SAME AS THE OLD MOSS: The only thing more disgusting than the Minnesota Vikings’ 48-23 shellacking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks last night was the ESPN announcers’ excuses for Randy Moss’ abominable behavior. To the laundry list of Moss’ transgressions (his arrest last week, his numerous failed drug tests, his lack of effort on the field in the last two years), we can now add three (three!) dropped touchdown passes in last night’s game- but you wouldn’t know that from announcers Mike Tirico and Joe Theissman, who pursued the erroneous argument that the 26-year-old Moss is “just a confused kid” who is “misunderstood,” and that the fans in Seattle who booed Moss throughout the game wouldn’t do so “if they knew his personal situation.” I don’t mean to sound like Phil Mushnick here, but come on- why can’t these people (the announcers, the team, the league) stop enabling this punk, start holding him accountable for his numerous misdeeds, and stop making excuses? If I were the Vikings I would not let Moss take the field again until he has undergone professional help, be it for drug counseling or whatever other disorder he may have. Because a Moss suspension right now may be the only thing that can save the Vikings’ season.
JOEY PANTS DOWN: If last night you watched “The Sopranos” instead of the Vikings-Seahawks game, I can provide you an, um, analogy: The Seahawks did to the Vikings what Janice did to Ralphie in their soon-to-be-infamous bedroom scene. For those of you who missed it, last night’s episode featured Janice and Ralphie engaging an the act known as “pegging” (so named by Dan Savage), and the inclusion of that scene may very well mark the end of Joe Pantoliano’s career as a tough-guy actor- I don’t know how anyone in his target audience will ever look at him the same way again. Also, we can be sure that scene will be raised again in future storylines (i.e. the Uncle Junior cunnilingus scandal from season 1)- man, imagine if Tony finds out.
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF A HERO: Yesterday a group of friends and family members re-traced the steps taken by FDNY hero Stephen Siller, who went from Brooklyn to Ground Zero on 9/11/’01 and died while saving lives when the towers collapsed. Now someone surprisingly, today was the very first I ever heard of this 9/11 hero whose name is almost mine- and I must say I’m proud to (almost) share a name with such an heroic individual.
THE TORCH IS OUT: In the second honorable withdrawal by an Italian-American Democratic candidate from a tri-state political race in as many months, Senator Robert Torricelli announced today that he will drop out of the race for re-election. It was an announcement that, sadly for the Democrats’ Senate hopes, should’ve come six months ago, considering that “The Torch” had been dogged by ethics questions in relation to his dealings with convicted financier David Chang. And while Torricelli was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, his “severe admonishment” by the Senate certainly put a damper on his re-election hopes. Dropping out now was the right thing to do, and might end up being the difference between Democratic or Republican control of the Senate.
My co-workers from last year’s McGreevey campaign appeared to be sitting this one out; I’ve seen no presence of the campaign anywhere in Jersey for The Torch’s very close race, while Hudson County was completely blanketed by McGreevey posters and literature even though his election was never seriously in doubt. Rumors say that if the the party bosses can’t persuade Frank Lautenberg or Bill Bradley out of retirement for one more race, the pick will be Rep. Bob Menendez- my Congressman- and he’s definitely got my vote. It’s not like Doug Forrester is anything special anyway.
BEST OF “BEST OF MANHATTAN”: It took a whole week, but I finally finished reading New York Press’ annual “Best of Manhattan” issue. Great stuff as usual, although nothing compared to last year’s classic “Return of Cracky” item. This year’s best were the takedown of Esquire’s “What Every Man Should Know” feature (it’s aimed, you see, at the “Straight Homosexual“- scroll halfway down), and Adam Heimlich’s essay on the last ten years of hip-hop (although it makes the cardinal error of referring to Tupac and Biggie’s deaths as “The Assassinations.”) All in all, a very good effort from the New York Press gang- if you’ve got six hours to kill at work this week, I recommend checking it out.
FIRST ROUND PICKS: Braves in 4, Cardinals in 4, Yankees in 3, Twins in 5. No, that’s not just wishful thinking.
WINNING RYAN: In a game two weeks ago, Twins rookie outfielder Mike Ryan proved that every time you buy a ticket for a baseball game, something history-making can happen. Ryan led off that game against Detroit (the first of his career) with his first major league hit. And then, after the Twins batted around in the first inning, Ryan came up again and got another hit- thus becoming the first player in the 150-some year history of Major League Baseball to get two hits in the first inning of his first major league game. But, in a development indicating that perhaps the baseball gods weren’t smiling upon Ryan after all, the game was called on account of rain after 3 innings, and thus the results (and Ryan’s historical feat, were washed away as well).
Ryan then went two weeks without another base hit, thus running the risk of joining Archibald “Moonlight’ Graham as a player who tasted the glory of reaching the major leagues without the satisfaction of a hit. But thankfully, Ryan made it just under the wire, finally getting his first major league hit (for real this time) in Friday’s victory over the White Sox. Congrats Mike- it won’t be the last.
PS: Next week for the Twins: Playoffs. PLAYOFFS??? Yes, Playoffs.
GRAFFITI POINT-COUNTERPOINT OF THE WEEK: Seen above the urinal in the mens’ room of the Staten Island Ferry terminal:
POINT: “I’m angry that the black and white working classes won’t join together and realize that it’s all an issue of class!”
COUNTERPOINT: “That’s right. People with class don’t write on walls.”
WHAT’S WRONG WITH “THE WEST WING”?: For the answer, check out my latest contribution to BlogCritics, linked here.
HAVANA BODY: In the kind of move that an elected official can only even consider when he’s not running for re-election, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura arrived in Cuba today to visit with dictator Fidel Castro and argue in favor of expanded trade with the isolated island nation.
The only way in which I would’ve approved of this course of action would be if Ventura had revisited his wrestling career and pulled a “heel turn” on Castro, perhaps smacking the dictator over the head from behind with a steel chair and then cutting an anticommunist “promo.” I certainly can’t think of a more patriotic or dignified way for the Guv to have ended his four years as a political figure than that.
AND IN OTHER CUBAN NEWS…: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban got married over the weekend in Barbados. Perhaps his new wife will demand he finally buy furniture for his heretofore empty 24-room mansion.