The Blogging Affairs Desk

When It’s Good, It’s Good, When It’s BAD, It’s Better…

TidBits: Media Over-Hype Edition

Gate Crashers:

By now you’ve heard the story about The Salahis, the eager-to-be-famous gate crashers that seemingly waltzed into President Obama’s first “State Dinner” (quotes are for the fact it wasn’t ‘really’ a State Dinner.  State Dinner’s are characterized as being with other heads of state, and this dinner was attended by India’s Prime Minister, who is the head of India’s Government, but not the head of the country) uninvited.

The obvious twist in the panties comes from the (lack of) security that was breached by two witless faux-celebrity wannabes.  Pictures of the couple appeared shortly after the ceremony on their Facebook page, which begs to ask the question: What is a couple roughly my boss’s age doing with a Facebook page?  Do they stalk their high school-aged kids?

But the real head scratcher in all of this is why people, the media and politicians especially, are getting mad at the Salahis’ and not that government entity called THE SECRET SERVICE?

Since writing this, three Secret Service agents have been placed on administrative leave until findings in the lapse in security can be properly investigated, but law makers, who love a good sturdy soap box to stand on and yell into the hills from, want to place blame on both The Salahis and the president’s Social Events Secretary.

That’s like blaming the bank teller for a robbery when the security guard is fast asleep on his stool.

Hey Washington DC, yeah it’s fucked up that these two spray tanners were able to get inside the holy of holies with little more than a clever anecdote and cleavage, but don’t blame them, and don’t call for the head of some la-di-da department secretary whose sole purpose is to plan meet and greets for Mrs. Obama and the kids.  Blame the people responsible, the guys with the ear pieces, guns and black suits, whose job is to ensure fame seeking whack jobs don’t get pictures with the President and post them all over the goddamn Facebook.

Tiger Woods:

Please leave this poor multi-national bastard alone.

I don’t condone what he’s apparently done; I would never cheat on my super model wife.  Men do stupid things and though I could come up with many reasons on why he probably did what he did, I won’t.  It’s just bad voodoo and an inevitable argument with my wife when she reads this.

But let’s not forget that Tiger is a person.  Up until now he was a very private person who wasn’t the type of celebrity athlete that shows up in the pages of People or US magazine.  He’s a winner and he’s human, fucking A.

He did break the boundaries of privacy when he crashed his SUV into a tree in front of their house, obviously fleeing a psychotic wife wielding one of his golf clubs that probably costs more than my yearly salary.  He brought that shit on himself, but damn, can’t you give him a break?

Stop demonizing him, I ask.  Plenty of celebrity athletes have done dumber shit and we’ve all gone on to pretty much forget about it, unless of course you’re Pete Rose (better luck next year, coach!).  Stop playing it up like Tiger will never be the same guy ever again, or his career will suffer.  Gatorade and fucking Nike have both stated they were going to stick by Tiger no matter what, and AT&T (whom I wasn’t aware sponsored him…) has released a ‘no comment’ comment.

I can see GM pulling out under obvious reasons, though.

Adam Lambert:

If you were like the rest of America, you missed the American Music Awards, the also-ran of musical award shows that places somewhere distant behind the VMAs, Grammys, and Country Music Awards.

Though, if you had passed by while flipping from reruns of ‘The Office’ and that shitty sitcom with that guy from ‘Everyone Loves Raymond’ … you know, the guy, the tall guy?  I think he was a cop?  That guy.  Anyway, if you were like most Americans, you had no idea who Adam Lambert was until the morning after the AMAs.

Adam Lambert was a RUNNER UP in American Idol like, last year.  He’s also come out and said he’s real gay, which is not surprising in the least.  He recently released an album which could easily be confused with a Sheila Eastan LP from 1991.

The controversy started when during the AMA’s, Lambert mocked fellatio with a fellow band mate, who happened to be of the same sex (a dude), while making out with another band mate of the same sex (…also a dude) while tromping around the stage like an awesomely flamboyant peacock.  This got him tossed from the next morning’s Good Morning America appearance, where he was scheduled to sing to school kids on an outside stage, while no one wondered why these kids weren’t in school.

Mr. Lambert likes to claim that he’s being ostracized because he’s gay, and as a gay guy he’s not entitled to performing the same lewd semi-sexual acts that straight musicians are afforded while performing.  He’s quick to point out that many famous acts have been allowed to simulate straight (see also: chick-on-dude) fellatio, but as soon as a gay dude does it, it’s ‘disgusting.’

Elton John is rolling over in his still warm grave….

Adam Lambert, you miss the point: People aren’t outraged that you thrust your crotch into another dude’s face in front of a live audience which was broadcasted into dozens of homes, no, that’s not the controversy.  If you want to flaunt how gay you are, and make it seem like it’s cooler than the next Harold and Kumar movie, that’s fine, because gay people have been doing that shit since the early 1980s.

What we’re really pissed about is your lack of talent.  Dude, you suck.  Your voice sucks, your music sucks, your production sucks, you suck, suck, suck.  The irony that you think people are upset at you for ‘sucking’ is enough to make me pop a stitch.

The next time you tour, please bring along that monotone celestial that sings the Ricky Martin songs.  You know the guy, he’s released two more albums than you?

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December 7, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, People I Hate, Why Am I Watching This?, World Wide Events | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TidBits: Coffee, Fantasy Football, and Gun Enthusiasts

TidBits: A new series where I take short, not fully fleshed out ideas and mash them into one article.

These also tend to go all over the road.  Enjoy.

 

On Coffee:

Is it me, or has coffee just gotten bad in the last few years?  It’s harder than hell to find a decent cup of coffee anymore, something that I’d actually savor.

Being that I live in New England, there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts every ten feet.  This is problematic because what I used to think was the best cup of coffee going for under two bucks has become this over saturated conglomerate that sells a bunch of wild shit other than coffee and donuts anymore.  I mean, who the hell wants an egg-white pita bread sandwich?

And it’s not even that good for you!  It’s loaded with carbs, calories and sodium!  Look it up!

What also makes things frustrating with having to deal with Dunks is that in the summer every chain is staffed by some kid from Eastern Europe who looks like he should be starting center for the Dallas Mavericks, and in winter by less-than-enthusiastic Jamaicans whose command of the English language leaves much more to be desired.

“Can I get a medium regular, sugar and skim, please?”

“MEEEDEEUM REGGALA, SHOOGAH EH SKEEM!” the woman bellows.  What the fuck did I just order?  And then inexplicably I’m handed a large ice coffee and a pumpkin spice muffin.

Service aside, the coffee is terrible, and not just at the franchises, but the little mom and pop places on Cape as well.

Each one of these “self serve” little coffee places, from Cumberland Farms convenience stores, to actual coffee shops each have their own little blends of “house brewed” coffee, from regular, stand alone coffee to that flavored bullshit.  Each one of these little containers has a time scribbled down on it to indicate how fresh it is, but it won’t matter, they all taste like burnt dick.

That’s because the little pods of coffee, the plastic kind that do double duty as pumps, never get adequately washed out, causing whatever’s being poured out of it to taste like burnt-to-shit, week old sludge.

I don’t consider myself a huge coffee drinker, as I’ve become less dependent on it over the last few years (I drink between three and four cups a week, maybe) but I know the difference between shit and steak, so to say.  And lately, I’ve been drinking a lot of shit.

What makes matters worse, is that our office’s new boss, who just transferred in, likes Maxwell House, and demands that we keep it in stock on our little mess deck.  Maxwell House?  Did I just move back home with my parents?  Ugh, my dog won’t even touch that shit, and she’s the type of animal that gets her jollies from rolling around in a decaying seagull carcass.

On Fantasy Football:

Men need ways to cling to childhood things like the way women need emotional support when out trying on jeans.  And instead of throwing tantrums in shopping malls when you’re taking too long, ladies, we play fantasy sports.

I know what you’re thinking, and let me be clear; we think it’s fucking ridiculous too.  To sit and fret over million dollar athletes, to spend more time researching some 24 year old’s bad toe than with our kid’s special needs teacher, it’s sickening, yeah, but we do it.

We need it.

It’s a form of non-combative combat amongst friends, and it’s exceedingly becoming a pop culture mainstay.  The cable network FX just picked up a sitcom (conceivably a one-joke sitcom) all about grown adult men and their fantasy football league.  Just accept it.

For us it’s like gambling on sports without the threat of blowing the money we set aside for a house, or risking having our thumbs broken by some guy named “Joey Smalls” who may or may not hang out in the backroom of Lucky’s on Jackson Blvd, and is a very nice guy, whom I will be seeing very soon, just as soon as I scratch together that last little bit of cash to cover the vig, sorry.

On Gun Enthusiasts:

On a serious note, you’ve heard of the massacre at Ft. Hood this last week.  It’s a tragedy, and tragedies like this are starting to become all too familiar.  A guy fucking loses his shit, gets desperate and for whatever reason, picks up a gun and starts shooting.

