Crazy Little Thing

“You have to be comfortable in your own skin,”

I offered this thought to my pal Jen a while back after she got done throwing the hammer down on love and its many splintered qualities. Jen ain’t a whiner, so her vendetta had guile and tact and verity to it. It wasn’t a rant nor an idle threat, to which the woman is averse. The diatribe was her “going to the mattresses” moment after having been done wrong. 

The emotional bloodletting was obscenely endearing in its brutal honesty. She doesn’t live her life as if she scored the script from a movie or TV show, which means to say that her what’s what is totally unfiltered, always. Because she happens to believe that parables are for dreamers but truth is for keeps. 

We went for Thai last night and ended up in the tall grasses as we sipped on our mighty fines and shared our respective anecdotes. She told me her ex had finally stopped reaching out to her with apologetic ransoms via online florists and Etsy.

“I got a shit ton of Christmas re-gifting done thanks to him,” She toasted.

And then I told her about my Halloween costume party last week in which I parceled hours of awkward domestic intrigue into a pretty fun evening. I did so with tight circled chats, drink nursing and my roundabout take on Korean BBQ that worked to sate the uncomfortable silences. The intrigue was all about young lovers figuring things out, hopefully.

“I’m erring on the side of relationship on this one . .” I said, raising my drink into a clink as Jen gawked her response in mock exasperation as if to say “You?”.

“Because they’re a unit right now, and in spite of all the vicious rumors . . I respect the sanctity of that . . defend it even . .”

“Even if you choose not to abide to such constraints . . ” She smiled.

“In lieu of is the best I can do,”

And then Jen hit me with the accident report on her most recent love thing, which she had to pull the plug on when he started wanting more. She was more than willing to take on his handsome and his dashing and even most of the debonair, but the wife? That was a sticking point to which she couldn’t travail.

“I found the perfect marriage . . his.” She bemoaned.

And then he went and changed the rules on a gal too smart for her own heels. We relate to those extramarital involvements where the fine print works in sync with discretion and language matters, soundly. We could teach a class on how it’s not what a person says, but it is what they do on Instagram.

“I’ve never met a good cheater, but I’ve met plenty of damn fine liars,” I countered.

This segue led me to a recent piece of advice I gave to my pal Barry. He’s a retired cop who is clueless on matters of consequence, namely coupling. Evidenced by his two ex wives and current flame whose DNA fits their specs to a high tea. Because nothing says insanity like diving back in to the shallow part of the matrimonial pool for a third time.

“They had enough in common to try things on for size. But the things they don’t have in common are great big meatballs. So I told him that being single ain’t a crime,”

“Tell that to my parents,” Jen laughed.

“Long story short, he told her she could leave anytime she felt like leaving. And now he’s looking at real estate up in Jim Thorpe,”

“You homewrecker,”

“Not the first time . . ” I said.

We toasted to the incomprehensible fates, whose scatter is a wickedly fine arrangement of daggers and wings that make us grateful for the tender mercies . . .  Like peace of mind, and comfortable shoes.

Especially those.

Heroes Of The Week! (World Series Edition)

Roberto Clemente

Montreal has its long deserved World Series title . . . And okay, so this isn’t what happened on Wednesday night. It was the Washington Nationals who actually won the World Series, but Imma stick with celebrating it under the Expos banner. Because this is the 25th anniversary of the baseball strike of ’94, which led to the cancellation of the World Series. It also canceled out a Montreal Expos team that possessed the best record in the game (74-40) when the lights went dark.

The Nationals season could be titled “The Comeback”. They dug themselves out of a 19-31 start to make it to October. After which they came from behind in the eighth inning of their winner take all playoff game against the Brewers to advance. They weren’t supposed to beat the heavily favored Dodgers in the NLDS, until they came from behind and did just that. And then lost three straight games in Washington after taking the first two in Houston to start the World Series, and so everybody figured this was the end of the Nationals magical ride. Because no team had ever won four road games in a postseason series. In any sport. 

When the Astros went up 2-0 in the 7th inning on Wednesday night, it started to feel as if all the crazy chances the Nats had rode in on were about to turn into pumpkins. And then Anthony Rendon turned on a Zack Greinke sinker that didn’t sink, and then the Nationals were coming back again. All the way back. Again. Twenty five years worth of comeback, painted in red, white and sacre bleu.

