Archived April 30, 2000


Virgil Sweetmouth
by Amos Carr Brinkley. Freshwater Press. Portland, ME. 2000. 355 pages.

Amos Carr Brinkley's fourth novel is a weird tale about a baseball player who gets banned from the sport for immoral behavior. Specifically, Virgil Sweetmouth, ace southpaw of the Messalina Misters, gets caught in bed with a young girl. A scandal erupts and the official baseball world bans Virgil from the sport forever. By the way, this all takes place in the future, some 200 years from now.

Virgil's transgression has nothing to do with the age of the young woman (she is fifteen) but rather with the type of activity he was engaging in. In the future, professional male athletes are not permitted to engage in the erotic ritual of cunnilingus. It is considered a sissy form of sexual behavior for men. In this brave nude world of the future (I forgot to mention that baseball games are played by naked players) the rules and protocols of sexual behavior have been very carefully codified. Athletes are the only individuals authorized to engage in gratuitous (i.e. not for species reproduction) sex.

All of this weirdness is more or less just a front for a rather strange discussion about masculinity and femininity. Brinkley's imagination is going at full tilt: In the baseball games of the future women with small breasts are the umpires; men with large penises are the pitchers; fans are from the elite "voyeur class" and scopophilia is considered an advanced and sophisticated disposition.

This is a dense book about the dialectics between the active and the passive, the male and the female, the fast ball and the curve ball. I liked it but I don't think many others will.

-- by Ellen Fitzgerald

Anarcho-Modernism: Essays on the After-Culture
by Sarah Benoit. Compass Books. Cambridge, MA. 2000. 180 pages.

Sarah Benoit, a modern language professor at the Hilton School of Arts & Sciences, seems intent on coining a term to describe the period that comes after the post-modern. Since there is general disagreement on what the "post-modern" is, you can be sure that her ideas will be controversial.

The book consists of three long inter-related essays on Advertising, Pornography and Love. Ms. Benoit is obviously a well-read individual and I am sure she is an astute and effective teacher, but her essays are, to put it bluntly, convoluted.

Like others before her she blames modern advertising for rampant cynicism and the decay of morality. She invokes the economist Robert Heilbroner when she calls advertising the "single most value-destroying activity of a business civilization." When all spiritual matter has been converted to capitalist fodder the resulting moral vacuum prepares the way for "anarcho-modernist" thought and action.

A culture devoid of absolutes, muses Benoit, can tolerate such cultural detritus as pornography. Benoit sees pornography as a symptom of a society that has lost its definition of beauty. To her credit she does not get hung up in the feminist spider web of porn-as-sexist-exploitation. Instead she sees pornography as a substitute for the real and meaningful connections obtained in human relationships. The advertisers boast that their products will help establish those connections...brighter and whiter teeth, larger or smaller breasts, stronger arms, flatter guts, cooler pants and sexy cars...these are the things that people, endlessly manipulated by seductive imagery, will need to actually meet someone and fall in love. Because the claims are false, the frustrated citizen turns to real images of make-believe human intercourse. Degradation of the self and others soon follows as a vent for the loveless who are furious at being duped and unloved.

In her essay on love, the shortest of the three, Benoit simply argues that "love in the anarcho-modern world will be limited to a small elite group of priests and priestesses." Slowly love will find its base back in the circle of biological necessity. This means that in the anarcho-modernist universe, lovers will only fall in love to make love for the purpose of creating other lovers.

The main problem throughout the book is Benoit's insistence on calling something that already has a name with a new name. Even though there is no firm consensus on just exactly what the "post-modern" is, it is still pure pretense to think that a new name can be coined to define a concept that does not differ from its predecessor in any clearly defined way. It turns out that Benoit has conjured up a name for a phenomenon that already has a name.