But don’t get confused and think that everyone who owns a gun is potentially going to go off the deep end like Maj. Nadal Hasan did.

I own a number of guns, and I have all my life.  I’ve also been professionally affiliated with them as well.  My firearms training has been watched over by experts my entire life, and it goes without saying that I’m (probably too) comfortable around guns.

This doesn’t make me crazy, people.

But it’s hard to take my word for it, and I understand that.  It seems that whenever I get into a casual discussion about firearms, some people tend to let their body language change and become standoffish.  I can see it in their faces that they think I’m some sort of fucking nut who spends his free time stomping around some wood, clutching a rifle, hunting something for the shear pleasure of watching it bleed to death.

I know this, because I act the same way when other people whom enjoy my enthusiasm tell me the same stories I tell others.

Briefly I worked at an outdoor outfitter in Southern Maine (not LL Bean), which has a very large firearms section; it pretty much takes up half of the second floor.  The people who worked in that section were all obviously firearms enthusiasts.  Some were former military, myself formerly a police officer, and we all would share our stories about our favorite weapons, often getting into good natured debates about our personal favorites and tastes (for instance, I’m a Glock guy).

But then there would be these guys whom you couldn’t take too seriously, because, well, the way they’d talk about their weaponry.  It was like listening to a randy high school kid talk about a much sought after cheerleader.  You had to step back and be like “whoa, ok, easy,” when they got going.

But I can’t blame them, and yeah, I thought they were a little crazy, but I knew it was that gun fever talking.

That’s what being an “Enthusiast” means.  You’re enthusiastic about something, and you tend to let everyone know.  Have you ever met an enthusiast of anything and not have them talk to you at length about their passion?

So don’t lump gun enthusiasts in with guys like Maj. Hasan, or that weird Korean kid who shot up VA Tech, or any other of these whack jobs with a score to settle with society.  Do the math:  America is populated by 300 million people.  If you say even a fraction of that population has the means to obtain a firearm, say 3 million people, only a fraction of that number have gone on to commit a terrible tragedy like the one at Ft. Hood.

I don’t have the exact numbers, but think of it like this:  In the past five years, there have been probably 25 mass shootings that we’ve heard about, and 100s of other horrific murders committed with a firearm during that period.  That’s still only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the total gun-obtaining population.

Don’t let the media hype scare you into thinking every gun owner is some maniac looking to harm you and your family because he got fired from his engineering gig over two years ago.  Try to think of it like this:  If more people carried a firearm on their persons at all times, the people prone to committing mass shootings might A) think twice about it (that guy who shot up that office building in Orlando, maybe?) or B) be stopped as soon as he opened fire (which is likely to have happened at Ft. Hood, but I dare not Monday-Morning that scenario).

Just remember, we’re regular people too.

November 10, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Living in an Insane Asylum | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fat Fucks

Recently I was someplace, maybe I was in my truck or in Ang’s car, and saw what appeared to be two medium sized dogs fighting inside a pair of oversized sweat pants.  These pants were making their way slowly down the street, as the dog on the left seemed to be getting the upper hand on the dog to the right, and then the tables would turn, and the dog on the right would over take the dog on the left.
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Then I realized that I was not watching two medium-sized dogs fighting while trapped in a pair of sweats; I was watching a morbidly obese woman saunter down the thoroughfare, presumably towards her next feeding.

I gagged a little, yeah.

You don’t have to watch the news or hear the health warnings to realize that our country is literally crumbling under its own weight for the last thirty sum-odd years.  Obesity has been the plague of our nation the way starvation plagues Somalia, and economical instability plagues Russia.  Every country has its problems and I assume that being a nation of rollie-pollie’s sure as hell beats a nation run by tribal war lords.

It used to be that girth was a sign of wealth; the fatter you were the more money you had to spend on luxuries such as food and drink.  Look at King Henry Tudor, he weighed in at over 400lbs by the time he died of a collapsed lung and gout.  Sure, some of his weight came from sustaining a jousting injury, but back then, what did you do if you were stuck in bed all day besides eat huge turkey legs and fuck the shit out of virgin maids?henry_viii

Our country, despite its rocky fiscal 2008, has been living high off the hog since World War 2, and it shows.  Progressively, every generation since the Greatest Generation, has gotten a little bit fatter.  I don’t have numbers to support this, but be rest assured its likely true.  Why?  Because Grampy Hank didn’t have a fucking Xbox waiting for him at home every day after school.  He had a little something called “Chores.”

Kids today (as I shake my fist from my porch) are not nearly as physically active as anyone who’s 25 or older today were.  This is largely due to school budgets chopping after school sports and the advent of social internet media.  Instead of going down to the park to hang out, chase girls, climb on shit, kids as young as 11 or 12 are going right home from school, logging on to their Myspaces, Facebooks, and Twitters, and doing what kids for generations have been doing after school – gossiping with their friends about school bullshit, minus the healthy dosages of Vitamin D and the basic physical activity of simply loitering.
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It’s a shitty state of affairs when while watching Sunday afternoon football I see an ad urging kids to play outdoors for a minimum of 60 minutes a day.  Holy Hot Fuck.

Ang and I are not planning on having kids, but let’s say we were – I’d absolutely refuse to allow my children to come home from school and log on to a glowing screen.  Fuck that.  Unless that kid has a project or paper due the next day, his ass is changing out of his “school clothes” into his “play clothes” and running around the yard, street, vacant lot, whatever until dinner’s ready, which will consist of steamed vegetables,  chicken, rice and protein shakes for everyone.

And this brings up my next topic:  The Fat Tax.

You might’ve heard of the Fat Tax or “Sins Tax” in passing recently, but the idea is hardly new.  The Fat Tax would increase the amount of money individual consumers would be paying on sugary foods or foods deemed to have little-to-no nutritional value.

To say I’m for this tax would be obvious, although I can see its drawbacks plainly.  First, who the hell is in favor of a tax on ANYTHING, especially in our slowly recovering economy.  Secondly, it’s widely known that the biggest purchasers of “bad-for-you-foods” are people in the lowest income brackets.  Why?  Because like an addictive drug, you craft your ware to be cheap and addictive to keep uneducated people and their spending dollars from straying away; you set your hooks deep with flavorful concoctions manufactured and sold at little cost.

Why do you think McDonald’s has a dollar menu?  You can feed a family of four dinner tonight for as little as fifteen dollars.fat-kits-eating-mcdonalds

Not to knock McDonald’s, as I’m a shareholder; I know its hypocrisy, however I want to make money on the backs of the dumb and poor too.

Another argument against the Fat Tax is that “good food” is also “expensive food.”  This line of reasoning isn’t baseless, as anyone who wanders into a Whole Foods will tell you.  You want organically grown brussel sprouts?  That’ll be 1.99 a lb, oppose to the “regular” sprouts, which are .99 cents a pound.

“What the hell is the difference?”  I asked my wife one day while grocery shopping.

“The organic ones don’t use harmful pesticides,” she explained.  Oh, but, … I mean, if we wash these spouts in the sink after we buy them, aren’t they just as good?

I didn’t bother asking that question, but to me it seems clear:  There’s already a “tax” on good-for-you foods, why not tax the bad-for-you-foods too?

Soda is a big one.  I heard a proposal the other day that suggested a penny an ounce tax on sugary-sodas, meaning, that 20 ouncer you get out of the machine at lunch time would cost you twenty cents more.  It might not seem like a big deal, hell, what’s an extra quarter going into the machine going to cost you, that’s less than a postage stamp.  But think of it over time, and think of it on a macro scale, where out of 265 million US Citizens, over 85% of us consume sugary beverages every day, multiple times a day.

Right next to kicking fast food, kicking soda was the worst.  When I committed to my diet and weight loss plan at the beginning of the year I immediately took notice of the withdrawal symptoms I was having as little as 48 hours without a carbonated caffeine drink.  I was irritable, sweaty, panicked, shaky and dry-mouthed.  No matter how much water I would drink, I was still thirsty.

But I got through it, and after about two weeks I could care less about soda.  Now if I split a Coke with Ang… a real Coke, mind you… I can feel my teeth buzz, dare I say, throb from the high sugar concentration.  I can’t believe I used to pound a 12 pack or more a day of that stuff.
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Let’s go back to that fat woman I described a little while ago:  No one gets that big, America, no one.  Sure, some people are just big people, whether it’s genetics or glandular diseases or by some means that can’t be controlled.  Hell, my Uncle David weighs in at over 300lbs, however, he’s also 6’7 and built like a bank vault door.

No, that woman walking down the street in the shock-loaded elastic waist sweats, with the visible dark stain running down the middle of her back because she was exerting herself beyond her normal means by having to move her vast body a short distance, did that shit to herself.  She’s likely poor, under educated, and had parents that didn’t care about her enough to prepare her a home-cooked meal once in a while.  Instead she never learned to take care of herself and figured that why should I learn to cook when the fine people at McDonalds (ticker: MCD) will cook for me, and it’s only pennies a day…

With the likelihood that government provided health care will go national it’s unlikely that she’s even insurable with a private company, so as a tax payer I’m going to be paying for the eventual quadruple by-pass surgery she’ll require to jumpstart her car battery-sized-and-colored heart sooner or later, plus the inevitable fee the fire department will charge for knocking down a wall to her apartment to extract her via crane and sling.

