INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Thursday, January 30, 2003

The Home of the Sacrosanct

Jonathon Delacour's post today, "The sanctity of (American) life." expresses my reaction to the State of the Union Address more briilliantly than anything I've seen so far. Here's one of the best bloggers around and he's not been on my blogroll. Thanks to Burningbird for mentioning us in the same post. It brought me to my senses. Sorry, Jonathan, for the oversight--which has now been corrected.

Gift From the North

I always enjoy Thursdays nights. The hip local station, KFOG, has a show called “New Releases Thursdays.” It’s a great way to keep current for over-the-hill gang members like me who don’t get around so much anymore.

This week, they’re pushing Kathleen Edwards--the latest in a long and distinguished line of pop music artists from Canada. She’s the best new artist I’ve heard in a long time. None other than Rolling Stone Magazine seems to agree. She’s made their “The Next Wave: Ten to Watch” May her star rise swiftly.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Bust For Boomtown?

My favorite cop show this year, Boomtown, the new drama from NBC, hasn’t been on for a few weeks, so I went to their site to see what’s up. The site proclaims, ominously, “An upcoming episode has not yet been selected. Please check back later.” Uh,oh. . .

Then, I see a review in the local paper for a new NBC drama, “Kingpin.” It’s in the same time slot where Boomtown was. It’s scheduled all the way into March—in that same slot. Why don’t the shitheads at NBC just admit it—Boomtown is getting the axe. NBC used to be the one network that had a reputation for sticking with quality shows and allowing some time for an audience to develop. No more, apparently.

I was afraid this would happen. Boomtown was too intelligent, and too innovative in its format and story line to draw an audience in today’s vacuous entertainment climate. The replacement, “Kingpin,” sounds like a poor man’s Sopranos—featuring L.A. Mexicans and, you guessed it—drugs—instead of New Jersey Italians and labor racketeering.

Latinos/Drugs—how overworked is that one? I’m not holding my breath. Network TV has reached a dumbed-down level this year that rivals the bad old days. Thank God for HBO.

As for the fate of Boomtown, maybe my fellow fan of the show, Dave Rogers, Professor of All Things Southern Californian, has heard some scuttlebutt down there in the palm canyons. Tell me it ain’t so, Dave.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

The Wagers of the Son

My oldest son, Aaron, has returned from Reno, where he went to the sports-book parlors to place wagers on the Super Bowl. His wallet is now three digits fatter to the left of the decimal.

Aaron is a disciplined sports bettor. We both remarked, after watching Tampa Bay decimate the Eagles the week before the Super Bowl, that nobody, not even the Raiders, was going to beat the Bucs. Aaron is the kind of bettor that can put his emotions aside and keep it scientific. I don’t have that capability. I couldn’t bring myself to bet against the team I was rooting for, so I had to refrain from placing any wagers on the game.

Aaron goes up to the Reno sports books five or six times a year and wins 80% of the time. He never lets his emotions cloud his judgment. Sometimes I think I should have my retirement money riding with him instead of the pathetic stock market. But it wouldn’t work because, if Aaron had his Dad’s money riding on a proposition, his emotions would then become a factor. That’s the kiss of death in gambling. .

Years ago, before moving into the responsibilities of marriage and child-rearing, I was a semi-accomplished horse player. I managed to put together a nice string of winnings. But gambling is probably the greatest leveling force there is. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, the universe turns on a dime and bites you right in the ass.

You cannot gamble repeatedly, even if you’re knowledgeable and disciplined, without encountering the occasional crippling losing streak. If you’re good enough, you can come out ahead in the end, But very, very few—certainly not me--have what it takes to ride out the disastrous streaks and keep their composure.

I figured that it was more work to do that than to work, so I never became tempted to leave my day job. Fortunately, Aaron isn’t either. But he does have enough talent and the right temperament to have carved out a nice little sidelight for himself.

In exchanging observations on the game, Aaron and I both remarked that, while Gannon is an outstanding quarterback, we couldn’t imagine that Montana, Young or Elway, no matter how good a defense they were facing, would EVER let themselves get outsmarted and slaughtered like that. Anyone agree? Just thinking about that proposition makes me realize how much I miss those guys. There’s no replacing people like that.

