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Friday, October 30, 2009

How bad are the Knicks? 

"Wait, we suck, and our future depends how these two guys hit it off?" --- Knicks Fans

How bad are the Knicks?

It may be difficult to plumb the depths of that question this early in the NBA season. To try to put it in perspective, the Knicks lost last night to a Charlotte Bobcats team that scored a brutally awful 59 points in their season opener against the Celtics. This team beat the Knicks! And they, Charlotte, beat the Knicks despite their star player Gerald Wallace going a putrid 4 for 20 from the field.

The Knicks are so bad that this year's squad will bring back memories of those Knicks teams where Bernard King blew out his knee and Patrick Ewing was first drafted, the very nadir of the franchise, back to back 58 and 59 loss seasons. Worse yet, the Knicks are still being held hostage by the Isiah Thomas debacle. The Knicks might have the worst record in the league this year, but they won't reap the draft day benefits, Isiah traded their 2010 first round draft pick. (Without getting it lottery protected!)

Knicks fans knew this season was going to be a lousy. Donnie Walsh was given leeway to deconstruct the mess that Isiah made with plans to land a big free agent (LeBron) at the end of this campaign. Now even that ray of light appears to depend on whether or not the NBA approves the sale of the New Jersey Nets to a Russian oligarch. The Knicks need LeBron, the second fiddle free agents this off-season are not LeBron's caliber. Chris Bosh, pul-leeze. D-Wade is in LeBron's vicinity on the talent scale, but his body has absorbed years of beating already and the Clarion Content believes his statistical fall-off will be precipitous and not that far distant.

Despite re-signing the dynamic young duo of David Lee and Nate Robinson, the Knicks could be staring the worst record in the conference in the face.

Oy, another tough year in the Garden.

"Let's go Rangers!"

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Screaming toddler booted off plane 

In a decision that must have warmed the hearts of frequent fliers everywhere, Southwest Airlines flight 637 from Amarillo, Texas to San Jose, California returned to the gate and deplaned a screaming two-year old named Adam Root and his mom, Pam. The cabin crew after listening to endless top of the lungs screams and crying during boarding "Go! Plane! Go!" and "I want Daddy!" decided it was a no-go. Southwest admits this is very, very rare and only happens in extreme circumstances. It is investigating. The San Jose Mercury News notes that his mother had a hare-brained scheme to keep the kid quiet which included not feeding him until the flight was airborne. It didn't work and when Ms. Root and son re-booked and boarded another flight home the next day she admitted, "she chose a 5 p.m. departure and fed Adam well before takeoff." The Mercury News reported that he behaved, "beautifully."

Read the whole story here.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mega Meth bust 

The Clarion Content stumbled across this story earlier in the week in the San Jose Mercury News. It details a huge drug sting by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The reasons we wanted to highlight it were two-fold. One it demonstrates that despite relaxing restrictions on marijuana the Obama administration is actively pursuing the enforcement of drug policy when it comes to other nefarious narcotics. Duly noted.

Secondly, we feel that it sadly points out the likelihood of the inherent failure of said enforcement policies. The DEA can bust meth lab after meth lab, dealer after dealer, but if there is still massive profit in selling these (illegal) narcotics production merely shifts elsewhere. In this case, aggressive battling against domestic Mom-n-Pop meth labs has pushed production south of the United States border with Mexico. (Much as aggressive coca spraying pushed coke labs from Columbia to Bolivia, note a similar thing is on-going in the valleys of Central Asia involving the production of opium.)

This was a huge meth bust, the Mercury News reports that, "Nationwide, more than 300 people were arrested in an operation that demonstrates (the "La Familia") Mexican cartel's vast reach north of the border. Arrests of alleged members...took place in 38 cities, from Boston to Seattle and Tampa to St. Paul and in (total) 19 states...authorities seized 156 pounds of methamphetamine, 22 weapons and about $111,000 (in California alone)."

Sadly, this will constitute no more than a tiny blip on the radar of global drug production. The former head of the DEA says that Mexican meth super labs can produce 100 lbs of product in as little as eight hours. The only way to fight that is by curbing demand, and concomitantly reducing the profitability of pursuing the life of an illegal narcotics dealer. People do it for the money.

Read the whole San Jose Mercury News story here.

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American sport is devouring itself 

Failing to learn the lesson of the golden goose the greed of those who run American sports is devouring the very games that sustain them. We discussed this motif in an article earlier this week about the starting times of baseball games. Those in charge of baseball are worrying about the highest possible advertising revenues today, rather than whether or not the potential fans of tomorrow will be allowed to stay up late enough to watch the game. We have railed against the ridiculous ticket prices at Yankee stadium for some of the same reasons. It is doubly disgusting to price the average fan out of the ballpark when your stadium's construction was publicly financed.

