22 November 2009


Two months ago I offered an alternative to the latest travel industry bandwagon product that featured a walking tour of Obama's Honolulu.

Now, another "Obama Walking Tour" has reared it's head in another one of my old stomping grounds, New York City.
For $25.00 ($15.00 for children 12 and under) a tourist is offered "A two-hour walking tour including stops at Columbia University, a Harlem subway station, and the street where the man who now sleeps in the White House once slept in an alley for a night". And I got a real kick out of this... "...Miller ends the tour by hopping on the No. 1 train"...

That's it? This is where "Barry the boy, became Barack the man?"


A 12 hour tour (or longer), where "516 the boy, became 212... an older boy".
$15.00...no children under the age of reason allowed.

This extensive tour of the Bronx and Manhattan features a panorama of what life was like in NYC between 1973 through 1977 when a young 505 matriculated at Manhattan College (and worked his way through school thanks to some "non-government sponsored bullshit jobs").

The tour begins once a week at 242nd St and Broadway (the terminus of the #1 Subway Train) on the campus of Manhattan College. We'll initially follow the route that 505 and his future roommate/lifelong buddy took on their first day of college. A short stroll from the main campus to nearby Van Cortlandt Park. While the rest of the freshman class was attending welcome seminars and speeches, 505 and his friend spent the day golfing in the Park. (paid for 9 holes, played 18). "So this is college".

Following a bucket of balls at the range, we'll head back to 242nd Street and Broadway for a kickoff cocktail at each of the bars that sat underneath the elevated subway platform. Special "beer and schnappes" prices have been negotiated with The Green Leaf, The Pinewood and The Terminal Bar (or whatever their names are now). As my new roommate had declared so often, "My final selection of a college to attend was based upon how many bars were within walking distance."

505 didn't realize it then, but that statement was all I needed to know about both Sociology and Logic 101.

Climb the stairs and board a specially restored "70's #1 Train", completely graffitied both inside and out, littered with Daily News front pages showcasing headlines from the era such as "FORD TO CITY-DROP DEAD!!" and "SON OF SAM STRIKES AGAIN!!", as well as strategically located pools of human urine on the floor of the subway cars. In train entertainment will be provided by 4 foot long Ghetto Blasters featuring the tuneage of Eddie Kendricks and ABBA.

Sit back and enjoy the hour long ride, as we are headed all the way downtown. Gaze out the spray can tinted windows of the subway car as we cross high above the Harlem River (I KNOW Barack could've walked on that water in the 70's) and view the broken glass infields where Manny Ramirez played during his youth. Enjoy the people watching deep underground at the 168th St. station, where we could now change and catch an express downtown. But in the 70's no white kid would leave the comfort of this local train and run a gauntlet through what was then a multilayered platform of economic and racially charged hatred in order to save a few minutes.

Laugh out loud at the 42nd St station as your host recounts a Mad March evening in 1977 when a full #1 Train (8 cars--about 500-700 mostly males) of Manhattan College students jumped off one stop early and streaked the last 9 blocks down 7th Avenue to 33rd street and Madison Square Garden. Where the Jaspers and archrival Fordham Rams (rams eat shit) were renewing their basketball rivalry. (505 stole the Ram mascot's head that night, but was captured with it by Garden security before reaching the safety of the student body, at least they let me stay and watch the game!! cuz 505 learned early in life that it's "who" you know...one of the security guards recognized me as a vendor who worked there).

Disembarking at the Chambers Street Station, we'll tour the City Hall area-- taking note of the towering dormitory of Pace College...it casts a long shadow over City Hall. 505 spent many a night shadow dancing in that dorm with an old girlfriend after spending too many dollars in a nearby Blarney Stone Pub. We'll have lunch in Chinatown at Wo Hop, while carefully stepping over indigents sleeping in the stairwell area (Barry? is that you? you're in the wrong part of town!). Be careful not to slip down the stairs as we enter this basement hovel. Dining in Chinatown in the 70's was a true life lesson...It demonstrated that washing one's hands before a meal is greatly overrated.

Following lunch we'll reboard our #1 Train and head back up to 34th Street. We'll hang out for awhile by the employee entrance at Madison Sq. Garden, where 505 spent many an evening hoping to be selected to sell beer or soda or ice cream for an event at the Garden. Keep an eye out for modern day Walt Fraziers and Dave Debusscheres (who often sat and chatted with us vendors in the stands pre-game while enjoying his ritual 2 cups of coffee) and Circus Clowns (not to be confused with the hockey team that put on their act there as well).

A short walk up to 42nd St and 5th Avenue ensues. Now thirty years later, you can still score a Rolex for $10.00 on the way, proving ONCE AGAIN that small business is the pulse and the timing belt for the economic engine of America.

We'll tour Bryant Park behind the NYC Public Library, current home to Project Runway's Fashion Week. In the 70's it was always fashionable to score a "loose joint" in what was then a Midtown Turkish Bizarre World. Scratch around in the dirt, like the pigeons do, and perhaps you will find some of the residue of the 70's that helps NYC pigeons soar higher than their counterparts in other locales. And perhaps why Michael Kors always wears sunglasses while watching the models during the final show.

Window shopping along 5th Avenue is in order, as 505 recalls his summer of '73 as a 16 year old messenger for Kentnor Corporation, an umbrella corporation for trendy 5th Avenue shops, and all of the beautiful women he encountered while delivering the mail and 40K trinkets for stores like Cartier, Valentino's and Georj Jensen. YOWSER. Quite an experience for a hormonal young boy who had just spent 4 years as a student in an all male High School. Unfortunately, cougars were on the endangered list in the nouveau chic, environment conscious period of the 70's....sigh.

After dinner and rousing Irish Music in Connolly's in Midtown (it wasn't around in the 70's, but hey..ya' know?), we'll reboard our specially outfitted #1 train at 42nd St and do what any subway derelict does on a ride to the end of the line... pass out snoring.

Back at 242nd St and the end of the tour. Special rates will be available for those needing a bed for the night in Manhattan College's Overlook Dormitory. (A supplemental showcase tour in itself). Complimentary bacon and egg breakfast sandwiches (on poppy seed rolls...like you have to worry about a pee test at this point?) included the following morning from a local deli.

Now. I ask everyone....what's up with these BORING Obama City Tours?

Too bad Barack never ran his game in Alaska...

Perhaps Sarah and I can put together a Spenard Edition.

20 November 2009


A recently discovered letter written by Abraham Lincoln (which generated 3.4 million dollars at an auction) to a group of 195 children has generated a firestorm of angst and protest from the Nation's Media and Pundits.

In the letter, Mr. Lincoln, a Republican from a small town in the last frontier state of Illinois, responded to the school children's request to "free all the slave children in the country".

Mr. Lincoln replied:

""Please tell these little people I am very glad their young hearts are so full of just and generous sympathy, and that while I have not the power to grant all they ask, I trust that they will remember that God has, and that, as it seems, He wills to do it."

Reaction to Mr. Lincoln's response, in particular his reference to "God's Will" was immediate and furious.

MSNBC's Chris Matthews..."How does Lincoln know what God wants? Does he talk to him?".

Keith Olbermann called Lincoln a "clear and present danger to the nation", and continued "we don't need another Elmer Gantry, I think God has better things to do".

Rachel Maddow followed up the smirking by saying "If Lincoln believes that God will free the slaves, American voters will react with WTF!!, and besides if God was really working on this issue, wouldn't he be better at it than Mr. Lincoln? I'm pretty sure that you cannot pray away slavery".

Sally Quinn of the Washington Post commented..."How did God work in Lincoln's life?", and suggested Lincoln shouldn’t complain about what God did to him through say, John Wilkes Boothe.

In an editorial, the New York Times suggested that Lincoln would be better off prostrating himself at the feet of the Monarchs of England and France, and seeking their guidance on the slavery issue, rather than beseeching a god that probably doesn't exist.

David Letterman generated his own firestorm of anger by suggesting in his monologue that Colonel Abner Doubleday of the Union Army was told by God to have sex with Mrs. Lincoln.

SNL writers immediately put together a skit featuring John Belushi, Chris Farley, Gilda Radner and Phil Hartman entertaining God while Mr. Lincoln's text messages were ignored by the enraptured deity.

