Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tainted

Turns out that not only did two of the most dynamic Red Sox players on the 2004 World Series Champion team test positive for steroids back in 2003, but one of them may be a hypocrite of gargantuan proportions.

Ortiz and Ramirez have both been named as being on the same list of 103 players that included A-Rod and Sammy Sosa. I should say ‘reportedly’ since most of these stories are coming from ‘anonymous sources’ and, as far as I know, there isn’t a single person who has seen the list first hand willing to go on the record.

Is the 2004 World Series trophy tainted? You bet it is. Along with the 1999 home run race, more than half of Roger Clemens Cy Young Awards, the single season home run record, the all time home run record, A-Rod’s MVP Award and probably 15 different things we haven’t learned about yet.

Was I shocked that Big Papi was named? Not as much as you would think. We’ve all seen what’s happened to his performance since testing has been implemented. A strange wrist injury followed by a dramatic drop in production. That his best friend on the team during that time has just come back from a 50 game suspension pretty much assured that Ortiz was either using with Manny or turning a blind eye to the entire thing.

I was worrying that this would also sully the amazing comeback against the Yankees in 2004 before remembering that their 2003 team that beat the Red Sox had Clemens and Pettitte and the 2004 team had A-Rod. I'll just assume that everyone was popping or shooting something just to even the playing field.

What really bothers me is Ortiz’ rant against steroid users earlier this year after A-Rod admitted using. Papi railed on about increasing the penalty for one full year if you test positive and that he would never – and had never – take steroids.

Turns out the Red Sox ambassador may have been lying through his teeth and has had his image as a lovable, straight shooting, no bullshit, man of honor flushed down the toilet along with his spent needles.

Sorry, Papi. I can forgive the steroid use, but the outright lying puts you in the same group as another confessed user that told Katie Couric he would ‘never’ use those same drugs.

You want my forgiveness? Out with it. Tell the world what was going on back then so we can get past this.

And, MLB, release all the names. Make the list public so we can see with our own two eyes who was using. Enough of this secrecy bullshit and the trickling of names dribbling out every other month. Anonymous tips and sources are a cop out.

Today’s distraction is below. Two entries in one day. You know it’s a special day when that happens.

Movie Reviews

Before we get to the movies, I have an announcement to make:

I am officially fully HD at home. I’ve been waiting for FIOS to arrive (still waiting) in my neighborhood, I can’t get DirecTV’s HD signal, and I fucking hate ComCast and everything they represent.

So, after seeing yet another tempting ad for Dish Network I placed the call and yesterday we were setup with their new HD satellite. This may change my life. I actually sat for 20 minutes watching ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ because it was like people were dancing in my living room. Spectacular!

I can’t wait for football season to start. Literally, can’t wait. I want it to start tomorrow.

Pineapple Express: What a disappointment. Starts off fairly well and there are some laughs sprinkled in, but it turns into yet another action movie spoof in it’s last 40 minutes or so. Not terrible, just hoped for more. I really liked that Rogan’s character was dating a high school chick and wonder if a movie just about that would have been funnier. The scenes with him visiting her in school and meeting her family were fantastic.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop: This on the other hand, is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a while. So many times things almost got funny, but it just went nowhere. What’s shocking isn’t that this movie got made, but it made a fortune! How? Did anyone find this movie funny? If you’ve seen the previews, you’ve seen the only semi humorous parts of the movie.

Slumdog Millionaire: Man alive. They way they advertise this movie is like some sort of feel good, romantic, cheerful, under dog movie. Couldn’t be further from the truth. This is dark and difficult and great. When is the last time a movie this successful actually opened our eyes to how another area in the world operates. Danny Boyle has quietly turned into one of the most vibrant directors of our generation. Great movie, but don’t go into this thinking it’s a Bollywood romantic comedy.

The Wrestler: Slow, deliberate, fabulously acted story of an over the hill wrestler looking for some form of redemption. Mickey Rourke is perfect, Marisa Tomei seems to be improving (and exposing) with age, and the scenes between the wrestler and his daughter are complex and disturbing and heart breaking and honest.

Gran Torino: If this is Clint Eastwood’s acting swan song, what a way to go out. Immediately on the list of my favorite movies (which is rather long and convoluted). You don’t have to be a fan of Eastwood to appreciate this, either. Just watch it and enjoy.

Bottle Shock: A cute, somewhat amusing little movie about the emergence of the California wine country that focuses on the wrong parts of the story (in my opinion). You’ll enjoy it if you stumble across it on cable but you won’t feel cheated if you go your entire life without seeing this. Consider this one big shrug.

Tell No One: A French thriller that has some fantastic elements (including a female torture expert who is one of the scariest villains in film history) and I always appreciate a film that challenges the viewer to pay attention. Unfortunately, the plot becomes so complex and confusing it nearly comes undone by it’s own intricate plot. I would recommend it, but you’ll feel exhausted by the time things are explained.

Milk: Considering this is an Academy Award winning movie for screenplay, this seemed rather ordinary as far as telling a story. If Harvey Milk were black or Hispanic and not gay, this movie would have been dismissed as a run of the mill biopic. Sean Penn makes this movie, but there isn’t anything out of the ordinary outside of him.

Traitor: An overlooked, thoughtful, intelligent thriller in which you have no idea who’s playing for which side until three quarters of the way through the movie. And when you find out what’s going on, the movie not only doesn’t disintegrate but becomes even more suspenseful and unpredictable. Guy Pearce and Don Cheadle effortlessly command every scene they’re in. Love the final line of dialogue.

Yes, Man: Another sporadically funny movie that leans way too far into the romantic comedy lane. If anything it proves Jim Carrey can still carry a half assed movie for an hour or so. Judging by the one inspired moment involving the elderly next door neighbor, this would have been better as an R rated ‘SuperBad’ type movie.

The Eye: Yet another horror movie that isn’t scary or interesting. If Jessica Alba weren’t in this, there would be no reason to even have made this movie.

Rambo: A surprisingly cynical and extremely (I mean EXTREMELY) violent return for the third world’s working man hero. This could quite possibly be the most violent mainstream movie ever released. But here’s the thing, I still can’t figure out if Stallone (who also directed) did this intentionally to show the brutality of battle and the conditions of many war torn countries we tend to ignore or if he just wanted to show lots of blood and guts. Either way, I’m shamed to admit I enjoyed this edition of Rambo’s life. Even if I felt dirty afterwards.

One other note, which may dictate what Stallone was thinking. One of his debates with the missionaries that hire him to take them up the river tells Rambo that she is here to ‘Make a difference. To change something.’ Rambo coolly and simply states that ‘Nothing ever changes’. It’s a rather depressing view of what Rambo has become: a forgotten soldier who has realized that regardless of the battles he has won there will always be other psychotic leaders to take the place of the ones knocked out of power.

