The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Friday, March 04, 2005


Spurred by a case of "Gay" pride, Leigh Clemons tried to order a New England Patriots jersey on her computer last month. Clemons, an assistant professor in Louisiana State University's theater department, watched one of her former pupils, Patriots defensive back Randall Gay, play a key role in New England's 24-21 win against Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX and wanted to show her support for the former LSU standout.

But the NFL intercepted her attempts to buy a jersey personalized with Gay's name on the back from, the league's official online merchandise center.

When Clemons tried to enter the last name of the Patriots cornerback, her request was rejected. The Web site accompanied the rejection with a message that read, "This field should not contain a naughty word."

"I was like, 'You've got to be kidding me,' " Clemons said. "When the message came up, I just sat and stared at it for 30 seconds with my mouth open. I know there are issues with homophobia in the NFL, but it never occurred to me the thing would come to this."

Eventually, Clemons received her jersey. But it took phone conversations with three different representatives before her request was granted.
"A naughty word"? That does not sound like an accident. Furthermore, an almost identical event occurred in Louisiana in December of 2003, when a 7-year-old child was punished for saying a "bad word" in class, the word being "gay" (he was talking about his mother and her partner). You may also remember that story as being the partial inspiration for Atrios' "Preznit Giv Me Turkee" post. (Sadly, the picture link is broken)

So upon discovery of this "error" message, what progress has the NFL made? Well if you go to their store, you'll see they have fixed the problem, and you can now get your Randall Gay jersey. However, as of yesterday,
As of Thursday afternoon, personalized jerseys with the name "Gay" could not be transacted. The wording on the rejection has been changed, however, and said, "The personalization entered cannot be accepted."
So that's either 1) a placeholder message until they fix the problem, or 2) a more innocuous message with the intent of ending the issue but keeping the ban on "Gay" jerseys. Given that there's no problem now, hopefully it was the former.

(And by the way, it's not just football. Cough cough Orel Hershiser at Until There's A Cure Day cough cough...)

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Funny link of the day: Have some fun words, why dont'cha?

Do you remember what Michael Moore said? Yep, you do.

Do you remember what Adrien Brody said? Didn't think so.

This is one of those rare years where I've seen nearly all of the Best Picture nominated movies before the Oscars. In this case, it's 4 out of 5. Sorry about that, Mister Depp.

(Actually, if there was any justice I'd have seen all five, that is, if Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind had received a nomination. If it had been released in December...)

Let's take a look at the movies in paragraph form, shall we?

Finding Neverland. Didn't see it. However the same cannot be said for the other four...

The Aviator. If I were less charitable I'd say it's a real-life version of A Burns for All Seasons. It's a "big" movie, and about as obviously "big" as a movie gets (as befitting its subject matter I suppose). Bright colors, thick lipstick, fast jets, fat jets, Commander Data, No Doubt (yes, ridiculous cameos galore), and oodles upon oodles of broken flashbulbs. Who knew photography was ever that messy? That said, an Oscar for Cate Blanchett.

Million Dollar Baby. The Aviator's polar opposite, with a cinematographer whose lighting concept seems to be the cover of With the Beatles. Hillary Swank takes a break from playing women dressing up as men . . . to play a boxer. Ellis "Red" Redding, freshly paroled from Shawshank Prison, gets a job at a grungy old boxing gym in LA, and does what he does best: Narrates. "Every man has his breakin' point" . . . "Boxing is an unnatural act" . . . It's all the same, isn't it? This movie is far superior to Rocky in that every once in a while a punch is actually blocked.

Ray. My favorite thing about the movie: They show Ray having extramarital affairs with two women, producing a child each, and then at the tail end of the ending credits, it says "Ray is survived by . . . 12 children". Hmm, now there's a movie! Hopefully, when ol' Jamie walks to the Oscar stage to collect his statue, he's escorted by 8-10 nice-looking women with silly hairdos. The way "Hit the Road Jack" is conjured out of thin air and a breakup with a mistress makes me wonder whether Mr Charles worked with Fleetwood Mac in the Rumors sessions. Note to the makers of this movie: When you say a song ("Mess Around") is in the key of G, please don't play it in E-flat. That really annoys those of us who can detect this disparity (me, for example).

Sideways. Hmm, as long as they're showing us all those lovely landmarks in Santa Barbara County, where was the large Arco station in Buellton? After all, that's the only portion of the town seen by most students on the way between UCSB and the Bay Area (that was me for four years). Also, I thought the expression was "drunk dial" instead of "drink and dial". This movie was good enough to forgive Sandrah Oh for all those unentertaining years of Arli$$. It's also nice to know that grown men across the country probably scribble "fucking" on restaurant wine lists next to "Merlot". And if I had to guess, drinking wine while driving is probably less dangerous than doing the New York Times crosssword puzzle while driving; yes, there's nothing like trying to remember the Exodus guy's last name while changing lanes on The 405. It's the yuppie Rocky Horror.

By the way, in case you get the wrong idea, I enjoyed all of these movies.

TFM Projected Winner: The Aviator

TFM's Desired Winner: Million Dollar Baby (but wouldn't mind if Sideways took it home)

TFM's Alternate Universe Winner: Eternal Sunshine

Actor: Foxx
Actress: Swank
Supp Actor: Haden Church
Supp Actress: Blanchett

TFM's Worst 5 Movies He Saw In 2004:

5. Ocean's Twelve. Not explicitly bad, just the fifth worst movie I saw. And the Julia Roberts meta-humor didn't work for me.
4. The Incredibles. Sorry. Really really sorry. It just wasn't as sharp as some people seem to think.
3. Anchorman. Hey, I laughed a lot (mostly at Steve Carrell), but let's face it, as a movie it's crap.
2. The Dreamers. Bertolucci's lost it a bit. Two hours of pretentious claptrap. At least it was all-nude pretentious claptrap.

And the worst movie I saw in 2004 was...

1. Dodgeball. Sorry to make another Simpsons reference, but this was Man Getting Hit By Football expanded to 90 minutes. First of all, it's a Vince Vaughn vehicle, and that doesn't help. Second, the cameos are clunky. Third, it's boooorrring, and watching wrenches and the like hitting people in the groin works for about 10 seconds. The concept of "The Ocho" is funny, and the commentary guy had a decent line or two, but really, that's it.

(political blogging to resume shortly)