Thursday, March 31, 2005

I'm Ready to Take a Chance Again

So today I managed to drink only my second Snapple since the day my body turned against me in very mean fashion. The chicken soup was the worst part of the um, regurgitation process, but the Snapple was there too. And I love Snapple, folks. It is my drink of choice, especially in summer. But it's been tough to bring it back into my life after that memorable night in December. I'm almost 100 percent sure I won't touch chicken soup ever again (I get nauseous just thinking about it) but I can't go without Snapple. It's just too much, so I'm re-introducing it to myself slowly. It's like a once lovely boyfriend who wronged you and you're not sure if you trust him, but for whatever reason want to give him a second chance so you make him jump through hoops to get back in your life. (I've never done this to a guy. Please don't send hate mail.) Snapple has some big hoops to get through, but I think we'll work it out.

And all of this probably sounds bizarre as my trip to the ER wasn't the result of food poisoning, but a stomach virus. But it's weird how being sick like that will turn you off to certain foods. I didn't like steak for the longest time because I remember getting sick on it when I was 4. I haven't had a White Castle hamburger since a few made me go all Linda Blair/Regan spewingness when I was 8 (even though my dad claims you haven't lived until you've upchucked WC burgers and the mark of a truly brave person is to go back to eating them or something) and after an incident with canned peaches when I was a kid, they're not exactly in my life anymore.

I guess it's all psychological, and I know other people have turned against some foods after getting sick, so I'm not weird or something. Or at least I hope I'm not.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go not return the Snapple's call for a few days and make it think I have another drink of choice in my life, just to torture it a bit...

Overheard From Across the Cube Field....

..."Oh my god. They've turned Jimi Hendrix into elevator music...."

That might just be the saddest thing I've heard in a long time.

And You Didn't Think I Could Go There

Last night, American Idol was whittled down to 9 contestants. And you know where my brain normally is when it comes to picking a starting 9. And only a big dork such as myself could make both the musical and baseball worlds come together for me and make a post out of it.

I'm pretty sure only a few of my readers will appreciate the following comparisons, as most of my Yankee fan friends are too cool for school when it comes to American Idol, and many of my American Idol loving friends would be like "Huh? Baseball?" But for those of you who like both, I offer the following...


Anwar = Bernie
The sensitive, at-roots musicians in the bunch. The kind where if they mess up you can't be mad at them because of their big, pleading cow eyes.


Constantine = Sierra 
I had a hard time with this one because I can't think of any Yankees who are overly thespianic and smarmy. But Sierra has toned down his attitude in recent years and Constantine did so in his last performance. So there you go.


Anthony = Moose
Both are capable of moments of awesomeness when they are in the zone, but are their own worst enemy when it comes to some choices they make in "selection." Described as bland by the media and fans. 


Scott = Kevin Brown
Because they both can be surprisingly impressive at times, but for the most part scare the crap out of me. 


Bo = Matsui
The two most fundamentally solid in their respective starting 9, and you'd find very few things to criticize about them. They also have interesting hair.


Nikko = Bubba 
They bring a youthful energy to their teams, though they sometimes have to fight to get attention when the other players are on.


Carrie = A-Rod
Both have all the physical tools they need to kick ass and can no doubt be the tops in their field, but can come across as too calculating and stiff by their detractors.


Vonzell = Tino
Extremely well-liked by the general public, they both give off a positive vibe. Both can surprise with their good moments, though one wonders why it’s a shock to others when they do well. 


Nadia = Shef
Both know they are capable of kicking ass and aren't afraid to go all-out in their performances, but sometimes they get all snarly looking and frighten me. Also, Shef's admitted to using performance enhancers, and I think Nadia's hair might be on steroids too.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Does This Make the Rest of the Infield The Timbertoes?

Looks like El Capitan is acting out his favorite Highlights For Children department:

Goofus doesn't like to brush his teeth and can't smile when they all fall out from decay...

...but Gallant is a total Crest kid and can do no wrong and brushes three times daily.

Brown Out

Good lord, calm down, Post. Is it really THAT big of a deal in what order the guys pitch? Especially in April when there's like an off day every other day? I mean, the games don't count any less if you're the Fifth Man in the Rotation. Besides, with this being Wright's first year in New York, this might take the pressure off him a bit. And if he's better than Brown, well, then you shake things up.

And it also kind of sets Brown up for the fall. If he sucks, well, then there are no more arguments and you send him to the pen or something. And if he has another meltdown, you get rid of his ass. And if he does well, what's so bad about having him as your No. 4? Simple as that.

But get the clubhouse walls padded, just in case.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

And a Five, Six, Se-ven, Eight..


Tsk, tsk. With only five days left till Opening Night of Yankees: The Musical! the boys are looking a little off-kilter in their routines.


I'm not sure what Hideki's going for here. Unless he's rehearsing the climactic flying scene from his Greatest American Hero (Believe it or Not) solo.


Dude, who does Anthony have to fuck to get a compliment out of the judges on Idol? The kid belts it out like nobody's business tonight and he gets knocked down by Simon and no real support from Randy.