Minding the Blood Pressure

I’ve always watched the State of the Union addresses, regardless of who was in office. This year, however, with the urging of my wife, I can’t bring myself to do it. Taking care of my blood pressure has become an important part of my life these days. Watching this man rallying the people to his insane policies, and being lustily applauded for it, is clearly not what the doctor ordered for this blogger.

Nothing is more guaranteed to get my blood boiling than watching this Teddy Roosevelt wanna-be squinting his eyes into that bellicose glare and jabbing his finger into the air, alienating the entire rest of the world, friend and foe alike, putting out this mindless bluster in my name and yours, making me feel almost squeamish to be an American.

No, instead, Jill and I have elected to dust off an as-yet unwatched tape of a made-for-HBO movie, “Hysterical Blindness,” starring Uma Thurman, Juliette Lewis, and Gena Rowlands.

Is that not a perfect title for alternative TV watching tonight?

Monday, January 27, 2003

Name That Incursion

Doc reflects on Bush v. Saddam and arrives at a semantic question:

Note that I don't say the upcoming U.S. war against Iraq. That's because the Bush administration is being careful to isolate enemy status to one man and his "regime," which Bush hopes to "change." In other words, what he wants is a coup, preferably from inside, but from outside, if need be.

So: we need a word, or a phrase, for this. Since the French gave us coup d'etat, how about an expression that means the same thing, imposed from the outside by military force?"

Maybe “preemptive strike?” – which Bush and Gang are claiming as their sovereign right. But it doesn’t quite fit. Preemption may or may not have overthrow as its objective. If we stick to the French, maybe “coup d’étrangère?”

How about “illegal invasion?”

Sunday, January 26, 2003

More Fellow-Traveling

This is sort of an adjunct to my preceding post.

Jeneane and Elaine, in the Comments section of Elaine’s blog have an exchange in which they express the desire of an older blogger to try to steer the younger ones in the right direction. I don’t share that feeling at all. After all, the forty-year old of today lives in a different world than the one I inhabited in my forties.

Elaine mentions the fact that we sexagenarians have won some battles that the forty-somethings still have to deal with. But, as was the case with my children learning to become independent and to be their own people, all I could do was to provide a model. The rest was strictly up to them. As for providing models, by the way, Elaine does an outstanding job of it with her blogging. That’s where the value really is.

As for advice, shit, I'm still struggling right along with the younger folks. It's just a different battle, and, like the youngsters, I have to learn as I go.

I must say, though, after thinking about it, that it would be awfully nice if there were an active group of bloggers in their 80's and 90's sharing their experience. That would be helpful to me.

Maybe my relaization of this value that older bloggers could provide will help give me some impetus to share more of my own experience. When I'm feeling cynical, I tend to dismiss the effort. I start assuming that I should find something better to do. I start suspecting that if there's any value to younger bloggers through sharing my experience, it's more likely to be as entertainment rather than educational.

Anyway, thanks to Elaine and Jeneane for opening up an important conversation

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Fellow Travelers

Very nice piece by Jeneane today—“blogging our journey”---on age and blogging perspective:

“Naturally, I hyperlink in my head to what blogging must feel like for the 20-somethings who've grown up online (like we didn't), and for the 60-somethings who are braver than most of my relatives of the same age for just being online. If bloggers are, in some way, a family--which many of us have said is so--then our ages, our birth order, do come into play in what we say, what we write, how we relate. No? I think yes. Not every post, certainly, but in the bigger picture of our blogs. . .

. . . I admire Elaine and other bloggers of age for mostly taking a seat beside us as you watch us fumble along--sometimes succeeding, sometimes realizing, sometimes hesitating--on a road of years you've already traveled. For trying to stay positive and reassuring as we find our own way. Please do that--we need it.”

You know what, Jeneane? The opportunity to provide some positve perspective and reassurance to our younger blogging friends—which, unfortunately is about 98% of all bloggers—is much more of a gift to us than to you. It’s a crying shame that there aren’t more of my age peers out here in the blogosphere. They don’t know what they’re missing.

