Monthly Archives: April 2003


FUNNY HEADLINE JUXTAPOSITION WATCH: Side-by-side at my news stand this morning:
Village Voice: “Pataki’s Dark Magic: How the Governor Made the State’s Fiscal Crisis Worse”
New York Post: “At Last a Leader With Guts: Gov Takes on Taxing Pols.”
One of ’em’s gotta be right…

WORLD-WIDE WRONG: Norman Mailer, in

WORLD-WIDE WRONG: Norman Mailer, in a nonsensical rant in which he claims the US went to war in Iraq because white people are now not as good at sports as black people, lists as remaining bastions of white sports hegemony “ice-hockey, skiing, soccer, golf, (with the notable exception of the Tiger) as well as lacrosse, swimming, and the World-Wide Wrestling Federation.”
Things wrong with that statement:
1. The Secretary of State, National Security Advisor, and thousands of the soldiers who courageously and successfully fought the war in Iraq were themselves black.
2. The “World-Wide Wrestling Federation” is now of course known as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE); “WWWF” was the name it used two names ago; the second “W” was dropped by the federation around 1970, when Mailer was still wandering around the Village Voice offices in an acid-induced stupor. Doesn’t the London Times have fact-checkers for this sort of thing?
3. The most successful wrestling personality to emerge in the past five years, The Rock, is in fact half-black and half-Samoan.
4. As anyone who watched the Wild-Avalanche series knows, two of the game-winning goals for Minnesota were scored by Richard Park, who is Asian-American. And Paul Kariya, who led the Mighty Ducks to a first-round sweep over the Red Wings, is a descendent of Japanese-Canadian immigrants. So hockey’s far from an all-white bastion either. Then again, Canada didn’t join the war.
5. The most popular golfer in American history is Tiger Woods; the most popular soccer player in American history is Pele, a dark-skinned Brazilian immigrant.
6. So apparently, Mailer’s argument has been reduced to “the war in Iraq happened because of the lack of opportunities for racial minorities in skiing, swimming, and lacrosse.” But of course!


THE VIKINGS’ SHAME: In the past few years the Minnesota Vikings have made a few good draft picks (Duante Culpepper and Randy Moss), a few bad draft picks (Derrick Alexander, Duane Clemons, and Dwayne Rudd), and even a draft pick of a player who turned out to be nuts and never actually played for them (Demetrious Underwood). But throughout all those years, the Vikings never simply failed to make their pick, like they did on Saturday. In fact, neither has any other team.
Saturday’s blunder, in which the Vikings tried and failed to trade down in the first round and ended up missing their turn (twice), was the latest shameful episode that’s proven just what a second-class organization the Vikings have become under Red McCombs and Mike Tice. And you thought they wouldn’t be able to top the drunken, Tailhook-like “snowmobile rally” in terms of sheer embarrassment this off-season.
The Vikings spent most of the ’90s as Minnesota’s premiere sports outfit, but now, with the Twins in the ALCS last year and the Wolves and Wild in the playoffs now, they’re down to a distant fourth. Fifth, if you count Gopher hockey. Hell, the WNBA’s Lynx are closing in too.

U-HAUL: U SUCK: I’ll spare

U-HAUL: U SUCK: I’ll spare you all my complete U-HAUL horror story, because frankly, I’m afraid it’ll be too familiar to most of you. Indeed, I’ve never known anyone who has used U-HAUL and not had a nightmarish experience. In a nutshell, among the complaints in my forthcoming letter to the CEO of U-HAUL are the following:
-A reservation, to U-HAUL, isn’t like a reservation at a restaurant or anywhere else. It’s more like a “suggestion.”
-The company’s customer-service representatives are almost universally idiots, whose job is to spend two minutes evading questions like Ari Fleischer, and then placing callers on hold indefinitely.
-After driving directions from downtown Newark to Hoboken were promised to me, the idiot behind the counter laughingly failed to deliver, and I was left to fly blind. Oh, and did I mention that I was given a 24″ truck to drive around the narrow streets of Hoboken? When I ordered a 17-footer?
-After getting into a minor fender-bender, I was informed that U-HAUL has an official policy of purposedly keeping insurance information well-hidden within the truck, so that accident participants are unable to find it. Let me know, lawyers and lawyers-in-training: this can’t be legal, can it?
Anyway, I’m all set in my new apartment and am very happy- and soon I will be blogging high-speed full-time. Can’t f’n wait.


MUSIC CRITIC QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Not that they need the encouragement, but there’s at least one inane musical category the VH1 people have yet to count down: ‘Most column inches of fawning press in proportion to actual number of records sold.’ Unofficial standings show the Hives with a slight lead over Interpol and longtime chart presence the Roots. But watch out for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.” –Josh Tyrangiel, breaking down the music hype phenomenon, while reviewing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ debut in Entertainment Weekly.

SEMIMASTERS: MCA’s 20th Century Masters/The

SEMIMASTERS: MCA’s 20th Century Masters/The Millennium Collection was cool back around the millennium, back when everything had “millennium” on it, and they were releasing pretty good collections by true masters like The Who and The Velvet Underground. But lately they’ve really been scraping the bottom of the barrel of the MCA catalogue- reaching a nadir today when, during a visit to Tunes, I came across Twentieth Century Masters: Semisonic. Yes, St. Louis Park High School’s own Semisonic, the most successful musical act to come out of my alma mater since Peter Himmelman, had a pretty major hit back in ’98 with “Closing Time.” But that was their one and only hit, and apparently every new beginning has indeed come from some other beginning’s end, as the beginning of Semisonic’s stardom has come to an end. And the end has too.