Finally, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News admonished Mr. Lincoln for his veiled agnosticism and warned him to pick a Church and balanced (fairly) that admonishment by offering Mr. Lincoln a complimentary "St. Peter Welcomes You" doormat if he joined the Catholic Church.

Sean Hannity let Mr. Lincoln know that he once played God in a school play and is still capable of being Him, and Glen Beck wrote the entire Baltimore Catechism (from memory) on a chalkboard for the benefit of Mr. Lincoln and invited him to use the direct phone line in his studio to call God.

No reaction from Mr. Lincoln, who was last seen climbing a mountain on the back of a Lama in Nepal, as witnessed by Sarah Palin from her bedroom window, who was modeling the latest in running attire while simultaneously carving the eyes out of a burglar carrying Newsweek credentials.

19 November 2009


"I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt."

"The principle of spending money to be paid by future generations, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."

"I hope [that] we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength and [to] bid defiance to the laws of our country."

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”

"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor any bread it has earned- this is the sum of good government."

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

14 November 2009






These pricks are gonna be tried with the same rights as a U.S. Citizen? In New York?
Is Tony Soprano in the house?
Can we start with a wax for the hairball pictured above and use 20 year old scotch tape?

13 November 2009



  • UNM student athlete (can you keep those two words in context America?) Elizabeth Lambert. Two weeks ago she was just an average 20 year old college kid, playing Division I soccer to get herself through school. Today, thanks to a selective lowlight reel put together by a homer team video crew, an American Media that places more importance on sensationalism than journalistic integrity (I know, an oxymoron in 2009) and a nation (nay, WORLD) of fellow citizens who apparently have never played a competitive team sport, she has replaced Sarah Palin as the most reviled woman on the North American continent. The Pedro Martinez takedown of Don Zimmer did not receive near as much vile commentary from so many ratholes in the media and the overall population. And at least Zimmer had enough class to come out and say that he was partly to blame for Pedro's actions. (and may God now forgive me for mentioning soccer and baseball in the same paragraph).
  • The children of Robert and Mayumi Heene. The "balloon boy" parents who just replaced Jon and Kate Gosselin as the dumbest parents in America with their horrific attempt at a stupid nursery school prank.
  • Anyone who has bothered to read (which means no one who votes in Congress) Nancy Pelosi's ONE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED AND NINETY PAGE Health Care Reform Act. Clearly, Ms. Pelosi has never had a KISS and never learned how to Keep It Simple Stupid. After 239 years, the Constitution is still only 17 pages long.
  • The Public Relations Director at the University of New Mexico. Who in the last 90 days has had to engage in yeoman's work in defending the school after a brand new football coach was accused of sexual harassment by an athletic office employee during his first week on the job, then had to find rose colored glasses after ESPN's (Inside The Lines) coverage of the same coach punching an assistant coach, followed up by a subsequent firestorm directed against the school's President for attempting to coverup the story, and most recently the nasty little Youtube video about the aforementioned Ms. Lambert. So much for "Land of Enchantment", eh Mr. PR Director?
  • The couple in Phoenix, Arizona who's house was placed in foreclosure and sold by Chase, even though they were current on their mortgage. I'd stay in bed today if I were them, just be aware that they may have company.
  • Every resident of Philadelphia. Not only was their baseball team WAXED by the New York Yankees, but the residents just earned Travel and Leisure Magazine's bottom ranking for "Least Attractive People" for the 3rd year in a row. Chase Utley's hairdo notwithstanding. (But something tells me the Brotherly Lovers relish the designation).
  • The residents of Budaors, Hungary. Who's entire police force (15 officers) walked off their jobs the minute they won a 16 million dollar lottery. Oh, to own a donut shop in Budaors.

And finally, here's a shoutout to someone whom I was happy to see didn't stay in bed this morning.

The layout editor for the local newspaper in the 505.

While perusing the morning rag (locally known as the Albuquerque Urinal), I came across a rare article indeed. The much maligned New Mexico Education system was cited as "above average" in a report issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (and in case you miss the irony-or the favor- in that, our Governor Bill Richardson was SUPPOSED to be in charge of that same USCoC for Obama, until Bill ran into a little "corruption and graft" issue here in the 505).

But the real beauty of that story? Right beneath the article was another story which followed up the plight of a local High School baseball coach and teacher. Who was fired a few months ago for purchasing strippers for some of his student athletes while on a road trip.

"Above Average Education"....fersure.

11 November 2009


On this Veterans Day in 2009, we are all turning our attention, rightfully so, to the millions of men and women who have answered the call to duty (past and present) in defense of our nation. But the respect and honor that we give to these brave people should not stop with them. Oftentimes, the greater burden of military service is placed on the shoulders of those left behind..their families.

Say hello to "Ken". Ken works the midnight shift at the 7/11 not far from my house in the 505. I visit Ken once or twice a week, late at night, to purchase a pack of what will be my eventual downfall of life experience on this earth.

Ken is in his mid-60's, honest, hardworking, and is no doubt building up an incredibly worthless retirement fund thanks to his employment at 7/11.
But he loves his job. And who can't admire anyone for that?

Ken wears the same baseball cap to work every night. It's one of those Navy baseball caps that you see around port cities like San Diego, Newport News, Honolulu, Manila, ..etc... caps that have the name and the image and ID number of a ship on it.

Ken's cap says "USS INDIANAPOLIS".

I know a little about U.S. Military History.

So one late night, when the cops weren't around collecting their free donuts drying out underneath the heat lamp, in between busting joyriding teenagers and setting up their DWI checkpoints, I asked Ken what he knew about the U.S.S. Indianapolis.

"A lot", he said. "My Father served on the Indianapolis".

I asked...."Really? Odd, you appear to be too old to have had a father serve on it" (nice one 505.....try something novel next time and THINK before you open your mouth).

Being too nice a guy to give me a dirty look after my faux pas, he smiled and replied that his mother was pregnant with him when the ship was struck by Japanese torpedos after delivering the atomic bomb for a test drop on Hiroshima.

For those of you who don't know the story about the Indianapolis, it took 4 days after the sinking of the Indianapolis for the U.S. Navy to figure out that they had a cruiser missing. In the meantime about 900 initial survivors (out of a crew of 1100) of the ship fought dehydration and sharks while floating around freely in the ocean, with nothing but life preservers. The sharks were the bigger of the battle....and the sharks won more often than not. When rescuers arrived on the scene, roughly 300 of the original crew had survived.

So I asked Ken....

"Did your dad make it home?"

Ken replied...

"He's still at sea"

Bucking up and trying to remain stoic, I hugged him and blessed him for keeping the faith alive in the middle of the desert with that small tribute that he wears EVERY night during his shift at 7/11.

Now each time I visit Ken, I have now a good reason to reflect about my dad. The U.S. Marine who was fortunate enough to come home from the Pacific. Dad was lucky....really, really lucky. He got pulled out of a graduation day exercise on Parris Island after some Colonel recognized him as the 505 Senior who played baseball in the Yankee organization prior to enlistment. And he asked my dad if he'd be interested in playing on the Marine Corps intra-service team..alongside Major League players like Ted Williams (briefly) and Jerry Coleman. So when my dad's company shipped off to the Pacific, dad got off the ship in Hawaii while the rest of his boot camp buddies headed west, thinking that they were gonna be involved in quartermaster duties for 3-4 months. Except that they were really headed for Tarawa, and my dad's company was part of the first wave of invaders. And out of his boot camp platoon of 20 or so Marines, 3 survived the landing, and one of them committed suicide a year later.

So thanks to meeting Ken, I got to thinking what life would have been like for my brother, who was born in 1944, if my dad didn't come home. (Never mind my younger sister and I, who knows if our specific eggs would have ever been fertilized).
Would my brother have turned out to be the ambitious white collar entrepreneur if may father had not come home? Or would he have been content and happy enough to wear a "Battle of Tarawa" T-Shirt to his shift as a cab driver in NYC every night?

And I'm not saying that's there's anything wrong with being a cab driver or a midnight shift clerk at a local 7/11. I am a firm believer that life is too short to worry about inane details like your standing in the economic caste system of life. It's more important to be happy, whatever you do.

