Anything from current events, campaign finance reform, sports (especially baseball), corporate/political/legal ethics, pop culture, confessions of a recovering comic book addict, and probably some overly indulgent discourses about my 3-year old daughter. E-Mail: sardonicviews -at-
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Thursday, October 31, 2002

Unnerving Google Search

Looking over the referrer log can be disturbing. Apparently, I am #3 on the Google search for "Busty Chas"

Bad Conspiracies

Jesse Walker of Reason, in a short and sweet piece treats the excrement filled rantings of people asking "Did Bush have a hand in the Wellstone plane crash?" as they deserve.

So what do these writers offer in lieu of evidence? Mostly speculation as to motive and opportunity, along with a run-down of earlier plane crashes and some ass-covering assurances that they're only saying Wellstone might have been murdered. Niman concludes that "For our government to maintain its credibility at this time, we need an open and accountable independent investigation involving international participation into the death of Paul Wellstone," and Rall declares that "the fact that we're having this discussion at all is a symptom of the polarizing effect that Bush and his top dogs have had on the United States since assuming office." Well, it's certainly a symptom of something.

Firsts and Lasts

Everyday with an infant seems to reveal new things and changes. Some gradually, others all at once. Angie has been a wonderful charmer/show-off in her first 4 months. Especially now, when she can summon up a smile at will. Everyone gushes over her (naturally), and she has been remarkably tolerant of strangers (to her) touching and holding her.

No more. Yesterday, the dam broke. She concluded that the only people she trusts are her mom and dad. Everyone else is to be viewed with fear. Get too close and she will howl. It does not bode well for the grandparents who haven't seen her in a couple months.

The four-month doctor check-up for Angie was this morning. Four more injections/immunizations in the thighs. She screamed 'til her face took on the purplish hue, then quieted down and looked plaintively at us. Her eyes saying, "I trusted you. How could you let this happen to me? How could you help hold me still while this was inflicted on me?" Why yes, there is some guilt in my soul. Why do you ask?

I am not home right now for the fussiness and pain she is most likely inflicting on my wife. Today is my last day at my job. I am resigning to become a stay at home dad. The original plan was for me to telecommute, look after the kid a little, and just be there while a part-time nanny did most of the work. This changed when my company decided to deny me the opportunity to telecommute (I may discuss this later at some point, or not).

The wife and I discussed the choices -- day care (not an option in our minds, especially for an infant); me working the night shift (we'd only see each other on the weekends, I'd be a zombie without the sleep, and likely we'd be divorced in a year); hiring a nanny without supervision (the costs are huge, and it would still be a stranger raising our daughter); me quitting and working freelance and contract jobs (the easy winner). The wife cannot stay at home. She makes more money than me, what she does, doesn't lend itself to working at home, and we are all on her health plan.

So if anyone is looking to hire a writer/editor/attorney for various projects, contact me. Yes, that's right, yet another blogger pleading for work.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Quick Update

I've been trying to finish up some things in the real world, so blogging has been, well pathetic lately.

For those who have some morbid curiosity regarding the tea bagging incident. Here is an update. The Allegheny Common Pleas Court refused to hear the arguments of the parents of the kids on the Central Catholic football team after the Diocese and the school pulled the team from the WPIAL playoffs.

One sports columnist applauds the move as late but right. A regular columnist thinks it was right but asks some good questions about the way the school handled the matter.

Quick Hook

Well this one didn't last long.

Fox canceled producer David E. Kelley's new law office drama "girls club" after just two airings because of low ratings.

The drama about three female lawyers in San Francisco debuted last week and finished 82nd out of 131 rated programs, according to Nielsen Media Research. The Monday night show lost nearly 1 million viewers this week and gave up more than half the audience that tuned in for Kelley's "Boston Public," which preceded it.

Kelly is also quoted as saying he was proud of this crap. I could not find one good review of the show. Big surprise that the advertising blitz for the show during the MLB playoffs and World Series failed miserably.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Bar Nuts

I've yet to be offered, but it might be fun to partake (WSJ, subs. req'd):

In the search for strategies to deal with the stubborn and deadly problem of driving under the influence, many cops are turning to an unusual tactic: Recruiting volunteer drinkers and drug users to teach officers to recognize impaired drivers. The tactic is drawing criticism from skeptics who think it isn't effective or ethical. But advocates say there is no substitute for working directly with people who are drunk or stoned and that the training helps bolster courtroom testimony by officers.

Texas and a majority of other states hold "wet workshops," in which bar-tending cops get volunteer subjects drunk. Police in Minneapolis say they drive around looking for people on the street who appear to be on drugs. Officers stop the wobbly pedestrians, promising they won't be arrested. If the subjects agree, the police take them back to the precinct house, where other officers are waiting to inspect them.

Can you imagine a safer situation to get blitzed?

