Friday, August 28, 2009

“Bring Out Yer Dead!”, AKA, Your Mets Update: The Obligatory Postmortem Edition

Apparently the baseball gods were watching when I decided to heckle Joe Girardi about the Yankees' chances against the Mets. And they smote me. They smote me hard. The latest addition to the black hole that is the Mets DL? My trusty coffee mug. In a moment of weighty karmic reciprocity, the cup slipped from my hands as if it was nudged by some phantom force, and crashed to the floor, resulting in the handle shattering into several pieces.
Imagine it happening in slow motion, followed by me staring blankly at it for several minutes, wallowing in the not-so-subtle symbolism of the event. Yes, when stuff like this happens to me, it is usually this blunt (last night I was playing “Batman: Arkham Asylum” on the 360 and I kid you not, a freaking live bat showed up in the apartment and started flapping around).

I’d spent a helluva lotta time searching for that Mets mug online, so throwing it away wasn’t even briefly taken into consideration. No sir, repairing it became a top priority. And so with a little gorilla glue and some tender love, the mug was made whole once again.
Attention advertising companies: I heartily approve of any product involving gorillas. You slap a gorilla on the label and I will purchase it. For me, the addition of any kind of simian likeness will bolster a product’s appeal by roughly 145%. For example, did you know that there’s an airline company called Air Gorilla? This fascinates me to no end.

And so the mug was repaired. Could the glued together handle break apart mid sip, resulting in hot coffee scalding my face? Why yes, yes it could. Like any true pessimistic Mets fan worth their salt, I’m pretty much counting on that eventuality. The vortex of ineptitude and injuries is strong with this team. The Obama Health Plan damn well better have a clause discussing the Metropolitans, because right now, I’m thinking that wearing a Mets uniform is considered by most healthcare providers sufficient cause to deny coverage.

As others have pointed out, the extent and frequency of Mets injuries is downright spooky. It’s gotten to a point that the five people who still watch the Mets on TV feel like they’re watching a sports version of ‘Final Destination” unfold rather than an actual baseball game: “Oh dear god, what is that? Somebody left a glove on the dugout steps! Oh, I can’t look!”

Now I haven’t mustered the intestinal fortitude to visit the other Mets blogs lately, but if nobody has started up a “Next Met to be Injured” pool, then this needs to be looked into, pronto. Screw it, I’ll do it. As is the norm with my baseball commentary, this is completely free of thoughtful analysis, because far be it from this blogger to let niggling facts get in the way of wanton hyperbole. Here’s what my Mets injury pool looks like at the moment:

Brian Schneider. He has roughly five hits in the past three months. His bat speed rivals that of a medium sized cat. If he’s not already secretly playing hurt now, definitely look for him to sprain his thumb while updating his Wiki page to read “THE BEST DEFENSIVE CATCHER IN THE GAME OF BASEBALL.”

Lance Broadway. With a name like his, there’s absolutely no other way this guy can hurt himself other than in the midst of a frenzied porn shoot. No other way.

Johan Santana. True, he’s already on the DL. But don’t be too shocked when the bastard witch doctors seasoned medical professionals at the Hospital for Special Surgery misdiagnose him with gangrene and amputate his entire left arm.

Nick Evans. This promising young prospect’s career will come to an abrupt halt when he becomes the latest victim of gang violence incurred by Omar Minaya’s questionable decision to recruit members of the Latin Kings to play for the Mets.

The dude in the Mets front office whose job it is to report that Jose Reyes is slated to start rehab “any day now.” Two ways this guy can die: via severe alcohol poisoning or hysterically laughing himself to death.

Ken Takahashi. The victim of an unexpected ninja attack secretly orchestrated by Bobby Valentine. It’s complicated, but it will involve outstanding debts owed by Takahashi for a series of ballroom dancing classes taught by Bobby V. I’m telling you, the David Carradine conspiracy will pale in comparison to this.

Daniel Murphy. Listed as one of the missing passengers when Air Gorilla flight #618 disappears somewhere over the Pacific.

Luis Castillo. Lost for the season when an angry Gary Sheffield kidnaps him and holds him hostage, demanding a contract with the Mets for the 2010 season. An intense multi-state manhunt suddenly and unexpectedly culminates with Castillo professing his undying love for his captor Sheffield and deciding to live his life on the lam with the man of his dreams.

Angel Pagan. The guy’s name is “Angel Pagan.” If ever there was a candidate for “death by singularity,” this is it.

And of course….

The Entire Mets Training Staff. Look, I’m no athlete or anything, but it occurs to me that one can keep injuries curtailed a bit by STRETCHING OUT BEFORE THE GAME. How freaking tough is it to remind your players to do this?! This is something I was repeatedly told to do during 9th grade J.V. soccer for crying out loud. Because I’m feeling charitable, Mets training staff: death by auto-erotic asphyxiation. I know good ninjas.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

It occurred to me the other day that for nearly three years I’ve been writing a blog and most of you know remarkably little about me. Let’s be honest here, for all you know, I could be Carlos the Jackal. Sadly, I’m not, and that’s just the first of many misconceptions that I’ll attempt to clear up in this edition of…

Things You Heretofore Had Not Known About Me

While eating out at a restaurant, I cannot tolerate indecision. Picky folks who gaze at the menu for more than three minutes anger me beyond comprehension. Every time this happens, there’s an excellent chance that I'm really going to lose it. Like, violently lose my shit. On strangers, family, co-workers, the waiter, I don't care. It’s not a pretty sight. When it comes to this sort of thing, I am explosively misanthropic.

