Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Swear jar
About a year ago, I mentioned that I had a no swearing policy for this blog.
It didn't last. Whether describing presidential debates, steroids or Dennis Kucinich, the rating on this blog had to have been increased from "G" to "PG-13."
What disturbs me more is how many times I use four letter words in my daily life.
For the last several years, my swearing has become very evident to anyone who has spent more than 25 minutes with me.
The most inappropriate? Muttering a curse during a set of music while in college. Luckily, there were not any children in the area ... I don't think.
Finally, yesterday, I decided to start a swear jar. Every time I swear, I pop in a quarter. through two days, I am up to $3.50.
Originally, I wanted to donate the money at the end of each month to a good cause. But then that would just encourage me to swear more. So now, I have the ultimate way to stop swearing.
Every quarter will go to Hillary Clinton's re-election campaign in New York.
That will get me to stop really quickly.
Seriously, I'll just donate the money to a charity.

Song quote of the day
I will keep falling as long as I live
all without ending
and I will remember the place that is now
that has ended before the beginning - The Byrds

Emma Rose
Wow, I was watching an old documentary on Joseph Stalin. One of those interviewed? Condoleeza Rice, listed as a Soviet Affairs Expert from Stanford. She looks a lot different in the video. My guess is that this was far before she became a real public figure.
Little did they know at the time they were interviewing the future president of the United States.

Cochrane dead
Do not speak ill of the dead, they say. In that case, I really shouldn't write much about Johnnie Cochrane. He was so good at what he did that numerous guilty men went free.
I'm not sure if he deserves blame for being good at his job, but the truth is that it will be difficult to write too much praise.
So, all I can say is that Johnnie Cochrane was a very good defense attourney.
Rest in peace, Mr. Cochrane.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

"For all your hatred of this country, you don't understand it very well."--Jack Bauer

Courtney Brown
Well, enjoy Denver Courtney. Brown always carried himself like a professional despite the worst string of luck this side of Ken Griffey.
No matter where he plays, I will always pull for him. I know my support is meaningless, but I wanted to write it nonetheless.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Song quote of the day
Now when I was a young boy
at the age of five
My mother said I was gonna be
the greatest man alive
But now I'm a man
way past 21
Want you to believe me baby,
I had lot's of fun --Muddy Waters

Friday, March 25, 2005

Van the Man
One of the greatest musicians and songwriters of all time has a pretty cool site, as it turns out. He has a new album coming out. Van Morrison's music is like pizza. Even when its bad, it's good.
Van is the author of two of my favorite songs ever. "Caravan" currently occupies the one spot on that list, and Full Forced Gale is also very high.

Vitamin Z's Magnificent Seven: Zach's favorite Van Morrison songs
1. Caravan
2. Full Forced Gale
3. Lyndon Arden Stole the Highlights
4. Queen of the Slipstream
5. Troubadors
6. And the Healing has begun
7. Tupelo Honey

Seventy percent of the 80,000 people who have voted picked Annika Sorenstam as the greatest female golfer of all time in an ESPN Sports Nation Poll. Babe Didrikson Zaharias had a mere 25 percent, despite being just as dominant in her era, if not more so. This just goes to prove that in sports, if it didn't happen in the last 10 years, it must not have happened at all.

Where I'm leaning
My leanings on the Schiavo case are pretty well summed up in this quote by a known conservative:
"I'm quite astonished to hear people who call themselves conservatives arguing, in effect, that Congress and the federal courts have a free-ranging charter to correct any injustice, anywhere, regardless of the Constitution. And yet my email runneth over with just those kinds of comments. And arguing that "it's okay because liberals do it too" doesn't undercut my point that conservatives are acting like liberals here. It makes it." - Glenn Reynolds
I got the quote from Andrew Sullivan's site, so I better credit it.
I don't like the idea of a woman dying this way. In fact, I hate it. But the courts, who know a lot more about this than I do, have run their course, like the constitution says. We can't just ignore that, because the results could be disasterous.

