The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

CHURCH AND STATE: This past week, in a shocking display of contempt for the ordinary decencies of political life, avatars of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman assassinated the deputy mayor of Dehlhi, India, accomplishing this dastardly and altogether not terribly numinous act by shoving the unfortunate pol off of his own balcony. While all right thinking people should deplore this act of divine lese—majeste; I think we can all agree that the principle of the separation of church and state cannot withstand this sort of divine intervention on a regular basis; the larger question of whether or not Hindu deities ought to play any role at all in this nation’s political life has gone largely unexamined.

In dealing with the intersection of religious faith and the body politic, most Americans still favor making the right on red and then praying no one is coming, as well as shoring up Thomas Jefferson’s wall of separation between the two so that it survives the occasional attempt by committed theological crash test dummies to plow right through that wall and into the City of God. This is as it should be, even if the insurance company won’t cover the damage to the car since you smashed into the wall on purpose. The church deals with issues of morals and faith, whereas the state deals with the more mundane matters of governance, and hopefully never the twain shall meet, unless the pols decide to suck up to one or another special interest group and then everyone’s umbrage starts umbraging all over the carpet without a tourniquet anywhere in sight. However, the principle of church—state separation is stood on its head if the state no longer has to deal with the church as middleman, but with the deity directly; traditionally, church—state relations are a strictly retail relationship. There is no constitutional basis in this country for dealing with the Divine on a wholesale basis.

Now, every so often you get the occasional preacher asking the Lord smite some politician hip and thew for his presumption about one thing or another; this will always make the TV news and send the liberal pundits into a tizzy about how the country is going to hell in a hand-basket, not that they actually believe in hell, you understand, but break out the smelling salts anyway, I feel the vapors coming on, and sends the reporters, most of whom have forgotten what little they ever knew about the Bible, scrambling for their dictionaries to find out what the hell a thew is, followed by a quick check with legal to find out whether the Lord can actually smite a thew in the United States without someone suing Him (He can, except in Vermont, Alaska, and for some reason, American Samoa—don’t ask me why, I just work here), but the furor usually doesn’t last very long. The Almighty, as Mr. Lincoln reminded us in his Second Inaugural, has His own purposes, and most of the time those purposes do not include smiting hips and thews on behalf of people whose hair has not moved one fraction of an inch since the Ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.

The large number of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, however, has changed the theological balance of power in this country. Where once the politicians could rely on the Lord to stay out of political matters, there is no such constriction on any of the Hindu pantheon. Given the monkey god’s recent direct intervention in Indian municipal politics, can we here in this country expect that he will choose not to involve himself in American politics as well? And if he chooses to involve himself, what will prevent other Hindu deities from trying to influence the course of American political life? It is difficult at best to see how the Republicans can go on using the elephant as their party’s symbol in the face of Democratic complaints that the elephant is a blatant Republican attempt to recruit followers of the elephant god Ganesha into the Grand Old Party. It is also difficult to gauge what the reaction of many Americans would be should Ganesha, in a spirit of elephantine solidarity, choose to have something very large and heavy other than the Clintons’ collective ego fall on the Democratic presidential candidates before the New Hampshire primary.

I think, therefore, that no matter how laudable divine intervention in the political process is in the abstract, in the practical everyday world of practical politics it is not very desirable, especially if the body politic must deal with a politically active pantheon of divine beings. Most Americans, being monotheists, are just not up to the constant demands of keeping track of who is up and who is down in the divine hierarchy, and there is no show like Divinity Tonight to tell them what is going on and to get the straight skinny on what is really going on with the gods these days. Politicians, already fearful of political retribution from billionaire leftists and Internet netroot moonbats, will do even less, if such a thing is possible, if they face divine retribution for their various malfeasances and peculations, which will leave the average citizen in the grip of a divine bureaucracy, each one demanding its own special form of tribute in order to work at all, and the entire political process, if not life itself, bogs down while waiting in line at the cosmic department of motor vehicles. It is enough to drive you to atheism, if you hadn’t already smashed your car into the wall of church—state separation. That’ll teach you not to do that again, won’t it?

Labels: , , ,


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


[cut to camera 3; sportscaster turns to face camera]

…and finally in high school sports tonight, our happy little burg’s varsity Goth team met the league champion Visigoths in the school cafeteria for a pentathlon whinefest. Events included the 100 meter angst, the black makeup hurdles to a getting a job flipping burgers, and the forty kilometer stay in your room with the noise playing so loud the neighbor’s cat can’t hear himself think while writing incredibly bad poetry about what awful snots your totally out of it parents are. The home team held its own until the fourth quarter, when the Visigoths stapled their eyelids shut while piercing their tongues with a white hot fork, which gave them the lead. They were able to hang on to the lead, despite a lackadaisical effort by the home Goths, until the clock ran out the door with the homecoming queen and win, 35-32. Afterwards, the band ritually slaughtered ‘God Bless America’ while the Austrogoths, the team of exchange Goths from Down Under put a mess of shrimp on the barbies for the fans. The two teams did not have any shrimp, preferring to go to their rooms to sulk for a while. And that’s sports. Brian, back to you.

Anchorman: Thanks, Charlie. There any chance of the home Goths going to the championships this year?

Sportscaster: I don’t think so, Brian, but my sources in the high school’s athletic program tell me that there’s a couple of real slackers on the junior varsity who can bitch, moan, and whine like nobody’s business. The coaches don’t expect much from them one way or the other, so there’s a lot of hope for next year.

Anchorman [gives that little insincere chuckle that tells you he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about a bunch of moronic pimply-faced teenagers who like to wear weird clothes; this two-bit tank town is just one more ticket to punch on his way up to the network.] : Well, wait’ll next year it is, then. Thanks, Charlie. [turns to Camera 1] A new action thriller opened at the Cineplex today, the much-awaited sequel to The Roach Ultimatum, and here is Todd Talbot with his review. Todd?

[cut to film critic, a man clearly driven out of his mind by the vast amounts of inane drivel he has to watch every year. This should come as no surprise to anyone, since motion pictures in our day and age are made for adolescents and therefore reflect an adolescent sensibility, if you can call adolescents sensible in any meaningful way and that’s always a debatable point, a sensibility formed by the vast amounts of inane drivel they watch on their televisions and their computers all day long, which accustoms them to the practice of spending large amounts of their parents’ money on inane drivel in movie theaters as well. You’d think they’d catch on to the fact that what they’re watching is little more than cinematic slop, but they don’t, what with their critical faculties dulled by years of modern education, and why should the producers spend money making a real motion picture with a real plot and real production values when car chases, massive explosions in Dolby surround sound stereo, and nubile young women wearing or not wearing, as the case may be, the minimum amount of clothing necessary to keep this dog from getting an NC-17 rating will cover any plot hole you’d care to think of?]

Film critic: Thanks, Brian. Yes, today marks the premiere of The Roach Supremacy, the much anticipated sequel to The Roach Ultimatum, and if you loved that film you will certainly love this one as well since the producers evidently decided that the last one was so successful, they ought to remake it, and so they did—there is basically no difference between this film and the previous Roach film except for the cities the producers used as background. The Roach Ultimatum was set in Vienna, London, and Prague; The Roach Supremacy is set in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Jakarta. At least, the producers say they filmed in Jakarta—the longer I watched this movie the more I kept thinking that the Jakarta portion of the film was really the 1982 Mel Gibson film, The Year of Living Dangerously, with the new crop of actors digitally inserted. Hey, I’m all for Hollywood saving a buck or two here and there, but there is such a thing as overdoing it.

