Monday, September 3, 2007
“Shit yeah it was a surprise,” said a top White House aide under the promise of anonymity. “We told him he was going to Texas. He was completely shocked when he woke up in Iraq.”
Reportedly the President had a tough time distinguishing between the two because both places “are flat, sandy, and everybody hates me.”
Aides said they wanted to take the President to Iraq before his report to Congress on progress there so he could see the “remarkable turnaround” in the Sunni area west of Baghdad.
The President told his aides the only remarkable turnaround anyone was going to see was how fast his ass got back on that plane.
Bush was scheduled to meet with Iraqi Prime-Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who the clever President has nicknamed “Flaming Douchebag.”
The President balked at touring the pro Sunni Anbar region despite his aides telling him what a success the surge has been there.
“My colonoscopy was a success too,” Bush said. “But that doesn’t mean I want to tour my own anus.”
The president stopped in Iraq en route to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Sydney, Australia, although aides have told the President after Iraq they were going to be a big park to play catch.
“Red Sox suck,” he said.
“I didn’t even watch the last two games,” he said. “I’ve given up on them.”
Ah, to be in New England now that the pennant race is here.
Red Sox fans have been called a lot of things lately, obnoxious, intrusive, but the best adjective to describe my people is bi-polar, and at no time is this condition more identifiable then when they play the Yankees.
To help layman better understand this condition I will break the thoughts of Red Sox fans into two different categories Bi (this is, after all Massachusetts) and polar.
Bi Thinking: Before the series began the Sox were up eight games, and even if the Yankees swept, the lead would still be a healthy five games. The Sox had scored 10 runs a game against the White Sox so they were due a slump, the Yankees looked pathetic against the Tigers and were bound to bounce back strong. If the Sox escaped with one game they would be fine.
Polar Thinking: We have to crush those Yankees now, not let them win a game. If they win even one game its 1978 all over again. Finish them now while they’re weak or they will rise up twice as strong to destroy us.
Bi Thinking: We have Daisuke Matsuzaka against the 48-year-old Andy Pettite. You have to like that match-up.
Polar Thinking: The Red Sox players hate Matsuzaka and don’t even try to score when he’s pitching. Plus he can’t win close games. They should have signed Pettite.
Bi Thinking: The Yankees get two runs off Matsuzaka in the first combing a walk a hit batsman and a double. Had to know the Yankees would come out strong, and Matsuzaka is still being dogged by that one bad inning.
Polar Thinking: Here we go! Another one inning Hari-Kari by Kamikaze Matsuzaka. It’s a sweep. The season is over.
Bi Thinking: The Sox tie it with a David Ortiz sacrifice fly plating Lugo.
Polar Thinking: Here we go! Stick a fork in the Yankees they’re done.
Bi Thinking: After homeruns by Derek Jeter and Jason Varitek Manny Ramirez leaves the game with back spasms. Hope it’s only for a couple of games.
Polar Thinking: It’s over. We can’t win without Manny. Danm those vengeful baseball gods. How could you take Manny from us now? And he is going to be out indefinitely. It’s like giving Juan Epstein an open-ended hall pass. Lord knows when we will see him again.
Bi Thinking: Well we knew they wouldn’t go quietly. Johnny Damon shows why we should have kept him putting the Yankees up two.
Polar Thinking: Nice job Epstein. Can’t wait until Damon is being covered in confetti in the canyon of heroes after another Yankees Series win. I’m going to bed.
Bi Thinking: Mariano Rivera gets them 1-2-3 in the ninth. Hope Manny’s back quick. Never figured we’d sweep. Got Josh Beckett tomorrow so I’m not losing an sleep.
Polar Thinking: Is that the morning paper? My God I’ve been up all night. Better shower.
Bi Thinking: I would rather have Josh Beckett pitching than old Roger Clemens.
Polar Thinking: I would rather have wise old Roger Clemens pitching than young punk Josh Beckett.
Bi Thinking: Man Clemens looks tough tonight. And Damon strikes again with a two run single to put Yanks up 3-0 after two. We better start hitting.
Polar Thinking: We’re never going to hit. Clemens is older than my father for god’s sake. Beckett was nothing but a flash in the pan. Julio Lugo playing short instead of Hanley Ramirez. Burn in hell Epstein!
Bi Thinking: Clemens gets J.D. Drew to pop up and has a no hitter after four.
Polar Thinking: J.D. F’n’ Drew. They should play Christina Aguilera’s “Candyman” when he comes to the plate.
He's a one stop shop, makes a pop upn
He's a swing and missin’, sugar coated candy man oh
A swing and missin’, sugar coated candyma
Bi Thinking: Thank God for Big Papi. Broke up the no-hitter and the shutout with one swing. Maybe we can get back in this thing.
Polar Thinking: You think Papi’s put on weight? You think he’s limping? You think he can make it to the plate without oxygen?
Bi Thinking: After the Yankees get another run Kevin Youklis brings us within one with a one out two run homerun. We’re into the Yankees bullpen their real weakness.
Polar Thinking: Oh please pinch hit for Drew, please hit for Drew.
Bi Thinking: Danm. Drew strikes out, he’s having a tough season
Sweet sugar candy man
He's a one stop, not hot, making his panties drop
Sweet sugar candy man
He's a one stop, not hot, hitting a popup
Sweet sugar candy man
He's a one stop, not hot, hitting a popup
Bi Thinking: One, two, three in the ninth. Lead down to six. Need to win tomorrow.
Polar Thinking: Honey, where did you hide the anti-depressants?
Bi Thinking: Did you see that the nitwits in the commissioner’s office checked Terry Francona to make sure he was wearing his regular jersey while the game was going on? What is going on with them?
Polar Thinking: First of all, nobody wakes up Tito during a game. Secondly, it was obvious a conspiracy between the Yankees, MLB, and the NYPD to steal the Yankees a win. Typical New York behavior. If the Yankees can’t win the Commissioner’s office needs to come running in and save them.
Bi Thinking: Robinson Cano homers off Curt Schilling while the Red Sox are being held hitless again.
Polar Thinking: Robinson Cano? Robinson Cano? Who the hell starts a 40-year-old guy in a game anyway? Where’s the vodka?
Bi Thinking: Only down two and the first two guys on in the seventh, let’s go Sox.
Polar Thinking: Oh sweet fancy Moses it’s JD Drew. Pinch-hit someone, anyone.
Bi Thinking: Perfect double play ball but A-Rod starts being A-Rod, Youklis avoids the tag and the Sox are at first and third with one out.
Polar Thinking: Another A-Rod screw up He helped us win in ’04 and he is going to do it again.
Bi Thinking: The Umpires are talking but they can’t reverse the call, the second base Umpire had the best view
Polar Thinking: Cry all you want Torre the call ain’t changi
Bi Thinking: Oh come on they changed the call. He was no out of the baseline, that’s a bad call.
Polar Thinking” What….I can’t…..how can you????? You bastard’s….cheating….I see light….Is that you Grandma???? Is that my dog Skippy?
Bi Thinking: Of course it was Drew. He’s a one stop, not hot, hitting a pop up
Polar Thinking: Candy man! Candy man!
Bi Thinking: Everything comes apart in the eighth as the Yankees score three more to make the sweep official.
Polar Thinking: Why can’t we get Asian players like that?
Bi Thinking: Hey Joba Chamberlain just threw two pitches at Youklis? It isn’t enough to sweep you got to headhunt too? God: it doesn’t matter. The game’s over. Probably the season too. I tried to hang in there but it’s ’78 all over again.
Polar Thinking: Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Bi Thinking: Well what the fuck we supposed to do you moron? Torre dropped the big one. We can’t stop them
Polar Thinking: What the fuck happened to the Red Sox Nation I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? "Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Polar Man, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Chamberlain, he's a dead man! Jeter, dead! A-Rod...
Bi Thinking: Dead! Polar Man is right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now give me the Vodka and the anti-depressants I haven’t slept in four days.
And so a Yankee sweep brings together the two sides of a divided nation. How will we ever repay you?
Thursday, August 30, 2007
LOS ANGELES – Owen Wilson has finally explained the reason for his suicide attempt on Sunday. During a conference call from his private suite in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Wilson told reporters he had been “kicking back doing ‘shrooms and bong hits” with his good friend Matthew McConaughey the night before.
Early Sunday morning as McConaughey left for home, the “totally trashed” actor said to Wilson, “Goodnight, Luke.”
“That majorly freaked me out,” said Wilson. “I started thinking, ‘Bummer, man. I’m not the blonde, tousled star, the dewy-eyed, sensitive while still ruggedly handsome dude. I’m his horse-faced, balding, loser brother.’”
Stunned by this case of mistaken identity, the star of You, Me and Dupree and Starsky & Hutch, who generously has allowed his brother Luke to be in movies like The Royal Tenenbaums so he could get off food stamps, decided death was preferable to living as his younger, less talented sibling.
