Speaking on behalf of my fellow atheists (and our partners in destroying America, the Muslims) I would like to sincerely apologize to Mrs. Lucas for forcing our beliefs on her family, friends and neighbors. You’ve probably heard about all the urinating-on-bibles us atheists have made mandatory in Indianapolis public schools, followed closely by introducing the Quran as required reading once those same students have finished pissing (that would be the handiwork of those mischievous Muslims).I feel pretty guilty about that stuff, but it’s a little late to call off the unholy dogs (so to speak) as we’ve now taken over the entire Midwest.
With a roster featuring such young stars-in-the-making as Jake Arrieta, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler — not to mention the soon-to-emerge Addison Russell and Kris Bryant, one could be excused from expressing optimism in GM Theo Epstein’s long-term plan for the historically hapless Chicago Cubs. Unless, however, you buy into the cynicism of the Chicago Sun-Times’ Rick Telander, whose patience is exhausted to the point where he says of Epstein, “he’s a genius, and everyone else is dumb.”
What are three years with a record of 80 games under .500 when, by 2019, the Cubs will have a new TV deal for lots of money?
Hey, hey! That’s only five years from now. Watching Triple-A players is awesome! Anybody can win the World Series, but watching guppies develop, priceless!
Epstein said the Cubs will be better next year (worse than 73-89 should be off the table), but “we’re not going to sell out to win in 2015.’’
Why should they? Cubs fans will take anything. They are more loyal than comfort dogs. And hope? Faith? They eat that like dirt-gorging amoebas.
“I feel like most fans have put their trust in us to get this thing right and bought into the vision that we have,’’ Epstein said. Correctly.
Because that vision is out there, on the horizon, moving like the sun. Just a little farther. Always. And the Cubs fans lurch toward it, arms outstretched, half-insane with desire.
“Even if we win the World Series next year, I don’t think it represents the apex,’’ Epstein said.
Imagine that! A Cubs franchise that hasn’t won a world championship in 107 years will someday be tossing trophies around like marshmallows.
Yesterday, it was mentioned in this space that Sayreville High School (N.J.) had cancelled a Thursday night clash with South Brunswick following the arrest of defensive coordinator Charles Garcia on charges of steroid possession. As it turns out, Garcia’s legal woes might be the least of Sayreville’s problems, as the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating alleged hazing practices within the Sayreville football program. From MyCentralJersey’s Greg Tufaro :
Schools superintendent Richard Labbe released few details about the allegations during a news conference Friday afternoon, declining to either confirm or deny reports of hazing.
“Because this is an investigation being conducted by law enforcement, I have signed a memorandum of agreement with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which prohibits me from conducting my own investigation until they are done with theirs,” Labbe said.
“We take a zero tolerance approach on harassment, intimidation and bullying,” he said. “The allegations are of a very serious nature. We will not stop until all of our students’ safety and welfare are established.”
“It’s not fair to the kids who had nothing to do with this,” said John Williams, father of junior DB Coray. “They worked all summer to get ready. The season just started. You’ve got seniors on the team, some preparing to go to college. This is their last season, and now they don’t know if the season is going to be canceled.”
The Green Bay Press Gazette’s Amy Bailey wrote on Tuesday about attending a viewing party for last Sunday’s Packers vs. Bears tilt and being privy to some less than effervescent conversation (“as the TV broadcast showed a scrum for a loose ball, a man watching with our group said, ‘It’s a big ol’ (N-word) pile’”). Today, Jim Romensko reports Bailey’s received a bit of reader mail, with the following passage composed by someone who mysteriously forgot to include his full name and address (link courtesy : Paul Lukas) :
I am not alone in hoping the above missive was not penned by Ray Romano.
With apologies to Ric Flair for the above headline, it seems tomorrow night’s scheduled South Brunswick (NJ) High versus Sayerville game has been called off following the arrest of the latter’s defense coordinator. From NJ.com’s Barry Amaral :
Charles Garcia, a South Plainfield resident, was arrested and charged with possession of steroids, testosterone and syringes after he was pulled over in Bridgewater last week, according to the report, which cited a criminal complaint in Superior Court in Somerville.
