Saturday, July 10, 2010


After The Most Important Person In The World made The Most Important Decision Ever Decided, and after listening to Bill Simmons' post-LeBronakah impressions and thoughts, a few points of order.

1) Yes, it's silly to care about professional sports. It's a special subset of silly to care about which city an enormously wealthy young man will continue to recieve enormous paychecks in.

2) That being said, there are drawbacks to what the Miami Heat has done. Injury, for one-although these three (Bosh, Wade, and James) are all relatively young men, Wade is getting towards 30 and has a lot of miles on his NBA odometer. One serious injury and suddenly this plan doesn't look so good.

3) Defense. None of these players are especially gifted defenders. One of the themes of recent NBA seasons has been the importance of defense in winning titles. I can't think of a single NBA champion who simply outscored everybody.

4) This team is going to walk into every arena with a target on its back. If things start to go wrong, the long knives will come out.

5) Every NBA champion-without exception-has had an alpha dog-a player who sets the tone, on offense and defense, both by example and through inspiration. Pair this player with two or more very good players and you have yourself a great team. It is hard to imagine LeBron or Wade willingly deferring to the other. We shall see.

6) A top shelf NBA star takes about 1500 shots per year. An NBA team takes about 6000 shots per year. Three stars on one team? Something's got to give-somebody won't be getting the ball enough.

7) Personnel. As Simmons keeps noting, you need 5 players to play basketball-IIRC, the Heat now have, officially, four. Can you have a legitimate team with 9 scrubs to go with your superstars?

8) As Simmons also says, the NBA is headed for labor trouble after the coming season. Players aren't going to be willing to take less money, even to play with a super team, because they are afraid there won't be any paychecks after that.

9) The whole spectacle (which I missed because I was working) seemed gross in the extreme. James had always seemed like a decent sort, but he loses some class points.

10) Cleveland. Oh, Cleveland. Being from Boston, I thought I knew sports misery. Oh, Cleveland.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Game 86: Consider the Bleeding, Uh, Stopped

In Toronto, the Red Sox pounded young Ricky Romero and the Blue Jays, 14-3, behind four homers. Boston is 50-36 but 4 1/2 games out of first place, and once again firmly in third place in the division.

Who Knows It All?

Why, he do, of course. It's Friday Flash 55 time, and my entry is called "Isn't It Ironic?"

I remember you looked like Alanis Morrisette.
You looked then like she looks now.
She looked different then-
And I’m sure you look different now, too.
You had such a smile-
And you were sensitive-
I worried about you.
I wanted to keep you safe from harm.
So why did I end up hurting you?

Sometimes, you've got to just say it.

Something's been bothering me, pretty much ever since the July 4th hullabaloo, but I never knew how, exactly, to put it into words. I still don't. I may lose some friends over this, but the nausea has built to a point where I just have to say it, or my head's going to explode.

I'm not, as they say, comfortable with huge displays of emotion of any sort. As I said to a colleague once, if we were supposed to reveal how we felt, we would have little windows installed in our chests. Patriotism is one of those emotions-when everyone, everywhere falls over themselves with hosannas of praise about America, I just don't feel it. Call me ungrateful, but I don't. I'm just not comfortable with it.

It took a Charlie Pierce essay to motivate me to write this. The primary thing that bothers me about this America-F&*k Yeah-ism is that the words in all these songs? They ain't so.

We don't love freedom-at least, not for everyone. We torture. We detain people without due process. We have become what we hated-a colossus, bestriding the globe, locking up people whether or not they did anything wrong, throwing them into dark holes where they are forgotten about. And, worst of all, we have stopped caring.

From Pierce's essay: "If we can accept Afghanistan as a semi-permanent drain on our resources and our souls, it's easy to accept a 10 percent unemployment rate as the dismal status quo, as the way things ought to be. The truths are no longer self-evident. We've done too good a job of hiding them from ourselves, and ourselves from them. But their terms are still plain, and they are still firm. After 234 years, if we ever truly engaged our heritage and its full implications, we'd scare ourselves to death."

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Game 85: Wasted Away Again Inside The Juice Box...

In Tampa last night, the Naughty Fish completed a sweep of the Red Sox, 6-4. After administering a frightful beating to Timmeh, the Fish let the Sox back up off the mat, putting the tying run on base in the top of the ninth before the hopefully healed Kevin Youkilis lined out to end it.

Boston is off today, and Jon Lester will try to stop the bleeding north of the border on Friday.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. Starkey!

It's this gentleman's birthday. Attention should be paid-he was a Beatle, and you were not.

Here's Mr. Starkey, with Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty (and, I think, Joe Walsh), playing the Beatles' "I Call Your Name".

