Chess Commish : Doing His Best To Make Gary Bettman Look Good By Comparison

Posted in Chess at 7:12 pm by

How deeply unpopular is grandmaster Gary Kasparov? Such is the animus against him in chess circles that his endorsement of former rival Anatoly Karpov is said to have ensured the victory of a Russian politico who claims he’s been taken away by space monsters.   The New York Times’ Dylan Loeb McLain provides the awesome background.

Kirsan N. Ilyumzhinov,  the Kremlin-appointed leader of Kalmykia in southern Russia, defeated Anatoly Karpov, the former world champion, 95 to 55, to earn another term as World Chess Federation president.  Karpov and Kasparov had accused Mr. Ilyumzhinov of presiding over the game™s decline during the 15 years he has led the federation. They also accused him of mental instability. Mr. Ilyumzhinov has said he met with extraterrestrials in yellow suits at his Moscow apartment and that chess comes from outer space. He has also been accused of corruption and human rights abuses, and has been linked to the killing of a journalist.

Dischord & The NBA : Pay No More Than $3500 For This Courtside Seat

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Rock Und Roll at 1:24 pm by

Described by Fanhouse’s Tom Ziller as “a hoophead and hardcore enthusiast”, FH’s managing editor Randy Kim was commissioned to compile a list of Dischord songs to go along with Washington DC-spawned NBA standouts.  It’s a pretty cool idea (especially as you could’ve just asked George Pelecanos to compare Kenny Carr to the Slickee Boys) and while I don’t particular care for seeing Dag Nasty paired with an admirable sort like Kevin Durant, Kim gets no argument from me on this one ;

Michael Beasley — Void, “Who Are You”
I wake up and I see you everyday / Never hear a thing I say / I come to you with all my problems / You don’t care, you won’t be bothered / Who are you, why am I here? (x4) … It’s pretty easy to see Beaz writing those words on the walls of Riles’ Miami office. In urine.

Dept. of No Thanks: Cal Ripken Jr. Insists His Meat Will “Melt In Your Mouth”

Posted in Baseball, consumer affairs, Food at 11:21 am by

For Cal Ripken Jr., retirement isn’t all about being rumored to be a Republican candidate for Senate every few. That’s a part of it, of course, but entrepreneurship is a part of it, too. To wit, from what is basically just a press release that appeared in the Baltimore Sun:

Cal Ripken Jr. is teaming with Long Valley, N.J.-based Florio Sports LLC to sell a beef jerky snack, the sports firm announced Wednesday… The snack, which is made from “lean American beef,” according to a news release, will debut at the National Association of Convenience Stores trade show in Atlanta from Tuesday through Friday.

Beef jerky is as American as apple pie, obviously, so seemingly all in good, protein-packed fun. Except that when you visit the promotional site for the food it all goes to hell. First of all, it’s called Ripken Power Shred, which sounds like a non-FDA-approved weightlifting supplement. Second of all, and I can’t emphasize enough just how much this should’ve been first of all, it’s apparently chaw-themed beef. So it looks like chewing tobacco and comes in a little Skoal-ian can, but tastes like liquid smoke or chemical teriyaki and is made of animal. By this point in my life, I know that I will probably never be a vegetarian, but whimsical convenience meats like this — which came from a living thing just as surely as does your grass-fed steak — are a huge bum-out for me. To be fair, though, the writing on the Ripken Power Shred website actually made me feel worse:

Beef Jerky has been a fan-favorite for centuries. Steeped in tradition, people have always loved this compact, savory snack. Well, we’ve just made it even better! Super moist, protein-rich Ripken Power Shred„¢ bursts with intense flavor and, unlike other brands, will melt in your mouth and keep you wanting more. The game has changed. Stay in it!

Good! (Not good!) But let me give it a little punch-up, free of charge:

Since the dawn of time, Beef Jerky (Note: Capital Letters) has been a fan-favorite for centuries (Note: Be more specific!), with pre-Columbian baseball fans especially fond of the evaporated meat straps. Steeped in tradition, people have always loved this compact (Note: clearer!) People who are steeped in tradition have always loved this compact, savory snack portable meat item. Well, we’ve just made it even better! Super moist, protein-rich Ripken Power Shred„¢ bursts with intense flavor and, unlike other brands, will melt in your mouth and keep you wanting more. The game that is jerkied meat has changed. Stay in it!

“Stay in the game when you’re 40 years old and have a .637 OPS” would also work for a kicker, but I thought they did okay at the end. If the folks at Ripken Novelty Meats LLP are looking for someone to write them some website content and add some SEO kick, my rates are reasonable. Also, I’m qualified to write in that sector because, until Brendan Flynn sent me this link a few minutes ago, I wasn’t a vegetarian.


