Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Very Glaven Xmas

It’s already December 13 and many of you are doubtlessly thinking, “Well, shit! It’s pretty late in the day and I still haven’t gotten Glaven a Christmas present, a state of affairs that, if not remedied in time, might very well make the baby Jebus cry!” Well eff the baby Jebus, Reader, because, even more important, I can tell you with absolute, 100 percent certainty that this state of affairs will make Glaven cry. I guarantee it.

So if you don’t want to be responsible for making either Glaven or the Baby Jebus cry, you need to get on the stick. And I hope you won’t think it presumptuous of me – though in fact I don’t really care whether or not you do – if I suggest to you the perfect gift:

It’s this.I’ll save you the trouble of having to click through to that other site – like it’d kill you, you lazy fuck, you! – and tell you that what I’m linking to is a page about Westvleteren 12 ale. This is a very strong (10.2% ABV, very strong for a beer) ale that is brewed at the St. Sixtus Abbey in Belgium. It’s sometimes called the best beer in the world, and I think part of the reason for that is it is available only at the abbey and at the abbey-owned cafĂ©/visitors’ center across the street from the abbey. Since 1945, the monks have brewed (or is it “have brewn”?) a mere 3,800 barrels of beer a year.

So the beer is extremely good; it is extremely strong; it is extremely rare and therefore hard to get. In fact, it is nearly impossible to get unless you happen to be in Vleteren, West Flanders (“stupid sexy Flanders!”), Belgium.

Until now, as those of you who are not lazy fucks already know because if you’re not a lazy fuck, you did click through to that page I linked to above, which is, as the rest of you lazy fucks would have no way of knowing, an NPR article about Westvleteren 12’s being available in the US for the first time ever. The article even links to the Westvleteren website page (whose url, cutely enough, ends with the phrase “hello-world”) that lists, by state, the US retail locations for the Westvleteren 12 “Brick”, as it’s being called – which “Brick” consists of a six-pack of the ale (in bottles, naturally) along with two special glasses. The monks, it seems, need a new roof for their abbey and are allowing this one-time retail sale of their ale for a reasonable $84.99 per “Brick”, a price I would, no shit, gladly pay for the privilege of tasting this beer – and at the risk of being repetitive, let me repeat that I am not shitting you when I say I would totally pay that price.

The monks have been brewing their beer since 1838. It went on sale at retail stores in the US for the first time just yesterday, 12/12/12. It may never be available like this again. But let’s assume, once again, that you’re a lazy fuck and did not click through to that third site I linked to above. Well how would you know – you lazy fuck, you! – that there are exactly NO – as in zero – Westvleteren 12 retail locations in NJ. Also? None in PA.

Fucking Alabama has three.

But New Jersey?


I trust I am not alone in looking skyward at this point and mournfully importuning, “What the fuck, monks?”( Because Belgium is located in the sky, right?)

So even though I would gladly (to recap: not shitting, here) pay the 85 clams for this beer, I have exactly no chance of getting any because it was never available in New Jersey and I’m sure it’s all sold out by now, anyway.

How sure am I?

This sure. (Just click through, you lazy fuck, you!)

There are already eDouches on eBay reselling bricks for upward of $300. And that’s not even the douchiest part. (It never is, on eBay.) There are bigger douches trying to sell empty crates or even just photos of the crates there, and there are foax who are actually bidding on those useless things, who are perhaps the biggest douches of them all.

Verily, douches are wild on eBay.

But the point is, the Holy Grail of beers is available. And I don’t have any. And I’m thirsty. And it’s Christmas.

My favorite part of the NPR article:

Jean Hummler owns one of the most successful lambic pubs in Brussels. The acidic lambic beers require more complex brewing processes — and, Hummler suggests, more sophisticated palates — than Trappist ales such as Westvleteren.
"It doesn't contain any special malt, with a lot of candy sugar. As professionals, we consider Westvleteren as a heavy, dark sweet beer," he says. "It's easy to be famous and popular when you're working on the mild and sweet side."
The real trick is being famous when you're a bitter, overbearing asshole like me. And my beer

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I Am Not a Fan of Bond* Movies ...

... but I think it must be simply not possible that I am the first to notice that the Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo looks as though he ought to be villainously stroking a white cat in a 007 film:

This observation just has to be a commonplace by now. I'm just too lazy to do the research it would take to prove it.

O, by-the-bye: PROOF I am no Bond fan: I thought the character Donald Pleasence played was Dr. No. Turns out the character's name is Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Pleasence only took the part because it was pitched to him thus: "You'll be in a Bond film spending most of your time stroking a pussy .." (<--Speaking of jokes that must be pretty commonplace by now ... but I wouldn't know because I'm not a Bond fan because Bond movies - all of them - totally suck.)