Columnist Bob Hebert makes a plea along the same lines here in the New York Times.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What are they watching... Episode V 

Our weekly look at what the teens and tweens of America are watching. You may have caught our first couple of episodes. This clip is a little racier, not so polite, but it is what it is. It is an except from the Boondocks cartoon series, part of the Adult Swim on Cartoon Network.

The Boondocks

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Just a quick editor's note here: not sure if anyone clicked through the link in this morning's post about Einstein's insight that time's linearity is illusory, but if you did click through the link, it went to the European Organization for Nuclear Research homepage for the Large Hadron Collider.

This is the page that gives their official spiel on the machine with which they hope to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang. The single most interesting thing in the manifesto née sales brochure is that they arbitrarily capitalize nature, ostensibly treating it as a proper noun. It is our recollection that nature with the capital N is associated with the divine, nu? Aren't these folks particle physicists? Who made the call on capitalizing the word nature? It has especially explosive implications given the fears of some about what the Large Hadron Collider may be capable of reproducing.

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NBA Preview 

The Clarion Content's Sports Editor is excited because it is easy to write a short and sweet NBA basketball preview this year. There are only five teams with any shot at contending for the NBA title. In the East the contenders are: the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic. In the West, it is the Los Angeles Lakers or the San Antonio Spurs. It says here that the winner of the Western Finals is going to take the crown. The West is beating the East.

The Celtics are going to be dragged down by Garnett's body betraying him, even with point guard Rajan Rondo excelling. It will not be enough, Ray Allen is another year older, too. Getting 'Sheed helps Boston, but he is aging and slower as well, unless Garnett finds the fountain of youth, the Celts can't go the distance. The Cavs have the best player in the league, LeBron James. Despite King James's superlative efforts, it is simply not physically possible to win it alone in the NBA. Long Shaq supporters, the Clarion Content has been losing faith lately. How will an aging, immobile Shaq handle playing second fiddle? Our fear is that this isn't the same Shaq that D-Wade got to play with, that Shaq had a bit more left in the tank. The Orlando Magic are the wild card. We cannot believe that Vince Carter will suddenly morph into a successful, driven NBA basketball player. We have followed from him from Chapel Hill to Toronto to East Rutherford, why now? But if somehow it did happen... If the light went on and it clicked for Vince, the Magic would have to be the favorites in the East. Right now, we see them as the third fiddle.

The West is where it is at! Firstly the defending champs, the Lakers, play there. Second Tim Duncan has a lot more left on the odometer, than the other big guy with four rings on his fingers, Shaq. Ginobli's heath is a big concern for the Spurs.

We have been waiting for months to say it, but we believe that Ron Artest is a down grade from Trevor Ariza, Lakers fans! Ariza was unstoppable off the dribble, shooting lights out from 3 point line, comfortable being low on the totem pole. Artest is crazy and high maintenance. Heck, he hadn't even played a game and he had already introduced Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian. Excitement happens around old Ron Artest, just not the good kind. Plus his offensive game has deteriorated with his foot speed. He is also no longer the lights out defender he once was. Kobe, as dedicated and determined as he is, has played 200 plus games in the past two seasons.

Conversely, the Spurs got way better in the off-season, in addition to getting a long rest when they lost early. This year, Richard Jefferson was the NBA acquisition of the off-season, he can light it up from 3 or off the dribble. He hustles, is willing to play defense and comes with minimal ego and baggage. Jefferson is far easier going, for example, than the already bitching Andre Miller in Portland. Jefferson had to put up with prima donnas J. Kidd and Carter in the swamps of Jersey and he was a huge success. The Spurs also added the most NBA ready rookie this side of Blake Griffin, Pitt's DeJuan Blair, and they hoovered up veteran Antonio McDyess for big man depth. Look out!

The Spurs look like the pick from here. The Lakers will push them to the brink in the Western Conference Finals. A couple more quick hitting predictions: the Knicks will win no more than 35 games. The Nets are never moving to Brooklyn. The Timberwolves will be better than people think, perhaps even stealing the eight seed in the ultra-competitive West. Comeback we are most excited to see: Gilbert Arenas with le Bullet. Comeback we are least excited to see: Greg Oden with the Portland Milktoasters.

