Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Women: Can’t Live Without ‘em

You might have expected that she would’ve been thrilled for me, but when I woke my wife at 2 AM last night to let her know that yours truly had won the championship of’s Pigskin Fantasy Football League her only reaction was to inquire about my mental health. I think her exact words were “Are you out of your freakin’ mind?” or something to that effect.

Granted, it was a little late, but I had fallen asleep during the Giants – Panthers game while still behind my opponent, Benito Ricones, Sr. and his team Detroit Fan 91. He had finished with a total of 96 points. I was 18 points behind at the start of the game, with three players still to play – the Giants’ Derrick Ward and the Panthers’ Steve Smith in the Sunday night game, and Donald Driver on Monday night. On one hand, things looked pretty good for me. On the other, you never know what’s going to happen at the end of the season. Beside the usual intangibles – injuries, poor performances and suspensions, you had that extra dynamic – saving players for the playoffs.

It had been a long, grueling season. I had started on a lucky note, having been awarded the first pick in the draft. Unfortunately, I just about wasted my first pick having chosen LaDainian Tomlinson. In case you weren’t aware of it, LaDanian did not have the kind of year we would expect from a consensus first pick. My second and third picks, QB Drew Brees and WR Steve Smith worked out much better. My fourth pick, RB Laurence Maroney of the Patriots, played about 5 weeks and then was out for the season with a shoulder injury. I’ll have to rank him a tad lower next season. A revolving door of replacements included Fred Taylor, Ahman Greene, and even for a couple weeks DeAngelo Williams, before I finally settled on Derrick Ward. The Miami defense, a bye week replacement, also turned out to be a pretty good choice.

Anyway, I’m watching the game, strolling back to my PC every once in a while to see the score between my team, AcesWebWorld and Benito’s Detroit Fan 91. I was creeping up on him and his 18 point lead had been whittled down to 11. Then, as I said, I dozed off. When I woke up the game was over. I went back to the PC, refreshed the game page, and to my amazement saw that I had emerged victorious. A check of the live-chat box revealed that my opponent had already conceded. Funny thing is I had been kicking myself in the ass for not inserting Tashard Choice at RB before Saturday night’s game. I had picked him up because Ward’s playing seemed to be in doubt. Tashard managed to accumulate 17 fantasy points. Come Sunday those points were looking awfully good. Well, when the screen came back up, I had to do a double-take because Derrick Ward had rushed for over 200 yards accumulating a total of 21 fantasy points. Combined with 6 points from Steve Smith, I had more than I needed to take command of the game. The championship was mine.

I’m sharing this with you because my wife doesn’t get it. The material girl’s last word on the subject was “What exactly did you win?” Can you imagine! “The Championship!” I proclaimed. Then, I did my version of the Iggy shuffle.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fantasy Traffic With Alicia Roberts

Alicia: Let’s cut to Copter Cal for a live report from Pasco County. How are things moving this morning, Cal?
Cal: (whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup) Good morning, Alicia. Right now we’re looking down at Massachusetts, and it looks like the cars are trying to navigate through an ocean of goo.
Alicia: Things are moving pretty slowly, then.
Cal: (whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup) Barely moving, Alicia, at least the eastbound lane. Westbound is moving better.
Alicia: What exactly is causing the slowdown, Cal? Has there been an accident?
Cal: (whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup) No, Alicia, no accidents. The problem is a common one. There’s a slow moving car, a white minivan/SUV cross, in the left lane and its driver seems unwilling to pass the car in the right lane that it’s coupled with. Their theme song, if they had a chance to choose one, would undoubtedly be “I Love A Parade” because cars are lined up for three miles behind them and, I don't know if you can hear it, there is a lot of frustrated horn honking going on.
Alicia: You know, Cal, I had an uncle who was blind in his right eye and he used to say that he preferred driving in the left lane. Maybe the driver of the minivan is blind in one eye.
Cal: (whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup) I doubt that, Alicia. More likely, she intends to make a left turn onto Little Road three miles up the road and is in the left lane preparing for that.
Alicia: So what’s your recommendation, Cal? An alternate route?
Cal: (whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup) No, seeing as it’s December, you might as well just fall in line and be patient. Copter Cal’s Equalization Theory applies.
Alicia: And that theory is?
Cal: (whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup) The theory states that after December 1st, because of the proliferation of discourteous, self-absorbed drivers, otherwise known as Snowbirds, it doesn’t matter what route you take or what lane you’re in – you’re always going to run about ten minutes late.
Alicia: So, the answer is “Leave early and give yourself plenty of time.”
Cal: (whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup) Yes, Alicia, that’s about it. Okay, now, we’ve run into a similar situation heading north on Little Road in Hudson. Now, the left lane is occupied by a silver SUV, plate number I10CB… I can’t make out that last letter. It looks like a J or a T. She also has that parade thing going on.
Alicia: Does it look like she’s preparing to make a left hand turn?
Cal: (whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup) No, Alicia, she’s busy talking on her cell phone. This is a common problem that we all encounter every day. People who talk on their cell phones while driving typically abandon their driving personas and slip into one of their other personas.
Alicia: That’s an interesting way to describe it, Cal.
Cal: (whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup) Some sociologists postulate that each of us are composites of various roles we play. For example, in one role, I’m a father, in another role, I’m a husband, in another, I’m Copter Cal the weather guy. For each role, I project a different persona. Similarly, people used to slip into their driving personas when they slid in behind the wheels of their vehicles. Now, however, confusion can develop depending on who they are talking to on their phones. Say, for instance, this young lady is talking to her boss. She, by necessity, has had to abandon her driving persona in favor of her professional business persona.
Alicia: Which means?
Cal: (whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup) T.A.S.U., Alicia. Drive at your own friggin’ risk – Traffic’s All Screwed Up!
Alicia: Thanks, Cal. Well, you heard him folks, there's nothing unusual to report at this hour. Stay tuned for the next update.

