Monday, August 31, 2009

Fantasy Land 2009

Judging by my own personal work life, it certainly seems like the economy has turned a corner.

Normally these last two weeks of ‘summer’* are as dead as the holiday season. Not so this year. I’ve been crazy busy the last week and a half. I had chalked it up to returning from vacation, but most of my work has been newly created and not leftovers.

* Why Labor Day marks the end of summer always confused me. We still have a solid month of great weather left. It must be due to school starting off again, but more and more cities and towns are going back before Labor Day. Like Daylight Savings and our entire electoral process, I think it’s time to re-evaluate the reason we do things.

Since I’m insanely busy again today, a quick rundown of my first fantasy draft which took place Saturday.

Judging by the final rosters, this should be one of the most competitive seasons ever.

The foundation: 10 man league, 16 rounds leaving us one open roster spot, game day includes 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, Tight End, Kicker, D/Special Teams and swing spot for WR or RB.

Here’s my team with some notes. Won’t bore you with the details.

Quarter Backs

1: Drew Brees: Convinced I needed one of the top three quarterbacks in order to have any shot this year, I took Brees with my first pick. Before you criticize, my first pick was eighth overall.

2: David Gerrard: Hey, he’s my backup and he had a decent year last season despite a terrible team.

Running Backs

1: Marion Barber: Everyone seems down on him this year, but I can’t figure out why. Dallas should have plenty of looks for both him, Felix Jones and Jason Whitten. In fact, now that cry baby Owens is gone, the screen pass to Barber and Jones should be run far more often. I also like that Barber is a solid receiver.

2: Kevin Smith: After watching Stafford light it up for over 300 yards (and 3 ints), I think Smith is going to have a great year. Look at what he did with Dante Culpepper as his QB last year.

3: Jonathan Stewart: For whatever reason, Stewart was still sitting in the seventh round. I know he’s got a sore Achilles or something, but this is still Jonathan Stewart we’re talking about. Round seven?

4: LeSean McCoy: Rookie from Philly who everyone says looks like a young, faster Brian Westbrook. While this may make me look like an in depth know it all, the sole reason I took him is because my buddy took Westbrook and I know he’ll be begging me for a trade when Westbrook gets hurt again this year. Can’t wait.

5: Willie Parker: I know he gets hurt, but he lasted longer than Jonathan Stewart. I think it was round 10 and Parker was still on the board. Is there something I don't know?

Wide Receivers

1: Andre Johnson: Love this guy and actually snagged him with my second pick. There are so many good running backs I wanted to get a top three QB and top three WR on my team. Just wait, it gets better.

2: Marques Colston: Boo yeah! Healthy and productive, I somehow managed to snag him in round 6. The comish of our league was writing everyone’s teams down to keep track and had this response: ‘Wait, this means you have Colston and Brees?’ which led to the rest of the guys grumbling and my best man explicitly saying ‘You fuck!’. Highlight of my day.

3: Vincent Jackson: Double boo yeah! Don’t ask me how he fell to me, but I nearly pissed myself when everyone started taking tight ends (round 6, believe it or not) and skipped over Jackson completely. Just to note, here are receivers that were drafted before Jackson (who I think will be huge this year): Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco Douchebag, Brandon 'Big Baby' Marshall, Braylon 'Cement Hands' Edwards, Bernard Berrian, DeSean Jackson, Derrick Mason and Lee Evans.

Side note: There is a trap people fall into when people start drafting certain position players. Someone drafted Jason Whitten in the fifth round and it started an avalanche of tight end picks. It was the fifth fucking round. Let’s not panic. I fell into the trap with wide receivers last season and wound up with crappy running backs.

The best thing I did this year was write down the rounds so I knew where we were. Then I mentally told myself not to draft a tight end until the 12th round or later.

4: Josh Morgan: Oh, yeah. Got my boy in the 13th round. The best was nobody had heard of him which could very well mean I’m a total idiot. I should point out that Crabtree still hasn’t signed. Yay for me!

Tight End

John Carlson: Seattle is going to be much improved and he should be very good for me.

Defense/Special Teams

Carolina: Whatever. Figured I'd give them a shot. Can always trade up later if needed.


Do you really care? Nate Kaeding who should benefit from all of Vincent Jackson’s touchdowns.

Players I Was Hoping to Get: Wes Welker, Eddie Royal, Roddy White, Matt Forte, Steve Slaton, Chris Johnson.

Teams I Stayed Far Away From: Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Atlanta (not sure why, but I don't like them this year), Jets (although their defense could be really good), Vikings (way too many questions marks),

Overall I’m happy with my team. But things can always change in a hurry.

One more random note.

Matthew Berry totally fucked me over by updating his Love/Hate column the day before my draft. And who does he put at the top of his Love list? Beanie Wells who I wanted to steal in the later rounds. When did he go? In the fifth fucking round!! I’m convinced that was no coincidence.

Carry on, folks. Kick off for 2009 is coming very soon!

Today’s distraction: A zoo display for the human race. ‘Life Span: 70 Years in Wild’.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Step Back

I don’t know if you’ve heard, yet, but Ted Kennedy died.

I shit you not. Just check….well…any news site, anywhere.

This morning in Boston you can imagine the uproar over this. On Channel 5 (ABC) our local news had a reporter on site at the Hyannis ‘Egg and I’ gauging people’s reaction to the news. It was laughable since it was 6 am and nobody was even at the diner, yet. He resorted to interviewing the guy that drops off the morning paper.

The reporter actually used the word ‘shocked’ to describe the reactions to 'uncountable' passersby.

Really? Shocking? People are shocked that a guy who had incurable brain cancer for more than a year died? Are they shocked every time the sun comes up, too?

I get that the Kennedy’s are royalty around here….

…wait. Actually, I don’t get that at all.

What exactly has Ted Kennedy done? Can anyone – off the tops of their head – name one significant achievement Ted Kennedy accomplished during his eight terms in the Senate?


You read that right. He’s been in the Senate for eight terms. That’s…a long time. How many years is a Senate term, anyway? Six years?

From what I can gather, politicians on both sides are praising Ted Kennedy for ‘shaping American politics’, which should truly be a mark of shame instead of a badge of honor. Politics has become a lobbyist shark tank where every new law and societal resolution is bogged down in a rotting quagmire.

For such a wealthy, powerful country it sure seems that anything remotely resembling progress is a painful, bloated, laborious process that takes two steps forward and one step back before coming to fruition. And even then the final result is a watered down version of the original idea that has hardly any effect.

