03.31.11

“Get Your Yang-nas Dogs” Has A Certain Ring To It

Posted in Baseball, History's Not Happening at 6:32 pm by

(this is not a photograph of Frank McCourt shortly after he read Tuesday’s LA Times.)

“Dodgers”, in the opinion of LA Times Op/Ed contrtibutor Leon Furgatch, is a nickname that survives as “a vestige of nostalgia for a time when Brooklyn fans of the team had to dodge heavy trolley car traffic to enter Ebbetts Field…it has no relationship to Los Angeles or meaning for local fans.”   And as such, Mr. Furgatch suggests (seriously) renaming the Los Angeles National League entry, “the Los Angeles Yang-nas.”

When owner Walter O’Malley brought his Brooklyn team to Chavez Ravine in 1958, he did not know the historical significance of the site. (Neither do most Angelenos, unless they attended Los Angeles public schools in the 1950s or earlier, when Yang-na history was still being taught.)

Historians tell us that Los Angeles was first founded on Sept. 4, 1781, by 44 settlers from Mexico on a spot not far from where the Olvera Street tourist attraction is located today. But that is not entirely true.

The pobladores from Mexico were the first foreigners to settle here, by the authority of the king of Spain, and the new community was blessed with the Los Angeles name. But Chavez Ravine — the area now occupied by Elysian Park, Dodger Stadium and the Los Angeles Police Academy — was first peopled by the Yang-na Indians.

FADE INTO BLACK : The Greatest Cinematic Achievement Of All Time Hits The Big Screen In Austin Tonight

Posted in Austin, Cinema at 4:36 pm by

If Gary Sherman’s 1982 epic “Vice Squad” isn’t the Citizen Kane Of Movies About Murderous Pimps Named Ramrod, at the very least, it includes the greatest theme song composed and performed for a film since…since…well, since Steve Garvey caught Marvin Hamlisch in bed with his wife. I know, that’s not a song or movie title, I just wanted to give you a visual image to think about rather than be haunted by the trailer above for the rest of your life. “Vice Squad” is being shown at the Alamo Ritz tonight, Wings Hauser is supposedly making a public appearance, and TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE (link courtesy Max and VHS Summer).

Sweden’s Openly Gay Footballer : “Where Are All The Others?”

Posted in Football at 2:53 am by

We’re 21 years removed from former Norwich/Notts County F Justin Fashanu becoming the first —and only —- openly gay player in English professional soccer, yet not nearly so long past Ipswich supporters chanting, “he’s gay, he’s dead, he’s hanging in a shed”. The latter bit of cruelty is noted by the Guardian’s Patrick Barkham in Tuesday’s profile of Utsiktens BK midfielder Anton Hysén, 20, the first professional since Fashanu to reveal his homosexuality.

In an era when gay men and women play prominent roles in every other kind of entertainment, it looks increasingly bizarre that world football has no openly gay players – apart from Hysén (above). Although, as he points out, he currently plays in the fourth tier of Swedish football, working in the local Volvo factory to support himself, Hysén’s honesty about his sexuality is a big deal. His family is a footballing dynasty in Sweden; Hysén’s older brother, Tobias, is a Swedish international; their father, Glenn, was a tough defender who remains a celebrity in Sweden. In Britain, it would be rather like John Terry having a footballing son who came out. Perhaps most significantly of all, Hysén, like the English cricketer Steven Davies, who came out last month, made his declaration at the start of his career.

Hysén’s family and close friends have been completely supportive since he revealed his sexuality to them a few years ago; he figures he was born this way. “I always knew but I didn’t really think about it seriously when I was younger – you live at home and hang out with girls and you only really think about it when you start to want a serious relationship,” he says. Injuries stalled his development as a footballer with the Swedish premier-league club Häcken and now Hysén is rebuilding his career at Utsiktens, where his father became coach last year. Hysén did not court the flurry of global publicity that, invariably, came with his revelation. During a football magazine interview, Glenn casually mentioned his son’s sexuality; the journalist then politely approached Hysén to see if he wanted to come out. Hysén thought he might as well and, with typical frankness, told Offside magazine: “It is completely strange, isn’t it? It’s all fucked up. Where the hell are all the others? No one is coming out.”

03.30.11

Jimmy Leyland’s Stark Opposition to Internet Anonymity

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 5:13 pm by

ESPN The Magazine’s “Player X” column affords anonymous pro athletes the opportunity to take a shot at their colleagues and rivals, the recent attack on boozy Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera being the most recent example (“why isn’t Cabrera paying a guy $100 a night to drive him around?”).  In the considered view of Detroit skipper Jim Leyland, growling within earshot of the Free Press’ Anthony Fenech, such criticism is less than constructive (though you might think it pretty mild if you’ve ever had a friend member killed or maimed by an impaired motorist).



