Thursday, September 28, 2006

Suicide? No Way

By Dan Le Batard
Special to

I believe Terrell Owens. No matter how noisy this all gets. No matter how loud the voices of publicists and agents and friends and coaches and psychiatric experts and police officers rise in unison into a tower of babble. No matter how many people come to this conversation with their own baggage and their own version of the truth, which isn't the truth at all. And no matter how contradictory and complicated even the voice of T.O. can be much of the time. I believe Terrell Owens.

I've seen too many things a lot less complicated than this get confused and clouded and misdiagnosed when it comes to the very famous Terrell Owens and the spinning swirl that perpetually surrounds him. So on the subject of whether he really tried to kill himself -- Owens adamantly denies it -- I'm siding with the only guy who was inside his head at the time, and I'm doing so even if that head was clouded at the time by too much pain medication.

Maybe that makes me very naive. Or maybe it makes me fair. Maybe it makes me a stupid player apologist. Or maybe it makes me nonjudgmental about the way I cover sports. Either way, we're all a little clouded when it comes to T.O. and his behavior, so I guess it just took too many pills to make him more like the rest of us.

My first reaction to news of a suicide attempt? I didn't believe it. I'm not talking about disbelief or shock. I literally didn't believe it. I believed it was the pills talking. I believe there was some sort of adverse reaction to the medication that made Owens loopy. I've seen people very close to me become something else, something unrecognizable, when chemically altered by the wrong medicine. Owens is many things -- complicated, defiant, stubborn, moody -- but he is not a liar. If he tried to kill himself, I believe he'd tell you. He doesn't do spin control. Doesn't even know how, I believe. He'd avoid an awful lot of his messes if he did.

For all his muscled and psychological armor, he is oddly open about his shortcomings and scars. He admits to being sensitive and wanting to be liked. He admits he has so much trouble showing affection that he just recently got comfortable with telling his mother he loves her. And he cries when talking about his grandmother, whom he appreciates even though he was shackled to his front yard as a child and only escaped when she passed out from the drinking.

He doesn't much care how things look, or dressing up and camouflaging his weaknesses. It isn't right that Steve Mariucci once flew to Atlanta to talk to him and extended a hand as an olive branch, and Owens merely stared at that hand as if it were covered in leprosy. But Owens tells that story, not proudly, about how stubborn and proud he can be even though he knows those who don't like him will take it as affirmation that he is a one-dimensional stick-figure cartoon character, and that the one-dimensional stick-figure cartoon character is a complete and total jerk and nothing else.

You saw how convoluted and messy and loud things got when it was just his hamstring. So now we're going to try to climb inside his brain, an organ that's vastly more difficult to understand? We've seen in a very public way how alcohol can alter Mel Gibson, so it is possible that Owens had no idea where he was or what he was saying when he allegedly told a paramedic he was trying to harm himself. But everything that has happened after that is just more proof of how polarizing he can be, of how he makes us take sides. You can believe him and leave it at that. Or you can call him a liar because that reaffirms your belief of who you already think him to be.

We do this all the time in sports. We grab the stuff that supports our likes and dislikes. If you like Brett Favre and think him a living legend, you ignore his selfishness and his former painkiller addiction and his refusal to tutor Aaron Rodgers and his lack of support for holdout Javon Walker. If you dislike Randy Moss, you hold up his crass mock mooning of the Green Bay crowd as an indictment of everything he is even though it offers no more a complete picture of Moss than another little thing he does in the end zone, when he gives a touchdown football to a kid in a wheelchair.

Facts? There are very few of those. So we'll waddle into the unknown and pick and choose whatever supports our own baggage. It was a sports figure who taught us how two groups of people could see the same set of facts differently. His name was O.J. Simpson.

Like him or hate him, Owens has always given you his truth. It may be a narcissistic, one-sided, persecuted version of the truth, but it is honestly the way he sees things, like it or not. One of his biggest public relations problems is that he is relentlessly honest and sometimes seems completely unfamiliar with the concept of tact. Graceful on the field, clumsy off it. In this case, it sounds like T.O.'s version of the truth was clouded by a mixture of medications. But who in the world is more qualified to tell you whether he was thinking about killing himself than him?

