Posts tagged ‘sad’
January 11, 2010
Look – you knew this day was going to come. Pete Carroll sitting behind an SC microphone in Heritage Hall – but bereft of a single item of cardinal and gold in his wardrobe – explaining why he was leaving for the NFL. Don’t pretend you’re shocked or anything more than surprised by the timing. It was as inevitable as the sunset.
For all his success as the head football coach as USC – and you could easily make the argument for USC being the premier college football program of the last decade – Carroll was first and foremost an NFL guy. Remember, he came to the Trojans fresh off his firing as the head coach of the Patriots (where he was replaced by some guy named Belichick). He has two stints as a head coach totalling 4 years and a lot more experience as a defensive coordinator – and an itch to show he wasn’t a failure at the highest level. He never said he had no interest in returning to the NFL, just that the right opportunity hadn’t come along. Now it has.
There are those who will argue the timing of Carroll’s departure is questionable, and while he tried mightily to deflect those ideas in his news conference today they clearly remain. The Trojans are coming off their worst season since his first with them, and are looking at a significant rebuilding effort. They lost two key offensive weapons with the departure of juniors Joe McKnight and Damian Williams to the pros, and the NCAA will soon wrap up its investigations into issues regarding McKnight and former Trojan Reggie Bush and hand down some kind of punishment. Not the kind of situation you’d expect a fighter to shy away from, but it is what it is.
The big question now for USC is who’s next. Mike Garrett, the school’s athetic director, doesn’t exactly have a sterling track record when it comes to football hires – remember, Carroll was his fourth pick, and his only other coaching selections were Paul Hackett and a burned-out John Robinson. With rules compliance issues issues swirling around both the football and basketball programs, you can bet his choice will be heavily scrutinized.
There are a lot of names being kicked about as Carroll’s replacement, but two jump out in my mind. Jack Del Rio has head coaching experience (he’s currently the embattled coach of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars) and is a former Trojan. He also brings the same competitive fire the program knew with Carroll. The other potential candidate is Butch Davis, who is currently with North Carolina. He’s one of the long list of successful coaches who tried unsuccessfully to jump to the pros (Dallas) only to be beaten back down and forced to lick their wounds at a lesser school. But he was successful at pulling Miami’s fat out of the NCAA fire and might be just what the Trojans need right now.
Sometime tomorrow, the ex-Trojan coach will sit behind another microphone in another hall – this one in Renton, WA – outfitted in the green and blue of his new team, the Seattle Seahawks. He’ll say the same basic things and talk about how hard the decision was and how excited he is at the challenge. And if you’re a true Trojan fan, you’ll tip your hat to the man and cheer for his ‘Hawks.
January 6, 2010
Let me be clear – I’m a baseball fan, which is why I’m not an Angels fan. To me, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim represent pretty much everything that’s wrong with America’s pastime all wrapped up in one pathetic package. An out of town owner trying (in this case, successfully) a championship, a complete lack of respect for the home town (Anaheim should have evicted the bastards for the whole “LA of A” thing … ), a long string of ugly uniforms and, of course, the designated hitter. All in all, not much to recommend them.
If there’s been one saving grace over the years, it’s been their announcers. Homers, to be sure, but at least entertaining – none so much as Rory Markas. Yeah, he coined the schmaltzy “just another halo victory” line, but you could hear in his voice that there was a genuine passion and a childlike love of the game, and that made it all worthwhile.
Shocking, Rory Markas has died of a heart attack at the frighteningly young age of 53. Everyone is doing their own tributes, but none have been as touching and obvously heartfelt as the one by former colleague Keith Olbermann on his “Countdown” show:
Ironically, the Angels had recently announced a cutback in their on-air staff, with Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler leaving the staff. Rory was scheduled to handle the play-by-play duties on radio, but now will regrettably require a replacement.
October 30, 2009
A combined rescue fleet is currently scouring the waters inside San Clemente Island looking for survivors from a mid-air collision last night between a Coast Guard C-130 and a Marine Corps AH-1A Cobra helicopter. Witnesses reported seeing a fireball just after 7PM last night 15 miles east of the island. A debris field has been spotted, and the search for survivors among the nine crewmembers of the two aircraft is ongoing.
The location of the search is close to the “289 Fathom Spot,” a place often fished by our local marlin fleet. Had this occured a month ago, there likely would have been a sizeable private boat fleet working the area that could help in the search. Rescuing pilots from downed swordfish spotter planes is a near-yearly occurance for local fishermen, but this would certainly be much bigger.
