Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

DEBACLE IN ATHENS?

Is the USABasketball headed to another dissapointment in Athens. It's very possible. Check out this Story from ESPN's Ric Bucher that discusses America's need for a permanent Olympic team and the difficulties of the international game. I do agree that TeamUSA needs a permanent team (not an NBA marketing tool), hower, you must always create a core of great NBA talent if you wish to truly compete internationally. Just ask the Sports Guy.
THE CALM BEFORE THE PERFECT STORM

So Seth and I made our way to the Natural History museum today and invited a delightful cutie to come to the party. Right now Seth is grabbing a bite to eat and I am trying to put into words the bittersweet feelings of tonight's last malestrom.

But first it should be known that Friday night was solid. We went through a 30 pack of Strohs, a 30 pack of Pabst, and 2 bottles of Richards. Tres befriended a hobo only to turn on him and run him off the porch, right before he threw up his night's work. The Boxed Knights of the Round Table strapped on their shenanigan armor never to actually leave 308-elot. James called it an early night after the Bur Woman came home and whispered of her "birthday gift." And of all the people to show their face, it had to be the same douchebag Tondar ran off a month ago for "stealing" our phone book which he disguised as his Spanish homework. He didn't even get close enough to launch insults before Tondar flew off the handle, and Punk-Brad went Oi on him. Seth of course had to play devil's advocate and was trying to save his soul from a college career of party crashing and general douchebaggery. In the end it was fun but nevertheless a precursor to tonight's throwdown.

In 1864 Sherman burned Atlanta to the ground. In 2004 Tondar returns the favor upon the North.

Friday, August 13, 2004

FEAKIN' BRISTOL

From Pigpen...

That damn dirty ape is upright like a man!
A HOBO STORY

From Seth...

"With the sun already beginning to set on the house of 308, the boys still inhabiting the crumbling abode managed to push that red ball back up into the sky for one more weekend of shenanigans.

Helping the remaining 308 men to recapture at least a hint of their old glory, two cases of Santiago, the Schwagg and Base, and a few other substances not appropriate for mention, our cast managed to defile a graveyard, let Crazy Ken antagonize a fellow band, and threw a bum off the porch...literally, among other events.

The bum part was the only thing I had a part in. Jason and I had decided to bite the bullet and have a Swagg and Base (swig & chase in drunkspeech) night on Saturday with Romano Sambuca and A&W root beer. Sure enough, within half an hour, we had transformed into two Italian hokeys with guitars singing the Rolling Stones' "Can't Always Get What You Want" with vocal chords stretched to their limits.

So up walks this obviously drunk-as-sin bum, a new one wearing sunglasses (it's 1 a.m. at this point), a sleeveless jean jacket, and the beginnings of a mohawk. Not bothering with the pleasantries of introduction, he was sitting in ol' Tondar's spot on the cement porch bannister by "glass of wine in her hand." His perch didn't last long, as the bum's eyes widened at a full beer on the small table in front of him. Just as I started singing "footloose man," he was leaning far forward, tongue hanging out his cheek, trying for all of his might to ensnare the lightly hopped siren before him.

As the rest of the guests geared up for the chorus, the bum's fingers nicked his goal, toppling the beverage over the guitar player's shoe. The bum shifted all of his weight forward in one last-ditch effort to secure the beer before its contents emptied. Unfortunately, before the upper body's motion could be cleared with what still passed for his central nervous system, the lower body knew it was too late - the whole system was going to crash, quite literally, over the table and head-first into some random dude's lap.

Seeing the calamity, I put the guitar aside and attempted to physically halt the bum's forward progress from porch edge to couch edge. Meanwhile, the aforementioned random guy with a bum rushing toward toward his crotch also did the only thing that seemed sensible at the time; grabbing the bum's shoulders and shoving his weight back the way it came.