In any case, arch-villain Ernst Rizzo Blofeld's team, the Nationals, backed into the NL Eastern Division title last night against the Phillies. I say "backed into" because, first, it makes the Nationals sound totally gay not that there's anything wrong with that; and, second, because the Phils beat the Nats 2-zip last night and the Nats only won the division because the hated Atlanta Grifters (Chief Grifter: Sniffer Groans, who's gone around the league collecting gifts from every team he's played this year because he is allegedly retiring after this year1) lost and thereby took themselves out of contention for the title, like the total luuuuuzers that they are.

Also, because the Phils beat the Nats, they essentially got to photobomb the Nats moment in the sun because they got to celebrate their victory mid-field before the losers - i.e., the Nats - could come out and celebrate their successful loss.

When your team doesn't make the playoffs, spite is all you have. And I have that in overplus.

That (viz., my spitefulness) being pretty well established above, here, Baseball Fans, are the teams you should be rooting for (in descending order) to win the World Series and the spiteful reasons you should be wishing ill to the teams near the bottom:

1. The Baltimore Orioles: We want them, first, to beat the Yankees for AL East title (and if you need a reason to hate the Yankees, you're just not paying attention, you stupid fuck,  and it's a wonder you haven't been hit by a truck while crossing the street), then to take it all because Baltimore is close to Philadelphia and the Balto accent is nearly identical to the Pennzer accent and they are both extremely ugly; but the main reason is Jimmy Thome is on the Orioles and he deserves a ring before he retires.

2. Tough choice, but I'm going with the Reds. Because they are an NL team and because Joey Votto is a great player and Brandon (Dat Dude) Phillips makes me laugh and they have Todd Frazier who's from Joisey.

3. The Swinging A's. Because they came outta nowhere, just like the Orioles, and they may still beat the Rangers for the AL East Title, which is a good thing, because the Rangers are from Texas and anything bad that happens to Texas is, by definition, good for the rest of the country and, indeed, the World, Also? The Universe. Plus the A's are exciting, with 14 walk-off wins this year, the most in the majors.

4. The Nationals. They edge out the Tigers because they're an NL team and because, technically, I was hoping the Tigers would be beaten out by the White Sox because I thought the 9-year deal the Tigers gave Prince Fielder was absurd. More on that below under ...

5. ... The Tigers. You gotta love Miggy Cabrera. He's the best of the roughly 5,000 Cabreras playing in the major leagues today. He'll probably win the Triple Crown and AL MVP (although Mike Trout clearly deserves to win the latter, and not just cos he's from Joisey) and, unlike, say, Hanley Ramirez, who resented being told he'd have to change positions when the Marlins acquired Jose Reyes and acted (this is Ramirez I mean here) like the total prima donna he is, Cabrera happily moved from 1st to 3rd base when the Tigers got Fielder, for the good of the team, and did it not in a grin-and-bear-it type way, but seems actually to be great friends with Fielder and Miggy also managed to have a truly standout season. Fielder also seems like a really good guy (he's always got his kids with him, which earns him points from me), and so I overcame my "principled" objection to his 9-year $200 million deal (it just stinks of This-is-how-the-Yankees-"develop"-talent-ism) and found myself rooting for the Tigers to beat out the Sox despite myself. (The Sox's Hawk Harrelson made it easier to do this. Hey Hawk ... yer team? They gone!)

6. The Giants. Because ... meh. Hunter Pence, I guess.

Now it gets hard.

7. The Texas Rangers. I actually like this team better than this but they represent the state of Texas and that is simply not acceptable.

Tied for LAST (i.e., if any of these teams wins the World Series it proves God is dead and the team among these three that wins killed Him) :

The Yankees. For any number of reasons, so I'll just pick one: I once personally witnessed a full-grown (in his 30s) Yankees fan say to a 9-year-old Phillies fan (yeah, my son Ian, 9 at the time) who was talking up his Phillies' 2008 WS ring: "O yeah - well the Yankees have twenty-seven!" I have no doubt that, had another Yankee fan been there for that, they'd have high-fived each other and said: "YEAH!!1! Way to bitch-slap that 9-year-old!" Because Yankee fans are assholes. It's like a requirement.

The Braves. If it weren't for the Yankees, the Braves might be the biggest assholes in the major leagues. The state of Georgia has a giant Stone Mountain Monument, which is dedicated to the racist "ideals" that the confederacy fought to retain, but that's not good enough for this douchenozzle team: They also have to have their racist name and racist tomahawk chop and their "Indian" chant rallying moan ... you get the feeling that if they were forced to change their racist name, they'd change it to the Atlanta Ni-CLANG!s. You know, just to be bigger racist assholes. So it would please me no end to see the final gift given to Chief Racist Kidney Stones be a first round loss in the playoffs.