100 Word Challenge: Normal Saline

The aptly named 100 Word Challenge, writing a story in exactly 100 words, still resides here, although VV herownself may be taking it back over again at her regular digs here. In any case, without further ado, here's my contribution this week, "Normal Saline".

“You're putting it in normal, right?”

Her face, porcelain white with pulled back, fiery red hair, looks at me through the glass window of the clean room.

“Yes,” she says with exaggerated, sarcastic impatience.

Normal saline, as opposed to 5% dextrose, was the right answer-but I had to make sure. I watched her work for a moment. She was every red headed cliché come to life-tempestuous, loud, quarrelsome-I was nominally her boss, but wound up mostly doing what she said. I was a little bit in love with her-everybody was. Head down, ponytail bobbing, I watched her work.

All Hail The Queen!

Mimi, who is apparently the queen of memes, has another delightful site full of stuff to make us bloggers feel useful. To wit, the Firsts Meme:

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

God, you look tired.

2. Where did you go on the very first vacation of your life?

Camping, probably. I'll say it's Papoose Pond, Maine, which is probably wrong.

3. Open the door of your refrigerator. What is the first thing you see?


4. Tell us about your first kiss OR your last first date.

My first date with my wife was our intention to see "The Lion King". However, it was sold out, so we saw an eminently forgettable Julia Roberts vehicle, "I Love Trouble". We may be the only two people who saw the film other than the filmmakers.

5. If you had wings to fly about the universe, where is the first place you'd land?

I don't know. Paris? The Moon? Hard to say.

6. What is the first thing you do when you get in your car?

Set the book or magazine I am reading on the passenger's seat.

7. What is the first thing you ever said to your firstborn?

I have not a friggin' clue. The whole first five years of his life are pretty hazy, honestly. It was basically a bunch of diaper changes and watching Thomas the Tank Engine videos, and then he was in school.

8. What is the last thing you heard about your first love?

I don't get this one, exactly. Heard, as in, heard from someone else? Almost certainly, "she's so funny." She is, too.

9. If you had created the world in seven days yourself, what would you have created on the First Day?

Fenway Park

10. What is the first song in your IPOD or song list?

Alphabetically? "The ABC Cafe/Red and Black" from Les Miz.

11. What is the first tangible thing you lost that you could never find again?

My original Social Security card.

12. Who is your favorite First Lady of all time?

I'm very fond of the current one. Hard to say, otherwise. Not something I've thought about.

13. Post a link to your first blog post.



It was so long ago, it only turns up as the whole first page. But if you scroll to the bottom, you can read the very first post.

I don't recommend it.

14. When was the last time you needed FirstAid?

The cuticle on my fingernail caught on something, and it tore the skin.

15. Can you explain what a first down is in football?

Sure. It's the gaining of 10 or more yards by the offensive team, giving them another set of four.

Game 84: Adding Injury to Injury to Injury

With Our Man Youk sidelined early with ankle pain (?)(!), the Red Sox fell again at the Juice Box last night, 3-2. Felix the Cat, filling in for the injured Cowboy Clay, was not sneaky enough, and even though Eric Patterson tripled in a run in the ninth with two out, Niuman Romero, who picked up for Youk, could not bring him home to tie the score.

As someone pointed out on Twitter, having JD Drew being among the healthiest members of your baseball team is cause for concern. In a related story, I just used "Eric Patterson" and "Niuman Romero" in a sentence.


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Tuesday/Wednesday: We Get It, Already

Janera's back with ten question/statements from Robert Pattinson, who I'm told is an actor.

1. "I don't really see the point in washing your hair. If you don't care if your hair's clean or not then why would you wash it?" How often do you wash your hair?

Every day. I get creeped out if I don't.

2. "I take way too long to get dressed, like way too long. But only for things like shows or if I have to do public appearances. Like, I’m ridiculous, I’ll keep getting changed and getting changed and then I’ll just put on the same thing I wore the day before." Do you take longer to dress for a special event?

Not really. I take a long time to get ready, but that's mostly because I read while I'm doing it.

3. "My dad's a car dealer, but I grew up in London, so I always say I don't drive…I get driven. I got a driving lesson in Oregon, and then I bought a car in L.A. and I basically learned how to drive by people honking at me. I'm terrible at driving." Are you a good driver?

I'm not. I'm too easily distracted.

4. "I don't spend any money. The only thing I've really bought is my car, which cost $1,500 and keeps exploding. It would be nice to buy a house for my parents, but at the same time my parents are so comfortable where they live; they would probably just feel like it was a burden. I wear the same clothes every day and the only thing I used to splurge on was DVDs." If you had his money, what would be the first thing you spent it on?

I'd pay debt and make sure my family is taken care of and give a healthy amount to some charities I care about. For me, though? I'd go to the Apple Store and go bananas.

