Sunday, October 31, 2004

It's gotta be live

One of the big disadvantages to being in Ireland is that our source for baseball, NASN, doesn't show the World Series live. This is complicated by rights issues and the fact that NASN is available in both Britain & Ireland. However, Channel 5 has the rights to show the World Series live in the UK, so us poor folks living in Ireland south of the border lose out.

Hey, NASN, you've got 12 months to figure this out. The World Series has to be live. It's almost impossible to avoid finding out the result of the games before you air them. I actually managed it by skillfully ignoring all sports news online and not listening to one minute of radio during the World Series.

Oh yeah, I also ignored all e-mails.

Did I forget to mention . . .

The Sox won! I realize you all know - even those of you in W. Cork who don't care about baseball one way or the other. It's been all over the Irish & British papers and television news. I couldn't believe how much coverage it got. Some of the coverage was a good laugh.

On Wednesday (before it was all over) the Evening Herald (not online) ran a series of photos with one caption. I didn't see the photos, but my daughter the Sox fan did. She told me who was in the pictures, but all I can remember is Orlando Cabrerra & David Ortiz (sorry Mr. Kerry, no sign of Manny Ortez). Anyway, the main picture featured Gabe Kapler and the only caption read "Gabe Kapler and teammates" or something like that. {The equivalent would be a series of pictures of Manchester United with a caption reading "Phil Neville and teammates".}

Today's London Times has an article by Hugh McIlvanney, who claims some allegiance to the Red Sox thanks to his first experience with them in the 1986 World Series. Unfortunately for Mr. McIlvanney, he misremembers the key moment of that game claiming that the Sox were on the brink of a celebration when the ball rolled through Buckner's legs. But, all Sox fans (& us Met fans too, by the way) know that the game was tied before that ball was hit. Minor error for anyone other than a die-hard Sox fan, who until Wednesday, October 27, 2004 was incapable of forgetting any detail of that nightmare.

Now all of Boston sleeps peacefully.



Sorry I've been quiet these past few days. No good excuse, just had a few things I had to take care of.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Don't read this!

This kind of thing interests me. An announcement of one company taking over another leads with these words:
How does this work? I stumbled onto it through Google. I presume anyone in any of those countries can find it just as easily as I did.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Yesterday, I went in to watch the Dublin City Marathon for the first time. I never had any interest until this year. My brother flew in from NY to run the race.

The day was pleasant and I enjoyed watching the runners (for 90 minutes, anyway). I would do it again, but probably not if it was raining.

What surprised me most was the total lack of interest in the event. There were so few people there. I was standing across the street from RTE on Nutley Lane and the "crowd" was sparse to say the least. A couple dozen people near the intersection, but almost nobody further down the road.

After the race my brother told me that where I was was a lot more crowded than other sections of the race. He said there were long stretches where there wasn't a soul on the road watching and clapping, something that actually lifts the mass of runners apparently.

On Sunday afternoon, we were in Dublin walking around. There were a lot of people in town for the Marathon. Runners and family and/or friends seemed to be everywhere. I'm sure the traders were happy to have the extra custom, but from what I heard on the radio afterwards and what my brother told me about the crowd, maybe Dubliners would rather not have the Marathon?

I'm sure if for anyone who lives inside the course it's probably pretty aggravating if they want to venture down the country for the day. Traffic was definitely blocked up.

I suppose I don't really care one way or another. I enjoyed it and would go again, but if it vanished I would hardly be worked up about it. Still, I wonder if it brings in sufficient revenues in tourist money (must bring in an extra 5,000 customers for the city's hotels during an off-peak time of year) to warrant all the traffis snarl-ups, etc. I see no reason to block off roads so that a few thousand people can "challenge themselves" or whatever.

Luas collisions

Is it just my imagination or is there a Luas-car crash everyday now? How long do I have to wait before I can say "I warned you"?

"engaging geopolitical ramblings"

Whoa! The pressure of such a description. I wonder if he meant "deranged geopolitical ravings (with a fair amount of baseball thrown in)"?

