Monthly Archives: February 2008

William F. Buckley, R.I.P.

I am not conservative in many of my beliefs. However, I was raised by conservatives in a house where Bill Buckley was revered. The only non-art magazine (my dad was an art teacher) that my dad read regularly was ‘National Review‘. As a teenager I didn’t like much about the magazine, other than the fact it was as well edited and written as anything outside of the ‘New Yorker’.

As an adult, I grew to understand and appreciate what Buckley did for the conservative movement (practically a mid-wife to most of the biggest names in the movement today), not only providing eloquent apologetics for conservatism, but almost single-handedly steering them away from the shoals of the far-right (John Birchers) and the nearly anarchic uber-libertarian wing (Ayn Rand and her ilk).

Buckley was not easy to pigeon-hole and made no apologies for his elite inheritance. His native wit and command of the language not only made his magazine worth reading, but also provided some of the most fun spy novels of the latter 20th century (Blackford Oakes). He supported legalization of marijuana and came to oppose the war in Iraq, practically invented Ronald Reagan, as well as siring one of the funniest satirical novelists of our lifetime (Christopher Buckley).

His magazine stands in harsh contrast to the tinniness and thought-by-bromide nastiness of talk radio. He was a humorous polymath, and despite the fact that I agree so little with what he has spawned, I can’t help but be saddened by this loss. Today’s GOP (especially the Tennessee popinjays) would do well to emulate his civility and rapier wit, but I’m thinking they won’t (and maybe that’s not so bad for my ‘side’)



Filed under irony may be the shackle of youth but I love it, politics, sanctity of life

Thudddd…what was that loud noise?

It’s a number ONE ranking clanking to the ground. It’s always a pleasure to beat the Orange in basketball. It’s always fun to see a number one team come into Memorial Gym and leave with their ranking tucked between their legs. But, when it’s the UT crew coming in with the number 1 necklace, it’s the making for a deliriously happy evening.

I got to Memorial early. The Vandy crowd had been asked to wear white..(the game was on ESPN and a sea of white garb tends to stand out). Normally, the students comply, but the older folks, especially the Belle Meade crowd in the padded seats, tend to ignore apparel requests. Not tonight, t’was a sea of white, with a little orange thrown in for contrast.

The noise was nearly deafening 30 minutes before the game even started, and nearly unbearable when the game was underway. Sadly, the referees decided that they needed to demonstrate their mad whistle skills and over-called the game by about half. It’s pretty bad when fans yell at refs for making calls in FAVOR of their team, begging to let the game unfurl naturally.

It’s amazing to me that UT beat Memphis with Chris Lofton largely missing from the game, because tonight he showed how he can carry a team on his back. Some of his shots were launched from a different zip code and somehow parted the nets as if guided by some kind of Naismithian GPS. Luckily for Vandy, Shan Foster had a broader back and managed to carry a foul-ridden Vanderbilt squad to victory.

The refs took both teams out of their rhythm more than once, with excessive whistling. And I’m not saying this as the biased fan (guilty). The refs, like an inept bi-sexual, were bad both ways.

Much more importantly, the magic that seems to permeate Memorial in big games is back in town, thanks to the fans, the wondrous shooting skills of Shane Foster, and most importantly, thanks to the ball-handling skills of Jermaine Beal, the point guard who matched his uniform number with turnovers (as in ZERO). UT’s press was scary good and especially frenetic in the second half. Thanks to Beal, Vandy turned the ball over only eight times…a season low for teams playing UT.

College basketball would still be magical, even if Vandy had lost tonight, but a Vandy win against the number-one-ranked UT Vols makes the word ‘special’ seem banal. Life, it’s of the good…


Filed under basketball, Vandy

About last night..the Vandy fan’s dilemma

If you live by the black and gold you can’t really have any kind of sports crush on that Orange team dwelling roughly 200 miles east of Nashville.  A true Vandy fan chortles at the Knoxville police blotter’s daily UT football arrest report.  We may respect their coaches (well, at least their basketball coaches) and the talent that continues to roll uphill (somehow), but we love it when they lose.

Though, last night something different this way came.  Tennessee men’s basketball, unusually ranked as high as their womens team, was playing the number one team in the country: University of Memphis.  And, those very same orange dribblers are going to visiting Memorial Gym this coming Tuesday night to meet the ‘Dores.

Soooooooo, do you want UT to win the game so that they will be number one in the nation when they jaunt into Nashville?  Do you want them to be perched on that throne, so that the Vandy squad can do their usual number on number ONE teams visiting the old home court (see Indiana, North Carolina, and last year, Florida).  It’s a Lot more Fun to dump Number 1 (there may be a better way to phrase that…).

