Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cubs: It's over (?)

Well, it may be over. "Why the doom and gloom, Dave?",you make ask. "Weren't you saying just last week that it's only April and that perspective must be kept when dealing with the long baseball season?" Yes - yes I was. But that was before I got wind of this:

Yeah, this is what I feared - the Cubs, or rather a Cub, new left fielder Kosume Fukudome, on the cover of Sports Illustrated. What's more, with a proclamation that the team is poised to break its century-long curse.

This is potentially bad. Way bad. This is the convergence of two major curses - the one that has hung over the Cubs for more than 60 years, and the one that dictates that if a team or player that's in contention ends up on the front of SI, disaster may be just behind the corner. Save Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and the swimsuit cover model of the year, perhaps, no one seems to be immune to eventually falling prey to this malady. And that includes the Cubs. The last time the magazine stated so prominently that the light at the end of the tunnel was forthcoming was at the beginning of the 2004 season:

Of course the Cubs didn't even make the playoffs (though they did win one more game than they did the previous year, when they were five outs away from the World Series). Speaking of 2003, Kerry Wood also made the cover after the Cubs beat Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs. But we all know how that went.

Still, there are mitigating circumstances. For one,
. (Thanks, Beth.) For another, the Cubs did make the cover last year during spring training, with Lou Piniella and Alfonso Soriano lounging on the green grass in the middle of the Arizona desert. Perhaps it was mitigated by the snarky subhead of the headline ...

... but the Cubs did go on to win their division, to the shock of many.

So maybe this isn't as cataclysmic as some Cub fans, myself included, make it out to be. And, as I did say, the season is still young. Besides - if Fukudome does lead Chicago to glory days, that Japanese phrase is going to look sweet on a blue T-shirt!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another Type of Perspective ...

A few weeks ago I wrote about perspective. But perspective comes in many forms. It can be deadly serious, a matter of life and death. Or it can apply to decidedly more frivolous matters - serious, but not deadly serious. Such as, say, your favorite baseball team.

As you can from looking at the side of my blog, the Cubs are doing well. Quite well, as a matter of fact - as of Wednesday afternoon, the team is off to its best start in 23 years. One of the Cubs, Ronny Cedeno, even declared after Monday's win over the Mets that the club was already thinking about the World Series. Now, obviously, I'm a rabid Cub fan, but I also know that talking about the Fall Classic at this extremely early point is folly. Very few pennants are ever won in April, though many of them have been lost in that first month of the season. And even that is not as much of a done deal as it has been in the past. In 2002 the Angels had a horrible first month, and still went on to win it all in October. Three years later Houston stumbled out of the gate so badly that the Chronicle declared the team dead on its front page. The Astros ended up as National League champions. And last year the Cubs sucked hard until until the beginning of June, when a clubhouse fight and one of Lou Piniella's patented tantrums shook Chicago from its slumber.

Then again, remember the aforementioned hot start in 1985? Want to guess where the Cubs finished that year? It wasn't in first.

Cub fans especially are quite sensitive to disruptions in the Force, good and bad. And it doesn't help that the team already has gotten so much hype because of the rapidly approaching 100-year vortex. Many of us groaned noticeably when we heard of Cedeno's quote. This is the kind of jumping the gun that has burned us time and again. At the very least, we thought, Cedeno will probably trip over a bat and blow his knee out sometime on Tuesday as punishment from the baseball gods. But no, that didn't happen.

Instead, the utility infielder hit a grand slam in another win over New York.

Hmmm ... It's only April ... it's only April ...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bob Margolis, your Y chromosome is showing ...

Amid some exciting baseball games and the beginning of the NBA playoffs, a historic sporting event took place on the other side of the world this weekend when Danica Patrick became the first woman ever to win a Indy Racing League event. The victory came at the Japan 300 in Patrick's 50th career start, the current peak in a career that has generated loads of attention for the struggling circuit thanks to both Patrick's racing ability and, yeah, her striking good looks and her willingness to market (exploit?) the same. But Patrick's career also has created controversy because of her appearances in skimpy swimsuit and provocative ads - combined with her lack of a victory so far. Some commentators, such as Yahoo Sports' Bob Margolis, have gone as far as to compare Patrick to Anna Kournikova, stating that her presence in IRL wasn't worth the attention until she actually took the checkered flag once. So you would think that Patrick's win would turn the tide and finally shut up her critics, right? Not in the case of Margolis, whom within 24 hours took great pains to marginalize her achievement.

