vinod : May 2004 Archives

Marcus Dixon and Andy Rooney

| | Comments (2)

Marcus Dixon:

I have never cared for Peltier or Hampton but this Marcus Dixon case in George was a complete travesty. The story was first widely reported by HBO Real Sports last fall.

From an ABC News Nightline report:

Marcus Dixon was 18 when he had sex in a trailer-classroom at Pepperell High School. His partner was 15. He is African-American, 6 feet 6 inches tall, and weighs 265 pounds. She is white, barely five feet tall, and physically slight. He says their sex was consensual; she says it was rape.

Now add a few complications. He was an acclaimed football star and academic performer who made his way from an impoverished and broken home, to virtual adoption by a white couple, and a promised full scholarship to Vanderbilt University.

When the rape charge came to trial, the jury simply rejected it, calling the sex consensual and the crime nothing more than misdemeanor statutory rape. One juror says, "We thought he'd go home that night." But they also affirmed a second charge, and, unintentionally and wrongly, says this juror, sent Marcus Dixon to state prison for a mandatory minimum of 10 years without parole.

The DA couldn't pin him on the statutory charge so they added the charge of "aggravated child molestation" to their prosecution. Since Marcus was 18 and the girl had suffered physical injuries related to this being her first sexual experience, the jury applied the law and found him guilty. They had no idea the charge carried a 10-year mandatory prison term.

$400,000 worth of pro-bono legal work later, the Georgia Supreme court has righted this wrong.

This month's edition of Real Sports is worth catching to see the latest interviews with Marcus and his family. And you're guaranteed to be repulsed by interviews with the smarmy DA proclaiming Marcus a "sexual predator" and asserting that "justice has been served" with Marcus behind bars.

Here's the schedule for future airings.

Andy Rooney:

I love watching this cranky old man to hear his over the top remarks. But his past weekend's 60 Minutes commentary was actually rather spot on. Here's the transcript/video clip. Or maybe I'm just becoming a cranky old man, myself?

Job Offer

| | Comments (4)

I was doing such a fantastic job mowing my lawn today that an old neighbor lady asked me if I have a lawn mowing business. I then politely declined her request to mow her yard.

I hate mowing the lawn.

It's Been A Long Time...

| | Comments (4)

Apologies to my loyal visitors...

I gave the fishing pole another quick tryout today. Made the drive on US Route 2 with Baring, WA on the banks of the Skykomish River the destination. This time there were no geriatric farms in sight. Instead our eyes were set for an alpine lake resting at 2,300'. We strapped the rod 'n reel to our packs and made a 2.5-mile hike to Barclay Lake. The sun was shining and after fifteen minutes of fighting with tangled fishing line I was casting away. Here's an idea of the lake and the scenery around it. The lake rests in the shadow of Mt. Baring at 6,100'. We didn't last long up there as the sky darkened and unleashed its rain upon us. It was that refreshing kind of rain, though, so the hike back to the automobile was wet but enjoyable. One lesson I learned today: buy your lunch at the General Store in Baring instead of the one in Index, WA.

The English soccer season came to a close on Saturday with Manchester United beating Millwall 3-0 in a relatively boring FA Cup Final. The only interesting thing is that I watched it at the Pickled Onion Pub in Renton, WA--they are billed as the only "Millwall-friendly pub in North America". Best thing I saw there was an Akita rocking a Millwall jersey.

Gone Fishin

| | Comments (6)

Lots of seafood-related action this weekend.

On Saturday night I hit up this restaurant that serves up a New England-style clambake. It's like a Red Lobster on steroids. You pay $20/person, they boil up a gang of seafood, dump it on your table, hand you a mallet, and you go to town. Here's a glimpse of the shellfish madness.

Yesterday I took my new light-action spinning rod 'n reel out for a trail run. Washington's fishing season only starts officially on June 1 but there are a few lakes open right now. I hit up Cottage Lake in Woodinville and Silver Lake near Everett. This picture will give you an idea of the scenery (geriatric homes) around these lakes. Myself and partner in crime each reeled in a rainbow trout--about 10 inches or so. Mine squirmed away from me as the camera was being reached for. The other one got a little too excited about the worm on the hook and swallowed the entire thing. It was sadly as good as dead at this point so that one found its way to the Weber grill at home. I could post a picture of this fish...but it is not something to be bragging about.

These German cats on the pier next to us were reeling in one after another--it was quite a performance that we were unable to duplicate (even after we tried fishing from that pier after they left). This fishing thing holds promise, though...

