Curveball
  Curveball  

"Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense."
- Mark Twain

"Anyone who combines politics and baseball is an idiot, because everyone knows that ping-pong is the greatest sport. Oh, and I'm really a Communist who hates NASCAR and listens to Joan Baez in the dark.
-- Glenn Reynolds

About the author
Andre Vladimir Sebastian is a figment of your imagination. Honestly, you really could have done better than him, now couldn't you? Next time, put a little effort into it.

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UN Rewrites Dictionary
A little-known outfit called Health Unlimited, along with a bizarrely named university called the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, have released a report to mark something called the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. If you read that and thought, this has to be some kooky United Nations scheme to make the West look bad, you're right!

The report claims that big, greedy Western governments are doing too little to feed, clothe, shelter, and medicate the world's "indigenous" peoples. In other words, the West isn't being a good mommy.

What, you may wonder, is an "indigenous" person. Webster's define's indigenous just as you would think Webster's would. It means, "having originated in and being produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment." This clearly isn't political enough for the United Nations, which has redefined indigenous to mean, to use the words of the BBC, "descendants of those who inhabited land which was then taken over by people from a different ethnic origin."

This is an interesting definition. It could mean one of two things. Either it encompases only those people who are currenty living under the occupation of another ethnicity, or it encompases those who at any time lived under such an occupation.

If the definition is the former, then northern Europeans are no longer "indigenous" to Europe because they -- through luck, pluck, or skill -- wound up eventually defeating their invaders. Japanese are not indigenous to Japan, Chinese to China, Egyptians to Egypt, Arabs to Arabia, etc.

If the definition is the latter, then virtually all the world's peoples are indiginous because there's hardly a spot on the globe that hasn't been conquered and occupied by another tribe, race, or ethnicity.

In short, either the definition is absurd, or it's useless. Hey, come to think of it, so is the UN!

  posted by AVS @ 9.8.03


9.8.03  

 
Geeeeely
Ben Kepple has the best review I've seen yet of the atrocity that is called Gigli.

What I find amazing about this movie is that its mere existence proves that Hollywood has yet to learn the lesson of Ishtar (1987). Or Rock Star (2001). And that is, stars do not a successful movie make. People will not flock to the theater solely to see a pretty or handsome face which happens to have been in a successful movie in the past. The world is full of pretty and handsome faces. What people want from cinema is what they've always wanted from the theater: a good story. A good story without celebrities trumps a bad story with celebrities every time. Any casual observer of Hollywood knows this. So why do the executives who run Tinsel Town remain so clueless?

  posted by AVS @ 8.8.03


8.8.03  

 
Bud Selig Started The Iraq War
In his memoirs, Fay Vincent, the former baseball commissioner, recounted how much the Texas Rangers' owner of a decade ago wanted that job for himself. It was only after George W. Bush finally realized that Bud Selig was simply not going to step down as the perpetual "interim" commissioner that Bush finally agreed to enter politics and the Texas gubernatorial race.

Thus begins Frank DeFord's latest column, in which he argues that Bush would have been equally as powerless as Selig at correcting the imbalance in Major League Baseball.

One's first thought when reading this column is, MY GOD! Thank Jehova that His Nothingness Bud Selig remained commissioner of baseball all these years. As worthless as Selig's tenure has been, it's far better than the alternative. John McCain as president. Ugh. Bush's domestic policy is a joke, but McCain's would've been worse. Or Gore's. Take your pick, Bush is better.

One's second thought is, Frank DeFord is an excellent sportswriter, but he doesn't understand why there is an imbalance of power and wealth in Major League Baseball. It's not just that the Yankees are in New York City and therefore have the largest market. It's that MLB is a cabal of monopolies and Kansas City is every bit as guilty as the Yankees of maintaining the status quo. Were MLB subject to anti-trust legislation, and were each team not alloted territory within which no competition is allowed, there would be no imbalance of power because other teams would encroach upon the Yankees' and Dodgers' markets and steal their fans. Who would take the train to the Bronx on a Friday night if there were a team next door? The small-market teams are complicit in keeping the Yankees powerful because the same monopoly status that is granted to the Yanks is granted to them as well.


  posted by AVS @ 7.8.03


7.8.03  

 
Gore Digs His Political Grave
Al Gore of all people -- Al Gore! -- slams the president for lying and selling out the White House to special interests. Priceless. Besides, nothing he says in this speech is true.

What Gore's NYU speech demonstrated with perfect clarity was this: Had Gore been the winner in 2000 instead of Bush, Saddam Hussein would still be in power, 24 million Iraqis would still be enslaved, the families of Palestinian suicide bombers would still be getting paid $20,000 or whatever Saddam paid them for sending their loved ones to blow up Israelis, United States foreign policy would be dictated by Kofi Anan, Jacques Chirac, and Gerhard Schroeder, there would have been no tax cuts, we'd all be subject to the strictures of the Kyoto protocol, and we'd have had to listen to the preening, lecturing, know-it-all snideness that is Al Gore every day for the past two and a half years.

