Just a few items worth mentioning:
• Heather Childers is Fox News' Generic Blonde No. 117. (If you watch Fox News for any period of time, you learn that a whole lotta white people really do look alike.) Anyway, after the University of Connecticut won the NCAA men's basketball championship last week, Childers announced on the air that UConn won "the NAACP basketball championship."
She was probably fired immediately, not for biffing on air but for hinting to Fox News viewers the existence of actual people of color.
• Another thing: I'm tired of TV announcers saying that basketball fans dislike Kentucky coach John Calipari because he exploits the one-and-done phenomenon in college basketball. That's ridiculous. I dislike Calipari because he cheats.
If your response to that is that everybody cheats (I don't believe that), then I will say that Calipari is so bold (and/or bad) at it that he got caught twice and had the records of two Final Four teams from two different schools vacated by the NCAA for wrongdoing.
• During the early part of the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, it was reported that some debris floating in the Indian Ocean was spotted by a Thai satellite. I'm betting that 98.7 percent of all people who heard that report had as their first reaction, "How the hell did Thailand get a satellite?!"
• There was an episode of The West Wing where a crew of astronauts was stranded on the International Space Station and would die if not rescued within a few days. It so happened that the United States had a top-secret military version of the space shuttle that could have been used to effect the rescue. However, the Bartlet Administration was unwilling to reveal the existence of the extra shuttle and was going to let the crew die.
I'm not much of a conspiracy buff, but how much do you want to bet that some agency somewhere in the U.S. government and/or military knows exactly where that plane went down, but doesn't want to say so for fear that it would divulge the existence of some new technology?
• My son, Alexander, introduced me to an online game called 2048. The deceptively simple game is the most addictive thing since Tetris. After about a week, I developed an algorithm and beat it, but it is insidious. I believe it is a communist plot intended to slash the productivity of American workers.
• University of Alabama running back Altee Tenpenny (and no, that is not a name made up by Key and Peele) was busted over spring break for possession of marijuana. He's the second Alabama running back busted for drugs during this offseason. Tenpenny was driving in North Little Rock, Ark., when he got pinched.
His arrest was first reported by a local radio station that goes by the name of "The Buzz." That's just too easy.
• I must make note of the passing of Peter Matthiessen, who wrote one of the most significant books I've ever read. Matthiessen was the ultimate iconoclast. Born into a mega-rich family, Matthiessen insisted at age 15 that his name be taken off the Social Register. He graduated from Yale and, along with George Plimpton and others, founded The Paris Review, a literary magazine.
As it turns out, he was using the Review as a cover for his activities as a spy for the CIA. (He would later say that his work for the spy agency was the only thing in his 86-year life that he regretted.)
He is probably best known for his books At Play in the Fields of the Lord, about missionaries in South America, and The Snow Leopard, which recounts his spiritual journey through the Himalayas. I recommend Sal Si Puedes (Escape If You Can): Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution. Sal Si Puedes is actually the name of the barrio in San Jose, Calif., where Chavez was living when he started his United Farm Workers movement. It's a really cool book and, like many other things written about Chavez at the time, it debunks a lot of the revisionist nonsense that is being pushed in his name by the likes of Dolores Huerta.
But that's not the book that I was originally talking about. Matthiessen's masterpiece, in my mind, was the spectacular In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, the sprawling and meticulously researched account of the deaths of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota during what is referred to as either the Pine Ridge Shoot-out or the Oglala Firefight. Matthiessen tells the story through first-person accounts of Native Americans who were involved, and then again through official FBI documents.
Bob Robideau and Dino Butler were put on trial in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and were, quite stunningly, acquitted by an all-white jury. One of the accused shooters, Leonard Peltier, had escaped to Canada and wasn't part of the first trial. After the shocking not-guilty verdicts in the first trial, the U.S. government captured Peltier and put him on trial, using a whole new body of freshly cooked "evidence." Peltier is still in prison and a whole lot of us keep hoping that our country will eventually get a president with the testicular capacity to grant Peltier a pardon.
Lord knows Obama won't, but maybe someday Hillary will.