After his bloody rescue mission, Rambo returns to his father’s farm in America and finds that same rusted mailbox leaning to the left in front of the same house he left decades ago. It seems like a small detail in an epilogue nobody watching would really care about, but it illustrates Rambo’s take on the world: Nothing changes.

I guess, if anything, Stallone should get credit for my even thinking about this shit. Not bad for what’s supposed to be a stupid action movie.

CURRENTLY IN THEATERS (NO, REALLY!)

Up: Another Pixar winner that is warmer and more human than any live action movie I’ve seen lately. Gorgeous, funny, touching and exciting. Already on my list of the best movies of the year.

Transformers 2: Holy shit, did I ever want this movie to end. It starts off pretty well with lots of explosions and chaos and big robots fighting, but then spends way too much time with Sam and his parents and confusing plots about Transformer symbols and ancient wars and one robot wanting to blow up the sun because….well, I’m not exactly sure. It’s about 40 minutes too long and when the climatic battle finally arrives it’s over so quickly I felt cheated. I waited for this? Here’s an example: Sam Witwicky actually has a conversation with dead Primes (Optimus’ forefathers, if you will) before the final fight. Oh, I wish I were kidding.


Today’s distraction: Proof that the dollar is making a comeback. As art. Hey, we have to cling to any positive news we can.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comedy of Errors

Last month I presented a pair of top notch Red Sox tickets to wifey as a gift for our 14th wedding anniversary.

I know! Who would have thought one person could have lived with me for this long. I can barely stand myself. Actually that’s not true. I find myself highly entertaining and often crack myself up with internal dialogues. I’ll pass along an example in a minute.

In one of those crazy life coincidences the Sox retired Jim Rice’s number in a pre game ceremony. His number? 14. Go figure. Everything seemed lined up for a beautiful evening.

Our seats were fantastic; just past third base in prime foul ball territory. I was expecting at least three chances at snagging a souvenir.

Sidenote #1: Wifey and I had a conversation with two couples in front of us about foul ball etiquette. As a man, what is our duty upon catching a foul ball? After some discussion about having children (esp boys) I said that you should keep the ball unless there is a child under 8 in your general area. If there is a younger child you should hand it off. Some exceptions would be if you wanted to save it for your own child or someone special you had in mind. For example, my son already has a foul ball from a previous game (thanks, DA!), so unless it was hit off the bat of one of his favorite players I would probably hand it to a young boy nearby.

Sidenote #2: This entire discussion was prompted when a foul ball was scooped up by the third base ball girl at Fenway and grown men were waving their hands at her and yelling ‘Me! Throw it to me!’ along with a chorus of children. The ball girl always hands it off to a kid and I found it hilarious that grown men in their 40s and 50s were begging for a baseball. Show some self respect, dudes!

Where was I?

Oh, Rice. So Rice gets his day, his number is on the right field number display thingy and I was psyched to see Carlton Fisk, Freddie Lynn, Dwight Evans and a bunch of other Red Sox greats show up. Evans was a close second to Rice when I was a kid (Lynn is a long, sordid story which I don’t have time to get into here) as far as favorite players and I still think he’s an under appreciated player. Besides being a very good hitter he was one of the best defensive outfielders I’ve ever seen.

Sidenote # 3: A guy two rows in front of us won some promotional package and arrived in the second inning wearing a freshly autographed Jim Rice jersey with an entire bag full of memorabilia. I hated him instantly.

Sidenote #4: I was shocked how good Evans and Rice look. Both have kept themselves in shape and could probably lace up the cleats and play for a few games. After seeing what happened with Kirby Puckett and Tony Gwynn after retiring (picture blimps), this was downright shocking.

So the game gets going, we have a grand old time watching the Sox take a 6-2 lead, Buchholz pitch well enough to earn his second win of the season, and wifey gets to swoon over Ellsbury as he has a very good day at the plate and on the base paths. I downed 5 beers over the course of the game, ate a hot dog and a pretzel and only had to dish out $450 for it all.

Sidenote #5: How the hell do season ticket holders afford this? Not just the tickets, but paying for the food and drink? Do they smuggle in their own shit? When we first arrived I bought two Bud Lights and two pretzels and nearly dropped a load in my pants when the girl announced ‘That will be twenty two dollars’. Uh… WHAT??? No wonder the Sox have one of the highest payrolls in the majors – they’re being subsidized by crooks at the beer stands. Fuck me! Of course, that didn’t stop wifey and I from continuing to drink. Just from eating.

When the ninth inning rolls around things are looking great. Francona’s made some bizarre moves, but the Sox are up three and here comes Papelbon. While last year this would have been game over territory, Paps hasn’t exactly been himself this season. Besides, this is Oakland – one of the worst hitting teams in the league. Surely nothing could go wrong, right?

Right?

Well, Papelbon walks the leadoff batter – Jack Cust, who sports an intimidating .230 average and had already struck out 3 times.

Sidenote #6: This is the distinct difference between 2009 Papelbon and 2008 Papelbon. Last year, he would have challenged the leadoff hitter and risked a home run rather than giving up a walk. This year he’s being to deliberate and nibbling and trying to get hitters to chase balls. It’s like he spent the winter with Dice-K and absorbed his most irritating habits. Paps, you throw 95-97 with movement. Just throw it down the middle and see what happens. When did you turn into a pussy?

Cust, one of the slowest members of the A’s, steals second with no objection from the Red Sox. Suzuki grounds out to second, sending Cust to third. That’s fine. Up three runs, take the sure out. The next batter pops out and the crowd now feels it. Game is almost over.

Only Tom Everidge (who I never heard of before last night) doubles off Papelbon to score Cust (who never should have been on base in the first place). Man on second, two outs, Sox still up 2 runs. No worries. This seems to be Papelbon’s MO this season. He’ll get the next guy out, everyone in the park is certain of it.

Sure enough, Paps gets the next batter (Ellis, I think) to ground right back to him. Only the ball bounces under his glove and he misses the ball. Tough play, but still. Nick Green rushes up to the ball and immediately I can see what’s coming. I start yelling ‘hold the ball, hold the ball!’ while wifey is looking at me like I’m insane.

Green either doesn’t hear me or thinks he can be the hero and launches an off balance, far too late throw to first that sails into the dugout. Everidge scores and Ellis is now on second.