Hell, look at Kennedy’s life long pet project of universal health care. Eight terms and he still hasn’t seen it come to life. How, exactly, has he been this generation’s model politician if he couldn’t even get his own passion to come true?

I know it’s wrong to speak ill of the dead, but let’s gain some perspective here. Like Michael Jackson and Steve McNair death creates an instant vacuum in which all bad qualities have been erased from history.

Jackson isn’t a pedophile who descended into a drug induced fairy tale of his own creation, he’s the world’s greatest musical artist.

McNair isn’t a two timing scumbag living in two different worlds, he was a great teammate who worked tirelessly with a variety of charities.

Kennedy wasn’t an impotent politician with a drinking problem who just so happened to have killed a young woman by driving off a bridge then left her in the car to drown, he was the single most important Senator of our lifetimes.

Do you think the current sentiment that Kennedy was considered by most to be one of the most efficient Senators of all time is a compliment?

Yes, I’m cynical. But to praise Kennedy for his political prowess is the most damning criticism of our current system anyone could make.

Today’s distraction: Behind the scenes at Pixar. Maybe they should take over the US Government. They’d be light years more fun and productive.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blast Off

Oh, yeah! I’m back and it’s time to give you a run down of one of the best vacations I can ever remember.

I should point out that my memory is terrible and can barely remember anything that happened beyond the past two years. The further away memories get, the foggier they become. Aging sucks.

So let’s get to it. Much to pass along.

Before we get to the highs and lows , I should lay the foundation. My In Laws were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and all of my wife’s family was surprising them with a full week visit. Since the in laws own a condo in Wells, Maine, we all booked rooms in that area. This included her family from California and Connecticut and all their grandkids.

Let’s break it all down.

Highlight: Boating from Boston to Maine. My brother in law has a nice power boat he wanted to bring up for the week. Since it’s a two person job, he asked if I would ride along to help out. Let me see: No riding with wife and kids to Maine, open ocean for a few hours, beers while we cruise along. Well, hell, sign me up. We had a blast and now I want my own boat.

Lowlight: We started off towing a rubber raft (one of the heavy duty ones with outboard motor attached) to Maine only to realize it would never work. Once the boat reached a cruising speed the dingy would start swaying back and forth; threatening to capsize. So – in the middle of Boston Harbor – we had to haul the friggin’ thing INTO the boat with us. After we tied it down everything was fine, but there was little room to move around.

Highlight: The weather. Just perfect. Hot, sunny, tailor made beach weather.

Lowlight: Horseflies. Or Greenheads. Or Greenies. Enormous, angry, painful flies that love to take a chunk out of you while you stand on the beach minding your own business. Both boys had huge, red welts from bites. I spent the rest of the week seeking them out and killing them with extreme prejudice. Final count was 8. What made this more frustrating is the horsefly season is usually over by the second week in August. Since we’ve had so much rain earlier this summer they’re hanging around longer. Bastards!

Highlight: The surprise! My in laws are creatures of habit and go to the same beach at the same time to sit in the same spot every day. We all met at the rental house wifey's brother rented and walked down the beach. Only we sent all the grandkids ahead of us so they could surprise the in laws first. Any suspicions they suspected anything were erased by their reaction to seeing all their grandkids swarm them unexpectedly. I could hear Grammy scream from 100 yards away.

Highlight: The Maine water. While normally it isn’t unbearable this time of year, it still packs a chilly punch at times. Last week it was mid to high 60s and perfect for swimming. Cooled you off enough from the heat and wasn’t painful getting used to it.

Highlight: Tropical Storm Bill creating such huge waves on Saturday that my oldest and I spent the entire day body surfing. Absolute blast. Felt like I was in high school again. Until the next morning when I felt every bruise and bump. Then I felt old. The fountain of youth doesn’t have a lasting effect.

Lowlight: Those same waves taking the life of a seven year old New York girl further up the coast. She and some of her family were washed out when a swell came up and took them away.

Highlight: The fishing trip. On Wednesday morning, all the boys (except my youngest) went out on the boat for some fishing. I’m not big on it, but I like the ride and my oldest wanted to tag along. He’s been officially hooked on fishing now. Get it? Hooked? Fishing? Right. Moving on.

We went out about 15-20 miles out and let the boys do their thing. My brother in law is an avid fisherman so he was giving them all pointers and helping them cast the lines while my other two bro in laws sat up front drinking beer and watching the fish finder.

I was joking that having the fish finder is cheating when over my son’s shoulder I see something large and black emerge from the water about 5 feet from the boat. My brother in law starts shouting ‘OH MY GOD, A DOLPHIN! LOOK!’

Sure enough an entire group of dolphins swims by us. Some were about 50 feet out while the others were nearly close enough to touch. They swam by, plunged and we never saw them again.

A few notes here:

1: What do you call a group of dolphins? They’re not fish so ‘school of dolphin’ doesn’t work, right? Pack? Herd?

2: As amazing as that sight was, when you’re out on the open ocean and a large, black, creature sporting a dorsal fin pops out of the water your heart stops in place and attempts to force it’s way out of your mouth while your bowels loosen considerably. ‘Jaws’ has ruined swimming and the sea for everyone of my generation.

3: My brother in laws reaction to the dolphins led to the running joke of him 'screaming like a little girl'. It's funny because he's easily six foot six and 260. That didn't stop the jokes, though.

4: We also saw two whales while we were out, but they were specks on the distance and only emerged for a second before disappearing again. And a seal spent a good deal of the week in the harbor. It was like SeaWorld nature.

Lowlight: Catching no fish worth keeping. We figured the dolphin had to be following a school of fish and there were plenty of small fish coming up, but nothing worthwhile.

Highlight: Catching a bunch of large mackerel when we arrived back at the beach. This led to a huge dinner…wait….

Highlight: Feast of the year. The entire family met at one of the rental places (the biggest, obviously) and had a royal dinner. We grilled up the mackerel, my mother in law made a pulled chicken stew with peppers and pineapples that was so good I had three servings, and my sister in law roasted up some pork that was equally as good. I ate a ton yet didn’t feel full.

Highlight: Yet another dinner that was the official celebratory Anniversary dinner for the in laws. Basically a clambake that was presented in courses. First was bread and salad. Next came clam chowder that was otherworldly and made the meal. And I don’t even like clam chowder. Finally a full lobster meal was presented with corn on the cob. This was topped of with a blueberry crumble cake and my uncle and I enjoying a prime cigar on the patio.

