Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Santana Sweepstakes Is Over (I Hope)

So, the word is out there that, pending a contract extension, Johan Santana will be headed to the New York Mets. And all I have to say to that is, thank god.

I would have liked to see Santana in the Red Sox rotation, but I've gone on record saying I wasn't pleased with what Boston would have to give up in that deal. And I didn't want to see the guy go to the Yankees. I have no problems with the Mets, so I hope Santana helps them. And I'm so, so grateful that this whole circus might be coming to an end.

In other news, I've learned today that all the different official team websites seem to post articles on the same subject at the same time. Go to the Dodgers' site, and the headline is "Penny, Dodgers rotation out to shine in 2008". Head over to the Red Sox site, and you'll learn that the "Rotation returns for another shot at the series". For the Yankees, it's "Rotation could make or break Yankees in 2008". I'm not checking every team, but I'm sensing a pattern here.

I did check a few other sites, just because the idea of all the sites having the same sort of article was bugging me for some reason. I ended up at the site for the Pittsburgh Pirates (I just picked a random team), and found myself wondering why a team wouldn't want to present its players in the best possible light. Poor Tom Gorzelanny. I mean, the guy's not much of a looker, but he deserves better than this. Here's what I mean:

This was once the location of an ugly picture of Gorzelanny.

If he looks familiar, you've probably seen this guy before.


AUTHOR: Smeghead52
DATE: 01/30/2008 07:02:41 PM

MLB keeps a real tight reign on their websites. Even the minor league ones seem a bit samey.

I think the NFL teams use the same server but web content varies with each team. If the Dolphins put as much emphasis on the team as thier website they wouldn't have gone 1-15 but thats me.

DATE: 01/30/2008 11:58:16 PM

Tom Gorzelanny is not a piece of meat :)

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 01/31/2008 07:54:47 AM

First off, God gave him a last name that most people can't pronounce and/or spell and then he gave him that face. Ouch.

DATE: 02/02/2008 11:56:09 AM


I am thinking that the sites all report on pitching about the same time because generally most teams have their pitchers and catchers report to camp before the rest of the team. hence, sports writers and web site operators start talking about pitching first. it is just the natural order of things. And if smeghead52 is right, it just may well be the same person doing all the writing

AUTHOR: Smeghead52
DATE: 02/02/2008 03:24:05 PM

I think there are more than one person writing but I think the editorial standards are pretty tight. Because the writing seems similar and really bland.

I wonder if Alyssa Milano will return to blog about the Dodgers this year? It was about the only thing at that didn't seem written by a pr person.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Oh, These Women and Their Scandals

This is a long post. Don't say you weren't warned.

As Jack Cobra just pointed out in my comments section of the last post, there have been a few scandals involving somewhat prominent female figures in the sports world. So, I'll lay off the next "Driving Grievance" post for a few hours, and give a little of my opinion on these issues.

Dana Jacobson, who is a co-host on ESPN's First Take, got herself in some hot water when she gave an inflammatory speech at a "roast" of Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg in mid-January. No one has seen the footage, but rumor has it that Jacobson was on stage with a bottle of vodka, and said, "F**k Notre Dame, f**k Touchdown Jesus, f**k Jesus."

When Bill Donohue, the founder and seemingly only member of an organization known as the Catholic League, heard about this, he demanded that ESPN do something about it. It took a while, but ESPN eventually suspended Jacobson for one week. Jacobson also issued the following apology:

"I am sorry. My remarks about Notre Dame were foolish and insensitive. I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words. I also deeply regret the embarrassment I've caused ESPN and Mike and Mike. My actions at the roast were inappropriate and in no way represent who I am. I won't make excuses for my behavior, but I do hope I can be forgiven for such a poor lack of judgment."

It is interesting that the rumors have Jacobson saying "F**k Jesus," but she doesn't address that in the apology. Maybe she said it, maybe she didn't. But apparently, just offending a Catholic university is enough for Donohue to get on his high horse.

First of all, a little background on this Bill Donohue guy. The dude is an ass-hat, plain and simple. Do you remember the last time you heard about him? It was after Kathy Griffin, who is a comedian, and is therefore paid to be funny, gave her speech at the Creative Emmys (the ones that aren't the big hoopla that is broadcast on network television). In her speech, she said the following:

"A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. Suck it, Jesus. This award is my god now."

If you ask me, that's damn funny. And, according to someone I know who was at that ceremony, the audience was just eating it up. That particular awards ceremony is often pretty boring, but Griffin made it entertaining for about 30 seconds.

Bill Donohue, however, was not amused, and he went on a rampage (calling Griffin's remarks "hate speech", among other things) until E!, the network that was going to air the edited version of the ceremony, was forced to cut Griffin's speech from its broadcast. The point is, Donohue has no sense of humor (he equated Griffin's comments with those of Michael Richards and Don Imus, to give you an idea about this guy's sense of perspective). I'm not sure how he got to the position of power he's in right now, but it seems that the powers that be think that he speaks for all people of faith, and when he says jump, they ask how high.

Here's a few more Donohue quotes, just to give you an idea of the man involved in this mess:

"Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, okay? And I'm not afraid to say it. That's why they hate this movie [The Passion of the Christ]. It's about Jesus Christ, and it's about truth. It's about the messiah. Hollywood likes anal sex."

"This same guy [Dean Hamer] came up with this idea of the gay gene. I remember when that conversation was going on. Gays were all of a sudden worrying if people would start aborting kids when they found out the DNA suggested the kid might be gay or, God forbid, we'd run out of little gay kids, so all of a sudden, they became pro-life."

So, he's a douche, okay? And he really has no right to talk about others spreading "hate speech" or acting like bigots. He's the perfect example of a man in a glass house. And, as we've seen, he has zero sense of humor.

The same is true in this Jacobson case. Let's keep in mind the situation for Ms. Jacobson here. She's at a roast, right? Have you ever seen those old roasts from the 70s with Dean Martin and all those guys? If you weren't drunk (or at least pretending to be) something was wrong with you. And the entire point is to be offensive. Generally that means being offensive toward the subject of the roast, but it doesn't have to stop there. The rules for a roast are that there are no rules. Anything goes.

Now, granted, this was an ESPN roast. But, still, I don't see what Jacobson did wrong here. She was going for humor, and she invoked the name of a man who many believe to be a prophet. I find a really hard time getting riled up about it, and if Donohue didn't have such a stick up his butt all the time, he might realize that some things can be funny even if they at first seem to blaspheme his lord. I bet Jesus had a pretty good sense of humor, you know? I can see him making a lot of jokes about sandals and robes. Can't you see him walking into a leper colony and going up to some poor soul and saying, "Hey buddy, you got something on your face" and then cracking up with the disciples, before moving on to the healing? He was probably a riot (please, please let Bill Donohue see this blog and attack me. It would be so fun! Maybe I'll email it to him.)

The deal is, there are a lot of Christians and Catholics out there who find this sort of thing funny. No one goes on a public stage in a humorous setting and says, "F**k Jesus" if they really mean to offend all of Christianity. I would think if Jacobson really hated Jesus, an ESPN roast isn't exactly the platform she would choose to make known those beliefs. It was a joke, and, as they say, a joke gets less and less funny the more you have to explain it. And since Bill Donohue is thick-headed, he needs a lot of explanation, and will therefore never understand a joke unless it's something about all gay people dying of AIDS. Because that's obviously hilarious! No explanation needed!

This will blow over, Jacobson will be back on the air soon, and Donohue will move on to his next faux controversy (cross your fingers that it involves this blog).

The other big news centered around a golf anchor, which is funny mainly because I doubt most of us could name a golf anchor (except for, like, Jim Nantz at the Masters) if we were offered one million dollars. A woman named Kelly Tilghman, who is an anchor at the Golf Channel, apparently suggested that the only way to stop Tiger Woods from winning every tournament was to "lynch him in a back alley." Now, because Tiger Woods is a minority, that statement began to receive a lot of press, and Tilghman was accused of being racist. Tilghman apologized, Woods accepted, but a few people were still pretty angry. In fact, the Reverend Al Sharpton eventually got involved, demanding that Tilghman be fired from her position.

Frankly, once again, I think this is much ado about nothing. I really, truly don't believe that Tilghman was intentionally being racist in the situation, because I know I've used the "lynch" term on more than one occasion, in completely innocent situations. Yes, I do think it was unfortunate that she chose to use the word with regard to an African-American. But, I don't think that she was up there with Nick Faldo, chatting amiably, and then suddenly thought, "Oh, I know. Tiger is black, and black people used to be lynched just for being black, so I'll use that word instead of saying 'shot' or 'beaten.'"

Sharpton is somewhat correct when he says that the word "lynch" is a specific racial term, but I think it's gotten away from that in the years since the act itself stopped happening so frequently. I think it was a specific racial term, but it really is no longer. It's still not widely used in conversation, but when a person, black or white, uses it in the context in which Tilghman used it, I think you have to give her the benefit of the doubt. I don't think Sharpton was correct when he compared what she said to someone calling for a woman to be raped or a Jewish-American to be sent to a gas chamber. Those two things are not quite as innocuous as the word "lynch," which can be used in conversation without meaning "I hate black people," whereas "rape" and "gas chamber" are pretty damn specific.

Tilghman was suspended for two weeks, and the press keeps trying to get
Tiger to say something against her, but he won't. Woods has said in
statements that he is friends with Tilghman and also, "We know
unequivocally that there was no ill intent in her comments." So, Woods
gets it. Why can't Sharpton and the rest of the detractors back off?

Yes, Tilghman probably could have chosen a different word (though I wonder, if she had said "shot" or "beaten", don't you think there's a chance she would still be called racist, simply because she is white, Woods is black and she was advocating violence against him?) but I really don't think she intended any harm. She was simply trying to make a joke about how Woods is unbeatable, and it landed badly (so, if you think about it, this was a very nice compliment). Woods seemed to understand this, even with other prominent African-Americans calling for him to take a stand on the issue. I really can't believe that this is the issue about which they would want him to suddenly get political.

There are thousands of examples of racism out there every single day. It seems to me that the way to make sure your message against that sort of stupidity gets across is to pick your battles. Don't go crying wolf every time something happens that has the appearance of racism. Don Imus? Racist. Kelly Tilghman? Just a poor choice of words. I wish we could all see the disparity between "nappy-headed hos" and "lynch" because there is a world of difference there.

Both these cases involve women, but I'm loathe to jump to the conclusion that it's because they're women that they're receiving all this press. Perhaps that's the case in the Jacobson situation, but since it involves Donohue, it's hard to say. I'm sure he is sexist, but I don't know if that's what he was going for here. It might have gotten more press because women are supposedly more demure and less likely to curse like sailors (I guess I'm the exception to the rule), but that's about it. I think the Tilghman case is all about the racism, and probably would have had the same outcome if Nick Faldo had said it instead of her.

I don't know, though. Maybe I've just been programmed to believe that sexism doesn't happen nearly as often as I think and most men really believe women are equal, and all that. I could just be wary of playing the sexism card because it seems that when female writers do that, they are automatically taken less seriously. What do you think?


AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 01/25/2008 02:17:47 PM

Thanks for addressing those instances.

Do you think their suspensions/penalties would have been different had a male counterpart did it?

DATE: 01/25/2008 02:26:55 PM

It's so hard to tell in these situations, especially since the most recent big uproar over what someone said on television was over a statement from a male (Don Imus). There's a chance that outlets like ESPN and the Golf Channel are just sensitive to any such incident, thanks to the Imus situation, among others, and that it wouldn't matter who said it, male or female.

But, at least in the Jacobson case, I tend to lean toward the opinion that, had a man said it, it wouldn't have been reported as fervently, because it would have been shrugged off as "boys being boys." A woman saying something like that is unusual (or at least perceived to be unusual), so it causes more controversy.

In both these cases, though, I think the specific networks had to do what they did to get people to shut up, and they probably would have had to do the same thing if men said them. So the issue is whether or not people would have reacted so crazily if a man had said either of these two things.

If you're inclined to believe this got more attention because it was women, then I guess you have to say that men wouldn't have received such harsh penalties because the press wouldn't have been so constant and severe.

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 01/25/2008 03:05:13 PM

I think that if Ditka would have walked up to the podium and did the same thing then no one would have thought twice about it.

DATE: 01/25/2008 04:16:44 PM

I definitely agree that ESPN would have felt less inclined to apologize, and the press probably would have been minimal because it's somewhat expected of someone like Ditka, so maybe Bill Donohue would never have heard about it. But, if he had, I wonder if his reaction would have been the same.

And what about the Kelly Tilghman thing? If it had been Nick Faldo (who was with her that day) who had said it, would things have been handled differently? That one is a little tougher, I think.

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 01/25/2008 06:11:27 PM

I will say a few things as a social scientist and a historian.

1. F**K Bill Donohue. he is using Catholicism as a bully pulpit with which to aggressively attack people and win approval from a narrow and particular subset of people. He does it for money.

2. I am no fan of the Roman Catholic church. We are Americans. We should know a king when we see one and, by golly, i see a Pope and I smell a king. The church isn't now as they once were, but I am a historian, it takes a long time to forget the past.

I just read your last post and now believe you to be some sort of deity. Goddess might be a strong word, but definitely divine in some godforsaken west coast sort of way. Keep up the good work and try to tow as many cars as possible, pictures of the car being towed would be appreciated.

AUTHOR: mcbias
DATE: 01/26/2008 08:07:19 PM

I'm going to disagree on Kelly. Yes, it was just a slip of the tongue, but it showed something seriously wrong with her thinking. Why lynch? Why not something else like beat or hurt, which would have been fine? I wrote about it myself here (Sorry for the self promotion): as to why I feel that it was worse than just a slip of the tongue.

DATE: 01/26/2008 10:04:51 PM

Hey, I'm all for self promotion.

I'm only giving Tilghman a break because I know that I have used the word "lynch" in conversation at some point in my life. And I know that the idea of race was never a part of it. I really, truly think that she could have said it about any player (if, say, Mickelson was winning a lot of tournaments). And I know, as a white woman like Tilghman, that I don't necessarily always think of the word in its historical context. Maybe that's ignorant of me, or maybe it's progressive. It's a fine line. But I can't even believe that she would think of it in its racial context, even subconsciously. Maybe I'm wrong, and comparing myself to her is unjustified because she is a closet racist. But based on what I've heard, I just can't believe it.

But all opinions are always welcome here at Beantown West.

DATE: 01/26/2008 10:08:07 PM

Oh, and Bruce, I appreciate the worship, especially because it's just the sort of thing that might piss off Donohue ("no other gods before me" and all that, you know), if I could just get him to read the blog.

AUTHOR: Smeghead52
DATE: 01/30/2008 06:58:12 PM
The lynching comment was unappropriate but I fault the Golf Channel's editors. Isn't all that stuff pre recorded? Didn't it occurr to someone at the Golf Channel you might have a problem with this? Or is the Golf Channel the whitest spot on the Sports TV dial?

Anywho I was watching the golf channel and Nick Faldo was doing a segment where he compared himself to superman for climbing a hill at a Hawaiian golf club. "Except I don't wear my y-fronts (British slang for men's briefs) on the outside.

The this female reporter asked Faldo, "Are you wearing your Y fronts today." Which totally shocked Faldo. She was trying to be cute and failed. Thats like asking someone if they're wearing underwear--which is how Faldo took it--on tv.
I wonder if it was the same woman?

Anywho SI is supposedly going to have a cover shot of Tiger as Jesus and Jack Nicholson as a disciple and Fuzzy Zoeller as Judas in a pose like the last supper. They're going to use look a likes. I don't know if this is in bad taste or not.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


This time of year is killing me. I like watching the Spurs play basketball, but I don't really possess the ability to write about that subject as well as I would like to (though I will say that it was awesome watching them destroy the Lakers last night, especially on national television). I hate the baseball off-season because it's just a lot of rumors and speculation, most of which leads to nothing (Johan Santana, anyone?).

Yes, Don Mattingly will not be the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, due to some unspecified familial obligations. That's sort of big news, I guess. But that's it. Other than that tidbit, I could write post after post about whether or not Juan Pierre is automatically a starting outfielder for the Dodgers this season, or how awesome it is that Josh Beckett is a season ticket holder for the San Antonio Spurs.

But those things require nothing more than writing one sentence about them (like I just did). Anything more is absolutely boring, and the last thing I want to do is bore my readers anymore than I already do. So, because of an incident that just occurred on my way home from the post office, I'm going to go off-topic a little bit here, and follow in the footsteps of Jack Cobra's "Society Report Card." The subject? Drivers in Los Angeles.

I'm going to spend two or three posts on this subject, so be warned.


I live on a very narrow street, and right in front of my house cars often have to slow down and move over as much as possible in order for both of them to fit side by side. Now, this is a residential neighborhood, which means that the speed limit, unless otherwise posted, is 25 miles per hour. I would say the average person driving down my street goes about 40. Some manage to get up to 60 or 70 (no joke). The reason is that my street is one of the few that has no speed bumps, and so people use it to cut from Beverly Boulevard to Melrose Avenue (this means nothing to most of my readers, I'm sure, but I'm sure you can guess that those are two main streets here). My street also happens to be one of the borders between West Hollywood and Los Angeles (I live on the L.A. side). This means we can't get speed bumps because neither city is willing to be the one to pay for them. And so people drive fast, without regard for pets, children, or people in parked cars trying to get out of those parked cars. And that's just the beginning of our problems here.

Right in front of my apartment building, there is a fire hydrant. A few years ago, there was a fire in the building next to mine. Some rich lady had parked her Mercedes in front of the fire hydrant, and the firefighters had to break her two front windows in order to get access to the hydrant. The lady then sued the city. I have no idea what came of that, but what kind of nerve must you have to illegally park and then sue the city when they do what's necessary to fight a frickin' fire?

At the end of my street is a restaurant owned by Ashton Kutcher, which is called Dolce. I hate this restaurant with an unending fiery passion. I've never been inside, except for the time when someone hit a fire hydrant out in front of it and flooded the place, and we walked in to see the damage and laugh. But I've never eaten there. No matter, I still hate it. People who go there park all up and down my street every night. Workers at the restaurant also park on my street. They do this because my street is one of the few that allows anyone to park on it at night. No parking permits needed because of the L.A./WeHo issue I mentioned above. And so an already crowded parking situation becomes that much worse, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights, when residents on the street have been known to circle for up to an hour, only to find a place to park three blocks over. And this isn't even taking into account the stretch Hummer limos that sit, parked illegally in front of our building, with the engine running, hours at a time, waiting for their clients to leave the hideous restaurant.

Some of these people, when they can't find parking, decide it won't do any harm to park in front of the hydrant. But, they really don't know what they're dealing with when they try that nonsense, because every single time I see a car parked in front of the hydrant, I call parking enforcement. At least three cars have been towed as a result of this, and when we hear the tow truck, we go outside to watch the car get hauled away. That, my friends, is the definition of pure, unadulterated joy, let me tell you.

But the situation is not just limited to speeding and illegal parking. While driving home from the post office today, I was being tailgated by a guy who did not appreciate my desire to remain at the speed limit in a residential neighborhood (my own). I pulled up to a stop sign very near my home, as another car was pulling up to his stop sign on my left. Before I knew it, the car behind me had pulled around me, passed me on the left, and continued straight on through the intersection. I didn't even know it had happened until he was already in front of me. I completed my stop and kept driving. For that dangerous move, and the outrageous speeding that followed, the guy ended up at the next stop sign two seconds before me, because he had to wait and (shockingly) give the right of way to another car. Must have been worth it for him, right? If I had been turning left at my stop sign, there would have been an accident. I mean, really, I shouldn't even have to justify why this pissed me off so badly, because it was so obviously a douchebag move and I can see no way in which this asshole would think he was the correct one.

The issue at hand is that drivers in Los Angeles seem to possess an extreme sense of
entitlement every time they step into their cars (or perhaps all through the day, but I only see them in their cars, so I can't be sure). No matter what you're doing or where you're going, what they're doing or where they're going is one thousand times more important, and they are therefore right in their desire to get to wherever it is in the fastest possible way.

Who raised these people? In what warped world do they live where they think this sort of behavior is in any way acceptable? I know these types of people don't only exist in Los Angeles, but I'm willing to bet there's a higher concentration of them here. Don't I feel blessed.

Next up...DRIVING GRIEVANCE #2: WHY ARE YOU SUCH A JACKASS? in which I address the general problems with driving on freeways and surface streets in Los Angeles, and also set forth a theory or two as to why these people feel so damn entitled.


AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 01/25/2008 10:24:56 AM

I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts on the whole Dana Jacobson mess and the stuff going on with the female PGA announcer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Spring Break

First of all, I have to give you my own opinions on spring training in general. To be honest, I've never really been interested in it. Maybe I'm ararity among baseball fans, I don't know, but it's boring to me. Pre-season for any sport is boring, honestly. Call me when the games count, and I'm there. Otherwise, spring training is just a convenient way to provide me with a countdown calendar to opening day. My grandparents used to be Cubs' spring training season ticket holders, back when they (my grandparents) used to spend their winters in Arizona. I never went with them to a game, but they had fun. I suppose back when Florida and Arizona didn't have their own teams, seeing a professional baseball team play in inconsequential games was probably more of a novelty than it is today.

My other problem with spring training, at least in terms of the Dodgers, is that going to another location to do it doesn't really make any sense, especially considering that the team hasn't played in a northern state in 50 years. For some teams, there's a practical reason for heading south. The guys need a warmer location to work out prior to a season, since many teams play in areas that are traditionally cold for the winter months. Florida and Arizona are not very cold February-March, so there you go.

But, I'll tell you what--Los Angeles is pretty warm February-March also. In fact, here we are in mid-January, and the high for the next ten days is supposed to be in the upper 60s. That's nice workout weather, especially because it's a sunny 68-70. That means, unfortunately for the residents, very little rain. The point is, it doesn't really make sense for teams that live and play in southern California (Dodgers, Padres, Angels) to go anywhere else to train.

Spring training is obviously based on tradition more than anything else. But, again in terms of the Dodgers, they're forgetting tradition after this season and moving to what is presumably a more convenient location in Arizona. The Dodgers have spent 61 seasons in Vero Beach, Florida, but have finally decided that Arizona's siren song is too tempting to pass up. Maybe the Dodger organization is foregoing tradition for pragmatism (Phoenix is closer to Los Angeles, where many players and coaches must have homes), but if that were the case, I'd think they'd just do the spring training in Los Angeles, where all the fans who live here can see the games, and all the players who make homes in the area wouldn't have very far to travel. Maybe they just figure that, since Phoenix is closer to California than Florida is, the fans are getting a sweet deal. I'd have to say, though, that I'm most inclined to believe that this is somehow all about the money.

As for the Red Sox, I can't find anything about it being their last season in Fort Myers. Smeghead52, if you have a link to something about that, let me know, and I'll look into it.

Meanwhile, the countdown begins on Valentine's Day this year, when pitchers and catchers report. Only 28 days to go. 68 days until the Red Sox opener in Japan (after which they will come to Los Angeles and play three exhibition games against the Dodgers before starting the real season, which is weird) and 75 days until the Dodgers open the season at home against the Giants.


AUTHOR: Smeghead52
DATE: 01/23/2008 12:25:52 AM

It's just that Vero Beach and Dodgertown were a part of the Dodgers identity--long before the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles.

If I lived in the Southland I don't think spring training would be a big deal either--just like daylight savings time.

What makes spring training cool for me is that it signifies the ending of winter and the hope of spring.

Players on the active Dodger roster may not need spring training but it does provide an avenue for unsigned players looking for a shot.

Though I guess you could make those same arguments for Venezuelan, Puerto Rican and Dominican winter leagues. Which I wish we could watch. Anywho Erin I digress.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know it is January 2, 2008, and I haven't posted since December 19, 2007. Sorry about that. To be honest, I barely looked at my computer during my vacation, other than to upload photos that I took (about 400 of them, which is just crazy).

You may have noticed the site's new name is officially up and running. When you type in "Blue Thoughts" you will be redirected to "Beantown West," but I encourage you to change your bookmark anyway. How else will I become a household name? Anyway, I hope you like the new name. Texas Gal has given her stamp of approval, so I feel pretty good about that.

I spent some time in Idaho over the holidays, then back to Seattle for the New Year, before flying home to Los Angeles early on New Year's Day. I'm happy to say that I made it through both my flights this holiday season with a minimum of panic.

The drive to Idaho was uneventful, but on the way back, we had to deal with weather like this:

But, we made it back to Seattle, where I just spent some time with the family and girlfriend, seeing a couple of movies and just hanging out. No big party on New Year's Eve, but it was fun nonetheless.

Oh, and if you're ever in Caldwell, Idaho, visit Pennywise Drugs, which is owned by my family. Walgreens and Rite-Aid have been stealing business for a few years now, and things don't look great for the store. But it's a good place with friendly people, so consider stopping by. Here's what you're looking for:

I know you've been dying for some fantasy updates from me, so here you go...

Basketball-- I'm currently in second place overall in the league, sitting 3.5 games behind Depressed Fan. I've had a few injuries to some key players, but nothing major enough to drop those players. Hopefully I'll be getting back on track this week. My opponent is SML, and I am 2-2-1 in the five categories so far. The rest of the week should be interesting.

Football-- My fantasy teams that involve actual players are not even worth mentioning, and I haven't looked at them in weeks. But, I was really excited about my "pick 'em" pool, started by TUP. I was in the lead going into the final week, but just barely. Look how it ended up:

Some picture here indicated that I missed winning by five points.

Five freakin' points! Devastating. Still, though, I have to be a little impressed with myself for even doing that well. I certainly didn't expect to be able to make that many correct picks.

Nothing to report from my two teams in Boston and Los Angeles. Things are pretty quiet, as the Dodgers continue to stay they'll be sticking with the youth movement, though there is always a chance that Ethier or Pierre (please, god, let it be Pierre) could be used in a trade. The Dodgers would be smart to get rid of Pierre, but no other team should be stupid enough to trade for him, so the front office is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The Red Sox have been quiet since failing to get Santana (so far). I don't know that I would expect any big moves from them. The key parts of the 2007 championship team will be back in 2008, and you can't ask for more than that.

I might be spending the first four of five months of this year in Chicago, so there's a chance you'll get reports on my first visits to Wrigley Field and wherever the hell the White Sox play. More on that later this month.

Oh, and I've given up soda and ice cream for two months (that's the most I thought I could handle). I hope it won't be too much of a struggle. I don't drink a lot of soda normally anyway, but ice cream is a definite vice. This resolution, combined with my workouts at the gym, should lead to some nice results (and since my ten-year high school reunion is this summer, I have some extra motivation). I'll keep you updated on that as well.

Other than the name change, I wouldn't expect too many other changes around here in 2008. I'll still be covering the Red Sox and Dodgers, occasionally the Spurs, and any other issue in the sports and/or political world that I feel like talking about. 2007 was a lot of fun, and I hope you'll all keep coming back for more this year.


AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 01/02/2008 02:20:48 PM

A ban on ice cream for two months? Ouch. Whenever my girlfriend and I are together we tend to make a lot of dinners for each other (we are trying to learn) and it always ends with some ice cream (Mint Choc Chip for me and Cookie Dough for her) we picked up at the store.....that would be sorely missed. Good luck!