Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Living The Dream

In exactly three days, I will be living just like my pseudonym would: On a beach with crystal clear water, free beer (which is actually prepaid, but allow me my fantasies), free food, and beautiful topless women on hand to apply sunscreen to all areas of my body (unverified).

I'll actually take two of those four options.

Since I'll be wrapping up work, dealing with my usual bullshit and packing, I probably won't be posting until I return from paradise.

Before I go I wanted to share with you how my five year old son views me. He handed this to me on Father's Day.

It’s titled “All About My Dad: Father’s Day 2010” and has sentences filled in for him to finish. His answers are in red.

My dad’s name is John

He is 21 years old (43, but thanks)

He is 10 feet tall (six one, tops)

His hair is black (nope)

His eyes are brown (nope)

My dad likes to relax by laying on the couch (with two boys, I barely have time to sit never mind lay on the couch)

He likes to eat mac and cheese (this is actually his favorite meal. I haven't had mac and cheese since I was twelve)

His favorite TV show is the news (while this isn't true, I'll give him credit if he considers 'SportsCenter' news)

My daddy always tells me clean up the play room (Well, if he weren't such a slob I wouldn't have to keep telling him that, would I? WOULD I???!!!!)

If he could go on a trip he would go to The Cayman Islands. (I should take this opportunity to mention that he packed his own suitcase Monday night in preparation for the trip. The only problem being we weren't leaving for nearly a week and he would have nothing to wear. Someone is excited to go on vacation.)

When we are together I like to go on a train. (Interesting answer as I’ve taken him on a train exactly twice in his life. Maybe I should just take him to work with me.)

My dad is the best dad in the world because he lets me get new toys.

So there you go. Apparently I’m a black haired, brown eyed, giant who lays on the couch eating mac and cheese while watching the news and yelling at him to pick up the playroom. Or, as I asked Wifey yesterday, perhaps he has another father I don’t know about??

On the other hand I look young for my age. I’ll take what I can get.


Today's distraction: I will leave you to dwell and investigate the immortality of Keanu Reeves. I'm sold!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Morning Mourning

A few thoughts regarding last night's debacle of a game seven.

- First, congratulations to the Lakers. I always knew they were the better team; I was just hoping the Celtics could pull one last ring out of their asses and traumatize a new generation of Laker fans. Alas...

- Here's a sentence I never thought I'd write: The Celtics sorely missed Kendrick Perkins last night. After the Lakers got their 155th offensive rebound in the first quarter it was obvious it was going to be a very long night.

- DA, I hope you had fun because last night's game was the single worst game seven I have ever seen. Were these really the two best teams in the NBA? Everyone associated with this game should be ashamed of themselves. I kept imagining LeBron James watching this and bashing his head against his 100 inch plasma.

- And please don't preach defense to me. These were the same shots being made all series long. The only reason either team reached 80 points is because the game ended in a hail of free throws.

- Kobe Bryant shoots 6-24 in a deciding Finals game and is named MVP? Lame. The guy that should have won it (and it is so painful to write this): Ron Artest. Played cool and brilliant last night. Made key shots, drove the lane drawing fouls, fantastic defense. He's the MVP of this series and of last night's game.

- It was eye opening watching both Pierce and Kobe continue to jack up wild shot after wild shot in an attempt to get something going. The Celtics lost the game when they kept taking the ball out of Rondo's hands and giving it to Pierce. Everything would just grind to a halt. Why not give it to Garnett in the post? That is what was working all game long? It's been the Celtics flaw all season long and it killed them in the end. They go away from what was working when the game got tight. They did it again last night and it cost them a championship.

- Kudos to Rondo, Rasheed (!!!), Big Baby and Garnett who played their guts out. Ray Allen was single handedly killing the Celtics every time he touched the ball in the first half. It got so bad I yelled at the television 'Stop passing him the ball!'

- As for Pierce, he had me confused. He was getting by Artest, but instead of driving all the way to the basket, he would pull up and take some stupid fall away jumper from 18 feet. Drive! If you don't get the basket you'll get the foul!

- As much as I hate his stupid, greasy mug, Pau Gasol's lefty hook shot is a thing of beauty.

- Mantra coming from my couch last night: Box OUT! Box OUT!

- Rondo has won my heart. Knowing defensive rebounding was killing his team, he helped out and even outrebounded Artest on one play. He consistently and quietly does what is needed and last night was under the basket banging with the big boys.

- Celtics, I think I speak for everyone in Boston when I thank you for this unexpected and enjoyable ride. Getting to a game seven in the Finals was the LAST thing on everyone's mind when these playoffs started.

