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Men behaving badly

Bad-boy tennis players have been a traditional American manufactured item for decades, with Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe serving as the '57 Chevy and '65 Mustang of the fleet. Last night we saw at the U.S. Open a classic hissy fit from Andy Roddick, who foot-faulted quite unambiguously but went on a roughly 15-minute rant against the lineswoman when she incorrectly told him he foot-faulted with his right foot rather than with his left. A minor misstatement, surely, but Roddick reacted as though he'd been accused of kidnapping the Lindbergh baby.

Roddick wasn't playing well before the incident and, afterward, not a whole lot better, and ultimately he fell in four sets to a stoner-looking pipsqueak no one had ever heard of.

This normally would not be enough to incite a speech about sportsmanship, but now we see, in the very same sports section, an account of the latest Nyjer Morgan incident. He was already suspended for a game for unnecessarily running into a catcher the other night (you can do that, legally, but only if the catcher has the ball, and in this case he did not), and last night the drama continued. First, the Marlins pitcher plunked Morgan intentionally in an obvious retaliation for the other night. Morgan took that as a fair-game shot to the ribs. The manager, Jim Riggleman, polled his veterans: Do we answer? They said no: It's over.

But then Morgan proceeded to steal second and third on consecutive pitches, and when he eventually made it home he did some jawboning with a fan. Now we're into a subtlety of the baseball code: Did Morgan "retaliate" by stealing the bases? Evidently the Marlins thought so, because the next time Morgan came to the plate they threw at him again (the fastball actually went behind his back). So now Morgan charges the mound. Takes a swing, First baseman tackles Morgan. Benches clear.

Later, a Nats pitcher drills the Marlins pitcher.

There will be fines. There will be condemnations from the league office. But as Riggleman explained it, this was all about men obeying ancient codes that date, no doubt, to the days of the Druids:

"We'll protect Nyjer," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "If anybody takes some liberties and does anything, then we'll protect him. There will be no free shots, I can guarantee you that. Nobody's going to throw at our guys without somebody getting thrown at."

Meanwhile, in other Man Code news, we learn that Rob Dibble has been sacked as the Nats TV announcer. The story notes that Dibble is very old school when it comes to the code, and once, as an announcer, became enraged -- astounded and apoplectic -- when a pitcher did not retaliate against Roger Clemens with a beanball when such a thing was clearly called for:

The definitive Dibble moment on the show came when he excoriated New York Mets pitcher Shawn Estes for not nailing Roger Clemens with a retaliatory pitch when Clemens finally batted against the Mets months after beaning Mike Piazza.

"I'll always remember Rob Dibble for being a great reliever," Kurkjian said. "But I'll also always remember the look on Rob Dibble's face when that happened. He was enraged beyond words that Shawn Estes didn't do what he thought a man's man is supposed to do, and that told me everything I needed to know about who Rob Dibble is."

As we go around in life -- we men -- we need to spend more time asking ourselves, "What is a man's man supposed to do in this situation?"

Not just any man. A man's man. A manly man's man.

The solution to most situations, we must remember, is violence. Verbal if not physical. Right now, for example, I got a hankering to hit someone, but I think I'll just going to yell at the cat and show her who's boss.

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 2, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
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I favor the practice of manly men settling their scores through manly violence -- the more immediate and over-the-top, the better. Over-population is a significant problem in the world today, and the natural effect of such manly violence is to reduce the available number of mate-worthy competitors in the genetic struggle for differential effective fertility, either through imprisonment, maiming, death, or simple incitement of revulsion among the female population. For a generation or two, at least, we nerds will rule and there will be an over-supply of female companionship for us male nerds. Bad for you women-folk (sorry, ladies), but great for us nebbishy guys.

I'm pretty sure I've seen this as the plot of a movie, somewhere... the phrase "My doctor told me never to allow bullets to enter my body" comes to mind.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 2, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

And that 'turn the other cheek' guy, what a wuss.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 2, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Tim!!!!! I put that up as the post of the quarter. HA HA HA!

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Jack, thanks to the link to that story, frightening. I am glad the little boy was able to get the medical help he needed beyond just pills. Medicine has improved so much and it is great, but the belief that pills alone can solve problems must end, particularly for mental health issues.

Hugs to badsneaks - those anniversary dates are always so difficult.

