Friday, February 27, 2009

AL West Preview

One quick Lost thought before I get to the American League West. Scroll down if you have no interest.

There is much chatter about why Ben talked Locke down from his noose only to wind up killing him then staging the suicide.

Well, I had a thought. Remember last season when Michael tried to kill himself and the gun didn’t go off. When Michael went to Ben’s right hand man he asked Michael ‘Did the gun jam or did bullet just bounce off your head?’

According to that dude, Michael couldn’t kill himself because the island wouldn’t let him.

Maybe Locke was in the same boat and Ben knew it. Locke wouldn’t be able to kill himself no matter what he tried, so Ben did it for him.

In which case Ben murdering Locke was the most considerate thing Ben has ever done.

Ok, onto the American League West. Let’s get right to it.


LOS ANGELES ANGELS

2008 Status: 100-62; first place; lost to Red Sox in ALDS (giggle)

Key Offseason Moves: Replaced K-Rod with Brian Fuentes; lost Mark Teixiera to the Evil Empire; signed Juan Rivera to 3 years; Chone Figgins, Bobby Abreau, and Darren Oliver to one year deals, extended Ervin Santana 4 years.

What’s It All Mean: Considering they’ve lost 2 key pieces in Rodriquez and Teixiera they’ve done a nice job filling in the gaps. Fuentes is decent, Abreau is an on base machine, Vlad is still Vlad, Torii is still Torii and their rotation starts with Lackey, Santana, Weaver.

Wild Card: Manny. He declined yet another offer from the Dodgers. Why can’t the Angels sweep in and scoop him up? Keep an eye on them.

Bottom Line: Unless they upgrade the team, expect another 90-100 win season and a first round exit.


OAKLAND ATHLETICS

2008 Status: 75-86; third place

Key Offseason Moves: Signing Jason Giambi, Justin Duchscherer, and Jack Cust to one year deals; trading for Matt Holliday (bastards!).

What’s It All Mean: If Giambi has a good year, this is going to be a tough lineup to face. Holliday, Cust, Giambi, Suzuki, Chavez are nothing to sneeze at. Problem is with the pitching. Top four are projected as Duchscherer, Dana Eveland (who I assume is a guy), Sean Gallagher, and Gio Gonzalez who may have been a former model. Have you heard of any of these guys?

Wild Card: On the other hand this is Oakland and these pitchers are probably going to be fighting amongst themselves for the Cy Young award. I don’t know where they keep coming from.

Bottom Line: Who the hell knows? If the young pitchers perform well they could go a long way. Otherwise, expect another third place finish.


SEATTLE MARINERS

2008 Status: 61-101; last place; one lost manager.

Key Offseason Moves: Made a nice, three team trade that netted them Endy Chavez, Aaron Heilman, Jason Vargas, Mike Carp among others. Resigned Erik Bedard and traded Jose Lugo. Oh, and brought back Ken Griffey Jr about 8 years too late.

What’s It All Mean: Obviously a rebuilding year, but they have some nice pieces in place. Felix Hernandez, Eric Bedard and Jarrod Washburn make a nice rotation.

Wild Card: Bedard. If he can FINALLY stay healthy and get his shit together, there won’t be a better 1-2 combo in the league with him and Hernandez. Also, if any of the pieces from the trades mesh, this will be the surprise team of the year.

Bottom Line: Don’t expect a crap fest like last season, but don’t expect much, either.


TEXAS RANGERS

2008 Status: 79-83; distant second place.

Key Offseason Moves: Signed Andruw Jones, Brendan Donnelly, Jason Jennings, Kris Benson, Omar Vizquel to minor league contracts. Signed Marlon Byrd and exercised option on Hank Blalock.

What’s It All Mean: While the lineup – Hamilton, Blalock, Murphy, Saltamacchia, Kinsler – is still imposing, there is virtually no pitching to be seen here. Millwood as your number one? Where’s Kason Gabbard? He hurt?

Wild Card: Andruw Jones. What does his resurgence do for this team?

Bottom Line: Potent offense, lousy pitching, rinse, repeat.

I'll try to get the National League done next week. Maybe Manny will have signed somewhere to help clarify things a bit. Manny really should just sign one year contracts, then hold out until after spring training. He never shows up on time anyway and he obviously doesn't enjoy it, so just hold out, sign with a new team every year and enjoy yourself.

Not like he needs the money.


Today's distraction: Some very cool urban camouflage. Maybe a bit unsafe for work, but considering the first few pictures I really should have become on artist. In my next life.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lost - Part 7

At the peak of his career Muhammad Ali would arrogantly and playfully use the ‘rope a dope’ on his opponents. Winding up his powerful right arm, he would make it look like he was going for the knockout punch only to land a left squarely in the guy’s face. Rope him in one way only to hit him from another direction.

Magicians do the same thing. Misdirection.

I can’t help but feel ‘Lost’ is doing the same thing to everyone watching.

After learning how Jeremy Bentham really died and Locke’s post island tour, the show has been boiled down to one simple question. See below for what that question is.

How’s that for a teaser?

What Happened

Dude from the plane (who I knew would be back) is seen scrounging around a room. He finds a flashlight and a sawed off shotgun, both of which he tucks in his duffle bag. He also finds blueprints of a familiar pattern of underground bunkers. Looks like he’s on the island and found one of the Dharma hideaways. The woman who was escorting Sayid comes in and asks what he put in his bag. He tosses her the flashlight while keeping the shotgun to himself.

‘We found a man. He was just standing in the water wearing a suit.’

They both head to a very familiar looking beach and there is one John Locke. Alive and…um…hooded? What was with that getup? He pretending to be a monk? In the background we see the Ajira plane has crashed on the beach.

The next morning, Locke is standing in the surf looking at another island across the water. The woman gives him a mango and asks where he came from. He wasn’t on the passenger list so he couldn’t have been on the plane. And why are you wearing that suit? Locke says he doesn’t remember being on the plane, either, and he thinks the suit was what he was going to be buried in. You see, the last thing he remembers is dying, which is inarguably the strangest thing ever said to a woman bearing mangos.

Let’s backtrack, shall we? We cut back to Locke at the frozen wheel, Christian is there again (still didn’t see what he was wearing on his feet), he turns it, disappears and wakes up in the same desert Ben came to in last season. Unfortunately his leg is still broken, but he notices cameras watching him and yells for help. About 12 hours later, a pickup truck arrives and Locke is roughly handled into the back, to a hospital where his broken leg is not so daintily set. Yeah, I was wincing, too. Before he passes out, he sees the same black dude that was his orderly during physical therapy, visited Hurley in the mental hospital and still makes time to run an FBI department on ‘Fringe’.

He wakes to find his old buddy Charles Widmore by his side. Widmore, he says, monitors that desert site because he knows it’s the where people wind up when they leave the island. Widmore asks how long it’s been since they first met. Locke tells him it’s been four days for him. Widmore says ‘I was 17 when we first met and here you are looking exactly the same’. Widmore also had a specialist fix up Locke’s leg since the third world, ‘bite down on a piece of wood and like it’ hospital needed some further medical training.

When Locke asks why Widmore was monitoring the exit spot, Widmore tells him that he was afraid Ben would convince Locke to leave the island the same way Ben fooled him. See, Widmore – not Ben – was the leader of The Others (‘I just think of them as my people’) before Ben kicked him off the island. Widmore explains that when he was in charge, they protected the island peacefully for 30 years. Then Ben took over and it all went to shit.

Locke explains that he left voluntarily to bring back the Six. Widmore tells him 3 years have passed and they’ve all moved on with their lives, but he will help Locke track them all down. ‘Why would you help me?’ Locke asks. ‘Because,’ Widmore answers, ‘there is a war coming and if you aren’t on that island the wrong side is going to win.’

Da Da DUHHHHHHHH!!!

Later on Widmore gives Locke an passport (Jeremy Bentham lives!), money and his butler to drive him around. He explains that he’s been keeping an eye on the Oceanic 6 and will get Locke to them. Locke, still not trusting Widmore, asks why he’s been watching the 6 and he says ‘I’m invested in the future of the island’. He then tells Locke not to mention Widmore to the other 6 as they must think horrible things about him due to Ben’s lies and him sending a mercenary crew to wipe out everyone on the island and all.

So Locke is off with the ‘Fringe’ dude (anyone else feel horrible when the wheelchair was pulled out?) and they first visit Sayid in Central America working for Habitat for Humanity building houses. Sayid tells him ‘Thanks, man. I’m good’ when Locke explains they need to go back.

Off to New York where old friend Walt makes an appearance. He now looks 40 and tells Locke he’s been having dreams about him. Locke does not tell Walt about Michael going BOOM and leaves without telling Walt his real purpose. Ominously, Ben is watching from down the block.

Hurley is the next stop and, in the best scene in the episode, is convinced Locke is dead. ‘Sorry you didn’t make it, dude’. After confirming from the nurse that he is indeed talking to ‘Dude in a wheelchair’, Hurley flips out a bit and gets away from Locke in a hurry. Not before pointing out that ‘Fringe’ dude shouldn’t be trusted.

Back in the car, Locke asks Fringe dude what he does for Widmore. He answers ‘I help people get where they’re supposed to go’.

Sidenote: One of my frustrations with Lost is the inability of most characters to ask a logical follow up question. In this case wouldn’t all of us have asked ‘And how do you know where people are supposed to go’? Instead Locke says nothing. Thanks, needed to get that off my chest.

Locke visits Kate next who gives him a much needed reality check when she refuses to go back. ‘Haven’t you ever loved anyone?’ she asks him. Yeah, once a long time ago. He tells her that an obsession got in between them. Kate coldly replies ‘How far you’ve come’.