But I think it's important to remember on this Veteran's Day that it's not just the actual people who served our nation that we need to honor, but also those who were left behind...especially those who carried on without a father, a mother, an uncle, a grandfather etc.

Because their sacrifices and losses and the memories they carry are no less honorable.

I think I'll need a pack of ciggies tonight.

And I'm gonna pickup a flower or something to give to Ken.

06 November 2009


Yesterday, I made a reference to Emmett Ashford, a former Major League Umpire (American League), who was the first Black Man to umpire in Professional Baseball, indeed the first Black American to umpire in the Major Leagues .

And while Jackie Robinson has been properly honored for breaking down the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947, (nudging out Larry Doby who joined the Cleveland Indians of the American League 11 weeks after Robinson's debut) I started wondering where the honors are for Emmett Ashford? The man who broke down an equally Berlin Wall type of racial inequality by becoming the first Black Umpire in the Major Leagues nearly 20 years after Robinson and Doby made a major league lineup. Which didn't happen for Ashford until 1966, after breaking into the minors in 1952. (How long does it take to develop a strike zone?)

And never mind why it took Emmett nearly 14 years after his minor league debut to garner a spot in the bigs as an umpire. I am certain that someone could get a PH.D filling in the blanks on that 1950's Americana and Baseball Social Commentary.

But how come there are no monuments or statues of Emmett Ashford? Why isn't he in some kind of Hall of Fame? Cuz he was "just an umpire"? who only worked in the Majors for 5 years? (bullshit, I say)

I remember watching Emmett Ashford when I was just a spongy pubescent kid in the late 60's. He was great. Let me say that again, he was great. Not because he was a good umpire or the first black man umpiring in the Major Leagues, ( I had my fill of racism every night on the evening news with riots and water hoses and snarling German Shepherds) but Emmett Ashford was a throughly entertaining umpire to watch. He put flair and pizzazz into the otherwise Black and White performance of Major League Umpiring. You could say he singlehandedly put a rainbow of color into my B+W television set every time he appeared during a Yankee game on WPIX Channel 11. Indeed, we kids often imitated him in the schoolyards as much as we imitated The Mick, or Say Hey or even The Scooter or "Huh-Ho" Bob Murphy on the airwaves.

In a nutshell (my favorite place to be)....watching Emmett Ashford call balls and strikes or work the bases during a game was like watching Joe Cocker warmup for a Mixed Martial Arts demonstration.

I wonder if Emmett ever knew how much of an icon he was to kids of all races and colors in the 60's?

Emmett Ashford may not have been the best, nor even nearly the best umpire in the Major Leagues during his 5 year stint, (he HAD to retire in 1970, having exceeded that maximum age of 56 for umpiring) but there is no doubt that he was the most fun to watch.

But that's not why Emmett Ashford should be in some kind of Hall of Fame. And I agree that it shouldn't be.

40+ years later I look back and wonder what kind of life he lived chasing the dream of getting from the minors to the majors. Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby and a battalion of Black Baseball Players had it rough, sure, no argument. But at least they ALWAYS had at least one or two or more people rooting for them in the stands and on the streets.

Who roots for an umpire? Everybody HATES the umpire, (KILL the Umpire?) regardless of their color, but moreso I imagine, if you were Emmett Ashford working in small town white America in the 50's.

Every umpire has probably feared for his safety on more than one occasion. But I gotta wonder if Emmett Ashford had to do that on a daily basis.

And for that reason alone, Emmett deserves some kind of Lifetime Achievement Honor.

And that's just my opinion.

04 November 2009


  • 1923-Yankees win Championship. Ireland joins the League of Nations after The Moderation League of New York becomes part of the movement for the Repeal of Prohibition in the United States.

  • 1927- Yankees win Championship. The Holland Tunnel opens to traffic as the first Hudson vehicular Tunnel linking New Jersey to New York City. The Soprano Trucking and Garbage Pickup business expands to Northern New Jersey.

  • 1928- Yankees win Championship. Mickey Mouse appears in Steamboat Willie, the first sound film from Walt Disney. Great Grandma Ima "BigMouth" Rollins provides the voiceover for Mickey, promising to do at least 5 more films....6 if she's nice.

  • 1932- Yankees win Championship. Tata Airlines (later to become Air India) makes its first flight. Tata opens the first call center in Delhi, employing 4,000 locals, all have the same first name of Patel.

  • 1936- Yankees win Championship. Construction of the Hoover Dam is completed. FDR supporters, reeling from 4 years of Economic Depression and led by radio show host Keith Olberman Sr. fail in their attempt to name the structure "Dam Hoover".

  • 1937- Yankees win Championship. Ernest Hemingway's novel "To Have and Have Not" is first published. 72 years later it becomes a best seller on the winter reading list for all Philadelphians.

  • 1938- Yankees win Championship. Krispy Kreme opens it's first store. A woman by the name of Cecilia Sabathia is the first customer.

  • 1939- Yankees win Championship. Sit-down strikes are outlawed by the Supreme Court. Ryan Howard's grandfather stands and applauds, as he was growing weary of sitting down so often after strikes.

  • 1941- Yankees win Championship. The breakfast cereal Cheerios is introduced by General Mills. In a attempt to usurp breakfast leader Wheaties, a sonogram of the unfertilized egg that would become Derek Jeter is featured on the first box cover.

  • 1943- Yankees win Championship. The alleged Philadelphia Experiment, in which a U.S. destroyer escort was to be rendered invisible to human observers was conducted in what was to later become the current location of the Phillies bullpen in Citizens Bank Park.

  • 1947- Yankees win Championship. In NYC, Edwin Land demonstrates the first "instant camera". Major League Baseball Umpires stage a sitdown strike in protest. The strike fails when black and white video replays determine that the umpires sat down out of position.

  • 1949- Yankees win Championship. Los Angeles receives its first recorded snowfall. Area hospitals are overwhelmed with nasal and sinus inflammations brought on by "severe inhalation".

  • 1950- Yankees win Championship. Senator Estes Kefauver introduces a resolution calling for an investigation of organized crime in the United States. Major League Baseball owners memorize the Reserve Clause, while shredding all written documentation.

  • 1951- Yankees win Championship. Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site begins with a 1-kiloton bomb dropped on Frenchman Flat, northwest of Las Vegas. In Paris, the government surrenders to Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack.

  • 1952- Yankees win Championship. Emmitt Ashford becomes the first black umpire in organized baseball. His first call at 1st base....is wrong.

  • 1953- Yankees win Championship. The Crucible, a drama by Arthur Miller, opens on Broadway. Casey Stengel, Ralph Houk, Billy Martin, Bob Lemon and Yogi Berra tryout for the lead role.

  • 1956- Yankees win Championship. Fidel Castro and his followers land in Cuba in the boat "Granma". Granma returns to Florida with 16 pitchers, 12 shortstops and 27 outfielders

  • 1958- Yankees win Championship. The first International House of Pancakes opens in Toluca Lake, Calif. A woman by the name of Cecilia Sabathia is the first customer.

  • 1961- Yankees win Championship. President Kennedy announces plans to place a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Nick Swisher's dad, Steve, volunteers to be the first.

  • 1962- Yankees win Championship. A 114 day newspaper strike begins in New York City. Mets and Yankees rejoice.

  • 1977- Yankees win Championship. Fleetwood Mac releases the album "Rumors". Two year old Alex Rodriguez breaks out in hives when his parents play the album

  • 1978- Yankees win Championship. Pete Rose gets his 3,000th hit. Sports Books in Las Vegas declare a one day commemorative holiday.

  • 1996- Yankees win Championship. In Philadelphia, a panel of federal judges blocks a law against indecency on the internet. Shane Victorino's video "How to Bunt a Baseball" is the first new release on youtube.

  • 1998- Yankees win Championship. Osama Bin Laden publishes a fatwa, declaring jihad against all Jews and Crusaders. Bill Clinton orders more cigars, Al Gore googles fatwa and jihad, and Yeshiva and Holy Cross Universities go into a 30 day lockdown.

  • 1999- Yankees win Championship. Pluto moves along its eccentric orbit further from the Sun than Neptune. Cole Hamels develops two new pitches.