Garcia did not respond to requests for comment from NJ Advance Media.
Sayreville High cancelled the game, but did not explain why. The game, between the two Middlesex County football powerhouses, was scheduled for tonight. The freshman game today and junior varsity game on Monday were also cancelled.
“While we understand that this action causes great disappointment for the Sayreville community and that there’s going to be a curiosity to want to know more information, at this time we’ve been advised that it’s just not in the best interest of the students or the district to share more information,” board vice president Beth DePinto previously said.
Former Yankee SS Derek Jeter, whose glittering big league career was littered with uninteresting, noncommittal replies to media inquiries, has announced he’ll be the front man for an internet publishing venture, “The Player’s Tribune”, which the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir reports will feature, “first-person accounts, videos, podcasts, photographs and polls on the site.” Kind of like most other sports sites, only without those pesky journalists (and their qualifications) throwing their ugly biases into the mix!
“I realize I’ve been guarded,” Jeter wrote. “I learned early on in New York, the toughest media environment in sports, that just because a reporter asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer. I attribute much of my success in New York to my ability to understand and avoid unnecessary distractions.
“I do think fans deserve more than ‘no comments’ or ‘I don’t knows.’ Those simple answers have always stemmed from a genuine concern that any statement, any opinion or detail, might be distorted. I have a unique perspective. Many of you saw me after that final home game, when the enormity of the moment hit me. I’m not a robot. Neither are the other athletes who at times might seem unapproachable. We all have emotions.
“We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend.”
Anthony Rotondi said he was within his rights to yell, “Carmelo, you stink!” during the final minute after the Knicks squandered a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons last January.
The Knicks eked out a 89-85 win, but the financial broker from Brooklyn didn’t get to see the victory.
Security guards removed him from his fourth-row seats behind the basket, where he was watching the game with his supervisor and two clients.
Then, the MSG employees tossed him out and had him arrested for interfering with the Jan. 7 game.
A Knicks fan told The Post that Rotondi said “Carmelo you f—ing suck!” Two other fans flagged down security, who then removed Rotondi to a standing ovation from the crowd.
Word to the wise — unless you’re retired or independently wealthy, you might wanna zip it when and if you have the misfortune of seeing The Straight Shot perform.
“Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), Maccabi USA, Maccabi World Union, and Maccabi Tel-Aviv will host a VIP reception before the Brooklyn Nets take on the Israeli and European hoops champions Maccabi Tel-Aviv in their first pre-season game on Tuesday, Oct. 7,” read the press release at Jewish Political News & Updates earlier this month (“the VIP reception will pay special tribute to Israeli soldiers wounded in the recent IDF Operation Protective Edge and, at the same time, to the Guest of Honor, NBA Hall of Famer, Dolph Schayes, 86, the only Jewish player to be selected as one of the 50 all-time NBA best”). Lest you think an event honoring IDF Operation Protective Edge is no big deal at a major North American sporting event, The Nation’s Dave Zirin warns, “the specter of a pro-Palestinian protest at an Israeli sporting event” is coming to Brooklyn.
I spoke to Tsvia Thier, an Israeli citizen now living in New York, who plans to be a part of whatever protest assembles outside the Barclays Center on October 7th. She said to me, “Israel dropped thousands of pounds of weapons on Gaza. More than 2,000 people died. More than 500 children were killed. There has been no justice for this. We cannot allow for these games to go forward without bearing witness…as if these criminal acts did not just take place. Our memories cannot be that short.” Thier was on her way to a meeting of the group Jewish Voice for Peace to raise plans to protest when I spoke with her.
The NBA has made no announcements to signal any effort to bring a Palestinian basketball team to the United States, despite the league’s popularity in both the West Bank and Gaza. The absence of an invitation is somewhat understandable, because, if international soccer is any guide, even if invited the players probably would not be able to attend. Surrounded by armed checkpoints, attempting to journey to the United States would be a frustrating if not fruitless act. Commissioner Adam Silver, who acted with great moral clarity during the Donald Sterling debacle, should make it his mission to invite a Palestine club team to the United States, and apply pressure to make it a reality. It would be a sign that he is willing to do what so many will not: recognize the humanity of the Palestinian people. He should also tell Maccabi that they will be delinking these NBA preseason games from Friends of the IDF
Friday, a caller asked why Derek Jeter wore No. 2. Francesa gave a windy, condescending, expert answer: The Yankees always have given single-digit numbers to those projected for greatness.
