Vox Populi

The curse of Capra Hircus rears its head at 3700N. 

Eamus Catuli (doodahman):

“And when the eighth inning had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the eighth run. And at the eighth run, they cried as one with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” … And they uttered a loud cry, and breathed their last. (doodahman 15:33-34)

Oh, you know it had to happen. The only mercy was that Ron Santo was not doing the WGN Radio color commentary. It would have flat out killed him. The only safe place for him to have been last night was some hospital with an ICU down the hall. And we thought God was being cruel to him by having him hospitalized during the NCLS. It was a mercy. As would have been the proximate crash of a 3 square mile meteorite onto Wrigleyville.

And such a poetic tragedy, too. Done in by an extremely rare fielding error and the ineptitude of the typical yuppie moron Cub fan, this one with a several hundred dollar seat and a 2 cent brain. Not only do we lose, but we lose largely because of the actions of the exact type of idiot that Cub fans are held to be by non-Cub fans. A stain we must all bear. Ah, well, you can only laugh.

And as for that pathetic fool, God help him. FAUX, the network with a heart of filth, put the poor fool’s face right there, front and center on the screen, several times during the remainder of the game. A face that was, therefore, showing up on big screen televisions in every one of seventy-eight bars located within five blocks of Wrigley, being watched by thousands of drunken and enraged yuppies. Drunken and enraged yuppies that the hapless fool would have had to pass through to get home. John Wayne Gacy had less bad will directed at him than that guy.

On only Jews and Cub fans would God heap such tragedy. Why? Because only Jews and Cub fans can suffer like that and keep coming back. And ultimately, that is the essence of being a Cub fan. It is also, coincidentally, the essence of being a human being on this planet.

All that “lovable loser” and “wait ‘til next year” pathos masks what might be the most important quality humans possess—endurance. The ability to carry on, find the good, keep the hope, and stick together when the ship is being captained by a madman, steered by a drunk, sinking and burning and full of rats all at the same time—kind of like the planet as a whole. In this world, endurance and the ability to generate hope out of pure shit is the only thing that’s kept humanity going during the preponderance of our existence. Well, that’s just about all Cub fans ever have.

Except this year, we still got Wood. Game 7 is going down man to man, the way all championships ought to be. If the Cubs go down, it’s nothing new. If they win, it will be the hard way, guts all over the field and puke all over the stands. Eamus Catuli, motherfuckers. 

Eamus Catuli, ii (mutus):  

They never said it would be easy, but …

it was 5 outs away … it was locked in … always exciting, never dull, our Cubbies.

Don’t blame our over-anxious friend in left, he looked like he was blaming himself enough as is (poor guy), but how is it that twice in the same post-season series fans in Wrigley (with killer seats, mind you) could rob their own team of foul pop-ups (one ultimately meaningless, one ridiculously crucial)? It defies explanation.

And how about our Gold Glove candidate at short? Hope Dusty can settle our boy’s nerves before tomorrow.

We head off to game 7, with great hope but a whole lot of apprehension. Not because of any voodoo curse, but because of a deep fear that our Ace in the hole, after a shaky start in game 3, just might not come with his A game tomorrow. We’ll be keeping an eye on Kerry’s strike zone and doing our damnedest to avoid hyperventilation. He’s got the stuff to take them down early and stymie any comeback. And let’s bust into the Marlin pen early—send Redman packing. Beyond the standard 1st inning bat around, we’re looking for clutch hits from the middle of the order (and dare I offer a completely uninformed prediction: a game winner off the bat of Alex Gonzalez; atonement in the most dramatic fashion, befitting this season?)

We’re a heartbeat away from history, whether it’s the first pennant since 45 and a shot at the first championship since you-know-when, or the biggest choke since aught-six (and how would our bum luck look then, Boston?) Things probably really aren’t as bad as they might seem right now, but I’m not sleeping very well tonight.