  • 2000- Yankees win Championship. Met Fans......oh, why bother.

  • 2009- Yankees win Championship. Barack Obama creates new cabinet position. Names Ozzie Guillen "Czar of Baseball".

03 November 2009



Somebody on the Yankee pitching staff has got to knock Chase Utley on his ass. Or do what the Phillies have done to A-Rod three times so far.... and plant one in his ribs.

Cuz Chase Utley is well on his way to singlehandedly (with some help from Cliff Lee) leading the Phillies to a second consecutive World Series Championship.

I don't want to hear any nonsense about "that's not the Yankee Style" or the "Yankees have too much class for that kind of baseball.


Style points and class only win in Olympic Figure Skating.

Enough of Chase Utley....drill him and take your chances on Ryan "Special K" Howard.

Just my opinion.

31 October 2009


Eight years ago, I had the pleasure of bringing my son and daughter to NYC for all 3 games of the 2001 World Series. I had been to hundreds of games at Yankee Stadium in my life. Saw Roger and Mickey and Whitey and Thurman and was lucky enough to be in the upper deck of the Stadium with 10+ college buddies when Chris Chambliss propelled the Yankees into the 1976 World Series at the expense of Mark Littell and the Royals.

But no Yankee Stadium or baseball experience compared to the 3 days of the 2001 World Series. The emotional specter of returning to New York for an event like the World Series mere weeks after 9/11 was overwhelming. Emotions that included excitement, anticipation, curiosity, anger and even fear gripped me for the entire 5 days that we were there.

And the one memory I shall always hold near and dear til my grave was when Tino Martinez cracked that game tying home run in Game 4. For the 1st time in my life of spectating games at that old venerable gray mecca, I felt the structure move when the ball landed in the stands.

Ghosts? Release of volcanic like emotions of a local population harboring pain and angst over the events of the previous month? An old structure showing it's age under the burden of 50,000+ exuberant fans? All of the above? Whatever, it was easily the most unique experience of my life.

All summed up in the following essay my son wrote for a College English class two years ago.
I am reprinting it here without his permission. Cuz I couldn't have said it any better. He gets mad at me when I share it, but I don't care. I'm proud of it and proud of him for writing it. I'm proud of the Yankees and proud of New Yorkers. And I think he captures the essence of what it is to be a fan of the Yankees and a fan of New York. And on this Halloween anniversary of that seminal event in our lives, I am proud to publish it again.

More than Love for the Game

Most people in the world can only dream of seeing baseball's greatest team, the Yankees, partaking in the single most important series of the whole season, the World Series, at the single greatest sports complex in the world, Yankee Stadium. Some dreams do come true, and my World Series dream did just that and at a very significant time in my life, and history.

New York was in mourning, the nation was in a shock, and I, too young and ignorant to comprehend much of anything, was the happiest kid in the world. Though I could comprehend what was going on after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, my head was too filled with Social Studies, my evil 7th grade English teacher Ms. Pappas, and of course baseball. The world was too far away to touch me, and politics was just what the parents talked about during 6 o' clock dinner. How could I be bothered with such things when I was going to the World Series in New York City? Apparently it bothered my mother who feared for our safety while travelling at such a time.
There was no stopping my father and me however, both of us being experienced travelers, we were gone before we left, with new Yankees jackets and caps packed up a week before we left. It is for reasons like this that I love my father unconditionally. He would never let me miss an opportunity, and would urge me to take any that come. I didn't know that then, but then again there is much I didn't and don't know.

If I could describe the relationship I have had with my Father in my short eighteen years of life it would be one word, Yankees. Any significant experience or sentiment I have held with the 6' 3" 220 pound Long Island, New York native and Manhattan College alum can be attributed to the "Evil Empire," and anything associated with it, including New York. I felt safe and comfortable traversing New York with him, I had done it before; he had done it too many times.
The city I had expected however was not the city I arrived at. What was usually a city of hustle and bustle, packed streets, and lines of cars seemed almost like a ghost town. The memory of what had happened only a month before our arrival and mere blocks from where we were staying hit like a stone. My father seemed to understand it would be like this, walking not in surprise but in a morose condition. I couldn't quite grasp why this great city could be so sad; buildings fell and people died, things like that happened everyday all over the world. Life and death was still a foreign concept and soon my mind travelled to the buildings, birds, and hot dog vendors, travelling was very easy in New York with all the things to look at.

The Marriott on Times Square, my father always did big trips well. All the travelling had put my mind in a daze and the reason as to why we travelled from our home in Albuquerque to here was prevalent in my mind again. With the first game hours away there was hardly time for relaxation and so we travelled again, subways, cabs, and subways again. The train was fun, we rumbled and bumbled along and soon it was filled with people like us travelling to the stadium. These people represented a character quite unlike the morose Times Square I had seen earlier. They laughed loudly and talked louder, typical of the New York form, I couldn't be happier. I sat there soaking up the finest spirits of the city, feeling enlightened and ecstatic I watched these people who looked as if nothing was wrong in their lives. Even at my young age I recognized how this thing called baseball could bring people together in such a dreadful time. I felt like I was a part of a very great thing and almost forgot where I was going until the train emerged at a station with bright blue lights gleaming YANKEE STADIUM over it.

They won the first game; I can hardly recall anything from the filing cabinets of my mind. It was loud, the Yankees won putting them behind in the series 2-1, and then we headed back to our hotel through a sleeping city somewhere around 2:30 in the morning. The next day we slept, ate, and did it again. Game Two of the World Series in New York was almost as necessary for the Yankees to win as the first one and the fear of losing game one was shown in our fingernails which were half gone from the anticipation during the game the previous night. Back to the streets and back to the trains we went, Yankee Stadium was gleaming down on us yet again.

The Stadium is everything a young man could dream and more. A bright light blasted my eyes upon entrance, below us was a perfectly lit field, perfectly lined, and perfectly kept. Vendors selling everything were everywhere. Crowds of people made their way through crowds of people and everyone was wearing Yankees somewhere on their bodies. It was sheer beauty in and of itself, everyone who was there shared an excitement unexplainable by words.

It was a blessing to be following the "big man" as he parted crowds much easier than I could have and I was sure to stay close. Our seats, the same as the night prior, were more likely to see a hawk than a baseball so we arrived early to catch some up close batting practice. I was enlightened by it, so sure I would be the next shortstop for the Yankees and so enthralled by what was going on that I hardly remember feeling appreciative at all. He was right there too, the man who made it all possible, who instilled all he could into me. He loved baseball with a passion, appreciated education, and was understanding. So I loved baseball, worked towards college, and understood as much as I could. None of this crossed my mind as I sat next to him though. I thought this was the way life was supposed to be, I couldn't be anywhere but where I was. Youth and ignorance generally go hand in hand of course and rather than turning to him right there and saying "thank you" I continued watching enraptured.

The players looked like dots on the field, but it didn't matter. The game was just as intense and magical as the night before. We cheer for the Yankees, and boo for the Diamondbacks; every fan was as raucous as a high school student. The bottom of ninth inning rolled around and the mood was a solemn one. The Yanks were down by three with only three outs left to their name.
Nervousness swept the crowd, the Yankees hanging on by inches by getting two runners on with two outs. Tino Martinez, Yankee first baseman and cleanup hitter, came to bat on a stage that must have been louder than a 747 engine. From our seats there was no way we could see details but every single person in the stadium stood at attention heads turned one direction and hands clapping loudly. With one pitch and one swing there was an eruption to rival Mt. Vesuvius and what seemed to be an earthquake to rival the San Andreas Fault. It was as memorable as 9/11 itself, people were jumping up and down, wiping away tears of joy rather than sad ones for a change. An adrenaline surpassing any dangerous stun or extreme joy I have ever felt rushed over me as I screamed my head off and was thrown on strangers shoulders also cheering madly.
I returned to my smiling father after calm swept the stadium and watched the rest of the game. The Yank's pulled off another win in a similar dramatic and just as loud fashion, and culminated with Frank Sinatra's voice cooing the fans out of the stadium. It was back to the full and cheering trains and back to sleep to do it again.

