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Sports section now all about feelings

As you probably know by now, I'm a red-blooded, meat-eating, beer-can-crushing-on-the-forehead kind of fellow who laughs at Three Stooges stunts (I love it when the guy with the ladder pivots suddenly and brains the other idiot HAHAHAHAHAHAHA) and thinks the problem with violence on television is that there's not enough of it. I'm not sitting around reading Edith Wharton short stories, ya dig? Except for the smutty ones.

So I think my street cred as a guy's guy, and really, as a guy's guy's guy -- Bruce Willis without the soft side -- is rock solid. That said, sometimes I get the desire, the hankering, the urge, to read about people and their relationships.

I want to dive into deep waters of human emotion. What interests me is not merely what people do, but how they feel as they do these things. Thus, every morning, as I sip my cup of coffee and ready myself for the achievements of the day, I pause to scrutinize and absorb the part of the newspaper where you can reliably find tales of human relationships, emotions, feelings, conflicts.

It is the section of the newspaper that is jammed every morning with allegations of betrayal, accusations of infidelity, and all manner of crying jags, moodiness, hurtfulness and character failings. It is the section of the paper that is nothing more or less than a running soap opera. You know what section I'm talking about, right? Of course it's the sports section.

Take Wednesday's sports front, just for example. There was a terrific piece of reporting on the dysfunctionality of the Redskins over the past two years as Jim Zorn's star rose and fell. There was a piece about Jason Campbell and Clinton Portis taking pot shots at one other over which was the weaker team leader. And, of course, there was a ton of coverage of the continuing clown show that is the career of Gilbert Arenas. The anguish and drama saturated the section, and by the time I'd finished reading all those sports stories, I was wrung out. You know things are rough in the sports world when you turn to the Afghanistan coverage just for some lighter fare.

The only thing the sports section needs now is a really juicy sex scandal involving the world's most famous athlete.

Oh wait, never mind.

Let's face it, sports has never been just about statistics and wins and losses. Look at last's night BCS championship game: This kid Gilbert Grape or whatever his name is, a true freshman who appears to be about 14 years old, has to replace college legend Colt McCoy early in the game against an Alabama defense that would put the fear of God into Johnny Unitas. At the end of the first half, he's 1 for 10 for minus-4 yards passing, including two interceptions, one of which was, as you may have seen, flinching, a super-safe shovel pass with just a few seconds left that was somehow intercepted and returned (after Gilbert Grape was stomped into the turf) for six. But then somehow in the second half the kid figures out how to play and nearly leads the Longhorns to victory. It was Hollywood, almost (until a guy who weighs about 500 pounds blind-sided Gilbert and caused a fumble). I really wanted to turn off the game and go to sleep but you just have to watch this stuff.

As for the other Gilbert, Mr. Arenas: I agree with this cat who says that people need to get a grip. There is all this talk of a lifetime ban of Arenas. What nonsense. He deserves to be suspended for a substantial number of games (say, 25), with a mandatory psych evaluation and follow-up therapy to help him learn how to behave like an adult. Read Dan Steinberg's take. Arenas is an unbelievably immature goofball and prankster. He does not appear to be dangerous. He has the judgment of a 9-year-old. And, by the way, he's not tradeable. No one will pick up his contract. He's OUR goofball. Kicking him to the curb isn't really an option. The right thing to do is get Arenas some help so that he can grow up and succeed at what he can do well, which is drive to the rack or pull up for the game-winning jumper.

(Or am I overly focused on the what-you-call? The game?)

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 8, 2010; 8:38 AM ET
 
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Comments

Edith Wharton? Of course!

Ethan Frome is about the doomed relationship of the Deadskins, chained to a domineering, ill owner, and a nice, fresh-faced hope full of potential.

They get on that sled together, have a wild ride, but ultimately crash because the Deadskins are old fuddy-duddies thanks to being ground into submission over the years.

You, sir, are a man of staggering literary insight.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 8, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Really superior athletes live in an emotional void, just as entertainment superstars do. They are surrounded by employees who fear to tell them truths they do not want to hear. Even family members who want some of the financial largess to fall their way end up with employee status. That is why they live in a state of arrested development.

Sports is just another form of entertainment and I don't think the peccadilloes of sports stars will supplant the majority of covers of the Enquirer anytime soon.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 8, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Mr. A, I see a bright future for you writing a soap opera series based on sports figures.

Two thumbs up for this kit!

Posted by: MsJS | January 8, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

There are smutty Edith Wharton stories?! That would have made English class so much more tolerable.

And don't forget Tebow crying. Now there is a real man in touch with his inner emotions over his team getting CRUSHED by the eventual national champions. Not to rub it in or anything.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Great Kit Joel. I didn't really watch the game last night but did happen to surf to it just as that shovel pass happened, ugly.

You all know how much I love Charlie Pierce, well he has a new sports blog at:

http://www.boston.com/sports/columnists/pierce/

He has a bit about last night's game. I don't follow sports very closely but I love reading what Pierce writes, he is certainly curmudgeonly but then I like that in a person. ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | January 8, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Dan Steinberg the Cheese Critic is also writing about sports? Here's a Renaissance man.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 8, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I love the way Alabama is pronounced by natives of teh deep south: Elluhbehmeh

Posted by: -jack- | January 8, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Oh gosh. Our electricity went out for about 10 minutes there. I was thinking that I may as well go to work. Thank goodness it came back on and spared me.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Sorry. It's BAH-muh.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I still like "Owwa." You know... the team that played Georgia Tech the other night.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

From previous kit, Nic Cage as Joel Achenbach - http://i45.tinypic.com/des08z.png

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | January 8, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Edie wrote smut? Why the little minx. *busily thumbing through all our old correspondence*

Great column, Joel. And I love it when you get in touch with your Inner Jacqueline Susann. Vince Lombardi had feelings? Who knew?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 8, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

lostinthemiddle... that's GREAT!

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

LostintheMiddle -- our new best friend. DId you do that? Get to on the Peter O/Nick C one. Thankx from the bottom of my funny bone.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 8, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

To my ear they did add a third syllable when I was there, so I'll say OWwawa.

"Saskatchewan" usually drops the first syllable in pronunciation. "Manitoba" is not pronounced at all, if at all possible.

Posted by: engelmann | January 8, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

No, thank you CQP. I had never heard of nic cage as everyone until your post. Yeah, thats a boodle exclusive by your's truly. Peter O coming up...

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | January 8, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

My brother in law, who is a native, always pronounces it AYlaBAAMa. Or, more commonly, God's Country.

Of course, pronunciations differ. My grandmother, who hailed from Oklahoma, always referred to my home state as "Worshington."

But back to sports. I only realized the truth of what Joel says relatively recently. It was only when the Nationals were formed that I understood how much being a sports fan was about getting to know the players. When baseball becomes a daily intrusion into your living room, you don't have much choice but to become best buddies with the participants.

And although I have become reasonably aware of the major players for the Skins (Cambell is the Quarterback and there's this Portis person who does something involving running, right?) basketball is simply too far beneath my awareness threshold.

I mean, for the longest time I thought the Wizards played at a place called Gilbert Arena.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 8, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Nic Cage as Peter O - http://i49.tinypic.com/14490sp.png

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | January 8, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Love this kit Joel a lot very funny.

I do have a question if Arenas played for a different team would your decision about the number of games suspended change? Will it take a tragedy before guns are banned in locker rooms - what would happen at any other workplace for such an incident. Just asking.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 8, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I think we must all be a terrible disappointment for Joel. I don't think any of the boodle regulars are big basketball fans, while he clearly is.

Posted by: engelmann | January 8, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

dmd, aren't they already banned? I haven't been following particularly closely, but that was my impression. If so, the question is how to punish a violation of the ban. Just because there's a rule, doesn't mean no one will break it.

Posted by: -bia- | January 8, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Not sure bia. I have a huge bias on this issue as I a) detest guns except for hunting b) consider athletes in professional sport, whether they like it or not, to be role models for children, c) consider bringing a gun to a workplace any workplace a justifiable reason for termination.

I am a flexible person, just not on this topic - won't it be fun when some kids decide to immitate Arenas and point guns at their friends.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 8, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Yeah... there's a ban. Not only in the locker room but in DC. Arenas is a Virginia resident, where his guns are legal. It's against DC law for a non-DC resident to bring handguns into the city.

So he broke rules and laws. Now, granted, they were unloaded. May not make a huge difference to the ban or rules, but makes a huge difference to the person they're being shown to/pointed at.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I tell you there is tragedy in the G house today. Some of you will understand this more than others: There is no oregano.

I don't know how this was allowed to happen.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Faxing some spare Oregano to TBG.