Sidenote #7: I have been singing the praises of Green to my eldest all season long because he is fundamentally sound and plays shortstop the exact opposite of how Julio Lugo tries to play. He sets his feet, maintains his balance and (usually) throws it right on target. He’s not the greatest shortstop as far as range and athleticism, but he’s reliable and consistent. That said, this first throw was a brain fart of epic proportions. Not only was he off balance, but even if he made it to first the throw would have been way too late to get the out. They teach you this shit in little league. Hold the ball if you can’t get the out. Prevent the run from scoring. Sadly, I had the perfect angle to watch this play unfold.

So now we’ve got a one run game with man on second and two outs. There’s still hope here. Ellis, sensing the Sox are caving in, steals third without a throw. This makes sense to me, too. Get the batter out and don’t risk a throw into the outfield that will tie the game. Rajai Davis is now up and he winds up hitting another little dribbler to Green, who proceeds to throw another off balance throw to first and have it soar well wide of the mark.

Now, if you haven’t heard of Davis before you should know one thing: He’s fast. I don’t mean a good runner, but fucking fast. Like a cheetah chasing down an antelope (they eat antelopes, right?). While the ball is rolling all the way out to right field, Davis is sprinting towards third. Along with 30,000 other people, I’m standing in disbelief, hands on my head, watching in horror as Davis ROUNDS THIRD and considers chancing a run at the plate.

He stops, but it doesn’t matter. Two Green errors and this game is tied. Adam Kennedy is up next and Papelbon now takes the opportunity to strike someone out. Thanks for showing up, 2008 Papelbon. You’re three batters too late.

In the 10th the Sox show signs of life when Bay makes a diving catch to save a run and end the inning. I immediately think ‘Hey, Bay is up this inning. He’s going to win the game for us!’ That’s usually how it works, right? A player makes a fantastic play in the field, winds up at bat the very next inning and does something. Right?

He pops out on the second pitch and we all watch the ball and Bay’s average plummet to earth. Holy fuck!

When the 10th inning is over, wifey and I decide to pack it in. It’s after 11, my parents are watching the boys and I need to get up for work in the morning. Besides, we can see the writing on the wall: The Sox are not winning this game.

Sidenote #8: There was a blonde sitting directly in front of us who obviously had breast implants. They were too big and too…hmmm…let’s say ‘perky’ for her 40 something year old body. She was extremely friendly, but they were a bit distracting. When we get up to leave, her and her boyfriend stand up to say good bye (we were chatting with them throughout the game) and the front of her low cut T-Shirt reads ‘GUESS’ in glittering letters. Startled, I stifled both the urge to laugh out loud and yell out random cup sizes.

On the train ride home my Blackberry keeps us up to date on the A’s scoring 2 runs in the 11th inning and the too little, too late comeback by the Sox.

In hindsight, this is a fitting tribute to Jim Rice. His teams tormented me in my youth. Coming so close on so many occasions only to find bizarre and terribly creative ways to make kids cry. 1975 World Series. 1978 14 game lead. 1986 World Series. He was there for them all.

While he obviously can’t be blamed for them, it certainly seems appropriate that these Red Sox would steal from those team’s bag of tricks and find a way to lose a completely winnable game.

Jim Rice Day, indeed.


Today’s distraction: Jim Rice’s career stats. Check out the total bases he racked up during the 77-79 time frame. Just astonishing. Keep in mind only one other player totaled over 400 bases in one season. That would be Joe DiMaggio.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Break Down

Despite one of those ‘I’m back from vacation and there is a week’s worth of work piled on my desk’ mornings, I am relaxed, recharged and ready to tackle it all.

That I only have three weeks until my next summer vacation makes it just a touch easier.

Rather than bore you with details, let’s just skim the surface so I can get back into form. Let’s break it down by categories so I don’t get too confused and rattled my first day back.

I’m fragile like that.

The Cape: The typical routine in which the boys spent more time in the water than not. Mornings started with a huge buffet breakfast at the resort followed immediately by 3-4 hours at the beach. When they tired of hunting crabs, playing water catch (so they could dive while they tried to catch the ball), and swimming around we went to the outdoor pool. When they tired of that we went for an early dinner/late lunch type of thing.

Upon return we would then either hit the indoor pool (if it was chilly) or again go to the outdoor pool. Needless to say we were all exhausted by 8pm and ready to crash.

The Candy Store: One of the highlights was visiting the old fashioned penny candy shop in town (which is anything but penny candy as the bill came to over $20). Kids can grab a tray and pick out random favorites like caramel cremes (what I have always called ‘Bull’s Eyes’), Hershey Kisses, lollipops and even candy cigarettes (which I thought they had stopped making). Sugar high was the name of the game and the boys played it well.

Dining Out: Our first stop was at a place called Captain Parker’s Pub, where we stopped for lunch before checking in. Three out of four of us developed intestinal problems about two hours after eating there so we took to calling it Captain Diarrhea’s or - as my eldest coined it – Captain Parker’s Poop Deck.

The next day we ate at an old reliable, The Lobster Boat, and fared much better. Even got both boys to try calamari before they knew what it was. They loved it and kept eating it even after I told them.

No Kid Weekend: Before we went to Cape Cod, wifey and I spent an entire three days with no kids. I shit you not. They decided they wanted to spend the weekend in Maine with my In Law’s. Wifey called to ask if I minded and I laughed and laughed.

At first it was going to be one night, but they enjoyed it so much they didn’t want to come home. So we made it two. Then three. I haven’t been that relaxed since…well, I can’t even remember. Nobody harassing me to play catch or get them a snack or hearing them fight over a toy. It was peaceful.

Wifey and I went out to dinner on Friday, spent Saturday at a friend’s house and never once worried about what time it was or whether the babysitter was having trouble. Nothing. We got drunk and fooled around and had a grand old time.

That Saturday we spent lounging on our deck reading, swimming in the pool and sucking down frozen Margaritas. And it was only three! I used to love getting drunk on summer afternoons. Now I have to worry about whether I'll get too drunk to save one of the boys if they start drowning or making an inappropriate comment to my wife’s smoking hot friend.

All of the above being said, by Sunday afternoon both of us were bored out of our skulls. Two nights is fine, but anything more than that and I start missing my boys.

The Goddamn Dog: This motherfucker, on the other hand, I could do without. Like right now. And like for-fucking-ever. That same Saturday wifey and I spent lounging around was the same day I fully realized how truly insane our dog is. I always partly chalked it up to having the boys running around, but they played no factor on this day.

We spent a full 5 hours outside with the dog leashed up right next to us. For those five hours the dog did not sit still for one minute. I wish I were kidding. He paced, spun in circles, raced off to chase some imaginary something or other before the leash would stop him dead in his tracks, go off to sniff the same spot he sniffed 5 minutes earlier, jumped up on one of our chairs only to be pushed off again, whined and yelped just because he felt we weren’t paying enough attention to him, followed both of us around even if it was to get up and toss something in the barrel, rolled around in the grass, chewed on his ball while rolling around in the grass, rolled on his ball while rolling on the grass and probably 155 other things I either didn’t notice or blocked out.

