Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Droogies, Malchicks and Devotchkas
The Keane Act of 1977
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Good, ole Al. Still rockin' the gangsta gear and bling while discussing the 1960s.
From Fox Sports:
DANA POINT, Calif. - At the base of a grand staircase, the exhibit was installed to commemorate the American Football League, conceived half a century ago by a gang of renegade rich men who called themselves "The Foolish Club."
But the photograph that catches my eye features Al Davis, newly appointed as the commissioner, sandwiched between Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson and Jack Kemp, then a handsome young quarterback. Davis wears a skinny tie, a toothy grin and just enough pompadour to announce his contempt for the standards and practices of company men. He's in his early thirties, just beginning to feel the possibilities of his power.
And now, as the owners adjourn from their morning meetings here at the St. Regis resort, the man himself comes into view.
Almost half a century later, the pompadour has been decimated, a matted wisp in its place. Davis' eyes are red-rimmed and damp. His hands are purplish and papery with age. But never — ever — has Al Davis looked more defiant, even heroic, than he does right now, pushing a walker across the marble floor.
Guarding the boss's rear flank is Raiders strength coach Chris Pearson, while a burlier man — could be a pro bouncer — leads the way. If the other owners don't warrant protection, that's only because they're pishers by comparison. Bob Kraft is flitting about in a lavender sweater. Jerry Jones is holding court in golf shirt and blazer. Everybody's dressed for an afternoon at the club. But Davis is in full Raider regalia: new white Adidas, a black and silver jumpsuit that proclaims his franchise to be "THE TEAM OF THE DECADES." Though he'll turn 80 on July 4, the bejeweled bracelet on his left wrist — "AL" set in diamonds on a black stone — suggests a founding father of bling. Then again, Davis was always ahead of his time.
As the Raiders have had six consecutive losing seasons, it's become fashionable to lampoon him. But in fact the AFL exhibit outside the Pacific Ballroom does not do him justice. If football had a Rushmore, then his bust would be carved in the side of that mountain. Whether you like him or not — and either position can be justifiably argued — he's a founding father of the modern game.
These other owners fantasize about coaching their teams. Davis has done it. (By the way, while I'm on the subject of owners and coaches, last season's firing of Lane Kiffin doesn't look so nutty anymore, does it?). So say what you want about these six barren, bumbling years, but the Raiders have played for the Super Bowl title in four separate decades. Davis' mantra — "Just Win, Baby" — is as American as the pledge of allegiance. Black uniforms? Who ever heard of that? Then again, who cares? He was firing black coaches — twice — before most of these rich kids ever thought to hire one.
Still, I've come to appraise this man with his walker, de-pompadoured, the visionary as altacocker. What kind of aged king was he: Lear of Oakland, a madman, or Arthur, whose realm became barren as he was physically diminished?
The answer? He's not mad.
On Wednesday morning Davis appeared again, this time in a white jumpsuit with black trim. By now, the final day of the annual owners' meetings, the exhibit had been removed. Still, his agenda could not be more clear. He's concerned with his legacy, in particular, those revisionist historians who would sell it short.
Davis knows most of the football writers by name. Those he doesn't, he charms.
Judy Battista identifies herself, New York Times.
"I may buy that paper," he says.
Then, one of the guys from ESPN.
"How come you're not in Dallas?" he asks.
In short order, he steers the conversation back to the AFL. He begins with Pete Gogolak, the first soccer-style kicker. In signing him from the Bills, the Giants broke the "gentlemen's agreement," a pledge between the rival leagues not to sign each other's veterans.
"Gogolak was 1964?" says Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
"'66," says Davis. "April."
Correct, of course. Gogolak's signing unleashed a period of not-so-gentlemanly competition between the leagues, with the upstart AFL outhustling and outbidding the established NFL for a good many stars.
"Pete was good," Davis says of his epic rival, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. "But he didn't like confrontation."
In Davis' estimation, that was a great weakness. He recalls telling the AFL owners, the press, and anyone else who would listen what the signing of Gogolak really meant. "You just got a merger," he said.
I remind him of the words he used at the time. "You called it a 'declaration of war.' "
"You know that I said it was a declaration of war?" Translation: I don't like being interrupted, kid.
"I'm pretty sure."
Like him or not, it's hard not to respect what Al Davis has accomplished. ( / Getty Images)
For the record, the quote appears on page 229 in the 1969 paperback edition of Bob Curran's "The $400,000 Quarterback."
"How old were you, six?"
"I didn't know I said that."
Of course he said it. Davis, who grew up reading newspaper dispatches from the war in Europe and the Pacific, reduces everything to military terms.
