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An Earful

By Bob Harris

MIKE TYSON is now the demon of the sports world because he bit Evander Holyfield. That's possibly the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not pro-biting. The only time I've ever nibbled somebody's ear was in vastly more pleasant circumstances.

But let's put this in perspective. We're complaining because Mike Tyson--a wife-beater and convicted rapist still on probation--bit somebody . . . when he should have just done the honorable thing and tried to beat the guy into unconsciousness like we were paying him to.

Nipped him on the ear? How dare he? Better he should take his fists and pound the guy until his brain shuts down. (Clipped British accent here.) His lobe is bloodied? Good God. The animal! He should have displayed some chivalry, and simply throttled the opponent's abdomen until the guy's organs erupted.

Don't talk to me about rules. This isn't the Olympics, where headgear, gloves with marked striking areas, and three-round fights emphasize skill and minimize injury. Professional heavyweights are paid millions of dollars to do exactly one thing: beat people savagely until they can no longer control their own bodies.

In boxing, you're allowed to kill your opponent if that's what it takes. It happens sometimes, and there's no fine or inquiry--it's an accepted side effect of a job well done. Hey, he's dead, those are the breaks. Next . . .

Rules like "No Biting" allow us to pretend that it's a noble sport--the Sweet Science--when we all know the only reason we dig the heavyweights is because they inflict the most tissue damage. There wasn't a single person watching who didn't expect to see blood flying around, and the only reason it's such a big story is our morbid thrill over the unusual way in which it did. "Tyson did what?" we ask. "That's awful," we say. "This I gotta see."

If we're all that outraged, why the repeated close-ups of the wound on every channel except the Home Shopping Network, which skipped the story solely because there was only one fragment to sell?

Even the president had to announce that he was "horrified"--a word, by the way, he would never think to use regarding civilian deaths in Iraq, CIA death squads in Latin America, or the recent head-in-flames electrocution of a convict whom the victim's family considered innocent--but Clinton didn't say he turned away.

Yeah, I watched the videotape, too, several times. How often do you get to see a guy chomp on an ear?

You don't see car wrecks every day, either. But that doesn't mean we should charge admission.

If we have a societal need to see people beating each other, so be it. But let's stop calling it a sport.

Let's just put a camera in the LAPD holding tank, uplink the feed to a satellite, and be done

THERE'S A LOT OF TALK these days about how there are hidden patterns in the Bible which only modern computers can pick out. By choosing arcane and sometimes arbitrary patterns in the old Hebrew text, a couple of folks are trying to convince everybody that God has a secret code, and they've broken it.

Apparently God works a lot like the CIA. Well, they do say he works in strange and mysterious ways, and so does the agency . . . Still, it's sort of a stretch.

Now, don't get me wrong: This isn't about whether the Bible is divine or God exists or anything like that. That's all up to every one of us to decide.

But when it comes to using computers to find patterns, the fact is we can find whatever we want to.

Let's suppose I want to prove that God planted hidden messages in the name of, oh, Ronald Reagan. It turns out the name "Ronald Reagan" contains the same letters as "Adrenal Organ." Which, um, shows how excited the country was to elect him. Ta da!

See how this works?

Reagan was in all those Westerns in wide open spaces; his name also anagrams to "Darn Long Area." The S&L crisis started on Reagan's watch. Sure enough, another anagram is "Grand Loan Era." Iran-Contra? "A Deal Rang Ron." Of course, if you didn't like Reagan, there's a flipside. Count the letters in Ronald Wilson Reagan: six letters, three times--666. So you could also argue that Reagan was the Antichrist.

Then again, consider my name: Robert Edward Harris--666 again. Hmmm, looks like I'm part of the grand cabal myself. And I just blew my cover.

NASA WANTS TO SHOOT Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, into space. Some folks are reluctant because of his age. I say we should light that candle ASAP.

As you know, Glenn was a big hero a few decades back when he became the first American to orbit the earth. Cold War politics aside, that took courage. We don't have many heroes. A do-over would be fine.

Heck, let's send up the whole 105th Congress and Clinton with it. Give them two weeks of food and air, and don't let them back down until they come up with a budget and tax system that doesn't rip most of us off.

Y'know that stupid cliché, "We can put a man on the moon, but we can't solve our problems here on earth?" Well, maybe we can finally do both at the same time.

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From the July 10-16, 1997 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

© Metro Publishing Inc.

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