Tax it, tax Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Lays Potato Chips, anything delicious and would cause a reasonable person to vegetate on the couch in front of an episode of “Two and a Half Men” and stuff their faces uncontrollably for hours on end.  But turn around and give tax break incentives to those of us who are spending money on joining a gym (tax incentives would work like a Subway Card, Jared:  You’d have to get the card punched by a gym employee min. once a week, and turn that card in with your tax paper work) or buying healthier foods.  Make smoking cessation programs tax-free or put tax credit incentives on those as well.  Consider it a rebate on the cost of the program if completed successfully.story2

How about age restrictions on fast food?  Or how about just not letting them stay open 24/7?  Unless you work third shift as a cab driver, why the hell are you going to Taco Bell at 4 am when Last Call was three and a half hours ago?

Ride a bike to and from work more than once a week for a month?  You get a government issued gas card for 50 bucks.

The point I’m trying to make is, yeah, tax the shit we don’t need, but how about throwing a bone to those of us who have already been keeping a healthy lifestyle?  Positive reinforcement works just as good as negative.

September 23, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Getting Older, Out and About, Shameless Self Promotion, Smells Like Children, The Great Indoors, Those Crazy Politicians | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fear and Loathing At Opening Day

I honestly have no idea how to start this article.  I know I have to write it, which I think is somewhat of the roadblock in chief; that is, when I HAVE to write something, it seldom wants to come out.

I can’t FORCE it out.  I might pop an “O” Ring.

Regardless, my head is swimming with other tidbits of information that I want to put down on paper.  Britney Spears’ latest CD is actually good.  The latest Kings of Leon CD is better.  There’s no fucking jam in the fridge here at work, so how am I supposed to make my ritualistic PB+J at three in the morning to go with this cup of cheap tasting coffee?  My elbow is fucking killing me, and I wish I could juice up on steroids.  Fuck the health risks, I’m not a pro athlete nor a role model.

But I can’t talk about any of these things, because there’s a bigger story to tell, sorta.  I have to tell you about Opening Day.

***

Opening Day, for any red blooded American Male not only signifies the end of a long drawn out winter/hockey season, but traditionally it’s the real start of spring.  Look around you, men, as your favorite ball club strides out to take the field on your team’s Opening Day, and see how the women are now dressing in less.  Gone are the pea coats and scarves that cover their bodies.  They forgo turtle necks for tank tops, furry boots for flip-flops.

The calendar says Spring started weeks ago, I say it starts on Opening Day.

For the past month, the few people at my job whom I can tolerate just long enough for me to have a civil conversation with them,  planned an epic excursion to the Boston Red Sox Opening Day this past Monday.  Nate had a hook up with a guy who used to work in my company who now owns his own limo service, so we all chipped in X amount of dollars to hire him to take us into Boston and wait around for us to get absolutely shit faced while paying for the cheapest seats available to watch grown men play a game that most children get bored of playing about the same time they discover their ability to touch the tits on Next Door Nancy.

The plan went like this:  Those involved in this trip would get the day off from work, and we’d all rally at Nate’s house at for 1030 in the morning in order to catch the limo into Boston, some two hours away, to catch the 205 first pitch.  On the way into Boston, we would get absolutely shmammered by drinking an assortment of booze that we would provide ourselves, so that we wouldn’t have to pay Fenway Prices for the same experience.  We had the limo until 730 that night, so we would probably do something completely stupid, like take the limo to a casino or strip club, following the likely 530-ish end of the game, if we even made it that far without one of us passing out, getting sick or being arrested.

When the plan was first formulated there were only four of us going:  Myself, Kev, Rog, and Nate, plus one guest apiece.  I was obviously going to bring Ang along, but as the date crept closer, she became more skittish about piling into a limo with a bunch of rowdy 20-somethings to get drunk and watch baseball all afternoon on a Monday.  Same went for Rog’s female guest, who was supposed to be flying in from Miami, but backed out at the last minute.  This left Nate with his girlfriend Michelle, who suddenly became the only female on the trip.

Kev had to drop out all together from the limo ride as he found out his wife’s sister and husband were going to the game as well, and he would meet us at the park by taking his own transportation, in order to meet with his extended family first.  So now what had started at a limo of 8, whittled back down to four.

In our excitement of the upcoming event, we (the original) four blabbed the event all over work, causing some less-than-desirable characters from around the office to pop their heads up from behind their cubes and pretty much invite themselves along.  How do you say “no” to someone with whom you work, who tends to think their included in your clique?  So, in an act similar to shooting yourself in the foot, once said foot has been firmly placed into your mouth the invitations were extended to the other folks.

The upside was that now the cost of the limo could be spread out a little thinner; instead of four people paying a total of 700 bucks, it was now seven people, 100 smackers per person, which if you know anything about attending a Sox game, is the cost of admission alone.  Parking anywhere in the vicinity of Fenway Park and its tangle of neighborhood streets will run the average dupe from Rhode Island or New Hampshire fifty bucks, plus a six block hike to get to Yawkey Way or Lansdowne St, whichever gate they’re sitting at.  Tickets for the game cost an average of 70 bucks last time I bothered to look which was last season.  Concessions at America’s Oldest Ballpark will run you about $4.25 for a fucking hotdog, $4.50 for a Coors Light draught which is 40% foam.  The average family of four, not counting souvenirs like t-shirts, bobble headed dolls, baseball caps, etc, is looking at roughly a 500 dollar day to watch 9 innings of baseball you can watch for free at home.

You’re paying for the EXPERIENCE.

So I was grateful to squeak by with only paying a fraction of the cost, for an Opening Day game, which was a repeat of last year’s American League Championship Series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

I had never been to ANY Opening Day, ever.  I had been to some great games at Fenway, including a bunch of Sox/Yankees games from the late 90s and early 00s where Pedro Martinez faced off against an aged Roger Clemons.  I even got to see a game from a swanky Sky Box the same year that the All-Star game was being held at Fenway.  But no, Opening Day, what I consider in the world of Fandom to be the equivalent to standing in the first row of runners at the start of the Boston Marathon, had never come my way.  I was so excited about this trip that I had special Red Sox t shirts made up for both me and my wife, with our names on the backs, with the numbers representing our birth years.  Hers is red, mine’s the traditional blue.  I bought a new light jacket.  I purchased roughly fifty dollars in booze.  I stretched.  All I fucking did was chatter about Opening Day for the weeks and days leading up to it.

On the day in question, I got up early and got dressed, kissed the wife goodbye and heeded her advice about bail.  I made a few phone calls to the guys as if there was anything else they needed and took a short list with me to the local Luke’s Liquors dressed in all my Opening Day Garb.

I was walking on sunshine even though the weather was predicted to be nasty.  All weekend long we had been monitoring the forecast which called for 80% rain on Monday, Opening Day.  But I had an incredibly optimistic outlook, trying to send good vibes to the Weather Channel Gods, to keep the rain away for a day or better.  And besides, what little rain was being forecasted was going to hit in the middle of the afternoon, so there was still a good chance we would be able to catch a few miserable innings without a shining sun to warm us before knocking off to look at gyrating tits in a poorly lit strip club in New Jersey – possibly.

So into the Luke’s I walk, whistling some tune, grabbing a green grocery cart and pushing it up and down the short aisles, grabbing a few bottles of Sprite, a 12 pack of Molson Canadian, two bottles of cheapish champagne, some fruit punch, cups, ice, and to substitute my usual 20 oz Sapporo, a 32 oz Sam Adams.  I wheel all of this up to the register, which is manned by a mustached older gentleman who looks and sounds like an old sergeant I used to work for when I was a cop.

“Going to Opening Day?”  He asks as he rings in my order.

“Yuh,” I say between whistling and snapping my fingers from behind a pair of sunglasses.

“I can tell,” he beeps another bottle on to the receipt.  “You know they canceled the game though, right?”  He’s looking at me over the tops of his glasses the same way my old sarge used to when he would be correcting one of my reports.  I stop in mid beat, mid snap and mid whistle, and look at him.

“You’re fucking with me,” I say, looking into his face for any signs of a gag, a joke, a “HA, you’re on Candid Camera!”  But there’s nothing.

“No seriously, they just canceled it because of the weather.”  And he’s completely serious.

“Nah!”  I object.  Normally they won’t call a game until at least an hour before the first pitch.  To call an afternoon game in the middle of the morning was ridiculous.  The man behind the counter reaches over and turns up his radio, which is tuned into WEEI, the local sports talk radio.  Larry Luccino, one of the principal owners of the Red Sox franchise, is being interviewed:

“We at the Red Sox organization wanted to save everyone the hassle and just call the game now, ahead of time, we feel it would be irresponsible of us to make everyone come out to the park just to wait around, get cold and wet, to hear the inevitable.  All of our forecasters are predicting 100% rain at the time of the first pitch,” and he went on.