Monday, October 25, 2004

Kidnap videos

American news programs are carefully weighing every decision with regards to Iraq kidnap videos, such as the recent one of Margaret Hassan.
It's not like the networks are new to the business of deciding whether or not to air disturbing videotape, said NBC Vice President Bill Wheatley, who noted that the industry also had to consider videos that were released during hostage crises in Lebanon two decades ago.

"We don't wish to be a conduit for distributing tapes of hostage-takers," he said. "We don't wish to be used, I can tell you that. There's a line between telling people what they should know from a news point of view and playing into the hands of people who are trying to take advantage of us."

But some videos are simply newsworthy, said Wheatley, who said NBC would air portions of the video with a voiceover because the kidnapping of an Iraqi citizen and well-known and well-established aid worker is a "notable story."
It has occurred to me more than once that RTE and the BBC seem to have no problem 'being used' by the kidnappers. I'm sure that the media's reaction to Ken Bigley's kidnapping and eventual murder is a big part of the reason Margaret Hassan was kidnapped.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Happy birthday

NYC Subway - 100 years old. In a public speaking class 13 years ago the teacher started the first day by giving us all 5 minutes to talk about anything. It was the most poetic moment in my life as I poured out my heart to the city's underground rail system.

The teacher raved about my skills. Unfortunately, I never reached those heights again. By the end of the term she probably felt that she had ruined me.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Kerry & the Sox

John Kerry said he was "giddy" about the Red Sox the other night. He said this while he was out hunting.

Oh please! Why can't politicians be honest about anything. There's NO WAY IN HELL Kerry is a baseball fan. You can just tell that he has as much interest in baseball as Fraser Krane. As far as Kerry's concerned, baseball fans are those thugs filling the roads when he's trying to get to the theater.

And, there's no way any self-respecting Red Sox fan described himself as "giddy" after Wednesday night's win.

Vote for the cretin

That's the verdict of Michael Young, opinion editor for the Lebanaese Daily Star. He says the cretin, President Bush, is more likely to bring democracy and liberalism to the Middle East than is the shyster, John Kerry. Young is a self-proclaimed single-issue endorser who believes Kerry is simply not interested in advancing democracy in the Middle East and Bush is so stubborn that he'll persevere with the project and somehow succeed despite all the errors of the past 18 months.

Go Sox!

I was driving up Dalkey hill yesterday morning and I saw a young guy with a red Red Sox sweatshirt walking down. Actually, to be honest, I didn't see him, but my daughter did. She only mentioned it after I'd gone by. If I had seen him, I'd have stopped and given him a shout because I know how lonely you can feel when you're in Ireland and your team has just done something remarkable*.

So, all you folks in Ireland (or Britain or wherever) if you see someone wearing a Red Sox shirt or cap give them a hearty "Go Sox!". Sure, you don't know anything about the game, but these people just want the world to know how great it is to be a Red Sox fan today.

An editorial in today's Guardian acknowledges the biggest story of the week in America.

* I was a student at Trinity when the Mets won the World Series in 1986 and I was here in 2000 when the Mets clinched a spot in the 2000 "Subway Series". I was also here for the Rangers' 1994 Stanley Cup.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Damned Yankees

That's all it says on today's front page of the NY Post. I'm tired today, but I enjoyed every inning of that game (thank you NASN).

Oh to be a Met fan in NY today. It's so rare to see Yankee fans suffer and no group of people on Earth more deserves to suffer. (Enjoy it Steve). They've been humiliated by their biggest rivals in their own ball park.

The Yankees are soooo twentieth century (they remain 0 for the 21st century.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


I can't ignore the fact that last night I witnessed one of the greatest performances by a sportsman that I have ever seen. Curt Schilling held the Yankees in check while pitching on a damaged right ankle. Anyone who doesn't know baseball may not appreciate how important a pitcher's legs are in generating power and in controlling his pitches.

