The Lounge: Invasion! and other atrocities [updated]

November 9, 2011 at 12:16 am (By Amba)

My heart nearly stopped when I saw a single mama roach with a big shiny egg case skulk across the kitchen counter.  It was as horrifying as finding a pod in the cellar in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Because she was logy, probably from the ex-man’s gel, I was able to pounce, crush the egg case and flush her and it down the john.  Close call.  And not a good sign: word is finally out that there’s cat food here.  What will happen when I’m away in Chapel Hill for almost a week??

Meanwhile, here are a couple of topics du jour I would rather talk about here than on Facebook.

According to a friend, and to this story, Joe Frazier was a much kinder-hearted guy than Muhammad Ali, and was the victim of racism—Ali’s own black-on-black racism and pandering to white preference for a light-skinned pretty boy, even though Frazier had made sacrifices to defend him. (I don’t know how J, my beloved b.s. detector, felt about Frazier, but he sure didn’t care for Ali.)

*   *   *

Why the Cain flap is nothing but entertainment: he wasn’t a serious contender for the nomination anyway.

(Since I haven’t sought permission to reprint others’ excellent comments, I’ll just copy some of mine.  If you spend any time in the airport, take a look at theirs.)

The high polls at this point are just for entertainment value, too. Polling pro Herman Cain expresses people’s impractical frustration, rather as does OWS.

(Here Jaltcoh asks me whether I didn’t think he could have won Iowa)

Maybe; but I think he would have flamed out and would not have won the nomination, and I think that’s pretty obvious to all. On the other hand, I have the impression Gingrich might have been courting him for the bottom of a ticket.

It just seems as if the process is intolerant of colorful (no pun intended), offbeat candidates.

There seems a weary inevitability about Romney.

I don’t know a lot about Cain, I’m mostly commenting on the media’s and the culture’s love of a flap, especially one with sex mixed in. I don’t really think it’s politically substantive, I think it’s a sideshow. Pretending it’s politically substantive enables people to enjoy the sideshow with a clearer conscience.

A friend who voted today reports a strikingly dour and unenthusiastic mood at the polls, and isn’t sure whether her own political mood is coloring what she saw, or just matching it.

UPDATE:  More foofaraw fodder:

“In some ways, entrepreneurial individuality and heterodoxy IS the new orthodoxy.” ~ “Steve Jobs: The Capitalist-as-Romantic”


  1. Ron said,

    Frazier had built up a lot of positive support over his life…Ali, is more problematic. George Foreman has also, over time, built up a similar kind of love/support. I still find it hard to reconcile the bald grill pitchman with the guy who knocked out Frazier in 2(!!!) rounds.

  2. wj said,

    My perception of the Republican traveling circus at the moment is that there are a lot of people who haven’t really made up their minds — except that they don’t care for Romney. As a result, we have what amounts to “the anti-Romney fad of the month.” We had Bachmann. Then we had Perry. Then we had Cain — who I suspect was as amazed as anyone to see himself leading in the polls. Next month? Who knows….

    Each fad collapses in different ways. And it is always possible that at some point a fad will actually settle in. But the overall field (plus a couple of possible late entries) is already set, and can’t really expand expand due to the extremely early dates for filing for most of the primaries. About all we can say is that anybody who has already been the fad and fades won’t be the nominee. It could be almost any of the others, depending mostly on the timing of their burst and what weaknesses surface when they suddenly get attention.

    As for Cain, I suspect he saw “running” mostly in terms of marketing. He got attention (what CEO or ex-CEO doesn’t like attention?). And his book sales and speaking fees went up. But what his lack of preparation on almost every topic says to me is that he wasn’t at all expecting to suddenly be the focus of attention, the front runner. Must have been quite a shock.

  3. Melinda said,

    I know what you mean about bugs = invaders. My indoor-only cats had an outbreak of fleas back in September. The vet thinks it was due to someone’s pet in my building having them and then the carpeting in the hallways which is never cleaned.

    And the thing with fleas is you rarely see the fleas themselves, just evidence that they’ve been on your pet, followed by applying Advantage to your pet, followed by seeing dozens of paralyzed fleas falling off your pet and spinning in circles until you take a wet paper towel and send them to their watery death down the bowl.

    So the fleas felt more like a cancer that had possibly metastasized through my apartment, and I applied surgery, chemo and radiation (throwing stuff out, spraying insecticide and washing everything down with hot water.)

    Last week the vet declared the cats flea-free and the landlord is finally sending over an exterminator…the week after next. I have to get myself and the cats out of the house for the day.

    Of course, absolutely nothing is being done about the carpeting in the hallway.

  4. gln said,

    Ref: Joe Frazier
    A truly simple, humble man. He frequented diners and bars in Delaware county for 30 or so years, sometimes via limo and sometimes driving himself. He was accepted as “one of the guys” and liked to sit around and chat with just about anyone. Did biz with his daughter (the ex-boxer/ Lawyer) who is also nice (rumors of legal/ internal struggles are much over-rated).

  5. Icepick said,

    The thing about Frazier is that he was the greatest fighter, eye-for-eye, that ever lived. He was basically blind in one eye, and had developed various techniques to fool the doctors to allow him to fight. His corner finally stopped the third Ali fight because the swelling got so bad that he couldn’t see out of his good eye either. IIRC Frazier was willing to keep fighting even though he was essentially blind at that point. Tough, supremely determined, and skilled, and a nice guy outside th ring – as long as Ali wasn’t brought up.

    Ultimately, the fact that Ali is the revered figure and Frazier the side-kick is just another sign of advertizing over substance. There’s no question that frazier was the better man outside the ring, and eye-for-eye the best inside the ring too.

  6. amba12 said,

    God bless ‘im.

  7. Icepick said,

    Incidentally, Frazier and Foreman were both pre-cursors to The Beast, Iron Mike Tyson. Foreman, in his youth, was a bad man. He claims that outside the ring he was a much badder man than Tyson ever was. He also had an aura that left many opponents defeated before they stepped into the ring, until after their his defeat – just like Tyson.

    OTOH, Frazier was like Tyson in athletic aspects: both were under-sized for heavy-weights, both had tremendous power in their hands, both were vulnerable to larger athletic opponents (people forget that Buster Douglas had good qualities: he was just also an epic under-performer, except for one fight.), and both (in my opinion) were under-valued for their skills.

  8. amba12 said,

    Boxing’s a tragic way to earn a living.

  9. amba12 said,

    Ice, you and Jacques would’ve loved each other.

  10. Icepick said,

    Jacques was an actual fighter though. I have this big aversion to getting hit in the face!

    And yes, boxing is a terrible way to make a living. One of the reasons American’s aren’t as good any more is that we don’t have as many people living in desperate conditions anymore. Blacks are no longer subject to overt official institutional racism (meaning that black athletes have opportunites in sports like baseball, basketball & football*) and we have fewer ethnic ghettoes of immigrants. (People forget that boxing was fairly big in the Jewish immigrant community long ago, for example.) Tellingly, we do have a lot of hispanic boxers still, especially Mexican, I believe.

    Basically, if you’ve got an oppotunity to make a living without getting hit in the head, you’ll take it.*

    * Football is a strange case. It can be every bit as damaging as boxing. (Look for recent stories about Jim McMahon or older stories about Earl Campbell for examples.) As someone once explained, football isn’t a contact sport, it is a collision sport. Boxing is the only sport I watch that is as violent as football, and that includes MMA. Back when I had more opportunities to watch MMA, I’d see a few really violent shots in a given year. I see at least half-a-dozen extremely violent hits in the average NFL game, sometimes more.

    The only reason boxing can be considered more violent than football is that the object of boxing is to damage the other guy’s brain. Everything about the evolution of the sport, including the gloves, is about making certain you can do more damage to the other guy’s brain. At least that isn’t the actual objective in football.

