Meet The Mess

Last week, NY Daily News reporter Adam Rubin broke the story that Mets VP for Player Development Tony Bernazard recently "removed his shirt" and challenged one of the Mets minor league teams to a fight during a post-game tirade. That's right, he challenged the entire team. And, yes, it is also important that he took off his shirt, because that adds a whole nother level of crazy and makes it seem like he should have be on an episode of Cops, and not working in the Mets front office.

Mets GM Omar Minaya called a press conference today to announce that Bernazard had rightly been fired. But at the presser Minaya accused Rubin of writing the story about Bernazard only because Rubin wanted to get Bernazard fired so that Rubin could get his job. This is unprecedented. A GM accusing a reporter of orchestrating a firing of another team exec because he wanted the guy's job? Omar is seriously having a meltdown: First, he makes a trade that makes no sense, sending Ryan Church to the arch-rival Braves for Jeff Francoeur. Minaya justified the trade as follows: "One thing we like about Francoeur is the amount of games that he plays." Yes, but he doesn't play that well in any of them. Then, with the team a solid 10 game out of first place, and 7 games behind the wild card leader, Minaya talked about trading away the future to try to win during this season where everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. This is delusional, but consistent with the Mets' history. Now he accuses a beat writer of plotting to take down a team executive because he wanted the job. He is really losing it. Makes me wonder if Sarah Palin (or Meg Stapleton) is advising him?

The Mets have always been a soap opera; nothing is ever easy with them. Joel Sherman speculates that the Mets fired Bernazard because he was becoming a distraction. But with the way this season has been going, a distraction from the on-the-field action wouldn't be so bad.

I can't wait till the day we Mets fans can be this happy again:

(Thanks to a special friend in NY for snapping this picture and sending it to me. And for staying on the subway for an extra shot to make sure she got it. Made my day.)


Overheard So Far This Summer

  • "I would never fight someone who is drunk. People who are drunk are stronger, because they have no fear. But their hand-eye coordination may not be as good."
  • "I just flirted with the girl who caught herself on fire at the Oceans Festival last year."
  • "You drunk-dialed me to talk about mootness. You, sir, are a giant nerd."
  • Girl at Concert: "I'm so sick of bluegrass."
    Boy at Concert: "We'll, he's not really playing bluegrass."
    Girl at Concert: "Acoustic, whatever. It's still just some guy whining on a stool."
  • "He's really into hunting. But the natural kind--like he strips naked, covers himself in deer urine to mask his scent, puts a knife between his teeth and then heads out into the woods to hunt moose. He's not going to shoot them with an M-16 from out of a helicopter."
  • "You're one of those creepy sauna guys."
  • "I'm not a hooker, I'm walking."
  • "Indian people can't swim. What? I was just over there. It's true."
  • "A bunch of people are still at Dave's house doing Jaeger Bombs and playing Rock Band."
  • "You stayed home all day? Good decision. Your pale-ass legs needed sun more than you needed to be at work today."
  • "He wants to gain weight? Here's a simple plan: first, he has to stop biking everywhere and start driving his car. Then he should spend at least 2 hours a day on the couch watching TV. If that doesn't work, he should chew bacon instead of gum."
  • "I just want to be smooth, like Barack."


She Likes Me Not

I have recently become the go-to source for relationship advice for two of my friends. I guess I'm qualified for this task, having had a lot of interesting dating-ish experiences over the years: I've had some relationships end in spectacularly bad fashion, and have had others that went remarkably well (that is, until I inevitably ended them for reasons as mature as "she talks with her hands too much," "her voice sounds funny on my answering machine," and "she has 80's hair"). I've been in relationships that I let go on for too long, relationships that ended too early, and relationships that even came with a predetermined expiration date. I've almost seen it all. Plus, I recently heard Adam Carolla's spot-on explanation of why dating is so hard:
We live in a society where women are conditioned to expect men to pursue them, but they are also infused with a gene that makes them immediately repulsed as soon as soon as we show any interest. If the animal kingdom worked that way, there would be no animals. A female peacock isn't repulsed by a male peacock that shows interest in her. Rather she's like, "Hey, nice plumage."
Friend A is in a tough spot. He's stuck in the Friend Zone with no way out. His situation is eerily similar to the one described in this letter:
I really like you. I do. You're so nice, and sweet, and you listen to all my problems and respond with the appropriate compliments. But, well, I don't really see a relationship in our future. It would be terrible if we let sex destroy this great friendship we have where I get everything I want and you get nothing you want. Don't you think?
. . .
It's just…you're like my best friend, and I would hate for something you desperately want to change that. I mean, sure, we could go on some dates, maybe mess around a little and finally validate the six years you've spent languishing in this platonic nightmare, but then what? How could we ever go back to the way we were, where I take advantage of your clear attraction to me so I can have someone at my beck and call? That part of our friendship means so much to me.
Armed with my generally keen insight into everything and this pie chart, I was able to properly advise Friend A on what he should do: ignore her.
Unfortunately, he can't. But even if he could, it would probably do him no good. Once she showed any interest in him, he would immediately be less attracted to her. Probably because all men think "There must be something really wrong with her if she can't do any better than me."

