Smoking Astroturf

Illustration by Bob AulThis week's featured NFL game: Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Dallas update: We're really very fortunate to have a Texan as president. Who better to understand the crazed actions of a man who has attempted to limit the freedom of women, silenced those who disagree with him, and generally sown hate and discord? But enough about Senator Phil Gramm's retirement—what about this terrorist thing? Some were nervous that President George W. Bush wasn't up to handling it. But his words last week stirred people, just as they have in the past, whether he was sharing his world vision (“Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease”) or describing the White House to an English schoolchild (“It is white”). God bless America. Seriously. Philadelphia update: It's just as untrue that hell is other people as it is that hell is Philadelphia. Hell is, in fact, other people in Philadelphia's Veteran's Stadium. The Vet is sports' most miserable, dangerous and ill-managed place, making it a perfect fit for Philly. The Vet has not only a dungeon to hold unruly Philadelphians—which is like saying “wet fish”—but also a temporary courtroom in which to try them on the spot. The city's mismanagement failed to fix the Vet's hard, pockmarked turf even though those dangerous conditions have regularly made the Eagles, as well as the Philadelphia Phillies, sports' most injured athletes—and that's just walking from their cars. Game plan: If any man was ready for the task of executing a war against religious extremists, Bush is that man. Understand the addled zealot? The president still hasn't spent his honorarium from Bob Jones University. Execute a war? Hey, he's a Texan. Executing is a birthright. Ground game: An Aug. 13 exhibition football game at Veterans Stadium had to be canceled when large grooves were found underneath the playing turf. The city's solution? Fill the grooves with asphalt, making the hardest turf in sports—a Philadelphia athlete once said that his greatest accomplishment was playing 10 years without losing a tooth—even harder. Eagles team president Joe Banner called the episode “an embarrassment to the city of Philadelphia.” A bit hyperbolic, of course, when you consider that a town that once incinerated a city block of its residents can have only one great shame: giving birth to the Rocky movies. Consensus: Living here, we appreciate those who accept their doomed lot with pluck. Phillies pitcher Tug McGraw, when asked the difference between Astroturf and real grass, answered, “I don't know. I've never smoked Astroturf.” Go Eagles!

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