The Cardinals. Because they won it all last year so ... yawwwwwn! But mostly because this is the face of the Cardinals:

I say that because Yadier Molina almost always looks like he is on the verge of tears and the Cardinals, in general, are the Biggest Crybabies, by far, of any team in the majors. I thought that might change after Crybaby In Chief Tony La Russa retired last year, but they're still a bunch of crying pussies. You may remember La Russa from such episodes as game two of last year's NLDS series, in which he went on national TV and whined that the umpire had two strike zones out there: One for Cliff Lee and the unfair one he was he was using on Chris Carpenter. Carpenter was out on the mound making the same whiny noises. At first I thought he was complaining about the calls Molina was making, and I was all thinking: It's not the catcher's fault your pitches are missing the strike zone. But turns out Carpenter - SURPRISE! - was crying about the umpire, not the calls Molina was making.

And they still do this, the Cardinals! I saw Molina almost get tossed out of a game with the Phillies because he was arguing with the home plate umpire about  a call the umpire'd made in a game a week previously.

All players complain, but La Russa's students, the Cardinals, take whining and crying to a whole new level. It's pathetic to watch, at times. It's a shame. I really used to like the Cardinals organization, but La Russa encouraged an atmosphere of win-by-crying, and that has, evidently, stuck.

Technically, the Dodgers, at this point, could still catch the Cardinals, but that won't happen. If they did, and then beat them in a one-game play-in, that would be sweet, because that would be the most humiliating way for these crybabies to be eliminated from post-season play. (A play-in game would technically be part of the regular season.) But, sadly, it won't happen. Though I, for one, don't intend to cry about it.

(Apologies to BrianFlash.)

* [Title FN]: Unless they end in "-age". I like that type of Bond- film.

1  The best had to be last night, when Andrew ("Teh Awesome") McCutchen of the Pirates handed Jones a base, and I saw the video clip of that this very morning and I thought, for all the world, that Cutch was handing him a takeout pizza because that's what the base looked like: a takeout pizza box:

Whoa! Hold that pizza LEVEL, Snicker, otherwise the maize toppings will fall off, and you'll thereby end up dishonoring your Brave ancestors who used every part of the pizza because they respected it, unlike you, you tomahawk-chopping racist redneck fuck.

Even though I quickly realized it was a base, this was still awesome, because the only "gift" lamer than a takeout pizza is a "commemorative" base ... though the paint-by-numbers painting the Phillies gave Pooper Fonz (Ian and I were at that game (Phillies won) to see it, too, about three feet from Utley and JRoll when they brought it out of the dugout) was also pretty fucking lame.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Felix Non Culpa!*

Roughly a week ago, Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez (King Felix, to his fans and acolytes), pitched a perfect game1 - a rare feat indeed, having been accomplished a mere 23 times in the 135-year history of Major League Baseball (though, oddly enough, three times already this season, which is just weirdly inexplicable2), and after he got the last strike on the 27th Rays batter to end the game, he struck this pose:

Striking this celebratory pose has caught on and it has a name:

It's called "Felixing"3.

It's taking the place of Tebowing, which is that annoying Look-at-Me-I'm-Praying-to-God-Because-He-Loves-Me-So-Much-That-He-Takes-a-Personal-Interest-in-My-Winning thing that Tim Tebow does4. As you may be able to tell, I have very little patience for an athlete or anyone else who tries to mask his hubris with this transparent display of "humility" - public display of "humility", I should say. Because they're sooo humble, these people, just Servants of God, y'know ... but what good is that if you can't see their piety?

Hello there, pitcher Mike Dunn, seen here "humbly" (and not at all ostentatiously) praying on the fucking pitcher's mound in front of a crowd of 40,000 before throwing his first pitch! Question: Why does Jesus, who unquestionably loves you, want the Marlins to be in last place and you to have an 0-1 record with a 3.50 ERA and a craptacular WHIP of 1.5? I mean, if that's evidence of His love, what would He do if He hated you? Turn you into a Yankee, like A-Roid?

Tonight, the Phillies play the Reds and they have to face Cy Young-candidate pitcher Johnny Cueto, which means Cole Hamels may have to pretty much pitch a perfect game if the Phils want to win. I'm fairly certain Jesus doesn't give a fig about who wins this game - nor should He.

But if the Phils win?

You can bet I, heathen that I am, will be Felixing in celebration, just like Eddie Vedder:

* A note on this post's title: Felix Culpa ("happy fault"; or, loosely, "fortunate fall") is how Catholics since the time of Augustine have referred to The Fall of Man (when Adam ate the forbidden fruit), the fall being fortunate because it necessitated God's sending His Only Son to be needlessly tortured and killed - y'know: for our sake - because of a sin that God Himself could have just not allowed to happen, but for some reason decided to allow to happen and somehow that's my fault, your fault ... O, just everyone's fault. Except God's.

See, even though God is omniscient, omnipotent, all-loving and Infinitely Good - which you are not, Reader, nor am I - nothing bad is ever his fault according to the Ostentatious Prayers like Tebow.