Watching the game last night I was thinking…you CAN root for UT  because then it will make Tuesday night deliriously fun.  Despite the inane comments that the ‘little brother’ wants to rain on the UT victory parade, I’m happy to let UT and their fans revel in the ranking.   It’ll just make it sweeter on Tuesday night.

And before you accuse me of lacking the milk of human kindness, let me just say that I do hope that the good gendarmes and jailers in Knoxville allowed the inmates to watch TV last night. I’d hate for the football team to have missed such a fun game.

The game wasn’t particularly executed well, but it was riveting down to the last drop…dispite the historical exhortations of Public Enemy…You COULD believe the hype.


Filed under basketball

Now Jesse had a wife, lived a lady all her life, and a step-brother named WHAT???

We watched ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford‘ this morning. It’s certainly a bit more ponderous than your typical ‘Long Riders‘/’The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid‘ James bi-ops, but Brad Pitt performs handsomely as J. James, and the younger Affleck brother, Casey, is a brilliant cowardly Robert Ford. The soundtrack, chiefly by the goth-hero Nick Cave, is wonderfully moody and atmospheric.

Many of you may know this, but Jesse was uber-trendy, considering he actually moved into East Nashville way before it was cool (actually, lots of rich folks lived over there after the Civil War, but I don’t think they were all that trendy). He lived for a time at 711 Fatherland Avenue, and spent enough time in the house to produce a not-surprisingly-named son: Jesse. His neighbors didn’t know they had an infamous outlaw in their midst, because in his Nashville years Jesse was known as ‘J. D. Howard‘. Only later, after his death, did the east-siders realize that a celebrity had moved amongst them..

The movie inspired me to learn a bit more about James’ stay in our area, so I donned my research hat and did some serious intel (translate that: I googled Jesse James Nashville). As an aside, why oh why, didn’t something like Google exist in my college years? I realize that the personal computer was a concept unrealized in those days, and that computers were housed in barn-like structures, but a guy can retro-dream, right?

Anyway, I must say that not a lot is known about his actual day-to-day activities (or should I say I couldn’t find much using Google), but I did come across a rather startling fact:

Jesse and Frank James had a step-brother named Archie Peyton!! I’m beginning to understand Robert Ford a little better knowing that last fact…


Filed under Huh?

If a right-wing bombast falls in the forest, is it anything more than noise..

One of the cheery side-notes (for me, at least) of the McCain sleigh ride (with Huckabee hanging on to the back of the sleigh legs a’flyin’) is that the right wing really really hates this guy.   I don’t listen to Rush-mo or Hannity or any of the other right-ist savagery but I do know they all hate McCain.   The National Review (which I do read) endorsed Romney (ah,  sic transit g-l-o-r-i-a), partially because of disdain for McCain and Huckabee.

So..why so cheery?  I’m interpreting this to mean that the influence of the Rush, the Hannity and others of their ilk is diminished, or at least diminishing.

Ironically, to me, both of the remaining GOP candidates are pretty dang conservative.  Apparently they don’t want to shoot Mexicans at the border, are a bit squeamish on the torture front, and don’t fall into a sneering swoon when global warming is mentioned.

But, for the love of God, Huckabee doesn’t believe in evolution and supports the abolition of the income tax (to be replaced with a repulsive national sales tax…that house costs HOW much??).  McCain has a solid conservative voting record and apparently supports the second coming of the 100 Years War.

So, it’s not like we are getting any real moderates coming from the grand old party..just some folks that don’t march lock-step with the right right.

At the very least, I’m grateful for that much…


Filed under politics

Most people or, it’s the baseball that has the grip on me..

Most people would not choose to fly to New York in the dead of winter, AFTER Christmas.  Most people flying to NY would at least visit Manhattan, stay in Manhattan or Brooklyn.  That’s most people..

Me..i’m flying into Kennedy in a few hours, then taking the Air Train to Jamaica Plains (not THAT Jamaica, the warm one..) so that I can board a Long Island Railroad train to Babylon, Long Island.

Yes, for me, it’s Babylon revisited.  I get to hang out with a bunch of guys who are baseball idiots such as myself.  We play a game called APBA (baseball simulation game with board and computer version). It’s a little geeky.  My apathy meter re being geeky vis’ a vis’ baseball is in the red.  I just don’t care a’tall.  I love the game.  I love my baseball buddies.  Our group is comprised of an ex-cop, a judge, two Fox TV sports directors, a salesman, a contractor, a chaplain, sports copy writer for a paper in Westchester and a few other odds and ends including state employees.   Our commonality is mostly this case, that’s all that matters.  I don’t know how these guys are going to vote in the primaries or the general election.  I could care less.

I do hope my team will kick their ass in our draft…other than, let the good times roll like the river.

Adios for a few days…



Filed under baseball, friends and family