Buffaloed

Image

My friend Jenn points out that this is a grammatically correct sentence:

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

And here’s her backup, via MentalFloss.

Which leads us to the timeless question: Why did the buffalo cross the road?

And the answer: So I could get screwed into buying a day pass at a state park.

Pull up a chair, kids, and I’ll tell you about the day I stopped my car in the middle of a two-lane road in Custer State Park in South Dakota to allow a herd of Buffalo to cross to the other side, and how stopping my car was a violation of park rules, and how I’m still trying to figure out whether I made the right choice when I didn’t plow my 1970 Ford Maverick into a herd of ginormous beasts.

Flashback to the summer of 1971, and Hank and Mike and Ken and Jan and I are on our two-car, six-week, longhair tour of America, a Kerouacian event involving five college guys cruising the country in a light blue Mercury Cougar and a “Thanks Vermillion” Ford Maverick that will never happen again because we will all graduate from college in 10 months and will have to start doing grownup stuff like finding jobs, paying rent and attaching ourselves to women who will produce our offspring.

jcmav

But right now we’re just a bunch of wannabe hippies heading west, embarking on what will turn out to be a 30-hour trip from the Black Hills of South Dakota to Yellowstone Park in western Wyoming. Thirty hours, because the Ford Maverick is weighed down by multiple people and a trunk and a roof rack full of clothing and camping gear and a  Gibson guitar, and it has a three-gear column shift, and third gear is out of the question when going uphill, which is pretty much the entire trip to Yellowstone. We’re in second gear, pushing the RPM needle at 35 miles per hour, and there’s no chance in hell that the car will go uphill in third, and there’s a few hundred miles to go.

And we’ve only just begun.

Image

The memory is a bit foggy on this, but I’m pretty sure Interstate 90 wasn’t finished at the time, so we had to take Route 16 to go west from Rapid City.

But that’s OK. Our plan is to enjoy a scenic ride through Custer State Park and come out in Wyoming. Then we’ll stop for a few hours at something called Devil’s Tower (which few Easterners have heard of, because Close Encounters hasn’t been made yet), and then we’ll forge on through to the granddaddy of national parks.

But there are rules in South Dakota. And one of them, the ranger at the Custer entrance explains, is that if you’re going to make use of any of the park’s facilities, you have to pay for a day pass. And the fee for that sticker is pretty hefty. Probably five dollars or so, but this is 1971 and we’re college kids and five dollars will buy a helluva lot of Coors.

So we explain to the park ranger that we have no intention of enjoying any of the sights and sounds of his stupid little park. We are aiming toward a bigger and better park. We have no time for your black hills and needle skyscrapers, we’re bound for Old Faithful.

He says OK and reminds us . . . No stopping. No enjoying. You put on your blinders and drive straight through the park. Whatever you do, don’t gaze.

And we agreed not to get any pleasure whatsoever out of his dumb old park and drove off.

And we were happily tooling along until the unthinkable happened . . .

We had to stop our cars.

There was no choice, really, because up there ahead of us, somewhere in the middle of the nowhere we were in, there were a few hundred bison crossing the road. So we – along with a few dozen others – stopped our cars in the middle of the road to watch the buffalo roam.

They are magnificent creatures. Huge. Their heads alone are the size of a Ford Maverick.

But have I mentioned yet that it was really hot out, and that the Ford Maverick had no air conditioning?

We stepped out of the car and leaned against it, and, yeah, we took a couple of pictures, because THERE WERE HUNDREDS OF BUFFALO ALL AROUND US!!!

And here’s a bunch of city boys marveling at these magnificent beasts when along comes our good-old park ranger, who makes the astute observation that we have, in fact, stopped our cars in the middle of his park and are taking pictures of his park’s precious buffalo.

Which, of course, we had pinky-sweared not to do.

But officer, I say, nicely, very nicely, because I have hair down below my shoulders and I’m wearing cutoff jeans and a t-shirt with holes in it and this is South Dakota in 1970 . . . Officer, I say, I really can’t move my car forward without at the very least bruising the shinbones of multiple bison, which I suppose would be an even greater crime, endangered species regulations and all that.

