1. The 10-year-old boy who started the Buckweed Blaze
On October 22, 2007, a stunned-looking 10-year-old boy and his parents were seen frantically trying to beat a small brushfire down with towels. The boy, whose name has obviously been withheld, started the fire while playing with matches behind his family's trailer home.
Now, when I was 10, I, too, liked to play with matches. I even set a corner of our basement on fire once and was promptly taken to the local firehouse where I was reprimanded and shown a movie on the dangers of playing with matches. And while there was some guilt associated with the fire in our basement, it certainly paled by comparison to what this poor 10-year-old in Agua Dulce, California must now feel. Because, no, he and his parents never were able to beat that fire out, and, yes, it was one of the 15 biggies that recently scorched Southern California. In this particular fire, 38,000 acres were lost, 15,000 people evacuated, 63 structures (21 of them homes) destroyed, and three civilians and two firefighters were injured.
My suggestion for this poor boy on how he should get on with his life: consult The Barnyard Guide for Raising Formidable Cattle, by Kate O'Leary
2. Keith Michael "“ the only designer ever to be kicked off Project Runway
With my favorite (and only!) guilty pleasure back on the air, I've had Project Runway on the brain these last few weeks. While the new season hasn't disappointed yet, I'm not sure anything can top the drama of last year's Keith Michael incident. Poor guy was caught with how-to pattern making-type books in his room (a colossal no-no) during the competition and called on it by the show's co-host, Time Gunn.
Gunn also fired off a round at Michael for breaking additional rules, such as wandering off the production for several hours without permission and logging onto the Internet. After Gunn asked Michael to pack his bags, the cheating ex-contestant had this to say: "I didn't expect this. "¦ My image has been tarnished forever, I'm off the show, and I'm going to be a laughing stock to my friends"¦ the kind of sad part is that I never used those books to give myself any unfair advantage."
Oh, yeah, right Keith. Sure you didn't. And Bill Clinton never had "sex with that woman."
My suggestion for Keith Michael on how he should face his friends again: speak to Woody Allen, who once admitted he was kicked out of college for cheating on his metaphysics exam by looking into the soul of the boy next to him.
3. Steven Bartman "“ the guy who almost caught that foul pop-up
Ahhh, yes, October 14th, 2003—an evening Steve Bartman surely wishes he could live all over again. It was the 8th inning and the Cubbies were up 3-0 over the Florida Marlins in the National League Championship Series. Mark Prior, one of the Cub's aces, was on the mound pitching one of the best games of his young career. With one out, he was five outs away from sending his team to the World Series for the first time since 1945 (the Cubs haven't won the Series since 1908, don't forget).
Luis Castillo, who was batting for the Marlins, popped up in foul territory down the left field line. The Cub's leftfielder Moises Alou sprinted over to catch it when, suddenly, the then-26-year-old, now-infamous Bartman reached out and tried to nab the ball as a souvenir, possibly preventing Alou from making the grab, which would have been the second out of the inning.
The Marlins went on to score eight runs that inning after Castillo walked. They ultimately won the game, the series, AND the World Series, beating the New York Yankees 4 games to 2.
Bartman was attacked by fans within seconds and ushered out of Wrigley by security officers. He then issued the following statement after the game: "There are few words to describe how awful I feel and what I have experienced within these last 24 hours. I've been a Cub fan all my life and fully understand the relationship between my actions and the outcome of the game"¦ To Moises Alou, the Chicago Cubs organization, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks and Cub fans everywhere, I am so truly sorry from the bottom of this Cub fan's broken heart. I ask that Cub fans everywhere redirect the negative energy that has been vented towards my family, my friends, and myself into the usual positive support for our beloved team on their way to being National League champs."
In his defense, poor Bartman was really only doing what most fans would have done in the same position. And unlike many fans, he turned down a pantload of movie and talk show offers in the ensuing days (as well as a job with the Florida Marlins!), which would have brought him a lot of money along with the fame he had already achieved.
Still, as a die-hard baseball fan, there's no one associated with the game I'd rather not be than Steve Bartman who will forever be the team's 2003 scapegoat.
My suggestion on how he should go about showing his face in Chicago again: consult The Barnyard Guide for Raising Formidable Cattle, by Kate O'Leary