Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Jimmy Fallon? I think that doofy guy and that bitch actress with the wonky eye did more for the Red Sox than Kevin Youkilis ever could." -- Jason, on his disgust for the stars of Fever Pitch and Red Sox Nation.

Because What Would This Blog Be Without Him?

IMG_2885
KB: Oh my god, Chicken!

The Yankee Chicken: moves head slightly Mmshp

KB: Did you go on a bender?

The Yankee Chicken: I may have.

KB: But why? It's almost your...

The Yankee Chicken: dramatically brings wing to forehead Don't say it! That I'm turning another year older and it means nothing.

KB: But you always enjoy your birthday.

The Yankee Chicken: Sigh. What is a birthday if the Yankees haven't made the playoffs?

KB: God, you've been listening to Derek Jeter too much.

The Yankee Chicken: Don't you see? This is the first time in my existence that the Yankees have not made it to the big show. Like, I am totally and completely useless now.

KB: Do you think that this is somehow your fault?

The Yankee Chicken: Well, isn't it? I mean, my sole existence is to bring the Yankees luck and this year? That kind of wasn't the case. Or haven't you been watching?

KB: Chicken, I hate to tell you, but the Yankees can't make it to the playoffs every year...

The Yankee Chicken: BLASPHEMY! Go do penance, woman!

KB: ...And this may be a good thing. Maybe they'll take a look at all their weaknesses and assess and do what they have to do and make moves that make the team better. I felt this way after 1995, and good things happened.

The Yankee Chicken: Looking thoughtful And I wasn't alive in 1995...

KB: Yes, the Yankees did win before your time, Chicken. And they also lost some too.

The Yankee Chicken: So I'm not getting kicked out of the fanhood?

KB: Well, there isn't exactly anyone lining up to do the Spring Training Countdown, so I think you're still relevant.

The Yankee Chicken: And I can still have a birthday party?

KB: It will be even easier since we don't have to plan it around a game!

The Yankee Chicken: Good. And will all the blog people wish me a happy birthday too?

KB: That's entirely up to them. Here, offer to share this ice cream with them as a bribe, since you can't coerce them with your winning ways anymore.

The Yankee Chicken: Gives the look of death

KB: Kidding!!

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So, is this enough for you to forgive? You'll have to get your own spoon, however. The Yankee Chicken is a bit of a germaphobe.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

If Mike Mussina is Indeed Done...

...there is one thing I would really, really, really like to thank him for: his relief performance in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. It may be one of the most overlooked parts of that game, but for real, if he doesn't come in and be a complete bad-ass on the mound (down 4-0, runners on first and third, no one out --THANKS ROGER CLEMENS -- and he proceeds to get out of it without a run, and then pitch two more scoreless innings ) I don't know if that crazy comeback gets a chance to be significant. Considering Roger was on his way to letting the Sox score like 13 runs.

So thanks, Moose. You may be a Cosby-sweater-wearing cantankerous MF, but you sure did pitch pretty.

Why I'm Rooting for the Brewers

You know, aside from the Red Sox, I have no problems with any of the teams involved in the playoffs this year. But since the Yankees are out of it, I still feel the need to pull for somebody and that somebody this year is the Milwaukee Brewers.

Was that the sound of a record scratching to a halt that I just heard? You're like "The Brewers?" And I'm like "Hells yeah!"

So here's why:

-- Out of all the teams involved this postseason (save the Rays -- I forgot about them initially), they are the only one to never win a World Series. ESPN and all the media outlets can force on us the Cubs and their curse and long stretch of title-less years, but they at least won it in 1908. The Brewers? 19never. It's time.

-- Their stadium is corporate named, but at least the name can apply to the team. I can be okay with them playing in Miller Park, since they are the Brewers and all. The production of beer is also crucial to Milwaukee's economy and is a deep part of the city's history. Unlike, say, QualComm. Or PNC Bank. Or US Celluar. And I'm sure when I say Houston, you all automatically think "frozen concentrated orange juice." Anyway.



-- I like the old-school logo. Call me stupid, but I didn't realize the ball in the glove was actually an M and a B until LAST YEAR. I know! And the Brewers used to be in the AL, so there is no excuse for this ignorance on my end. Except that I was never good at those Magic Eye Posters, either. But still. Even before I recognized this, I liked the logo. And colors.

-- The nurse at Miller Park was really nice. When we made our stop here during the Great Midwest Excursion of 2006, Tonya ended up not feeling so good before the game. Her stomach was hurting, and she actually had to lie down in one of the Stadium's sitting areas. I went in search of the infirmary to score some kind of antacid or stomach soother, and when I found the nurse, she very nicely doled out some Maalox and said Tonya could come back for more if needed. That woman deserves a championship.

-- I kinda dig Bernie Brewer. As far as mascots go, Bernie is the most intriguing. He has his own digs out there in left field (though I preferred his County Stadium Chalet to the new tricked "dugout") and I suppose he hangs up there making his own sort of good-luck beer or maybe pipe bombs or maybe he's concealing a meth lab up there, but there it is: he owns his own home and it isn't up for foreclosure, so he's doing something right. Also, when your Wikipedia entry says this about you: Bernie was brought back not as just a mustachioed man in lederhosen, but a full-body costume of a man, including large foam head how can you NOT be made of awesome?

