Friday, November 19, 2010

Please hire Wally Backman

Dear Sandy Alderson and the New York Mets National League Baseball Club:

I'd written a painfully verbose entry regarding the ongoing managerial search, but the it has already been analyzed and enunicated upside-down and inside-out by writers far better than I. In a spirit of Amazin' brevity, I'll make the following humble but heartfelt request:

Please hire Wally Backman as manager of the major league team.

Thank You,
-Status Crow

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shotgun!

The Hobbit is coming! The Hobbit is coming! I'm beside myself with anticipation and glee. Peter Jackson's vision for the dwarves, in particular, sounds exciting. Richard Armitage? I never saw it coming. Martin Freeman, however, has all the makings of a perfect Bilbo. As an unabashed Tolkienphile, I couldn't be happier.

PBS is airing a stellar program on my corvid brethren. But "feathered apes"?! Rather, I'd like to think they'd perceive the primates as "furry crows". 

Gore and Wilder, part deux? I'm hoping the recent detente leads to Slik producing the next Depeche Mode album. His work was just as integral to their success as Martin's songwriting and Dave's delivery. This guy wanted to make a clapping joke at Fletch's expense, but I kept him denied.

How does one smuggle an elephant? You'd think at some point the security checkpoints would catch on to the bulging mass beneath your overcoat. Or not.

Have you ever called "shotgun" before entering an automobile? I'd always wondered about its origins (the term, not automobiles). It seems rather simple now:

On a stagecoach, the man who'd sit alongside the driver carried a shotgun. This meant, of course, that he was usually the first one to die. In similar ignominy, it's also a term for consuming alcohol from a non-manufacturer approved hole. Why anyone would find this beneficial eludes me. Does it really get you inebriated more quickly? Are you really that pressed for time?

If you're anything like me (which you're thankfully not, trust me), you usually wipe off the can lid so as not to get the rat urine in your mouth. But shotgunners imbibe directly from the unsanitized can itself, which is surely just as leptospirotic. Don't believe me? Look at every last video here and watch all the vermin pee-lickers for yourself. To top it all off, they open the can by the tab anyway in order to drink from their makeshift hole. That's like crawling through your car's tailpipe to get to the front seat (where you'd then exclaim, "Shotgun!", as a matter of course).

Something else that's been playing on my mind as of late are microwaves. In true Food-A-Rac-A-Cycle-like fashion, we put nourishment in this magical and ubiquitous little box, press some buttons and partake in mere minutes. But what's going inside? It's always been fuzzy to me. Does it heat its contents with radiation? Is there a miniature nuclear reactor in my kitchen? It's actually pretty thrilling to think of a tiny Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flitting about a 1/1500 scale Natanz facility inside there, vehemently refusing to cook anything kosher.

The reality, as is often the case, is far less scintillating:

Microwaves cook via with electromagnetism, not radiation (and please feel free to click here for some fitting electro-accompaniment, since learning about microwave ovens was probably not on your list of exciting things to do today).

The actual microwaves oscillate at a frequency of 2.45 Gigahertz. This flurry of molecular activity heats the moisture in your fare, which in turn heats the molecules all around them. If you're enterprising like me and zealously pursue meaningless ventures (like this, for instance), you'd also know that 2.45 Gigahertz is therefore unused in the communication spectrum. This means, of course, that you can run to your local Radio Shack, spend a few bucks, assemble a 2.45 Gigahertz receiver and be the first one on your block to own a Status Crow Microwave Oven Detector™! 

Heck, if Snuggies can sell like hotcakes, then why not? I'm still convinced the entire backwards robe phenomenon is due to product overrun, by the way. Imagine a grizzled, cigar-chomping textile executive barking into the phone, "All right, boys, we gotta million-unit surplus on our hands and it has to move by Christmas. If you got any ideas - and I don't care how @#$% stupid they are - now's the time."

Speaking of hotcakes, when was the last time you ordered some, only to be told that the establishment had sold out? It's never happened to me. Ever. Is this due to market correction, i.e. the hotcake industry realized they desperately needed to increase production, or is something far more sinister afoot? The hotcake lobby, just as I'd always expected, may very well be the unseen hand.

Totally random tidbit of the week: Sacha Baron Cohen is a Cambridge history graduate. His younger brother, Erran, is also quite an accomplished artist. Very nice!

I was going to PhotoShop that Borat picture into a graduation ceremony, but I would've felt disingenuous. Why? Because I still use MS Paint for everything. Hey, sue me - I stick with things that work. I have the same baseball mitt from when I was 15 years old. My friends call it "lettuce", since that's how thin it's become (and that was ten years ago). I also have the itch to set up a music workstation again, but I was behind the times when I did so in 1998. Do you know how hard it is to find an affordable IBM 486 with DOS?

