the fan I heard calling in to sports talk radio after the game, in tears and sounding on the verge of a nervous breakdown because, he said, they weren't doing enough sacrifice bunts -- or about the bulletin that Zimmer is in a hospital overnight for observation.

The game four pitching matchup does not appear to favor the Red Sox -- but the game one pitching matchup didn't either, and the Sox won. So, the Red Sox could certainly come away with a win to even the series. Stranger things have happened. The way this series is going, stranger things will.

Friday, October 10, 2003

The New York Times is wondering why exactly Dubya's crew insists on maintaining total control of what's going on in Iraq, and rejecting Kofi Annan's call for multilateral control and a near-term, meaningful transfer of sovereignty.:

Mr. Annan's approach is the wiser one. ... Prolonging unilateral American rule serves no obvious security purpose and guarantees that the United States will remain the primary target of postwar Iraqi resentments.

Perhaps they should consider the advice someone once gave to another few journalists: "Follow the money". Would a multilateral, much less an independant Iraqi authority throw out the Bahraini cell phone operators who were briefly offering service in Baghdad, so they could let an exclusive contract to MCI, a corrupt, but well-connected American telecom firm with no experience running cell phone networks? Would they allow American defense contractors to skim the cream off every major construction project in the country?

Hardly likely.

Doing well by the Iraqis would be nice, but they first have the interests of Halliburton to consider...

I initially wrote that the American contractors were hiring Iraqi subcontractors to do the work, but that may be giving them too much credit...

It's been a truism for some folks for quite some time that to be neutral in disputes between the powerful and the powerless is to take the side of the powerful. For economists, it's a little different; they can only say the same thing once they've managed to come up with a mathematical proof...
A little news from Boston: you'd think that everyone around here would be excited about the Red Sox. But Steve Gisselbrecht has other priorities:

October 8, 2003: Audrey Ryan Band, Tristan da Cunha, Starr Faithfull, and Francis Kim Band at T.T. the Bear's Place

Fucking Red Sox! This is perhaps the most tragically underattended show I've ever been to, so people can watch grown men play with balls and sticks? Please.

Opening up, for me and about half a dozen of their friends, are Francis Kim Band. Initially, I like them. They have a kind of dated, soft-rock sound that's fun for the first song or two, and their lead singer is excellent. He's a tiny little guy, (they have a song called "5-foot-4") but he's got a huge voice, and he uses it really well. Their drummer is also strikingly good; just always that little bit more complicated than he needs to be. I like that. There is also good harmony. But after a few songs the safe, polished, radio-friendly sound starts to get me down. Genuine talent, but not my thing.

Fortunately, I'm here to see Starr Faithfull, and they give me the ass-kicking I came here for. Those ridiculous baseball players are still trying to suck all the life out of the room--at one point there are three of us in the audience--and the band could let this get to them, but they go all out. ...

This was the night the Red Sox won, by the way. There aren't many people around here who really believe in the curse of the Bambino... but here's someone who wants to.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

The Gematriculator rates this blog as 32% evil -- but the detailed analysis shows that its analysis is based in part on the CSS from the blog template. You know, I always was a little suspicious of that stuff...
So, now it's Governor Schwarzenegger, for at least a little while -- it's no surprise that the politcal junki activists at the Daily Kos are up in arms, but even some of the usually milder-mannered crowd at CalPundit are talking Total Recall.

In the meantime, this is something of a watershed. Dubya got elected despite very thin and unconvincing policy positions because the national press took them seriously (or at least pretended to). Arnold barely tried to advance any substantive positions, was mocked for that, and got elected anyway, more or less by playing on his looks, deriding the incumbent, and promising of something different -- no matter that the math laughably failed to add up.

And on the other coast, we have K Street, an entertainment program featuring real politicians playing themselves interacting with fictional lobbyists, blurring the lines between entertainment and politics the other way. And with all that, you have to wonder if people are losing track of a critical difference between the two. In entertainment, people are supposed to just make shit up. That's their job. In politics, though, there comes a point at which you need more than a good story. Things have to work. We'll see how soon they figure that out in California.