As for the plot, you have to ask: why bother? Tom Blattidae stars once again as Roach, the amnesiac insect secret agent who knows more ways to kill you than you know how to die but can’t remember his real name or where he left his car keys last night. I don’t know why Tom Blattidae chose to come back for the sequel and in a way, he didn’t; as far as I can tell, he phoned this performance in from whatever hole in the wall he's hiding from the paparazzi in this week. The movie begins with Roach trapped once again in a seedy roach motel, and is there any other kind of roach motel in these bug genre movies, fighting off a small army of Japanese assassin bugs who want to kill him. Why? They don’t know, and neither does Roach, and neither do I, and I stayed to the end of the film, unlike most of the audience, which decamped about halfway through this clunker to the auditorium next door to check out the newest remake of Pride and Prejudice starring Olive Oyl as Elizabeth Bennett and Popeye the Sailorman as Mr. Darcy.

The plot, such as it is, revolves around a super-secret CIA elimination squad and their attempts to kill Roach, whom they regard as a rogue bug. In a film dedicated to the scarcely believable, the rapper Mosca Def plays Phly, the head of this super secret detail, who for reasons best known to himself is rarely seen without a rolled-up newspaper in one hand just waiting for an opportunity to hit something with it. Why is he doing this? It’s a mystery to me and it will be to you too, but apparently Roach is having bad dreams about his secret agent training in Poughkeepsie, of all places, and the CIA doesn’t want him to put two and two together. There’s not much chance of that happening in this stunningly bad film, which involves Roach skittering pointlessly across half a dozen impossibly clean floors while trying to stay one step ahead of the assassin bugs and the praying mantises—there is a subplot involving the Vatican, which, someone should point out to the producers of this film, is located in Rome and has been for centuries, and not in Hong Kong or anywhere near Hong Kong—and saving the world from a suicide bombardier beetle with a thermonuclear device surgically implanted in its body. Don’t ask, it’s better if you don’t know the gruesome details.

The film has all the usual distractions to keep the audience from thinking about the plot too much and there is even Vanessa Cardui reprising her role as Roach’s hooker with a heart of gold girlfriend, but she gets killed in the first half hour of the film; I suspect that Miss Cardui, a lovely and talented actress with a bright future in Hollywood, read the second thirty pages of the script while on the set and decided to get out of this bomb with her career intact while she still had time. Tom Blattidae apparently didn’t have that option in his contract; he had to stay for the whole thing and so did I, and I advise you not to bother. The Roach Supremacy? Not likely. Step on it a couple of times and make sure it’s dead. This is Todd Talbot. Brian?

[cut to anchorman]

Anchorman: So you didn’t like it, Todd?

Film critic: That may well be the understatement of the year, Brian.

[anchorman gives another phony chortle; turns to camera]

Anchorman: That’s the news for tonight. Stay tuned here for a special investigative report on the effects of steroids on zebra mussels; are your children at risk? For all of us here at the news desk, thank you for watching and good night.

[dramatic music swells like the anchorman’s ego after winning an Emmy. Fade to black. Commercial begins.]

Labels: , , , ,


Saturday, October 13, 2007

BEER AND FRANKENSTEIN'S RICE: Now you have to understand that this news means very little to me personally; beer might as well be Midol for all the use I make of the stuff; but I now that there are those among you who take an interest in such things so I figured you might want to know this. It appears that a well-known American brewing company, which shall remain nameless here because they haven’t paid for the advertising space, has started using genetically modified rice in the production of the insipid fluid this company palms off as lager beer on the complete unsuspecting American beer swilling public. When this news broke a few days ago, consternation swept the length and breadth of this our Great Republic and the hitherto inchoate voice of Joe Sixpack resounded clearly from sea to shining sea with the demand that this brewer cease and desist this loathsome practice immediately.

To emphasize their disgust, massed contingents of beer drinkers from New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago are even now descending on St. Louis by bus in order to picket the corporate headquarters of this zymurgical malefactor; contingents from Boston, Phoenix, and Cleveland will join the protest one by one as the baseball postseason progresses. Unlike the first three cities, beer drinkers in the latter three cities still have to perform, one that demands their complete attention for the next couple of weeks. But although they must wait to join the protest, these beer drinkers support the cause overwhelmingly. Few things in recent American history have so united the beer-drinking world as much as this, joining friends and enemies alike in a common bond. Clearly, if the North and the South can heal the division that tore them apart, if black and white can try to bridge the racial divide that has afflicted this nation for centuries, then the denizens of Yankee Land and the inhabitants of the Red Sox Nation can work together in peace and amity to further a magnificent cause, at least until Opening Day next year when we can drop the pretense and go back to hating those miserable little bastards with every fiber of our being.