Need more? Bill Simmons done wrote a terrific in-depth NBA column in two parts. Click here. Just because we came to similar conclusions doesn't mean we copied or worked together, it may just be the thinking on a pretty obvious season that is likely ensue.

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One more reason to root 

Need one more reason to root for Duke football? As a team the football squad has maintained a collective 3.0+ Grade Point Average in each of the last three semesters consecutively. This is not an Auburn situation where the kids are getting inflated grades from classes they don't attend. There are no fluff Parks and Recreation Management majors offered at Duke, unlike some large state institutions.

Count the Clarion Content in as a supporter.

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Food for thought 

One of our editors ran across this delightful Einstein quote in an article in the New York Times about the restart, scheduled for December in Switzerland, of the Large Hadron Collider.

"For those of us who believe in physics, this separation between past, present and future is only an illusion."---Albert Einstein

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ridiculous and awful 

Is there any other way to classify the fools who write the Major League Baseball schedule? When what was once the national pastime has six remaining fans in 2025, the bankrupt owners will look back and rue the Bud Selig era. The litany of Selig calamities is endless from the ignore the steroids home run chase, to the tied All-Star game, to changing the rules of the game in the middle of the World Series, Selig has shown he was maxed out in his abilities back when he was selling used cars.

As part of his legacy of idiocy and disaster Selig wants to insure no one watches the MLB playoffs, at least not a whole game. Can there been any other reason for starting Game 6 of the playoffs at 8.20pm on a Sunday night? Hey asswipe, do think most kids parents let them stay up past 10pm on a school night? Do you think anyone under 16 will see past the fourth inning tonight? (Most of adults have to work Monday morning, too, dumbass.) This is sad because ALCS has been a fascinating series, although defined more by its miscues than its great plays.

This too is the fault of the conceited MLB schedule makers. Taking a hint from the folks who write the college bowl schedule, baseball has insured that its playoff teams have an inordinate amount of days off that is never replicated during the regular season. (The Yanks and Angles have played 8 times in the last 20 days!) Thus when games are finally contested, mistakes abound. Games are, as Tori Hunter noted, played like exhibitions rather than like the regular season. Why not right? Baseball's moronic leadership has teams play through driving rainstorms in the playoffs that would never be consider acceptable conditions during the regular season! Integrity means nothing to these dopes!

The rationale for this schedule and playing in these absurd conditions, hotel rooms! Are you f*ing kidding? The whole country and the sport has to suffer because Selig and entourage are worried about rescheduling their hotel rooms? You have got to be joking. The League Championship Series are being played in New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia and your excuse for this pathetic schedule is a lack of hotel rooms? Patently false and intelligence insulting, Car Salesman Selig. At the Clarion Content, we can buy that maybe at the last minute you won't be able to rebook the presidential suite at swank Manhattan hotels, but you couldn't rebook for something in Jersey or out on Long Island?!? Say you can't and you are a LIAR! Check out the Motel 6 or the Econo Lodge, jerk. Got the same problem in Philly? Hey book a room in Delaware, a-holes, the whole metro area isn't out of rooms, and we know it. So now, one is talking about sacrificing the integrity of the game so Selig and entourage don't have to commute too far to games.

What we should be talking about is the ritual sacrifice of Bud Selig to the baseball gods, it may be the only way to bring the game back from the brink.

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Huge explosions rock Iraq 

This time they were big enough to catch the attention of the Western media. Two huge car bombs exploded near the central Baghdad compound known as the Green Zone. The BBC is reporting that as many as 90 people may be dead, as many as 265 may be wounded. The force of the explosions was so great that it was felt miles away by their correspondent.

Stability in Iraq exists in name and statistics compiled by Western invaders only. In a dangerous sign of things to come, the Shi-ite spokespeople of the Iraqi government immediately blamed either al-Queda or former Baathists, two groups neither united nor allied, other than in their virulent opposition to the Shia minority running the State.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

A bathrobe or jail! 

Wear a bathrobe or face jail, apparently that is the policy in the community of Springfield, Virginia. One man found out the hard way. Eric Williamson, 29, stands accused of making coffee naked in his kitchen. It was 5.30am and Williamson who grew up in Hawaii had not anticipated the peeping tom, stalker culture perpetrated by the over crowded mcmansions and condo-villes of NoVa.

Could there be a more ludicrous affair for the State to thrust its nose into? One of his neighbors, a woman, who for reasons unclear, was outside Williamson's window at 5.30am with her seven year old son pushed the cops to press the charge of indecent exposure.

