02.25.10

In Alexander Ovechkin’s Defense…

Posted in General at 11:42 pm by

….perhaps he simply mistook the cameraman for Jaromir Jagr?

02.24.10

Spray It Ain’t So : Scalabrine’s Tan

Posted in Basketball, Sports Radio at 8:18 pm by

CelticsHub.com’s Brian Robb has a stronger constitution than most hoops bloggers, spending his early Wednesday morning chronicling the spray-tan exploits of Boston’s Brian Scalabrine. It seems a local radio outlet challenged Scalabrine to submit to a tanning procedure if they were able to elicit a quarter-million All-Star votes from their listeners.

Hosts Toucher and Rich choose today strategically, knowing the C™s would be playing a nationally televised game tomorrow against the Cavs for Scal to debut his new look. While it was a smart date to choose, there was a lot of anxiety around the trade deadline last week that Scal might be traded, throwing a wrench in the potential bet payoff. Danny Ainge hung onto his prized 11th man, allowing the tanning to go on as scheduled today.

Call me crazy, but I don™t think the tan looks that bad on Scal. In fact, I wouldn™t be surprised to see him do it more often.

McCoy To Attend Combine, Won’t Demonstrate His Most Marketable Skill

Posted in Gridiron at 5:35 pm by

Imagine, if you will, turning up for a piano bar audition and declining an invite to, y’know, play the piano? Applying for a job as a short-order cook but refusing to cook a meal for your prospective employer? That’s sort of what’s happening with former Texas QB Colt McCoy, last seen in public talking about not being able to feel anything in his right arm.

After being KO’d 5 plays into the Longhorns’ National Championship defeat to Florida last month, McCoy has been advised by Dr. James Andrews not to throw any passes at the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine, reports ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Texas’ all-time QB leader in wins and TD passes, “will participate in all other drills at the event”, writes Sir Mort, with McCoy instead choosing to showcase his throwing abilities at UT’s pro day, March 31. Why McCoy is even participating in the meat market combine is hard to fathom, but if he’s able to grip a clipboard in public, that could be sufficient evidence of his future qualifications.

The Most Amazing Thing About Sachin Tendulkar’s ODI Double Century…

Posted in Cricket at 5:32 pm by

….is that someone scored 200 runs and there’s no evidence Oliver Perez allowed any of ’em!

How The Other One Half Of One Percent Lives: Fightin’ McCourts Continue Campaign To Make Wilpons Look Good

Posted in Baseball, Greedy Motherfuckers at 2:50 pm by

If the economic collapse of the last year-plus has given us anything, it’s a crazed and broken discourse, tragically unserious meta-politics, soaring unemployment and crashing faith in the idea of virtuous citizenship. Which, you know, thanks a lot for that. But if it has given us anything else, the economic collapse has provided bleak proof that those of us who felt like we kind of didn’t get it weren’t actually missing anything about the mega-rich solons of the now-smoldering old economy.

Those idiots turning the Lower East Side of Manhattan into a shrieking frat-bumout? Actually idiots, and as bad at their jobs as they were at not-ruining bars. Big-time real estate douches leveling neighborhoods, gobbling up tax breaks and raising identikit glass-dildo condos? Currently broke, towers in foreclosure. Those sage billionaire CEOs with their vague positivism and savvy-rich-dude ebullience? Yeah, they didn’t necessarily know what they were talking about either. What kind of smelled bad but seemed to be working turned out to be both more rotten than we could’ve imagined and totally defective, and those inexplicable millionaires held up as heroes of capital — and who will be again, as long as we labor under the belief that millionaires create jobs, as opposed to the other way around — turned out to be every bit as feckless and crass and venal and deeply mediocre as we could’ve imagined. The economic collapse gave us that, but I’m still not sure these months of disillusionment prepared us for just how terrible Frank and Jamie McCourt — the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers (and LA real estate magnate) and his soon-to-be-ex-wife (above) — actually are. I don’t know that anything could have.

The venality and childishness of their split and the implausible extravagance of their life together has been covered both here and in the less widely read Los Angeles Times — the $600k in salaries paid out to McCourt kids with other full-time gigs, the former Mrs. McCourt’s request for nearly a million dollars a month in spousal support, and so barfily on. In the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik reveals the unsurprising (if still kind of nauseating) fact that the McCourts paid a grand total of zero dollars in state and federal income taxes on their $108 million in income between 2004 and ’09. The secret of their success: creative use of depreciation and refinancing on their assets, very good lawyers, the ability to take Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones’ terrible contracts as tax write-offs, and just generally being pretty awful people:

The tax benefits reaped by the McCourts helped turbocharge their lifestyle. There are eight houses, including four in Holmby Hills and Malibu. The McCourts treated their family and business checkbooks as “largely one and the same,” according to an e-mail from a McCourt executive Jamie filed in court. (Oddly, the e-mail ascribes to her the philosophy of “why have a family business but to support the family lifestyle.”)

…The point is not to begrudge the McCourts these luxuries. The point is to question why we as taxpayers should subsidize them. Jamie asserts that, although the state of Massachusetts is auditing the couple’s personal returns for 2006 (they used to be based in the Bay State), neither California nor the Internal Revenue Service is doing so. This raises another question: Why not?

Can we as taxpayers be confident we aren’t paying more than our fair share? Jamie alleges that for the purposes of the divorce, Frank has manipulated the business accounts to make himself look $670 million poorer than he is. Delivering fake numbers to the IRS is a rather different matter from delivering them to your spouse in a divorce action, but the McCourts structured their business as a stew with a lot of complicated ingredients, which makes it hard to verify that all the tax breaks are fully warranted.

