Thursday, January 25, 2007

More Phonebooks

The first Red Sox tickets have arrived in Jere-town. Same design as last year, but with new pictures--including the shot at left of the '67 outfield. Yaz, Reggie Smith, and Tony C. The only other picture I've seen so far is a Varitek one. So they haven't gone completely retro. Another new thing is that you can get different pics on two different tix for the same game--today I recieved whatever the singular of Sox Pax is, and each game has a Yaz ticket and a Varitek ticket. I kind of thought the Sox Pax came in a box with a bow or something, as I'd never been able to score one until this season. But it just came in the gray envelope with the white one inside. (I see they haven't taken any steps in preventing last year's packaging glitch, which is the sticky part of the outer envelope sticking to the inner one.) They threw in a schedule, as per tradition, and the one I got has a picture of Wally looking ridiculous with a Santa Claus hat on. More tix to flood my mailbox in the next few days. Sweet. Love that gray envelope.

The other new phonebook of the day is J.D. Drew. Supposedly, they'll announce tomorrow that the deal is done. Did you read that last line? "Drew is not expected to come to Boston tomorrow for the announcement." Great, J.D. You wouldn't want to go out of your way or anything. I wonder if he sees the irony: The guy who everyone thinks of as the "won't go out of his way" type before they even meet him doesn't show up for the meeting.

What's with the Fox games starting at 3:55 eastern this season? I've never heard of a :55 start. I've heard of the current norm, :05, the old Yanks-on-channel-11 top of the hour-style (8:00), the Blue Jays' :07 invention, the recent Shea trend of :10 and :40 (the D-Backs are on a strict diet of :40 this season), the Devil Rays' choice, :15 (although they've gone to :10 this season), the old Fox time, :20, the old-school :30, and the Braves' :35. But I've never heard of :25, :45, :50, or :55 starts. Although some team had to have used :45 before. This year, there will also be this travesty: 7:11 starts in Chicago. And the Patriots' Day game will indeed be an hour earlier this season, at 10:05 AM.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Evens & Starts

New phonebooks. Meaning, in this case, the '07 Fenway improvements. I like these new glimpses into the park from outside. Like the new visitors' batting cage that's visible from Game On, and--because they don't need the batting cage in center anymore--a restaurant that looks out through the center field wall! That, my friend, is a sweet idea. Great job by Janet Marie Smith as usual. The Awesomeness Grill will be open around the All-Star break, and will be a year round deal.

Did you see this article about the Fenway dating show? (Watch the Steinberg interview, too. That guy cracks me up. Where is he for that interview? Did they run into him in the library or something?) The idea sounded familiar to me. So I searched "Fenway dating service," and the old article came up. It was from last summer, about a dude who started a dating service for Sox fans. I remembered this because I told the guy to "shit on his own face" at the time. Still, he should sue.

Somebody at SFist (It started with Gothamist, now it's "every other city"-ist, and they're all, just, really internet-y and thinks-they're-the-shit-y. I shouldn't say "all." But I don't intend to do the research.) reviewed a David Cross show, and called him a bigot and said the audience didn't like him. I am a big fan of David's, and I was happy to see he didn't just let it go. He commented on the post. Every once in a while, after responding to a comment here, someone will tell me to pick my battles, acting like I'm the crazy one, when all I'm doing is defending myself. It's good to see an actual celebrity respond to what's said about them in a public forum. The way the world is going, this will become a much more common thing. "Stars" will be people who have grown up having their thoughts documented online well before they became famous. That should lead to more of them not being so isolated from their own fans. Anyway, there are a lot of comments after David's. I was really laughing at his second one, number 47 (they're numbered, you don't have to count).

