Thursday, March 23, 2006

Penguins to send envoy to Washington

22 March, 2006 (Washington, D.C.): Faced with slumping poll numbers, sectarian violence in Iraq, and faltering support within his own party, President Bush has announced plans for an expedition to Antarctica after he leaves office in 2009. Inspired by the one-hundredth anniversary of Republican President Theodore Roosevelt's post-presidency African safari in 1909, Bush will seek to make legacy for himself as he searches Antarctica for evidence of a global climate shift. "We're gonna get to the bottom of this global climate shift business," said the embattled president in a recent press conference.
It is unclear what the president hopes to find in Antarctica but sources close to the White House believe he will be searching for evidence of rising sea levels, holes in the ozone layer, and the possible whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden. When asked if he believed that the Al Qaeda leader was hiding in Antarctica the president said, "Well, he's probably in the last place you'd think to look."
A recent CIA report as well as recovered letters from Saddam Hussein suggest that before the Iraq invasion the Russian military in conjunction with a Malaysian Al Qaeda cell helped Hussein move his weapons of mass destruction to the Russian research station of Moldezhnaya in the Australian claim of Antarctica. Sources in the Pentagon believe that Osama Bin Laden may be hiding in a "Fortress of Solitude" and operating terrorist training camps deep in the Antarctic desert. One official stated, "He's gotta be somewhere."

Monday, March 13, 2006

The WBC: The True World Series
[Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Globalization]

As I - an Anglo-Irish-Japanese-American living in the Chihuahua Desert - drank my Mexican beer and watched the U.S. squeak past Team Japan in a Round 2 thriller in the World Baseball Classic, I couldn't help but be thankful for globalization. While the forces of free market capitalism will inevitably force economically inferior nations to compete with economic juggernauts like the United States & China, homogenize world culture, and destroy landmarks to make way for Wal-Marts; we can now enjoy the excitement of international baseball competition.
Unfortunately, the tournament has had its detractors and interest going into the event appeared low. Several stars decided to back out of the tournament to concentrate on the regular season and some owners like George Steinbrenner have criticized the event in the press. The lack of support for the event is likely to blame for low morale and the shameful defeat of the Americans at the hands of our socialist neighbors to the north. America may not be taking the event seriously but the other nations involved are. Team Japan has even called the tournament soft for employing a pitch count and a mercy rule. Japan, by the way, had their first two games against Chinese Taipei [China] and China [Red China] end early by mercy rule after they ran up the score in each. Team China was subsequently sent to the Gulag after their poor performance.
The surprise team is definitely Team Korea. Korea stunned the Pacific Rim with their upset victory over heavily favored Japan. Undefeated in Pool A, Korea moved on to the second round where they shocked Team Mexico in 2 - 1 victory. Most players in this tournament are playing for national pride. American Major League players play for fame and fortune but what do the Koreans play for? In a recent interview, the president of the Korean Baseball Organization, Shin Sang-woo, said that he had asked the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to release the players from their obligation to serve in the military if Korea makes it into the top four teams in the World Baseball Classic (1). In Korea, all males in good health must serve two years in the military. Exceptions are made, however, for athletes on the state team that win in international events such as the Olympics. Although it is still uncertain if they will be excused from service, they are still playing hard. It's truly do or die for Team Korea.
Despite our upset loss to Canada, Team USA can still win the whole thing. Should the United States break into the finals of the tournament they will play one of the many talented teams from Latin America. One potential contender is the Communist island nation of Cuba. Initially banned from the tournament, Cuba advanced to the second round and could threaten to win it all. A championship game between the United States and Cuba would be historic. The last battle of the Cold War will be fought on the diamond. If this is the outcome, I believe George Bush should offer Castro - whose son is a trainer for Team Cuba - a friendly wager: If Cuba wins the U.S. will pull out of Guantanamo Bay; if the United States wins Cuba will depose Castro and abandon Communism. That's seems like a reasonable bet.
America needs a victory in the World Baseball Classic. I fear that there has been a dangerous decline in America's sports hegemony since the U.S. came in a disgraceful third in Olympic basketball. We invented basketball and now the Argentinians have the title, are we going to allow foreigners - possibly Communist foreigners - to take baseball from us too? It's all downhill for America if we lose respect in the global sports community. Support the World Baseball Classic, democracy depends on it.