Another sidenote: In the last two episodes, Kate has dropped a line that hints she may be either the smartest character on the show or she knows more than she’s letting on. On the Ajira flight she tells Jack ‘Just because we’re on the same plane doesn’t mean we’re together’. I’m predicting Kate’s back story on how she got on the plane could be the most important one we see this season.

After Kate’s ‘Oh SNAP!’ moment, Locke visits his old love’s grave. She died of a brain aneurysm. They go to get back in the car and Fringe dude is gunned down. Locke – showing amazing agility for a guy with a huge cast – jumps into the front seat and drives away, gets in an accident and winds up in Jack’s hospital. Jack coldly refuses to go back to the island. Locke then says ‘Your father says hello’. He’s figured out Christian is Jack’s father, but Jack doesn’t believe him and tells Locke to stay away from everyone. He then ingests some drugs and goes all girly. We don’t actually see this, but I know that’s what happened.

Depressed, Locke heads to a hotel to hang himself only he’s interrupted by that busy bee Ben. Locke tells Ben that he’s failed; he can’t convince any of them to come back. Ben tells Locke that isn’t the case – Jack just bought a plane ticket from LA to Sydney. He’ll help him convince everyone else. Locke tells him that Mother Faraday will help them get back to the island and that Jin is still alive. Ben thanks Locke by choking him to death, stealing Jin’s wedding ring and making it look like Locke hung himself after all. Ingrate!

After that lovely turn of events, we’re back on the island where Caesar (I looked it up, it’s the name of the dude that was on the plane) brings Locke to a tent where all the injured survivors are being kept. Included is none other than Ben.

‘You know him?’ Caesar asks? ‘Yeah,’ Locke answers ‘that’s the man that killed me.’


What We Learned

- The Ajira plane did crash

- Hispanic dude’s name is Caesar. Anyone else know if they told us the girl’s name?

- Both Caesar and other girl handle the news of Locke’s death surprisingly well considering it’s Locke telling them about it.

- Widmore was leader of The Others. Or so he claims.

- He was also the one helping Locke track down the Oceanic 6.

- Fringe dude won’t be collecting double paychecks anymore. Have I beaten that joke into the ground, yet?

- Jack, Kate, Sun, Hurley, and Sayid were white flashied away before the plane crashed.

- Landing on the island apparently makes people lie to each other. As evidenced by Caesar hiding the shotgun from the girl.

- Medical care in the desert leaves a lot to be desired.

- Locke suffered a serious lack of confidence (faith?) just before Ben choked him to death. Big baby.

- Frank the pilot and ‘another woman’ took one of those canoe thingys, leaving two behind.

- If we take Locke at his word, people don’t remember things when they’re dead.

- Jack, Kate, Sayid, and Hurley were all DEAD SET against going back to the island. Adamant doesn’t even get close to how they felt about that idea.

- Widmore remembers Locke from their first meeting.

- Being off the island hasn’t stopped Ben from being a murdering son of a bitch.

- The survivors of the Ajira flight are probably the ones that shot at Sawyer, Locke, etc while they were canoeing.

- Widmore knows about Mother Faraday and told Locke who in turn told Ben. The flow of information in this show is dizzying.

- Locke likes mangoes when he comes back to life.

- Ben was totally out of the loop regarding the ‘Jin is still alive’ gossip.

- Locke didn’t kill himself. Ben did it for him, which was probably the most considerate thing he’s ever done.


New Questions

- Was Widmore really leader on the island? Or is he blowing smoke up Locke’s cast?

- Why did Ben kill Locke? What did Locke say (Jin’s alive? Mentioning Mother Faraday?) that changed Ben’s mind about Locke remaining alive?

- What changed everyone’s mind about heading back to the island?

- How did Widmore know to monitor that exact spot in the desert? Were those cameras there when Ben emerged three years previous?

- Remember last season when Christian appeared to Jack? Do you think that happened after Locke’s visit to the hospital? If so, was Christian also trying to convince Jack to go back to the island? Maybe Jack is the one the island wants and not Locke.

- Why didn’t Walt ask how his dog was doing?

- Why was Sayid killing off members of Widmore’s group and what made him stop and break ties from Ben? Was it because he had to kill that hot chick he was sleeping with?

- If the Oceanic Six were white flashied off the plane (and presumably back in time) why wasn’t Locke taken, too? Is it because he was dead?

- Why doesn’t somebody just put a bullet in Ben’s creepy looking head?

- Did Locke’s one true love really die of a brain aneurysm?

- Was Locke really dead? Interesting thought posed at lunch today by fellow Lost addicts. There was an episode two seasons ago that involved two new cast members. They were on Oceanic 815 after a diamond heist and spent a lot of time trying to hide the diamonds on the island. Both were bitten by a spider that had a venom that didn’t kill you, but made it seem like you were dead. It paralyzed you to the point where the heart rate is slowed way down and breathing was undetectable. Both wound up being buried alive by the other survivors because everyone thought they were dead. Could Locke have been dosed with this same venom in order to appear dead? When Ben brings the casket to the shop doesn’t he say ‘I have a package that needs to be well cared for’? Could that mean the woman needed to keep dosing Locke in order to make him appear dead?

- When is the dude with the patch over his eye going to show up again? I predict we see him very soon.

- Why doesn’t Christian save everyone some time and just say what’s on his mind and what needs to be done? Stop being vague and just spit it out!

- Since we’re here, I’ll ask it again: Is Christian really dead? Or is the Christian we’re seeing a time traveler?

- Finally, we come to the most important question. After what we’ve heard from Ben and from Widmore we are now presented with a he said, he said situation.

So….

Who do you believe?


Today's distraction: 20 of the weirdest album covers of all time. I apologize in advance for the Sour Cream and Other Delights. And what's with chicks and dummies? The 60s were a strange time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

AL Central Preview

Before we get to the AL Central rundown I wanted to share a thought I had recently. I figure what all baseball fans need is for a player to step forward and confess everything about his use of performance enhancers. It’s got to be a player most casual fans know and he must do it of his own free will. The only way we’re getting past this is to learn everything and take it from there.

I have found the perfect person for this job: Nomar Garciaparra.

Let’s face it, we all think he did roids anyway. That cover shot on Sports Illustrated followed by a string of strange injuries that derailed a promising career certainly hints at it.

I could be wrong, but Nomar, if you read this, come clean with everything. You won’t shock the world, but if you do it while waiting for a team to sign you – willingly putting the tail end of your career in jeopardy – to tell the truth, maybe other players will do the same.

Come on, Nomar. Lead the charge.

Onto more serious things. The American League Central. The most hotly contested division last year. Took an extra game just to decide it! Man, I can’t wait for baseball to start!!

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

2008 Status: 89-74; first place with one game playoff win over Twins; lost to Rays in ALDS

Key Offseason Moves: Resigning Bobby Jenks; signing Bartolo Colon (who will be dining with Jenks during road trips); signing Cuban phenom Dayan Viciedo; losing Joe Crede to their rivals in Minnesota; regulating Ozzie Guillen’s medications.

What’s It All Mean: They’ll be a tough team to deal with, but their Achilles heal from last season was their bullpen and it doesn’t look like they’ve done much to shore things up during the offseason. Unless they plan on using some of the parts the Yankees gave them for Nick Swisher? The aging lineup has to be a concern, too. Konerko, Thome, Dye (is he still on this team?), Pierzynski are all on the downward slope.

Wild Card: Um, yeah. I guess I should have saved that Yankee trade line for here. If any of those pitchers contribute, the White Sox will be back in the hunt. Also, Rookie of the Year runner up Alexei Ramirez could become a superstar this year. Or pull an Ellsbury.

Bottom Line: Lots of flaws and questions, but expect them in the mix most of the season.


CLEVELAND INDIANS

2008 Status: 81-81; third place

Key Offseason Moves: Actually, their most important move came when they traded away CC Sabathia (Yankees thank you very much) during last season. Signed Kerry Wood to be their closer; took a gamble that the Yankees were the problem and signed Carl Pavano to a one year deal; traded for Mark DeRosa; signed Kelly Shoppach then a bunch of minor league deals were handed out. This includes Tomo Ohka, a sure sign the Indians are grasping at straws.

What’s It All Mean: Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona the Indians still have a tough 1-2 combo. But who’s after that? Pavano? Maybe he can help if he stays healthy, but very few people are counting on that. The lineup is top heavy with Sizemore, Peralta, Garko and DeRosa, but have a LOT of question marks there, as well.

Wild Card: Can Cliff Lee repeat last year’s dominance? Which Travis Hafner shows up this season? Does Kerry Wood stay healthy? Does Sizemore put up MVP numbers again?

Bottom Line: Have the makings of a very good team, but there are way too many balls being juggled for everything to come together. Might be slightly better than last year, but not by much.


DETROIT TIGERS

2008 Status: 74-88; last place; utter disaster

Key Offseason Moves: Punting Todd Jones into retirement and replacing him with Brandon Lyon; traded for catcher Gerald Laird; traded for pitcher Edwin Jackson; signed Ramon Santiago and Adam Everett to one year deals; most importantly got rid of Edgar Renteria.

What’s It All Mean: After making a huge splash with the Willis – Cabrera trade and signing the Tigers made some deft moves. Really like the Jackson and Laird trades. With Laird and Everett joining Inge, Polanco, Sheffield, Guillen, Ordonez, and Cabrera this is going to be one tough lineup. Throw Verlander, Bonderman, and Jackson as your top three and you got a nice team.