Lowlight: That my sister in law refusing to show up for whatever reason and got even more pissed and upset that nobody would return her calls or texts while we were having a great time. Her absence was the lingering storm cloud lurking on the periphery. She didn’t ruin it by not being there (I would argue it was better she wasn’t there), but there was always that feeling that things weren’t complete.

Highlight: Her not being there created no drama at all. A fact that was remarked on by many.

Highlight: Discovery of a yummy beer. Harbor Lighthouse Ale from the Bar Harbor Brewing Company. If you’ve read here before you know I like to try local beers where ever I happen to be staying. This was fantastic! Can’t rave about it enough.

Lowlight: The price of the above beer. Nearly $10 for a six pack. Is the label made with gold?

Highlight: My boy watching out for me. Eldest was looking for a ‘Life Is Good’ shirt for himself while we were roaming Kennebunkport. He found one regarding baseball while at the same time found one with a kayaker on it. Insisting wifey buy it for me, he presented it to me and we both wore our ‘Life Is Good’ shirts for the rest of the day.

Highlight: The willingness of my boys to try something new. While my eldest has a new found passion for boating and fishing (‘Can we get our own boat? Just for fishing?’), my youngest is now diving headfirst into the waves at the beach. Merely two months ago he didn’t know how to hold his breath underwater. Now he’s surfing the waves on the beach. He even invented his own move where he spins while underwater.

In fact, he's so comfortable in water he voluntarily jumped off the power boat into open ocean. I had to go in first, of course, but it was totally worth it. He was so excited to have done it he couldn't stop talking about it.

Highlight: All the cousins getting along famously. It worked out so well that all the kids would go down the hall to one of the units to watch a movie while the adults hung out in another unit drinking, cursing and laughing at inappropriate jokes. Good times.

Highlight: Kayaking in Wells Harbor. I only got one day to do so, but the harbor is a great place to troll around during high tide. Once the tide gets too low a lot of the tributaries dry up and there isn't much elbow room.

Lowlight: The fog that socked me in for nearly 2 hours before I could go out. Couldn’t see five feet in any direction.

Highlight: The good decision to bring the power boat back to Boston on Thursday and not Friday as originally planned. With the storm bearing down we decided to cruise back on another glorious day then drive back up. This way the boat was safe and sound and we could still hang out in Maine without worrying about Bill. If we had waited until Friday morning we would have been majorly SOL since the fog was so intense. And on Saturday the waves were so huge we wouldn’t have been able to head out unless we wanted to risk our lives.

Highlight: My brother in law, who’s had addiction trouble in the past, seeming to be more like himself than ever. Good to have him back.

Lowlight: Those addiction problems still causing friction between his wife and him. Not that I blame her one bit.

Highlight: The rental place we stayed at being friendly, welcoming and accepting of kids. Indoor and outdoor pool with parents who (mostly) made sure their kids didn’t annoy other people. There is a huge difference between responsible parents and parents who let their kids run wild.

Lowlight: The indoor pool being so over chlorinated that it burned your eyes. It was better later in the week, but I tried to stay away.

Highlight: Everything in our house and yard being in mint condition when we returned. It’s one of the worries about being away for more than a few days.

Highlight: Everyone having such a great time that they all agreed we should do it every year. Can’t get a louder ringing endorsement than that.

Today’s distraction: Could you pass the US Citizens test? I got 19 out of 20 correct, but I had trouble on a bunch of them. You know why I got 19 out of 20? Cause I fucking rock, that’s why!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Distractions Galore

I’m on vacation next week, so here are some random links, stories, thoughts, letters to occupy the vacuum.

- Two random events:

Random Event #1: I recently purchased the awesomely deranged and hard rocking new album from Future of the Left titled ‘Travels With Myself and Another’. If you like hilarious lyrics set to dark, frenetic punk music, you will love this.

One of the highlights of this album is a song called ‘You Need Satan More Than He Needs You’. Besides the title being the main chorus, there are lines like ‘Yeah, sure Satan rules, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be practical’, ‘Goddamn it’s going to rain, but I only brought my socks’, ‘It doesn’t look like a man, it doesn’t talk like a man, but does it fuck like a man?’ among other bizarre beauties.

Random Event #2: I stumbled across possibly the most insane dating show ever conceived the other night. It’s called ‘Dating In The Dark’ and it literally means two people stay in absolute darkness while they get to know each other. We view them through infrared cameras while they awkwardly try to forge some sort of ‘connection’.

Random note: I despise this new age term of ‘connecting’ with someone. ‘I definitely felt a connection with her’. ‘Yeah, we totally connected’. Of course you did. She hot and you’re horny. There’s the connection. Every time we have a conversation with someone we’re ‘connecting’. That’s why discussions used to be called ‘intercourse’. You connect with people at all levels every minute of the day. Some are good, some are bad, most are entirely forgettable. Please, let’s come up with a better word for the dating scene. I vote for ‘Stimulated’ because it could have so many levels of interpretation. Most of them dirty.

Anyway, how do these two events relate?

Well, during the 15 minutes I watched ‘Dating In The Dark’ one of the male contestants was using the confessional to explain that he was going to ‘share a song I wrote’ with the girl he was setup on a dark date with. Get it? It’s literally a blind date? Yeah, it’s as awful as it sounds.

Anyway, for one, brief, shining, beautiful moment I actually thought ‘Holy shit! What if it’s one of these bizarre songs like Future of the Left play?’ and I sat for about 5 minutes waiting for this dark date to take place.

Alas, he performed some lame ass, ‘I’m desperately trying to get laid’, pussy songs and my night was ruined.

Potentially one of the greatest moments in reality television history aborted by good taste and no balls.

Stupid television.

- I tend to go on autopilot when I commute to and from work. You know those phases where you think little and pay even less attention to your surroundings? Yesterday I’m absent mindedly admiring a girl’s ass who is walking in front of me and I think ‘Hey, that ass looks familiar. Is that _________?’ That’s right, I correctly identified a coworker strictly by how her ass moved as she walked. I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed so I’m going with proud.

- Dear Mr Francona: While I realize your loyalty towards players is often rewarded, exactly how long are you going to hinge your team’s playoff chances on an aging, painfully struggling designated hitter? While Boston loves Ortiz for what he’s done in the past, not one single person will blame you for benching him in order to play the best team we have. This is what your standard lineup should look like.