Speaking of people who think they're journalists, like the aforementioned -ist crew, have you heard this clip of the ESPN guy supposedly saying the term "Jew" in a rant about Payton Manning? I guess the guy's a tool anyway, but it just makes no sense to me that he'd say "We'll Jew." The "proof" is that one person on a message board said he heard it, and then another site had the audio clip sent to it by "a reader." The clip sounds weird, like it's cut right after he says "Ju--." (to make it sound like "Jew.") Also, there's some background music that stops at that exact moment. ESPN did make a statement that he said "chew." Whether that's true or not, them saying this implies the clip is genuine (although I haven't seen any video of it yet). It doesn't sound like "chew." It sounds like "Ju--." He could've been starting to say a word, then cutting it short. Hey, maybe the word he was trying to stop was indeed "Jew." If it was, of course, terrible job by him. But the point of this is that I looked at the AOL "Top News Stories" today, and number five was this story. The link was to an AOL Sports Blog, written by a dude who also writes another, non-paying, blog. Just some guy. He links the same audio clip that was sent in by a reader to the original site. Apparently, some guy read and heard what the rest of us read and heard, wrote his opinion on it, and that's the fifth most important "news story" of the day. I'm down with "voice of the people" and all that crap, but this sounds like a flawed system. We might as well have Dirt Dog writing for the Globe...oh, wait. (Sorry, no links to any of this nonsense. You can find it. I believe in you.)

If you're gonna talk about "the internet," you can pretty much just use the real term at this point. "Interwebs" and similar terms just aren't funny anymore.

Unfortunately, it looks like our long, national nightmare of people referring to ongoing yet trite stories as "our long, national nightmare" in an attempt to get laughs isn't over yet.

Finally, a clue is up over at the current quiz.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

G'Night, Everybody!

After this, I should just end this blog...nah. Okay, here's the deal. Every so often, I check to see who's going to be on the talk shows here in New York. I always think, If it's someone cool, maybe I'll go to the studio after work to get a picture or an autograph. However, who's really "cool" enough to warrant this? Not too many people. Also, I don't know where to go for any of these shows to see the guest go in or come out--except, that is, for Letterman's show. I stumbled across the door where the celebs come out in about 1994, and, as I found out tonight, they still use that same door. So, we're limited to: Really, really cool person, must be on Letterman. Last night, I saw that Chan's favorite quirky, blonde songstress, Nellie McKay, was on (with the Brooklyn Philharmonic--which is weird since my favorite quirky, blonde songstress is now touring with the London Symphony Orchestra). But I noticed it a little too late, and, really, to go out in the cold just to do a favor for Chan (he can't get out of work that early), who probably wouldn't care if I did get her autograph, even if it was personalized to him? Come on. So, I thought, Well, if someone that cool doesn't do it for me, who will? Answer: Tonight's guest, Ricky Gervais. I saw he was on, and I planned to be there. So I brought my camera to work, and headed to the Ed Sullivan Theater around 6:00.

I got to "the door" and waited among the slime with their posters and photos, ready to have signed for later hawking on the internet. A dude came out, and I quickly recognized him as that dude in Good Morning, Vietnam--one of a select few who got to join in on "And if you doooo..."--Forest Whitaker. That's him, above. I was a little scared that maybe I had incorrect info about Gervais. But I kept waiting. Then a tiny woman from London started asking me who I was waiting for. I told her I thought I was waiting for RG. She asked about Forest. I showed her my shot. She said a bunch of stuff I didn't understand through her thick accent, and I smiled and laughed politely. All of a sudden, people started saying, He's over there! I turned around to find that he'd come out the other door, and there he was, five feet from me.

In case you had any doubt, he's the nicest bloke you can imagine. It wasn't "rush to the car." He started posing and chatting with everybody. I was basically standing in front of him, snapping away. The girl from London and her friend started getting pictures of each other with him. I thought about asking them to take one of me and Ricky, but I opted against it.