Is that alledgedly empty handgun or has that been proven? Sorry I have no humour about this, I will stop.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 8, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Egregious negligence. It's the only possible way.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 8, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

That was exactly my question, too, dmd.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 8, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I couldn't agree with you more about guns. I realize sports figures are different from the rest of us due in great part to the pampering and deference they receive, but good grief, where will it end?

TBG, the horror! Faxing you some oregano asap.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 8, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

TBG, marjoram can be used as a substitute for oregano if it can be found.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | January 8, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Get out your tissues...

http://ow.ly/Ud4g

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Now this is a tragedy:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/olympics/2010738218_olytv08.html

I hope Arenas goes to jail for the gun offense. Seems reasonable to me.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 8, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

happy new year to all the boodlers.

i LOVE sports. of all kinds. my family thinks it's an obsession.

i frequently talk in sports metaphors, to the disgust of people in my vicinity who think sports are for morons, etc. even so, at my place of employment i am a key player on the team. maybe even a perennial all star, of sorts. i earn a nice paycheck. i admit that i sometimes get special treatment because of the way i do my job. but....

if i brought guns to work and pointed them at someone as a 'joke', the following would happen in quick succession.
i would be terminated immediately. i would be prosecuted in federal court.
i would lose my professional license and thus never practice in my field again.
i would lose my pension.

all of that would be fair and just. and so it should be with mr. arenas. his gunplay is a symptom of the thug mentality that is pervading professional sports to a great degree and has begun to creep into the athletic factories at the college level. anything that would begin to push against that is fine with me. if i were the commish of the nba, arenas would be done for life.

just sayin...

Posted by: butlerguy | January 8, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

TBG, how sad but fortunate that these young people had the emotional maturity and integrity to do the right thing. How many people of any age would do that? And how many other urns of forgotten heros are out there somewhere. My heart aches.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 8, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Does NBC at least stream the live events seasea, in addition to the TV coverage live streams of events will be available on the CTV website - as CBC did. You do not get the same announcing but coverage is pretty good - much better than a tape delay.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 8, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful link TBG, very touching.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 8, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

About the only thing I'll be watching on the Olympics is the figure skating, and even that has become boring to me (I think any music from Carmen should be banned!). So, it's not that big a deal, but I did love the CBC coverage. The infuriating thing is the time delay for the west coast - when the events occur in the same time zone. It's impossible not to hear the results, which kills the suspense.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 8, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"No one tell me who won the college football championship tonight.... because I do not care."

That's what Stephen Colbert said in his opening last night. (We are currently watching the rerun, if you can't tell.)

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I thought you were being sarcastic about the tissues. Wow. Those are some very classy kids. Thank you for sharing that, you made my day.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | January 8, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The Metropolitan Opera managed to bring Carmen back to some semblance of life with a gritty new set, different body language, and a time shift from 1830 to roughly the Spanish Civil War.

So will our figure skater be fascist or Republican (in the lefty, anticlerical sense)?

I wonder whether Congress would consider a national Professional Athlete Immunity Act, exempting NBA and NFL players and coaches from annoying local laws?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 8, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

dmd3, I'm not actually a big Wizards fan, though a few years ago when Arenas was lightin' 'em up every night I watched more often. I'm a little bit of a fair-weather fan, maybe. But as for my judgment on the Arenas case, I just think it's clear that he was fooling around -- and was not, by any stretch of the imagination, trying to USE the weapons on anybody, but rather thought it was funny to pull them out of his locker and put a note on them asking Crittendon to pick one (because Crittendon said he'd shoot Arenas in the knee -- also a joke, apparently). And then Crittendon gets his own gun (according to the Mike Wise report) and actually cocks it. If that's so, he's GONE. As for Gilbert, he'll almost surely get charged with some kind of gun offense and should pay the penalty for that, up to including jail time if that's what goes down. But in pro sports there is this other level of bizarre jurisprudence in which a league commissioner is prosecution, judge and jury all in one, and although I think Stern right NOW wants to ban Arenas for the next millennium, I wouldn't be surprised if at some point he went with a slightly more lenient sentence in exchange for some kind of committment, a binding one, from Arenas to get evaluated and counseled etc....

butlerguy, just fyi, i don't think Arenas ever pointed a gun at anyone. Nor threatened anyone with a gun. it sounds to me like he thought he was being funny by putting them out in the open with a note on them. yeah, it's CRAZY, but that's a bit different from thuggish behavior, no?

Posted by: joelache | January 8, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

To me, just owning hand guns constitutes thuggish behavior.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

my information is from ESPN. the report i heard this am is that arenas' actions led another player named crittenden to take out HIS piece and load it. and so it goes.

i hope both of them are gone. this stuff has to end. i see it as all of a piece with plaxico, pacman, ray lewis, etc. etc.

Posted by: butlerguy | January 8, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

JA, I gotta disagree. Guns are guns. Showing a gun is threatening. Even if he had used toy guns, the undertone would still be as clear. If he wanted to be funny while not being thuggish, he could have put water balloons with the note. Even funnier would have been to challenge him to a game of jacks.

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 8, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the explaination, not sure it changes my mind that much but as I said I do not have a sense of humour about guns.

That said at the very least the NBA and any other major sport need to install a rule banning guns and establishing clear penalties for any infractions.

Don't get me started on some of the CRAZY NHL issues that need rectifying.

Like Butlerguy I love sports but do not like the behaviour of some athletes (across all sports) the culture of entitlement needs to end and this needs to start when promising athletes are young.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 8, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Comparisons between sports and the real world are usually not apt, but this may be one of the rare cases where it's a little more reasonable.

Joel, I can't believe that I'm interpreting your kit and post above in the way that you intend them. Are you really proposing that a slap on the wrist is all that should happen with Arenas?

Answer this. If you brought four guns into the newsroom at the Post, laid them out and put a note for Dana Milbank or Eugene Robinson to "pick one," what would be the result? I can say with certainty that I would be fired immediately and likely prosecuted--as would the majority of Americans. And all of this notwithstanding the fact that I never intended to "USE the weapons on anybody." Guns in the workplace are like whispering "bomb" to the TSA; there are no jokes.

This one is pretty cut and dried, Arenas needs to be kicked out of the NBA for good and prosecuted in DC.

Posted by: Awal | January 8, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I've just seen the Kit, and I'm nonplussed. How can carrying four (4!) handguns into the locker room and displaying them with a note that is clearly a threat be construed as a joke (or prank, more like)? And if the guy was so concerned for his children's safety, he could have refrained from purchasing them at all.

I'm in the camp that says the guy should be permanently banned from the sport. And I've said the same thing about Dany Heatley and Tod Bertuzzi. It is unbelievable to me that they were allowed back into the NHL.

Posted by: Yoki | January 8, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

There are two issues here. First is the legal offense. The law clearly applies to everyone, even highly-paid sports stars. If Mr. Arenas violated the law, he should pay the price. I think we all agree on this.

The second issue, though, is the appropriate response of NBA. Now, I am no fan of handguns, but we can't confuse the appropriate response with our visceral response.

True, in any typical work environment this would be a firing offense. But here's the thing. the NBA isn't your typical work environment. If someone is fired from, say, an accounting firm, he or she would have the option of going to work for some other accounting firm. They wouldn't be barred for life. The NBA is the only game in town. There is no alternative. If Arenas is fired from the NBA, he is denied his primary livelihood forever. This, I assert, is a far more cruel punishment than simply being fired from a normal job.

Well, boo hoo hoo, some would claim.

But, remember, basketball is part of the entertainment industry. To remove Arenas from the world of basketball forever would be to deny the many fans of the sport one of a talented and potentially valuable player. The fans would suffer, and, like it or not, there are people who care enough about basketball that this would be a significant loss.


Would those who support banning Arenas from Basketball have also supported banning that convicted drug dealer Tim Allen from acting? Or that felon Robert Downing Jr?

No, I assert, because their talents are too unique to be lost.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 8, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Actually, yes, I would support that. Entertainment, the fans' pleasure, is not so necessary to society that threats and violence should be tolerated.

And the fact is, there are other good athletes and actors always coming down the pike to fill any talent void.

Posted by: Yoki | January 8, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I am appalled by the gun play. ANY WHERE ANYTIME. PLAY? Here is the good side of growing up in gun culture:

appropriate measure, reverence, and awe about guns.

I know about this; so do my gun rack equipped cousins. NEVER would this fly among people who use guns in their work or lives. And, this same disgust was directed at Dick Chaney during the scattershot=his-hunting=companion moment.

I do advocate for gun control. HOWEVER, we need some of the sanity and measure that most responsible gun owners espouse by custom and temperament.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 8, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Since I wasn't there to see exactly what went on, my opinion means little.

I like Agent Zero well enough - he's always looking for a laugh, and seems mostly harmless.

But I'm a city boy, and what Gil did constitute a threat as far as I'm concerned, even if it was meant as a joke. I don't know where Crittendon is from, but I can understand his feeling threatened. If he really did pull a gun and chamber a round - oy - that's bad too, and if the investigations reveal he did such a thing, he should have action taken against him as well.