But the real thrill is not dispensing advice or reassurance. The juice that matters comes from the opportunity to fumble right along with all the younger bloggers. We may be in a different place—a good place, mostly—but the mysteries and perplexities of living don’t disappear. They just morph into some new disguise. And banging it out on the keyboards with a bunch of other souls of all ages is,----well, precious. It transforms what might be a time of vague dread to one of discovery and expectation.

Sounds almost like youth, doesn’t it?


It’s time for some overdue additions to the blogroll.

I’m a firm believer in reciprocal linking, so long as the blog that I discover linking to me is one that I find appealing. Such is definitely the case with Stanton Finley’s “Observations,” a quality blog in both content and appearance. Thanks, Stanton, for having me on your roll. Wish I’d discovered you sooner.

The other addition is Adina Levin's “BookBlog.” One of the great plusses in having a Comments feature is the occasional discovery of excellent blogs. Adina commented to one of my recent posts. It’s nice to be noticed, but finding an outstanding blog in the process is even better.

Like Stanton, Adina’s blog is a treat to the eyes as well as to read. A hearty welcome to both of you!

Friday, January 24, 2003

A Blogger’s Risk and Reward

I guess I spoke too soon when I asserted that Halley had come out of the Alpha Male controversy smelling like a rose with her blog post today. In a comment to my post, Burningbird takes stinging exception. I follow with an attempt to defend myself, but I must confess, it feels uncomfortable.

This is when blogging gets hard—at least for me. Some bloggers seem to thrive on the give and take of argument, but what’s involved here isn’t some arcane principle of technology or philosophy. It’s male/female—emotional stuff. These are waters that if one enters, one may get zapped. It’s not my nature to be a pot-stirrer. I just like to talk about my emotions sometimes, and Halley’s piece affected me emotionally. If that makes me a sucker, so be it. And, Bird, I don’t say that sarcastically. I really do respect your opinion.

Yes, the blogging may get uncomfortable at times like this, but herein lies a good chunk of its value. The risks of exposure have injected much-needed new juice into my life. Left to my own devices, I tend to be too freakin’ private.

I’m especially glad to be having this insight right now because pieces by Joe Clark and Mark Pilgrim which I read today—via Mike Golby--were leaving me rather depressed about the whole enterprise.

Halley's Hero

Halley Suitt lets forth today with the full flower of her prodigious blogging talents. In doing so, she extracts herself movingly from the Alpha Male donnybrook in which she's been swimming lately.

Congrats, Halley, on an extraordinary piece of writing!

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

George's High Water Jam

I didn't get around to much blogsurfing yesterday, and I missed George Partington's clever and entertaining post, "Talking Blogroll Blues." I would have liked to point people to it while it was fresh. But better late than never. If you haven't seen this delightful riff yet, don't deprive yourself.


Kathleen Goodwin, CEO of iMakeNews, a leading authority in e-newsletter marketing and a former VP of Ziff-Davis, provides her thoughts today in ClickZ on the potential for blogs in the marketing arena. I was one of the bloggers who urged Kathleen to flesh out her views on this subject, and she has been quick to respond.

Kathleen is taking credit for coining the term, B-Blogs, which I think is a good one. While her column today is a rather rudimentary analysis seemingly intended for the business person with little or no knowledge of blogging, she contributes to a conversation that needs advancing.

Cluetrainers will heartily approve of this assertion by Kathleen:

”Companies can (and should) encourage self-publishing from all corners of the organization. Employees who want to post information should no longer have to go through the corporate site's marketing gatekeepers to post”

However, she does not address the problem of convincing businesses to relinquish the gatekeeping function. That’s the big fly in this ointment, as I see it. Yes, it would be more enlightened and beneficial for them in the long run to loosen these reins, but how do you make a convincing case, and how do you implement it?

Kathleen, you’ll be hearing from me again, and I look forward to more of your cogent observations--and, hopefully, some practical proposals.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

More Reasons To Love the Web


As an excellent example of things to love about the Web (reason #5329, he calls it), Dave Rogers of Connect and Empower cites Denise Howell’s post on how she was able to keep abreast with what was happening on the recent Eldred decision even though she was totally swamped with work at the time.