The security guy started saying, "Okay, Ricky, right this way" and "Okay everybody, that's enough," but Ricky wasn't having it. With each new autograph- and picture seeker, he went, "Oh, sure," showing genuine surprise. He was acting like, "Of course I'd take a picture with you, why wouldn't I? I can't even believe you'd want this. Sure." It kept seeming like it was all over, but more and more people kept coming out of the woodwork. Seriously. Originally, there were maybe twenty people outside, but people flocked to Ricky from nowhere when they realized it was him.

Then the nice girl from London saw me standing there, just kind of gawking at Ricky at this point, and she says, "Do you want a picture with him? Da you?" I sprung into action. Jumped right in, like Rebecca with Red Sox players, and asked if I could get a picture with him. "Sure, mate," he said. (No, he didn't really say "mate.") She snapped the pic. Not too blurry, nice. Then I thanked her, said goodbye, and walked away, with Ricky still having a laugh with the commoners.

It was so surreal to see that guy up close, just because I've been seeing him so much on my TV screen the last few months. That guy rules. Thanks again to BSM and my girlfriend for introducing me to his comedy, well into his career.

The Day

Prep your war room. Saturday, it's on.

Where's Judge Wapner When You Need Him?

As is the case with onions, everbody's talkin' 'bout Extra Innings. The package, which allows out-of-market viewers to see most of their baseball team's games, might only be available on DirecTV--not on cable, as it has been.

I think you know this blog's position on complaining about being able to see your favorite baseball team on TV: Before they fix any other problem, they should end the biggest travesty of all, which is that NOT ALL OF NEW ENGLAND GETS NEW ENGLAND SPORTS NETWORK. Much like how I'll break out the Pokey reese catch whenever someone brings up the Jeter catch, I'm going to have to repeat the details of this whenever everyone starts complaining about not being able to see their team:

Fairfield County, Connecticut, where I lived the first 30 years of my life (not in a mansion), is part of New England. It's also considered part of the tri-state area, aka, the greater New York metro area. Fine, so its residents should have access to both the New York teams and the New England teams, right? Well, MLB doesn't see it that way, having granted rights to the area, since the beginning of time, only to the networks of the New York teams.

I've written and talked to everyone about this. Cable companies, NESN, MLB, Larry Lucchino, Charles Steinberg. What it comes down to is that the viewing areas are defined by MLB and each team. Fairfield County belongs to New York, exclusively, until they make a change, which doesn't seem likely. (I personally think NESN should change their name, as long as they're not fighting for the rights to ALL of New England. Look on their website, and they'll tell you their territory: "All of New England except Fairfield County, CT." Terrible.)

The people in Fairfield, about 900,000 of them, making up a third of Connecticut, have the right to see New England's baseball team. If you live there, and aren't allowed to have a dish by your landlord, you can't get the Sox unless you pay the steep price of the Extra Innings package,--which you won't be able to do anymore if this deal goes through--and even then, the blackout restrictions are fuzzy because while you're not considered to be in New England by MLB, you are considered to be there by EI, meaning you'll get all the games except for the New York teams--and the New England one. (They may have solved that problem, I don't know since I didn't get EI until I moved to New York.) And if you don't have broadband, you just can't see the Sox in your own home, period. Despite that you live IN New England.

So remember, when you hear someone say, "I can't see the Red Sox here in Townville, StateyState, what a travesty," remember, I grew up IN New England, and I NEVER got to see the Red Sox. (Save certain years when I'd get Friday and Sunday games from a local CT station that picked up TV-38's feed.) I haven't lived in Fairfield County in two years, and this still pisses me off. Let's take care of the locals before we get to the out-of-towners. (Again, I say this as an out-of-towner.)

Another thing most people forget, and honestly, I have, too until I was recently reminded of it, is that people who can't afford cable never see any baseball, other than the weekly Fox game. We used to protest baseball no longer being on free TV. But it's become so common, we don't even think about it anymore, and that's horrible and unfair to people who hardly have any money. We are so weak as a society--we gotta take the power back! Seriously.