ETA: OK, I know he wasn't THAT kick-ass tonight, but I thought he was much better than given credit for. And where were his glasses? I hate when people who can pull them off don't wear them. It's a rare feat, that.

OK. The inner 14-year-old is returning back to 1991 now...

Wanted: Balladeer

After having a 1981 flashback and watching The Dukes of Hazzard (which, when I was 4, was like Yankee games, Lost, American Idol and Gilmore Girls combined in TV-viewing must-see awesomeness) with my dad last Friday night, I decided that I need a balladeer in my life. Like, Waylon Jennings would be excellent, except he's not here anymore, god rest his soul.


Perhaps I should hold tryouts. For instance, someone would be able to say, in the most down-home friendly narrator voice possible: "When KB saw the rumors of tonight's American Idol song choices, Anthony's made her want to cry a river because the song stinks worse than a cow pie and Constantine's made her madder than a wet hen because it's one of her favorite songs and he'll no doubt mess it up with his smarm. Luckily it's just a rumor, folks. If not, good thing she's got herself a mute button."

The would-be narrator should also be able to write and sing a kick-ass theme song about my life, and be willing to tag along to Yankee games, my job, the A&P, etc. with his guitar/banjo in tow. And be willing to work for free.

Things I Learned at Dinner Last Night:

If Eric and Liana hit the lottery, not only do we all get our own wings in their mansion, we will get posse/entourage status, and challenge other entourages (like Eminem's) to games of Trivial Pursuit and kick their ass.

Christina has a Sixth Sense about people breaking spaghetti before it goes into boiling water.

Jesse will not like Eric and Liana's kids if they are Canadian. And his Shore house landlady is still a Pisser.

Vicki has a legitimate excuse for speeding.

Both Dexter and Vicki were in the, er, Poconos this weekend.

Kia makes luxury cars.

Apparently, the cops, not cabs, have dropped me off at my corner on occasion.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Legend of the Headless First Baseman

I was just looking through my desk drawer when I found my Jason Giambi ornament. It used to hang out with the El Capitan ornament on my computer, but then Mr. Giambi kinda ticked me off with the whole steroid thing and I banished him to life in his Hallmark box as punishment. But more importantly, I think the ornament is cursed or something and it freaks me out. It fell off my computer one day and off popped Giambi's head. The way it broke, it was easy to pop the head back in again and I remember laughing that I hoped it wasn't a sign of things to come. But what do you think happened, like, two days later? It came out Giambi had the brain tumor. Well, I left him on the computer anyway, and all was fine until December. When the head popped off again and, oops, out came the leaked grand jury testimony. I'm sorry, but I don't need this thing coming to life and beating me with its little plastic bat, which I think was the next step.


Now that the real Jason's trying to get clean and healthy and wants a second chance, I debated putting him back up again, but damn, can you really blame me for not doing so?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

And Then There Was One


Happy Easter wishes and Opening Day dreams from The Yankee Chicken and his new friend Bunny Bo.

One week, peeps. One week.

(Thanks to Lupe for the photo link!)

PS -- I totally want the April 22 game to go long, whether it be through extra innings or rain delays, and end after midnight. Because how awesome would it be to say, "I was 27 when this game started and 28 when it ended" and have it be the truth and not an exaggeration? Things to consider....

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Quick, Awesome Thought of the Day

Dudes. This is the last full weekend without baseball for six months.


Friday, March 25, 2005

Just Your Typical Friday at My Job

So every Friday, my Jewish partner-in-copy-editing gets besieged by this group of Hasidic Jewish guys who work in our building. Now, I have no idea how they found him, but every Friday, they bring him candles for the Shabbat and I think their goal is to make him more religious than he is (he celebrates the high holy days, but that's it). Anyway, my partner is extremely nice, but I can tell these dudes annoy him. Like, two weeks ago, he actually hid from them. Since I sit closest to the door, I always see them first and warn him and they always stand by the window waving at me to get my partner and I pretend like I don't see them. Most days, my partner will sigh and ignore all the other editors who are laughing at his plight (because you have to be here to see it. It IS pretty funny, especially when there's a whole gaggle of them waiting and waving and one of the editors cackling loudly a t him "Just tell them you're gay already. Then they might leave you alone!") and go visit with the Hasidic guys. But two weeks ago, he's literally scrunching down behind his cubicle wall so they can't see him, and I'm pretty sure they knew he was there because they wouldn't stop waving, trying to flag someone down to open the door for them.

Well, today, my partner is out, and in a weird moment, one of the Hasidic guys waltzes in and is all "Hey, KB's Partner...," and then he realized my partner wasn't in and I was just like "He's not here this week." Ken and I had been plotting what we'd say if they showed up today, as we wanted to tell them my partner was at Good Friday Mass doing the Stations of the Cross just to see what their reaction would be. But this guy caught me off-guard, and Ken was busy with his and Tonya's Shady Accountant (who does housecalls, or workcalls, which I found...different) and I was just staring at him...because how the hell had he gotten in? Then he's all "Hey! Are you Jewish?" and I want to say "1) You've asked me this before and I've said I'm Catholic, what don't you get about that? and 2) Even if I was, I wouldn't admit it to you because I like working in a stalk-free environment" but I was just like "Nooooooo," and he was all "OK, have a nice day!" and left. Until next week.

