Just Kidding

The sports pages are filled with war metaphors on a daily basis: Quarterbacks throw bombs to receivers, general managers and head coaches congregate in the war room on draft day, a running back explodes through the backfield, a playing field becomes a battleground, and on and on. (And God knows how many head coaches have a copy of The Art of War somewhere on their bookshelf, next to a Patton biography and last year's media guide.) Sometimes, even a president will evoke sports lingo in time of war--say, something about how it's better to be on offense than defense. So, in the interest of taking this too far, Full Frontal has gone all out by comparing the ways Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is like Texas Rangers general manager John Hart.

Before you get all huffy and insist we're being too hard on Saddam...no, wait, John Hart, keep in mind this is all being done as part of the Full Frontal Gulf War II Keep the Peace-Bring the Noise Initiative, which allows us non-embedded journalists to do our part to at least feel like we're contributing to war coverage without actually going to places in harm's way. We have nothing against Mr. Hart; he's no doubt a fine human being. Hell, we were planning on doing a list of Things That Make Us Useless, but we didn't have the room. It's just John Hart's turn. We'll apologize when the Rangers win the World Series.

Saddam Hussein: allegedly possesses weapons of mass destruction

John Hart: assembled a starting pitching lineup capable of self-destruction

Saddam Hussein: hasn't been seen live on TV in weeks

John Hart: will avoid TV reporters for weeks at a time

Saddam Hussein: regime will likely fall by the end of April

John Hart: Rangers will be out of contention by the end of April

Saddam Hussein: part of the "axis of evil," along with Iran and North Korea

John Hart: signed "axis of evil": Carl Everett, John Rocker and Chan Ho Park

Saddam Hussein: threatens Kuwait

John Hart: says, "You wait till next year."

Saddam Hussein: is being bombed by George W. Bush

John Hart: before he arrived, George W. Bush bombed as owner of Texas Rangers

Saddam Hussein: rules Iraq with an iron fist

John Hart: released Pudge Rodriguez, possessor of many Gold Gloves

Saddam Hussein: lives in a bunker

John Hart: team lives in the cellar

Saddam Hussein: wears big eyeglasses

John Hart: rarely seen without big sunglasses

Saddam Hussein: funding from Syria running dry

John Hart: funding from Tom Hicks running dry

Saddam Hussein: foolishly believes he will defeat West

John Hart: foolishly believes his team will defeat AL West -- Robert Wilonsky


Another month gone. Another calendar page flipped. Another review of the Mavs' interior play. Ugh.

A few months back, when the season was relatively fresh, Mavs owner Mark Cuban did his best to defend the defenseless: Shawn Bradley and Raef LaFrentz. He crafted a long, expletive-laced e-mail detailing how sound those two are. Of course, he was wrong--they suck. That's why we update you in this space every month--to show you how wrong Cuban was. Wrong, we say again. Can we emphasize that enough? We think not.

Here, then, is another installment. It's probably the last, too, because the season is nearly over. And you know what? We at the Observer are thankful for that, if only because that means we won't have to revisit past horrors any longer. Going back to pore over the Bradley/LaFrentz stats can be hazardous. If this were a government job, they'd get us one of those expensive bio-chem suits. But it isn't, so they don't. Yup, we're cheating death here.

Here, then, are the players' stats for the month of March:

Shawn Bradley (five years left on seven-year, $30.5 mil contract)

Minutes per game: 18.1

FG percentage: 60.3

Free throws: 23 of 28 (82.1 percent)

Rebounds per game: 4.5

Assists: 0.5

Blocks per game: 1.2

Points per game: 7.0

Raef LaFrentz (six years left on seven-year, $69 mil contract)

Minutes per game: 20.9

FG percentage: 48

Free throws: 14 of 18 (77.8 percent)

Rebounds per game: 3.7

Assists: 0.5

Blocks per game: 1.0

Points per game: 8.1

Well, better in some areas, worse in others, but certainly far from pretty.

--John Gonzalez


Marcia L. Jones, Ph.D., wanted to know what the hell was going on with her body. She researched and figured as long as she was investing the time, she might as well write a book about it. Enter the Dummies folks. They agreed that menopause was a topic worthy of one of their reference manuals, so with the help of practicing physician Theresa Eichenwald, Jones put pen to paper. The two created Menopause for Dummies and a breath of fresh air for women taken to visiting the bookstore for how-to's and help-me's.

Upon my first flip of the pages, I see that the age of 30 can welcome pre-menopausal symptoms. I quickly do the math and realize that my late-twenties form had best get prepared. So yeah, I read the book, but come on; I have to find out the good stuff, the tricks and the tips that I didn't catch when Mom kept asking me to crank up the AC.

I gotta ask, have you gone through menopause?

Oh, yes. I approached the area because I had some personal concerns in terms of figuring it out.

Who did you find you focused that "wrath" upon?

People at home and even people at work. But you know the ones close to you are the ones you tend to focus on.

Is there a "best thing" about menopause or a favorite symptom of yours?

Actually, it's a somewhat liberating thing. So many people for so long have been talking about menopause like it's a wasteland. Women were put on earth to do more than just reproduce. To think about post-menopause as a wasteland is not really fair.

I'm not just a womb!

It's so funny because a guy that was talking about medical ethics or something, he kept referring to the uterus as a womb. I thought, "That really is a point of view." That is not the physical description; it is a uterus after all.

So it's almost making it fun?

It is!

Is it like a grab bag or are there certain symptoms that pretty much everybody's guaranteed?

Most women do have hot flashes, and I guess that sounds stereotypical, but it is true.

What's one of the bigger myths about menopause?

That women after menopause don't feel like having sex. That has proved not to be the case. In fact, they found that women experience orgasm as much after menopause as they did beforehand. You know the big thing is, it's kind of funny, but it's really a "use it or lose it" kind of thing because the best way to keep your plumbing working is to use it. In the research you find, they say even self-pleasuring is a good idea.

So it's kind of like atrophy?

That's exactly what it is. There are lubricants and things like that on the market, so that's probably an overemphasized aspect of menopause, but there certainly are changes that go down in your vagina and so forth.

--Merritt Martin

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