Opinions, Etc. 12.31.03


In Memoriam:  John Gregory Dunne, who was the second-classiest writer to die in 2003.  Nobody could beat George Plimpton in that area.

Ah, the end of another year comes upon us, causing us to reflect on the past and hope for the future.

Fuck that.  Like 2004’s going to be any different from 2003…well, the end of the year hopefully will, when we throw the illegal occupiers out of the White House.  But that’s November.  Until then, there’s simply months and months of misery, boredom, and same-old-same-old ahead.

New Years is just an artificial construct anyway.  For most of the Christian Era, the year began at Easter.  But since Easter’s celebrated on a different day every year, it got too damn confusing.  That’s why all of the old chronicles and such date things using feast days and such, like “two days after St. Athalbert’s Day” or “on the day of the Assumption of the Virgin, Clotilde gave birth to a boy”.  Admittedly, this way’s better, but we’re still arguing about when the year actually begins.  The Greek Orthodox calendar doesn’t say that this is the last day of the year.  Neither does the Jewish calendar (which still does that funky lunar thing like the rest of the world had with Easter).  To the Muslims, it isn’t the new year.  Hell, with the last two, we can’t even agree on what year it is now, much less what year it’s going to be tomorrow.

Give me a little more time and a little more brainpower, and I can link this into the fact that we haven’t been able to contact Beagle II.  What year is it going to be on Mars tomorrow, by the way?

Yeah, it’s lame, but, hell, Fleabag’s qualification period for the EOY IWC 100 is over with, so I can lame it all I want and it won’t hurt me (or be remembered for the mid-year IWC 100).  Before you ask, no, I don’t know who Number One is or is going to be.  I don’t even know my position, although I have a decent guess as to it.  Just go over there tomorrow (you all know where it is) and find out.  If not, wait for it and head for your favorite whiteboard, where some lamo with an axe to grind against someone in the Top Ten will post it and bitch to his heart’s content.  Albeit after I finish this sucker, the latest to Fleabag gets put into the text editor.  I decided to wait until the Queen’s Honours List came out to combine that with a discussion of BSE, just so I can call the column “Mad Cows and Englishmen”.  ‘Tis the season to indulge one’s whims.

Now, let’s get on to some content…


A few weeks ago, with three weeks left to go in the football season, I patted myself on the back for an apparent accurate prediction back before the season began that 1) the Bears would go 6-10 and 2) Rex Grossman would be starting by the thirteenth game.  Grossman actually started the fourteenth game, but considering that Fucking Kordell actually had one good week this year, I counted it as a success.  Now, as for the record…at the time, the Bears were 5-8.  Their remaining opponents were Minnesota, Washington, and Kansas City.  I stated that, given that schedule, 6-10 was a certainty.  I was one Charles Tillman rip-the-ball-out-of-Randy-Moss’s-hands from being correct on the record.

I didn’t mention exactly how the record of 6-10 would be obtained out of those final three games, with the Bears going 1-2 in them.  However, Regular Sean Fri figured out exactly what path I was predicting:  losses to the ViQueens and Chiefs, victory over Sean’s beloved Redskins.  And, boy, did Sean give me hell about this.  Of course, the Sunday after Sean gave me said hell, Tillman stole the ball from Moss, giving me a little egg splattered on my face in a very good and unexpected way, but the Deadskins got blanked by the Gayboys.  I was polite enough not to comment about this, though.

However, then came the next week, and the Bears pulled a last-second field goal out of their pockets (again, just like they did against Oakland) to put the Deadskins down.  And what was Sean’s response?  Was it a mea culpa?  Was it even a “Gee, Eric, you were right”?  No:

Let me get this straight – the Skins had 45 yards rushing but they were IN THE GAME at the end?  You should be embarrassed.  Even though
you won.

Personally, I blame it on Tim Hasslebeck’s wife.  Of course, what Sean doesn’t mention is that the very same week, Jay Fiedler had 43 yards passing against Buffalo, and zero yards in the second half, and the Dolphins still beat the Bills.  Statistical anomalies happen.

And now, both teams are without a coach.  Jauron was shit-canned because he and his staff are a bunch of f*cking losers (and 2001 has shown itself to be such a confluence of blind luck that he doesn’t get credit for it at all).  But what’s Spurrier’s excuse for taking his sad-ass act out of Occupation Central and going back to the college scene?  Can’t take the heat?  Couldn’t prove himself a genius when he had to deal with a psychotic owner and be able to mold a quarterback to play a very stratified system from moment one?  Aw, too bad.  And he will be going to a college somewhere, because whoever hires him has to pay the Deadskins a good portion of danegeld to nullify the last three years of that contract.  There are few owners around who are that stupid.  The Glazers were that stupid, of course, but they got a Super Bowl out of it when they got Gruden.

God bless BFM for telling me about firejohnshoop.com.  That site is worth every bit of HTML it has.

More pro football:  The Pride of Dartmouth is desiring the departure of one Wanny from the vicinity of Miami.  Now you know what we in Chicago all felt a few years ago, Elliot.  And as for “never having a losing record”, not with the Fins, he hasn’t, but he sure as hell did with the Bears.  God, he sucks and always will.

Memo to Chris Pankonin:  are you thinking the same nightmare scenario that I am concerning Spurrier, namely that he, you, and I will be sharing the same area of residency?  He’s denying it, but we all know what a pathological liar he is and what a complete tool Steve Pedersen is.


Are people so anxious to get to Noo Yawk that they’re willing to risk dying in wheel wells of airplanes?  Dear God, why?  And, of course, watch Noo Yawk spin this one into some kind of tourist ad thing.  They’re tasteless enough to do it.


The one thing the Democratic Party needs right now is a little unity.  It doesn’t need Dick Gephardt sniping at the other candidates on the issue of NAFTA, for God’s sake.  Frankly, pandering to neo-patriotism (and neo-jingoism) is a little bit distasteful.  Use some other issue, please.


Let’s send a New Years’ Get Well to JJ, who broke his ankle over in Iraq.  Of course, dude has some things going for him…a possible book deal, some still photos sold to ABC for their use…you do realize, Mistah Botter, that I have this incredible desire to go over there and break your other ankle.


Remember, if you’re going out tonight, it’s Amateur Hour on the roads, so be careful.  Designated driver, etc.  Don’t overdo it.  We had a great year at 411 in 2003, and we want you back in 2004 to see what the hell else we have in store.  So until next year, have a good one.