The Pictures Speak for Themselves

| | Comments (2)

Tarver KO's RJJ in Spectacular Fashion

RJJ 1.jpg
RJJ 2.jpg
RJJ 3.jpg
RJJ 4.jpg

I'll write about my other weekend adventures soon...but it was a good one considering it was framed by Arsenal, Smarty Jones, and Tarver all winning.

I've Got Nothing...

| | Comments (0)

Nothing really to report. But there are some good sporting events this weekend:

Arsenal v Leicester City: the final weekend of Premier League action with the Gunners looking to cap a 38-game undefeated season. 9am PST on Fox Sports World

Roy Jones v Antonio Tarver: Tarver got close to beating an uninspired RJJ the first time...we'll see what happens this time with a motivated RJJ. I'm not going to part with $50 to buy this but I'll be calling the Indian casinos tomorrow to see if they are showing it. 6pm PST on HBO PPV

Smarty Jones vs the Field: Horse racing doesn't get the props it deserves. Though the sport could definitely go for a Triple Crown winner right about now. Post Time 3:05pm PST on NBC

That's all I've got.

White Castle

| | Comments (4)

Back in the day I used to easily consume a 10-sack of White Castles and maybe even some of their notorious chickens rings--yes, chicken shaped like a doughnut. I've missed this Columbus based eatery since moving west of the Mississippi and made it a point to grab a few while back in Ohio last weekend. Still delicious.

Anyway....I tell you this in the context of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Check out the trailer and decide for yourself but it certainly looks promising. I'm most thrilled to see my brown brother from Van Wilder getting some shine.

End of the Run...

| | Comments (3)

Game 22 for Cold Heat wasn't as kind the previous ones. We were thumped 6-1 by a team we beat 3-2 last week. Oh well...time to start a new winning run. We play these clucks one more time this season with the winner likely being league champs.

I watched the Friends finale earlier tonight...what a piece of garbage. I felt I had to watch it because it holds some sort of cultural significance. I shudder to think what that significance might be. For my money, Seinfeld has been the only show to actually get better season to season and it even climaxed in a brilliant finale.

Great fight on HBO on Saturday: 126-pounders Manny Pacquiao ("Pac-Man") and Juan Manuel Marquez. The first round saw Pac-Man drop Marquez THREE times--and this ain't Mike Tyson Punchout so there's no three-knockdown rule. Marquez rallied in the final 11 rounds with superb technical skills and an obviously huge heart. Typical of boxing, there was some dubious judging but in the end it was a fair draw. Five months into 2004, it's the clear cut choice for the mythical "fight of the year".

For Tyson fans: he's scheduled to fight some tomato can named Kevin McBride on July 31.

I've been gone for a few days so I have lots more catching up to do on the ol' TiVo...

Karma Tank on Empty

| | Comments (3)

I spent this past weekend back in the Buckeye state. Good times were had with family and friends but several events have left me scratching my head.

My usual midas touch in fixing all things electronic has mysteriously disappeared. I set out to install a wireless router at the Marion estate--the very same model I employ on my network. Several hours of effort left me with nothing to show. The DSL modem's tech support blamed it on the router and vice versa. That project remains unfinished. In more unbelievable fashion, I apparently erased the 2-gigabytes of MP3s on my dad's new Ipod. My dad hasn't spoken to me since.

Oh yeah...I forgot to mention that I left my house and car keys back in Ohio. My mom alerted me of this when I touched down in Minneapolis for my connecting flight. Simultaneously touching down in the Twin Cities was a tornado. This delayed my next flight and forced me to sit in an underground tunnel for 40 minutes before the storm passed. I finally arrived in Seattle and after an hour of nonsense at baggage claim, Northwest finally conceded they didn't know where my bag was. Nice.

Special props to my fishing partner for wasting part of his Sunday night at SeaTac waiting for me and giving me a spot on his couch for the night. I've since been reunited with my luggage and a set of spare keys. I'm back in business.

The trip wasn't entirely madness. Definitely the first time my entire family has been all together in Ohio in quite some time. However, our assembly of five people was surpassed by the Murphy family. It was the queen bee's 80th birthday party--and when you're talking about 14 children, a proportionate number of grandchildren, and a smattering of great-grandchildren you've got yourself quite a guestlist. Just an amazing family in every regard.

New India and Sri Lanka cricket shirts and a 1997 Arsenal jersey have found their way into my closet this weekend. If only I had a decent pair of pants.

