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Fasten, fit closely, bind together.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fat (Chance) Tuesday 


Gov. Michael Rounds, pictured imploring the Lord God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, source of all things Good, and Proctector of all, to feed your cow.

Ever the dreamer, cuddly Iranian Prez Admadinejad has challenged Bush to a live televised debate on world issues. Of course, the White House rejected the request immediately. But man, wouldn't that have been something? Admadinejad is probably a more eloquent English speaker, but he wouldn't have been able to best Bush's folksy, cliche-based rhetorical techniques. Close call, but I say Bush in 11 rounds.

And it looks like the nation is waking up to the crippling drought that hit several western and southern states this summer, disappointing corn enthusiasts nationwide and putting small farmers out of business. (That's what you get for not selling to ConAgra, loners.) Drastic measures are needed, it seems. The plan from the governer of hard hit South Dakota, Michael Rounds? That's right: a proclamation declaring a week to pray for rain! Citizens should certainly have the opportunity now that all those pesky, time consuming abortions have been eliminated.
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Two emerging trends documented on YahooNews this afternoon.... 

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Here, Sir Fire, Eat! 

An initiated college student cramming for final exams, writing four term papers in the span of 36 hours is familiar with speed in its various prescribed forms. The side effects that accompany them are known quantities:



You don't sleep, you lose your appetite, you are a little jumpy, paranoid. But you focus like a savant.



Kerouac was familiar with them, knew their uses and unpleasantries, wrote about them in On the Road:

Jane was still looking for her fire; in those days she ate three tunes pf benzedrine paper a day. Her face, once plump and Germanic and pretty, had become stony and red and gaunt.




in fact used them to write On the Road:



Yemenite cab drivers chew a homegrown leaf variety called qat. Salim Hamdam, Bin Laden's driver ruminated on these, wired.





Baseball players use it. Watch them sweat profusely. Eyes buggy, pupils dilated. It sharpens their senses, quickens their reaction time, and leads them to chew copious amounts of gum, sunflower seeds, dip and whatever else they use to prevent grinding of teeth. Commentators are either complicit in this practice or ignorant. Players look high strung, if not strung out.





This angle has been written about, but not with the same fanfare as the steroid enhancements. The average fan either doesn't understand this drug as well, or can't bring themselves to be outraged by more than one chemical concurrently.

Here is what Ken Caminiti told Sports Illustrated re: speed (Full disclosure... Caminiti died a few years ago from a Crack induced heart attack):

"I would say there are only a couple of guys on a team that don't take greenies [speed] before a game. One or two guys. That's called going out there naked. And you hear it all the time from teammates, 'You're not going to play naked, are you?' And even the guys who are against greenies may be taking diet pills or popping 25 caffeine pills and they're up there [at bat] with their hands shaking. So how good is that? This game is so whacked out that guys will take anything to get an edge. You got a pill that will make me feel better? Let me have it."

Former outfielder Chad Curtis agreed with Caminiti:
"You might have one team where eight guys play naked and another team where nobody does, but that sounds about right. Steroids are popular, but quite a lot more guys take [amphetamines] than steroids. I'm talking about illegal stuff. Speed ... ritalin, which is legal only with a doctor's prescription ... sometimes guys don't even know what they're taking. One guy will take some pills out of his locker and tell somebody else, 'Here, take one of these. You'll feel better.' And the other guy will take it and not even know what it is."

Curtis added that amphetamine use is so prevalent that non-users are sometimes ostracized as slackers.

"If the starting pitcher knows you're going out there naked, he's upset that you're not giving him more than what you can," Curtis said. "The big-time pitcher wants to make sure you're beaning up before the game tonight."

An AL manager told me last month greenies are so prevalent with old and young players alike that baseball would have to shorten the season if they banned them.




But I woulnd't have bothered to post anything about this, if I hadn't read this story about David Ortiz's recent hospitalization that was hiding in plain site on ESPN.com. No one in MSM was going to dissect this story for what it appears to be, so I have to.

Sleeplessness, dehydration sent Papi to Hospital

SEATTLE -- Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said stress and nearly a week of sleeplessness caused dehydration and eventually the irregular heartbeat that landed him in a Boston hospital last weekend.
The major-league leader in home runs said he was "stressed out about everything" -- including the New York Yankees' first three wins of their eventual five-game sweep of the Red Sox last weekend that has turned both teams' seasons. A team doctor advised him to go to Massachusetts General Hospital last Saturday evening.

And he didn't miss a game -- he has missed only two of Boston's 128 games. He spent one night under observation while receiving intravenous fluids. He went home Sunday and returned to Fenway Park a few hours later to hit his 44th home run in another Boston loss to New York that night.

But he was stressed.

