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Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
My wife and I ended up in a little place that sported two high-def flat-screen televisions and tables with overhead lamps that had shades with MLB team names and logos - a good start. The place also boasted serviceable wings and cold beer - things were looking better by the moment. And as my Spanish is halting and profane at best, I had my wife inquire about the Series on television tonight.
There was a five-minute dialogue back and forth, during which I marveled at the coldness of my beverage and planned my attack strategy on ordering another, gleaning the proper grammar from the halting and profane which I had on-hand. The waiter and my wife finally finished their rapid-fire conversation and he walked away, most likely sweating from the effort, with an order for two more beverages. I was pleased about the fact that new beverages would shortly be en-route, not so pleased about the conversation. I gathered from the body language and inflection that the prognosis for baseball was no bueno.
"That meant no, right?" I asked. "All of that..."
"Yes," she answered, sipping from her own bottle, the contents of which were no-doubt much warmer than the one I had finished five minutes earlier. "He was explaining why..."
"I don't care why," I said. "That part doesn't matter. The answer is no - the rest is just hot air..." She shrugged and nodded.
I looked around and pouted a bit. There was a flyer on the wall promoting a local soccer match for charity. "I'll bet they'd have soccer on the television if there was a championship," I said.
"Of course," my wife answered. She was looking anxious for her second beer as well - after all, she had worked hard trying to find out about the World Series; she deserved a little something.
"Soccer isn't even a real sport," I challenged.
"What do you mean - it's very hard. They run up and down the field for mucho tiempo..." She liked to do that - mix her English with a little Spanish. Sexy.
"Because it can end in 'zero'," I said. "Sports do not end it ties - it's not sportsmanlike."
The wings came with the second round of beverages and I continued. "Ending in a tie is like giving up. 'Ohhh, it's okay - we'll just stop here...' Fuck no! You play until there is a winner!" We took a breather to eat - the wings were good. "Who quits before the game is over?"
"What if the time is up?" she asked.
"Then you add more time until somebody fucking wins," I said, dipping a wing into the watery bleu cheese dip. I shrugged. "What does anybody get out of a sport if nobody wins? What is learned there?"
She shrugged back. "I don't know... Sometimes nobody wins - then everybody feels good..."
"NO!" I yelled, waving the little drum and spraying dip on the table. "Nobody feels good - it's no more than a Goddamn participation trophy!"
"What do you mean?"
It was cold beer #3 before I could finish my profanity-laced definition of the participation trophy. In summary: One team wins, one team loses; both teams take home a trophy or ribbon simply for having shown up. The result: The winners feel no passion for the win; the losers feel no incentive to go out and do better next game - they still get a prize. "We need to teach our children to lose," I said. "That is probably more important than teaching them to win. Winning is easy!" The fries were as good as the wings.
"What if your little molleycoddled, participant son goes for a job interview and doesn't get the job?" I asked. "Do you think he'll get a trophy for his effort when asks for one?" I waited... Nothing. "NO," I answered myself. "He'll get a 'no, what you get is the fuck out of my office, that's what you get...'"
We enjoyed the rest of our wings and may have had an additional cold beer. I don't know if I ever made my point about soccer, and I certainly don't know if I ever made any sense with my disdain of the "No One Is A Loser" philosophy in the world of sport. What I did know, however, is that the search for a place to watch the World Series would either muddle on, or I would be forced to follow the game on the faulty Yahoo Sports Play-By-Play feed, which was the sports-watching equivalent to the participant trophy. But it was a beautiful day, and one thing was certain - if I didn't find a place today, there would always be game three.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
I remember when I was a kid, if I dropped a piece of candy or something equally delectable on the ground, I picked it up, brushed it off and ate it, thoroughly enjoying its delectible-icity. It didn't matter if it landed in a parade of marching fire ants or on a pile of used kitty-litter; it was brushed off and briskly devoured. No harm, as far as I can tell. I have defective eyesight, but I prefer to think it was given me thus by Jesus.
But I am not writing today to talk about germs, tainted candy or the Messiah.
I am writing to talk about the lost art of the handshake. I was taught as a youngster (when I was not busy picking up, brushing off and devouring filthy Jolly Ranchers) that the handshake was the proper manner with which to greet others and not to "shake like a girl", as my dad would mutter when the handshake was not firm, deliberate or of enough duration. I was taught to clasp the other man's hand confidently, with the web between my thumb and forefinger notched into that of the shakee. A couple of subtle up-and-downs were plenty, the release quickly executed and the greeting was complete.