Wild Card: The health of Sheffield. The Tigers can survive without him, but if he’s healthy he takes this lineup to an entirely different level of scary. Also, what does Dontrelle Willis contribute? If he gets back to his prime (remember he’s not even 28 yet) then the Tigers are going to be one of the elites.

Bottom Line: Better than last year and could be much, MUCH better.


KANSAS CITY ROYALS

2008 Status: 75-87; fourth place which is, sadly, an improvement over the last decade.

Key Offseason Moves: As usual there were many minor league contracts being offered out of KC, but not many real moves. They extended Zach Greinke four years and…uh….I dunno…signed Horacio Ramirez? Oh, wait! They traded for Coco Crisp. What? It’s something. They also signed Kyle Farnsworth. Not exactly sure why.

What’s It All Mean: Yet another in a long line of dismal seasons along the Mississippi (Kansas City is along the Mississippi, right?). Not much pitching (Brian Bannister and his 5.76 ERA is projected as their third starter) and not much punch in the lineup.

Wild Card: I dunno. Maybe they discover some diamond in the rough with one of their farm kids. Maybe Coco showing off his 2007 ring will inspire them to greater things. Like not finishing last. Honestly, I got nothin’.

Bottom Line: MLB may need to step in and force a sale to an owner that actually seems to care. KC is a fantastic sports town and it would be a tragedy to keep forcing this rag tag bunch on the folks that live there.


MINNESOTA TWINS

2008 Status: 88-75; lost to White Sox in one game playoff; my favorite team other than the Red Sox.

Key Offseason Moves: Resigning Nick Punto; signing Joe Crede; signing Jason Kubel. All smart, cost effective signings while keeping their young, dynamic players.

What’s It All Mean: They came within a game of making the playoffs, they’ve improved themselves without giving up anything and have one of the best managers in the game. You tell me what that all means.

Wild Card: Carlos Gomez. If he breaks out this season like I expect…how do I put this? Watch the FUCK out! That sums it up! You'll be seeing him a lot on SportsCenter this year.

Bottom Line: My favorite to not only win the division, but take the American League. Pitching, defense, hitting, speed. The most complete team in the league.

Lost entry tomorrow, but I’ll try to get the AL done on Friday.


Today’s distraction: Some funky furniture designs. I want the bathroom one with the really skinny pull out drawers. Also like the bed that folds into a box.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

AL East Preview

It’s about that time, don’t you think?

Time to preview the upcoming baseball season and see what’s what? Normally, I would rundown an entire league in one entry, but I need to pace myself this year. Writing those took a chunk of time and I’m maxed out as it is.

Instead, let’s just take things by division. There won’t be any schedule on when I get to each one, but I’ll try to plow through them in the next week or two.

Today is the division near and dear to my heart. The American League East.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

2008 status: 68-93 while unseating the Devil Rays' long running monopoly on last place in the division.

Key Offseason Moves: Extending Brian Roberts’ contract four years and a cool forty million; signing Cesar Ituris for two years, Gregg Zaun for one year, extending Nick Markakis for six years; trading for Rich Hill and Ryan Freel.

What’s It All Mean: A mediocre to dreadful season by the Inner Harbor. Another hodge podge of signing other players that no other teams want for more money than they needed to. I can understand locking up Roberts and Markakis, but they desperately needed some sort of pitching help and the best they could get was Rich Hill who the Cubs basically gave away for the infamous PTBNL (Player To Be Named Later).

Wild Card: This now leaves the Orioles with a top three rotation of the wildly inconsistent Daniel Cabrera, Jeremy Guthrie and Rich Hill, who’s health is more up in the air than a Nevada Ranch Bunny’s legs. There’s a chance they could pull a Devil Ray’s like resurgence and shock the world, but – like all Oriole fans – we aren’t holding out much hope.

Bottom Line: See you in 2010.


BOSTON RED SOX

2008 Status: 95-67; second place; lost to Rays in ALCS

Key Offseason Moves: Picking up John Smoltz and Brad Penny at the injured, aged pitcher flea market; being outbid by the Yankees for Mark Teixiera; not bringing Manny back; monitoring the health of David Ortiz, Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett; trading Coco Crisp for oatmeal; resigning an over the hill Varitek; bringing in Rocco Baldelli (which might turn into the best move all year).

What’s It All Mean: While they have a potentially killer starting 5 (Beckett, Dice-K, Lester, Masterson, Penny/Wakefield/Smoltz) both the Yankees and Rays have improved themselves this past offseason while the Sox sat at the kid table picking up any scraps that fell their way. True, they didn’t over spend but, ironically, that may cost them in the long run.

Wild Card: It’s easy to point to the health of everyone (already Lowell is being held out because he’s still having trouble moving with the bad hip), but Jacoby Ellsbury is the key to this year’s team. 2008 was his first full season and he went through the struggles common to most rookies. If he’s as dynamic and sparks the offense like we all thought he would last year, this team will be tough.

Bottom Line: They’ll be in contention as always, but any long term injury issues and this could be the year they fall into third place.


NEW YORK YANKEES

2008 Status: 89-73. Third place.

Key Offseason Moves: Signing CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixiera (who should have used his initials to fit in) to a combined four trillion dollars; convinced Mike Mussina to retire; resigning Pettitte for half of what they initially offered; convincing Joe Torre to crush A-Rod in his book; leaking A-Rod’s positive test to the media in hopes of getting out of his massive contract; changing Derek Jeter’s oil; declining options on Giambi and Pavano. Remember this last item when Teixiera and Burnett shit the bed three years from now.

What’s It All Mean: On paper this team is deadly, but there is no way to tell what to expect from them. There is so much controversy and hoopla surrounding the team it basically hinges on how well Girardi motivates them and keeps the team focused. If Torre were still there, they would be fine. Unfortunately for Yankee fans, Girardi is no Torre.

Wild Card: Where do we even start here? Can Sabathia deal with the pressures of being a Yankee? Let’s not forget he was nearly begging the Angels to match the Yankee offer before signing on the dotted line. Which Burnett will show up this year? How will A-Rod react to the steroid story? I see two scenarios: 1: He has a monster season as a ‘Fuck you’ to all his doubters. 2: He curls into a fetal position and refuses to leave the dugout. Flip a coin.

Bottom Line: It may seem like the Yankees spent wildly this offseason, but there is little difference in their operating procedures from past seasons. Sabathia should have a decent season, Burnett will be considered overpaid by July and Teixiera will be his usual steady self. If they aren’t in first place by June, expect Girardi to be on the hot seat.


TAMPA BAY RAYS

2008 Status: 97-65. First place and the first AL Pennant in team history.

Key Offseason Moves: Signing Pat Burrell to a smart, two year contract; letting Rocco Baldelli get away; signing old friend (and wifey heart throb) Gabe Kapler to one year deal; keeping most of their pieces from last season.

What’s It All Mean: The defending AL champs haven’t lost many pieces and certainly improved their offense by signing Burrell. All the speed, power and pitching is still in place to defend their crown. Even their bullpen is deeper this year – letting dynamo David Price loose for a full season and signing Jason Isringhausen to a minor league deal. Formerly a laughing stock, this club is making very smart, cost effective moves that should put them in the driver’s seat for years to come.

Wild Card: The year after hangover effect. Manager Joe Maddon should be able to over come that, but it’s always a risk for a young team.

Bottom Line: Contenders in what should be another fun year for the Tampa area. Let’s hope people actually come to watch this time.


TORONTO BLUE JAYS

2008 Status: 86-76; fourth place

Key Offseason Moves: Signing Kevin Millar, Matt Clement, Mike Maroth to minor league deals; not resigning Burnett; cutting loose Gregg Zaun. And I thought the Red Sox did nothing. Holy shit!

What’s It All Mean: Well, they still have Halladay and Vernon Wells…I guess. Oh and BJ Ryan. Man, if I’m a Blue Jays fan I am pissed! Figure they have a chance to win every fifth day when Halladay takes the mound, but I can’t see them doing much this year. Hell, Scott Rolen is playing third and I thought he retired two years ago.

Wild Card: Unless two or more rookies bust out I can’t think of one. Not one.

Bottom Line: Considering they don’t have a fleshed out starting rotation and are picking up pieces from the waiver scrap heap, I can’t see them finishing above .500 this season.

Up next: American League Central.


Today’s distraction: I’m putting this one out there for public opinion. This is the ‘cross eyed effect’ to make two pictures appear 3D, however I could not get it to work and only succeeded in making myself dizzy. I smell a hoax. Can anyone else get this to work as they describe?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kitchen Sink

On Saturday wifey and I took the plunge. We’ve been needing to renovate the kitchen since we bought our place and with both the mounted wall oven and the stove top shitting the bed after 50 years of loyal service, now is the time.

Quick sidenote before I get in too deep. For all you renters reading, there is something you should know before you get all amped up about buying your own place. It’s something that I wish someone had told me before I bought our place. It this: Once you buy a house, you’re life is over. You’ll be in debt forever. It’s nearly impossible to save money. You may make a bit of headway, but something will happen to the house that will require thousands of dollars to repair.

I’m not saying not to buy a place to call your own, just be aware going in that every place is a money pit.

The roof will start leaking and need to be reshingled.

The toilet will flush into the downstairs light fixture.

The secondary shower will drain directly into the basement instead of the actual drainage pipe.

The fifty year old wall mounted oven will make funny noises for a few hours and never get warm again.

A powerful storm will rip some siding off while sending pieces of that new roofing job into neighbor’s yards.