It's so bizarre. It's so my office.

Today on a Very Special Episode of Yankee Clubhouse....

...Drug testing! It's the first ABC After School Special of the season! Be sure every member of your family sees this one. Wouldn't it be awesome if they suspected one of the Yanks of shooting up because he's behaving weird and they decide to have a Pointer Sisters singalong so Shef said player would be all "I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so...scared!" and had a meltdown? That's kind of what I'm expecting here.

This part of the story cracked me up:

Mike Mussina's name was on the list of randomly selected players but he was given the day off by Joe Torre, permission to stay away from Legends and wasn't located in time to be tested.

Can't you just picture a bunch of official looking guys in suits, running around with an empty babyfood jar, searching the hill and dale of Florida looking for Moose? Like, they run to the local library to see if he's looking up clues to the latest NY Times crossword: He's not there. They check the peanut butter aisle of the supermarket: He's not there. They scout out the latest Star Trek convention: No Moose. Out of breath and bedraggled, they wander back to Legends Field, hopeless in their pursuit. That's when they see him drive by in his car and go running after it yelling "Mr. Mussina! Come back! We need your peeeeeeeeee!"

I mean, the testing's so new, anything's possible...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Pinstriped Idol?

A conversation between yours truly, and The Yankee Chicken, while watching the re-broadcast of American Idol (since the votes got all screwed up from the night before):

Chicken: Do we have to watch this again?
Chicken: I mean, I know why we rewatch the Yankee games that are like a hundred years old, but why a bunch of people singing?
KB: Just because the 1996 Home Opener was before your time doesn't make it "a hundred years old."
Chicken: Why are you like dialing the same number over and over again?
KB: Because I'm voting for my favorite contestant.
Chicken: Oooooooh! You're voting for ANTHONY. You LOOOOOOOOVE him. You LOOOOOOOOVE a 19-year-old.
KB: Shut up, or I won't leave the TV on for you on Opening Night.
Chicken: OK, Mary Kay Letourneau, have it your way. Hey, why can't we do this with the Yankees? I'd like to call and vote to keep some over others.
KB: I'd say write to George and suggest it, but I fear he might like the idea.
Chicken: What's wrong with it? You watch them in a Spring Training game, and if you like what they do, you vote for them a bazillion times, like you just did for your child TV boyfriend.
KB: (Sighs) Chicken, do you know what would happen if people voted for the Yankee starting 25?
Chicken: Yes. We wouldn't have to deal with people like Kenny Lofton or Felix Heredia or Kevin Brown again.
KB: And someone like Bernie might get bounced because Bubba Crosby is cuter and the teenage girls would be calling for him like crazy and arranging calling blocks and vigils to keep him there because they want him to be their boyfriend.
Chicken: Well, at least Bubba's your age unlike some bespectacled teenager who shall remain nameless.
KB: Oh, go in the living room and see what Carolyn and Melissa are up to, will you?
Chicken: (Huffily) Fine, maybe I'll get them to help me in my campaign.
KB: Just remember, you'd be hurting Bernie's feelings and that's not nice.
Chicken: I, unlike you, have faith that the viewing public would pick the better performer of the two.
KB:You obviously haven't watched American Idol the last three years...


If The Chicken has his way, you'd best be sending some votes Bernie's way, because Bubba's already got the Idol part downpat.

Tsk. Kids.

The Post has a story today on how A-Rod is being "nice" about the whole Mean-Girling efforts of the Sux on his character. But this part of the story...well....

In an effort to get the two teams to "can't we all just get along," a group of Boston-area fifth- and sixth-graders are trying to get the Yanks and Red Sox to shake hands before the Fenway opener on April 11. George Steinbrenner has endorsed that idea through his spokesperson Howard Rubenstein.

What's wrong with children today, man? Damn kids want to ruin everything...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Then God Created Ballplayers, and He Saw That It Was Good

If y'all love Tino (and I know you do), Jeter or Scott Rolen "in that way", go visit June, ASAP.

I expect to hear Tonya squeeing from across the office any minute now.

When Barry Met Ladder

Show of hands: Who thinks Barry Bonds is really just feeling guilty about this whole steroid thing (and how a big old asterisk might go next to his name), is subconciously (or maybe intentionally) stepping back from the home run record as a result, and in his misguided rage is blaming everyone else for his troubles?

In short, shut up, Barry. And I know it's kind of hard on crutches, but find the nearest ladder, climb it and get over your bad self while you're at it. Maybe then your kids won't be crying so much.

Yeah, it's going to take a ladder much bigger than that...

Now we're talkin'!

Welcome to My Yanktastic World

Wow, # 3 in Paul Katcher's 26 Essential Sites for Yankee Fans. I knew all those years of baseball journaling would lead to something!

To those coming by way of Paul, welcome. I'm just a humble lifelong Yankee fan with a lot of opinions that I don't expect everyone to agree with. Though it would be super nice if they did. And I have friends of the Orioles and Red Sox faiths who have described me as "the classiest Yankee fan" they know, so I hope that means I've done something right.