We did it again the next day, the same magic, the same excitement nothing was daunting or drawling about our lives. Finally, we boarded our plane and were left with a good six hours to recall our past three days. I had a new found love for the New York Yankees, a sentiment greater than one for sport or franchise. It was the bringing together of people in which I found my profound respect for the team. During a time of dismal situations especially for the city of New York it seemed almost magical for Tino Martinez to hit bottom of the ninth homeruns in New York. During a time of such a spongy youth it was the Yankees which brought me unconditional respect for my father. All he had done, sacrificed, and shared with me is culminated in our trip to New York. It must have been a good three years later until I realized most of this but it always brings me back to the World Series, 2001.

28 October 2009


Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies is an idiot and has a big mouth.

There is nothing worse than a baseball player who "prognosticates" that his team will "win in 5, maybe 6 if we are nice". As cocky as that may sound, the underside of his prediction is even worse. With this comment, Rollins has also said that his team will "lose one game, maybe two".

Which games will they be Jimmy? Which pitchers and players, TEAMMATES, from your locker room will lose those games, asshole? Care to enlighten the world with those pearls of wisdom, sir?

Baseball players who predict LOSSES for their own teams are no better than Pete Rose betting on games. Cuz at what point does Rollins start thinking about the importance and notoriety of his predictions over the greater good of his team? Think that's crazy? It's HUMAN NATURE, FOLKS.

Jimmy Rollins should STFU. (But I'm glad he doesn't......cuz I would love to be in the Yankee Locker Room reading and listening to his BS).

Speaking of STFU........My virtual good friend and world reknowned blogger Bob Mantz posted this gem on his website today: http://njfrogman.blogspot.com/2009/10/top-10-madonna-songs-phillies-sould.html

It's a list of Top 10 Madonna Songs that the Phillies should play when A-Rod comes to bat.

In the interest of equal time to Bob's NONSENSE, I offer this response..

Top 10 Songs To Play For Jimmy Rollins At Bats
  • 10/Just My Imagination (Temptations)
  • 9/Dream On (Aerosmith)
  • 8/Proud Mary- "ROLLIN" Down The River (Ike and Tina)
  • 7/I'm With Stupid (Pet Shop Boys)
  • 6/Oops, I Did It Again (Britney Spears)
  • 5/I'm A Loser (Beatles)
  • 4/19th Nervous Breakdown (Stones)
  • 3/You Talk Too Much (Thorogood)
  • 2/Idiot Wind (Bob Dylan)
  • 1/Dumb (Nirvana)

27 October 2009



And I'm not talking about the story about this poor kid who took a brief nap in the hallway of the hotel after running with the big dogs for 10 hours or so. The kid put up a valiant effort. Hopefully, he'll now be better equipped to run a better game next time he's around professionals.

Nope, I'm gonna talk about some things that my daughter and my new son-in-law did (disclaimer- I had little input and knew even less about what was going into the event) in planning their wedding that made this old salt very proud, renewed my faith in the future of the human race, and gave two sets of parents cause to believe that they did a pretty good job of raising their children.

And what more could a parent ask for on a day like this?

The Bride and Groom established early on in their ceremony a wonderful theme for the entire affair. That the basis of their relationship was first and foremost built around friendship. To each other and more importantly, how friendship and the support of friends and family had made them who they were that wedding day.

The opening remarks (written by the bride and groom) by the minister emphasized the appreciation of the couple for all (about 110 people) who had travelled from so far (15 states at last tally) to attend this gala as no greater demonstration of the love they had received from so many in their still short lives. Nothing about "what great people" or "what a great couple" they were gonna be, but, instead, their words illuminated "what a great life" everyone in attendance had "provided for them" leading up to their blessed day. And the praise from the couple did not stop with simply those in attendance. The minister made a point of recognizing all of those who could not attend, especially those family and friends, who were no longer with us, and what a lasting influence those people would always hold in the couple's souls. (Highlighted by a heartwrenching pictorial display in the lobby of the reception hall of all of those who's earthly influences had moved beyond).

And then, in a brief moment before exchanging their own vows, I was witness to and was part of an experience that I had never seen before in the 40 plus weddings I have attended in my life.

The minister asked all four parents to stand up and the bride and groom turned and faced us. He then read off a sometimes humorous and completely touching litany of experiences and love that had shaped the couple in their lives. They thanked (profusely) all four of us for all we had done as parents. And vowed to continue what they had learned from us in their own lives together.

It damn near popped a crocodile from this til then rock solid Father of The Bride.

But more importantly, their wedding theme provided an incredible atmosphere for the rest of the evening. An evening/night/next morning that can best be described as "Truly Bon Vivant". Everyone was family, I sensed no traditional "their side/our side" behavior of until now unfamiliar families that is prevalent at so many other weddings. There were some moments during the reception (hey, what's a wedding reception without evicting /"86'ing" someone, or a few raised eyebrows over three brothers named Hanson wearing exact replica Slapshot Charlestown Chiefs jerseys), but one thing I noticed throughout the night was the constant intermingling and enjoyment that both crowds enjoyed with each other.

So much so, that the highlight of the entire week, weekend, night for me was the final song of the reception (including all of the bawdy and decadent "post-reception" activities).

As "Piano Man" rang out from the speakers while the couple did a stirring Lindy on the dance floor, the entire crowd was circled around them and drowned out Billy Joel's vocalizations. And I found myself with not only one armed draped around two of my best childhood friend's shoulders (we grew up a short bike ride from Billy Joel's neighborhood) but had the other arm draped around a guy from the groom's side who sang louder than me....and I had a sense that we all truly believed what we were singing to the dancing couple......

....."for we're all in the mood for a melody, and you got us feeling alright".

Which, is what weddings are supposed to be about, I think....and while I'm thinking, is also kinda how that guy on the hallway floor was feeling later on when he selected that corner of the world to take a nap.

And God Bless Him for feeling that way.

Cuz he had friends to trust and to watch over him.

Who can get through life without that?

14 October 2009


Has anyone noticed the new rage gripping America? The "6 Degrees of Separation" game? How any Joe Sixpack or Donna Doublewide is 6 (or fewer) acquaintances away from someone famous? Have we all become so desperate for notoriety that we'll start dropping names like a Gotti hitman at a Senate RICO Hearing?

Well, with that in mind, I got to thinking (I do that once a day) about how close I am to John Wooden. The All-Time Greatest Basketball Coach in History, who is celebrating his 99th birthday today. John Wooden is truly a living icon, the Wizard of Westwood, as his great UCLA teams of the 60's brought national attention to college basketball which, in turn, made March Madness and office gambling pools as popular in America as political corruption and Wall St. trading scams.

So I figured out how close I am to being a good acquaintance of John Wooden.

  • John Wooden is 99 years old today.
  • Nena wrote and performed 99 Red Balloons (99 Luftballons for those of you of Teutonic Heritage), and started out as the lead singer in a German band called "Stripes" in 1983 .
  • I saw a VHS copy of the movie "Stripes" starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, in 1985.
  • Bill Murray and Harold Ramis are from Chicago and were big supporters of Barack Obama, also from Chicago, last year. (And most likely asked to bust some Bush Ghosts out of the White House).
  • Barack Obama ran a campaign marathon against a lady named Sarah Palin last year.
  • Sarah Palin was a High School basketball star in Wasilla during the early 80's, the same time that your's truly was dropping numerous dollars in Wasilla hotspots named "Huppy's Roadhouse" and "Haa'lea Lodge".

So how come I'm not invited to Coach Wooden's birthday party?

(Bonus minutes from Two Time Zones Away to anyone who correctly guesses how many Red Balloons are in the picture posted here).

09 October 2009


I have just become aware of what may well be the leading candidate for The Irony of Ironies Award for 2009. As well as another indication of how far behind the American Experiment has fallen.

Lenore Skenazy, author of my favorite book of the year "Free Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry," will be speaking about her book at Yale University today.

As part of the "Parents Weekend" festivities for incoming freshmen.

You know....Parent's Weekend, that 2 day Propaganda Tour where colleges try to convince the check writers and loan co-signors that little Johnny and Mary are going to get an education beyond the PH.D in Alcohol and Drug Abuse that come with a 4 or 5 or 6 year sentence to their institutions.

Who is Lenore Skenazy and what is Free Range Kids, you ask?