This one is nicely articulated by Chris Pirillo:

“you're always one link away from changing the course of your day. Somewhere in this hyperworld there sits an individual who speaks to you through his or her words. Are you listening?”

Awesome sites like FishBase--a mind-boggling database of all the 27,000 species of fish in the known world, complete with photos and all pertinent data.

This site was put together by Dr. Daniel Pauly and his team at the Fisheries Centre of the University of British Columbia. Their purpose is to promote a global perspective and macro-awareness of the extreme danger facing most of the denizens of the seas—including the ones that we rely on for food.

Thanks to the New York Times for an informative article about Dr. Pauly’s work and the frightening consequences of ignoring this threat (just in case you needed something additional to be freaked about).

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Tinkering With Testosterone

Elaine is fantasizing about a strategy to bring under control the more unpleasant aspects of male behavior:

"Now, if we women understand that it makes both our lives and the lives of all around us better if we get our estrogen and progesterone under control so that we don’t become PMS bitches, why don’t the guys recognize that controlling their testosterone levels would make them so much humane and loveable. It wouldn’t make them less 'male,' just as controlling our hormone levels doesn’t make us less 'female.' "

C'mon, Elaine, you will never get a guy to willingly lower his testosterone level, ever. We're insecure enough as it is. We will have to evolve our way to more peaceful behavior, I'm afraid. It will be a mental process, not a hormonal one.

And, by the way, what about the female's part in all of this? When it comes to relating to the opposite sex, we guys are mere robotic stimulus-response mechanisms—totally predictable. We respond to what we think will gain us sexual favor. If the only way we could get laid were by being peaceful, how much more effect would that have than futile attempts to tinker with testosterone?

Last time I looked, there was no shortage of women willing and eager to bed down with the warriors.

Friday, January 17, 2003

The Muse Splits

This has probably been my thinnest week of blogging since I started—excluding the times that I was away on vacation. I’ve simply had nothing to say. I used to be embarrassed and upset by these dry spells—and afraid of losing readers.

I think I have a better perspective now. I’ve seen lots of mighty fine bloggers go through dry spells. It doesn’t dim their luster. I’m also realizing, perhaps more clearly than before, that my main reason for blogging is to engage in the pleasure of writing, and to have it appear somewhere for public scrutiny.

If I have nothing to say—as sometimes I don’t—trying to force the writing is no longer an act of pleasure. It becomes work. Why would I want to inflict that upon myself after having spent many a sweaty hour in my working life trying to cough up suitable scribblings for some boss or client?

As for losing readers, why would I want to get involved in that mindset? It’s the blogger’s version of making the sale. Now that I’m transitioning to the sunset years, why would I want to engage any further in the selling game—which is what the grasp for readers actually amounts to.

Having said that, I absolutely love having readers. But that can’t be the purpose of my blogging if it’s to remain a fulfilling avenue of pleasure. So—the dry spell will end when it ends, and the blog will move forward. Until then, my apologies for the current vacuum.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Two NFL Adieus: Mooch and “The Vet”

Not unexpectedly, the San Francisco 49ers have fired The Mooch—Steve Mariucci. Opinion around here is sharply divided. Mooch is a terrific guy--warm, unassuming, funny, easy for the players to get along with. But as a tactician, sorely lacking. The embarrassing and lopsided loss to Tampa Bay last week was the nail in the coffin.

Among other tactical shortcomings, Mooch failed to make adequate use of the most dangerous offensive weapon in the NFL—Terrell Owens. Inexcusable, IMO. Ergo, he needed to go.

Being a 49ers head coach is a pretty thankless job after the legendary reign of Bill Walsh. Anything less than a Super Bowl has come to be regarded as a failure by the Niner hierarchy.

We hope you land on your feet, Steve. You gave it your best shot, and you deserve a good sinecure somewhere.

As for ”The Vet,” that would be the notorious Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, which will see its last game this Sunday when the Eagles play the Bucs for the NFC title. The Vet has long been known as the vilest venue in sports in terms of ugliness, dangerous lack of upkeep, unruly fans, and menacing hostility to visiting teams and their fans.

Catch the article, "Football's Looniest Stadium," in today’s NY Times for a fascinating account of the amazing follies of this dreaded arena.