Robin Yount's Stache Rules

-- Robin Yount's mustache. And he's totally the interim, this-season-only bench coach. It's like having Shannen Doherty back on 90210 -- it's not long-term, but you know the influence from this person's (awesome) presence alone is far-reaching in its throwbackicity. And you can always hope he'd pull out a The Fonz-like motorcycle ride around the stadium again.

So there you have it. I mean, if they lose to the Phils, I won't be upset, since I have several Phillies Phan friends, and I have no problems with the Angels, Twins/White Sox, Cubs and Dodgers. But the Brewers? Yeah, they're my horse.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Quotes of the Day

Production Guy Jeff is en fuego today, with baseball-themed quotables.

"Go on Saturday. Then no one can see you crying in the rain." -- To Mona the Mets fan, on the next game she's going to.

"The Rays are going to win...because they love to play ball. -- On the playoffs

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So Let Me Get This Straight...

Because of some people's greed, be it those who just HAD to own a home because they "deserved" it -- even if they couldn't afford it -- developers who kept on building too many unnecessary McMansions and luxury condos (rather than actual affordable homes), and the banks having way too much faith in both of the above, I, who am responsible with my money and realize I can't afford a mortgage, have to worry about my own economic status? And have to endure the president practically wagging his finger at me and trying to scare the crap out of me when I just want to watch the American Masters on Warner Brothers movies?

Fuck this shit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ho Canada

Roughly a year ago, a few weeks after Eric and Liana got engaged, they told us the wedding was going to be in Eric's home area of Quebec City. I was way excited because 1) How could their wedding NOT be cool and 2) I'd never been to Canada before. I'm not sure if it's because the price of flights was pretty high or if we were all just feeling drive-y, but all of the Hoboken Crew took cars up there, a good 9 hours away, which means...Rooaaad Trip!

The road to QC, Upstate NY

Vicki, Dexter and I headed up on Thursday afternoon, ready for five fun-filled days in Quebec (which went exceedingly quick). And here are the things I learned on my first trip into our neighboring country:

The homeless are very...persistent in Montreal. We stopped in Montreal on Thursday night and since I had never been there before, Dexter and Vicki thought it would be nice for me to see the Old City. We walked down Rue Saint-Denis (home to more hipsters than I've ever seen in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side combined) and the bustling nightlife gave way to a more quiet, businessy area. Then, just before we get to a corner, this homeless guy straight out of central casting (scraggly white beard, dirt-smudged face, dirty hat and clothes) starts smiling and gesturing at us and talking in French. We do the New York thing and keep walking and ignoring him (even though the NYC homeless are more polite and don't follow you), but he won't stop talking to us. Like, he wasn't scary or anything, but I was beginning to wonder if we'd shake him before we crossed the street or if I'd have to invite him as my date to the wedding. Finally, Dexter gives him some quarters and the dude is all majorly happy and I think he realizes we're American at that point because he starts singing "We Are Family" and then goes into "We Are the World" which made me wonder if I should invite him to next year's karaoke b-day party. Then, just as the light's changing and we're about to cross the street, he makes us high-five him. For real. We waited a few blocks before Vicki busted out her Purell, as we didn't want to appear rude...

The Yankee Chicken, like me, has French-Canadian roots.

The Yankee Chicken's Cousin, Maurice

This is Maurice, The Yankee Chicken's cousin from Montreal. He was hanging in a kitchen-shop window and I could read his thoughts, even though they were in French. He was still lamenting the loss of the Expos, but was content with his life because this is his view every day:

Old City, Montreal

Quebec City is seriously one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I know I haven't been many places in the world, but this 400-year-old town is simply delightful in its quaintness. Well, aside from the steep winding hill that almost killed me when I walked up it in my überfast New Yorkish way, not realizing it was meant to be taken at a slow pace. Anyway, it made me pissed off at places like Disney World that try to recreate this kind of beauty, because for a long time, I had to keep reminding myself that this place is authentically old and historic and cute, not built just to bring in tourists. Like, these buildings were exactly the same 300-400 years ago. Which is insane.

Old City, QC

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Old City, QC

Le Chateau Frontenac
This is the Chateau Frontenac, which is apparently the most photographed hotel in the world. So I got in on it, even though it had insanely overpriced crepes.

Grooms AND brides can be glowing on their wedding day. The night before the wedding, Liana and Eric hosted a tapas dinner gathering in our hotel. When we got there, the two of them just looked absolutely radiant and happy -- Liana kept saying how surreal it was to have all these people she knew in one place, especially in a place that was foreign. They also managed to stay out pretty late considering the early hour they had to be awake the next morning, but they made themselves completely accessible to their guests, which is awesome. And they were STILL glowing the next day. We spotted the dapper Eric first and talked to him a bit before the ceremony and then when Liana, projecting calm and gorgeousness all at once, started walking down the aisle, the Hoboken Crew got all verklempt. It's so weird how that happens, but I think it has something to do with being able to share in such a joyous moment with someone (and in this case two people) you genuinely care about. Ah, weddings.

Off into the sunset

When called upon, the Hoboken Crew assembles like Voltron, and kicks more ass. About a week before the wedding, Liana and Eric asked if the Hoboken Crew would be willing to assist in a few last-minute preparations of the reception hall, as they wouldn't be able to see to this stuff themselves. Of course we jumped right in, honored to be entrusted with the tasks of setting out the place cards (Christina and Jesse), arranging the family photos (Vicki and Dexter) and getting toiletry baskets ready for the bathrooms and decorating the bathrooms with the flowers from the church (yours truly). I said I wanted all of us to get a special set of rings so we could put our fists together and be all "Hoboken Crew, Activate!" when setting about our tasks, such was the important nature of the event.

This required that we scope out the hall (a former Catholic church) before the 5:30 reception began, and when we did, we set into action like a bunch of superheroes on a mission. Which was interesting because at first the guy who ran the hall didn't know what baskets I was talking about (he, according the superhumanly organized Liana, was supposed to give them to me, and I wasn't going to doubt the bride on this one), there appeared to be less tables than indicated on the place cards and none of the tables were numbered (setting Dexter into "track down the groom via phone" mode, and thus ensued a game-show like run-around of placing numbers on the tables), the caterer, whom I was supposed to give some super-secret orders to, had yet to arrive, and then the hall guy tried to convince me to put the baskets (which he thankfully found) in the bathrooms Liana specifically said NOT to put them in (but I stood firm -- no one was getting the way of the bride's wishes on my watch). It was the most adrenaline-pushed half hour of the weekend, such was our determination to get this stuff done before the 5:30 cocktail hour.

But we managed to get it all together, and when we were through, we had tons of empty bags and nowhere to put them. We scoped out some corner areas, and I joked that we should put them in the old confessional, and lo and behold when we opened the door to it, it was already being used for storage! So we threw everything in there and pushed the door shut before it could all come tumbling back out. I still don't know if it was a sacreligious gesture or not. But afterward, when we were enjoying our well-earned drinks (and the bride and groom made their gratefulness to us known, which made it totally worth it), I made sure to capture our superheroness (sans rings, but what can you do?):

Hoboken Crew Activate!

French-Canadian weddings are action-packed! I've only ever been to your standard American wedding, so I wasn't prepared for the DJ making most of the tables gather together to sing -- acapella -- a verse from a love song to the bride and groom. I then figured our table would be the bestest because we had a ringer, Nancy, who can actually sing, and we are well-practiced in group singing thanks to karaoke. Not that this was a contest or anything, but we did have pride on the line. So we sang the chorus of "Endless Love" and Eric and Liana tried not to look toooooo horrified from their table of honor, because aside from Nancy, we were all over the place. I'm going to blame the church accoustics for this one.

There was also the Nancy-choreographed first dance for the bride and groom (to Bill Withers' "Lovely Day", an awesome pick for a first-dance song if ever I heard one, though I had been secretly hoping they'd come out and dance to some serious song at first and then bust out with "You Shook Me All Night Long," complete with bride and groom air-guitar. Liana did this later, though, when the song came on around 1 a.m., so I am content), and a reception version of the (literal) Newlywed Game...

Literal Newlywed Game

...and Eric's family busting out some serious dance moves, and caribou-stuffed chicken (delicious, in case you were wondering), Ah-Ha's "Take on Me" drawing out a crazy amount of people to the dance floor (and everyone dancing like the characters from Peanuts in A Charlie Brown Christmas) and...man, there was so much! Especially since the reception went until almost 3 a.m. Another thing I have never seen in the States.

At one point, "New York, New York" came on, and it made me all sorts of wistful. Seriously. I'd been trying not to think about what I was missing down in the Bronx over the weekend, and then this happened and I felt like I'd been kicked in the gut. For real, man. But that was all taken away when someone passed the bread basket over to Nancy and Ray's side of the table and the napkin hanging over the basket caught one of the table's candles and THE WHOLE THING WAS ENGULFED IN FLAMES. It kind of happened in slow motion, with all of us looking on, horrified, thinking about how Table 6 was going to be responsible for burning down the reception hall and thus ruining the wedding. This, I thought, is what we get for stuffing things in a confessional. But Ray awesomely remained calm, and busted out his water bottle to douse the flames and all went on as normal. It did give a whole new meaning to "wedding toast," however. I don't think Christina and I stopped laughing over it (because it was all good and we weren't going to be wedding ruiners after all) for a good hour.

Bread basket flambé

All in all, it was a way excellent weekend. I think I spent more time in the car than sleeping in a bed, but for a few days that's not such a bad thing. Especially when you get to be part of such a special event in a beautiful location with some of your bestest friends. What else more do you need?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bonsoir, Bitches

ESPN, or shall I say RSN for carrying ESPN, rocks my world, because I was able to watch the game from Montreal this evening, and holy crap was that a beautiful thing. I didn't expect the whole team to come out there and be all thankful to us and whatnot, but there it was. Jeter being all taking the reins with the mic (I would've liked if he'd busted out with "Because You Loved Me", but his speech will do), A-Rod looking like he was actually enjoying himself, the players scraping dirt into baggies -- in that moment you totally knew that they feel exactly the same about that place as we do. And Marino declaring that our love is "Unconditional" is especially awesome. I know he was really directing that at Friday night season-ticket holders, because of all the crap we've sat through lately, so it was nice to hear, yo.

A good job all around. Someone write this down, because I don't know when I'm going to compliment ESPN again.

Full wedding/Quebec wrap up upon my return. After I've caught up on all the pregame/postgame stuff, of course.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Quote of the Day

"It's you two… and a bunch of sex offenders." -- Production Guy Jeff, to Rana and me, on why he won't join Facebook.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Top Yankee Stadium Moments

I'm sure you've seen all these lists lately, about which, exactly, were the best moments at Yankee Stadium. Of course, the stuff you expect to be on them is there. I think of the games that I've seen via TV, which account for not only some of the best sports moments I've seen, but some of the best moments of my life: Game 6, 1996; Game 7, 2003; The 2001 World Series; Leyritz's playoff homer in 1995. Abbott's no-hitter and Cone's perfect game (I missed Wells' perfect game and Gooden's no-no thanks to higher learning, when webcasts didn't even exist) the sick Yankees/Red Sox game (aka, Jeter Dives into the Stands) from July 1, 2004; that 9-run comeback from two years ago; And that's just the top of the list -- so when people say "Ah, it's not the same thing as the place where Ruth played (ie, "Tear the history-less fucker down")," I say, hell no it' s not. But it's got a crapload of big-time memories just from the past 30 years -- more memories than some franchises have had their entire run. But I suppose that wouldn't matter to someone who just wants some sushi to go with their martini while they sit in their air-conditioned luxury box while watching....what is it again? Oh, yes, the men on the field run around those base things to score some points.

Anyway.

I've had some good times at the games I've actually been at, and I'd like to add my two cents, even if they don't really stack up in the rest of Stadium History. So here are my top moments from games I've attended, complete with the original blog posts (save the 1994 memory, because blogs were still a good few years away). It was an interesting list to compile, because I have gone to some WAY sucky games (Bloody Sock, anyone?) and some pretty decent games (though not enough to warrant a "Top Moment"). So, here you go. And I promise you won't get to hear me make "Arr, stupid new Stadium" comments till next season.

No. 6 - Jeter's 2000th hit It was a losing effort, but earlier in the game, the air was popping with anticipation for the Captain's 2000th. The way it happened was pretty awesome, what with it being a questionable hit, and having to watch the hits column on the scoreboard change to get confirmation. When the number changed, the Stadium erupted in celebratory fashion, yet I don't think Mr. Jeter himself was too psyched. I mean, he didn't smile until he got 2001 (a legit hit). Still. Awesome.

No. 5 - The Yanks rally for five runs in the bottom of the 9th to beat KC 8-7 I got to attend this game via Carolyn and Rick's season-ticket package. Of course, this was a SATURDAY game, which, of course, means magical things happened. Which included that non-clutch, no-good Alex Rodriguez getting the game-winning hit.

No. 4 - The Yankees hit 8 home runs in one game Ken's family from Pittsburgh are huge Yankees fans, and this was their first Yankee game. Their last name? Homer. I swear to god. I remember his aunt actually wondered if blasting home runs left and right while I was at games was commonplace. If only...

No. 3 - A-Rod hits 500 It was beyond swealtering (to the point where they were giving away free water at the Stadium) and it was seriously the most uncomfortable weather I'd sat through, despite the lack of rain and freezing temperatures. Thankfully, A-Rod came through early, and I got to see a bit of history through the haze of impending heatstroke.

No. 2 - I get a great birthday present from Don Mattingly, 1994 It was my 17th birthday. All I wanted was a home run from Mattingly. I got one. And it was personalized. For reals, man.

No. 1 - 2004 ALDS, Game 2 This was a wacky game, the score see-sawed many times, Mariano blew it, the game went to the 12th, the Twins went ahead, and then the Yankees came back (with that non-clutchiful dickhead A-Rod tying the game with a double that was about a foot from being a game-winning homer). Looking back now it's kind of bittersweet seeing what followed in the next round, but that game, from everything going on on the field to the charged-up crowd atmosphere, was pretty damn awesome. Also, it's one of my most favorite posts ever on this blog. So there.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

Time it was
And what a time it was it was,
A time of innocence
A time of confidences.
"Bookends," Simon & Garfunkel

In May of 1988, my dad took me to my first Yankee game. I don't remember who they played (I know), but I do remember I wore my River Plaza Elementary School sweatshirt, sat on the third base side close-ish to the field, was taken aback at how lush and green the grass was, was super excited at seeing Dave Winfield and Don Mattingly up close, and had to endure the woman behind us debating if she should bring a purse to an upcoming Bruce Springsteen concert or not (still a joke between my dad and I to this day). I was way psyched to be there because for a suburban kid, NYC was where things happened, and I knew that Yankee Stadium was like a microcosm of that. Even though it was the dirty 80s, I still knew it was somewhere that important things went down and that there was a sacredness to it that other sports venues couldn't really match. The Yankees won. It was a Saturday night.

