Sunday, September 30, 2007


We here at the Juntoboys do not always agree with everything, but we do agree on some of the more important things. Lower-taxes, less government, more poker, cuter girls, and of course the delights of a fine Brew or glass of wine.

Over the past several months I have been diligently researching and trying out several different recipes for both Beer and Wine. But today's blog entry I will dedicate exclusively to the subtle art of wine making. From the time of the ancient Greeks (and possibly long before) man has enjoyed the fermented beverage.

To the left, is a lithographic rubbing of an ancient Greek wall depicting the god Dionysus and the making of wine. Wine is actually quite easy to make. Yeast, is a living organism that is found growing naturally on every variety of grape in the known world. All one has to do is simply crush the grapes, let sit covered for a week or so, then siphon off the liquid, and val-la! You have wine. Wine is easy. Good wine is hard.

My first couple of batches were sour and rather vinegary. I kept reading about what to do and what to add. And the chemistry of wine-making. The chemical formula for alcohol is CH3CH2OH. Other ingredients of a typical glass of wine is: Water: 250g, Ethyl Alcohol: 25gGlycerine: 3gPectins: 1gAcids: 1gPolyphenols: 500mg traces of flavor elements such as oak, chocolate, etc.

Well after a few more batches I finally got the levels right and the wine went from sour mash unfit for consumption to a smooth mellow delightful wine that is wonderful on the palate. Thusly I proudly present my first wine: Summer Sunset. This is a light blush wine made with Muscadine Grapes. Muscadine's are a native grape to the Southeastern U.S. I'm hoping to use some seasonal fruit to make a different kind of wine year round. I'm using the last of the Muscadines to make a nice Merlot. I'll keep you posted. Next up, "The Art of Beer Making."

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Well, well, I'm into my first semester and given out my first set of exams. So far academic freedom does exist. We got a good talking to on Friday from the Chair of the department. He re-advowed his commitment to Academic Freedom. (He didn't expand onto why he was bringing up the subject, but I guess that some Prof. must have asked or felt insecure). He explained that Academic Freedom meant the professors have the right to teach their classes however they see fit and say anything in class; even "controversial" statements. Of course he didn't elaborate on what that meant. Mostly I've found "controversial" means that you simply say the most extreme left wing thing you can and wait for gasps. Unfortunately, the gasps seldom come anymore since everyone expects the left-wing thing to be said by any given prof. What I've found thus far from the professors point of view is that this is a whole lot of fun. It is great to educate a new generation on the subjects I hold dear. My Cross-Cultural class has turned out to be my favorite mostly because there is so much leeway to include politics in the class since most of the subject matter lends itself to political discourse. However, some of the students have caught on to my right leaning, libertarian stances. The more savvy students are waiting for a derogatory remark about the Dems or Clinton or such and then are leaping forward. I confronted one in class recently and made her prove her point. (I had made a rather neutral comment about Bill Clinton being long winded in his speeches---a valid point as Bill made the infamous 2 hour speech at the Dem Con many years ago). Before I could finish my point, she had lept and stated, "Well at least he can finish his sentences, at least he could speak in coherent thoughts, etc" I stopped and said, "Oh really? Could you give us an example? Whom do you refer?" on and on I went. I hated to exert my power thusly, since I had been similar to the student in my youth and could not always defend myself, but perhaps that is part of the whole learning process anyway. And secondly, that student is sort of nuts.

I haven't gotten fired yet and thus far the school has completely left me alone. No one has questioned my book selections (one book is a Heritage Foundation selection) and no one has questioned my least to my face. Most students seem to express gratitude (much as I did when I found the lone conservative professor) and ask what class will I be teaching next. On one sad note, I've been told through the grapevine that they are going to try and steer me away from "diversity" classes like Cross Cultural and instead give me more pure science classes like Perception/Learning and Abnormal Psych to teach. Maybe I'm not teaching the Cross-Cultural class the "right way." That is sad because it kind of goes against what the Chair had to say. I'm sure that if I confronted them I'd get denial and accalaids for my scientific mind that is sorely needed. Blah, blah. I've asked to teach the Psychology of Women next, THAT is one I'm REALLY looking forward to! But we'll see. More adventures in Academia to come...
Authorities said they arrested 10 people and seized more than $500,000 in cash after breaking up a smuggling ring that collected millions of beverage containers in other states and cashed them in for 10 cents apiece in Michigan.