  11. Icepick said,

    Also, when I’ve had the opportunity I have watched Autralian football or rugby. Despite the talk of those games being like American football without pads, there just isn’t any comparison. The tackling in those games is different than the tackling in American football. I’d rather play a whole game of either of those games without pads than get drilled by Ray Lewis once with both of us in pads. And I mean the old Ray Lewis of the right now, not the killer from early in his career.

    (As much as a loath Ray Lewis and his elevation to beloved spokesman of the League, I have to admit that I’ve never seen anyone cover the field from sideline to sideline like he did, or consistently deliver more punishment when he got there – and for a few years it seemed like he ALWAYS got there.)

  12. karen said,

    RE: Cain

    Knowing what it feels like to be accused, wrongly, of any sexual misconduct and having the other person lie through his very false teeth(every last one of ’em)- i do wonder who is telling the truth, here.

    I TOTALLY mistrust the media- the spin. Esp knowing the tilt of the personal politics in media(or do you not agree that the media is slanted to the left?) Whether Cain had a chance, i don’t really care. I’ve gone from disgust and boycott to : Anyone but TEH ONE- because i find Obama loathsome(yes, always have- true dat).

    Watching people hit each other gives me a violent feeling in my body- heart, limbs &stomach- fear or anxiety, idk. I saw a tiny bit of the Ultimate fighting once– some guy was pinned and getting repeatedly smashed in the face w/the other’s elbow– freaked me the f out. I think this reaction is getting worse w/age, too. I asked my son– why don’t they stop the fight and he answered that it was up to the guy getting beat to tap out? Say Uncle, basically- and he wouldn’t.

  13. Melinda said,

    *Anyone but TEH ONE- because i find Obama loathsome(yes, always have- true dat).*

    That’s how a lot of people I know felt about Bush the Younger. I’ve just always thought they were both spokesmodels for their individual teams, and I lean slightly towards the Democrats…and I’m cynical about them, too.

  14. Icepick said,

    I asked my son– why don’t they stop the fight and he answered that it was up to the guy getting beat to tap out? Say Uncle, basically- and he wouldn’t.

    The refs also have the power to stop the fights. The standard is usually whether or not the guy in the bad position can and is intelligently defending himself. Anyone who’s watched a fair number of fights has seen cases of the guy on top gassing and then getting submitted/pummeled in turn. A recent and famous example was Shane Carwin beating the living crap out of Brock Lesnar – until Carwin completely ran out of gas. Lesnar (rather improbably) ended up submitting Carwin shortly thereafter. Lesnar was rocked, and getting pummeled, but he was still defending himself. Knowing when to stop a fight is the highest art for a referee.

    (BTW, Lesnar is maybe the most freakish athlete currently in sports – no one that big should be that quick. Ndanika (sp?) Suh might be that quick at that size, might be. If only Lesnar has started MMA sooner….)

  15. Icepick said,

    To be fair, I’ve also seen lots of fights that I believe should have been stopped sooner. I certanly believe fighters’s corners should step in more often. Deigo Sanchez’s corner should have stoppped his fight with BJ Penn at least a round earlier than it stopped. I saw pics of Sanchez at some event eight weeks later or so after the fight – he looked like someone had beaten him with a pipe the day before. One of the most gruesome fights I’ve ever seen, and one of the reasons I’ll always have a ceretain respect for Deigo Sanchez, and a love of BJ Penn as a fighter. The skill level he displayed in that fight was phenominal.

  16. amba12 said,

    Wow — your knowledge of this stuff is downright esoteric.

  17. kngfish said,

    One of the most depressing news stories I ever saw was how brain damaged Jerry Quarry was. Quarry, who fought Ali twice, was sad….depressingly simple in his words and actions. He was being taken care of by his older, frail mother! But then they showed you that Jerry’s other brothers who were boxers were equally broken….all 5 of them being taken care of by the mother. And the one brother who didn’t box and became a doctor? Totally fine, and helping her as much as possible…..incredibly sad to watch.