CF – Ellsbury
2B – Pedroia
3B – Youkalis
LF – Bay (welcome back, by the way)
DH – Martinez
1B – Kotchman
C – Varitek
RF - Drew
SS – Green/Lowrie/please get someone

Offensively and defensively this gives you the best chance to win. Plugging Lowell in at third and moving Youk to first will work, also. But you need to get Papi out of there. He’s a distraction and an albatross to this lineup.

Do something soon or the playoffs won’t even be in this conversation.

Thanks for listening.

- The best missing cat poster ever.

- Holy shit are people flipping the fuck out over Michael Vick signing a two year deal with the Eagles. Here is a text I received from a friend in Philly:

“I am thoroughly disgusted and embarrassed with the signing of Vick. You know I asked my father a few weeks ago if he thought ANY team would actually pick him up. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I don't know that I can be an eagles fan any more.”

This was followed up with a frown face.

All aboard! The over reaction train is getting ready to leave the station. Look, I get that treating animals with kindness and respect and love is necessary even if I have a hard time doing that to my own psychotic dog. I get that what he (and his people – everyone forgets he wasn’t the only one running this show but somehow wound up being the only one in jail) did was despicable. But Vick isn’t going back to teaching kindergarten. He’s playing football. Not exactly the breeding ground for society’s more productive members.

He’s done his time now let him get back to work. He’s lost two years, his reputation, tens of millions of dollars (possibly hundreds of millions), and any good will a majority of fans had towards him. I’m fairly sure that is just punishment.

There seems to be some irrational switch triggered when animals are involved. Nobody seems upset that Donte Stallworth (accidentally or not) killed a human being or that some athletes treat women like toilet paper (looking your way, Tennessee). As long as they smile and sign autographs and are nice to the fans and do occasionally charity work all is forgiven. But hurt an animal? Well, then, you should roast in eternal damnation.

Stepping off the soapbox now.

- Watched the Pats last night and had two thoughts

1: NFL in HD is fucking amazing. I thought baseball was transformed, but football is in another stratosphere. This may change my life.

2: Brady looked very good and I couldn’t be happier. Still want to see him take a hit, but last night was encouraging.

- New video has been released that caught that Hudson River collision. Accompanying the footage is news that two flight controllers were suspended after investigators found they were on the phone at the time of the crash. I have two questions.

First: Do pilots of even small planes really need someone to tell them ‘Dude, look out for that helicopter right in front of you!!!!’? I understand the big airliners need extra eyes and ears, but all this pilot needed to do was look straight ahead. The helicopter pilot could have looked around, too.

Second: Between this and the US Airways crash landing how much fuel is currently in the Hudson River right now? Could we set it on fire just to see?

- Some nail art. Yeah, it’s just like it sounds. Love the stripper pole one.

- Not to be outdone, here is some pencil art. Man, my kid’s teacher would kill for some of these. Pencils, that is. Not the actual art work.

- More proof the internet is an endless supply of self improvement (or self loathing depending on the site): Here are 100 (yup, 100) different online tools to teach yourself a musical instrument. Rock on!!

- Look out! It’s Cursor Chaos. Turn your volume down at work and it sounds like you’re simply typing out an email. Genius!

- An example of American Military arrogance with a great punchline.

- Need some excitement? Create your own fireworks.

- Finally, (I do have some work to do) here is your distraction for the week. It’s RedStar Fall and is one of those games that drive me insane and had to have been designed by an engineering expert. It’s still fun, though.

See you in two weeks.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Air It Out

Short on time today, so let’s blow through the wide receivers. Check out Matthew Berry’s Draft Day Manifesto when you have time, too. He makes a great argument that drafting one of the top receivers may be more important than who you draft at running back.

I don’t totally buy into this. While having one of the elites is always a plus, I find that except for a few players, these big scorers have such up and down seasons (35 points one week, 5 points the week after) they don’t help as much as a reliable and consistent receiver like Wes Welker. Welker guarantees you anywhere from 15-20 (at times more) points a week especially if you are in a league that rewards catches as well as yardage.

To each their own. Let’s get to it.


Larry Fitzgerald: Hands down the best receiver in the league.

Roddy White: Ink still drying on new deal which makes White happy, confident and ready to rack up the numbers.

Andre Johnson: Just spectacular last year and should be just as good again in 2009.

Randy Moss: Proved last season that he doesn’t need Brady to be effective.

Greg Jennings: Under appreciated, yet highly effective.

Hines Ward: A one man wrecking crew for the Steelers.

Reggie Wayne: Even a subpar 2008 kept him at the top of the receivers. Expect a bounce back year.

Wes Welker: Old Reliable.

Dwayne Bowe: Will flourish with Cassel.


Roy Williams: He may be in the top group by the time the season’s over.

Lee Evans: Having TO may open even more opportunities for him.

Eddie Royal: Broncos version of Welker.

DeSean Jackson: Potentially huge numbers during returns, as well.

Vincent Jackson: Everyone is predicting huge year, which means you should beware.

Antonio Bryant: Some huge games in 2008, but who will be throwing him the ball?

Steve Breaston: Could make the leap if Boldin doesn’t come to play healthy and happy.

Santana Moss: Often criticized, but does put up respectable numbers.

Bernard Berrian: Same boat as Bryant. Until we know who the QB is not sure I would take a gamble until later rounds.


Muhsin Muhammad: One good year and everyone still drafts him way too early.

Domenik Hixon: Watching him drop sure TD passes after Plaxico shot himself in the leg swore me off him forever. By the way, if you want a glimpse into the Giant’s 2008 season just read that first sentence again. Talk about Super Bowl Hangover.

Issac Bruce: Not the same one we remember.

Deion Branch: Will intrigue you just enough that you’ll play him only to see him gain you 3 points. I speak from personal experience.


Josh Morgan: Loved him last year; hope to get him this year.

Devin Hester: Getting better in the receiver position and Cutler will be throwing primarily to him.

Anthony Gonzalez: Now that Marvin Harrison is out of the way, he should be Manning’s full time second receiver.

Kevin Walter: Very quietly had a good 2008.

Michael Jenkins: Came on at the end of last season.

Patrick Crayton: Now that TO is out of Dallas, will Crayton finally bloom?


Terrell Owens: Buffalo?

Marques Colston: Is he full healthy? Love this guy, but not sure I’d take him in the early rounds until it was confirmed he was 100%.