This is a mess.

I watched that BCS Championship game to the end, too, and Gilbert Grape was slingin' in the 3rd and 4th quarters like Sonny Jurgensen used to. Playing out of his mind.

A shame about Texas' collapse in the last 2 minutes, making the final score seem far more lopsided than the game actually was.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 8, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a big fan of "one strike and your life is over" rules, in situations in which behavior was stupid and stunningly ill-advised, but not actually injurious to anyone. It seems like there must be some level of proportional punishment that is more than a triviality but less than ending a professional career forever.

We had a guy at the lab I worked in during the summers. It was a military lab. One day, this very high-strung, hyper-intelligent, highly-accomplished (MD, PhD, VMD), universally disliked fellow, brought a rifle to work. He wanted to discuss hunting rifles with one of the guys in the machine shop, so he brought in his hunting rifle -- just carrying it, no case. He was somewhat taken aback when soldiers working the security detail pointed weapons at him, loaded and with the safety off. Being a pugnacious fellow, he got angry with them. Fortunately for him, they did not gun him down.

He was stupid; he did something outrageous; but his professional career did not end that day. Should it have?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 8, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I understand Italy has quite a good professional Basketball league, as well as a few other European nations.

I have always had a problem with athletes who say, I must make so and so as my career will only last 2, 3, 10 years etc. They chose the profession and the drawbacks of that profession and that would include permanent disbarrment for gun offenses, steriods etc. Can doctors and lawyers be reinstated after losing their licenses? (Actually I do not know, can they?).

There are consequences for our actions. If as many people died in one day as died during the course of the year from gun deaths the hue and cry would be huge. Like Awal I agree that goofy with a gun is as serious as shouting bomb in an airport.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 8, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

RD,

I disagree on most of your points.

A) If I got fired from an accounting job for bringing a gun to work, it's doubtful that I would get rehired at another accounting firm--assuming they did their background checks appropriately.

B) Gilbert Arenas has earned approximately $66.7 million in his career to date. Banning him from the league is not exactly dooming him to a life of penury--which would be the only moral justification for worrying about "denying his primary livelihood."

C) This isn't Gilbert's first rodeo. He was suspended in 2004 for a gun-related offense.

D) There are plenty of basketball players/professional athletes who have committed crimes similar to Robert Downey Jr. and Tim Allen. I don't believe any have ever been suspended for their careers, and I have never heard anyone suggest that they should be. That said, I believe that there is, in fact, some sort of provision in the NBA's collective bargaining agreement that allows for a lifetime ban of repeat substance abuse offenders.

Posted by: Awal | January 8, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Now I have something in my eye.

however, there is this
http://jumpersbloghouse.blogspot.com/2010/01/nic-cage-as-flo-progressive-insurance.html

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 8, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Now, clearly, this is a values decision. The proper response is based on how one values the trade-off between athletics and guns. There is no objective answer. But, to me, a lifetime ban is a "zero tolerance" kind of response. It allows no flexibility for nuances, which, according to the reports, this situation clearly has.

A lifetime ban would yield the same punishment for this act as it would for someone who walks in and shoots someone in the foot. Or the chest. (Again, I am talking about NBA-inflicted sanctions above and beyond what the law mandates.)

Now, if this seems reasonable to people, that is their prerogative. But I, personally, like to think that people like Arenas are not yet lost causes. Further, I recognize that many people find what he promises valuable enough to exert some effort on.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 8, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow, rereading this Kit makes me want to see "Brian's Song" again.

No texts or twittering, and no guns (that I can remember).

But there will be Kleenex, or at least damp sleeves.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 8, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

With all this deciding of how Mr. Arenas' life going on, has anyone actually asked him what he is willing to step up to?

If the guy isn't willing or able to take responsibility, no amount of punishment or support is going to help. He'll just go on being a nine-year-old.

Posted by: MsJS | January 8, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

AWAL -

A) But a firm would have that option if it wanted. An NBA ban means nobody has that option.

B) Yes, he would be rich. But I suspect that basketball players play professional sports for more than the money. But clearly this is a weak argument on my part.

C) Again, does this prior offense justify barred for life? It's a value call.

D) The point is, other parts of the entertainment industry separate sanctions from legal mandates. Why should athletics be held to a higher standard?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 8, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

If Gilbert worked for the post office (which is the easiest example of a history of workplace gun crimes) should he have been fired? Do you consider the circumstances different because of the place or type of employment? I have a hard time with the argument that Gilbert Arenas' "special skills" should entitle him to a different level of treatment than most people would get. Especially since his skills are arguably not particularly valuable in the context of the "greater good."

Posted by: Awal | January 8, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line and then I am done. I don't like "Zero Tolerance" policies because they deny flexibility to deal with the specifics of a given situation. I think the devil is in the details. Maybe Arenas is beyond reform, but I think to deny him that option because Guns are Bad is to deny the entire concept of personal reform.


And I hate guns.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 8, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

RD, I rarely believe in zero tolerance or strike one penalties but there are a few cases where it applies bringing a gun to the workplace applies, Arenas could still get counselling and be involved in basketball in the future perhaps being a role model for young players on what not to do, coaching. I consider elite sports involvement in part a privledge and therefore the harsh penalty justifiable.

I still recall when Ben Johnson got caught feeling so awful for him, we was quite a simple person who's career prospects outside Track and Field were limited, that said what he did was wrong and unfortunately was a scap goat to a great extent that he failed at his second chance was equally sad.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 8, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

They took skylarking w/ guns much more seriously in the old days. No restraint o' trade issues then, no siree.

http://www.deadmentellnotales.com/onlinetexts/treasure/island.shtml

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I'll be done too after this. My last point is that I don't think that there is actually a zero tolerance policy in place. I believe that any punishment is at David Stern's discretion, and he can take into account: GA's previous gun troubles, the half-hearted attempt to cover up what happened, and the inherent significance of this particular incident.

As a point of reference, I believe that the NBA suspended Chris Andersen for two years (2006-2008) for a drug violation that was widely reported to have involved mushrooms.

Posted by: Awal | January 8, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

If you ban guns everyone will be forced defend their homes with flamethrowers.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't really care if Arenas is banned from basketball, but probably sending him to jail for 5 years (or 20) would effectively do that. Guns do not belong in a locker room - shows an extreme lack of judgement. Equating this to drug use is nonsense, especially given that drug use for athletes has harsh penalties within the sport. For actors, not so much.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 8, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

dmd,

I remember when Ben Jonson got caught for "leude and mutynous behavior". Man that Queen Elizabeth was a real battle axe--talk about zero tolerance.

Posted by: Awal | January 8, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

At my first job it was pretty common for the gun nuts (to use a prejudicial term) to bring in their handguns for show and tell and the sort.

One guy who was a little left of plumb (and was under the care of a therapist) had brought his gun in to show off but had left it in his drawer for about a week.

When we found out that the gun was still in the office and determined that from his desk chair he could plug about everybody in the office, we went to the boss.

The boss got bug-eyed and immediately confronted him. The coworker was shocked at the reaction and said, "It's perfectly safe. I keep the clip and ammo in my glove compartment." He then had some strange story about how he was selling the gun to a buddy but just hadn't been able to make the rendezvous yet.

The boss told him the gun was to go home at the end of the day and not ever come back. And that was the last we heard of that, but we all stayed just that much more nervous until the guy finally quit.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Let me clarify. I'm not equating drug use with gun violence. I am saying that people are not banned for life from movies, singing, dancing, or other forms of entertainment because of legal offenses not related to what they do. (Steroids for athletes are cheating, that's different.)

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 8, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

You would have thought that Plaxio Burress would have been a cautionary tale, but instead it seems he was the tip of the iceberg.

Perhaps Arenas can go into business with Michael Vick and start a rod and gun and dog club.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Is it too late to read Treasure Island? No. I never had. I am reading it now. Thanks.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 8, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Okay, which of you is on TheAwl making Mianus jokes?

http://www.theawl.com/2010/01/international-work-on-your-novel-weekend-approaches

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Long John Silver gets the girl.

Oh, crap. Sorry. Forget I wrote that. I hope I didn't spoil it for you, Jumper.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 8, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Although speaking of bringing guns to the workplace.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 8, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I've been working on my novel all this week. Today, even.

There are no werewolves in it.

Or time travel.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 8, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

, which will please Yoki. Always write with our Yoki in mind. You cannot go ill if she be well (pleased, that is.)

Anon. Back to lucre-makething I go.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 8, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Arrrrrrrrgh!
Okay.
Speaking of manfood, I'm rendering a big heap of beef fat they were selling for some reason at the grocery store. I will have french fries the way God intended.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 8, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

it's all about the manfood pyramid! great kit JA!