“You know, I was thinking,” Wilson continued, “here I am, this loser who can’t open a movie, has to ride on Vince Vaughn’s or Will Ferrell’s coat tails, played some chick’s boyfriend in his only number one movie, and my brother is just the most beautiful guy. I couldn’t stand it, so I took some pills and tried to cut my wrist. Luckily, because I thought I was Luke, I fucked it up like he’s fucked up everything in his miserable life.”
When asked if his breakup with former lover Kate Hudson had anything to do with his suicide attempt, Wilson admitted that it did.
“How would you feel if your brother got to fuck Kate Hudson, but she wouldn’t let you fuck her if you were the last man on earth? I mean the best Luke ever did was a quick reach around from Kate Hepburn at Sundance, which was most likely an accident. I, of course, did old Kate right up the chute. She told me she liked my eyes.”
Wilson said that even after he had had his stomach pumped at Cedars-Sinai, he was still crying and begging the staff not to tell his brother Owen what he had done.
“Finally, somebody slapped me and said, ‘You are Owen, you douche.’
“I said to myself, ‘Goddamn, I am. Those must have been some wicked ‘shrooms.’”
When a reporter asked if Wilson had discussed his experience with his brother Luke, he said, “Nah. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and have him rushing out and sucking on the tail pipe of his Volvo.”
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
“1918,” my father said, coughing, a soft spray of blood coming out of his mouth, and he heaved one more time, as if all the pain of those years was released from his body, and he could finally rest, no longer cursing Harry Frazee, who Dad called “The man who killed baseball.”
It was January of 2004. My father, a lifelong smoker, a condition he blamed on “those god danm Yankees,” had finally succumbed to the lung cancer he had been warned about his entire life.
When we sat in the doctor’s office the previous July, when he was given the news, and told his condition was terminal, he looked up to the heavens, and said “just let them win this once.”
I was sitting with him in the hospital late that night when his dream died. Bret Boone took a Tim Wakefield knuckle ball into the right field stands at Yankee Stadium. His spirit disapeered into the early autumn night with that ball; it took his body three winter months to catch up.
I got my love of baseball from my father, and my love of science, and may I immodestly say brilliance, from my mother. What brought these two mismatched lovers together I do not know, but when I was 12, and the plane carrying her home from a conference in Vienna disapeered into the Mediterranean, my father and I weren’t just conjoined through baseball, but mutual heartbreak
It was at that time that I first began to dream of time travel, to appear in that airport, to stop her from getting on that plane, that would make everything right again.
I stopped playing baseball then, I stopped playing everything. My worried father would tell the therapists I spent all my time with my head in science books, unless I was at his side watching a ball game. He thought I was trying to escape into a world of my own.
But the world I was escaping into wasn’t one of my own, but our own, where we would be together as a family again. Despite my devoting every free second to the pursuit of time travel, I made no progress.
I did, however, keep my grades high enough to be admitted into MIT where I fell under the tutelage of Professor Zeigler, a brilliant man who had secretly worked in the field of time travel to bring back his parents, lost in the holocaust.
I will not bother you with the details, there is no way to begin without following it to the end, and it would take volumes. Suffice it to say that slowly the Professor and I made progress.
Our goal was to move an inanimate object a few seconds ahead in time. We decided on a pencil. We laid it in our time traveling chamber, set the coordinates for ten seconds ahead, and then turned the dial, and waited, but nothing happened.
We tried for several weeks. Occasionally the pencil would fade, but come back. Professor Zeigler, a man blessed like my father, with a beautiful, intelligent wife, began to doubt the wisdom of continuing the project. “If there is one thing playing with time has taught me is that there is so little of it,” he said, as he put his scarf on one day and left me alone.
I continued to make slight adjustments to the machine. I worked for weeks alone. Occasionally Professor Zeigler would stop by, but my lack of progress caused him to lose interest.
I was alone, late at night, holding the pencil, when I realized that we were going about it wrong, we couldn’t go forward into something that hadn’t happened. We needed to go back.
We had assumed going forward would be easier to prove, but, if I bit this pencil, then sent it back five minutes, I would have two pencils with identical bite marks and would have proven time travel possible.
With shaking hands I put the pencil to my mouth and began to chew on it. I then placed it in the machine. It was 11:45 PM. I set the coordinates for the pencil to appear at 11:40 PM in Room 213 of the MIT main laboratory, next door where I was working. I prayed for success. I clicked the mouse to send, and looked down at the pencil. It shimmered once, twice, and then was back, and I thought I had failed.
I got up and opened the door to the room 213, turned on the lights and began searching. After a fruitless 20-minute search I turned to leave when I saw something lying under the instructor’s desk. I had to get down on my hands and knees to reach for it.
It was a pencil, I could tell that, and when I brought it into the light, I saw the teeth marks. I stood using the desk to keep me from swooning. I knew it was the same pencil, but to be sure, I had to compare them.
With the pencil in my left hand I ran into the lab and opened the machine with my right, holding the two pencils near one another, and then I saw a blinding light, and felt myself falling into darkness.
When I awoke my father was sitting by my bed. He began to hurriedly gather doctors and nurses who asked me hundreds of questions then consulted, then talked to my father, who came back smiling. “They say you are going to be all right,” he said.
“What happened?” I asked trying to sit up in bed, and then going back down as my head throbbed.
“The building exploded,” my father said. “Danmdest thing, they can’t figure out why.”
I tried to clear the fog in my mind. “The pencil,” I said.
“A pencil?” my father looked at me quizzically. “A pencil did not blow a hole in the side of that building.”
Yes it did.
I asked him if Professor Zeigler had been by to see me.
“Only every day, he’s really concerned about you.”
“Find him, tell him I need to see him,” I said.
“The Doctors say what you need is rest.”
“Dad, please, find him, and tell him it’s about the pencil.”
My father looked at me shaking his head then stood. “If you would rather spend time with your professor buddy than me,” he said.
“Dad, please, after I see the professor we can spend the rest of the day together, I just need to talk to him about the explosion.”
My father put a comforting hand on my knee and then left.
I fell asleep and when I awoke the Professor was next to my bed, a scowl across his face.
“You sent the pencil backwards didn’t you?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“We were only going to send things forward.”
“But I thought it would be easier to prove, and it was, I did it.”
The professor sighed. “Yes you did, and when you brought two pencils both made of the same matter together you caused an explosion that blew up the lab. You were very lucky to survive.”
I began to ask and he held up his hand. “The machine is gone, there is nothing left.”
I sunk down on the bed, my eyes filling with tears. He put a hand on my wrist. “It’s all right, you proved something to me, we can’t go back to a time where we exist. I was born during the holocaust, if I met myself, the explosion would be much larger than one caused by two pencils, it could be of nuclear proportions.”
“So it’s over,” I said.
“I’m afraid it is.”
We sat in silence. “What if we went back even further?” I asked.
“Once we begin to change history the ramifications could affect the entire world, both good and bad.”
I sat up in the bed, ignoring the pain. “What if we stopped the death of Arch Duke Ferdinand, stopping World War I, no Treaty of Versailles, no reason for Hitler to rise to power. We could stop the Holocaust. World War I, World War II. We have in our grasp the power to bring peace to the world.”
“We don’t know what power we have,” he said. “What history would be written if Ferdinand did not die?”
“But we could find out,” I said. “At least let me return to work on the machine, chances are I won’t get it to work again anyway, but if I do, then we can decide.”
“This would be a full time proposition, then is no money in it, how will you survive?”
“My Dad will let me stay with him, there’s still money left from my mother’s estate.”
He rubbed his beard. “You were doing this because of your mother, the pencils have proven you cannot save her, why are you still obsessed with its success?”
I hadn’t realized that, and spent several minutes thinking. “But I could see her,” I said quietly. “See her before I was born.”
He shook his head. “We will talk later of this my friend,” he said rising. “Your father is in the hall, acting like a jealous boyfriend, I shall let him back in, and I shall think of your proposition, although I think it will be the ruin of us all.”
My father came in and sat down, sulking, until I began to talk about the Sox, which started him on one of his rants, and I could continue to brood over the time machine.
Two days later, as I was about to be released, Professor Ziegler returned, and placed a check for $250,000 on the table. “Use this money to build your machine,” he said. “Under the condition that you do not use it unless I am there.”
I picked the check up with shaking hands, unable to find the words to thank him, but he was already moving towards the door.
“And one other thing,” he said. “Make it large enough for a human to be transported.”
He passed my father on the way out, who did not acknowledge the professor. He asked me what was in my hand but I quickly shoved it into my pocket and told him it was just a note.
I spent two weeks at home, convincing my father that I was resting while I put together every bit of information I had backed up on to my personal computer about the time machine.
I found a classified advertising a tanning salon that was closing and I rented it and moved my computers there. I told my father I would be managing it, and while he found it an odd choice, I knew he would never visit.
Truthfully the doors were never unlocked. For 14 hours a day I would stay locked inside rebuilding the machine, and using one of the tanning beds as the transporter.