Had an interesting conversation with the father of a friend of my daughters. We were talking about his daughter and another friend, both girls, the two had gone through some significant bullying in grade school, one changing schools to escape the unpleasantness. We discussed the difference between the way boys and girls bully, boys more physically or just ignoring someone they don't like, but girls seem to enjoy taunting those they do not like, there may not be bruises but the pain is real.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 2, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

First of all, I gotta whip up a birthday serenade to Mo (HBTY, HBTY, *HBTMOOOOOOOO*, HBTY).

Scotty, you'll, *um*, get yours tomorrow (it won't hurt).

Anyone heard from rickoshea about her operation yet? Her BD is on Saturday, I think.

So, I guess I could go back on kit. Or not. Tired of them ├╝ber expressions of anger, when really a *shrug* and walkaway will do. Whatever.

And Tim, I'm always faxing *hearts* to you, you wise devil you.

Posted by: ftb3 | September 2, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

SciTim, we must not allow a mineshaft gap!

Movie script:
yellojkt: SciTim, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each nerd. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as nerds were concerned?

SciTim: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each nerd will be required to do prodigious... service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.

bc: I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, SciTim.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 2, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Invaluable prizes (that is, prizes that have no identified value) await the first person who can identify the movie reference and the character who I quoted.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 2, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Michael Joseph Gross w/ Chris Matthews and Nora O'Donnell
Gross wrote the Vanity Fair cringe piece on Sarah Palin.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

There are always bruises, dmd. Girls are emotionally vicious, and the bruises are internal and last much, much longer. All bullying emanates from a deep sense of insecurity and low self esteem. And bullies tend to pick on those they perceive to be even weaker than they are. As tragic as Columbine and similar outbursts (to be kind) were, they didn't surprise me in the least. And that guns and similar weapons are so easily available makes what might be called "decision making" all the more spontaneous (even if the Columbine perpetrators planned their attack for a long time) -- this is seen in domestic violence cases all the time.

But, um, perhaps I digress . . . . .

Sneaks, I know what you mean. I'm faxing *hearts and hugs* to you, too.

Posted by: ftb3 | September 2, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Team sports unnecessarily complicate the bashing of the opposition, because the team members also suffer for the satisfaction of the aggrieved party. If it were just one guy, he'd make the choice for himself (as in tennis, etc.)

I seldom repost but thought this hurricane tracker is the best view. It's basically all I need:

Posted by: Jumper1 | September 2, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

You are correct ftb, I meant visible bruises, but I understand your point.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 2, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

This seems fitting for yello's screenplay.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 2, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

James Bond, Casino Royale

Posted by: talitha1 | September 2, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse


Keeping the good thoughts will help the day go better in spite of the sadness.

Posted by: cmyth4u | September 2, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how I feel about knowing how many characters I recognized in that article, dmd.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 2, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I wish *we* could get some of Earl's rain. Not a lot, and no wind, but it sure would be nice. The lawn has given up the ghost and everything is parched.

I'm glad some schools are now taking on bullying. As a child, I was different enough to be a target, but no adults ever got involved. I suppose it wasn't that bad, and I wonder what ever happened to the boy who was such a pain to me. Poor kid.

Posted by: slyness | September 2, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Mr. A, I might reconsider the yelling at the cat thing.

If you're lucky, she'll ignore you. If you're not, she'll retaliate at the most inconvenient moment.

Morning, y'all. Happy Birffday to those celebrating this week.

Posted by: MsJS | September 2, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Some survey rated Charlotte, NC as the nation's manliest city for 2010, with Portland, Ore. dead last on the list.

I didn't quite figure that out. Chuck Palahniuk's "Fight Club" and other novels are Portland things. The city's the beer capital of the country. This outfit promotes riverboarding and other hairball sports:

I'll report on the Florida Big Swell later.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | September 2, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Close! But not "James" Bond.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 2, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

A little tweak on ya, talitha: Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen), not exactly James Bond (either Peter Sellers or David Niven).

Hippy Biddy, Mo-by (short for mortifera baby).

I subscribe to the manly-man school of umpiring, myself, in which such reprehensible conduct is adjudicated by manfully ejecting the miscreants from the field of play in as manly a manner as possible. However, in the case at hand, I tend to support Morgan a bit in this one. Stealing 2nd and third aren't "in your face" insults; merely head's up baseball. If you can't stop a guy from steakling third on you, you have no right to drill him for it. You just need to work on your mechanics.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 2, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Cats are good to yell at: they simply don't give a ----. Dogs, on the other hand, get all sorrowful looking, lower their ears, give you a hurt look, and in general take it very personally and to heart. So never yell at a dog. But go ahead and excoriate the cat all you want.