You’d think with all the open space there is offshore that these things couldn’t happen, but time and time again we see tragedies like this happen. At this point, the likelihood of survivors is slim, and I’d expect that it will soon transition from search to recovery.
Making things all that much more pointless, the C-130 had been called down from Sacramento to help search for someone who was reportedly trying to row a 12-ft skiff to Catalina. Personally, I believe if you do something so stupid as to put your life voluntarily as risk in such a ridiculous fashion, the least society can do is let you achieve your goal of a meaningless death. That these 9 airmen were lost because of this jackass makes me hope he survives just so someone can kick his ass. Maybe we can unleash the Langley Nut Cracker on him …
September 14, 2009
I’m feeling particularly old today … Jim Carroll has died.
Carroll was best known as a poet, with his work “Basketball Diaries” having been turned into a movie in 1995 by Leo DeCaprio. But for I and my college friends, Carroll was the underground rocker who created the classic “People Who Died,” a litany of friends who had passed to the Great Beyond by increasingly bizarre methods.
Less singer than spoken word artist, Carroll’s vocals were in many ways reminiscent of The Doors’ Jim Morrison, and his lyrics were equally deep and twisted. He had a way of turning a phrase – among my favorite: “It’s too late … to fall in love with Sharon Tate.”
Carroll himself had a description of his unique performance style:
“There ain’t much time left, you’re born out of this insane abyss and you’re going to fall back into it, so while you’re alive you might as well show your bare ass.”
My friends from Bannockburn are mourning today. Jim Carroll was 60.
September 1, 2009
I travel a lot on business, and at some point in my meetings the topic inevitably turns to the various regions of the country in which we live. When I mention Iive in Los Angeles, someone always asks about earthquakes. “Aren’t you afraid of the shaking?” they ask. Truth is, LA is known for its disasters. From the quakes to the surf to the smog, everyone thinks we’re one step away from Armageddon. But ask a resident of SoCal what disaster they fear most and you’ll get one answer: wildfires.
As the local water board loves to remind us, Southern California is a desert. The end of summer brings the Santa Ana winds that rush out of the mountains that line the northern edge of the Los Angeles basin, dry devil breezes that all too often carry the aroma of burning brush – sure signs that a wildfire is nearby. The fires themselves are as predictable as the winds that carry them along, but while you can prepare for them you never know exactly when and where they’ll strike.
Right now, there’s a series of fires burning uncontrolled in SoCal mountains. The largest of those, dubbed the “Station Fire,” is a mammoth brute that’s been burning since the middle of last week. It’s grown to over 122,000 acres – to put that in perspective, the fire line is over 75 miles long, and the burn area is larger than the city of Chicago. They think it’ll take another week just to get a line around it – assuming it doesn’t reach the homes that ring the fire first.
It’s eerie. Yesterday, I could look north from the Home Office and see the fires burning on the opposite side of the basin. Tonight, as I look up, I can see the smoke blowing overhead as the wind has changed. I assume we’ll be seeing ash fallout here soon. All over the radio are creepy commercials from the various insurance companies, reminding their policy holders how much they care. Right – just like you did after Northridge,
One of the challenges of living on the margin between civilization and nature is that sometimes nature bites back. God bless the hard working firefighters who put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us – particularly the two who have already paid the ultimate price for our safety.
UPDATE: This is why fire scares me far more than earthquakes, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times:
August 13, 2009
When you run a website about billfishing, and a new TV series is announced about billfishing, chances are you’re going to be interested. Add to that SCMO’s conservation ethic, and the fact that the subject of the new series is one of the more vilified commercial fishing methods out there, and you can bet there’ll be a lot of conversation around the Home Office after the series’ debut.
“Swords: Life On The Line” is a new Discovery Channel reality series created by the same folks who brought us the wildly successful “Deadliest Catch”. It follows the same basic pattern of embedding camera crews with fishing boats as they fish in dangerous conditions – in this case, the longline swordfishery on the Grand Banks off the east coast of the US and Canada. Like the crabbers of the Bering Sea, the stars of the shows are the fishermen manning the boats, and the show attempts to hype the drama and danger of their profession.
