Tag Archives: Misc.

Bassmasters, Take Note

Thanks to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, that meddlesome busybody, rank-and-file Afghanis can no longer use hand grenades to catch fish.

As an aside, I can think of nothing that would compel me to watch a televised fishing tournament, but this would come close.

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Service Advisory

As you may have noticed, posting is mostly nonexistent this week. I’ve got some book editing to do, and I won’t be posting later in the week in observance of Good Friday. However, I’ll be back on Monday with regular updates.

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Off-Topic: MLB Predictions

Opening Day, finally and thankfully, is upon us. So please permit me to wander off-topic just a bit and make some predictions for the upcoming MLB season …

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High Adventure

Today’s BBC is running a promo of forthcoming documentary titled, Top Dogs: Adventures in War, Sea and Ice.

The setup: A foreign correspondent, a yachtsman, and an adventurer travel through war-torn Afghanistan, sail around Cape Horn, and trudge deep into the Arctic Circle–each man in his element during one journey and dangerously out of it during the other two. It was Afghanistan, though, that required all three men to go through a “Hostile Environment” training course, which entailed, among other challenges, staged kidnappings. And then there’s this nugget:

Difficult, certainly, sometimes dangerous and often daunting, but always enjoyable. Even when we heard that the Taleban was organising an ambush for us on our way back from the Tora Bora Caves.

Also from the BBC, the weirdest headline you’ll see all day.

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R.I.P., John Brattain

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My friend and former colleague John Brattain joined the faithful departed this week. He did so far too soon. Here’s how I remembered him in what is–despite my contributions–a moving, fitting, and loving tribute to him over at BTF:

My first meaningful job in sports writing was as MLB editor of the now-defunct sportstalk.com, probably 10 years ago. During that time, I had the privilege of editing John’s work. He’d file a column and tell me how closely I needed to proofread based on how much he’d been drinking when he wrote it (he actually had some kind of 10-point scale for this purpose). And then I’d barely touch a word.

He was just a good, good man. John and his family will be at the top of my prayers tonight, and I’ll hoist a pint in his honor. Fair sailing, my friend.

John leaves behind a wife and two daughters. If you knew–and inevitably loved–John or if you just want to honor a dear man you never met, then please join me in contributing to his memorial fund.

To give you an idea of the kinda guy John is, here’s part of an email he sent to our mutual friend Larry Mahnken a couple of years ago, in which he remembers a brush with death:

I would like to say this: I feel like old King Hezekiah of Judah. Here’s a blurb: “In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, ‘This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.’ Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, ‘Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: ‘Go and tell Hezekiah, This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.’ “–Isaiah 38:1-5

You see, when I had my truck accident back in 1991 I knew I was dead. I knew the terrain and that it was a looooooong way down where I went off the road. I wasn’t scared. Just a little sad. They say that before you die your life flashes before your eyes.

That didn’t happen with me. I saw my future–or rather what I was going to miss. My oldest was two, my youngest seven months old. I thought that I would miss my youngest’s first steps, her first words, their first day of school, their graduations, letting them cry on my shoulder after a boy broke their hearts for the first time etc.

If the moment before I lost consciousness an angel appeared and said to me: “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life” I would’ve been deliriously happy. Guess what? I got that 15 years and then some. If that’s all I am allotted how can I be anything but grateful? I saw my girls grow from cute babies to fine young women. I’ve seen them both graduate into high school and come June I will see my eldest in a cap and gown yet again. I saw first steps, heard first words and hugged my family thousands of times over the last decade and a half. I relearned how to walk, I went camping again many times and hiked hundreds of miles in the woods and lost countless monster fish while on the water …

Really, I aspire to be half the man John Brattain was on his worst day ever.

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Dept. of Misplaced Outrage

Geoffrey Dunn, one of Huff Po’s countless bloggers, has a tantrum over an SI piece on former veepcake Todd Palin and the “Iron Dog” snowmobile race in Alaska. Dunn writes:

Palin’s portrayed as a man of the outdoors, all wrench and testoserone. One would never know that Palin played a central — and troubling — role in his wife’s Troopergate scandal and that he had his fingerprints all over a host of other government controversies.

Indeed one of the findings last fall by the state’s Legislative Council was that Sarah Palin had “wrongfully permitted Todd Palin to use the governor’s office…to continue to contact subordinate state employees in an effort to find some way to get Trooper [Mike] Wooten fired.”

Nor is there any mention of the fact that Palin was hit with a contempt citation by the Alaska Legislature only a few weeks before the start of the race and that as many as a 1,000 state emails copied to him are the focal point in a legal suit brought by government watchdog and former Palin ally, Andree McLeod, demanding their release to the public. That court decision is still pending.

I carry no water for the Palin clan, but “one would never know” these things because it’s a piece in Sports Illustrated, and it focuses, predictably and appropriately enough, on Todd Palin’s sporting endeavors. If you’re jonesing for political truth-telling of that nature, then try a political rag. Better yet, try the archives of a political rag because October of last year was about the last time anyone outside of Alaska cared about Todd Palin’s misdeeds.

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The Mortal Threat of Yoga

In the Indonesian island of Bali, the ruling Islamist crackpots have issued a fatwa against … yoga. If I spent all day, I could probably come up with something less threatening than yoga. Fresh fruit perhaps? Linus from Peanuts? I suppose it’s considered relentlessly pagan or at odds with the principles of Sharia Law or some such.

Anyhow, as Passport notes, this isn’t a particularly wise mandate since Bali aspires to be the tropical destination of choice for health-and-spirituality types. The good news is that, like most prohibitions, this one has only made Indonesians more interested in Yoga.

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