Posted by: MissToronto | January 8, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

It is possible to write something good that has werewolves in it. I direct your attention to "Operation Chaos" by Poul Anderson. It has been a long time since I read it, so I have probably advanced in my ability to evaluate good writing. Nevertheless, I thought it was well-plotted, internally consistent, fun to read, and relevant to the human condition, back when I read it in high school (or was it college?).

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 8, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Manfood pyramid is right, MissT.

Posted by: MsJS | January 8, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't like to apply for work at the post office with his resume. FedEx?

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Almost all time-travel stories are crap, because it is a favorite device of bad writers who have decided to write "science fiction" but really want to write historical fiction, and don't even know how to do that well. Giant exception: "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed" by Alfred Bester, which is funny and brilliant.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 8, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

J.K. Rowling had a werewolf in one of the Harry Potter books. Sold a bajillion copies.

Posted by: MsJS | January 8, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The manfood pyramid? The one in the middle of the Yucatan? Chicken Eatza?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 8, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

If Hemingway had written a werewolf novel, ya know what he would have called it?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 8, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Although War and Peace and Werewolves, to continue the current series, might be awesome.

Posted by: engelmann | January 8, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes.Yes. sciTim (said lovingly with cilantro tomatillo salsa on top). I agree.

And now, a clip from Carolyn Hax's live-chat to edify and humorify:

re: bananas: Brazil nuts are more radioactive than bananas, because they concentrate barium, and radioactive radium chemically mimics barium. Brazil nuts are the most radioactive food out there. I love them. So tasty.

Carolyn Hax: On that geektacular note, I'm going to sign off. Thanks everybody for stopping by, and for the especially lively contributions. I'll be on the lookout for a pony-size toddler puke painting jpeg in my inbox.

We can morph this into GLeektacular. We have another great morphing of a word into truthiness.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 8, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh heck, SciTim, NOW you tell me!

**searching noisily through desk drawers **

Anyone out there got a BIG eraser?

Posted by: MsJS | January 8, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Death in the Waxing Moon?

Posted by: engelmann | January 8, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

For Whom the Belle Drools.

an excerpt:

Harry pulled down her collar and looked at her neck. It was a good neck.

"Quickly, Harry," she said.

Harry bit her neck and drank her blood. It was good to drink the blood.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 8, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Stopping by the Woods on a Waxing Evening ?

It's Only a Waxing Moon ?

It's a Full, Full, Full, Full Moon ?

Mind Your Mooners (nah...)

Curr-moon-geons ?

Posted by: MsJS | January 8, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Or The Very Very Short Happy Life of Francis MacComber. Excerpt:

A broad smile spread across the guide's suntanned face. "That was a helluva shot, Mac".

Neither of them saw Francis' wife, fangs exposed, poised to leap.

Posted by: engelmann | January 8, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Ya know what? You guys need a tune cootie.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1e9dw_the-last-waltz-i-shall-be-released_creation

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 8, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Why read about werewolves when we have one in our midst? :)

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 8, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'm a little concerned that you didn't exclude vampires from your subject matter.

SciTim, pretty much anything by Bester is worth reading, but you're right about TMWMM -- one of the best. I've also lost track of how many times I've read "The Stars My Destination." Another time travel story that has stayed with me in the decades since I read it is Moorcock's "Behold the Man."

Posted by: rashomon | January 8, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"The Old Man and the Werewolf."

excerpt:

Santiago was very tired now. He had been pulling on the net for hours, trying to bring it closer to the side of the boat. He could tell by the weight it was very heavy, whatever was in the net.

Santiago's arms and back ached. He stopped to rest for a moment, and took a drink of warm water from the big jug under the thwart. Then he resumed pulling on the net.

Perhaps it will be a big swordfish, he thought. Perhaps when I return to the village I will able able to sell it for many pesos. Then I will buy a barcalounger and sit in the shade and read the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated.

Santiago pulled on the net. He thought it was getting close to the end, because his small boat was now full of a lot of net. Next time I go out, I'm taking a shorter net, he thought.

Although his neck and back and legs ached, he pulled the net in. Finally he could see the net was pulled up all the way up against the boat. Santiago stood up and looked over the side and saw what was in the net. It looked like a human body, only it was covered with long hair all over it. Santiago could see it was dead, whatever it was. It appeared to have a human face, though a hairy one. It also had fangs. It's lifeless eyes stared up into Santiago's face.

The old man was disgusted with his catch. "Oh, poopy nerts," he said. He sat down and took another drink of water from the big brown jug under the thwart.

Then Santiago stood up, even though his arms and back hurt, and cut the dead body from the net. He watched as it floated away from the boat. He watched as the sharks came around and began to devour it.

Late that day, Santiago sailed back into the harbor of his small fishing village. Many small boys ran down to the dock to greet him.

"Santiago! Santiago!" they shouted. "You have been gone many days! What did you catch?"

"The fishing was very bad," he told them. "I only caught one thing."

"What was it? Where is it?" they asked.

"It had no value. I could not sell it in the marketplace, so I cut it loose and returned it to the sea," he said.

"What was it?" the small boys asked the old man.

"The ugliest ****ing mermaid I have ever seen," he said.

The end.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 8, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

clap

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 8, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Howdy. I like the Kit. It has given me a new way to look at the sports page. I never really thought of it as a record of emotional trauma and growth.

I find the Gilbert Arenas discussion interesting. Guns are very touchy. People have strong feelings, both ways, and any incident which involves guns is often a lightning rod for much more than the individual occasion. I don't know whether that has happened here; I don't know the facts well enough.

RD rightly pointed out that there are really two questions: (a) what legal offenses may have been committed, and the appropriate punishments, and (b) what, if any, extra-legal consequences flow from Arenas's actions. I would note that usually the criminal justice system does take into account the specific facts and intent of the parties in determining punishment. There are exceptions, of course, and the D.C. law may be one; I don't know. Generally speaking, whether the gun was loaded and whether Arenas pointed it at anyone would factor in to the severity of punishment.

I suspect many factors will go into the NBA's response, and most of them have probably been mentioned here. I personally have no use for handguns. In my professional observation, countless serious injuries and homicides occur because a gun is available, which would not happen (even though a violent confrontation occurs) without a gun. However, I realize there are other opinions. I have to; I live in a concealed carry state where, if a business doesn't want you to bring in your gun, they have to post that information. Arenas's behavior certainly sounds, at best, dumb and immature (not to mention a violation of those pesky DC gun laws). I suppose I'm suggesting that in certain parts of the country, joking around (if that's what he did) would be thought of as dumb and contrary to the respect for the weapons demanded by gun culture, but not necessarily thuggish or worth imposing a permanent life-changing punishment. I'm not saying that is or isn't what the NBA should do.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 8, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

"The Moon Also Rises"

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

clap

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 8, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Well at least Arenas is taking it seriously now! *sigh*

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/wizards-grow-tired-of-gun-talk/article1424606/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheGlobeAndMail-Front+%28The+Globe+and+Mail+-+Latest+News%29&utm_content=Google+International

Posted by: dmd3 | January 8, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

True and cute kiddy story. Paging SeaSea cause this is a PacNorWest story:

CPDot1 spoke and sang early: perfect little mimic at 18months. Woody Guthrie's Columbia is a really good sing along.

Here is WG singing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20ZffI6by3A

Now, at the verse that invokes Jefferson's western foresight, about the EMPIRE of the Pacific Northwest....wee darling car-singing dot INTONED (without knowing the word or even hearing it I hope?)

Tom Jefferson's vision would not let him rest,
A VAMPIRE he saw in the Pacific Northwest.
Sent Lewis and Clark and they did the rest;
Roll on, Columbia, Roll On!

The Vampire of the Pacific NorthWest: TAKEN ON BY L AND L with help from Bird Woman...a mashup of historical fiction and the horror genre. Educational slasher...

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 8, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Fangs a lot, Mudge!

Posted by: -ftb- | January 8, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if a shark killed the poor were-wolf.
It must have had a frickin' silver bullet shooting thingy on it's head.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Good show Mudge. I tasted the salt.

Something is bugging me about the Arenas business. "Arenas is an unbelievably immature goofball and prankster. He does not appear to be dangerous. He has the judgment of a 9-year-old." And yet he legally possess (a) handgun(s). Except for the odd target handgun and the even rarer hunting handgun these things have one function: killing people. They are pretty good at it.
I don't think having a history of being a harmless goofball excuses an irresponsible behaviour with a people-killing tool.
He had a good run, I won't cry if he has to do with the 66 millions he has already earned.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 8, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's just that werewolves can't swim boko.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 8, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Another Mermaid story, courtesy of Bobby Bare and Shel Silverstein:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_gabCJvcVY

Posted by: -pj- | January 8, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

TBG, said gun ownership constitutes thuggish behavior? If that's the case I am surrounded by thugs. People love their guns in the South, and in other areas of the country too.