The 10 people were arraigned on charges ranging from false pretense, a possible 5-year felony to running a criminal enterprise, a possible 20-year sentence.

The scheme defrauded the Michigan Bottle Deposit Fund, whose proceeds are used to pay for environmental cleanup efforts, Cox said in a statement.

"Each year, this type of activity defrauds the state approximately $13 million," said Col. Peter Munoz, Michigan State Police director.

The charges include maintaining a continuing criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony, and fraud, a 5-year felony, the statement said.

This is a great example of the futility of social engineering. Any government manipulation of the free market will create unintended consequences. By making the cans and bottles worth money, they received more cans and bottles. The intention was to clean up the environment, but the result was more garbage.

It's not too unlike how social services create more poor people.

This might be the most unintentionally funny spam I've read all year. I think the intern stole Doyle's email password. Commentary by me.


"Doyle Brunson, in partnership with Leonardo DiCaprio, would like to take this opportunity to present to you a project that has been extremely important to everyone at the Doyle Brunson Poker Network. Global warming and the negative effects it has on mankind, is an issue that we have taken very seriously.

LEO: Where did you first hear of global warming?
DOYLE: From you at the Bogata. You?
LEO: Christian Slater told me.

In an effort to help educate poker players as well of the rest of the world about this important issue, Doyle Brunson and Leonardo DiCaprio, have partnered to produce the feature film environmental documentary entitled "The 11th Hour" which is now being distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. studio.

DOYLE: Leo, there are poker players and then the rest of the world.
LEO: What's the best way to educate the rest of the world?
DOYLE: Not really a good idea if you want to make a living at poker.

We don't know how things are in your life, but no matter what's going on, this planet has got you beat. We've made it sick, and it, in turn, is sick and tired of us. We have the floods, fires, droughts, heat waves, melting ice caps, and endangered or extinct species to prove it.
DOYLE: My life is great really. We gave up the Texas bookie joint back in the 50s and eventually moved out here to Vegas. Now I have a big energy burning, water wasting mansion in the desert. You can't grow anything out here without a truck of chemicals. All the food has to be driven here from hundreds of miles away. If Louis XVI only had it so good.
LEO: What was it like in the old days before floods, fires, droughts, heat waves, melting ice caps and extinct animals?
DOYLE: Back then you could get sirloin for 35 cents a pound.
The film, featuring DiCaprio, exposes these issues with an array of stunning visuals and expert analysis from renowned experts
LEO: I thought of this last night - "expert analysis from renowned experts"
DOYLE: Poker Rooms have actually gotten a little colder over the years. You'd have to write a script if you want me to be an expert.
LEO: Nah, we're going to get celebrities, scientists outside their field of expertise, and then just whatever guy we find on the street that scares easily and put them all on camera.
DOYLE: And call them experts.
LEO: Better than calling them a hodge podge of people who would participate.

such as physicist Stephen Hawking

HAWKING: Which should I say, hotter or colder?
FIELD PRODUCER: We'd prefer hotter, but you're the scientist.
HAWKING: Hotter then. I don't want to be on the cutting room floor. When that Star Trek cameo repeats I get a sizable spike at Amazon.
FIELD PRODUCER: Do you think it will rain tomorrow?
HAWKING: How the hell do I know?
and Kenyan activist (and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner) Wangari Maathai
FIELD PRODUCER: Mr. DiCaprio doesn't sign autographs and you may address him as Leo on camera but off camera it's strictly Mr. DiCaprio or sir.
MAATHAI: It would be for my daughter.
FIELD PRODUCER: Leo is tired of everyone's daughter. Is it hot here or not? Right, so just tell him you think so.
as well as Andrew Weil

FIELD PRODUCER: You're the guy who helped ruin Dr. Leary?
WEIL: Yeah, I'm into juicing and deep breathing now.
FIELD PRODUCER: We think you're a squealing pig. But nice to have you on this.
and Mikhail Gorbachev.