…”Only the little people pay taxes,” [Leona Helmsley] reportedly told a maid. The lesson of the McCourts is slightly different: The little people pay taxes for the big people.

I’ve never been divorced and I’ve never been rich, so maybe I’m lacking some perspective on this. But I’m inspired, queasily, to tip my hat to the enduring Republican rhetorical tack of painting America’s richest people as an oppressed minority beset on all sides by ACORN and ponytailed left-wing college profs and union laborers demanding health care. I don’t know how the hell that works, but I see it surviving even the McCourts, somehow.

02.23.10

Guardian Scribe : Evander’s Couch Time With Dr. Phil Would’ve Been An Unreal Deal

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Boxing at 10:41 pm by

No sooner was Evander Holyfield’s heavyweight bout with Francois Botha scrapped on account of poor ticket sales in Uganda —surely Kamala could’ve helped the undercard? — than the man Charley Steiner once called “the 50th best boxer (in Georgia)” confirmed he and wife no. 3 Candi would appear alongside Dr. Phil to discuss the state of their marriage.  In the considered view of the Guardian’s Keith Mitchell, no good whatsoever would come of this public exchange (and apparently, Holyfield eventually agreed)

While the battering a professional boxer hands out to his wife clearly is no joke, how can anyone take seriously the peddling of supposedly deep psychological problems in front of a retired shrink and a studio full of drooling ghouls, not to mention those hypnotised stay-at-homes who can’t find the remote?

Holyfield (above, right) and Candi could barely contain their lust to join the celebrity queue which leads on to redemption, global rediscovery and rebranding, an exercise in commercial crassness made possible only by the willingness of millions of fools to watch it.

The “Verse of the day” on Holyfield’s website yesterday was: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John, 4:18).

How true. Evander has been so diligent in his pursuit of perfect love down the years he has managed to father 11 children by three different women, driving out fear at a rate that would scare the devil himself.

Slate’s Shafer: Kornheiser’s Hannah Storm-Related Idiocy Is Just Tony Being Tony

Posted in Hate Fuck Radio, Sports Journalism at 7:42 pm by

I think my answer to the question, “What do you aspire to as a writer?” would be something along the lines of “a sinecure.” By which I mean one of those columnist-at-large type gigs where you kind of weigh in as you see fit on what you see fit — not dissimilar to my CSTB gig, really, but maybe with health insurance. I suppose I still write about what I want whenever I can, job-wise, but it’s not a business model I’d really recommend to others.

So it’s with a combination of envy and admiration that I regard Slate’s Jack Shafer, an ultra-crusty libertarian whose charge at the site seems to be to periodically frag long-form journalistic pieces (and the occasional journalist) while functioning as a sort of example for the other folks on staff: “Here,” the staffers might be told, “is an actual-existing contrarian, one of the few purebred examples of the species left in the wild. He flings his excrement, so be careful.” I don’t necessarily love the guy’s work, but after a long career busting his ass for assorted newspapers, it’s hard to say he doesn’t deserve it.

And sometimes, Shafer’s long and grudge-y memory can pay dividends for readers. For instance when he dumps on hilariously pompous New Republic publisher Martin Peretz for his hilarious pomposity (and poor blogging) or, today, when he lays into Tony Kornheiser (above) for being, basically, Tony Kornheiser. GC noted Tony K’s less-than-liberated radio riff on Hannah Storm’s wardrobe last week, and Kornheiser was recently placed on a sort of idiocy sabbatical by the WWL. While Kornheiser’s taking some time off to scream at people in grocery stores, Shafer punches in for one of his occasional columns and delivers a brief history of Kornheiserian jerkery before meandering off in the general direction of a contrarian, ESPN-brass-are-hypocrites-too conclusion. So:

Back in 1990, when I used my media column in Washington City Paper to ridicule Kornheiser’s work in the Washington Post, he retaliated in his Sunday humor column by having a fictional lifestyle psychiatrist say, “Well, the symptoms were so obvious even my imbecile lab technician Shafer, whom we can’t trust with anything more complicated than collecting the urine specimens, could see it.”

In 2000, still working at the Post, Kornheiser got Dave McKenna canned as a Post sports stringer for denouncing, in a Washington City Paper piece, Kornheiser’s essential “meanness.”

In 2005, after Stephen Rodrick gently criticized Kornheiser in Slate, he used his radio show to call for Slate to stop using the freelancer’s work.

In 2006, Kornheiser flipped out when Post Style reporter Paul Farhi panned Kornheiser’s debut on Monday Night Football… On Dan Patrick’s radio show, Kornheiser added, “I apparently got ripped in my own newspaper, the Washington Post, you know, by a two-bit weasel slug named Paul Farhi, who I would gladly run over with a Mack truck given the opportunity.”

…Kornheiser is one of those guys whose ugly side is his only side. But the fact that ESPN has suddenly taken to punishing Kornheiser for being an oozing bag of pus and venom raises more questions about the network than it does about the employee.

Shafer also links to this remarkable David Carr piece from the New York Times, which goes into greater depth on Kornheiser’s vendetta against the very excellent McKenna. Kornheiser will obviously be back on the air, likely without having to apologize and almost certainly unchastened, soon enough. Like Shafer, he’s not someone I imagine I’d really want to spend any time with. But like Shafer, too, he at least seems to be exactly as difficult as his public works suggest. I guess there’s something to be said for that, maybe?