August 1, 2003

What's French for "Orenthal"?: This is one of those stories that would be covered much differently if it had happened here [link via, which also makes reference to the fact that Paris Paris in Vegas has just re-raised the tricolore several months after the recent unpleasantness].

Pot, meet kettle: Christopher Hitchens, whose idea of a joke is to refer to the Dixie Chicks as fat whores, and who has spent the past year sycophantically parroting the Administration's positions on Iraq, pens an obituary ripping Bob Hope for not being funny and for doing stand-up at Que Sanh. At least Hope never glorified David Irving....

July 31, 2003

This morning's Los Angeles Times notes that over the last six games, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been outscored by the Los Angeles Galaxy, 9-5.

UPDATE: The Times overlooked (and I forgot ) that the Galaxy played three games recently in the World Peace Cup, where they scored once and were shut out twice. As the Dodgers have scored four runs since I originally posted this, over the last nine games, the Galaxy lead the Dodgers by only one goal, 10-9.

July 30, 2003

This is really journalism at its worst. This evening, ESPN's website flashed a headline, "Case Against Kobe". The article states that "sources close to the prosecution" (who, of course, are nameless) have revealed that prosecutors plan to introduce evidence that the women sustained injuries during the encounter that would indicate that the encounter wasn't consensual, and that Kobe Bryant made "inconsistent" statements to the police.

Well, duh !! I think we already knew that the woman in question had some physical injuries, and even an innocent person who spends more than 10 minutes being interrogated by the police is going to make some inconistent statements, particularly about sex. At the very least, I had already assumed that they would be able to show those two points; to win, one would anticipate that they had a couple of eyewitnesses inside the room, or a recording of some kind. Unless the physical evidence in question is a knife wound, neither point goes to the question of whether she was raped, or had a consensual encounter with a much larger man (which I will assume is the defense position).

If that's the best "evidence against Kobe" the prosecution's office could anonymously leak, they should pull up their tents and go home.

July 29, 2003

What to do, what to do. Alias is in reruns, 24 has disappeared, and The Shield and The Sopranos will be on whenever. It's the slow time of year for sports, and both of the local baseball teams are falling out of contention. Oh well, only six days til the next episode of Who Wants to Marry My Dad?

Up until now, I've successfully avoided Reality TV, in all of its manifestations. I saw the final episode of Joe Millionaire, and most of the last episode of Survivor 2, but that's it. It's not that I'm a snob or anything, but I'm just not into middle-brow culture. If something's not good enough to bear repeated viewing, the way I could when I had seven different HBO channels during the first season of Six Feet Under, I don't bother.

Who Wants to Marry My Dad? is something different, a reality show without a smidgen of reality to it. The basic premise is that the children of this affluent resident of Glendale, California, have to judge a group of women, hand-picked by the producers, who are candidates to be their future step-mom. Each week, they eliminate one woman, usually after a series of highly personal questions are asked while she is hooked up to a lie detector. At the end, presumably, one woman will be left, and she and the dad will get married and go on a honeymoon.

In short, it's a car wreck waiting to happen. One of the women last night confirmed under polygraphic examination that she had fallen in love with Dad, who was forced to admit to his children that he felt nothing for her. Perhaps to avoid having the poor lass do something extreme, the children decided to keep her, and dump another hapless contestant, who was made to disappear by 80's-era magicians Penn and Teller. Almost everything about the show is cheesy and cringe-inducing, from the slow-mo reaction shots of the kids as they watch the polygraph examinations, to the voyeuristic scenes of them watching Dad make out with one of the ladies on a TV monitor.

But that's not the real reason I watch. Christy Fichtner is. Ms. Fichtner, in case you don't know, was the 1986 Miss U.S.A. winner, a contest particularly famous for its runner-up, a certain Miss Ohio named Halle Berry. According to this site, she is the most beautiful first runner-up in Miss Universe history, and may arguably be the most gorgeous Miss U.S.A. winner ever. Divorced for over five years, with three sons, competing against assorted thirty- and forty-somethings in this idiotic contest, she dominates the same way Randy Johnson would against a high school team. Ms. Berry deserved to lose then, and she would lose again now.

