Friday, May 16, 2008

Fine Whine

May 16, 2008

What a whiny post yesterday. Sometimes I disgust myself.

The Red Sox are playing today, but I’m not sure who we have. It’s Interleague Play time, so undoubtedly it’s a National League foe. Braves, probably-we get them every year, being their “natural rival”. I don’t recall who exactly we get this year, though. I tried to get it on my phone, but I guess with all the rain it’s not liking the Internet right now.

Jason Calacanis of twittered that Jerry Lewis makes $3m for hosting the Labor Day Telethon. That seems unreasonable.

Phone just came up-we get the Brew Crew-the Milwaukee Brewers. They can hit-boy, can they hit-but they have some pitching issues. One of those in between teams, like Toronto or Tampa-you can beat them, if things go your way, but if you don’t play well, they can and will steal your lunch money and beat up your little sister.

According to ESPN’s Peter Pascarelli, Clay the Wonder Horse isn’t throwing enough fastballs. That might explain his struggles, because he’s got a great, great arm.

Chipper Jones is hitting .400 on the year. Chipper Jones is one of those athletes that I have seen perform for their whole career, and when he goes into the Hall of Fame, I’m going to look at their numbers and say “Wow. He really did that? I can’t believe I didn’t appreciate him more.”

I was watching Tim Duncan play last night, and I kind of think the same thing about him. Seeing him play, you can really appreciate pure basketball intelligence. Always the right play, the killer pass, the long jumper as time expires-one of the best who ever lived. I hate to see Chris Paul leave the playoffs-he is giving as much effort as anyone since the young Allen Iverson-but I don’t think he has the horses to compete with San Antonio in a game seven.

The Celtics, up 3-2, play Cleveland tonight to move into the Eastern Finals. They are without, reportedly, Daniel “Boobie” Gibson, which gives LeBron James one less kick out partner to pass to. That can’t hurt Boston’s chances. I love LeBron-he is deeply talented and capable of many, many things, but hometown is thicker than water-I hope my boys send him home.

I’m kind of back in a sports groove. Hopefully that will presage an improvement in my mood. It may just be 45 minutes until I’m home for the weekend-two straight days off.

Great BS Report this week, with ESPN's Sage Steele. He really got into the fanboy talk, which is when Bill is at his most entertaining. So many sportswriters seem not to like sports, which is bizarre.

The Boston-Milwaukee game was rained out, no doubt part of the same system that is pouring rain down on me as we speak. Boston is in Cleveland, trailing but making a run halfway through the fourth quarter.

Why is Kevin Garnett shooting jump shots?

Boston made a nice run, but back to back baskets from James, plus a back breaking three from Wally Szcerbiak that he launched from suburban Canton, proved to be too much, I fear.

They got it down to 5, inside of a minute, but a semi lame offensive foul on Paul Pierce, then a semi lame non goaltend didn't help. Oh well. Game Seven to come, in Boston. I fear Bill Simmons may be right, this team may not be good enough to get past the Pistons, even if they can get past Cleveland.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

M 16 Yellow

This is the number 16.

This is the word yellow

This is the letter M.

May 15, 2008

Human Resources is announcing a New Performance Review System. My first, gut level reaction was, “there was an OLD performance review system?” I have never been evaluated or reviewed in any way in the 3+ years I have been here. Well, I guess I haven’t been fired. That’s a form of review, I guess.

You know what would be cool? If everybody else would do their jobs, and I could just do mine? That would be sweet.

You know what else? You can’t be in touch with everyone, all the time. Sometimes people are too busy to take your call. Cope.

I’ve never worn glasses. That being said, if you need glasses, wear them. There is a virtual certainty that, if you leave the house, you will be required to read something. So wear your damn glasses. Plus, if you’re wearing them, you haven’t lost them.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

OK, now THIS is cool.

This takes twitter posts ( and removes the ones that contain certain key words (love, hate) and streams them, one by one. Very meta and very involving, similar to "overheard in new york", which you should also check out.


This is the number 16.

I had to google "unnecessary" to try and spell it right in the last post, and I still think it's wrong.

Ah well.

That's still the number 16, though. That much I'm pretty sure of. It's not much, but it's mine.

I'm between books, and it's driving me batty. I've started "Swann's Way", "One Hundred Years of Solitude", "The Last Tycoon"...nothing. My attention just seems to be too fragmented.

I guess that's why they call it the blues.

War Paint

My very favorite Rush song from my very favorite Rush album. It came along at a time when I deeply believed in the lyrics to rock songs, and it perfectly suited my crusading soul.

I just discovered my wireless extends to the porch. I wasn't a sit on the porch kind of guy. I am now, I think.

It is a cool night, for May. All of May has been un-May like, temperature wise. It's not uncomfortable, just a pinch of cool to remind you that it aint summer yet.

