February 15, 2011 - February 8, 2011
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
. Maybe this entry is a little unfair, and maybe it
isn't. I watched Fox News Sunday
this week and got a bad taste in my mouth. The show began with a panel
of two senators and two congressmen assessing the State of the Union
speech, Obama's current positions on healthcare and the war on terror,
and the nature of the political environment in the wake of the
Massachussetts miracle of Scott Brown. Three of the four were candid
and thoughtful as much as politicians can afford to be -- Senator Evan
Bayh (D) of Indiana, Senator Lamar Alexander (R) of Tennessee, and
Congressman Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin. The fourth was Congressman
Chris Van Hollen (D) of Maryland. Every second he spent on camera was
an utter waste of time. Rote, repeated talking points. Denial.
Outrageous claims of Obama achievement and popularity. Bush bashing.
Class warfare. An almost parodistic string of empty clichees. It was as
if he were appearing on a completely different program from his
congressional colleagues, who endured his remarks with thin smiles and
thinly disguised, uh, embarrassment.
Here's the transcript
And just one representative excerpt:
WALLACE: Let's turn to — I mean, we've
been skirting around it, but let's talk just some politics with a
capital "P" here.
Congressman Van Hollen, as we've said, you're in charge of electing
more Democrats to the House this year. In the wake of the November loss
in New Jersey and Virginia, in the wake of Scott Brown's victory in
Massachusetts, how much trouble is your party in?
VAN HOLLEN: The party's not in trouble, but at the same time we need to
recognize what's on the mind of the American people, which is jobs,
which is why the president and the Congress will be focused on a jobs
acceleration package going forward, why we're going to make sure we try
and pass the Wall Street accountability bill so that we don't have the
taxpayers left holding the bag again in the future if you have bad
decisions on Wall Street.
And the president's made a proposal to make sure that the taxpayer gets
all those monies back at the end of the day, and we're hoping our
Republican colleagues will join us in that.
So I think if we focus on the fundamental issues — and by the way, we
all know health care reform is essential to bring down the deficit over
the long period of time. All my colleagues would acknowledge that. So I
think that if we focus on that, we will be in good shape going forward.
It's always going to be a difficult election year, the first midterm
for a new president. We understand that. But let's focus on the
And if I just could, the president's point was not that the Republicans
don't have any ideas. He pointed out he had incorporated some of them,
like tax cuts, as part of the stimulus bill.
But what he was saying is, "Let's not go back to the same ideas that
got us into the mess to begin with," for example, big tax cuts for the
OK indeed. All this pitiful spin on the same panel where a clearly
Senator Bayh said:
I mean, we can all criticize what
happened last year under the previous administration, but I think the
real question is where do we go from here.
I think a freeze on domestic discretionary spending is a good step in
the right direction. I think the president's pledge to veto spending
bills that go beyond his pledge to restrain Congress is a good step. A
commission to restrain long-term debt, where we have bipartisan
solutions - - I know Lamar voted for that. I voted for that. That's an
John McCain and I last week put out some suggestions, taking some of
Paul's [i.e., Rep. Paul Ryan's] good ideas about how to restrain
So it was a wake-up call, but whether we actually get the message and
do the tough things to implement what needs to be done — that remains
to be seen.
Now here's where the bad taste in the mouth comes in. While these
gentlemen were speaking, Fox News producers were subtitling their
responses on camera with chyrons spelling out their educational
backgrounds. Evan Bayh: B.S., business economics/public policy,
Indiana University; J.D., University of Virginia. Lamar Alexander:
B.A., Vanderbilt University; J.D., NYU School of Law. Paul Ryan: B.A.,
economics/political science, Miami University of Ohio. Chris Van
Hollen, B.A., Swarthmore College; M.P.P.A., Harvard University; J.D.,
Georgetown University Law Center.
Have I made it clear that Van Hollen was the whore on the panel?
Lacking only black lip liner, breast implants, and platinum hair
extensions to establish his real profession beyond doubt. The only
Harvard guy there (apart from a slightly incredulous Chris Wallace). Veritas
Right. What a joke. And so I'm thinking, not for the first time,
Harvard has a lot to answer for in this country. Teddy Kennedy has
finally gone to his reward, whatever
that might be
. But we still have
to account for the fact that many of the, well, blowsiest, most
shameless lying whores in today's federal government have a Harvard
connection: Senator Chuck Schumer, who will say absolutely anything to
get on camera; Congressman Barney Frank, as despicable
an abuser of the public trust as has ever been
elected to the House of Representatives; Senator (ugh) Al Franken, who
nakedly connived to chisel and steal an election he should never have
been allowed to participate in as a carpetbagger and dilettante gadfly;
and Barack Obama, who has never
told us the truth about anything in his brief but incredibly damaging
public career. Veritas.
One element of unfairness is that Harvard isn't the only offender in
this regard. The other over-esteemed Ivy League schools are just about
equally culpable. Timothy Geithner is a cheat and liar from Dartmouth.
Eric Holder is a corrupt political buttboy from Columbia. Keith
Olbermann is a vengeful pseudo-intellectual, semi-psychotic
streetwalker from Cornell. The Clintons are both Yale sociopaths.
Economist-whore Paul Krugman hails from Princeton.
Another element of unfairness is that some of the good guys come from
these schools too. Charles Krauthammer. Bill Kristol. Ann Coulter.
George Will. But nothing can make up for the harm that has been, and is
being, inflicted on us by universities that proclaim their visionary
discernment on matters of character, learning, and enlightenment. If
they're any good at all at fulfilling their educational mission, why do
graduates constitute 40
percent of the top ten "most
" politicians in the United States?
Harvard (and its vassals) has become the Fool on the Hill. Which makes
me sick. And it should make you
mad. I know I am.
The Most Depressing
Music on Earth, Ever
I admit it. Mezzo-sopranos are God.
Mrs. CP was a Russian scholar. We have a running joke about
depressing movies. They can't be depressing enough for her. I prefer,
So this is a hat tip (courtesy of NRO's John
) I couldn't ignore. He has an incredibly depressing book
out called "We
." People have been writing
about depressing music one could listen to while reading his
apocalyptic tome. This recommendation has to do with Alexander Nevsky.
And some incredibly sordid and depressing episode in Russian history
involving genocide, ice, and all-around Russian-ness. The music is
Soviet, crushing, in short -- Prokofiev. Mrs. CP is going to love it to
death. Here's the whole ball of wax
think it's a good thing. The
Russians really are the masters of depressing music, depressing
everything. But we're Americans. We can flirt with the awfullest,
saddest, most soul-destroying nothingness... for a while. Then we buck
up and start believing again. Which is why I urge you to watch this...
...and then move on to the antidote. Which isn't as cheery as it is
just plain vital.
. Always did. Always
will. We are not
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Super Bowl Week
My Favorite Players
myth is that there has never
been a Golden Age. It is a myth.
BACK AGAINST THE POISONING
. I'm still sick and a little off my head
on something called
Mucinex-D, so forgive me if these musings have little to do with the
Colts or Saints. When you're at your most vulnerable, you frequently
fall victim to -- what's the word? -- nostalgia
The great Eagles cornerback Tom Brookshier died last Friday. That's one
factor. Another factor was the Pro Bowl Sunday. Having to sit through
yet another hagiographic ESPN promo for Eagles quarterback Donovan
McNabb, whose greatest (and luckiest) career achievement to date was
getting criticized by Rush Limbaugh. Ever since, the sportscasters have
cut him a break they uniformly deny to every other QB in NFL history
but the inarguably greater Dan Marino: they consistently add McNabb to
their lists of finest active quarterbacks, in the same company with
Brady, Manning, Favre, and Brees, never voicing the criticism -- "He
can't win the Big Game" -- they used to level at even the great Peyton
Manning until he won the Super Bowl a few years ago. (Mark my words:
you'll hear it said about Philip Rivers next fall, but not McNabb.)
While the ESPN know-it-alls assailed ungrateful Eagle fans for dissing the superstar who
tossed his cookies when the NFL Championship was in his grasp, McNabb
was throwing two interceptions (one invalidated by penalty) and killing
earthworms as usual with the ground-pounding artillery he calls passes.
He was also, as usual, grinning and laughing as he trotted off the
field after his three-and-outs. In a game that produced almost a
thousand yards of total offense. Phooey.
So, just to distract myself, I got to thinking. Who are my favorite NFL players of all time?
Forget the money, free-agency, prima donnas, MSM PR, and self-promotion. I'm
not even trying to field an entire team, just to call out the ones who
if you had them on your team would make you an insuperable force even
if everyone else around them was a journeyman.