As I understand, though, she is not the favorite to win. That would be in keeping with her shock loss in the 1986 Miss Universe pageant, when she went in heavily favored, only to lose to Miss Venezuela, a result that still rankles objective observers of beauty pageants in the same way that Roy Jones Jr.'s loss in the 1988 Summer Olympics does to boxing fans. In fact, as the controversy over Miss Universe 2003 indicates, boxing is the most appropriate sports analogy to the world of beauty pageants: regional biases abound, and knowing who the promoters are will give a pretty good indication of who is most likely to win.

Whether her attitude rubbed people the wrong way back then may be a subject of speculation (she would hardly be the first contestant to fly to and from the pageant in her family's private jet, and at least she didn't spook one of her rivals by telling her how "fat and ugly" she looked in a swimsuit), but she is definitely having problems getting her potential step-daughters, who have made ominous complaints that she doesn't love their dad, she's just wants to win, yadda yadda yadda (that was after she dove into the family pool in a very elegant bikini to start their first date), to warm to her.

Christy Fichtner

Any way, her potential step-sons seem to like her. She has made the final three, and with two episodes to go (assuming that there isn't a "best-of" episode before the finale), America will hold its collective breath to see if she can finally win one. After that, I think I'll kiss off reality TV for good.

UPDATE: She made the Finals !!

California is not the only state where the Republicans are trying to get a Mulligan. Charles Kuffner's blog has been providing encyclopedic coverage of the Texas redistricting scam, and the rebellious Democrats in the minority who have now sought asylum in the free state of New Mexico. If for nothing else, Tom DeLay should be thanked for having revitalized the Texas Democratic Party.

Michael "Terrorism Trumps Everything" Totten has changed his address, so please adjust...I might be joining him soon (not on his obsession with the Middle East, but on his move to Moveable Type), so if someone can tell me whether you can post photos within your posts there, it would be greatly appreciated.

July 28, 2003

Enterprising investment bankers might be keen on this: the Pentagon is establishing a "commodities market", where savvy investors can bet on when the next big terrorist event is going to take place, including whether/when King Abdullah of Jordan or Yasser Arafat gets capped...sort of like a Dead Pool for Young Republicans. Interesting, this program is under the supervision of one John Poindexter, a figure of some notoriety from the Reagan Administration.

And as you might expect, some bleeding heart Senate Democrats are up in arms about this, trying to thwart the next stage of capitalism from developing. [link via Talking Points Memo] Figures....

UPDATE: The bleeding hearts won...the Pentagon has decided that trading futures in suicide bombings wasn't such a good idea after all.

How is Dick Riordan supposed to beat this? If I decide not to run, I'm endorsing Georgy !!

Things to cross off my to-do list: attending a Manchester United soccer game. As sports go, soccer is especially fun to watch when it is well-played, and even though yesterday's game was just an "exhibition", it was clear from the start of the second half that this wasn't the M.L.S. The crowd of just under 60,000 was split down the middle; for all the talk about the Beatles-of-sports World Tour, Los Angeles is a hot bed for Mexican soccer teams, particularly Club America, to the chagrin of xenophobes like Jim Rome. If Chivas were to play its home games at the Coliseum, they would out-draw the Raiders.

July 27, 2003

Perhaps the clearest sign that the whole nation is now laughing at us is MoDo's column this morning. Dowd, who is always about ten seconds behind the cultural zeitgeist, pans the effort, portraying it as another example of how money (in this case, Darrell Issa's) has debased politics. [link via California Insider]

No mention of my candidacy, but she does allude to the Governor's wife, Sharon Davis, who, unlike her husband, is eligible to run in this election. If his Grayness were truly machiavellian, he would run his better half in that election, where she might actually win (unlike her husband, she wouldn't need to get a majority of the vote). If the people then support the recall, she would become governor, creating a situation not unlike Alabama in the late-60's, when Lurleen Wallace was elected to replace her husband, who was term-limited out of office, with the express intention that her husband would still run the state.

Voters of Orange County, Unite: Blogger Digby points out that the recall provision so beloved by the far right in this country actually originated in revolutionary France (!) in 1870, and was supported by none other than Karl Marx. As I was saying...SMYTHE FOR GOVERNOR

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