Ms. Skenazy and her work are a much needed breath of fresh air in America. In short, Ms. Skenazy encourages parents to allow their kids to do incredible things like ride a bike to the library, walk alone to school, take public transportation (her 10 year old solos on NYC subways)

.....basically GET THE HELL OUT OF THE HOUSE!!

Encourage kids to acquire the social skills that have disappeared over the last 2-3 decades thanks to computers, overregulation by our lawyers and government, and media sponsored fearmongering.

Shocking, isn't it?

Downright revolutionary, isn't it?

You can learn more about Lenore and her work here...


(Disclaimer... I have become Facebook Friends with Ms. Skenazy, so yes, this is a shameless plug of her work by me....BUY HER BOOK!!)

So where's the irony that comes with a confluence of Lenore Skenazy, Yale University and Parent's Weekend, you ask?


Isn't it a tad late for Ms. Skenazy to be waxing poetic to these post pubescent freshmen and their parents?

Or maybe it isn't.

And that's the really scary part.

One of the Top 10 Universities in America is engaging a lecturer to teach a class that should be called "Apron Cutting Skills 101" to parents and freshmen.

Oh, the humanity.

Finally, if I may, I'd like to volunteer some ancient words of advice for Ms. Skenazy to pass along to these young Eli's and their parents.

It's a phrase that I ingrained within my own children's psyche at an early age. A phrase that teaches them to think first when confronting new and unusual circumstances, the kind of confrontations with life's unique challenges that can be scary at first, and often require a slow approach before following through with a decision:

"Unh Uh...mighta choked Arti, but it ain't gonna choke Stymie".

Give 'em hell Lenore Skenazy!!!

07 October 2009



The Tigers tried.

I give them A+ for effort. It was a great game. One for the ages. Made all baseball fans proud.

They had the game won going into the bottom of the 10th inning. Had a one run lead. Their stud closer was in the game, and he was dealing. The Tigers avoided all the usual nonsense that comes with playing in the Hump Sack during a 9 inning game. The crowd noise, the waving hankies, the disappearing popups, superball bounces, screwy ground rules, hockey glass in the outfield walls, Hefty Sak drapes, homemade windstorms when someone opens an exit door, rug burns, the warm beer that arrives when you order from a vendor 45 seats away (one time zone), all the stuff that makes that dump the worst baseball venue in the world.

But then in the bottom of the 10th, the Movie Theater that was supposed to die, remembered it was October and Jason never dies in October.

The Glad Bag that won't go away reared it's ugly head in the form of a leadoff flare to leftfield that Ryan Raburn misplayed into a triple after losing it in the roof. Followed soon after by a routine double play ball that took a magic hop (it made Wham-O proud) and snaked beyond the reach of 2nd baseman Placido Polanco to allow the tying run to score.

And just like that, the Twins scored in the 12th and The Dome lived to kill another day.

Next victim? The Mighty Yankees. MY TEAM. A team that has been destined to win their 40th American League Pennant and their 27th World Championship this year. A team with the best record in baseball, and the best Yankee team that Steinbrenner's millions (billions?) has fielded in a decade.

I'm scared.....I am very, very scared. The Yankees couldn't handle nature's widges in Cleveland two years ago, how are they gonna handle this supernatural beast? Put New York's Cardinal Egan on the 25 man roster? Pack a couple of chainsaws in the gear bags? Give each player a tiny crucifix to wear around his neck?


Never watch 'em.

Don't wanna see one now.......So....Yankees...listen up guys....Throw the ball, catch the ball, hit the ball hard and keep your damn heads in each and every inning of every game. Win every inning, win every game.


I can't think of a better team to finally send that Den of Iniquity off to the Netherworld...forever.


06 October 2009



I am rooting for the Detroit Tigers today. I want them to defeat the Twins and move on to face my beloved Yankees in the ALDS. The Yankees have had success against both the Twins and the Tigers this year, going 7-0 against the Twins, while winning 5 of 6 from Detroit. And in recent years the Twins have been a pushover for the Yankees in the playoffs.

On the surface, most Yankee fans would most likely opt for Minnesota as the Yankees next opponent, given the recent successes the Yanks have had against them. Coupled with the fact that the Tigers have a potential Yankee killer in the name of pitcher Justin Verlander. A guy who could conceivably shut down the Yankee lineup for two games.

But I'd rather take my chances with the Tigers in the ALDS. They are a team very similar to the Yankees...just lacking in depth and overall quality of talent.

I don't want any part of the Twins this postseason....nope....not at all....no way.

I don't care that the Yanks have owned them the last few years. I don't care that Carl Pavano, a worthless overpaid POS when he was with the Yanks, is now pitching for them. I don't care that there is hardly a baseball fan in America that can name more than two players in their starting lineup besides Mauer and Morneau (BTW sports fans....Morneau is OUT for the season).

A potential Twins/Yanks matchup has all the makings of a MAJOR upset, and that scares the hell out of me.

Unscientific of me, isn't it?

The Twins are playing the BEST BASEBALL in America right now. They are a walking baseball thesaurus of cliches, getting "just enough" pitching, incredibly timely hitting, stellar defense and have one of the best field tacticians in the game in Ron Gardenhire. They play "small ball", they bunt, they steal, they hit and run, they have some guys capable of hitting a 3 run homer.

But MOST IMPORTANTLY.......they have that friggen anomaly of a baseball stadium.

The Hankie Dome, The Glad Bag, The Movie Theater, the place where routine popups turn into adventures, an arena where baseballs are the EXACT same color as the ceiling, the Stadium with the most uncomfortable seats and worst sightlines I have ever been a part of in a Major League Stadium. The Stadium that was SUPPOSED to have had it's last baseball game played on Sunday.

An anomaly that won't go away, an aberration that just played host to another pimple (Favre) that won't go away.

I don't want the Yankees playing in the Dome this postseason....too many stupid things can and do happen there. And what Yankee fan doesn't remember the widges in Cleveland?

Please Detroit....please.....put the worst baseball stadium in America out of it's misery tonight. Send it to the great plastic recycling plant in the sky. Let the wind out of that place, PERMANENTLY!!

Baseball needs you Detroit. Time to make a balloon payment on all the bailout money. Eliminate the Hump Sack. Turn that place into my next pair of recycled footwear.

And know that I'll be praying very hard today that Miguel Cabrera doesn't get waylaid in Dinkytown (the northern Mississippi extension of the French Quarter, where locals offer Leinenkugel and Head Cheese in lieu of Hurricanes and Gumbo) on his way to the Baggie.

Cuz we all know he's not gettin' any other kindalaid for awhile.

Just my opinion....

02 October 2009



10/Oprah wanted the opening ceremonies held in her backyard.

9/ACORN was not allowed to register IOC voting committee members.

8/Naming Richard Daley as Director of 'Event Judge Scheduling" may not have been the best idea.

7/Neither was putting William Ayers in charge of security for the games.

6/Nor was having Jeremiah Wright deliver the opening benediction.

5/Chicago refused to allow the UN International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect those dark green, perfectly shaped gelatinous cubes that locals put on their hot dogs and call relish. (There's enough green dye in one of those "things" to paint a stripe across I-80 from Chicago to NYC on St. Patricks Day)

4/The Italian Delegation stormed out of the meeting after sampling the proposed Official Olympic Food......Chicago Pizza..., calling it "Wonder Bread dipped in Ragu with a sprinkling of Kraft"

3/Opening Ceremonies featuring Bill Murray as Nick the Lounge Lizard, with James Belushi and Denise Richards singing "Take Me Out to The Olympic Games" did not score high with the Voting Committee

2/Hanging framed copies of Obama's "Hope" campaign poster in every dorm room of the Olympic Village did not go over well with Western European and Russian voters on the Committee.

1/Having a cow named Daisy kick over a lantern to light the Olympic Flame did not ignite the excitement of the IOC.

01 October 2009


USAir announced that the dynamic duo of Captain "Sully" Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles will return to the air today and try to get to Charlotte again, 9 months after their last attempt made an unscheduled maintenance stop in the Hudson River. (recently given a 3 digit airport designation of "H2O" by the FAA).
They will be in the cockpit for a late morning flight out of Laguardia, and USAir plans a gala celebration to honor the event, as well as added security precautions.