When first announced, my concern was that the program would glamorize this kind of ill-advised fishing method. Longlines have been banned in many areas, including here in Southern California, because they are such an indiscriminate form of fishing. With up to 40 miles of baited hooks, anything that might be hungry can fall prey to the lines. That certainly includes the target swordfish, but can also include other billfish, sharks and many other species. That “bycatch” is usually not a marketable commodity and is dumped overboard, thus depleting the resource. In addition, the method is so efficient that the Atlantic swordfish nearly disappeared a decade ago, and only agressive management has brought it back. Thus, anything that popularizes the industry that is threatening the swordfish once again can’t be good.
I had little expectation as I settled in to watch the first episode. Discovery had already demonstrated their ignorance by passing off a picture of a sailfish – a mounted one, no less – as a live swordfish on their website (the picture has been changed, but you can see the original in a Fishing News edition here). Their willingness to artificially ramp up the drama has been well documented on “DC” as has the tacky product placement (do you really think they have Dunkin’ Donuts coffee on Bering Sea crab boats??). I figured that would be the case again with this show, and it didn’t take longer than the opening credits to prove me right.
Most people would be unaware of this particular fishery, had it not been for the ill-fated trip of the fishing boat Andrea Gail in 1991. That trip, documented in the book and movie “The Perfect Storm,” established the fishery as dangerous – and, therefore, fodder for Discovery. Just in case you didn’t make the connection, it was mentioned three different times during the show’s first segment. One of the characters in that drama was Linda Greenlaw, who at the time was running a sister ship to the Andrea Gail. Long retired, she was dragged out of retirement, presumably at the behest of the producers, and given the task of restoring a derelict fishing vessel – all in the name of drama.
The show itself felt derivitive and entirely dismissable. I’m sure that subsequent episodes, when they actually start to catch fish, will bring a little more excitement, but this isn’t really that embraceable a situation – most of the time it’s pretty dull. I’m sure Discovery will do their part to escalate the drama artificially, and have already gotten a few classic moments – my favorite was when Greenlaw’s mechanic declared the engine to be running fine seconds before it catastrophically threw a rod.
If the only issue was that the show was artificial and dull, I could simply dismiss it. But, as I feared, the coverage seems to be very much one-sided, with no attempt made to justify the destructive nature of the fishing they document. At one point a juvenile swordfish was thrown- presumably dead – overboard, while later the narrator discussed the challenges associated with trying to release the many sharks caught – while on the screen two gaffs are sunk into a mako shark, which is left bleeding on the deck. With their focus solely on the fishermen, and the fish and sharks seen as little more than props, I have no reason to believe this skewed perspective will change in subsequent episodes.
The root cause of the problem lies with the producers, who are simply clueless filmmakers hoping to capture that “gotcha” moment when someone gets hurt or goes overboard. But the real blame in my mind lies with the Discovery Channel decision-makers, who ought to know better. They’re the ones who brought us the wonderful “Blue Planet” series that celebrates the richness of the ocean while warning us of the challenges it faces. They also created “Planet Green,” a channel dedicated to preserving the planet. If anyone is not going to get a pass from me on this show, it’s them.
Discovery is clearly aware of the controversial nature of the fishing method they are documenting. The show included a disclaimer that opinions are not necessarily those of the producers, a standard way of dodging responsibility for content. There is also a posting board at the show’s website titled “Talk About The Issues” – issues unnamed, but not unknown, as the postings are running about 10-1 against the fishermen.
It’s unlikely that Discovery will voluntarily make changes to a proven money-making format without outside pressure, and it’s up to us to bring it. Take a moment to tell the folks at Discovery what you think of this new show, and the destructive fishing methods it glorifies. Remind them that once before the fishery was brought to the brink of collapse, and they are only helping it once again be threatened. Explain to them the damage longlines do through bycatch, and the horrific waste it represents. And be sure to tell them that the decisions you make with your consumer dollars will be influenced by the decisions they choose to make – or not.
You can voice your opinion in the forum listed above, or via Discovery’s online contact form. I’ve already aired my opinions with they – now you should, too.
August 6, 2009
If you came of age in the ’80s, then you owe a debt of gratitude to John Hughes. The way you think about life, love, relationships and all the complicated issues associated with making the transition to adulthood were the topics of a series of successful movies written, directed or produced by Hughes, and many of them have become classics. Unfortunately, there will be no more, as John Hughes died yesterday in New York City.
The list is huge: Sixteen Candles … Pretty in Pink … Ferris Buehler’s Day Off … The Breakfast Club … Planes, Trains and Automobiles … Home Alone. My personal fave was “Some Kind of Wonderful,” starring much younger versions of Eric Stoltz, Lea Thompson and Mary Stuart Masterson. They were wonderful, touching and often iconic films.