And, naturally enough, in chaos there is opportunity. German and Belgian brewers are trying to cash in on this sudden revulsion with commercials highlighting the all-natural qualities of their beers and the really large breasts of the models they use to advertise it. I am sure all straight guys appreciate the sight of faux German beer garden blondes in incredibly low cut blouses on their television screens, especially the guys with high definition television, a wonderful device that opens vast new possibilities for the word jiggle, this constant harping on the all-natural quality of their beers is apt to be something of a turn-off for American men. For your average American, all-natural means something that your wife or mother wants you to consume because it is good for you or will help save the whales, who have never, if you don’t mind me saying so, done one goddam thing to save humanity ever. Did you ever hear of a whale offering to negotiate between rival sects of loony religious fanatics out to cut each other’s throats with a dull butter knife? I didn’t think so. All-natural means health food and for Joe Sixpack health food is something that unhealthy looking gray-haired hippies who haven’t figured out that the Sixties are gone for good eat while they go on and on about how this food is pure in its essence and won’t do anything to screw your karma up, unlike all the violence you’re stuffing into your face when you chow down on the hamburger that you really want for dinner.

And if this is the reaction corporate America can expect from ordinary beer-drinking people, the reaction of America’s youth to the possibilities of genetic modification will be positively cataclysmic, no doubt shaking Wall Street to its very foundations. What American child will ever eat a sugary breakfast cereal again after they discover that their usual breakfast candy is, in fact, genetically modified spinach, and that their dark and creamy chocolate milk is nothing more than asparagus run through the gene splicer a few times. Yes, indeed, the howls of fury from the hordes of deceived little brats over eating stuff that’s good for them will be loud and long, and heard from Wall Street to the very gates of hell itself.

I bring up the children—excuse me while I bite my lip in obligatory obeisance to the snarling little rats and their needs—because I paid my school taxes the other day. Paying your school taxes on a school day is almost always a mistake. The put upon taxpayer in such a situation cannot help but notice the discrepancy between what they are paying and the product that flows like so much proboscidean effluence in February out of the schoolhouse door and down the street at a quarter to three five days a week. I just shelled out three thousand dollars for the education of the children of our happy little burg, and I think I can say, without too much fear of contradiction, that I can flush my money down a rat hole better than the board of education can. I would probably enjoy it more, too—I wouldn’t mind buying myself a really expensive camera with that wad of cash—but this, I fear, is not to be. No, I have given them the money, making it possible for the board of education and their minions in the teachers’ union to better inculcate the slimy tenets of political correctness into their charges and pass off such indoctrination as education. I do not worry about this as much as some people seem to do, given that the broad mass of young people in the schools here in our happy little burg are no more educable than a quart of milk is, and therefore the constant pedagogical cramming of political correctness in all its nefarious forms into their thick skulls makes no more dent in their bovine consciousnesses than learning an actual subject would. It’s just that I would rather keep the money myself.

Still, you must feel some small iota of pity for these scholastic hostages. The only real way to guarantee that all children who want an education receive one is to institute a voucher system and then follow that up with the permanent end of compulsory education in this country. This will end the monopoly of the teachers’ unions and guarantee that the kids in the classrooms actually want to learn something. As for the hordes of young hooligans who will take to this opportunity to bail out of the education system forever, the state can sell nine to three hunting licenses for $2,000 apiece and a strictly enforced you shoot it, you eat it policy. This will help thin the herd of feral youths on the street looking for trouble at any given time and help finance the education of the children who remain in school. I have proposed this solution at a good many board of education meetings, but it has never really gone anywhere; I didn’t think it ever would, to be honest with you, bureaucratic intransigence to new ideas being what it is these days.