The Texas Department of Public Safety in June offered its back-office employees a paid day off to drink under scrutiny. Police also invited law-enforcement students from a local community college. People with certain medical conditions exacerbated by alcohol, as well as those younger than 21 and older than 65, were excluded. The allure of state-provided booze wasn't enough to fill the 35 slots, however. Only 21 people showed up for a 10:30 a.m. session.

Obviously it wasn't the good stuff. Plus, it was June at 10:30 am. No tailgating. No concert. And it was probably mid-week which just shoots the day. Make it a Saturday morning at the same time before a 3:30 U of Texas game, with some good chili, and decent drinks -- well, I promise a good turnout.

A Different Kind of Sexual Assault and Cover-Up at Catholic School

You probably heard about the former NFL player who came out of the closet. It seems that homophobia has always been very intense in team sports -- more so than in individual sporting events. Anyways, the strange part has always been the twisted hazing rituals that occasionally come to light in sports that seem -- to put it delicately -- sick, perverse, and suggesting to some that the perpetrators have a latent homosexual streak of their own. No, that last part isn't fair to most gays, and it is probably more accurate to simply say they have some issues they haven't sorted through. I'm only talking about perception.

Consider this recent incident:

Two Central Catholic High School football players were charged last night with sexually assaulting a former teammate in the school's locker room during what police believe was a hazing incident.
Police said the incident occurred at about 2 p.m. Aug. 15 following football practice. The suspects are accused of restraining the 15-year-old victim and slapping him in the face with their genitals. The Post-Gazette does not identify victims of sexual assault.

Lt. Michael Sippey of the investigations branch said that while the incident may have been a hazing, it nevertheless met the criminal elements of sexual assault and the other charges.

Stop me if you've heard this sort of reaction from the school before:

The father of the 15-year-old victim said he took the matter to police only after getting no satisfaction from school officials, who he felt dragged their feet.

Stubna strongly denied that, saying the school vigorously investigated the accusation but could find no one else to substantiate it. Moreover, he said, the school cooperated fully with police.

"Obviously, the police investigation was able to turn up information that the school investigation wasn't able to turn up. Obviously we're very concerned about the events that have transpired," he said.

The victim's father -- who likewise is not being named to protect his son's identity -- said that when he went to pick up his son from practice the day of the incident he found his son's head had been shaved. The victim then told his father he had been "tea bagged" and described what had occurred.

"It made me sick," the father said. "Kids putting penises on other kids' heads? What does that do for a child's manhood?"

It just raises more questions about the "manhood" of the kids who decided this was a good hazing ritual to a teammate. Naturally the school investigated. Sort of.

When the father finally talked to Walker, 10 days after the incident, he said Walker was "appalled, aghast" and would investigate, the father said. The matter was turned over to Vice Principal George Paul, who questioned the son on the telephone and obtained the names of the players that the son said were involved in the incident. A few days later, officials told the father the matter was still being looked into.

"Up to then, I was just looking for internal justice," the father said. "I felt they should be dismissed from the team, that's all. My son isn't playing for Central and they shouldn't, either."

A week went by and the son's parents went to the school and confronted its principal, Brother Richard. The father said Brother Richard told them that the players and their parents had been contacted and "they said it never happened."

"I said, 'Do you think these good Christian boys never lie?'" the father said. "Why are you taking their word over my son's [word]?"

"To me, that said they've chosen to look the other way," the father said.

Later that week, the father said, Paul telephoned them and told them that school officials had questioned other "trusted students" about the incident and that those students said it hadn't happened. At that point, the father said, he contacted a relative who is a city police officer, who questioned the son and then put the family in touch with city sex assault detectives.

As noted in the article, the school and the Diocese deny that they were trying to sweep the incident away, its just that no one would admit to anything until the police started investigating. Now the school and the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese have decided to take additional steps. They pulled the team out of the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League playoffs because players knew what happened and lied to school officials about not knowing anything. So now the parents of the players are pissed, saying the whole team shouldn't suffer for the actions of a couple and the silence of an entire team. Naturally legal action is being threatened.

The punishment of the team seems a little harsh, but I have no problem with it really. This isn't a "Scent of a Woman" issue where the code of silence is over some prank towards a pretentious school principal. This was a code of silence over "tea bagging." Two other teen football players, holding some kid down, squatting over him, and slapping him in the face with their genitals. That isn't "boys being boys" or even harmless hazing. It's something that makes you go "eewwww."

This is going to create some interesting Google searches.

Monday, October 28, 2002

DVDs out this week

Yes, I know. Spider-Man on DVD this week and in 2 weeks Episode 2. But come on, the big news is the release this week of the entire first season of that classic TV show Baretta. Apparently there was a lot of interest in this 1975 season.

Oh, in other news, the former Baretta star, Robert Blake, who is awaiting his murder trial is now dealing with his lead attorney quitting the case.