Friday, December 12, 2008

An Intro To DooWop

As kids, back in the early 60's, we were serious doowop singers. I mean, if you get together four or five times a week to practice anything, you must be serious. The only thing I devoted more time to was (no, not education) playing pool.

Occasionally, you would hear about a group who had written their own song, but most doowoppers contented themselves by singing the classics, like Johnny Maestro and The Crests’ version of My Juanita or The Eldorados’ Crazy Little Mama (At My Front Door). We weren’t much interested in the writers of the songs, just the groups who had sung them. Of course, that was pretty stupid, really, because there really isn’t a big demand for people who sing other people’s songs. Remember this was long before American Idol.

Anyway, I have a new respect for songwriters. It’s not easy to write a hit song and, if you do, you deserve to reap the rewards for having done so for a lifetime and beyond. Who knows, music might evolve and, as in the case of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, leave your brand of songwriting as marketable as dayglow hula hoops. In a recent post where I made available for your listening pleasure an arrangement of Some Kind of Wonderful that my friends and I had recorded back in the early 80’s, I apparently infringed on the copyrights of Ms. King and Sir Goffin, the writers of said tune. They, through the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), informed of my infringement and the blog cops dutifully removed the post that referenced the file and then emailed me explaining the move.

Funny, isn’t it, that my request for permission from EMI to upload the song to my myspace or reverbnation accounts was completely ignored, but my adding the file to my blog was dealt with in less than a week. It’s like my request put me on some kind of watch list.

Anyway, fuck’em all. The only tape I have of our group The Dreambeats contains the very protected Some Kind of Wonderful, as well as a medley of three other songs, Stormy Weather, Trickle Trickle, and Blue Moon. I probably don’t have the right to make the medley available either, so I won’t. I did, however, write an intro to the medley which probably won't make the earth move yet might just give you a hint of what we were like. As always, our recently deceased lead singer, Tommy Gross can be heard above the fray with his falsettos in the harmony, and his solo with the line “we met again the other day, an now we’re coming back.” You can access the clip here. If it doesn’t play automatically, plug the url into your media player. And you can still here us singing a couple country songs I wrote on ReverbNation.

One last thing, I ran across the Johnny Maestro version of My Juanita on youtube. Take a listen.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Closer - A Real Turkey

We celebrated our 43rd anniversary on Thanksgiving Day. Forty-three years of wedded bliss. Well, honestly, it hasn’t been all bliss. We had our ups and downs early on, but somewhere along the line everything clicked into place and it’s been clear sailing under sunny skies since. As you might suspect, the secret to a long marriage, at least in our case, is love. We’re brimming with it. The secret to getting along on a daily basis involves compromise. For example, take our TV viewing habits. Though she doesn’t get it, my wife continues to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles with me. And, to equal things out, I watch The Closer with her. Now, I’ve got nothing against Kevin Bacon’s wife, Kyra Sedgwick – I loved her in Phenomenon with John Travolta, a movie I never get tired of seeing. But, I just can’t take her in The Closer. My main problem is her accent. I’ve lived down south and I’m familiar with a variety of southern drawls, none of which resembles Ms. Sedgwick’s version. The only thing I’ve ever heard that’s even close to it was the accent produced by Dustin Hoffman for the Dorothy Michaels character in the 1982 movie Tootsie. I don’t let on to my wife, but whenever we watch The Closer, I spend a good part of the time reminiscing about Tootsie. Hey, that’s what compromise is all about.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Gettin’ Down To Bidness with Katie Couric’s Hair

When it comes to Katie Couric’s appearance, I usually ignore my wife’s comments – they seem too catty, like “Oh, she’s had her eyes done,” or “Botox!” But, I had to take note the other day when she exclaimed, “Oh, so cute!”

She, of course, was referring to Katie’s new hairdo (photo: before left, after right). I glanced at the screen and had to concur that Katie was looking exceptionally cute with the new short arrangement of her locks. Here are some other thoughts on this critical matter.

Greg Pollowitz of National Review online commented, “Kind of makes her look like Gov. Palin, no?”

Amy Diluna, NY Daily News fashion editor, remarked, “The coif, a boyish pixie cut that channeled some of Hillary Clinton's bad 'do days…” similarly noted, “she looked like a mix between Katie Holmes and Hilary Clinton.”

Bricks and Stones referred to it as “A new unflattering haircut.”

Samantha Chang of called the do “an unflattering pixie haircut.”

Now, I know a lot of people don’t think Katie Couric’s hair is a critical issue at this particular point in history. I wonder what they’d say if Brian Williams shaved his head.