FIELD PRODUCER: So uh, when did you notice it getting warmer?
GORBY: Right after Reagan handed me my ass and that ended. . . wait for it. . . the COLD WAR.
Their opinions, along with the observations made by people from all walks of life,

JOE: Six months ago it was freezing and now I can't walk to the mini mart without getting swamp ass.
FRANK: Me too.
JOE: I wish they'd produce a movie to explain why.
FRANK: And even if the whys were clouded in conjecture at supposition there would be no reason why we shouldn't change life as we know it in order to feel better about ourselves.
JOE: And a promise to end swamp ass.
make a compelling case that if we human beings don't change our ways soon, we're doomed.

LEO: Can we get the "Profit of Doom" for this?
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: He's in the middle of a 3 picture deal with Michael Moore but we could reference him here and there.
LEO: Check with the lawyers.
"Save the Planet," as humorist George Carlin says, decrying the arrogance of the environmentalists' motto. "The planet isn't going anywhere - we are."

LEO: I don't get this quote. Do we need it?
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Carlin's funny. Have you heard that thing about his "stuff" or all those curse words.
LEO: Yeah, but I heard those words already.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Carlin is saying that the chances of us dying are even greater if we don't stop global warming now.
DOYLE: Greater than 100%?
In support of this important message, we are telling all of our family and friends to go to their local theatre and watch the movie. We are confident, that if you understand the issues as we have learned ourselves, you will become as impassioned as we are to do something about it.

GORBY: You're like the smartest guy in the world. Why isn't this problem solved yet?
HAWKING: I don't know. I wake up in the morning, have an omelet, check the west coast box scores, flip around on the TV and it's nearly noon. I keep telling myself that I have to get on this first thing and work through the day, but I just have too many distractions. I sometimes substitute the omelet for an English Muffin and Yogurt. What I need is to watch movies about it and get impassioned.

Thank you for taking the time to read this important message from the Doyle Brunson Poker Network, we look forward to hearing your feedback.
Since you played it so close to the chest, I just can't imagine what kind of feedback you're looking for.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Things are working out very well for the Yankees. It looks like they get to play Cleveland in the first round, a team that they traditionally handle well instead of the Angels who seem to have their number. Boston is more likely to beat the Angels and I have confidence that the Yankees can beat Boston. If I had to put up a scenario favorable to the Yankees this would be it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


He got me. He got my wife. He didn't get Simon. Will he get you?

Totally unrelated: I am really enjoying the NL races and I have to hand it to the Yanks who everybody wrote off except the Yanks. The FIGHTIN' PHILS are right back in it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

BOBBY (2006) (A Movie Review)

I can imagine that Bobby Kennedy’s assassination had a profound effect on America and especially so to the American Left. My mother who shook hands with Bobby a few months before his assassination talked about it on several occasions during my childhood. She wasn’t very political but Camelot wasn’t about politics but royalty and Bobby was the crown prince.

Forgotten is that he worked for Senator Joe McCarthy and was even best man at his wedding for crying out loud. Bobby knew all the angles fighting commies with Uncle Joe in the 50s and then prosecuting the Republican leaning Teamsters in the 1960s while ignoring the corruption of the Democrat leaning AFL-CIO. When Civil Rights looked politically viable he was for that too and when the Vietnam war became unpopular he hated it.

Bobby's assassination means that he is the perfect President that never was. He would have ended the war and racism and poverty and healed all that ails us. Idealism requires that Bobby wasn't an calculating union busting McCarthyite turned dove, but a true believer. He wasn't Humphrey or McGovern or other Democrats that would have bungled the message, but the one we would have listened to.