You'll find this blog is probably 75 percent Yankees; the rest is stuff that happens when I attempt to have a life. But life is made much cooler by a certain team wearing pinstripes, and I have the friends I've made through the mutual love of that team to prove it.

Paul says: Karen not only drank the Bronx Bomber Kool-Aid, she pretty much swims in it.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

A sampling of some of my Yankee love:

My Yankee fan profile

My (non-sports fan) mom gives her take on the 2005 season.

The best game I've gone to.

My reaction to Aaron Boone's home run.

My reaction of Game 7 last year (siiiiiiggggghhhh).

My Yankeefied cubicle

And of course, The Good Luck Yankee Chicken.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Let the Preseason Picking Begin

I'm not going to bother about how dripping with cliche bitterness this Ken Rosenthal piece on the Yanks is (I mean, calling Jeter and A-Rod Enemies in the Infield? Have these two beaten the snot out of each other recently or borrowed the other's Prada shirt without asking and spilled hair gel on it and I'm just not aware of it?), but I do want to comment on this:

The lineup also is old -- every regular will be 30-something after A-Rod reaches that age on July 27 -- and team chemistry is more uncertain than ever.

Obviously this man didn't see the entire dugout laughing and ribbing Public Enemy No. 1 last night after The Triple That Made Jaws Drop Everywhere. Or he hasn't seen the delightful pictures of them all laughing their asses off during spring training workouts. Hell, they're even being nice to Kevin Brown by the looks of it last night.

I mean, it's nice that even through his bitterness he can pick the Yanks to win the whole thing, but it's people like him that make me want the Yankees to win even more than I already do -- not simply for my own pleasure, but to just piss everyone else off.

T-minus 12 days....

In Which I Give WAY Too Much Thought to American Idol

OK, so I'll admit that every now and then I check out TWOP's American Idol message boards (but not post on them, so you don't have to, like, disown me as a friend or anything) to see if people are concurring with my opinion on certain singers. One of my faves this competition is Anthony, who I liked in his audition, then wasn't quite sold on in tryouts, but won me over by singing Hold on to the Night, (a song by only, like, the awesomest singer/songwriter EVER) in the first round of the semifinals.

Now, he has spiky blonde hair and glasses, and for whatever reason, people like to compare him to another singer of not-so-similar looks, but who also had glasses when her first came on the show two seasons ago. I'm not printing his name here, for fear his legions of psycho fans will bombard my site with whatever it is they spew, but his name rhymes with Play Bacon. Anyway, some of these fans have taken to bashing Anthony with a hatred that borders on hilarious -- like, they accuse him of wearing glasses when he doesn't need them -- just so he can remind people of Play and get his fanbase to vote for him. Meanwhile, Play dumped the glasses after the first few episodes in an attempt to be made over. Play, deemed Geek Chic or whatever it was, also didn't have some serious muscles that Anthony wasn't afraid to show off last week. Play didn't make this writer think "Rarrrr...*smacks self*...I mean, nice song" like when said guns were revealed. But I digress.

The Play fans are also accusing Anthony of trying too hard to be like Play with his song choices. Like, when Anthony did Breaking Up is Hard to Do last week, and they thought he was infringing on Play territory...because Neil Sedaka (the originator of Breaking Up...) liked Play's voice and his version of Solitaire. Yeah, I don't know what the relation is, either. Anthony's alleged song choice for tonight is one of my fave duets from the 80s, but apparently, Play did it on his summer tour! And it wasn't, like, sung at all during last season's Idol finale between Diana and Fantasia! Only Play can attempt Aretha Franklin/George Michael, Damnit! It's just...bizarre to me that people go to these lengths with their thinking. And that they're so deeply worried that someone else might take the place of Play, even though they're the only ones thinking this way. That would be like me worrying that some star player coming out of Japan might make people forget about Hideki Matsui or something. I mean, it's not like you get kicked out of the music industry if another male singer comes along...

Honestly, I didn't mind Play during his competition, but his over-annunciation of things (like he was a Broadway singer) made me cringe a lot. Anthony has a very smooth voice (and nice muscles! *zaps self with electro-shock machine*) and it doesn't sound forced or overworked coming out, which I appreciate. It's just about preference here, and there's no right or wrong, as far as I'm concerned.

Similar? I just don't see it. Must be the hypnotic powers of the upper arms...*ZAP!*

Don't get me wrong, folks, I think Play's a nice dude who can legitimately sing. And as a diehard fan of some team called the Yankees, I know I kinda have no right to talk about diehard followers of something else. But damn, there are some that are just WAY over-the-top and it makes me kind of scared, as I've never seen a baseball fan work like that. Like, if I knew it were just teenagers behaving this way, all would be cool, but there are people older than myself ready to defend Play to the death and hang on to his every word or whatever it is they feel they need to do to be part of his cult. It's freaky, yo.

I have just thought WAY too much about this. Must go scrub my brain with peroxide or deny myself some Mini Eggs today as penance...