Also goldfish. Not good listeners.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 2, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Yep, Jimmy (or maybe "Jimmie") Bond (played by Woody Allen), nebbishy American nephew of James Bond (played by David Niven), in the earlier production of Casino Royale. I have no firm information on whether the plot of the two Casino Royale movies resemble each other or the original Ian Fleming novel, although I rather suspect that the original Casino Royale bears little resemblance to any other work in the Bond oeuvre.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 2, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Although all the other stuff Morgan did was basically off-the-wall nuts. As a rule, you don't charge the mound unless you actually get hit or knocked down. This was neither. He should have laughed at it, instead.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 2, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The mound charging rules are more confusing than infield flies.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 2, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I am chasing a fly in the house right now.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Tim, the Woody Allen CR had only a tenuous relationship with the original novel. Yes, the villain had the same name (Le Chiffre, played by Orson Wells) and the Girl was Vesper Lynd (Ursela Andress). And yes, there was the game of baccarat. But of course, there was only James Bond in it, and none of the other Bond relatives, nor any of the other characters.

Both the original Sean Connery version as well as the new Daniel Craig version were somewhat reasonable adaptions, at least within the parameters of the elements a Bond movie "must" have. The basic CR plot is Bond versus Le Chiffre at baccarat, with Vesper as the love interest/double agent. That's the core plot.

IMHO, the original Connery "From Russia With Love" was by far the one that most stuck to the book, and then CR came next. After those two, the movies just got crazy (though not in a bad way). As novels, I think "Live and Let Die" might have been the best, although YMMV.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 2, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Another rig explosion in the gulf, Vermillion Bay area.

Good thoughts for my in-laws who are at their cottage in NS and currently in the path of Earl when it makes it's way north. Their cottage sits about 100' from the water, although up an embankment.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 2, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

He should have laughed at it -- and happily taken the ball, furthering the batter's goal of getting on base. If the pitcher is willing to give it away, take it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 2, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

MASN is a nightly visitor to the Padouk Estate, and I have wearied of Dibble. That said, Ray Knight, who has been filling in, isn't exactly Mr. Excitement.

The thing about baseball is that there doesn't seem to be a nicely gradated scheme of penalties. The weaponry seems to be limited to calling a guy out or ejecting him from the game. As a result, it seems to me, an intricate system of retribution has evolved. And, usually, I guess, it works. But, like all systems of retribution, I can see it spiraling out of control.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | September 2, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Wonder how I avoided getting bullied. I have no idea. Small, skinny, glasses, reader, good grades.

Sneaky suspicion we will get nothing but hot air from Earl, slyness.

Posted by: Jumper1 | September 2, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I don't even know what brain cell pulled up Casino Royale. Y'all edge-u-ma-cate me here every day.

If the nerd/nebbishy men get 10 women apiece does that number include only nubile females or those earthmothers among us whose "days are past"?

Posted by: talitha1 | September 2, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I avoided most bullying by being fairly large, until my classmates finally began to shoot up around me. By then, the childish impulses to bully people were fading. The few times that I was physically bullied, bullies discovered that I had not yet learned to master my temper -- I was an ineffective fighter, but enthusiastic, and liable to hurt somebody before regaining control.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 2, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

There's no substitute for experience.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 2, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Earthmothers will be included, Talitha, somebody has to wash the dishes and irony the socks.

Posted by: nellie4 | September 2, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

My tales of middle school bullying are long and involved too painful to recount. But here is my strategic advice: When dealing with a group of bulliers, retaliate against the weakest of the group. Not that I advocate violence in any situation.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 2, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

That's what I was afraid of, nellie. Experience does make for good lovin', though. ;)

Posted by: talitha1 | September 2, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

jkt, that was the one of the subplots in the wonderful 1979 movie "The Wanderers" which was a first or second film for a number of notable actors.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I was never bullied, despite being in the right demographic. I don't know. Maybe I was more intimidating that I realized. (Yeah. That's it...)

Or maybe they just looked at me and realized that God had punished me enough already.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | September 2, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

DC story that's on-kit. The teacher is assigning easy work to assess the students, and she had them write sentences with particular words (man, can, tan, etc.) DC wrote "A man is polite."

Posted by: LostInThought | September 2, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Nellie, given the ratio of 10 nubile earthmothers to every nerd/geek, I doubt there'll be time to get dishes dirty or put on socks.