And to Emilo's credit the archival footage he chooses here is really impressive. Bobby connected with people in a way that candidates no longer do. But the tough reality is that Bobby had very little chance of winning the 1968 Democrat nomination. The primaries were a smaller part of the delegate count back then and the party insiders were going to nominate VP Humphrey regardless of the voters. But rather than be realistic, a certain part of the Left imagines Camelot II stopped by inefficient gun control legislation. That night wasn't just another tragedy for the Kennedy family, but a turning point where the country was forever lost.

The film though is about that day in the Ambassador hotel and the people that spend it getting ready for Bobby’s arrival. Therefore most of the movie could have been made independent of Bobby storyline since so many sub plots make it seem more like an Arthur Hailey story. Rather than go into the mundane lives that are shattered when the real hero is fell, let’s just say that it comes off pretty well and though it’s not saying a whole lot, it’s Emilo’s best movie yet. His goal of making Bobby significant works for a guy like me who thinks that even an underdog win by Kennedy wouldn't have shifted the country all the much.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Columbia University bans ROTC at their campus under the guise of the "don't ask don't tell policy." You'd think that Ahmadinejad would be disqualified simply for his views on that subject. But the elite have a certain fascination with any figure who is anti-American. They will forgive almost any specific position as long as the American right wing doesn't like him/her. It's always under the guise of having a dialogue.

Freedom of speech does not guarantee a bullhorn or a platform, just the protection that you won't be arrested. It doesn't make us a more noble country to allow our enemies such a demonstration. It just makes us look like dupes to other dictators.

The media quotes Bollinger's denunciation as if that makes him some kind of hero. A few days ago Bollinger spoke about the importance of dialogue and today he didn't even let the students confront the tyrant with impromptu questions. They were all screened and read officially just like back in the home country.

Why are tax dollars going to universities that oppose the military or give a platform to our enemies? This is not just a man who espouses anti-American positions, but someone who has been killing American soldiers in Iraq.

I'm not so much bothered by the theatre of today's event because it doesn't surprise me. But I am bothered by how higher education has taken on a sort of religious infallibility. Our job is to fire hose money at it and their job is to show us what rubes we are. There needs to be a better balance if we're to continue to foot the bill.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Sure, there is oil in Iraq, but to declare that the sole cause of this war is, to borrow a poker term, first level thinking. The free trade of oil on the world market is something we are extremely dependent on and it is not so heinous as libs would have you believe that it is worth a good fight to keep this precious resource from being horded behind the turban curtain. It's not like we go around stealing oil, for god's sake - we just want the opportunity to purchase it at market price, even though we are fully aware that those profits will be turned into ammunition to use against us.

With second level thinking, the cause to war becomes clearer. There is a civilization sharing our planet that has gotten rich by mistake, just by serendipitously finding vast oil reserves under their sand, and one of the ways they choose to spend this windfall is by financing the extermination of us and our allies. We ignored this fight until it came to us and even the libs rallied to the cause and as usual, America kicked ass and took names. The fact that we have not been attacked at home in six years since should be regarded as a great victory but for some reason is not. We are engaging the enemy far from home with an all-volunteer army which has made the hoi polloi back home grow soft and yearn for peace. Since the war is not here and the cessation of it would seemingly make no daily difference to the unwashed masses, they have joined together in a great cry for withdrawal. Note the term surrender is never employed.

Only with third level thinking can we see that a continued presence in Iraq is vastly preferential to withdrawal. It goes back to Iran, 1979. There used to be sane Muslims in charge of that great country. All of a sudden, the crazies took over and threw the entire region into turmoil. Iraq tried to capitalize on the turmoil and we helped them do it, even though they were just a different strain of crazy. We couldn't bring down the new Iranian leadership via Iraq and by 1990, Iraq itself was getting too big for its britches and we had to bitch slap them a couple of times. Meanwhile, those cold war stalwarts, the Russkies were getting huge in Afghanistan and we financed an offshoot batch of nutjobs to drive out the Reds. Now there was a new wing of wackos getting big for their britches and they dug into Afghanistan. We've been playing whack-a-mole now for decades in the Middle East.

