Thursday, October 28, 2004
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Big Lies by Joe Conason. Mandatory reading for anyone who cares about the truth (as a fiction writer, occasionally I omit myself from this group, but lately reality is SO much more entertaining and scary than fantasy). I plan to buy my own copy because it begs to be highlighted, dogeared, exclamation-pointed, frownie-faced, etc.
Basically, the book dispels in plain, non-academic, non-pundity language some common misconceptions that the right-wing screed-spewers would like you to believe. He picks the lies apart using -gasp!- FACTS, which is something I hear journalists used to look for before they turned into press release-regurgitating robots.
Conason's writing style is clean, compelling, and witty, without the distracting wackiness of some of the more overtly comic writers. This is pure substance, but moves as fast as a novel. You can easily read it in an afternoon. A revised, updated paperback came out in June 2004. Only $10 on Amazon!
On Fire's Wings by Christie Golden. This fantasy novel has phenomenal characters, a well-developed world, and a plot that takes risks at every turn. It blew me away. It's the first in a series, and though usually I'm not a series reader, no matter how much I like the first installment, this one I'll be waiting for next year.
On Fire's Wings is full of surprises. For instance, after the two main characters have sex, what happens to him is--well, you just won't believe it. It ain't pretty, but it is beautiful.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
But even after all these wounds that bleed away my ever-dwindling national pride, nothing has come close to the agony I felt upon hearing Steven Tyler of Aerosmith sing the National Anthem at the World Series.
I'm sure it won't be the last time in the next ten days that I'll say this, but...my soul hurts.
Friday, October 22, 2004
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Then I woke up and realized that all the trauma was behind me. The pain, the resentment that began in 1977 when the Yankees beat the Dodgers in what would become two straight World Series, the frustration that culminated in last year's ALCS Game 7, when they came back from a three-run deficit to beat the Red Sox in extra innings--it's wiped--no, power-washed away.
The Sox haven't won the World Series (yet), but for me, the job has been done. See, I'm much more of a Yankee hater than I am a fan of any particular baseball team. And last night, the team of perennial prima donnas showed the world what magnificent losers they could be.
This has to cut deeper than last year's World Series loss to the Marlins, or the ALCS punt to the Angels in '02, or even the 2001 World Series blown save in the bottom of the ninth to the Diamondbacks (quite possibly one of the greatest moments of my life). For whether the Yankees admit it or not, Boston is their nemesis. They feed off of their annual humiliation of their neighbor to the northeast. Like a playground bully, the Yankees' sense of self is rooted in the denigration of their victims, a role that the Red Sox have played for nearly 85 years.
And in the same way that it's hard to keep hating a bully when he's lying on the ground, broken and beaten, sobbing and blubbering at last, it's hard to maintain my loathing of Jeter and Company, especially knowing that their boss is going to flay them alive, then staple their skins back over their bodies inside out. It's hard to hate a bunch of losers.
But somehow I'll manage. Because there's always next year.
There was a beautiful noise at the end of last night's game. It was the sound of 55,000 Yankee fans Shutting Up!
How cool would it be if, in this election year, Boston and Houston faced each other in the World Series--the home team of John Kerry versus the home team of Enron. If you wrote that into a movie, no one would believe it. It would be epic.
During the commercials I'm phone banking for the Kerry/Edwards campaign, calling up volunteers in battleground states and asking them to do something I'd never have the guts to do: walk door-to-door and ask people to vote for Kerry. Then again, I live in a hostile environment. If I still lived in Columbia, MD--the Land of Pleasant Living, the place so enlightened and progressive, interracial couples are the rule instead of the exception--I might feel differently. Studies show that people are much more likely to vote if they speak to someone in person rather than getting a flyer or talking to someone on the phone.
Yaaay! Jim Edmonds of the Cardinals just hit a walk-off home run in the 12th to send it to Game 7. You could tell as soon as it left the bat. One of the most sublime experiences in this world must be rounding third and running home to plunge into the biggest group hug of your life.
Anyway, today when I phone-banked I gave myself a caramel cream for every call I made. I had no idea how much fun it would be to call people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, and have them bitch to me about Bush. So now I'm feeling a little sick from all the chewy, creamy democracy in my tummy. Mmmm...democracy.
8:30 PM Those fans look nervous. Heh heh.