Fast forward 20 years to yesterday -- my last "old" Yankee Stadium game. On a Saturday night. A nice bookend, of sorts (which is hard to do, considering there haven't been many Saturday night games in the Fox era). Yes, because my dear friends Liana and Eric are marrying in Quebec City next weekend, I'm missing the last Friday game. So it was kind of important that I got to see a good game, and not the normal suckage that's reserved for Fridays. Also, my goal was to take something from the Stadium. Nothing big -- I didn't want to get arrested and screw up our chances for Friday tickets next year (though I appreciated Jen trying to figure out if my eyeglass repair screwdriver would help us get the seat number off my seat) -- but something.

The game itself had a little bit of everything (except for Steph, which, wah, wah, wahhhhhh to the nth, man) with a comeback (Yeah, Sidney, thanks for the grand slam that made me think Friday night karma had made a surprise guest appearance), a few nifty fielding plays, a home run from Betemit, the soon-to-be Stadium hit king Jeter going 3 for 3, Joba making an appearance and Mo getting the save. Marlboro Man was there, and even high-fived Erica, Sound Man was awesome, though a repeat (Lionel Richie, which, speaking of bookends, was the first Sound Man to open up the newest Yankee Journal, and since I'm starting a new journal next season for the new Stadium, he is the last Sound Man as well), and my hot dog, as always, was inexplicably delicious (I've always found that the dirty water dogs were better than the roasted ones. I worry about how they will be prepared at the new place -- they will probably be organic and topped with watercress and Grey Poupon or something. Sigh.).

In the 8th inning I started to make myself take it all in -- how 1970s-esque the scoreboard looks in its simplicity and how that's all you really need (because I expect the new one to be fulls of bells and whistles), the placement of the advertisements, the faded blue of the seats. I even took some deep breaths to get that Stadium smell -- hot dogs, stale beer, a hint of popcorn and paint -- that I fear won't be in the new place (I imagine it will have a scent that is akin to new-car smell). I listened to the way "Enter Sandman" sounded when Mo came out, the way it bounced off the back walls and roof of the Tier. And I took in how marvelous Frank Sinatra sounded as he suavely told us to start spreading the news, as my last view from my beloved upper deck was of all the Yankees on the field, congratulating each other on the win. White pinstriped uniforms against that lush green that dazzled me 20 years prior.

I thought I was going to get all crazy teary on my way out, but I was too busy being all "Goodbye, Tier 5! Goodbye, shady ladies' rooms! Goodbye, pretzels that were never quite warm enough!" When I said goodbye to the field, my last view of it was from the right field Loge. I could only see the field itself and the seats immediately surrounding it, which I guess is appropriate because from what I hear, that will probably be the only remaining part of the Stadium when all is said and done.

On the way down the ramps out, I spotted a hole in one of the cinder block walls. I reached into it, much to the "OMG WHYs?" of Jen and Erica (I guess I really didn't know how the hole got there, but it did look a bit, um, man-made and was eye level, so it seemed sanitary enough), and dug out two small chunks of cement -- my own little piece of Yankee Stadium that I have yet to figure out how to display in my apartment.

And when we got to the bottom of the ramp and the exit was looming, I kissed my fingertips and pressed them to the nearest pillar as I passed. Because for all the crap I've had to endure there (a losing record on Fridays. Drunken assholes. Rain. Subzero temperatures. Rain and subzero temperatures during the Bloody Sock Game. With the flu. Boos. Getting knocked out of the playoffs) it is the dearest place to me after my childhood home. The new stadium will have all the conveniences of a 21st century park and may do its best to honor the deep history of the team. But it will never be the place where I saw my first Yankee game. And it will never be the place where I learned what being a fan is all about.

No wrecking ball nor watercress-topped hot dog can take that away from me.



Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They're all that's left you

Saturday, September 13, 2008

What Happens When the Game Gets Rained Out

I need to stop watching anything that involves staunch supporters of political parties going at each other with the kind of aggression that only ego centrism can allow. I think the rest of the country needs to do this too, if we're ever going to hope to understand each other. What am I talking about specifically? That'd be Real Time With BIll Maher, a show with the topics of today being discussed in the most "this is so turning into a catfight but I have to watch" of fashions. Now, I know this makes for good ratings and that the hope is to spark debate amongst its viewers, but I can't help but think that it makes people who aren't diehard in their political beliefs hate each party juuuuuust slightly. And then makes the people who are diehard hate the OTHER party even more. It makes for a lively discussion, but making people understand your point? Not so much.