Labels: , , , , ,


Friday, October 12, 2007

SEX AND THE MODERN TEENAGER: Recently at a small social gathering in New York, a teenager asked a prominent American social philosopher what, in his opinion, was the major difference between adolescents and adults in their outlook towards life. The philosopher, a kindly man always willing to give the young the full benefit of his long years of study and reflection on a wide variety of subjects effecting life here in this our Great Republic, thought for a moment and then said that the major difference between the two groups was that teenagers obsess about sex, whereas adults obsess about money. There are always exceptions to the rule, of course; it is definitely possible, as recent history has shown, for adults to obsess about sex and money with equal intensity, but in the main, the sex/money dividing line holds up to all the rigors of statistical analysis.
We all know that adults obsess about money because they have to; bills do not pay themselves. Why then do teens obsess about sex? Everyone knows the conventional answers about hormones and growing up and all the other pat answers people would have us believe, but these reasons do not hold up under close scrutiny. The real reason, however, that adolescents obsess about sex is because they can. Your average American teenager lives in one of the very few socialist entities still extant: the nuclear family. This entity provides the teenager with clothing, food, shelter, medical care, transportation, and free laundry services with little or no monetary input from the teenager.

Indeed, many a teenager no longer sees these services as services that someone must pay for, but rather as rights that they are entitled to by virtue of their adolescence. In return for these benefits, the teenager whines, complains, refuses to clean up their room, listens to what passes for music amongst his or her cohort at an extremely high volume even when told to turn the noise down, and obsesses about sex, which they usually imagine to be a recreational activity without much biological consequence, like trying to get a tan or cracking a match near their bare backsides after having too much to drink and then passing gas. With all of their material needs met by their parents, the average American teenager can lay back and let the tidal surges of hormones drift over them unabated, allowing their minds to wander aimlessly through endless scenes of reproductive biology too baroque for any pornographer who wants to stay out of the slammer for a long time to re-enact.

This may also account for young people’s enduring fascination with socialism. A social system where all material needs are met, all social divisions are torn down, is just the sort of thing that would appeal to an idealistic teenager, the ideology combining all the benefits of adolescence, some of which are mentioned above, and few of the negative aspects i.e. the dreaded teenage pecking order. The problem with this system is, as adults know, that it doesn’t work, but that’s all right with teens—they don’t work either and somehow or other the money keeps coming in.
Adults know that this sort of adolescent attitudinizing is all poppycock, when it is not busy being balderdash and codswallop too. Teenagers can have black and white attitudes towards life and society because they are without adult experience and so have not learned that the world is largely immune to their notions of fairness; you can ask any Cubs fan about fairness and you’ll get an earful about the unfairness of life. In our modern world, a person knows that they have left childhood and adolescence behind and finally reached the semi-fabulous state of grown up when they know, deep down in their hearts, that these two statements are and always have been true: that life is not fair and that there is no free lunch. Somehow, some way, at some time, someone is going to have to pay through the metaphorical nose for the free lunch. This is simply the way it is, this way and not some other way, as Cormac McCarthy put it, much as some teens may not like to hear it.

Some adults fight the logic of this, of course, usually those who have done well in school and see no reason why their early scholastic success should not entitle them to lord it over the scruffy kids in shop class for the rest of their lives, and when they find this is not possible, they become academics. This is probably why socialism and its apologists exist only in the academy; a system that promises people whose sole qualification in life is that they were good at doing their English homework in the eleventh grade and ran twice for the student council complete and utter domination over every aspect of a given society’s social, political, and economic life will attract those people like loansharks attract deadbeats with a hot tip about Mile High in the fifth race at Aqueduct. That’s just the way it is, I guess, some things will never change.

Labels: , , ,


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


[Dramatic music swells up and then dies down; cut to the anchorman.]