Monday, March 21, 2005

We Are Family

So what is waiting for me when I come in the door today?:


That's right, I'm a head of household and have an instant family! My roommates changed their names to fit in! Because Hoboken politicians like to assume a little too much. The roomies and I had a good chuckle over that. Melissa even started singing this, to the tune of The Flintstones:

Bischers, meet the Bischers
They're a modern Hoboken family
From the County of Monmouth
They're making their place in history
Let's ride with the family to Three A's
Where the bartenders make for happy days
When you're with the Bischers
You'll have a good time
A really good time
You'll have a drunk old time

Rick then chimed in that he wanted to be "Bang-Bang" which Carolyn corrected him that it's Bam-Bam, but Melissa told him he could be Dino.

I said he gets Karen's Favorite Roommate's Boyfriend of All-Time award, as after viewing my Cadbury Mini Egg withdrawl-inspired rant, he picked up two bags for me (while picking up "shellfish" for him and Carolyn), thus making him a supplier and an enabler. He, Car and I are getting a fix right now while watching the Yankee game and dayum, it feels good!


I also showed everyone my jar of A-Rod Basil and Melissa was like "Ooh, is that your POT?" Because that's what we always think our presumptuous landlord would think if he saw all my herb plants in my room. I said it was because "That's what we Bischers do."

Welcome to the family, guys!

Addict, Thy Name is KB


Man, is it going to suck for me when Easter is over. Because that's when I'm going to go into SEVERE withdrawl, like I do every year. That's what happens when you're addicted to Cadbury Mini Eggs. They're like crack for me, and you know, I could kind of use a fix right now and it's making me antsty. I almost wish they would sell these year round because then I'd probably get sick of them. But because they're only available like two months a year, I inhale these things and keep going back for more. And other people must feel the same way because my local A&P had them about two weeks ago and I have yet to see them since. This has forced me to get gigantic sized bags (meant for parents with many Easter baskets to fill, I guess) from Target last week...which I have already blown through.

And at last check the Duane Reade across the street from my office was sold out too. Oh, man, it's going to be a long day if I don't get some of that chocolately goodness into my system...

Sunday, March 20, 2005



The Chicken's all "These are going to be the longest two weeks EVER." And he's so right. Get here April 3, GET HERE.

Sing it With Me Now -- Shut Up, Lupica!

Lupicass tries to make a point in his column today that Roger Maris should get the home run record back, since McGwire, Sosa and Bonds are all big question marks about their, um, natural ability. I agree (GASP) with him to a point, as it IS unfair to wipe away a legit record with a tainted one. But then he gets all Lupicassian high and mighty about the subject, and can't seem to see past the nose on his face:

There should be an asterisk next to Maris' 61 for as long as there is baseball, like some kind of spotlight, because we know that the number was true and real.

No drugs.

And no lies.

That might be one of the dumbest things I've ever read from Lupicass, and it doesn't even have to do with Alex Rodriguez.

Come ON, people. If Maris and Mantle and Ruth and all the other guys from The Good Old Days (when players merely killed themeselves with alcohol instead of steroids) could hit home runs without performance enhancing drugs, who's to say that someone from this generation can't? That's right, Lupicass, there ARE players who are clean. And there is proof to the naked eye, too. Just look at these players who aren't built like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

I remember people speculating about Alfonso Soriano being on the juice and just looking at them like they were crazy. Because, correct me if I'm wrong, don't you use steroids to help you get bigger muscles, which will then help you hit the ball further? Soriano is a beanpole. And steroids aren't this magic potion that you shoot into your eyes that help you see the ball better and then you hit lots of home runs because of it.

I was afraid this was going to happen. That the older generation, who grew up with the "pure" game would take this as their cue to wax poetic about how much better the game was back then and that it will never be that way again. I blame the athletes who did cheat for this, but I also blame those who are lamenting for the good old days and are so disconnected from the game now. Because that's throwing out the baby with the bathwater. And I give you living proof of a player who I'm going to bet is 100 percent steroid free and you tell me you can't root for this guy: Derek Jeter.

This is a man who goes and busts his ass every night because he 1) Makes a lot of money and believes he should earn it 2) Loves what he does and 3) He's The Man. And you can't tell me that there aren't more players who are just like Jeter in that they are just as clean and ass-busting; players who are doing this honestly and only suffering this current "baseball is going down the drain" thing because of the acts of their stupid commrades in bats.

This man deserves your scorn? Oh, puhlease.

And you also can't tell me that if one of those natural players hits 62 home runs (and there's drug-test proof that he wasn't using) that Maris' record is still the better record. Because that new record holder will be EXACTLY on the same level as Maris.

The sport DOES need to clean up its act, don't get me wrong, but you're doing a disservice to the players who are clean by telling them their records will never matter -- just because the Good Old Days, that these athletes weren't even alive for, were better.

I close with two quotes by Billy Joel that seem utterly fitting:

"The good old days weren't always good and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems." -- Keeping the Faith

"They say that these are not the best of times, but they're the only times I've ever known." -- Summer Highland Falls

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Time Slips Away and Leaves You With Nothing Mister But...

So, I set aside this afternoon to write chapter 13 of the second Julia book, but I turned on the NCAA Tournament, which always brings back memories of my college sports writing days, and thus is great fodder for procrastination.

Now, I was never a fan of news writing. I still hate the inverted pyramid to this day because to me, journalism doesn’t leave much room for creativity. And I always preferred making up people and writing about them instead of writing about people who actually exist. Like, you can’t use your imagination and make up shit about athletes. That’s like, libel, man.

Plus, I hated getting quotes for stories. I hated having to think up questions, which, is kind of a bad trait to have as a journalist.

But I had to major in journalism because at the time, 1) Delaware didn’t have a creative writing program (they do now) 2) I wanted to write in some way and have a degree in writing because I was sure as hell never going to be able to graduate with a Bachelors in economics with my math skills and 3) Delaware has a hell of a journalism program. So I triumphed over my extreme fear of the newspaper office and after a semester of news writing, I applied for a staff position: Assistant Features Editor. Well, I get a call from the editor-in-chief at the time and he’s all “I see you don’t have sports as a choice for a position…” I had a few friends on staff who knew of my baseball luv, and I guess it got around. And it turned out my friend Jamie (“Seamus”) was going to be Sports Editor that semester and I could be one of the Assistant Sports Editors. So I took it, knowing that I’d have two crazy deadlines a week to juggle with my classes.

But holy shit, did I have a good time. I always said I liked sports writing because you got to wear cool credentials and look official and stuff. And I collected lots of credentials in my year and a half on staff. Even if some of them misspelled my name:


Sports may have been one of the awesomest desks to write for because we got to travel a lot. And by taking a sports writing class as part of my major, I got to pretend to be a professional sports writer for a day. I mean, in what other class would I get to go to a Philadelphia Flyers game, get to sit in the press box (and drink the free soda) and write a faux game story for credit?


One of the coolest things about my time on staff was that Delaware won the America East championships in basketball twice and baseball once. In the 1998 AE baseball tourney, Delaware faced Northeastern in the championship game, and after Delaware beat them, I got to interview the Northeastern first baseman,Carlos Pena, who was tearing up the NCAA that year and thought to go extremely high the draft a few weeks later. He was one of the NICEST people I ever got to speak with. Damn, he was just so happy to be playing and have an opportunity in the States and the draft was just gravy. He eventually got taken 10th overall, and every time I see him against the Yanks I can’t root against him.

The same goes for when Kevin Mench comes to bat, as he was just a freaking home run machine in 1998 and always gave us something to write about. I’d come back from a game and the question around the office wouldn’t be “Did we win?” (because Delaware’s team was just amazing that year – 43 and 10 overall, but 22 and 2 in division play) it was “How many did Mench hit today?” He ended up with 33 dingers in 53 games.

But the coup de gras was getting to go to the NCAA basketball tournament in 1999. Amy K. and I were so freaking excited at the prospect of it, it was all we talked about from the beginning of the basketball season till Delaware finally won the America East tournament in March. We knew the Hens had a snowball’s chance in hell at beating Tennessee in the first game, but we knew we were getting to go to the 15-degrees-warmer-than-Delaware Charlotte and after all our hard work that semester, it was a huge reward.

When we got to the Charlotte Coliseum, we were agog at seeing our names on a roster of reporters from USA Today, the NY Times, the Washington Post. And then we got to our seats on the court (and a pro court at that) and we were downright giddy. I snuck this picture, even though it wasn’t allowed:


Of course my name was misspelled on the seat marker:


But on the all-important credential, the C was where it was supposed to be, and it’s still one of the coolest things in my possession.


I knew even then that it was easy to get burnt out in sports writing (as viewed by the jaded-looking older writers who hung out around us), and since I still hated thinking up questions, and even more important, knew that my talent was still in creative writing, I hung up the credentials after college. I never wanted sports to be a job, especially baseball, because how in the hell was I ever going to be impartial about that?

But it is fun to recall those days of yore, and the Tourney always brings it back. All six years ago now. Yikes…

OK, enough procrastination. Glad y’all could lend an ear to the way exciting stories of my glory days.

Out and About

Ohmigod! It's, like, totally spring outside today! Early spring, anyway, as evidenced by the slightly cooler than spring, but warmer than winter weather. But there were two things that almost made me want to bust out my shorts, which is how I know it IS indeed spring: 1) I was able to walk by the river and not freeze my ass off. In fact, it was quite pleasant near the water for the first time in awhile. 2) I passed a guy on the pier reading a New York Post, and the quite lovely scent of sunshine on newsprint radiated from the tabloid. Never smelled that before? Try it sometime. Like, don't go huffing your Sunday Times at your local deli tomorrow, but if you're ever outside in the nice weather, just take a wiff of what comes off your newspaper when the sun's been shining on it for awhile. You won't think I'm so weird once you notice it. Or at least I hope.

And I lost count of all the Yankee hats I saw out and about today. It was crazy. And comforting, since I only saw two Sux hats in my journey. One guy was playing fetch with this cute black Lab, and he must've saw me smiling at the dog, because when I got closer he looked my way. But that was right after I realized what was sitting on top of his head: A dirty hat with a big old Red "B". I believe my face clouded over into a scowl and my steps turned to stomps and I felt infinitely sorry for the dog. Then I saw a little old man at the other end of the pier wearing a Yankee hat and it was all good.

Friday, March 18, 2005

A Whole New Herb Game

So, in about a month from now, I'll be replanting the Jeter Parsley, trying again for oregano (this time with Tino) and attempting Joe Torre Thyme. I've prepared their jars in anticipation of their produce:


And I must praise the A-Rod Basil for being such a good little plant and surviving the winter. It must be all that working out it does while the other plants are sleeping or taking their seedlings to school:


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Dude, Take a Chill Pill, 16-Year-Old Self

So as I watched highlights of Mark McGwire getting a bit of dust in his eye as he testified today, I came across my Yankee Journal from 1998, and what do I find but my entry about McGwire's record breaking home run, which was probably like the only non-Yankee entry I ever wrote. It kind of makes me shake my head now and think "Aw, you were so naive." But at least I can say I was happy:

September 8, 1998: How do I describe it? Like this: MARK MCGWIRE HIT #62!!!!!!!! AHHHHH!! HISTORY! I JUST SAW HISTORY!! Well, about an hour ago, maybe, but I've been in awe since. Amazing. Freaking amazing. I'm not even disappointed that a Yankee had to get erased from the record books. I've been on a natural high since he hit 58 and 59 last Thursday. Not to mention that this has given baseball such a boost. Everyone's followed it. McGwire vs. Sosa was part of the country's newscasts, conversations and collective minds for so long now. And I saw it. I saw McGwire honor the Maris family and pick up his son at home plate. I saw Sammy Sosa run in from the outfield to congratulate him. I saw a crowd go nuts and they probably won't even realize what happened till later. It's still sinking in -- it's no Yankee World Series win, but it's up there. WAY up there. Second to 1996, I think. Wait, I know. This sport has blessed me. I've seen so much good stuff happen in just the last 6 years and the best part is it will last a lifetime...

What a Day! What a season! WHAT A GAME!

Let's just ignore the fact that I was 21 when I wrote that, and knew about McGwire and the Andro and still allowed myself to get so caught up in it like the freak that I am. There's no excuse. But damn, I didn't realize it was that huge to me until reading it just now. I guess after what the Yanks did that season, and the following season and the season after that and a few more good times thrown in for good measure, all that kinda usurped McGwire/Sosa. I'm not even sure that moment is in my current Top 10 Baseball Memories. Weird what 7 years will do.

And one of my favorite entries from the 1993 season:

July 5, 1993 (about the July 4th game): I am majorly PO'd. They were winning 6-2 in the 8th inning. I fell asleep and when I woke up, it was 7-6 Oakland! They got SWEPT! I hate it! All other American League teams should be shot.

Tonight's game doesn't sound so great. Scott Kamienicki against Seattle's Randy Johnson, who is supposed to be awesome.

I'm heartbroken, for the time being. Maybe when Randy (Velarde) comes back, or after the All-Star Break [I'll feel better]. I guess the sun will go on rising and setting even if the Yanks lose. Sometimes, I wish it wouldn't.

DEAR GOD. Was I an overdramatic little tyke or what? Aside from stealing that last line from Anne of Green Gables, I think that might be one of the most classic things I've ever written. I wanted the rest of the American League dead or something?!? I knew that Grunge music of the early 90s was effecting my brain. And I was HEARTBROKEN over a sweep. Oh, the humanities! Though my 16-year-old self wouldn't be upset for long because they beat the Mariners (and that supposedly awesome guy Randy Johnson) 6-3 that night. Hmm, wonder what Scott Kamienicki's up to these days...


Two words I never thought I'd be angry enough to utter, but there you go. After touting on their web site that the hearings would be on their main network , they shoved it on over to CSPAN 3. Now, I know there's lots going on in the world right now, but CSPAN 1 is showing a relatively empty House at the moment. Whoopee.

The one day when all the stars are in line (no soaps on till 1; I actually get the channel the hearings were supposed to be on) it all falls through. Damn it!

The Yankee O'Chicken


The Chicken celebrates his favorite Irish things. Including himself.

Top O' The Whole Freaking Day

Well, tis many things today:

-- Happy Birthday to The Complete and Total Dad, who, in his 56 years on the planet, has seen 15 Yankee World Series titles won. I have a long way to go to catch up.

-- Happy 10th anniversary to my acceptance letter from Delaware. (10 years, though...ugh....)

-- Happy Steroid Hearing/Take Back Tino's Gold Glove Day! I actually get CSPAN on my TV here at work, so perhaps in between soaps (which are few and far between today because of the NCAA Tournament and the parade here in NYC) I will catch a few minutes and report back with all the gory details. And just to FYI -- CSPAN's already started coverage as of 8:30 this morning....

-- Happy St. Patrick's Day! The crazy parade goers are already out in full force (it runs a few blocks from my office, so lunch time should be entertaining) and I am wearing green today in celebration of my Irish heritage. Perhaps a nice leprechaun will find me today and lead me to the pot of gold that would allow me to become a professional Yankee fan for the rest of my life...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Forget Steroids, Get to the REAL Issue Here

Ooh, ooh! Something else useful can come out of tomorrow's hearings: While the committee is at it and Rafael Palmiero is there, can they try to investigate Raffy's Gold Glove from 1999? I mean, 28 games at first base warrants a reward like that? Six years later, and it STILL boggles my mind...


Don't worry, Tino, we know it was supposed to be yours. Perhaps the SS Mystique and Aura can set a course for adventure and pilfer that GG from Palmiero's evil clutches...

goldglovejpg palmiero

Give it here, Raffy! (tug-of-war ensues between blonde curly haired girl in Yankee hat and Mr. Palmiero) GIVE. IT. HERE. ARRRGH!

This Bud's For You. NOT!

Is it wrong that I'm enjoying the silver lining that the steroid speculation has presented? As in Bud Selig getting blamed for much of it?

I mean, for the last god knows how long, Selig has acted as if he was the annointed savior of the game, just because his fellow owners installed him in the position, basically to look after their own interests. When in reality, he's given us Interleague play and the all-out stupidity that is the "This Time it Counts" All-Star Game. Whoopee, Bud. Interleague is dead to me (it never was really alive for that matter in my mind) and to the rest of the country only matters when there's a big rivalry showdown (Cubs/White Sox,Yanks/Mets, etc.) I mean, you're not courting new fans in Kansas City by bringing the Marlins to town. The All-Star Game will never have the intensity that comes with a regular or post-season game (and it shouldn't. There's a reason it's called an exhibition) -- but Bud doesn't seem to get that either. All he seems to care about are gimmicks that get people out to the park, and in a way, the home run is a gimmick, thus probably why he looked away from steroid use for so long. I don't see how he's tried to court people to make them longterm fans; just people who will come out to see what all the fuss is about and then take their leave of the game after a few weeks. To me it's kind of irresponsible to the game itself. It's like eating chocolate cake for three meals a day. The cake is a treat that will get everyone at the table excited, but too much of it is ultimately bad for you. And after a while, you're going to get sick of chocolate cake, something you once liked, and it may turn you off so much that you won't eat it again.

I've pretty much thought Selig was a blowhard since the day they announced he was taking Fay Vincent's place "In the Interim", but now he's getting knocked down a few pegs, which is helping things for me. Even if it is coming from a bunch of pompous Congresspeople. That he's ignored the problem of steroids for so long could be what he's remembered for as commisioner -- or better still, maybe make MLB realize that they need a REAL commissioner (ie, one who actually cares about the intergrity of the game and one who's not interested in making his owner friends richer) to keep the game on course.

God, I hope that day comes sooner than later.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Real Estate Needs a Reality Check. What Else is New?

Thanks to Dexter for this story about the insane rental rates in New York. I wish they'd hit on Hoboken, which, if you go by the guide of this story, is not affordable. Because 30 percent of my gross income still isn't enough to get a one bedroom for myself in the Mile Square City.

Some interesting stuff:

That suggests that the federal government deems 30 percent of your income as a reasonable level of expenditure. And housing researchers typically use more than 30 percent of income as an indication of unaffordable rent levels." According to the Census Bureau's 2003 American Community Survey, the latest data available, the median household income for all of New York City was $39,937. By the federal government's 30 percent standard, Dr. Ellen noted, that would define an affordable rent for the entire city as $998 a month.

OK, Mr. Federal Government who steals a buttload of my money every month, you mean to tell me that 30 percent is reasonable? Well, what about the student loan I have to pay off and utilities and money going into my 401k or savings? I'd HAVE NO MONEY FOR FOOD if this were the case. You REALLY think this is a reasonable idea? Um...

Welcome to my next humble abode! You think I can get the YES Network in there?

And it gets even better. People KNOW there are a bunch of us who can't afford this BS:

Curious as to what sort of jobholder could afford a $1,222-a-month apartment, Dr. McCarthy turned to the 2003 "Paycheck to Paycheck" study of 540 occupations in the city conducted by the National Housing Conference. Of those 540 occupations, he calculated, only 192 could afford $1,222 a month.

"The top occupations they have listed - security traders, commodity and financial service agents - could afford to pay, on average, $3,400 a month for rent," Dr. McCarthy said. "Their median wage is $136,000 a year." Psychiatrists, whose median wage is about $125,000, he said, can afford $3,100 a month."

Damn, I don't even MAKE $3,400 a month let alone have that to drop on rent. So who do we blame for this? Myself for not deciding to become a doctor/financial analyst, when I have no doctorly/analysty bones in my body, just so I can afford to rent? My job for not paying me enough (and then that would mean publishing in general, which sucks pay-wise and almost makes me wish there was an editors' union. Because seriously. These publications pull in A LOT and they get away with paying the bare minimum to employees. But that's another rant all together)? The people who can afford the rents and so willingly plunk down that sick amount of money every month? The governement for thinking 30 percent of your income going on renting is a good thing?

Blah. Nevermind. I don't like thinking about this.