Anyway, by all means, complain away, about whatever you choose. Just consider what I'm saying before you put your complaints in order.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Why Jere Is Pro-Choice

That this is even up for debate is an insult to all human beings. As a person, I have the right to decorate and alter my body, to ingest and insert things into it, to remove and reject things from it. If it lacks something that keeps it healthy (or unhealthy, if I choose), I can add to it. If it contains something I don't want, I can subtract from it.

I'll never know what it feels like to have another being living inside me. And maybe that is the most precious thing that one can have inside itself. But whatever's inside me is still part of me. I can do what I want with it.

At some point, somewhere in history, a man, seeing he didn't have this power that only females do, decided he wanted to take control of it. I can't imagine being told I can't do what I want with my own self, nor would I ever try to tell someone what they can do with theirs. But somehow, a lot of people latched onto this idea that the decision-making of a certain segment of the population can be controlled. This absolutely has to stop. Nothing is more important than a person's right to choose. You've got a tumor inside you, and you don't want it there, by all means, have it removed. You've got a fetus inside you, and you don't want it there, same story. If you give birth, it becomes a person and has all the rights you do. Until then, it is you. And you are in charge of you.

Two of my favorite pro-choice stories come from comedians. One is from the late Bill Hicks, who said, "You're not a person 'til you're in my phone book." He also asked why if pro-lifers care so much about babies, why don't they adopt one who's already here, unwanted and unloved? (He follws that with, "Why don't I do that? Because I hate fuckin' kids and couldn't give a fuck..." I mean, he was doing a comedy routine after all.)

The other story came from Dennis Miller. (Before we lost Dennis to the dark side, he had some good ideas, and I thought he was pretty funny.) He basically said that everyone has the right to choose, and I'm paraphrasing: "One person's Ace Frehley is another person's Peter Criss, that's why there were four separate KISS solo albums."

Words to live by. What kind of world would it be if we all liked Gene the most? Okay, bad example. It'd be a fire-breathing, blood-spitting, paradisical rockfest. But what kind of world would it be if we all liked Ringo the most?

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Magic-Nets 1/20/07 (Plus Pats Talk)

Some of the Nets' retired jerseys in the rafters of the former Brendan Byrne Arena. Buck Williams was the first star of the Nets for me. He was kind of like the Jim Rice of the Nets. Played most of the 80s in Jersey. Drazen Petrovic came later, while I was in high school. He looked to be on his way to finally bringing the team to the promised land, but he died in a car accident at the height of his career. Dr. J.'s time on the then New York Nets was before my time, but he did lead the team to this:

I was less than a year old when they won what would be the only championship won by my pro teams in my lifetime, until 2004. However, the Nets' joining forces with Steinbrenner and the Yanks and the Hell, No Network all but ended my tenure as Connecticut's only Nets fan.

A few weeks back, I saw a story on TV about Carlos Arroyo, the only Puerto Rican player in the NBA. He's a really good ball-handler, a Harlem Globetrotter-type. When I got these free Nets tickets, I saw they were playing Orlando, so I checked the Magic's roster for any noteworthy players. There was Arroyo's name. So I had someone to focus on, and to take pics of with my new camera. In the background of the above shot is my favorite Net, Mikki Moore, who went to college with me at the U. of Nebraska back in the early 90s. I still can't believe he's in the NBA. Why did it take him, like, thirteen years to get good?

Here's the tipoff. These are 75-dollar seats that we usually get. Continental Airlines Arena is oneof those places where you can't sit wherever you want. You have to have a lower-level ticket to even get down there, so it's key to have those as opposed to upper deck.

Here, Jason Kidd defends Carlos as he's about to inbound the ball.

Another Arroyo shot.

Carlos shoots from the left of the photo. From these seats, the backboard obstructs some of your view. But at least it doesn't obstruct the other basket. Oh, and that's that Darko dude looking up at the ball.