Yes, all of that has happened to my house over the past 8 years. I’m lucky (???) enough to have saved some (minor) amounts of money by doing some of the work myself. I reshingled our leaking roof, fixed the shower and the faulty toilet upstairs.

But, much of this work needs to be done and coordinated at a level I’m not comfortable with. Hence the home equity loan in order to renovate the kitchen and fix a few other odds and ends around the house. We have some questionable main pipes in the basement we want replaced before we literally start shitting onto our basement floor. Nobody wants that.

Onto Home Depot to pick out countertops, cabinets, appliances and have one of the kitchen guys help us price out what we want to do and help us with measurements and options. I’ve been skeptical of places like Home Depot and Lowe’s doing stuff like this, but Kitchen Guy Charlie (as it said on his nametag) was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Not pushy at all, which scores bonus points in my world.

Next stop was our bank where we signed approximately 532 different pieces of paper in order to secure a home equity loan. Wifey and I both have excellent credit (750+ for both of us) so getting approval wasn’t a problem.

I did notice that our bank (we have both checking and savings accounts at a local bank) was trying to push the ‘Flex’ rate on us. You know, the rates fluctuate with the federal interest rates. Flex rates tend to be lower, but they’re also one of the main reasons so many people defaulted on their mortgages. They grant a flex rate while everything is low, then the government bumps it up and the bank says ‘Oh, it went up. You’re interest rate is no longer 5%. It’s now 23.5%. What? We didn’t say it would go up in accordance to the government rates. We just said it would go up if the rates went up’.

Another word of advice. Get a fixed rate whenever possible. Sure, the interest rates may go down and save you money, but they’re so low now you wouldn’t be saving that much money. We fixed in for ten years at a shade over 6%.

My second piece of advice. Make sure when you fix in a rate there is no penalty for paying off the loan early. Believe it or not some banks put in a clause that if you pay off before the term is up, they’ll charge you another $500 on top of everything. I know, it’s illogical, but welcome to the world of finance. In our case we can pay off early with no penalties which is exactly my plan. Still, it’s a good idea to have a lower monthly payment in case something happens to your income.

Can never be too safe in this economy.

Anyway, there we are. We should have the money by the end of the week, the Home Depot guys should be dropping by to measure, I’ll need to start demolition soon, and wifey is nearly jumping up and down over the prospect of a brand new kitchen.

You know what? I’m thinking some before and after pictures are required.

Stay tuned.


Today’s distraction: Some New Math. Love the Crazy = one.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cranky Pants

I used to think that the reason older folks are crankier and display less verbal restraint when dealing with other people is because they have more aches and pains, usually have some health issues, and basically don’t give a shit what anyone thinks of them any longer.

That may be a part of it, along with most of your friends being dead or dying. However, I’ve learned over the past few weeks that there is another aspect I have never considered: They’re just sick of everyone else’s bullshit.

I should back track a bit.

This week I’ve dealt with the following people:

- Cute, 20 something blonde who got on the train a stop after me, chatted on the cell phone the entire time in an overly loud voice (I could hear her side of the conversation even with my iPod playing) and hugged one of the poles taking up more space than was needed because she needed both hands. One to continue her irrelevant chat and the other to hold her coffee which kept sloshing onto other people’s shoes. That she received dirty looks from several other passengers shouldn’t be a surprise.

- Dude at the gym that decided the elliptical machine right next to me was where he wanted to work out even though the entire row of machines were available.

- Older woman on the subway that stood right next to me. When I say that I really mean right up next to me. I was standing in my usual out of the way spot, she gets on a few stops later and cozies up to me with her back to me. As the ride progresses she inches closer and closer to the point my paperback book was bumping against her back. And the train wasn’t even crowded.

- Dude in some sort of hurry in a self important, arrogant kind of way that came barging out of a building, onto the narrow Boston sidewalk, cut me off, slammed right into a girl coming in the opposite direction and kept going without even apologizing or acknowledging her. It was so blatant that the girl stood there watching after him in disbelief, finally muttering ‘You’re excused’ and walking away.

Now consider this. The elderly in our society have been dealing with these jackasses for 20 – 30 years longer than we have. At some point they're going to say enough and start telling these people to fuck off in no uncertain terms. Maybe we all reach a point where we snap, tell someone off, and realize ‘Wow! That felt good and actually stopped that person’s annoying behavior. I should have done that years ago!’

I am quickly approaching this point in my life. I’m 41 now and have had enough of the inconsiderate, self absorbed pricks in this world. The only difference I’m experimenting with is being pleasant about it. For example, I politely asked the woman on the train that was crowding me if she ‘wouldn’t mind taking a half step forward’ rather than beating her to death with her over sized bag. She feigned surprise that she was crowding me even though she must have felt my breath on the top of her head, gave a half hearted apology and actually moved down the seats away from me altogether.

The dude at the gym I just ignored.

The blonde babbling chick on the train got enough dirty looks from everyone else that I didn’t need to say anything. Not that I would have had an opportunity as she barely paused for a breath.

Maybe we can map out attitudes towards other people by age groups.

Ages 1-10: Learning society’s pitfalls and acceptable behaviors

Ages 10 – 20: Learning who you are.

Ages 20 – 30: Partying, having fun, probably annoying others more than others annoy you.

Ages 30 – 40: Passive aggressive stage. You don’t openly complain about other people but will do little things like roll your eyes, give dirty looks, intentionally bump someone that is in the way.

Ages 40 – 50: The politely speaking up stage.

Ages 50 – 60: Not so politely telling others they’re being inconsiderate and rude.

Ages 60 – death: Fuck it, I’m going to be dead soon and don’t have time to deal with these piss ant punks.

Perfect example of this was displayed on the train a few months back. The train was crowded and tight. On Boston trains there are a few seats marked as ‘Specialty Seating’ where anyone using them is supposed to relinquish the seat if an elderly or handicapped person gets on. On this day there were two perfectly healthy women sitting there chatting away to each other.

A younger man wearing one of those removable leg casts gets on with me, sees the women sitting in the seat, says nothing and stands. Down the aisle a guy motions to ask the dude in the brace if he wants to sit. He yells down ‘No, thanks for offering, though. I’m only going a few stops.’

I’m sure the ‘Thanks for offering’ was a subtle jab at the woman in the reserved seat.

As the dude with the leg brace gets off, an older gentleman with a cane gets on in his place. He hobbles directly to the seat and stares at the woman. She is busy chatting away and doesn’t notice him (or pretends to, at least). He bumps her foot with his cane, but she still doesn’t look up. She just moves her foot and continues her conversation. When he realizes she’s not moving, he shuffles to the side, but right next to her (by the door). Two stops go by and he is still staring at her and letting his dangling cane bump into her now and then.

Finally, his stop is approaching and he says, loud enough for everyone to hear ‘Well, ladies, I’m glad you two got to ride in comfort while a 70 year old man with a cane had to stand for 15 minutes! The sign behind your seat,’ he points to the reserved sign behind the one woman’s head, ‘should be enlarged since you seemed to have missed it’s meaning!’

The two woman stop talking and look around at everyone on the train who are now staring at them. As the gent with the cane moves to get off the train, he catches my eye, gives me a quick wink, then glares at the woman in the seat again leaving me to stifle my laughter as he hobbles away on the platform.

Two guys from different generations. One says nothing, the other says it all.

Progress through aging.

Today’s distraction: 6 annoying old people habits and their scientific explanations. If you ever see me with nipple high pants feel free to push me in front of the next bus. Or just run me down with your car.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lost - Part 6

No time for chit chat today. Lots to cover and a ton of new questions. It’s the genius of ‘Lost’, isn’t it? Just when you think they’re answering all sorts of questions, the floodgates open with uncountable new ones.

You know the drill by now.

Stop reading if you haven’t watched, yet.

What Happened: That actually should be one of the questions. What the hell happened? To Ben, to Kate, to Hurley, to Sayid?

Sorry, I get ahead of myself.

In a repeat of the opening scene of the entire series, Jack wakes to find himself in a jungle, staring up at trees. He hears someone calling for help, turns into Hero Jack again, performs one of the more awkward cliff dives in television history (bellyflop!) and saves….

…Hurley. Who is struggling with a guitar case (more on that later) in a lagoon. Once he gets Hurley upright he glances across the water and sees….

…Kate (who has her own section this week in New Questions) lying on a bunch of rocks, which is symbolic for how she rocks my world but I may be projecting. She wakes and asks ‘Are we?’ to which Jack replies, looking nearly giddy, ‘Yeah, we’re back’.

Cut to 40 some odd hours earlier where Jack, Sun, Ben and Desmond are still in the church of Dharma with Mother Faraday. She proceeds to bring them down a long hallway and enters a room (The Lantern?) containing computers, chalkboards, and the worlds biggest yo-yo. She explains that this is how one Dharma scientist theorized you had to figure out where the island is going to be rather than where it was in order to get to it.

Apparently there are different entry ways to the island depending on the time, date, and the island’s menstrual cycle. The big, yo-yo thing isn’t really explained, but it looked cool. Desmond, when hearing that Jack and company are actually trying to get back to the island acts like every single one of us watching: ‘What are you nuts? You all get caught drunk driving on that island and die!’

Or something like that. Mother Faraday explains that this room (The Lamp?) was built over a pocket of energy similar to others throughout the world and that they’re all interconnected. After Mother Faraday tells Desmond ‘The island isn’t through with you, yet’ he gives her Faraday’s message and ‘I’m done with the island’ before storming out.

