Tuesday, September 17, 2002

[9/17/2002 6:18:03 AM | Robert Speirs]
I haven't seen anything in any news about the pepper spray incident at the Eagles-Redskins football game last night. It was SO War on Terror! The pictures of people covering their mouths and noses, trying to get away from some "noxious substance" on the Eagles - away team - sideline sent shivers around the world of football. What if terror had struck home at the most sacred of American male ceremonies, Monday Night Football!? Or, perhaps worse, what if some sorehead Redskins fan, seeing the pounding his team was taking at the hands of Donovan McNabb and company, decided to overturn the chessboard and have the game called, by copycatting Osama? For a few minutes, no one knew quite what was going on, which is the worst thing that can happen these days. As it turned out, it was the cops. A fight had broken out in the stands behind the Eagles' bench and the cops had liberally doused the participants with pepper spray, some of which had drifted onto the field and around the stands. Like the cops don't have some better way to restrain drunken fools in the middle of a huge crowd other than dousing the whole crowd with noxious chemicals. Why do I sense the genesis of the problem in the politically correct presence of physically incompetent female cops here?

As to the Florida terrorist scare, set off by the boisterous idiocy of some wannabe Osamas in a diner in Georgia, I have to make one comparison. What would happen if I went into a restaurant in Saudi Arabia and started talking loudly about how those Arabs would regret September 11 when Mecca and Medina were vaporized? They wouldn't just close off a highway and explode my luggage. They'd bring out the sharpened scimitar immediately. If I insisted I was just joking, of course, they would apologize and let me go. Right.

Monday, September 16, 2002

The latest puzzle from Richard Maltby, called Triplets, is quite diverting. It features overlapping combinations of three solutions from three mixed-together definition clues. Not only is the location of each triplet unspecified, but so is the sequence of solutions within each triplet. These triple entries take up a large part of the puzzle, but leave just enough normal clues to pin down the location and sequence of the triple entries. I enjoyed this one more than most of my recent tries. Is that because I solved it fairly quickly? Is it a big surprise that you enjoy things more, from cooking to flying airplanes to romance, when they go well? The glow on this one, though, is such that I want to nominate it for Best Puzzle Ever. We?ll see how long that lasts.

Another football weekend brings a new term of art. Have you noticed how much bigger football linemen are getting these days? I don?t mean tall - they?ve all been tall for some time - but fat, downright, hanging-over-the-belt fat? Many are pushing 400 lbs now. I noticed one of the players referring to ?the Buddhas on the inside? and was thinking, ?How poetic! That?s better than anything Dennis Miller ever came up with?. Then I realized he was talking not about some inner peace that helps you concentrate on endzone nirvana, but the linemen. They do look like Buddhas! Line play is becoming more and more like sumo wrestling. It had to happen. The next development will be Japanese teams, cloned perhaps from the biggest sumo wrestlers. After all, football players have pushed speed and strength and aggressiveness to a maximum. There?s only one frontier left - heft!