I recently sent a short thank you note to Vince Clarke via Twitter for shamelessly lifting samples off his "Lucky Bastard" CD in 1998. Better late than never, right? He kindly re-friended me after I'd unceremoniously dumped him during Fauxmar Minaya's death throes. I can't imagine him actually listening, but now I know how Roy Batty felt upon encountering Eldon Tyrell.

My so-so songwriting and incredibly poor recording can be endured here. It's a poppy, ambient and meandering song with but one lyric throughout:

"Shotgun!"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You say Muq-TAY-da, I say Muq-TAH-da

You say al-SAY-dr
I say al-SAH-dr
Muq-TAY-da
Muq-TAH-da
al SAY-dr
al-SAH-dr

Wait, hold the phone. What the fedayeen is going on in Iraq? Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Mahdi Army, is once again aligned with Iraqi president Nouri al-Maliki. Yes, this is the same Iranian funded, trained and abetted group who've wrought havoc since 2003. Death squads. Kidnappings. Car bombings. I.E.D.s. Killing coalition troops. You know what they say about friends like that...

I'm aware that the ongoing war against the global caliphate is a "fluid" affair, but some aspects are entirely unpalatable. There were no pacts with the Waffen SS or kamikazes during the last world war; why they're required in this one confounds me. Total war, total victory.

When our chum al-Sadr returns from Qom, he should be wisked aboard a C-17, flown to Andrews and escorted to Arlington. He can then visit the graves of  every last American soldier he's slain. That's to say, if he's able to properly locate them. Just how reprehensibly heartless are we to those watching our walls? Between this and the treatment afforded our returning wounded, it should be our National Shame. As an aside, if this is how government directs healthcare, I want no part of ObamaCare.

"The Ninth Gate" didn't receive nearly the acclaim it deserves. I'm no Polanski connoisseur, but this gumshoe noir-meets-"The Omen" offering is one of my favorites. It makes me ponder a sequel, as is my way. "The Tenth Gate", perhaps? Horrid. Without further ado, I now bring you the 10 worst sequel titles of all-time (with a little embellishment for good measure):

10. "Grumpier Old Men"
9. "Ishtar II: The Reckoning"
8. "Speed 2: Cruise Control"
7. "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde"
6. "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever: 2: The Reckoning"
5. "The Reckoning. From Justin to Kelly"
4. "2 Fast 2 Furious"
3. "Feardotcom: Layer 2" (this one's for the OSI model afficianados)
2. "Plan 10 From Outer Space"
1. "I Still Maintain That I'm Well Aware of Your Actions and Their Subsequent Consequences Last Summer"

Speaking of gumshoes, is there a program on television any finer than HBO's "Bored To Death"? It is brilliance in Brooklyn, and the rapports between Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis are equal parts wackiness and warmth. Unlikely friendships can also be the best, after all, and not many shows leave you laughing hysterically one moment and tearing up the next.

As for the rest of my Sunday evenings, the dialog in "Boardwalk Empire" is daring and the cast superb. Just south of the border, Kenny Powers' redemption continues to unfold - and implode - in "Eastbound and Down". My only lament is the absence of "Rome". I can't help but wonder what horizons await Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo.

Word of The Week: Gluttony
glut-ton-y:[gluht-n-ee] - noun
Origin: 1175-1225; ME glotonie, glutonie
Definition: Drinking an entire ramiken of crème brulée before placing it in the refrigerator to cool
I was reading the April 12th New York Post (don't ask) and came across a little blurb by correspondent S.A. Miller. In it, Hillary Clinton referred to a new U.S. policy regarding the restriction of use of atomic weapons against non-nuclear states who are in compliance with the NN-PT. Isn't that like being the only gunfighter at a knife fight, getting stabbed and then trudging off in defeat? Don't get me wrong, there's something to be said for stoic, Gary Cooper-esque restraint (especially when it comes to thermonuclear weapons), but not at the expense of one's life. Why remove the deterrent?

If there's a better pitcher than Cliff Lee right now, my name is Oliver Perez. It's astounding to think that without the bullpen meltdown in Game 1, the Rangers could be on the verge of sweeping the team whose name shall never be mentioned here, ever. It's another long winter in Queens, but if Texas G.M. Jon Daniels' mom has any say about it, spring may come a little sooner than expected.

In other pan-Islamic news, Hamas has kindly given their approval for the Ground Zero mosque (the church and temple near the Ka'aba must have met some construction delays). Osama bin Laden is not only alive, he's comfortable. One can only hope that The Great Satan has special operations well underway inside Pakistan, in conjunction with the ongoing missile and drone strikes. It does make me wonder, however: how did the people whose federation represented the innate and eternal liberty of mankind come to embody its ultimate personification of evil?