  18. kngfish said,

    Icepick, do you feel boxing would have far fewer injuries if they went to lighter gloves and shorter rounds, like Olympic boxing?

  19. amba12 said,

    Football players as well as — if not even more than — boxers get CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Lou Gehrig may have had that too, rather than ALS.

  20. Icepick said,

    Wow — your knowledge of this stuff is downright esoteric.

    Mine? Not really. I just like certain sports, and I’ve picked up on stuff through the years.

    Ron, boxing and football use people up. There’s no other way to look at it, even if you’re a fan. Especially if you’re a fan. Football fans (as a whole) are just now starting to realize how brutalizing the sport is. The Hell of it is they’e also the big time American sports with the least guarantees, financially.

    So far there are no clear indications that MMA does as much damage as the other two, but it is also a very young sport, only about 20 years old. This seems paradoxical, but the smaller gloves and the lack of anything like a standing eight count probably make the sport safer (not safe, safer) for the competitors than the big gloves and standing eight counts in boxing, and safer than football with all its pads.

    How good are shoulder pads in football? About 15, or maybe even twenty years ago, John Madden and his long-time partner Pat Summeral demonstrated how good the pads of the day were. Madden was wearing a set, and Summeral started hitting him on the shoulders with a baseball bat! They weren’t huge swings, but they may well have broken bones on someone without the pads. Madden barely felt that.

    The problem is the force of those collisions has to go SOMEWHERE, and if it leaves your brain rattling around in your head ???? Not good.

  21. kngfish said,

    One of the many virtues of baseball… collisions, Pete Rose/Ray Fosse not withstanding!

    100+ years of MLB and only 1 death in a game. (Ray Chapman, 1920)

  22. Icepick said,

    Icepick, do you feel boxing would have far fewer injuries if they went to lighter gloves and shorter rounds, like Olympic boxing?

    I don’t know. If they really wanted to fix things they’re probably go back to bare knuckle brawling. As Baz Rutan would say, “Liver shots!” But I just don’t know that boxing can be fixed. It is what it is, as a sometime commenter would say, and people are very resistant to change, even the ones that would make the sport better.

    Boxing is a dying sport in America, and I only follow it in passing fashion these days. I think the last time I saw a live world title fight on TV was probably something from Mike Tyson’s heydey. Closed-circuit and pay-per-view, along with a complete lack of organization, have killed most casual American fan interest.

    Incidentally, if you want to see what boxing can be at its brutal best, look up Haggler-Hearns. I think that’s the greatest fight I’ve ever seen in any style, and also the most entertaining. (Assuming you like this kind of stuff – Karen, is not for you!) Round One is considered by many to be the best round of boxing ever.

    The second most entertaining fight I ever saw, although hardly high quality, was Kimo vs. Bob Sapp in a K-1 (I believe) contest. K-1 is a mix of boxing, kick-boxing, karate and other striking disciplines. Bob Sapp is basically King Kong & Godzilla rolled into one. Kimo is an otherwise huge Hawaiian. It was a crazy fight, and Kimo got completely jobbed by the refs, but very entertaining!

  23. Icepick said,

    Ron, but baseball has the distinct advantage of being boring. Perhaps cricket is worse, but I’ve never tried to watch a cricket match.

    Baseball’s biggest pluses are these: Being at a ball park on a nice day is wonderful, and it has the best sound in sports.

  24. amba12 said,

    I’m sure J and I watched Hagler-Hearns live. A very exciting fight.

  25. kngfish said,

    I fall asleep during football…but baseball keeps my mind active for hours.

    I wouldn’t call that boring!

  26. kngfish said,

    Yeah, I watched Hagler-Hearns too… the whole Hearns Deeetroit connection!