Pitt - Boston College

Saturday was homecoming for Pitt. Last year BC beat the snot out of my beloved Panthers 45-7. After that game, Pitt won six straight in the season, and coming into the game had gone 12-2. Both teams seemed evenly matched, and whoever lost would be really, really bummed.

There, got the standard sports stuff out of my system. It was a noon game, and BC scored a field goal to go up 3-0, then Pitt answered with a field goal. Pitt got the ball back and marched down the field for a touchdown, 10-3. Another Pitt drive then stalled, field goal. 13-3. Then the offense started going conservative/predictable. Run on first down, run on second down, pass on third down, punt. BC put a field goal up near the end of the first half to make it 13-6.

The poor play-calling continued in the second half. It was as if Pitt coach, Walt Harris had decided to go into a "prevent offense." BC started moving a little more on offense. But the defense kept holding, finally allowing a field goal. 13-9. The Pitt offense showed no imagination. It was like the coaches decided that the running game must be proven. BC knew a run was coming, the fans knew the run was coming. The run was stopped. Frustration in the stands was becoming evident. Some scattered booing after another 3 and out (run, run, pass, punt).

In the 4th quarter, BC marched down the field. Inside the 10, at the enclosed end of Heinz Field. In the student section. The crowd got loud. Really into it. We were screaming, banging on seats stomping the ground. It was working. BC got flagged for a false start, the defense was holding on. On 3rd down the defense intercepted a pass!!

Then we noticed the flag. A pass interference call. Automatic first down. Uunnnggghhh. Questionable call away from the play, but what can you do. Again we got loud. BC flagged for another false start. Then on the pass, the defense tipped the pass and it fell into the hands of the BC tight end for the touchdown. Extra point made it 16-13 with about 9 minutes left.

Pitt still couldn't do much. A couple first downs, but then stalling out. The booing was picking up. Lots of fan aggravation. Pitt turned the ball over on downs around mid-field with 2:37 left.

At that point disgust and frustration with the game got the best of me. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I gave up. Along with a few other friends, we got up and headed for the exit. Cursing the coach, and desiring a beer. Many were streaming to the exits. All were pissed. We got back to the parking lot, popped open some beers, and started calling for Walt Harris's head. This loss would be blamed entirely on the coach.

A couple of the guys decided not to wait for the others and got in their car to leave. At that point something finally struck me.

Me: "Hey, where is everybody?"
Lee (Friend still in the lot): "Hey, yeah."
Me: "You don't suppose something goofy happened?"
Lee: "I don't know."

Turn on the car radio to find out the game is in overtime. (How?) Pitt had already scored a field goal, and BC was just given the ball. I run from the car, to intercept the friends leaving. Catch them, and tell them. They do a u-turn. Listening to the game on the radio, BC can't move the ball. They have to try a 39-yarder on a very chewed up field just to send it to a second overtime. They miss! They miss! (Replays later showed that a Pitt defender got a hand on the ball) Pitt wins! 19-16
We awaited the deserved abuse from our friends who stayed. The consensus, though, was that Harris may have saved his job with that win. No one will remember how Pitt almost lost, only that they won.

Wellstone, RIP

I don't know what to say. The politics of this are being covered by bloggers and the mainstream media. It appears that Mondale will take the place in running for the Democrats. Mondale is 74? Anyone else remember 1984 when Mondale was running against Reagan and was trying to make a big deal about Reagan's age?

Still, everything I am reading about Wellstone is lionizing the guy. Fine. I don't know. I know I didn't agree with most of his policy positions. The best take, though came from Lileks (big shock). He also had a paragraph that reminded me of something else.

It surprises some people that he spoke warmly of Jesse Helms. But it only surprises you if you believe that people cannot form personal bonds that find their way around the iron bars of ideology. It’s mysterious only if you’ve never had a three-hour political argument with an old friend that collapsed to silence and sighs, and was restarted when one of you said: so. How are you

I had this sort of conversation with a friend a week or so ago. He lives out in California. We generally stick to baseball, music, and what is happening in our lives. This time the phone conversation got on the subject of politics, Bush, the Patriot Act, civil liberties, Iraq, foreign policy. We agree about some parts but completely disagree on many others. We argued on the phone for over an hour (I completely dried out the food on the grill because of the length of the discussion). I doubt I changed his mind, and I know he didn't change mine. By the end of the discussion, there was a sense of annoyance and frustration with each other's intransigence. Then, just like that it was gone. We were fine again, and I had to take the overgrilled chicken and vegetables inside and explain to the wife that I had been trying to "blacken" the food.

Update: Best of the Web also picks up on the Reagan/Mondale age issue.

Way out there

So I was away for a few days and so much s**t happened. Terrorist stand-off/resolution in Moscow, Sen. Wellstone dying in a plane crash, Angels win the World Series, Pitt won after nearly blowing it. I'll try to get to some of it.


(Copyright © 2002-2005 Chas Rich All rights Reserved.);
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