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Notes on 'Hoosiers,' Barry Bonds and other fine things

A few things worth mentioning:

· During the sentencing phase of the trial of John Montenegro Cruz, who was convicted of killing Tucson police officer Patrick Hardesty, the defense presented the testimony of a psychologist who said that Cruz didn't get enough affection when he was growing up. Well, hell, let's just overturn the conviction. It's obviously not his fault. We need to track down that insufficient caregiver. (We also need to see to it that 7-Eleven stops selling degrees in psychology.)

· Now that Martha Stewart is out of prison, all the knuckleheads on the right are chirping again. The motivation is obviously political, since Stewart is a big contributor to the Democrats. But everyone needs to be reminded of why she went away in the first place, and both sides of the political divide should be outraged by it and work together to see that something like this doesn't happen again.

If you asked 100 people why Martha Stewart went to prison, probably 95 of those who knew anything at all about the case would say "insider trading." But that's not true. She was NOT convicted of that; she was convicted of lying to investigators about that. That's a distinction that should frighten all of us.

Let's say that you get angry and knock your neighbor in the head. Your lawyer plans on presenting a "not-enough-hugs-when-you-were-young" defense, and the prosecution is afraid that you're going to skate. So they sift through the answers you gave to the arresting officers and find that you said you didn't do it. And they go after you for that.

Stewart's prosecutors couldn't prove that she engaged in insider trading, but somehow they got a jury to convict her of lying about a crime that officially and legally NEVER HAPPENED! That should chill all Americans to their very souls.

· The collector's edition of Hoosiers is out on DVD, and the deleted scene that finally shows us how Buddy got back on the team is alone worth the $20 price. Writer Angelo Pizzo and director David Anspaugh recall how it was the last scene cut from the movie and was done so because the studio insisted that the film run under two hours. They both say that wherever they've gone in the past 20 years, that's almost always the first question asked of them. Lord knows that it has always bugged the crap out of me.

But now, I know, and you can, too. You can either plunk down $20 for the DVD (which also includes film of the Milan team winning the 1954 Indiana state championship--a miracle feat that inspired the movie) or you can send me a dollar and I'll tell you. Your choice.

· I've gotten a bunch of e-mails in the past couple weeks asking why I dogged out Amphi boys basketball coach Pat Derksen in The Skinny. Rather than answer all the e-mails, I'd like to state publicly (again) that I don't write anything in The Skinny. (The names of the people who do are at the end of the column, by the way.)

A few years ago, Vicki Hart wrote a great article about a drunken Salpointe High School graduation party. A Salpointe parent came up to me that week and asked why I had (ghost-) written the article.

I told her what I'm telling you: I have my own column, and if I'm going to piss on somebody, I'm going to use my own piss. If I write something--good or bad, right or wrong--my name will be on it.

· When Barry Bonds held his vomit-inducing press conference a couple weeks ago, he said more stupid things in one hour than our entire state Legislature says in 10 minutes. I had you going there. Bonds is prolifically stupid, but no one person can challenge our Legislature in their wheelhouse of inanity.

Besides Bonds' totally unconvincing ducking and weaving on the steroid issue, he called everyone in the media liars; he tried to divert attention by raising false issues that no one has ever brought up before; and he did the absolute worst job of playing the race card that I've ever seen.

Bonds keeps bringing up Babe Ruth, as though that has any relevance at all. C'mon, genius; Babe Ruth doesn't hold that record; he hasn't held it for 30 years. Henry Aaron broke the record a long time ago, and Babe Ruth's widow showed up to congratulate him. It was a great moment in a sport that used to be cool.

Passing Ruth's second-place mark of 714 should be just a blip on the radar screen, but it's taking on a greater significance, because baseball purists and true fans hate the fact that the feat will be accomplished through illegal means. And there's also the race issue, which Bonds sometimes brings up in a pathetic attempt to link him in a positive way to Aaron.

Those of us who lived through it remember that Aaron had to endure death threats simply because of the color of his skin. Meanwhile, Bonds get booed because he's an asshole. A cheatin' one, at that. Sorry, but I don't see the similarity.

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