To which he replies: Your car is stopped along the highway and you’re enjoying the sights. Now you have to pay for a day-use sticker.

And that’s how I got buffaloed by buffalo in buffalo country. Really, you can’t make this stuff up.

 — 30 —

Bronx cheer, 08/20/13

This week is off to a helluva start.

Let’s talk about this guy . . .

Somebody, somewhere has to come to this guy’s defense. It might as well be me.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage

According to a story in the Portland Press Herald, this guy remarked at a Maine Republican Party fundraiser on Aug. 12 that Barack Obama could have been the best president ever if he’d only highlighted his biracial heritage, but that Obama couldn’t do that because he “hates white people.”

OK, that’s kind of disgusting. Let’s read on:

The governor made the comment during a Maine Republican Party fundraiser on Aug. 12 at the home of John and Linda Fortier in Belgrade. According to the invitation, the fundraiser was a “meet and greet” for LePage and first lady Ann LePage, and an opportunity to meet Rick Bennett, the new party chairman.

OK . . . people with brains should be furious about this, if LePage said it.

But note that I said “if.” That’s because . . .

NOBODY WILL GO ON THE RECORD SAYING HE DID.

That’s what’s really disgusting here. LePage’s accusers, according to the Press Herald, are “two state lawmakers who say they heard the remark directly,” but who don’t have the cojones to reveal their names.

The lawmakers, both Republicans, confirmed the comment when asked by a Portland Press Herald reporter but asked that their names be withheld for fear of political retribution. 

So what we have here is a guy who is essentially being called a racist by two snakes who swear he said it but who don’t have the nerve to tell us who they are.

And it leads to stuff like this:

Image

SHOCKING REMARKS EXPOSED!!!

And this:

Image

And this:

Image

And nowhere is there an accuser willing to go on the record.

Where I come from, we call this character assassination. If you’re going to call someone a racist, then have the decency to come out from behind the curtain and let me see who you are.

So the Bronx cheer here goes to those two unidentified Maine Republican legislators who “confirmed” this story, and to the Press Herald, and to Think Progress, and to Mediate, and to MSNBC, and to anyone else who ran with it without getting someone – anyone – to go on the record.

__________

And then there’s this guy . . .

Image

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, eh?

Our guy Teddy has decided to renounce his Canadian citizenship, because why exactly? Are you somehow embarrassed that you were born there? Do you really feel that you are somehow less American if you have dual citizenship? Do you think that anyone – anyone – will seriously question your loyalty to Texas or your loyalty to the United States just because of this? . . .

Or are you renouncing your citizenship because you’re deathly afraid of what this clown might say? . . .

Teddy, renouncing your dual citizenship is silly. You’re an American. You don’t have to  do stupid stuff to prove it.

__________

And this guy . . .

Valarie (Geez, I Never Thought of That) Hodges

We’ve saved the best for last.

Our gal Val is a representative in the Louisiana legislature, and she was very supportive of a law backed by Gov. Bobby Jindal that, according to livingstonparishnews.com, “proposed, among other things, a voucher program allowing state educational funds to be used to send students to schools run by religious groups.”

But Val has changed her mind, because it has come to her attention that there is more than one religion in the world.

[S]he had no idea that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s overhaul of the state’s educational system might mean taxpayer support of Muslim schools. 

“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,” the District 64 Representative said Monday.

“I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school,” Hodges said.

Hodges mistakenly assumed that “religious” meant “Christian.” 

Really, you can’t make this stuff up.

— 30 —

Doc Gooden’s no-hitter, and how I became the World’s Greatest Dad

Image

Sooner or later, Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler will throw a no-hitter, and one thing you can put your money on here and now is that either or both won’t be with the Mets when it happens. Or that, even if they’re still wearing orange and blue, I won’t be watching. Because that’s just how we roll.

That’s how it went with Seaver, that’s how it went with Cone. It’s the story of Scott and Nomo and Humber. And it’s the story of Ryan, Ryan, Ryan, Ryan, Ryan, Ryan and Ryan.

But, remarkably, it isn’t the story of Gooden.

Pull up a chair, kids, and I’ll tell you the tale about how I happened to be watching when Doc Gooden threw a no-hitter, and how it remains the only no-hitter I ever saw. And how, if I never see another, it was good enough.

And that’s because on the night Doc Gooden thew a no-hitter, I became The Greatest Dad in the World.

Flashback to May 14, 1996, and I’m sitting in the kitchen having dinner with Linda and our younger son, Ben, who is 11 years old. (Ben’s 17-year-old brother, Josh, is AWOL, out doing whatever high school juniors do in the middle of May.)

But Ben’s in the house, and I casually say to him over our meal . . .

Hey Ben! Dwight Gooden’s pitching for the Yanks tonight. Wanna watch? Maybe he’ll pitch a no-hitter.

Yeah, I said that.

But I didn’t really mean it, because by May 1996, Doc Gooden wasn’t half the pitcher he was with the Mets a decade earlier, when he went 24-4 with a ridiculous 1.53 ERA . . . when he won the Cy Young Award at the even more ridiculous age of 20 . . . when it was said you couldn’t hit him with an ironing board . . . when Mike Lupica speculated in the Daily News that he would easily win 400 games before his career ended . . . when Ron Cey, having struck out, stood in the batter’s box, took his helmet off his head, perched it on his bat and held it aloft as he walked back to the Cubs’ dugout, explaining that he had no chance to get a hit against this guy, so he might as well use the bat as a hat rack.

Image

Back then, I set my VCR to record every game Gooden pitched, because there was no doubt that he WOULD throw a no-hitter, or two or three, and I would have it on tape to watch over and over.

But that was in 1985, the year Ben was born. Back then, Doc was the best pitcher I ever saw. But injuries and drugs took their toll over the decade that followed, and on May 14, 1996, I had no reasonable expectation that Doc still had the stuff to throw a no-hitter.

But the chance to sit on the living room couch and watch a ballgame with my son . . . That was priceless.

So I said, hey Ben, Dwight Gooden’s pitching for the Yanks tonight. Wanna watch? Maybe he’ll pitch a no-hitter.

Ben had to go to school in the morning, but he was willing, and he sat down to watch a couple of innings, until bedtime.

And so it was somewhere around the third inning that Linda came into the living room and announced, BEDTIME!

Only Doc hadn’t given up a hit yet. And Ben looked at me, and I said to Linda . . . Give it another inning or two.

And Linda came back after another inning or two, and she pronounced BEDTIME!!!, and Ben looked me, his eyes pleading, and I told Linda, give it another inning or two.

And then somewhere around the seventh inning, around 10 p.m., wayyyyyy past our fifth-grader’s bedtime, Linda come in again and said, very firmly this time . . . BEN!!!!! BEDTIME!!!!!!!

And Ben looked at me again, his eyes begging for a reprieve, and he and I had both history and baseball juju on our side, and that’s when I turned to Linda and said . . .

Linda, don’t you know about the No-Hitter Rule? (I’m putting that in caps, because it’s a seriously important rule.)

And Linda looked at me all WTF, long before they invented the word WTF, and Ben looked at me like I’d told him a lot of baseball rules, like you don’t bunt with two strikes and you don’t try to steal third with two outs, but I’d never told him about a No-Hitter Rule.

And then I proclaimed, in all caps . . .

NOBODY GOES TO BED DURING A NO-HITTER!

And Ben looked at me like I was God!

And for that fleeting moment, I was.

Ben stayed till the very end. He didn’t leave the couch until we’d seen the Yankees carry Doc off the field on their shoulders. I may never quite get over the fact that he did it in pinstripes, but he did it just the same. And I was watching.

And to this day, I’m betting Ben can tell you where he was and how it came about that he saw Doc Gooden pitch a no-hitter.

And I’m sure Ben was the yawniest kid in fifth grade on May 15, but I’ll also tell you there’s nothing he was too tired to learn in school that day that was more important than our time together the night before.

If I never see another no-hitter, that’s OK. The one Doc Gooden pitched was perfect.

— 30 —

Bronx cheer, 08/16/13

Gail Collins, America’s No. 1 columnist (no dearth of opinions here, folks), pointed out this week that there’s something about August.