Past is indeed prologue. In fact, cassette tapes are the new vinyl. I'd recently retrieved mine from my old garage and I've had a blast giving them a listen. You would have thought I'd asked the stupefied Target employee for a Beta player, though.

It amazes me how quickly and clearly musical the memories return. The black tape with a torn label? I instantly remembered it was Erasure's "Chorus" album. The white one with faded writing, "Rock Around The Clock" by Telex. I even found a collection old demos I'd written, recorded and will gladly share here. With enough cajoling, of course.

Monday, September 27, 2010

“I can believe anything, provided it is incredible.”

Fasten your seatbelts, my loyal murder. I've the usual amount of  miscellanea stewing about my head and, like oil, can only keep it contained for so long. Speaking of the bubblin' crude (Texas tea... oil, that is), Kevin Costner pitched a $900 million clean-up venture to Congress. Who knew? The next thing you know, Stephen Colbert will be addressing the same body on immigration issues.

My fake Twitter account, while named one of the funniest out there, ran its course awhile ago. How many times can you end a thought with, "know what I'm sayin'", know what I'm sayin'? By all accounts, Omar Minaya seems like a great guy who will land squarely on his feet when the Amazin' season mercifully concludes. I still believe the deadline inaction in '07 and '08 were disastrous, but those painful collapses will make the inevitable World Championship all the sweeter.

In the spirit of his pending fate, I've taken to firing all of my followers. The last one standing will be named my successor, should he or she want to or not. Perhaps they will have better luck than I working for Fake Fred Wilpon.

I'd like to thank everyone for enduring my Fauxmar ramblings, and I'm flattered to have been followed by the likes of David Lennon, Sweeny Murti, Jim Duquette, Rotoworld, Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon and Vince Clarke. Yes, the Vince Clarke. I don't usually get verklempt about fellow humans, since "we all bleed and we smile", but this is different. He's been a hero of mine for over twenty years and expertly provided the soundtrack to my life. That's pretty heady stuff, and I'm very eager to hear his new Erasure and Audioscape work.

NPR is hosting a writing contest here and I'm considering giving it a shot.

Per New York Daily News writer and noted Phillies fan Andy Martino, Oliver Perez is considering winter ball in Mexico. [Forego good taste and insert Juarez quip here]

I received a letter from a friend the other day. In the mail, handwritten. There's something to be said for that, and people don't do it much anymore. Take a couple minutes out of your busy day and scrawl a few lines of affection, encouragement or interest. You'll truly make someone's day.

Autumn is here and the Appalachian Trail is calling. When I look at how much I've yet to complete, I feel a pang of discouragement. Then I remember that it's not about finishing, it's about doing. Should I never summit Katahdin on my own power, my ashes will via someone else's. Win-win.

I was asked recently what church I attend. I've been standing at a crossroads of late, unsure what to believe but at peace with the process. It's a lifelong journey, after all, and I certainly don't think and feel now as I did at eighteen. Why should matters of faith be any different?  But from what is Christian faith derived? "Trust your gut", sure-as-shite platitudes aren't enough. Anything less than an honest, direct analysis is, well, dishonest. You'd be half-fooling yourself and a full-tilt hypocrite to those around you. Faith, my friends, flows from a single well:

Information.

You didn't wake up one random day with water turned to wine. Someone told you, just as someone had confided to them. To quote Heather Locklear from the 80's Fabergé commercial, "And so on, and so on, and so on..."

When you reach the end, you come to the Bible. That's normally enough for some and the quest ends there. But why is this book, this cauldron with a hundred different cooks, so blithely accepted as the terminus of the trail?

Belief, based entirely on the letters therein. Do not question its formulation, ever, for you risk sentencing your eternal consciousness to a lava flow. That's like getting charged $700 for lunch at McDonalds and actually paying it. What the hell was on the bill?

Furthermore, how can I in good conscience accept divine truths from the same flesh and blood who also produced the Malleus Maleficarum, a flat earth, the promulgation of slavery, inherently evil babies, the Inquisition, the institutionalized torture of children and terracentrism? If the Church was your doctor, you would have have sued him for malpractice years ago. In fact, has their ever been an earthly institution more pervasive, bloody, cocksure and incontrovertibly wrong than the Catholic Church?