Enjoy the weekend, folks.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Count The Ways


Five reasons I want the Celtics to beat the Lakers tonight.

1: Celtics have one of the best logos in all of sport. Just look at the adorable little guy up there. I’ve often considered getting that as a tattoo if I wasn’t ninety percent certain the dude would screw it up and make it look like a dwarf with down syndrome instead.

2: I fucking HATE Kobe Bryant. It’s a rather irrational, inexplicably passionate adverse reaction to everything he does. I hate the way he scowls at his team mates, I hate the way he talks and acts like Jordan even though he won’t acknowledge Jordan had any influence on him, I hate that he attempted to throw Shaq under the bus while being interrogated by police, I hate how he basically paid a fine for raping a girl (allegedly – insert eye roll here), I hate how he acts like he’s been fouled even when he dribbles the ball off his foot or someone makes a clean steal on him, I hate how the refs never T him up when he screams and yells at them, I hate how his anti social personality has suddenly been accepted as his ‘will to win’ and not that he’s simply a flaming asshole, I hate how he changed his number for no reason I can think of other than making more money on licensing, I hate how he outright quit on his team in a series clinching loss to the Suns a few years ago, I hate that Laker fans conveniently block that out.

I hate Kobe Bryant and everything he represents.

During game five there was a key moment that will summarize everything I despise about him. Celtics were struggling offensively in the fourth quarter when they had to launch a buzzer beating shot. It missed, but Rondo jumped up and tipped in the ball much to the delight of me and Boston fans everywhere.

Kobe – as is his nature – gave one of his perfected ‘are you guys fucking kidding me’ shrug/scowls to guys on both sides of him. What Kobe either can’t understand or refuses to accept is that ball was his. It came closest to him and he didn’t even leave his feet. This doesn’t even take into account that Rondo was HIS MAN! He was responsible for boxing Rondo out and failed to do so. Yet, in Kobe’s mind this was his team mate’s fault for not rebounding properly.

Let me ask you this: Have you ever seen Kobe make that ‘My bad, sorry’ motion on the court? Like ever? Players do it all the time. I’ve seen LeBron do it. ‘Sorry, that botched play was my fault.’ With Kobe it’s always someone else’s fault.

I should mention that this doesn’t mean I’m not absolutely terrified of him as a player. I actually respect him more than ever. He’s making hustle plays he never used to before (stealing the rebound from Garnett, passing to Bynum underneath the basket as he’s falling out of bounds was brilliant) and making RI-FUCKING-DICULOUS shots all over the court.

As a player I can appreciate him. As a person I would never want to be in the same room with him. Often that person shows up on the court.

3: I hate the Lakers and take great pleasure in knowing Laker fans cringe at green and white colors. I watched Byron Scott analyzing the series and he admitted that to this day he can’t buy any green clothing. ‘Not even green in any of my ties,’ he said. I enjoy that and want the Celtics green to invoke more trauma to a new generation of Laker fans.

4: I want to take my boys to a legitimate parade. They’ve been too young previously, but this would be a perfect age for them to enjoy the celebration. I’ll even take them out of school.

5: The window is closing. It’s painfully obvious Garnett and Pierce are not the same players. The mileage is piling up quickly and new tires won’t repair the damage. I can’t envision this team making another run with the big three turning into the calcified trio before our eyes. This is most likely the last hurrah for all of them.

Besides, does Ron Artest really deserve a ring?

Random Predictions

- Triple double for Rondo.

- The referees will do everything in their power to get this series to a game seven.
- Garnett and Pierce have sub par games. Old legs, long flight, only one day off. No way they play with the same energy they had in Boston.

- Big game for Gasol.

- Bynum is ineffective and plays limited minutes.

- Artest gets tossed.

- Ray Allen finally hits a three point shot.

- Rasheed Wallace does not. Quick sidenote about Rasheed that nobody is mentioning: He is playing spectacular defense. He’s blocking shots, harassing the post up players, confusing Gasol by moving away as he’s trying to body him up, AND he’s been the best rebounder when he’s in there. In short, Rasheed is doing all the little things to help the Celtics win. I’m amazed. If he’d just stop launching three pointers at the worst possible time we could be friends.

- I will be very tired tomorrow morning. Fuckin’ west coast.


Today’s distraction: Welcome to my new addiction: Tiles of the Unexpected. Say goodbye to your afternoon.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Ramblings

Apologies again for the lack of entries lately. Look, I’m even posting on a Sunday because I don’t have much time. This goes against everything I believe in. Sundays are for sleeping in (currently 7:35 am, so there goes that), sports, drinking, and simply being a lazy ass.