Monday, January 13, 2003

Deficts, Anyone?

Thanks to wood s lot for the pointer to the political blog, DailyKos. In case your anger and frustration need a little boost, Kos coughs up the following:

”Quite simply, all the money that was necessary to shore up Social Security, provide a Medicare drug benefit, pay for national security improvements, expand health insurance to the uninsured, fully fund the commitments Bush made in his education package, improve our infrastructure, improve our public health system, and clean up the environment will be obliterated by this man in his first two years on the job.”

Old-Timers Rule

Kudos to the Oakland Raiders for an outstanding performance against the NY Jets, who, up until yesterday, had been on a scary hot streak. The Jets’ young sensation, Chad Pennignton, had a rough day, but I’ll be surprised if he’s not the super-star QB of the future.

In the meantime, all the Raiders have to do is put away two more games and the Vince Lombardi trophy will be back in RaiderLand where it belongs. Wouldn’t it be great to see these wonderful old-timers who are at the twilight of their brilliant careers—i.e., Gannon, Rice, Brown, Woodson, and Romanowski--add one more to their string of achievements.

Hats off to the Raider organization for picking up these guys and giving them a chance after more short-sighted teams had decided they were too old. Go Silver and Black!

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Bearing Witness vs. Debate

Tom Matrullo has put his finger on one of my prime motivators in my blog-surfing:

”Conversation is all well and good, as are comments and trackbacks, etc. But one of the reasons I read blogs is to find folks who are more interested in bearing witness to something, anything, that they have experienced in the wooly irregularity of their singular consciousness - before it's been smoothed to fit the simplified conventional channels of public intersubjectivity - than in taking up the well-worn tokens of shopworn debate.”

As always, Matrullo states his case with class. IMO, ‘bearing witness’ is much more valuable than snappy little debates—even though, admittedly, the latter can be quite entertaining, and fun to jump into from time to time.

Unsurprisingly, Tom has his priorities straight.

Blogger Dudes

I enjoyed the photo of the blogger lunch at MacWorld that Jason Shellon of Pyra Labs provides us in his blog. Three things jump out at me from the pic---

One: where are the females?

Two: It’s still a shock to see how young most bloggers are, especially when some, e.g. Jason, Phil Wolff, and Matt Haughey are so impressively knowledgeable.

Three: Doc Searls, surrounded by all this youth, manages to be the hippest-looking dude of the lot.

Friday, January 10, 2003

Every So Often, A Piece Of Good News

The school that Doc Searls’ kid attends has won its fight to stay put, and, as a result, an architectural landmark in the beautiful town of Santa Barbara has been saved. Kudos to all those, including Doc, who fought the good fight. Everyone who loves SB, including this blogger, will be thankful for your efforts.

Halley’s First

Seems like a lot of first-year blog anniversaries are rolling around these days. (Come to think of it, mine’s only about six weeks away).

Today, we celebrate Halley’s first—and what a year it’s been! She and David Weinberger are inviting Boston bloggers to join them at a Chinese joint for lunch. I emailed my regrets, seeing as how I’m three thousand miles away.

Halley writes that I’m not missing anything unless I enjoy sloshing through several feet of slush. Hey, for a chance to break egg rolls with those two luminaries, I’d gladly slosh through more than slush.

Happy Blogiversary, Halley!

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Thanks, Dean

I’ve been meaning to compliment Dean Landsman for his descriptive account of his holiday trip to Florida to see his parents. His post helped me to recall two facts: first: the East Coast of South Florida during winter break is a complete zoo—to be avoided if at all possible, unless stop-and-go traffic and hour-long waits at restaurants are your idea of a good time.

There are many benefits to your children growing into adulthood, as mine have. Not insignificant among them is that you no longer have to spend your precious spring or winter breaks going to Florida to visit the grandparents.

Man, life was so much simpler when I was a kid. There was no such thing as grandparents in Florida or Arizona, except for the very wealthy. All you had to do was to get bundled into the back seat of the family car on a Sunday afternoon for a short drive over to Granny’s or Gramp’s.