Looking back, I realize it took three years to build. During that time I was unaware the passage of time, only the Sox season.
Finally it was ready for testing, and I called the cell phone number scrawled on the back of the Christmas card I had received from the Professor, who now lived in Cape Cod, having retired.
Before I could say a word he asked if it was ready and I said yes. He told me he would contact me again and not to touch it.
I spent the next week in the empty saloon, with the machine, being more tempted to use it every day, until one night, just when I was going to close, there was a rapping at the door.
I opened it and saw the professor, balder, now walking with a cane. He hurried past me without saying hello and put his hands on the transporter.
“You used a tanning bed?” he asked.
“I needed something for human transport, with an electrical base.”
He nodded then sat down at the computer. “Do we set the coordinates the same way?” he asked.
I said we did and he began opening windows, setting his time of leaving, in five minutes!
“You are going to use this now?” I asked.
“What better time?” he asked setting his landing point in Warsaw Poland, at a certain longitude and latitude, in 1924.
“We should test it on an animal, a pencil, something!” I said, partly in worry for my mentor, partly because I felt like a father watching someone play with his child for the first time.
“There is only one way to prove this works,” he said setting his return time for two minutes. “And that is to do it ourselves.”
He walked over to the tanning bed and opened it. “I have never climbed into one of these, it is like a coffin isn’t it?”
I grabbed his frail arm. “Hold on. I can’t let you do this.”
“Young man,” he said sternly. “I funded your little project, now it is my time to see if it works, that was our agreement, now are you going to help me get into this contraption?”
I took his arm and he climbed in and lay on the bed. “Does the top have to be closed?” I looked at the computer, and told him yes, but we still had two minutes.
“Why are you doing this? Why Poland? Why 1922? Why two minutes.”]
He lay back, as if, indeed, he was in a coffin with his arms crossed over his chest.
“Miriam is dying,” he said, his eyes staring upwards, filling with tears. “Pancreatic cancer, there is nothing to be done.”
“And what can be done in Poland in 1922?”
“She was born on the land I will be visiting, and she has told me of a lily field outside her window there. The most beautiful lilies. When the Nazi’s came and took her they trampled those lilies. What she would not give to see them again. What I would not risk to make it happen.”
I felt my eyes moisten. “We don’t know what will happen,” I said.
“Whatever happens will be for love, how can something done for love be wrong?”
I nodded, and shut the top. I watched with one eye the clock count down, and the other on him, waiting, to go back to a time before he was born.
The count down hit zero and then the tanning bed began to glow. I heard the Professor gasp. His entire body became rigid. I went to open the tanning bed but I couldn’t. Then in horror I saw him disappear.
I went to the computer as it counted the time until his return. Each second crept by as I turned from looking at the bed to the computer until the clock read 0:00.
I looked back in the bed. The Professor lay in the same position he had left, but on his chest was a beautiful lily.
I grabbed a hold of the top and ripped it open. His eyes were shut. I called out his name. I felt his hands, which were warm. His eyes opened. He saw me. He began to laugh, and continued to until tears fell from his eyes.
“Get me out of this thing!” he said. I reached down. “Be careful of the flower!” he shouted. I got him standing, and held on to him, as his balance had been affected.
A bright smile came across his face. “It was surprisingly cold,” he said. My brow furrowed. “In Poland, in 1922, very cold, I really didn’t dress for it.”
I pulled out my chair and told him to sit. I then squatted before him like he was a religious icon. “Tell me everything,” I said.
“At first, I thought you had killed me. I floated, for five, ten seconds, and then I slowly began to focus, on the cold ground, the blue sky, the grass, and I looked to my left, and there were the lilies. I could reach out and touch them; they were so golden, so beautiful. Then I plucked one. It smelled perfect.” He held it to his nose. “It still does, smell it,” I tentatively did. “I did not know how much time had elapsed, and I didn’t want anyone to see me, so I laid back on the grass and waited, and began to float again, and landed in your marvelous contraption.”
He stood and wrapped me in a hug. I had never known him to show such affection. “I have to go see her now, I have to bring her this,” he said. He then grabbed my face and kissed me on the lips. I was too stunned to say anything. I fell back in the chair smiling. Then I too began to laugh. I had done it.
I opened a word document and began to type out ideas of changes we could make with this wonderful machine, and also safeguards we would have to take to make sure it was never ill used.
I didn’t know how long I had been sitting there when the door opened and the Professor, his suit disheveled, entered, his eyes filled with tears, his face red with anger. “What did you do?” he yelled rushing at me, and then he began to hit me with his frail hands.
I took his blows then grabbed his hands. I carefully spun him around and lowered him until he was seated. “What happened?” I asked. His face collapsed. He put his face in his hands and he wept.
I patted his back and tried to talk to him, then got him some tissue, and water. He sat back, then saw the machine and began pounding on it. I had to hold him again and his feet began to kick at the computer. “Curse that machine, destroy it, destroy it now!” he yelled.
I wheeled the chair from the machine and put my arms on either side of him as he began to weep again. “You have to tell me what happened. Did Muriel not want the flower?”
He looked up at me coldly. “There is no Muriel,” he said. “There’s a Harriet, there’s a Harriet in my home, in my kitchen, in my wedding pictures. There’s no Muriel!” he screamed hysterically. “There’s Harriet, I don’t know a Harriet!” he began to weep again.
“Of course you do dear,” a woman said.
I turned to see an elderly woman, with a cane, standing in the doorway. “We have been married for 45 years,” she said.
“No!” the Professor shouted, stumbling backwards, holding up his hands, until he was in the far corner of the room.
“Tell him!” she said looking at me, her face contorted in fear. “Tell him I am his wife.”
But I couldn’t. I had never met the woman before.
She kept walking towards him. “Keep away from me, keep away from me!” he cried sinking to the floor and weeping. I went to him and lifted him, but his eyes had glassed over, and he stared ahead. I carried him to the tanning bed, the only place I had to lie him down, and called 911.
They said they would be there shortly. I bent down over the Professor, who stared into space, while the woman claiming to be his wife begged him to speak. “Tell him, tell him!” she said to me.
Then her face grew angry. “He said he was coming here to see you, and then he comes back with some flower, and he doesn’t know me. What did you do to him? What is that contraption he is in?”
“It’s just a tanning bed,” I said to the stranger. “I don’t know where he got the flower, we just talked about my future, that is all,” I said lying. I wanted to tell her the truth, and if I had any idea who she was I would have.
The paramedics came first, followed by the police, who took his “wife’s” statement first, and then mine. The police asked me about the tanning bed attached to all the cables. I said I was doing a study on the effects of tanning. While I didn’t think he believed me, he was also not interested in discovering the truth.
I visited the Professor the next day. While his wife was cold to me, rightfully blaming me for what had happened to her husband, I was able to find out that his brilliant mind had suffered such a shock that it had shut down, perhaps forever. I wanted to say goodbye to my old friend, and to assure him, even if he couldn’t understand, that I would never use the machine again. But the wife stood in the doorway, making certain I understood my presence was not welcome.
I went back to the salon with every intention of destroying the machine, but I couldn’t. I did unhook the cables and carefully store them in the back room, and then moved the table away from the bed when an envelope fell to the floor.
I picked it up off the floor and saw written in the Professor’s flowing script “Miriam.” I opened the envelope, and took out the blank card. I opened it.
“My dearest Miriam:
“If I do not return I am sure my able assistant shall return this to you. I went on a mission of the utmost urgency, to make you smile that beautiful smile once again, and if I shall not return, then take comfort that your days are numbered too, and when you enter the brilliant light of eternity, it will be I waiting for you, holding one perfect lily from the world’s one perfect garden, and then we will eternally sleep together.”
I don’t know how long I stared at the card. I went to shred it, and then stopped, and slipped it into my jacket pocket, just as proof that she did exist, once, and as a beacon of hope that someday that love could return.
I could destroy it all, the computer, the tanning bed, even track down all the back up discs I had made, but I could never erase the ability from my mind. The only way to thoroughly destroy the machine was to destroy me, and I was far too much a coward to do that.
I did need to know how the Professor’s two minutes in 1922 caused Miriam to never be born. It took days of internet searches until I found a reference.
It was on a poorly written site dedicated to the paranormal that said an Ethel Grossman, of Warsaw, a 24 year old woman, at home with her husband, was sitting by a window looking out a the lily fields, when, she swore, a man appeared, dressed in a suit. He picked a lily, and just as quickly disapeered.
Young Ethel could not convince her husband of what she had seen, and he, worried that her fantasies would interfere with his business interests, had her put in a sanitarium where she remained the rest of her days.
There was a picture of the couple just after their marriage posted besides the story. I knew the picture well. It had sat on the mantel at the Professor’s home. A perfectly preserved picture of Miriam’s parents.