Oh, Chicago … I need a hug.
Left Field Sucks! Left Field Sucks! (EvilBurrito):
I was dozing on the couch last night, half-way watching the Cubs coasting along at 3-0, when I awoke to the sound of Bernie Mack singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” The next thing I remember was seeing this hand stretching out over the left field wall, turning the course of the game on a dime and literally snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

Since I was partly in the dream world at the time, for just a moment I thought that the hand belonged to a thin little old man with a gray goatee, who looked something like a cross between Colonel Sanders and the Devil. Billy Goat Sianis.

“Dem Bums” he said, flipping the ball out of the air, just above the outstretched glove of Moises Alou, and back into the stands.

And then he disappeared, instantaneously replaced by a dorky guy wearing thick glasses, headphones, and a Cubs hat. He looked surprised to be there.

In Harry Carry’s Restaurant, Cub fans suddenly choked on their Marlin steaks, last night’s specialty of the house. The crowd of Cubs fans inside the park slumped in their seats. The fans outside in the streets, on both Cleveland and Waveland, fell silent in disbelief.

The rest was history.

When I was a kid, I was a copy boy at the Chicago’s American newspaper, right after they moved from Madison Street to Michigan Avenue, and Billy Goat moved his bar right along with them, plunking it down in the darkness of Michigan’s lower level. The reporters and photographers used to send me to Billy’s to get their breakfasts, their lunches, and on occasion, I’d pick up a bottle from Billy himself, who’d stick it under the sandwiches and scowl at me.

“Next time, tell dem not to send a kid.”

He must have said the same thing to me a half dozen times during the first summer I worked there.

Now, Cub teams may come and go, but I’ll always remember Billy and his bar. Somehow, I think that little guy could actually come up with a curse that works. The way I figure it, Billy’s curse ought to be good for 99 or 100 years. That’s a lot of “Wait until next years” isn’t it?

I wonder what the special at Harry Carry’s will be tonight, and what Jack Brickhouse would think about all of this …

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Shoot Out the Lights: In their polyglot retrospective Best of the ‘80s issue, Rolling Stone ranked Richard and Linda Thompson’s 1982 work, Shoot the Lights Out, the ninth-finest album of the decade. * Twenty-one years later, Michaelangelo Matos catches up with Richard Thompson (long since split with Linda) and his current release, 1000 Years of Popular Music, in Music Box. Thompson croons the standards—if you include “Oops! I Did it Again” and “Tempted” among the millennial canon—on his whimsical, but warmly intimate compilation.  Matos prompts MaxFischerPlayers to applaud Thompson’s departure:

I sort of like the fact that Thompson consciously left his own material off of this particular disc. I’m sure he gets sort of tired of playing “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” at every concert. The article failed to mention the several jazz tunes Thompson throws on, performed with great love and ability.

He is, without a doubt, the best guitarist I have ever seen play live.
Music Box Fray seeks Thompson fans to weigh in on 1000 Years hereThe Internet Café Diaries: In Today’s Papers Fray, billofrights tosses over the transom a William Rivers Pitt dispatch. Pitt, writing from a Berlin coffee house, argues that “America had everything going for it” entering the new century—something that the Europeans with whom he visits fundamentally understand, even if it’s been lost on the citizenry back home. In the body of the piece, Pitt writes:
Many people believe the statement that “Bill Clinton was the best Republican president we’ve ever had.” There are a great many facts to back this assertion, but it begs the question: If Clinton was the best Republican president we’ve ever had, why did the Republicans work every night and every day for eight years, why do they continue to work to this day, to destroy him and the economic legacy he left behind?
Read the article in its entirety here for Pitt’s theory. Will_Jacobs attributes Pitt’s dynamic, in some part, to the paralysis of Democratic leadership:
Democrat office holders, already intimidated by the extremism of the Republican leadership, feared to criticize Bush’s decisions. And with the control of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the White House in the hands of the extremists, there was nothing to restrain excesses.
Read Will’s comprehensive analysis hereThe Last Word: Fray_Editor goes back on his Limbaugh moratorium pledge to shed light ona profound response to locdog’s post of yesterday. Occasionally, a Frayster hijacks a thread—not with anything incendiary—but rather with a commentary so reflective and intuitive that amid hundreds of posts on a single topic, it continues to resonate a day later. QuiTam here:
My mother died of liver failure caused by substance abuse. She was 43 year old. I tried, as a teenager, to get help for her but she didn’t want it. Social services couldn’t do anything and she could not be forced into treatment. She ended up on welfare and when she died I borrowed money to help pay for a cheapo funeral and quit school to get a second job.

