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Friday, July 23, 2010

Athletic Brain Farts

Friday, July 23, 2010
Athletic Brain Farts
Current mood: amused
Category: Blogging

I had lunch with Michaels Taggart and Lyon and a clip happened to come up of San Francisco Giant pitcher Tim Lincecum winding up for a pitch of legend and fury and instead releasing the ball about halfway through his pitching motion, sending the ball straight into the air as if fired from a mortar. We watched in silence for a moment, then I muttered, “How in the fuck does that happen?” A professional baseball player, nonetheless. I understand the tenuous world of the baseball grip and the results of slight variation of pressure from fingertip to fingertip – the stuff that causes the ball to dip and doodle and curve and drop and laugh and cry. But straight up in the air?

This video clip sparked a conversation that lasted for the rest of lunch. We spoke of the catcher that got sent back to the minors to learn another position because he couldn’t toss the ball back to the pitcher after a pitch. Let me repeat – he could not toss the ball back to the pitcher after a pitch. We’re not talking about a snap throw to second to pick off a speedy baserunner. We’re not even talking about throwing to first base after dropping a swung-on third strike to force the runner out. We are talking about the act of returning the ball to the mound when the play is dead. “Toss it underhand,” I pointed out. “Hand it to the umpire and let him throw it back to the pitcher,” Lyon added. “Roll the fucking thing,” Taggart said. “For God’s sake…” Our point was that there was no way that a mental block of this magnitude should be acceptable – as Taggart pointed out, "these guys are getting paid millions of dollars to catch a baseball. They’d better be able to get it back to the pitcher, or fuck ‘em.”

Charles Barkley was another example of extreme mental psyche overload. Once nearly a scratch golfer, he has now messed up his swing so badly from between the ears that his stroke resembles a basket full of toasters being thrown down a flight of stairs. There is a hitch so extreme and violent that it appears as if the man is under cardiac arrest every time he swings the club. And it all stems from the fact that he has freaked himself over every tick and tock of the motion and can now no longer see it as one smooth, fluid action. A pity. And if there were a kind and benevolent God, Barkley would be struck by lightning while putting, simply to put he and his golf buddies out of their misery.

I’m not saying that Lincecum has a mental block of Barkleyan proportions, nor am I suggesting in any way that he should be sent to the minors to learn another position. This kid is one of the most talented young guns in the game and this is surely only the result of a sweaty palm or an unclipped cuticle. I’m certain that Licecum will pitch out the next 15-20 years without ever shooting one into the air like a bottle rocket. It was simply a once in a lifetime gaffe.

But I’m keeping my eyes on him…

I’ll write again when I get back from Dubuque.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Road Trip

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Road Trio
Current mood: breezy
Category: Blogging
It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been on a solo, cross-country road trip – probably 2002, when I last made the trip from West Virginia to Arizona. I have gone from Las Vegas to Phoenix and back again and I made a couple of forays into Northern California when the girls lived there with their mom, but this is the first multi-day, get-out-the-map-and-drive, sleep-when-you-can trip in quite a few years.

I am leaving for Dubuque, Iowa Saturday morning, in a rented mini-van, filled with my daughter Allison’s crap and an ugly little dog named Mandy. I did not name the pooch, or it would have had been called Hagrid. The dog doesn’t respond when I call it Mandy, so I could probably call it Hagrid and it wouldn’t give a shit, but it seems like it might be an awful lot of work to teach everyone that already knows the dog as Mandy that its name is now Hagrid.

I am in good spirits and have high hopes that my road-trip instincts are still keen. I will go to the library to check out some unabridged book tapes, pack a cooler full of Monster energy drinks, salami and cheese and buy a big bag of sunflower seeds. Working a cheekful of seeds is a handy way to stay awake when you are driving through the Texas Panhandle. I have IPod charged and loaded with some of my road-trip favorites, like Del Amitri, The Gin Blossoms and Alice Cooper. There will be dog food. A pillow – I must bring a comfy pillow for napping at rest stops or smothering the dog if it gets too annoying. I will pack light and bring a roll of toilet paper and an empty garbage bag. A working flashlight should be on board someplace as well as Band-Aids, jumper cables and an emergency ration of Ding Dongs.

I estimate the trip to take me two full days of driving, twelve to fifteen hours per day. That’s a lot of driving for a 50 year old guy with a torched lower lumbar. So I must also carry appropriate medication, should I begin to stiffen or seize up. Coincidentally, I am going to see the doctor after work today, so I will harangue him and weep and beat my fists on the examination table until he agrees to dispense with some powerful narcotic relief.

My bladder is still deep and strong, like that of a water-buffalo, so the dog will have to work around my schedule when it comes to exercise and urination. I don’t think it will care, since it mostly lays around all day anyhow, waiting for me to come home and let it out to pee. It will do the same now, only on wheels.

I have some Fresca and some Mountain Dew that I will also bring along, and a gallon of pickles from Sam’s Club that I bought for Allison and will certainly never finish on my own. She can unload the pickles at the same time she unloads the ten cases of video game machinery, musical instruments and assorted garbage, indiscriminately packed and the four heavy duty garbage bags of clothing that will be cluttering the back of the mini-van. It will give me some sense of accomplishment to leave the pickles in Iowa. I don’t mind pickles at all, in fact, I love them on a sandwich or a hamburger, but they are more likely to be eaten promptly if left with the children.

The trip back home will be more genteel. I will not feel rushed and may even perhaps take a scenic drive through the mountains of Colorado on the way back. Then down through Santa Fe, where the twins spent their last months in utero. Then, keeping my eyes open for UFOs, I will make my through northern Arizona and home to the empty keep and the little ugly dog.

It pays to have a game-plan.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On Exercise...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010
On Exercising...
Current mood: indifferent
Category: Blogging

I have come to the conclusion, after much deliberation and many years of diligent research, that it is important to keep exercising once you have started. However, if you have gotten out of the habit and taken on a life of pleasant lethargy, let it go – move on with your happy, sedentary life. I spent most of my youth and a good portion of my early adulthood – until bad habits and apathy left me largely unmotivated – exercising in a wide variety of ways. I used to play baseball, basketball, tennis, golf (mostly in a cart, however, and the only mode of exercise I still endorse) and football. I also used to hike, walk, ride a bicycle, do calisthenics (in grade school, against my will) and run from the law.

I got into the restaurant business in my late twenties and was trapped there, like a rat in a maze, for twenty years. I spent most of that time on my feet, working long hours with inconsistent rest and eating on the run. I still managed to put on a bunch of weight, while taxing my feet, back and generally positive outlook. I managed to pry myself away from the food business and went to work at an Anonymous Fortune 500 Company that deals in the selling, distribution and maintenance of technology. This job allows me to sit on my duff for most of the day, staring at a computer monitor and eating a variety of free food offered sometimes thrice weekly in the lobby. The computer has ruined my eyesight and the free donuts, muffins, eggs and fried pork bi-products have allowed me to put on an extra twenty pounds and added stress on my feet, back and generally positive outlook . So, this is easy, you might say to yourself – just get out of your chair and do some good, old-fashioned exercising.

This is a fantastic idea and one which I have embraced many times over the past few years, right up until the point that I inevitably throw my back out putting a fabric softener sheet into the dryer. This means yet another trip to the doctor, physical therapy and stretching, three or four days on the couch with ice and heat, and a healthy dose of pain-killers, muscle relaxants and brandy chasers. Not a bad way to spend one’s day, if one were not in constant nagging pain. Eventually, my back heals up and I go back to work, forgoing the donuts and fried sausage – maybe just a banana for breakfast – gotta lose some weight! I work up the courage to exercise and all is well for a week or two, then SNAP! There goes the back again and the cycle repeats itself. Again and again and a-miserable-gain.