Quick sidenote: It was comforting to hear a sane, rational voice among all the emotional wreckage floating around the show this season. None of the Oceanic 6 can be labeled happy since their return. Desmond (although not a member of the group officially) is the only one who seems content with his post island life.

Mother Faraday takes Jack into her office and tells him he needs to recreate as closely as possible everything about Oceanic Flight 815. This means transporting Locke’s body (as a substitute for Jack’s dead father) and getting as many of the Oceanic 6 on Ajira Flight 316 (I wrote this down to remember) as possible. his flight will be flying directly over the coordinates where the island is next expected to be. She then gives him Locke’s suicide note that is addressed to Jack.

Jack then goes through some lame denials, has a heart to heart with Ben (of all people) about the foundation of faith before heading home to pack. But not before Ben says to him ‘I have a promise to keep to an old friend’, which I immediately feared for Penny’s life. Remember him telling Widmore that he would kill his daughter last season?

I digress.

Jack stops to say goodbye to Ray – his grandfather – who I can’t help but think we will see again in a more prominent role and steals his father’s shoes. Ok, granddad tells him he can take them, but still. He then goes home to find Kate in his bed with all the lights off. My dream scenario is quickly short circuited when Jack asks Kate where Aaron is and she tells him ‘I will go with you back to the island if you never ask me that question again’. He agrees while she rips her clothes off, which is what I would have done.

The next morning Ben interrupts Jack and Kate’s weird morning after and tells him he needs to get Locke’s body. We see Ben all bloody and beaten up as he tells Jack he will meet him at on the plane. Jack goes to the butcher’s shop (symbolism?) to get Locke’s body, puts his father’s shoes on Locke and gives him back the unopened suicide note. ‘Where ever you are, I hope you’re laughing,’ Jack says to Locke’s vaguely smug looking corpse.

Checking in for the flight, Jack goes through a bunch of questions about why he’s transporting a dead body, meets up with Kate and heads to security. There he sees Sayid in handcuffs (or so I assume) being transported by a woman with a badge. Sun arrives with hugs, smiles, kisses and lack of hostility. In the waiting area is none other than Hugo Hurley also waiting to board the same flight. When the airline announces that there are 78 free seats available for stand by, Hurley quickly stops her; claiming he bought up all those seats and nobody can have them.

As they board they all exchange surprised looks with Sayid who is more and more alarmed with each Oceanic 6 person coming on board. At the last minute Ben runs in all bandaged up. Hurley freaks out a bit before everyone calms down and settles in for the second worst flight of their lives. Just before they take off, the flight attendant tells Jack they found something of his and she hands him Locke’s suicide note.

As they get airborne, the pilot comes on to welcome them to the flight. It’s none other than the Lawnmower Man himself, Frank something or other. He’s just Frank to us. Turns out he’s been working for Ajira for a while….he looks around, sees Hurley, Kate, Sun, Sayid and says to Jack rather matter of factly, ‘We’re not going to Guam, are we?’

Halfway (or so) into the flight, Ben convinces Jack to read Locke’s note. It says simply ‘I wish you had believed me’ although it looked like there was an ‘in’ and some other words after it, but that’s all we were shown. The plane begins bumping around, things get white, and suddenly Jack, Hurley and Kate are in the lagoon where the show began.

As they gather themselves, a mint VW Dharma-mobile pulls up and a man with a rifle gets out.

‘Jin?’

What We Learned

- At least Jack, Kate and Hurley make it back to the island.

- That Ajira water bottle Sawyer, Locke and company found in that canoe really did mean something.

- Jack is officially a believer.

- Ben still has some of the best lines in the show. Loved his answer to Jack’s question about what happens to the other passengers on the plane? ‘Who cares’.

- Hurley and Kate seem to have been threatened or black mailed into being on the plane.

- Ben is so hated nobody even asks what happened to him when he gets on the plane wearing a sling and multiple facial bruises.

- The mystery of the island goes back a long time.

- Dharma hides underneath a church. Smokey hides underneath a temple. I’m sensing a trend.

- Ben reads the classics.

- I Googled ‘Ajira’, by the way and it’s a Hindu word that means ‘island’. I also came up with a fun site you MUST visit. I’ll link to it at the bottom.

- I also checked out ‘Ulysses’ (which looked like the book Ben was reading on the plane) in Wikipedia and here is the description of the book: ‘Ulysses is divided into eighteen chapters or "episodes". At first glance much of the book may appear unstructured and chaotic; (author James) Joyce once said that he'd "put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant" in order to attain "immortality”.’ Hmmm, that sounds familiar.

New Questions

Man alive, where do we begin?

- What happened to Aaron and why won’t Kate talk about it? Was he used against her in order to get her back to the island? Did she give him up? Is he dead? Whatever happened, Kate is not happy about it and did not seem thrilled to be going back to the island.

- Did Kate and Jack have angry sex?

- Does Kate really expect Jack to not ask any further questions about Aaron or was she just buying time? Kate makes some strange deals. Last night’s amounted to ‘Don’t ask about your nephew and I’ll have sex with you’. Actually, that sounds like a fair deal all around.

- And what about Jack? Will he ever ask Kate about Aaron again? It seems rather difficult to not know what happened to a three year old you cared for, watched grow up and was related to you. Wouldn’t you at least want to know if he was safe? On the other hand, Kate was undressing so I can understand his quick acceptance.

- What happened to Ben? His mention of keeping a promise to an old friend immediately made me think of his oath to Widmore that since he killed his daughter, Ben would do the same to him. Did he kill Penny and have to deal with Desmond at the same time? Did Desmond beat the living hell out of Ben?

- What happened to Sayid? Was he intentionally on the plane or was that a coincidence like Frank being the pilot? Sorry, was that ‘fate’? Coincidences don’t happen on Lost. Did he get himself arrested on purpose?

- What happened to Hurley? Like Kate, he certainly didn’t seem happy to be on the plane. What was told to him to get him on the plane?

- Was that Charlie’s guitar case Hurley brought with him?

- Is Mother Faraday really Faraday’s mother? She didn’t confirm or deny when Desmond asked her.

- Who came up with the theory on how to find the island? I’m betting we know him already.

- Who was the guy behind Jack at the airport counter? He says to him ‘Sorry about your loss’ when Jack walks past him and I could have sworn he’s either been on the show before or he’s just an actor I recognized from somewhere else. He was on the plane to Guam, too, so I’ll bet we see him again. Anyone remember him from before?

- Who is behind all six getting on that plane? My money is on the new, cold blooded, Sun. I think she ‘convinced’ Kate and Hurley to buy in to the return trip by not so nice methods. Still can’t figure out the Sayid angle, yet.

- Have the island returnees gone back in time? Judging by the mint condition of the VW Bus Jin was driving, it certainly seems that way. Either that or Jin is an artist at restoring rusted out Dharma vans. Although where would he get the wax?

- If they have gone back in time (seems it’s around the time Dharma was still operating on the island), have they gone back to prevent Ben from killing all the Dharma people? Is that their ultimate purpose?

- Did Ray, Jack’s grandfather, have Christian when we was 12? He certainly doesn’t seem that much older than him.

- Anyone else wish Desmond would have shoved that giant pendulum out of whack on his way out as a final ‘F YOU!’ to the island and Mother Faraday? I sure did.

- What’s the significance of Jack’s father’s shoes? You’d think Christian would be grateful for tennis sneakers since he wound up walking around on a tropical island. Sure, Jack could never have foreseen that turn of events, but it turned out pretty well for everyone.

- Did the Ajira plane crash or were the six white flashied back to the island and simply disappeared from their seats?

- Could the canoe shooting at Juliette, Sawyer, Locke and the freighter trio have been Jack, Kate and Hurley? There was an Ajira water bottle in one of them, let’s not forget. Could they have all crossed paths during the time skipping? Maybe Pilot Frank?

- And lastly, what the hell is going on?????!!!!!


Today's distraction: Here is the bonus link of the week. More proof that the geniuses behind Lost have thought of everything and quite possibly are messing with our heads at levels we may never fully understand. Just like James Joyce with ‘Ulysses’. Bastards!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Movie Reviews

To start, I’m not going to break down the A-Rod press conference. There will be plenty of other opinions to fill the void. I just want to point out that his story has already changed from the Gammons interview. Considering his history (see Couric, Katie) can we believe anything he says? What’s confusing is he is giving off the illusion of honesty, but everything seems scripted and choreographed to repair his image. Plus, every time he speaks I have more questions. That is never a good sign.

Enough of that. On to some movies.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe: We waited ten years for this? Not terrible by any means and, like the show, manages quite a few creepy moments that get under your skin and worm around. However, considering this movie has been in the works for the better part of a decade I would have thought creator Chris Carter would have been a bit more creative with the characters and plot. See it if you were a fan of the show, but doesn’t come close to the conspiracy, dread and terror of the first movie.

Sidenote here: I was watching this while quite inebriated last week and had to shut it off when I started seeing double. Well, I picked up where I thought I had left off only to run into a scene 20 minutes later I remembered quite well. So, I either passed out at some point and never realized it or I really wasn’t paying much attention at all. I will admit the scene made a lot more sense the second time around.

There Will Be Blood: This movie sat on my bookshelf for three months before I finally watched it. Being more than two and a half hours long had a lot to do with that, but when wifey and both boys were sound asleep by 9pm on Saturday night I took my chance. Daniel Day Lewis is phenomenal!! I even gave that two exclamation marks to stress my enthusiasm. I also enjoyed the first two thirds of this before the letdown at the end. It’s a very good movie and I would recommend it to people who love movies and want to see a director and actor at the top of their games. There just seemed to be some rationale missing behind the main character’s behavior or maybe it was implied and I missed it. We get that he’s a drunk, but there is an underlying paranoia that didn’t seem to make much sense. The ending is darkly funny, but much too abrupt. Even at the long running time, I wish they spent another 10 minutes showing us the consequences of his antisocial behavior. Everything seems rushed at the end.