On the flip side of all that nostalgic feel good, there’s the MLB. Coming off an historic World Series in which the visiting team won every game, you’d think the league would be riding a wave. But you’d be thinking wrong, on account of the fact that most peeps who might have watched, didn’t, since every game lasted longer than a Ted Cruz filibuster. I mean, how in blessed hell do they expect to grow the game when future fans are fast asleep before the final outs are recorded?

Would it kill Rob Manfred to start World Series games at 7 pm on the East Coast, thereby giving kids a chance to stay up and watch? And would it be such a bad thing if they streamlined the bucco pitching change process instead of making each one a five minute commercial break? And how’s about getting rid of instant replay, which is anything but instant and kills the flow of a game? And don’t even get me started on the juiced balls the league went to during the regular season in an inane attempt to make each game read like an NFL score. The bosses seem intent on ruining the qualities that make it unique from any other game. Why?

The Houston Astros have done just about everything right over the last five seasons, following a painful rebuild in the first half of the decade that saw them lose over a hundred games three years in a row. From the ashes of that rebuild came what looked to be baseball’s next dynasty. And it got cooking in 2017 when the Astros won 101 regular season games and then beat three of the best teams in baseball in the postseason (Boston, New York, Los Angeles) to capture their first World Series title. Over the last two seasons, Houston has arguably had the best team in baseball- best lineup, best rotation, best manager- and they just won 107 regular season games to make it three seasons in a row in which they’ve topped the century mark. And yet, that dynasty hasn’t quite happened the way most of us figured it would. Maybe it still happens, as the Astros are early Vegas favorites to win it all next season. But it just goes to show how hard it is to win, in any sport. And maybe Houston never gets its dynasty, but I wanted to take a moment to recognize the damn good baseball they’ve given the sport.

Once upon a time Josh Hamilton was a feel good story. A blue chip prospect, he was selected first overall by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 1999 MLB draft. His life was full of brilliant possibilities when a car accident in 2001 changed everything. It led to Hamilton’s addiction to drugs and alcohol and a spiraling journey that saw three teams cut bait with him before his recovery. In 2008, he landed with the Texas Rangers and it seemed as if all those brilliant possibilities had finally shown up. Hamilton made five straight All Star games, won a HR Derby and an American League MVP. He scored a $125 million contract with the Angels in 2012. But things never reached that zenith again as Hamilton battled injuries and then a relapse. For all intents and purposes, his baseball career came to an end in 2017.

Hamilton was arrested Wednesday on charges of injury to a child- a third degree felony-  after being accused of physically assaulting his 14 year old daughter. And now all those brilliant possibilities he once carried with him feel like they happened a million years ago. And how tenuous a thing it is, to have it all.

And finally, Imma take the way back machine to get to my hero of this particular edition. Way back to 1972 and a baseball player named Roberto Clemente. Born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, he received plenty of push back in his climb to the major leagues on account of the fact he was a black man from Latin America who did not speak English. This was a triple edged sword that he overcame by sticking to the lessons of his upbringing.

It served him well, to the tune of a Hall of Fame career in which he was both a National League MVP and World Series MVP. He amassed 3,000 hits, was a four time N.L. batting leader, a twelve time Gold Glover and a fifteen time All Star. But it was his influence off the field that has resonated.

Clemente became the Latino equivalent of Jackie Robinson, as he was one of the first Puerto Rican born players to reach the majors in 1955. Today, almost thirty percent of the league is comprised of Latin born players.

His work off the field is what lands him in this spot, however. Because Roberto Clemente never forgot where he came from, and he understood his responsibility to those in need. His legendary efforts on the field exist on equal footing with his immense contributions off of it. He spent his off seasons doing charity work, bringing aid and hope to those in need. As a result of his example, the Commissioner’s Award- given to the player who ” . . best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team . .” was renamed after Clemente in 1973.

It was a posthumous undertaking, as Clemente was taken from the world he had given so much to on New Year’s Eve of 1972. He was accompanying a relief mission on a plane he had chartered to Managua, Nicaragua after the capital city had suffered a devastating earthquake the week before. It crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico immediately after takeoff. So distraught was his best friend and teammate Manny Sanguillen, that he decided not to attend the memorial service. He dove into the waters where Clemente’s plane had been lost instead. His thoughts inside those desperate moments is every bit as relevant almost fifty years later.

