Bird Watching

The Cardinals Are Coming--Big Whoop.

THE CARDINALS ARE coming! The Cardinals are coming! Yes, the Phoenix Cardinals, a team which is reportedly a member of the National Football League (although I could find no actual verification of that assertion) will be holding some sort of publicity stunt right here in Rillito City today and tomorrow (June 15 and 16). If you have absolutely nothing better to do, head on over to the University of Arizona campus and check them out.

Several players from the allegedly professional football team will be walking around near McKale Center and then later they'll pretend to do some sort of practice. They may even get into a three-point stance, so have your cameras ready. From that angle, their butts look like Volvos. You'll recognize these guys because they'll all look like they were standing in the blast radius when the Steroid Factory blew up. But, of course, none of them uses steroids because it's illegal in the NFL and/or whichever league these guys play in. However, they do provide suitable shade.

It's possible that you might mistake one of these Phoenix players for a University of Arizona athlete, some of whom stick around Tucson to attend summer school. The UA players don't take steroids, either, as witnessed by the ease with which they got pushed around last season by not one, but two, schools from Oregon!

Likewise, this Cardinals team should not be mistaken for baseball's St. Louis Cardinals who went through Phoenix a few weeks back. That Cards team is led by Mark McGwire, who does use steroids, only they're the quasi-legal kind. But, according to McGwire, they have nothing to do with the fact that he shattered the record for home runs in a season, most, but not all, of which were accomplished with the use of a bat.

The football Cardinals are owned by Bill Bidwill, who does double duty as the Poster Child for both Dumb Luck and Being Born Into Money. He has always thumbed his nose at Tucson and the rest of Arizona outside of Phoenix, so don't put much stock in this latest stunt. However, he may be softening. In bringing some of his players down to Tucson to put on a mid-day show, he actually missed the summer solstice by a good 100 hours. Now, that's being considerate.

AFTER THE LATEST blowup by former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker, they showed some footage of the Sports Illustrated writer at whom Rocker was venting his spleen. Am I the only one who was dismayed by the guy's appearance? Here he is, at the pinnacle of his profession, covering a big game for the most prestigious publication in his field, and he's dressed like he's going to a Grateful Dead concert.

The guy's wearing jeans, a raggedy shirt, and some kind of weird cap, which he had on backwards. What has happened to professionalism? It was embarrassing.

(Some may note that I am the world's most casual dresser, most of the time. But when I coach or speak to classes or go to church, I dress appropriately.) If I were writing for SI, making six figures to cover sporting events, I think I'd buy--and use--a tie.

FINALLY, I HAVE to make a couple corrections to a previous column.

I mentioned Henry Fonda ordering the bombing of New York City in the movie Seven Days In May. Of course it was in Fail Safe. I don't know how I get those two confused. They were both political thrillers from the early '60s, but Safe concerned a mistaken nuclear attack on our enemy, the Soviet Union, while May involved a military coup against a sitting U.S. President deemed to be too liberal and soft on Communism.

Of course, Fail Safe seems dated and anachronistic, as the USSR doesn't exist anymore and the Russians are sort of our friends. But you could re-do Seven Days In May simply by replacing the word "military" with "gun nuts" and it would be as chilling as it was 40 years ago.

The other--much worse--mistake was stating that Ally McBeal is the worst show on TV. But that was before I saw Sex And The City on HBO. Oh my God, what are these people thinking?!

Since it's on pay cable, the producers are given more latitude in what they can present. Unfortunately, they opt for longitude, and then they head straight south. What, because we catch a little nipple action on the small screen, we're supposed to overlook the fact that there is no plot, that all of the characters are incredibly unlikeable, and that the writing appears to have been done in crayon, with the occasional pause for Beavis-like chortling?

I was absolutely stunned at how bad this show is. We don't get HBO, so I had a friend tape it. Actually, he's an acquaintance; if he were a true friend, he would have warned me.

For those of you who have managed to elude this madness (and how I envy you!), this show consists of four New York City women who spread their legs with almost Pavlovian regularity, then get together to talk (in excruciating detail) about the sizes, shapes, smells, techniques, and shortcomings of the anonymous men whom they've allowed in their respective places of wonderment. Or, in the case of these four characters, places of mild amusement and only occasional friction.

My best guess is that they're trying to show some post-feminist world where a woman can now be as big an asshole about cold, impersonal sex as a man. I suppose some might consider that progress. I simply find it sad that some men have acted that way in the past, and that now some women find it something to which they should aspire.

Even sad subjects can be fodder for good TV, but that's not the case here. Sex and The City is so bad, it makes Ally McBeal seem clever and coherent by comparison. No wait, it's so bad, I'd rather watch a week of The View, with Barbara Walters hosting, Kathy Lee Gifford as the guest, and both of them singing!

It's so bad that when I got done watching it, I called my dentist friend Mel and asked him to do an unnecessary root canal on me so that I'd have a reason to feel that crappy.

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