  27. Icepick said,

    Yep, CTE is nasty stuff. Here’s a sad case:

    ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A brain autopsy of a University of Pennsylvania football player who killed himself in April has revealed the same trauma-induced disease found in more than 20 deceased National Football League players, raising questions of how young football players may be at risk for the disease.

    The sad thing is the guy was 21, and hardly played Big Time football.

    Another football player, former Bears great Dave Duerson, committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest last February. He did so specifically so as to not damage his brain, which he requested be examined for CTE. A few months later it was confirmed he had CTE.

    Like I said, football uses people up, especially since the steroid era got underway in the 1970s.

  28. Icepick said,

    I wouldn’t call that boring!

    No, it’s boring. That’s the reason the fans memorize all those stats – it gives them something to do!

  29. kngfish said,

    Sorry…been hearing that ‘Baseball is boring’ schtick for over 40 years….Football was going to put it out of business remember? Didn’t believe it them….or now. Stats give baseball history and depth….Football stats….are there for Vegas to make money on!

  30. Icepick said,

    Another bears great from their Super Bowl winning team, Jim McMahon, is part of a class action lawsuit against the NFL claiming negligence with respect to concussions.A blurb fromthe story:

    The plaintiffs include two-time Super Bowl champion Jim McMahon, who has said he played through five concussions but now frequently walks around “in a daze” and forgets why he entered a room.

    It’s the first suit seeking class-action status, though another group of 75 players has a separate lawsuit against the NFL and helmet maker Riddell, claiming the NFL has known about the dangers of concussions since the 1920s.

  31. Icepick said,

    <i.Sorry…been hearing that ‘Baseball is boring’ schtick for over 40 years….Football was going to put it out of business remember? Didn’t believe it them….or now. Stats give baseball history and depth….Football stats….are there for Vegas to make money on!

    First, it’s schtick because it’s true!

    Second, the NFL is King. At one point 13 of the top 15 most viewed TV programs this fall were NFL games – most of them airing in the afternoon on Sunday. Baseball maybe gets ratings like that if the Yankees or Sawks are in the World Series. Even Obama had to move a speech because of an NFL game. I would be shocked if the LSU-Alabama game from last weekend did score bigger ratings than all but Game Seven of the recent World Series.

    Third, given that baseball’s most famous player in the modern era has been banned from the game for betting on baseball games that he was involved in, I don’t think baseball can exactly claim to be a clean, gambling-free sport! Baseball is at least as tied to gambling as football. Exactly where did they get the idea for fantasy football? And exactly WHY are those stats compiled so assidiously by baseball fans?

  32. kngfish said,

    But wait! The Schtick is NOT true! Baseball is not gone as predicted, and remarkably profitable despite more than one strike!

    Second, no one said the NFL was not King. No sport has tailored itself to TV as football has….I’d be surprised if it weren’t King. But, wow, Baseball is still here….more than can be said for basketball (which, BTW, was supposed to replace both baseball and football in the ’70’s)

    There was 20 times more gambling in baseball 100 years ago. Who said there was no problem with gamblers in baseball? Even with Pete Rose. The betting on football dwarves all other sports combined. Really, it’s more another casino adjunct than a sport, right? That’s how much betting there is on football. Fantasy baseball? Stats nerds? Puh-leaze!

  33. Icepick said,

    Typo corrected: I would be shocked if the LSU-Alabama game from last weekend did NOT score bigger ratings than all but Game Seven of the recent World Series.

    Also, I checked and the only example I can find of an NFL player dying during a game was a guy that suffered a heart attack. There have been some close calls, however, involving spinal injuries. Also, I don’t believe Napolean McCallum was in danger of dying on the field, but I do believe both a high school player and a college player have died from similar injuries. (McCallum’s leg was all but ripped off at the knee. Another game I was watching. I can’t remember if the TV shots caught the injury in graphic detail or not, and I don’t plan on watching the YouTube video to find out. All-in-all I’d rather remember Tony Dorset ripping off a 99.5 yard run when his team only had ten players on the field!)