I must’ve looked like I just got punched in the dick, because the guy behind the counter, who was boxing up my booze looks at me from over his glasses and offers:

“Hey, I hate to be the barer of bad news but…” and he trails off.  I’m stunned and the look on the face of the guy who works the early shift at the local liquor store is one of a person who has just molested a five year old at the circus.  I numbly pick up my box of stuff and walk out the door.

Once I get into Ang’s car (we switched for the day) I dug into my pocket and called Nate and gave him the bad news.  Apparently they hadn’t heard yet and like AIDS I was giving them same diseased information I had just received from someone else.  He told me to come out anyway so we could formulate a back up plan.

Heading over, I somewhat figured it wouldn’t be a total bust.  I was nearly certain that the “undesirables” wouldn’t have shown up namely because they were all talk and hardly ever came out to the wild shit me and my clique did in our off time, including parties, etc.  So imagine my surprise when I walk through the door to Nate’s house, that they’re both sitting on the couch dumbly watching television.

At least one of them put forth the effort to at least wear a Red Sox t shirt.  The other was dressed as if he was going to spend the rest of his day on a couch while his kids ran around the living room screaming at the tops of their lungs.  My mood went from bad to worse faster than it takes Dick Cheney to kill something.  I shuffled into the apartment, digging my 32 oz of Sam Adams out of the box and asked for a Church Key to open it.  I sucked it down bitterly as the discussion turned towards alternatives for the day’s plans.

Mind you, we still hadn’t paid for the limo yet, which was on its way.  How easy would it be for us to just call the guy off and cut our losses here and now, send everyone home to our wives, kids, girlfriends and Xboxes, divvy up the booze and say “see ya back at the office!”  It wouldn’t be hard at all, but the look in everyone’s eyes, including those who were not explicitly invited, said one word and one word only:  party.

The room was split down the middle as far as what to tell this fucking limo driver when he showed up:  Michelle, Rog and one of the undesirables wanted to go to a casino, Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun, whichever was closer and had the most affordable slots.  The other undesirable, Nate and another guy in our clique, Bryce voted for going into Boston and bar hop.  Granted, this was the safer option as it had no chance of me blowing a bunch of money on “black” but it was a sour taste in my mouth to go into Boston in a limo to pay for booze I already paid for, plus the fact that it was going to be with people I couldn’t stand.

I had to cast the deciding vote, of course.

I weighed out everyone’s arguments while seated on a toilet and judiciously proclaimed that we would split the difference between the two venues.  We’d travel to Boston to see Kev and his people, have a few drinks, and by early afternoon start the trek to one of the casinos in Connecticut where we would most likely encounter enough vice to send us all back to church the following weekend.  This seemed agreeable to most everyone and at the same time we reached the consensus, the limo pulled up to the house.

I was half expecting something ridiculous, unrestrained and gawdy, like when you’re driving down the highway and pass a stretched Ford Excursion or something else that seems to defy carbon footprint-logic.  What pulled up was an all white Lincoln, similar to what most people see in prom photos.  The driver was the same guy that Nate knew from the limo company and handshakes were had all around.  Booze was loaded along with people and soon gangsta rap music was being bumped loud enough for the driver to give up trying to explain the “rules” to a bunch of rowdy kids.

I quickly positioned myself into the furthest reaches of the 14 passenger limo, nearest to the whiskey canters where I started pouring myself a triple and adding a slice of lime for visual effects.  Everyone else started cracking open Bud Lights and breaking balls.

By the time we got into Boston, not a single drop of rain nor whiskey had spilt.  I was floaty-drunk, giddy, piss-filled and cramped from the fact that my knees were up near my chest as I tried to get a little room away from the undesirable that was donkey-laughing in my ear for the last 90 minutes.

One more round, please!

We arrived at Faneuil Hall and staggered out of the limo to find the skies gray and foreboding.   The gaggle of Red Sox adorned drunkards marched down the street towards the Black Rose, a pub/restaurant where we all agreed we would need some high carb food to help balance out the elevated levels of booze in our systems.  I ordered a turkey sandwich and split an order of onion rings with everyone at the table, making sure not to make too big of a pig of myself, risking falling off of my diet.  I washed down my meal with a tall black Guinness.

One of the undesirables was an older guy who shall remain nameless who tends to be the “mother” of the group, which means he’s usually a fucking downer.  All morning and into the evening I would catch him giving me dirty, disapproving glances, overhear him mentioning to someone else how “drunk” and “out of control” I was.

In reality, I was drunk, yes, but not to the point of being out of control.  Being drunk and out of control would be defined as staggering around with one’s pants around their knees, waving a pistol around in a public place, like a subway (the train or the sandwich shop, whichever is appropriate).  I did not partake in this behavior.

No, instead I simply drank quietly and staggered around, bumping into the occasional wall or barstool, fielding calls from my wife with a drunk accent so potent that even Ang could smell the booze on my breath on her end of the call.  I was at no time a hazard to anyone, except maybe a few waitress who weren’t moving fast enough to keep a fresh flow of booze coming my way.

But still, his comments towards me, not to me, were irksome.  If I really had been out of control, I imagine I probably would’ve said something to this guy in the form of kicking him square in the face with a black Chuck Taylor.

When I wasn’t dealing with him and his frowning disapproval of my good time, (“he’s going to end up getting us all arrested!” I would overhear him saying with actual worry to Rog, which somehow proves that this guy has never been drunk in public in his life) I was dealing with the other undesirable buying me drinks and giving me shoulder rubs.

Now, I’m all for another guy buying me drinks all night.  This would explain why I hang out in gay bars.  However, when another man’s hands touch me – to do of all things, rub my shoulders (?!), I get antsy and nervous.  I was almost waiting for him to offer me a blow job in the bathroom, to which I would’ve probably shot him on sight.  I’m not homophobic, I just think I’m classier than being taken to some bar bathroom.

So because of all this, my mood was darkening.  I soon removed myself from just about everyone in the party due to my drunken boredom with the people and activities.  We wound up playing billiards at Jillian’s, a bar a block from Fenway that is half arcade/bowling alley/pool hall, half restaurant.  I tried playing a few games but tired after my hand-eye coordination made it nearly impossible for me to make shots I would otherwise make blindfolded.  Deeper into the pit of boredom I fell.

We soon took off, back to the Cape, music playing in the limo with me laying down in one of the corner seats, alternating between texting Ang, reading the NY Times on my Blackberry, and telling everyone that I was “fine” and “just tired, ready to get home.”  What was supposed to be a male adulthood adventure turned out to be something like a flaccid attempt at coitus where you substitute the frustration of Blue Balls with the frustration of Just Wanting to Get Home Already coupled with an idiot playing with the “mood lighting” in the limo every twenty or so seconds.

No, Opening Day, … what was supposed to be the Real Opening Day, was a complete bust.  The game was rescheduled for the following day at 405, which turned out to be beautiful.  The Sox stomped the Rays 5 to 1, Becket pitching a strong 7 innings only giving up three hits and the one run.

Don’t tell anyone, but we’re planning another trip, this time, Nate, Kev and I are going to attempt to go see the Sox play the queeahs from New York on the 24th.  If anyone else asks, tell them the games on the 28th.

I’m just saying….

April 10, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Fear and Loathing, Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

As Red Sox Nation Gently Weeps

If someone came up and asked me today if I was over all bummed at the Boston Red Sox for fighting back from a 1-3 deficit in the American League Champion Series only to lose to the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays in game seven, I’d tell you “no, not really,” and then go on and explain myself for about fifteen minutes.

The explanation would sound similar to this:

There’s some hard truths about Red Sox Nation that I’ve been afraid to voice over the last year or so; my fear being that if I should actually think these thoughts, there might be actual, unequivocal truth behind them, and not just my neurosis gaining ground on the rational part of my brain, what little there’s left.

My first hard truth is probably the bigger of the two or three: The Red Sox were quickly becoming the one thing that everyone in Red Sox Nation could agree was the most despicable, loathsome entity in major league baseball, and that’s the New York Yankees.

The Yankees have a rich and storied history of winning at ease. They’re the biggest and most famous team in baseball around the world. I hate to trumpet them, but it’s plainly fact. Go to the middle of fucking Africa- Dave Chappelle- and see for yourself; kids are wearing NYY baseball hats and have a clear idea of who Derek Jeter is. Ask one of them who Kevin Youkilis is, and they’ll probably stick a spear through you and roast you in a big black pot.

They’re going to think you’re a witch!

Anyway, my point is that the Sox were quickly becoming this smug entity in baseball. We couldn’t lose, even when we were losing. The Sox are famous for being “clutch”, that is, coming through with big plays or pulling out fantastical wins when they’re needed the most. For instance, I can’t even count home many playoff series the Sox won from being just about eliminated, to come charging back and win every game then on, to take the World Series.