Any Jet/Lion Receivers Not Named Calvin: Rookie quarterbacks = growing pains for everyone.

Steve Smith (Panthers): Injured again, so check his status.

Anquan Boldin: Is he coming to camp? Will he sit out due to his contract? He pulled this last year, too, and wound up having a great year.

TJ Houshmandzadeh: New team, new QB under a new coach. Transition period for the entire team.

Brandon Marshall: Unhappy, injured and in trouble with the law again. Love his talent, but there is big risk that he won’t stay on the field long enough to help.

Chad Ochocinco: Personally don’t foresee any resurgence.


Michael Crabtree: Claims he will sit out the entire season. Keep an eye on his status as draft day approaches.

Santonio Holmes: Absolutely killed me last year, but will he play with renewed confidence after the Super Bowl?

Braylon Edwards: Supposedly minor injury, but will you get Dynamic 2007 Edwards or Cement Hands 2008 Edwards?

So there you go, folks. My pay league draft is August 30th and I’m already counting the days. Boo yeah!!

Not going to bother with tight ends, kickers or defense/special teams. Just leave those until the last few rounds. I have faith you’ll do the right thing.

Today’s distraction: Play Pel and welcome your new addiction with open arms. There is no point resisting.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Runing Back By Committee

Meant to get this out yesterday, but I still spend a majority of time being life’s bitch. Stupid life.

Let’s get to it. No fucking around as we have the manly business of talking about those macho running backs today.


Adrian Peterson: Consensus number one for good reason.

Michael Turner: Can he repeat last year’s numbers? History says no, but who do you take over him?

Matt Forte: Has Cutler to throw him screens now, so he could have a monster year in total yards.

Chris Johnson: Love this guy and hope to get him on my team. As good as he was last year, I still expect him to be better.

Stephen Jackson: Even on a crappy team he put up solid numbers. Rams should be better this year.

DeAngelo Williams/Jonathan Stewart: Trouble with this tandem is who you think will get the ball near the end zone more often. Last year was Williams. This year?

Frank Gore: TDs were down last year, but he’s still a workhorse and San Fran should have a better offense.

Brandon Jacobs: Another bruiser who could lead the league in points if he stays healthy all season.

Steve Slaton: Last year I tried for 5 weeks straight to trade for Slaton and the dude wouldn’t pull the trigger. Expect even bigger numbers this season.

Marion Barber: Again, if he stays healthy, he’ll produce.


Clinton Portis: Had a much better 2008 than anyone expected.

Kevin Smith: Could he put up even better numbers this year? Or will having a rookie QB stifle him?

Thomas Jones: See Smith, Kevin.

Pierre Thomas: The main back in a potent offense. Expect another solid year even with Bush back.

Ryan Grant: Really picked up the pace in the second half of 2008. I nearly put him in the Sleepers section, but he’s too high profile.

Ray Rice: Despite the three running back hydrahead in Baltimore, he’s usually the one to get the end zone carries. Besides, expect McGahee to get injured at some point this season. Happens every year. Like the changing of the seasons.

Cedric Benson: Came on strong at the end of last year which could mean he’s finally fully healthy and happy again.

LenDale White: Will get points by osmosis playing with Johnson.

Willie Parker: Absolute dynamo when healthy. Too bad he can’t seem to stay that way.

Jamal Lewis: Another back that has been consistently solid the last few years. I keep expecting him to tail off only to have him prove me wrong again and again. I still wouldn’t draft him, though.


Kevin Faulk: Can put up big numbers on occasion, but way too many backs (especially with Fred Taylor on board). You know what? You can put any New England running back here. Who knows who will get carries on a weekly basis.

Julius Jones: The definition of ‘Last Resort’.

Tim Hightower: You willing to take a gamble after how he ended last year?

Justin Fargas: Good luck.

Edgerrin James: Is he even on a team this year?


Ronnie Brown: Injuries dropped his numbers, but Miami will be mostly run again and he (seemingly) is at full speed.

Derrick Ward: Do we even know who the QB for Tampa is, yet? Expect them to hand off quite a bit this year.

Darren McFadden: I know, but he could figure it out.

Beanie Wells: Rookie with Cardinals who will be sharing time with Hightower. So, let’s say Hightower does his dancing routine from last year. Who will be there to pick up the slack? Just saying.

Darren Sproles: Exploded at the end of last season and doubles as a returner.

Correll Buckhalter: No longer backing up Westbrook and is now a part of McDaniel’s high octane strategy.

TJ Duckett: He’s Julius Jones’ backup. And we all know how effective Jones has been the last two years.

Chris Brown: If you manage to get Steve Slaton on your team, you may as well grab his back up in this promising second year player.


LaDainian Tomlinson: Was he really hampered by a big toe last season? Will he bounce back with a vengeance? Or are the miles adding up?

Brian Westbrook: Is he healthy? And can he stay that way?

Maurice Jones-Drew: Will you be getting the first half Jones-Drew or the second half Jones-Drew?

Larry Johnson: Believe it or not, someone drafted him either fourth or fifth in last year’s draft. If he makes the first five rounds I’ll be shocked.

Marshawn Lynch: He’s suspended for the first four games already. Who knows how that will effect him.

Joseph Addai: Will he be 2007 or 2008 Addai? Flip a coin.

Reggie Bush: A gamble worth taking?


Jamaal Charles: On a Kansas City team with a good QB (Cassel), new coach, and questionable lead back in front of him.

Shonn Greene: Rookie back who could see major playing time especially later in the season.

Mewelde Moore: Had great games while filling in for Parker.

Willis McGahee: If he’s healthy and if he can get a majority of the carries and if the coaches decide not to play him for no reason….way too many ifs, but might be a good late round pickup for insurance.

Dominic Rhodes: Now with Buffalo who will be missing Lynch for at least 4 games.

As always there will be some no name running back who comes out of nowhere that sends everyone scrambling to claim him on waivers.

Good luck figuring out who that one’s going to be.

Today’s distraction: Take a long, gloriously time wasting tour of The Simpson’s home town.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Want My Quarter Back

Two things happened this past weekend that prompted this week long NFL celebration.

First, the Red Sox decided to take the weekend off. Getting about 6 hits during the course of 30 innings over two games against the Yankees. They can still recover and save their season, but there doesn’t seem to be much fight with this particular team. They rolled over and I have a hard time getting behind a team that sleep walks through the biggest series of the season (so far).

Second, both my fantasy leagues emailed me invitations. That just got my juices flowing.