--by Adele Myerson

[April 17, 2000]

Signs of the Major League Managers
Manager TEAM Sun Sign Chinese Sign
Alou Felipe Montreal Taurus Pig
Baker Dusty San Francisco Gemini Ox
Baylor Don Chicago-NL Cancer Ox
Bell Buddy Colorado Virgo Rabbit
Bochy Bruce San Diego Aries Goat
Boles John Florida Leo Rat
Cox Bobby Atlanta Gemini Snake
Dierker Larry Houston Virgo Dog
Francona Terry Philadelphia Taurus Pig
Garner Phil Detroit Taurus Ox
Hargrove Mike Baltimore Scorpio Ox
Hoffman Glenn Los Angeles Cancer Dog
Howe Art Oakland Sagittarius Dog
Johnson Tim Toronto Cancer Ox
Kelly Tom Minnesota Leo Tiger
Lamont Gene Pittsburgh Capricorn Dog
LaRussa Tony St. Louis Libra Monkey
Lopes Davey Milwaukee Taurus Dog
Manuel Jerry Chicago-AL Capricorn Snake
Manuel Chuck Cleveland Capricorn Monkey
McKeon Jack Cincinnati Scorpio Horse
Muser Tony Kansas City Leo Pig
Oates Johnny Texas Aquarius Dog
Piniella Lou Seattle Virgo Goat
Rothschild Larry Tampa Bay Pisces Horse
Sciosia Mike Anaheim Sagittarius Dog
Showalter Buck Arizona Gemini Monkey
Torre Joe New York-AL Cancer Dragon
Valentine Bobby New York-NL Taurus Tiger
Williams Jimy Boston Libra Goat


New Season 2000 Cosmic Teams
A team of numbers, a team of Muslims and civil rights advocates, and a team of motion vehicles represent the three new teams competing in the Underleague this season. The Underleague in recent years has become more and more competitive. New teams aren't given the luxury of three and four seasons to get on track. In the recent past teams that don't do well get deactivated sometimes after just one season. So enjoy these teams while you can.

Numeral City Numbers
The Numbers represent interesting numbers including Ted Williams' 1946 batting average (.406), the square root of 2 (1.4142135) and the police radio code for indecent exposure (311). The team is managed by Fibonacci (also known as Leonardo of Pisa). Fibonacci is well known for lending his name to a certain sequence of numbers, the "Fibonacci Sequence." 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, ..., -- see the pattern? (Add the last two to get the next or F(1) = 1, F(2) = 1, and F(n) = F(n-1) + F(n-2) for n = 3, 4, 5, ... ). Whether or not Fibonacci's facility with numbers will translate into effective field management will be one of the fascinating things to watch as this Underleague team kicks off its rookie season in cosmic baseball. Click Here for the Official Team Roster.

Allahville Shabazzers
The Shabazzers represent individuals associated with the American religious organization known as the Nation of Islam and with people associated with the civil rights activist Malcolm X, who owns the team. The men accused of killing Malcolm X are on the roster and so is his wife and the one-time spiritual leader of the Nation of Islam Elijah Muhammad. The team is managed by Louis Farrakhan who has, in the past, been linked to the assassination of Malcolm X. Today Farrakhan is more widely recognized as the charismatic leader of the Nation of Islam and the organizer of the Million Man March in Washington D.C. in 1996. Both Farrakhan and Malcolm X have been cosmic baseball players. Malcolm X was a thirdbaseman for 11 seasons (1989-1999) with the Psychedelphia Woodsox, CBA's Middleleague team of 1960s personalities. Farrakhan played secondbase first for the Bhutan Vanguards (1991-1993) in the Middleleague and then with the Paradise Pisces (1994-1998) in the Overleague. Whether or not the tension between the owner and the field manager will interfere or motivate the players on the field is one of those questions only the unfolding of the season can answer. Click Here for the Official Team Roster .

Speed City Velocitors
The Velocitors are a team of vehicles significant to the history of transportation, representing five millennia of human endeavor on land, on the sea, and in the air. The team is owned by the wheel, a legendary figure in transportation circles. The general manager is the internal combustion engine, the power source for most vehicles currently in operation. The Panama Canal and Appian Way serve as coach and field manager respectively. The Velocitors are the charge of Angela Gunn, a journalist occasionally in motion and generally at rest at She spends much of her spare time listening for train whistles and seeking passage on the legendary slow boat to China. Click Here for the Official Team Roster .

[April 1, 2000]

April 2000 Archive
April 18
Protests Postpone Game
The Washington Presidents had to postpone their game against the Wonderland Warriors yesterday because demonstrators in Washington, D.C., protesting against the International Monetary Fund (IMF), obstructed access to LaFayette Park where the Presidents play their home games.

The demonstrators, who are against economic globalization, blame institutions like the IMF and the World Bank for perpetuating the "rich get richer while the poor get poorer" paradigm. This anti-globalization movement, which received notable international attention last year in Seattle, Washington has become a most visible protest group reminding observers of the civil rights, free speech, and anti-war protests of the 1960s.

