Monthly Archives: May 2005

Well There’s One Mystery Solved

Wow, when I left the house this morning, I sure wasn’t expecting to come home knowing who Deep Throat was. But it’s Mark Felt– as confirmed today but the former FBI honcho, as well as Woodward and Bernstein themselves. Interesting that, with the credibility of anonymous sources at an all-time low, wed suddenly see the outing of the most famous anonymous source in journalistic history just a week later.
Even though I’m a longtime Watergate buff, I was never into the Deep Throat parlor game; I’m too young, I guess, and I don’t who most of the players are. Though a friend joked today that if Watergate happened now, the anonymous source would be named something like “Where the Boys Aren’t 17.”
I’m looking forward to Woodward’s tell-all piece on Thursday, but in the meantime, we know two things: it’s not Ben Stein, and right now G. Gordon Liddy is probably on his way to Santa Rosa to kill Felt with his bare hands.
In the meantime, read this timeline, which made me want to dig out “All the President’s Men” just for its brilliant third-act-on-a-typewriter.

Notes From “Minny”

A few notes from my holiday weekend trip to Minnesota:
– Minneapolis has a light rail now. Huh? Youre not supposed to catch a train in the Midwest!
– Id been wondering how long it would take my girlfriend and my mother, after meeting each other for the first time, to join forces and make jokes at my expense. The answer: Only a couple of hours.
– We paid a pre-dinner visit to the Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center, where I hadnt been in years. The garden is best known for its spoon-and-cherry sculpture, the bridge of which is often used, according to my father, as a late-night destination for prom kids, if you know what I mean.
– We also went to the Mall of America- just 24 hours before the government-mandated shuttering of Camp Snoopy. Rumsfeld IS a blockhead. Seriously- Id never realized before just how drenched the Cities are with Peanuts iconography- statues and posters of Charlie Brown and Co. are everywhere.
– Theres a Sunday night sports-wrap show in the Twin Cities featuring the local sportswriting/radio/old fart trio of Sid Hartman, Pat Reusse, and Dark Star, along with host Mike Max. A train wreck reminiscent of the early McLaughlin Group, only without the charm, The Sports Show consists of 30 minutes of the hosts mumbling, sharing strikingly obvious non-wisdom and talking over each other. There’s probably more insight in the daily five-minute discussion my co-workers and I have about the previous evening’s Mets game than there was on that entire half-hour show.
– Peter King has the Vikings winning the NFC, because of their offseason moves, and because getting rid of Randy Moss was addition by subtraction. I am predicting a vastly improved Vikes team, but I also tend to agree with Philly sports radio host Glen Macnow, who said last night that the Vikings arent making the Super Bowl anytime soon because their coach is a blithering idiot.
– The Zygi Wilf era is off to an excellent start, with the Vikes new owner actually reaching the radical conclusion that maybe a team in Minnesota would enjoy a competitive advantage from playing outdoors. Shocking, I know. I’m not sure if Blaines the right place, but if its going to be open-air, the further north, the better. Im also enjoying the nicknames for Zygi- the Borat references, Zygi Milf, etc.- and then the King column dubbed him Triple Word Score.
– Speaking of stadiums, the Twins ballpark in downtown Minneapolis finally, improbably, looks like a reality. I went up to my dads office and viewed the site from above- the adjacent garbage incinerator notwithstanding, it looks like a good location. And the lucky law partner with the overlooking office will get a free, unobstructed view of every Twins home game for as long as hes with the firm.
– As for the Wolves, it actually appears as though theyre going to hire P.J. Carlesimo as coach. I dont like it- not because of the Sprewell thing, but because he just hasnt been a winner, anywhere hes been. And while Latrell and his yacht are likely gone regardless of who the coach is, its still a wacky juxtaposition. Could you ever imagine such a situation happening in any other profession? Were thinking about hiring this new sales manager, but awhile back one of our employees tried to murder him. Is that a problem?
– Good to see some friends/readers on my visit; I’ll be back in September, and will hopefully extend the continuing ballpark tour to the Metrodome. (Next week: Pittsburgh, and possibly DC as well).
UPDATE: Another Twins memory (from Steve Rushin’s column):

“In March, after 44 distinguished years as the Minnesota Twins’ public-address announcer, Bob Casey passed away. At the funeral one of Casey’s sons, Mike, closed his eulogy the same phrase his father used to close every Twins game.
He said, in summing up a life well-lived: “The totals on the board are correct.”