You know why you never before knew that? Because it’s Francesa-fabricated bunk. In fact — and thanks to reader Brian Murphy for No. 2 research — between Bobby Murcer and Jeter, the Yankees issued No. 2 to Tim Foli (1984), Dale Berra (1985) and Wayne Tolleson (1986-90). All played for the Yankees after extensive careers with other teams.
Francesa, who never admits an error — in his case that would be admitting that he falsifies facts, that he’s full of it — won’t make good on this. Why should he? The tape’s lost. And either way, he’s so much better than us. – Phil Mushnick, New York Post, September 29, 2014
Much as I hate to take issue with Phil, it should be noted the Yankees have yet to award number 62 to any member of the major league roster since Joba Chamberlain’s departure for Detroit. That is, with the exception of Austin Romine, who’s changed numbers 4 times in 3 seasons because the club can’t decide which all-time great they’re modeling him after!
Newly acquired Hornets SG Lance Stephenson, “wants to do more than just play basketball,” writes the Charlotte Observer’s Jonathan Jones, pointing out that Stephenson’s cover of Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot Nigga” is not entirely faithful to the original :
Stephenson took the beat to the song and says in four hours he came up with his lyrics. He stripped Shmurda’s lyrics of misogyny and gun violence and replaced them with rhymes about his basketball talents, endorsements for his And 1 shoe company, reminiscing about watching Allen Iverson, his excitement to play with Hornets point guard Kemba Walker and more.
“Brooklyn-bred now I’m out in N.C.,” the end of the song’s first verse goes. “Me and Kemba in the backcourt n—as as dead meat/Pops held me, down kept me out the streets/They wonder how the rose grew up out the concrete…
“I’ve been ballin’ hard since like the fifth grade/Watching A.I. gettin’ 40 with the French braids/Love Indiana, I’m gonna miss some good days/Charlotte Hornet, M.J. that’s a new way.”
The song uses the N-word nine times, down 13 from the original song. Although the word is commonly used in rap as well as in many professional sports team’s locker rooms that are predominantly African-American, Stephenson said he was cognizant of the message it might send to kids who view him as a role model.
This week he released the music video, which includes him driving a Rolls Royce, wearing a retro Larry Johnson jersey and doing a dance he created called the Born Ready Dance. He blanked out the nine times he used the N-word, acknowleding its offense to others.
Gertrude Stein once famously said of Oakland, CA, “there’s no there there.” Conversely, teams merely securing an entry into a one-game playoff for further marbles are often advised to “act like you’ve been there before”. So this might explain some of the confusing scenes that took place above.
I rarely take credit for these achievements because as the late George Steinbrenner once told me, “it’s not the name on the back of the uniform, it’s the name on the front.” “But Mr. Steinbrenner, we don’t put the players’ names on the back of their jerseys,” I told him. “Really? GREAT WORK, Levine.”
(then he mumbled something about leaving the franchise to me in his will, but I’ve been told several times this would go nowhere in a court of law.)
So go ahead, retire a number for Bud Selig. It’s not as though the Brewers don’t have plenty of numbers already available for that kind of thing. Here in the Bronx, however, we’re retired many numbers, 16 to be exact. True, I’ve never taken the field in pinstripes, but neither did Jackie Robinson, and his #42 is already on the do-not-use-list. I’m not suggesting for a moment this wonderful Civil Rights pioneer isn’t deserving of the honor, but since he isn’t alive to argue against my being honored in similar fashion, who are you to put words in his mouth?
I’m pretty happy with number 2. And because I’m as magnanimous as I’m handsome, I’m totally OK sharing it with Derek Jeter. Seeing as he’s the most unselfish Yankee, nay, human being of all time, I refuse to entertain the possibility he’s got a problem with the idea. That’s the difference between you and me (well, that and the size of our IQ’s and bank accounts) — I simply believe in Derek Jeter more than you do.