What makes this case even more ridiculous Williamson was home alone!?! If making coffee naked when you are home alone is a crime, what next? Wtf? What is the compelling interest for the State to get involved? He faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail and $2,000 fine.

Read more here at, where else, Fox News naturally.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Raiders Coach Tom Cable won't be prosecuted 

The Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable won't be prosecuted for allegedly busting assistant coach Randy Hanson's jaw. The Napa County district attorney Gary Lieberstein said he could not prosecute the case based on the evidence he had gathered, stories and testimony had changed too many times. Raiders owner Al Davis must have gotten to the witnesses. The three other assistant coaches in the room could not corroborate Hanson's story.

There was an altercation or a near altercation. Hanson, reportedly Al Davis's spy in the coaches' meetings, definitely had his jaw broken. After months, not much more than that can be definitively said.

Read a NorCal take on the situation here in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What isn't fixed in Illinois? 

In a state who's last two governors are serving prison terms, what is left uncorrupted? Illinois is the place, namely Chicago, where machine politics reached its penultimate height and maintained its last bastion. There are people who still believe Mayor Dayley's (senior) Chicago vote fixing swung the 1960 Presidential election in Kennedy's favor. So why not admissions to the state's premier public university?

The University of Illinois chancellor resigned this week in a scandal over admissions at the state’s once highly regarded publicly funded university. The core of the scandal was that the University of Illinois gave admissions preference to unqualified applicants with connections. According to an outside commission the chancellor, Richard H. Herman, was the "ultimate decision-maker" to help favored students.

The New York Times reported, "(the chancellor) is the latest of several officials to leave as details of the scandal have come to light. The university’s president, B. Joseph White, resigned last month...Most of the members of the university’s board have also resigned."

Way to go Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, indeed.

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The violence in Iraq continues unabated. Since America sliced off the tentacles of authority maintained by the ghastly dictator Saddam Hussein no one, and no one group, has been able to regain control of the state.

Violence smolders on, and tragically those allied with the forces of peace and reconciliation are among those most often targeted.

We at the Clarion Content feel a duty to continually remind our readership about this story because of the lack of play it receives in the Amerikkan media now that American soldiers are no longer frequent victims.

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Rent a Player 

Josh Boone...............Eduardo Najera..............Brook Lopez

When we say "Rent a Player" we are not talking about the usual late season deal, where a team far out of contention sends an expensive salaried, but soon to be free agent, player to a team near the top of the standings, to "rent." Nope. We are talking about there is a New Jersey Nets season ticket package that includes renting a player! Weddings, Christmas, BBQs, bring your favorite Net along. Wow, now we might actually be enthused about a LeBron to the Nets deal.

The plan is $25k buys you four courtside tickets for 10 games, parking, access to a private lounge with free food and beverages at the game and--- a one-hour appearance by a Nets player of your choice at your home, office, school or party. That's right spice up your kids Bar Mitzvah with Josh Boone or Rafer Alston! Want to entertain those Chinese clients your company has been so assiduously courting, how about bringing chairman Yi Jianlian to the next mixer! Can't get a clown for your three year olds bash, next best thing, Brook Lopez!

Perhaps this why the Nets have been collecting players of all different ethnicities, origins and backgrounds. Its Cinco de Mayo, let's see if anyone wants to rent Eduardo Najera. And what better way to spice up your daughter's Sweet Sixteen than to invite the 22 year old, 6ft. 7in. Chris Douglas-Roberts!?! Can we imagine what Shawn Kemp or Calvin Murphy might have done for their teams popularity in this scenario? Egads.

The New Jersey Nets, brilliant!

No, no, no, no the NBA isn't about to financial implode for lack of ticket sales or anything, teams are just offering these kind of promotions to be "cool" to their fans. Really.

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Bad day on the golf course 

Water Hazard, indeed!

The old saw used to go, "The worst day on the golf course is better than any day in the office." There is a poor fellow who played a round of golf in Beaufort, South Carolina last week who would disagree.

At Ocean Creek Golf Course in Beaufort County, S.C., a man leaned over a water hazard to retrieve his wayward ball. Suddenly, a 10ft long alligator appeared with a mission of its own. The man lost his arm in the struggle before his golf partners were able to free him. Golf course workers killed the unsuspecting animal and retrieved the fellow's arm in hopes of reattachment. No word from the golf course or the hospital on whether or not that was successful. The man is in stable condition.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Costly Hoax? 

Deep in the Clarion Content's not so bleeding libertarian heart we are fired up about the possibility that the balloon kid's family perpetrated a hoax. The Larimer County Sheriff is preparing to file charges against the kid's father as evidence mounts that the family knew that the kid was hiding in the attic all along.