Song quote of the day
And the county judge
who held a grudge
will search for ever more
for the band on the run--Wings

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Zach's 20 Favorite Movies
1. The Godfather
2. The Godfather II
3. The Graduate
4. The Naked Gun II 1/2
5. It's a Wonderful Life
6. Major League
7. Blazing Saddles
8. CaddyShack
9. Monty Python: Holy Grail
10. The Last Waltz
11. Airplane
12. Shawshank Redemption
13. The Truman Show
14. Naked Gun
15. My Cousin Vinny
16. Charade
17. Barbershop
18. Mash
19 Best in Show
20. Liar Liar

100 greatest sports movie quotes of all time
It's an interesting list. But Bill Murray's famous line is number 85?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A lot of people have an opinion about this case. Writers and columnists likely feel obligated to come out on one side. But the truth is, I wish more people would say the truth, which could likely be boiled down to three simple words:
I don't know.
I am not a doctor, I am not a judge and I am not a member of the family. I don't know what the right answer is.

I plug my own material
My latest column 210 west is up. It's about the only thing I have talked about for the last three weeks.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Barch Unrated
By Andy Barch
I know, I know, its been a very long time since I last appeared on the blog. My apologies, although I must admit, I'm still ahead of Maurice Clarrett's 40 time.

The Tice is right for anybody who wants scalped super bowl tickets. This story is outstanding, I mean this guy's job is "saved" after he beats an embarrassing Packer team in the playoffs and then he loses a GIANT headache in Randy Moss, while getting a decent linebacker, 2 draft picks and is still 31 million dollars under the salary cap. Suddenly, a coach who makes millions of dollars a year is too good to give these tickets away to charities or donate them to a family who would love to go, but can't due to financial restrictions. I hate bashing Tice because I've always thought that he was a great guy, but if this is true, then he's no better than Marc O'Hair.

How do the two compare? Who is Marc O'Hair? Two obvious questions that I feel I need to answer. If you read Rick Reilly's articles in Sports Illustrated then you know who Marc O'Hair is. Read the article and you'll soon learn to hate Marc O'Hair who treated his son Sean like dirt and for all intensive purposes FORCED him to be a golfer. Sean has succeeded in becoming a golfer but his dad made him sign a contract when he was 17 to give his father 10% of his earnings for life and $100,000 dollars for various expenses. Thus, capitalizing on something that he took for granted. This was another OUTSTANDING article by Mr. Reilly, you can read this article of Reilly's in the January 31st, 2005 issue of Sports Illustrated.

Now that you know who Marc O'Hair is and what he did, you're probably asking how the two compare. Marc O'Hair has something special, no its not a great golfer, but a son. One that he put through hell and back and took for granted and tried to capitalize off of him by FORCING him to sign a contract when he was 17. While Tice's actions, not quite as extreme, are somewhat similar because of what he DIDN'T DO. Mike Tice is a coach with a lot of integrity, a lot more than O'Hair for that matter. What he did by selling his tickets to the highest bidder and not giving them to someone who really could have used them (charities, unfortunate families etc.) really makes him look bad. Tice was given something special, and he completely and totally mis-used it. He had the chance to go to the game, or he could have done the right thing and given the tickets to somebody who was less fortunate. Instead, he became a classic example of the Rich breaking the rules to try and get richer. As for O'Hair, he had something special, and he completely mis-used it as well. Instead of raising his son, and not force-feeding him, he decided to make his son live life HIS way, and now, he is suffering the consequences because of it. Sean hasn't spoken to him for 2 years, and deep down inside you know Marc is suffering. No man ever fully recovers from losing his son. Perhaps that's the largest difference between Tice and O'Hair.

This just in, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Jeremy Giambi and Scott Steiner are all on steroids. Is anybody at all surprised at this? Some people who are shocked by all this absolutely amaze me. What are we going to uncover next? Michael Jackson's number of psychological examinations have equaled his amount of facelifts? No no, I got it, Ted Kennedy's addiction to alcohol rivals that of R. Kelly's infatuation of urinating on minors. Can we please uncover something that we didn't already know? This is getting ridiculous.

On that same token, I think we have begun to scratch the surface on the real problem here. Somebody needs to pat ESPN on the back for their poll a few months ago when it was revealed that 49% of the people polled said they would take steroids if they knew that it gave them a better chance at stardom in professional sports.

This is a very scary number. The media needs to do a better job of exposing the consequences of steroids. That 49% needs to be reduced immediately. If kids begin to think that they're all destined to be Giambi's, McGwire's or Bonds's by injecting themselves with the juice then the youth of America is in serious trouble. Again, ESPN's weeklong series on Sportscenter did expose some of those consequences and they should be complimented for that but the bigger networks need to crackdown harder on the consequences.

