September 21, 2006 - September 14, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
The Time Lord
A terrible coach facing a season so
long he can't count the minutes.
The Philadelphia Eagles ended their 2006 season today in their second
game of the year, losing 30-24 in overtime to a NY Giants team they
utterly dominated for 40 minutes and once led 24-7. That's the problem.
The head coach of the Eagles seems to have mustered a team that thinks
it's only necessary to play football for the first 40 minutes to win. A
perennial problem that has gotten much worse under Reid's command, not
We wouldn't mind so much if we hadn't listened to SportsTalk Radio in
Philadelphia for the past two years or so. Have you ever listened to
Sports Talk Radio in your neck of the woods? Then you know what we're
talking about. A bunch of bored, superior know-it-alls like WIP's
, who seize on trivia, headlines, and a modest amount
of technical knowledge to browbeat their listeners while they miss
everything important in their analysis.
The sports gospel in Philadelphia has had it that the Eagles lost the
Super Bowl by misfortune and self-destructed in 2005 because of one
Terrell Owens, girl wide receiver. (They don't put it that way. We put
it that way. He was never worth the amount of press or angst he
inspired. He's just Barbie in a football uniform, always checking
himself in the mirror on the field and off.)
Today, the Eagles' real problem was on display. The Eagles have talent
and enthusiasm. What they lack is character and adult attention spans.
They were excited, spectacular, and confident for two-thirds of the
game. Then they got bored and wanted to go home or out for a party. The
Giants kept trying to win the game, no matter how bad it looked for
them at the moment. So they finally did. It's no accident that
the Eagles made fools of themselves in the concluding two-minute drill
of the 2005 Super Bowl. They -- including their Yogi the Bear
impersonator head coach -- lack all sense of time. The entire
organization suffers from ADDS. The symptoms are numerous:
The Eagles, including their vaunted
quarterback Donovan McNabb, do not win come-from-behind victories in
the final two minutes a la the Raiders of old, John Elway, or Johnny
Unitas. When they win, it's usually because they're convincingly ahead
by the time the fourth quarter arrives. By the end of 60 minutes, they
can no longer focus sharply on the job at hand.
Under Andy Reid, they've never had a running game. Instead, they pamper
and cling to sporadically brilliant running backs who have never played
a full season in the NFL because their glass limbs doom them to
season-ending injuries -- every year: Brian Westbrook, Correll
Buckhalter, and, before them, Deuce Staley. None of these backs has
ever gained 1,000 yards rushing in a season, and yet Eagles coaches and
fans continue to sing their praises because they can't understand the
strategic value of a durable running back, which is that in 60 minutes
of football it's necessary to give the defense a rest and eat precious
minutes and seconds off the clock by some means other than vain
zero-gain staggers into the middle of the line.
Eagles players, including over-praised all-pros like Kearse, Trotter,
and too many others to mention, get tired and ineffective in the fourth
quarter but never connect that fact with their ostentatiously juvenile
celebrations after individual plays in the first 40 minutes of the
game. They dance, swagger, and engage in elaborate acts of victorious
pantomime even when the outcome is still hugely in doubt, expending
energy they never seem to have when extraordinary last minute heroics
are needed. That's the point at which they crumble and quit. Though he
doesn't celebrate as much, Donovan McNabb is just as bad, because he
gets so caught up in the momentary fun that he can't resist clowning
around to show how "loose" he is -- even
when the game itself is on the line. Elway may have grinned a lot (it
always looked like a rictus to us), but Johnny Unitas and Bobby Layne
never did. Not until the game was won. For that matter, we never saw
Fred Biletnikoff, Jerry Rice, or Jimmy Brown stomping and
grimacing around the field like a clown, either.
Andy Reid insists on calling offensive plays himself, though his grasp
of the relation between offensive strategy and time remaining in the
game is so vague as to be invisible. His team still has no effective
two-minute drill, and he routinely blows all decisions -- pass-run,
punt-play -- in which the clock is a factor. Since football is played
against the clock, this makes him a gross incompetent at his
profession, regardless of any other virtues, including his excessive,
non-responsive humility in post-game press conferences.
