Letters from the Lunar Outpost

To be angry is to revenge the faults of others on ourselves.
- Pope, English Poet, Critic, and Translator (1688-1744)

boston

I’ll keep my writing to a minimum on this one because I’m far more interested to hear your shares.

Here’s my list:

The Best:

# 3 – 1987. Magic’s Junior Sky Hook at the Garden. I was at band practice and imploring my bandmates to check it out but while they chose to continue jamming upstairs (sorry Marc, but you’ll never live it down!) so I went downstairs to watch the final quarter of Game Four of the NBA Finals unfold. To see Magic hit that shot and finally punk the Celtics in a pivotal Finals game in their own house, what a thing of beauty! Even though I was already 18 at the time, I’d been somewhat of a casual Lakers fan up until then. That was the game and that was the shot that made me a diehard for life. What a beautiful dagger to the heart that shot was.

# 2 – 1988. Kirk Gibson’s World Series home run. The Dodgers not given a chance by anyone, as much the underdogs as any World Series team had ever been, Gibson hobbling up to the plate on two bad legs, and while it was only Game One (the only at bat Gibson had in the entire series) that one swing pretty much took all the air out of the balloon of those “invincible” Oakland A’s. I still get chills just picturing Vin Scully’s call as I type this.

# 1 – 1977. The Raiders stomp the Vikings in Super Bowl XI. I was eight and it was the first NFL game I ever really got into. I wouldn’t even have tuned in if my neighbor Alex hadn’t called me up and asked me if I was watching the Super Bowl. (“Super what?”) He got me so pumped up on how the Raiders were the meanest, baddest team in all of football, he told me they were a bunch of convicts and murderers who got released from prison to play, and play they did.

They just pounded the Vikings, mercilessly! Definitely my greatest memory as a sports fan. (I can still remember for four or five years after that game, CBS’ NFL Today started all their broadcasts with a collection of highlights that included a tight shot of Willie Brown and the intensity in his face as he ran an interception back up the sideline for a touchdown. Man, that clip would get this Raider fan pumped every time I saw it!)

Willie Brown runs an interception back for a touchdown in Super Bowl XI.

The Worst:

Chucky Gruden

# 3 – 2003. “Chucky” Gruden gets over on his old boss as the Raiders get blown out in Super Bowl XXXVII. With new coach Callahan running the same offense that Gruden was running when he was the Raiders coach the year before, The Bucs were calling out the Raiders plays before the Raiders could run them. Final result: Al Davis finds out that karma’s a bitch.

# 2 – 1977. Reggie Jackson crushes three home runs on three swings against the Dodgers in the World Series. I was eight and I think it was the first time I ever cried without skinning my knee. Enough said.

# 1 – 2001. Even though it was a divisional playoff game and not the Super Bowl, this one stung much worse than 2003. The refs ripped that game from the Raiders’ jaws of victory just as surely as Woodson hit Brady and Brady fumbled the ball.

With what was probably the best of the Raiders’ teams during the Gruden / Gannon era, this game ended up as the game that started the Patriots’ dynasty of Super Bowl teams. Who knows how different things might be for both teams if the call on the field hadn’t been overturned by some obsure footnote in the rule book. (The tuck rule was abolished on March 20, 2013, by a 29-1 vote of current teams. The Patriots abstained.)

Maybe the worst part of the game was, after the team on the field and every fan was celebrating a win and a trip to the AFC Championship, having to endure watching the slow, inevitable aftermath of the call as a dispirited Raiders team gave up a game tying field goal near the end of the 4th and then a game winner in OT. Brutal.


Share your memories, you can make it short and sweet if you like, but I want to see your list of your top three best and worst memories as a sports fan.

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So we now know who the scumbags are who perpetrated the bombings at the Boston marathon . . .

Law enforcement officials identified the suspect still on the loose as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass. His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was identified as the man killed during an encounter with police after an armed carjacking of a Mercedes SUV in Cambridge.

The brothers’ alleged motive in Monday’s bombings remains unclear, but in the last several months, Tamerlan Tsarnaev had posted videos to YouTube indicating his interest in radical Muslim ideologies.

The family appears to be originally from the southern Russian republic of Chechnya, and two law enforcement officials said there is a “Chechen connection” to the bombings. Chechnya has been racked by years of war between local separatists and Russian forces and extensive organized crime since the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.

source: Washington Post

As I woke up to the breaking news this morning, before I heard anything else, as soon as I heard the name “Tsarnaev”, I knew as sure as I was breathing that the Boston bombing had been the work of Chechens.

The Tsarnaev brothers are the first Chechen Muslims to make an attack on the West.