It’s funny that Rush hated people like her.

It’s also ironic that Rush was forced, by public outcry, to check himself into rehab. I wish my Mom had been rich and famous and a public figure, because maybe she, too, would have been forced to get sober and straight. Maybe she would have lived long enough to see her beautiful grand-daughter.

I feel sorry for my mother and her mostly-unlived life, and less sorry for Rush, although I wish him luck in his attempts to get past his addictions. I am not overwhelmed with glee at the disclosure of his drug problem. Anyone whose mother or father OD’d on the bathroom floor will not find revenge sweet.

Turn down the volume; you can hear better … KA 9:20 p.m.

Monday, October 13, 2003

A Sound Salvation: “Oh, the shame of it all! I just can’t help it,” moans Sarvis, who is “hooked on right wing radio“:

The whining, the victimology, the heroic leaps of illogical rhetoric—antilogic at its finest, the petulance, the attacks, the self-affirming psychoses, the DENIAL … my God people, you must try it out for yourself—THIS IS RIGHT WING RADIO’S FINEST HOUR.

The Mastodons and Giant Sloths of hate radio have been forced to gaze into the evolutionary crystal ball and they saw with horror the telling of their own demise—soon, right wing radio will be the appendix of media: some weird vestige of intestinal history.

Tune in and enjoy the flatulence of a wallowing beast in its death throes.

It’s addictive. You have been warned.

Just this afternoon, I heard Sean Hannity define hypocrisy as limited to any commentary Rush might have made about people who are addicted to prescription meds after back surgery. “See: no comments about THAT, so no hypocrisy by Rush”, according to this newfound parser of relative morality.
Blame It On Cain: So far as Rush’s supplements go, locdog offers up “the left’s real problem with Rush Limbaugh (it ain’t hypocrisy)“:
truth be told, you’ve got two problems with limbaugh, and hypocrisy is neither of them:

1. not one of you could have brought him down on your own. even your moment of triumph is tainted with the knowledge that you couldn’t beat him, he had to beat himself for you. and even in defeat, the man remains a giant whose impact on american political discourse outweighs the combined contributions of the rest of you runts tenfold.

2. and more importantly, nobody should preach conventional morals at all, be they saint or sinner. it’s not so much that limbaugh said one thing then did another: jesse jackson is a reverend (or so he says) and clinton promised us “the most ethical administration in the history of the republic.” no, the real problem here is that someone dared preach an ethic that was not their own. someone dared proclaim sin–first, its existence, then its nature as that which liberals like those now skinning rush alive have been trying to publicly indulge in since the sixties. he said they were wrong, and in so doing, he violated the one universal moral law of the otherwise totally relativistic liberal cosmos: you can do whatever you want as long as you don’t criticize the next guy. rush limbaugh, bill bennet, newt gingrich … they’ve all flouted the fundamental theorem of 21st century american liberalism—the only one its got, really—and for that, no amount of suffering or degradation is enough.
Sarvis here and O_Hellenbach here respond to locdog in Today’s Papers Fray. O_H writes that:
the lesson to be drawn isn’t that nobody ought to preach morality or virtue. It’s that everybody ought to be cut the same slack as fallible human beings that you insist that Rush be accorded … If conservatives want to swing that Sword of Virtue, they had god damn well better understand that it has two edges, and stop whining when it comes back at them.
Inkberrow sees a “double standard in major media portrayals of this kind of situation“:
Contrast this with the treatment of Jesse Jackson’s financial irregularities and of course his love-child. Here, the man himself fell from the rarefied heights of proper values and inestimable service to mankind; the values he speaks for are of course unsullied by his intensely personal fall. No one in major media even hinted that, retroactively, we should reconsider Jackson’s sincerity and public-mindedness, nor his moral authority in general, past present, or future.