T.O. and I are in our second year doing a weekly radio show together, but I'm not going to pretend to know him. You can't put someone's life together even with the entire scrapbook in your hands, so I'm not going to try when armed with just a couple of snapshots. I'm not an authority on the guy. I don't know him socially. But I will tell you this: The past two weeks, he sounded happier than I've ever heard him.

Last year, I felt like I was interviewing him by prying a crowbar into the side of his mouth. He was clearly unhappy in a way that was overt in Philadelphia, and he didn't hide it, and that made our interviews like head-butting sometimes. He laughed very infrequently. An example: After his first touchdown catch following an offseason of turmoil, I told him I was very disappointed that he didn't give us one of his patented celebrations. I was joking, being sarcastic. His response was defensive, persecuted -- as it often is. He thought I really was disappointed in him and went off on one of his rants -- not entirely unjustified -- about how the media sees only the bad in everything he does.

On Friday, though, he couldn't have been more affable. Playing. Joking. Making fun of himself. Talking for a full five minutes about how he is looking forward to buying a terribly unmasculine 4-pound dog because he doesn't have much use for the more aggressive pets (a pit bull and a mastiff) of Steelers linebacker Joey Porter that recently killed a miniature horse. He was funny, light, free. This is only a snapshot, a grain of sand at the beach, but he certainly didn't sound much like someone thinking of killing himself.

You are welcome to either snapshot.

The one of him laughing on the radio.

Or the one of him being rushed to the hospital.

But neither one of them really tells you who he is.

Dan Le Batard is a writer for ESPN The Magazine.

Monday, September 25, 2006

What a Spectacular Spectacle of Debauchery!!!

This last weekend is offically the first sign of the appocalypse. if there ever was a generation clash at the movie theatres it was this weekend. Jackass Number Two finally hit theatres this weekend and was the top grossing film in america taking in 28.1 million dollars accourding the washington post. As expected, the reviews of the movie were not to promising to movie lovers. "“Number Two” feels rushed and slapped together, made by a group that knows all too well now how to sell a joke to their target demographic." (Brian Orndorf) But with a movie like this a cult following is to be expected. i just happen to be a member of that cult.

The second movie was exponentially better than the first one. In this movie there was more of a human element. The gang of hooligans seemed to be more human than in the first movie, giving the veiwer more of an oppurtunity to connect with the people on the screen and feel the pain they felt.

It can be said that parents are probably picketing theatres across america not wanting their kids exposed to these acts of stupidity, but it will be to no avail. They are probably just in there concern, for the movie is really not meant for kids, but this movie is far more entertaining than the first and will draw throngs of teenangers."Any who wonder how this group of modern-day pied pipers can top their previous success need not worry. From start to finish Number Two keeps viewers entertained. The only time I stopped laughing is when I almost threw up." (Adam Lamar)

Some people will think that things might have gone to far. There were at least two incidents in which a member of the cast could have been killed. When asked if he was worried about dying when doing a stunt johnny knoxville relplied, "Who wants to see a half-arsed stunt man? can't think that way if you're doing what we do[.]"

People can say what they want about the movie, but there will always be a market for these kinds of stunts in America. Everyone is looking to see who can push the boundries the farthest, and the boys of Jackass have perfected it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Push It Like Drugs!

if you havent figurd it out yet, i am very passionate about music. i tend to listen to heavy metal and i must say that im happy to see this. one of my favriote little bands ever has released there album nationwide this band is called psychostick and they are a heavy metal comedy band! it is awesome.

check them out if you love good music!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Loss Of a Good Man

Steve Irwin, Wildlife Master, Is Killed by a Stingray at 44

Published: September 5, 2006
Steve Irwin, the khaki-clad wildlife stalker who won global fame with his televised death-defying crocodile stunts and whose booming voice made “Crikey!” in a ripe Australian accent an international catchword, was killed by a stingray yesterday while filming a documentary at the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s northeast coast. He was 44.