For a $15.00 fee, all passengers will receive a commemorative Tempur-pedic goose down pillow, which can be located and picked up in the overhead bins above aisles 19 and 20.

Bottled Hudson River water (Energized with General Electric Polychlorinated Biphenyls) will be available as part of the inflight beverage service for a nominal cost of $3.00.

A special meal has been prepared by world reknowned airline caterers "Oldendry of Bayonne".
Passengers can savor 2 millimeters of Foie Gras on a Ritz for $6.00.

To the relief of passengers, Discovery TV star Bear Grylls will be aboard, and paid a $15.00 premium seat fee to be located over Engine Number 2 for the duration of the flight.

Flight attendants will eschew traditional uniforms as a new line of custom safetywear is being test marketed by Onda De Mer and Anika Brazil.

A representative of PETA has been authorized to ride in the cockpit jumpseat for the flight. As a concession to complaints from the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), Captain Sullenberger has been authorized to blindfold and gag the PETA representative as soon as he feels like it.

Pre-takeoff Grey Goose Jello Shots will be available for $4.00, or 6 inflight beverage coupons.

The Air Force announced that an AC-130 Gunship will circle the airport before and after takeoff. NYPD Harbor Boats will patrol Flushing Bay with AKC Labradors to retrieve any fallout.
34 orange Carhartt clad sharpshooters from the Outdoor Channel will set up and man duck blinds at the end of the runway, as well as along Orchard Beach in the Bronx. (Spittoons provided by The Brass Shop of 5th Avenue).

And finally...
As the first class cabin has already been sold out, no high level USAir officials will be onboard the flight, citing a company policy that prohibits them from flying coach while on company business.

28 September 2009


I went to the last day of the New Mexico State Fair yesterday. Hadn't been there in years. Got burned out by it when the kids were little as most of my annual experiences were centered around the midway rides and the food booths and stuffed animals and plastic baggies of goldfish (two of whom were named "fish" and "agbyani"--as in Bennie, the former NY Met's outfielder.. don't ask, I am afterall a Yankee fan). When the kids grew too old for parental escorts, I did everything I could to avoid the fair, with it's exhorbitant prices and crushing crowds.

But yesterday was one of those 100 or so perfect days we live for in the Land of 505. Clear blue skies, temperatures in the mid to high 70's, no breeze...the kind of autumn day where you can wear either shorts or jeans and be comfortable. If the blazing sun is too hot, you need only move into the shade, if it gets too chilly in the shade, you need only move into the sun.
The kind of day that makes the Chamber of Commerce and the State Tourism Dept. gush with pride.

So me and the Mrs. decided to overlook our fears and traumas of past State Fairs, and took a chance on this last day of the 2009 Fair. We looked forward to the fact that for the first time, we could do the things we never did at previous Fairs.

We could hang out in the beer gardens, sit and listen to all of the varieties of live music on display, saunter at our own pace through the exhibition halls, and bask in the unique to America experience that is the New Mexico State Fair, with it's heavy emphasis on the dominant cultures of this state.
The New Mexico State Fair is first and foremost a showcase of the Native American and Hispanic heritage of which this part of the USA strongly clings to. (Despite the crushing onslaught of all things Angloneuropean as manifested by the midway carnival and way too numerous gimmicky Roncolike product booths).

After an hour or so spent in one of the beer gardens, (conveniently located next to the Dock Dog exhibition where we watched happy dogs get big air and soak nearby spectators chasing duck decoys into a swimming pool....who can't love happy dogs getting wet and stinky?), we resumed our trek through the grounds.

That's when I had the greatest experience of any State Fair that I have ever been to.
While awaiting the Mrs to return from the lady's room, I indulged myself (one of my favorite things to do) by depositing 25 cents in one of those bulky looking foot massage machines. The ones where you sit in a chair with your feet on what looks like the converted foot pedals from a barber's chair and receive 3 minutes or so of a vibrating podiatric orgasm. While simultaneously engaging in one of my other favorite pasttimes.....people watching... along the main street of this State Fair venue

Toward the end of my session I noticed a large family walking toward me on the busy main street, and at the center of this clan are an elderly (and very small) Grandma and Grandpa.
Grandpa is making eye contact with me.
I sense that he is looking for a little encouragement from me to try the gizmo I am occupying as he is wearing what can best be surmised as a pair of vintage Stride-Rites from the 60's. They're in pretty good shape, but are not the world's greatest walking shoes.

More importantly to me though, he is wearing a black baseball cap emblazoned with a white logo that reads "WWII VETERAN", and the rest of his cap is festooned with Marine Corps colors and combat ribbons, as well as dates of reunions he has attended. Being a huge fan of all things WWII, I shout out to him, "Hey soldier, C'mon over and give those dogs of your's a break!"

So this tiny little man (couldn't have been more than 100 pounds) and his wife breakaway from their family to join me at the bank (3) of foot masage units. I rise up and greet this stranger by shaking his hand and thanking him for his service to our country. He pauses while his even smaller wife plops into a chair and digs for quarters in a purse that was half her size, and he smiles at me and thanks me for noticing the baseball cap.

His speech had a thick Hispanic accent, made doubly difficult to understand by this gringo because I could only discern two lower teeth in his palate. Mid to late 80's in age, he was nevertheless in great physical and mental shape, very spry and agile for a man his age and especially for someone who was involved in such misery in his life.

Most importantly, he was all too eager to share some of his war experiences with me. And as someone who's dad served with the Marines in the Pacific, I was all too eager to listen and to question him.

Some snippets....
He and 18 of his High School buddies from "Martineztown" (a small mostly-99%- Hispanic district in downtown Albuquerque) enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942.
At the time of enlistment my new friend was only 94 pounds which was far below the 110 pound minimum, so the recruiting sergeant had to place his own foot on the scale and put enough pressure on the scale to bring him up to the minimum 110 pounds.
All through boot camp his buddies had to help him through the more physical aspects of it, cuz he was just too small, nor was he strong enough to perform them.
With two weeks to go before graduation from boot, he decided that he had enough of the abuse, was in tears and went to the Chaplain to figure a way out of the Corps. The Chaplain and his 18 buddies talked him out of quitting, a decision which he says now was the greatest and worst thing that has ever happened in his life.
The three combat ribbons on his baseball cap represent the three campaigns he served in during the war with the 1st Marine Division.....Guam, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
(BTW, while this conversation was going on, he remained standing, never took advantage of the foot massage, and his wife was throwing quarters into the chair like it was a slot machine at Sandia Casino).
He was wounded two times during battle. There were times when he saved his buddies lives and times when they saved his.
He was training for the invasion of Japan when the atomic bombs (made in New Mexico, tested in Japan) were dropped, and is absolutely convinced that he would not have survived an invasion. (the same sentiment voiced by every other veteran of the Pacific that I have ever spoken with).

The man was an encyclopedia of stuff and I could have chatted with him all day, all weekend, all month. He was equally grateful to have an audience.
But it was time for us to move on and enjoy the rest of the fair, as his family came looking for him and my Mrs. was ready to head for the Native American Village.
So I left this stranger with a long embracing hug, both of us happy with this chance encounter and brief friendship....I thanked him again.
He whispered in my ear his own appreciation for my appreciation and interest.

As we parted ways (his wife was STILL dropping quarters) Mrs 505 said to me
"I'm sure you are crying".....
I said "Yeah.....do you wanna know why?"
"Sure", she said.

"I asked him how many of his 18 buddies returned home"

And he told me "Four, the other 14 were still serving..... in Guam, Iwo and Okinawa".

I think I'll go back to the Fair next year.....and walk around a lot.
And next year I'll make a point to visit the exhibit showcasing surviving members of the Navajo Codetalkers from WWII.
I'm sure they have much to say as well, to anyone willing to listen.

25 September 2009


Ken Davidoff is the leading Baseball Columnist for Newsday. Ken Davidoff is one of the finest baseball writers in America. I enjoy reading Ken Davidoff's articles, I have been a frequent commenter and contributor to his blog for 2 years. (not so much lately...well, not at all, thanks to the new and improved Newsday website).

