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Saturday, September 24, 2011

On Football and Sexism

During the preseason sometime, I was watching highlights on NFL.com, having a good time, enjoying the football, no care in the world. The commentators consisted of a woman (can't remember who) doing the play-by-play and two former players doing the color.

This would not be notable under normal circumstances. We've advanced to that post-feminist state where a female sportscaster just doesn't raise eyebrows anymore. If you were say something like, "She never played a down in her life" or "I bet she can't even throw a sprial," you would be revealing yourself to be a knuckle-dragging neanderthal whose nuts should be clipped.

But then what happens when the play-by-play girl gets snippy, as she did with her co-hosts? I can't remember what was said exactly, but she chided them for wandering off into a private joke with something like, "Are you gonna let me call the next play?" And I get it, she's doing the play by play and these two other guys are geeking out on college ball. But did she have to be so bitchy about it?

Now I'm using the term "bitchy" in its neutral form. It wasn't "bitchy" because she's got a vagina. It was legitimately, objectively bitchy. I tried to imagine a male play-by-play guy in the same situation and in no scenario could I come up with the guy reacting with such a "Rawwwwr." And that bothers me.

Am I sexist? I wonder. Or is the world sexist? Mary Strong is a nice lady, I'm sure, and she probably loves football just as much as any dude. But she's never played it. Her color guys? They played it in high school, in college, at a pro level. They have an understanding of the game that Mary Strong will never have simply by virtue of having access to areas of it that Mary Strong does not. That's not me being sexist. That's the institutional state of football.

So put Mary Strong on the stool and have her tell us about football? That's obvious. We need more women. (Tokenism) And they have to look alright. (Beautyism.) Is it sexist of me to notice this? Erin Andrews would not be where she's at if she was ugly or a man. If she were ugly, she wouldn't be in front of the camera. If she were a man, she'd be expected to have some deeper connection to football than showing up at the press conferences as a pool reporter.

Again, does that make me sexist? Would I be even more sexist if I said that the girls in Lingerie Football are doing more for "women in football" than all the ESPN hotties combined?

"Oh, right," the feminist says, "putting women in lingerie so you can leer at them is just sooooo liberating, huh?"

Actually, if you've ever watched any of the games...yeah, it is. First off, they're not in lingerie. They do have pads and helmets and the uniforms aren't as revealing as you think. (You see more skin at the Summer Olympics.)

The football, though, the football is real, full contact bone-crushing play-making football. The token hire is the ugly girl who can throw a big block. They don't need to cutaway for a 30 second sideline report because the eye candy is on the field the whole time. These women don't have to wonder what it feels like to be in a huddle on 3rd and long. They know.

It's only a matter of time before one of these derided Lingerie Bowlers takes Mary Strong's job. And ten bucks says it won't be because she's "cute."

Troubleshooter in Trouble

The scam that is Troubleshooter Tom Martino is unraveling, and not too cleanly it appears. I don't mind that Tom Martino built up a trusted reputation only to sell it piecemeal to the highest bidder in the form of paid advertising. That's business.

What bugs me is the peculiar nature of his scammy enterprises. Consider:
Martino claimed liabilities of $78.6 million and assets of $1.37 million in his Sept. 2 bankruptcy filing.
And I thought I was leveraged...

Still, it must be nice to only have $1.37 to play with. Look at all the cool stuff you can accumulate:
Those assets, according to the bank, include a house worth $4.3 million, furnishings and art worth $750,000, three aircraft with combined value of $725,000, Friesian horses worth $100,000, a Bentley Arnage car worth $200,000, cash accounts holding $4.6 million and real estate equity of $11.7 million.
Tom Martino has a Bentley and three planes? Jesus Christ.

If I ever have kids, I'm going to raise them to be grifters. Honest work doesn't pay. Grift...grift is where it's at.

Friday, September 23, 2011

On Reading The Poet (Or "Damn You, James Elroy!")

So you're a newspaper reporter investigating your brother's murder. Lucky for you, you find out he was killed by a serial killer that is being tracked by the FBI and, even more luck, the FBI is allowing you to tag along and NOT telling you to go take a dive in the classified section of your newspaper.

Of course, there's going to be a totally hot agent on the investigation. Of course, you will be attracted to her. And since you're lucky, she happens to be attracted to you. Ooh boy.

Now if only the Feebs put you up in the same hotel. You can lube her up with drinks downstairs, then just naturally, because you're so lucky and so charming and the formula says so, you're going to totally bag her.

That is, if you're the luckiest man in the world...or the main character in a Michael Connelly novel.