While LaFayette Park itself remained relatively free of demonstrations, the various streets used by fans and players to get there were blockaded by a combination of police and demonstrators making travel to the game impossible. The team issued rainchecks to ticketholders and rescheduled the game for July 20.

April 13
Mothers Scout Marisleysis
Motherland Mothers General Manager Gabrielle Kerouac has confirmed rumors that the team has sent scouts to Miami's "Little Havana" to look at Marisleysis Gonzalez. The Mothers, who compete in the Cosmic Baseball Association's Underleague, are considering Marisleysis for a spot on the team's 2001 roster.

Gonzalez, a young infield prospect, is currently enmeshed in the controversy surrounding her nephew Elian Gonzalez. According to media reports Marisleysis has become Elian's surrogate mother (his biological mother perished in the sea while escaping Cuba en route to the United States.) This fact clears the way for the Mothers to consider Marisleysis for their team. To play for the Motherland Mothers a player must be the mother of a notable individual.

Little is known about Marisleysis' baseball background but her Cuban heritage certainly helps. Cuba is well-known for its baseball passions. It also helps that her first name includes the name of a former notable American baseball player.

It is unlikely that any decision will be made until the disposition of her nephew is finalized. However, as of this writing, it appears Elian will return to Cuba with his father. While this fact may displease Marisleysis and her family members, we believe the young boy should be with his father. Politics is not the issue here; a father's love for his son is the compelling concern. It is also possible that with Elian's departure, Marisleysis might have more time to devote to her cosmic baseball career, if the Mothers do in fact sign her.

April 10
This is one of the oldest rivalries at the Cosmic Baseball Association: Dragons (musicians) and Vanguards (artists). Off the cosmic field of play there is plenty of intercourse and friendship but on the field these two teams are serious and competitive adversaries. Want to know more?

April 7
Bill Gates Will Stay
There was some speculation that starting rightfielder Bill Gates would be released by the Heartland Capitalists (CBA's team of business people) so that he could devote his undivided attention to the legal woes that currently beset his Microsoft Corporation. Gates is Chairman of the mammoth software company that has been convicted of violating U.S. anti-trust laws. Capitalist field manager Ayn Rand told reporters that the team is not considering removing Gates from the roster nor has Gates requested a release.
April 3
Lineup Animations Slow Down
Beginning this month the Starting Lineup animations that appear on each 2000 cosmic team roster will be slowed down so that the various player images can be more easily recognized. The current rate of 1/10th of a second will be increased to 1 second per frame.

April 2
March Website Stats
This table shows the top website pages ("plates") in terms of the number of "hits" for the month ended March 31, 2000.

April 2
David Kammerer 2000 Plate
David Kammerer was the Dharma Beats' first round pick in the 1999 Rookie Draft. Now he's made it to the pitching staff. Kammerer was the unfortunate soul who died in Riverside Park New York in the early morning hours of August 13, 1944 at the hands of his friend Lucien Carr. Kammerer's death is one of the seminal events associated with the birth of the Beat Generation. Want to know more?

April 1
Numbers Look at Future Picks
The Numeral City Numbers are already looking forward to next season. Realizing that their offense is weak in a league where offense is dominant the Numbers are looking at three candidates from the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The DSM is used to categorize the various psychological ailments confronted by doctors. The three hopefuls are the diagnostic codes 300.3 (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), 301.81 (Narcisisstic Personality Disorder) and 309.81 (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.) Numeral City's field manager Leonardo Fibonacci explained that the interest in these three players had to do with the hope that the order of their integers could be an omen of potential batting average.

April 1
Numata Show Shut Down
Jessie Numata's photography show "Nudes Transcending a Stare" has been closed down because it offended members of an Ohio community. Numata is a senior graphic designer at the Cosmic Baseball Association. Her show which opened on Saturday March 25 at the Leo Losanti Gallery near Cincinnati created a firestorm of controversy from the minute the doors opened to the public. Gallery owner Leo Losanti told news reporters on Thursday that he had no choice but to take the show down or face fines and/or imprisonment. The exhibition consists of 24 pieces called "stares" depicting women in various erotic poses. Eight pieces were judged to be obscene by local authorities.

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Archived: April 30, 2000
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