I give up.
I officially give up on professional sports.
Why should I bother?
Major League Baseball has issued a Stern Warning to players. It seems players are snorting deer antler spray. Yeah. Deer antler spray. It seems that the velvet of immature deer antlers contains IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor. Now, IGF-1 is banned by doping agencies and baseball, the problem is catching anyone. Unlike steroids, IGF-1 can't be detected by urine tests. Players have been using it as an alternative to steroids. MLB didn't issue the warning because IGF-1 is against the rules, but because other chemicals in deer antler spray can lead to a false positive for other drugs in drug tests.
I honestly don't see why I should bother caring anymore.
For those who came in late:
Last weekend saw the release of two movies, The Smurfs and Cowboys And Aliens. Cowboys And Aliens underperformed, barely finished ahead of The Smurfs, no one is lining up to license the property, and Scott Rosenberg's Platinum Entertainment is hilariously in the red. I took great, unrepentant joy in this. As Molly Ivins once wrote, My mom may have raised a mean kid, but she didn't raise no hypocrite. I love this. I can't get enough of it. Damn right I'm gloating.
Today was the box office report. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes came out this weekend. Rise is a production of Chernin Entertainment, which is run by Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark. The $93 mil film is their first feature film, kind of like how Cowboys And Aliens is Platinum's first film. Rise doesn't have any truly big names behind it except for those of us who recognize Weta Digital (Peter Jackson's SFX crew), Cowboys And Aliens had big names in front of and behind the camera.
Rise opened with $54 mil. It was expected to open with $34. In other words, it didn't just exceed expectations, it smashed them.
Cowboys, meanwhile, lost 57% of its audience from last week and is being considered a bomb. The Smurfs, meanwhile, lost only 42% of its audience.
Yes, there are times when things really do work out.
Few things illustrate how quickly everything can turn to shit like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. At first, everyone cheered this triumph of the human spirit, how people survived despite the hurricane, the flooding, the disaster. But shortly after that, it became one of the biggest fuck ups in human history. No water for people in the Superdome. Newspapers showing black people "looting" stores and showing white people "scavenging" supplies for their families. You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie. Red tape for people trying to get to their homes. God wants a "chocolate" New Orleans. Sir Charles Barkley was there doing volunteer work, and paid for some people to go to family around the country because everyone there was poor and had no money. Seriously. Anyone with money left before the storm hit, all that was left were people with no jobs and ruined lives.
Overlooked by the national media but alive and well in the local press was the Danziger Bridge shootings. It was one of nine Justice Department investigations into the New Orleans Police Department. It happened on September 4, 2005, one week after Katrina hit. A radio distress call said officers were under fire on the Danziger Bridge, a portion of Chef Menteur Highway (Interstate 10) that spans the Industrial Canal. Cops piled into a Budget rent-a-truck and raced to the scene. Officer Michael Hunter, the driver, fired warning shots out the window as they neared the location. On the east side of the bridge, the cops jumped out and opened fire. They hit and killed James Brissette (17) and wounded four more, Jose Holmes (19), his aunt Susan Bartholomew, his uncle Leonard Bartholomew III, and a teenage cousin Lesha Bartholomew. Brissette was shot several times, from the heel of his foot to his head, and was killed by shotgun pellets that struck the back of his head. Susan Bartholomew's arm was nearly blown off by a large-caliber round -- it had to be amputated. Her daughter's legs were torn apart by bullets. Holmes was struck multiple times in the face, chest, and abdomen, and needed a colostomy bag for years. Roland and Lance Madison were walking on the bridge when the shooting started and immediately took off to get away from there. The police gave chase. Roland was wounded, then killed with a shotgun blast by Officer Robert Faulcon. Lance was jailed for allegedly shooting at the police.
The Danziger shootings were trumpeted as a victory for the police in restoring order to the Dodge City that New Orleans had become. But a grand jury didn't buy it, and an investigation started, charging the officers with murder or attempted murder. The "Danzier Seven" turned themselves in in January 2007. Other cops stood with them in solidarity, calling them heroes and patting them on the back. In 2008, a judge dismissed the charges, and the state case fell apart.
The feds stepped up, and apparently did very well -- five officers grassed on their fellow "heroes", three of them directly involved in the shootings and admitting they fired at civilians and found no evidence of weapons among the crowd afterward. The result was exposure of a stunning cover-up. There was a secret meeting to get their stories straight. Officers revising their accounts of the shootings. Phony witnesses. A planted gun retrieved by Officer Arthur Kaufman from his garage. Five officers wound up facing court.
On Friday, the feds planted all five of them. The only charges that didn't stick were the murder charges.
Sometimes, the good guys do win.
I sat in my office, thinking about the ad I had placed that morning in the paper. I love writing political stories. In the days after Donald Trump officially declared he wouldn't run for President, I felt a great loss. He was so much fun to kick around, and such an easy target, too. It was sad for a while until Michelle Bachmann stepped up, doing all kinds of goofy shit. But she's been quiet lately. So I took out an ad for a politician to bash. Experience essential, newbies to the political arena need not apply.
I was enjoying a fast lunch of ramen noodles and trying to figure out how to get out of visiting my sister and her husband when a knock came from my door. Come in, I called.
"Hello. I'm Mitt Romney. I understand you are looking for a politician to bash. I'm your man."
Oh, yes. I remember you from the 2008 Republican Primaries.
"Then you are already familiar with my record. I'm sure you will agree that, when it comes to politicians to bash, I bring a lot to the table."
That you do. Although, frankly, you're old news. There's a lot of younger, hungrier people who are better targets. Why should I pick you?
"Because I have recently done something very very bad."
Stampeding cattle? Through the Vatican?
"Nope. I skirted campaign finance laws in general, and your precious McCain-Feingold in particular."
Okay, what happened?
"Well, you know about Restore Our Future, right?"
Yeah, it's a super PAC started by former aides of yours that is pushing you for President. Just like how Priorities USA was started by former White House aides like former Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton to help with Obama's re-election campaign.
"No fooling you when it comes to politics, is there? Well, Restore Our Future got a $1 million donation from W Spann LLC."
That's just a generic dodge around campaign finance. You can only give $2,500 directly to a candidate, but you can give all you want to PACs. If you want me to bash you, you got to give me something better than that.
"Well, W Spann was first incorporated in Delaware in March of this year by Boston lawyer Cameron Casey. They gave Restore Our Future the mil six weeks later, then Casey dissolved the firm on July 12. Restore Our Future made it's first campaign filing two weeks later. The address listed for W Spann LLC? It's for a midtown Manhattan office building, but no records exist of them being there. No paper trail whatsoever."
Ah, NOW you're talking! So who was it that really gave the money?
"Edward W. Conard, a former Bain Capital managing director."
You're just saying that.
"Oh, no. Politico dug him up, and both Restore Our Futures and Conard have issued press releases saying it's him."
Very nice! I'm gonna keep you at the top of the pile, but I think you're my guy.
"When can I expect to hear if you're going to bash me?"
Oh, you'll hear.