Among other things, Margolis called Patrick's victory "a triumph (more) in public relations than auto racing" and noted out that she won in Japan based on a fuel management strategy - an outcome that is far from unusual in IndyCar racing - rather than an exciting wheel-to-wheel finish that "many close observers of the sport feel she will never win". ("Now Patrick can focus on scoring a more “traditional” victory," Margolis oozed.) He also so helpfully pointed out that the Japan 300 starting pack was smaller than usual - only 18 cars - and that only seven of them were in the lead lap at the end. He even uses other women, such as drag racing legend Shirley Muldowney, to water down Patrick's milestone - forgetting the very obvious fact that while Muldowney indeed did plenty to shatter the motorsports gender barrier, she never had to make a left turn going nearly 200 miles per hour, something that a lot of drivers with penises (including, I'm just guessing, Bob Margolis) would have great difficulty accomplishing without sending themselves into a wall.

In the end, Margolis writes that Patrick's victory "leaves itself subject to scrutiny." But the only thing that deserves scrutiny is Margolis' objectivity. It's a far cry to compare Patrick - a former IRL Rookie of the Year whose has steadily gone up in the circuit's standings year after year, including a seventh-place finish in 2007 - to Jackie Robinson for a myriad of reasons, including the fact that Patrick isn't the first or only woman in open-wheel racing. But it's easier to compare Margolis to the (possibly) racist naysayers in the press box who looked down upon Robinson when he broke baseball's color line 61 years ago. He is, to be blunt, a Neanderthal who lets his obvious contempt for Patrick get in the way of his alleged expertise about the sport he is paid to cover.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Legend ...

While we weren't looking, one of the great careers in movie history has gone poof. But at least Gene Hackman has called it a day on his own terms, more or less.

Hackman, a two-time Oscar winner and one of the stalwarts of the New Hollywood days of the '60s and '70s, hasn't acted in four years and, by his own words, has found that he doesn't miss movies that much. Or, rather, that the movies seem not to miss him. "At my age, they would have me playing grandfathers and great grandfathers," the 78-year-old is quoted as saying. "That's not a heck of a lot of fun. I'd rather go back to the theatre, actually. But that's not going to happen."

Instead of acting, Hackman has spent the past several years, of all things, writing historical fiction novels with his friend and neighbor Daniel Lenihan. "I write every day for at least a couple of hours. I exercise a little bit. And then it's time for the old folks to go to bed." But while Hackman seems content with his retirement, that can't be said for the fans who were entertained and enthralled by his brisk and edgy performances. Bonnie and Clyde, The French Connection, Scarecrow, The Conversation, Night Moves, Hoosiers, Unforgiven, The Royal Tennenbaums - even relative fluff such as The Poseidon Adventure, Superman, The Firm, Young Frankenstein - in all of them Hackman always gave his best and left it all on the screen. So forgive me for being selfish, for not wanting his last-ever movie to be Welcome to Mooseport. But if Hackman is serious about saying goodby to film, then I hope the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences steps up to the plate and bestows upon him Oscar Number Three - for lifetime achievement - so his audience and his peers can bid him a proper farewell.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Uh-huh ...

Remember my post about whether the removal of David Ortiz's jersey from beneath New Yankee Stadium may have reversed the wrong curse when it comes to the Bronx Bombers? After having the worst start of his career while his replica vestment was in its hidden perch, Big Papi broke out of his slump last night, going 3-for-5 in the Sox's 6-4 win over Cleveland. I'm just saying ...

A Dodger and a giant ...

Sixty-one years ago today ...

You can never remember enough. You can never thank him enough.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Helmut Kohl was never this much fun ...

Angela Merkel, the 53-year-old Chancellor of Germany, getting it done in a very low-cut gown while attending the opera in Oslo on April 12. Not surprisingly, Ms. Merkel's choice of formal wear is getting a lot of pub on the Continent. Maybe she's feeling the heat from France's latest first lady, Carla Bruni. Or maybe she's just proud of her rack. Whatever gets her through the night ...

It's true, it's true!

Turns out it wasn't a Red Sox T-shirt buried under the foundation of New Yankee Stadium. It was a Red Sox jersey. A David Ortiz jersey, to be really specific, jackhammered out of the concrete in a five-hour excavation project this past weekend. I guess the idea of having such a garment festering underneath the $1.3 billion sports complex was too much for the Brothers Steinbrenner to stomach. Now the Yankees are comtemplating filing charges against the construction worker who planted the jersey. But was the organization better off keeping it where it was? After all, Ortiz has laid an egg for the first two weeks of the season. If he goes on for the Sox now that the replica jersey bearing his name and number has been removed from the earth of the Bronx, who will be zooming who then?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Burning Down the House (That A-Rod Built) ...