Again, I would be entirely devoid of integrity if I didn't ask these questions. I've no malice towards Catholicism and, while I do appreciate the foundations it laid within me, my search for truth goes on. If eternity is truly at stake, does it not behoove me to be thorough, even impolitely so? Just as Baldwin told Balian:

"You see, none of us chose our end, really. A king may move a man, a father may claim a son. But remember, that even when those who move you be kings or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God you cannot say, "But I was told by others to do thus", or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice. Remember that."
I had been under the impression that the initial Turkish soirée had officially codified the Bible, but was proven pleasantly wrong. Apparently it was already accepted as whole at the time, so let's roll up our virtual sleeves and keep digging. In A.D. 170, the Muratorian Canon was settled upon. As evidenced by the link, this initial collection was flawed. Clearly, either the Infallible was having an off day, or those citing their attunement to His will were receiving some interference.

In a telling aside, it took them a paltry 217 years after the death of Christ to almost agree that the Torah was, in fact, divine and unworthy of their refinement. How nice.

The subsequent councils of Laodicea, Hippo and Carthage later finalized the Catholic Bible. But what of the excluded works? How could they question the legitmacy of these texts when those they'd accepted weren't even written during Jesus' time?
Again, the same guys who believed in compulsory celibacy and forbidding women to bathe were acting as heaven's gatekeepers. However gauche it may be of me, I must humbly take exception.

The myriad Apocryphal works, Nag Hammadi texts and Qumran discoveries are worthy of an entry all their own, so I'll start wrapping things up. Protestant friends, don't think you're getting a free pass, either. How can your churches claim a "truthier Truth" when your Bible has the same roots? An apple further down a broken branch is no less spoiled. While questioning these things feels like sitting on the jury of my own trial, it's fulfilling to take an honest and active approach to my faith.

Random Aside: Regarding the aforementioned "Information", I'm amazed at how our era is called the Information Age. I'd contend that the true epoch of information was thousands of years ago. Sans any routers, switches, CSUs, fibre optics, electricity (debatable) and in most cases even the written word, the messages of countless religions have been carried across millennia. I'm not going to throw my computer out the window, but faith is an equally powerful medium indeed.

In closing, let's revisit the esoteric. Some researchers believe the pyramids of Giza may have been power plants. A series of routes called ley lines emanate from such sites, with periodic obelisks along the way. Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Go outside. This is a tall order for some, I know, but trust me on this one. It'll be fun! Find a power tower, like the one on the right. Go to its side and look at its profile. What do you see?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Money isn't everything, Mortimer."

Ya' know how you can put a player in centerfield and they just don't "flow" like a centerfielder?

*cough* Shawon Dunston *cough* 

Cody Ross is not that player. I loathe the little @#$%er, don't get me wrong, but you gotta give credit where credit is due. San Fran just plucked him off waivers from the Fish, so now I don't have to invite him into my living room nineteen times a summer. Thank the Lord for small mercies.

Former Toronto Blue Jays G.M. and hand-powered Slavic blood drinker J.P. Ricciardi is now doing ESPN's "Baseball Tonight". Also, our old friend didn't get the Miami gig, but Gammons has him pegged for the soon-to-be-vacant Amazin job.

I'd gotten my hopes up for a meaningless late-September Marlins-Cardinals series, if for no other reason than Valentine can make even the micro-meddling Tony LaRussa look disinterested. The cat-and-mouse these two would play despite being mathematically eliminated would be a joy to behold.

*cough* Howard Johnson *cough*

Wait, isn't that Buck Showalter in the picture? He got the Baltimore job. I swear, it's like Peyton Place trying to keep track of all these managers-in-waiting. Speaking of which, Wally Backman still gets my vote. When the Mets won it all in '69, the last out was made by Baltimore second baseman Davey Johnson. Davey, of course, led the '86 squad to an incredible finish over the Red Sox. Boston Second baseman Marty Barrett made the last out in that series, but since he's not in contention, the honor would rightfully defer to the opposing keystoner, right?

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the current Mets' second baseman. He, Ollie and Beltran, all partners in the Flushing Axis of Evil, skipped a team outing to visit wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital. I think that alone says it all, but the irony is not lost on me:

Fred Wilpon has spent a fortune replicating the Brooklyn dreams of his youth, but gets angry when his players act like dodgers.

General Petraeus is pleading with that Florida church to not to burn Korans, lest it upset Muslims. I find this to be remarkable timing, since the Manhattan mosque continues to ruffle so many feathers. If sensitivities were of such importance in one direction, then why are they being overlooked in the other? What of burned flags, chants of "Death to America!", beheadings, kidnappings and countless other transgressions which offend American sensibilities?
   
 How about this: Have everyone switch sides for a day. Trading places and what have you. Like a player not meant to man centerfield, my feet are firmly planted on both sides of the fence. 

 *cough* Juan Samuel *cough*

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"History is the lie commonly agreed upon."