I'm afraid I'm at the "this can't get any stupider" point with The Poet. I was willing to accept the main conceit of the novel, which for the sake of argument I will spoil now: The serial killer is revealed to be an FBI agent, specifically the Special Agent in Charge of the serial killer investigation. Get it? He's investigating himself!

Now understand this is played straight, not for laughs, and not even in some twisted Philip K. Dick mindfuck way. It's going to be the big shocking twist in the end, probably with the characters running down a tunnel or something. The SAC is going to turn around and say, "You see, Eddie, I am a Toon!"

(In case you didn't get it...that's a Roger Rabbit reference. Not saying it's cartoony...but it's fucking cartoony.)

And then we add this bad romance to the picture? Man, I don't know how much more of this I can take.

The whole thing has made me start thinking about this story I've been trying to write and how it's so infinitely superior. (It only half-exists, of course.) And then I remember why I read crap sometimes. It's inspirational.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Literary Musings

I've been reading listening to The Poet by Michael Connelly, trying to get caught up because I haven't read that one, but it kind of sucks because I know "who dun it." I read the sequel, you see, The Narrows.

I had to give Connelly a rest for a while after muddling through Echo Park. I had been building up a slight annoyance at his writing style. All the knowing (he knew, she knew). All the jargony colloquialisms, "crossing the line," "making a play." Everyone has nicknames, but it's never something stupid like Spidey or Porkchop. It's some writerly play on their name, like everyone has nicknames based on their given name. The plots can be downright outlandish and the characterizations sometimes thin and too on the nose.

This is all present in The Poet, but I'm trying not to let it get to me. Here's the thing: I went on an Elmore Leonard streak recently, and I started to notice things about his style that bugged me too!

Leonard lets his characters tell his stories, which is awesome, but I started to notice his stories were all pretty similar. A spiderweb of double crosses, maybe a gangster who wants to get over on his boss or a girlfriend who wants to milk her sugardaddy. There's always a hapless but clever guy stuck in the middle of it. I read Rum Punch, Freaky Deaky, Mr. Paradise, and Road Dogs all in a row and they're all basically the same story. The circumstances change, the settings, the names and backgrounds. But it's the same blue print.

Does that make it flawed? Nah...but I found it hard to get into an Elmore Leonard book after that run. Tried with Bandits and Tishomingo Blues. But I gave up and picked a Hillerman. Then one by Lawrence Block.

Might be best to break it up like that. Rotate the reading material. I'll catch on to my favorite authors' annoying quirks...eventually.

Dave Lombardo at Yankee Stadium (With Slayer)

We'll see how long this clip lasts...

It's a "drum cam" of Dave Lombardo kicking the shit out of War Ensemble. I'm slowly coming to the realization that 85% of my appreciation for Slayer is due to this guy.

Badass, man. Badass.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

As Predictable As They Are Stupid

This is hilarious. The president has vague plans to raise taxes on millionaires. News of the plan is leaked (probably intentionally) but no details are. Initial reports indicate that the plan is A) going to be called the "Buffet rule" and B) will raise tax rates on the wealthy.

Here's the NY Times, who broke the story, on the specifics:
Mr. Obama will not specify a rate or other details, and it is unclear how much revenue his plan would raise. But his idea of a millionaires’ minimum tax will be prominent in the broad plan for long-term deficit reduction that he will outline on Monday.
Cue the leaders in the Republican party.

Class warfare, Paul Ryan cries. Don't raise taxes on millionaires, he says. Raise them on the middle class!

Cuz that's not class warfare, not at all...

But then one has to wonder why, with no policy details released, the Republicans are so certain this is class warfare? Well, that's obvious. They work for millionaires.

Mayweather is a Thin-Skinned Jerk

And Larry Merchant rules.

Updated: As you can see, they pulled the clip. And at this point, it's just getting ridiculous.

WTF, HBO? You made your money already. Are you going to make this clip available so I can blog about it? Do you want me to pay you to post this clip on my blog? I didn't even say anything intelligent. I called people some names. Big deal.

The clip was awesome. Larry Merchant handled the situation perfectly. But you can only see it with HBO's permission.

We live in an age when any piece of media --past, present and future-- can be made available to anyone in an almost infinite variety of forms. But why do that? Clearly what we need are more barriers, more gatekeepers, more mother-may-Is.

Please, HBO. Can I post the Larry Merchant clip? Pleeeeeeease.

Updated again:
Here's another clip of the encounter, and it includes highlights of the fight. Yes, boxing highlights...I know!

Prepare the takedown notices...

Updated again...again:
Watching the clip, I have to say...Mayweather's a piece of shit. What a cheap shot.