The people of the Islamic world are wonderful people as individuals but they are stuck in an historical rut of going from bad dictator to worse. Although every culture will fight for its way of life, you gotta figure nobody enjoys living under a tyrant. Maybe it is all they know and they can't imagine the alternative, but I'm one of those cowboys who truly believes we are doing a great service to the people of the Middle East when we fight the man for them. Unlike the Russkies, we are not going to move in and take the resources, we simply want to liberate the resources so that we can engage in free trade.

Anyways, I've got to go soon, so I won't belabor my point. I mainly wanted to point out the hilarity in the closing paragraph of the news story I linked above:
If Blackwater and other private contractors are shut out of Iraq, Democrats in Congress and Iranian intelligence operatives may have stumbled on a way to end the Iraq War—less than a week after Gen. Petraeus testified that the U.S. is turning the corner.
Who is the enemy in this story? It seems to be the American general who is fighting the good fight. And who are his antagonists? You guessed it, that great axis of evil, the Iranians and the Congressional Democrats. Together, they are unstoppable.

This wikipedia page corrects common misquotations -- for example, "Beam me up, Scotty" was never uttered on STAR TREK and Sgt. Friday never said, "Just the facts, ma'am." I am guilty of misquoting the following in the past week or two:

"Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Notes: This misquote hearkens back to the British Lord Acton, a 19th century English historian who was commenting about tyrant monarchs (Caesar, Henry VIII, Napoleon, various Russian Tsars, etc.). It is probably the single most misquoted statement in the English language. Lord Acton actually wrote: "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

Now the question of whether to be a technically accurate smartypants the next time this quote applies, or to accept common usage and feel a small ping of intellectual remorse. Probably the latter, because of another favorite quote (which is quoted correctly as far as I know): "Be wiser than other people if you can, but do not tell them so." - Lord Chesterfield

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

MAY 6th (A film Review)

You’ve heard of Theo Van Gogh, Great Grand nephew of Vincent. Theo was shot by a radical Islamist back in 2004. Theo was a columnist and a movie director, a career that doesn’t seem to have much of a parallel in the United States unless you count Sean Penn’s trips to the Middle East. Theo was a supporter of Pim Fortuyn, the Dutch politician himself gunned down two years before. They both wanted restricted Muslim immigration fearing that Muslim fundamentalism was slowly changing the liberal landscape of Holland. But Pim Fortuyn’s killer was an eco-terrorist, one who prayed at the other great multicultural religion, the environment.

May 6th is the day the Pim was shot and the movie is about the forces behind the killing. Our hero is a tabloid photographer outside a radio studio shooting cheesecake shots of a model while unbeknownst to him Pim is inside giving his last radio interview. Pim is shot leaving the interview and our photographer’s proximity gives him a lot of accidental evidence about the scene of the crime, ala BLOWUP (1966). Since going to the cops is never any fun, our hero instead tracks down the people in the photos one by one and tries to solve the mystery of what happened that day.

Unfortunately, what happened borrows heavily from the Oliver Stone JFK approach. Find some dissent from orthodoxy in a politician’s record and low and behold, the secret cabal is standing by waiting to cut his throat. Here the greenies are just dupes for businessman who put them up to it. How are the Dutch ever going to have an independent film culture when they keep borrowing Hollywood villains?

Despite the hackneyed conspiracy theories this is a solid picture with a lot of fine smaller performances. Our hero’s detective work moves at a good speed, less so than Hollywood breakneck and yet not so slow as to lose the viewer. Instead of aha scenes where Charlize and Denzel study the same paper and look at each other and say, “does this mean. . . ?” our hero is solitary in his search. Other people seem slightly amused at his obsession or indifferent and when the bad guys turn up they don’t wear $2000 suits and have half page of dialogue to clue our guy in real good. The heavies act like people, more powerful than our hero, but still semi-unsure of themselves in a situation they didn’t anticipate.

