Daily Archives: May 31, 2010

Israel angers me again: Oy vey. A rant at ESPN. And a good Woody Allen movie (it’s been awhile)

Israel. Oh, Israel. You make it so hard sometimes for American Jews like myself  to defend you.

Like on Monday. Right when Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu was about to have a meeting with President Obama, an Israeli navy commando raided an aid flotilla and killed nine people.

Israel says it acted in self-defense. The rest of the world seems to disagree. It looks very bad, especially when you learn that the flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of aid.

I’m sick of what certainly appear to be pro-active acts of violence by Israel. I know there are many Jews in America who will defend Israel no matter what. I’m not one of them.

I hope the investigation of this attack shows that the Israelis acted in self-defense. I really hope I’m wrong. Because this sure as hell won’t help any peace process that might ever occur in the Middle East.

**ESPN does a lot of things right, and it does a lot of things wrong. Monday it totally angered me because it refused to show live tennis from the French Open; instead, it showed taped matches that had been over for hours.

If you are interested in me ranting about this (and you know you are), click here for my blog on the French Open Monday, and scroll toward the bottom.

**”Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is one of those movies I’d been meaning to see for a while, but never got around to it. Finally saw that it was on one of the 47 Showtime channels we get (seriously, it’s ridiculous how many different Showtimes and HBOs there are), and taped it, and watched it Sunday night.

Pretty good, as I’d heard. I’d watch Scarlett Johannson read a phone book, so beautiful is she, but she actually acted quite well in this. Javier Bardem was his usual awesome self, and Penelope Cruz was terrific, too. Not sure she was worthy of that Oscar she got; I mean, she was only in a few scenes. But she was really good.

It was a well-paced, well-written film, even it if wasn’t all that funny. And it made me wonder: Hey Woody Allen, where the hell’s all this good stuff been? Woody’s made some dreadful movies in the last 10 years, and I’ve watched most of ’em (that one with Helen Hunt? And the “Scoop” movie with Scarlett? Just atrocious piffle.)

Glad to see Woody can still make a good movie, that’s all.

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A nice story about heroes, redemption for Duke lacrosse, and a beautiful “West Wing” moment for Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day, I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend with friends, family, and anyone else whose company you enjoy.

Wanted to pass along this fantastic story about a real hero today; his name is John Glaser and he’s a firefighter in Shawnee, Kan. It’s a beautiful story; stay with it and you’ll see why I think it’s so remarkable.

Take it away, the great Joe Posnanski

**When I say the words “Duke lacrosse,” I’m sure the first thing that comes into your mind is the 2006 “rape” scandal. I’m not going to spend time here railing about the obscene prosecutorial misconduct in the case, or talk about how one woman, making up a story, nearly ruined the lives of 30 innocent college athletes.

Were the Duke players absolutely innocent here? Yes. Had they probably engaged in lecherous, possibly illegal behavior at some point previously? Perhaps. Male college teams rarely have women over as a “one-time thing.”

My point is not to re-hash the case. It’s to tell you that today in Baltimore, the Duke lacrosse team has a chance to wipe away the stain of that 2006 controversy. This group of Blue Devils, the oldest of whom were seniors in high school at the time of the allegations, has a chance to win the national title. They’re playing Notre Dame at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN. Should be a great game.

I hope Duke wins, of course, since I’m a big fan of the school. But also because serious allegations, even when completely made up, stick to a program’s reputation for wears.

And the Duke lacrosse program, with their high GPAs and model behavior, deserve to be known for something besides a made-up scandal.

**And finally, one of the most moving scenes ever from “The West Wing,” when Toby and Mrs. Landingham attend a funeral for a veteran: