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Sure Beats Who’s The Boss, huh, honey?: Baseball for Two June 27, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Sports.
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Summer. A time of sweat, stickiness and the occasional big budget hero flick starring the starlet of the moment, usually screaming, or in danger, or half naked in the freak sudden rainstorm nobody predicted. There’s the sound of ice cream trucks as they rumble down the street, the screams of children as they frolic in various cooling water receptacles, the endless drone of an air conditioner that almost, if you cup your ears just right, sounds like Fiona Apple in bag of cats humming Stars and Stripes Forever.

But summer to me means baseball. The quintessential American game, if by quintessential, you mean long stretches of people doing nothing, occasional bursts of sudden excitement, more nothing, a flicker of excitement and then suddenly, dancing mascots dressed as sausages chasing one another. In other words, a metaphor for the American struggle….for intestine covered spiced meat.

Baseball has its’ fair share of detractors who complain about everything from the lackadaisical pace to the long season to drugs to crime to vicious blood crazed fans. Truthfully, the reason people so vehemently complain about baseball is America’s deepest darkest secret. It is inherent in every male to watch a competitive event, no matter what the stakes are and no matter how boring or inane it might be. (Example.) So, how could this classic game of grace, power, skill and sausage have so many naysayers?

Easy. Their girlfriends, wives, lovers, stock girl at the Safeway, just don’t get it.

Not all of them. I knew a girl who was so obsessed with the Cleveland Indians, she got a Chief Wahoo tattoo in the small of her back. When you’re advertising your love of a team in the area that is basically the “party girl” area (as per the Sorority Cliché Code of 1987), you better know your baseball.

But for the most part, guys, the women just don’t get it. Heck, baseball has so many rules, I don’t even get half the things that occur during a game. But, put simply, instead of having to sit through a game with their significant other and try to explain why the ball that bounced over the fence and then came back into play after bouncing off the Liberty Mutual sign is not aground rule double because there were two men on base and its’ a Thursday in a Northeast ballpark that faces north and is named after a member of Hanson, they give up. And watch Desperate Housewives or Zoom, both of which are shows that revolve around a group doing various things (On Zoom, it’s crafts. On the other, it’s your neighbor’s ex-husband.)

I’m not here to explain the rules. Rather, I’m going to give you four little tips that will make your female companion an instant baseball fan, rule comprehension or not. And if none of these work, try renting Beaches and fall asleep until the nude scene.

Tip One: Look at the Scoreboard!

Now, the game is all about who can score more runs, right? Simple concept to grasp. But look at the other two categories. Hits and errors. A team can have more hits than the other and still lose the game. Because, at the end of the day, the only hits that matter are the ones that bring you home. Sure, you can stroke a double now and then (Read: Go out drinking with the friend she doesn’t hanging around with, either because he’s a Scientologist or a felon) but the hits that matter are the ones that bring you back to where you started. (Read: Back to her) And as for errors, every mistake you make in a ballgame is advertised for all the world to see. What women wouldn’t love the fact that every error is cataloged and broadcast, no matter how mundane or routine they may be? That alone should get her interested. A game that remembers all the mistakes you may make, but whose sole purpose is to get you back home as fast as possible before you’re out (Read: Drunk on your buddy’s kitchen floor). Genius. Pure genius.

Tip Two: Comment on What They’re Wearing

Men don’t get accessories. To us, it’s a perfectly good way to ruin a perfectly good jean and T-shirt combo. That, and it requires extra work when undressing and frankly, we’re too lazy to bother. But, just look at the ball player’s outfit. He has to don a snazzy helmet and change it between innings depending on the situation. He must always match the glove with the particular hat. Different situations call for different gloves and each player has, quite often, a customized glove per his status on the field. Make sure to point out the catcher, who is so inundated with accessories, he’s giving Cher a run for her money. By comparing the players to nothing more than fashionistas, you have made them more identifiable. If that fails, feel free to comment on the “cute butt in tight pants” thing, but you’re playing with fire there. Plus side, she knows you’re in touch with your feminine side. Negative is, you come home early one day to find her doing the washed up Triple A pitcher who happens to live across the hall. (And yes, I think that was a plot point on Desperate Housewives.)