"I stress a lot, sometimes," the usually gregarious, outwardly jolly giant said before starting again as Boston's designated hitter in the series opener against the Seattle Mariners.

"We got to play all those games against New York. You know, there was a lot of stress going on," the 30-year-old Ortiz said. "And then to go out there and receive that [butt] kicking ... I wasn't feeling good. I was beat."

It was his first time speaking publicly about the hospitalization, which was first reported on the Internet earlier this week. He initially would not discuss the situation, and Boston manager Terry Francona continued to honor Ortiz's request to remain mum Friday afternoon.

"He just prefers it that way. I just have to follow protocol," Francona said.

But then about an hour later, Ortiz emerged from the trainer's area of the Safeco Field visiting clubhouse to tell what happened.

"I didn't want to go back to Boston with people freaking out about something like that," he said. "When something like this comes out, the press wants to get more information. But you just want to get it over with."

Now, Ortiz said, "I'm a healthy son of a [gun]."

Thursday, he hit his second home run in as many games to lead the Red Sox to a series win at the Los Angeles Angels. Boston entered Friday with 15 losses this month -- its most in a calendar month since August 2002. But it hasn't been Ortiz's fault. He had five home runs in nine games entering Friday.

He reached 46 home runs in his 125th game Thursday, faster than any hitter in Boston history. Jimmie Foxx hit his 46th in his 140th game of 1938.

"Actually, you know what? I'm feeling way better here on the West Coast," Ortiz said. "There's more time to sleep in. I've been sleeping my [rear end] off."

Ortiz said he began feeling ill between games of a day-night doubleheader on Aug. 18 against New York that dragged into the early morning. Between games, he had gone home and tried to sleep but couldn't.

He said by Aug. 19, "It was like my whole body was cramping ... I've felt dehydrated before, but it wasn't like that. It wasn't a good feeling."

Dr. Larry Ronan, a member of the Red Sox medical team, checked Ortiz after that Saturday afternoon loss to New York and sent Ortiz to Massachusetts General for more tests.

Doctors there found an irregular heartbeat and told Ortiz the cause was stress. Ortiz said he had been having problems sleeping for "four or five days" before his hospital stay.



Forget that by the age of 27 Ortiz had never hit for power (no more than 20 HRs in a season as a 1st baseman, a power position). He was cut from Minnesota, signed by Boston and has been dominating the game since. Announcers consistently express disbelief that Minnesota did this. Something nearly on par with taking Bowie before Jordan in the '84 draft. I express some disbelief that no one has questioned where he found all this power beginning in 2002. It's possible was natural, he is a big guy, maybe he was just coming into his prime.

Big Papi is nearly universally heralded for his clutch hitting and expansive personality. People just want to give him a big bear hug and have him carry them on his back.



The story above is the type of thing you would want to cover up as a player and team, especially when we are talking about the Big Papi. At least I think you would want to cover up this story because there is seemingly such a one to one correlation between the described symptoms surrounding his trip to the ER and someone who has clearly taken too much speed for too long a time with too little sleep.

Consider the following:

Symptoms of an Adderall overdose include restlessness, tremor, rapid breathing, confusion, hallucinations, panic, aggressiveness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, an irregular heartbeat, and seizures.

• Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take Adderall and talk to your doctor if you experience
restlessness or tremor;
anxiety or nervousness;
• headache or dizziness;
insomnia;
dryness of the mouth or an unpleasant taste in the mouth;
• diarrhea or constipation; or
• impotence or changes in sex drive.

Shit is nervous.




I assume everyone in the NFL is on steroids and speed. But this doesn’t matter to me in a sport where it is a battle of strength, team vs. team, war metaphors and the like, fighting it out in the trenches, the war room, a quarterback as "field general". Everyone is doing it, an equal playing field, so it matters to me less. All is fair in war...



You are competing against the player in front of you. Mutual assured destruction. Superpowers, fully armed. Order, peace, and some really cool caches of weapons on display every Sunday.







In baseball again everyone may be doing IT, but they are also always competing against history or some gold standard in understood physical limitations, a 500 foot homerun, 61 homeruns in season, 755 for a career, a 100 mph fastball. These types of statistics are not as much a part of football. The highlights are of one-handed catches, and violent tackles. No one reads the box score in football. People are more let down by the disclosure of steroids (and speed) in baseball. But we already know this and this has been talked to death.



I am less interested in proselytizing about drugs and sports, than I am in pointing out how no one else is pointing out that Ortiz's symptoms seem to be so straight forward and so widespread across the sport. Just read the back of a prescription pill bottle.