For example, last night's panel included pompous conservative John Fund (CREEPY) extreeeeeme liberal Janeane Garofalo (UNMOVING) and Salman Rushdie (the only one who tried to make his point in a calm, reasonable matter). And then there was special guest Rosanne Barr (UM) who spouted her wisdom as if anyone who didn't follow her belief system was just completely stupid.

Here's the thing: All members of the panel said things that made sense. But with the exception of Mr. Rushdie, I was so completley turned off by the arrogance by those involved, that I immediately wanted to shout from the rooftops that I'm not in love with a two-party system, and thank god for it.

Now, you're probably saying "But KB, the fact that we can talk about these differences of opinion in an open forum like this just shows what a great country we live in." But that's not my issue. My issue is that we are becoming a country that hates each other and assigns incorrect characterizations of people based on some kind of fear of thy nemesis. And that gets perpetuated when it's all you see on television. I think we're a much more diverse place politcally than we know, but who gets the mouthpiece? The extremists. So anyone who isn't diehard in their beliefs watching that show last night could've walked away thinking that all conservatives are just smarmy and beyond scary and that liberals are self-righteous and not understanding in the least. There's no middle ground and no one can take the time to walk around in someone else's shoes and see things from another perspective, even if they don't agree with it. All it does is inject fear of the other party into diehards and disengage those who haven't made their minds up yet.

I know that people in this country are much smarter than to believe what a bunch of famous people are saying. I'm not really worried about Americans not knowing what's right for themselves. What I am worried about is that after this election is how we're going to see the other guy, and that we're going to be put in two categories as people: Those who want to bring shotguns to church on Sunday with their snobby, tax-evading praise Jesus friends and those who want to kill babies and hate the troops and make everyone gay.

I really hope I'm wrong.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Of course It Is!

Tonight is my last game at Yankee Stadium.

It's going to rain.

You're not surprised.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Party in the Pest Aisle

So, since I have been pretty much scared straight when it comes to vermin in my living quarters, I decided to visit the Home Depot to see if they have these electrified mouse traps I found online. They are supposedly a quick death for Mr./Ms. Mouse and I don't have to see the body and they can be reused, which all equals awesomeness. I was kind of disappointed when I got there and they had every kind of trap BUT the one I was looking for -- in fact, it looked like they didn't even carry it at all, which, HI, this is New York City. Those things would go like hot cakes.

And I know this now because when I got there, there was a woman perusing the selection, debating between traps and a thing you plug in the wall to drive critters away via sound. Then this other woman came over and started looking and saw that the other lady was holding the sound-thingy and was like "Oh, that totally works, it's a good choice" which sparked a whole conversation about being skeeved out by sharing your living space with these creepy ass things. The thing is, both of these women had never SEEN a mouse in their place. No, they just heard them in the walls. I totally would've won the freakout story right then and there, but I held back, mentioning that I was looking for the electrified trap, which kind of shocked the second woman because she didn't believe in killing them or something, just driving them away (which is all well and good if mice were, you know, smart enough not to come back, but I'm sorry, THE MOUSE WAS IN MY BEDROOM. And I think they've now found the living room too, which, yeah, I'm done being all Patti PC PETA about this.).

Anyway, we're discussing the whole plug-in sound drive-awayer thing, when this guy comes over to the insect side of the section, sees that I'm holding a cheaper version of the plug-in thing, and he's all "Uh-uh, you don't want that. It drives them away at first but they get used to it and come back." Now, I think he thought I was looking to drive away roaches, because he then started singing the praises of this roach bait he was holding, but I found it hilarious that at the exact moment I was looking into solving my own problem, three other people were doing the same exact thing. I mean, I think almost everyone I know has had a mouse problem at some point, but it's nice knowing you're not alone in it right now, you know?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

BLARGH!: The Final Fury (Or How My Apartment Became a Crime Scene)

WARNING: The accounts, descriptions and photos in this post may be disturbing for some C&TB readers. Please read at your own risk.

HEY! Remember how I was having issues with Mr. Mouse a few months ago? Well, he disappeared and was never heard from again and it was all very relieving because I was afraid I was going to have to encounter him in a covered mouse trap and I was going to have a stroke having to pick up a dead animal in said trap.

Oh, how that would've been lovely compared to what I dealt with today.

Let's go back to a few nights ago, when I'm falling asleep and I hear what I think is a loud squeak out in the kitchen. After being momentarily freaked out, I decide that it's my mind playing tricks on me, because there are no traps set out there and I don't have a cat or anything else that could induce a cry of pain from a mouse, and I go to sleep. When I get up on Friday morning, there seems to be no evidence of foul play in the kitchen, and I pack my bag as usual and head to work and then down to my parents' for the weekend.

And then I get home today -- cue music of impending freakout (I'm thinking something along the lines of a Psycho-esque "Ree ree ree ree"). The first thing I see in the kitchen near the sink is a blood stain on the floor. And then another one a few inches away from that. Also, there is a lone mouse turd next to one of the stains. I instantly become all girly and whiny about having to set another trap, thinking that whatever did this has left the building. Oh, silly KB! I go into the bathroom and there's another blood stain on the floor and another behind the door. And then I see a trail of blood leading into...my bedroom.