Schilling didn't just have a sore ankle - he has a dislocated tendon. The day before the game, doctors used sutures to try and hold the tendon in place last night. He must have been in agony for every step, every pitch. Blood was visible on his sock from the first moment and it only got worse as the game wore on.

The end is nigh

I usually don't have much time for apocalyptic ravings regardless of whether they come from climate change fearmongers or religious zealots. Yet, after what I've seen over the last three nights I'm beginning to wonder if something earth-shattering isn't about to happen.

Never before in baseball has a team won the first three games in a post-season series and then lost the next three. That the team that has managed it for the first time is the NY Yankees is staggering. The fact that the team that has beaten the Yankees the past three nights is the Boston Red Sox is why I'm seriously concerned that there's a rupture in the space-time continuum.

If Boston manages to win tonight and eliminate the Yankees, I would expect a serious backlash from the gods - the Law of Karma will require it.

The Boston Globe's web site is barely up today. Coincidence? I think not. The Boston Herald is a better bet today.

Monday, October 18, 2004


Donald Luskin, who is chief investment officer of Trend Macrolytics LLC, an independent economics and investment-research firm, has a column at NRO today in which he speculates that George Soros (or an acolyte) is trying to manipulate the Presidential election by manipulating the market in Bush futures. This is his theory on the motivation for the four attacks on the Tradesports election futures market.


Friday, October 15, 2004

Transatlantic pun

I was watching the Yankees and the Red Sox game 2 with my daughter when she told me a little joke that only a very few people would get. You need to know baseball and also have a good feel for everyday Irish (and British?) phrases:

"Pedro's not the full shilling, is he daddy?"

I knew she was referring to Curt Schilling when she told me. It was perfect because Pedro's not quite as good as Schilling, but also because Pedro's defintely got a screw loose.

I was at once happy, because she showed such a good grasp of baseball, and alarmed because I wasn't sure if I was turning my children into weirdoes. Let's just say, there isn't a lot of talk about last night's ball game in the average Irish school yard.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Bronx Bombers vs the Old Towne Team

I'm sure there are many, many people who will tell me that there are more important things going on in the world, but tonight the best rivalry in baseball — the Boston Red Sox vs the New York Yankees — heats up again. As a Yankee-hater, I'm looking forward to it. As a New Yorker who believes Boston is a nice little town northeast of the city, I'm looking forward to it.

One set of fans has to suffer and that can't be all bad.

I say the Sox will win 4 games to 1.

Peroutka campaign

You can get a tee shirt, bumper stickers, yard sign or buy an ad in American Conservative for $1,096.03 all here at the Peroutka campaign store.

Monday, October 11, 2004

2004 election ballot

I received my ballot for the 2004 election today. Here's what it looks like. I know people in Ireland are generally surprised when they see the long list of names running for President. Of course, only two have any real chance of winning, but there are always a number of lesser candidates. Not every candidate is on every state ballot. Those listed on my ballot are only necessarily on the ballot for every New York State voter.

Here's a full list of everyone who's on the ballot in at least one state.

I don't know if the laws are the same in every state, but I only get to vote in the federal elections (President, US Senator, Representative in the House) when I vote as an American abroad. Students who are abroad, and those in the military or in other government service positions, are entitled to the full ballot.

Despite the fact that I'm not entitled to vote in the state and local elections, State Assemblyman Bob Prentiss sent me his election material and he's looking for my vote. Sorry Bob, can't help you out.

{I do have a question for Bob Prentiss and his campaign staff. Is it grammatically correct to say the following: "By exercising your civic duty as a voter, you are proving that you understand . . . "? I'm not sure you exercise your duty, civic or otherwise.


Of course, it seems pretty straight forward that Cian O'Connor will have to give up his gold medal, meaning gold will go to the Brazilian who came second. At the national level, this is probably some form of justice for the nutty ex-priest knocking down the Brazilian marathon runner with just a few miles to go for gold.

I haven't been able to find out if Waterford Crystal will also have to hand back (hoof back?) his blue ribbon.