I appreciate the exposure, I'll see you all again when Jeffrey Lebowski and Walter Sobcheck defeat Jesus and Leo O'Brien in the much anticipated bowling match in the sequel to the Big Lebowski.

Barry Bonds just continues to dig and dig. If never playing baseball again makes him happy, he should just do it. His rambling, self-pitying interviews make me think he'd be better off doing something else with his life.

Rental cars
My new car for the next three days is purple. Actually, light purple. But hey, at least it's in season. I am driving around a giant easter egg. I knew I was in trouble when an old woman tried to hide it near a tree.
The moral? Never get in car accidents, because the cars they give you to replace them, while certianly working and clean, will make you want to drive down the road listening to ACDC and burping in a vein attempt to feel good about your masculinity.
Man, never blog while watching a Comedy Central roast.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Silas Fired by Cavs
I don't like it. I don't get it.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Bobby Knight
Bob Knight is a wonderful basketball coach. And, unlike so many others, the praise doesn't end with his on-the-court acheivements.
Knight did what has been so difficult for his peers to do: win while keeping his programs clean. You never hear words like "recruiting violations" associated with his programs.
But there is that other side of Knight. The side that bullies unwitting PR members during press conferences, the side that gets physical with his players, the side that is a jerk for no reason.
His lawsuit against Indiana was laughable, and he refuses to address his problems.
He even goes after and belittles the man who had the gaul to replace him. Bob Knight could stand up for his former assistant, a man who has not yet attained his records.
Instead, Knight goes out of his way to humiliate Mike Davis, a man who despite his relative lack of wins, has been nothing short of a class act since becoming the head coach of the Hoosiers.
I know some of my friends worship him, but to me, Bob Knight is a somewhat tragic figure, and his story just gets sadder by the minute.

I am in two brackets, and now have no chance of winning either of them. I did take MAC team Ohio to the second round, and despite a valient effort, they came up short.
Yes, my blog is very sports-heavy now, but it's that time of the year.

Dream Job
Well, I never watched the last two, but the current version, with NBA players competing for a spot as an NBA analyst, has had me glued for the past three weeks. Dee Brown (who has been the best so far) vs. Matt Bullard has been set as the final. I like both guys, but I would be surprised if Bullard somehow wins the gig. And he shouldn't be so down -- whoever loses is sure to get an offer to join "The Best Damn Sports Show Period."
Still, a person whose greatest claim to fame is Road Rules being a panelist is not the greatest form of credibility. And Stephen A. Smith is a loud, pompous ass. At least that's how he appears on the air

Fifty-six points and the Cavs still lose? The "team" is 34-30 now, but with just over a dozen games left, there is still a chance that Cleveland may be sitting at home when the long, laborious playoffs begin.

The Dayton Day News' Hal McCoy is a brilliant man and a brilliant writer. He lays it on the line for both baseball and congress about steroid use.
What's to discuss? The congressmen threatened to pass a law that would bypass the players and their union.
Do it. Now.
And Mark McGwire? Shame on you.

Robbie Retires
Keeping it simple: From 1998-2001, Roberto Alomar was my favorite Indians' player. He came as advertised when he signed after a few seasons in Baltimore. He did everything well.
He remains the best player I have ever seen in an Indians uniform.
Today, nearly four years after the Indians inexplicably dealt him to New York for the equivalent of Jack's beanstock beans, he announced his retirement.
Deep down, I always wanted the Indians to bring him back. It's the one thing that I have yet to forgive GM Mark Shapiro for.
But he's a first ballot hall of famer. And for three years, it was wonderful to watch him play for my team.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Song quote of the day
The night they drove old Dixie down
When all the bells were ringin'
The night they drove old dixie down
and all the people were singin'
they went na na na na na na na
na na na na na na na na--The Band

Taking a beating
Baseball is getting run through the mud.
The leaders look inept, the players look dishonest, and the politicians that questioned them during the hearing look and sound, for the most part, like they are fed up.
I watched a re-run of the hearing early this morning on C-Span. What was striking, and what remains striking, is how baseball's leaders have escaped accountability up until this point.
Jose Canseco hit 40 homeruns and stole 40 bases in 1988. He was, and is, the only one to accomplish that feat. But even then, when he was in his early 20s, Canseco was dirty.
He couldn't have been the only one. And baseball had good reason to be suspicious. In 1987, power numbers sky-rocketed. Mark McGwire and Andre Dawson each hit 49 home runs. The number was done in mostly pitchers parks, the long cookie cutter stadiums that dominated the sport in the 1980s.
There were many reasons to wonder, but I can't imagine the higherups didn't have suspicions.
But they looked the other way.
That also translates into condoning the act.
I was eight years old in 1988, I am now 24.
Only now are we having hearings. Some of my peers who watched Canseco and McGwire are now baseball's future and present. Baseball never said to them that steroids were wrong.
And because of that attitude, steroids have been accepted into baseball's culture.
Canseco's most important testimony in his book was not that he implicated McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez.
No, he implicated himself. And we can certainly believe that.
Had baseball acted on its suspicions some 15 years ago, they would not be in Washington now.
But they let it slide. I have no sympathy for the sport I love. They are getting exactly what they deserve.