I don’t think I’ve ever gone to a game with my father when he didn’t make some comment about that phrase. And I’m going to miss hearing it.

News Item: ESPN Hires First-Ever Ombudsman.
A welcome step back towards journalistic respectability for the Worldwide Leader, which of late has been trending more towards “boom goes the dynamite”-like catchphrase-ology than any sort of valuable information. The network might be doing a better job with this year’s NBA playoffs, but I’ve barely been paying attention so I wouldn’t know.
And speaking of ombudsmen, the Boston Globe is losing theirs, as Mark Jurkowitz is heading back to the Boston Phoenix to replace the best media critic in the country, Dan Kennedy, who is heading to a career in academia. A prediction: nothing Jurkowitz writes will ever match Daniel Okrent’s acid-tongued Times finale, which took well-deserved shots at Dowd and Krugman.

Book Critic Quote of the Day

The political lesson here is that special interests are in the eye of the beholder: Malanga thinks that janitors who clean buildings for eight dollars an hour are a special interest, while I tend to think that middle-age white guys whose cushy sinecures at conservative think tanks nicely insulate them from the vicissitudes of the same free market they so fetishize are a special interest.

Christopher Hayes, reviewing Steven Malangas The New New Left, in TNR.

In Minny

Having touched down a few hours ago at the hallowed sight of Onterrio Smith’s Whizzinator arrest (otherwise known as the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport), Becca and I are in Minnesota for the long weekend visiting family and friends. Apologies for the lack of content this week- but I’ll be back Tuesday with my “Star Wars” review, a book-review roundup, and the long-awaited final edition of my latest LGP (long-gestating piece.) ‘Til then, everyone have a great Memorial Day.

Our Long National Nightmare is Over

Red McCombs is no longer owner of the Minnesota Vikings, as the sale of the team to Zygmunt Wilf will be approved, probably today. From the skipped draft pick to the Moss traffic arrest, from the Tice scalping investigation to the Whizzinator, the McCombs tenure was just one embarrasment after another. And now, after a great offseason and finally a sale, the Vikings have a chance to finally become a class organization again.

Film Critic Quote of the Day

“If Ava Gardner were alive, by contrast, I can’t help but think she’d have a good laugh over the casting of Kate Beckinsale to play her. Nothing against Beckinsale, who seemed promising enough before her career detoured into Pearl Harbor and a series of crummy vampire movies (Underworld, Van Helsing).
But the twiggy young actress utterly lacks Gardner’s carnal heft; she’s like something Ava might have tucked into her cleavage for use at a later date, perhaps as dental floss. (Beckinsale reportedly gained 20 pounds for the role; it’s disturbing to think that she probably needed at least 20 more.) Gwyneth Paltrow was originally signed to play Gardner, but it’s doubtful she would have been much better. Is this really where we’ve wound up? A Hollywood so weight-obsessed that it’s impossible to find an actress with enough meat on her bones to play a sex symbol of yesteryear?”

TNRs Chris Orr, reviewing the DVD of The Aviator. Im also upset that the film shed no light on whether the Kate Beckinsale 45 degree angle rumor is true.

Santorum/Hitler! Santorum/Hitler!

Unlike some of my friends, I dont like comparing right-wing politicians to Hitler. Then again, I also dont like when the politicians themselves do it. Heres Rick Santorum, last week, on the filibuster:

“It’s the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, ‘I’m in Paris. How dare you invade me? How dare you bomb my city? It’s mine,'”

Should the frothy mixture decide to run for president, I want him to be asked about this EVERY DAY. And I wouldnt mind some occasional use of will you condemn this card, either.
Just a few days later, Senator Man-on-Dog found himself the subject of a long New York Times Magazine cover story that mentioned neither the Hitler remark, nor the frothy mixture thing. You figure it out
And speaking of the filibuster fight, a compromise tonight means that, for the time being, its over. A rare triumph for centrism in Washington, and as the obnoxious, rabid partisans of both sides are hopping mad, I say its a wonderful thing. Dont expect it to last, however- “extraordinary circumstances” is a loophole big enough to push Ted Kennedy through.