In order to get my thoughts in order (yes, this is an entirely selfish project), I’m going to run down the positions. I have to. Putting things in writing helps my puny brain work better. I blame the years of pot and alcohol abuse.

Let’s begin with the most critical player. At least in my opinion. My thinking is there is a major dropoff between the best quarterbacks and the rest. There’s a difference of 5-10 points a week.

Most people tend to think running backs are the most important, but there are a ton of solid backs out there now. Of course all of this depends on where you are drafting. If you’re 1, 2 or 3 you’ll probably go with a running back with your first pick. But you get into the middle of the pack, wouldn’t it make more sense to grab a top notch QB?

I say yes.

Off we go. Here are thoughts on the quarterbacks.


Drew Brees: Incredible 2008 and is getting a healthy Bush and Colson back. Expect more big numbers.

Kurt Warner: New offensive coordinator, but still has Fitzgerald, Boldin and Breaston to throw to. He’ll be a top 5 QB as long as he stays healthy.

Tony Romo: Will he flourish now that the TO circus has moved out of town? I would bet yes and that he and Roy Williams make some noise strictly on the field.

Aaron Rodgers: I’m expecting a HUGE year from him.


Peyton Manning: No Tony Dungy. New offensive system. Below average 2008 season. Is he’s declining or is the change just what he needs to reinvigorate his career? I’m leaning towards that first option.

Phillip Rivers: Puts up decent numbers and seems to be getting better each year.

Ben Roethlisberger: Old reliable even if he’s not usually spectacular. Can throw in some really shitty games during the season, though, so keep that in mind.

Matt Ryan: All signs point to Atlanta having a huge dropoff, but he’s got Tony Gonzalez to throw to now and he’s got the rookie year behind him. Sophomore slump or spectacular follow up?

Donovan McNabb: Like Big Ben, he can throw some stinkers out there in a given week, but he (and the Eagles) seem to have a huge chip on their shoulders heading into the season.

Matt Schaub: If he can stay healthy. He can’t and he won’t so make sure you draft his backup.


Jason Campbell: Will this be the year he puts it together? I doubt it, too.

Jake Delhomme: How will he bounce back from that playoff debacle?

Joe Flacco: Not convinced.

David Gerrard: Really?


Matt Hasselbeck: Supposedly healthy and has that dude from the Bengals who’s name I can never spell to throw to now.

Kyle Orton: In Denver with Marshall, Royal and McDaniel’s system to work with. I think he’s going to have a spectacular season and I hope I’m the only one. I want to steal him in the eighth round or something.

Chad Pennington: Quietly had a very solid 2008.

Kerry Collins: Another one I would take in the mid to late rounds. The Titans should be good again this year and Collins makes very few mistakes.


Tom Brady: Fully recovered? No McDaniels around. All I know for sure is someone will take him way too early in my draft and screw things up for everyone else.

Matt Cassel: In KC now and does have Dwayne Bowe to throw to, but can he duplicate last season’s numbers?

Jay Cutler: New system and who, exactly, is he going to throw to in Chicago?

Trent Edwards: Will having TO make him better? I don’t think so, but stranger things have happened.

Eli Manning: Hundred millionaire (really?) who has nobody but rookies to throw to. Pick up a Giant’s tight end or running back if you can, because they’ll be getting plenty of opportunities.

Cleveland QBs: Do we even know who the starter is, yet? Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson? I’m staying away from both.

Minnesota QBs: All signs point to Rosenfels, but Jackson’s still in the conversation.

The Rookies: Sanchez seems to have a better all around team surrounding him, but will Stafford air things out in Detroit? Remember: bad team doesn’t mean bad numbers.

Carson Palmer: Nobody is still sure what happened to him last season and he’s talking a good game so far this summer. That said, he’s lost his prime target and, let’s face it, he’s only had one good season.

San Fran QBs: Shaun Hill or Alex Smith. I actually think whoever starts could have a very good year. Just make a decision already.


Michael Vick: Wouldn’t be a total waste to pick him up in the last round or two, right?

Vince Young: Is he healthy? By that I mean physically and mentally.

JaMarcus Russell: I don’t know. Every year someone breaks out and shocks the system. Could Russell be that guy?

So there you go. Both my leagues have 10 teams, so I should be able to bag at least a decent starter. I would prefer a great starter, so I may use my first rounder on Brees or Rodgers rather than being stuck with Schaub or Cutler.

That’s just me, though.

Today’s distraction: How to lose your job via Facebook. I love idiots like this. Makes me laugh and feel good about myself in one fell swoop.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Breaking News

In a stunning BeachBum exclusive, I have been handed the official transcript of the negotiations between former President Bill Clinton and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Il.

Breaking internet news here, people. I would love it if some reputable news source links to this as actual news. It would make my life complete.

Plane lands at remote airport. President Clinton exits onto runway and exchanges awkward half bow, half 'reaching for hand shake' with Kim Jong-Il. During bow they both bump heads.

Jong-Il and Clinton tour his headquarters with Jong-Il pointing out the endless paintings and photographic portraits of himself. He has just appointed his own son as the next leader of North Korea and he is following obediently and silently behind the two men.

‘This is my favorite,’ Jong-Il points out a version of ‘Dogs Playing Poker’ with all the dogs replaced with his likeness. All of them are naked.

‘That is something,’ Clinton remarks in his slow, southern drawl. ‘But I would really like to get down to business, if you would be so kind. Hillary told me I need to be home by 9 pm Eastern Time as the tracking device she had planted in my scrotum does not have coverage on this side of the world. Serves her right for not getting the World Edition plan, eh, Kim?’

Both men laugh.

Jong-Il and Clinton sit down at a enormously expensive marble table that sits under a chandelier made entirely of diamonds.

Jong-Il: ‘Don’t let my people know about my luxuries, if you would be so kind. Two thirds of my country barely have enough to eat. Sucks to be them, eh?’

Three stunning Korean women enter with tea and assorted sweets. They set them down and proceed to setup lavish china for the men to enjoy their meals.

Clinton eyes them up and down. ‘Hey, now, Kim? Are these what pass for interns?’ He pats one on the ass.

Jong-Il turns cold, ‘These are my three youngest daughters.’

Clinton clears his throat, ‘Yeah, ok. Let’s get down to business. What’s it going to take for me to leave with those two reporters?’

Jong-Il: ‘Those women have broken the law. I cannot simply turn a blind eye to their offenses in my country.’