Well, it just so happened that my pulling and his pushing, and the drunk hobo's limp body-state too I'm sure, was enough to not just stimy the combined force of bum and gravity, but reverse its momentum. Just as soon as he was hunched over the table, the homeless man was again upright on his perch, arms waving frantically in the air.

For a brief moment, the whole porch was washed in silence as the bum teetered. Then, with a resigned and defeated look awash his face, he tumbled backwards, off the porch into freefall, over nate's sculpture, landing hard on the grass and head slightly knocking against the sidewalk.

Slightly disturbed during the fall, the computer monitor/pine tree planter then followed suit, landing hard on the downed hobo's ribs in a final act of indignity.

After a few seconds, his eyes remained shut. Jason, oh so caring of our hobo guests, ran down to the limp body splayed across the entirety of our front yard, asking "You allright man? Hey! You allright?"

Like a punchy boxer given smelling salts, the bum fluttered his eyes open, grinned, and stammered "Good to Go."

And like that, he was up and walking away into the dark Ann Arbor night."
KIDS WON'T PLAY BALL

From Seth...

Why get a psychologist to tell us kids don't have the attention span for baseball anymore? And I'd like to point out as a former deep, deep (quite deep) center right fielder myself, you've always been more likely to encounter aliens in a little league outfield than a fly ball.

And what's with lacrosse being the culprit? Talk about your anecdotal evidence; the guy's home town has a bump and this somehow applies to the rest of the country? It's not lacrosse alone, champ. It's regional. In the south, pee wee football leagues are the rage. Rich suburban Yanks have turned to soccer. Those states with more Canadian cultural influence - Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Maine, et al. - have put on hockey skates. In L.A., extreme sports have gained popularity too, but I think parental interference likely curbs much of that until at least middle school.

I think it's in large part the parents making the decisions as much as the kids. My cartoon-addled attention span certainly wasn't much longer than today's video game junkies. But my parents liked baseball so I played baseball. When they realized that soccer was half the price, I played that. Today, it's our generation, we short-attentioned GenX mutants, who're making the decisions and the fact of the matter is, the 13th Generation has never been big baseball fans. If it bored us to tears as kids, why in the world would we want to sit through Little League games.

This idea about letting all the kids on the team bat intrigues me. It's not new; we had a similar rule, but it wasn't ever enforced. The coaches usually just put on a show for the parents who were there, so when my two-income family left no representative in the bleachers, my sub-.200 batting average kept me inventing things to do with a baseball mitt when sitting on the bench. But I can see where the coaches were coming from. Baseball's tough enough to watch for the common American when it's the Red Sox versus the Yankees for the pennant (although I personally adore it). Make them watch 13 kids bat before theirs gets up - including a good 5 to 7 at the bottom of the lineup without a speck of skill - and don't be surprised if the soccer rosters start filling up the following week.

Of course, the article doesn't even touch on the biggest problems in baseball today. The first is that once young boys start growing adult bodies, the game becomes very disjointed. Kids lose their coordination entirely or become flash freaks who could hit the ball 400 feet and strike out most adults - but only for a few months. And the change occurs at different times so making a steady league is next to impossible. The late bloomers generally drop out of team sports at that point and personally I think that's simply part of life's progression. Those who make it through this crucible with their athleticism intact find a new pursuit- one much more suitable to their new set of muscles - awaiting them: the gridiron.

Across America, baseball has been replaced almost wholesale by football. Except for St. Louis and New York, no other city with both an MLB and NFL team pays more attention to the passtime. And it starts in middle school and high school. Post-pubescent boys put on pads today, not knickers. In much of the country, doing so has become so much of a right of passage and beginning in high school, careers are closely followed by not just parents but the community at large. Yes, there's the weirdos like me who still prefer an afternoon at sleepy Wrigley Field to the gladatorial bloodfest of Soldier Field.