Alas, I have returned! My summer hiatus complete, I am now the proud holder of a degree. Granted, it took approximately 5½ Presidential administrations, but like Francoeur getting sprung, it's better late than never. I don't think he's going to get much playing time in Texas, however. He should keep in mind Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the last Frenchy to be buried in Arlington.

So much has transpired this summer that I'm not even sure where to start. The Amazin's, who were two games out at the break, are now broken beyond all understanding and watchability (Wally Backman, please pick up the white courtesy phone). Vince Clarke is collaborating with Martin Gore, who's also returning Alan Wilder's stunning Royal Albert Hall gesture. Autumn is just around the corner, which means some extended time on the Appalachian Trail is in order. With Georgia now a notch on my belt, I'm eager to finally adventure north through The Smokies.

In the latest installment of Life Is Stranger Than Fiction™, Jason Statham of "Transporter" fame evidently took a page out of Jenna Elfman's book and appeared in Erasure's "Run To The Sun" video. Who knew?


I came across this and found it an interesting aside to the ongoing Manhattan mosque debate. Then it really got me thinking: In the popular movie "National Treasure", Ben Gates' grandfather confides to him, "The secret lies with Charlotte." Was it, in fact, the ship encased in the tundra? Was it a reference to the North Carolina city, or perhaps even the queen for which it's named? I'll come back to this in a bit.

I've been fixated on the Crusades of late, and the Knights Templar in particular. The History Channel has been showing some incredible pieces on them, from "The Templar Code" to "Holy Grail in America". This alternate take on our past intrigues me to no end. In the latter program, the Newport Tower and Kensington Runestone are covered in great detail.

The tower, which incidentally was owned by Benedict Arnold's great-grandfather, contains compass points. One of these aims directly at:

B. Royal Albert Hall
C. Kensington
D. All of the above

If you guessed anything other than "C", boo!

With my rapacious interest in esoterica now fully engaged, I decided to dig a little deeper. Where else did the tower point, and to take it even further, what points lay beyond those points? For instance, repeaters are often used in telecommunications to propagate a signal. Why couldn't the Kensington Runestone have had a similar purpose? Not for communications, per se, but as a waypoint.

Using Google Maps, I plotted the two points, then connected them with a line extending well beyond each. I was working feverishly. Jerusalem bells were ringing, Roman cavalry choirs singing. Might I find the Grail's location? The Ark of The Covenant hidden in plain sight? John Maine?












The eastern line extends towards north Africa, while the one from Kensington cuts through the Pacific northwest. The most intriguing aspect of the this westerly course is what lies just beyond the British Columbian coast. See that tiny landmass touching the red line? Wait for it... wait for it...

It's the "Land of The Watchmen", a.k.a. The Queen Charlotte Islands. Much like the noted Oak Island mystery, could this remote locale be home to some long-lost treasure?

For the sake of context, the Prince Rupert town referenced in the article was named for this 17th century soldier and scientist, among many other things. His great-grandmother hailed from Mecklenburg-Schwerin, just as Queen Charlotte. The Hecate Strait separating the islands from Prince Rupert? Named for The Goddess of The Crossroads, the "Queen of The Night", to whom the power to control the seas and storms was granted.

As for Rupert, he was also a sailor, you see, and quite an accomplished one at that. A bonafide Admiral, even. In short, Prince Rupert was your quintessential Renaissance Man, and his ports of call seem to be in the vicinity of the eastward line emanating from the Newport Tower.

I'd better end there. What does all of this mean? I have no earthly idea, but should I turn up dead (or even worse, at Citi Field), at least you'll know why. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Entry About Nothing

This just in: Angel Pagan was pulled for a pinch hitter in the 7th last night. Gary and Keith showed a replay of him wincing in his prior AB and guessed it to be a back issue. Security tapes of the tunnel leading from the Mets dugout to the clubhouse told an entirely different story, however.

A masked, skulking figure wearing a Carlos Beltran jersey can clearly be seen ambushing Pagan with a lead pipe. When reached for comment, team spokesperson Jay Horwitz declined to comment.

R.A. (short for "Rick Aguilera") Dickey? Only the Mets, I swear. There's a little bit of that old magic floating around this team and it's a joy to behold.

For a promotion night, the Mets should consider blue dickeys emblazoned with an orange "R.A." on the front. 96° or not, I'd wear mine proudly.

Seinfeld was incredible in the SNY booth. It's so refreshing to see his love for the Amazins. He openly professed his love for the fans, and how cool was it of him to stand up to Lady GaGa on our behalf?

