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Monday, February 28, 2005

Rockin' the Oscars

I basically agree with this about Chris Rock at the Oscars last night, which was not his scene at all. It was really awkward how he spent his monologue insulting a bunch of actors. Then he compared the US invading Iraq to the Gap invading Banana Republic, right before giving a shout out to the troops watching the broadcast. I wonder if perhaps some of them didn't like the retail comparison so much.

I didn't watch the whole show, so I guess he had some good intros to presenters at least.

The reviews of Rock's performance are mixed, with some good ones and some less so.

That AARP Ad

It's getting noticed and I found this bit interesting:

[USA Next Chairman Charlie Jarvis] defended the gay-marriage ad by saying AARP's Ohio affiliate had opposed a gay-marriage ban in that state.

AARP says it has taken no position on gay marriage and dismisses USA Next's attacks.

From what I hear it's true that the AARP did opposed the gay marriage ban that was on the ballot in Ohio. Their reasoning was that the ban was too broad and would deny legitimate existing benefits, not that they feel that homosexuals should have a right to get married or anything like that. It was a pragmatic stance, not a moral one.

Still no leads on where the charge that AARP is anti-military came from.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

John Chaney: A Poor, Black Man's Bobby Knight

In case you missed it, Temple basketball coach John Chaney ordered a player to commit hard fouls in a game against St. Joseph's earlier this week, resulting in an opposing player suffering a broken arm. Chaney has been suspended by the Atlantic 10 and I agree with those saying the penalty isn't enough. I think Temple should fire John Chaney.

This is a man with a history of losing control. Back in 1994, after a Temple loss to UMass, Chaney went after UMass coach John Calipari, threatening to kill him. He literally yelled, "I'll kill you!" in front of a bunch of cameras as he was restrained from getting closer to Calipari (see #8 here).

Chaney isn't someone who should be shaping young men's lives. For some reason he gets lots of respect, but so did Bob Knight, and eventually Knight's three national championships weren't enough to save his position at Indiana. Chaney has similarly been entrenched for decades at Temple, but unlike Knight, Chaney hasn't even been to the Final Four (he's got a few regional final appearances). Plus, Chaney always looks like hell, like he's been drinking all night and day before showing up for the game.

While I'm dissing old college basketball coaches, Gene Keady is suffering through a disastrous final season as coach at Purdue. I wonder if the school will retire his hideous hairpiece after he's done?

Ty Who?

Remember last Patriots offseason? Ty Law made some caustic public remarks about Bill Belichick, said he didn't want to play for New England any more, etc. It was a big story since Law was coming off an outstanding year, and not having him in the secondary sounded like it would be a big blow to the Super Bowl champs as the tried to repeat.

Fast forward a year and Ty Law is cut by the team with little fanfare. Considering he missed most of the season and the team won the Super Bowl anyway, his significance to the team may have been a little overstated.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Pontifficating

Yesterday: Details of Pope's anti-gay book revealed.

Today: Pope back in hospital.

Coincidence? Or is God not a gay-hater after all?

I don't know if I've ever written it here, but I remain a supporter of the idea of Papal retirement. The old rules of the Papacy were all worked out long ago, before modern technology could extend the life of a withering Parkinson's patient like this. It would be far more humane for JP2 to spend whatever time he has left on the beach sipping pina coladas.

Wiggling Back to Boston



I'm happy Antoine Walker is returning to the Celtics. The deal doesn't make the team all that much better, but I love the wiggle. I also readily admit this doesn't effectively counteract Chris Webber going to the 76ers. I guess it's OK for Philadelphia to beat out Boston in a sport for once (and Villanova beat BC last night too).

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Why Shouldn't Iran Have a Nuke?

I know, because they have a bad government that's into terrorism and crap like that.

But in a broader sense, who are we to say that we have nukes and others can't get them? Imagine if you were one of the non-nnuclear countries--wouldn't this seem rather annoying to be told you can't obtain what others have?

How can we realistically expect other countries to pay any attention to these statements so long as we maintain our own nuclear weapons? Do as we say, not as we do, I guess.

Honestly, this has always seemed the stumper to me on how we make the case abroad for non-proliferation.

Romney not in '06?

Joan Vennochi wrote it yesterday, Scot Lehigh repeats it in today's Boston Globe: insiders are saying Mitt Romney might not actually run for reelection as governor in 2006.

"To win reelection in Massachusetts, he has to run like a moderate as he did in 2002, but to win the Republican presidential nomination, he has to run as a conservative," says one long-time veteran of Republican politics. "He has chosen the right-wing option, which could hurt his prospects for reelection as governor."

The inherent tension between the two roles is one reason some of the governor's own advisers question whether Romney should seek a second term if he plans to run nationally.

And it's why close political observers remain skeptical that he will.

I am doubtful about this based on how Lehigh describes Romney's national image-building strategy earlier in the column:

Watching Romney's speech in Spartanburg on C-Span's "Road to the White House" series, you could see just how Mitt plans to craft his image as a national candidate. ...

The goal, of course, was to portray himself as Horatio at the bridge, a fearless Republican badly outnumbered by the opposite party, but determined to fight the good fight for traditional American values and party principles.

He doesn't look so fearless, though, if he shrinks from the 2006 fight, does he?

It's not exactly like the Republicans have anyone waiting to take over, either. What is it with these Republican governors always being in such a hurry to move on to something else--Weld and Celucci as ambassadors, then Jane Swift being kicked aside so unceremoniously? We've had Republican governors in the state going on 15 years with no one yet to serve out the full two terms.

Lame-ducking himself wouldn't help the GOP party-building that is allegedly being pursued by Romney in the Bay State either. And you can campaign as a sitting governor, come on, lots of people have done that. Just seems like a bad idea all around (of course, losing in '06 ruins his chances in '08 too).

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Good Bad TV

Man, the Parents TV Council sure knows how to party. The link is to their archive of "worst TV clips of the week", including the spectacular South Park whore-off. You're welcome.

While I'm being crude, I'll add that North Jersey Media Group needs a sense of humor. Sandwiches that are named ethnic slurs are not exactly heralding the downfall of Western civilization, but what do I know. The guy who runs the food truck at Rutgers was interviewed on Shepard Smith's show tonight and it seemed like he really didn't know what these words mean anyway. He said he thought that "dyke" was just something you called any woman--so cute, those who don't know English!

Are the drugs going to his head now?

Barry Bonds seemed rather nutty in his press conference today; I recommend watching the video excerpts linked from this page if you have ESPN Motion installed on your computer (and of course you should have ESPN Motion!).

If you feel like reading instead, here's a recap that doesn't do the performance justice:

He called reporters liars, and pointed to problems in the world he considers much more important than steroids, such as alcoholism and drug abuse.

Yes, drug abuse is way more serious a problem than steroid use. Except that it's the same thing--ask Ken Caminiti about that one. Oops, he's dead, I forgot.

In Bonds' first public comments since his grand jury testimony was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle and reported in December, he had nothing to say about it, citing legal constrictions. But he had harsh words for the media and fans still consumed by the circumstances of his record-setting home run binge.

"You guys are like re-running stories," Bonds said to more than 100 reporters in attendance. "This is old stuff. It's like watching 'Sanford and Son.' It's almost comical, basically. ... Are you guys jealous, upset, disappointed, what?"

So it's his "first public comments" since the grand jury testimony leaked, yet Bonds accuses the media of "re-running stories." You see, Barry, there's new material to the story in that you have basically admitted to using steroids now. Before there wasn't such evidence, you see. And there happens to be a little bit of public interest in the possibility that the most hallowed record in baseball could be re-written by a steroid user, oddly enough.

You can see the whole thing in all its gory verbatim-ness here, including this as another example of Barry's illogic:

You know, there's a sports world -- the sports world is as bad as it is because this is the only business that allows you guys in our office to begin with. You can't just go to Bank of America, walk in the office, start interviewing employees. Just the sports world. Well, what for? Well, we don't want to get into the money aspect of it; we'll leave that to the side.

Sports is entertainment. Entertainment needs press coverage to be successful, hence the reporters are present in players' "office." Bank of America isn't trying to sell out thousands of seats in a stadium to come watch them do their thing.

If you're going to be surly, that's OK with me, just try to be intelligent when you do it.

Cathy Young's Column is Getting Old

In the middle of yesterday's post on Dan Kennedy blog (which helps me keep track of the Boston-area media pissing matches), he links to ombud Christine Chinlund in yesterday's Globe. Kennedy links through to his previous posts explaining the nastiness between Cathy Young and Eric Alterman, and Chinlund yesterday basically says that Young was wrong to call Alterman a self-hating Jew. Editor and Publisher's take here.

Beyond the particulars of that spat, I've been wondering what the hell Cathy Young is doing writing a column complaining about something Eric Alterman wrote on Altercation. If I had a column in the Boston Globe, I think I would try to find bigger fish to fry than debunking someone's blog post, Jeez. In fact, I find Young's column pretty tiresome in general, and I wonder why the more refreshing and thought-provoking writers at Hit & Run don't get the Globe gig instead. Seniority is probably the answer.

Please Explain

1) When has the AARP ever taken a stance on gay marriage or the Iraq War?

2) Wouldn't such blatant presidential campaigning mess up Mitt Romney's 2006 gubernatorial bid? Also, "Romney insists that he is not getting an early start on the 2008 presidential race." Lying much?

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Saturday Inanity

Did you see the 100 Funniest Jokes of All Time? Some good stuff in there.

Bill Simmons is also running an intern contest with entries including lines like this from a New Jersey Devils employee with some time on his hands these days:

L.T. my childhood idol, once told me to "F" off. I was 11 at the time.

And Pops directed me to the groundbreaking research of Professor Frankfurt at Princeton.

Friday, February 18, 2005

My First Audio Post

this is an audio post - click to play


UPDATE: OK, I see that I can go into Blogger and add a title to the post as well as text below the audio button, as I'm doing right now.

Watch Out, LeBron

He's on the SI cover. Last time he was there, it was the "Chosen One" cover back when LeBron was a high school junior. He promptly broke his wrist and missed the rest of the season.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

NHL Season on Ice

I could probably do another "unoriginal headlines" post on this.

Instead, I'll briefly note that I'm sad the NHL has cancelled its season officially. I basically never watch regular-season games but the playoffs in hockey are extremely intense and great entertainment. Hockey is in trouble because while it's a great game to go watch in person, it sucks on TV, frankly.

NOTE: The time stamp is when I tried to post this originally. Blogger hasn't been working well lately (2/17, 6:35 pm).

Monday, February 14, 2005

Goodbye Google Hits

This Atrios post also applies to this blog, presumably because it's also on Blogspot. I used to be the top Google result for Dimmy Karras (and Dimmy and Karras, etc.). Not anymore. What gives, Google? Doesn't Google, like, own Blogger now? Why the hostility in the search rankings all of a sudden?

Just so I can pretend I had a point in this post, I give you this article for Valentine's Night on the Vermont Teddy Bear Company's "Crazy for You" Bear:

The decision to market the bear, and to keep doing so even in the face of widespread criticism that its straitjacket and "commitment report" made it insensitive toward people with mental illness, has put the Shelburne-based company under the spotlight among business ethicists and public relations executives around the country.

So we're not allowed to make fun of crazy people now? Who's left that it's OK to mock?

Happy Flower and Card Company Day!

Why are American women such tools of commercialism? Because clearly they're more evolved than men, right? (As Bill Maher once said, "If women are really smarter than men, why are they so impressed by shiny objects?")

My favorite pre-Grammys coverage moment: I think it was on MTV that Scott Weiland was asked which other performers he was looking forward to seeing. His response? "Ray Charles" (among others, to be fair). Stay away from the drugs, kids.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Death of a Playwright

From the unoriginal headlines department (thanks to Google News):

Arthur Miller: Death of a Playwright (ninemsn)
Death of a Playwright: Arthur Miller (Palladium-Item, Indiana)
Death of a playwright: Arthur Miller 1915 - 2005 (Independent)
Arthur Miller -- death of a playwright (Reuters UK)
Death of a Playwright (Newsday)
Death of a Playwright (News Tribune, Tacoma, WA)
Death of a Playwright (Ann Arbor News)
Death of a Playwright (The Bosh, NY)
Death of a playwright: legend Arthur Miller dies aged 89 (The Guardian)

And a few variations:

Life of a Playwright (Toronto Star)
Death of a Legend (NY Post)
Death of a Dramatist (The Guardian)
Death of talesman Miller ends theatre epoch (The Age)

'06 Guv Races Heating Up

My goodness, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley is sure doing a good job boosting his name recognition in advance of running for the Maryland governor's job next fall. This week, O'Malley got himself all over the papers for two pieces of excitement:

1) An aide to current Governor Ehrlich got caught spreading rumors of O'Malley's marital infidelity in advance of a probable Ehrlich-O'Malley showdown next year. Maryland legislators are calling for an investigation.

2) Also on Monday (quite a day to be an O'Malley press flack, I would imagine), the mayor rather caustically compared Bush's budget to 9/11 in that both were assaults on American cities. Maybe the Bush-Hitler comparison was getting old, who knows.

At least the voters will have heard of him by the time election day rolls around.

Also today, I see Mass. AG Tom Reilly has come out (so to speak) in favor of keeping gay marriage legal in the Commonwealth, setting himself directly at odds with his likely opponent next November, Governor Mitt Romney:

Tim O'Brien, the executive director of the state Republican Party, accused Reilly of having "completely flip-flopped" on the issue because he needs to answer to a special-interest group within the Democratic Party.

Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney's director of communications, portrayed the governor as remaining "consistent and principled" on the issue. "The governor believes that an issue as important as the redefinition of marriage should be decided by the people," he said. "People have been allowed to decide this issue in more than a dozen states around the country. There is no reason for denying the people of Massachusetts that vote."

This just became the #1 issue in the Massachusetts governor's race, like we need more gay marriage vitriol in the state. With Romney looking to springboard into 2008, I was already expecting some fireworks as he seeks to cling to the corner office. Now with gay marriage as such a dividing line between the probable nominees, I imagine we'll see national organizations ramping up their Bay State efforts, seeing this as a crucial test on the issue.

The odd thing, though, is that the outcome of the governor's race itself should have no direct impact on the fate of same-sex marriages in the state. If the legislature approves the ballot amendment again this session, then the voters would be deciding the matter on the same day they choose the next governor next November. It's more of a symbolic question of which candidate's philosophy on the gay marriage issue is a better fit with voters. Plus an upswing in anti-marriage voter turnout could boost Mitt's chances (as they helped the president this past fall).

Anyway, more gay marriage claptrap seems heading down the pike, you've been forewarned.

Governor's races always bear watching since you never know if today's governor might end up tomorrow's national party chairman--that's just like being president, right?

"No Late Fees" Mystery Solved

I had been wondering how Blockbuster's new "no late fees" policy could have made any sense. If there are no late fees, I asked myself, how do they expect to get people to return anything? Maybe they could harass you, not let you rent anything else while you had things out that were past due, I thought. Here's what they really do:

Though consumers now have an extended grace period to return films and games without extra fees at Blockbuster stores, they ultimately are charged the full retail price of the title (minus the initial rental fee) if they keep it for more than a month. The program, which launched Jan. 1, is now in effect at Blockbuster's more than 4,500 stores in the United States.

According to the Los Angeles Times, several state attorneys general are investigating the company's ad campaign. ...

New releases can be rented for two days, catalog titles for seven. Games can be rented for seven days. If a customer keeps a title seven days beyond those deadlines, Shepherd says, they get reminder calls from the store. A card is then sent in the mail notifying them that the title is due back and that the customer will be charged the full price if they do not return it within 30 days.

So much for my plan to rent things from Blockbuster and never return them!

I actually know of an academic who studies the video rental industry whose head must be exploding with all of these recent developments.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Jason Giambi and the Content-Free Apology

I hope that this can become a trend: asking for forgiveness without getting into all of those embarrassing details about what went wrong. Why must we re-hash the past, after all? Let's just move on and be reconciled, shall we?

While I'm here making one of my bi-weekly blog appearances, I want to say that I'm sorry to everyone who I have let down over the years for one reason or another--you all know who you are and you know what I'm referring to. Anyway, sorry about all of that. I'm glad we could share this moment.

You may as well go ahead and forgive me for all future transgressions from normal standards of human decency too while we're at it. If you don't want to do that, I guess it's OK; I can just type another post like this one later, no biggie.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Feeling Kind of Embarrassed

When the Patriots won their first Super Bowl, I felt pure joy.

When the Patriots won their second Super Bowl, I felt more relieved than anything else--losing after having gone on a record win streak like they did last season would have really sucked.

When the Patriots won their third Super Bowl last night, I felt kind of embarrassed, to tell the truth. It's nice to win all the time, sure, but this is getting ridiculous. What did I do wrong for so many years of watching teams, enduring such punishment, that has reversed itself of late? And am I greedy to want to win four out of five, like some kind of Yankee fan? I don't even have the heart to needle to Eagles fans I know--OK, that's not entirely true, but it's only because they were a little annoying to me last week.

There also has to be some agony and heartache to make the victories feel good, and there really wasn't so much of that this year. Last year saw the rocky start with the Milloy release and the debacle in Buffalo to open the regular season, which the team admirably turned around. And of course, the 2001 season's drama will probably never be topped. What is the major obstacle overcome this year, a bunch of injuries to the secondary? Not the stuff Hollywood screenplays are made of exactly.

The greatest joy that could possible have been felt last night would have been by Philadelphia fans if the Eagles had won. Therefore, from a purely utilitarian standpoint, maybe it would have been good to see a Philly victory, since that would have provided the most happiness in the aggregate.

Is this hollow feeling what comes when you finally get what you always wanted? What more is there to hope for?

For the record, I don't feel this way about the Red Sox (yet!). We'll see if others share my victory fatigue when the attendance figures for the Pats' victory rally are made official.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

That Speech

If you've got children in their 20s, as some of us do, the idea of Social Security collapsing before they retire does not seem like a small matter.

Especially when all Barb and Jenn will have to live on then will be the Bush family fortune, right Mr. President?

Also, don't you hate those people who don't update their blogs frequently enough?

Happy Groundhog Day.