I don’t know how they do things in Thunder Bay, but in Amarillo TX you don’t insult a young child’s artistic chops, and you certainly don’t diss Terry Funk. Though Hannibal’s been doing exactly that for the last two years.
One of the great orators of the modern age unburdened himself last night after the Giants clinched an NL Wild Card berth. Can you imagine how (fucking) excited Pence would be if San Francisco had actually won the division?
Guitarist/vocalist Max Vandever and cousin Elissa Ussery (drums/vocals) migrated from San Antonio and began their assault on Austin’s live music dumps in 2008 playing as a duo under ill-advised names including but not limited to Candle Shop & The Psychic Reader, Dead Ledger and Carousel Images. After poaching bassist/vocalist Jeremy Steen from an early lineup of The Gospel Truth, the newly dubbed Flesh Lights (this name being approved by a focus group — A PERVERTED FOCUS GROUP), the trio quickly became a fixture on whatever you-got-songs-in-my-punk / you-got-punk-in-my-songs circuit that began to coalesce around the alleged live music capital. A pile of records soon followed ; 7”’s for Twistworthy and Super Secret, a killer debut album for the former imprint in the form of 2012’s ‘Muscle Pop’, this past summer’s “No Longer” single, etc. There’s also a 2013 national tour at the behest of The Hive which briefly elevated The Flesh Lights from subterranean spots to the sort of rooms that have bouncers who lift weights, but feel free to consider that an aberration (until The Hives come back, HINT HINT)
Pretty early on, this trio established themselves as being songcraft devotees without much self-consciousness (and that’s not meant to be an allusion to Steen’s brief projectile vomiting streak). And while those of us who bought ‘Muscle Pop’ consider it a bona fide classic, LP #2, ‘Free Yourself’ functions as so much more than a sequel ; the band claim they told producer Evan Kleinecke to make it sound like ‘Heaven Tonight’, but they could’ve thrown in the Exploding Hearts, Dictators, Only Ones or Teenage Fanclub while they were at it. Fortunately, they didn’t — he’s being paid by the hour.
I could go on about Vandever’s ridiculous development as a guitarist, about how following this band onstage is a great way to look super feeble, but I trust a good looking, super intelligent person like yourself to eventually figure it out. Because I hate hyperbole with every bone in my body (in yours, too!), I’m dead fucking serious when I say the best things about living in America right now are universal health care, the advent of driverless automobiles and the Flesh Lights. Not necessarily in that order.
Most sensible persons under the age of a thousand don’t wanna hear about how awesome things were in downtown NYC in the late ’80′s / early ’90′s. For one thing, not everything was awesome. For another, there’s actual real-life-shit happening right now all over the place that’s also worth obsessing over. But if you’ll allow me a brief bit of looking-back-indulgence, I consider myself crazy fortunate to have known so many amazing people from that era. And it never ceases to amaze me how many of those same persons have made colossal artistic strides (in more than one medium) in the decades since.
Letha Rodman Melchior was one such person. I got to know her back in the days when my not-entirely competent band was fortunate to play several times with her far more accomplished Ruby Falls ; she without question had the kind of soul + creative mind combo that made everyone in her orbit incredibly happy to share her company.
Years later, after I’d left New York and before she’d relocated to North Carolina, Letha did the virtual elbow-in-the-ribs thing on me concerning the musical output of husband/collaborator Dan, whom at the time I was barely familiar with. People love to throw words like “prolific” or “adventurous” around (ok, maybe they don’t actually love the throwing of “adventurous” but they do it anyway) but none of that is ample warning for the dizzying amount of musical terrain he’s covered. I’ve got a shelf full of Dan’s recordings and there’s awesome surprises on every one of them.
Later still, Letha’s own works as a visual and sound artist began to emerge and no diss to Ruby Falls (whom I loved) is intended when I say she’d honed her respective crafts to a staggering degree.