Fredi Gonzalez got canned by the Fish. I shared an elevator with him in Philly a couple springs ago, but it wasn't until after I'd exited that I realized who he was. Had I known, I would have made a slightly different impression on him. As in, my knuckles on his nose.

Why all the violence, you ask? Fredi led a mediocre team that somehow marshalled the resolve to destroy the two summers prior to The Great Morass. It made me wonder, "If these Marlins can play with such passion and power now, what the @#$% were they doing in the first 161 games?" So, in Fredi's honor, I bring you the Top Elevator Scenes of All Time™.

Our old friend is apparently leading the race as his successor.

There's no plague of frogs on the horizon for an already embattled Ottawa. That's refreshing.

Does anyone else recall Morgan Freeman on the kids show "The Electric Company"? His "Through The Wormhole" series on the Science Channel has been extraordinary, to say the least. Granted, the man could do voice-overs for paint drying and make them compelling, but retro-causality? Quantum non-locality? Forget the scientific possibilities - I'm going back in time and removing my Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sorry!

I feel like I should clarify some of my remarks from two entries prior. One particular remark was callous and unsporting, and for that I am truly sorry. The world is fraught with enough negativity and hardly needs me piling on. I can understand why my comment offended the way it did, and I hope you'll trust that my discretion and good nature will prevent any further indignations. It's a matter that is obviously close to people's hearts, and for good reason.

That is why I wish to express my sincerest apologies to Rosie Greer. I didn't mean to disparage your movie in such a curt, out-of-hand fashion. Your edgy, half-erudite, half-Dolemite rapport with Ray Milland paved the way for the later seminal works of Gibson-Glover and Murphy-Akroyd.

"The Thing With Two Heads" stands as one of the finest horror movies I've ever seen, and the social responsibility angle placed it at the vanguard of the genre. Mea culpa, mea culpa.

This Just In...

STATUS CROW BREAKING NEWS ALERT

Mexico City, MEXICO (SC) - The Mexican Consulate contacted the U.S. State Department early this morning with an unprecedented gesture of international goodwill. Mexican President Felipe Calderón personally delivered a refined proposal first put forth by Status Crow, an Internet "weblog" focused on international relations, Tolkien and baseball. And bacon. And Ridley Scott movies.

In the initial piece, the sardonic, sentimental, inquisitive, mischievous and tender writer outlined a bold initiative that would utilize the floodwaters inundating Nebraska to extinguish the wildfires in Arizona. Clearly impressed with the anonymous endeavor, President Calderón immediately drafted an amended proposal and offered unlimited material support to what could be the largest project of its kind since the completion of the Erie Canal.

"By extending the canal west towards California, you will be able to draw from the vast resources of the Pacific Ocean," stated Calderón spokesperson María Loret de Dóriga. "The great nation of Mexico has also offered to dig eastwards and link up with the Mississippi River, which will then connect to the Great Lakes. From the shores of Lake Ontario, the canal work will then resume eastwards and finally terminate with great fanfare at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD."

Even the traditionally ruthless Mexican drug cartels have praised the effort, citing the potential to stabilize Mexican-American relations and "deliver water for wildfires with relative ease to so many of the people in the major urban centers who need water to fight wildfires." (sic)

Arizona elder statesman John McCain weighed in with an umcomfortable, often rambling six-minute retort that can be viewed here.

To further convey his nations eagerness to proceed, Calderón went so far as to order 27,532,814 Mexican "labor detachments" to the original southern terminus of the proposed waterway. While there has been no official response from the Obama Administration, confidential sources have suggested that the President was amenable to the idea, especially if it marginalizes Israel in some way.

“Only one man ever understood me, and he didn't understand me.”

I'd like to devote our latest entry to synthesizing Hegelian solutions solving some pressing problems.

Forget BP. To say the company has bungled the effort in the Gulf is an understatement. Whenever I, one of the small people, see their logo or one of their woefully out-of-touch representatives, I hear calliope music. 

Solution: With oil still leaking from the uncapped well, clean-up operations should be transitioned to the pope. Unlike BP, Catholic leadership has a long and storied tradition of covering things up.

Nebraska is flooding. Arizona is on fire (or, to paraphrase this AP story, Flagstaff is 90% @#$%ed). Solution: Illegal immigrants can start digging southwest. The trench would re-route the Nebraska floodwaters to extinguish the Arizona wildfi-- er, no. There are no illegal immigrants in Nebraska.

The U.S. is indirectly paying the Taliban to protect convoys carrying supplies to U.S. troops tasked with fighting the Talilban. That's about as decipherable as Afghan president Hamid Karzai working as a Unocal advisor on a potential Caspian pipeline, Bush giving the Taliban $43 million before 9/11, bin Laden denying responsibility for the attacks, Bush declining to take him into custody, and then vowing to capture him dead or alive.

