Monthly Archives: July 2003


DANCE PARTY AT TARGET CENTER!: Just when you thought the Timberwolves were unstoppable after adding Sprewell, Cassell, and Olowokandi, they’ve finally made one more addition that’s certain to put them over the top into championship glory: Yes, on Monday night the Wolves signed ex-Laker “Dancin'” Mark Madsen to a free agent contract.
Yea, you may laugh now, but keep in mind: the Wolves’ top 7 players have a combined two championship rings (both Cassell’s) among them; Madsen has three.


LET THEM EAT YELLOWCAKE: A few things to say about this whole WMD/uranium-from- Niger controversey: first of all, I’m sick to death of people referring to their opponents, their enemies, or anything they don’t like as “weapons of mass destruction”- even if such things are neither weapons, nor massive, nor of destruction. It’s the “otherwise the terrorists win” of 2003. I’m referring specifically to a speech by Congressman/alleged presidential candidate “Crazy Dennis” Kucinich, to whom apparently everything is a weapon of mass destruction other than the actual WMDs themselves:

Joblessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Hunger is a weapon of mass destruction. Poor health care is a weapon of mass destruction. Poor education is a weapon of mass destruction. Discrimination is a weapon of mass destruction

By that rationale, so is civic bankruptcy- like the one Kucinich precided over as mayor of Cleveland in the ’70s.
We’ve also heard the silly modifier “weapons of mass distraction,” the porn parody “Weapons of Ass Destruction,” and so on. But that scandal has fallen off the front page in favor of the “16 words” President Bush said in the State of the Union address: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
Now notice: even though the now-debunked intelligence had Saddam purchasing uranium from the West African nation of Niger, Bush said not the specific country but rather “Africa.” Why’s that? Well, it’s obvious- Bush’s speechwriters clearly didn’t trust the president to correctly pronounce Niger, as opposed to, uh, another word that sounds sort of like “Niger,” only with one more “G.” Such a faux pas, previously committed in a speech by California Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante, could hurt Bush’s presidency more than all his previous Bushisms combined; it was indeed a wise move by the speechwriters to sidestep it. After all, we all know how much trouble Bush has had pronouncing that other, highly-loaded N-word: “nuclear.”

A MIGHTY WIND: They’ve just

A MIGHTY WIND: They’ve just gotta ruin all my illusions about the Twins championship teams, don’t they? First, Kirby Puckett turns out to be a scoundrel and serial abuser of women. Now comes news that an elderly former Metrodome technician has admitted that for years he manipulated the air in the stadium to give the Twins an advantage.
“Twins cheating” rumors are nothing new- for years they were accused of stealing signs from the Dome’s centerfield cameras. When I first heard the news about Dick Ericson’s little scheme I had visions of the Twins having to take down the championship banners -a la the ’97 Gophers and Fab Five-era Michigan basketball- but, it turns out, Ericson acted not on orders of the team, and it’s debatable whether the wind even helped them that much at all.
Then again, maybe it was the wind, and not Kent Hrbek, that pulled Ron Gant off first base in the ’91 World Series…


ABLAVSKY AND ASKEW: When it came out that the perp in last week’s City Hall shooting, Othniel Askew, was a political opponent of the victim, James Davis, it turned on a lightbulb in the heads of many Brandeisians who remember the Ilya Ablavsky case. Ablavsky in 1999 was a Brandeis student who also decided to run for mayor of Waltham; Ablavsky was subsequently expelled from Brandeis- and arrested- for making bomb threats against both a student dorm and the home of his opponent in the mayor’s race.
Now, new revelations in the Davis/Askew case have an even starker parallel with the Ilya Case- Askew allegedly shot Davis because he believed the councilman was blackmailing him about his HIV status- a claim identical to one Ablavsky supposedly made. Hell, maybe that’s where Othniel got the idea.
UPDATE: Ilya Ablvasky writes in to say that he is not in prison or a mental insitution, and has in fact graduated college and is living a quiet life in Massachusetts. Good for him.


PLAGIARISM, FABRICATION, AND OTHER GOOD CAREER MOVES: Back when I took journalism classes in college, one of the first things they taught us was not to plagiarize. Not only was it unethical, but doing such a thing, my profs always said, was the sort of thing that could get you blackballed from working in journalism for life. If only it really worked that way…
Jayson Blair, the man whose lies, prevarications, and general incompetence brought down the editorial regime of the world’s most popular newspaper, has accepted two magazine writing assignments– a piece for Jane Magazine on workplace stress, and a review for Esquire of “Shattered Glass,” the forthcoming biopic of New Republic plagiarist Stephen Glass. Glass himself, meanwhile, has been commissioned to write a piece for Rolling Stone, while Mike Barnicle, fired from the Boston Globe in 1998 after years of documented plagiarism and prevarication, continues to appear on MSNBC nearly every day.
Leave aside Blair’s hypocrisy in continuing to accept writing work, considering his infamous declaration that “Jayson Blair the journalist had to die.” How the hell can any of these editors justify hiring writers with such a well-documented history of journalistic misconduct? I know my respect for GQ, Jane, and Rolling Stone, never high to begin with, has once again taken a nosedive.
Giving Jayson Blair a writing assignment makes about as much sense as hiring Robert Downey, Jr. to be the new drug czar.