And I guess that's why you'll never hear Tebow or Mike Dunn or any of the other Ostentatious Prayers say, at a post-loss press conference: "Yeah, God really fucked up when He, in his Infinite Wisdom, made me throw that interception in the last 10 seconds of the game. So I'd like to call Him out publicly and asked that coach consider benching Him next week."

Felix NON Culpa, of course, just means that King Felix was faultless in his perfect game.

As for the time he hit A-Roid in the hand? O, Felix Culpa! Happy Fault! Hahahahahahaha!

1 According to Teh 'Bro, this is the second best thing King Felix has done this year, the very best being breaking Alex Rodriguez's hand by hitting him with a pitch in a game against the Yankees. King Felix hit quite a few that night, including his newly-ex-teammate Ichiro (who'd just been traded from Seattle to the Yankees), and yet still won the game. I think it's kind of funny that Teh 'Bro ranks King Felix's 2012 accomplishments thus - because the Yankees are just so easy to hate, even for me ... and they're not even in the same league as the Phillies. I feel this way more because of Yankee fans, who tend to be really dickish, even by New York standards, New York Fan Dickishness being the Gold Standard of Sports Fan Dickishness, of course. (This is not true of all NY, or even Yankee, fans, of course.) It's also funny because steroid-user A-Roid is easy to dislike, and not just because he's a Yankee. Of course, the Yankees don't want you to mention A-Roid's history of cheating with drugs. Former Yankee Reggie Jackson was ostracized by the Yankee organization recently when he had the nerve to point out that some people might look askance at the "great numbers" put up by people like A-Roid because ... well ... they cheated to achieve those numbers - admittedly cheated. And to give you an idea of how fucked up the Yankee organization's priorities are ... it was Jackson whom they viewed as being at fault here.

On the other hand, it's hard to laugh when anyone gets hurt being hit by a pitch after reading this.

But look on the bright side, A-Roid! Maybe the treatment for a broken hand is ... steroid therapy!

Hahahahahahaha! I was wrong! Even after reading that article on the horrors of getting hit by a pitch, I still think it's funny when A-Roid gets hit! I guess that makes me a typical Philadelphia Sports Fan!

2 Possibly odder still: There have been six in the last four seasons, starting with Mark Buehrle's on July 23, 2009. But wait, it gets weirder still. There really should have been seven, because on June 2, 2010, a pitcher named Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game but, on the very last out - a ground ball to the right side of the infield that obliged Galarraga himself to cover first to get the toss for the last out - the umpire mistakenly called runner Jason Donald safe. (See an animated gif of that out here; Donald is out by nearly a full stride.) It gets still weirder, because the umpire who made that bad call, Jim Joyce, is consistently voted by the players as the best umpire in the league. After the game, Joyce watched a video of the play and readily, tearfully, admitted his mistake, sincerely lambasting himself for robbing the poor kid Galarraga of his chance at immortality. It gets still weirder, because at the next day's game, Joyce's crew was still doing the Tigers-Indians series, and the Tigers sent Galarraga out to home plate at the beginning of the game to hand Joyce the Tigers' line-up card for that day - a duty normally handled by the manager - and Joyce once again tearfully apologized to Galarraga.. But the weird just keeps coming, because Joyce and Galarraga wrote a book together about this experience, which I think pretty much shows that Galarraga forgave Joyce, but that's not the weird part - the weird part is that Teh 'Bride, who cares fuck-all about baseball but heard about this bad call nonetheless, didn't forgive Joyce; and this gets even weirder because a few days ago, Joyce, the self-same umpire of the Galarraga non-perfect game debacle - fucking saved some woman's life by performing CPR on her for 20 minutes after she collapsed with heart failure and when I told Teh 'Bride about this, she said: "Not good enough. He's still a dick."

Moral of the story: Don't get on Teh 'Bride's bad side because seemingly it would be easier to pitch a perfect game than to get off her bad side.

3 Although maybe it should be called "Wilding" because evidently King Felix stole this pose from Maurice Sendak's book:

4 Sorry - no picture. Fuck you, Tim Tebow, and anyone else who has a Teboner for him. Also? I'm not really sorry about it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Good Morning, Good Morning

This one's for Teh Ladies1:

It's quite nice to wake up in the morning wondering whether or not that really wonderful thing you believe happened , in the still-cloudy recesses of your not-quite-fully-awake brain, actually happened; only to shake off the sleep cobwebs and have your now fully-awake brain tell you, "Yes. You weren't just dreaming that. It did happen. It really did2."

And this morning, even though the Phillies are not having what anyone would call a good season, I awoke wondering, Did that walk-off win in the 10th really happen last night3? I assumed at first that it couldn't have, because by then I was telling myself that they had won an extra innings walk-off a few days before that against the Giants; and then, the next day, had won a walk-off against the Brewers, in which they scored 4 runs in the ninth; and then, the day after that, had scored six runs in the 8th to come back from a 6-1 deficit to beat the Brewers again.