"All puffed up with vanity
We see what we want to see..."

There are bugs around, so it isn't that cold.

Paul Simon, "America"

"Let us be lovers we'll marry our fortunes together..."

My high school English teacher quoted a lyric from this song when trying to make a point about imagery or something. "And the moon rose over an open field," was the line he used. I remember he was surprised that I knew the next line.

"I'm empty and I'm aching and I don't know why," was always my favorite line from that song. It was true then and it's still true today.

While buying an unnessescary snack this afternoon, I noticed that, if you were born the day I graduated from high school, you're about to turn 19. There was one of those signs showing the date you need to be born on or before in order to buy cigarettes, and I noticed the year was 1989.

I used to work at a small drugstore next to a cleaner (whose cashier I had a massive crush on), a sub shop, and a liquor store. Once in a while, I would buy a soda from the liquor store because they had a better selection than the sub shop. Or than the cleaners, I suppose. I remember looking at the sign they had indicating the date you had to be born on in order to buy alcohol. I remember following the date as it got closer and closer to my birthday. My mom took a picture of me next to the sign when it showed my birthday, finally.

The girl I had a crush on was named Megan. She was in my grade, technically, but way out of my league. I'm not sure we were even playing the same sport. She had lustrous dark brown hair, and, for reasons I couldn't discern, was definably older than everyone else. Big, sad eyes and a quiet manner, like she had seen things she didn't want to talk about. I remember clearly seeing an Ann Taylor credit card in her wallet when she opened it to buy a candy bar once, and I think of her every time I walk by an Ann Taylor store.

Game Forty Two: Run Run Away

The Red Sox news gets worse and worse.

Clay the Wonder Horse has been placed on the DL with a fingernail issue, and, continuing the tradition of Red Sox rookies whose names sound like they should be US Presidents, outfielder Jonathan Van Avery was called up to replace him.

In the getaway day game, Jon Lester pitched five scoreless innings while Varitek, Lowell, and Pedroia knocked in runs for a 3-0 lead. Nick Markakis, who was a fantasy hero for me last season, and former Sox Jay Payton knocked in runs to trim the lead to 3-2.

However, Baltimore rallies against Javy (Not That One) Lopez and Craig (Sleepyhead) Hansen, loading the bases with two out. None other than Jay Payton hits a grand slan off of the Okey Doke to send Boston to another defeat, 6-3.

As the great Bill Parcells used to say, it makes you want to throw up in your mouth.

In other news, I cancelled my presentation I have been planning and researching all month, feigning illness. It was just going to be too expensive to travel to the ballpark and spend the whole evening there. Plus I just don't like doing it, and in the interim, I may get to see Simon. So it's win-win. I guess.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Electrons Dancing In The Frozen Crystal Dawn"

In Baltimore, Boston trails 5-4 after 8 innings, though with Ortiz and Ramirez coming up. Josh Beckett got racked-11 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Manager Terry Francona is home with his family after the death of his mother in law.

There is a rumor afoot that my location may be shutting down, which makes me think a couple of different things, all at once:

1)Why not? They haven't given a shit about us for years.
2)I've been through this rumor-reassure-rumor cycle before, and I'm not going to believe any of it until they shut the damn door.
3)What the fuck? They give us nothing to work with, then complain when we can't do anything with it.

I'm just tired. I'm in a dark, hopeless place mentally. I'm tired of being alive.

Boston lost, 5-4. Beaten by the immortal Jeremy Guthrie, who throws about as hard as I do.

Why the hell not?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Double Plus Ungood

Last night, Boston overcame Wakefield's struggles, coming all the way back, putting the tying run on second base in the ninth before falling to Minnesota, 9-8.

What's worse, tonight's game featured three first inning runs, and then nothing, as Clay the Wonder Horse had another rough day at the office in a 7-3 loss. That makes 3 out of 4 dropped to the Twinkies.

Baltimore next, and that may perk things up. But if we don't watch it, they'll spank us too.

Fascinating "This American Life" this week, a really detailed and interesting look at the credit crisis. Very well done and very interesting.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Game Forty: Wakefielding Questions

In the Sunday night game, the Minnesota Twins beat Tim Wakefield from pillar to post while building a 7-1 lead, but Boston starts the 4th with 3 straight hits to trim the lead to 7-2. Long way to go, but we shall see. Tim Wakefield can be pretty helpless when his knuckleball isn't moving.

In golf, Sergio Garcia won the Player's Championship with a gorgeous wedge shot onto an island green. Very nicely done, and I'm pleased for him, because Garcia has always been seen as someone who had not lived up to his potential.

I'm feeling pretty helpless and I'm definitely not living up to my potential.

Notes/Twisted Every Way

May 11, 2008

It’s Mother’s Day. Or, as we call it in my company, Sunday.