Even Mark Madsen Finds Reid Brignac’s Dance Recital Highly Embarrassing

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression at 8:12 pm by

Much has been written the past few days about the Tampa Rays’ struggles at the box office, and I do believe 7th Inning Stache has inadvertently turned up a quality solution to the franchise’s box office woes. Just send Reid Brignac around to the homes of as many Tampa/St. Pete residents as possible ; announce the Rays’ young infielder will not stop dancing in their driveway until someone in the household has signed up for a 2011 mini-plan. It’s the sort of scheme that could get Brignac shot in cold blood, but given the all the team’s been through in that market, who am I to say it isn’t worth the risk?

Who Says There Are No Second Acts In (North) American Life? David Frost’s New Hockey Gig

Posted in Hockey, Leave No Child Unbeaten, mistaken I.D., The Law at 3:40 pm by

What might cause a person to change their name from David Frost to Jim McCauley?  Well, if googling the former turned up accusations of sexual exploitation of young hockey players under his supervision, and being the target of a subsequent murder plot carried out by a former client, you too might wanna start with a clean slate.  According to the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons, that’s just what former player agent Frost has done, resurfacing under a new name at the Laguna Hockey Academy in Laguna Niguel, CA.

Some people claim he is coaching and advising kids again — an accusation he denies.

Some people claim he is running the hockey training establishment — which on its website lists McCauley Hockey as its director of hockey — which Frost denies.

Maybe the worst thing, one California parent insists, is that the majority of parents that she knows who have children training at Frost’s establishment are well aware of who he is, know about his background, and in one parent’s words “they don’t seem to care.” In fact, in the arena at Laguna Beach, a St. Louis Blues jersey with Danton’s name and number hangs from one of the walls, another indication that Frost has no shame.

With Frost, though, the truth can be difficult to find.

“I am not coaching, teaching or working with kids,” Frost told Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times. “I’m not using an alias. I’m using the McCauley name on my email and I’ve used it for years … I’m not hiding. Rob (Barth, his boss) is not hiding. My wife, my family and I are not hiding.”

“When they bring in someone like Jim McCauley to run this establishment, people are happy with it because they know they are getting superior hockey instruction,” said Laguna instructor Chris Sheffield, who says he understands why Frost has changed his name.

“I don’t think anything about this is questionable. The second he landed in California, he changed his life. He changed his way. He changed his name. He’s not running from anything, he’s not hiding. People make mistakes or (are) accused of things in their life. How they rebound, how they change, that’s how you judge them.”

Burns On The Late Steinbrenner : How Quickly We Forget Howard Spira

Posted in Baseball, History's Not Happening at 3:02 pm by

Ken Burns’ “10th Inning” — an addendum to the acclaimed 9-part “Baseball” series” — premiered on PBS last night, and while Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra plans to skip the episode (“If a highlight that even looks like Jim Leyritz vs. Mark Wohlers comes on my TV I get nauseous as it is, so the last thing I want to do is watch George Will and Doris Kearns Goodwin and God knows who else waxing eloquently about it over some evocative mandolin music”), the Village Voice’s Allen Barra collects some choice quotes from the documentarian on the occasion of last week’s unveiling of the gargantuan George Steinbrenner plaque.

Are you here, we asked Burns, “because you’re an admirer of The Boss?

“Oh, puh-leese,” he shot back. “Springsteen is The Boss. Steinbrenner was Darth Vader.”

But what about his transformation of the Yankees from a second-division, second-rate organization to a world champion, multibillion-dollar corporation”

“Give me a break. Steinbrenner is the guy who woke up at third base and thought he hit a triple. It’s amazing how all this guy’s sleaze is suddenly forgotten. Who else would have hired a shady gambler (above)  to follow one of his players around just to get dirt on them?” (As Steinbrenner did to Dave Winfield.).

Anyway, I tell Burns, it seems as if I finally outed him as a Red Sox fan.

“I’m a filmmaker first. My co-director, Lynn Novick, is the Yankees fan, so it all balances out.”

“Ah, hah,” I say. “‘It balances out.’ So you are a Red Sox fan?”

“I wasn’t born that way. I was born in Brooklyn, grew up in Michigan, and came to New England too late to get caught up in all that ’67 Impossible Dream stuff. But I admit that 2004 was my favorite season. I’ve never seen that kind of enthusiasm in baseball fans. Look at the World Series victory parade. Proportionately, I’ll bet they had five times the number of people in the streets that they have for a Yankees parade.”

“Right,” I say, “and they probably did that just by emptying all the bars.”