We were somewhat untouchable; a marquee team in a sport that was attracting the fair weather fans by the bus load; people love winners, even if those wins are hard fought and a touch sloppy.

To round out my point, the Yankees of New York City consistently win (over the years. This past season was the first season in 15 years where the NYY did not make the playoffs) which tend to sicken me.

Here’s another fact I hate admitting: For a while I was a Yankees fan. I only liked and followed them because, again, of their marquee status. Also, it made me feel good to root for a team that everyone around me hated (I also attribute this trait to my cop buddy Ben, who will fiercely deny that allegation if he were here). But in college, being immersed in Red Sox Nation, I came around and became a true fan of my local team.

I think some of that had something to do with rebelling against my parents, now that I think of it.  You know how 15 year olds can be.

So I can clearly see the transition the Sox were going through and it made my gut turn over on itself.

Arrogant and smug, no longer were the Red Sox the endearing underdogs of years past. We won the World Series in 2004, after coming oh-so close so many times before from the late 1990s and on. Every year we lost, we could pick ourselves up by saying “there’s always next year.” But when we won that first championship, there was nothing really to look forward to for the next season. All the old people, the fans who had last seen a Sox Championship back in 1918 when they were just kids, could now die peacefully, but for the rest of the Nation, we had to sit and ponder what could happen next.

We slumped a bit the next season, due to what I called “Banquet Fatigue.” Going from celebratory dinner to back slapping dinner carrying around that ridiculous trophy will wear anyone out during the off-season. But it wouldn’t be until the 2007 season when the Sox would bring home another championship, after two back-to-back appearances in the ALCS. Even if we didn’t get to the Big Show, we were still at the top of our divisions.

And that’s the other thing my brain was too scared to give a full thought to: I kinda liked it better when we were the underdogs, the scrappy team of “idiots” who somehow put together a championship. It felt better, it was more fun and entertaining to watch than a bunch of guys who easily dominated other teams without breaking a sweat. In 2007, The Boston Red Sox buried the Tampa Bay Devil Rays by 20-something games by the end of the regular season. Baltimore was out 16, Toronto 12.5 and The Yankees were out 6.5. That’s the equivalent to someone decapitating a guy with a rusty screw driver, bludgeoning someone else with a chair leg, impaling the next guy, and pumping the last guy full of bullets.

A weird joy I would take when the Sox lost in a playoff series (prior to the 2004 season) was the shared agony and misery Sox fans would all suffer. Sox fans are historically pessimistic, first off.  Ask a true Boston fan how they feel about a sagging team, and he’ll call them a bunch of bums or tell you he’s not watching them.  This isn’t so much that we’re, as I’ve said, “fair weather fans” as it is a testament to how visceral winning is for Red Sox fans.  We can’t bare to be disappointed by the team.

It’s like we’d be grieving together, and we had someone who could understand what we were going through, as they themselves were dealing with the bullshit as well. When I was in college, living in NYC, I walked down to the deli around the corner from my apartment in Brooklyn and stood in line, still wearing my Red Sox hat and two days worth of growth on my face after the Sox had just lost the 2003 series by a bullshit homerun hit by Aaron Fucking Boone from the New York Yankees. I ordered a breakfast sandwich and the fat old Dominican guy behind the counter handed me my sandwich which seemed bigger than usual. As I went to pay for it, he said:

“No man, today, es free.” I just looked up at him with the fifty pound bags under my eyes that indicated I had spent the previous evening watching the game, drinking heavily, shouting at the television, and presumably drinking even heavier after that shot off of Boone’s bat had gone over the wall in left.

He nodded at my hat and then turned and pointed to a black and white picture hanging on the wall behind the counter amongst a bunch of slips of paper and flyers. It was an autographed photo of a younger and thinner version of this old fat Dominican and Red Sox pitcher “Spaceman” Bill Lee shaking hands. “I know how you feel today, this morning mijo,” he said to me, and I shrugged and took my sandwich and enjoyed my bitter sweet and free breakfast.

This shared sense of mourning made things seem so much more opportunistic in the sense that we could all collectively look towards next season with that way where we could almost seek revenge for our shattered emotions. We could all look up and say to ourselves “next year’s our year.”

But then “next year” came, and we won, and it was great! As one fan’s homemade sign in the stands read, as the Sox beat the Cards in a four game sweep of the 2004 World Series, “THIS YEAR’S Next Year!” But again, then what could we do? We couldn’t cry on our friend’s shoulders, or go and kick the dog. We couldn’t swear at the television or go for long walks in the October night until we found a bar that would still be open and showing ANYTHING BUT coverage of the game.

We, Red Sox Nation, became pampered in winning. We too, like both our favorite and most hated franchises, became fat and happy with our immensely crushing victories. We all took Big Papi’s clutch home runs and Dustin Pedroia’s dominant defense for granted. We all just sat back and idly watched the season tick by, knowing that, yes, again this season we would come out on top.

So I’m glad that the Rays are going to the World Series, playing against what some people would consider to be another relatively obscure baseball team in the Philadelphia Phillies, a team so ambiguous that they couldn’t even name themselves after anything clever, but “Phillies.” It keeps baseball, on a macro scale, more interesting to see different teams in the championship games. And like the Red Sox of years past, the Rays dug themselves out of abysmal history of last place seasons, followed by last place seasons, to take the AL crown. They deserve a World Series appearance more over any other team in the American League, if not baseball on a whole.

Well, maybe not the Cubs.

I’m just sayin….

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, People I Hate, People I Love, Why Am I Watching This? | , , | Leave a comment

Can You Tell I’m Bored Yet?

So with the Pats not playing til tonight at 8, the Sox have the day off, The Lady’s at work til 6ish, and the Ferret’s asleep, I have really nothing better to do for the time being.

So I ripped this off from both Arkay and Titanium Rose.  Just bare with me.

A) Answer the questions below, do a Google Image search with your answer, take a picture from the first page of results, and do it with minimal words of explanation.

B) Tag five people, so they’ll be put through the same misery.  No thanks.

1.  Age you’ll be at your next birthday:

2.  A Place you want to travel to:

London, England

3.  Your Favorite Place:

LA

LA

4. Your favorite food:

McDonald's Fish Sandwich

McDonald Fish Sandwich

5.  Your Favorite Pet

Granted she's our only pet but...

Granted she's our only pet but...

6.  Your favorite color combination:

I miss my bike... (color combo is red and black)

I miss my bike... (color combo is red and black)

7.  Favorite piece of clothing:

Luuuuuvvvv my Ray Bans

Luuuuuvvvv my Ray Bans

8.  My favorite tv show:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

9.  First Name of your Significant Other:

Obviously not us, but hot none the less.  Surprised at how much porn popped up when I put her name in to google though....

Obviously not us, but hot none the less. Surprised at how much porn popped up when I put her name in to google though....

10.  The town you live in:

I'll let you guys figure it out from here...

I'll let you guys figure it out from here....

11.  Your First Job:

Pappy's lobster boat, age 12-15

Pappy's Lobster Boat, age 12-15

12.  Your Dream Job:

Merc Work

Merc Work

13.  A bad habit you have:

Eating like shit

Eating like shit

14.  Your Worst Fear:

Failure

Failure

15.  What you’d like to do before you die:

Finish an Iron Man Triathalon

Finish an Iron Man Triathalon

That’s all I got.

I’m just sayin….

October 12, 2008 Posted by | Pic Post, The Great Indoors, Too Much Time | , , | 1 Comment

Some Things Should Be Left to The Professionals.

So I’m sitting here on the couch, watching FOX’s coverage of NFL football, when in the background I hear this jackass, Terry Bradshaw weighing in on the current economic crisis.

I didn’t really hear what his comments were, but if you know anything about FOX’s Bradshaw, you know he’s a blithering idiot who can barely read.  Also, why are you melding my football with my politics?  Keep these two things as far apart as possible.  I watch overpaid, overweight, drug infused grown men beat the shit out of each other on Sundays to escape the troubles of the world.

Not to be reminded of them.

I’m just sayin….

October 12, 2008 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Living in an Insane Asylum, People I Hate, The Great Indoors, Why Am I Watching This?, World Wide Events | , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Do You Say “Hole in The Wall” in Japanese?

I could easily sit here and conduct a post-mortem on the Biden/Palin debate from last Thursday, and discuss how Biden looked his strongest in spouting off everything that Bush has done wrong and alluding to how McCain’s going to follow in those same footsteps, and how Palin was able to repeat rehearsed talking points like an automaton, with those little winks which left me confused. Was she flirting with me? Why is my groin suddenly hot? Is this normal?

As one pundit put it Friday morning (when I’m actually writing this) no matter how you sliced it, this debate amongst prospective Veeps was going to be Palin-centric. If you’re a dem, you watched to see Palin stumble and fall into an emotional sputtering heap behind her podium, and if you’re a ‘pub, you watched to see Palin triumph over her naysayers.