Here we go again. Tonight at Boston's Fenway Park, the eternal struggle between good and evil begins anew when the Yankees visit the Red Sox for the first time this season. The two baseball titans have played each other yearly for over 100 years - from back to a time when they weren't even known as the Yankees and the Red Sox. (Try the "Highlanders" and the "Pilgrims". Not exactly the same, is it?) Of course, the rivalry has only really become a rivalry in the past several years, when the Sox finally shook off the shackles of failure and starting giving the Evil Empire as much as they took, and those two Boston World Series rings definitely have changed the tenor of the blood feud.

And now, this: The New York Post is reporting today that the new Yankee Stadium, which is being built in the Bronx next to the current ballpark and is set to open next season, may already have "undesirable" Red Sox taint on it. Or, rather, under it. This story, which have yet to be completely confirmed, states that a construction worker on the $1.3 billion project placed a Red Sox T-shirt into the foundation of the visitor's clubhouse before the concrete was poured. According to the article, the worker wasn't meaning to place a curse on the Yankees but now fears that that may be the actual effect. And many fans of the Bronx Bombers are concerned enough to start demands that the "offending" garment be dug up asap, even though the construction is pretty far along at this point.

Stupid? Overraction? Just keep in mind that no other major sport is as driven by superstition as baseball. The curses can be epic (Bambino, Billy Goat, Bartman, etc.) or they can be miniscule, such as how, when a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter, his teammates will avoid him like the plague in the dugout; or how a player with a hot bat will not change underwear as long as he's on a hot hitting streak; or how Hall of Fame batting champ Wade Boggs ate chicken (and, at times, other things) before every game. So to place the colors of a team's most bitter rival underneath their home stadium is serious stuff indeed. And considering how angst-ridden Yankee fans already are because their squad hasn't won the Series since 2000 (shocking!), don't be surprised if there's isn't a major reclamation project at the New Stadium before it even opens.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The measure of a man ...

Life is very efficient, if you think about it - it always seems to have the ability, when you need it, and even when you don't think you need it, to kick you in the ass and tell you not to wallow in your own muck, but to get on with it. That jolt to the system can come in many different forms. It can come in the form of a stranger's liver, or in the form of a toddler who doesn't know why she feels so bad, but still has the spirit to smile. And last night it came in the form of a computer science professor whose energetic, lively and poignant message to his children has become a worldwide phenomenon, almost by accident.

Many of you already know the story of Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon professor who last year presented a lecture to a packed auditorium at the Pittsburgh-based college. The theme of his talk, though, had little to do with computers. It was entitled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," and that's precisely what he spoke about it - how he had pulled off almost everything he had wished for as a boy, and how everyone else could do the same. He spoke with vitality, with easy humor, but there was something else on Randy's mind, and on the minds of almost everyone in that lecture hall - the cold, hard fact that just weeks earlier, this husband and father of three young children has been told that he had pancreatic cancer, just about the worst form of cancer that a man can have. Randy had been told he was going to die.

His intent was to give his lecture - his "last lecture," delivered on the birthday of his wife, Jai - and then move to Virginia with his family to fight the disease as best he could and live out the three to six months of good health he had left. But then a funny thing happened: a recording of Randy's presentation ended up on YouTube and other viral video sites. Millions of people watched it and took heart from the professor's words of hope, humor and wisdom. And before he knew it, Randy had a book deal and had become a media darling. In a cultural landscape where self-help gurus are a dime a dozen, here was a simple message of love and life and happiness, presented by a man who had every reason to wallow and feel sorry for himself, and at least four reasons to do anything but that.

Tonight ABC presented what amounted to a truncated version of Randy's book, called "The Last Lecture." We saw Randy with Jai, their three kids, some of the people he calls friends. We saw Randy at work, at play, fulfilling one of his last childhood dreams - to toss a football with some of the Pittsburgh Steelers. We also saw the cancer take its toll on his once-healthy body, how the therapy designed to lengthen his life had its nasty side effects as well - you know, like kidney problems and heart failure. But though he admitted to tough days, to worry about his children, to sometimes crying in the shower because, like singing, that's where people think no one is watching them, his smile was as broad as ever. You can be a Tigger or an Eeyore in life, he says, and it's obvious what he is.