I am now so skittish about throwing my back out that it takes me five minutes to put on my shoes and socks, assuming positions known only to yogis, circus contortionists and people who have fallen out of airplanes, just to protect my tender lower lumbar. I’m thinking that exercise should be abandoned and I might as well resume my consumption of enjoyable foods, because I can’t really kick this cycle of pain, healing and relapse into more pain. Then, if I gain enough weight, I can get one of those little carts you see at the supermarket with the basket on the front, load it up with Ding Dongs and Single-Malt Scotch and begin the stage of my life where I become truly defiant and annoying to those around me.

We all must have a dream…

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2012 - End of the World?

Monday, July 19, 2010
2012 - End of the World?
Current mood: pugnacious
Category: Blogging

It is my opinion that if the world is indeed going to end in the year 2012, I seriously doubt that it would be a stretch limo that ends up successfully delivering cargo to the airport through the city of Los Angeles that is literally falling to pieces, as the movie 2012 leads us to believe. It will probably be some sort of tank or one of those ultra-bitchin Hummers that the football players drive. And as much as it breaks my heart to see a pretty Los Angeles-area golf course fall into the abyss created by the devastating fissures of the world-ending earthquakes, I have always thought it would be nice if ....California.... fell into the sea – nothing personal against the Californians. This would suddenly turn the property I purchased in Yuma at rock-bottom prices in 1987 into luxury beach-front property, giving me not only access to the once angry ocean that would now gently lap at the shore of my private beach, but also quadruple the land values if I grew bored with gazing over the ocean and chose to sell.

I watch Cusack drive a Winnebago through the mountainous desert, again narrowly avoiding catastrophe with a few daring hairpin turns and deft applications of brake and accelerator. Wait a minute – now he’s outrunning the hellish firestorm on foot, once again barely getting onto the aircraft and into the sky just in time for the surrounding terrain to collapse unto itself in a sea of dust and fire. Such is the beauty and genius of ....Hollywood..... I am not certain I would have the energy to avoid the inevitable and my last glimpse of earth would most likely be seen through a haze of cowardly tears.

All of this 2012 Armageddon footage made me take pause to think: What in the world would I want to make certain I accomplished in the face of certain global destruction? First off, I know that I will not be invited onto one of the fantastic, state-of-the-art arks that would be launched to save the rich, the powerful and the genius, regardless of the wit I show again and again in these writings. So, in the event I would happen to survive on my own, this is what I would wish:

- First off, put me near Oliver Platt, who has shown a remarkable resiliency to adversity, be it the flopping of perfectly good films to which he has been attached, such as “Funny Bones”, or the humiliation of such dogs as“Year One”, or the portrayal of the presidential advisor in “2012”. If anyone is going to make it onto the last bus out, it’s going to be Oliver Platt. I want to be his buddy.

- Secondly, get me to a pharmacy before things go all apeshit – I want to make certain I am well-stocked with amphetamines, narcotics and hallucinogens, plus a satchel full of cold medicine, eyedrops and nasal spray. Just in case I make it through the earthquakes, fires and flooding, I would hate to have to start the new world battling the flu or a painful migraine. And I certainly don’t want to do it without being altered.

- Lastly, lets make sure Raquel Welch is safe and sound. Though I am certain she has voiced the opinion that she would not make love to me if I were the last man on earth, especially after the whole restraining order and ongoing lawsuit over a couple of innocent misunderstandings, let’s see how strong her resolve when I am truly the last man on earth.

I don’t know if even having Sylvester Stallone as president would be of any help rescuing mankind from such a terrifying catastrophe, but I would still rather see him in charge rather than Danny Glover. It is my opinion that once you’ve seen a man fearing for his life while seated on a toilet wired with explosives, he loses some of the regal credibility necessary to appear presidential on film. I am nearly certain of this.

So give me Sly to run interference, give me a sultry Raquel Welch and give me a handful of uppers, downers and powerful blotter acid – we’ve got a world to populate and by God, I’m going to do what I can to help.

I’ll be patiently waiting.

"A Bunny Screaming" and other books by Jerald L. Ford available at:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jerry's Blogs

We will soon be updating the website for the YouRToo podcast - please stay tuned!!!
Jerry's blogs are now available at the link below - Godspeed!