Monday, October 22, 2012
I read today in the news that Lance Armstrong was being stripped of all seven of his Tour De France titles, because people have come forward to say he took performance enhancing drugs. Please note that Armstrong never tested positive for doping - not once. As it turns out, he was apparently some sort of doping wizard, outsmarting the testing agencies at every step of the process again and again, for years. Armstrong drank magical potions that would mask all the performance enhancers, staying just ahead of the scientific testing curve and maintaining the squeaky-clean facade that hid the Steroid Monster that lurked just beneath the surface. Sometimes, subterfuge and pee-test sleight of hand was necessary and I am nearly certain there were chants, prayers, talismans and live chickens involved as well. It was like a high-tech Harry Potter story on wheels.
Forget about Armstrong's charitable work; he formed the Lance Armstrong Foundation to benefit people affected by cancer and has raised over $350 million dollars from the sale of his stylish yellow "Live Strong" bracelets - and did I mention that Armstrong won all of his Tour De France races after battling testicular cancer?
But I am not writing today to express my indignation at having Armstrong stripped of his French titles in the sport most notorious in all of the sporting kingdom for the doping of its participants.
It is my opinion that performance enhancing drugs are a natural progression of nature in general and sports specifically. Steroids and human growth hormones have insinuated themselves into nearly every sport in the world, even golf, which is little more than a frustrating walk through a well-groomed meadow. When Tiger Woods was eating fellow golfers like a red-shirted woodchipper, there were rumblings that he might have been plying the aid of PED's. After all, when one is used to watching Craig Stadler and his generation of golfers, a buffed-out Tiger Woods must look like Superman.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
So, in summary, some moths create silk. The rest are simply dowdy butterflies without the elegant clothing who serve as chum for other flying creatures, which are most-likely equally worthless.
Let the Great Extermination begin, I say. Who needs ugly little cropdusting versions of the butterfly when we have the real thing?
Their role on the bottom of the food chain doesn't end at the larval stage, of course. As adults, mosquitoes serve as equally nutritious meals for birds, bats, and spiders.
As much as we loathe them, mosquitoes represent a considerable biomass of food for wildlife on the lower rungs of the food chain. Their extinction, were it even achievable, would have an enormous adverse affect on the entire ecosystem."
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Let's talk about monkeys.
I have written ad-nauseum about the dangers of these little human-like critters and it seems that every couple of months, a new monkey-terror crops up to make me look like some kind of magnificent seer of primate conspiracy against man.
Planet of the Apes - Coming soon, for reals!
There was the lady who had her face eaten off by an angry chimp bent on escape and the recent snatching and subsequent brutalization of a nature-park tour guide by a gang of rogue punk-monkeys, who pulled the unfortunate guide under a safety fence and dragged him around the Ape-Fields of Terror by his feet for awhile until he was rescued by other park personnel. He was hauled to safety before the marauding chimps could get around to eating his face off.
As much as we like to think that monkeys are the adorable creatures like Cheetah from the Tarzan movies, or little miniature people that we can dress up in precise, teeny human clothing to the delight of all in attendance, I say these fuckers are dangerous. "Lancelot Link - Secret Chimp" set us back decades in our natural fear and wariness of the creatures and I can only shudder to think how many organ grinders have met their makers via a face-eating little prancer dressed as a tiny ponce.
Lance Link - Secret Chimp
Perhaps my song "Monkey Fire" was written in a subconscious fugue state of wishful thinking.
"Monkey Fire", by Jerry Ford
The latest perpetration of Monkey-Atrocity On Man is the case of Tampa Bay, Florida's "Mystery Monkey" an adorable rhesus macaque who has apparently been on the loose in the town for a few years now and has "become a popular figure among locals in the Tampa Bay area...The monkey has been spotted hopping around and making itself at home in several Pasco and Pinellas County neighborhoods." - this according to the Yahoo News article I skimmed.
"Officials are not sure where the monkey came from, but a popular theory is that it became separated from a troop of wild monkeys in a state park around 118 miles north of its current stalking ground," the monkey's website states. "The troop descended from animals originally imported to star in early Tarzan films."