She’ll get no argument here. How else can you explain all the Bronx cheer this week?

Let’s start with these guys:

 Image

The Crack Cartographers at MSNBC

And I’ll have whatever crack they’re smoking, because I’ve always wanted to drive from Syracuse to Buffalo in 20 minutes, and it’s really, really hard to come up with a map like the one above when you have five letters in your name and two of them – MS – stand for Microsoft.

Memo to MSNBC’s mapmakers: Next time, Bing it.

__________

And then there’s this guy:

Image

The Crack Graphicsmaker at NBC-NY

OK, I’ve gotten used to Temperature Humidity Index, Feels Like, Heat Factor, Wind Chill …

But Sweat Factor?!?! Who’s the brainiac who came up with this one?

__________

And then there’s the guy who came up with this:

 Image

Memo to H&M:

New York is a city that never sleeps. It’s a concrete jungle where dreams are made. But one thing it isn’t is a cheap billboard location.

The picture above is an artist’s rendition of what will be a blight on my city’s skyline. As my mom would say:

Feh!

__________

And then there’s this guy:

Image

Jack (Scruples Be Damned) Clark

Jack was a terrific ballplayer once, but now he’s just a bitter old man who comes up way short on the human decency scale. Jack, who does a radio show in St. Louis, decided to announce to the world that he knows “for a fact” that Albert Pujols used to do steroids, and that Justin Verlander probably did, too.

And Jack has irrefutable proof: Somebody told him.

It’s sad but true that athletes are guilty until proven innocent these days when it comes to PEDs, and that there’s really no way to prove innocence. Jack knows this, and he should know better than to throw about accusations based on hearsay.

Pujols, a future Hall of Famer, is suing Jack. I hope he’s clean, and I hope he takes The Ripper to the cleaners.

__________

And then there’s this guy . . .

Image

The Clown at the Missouri State Fair Rodeo

There are folks out there who think this is cute. Folks who think it’s funny. Folks who don’t understand that this caricature is racist . . . and that if this is how you perceive your president, then you’re a bigot, plain and simple. How can there still be a place for this sort of thing in what Dick Young used to call “My America”?

Watch, and try not to throw up:

What’s more . . . According to the video embedded in this writeup by NPR, the radio announcer is a superintendent of schools.

Weep for the children.

__________

And then there’s this guy:

Image

Child Support Magistrate LuAnn (I’ll Show You Your First Amendment) Ballew

Our gal LuAnn, who serves the 4th Judicial District in Tennessee, presided over a court hearing regarding the last name of a 7-month-old boy. Seems the kid’s mom and dad couldn’t agree on a name for this kid . . .

Image

. . . and the case, not the baby, wound up in LuAnn’s lap.

So LuAnn did what any right-thinking judge would do. She considered all the facts, weighed both sides and decided what the baby’s last name should be.

And then she went off the rails. She also changed the baby’s first name, which neither mommy nor daddy had a problem with.

The parents had named their baby “Messiah,” and LuAnn would have none of that. “Messiah,” she ruled, “is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.”

She ordered that the baby’s name be changed to Martin DeShawn McCullough.

According to WBIR:

[The boy’s mother] responded saying, “I was shocked. I never intended on naming my son Messiah because it means God and I didn’t think a judge could make me change my baby’s name because of her religious beliefs.”

According to Judge Ballew, it is the first time she has ordered a first name change. She said the decision is best for the child, especially while growing up in a county with a large Christian population.

“It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is,” Judge Ballew said.

Now THAT, folks, is an activist judge.

__________

And then there’s this guy . . .

 Image

Bryan (Making Crap Up for God) Fischer

Bad News Bryan is “director of issues analysis” for the hate group also known as the American Family Association, and one of the issues this clown analyzed this week is this well-known photo:

Image

Bryan has analyzed this picture every which way, and he announced on his radio show this week that he has come to the irrefutable conclusion that . . .

“If you go look at that picture, I believe the odds are good that [Barack Obama] was Photoshopped.

“Look at the size of his head compared to the size of the head of everyone else standing in the room. Even people standing in the back of the room; their heads are bigger than his head.”