One Canine Skins Fan Prepares For Vick’s Next Start

Posted in Dogs, Gridiron at 2:21 pm by

Under the circumstances, I was hoping for a dog a little more like Derek Strange’s Greco, but in a pinch, this’ll do.   Pic link swiped from DC Sports Bog.


Ex-Nets Owner Ratner Confronts Plummeting Value Of Hole In The Ground (He Helped Dig)

Posted in Basketball at 6:38 pm by

With today’s unveiling of the latest designs to date for the Nets’ proposed Barclays Center, developer/creep Bruce Ratner admitted it would take longer than a decade to complete the entire Atlantic Yards project. Trouble is, as Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s Matthew Schuerman points out, Ratner’s quoted 10-year-timeline “was also used by the city, state and Ratner™s own consultant to determine that the financial benefits to the public outweighed the roughly $300 million in direct subsidies the project is receiving.”

The longer the construction schedule, the longer it will take the government to accumulate the benefits”in terms of income taxes from people who move into the complex, property taxes on the new buildings and other sources.

Daniel Goldstein, a chief opponent of the project who until recently lived in the project™s footprint said that Ratner™s admission undermines the official reason for state support of the project: to remove the blight on the six Brooklyn blocks that make up the footprint.

œWhat we have now is a site that was not blighted turning into a dormant site, nearly 20 acres of vacant lots and parking lots for 20, 25, 30, 40 50 years, Goldstein said. œWhat was not blighted has become blighted for a very long time.

NFL Investigates Nick Collins’ Inability To Take Racial Abuse Laying Down

Posted in Gridiron, Mob Behavior, Racism Corner at 4:20 pm by

The following item from WTAQ.com comes on the heels of Green Bay essentially handing a win to their Chicago hosts in the closing moments Monday night ; apparently, the Pack’s graciousness should extend to shrugging off the ugliest of epithets.

FOX6 in Milwaukee is reporting that safety Nick Collins got into an altercation with fans following the 20-17 loss at Soldier Field.

Collins was “provoked by a Bears fan” and Collins threw an object at the fan. The defensive back had to be restrained by wide receiver Donald Driver. Collins told reporters in the locker room that a fan used a racial slur with him and that he responded inappropriately.

The NFL says they’re investigating the incident.

While they’re at it, they’re hopefully investigating Solider Field security, too.

If You Were Wondering What Mick Foley Thought Of Tori Amos…

Posted in music, Professional Wrestling at 1:00 pm by

… Then today is shaping up as a really excellent day for you. But while the (high) literary quality of Foley’s paean to d. original Joanna Newsom won’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with Foley’s super-readable memoirs, it’s still somewhat surprising to see the artist formerly known as Mankind opening up about his deep and abiding affection for Amos’s work in Slate. The essay, which was adapted from Foley’s (fourth!) upcoming memoir, is longer than the average pro wrestler’s tribute to weird chanteuses, but I can vouch for its worth as someone who doesn’t really care much about either wrestling or Ms. Amos. On sheer improbability alone, Foley’s piece is a winner.

It wasn’t until a year and a half later, on a tour of Japan, that Tori Amos and “Winter” started playing a role in my wrestling career. I had just left Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling, a bold move that had not been particularly popular with my wife. We’d just had our second child, and leaving a job with a guaranteed six-figure income (low six, but still six) might not have been the greatest example of responsible parenthood. This seemed especially true during my first tour for IWA Japan, a small promotion with a heavy emphasis on wild matches: barbed wire, fire, thumbtacks, and blood”lots of blood.

…I was terrified. This is a normal human response to the very abnormal prospect of being dropped head first, neck first, and, yes, even balls first on jagged metal barbs. How exactly does a gentle, caring man (me) transform himself into a willing participant in such a barbaric spectacle? I needed to find some kind of inspiration in a hurry.

I looked out the dressing room door and saw the Japanese preliminary wrestlers taking down the ropes, beginning the process of putting the barbed wire around the ring. The wire they used was the real stuff: cold and uncaring, capable of tearing flesh in a hurry. I knew I had about 30 minutes before the wiring process was completed”a half-hour to undergo a drastic mental transformation. I took out my battered Sony Walkman and, after great deliberation, bypassed the obvious hard-rock selections. Finding solitude in a far corner of the frigid backstage area, I saw a cloud of my own breath as I pressed the play button. “Snow can wait, I forgot my mittens/ Wipe my nose, get my new boots on.”

…And then I realize I’m going to be all right. Head first, neck first, balls first”it really doesn’t matter. By the fourth listen, I know I’m going to tear that place apart.

I imagine that I speak for most of CSTB’s readership when I say that I am greatly looking forward to The Iron Sheik’s take on Ani DiFranco.