We didn’t get nearly enough of him.

 

 

First Draft Horoscopes

Image result for scorpio sign

Happy Birthday Scorpio! 

You never know where your playful and spontaneous side is going to take you. Oh wait . . yeah you do. You always wind up in a seedy motel with a Craigslist hookup. As such, your attachment to your family is really quite strong. And hell, it needs to stay that way after your cousin Jimmy caught you coming out of Motel Eight with Jackie Uh Oh and his . . her five o’clock shadow.

You’re a passionate person, who enjoys debating others and shaking things up every now and again. But your vote for Trump means that you shouldn’t be allowed to vote, like . . ever again. Or drive anything with wheels. Or drink alcoholic beverages. Or take recreational drugs . . or prescription medications . . or over the counter medications. Okay you know what? You shouldn’t go outside or fraternize with another living soul, ever again.

Those closest to you admit that you can be hard to read, and this is because of your decidedly intense personality. Sometimes your spouse wonders if you’re a serial killer before thinking better of it, seeing as how you’re not nearly dynamic enough to pull off some crazy shit like that.

In spite of all that, it seems that people do respect you. And so what if it’s only because they’ve got something on you? Which reminds me, your Cousin Jimmy’s hush allowance is coming due again and he’s got an Instagram account at the ready should you renege on your agreement.

Boogeyman

In honor of my favorite holiday, I went looking for a piece I wrote several years back and never got around to tinkering with further. Until now. It’s a re-imagining of Michael Myers, not as some supernatural entity but as a real person.

Happy Halloween . . . 

Michael grabbed the keys from the hook in the foyer before moving into the garage. His eyes squirmed and then settled as he located the light switch. He jabbed at the button beside it and the garage door came to life. He studied the jumble of keys in his hand, all of its purpose had gone dead now. A couple of pumps of the key-less entry and he was sitting behind the wheel of a jet black Audi and tap dancing on the candy coated rev. He checked the fuel indicator . . full. And with a diesel engine to crunch tire on, it would bridge the five hour gap between his toes and Long Point, Illinois very nicely.  He set the GPS and smiled.

With open road came enough leisure with which to settle his mind on some tunes. He plugged in the i-Pod he had gathered on his way out the door. He toggled at the concert panel, tapping the media selection into life and fingering his way through a stack of entries. Dr. Henley Warren had been an academic of some repute, but his taste in music? It was shit for. Michael switched over to satellite radio and pumped up some White Zombie before turning his attention to Warren’s smart phone.

Dr. Warren had lived the retrofitted American dream of the baby boomer generation. He had morphed from counterculture propagandist to stock market gangster, after which he moved his doctorate into a cushy tenure at a university. The sonofabitch had been a someone thanks to humping the backs of real someones.

Warren’s writings on cognitive dissonance produced four books, after which he scavenged the realm of Disassociative Identity Disorder for his profit. It was the chapter entitled “The Mythology of Michael Myers” that sealed the doctor’s fate. In the chapter, he opined on a culture that glorified monsters. As Warren saw it,

Our deification of fictionalized characters such as Michael Myers speaks of a nation whose lonely eyes are woefully out of focus. We created Myers from the ether, his existence a dubious counter punch to an establishment whose dictates have impaled all hope. 

Warren wrote of Michael Myers as if a stranger. Despite having gained an audience with him in 1981, five years after Myers murdered his entire family in cold blood. He wrote of Myers as if clueless to that meeting. As if never having known that Michael Myers was a fictional representative of a real event.

But he knew, all of it. Warren had first learned of Myers through a little known scribe whose article on the Myers family murders in a weekly periodical was retracted in November of 1976, a week after it ran. The author of that piece, Reid Loomis, was the editor of the Long Point Herald. A brilliant writer, and a drunk. No one batted an eye when the story was retracted. And no one was shocked when Reid was found dead in his bathtub a couple weeks later.

The composite of Michael Myers happened into being on the crumbs of that long lost article by Loomis. Its afterlife was achieved when a little known director by the name of John Carpenter bought the ‘premise’ from a government agent at a poker game in Los Angeles. For twenty bucks. After which Carpenter turned the nightmarish events into a rhythm sectioned profit center, never knowing how right he had been.

