Saturday, July 21, 2007

Weekend entertainment and sports postpourri

Bud Selig joined the crowd that came out to see Barry Bonds. All the commissioner saw was a long fly and an 0-for-4.

Bonds went hitless and stayed put at 753 home runs in the San Francisco Giants' 8-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night, moving no closer to the record 755 held by Selig's good friend, Hank Aaron.

Bonds started the series opener in the city where Hammerin' Hank began and ended his career — and on the 31st anniversary of Aaron's final home run, no less. He hit No. 755 on July 20, 1976, at now-demolished County Stadium.

It would have been fitting to see Baroids tie or break the record in the same city as Aaron, on the same night 31 years later, but alas. Maybe today or tomorrow. Soon enough for sure.

Mark me as neither a Bonds fan nor a hater. Big Head Barry cheated, but so did McGuire, Sosa, Canseco, Palmeiro, et. al. My opinion is that if MLB so despised steroid use then they could have taken action in the last century. But baseball needed big hitters breaking records in the '90's as it struggled to recover from the debilitating players' strike and cancellation of the World Series in 1994.

But back then I thought Ken Griffey Jr. was going to be the greater player of the two, so what do I know?

Because his name is Steve Francis, he's the most intriguing of all the moves (new Rockets GM Daryl) Morey has made in his remarkable offseason. Morey probably can't comprehend that part of the story. He simply can't know how invested fans were in believing Francis and Cuttino Mobley would be part of a third championship.

Francis eventually came to symbolize an organization's failures rather than its successes. Yet his failings were those of a spoiled kid. They were never malicious. So he skipped a flight to see a Super Bowl.

Big deal. Check this week's headlines. Skipping a flight seems almost irrelevant.

Good analysis here by RJ, and it applies to Bonds as well. Neither Barry nor Stevie Not-The-Franchise are firing their guns in titty bar parking lots at 3 a.m. or raising and gambling on pit bulls to kill and maim each other. Selfishness -- even narcissim and self-abuse, for that matter -- is one thing, and commission of actual crimes quite another.

Steve Francis might be very good for the Rockets next year, or he might not.

Have you seen SiCKO yet? Get thee to a cinema this weekend. Michael Moore's got a pretty good deal for you if you do:

And, to show my thanks to all of you who'll go see SiCKO this weekend, I'm going to send one of you and a guest on a free weekend to the universal health care country of your choice! That's right. You'll get to pick one of the three industrialized countries featured in the movie where, if you get sick, you get help for free, no matter who you are. All you have to do is send us your ticket stub (make sure it says SiCKO on it and has the name of the theater and this weekend's date on it -- Friday, Saturday or Sunday - July 20th, 21st, 22nd). Attach the stub to a piece of paper with your name, address, phone number and email and send it to: 'Sicko' Night in America, 888c 8th Avenue, Suite 443, New York, NY 10019. (Yes, you have to use that old 18th century device called the U.S. Postal Service, and it has to be postmarked on or by Tuesday, July 24th). First prize is a weekend in the city of your choice: Paris, London or Toronto. This includes airfare, hotel, meals and, most exciting, a representative from their fine universal health care system who will give you a personal tour so you can see how they treat their fellow citizens. You'll meet people who pay nothing for college and citizens who are in the fourth week of their six-week paid vacation. Oh, and you'll have time to see the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben or whatever they have in Toronto that is old and tall. (If you don't have a passport, we'll pay for that, too!)

I have seen the film twice now, and it makes me nauseous and angry at the same time. It just amplifies my pre-existing queasiness that George Bush's America isn't the country that I grew up in, that my Cuban in-laws emigrated to, that is worthy of being called the greatest nation on Earth.

Our leaders are failing us, and if we don't reverse the trend, then this grand experiment of democracy now 231 years old will end shortly (if it hasn't already). The patient is certainly in critical condition, and might already be brain-dead.

But as that pathetic neoconservative Dennis Miller would say at this point: "Fuck it, who wants pie"?


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