  34. Icepick said,

    Really, it’s more another casino adjunct than a sport, right? That’s how much betting there is on football. Fantasy baseball? Stats nerds? Puh-leaze!

    Ron, all that proves is that the NFL does baseball better than baseball does.

    And for the record, and because I’m feeling very picky about language lately, you said that “baseball was boring” was the schtick.

    As for the NBA, it’s been dead to me for a few years now, and it was on life support for some time before that. Really, let’s argue about something that matters!

  35. Icepick said,

    And so far, I haven’t even pulled out the BIG GUNS on this issue….

  36. kngfish said,

    Which you aren’t going to do because you want to argue about something that matters, right?

  37. Icepick said,

    There was 20 times more gambling in baseball 100 years ago.

    Because it was 20 time more popular even though the country was barely a third its current size? ;)

  38. Icepick said,

    I though we were discussing that perenial topic of American debate, baseball or football – the only debatable things more important are just too depressing to think about!

  39. kngfish said,

    No, the peak of baseball’s popularity was 1949 when it was around 65% of all entertainment dollars. (including movies) This is due to the lack of TV (very soon to change!) and the depth of the minor leagues. There were 65 minor leagues (not teams, leagues!) back then.

    You do get that the NFL was founded by bookmakers, right? And which is it, baseball is guilty when it has gamblers in it or baseball is more popular because of gambling? (even at its peak never true)

  40. Icepick said,

    For me, football also appeals to the chess player. There are a few similarities. For example, football, like chess, consists of discrete plays. (Baseball is similar in this regard, and both dissimilar from chess in that both teams act at the same time, instead of sequentially.) Football, like chess, has elements of simulated warfare. In both, a flank attack can best be met by a counter-attack in the center. Both place importance on what can best be described as walls of pieces (pawn chains vs. the line of scrimage). As in chess, strategic mismatches are practically EVERYTHING. As in chess, you can outplay someone for almost an entire game and then blow everything on one mistake near the end. Very high stress.

  41. Icepick said,

    And which is it, baseball is guilty when it has gamblers in it or baseball is more popular because of gambling?

    I’m just saying there’s gambling in baseball, and that certain elements of football gambling (fantasy leagues) were copies of something that had been in baseball for quite a while.

    (Plus it’s hard to imagine the syndicates caring about PRO football gambling back in the 1920s – talk about your marginal sports!)

    And it would seem to me that the gambling follows the popularity, not the other way around. Gamblers can and do gamble on EVERYTHING. (Go look up poker and prop bets to get some crazy examples. How long can a man stand in freezing cold surf? Can one man lose enough wieight in a given period of time to collect a million dollars before dying? Can someone really hit a golf ball with a driver for over a mile? The answers are – a really long time, yes, and yes.) Baseball offers more opportunities for the degenerates, for example, and I’ve even heard of fantasy GOLF and fantasy NASCAR leagues. NFL football’s popularity has been climbing steadily for decades, long before this idiotic obsession with fantasy sports.

    And way back when, football, though not KING, was definitely on the map: The BIG FOUR were baseball (King in its day), boxing, horse racing and COLLEGE football. College football was big enough in the 1920s to be mocked in the movies. There’s a Harold Llyod film that sometimes airs on TCM about a young man going off to college. The college is described as “a large football stadium with a small school attached”, or something to that effect. A stupid obsession with sports is an old tradition in America. Or rather, old as we measure these things in America. And gambling is as old as there have been things worth trading.

  42. karen said,

    Bowling, anyone??? lol

    I have a cow that plays B-I-N-G-O every yr– she gets taken to the roped in field for about two/three hrs and when she finally produces a chip in a designated, purchased square– she comes placidly home.

    Cow Plop Bingo!!

    True story:0). I love living in the stix.

  43. Icepick said,

    Cow Plop Bingo!!


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