“To me that’s a gutless (jerk) that doesn’t put his name to it,” Leyland said. “If somebody would have said, ‘Hey, this is Jim Leyland and this is what I say, he should do this or this, then that’s fine.

“But when you (another expletive) hide behind somebody else’s expense, that’s chicken (expletive) to me. But you guys know your business more than me. Maybe that’s ethical, I don’t really know. But I’d be (extremely irritated) if I was Cabrera.”

Back In Garageland (aka The Quicken Loans Arena) With My Bullshit Dectector

Posted in Basketball, twitter twatter at 1:06 pm by

In which a noted Comic Sans enthusiast / parking etiquette enforcer takes great pleasure in going 1-3 this season against Miami, shortly after predicting his Cavaliers team would win 51 games or more next season.

Evan Longoria : Zombie Hunter

Posted in Baseball, Firearms at 11:26 am by

Over the weekend, Tampa Rays roomies Evan Longoria, David Price and Reid Brignac were victimized by burglars who made off with what was initially cataloged as “electronics, jewelry and other items” from their Port Charlotte, FL home.  As it turns out, one of those “other items” was an AK-47 registered to 3B Longoria, who as the St. Petersberg Times’ Marc Topkin and Kim Wilmath explain, was reluctant “to elaborate on why he had the gun, which is commonly referred to as an assault rifle.”

“It’s a personal item,” Longoria said. “Obviously, they (authorities) are going to say things that are taken. I think everything within the house is personal, and we’ll just leave it at that.”

“The only time a person would need a rifle of that magnitude (outside a range) is if they’re fending off zombies,”
said Fritz Casper, an instructor at Shooting Sports, a N Dale Mabry Highway gun range and shop in Tampa.

The AK-47 is a common choice for gun enthusiasts, he said, mostly because it is cheap, available for as little as $300 to $400.

“It’s a ubiquitous gun,” Casper said. “It’s inexpensive. It’s simple to use. It’s simple to fix.”

Dennis Patriarca, owner of the VIP Security Training school in Tampa, said the AK-47 is “a good protection gun, but it’s mainly a recreational-type thing.”

For many gun owners, Casper said, it’s not about need but want.

“If a dude wants to be cool and goes and gets a Corvette, it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s going to go take that Corvette and go race at 165 mph,” Casper said. “It’s like that. Shooting guns is fun. An AK-47 is fun.”

03.29.11

The Giambino Rolls Over On The Man That Won’t Roll Over On Bonds

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science, The Law at 6:55 pm by

It wasn’t quite as sensational as allegations Barry Bonds threatened to cut out his girlfriend’s breast implants, but amongst the highlights of Wednesday’s testimony in the Barry Bonds perjury trial was former Bay Area fixture/American League Comeback Player Of The Year Jason Giambi (above) naming Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson as the supplier of the same PED’s he once refused to admit using. If the shifting levels of credibility aren’t making you dizzy, congratulations. From the Bay City News’ Julia Cheever ;

Giambi said Greg Anderson mailed him injectable testosterone and syringes, as well as two designer steroids known as “the clear” and “the cream” and calendars saying how often to take the drugs, beginning in November 2002.

He said he never talked to Anderson about whether the drugs were legal, but said, “I took it that it was very secretive to get your hands on it and to be quiet about it.”

He said Anderson said “the cream” and “the clear” had “steroid-like” qualities but were undetectable on tests.

At the time, Giambi was playing for the New York Yankees. He played for the A’s from 1995 to 2001 and is now with the Colorado Rockies.

He told the jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston that he paid about $10,000 for the drugs and stopped taking them after injuring his knee in August 2003.

Giambi said Anderson also told him, “If I needed growth hormone he could send it to me.

“But I told him I had it already,” Giambi said.

Cageside Seats : Finlay’s Anthem Diss A Minor Offense In WWE’s History Of Cheap Heat

Posted in Professional Wrestling at 6:07 pm by

It was reported earlier today that David “Fit” Finlay, a longtime WCW and WWE veteran, and more recently, road agent/segment producer for the latter, was relieved of his duties by the publicly held Stamford, CT near-monopoly after supervising a angle in which The Miz interrupted the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner”.  On the overall scale of provocative gestures by the WWE, this seems like rather small potatoes, however, it served to raise the ire of “Raw” sponsors the U.S. National Guard.   While Finlay has been made the apparent fall guy, Cageside Seats’ David Bixenspan points out playing fast and loose with anti-patriotic themes is nothing new for the Vince McMahon empire.