Either way, unless the latter occurred, in a world where nervously Palin shuffled note cards and appeared visibly upset and flustered (or ‘flustrated’ as one of my co-workers puts it), she would surpass just about everyone politically left of Pat Robertson’s expectations. As another Friday morning pundit stated “we expected her to get about 0 out of 10, …she pulled out a 1.5, so she definitely surpassed our expectations.”

Yes, I could say all these things, but by the time this gets posted, you’d have heard everything already, and that debate from last week will be old news no one’s talking about any longer. Tina Fey will have already mocked it in an SNL skit, which will also be old news….

So, instead I want to talk about “Hole in the Wall.”

If you have any taste or culture you probably have never heard of the FOX Japanese import game show “Hole in the Wall.” “Hole” is probably the simplest game show ever designed, yet is absolutely compelling to watch. Two teams of three compete for up to one hundred thousand dollars, all by trying to fit themselves into cut outs in a giant advancing foam wall.

Sounds easy, right? Well, if you have half a brain it is. Contestants stand in a “play area” which consists of a three by fifteen rectangle on the floor and wait for this foam wall to pop out at them with some ridiculous shape cut out of it. They have about three to five seconds to take the shape in the wall in order to pass through, without being swept off the “play area” and into a pit of water. As the levels progress, the number of contestants trying to fit through cut outs increase, and the walls speed gets a little faster. In the end, the winning team will have a chance to send one contestant into the “play area” wearing special blacked out goggles to fit through a hole in the wall, while his two sight-abled team mates coach him or her into whatever shape they need to take to fit.

Obviously this is a touch less cerebral than “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader.”

I watched two back-to-back episodes of this show on a whim while waiting for the debates to start at 2100 the other night. The Lady, a friend of hers visiting out from Colorado and I had just finished dinner and cigarettes, when we all plopped down on the couch and started flipping through channels looking to burn an hour. As we flipped, I saw what I thought looked like a commercial for the show.

“What the fuck is this?” I remember saying to no one. We sat in silence as we watched a disgustingly obese and panic-stricken black woman, who was crammed into a tight, bright and shiny chrome colored overall trying to squeeze herself into a hole in an advancing foam wall. Then the show started.

“Holy shit, we need to watch this,” someone said, and I’m not sure if it was me or not who said it.

So for an hour we watched as first a group of spangle-y black guys and tubby white guys (they also had a proto-midget as well, which you would think would work to their advantage, but really didn’t) compete against each other. That episode was followed by two teams consisting of female cast offs from various Vh1 competitive celebrity dating shows.

The latter game was almost too good to be true. It was like a culmination of ineptitude and faux-celebrity together into some sort of tangy, trashy burrito.

As I watched I found that the game’s rules were loose and up for random interpretation at times. For instance, one player remained in the “play area” after the wall swept over her, yet because one of her teammates (who ended up in the drink) knocked out a considerable chunk of the wall with her body, it was ruled by … someone… that no points could be awarded. In another instance, when fifty thousand dollars was on the line, one male contestant basically just made himself as small as possible, not even bothering to take the shape of the hole, passed through, and was considered a winner.

There’s also the two hosts of the show, some random dick up on a balcony who spits innuendo about ‘holes’ and the promiscuity of certain contestants (as one female got as small as possible to pass through, if you could imagine, a martini-glass-shaped hole, the announcer says “that’s not the first time she’s gotten on her knees for a martini!”) and a generically hot blond model who’s job it is to apparently read off of an over head teleprompter, make no eye contact with the camera that’s on her, and to hold a microphone in front of contestants, though it’s clear their already wearing face mics, because they’re taped to the contestant’s faces.

In sum, “Hole” is not for the “Jeopardy” or … even the “Monopoly” crowd. “Hole” is a delightful distraction which is just another in a long line of shows which seems to push attention-starved sociopaths into further deprivation and shamelessness. What started a few years ago with NBC’s “Fear Factor” which is pretty much “Masterpiece Theatre” in comparison, as come around to “Hole” where all but a few bare breaths of strategy remain for contestants to ponder.

What I also take warmth in, is the fact that in some sort of macabre way, we’re moving further and further away from that post-9/11 mentality. Remember shortly after 9/11, ridiculous shit like this wouldn’t matter? We all lived for each other, for the moment. Things like celebrity and scandal no longer made headline news? We all lived for the ‘Human Being?’

And now, seven years later, we have a game show where the objective is to make yourself fit through a hole in a wall.

Can you stand on one leg? Can you make yourself into an absurd shape in a matter of seconds? Do you mind getting wet for the promise of competing for one hundred thousand dollars? Does the idea of national exposure arouse you, even though you’re apt to be humiliated and have a cynical blogger write what some would consider to be a NYT op-ed piece about you? If you even considered answering yes to any of the above questions, then here, put on this tight shiny one-piece and helmet, and stand here, try to be as sassy and/or excessively bravado as you can possibly muster when the red light over the camera turns on.

Try not to grope the model with the microphone or yourself while we’re filming.

If I could change one thing though, about the show, it’d be the ‘punishment’ aspect of the show, the pool of water that contestants who fail to make it through the hole, are swept into. If it were up to me, I’d change it from water, to urine.

I’m just sayin….

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Those Crazy Politicians, Too Much Time, Why Am I Watching This?, World Wide Events | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fear and (Much) Loathing in Boston

(Just got done editing The Lady’s side of today’s events.  It’s a little more factually based and less opinionated.  Read it here! -ed)

Being that I’ve lived both in New York City and in Boston for a few years apiece, it’s relatively easy for me to pick which city I enjoyed living in more.

NYC is the city I try to hate, but love, and conversely Boston is the city I try to love, but hate.

And I hate it the more I deal with it.

Boston is a cold gray square maze, that embodies everything that’s wrong with an east coast city.  Boston tries very hard to be New York despite it’s best interests, where instead of a Starbucks on every corner, it’s a Dunkin Donuts.  It’s dirty and not in the clever, self depreciating way that The Standells’ song “Dirty Water” makes it out to be.  No, Boston sucks, and this is coming from an ardent Red Sox fan.

And that brings up another point:  Boston has this smug attitude about itself, that seems to seep from the pores of every Bostonian that breathes in this city.  You can almost smell it, like it’s a hanging funk over the pithy skyline that looks more and more like a bootleg version of lower Manhattan every time I see it.  Granted, Boston has seen it’s fair share of sports championships in recent years, but it’s no reason to think your shit smells like freshly minted nickles.

When I first identified this smugness I had no way to describe it, because I was a college freshman living under a haze of inebriation.  But I’d go out to parties at frat houses in and around BU and Northeastern and I’d talk to the people there.  For the most part guys were self centered dicks, all wearing the same style of t shirt and jeans with flip flops, but in different alternating hues of closeted homosexuality, and the girls were uptight bitches who vacationed on The ‘Vinyahd’ in the summer, and Arizona in the winter.

No one seems real in Boston.  Boston is a disorganized, poorly planned Purgatory that even Dante wouldn’t care to write about.

I took the day off from work to drive The Lady to see a specialist in Boston for her RA.  She asked me to do this, because she did not want to drive herself into Boston, and I don’t blame her.  We left at about eight in the morning for an eleven o clock appointment in the heart of Boston, and on the way there enjoyed taking a tally of how many Obama bumper stickers we spotted oppose to McCain (it was tied, one to one) and just chatted about our day to day lives, opinions on current events, and the state of affairs concerning NPR.  At some point I went off on a rant about how citizens can no longer assume we’re powerless in the face of our elected officials.  Afterwards, I felt embarrassed and suggested that I tuck my soap box back under my seat.

The Lady says she loves it when I get passionate.

What was going to make this trip interesting was the fact that about a week ago my truck got broken into and the thief stole my Tom-Tom GPS, which without, makes me about as oriented as a bat caught in the sunlight.

Boston is a horrible maze as I just stated.  Roads will literally lead you no where, or into a circle (as we found out twice trying to come home), traffic is typically a snarl of people who refuse to acquiesce to the right of way, let alone wave you out as a good citizen should, lest one be left to rot at a stop sign for twenty minutes.  Twice I had to swerve last minute to get out of the way or some crazed asshole behind the wheel of a Camry who refused to abide by standard traffic laws.

Not that I could blame him while transversing through downtown Boston.

It wasn’t long before we were lost.  Flying strictly by a Google map print off, a lot of the turns we had to make were to poorly or unmarked streets, so this soon became a practice in the art of guessing 50/50.  With just under 90 minutes before she was due for her appointment, I pulled us over to talk to a cop dressed in day-glo yellow.

I got out of the car (The Lady’s Accord, because it gets better gas mileage than my truck, also, didn’t want to risk some asshole side swiping me) holding a stack of papers and approach the cop who looked a lot like ‘Star Trek’s’ George Takei.  Instantly he knew I was lost and asked if he could help.