The Tsarnaev brothers are the first Chechen Muslims to make an attack on the West.

The latest act of radical Islamic terror in America has come from a Chechnyan region that has been a breeding ground for terror in Russia for many years. Most of us have heard of the the hostage taking at Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater which resulted in over 120 deaths and the Beslan School Massacre where over 350 people, mostly children, were slaughtered, but the list of savagery from the Chechen separatists in Russia doesn’t end there:

  • An August 1999 bombing of a shopping arcade and a September 1999 bombing of an apartment building in Moscow that killed sixty-four people.
  • A bomb blast that killed at least forty-one people, including seventeen children, during a military parade in the southwestern town of Kaspiisk in May 2002. Russia blamed the attack on Chechen terrorists.
  • A December 2002 dual suicide bombing that attacked the headquarters of Chechnya’s Russian-backed government in Grozny. Russian officials claim that international terrorists helped local Chechens mount the assault, which killed eighty-three people.
  • A three-day attack on Ingushetia in June 2004, which killed almost one hundred people and injured another 120.
  • Street fighting in October 2005 that killed at least eighty-five people. The fighting was in the south Russian city of Nalchik after Chechen rebels assaulted government buildings, telecommunications facilities, and the airport.
  • An attack on the Nevsky Express, used by members of the business and political elite, in November 2009 killed twenty-seven people.
  • In March 2010, two female suicide bombers detonated bombs in a Moscow metro station located near the headquarters of the security services, killing thirty-nine people. Islamist Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for the bombing; he had also claimed responsibility for the derailment of the Nevsky Express.
  • Two days after the metro station bombing in March 2010, two bombs exploded in the town of Kizlyar, in Russia’s North Caucasus, killing at least twelve people.

source: Council on Foreign Relations

And now this.

I can remember my Russian friend Yuri, and every time he would get drunk, he would speak of the Chechens as “monkeys” spitting the words out with a level of contempt I couldn’t comprehend.  I would try to reason with him and tell him you can’t paint an entire people with one single broad stroke. Years later, I still believe you can’t hold a whole group of people responsible for the actions of a radical minority, but now I understand much more where the disgust that many Russians hold for Chechens stems from.

So now, the Chechen brand of Muslim terrorism has reared it’s ugly head for the very first time here in America. After the 9/11 attacks, our dear president’s pastor of 20 years, was shouting with glee that America’s “chickens were coming home to roost”, but this time, you can’t even try to blame this this on American policy in the Middle East.

Despite Obama’s tepid response to the Russian invasion of Georgia, for the most part, in the post-Cold War era, the United States continues to act as the counterbalance for freedom against Russia’s attempts to reconquer it’s former empire. Obviously, the blood lust these Chechens have for indiscriminately killing innocent people is a compulsion that far outweighs any geopolitical reality. This is not about politics, this is a case of jihadists looking to kill any infidels from the West they can find.

When Bush spoke to the nation at a joint session of Congress just days after the 9/11 attacks, he said this:

Americans are asking, “Why do they hate us?”

They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.

These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us because we stand in their way.

We’re not deceived by their pretenses to piety.

We have seen their kind before. They’re the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends in history’s unmarked grave of discarded lies.

source: Washington Post

Our current president and his administration are more concerned about acting as apologists for Muslim radicalism than telling the truth the way Bush did, going so far as to cast the Ft. Hood shooting as “workplace violence“, the administration bending over backwards not to mention the words Muslim or Islam a single time in its 86-page report on the shooting, and in the case of the assassinations in Benghazi, even embracing the ridiculous in trying to paint it as a “spontaneous attack” over a virtually unseen YouTube video instead of calling it for what it was: a well-coordinated attack by Muslim extremists.

Right now as I’m watching the news, MSNBC is trying to spin this as some sort of homegrown terrorism because these men lived here for a few years and they’re suggesting maybe it’s just a coincidence the brothers came from the terrorist breeding grounds of Chechnya, invoking Newtown and the possibility both brothers suffered from mental issues.

Our current president will never come out and call it for what it is, but this latest attack shows there was truth in Bush’s words – this was not political and yes, they really do hate us for our freedoms.

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I Hate Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge might have been hated by fans outside of Boston for his constant complaining to the officials, but at least he had a good sense of humor about it.

As a general manager, you should probably leave the complaints about the officiating to your coach and try to be above all that, but that didn’t stop Danny Ainge from taking a shot at the officiating and LeBron James on Thursday:

I think the referees got the calls right. I don’t think it was a hard foul. I think the one involving LeBron against Boozer, that was flagrant. I think the officials got it right . . . I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating.