Two notes here:

1: Every person who wants to become a film maker should be required to watch the first 15 minutes of this movie in order to show how to visually tell a story. There is literally no dialogue, but we still know exactly what is going on and what kind of man we’re watching.

2: Loved the battle of wills between Lewis’ character and the young pastor of the town Lewis buys up in order to get to it’s oil. For a good chunk of the film we can never figure out who the bigger con man is.

First Snow: Guy Pearce has quietly become the most under appreciated actors of our generation. From the clean cut cop in ‘LA Confidential’ to the tattooed amnesiac in ‘Memento’ to the fly infested scumbag in ‘The Proposition’ to this absorbing, little movie he never looks the same and completely inhabits whoever he’s playing. Chances are he’s a psycho in real life, but that’s fine as long as he keeps putting movies like this out. In this case he’s a slick talking salesman who is told by a psychic he will die very shortly (‘during the first snow’). Laughing at first, it quickly becomes his obsession and things quickly go downhill from there. The beauty of this movie – other than Pearce’s unraveling – are the unspoken secrets that simmer throughout all his relationships. His ex-con friend who blames him for sending him to jail, the mother of his friend who hints at some wrong doing, his coworker who just got screwed over, even his wife (girlfriend?) has some hidden resentment towards him that is never explicitly laid out for us. The ending is a bit ambiguous, but overall a pleasant surprise.

Wanted: A ridiculous, over the top, ultra violent movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s the teenage boy in me. What can I say? If you can buy into curving bullets and hot chicks who can kill you in the blink of an eye and assassins taking out train loads of people just because, then this one is for you. The only misstep – wait, let me rephrase this: The only thing I had a problem with was some of these people having super human abilities. Like the guy in the opening scene that leaps nearly three city blocks to another building. That was a bit much. I was very entertained, though, and the way a lot of these movies are made lately that’s saying something.

Into The Wild: Story of a strange, brilliant boy who ditches civilization and heads to Alaska to live….um…in the wild. You know. Like the title. Solid movie, but if you read the book you may have issues with it. I won’t give anything away in case you plan on seeing it, but there were details in the book that are omitted from the movie that made you wonder if this kid had a few screws loose. Here he’s charming and smart and supposedly adept at surviving in the wilderness. The book – which is a non fiction account – paints a picture of a very young man in over his head and possibly suffering from emotional or mental illness. By the way, his argument throughout the movie is that human attachments just hold you back in the world, yet nobody points out to him that if it weren’t for strangers helping him out during his cross country jaunt he would have never even made it to Alaska. Fucking putz!

Eagle Eye: I was fully enjoying this movie for the first hour until it was revealed what was going on. Then it fell apart like a wet paper towel. I won’t give away too much, but if you’ve seen ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ you’re going to be floored when they reveal the bad guy in this movie. There is homage then there’s complete rip off. You can decide for yourselves. Of course, the ending was totally ridiculous but it had lost me by that point anyway.

The Signal: A low budget, squirmy little horror show about a town that begins receiving a bizarre signal over all the phones, television sets and radios that drives half the population crazy. Let the murdering begin. Creepy and unsettling in it’s first half hour when you can feel the tensions escalating before blood is finally spilled, this movie quickly turns a corner and becomes somewhat of a comedy. There are some hilarious moments including one involving a decapitated head and an attempt to shock it back to life. As you can tell, this isn’t for everyone, but I enjoyed it immensely. It’s always tricky bridging the gap between dark comedy and true horror, but this movie pulls it off.

Space Buddies: Youngest wanted to watch this when he was sick yesterday. I would describe the plot, but it involves puppies walking on the moon. Please kill me.


Today’s distraction: Sorry if I’ve linked to this before, but I love these things. Name as many of the movies as you can based on the single scene shown. Spelling is critical.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Roid Rage - Part 2

Thoughts while celebrating neither Valentine’s nor President’s Day this past weekend.

- Worst. Valentine’s. Ever. I’m not normally one for celebrating, anyway, but wifey and I usually do lobsters and drink ourselves silly. This year she came down with strep (on Wednesday), didn’t get it checked out until Friday which basically kept her bed ridden for the entire weekend.

Look, I feel bad she was sick. But considering she knew she was sick on Wednesday, didn’t do anything about it until it became unbearable, wound up exposing both our boys to strep (you’re contagious until you’ve been on antibiotics for 24 hours) for a two solid days not to mention untold number of people at her work, my sympathy was severely tempered by pissed off-ness. If she had dealt with it right away, she wouldn’t have been as sick as she became, thus not ruining the weekend and basically making me a single father for three days straight.

Suggestion for everyone who is sick: Stay home! Don't bring your viruses and germs in to the workplace and attempt to trigger an epidemic. Stay home, email and call people if you need to but don't come in until you're healthy. You are not indispensible and everyone will be grateful you don't give them whatever disease you have. Wifey even attempted to go to work on Friday (instead of going to the doctors) until I talked her out of it.

For fuck sake, this is the 21st century. If you have a meeting you can't miss, call in to it. You can even have an online meeting if you want to get really fancy about it. Just keep your diseased self away from the public. I'm looking at you, uncontrollable coughing man on the subway this morning. If I catch whatever you have, I'll be looking for you.

- Everyone and their brother and grandmother have chimed in on the A-Rod story, but who’s asking this question: What now? Papi thinks PE users should be banned for a year. Jamie Moyer (A-Rod’s teammate for 4 years in Seattle) thinks A-Rod’s numbers are now meaningless and openly wonders why he’s even playing any more. Roy Oswalt thinks A-Rod’s stats should be wiped from the record book and makes an intriguing argument that I’ll address in a minute.

So what now? Where does baseball go? Can we simply assume everyone was using during that time? At the very least, everyone on the Rangers certainly seemed to be. Let’s not forget Sammy Sosa started his career there, too. Judging by the reactions from the players back then (notably Oswalt and Moyer) it certainly seems that not everyone was using.

The only solution that can quickly and absolutely put this behind us is for everyone to come clean. Release the names of the other 103 players who tested positive, any player who used or saw someone use needs to tell their story. This will never happen, of course. There’s no way in hell A-Rod would have admitted using if this positive test wasn’t leaked to the public. Instead we’ll be running through this every few months when some other revelation is made about another player having juiced during the 80’s and 90’s.

Anyone want to place odds on Juan Gonzalez having used during his most productive years? They happened to take place with the Rangers, as well.

- There is another option, as well, but it will never seriously be considered. Why not just let the players use PEDs? If it helps them recover faster from injury and helps keep your team’s multimillion dollar investment on the field, then why not just make them an acceptable part of the game? At the very least, let rehabbing players use them if they so choose. Isn’t in everyone’s best interest (owners, fans, players) to have players healthy and strong and on the field?

Just asking.

- As mentioned earlier, Roy Oswalt had a refreshingly angry and honest response to the A-Rod revelation. Saying things like ‘A-Rod's numbers shouldn't count for anything’, ‘for the guys that went out there and did it on talent. We're always going to have a cloud on us, and that's not fair at all’, and ‘The ones that have come out and admitted it, and are proven guilty, [their numbers] should not count’ even lumping his old teammate Roger Clemens into the group if any definitive proof is revealed.

But what really got my attention was this nugget: ‘I feel like he cheated me out of the game’. At first I was confused, as Oswalt is still in the game, performing quite well and getting paid generously to do so. He clarifies things with ‘The few times we played them, when he got hits, it could have cost me a game. It could have cost me money in my contract. He cheated me out of the game and I take it personally, because I've never done [PEDs], haven't done it, and they're cheating me out of the game.’

Again, Oswalt really doesn’t appear to be suffering financially at all, but I see the point he’s trying to make. All these roid ragers could have had fantastic games against young pitchers or pitchers about to hit the free agent market. Their over inflated numbers could have put a dent in someone’s market value. Let’s consider a 25 year old nobody pitcher who is called up in September so the club can see what he’s made of. He happens to face the juiced up Rangers lineup and gives up two home runs to A-Rod, another to Palmeiro and another to Juan Gonzalez. Maybe he was having a bad day, maybe they would have hit home runs off him, anyway, but there is no way to know. Maybe two of them would have been fly outs to the warning track and he gets a spot on next year’s team instead of being waived over the winter. Maybe he secures a $5 million a year deal with another club rather than signing a minor league deal just to stay in the bigs.

You can see how this can snowball and why guys like Oswalt are pissed off. Anyone know if the Astros and Yankees play interleague games this year? Would love to see Oswalt throw one at A-Rod’s head.

- Pitchers and catchers have reported and still nobody has signed Manny. Great call on this, Boras. After the A-Rod debacle last year what is it going to take for players to walk away from this guy? Owners and GMs certainly want no part of him.

- With wifey sick and my eldest over a friend’s house all day yesterday, I was nearly able to catch up on ‘24’. Only three hours behind now and am totally hooked. Much better than last year (static snow would have been better), although for once could we have one clean White House? Why is there always one traitor in the administration. This season it’s a Secret Service agent (at least that’s all I’ve seen so far) and I’m guessing one of the President’s close advisors is involved. Again.

- Speaking of television, ‘Fringe’ momentarily came back for a few shows, quickly wrapped up the John Scott story line (much too neatly for my liking), nearly lost my interest before ending on a spectacular cliff hanger. It won’t be back until April, now, but I will be watching. Suggestion for the Fringe producers: Lose the sister and niece.