Posted by: byoolin1 | September 2, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

In the first grade, a little boy used to chase me home (uphill! Swear to God!) and throw rocks at me.

I asked my dad what to do, and he said I had to fight back.

So after several more days of being chased, I picked up a nice sturdy branch and smacked him nicely about the head. He ran home crying.

Never felt so powerful since.

Posted by: nellie4 | September 2, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Odd. When I was way younger... in high school ... I had a fascination and got enjoyment from contact and fighting situations in an organized environment. I especially enjoyed wrestling.

Thanks to a year-long exchange in the DC area, I got to experience a "Remember the Titans" year in Virginia. It was interesting... AP classes and Basketball Team. I never had any issues. Everyone else seemed to have one or two situations of which you speak.

I guess it is ok in those situations if you speak pigeon English as your first language. No one should start anything who sounds like they may be friends with Rick Deckard. Never fight with folks who talk weird. It just isn't a good practice.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Looks like another Drill baby Drill moment.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

What baseball really needs is a penalty box.

Posted by: Yoki | September 2, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Deja vu:

Didn't we already see this movie?

Posted by: yellojkt | September 2, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The good news, CNN reporting all 13 workers have been pulled from the water, all are good.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 2, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, in addition to whatever penalties you see inflicted on the field, the league office comes along later, reviews the incident, and issues fines of infinitely variable ciomplexity and capriciousness, which often go unseen and/or unreported. But players (and coaches and managers) get fined all the time for all sorts of stuff people never see or hear about: throwing your helmet, etc. Also, individual teams fine players periodically, too. So in fact there are all sorts of levels of punishment and penalization.

Yoki, no penalty box unless they allow fighting on the field. Hockey does, which I've never understood.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 2, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, they have a game misconduct.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid, physical retaliation required withdrawing from the present fight and getting permission from Frostdaddy to use force if the bullying continued. Obtaining permission was difficult and I succeeded just twice. In retrospect those two occasions were probably enough to cement my rep as a girl not to be messed with, as I never felt the need to ask permission again. There must be something bully proofing about a solid punch landed to a boy's stomach or jaw, when delivered by a girl who is not crying or obviously looking for a means of escape.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 2, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Weed - 1 Fly - 0

2:23 left in 3rd Qtr

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Breaking News!! This just in!!

Dolphins have learned how to make bubbles and play with them.

Probably all Obama's fault.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 2, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Weed, don't know exactly where you live but if you were chasing flies in my house with that intensity you'd never get anything else accomplished. With huge cow pastures on two sides of the property flies are just part of life. Ve have our vays, though!

Posted by: talitha1 | September 2, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I think the geek women are going to get a little peeved here in a minute...

I had an older brother who picked on me relentlessly. I was complaining about this around the dinner table. My father had had enough, and said "you have my permission to break his arm. I'll pay for it." My brother could barely talk: "Wuh!..wuh!... D-Don't tell him THAT!" Not too long after I went after him with an axe. Made him think I was really trying to chop him down. Much more peaceful times ensued.

Posted by: Jumper1 | September 2, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Goodness, who knew that so many childhoods were filled with such passion and violence?

Posted by: Yoki | September 2, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

yoki, it makes you wonder why our parents were so concerned about us learning ballroom dancing.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Bullies have all the time in the world to escalate the torment of their victims and to orchestrate a response by the vicitim at the worst possible time -- like, right in front of school administrators. By attempting to follow a "no tolerance" policy regarding fighting, it is my hypothesis that we (parents and school administrators) have actually made the situation worse. A student like Young Frosti is deprived of the opportunity to demonstrate fierce backbone -- the bullies learn to manipulate the system so that there is no natural restraint on their depredations such as a forcible rebellion of the oppressed. Language is a sufficiently flexible tool that it supplies all the plausible deniability in the world to enable the unceasing torment of victims, without any actionable transgressions of unimaginative rules that are fixated upon the physical realm.

The school system now actually empowers bullies and puts the force of the state behind the monsters. An appeal to authorities for help is now worse than useless, because the bully has not done anything that technically violates the policy and enables sanctions, whereas the victim gets singled out as a person who lacks spine, who "deserves" further torment. Bullies can torment victims to the point of cracking, with the helpless and unwilling support of school administrators. "Cracking" can be as harmless as a physical altercation that gets the victim unjustly suspended or expelled as "the one who started it", or as devastating as homicide. I posit that the old "system", in which hormonally-charged teenagers worked out their issues of mutual respect through unskilled physical combat, was arguably safer and more effective than the current system of suppressing all demonstrations of righteous anger until the kid just can't take it any more.