I suspected this couldn't be true: Walk-off against the Giants, followed by walk-off against the Brewers; followed by 6-run 8th against the Brewers; followed by yet another come-from-behind extra-innings walk-off against the Brewers? Four of these in a row? Couldn't be.

Then my brain, which really by this point should have been fully awake but was talking like it was still punch-drunk with sleep, told me: And you were at that game where they scored the six runs in the 8th. Remember? Half the crowd walked out after Lee gave up that last two-run dinger making the score 6-1 Brewers, but you knew Ian would never let you leave till the last out4, so you sat there with Ian and Teh 'Sis-in-Law and turned your cap inside out, saying: "Rally cap time because the Phils are gonna have a rally now!" And you were half-kidding because you didn't think it could really happen.

But it did! And you know how at games where the home team is rallying there's always that one idiot there screaming his head off as though the only reason the team is scoring runs is because of his annoyingly loud voice and obnoxious behavior? Well, on the evening of July 24, 2012, YOU were that idiot! At least, you were that idiot for section 329.

Still don't believe me? my brain continued. Then just say something out loud and believe the croak.

And so I did. I spoke out loud, saying to myself: "Good morning, Glaven!" And there it was - the hoarse croak that betrayed the fact that I had been screaming CHOOOOOOOOOOOOCH!!!! two nights previously when Carlos Ruiz came up to bat in the 8th and hit that bases-clearing three-run double to tie the game; and here I was, two days later, and I still did not have my dulcet baritone pipes back yet. So it must have happened, right? Because I now clearly remembered - this was not just my foggy sleep-brain lying to me - high-fiving Ian and Teh 'S-i-L and, Hell, the dudes standing behind us in section 329 at the game when Pence hit that bloop single to drive in Chooch for the go-ahead (and, eventually, winning) run.

It happened.

So that means the rest of it probably did, too. That means that last night, the Phils did score two in the 10th to win their 4th in a row in dramatic fashion.

It happened.

No, the Phils are not having a good year.

But they're still a great team. Still our team.

Win or lose.

But don't lose, Phillies!


Go, Phillies!

1 Because if you bothered to play it, you must've noticed that it starts with both the sight and sound of a great big cock.

So therefore I guess it's also for Cletus.

2 This a.m. uncertainty can work both ways, because sometimes you want your newly-awakened brain to tell you something didn't happen. Example: I quit  smoking on February 12, 1989, so that's over 23 years ago. To this day, I still awake, with an alarming regularity, from dreams that I smoked a cigarette. Awake in a panic sometimes, in fact, because these dreams always seem very real to me. Then I come fully awake and can go, Whew! It was only a very realistic-seeming dream. Because I didn't smoke last night. I never crave cigarettes while I'm awake ... it has, after all, been 23 years. But at night, in my sleep, when my guard is down, I crave them, evidently. I have this cigarette dream roughly every 3 or 4 months and probably will continue to have it till the day I die.

3 Astute Reader (or, perhaps: Reader To Whom I Am Giving Too Much Credit For Astuteness (depending on whether or not you know when the Phils played yesterday)! I know you're saying, But didn't the Phils play at 1 in the afternoon yesterday? So what's all this "last night" crap?

Good on ya, Reader! The Phils did indeed play an afternoon game yesterday. But I had promised Ian that I would not follow it on the PC while I was at work; would wait till I got home to watch it with him on our DVR. And I for once kept my word. So yesterday's game, for me and Ian, ended at roughly 8:15 p.m. At which point I tried to call Teh 'Bro to celebrate (because when I tried to High Five Teh 'Bride, she acted as though I were coming at her with the express intent of beating her about the headal and chestal area, because to Teh 'Bride, the correct way to celebrate something is to jump up and down while flipping one's hands about randomly and emitting a high-pitched squeal that sounds like this: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! (or so I assume from watching her interactions with her other chick friends)), but, the game having been over, for Teh 'Bro and the rest of world, for about 3-and-a-half hours, he and Teh S-i-L were out to dinner when I called. So my celebration cohort was limited to Ian, who cared, and Teh 'Bride, who didn't, which I could tell from her lack of jumps, random flippy hand and high-pitched EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!Is

4 In April of 2011, Doc Halladay had his worst outing of the 2011 season, giving up 7 runs to the Brewers. The Phils, in that game, scored a grand total of zero runs. They ended up losing that game 9-0. Ian and I were there for that game and did not leave until the final out, hoping, if not quite believing, that our Phils were capable of pulling it out in time4a. We were about the only ones left in the park. We stayed through a more than two hour rain delay later that season in a game the Phils played against the Diamondback. An hour into the delay, I was telling Ian, "This rain's not gonna stop. We should leave." "NOOOOOOOOO!" was his consistent answer. The game resumed and we got to move down right behind home for the last few inning because two thirds of the crowd (at least) had left by then. The Phils won.

So we stick it out. On July 24, 2012, the Phils made this starry-eyed belief in their comeback ability worth our while. Ian and I stayed and so did Teh 'Sis-in-Law, who regained some of the credibility she'd lost in Ian's eyes when she attended that game last year that ended up going 19 innings (the Phils won it with position player Wilson Valdez pitching because they'd run out of pitchers!) and left it after the 9th, when the score was still tied!

"We would have stayed till the end, right Dad?"

"Of course we would have, Ian."

4a That's what she said!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dead Hair Walking, or, Nearly Dis-Tressed.

Currently, my hair hangs down roughly to my shoulders. I probably haven't had it cut in about a year. Normally when it gets this long, I grow irritated with it: It never looks the way I hope it will when it gets long and in the Summer heat, it can be a bit of a problem in terms of comfort. I'm not sure what I expect when I let it grow; just not ... this1. But since I don't really do anything other than wash it and run a comb through it, I can't really complain about the results. "Product" - however you define that - has never sullied my hair.

When it gets to be around this length, I typically have a moment of weakness during which I turn to Teh 'Bride2 and say, "You have 5 minutes to gather your Implements of Follicular Mass Destruction and cut my hair. Hurry. By 5:01, I may have changed my mind."

Now, Teh 'Bride, who loathes hair of all kinds, appreciates this concession, even though there is an undeniable streak of cruelty in it because asking her to find anything that she last used a year ago in < 5 minutes pretty much assures 4:59 minutes of panicked rushing about and screeches of "Waitwaitwaitwaitwait!" and "Where did I PUT them?!" and various other ejaculations which is pretty entertaining for me and almost renders my having made a decision that I'm pretty much assured I'll regret 30 seconds after the cutting is over worth it. I'll end up a sad, shorn Melvin but I'll've been entertained so it has its rewards.

Well, even though right now my hair is at the usual It's starting to bug me-length, it's not bugging me. But yet I have agreed to have it cut.

Not because Teh 'Bride, hater-of-hair, has been bugging me to get a hair cut (And get a JOB, too, Hippie3!), because she knows doing that will backfire and just cause me to become more stubbornly hirsute; but rather because, well ... it's a long story and involves the Phillies.

You see, the Phillies started the 2012 season not doing very well. Lots of injuries, some poor playing, blah, blah, blah. There are reasons for the Phils' relatively poor performance but the details are not germane - in fact, they're not Teutonic at all. Har! Good one, me! This hair gives me the power of Bad Punning!

Thing is, I was losing patience with them and was yelling at the TV when they played and being short-tempered when they lost, etc. I was not exactly fun to be around when the Phillies lost.

But after talking to my sister-in-law, who recommended I be less gloomy and have a more cheery outlook, I figured, What the hey - it can't hurt. Plus, that's a better way to be, just in general.

So with my mantra Don't be a fair-weather fan, I told Teh 'Bride that I was so confident that the Phils would sweep (win all three games from) the Padres when they came to town that, if they didn't, she could cut my hair.

A lesser man might have said, "If they don't win the series" or gone vague by saying "if they don't 'do well'" - whatever that may mean.

But not me. I said - it's a sweep, or I lose my Golden Tresses.

Well, Reader, not to spoil it for you, but the Phils did not sweep the Padres; they lost game two of that series 2-14. And you should have noticed two thing, here, if you're paying attention:

That loss occurred over two weeks ago (May 12); and the first sentence of this post reads "Currently [emphasis added, but fuck you, it's my sentence, I'll add what I want], my hair hangs down roughly to my shoulders", which sure seems to imply that here I am, two weeks+ later with all of my hair intact.

So what the fuck gives? you ask.

Well, first of all ... language, Reader, language. No need for the potty-mouth.

Second: We've been busy so Teh 'Bride just has not gotten around to it. No, I haven't been trying to  weasel out of the deal5.  In fact, it being a Debt of Honor, I've been reminding her irregularly ever since the loss that she has won the right to cut my hair. But it either turns out to be a long day and she's too tired at the end of it, or we're just too busy that day or we forget. Whatever the reason, it hasn't happened yet.

But it will.

Sadly ... it will.

 Ran 4 miles this morning at an 8:36 pace. Roughly 91 running miles for the month and 475 or so for the year so far.

1 Sorry, no pix. The pix here might give you an idea, but the headband kinda distorts the effect.

Best I can do. Sorry, hair fetishists.

2 The only barber I trust because when she cuts my hair, I don't have to worry about having to make barbershop small talk. (I dislike the social aspect of going to the barber, just as I dislike the social aspect of ... well ... everything. Let's just say I dislike having to be social, and leave it at that.)

Other advanatge of having Teh 'Bride cut my hair: I don't have to pay her. At least, not in money. RrrrrrRRRRRowrrRRR!

3 Variant spelling of "Hippo", because I've kinda let myself go, weight-wise.

4 Though they did win two out of three and Ian, my sister-in-law and I were there for game 3, which they won 3-2 with Cole Hamels pitching a great game. Of course, Doc pitched a great game in game two but they still lost it. Sigh. The Phillies didn't bring their bats that day but that's okay because all it cost me was my fucking HAIR!1!

5  Not that I'd be ashamed of myself if I were trying because, as Homer Simpson sagely explained: "Weaseling out of things is what separates us from the animals ... Except the weasel."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thirty-Seven Seconds

Hahahahaha, yeah that's funny, inevitable commenter who's going to say "What? Is that the longest you ever lasted at sex?"

Way to be predictable, hypothetical yet inevitable commenter.

No. That's not what the title refers to. Thirty-seven seconds is how much faster you can run a 5k race when you haven't dislocated your shoulder a mere two days before the race.

Because I ran the Pennington 5k race back in 2010, two days after dislocating my shoulder, and my time back then was 25:51. I ran it again this past Saturday and my time was 25:14. So yeah, do the math - I was thirty-seven seconds quicker.

One would think having a nondislocated shoulder would be worth more than a mere 37 second, but harsh, empirical reality proves otherwise. Unless of course there were other extenuating circumstances.

Reader, there were. (Bet you didn't see that coming1.)

They (the extenuating circumstances, that is) being that I ran about a mile-and-a-third right before the 5k race.

Now, Reader, you, having presumably already moseyed on down to that first footnote and seen that I called you, therein, a fucktard2, would be well within your rights to ask: "You ran a mile-and-a-third before a 5k race? Who are you calling a 'fucktard'? Because that there sounds pretty fucktarded."

To which I respond, "I was calling you a fucktard, Reader. Go ahead back down to FN1 and read it again if you still don't believe me."

But moreover I would respond (I won't use quotation marks here because I'm not quoting my exact words) that I didn't choose to run that pre-race mile-and-a-third. I had to, and here's why:

(Again, no quotation marks, because I'm paraphrasing myself because my original quote? Frankly? Kinda long-winded, convoluted, poorly phrased and garbled. Really, I should never extemporize; I should only read prepared statements ... kinda like Joe Biden. So I'm doing you a favor by sparing you my original wording.) I had to run it because I got to the race about 15 minutes before it was scheduled to start. And I had to park nearly a half mile away because the Pennington 5k is held on "Pennington Day", whatever that is, but it involves closing down Pennington's Main Drag for a Street Fair, which, incidentally, you run through at the start and end of the race. And so I had a grand total of 15 minutes to get from my car to the race check-in station, check-in, pick up my bib and t-shirt, waste a half minute debating whether I should run the shirt back to my car or just put it on on top of the shirt I was already wearing (or perhaps tie it around my waist like a fucktard?), decide I could make it to my car and back in the 10 minutes I had before the start - which was good because it was hot that morning and I remember thinking at about the 2-mile point in the race, "I'm glad I didn't put that race shirt on" - run to my car and drop off the shirt, and get back in time to line up at the starting line.

Of course, the race then started at about 9:20 instead of 9:15, so it turns out I could have done all of this stuff at a less frenetic pace.

Now I know some people warm up for a race by running a mile or two beforehand but Reader? I am not one of those people. Never have been; never will be. Running that extra 1.33 miles inevitably hurt me. I estimate they added at least five minutes to my finishing time because FUCK YOU, prove they didn't!

And right about now you're probably asking, "Well, as the Jewish mother said to the Moyl mohel [fine, have it your way, SteveQ], 'Why did you cut it so close?' Aren't you the type of person who usually gets to races with 45 to 90 minutes to spare?"

Reader, I am, but I'm not sure how you know that unless you're stalking me, in which case, boy, you must be one bored motherfucker because I lead a life even more tediously uneventful than I make it sound in my blog posts. But back to my explanation - the restraining order against you can wait for the nonce.

That morning, before the race, Ian and I were watching Quick Pitch on the MLB network, QP being a show that goes over the highlights from the baseball games of the previous night. The Phils having beaten the Red Sox the night before and gone two games over .500, I was interested in seeing what they would say about my Phils on QP and I was also, as usual, interested in seeing how other teams had done, particularly other teams in our division. And then for some reason, I lost track of time and/or convinced myself that the race started at 10:00 instead of 9:15. I truthfully don't remember which it was. Maybe both. All I can say is, at some point, I notice it's 8:30 and the race starts (allegedly) in 45 minutes and I'm still at home a half hour's drive away from Pennington.

Really - that's why I was late. Told you my life was tediously uneventful.

And two years ago, I ran the race thirty-seven seconds slower. One of the Youth Services librarians at one of our branches ran it that year, too, and I beat her time by probably more than two minutes. And even though I didn't see her there this year, I checked to see if her name appeared in the results list.

It did.

She beat me by about a minute and a half.


I was 86th out of 285 (top third, anyway), with a time of 25:14, which is roughly an 8:06 8:07 pace.. I think I was fifth out of 16 in my AG.

Not horrible.

1 I say that because I am provisionally assuming, here, that you're an utter fucktard.

2 If you haven't yet, well then - SPOILER ALERT! - I call you a fucktard in that first footnote. Also, too ... what the fuck are you doing reading this second footnote before that first one?

Man, "fucktard" doesn't do you justice!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dealing with Aging

Your Humble Author having turned fitty-two just a couple days ago1, you might be excused for thinking today's post's title refers to me and my ongoing geezerdom. But it doesn't. I don't have to deal with the issue of my own aging because I accepted, long ago, that I am old and decrepit and these tight jeans I wear to show off my body, which is far softer and doughier than I realize, really just make me look ridiculous2. The titular aging referred to is Ian's.

But the dealing part?

Yeah, that's all about me.

Because when Ian and I are driving to the local baseball diamond to get in some fielding and batting practice, I'll occasionally sneak a peak over at him as he sits beside me in the passenger side seat3 and I'll be quietly shocked (and yes, "shocked" is the word I want here) at how grown up he looks. It's amazing to me each time. And also unexpected. This is why I like it when he calls me at work on Monday nights, because on the phone, he still sounds like a little boy - his voice hasn't changed yet - and you can really notice that better over the phone because you can't see the pre-teen face that that voice is emerging from.

But he's starting to look like a young man and it is actually far more difficult for me to deal with that than it is for me to deal with the fact of my own aging, and not merely because the latter, as I've mentioned, is not really an issue as far as I'm concerned. It just that, cliche though it be, I still see in him the mohawk-haired baby who came to us on a flight from Korea over 12 years ago.

It's somewhat helpful that Ian is not a particularly mature 12-year-old. By that, I don't mean to imply that he's immature for his age, either. But he's not interested in girls yet, and he still seems sweetly naive on quite a number of things. He still asks innocent questions, and he still, it seems, would rather spend time with Teh 'Bride and me, not avoid us as the embarrassment to him that we, as his parents, are destined to become.

For instance, Teh 'Bride found a vacation spot for us to go to this summer which is a lot like Tyler Place up at the top of Teh Great Concavity. This place, however, is in the Poconos, which will save us about 5 or 6 hours of driving.

But the big thing for Ian is ... Tyler Place forced kids, during the day, to go with a group of other kids their age. There was a two- or three-hour family time in the middle of the day, after lunch, but then the kids went back to group until 8:00 p.m. This was so parents could have each day together to do what they wanted without the kids.

Well, Ian liked Tyler Place - he gets along well with kids his own age - but he can't wait to go to this new place because he's re-written history a bit, claiming he hated having to go to group at TP, which is an outright lie, but he's chosen to see it that way4. He says he'd rather have been with us. That part is true, I think.

Well, this new place won't make him go with a group of kids his own age during the day. And boy is Ian looking forward to that change.

Truth be told, so am I. How much longer will it be before he wants to spend as much time away from us as he can?

Because it's gonna happen.

The Cubs have a really good pitcher named Matt Garza, whom the Phils faced last night. Weirdly, the guy, who can pitch the ball with pinpoint accuracy, gets the yips whenever he's forced to field a bunt and throw to first. Last night Juan Pierre bunted the ball back to him twice, and each time, Garza's throw to first looked a lot like this:

This video in and of itself is interesting for any number of reasons; not the least of which being - that girl obviously worked on her pitching form for quite some time, because it looks perfect. Also, you don't need to understand Korean to be able to make an accurate guess as to what the broadcasters are saying: Broadcast Guys' banter is probably exactly the same even across all ethnic lines.

But most of all, those weird anime-headed mascots give me the yips.

1 A fact I mention in part because, based on the number of happy birthday messages I got via this here blog - viz., ZERO - none of you effers seems to've remembered.

And after all I do for you!

Hahahahaha! Just kidding! I never do squat for you!

But you're still a bunch of effers.

2 Am I turning you on, Ladies?

3 Which itself is a bit of a shock because it wasn't that long ago that he was required by law to ride in the back seat.

4 We know this for a fact, because Teh 'Bride and I found a secluded spot on a hilltop right at the edge of Lake Champlain to which we would repair each evening after dinner, tiny three-beer cooler in hand, to watch the sun go down and listen to the water lap against the shore. Ian's group often did outdoor events of various types - treasure hunts and such - and a lot of the time the events were near where Teh 'B. and I were hidden in a little copse of trees, and we'd hear Ian laughing and yelling and carrying on louder than any of the other kids in his group. He was always having a great time.

Even so, I have little doubt he's sincere when he says he'd rather have been with us. And not just because that's flattering to believe. I think it's true.