- On the ‘Fuck ME!’ front, I made my way back to Hulu to finish up season one of ‘Life’ and could only find the five most recent episodes. For whatever lame brained reason, season one is gone and the first part of season two is no longer available, either. I’m guessing this is due to NBC morons limiting what can go online. Fucking brilliant, dudes. Now I can’t catch up on the show and won’t be watching anytime soon. How do these guys keep their jobs? Even went to Netflix to see if I could watch it online there. Nope.

Anyone know if I can catch up anywhere else? I’ll check NBC.com, but only as a last resort. Those fuckers.


Today’s distraction: As if this world isn’t strange enough, take a few minutes and read this insane story. Is this what economists are referring to when they discuss unforeseen effects of the recession?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lost - Part 5

I’ve always felt like watching Lost is like trying to plug multiple leaks in a dam. Every question answered is another finger in a hole. If you ignore the big torrent of ‘What the hell is going on?’ gushing from the middle of the dam, this season has plugged more holes than all the others combined.

Until last night.

One question from Christian has not only broken a new, gaping hole in the dam, but there are smaller holes and cracks surrounding it. All of them shooting water fifty feet straight ahead. Scroll down to New Questions for further details.

The rest of you know the drill.

Read no further if you haven’t watched yet.


What Happened

Let’s start with Sun, shall we? For some reason, we didn’t see a phone call from her daughter last week. We simply saw her get out of the car with gun in hand. This week, she’s interrupted by a call from her daughter saying, ever so cutely that she misses her mom. Sun tells her daughter she’ll be home just as soon as she murders this very bad man (ok, not really) then confronts Ben. Ben convinces Sun not to shoot him in the face and take a simple half hour drive with him so he can prove that Jin is really alive.

Kate and even Sayid throw up their hands and say ‘That’s it! I’m out!’ when they hear Jack and Ben want to get back to the island. Jack, on the ride with Ben and Sun apologizes to Sun for leaving Jin behind on the freighter. ‘Why are you telling me this now?’ Sun asks, ‘So I won’t shoot Ben?’ Jack responds that if she doesn’t he will gladly do it for her. Ben, uncharacteristically, loses his shit, slams the breaks on and screams at both of them about how hard he has worked keeping the Oceanic 6 safe and alive. ‘You wouldn’t stop thanking me! If you’re going to shoot me, then get it over with!’

Sadly, Sun backs down and they all drive to a church in LA where they meet up with – say it with me – Desmond. You’ll remember that he is looking for Faraday’s mother and it led him to the same place. So far that’s two surprises from this season that haven’t been that surprising. The other being Jin still alive, of course.

Which reminds me. Ben produces the proof Jin is still alive by taking his wedding ring out of his pocket. Had it on him the entire time. Little weasel! He could have easily picked the ring of Jin’s dead hand, but that doesn’t seem to register with Sun.

Desmond, Ben, Jack, and Sun all enter the church and there is white haired lady, Eloise Hawking – aka Mother Faraday (we assume) – with her equations on the blackboard. She faces them and asks Ben where the others are. He says this is all he could get on such short notice.

‘Well, it will have to do,’ she says.

But let’s get to the real action.

On the island Jin hangs with Rousseau’s group for a while. Even witnessing an attack by Smokey the Monster before being white lighted away to witness Rousseau kill her own lover after he somehow survives a trip to Smokey’s Cave. Season one viewers remember Rousseau talking about an illness that infected her crew and changed them. So, of course, she killed them all. Seeing Jin, she goes after him, too before he’s whisked away again.

When Jin lands there is another gun on him, only this time it’s Sawyer, who is surprised and happy to see Jin is not a charred, shark chewed corpse. Jin is happy, too, until he realizes Sun has left the island. Sawyer tries to explain things to Jin, but he’s like just like everyone watching the show and doesn’t understand. He gets Charlotte to translate, which Sawyer hilariously thinks should be PAD (‘He’s from Korea. I’m from Encino’).

The magical mystery tour continues with not one, but two intense time trips which are taking their tolls on everyone. Juliette, Sawyer, PAD, and especially Charlotte are bleeding from the nose. Charlotte even thinks she is in a different time and place before snapping to and screaming at Jin in Korean. She switches to English to leave no doubt that ‘This place is death!’

Well, duh! Even delirious Charlotte is annoying.

Locke makes the cold hearted decision to leave Red (a nickname that takes on darker meaning the more she bleeds from the nose and mouth) behind, but Faraday won’t leave her. He stays while the others go looking for the Orchid. As they’re leaving Charlotte tells them that if they can’t find the station to look for the well, which could be the sole reason her character existed in this show.

While Faraday comforts Charlotte in her dying moments (and she does die, just so you’re not shocked) it’s revealed that she spent her childhood on the island with her mother. When she spoke of it her mother would tell her it was her imagination and not to talk about it. She also drops another stunner: That a scary, strange man came to see her on the island and told her to never return or she would die. That man was Daniel Faraday!

Charlotte then drops dead. Or, more accurately, flops to the side dead as she was already on the ground. It was one of those ‘head to the side, eyes go blank’ type of deaths. You get the idea.

Locke and crew find the Orchid right where they expected. Juliette proves she’s a total jinx by mentioning how lucky that was before a white flash takes it all away. (‘Just had to say something!’). Locke locates the well Charlotte told him about and begins to rope down. But, not before Jin makes him promise to never bring Sun back to the island. ‘Tell her I’m dead’ and gives Locke his wedding ring.

On the way down, another white flash happens and Locke falls down and breaks his leg while Sawyer tries to help him back up even though the well is no longer there. Silly Sawyer.

Locke, still at the bottom of the well, gets a visit from ever versatile Christian, who tells Locke ‘I said YOU needed to move the island’. When Locke explains that Ben told him he needed to stay and lead the Others, Christian sharply asks ‘Since when has listening to Ben done you any good?’

And, yes, I’m trying to stem the flood of questions that have popped into my head. They’re coming out my ears!!!

Locke manages to get up (with a bone sticking out of his leg, no less), and pop the wheel back into place. As things get white again, Christian tells Locke to ‘Say hi to my son’. Locke asks ‘Who’s your son?’, but like everything on this show, it’s too late to receive an answer.


What We Learned

- While Locke thinks he’s all up in the island’s psyche, he really knows nothing.

- Even the island knows enough to not trust Ben.

- Jin does remember Rousseau.

- Smokey The Monster will take someone even if they are missing an arm.

- Charlotte was on the island before.

- Faraday perfects time travel in the future, as evidenced by his creepy, borderline pedophilic visit to young Charlotte. Or maybe doesn’t perfect it, but at least figures out the brain melting problem.

- Ben didn’t know Eloise is Faraday’s mother. At least that’s the impression we got.

- Jack, Sun, Ben and Desmond are so used to unexplained coincidences they barely blink when they run into each other at the church even after not seeing each other for 3 years. I would have much to say, I think.

- Ben feels unappreciated.

- Eloise – Mother Faraday henceforth – seems to be making things up as she goes. She demands all the Oceanic 6 need to be present, but just shrugs when she finds out only two have arrived. I seem to remember her all doom and gloom when Ben asked what would happen if he couldn’t get them altogether. Now it’s fine?

- Only those caught in the time skipping hear the hum and see the white noise. To those in the current time, the person simply vanishes.

- Even Rousseau’s daughter (Alex) had father issues. Having you father attempt to kill your mother, then have your mother kill your father while you’re still in the womb, then being raised by Ben can mess you up. I would think.

- Sayid gives the best threats of anyone on the show. ‘If I see either of you again, it will be extremely unpleasant.’

- The island is in flux not because the 6 left the island, but because Ben knocked the wheel out of kilter. Ben’s such a screw up.


New Questions

- Throughout the arc of this entire series, Ben has come off as manipulative, deadly, pathetic, and extremely intelligent and knowledgeable. But we’ve always been given the impression that he has the island’s best interests at heart. Moving the island so it couldn’t be found by Widmore (who has always been viewed with suspicion, as well). With Christian’s question to Locke about what listening to Ben has ever done for him, the show has made us question Ben’s ultimate motives.

1: Is he really trying to protect the island?

2: Is he – along with Richard The Ageless Wonder – actually trying to use the island for self serving purposes?

3: Who are the ones we should be leery of? Ben and the Others or Widmore and his crew?

4: Is it possible the Widmore, not Ben, is the one trying to save the island and the people on it?

5: And, if so, then what does Ben have to gain by protecting the Oceanic 6? Does he need them simply to get back to the island? I wouldn’t think so, since he can get there using Mother Faraday’s math. Right?

6: Going back to Ben’s last line to Locke ‘Sorry I’ve made your life so miserable’, has Ben been somehow manipulating Locke’s life both pre and post island in order to keep him from it? Considering Locke’s connection to the island via Jacob via Christen via walking around again, it certainly seems like Locke’s destiny was to be a part of the island’s history. The question now is whether he should have been on the island much sooner than the plane crash and if Ben and Richard actively worked to keep him off it.

7: Did Ben purposely move the island because he knew Locke was supposed to and wanted whatever glory Locke was supposed to get on the other side or was it truly the first selfless act in Ben’s life?

- Charlotte’s knowledge of the well’s location, her happy memories of spending time on the island, and her ‘This place is death!’ line made me wonder if somehow the island has been poisoned or corrupted. Was the island once a real life Eden? Could Ben and Richard killing all the Dharma people have turned the island dark? Or is the island just a piece of land and it’s the people chasing it’s power and talents that make it death?