Net net. Disaster. Season over.
Here's the big picture for the long-suffering, oh-so-patient and
oh-so-deluded Eagles fans. The Eagles are a mediocre team, Reid is a
loser of a coach, McNabb will NEVER win or even play in another Super
Bowl, and the oh-so-superior sports geniuses of WIP in Philadelphia are
idiots. That goes double for Howard Eskin, who makes a very nice living
indeed doing no work at all and who should have the decency not to talk
down to the credulous fans of Philadelphia like some condescending
Einstein of a sport he clearly knows little about.
Howard Eskin, tin god of mediocrity.
Start booing, Philadelphians. Sit on your hands through the first 40
minutes. Wait for the final 20. Champions are defined by how they act
and how they rise to the occasion THEN. Forget T.O. He was a sideshow
last year, and he's less than that now. If you really want to do
something useful, start demanding that the Eagles do what this
blue-collar town has long been a football loser because it never knew
to do -- get coaches and players who are grown up enough to know the
difference between the big hand and the little hand. And one more
thing: Start demanding that Andy Reid's giant ass be fired today,
because it's going to take some time to get it done whenever you start.
You hear that? Time
your first lesson in becoming a winner.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Death Knell of the
THE REAL THING
not a new idea that Bush's approval ratings seem to have a fairly
direct inverse correlation with gas prices. Let me put that in English.
When gas prices go up, Bush's approval ratings go down, and vice versa.
Even some skeptical lefties have acknowledged the phenomenon, as at this
, where Paul Kedrosky features lots of anti-Bush merchandise
but still grudgingly reprinted this graph back in April of this year:
He clearly wants it to be "spurious," but the image speaks for itself,
with the two curves acting like approximate mirrors of one another. A
serious economist at Heavy
has published analysis of the relationship here
He also suspected that the relation between the two was more complex
and muddy than the graph makes it appear, and he looked for some
additional factor that was causative of both or of Bush's approval
ratings in particular. He hypothesized that month by month reports of
deaths in Iraq might track more closely with Bush's approval ratings,
but they didn't. Then he examined the approval ratings of other key
figures in the administration as well as the ratings of Congress and
the Democrats. Here's what he concluded:
...approval ratings are more likely to
be "caused" by gasoline prices than the war in Iraq. If the Iraq
situation was important to approval ratings then the approval ratings
of the Democrats would be expected to be positively correlated with OIF
deaths as the Democrats consistently speak out against the war, about
bringing the troops home, etc. The fact that the Democrat approval
ratings are following the same pattern as Bush while Bush/Repubs are on
the opposite side of the Iraq issue suggests to this econometrician
that the gas prices are paramount.
Of course, it may yet prove that time will undo the correlation, but
the Democrats who are so certain they are going to sweep to a majority
in the House and Senate should be concerned about this
predicts plunge in gas prices
By Kevin G. Hall
WASHINGTON — The recent sharp drop in the global price of crude oil
could mark the start of a massive sell-off that returns gasoline prices
to lows not seen since the late 1990s — perhaps as low as $1.15 a
"All the hurricane flags are flying" in oil markets, said Philip
Verleger, a noted energy consultant who was a lone voice several years
ago in warning that oil prices would soar. Now, he says, they appear to
be poised for a dramatic plunge.
Crude-oil prices have fallen about $14, or roughly 17 percent, from
their July 14 peak of $78.40. After falling seven straight days, they
rose slightly Wednesday in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange,
to $63.97, partly in reaction to a government report showing fuel
inventories a bit lower than expected. But the overall price drop is
expected to continue, and prices could fall much more in the weeks and
The rest of the article explains why the prediction is more than
pie-in-the-sky theorizing. Investors in oil futures bid up the price of
oil in the expectation of a series of disasters that haven't happened.