His book will be a bestselling smash - it was only published today, and it's already at number two number one on Amazon.com's top-selling list. Its success will leave his wife and kids well taken care of. And his story already has touched so many lives in small and large ways - during the broadcast he read a letter from someone who had contemplated suicide before hearing about Randy. But none of that will make up for the fact that, sooner rather than later, he will be gone. But his legacy will live on - a legacy that ultimately has little to do with a book or even a lecture, but with the way he lived - and lives - his life. Well done, Dr. Pausch.

NOTE: When asked why there won't be a movie based on his life, Randy said it would because there was no Hollywood actress as beautiful as his wife. That's about the nicest thing I've ever heard someone say about their spouse.

NOTE #2: As beautiful a job ABC did on tonight's special (full disclosure: a division of Disney is publishing Randy's book, but hey, sometimes synergy can work for good rather than evil), I was appalled to see, during one of the commercial breaks, an ad for the new Al Pacino thriller 88 Minutes, which is about a college professor who is trying to solve his own murder after being told by an anonymous caller that he has just 88 minutes to live. Whomever made that ad sale for this particular program should be fired for bad taste and even worse timing.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bill-y Buck-ner!

My allegiance and my blood are forever dedicated to the Chicago Cubs, in case you hadn't noticed. But that doesn't mean I can't take note of other big goings-on in the world of baseball that have nothing to do with the eventual 2008 World Series champions. For example, there's what happened today in Boston as the 2007 World Series champs were being honored at their home opener. After the Red Sox' epic and perhaps unfair mega-road trip that saw them cover 16,000 miles over three countries and a 3-4 start, the best awards for the team may have been a soft pillow and a glass of warm milk. But there was the matter of the distribution of the hardware - the presentation of the World Series trophy, the World Series rings, the World Series banner hoisted above Fenway Park. And it wasn't just Red Sox who were honored: representatives of the Celtics (including Bill Russell), the Bruins (including Bobby Orr) and the Patriots (including Tedy Bruschi) also were on hand with their respective championship trophies from days gone by, as if to remind the rest of the universe of Boston's exalted status as Titletown, U.S.A. And, for an added pinch of pomp, the Boston Pops played in the outfield.

The best, though, was saved for last. The Sox organization had kept a secret who was to have the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, but by the time the individual in question emerged from the Green Monster to walk out to the mound, most of the crowd there had an inkling what was up. Still, that didn't squelch the heartfelt enthusiasm when Bill Buckner, wearing a Red Sox jersey (and nothing else! - just kidding), walked onto the Fenway grass to a rousing four-minute ovation before he threw a change-up to former teammate Dwight Evans.

Now, there are some caveats to this feel-good story. Even non-baseball players know why Buckner's return to Boston is such a big deal. (Two words: Game Six). But of course the Sox losing that game and eventually the Series to the Mets in '86 wasn't really his fault, just as Bartman didn't cause the Cubs to miss out on the Fall Classic in 2003 after being only five outs away from Glory.* Everyone forgets that Boston had already blown a two-run, 10th inning lead to New York (after being one out away from winning it all for the first time in almost 70 years) before Mookie Wilson's slow grounder went down the first-base line and through Buckner's wickets. Or that the Sox blew a three-run lead the following night to give the Mets the title. Buckner was the fall guy, the goat**, the player who let down an entire region of the nation. A solid, reliable career had been sullied by one play - a play he probably should have made, but a single play nonetheless. Within a year he was with another team, and though he would return to play his final season with Boston in 1990, the stigma was on him like a scarlet letter - the letter being "E" for "error".

He retired and moved to the relative seclusion of Idaho, some say after his family received death threats from fans who had too much to drink or too little time on their hands. But Baseball and the Red Sox were never out of his universe - he would develop a housing subdivision named after Fenway Park in his adoptive state - and it wasn't long before overtures of forgiveness would come from Red Sox Nation. They were tentative at first, but after Boston finally put the Curse of the Bambino to rest for good, the tempo picked up: It is said that as the team celebrated in the clubhouse at St. Louis' Busch Memorial Stadium in 2004, one of the first calls they made was to Buckner.