I'm with dmd, I despise guns, but Ivansmom and RD, are right the issue of guns evoke strong feelings both ways. I don't own a gun, but am keeping some for my dad, needless to say I'll be happy when he gets them back. And because this issue applies mostly to men, the guns and the sport, it will be interesting how this turns out. I know the ladies have guns too.

Great kit, JA.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 8, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, badsneakers.

Going to turn in, the day has been too cold. The sun came back this morning, but forgot to bring the warmth, and tomorrow is promising more of the same. Ah, well, we will remember these days when the temps reach a hundred and long for them. How fickle is that?

Have a good evening all, try to stay warm. Check on your neighbor and the elderly. And remember the homeless.

Some of my neighbors that got burned out are with their families and some have been offered apartments in other areas of the complex.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 8, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Paddle, most likely.

I just remembered that bullets don't work under-water so the shark must have had a frickin silver tipped torpedo launcher on it's head.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

When I took the course to be an emergency medical technician a generation ago, I remember reading that a person had a one in five chance of dying from a gunshot wound and a one in twenty chance of dying from a stab wound. I wonder if those odds are still accurate.

Posted by: slyness | January 8, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

And Elvis turns 75 today. Okay, so what if he's been dead for 32 years; we don't need to get picky. Love Scotty Moore's guitar on this song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWgprZu4Hk4&feature=related

Here Eric Clapton and Scotty Moore do the same song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yljBGQwXrUE&feature=related

Posted by: -pj- | January 8, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

That sounds about right, Slyness.

Thanks to Mudge & Engelmann for that fine supernatural version of Hemingway.

There's always "The Sun Also Rises". Excerpt:

She looked into his eyes. Her throat pulsed. He drank deep, deep. Her blood was red. His tooth was white against the red.

The sun rose. He was gone.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 8, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra... I said hand guns.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh, TBG, hereabouts hand guns are as popular and beloved as long guns. I have no idea why.

To my extreme embarassment, one of my legislator friends - a good Democrat, I might add, a lawyer and highly eddicated - plans to introduce legislation for a "tax-free holiday" three-day weekend for guns, similar to the one we have for school supplies in August. I cringe.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 8, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

slyness: Was that the odds of dying given that you've been shot/stabbed, or just the overall lifetime odds of dying from a particular cause (in this case assault by firearm vs. sharp object)?

Posted by: MsJS | January 8, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone else ever sat down with a glass of red wine to catch up on the Boodle and suddenly realized that nobody is cooking the dinner the Boodler intended to start cooking? Whoops. Gotta put on some chicken/green chile/potato stew. Back soon.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 8, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Nobody knows their spouse well enough to keep a loaded weapon in the house. Or in Tiger Wood's case, a nine iron.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

This is cool... when I told my daughter about the story of the kids finding the WWII vet's urn, she told me that this link had been circulating around and she and her contemporaries thought it was an amazing story about another real hero...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/world/04haugland.html?hpw

I was glad to know that the kids these days appreciated such a person's life story.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, the answer is all the time :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | January 8, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

A Moveable Beast

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert Arenas lives in Northern Virginia and works in DC, not in Oklahoma or rural North Caroina.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

We've just had tourtière (meatpie) and creamed spinach. Mrs. D. and the Fungi had some galette des Rois as dessert. A very satisfying meal.
Slyness, for the first time in Canada, about 2 years ago (2008) we had more homicide by way of the knife than by guns (about a third each, the rest being the odd stangulation, blunt instruments, vehicules, frikking lasers, etc). The total number was just shy of 600 though, a rate that is just about 2.5 times lower than the US, all the slack being taken up by the firearm homicides. Guns are pretty good at killing people.
We knife, strangle and bludgeon ourselves as well as Americans but we are clearly deficient when it comes to gunning down our associates, neighbours and family.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 8, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if someone already posted this...

http://kalman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/by-george/

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

According to the NBA's website, the players' union in 2005 gave the NBA Commissioner the authority to discipline any player bringing firearms onto NBA property or to an NBA-endorsed public appearance off NBA property.

All NBA stadiums, regardless of geographic location, are included in the definition of NBA property.

Commissioner Stern decided to exercise his disciplinary right after Mr. Arenas behaved badly in the incident's aftermath. It was a PR disaster in the making and he had to consider the entire league's image and livelihood.

It doesn't really have anything to do with one's views on firearms. Mr. Arenas challenged the integrity of the league and the authority of its commissioner and is now reaping the consequences.

What happens next is up to the law enforcement and legal systems, the league and, most of all, Mr. Arenas.

Posted by: MsJS | January 8, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Look, no one is questioning the right of the NBA to impose a lifetime ban. It's the appropriateness of banning the man from ever playing with any NBA team in any location for the rest of his life.

Like I said, it's a value thing.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 8, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I loved Kalman's George W. story TBG when I read it over the Holidays. I figured the boss had his antennaes out and would catch it.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 8, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting the Kalman link, TBG. Ivansdad & I discovered Maira Kalman through her children's books,as we shopped for the Boy in his nascency. There are a lot of rotten books for children. Hers were witty, told interesting stories, and had good art. They could even be called Art. Thus, from his infancy, the Boy heard about Max the dog going to Paris, along with other Kalman adventures. We all still like and read those books. As he has aged we have all discovered her other books, which I must say are just like her kid books - witty, with interesting stories and Art. I have looked forward to the "Pursuit of Happiness" collection and am glad to hear it will be published.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 8, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I am cooking tikka chicken, masoor dal, tomato raita (well, that isn't cooked), basmati rice and roti. Anyone else?

I'm with shriek and TBG and Ivansmom at the risk of offending my beloved Cassandra. The only reason to own a handgun (though I prefer the term "Side Arm") is to kill people and to own them means either you intend to kill someone, or fear someone will try to kill you with same and you foolishly imagine you can defend yourself. Not *You* but one.

I even hate long guns, but not as much as side arms. I shot a Ruger .22 rifle and a friend's wide gauge hunting shotgun at one time at a skeet/marksmanship range, and did well. That cured me. To me, guns are violent death and regret made manifest in one (often machine-beautiful, steampunk) polished steel-blue package.

Posted by: Yoki | January 8, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to make it clear that I have never, ever knifed, strangled, nor bludgeoned an American. I've never even wanted to knife one.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

*snort*

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 8, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Hobo: "Don't worry, I'm not a stabbing hobo, I'm a singing hobo."

The Simpsons: [sighs with relief]

Hobo: [picks up a banjo and sings]
"Nothin' beats the hobo life!
Stabbin' folks with my hobo knife!"

Posted by: -TBG- | January 8, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh, that's my Mikey:

"GOP 'not thrilled' with release of Steele book"

Steele's book caught GOP leaders by surprise

By Philip Rucker

Republican congressional leaders say they did not know that their party chairman, Michael S. Steele, was publishing a book until it was released this week, and they had no input in drafting what Steele is promoting as the blueprint Republicans should follow to win back power.

...Steele appeared on a St. Louis radio station Thursday and offered a blistering critique of his Republican critics, going beyond his much-quoted remarks to ABC News Radio.

..."I am in this chair. If they want it, take it from me. Until then, shut up, step back and get in the game and help us win -- and stop the back-biting and the name-calling and the finger-pointing."

Steele went on to tell Milhaven: "I hope you play this tape over and over again because these folks are the problem, not the solution. Get with the program. I'm the chairman. Deal with it."

...Republican congressional leaders were so angered by Steele's statements -- including telling Fox News Channel on Monday that he did not think the GOP could win back their congressional majorities in 2010 -- that their top aides pleaded with Steele's handlers to "get him to stop."

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 8, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

badsneaks,

Thanks for the Pierce blog link. The man is a lot of fun to read. I have read him elsewhere and am surprised to learn that this is his first blog.

Posted by: -pj- | January 8, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

For anyone in the DC area, tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon WETA HD channel is re-broadcasting the series on the Appalachians in which our esteemed boss makes an appearance talking about that George Washington fellow. I wonder what ever became of him?

Posted by: -pj- | January 8, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I was clapping slowly because I was dazed from laughing at Curmudgeon's truly hilarious earlier post.

I think you get a ticket and if there's a hole punched in the circle for "wacky" or "nine-year-old" you can't get the one for "handgun legal" punched.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 8, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

zackly, jumper. Also, the rule of law should apply to everyone; no exceptions for the famous or rich or talented or athletic.