8:40 PM Crap, what lousy coaching by the third base coach, sending Damon home to be thrown out. If only he'd listened to me when I shouted "Stay at 3rd!" But they never do.
8:41 PM Well, a home run from Ortiz put a little balm on that boo-boo. I'll try not to remember that it could've been a 3-run homer if Damon had just held at third like I told him to.
8:58 PM Yay! I've signed up two people to canvass this weekend, just from the last five calls. Apparently the phone banking has been so successful they're expanding it to Maine and Iowa tonight.
Today the Red Sox, instead of taking batting practice on the field, watched the movie Miracle, about the '80 Olympic men's hockey team.
Hey, Kids Pick Kerry!! Nickelodeon's web site just
9:12 PM We interrupt this sentence to go, "HOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLYYYYY FUUUUUUUUDDDGE......" Only I didn't say fudge.
Johnny Damon, in the most supreme redemption since the Martyrdom of St. Paul, just hit a grand freaking slam to make it 6-0, Good Guys. He's been 3 for 26 the whole series up to this point.
9:43 My brother called me right after Damon's home run. He's the only person I know who hates the Yankees as much as I do. We had a cautious gloatfest about how great it will (would) be if Boston actually pulled it off, how the Yankees will (would be the biggest chokers in sports history. Jeter just drove in Cairo to make it 6-1, Saints of Baseball.
9:53 Johnny Damon is the most beautiful person who is not my husband that I have ever seen. He just made it 8-1, Angels of Light, with a two-run homer. I think the Yankee fans are going to cry. They are so very, deathly quiet.
10:21 Johnny Damon (yes, him again) somehow just pulled off a infield double. Soon he'll have the lame and the blind lining up in centerfield to touch him. I'm thinking about having him help me out with my dog's sore paw.
It's late here, but only 7:30 in Washington, which is where I'm phone banking right now. That's Washington State. Though Washington, D.C. occasionally feels like the Twilight Zone, it remains in the Eastern Time Zone.
11:08 Terry Francona just woke up the Yankee fans by putting Pedro Martinez in the game, which is totally wacked. Seven runs ahead, they should be saving him for the World Series. Now they're all chanting "Who's Your DAD-dy?" which is surpassed in obnoxiousness only by the Atlanta's Tomahawk Chop . Now it's 8-3, God's Gifts.
11:32 Whew! They made it out of the scary seventh, then the eighth, meanwhile adding a single-shot home run by last night's hero, Mark Bellhorn, making it 9-3, Warriors of Righteousness.
Let's go, insurance runs! I'm far too paranoid to think that six runs is enough to hold off the Yankees. Geez, how damaged am I? I'm like a horror movie heroine who keeps having nightmares about the killer long after she's hacked him to bits.
But it ain't over until the fat man cries, then fires Joe Torre.
Cabrera just knocked in Trot Nixon to make it 10-3, Miracle Men.
Bottom of the 9th: Do you think by now the Yankees just want to go home, or do you think they think they can come back? Matsui looks like he's still playing, just hit a single, but Williams looks like he would like very much to lie down.
11:59 One more out. I feel too weak to type.
12:07 The game ended at midnight, but it's taken me this long to pull my jaw off the floor. I can't believe it actually happened. I'm afraid I'm going to wake up and it's going to be Sunday night the bottom of the ninth again, and Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon have to decide the series with a Jello-wrestling match. Oh wait, that last part was a different dream.
How could the world get any more beautiful? Mmmm, perhaps if the Massachusetts Magic rubs off on a certain candidate....
Final score: 10-3, Boston Red Sox.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Curt Schilling: "I can't think of any scenario more enjoyable than making 55,000 people in New York shut up."
Schilling (my hero, the dude who helped the D'Backs beat the Yanks in 2001 and could've been a Yankee this year but turned away from the Dark Side) vs. Mussina (Public Enemy #1 here in Baltimore)--the matchup Could Not Be Sweeter!
I hate that ever since Fox got the ML Playoffs, the Simpsons Halloween Special has been broadcast after Halloween. It's just wrong. We have all of them except #7 on videotape.