5. "I aspire to be Jack Nicholson. I love every single mannerism. I used to try and be him in virtually everything I did, I don't know why. I watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest when I was about 13, and I dressed like him. I tried to do his accent. I did everything like him. I think it's kind of stuck with me." Who is your favorite actor?

That's a really tough one. I'll go with Daniel Craig, right now-he's a tremendous Bond.

6. "Someone stole my shoelaces once from my shoes. I still wear them and never put laces in them - they're like my trademark shoes now!" Have you ever changed your appearance because of a random happenstance?

Not like that, no. I am very rigid about matters of style. My hairstyle hasn't changed in about 20 years.

7. "I never really considered myself attractive. I was always kind of gangly in school." Do you consider yourself attractive?

Lord, no.

8. "I definitely want to record an album, direct a film and start my own religion. I definitely wouldn’t have to pay taxes anymore.” If you started your own religion, what would it be like?

I'm very fond of Christianity, personally-but without the hateful (slavery, antigay) parts.

9. "I do bear some similarities in the sense that I’m not good at romance. I also think I lack basic finesse when it comes to women. I give up too easily even if I’m very attracted to someone." Have you ever given up too easily in the game of love?


10. " I don’t want to disappoint girls who might think I’m very cool and smooth, which I’m not, I’m afraid. I’m still quite shy, although that seems to be something of an attraction for women." Are you, or have you ever been attracted to shy people?

Yes. Linked to the answer for #9.

Game 83: Picture Kevin Kline firing a handgun into an empty safe...

...while he roars, "DISAPPOINTED!" (That's a scene from "A Fish Called Wanda", a criminally underrated comedy.)

The Red Sox chased Matt Garza early last night, and handed our friend the Dice Man a nice, fat, happy 5-1 lead. Apparently unused to such riches, Dice, who still appears to need another pitch, one called a strike, coughed up his teammates' largesse, and the Sox fell down in the Juice Box, 6-5. Boston is now 49-34, 2 1/2 games behind, but now back in Third Place.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Sunday Stealing II: More Questions and Answers

The bright folk over at Sunday Stealing have another 20 or so queries for us all. So here goes:

23. Are your days fast-paced?

Oh yeah.

24. What did you do last night?

Slept. From 8pm right until morning. Apparently, I needed sleep.

25. Do you use sarcasm?


26. How old will you be turning on your next birthday?

I'm too tired to do math right now. I'm a little older than Pedro Marinez, and a little younger than Sarah Silverman. Let's put it that way.

27. Are you picky about spelling and grammar?

Not really. I notice, but I tend not to call people on it, because I find that obnoxious. I'll correct children, but not adults.

28. Do you get along better with the same sex or the opposite sex?

By far, the opposite sex. Although, to be fair, I don't understand much about them either.

29. Do you watch the news?

Not actively. Sometimes it's on, and I'll watch it briefly, but I don't seek it out. I do have a crush on NBC10's Aditi Roy, so I will sometimes turn her channel on in the morning to see if she's working.

30. How did you get one of your scars?

There's one on my knee that I got playing HORSE at a friend's house. Later, I dated his sister. The two events are not, as far as I know, related.

31. Who was the last person to make you mad?

A company we work with whose website was timing out all day today, thus keeping me from getting something important done.

32. What is the last big thing you purchased?

My son's graduation present-a smartphone.

33. Who would you want to be tied to for 24 hours?

Aditi Roy. (HA!) Seriously, I really am not sure I could suggest anyone be put through being lashed to me.

34. What is a rumour someone has spread about you?

I'm not interesting enough to be rumored about.

35. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator?

Sit down and read a book. (Of course I'd have a book with me!)

36. T or F: All’s fair in love and war?

No, no. All's fair in love and PASTRY. #jokesonlymywifewillget

37. Do you know how to use some words correctly, but not know the meaning?

I typically have a sense of the meaning, but sometimes don't have a good handle on it. So, in other words, yes.

38. Do you know which US states don’t use Daylight Savings Time?

No. I think a county in Indiana doesn't, because it was in a West Wing episode.

39. Do you want a bright yellow ‘06 mustang?

Automobile? Hell yes.

40. What’s something you’ve always wanted?


41. Would you rather swim in the ocean or a lake?


42. Do you wear a lot of black?


43. Describe your hair:


44. Where is/are your best friend(s)?

In the garage, smoking a cigarette.

Games 81 and 82: Lester's Luster and Lackey's Lacking

Yesterday, the Red Sox smoked the Orioles 9-3 behind another strong effort from Jon Lester, but today, they fell 6-1, being bamboozled by the offerings of young Bird Brian Matusz. Boston is 49-33, 1 1/2 games behind the Yankees, and they travel down south to face the Naughty Fish in Tampa tomorrow.