Then there's Friend B, who never likes anyone. I was really surprised when she started talking about a new crush. She really liked him, but was frustrated about some un-returned text messages. She insisted she didn't want to play any games, but when I suggested she just call him, she refused: "He has to call me. I'm not calling him." No games, huh? Good luck with that.

These situations are certainly not unique, and given these circumstances, I think it's a miracle that people ever get together. I'm really starting to believe that this fake time travel plan might actually be a good idea.



SP's spokeswoman Meg Stapleton had a rip-roaring fun interview with Anderson Cooper. Here she tries to explain to AC why quitting is leading and why good point guards (and therefore by extension governors) always keep their eye on the hoop (still not sure what the metaphorical hoop really is, and not to nitpick, but a point guard shouldn't be focused on the hoop. That's what a shooting guard does. Good point guards look to create openings for other players to score. Steve Nash for governor!).

Meg revealed that the Soon-To-Be-Former Gov. (STBFG) has already had lots and lots and lots of job opportunities--some even came on the day she resigned! But she wouldn't elaborate. Seems like the STBFG may be dabbling in the motivational speaking field a little. This morning, she had this to tweet:
Couple of thoughts for the day on beautiful bright AK morn:"You have to sacrifice to win. That's my philosophy in 6 words."- George Allen. &
Today,try this: "Act in accordance to your conscience -risk- by pursuing larger vision in opposition to popular, powerful pressure"-unknown
Isn't that second quote great? She floats some self-serving nonsense statement that isn't even a sentence and then attributes it to "unknown." I think it was "unknown" because it came from a fortune cookie. Or, more likely, one cookie that accidentally had two fortunes stuck together inside it--don't you love when that happens?


That's What She Said

It has always hurt my brain to try to make sense out of Sarah Palin's attempts at logical reasoning. But this weekend she outdid herself. As you may have heard, Sarah is not going to seek a second term as Alaska's governor (she's 2 1/2 years into her first term). Oh, and also, because she's not going to seek a second term, she's just going to resign right now (well, in three weeks), because if she's a "lame duck," that would be bad for Alaska:
And so as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn’t run for re-election and what it means for Alaska, I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks… travel around the state, to the Lower 48 (maybe), overseas on international trade – as so many politicians do. And then I thought – that’s what’s wrong – many just accept that lame duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck, and “milk it”. I’m not putting Alaska through that – I promised efficiencies and effectiveness! That’s not how I am wired. I am not wired to operate under the same old “politics as usual.” I promised that four years ago – and I meant it.
I guess if you squint really hard and bang your head against the table a few times this sort of makes sense. Though, as Myster points out, maybe it isn't so crazy. After all, she quit a bunch of things and they all turned out pretty well.

There is lots of speculation as to why Palin is stepping down--speculation fueled by the fact that she didn't really say why in a rambling, somewhat incoherent speech at a hastily organized press conference on the banks of Lake Lucille (with lots of geese honking in the background). She did however cite everything from refrigerator magnets to tired sports analogies to support her decision.

And, as usual, in response to criticism of this shocking decision to abandon her constituents (Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski's words, not mine), Sarah both goes on the offensive and plays the victim at the same time, blaming the media (via Twitter) for putting a false spin on her resignation--the resignation that she herself has tried to spin into nothing more than just her decision to abandon the "politics as usual." Indeed, both the title of her official press release, as well as all of her comments, boldly refer to her decision not to run again and treat her decision to quit as jut incidental. To wit:

The (still, for now) Governor also lashed out at a few local bloggers who discussed their thoughts on why she stepped down. Through her attorney, whose First Amendment credentials I question as he does not seem to have ever heard of NY Times v. Sullivan--just, you know, like the most important Supreme Court case ever when it comes to free speech, journalism, and criticism of public officials--Palin threatens to sue most the Internet. This is what her attorney had to say:
To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as "fact" that Governor Palin resigned because she is "under federal investigation" for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation. This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law. The Alaska Constitution protects the right of free speech, while simultaneously holding those "responsible for the abuse of that right."
Blah, blah, blah. Fortunately, Ms. Moore ain't falling for it.

No matter how you slice it, this situation is vintage Sarah: drama, speculation, family values, victimization, evil bloggers, head-scratching rhetoric, and a sharp red jacket.