The Clarion Content believes that if that turns out to be the case; the family put the six year old up to it, and they knew that they were bamboozling the authorities all along, the State has a right and even a duty to sue them to recover the costs of the expedition that was put together to rescue the child. The Clarion Content strongly believes in the culture of personal responsibility. The State does not owe the stupid or reckless individual extra consideration as part of the social contract.

The balloon family, if they perpetrated a hoax, owes restitution for the costs to the State of the aborted rescue. It is analogous to skiers who are helicoptered into an otherwise unreachable spot, only to trapped by an avalanche or beset by other tragedy. The Clarion Content is not sending in the State's emergency response crews to save them, until said skiers open up their checkbooks and prove that they can and will pay for their pick-up.

The same applies to health insurance for smokers. Assume a proven risk to your health like smoking, pay for it yourself, not out of the health insurance pool of everyone else who was wise enough not to smoke. The same goes for folks who re-build weather destroyed houses in flood plains, areas prone to mudslides or barrier islands that are regularly whipped by hurricanes. You want to do that, buy your own private homeowner's insurance. The State should not be subsidizing your stupid decision at the expense of all other citizens who were smart enough not to build their homes in a disaster prone areas.

Growing up means taking responsibility for one's actions. If the Heene balloon boy family perpetrated a hoax, they should be made to assume the fiscal costs to the State of it.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Real Life Calvin 

A real Calvin and Hobbs story came to life today near Fort Collins, Colorado. News organizations broke into coverage of President Barry Obama speaking in New Orleans to announce that a six year-old boy had climbed into a homemade helium boom and drifted skyward. He was now floating at 6,000 feet over Colorado.

This is how the Washington Post reported what happened next, "For three hours on a workaday Thursday, a mesmerized and helpless America watched this shiny silvery disc spin slowly against a brilliant blue sky with puffy white clouds. As it tipped this way and that, emergency vehicles trailed the balloon over two counties and 50 miles. The Air Force was alerted. The Federal Aviation Administration grounded planes. A Black Hawk chopper flew in close, blades slashing, to create a downwash to defeat a contraption that looked like a giant birthday party balloon...At last, the jet stream set the shimmering orb gently down in the middle of a vast field.

Men in overalls ran to the balloon and stabbed it with shovels until it slowly crumpled.

A nation held its breath.

There was no boy.

Authorities scoured the ground for bits of broken plywood, a crumpled child. "

As it turned out, Calvin-esque to the end, the kid had never left his house (except possibly in his imagination). He had gone upstairs to the attic to get away from his Dad and older brothers. At six years-old, he goofed around playing a cardboard box for a while and then fell asleep.

After going unaccounted for five hours, intrepid reporters quoted the child as saying, "I played and then I went to sleep."

Read the whole story here.


Northeast Passage Open for business? 


Last month two German freighters sailed into Rotterdam Harbor after completing an historic month plus journey from Vladivostok, Russia, in the Pacific Far East, through the once frozen and impassable northeast Arctic route. The German company that operates the two specially reinforced cargo ships, said that taking the Arctic passage saved 10 days and $300,000 per ship over the standard 11,000 nautical-mile voyage through the Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal, and the Mediterranean in order to reach the North Atlantic.

However, the Christian Science Monitor reported that, the ships were accompanied "by a nuclear-powered Russian icebreaker for part of their journey, though they apparently did not require any assistance." It is unclear if the passage will be permanently open. The retreating polar ice cap has stimulated talk of opening a Northwest Passage above Canada, too.

The geopolitical consequences of either of these routes coming into frequent use would be significant. Can you say Siberian pirates anyone? Seriously though, the Monitor quotes the Russian Ministry of Transport's chief of Sea and River Transport, Alexander Davydenko, "Scientists tell us that we face warming, and that the boundaries of the Arctic ice are receding. Therefore we are taking a variety of measures ... to safeguard the interests of the Russian Federation in the Arctic region." They report that, "a new department to administer the northern sea route is being created to build infrastructure and oversee tariffs... the ministry is also building at least one massive new nuclear icebreaker to supplement its current fleet of six."

We will keep you posted as the situation develops. Read the whole article here.

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War, what is it good for? 