So some cynics might say that it's easy to forgive Buckner now that his "stain" has been washed away with the champagne of two World Series titles; cynics on the other side might chime in that there was nothing to forgive in the first place, that baseball is a game of inches, where even Hall of Famers fail more than 60 percent of the time at the plate, that Buckner's error was compounded by poor pitching and managing in that fateful inning - that, in what should be plastered onto ever clubhouse wall in every stadium, shit happens. But the emotions expressed at Fenway this afternoon, both from the crowd and in the tears on Buckner's face, were very real, and you can't beat that with a stick.

* As a Cubs fan, you don't know how it pains me to admit that.

** Goats - another sensitive subject for me!

Nowhere without Mom ...

News of the death of Henry Aaron's mother, Estella, has just crossed the wire. Usually the passing of the parent of a big-league ballplayer wouldn't make a ripple in the news cycle, even if the player is someone of the stature of Aaron, one of the greats in the history of baseball. But Aaron's mother was more visible than most; few who watched the Atlanta Braves outfielder break Babe Ruth's all-time home run record on April 8, 1974 - 34 years ago today - will forget the site of Estella wading through the crowd of fellow players, officials and reporters to wrap her arms around the neck of her triumphant son within moments of his crossing the plate with his 715th home run on that crisp Georgia night.

Most everyone thinks that their mother is the best in the world. (I know for sure that my mother is at the top of the Mom Mountain.) Hank Aaron had more than enough proof of how great his mother was that night, and many nights before and after. I can't imagine the loss the Hall of Famer is feeling today, and pray that I won't have to know for many more years.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Gee, thanks for clearing that up for us ...

From an Associated Press story from today regarding a poll that deals the role of race in the, er, race for the Democratic presidential nomination between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama:

Exit polls of voters in Democratic primaries also show that whites who considered the contender's race — Clinton is white, Obama is black — were three times likelier to say they would only be satisfied with Clinton as the nominee than if Obama were chosen.

You know, until the AP let us know who was who, the majority of the population did keep getting Hillary and Barack mixed up. After all, it's not like this primary race is getting any publicity. So thank the AP for its public service.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

A bumpy ride, but so much more ...

This may not make you feel old, but it certainly is something to ponder: Today would have been Bette Davis' 100th birthday.

For most people of my age, Bette Davis may be not much more than an afterthought, a relic of old Hollywood - you know, when all of the movies were black-and-white, and who wants to watch those? Boring! For me, Bette Davis was at first one of the many chunks of history that took place while I was recovering from my transplant in the last months of 1989. She died in October of the year while I was still laid up at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. (Other major events during that time span: the Bay Area earthquake; the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of the Eastern Bloc; the invasion of Panama; and, in addition to Davis, the deaths of Ferdinand Marcos, Irving Berlin - at age 101! - Graham Chapman and Secretariat. Also, a certain baseball team made the playoffs. Just saying.) Later, as I matured and began a career as an entertainment journalist, I learned that Davis was more than just a blurb in my personal history. I figured out that she was a star in every sense of the word.

I don't buy the complaint of those who say that there are no real movie stars anymore - you can't look at the likes of George Clooney or Julia Roberts or even Meryl Streep and tell me that with a straight face - but what is true is that for the most part, the definition of the term "movie star," like most things in life, has definitely evolved. Bette Davis was the essence of what it meant to be a movie star back in the day, but I think she would have fit in just fine had she been in her prime in the 21st century. Frankly, she would have flourished in modern roles such as, say, Erin Brockovich. She would have salivated to recite some of the lines that Roberts had in her Oscar-winning role - indeed, as good as Roberts was as Brockovich, Davis would have blown her out of the water. And it was obvious that Davis would have easily filled out Brockovich's bustier-heavy wardrobe. Davis was a very sexy woman for a fairly long time, but never relied solely on her physical attributes. What's more, what was sexy about Davis wasn't just her curves, but her mind and her attitude, the way she carried herself in parts both good and evil.

Bette Davis once said, as age and disease ravaged her body but not her spirit, that "getting old is not for sissies." But Davis was far from any sissy. She had balls of steel and wasn't above using them, on or off-screen. She took on the studio system in the 1930s, when the system was at its zenith, when she wasn't satisfied with the types of roles Warner Bros. was offering her (i.e. ordering her) to do. She lost the subsequent lawsuit, but set the tone for the rest of her professional and personal life - namely, that she didn't take shit from anybody. She also didn't suffer fools lightly - just ask Joan Crawford (well, you can't ask her anymore, but you know what I mean) and Faye Dunaway, whom she called out repeatedly for being, shall we say, unprofessional. But to others, she was more than generous. During World War II, she co-founded the Hollywood Canteen, a star-studded entertainment rest stop for American soliders going to and from the European and Pacific fronts, and regularly volunteered her time there to provide comfort to the servicemen (in more ways than one, if some of the rumors are to be believe - but, hey, in times of war ... ) And, in 1980, when Kim Carnes scored a huge hit with her pop single "Bette Davis Eyes," the subject of the song was so flattered that she sent personal thank-you notes to Carnes and the song's writers for making her cool in the eyes of her grandson and making her a part of "modern times". But then again, almost everything about Bette Davis was part of modern times, if not in front of them altogether.