In 1991, Sgt. Slaughter sided with Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, burned a Hulk Hogan shirt, teased burning an American flag, invoked Saddam Hussein often, fought Hogan in “Desert Storm Matches” etc.  In 1993, the Yokozuna vs Jim Duggan feud had to be toned down due protests from Japanese-American groups.  In this case, the protests were about the overly jingoistic commentary by the announcers during the angle where Yokozuna injured Duggan and a fake Japanese newscast that celebrated Yokozuna’s actions as if it was a great moment for the nation.

After-9/11, they held off for a little while (Kurt Angle was immediately given the WWF Title while positioned as an American hero, but it felt more like an attempt at cheering people up than being exploitative) before going way overboard.  Heels in the following years included The UnAmericans (Canadians and an Englishman who carried upside-down American flags and once came close to burning one), La Resistance (a French-Canadian and a Maritimer as Frenchmen at the height of anti-French sentiment during the “freedom fries” era), and Mohammad Hassan (actually Italian-American Mark Copani) with manager Khosrow Daivari (legitimately Iranian-American wrestler Dara “Shawn” Daivari).

Hassan and Daivari somehow evolved from American-born Muslims frustrated with discrimination (who were still heels for some reason) to leading around a gang of masked men dressed like the terrorists in various beheading videos.  The gimmick came to an end after an angle where they all choked out The Undertaker with piano wire, which was used in one of the beheadings.  On the day that the angle was about to air, the London train bombings happened.  WWE brass reportedly decided that American fans didn’t care about world issues and left it in the American broadcast on the now defunct UPN (who left it in, but added a “viewer discretion” crawler) while editing it out of the international version of the show.  The backlash was disastrous, with UPN banning Hassan from the network and the character being written out at the next PPV event.

Cats & Cocks That Are More Psychedelic Than The Black Angels

Posted in Cats, Cockfighting, Going To The Zoo, Rock Und Roll, The Internet at 12:59 pm by

MY CAT IS MORE “PSYCHEDELIC” THAN THE BLACK ANGELS

MY COCK IS MORE “PSYCHEDELIC” THAN THE BLACK ANGELS

If these two Facebook Groups don’t have at least 200 members by the end of the week, I can only assume you folks are either way too fucking cool for social networking, or you harbor some secret affection/sympathy for one of the lamest bands of the modern era.   Don’t be shy — all of America wants to see your cat (or cock).

Jortscenter Is Next: Josh Harrellson’s Wide World of Fashion

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, Firearms at 10:55 am by

I’ve watched a lot of University of Kentucky basketball, due in part to my just watching a lot of every-team basketball in general and in larger part to having some friends who are Kentucky alums and serious fans. (Not to name drop but, yes haters, I build with Lukasz Obrzut) Which means that I’ve seen a lot of senior center Josh Harrellson over the years, usually in frustrating two- or three-minute stretches punctuated by the profanities of my dear friends. Recruited as an inside-outside big man by Billy Gillispie, Harrellson spent his first three seasons at Kentucky just not playing very well. He was never as bad as Eloy Vargas — the ultra-baffled Kentucky backup center who plays like he’s wearing roller skates, and whom people I respect describe as the worst player in Division I — but Harrellson was frustratingly vague, drifty, and contact-averse; not, in short, the sort of player that gets minutes on a good team, and clearly not a favorite of John Calipari. And then, this year, he suddenly became a very solid frontcourt contributor.

During the tournament, Harrellson (above) is scoring nearly 16 points per game and averaging just under 10 rebounds per, and he played very well against the very good Jared Sullinger in Kentucky’s upset of Ohio State. While he’s still limited in a lot of ways, Harrellson has belatedly emerged as a Jon Brockman-ian garbage man with a good attitude and more skills than anyone would expect. All of that, plus the fact that everyone else is writing about Brandon Knight’s dagger-tossing brilliance, probably explains why Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel wrote a nice story about the likable Harrellson’s late-onset competence. In a classic example of burying the lede, though, Wetzel waits a few hundred words to get to the thing that is truly shocking about Harrellson — his unabashed fondness for, and impressive collection of, one of America’s more controversial male clothing items.

Before this run, Harrellson claim to fame was earning the nickname “Jorts” in honor of his devotion to the rural fashion of jeans shorts. He said he owns 10 pairs.

“A lot of people think of jeans shorts like I cut my jeans off and made them shorts,” Harrellson explained. “I actually buy them. [I wear them every day] when it gets to jorts season.”

Jorts season?

“When it’s spring time,” he said. “It’s a fashion statement. They’re easy to put on. I can wear my basketball shorts underneath them. You can wear them out to the courts. They’re easy to take off, and then slip back on and wear home.”

He claims he has made jorts so popular in Lexington he even got teammate Darius Miller to start wearing them.

“That’s a lie,” Miller countered, shaking his head and playfully wondering what the heck is wrong with his teammate.