"The guerrilla wins if he doesn't lose," he says. "We were the guerrillas in those days."
He recalls a phony memo sent to NFL scouts, instructing them to report to Portland, Ore. Meanwhile, AFL guys like Al, were stashing draft picks, sending them on all-expenses paid vacations to Hawaii. In the 1962 Sugar Bowl, as an assistant coach for the Chargers, he signed Lance Alworth under the goalposts. A couple of years later, at the Gator Bowl, he signed Florida State's Fred Biletnikoff.
"On national TV with a lawyer there," says Davis. "The lawyer was from Florida State. His mother and the Detroit Lions were on the sidelines, screaming, 'Don't sign it, Freddy. Don't sign it.' "
Biletnikoff signed it. He won a Super Bowl, and went to the Hall of Fame as a Raider.
Which brings us to Davis' second order of business: "One thing, while I got you all here, there's no way — no way — Cliff Branch shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame.
"He may not have had all the catches that you want, but he was the force that dictated coverage. He dictated everything."
Jim Plunkett. He belongs, too. "What quarterback isn't in the Hall of Fame that's won two Super Bowls?"
Davis goes on for close to half an hour, speaking with authority on subjects that range from the cornerback's lost art to the NCAA women's bracket. He refuses only a camera crew. Apparently, he doesn't want to be photographed in his present state, a condition he attributes to weakened quadriceps.
Then he readies himself to leave, the strength coach and the bouncer in tow. "God, I love talking to you guys," he says.
Still, his real purpose only becomes apparent as he pushes his way down the hall. Ralph Wilson stayed home with a bad shoulder. Jack Kemp has cancer. Rozelle is dead, as are all but two charter members of the Foolish Club.
It is said that Davis is vain, and scared of dying. If that's the case, then this processional with the walker shows some real balls.
I find myself wondering who'll say Kaddish for Al Davis. Perhaps that misses the point, though. He needs no prayers for the dead. He needs only to be told that he won.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Looks like July 2011, true believers. Why they don't make it July 4th, I will never know, but July 22 it is. Cap will finally get his due on screen ... only 10 years after 9/11, but oh well, beggers can't be choosers.
Sony and Marvel Studios Set New Release Dates!
March 12, 2009
Paving the way for the production and release of its multi-character superhero film, The Avengers, Marvel Entertainment, Inc. announced today an adjusted release pipeline for its self-produced feature film properties that reflects the first time individual Super Hero characters and story arcs will be inter-woven and culminate in a multi-character motion picture. Separately, Marvel Studios confirmed today that Sony Pictures Entertainment will release Spider-Man 4 on May 6, 2011. Additionally, Marvel Studios has revised the release dates for Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America as part of its release strategy for an uninterrupted road to The Avengers, now debuting May 4, 2012.
A Marvel character-based film will now launch the summer box office season for three years in a row, from 2010 through 2012.
"This new schedule strongly sequences Marvel's movie debut dates, big screen character introductions and momentum. It maximizes the visibility of our single character-focused films, leading to the highly anticipated release of the multi-character 'The Avengers' film in 2012," said David Maisel, Chairman, Marvel Studios.
Sony Pictures' and Marvel Studios' Spider-Man 4 is slated for May 6, 2011. To date, all three motion pictures in the phenomenally successful "Spider-Man" franchise have generated nearly $2.5 billion worldwide theatrically.
Below is Marvel Studios' 2010-2012 updated release schedule for its slate of self-produced and financed feature films:
Marvel Studios Feature Film Pipeline
Film/Character - Prior Release Date - Current Release Date
Iron Man 2 - May 7, 2010 - May 7, 2010
Thor - July 16, 2010 - June 17, 2011
The First Avenger: Captain America - May 6, 2011 - July 22, 2011
The Avengers - July 15, 2011 - May 4, 2012
The release date for Iron Man 2 remains unchanged on May 7, 2010. Iron Man 2 is the sequel to the blockbuster film, Iron Man, which has grossed nearly $600 million worldwide.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Check it out, TBs: supplemental DVDs, books, key chains, t-shirts, beanies, posters and more! Who watches/reads/unlocks/wears/hangs the Watchmen? You can, at this link:
WATCHMEN BOUTIQUE AT BORDERS.COM.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Here you go non-Showtime subscribers: 8 minutes worth of United States of Tara, courtesy of YouTube. It's a great show about a suburban housewife with multiple personalities. The open credits remind me of Nacho Libre and Napoleon Dynamite's open credits - really cool stuff.
My favorite part is about halfway through, at the 4:30 mark - a riff on store brand cheerios between mother and daughter. Enjoy.