Tip Three: Look at all These Pauses!

By playing on the notion, that baseball is a slow game, she may be more inclined to be suckered into the fact that the game will provide that ultimate in relationship homeostasis: We Both Get What We Want. By noting every time a player shakes off several signs in a row or the mound conferences that always seem to come off in rapid succession, you are showing her that even though you’re watching sports, there will be times she can talk to you. You’re providing her with opportunities. Again, be careful, because this one can explode. Nobody wants to be arguing during a ninth inning pitching change in a one-run game. Avoid this by noting pauses early on in the game, like the National Anthem, the home run trot during an impending blowout victory, or during an ad for Dharma and Greg.

Finally, Tip Four: Lie Like The Announcers

Half of the stats the announcers dredge up are fed to them by some pimply faced mathematician in a truck, yet they deliver it with all the conviction Alex Trebek does when he rolls his r’s during the reveal of an answer that is Spanish in origin. You too can play this game. Don’t know why a player did something? Make up the reason. I still to this day couldn’t give the exact definition of a balk, but I still know a few of my ex-girlfriends who probably are still referring to it as the “Extra Base Pitchy Dance.” Spew out some unnecessary and untrue facts about the past exploits of the players on the screen. Give them fancy sounding nicknames that you made up on the spot. Make your favorite player the greatest hitter of all time by dropping official sounding stats, like on base percentage and runs scored on his wife’s birthday. Feel free to describe the origin of your favorite team, but make it as epic as possible. Utilize Greek mythology, if you feel the need. Again, a few ex-girlfriends think the Yankees were formed by a 1920’s businessman using parts of Zeus’s left rib. Why lie? Because it shows you’re passionate and can actually remember things. Maybe, if she can love this game as much as you, the things you often (Read: conveniently) forget would became easier to remember. Baseball is a game of numbers, that only a few people remember anyway. Those guys probably have perfect girls whose birthdays are always remembered. They suck.

Now, these tips are merely suggestions. Feel free to apply their rhyme and reason to other sports, provided you keep in mind that every sport has its’ own rhyme and reason. The tip about errors in football might work (Penalties…what women doesn’t like a man to pay for his mistakes?) but don’t play on football’s pauses because that’s your opportunity to relive the bone crushing hit the DB just laid on the quarterback. Tailor the rules to you, but by no means describe how soccer is eleven men trying to get their ball into large holes guarded by other men.

That just might explain the Europeans, though, hm?

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Quote the Paris Hilton…(Apologies to Poe, by the by) June 24, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Pop Culture Rants.
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Once upon a Sunday boring, with the wind and rain outside pouring
Over many a trashy and lurid volume of tabloids galore
My mind, it started spinning, as I saw her grinning
Grinning in these pages, with bikini on and nothing more
“What is she wearing” the tabloids did implore
“From which overpriced swanky store?”

Ah, I am fond to reminisce, about a simpler time than this
When fame was given to those whose merits we did awe.
But now in all these mags, with their flowing Fendi bags,
I was forced to see these rags, who are little more than whores.
Attention starved waif thin money grubbing whores.

But there is a queen, a paparazzi machine
Half naked in the pages—wearing silk and nothing more.
Her expression looking vacant, her picture begs me “Take it”
Before I walk down this carpet to the e3 showroom floor.
A picture that will surely make you rich among the poor
But, can’t we see she’s a whore?

In the magazines and shows, in night vision her eyes did glow
Come on, she made a sex tape! But still we want some more!
She hawks to us a burger, a clothing line, a network server..
All the while we lap it up like dolphins on the shore
But just who is this beauty in which we all stand awed….
It’s just Paris…and she’s a whore.

She came upon the masses, behind oversized sunglasses
Daughter of the Hiltons, who we knew from days of yore
When the patriarch, dear Nicky, got a wee bit sticky
And married Lizzie Taylor after a whirlwind tour
The Hilton family learned a fact that remains core
The paparazzi loves you..when you’re a whore.