Watch for yourself . . . Start paying attention at the 3-minute mark:

Fischer observes that Obama’s head is “teeny-tiny” in the picture, something a pinhead could easily conclude.

So here’s a big Bronx cheer for you, Bryan, for your latest contribution to the American conversation. Because what this country really needs most right now is another ridiculous conspiracy theory.

__________

And while we’re on the subject of way-beyond-ultra-right-wing wackos, let’s give it up for this guy, the biggest Bronx cheer of the week . . .

 Image

Peter (There’s a Gay Hiding Under Every Rock) LaBarbera

Our Boy Petey, according to his bio, “is president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH; www.aftah.org), a Chicago-based organization dedicated to exposing and opposing the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) activist movement,” and it’s pretty funny that the screengrab above shows him on Fox News, because it’s highly unlikely he’ll be making any return appearances soon.

Petey, you see, has decided that Fox News has become far too left-wing for his taste. In fact, according to Petey, Fox News is taking the lead in promoting the dastardly homosexual agenda, and he’s written a 92-page (!!!!) hate screed that bears the title:

Unfair, Unbalanced and Afraid:
Fox News’ Growing Pro-Homosexual Bias
and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association

That’s right, folks . . . Petey says Fox News is leading the media pack that is guiding America down the path to rampant homosexuality, and he picks apart every Fox News personality, exposing each and every one to be a lily-livered, rainbow-covered, Prius-driving gay sympathizer. Take that, O’Reilly!

And the worst of the bunch? None other than the devil herself . . .

drudge-theres-about-to-be-a-huge-shakeup-at-fox-news

Megyn Kelly, who LaBarbera says “has emerged as a committed pro-‘gay’ advocate. She is a valuable media ally for homosexual and transgender activists, who routinely tout her on-air pro-LGBT advocacy.”

Yeah. Megyn Kelly.

That’s all for today, folks. My head is exploding.

— 30 —

It’s 2013, time to bury ‘Redskins’

Image

Two pantheons of sports journalism, Slate and Mother Jones, took the bold move this week of announcing that they would no longer refer to the National Football League team that plays in Washington, D.C., as the “Redskins.”

The move was both silly and self-serving, because . . . well . . .

Slate? Mother Jones?

Yeah, they’re the first places I go when I want to bone up on my football.

But there’s one other thing worth mentioning here . . .

They were right.

So it’s time to press for a few other outlets – more important outlets – to take the same bold step. Are you listening, ESPN? Can you hear me, Sports Illustrated? Do I have your attention yet, NBC and Fox and CBS and ABC? How about it, Washington Post?

Listen up, guys . . . History be damned, it’s time to abandon what is, in fact, a horribly racist name.

On March 13, 1994, The New York Times published an op-ed piece by Tim Giago, the founder of the Lakota Times, the first independently owned Native American newspaper in the U.S.

It was a wonderful, eye-opening op-ed . . . so much so that I stashed a photocopy in my briefcase. Nineteen years later, it’s still there.

Sadly, I can’t find it on the Times website, which is a shame because the link really should go to the original.

But Illinois Sen. Paul Simon found it as moving as I did, and he entered it into the Congressional Record, which appears to be pretty much the only place you can read it now. So read it:

Drop the Chop! Indian Nicknames Just Aren’t Right

“Redskins” is a word that should remind every American there was a time in our history when America paid bounties for human beings. There was a going rate for the scalps or hides of Indian men, women and children. These “redskins” trophies could be sold to most frontier trading posts. Along with coon skins, beaver skins and bear skins, the selling of “redskins” was also profitable.

On a recent radio talk show, I spoke with a young lady who had been a cheerleader for a team called the “Indians.” She said, “When I put on my feathers and war paint, donned my buckskins and beads, I felt I was honoring Indians.” I asked her, “If your team was called the African-Americans and you painted your face black, put on an Afro wig and donned a dashiki and then danced around singing songs and making noises you thought to be African, would you be honoring blacks?” Her answer was “No! Of course not! That would be insulting to them.” End of discussion.

That’s just a snippet. Read the whole piece. It speaks volumes, and it’s why I’ve been carrying that faded photocopy around for 19 years.