“We’re from the Cape,” I shrug plaintively.  He nods, knowing that I’m a dipshit who shouldn’t be leaving my little hook-shaped island to come to the big bad city on his own.  He points us in the right direction, we shake hands and I take off.

We find Beth Israel, a scattering of medical office buildings up and down Brookline Ave and pull into a parking garage that’s only going to charge us an arm and a leg by the half hour.

Outside I’m treated to the city quota-filling minority cop brigade.  If you’ve ever spent serious time in one of our country’s many big cities, you’ve probably seen these guys.  They wear authentic city police uniforms, but some how don’t look the part.  They’re sickly skinny, inattentive, stooped over with half shuttered eye lids.  One in particular looked as though he could’ve had his weapon plucked (triple retention holster be damned) and have it used to beat him to death with.

Once inside and somewhat situated, I found that Beth Israel is mostly manned by (according to my notes) “uncaring middle income desk slaves from Antigua.”  The whole place reeks of dying minorities bogged down by bureaucratic red tape and a worn-thin health care system.  One skinny Asian man stared at me, or possibly through me, while I typed notes into my Blackberry while sitting in the waiting room, skimming over an Entertainment Weekly.

And speaking of EW, who the hell subscribes to this spine-stapled ass wipe?  EW is exactly that, “Ew.”  After reading a few articles, I found that the writers must be mistakenly sending their pieces to EW instead of their intended recipient, Vanity Fair, because each writer uses far too many ‘big word’ adjectives to describe a film like “Tropic Thunder.”

EW is a magazine that on one page will use French phrases to describe a movement in cinema, and on the next start a three page article on Jessica Simpson.

The mag basically panders to people who will feign intellect, but are happily sedated by re-runs of “Millionaire.”

There was a lot of waiting; Ang had to first sit with a doctor for a consultation, and then get blood work.  And then we had to get X Rays.  And then see another doctor about something else completely different.  And then get more blood work (when we got home, she asked if I could remove her bandages from where they took blood from her.  She looked like she spent the afternoon suffering from the Stigmata.)  So needless to say, every waiting room I found myself in, had a copy of EW on standby, just for me.

I read one article that was written by famous Maine horror writer and renowned Red Sox fan Stephen King;  The article was about how there isn’t any famous/good “manfiction” writers anymore.  That fiction is a women’s game now.  I got about halfway through the article before I was bored off my ass reading it and decided that poor Mr. King lost it all when he was gunned down by that van ten years ago.

Men don’t read fiction, that’s why.  I mean, sure we do, I love my Palanuik, and honestly, Hunter Thompson’s stuff is half fiction anyway, but men typically read non-fiction.  Books about history and war.  Biographies, that sort of thing.

If Mr. King surmises his point based purely on his own lagging book sales as of late, then I suggest that my once beloved muse, the man who introduced me to free reading and writing, starting doing cocaine again, and churn out another ‘Cujo.’

By now we’ve been at Beth Israel for a few hours, and The Lady is becoming more and more a pin cushion;  She’s trying to remain calm and charming, but I can see the day’s wearing her out.  We leave one building to go to another, and stop off at the car to get more paper work.  She swears that her next appointment is at 1300, which was five minutes ago, and she’s frantically trying to call the office so the appointment isn’t lost.  I could’ve sworn earlier she said the appointment was at 1345, which gives us forty minutes to get two blocks over.  She hushes me and she’s got that thing about her voice where she’s getting ready to hit me.  I relent, only voicing that it’d probably be faster if we walk, noticing how fucked up traffic is on Brookline.

She gets the receptionist and tells her that she’s running late.  There’s a pause, followed by an “Oh?”

Her appointment is at 1345.

“I’m sorry,” she tells me after she hangs up.  She has obvious fatigue in her voice and she gives my hand a squeeze as I pull out into traffic.  “I feel like I’ve been hit with a bag full of rusty nails.”

We get to the next office building and things go a little more smoothly.  While in the waiting room I’m caught between a tiny tv broadcasting a snowy CNN picture and last week’s EW.  I look down to my right, where The Lady was just sitting, and I don’t see her purse or paper work.  I panic.

Did she take it inside with her?  Did she leave it under her chair?  I look, and now I’m becoming a frantic lunatic attracting the attention of other patients and counter people.  I try to relax, but my foot’s bouncing at a high rate of speed.  I probably look like a tweeker, fixing for his next bump.  Our parking ticket was in her bag, my house and truck keys, her keys!  Her wallet and check book!  How could I be so unobservant?!

A few minutes later, she walks out holding her papers and her bag.  My asshole unclenches.

This whole time I’d been exchanging text messages with The Lady’s sister, about Taco Tuesday.  Every Tuesday night, she puts on a little get together with her friends and invites Ang and I over to partake.  Tacos are made, everyone enjoys themselves.

We haven’t been in a while because the last time we went, we got into a beef with one of her sister’s friends.  Her sister’s friend, a hippie who’s descended from obscenely rich parents (those are the worst kind) referred to me as ‘RoboCop’ (hence the avatar).  The Lady didn’t like that, and since then, we haven’t gone back.

There’s more to it, but honestly, it’s not important.

I tell her sister we’re not going to make it, because it’s been a long day.  She asks if I’m just saying that, and I tell her that I’m currently texting her from being stuck in the middle of Boston afternoon traffic, which is not unlike being slowly digested in whole by a giant Anaconda.

While on the way home, it’s stop and go, and The Lady succumbs to sleep, which is fine with me.  She’s earned it.  She’s been a total trooper and not once exploded at me, or so much as raised a tiny fist of fury to something incredibly dumb that I managed to pull off (trust me, there were plenty of opportunities.)  I turn up the radio and spend the next hour grating my teeth, being forced to listen to Boston’s arrogant, smug, self serving talk radio.

I could go off again, but really I don’t have the energy.  Just in summation, every radio jock thinks that Boston is the best at everything, despite the statistical proof that says otherwise.  As a true fan I realize that it’s unlikely that Boston will win another World Series this year, since the majority of our solid day-to-day players are walking wounded as my old high school football couch would put it.  Our pitching Ace, Josh Beckett is nursing a sore something or other, and we’ve been playing shoddy ball all through the month of September.  We’re the defending World Series Champions and we’re going into the play offs as the ‘Wild Card.’  Common sense would dictate that we just don’t got ‘it’ this year.

But don’t say that to a Boston talk radio jock (or really, anyone who lives in the greater Boston area.).  He’ll call you a “queeah from New York.”  He’ll tell you you’re wrong based purely on principles and hang up on you.  Then he’ll call your mother a “niggah hoor-ah.”  His co-host, some assclown named ‘Sully’ will agree and hit a sound effect button of a toilet flushing.

Once we crawl out of the city, like Tim Robbins crawling out of a sewer pipe at the end of “Shawshank Redemption’ we make one stop at a highway-side Mickey D’s and eat a late lunch.  We then get home, with our backs to that shitty, overrated, overpriced, wannabe player of a city.  A city that laughs in your face for trying to hail a cab, yet wants desperately to have it’s own 9/11 so it too can feel like a world recognized location, instead of a city that people say ‘oh and…’ about.  An afterthought, a less and less relevant place that outsiders commonly regard Scorsese’s’ ‘The Departed’ it’s most recent shining achievement; an extended cameo in what I would consider to be ‘Goodfellas Part 2.’

Give it up Boston, you’re a hack and a choke artist.  People with taste make fun of the way you talk, and you carry that ‘retahdid’ accent like it’s some sort of Medal of Honor.  You pollute everything around you, other cities and suburbs with your brand of apathetic lawlessness that spills over into places like The Cape, Manchester, NH, and Southern Maine.  You’re a one trick pony with a bad hind leg and with a reputation for biting it’s handlers.

No one gives a shit about you Boston, your Charles River, or your beer and semen stained institutions of higher learning.  Go ‘fahk’ yourself.

I’m just sayin’….

September 30, 2008 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Fear and Loathing, Gonzo Journalism, Out and About | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Twenty-One Again

I really try not to sound older than what I am. For all intents and purposes I’m on the cusp of 27 (forty days and counting, depending on when this article gets posted…), my body feels it the next day when I either work out too hard or play back to back flag football games (we split the games, the second was a loss in double OT, our star defensive back tipped a duck of a pass into the hands of an ungodly tall and uncoordinated receiver at the edge of the end zone), and I have a gray pubic hair.

So when I start to get nostalgic for ‘21’ don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to desperately grasp on to the few short strands of my dark pubic haired childhood, though it may sound like that. I just want to pass along an interesting story with some insight on aging.

Really.

A kid I work with is turning 21 today. In his frenzied excitement, he’s gotten the rest of us to feel like we’re turning 21 again too. And as plans have been carefully laid for weeks now on how to celebrate this kid’s birthday (sushi and saki all afternoon – limo ride to a strip club – titties and cocktails all night), the excitement has become infectious.