I’ve also hit a creative dry spell - haven’t been inspired to write mainly because nothing is going on. My life revolves around work (booooring), sleep, and various little league baseball games.

In an attempt to get things flowing again here are some random thoughts. On a Sunday, no less. What have things come to?

- My retirement plan consists of using my 401K money for beer and pressuring my eldest son to focus on baseball so he can get some sort of million dollar signing bonus by the time he’s 19. I didn’t say it was the greatest plan, but most of the work falls on him and I get more beer.

It’s also turning out to be more work than I expected. He’s been asked to try out for the All Star team which would mean he plays through July and August after the playoffs end. And the team travels to other cities and towns. And I’m sure it will cost us something for him to be on the team.

Still, my plan seems to be taking hold.

- The reason I’m pushing this plan, by the way, is because my father was an elite ball player in his day. Made it to triple A in the Cardinals organization before he was drafted to fight in the Korean War, messed up his shoulder while over there and never was the same. I figured since I was average (at best) perhaps this talent skips a generation.

- What’s strange about my father’s baseball career was how I knew nothing about it until I was a teenager. Even then the only reason I learned about it is because one of my friend’s father gave me a long, examining look (I look remarkably like my father), asked ‘Did your father grow up in Arlington?’ He did! ‘My friends and I used to go down to the ballpark to watch him hit. He was the best player I’ve ever seen in person!’

Uh…my father?

Turns out, yes indeed - my father. Go figure.

- Game Five tonight! Still debating whether to go out and watch this while getting shitfaced and yelling stuff at the television. Or just do the same at home. Home is probably safer.

- If you’re wondering (you are!), the reason I haven’t written about this particular Celtics team lately is because I still haven’t figured them out. The only thing I’m sure about is this is the most frustrating team I have ever watched. They have bizarre mental lapses in the biggest moments of the biggest games. I find myself screaming at Garnett to grab rebounds with two hands, for Perkins to dunk the ball instead of being cute and trying reverse layups, for Rondo to make a goddamn free throw, for Pierce to let Artest take that three point shot rather than letting him drive to the basket.

And still, the series is tied. Does this mean the Celtics can win despite these strange, aggravating mistakes peppered throughout the games?

Frankly, I don’t know. I wouldn’t think so, but here we are. What must be frightening to Laker fans everywhere is the Celtics haven’t played one good game, yet. The team that routed and frustrated Cleveland and Orlando has not yet shown up for this series.

Here’s hoping that changes tonight.

- Rondo’s free throw shooting has been so atrocious that when he went to the line early in Game 4 wifey said ‘If he hits either of these I’ll give you a blow job right now’. He missed both. Badly. Not only is Rondo causing me stress, he cost me a BJ. Bastard!

- While we’re on the subject (Rondo, not blow jobs), he should be blowing by Kobe every time down the floor. Kobe simply can’t guard him and he’s looked foolish trying to contain him. It’s gotten so bad that Kobe now just lingers at the foul line daring Rondo to shoot 18 footers. Let’s see how that works out.

- Not that the Celtics defense hasn’t been good, but why not confuse the Lakers by switching to that 2-3 zone the Suns used on them last round? The Lakers had all sorts of problems with that for three straight games before pulling a win out of Artest’s ass in Game 5. Come out tonight and show that zone to totally put the Lakers on their heels then switch back to man then back to the zone. Keep them guessing.

- Favorite moment of the Finals so far: Game 4, missed shot with Big Baby surrounded by Gasol, Kobe, and Fisher. Baby gets the rebound by ripping the ball away from Kobe and Fisher so ferociously Kobe went flying out of bounds. He was still trying to recover when Baby laid the ball in while being fouled.

- For the record, I’m ok with Kobe needing 29 shots to get 29 points. Keep doing that.

- I’m afraid the refs are going to be a big story tonight. And if they are it will not be good news for the Celtics.

- One of the under stated reasons it is great having the NBA Finals come to your city: Both Rachel Nichols and Hannah Storm are visiting.

- As much as I am enjoying another Celtics playoff run (as frustrating as they’ve been), I’ll be glad when it’s over. I’m friggin’ exhausted staying up late all the time. Could they have one game – just one – that doesn’t end after midnight the same day I have to get up and work? Why is having a game on Saturday night such a problem?

- I tried watching the US – England World Cup match yesterday, but I just don’t understand the appeal of soccer. The ball randomly gets kicked around, goes out of bounds, occasionally something semi-interesting ALMOST happens, and the players run back and forth. I don’t understand what the different positions are supposed to do, what – if any – game plan is being used (kick it towards the goal and run after it doesn’t seem to be the best idea), or what that strange buzzing noise is coming from the crowd. Is there a huge nest of bees being disturbed?