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Knicks flop 

In the immortal words of Nancy Kerrigan, "Why? Why?" Why couldn't the Knicks braintrust see that Danilo Gallinari was a flop waiting to happen? A soft, nineteen year-old, Italian jeans model was going to play in the NBA? This is the franchise that brought us Frederic Weis! They couldn't see this coming?!? After an awful rookie season that ended with back pain, a six point per game average and a mere 28 games played, Gallinari has been stinking it up this pre-season again. He is shooting a scintillating 21% from the field.

Gallinari is one more reason why we doubt Knicks Coach Mike D’Antoni. He was the primary endorser of this pick. The Knicks could have had the electric point guard D.J. Augustin, the guy we at the Clarion Content wanted, or the goofy, but hugely effective center the Nets found, Brook Lopez. At least Lopez has height, and had played competitive college basketball. Modeling Italian jeans and being a heartthrob were Gallinari's primary qualifications.

We were very glad that the Knicks re-signed David Lee and Nate Robinson. We think Coach Mike D'Antoni road Steve Nash's coattails for years in Phoenix. D'Antoni found ways to lose in the playoffs. This year, he and the Knicks will miss the playoffs even in the pathetic Eastern Conference.

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What they are watching...Episode IV 

Our weekly look at what the teens and tweens of America are watching. You may have caught our first couple of episodes. We knew the 80's had made a big comeback. Seriously, who ever figured Journey, without Steve Perry, would be huge again? But we did not know it had gone this far.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Really?

Apparently so. Kind of cool in a strangely twisted way.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

King Felix 

The Clarion Content is annoyed that the baseball playoffs suddenly have to take two days off before starting the League Championship Series in the middle of what has already been an exciting October. But we will concede the reality of modern stadium scheduling, note that the NFL has already moved the start times of some games to avoid conflicts with the MLB playoffs, and accept this interlude to write about one of the other baseball stories of the season that we never quite had the chance to get to, the American League Cy Young award.

Incidentally, despite the terrific season turned in by Derek Jeter, the incomparable Joe Mauer clearly deserves to win the A.L. MVP. The A.L. Cy Young is a much more complicated debate. The Yankees C.C. Sabathia led the league in wins with 19. He lost eight and compares poorly with the other contenders in ERA at 3.37. But what also hurt Sabathia's candidacy was that he played for the spectacular 100 win Yankees. How hard was it to win? His team led the league in offense. Sabathia's out, he need to win 22 or 23 to have a case.

And that brings us to the next candidate, the Royals Zack Greinke. Greinke, by way of comparison, pitched for a 65 win Kansas City team that tied for the A.L.'s worst record. Greinke also led the A.L. in ERA. Greinke won only 16 games, but the next most wins that anyone had on the Royals was Brian Bannister's seven. Eeeeew.

We can't rule Greinke out, but how does he compare to last year's winner Toronto's Roy 'Doc' Halladay? This year Halladay won 17 games, one more than Greinke with a 2.79 ERA to Greinke's 2.16. They both pitched around 230 innings. Hallday threw four shutouts to Greinke three. Halladay's team was barely better than Greinke's, finishing a modest 5 games ahead of the Royals in the league standings. Last year when Halladay won the Cy Young he had 20 wins. Although a bad precedent was set by giving the 2006 N.L. Cy Young to Brandon Webb, the Clarion Content is loathe to give the award to someone with only 16 wins.

If we had a vote, we believe we would cast it for the Seattle Mariners 'King' Felix Hernandez. He finished second in the league with a 2.49 ERA. He led the league with 19 wins. He didn't play for a super team. The Mariners without Felix's brilliant 19 up and 5 down would have been six games under .500. Nobody else won more than seven games on the Mariners. Hernandez's .792 winning percentage was the A.L.'s best. The thing that really sealed it for the Clarion Content was his sterling finish. Greinke was 4-0 out of the gate with a 0.84 ERA, but 12-8 the rest of the way. King Felix was Hernandez went 15-2 with a 1.98 ERA after mid-May.

A close race, but our vote goes to Hernandez, with Greinke second, and Halladay third. Sabathia can luxuriate in the fact that he is the only one of the four still pitching this season.

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Rush Limbaugh and the Rams 

The Rams new principal owners? In the name of Georgia Frontiere, what?!?

The Clarion Content is not unilaterally declaring that Rush Limbaugh should not be allowed to own the the NFL's St. Louis Rams. We would only suggest that the NFL think long and hard about the wisdom of including a person like Limbaugh in their exclusive group. How long ago did baseball exclude Marge Schott for her bigotry?

Limbaugh does not deny saying, "I mean, let's face it, we didn't have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: Slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back. I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark."

Nor does he deny saying, "Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it."