I really like Ken Davidoff. Hell, we're facebook friends (but I may get cut after this rant), even though I do not share his love of all things statistics, nor do I share his barely perceptible love of the Mets (nothing wrong with that), or his more than perceptible distaste for Derek Jeter.

For the past few days, Ken has been depositing little snippets on his blog about the unimportance of this weekend's Yankees/Red Sox series, trying to convince his readers to snooze through the games, and to look ahead to the playoffs in a few weeks.
Culminating in this main page article: "This Visit By Red Sox Only A Dress Rehearsal"
Found here.....http://www.newsday.com/columnists/ken-davidoff/this-visit-by-red-sox-only-a-dress-rehearsal-1.1472015

Some excerpts from Ken's column include the following....
"If you're a serious baseball fan... you should root for one important result this weekend: No serious injuries!"
"..the Red Sox-Yankees series starting Friday night at Yankee Stadium is nice, but it's nothing"
"You don't want to see anyone exert himself too much, however."

Ken goes on in the body of his work to emphasize the importance to baseball of a Yankees/Red Sox ALCS next month.
How "It all would be, most literally, Must-See TV".

STOP!!!!! NOW!!!!

You ask in your opening line for all "serious baseball fans" to not take these 3 games seriously.

Well, I'm a serious baseball fan. And someone who spent a lot of years playing the game at subterranean levels.
And I take every game very seriously. Especially games, ANY GAMES, against my biggest rival.
I don't give a shit about potential TV ratings and must see TV a month from now.
I don't want to see the Yankees or the fans "easing up" against the Red Sox because of the exhortations of misplaced priorities by disinterested scribes.
I fear injuries as much as you do, but I also know that more injuries occur when players "ease up".
And anyone who has played the game, any sport, knows that bad habits develop when you start "easing up".
It is a disservice to the fans in attendance who pay too much money to see these games to not expect a maximum effort by the participants to "TRY TO WIN THE DAMN GAME".

C'mon Ken....who are you trying to kid here?
It's the BOSTON RED SOX, fer chrissakes.....Every game should be approached by the Yankees with maximum intensity, and maximum desire to WIN.

And no true fan should have any less an attititude.

So please Ken, ease up with you easygoing armchair attitude and approach to these games.
It has no place in sports , and for that attitude to exude out of a pressbox is self defeating to your knowledge and appreciation of the sporting spectacle in general and baseball in particular.

Crush the Red Sox. Destroy them.....Turn them into rubble.

And that's just my opinion......from two time zones away.

22 September 2009


"Well I wasn't born in a small town,
But I can breathe in a small town."

505 and family spent the weekend in a small town in Northern Minnesota. It's not the first time I've ever been to that small town. In 26 years of marriage to a girl from that small town, I've performed many requisite family duties and taken many trips to that polka ridden ghetto of you betcha's, dontcha knows, and yah shure's; and obsessively marvelled at the inordinate amount of four door burgundy colored vehicles that litter their byways.

And..I've got a fair amount of "Home of the Shittiest Weather in the World" T-shirts from that small town. A T-shirt that comes accessorized with a protective gortex rain flap, built-in self-dispensing mosquito repellant, and wool insulation.

But every time I return to that small town, my hope for America is reinvigorated by little things that just don't happen in predominantly Big City America. Little things that help me forget about the exhausting 24/7 pounding of Beck vs. Olberman, Obama vs. me, Walmart vs. anyone with a cash register, and the unpretentious cultural kamikaze nuclear bomb that is the latest billion dollar, go-go dancer infested thunderdome, constructed to satisfy the egos and conspicuously wasteful demeanors of our Jerry Jones' infested Metropolitan America population.


10/Rather than a cityscape pockmarked by yard signs reading "Make $300.00/hr doing nothing at home", small town yards are pocketed with hand painted signs that read "$3.00 Pancake Breakfast Saturday Morning, 8AM, St. John's Lutheran Church". I love pancakes (with blueberries).

9/Where else will you find a "Farmer's Day Parade" re-broadcast on the local community service TV channel? Featuring two camera angles (one camera..on a swivel), very limited commentary, an off-key HS Marching Band that still sounded great, and enough candy thrown off the makeshift floats (borrowed pickups with appropriate signage and America Flags duct taped onto the hood) to hold the kids over until Halloween? All sponsored by the 3 or 4 dentists in town?. And I would be remiss if I omitted a shoutout to the "8 Synchronized Shriners on Choppers" kicking off the parade with an obnoxiously long demonstration of their motorcycle skills that may well spread fear among the Ohio State Marching Band with their choreography.

8/A Dairy Queen not only open at 945PM on a Sunday night, but staffed by EIGHT cheerful, neatly uniformed, hard working High School age kids servicing what was a parking lot and storefront devoid of any customers (except for me and 505 jr. in need of Dilly Bars). Despite having zero customers at that time of night, every employee in that store was busy with other duties, mopping the floors, bleaching the tabletops, washing windows, and prepping for the next day's business. Without an adult supervisor to be found. The polar opposite of the CUSTOMER DISSERVICE PHILOSOPHY showcased by Alamo Rent a Car, who had ONE employee checking in 20-25 customers on a traditionally busy Friday afternoon in the Minneapolis airport.

7/A 6AM visit to the local Cub Foods allowed me to witness a Pepsi delivery guy helping an older and more frail Coke delivery guy stack his shelves. I wiped the residual morning after alcohol glaze from my eyes twice to verify what I was viewing....and bought a 6 pack of Pepsi instead of my normal and preferred Coca-Cola purchase. (I pray no one from Coke reads this, or else the Coke guy will most likely lose his job).

6/Upon leaving the Cub Foods I was able to drive over to my brother-in-law's house, walk into an open garage (all night) and let myself into the house through the kitchen door without waking any still sleeping kids and adults. If I left the garage door open in 505, everything including the garage door opener would be gone before the last moth dive bombed into the "security" floodlight.

5/A wedding that featured a Catholic priest with a legitimate and enjoyable sense of humor, who was only too happy to perform what I characterized as a "drive thru ceremony" (about 15 minutes), and couldn't wait to get to the reception that followed. Based on this brief encounter, I surmised that he may well be one of the few Catholic priests remaining in America who has a legitimate shot at going to heaven.

4/A reception at the local Fraternal Order of Eagles Club (quelle shock), one of the few (3?) banquet halls in this town large enough to accomodate 100+ people, but unique in that the "wait staff" are volunteers/friends of the family who take turns monitoring the buffet line and cake cutting chores. And hung around to help during the clean up as well. How many of YOUR FRIENDS would volunteer for this kind of wedding day duty in big city America?

3/My first round of cocktails(5 drinks- 2 Captain Cokes, a Vodka Cloudy, 2 Michelob Ultra's) for the family at the Eagle's Club reception ran me the paltry sum of $10.25, plus $2.00 tip for the free pouring, heavy handed, hot looking bartender. (27 years old and already a mother four times...yet she could easily grace the cover of many a men's magazine). The same order placed at any big city reception hall would have seen me kissing a Ben Franklin buh-bye. And the hot looking bartender would have had a lawyer on hand to immediately file alcohol induced sexual harassment lawsuits.

2/A groom's family that happily (and too cheerfully?) cemented the brand spanking new family bonds initiated via this conjugation of our parent's/grandparents/the olden folks when they stepped up for Miss 505 after some out of town pipeline workers took some testerone and alcohol infected "liberties" (a little verbal sparring turned kinda off color) with her in the public bar adjoining the Eagle's Reception Hall. I can count on the fingers of a centipede's hands how many times opposing families left wedding receptions fighting with each other in big city affairs.

1/One of the 3 Andy Griffiths on duty that night in this small town, responded to the "near riot" (nothing violent occurred, just a lot of threats, kinda like a soccer brawl) in the bar and provided my daughter and her fiance with a ride in the back of his police vehicle to their hotel...... a whole 2 blocks away. Sorry, but I guess I never saw the episode when Adam 12's Marty Milner or Kent McChord drove patrons home from a bar in Los Angeles.

"Taught the fear of "geezus" in a small town...

...Had myself a ball in a small town."

Thanks to the Frances Gumm Museum in Grand Rapids MN., for the picture of her still standing modest little adorable house. No one looked better in red shoes better than she. But for the record, I still have no use for Toto....the dog or the band.