Whereas butterscotch feels a measure of mercy, ElboRuum has none. Fraywatch has now exceeded its Limbaugh word allocation for the publishing year … KA 3:50 p.m.

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

If nothing else, Tuesday’s very special episode of Decision ‘03 has incited several outstanding posts. Advise and Consent: Sissyfuss1, as “Sobbing in Sacramento,” fires a Prudie riff in BOTF:

Dear PrudieMy daughter California is a lovely girl. She is bright, vivacious and talented. When she was in school, she used to get all the lead roles in drama class, and her computer projects got high praise. My daughter was very popular with the other girls and boys, though you must know there are always the few jealous ones like Texas and Mississippi , who would bitch behind her back. Anyhow, she was going out with this guy called Gray—what a wonderful man! He is handsome, courteous, intelligent and financially independent, with twenty years’ experience in his own business. They got married last year. But then she met this body builder called Arnold, and now she has filed for divorce, and says she wants to marry Arnold. Gray is heartbroken, poor chap. I don’t trust Arnold at all—he is a smooth-talking sleazeball who I know has a lot of skeletons in his cupboard. He has cast his evil spell on my daughter. I think she will end up being very hurt. I don’t know what to do. I feel like sitting her down and talking some sense into her head, but she seems to be in no mood to listen. Please advise.

—Sobbing in Sacramento.
S1 then delivers mock responses from Prudie, ElboRuum and doodahman. Check them out here. PubliusToo gets in on the action here with his own response. Same thread, different tone: zinya, who “indict[s] the media as much as the people.” Find out why here, as well as z’s
fear the consequence for many new voters will be a kind of fatal cynicism if/when they see their “hero” utterly prove to be less than Clark Kent … which could further depress voter participation in the long-term.
Hauteur weighs in on the Schwarzenegger win, first giving himself a gaudy blue ribbon for his prescience on the outcome. Why did the ‘bot prevail? “Hero worhip.” Hauteur then asks, “Will Arnold be a good governor of California?” Hauteur’s answer:
Yes, I think so. He will accomplish this goal precisely because it is a part of his goal set. He simply wants to prove that he can do the job, and he has never failed at anything that he has set his mind to since first his feet hit these shores. Since public relations and faux leadership skills are in his blood, he will be a genuine and capable promoter of all things Californian over the next two years. In short, he might legitimately win a second [full] term on his own merits.
Ask 1-2-Oscar, and he’ll tell you that “ Arnold was never the issue in California.” Oscar provides a fine post on the unintended consequences of California’s historically muddled budgetary politics. A sampling:
Since the late 1970s and the passage of initiative Proposition 13, the people of California have been buffeted with revenue shortfalls, They have had to restructure their tax system, so that vital services were no longer dependent upon real estate taxes. They have had to repeatedly choose whether or not to expand social services, and the costs of these added programs could not be met by new revenues, but were instead inadequately funded from existing revenues, which required cuts in school funding and other existing programs …Who was to blame for all these shortcomings? There is plenty of blame to share, as politicians of both parties sought to reward their particular “constituencies,” blithely ignoring the needs of the public at large. Gray Davis was among those who share the blame, but he was hardly a man who should bear sole responsibility …Has Davis been a good governor of the state? I think not, largely because of his failure to lead the legislative majorities toward practical solutions.
Given the choice, Oscar would’ve sent former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan to Sacramento. O_Hellenbach adds to Oscar’s post here with a firsthand anecdote on Sacramento’s “asymmetric political problem.” Finally, The_Bell muses:
If upon finishing watching the schlockfest Conan the Barbarian in 1981, someone had turned to me and said, “I predict that Arnold Schwarzenegger will be elected Governor of California someday,” one of my most likely retorts would have been, “Yeah, right! That will be the same year the Cubs face the Red Sox in the World Series.” The first one has happened - oh, let them ALL come true!
If only Mark Guthrie didn’t have Arlo’s breaking ball … KA11:40 a.m.