At first she was just posing, walking carpets red, foreboding
Standing for a few seconds while flashbulbs kept the score
But Paris, she was growing; her dominance was showing
And she set about to make herself famous, nothing more
And what persona would she undertake for this worldwide tour?
She remembered…”Be a whore!”

So she started ventures, sold crap to men in dentures
Who immediately bought her as a pre-packaged whore
But her picture was everywhere…And we as a people cared.
Even though we couldn’t name a single thing she’d done before.
She was just a pretty face and nothing more
Then we remembered…”She’s a whore.”

So she started dating jocks, Greek guys who sold socks
Fox TV came along with an idea for her in store
We’ll take you and Nicole..Just like you, a vapid hole
And send you across our great country on a massive tour!
To show what it’s like when rich girls turn, well, poor.
And Paris jumped…”such a whore!”

And the public stood there staring…at this TV show, so daring
Showing what it’s like when the stupid meet the poor
We bought it hook and sinker..No way this show’s a stinker
But then out came the tape of her, writhing on the floor
In the green night vision with her boyfriend on the floor
Uh-oh, Fox said…She’s a whore.

But the media just smiled, Because all the while
The public knew what kind of treasures she had in store
The ratings, they exploded…The brou-ha-ha eroded
And for just a few more pennies than a rotten apple core
You could buy the tape of Paris, writhing on the floor
Oh, that Paris…”She’s a whore!!”

Now she’s got her pretty mug, her and that unsightly pug
She carries like an oaken jug, in her purses all galore
In every single section of all societal discretion
From perfume, books and nightclubs…to her own lingerie store
Where people can dress like her, provided they’re not poor
Look like Paris…”She’s a whore!”

Have we as a people, with our minds all weak and feeble
Been perpetrated an evil like none has been before?
Here we stand here giggling, At this girl who is just wiggling
Showing off everything we’ve already seen before?
I mean can we possibly see more?
But there’s still Paris…still a whore.

This pain it will not end, till this nation, my good friend,
Controls the things we spend, and not on looking like a whore.
Because as long as we keep buying, the photogs will keep spying
Trying, my friend, trying to get a shot outside her door
As she reaches for her morning paper and nothing more.
Probably, in the morning, still dressed like a whore.

So as I close US Weekly, mind you very meekly
I am forced to sit here weakly, surrounded on the floor
By this cold hard junk, that we as a country have been punk’d
And my heart just sunk, as I thought one thing more
That we as country are just a mindless bore
And in the end..we’re the whores

An Open Letter To This Guy from NSYNC June 22, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Music, Pop Culture Rants.
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Dear, well, um, I don’t know your name, so, You:This Guy...

I am writing this with a heavy heart. It seems that you are already following a long path trudged by the Andrew Ridgelys, the Oateses and to, a lesser degree the Ringo Starrs of the world. I am merely saying what follows for your own good. I am a believer in all forms of tough love, and though it would be prudent to say, this doesn’t really hurt me more than it hurts you. I never released a clothing line with a mosquito as its’ mascot. Seriously, when people see bugs, they don’t think “Cool outfit,” they think bugs. Fire the guy that let you do that. And if you already have, call him up, rehire him, take him out to Chili’s, let him order some Ultimate Fajitas and an App Sampler, stiff him on the check and fire him again. But take the fajitas with you. They’re good reheated.

But I digress. You are currently at a crossroads. You are watching all of your bandmates stumble into their niche in society, while you are waiting by the phone hoping for a reunion. It’s not coming. The lead of your band is porking the third biggest female movie star in the country, the maybe gay one is doing Broadway (Thus making a maybe not necessary, but hey, I don’t judge) and the cute other one is dressing like a banana on national television, surrounding himself with more B-rate sitcom stars than Scott Baio. While it’s true, only one of them is really succeeding, the other two are doing fine, carving themselves niches…Oh wait, there were three others. Okay, maybe you ain’t doing that bad.