The key question Giago raised, which was brought up again this week, is:

If you were naming a team today, would you name it the Redskins?

If your answer is no, how can you tolerate keeping the name?

If your answer is yes, how would you feel about the Berlin Maccabees? The Birmingham Negroes?

This isn’t political correctness. It’s just correctness. It shouldn’t be so hard to do the right thing.

Change the damn name. Just do it. It’ll be OK.

Bronx cheer, 08/09/13

What exactly was it – August heat? Heavy rain? – that pulled so many bottom-feeders up to the surface this week?

And how do we get them to crawl back into the hole they came out of?

Herewith, a big Bronx cheer to the many bigots who made the world a much less pleasant place this week. (You know this is serious, because I used the word “herewith.”)

It hasn’t been a beautiful day in my neighborhood, so let’s start with these guys:

Image

Say hello to Shashi Ramsaroop, 23; Lindsey Peaks, 20; and Demetrius Latrell Toraine, 19, who have been charged in a paintball attack on a Hasidic Jew in Kaser, N.Y.

According to the Journal News,

A paintball attack against a Hasidic resident by a man who said he was going to “Monsey to shoot Jews,” police said, took place in a town already rife with tension between religious and secular communities.

No, I didn’t write that lede. But let’s move on…

The victim, Josef Margaretten, 35, suffered minor injuries and three suspects were taken into custody and charged with a hate crime almost immediately after the attack….

Margaretten and another man were leaning against a car … Wednesday when a vehicle drove up and a man pointed what looked like a black rifle at them from the passenger window, Ramapo Sgt. Sal Matos said.

Five or six shots were fired from the car, with Margaretten hit twice and the car struck three or four times, Matos said….

Matos said Margaretten and [another] man said they heard someone yell a racial slur as the car drove past.

There’s some bad stuff going down in the town of Ramapo, which is in the county of Rockland, N.Y., which is where I live. Most notably, the East Ramapo Central School District has been severely cutting programs for the overwhelmingly black and Latino public school population. And seven of nine school board members are Orthodox Jews who send their kids to yeshivas.

It’s an ugly situation. But it won’t be solved if people decide to assault others on the basis of their race or religion.

Ramsaroop, Peaks and Toraine are awaiting trial, so we won’t presume guilt. But if it turns out that they are, in fact, the ones who did this, then let’s hope the state throws the book at them.

And yes . . . If three Hasidic Jews in their 20s shot paintballs at a man of color and shouted racial epithets at him, the opinion here would be the same: Throw the bigots in a hole. That’s where they belong.

__________

And then there are the guys who did this . . .

Image

and this . . .

Image

to this . . .

Image

What kind of cretin scrawls “nigger,” “Hitler” and a swastika on a statue that depicts Pee Wee Reese putting his arm around Jackie Robinson? In Brooklyn, no less.

Ira Berkow wrote a wonderful piece about this statue in the New York Times eight years ago, and it’s well worth reading.

We’ve learned a lot about Jackie Robinson this year, thanks to an inspiring but otherwise bland movie called “42,” the message of which is much better than the film itself. And it speaks to why this sort of thing is as hideous as hideous gets.

Kudos to the New York Daily News for this wood:

Image

That pretty much sums it up. Ten thousand bucks to turn the racist scum in. Worth every penny.

__________

And then there are these guys:

Hundreds protest Obama outside Phoenix high school

Hundreds of protesters wielded signs, chanted slogans and argued with each other Tuesday outside Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, while President Barack Obama spoke about housing and the economy inside.

Students, activists, curiosity-seekers and motorcade-junkies, some from as far away as California and Black Canyon City, thronged the sidewalks as rain drizzled from gray skies.

We’re OK so far, guys. You don’t like Obama. I get that. You want to protest. I get that, too. This is America; you’re entitled.

But here’s what I don’t get . . .

Obama foes at one point sang, “Bye Bye Black Sheep,” a derogatory reference to the president’s skin color, while protesters like Deanne Bartram raised a sign saying, “Impeach the Half-White Muslim!”