Posted by: Yoki | January 8, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Love Maira Kalman's books, particularly her droll take on _The Elements of Style_.

http://www.mairakalman.com/elements.html

Book opens with a geranium on a sill: perfect domesticity. Includes a perfect bassetty-beagley dog with the solemn and dolores eyes of love; and, sigh, places Abraham Lincoln against a marigold background that says, somehow, "Provence." I like to think that Abe found some pasture in Heaven that is both American and the radiant warmth of the inland French landscape of lavender and marjoram.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 8, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Questions arising today which I believe the all-knowing Boodle can answer:

a) What is on top of the United States Capitol dome?

b) On what date this year is the Super Bowl played?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 8, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

And oregano, don't forget oregano.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 8, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

a) aluminiUm
b) 07 Feb 10

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 8, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Not being very familiar with Maira Kalman, I wasn't aware until tonight that she was responsible for one of the best New Yorker covers ever, New Yorkistan. I have so much to learn!

#2 called last night and FB'd me today from Costa Rica. They are so happy to be there. I reminded her that at this time last year she was in the hospital with a staph infection and she was very down. Good lesson on what a difference a year can make in one's outlook.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 8, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

SCC I can't even hit the I key right.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 8, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

"What interests me is not merely what people do, but how they feel as they do these things."

I suppose that's the difference between pornography and literature. I'm just not sure which is which.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | January 8, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes, shrieking denizen, one would hate to run out of oregano. That would be a real calamity. I can't imagine a house without oregano.

[My oregano overwinters surprisingly well so I can always go out and pick some. Not now, though. Currently 17 (F), feels like 14.]

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 8, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

"I don’t know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens."
— E.B. White

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 8, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

a) is that a trick question?

Posted by: omnigood | January 8, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Dear Joel, turn the page,ou are in dangerous territory.


If you follow bc's suggestion to watch Brian's Song, only the original and for heaven sakes keep a hanky or golfers crying towel handy rather than using a girly tissue.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 8, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

CollegeQuaParkian1, you just made my day. What a quote!

Posted by: douglaslbarber | January 8, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Is it the Nuthatch?

Posted by: Yoki | January 8, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

TBG wonderful article. Did anyone here read the comments? Young Mike deployed on Jan 4th. May the powers that be keep him safe and bring him home soon.

Any spelling errors in this and my previous are the keyboards fault not mine&%$(*>#@!

Posted by: --dr-- | January 8, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I read those comments as well dr and teared up. Also liked the NYT story on the Norwegian veteran.

I understand keyboard errors, earlier today I carefully inserted commas where appropriate only to discover later they were not in my post - only later I realized my comma key sticks a little so I think I insert a comma but it does not print out.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 8, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

According to a National Geographic article I read many years ago the Washington Monument has an aluminum cap.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

It is not a trick question, I think. Was posed by a lecturer earlier today. The Oklahoma dome has a statue called "The Guardian", of a Native American (composite tribe) standing in the "I will not be moved but will fight to the death right here" position. In introducing that topic lecturer asked whether anyone knew what was on U.S. Dome.

My folks raised chickens for a while. I think they would have taken literature any day.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 8, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Hi Doug,
Lover of books and chicken for years. Wanted chickens in my urban environment long before the hipsters starting talking chickens. Wonder if in the next year I can have three chickens....so, glad to post thusly on the Ablog. White's letters are way richer than _Charlotte's Web_ or Elements of Style_.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 8, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

"The Point of a Monument: A History of the Aluminum Cap of the Washington Monument"
http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/jom/9511/binczewski-9511.html

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Some pig!

Posted by: Yoki | January 8, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Thankee,y'all.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 8, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I really did live in the DC area for 15 years -- but had to go to Wiki to see that the dome is cast iron (!) and the figure on the top is a woman called the statue of Freedom.

Posted by: nellie4 | January 8, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Pig, Yoki, how perfect and winged in your silver tongue.

I want to greet again. Mr. Tangent. AND acknowledge LostintheMiddle for the two images he photoshopped today about

Nick Cage and the BOSS JA
Nick Cage and Peter O, subject of the last kit.

He morphed and replicated because he can. ANd, since sonofTBG is vacationing, LintMiddle Pinch Hit two home runs.

Scrollback, peeps. ENJOY!!!!

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 8, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

the question said Capitol dome

The first dome was made of copper. The second and current is made of cast iron. The statue on top is called "Freedom" which is short for "Statue of Freedom" the official name.

It has at at least two more names

the Washington Monument does indeed have an aluminum beanie, so the safest place from you know who in all of DC is in the top of the Washington Monument

Posted by: omnigood | January 8, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Well done, pig.

Posted by: Yoki | January 8, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

That'll do pig.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 8, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, Saint-Sans.

Posted by: Yoki | January 8, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

The old media have been alerted to what's going on in the new media, and appear to be as confused as everyone else: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/08/AR2010010803693.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 8, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

The top of the Capitol dome:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yellojkt/3307516341/in/set-72157614324122367/

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

The inside of the dome:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yellojkt/3307519777/in/set-72157614324122367/

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, omnigood, I was sorta discussing SD's response.

The correct answer is pigeon sh!t.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

If you are a fan of badly written novels involving ditzy teenagers and supernatural creatures, you owe it to yourself to read 'Emily and the Really Sexy Vampyre'

http://www.paulandstorm.com/wha/emily-and-the-really-sexy-vampyre/

If you are NOT a fan of badly written novels involving ditzy teenagers and supernatural creatures, you REALLY owe it to yourself to read 'Emily and the Really Sexy Vampyre'

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I saw 'The Blind Side' tonight. There was dang little football in it but plenty of emotion.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I always thought the sky was on top of the captiol hill dome, pinned to it by that metal thingy.

The Super Bowl is always played on Super Bowl Day, a day selected by ritual sacrifice of goats, losing football coaches and auguring from their gut sizes.

Coincidentally, the girth size is also used to predict how much more inflated the next football season should be in length, what with pre-season, pre-season, postseason, playoffs, the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl, the Old Geezer's Bowl, and the Felons Bowl.

This is why, in order to save democracy and millions of marriages, we must capture all those NFL coaches and put them on diets so they're as thin as Twiggy when they're sacrificed.

Alas, all that money they earn buys plain too many ho-hos.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 8, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, as a lycanthrope, I'm not sure what to make of your "Mudgingway" piece earlier.

I will take it in the spirit I believe it to be intended and not declare a Burnt Umbrage alert.

Believe me, lycanthropy's not a once-a month party of butt-sniffing, knocking over trashcans, marking one's territory, terrorizing livestock and pets and, er, well, the whole licking thing.

We're misunderstood and chased all over the place by folks with guns. Vampires are a lot more dangerous to people, and look at all the good press they're getting these days -- sheesh.

To your story for a second -- if Santiago had recognized what he had and had the nerve, he probably could have fished a silver bullet or two out of it. Reasonably valuable, anyway.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 8, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

MsJs, that is the chance of dying from being shot or stabbed. I'm glad Ivansmom says that seems right to her. She's seeing it from the other end of the event.

At one point in this fair city, the murder rate declined a little because of the improvement in pre-hospital care. Some of what were intended as murders ended up as assaults because the victims lived.

Mr. T and I are back from an evening celebrating the retirement of a good friend who has been head of fire investigation. Now there is a career and a motherlode of stories to tell, many tragic and hilarious all at the same time.

'Night all, stay warm!

Posted by: slyness | January 8, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Note: in the interest of full disclosure of bias, I must state the previous post was sponsored by the Football Widows & Orphans Fund, which I have belonged to for decades.
No footballs were abused, unlaced, kicked, or passed during its production.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 8, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

You have a warm basket at my place anytime, bc. Wilbrodog will show you all the best peeing spots.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 8, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

When we got married the date was carefully selected to avoid any major sporting championships/events. This after the unfortnate events of our friends wedding during the first post season appearance for the Blue Jays. Still remember everyone in their cars listening to the radio between the wedding and reception.

When we got married our wedding was the week following Super Bowl, it is now either on or before the Super Bowl.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 8, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

I like Wilbrod-Gnome's concept of the Felons Bowl. It offers an opportunity for redemption for all those talented players with extremely poor impulse control who have managed to get a semi-lifetime ban from the sport (Michael Vick, for instance). Show whether they have kept or improved their football, showmanship, and ticket-selling abilities sufficiently to earn a revocation of the "lifetime" ban.

I don't feel that a lifetime ban is necessarily the right thing for Arenas (maybe it is, maybe it isn't; I don't have the data to decide, but I feel like the decision should not be viewed as automatic), but I am comfortable with the idea that a man who has committed such extravagant acts of cruelty as Vick deserves to wander in the wilderness for a very long time. Like, decades. If he still has the athletic ability to come back to the NFL in his 40's or 50's, more power to him. As it happens, however, that ship has sailed.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 9, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

'Lost' fans that don't like spoilers might want to stay off the internet for the next three or four weeks. Just a heads up.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 9, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm feeling very happy for you all that you are so superior.