Take these tips, mull them over and please realize one fact: You’re approaching your mid to late twenties and are still rocking dreadlocks. Teen girls no longer swoon for a creepy older guy who permanently looks like he just got back from Spring Break.

Tip One: Learn From Those Before You.
Look at the names I listed above. They were part of mega groups that each had one thing in common: A highly talented lead that, while you’ll never admit it, let your ride their coattails to success just so they could have something from you. Maybe it was a backup voice, maybe you played a mean drum or in Oates’ case, you had some sort of facial hair that made the others look less 70’s porn by just being in your presence. They, however, did not strike while their own personal iron was hot. When the group eventually broke up, they didn’t react to the umpteen offers presented to them. Some cried personal ethics, as in “No, I will not wear a banana suit on television.” Others never quite found the offer that truly matched their personal style. Whatever the case, please note that you can quickly jump into the world of Infomercials. They’re easy money and a perfect way to expand your fanbase to include insomniacs, drunk people too lazy to find the remote and people without cable who live in Oklahoma. But strike while the strikings good.

Tip Two: Learn a New Skill
You were a good dancer, from what I could tell and I’m sure I pinpointed your voice amongst the three part harmonies. But, in this fast paced world of fame, you need to do something out of the ordinary. Look at Britney Spears. She hasn’t had an album out in years, but she’s getting major network interviews by the handload. Why? Because we knew she could sing, dance and act, but bad parenting? That’s a new skill. While I’m not suggesting you learn how to be a deadbeat dad, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up a trade. We, in pop culture society, do not just bestow fame on anyone. Okay, maybe, the Noxzema chick of the nineties, but we all lost ourselves in those eyes. There is probably a zither class at your local Y: Check it out!

Tip Three: Turn Your Back on The Band That Formed You
Sure, you’re banking on that reunion gig, but look what it did for Black Sabbath. It only succeeded in making their old Beam of Shining Stardom even more popular. Do you really want Justin to hang at the White House and tell stories he did his Third Most Popular Movie Star girl in the Lincoln bedroom right before you guys take the stage? By disagreeing with any sort of reunion, it accomplishes two things. First, you keep everyone else’s star wattage at an even keel, giving you no more ground you have to make up. Second, you make news by opening up the floodgates. Make up a reason why you’re not doing it and you can successfully find a career in activism.

Finally, Tip Four: Cut Your Hair
Seriously, there are like, ten dollars cuts at Fantastic Sams. If you’ve squandered all your cash, see Tip Two. Or ask me. I have ten bucks to help you
While I can’t speak for everyone, I can say, in my heart of hearts, that you have the tools to succeed in the world of People Who Supported Other Bigger Stars and are now Changing the Oil in my Escalade. But life is what we make of it. No Strings Attached. And some other silly pun after one of your albums. I’m sorry, I only heard that one. But you were good on it. Seriously.

Sincerely,

The Doctor
PS> The other guy in your group, the one I couldn’t remember, is writing songs about lesbians so he could score chicks. So yeah, get cracking.

Small Balls Fine, No Balls Different June 19, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Sports.
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 Steroids in sports.

The words are scary and have boards and managers and, gasp, even our nation’s government shaking in their boots. They are wiretapping journeyman pitchers so they can nonchalantly walk past Barry Bonds’ locker screaming, “Hey, anybody see any steroids around here?” They’re freaking out in buckets when the 5 foot 4 shortstop is launching baseballs out off the stadium faster than Taco Bell makes its’ way through the human digestive system. And what’s worse, the records are falling. Eighty five year old stats that were perpetrated by long dead guys are being replaced by this generations super freaks.  The president is even taking time from his busy “railing at godless America” schedule and is making it his personal stance to stop the rampant abuse of drugs in Major League Baseball. Inner city’s fine, but Jason Giambi, put that syringe down.

Every decade has it’s sports scandals. The Black Sox took cash to pitch and hit like the softball team from the local VFW. Players campaigned for free agency by dropping the hot button words of slave and indentured servants. Wife swapping. And more drug abuse –  coke and speed -the kind that inflated your ego, not your batting average. But I can live with steroids and gangsters and free love every nine innings. No, I miss gambling.