Any heads to roll now that gold is gone?

I haven't heard it yet nor have I read it, but I'm presuming that some people are going to start asking for Pat Hickey and/or John Treacy to resign now that another Irish Olympic gold has been tainted by drugs.

Obviously, we don't know half of what we should know and there's still an outside chance that the "B" sample will prove negative, but that seems a forlorn hope seeing as the vet who treated Waterford Crystal admits to having administered the banned substance a couple of months before the Olympics. Maybe I'm being too harsh, but my abiding memory of the night of O'Connor's win is those two men, particularly Hickey, and their obvious desire to claim credit by association for the big victory. I can't see how they can retain their jobs now.

The Irish Times reports this morning that a second horse ridden by O'Connor has also tested positive after the Italian Nations Cup show in May.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Obliged to support Bush?

Columnist David Broder is pondering whether he must now support President Bush because five years ago he had vowed to vote for whichever candidate brought baseball to Washington.
Did President Bush exert himself to move the Expos south, or was it just coincidence that this happened on his watch? Well, the timing is suspicious. In July the Kerry campaign began making noises about challenging Bush in Virginia, normally a safe Republican state. Two months later, the Expos found a home within easy reach of hundreds of thousands of us baseball-hungry swing voters in Northern Virginia. Who knows what messages passed between Karl Rove and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig?

On the other hand . . . no one in the White House has claimed credit for the president getting the Expos. And you know it's not because he's worried about losing friends in Montreal. Heck, a lot of those people speak French.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Two parents are best

So says divorced (& remarried? - I believe so) Bob Geldof. Geldof blames our "because I'm worth it" society for denigrating marriage and family life.

The former Rat has never been one to keep quiet and often confounds expectations (to the point now where I'm not surprised when he says something I agree with).
Why is it you cannot support the institution of marriage without sounding terrifically old-fashioned or right-wing? It's wrong.

We've got to take back the right to speak about the most important institution that man has evolved over thousands of years.
I couldn't agree with him more that marriage is the most important institution. Marriage is the bed-rock of our society.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Then again . . .

Wretchard of the Belmont Club is one of my favorite analysts of what's going on in the middle east, particularly Iraq. Yesterday's post was another good one, as was the article by Reuel Marc Gerecht that he refers to.

From Gerecht's article:
The Pentagon, the State Department, and the CIA--the three powers running the Coalition Provisional Authority--did not realize how religious identity among Arab Sunnis had grown. The signs of a vibrant fundamentalism were there: the sermons, the preachers, the change of dress, personal manners, and language, and the graffiti written on the walls, and the hard-core books and pamphlets in the markets. The Americans and their highly secularized Iraqi translators often mistook Iraqi salafis for foreign fundamentalists. (The same may be true today for Prime Minister Allawi and other highly secularized, older Iraqi exiles, who have a noticeable blindness when it comes to seeing the vibrancy of Islamic militancy in post-Saddam Iraq. We would be wise to be skeptical about Allawi's contention that foreign jihadists are "pouring" into the country.) In the spring of 2003, Washington delivered demarches to Riyadh protesting Wahhabi missionary activity.

The growth of Sunni fundamentalism in Iraq perhaps started in the 1970s. It's very difficult to know for sure since the Orwellian tyranny of Saddam allowed for no reliable Western or Arab observation and comment. Elsewhere in the Sunni Arab world, including in Baathist Syria, the 1970s saw fundamentalism take off. What seems sure is that by the late 1980s and 1990s it was growing in Iraq. The country was catching up with the rest of the Sunni Arab world, where Islamic activism was gaining the intellectual and moral high ground. From the late 1980s forward, Saddam Hussein became an enthusiastic mosque-builder--perhaps the most energetic mosque-builder Islam had seen. Regardless of what lurked in Saddam's soul, the Butcher of Baghdad knew the changing sentiments of his Sunni base. With the fall of Saddam and his withered Baathist creed, the Sunni religious identity blossomed.
Back in May, I linked to an article from the New Yorker that indicated that the distance between Ba'athism and Islamic fundamentalism was not that great. Now, here's another criticism of the administration for failing to appreciate the growth of Islamism under Saddam. The gap between 'secular' Iraq and al Qaeda grows ever smaller.