Let's see...what stupid show is Fox going to push on us non-stop throughout the playoffs? Yes, this year it's *My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss*--it's "Joe Millionaire" meets "The Apprentice." Its catch phrase will soon be sweeping the nation: "Get the hell out of my office." I don't think it'll fit on a T-shirt, not without people having to stop you, hold out your arm, squint at your torso, and then ask, "Huh?"
Show #2 we'll be sick of by the end of the World Series: "House, M.D." A smart-ass doctor who bucks the system. Where have we seen that before? MASH, Trapper John, Scrubs, Becker, Gideon's Crossing, okay, I'm bored now.
#3: "The Rebel Billionaire" Don't ask.
How dramatic it all is. Boston vs. New York. The grand rematch. The rivalry of old. So much anger, anguish, bruised feelings, bruised shoulders, black eyes, broken teeth. The two richest, most passionate teams in baseball battle once again.
All for the ultimate prize: the opportunity to get beaten by the St. Louis Cardinals.
8:20 PM Here we go. Johnny Damon up to bat.
Strike one. NOOOO! It's all overrrr!!!! I hate the world. I'm gonna go watch Designer's Challenge.
8:25 PM Okay, I'm back. I forgot the only thing more boring than baseball is Designer's Challenge. It's such a grim show. They somehow manage to find three designers with the personalities of dried kumquats.
Nice first pitch from Schilling. He's got tendonitis in his right ankle. I know how much that hurts. Apparently he got a short-acting anesthetic shot in it right before the game. I know how much THAT hurts.
8:37 PM a scant twelve minutes later, and I can tell you that anesthetic ain't working. Either that or it extended to Schilling's fingers. It's now 2-0, Evil Ones.
I just caught the end of a phrase the commentator said about someone (I believe it was David Ortiz) who "loves to pound that green monster." I know he means he loves hitting home runs over Fenway's high fence, but it sounds like one of those fake innuendos like "whipping the turtle" or "trimming the lobster."
OK, they just commented on Derek Jeter's "calm eyes," and that Mussina must be calmed by those eyes tonight, as he's pitching a great game.
I'm half-expecting all the players to hop in a big hot tub between innings and lather each other up for a new Frankie Goes to Hollywood comeback video.
This home plate umpire is so being paid off by the Yankees. His strike zone is the size of my pinky nail. The pinky nail that just broke. Schilling's in great form now.
9:05 PM I spoke too soon. Bases loaded, no outs. Okay, now it's 5-0, Demon Spawn. God, I hate the Yankees. Not that they care.
I'm sticking with the game, though, no matter how painful. I just might not have anything to say about it.
9:24 PM They keep telling me to grab a cold, fresh Budweiser, but I don't have any. I actually had one last weekend, and it was not bad. It was not good either. It was not anything at all.
9:43 My husband just gave me some incisive analysis: According to his assessment, the Yankees are a bunch of big dumb poopyheads.
10:35 Finally Mr. Perfect starts to choke, about 3 innings after I predicted he would. Boston just scored 3 runs to bring the score to 8-3, Denizens of Hell.
Baby!!!!!! It's a 3-run game, after a two-run HR by Varitek.
Is it me, or does his last name sound like some mysterious "Terminator"-movie-style corporation, the kind that you have no idea what they produce, only that they inhabit the quiet white 8-story building behind the chain-link fence on the outskirts of your town? And they have some equally vague slogan, like:
The future belongs to Varitek.
Varitek: where the future belongs.
Future? You're Varitek's bitch.
And so on.
What? You were expecting complex baseball analysis? Tune in to SportsCenter.
10:51 My husband is giggling himself senseless over Jon Stewart's America: The Book. I gave it to him for his birthday, so I don't get to read it until he's done. Meanwhile I'm reading this book to cheer myself up during the Yankee game. Sigh.
11:05 Ortiz is up with two men on base. Count's 3 and 1. It's one of those few moments in baseball that can genuinely be called exciting.
Whoa, he smacked it! Damn, a few feet away from tying the game, but he hit a triple and scored two guys. It's now, 8-7, Servants of Satan!
11:27 Life is cruel. But I still have hope, even though it's now 10-7, Those Who Shall Not Be Named.
11:40 Tying run at the plate for Boston.
Crap. Oh well, at least it was a good game. No one's feeling smug tonight.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
A lurcher, by the way, is a mix of sighthound (probably greyhound in this case) and some other breed.
I can't think of anything political to say about this.