Pete rose was the master at it. His boss even hired a shady man straight from a Chandler novel to follow him around, asking things like “Hey, anybody see any bets around here?” he fell for it though. He even, gasp, horror, placed bets on his own team to win. How dare you sully the sanctity of the sport by being confident enough in your own team to put your money where your proverbial mouth is? The scandal grew when we found out NBA players like Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan have heavy gambling habits. They’re competitors with huge egos, not inflated by anything other than the fact that they felt no need to compete in things unless they could make some money off of them. But sometime in the late nineties, the gambling stories died down. Did that mean the gambling stopped?

ESPN, the so-called Mecca and measuring stick of all thing sports, around this time decided to start showing every poker tournament it could find, thanks to the ingenious “hole-card camera” technology it invented. Now, what was just an excuse to watch badly dressed fat men actually became entertaining. I know what he’s got and I can learn how he does it. Suddenly, poker was on every hour on the hour. The players became celebrities and every fool with ten grand would flock to the tournaments, not to win, but to rub elbows with the glitterati. Though Eurotrash in silk shirts and balding 50 year old ex-car salesman aren’t glittering all that bright. But hey, fifteen minutes of TV screen time is still that, screen time.

The allegations stopped when ESPN realized, poker is gambling. Sure, it may seem like just another harmless sport, but it is still the idea of plunking down money betting that you will be dealt two better cards than the guy next to you. You have no idea just what you’ll get. It’s a veritable, well, gamble. So when allegations of game fixing and bets on outcome stories flash across the wire, they aren’t as quick to admonish them, since showing people gamble has become ESPN’s multi-million dollar cash cow.

I love poker myself.  But I have sense enough in myself to know that at any time, I could flop three fours and my opponent could get a bigger trips. It’s gambling and it’s the rush that feeds me. But, my home games never put me out more than fifty or sixty bucks. That’s the difference between the good scotch or the can of PBR the next time I go out drinking.

It’s because of my fascination with gambling that I miss it so in sports. I know it’s still there, but they just don’t talk about it anymore. Players salaries being what they are, why not make them earn it? The Saudi Arabian government offers cars and  homes to its’ players who scored goals in the World Cup. Italian leagues are fixing games left and right to make people money. But, if I find out the shortstop was jacking out balls and going 4 for 4 because he bet his house, I’m cool with that. Because nothing motivates a man like failure. An athlete needs to be less a finely tuned machine and more a liberally oiled cog. And nothing lubes you up like the cold hard fact of Big Louie standing in the stands, polishing an ice pick and smiling at you with a toothpick in his mouth.

So, if you’re angry with steroids, there’s a fix. It could be because a juiced player doesn’t play for your team or because your team is so underpaid that the only illegal substance it can afford is a dimebag b behind the 7-11. Whatever your angry, just march down to the ESPN programming office and have them pick up the new fall show, “The Happy Good Time Androstendione Hour.”

Pete Rose could host. 4 to 1, he’s not doing anything right now.

OH MY DAD!!!: Angry Saviors and Eurotrash Gods June 19, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Movies, Pop Culture Rants.
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Jesus is pissed.

Now, sure, there are so many theories and debates as to just why our planet has been spewing back natural disasters upon us like a drunken buffoon loses his dinner. I’m not one to stir the political pot. Maybe he’s mad at war. Maybe he’s mad at nuclear proliferation. Maybe he’s still seething that Clay beat out Ruben to win American Idol a few years back. Whatever the case, the powers that be are a little miffed. And I think I know why.

