Published on: March 24, 2006
So Barry Bonds is suing the authors of the new book about his alleged steroid use, “Game of Shadows,” saying that they illegally obtained grand jury testimony in writing the tome.
The suit does not accuse them of lying about his steroid use. Which might have been a little more problematic to prove.
Note to Bonds: In the past, the law has held that reporters are not guilty of anything when printing grand jury testimony, unless they obtained it by illegal means (like breaking and entering).
But the suit really isn’t about accuracy, or the truth. It’s about throwing up a smoke screen so maybe, just maybe, people will stop looking at Bonds like the shameless, artificially pumped up cheat that he is.
The guess here is that it won’t work.
I’m in Anaheim, California, where I’m speaking this morning at Natural products Expo West. I’m thrilled to be here, and the folks at New Hope Media and the Natural Marketing Institute have been a pleasure to deal with.
But I have been surprised by one thing. Coming out here to mingle with all these folks dedicated to a natural and organic lifestyle, I expected to see folks who were brimming with health, striding energetically around with clear eyes and ruddy complexions. These people don’t look any healthier than me, and I don’t exactly live a natural and organic existence…
Want to hear what sounds like a wonderful jazz album? (I’m trying to teach myself about jazz, but it is going slowly. I love listening to much of it, but the subtleties elude me to this point.)
Anyway, I’ve discovered a fellow named George Cables, who plays a terrific piano (as if I am any sort of judge of such things). His album, “Looking for the Light” is alternately energetic and noirish…and it’s been a lovely addition to the old iPod.
Last night, I went to a terrific little restaurant in Orange, California – the Citrus City Grille, where I had a marvelous Chilean Sea Bass, served on a bed of asparagus risotto. I washed it down with a delightfully smooth 2004 Bearboat Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley in Northern California.
Two movies and a novel to chat about this week, all of which address the selective morality of violence from different perspectives…
“V For Vendetta” has generated a lot of discussion because of what people see as sympathy for terrorism. It takes place in a Britain of the future, when democracy has fallen victim to a leader who rules through intimidation and fear, creating a totalitarian state that somehow seems simultaneously unlikely and familiar. (The US is referred to as “the former United States,” where chaos rules because of an unnamed war and plague. Mad cow disease or avian flu, perhaps?)
The “V” of the title might be described as a terrorist, or perhaps as a freedom fighter. He is a masked man who has as his goal the destruction of the totalitarian regime, for reasons that become clear in the course of the movie. Played by Hugo Weaving, he is erudite and magnetic – if a little too verbose from time to time. He rescues and then educates an apolitical young woman, played by Natalie Portman, who serves in some ways as a proxy for the audience, allowing us to understand “V” as she does.
I expected to hate this movie, and was surprised by how much I liked it. Not that it is a perfect movie by any means, and there certainly are scenes of destruction that can make one queasy in a time when terrorism and 9-11 is still on everybody’s mind.
But uncomfortable though it may be, “V For Vendetta” actually is about ideas. Reduced to its most basic, this movie can trace its lineage to film heroes like Zorro, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, and, of course, Batman. At no point did audiences think of them as terrorists – and yet, the Spaniards who ruled California probably would have thought of Zorro as one, had the word even existed then.
“V For Vendetta” is interesting, thought provoking, and essentially political. I liked it, though I expect that a lot of people will disagree with me.
The other movie that spoke about violence from a different perspective was “A History of Violence,” the David Cronenberg movie that came out last year and starred Viggo Mortensen as a small town diner owner in Indiana who, in an unexpected burst of violence, rescues some of his customers from murderous thugs, and then has to live with adulation, a little bit of fear, and the attentions of some gangsters who believe he is a mob enforcer who disappeared 20 years ago from Philadelphia. “A History of violence” is just out on DVD, and certainly worth renting.
Again, not a perfect movie – but an interesting one, mostly because the director seems interested not so much in the history of violence, but in the repercussions – the physical destruction, for one thing, and the way in which a single act of violence can create ripples that affect everything surrounding it. An example is in how the lead character’s defense of his customers changes his teenaged son; early in the movie, the son is seen joking his way out of a confrontation with a bully, but later he resorts to violence in a similar situation. While you can abhor the act, you also can’t help but think that the bully deserved it….and it is that shift in perspective in which Cronenberg is really interested.
Robert Crais has steadily become of one of my favorite crime novelists, first with his Elvis Cole series of detective novel that explore a Los Angeles that in some ways has changed a lot and in others is exactly the same as the city where Philip Marlowe and Lew Archer plied their trade. But he has increasingly has been writing stand-alone novels that are quite good – and the latest, “Two Minute Rule,” is excellent.
The setup is simple. A lifelong criminal gets out of jail determined not to make the same mistakes that landed him in prison for most of his adult life. One of the things he wants to do is introduce himself to the son he never really knew – a son who eventually became a police officer, giving the ex-con a measure of relief that his misguided past was not being repeated by his child. But on the day he gets out of prison, the son is killed – and at least some of the evidence suggests that he was a crooked cop.
“Two Minute Rule” traces the ex-con’s search for the man who killed his son, and for the truth about how the son lived his life. Snappy, involving and an easy read, the book creates interesting characters and then lets them grow and change and even make mistakes – the kind that could get them killed.
Have a great weekend. Sláinte!!