Now there's way too much oil on the market, which means prices must go
Does this mean Bush's approval ratings must go up? No one can say. But
the one thing you can be sure of is that every time you fill your tank
with cheaper gas in the time remaining before the election, that slight
grating sound you hear will be Howard Dean, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi,
Harry Reid, and all their patriotic brethren gnashing their teeth in
Drive safely, everybody.
The Friday Follies
in the European news. Something about zero.
It hasn't been a good week for women. Most seriously, Oriana
died. She was brilliant, beautiful, and brave. (Look here
the encomiums I'm not qualified to offer.) The western world will miss
her, and so should the angry feminists who want so desperately to be
considered brilliant and brave, if not beautiful, but they seem a very
long way from understanding the civilizational concerns any superior
intellect should share. For example, this was the week in which Rosie
squawked on national TV that "radical Christianity is
just as threatening as radical Islam." The sheer ridiculousness of this
position... ah, excuse me... ladies coming through... stand aside,
Don't look. Their brothers might have to kill them if you do.
Thank you. Now, where were we? That's right. A bad week for women. They
definitely didn't need this
British-born researcher John Philippe
Rushton, who previously created a furore by suggesting intelligence is
influenced by race, says the finding could explain why so few women
make it to the top in the workplace.
He claims the 'glass ceiling' phenomenon is probably due to inferior
intelligence, rather than discrimination or lack of opportunity.
The University of Western Ontario psychologist reached his conclusion
after scrutinising the results of university aptitude tests taken by
100,000 students aged 17 and 18 of both sexes.
A focus on a factors such as the ability to quickly grasp a complex
concept, verbal reasoning skills and creativity - some of they key
ingredients of intelligence - revealed the male teenagers had IQs that
were an average of 3.63 points higher. The average person has an IQ of
The findings, which held true for all classes and levels of parental
education, overturn a 100 year consensus that men and women average the
same in general mental ability.
One can already hear the women objecting -- strenuously -- although
they will probably be more tactful than a man would be because everyone
knows that intelligent or not, they excel at cooperation and empathy.
That's why Rosie O'Donnell, Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda are starting
their new women's radio network, as we reported yesterday
How did Steinem describe the difference we should expect? "...More
community. It's more about information, about humor, about respect for
different points of view and not constant arguing."
Somebody forgot to let Nancy Grace in on the secret, though. She made
headlines twice this week -- first when her adversarial interview with
the mother of a missing child was followed by the mother's
, and then again when Nancy disavowed
for the unfortunate outcome.
Grace declined to be interviewed
Tuesday but issued a statement by e-mail.
"We feel a responsibility to bring attention to this case in the hopes
of helping find Trenton Duckett, who remains missing. Our goal in our
continuing coverage of Trenton's disappearance is to enlist the
public's help in finding him," Grace's statement read. "While Ms.
Duckett's death is an extremely sad development, we remain hopeful that
Trenton will be found safe, and we will continue to cover the case
until it is solved."
Oh well. Women are mostly more respectful and sympathetic. That is,
except when they're having a really really bad week, like the Dixie
Chicks were apparently having when they were filming their documentary Shut Up and Sing
In one memorable scene, [Natalie] Maines watches
news footage of the president being interviewed about the furor that
followed the singer's on-stage comment that she was ''ashamed the
President of the United States is from Texas,'' which resulted in the
group being dropped from most radio stations, as well as protests and
plummeting sales. ''The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind,''
Bush told Tom Brokaw at the time, adding, ''They shouldn't have their
feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records
when they speak out. You know, freedom is a two-way street.''
After watching this footage, Maines repeats the president's comment
about how the group shouldn't have their ''feelings hurt,''
incredulous, and then says, ''What a dumb f---.'' She then looks into
the camera, as if addressing Bush, and reiterates, ''You're a dumb
You see, ordinarily, Natalie would be more tolerant of the President's
views. If he weren't such a dumb f---. You know. Because women are
really so much peacefuller and not so violent-like. Except for this
week, when we were treated to the story of an attempted contract
A 22-year-old woman was arrested
after authorities say she tried to hire someone to kill another woman
whose photo appeared on her boyfriend's MySpace.com Web page.