…and finally tonight, our recent story on the destruction of several statues at the wax museum has caused no end of controversy and negative comment. Here with another opinion of the story and the controversy it has generated is Doctor Childeric Hrothiways, the president of the local chapter of the National Vandals Anti-Defamation Association. We are pleased to have you on the broadcast tonight, Dr. Hrothiways.

[Cut to a distinguished looking man with a battleaxe he is not married to.]

Thank you, Brian, it is a pleasure to be here this evening. [turns to camera and begins reading prepared text.] My fellow citizens, the national leadership of my organization, the National Vandals Anti-Defamation Association, has requested that I, as local president of that fine organization, set the record straight on the scurrilous charges that this station and others made in reference to Vandals and the recent break-in at the wax museum on Main Street, charges that reflect badly on the Vandal community and do nothing to break down ancient stereotypes against Vandals. This station, in its story on the break-in, flatly charged that Vandals were responsible for this vile act. The station made this charge although the police have made no arrests in the matter and have even asked the public for its assistance in solving the crime. In short, the police have no evidence that Vandals were in any way responsible for this crime, no evidence that any Vandals were involved in committing the crime, and no evidence that anyone in the Vandal community even knew that the crime had been committed. How then does this station know, when the police do not, that Vandals were involved at all? I suspect that the management of this station would have exercised much more caution if there was even a scintilla of evidence against a member of almost any other ethnic group you can think of, but let so much as a light bulb break under mysterious circumstances here in our happy little burg and the management and the news division of this station is quick to blame the Vandals.

Now, the number of possible suspects in this case is long and varied, which is something you would not know if you depended on this station for your information. This station made no mention of the fact that almost all of the statues destroyed or mutilated in the museum were those of prominent Democratic politicians, with special animus directed towards the statue of President Clinton, whose severed head the criminals replaced with Star Jones’s pre-surgery buttocks and Charo’s hair, and that of Senator Clinton, which the criminals destroyed in a manner not mentionable on the air waves. The perpetrators also had some special loathing for Mr. George Steinbrenner, whose statue wound up with some of the parts missing from Senator Clinton’s statue. Given this evidence, this station did not investigate whether or not minority members of the Senate, devoted watchers of The View, cogs in the vast right wing conspiracy, or disgruntled Yankees fans, who, to be fair, have reason to be disgruntled this week, were in a position to commit this crime. This station did not choose to point any of this information out in its misleading story; it chose to blame Vandals, and in particular, young Vandals.

I should not have to point this out, but it is highly unlikely that any Vandal has this level of hostility towards the Clintons in particular or the Democratic Party in general. Since the Vandals began immigrating to this country almost a century ago, we have been among the most loyal supporters of the Democratic Party. Vandals voted in extraordinary numbers for Bill Clinton in both 1992 and 1996, and in 2004, almost 87% of the Vandal vote went to Democratic candidates. Only Jews and African Americans vote the Democratic ticket in higher percentages than Vandals do. As to this station’s aspersions against young Vandals, the statistics speak for themselves. The vast majority of Vandals do well in school, graduate from high school, and go on to college in numbers significantly higher than other segments of the population. There is, therefore, no excuse for this station’s blatant truckling to prejudice in accusing young Vandals of this crime.

News anchor: Thank you, Dr. Hrothiways, that’s about all the time we have this evening…

[Dr. Hrothiways swings his battleaxe once in a graceful arc, severing the anchor’s head in one blow. Blood sprays all over the studio, hitting the green screen the weatherman uses to project weather maps amongst other things. The weatherman frowns, not sure how that line of thunderstorms stretching from Kansas City to Chicago got there; it wasn’t there just a minute ago. The anchor, nonplussed by this sudden turn of events, continues to smile and waits for instructions from the control room, which are not forthcoming, since the axe has cut off the cord to his earpiece as well as his head. Dr. Hrothiways continues.]