I’m a bit of a geek. I own one of these. I possess a large box of “Magic: The Gathering” cards. I traffic in assorted nerdery. On Monday, I scored two free tickets via quite possibly the biggest movie nerd website in existence to an advance screening of “District 9” in NYC. How was the movie? Pretty damned solid. A great indie sci-fi action flick. The last 20 minutes is awesome. It features an FX shot of combat mayhem unlike anything I've ever seen. Watch closely for it. It involves a pig. It is too awesome for words. As my buddy who saw it with me can attest, I was literally bouncing up and down. Yes, I am that dude who rocks back and forth in his seat and makes uncomfortably loud exclamations in a movie theater.

I consider myself to be a spiritual person, yet I’ve never actually picked up a bible and read it. I prefer to just imagine what I’d like the bible to say and I govern myself according to that. For example, did you know that Psalms 14:5 actually states “Check thyself lest thou wreck thyself”? True story.

I am determined. Allow me to provide an example. The other night, I was playing Uno on the Xbox. It’s a web camera enabled game where you play online against other people. It’s a family friendly game. Or at least that’s what I’d thought until I stumbled upon a game session where three dudes have got their junk out and are masturbating furiously. I see this on my tv. In a game of Uno. When they saw my horrified face and that I was wearing pants, I was immediately booted from the game. I quickly researched the matter and found incontrovertibleevidence that this is a known issue with this game. Since then I have made a vow to search out these people like Chris Hansen. I will track down these avid maasturbaters and expose them for the weirdos they are. Point of the story is, that’s how determined a fellow I am. This is my white whale. This is why I haven’t had time to blog much recently. Does this teeter on the side of obsession? I’ll get back to you in a few days on that…

I am an exceedingly vain individual. I work out a lot and make a point of ensuring that others are aware of this. I iron my blue jeans. I like mirrors more than most people. You probably already knew of this vanity from those beard watch updates I provided a while back. As a matter of fact, I am debating growing my hair out in hopes of achieving the highly sought after “yacht hair.” I am using this fellow as my template: I will often torment others with intentionally bad suggestions. The current one? I am steadfastly demanding that Erika and I name our future children “Whipple” and “Spaulding.” The thinking behind this is similar to Johnny Cash’s “Boy Named Sue” logic—our kids will be toughened up by relentless tormenting from their peers, and they will certainly never ever receive any form of scholarship or financial aid, because names like “Whipple” and “Spaulding” are 100% white bread. They start off white and bleach themselves to transparency by the end. No, I will not budge on this issue. Do not attempt to debate me on this.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

House Hunt... The Search Begins.

Intent on buying into this “ownership society” thing we’ve heard a few things about, we have started to hunt for a house. A place to call our very own. The American Dream and all that good stuff. Given our price range and our refusal to end up stuck in a bland condo building up equity on a geological pace, we’re probably going to be purchasing what is commonly referred to as a “handyman special.” At first, this sounds appealing. It conjures up images of us donning overalls and frolicking around a charming old house painting the walls while a peppy 80’s song blasts in the background. After looking at a few “handyman specials” however, I can now report that substantially more work is involved. But we’re still pretty determined to shoot for it.

Now I’ll leave it to more knowledgeable economists to discuss the overall trends in the U.S. housing market. I’m hardly a real estate novelist. What I can tell you is that the area where we’re seeking a place to buy teeters on ludicrous in terms of affordability (which is to say, it isn’t). What makes matters worse is that there are some seriously delusional homeowners out there. Honest to goodness assholes.

Look, I don’t care how wonderful the local schools are—an 1,100 square foot one-level house with a creepy basement that looks like it was lived in by Jigsaw from those “Saw” movies SHOULD NOT cost $439K. Say, what model of house did you say this was? A cape? A colonial? Oh, "A Kaczynski," how charming.

I kid you not about the basement in this place. Something very wrong happened down there. “Oh look honey, there’s the workbench where he carved up his victims! And there’s the wood burning furnace where he tossed the dismembered body parts! And there’s the corner where the dog sat and told him to do it all!” This would be funny, if only we hadn’t seen five houses just like this. I’m pretty certain that the bathroom in one of them doubled as a meth lab (although that is a potential cash cow if we wanted to find a way to pay off our mortgage quicker).

Yeah, so the owners sanded and refinished all the hardwood floors in the house and put in some recessed lighting. In their minds these may be MAJOR SELLING POINTS, but that doesn’t entitle them to tack on $100K to the listing price. Would the homeowners be insulted if we submitted a bid at half that amount? Probably, but I felt offended that somebody out there thinks I’m stupid enough to pay that kind of cash for a house. Furthermore, I’ve played more than enough “Sim City” in my life to realize that residents don’t like to live directly next to a zoned industrial area. They'll leave, now matter how low you slide the bar to the left on the tax meter. And then you've gone and spent all that money building a virtual neighborhood with firehouses, police stations, and schools, all for nothing. And then the rolling blackouts hit, followed eventually by UFO attacks. I'm telling you, "Sim City" is a merciless bastard of a game. Never, ever get into it.

Also, I don’t mean to alarm you, but the taxes in the area we’re looking… well, they just might turn me into a Republican. After closing on the property, there is a substantial tax rebate you can apply for, but there’s a byzantine process involved in getting it and we wouldn’t be eligible to receive it until calendar year 2011. This of course begs the question: why not just eliminate the rebate program altogether and just lower everybody’s taxes across the board?

Yes, I’m familiar with the conventional wisdom: keep looking. We’ll know the place we want when we see it. However, I would like to go on the record and state that I’m giving serious thought to moving under the sea.

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