Stay hydrated, brother. Get well soon.
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Friday, August 25, 2006

It's not cheating if you spread peanut butter 

on your balls and let your dog lick it off.
Kyle: Because it's your dog.
Rubin: Jesus Christ!
Kyle: You know, because it's YOUR dog, get it?
Rubin: Yeah, we've got it.

Along those same lines...

Madin Azad Amin, 29, of Skokie, Illinois, was stopped August 16 after guards found an object in his baggage that resembled a grenade, prosecutors said.

When officers asked him to identify it, Amin said it was a bomb, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto.

He later told officials he'd lied about the item because his mother was nearby and he didn't want her to hear that it was part of a penis pump, Scaduto said.

[...]

Amin is charged with felony disorderly conduct, which could bring a three-year prison sentence if he's convicted. Amin is due back in court September 13

He told the Chicago Sun-Times after the hearing that security officials did not give him a chance to explain the misunderstanding, that he would never use the word "bomb" while going through a security checkpoint, and does not consider a penis pump an unusual object to own.

"It's normal," he said. "Half of America they use it."


Please note: I resisted the urge to quote Austin Powers, "Honestly, it's not mine! This sort of thing ain't my bag, baby!" and went with the more suttle Road Trip quote.
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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Nomenclature 

I received a new re-designed NY driver's license in the mail. A magic eye wavy line protects chalking of IDs for underage drinking and general mayhem.



The back contains the same copy but I read it for maybe the first time:



I hereby make an anatomical gift.
Signature:

------------------


I'm not sure if this section is free form and you are expected to specify - kidney, ring finger, large intestine, cerebellum- or you are offering to make a gift of your entire person. I do know that this should be called an organ donation, you are an organ donor in this scenario, not a presenter of anatomical gifts. It's like politically-FCC-correctness gone... insane. Or is this some attempt at making the sales pitch? Like organ donation sounds too familiar, too much hassle, too "It sounds like the right thing to do and all but I'm just not sure if I want to do that, because I don't really believe in heaven, but what if I need all of my body parts for the ever after, just to be safe you know." An anatomical gift is new, it's exciting, a buzz word, fresh.... "you know what, I'll do it!"

It also reminds me of something Hubie Brown, would say towards the end of the 2nd round of the NBA Draft, after he's getting a little sloppy, tired and is somewhat conscious that he has said "this young man has tremendous, upside," for the 73rd time and wants to keep it fresh so expounds:

"some may question the Knicks taking Renaldo Balkman this early in the draft but he is 6'7" with a 7'2" wingspan, a truly anatomically gifted young athlete (with tremendous upside)."







Who cares right, is this a Seinfeld bit of standup, a little did you ever notice routine? It's funny though, to me. Like something the Ukrainian translator would have said in butchered English translation in Everything is Illuminated.



Idioms that don't quite do the needful.
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A menacing slum becomes less so 

with DirectTV dishes mounted on building roofs.

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He could be out of your life for 10 dollars. You'd get off cheap. 



This Louie Dumps
owes me $10 dollars.

It's been two weeks, and whenever
he sees me he keeps dodging me.

He's becoming a pain in the ass.
Should I crack him one?

What's the matter?
What have I been telling you?

Sometimes hurting somebody
ain't the answer.

- Is he a good friend of yours?
- No, I don't even like him.

There's your answer right there.

It costs you 10 dollars
to get rid of him.

He's never bother you again. He's never
gonna ask you for money again.

He's out of your life for 10
dollars. You got off cheap.

You're always right.


Maybe two days after Israel's heavy artillery stopped falling on Lebanon, Hezbollah, began handing out $12,000 payments, in cash, to any individual who lost their home during the month long fighting. Estimates say 15,000 homes were destroyed in Lebanon. High end estimate then... $200 million in Hezbollah payouts.



1 or 2 days and they were already mobilized...



faster than cruise ships became temporary housing for Katrina victims. Almost faster than George W. Bush made his way to survey the site and connect with victims of Rita, after he knew better a month later. Is Hezbollah that well-organized, that savvy public relations-wise? Are they close enough to the people and streets, grass roots enough to react more quickly and move more nimbly than the UN or US? Something along the lines of you can't make quick turns in a Range Rover or Hummer, too big, too bulky, however a Hyundai corners better, can turn on a dime.

It's almost as if…. Hezbollah had a plan. Monies counted, ready to distribute.

In the absence of swift government aid, people in Khiam hope Hezbollah will make good on a pledge to rebuild their homes.

The group has handed out wads of cash - $12,000 in US banknotes - to hundreds of displaced families in Beirut’s shattered suburbs, and says it will continue distributing funds throughout the country.

Ali Rahhal is expecting some money soon. His house flattened by an Israeli air strike last week, he now drives a bulldozer through its remains in the first step of rebuilding.