I stole that joke from Dennis Miller, who said, after it was revealed Texaco had settled a lawsuit over executives who used racist comments, that they released the news on Martin Luther King Day, or, as it is more commonly known at Texaco headquarters, Monday.

There was an article in a professional journal I was reading about the Top Ten Signs Of Burnout. I was 10 for 10-I displayed every one of the ten signs. I wonder if I get a prize?

I am sick of being yelled at for rules I don’t believe in and didn’t impose but must enforce.

I am sick of people who insist that I respect their time while refusing to do the same for me.

I am sick of being alive, more or less.

There was a great History Channel show on last night about the history of mission control that was excellent. There was also an excellent Bill Moyers’ Journal that I listened to the audio of this morning about torture and the lack of outcry over it. That was echoed by John C. Dvorak and Adam Curry on No Agenda, talking about the lack of outcry about many things-the wretched economy, legalized usury by banks, massive government misconduct.

“Go back to bed, America. Your government is in control.”
-Bill Hicks

I finally ran out of podcasts I feel like listening to-the rest are either comedy, which is not work friendly, or baseball, which I’m just not in the mood for right now.

Boston plays Minnesota tonight on ESPN. Fortunately, the Twins are unlike the Red Sox in that they don’t take 77 pitches per at bat, so the game will probably not be 7 ½ hours long. Hopefully.

-U2, “Bullet The Blue Sky”-the live track from Rattle and Hum

There’s some other live U2 on my IPod, which I think I’ve actually never heard before. That’s one thing about digital music-unlike a CD, unless you go and dig it out, it hides in your collection. And given the size of mine, I may never find it unless I do that.

-Mudcrutch, “This Is A Good Street”

Tom Petty’s first group, before he was TOM PETTY. They recently reformed the original lineup, I am told, and recorded an album. Good, decent, shuffling R+B type music.

-Eagles, “New York Minute” (Live)

Love this song. LOVE this song. A Don Henley solo track, actually, but the only version I have is this one, from “Hell Freezes Over”. (That was a cute title. Supposedly one of them was asked once if the band would ever reform, and the response was “When Hell freezes over.”) One of the best “West Wing” episodes starts with this song over the opening scene, and the title of the episode was “Somebody’s Going to Emergency, Somebody’s Going to Jail”.

“The wolf is always at the door…”

“ ’Baby I’ve Changed, Please Come Back.’ ”

-Paul McCartney, “I Saw Her Standing There”(Live)

3 loudest noises I’ve ever heard:

1) Crowd reaction after Paul McCartney began “Can’t Buy Me Love”, Worcester Centrum

2) Crowd reaction after Billy Joel comes out for final encore, Boston Garden

3) Iron Maiden live, Worcester Centrum

-Beatles, “Glass Onion”
-Metallica, “Ain’t My Bitch”

This is the third day in a row, I think, this has come up on shuffle. Metallica is not as loud, in concert, as most people probably think.

-Simon and Garfunkel, “A Most Peculiar Man”

A finely crafted song, which is almost a Raymond Carver story in the amount of its precise detail and emotional ending.

-“Yer Blues”, John Lennon (Live)

A Lennon-performed Beatles tune, live from the Toronto Music Festival, 1969. Of course, on the White Album, they were almost separate members at this point, guest starring on each other’s tracks. IIRC, Eric Clapton plays on this track.

“I’m lonely/Wanna die….”

-“Walking In Your Footsteps” (Live), The Police

I bought “Synchronicity” along with everyone else, but honestly, I always thought The Police were a bit overrated. Not bad, by any means, and certainly better than being poked in the eye, but not world changing.

-The Beatles, “Words of Love”

A cover, I think. Not their best work. Which is kind of like saying “This is the worst Rembrandt ever!”

-Miss Saigon, “The Sacred Bird”

I don’t know why this is so unlistenable for me now. I guess I’m a lot less impressed by the main character’s sacrifice than I used to be.

The star crossed lovers in “Miss Saigon are reunited in the end, and the boy’s mother commits suicide so that he can have a better life with his father and his father’s new wife in the West. At the time when I saw it, her sacrifice overwhelmed me, and looking at it now, it’s more like, “Well, of course she did.”

-U2, “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”
-Rush, “The Way The Wind Blows”

My wife still hates Rush because she thinks they broke up her friend’s marriage.
Yeah, I know.

-Crowded House, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”

I thought this song was the worst thing ever in high school. It’s pretty, though. My wife downloaded it from ITunes, so since we share a library, I bogarted it.

-REM, “Airliner”

A bonus instrumental from their great new record, “Accelerate”

On SModcast this week, it was all about Catholicism, and, as an outsider, I couldn’t really relate to it. Two things I really don’t get is why Catholics stay-if you want to hear an earful about what’s wrong with the Catholic Church, just ask one-and why they seem to assume that all churches are just like theirs. They’re not.