Posted by: Yoki | January 9, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

If the idea of the Rev Ian Paisley spinning in his grave amusing you might enjoy the antics of his successors.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1241802/Mrs-Robinson-teen-toyboy-How-Northern-Irelands-ladys-affair-threatens-destroy-powerful-couples-politics.html

Hmm. Really no point now.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 9, 2010 2:22 AM | Report abuse

Only "Ate-in-the-back" could be such an obvious MSM tool of the Mediterraniuns. Why do guns at basketball scar Joey Acke-bake more than Bary Obakma (Hawayan-Indnisian MUSLIN!!) with a figure in the buttin?

DEMOCRAPS ARE REEPING WHAT THEY SEEWED!!!!!!!

Posted by: bobsewell | January 9, 2010 2:59 AM | Report abuse

Just trying that voice on for size. I think I like it!

Posted by: bobsewell | January 9, 2010 3:02 AM | Report abuse

Self-castigation: "DEMOCRAPS ARE RAEPING WHAT THEY SOEWED!!!!!!!!!!!"

not: "DEMOCRAPS ARE REEPING WHAT THEY SEEWED!!!!!!!"

Sorry. (Hangs head humbly.)

Posted by: bobsewell | January 9, 2010 3:10 AM | Report abuse

bobs,
Over the top wingnuttery is fun at first, but it's very tiring to continually try to be that ignorant and self-righteous. And it is impossible to outflank them on the ridiculous side. Trust me, I know. For a real wallow, register at this site and see how long it takes them to spot you as an interloper:

http://www.teapartynation.com/

Posted by: PopSocket | January 9, 2010 6:49 AM | Report abuse

For example, my father just forwarded me a version of this Birther parody of Columbo that I could never have even dreamed of:

http://boards.history.com/topic/Current-Events/Detective-Columbo-Meets/520010411

Posted by: PopSocket | January 9, 2010 7:04 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends.

I am not in the least offended, Yoki, and TBG, it was not my intent to offend you.

I don't care for guns, and I am in no way trying to justify those that own them or love them.

As for Mr. Arenas, I don't have a clue as to why he did what he did, but I do believe we can all share in a little of the blame, myself included. First of all, when a nation pays it sports atheletes millions of dollars yet skimps on teachers's salaries, there's a problem. These guys feel like they have worth because the money says so, and the people that hand out the money say so. Many of them come from disadvantaged situations, a hard life, if you will, and all of a sudden someone deems them worthy because of sports. They enter a world they know nothing of, and many times are unable to manuever in that world. It's like being shot out of cannon into an alien place. Perhaps a bad analogy there, but you get my drift.

My experience, being from rural North Carolina, with a gun has not been good. In high school a boy thought it was funny to draw a gun on a group of us as we entered a club. I nearly passed out. During my second marriage, my husband was so abusive to me, physically and mentally, and also the fact I worked sixteen miles from where I lived, and at night, I bought a gun. I had the opportunity to use it one night. I was seven months pregnant with my daughter, just coming in from work at 3:00 in the morning, and my husband decides he wants to fight. The gun was in the car where I kept it. As he raised his hand to hit me, I said to God, Lord don't let him do this because I'm going to blow him away if he does. My husband hands came down without touching me, and he went to bed without saying a word. I turn around and put my coat on and left. I know from experience that God answers prayers. I'm sitting here talking to you guys this morning, and not from a prison cell.

We all have different opinions concerning guns and their use. We all know guns maime and kill, yet we still use them. Just to be clear here, I don't care for guns or the violence and death from them. I am one, but not the only one.

Slyness, Yoki, Scotty, Martooni, Mudge, Lindaloo, and all the lovely people here, have a beautiful day. And keep warm. Good thoughts will help bring the warmth. I love you all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 9, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for sharing that harrowing story, Cassandra. Half of gun-related homocides are the result of domestic disputes. I'm so glad you did not become part of a sad statistic.

And your analysis of the consequence-free lifestyle of pro athletes is spot on.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 9, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Christmas trees and rocket engines. A natural combination:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCjHV63MQ4w&feature=player_embedded

Posted by: yellojkt | January 9, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

My earlier statement that 'half of gun related homicides are the result of domestic disputes' is possible inaccurate depending on how you count mass-shooting sprees according to this rather statistic-filled article:

http://gunlawforum.com/2009/05/05/the-face-of-gun-homicide/

Either way, you are far more likely to be shot and killed by somebody you are arguing with than by a complete stranger.

I'd like to also point out that 2% of all gun fatalities are people shot in self-defense while 9% are from accidents. Those are pretty poor odds.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 9, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Of course you're right boko. My memory is a sieve. Back when it was cast the W-monument cap was the biggest Al casting ever at almost 3 kg!.

I read that article back in 1995, so the reason for my mistake is those 15 years of abusing my brain on behalf of the gunmint.

"The author prefers to compare the 1884 price of aluminum of $1 per ounce ($16 per pound) to the fact that in 1884 the wage of a laborer on the Washington Monument was $1 per day, and the workday was typically 10 hours or greater in length. Thus, the cost of one ounce of aluminum was equivalent to a full day's work."
http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/jom/9511/binczewski-9511.html

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 9, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I like the rocket-propelled Christmas tree concept, but there are elements of the proof-of-concept design with which I disagree. First of all, successful firing of all 32 D-12-0 motors in the cluster seems unlikely. I think a more successful technique would be to strap F's (or even G's!) directly around the base of the tree, providing less torque from uneven thrust distribution as well as greater assurance of firing all units. Second, I would bore a hole up into the trunk of the tree in order to install a staging sequence of motors directly on-axis. Finally, I am confident that it is contrary to NAR safety rules to stiffen the tree with rebar or any other metal components. The weight of the rebar also seems like an unnecessary performance compromise. If absolutely necessary to reinforce the airframe, I think I would favor PVC plumbing. One pipe would be insufficient, of course, but the trunk could be reinforced with several spaced around the trunk, with minimal weight disadvantage. Nevertheless, with on-axis propulsion and direct strap-on motors, I feel that additional rigidity really is not necessary, offering substantial savings in launch weight.

All that said, the experimenters certainly have achieved a successful proof-of-concept and have demonstrated the fundamental soundness of the principles behind Xmas-based rocketry. I salute them!

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 9, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. What a discussion!

First, GA gets paid for his behavior. That's why the money is so ridiculous. And he behaved badly. Very badly.

Lots of jobs pay for behavior. Titans of business get paid a lot of money not only because of their business acumen, but also because they are married to their jobs, and get no time with family/friends. And lots of jobs have rules about behavior away from work. I'm guessing if you worked up the GW Parkway, smoking a joint would get you banned from your job for life. Or a DUI would get a bus driver banned. Sexual offenders can't work near kids. Steroid use gets an athlete banned. Gambling got Pete Rose banned, and racists statements got Marge Schott banned. The point: GA's not the first to be banned for behavior, and won't be the last.

(RD...GA does have other job opportunities, or he can choose to lay around and pop bonbons.)

About handguns as funny...GA knew (or should have known) that on the spectrum of funny, guns are a tiny sliver that can't be seen with the naked eye. He's a city boy, he's seen lots of the world, and he's been down this road before. He knows this.

About owning a handgun...it's the weapon of choice for defending yourself in your home. I'm not going to pick off an intruder on the other side of my bedroom with a rifle...a handgun's the right tool for the job. (A blade requires close contact.) And I've got a better shot at survival with a weapon than without one. Yeah, I might lose. But the chances go down if I've got a weapon too, not up.

What GA did was wrong and illegal. There's a price to be paid, and he needs to pay it. But that doesn't mean anyone who owns a handgun is foolish.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 9, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Would the collective wisdom of the Boodle happen to know why a large variety of online vendors seem entirely unwilling to sell me a simple washer/dryer combo unit?

*getting-an-ice-pack-for-application-to-the-forehead-I've-been-beating-against-the-table Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 9, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all, and a happy cold Saturday to you!I have a feeling I'm going to rest quite a lot today and accomplish little. But it's currently 20 degrees F and I'm okay with not being busy.

Posted by: slyness | January 9, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I don't object to other people owning guns, as is their constitutional right. I just don't feel safe or comfortable with one in MY house. In the meantime I will enjoy the ancillary benefits of the alleged deterrent value from all the people that do have guns and are willing to use them.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 9, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. It was not my goal to suggest moral superiority in my opinions on the subject of Arenas' ultimate disposition. I just happen to speak pompously. It's the way I am. I agree with RDP's position that the work of the law and the work of the NBA are separate.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 9, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

So there's a herd immunity aspect to gun ownership? What??