Another certainty revealed in the speech: Al Gore is even kookier than Howard Dean. In fact, he's nearly as nutty as Dennis Kucinich. He really believes Bush invented a host of false justifications to invade Iraq for some sinister political motives.

The only good to come of this speech is that it innoculates Gore against electoral victory. There is no way he will win the presidency after having given that speech.

  posted by AVS @ 7.8.03



 
Gary Coleman Is In
The California governor's race keeps getting better. Gary Coleman is running. He told CNN, honestly:


I thought (the recall) was a joke. They thought it was a joke. And I thought, hey, why not. I'm probably the least qualified for the job, but I'll have some great people around me.

Suggested campaign slogan: It takes a small man to tackle this state's big problems.

  posted by AVS @ 6.8.03


6.8.03  

 
Ahnold's In
Please, please, please let the California governor's race come down to Arnold vs. Larry Flynt! What could possibly say "California" better than a governor's race between an action movie star and a pornographer?

In case you hadn't seen this, Flynt has been sued by a former employee for creating -- get ready for this -- creating a hostile working environment for women. No, Larry, say it ain't so!

As my wife said, if you're a woman and you're working for Hustler magazine, how can you not expect a hostile working environment? It's by definition a hostile working environment.



  posted by AVS @ 6.8.03



 
Straight Eye For The Nice Thigh
In a post about the incredibly slow news day yesterday, Sheila O'Malley links to this Reuters photo of a Uraguayan beach volleyball player, who is -- how do you say in English? -- Hot. The picture is interesting because it's an entirely gratiutous shot of this shapely woman's ass. And legs. That's it. She is not in action. She's not making a dive for the ball or leaping for a spectacular spike. She's just standing there, slightly bent over, her fineness on display for the world.

Before I even glanced at the photo credit I knew what I was going to see. Oh, I had no clue who the photographer was. But I was absolutely certain the shutterbug was a he and not a she. Sure enough. Photo by Jose Miguel Gomez.

About a decade ago (geeze, I can't believe it's been that long) I worked as a newspaper photographer. Photography then, as now, was an almost entirely male field. And one thing I started to notice when covering an event at which there were hordes of other photographers (always no more than a handful of women in the group) is that we guys would take pictures of things no self-respecting woman would point her lens toward. Like bent-over female volleyball players.

Sports events were the most revealing. At men's games, during breaks in play, half the photogs would be scanning the crowd looking for a good fan shot. At least, that was the excuse. Most of the time the telephoto lenses would stop on the hottest babe in the crowd and linger for a while. Or on the cheerleaders. At women's games, each single photograhper (I rarely noticed the married guys doing this) had his favorite player, meaning the one he thought was cutest. A friend of mine had a thing for a field hockey player. I liked this little blonde bench warmer on a women's soccer team. She almost never got in the game, but by the end of the season I must've had a dozen pics of her.

Lest you think I'm exaggerating, watch a major league baseball game for 15 minutes. I guarantee that when the cameras cut to a crowd shot, 8 times out of ten they'll stop on an attractive woman. I pointed this out to my wife last season, and now every time she sits on the couch with me during a ballgame, which isn't often, she'll inevitably say, "male cameraman" as some hottie in a tight top, often licking an ice cream, pops up on the screen.

Newspaper feature photos will almost always be pictures of children or women. Especially in the summer, when women show more of their bodies. Just out of curiosity I did a search on Yahoo photos for "heat" to get pics of the big heatwave, and I came up with dozens of pics of children, half a dozen of women in skimpy clothing, and only one of a man with his shirt off. Were most photographers women, those numbers would be different.

Here are a few examples from today's wire photos:

Diver

Beach

Fountain

Dog Water

I don't fault male photographers for this. Nor do I think it is sexist, unfair, or some sign that society is holding women down. It simply is. I only point it out so that next time you see a pic like the one of the Uraguayan volleyball player, you can sound like my wife when you mutter, "stupid male photographers."









  posted by AVS @ 6.8.03



 
Contribute Or Get The Boot
Public housing residents are now required to perform eight hours of community service each month, or they will be evicted. There are exemptions for age, disability, people with full-time jobs, etc. The requirement was passed in '98, but not enforced until now. I think this'll be a positive move for public housing projects. Those who won't contribute will leave. In fact, this may already be happening, and the rule has been in effect for only a week. Said one public housing resident:

"That's crazy. I'm not leaving my kids. Who can you trust to leave your kids with? I'd rather leave here and get me another apartment."

Fine. See ya.




  posted by AVS @ 4.8.03


4.8.03  
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