Heather Michelle Kane was booked Tuesday for investigation of
conspiracy to commit murder, Mesa Detective Jerry Gissel said.
She was arrested after she met an undercover Mesa police detective at a
grocery store, gave the officer $400 and offered to pay an additional
$100 once the woman had been killed, according to court records.
The records say Kane gave the undercover officer photographs taken from
her boyfriend's social networking Web page of the woman she wanted
killed. She also requested a photo of the woman's dead body.
Golly. That's cold. Several degrees chillier, in fact, than the
reception of Oprah Winfrey's usually warm-hearted audience to the TV
confessions of former NJ Governor Jim McGreevy, this year's recipient of
the Andrew Sullivan Award for most wretched victim of anti-gay bias in
the United States. The story he told was so sad, so candid, and so
pitiful that the Oprah fanatics should have lapped it up and come
pleading for more, but that's
not what happened
opens closet for Oprah but audience icy
Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey spilled his guts to Oprah
yesterday about the years he spent living as a closeted "gay American,"
but Oprah's audience was unimpressed.
Oprah swore the audience to secrecy at the taping of her show, which
airs Sept. 19 - the same day that McGreevey's memoir, "The Confession,"
hits store shelves.
If the reaction of her fans who watched the taping are any indication,
McGreevey's musings - for which he reportedly got a $500,000 advance -
could be a tough sell.
"Not impressed with him or his story," one woman who declined to give
her name said after she left Harpo Studios, the Chicago home of "The
Oprah Winfrey Show."
Another woman was put off by McGreevey - and the subject matter. "It's
not my type of show," she said.
Ladies! Where's the sympathy? (To be fair, there's no way to know if
some or many of these ladies were imported from New Jersey, where
McGreevy's fall has precipitated another cascade of dubious political
maneuverings covered in today's WSJ under the title New
. On the other hand, New Jerseyans have been
begging for things like this to be done to them for years...)
It would be nice to conclude with something positive, but as close as
we could get was a story about the world's biggest baby.
Oh baby! Marie Michel's fifth child was
one for the record books. Michel gave birth to a 14-pound, 13-ounce boy
Tuesday at William W. Backus Hospital.
Backus officials said the newborn _ Stephon Hendrix Louis-Jean _ broke
the 18-year record for the biggest baby ever born at the hospital by 1
pound, 13 ounces. He was nearly 23 inches long.
"He's built like a linebacker," said Dr. David Kalla, who delivered the
baby by Caesarean section.
I mean, this is supposed to be good, right? Women producing huger and
huger American babies? Isn't it? Well, maybe not. I don't know. Maybe
I'm just being influenced by the perverse bit of irony that is somehow
bringing us full circle back to the death of Oriana Fallaci. There's
been a flood of news items out of Europe about the emerging fashion
trend of the size zero model. Britain is thinking about banning
. You can see what they look like at the top of this entry. So,
here in America, our women are giving birth to baby Hulks, while over
in Europe women are dissolving into splinters at just the time cultural
warriors like Fallaci are most concerned their final disappearing act
will be into a burkha. Worse, the Zero Girls are actually abetting the
trivialization of the terror threat in Europe. The photo gallery at the
upper left of this page is part of a fashion spread from Vogue Magazine
in Fallaci's home
It depicts a series of anorexic women being oppressed in various ways
by the security and police personnel who stand between Europeans and
But mere fashion doesn't matter. We established that here at InstaPunk long
. Perhaps Oriana Fallaci would have found the Vogue spread
amusing. Unless she'd find it despicable, insulting, and sick in the
head. Something like the movie
about the assassination of George W. Bush commissioned by "Channel 4's
Liza Marshall, who...said it sets out to examine the effects of the war
on terror." You know. Just like the Vogue pictorial. Or like Rosie
O'Donnell, but a lot thinner.
Forgive us. But it's been that kind of week.