First off, I believe that the term "troop", while cute, is far too regimented for use in describing a group of monkeys, who (if I am to believe what I see on television and in the movies) are anything but disciplined. More like a bunch of furry little Marx Brothers. Secondly, why was the little critter still on the loose in the first place? From the Yahoo article: "The creature, native to southern Asia, has been shot several times by tranquilizer darts and has proved equally elusive in urban areas as in dense woodland. Seemingly unfazed by humans, it has been spotted several times relaxing beside people’s swimming pools."
Also from Yahoo News: "Until Monday, the monkey remained a harmless, fun-to-follow animal for Floridians. But that all changed when it bit a St. Petersburg woman several times as she sat outside her home."
That's right, then everything changed. Now, There is a dragnet around the area and residents are being told to stay indoors and For The Love Of Christ, don't leave your pet-food outside. Apparently, feeding the little bastard only makes him want to come back and eat your face off.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Then there was Fonzie. Uber-cool, Arthur Fonzarelli was the good-hearted, motorcycle-riding hoodlum who watched over the Land of Happy Days, dispensing advise on love, life and the art of cool. Fonzie was viewed by the kids at Arnold's Drive-In hamburger shop as a rebel - although he began the series wearing a white windbreaker, as per ABC's strict control over chicanery. Soon enough, his trademark leather jacket and feathered ducktail were in full rebellious display. Fonzie could turn on the jukebox with a well-placed cuff to the side of the machine. Fonzie never sweated the ladies - he snapped his fingers and they came a-running. Yep, Fonzie was cool - Richie, Potsie and Ralph knew it and so did we. So did the Cunninghams and there was always an undercurrent of sexual tension between the Fonz and Richie's mom, Marion. Kind of twisted if you think about it, but if you were married to Tom Bosley instead of Andy Griffith and had to listen to that little freckled harpy Joannie, you'd jump at the chance to jump on the Fonz-Arelli, too.
Yep, I never wanted the show to end.
Somewhere along the line, something changed. Perhaps the change was so subtle that we viewers could not register it. Suddenly, several seasons into the show's run, I found that I cared little whether I was home to watch or not. Maybe girls and music and life and shenanigans got in the way - I was simply getting older. Or perhaps it was something more base than my gentle slide into adolescence - it was possible that the show began to suck.
Fonzie and boys began to wear hairstyles more appropriate for the mid-seventies than the early sixties. Potsie began to sing on the show. Richie left. The show was taped before an audience rather than filmed by a single camera. The studio audience began to shriek every time the now nearly-superhuman Fonzie entered the scene. Fonzie's cousin Chachi, with his full head of seventies-feathered-blown-dry hair came aboard. Everyone knows what happens when TV shows introduce new characters - see the obnoxious little cousins brought aboard "The Brady Bunch", "The Cosby Show" and "The Partridge Family" - and apparently Chachi was created to romance little Joanie Cunningham, which was disgusting enough. What made matters worse is that they were bequeathed a spin off of the show called "Joannie Loves Chachi". Ugggghhhhh...
At the beginning of season five, in some ridiculous storyline that would strain even the most hearty of the "Suspension of Disbelief-ers", it was finagled that Fonzie would water-ski jump (wearing his leather jacket) over a contained man-eating shark. What??? Decades later, this was pinpointed as the moment when the show had nothing compelling left to offer. Henceforth, the term "jumping the shark" has been used to convey the episode that a television show went into its death-march to cancellation.
- "A Very Special..." - just turn the set off. When Blossom, the Keatons or Ingalls find the opportunity to have a very special anything, it is time to pull the plug. Seriously, if I want to have a family moment examining teen-pregnancy, drug-abuse or the menses, I will watch the Kardashians.
- The re-casting of a main character. The only reason that the Partridge Family survived the replacement of the bug-eyed, dark haired drumming munchkin Chris Partridge with the tow-headed, squinty, Michael J. Pollard-looking drumming munchkin Chris Partridge is that everyone had their head up their ass in David Cassidy-envy and didn't notice - otherwise the show wouldn't have lasted the season. Check Becky Connor on "Rosanne" or Darren Stevens on "Bewitched"... Jump the Shark moment - you make the call.
- Adding Ted McGinley to your cast. Know as the Patron Saint of Shark-Jumping, McGinley take the demise of the already-jumped "Happy Days", "Married With Children" and "The Love Boat" to his shark-jumping grave with him. He is a bane and when he shows up on the set for his first day of shooting, young cast members have been known to burst into tears.