Daily Archives: August 12, 2009

Stauffer update, “The Reader,” torture and an African baseball player: A grab-bag post

Mets Padres Baseballthe-reader_l








Yes, I may have set the record for longest blog headline there. What do you want from me; I’ve got lots of things on my mind that I wanted to blog about today.

Let’s get right to it, dear readers of mine, for whom I am grateful (believe me, I realize there aren’t that many of you yet, so I appreciate all of you!)

  ***So if you’ve been reading me for the past month, you know two of my favorite athletes right now, and two really good guys you should root for, are San Diego Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer and basketball player/author Lance Allred.  Both are having outstanding months. Stauffer, despite getting no run support for the pathetic Padres, has continued to pitch terrifically for the Padres as he tries to establish himself as a big-leaguer. He’s got a 1-4 record, but a sparkling 2.90 ERA. He threw five innings of one-run ball against the Mets Sunday.

As for my main man Lance, the 6-foot-11 deaf Fundamentalist Mormon who I wrote about here, he just signed a contract to play for Napoli of the Italian League. That’s one of the better leagues in Europe, and plus, who wouldn’t want to hang out in Italy for nine months? Big props to Lance.

     ***You know sometimes when you hear so much abuot a movie and a performance and you build it up in your mind, and then you actually see it and you’re like, “Eh.” That’s kind of how I felt the other night after seeing “The Reader.” It was good, no doubt, but it wasn’t SO sensational. Kate Winslet was, of course, fantastic. She’s truly an amazing actress, and a beautiful woman, yet it seems like she’s so much less famous in America than she should be. I loved her in “Titanic” and everything I’ve seen her in since.

But the movie was just pretty good. I think Ralph Fiennes was wasted, since he had only four scenes or so. Without giving too much away, I just don’t feel like the director established why Fiennes’ character Michael was so deeply affected by his relationship with Winslet’s Hannah. I give it 2 1/2 stars, maybe three.

***So the American Civil Liberties Union takes a lot of crap from conservatives, because it’s an automatic applause line for them. Heaven forbid we have a strong organization in this country that’s actually looking out and making sure people’s rights aren’t violated. Because, you know, the Bush-Cheney folks NEVER did that.

Anyway, I love the ACLU, and I love even more that they put out this video to put pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder to hold hearings on our torturing of prisoners. It’s chilling to hear this stuff out loud, and to realize that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld didn’t care that it was going on.

Some of the famous folks in the video are Oliver Stone, actor Noah Emmerich, and actress Rosie Perez (who, apropos of nothing, my wife does a killer impression of):

 ******Rafael Nadal returns to the tennis court in singles Wednesday night for the first time in almost three months. I am annoyed it’s not on TV, but thankfully ESPN will be showing the quarters, semis and finals starting Friday. I have a feeling we’ll know VERY soon if Rafa is back to being himself. For the sake of my favorite sport, I really hope he is.

***Finally, saying a Gary Smith story in Sports Illustrated is terrific is kind of like saying water is wet. Just about every Gary Smith story in SI is brilliant. I swear, I read him some times and I feel like he and I aren’t even in the same profession.

If you’re not familiar with him, check out this piece on former New York City basketball star Richie Parker, my favorite Smith piece ever. He is SO fair and so balanced in his reporting, that at the end I found myself conflicted, when I never in a million years thought I’d be.

Anyway, he wrote another great story in last week’s issue about a kid named Gift who’s trying to the first-ever Major League Baseball player from Africa. Really fascinating stuff if you have a chance to read it; it’s not nearly as long as most of Smith’s usual stuff.

OK, done rambling for one day.