Clinton: ‘I understand. But it will reflect well if you release them. The world currently shares a piss poor view of you and this will go a long way towards remedying that.’

Jong-Il: “I don’t understand this term “piss poor”.’

Clinton: ‘They think you suck.’

Jong-Il: ‘Ah, yes, yes. I’m aware of this, but it does not bother me. My country men believe me to be universally loved.’

Clinton: ‘Why is that?’

Jong-Il: ‘Cause I tell them so.’

Clinton: ‘And they just believe it? Could you talk to Hillary for me and tell her I really did not have sexual relations with that woman?’

Jong-Il: Laughs long and loud. ‘Even I do not believe that.’

Clinton takes a sip of tea and spills some over the table while putting it back. ‘Oh, damn. Sorry about that.’ He takes napkin and tries to wipe it up, only it spills off the table onto Jong-Il’s pant leg.

Jong-Il: ‘You fool! These are $900 pants!’

Clinton: ‘Yeah, sorry about that, Kim,' he draws out his name sarcastically.

Jong-Il: ‘You mock my name?’

Clinton: ‘No, no, it’s fine.’ Long pause as Jong-Il’s aides clean his pants. ‘If you’re a girl,’ Clinton whispers under his breath.

Jong-Il: ‘What? I heard that!’

Clinton: Taking another sip of tea, ‘Yeah, whatev, Kim. Look how much for the women?’

Jong-Il: Stunned, ‘Excuse me?’

Clinton: Slipping into terrible Hispanic accent, ‘The women. How much for the women? How much for the reporters and the little girls?’

Jong-Il becomes still as do all the aides. They stare are Clinton in horror.

Jong-Il: ‘What?’

Clinton: Still in fake accent, ‘Your women. I want to buy your women. Sell them to me. Sell me your daughters and the reporters.’ Takes spoonful of jam and flicks an enormous glob onto chandelier.

Jung-Il: Enraged now, ‘How dare you come here – to my OWN PALACE – and disrespect me like this.’

Clinton: In own voice, ‘Look, you say no to me and I’ll come here every day. For breakfast…lunch…and dinner. Every day of the week.’ Takes a huge, ugly bite from a loaf of bread.

Jung-Il: ‘Ok, Ok. You got me. I’ll play.’

Clinton springs from his chair with broad smile: ‘Excellent! I’ve always had a fantasy about two Asian women on an airplane.’

As Clinton leaves, Jung-Il’s aides are behind him trying to address the situation: ‘Sir? Excuse me, sir? Sir!’

A defeated Jung-Il slumps in his seat and picks up bottle of wine while the aides continue: ‘SIR? EXCUSE ME, SIR!! SIR!!!!!’

Today’s distraction: A man who plays guitar with his mouth. Not like Hendrix, either. You really need to watch this. I’ve seen it and I still don’t believe it. Turn your volume down if at work.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Crush of the Month

It’s time for another edition of BeachBum’s Non Stalker, Non Creepy, Non Threatening, This Should Really Be Considered a Compliment, Crush of the Month.

I putting this up for two reasons.

1: I really have nothing to say this week. I’ve started and stopped several different entries because they just weren’t coming out right. This included some half assed look into why Big Papi taking steroids hasn’t really changed anything. I may still post this, but I need to think it out more. Not something I usually do, as you can obviously tell from reading any other entry in this space.

2: I’m lazy. Like really lazy. Not sure if it’s summer finally taking hold or I’m getting tired of finding things to write about, but it’s becoming a problem.

So, let’s get to it.

Who?: This month’s victim…er…award winner is someone I’ve always considered my road mistress. I usually only watch her when I’m away on business. Since I don’t have access to Boston channels and don’t really care what the local news shows have to say, I’ll turn to CNN Headline News and enjoy the company of the talented, personable, and sexy as hell Robin Meade.

So this. Only in my hotel room. Just me and her.

Robin has been the morning anchor for HLN (as those uppity wankers over at CNN now call it) since as long as I can remember. She’s become such a popular staple that they’ve named the show after her: ‘Robin and Company’ or something along those lines. As well they should. Meade (or Robin, as I call her) is such a welcoming and warm personality you actually feel like she’s talking directly to you.

In fact, here’s a sample of her work complete with a great ‘Good morning, sunshine’ and a sexy purple top. Or perhaps you’d prefer black dress with matching black boots while she discusses the last Super Bowl.

Man, she is addictive.

Her laugh is contagious if you can get past the killer legs

What Else?: Well, she has a great sense of humor not only about herself but everyone and everything going on around her and has the ability to draw you into her joke; arching an eyebrow or giving a look to the camera after a particularly ridiculous story as if saying ‘What the fuck? Can you believe we’re reporting on this shit?’

This means that she's not only one of the hottest women on television, but she strikes me as someone I would enjoy hanging out at a bar or just sitting around my living room. Naked. Uh, the living room part. Not the bar part. Unless she's game, in which case I can handle it if she can. Can't speak for any other people in the bar when they witness the atrocity known as my upper torso, but they'll probably stick around to see her undressed.

She is also a fantastic interviewer as George H W Bush can attest. She even went skydiving with the former President as part of her piece. She’s even won an Emmy for her news work. An Emmy!! They just don’t hand those things out unless you’re Rosie O’Donnell or Ellen DeGeneres, you know!

Not enough? How about her being Miss Ohio in the Miss America pageant? She finished in the top 10 which must have made the 1993 contest a great one to watch. Wonder if Bob Barker tried to fondle her? I would have.

That All?: Not at all. I've actually saved the best for last. What really made me sit up and take notice of Ms. Meade (I know, I know, she’s married. I’ll over look it for now) is her beautiful singing voice. There was a specific clip from the news program where she simply lets loose and stuns the rest of the crew, but I couldn’t find it.

Instead enjoy this clip from the Newsapalooza concert which includes yet another smoking hot outfit. God help her husband. Imagine your wife looking like that, jet setting around the world, interviewing famous athletes, celebrities and horn dog politicians? Guy must be more secure than Fort Knox. Fort Knox is still around, right?

Did I mention she also blogs and has a book coming out? Man alive, Meade, will you take a break? You’re making all the men around you look bad. The women, too. Hell everyone looks bad next to you.

Join me in congratulating the lovely and talented Robin Meade for being this month’s Crush of the Month. I’m sure it will be listed in her bio just below 'Miss Ohio' and just above 'Jumped out of airplane with former President Bush'.