This theory only works if you look at Jesus in an US Weekly context. Think about that for a second. Jesus is the ultimate Eurotrash son of a powerful magnate. He’s the Paris Latsis of the universe. Think about that. He has all the stereotypical traits. There’s the powerful, mysterious father who nobody can really pinpoint just what he does. “Oh, he’s in shipping.” Shipping? The guy at the FedEx counter has a business card that says he’s in shipping.  Jesus has the ultimate study abroad program, only instead of his rich, powerful father sending him to some snobby British prep school or an Ivy League University, he got to go to Israel and walk around in a desert, studying, well, man. And last I checked they don’t have a degree in Saving Humanity at Yale.  He always had an entourage surrounding him, hanging on his every word, always asking him to pick up the dinner tab. Or if he didn’t have the money for it, at least make dinner using a slice of Wonder Bread and a can of tuna. He hung around with the local starlet of note, never marrying and just stringing her along. And when things got too tough and the trappings became a bit too much for him to handle, his father called him home to learn the family business.

Now, that alone is no cause to rain down fire and brimstone and send homes and cars careening across the Lower Ward of New Orleans. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being in a social environment when the Eurotrash celubutante of the moment comes in, they are usually a pleasurable bunch. They cackle on in an undistinguishable accent. They throw liquor around the room like its’ nobody’s business. And either them or one of the vapid hangers on with them is good for at least one laugh worthy moment involving dancing on a raised platform that always ends in a Funniest Videos slapstick fall. So how do you piss off a Eurotrash magnate?

Bad press. And Jesus got that last year. Thanks to Mel Gibson.

The Passion  of the Christ was a fine film, if you’re into the whole “This guy died for my sins and I can’t even change my car oil” sort of thing. I hold nothing against Mel for making and do think it was a monumental and risky chance to bank your own money that America would accept a zealot’s personal view of many people’s savior being mutilated and tortured for two hours. The message was clear: Jesus died for you sins, gosh darnit, so change your lives and live for him. And yes, go to a class at Jiffy Lube and change your own oil. But as we watch the Latsis and the Onassi (plural of Onassis, I looked it up) we know they care about the message: it’s the pictures. A great shot of you standing with Lindsay Lohan, chatting at some fundraiser is great. You holding her hair back in the alley behind a superdisco is not. And while the message of Passion was one of loyalty and personal introspection, the pictures were, in a celebutante word, gross.

Who wants their life portrayed like that? They were showing the gore and the pain. They painted his girl out to be a whore. Sure she was, but even the tabloids don’t go as far to admit just what Kimberley Stewart is. And what’s worse, for all the critical acclaim this clothes off scare fest get, it received no Oscars. Zip. Even the straight guys who made out in Brokeback got an MTV Movie Award, so it was worth it in that way. So at the end of the day, Jesus was pissed. The first movie made in his own language, using period pieces, using true life steady cam style was a three hour depression fest. And depression doesn’t get the kids rocking.

And what does Jesus do? Like any good magnate’s son, he obviously tells his dad who responds to his son’s complaints by leveling a few cities in Thailand with a giant wave or two.

Can we fix the wrath of a god who just may be wearing acid wash jeans and listening to Kraftwerk? The Da Vinci Code has been garnering the wrath of the Vatican, Jesus’ number one PR firm. They say it’s story line involving the idea that Jesus may have actually copulated with Mary Magdalene. Blaspheme, they may scream. But we all know a good PR firm says one thing to our faces while smiling behind our backs. Jesus must be happy, because just insinuating you had sex with someone is worth its’ worth in publicity gold, even if you didn’t at all. That’s right, Justin Timberlake, I’m looking right at you. And if you notice since the Da Vinci Code came out, no tsunamis. Sure, a hurricane hit Florida but that’s a personal vendetta between God and the Bushes.

In the sixties, all the Jesus based films were loud epics chock full of dancing Arabian women and pretty boy actors, spouting corny bible passages with voices that sounded like they were auditioning for the James Earl Jones sound-alike contest.  But Jesus was cool with them because, truthfully, nobody really watched them, save for a few people in Texas. We need to get back to that. Make the films about our Savior boring and he won’t care. Hire Oliver Stone to direct a few and nobody will even notice them, whether they’re gory or not. Because you can always blame bad press on him. He lives for that shit.

So, who’s with me? Pretty boys who can’t act, yelling their way through passages that have little meaning, but sound good.

Still looking at you, Justin.