And then there’s 77-year-old Chandler, Ariz., resident Ron Enderle, who explained his opposition to the president with this clever remark:

He’s 47 percent Negro.

Hmmmm. So now we know what at least some of you guys really are. You’re not protesters. You’re bigots.

__________

And then there’s this guy:

Trudie (I’m Not Saying They All Look Alike, but …) Goetz

Our gal Trudie is the owner of a “high-end” (that’s putting it mildly) boutique called Trois Pomme in Zurich, Switzerland, and her shop is getting some attention right now because one of her shopkeepers, who fortunately has gone unnamed, decided not to “hurt the feelings” of a woman in her store.

According to CBS News, a black woman asked Trudie’s employee if she could look at a handbag worth a cool $40,000, and the shopkeeper told her, “No. It’s too expensive.”

The black woman “asked to see the bag at least two more times, but the shopkeeper refused to take it off the shelf and suggested other, cheaper bags instead.”

The black woman persisted:

“One more time, I tried. I said, ‘But I really do just want to see that one,’ and the shopkeeper said, ‘Oh, I don’t want to hurt your feelings,’ and I said, ‘Okay, thank you so much. You’re probably right, I can’t afford it.’ 

Meet the black woman:

alg-oprah-winfrey-jpg

Ummm . . . Oops. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and bet the house that this woman not only can afford the $40,000 handbag, but that she can also buy the entire boutique. With cash.

But hey, mistakes happen. What compounds the matter is that Goetz blamed it on “the assistant’s failure to recognize Winfrey.”

“We don’t have any facial recognition here,” Goetz was quoted as saying.

So, in other words . . .

We’d certainly let Oprah Winfrey look at the bag, if only we had face recognition and knew who that black woman was. But the average black woman? Well . . . We don’t want to hurt your feelings.

__________

And then there’s this guy:

banister

Stephanie (I’m Forrest Gump, Without the Wisdom) Banister

Our gal Stephanie, the 27-year-old One Nation party candidate for parliament in Australia,  thinks Islam is a country and Jews are secret Christians.

At least, that’s what she said in a recent interview:

I don’t oppose Islam as a country, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia.

She also said:

”Jews aren’t under haram, they have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ.” 

OK . . . Maybe I’m going too far here. I really need to consider the possibility that Banister isn’t a bigot. But I’m left with only one other explanation:

She’s a moron.

I predict a bright political future.

__________

And the winner is . . . The biggest Bronx cheer of all goes to . . .

1098030_10150317192429963_1011948862_n

Mike (I Play Bass Guitar, So I Must Be a Good Guy) Huckabee

Musician, preacher, governor, presidential wannabe.

And bigot.

Listen to what affable old Huck said on his radio show on Monday:

I know we’re not supposed to say anything unkind about Islam. I mean, it’s politically incorrect. I get that. But can someone explain to me why it is that we tiptoe around a religion that promotes the most murderous mayhem on the planet in their so-called ‘holiest days?

You know, if you’ve kept up with the Middle East, you know that the most likely time to have an uprising of rock throwing and rioting comes on the day of prayer on Friday. So the Muslims will go to the mosque, and they will have their day of prayer, and they come out of there like uncorked animals – throwing rocks and burning cars.”

That’s right. Uncorked animals.

That’s what the preacher man said.

And the reason this guy is the worst of the bunch is that he wants to be president of the United States, and there are millions of Americans who would vote for him.

Bronx cheer, indeed.

— 30 —

From Bunning to Santana, 50 years of hard luck

Image

Pull up a chair, kids, and I’ll tell you about Father’s Day in 1964, and my 40th college reunion 48 years later, and how you have to be in the right place at the right time, and how the planets have to align just right, if you want to witness a no-hitter.

We start on Father’s Day, 1964, a miserably hot day in early June, and way back before the average joe was enjoying the luxury of central air conditioning. We lived in a small attached home — kitchen, dining room and living room downstairs; three small bedrooms upstairs – in Brooklyn.

My room was on the top floor, facing west. Let the sun shine in.

And it did. It shone unbearably hot, and the window fan was very effective at drawing in the furnace-level heat from outside.