Coach Riley came back with some stark words in support of his star player:

“Danny Ainge needs to shut the f— up and manage his own team,” Riley said in a statement released through a Heat spokesman. “He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing and I know that because I coached against him.”

First time I’ve ever seen a coach drop an F-bomb in a statement released by his team’s spokesman. That is so much more emphatic than saying it off the cuff to a reporter.

And that is some serious smack talking there for Riley to call Danny Ainge out as the “biggest whiner going” when he was a player.

Ainge replied to the statement with some pretty good smack of his own:

I stand by what I said. That’s all. I don’t care about Pat Riley. He can say whatever he wants. I don’t want to mess up his Armani suits and all that hair goop. It would be way too expensive for me.

Pretty good comeback, but I think Riley wins that round. Not only does Riley know what a whiner Ainge was because he coached against Ainge in the NBA Finals in 1984, 1985 and 1987, but anyone who watched the game back then knows Riley’s words are true. I’d rather be known as a sharp-dressed man with my hair slicked back than the biggest whiner going.

Remembering how Danny Ainge used to cry on every call brings back all the memories of Showtime and being a Laker fan and loving L.A. and hating on the Celtics and even hating all of Boston itself and all the pasty-skinned fans that used to pack The Garden. (Of course, I say “hating” in just a sports fan kind of way.)

As ESPN reporter Stephen A. Smith said, complaining on every call was part of Ainge’s game plan. Might have been something a Celtics fan would cheer, but for anyone else watching, all that crying and complaining was completely insufferable. The only other guy I remember from that era who was as much of a non-stop whiner on the court was Bill Laimbeer. Don’t even get me started on that guy. But this little war of words really did bring back memories of all the fun of being a Laker fan in the 80s.

I think Celtics coach Doc Rivers summed it up best:

Asked if Rivers believes Riley’s statement could further stoke the Miami-Boston rivalry, Rivers noted, “Not unless they are playing. Really, I just think it’s talk both ways. I’ll let those two grown men handle their own grown-men argument. I’m going to stay out of it. On a side note, it just gives me a smile and it’s interesting. I think it’s fun. It’s a flashback.”

source: ESPN

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“[T]here are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America.” – Barack Obama, DNC Keynote Speech, July 27, 2004.

Remember that speech? I sure do, and that electrifying seventeen-minute speech was the spark that ignited Obama’s rocket rise to political stardom. He was a breath of fresh air, a voice that rose above the petty politics of our day.

Most of us remember that speech, but it’s hard for most of us to remember the guy who made that speech. The president we’ve gotten to know is a man who urges his supporters to seek “revenge” and to “punish our enemies.”

Eager to propel his rocket rise, within days of being elected to the U.S. Senate, reporters from his adoring media were already asking Obama if he had any plans to run for president in 2008:

“You know, I am a believer in knowing what you’re doing when you apply for a job. And I think that if I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now, there are some people who might be comfortable doing that, but I’m not one of those people.” – Barack Obama, November 8, 2004.

Ultimately, Obama’s own HOPE for the presidency won out over his repeated assertions that he wouldn’t have the experience to run in the next election, but even though he had reversed himself, there was still something refreshing about the way this guy who had already wooed so many managed to remain humble and aware of his deficiencies and lack of experience.

In 2006, Obama released his book, The Audacity of Hope. There was a good deal of candor when Obama shared this in the prologue:

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views. As such, I am bound to disappoint some, if not all, of them.” – Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope, published October 17, 2006.

Already looking at a run for the White House, Obama was shrewd enough to realize that the factor of his being an unknown, a “blank screen” onto which many people could project many things would be one of his greatest strengths, at the same time, he was also smart enough to realize that those widespread hopes and great expectations could become his greatest liability were he to have to live up to them once elected.

So when he finally declared his candidacy and it became time for Obama to begin projecting his own images onto that blank screen, what did we get? We ended up with slogans such as

Obama Fills in The Blank Screen with Hope    and    Obama Fills in The Blank Screen with Promises of Change

And through four years of his presidency, what did we actually end up with?

Obama Seeks to Punish His Enemies    and    Obama Seeks Revenge on His Enemies

Barack Obama wants people to vote for him out of revenge? Revenge for what? Daring to challenge you? Daring to provide the American people with an alternative to your failed presidency and perpetual campaigning?

As he predicted might happen, I think Obama now knows that most of America did end up disappointed in his presidency and he realizes now that his time is done. Only a loser seeks revenge.

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Currently Listening To:

Team of Rivals
by
Doris Kearns Goodwin