This is supposed to show what it's like to shoot a free throw with a crowd waving Thunder Stix behind the basket. Unfortunately, empty seats can't wave Thunder Stix. And not everyone was doing it anyway. The NBA is ridiculous with stuff like this. Endless minor league baseball-esque gimmicks, cheerleaders and dance squads, and music playing during the game. On every possession. I will say, I liked the little parachutes that drop down on the crowd with little prizes. Way more fun than the stupid T-shirt tosses. And there was this flamboyant dude that emceed a giant Simon Says game on the court at halftime. I hadn't seen a good game of SS since elementary school, so it was surprisingly fun.

There was a lot of Dookie in te crowd, thanks to JJ Reddick being on the Magic.

Remember Grant Hill? With the piano playing and the obeying of one's thirst? He seems to be on the Magic, but doesn't play.

This was the best action I got. Blurry, yes, but it still looks pretty cool. Richard Jefferson is about to slam it proverbially home on an alley-oop from Jason Kidd. This'll be RJ's last dunk for a while, as he's going in for surgery. It's hard to get non-blurry shots at events where there's darkness surrounding a bright area. This camera does much better than the old one, especially considering I haven't even started playing with the different settings and stuff.

Just finished watching Colts-Pats. Don't worry, Pats fans, it just wasn't your year. You got to this game because the Chargers' players brains fell out onto the sod last week anyway. I said it during that game: They didn't look like a team that was going anywhere, and today they proved they weren't exactly a well-oiled machine by blowing the biggest lead ever in an AFC Championship. To Peyton Manning. You've got three Lombardis, seriously, don't worry about it. Besides, we now get to see what we've been waiting for for years: Peyton choking on the game's biggest stage. Fun! Last time he had the chance, in college in 1998, my Nebraska Cornhuskers embarrassed him to take the national championship. A decade later, I can't wait to watch Payton do it again. Go Bears! (Those of you more bandwagon-ish Pats fans should be used to that, as you were probably doing the Super Bowl Shuffle in '86.)

Note: Just when I thought I'd have this "rooting against Payton" thing in common with all Pats fans, I get a call (after I wrote the above paragraph) from my girlfriend, a Pats fan, telling me how she can't wait to root for the Colts because she still harbors resentment toward the Bears from '86. Oy. I'm so glad I'm down to caring about only one sport...

Note #2: On the winning touchdown, when the Colts guy jumped up toward the crowd, I swear the person right there in the front row was Letterman's mom! And it would make sense: The game was in Indiana, and on CBS. Maybe they got her sweet seats for some gimmick for Dave's show. We'll see.

Note #3: TJ by Ma Nature in that Bears game. The snow only really started falling at the very end. I wonder if was paid by Fox to say it would snow all day so more people would tune in.

Click The Image Below

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007
I first saw this on WMTC.

First Elm City Java, Now This

Click here for many views of the New Haven Coliseum being imploded this morning.

This one's my favorite, because of the audience commentary:

What I want to know is, Who got the huge figure skater, monster truck, and the rest of the event depictions that adorned the outside of the drab building?


One of my favorite annual events growing up was the AFC Championship game. It was always muddy or snowy or frigid. The last fun football game before the sunny, boring Super Bowl. Unfortunately, this year, for the first time, the game will be held in a dome. (On top of that, it's the Boston Yanks versus Cletus' Colts. If Manning loses, that'll be good, but if he wins, we get to see the ultimate: him losing in the Super Bowl. So I don't care who wins tomorrow.) But fear not, the NFC version should be fun--the Saints are involved, and the game's in Chicago. Forecast: 2 inches of snow! Sweet.

Pics from tonight's Nets game to follow. (Free tickets from work.)

Now I'm watching a dude on public access who's showing parts of an old movie (called Urg or something) featuring live songs by the Go-Go's, the Cramps, and Devo. Pretty cool.

Have you seen the AARP ad with the Buzzcocks song in it? What's next, Devo on a beer commercial? Oh, wait...

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