I shut down the computer, gathered my belongings, and left the tanning salon, planning on never going back. I continued to pay the rent each month from my mother’s trust, and would still tinker in my mind of modifications I could make.
The Professor died a year later, and at his funeral I met Greta, his daughter. The professor had been childless until his trip to Poland, so we had somehow created a life.
And that life changed my life. She told me stories about the Professor I couldn’t have possibly known, and I did the same. Soon we were inseparable. Despite the prostrations of her mother we were married less than a year after the Professor’s death.
I took a job teaching at the University, and never told Greta about the empty tanning salon that I was still renting, what it contained, or the trip her father had taken that had changed all our lives.
Six months after my son was born my father was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. I spent hours every day at the hospital as he slowly wasted away, until the day he finally passed, with 1918 on his lips.
I stood at the internment next to Greta holding my son, two gifts given to me by that machine, while looking at the box that contained my father’s discontented soul, and I heard a voice whispering through the leafless skeleton trees. “Go back.”
That night I told Greta I needed time alone. I went to an old cigar box and took out a key. I also took out a small purple bag. I kissed her goodbye.
I drove to the tanning salon. I booted the now ancient computer. I logged on to the internet. I did a search, looking for one day, when I could have one minute with the man, and change the course of my father’s life.
I opened the bag and tried to calculate to see it I had enough. I set the date, Christmas day, 1919. The place, an alley off of Park Avenue. The time 6:00 AM. Duration, six hours, most of which would be in hiding. Departure in ten minutes.
I used that time to write out a letter to Greta explaining everything if I did not come back. But it was a chance I had to take for my father.
I then laid down and waited, my heart racing, sweat dripping from my skin, and I began to pray, because I was breaking all of the Lord’s laws.
Then I felt myself floating, and then cold, extreme cold, and wet, and I sat up. There was snow and ice under me, it was dark, the wind slammed down the alley cutting through me. I was in New York. It was 1918. Across the street lived the one man who could make my father’s life complete, and hopefully, in my pocket, was enough to convince him to do so.
I stayed in that alley five hours, trying to keep myself from freezing, and from just going to that door and knocking on it, interrupting whatever Christmas festivities may be ongoing. I had one hour left, and I had to make a decision soon.
Then the door opened, and the man came out, bundled against the cold. I was, at first, too stunned to move, then I did, despite the protests of my cold legs and feet.
“Mr. Frazee! Mr Frazee!” I yelled.
The startled man stopped. “Well my God young man you came out of nowhere.”
I didn’t acknowledge my appearance. “Sir, five minutes of your time. I know you are going to sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees tomorrow.”
“And good riddance too! That man is nothing but a nuisance. Glad to be rid of the drunken buffoon, leaving my team on the last day of the season. I can’t have that. And I don’t want to listen to someone defending him either.” He turned to leave.
I took his arm. “Unhand me before I call a constable!” he said.
I let him go, reached into my pocket, and pulled out the purple bag. “There is $150,000 in gold coins in this bag Mr. Frazee, which I will give to you, on your word that you will never cut or trade Babe Ruth.”
“What is this foolishness?” he asked.
“$150,000 for nothing. It’s yours. I know the league is putting pressure on you, I know the Globe has taken out a lien on you for Fenway Park, this takes care of all your problems, and all you have to do, is not trade or cut Babe Ruth.”
Frazee took the bag and looked inside. “This is the most damn fool thing anyone has ever said to me you know that don’t you?”
“You do this,” I told him, “and you will be remembered as a hero.”
“Does it have to be Ruth, he is a drunk, he has no respect for the game, all he cares about is money.”
“Yes,” I said. “If you trade or cut him, I will take this money back, now do we have an agreement as gentlemen?”
He looked at the money. “If this weren’t Christmas I would have you locked up in Bellevue,” he said. “All right sir,” he took my bare right had in his expensively gloved one, and shook it. “I will not sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees, or anyone else tomorrow, nor shall I cut or trade him. You have a deal.”
“Thank you sir, you will not regret this,” I said. “I must now go, and you must never speak of this transaction or my presence hear again, do you understand?”
“Well who would believe me?” he asked. “You have yourself a Merry Christmas,” he turned and walked up Park Avenue.
I went back to the alley. I had more than 40 minutes to wait and they were the longest of my life. What had I done?
I don’t know if it was from the strain, or from the cold, but I fell asleep, and when I awoke I was in the tanning bed.
I opened it and ran outside. I got in the car and quickly drove home and what I saw made my heart stop. My father’s old Chrysler was parked in front of the house.
I ran inside. He was talking to Greta, sweet Greta, still there, looking at our son. Tears fell from my eyes.
“Son, I know I shouldn’t have just shown up,” but I cut him short as I wrapped him in a bear hug.
“Whoa,” he said. “After five years I wasn’t expecting you to talk to me never mind this,” he said.
I released the hug and held him by his frail shoulders. “Five years, what are you talking about?”
A hand went to his face. “Oh God don’t tell me you’ve turned out to be a drunk like your old man.”
“A drunk? You hardly ever drink.”
He pulled away from me. “There you go again with your wise-guy stuff.” He began to shout. “Let me tell you sonny boy it took me years of meetings to get to the point where I can face you and you’re just going to crack jokes at my expense.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry Greta, it was nice to meet you and the little fella but I never should have thought I could get through his thick skull.”
I was too stunned to move. “You have to follow him,” Greta said.
I did. “Dad!” I called as he was putting the key in his car door lock. He ignored me opening it. I caught up to him.
“Dad, help me understand, what was it that led to your drinking?”
“You know as well as I do that it was your mother’s death, and you’re ignoring me afterwards, always pouring over those science books. A man gets lonely at night. It’s no excuse for drinking, but still.”
“But what about watching the Sox Dad?”
He slapped me. I felt my eyes fill with tears. He had never hit me.
“I may be a lot of things but I never raised you to be cruel,” he said, his voice breaking. “You can get treatment for being a drunk, but you get nothing for being cruel.” He got in the car. “Oh, and not that you cared, but it seemed I stopped drinking a little too late, my liver’s gone, doctor gives me two months, don’t make a special trip to the funeral.”
I watched him speed off. I could not move from the spot. Greta came to the door, and guided me inside. “I saw what happened, he shouldn’t have slapped you.”
My hand went to where he had hit me. “Yes he should have,” I said.
I walked into my office and called up a search engine, but for what? I typed in Babe Ruth and found a wikipedia reference.
“Babe Ruth was a pitcher outfielder for the Boston Red Sox who was suspended for life by Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis after allegedly throwing games during the 1921 season. Ruth long claimed that Red Sox owner Harry Frazee framed him but could not prove the charges. With the suspension of Ruth a year after the Black Sox Scandal baseball faded as the National pastime and Major Leagues folded during the second World War.”
I couldn’t breathe. My eyes were filled with tears. I typed in Harry Frazee.
“Owner of the Boston Red Sox who is long thought to have framed pitcher outfielder Babe Ruth for gambling. The suspension led to the collapse of the major leagues. Much suspicion has fallen on a mysterious man who Frazee met on Christmas Day in 1920 and gave the owner a purple bag with $150,000 worth of gold in it. The man was never seen again but is known as ‘the man who killed baseball.’”
I felt Greta’s hands on my trembling chest as tears fell from my eyes. “I’m sorry sweaty,” she said kissing my head. “Maybe if my father had lived long enough you two could have built that time machine, gone back and stopped whoever that awful man was, then your father could have his baseball back and would never have turned to alcohol.”
She stood running her hands up my body. “But I think my father was right, god knows what you could wrought if you went back in time.”
She shut out the light as she left the room leaving the man who killed baseball weeping softly as his computer.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Vatican Airlines, the world’s first airline for Catholic pilgrims had it’s initial flight on Monday, and one gleeful disembarking passenger said this was the first trip in a year he didn’t get stuck with the kosher meal.
The plane features Vatican logos on the headrests and nunardesses, nuns who serve needs of the passengers.
First class passengers have their sins forgiven, given absolution for any subsequent sins, an annulment if needed and a papal blessing. In coach passengers received a shot of wine and a ‘Nilla wafer.
There were several complaints of lost luggage and delays. Cardinal Camillo Ruini of Italy said all complaints are handled by saying: “It is God’s will my child. Hah-hah suck on that Jet Blue.”
Destinations range from the shrine of Fatima to Mount Sinai. “Oh, and Vegas baby!” added Ruini.
Religious messages are broadcast from the cockpit. They range from “Look at the beautiful mountains the Lord has made,” to “You are all protected on this flight by the Lord,” to “Jesus Christ the landing gear is stuck!” to “Holy mother of Christ we’re all going to die,” to “Goddanmit we landed safely.”
The Vatican is aiming to serve 150,000 pilgrims each year and also offer parachuteless jumps for hundreds of Jews each year.
Friday, August 24, 2007
The study is especially surprising given the sexual mores of the generation.
“Now that I’m already blind what the hell do I care if I masturbate!” Tom Dylan of Seattle said.