Because Hughes was so successful so young, he was able to pull back from the industry in later years, devoting his efforts to running a farm and supporting the arts. He was out for a morning walk when he was struck down by a fatal heart attack. John Hughes was only 59.
One last time for John … all together now:
Buehler? … Buehler? … Buehler? …
July 29, 2009
I’m a city-dweller. I was born in the city, raised in the city, spent my entire life in the city and will in all likelihood die in the city. I hear stories of country life, and all I can do is smile – I have no reference point to that sort of livestyle whatsoever.
Living in the city comes with certain challenges. Cars, smog, congestion, crime – these are the unavoidable hallmarks of city life. The latter one – crime – is one that gets a lot of attention from politicians, particularly during election cycles, as no one likes the idea of a crime-ridden city. Here in Los Angeles, they’ve done a good job of keeping the rates pretty acceptable, and the gang violence is much less than it was in decades past. But that doesn’t mean that walking the streets of Los Angeles is necessarily safe …
By all accounts, Lily Burk was a great kid. Smart, funny, creative, this was a young girl who would go far. But fate apparently had a different idea. A week ago, the 17-yr-old was running errands for her mother, picking up some papers from her office at Southwestern Law School on Wilshire. She left the school, but never made it home. A couple of cryptic phone call were made about trouble using her ATM card to get money, then nothing – until her lifeless body was found the next morning near Skid Row in Downtown LA.
You’ve heard of “wrong place, wrong time”? That’s going to go on her tombstone. Lily had the misfortune of walking down Wilshire Place at the wrong time and running into a drunk, stoned ex-con names Charles Samuel, who saw her as a target of opportunity. He kidnapped her, forced her to try and get money from the ATM and, when that didn’t work, killed her. The stupid bastard was arrested shortly thereafter as he walked down a nearby street, beer in hand, crackpipe in pocket, and clothes splattered with blood.
This is one of those unexplainable acts that make you question the existence of God. I mean, how does a benevolent deity justify allowing a beautiful, intelligent, talented 17-yr-old girl to have her throat slashed by a drunk, homeless ex-con?
I have a friend who attends Southwestern Law, and I’ve picked her up from school before. It’s one of those neighborhoods like many in LA, faded from one-time glory but slowly recovering as a new group of people move in. The school itself occupies the iconic Bullock’s Wilshire building (the famous “Tea Room” is now the school cafeteria), and it was from just outside this building that Lily was abducted. I can remember sitting in the car waiting, thinking that this probably wasn’t a neighborhood I’d want to spend a lot of time in after dark (as it was at the time). But Lily was taken on a bright sunny morning.
When you put enough people into one area, you’re bound to get the good and the bad. In this case, good met bad, and bad won. If justice truly works, good will get a chance to repay bad one day. It’s just a shame that the mercy that will be shown Charles Samuel when he is killed was absent last Friday for Lily Burk.
July 22, 2009
It’s been a difficult summer for celebrities, as a long string of familiar faces have taken their final curtain calls and headed into the Great Beyond. From Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett, to Michael Jackson and Walter Cronkite, we’ve lost many who are known to us. And now, I’m sad to report, another has left us. I refer, of course, to Gidget, the “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” Dog.
“She made so many people happy,” says Gidget’s trainer, Sue Chipperton. PEOPLE met both Gidget and Sue at a Hollywood animals photo shoot in February, where the pup was a consummate pro and delighted the crew with her playful nature.
“When she’s on a set, she comes alive,” Chipperton said at the time. But when the mostly retired canine actor wasn’t joining her trainer on shoots, the 15-year-old was happy to just kick back. “She goes on hikes with me and she loves the sun,” said Chipperton, who added that Gidget was happy to sleep “for 23 hours and 45 minutes a day. She’ll lay outside when it’s 105 degrees! I like to joke that it’s like looking after a plant.”
Gidget was 15 when she died of a stroke Tuesday. If there’s a doggie Heaven, I’m sure she’s chasing little toy cars as we speak.
Here’s an interesting side note to this story. Apparently, there was a bit of a dust-up between Taco Bell, their advertising firm, and the creative team that came up with Gidget’s dream gig. Back in January, a judge ruled in favor of the creative team – to the tune of $42 million! That’ll buy you a hell of a lot of kibble …
July 13, 2009
This being the first of two rest days on the 2009 Tour de France, it would be easy for me to claim the need to take a blogging rest day as well. But as much as our readers might vigorously support that notion, we soldier on …
- File this under “You Knew It Was Coming,” but apparently the David Beckham Experience is being branded a failure. When Becks signed with the LA Galaxy two years ago, he was declared the second coming of Pele and the Man To Save Soccer In America. Hasn’t quite worked out that way, has it? Two coaches gone, a GM buried and now the once and future captains of the Galaxy are at odds with each other. I have nothing against Landon Donovan calling out Beckham for his role in the heavy-handed orchestration of control of the team. Donovan is every bit the world-class player Becks is, and unlike Beckham played by the rules and came home to the Galaxy from Europe when he was supposed to. Now, he did screw the pooch by venting his spleen to a reporter (who promptly put it into his new book) rather than to Beckham directly, but hell – how’s he supposed to talk to Becks when he’s off in Italy? Beckham is back in SoCal now, and none too pleased with the whole thing, and is trying to defend his professionalism. Personally, I think any semblance of professionalism – at least as it relates to his commitment to the Galaxy – has long since left the station. All he can do now is ride out his time with the Galaxy, do what he can to raise the image of soccer in LA and hang out with Tom C and those other galaxians until he can split town for good. UPDATE: Bring on the humble pie. Donovan and Beckham had their little talk, and there’s no question who’s who’s bitch now. Donovan’s quote for the media: “We’re getting past it, we’re moving on,” Donovan said. “There’s a lot of things I regret. I regret the way that I went about this process and I also regret some of the things I said.”
- C’mon, tell the truth: you thought Lance Armstrong would have cracked on the first big climb of the Tour, didn’t you? It’s OK to admit it – you won’t be alone. Lance was beyond riding age when he retired 4 years ago; to be riding competitively at 37 is some kind of freak show. But then, he’s already demonstrated a superhuman will once before … or rather, seven times. After the first nine stages, Armstrong sits 8 seconds behind the yellow jersey and 2 behind his teammate, Alberto Contador. The team time trial, won in dominating fashion by Armstrong’s Astana squad, put so much time into their competitors that after only a week this tour has come down to pretty much a two-man race. Contador won the first season after Armstrong’s retirement, and his break from Lance to leapfrog him in the standings mid-week shows that he perceives Armstrong as much as a rival as a teammate. Lance performed remarkably well in the Pyrenees, and should maintain his position until the Tour reaches the Alps in a week. That’s when the race will be won, and that’s when it’s gonna get really interesting around the Astana team dinner table …
- Major League Baseball has reached the All-Star break, the traditional mid-point of the season, and with that pundits will look back to the first half for signs of how the season will play out. Naturally, I’m one of them … So what have we learned so far? Well, with the single exception of the Dodgers, the National League sucks this year. We’ve seen it play out that way in the All-Star game for the last few years, but now we’re seeing it in the standings. LA has the best record in baseball, but you have to pass three American League teams before you get to the next best from the NL – and that’s only because Philly’s won five in a row. I mean, the Marlins are only 2 games over .500 and are still in the race – not pretty. The Dodgers are putting up balanced numbers, and have only gotten better since the return of ManRam, so barring some un-Torre-like tent folding, expect them to have a spot in the World Series. The AL’s a little trickier to handicap – Boston was out of the gate quick but is fading, and the Yankees bought bats are finally starting to come alive. The Angels lead the west for the moment, but they’ll remember they’re the Angels by the playoffs and insure that whoever takes the East takes the pennant. Should be an interesting second half …
- By any definition, the death of Steve McNair is tragic – another celebrity gone far too young through less than natural causes. But watching the coverage of his death, the investigation into his murder, and his funeral over the weekend, I noticed one significant difference from most of the recent deaths in the media. McNair was killed by his 20-yr-old girlfriend, who then shot herself, While it was noted that McNair was married with children, you’ve seen very little of them. I don’t know if it was a deliberate decision by the news media (unlikely), a result of the actions of the family during this period (possibly) or just luck, but the wife and kids have avoided the media circus that traditionally enveloped anyone near the celebrity in question. In this case, that’s a great thing, since they really aren’t the story and shouldn’t be forced to deal with the grief and embarrassment in public. I’d like to think that somehow the media recognized that sticking a microphone and camera into the widow’s face and questioning her about her husband’s girlfriend on the way to the funeral was wrong. I guess we’ll see, but I’m not holding out a lot of hope for next time.