Steroid hearings II
Yes, I watched Donald Fehr, Bud Selig and some clown named Rob Manfred on the stand yesterday, in a replay on C-span. Since I'm going to guess that all of you were sane enough not to watch the whole thing, I will transcribe it for you.

Congress: Thank you all for coming, you irresponsible idiots.

Don Fehr: My mic's not on.

Congress: Mr. Selig, didn't you have concerns about steroids, or at least suspicions, some 10 years ago? Why did it take this long to deal with it?

Bud Selig: Well, this is a very sensitive matter. I've been in this game 40 years and ....

Congress: Let's talk about the new steroid policy. There seems to be some discretion. It's not what you told us you agreed to. Mr. Fehr, can you explain this?

Fehr: My mic's not on ... hold on.

Congress: Mr. Selig?

Bud Selig: This is a very sensitive issue...

Congress: Why does it say you can give fines instead of suspensions?

Rob Manfred: That was a drafting error.

Congress: This is the most important part of the document. You're telling us this is a typo?

Rob Manfred: Shut Up! No typo. This is the best agreement ever created. I will not have my work questioned.

Congress: But it says there can be a fine at the comissioners discretion, and that it may not become public knowledge. Mr. Selig, were you aware of this?

Selig: Well, this is a very sensitive issue. I have been in this game 40 years. Did you know that I know Hank Aaron?

Congress: Mr. Fehr, were you aware of this language?

Fehr: What, excuse me, my mic is not working.

Congress: We can HEAR you.

Fehr: Yeah. Uh-huh.

Selig: Yeah, back 40 years ago, we didn't have microphones.

Manfred: Yes, and why are we even here? One offense--10 days, two offenses, 30 days! Why is this hard to understand?

Congress: Why do players get five strikes and their out? Why five offenses before a year's suspension.

Manfred: Shut UP. This is a brilliant piece of work.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio): Mr. Chairman, I have a question.

Congress: Oh shit. I mean, uh, go ahead congressman.

Kucinich: I am concerned about steroids, but what about other enhancing materials.

Congress: Such as?

Kucinich: Well, moondust. Couldn't that affect hitters as well? If they are injecting space materials, that sends a bad message to our youth. Mr. Selig? What about aliens in our national pastime?

Selig: Well, I have been in this game 40 years, and that's a very sensitive matter.

Fehr: My mic's not on.

Selig: Did you know that I have been in this game since LBJ was president? He was good. Not like this Nixon guy we have in there now.

Fehr: My Mic's not on.

Selig: I have been here 40 years, and that's a very sensitive matter.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Death and aquittal
Robert Blake was aquitted.My reaction: Huh? But then again, I wasn't on the jury, all I know is what the headlines and late night comedians tell me.
Scott Peterson got the death penalty, though I doubt he will actually serve that penalty, once the appeals are all used up.

Not so Fast
It has been over a week since we last spoke. The reasons for my hiatus were numerous, but not serious. The week provided an opportunity to see what has been going on in the world, without being able to jump to any quick conclusions. So here, now, are what I have missed in the last week.