I went to a Catholic church service once, at the behest of a friend, and noticed the differences, but didn’t feel the need to make a big deal about them. The way you were raised was the way you were raised, not the way everyone was or should have been raised. Catholics seem very tribal to me-I guess centuries of discrimination will do that to a church.

-Rent, “Tango Maureen”

Brilliant, brilliant song. Dancing a tango, Mark Cohen, Maureen’s ex boyfriend: “It’s hard to do this backwards.” Maureen’s new girlfriend: “You should try it in heels.”

-Billy Joel, “Honesty”

I heard someone playing this song, over and over, really late at night, in my college auditorium, on a piano. I have always regretted not going in to see who it was. I certainly knew all the words.

“Anyone can comfort me with promises again…”

That’s another thing I love about Billy Joel-his lyrics are so bittersweet.

-Lou Reed, “Foot of Pride” (Live)

I don’t think it’s an original thought, but a great Dylan lyric.

“You know what they say,
About being nice to the right people on the way up,
Sooner or later you’re going to meet them on the way down.”

The Red Sox have apparently just dealt right handed reliever Brian Corey to San Diego for a player or bag of batting practice baseballs to be named later. This was probably a waiver move-they were planning to demote him, so they traded him so they could get back something instead of waiving him and getting back nothing.

Do you suppose, if the next time someone asks me to do something, then makes faces at me while I do it because I’m not doing it fast enough, I just punch them in the face, I’ll get fired?

-Metallica, “Tuesday’s Gone”

A GREAT version of a song I really didn’t appreciate until Metallica did it. It’s not the sort of song you’d expect them to do, and they do it pretty much as it lays-not really Metallica-izing it at all. Nice.

-Led Zeppelin, “Stairway to Heaven”

Was it “Wayne’s World” where they’re in a guitar store, and when someone tries to play the opening notes, they point to a sign on the wall that says, “No Stairway To Heaven” ?

-REM, “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”
-Velvet Revolver, “The Last Fight”

With all the talent in this band, they should really be better than they are.

Why do men wear flip flops in public? It has always looked stupid. It will always look stupid.

-Johnny Cash, “The One On The Right Is On The Left”

This guy was a genius. Johnny Cash could wear flip flops in public if he wanted. Except he wouldn’t. And he’s dead.

-Counting Crows, “Rain King”(Live)

This is probably the last CD I actually bought-shortly after Christmas at a Best Buy. I had the original somewhere, but I got a live version instead, because it had all of the songs I liked.

When you see a group of women together, it’s fun (for you, anyway) to play the Margaret Cho game. In every group of three women, she posits, there is the smart one, the cute one, “and then there’s the ho”.

-Billy Joel and Elton John, “Come Together”

From a bootleg. I’d feel guilty about it, except for the fact that I’m a fan, and if there were some way to pay them for it, I would. I actually wrote Billy Joel a fan letter, way back when, in which I suggested that devoted fans would probably pay him for unmixed soundboard tapes of his concerts. And the digital age has made it even easier for artists to do this. If he acted like Pearl Jam or the Grateful Dead , releasing dozens of concerts on CD, I would have bought them all, no question.

Cartoonist Scott Adams (I think) makes the argument that an artist deserves the right to not only profit from his creations, but to determine how they will be enjoyed. I can understand that, to a point, I suppose. But essentially, I disagree with it. Especially when there’s a way for everybody to win-just release the darn things. Plus, as Pearl Jam discovered, you essentially kill the bootleg market because there are so many real ones out there.

-Elton John, “Levon”

I had never heard this song until Jon Bon Jovi covered it for “Two Rooms”.

-Jesus Christ Superstar, “Herod’s Song”

I think I could perform this song on stage. It’s kind of a half dream of mine to do that.

-Gavin Rossdale, “Mind Games”

From the Darfur benefit album of John Lennon covers. A pretty good job, but Gavin Rossdale is better known as the better half of the singer from No Doubt, who is insanely, unearthily pretty. I can’t think of her name at the moment. But you know who she is. She always wears bright red lipstick, and when not pregnant, is absurdly thin with abs you could play handball on.

Gwen Stefani, that’s her name. Like Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, with fame and beauty that really outshines the band she used to be a part of.

-Billy Joel, “You Look So Good To Me”

From his real first album, “Cold Spring Harbor”. I spent many a teenage hour riding my bike, thinking about girls, listening to this album.

-Led Zeppelin, “Your Time Is Gonna Come”

I believe this was the first song on the first Led Zeppelin album. Imagine hearing it for the first time, the wandering organ beginning, then the thunderclap of the first drum. Wow.