"My house looks just like this," he said, gesturing to the hundreds of yards of rubble strewn with clothes, broken furniture and other reminders of the people who once lived here.

"Hezbollah has taken names and said tomorrow they will pay everyone. In a few weeks my wife and children will come back and we will rebuild."

Officials in Israel and the US, which lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, say the cash is bolstering support for the group and Iran is the source.


Of course it is.





Steal from the rich or attack the rich and give back to the poor. Gain stronger footing in community. Gain more seats in Parliament (democratically actually). Nevermind that Hezbollah brought this on their host nation. When the fighting ended last week it should have been like...

Lebanese people: "Get out of my house"
Hezbollah: "But---"
The people: "You brought this here, now get out."

If the US and Israel acknowledge that these relief payouts turn the terrorist group into the good guys in their communities why didn’t they get there first? We're only talking about $10, $12,000, $200,000,000.

Iran yesterday denied it was sponsoring Hezbollah’s handouts but said it was working on an aid package of its own.

The US has also been trying to accelerate aid and encourage Arab states to step in quickly to help rebuild.

Deputy Mayor Abdallah said Khiam would take whatever funds came first.

"It is a race. If the government does its role and protects the people, that’s great," he said. "But if it doesn’t, if it is to slow to help, okay. Just know that Hezbollah will not waste a single day."


200 million, the US should have funneled this money to the neighborhoods where Hezbollah is strongest as soon as the cease fire went into effect. The US or Israel couldn't distribute directly but channel it through the Lebanese government. Let them be the good guys, a viable alternative to Hezbollah. This money is nothing, small. If we want to discredit and vilify axis’s of evil and their terrorist franchises why wouldn’t we move quicker, give more freely, no security council resolutions or filibustering, just get there first, try to win the hearts and minds.

Fighting two swords with a stick and winning.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

a poem! 

Loose gravel, scrap metal, screw, bolt
kicked off a tractor trailer wheel, shot
I drive with window open at 70 mph despite this, still,
diminishing returns on that 16 year old boldness
crossing the street and parking lots
slowly defying cars to hit me.





I'm on the block like I'm eight feet tall
Homey, I'm in the drop with the AC on
That's why the, streets embrace me, I'm so cool!


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A Known Brute 

Context and details be damned. It is insane that there are headlines like this late last week and into this one...

Mid East: US and France close to ceasefire agreement

I've read about the "proxy" war fought between the US and USSR in Lebanon in the early 80s.



A proxy peace.
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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Terror Squad 



"This was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale."

-Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson of Scotland Yard

A news wire telegraph from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow?



Rampage police blotter SOS??

Mutants attack Champagne head towards Chicago.




How can grenades detonated on a plane(s) be referred to as unimaginable? How can 3, 4 even 5 planes exploding qualify as death on an unimaginable scale? [Apologies if this offends any of the victims, of which there were not any] If your elected government can't brainstorm attacks on this scale (US or Britain or otherwise) then what are they doing? That Big September Thing recalibrated the terror warning scale. It should now take much, much more to be referred to as unimaginable:



At least something chemical or nuclear in nature, I guess that is the next benchmark in terror. A chemical attack or a nuclear explosion in the Western world. That while imagined, still would have the power of something unexperienced previously.

The threshold for unimaginable was 5 years ago raised beyond airplane terror.

Maybe this interior minister said this in passing. But this is what media outlets have seized on to. This makes sense and a story to them, but it isn't accurate.

This is unimaginable!



and this



this



this!#$%!#$^@!



Back to red, whites, and blues... how is it that officials haven't already identified all solvents, solutions, chemical combinations and otherwise that can be made into explosives and banned them from airports? They now let you go through security without taking off your shoes. These lessons of terror should build upon one another. They are not seasonal or passing, they should be permanent. Here you go, a solution, not liquid in nature:

You walk on to planes barefoot and with no carry-on possessions, zero, maybe even in some pre-issued airplane dress like a hospital gown or prisoner uniform, you sneak nothing on. !Vyborne! Problem solved no more in-flight terrorism, the world loves us, follows suit with our innovation, Al Qaeda gives up, Israel withdraws from Lebanon and Gaza Strip and West Bank creating a lasting peace in region, Global Warming AND Global Dimming cease, Alex Rodriguez wins over the hearts and minds of NY baseball fans, and Pluto emerges from an Astro-physics conference in Prague retaining its status as the solar system's smallest planet.

:) Imagine
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Friday, August 04, 2006

Senator John McCain Describes the War in Iraq 

as devolving "into a game of whack-a-mole"

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

This: "Israeli troops sweep southern Lebanon " 

Makes me picture something like this:







(check out the guy in the necklace in the photo above... what???)

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