Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday Stuff

Best Headline of the Week. From the British paper The Telegraph:
"Polygamy Doesn't Work, Says Father of 77."

Consumer Reports Does it Again. Last week,
we ridiculed the silliest "coverage" of Earth Day. So we owed you the opposite. The best of the bunch, we thought, was this comprehensive Earth Day Guide from Consumer Reports. Simply sublime.

Thuggish Scalia Goes Public to Plug His Book. If I could still be shocked by anything our thuggish federal government does, one of the most shocking things would be that a creep named Antonin Scalia could actually sit on the Supreme Court. Scalia (who spent a few years in Cleveland, working for the law firm Jones Day) is so disdainful of democracy and of democratic traditions that he really would be a better fit to preside over a court somewhere in a banana republic, where his creepy views and thuggish tactics wouldn't stick out so obviously. The Reuters news agency
notes that the famously private justice, whose security detail once forced reporters to erase the tape they made of a public speech he gave (it would have taken about five of them to hold me down for that), is now opening up with the media. Why? He happens to have a new book out. Here's hoping the public will treat his book the same way he treats the public.

Okay, I Admit It: I'm Shallow. I would have loved to attend this presentation the other night. Wilson is a first-class thinker and writer on a crucial topic, probably the leading authority on the issue of urban poverty. But it would have meant missing part of the Cavs playoff game. Sorry, but that's simply not going to happen. For my penance, I've assigned myself the task of reading/listening to a few articles by and interviews of Dr. Wilson (if you'd like to do the same, you could start with this, this and this). Eventually, I hope to read his classic book.

Okay, I Admit It: I'm Shallow (Part 2). Rush Limbaugh famously observed on his idiot radio show, in a knock on the idea of electing Hillary Clinton, that Americans don't want to watch a woman age in the White House. Perhaps Hillary could take a page from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently wore a dress with an alarming (for some people) abundance of decollatage for a world leader. It apparently received considerable media attention. I thought it was wonderful, though. She'd get my vote. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Hillary to duplicate it any time soon.

Doing What Wild Animals Tend to Do. I loved this small detail from a Los Angeles Times
account of the tragic killing of an animal trainer by a 700-lb. bear used in several Hollywood films. "For unknown reasons, the bear lunged at 39-year-old Stephan Miller..." Unknown reasons? How about the fact that it's a wild animal doing what nature groomed it to do?

Stop the Presses! Party girl
Jenna Bush may not support McCain for president. Gosh, can his campaign ever survive such a blow? After all, who has more moral authority than she?

Finally, NPR's Michael Feldman got off a good joke this morning. During a riff about the Texas polygamist clan, he noted that the state is being forced to decide whether the children have been abused. After all, their knowledge of the outside world is so spotty that they didn't know who the president of the United States is. He concluded with the observation that "it's the state's burden to show why that's a bad thing."


At 11:43 AM, Blogger TJ Sullivan said...

Did you see the 60-Minutes piece on Scalia this past Sunday?

I came away feeling so conflicted ... dirty ... like I'd been to a Juarez Donkey Show and really, really enjoyed myself. I actually thought Scalia seemed like the sort of guy I'd enjoy having beers with but ... wait ... I've read his opinions and ... Lesley Stahl, what did you put in my drink?

At 2:06 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

No, damn, I had intended to watch it, because what could be more interesting than that spectacle, but I forgot in the heat of NBA playoff watching. Just remember, TJ, that he probably had the benefit of thousands of dollars of professional media coaching, perhaps supplied by his publisher, focused on trying to make him seem identifiably human despite his cruel soulessness. Is there a more meanspirited person in public life than he? If so, they don't immediately come to mind. But by all means, gentle readers, do share some names, if you feel so moved.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

PS: your Lakers (can I assume you're a Lakers fan given your current coordinates, or do you retain your native affinity for the Pistons?) sure looked sharp last night. I stayed up till past 1 a.m. my time watching the end of their tight game. Kobe looked like the second coming of...Lebron! Now, wouldn't that be a fun finals series...

At 11:19 AM, Blogger TJ Sullivan said...

RE Lakers... Ok, you started this ... ;)

I wish they were MY Lakers ... MY Clippers ... MY Kings ... MY Dodgers ... My Angels ... however ... I am, as you know, a midwesterner by birth, had the red transistor radio dangling from the handlebars of my banana-seat bicycle every sweltering summer as a kid, always tuned to WJR's broadcasts of Tiger games with Ernie Harwell (and sometimes the Watergate hearings). The only TV I ever knew until I went to college was a black-and-white box no bigger than my current microwave oven with a telescoping antenna on top, good enough to get WDIV, The Detroit Tiger Network, with George Kell and Al Kaline (someone please tell me why I can't find a single reference to Kaline Cola on Google). So, as you can probably tell, my heart belongs to Motown, no matter how many times all those Motown teams have broke my heart, rioted on it, burned it, turned it over, etc... I love them the way only a Detroiter could ...

EXCEPT for The Pistons.

The Detroit Pistons are a sham ... They do Detroit no good. (And, I'm not just mad about how they perpetuated the stereotype that Detroit is a pit of hell full of brazen bad boys with no respect for rules or authority ... well, ok ... Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick hasn't help either but at least Kwame Kilpatrick is IN Detroit.) The Pistons are suburban posers (I couldn't even point to Auburn Hills on a map. I don't even think it was there when I was a kid) ...

The Lakers, however, make up for all that, because The Lakers, like me, are Detroiters by birth.

The Detroit Gems, an NBL team in the late 1940s, left Detroit to become the Minneapolis Lakers, then, of course, left Minneapolis to become the LA Lakers.

To love The Lakers is to love myself.

Unlike The Pistons, The Lakers ARE part of the city they represent, they play IN Los Angeles, whatever LA is supposed to be. LA is so unlike any other city, so spread out and apart, more than 100 different municipalities stitched together to make the Greater LA Area, which in terms of jurisdictional boundaries makes LA more of a state of mind than New York purports to be. And yet, The Lakers play IN LA. Even if you're not a Laker fan, not a TV watcher, not a sports page reader, still you know when the Lakers are doing well. You see the fanatic with four purple flags on his car ... you overhear strangers talking about it on the bus (some of us actually take the bus in LA, and, contrary to popular opinion, we even walk) ... You get stuck in the traffic if you're anywhere near Staples Center when there's a game. So ... to answer your question in this rambling, stream-of-consciousness, un-edited way ... Your're absolutely right to assume I like MY Lakers, and especially Kobe.

How could any serious writer not like Kobe?

He used the word "myriad" during a televised interview the other day.


At 11:26 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Wow! Just damn dazzlign stuff, TJ. Perhaps the most interesting, lively and literate comment ever left on this blog in its five year history. With your permission, I'd love to re-post this, where no one can miss it. And I sure learned something about the Lakers bloodlines. I knew about the Minneapolis version, of course, given George Mikan, but never knew they actually began life in Detroit. The things you can learn by blogging...
Anyway, thanks again for adding so brilliantly to the conversation.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger TJ Sullivan said...

Sure... re-post away, though ... I really was rambling (ranting?). :)

Wikipedia has a history page on the Lakers at this link.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger TJ Sullivan said...

And... don't get me started on "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" ...


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