And thus we come to the last statement in the article: baseball will survive. I agree, so long as it can give up its dream of returning to the monopoly it held on sports in the early 20th century can be put to rest. Baseball will survive because there's countless people like me and Umanov who want it to survive just the way it's always been. It wasn't the sports popularity that made it great, but the feel of the game. It's a game played with severe concentration and focus but watched with about as much intesity as it takes to sip a Corona on the veranda. It's a game broken down into countless statistics that remains more unpredictable than any other sporting contest. It's a game of casual graces like a groundskeeper who chats with fans and gives them foul balls he collects and legendary associations as you realize he's standing in the same outfield patrolled by mythical figures.

And while the Millenial Generation increasingly spurns the sport as a Saturday passtime, more and more of their parents are going back to it in the form of softball leagues. It's again part of the enduring duality of the sport; if you play it to win you're not worth spit until you're on the Yankees. If you play it just for fun, you can stink to high heaven and still be welcome on your company squad.
SETH ON THE SWIFT BOATS

From Seth...

"1. The so-called "Swift Boat Veterens for Truth" group is a P.A.C. which has been pretty much laundering Republican campaign donations by pretending to not endorse either candidate in their slanderous, anti-Kerry ads. The right-wing group's only goal is to win Bush the election and the swift boat "truths" they spread are actually downright and absolute lies. Even John McCain called the group, which is now under investigation for violating election laws, out for slander and dirty politics while reporting from his own experience in the war that the group was full of falsities. I wouldn't jump into bed with that fatty just yet, friend.

2. Have you heard Kerry once talk about his Vietnam experiences? He doesn't. Oh, the Democrats do; it was a centerpiece of the whole last night of the convention. And it's all over the campaign's website. But John doesn't talk about it. The big push to show off this stuff is done by none other than the guy whose life Kerry saved, who walked into the campaign in Iowa and asked to put it together. It could very well be just a campaign trick and Kerry's behind the whole thing, but the fact of the matter is that John Kerry himself doesn't talk about his experiences in the war.

Everything you hear about Kerry harping on the Vietnam experiences comes from two things: first, that the rest of the Democrats push it like hell because it's the single-most differentiating trait between the candidates. Kerry was in Vietnam being a hero. Bush was in a cushy National Guard post being a playboy. It's not a big issue to me, but you can see why Kerry supporters want to keep the focus on it.

The second source is from the right, which has been weary and vocally so of hearing of Kerry's Vietnam exploits since his candidacy began. I was just as weary of hearing Bob Dole talk about fighting in World War II during the 1996 election and not because we was really being tiresome, but because it made Clinton look less serious and Dole more heroic and I wanted Clinton to win. Now it's turned around and the Republicans think they need, NEED an answer to this one trump card Kerry has on Bush. So the effort is to discredit the story - even if it means you have to lie and break campaign laws do so, and for those not willing to go that far, the last option is to just convince people they don't want to hear it.

It's simple campaign rhetoric, and those who read your site are probably too smart to get fooled by it either way."

Some interesting points, but after the display organized at the convention and approved by the new head of the democratic party, (Kerry), it's obvious he wanted this election to focus on his Vietnam record as proof of his ability to lead this country. Now that it's being called into question, the Democrats cry foul. I'm sorry but that is how debate works. You raise a point and then your opponent may counter with facts and testimony to disprove the point. The validity of this evidence is up to America, not Seth, to decide.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

KERRY'S WAR RECORD

He kept bringing it up, and bringing it up, and now John Kerry will finally have to answer questions about his war record. Check out this Bob Novak column that examines the validity of the charges of Swift Boat Captains Against Kerry. Looks like JFK now has some splainin' to do since he insisted on running on his Vietnam record.
FRENCH ARE AT IT AGAIN

60 years after the horror of the Holocaust more Jews were recently assaulted at Auschwitz. And to top it all off of course it had to be the French responsible for yet another act of anti-semitism. If I were a jew living in Europe right now I would certainly be considering a move to either America or Israel. It's a slippery slope that just seems to be going faster and faster.