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 9, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I am no fan of guns. I have never fired a gun, and have no particular wish to do so. I feel intensely uncomfortable in a home that has guns, even locked in a cabinet. I do not inquire whether the gun owners follow NRA guidelines to keep ammunition separate from the unloaded guns, because I doubt that they actually do so, and I don't want to confront that reality. Frankly, I think that recommendation is like warnings against Q-tips in your ear. It's CYA, a universally ignored recommendation that you should not use the thing in the way that it obviously is designed to be used. The primary reason the NRA offers for handgun ownership is for self-defense and home defense, which can only be accomplished if you ignore all the disingenuous safety "rules" and keep the loaded gun ready to hand. As noted on the Gun Law Forum page linked by yellojkt, about 1/3 of gun homicides in the US are domestic disputes. Eliminate loaded guns from homes (eliminate the gun, or actually keep the gun unloaded and far from locked ammo), and you can largely eliminate that category of homicide.

I think it's obvious that gun violence is a major problem in the US, that there are too many guns, and that most people who have guns lack the training to handle them responsibly. Responsible handling for self-defense would mean, at the least, training comparable to basic military or police training. I doubt that most gun-owners have such training. I do not understand people who think guns are just swell and they need to have them around and play with them and show them off. I think that gun-fans understand me and my ilk just as little as I understand them, with the huge difference that my preferences are unlikely to provoke anyone's death.

So, all that having been said: I think that stupidity in gun-related behavior is quite common. If we react to every incident of stupidity, like Arenas', with a call for draconian penalties, then we harden the distinct positions of the gun-owning and the non-gun-owning. The gun-owners will feel under attack and resist rational limitations on guns ever more strongly, because they rightly suspect that we non-gun-owners would like to eliminate their guns completely (handguns, at least). I think both the legally gun-owning and the non-gun-owning would agree that the elimination of gun violence is a desirable goal, but we differ dramatically on what we think will achieve that goal. I think that compromise solutions that punish and teach but do not automatically condemn those who behave stupidly with guns is the most effective strategy to achieve the elimination of gun violence. A gradual change in culture is more likely to succeed than trying to walk society over a cultural cliff.

At least, that is what I tell myself.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 9, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, so glad you are here with us today.

This is waaay off topic but a good read, story of the transition of one Yemeni family.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/from-bikinis-to-burkas/article1424587/

Posted by: dmd3 | January 9, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Here's the thing about sanctions, by which I mean the extra-legal actions that Ivansmon mentions. Sanctions in all employment situations are not there to promote the general welfare or promote social goals. That is the job of laws.

Workplace rules are there to protect and advance the interests of the organization. People get fired if their actions endanger the ability of the organization to operate. This means protecting against lawsuits, bad publicity, or anything else that the organizational management feels is within their legitimate interest. And this, certainly, includes the safety of the employees. But if these sanctions go beyond what is in the reasonable and legitimate best interest of the organization they start to become violations of civil rights.

In the specific case of the NBA, sanctions are there to protect the professional game of basketball. And so, in the final analysis, the appropriate thing for the NBA to do is to act in the reasonable and legitimate best interests of the game and nothing more.

Now, certainly, keeping players safe in the workplace is a legitimate part of this. As is maintaining and fostering talent. Allowing a player to continue down a destructive path is not in the best interest of the NBA. This is why some serious sanctions make sense.

But expecting the NBA to work against it's own best interests by imposing sanctions that work against the best interest of the game in order to compensate for some perceived weakness in the gun laws is, I assert, wrong. It strives to impose a legalistic function on a private entity. And this, I assert, is a function that private entities should not perform.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 9, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Speaking as one of (and on behalf of) the lovely people, I wish to join cmyth4u in wishing Slyness, Yoki, Scotty, Martooni, Mudge, Lindaloo a beautiful day.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 9, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Dr G was driving to the Library of Congress one day to do some research. He was driving in traffic behind a huge flatbed truck that was carrying, he realized, the recently refurbished dome cap for the LOC building.

After parking, he approached the building and passed the truck parked on the road. Realizing this amazing opportunity, he put his hand on the dome cap.

Now whenever we see the dome in the distance, he loves to point out that he has touched it.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 9, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Oops... meant to add this...

http://andrewprokos.com/d/library-of-congress-dome?g2_itemId=7273&g2_serialNumber=5

Posted by: -TBG- | January 9, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

But part of what the NBA must protect is its' image, it is a business based on PR, revenue directly driven from the consumer. So it may be that acting to bar a talented played may be in the best interest of the league in order to protect the game and more importantly to maintain its' customer base/revenue.

How bad would NBA player activities have to be before sponsors gave up, fans stop buying tickets, networks refuse to televise games I do not know (I stopped watching years ago), but it is well within their rights to protect the business.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 9, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I think the NBA tries to be a family-friendly place of entertainment. If I think a goofy, but incredibly talented, player is bringing guns to the arena, I'm not going to bring my family.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 9, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 9, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Good morning! Scottynuke, are you asking the online vendors to deliver an actual product to your house? Perhaps they prefer to take your (real) money and promise to deliver a virtual product. Much cheaper and easier for them.

I enjoyed the Christmas tree rocket and look forward to sharing it with the Boy. Thanks, also, ScienceTim, for the technical analysis of the method which I could not have done. The things we learn on the Boodle.

Well said, RD, about the use of non-legal sanctions to correct perceived flaws in the law. I'm not saying that is the case with Arenas; I don't know enough about either the facts or NBA policy and practice. I'm just saying that it is easy to confuse the two, but important to distinguish, when we impose a sanction, what we're doing and why.

Handguns are useful for self-defense. Knowing I work in criminal law many people assume I have one. I explain I don't, because a gun is not a talisman. If you aren't prepared to shoot it at a person, and shoot to injure or kill (the most effective way to ensure your own safety) you shouldn't own it. My professional experience tells me that if you pull a gun expecting it to ward off harm, but aren't prepared to use it, your assailant will take it away from you. He'll probably shoot you with it, and you will certainly have annoyed him - seldom a good idea during an already violent encounter.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 9, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Those are legitimate points TBG and dmd. And are the kinds of issues that the NBA should be considering. Which is why a lifetime ban *could* be considered an option if the NBA feels it is is the best interest of the game to do so.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 9, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for bringing up Pete Rose and Marge Schott, LiT, I'd been thinking about them in this context. And as far as Arenas' possible lifetime ban from the NBA -- there are foreign pro leagues and teams in Spain, France, Italy, and Greece that would love to have him, and pay handsomely for him to practice his profession for them. He's got options.

As Mike Vick had as well, once he completed his sentence. I believe he could have headed to Canada and to CFL, but he has stayed here in the US and has done all the right things to resume a career in the NFL. Given the horiffic mistakes he's made and the cruelty he inflicted and the (deserved) public reaction against him and the things he'd done, he's handled things as well as anyone could have, I think. Didn't dodge anything, admitted his guilt and took the responsibilty for his actions, including time in the federal pen without complaint. It may be to early to call Mike a model of redemption, but I think he's doing the best he can, listening to the right people (Tony Dungy, Donovan McNabb, etc.) and reforming his life. He'll never be what he once was, but he's making his tomorrows the best they can be. Mr's Arenas and Crittendon may do well to consider Mr. Vick as an example.

I consider guns a personal choice in this country, and certain rights regarding them *are* guranteed by the Second Ammendment to the Constitution. In home self-defense or as a matter of hunting for food, I think there are good reasons to have them and to utilize them responsibly within the bounds of the law. I make my own decisions about such things for myself and for my family, and I am responsible for whatever transpires from those decisions.

Love the rocket-powered Christmas Tree. Makes me think a very cool Christmas-in-July firework could be in the offing.

dr -- you're right, I don't watch the original "Brian's Song" with Kleenex either. I have a mock center's backside with a quarterback hand towel draped over it.

Now, off to work on a long list of errands today, and a road trip this afternoon.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 9, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

My intrinsically libertarian nature leads me to favor generous interpretations of second amendment rights. After all, if squids & octopi can bear numerous arms at all times and in all places, why can't you & I?

But my pragmatic, boring conscience forces me to conclude that firearms (most specifically handguns) have been sufficiently proved to be harmful that restrictions upon their possession & use are rationally defensible.

That being said, Gil Arenas did not in fact harm anyone, and it's nuts to talk about punishing him as if he did. While displaying unloaded heaters may be stupid, offensive & provocative, and illegal, it is most assuredly not particularly dangerous. If we're really concerned about the common weal, there are more urgent issues and more egregious transgressions to be addressed.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 9, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I didn't think I had anything to add to this discussion, and everyone's already over on the new kit anyway, but I have to disagree with bobs's statement that displaying an unloaded gun isn't dangerous. Unless everyone present knows that the gun is both unloaded and displayed with no intent of use, the display will cause them to feel threatened, and they may well react with violence to the perceived threat. As in fact seems to have occurred in this case -- Arenas's unloaded guns led to Crittendon's loaded and cocked gun. Sounds dangerous to me, and a forseeable result of the original display.

Posted by: -bia- | January 9, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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