It is a free country and we are big believers in free speech. But the NFL, as a private entity, has the right to impose its own standards and limits on appropriate conduct. They certainly impose their standards on their largely black player base. Limbaugh seems like the kind of character we might not include (were it up to us).

Then again, the NBA is about to let a Russian billionaire, who built his nickel under the Kremlin's shady watch after dubiously acquiring a monopoly, buy into the Nets. Standards everywhere are green first, everything else second.

If we were Rams fans, we might be worried about the deleterious effects of allowing Dave Checketts near our franchise, too.

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Fan with no blades, what!?! 

.....................Yup, this is a fan!

For those of you disappointed about the lack of flying cars there is, that's right, a fan with no blades. Apparently Dyson engineers spent four years in the lab working on brushless fluid dynamics (Laser Doppler Annometry) to come up with this bad boy. According to CNET the Dyson Air Multiplier works pretty well. And there is no way your little kid can stick his fingers into the whirling blades. There are none. Unfortunately, despite looking so cool and working like a charm, it is still a little costly. $330 for a 12 inch fan. Eeeeeek!

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Iraq violence spirals on 

Despite the American media's loss of interest, despite the Nobel committee's premature award to President Obama, violence continues to mar the day-to-day lives of Iraq citizens, over 100,000 of whom have perished in King George the II's, Dick's and Don's foolish war.

The quieting of the media din has created a false perception in America that things are getting better in Iraq. Unfortunately not true, the reality is America has created the conditions for a vicious civil war that it can do nothing about. There are no safe places in Iraq to hide. Last week during Vice-President Joe Biden's visit there were mortar attacks launched into the ostensibly safest place in Iraq, the heavily fortified Green zone, home of the palatial, Kremlin-esque, United States embassy. Ironically, the bumbling Biden was one of the first to recognize and admit the inevitability of a split in an Iraqi state drawn on a map with little or no consideration of tribal, ethnic and religious divisions.

The chaos is spreading its net wider daily as the United States prepares to drawn down its forces. Fallujah where so many United States servicemen valiantly gave of their lives has seen a recent spike in violence, as competition for control with the central government flares.

Note: It took less than 30 minutes to find the links for this post to ten different incidents of tragic violence in Iraq in the last two weeks. None were in American media sources.

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Duke Football 

Duke football went on the road yesterday to North Carolina State's Carter-Finely Stadium. The boys in blue out executed the Wolfpack in all phases of the game. The result was a 49-28 Duke victory. Duke was led by senior quarterback Thad Lewis who was a remarkable 40 of 50 for 459 yards and 5 touchdown passes. He even added one more TD on foot.

Duke Coach David Cutcliffe said it was the best performance he had ever seen by one of his quarterbacks. As the Greensboro News-Record noted, that is quite a list, "Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Erik Ainge, Heath Shuler and Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton." Duke shut its offense down in the fourth quarter, going conservative or Lewis might have thrown for 600 yards! Following a close game at home versus national powerhouse and championship contender Virginia Tech, Duke said all week there were no moral victories. They wanted this one.

And they got it. They snapped all sorts of streaks in the process including; 8 straight ACC losses, 16 years since they had beat NC State, their first ACC road win in 6 years and their first win at NC State since 1984! QB Thad Lewis is now the all-time touchdown pass leader in Blue Devil history and is tied for 6th all-time in ACC history. The Sporting News led its coverage of the best in college football this week with the Duke quarterback. Wow!

Let's go Duke!

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Beyond wow in the clouds 

Wow simply does not cover it. Holy blank, might begin to get there, but not if you were one of the passengers on Air India Flight IC-844. We have to say this is the first time anyone on the Clarion Content staff can remember a fight on airplane between the cabin crew and the flight attendants!

The multi-person brawl spilled out into business class in front of mortified passengers. It allegedly began with an incident of sexual harassment by the pilots. The fisticuffs occurred in flight with the plane at approximately 30,000 feet in the air over Pakistan. The LA Times says that reportedly, "both pilots were well out of their seats during the melee." One of them was left with a bloody lip. Fortunately the flight landed safely leaving the passengers with nothing more than a horrifying tale to tell.

Read the whole story here. The list of recent Air India mishaps at the end of the LA Times article is scary. We would have to question the sanity of hopping aboard one of their planes.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Fashion Trends 

Lindsay Lohan's debut as a fashion designer for Parisian fashion house Emanuel Ungaro was not a hit with the critics. It may not matter. Lohan is part of trend that has Hollywood mega-stars crossing over to clothing, some with huge results.