- Did Charlotte get to have a piece of chocolate before dinner?

- Did we know Charlotte spoke Korean? If so, I don’t remember it and if not how did Jin know?

- How did Faraday get his sleeves rolled up so high? That had to have taken serious time.

- Who is Charlotte’s father? I get the feeling this will be important.

- Why was Sun so quick to believe Ben? Just because he had his ring doesn’t mean Jin is still alive.

- Is Sun’s daughter also Jin’s?

- When older Rousseau first meets Jin, does she show any recognition? Anyone remember anything unusual about them meeting?

- What happened to Rousseau’s crew that they turned on her and tried to kill her? How did they survive Smokey the Monster’s lair? And what happened in there that changed them? Rousseau’s boy toy even used Ben’s line of ‘It’s a security system’.

- Anyone else annoyed with Faraday’s soft, half whispering line delivery besides me? Speak up, man!!! Your outdoors and not at a funeral.

- Will Locke keep his promise to Jin? I say he does whatever he can to bring everyone back including breaking his word to Jin.

- Is Christian a ghost or time traveling from the past when he was….you know…still breathing? Was it inability or just refusal when he wouldn’t help Locke off the ground even though his bone was ripped out of his leg? Is Christian that much of a dick? Quite frankly, this is a toss up.

- Where is Claire? Wasn’t she hanging out with Christian and acting all smarmy and uppity?

I think that’s enough for this week. Hopefully some of this will be answered soon. I would really like to know if Ben/Richard have been and are still messing with Locke.

Did I miss anything?


Today's distraction: Give the internet a high five! It deserves it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Crush of the Month

This month’s winner of the BeachBum Not At All Creepy Crush of the Month is a member of the AMS which I bitch and complain about constantly.

Who?: Her name is JC Monahan and I spend time with her every weekday morning while I’m running on the treadmill, doing whatever it’s called on the elliptical and basically cursing my existence by being awake and sweating before the sun has even breached the horizon.

JC makes it all worthwhile, though. She is competent (which for a forecaster of New England weather is surprising), well spoken, charming, possesses a great smile and tends to be the most accurate of all the morning weather people.

Here is a sample of her work. You’ll have to wait through an ad, but it will be worth it. This morning she’s even fighting off a head cold (you’ll notice her voice is a bit raspy), but she manages to tough it out and get us a nice, spring like forecast to boot.

Score!

What Else?: You mean besides the beautiful, blue, puppy dog eyes? Well, she uses initials (Jennifer Catherine is her full name) which gives her a tomboyish quality. She’s like the girl who used to kick all the boy’s asses during kick ball in elementary school before blossoming into a hottie in high school and leaving all the boys she used to abuse wondering what the hell to do next.

That all?: Do you know me at all? What puts JC over the top is an underlying goofiness that reveals itself at the most improbable moments. Two weeks ago she actually faked knocked on the blonde anchorwoman’s head while saying ‘Knock on wood, that won’t happen’. Last week it was revealed she had a happy dance which, sadly, was not unleashed for my viewing pleasure.

So join me in congratulating JC Monahan on being the February BeachBum Crush of the Month. If you want, you could even send her an email from the link at the top. Chances are she won’t even read it, but it would be fun to see if she mentions it during one of the news casts.

Keep up the great work, Jennifer Catherine!


Today’s distraction: Some random funny pictures for you viewing pleasure. I particularly like the girl with two beers on her ass. If she were naked and her ass kept the beers ice cold it would be my version of heaven.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

BeachBum Exclusive

Peter Gammons had the gall to claim an exclusive interview with Alex Rodriguez on ESPN yesterday afternoon. What he didn’t reveal was this interview was highly edited for television and that it was really conducted by yours truly.

That’s right. Here is the completely unedited, uncensored and complete transcript of my one on one with A-Rod:

BeachBum: Thanks for meeting with me. Just so there is no confusion, I think you’re a total douchebag and will try like hell to make you look like a lying, two faced son of a bitch to the entire world.

A-Rod: Uh…..I thought Gammons was going to be here.

BB: Fuck, Gammons! It’s you and me, tool!

A-Rod: Ok. Back in 2001, when I signed with the Texas….

BB: Wait a second! I haven’t asked anything, yet.

A-Rod: Right. We can edit that out. I was reading off the first draft of my first answer anyway. Ask me about the steroids.

BB: I’m running this interview, douche! Um…..ok….shit….tell me about the steroids.

A-Rod: (Opens his notebook, flips to third page, clears throat) ‘When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure, I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day.’

BB: Pressure? You feel pressure? I would have thought with your stellar playoff stats you’d have a nickname like ‘Ice’ or ‘Frozen Blood’. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Continue….

A-Rod: Back then, [baseball] was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve. And I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time.

BB: Worth being one of the greatest? I don’t even know what that means. You mean worth that ridiculous contract you signed – yourself – to be paid more than some countries are worth (ours included at the moment) and put your team in such financial binds it couldn’t realistically compete for a playoff spot? Is that what you mean?

A-Rod: …..yeah. Overall, I felt a tremendous pressure to play, and play really well.

BB: Let me get this straight – you felt tremendous pressure to play well during the Texas years. Do you not feel that pressure now?

A-Rod: (flipping through notebook, then back again) Sorry, Scott didn’t write an answer to that question in here.

BB: So did you or didn’t you take steroids?

A-Rod: I did take a banned substance. And for that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful

BB: Are you sorry because you took it or because you got caught?

A-Rod: I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question.

BB: Are you apologizing for taking the steroids? Or are you apologizing because it was leaked you took the steroids.

A-Rod: (dumb, confused stare)

BB: Never mind!

A-Rod: (again reading from notebook) I had just signed this enormous contract. I felt like I needed something, a push, without over-investigating what I was taking, to get me to the next level.

BB: While I didn’t even ask you a question, I would like to follow up on that. If you didn’t feel like you were worth the enormous contract, why did you agree to it in the first place?

A-Rod: Scott was holding my dog hostage….. (A-Rod goes into convulsions while the sound of electricity crackles)

BB: Fuck! You alright?

A-Rod: (gritting his teeth) Yeah, sorry. That happens sometimes. Scott’s doctor still isn’t sure why.

BB: So what kind of steroids were you taking?

A-Rod: To be quite honest, I don't know exactly what substance I was guilty of using.

BB: You don’t know what you were putting in your own body?

A-Rod: I had just signed this enormous contract I felt like I needed something, a push, without over-investigating what I was taking, to get me to the next level.

BB: Yeah, you said that before. So, you had pressure from signing a $250 million dollar contract, but had no problems injecting yourself with something you weren’t really sure about into that same $250 million dollar body?

A-Rod: (goes into convulsions again)

BB: Uh….you’re faking, aren’t you?

A-Rod: Yeah, you didn’t buy it?

BB: Not for a second.

A-Rod: I’ll have to work on that. My acting coach is trying to get me to be more natural on camera. If you have pointers on what you believe and what you don’t, feel free to let me know.

BB: I’ll do that. So far it would all fall under the ‘not buying’ section of the program. Let’s move on. When did you use steroids?

A-Rod: Only during my Texas years.

BB: So….from 2001 through 2003?

A-Rod: That would be pretty accurate

BB: Pretty accurate? What would be entirely accurate? 1999 through 2003? 2001 through yesterday?

A-Rod: All my years in New York have been clean.

BB: Congratulations. I’m betting Yankee fans would take the Texas years over what you’ve given them in a heartbeat. Hey! Remember how you almost got traded to the Red Sox? Thank fucking christ that didn’t happen, eh?

A-Rod: ……

BB: While you claim you New York years have been steroid free, plenty of other shit has happened during your time there. The fans booing, the stripper, the divorce, Jeter not inviting you to his team sleepover, the playoff failures, Madonna, the fans booing, the botched contract opt out and subsequent negotiation, the Joe Torre book, now this….

A-Rod: It's been a rough 15 months here for me

BB: …..right….math isn’t your strong suit, either. Got it. Must be touch making $25 million a year. Don’t know how you do it.

Let me ask this: How do you expect anyone to believe you know after you vehemently and repeatedly denied using steroids during your Katie Couric interview?

A-Rod: At the time, I wasn't being truthful with myself. How could I be truthful with Katie Couric or CBS?

BB: So lying to yourself makes it ok to lie to everyone else? How, exactly, were you lying to yourself? Did you lie to yourself that you didn’t take steroids, only ‘supplements’?

A-Rod: There were a lot of people doing a lot of different things. It was very loosey goosey.

BB: Uh, two follow ups here…

First, did you just say ‘loosey goosey’?

Second, are you excusing your steroid use under the ‘everyone else was doing it’ defense?

A-Rod: I was stupid for three years. I was very, very stupid.

BB: I might argue that stupidity lingered longer than that, but fine. Why now? I mean other than the SI story about you testing positive and spring training starting any day now. Why admit everything now?

A-Rod: The more honest we can all be, the quicker we can get baseball to where it needs to be.

BB: ahahahahaahahahahahahahahahaaha…(wiping tears from eyes)….AHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA…(doubled over)….you…..honest…

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA.

Oh, man! That was classic. Anything else you need to say?

A-Rod: I apologize to the fans of Texas. I am sorry for my Texas years.

BB: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! That makes you and the entire state of Texas…..

AHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Man alive! (tears now running down face; gaining composure) Never knew you were such a funny dude, A-Rod. Can’t wait to see how the fans of Fenway greet you this year.


Today’s distraction: One of my favorite analysts responds to A-Rod’s interview.