So while there are still most definitely movie stars in the classic sense of the world, that doesn't mean that we couldn't use the likes of Bette Davis today to remind us of what glamour was and can be again. And if you still don't buy my argument, then I have three words for you: All About Eve. If you only watch one Bette Davis movie in your lifetime, watch than one. Twice. You'll thank me for it.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Invasion of the Bunnies!

The only thing disturbing about this video is how all of these cuddly little rabbits ended up roaming free in this particular British Columbia neighborhood. From the looks of it, it appears that some less-than-responsible individuals just set a bunch of domesticated buns loose, as many of them do not look like the wild variety. Still - hey, cute bunnies! And the choice of music for this clip is epic.

Early evening, April 4 ...

The point can be made in a non-ironic sense that he literally died for our sins. But maybe the larger question would be, four decades on, what would he think of what we as a society have done since that horrible day in Memphis? Like most things in life, it's a mixed bag. If you had told him on April 3, 1968 that 40 years later this nation would be on the verge of seeing a person of color nominated for president by a major party, or that the most powerful media figure in the land would be a black woman, he would indeed be proud. At the same time, poverty remains a serious problem, as does crime and a persistent level of racism and classism. I think he, at age 79, would on the front lines protesting the war in Iraq and pleading for a solution to global warning. And I don't think he would be a fan of some of the hip-hop being churned out.

So was his death worth it? In terms of him being savagely murdered before he could see his kids grow up, absolutely not. Because for all the good that he did in his life, and the changes that have taken place since he was killed, we sure could have used at least 40 more years of his energy and courage.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The King(s) of Cute ...

Actually, I don't know if these are boys, girls or a combination thereof. I do know it's about as cute as you can get without a license:

Ever just have one of those days?

Emily ... an update

An update on Emily's story, both the very bad and the very good. Please tune in when you get a chance.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Larry Bowa is a gentleman ...

Kick back, get comfortable, and enjoy the dulcet tones of Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa losing his everloving mind during last night's game against San Francisco. (Well, it's actually broadcaster Vin Scully's dulcet tones; thankfully, no mic was sullied by hearing Bowa's likely purple prose):

Apparently Bowa got hot under the collar after being ordered by umpire Ed Montague to return to the coaches' box during the sixth inning of Los Angeles' 3-2 victory over the Giants. Bowa, already a vocal critic of the new edict that coaches have to wear helmets while on the field (you know, to avoid getting killed by a foul ball and stuff), did not appreciate Montague's direction, and a conversation ensued.

Don't be surprised if Bowa gets an early vacation from his coaching duties via a suspension. And don't be surprised if this happens again before too long, as Bowa has a bit of a record at blowing his top. Witness this incident from more than 20 years ago, when Bowa was still playing shortstop for my beloved Cubs (Warning: definitely NSFW, or for anyone with sensitivities toward overt profanity or ugly '80s-era baseball uniforms.)

Leo Durocher would be proud. Stay classy, Larry ... stay classy.

UPDATE: Bowa is suspended for three games. Frankly, he probably got off easy. Now go get your f***ing shinbox!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

All hail the Queen ...

Helen Mirren, still getting it done at age 62, doing a brief but cute interview on the Today show this morning to promote her photo-filled memoir, In the Frame:

I would have had her appearance on Letterman last night if the cable hadn't gone out for the exact span of her interview. Bother.

"Tsunami" becomes "Emily" ...

Feeling sorry for yourself for whatever reason? Gas prices getting you down? Are you a fan of a baseball team that hasn't won it all in a century?

Well, then, click here to read about a little girl named Emily, and then stop your whining and think about things. Like, you know, how good it is to wake up and take a breath each morning.

And, while you're at it, if you can help Emily and her family out, please do so.

Perspective is a wonderful thing sometimes. Sobering, but wonderful.

(And thanks to Beth for the perspective.)