As it should be.

She'll look like this when she gets the news

Today’s distraction: It’s a real life Spider-Man who’s sneakers I want inspected for glue or suction cups or jet packs or something. This is crazy to not be trickery.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Forty Something

Middle age is not a pleasant experience.

Aside from the lingering aches and pains that used to be gone in a day are the lovely discoveries like bald spots while hair grows in places it never had before. Is my hair migrating from the top of my head to my ears? If so, why? I don’t want it there.

I now need to put sunscreen on the very tippy top of my head because I’m risking third degree burns ala Michael Jackson filming a Pepsi commercial if I forget.

I find I can’t workout more than two days in a row because my muscles simply don’t recover in time. Stupid middle aged muscles.

I’m now asleep before my two boys because they don’t have school during the summer while I still have to wake and work. What a gyp. I want to be a kid again.

I have to watch what I eat more than ever. Spicy food in moderation is still great, but too much and I wake with an active volcano in my stomach. Too much dairy or beef and my stomach rebels in ugly and painful ways.

During my next doctor’s visit I’ll have to partake in the dreaded ‘glove’ inspection. I’m hoping I can hold off on this until I’m 50, but it may be unavoidable.

There are rays of sunshine.

I’m in better shape than I was in my late 30s; I’m still immature and juvenile and laugh at politically incorrect jokes and properly timed farts; I’m wiser and a much better judge of people then ever before. To be blunt, I’ve spent enough time around people that I know idiots and bullshit artists within 5 minutes of meeting them. I can also peg intelligent, funny, well adjusted people in a matter of minutes. Granted my criteria is biased (if they like me they’re well adjusted, intelligent and funny), but it’s working for me. Don’t push it.

Also, not to offend any delicate sensibilities (although if you were delicate you wouldn’t be reading this), I’m better at sex then ever. I don’t know what happens to a man when he hits 40, but somehow everything is clicking. Wifey has even mentioned it to me at various times. Usually along the lines of ‘Where the hell did that come from?’.

I’m sure a lot of it can be attributed to being with the same partner for so many years, but it’s only been the last 2-3 that have been noteworthy. Things were always good between us (or she wouldn’t be wifey, if you know what I mean), but things have definitely been kicked to another level upon entering the fourth decade.

When I was out with my also over 40 friend I asked him if he noticed any difference and he immediately offered ‘Dude, since I turned 40 I can go at it for-EVER!’

Well said, crude, yet honest friend. In one of nature’s many cruel jokes, men around 40 have finally matched their abilities with their drive at the exact moment in their lives when they can’t fully put it to use.

Fuck you, nature.

Despite the sunny aspects of middle age, there is always a dark cloud lingering nearby. That cloud is the health and well being of your own parents.

Both of my parents are in their mid 70s and looking frailer by the day. My mother had a stroke 2 years ago, currently limps around with a stocking around her leg at all times due to blood clots forming and looks more and more like my grandmother every day.

My father has been taking medication for high blood pressure since as long as I can remember. I did not inherit my laid back attitude from either of them, either, which causes more concern. Mentally, they’re both still ‘with it’, but they seem to be teetering on the edge.

Last week wifey and I stopped by for a visit, wound up staying for dinner and witnessing a bizarre interaction between my parents. My father was telling a simple story about something or other and my mother kept interjecting minor corrections that really had no correlation to what my father was trying to tell us.

After irrelevant correction number three, my father explodes, ‘WILL YOU STOP CORRECTING ME?!’

My mother sheepishly says ‘I was just making sure you weren’t getting confused again,’ which immediately grabbed my attention.

Dear old Dad answers with ‘I don’t get confused’.

Two notes here.

1: My father’s response came out like every 80 year old who ever lived. It was a touch feeble, very defensive and grandfatherly in a highly disturbing way.

2: I can see how couples who have been married for decades can suddenly snap and murder their spouse. After my mother interrupted my father for the second time I wanted to punch her in the face. My own mother!! I guess if you’re used to dealing with someone it glances right off you, but it was aggravating the shit out of me and I wasn’t even the one talking.

My mother is actually the one I’m worried about most. After our visit she confronted my sister about having shot her mouth off about something my mother had said to her in confidence. See, I’m not great at keeping in touch with my family. That they annoy me is enough to limit my contact with them. My sister and I are the closest and we only talk once a month or so. Maybe not even that. I just don't have time nor energy for the drama that surrounds everything.

My mother, in one of her many (and increasing) rambling moments, told my sister that she hasn’t seen me in a while. This just happened to be the day before we stopped by for the above visit. Assuming my sister immediately called me upon her leaving informed her that ‘I don’t appreciate it that you go off telling your brother things I say in confidence to you’.

Sis replies with ‘Uh…what are you talking about? I haven’t spoken to him in over a month.’

Mom, clearly not buying it: ‘Uh huh. Right. I complain to you and the next day he just happens to show up.’

Actually, that’s exactly what happened. As my sister pointed out ‘You know that even if I did say something to him none of us would see him for another month’.

Note: This is one of my faults. If someone points out that I should be behaving a certain way or I should be doing this or that more often I make it a point to NOT do that. I’m stubborn and rebellious and my sister knows better than to say anything for fear that I’ll move my entire family 5000 miles away out of spite.

I should note I employ this behavior throughout all aspects of my life, so it gets me in trouble at work as you can imagine.

You can see why my mother’s new found lunacy, lack of self restraint, and border line psychosis has me concerned. Between her and my ‘still smoking like a chimney’ father in law, I’m expecting a call any day now that one of the boys’ grandparents will no longer be visiting.

In many ways, it’s the most difficult part of middle age. The pillars and strength of your childhood are now in decline and rely more on you then you on them. Often – and this is the case with my mother especially – they are still in denial about their own limitations. She still insists she’s capable of watching the boys despite barely being able to climb stairs and my over whelming fear she’ll have another stroke and drop dead while alone in the house.

No offense, Ma, but I’m trying to avoid traumatizing my children for as long as possible.

Which brings up another looming issue: How to explain to the boys why they won’t be seeing Nana or Grampie anymore. My oldest gets it (in theory), but eventually death will become all too real for both of them. I still remember my grandfather’s death and having to help carry the coffin to his grave at the age of 12. It stays with you. That first moment when you realize you will never see a person again.

Here’s hoping my boys are more than a few years away from that.

Today’s distraction: Another of my new addictions: Crimson Momentum.