I'm tired and the sky is gray so I'm going to scoot. Though one final note: Arsenal picked up a win on Saturday and have just one game left on Saturday to achieve an undefeated 38-game season and immortality.

Senator Tressel

| | Comments (7)

Over the weekend, two promising young Buckeyes robbed some kid on High Street in Columbus.

On the same night Louis Irizarry and Ira Guilford got in trouble, freshman A.J. Trapasso picked up an underage drinking charge. Not as big a deal ...but isn't it an ominious sign when your PUNTER is having disciplinary troubles?

Here's athletic director Andy Geiger defending the coach. Tressel's still my boy but like any other fan you don't want to see stories like this about your team.

21 Games Undefeated

| | Comments (17)

stepover.gifJust had a double-header tonight. Two fifty-minute 6v6 games back to back. Exhausting. But we picked up two more hard fought wins to extend our undefeated streak to 21 games.

I've never been more beat up after a game--astroturf burn on my elbow, stubbed toes, a bruised hand from getting checked into the boards, and a knot on my shin from this bastard who kept hacking at my legs.

One of my teammates finally called me out on my one and only "move". My thoroughbred legs basically make a mad dash down the left side leaving defenders in my wake. One out of fifty times I can stroke the ball low to the far corner. Another one of those fifty times I can find a teammate open in the box for the assist. And the other forty-eight times I get double teamed and molested against the boards in the corner. If only I could master Frankie Hejduk's stepover--seen above.

Regardless...5-0-0 to start the season.

Orcas Island & Mt. Constitution

| | Comments (18)

Yesterday brought 80 degree weather to the northwest so I ventured out with company to Orcas Island--one of the San Juan Islands in the Puget Sound. Getting there required about 80 miles driving north of Seattle on I-5 to Anacortes where you ride an 80 minute auto-ferry across to the islands. Somehow we managed to miss the notorious hordes of people that usually flock there come nice weather. No complaints there.

Upon arrival on land, I scored some delicious fresh red snapper tacos and passed on the opportunity to buy a "Bush-Cheney 1984" sweatshirt. About 4,000 people live on this remote island--highlights were plenty of poseur hippies and a lady in May Day apparel riding a goat-drawn carriage down the street. I asked for some trail advice from a local who described herself as an "avid hiker" and who instead expressed skepticism in my group's hiking abilities. We all set forth to bag Mount Constitution in record time and prove her wrong.

We arrived in Moran State Park and set forward on the trail--about eight miles round trip with a 1,700-foot vertical elevation gain. The first life we bumped into on the trail was a banana slug. That turned out to be the only wildlife we would see--with the exception of one unsubstantiated report of a baby beaver building a dam.

The trail was a constant uphill grade almost the entire way. We marvelled at some seemingly out of shape mountain bikers racing down the hill in amazement that they were able to cycle up the steep and rocky trail. Then almost three-miles into the hike, we heard some rumbling and saw an automobile zip by about 500-feet away. This is obviously an odd thing to see in the presumed backcountry. Turns out there was a road there with another trailhead. Those bikers would have ridden up the paved road and then downhill on the trail. Not nearly as impressive a feat. The trail had been fantastic thus far so there were no regrets about not using this previously unknown shortcut.

Another 1.5-miles later we had our eye on the final destination--an observation deck (and possible Verizon antenna) built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s with promised sweeping views of the Puget Sound. The views didn't disappoint but the photos I took really don't do justice. Here is one and if you squint in this one you can see Mount Baker. We also had pretty clear views of Vancouver Island, Bellingham, and the rest of the San Juans. On a really clear day you supposedly can even see Mount Rainier from a distance.

The kicker about this hike to the observation tower was that there turned out to be a parking lot attached to it....and a paved road. So it turns out we could have just driven up to this point. But again, it was a good hike so that wasn't really discouraging. We worked on our tans up there for a little while before making the much quicker descent back down to our starting point. Upon looking at the ferry schedule we realized our time was short and dreams of eating at a tavern advertising the best burgers on Orcas Island were dashed. Dinner was instead had at a grocery store--I enjoyed my ham wrap while others were less than thrilled with their soggy roast beef sandwiches. We easily caught the ferry with ten minutes to spare.

It was a long day but a fantastic destination. I will probably stay away from there during these summer months as the Bed & Breakfast crowds start to really pour in, however. The evening was capped with finally watching Chris Rock's latest HBO special...good times.