The second thing of which Dean’s post reminded me was how easily old people fall into complaining, and how I am flat-out determined not to let that happen to me. I’m not a whining kind of guy at all—a pretty even demeanor overall. But put me into bad traffic or a long line, and presto! The Devil suddenly takes over my organism and I become a bitchy little maniac.

Dean’s post is serving as a potent reminder to me to cool it, or I risk ending up like all those misanthropic old folks down in South Florida that he describes so well.

From now on, I’m going to do my best to remember the wonderful old lady in her nineties who lived at the same retirement center as my mother. This sweet old gal would survey the scene in the center’s dining hall, shake her head back and forth disapprovingly, and say, “What are all these people bitching about? Life is what you make it. It’s really not very complicated.”

Further thanks to Dean for the following:

"Gulf Wars - The Movie"

Don't miss this. It's hilarious--and miraculous too. It manages to make Condi Rice look like a babe. That's gotta be worth a view!

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Lurching Backward

I guess this must be my week for disagreeing with bloggers for whom I have the highest admiration. Well, that’s life, isn’t it? For example, whom do you admire more than your mate? Yet how often do you disagree? And what would a relationship be without disagreements?

Anyway, my latest difference of opinion with an admired blogger occurs with Steve MacLaughlin, who wants to take us back to the dark ages of suits and ties. Aaaaargh!

Maybe Steve is angling for a job at the Bush White House.

Monday, January 06, 2003

Content vs. Audience

I hate to take issue with a blogger--George Partingtion--for whom I have the highest regard and with whom I enjoy a friendly blogging relationship. But when something just flies in the face of what you—as a professional—know to be true, you can’t let it slide, no matter the source.

George tells us about an unfortunately rare phenomenon, a popular liberal radio show host, Randi Rhodes, operating out of South Florida. He quotes from an interview she had with BuzzFlash. The first part of the quote that George shares is great fun—an expose of Oliver North’s spinelessness. But the subsequent section that George quotes requires my immediate rejoinder.

Ms. Rhodes, talking about advertisers, says:

”They are buying CONTROL of CONTENT. It's leverage, whether it's radio, cable or network. They control millions of dollars of any company's revenue source. So that if something is said or done to disrupt their global business, they take their advertising elsewhere, or threaten to and then shut down the message.
RHODES: Ask yourself, why does ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) advertise? Do they want to sell you a soybean? Why does Boeing advertise? Are you gonna' buy aircraft? Aircraft parts? GE the largest defense contractor wants to sell you a light bulb and/or a missile? And then there's BASF -- they don't make anything! They just make it better. Uh huh. They're buying CONTENT. Millions and millions of advertising dollars DO affect the message you get. It controls the news that is reported and the news that is NOT.

Sorry, George. I have to set the record straight. Randi may kick butt, and I'm all for getting some hot liberal hosts out there who can attract an audience, but her advertising analysis is pure conspiracy-theory bullcrap.

As a grizzled advertising veteran I can tell you that I have NEVER seen an advertiser buy anything but eyeballs and ears. If a media rep were to call an advertiser or his agent and say, "I've got some content you might really like to get behind", the rep would probably be fired on the spot for showing his ignorance of the fundamentals of the biz. The content is relevant only to the degree that it draws the eyes and ears that the advertiser wants to buy. The rep’s opener is always, always, “I’ve got an AUDIENCE you might like to buy.”

Apparently Randi never heard of brand-building. Does she think that all ads are for direct selling? You buy media time to build brand image and brand value so that the guy who sells the soybean to the buyer, or the aircraft part, will be working inside a climate of brand value which helps support his selling proposition. That’s what those ads are about—not for you and me picking up the phone and placing an order. Geez, that’s just fundamental.

This gal may have a great radio show, and she may be a beacon of hope in the vast media wilderness. I wish her nothing but great success and huge ratings. But she shouldn't be making pronouncements about advertising when she clearly doesn’t know what the hell she's talking about.

Whither Blogrolls?

Interesting discussion at Burningbird on TrackBack, the shortcomings of links, and the desirability of removing blogrolls.

Although I may be a Dummie on such matters, I can grasp that there’s much to be said for Trackback. What I don’t fathom is the argument against blogrolls. My roll serves the same function as my speed dial and my pre-set radio stations. Why in the world would I want to eliminate it?