I’m not really going to be participating in the festivities. Given that I’m still somewhat in the dog house with The Lady, it’d be prudent for me not to run off leaving a sore, swollen, in-the-midst-of-her-period, angry woman behind to wait for me all night alone with my firearms and collection of combat knives, counting down the minutes until I come in staggering smelling like cheap whiskey and cheaper women.

My guess, the body glitter that would’ve been rubbed on to face, along with the scent of a Victoria Secret’s knock off body spray compounded with the fact I’ve yet to remove the shit-smeared mustache I’ve been sporting lately would be what will put her over the edge, and plunge something heavy and sharp through my chest like she was King Leonitis.

So yeah, but I will get raw fish and rice grain booze with the boys after I get back from a little business trip scheduled for tomorrow morning. She knows about that, and as long as I don’t come back sideways, speaking backwards Korean, things should remain amicable.

But turning Japanese…. Er… I mean, turning ‘21’ is a big deal, and it’s one of those American Rights of Passage. Way back in whenever, young men would be forced by their tribal elders to seek out enlightenment in the woods. Spirit Journeys were what they were called and you’d wander the fucking woods, eating hallucinogenic plants and berries until you were greeted by a Spirit Animal, who would guide you either back home, or off a nearby cliff.

Turning ‘21’ is roughly the same experience, only instead of (well, for most of us) eating mushrooms and letting a talking Giraffe bring us home, it’s imbibing liquors til our eyeballs bleed and then letting a friend or yellow taxi (either which could take the form of a talking Giraffe if the right combination of alcohols are consumed) home to hang our heads over the rims of our toilets and curse the day we were born exactly 21 years ago today.

One of the most simplest and gratifying things to do on your ‘21st’ is to go to the liquor or package store and buy enough libations to supply a small rebel army, bring your arm load over to the counter to the disinterested packie employee, and have them card you. You think it’s a big deal, and you try not to beam when you hand over your DL, but to the clerk behind the register with her display of cured meats and infinite rolls of lottery scratch tickets, this happens about twice daily, so she’s about as impressed with you as you’d be impressed with your obnoxious nine year old cousin’s mastery of making armpit farts.

This never happened to me though – the packie store employee carding me, not the arm pit farts – when I turned the big two-one. Let’s hop into my Delorean here and go back to October of 2002, and please mind the Flux Capacitor.

I was a college Sophomore with a nasty clump of facial hair that most would consider an unconnected and spotty goatee and about twenty to twenty-five pounds heavier. Being that I was in college, I probably already had a decent sized buzz on at 0930 in the morning, when I just woke up and managed to hustle myself across campus to get the last bit of breakfast at the café before they tossed everything out leaving me with either fruit or stale bread and a bucket of grape jelly with bit of peanut butter in it, because some obvious honor student used the same knife in both the peanut butter and jelly buckets.

So, three hash browns, a plate of eggs, drizzle syrup all over everything, shovel it down my gullet, and then hustle back to my non-frat house-house on the fringe of campus and up three flights of stairs, reward myself with a semi-cold pre-opened can of Bud Light that’s still on my desk from whenever it was I passed out the night before, grab the keys to my 89 Ford Thunderbird, and back down the flights of stairs, crash into the fat black girl RA with the affinity for bright colored visors, spin move, X Button-sprint, nearly crash over the porch railing because I’m a colossal buzzed mess, and jump into my car parked half a block away.

At the packie (a local colour term here in New England and most of the Northeast Region for ‘Package Stores’ small convenience stores where one can procure alcohol, lottery tickets, and cigarettes), like a shark I’m slowly meandering up and down aisles, the scent of my prey lingering close; if I stop I won’t be able to breathe, so it’s a constant pacing up and down the lacquered floors.

It’s about ten am at this point and I’m the only customer. The clerk behind the bullet-proofed glass encased counter is watching me warily, probably unable to tell if I’m going to try to pull a fake ID or just bum rush the front door with an armload of booze. I finally find what I’m looking for, two litres of Crown Royal, tucked between bottles of Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker and Canadian Mist.

But fuck it, while I’m ahead, I might as well push it, right?

I grab a thirty-rack case of Bud Lights and a 6 pack of Sam Adams and haul this cargo up to the woman behind the counter. I have a sly smirk on my face and I remember trying to act as professional as I possibly could under the circumstances. She removed her scanning wand-thing from its holder and beeped the two bottles of Whiskey, the giant case of cheap beers and the small pack of higher end stuff. The total came out to about seventy-something dollars, which I paid in cash, the majority of which was birthday money sent to me in a check from Memere a few days early.

“Spend it on something fun!” Memere wrote on the memo line of the check. She probably meant ice cream for me and the “pals” those degenerate Southie-Irish assholes who never slept, never went to class, took pills, and all had friends named “Sully” and “Mickey.”

I hand over the cash and I anxiously await for the “can I see your ID, please?” from this glass-encased woman. I wait and I wait and I wait and it never comes. She continues to stare at me as the tension builds, and she looks over the stacks of booze to see that she even already handed me a receipt. What else could I possibly be waiting for?

I give it another agonizing ten seconds and come to the conclusions that she’s not going to ask to see my picture ID, with today’s date, minus 21 years on it. Of course, walking out of there with over seventy dollars of alcoholic drinks, it should’ve been a win-win anyway. Fuck it if she never asked to see an ID on the one day where I WANTED someone to ask for it, NEEDED someone to ask for it. Fuck it, I thought as I lumbered back to my car and loaded the trunk with the purchase to bring back to my “dry” campus.

Now-a-days I seem to get carded all the fucking time and it drives me nuts. I know I should be charmed that someone’s thinking I may not be old enough to legally consume alcohol in the Continental United States, but seldom are these people really skilled at determining age anyway. In short, usually I’m carded at convenience and grocery stores by pimply sixteen year olds in fear of losing their eight dollar an hour job because the shift manager, who’s my age, caught them not carding someone. I’m never carded in bars or lounges (god I haven’t been to a lounge in forever) probably due to the fact that I order complicated drinks and am as fussy as a gay guy on how their made, oppose to a wino/more amateurish drinker, who would order something like “a beer, whatever’s cheap.”

The charm of being “21” wears off faster than the newly anointed seem to realize, especially if you’re the only one who, in your group of friends, is of age to procure beverages. Typically this lends itself to having to stay sober enough to drive to the store when the booze runs dry, and the parties still going. Also, you have no one to really go out drinking with, and you find yourself bellying up to the bar by yourself surrounded by depressing bar fly regulars, who probably were once in your same shoes, but never were able to cut the chord from their surrogate mother, the local tavern.

The former scenario bugged the shit out of me, because in my group of friends I was close to being almost two years older than most of my guys. For instance, when I graduated high school I was 19, to everyone else’s 18 and 17. So it was I, when I was twenty-one, who got the calls for “the hook up.”

“Dude, we’re having this party…” someone would whisper on their end of the line, into my phone and into my ear.

“Sweet, who’s there?” I’d ask.

“Shut up. Listen, you had better deliver some ice cold brews to this location within twenty minutes, or I’m going to send a Samoan with bolt cutters to take your balls off,”

“Jesus!”

The latter scenario, about being at the bar by yourself, has never really bothered me, which in a sense, bothers me, because it seems to foster the implications that I’m an alcoholic. While The Lady would argue that this is mostly true, it isn’t. I just like being alone, in my own thoughts when I tie one on.

There’s something pleasant about just stepping up to your neighborhood’s bar and sitting down and quietly nursing a beer while watching golf or something else that’s wholly tiresome on the provided television; You can collect your thoughts and analyze things better. Bar tenders are usually pretty sage, and know enough not to pry on a customer who’s tipping well and being un-conversational. Although you do sometimes run into the loud, obnoxious former Mayor, who wants to be everyone’s friend because he feels some inadequacy, however these tend to run few and far between.

I find that when I go to a bar, a pub, with someone else, it’s awkward to sit there and drink with them, because you feel like you need to converse, you need a subject to talk about. I always feel like I’m on a date with whoever I’m there with, because I’m constantly struggling through my neurosis to talk about something, when I know damn well enough that this person probably also wants to drink in utter silence, save for the Rush single playing on the computerized juke box or the tv blaring ESPN.

But I’m getting off topic. I blame my low grade ADD and the Taurine in this Rockstar energy drink that I’ve been sipping for the last hour. It might also have something to do with the Carvel ice cream cake we had with dinner tonight that half way through eating became a soup on my plate and I just ended up drinking it.

Shit, probably shouldn’t be consuming this much caffeine before my business trip tomorrow. Could prove disastrous for everyone…

Regardless, should probably try to put a cap on this before I run a decent article into the dirt harder than drunken face plant on your own front lawn at four in the morning when you’re stumbling home from a strip club, hoping to god your live-in girlfriend is passed out on muscle relaxers and white wine.

I’m just sayin…..

September 22, 2008 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Gonzo Journalism, Out and About, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments