Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Midnight on the North Side

This is not a good day for true Cubs fans everywhere, for the dreaded moment is upon us: The Chicago White Sox have won the World Series - and, far worse, they snapped their WS drought before the Cubs did. This is bad news for Cubs devotees such as myself, not so much that the Sox won their first world championship in 88 years. Truth be told, the White Sox earned this title on the field by narrowly avoiding one of the biggest regular-season collapses in major-league history, seeing their division lead dissolved from 15 games to just one-and-a-half in late September before going on one devil of a late season tear that ended with the team winning 11 out of their 12 playoff games. It was extraordinary to watch. No, what I truly dread are the White Sox fans, whom I fear won't be able to enjoy their team's first title in 88 years. Because, even now, the other Chicago team is in their heads, and many of them will take this opportunity to drag the Cubs and their loyal fans through the mud.

But if the Sox triumph compels (forces?) Cubs management to actually assert themselves and try even harder to bring a winner to the North Side, so be it. And as more than one of my friends has pointed out, there's a trend working here. Last year the Red Sox broke their streak of futility in dramatic fashion. This year, it was the White Sox. Only the Cubs and their 98-year absence from the top of the baseball mountain remain. And, hey, it's got to happen sometime.


Before we put this season in mothballs, a couple of other words about the World Series just past:

* I understand the resistance, in the wake of one of the more poorly officiated playoffs in baseball history, to instant replay, with fears that having that method of judging questionable calls could slow up games even more. But at least, can MLB go back to the old ways of determining umpiring crews for the playoffs and WS, when umps had to earn those jobs through merit rather than a mere rotational system? Because it got pretty embarrassing how many calls these guys were missing, and not just in the Sox' favor.

* If I were the owner of the Houston Astros, I would fire Phil Garner tomorrow. The Astros' manager was totally out of line in the way that he threw his team under the bus last night after Houston lost Game 3 in 14 innings. By slamming his squad publicly to the press instead of doing it to his players' faces behind closed doors - or, even better, holding his tongue altogether - he may have snuffed out the last wisp of hope the Astros had for a miracle. Sure, the team didn't perform in the Series the way they could or should have, but considering where it had come from - being 15 games below .500 and all but dead in mid-May to the National League championship - they didn't deserve to be called out like that to the world. Big-league managers can't lose their cool at such an important time. Besides, Garner should look in the mirror if he wants to assign blame as to why the Astros got swept by the Pale Hose. It wasn't entirely his fault, and the White Sox themselves were an overwhelming force - but, as Harry Truman said, the buck stops here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Weird coincidence regarding Rosa Parks' death

Last night I mentioned that I regarded Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson as the origins of the modern civil rights movement. Well, get this: Rosa Parks died on Oct. 24, 2005 ... Jackie Robinson passed away on Oct. 24, 1972, exactly 33 years earlier. That has to mean something. Right?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rest well, dear Rosa, rest well ...

I returned from a film screening this evening to the news that Rosa Parks passed away tonight. Over the next few days many will speak with endearment and admiration of this simple seamstress who refused to give up her bus seat to a white man almost 50 years ago because she was tired after a hard day of work - and because she had had enough of the inequality she faced daily as an African-American living in the segregated South. Those people will talk about Parks in terms more eloquent that I ever could, whether it's because they knew her personally or because they remembered the time when Jim Crow ruled the land. I didn't know Rosa Parks, and I was born in a time when blacks had more opportunities, and have lived long enough to see my people (I usually hate that term, but it seems appropriate in this case) achieve even more. But I can say this:

Rosa Parks, along with Jackie Robinson, was The Origin, the spark that started the whole thing. The reason why Oprah Winfrey is the richest woman in America. The reason why Condi Rice is four heartbeats away from the presidency. The reason why Denzel Washington and Halle Berry had the chance to win Academy Awards. The reason why Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are international sports icons. The reason, frankly, why I'm still alive after a dread disease instead of dying a painful death in a segregated and inadequate hospital. And every American - black, white, or whatever - needs to take special care to read the obituaries to Parks today and play close attention to what a hero truly is.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Honestly ...

... wouldn't you love it if they held hands?

Another creepy commercial!

This new spot in which the Pillsbury Dough Boy dances sensually to Barry White tunes to promote how Pillsbury biscuits can help your love life? Dough Boy called "the other Mr. White"? Er, no. Though maybe David Copperfield can use the biscuits to help him knock up a chick without touching her.


Word has reached the states that David Copperfield, the stylish magician who can make everything from the Statue of Liberty to Claudia Schiffer disappear, will go the opposite way in his next grand illusion. Copperfield has told a German magazine that he intends to impregnate a woman on stage, in front of an audience, without touching her.

I'll avoid the obvious joke concerning Copperfield, and go for a slightly less obvious one.

How dare Copperfield mock the vast and unexplainable powers of a superior being by fathering a child with no intimate contact whatsoever! Who does he think he is - Tom Cruise?

Thank you - enjoy the veal!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Creepy commercials!!

Is anyone else as skivved out as I am about these Charles Schwab commercials that are animated, only not? (Or live-action, only not, depending on your perspective?) I know it's reminiscent of what Richard Linklater did in his psuedo-cartoon Walking Life, but that was a feature film that was using that avant-garde form of animation to convey a mood. These are ... commercials about a brokerage firm. And, frankly, it's doing more to creep me out than attract me to "talk to Chuck." Though I'm not really looking to built a portfolio, being that I'm almost broke and all.

And while we're talking about weird TV ads, can we please get rid of that guy in the Burger King commercials with the big plastic king head? He reminds me of an escaped mental patient. The only thing scarier than that is that killer breakfast sandwich he's hawking, 500,000 calories and all.

And, yes, I know I haven't posted in, like, forever. I'm working on it, I promise.