Letha passed away yesterday after a cancer fight she chronicled with incredible courage, grace and wit. For those familiar with her work, the loss is big. For her family and friends, it’s incalculable. My thoughts today are with everyone who knew her and cared about her.
(donations to Letha’s health care expenses can be made here)
(addendum : though the fundraiser linked to above appears to be down at the moment —- and I’ll post a new link when or if one’s available — there’s a November 9 benefit at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade featuring a host of Letha’s New York friends and former bandmates including Versus, Antietam, the Thalia Zedek Band, the Rogers Sisters and Cynthia Nelson)
The Leeds owner confirmed the former Slovenia international and “very cool guy”as the club’s manager. “Yes, we agreed a two-year deal,” Cellino told Sky Sports News. “He’s just arrived today. We’ve been waiting for him about 15 days. I don’t know [why I’ve chosen him]. The coaches are like watermelons. You find out about them when you open them. His particularly qualities? He’s good-looking, what can I tell you?
“He was a very good counterattacking defender with Partizan Belgrade and Sturm Graz, and a good coach with Maribor for four years and took the club to the Champions League and Europa League, and he made it good as player and coach and he likes the Premier League.
“He gave up his place in the Premier League in Austria to come to the Championship with Leeds, and we hope that the club in Leeds is a good chance for him to have a good team and an important club to run, so he can make us proud. He does not talk much and is very pragmatic. I like him. He is a very cool guy.”
…and with the NBA regular season more than a month away, is this really that big a deal? The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir reports Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons has been suspended by ESPN after daring the network to do exact that.
On a podcast on Grantland, the sports site owned by ESPN, Simmons sharply criticized Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case and called him a liar.
“I just think not enough is being made out of the fact that they knew about the tape and they knew what was on it,” Simmons said. “Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying. If you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail.
“And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted. I really was.”
Simmons challenged ESPN to discipline him for his words: “You leave me alone. The commissioner is a liar, and I get to talk about that on my podcast.”
In a statement about the suspension, ESPN said: “Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards. We have worked hard to ensure that our recent N.F.L. coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons did not meet those obligations in a recent podcast, and as a result we have suspended him for three weeks.”
Elsewhere, it’s being reported that Simmons is barred from Twitter as well, which should come as a serious blow to those hoping to generate positive coverage for the Cassette Store Day 21sd Anniversary edition of the Counting Crows’ ‘August & Everything After’.
The declaration, recited by lawer Kissi Agyabeng, attacked the media for “wild allegations and rumours … ranging from the absurd – of the imputation of criminality to [Gyan] in the sense that he either murdered Castro or had him kidnapped – and ending with the ludicrous – that he sacrificed him spiritually to enhance his career.
“We have been silent while these wild allegations and rumours have been peddled in the media. We have been silent not because we are concealing anything or that we do not feel the need to fully state what, from our reckoning, had happened in Ada. We have been silent because we did not want to interfere with police investigations.
“In our painful silence, we have been totally dismayed by the fact that the platform was provided for the peddling of these wild and ludicrous allegations and rumours against us. Those to whom the platform was provided offered no evidence whatsoever to back their statements. And indeed, the allegation of spiritual sacrifice can by no stretch of the imagination be propped up.”
The statement added: “We take the opportunity and state without the slightest doubt in our minds that we are not blamable for the disappearance of Castro and Janet Bandu. We had no hand in that occurrence. We have no moral or legal culpability whatsoever. None of us rode out into the open estuary with Castro and Janet Bandu. Castro rode out there on his own volition and none of us have the slightest idea as to what happened to them.
Years ago, I recall Seton Hall University’s campus radio station, WSOU, being one of the few eastern U.S. college broadcasters to largely eschew alternative/underground/indie rock/whatever programming in favor of a mostly metal programming slate. At the time, it didn’t occur to me that WSOU’s license holder, a Roman Catholic institute of higher learning, might be at odds with many of the themes and sentiments expressed, but apparently such contradictions have come up in conversation a few times. WFMU and Dangerous Minds both published the following earlier this week :
Though it’s nice to see that Kilslug spinoff Upside Down Cross have made the big time (sort of), how are WSOU brass thoroughly unfamiliar with Adolf Satan?