Monthly Archives: August 2002

CHUTZPAH AWARD NOMINEE: Leave it

CHUTZPAH AWARD NOMINEE: Leave it to Vince McMahon to assert that pro wrestling somehow has the moral high ground over Major League Baseball. In a reprise of an ad campaign that they ran during the 1994 baseball strike, World Wrestling Entertainment broadcast a commercial on last night’s episode of WWE RAW in which Vince, doing the voice-over himself, lambasts baseball for considering a work stoppage, and not only promises that wrestling won’t ever go on strike, but also that his company will “never have an off-season.”
As usual, McMahon’s logic is transparent to anyone not in his regular 12-to-14-year-old male demographic. Yes it’s true that wrestling will never go on strike, and that’s because McMahon has long ensured that his company remains a non-union shop- in the process resisting numerous attempts at labor organization, most notably one in the early ’80s headed by Jesse Ventura. And if the wrestlers and other employees had any collective bargaining power, of course, it’s a pretty even bet that there would in fact be an off-season, or at least some vacation time.
Of course, what’s another major issue in the baseball labor dispute? Mandatory testing of players for steroids. When Vince, who of course refuses to conduct drug testing of any kind, produced the original anti-baseball ads back in ’94, for what was he on under federal indictment at the time? You guessed it, steroids.

BUD SCREWED BUD: By the

BUD SCREWED BUD: By the way, back during the All-Star Game fiasco, we all remember that Bud Selig (a man who wields extreme power to do evil behind the scenes) sat in his front-row seat, made a decision that affected the outcome of what was on the field, and was subsequently booed lustily by the entire crowd. Was anyone else reminded at the time of the regular on-air occurance of Vince McMahon (another real-life bad guy with extreme, behind-the-scenes power) coming to ringside, making a decision to “screw over” the fan favorite and cause him to lose his match, and then getting booed lustily by the entire Smackdown crowd? The Selig-McMahon parallels are just uncanny!

SC25K- NO KO?: I generally

SC25K- NO KO?: I generally enjoyed Sunday’s 25,000th episode of SportsCenter, as it was great to see all of those classic SportsCenter commercials, testimonials by celebrities, and a rare non-football appearance by Chris Berman. But I had one very big problem with the show- not a single appearance, or even acknowledgement, of former anchor Keith Olbermann. Now I realize that to say Olbermann left ESPN on bad terms would be the understatement of the decade, but the man did appear on almost half of those SportsCenters, and along with Dan Patrick he took the show to a level which it had never reached before and hasn’t come close to reaching since. However, none of the show’s old highlights included Keith, nor was he in any of the classic commercials chosen for the Top 5. They didn’t even broadcast any of the classic bloopers from the Patrick-Olbermann era of the show, most notably that great moment when Dan’s microphone broke and Keith’s hand held it in the bottom corner of the screen.
I have always loved SportsCenter and likely always will, but I am very disapointed that the network chose on this occasion to ignore a man who is likely (other than Berman) the greatest anchor in the history of SportsCenter.

FLAMING MANHOLE ON CHRISTOPHER STREET:

FLAMING MANHOLE ON CHRISTOPHER STREET: According to this morning’s New York Post, two manholes exploded over the weekend in Manhattan’s West Village, “shooting flames” three feet in the air on the corner of Christopher Street and Waverly Place. A manhole goes off in flames in the middle of the weekend on the gayest block in town- this stuff really just writes itself.

THE TERRORIST PROFESSOR: Last week,

THE TERRORIST PROFESSOR: Last week, on the same day that Opie and Anthony were fired by WNEW, the University of South Florida took steps to remove Sami Al-Arian, an engineering and computer science professor who has drawn fire for his connections to international terrorism. No one doubts that Al-Arian has been vocal both in his support of suicide bombers and in his lack of opposition to Al-Qaida, but the soon-to-be-deposed prof believes that the issue is really academic freedom.
Al-Arian is the latest fraudulant professor to rise to prominence for his questionable activism in a field completely unrelated to his area of expertise, much like Holocaust denier Arthur Butz of Northwestern (a professor of engineering) and loony America-hater Noam Chomsky (a professor of linguistics at MIT; how can he have time to teach when he writes 50 books a year?). It is ludicrous for such people to hide behind “academic freedom” when they are doing dangerous and certainly un-academic things which certainly do not contribute in any way to responsible intellectual discourse. Al-Arian’s indisputable links to known terrorists shouldn’t fall under the perview of “free exchange of ideas;” this guy doesn’t belong on the faculty, he belongs in jail.
Now normally when professors come up with wacko ideas, it’s because they have to keep their jobs- in order to maintain tenure, academics must be published with some degree of frequency. I have long maintained that most of the truly ridiculous theories in the world exist because some academic had to come up with something in order to not be fired.
But my favorite part of this was when Al-Arian didn’t deny that he once declared “Death to Israel,” and actually said that “‘Death to Israel’ had nothing to do with killing Jews.'” Does this remind anyone else of when Ice T tried to argue that “Cop Killer” had nothing to do with killing cops?

A ‘FOOLISH’ AWARD: Here’s one

A ‘FOOLISH’ AWARD: Here’s one of the year’s most humorous stories: R&B singer Ashanti is scheduled to receive the Lady of Soul Entertainer of the Year Award at the upcoming Soul Train Music Awards- and over 20,000 people have signed a petition decrying the decision.
A 15-year-old Californian named Rommel Zamora started the drive because he feels that Ashanti lacks “the singing ability and the stage presence” of other candidates, and especially pales in comparison with Aretha Franklin (whom the award is named after). It’s hard to argue with that logic; while I’m certainly not the world’s foremost authority on commercial R&B, anyone with ears and even a minimal amount of taste in music can tell you that Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Aaliyah, or even Tweet are considerably more talented than Ashanti (I do give Ashanti the advantage over Khia, however).
But the funniest part of all this is Soul Train’s response, posted on and since retracted from their website, which managed to invoke slavery, rip “white-owned” Black Entertainment Television and question how Zamora could have a valid opinion, considering that his name “doesn’t sound African-American.” Kind of harsh when you’re talking to a 15-year-old kid, but then Ashanti herself was 15 only six years ago. And yes, I will indeed resist the urge to make an R. Kelly joke right now…

FROM FOOLS AND FROM SAGES:

FROM FOOLS AND FROM SAGES: After failing to win the Washington Redskins’ quarterback job, Sage Rosenfels was traded yesterday to the Miami Dolphins for a conditional 2003 draft pick. Rosenfels will be a backup to Miami QB Jay Fiedler, meaning the Dolphins are likely the first team in NFL history to have two Jewish quarterbacks on their roster simultaneously. Though for some reason I get the feeling that Fiedler and Rosenfels will both go down with injuries and Ray Lucas will be the Tom Brady of ’02 and lead Miami to the Super Bowl. Just call it a hunch.