Urban legends work best when there is no one left to blame. And with Michael Myers imprisoned in a government facility for the rest of his natural born life, all that was left was the money to be made off those murders. Warren’s meeting with the fifteen year old Myers was of a classified nature. The Myers family murders had been sealed. Permanently.

This cloak of darkness had come as the result of an experimental drug born of Dante’s worst tale. HR-9 was developed by a team of U.S. Army doctors in the hopes that once the drug was perfected, it could be given to combatants. It would introduce a killing machine the likes of which the theater of war had never seen. Soldiers who were tireless, merciless and inhumanly strong.

Thomas Myers was a doctor in the program. His son, the last known casualty. The ten year old Myers had wandered down to his father’s basement office on Halloween night with his bag full of treats. When he found his father asleep on the sofa, he swapped a milky way bar for one of those pink discs on the desk. They looked like smarties, his favorite.

Hell was unleashed shortly thereafter when Michael bludgeoned his father, along with his mother Judith. After which he turned his attention to his teenage sister Audrey and his infant brother Jason. Michael was finally apprehended by police, running the streets in a blood crazed ruin.

Technology had gone wicked in its depth and reach since Michael had been shuttered away to a government facility in New Mexico for the rest of his natural born life. But Michael had kept up. He possessed thirty-seven years worth of unencumbered education on the world and now that he was free, he was prepared to show his full reach.

He would never own a permanent residence. His mind possessed volumes of information on cities and towns and hamlets- from San Diego, California to Estcourt Station, Maine. His whereabouts would prove as impossible to nail down as the wind. He would hide in the plain sight of cities that concerned themselves with low flying airliners and homemade bombs and striking Congressmen. He would go small town whenever those big brother subsidized empires started gaining on him.

Dr. Warren’s smart phone held names that mattered, Names that had once helped to make that horrible night in 1976 possible, and names that had helped to bury it.  Names that were going to pay dearly for such a thing, just like Dr. Warren, whose head was resting comfortably at the bottom of the aquarium in his living room. To those who had passed, Michael would take his rage out on their families. It wasn’t fair, but neither was losing your life to a pill that never should have existed.

Michael set the Audi into cruise as his body went lazy on the leather seat and his brain went blank, in preparation. All those years of wondering what he might do with a life on the other side had served to turn his patience heavy. Now, he was busy slimming the purpose of it all into shape.

His new life would start in the sleepy bedroom town of Long Point, Illinois- better known to fans of cinematic horror as Haddonfield, He would visit a retired sheriff by the name of Laurie Strode and he would lay his response to Thomas Wolfe on her corpse, and it would read simply.

You can go home again. 

©2013

Heroes Of The Week!

Dead Pool

This week’s episode is gonna be short and sweet, seeing as how I’ve been preoccupied with not paying any attention whatsoever to the news cycle. Blissful? Meet ignorance.

And now what I got of the news . . .

The Houston Astros were losers on and especially off the field this week in the aftermath of their now former assistant GM’s bully tactics towards some female reporters. After dispatching the Yankees in the ALCS, Brandon Taubman yelled “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so fucking glad we got Osuna!”during the postgame celebration. Taubman’s reference was to Astros closer Roberto Osuna, whom the team acquired last season after he had been suspended for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy.

Kudos to Astros manager A.J. Hinch for being the voice of reason and class in the organization. While his organization originally refuted the female reporters’ story, Hinch knew better and said so.

And speaking of lone stars, Harrison Barnes of the Sacramento Kings showed his shine recently when he helped to cover some of the funeral expenses for Atatiana Jefferson. The twenty eight year old Dallas woman was shot and killed by Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean while she was watching her young nephew. Barnes is tight with his North Texas people, having handed out dozens of Thanksgiving meals last year. He also sponsored a couple of basketball courts at the Mesquite Boys and Girls Club, where he has hosted youth basketball camps. The dude is a slam dunk of righteousness.

In yet another disturbing incident of fan entitlement last week in the Bronx, some Yankees fans went lower than an entrenched incumbent in an election year. First they hurled bottles and souvenir baseballs onto the field after a replay review didn’t go their way. But it didn’t stop there. Some fans decided to hurl insults at Astros starter Zack Greinke as he warmed up in the bullpen. They referenced his mother as well as his battles with social anxiety and depression. What a sad and disgusting spectacle.

Milwaukee police officer Kevin Zimmerman brings more than a badge and his service issued particulars to the job every day. He also happens to bring a heart and soul whose perspective gleans best case scenarios from trying situations. As he did during a traffic stop recently when he came through for a young mother and her three children. Zimmerman had pulled over Andrella Jackson for driving with an improper registration, after which he saw that her young children were not in car seats. Jackson explained that she’d just bought the car at auction, but could not afford car seats for the kids. Zimmerman decided not to issue her a citation . . and then he bought the kids some car seats. That’s called a good day’s work, and then some.

One minute Marlon Anderson was just doing his job as a security guard at Madison West High School in Wisconsin and the next, he was given a pink slip. The reason? Marlon Anderson uttered the N word at a student he was escorting off the school grounds. This unruly student had been calling Anderson every variation of the N word, as well as the slur itself. The security guard, who’s worked for the school for eleven years finally had the shit of this punk’s fit and told him to quit calling him that word. So the school board made sure to punish Anderson since they have a zero tolerance policy, which is just another way of saying they had their heads up their asses and were not bothering with context in the least.

And finally, U.S. astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made history last Friday when they stepped foot outside the International Space Station, becoming the first women to go on a spacewalk together. 

The dynamic duo spent more than five hours in space; repairing a failed power controller and then working on some ‘get ahead tasks’ for the space station. There was no sign of Sandra Bullock or George Clooney, and there was no need to go looking for ’em. These superwomen achieved a literal top billing, giving wings to some little girl in her backyard with dreams of touching the stars one day.

So accomplished and yet so very humble, they made sure to give thanks to those who came before them.

” . . . we recognize that it is a historic achievement and we do of course want to give credit for all those who came before us,” Meir said. “There has been a long line of female scientists, explorers, engineers and astronauts and we have followed in their footsteps to get us where we are today.”

Now that is what I call girl power.

 

 

 

Pan Con Mantequilla

I’ve always got a million loose thoughts chasing me around, so I’ve decided to let a few of the more tranquil ones roam the grounds for a spell. This post is for entertainment purposes only, so if you decide to wager based on these results, then you have a serious fucking problem.

  • Juan Soto of the Nacionales has a dreamy swing that seems plucked out of a Kinsella story, and I am very much in love with it.
  • The Cosmo is a really tasty swim and I’m almost jealous it’s a Ladies Night particular. But that’s life.
  • I saw where the McRib is back for a limited time and for a hot second, I contemplated digging into one since it’s been a while. And then I considered what a boneless piggy might look like and decided to make my own version of the McRib. Baby backs, smothered in Sticky Fingers’ Memphis Original and onions and slow cooked till they fell off the bone. Some raw onions on top and tucked into a sesame seed roll with hand cut fries. Much better . . .20191022_175223.jpg
  • As far as pizza goes, vegetarian remains my leader in the clubhouse.
  • I’m not going to see Joker until it comes out in home release. Not because of the prospect of getting shot up in a theater but because the movie is dark as fuck. And the idea of sitting in a dark theater and immersing myself in that darkness ain’t happening. 
  • So of course, I was asked how I can love Rob Zombie flicks so much. Well, because they’re seriously fucked up cartoons. Zombie’s vision of madness and mayhem is art, to me. His characters are equal parts Warhol and Romero. And while the scenarios are rooted in true life, their embellishments feel anomalous enough in comparison.
  • Peloton comes in at a cool sixty bucks a month, whereas I utilize a wholesale method that provides remedy for my girlish figure at pennies on that overrated dollar.
  • Why is there such a stigma to renting? We live in a world where half the population gets divorced and the other half of that half feels like it. We have a reality show President running diplomacy into the ground so hard that war(s) seems likely. And society as we know it teeters over a chasm where a signature event might topple us all. The old days are over, kids.
  • Dark chocolate is always a brilliant method.
  • I think I could play wide receiver for the Dolphins . . like right now.
  • Anyone who uses ‘happenstance’ while describing a situation to me is someone I want to talk to.
  • I mean . . that word is already longer and more substantial than most anything on Twitter. Just saying.
  • Hmmm . . . so not only are we fast food nation, but now we have services that bring the fast food to us so’s we never have to remove our asses from their reclined position? And we’re willing to pay basically the cost of the food in delivery fees to get it done? Sounds like the natural progression to me.
  • Go Simone Biles!