Solution: Recall the Mars Rover and send it to Afghanistan. Minerals or no minerals, maybe it can determine exactly what the @#$% is going on over there. It needn't be the "Saudi Arabia of Lithium", either. I'd happily settle for "Liechtenstein of Getcherass Into The 21st Century".

Carlos Beltran is getting closer to returning. But what of Angel Pagan? He deserves a better reward than being the odd man out. Platoon with Frenchy? Trade one of 'em for Cliff Lee? If you deal Pagan and Beltran needs microfracture surgery the very next day, who plays center? And don't say Gary Matthews, Jr., because Cincinnati coveted his lack of expertise.

Solution: Graft Pagan and Beltran together, a la the movie that freaked me the hell out as a kid. Not the one with Rosie Greer, the other one.

While we're on the subject, did you know there's a "Red Dawn" remake in the offing? It's a shame Patrick Swayze can't do a cameo, but maybe Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Gray and/or Lea Thompson are available. Speaking of which, I can't believe I missed the "Dirty Dancing" and "Outsiders" connections all this time. Remember the Mark Texierieaierierra lookalike who betrayed them? His real name is Darren Dalton, which is perilously close to Darren Daulton.

Moral of the story? The Oracle of Bacon, of course.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Usual: Hawking, Waterloo, Abu Ghraib and Dick Dastardly

I guarantee you that I can beat you in a game of chess played on a Candyland board. That you might even take me up on it is the strangest aspect of it all.

In the distant future, the Statue of Liberty will be spoken of alongside the Colossus of Rhodes (whose face has been removed, so as not to offend any other wonders of the ancient world). Disinterested schoolkids will be teeming about the Jefferson Memorial someday, flitting through the colonial overlords "friendly tourists" on nifty little antimatter propulsion packs.

My belated point? The United States of America will be held in the same esteem as Rome, Athens and every other light held however briefly high in this otherwise darkened state of being. When each of those had to defend their ideals or convey their might, they did so against a known enemy. They opposed men who bore flags, wore uniforms and otherwise represented their faction. How quaint.

Leonidas' foe was not uneasiness. Wellington and von Blücher did not triumph over anxiety. Similarly, America should not be at war with terror. We are at war with radical Islam. You can preface the creed with whichever qualifiers you prefer, but the root remains the same. Its adherents stated objective is one-world government centered on Sharia law, with anything outside of this 7th century scope deemed unacceptable. Forget global warming or a coming Ice Age - the Dark Ages are at the gates and pounding ever louder.

Wait, strike that. The enemy is not simply at our gates; 2,976 innocents would tell you that the walls have already been breached.

Who was the U.S. to retaliate against? Hani Bleepin' Hanjour wasn't exactly wearing his Saudi dress blues aboard Flight 77. Boasting a constitution, existing as a republic, valuing the rule of law and whatnot, America has been compelled to conduct itself appropriately (Lynndie England notwithstanding). The enemy, meanwhile, wears no uniform and has no borders.

The answer? Outsource a slice of the wrath. Operating on behalf of private entities, the contracted combatants would not be bound by the same restrictions as U.S. soldiers. The gloves were indeed coming off and they would beat the enemy at their own game.

While unsettling on the surface, it is also reassuring. You don't fight the enemy's war, you make them fight yours. Why should the U.S. shoehorn its military operations into the framework laid by Al Qaeda (i.e., chess/Candyland)? As for "disproportionate response", I don't care if they strapped the U.S.S. Nimitz to a Predator drone and wiretapped Khalid Shaikh Mohammad's goddamn hot plate - I'm just glad they finally caught the bastard.

On a sidenote, the Status Crow correspondent we may or may not have dispatched to find Khalid's boss ran into some red tape. Allegedly.

At the end of the day, I'm just happy for the opportunity to believe what I wish, and maybe even appreciate a nice calf or neckline along the way. However soldiers wish to affiliate themselves to ensure this for me is as pertinent as, well, soccer.

There. I beat the horse well into rigor mortis.

Speaking of death, John Maine's right arm made the Times' obits today. Omar just sent Mejia back to Bingo to start again and Parnell got the call from Buffalo.

