I'm a fighter, not a lover.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

On a happy note...

... Yesterday was my first day of the season on the snow and I didn't even have to hike. Any week that the Sox win the World Series and you can go skiing, well, that's a pretty damned good week. Now if only things go according to plan on Tuesday...

Wait, the Independent Voice of Utah?

First and foremost, I am not a
Salt Lake Tribune subscriber, mostly for monetary reasons, and do not claim to be, though I am a fairly frequent reader. That said, I think that there is some good writing and solid reporting at the Trib, mixed in of course, with a lot of not-so-good writing and lousy reporting. I have worked with a couple of writers from the Trib in various endeavors and have found them to be professional, so it is my opinion that the paper might actually intend to be “Utah’s Independent Voice” (self-proclaimed), but, well, Daddy won’t let it be.

Salt Lake City, along with all of its other quirks and oddities, is a rarity in print journalism: it’s a two paper town. Two daily newspapers, which share the same printing press, offer very different views of life in Salt Lake and beyond.

One, the Deseret News, is LDS-owned and run, and as may be expected from a news outlet run from the Mormon Church, offers a pretty conservative outlook. The other is the Salt Lake Tribune, simply known as the Trib, which used to offer a less conservative tone – at least by Utah standards.

Last week, the Trib took part in the great tradition of publicly endorsing candidates for both the presidential election and local elections, and to say the least, it was a bit shady. The endorsements of the “Independent Voice,” looked a bit more like the choices of an ultra-conservative organization, like the Des News. First off, they endorsed President Bush for four more years, not a huge surprise given that this is Utah, but disturbing in that in the very same issue that the Trib endorsed Bush, it insulted his administration and what it had and had not accomplished in the last four years. Odd.

Also, the Trib endorsed (over-)developer Ellis Ivory for the seat of County Mayor. Looking at this endorsement without considering the “unusual circumstances” of the campaign for this election, it still seems strange to me that a reputable news medium would jump to a candidate who has no political experience and has been in the running for the position for roughly the last 22 minutes. Add to that the oddities of the race… To recap: Nancy Workman is the incumbent Republican County Mayor, who is brought up on charges of misuse of public funds; she still decides that she is going to run for re-election and wins the Republican nomination again; Ivory is working on her campaign; it becomes pretty clear that Workman will not be re-elected so Ivory announces his intentions to run as an independent, write-in candidate; Workman drops out and fights to get Ivory on the ballot as the Republican candidate; the Democratic Party of Utah brings the issue to court and suddenly a letter from some doctor appears suggesting that Workman is not fit to run for County Mayor again, therefore allowing the Republican Party of Utah to re-nominate a candidate; it stands up in court and Ivory is now on the ballot. Wait, what? A doctor’s note? Is this gym class or public office? So, it just doesn’t sit quite right that the Trib likes him best. (Add to that, Ivory is so wealthy, that if elected, he plans to refuse a salary and a county vehicle -- a point that his campaign is driving home, suggesting that he is that committed to the office. For me, it just makes me wonder who would Ivory be accountable to?)

The City Weekly, perhaps the truly independent voice of Utah, suggests that these endorsements are being pressed upon the Trib from its (non-local) publisher/owner, Dean Singleton, who just a few months back, announced that the paper would be moving from historic Main Street to the Gateway project; a common occurrence with businesses that some say is taking away from the city's downtown and that up until that time, the Tribune was reporting on. Many readers found the new business deal with the Gateway to be a conflict of interest for the paper and along with Singleton’s recent endorsements (which, if the City Weekly's claims are true, would suggest that the Independent Voice is actually dependent on Daddy's approval), take away much of the credibility that the Tribune has spent so long working to build.

I swear the City Weekly’s best writing comes when it is insulting the Tribune. Its reporting on this issue is no different and I invite you to check it out here.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

86 the 86 years

My life-long cynicism has finally been explained. All this time, my negativity stemmed from the Red Sox. I had no idea. Beginning about a quarter to ten (MST) last night though, I started my new life as a glass-half-full-kind-of-guy.

I maintained the appropriate superstitions going into game four of the World Series with the Sox leading 3-0 and was careful not to once use the word “sweep,” (though it’s all I was thinking) while chastising those that let that word fly in the 24 hours leading up to first pitch. Nonetheless, the Sox were unstoppable going into last night’s game, winning seven consecutive post-season matches, including the Greatest Comeback in the History of Anything and following that with three straight victories against the Cards.

Several sportswriters, especially those with an open bias towards the Sox (we refer to them as “the informed”), pointed out time and again during this Fox-overly-packaged playoff season, that unlike every other year, going into game four, things were falling in Boston’s favor. Calls were being corrected. Balls were hopping and landing in the right places. When it was time for the Sox pitching to characteristically hang a pitch over the plate, strikes were thrown. Even with some of the oddest decisions made by a big league manager (at least in the first half of the post-season), things were working out.

The Sox were also undefeated in 2004 post-season play when they scored first, a fact that Johnny Damon was well aware of. Proving that he is indeed divine, he hit a solo shot as the first batter of the evening, giving the Sox the quick lead. And really, that was all it took. Still, I was never quite comfortable (even with the 3-0 lead and the post-season -- not regular-season -- version of Derek Lowe on the mound) and I would guess that no citizen of Red Sox Nation was.

This is just how things work. I knew this heading into the game. So, when the bottom of the fifth came around, I started bracing myself for the pain, sort of like grabbing the “Oh Shit” handle when sitting in the passenger seat of a skidding car.

Edgar Renteria hit a one-out gap shot in the bottom of the fifth for St. Louis, forcing Damon to his right to make an excellent play to keep the ball from getting by, only to mis-plant and slip when turning to throw. With the trip-up, Renteria easily reaches second and just moments later, heads to third on an uncharacteristic past ball by Jason Varitek (assuming that he isn’t catching the knuckleball). My stomach hurt. “Here it comes,” I thought.

This is how we think, you see. Instead of seeing even the ONE run that Renteria represented with the Cardinals needing three to tie, I saw St. Louis taking the game and eventually the series. Imagine my amazement when D-Lowe got out of the inning scoreless.

My stomach hurt twice more, in addition, of course, to the whole strange feeling that the evening produced. The first time came about a quarter past eight (MST), when having shown every picture of Babe Ruth and after replaying every embarrassing and strangely cruel moment in Red Sox history and finding that the BoSox were still winning, Chris Myers (a former respectable member of the ESPN crew, turned into gossip reporter for Fox Sports) headed to the stands to interview some Sox fans, and one young idiot in particular. Probably about twelve years-old, this jackass, with an accent thicker than a genius janitor from MIT, proudly exclaimed, "I can't wait to come back (to Massachusetts) and brag that I got to see the Red Sox win the World Series." And here’s the strange thing: his father, seated immediately to the boy’s right, did not beat him to tears. The man didn’t even give him a quick backhand. Nothing! Meanwhile, in the overpriced Salt Lake City sports bar that I sat at, those of us sitting at the bar; most of us transplants from Massachusetts, the others being those lucky enough to have a direct connection with us and the Sox (the bandwagon fans had to remain behind us, of course); all simultaneously knocked on the wood of our seats while expletives flew.

“Well, he is young,” my friend, Matt, said in his defense. More expletives flew. Miraculously, the Sox kept rolling. Honestly, if this was any other year, and in particular, last year, immediately after that kid opened his mouth on national television, the Bush administration would have deemed baseball Unconstitutional, citing an obscure reference in the USA Patriot Act.

The final stomach pangs came in the last inning, when after bringing Keith Foulke in, Albert Pujols singled off of him. (For those not in the know, “Pujols” is pronounced “Poo-Holes,” which has prompted my ever-creative friend, Kathleen, to decidedly call him “Outhouse.” God bless her.) Pujols’ single was only the fourth Cardinal hit of the evening -- only the fourth! -- and yet, the bad thoughts came rolling right back. I tried to fight it off by continuing to count outs to a Boston championship, which I refused to begin doing, incidentally, until there were 12 to go. After getting the next two batters, Renteria was back up and I wondered if this could be it.