But there was an air conditioner in the house – down the hall in my parents’ room – and it was calling to me. Come boy, come sit in this room. It’s cool in here.

I had a black-and-white TV in my room, and I had the Phillies-Mets game on. And Jim Bunning — great pitcher, lousy senator — was throwing bullets. And he mowed down the first nine Mets he faced. He was going to throw a perfect game, for sure. And I would be watching, if I could survive the heat.

But that AC down the hall kept calling. Come, boy. Come sit in this room. Why roast in a 100-plus-degree room when it’s cool over here on the other side of the hallway?

I was sweating more in my bedroom than Bunning was on the mound.

And I succumbed to the voice.

I walked into my parents’ room, where my dad, my mom and my 10-year-old sister were watching some godawful, sickly sweet, child-appropriate movie on TV, probably an old Shirley Temple film.

“DAD!!!” I announced, interrupting a snoring event from his side of the bed. “Jim Bunning’s pitching a perfect game!!!!” (I may have forgotten to mention that the game was only three innings old.)

I don’t remember if my dad opened his eyes, but my mom and my sister shot me a look that told me in an instant that there would be no changing the channel on THAT television. You have your own TV in your own bedroom, Stephen. We have permitted you to have one in your room so that you can watch your stupid baseball games there while we watch our child-appropriate fluff in here.

You want to watch the ballgame? Go to your room.

This was a true dilemma: I could suffer heat stroke in my room watching what inevitably would turn out to be just another Mets loss to a fine pitcher . . . or I could sit in a delightfully cool room bored out of my mind as my sister enjoyed some horrible child-friendly movie.

I chose poorly. I sat down and stewed in a cool room, and it wasn’t until a few hours later that I learned that Bunning had, in fact, pitched a perfect game.

Yeah, I missed it. And in so doing, because that’s how the baseball juju works, I also set a precedent. Little did I know at the time that Bunning’s perfect game was just batting practice for my lifetime of either missing no-hitters or watching intently until the last moment, when some nobody would break one up. Either way, I would never get to see one.

I was hosting a July 4 backyard barbecue in 1983 when the Yankees’ Dave Righetti no-hit the Red Sox. Missed it.

I wasn’t watching 10 years later when the Yanks’ Jim Abbott no-hit the Indians, an unbelievable feat considering that he had only one hand.

I wasn’t watching when David Wells, battling a hangover, threw a perfect game against the Twins in 1998.

I do remember that I was at work one year later when David Cone was perfect against the Expos, and I had to quickly re-design the front page of the Journal News. So, yeah, I missed that one, too.

I ignored a screaming bladder in 1969 for about five innings so as not to disturb the juju when Tom Seaver took a perfect game into the ninth inning against the Cubs, only to see my chances go down in flames when somebody named Jimmy Qualls — the immortal Jimmy Qualls — dunked a ball into the outfield to break it up.

Seaver finally pitched one for Cincinnati, but, of course, you couldn’t see it in New York.

Nolan Ryan threw seven no-nos. But he threw them all after he left the Mets, and I saw none of them.

Sandy Koufax had four, but he threw them all for the LA Dodgers, not the Brooklyn Dodgers, and I saw none of them.

I set my VCR to record every game Dwight Gooden pitched for a couple of years because Doc, in 1985, was the best pitcher I ever saw, and surely he would throw a no-hitter or three while I wasn’t watching.

But it wasn’t to be. Not with the Mets.

Johan-Santana-throws-no-hitter

I suffered 50 years waiting for somebody on the Mets, to throw a no-hitter. And when they got Johan Santana, I figured it just might happen. So, of course, when it finally did, I couldn’t watch. It came on June 1, 2012, and I was in Geneva, N.Y., at my 40th college reunion, hoisting a beer with old friends at an official reception when I got a text message from my son, Ben, informing me that Santana had a no-hitter going after eight innings.

There was not a TV to be found. I waited 50 years to “watch” the last three outs on my iPhone, pitch-by-pitch. It’s an interesting way to watch a game, but it’s just not the same.

And that’s the way it has gone. If you want to throw a no-hitter, make sure Bromberg isn’t watching.

With one exception. Stay tuned.