OF LEFT FIELD
Some Short Shots
in Sundry Directions
Take your best shot!"
& trying not to get dizzy
By STAN ISAACS
To mark the beginning of the new year, here's a grouchy
at some aspects of the national landscape:
Friends Like Joe...
If, in the debates in
2000, Joe Lieberman had gone after arch reactionary Dick Cheney
the way he has attacked fellow Democrat Howard Dean, he might
have enabled Al Gore to beat George W. Bush.
One of the worst ripoffers
in the land is Telecharge, the company selling tickets to plays
and concerts. Telecharge, aka Overcharge, adds a service fee,
not on the whole order, but on every single ticket. And there
are the Broadway producers--they complain about falling attendance
yet keep raising prices and even add a service charge for patrons
buying tickets at the window.
I am not thrilled
by so-called reformed drug addict star athletes doing community
service. Somehow I think unsung social workers can reach out
to the poor and downtrodden better than narcissistic guys who
have gotten too much attention in the first place.
It would be a relief
if that ESPN basketball loudmouth would announce the games and
not himself. Shut up Dick Vitale.
The Yankees have not
won a World Series for three years now, but legions of anti-Yankee
stalwarts wont be satisfied unless they go all of this
century without winning again.
I am miffed
because my campaign to have the National Biscuit Company bring
back the delicious chocolate-covered graham crackers
A Campaign Falters
fell on deaf ears.
Weekend local sportscasters
have their priorities askew when they give only the scores of
the Top 20 wire service football and basketball teams, leaving
out the scores of local colleges.
Not only are many theater
sound systems keep getting worse, but many films feature background
noise and music that make it more difficult for these old ears
to hear the dialogue.
My favorite patriots are the
ones driving gas-guzzling Sports Utility Vehicles (my friend
Dick Sasuly calls them SAVs, Sports Attack Vehicles) while triumphantly
flourishing American flags.
many basketball announcers work the referees and not the games.
Sean Penn in Mystic
River comes across to me as Marlon Brandos illegitimate
son--and Brandos mannerisms became tiresome
a long time ago.
magazines that place the table of contents pages and pages after
opening ads so that I cant quickly find an article to read
while biding my time on super market checkout lines.
And wouldnt the
Arabs and Israelis be better off if both Yasser Arafat and Ariel
Sharon retired to old-age homes on the Dead Sea?
It is almost difficult
to recall the days when Muhammad Ali was Public Enemy No. 1 for
refusing to fight in Vietnam when photo book about him is coming
out with the modest title, GOAT, (Greatest Of All Time) that
costs only $3,000.
A little history to
keep in mind about the essence of bowl games. When Manhattan
College was about to play Miami in 1933 in what was the prelude
to the Orange Bowl series, Manhattan balked when the game sponsors
didnt come up with the guarantee beforehand. Three hours
before the kickoff a sheriff brought in one of the local bookies
who peeled off 15 crisp $100 bills to pay Manhattan-and the game
went on. Bowl games, however overblown, are still little more
than naked promotions by local Chambers of Commerce"
and TV networks filling the coffers of on-the-make college athletic
I doubted that any of
the surfeit of bowl games matched for thrills and chills the
by Brown over Yale this season.
Have we or havent
we heard the last of Ralph (The Spoiler) Nader, whose sponsors,
the Green Party, are so pure they were running a candidate against
Minnesotas revered liberal Senator Paul Wellstone before
Wellstone died in a plane crash last summer?
Im hoping that
some of the National Football League playoff games in New England
are played in a roaring snowstorm--while I am toasty comfy in
my hearthside TV viewing room.
Isnt it just ducky in
an American League baseball game when a designated hitter strikes
out his four times at bat? This means the sum total of physical
effort by this-you should excuse the expression--athlete was
the strenuous labor of walking some 90 feet between the dugout
and home plate four times.
As a forlorn holdout
against the appeal of the book and movie Seabiscuit,
I expect to clinch the title El Wrongo for sure when
the movie wins the upcoming Oscar.
One good thing about
the departed 2003: we did not have to suffer hours and hours
of overhyped, commercial-laden winter and summer
On the other hand, 2003 was
the year of Victor (suspicion of steroid supplier) Conte; star
runners Kelli White and Regina Jacobs and shot-putter Kevin Toth
(accused of drug use); LA Laker Kobe (accused of sexual assault)
Bryant; Ohio State football player Maurice (accused of theft
deceit) Clarett; Baylor basketball player Carlton (accused of
murder) Dotson; Alabama football coach Mike (drunken carouser)
Price; Iowa State basketball coach Larry (alcoholic) Eustachy;
Georgia basketball coach Jim (academic fraud) Harrick; Washington
footbll coach Rick (gambling violations) Neuheisel; and at St.
Bonaventure, president Robert Wickenheiser, athletic director
Gothard Lane and basketball coach Jan van Breda Koff resigned
because of a recruiting scandal; William Swan, the chairman of
the board of trustees who blamed himself for the scandal, committed
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
©2004 by Stan Isaacs.
The Stan Isaacs caricature is ©2001 by Jim Hummel. The cartoons
are from IMSI's Master Clips Collection, 1895 Francisco Blvd.
E., San Rafael, CA, 94901-5506, USA.
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