Wretchard's post has other good points. Essentially, his argument is that we are faced with a choice between certain failure (Kerry) and almost certain failure (Bush).

Iraq war a success in war against al Qaeda

When I read this article yesterday, I expected this same item to be all over the internet and blogosphere by this morning. George Friedman, head of Stratfor, claims that the war in Iraq has been a major success in the war against al Qaeda. Friedman claims that the motivation for the war was NOT to depose a dictator or bring democracy to the Middle East, but to convince a reluctant Saudi Arabia to crack down on al Qaeda.

Friedman claims that the war has succeeded in that primary aim and that Saudi Arabia has cracked down. However, the Bush administration has created a mess in Iraq by not committing enough troops to secure the borders and not anticipating a guerrilla war.

I can't really evaluate Friedman or Stratfor, although I have seen their name referenced quite a bit, as in this mention in the Daily Times from Pakistan.

Friedman is, of course, peddling his book, which is due for release this week. Still, there's no doubt that Saudi Arabia has adopted a very open campaign against al Qaeda and their allies this past year. What the cause for that change of heart might be is open to conjecture, but I do believe that the Saudis were made to realize that the pain al Qaeda might inflict on them was as nothing compared with the pain the United States could inflict.

And, so it begins

Baseball's month-long post-season begins Tuesday. I'll be watching far too much of it and, therefore, be unable to blog with the same regularity. In this time zone, most of the games are on very late (start after mid-night) so I'll be fairly fried mentally for most of October. By the time the last pitch is thrown, I'll probably look a lot like President Bush did at last week's debate.

For what it's worth, I think Houston's going to win it all, if you want to have a flutter (I doubt this is legal in US and I'm not sure what an Irish bookmaker knows about baseball).

I don't have much time for gambling, to be honest. I haven't placed a bet since I lost ¢25 in a slot machine in Atlantic City in 1990.

Star Wars on DVD

You have to be one of those obsessive lunatics to take this article seriously. I am an obsessive lunatic, but not about Star Wars. However, even if you don't take this too seriously, it is enjoyable.

Friday, October 01, 2004

President of Ireland

It's supposed to be the "highest office in the land". If that's true, then how much regard is there for the "office" if so many of the people charged with running this country treat it so contemptuously by saying, in effect, there's no need for an election.

Either it's important and we should have an election or it's not important and we should scrap it.

Happy anniversary. Or is it birthday?

Eight years ago today, I started the Newshound. I know I'm supposed to say I can't believe it's 8 years, how time flies, but really it seems much, much longer than that. There are going to be some big changes in the Newshound this coming year. I'm just not sure what they are yet.

One change has already been implemented with a nice little black & white logo replacing the pink NEWSHOUND on the tops of all the pages. So far, no one has noticed! Or at least, no one has mentioned it.

Bertie misses a chance

Mary McAleese has been appointed to a second term as President of Ireland because none of the other potential candidates could manage a nomination. There are, apparently, two ways for a candidate to be nominated: (a) get the backing of four county councils or (b)get the backing of 20 members of the Oireachtas (note to self - find out how to spell that word), basically parliament.

For a whole load of reasons, the opposition parties couldn't or wouldn't nominate a candidate to run against President McAleese, probably because they knew it was a fore-gone conclusion that she would win. This created some bad feeling within the opposition parties and this is where Bertie Ahern blew it.

Ahern should have arranged it so that at the last minute 20 of his party's representatives would nominate all those who wanted to run - Dana, Eamon Ryan, and Michael D. Higgins.

McAleese would still have won easily, but Ahern would have caught the opposition flat-footed and helped pour fuel on the fires burning in each party. In addition, Ahern would have come across as a hero of Irish Democracy. Irish people love elections and today, they feel cheated.