I was having trouble sitting, but had to sit as I hadn’t been standing before (if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it). My feet kicking the bar, my ass not so much on the stool, but hovering above it, I remember questioning if this could really be happening and also, where Renteria would hit the ball, knowing that a World Series could not end with a strikeout or an impressive play in the outfield. Sticking to the rule, he dribbled a ball right to Foulke to end the game and clear the slates. Eighty-six years of ghosts and negativity gone, just like that.

There was jumping and a lot of screaming, followed by hugging, mostly with the type of people who don’t normally hug. And celebratory shots (who chose tequila?) were poured. One member of our group was standing atop the bar. And the Utah people who liked the Sox, but didn’t really understand what was happening, congratulated us like we were the folks on the field, proving again that they didn’t really understand.

Of course, part of me wishes I was home for last night. Even despite that, and despite Joe Buck’s and Tim McCarver’s attempts at being the most annoying and un-informed broadcasters in the history of the sport; despite Fox’s over-commercialized presentation of all of post-season baseball and its choice to run with close-ups of ugly fans or tight shots of players’ ankles instead of showing pitches; despite everything, last night was an incredible night.

I was lucky enough to be able to follow it up -- after watching the post-game celebrations with my Sox crew, of course -- by seeing Martin Sexton perform a fantastic show. The drinking and celebrating continued. I walked around this wet city with a dumb grin, enjoying the birth of my new life of optimism.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

My tea bag

I will not use the "S-word," just as Bill Simmons refrains from doing, but tonight could be a historic night. And why shouldn't it be? I've been waiting for this pretty much since I first became cognizant. I was raised to be a sports fan and in that respect, have failed my father, but I am a Sox fan -- albeit, one that is 2300 miles displaced.

The last two Octobers, both of which I have spent here in Salt Lake City, have been distressful and mostly sleepless affairs. In fact, I didn't begin sleeping better this month until the World Series began -- that doesn't even make sense.

Now, I don't want to waste my time or your's describing to you what a Red Sox championship would mean to me, what I would sacrifice for it, what superstitions I practice to bring it about, who I wish I were spending it with, or even why the very word "October" makes me tense. There are too many other stories out there, most probably far better than mine, but I will tell you about one of my most recent quirks.

I have a tea bag!

Of course, I hesitate to refer to said tea bag as lucky, but it IS undefeated. The Sox/Yankees ALCS will no doubt go down as one of the most amazing comebacks of all time, and truth be told, it deserves such reverence. Now, for game five of that series, I headed to my old residence to watch the game with fellow Sox fans and fellow Massholes. My voice was hoarse from the previous games, so, always being prepared, I packed a tea bag to enjoy.

Except, that it never left my back pocket. Since then, the silly tea bag (still in its packaging, of course) has been in my back left pocket for every game of the ALCS and the World Series and the majority of the time in between.

Who knew that so much could rely on a single tea bag?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Because I am smarter than you.

Why would some other idiot start a blog? Why now? Because you may not realize it, but I have a lot to lend you. You've been waiting for me, or rather, a miniature version of me, to crawl up onto your shoulder, hide beneath your shirt collar and when no one is looking, furtively instruct you on what to think, how to feel, what to do. I will help you through your day. Now is the time. Consider yourself a lucky man/woman/duck. I started this blog because I am smarter than you and I can help you.

Or, perhaps you fancy option B instead, which states that this is not the case at all. I am in fact, less intelligent than you -- after all, you were smart enough to turn to me in the first place! -- and instead, I created Finding DMo to attempt to fill a deep void within my life (what better way than public/web-based humiliation?) and to ensure and defend my title of 'NERD.'

No matter what you choose to believe, welcome. I can not promise daily postings, or even weekly updates for that matter, but nonetheless, I invite you to join me in learning more about this DMo character.