Steroid Hearings
I apoligize in advance for my John Kerry-esque stand on these hearings. You'd have to be an idiot not to think that the congress of this great country can be put to better use. On drugs, I tend to be a libertarian, since I don't care what someone does as long as they don't hurt anyone else. At least that's my legal perspective.
But I am also a lifetime baseball fan, and quite frankly, I feel deceived. Deceived by baseball, deceived by the wretched immoral MLB Players Union. What I have been watching the last 15 years has been, in some way, a fraud.
I watched when Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris' record for home runs five years ago, and the emphasis was on sports then. Now, it seems that the record is nothing more than a joke, a hoax.
Steroids are illegal in this country. More than that, they are an unfair advantage over the clean ballplayer, as well as the players of the past. The players cheated, and the fans who believed in them -- we were cheated too.
And baseball knew this, and did nothing for the better part of 18 years.That's why I want to see those men which I hold in such contempt --Donald Fehr and Bud Selig, get what they deserve. They deserve humiliation and emberassment on the highest scale. They ruined a great sport so they could line their pocketbooks.
That's why I want to see the hearing. And I don't like "the system is working," argument. And how can we trust baseball to solve the problem of steroids when it has done so little over the last two decades.
It's true, congress has done a good job of turning this into a circus and political grandstanding. But then, putting village idiot of congress on ESPN to explain it (Dennis Kucinich) hurts the cause.
But baseball will respond to pressure.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Stuck on You
Going in, I wasn't expecting a whole lot. Greg Kinnear is a decent enough actor, and Matt Damon is pretty amazing in movies like Bourne Identity and The Rainmaker, but together in a slapstick comedy?
I figured it wouldn't be much, especially since I hadn't enjoyed a Farrelly bros. movie since Something About Mary.
My doubts were unfounded. Instead of offensive comedy, the movie was more about brotherhood and understanding.
I could relate to the movie, and I'm sure anyone with a sibling will as well.
Plus, the sight-gags are pretty good. And who knew Cher had a self-depricating sense of humor?
I loved this movie. *** 1/2.
Oh, and Eva Mendes replaces Diane Lane as my dream girl.

Song quote of the day
Graceless lady
you know who I am
you know I can't let you
slide through my hands--The Rolling Stones

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Will the Browns win many games this season? Probably not. But I get the feeling they are truly headed in the right direction.

Vitamin Z's Magnificent 7: Best Harry Chapin songs
2. Taxi
3. Cat's in the Cradle
4. Sunday Morning Sunshine
5. A Better Place to be
6. Sniper
7. Mr. Tanner

Monday, March 07, 2005

Song quote of the day
I been feeling sorry for myself
but you know I was only lonely
like everybody else--Harry Chapin

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Fool on the Hill
Once again,Bud Selig proves that he just doesn't get it.

Just maybe
It is interesting, sometimes, how we contradict ourselves.
No one really should expect me to be chipper at 10 a.m. these days, particularly after getting to bed after 4 the night before. No, to be honest, I was downright cranky. My family was going to breakfast and I was coerced by my brother to accompany my family. Now, this is a great thing.
But I was tired and angry at ... something, God knows what.
And when my brother dare switch the station from rock and roll to National Public Radio, I let him have it.
"I will not," I stated bluntly, "listen to some left wing liberal propaganda which is funded by my tax dollars!"
My brother, who has an undeniable knack for getting under my skin, accused me of being a full fledge right winger, full of bitterness.
"That guy who left those comments was right," he said.
Now, I was full fledged pissed off. I threatened to throw him through the car window, something that, he rightly pointed out, I had neither the evil nor the physical strength to be capable of.
So I just scowled at him. Very mature, I know.
The irony, of course, is that I not only enjoy NPR from time to time, but have a link for it on this blog.
So why the outburst?
Let's just say I am not always the best representation of myself. And, I am not a morning person.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Sweet Sugar
Martha Stewart is back on the streets. No home decoration, no trader stock is safe. I haven't been this concerned about a released felon since Tommy Chong. Lock up the women and children. Actually, the fact that CNN thinks I CARE about this is far more concerning. Still, you break a law, you pay the price.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Koch on Rock
Ed Koch is a lot harder on Chris Rock than I was, but I see his point about Rock's opening Oscar monalogue:
I was in my living room. However, some of the hundreds if not thousands present in the hall could have stood up and protested, but not one person did so. Instead, the Hollywood crowd cheered and applauded their assent to the remarks. How sad when they all, just a few minutes later, also applauded Rock for professing his support for our troops in Iraq, support which sounded awfully shallow after his tasteless crack mocking the dead. Was no one listening? Did no one care?
Point taken.

Former Red dies
In some sad news, former pitcher Rick Mahler has died at 51. Most baseball fans likely remember him as Braves' starter, but I remember him for two brief stints with the Reds, the last one coming in 1990, when Cincinnati won Ohio's last professional championship. (No, the Crunch don't count).
Mahler was a minor league pitching instructor for the Mets at the time of his death.
Rest in peace, Mr. Mahler