Our dog has ADD. Simple as that. He can’t hold a thought for more than 30 seconds, will whine if we’re not within 5 inches of him and often pulls at his leash if he can’t reach something repeatedly. While in the pool I watched him pull at his leash for a solid 15 minutes straight because he couldn’t reach his ball. 15 minutes!! And it wasn’t like he would get any closer or acquire super dog strength, he’s just too stupid to realize he can’t do it. He reminds me of that scene in ‘Bee Movie’ where the bee keeps bumping into the glass while trying to fly out the window: ‘Maybe now. Maybe NOW. Maybe now!’ only the outcome always stays the same.

To top that all off, when we got back from our trip we had the kennel keep him an extra day. The boys didn’t even ask about the dog that entire day back which means they don’t care if he’s there or not and the only reason we’re keeping it is because my wife is psychotic (although after last weekend she’s beginning to crack, too).

When he finally came home the very first thing he did was run for the back screen door to jump up on it. He does this constantly and drives me apeshit because I’ve already replaced two doors due to the ferocity in which he hurls himself at it. Well, you guessed it, he launches at the door which wasn’t latched properly, he manages to put his paw right through the screen, nudge the door open just enough so a gust of wind could grab hold and twist it right off the hinges. That hydraulic arm that automatically closes the door was torn right out of the woodwork.

Yesterday was spent installing door number three. When I was finished I looked at the dog and said ‘I’m replacing you before I replace another door’. He presumably was thinking of squirrels or eating his own shit.

The Economy: Not having access to the internet over the past week (I could have, just chose not to) meant I missed the Dow jump to over 9000 last week. While a positive sign I can’t help wondering why it means anything. The same idiots in charge of the epic collapse are still playing their same old song. Wake me up when some real changes are in place.

The Red Sox: I didn’t even know they traded for Adam LaRoche until he hit a homer for them Saturday night. He’ll help, but will it be enough? They certainly need some sort of spark to get them on a roll. Let’s hope it’s before tomorrow night when I go to Fenway.

Back to Work: You know that transition that occurs when you return to work after a long break? I’m smack in the middle of it. Emails have to be sorted through, voice mails returned, and assholes to be dealt with. The problem is I’m not in the proper frame of mind. I’m still thinking of beaches and drinking in the afternoon and sex anywhere in the house and killing stupid dogs and good meals to be very effective.

I’m sure by tomorrow I’ll be back in the swing, but until then I’m coasting on the pleasant fumes of my vacation.

I would say I missed this, but I don’t like to lie.

Unless it’s required or fun.


Today’s distraction: Another example of RIAA being completely out of touch and total douchebags. And they wonder why so many artists are bailing on labels and releasing their own music? Catch up or get out of the way!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Vacation Time

I’m off next week to spend some quality time with my kayak. And, I guess, the family if I have to. So, to keep everyone occupied for the next week, here are some random links, thoughts, and stories.

Enjoy. Think of me next week riding the ocean waves of Cape Cod. Oh, and beer will be involved.

- Last night we had a company outing (that was actually a small gathering of about 12 people) at the Grand Canal. Since it was a nice night, we hit the back deck and immediately a lovely Irish lass approached to take our drink orders. Her and I hit it off right away and the rest of the evening was like something out of a dream: She would walk by, eye my drink and if it was in the lower quarter of the glass she would bring me another Stella without me having to ask. It was delivered with a smile and wink and she called me ‘Hon’ when I finally paid up. It was love at first beer.

- In a recent podcast, Bill Simmons and Chris Connelly debated what should be considered the ‘defining’ movie of this decade. They considered ‘No Country for Old Men’, ‘Dark Knight’, ‘The Departed’ and a few others. The criteria was the movie should be rewatchable, successful, and immediately pop into your head the minute this decade is mentioned.

Well, I think they overlooked one and this is the movie I think defined the decade of 00: ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy’. No, it isn’t the greatest movie of the decade, but it certainly is funnier with repeated viewings, has spawned countless catch phrases and influenced many of the movies that were released following it. You could argue that if Anchorman wasn’t successful we may not have seen ‘Wedding Crashers’, ‘The Hangover’, ‘SuperBad’, ‘Knocked Up’, ’40 Year Old Virgin’ or any of the other comedies that have been released since.

I could also be persuaded to include ‘Old School’, but I think ‘Anchorman’ is the funnier of the two and has certainly added more to pop culture. Stay classy, ‘Anchorman’.

- I watched the Michael Jackson clip where his hair caught on fire while filming that Pepsi commercial and was stunned at how awful it was. I never knew it was that bad. I was also taken aback by how long it took anyone to notice he was on fire. It was a solid 30 seconds before anyone came to put him out. Thirty seconds of your head engulfed in flames is thirty too many.

- There’s a new form of yoga out there. Here are some hilarious examples of it.

- One man’s list of the top gangster movies of the past 40 years. While it’s tough to argue with the top bunch, how could he put ‘Carlito’s Way’ on here in place of ‘Scarface’? And where’s ‘Heat’? Shouldn’t that be considered a gangster flick? And ‘Snatch’ has no place in this group.

- Normally I wouldn’t link to this story, but this dude’s name is throwing me for a loop. It’s an inside joke, so apologies to anyone who never had the privilege of meeting one of my favorite people ever.

- Clay Buchholz is making his first start of the season for the Red Sox tonight. I wonder if this is an audition for the trade deadline?

- It also looks like the Julio Lugo era is over in Boston. Only two years too late.

- The new Boston Garden is being renamed. Again. It started out as The Shawmut Center then to the FleetCenter when Fleet Bank bought up Shawmut’s assets. Then FleetCenter became TD BankNorth Garden and now it’s just going to be TD Garden because we’re living in a truly retarded sports arena world. For the record, everyone here just calls it The Garden because we can’t keep up with the constant switches.

- That said, TD BankNorth (which is now TD Bank for reasons unknown) had a kick ass promotion for the name change. Taking a page from Willy Wonka, they handed out candy bars with only five of them containing golden tickets. What do those golden tickets get you? How about tickets to every single event at the Garden? This means all Celtics and Bruins games, any college games (including the BeanPot tourney), and all concerts. Unfortunately, all five winners have already come forward so I’m shit out of luck before I knew I even had a chance. Pity.

- Some great fake ads from Miller High Life that should be actual products. Especially that leg crossing one. Not sure why, but it’s always bothered me when men cross their legs like that.

- Here is one list of the top 100 April Fool’s jokes of all time. I remember the Taco Bell one and enjoyed the uproar immensely. Number 15 sounds like a classic.

- Remember all those rumors of satanic and drug lyrics that you can only hear if you play the record backwards? Well, here is proof that they actually exist. The Spears one is hilarious.

- 50 impressions in 50 seconds. Oh, it can be done.

- Witness your brain fail. This is strangely disorienting.

- Hey, look. They finally organized the internet! Good for them.

- Here is a list of the top 70 vampire movies of all time. What is our fascination with vampires? For the record I always considered ‘Fright Night’ to be one of the better (and funnier) of the vampire movies. And, no, I’m not going to watch ‘Twilight’ (which doesn’t make this list thus lending it credibility). It’s just not in the cards. A lot of these I haven’t heard of before, but look interesting. Wonder if they’re available on Netflix?

- Test your reaction time. Mine averaged out to .232 with my best being .199. Considering I’m an old, decrepit man I’ll consider that a success.

Ok, folks. I’m heading off for a week. Be in touch when I get back. Hopefully rested and recharged.

Later.


Today’s distraction: Test yourself on the countries of Europe. I did horribly on this. Geography isn’t my strong suit.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Almost Perfect

Just a quick note and fun new distraction for today.

Today's perfect weather got me motivated to stroll down to the harbor for lunch. I brought so I just prepped things as much as possible and took a lovely walk down the street.

I get a perfect seat looking out over the water and realize an enormous yacht is throwing off lines directly in front of me in preparation of leaving. This is one of those boats that has multiple levels with a full staff of cooks and cleaners and workers.

To my delight the crew working the lines is all female. All three are cute as a button, wearing form fitting white shorts, blue polo shirts and are intent on getting the boat sea worthy. They bring up the gangway, stow the lines, and I watch as the ship goes out 50 feet only to start backing in again.

The captain lines things up and the girls go to work again. Tossing out the lines, getting things ready for dock and they have all sorts of problems. One of the lines gets tangled, the other is stretching out too far. It's a clusterfuck and now there is an all male audience standing on the pier watching it take place.

Thankfully, the head crew dude comes down to help and even he can't get the line untangled. Validation for the girls.

So, I got to spend a beautiful afternoon by the ocean watching adorable, sexy girls for nearly an hour.

To top things off, on my walk back to the office I pass one of my friend's buildings. As I'm going by I notice a guy sound asleep on the building's property. There is a lush lawn in front with ample shade. I get closer and sure enough, there's my buddy. Sound a - fucking - sleep.

I hop the short wall, walk over and sit down right next to him; almost on his head and say 'These fucking Federal Employees (he works for the Federal Reserve) are a bunch of lazy asses'.

Only he doesn't move.

I give his head a shove to the side and he snorts, but still doesn't wake up.

So I did the only thing a friend would do: took his picture with my phone. I've already emailed it to him, but he's apparently still sleeping on the front lawn of his office building as I haven't heard anything back.

If I play this correctly, there may be free beer in my very near future.


Today's distraction: A fun keyboard game called Jelly Jumper. Consider the rest of today a goner.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Home Run

After watching the Home Run Derby…whoops, sorry.

After watching the State Farm Home Run Derby at Busch Stadium near Big Mac Land and the MasterCard ‘Hit It Here For $1 Million’ signs, I have a few ideas to spice things up for 2010.

Consider this another entry for the Idea Man in me. I’m full of them (along with other substances) but short on motivation and effort to actually implement any of them.

Fire Joe Morgan: I’ll start with a simple idea. I have nothing personal against the man other then his Big Bad Cincinnati Reds beating the Red Sox in 1975 to break my little heart and his inane and repetitive ramblings during ESPN baseball games. I’m sure he’s a very nice guy, but that doesn’t mean America wants to listen to him.


Chris Berman Sticks To NFL: Another tired shtick is his ‘back, back, back’ on nearly every home run hit. Considering this is the Home Run Derby that’s a lot of ‘backs’. How about we rotate broadcasters to include Marv Albert or Gus Johnson or someone that would amp up the excitement a bit. Again, nothing against Berman (who I thoroughly enjoy during the NFL season) but his routine doesn’t translate well to baseball.


Pick Up The Pace: Man alive, there was a LOT of time spent setting the stage. Here is some fat Philly dude calling Pujols’ home run direction. I’ve never rooted so actively against a guy since ARod’s last at bat. Oh, look, here are some kids for the State Farm something or other. There’s about 50 of them, so sit back while we introduce them all. Wait! There’s more. If a hitter somehow miraculously hits one of the million dollar banners 600 feet from home plate Mastercard will buy everyone in St Louis fried dough. Or something. And, of course, here are the actual participants of the contest. Thank you for getting to them.

Just get on with it, will ya? We’re here to watch hitters hit, not feel good about whatever charities MLB is involved with. Throw some pitches already!


No More Interviews: Especially while the Derby is actually in progress. I don’t care what Josh Hamilton thinks of this year’s contest. I don’t care what Pujols thoughts are on playing in St Louis (Really? What’s he going to say? ‘I fucking hate this place. I want to get out of here so badly I can taste it!’). Pujols was particularly aggravating because he talked over Nelson Cruz hitting monstrous bombs while the crowd was going nuts. Well done, fellas.


More Erin Andrews: The above said, Ms Andrews looked fetching in her yellow and black blouse. Find a way to get her more involved without having her conduct useless and boring interviews that distract from the balls leaving the park in bunches. Maybe she can stroll around in a bikini holding up signs that tell everyone the home run totals for each player. I like that idea a lot.


Extra Credit: As a player hits a home run, he can call out a guess at how far the ball will travel. If he’s within 10 feet, he gets a bonus home run added to his total.


Fan Cameras: Keep all outfield sections covered with a high def camera so we can see the brawls that break out when grown men fight over a baseball. Maybe plant a reporter in the middle of the chaos. This might be a good place for Berman if you insist on using him.


Outfielders: No more kids stumbling around during pop ups. Going forward only MLB players who need the practice will be catching the fly balls. Luis Castillo, Adam Dunn, Milton Bradley, the entire National infield? I’m looking at you. If you could get Manny out there, that would be FANTASTIC! If you want to throw a random celebrity out there, I’m okay with that. Watching Tom Cruise nearly getting killed by a line drive sounds enjoyable.

Also, the outfielders can attempt to take home runs away by leaping over the fence. In fact, you could go the other direction and put the best outfielders out there. Maybe five top defensive outfielders who can jump. I might like this idea better. If you add trampolines, this could be genius!


Allow PED Use: Every player committed to the contest is allowed to juice up a month before. No penalties, no tests. I want to see another spectacle like McGwire at Fenway. I want to see a 550 foot home run smash the centerfield score board.

If you don’t like that idea, allow corked bats.


Total Feet: Just for fun, add up the total feet for all the home runs a player hits. For example, Fielder’s 11 home runs in the first round totaled 4950 feet. Then have little stats to compare how far that actually is. This can be added to in subsequent rounds, as well.

Note: have no idea if that was his total, so don’t be leaving comments on what an idiot I am. I know I’m an idiot. There’s no need to rub it in.


No David Cook Ever Again: Self explanatory.


External Influences: As the rounds progress, each contestant must do one of the following:

A: Chug 12 ounce beer
B: Do a shot
C: Take a long toke off a joint

Now show me what you got. I’ll bet this increases the willing participants each year, as well.


Random Exploding Baseballs: Again, self explanatory.

That’s all I have for now. I was also thinking of certain spots that, if hit by a home run, would set off fireworks or something, but there may be limited space due to advertisements.


Today’s distraction: The highest grossing R rated comedies of all time. If you’re wondering why there have been 5 Scary Movies, you’ll soon understand. Also, I’m dismayed by #6 and shocked by #10. Never knew it was that popular.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mental Visual

I stumbled across another fully armed explosive device in the minefield known to most as ‘marriage’. I’ll need some background to get you all up to speed, but I’m sure my misery will be your entertainment.

Friday, I left wifey a voice mail on our home phone around noon saying that I would be going to the gym after work and that if she needed anything to let me know. Keep in mind the time I called.

I get to the gym, keeping my phone with me, did some weights and started running. About halfway through the run she texts me asking if I can pick up at 12 pack of beer ‘because I have the party tonight’. I totally forgot she was going out so I reply back with ‘Oh, man I forgot. What time you need me home?’ The time is just after 4. Let’s keep that in mind, as well.

Note: I’m abnormally proud of myself I was able to text while running without breaking a leg or becoming the latest viral video circulating the internet. It’s one of my more impressive accomplishments.

Wifey replies with ‘The sooner, the better. I have to get ready’. No biggie. She told me before and I totally forgot, so it’s my bad. I finish my run (only had 10 more minutes), stop and pick up her beer and get home with more than enough time for her to be ready. In fact she spends the first hour I’m home in the shower and making herself up. She makes plans to pick someone up and fiddles on the back deck for a bit.

I take time to get the new pool filter up and running and the boys have a blast helping me dump in the salt. She small talks me a bit, says goodbye and heads out. No biggie, right?

I thought so, too.

Saturday we spend most of the day at my nephew’s graduation party and my nephews and the boys and my brother and me spend most of it running around playing football and tossing the Frisbee around. Just like every other family outing. There’s food and beer and all the good stuff. I thought we all had fun. Even wifey was up and playing Frisbee keep away.

Saturday night wifey comes over after the boys are in bed and asks me ‘What’s going on with you? Are you unhappy?’ I ask what she means and she comes up with ‘You have been cranky and short that last week or so’.

I offer that if I’ve been short it certainly hasn’t been intentional and I’ve actually been in a good mood. She says I’ve been specifically short with the boys. I say ‘Well, when I have to tell them something three times before they listen, yeah, I get upset and will tell them so. You react the same way.’

She then says ‘Well it’s more than that. Like you forgetting I had the party on Friday night.’

I say ‘My forgetting something isn’t new’ to which she responds with ‘That’s just a convenient excuse. It’s just common courtesy to check in with me.’

I then (and here is where I do get cranky and short) remind her that I left her a voice mail on the home phone a full four hours before I heard back from her. She replies ‘Yeah, but you knew we were probably in the back yard and wouldn’t check the voice mail’.

Historically in our relationship, I would have fed right into this and kept counter arguing her points because they so infuriate me. Wifey is the classic example of female arguing. They want to discuss something, but the subject twists and turns so quickly you can get whiplash. She brings up some supposed insult for the sole purpose of provoking me. I'm not even sure she's consciously doing so. It might just be ingrained in her being.

I think I’ve finally matured. Or, at the very least, have figured out the game she’s playing. I can see she’s simply trying to pick a fight with me, so I say, calmly and coolly, ‘Well, maybe you’re right. I thought we all had fun today but if I’ve been acting cranky, I’m sorry. I’ll try to watch how I’m speaking. Especially with the boys.’

I’m guessing that for any normal person (read: male) that would have been a satisfactory conclusion to the argument. Wifey, however, is no mere sane person. She is so at a loss for words she accuses me of avoiding discussing anything, dumps the rest of her wine in the sink and storms off to bed.

I could have pointed out that her leaving is avoiding discussing anything, but I let it go. Instead I enjoy the peace and quiet of my solitude. With a wife and two boys it is not something I get very often. She’s asleep by the time I get upstairs (or pretending anyway) and I’m expecting 3 days of petty silence from her.

When I wake up Sunday morning she’s already out of bed. I go downstairs and she’s made bacon, eggs, ice coffee and toast for breakfast. ‘I made breakfast. You want any?’

I take that as her apology, but I’ve been wrong before.

Sunday is spent like Saturday night never happened. We do housework, yard work, play with the boys, swim in the pool (finally!) and BBQ the shit out of hamburgers, hot dogs and swordfish (for dinner).

As we’re getting ready for bed, she says to me ‘My stomach is killing me. I feel like I’m getting my period soon’.

In another triumph for my new found maturity, I resist the urge to say ‘Yeah, I feel that way, too’ and instead say ‘Oh, that sucks’. Remember, fellas, less is more when it comes to talking to women.

It’s a kinder, gentler world we’re living in.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t hazards littering the road in front of us. Tread carefully, my friends. Very carefully.


Today’s distraction: Practice your demolition skills. Remember to aim for the supposedly solid foundation. Was that too much metaphor?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Crush of the Month

Let’s knock this out of the way early this month.

I was inspired for July’s Crush of the Month by a recent movie I watched. It wasn’t great, but it is certainly watchable simply because this month’s honoree (and she should be honored) was playing the lead.

Who?: That would be Ms Anna Faris. Most of you know her from the 1500 Scary Movies she’s been in, but in this case the movie was ‘The House Bunny’. Faris doesn’t just carry this movie, she IS the fucking movie. There are very few actors who make me laugh just from their expression, but Faris has now joined the list.

For the record the list includes John Belushi, Jim Carey, Will Farrell, and probably someone else I’m forgetting at the moment.

In any case, Faris is now on the elite list and for good reason. She plays the House Bunny like a demented, sweetly innocent Britney Spears who just happens to dream of being a Playboy Centerfold.


She inspires other emotions, as well


Faris does such a good job in this movie, I’m slightly offended she wasn’t considered for Best Actress last year. Shouldn’t one qualification of that be carrying an entire movie for an hour and forty minutes? She certainly does that here.

What Else?: This is now the second time Faris has charmed and beguiled me in a movie. I’ve always enjoyed her in the Scary Movies, but there has been some question as to whether she was acting or becoming more of a crash test dummy. At the very least, she’s been one of the more courageous and willing comedic actresses to come along in a long time. I still remember the scene where she’s blown into a ceiling and covered with (I'm assuming fake) semen in the first Scary Movie. Gross and hilarious.

But the movie I’m referring to is ‘Just Friends’ where she plays a spoiled, deranged and abusive movie star/pop star/some sort of celebrity. She steals the movie right out from everyone. She’s alternately spacey, dangerous, sexy, downright insane and hysterical.

What really grabs your attention is the underlying sweetness she exudes whenever she’s on screen. Even when she’s playing a self absorbed bitch, you never take it seriously. Check out this interview she did when ‘Just Friends’ came out. You get an idea of her sincerity and, as a bonus, get to see clips from her work in that movie. The toothpaste scene still makes me laugh just thinking about it.

That All?: In a related note to my last post, Anna has been quoted as saying she doesn’t enjoy going out to the fancy LA clubs. She would much rather go hang out at a dive bar.

Holy shit! Come to Boston, Anna. I’ll show you around.

And wear this outfit when you come


She also doesn’t take her fame and celebrity too seriously; often posing for paparazzi in appropriately goofy positions with whoever she happens to be with. For someone who looks like her and is achieving the fame she is, it’s nice to see her stay grounded and affable.

One last thing.

I’ve noticed that she arrives at red carpet events dressed in a simple, elegant, slightly casual manner that I like. Very much. That she has the kick ass body to pull it off definitely helps.


Oh, yeah. Like this

Congrats, Anna. You are BeachBum’s July Crush of the Month.

P.S. I was serious about showing you around Boston. Just say the word.


Today's distraction: I give you Won Park, Master of Origami. Actually, very impressive. Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Diver Down

This post is way over due, but my philosophy of life has always been ‘better late than never’. Or is it ‘Bartender, another round’?

Either way, both fit in perfectly with today’s theme.

If anyone is coming to visit Boston this summer and want to enjoy the life of regular folks, here are some of my favorite bars in the city. Keep in mind that my zone tends to be the Quincy Market - Financial District – Theatre District areas of the city. Don’t get to the posh South End very often and when I do I’m not terribly impressed.

Since I fit in more with the lower end of the socioeconomic class system (I’m poor), I tend to gravitate towards the divier bars. I am who I am.

For the record, there are four things I look for in a bar.

1: Friendly, efficient bartenders (which are more difficult to find in this city than Whitey Bulger). If I have to choose one or the other, I’ll go with efficient. Nothing worse than waiting for another beer while the bartender chats away or pretends not to notice you waving your arms.

2: Televisions. Televisions that are tuned to sports. I hate coming into a bar and having to ask the bartender to put the Sox or Celtics game on. Automatically have it on. There should be no debate. If the local teams aren't playing, find another game somewhere. There's always something. Even if it's ESPN Classic.

3: Atmosphere. This is a bit complicated and I’m not quite sure how to phrase it, but I like an environment that stresses fun and social interaction but does not require it or shove it down your throat. If I want to sit quietly at a bar and watch a game people will respect that. If I want to mingle and chat and flirt, I can do that, too. The key is finding a place with that perfect balance so you could do either without much bother.

4: Beer selection. The more the merrier!

Let’s get to it. These are in no order.

Kitty O’Sheas: On the edge of Faneuil Hall is a place called Clarke’s where everyone and their brother goes to hang out. When it’s not too crowded, Clarke’s is a fine place to drink and socialize. Sadly, that isn’t often. Instead I head to Kitty O’Shea’s around the corner on State Street and belly up to an authentic Irish bar. This comes complete with an authentic Irish lass behind the bar most nights who will enchant me with her brogue while refilling my beer at a steady rate.

O’Shea’s is small, quaint and utterly charming. Stop in just to get the history of the bar itself, which used to be a pulpit from an old Irish Church. Even the pine floors are originally from Ireland. Haven’t been here in a while, but just writing about it makes me miss it. Might be time to stop by.


The Times: Down at the end of Broad Street, this has also been renovated to include an outside eating area. While that’s all well and good, it’s the interior I love. Especially on those cold winter days where you can grab an empty table, select from a healthy variety of beer and order some of the best goddamn nachos in the city. There is a center bar that you can access from either side of the dividing wall. Not sure why, but I find the setup immensely attractive.

The Times also earns a special place in my heart for once being so full of my friends and coworkers we took up the entire place. Purely accidental and unplanned, which is somehow the way most great nights start off. Just beware of using the men’s room. Not just nasty, but nearly physically impossible depending on which urinal you need to use.


JJ Foley’s: This is right around the corner from my office so I visit here often. Located on Kingston Street, JJs is the black sheep of the neighborhood. It’s also the oldest brother that doesn’t care what you think of it and will kick your ass if it felt like you needed it. Usually has a great selection of beer which can change on a weekly basis (check the blackboard behind the bar for new additions) and an old time, brusque and highly efficient barkeep who doesn’t have time for small talk or any semblance of tolerance for bullshit. And by bullshit I mean any of these fancy money brokers or finance guys who dress to the nines and style their hair. He’ll sell to them but the grimace when he does so makes me smile.

Foley’s gets bonus points for four things:

1: Their buffalo chicken tenders. Scorching hot goodness. They still refuse to carry ranch dressing for some reason and have on more than one occasion tried to pass off their Italian as ranch, but I can let this pass because it was so mind bogglingly funny.

2: They recently upgraded their TVs to wide screen HD and have placed them in the perfect spots throughout the bar. No matter where you are standing or sitting you have a good view of whatever game is ongoing.

3: Quite simply they own the best jukebox in the city. The sound system is great. Never too loud that you can’t carry on a conversation, but just loud enough you can hear the music over the noise.

4: Our Golden Tee tournaments take place here and they have always automatically upgraded to the latest version without hesitation. I thank them for it even as it makes my scores climb dramatically.


Grand Canal: On Canal Street by the New Boston Garden/Shawmut Center/FleetCenter/Whatever the fuck they’re calling it now Center. Great open floor design with an upper loft for those groups looking to carve a space for themselves. They have also added an outdoor deck which adds to the allure during the nice weather. Not as high on this list as it would be if they have a better beer selection. Last time I went they had run out of Stella AND Sam Adams Light. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy.

Still, I recommend a few hours here. Especially on a cool, summer night when they open up the front windows. Every now and then they’ll have lame live music so make sure things are quiet before you plan on stopping by.


Elephant & Castle: This one makes it purely for the beer selection (which is varied and yummy) and the bar staff (who are friendly, knowledgeable and are more than willing to suggest new beers). This is more of a restaurant than the others and the you’ll have to deal with a few banker douchebags, but still a mostly pleasant way to spend a few hours.


Those are my top five. Some honorable mentions:

CrossRoads: Over by the Fenway area. Friendly atmosphere and decent menu.

Ned Devine’s: Depending on the crowd, this can be hugely entertaining or down right obnoxious.

Beacon Hill Pub: Haven’t been here in years, but it was a favorite of mine from my single days. I’ll just leave it at that. Bonus points for being directly across the street from Mass General Emergency Room. If you ever visit you'll see why this merits mention.


BeachBum Bar Hall of Fame

Finn McCool’s: A shitty pub tucked into a back alley that sold dollar fifty drafts and was the site of more failed fights (including one that ended with a buddy of mine being sent to the hospital with a broken nose) and come ons than any place in Boston. Loved that bar. It’s changed owners and names several times since my prime, but I have yet to spend more quality nights at any other place. This would include one night where I hit on six girls at once as part of a bet, got all their phone numbers, then split the winnings with them. Then did shots with them. Then things got foggy and I woke up in a Bickford’s parking lot.

I miss my single life at times.


Today’s distraction: Be the bartender. Hard to get the drinks to pour sometimes, but still fun.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sun!!

We finally had some fantastic weather this past weekend. Finally! That needed to be stressed. Just in time for the holiday weekend, too.

For those of you not in the area who think I may be exaggerating for the purpose of literary license, I have two points to make.

1: Don’t ever mistake what is written down here as literature. That term implies some sort of art form and semblance of coherent thought. Please look elsewhere for that.

2: Here are some eye opening stats that you can Google if you want to verify.

- It rained 23 of the 30 days in June.

- This past weekend was the first entirely rain free weekend since April 25th and 26th.

- Normally June has sunshine 70% of the time. This year it was below 25%.

Enough of that. June is over and July has started off perfectly. Let’s move on.

I glad to announce that our new pool in up and running and we took the plunge (get it? Plunge? Pool?) and purchased a salt water filter that I have yet to setup. We researched and it just seems more low maintenance than having to constantly add chlorine and algae fighter and whatever else. Salt apparently naturally creates chlorine and this filter will automatically regulate the water so all we’ll need to do is skim and make sure the filter is properly loaded.

Done and done.

The boys were so excited that the pool was open they jumped in Sunday morning despite the temperature only being 65 degrees. They lasted 10 minutes before coming out shivering and chilled. Still, they christened the pool and summer has officially begun.

Works for me.

Other random events from the weekend.

- Lamely, I fell asleep before the Boston fireworks began. We usually watch them from our bedroom window, but this year they pushed them back so they didn’t kick off until 10:30. Every year I can remember they have started at 9pm. Last year they began at 10. Next year they may just wait until half the city is asleep before launching the first volley. Or maybe they’ll just wait until July 5th. Anyway, I was laying on my bed while wifey was next door. When I regained consciousness it was midnight and I had slept through the entire thing. Stupid late start. It’s bad enough my kids can’t watch any major playoff sporting events because of television start times, but now the city of Boston is pulling the same shit? 9pm works great for members of every family, so of course they keep making them later and later. Get with it, Boston. This is supposed to be a family event and you’re cutting out the people that will carry on the tradition.

- We had two cookouts to attend over the weekend. The first was Saturday and involved the shrillest member of my neighborhood who proceeded to squawk on endlessly about things nobody cared about. She officially entered my ‘can’t fucking stand being in the same room with her’ section of life. Even wifey, who was her defender to me for a long time, said ‘What was with her? Every single thing someone said she turned it around to focus on her’. You mean just like every other time she’s been around?

Marriage tip: Just because you think things like the last sentence doesn’t mean you should say it out loud. See, women have a bizarre tendency to hate each other only to turn around in one week to be best friends again. Then that sarcastic comment will be held against you for eternity. When it doubt, say nothing.

- Second cookout was yesterday and involved wifey becoming defensive because – for the third time in three weeks – she screwed up either the start time or location of an event. In this case she told us all that the cookout started at 4. I say aloud when she tells me this ‘Oh, good. I can still get to the gym’. So we go to run some errands and on the way home she gets a text from the neighbors asking where we are. Turns out the cookout started at 1, not 4. Fine.

But when I ask about it she says ‘I didn’t say it started at four, I said three! You just heard four because you want to go to the gym’. I don't mention that going to the gym isn't exactly something I look forward to or that even with the three start time she was still fucking wrong.

Marriage tip #2: After you have kids, all arguments are settled by an objective third party. Normally I would have been confused by how I could have misheard her. Wifey was adamant she told me three. Only my nine year old says, ‘Mom, I heard you tell Dad four o’clock’. Yes! I finally have some verification that my wife deliberately fucks with me just so she doesn’t look like an idiot. My boy gots my back!

Considering that this comes on the heels of giving me the incorrect start time of a birthday party for one of my son’s friends by a full hour AND her having the incorrect address of an anniversary party for a friend of hers I’m beginning to wonder if her faculties are failing.

- Not much shocks me these days, but I let loose an audible gasp when I heard Steve McNair was killed over the weekend. Despite his co-MVP award, I always thought he was under appreciated outside the state of Tennessee.

- That said, we seem to be entering an era of instant forgiveness. Barely a word is uttered regarding pedophilia concerns when Michael Jackson dies. Instead focusing on his music and his obvious influence left behind in the industry. Now McNair was murdered by a woman he was cheating on his wife with and nobody is even mentioning this in the reports. Simply stating that this was someone he had been ‘dating’ for a few weeks.

Look, I’m no angel and I certainly don’t expect celebrities to be, but McNair was married with four sons. Maybe there was some arrangement between him and his wife, but regardless the way he died should dim – at least a little bit – how we regard him. Four boys are now fatherless because he was fucking around behind their backs.

Maybe news agencies are skittish in passing judgment (especially regarding a black male) but pretending the entire situation in which he died doesn’t tarnish his image in a lot of people’s minds is not telling the whole story.

On the other hand, maybe we’re entering a kinder, gentler America.

Thanks, Obama. This really won't be much fun .


Today’s distraction: Great news for Celtic fans. If it were 2005. Sorry, but I can’t get super excited about Kevin Garnett’s backup. Although, maybe I should since there is no guarantee he’ll be 100% for the rest of his career.