It is about this time that I start wishing hardcore for a big, strong manfriend to swoop in and save me from what I know I'm eventually going to find. I mean, the only thing going through my brain is "animals always go and hide themselves when they die." And this fucker was going to be dead in my sleeping quarters. In the meantime, calling my mom and whimpering helps. She suggests checking the closets, which I'm like "UM, NO!" but I do anyway, with the help of a mop handle. And, not to be totally gross here, but I find a bunch of mouse droppings in the closet -- like, enough to where I actually call the super, because OHMYGOD IT'S DISGUSTING. And I dealt with mouse turds galore at the old office, so it's not like I'm being some prissy mouse poop prude here.

Anyway, after leaving a message for the super, I decide that I have to be brave and move the two biggest things in my closet: My suitcase and The Yankee Chicken's wardrobe chest (yeah, I know). And that's when I see it between the two: A TAIL. Knowing I have an overactive imagination, I bust out my flashlight to be sure and...there's a whole dead body attached to the tail.

And thus begins several freakout phone calls to Dexter and Vicki (who I had plans with later), Rana, Ken and my mother. Because I was borderline traumatized at this point and literally had no clue how I should go about getting rid of it. I mean, IT WAS IN MY CLOSET. IN MY BEDROOM. LIFE IS SO UNFAIR. And it's a big-ass mouse, y'all. Which only made the situation that much more pleasant.

While I'm talking to Rana and hiding in my living room, the super calls back and is like "Yeah, I noticed some poop in my place too and I'll get you some traps," and I'm like "Uh, I found it. DEAD. IN MY BEDROOM." And he doesn't seem as bothered by this as I am, yet for some reason, I still can't bring myself to say "Can you come over and get rid of it?" For real. This gross, disgusting thing occurs, maybe one of the handful of times in my life I've been seriously squeamish, and my independent woman side wins out. What the hell is my problem?

After pacing around a bit and buying some bleach, I get my mom on the phone for moral support and decide I'm going to ball up an old poncho (so I don't have to feel anything), throw it on the carcass and dump it in several bags. It takes a few minutes of psyching myself up before I finally do it, sounding like a five-year-old getting a shot the entire time.

That fucker is now outside in the trash, and I've since scrubbed everything in sight. The bathroom was interesting because I noticed more blood near sink and under the baseboard. Like, it dragged itself a million different places in its Tour de Death before deciding my closet, amongst The Yankee Chicken's wardrobe and whatnot, was the perfect place to expire.


Because I may have been on the verge of a nervous breakdown cleaning it up, but my sense of humor is still intact.

I still don't know how this thing injured itself and I'm REALLY not sure I want to know. It will have to remain an unsolved mystery for now.

But I do know one thing -- I'm setting those nice, covered traps tonight. You can bet your ass I am.

In Which, to Quote June, I am Dead From Cuteness

So, I'm down at the old Bischer homestead in Middletown, and I'm stalking into the backyard with my cell phone in the hopes of getting a better signal, when all of a sudden, I almost trample over this little bunny rabbit. AND OMG IT WAS SO CUTE. Now, for some reason, my parents' neighborhood has suddenly become wild kingdom in recent years, because when I was a kid, we'd only get the occasional racoon or ducks or box turtle coming through the yard. Then came the Rookie years (circa 1989-2000), when no animal would venture into the yard for fear of encountering my, um, lively 100-pound Labrador retriever.

Nowadays, though, my mom tells me stories of groundhogs and and skunks and vultures and more recently, rabbits, which I had never seen until today. The thing is, the rabbit barely paid me any mind when I was standing, like, two feet in front of him. He studied me for a second and then went back to eating his grass. And it made me think that it's not urban sprawl or the lack of a wildebeast of a pet that's inviting these critters, Nay, it's that they just don't give a shit. I'm not sure that's the best way for nature to go, you know? What if I'd had a rifle instead of a cell phone (because you know I am secretly a sharpshooter)? Poor Mr. Bunny Rabbit would've been made a stew. Has he never read Peter Rabbit, the ultimate animal cautionary tale?

Oooh! Maybe I can get the Yankee Chicken to lend him his blue jacket...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

It's Going to Be a Long Two Months

So I'm listening to the experts discuss Palin's speech, and on two networks thus far, the term "culture war" has been brought up, and that this election is going to be about small towns vs. big cities. Now, while I live in an urban area right now, I am originally from an average-sized suburb (which...who's looking out for them since they are neither big city or small town?). I don't like having a label slapped on me because of where I live. And I don't like the candidates and pundits pitting the citizens of this country against each other based on their origins. We are all Americans, you know? What the fuck does it matter how big your town is? These people are going to be leading ALL of us, so I hope they take that into account. I seriously hope this "culture war" doesn't flare up to monstrous proportions, because I don't want to hear New Yorkers dissing on people they've never met in small-town Tennessee just as I don't want to hear some farmer in Montana ragging on people's opinions from "the big city," complete with blanket statements and judgements that probably aren't true. If this election fans the flames of these kinds of opinions, well, I'm gonna be a little vexed.