But what to call this sordid affair? Every good "gate" needs a name. It's got to have quit in the title, though right? As Geoffrey Dunn points out, quitting is par for the course with Palin:
Sarah Palin quit five colleges in her otherwise unremarkable collegiate career, before finally graduating from the sixth. She quit her job in television. She and Todd quit their snow machine dealership in Big Lake. She quit as chair of the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. Now she has quit the governorship of the state she supposedly loves. Sarah Palin is a quitter. When the going gets tough,Sarah Palin quits. Sarah Palin has no game.
The name practically wrote itself, though he gives credit to his 14 year-old daughter: The Iquitarod.


This Week in Sarahdise

For some reason Sarah brought up how she thinks she could beat Barack Obama in a race marathon: "I betcha I'd have more endurance," she told Runner's World magazine. What's next? Arm wrestling Joe Biden? Paintball with Nancy Pelosi?

She does look pretty good in her yoga outfit though...

Then there was a great article in Vanity Fair. So much good stuff in there: behind-scenes-campaign stories, insight into how she interacted with her staff, a look at her relationship with John McCain, etc. A few things really stood out, like this totally apt description of life in Alaska:
The first thing McCain could have learned about Palin is what it means that she is from Alaska. More than 30 years ago, John McPhee wrote, “Alaska is a foreign country significantly populated with Americans. Its languages extend to English. Its nature is its own. Nothing seems so unexpected as the boxes marked ‘U.S. Mail.’” That description still fits. The state capital, Juneau, is 600 miles from the principal city, Anchorage, and is reachable only by air or sea. Alaskan politicians list the length of their residency in the state (if they were not born there) at the top of their biographies, and are careful to specify whether they like hunting, fishing, or both. There is little sense of government as an enduring institution: when the annual 90-day legislative session is over, the legislators pack up their offices, files, and computers, and take everything home. Alaska’s largest newspaper, the Anchorage Daily News, maintains no full-time bureau in Juneau to cover the statehouse. As in any resource-rich developing country with weak institutions and woeful oversight, corruption and official misconduct go easily unchecked. Scrutiny is not welcome, and Alaskans of every age and station, of every race and political stripe, unself-consciously refer to every other place on earth with a single word: Outside.

So, of all the puzzling things that Sarah Palin told the American public last fall, perhaps the most puzzling was this: “Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.”

Believe me, it is not.
Also, a great description of Palin's hometown of Wasilla (which makes great companion reading to Alex's slideshow):
But Sarah Palin herself is a microcosm of Alaska, or at least of the fastest-growing and politically crucial part of it, which stretches up the broad Matanuska-Susitna Valley, north of Anchorage, where she came of age and cut her political teeth in her now famous hometown, Wasilla. In the same way that Lyndon Johnson could only have come from Texas, or Bill Clinton from Arkansas, Palin and all that she is could only have come from Wasilla. It is a place of breathtaking scenery and virtually no zoning. The view along Wasilla’s main drag is of Chili’s, ihop, Home Depot, Target, and Arby’s, and yet the view from the Palins’ front yard, on Lake Lucille, recalls the Alpine splendor visible from Captain Von Trapp’s terrace in The Sound of Music. It is culturally conservative: the local newspaper recently published an article that asked, “Will the Antichrist be a Homosexual?” It is in this Alaska—where it is possible to be both a conservative Republican and a pothead, or a foursquare Democrat and a gun nut—that Sarah Palin learned everything she knows about politics, and about life. It was in this environment that her ambition first found an outlet in public office, and where she first tasted the 151-proof Everclear that is power.
Finally, a few days ago I started following Palin's Twitter feed. I had to stop because tweets like these were making my eyes bleed:
  • I dont support Waxman-Markey bill; I'll work w/AK Senators & others to address concerns, lacks flexibility needed to protect enviro & develp
  • Lots of happy construction workers just kicked off Goose Creek prison project - loved all the hard hats and steel toed boots on the ground.
  • Despicable act of hatred @ Natl Holocaust Museum today. Our hearts & prayers are w/victims of the shootings. God bless our Jewish community.
  • Thank you Wasilla for Trail of Healing! May God bless efforts of reconciliation; it shall be manifested in more respect for AKs First People
  • Today I meet w/Asst AGs seeing in past 2 weeks US Supreme Ct twice reversed the US Ct of Appeals for 9th Circuit in cases important to AK...
  • Our asst AGs had KEY role in protecting rights as a state vs 9th Circuit in cases re: DNA evidence & Kensington Mine development/new jobs
  • Is it ok to hack emails? Go thru someone's mail & broadcast what you stole? Nope, not ok to most Americans.TN proceedings tomorrow to decide
  • Suppressed EPA memos may help explain why r position on climate change & polar bear population became controversial/misunderstood. Read 'em
  • I may get nowhere w/DoD efforts to fully fund troops' rtn trips so pls join charity drive to raise $ for flights. Nonsense troops must pay!