And that is my sociological rant for today.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 2, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

talitha, if I were where you are, I would leave the flies alone, but run away from the huge cows. Are they 10 to 15 feet tall at the shoulders?

I have seen the fake ones at rest stops, but never real live ones.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Apparently tea-partiers are subverting the word "Orwellian." In an Orwellian way, of course.

Posted by: Jumper1 | September 2, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Giant Cow at roadside:

terrifying or awe inspiring?

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow. 8-foot bull shark caught on the Potomac River 3 miles north of Point Lookout (southernmost point in Maryland)

Bull sharks are very aggressive, and because they haunt shallow water may be the single most dangerous species to man, more so than great whites or tiger sharks, the three most dangerous kinds. There is still great debate over whether the famous shark attacks in New Jersey in 1916 that inspired "Jaws" was a bull or a GW.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 2, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Um, Sean Connery played James Bond in seven films, none of them titled or based on Casino Royale. That book was the only one that Saltzman and Broccoli did not get the rights to. the Connery films are-
Dr. No
From Russia with Love
You Only Live Twice
Diamonds Are Forever
Never Say Never Again

Posted by: kguy1 | September 2, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, the whole idea of being in the tea-party is that you aren't supposed to know any better. You must look for simple solutions and say things like "why can't it just be like it used to be?"

You know, when we all shared a party line with our neighbors; ate Swanson Swiss steak TV Dinners on TV trays in front of a radio active black and white TV that got 4 channels.

The good ol' days.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Huge cows at rest stops don't bother me, Weed. But those Jackalopes - Whooo, boy!

Posted by: talitha1 | September 2, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Interesting video of a guy chasing and bullying a girl, but getting more than he bargained for:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 2, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

You're right, kguy; Connery never did a CR.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 2, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Several years ago, as part of a public art project, there were giant cow sculptures around town. I think the only one left is at the airport, a cow in a smock painting a picture -- Piccowso.

Posted by: Yoki | September 2, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

And in the heart of Virginia's beautiful Shenandoah Valley there is this:

Posted by: talitha1 | September 2, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

capoeira mudge.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

See you guys later. Off to a bunch of small meetings. I don't expect much.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 2, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Bullies are very good at gaming the system, because they are so familiar with the rules and know exactly how much they can get away with.

For a fictional and grown-up demonstration of SciTim's thesis, watch either version of 'Cape Fear' or read the excellent John D. MacDonald novel 'The Executioners' upon which the movies were based.

And for an example of bullying leading to a homicidal rampage by the victim, check out the two part "Time Stands Still" episode from season four of Degrassi:TNG.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 2, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

SciTim & yellojkt: I'm concerned about the Pandora's Box situation with that Immodest Proposal. Though I can't find fault with my lines in the script to this point.

(But let's not call it 'A Boy and His Dog II', OK?)

For what it's worth, I've played a lot of sports (not Bullfighting, though) and games and grew up with brothers and neighborhood kids near my age. I know a little something about Schoolyard Justice (and did some "Fight Club"-type freestyle boxing as a teenager, before Pahalnuk's (sic) book).

That bad-boy behavior Roddick displayed would have been laughed off or shoved off a court or a field of play in my neck of the woods. Trying to psych/intimidate an equivalent opponent is part of the game, and in most winner's arsenals. Back in the day, the schoolyard rule was "Sore losers get sorer," and in organized competitions, jawing at refs and umpires never gets anywhere good.

Possibly on a related note, I'm not sure what to make of the 8 ft bullshark pulled out of the Potomac today. Sounds like it was pretty far down there into/towards the Bay -- but still. If I caught it, I'd probably have to ask for a photo of me biting it.

"Man bites shark," is a good headline, isn't it?


Posted by: -bc- | September 2, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

An interesting read on the Jersey man eater is "Close to Shore" by Michael Capuzzo. Here's an interview he did with George Burgess, an ichthyologist who leans toward the great white as the culprit-

"The species involved has always been doubtful and likely will continue to generate spirited debate. Those who know sharks pretty much agree that two species, the white and bull sharks, are the most-likely suspects. The bull draws a lot of votes because the location, Mattawan Creek, suggests brackish or fresh waters, a habitat that bulls frequent and whites avoid. However, our examination of the site reveals that the size of the "creek," its depth, and salinity regime were closer to a marine embayment and that a smallish white clearly could have wandered into the area. Since an appropriate sized white shark with human remains in its stomach was captured nearby shortly after the attacks (and no further attacks occurred), it seems likely that this was the attacker involved in at least the Mattawan attacks. The temporal and geographical sequence of attacks also suggests that earlier attacks may have involved the same shark. "

Posted by: kguy1 | September 2, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

What *Tim said. And frosti, too. A couple of well-delivered kicks to the shins of my junior high tormenters took all the fun out of it for them.

HBDT Mudge, ftb, mo and HAlmostBD to Scotty.

*Diving back into almost-year-end financial weenie tasks*

Posted by: Raysmom | September 2, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Howdy. I don't have much on manly men and their manly conflict resolution stratagems. I do, however, see the results daily on a professional basis and it often ain't pretty at all.

I had the same thought as MsJS about that cat - there is little use in yelling at the cat. It knows who is boss. I decided this was Joel's way of humorously further acknowledging his status as a non-manly man.

While I can't approve of the time-honored tacit approval of bullying, I find there is a great deal of truth in ScienceTim's rant. Zero tolerance can indeed aid the designs of a clever bully while providing no real recourse to the victim.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 2, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

And 'Never Say Never Again' was an unsanctioned remake of 'Thunderball'.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 2, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

In astronomy news, an exploded supernova creates water:

Posted by: yellojkt | September 2, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

*wonderful-to-see-Raysmom-whilst-waiting-for-a-telemeeting Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 2, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, I agree about zero tolerance for bullying, we have friends who had their son suspended from school, when said son got involved defending a smaller child from a bully. Despite witness accounts from other students stating that our friends son was helping, teachers only saw a fight.

Zero tolerance would be great if there were people to monitor that it is being adherred to at all times, on and off school property, and that just isn't going to happen.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 2, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

We lectured our son repeatedly to never get into a fight on school grounds no matter how badly provoked. The one time he got jumped by two other kids, he received only a one day suspension because he was the victim and not the instigator.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 2, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

And in amazing synchronicity, here is an article about the ubiquity of fights at school and how many of them get recorded and posted on the internet.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 2, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Here's a manly men story, from today's local paper. A 33-year-old woman and her 9-year-old daughter broke into a neighbor family's house and crashed their 12-year-old daughter's birthday party. At the mom's urging the 9-year-old girl punched the 12-year-old. Then they went home, where they were picked up by police. The little girl was charged with assault and battery and released to a relative. The mom was charged with burglary, trespass and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The victim family said they had ongoing problems with this woman and had moved once trying to avoid her.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 2, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The guy who caught the shark didn't have a lot to say about it, bc. He had put out nets in Cornfield Harbor to catch some cow rays for the marine institute in Solomons. When he checked his net there was this very alive 8-foot shark in it.

A bunch of idiots have commented under the story, which is to be expected. Some of them think he should have let it go-- an 8-foot man-eater, in shallow water, in Cornfield Harbor. Right.

Cornfield Harbor (which is actually more like a shallow bay than a "harbor," per se) is adjacent to Point Lookout State Park, which has beaches for swimming, canoeing and kayaking, etc. It can get pretty busy, especially on a labor day weekend when the weather is hot and people want to get in one last picnic before school starts. An 8-footer in the river right there would not have been a good thing to have.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 2, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more with SciTim about 0 tolerance policies. I have seen far too many altercations that were deemed fights, so both students suffered the same consequence. In reality, most were assaults and one student was simply exercising what would have been his/her right to self defense if it hadn't happened in school.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 2, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Mudge, for that info about the fines. (Just shows I really am ignorant about the finer points of sports.)

Posted by: RD_Padouk | September 2, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

What I would really really REALLY like to see (never mind the spectacle of adult men who make a gazillion dollars for playing a game who resort to fisticuffs over a ball WHICH DID NOT HIT ANYONE) is an end to comparisons of athletic competitions to warfare. The first 20 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" depicts warfare, "Tin Cup" does not. "Hamburger Hill" depicts warfare. "Glory" depicts warfare. "North Dallas Forty" and "Any Given Sunday" do not.

