The Spectacle Blog

Chip Hale Hired as New D’Backs Manager

By on 10.14.14 | 3:20PM

Yesterday, the Arizona Diamondbacks named Chip Hale their new manager. Hale signed a two-year deal worth an undisclosed sum. He succeeds Kirk Gibson who was fired during the final weekend of the regular season. At 64-98, the D'Backs had the worst record in MLB. And yes, these are the same D'Backs I picked to win the World Series this year.

Hale is a familiar name to D'Backs fans. He managed in their minor league system from 2000 to 2006 before joining the big league club as a coach under Bob Melvin. He would later join the New York Mets coaching staff before reuniting with Melvin in Oakland in 2012.

How Hale does will in great part depend on what Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart give him. Of course, it will be interesting to see what La Russa and Stewart do during the rest of the off-season. Outside of Paul Goldschmidt, I'm not sure if anyone on that team is safe.

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New York Times Now Offers Affordable Tours of Iran

By on 10.14.14 | 12:36PM

The New York Times may no longer be able to sell you papers, but it's hoping that it can sell you on an ill-advised trip to a foreign nation that routinely expresses its hatred for any Westernized nation.

For a mere $6,995 (plus taxes, fees and extras like upgrades), you can now, thanks to the brilliant minds at America's finest newspaper, take a luxurious, 13-day tour of Iran, complete with "insights into the life and accomplishments" of the always-charming Ayatollah Khomeni (on your Day 4 tour of the "mountain villages"). One assumes his prowess at hostage-taking and undercover nuclear bomb manufacturing go unaddressed.

Journey 2,500 years back in time to discover the ancient secrets of Persia on this 13-day itinerary incorporating some of most well preserved archaeological sites in the world. Welcome to the once-forbidden land of Iran.

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It’s All Metro

By on 10.14.14 | 9:18AM

This is turning out to be one of the most splendid years of the American Republic. I’m referring, of course, to the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court not to review the question of same-sex marriages, which has been taken as a decision that they are legal. But that’s not the only thing. There’s also the new Silver Line, the extension of the D.C. subway out to Dulles. And there’s Citizens United, and the scandal of Republican money in politics.

Far away, other things are happening. Iraq is falling apart, and we’re looking at the prospect of a repeat of the 1975 U.S. exit from Saigon (except this time the enemy has stinger missiles). Then there’s NATO, which is crumbling in the face of a determined foe in Vladimir Putin. And the Fed has continued its easy money policy, creating an artificial stock market boom that has deepened income inequality.

What’s really important, however, is the progress we’re making on the rights of transgendered people. Yes, the president rules by executive decree, and refuses to enforce the country’s laws, but recall that we no longer offend Native Americans by calling Washington’s football team the Redskins.

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Thank You Mount Sinai Hospital!!!

By on 10.13.14 | 7:28PM

While there are pressing matters concerning ISIS and Ebola, my mind has been otherwise occupied for the past several days. 

What was supposed to be a family vacation in New York this weekend became a crisis when my Dad suddenly required emergency triple bypass surgery. Dad hadn't been feeling well for the several weeks with a persistent pain in his back. He thought it might have been his gall bladder and saw a gastroenterologist, Dr. Peter Chang, who thought his heart might be the culprit and recommended Dad undergo a stress test. The stress test revealed nearly complete blockage of his arteries. He would require immediate treatment at Mount Sinai Hospital where he would undergo the triple bypass procedure. Dad is recovering with his characteristic sense of humor. When he saw me with my brother and sister, he said, "Let's go out and play some ball."

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California on the Lookout for Creepy Clowns

By on 10.13.14 | 5:55PM

I'm not okay with this

Reports of creepy clowns carrying knives and other weapons have been scaring people in the California city of Bakersfield for the past week, police said on Sunday.

In the latest incident, a person telephoned the Bakersfield Police Department on Saturday night, reporting a clown armed with a firearm, said watch commander Lieutenant Jason Matson.

"We've been having sightings all over the city," Matson said. "They range from anywhere from a guy carrying a gun to a guy carrying a knife running up to houses."

That's right. California is being terrorized by mysterious, knife-wielding clowns.

And you thought Ebola was something to be worried about.

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Republicans to Blame for Ebola Outbreak, Apparently

By on 10.13.14 | 1:09PM

It was inevitable that Republicans would be blamed for the spread of the Ebola virus, especially given that this is an election year. Fortunately, we did not have to wait very long for a series of stories pinning the infectious disease on the party of Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, and that sinister cabal from The Simpsons that meets in a mountaintop castle to oversee the development of their multinational evil plots. 

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Jan Hooks, R.I.P.

By on 10.12.14 | 12:22AM

Actress/comedienne Jan Hooks, best known for her days as a cast member of Saturday Night Live, passed away on Thursday of an undisclosed illness. She was 56.

Hooks was an integral part of yet underrated member of an SNL cast in the latter half of the 1980s and early 1990s that included Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Dennis Miller, Kevin Nealon, Victoria Jackson and Nora Dunn. I thought she was consistently funny, particularly as one half of the Sweeney Sisters with Dunn. 

After SNL, she joined the cast of Designing Women and would appear in TV shows like Third Rock from the Sun and 30 Rock as well as movies like Batman Returns. At the time of her death, she hadn't had an acting role in nearly four years and can only imagine this was due to whatever illness with which she was afflicted. 

She always left me with a laugh. If you can say that about someone then they've done some good in the world.

 

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Thoughts on Malala Being Named Co-Winner of Nobel Peace Prize

By on 10.12.14 | 12:08AM

I do find it interesting that the Nobel Committee saw fit to have Malala Yousafzai share the Peace Prize. Now it certainly isn't unusual for this Nobel to be awarded to more than one person or organization. But it is interesting to me that they made a point of awarding the prize jointly to a Pakistani and an Indian. I realize there have been recent escalations in tension between India and Pakistan, but that is par for the course. I have no objections to their selection of Kailash Satyarthi. He is certainly a far more worthy recipient than a certain sitting U.S. President.

With that said, I think the Nobel Committee was reluctant to bestow the award solely upon Malala because the emphasis would shift on someone who has stood up to Islamic fundamentalism, paid a price for it and lived to tell the tale. Like many institutions, while the Nobel Committee is happy to tweak George W. Bush by giving the Peace Prize to Jimmy Carter, it does not want to offend the Muslim world. Malala's selection is made more palatable by making it part of a campaign to promote peace between India and Pakistan. 

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Wendy Davis Attacks Greg Abbott for Being in a Wheelchair

By on 10.10.14 | 7:28PM

Wendy Davis is running ten points behind Greg Abbott in the Texas governor's race. And this ad, where she claims Greg Abbott got rich from being paralyzed.  

Classy.

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Obama Considering Closing Gitmo With Executive Order

By on 10.10.14 | 2:08PM

Last night, Gwyneth Paltrow wished up on a falling star, if she believes in such a thing, that Barack Obama would have greater opportunity to enact his legislative agenda without having to rely on the pesky details associated with a representative democracy. This morning, the Hill announced that Barack Obama is considering using executive action to close Guantanamo Bay's terrorist detention facility and by pass legislation designed to keep Gitmo detainees out of the American prison population.

Coincidence? I think not. Also a conicidence? I fully support this idea if the terrorists can be relocated to Gwyneth Paltrow's Brentwood mansion. She already has the 9-foot steel gates. 

President Obama is considering executive action to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, despite congressional legislation that bans the transfer of detainees there to prisons in the U.S., according to a Thursday report.

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