The standings struck me as odd. Not because the Mets are somehow in second place, but because the game has changed so much from when I was a kid. It's actually pretty surprising, and that's without including the sheer number of Amazin' uniform iterations. I'll spare you the "barefoot, uphill in the snow, both ways" angle and let you judge for yourself:

NL East: --
Atlanta: Formerly in NL West, played at Fulton County Stadium
New York: Played at Shea Stadium
Philadelphia: Played at Veterans Stadium
Florida: Didn't exist
Washington: Formerly the Montreal Expos, played in Olympic Stadium

NL Central: Didn't exist
St. Louis: Formerly in NL East, played at Busch Memorial Stadium
Cincinnati: Formerly in NL West, played at Riverfront Park
Chicago: Formerly in NL East, played no night games at Wrigley Field.
Milwaukee: Formerly in AL East, played at County Stadium
Houston: Formerly in NL West, played at the Astrodome
Pittsburgh: Formerly in NL East, played at Three Rivers Stadium

NL West: --
San Diego: --
San Francisco: Played at Candlestick Park
Los Angeles: --
Colorado: Didn't exist
Arizona: Didn't exist

AL East: --
New York: Played at the new-old Yankee Stadium (not the old-old one or the new-new one)
Tampa Bay: Didn't exist
Boston: --
Toronto: Played at Exhibition Stadium
Baltimore: Played at Memorial Stadium

AL Central: Didn't exist
Minnesota: Formerly in AL West, played at the Metrodome
Detroit: Formerly in AL East, played at Tiger Stadium
Chicago: Formerly in AL West, played at Comiskey Park
Kansas City: Formerly in AL West
Cleveland: Formerly in AL East, played at Municipal Stadium

AL West: --
Texas: Played at Arlington Stadium
Los Angeles: Formerly called the "California Angels"
Oakland: --
Seattle: Played at the Kingdome

What does it all mean? Obviously, the 2010 AL and NL Championship Series will consist of Oakland vs Boston and L.A. vs. San Diego. You heard it hear first! In other news...

"The Hobbit" has found another director.

Depeche Mode is being given the stage treatment.

I have interesting competition for Norah.

Wacky Races would make for an incredible big screen remake of a 1960's cartoon (in other words, please keep the Wachowski Brothers as far away from it as possible).

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Time waits for no man."

Orbiting with the rest of the crew is splendid, don't get me wrong. A little solitude goes a long way, however, so I'm going to shout this over our public address system and get jettisoned back to Earth for some R&R. The occassional respite in the tower of my secluded nerdery does a soul good.

I don't require much, either. Pipe, television, tea... the fire and the moonlight creating dancing shadows, the summer breeze slipping through the lancets...

Seriously, there really is something to be said for getting away from all the beeping and buzzing of ordinary life. When I'm backpacking, it usually takes me a day to "re-center"; the din of telephones and commutes and value-added synergies gradually gives way to what must be our natural state. Things sound clearer, look sharper, taste better. The plain, boring water I don't drink nearly enough of becomes the sweetest nectar and the most valuable commodity. A bag of buillon worthless, a man's tenacity priceless. It's a mirror, and while I haven't always liked the reflection, the self-reliance, fellowship with the wild and sense of accomplishment are cathartic notches in my belt.  

Voyageurs have always fascinated me. How incredible it must have felt to pack your life into a canoe and float off into the wilderness. No buzzwords, no bull, just a river and some simple songs to accompany the silence along the way. I like that.

"Alouette, gentille aloutette. Alouette, je t'y plumerai." That's French for, "What the @#$% is a 'value-added synergy'?"

Speaking of Voyageurs, "Voyagers!" was one of my favorite shows growing up. It cemented my love for history and I'm still determined to find a working Omni. Lo and behold, ladies and gentlemen, the Internet is like the Library of Alexandria and Sotheby's and Babylon all rolled into one: Look here! If anyone wishes to donate towards this much-needed operational enhancement, please don't. I'll never leave the nerdery.

Didja Know, June Edition: Meeno Peluce, the kid alongside the Brandon Lee-like Jon-Erik Hexum, is Punky Brewster's brother.

Every Gun Is Loaded, June Edition™: Every gun is loaded, always.

Don't look now, but the Amazin's are firing on all cylinders. If you'd told me a few weeks ago they'd be going into the Bronx a half game out of first, I would've thought it crazier than Jerry letting Mejia rot forever in the pen. I'm definitely liking the energy and range of Tejada at second, at it gave me pause last night to see an infield consisting of him, Davis, Wright and Reyes. Wow!

R.A. Dickey is 5-0. Carlos Beltran is getting close. Oliver Perez is not. I like Ike. Angel Pagan has been a revelation. Mike Pelfrey has been an ace. David Wright leads the league in RBIs.  Jerry Seinfeld is reuniting with Keith Hernandez. There's such a positive air about this team right now that if they keep rolling over the Yanks, Tigers and Twins, I'm officially getting my hopes up.

Who am I kidding? It's like George said: "Just remember, Jerry: It's not a lie if you believe it." So, I'll shout it from the top of my tower:

Ya Gotta Believe!!