Posted by: kguy1 | September 2, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

What I would really really REALLY like to see (never mind the spectacle of adult men who make a gazillion dollars for playing a game who resort to fisticuffs over a ball WHICH DID NOT HIT ANYONE) is an end to comparisons of athletic competitions to warfare. The first 20 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" depicts warfare, "Tin Cup" does not. "Hamburger Hill" depicts warfare. "Glory" depicts warfare. "North Dallas Forty" and "Any Given Sunday" do not.

Posted by: kguy1 | September 2, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, kguy, indeed. *nodding*

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 2, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing you'd really really really really really really like to see that, kguy?

Posted by: Yoki | September 2, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Here's a map. The bay on the left where it says Potomac River is Cornfield Harbor. You can see what facilities are right there. The main beach for swimming is right there, southeast of the last R in River. Imagine that shark swimming into Lake Conoy.

Not especially relevant, the roughest water in all of Chesapeake Bay is right there off the tip of Pt. Lookout, because of the Potomac feeding into the bay. Choppy because of all the confusing cross currents and tides. Just two or three miles upriver is St. Clement's Island, where Maryland was founded in 1634, and just inside it is the St. Mary's River leading up to St. Mary's City, Maryland's first capital. Very pretty country, very pretty rivers and creeks. Wonderful uncrowded cruising. Upriver further on the Va. shore is the historic Curmudgeon vacation mansion, as well as the birthplaces of Robert E. Lee, sometime surveyor and canal entrepreneur G. Washington, and J. Madison.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 2, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Under the sort of zero-tolerance policy that you describe, Frosti, I guess my advice to a young person would be:

(1) Never initiate the physical component of a fight.
(2) Decide in advance how many physical provocations, of what sort, will substantiate the idea that "I no longer have a choice about whether I am in a fight." After all, you have to keep your own self-respect as a person of honor and self-control.
(3) Once you are in it, give it everything you've got and don't stop until the fight is definitively over -- either you've lost, you've won, or the fight has been broken up by a higher authority. If you're going to be suspended as a participant in a fight, regardless of whether you were the victim, then you no longer have any constraint on your actions. Make sure that the instigator regrets his actions.

I hate the idea that such advice is necessary, because the unreasoning nature of zero-tolerance policies means that one cultivates a contempt for the rule of law in such a situation. Another self-defeating effect of such policies.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 2, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Rule (4): Wear a cup.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 2, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

But never keep brass knuckles in your pocket -- it makes it hard to argue that you acted in self-defense. Unless you are deft enough of hand to plant the evidence on the other guy (while getting pummeled).

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 2, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid I had only two rules for fighting-
1) Don't worry about throwing the first punch, just make sure to throw the last one.
2) Avoid the halls and playground. Fight in the little boy's room. Takes longer for the staff become aware and intervene. And of course cold water and paper towels are near at hand.

Posted by: kguy1 | September 2, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Rule (5) deny, deny, deny. Even when the denial is contradicted by dozens of witnesses. (Good practice for congressional investigations later in life)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 2, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

The worst bullies are the ones who supervise you. But, oh man, it is sweet when they crash and burn. I have lots of experience in these phenomena.

Posted by: slyness | September 2, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Don't you love how all advice related to dealing with fighting and bullying in school is, basically, "forget about the authorities. They are worse than useless. The only justice is frontier justice"?

How can we expect our children to understand the Rule of Law if we set up what is essentially a "justice system" that the parents hold in contempt? (and rightly so)

Is it any wonder that we are raising a generation of Glenn Beck-worshipers and Tea Partiers who have no comprehension of the Constitution and don't consider that lack of knowledge to be a debility? If the Rule of Law is a joke, why bother learning the law?

Fun with rhetorical questions!

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 2, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: slyness | September 2, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

New kit.

Something about an oil rig on fire and spilling oil in the Gulf of Mexico. I think it's a rerun.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 2, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I'm sure that this comment is entirely stale-dated by now, but, a couple of corrections are in order nonetheless.

Nyjer was not suspended for one game for his collision with the Cardinals' catcher, though he did "sit" out the following game due to being benched by his manager for unprofessional behaviour.

The Marlins' player who was subsequently drilled was not the pitcher. It was the first baseman, who had "clothes-lined" Nyjer on the mound after Nyjer had thrown a punch at the Marlins pitcher. That same pitcher had already hit two Nats before he hit Nyjer the first time and was tossed by the home plate ump after he threw behind Nyjer in the 6th inning. In fact, he was tossed even before Nyjer charged the mound.

Posted by: shygaard | September 3, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

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