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

NOAA On Recall: The presumably progressive bullmoose answers Kausfiles’ casual, tongue-kinda-in-cheek suggestion that California gubernatorial candidate ’bot may have pulled an Eve Harrington from the outset (“Was he behind the recall all along?”). Describing the recall, as others have, as a “political ‘perfect storm,’ ” bullmoose dismisses the theory:

the chance of Arnold coldly and correctly conspiring in the most Machiavellian way to set it up is nil.

Arnold took the risky plunge because it was the best and most likely only good shot he would ever get at high political office.

In bullmoose’s view, the recall is such an anomalous political happenstance that it’s surprising that others haven’t used it as a means to reintroduce themselves to the arena:

I expected former Governor and now Mayor of Oakland Jerry Brown to take advantage of the “perfect storm” situation and make his big time political comeback. He is more than fed up with the open cash register style of the current administration to have fired up a “progressive” attack on the Davis fundraising machine.

JCormac, a California rez, was all set to punch a chad for the ‘bot:

A week or so ago, I had convinced myself that Arnold, all of his obvious flaws notwithstanding, would go into Sacramento and give folks on both sides of the aisle a much-needed shakeup.

But after the bevy of allegations, JC decided that:

this recall stuff sucks. Both it and the initiative/referendum system should either be tossed out of the California Constitution or significantly reformed. Direct democracy is not a particularly American ideal, but it works if you’re a small town in New England; it doesn’t work for the largest State in the Union. If Arnold wins, mark it down here, he will be sued by at least one person in a Paula-Jones-type sexual harassment lawsuit. While Arnold is mired in depositions and discovery, nothing will get done in Sacramento, no one will work with him, and another recall campaign will begin, this time funded by some wealthy Democrat. Meanwhile, our State’s economy will continue to flounder. Few of the needed legislative reforms will occur.

Find out what JC plans to do here

Vienna Fingered: Here, Arlington doesn’t:

find it disturbing Arnold played grab-ass with women on film sets.

What would concern me more is the juvenile, immature aspect of the behavior. I got over it in junior high school and so did most men …

An adult man who feels it necessary to grope women has not completed the process of growing up.

Regarding the allegations of sexual harassment, Kurl offers up a menu of options for the ‘bot:

* Declare that his behavior towards women is “reprehensible”, admit that as a result, he is unfit for office, and remove himself from contention.

* Declare that his behavior toward women is “reprehensible”, admit that as a result, he is eminently qualified for the governorship, and continue to campaign.

* Ignore the charges and press forward

* Ignore the charges and quit

* Apologize for his “reprehensible” behavior, declare that he has learned his lesson, and press on with the campaign.

* Apologize for his “reprehensible” behavior, declare that he has learned his lesson, and quit.

* Deny the allegations, send his wife out on national TV to declare that the charges are the result of a “vast left-wing conspiracy”, convince his staff and close associates that he is telling the truth, and send them out to orchestrate a smear campaign against his accusers.

Other ideas? Click here

Remember, as always, it’s the thought the counts … KA8:20 a.m.

Correction, Oct. 17, 2003: The article originally misstated the title of Richard and Linda Thompson’s 1982 album as Hannibal. It’s Shoot Out the Lights. (Return to the corrected item.)