It’s no wonder most soccer crowds get drunk and create their own entertainment.

- Movies I’ve watched recently that I would recommend: Alice In Wonderland, The House of the Devil (esp if you enjoyed those old 70s and 80s horror movies), DayBreakers, The Damned United, Precious, Fantastic Mr Fox, Iron Man 2, Waltz with Bashir (not for the faint of heart), Zombieland.

- Movies to avoid: Orphan (will discuss this more in a later entry), A Serious Man, 2012, It’s Complicated, Thirst, Sherlock Holmes (not terrible, just confusing as hell), Thirst, Julie and Julia, Couples Retreat, Defiance.

- Started watching a show called ‘Persons Unknown’ about 8 people taken hostage and kept in a small, empty, remote town. The premiere was interesting, if awkwardly executed, but I’ll give it a few more episodes to see where it’s heading. Supposedly, this is a straight shot 13 episode story arc that will have a full conclusion. We’ll see about that, too.

- It’s now been over two weeks since I wondered how BP didn’t have a plan in place for a leaking oil pipe and still millions of gallons of oil is gushing into the Gulf.

What the fuck?

That’s enough for today. Will try to write more next week.


Today’s distraction: Uh..Game Five!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Best Medicine

A friend of mine rents an apartment in one of those new fangled gated communities that comes with the use of an outdoor pool, private movie theater and gym.

I went up on Sunday to kick my workout to a new level. Only twenty five days until I’ll be strutting around Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman so the time for fucking around is officially over.

While taking one of our many breaks (we are old), my buddy bursts out laughing at seemingly nothing. He looks at me, says ‘Dude, the Celtics!’, fist bumps me and proceeds with, ‘We are definitely going to the parade if they win this year!’

This, in turn, sets me off laughing because the mention of any Celtics parade instantly evokes memories of one of the funniest things we have ever seen.

Allow me to set the stage.

Setting:

The year is 1986 and the Celtics have just won number 16 with the hopes of many, many more to come (alas!). The entire city was giddy from what many still consider the greatest Celtic team ever. Other than 2004, this was the only time I can remember the city fully appreciating a team at the moment it was together. Often we look back and think ‘Man, I forgot how good that team was’.

Not this year. This year we were fully prepared to celebrate and show our appreciation for this team. To give you an idea how confident the entire region was in this particular team, nearly all of us were sorely disappointed the Lakers didn’t make it to the Finals. We were all ready to kick Laker ass in order to put things right with the universe by atoning for the 1985 Finals.

Normally, the Lakers make me nervous. (Yes, this year, too). The only year I wanted them to face the Celtics was in 1986. We all wanted the Lakers to be our whipping boys and they weren’t even courteous enough to show up. Bastards!


Cast of Characters:

Jimmy
Gary
Kevin
Steve
Rob
Dave
Brian
Myself
Possibly Tim, as well, but I have no recollection of him being with us that day even though he is adamant he was there. Everyone else is a bit fuzzy on his participation, as well.

Enhancements:

Three joints shared on the train tracks prior to embarking on our trip. Brian stole his father’s half empty bottle of Jack Daniels which was combined with cans of Coke. It’s a simple process, actually. Buy Coke, empty half, pour JD into can until full again. Repeat as needed until you can dispose of JD bottle.


Plot:

1986 was also the summer after my freshman year of college. My usual close knit of high school friends were together after a winter apart and were primed and ready to cut loose with another Celtics trophy.

Into Boston we went. Most of us had already taken the day off from work and those that hadn’t either called in sick or simply didn’t show up. Before we even made it to the city, we all realized this was going to be a bit more intense than the previous parades in ’81 and ’84. The train was packed with rowdy fans. When we arrived in the city it was nearly impossible to walk down the street. Millions of people were coming to celebrate.

Quickly we made an agreement to meet back at North Station when we got separated. There was no ‘if’ this day; we were definitely going to get split up. In fact, we lost Brian and Kevin less than an hour after we arrived.

The parade was going to start somewhere on the south side of the city and culminate at City Hall. We wove our way through the throngs of people until we caught a glimpse of the parade coming our way. By now we were down to Steve, Gary, Jimmy, Rob and Myself. Everyone else had been lost along the way.

Angling to get as close to the flotilla of trucks coming our way as I could, I somehow wound up on the street instead of the sidewalk. Keep in mind this was back in the 80s when security wasn’t the best. Back in those days it was every man for himself.