The biggest success is two young ladies who are right in Lohan's age and fashion demographic, the Olsen twins. The Los Angeles Times estimates that Mary Kate and Ashley have seen total sales of their clothing and shoe line reach into the 8 digit range. They have been a big hit with the teens and tweens. The Times attributes that in part to the omni-present media culture, "the whole world is a red carpet." Celebrity fashion is a growth industry whether the Paris fashion snobs like it or not. The ability to constantly see what one's favorite celebrities are wearing and immediately run to the store to imitate it strikes a chord with today's vapid, culture starved youth.

The Times notes that the Olsens were recently admitted into the prestigious industry trade group, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and that this fall they are expanding their brand to include menswear. Other stars including Miley Cyrus, Gweneth Paltrow, Gwen Stefani, and Justin Timberlake have clothing and apparel lines that are succeeding. Sounds like a trend.


Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Proof is in the pudding 

Alex Rodriguez closed out his regular season with a bang today, setting an American League record with seven RBIs in a single inning. Rodriguez homered in his first at-bat of the regular season and as it turned out, he homered in last at-bat of the regular season, too. Rodriguez has always been a tremendous regular season player.

But, alas, A-Fraud, the proof is in the pudding. No matter how many homers he hits and runs he drives in, his legacy will come down to his post-season performance. Career-to-date he has been a choking loser. The playoffs start this week, and if there ever was a season where all the pressure wasn't on Rodriguez, it is this one. Teammate Mark Teixera tied for the A.L. lead in homers and led the league in RBIs. Can A-Rodriguez finally succeed now that he is in a supporting role?

We doubt it. Rather we see A-Fraud likely to play as tight as ever, and if the Yankees somehow lose a Game One his nerves infecting the rest of the team. The Yankees will need timely hitting and some good starting pitching to succeed in the post-season. They are heavy favorites, but without much cause other than the best record in the regular season. The Yankees specialize in beating up weaklings, but struggle against quality opponents. The Yanks were 14 up and 14 down against their playoff rivals the Red Sox and Angels, and a gaudy .665 and 44 games over .500 against everybody else. Ace starter C.C. Sabathia has a history of coming up small in the playoffs. #2 start A.J. Burnett couldn't be more maddeningly inconsistent. #3 starter Andy Pettitt and closer Mariano Rivera, greats that they are, are no longer the players they were a decade ago, which was the last time the Yankees won a World Series.

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Pithy F*rging Sayings (14th edit.) 

Welcome to our 14th edition of Pithy F*rging Sayings gathered from the singularity.

As always the citation of these sayings does not necessarily imply endorsement, the goal is to provoke thought.

"When comparing stars of different eras it is safest to rank the newest idol the greatest, for that way one can always be assured of voting with the majority."---Walter Vosburgh

"Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice make perfect."---old coach on Fox Sports Radio

"People who stand on ceremony about their job description and its limits are ultimately losers, not leaders."---staff

"Outside of a dog a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."---Groucho Marx

Follow this link to old P.F. Sayings posts. You will see this one again first. Scroll down for older ones.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Orioles retain Trembley 

We have to admit it, there was audible laughter at the Clarion Content's Sports Desk when we read that the Baltimore Orioles elected to retain Dave Trembley as manager. Fresh off of a thirteen game losing streak, in a year where they may just barely avoid losing 100 games, they brought the manager back? This was coming back from a 2008 season where they won a meager 68 and dropped 93, closing that season a scintillating 1 and 9.

This is what Orioles owner Peter Angelos is selling his dedicated fan base? Orioles fans may not be responding. In the fourteen games prior to the losing streak the O's averaged a bare 19,000 fans in paid attendance. Paid (and announced) attendance for crummy teams is alway higher than the actual number of fannies in the seats, as many tickets are pre-sold as part of season long packages and counted as attendance. Camden Yards is only sixteen years old, it is not like they can start clamoring for a new stadium to bring the fans back. The O's may be in for a long dark turn, can we say (shudder) Pittsburgh Pirates, anyone?

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The Mets get it 

The New York Mets get it. They have lowered ticket prices going into next season on almost every seat in the building. The Clarion Content is very excited to see somebody in the New York Metro area responding to the reality of the economic situation. We spent last off-season and much of this year excoriating the Yankees for their ridiculous gilded ticket prices. The Mets lost over 90 games this season and they have played to near empty houses in their brand spanking new stadium down the stretch. The Mets ownership, who took a double whammy, between the economy and Bernie Madoff, answered in the best way possible, taking care of the consumer, the fan, the little guy.

Let's go Mets!

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