I also have big issues with saying who's right or wrong in holding what belief works for them. It's why I never get too political, because while I know what I hold dear, I would never assume it's right for everyone (and this also means understanding that people ARE allowed to freak out over their candidates -- to each his own). So when it comes down to this crap, turning citizens against each other, I just get disgusted with the overall process. I don't know if I'm the only person who feels this way (most of my friends are pretty diehard in their political beliefs, so I don't think they are experiencing this), but I do know I want it to be the second week in November already, because I am disenchanted as all get out with the proceedings thus far.

I just want a country full of people who respect each other, not blame each other for their candidate not getting elected. Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

9021UGH

When you start a show with the line "This sucks," you have to be really careful that the story you're going to tell over the next two hours is going to be the exact opposite, or you're just setting yourself up to be the brunt of many reviewers' jokes. But 90210...man, that's two hours of my life I won't get back. It wasn't even awesomely bad. It was maddeningly boring. And I won't be watching again. Here's why:

-- I find it hard to believe that a family this ridiculously good-looking would also be so nice to each other, and that no one in said good-looking family is flawed. At all. It was like watching Full House (and not because of Lori Loughlin) with all its morals and instant understandings. The O.C. was a master at getting the whole parenting thing across without making it look phony or schmaltzy. This? Yawn. In short: Shut up, main character family.

-- Grandma is a bitchy, rich, (read: eccentric) drunk. Of course she is. Bet she supplies a lot of "Oh, that Grandma" moments, because Soused + Loaded (with money or booze, take your pick) x quippy oneliners = Hilarity. *Rolls eyes*

-- Watching Annie bust her way into the school play was obnoxious and embarrassing. I think we were supposed to think she was good at what she did, but it was seriously Un. Comfortable. And the fact that she knew what to say to everyone and was wayyyy too perky and forgiving and already making guys want to better themselves for her wholesome, lecturing ass was a bit much.

-- Who gets a blow job in the school parking lot with classmates bustling by and expects to NOT get caught? Plot device, much?

-- Want to know why I thought this show blew? It was lousy with cliches. And you need look no further than Annie's instant boyfriend. First: The name, Ty Collins. Probably short for Tyler. Which is always a rich boy's name. But let's shorten it to Ty because he's in high school and needs to sound young since he looks at least 25. And outside of meeting, riding a plane and short scene walking with each other, we get no insight into why these two would want to hang out with each other, sexual attraction aside. And OF COURSE he has a plane! That's so exotic! And OF COURSE we had to have a Pretty Woman "minus the whore thing" mention, because THAT hasn't been done before.

I think preteens might like this, but it wasn't for me. When I watch a show or read a book that's teen oriented, I know the material is probably going to be a little been there, done that. So the only thing that's going to keep me hooked is the ability to tell things originally and/or tap into something that makes me relate to that time of my life. This show didn't do either. Not that I really expected it to, but for all they hype surrounding it, I thought I'd at least find something redeeming...

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Few Faves

Saw this over at Beth's blog and just had to steal for myself...

Favorite Beatles album: This is kind of like choosing your favorite child and I'm much better at picking my favorite Beatles songs, so I'm going to take an easy way out and say the one I just used as a plot device in my book: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, specifically "With a Little Help From My Friends". And let me just go off on a tangent for a minute about how the use of this song in Across the Universe basically made me kind of hate the movie. Because it was sung by a spoiled rich kid (in a really crappy wig) and his Princeton friends and, I don't know, spoiled brats never sit well with me. Anyway....

Favorite Beatle:Ringo. I always like the goofy ones. Paul was the cutest, however.

Favorite Batman: I'm with Beth here and I'm going to say the Michael Keaton one. It was one of the first superhero movies I remember watching that made the genre accessible, especially to a 12-year-old girl (let's not think about how that makes the movie 19 years old. OY.).

Favorite Olympic sport: Figure skating -- I actually started liking it when Tonya and Nancy were still kind of no-names. It's also the sport that made me decide I wanted to involve myself with watching sports more. A gateway drug, if you will.

Favorite “Friend”: Liked the show in the early seasons, but it quickly got on my nerves precisely because every character (save Chandler, I think) got annoying as hell. So I'm going to say no one.

Favorite Star Wars movie: The original, Episode IV: A New Hope. I mean, I loved me some Return of the Jedi when I was a kid, and I have a great respect for Empire (and can watch both over and over), but the first one tells such a simple story in awesome fashion and managed to captivate millions. This also gets name-dropped in my book, oddly enough.

Favorite Simpsons character: Horatio McCallister (aka The Sea Captain), because he is, like, the randomest character on the show. I was bummed there wasn't more of him in The Simpsons Movie.

Favorite James Bond: You know, I've never sat through an entire James Bond. But I always wanted them to make one where he settles down in the suburbs and is pursuing some bad guy while driving a minivan with his screaming kids in the backseat. Just because it would be different.

Favorite Southpark character: Chef (RIP, Isaac Hayes)!