So why then does this station continue to countenance and even propagate bigotry against Vandals? Is it history? That Vandals behaved in a fairly barbaric manner in the ancient past is certainly no great secret, but I think most fair-minded people will concede no group’s past is entirely free of these blemishes. No one sees fit to bring up these days that the Irish were headhunters when St. Patrick first arrived in Ireland, that some American Indian tribes practiced cannibalism, and that there are Red Sox fans in New England even to this day. Why then should this station and others continually single out Vandals for this sort of historical faultfinding? There is no reason for it and there is no reason why we, as Vandals and as Americans should have to put up with it. I ask that this station do the right thing, the American thing, and admit publicly that it was wrong and to apologize to the Vandal community as soon as humanly possible. Brian, I’d like to thank you and the management of this station for the opportunity to state the Vandal case here tonight.

News anchor: You’re very welcome, Dr. Hrothiways. [turns head toward camera, no easy task when you’re just ahead of the competition in the ratings.] Remember, ladies and gentlemen, to stay tuned here for SportsDesk with Charlie Franklin. Charlie’s guest tonight is David Beckham, who will no doubt give tips on how you can bend it just like Beckham, too. For all of us here at the Channel Six news desk, thank you and good night.

[Dramatic music swells up; over the music you can hear the anchor say, hey, what the hell are you doing, stop doing that, I just got my hair cut, as the Vandal kicks his head around the studio like a soccer ball. Music reaches crescendo and then screen fades to black. Commercial begins.]

Labels: , ,


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

JUST MY OPINION: And yes, there is no joy here in Yankee Land: mighty Jorge has struck out. So Joe Torre is going to be out, sooner rather than later, because he could not give the Boss what he wanted, which is a World Series championship every October. Of course, this is not really possible, even with all of the Boss’ money, and the Boss did not help Torre’s chances of satisfying the Steinbrennerian demand for gaudy autumnal rings. When you stack your line-up full of home run hitters, you go a long way towards solving the opposing team’s problem of how to play you. It also explains a lot about how Torre utilized his line-up. A manager has to work with the instrument he’s been given and the instrument Torre has is geared to hitting the long ball.

This may work during the regular season, where Yankee power can feed on the poor pitching of last and near last place teams to move themselves forward in the standings, but in the post-season, as Yankee fans have seen for the past several years, concentrating on the home run to the near exclusion of everything else is a recipe for disaster. Cleveland put up a series of sinkerball pitchers to face the Yanks and those pitchers did their jobs—they got the Yankees to hit the ball on the ground and into double plays with perfect monotony. In the face of this the Yankees did not adapt to the changed circumstances; with men at first and third and one out the Yankees never tried to steal second, never tried to scratch out a run by pulling a double steal, never tried to do anything other than what they’ve done all year long, which is wait on base for someone to knock it out of the park. The problem with relying on the home run is that relying on it is like relying on your relatives to pay you what they owe you—maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but you can bet dollars to doughnuts they won’t show up when you really need the money.

What Yankee fans have been hoping for, of course, is a return to the dynasty years, especially to 1998, where the Yankees were so dominant that winning the World Series seemed as inevitable as tomato sauce getting on your freshly ironed white shirt. The problem with this hope, of course, is that despite some of the same faces (Jeter, Posada, Rivera) this team is substantially different from the team of 1998. That team could come at you in any one of a dozen different ways and the bottom of their order was as potent as the top; the 2007 team either can’t or won’t do anything except try to hit the ball out of the park and just paid the price for their addiction to Aaron Boone moments. Unfortunately, firing Torre will not change this one iota, much as the Boss might think it will.

Labels: ,


Monday, October 08, 2007

DRY SPELL: In case you haven't already guessed, I've been trapped in a prolonged dry spell for the past week or so. You wouldn't think I would have a problem with this sort of thing; there's a presidential election next year and all the hopefuls are out like so many hungry fleas on a fresh dog, but while the times do not admit of satire, as the saying goes, I have been so bereft of things to write about I even spelled my name wrong on my electric bill just to see if that would provoke a reaction. It didn't, but I am happy to report that there is now something in the pipeline and with any degree of luck, there's be something new here by tomorrow or the next day. And the Yankees won, 8-4, last night, so you know that there is joy here in our happy little burg.

Labels: , ,