Jane Stacy, a 94 year old paraplegic who is cared for by her husband Van said that their love life was sparked after she showered and he placed her in her chair to dry and fell face down in her twat. “I said, ‘as long as you’re down there Van tend to the clitoris,’ which I was most happy to say he did,” Jane said. When asked what she tasted like Van shrugged his shoulders and said “Depends
Peter Roth of Detroit began to have sexual relations with his wife of 54 years when he was ordered to exercise. “Beats walking,” he said
Dr. Bruce Taylor of the Center for Erectile Dysfunction said that this news may be more shocking for children in their 50’s to learn that their parents are still rogering, or Dad’s doing Aunt Bessie since Mom’s passing. Bruce Young, a steelworker from Pennsylvania has been hospitalized since finding his 80-year-old parents buck-naked and in his bed in the 67 position. His mother said after her hip operation she can’t make it to 69.
Over 50 percent of the elderly between the ages of 57 and 75 say they still masturbate. Those that don’t say its because they can never find the batteries.
Among those who suffer from a sexual dysfunction 43% said vagina lubrication was a problem 39% said inability to climax, 34% said erectile dysfunction and 98% said it was because the were having sex with someone 92 years old.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Or Ron Artest coach of the Indiana Pacers then spent the rest of his career as a revered legend in the Hoosier state.
Imagine Alan Iverson killing a teammate while violating the law and having him turned into a sympathetic character beloved by all.
Imagine Pacman Jones waiting for a receiver to be alone over the middle, nowhere near the ball, and delivering a head to head blow breaking his neck. Imagine Pacman being suspended for a season, which he never serves because of a work stoppage, and the league, decides, when play begins, to waive the suspension, because he has shown remorse.
Imagine if several NFL players were sentenced to jail and not only did the league do nothing about the problem, but the media mentioned nary a word.
Imagine Jose Offerman, if he had actually fulfilled his intention to injure and left his target with a Grade 3 concussion, becoming a color commentator for the Arizona Diamondbacks and doing cameos on ABC Family shows.
Imagine if Michael Vick was found guilty of the charges he is facing but he wasn’t suspended and his sentence was wrapped around the NFL schedule so he didn’t have to miss any games. And imagine the media didn’t care.
In what kind of twisted world would something like this occur? Only one: The National Hockey League.
While OJ Simpson will never be allowed on a coaching staff, as part of a team’s front office, or in the broadcast booth after being found innocent of killing his wife and another man (not that I believe the verdict was justice) Craig MacTavish, is the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, despite being found guilty of killing a woman in 1984 while driving under the influence of alcohol. While MacTavish didn’t premeditate the murder of the mother of his children, he still killed a woman, was sentenced to jail, and is in a position no one would ever dream of bequeathing to Simpson.
When the day comes that Ron Artest passes from this earth, near the top of his obituary will be his storming into the stands in Detroit to use his fists to pummel a fan. Artest’s brutal display earned him a season long suspension and is baggage that he will carry through the rest of his life. Any post-career NBA work is as unlikely as snow in Barbados. On the day after Christmas in 1979 Boston Bruins winger Terry O’Reilly led a charge into the stands at Madison Square Garden to avenge teammate Stan Jonathan who had his stick taken by a fan and hit in the head with it. O’Reilly, with glove, and stick, began to pummel the fan. He received an eight game suspension, became Bruins coach, is a legend in Boston for his toughness, and was Happy Gilmore’s favorite hockey player.
While there is no evidence that any NBA player ever killed a teammate while breaking the law, Dany Heatly killed teammate Dan Snyder while driving to endanger on September 23, 2003. He was found guilty of vehicular homicide and received a suspended sentence. The NHL found no need to suspend him. This past year he was a first team all-star. The accident is barely mentioned. One has to wonder if Iverson, a player as talented in his sport as Heatly is in his, had killed a teammate driving recklessly, it would be forgotten so easily.
Again, we can only imagine Pacman Jones breaking the neck of an opponent on a play where neither was near the action. We don’t have to imagine that with Todd Bertuzzi who sucker punched Steve Moore and broke his neck. He was arrested for assault and causing serious bodily harm. He received probation for his actions. He was suspended for a season by the NHL, but the players were locked out that year, and when the gates were unlocked, Bertuzzi was graciously allowed inside. He was also chosen to play for Canada in the 2006 Olympics. If football becomes an Olympic sport in 2008 and Pacman is selected by the league to be on the team the media earthquake will make Peru look like a vibrating bed. And let’s not forget, he didn’t break another player’s neck.
With the arrests of Pacman, Tank Johnson, Michael Vick, Artest, and Stephen Jackson the NBA and NFL respectively took steps to suspend the offenders. In the NHL Alex Zhamnov plead guilty to DUI, Pete Worrell spent ten day in jail for DUI, and Sergi Fedorov was found guilty of impaired driving in 2002. All these actions could have led to the deaths of innocent individuals. The amount of games the NHL suspended the admitted criminals. Zero.
While it seems obvious that Jose Offerman’s career came to an end Wednesday night when he charged the mound with his bat in Bridgeport Ct. with the intent to do bodily harm, Bruin Marty McSorely used his stick on Donald Brashear leaving him with a grade 3 concussion. McSorely was suspended for the rest of the season, but was welcomed back the following year, except his skill level had deteriorated, which kept him out of the game. He bounced back to become a commentator for Fox Sports and the San Jose Sharks, and recently played himself on the ABC family network show Greek. Does anyone imagine they will be hearing the words “Welcome to Game 3 of the NLCS, I am Joe Buck with my analyst Jose Offerman, who you can see Monday night on a brand new Hannah Montana?”
And while Michael Vick awaits a punishment he justly deserves Toronto Maple Leaf winger Mark Bell, who last Labor Day, while intoxicated, rear ended a vehicle leaving the driver injured in San Jose, was sentenced to prison for the infraction, the time to be served in the league’s off-season. Imagine the wringing of hands and outrage of the media if Vick receives a similar deal.
So, while the NAACP supports Vick and other black athletes charged with crimes, and white people shake their heads in disbelief at their knee jerk response to helping a fellow black man, remember the above named white athletes who committed crimes that led to severe injuries or death of innocent people, and were allowed back into the NHL, without nary of word from the mostly white media, and understand that those Vick supporters see this, and wonder how much trouble the Falcons quarterback would be facing if he was a Thrasher defenseman.
There has long been a hypocrisy about the media’s coverage of the NHL. The NHL reporters are white men raised by middle class parents reporting on young white men raised by middle class parents who share the same culture, listen to the same music, were raised the same way. You will often see members of the media say how much they enjoy being in NHL locker rooms and the polite way they are treated. This is code for no boom boxes blasting Hispanic or Hip hop music, no threatening posies protecting the stars, no hard to decipher slang.
But if you are looking for some justice it is this: While the NHL and the media covering it turns a blind eye to the crimes committed by its players, the three major sports in America quickly acts to suspend its lawbreakers, and the media covering them dissect every aspect of their crimes, those three leagues are thriving, and the NHL is dying.
And one is left wondering, has the average fan, from Terry O’Reilly’s assaulting fans, to the unpunished assaults on it’s players, to the special treatment given the players sentenced to prison, become tired of watching a sport that won’t police itself.
Maybe if the NHL and the media covering it want it to become a major sport again, they can start weeding out the bad apples instead of welcoming them back. If it wants to be a major league then perhaps the NHL should start acting like one.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
15 years ago, when Little League was the center of my life, a magical land was never spoken of above a whisper, for it represented a season’s hopes and dreams. That magical land was Williamsport.
There was never a reason to mention the “Little League World Series” that took place in that sleepy town each August. It was always “Do you think we can get to Williamsport?”
We came close once, in 1992, when I was a too young President of our local Little League, where, at that time, your all-star team was expected to make it to the state tournament’s final weekend. Twice in the two decades before the league came within one out of winning the State Tournament only to see their opponents capture a walk off victory.
The league had an unofficial college of coaches. While the league champion’s coaches would have the official title, at all star time they would step aside for the veteran coaches with experience. If they balked, then the President would use the power of his office to insure the tradition was maintained.
But I was never one for tradition. I drew the wrath of several people because I used to let the players have pick up games on the field after league contests had ended. I tried to remind everyone that it was for the kids.
The league also had a different color that year. I was working in the housing projects then, and got the league to pay the entry fee for a handful of players, two of whom, both black, were elected to the all-star team, one looked 12 going on 16, and the other was a speedy centerfielder.
When the first all-star practice was called, the coaches insisted they would not take any outside help, and I was asked to use my royal powers to force them aside. I refused, saying they had won the league and had the right to choose who helped them.
The members of the league who objected to the coaches did have a point. They weren’t the best “baseball men.” In fact I convinced them once to spend the night in the batting cages while I had a couple of friends work on hitting the cut off man and base running.