Witnesses said he apparently died of cardiac arrest after the stingray attack.
Mr. Irwin was on location in the area to film television segments, including material for “The Ocean’s Deadliest.” Witnesses on his boat, Croc One, and on a nearby diving vessel said that when he came close to a stingray, its barb pierced his chest and lodged in his heart.
In an interview with reporters in Australia, Prime Minister John Howard termed the death “a huge loss to Australia,” and called Mr. Irwin “a wonderful character.”
“He was a passionate environmentalist,” Mr. Howard added.

Mr. Irvin’s television shows, including “The Crocodile Hunter,” were seen in more than 100 countries on cable television, and he was an ebullient staple of American talk shows ranging from “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” to “Live With Regis and Kelly.” He customarily appeared in his trademark hiking boots and khaki shorts and shirt, commenting volubly on animal conservation and showing clips of his fearless exploits, which included leaping on the backs of crocodiles, wrestling with boas and mastering poisonous snakes and spiders.

Dr. Leo Smith, an expert on venomous fishes in the department of ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, said that although Mr. Irwin had no scientific degree and some scientists criticized his theatrics and hyperbole, “he could be considered a biologist rather than just a television personality.”

“He was knowledgeable and seemed to care passionately about wildlife,” Dr. Smith said. “He took a very outgoing approach that made people less fearful of sharks and other mean things out there.”
Mr. Irwin’s death, he said, “is depressing because the last thing you want is for the guy who says things are safe to be killed.”

But Mr. Irwin was widely criticized in 2004 for feeding a snapping crocodile inside a pen while holding his infant son, Bob, in one arm. Though some likened the action to child abuse, he said he had been in firm control of both the child and the crocodile. He was never charged with endangering his son’s welfare.

While filming a documentary in Antarctica later that year, Mr. Irwin ran afoul of critics who said he came too close to humpback whales, seals and penguins, disturbing them. Environmental officials did not press charges after an investigation.

Though Mr. Irwin was accustomed to confronting dangerous animals, deaths from ray attacks are unusual, Dr. Smith said. “On an average there are only one or two fatalities a year worldwide,” he said.

Dr. Smith said there were approximately 120 known ray species and four families of venomous stinging rays. At the base of the tail is a spine or barb connected to a venom gland; in an attack, the spike and the gland may be broken off and can remain in the wound. The stingray venom contains toxic proteins, and most stingray attacks pose risk from shock, infection and the venom’s toxicity, he said.

Most deaths are caused by heart injuries or blood loss. “The puncture alone could have done it,” Dr. Smith said of the attack on Mr. Irwin, “but the venoms do have major cardiac effects.”
Stephen Robert Irwin was born in 1962 in a suburb of Melbourne and spent his childhood in Queensland, where his parents, Bob and Lyn Irwin, operated a wildlife park; he grew up with wild animals, including crocodiles.

He met his American-born wife, Terri, when she was vacationing in Australia in 1991. Film from their honeymoon in the wild — trapping crocodiles — was used in creating their first documentary. She became his business partner and, styled as the Crocodile Huntress, she was an on-screen co-star in his television shows and in a 2002 feature film, “The Crocodile Hunters: Collision Course.”

Mr. Irwin was caricatured in “South Park” for his penchant for phrases like “Check out the size of this bloke!” and “Whew, he’s getting cranky!” He also appeared in the 2001 film “Dr. Dolittle 2” with Eddie Murphy. His fame engendered books, action figures and interactive games and, for a time, tube-watching pub crawlers played a drinking game, hoisting a glass every time Mr. Irwin said, “Crikey!” or, “Isn’t she a beauty?” His parents’ wildlife park, renamed Australia Zoo and expanded and developed by Mr. Irwin, became a popular tourist attraction.
His survivors include his wife and son, and a daughter, Bindi Sue.