The best attribute of the movie is the hero’s journey. You follow and root for him throughout and I was sorry to see the thing end, because so many of the ancillary problems are left unsolved like real life. says that Van Gogh’s work has received scant worldwide critical attention although he was praised inside the Netherlands. If MAY 6th is representative of his work I hope they release the rest of his filmography. Netflix has one other Van Gogh title and I will cue it forthwith.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I have reputation at work as someone who knows movies. I think it’s mostly due to the nature of my work, but wrapped in there is also the ability to talk art house and classic movies. My knowledge isn’t as exhaustive as it once was. I’m no longer good with what just came out and I can’t keep up with the tent poles anymore. But if you want a change of pace, I’m always good for a recommendation or a conversation.

Around last year’s Oscars, our Vice President asked if I had seen any of the nominees and what I liked. I had not seen CAPOTE which turned out to be my favorite of the group or WALK THE LINE, a solid movie even in multiple viewings. All I had to recommend was CRASH, which I had seen 8 months before when it came out on DVD. A week or so later he told me briefly that he saw it and didn’t like it. And after the Crash recommendation she stopped bringing up the topic and would say little when I did.

He took the team to lunch recently and he told us that he immediately rented CRASH after our conversation and told his wife that I had recommended it. Only, he rented the David Cronenberg version from 1996. That movie (NC-17) is about a perverted subculture that finds eroticism in car crashes. Maybe he could have weathered it, but what wife wouldn’t have been appalled? Very recently he happened upon the 2005 version and he and his wife had a big laugh realizing that they had rented the wrong one. He laughed again telling the story at lunch. What was going through his mind after seeing the first one? Who would recommend such a movie to their boss?


I recently read THE TIPPING POINT by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s how small ideas or trends explode into sensations. A good example from the book is how Hush Puppy shoes were so unpopular in the early 1990s that the maker almost stopped production. They produced only 30,000 pair a year. Somewhere in the East Village a bohemian wandered into a thrift store and bought a used pair simply because they were cheap. This person, whoever he was, was influential enough that other young artist types started doing the same. A fashion designer looking for the hot new trends hung around the village looking for style and noticed the Hush Puppies gaining popularity and the designer decided to use the shoes in a fashion show. The show led to models wearing the shoes in magazines and within two years they were selling over 200,000 pair of Hush Puppies annually. The trend began with a few influential people and steamrolled into a style.

Gladwell uses the same phenomenon to explain why Paul Revere is famous and anti teen smoking campaigns are doomed to failure. It was the best human behavior book I have read since INFLUENCE.


Friday, September 14, 2007


The surge is working and Petraeus recommended starting a conditional withdrawal. A great showing and a political hit for the Left which has backed itself into a corner by trying to strong-arm the Right. It has repeated its disingenuous talking points so often it now has to pretend to believe them, to its detriment. They missed a golden opportunity to connect with the mainstream in their obsession not to offend the Soros/Sheehan crowd.
Having poisoned one country and been expelled from it (Afghanistan), al Qaeda seized upon post-Saddam instability to establish itself in the very heart of the Arab Middle East — Sunni Iraq. Yet now, in front of all the world, Iraq’s Sunnis are, to use the biblical phrase, vomiting out al Qaeda. This is a defeat and humiliation in the extreme — an Arab Muslim population rejecting al Qaeda so violently that it allies itself in battle with the infidel, the foreigner, the occupier.

Just carrying this battle to its successful conclusion — independent of its larger effect of helping stabilize Iraq — is justification enough for the surge. The turning of Sunni Iraq against al Qaeda is a signal event in the war on terror. Petraeus’s plan is to be allowed to see it through.
NEVER HAVE YOUR DOG STUFFED by Alan Alda (A Book Review)

Stuck in yet another airport and complaining to my wife on the cell, she wisely recommended that I go buy something to read to pass the time. Staring at a thousand titles, I saw Alan Alda plaintively looking back at me and couldn't resist. Unfortunately I had time to read the whole thing before I hit the runway back home.