Someone yelled at me to get back, but the parade was RIGHT there so I simply started jogging next to the trucks. I turned back and see not just my friends, but a bunch of people running alongside. We weren’t being disrespectful, mind you, just running next to the trucks and high fiving the players. I still have vivid memories of looking up to see Bill Walton already shit faced, his truck littered with empty cans of beer. He was loving it and was high fiving anyone and everyone that came close.

The Boston Police Motorcycle detail riding alongside the trucks, however, were most definitely not loving it. Rob told me later that one of them deliberately ran up the back of his leg with their front tire in an attempt to get him to move out of the way. This may have explained why I later witnessed him kicking the back of one of the motorcycles until the back signal broke off and was left dangling. All while never breaking his stride.

It could also explain why the police decided to single out our group of friends. It’s amazing how quickly things can go south. Immediately after Rob finishing pummeling the motorcycle, a hand reached out to grab me. I quickly turned and dipped my shoulder to elude the grasp and kept running.

Even over the crowd noise I heard a commotion behind me and saw Jimmy struggling to free himself from the grasp of a cop who was standing by the side of the road. Steve was running past at the same time and slowed to see what was going on. The cop said something to Steve who kept running past, but was paying close attention to what was going on.

The cop was using his forearm to keep Jimmy pinned up against a chain link fence that was running alongside a construction area. I had slowed to nearly a stop and was walking backwards with Steve. Just as the cop’s attention was diverted, Jimmy caught my eye and slipped out from under his grip and started sprinting our way.

He made it about a hundred yards before the shit hit the fan. When Jimmy started running towards us, Steve and I began running in earnest to get as far away from the dissed cop as possible. It wasn’t nearly fast enough for Jimmy.

Perspective is a funny thing. While in reality the cop had no more than 3 inches on Jim, it sure looked like the raging, red faced, absolutely furious cop chasing my friend was a giant. I was still facing backwards and was yelling out a warming, but Jim couldn’t hear me. The policeman came up behind Jimmy, grabbed him by the back of the collar, hoisted him above his head and launched Jimmy into the crowd lining the streets.

He disappeared completely. One moment Jim was all flailing legs and arms and the next he was gone; swallowed whole. Steve and I gave each other a look, shrugged, turned and kept running with the parade.

Several things with this incident:

1: I will never ever forget the contrasting looks on the face of Jim and the cop. Jim had a smug, ‘Can you believe what I just did?’ smile while the cop was a grimacing mask of absolute fury. I have always suspected that Jim escaping his grasp was the last straw with that police officer. He had probably been dealing with unruly, maddening teenagers all day and this one (Jimmy) was going to pay for all of them.

2: To me the funniest part was just after the cop collared Jim. Jimmy’s smug smile was replaced with a bug eyed, ‘holy shit, what is happening?’ expression of shock as his legs left the ground; still making the running motion. For a second it looked like Jim was trying to run to heaven.

3: The strength of the cop. Jim was no lightweight. Five feet, ten inches or so and at least one hundred and sixty pounds was lifted with ease and in one motion above the cop’s head. Jim staring at the sky and squirming to get away before free falling into a sea of people. I often wonder if this was a case of Incredible Hulk syndrome where adrenaline and rage fueled super human powers.

4: The instant and silent debate between Steve and myself about what to do next. In a matter of .0001 seconds we decided ‘Screw it, he’s on his own’ and went on our way. We didn’t even stop to see if he was hurt.

Ironically, by the time the parade had made it to City Hall we were all alone. I’m still not sure where I lost everyone, but one by one we met back at North Station to take the train home. All except Gary who we didn’t see for two days after he mistakenly wandered to South Station and was confused why he couldn’t find a train to anywhere besides Providence.

Jim informed us all the cop wanted was for him to stop running alongside the parade and was holding him there until everything went past. Jimmy was telling the cop he simply wanted to stay with us. He also told us that the crowd parted nicely for him when he was thrown so he landed on the concrete sidewalk before rolling a bit. Several bruises and scratches were his reward.

Several uncontrollable bouts of laughter and an often repeated story was our reward.


Epilogue:

Unfortunately for Jimmy, his bad day didn’t end there. When we got back to our town we decided to stop at Burger King for a late lunch. Jim joined us before realizing – much too late – that he was supposed to be working there and had called in sick. He was fired on the spot and responded with ‘Does this mean I can’t use my employee discount?’


Today’s distraction: Bob Ryan’s take on the greatest sports rivalry and points out that back in the 60s and 70s the games would start at 8pm Pacific Time which meant nobody on the East Coast could watch. That doesn't mean I need to like these 9pm starts, mind you. They still suck.