Be Thankful You Don’t Have One

Nickname, that is. I’ve noticed, and other people have commented, on the complete flaccidization (!) of nicknames among modern baseball players. Gone are the days of Double-Duty Radcliffe and The Iron Horse and Big Train and Dizzy Dean. Now, if the players give anyone a nickname at all, it’s more than likely just a syllable plucked out of his last name (Gar, Rad, Gooch) or, even worse, a Y added to the surname (Jonesy).

(The one exception in recent years with the White Sox was pitcher Takatsu Shingo, known affectionately as Mr. Zero. I don’t remember if anyone ever made the connection between Mr. Zero and Monster Zero, but…)

In such a world, one might say that The President’s habit of giving people nicknames might actually be an endearing quality. One might say that, until one reads the list of nicknames he has actually bestowed on people. Set down as a list, one can see the jackass frat boy coming through after all these decades. The funniest one, IMO, is his nickname for Ted Kennedy: Senator. The nickname that’s not a nickname.

“My name’s Forrest Gump. People call me…Forrest Gump.”

Thanks to Superfrankenstein.

Once Again, Real Life Outstrips Satire

I’m really tired of this kind of thing. Politicians are already spinning the media to the point where they think they’re Walter Winchell, but now they want to muscle in on the satirists’ turf, too?

Laura Bush will be appearing soon on an episode of the reality show “Extreme Makeover,” helping victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Laura Bush will travel to storm-damaged Biloxi, Miss., to film a spot on the feel-good, wish-granting hit “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Mrs. Bush sought to be on the program because she shares the “same principles” that the producers hold, her press secretary said.

So Mrs. Bush shares the same principles as a bunch of H’wood producers? That’s enough to turn your stomach, no matter how you choose to read it.

Rabid fans vs. slack-jawed fawners

Went to the disappointing Sox game last night. Can’t believe they couldn’t knock in the winning run for THREE INNINGS IN A ROW. But what knocked me out was how intense the fans were. Intense, and almost prescient, because a huge number of them left after the ninth inning with the score tied. And it was barely 9:15 at the time. Hey, we had a first grader with us, and he sat through the whole painful thing.

There’s a lot of talk about the diff between Sox fans and Cubs fans. The former are supposed to be the true baseball aficioadoes, while the latter are disinterested drunks on the company plastic, old ladies and children.

But I couldn’t believe the booing going on last night, at a team that while choking, is still in a pennant race. Isn’t there some middle ground between the heated, pointed heckling of Sox fans (a tough love thing) and the mushy adoration that Cub fans slather over their “boys”, win or lose? (Didn’t Saul Bellow mention some affection like that, “amorphous potato love” or something?)

It was just embarrassing that only about one-quarter or less of the Sox fans stuck around til the end.


My buddy Pat Byrnes has a new book of his cartoons out, entitled What Would Satan Do? You’ve seen him in the New Yawker, and guffawed, I’m sure. His book won’t be available until October 1, but it already has been placed on this week’s Must List in Entertainment Weekly. Yahoo!!!

Go buy it and indulge your inner demon.


Don’t you find that you have less respect for spiders that make these messy, sprawling, patternless webs than the ones who make those perfectly symmetrical ones that get covered with dew and photographed for contemplative calendars? What’s the matter with them? Do they just not care?


For anyone curious to see what all the pundits look like, check out photos from Fuzzy Gerdes, someone I’ve never met. I’m the one with the big bald head, like some villain from The Incredible Hulk.