Monday, February 27, 2006

A meaty sports transaction!


"BUCHAREST -- Romanian second division soccer club UT Arad sold a player in exchange for 15 kilograms of meat, local sport daily Pro Sport reported on Monday.

However, fourth division Regal Horia made a bad deal because defender Marius Cioara decided to end his footballing career and take off to Spain to find a job in agriculture or construction.

"We are upset because we lost twice -- firstly because we lost a good player and secondly because we lost our team's food for a whole week," a Regal Horia official was quoted as saying by the daily in its electronic edition."

Probably a good move, 'cause when your team ships you off for a hunk of beef, it may be an indication that it's time to hang up the cleats. Unless it's a hunk of Kobe beef, which is pretty tasty stuff from what I hear. Angus beef, not so much. Always tasted like high-school cafeteria mystery meat to me.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

ZZZZZZZZ … I'm awake, I'm awake

Anyone else having the strange phenomenon of become very, very sleepy sometime between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. every day, no matter how well you slept the previous night, and then being very alert in the evening and night?


OK, it's just me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Understated news lede of the week

From our mellow friends at the Associated Press:

"FORT LEWIS, Wash. - Army officials have recommended a court-martial for a Purple Heart recipient accused of stabbing his young wife 71 times with knives and a meat cleaver."

Uh, OK, if you really think a court-martial is the right way to go ....

Click on the subject line for the whole wicked story, but be warned - it's pretty gross.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The best day of the year ...

... is today. 'Cause today is the day that spring training begins, that pitchers and catchers start reporting to their various warm-weather camps in Florida and Arizona. Today, every Major League Baseball team is the same, starting at 0-0, with an equal chance of ending up in the World Series in October. Sigh ...

Well, actually, that's all bunk, as any loyal fan of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Detroit Tigers and, yes, Chicago Cubs will tell you. But one can dream, can't they?

Can't they?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

King of the Dogs!

Behold the most perfect dog in the world, at least in the eyes of the Westminster Kennel Club. Rufus the colored bull terrier beat out more than 2,600 other canine to take the "best in show" prize this evening. His prize? A free steak from Sardi's and probably all of the doggie sex he can handle, since he will be popular as a breeder when the time comes. A dog's life for me, even with a head that looks like that.

P.S. "Colored" bull terrier? Were they originally called Negro bull terriers?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Wacky Olympic ho-hah

Actually, it's a lot of nothing, but I found it, well, incongruous that while Tonya Harding is getting a makeover (!) on Entertainment Tonight, Nancy Kerrigan is doing special Olympic coverage for ET's sister show, The Insider. Maybe this arrangement works because the two of them are on separate continents at the same time.

By the way, in terms of Tonya's makeover ... er, no.

A real education ...

The issue of whether public school students should be forced to wear uniforms has always been a perplexing one to me. Part of that may be because I had to wear a uniform for four years when I was attending a Catholic grade school and thus can see both sides of the story. On the one hand, uniforms are an economical way to protect kids from the elements without the peer pressure of having to wear the hottest and coolest and most expensive thing in order to keep up with the "hip" crowd. On the other hand, it's during their school days where the personalities of children are formed, and having to wear the same thing day after day is not exactly conducive to individuality.

I bring all of this us as an ass-backwards way to back into the main topic of this post, which has something to do with how clothes can sometimes backfire on students, but much more with why some people should not be charged with teacher our young people anything. A few weeks ago in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, an unfortunately titled town outside of Pittsburgh, a high school junior named Joshua Vannoy ran into a buzzsaw - namely, a "teacher" named John Kelly. From the AP:

Sunday, January 29, 2006

BEAVER FALLS, Pa. -- A 17-year-old high school student said he was humiliated when a teacher made him sit on the floor for wearing a Denver Broncos jersey.

The teacher, John Kelly, forced Joshua Vannoy to sit on the floor and take an exam in an ethnicity class two days before the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Broncos 34-17 in the AFC championship game. Kelly also made other students throw crumpled up paper at Vannoy, whom he called a "stinking Denver fan," Vannoy told The Associated Press.

Kelly said Vannoy, a junior at Beaver Area Senior High School, just didn't get the joke.

"If he felt uncomfortable, then that's a lesson; that's what [the class] is designed to do," Kelly told The Denver Post. "It was silly fun. I can't believe he was upset."

Vannoy was wearing a No. 7 Broncos jersey on Friday, because he is a fan of John Elway, the Broncos' retired Hall of Fame quarterback.

Vannoy said he was so unnerved he left at least 20 questions blank on the 60-question test, and just wants out of Kelly's class because he's afraid the teacher won't treat him fairly now that the story reached the media.

Cool, right? But, wait, it gets better. Kelly, who said that the class he teaches is about diversity and the sometimes isolation circumstances of such, was not punished or even admonished for the incident by his principal or the school board. (The district said that Kelly had suffered enough from the publicity.) Vannoy, meanwhile, says that he received phone threats against his person from other students, missed a week of school because of such, and now has transferred out of the entire school district to an unnamed school where he may be able to start anew. (But, hey, Vannoy did get a free heat-massage chair designed by John Elway himself for his trouble, so I guess it's all good, right?)

I'm sorry, I thought the point of high school was for the kids to get an education, not to be chased from the institution because of prejudice. And while being shunned wearing the "wrong" football jersey may not compare with the shunning of pregnant girls or gay students or such, it is still just as stupid. John Kelly - apparently one of the most popular teachers at his school - should have been fired or suspended on the spot the moment this story broke, and because he wasn't, the people above him should be evaluated for their qualifications to hold on to their posts. This entire thing is ridiculous.

Note: I guess Vannoy should be thankful that the Broncos lost to Pittsburgh. Who knows what would have happened to him otherwise?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Hare-y proposition!

There have been some wacky trades in the annals of sports history. Players have been swapped for equipment, managers and coaches have exchanged jobs - and, yeah, there have been occasions when the a guy has been traded for a "player to be named later," only for said unnamed player to end up being the same guy. (We won't even go into Lou Brock-for-Ernie Broglio, the very mention of which sends waves of nausea into any good Cub fan's stomach.) So what went down today between two sports networks wasn't that unusual. For NBC Sports and ABC/ESPN did some wheelin'-and-dealin' today.

NBC Sports got sportscaster Al Michaels to headline their upcoming Sunday Night Football NFL franchise alongside John Madden, with whom Michaels worked on ABC's "Monday Night Football," which is moving to ESPN after 35 years.

In exchange, ABC/ESPN got the rights to extended highlights from such NBC Sports properties as the Olympics, the Kentucky Derby and the Ryder Cup, the chance to promote ESPN's version of "MNF" on NBC's NFL broadcasts, and ...

... a rabbit.

But not just any rabbit - Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, best known as Walt Disney's precursor to Mickey Mouse. Disney had created the happy hare while he was with Universal back in the 1920s, but left the studio and the bunny behind over a contract dispute and went on to establish his own shingle and cast of animated characters. Nearly 80 years later, mergers had created the perfect scenario for Disney Studios, now the owner of ABC and ESPN, to regain ownership of a part of its founder's heritage from what is now known as NBC Universal.

A look at Oswald (he's the one on the right, by the way) reveals the natural "family" resemblance and makes it understandable while Disney would give up an actual living human being to get him back. But this isn't just a nostalgia-based transaction. 'Cause this is the 21st century, brother, where everyone and everything has to earn its keep. Turns out Oswald is being lined up for a three-episode gig on "Desperate Housewives" as Gabrielle's new boy toy. Can't wait for May sweeps!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

'Curious' timing

Many of you may be aware that a big-screen version of the "Curious George" series of children's books is due to be released on Friday, with Will Ferrell and Drew Barrymore among the stars suppling voices for the animated feature. You may not be aware of what has gone regarding one of the men who was pivotal in establishing the popularity of the precocious monkey and his exploits:

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Alan Shalleck, who collaborated with the co-creator of 'Curious George' to bring the mischievous monkey to television and a series of book sequels, was found dead outside his home, and police were treating the death as a possible homicide.

The bloodied body of Shalleck, 76, was found Tuesday covered in garbage bags in the driveway of his mobile home. Police said it was there for at least a day before a maintenance man discovered it.

They say out here in Hollywood that there's no such thing as bad P.R. I'm not sure Mr. Shalleck would concur with that. If he could concur with anything at this moment, that is.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


For the love of God, why?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The ’hog says ...

Well, officially Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, meaning that there's going to be six more chilly weeks of winter. (Keep in mind, of course, that it's been hovering around 50 degrees for most of the winter in the Punxsutawney area.)

In reality, I'm always thinking that Phil is really saying, "Who the f--- keep waking me up every February? Can a brother hibernate in peace?"

He also may be ticked that the ceremony this year became a de facto Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl rally. I mean, what if Phil's a Seahawks fan? Anyone ever consider that?

It's tough to be a groundhog these days ...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

From "Full House" to crystal meth? Egad!

And no, we're not talking about one of the Olson twins. But you're close. I had heard rumors about this, but I guess it's true, 'cause Jodie Sweetin, who played irritating middle child Stephanie on the irritating sitcom "Full House," is indeed a recovering meth addict. She spoke about it on this morning's "Good Morning, America" (click on the subject line above for the complete story). Now, there's plenty of room here to be cynical and crass and rude (which was, you will remember, Stephanie's tag line - "How rude!"). But all I will add is that she's lucky she got out of it before it totally ruined her looks, as longtime meth users make crack addicts look like Miss American candidates. Oh, and all of this puts Dave Coulier being on "Skating with Celebrities" into perspective.


Click on the subject line to go to a story about a piece of reality that had to be expected, but maybe with a bit more fanfare. The skinny is that, after 145 years of tradition and overuse of the word "STOP", Western Union has ceased its telegram service. Of course, in a world of unlimited long-distance calling and e-mails and BlackBerrys (well, for now, at least), the need to run to the local WU office to send a quick note about how the new baby was doing or a request to home for some cash was a bit unnecessary. But wouldn't you have expected some sort of hoopla - a cash prize for the last person to buy a telegram, or something?

This coming from a man who has never used a telegram in his life, of course.