Hail To This Chief

January17/ 2000

… Last Monday began as “just another day” but by 9:30 AM had joined the pantheon of “biggies”….  For BobLee to rub broad shoulders with “celebs” is not that unusual but, Lord have mercy, who woulda predicted THIS ONE?  Complete details follow (and it’s NOT who you are thinkin).  ….. Plus, we discuss “Triangle United” – the unique psychological benefit of the success of the Carolina Hurricanes.  … A SwaggerSays Smorgasbord of commentary delights!

Mr. Swagger’s Travels had him in Havre de Grace, Maryland earlier this week for the LPGA’s McDonald’s Championship.  Preparing for the usual ProAm day of gladhanding and inane “tee chatter”, I perused the participant list of amateurs.  There was Gregory Harrison (aka “Trapper John MD”), at best a “C lister”, and next to Gregory’s name was the otherwise undistinguisable name – Greg Itzin.  “Undistinguisable” to the average jamoke maybe, but B.L. Swagger ain’t your average jamoke.

The label of “celebrity” is earned in many ways in our fame obsessed society where a picture of Angelina Jolie’s baby is worth $1,000,000.  Athletes, Entertainers, Politicians … depending upon your area of interest, one man’s idea of a “famous person” may be another man’s whozit.  Having met way more than my share of “famous people” I have only had a picture taken with one.  That was “Arnold” and even that was after the 4th year I worked with him.  “Michael”, Tiger, and countless QBs, coaches, Hall of Famers, politicos, authors, and assorted “aren’t you ____?” grace the pages of BobLee’s life … and now I was going to meet Greg Itzin.  He would be my celeb photo #2.

It was not so much with a sense of “awe” as I approached the area where I knew he would be, but more simply to congratulate him on his recent success and to thank him for the “enjoyment” he brought to so many over the past year.  A year ago Greg Itzin, a journeyman actor, would likely not have been invited to this event and, had he been, not a single soul including moi would have noticed, but what a difference a year makes … actually what a difference 24 hours makes.

On Monday morning at 9:15 AM …



 If you are a “24” fan you just spit up your beverage of choice all over your monitor.

“President Charles Logan” is THE most despicable, sorry, no-good, spineless, limp-wristed, worthless, gutless, yellow-bellied, whiny, did we say spineless, excuse for a president that a fictitous America has ever endured.

He was responsible for the “deaths” of David Palmer, Michelle, Tony, Edgar, “the Hobbit”, and numerous assorted CTU functionaries and innocent bystanders.  Jack, of course, nailed his sorry butt.  He combines the worst qualities of Nixon and Carter and takes their faults to new depths … and that’s pretty much what I loudly accused him of as I approached him on the tee.  Needless to say, jaws were dropping within earshot … and more so when Greg Itzin broke out in a big grin and said “Thank you” as we shook hands.

I had just paid him the ultimate compliment for an actor.  He created a character so “real” and so dastardly that the audience’s emotions were sent into overdrive.  I told him that if he did not win every Emmy for this season’s “President Logan” there was no justice.  “From your mouth to God’s ears” he replied.

There ensued a 15 minute discussion of “24” anecdotes, the best of which involved “Aaron’s” boffo line “is there anything else, CHARLES?” which Greg told me was an ad-lib by the character playing Agent Pierce (another fine acting performance, by the way).  We also discussed his (“Logan’s) 90 second love-making with Martha in the season finale.  Greg reminded me that he (Logan) is “still out there” and may be heard from again in Season 6.

A friend of mine knows “Chloe” and I shared a bit of news about her with Greg.  What a prince of a fellow.  While “President Logan” will still be “as sorry as a man can be”, I will long remember my delightful encounter with Greg Itzin on the tee at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Maryland.


 The Carolina Hurricanes are up 2-0 over the Edmonton Oilers.  Two victories shy of bringing the State of North Carolina it’s first ever professional sports team championship.  Anyone who says or thinks “so what, who cares” belongs in the evolutionary basement with message board howler monkeys.

I am on record here of not being “a hockey fan” but that has nothing to do with being appreciative of such a neat achievement as we are witnessing.  Among all the local/regional media attention this is now getting, one aspect has not been examined.  Leave it to BobLee to officially do so.