Also they weren’t the most disciplined team. Those words that got a coach and player in hot water when they were aired over ESPN last season were regular visitors in our dugout. Most of all they enjoyed having fun, a band of idiots playing baseball in New England a dozen years before it was to go national.
But, when the double elimination district series started it seemed that the naysayers were correct. They won their first two games, and then lost badly, putting them in the dreaded losers bracket.
In the first inning of their next game they fell behind by eight runs, thanks to the long lost father of the starting pitcher, who not only surprised him by coming to the game, but also decided to give him not needed advice leaving him such a mess he couldn’t record an out.
The game took on a surreal feel from that point, as we slowly started to rally. The field was across the street from a church, and as a bride and her bridesmaids scurried past the backstop dressed in white, some magic seemed to rub off on the boys. They won the game when our relief pitcher, one of those roly-poly home run hitting types, managed the only inside the park homerun of his career, as the outfielder stood over the ball claiming it was under the fence and he could not get it. As our rotund little pitcher huffed around the bases the umpire made a leisurely jaunt to the outfield, and ruled the ball in play, just as the batter reached home, and cried out for oxygen.
This began a streak like what carried the Red Sox in ’04 and Chi-Sox in ’05. They went from the gang that couldn’t throw straight to the gang that couldn’t lose, even when their starting shortstop, at a pool party to celebrate winning the district, fell off the deck and broke his arm.
There was another game they should have lost, just before the state final four, when they were down by one with two out and nobody on in the bottom of the sixth. The backup first baseman, who would go on to be drafted by the Rockies as a pitcher, signing with the University of Alabama, and be on the cover of Baseball America with Rick Ankiel before arm problems forced him from the game, hit a ball deep over the center field fence to push the game into extra innings, and another day.
They won the game the next day. The field where they had played this game was the same park where the state tournament would be held, hidden in the unspoken darkness at the edge of town, of which no local would admit knowledge. Our group got so lost going to the field that we almost had to forfeit. That night, fresh with the thrill of winning, I wrote a column for the local paper, criticizing the field and the state tournament organizers for having the tournament in a small town with a field tucked away in its woods.
After the story ran a friend of mine from the paper called and said that the people in that town weren’t happy, and in fact, were going to kill me if I went to the state finals.
When I arrived for the first game I noticed that they had blown up my picture from the column and had made it into a wanted poster. Luckily I had grown out my hair, a promise not to cut it until the team lost, and no one recognized me, even though I was asked several times if I had seen the rat bastard.
The black kid from the projects, the one who looked 15, started the semi-final game. At 5 feet 9 inches, with huge muscles, and a menacing stare, he was someone most 12 year olds had never faced. We had his teammates spread the word of how many players he had hit that season (a lot) so the batters were bailing out with each pitch. Somehow his control was perfect that day, and the win came easy, putting us in the state finals.
Our opponents at the state finals had beaten us in the championship game once before, with the same coaching staff, and during their practice before the game they ran crisp drills. Our players lay on the grass, threw water on one another, chased eachother around the field, and said words that didn’t belong in the bible. An opposing coach came over to watch and went back to his field saying they had nothing to worry about.
I on the other hand had plenty to worry about. Our coaches had decided in the state finals to start a couple of kids who hadn’t played much. In the state finals. “Told you,” one of the old time coaches snickered. “It’s their team,” I said then went behind the dugout to try and slit my wrist with a blunt rock.
I don’t remember much about the state final. Our roly-poly pitcher didn’t make it out of the first and we went back to the kid who gave up eight runs in his last start. His father had gone back to whatever hole he had crawled out of, the kid pitched lights out, we rallied, stuffed a late inning comeback, then the final out was recorded, we had won the state championship and did the dance of joy.
At the banquet that night I was outed. I did apologize, and when I accepted the trophy I talked about how no one believed this team could win, how our own league turned their backs on us, and how I wasn’t going to the Regionals to lose.
We went to the Regionals and we lost. Quickly.
Today in Bristol Ct players sleep in nice dorms. Then they slept in a school, on cots, all in the same room, with their coaches, in the sweltering July heat, with clogged toilets with no one to fix them, health violations everywhere, and every little league official within earshot claiming everything was fine.
After their first loss we planned to sneak the kids to a hotel so they could relax and use the pool. This was a major rule violation but we were willing to take the chance. Each team had an “Aunt” and “Uncle” assigned to them who, not quite the kindly people they were made out to be, were spies. We told “Uncle Al” we were going to practice, but my young 15 year old looking friend from the projects whispered to him “We’re really going to the hotel pool Uncle Al, don’t tell anybody.” Well, it was that day that he learned a valuable lesson, “don’t trust whitey,” as we were immediately narced out. But we still managed to get to the hotel with a plan no less risky than The Great Escape.
Our act of civil disobedience may have cost us some calls the next day, everyone involved in the tournament was happy to be rid of us. The kids didn’t play well either, just as happy to go home. They spent nine months of the year sleeping in a classroom they didn’t want to do it during their vacation.
Today I see the players occasionally. I saw the black pitcher one day leaving the courthouse. He had been arrested for assault and battery. A friend of his had attacked him for no reason and he had fought back. After the fight he found out it was because his attacker had just found out that our semi-final winning pitcher was his baby’s Daddy. “Hey Ted I’ve got a kid,” he said through his fat lip.
Another lives in my basement. It’s not like that. I’m married to his mother. He just left for the Stan Musial World Series in Houston, still chasing the dream.
I watch the games on ESPN, seeing children play with an enthusiasm never matched by their elders. For them it is the thrill of their lives; for now. But ahead of them are other triumphs. Even greater sports victories, college, marriage, their own children.
For the adults watching, their own triumphs are harder to see, slowly fading in the rear view mirror. Their child getting the game winning hit, or recording the last strikeout; seeing the expression on their faces, that is the closest they can come to the triumphs of their youth. I still believe it’s about the kids, but it means more to the adults.
So I have any advice to the parents and coaches in the magical land of Williamsport today: enjoy it. It will be over before you know it, and those boys on the field will be men in the blink of an eye.
But don’t fret, grandparents are welcome at Williamsport too.
The White House announced Thursday that Jenna Bush is engaged to be married.
Jenna, 25, is marrying Henry Hager, who is in a Georgetown hospital recuperating from knee surgery. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and former chief of staff Andrew Card snuck into Hager’s recovery room and got the ailing and doped up Hager to propose to the less appealing Bush twin, and to sign a pre-nup leaving him, in case of divorce, with no rights to Jenna’s bush, assets, or asses.
Hager, a former aide of Karl Rove, who reportedly, can’t drive 55, was not considered a serious suitor to Jenna when they began their relationship, but when he graduated first in the Dark Arts from Rovewarts the family began to consider him a potential husband.
Hager’s father John Hager is the chairman of the Virginia Republican party. When asked it there was a connection the President answered. “Well, there’s no connection, I mean, the two aren’t connected, I don’t tell my daughter, my daughter, I whored her out so Fred Thompson could win the primary.”
When asked if this would be a White House wedding Jenna said she hoped so but was worried about the attendance. “Uncle Karl won’t be there,” she said, “or Aunt Harriet, or Uncle Donald, or Uncle Andy, or Uncle Ari, or Uncle Collin, of course being black, he probably wouldn’t have been invited anyway. Who knows how long Uncle Alberto will be here? Uncle Dick could go at any time. Maybe we’ll do it at city hall.”
The President said he was just happy that Jenna would be moving out of the East Wing basement so he could set up his fussball table.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Mitt Romney disclosed that he has a personal fortune of over 250 million dollars and that he was able to buy the Iowa Straw poll for “pocket change.”
96 members of the Romney family flooded Iowa in the weeks before the straw poll to aid his campaign. “Dad has 250 million dollars,” son Tag, who drives the bus that his brothers ride in to stump for their dad, said. “If Pop wants to me steer this thing into the Mississippi for 250 million it’s a done deal.”
Romney is planning to use his personal fortune to buy the votes in several early primary states hoping the momentum will carry him to the presidency. He figures to spend less than five million in New Hampshire promising free drive way plowing for the next four years, the re-carving of the Old Man in the Mountain in his image, and a ban on European leaders jet-skiing in a thong on Lake Winnipesaukee.
Romney hopes to spend ten million buying votes in South Carolina promising free weekend barbeques, building a new racetrack, and fixing each Nascar race so Dale Earnhardt Jr. will win.
In Florida he plans to stick to the more traditional campaign of just paying off the people who count the votes.
Not all Romney family members are happy to see their personal fortunes squandered on their father’s Presidential campaign. Said one son who refused to be identified “If Dad spends every dime he has being elected then we’re going to end up like the Bush twins, drunk, constantly without panties, and having contracted an STD.”
At a function later that day when told of his son’s comments Romney, who is protected by a car similar to the bullet proof Pope mobile except this one only covers his hair, said that, while his sons were not serving in Iraq, they were serving the country by letting their father squander their fortunes leaving them drunk, naked and with crabs, “like many of our soldiers in Iraq.”
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Its time we stop disputing if rules were broken and become united in recognizing a cheater for what he is and erase any mention of him from baseball’s archives. Anyone who so blithely ignores the rules of sportsmanship has no place among the game’s greatest players, should be recognized for any achievement, or receive a single Hall of Fame vote.
It is time we wipe Neifi Perez from the record books forever.
This three-time drug test failure, who has used the advantage of illegal substances to lift his career numbers to the heights of Mariano Duncan and Tito Fuentes, needs to face the wrath of an unforgiving nation, and see all his ill-gotten gains besmirched from this great game.
In 1992 Perez was signed by the Colorado Rockies while playing in the Dominican Republic. I decree that Mr. Perez reimburse his signing bonus, which I believe was the cost of a plane ticket, and pay the scout who signed him all medical bills he accrued from drinking the water at the field where he first saw Perez play,
By 1998 Perez had cheated his way to the majors, ending the career of Walt Weiss in Colorado. Weiss, who was on a Hall of Fame path with the Rockies, averaging six homeruns and 30 runs batted in a season, was regulated to the deep woods of baseball, late 90’s Atlanta, ending up withering as the starting shortstop for two years for a team that won over a hundred games, was the starting shortstop for the 1999 All Star team and played in a World Series, while Perez thrived in Colorado leading the league in at bats while hitting a scintillating .280.
1999 was also the year that Perez tantalized the world with his assault on Mark McGwire’s newly minted homerun record. It was July 3, 1999 when people began to take Perez’s run seriously as he went yard twice at Coors Field against the Padres, taking both Woody Williams and Matt Clement deep, giving him seven by the all-star break.
Perez’s assault on McGwire’s record was the talk of Denver for the rest of the season. By the time he hit his 11th against Jason Schmidt at the start of September people were convinced that his hitting 59 homeruns in 27 games was as good as done. It wasn’t until the last week of the season when someone calculated that it would not be possible for him to hit 58 homeruns in ten days did the dream die. But still there was that one magical summer that led Mike Lupica to write his best summer: “Me, Neifti, and My Son Who No Longer Speaks to Me.”
Then came the terrible events of 7-25-01 when the former Kansas City Royals General Manager Allan Baird traded a washed up, slumping slugger, Jermaine Dye, to the Rockies for Perez. It had only been two years earlier when Perez became the 112,614 player to join the 10-10 club hitting 12 homeruns and stealing 16 bases, and, remarkably, he was on the pace to do it again. But Perez, unable to adjust to not playing in the thin mountain air, and perhaps not being able to find a supplier, slumped to hitting .241 with only one homerun. Dye was immediately traded to the A’s where, between there and the White Sox he played in four consecutive postseasons culminating with the World Series MVP in 2005. Baird would lose his job four years later. Maybe Baird, influenced by Perez’s amphetamine inflated numbers into making a disasterours trade, is due the money he would have been paid the past two years if the Perez trade led to his firing. The tentacles of amphetamine abuse in sports even reaches the front office.
Perez continued to struggle in Kansas City and was released in November of 2005, and then on New Year’s Eve Perez got a holiday gift he could never have dreamed of, he was picked up as a free agent by Balco Across the Bay, the San Francisco Giants.
Being near Balco paid almost immediate dividends for Perez who homered September 13, 2003, off of Glendon Rusch for his only homer of the season. Of course adding power subtracts speed and Perez only stole three bases that season, but the Giants gladly traded speed for the 31 clutch runs he knocked in.
In August 2004 the Giants decided to go in another direction, talent, and Perez was again cut adrift. He managed to wash up on the shore of last refuge in the majors, the Cubs.
Maybe Balco gave him a going away gift because Perez managed to hit .372 in 23 games for the Cubs earning him another season.
He pushed Ramon Martinez out the door to become the Cubs full time shortstop in 2005. He fell just short of the covered 10-10 club that year falling one homerun and two stolen bases short. He was also proudly a member of one of the most disappointing teams of the 21st century.
His number slumped in 2006 as he struggled to reach the two homerun one stolen base club, but his fortunes turned when he slipped past dozens of GM’s asleep at the switch and was able to go to the American League Central Division leading Tigers on August 20. He promptly led them to a wild card berth.
He made it into a playoff game and two World Series games going hitless.
Then in 2007 this cheater was finally brought to justice. On July 25 he failed his second test for amphetamines, earning him a 25-day suspension, and August 4 he was suspended for 80 games, apparently needing amphetamines to do the gardening and mow the lawn.
So Perez is at the end of his brilliant career. He may have fallen 36 homeruns short of the 100-homerun clubs, which would make him a virtual lock for the Hall of Fame, if this were 1914. An obviously stunned Tiger team then went on a run overtaking the Indians for first place in the American League central.
So Neifti has finally met justice and the world of baseball is safe again. Maybe we can never make it up to those who suffered from his drug use, the scout who signed him, Walt Weiss, Allan Baird, Ramon Martinez, the Cleveland Indians who felt the brunt of the Tigers’ post Neifti surge, but at least the game is clean again.
And we can concentrate on the achievements of our clean athletes like Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield.
Our national nightmare is over. The mighty Neifti has been struck out.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
WASHINGTON, D.C. – When President Bush's medical records were released on Wednesday, they revealed that he had been treated for symptoms "consistent with early, localized Lyme disease" in August 2006. Lyme disease is usually contracted through the bite of a deer tick, which the President may have suffered during one of his bike rides.
The White House explained that it had kept this information secret because “it wasn't worth reporting,” but that explanation is belied by the fact that the White House also said it is not ruling out terrorism in this incident.
“It is very easy for a terrorist to sneak a tick into the country,” a national security expert said on the promise of anonymity. “Ticks are so small we don’t have proper screening devices to scan for them. Then, once a terrorist knows where the president rides, how hard is it to plant the tick?”
lthough late night talk show hosts made jokes about the president’s disorientation, mangled syntax, paranoia, forgetfulness, and other symptoms of Lyme disease, the White House believes this is not a laughing matter.
Therefore, starting Monday the National Transportation Safety Board is requiring all travelers entering the country with anything beyond a modest tan to strip down completely and submit to body-
crevice checks. Travelers are being advised to arrive at airports at least thirty to sixty minutes before their scheduled departures, depending on their weight and the number of folds and crevices in their bodies.
Homeland security officials report they have no "actionable intelligence" indicating that al Qaeda is planning to infest the country with ticks but are endorsing this step nevertheless as an overabundance of caution.
At a White House press conference President Bush sought to assure the nation—by directly addressed the tick problem—that he bore no ill effects from his brush with Lyme disease.
"We are facing, uh, an enemy that, uh, enemies, heh-heh, that likes to hide in little, uh, crevices, in orifices, in your, heh-heh, pubic hair, and then they, uh, latch on to you and suck your very blood. Americans have to be, uh, ever vigilant in looking for these terrist bloodsuckers. You’re either with us or, uh, er, with the ticks, heh-heh.”
Thursday, August 9, 2007
First posted at Big Dave on sports
With so much talk of steroids, dog fighting, and basketball game fixing, I took it upon myself to have first hand experience in all three activities to better explain their effects to you.
First were steroids.
I called up a pharmacist friend of mine and told him that I needed something to get me going, make me large, full of power. He gave me some pills and I scoffed them with a shot of Red Bull.
Two hours later I was large but not necessarily in the area I was hoping for, and I needed desperately to perform a certain bodily function. I called my pharmacist friend and asked him what he prescribed. “What you wanted, Viagra,” he said.
I went to my wife and told her of my predicament and she said “I am going to tell you the same thing I told the kitty when it was stuck in the tree, you got yourself up, you figure out how to get yourself down.”
I ended up going to bed and trying to sleep it off but since I sleep on my stomach I spent the night like Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters sleeping six inches above the covers. (Editor’s Note: According to an e-mail I received from the writer’s wife it was only four inches.)
The next morning the drug had worn off and I began to look through the phone book for a steroids source when I saw a wrestling show was happening at the high school. One trip into the locker room and I had what I needed.
I took the drugs and hurried home, sat at the breakfast table and announced to my wife that I was on the juice. She said: “That’s nice dear, its so hard to clean you’re trousers after you’ve sat in the milk.”
I dressed for work and got in the car, started it, stepped on the gas and put my foot through the floor. I then picked up the car Flintstone style and ran to work carrying it.
First thing I did when I got to the office was change my cell phone ring to Hulk Hogan’s theme song so when I got a call I ripped off my shirt and began posing. When the copier jammed I picked it up and tossed it out the window.
A short while later my glasses frame broke because my head had swollen so much. A quick check in the bathroom mirror showed I had acne on my back and my testicles had shrunk to the size of a four year old’s who had been swimming all day.
I spent the rest of the afternoon at a construction site lifting concrete blocks usually placed by a crane. By quitting time I got a tap on the shoulder and was told to get into a black car where George Mitchell was waiting. After an hour of water boarding I told him everything I knew. By night’s end the Yankees signed me for 16 million a year.
This was more secretive than the world of steroids. I placed some carefully worded inquiries on craigslist and soon got a reply. I was to take my dog to an abandoned factory off of Route 95, park it in the back, go in a side entrance, bring the dog, and the money.
I waited until my wife was asleep and then snuck the dog out of the house. I found the warehouse, put the dog in her cage and entered the building.
It was there that I found a dozen other men like me, with similar dogs, getting ready to compete. The first fighter was in the ring and he was asked whom he’d like to take on. “Tell the new guy to bring his mutt over here,” he said.
I opened my cage. Foley, named for professional wrestler Mick Foley, and thereby a true fighter, jumped out. I picked her up.
She looked in my eyes with fierce determination and I scratched her head and placed her five-pound body in the ring. I held her. “Are you sure that’s a Yorkshire terrier?” I asked the other dog’s owner. “Looks a little heavy, might be a Silky.”
“Relax, buddy, we only fight Yorkies here,” the ring handler said.
Although nervous all I could due is trust him. Foley was giving two pounds to the other dog but she was tough. On the count of three I let her go.
Foley charged aggressively and came behind the dog and sniffed her butt. The dog stood still, but then turned, and it sniffed Foley’s ass. During the ass sniffing money quickly changed hands. Then Foley climbed up on the other dogs back and began to stimulate sex and they both began to pant. “Ride her Foley!” I yelled. “Ride that bitch for all she’s worth.”
Then Foley dismounted and peed and the other dog went to pee over it but Foley barked at her and she retreated to a corner. Then both dogs lay down and went to sleep.
“We have a tie!” the dog handler said.
“That’s the 500th tie in a row,” another man said. “Maybe we shouldn’t be fighting lap dogs.”
I agreed, and hurried Foley home, undefeated, and still the Queen of hardcore.
I drove down to the high school and found a bunch of fifth graders on the court. “What are you kids doing?” I asked.
“We’re playing basketball you hump,” one answered.
“Do you need a referee?” I asked.
The boys agreed. Before I started I went over to four boys sitting on a bench and asked them if they wanted to bet on the team wearing the shirts. They seemed interested, and I said if they could find some guys to bet on the skins team I would fix the game and we could split the money.
It took a half hour but we got our pigeons that had bet up to 75 cents on the game. Then it began and immediately I began to call fouls on the fat kid who was playing center for the skins and looked like an episode of the Girls Next Door gone wrong.
After several minutes the shirts had a healthy lead but the skins started to catch on and after a charging call one of them kicked me in the shin and I started to run after him and then the rest of his teammates jumped me and I was on the grass next to the court wrestling a group of shirtless pre-pubescent boys.
And that’s how I met Chris Hansen. And some nice police officers.
So, after my intensive investigation I can say I do not understand why any athlete or official would involve themselves in steroids, dog fighting, or fixing basketball games.
But Viagra, that I get.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Monday, in a joint press conference with still President George Bush that he is working to root the Taliban from their mountain hideouts. The press conference was held at President Bush’s mountain hideout Camp David where President Karzai is hiding in an opening by the wine cellar.
Bush described the Taliban who ruled Afghanistan and harbored al Qaeda as “brutal cold killers” and “a vision of darkness,” who use torture techniques like “sleep deprivation” and “water boarding” and “release the names of undercover agents” before being handed a slip by an aide which read “You’ve confused them with Cheney again.”
Bush said Afghanistan has 110,000 troops of their own being aided by 23,500 US troops and 26,000 troops from other nations. The Taliban are being aided by about 150 U.S. troops who keep killing their fellow soldiers.
Bush told the media that the United States has committed $23 billion to rebuild Afghanistan. Karzai said much of this went to his indoor kidney shaped pool and curtains at the palace.
Karzai began to say that he planned to have a jigra with Pakistan leaders when he was interrupted by Bush who said that his Grandpa used to have jigras on the property but he built a fence and it kept them out. A perturbed Karzai explained a jigra was an Afghanistan traditional assembly.
Bush was asked if he knew of al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan would he attack without informing president Gen. Pervaz Musharraf. Bush said that he is in constant communication with the Pakistani government and lauded them for playing Billy Ray Cyrus while he waits on the phone. “Heard the entire new album the other day while waiting to talk to President Musharraf.” When asked what the discussions detailed Bush said they were unable to speak because it was 9:30 and Laura put him to bed.
When asked about the number of Afghan civilians killed in U.S. raids Karzai said that President Bush is as concerned about Afghan citizens as he is. When asked how much that was Karzai held up his hand with a small space between his thumb and forefinger and smiled.
Bush says he regrets the deaths of Afghanistan civilians but blames the Taliban. “We know they are eating at a café and then we line up our smart missiles and take it out, but they have already left. If those evil terrorists had the courtesy to have a cup of tea and dessert we would have time to get them.”
Said a member of the Taliban they usually skip desert because it is unhealthy and you have to be in top physical condition to blow yourself up.
The conference ended with Karzai praising Iran and then being quieted by Bush who threatened to take him to “Uncle Dick’s” room to be debriefed.
After the conference Karzai shook hands with the press and slipped several members business cards for Uncle Hamid’s Poppy Field and Heroin Plant with its slogan “When You Care Enough to Shoot up the Very Best.”
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
The Red Sox were playing the Mariners and on their way to their eighth straight loss at Safeco Field when it was announced that Barry Bonds had hit number 755.
I felt sad at first, because Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s record was part of my childhood, and then the feeling passed, and I concerned myself with the Sox, who rallied passed the Mariners to get their first win in Seattle since Fraser Crane had a top rated radio show.
After the game I was left with this thought about Barry Bonds. Do I care? Does anyone care?
The National Media decides what we should care about, whether it be some Hollywood starlet’s criminal activity, or a politician’s latest sexual dalliance.
Now the national sports media is doing the dictating and the thing we are told we should care about is Barry Bonds’ pursuit of Hank Aaron, but what I am wondering is why should I care?
I have been told it is because the homerun record it the most cherished record in sports. Well, by whom? My most cherished record is that I have not thrown up since drinking the better part of two kegs in August 1988 and then tried to eat an English muffin. That’s a record folks.
Of course I am supposed to be up in arms because Bonds cheated. Well Shawn Marion cheated, helped the Chargers get home field for the playoffs in 2007 and the only thing that kept them from advancing was another Mary meltdown. Marion was a candidate for Defensive Player of the year until clearer heads prevailed.
Sunday night Tom Glavine won his 300th game, and good for him. Good citizen, nice guy, I’m happy for him like I’m happy when my neighbor tells me he eagled the 14th at the local club. I don’t really care, but I’m happy.
Then there is A-Rod hitting is 500th, which may be the greatest achievement of them all, considering his age and potential, despite the fact that I hate him with every fiber of my short, round, being.
The truth is their achievements were inevitable. The work to get there had been done long ago. The real news would have been if A-Rod went the rest of his career without going yard, Glavine got a tragic career ending injury stopping him from getting win 300, or that Bonds got stuck on 754, which, my loyal readers will know, I already wrote (thanks, Mom.)
Besides these records we are also supposed to care about the British invasion. Yes David Beckham and Posh Spice Beckham have landed on our shore and its like when John Lennon arrived if he had already married Yoko.
The initial Beckham sightings are going to bring fans to the soccer stadiums like an exhibition of King Tut’s tomb, but once we all realize he’s just an old guy with lots of wrapping around him the novelty will wear off.
Americans are never going to care about soccer. The difference is as clear as American and European literature. In the works of Jane Austin lovers come together, break apart, tragedy pulls them further apart, and then they are, 500 pages later, reunited in a night of glorious passion.
In American literature someone gets laid every ten pages.
In America we don’t have patience to weed through hundreds of pages until someone scores, nor do we have the patience to wait through two hours of soccer waiting for someone to get a goal.
These stories are all currently cresting, by the end of the week Bonds should be past Aaron, and the Beckham shine should begin to lose its luster (Does anyone else think he is the English Fred Thompson: Hot wife, gets lots of publicity, isn’t actually participating in anything?)
Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil said that all politics is local, and that is true of sports. While we have interest in Bonds in New England eyes will be turned to Curt Schilling taking the hill in Anaheim and not Barry Bonds at Pac-Bell. In New York the focus will be the Mets holding on to first and the Yankees slow climb to the wild card lead. In Chicago it will be Alfonso Soriano’s injury, in Nebraska, it will be, as always Cornhusker football.
So, while the National media tries to get us concerned about Pac-Man Jones’ wrestling career (I will only be interested if he comes in a costume that is a gigantic mouth and feuds with colored furry creatures) the rest of us will be more worried about what is going on at home.
Because if I get much more A-Rod, Bonds or Pac-Man coverage my 20 year no vomiting record will come to a sad end.