It also occurred to me that this kind of exercise is a litmus test.
Something about how you approach life. For example, most of my choices
predate the mega-million dollar contracts today's players enjoy. I'm
drawn to the ones who played for pride, the love of the game, victory
more than Maseratis and stock options. I'm obsolete, old-fashioned. But
here are the players I'd want, whether they're really the best or not.
I'm no scholar of football. Just a fan with a bunch of personal
memories. Like many of you. Feel free to nominate your own favorites.
After all, mine are only that.
I think of this part of the game in terms of units instead of
individual stars. Which makes it easier. My defensive line is the
Purple People Eaters of the old, pre-dome Vikings: Page, Eller,
Marshall, and Larsen. Back in the era of the 14-game schedule, they
once held their opponents to 133 points in a season. That's less than a
touchdown and a field goal per game. If memory serves, their
quarterback that year was Gary Cuazzo. Remember him? Exactly. They
weren't big but they were game changers. I recall one Monday night game
in which Alan Page got called for personal fouls on two successive
plays. He proceeded to get all the penalty yardage back on the next two
plays with two unassisted sacks of the quarterback. Sadly, there's no
record on YouTube of this extraordinary set of defensive linemen. I
know there will be those who prefer the "Steel Curtain" of Mean Joe
Green and company, but I don't like the Steelers. Never did. It's that
My offensive line is the unit known as the Redskin "Hogs." You can see
their handiwork in the clip below, where my backup fullback
demonstrates the value of a mohawk + incomparable blocking. I've never
liked the Redskins either, but consistency is the bane of small minds.
It's that simple.
I do have a full complement in this category. As an Eagles fan, I have
to include the last of the 60-minute men, Chuck Bednarik:
As should be obvious by now, I've also always had a soft spot in my
heart for the Colts. Which means my roster will forever have a place
for Mike "The Animal" Curtis (scroll
Not to mention one of my all-time-favorite favorite players. Who STILL
rules so thoroughly that his latest heir
but a shadow of his memory:
The Defensive Secondary
Sorry. I don't remember corners any more than you do. I only remember
free safeties. And this is the one I want. The only 'still active'
player on my list if that tells you anything. I also have his jersey. His Eagles
You only need two. A halfback and a fullback. (With Riggins as backup).
Here's my halfback -- poetry in motion:
And great as he was, he's just a distraction from the one and only
all-time greatest running back in the NFL. I first encountered Jim
Brown on the radio. Eagles announcers kept
describing the fact that it took five men to tackle him and he still
got five yards even when they hit him at the line of scrimmage. I
couldn't even visualize such a man. Until I saw him play.
the greatest football player of all time. Unstoppable.
And he didn't win the Heisman Trophy.
I have a lot of favorite quarterbacks. Roger Staubach
. Kenny "The Snake"
, unless this
(best individual plays ever
, George Blanda
reasons. There's also Peyton Manning
whom I've written about before
If he wins the Super Bowl this year, he'll probably go down in history
as the greatest QB of all time -- but still the second best QB the
Colts ever had. Why? Everything he does was invented
in the first place
guy. The one who
would have dismissed Joe Namath to oblivion if
he hadn't been injured that year. Who? The Main Man.
No, I don't have a tight end. Who cares about tight ends? I have just
two receivers. The greatest breakaway threat ever.
And the greatest
for those of us who are small and slow and invincibly determined to
win. The one and only Fred Biletnikoff:
never EVER saw him drop a pass. Un-fucking-believable.
There you have it. Maybe I'll talk about the 2010 Super Bowl later.
Or not. As I intimated earlier, I'm not entirely in my right mind about
now. I'm rocking back and forth in waves of nostalgia, remembering
professional football the way it used to be, filled with personalities,
giants, villains, and mythic forces of good and evil. I guess it says
something bad about me that I was rooting a lot of the time for the
evil silver and black. Punk has always been a state of mind.
My prediction. America will begin to recover from its current
nanny-state malaise when the Oakland Raiders return to their pinnacle
atop the National Football League. Lake, you keep track of predictions
here. Write this one down.
the faint of heart. The best videos
, for those who only pick and choose, are the ones about Jim
(Numero Uno by far, trust me), and Randall
. Everyone else should watch all
of the YouTube links.