“A Triangle United”

Unlike all the successes and net-cuttings by area collegiate teams over the past 50 years, none of those successes “united” the area.  As pointed out here on various occasions, the sports “enthusiasm” for which “the Triangle” is so well-known is as much fueled by abject hatred of rival teams as it is for pride in one’s particular team of choice.  

Yes, I honestly do pull for State or Duke when they are not playing Carolina.  Their success when playing other teams makes a Tar Heel victory over them head-to-head that much sweeter.  Count me in a VERY small group who admit to the above.

If you did peruse a typical “lunatic asylum” (message board) be it Wolfpack or Tar Heel fan-based, on any given day 50% of the posts will be about THE OTHER SCHOOL and “their stoopid delusional fans”, “their cheating lying coaches”, or “their hoodlum thug players”.  In-season that 50% escalates to 95% of the comments.  So along come the Hurricanes … (StateFansNation.com is the exception to the above)

Yes, many of the “Caniacs” are “move-ins” to this area … “undocumented aliens” aka “Yankees” who came here with no local collegiate allegiances and have adopted the Hurricanes as “their team”.  Nothing wrong with that since for them there is no lifelong festering of hatred for any local team.  If they “adopt” UNC basketball, for instance, or Duke basketball, they can’t ever expect to qualify to purchase home game tickets.  Imagine a Triangle born-breed moving to Green Bay and wanting to be a full-fledged Packer fan.

On to that base of immigrant “hockey fans”, we can add local “sports fans” who simply like following a team, especially a successful one.  Yes, many of those fans might also be Wuff or Heel fans too but now are cheering TOGETHER for “their” Hurricanes.

A Hurricane fan has no stereotypical image to overcome.  He/she is not “a homosexual silverspoon fraternity boy” or “a redneck with a sheep for a prom date”.  He is not automatically a “Jew from New Jersey” or anything except “a Carolina Hurricane hockey fan”.  That is a very good thing in our opinion.

Will this new success of the Hurricanes imperil any of the local college programs? … yes and no.   There are only so many promotional ad dollars in any market.  If those dollars are given to Gale Force then UNC and/or State and/or Duke don’t get them.  Same goes for individual consumer dollars.  $$$ spent for Cane tickets, especially not inexpensive season tickets, are $$$ not going to State, Duke or Carolina.  It’s called discretionary dollars and restaurants and theaters and all manner of entertainment options constantly vie for them.

“Market forces” will prevail.  If the Canes, or NCSU or UNC or Duke ever take their fan base for granted, they will find those fans deserting them for attractive options.  Trying to gouge fans with outrageous parking and concessions prices and not reinvesting in fan comfort amenities will have dire consequences for any local program.  Success on the field or court or ice will “matter” but “enjoying the overall experience” of attending the games will be the ultimate measure.  State’s cleaning up F-Bomb Alley is a prime example.

Having a Stanley Cup champion organization succeed slap dab in the middle of Tobacco Road is something to consider for sociologists and economists.  Yes, there will always be mouth-breathing numbnutz among NCSU and UNC loyalists who will forever decry these “interlopers”.   Mouth-breathing numbnutz are mouth-breathing numbnutz.

What about that new minor league soccer team in Cary?  Yeah, OK … when they are playing for the World Cup, let me know and I’ll write about them too.


Did we hear correctly that Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha are planning to attend Zarqawi’s funeral?  Will Cindy Sheehan hold a silent vigil in his memory?  Will the Dixie Chicks have a new song in his honor?  MoDo and Molly Ivins are in a tizzy.  AlGore claiming “tragic death of the gallant freedom fighter” has raised temperature of the polar ice cap to pandemic levels.  Patrick Kennedy even cut short his rehab to join fellow uber libs in mourning loss of fellow Bush-hating ally Zarqawi. … meanwhile in Derm, Ho #2 (“Kim The Embezzling Obscene Gesturer”) says she wasn’t there when the bomb hit Zarqawi’s hideout but she will talk about it for $25 and a new set of press-on fingernails.


Swagger’s Stumper

Where did Holly Golightly have breakfast?


Dick Motta made “the fat lady” famous when his Bullets won the NBA, before he left for Dallas.

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