I’m not the only technically challenged user out here in BlogSapce. Anyone care to clarify this issue for me (and the other Dummies)?


That’s the one-word screaming headline from both the San Jose Mercury and the San Fran.Chronicle this morning. And unbelievable it was. That would be the stunning fourth quarter performance yesterday by the 49ers, coming back from what looked like a wipeout—a 24 point deficit with the game almost three-fourths gone. This was especially gratifying after all the fourth quarter collapses by the Niners this year.

Shame on all those Niner fans who’ve been booing Jeff Garcia. This skinny dynamo is a true sports hero-a gritty exemplar of courage and determination—a worthy successor to the legends of Montana and Young. It’s time for these spoiled-brat fans to get over it. Joe and Steve are gone. They’re not coming back. Jeff is Now, and he’s Wonderful!

Saturday, January 04, 2003

What They Really Want

Thanks to AKMA for the link to the “Faster Horses” piece in the archives of Chris Locke’s EGR newsletter. I’m a subscriber, but this piece must have appeared before my subscription began.

As a former salesman and marketing consultant who’s spent countless soul-trying hours sitting around forbidding conference tables trying desperately to pull something out of my ass, and struggling to hold my tongue from saying something acidic to the assembled fellow-pretenders pretending not to be pretenders, Locke’s piece strikes a ringing chord.

My favorite line: “Heads nod knowingly around the table. Finally I am in my element: total bullshit.”

During beer-infused, saloon de-briefings following these dreaded presentations, we searched but could only dream of coming up with the kind of descriptive, brilliant accounts that Locke pulls off here. It’s a hilarious reminder of why we keep reading the Raging One, warts and all.

Friday, January 03, 2003

Miscellaneous Chilling; Football; Fox; and Equality of Derogatory Genital References

Backatcha after a nice little layoff for New Year’s—a delicious time to do absolutely nothing except watch movies and football, and hang out with a few friends. The perfect time to let everything go, including blogging. I know, I know, blogging’s supposed to be for fun and not an obligation, but there are times when it feels like the latter, so I pushed it away, along with all the other responsibilities.

I’m a little embarrassed after telling everyone what a great team Iowa was. They completely wilted in the Miami heat and cast disgrace upon the Big Ten in their humiliating loss to USC. The same thing is probably in store tonight for Ohio State.
While they won’t have the Miami humidity to contend with, there’s that little problem of the Miami team—a more terrifying specter than the weather.

Meanwhile, John Edwards has announced for the presidency, and I happened to be watching Fox News, which is a hell of an admission on my part since Fox News turns my stomach. What can I say? I guess there are times when I like to inflict pain on myself.

Anyway these two cocky, insufferably opinionated news anchors (are there any other kind on Fox?), were snickering about Edwards’ line about being the champion of the little guy. Edwards may be full of shit like most pols, but this isn’t what the anchors were snickering about. They just thought it was ridiculous that someone would use that as a platform, as if there’s something wrong about being for the little guy.

And Roger Ailes, the pres. of Fox News and former mudslinger-in-chief ( remember Willie Horton?) for Bush Senior, has the gall to maintain that Fox provides balanced coverage. Fox’s idea of balance is to bring in some hapless liberal to be “interviewed” by Bill O’Reilly who then proceeds to harangue the guy and interrupt his every sentence.

At the end of the “interview,” O”Reilly smugly congratulates the guy for having the guts to appear and proclaims, “We gave you your say, and that’s what we like to do here at Fox—let all voices be heard.” Who are they kidding? God, Harry Truman, the supreme champion of the little guy, wouldn’t have had a chance in today’s atmosphere.

Anyway, while watching this travesty, it occurred to me that the description of the male and female Fox anchors that would come most easily to me would be the derogatory genital references—the five-letter-word-beginning-with-P for the guy; and the four-letter-word-beginning-with-C for the woman. I find it interesting that if I were to apply the genital reference to the guy, nobody would raise an eyebrow. If, however, I were to do it with the female anchor, I might risk offending some folks. That’s my fear at least. Is this just old-fashioned fuddey-duddedness on my part, or is my fear well taken? And if it is, why the seeming inequality?