Celebrities are so often a fascinating mix of ambition and insecurity, and Alda obliges. His stories had me laughing so hard I had to move away from the guy sitting next to me in gate E31 whose seat I kept shaking. His second glare sent me to a more remote location. Alda is a great storyteller, setting the scene, getting to the funny part quickly, and moving on. He doesn't dish any dirt and you feel like he left a lot out, but it's a great way to pass a few hours. There are laughs and lessons but he doesn't beat you over the head or ask too much.

My biggest takeaway was this: The following night I was in class and we did an exercise identifying things that fill our tanks and things that drain our tanks. I listed four or five things in each column--for example, reading something interesting fills my tank, listening to blowhards or sitting in airports drains it. The point of the exercise was to start recognizing when something is draining your tank and turn your attention to something that will fill it. My wife had applied the lesson for me before I even encountered it, and now I will know what to do the next time they start posting travel delays. Sometimes it takes someone else to point out the obvious.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS by John McEnroe (A Book Review)

Tennis was the only sport that I wasn’t introduced to through my father. I picked it up during summer vacation in the late 1970s when Wimbledon highlights would come on right after the Johnny Carson show. Jimmy Connors was my favorite. I asked for a racket for Christmas and I would bang tennis balls against the garage door for hours letting my sweaty bangs hang over my eyes like Connors. Everything about the sport I learned on TV, I never had a formal lesson. I practiced enough on the driveway that I was decent competition for my friends, even the guys who were better athletes.

Connors was my favorite but I borrowed McEnroe’s serve. The traditional form I learned later was to face your opponent and serve straight ahead. McEnroe pointed his toes 90 degrees from the net before winding up and serving the ball. I played like this for so long that when I later tried the other way, I couldn’t hit the ball with any accuracy.

Over the weekend I read McEnroe’s book, YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS, and it turns out he developed that serve because it put less pressure on his sore back. So my technique is based on Johnny Mac’s bad back.

The book was insightful. I learned that he and Connors hated each other in their playing days. They played Davis Cup one year together and hardly even spoke. Now they get along a little better playing the Senior Tour. He still doesn’t think much of Ivan Lendl. He calls Brad Gilbert a complainer.

McEnroe is an extremely patriotic guy, who played Davis Cup in his prime despite the weak money simply because he wanted to win for his country. He speaks harshly of other Americans who don’t make it a priority, namely Connors in his day and Sampras in the 1990s.

McEnroe idolizes Bjorn Borg and the great loss of his career was the Borg retired early and he couldn’t play him anymore. Borg gave McEnroe motivation like few others did. He never lost his temper in a Borg match, he never yelled at an umpire, because he needed all of his strength to beat this worthy adversary.

He also talks about his personal life in the book being married to Tatum O’Neill and now Patty Smyth. He doesn’t say so directly, but the Tatum relationship certainly drained his energy away from tennis much like the Brook Shields relationship cost Agassi.

He speaks well of Reagan in the book and his one time meeting him, but he didn’t make it back in time from Europe to vote in the 1984 election, presumably for Reagan. He said his first ever vote came in the 2000 election though he doesn’t tell us his leanings. I seem to remember McEnroe at a 2000 Bradley rally in NYC. Was it just a jock connection or was Mac a full fledged supporter? I’m pretty sure he’s a Dem these days.

A candid book and worth the time of any tennis fan.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Jonah from NRO:
But it’s important to remember that from the outset, the media took it as their sworn duty to keep Americans from getting too riled up about 9/11. I wrote a column about it back in March of 2002. Back then the news networks especially saw it as imperative that we not let our outrage get out of hand. I can understand the sentiment, but it’s worth noting that such sentiments vanished entirely during hurricane Katrina. After 9/11, the press withheld objectively accurate and factual images from the public, lest the rubes get too riled up. After Katrina, the press endlessly recycled inaccurate and exaggerated information in order to keep everyone upset. The difference speaks volumes.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Actual George Takei (aka Sulu) stars in a fan financed, created, and edited film. Pretty impressive effects for a near zero budget and a all volunteer cast.