Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Hallo-weenie

I'm getting old. I don't mean John McCain old, or "walk-around-all-hunched-over-and-grumbling-to-myself" old, or "while-whistling-Glenn-Miller-big-band-songs-I-happen-to-crap-myself-and-don't-miss-a-note" OLD; but old in the sense that I see myself becoming more and more of a curmudgeon.

Recently, I actually had to stop myself while saying to a friend, "Can you believe the Halloween costumes these girls are wearing these days? They look like whores." What the hell is going on here? In my younger, hipper days, I had a term for those costumes: eye candy. You would never hear me complaining about them being too "skimpy" or "revealing." In fact, part of what made this country so great, in my eyes, was the fact that one night a year beautiful women walked around dressed like strippers and prostitutes in establishments that served beer. God bless America! Here I am, at the age of 33, saying stupid things like that aforementioned comment to a friend.

Either I'm getting old or gay. Let's go with old, all right?

Now, something else just occurred to me. While I was writing this, I went on Google and searched "sexy Halloween costumes." It seems that just about any occupation, regardless of what you do, has been sexed-up and made into a Halloween costume. With just a short 35-minutes perusal of the pictures, I found a sexy nurse, a sexy police officer, a sexy referee, a sexy secretary, a sexy school teacher, a sexy diner waitress, a sexy soldier, and the ubiquitous sexy French maid. Looking at these things, one would think the costumes had been pilfered from the set of a Ron Jeremy film. But no. They're sold for everyone, anyone, and in plus-sizes.

This got me thinking of occupations that you won't see a sexed-up and made into a costume, feel free to add more to this thread: 1.) a sweat shop worker 2.) anything where a hairnet is required as part of the uniform 3.) a janitor 4.) a housewife (I'm dead for saying that) 5.) a disgruntled postal worker 6.) a social worker at an STD clinic 7.) a telemarketer 8.) an assistant in a basement meth lab.

By the way, I read somewhere that the number one costume for women this year is Sarah Palin. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Oh, who am I kidding? She's hot.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Another Bloody Sock?

The score was 5-0 in the third inning. Oh God, I thought, why put myself through this? Again.

I don't care how many times The Red Sox have come back in an ALCS Series, (and, for the record, the answer is twice) for lifelong Red Sox fans, you never, never shake the feeling that they'll break your heart. For this new generation of Red Sox fans, these pink hat cheerleaders, the come-back has become routine, a final theatrical act. But for those of us that remember Buckner and Boone (and Bucky and beyond), and the winters of heartache that followed, Thursday night seemed be fixing toward a merciful exit: The Sox soundly beaten by a better team.

But no.

For a man who grew up knowing that the pretty girl's smile is never followed by a kiss, I refuse to get strung along. The anomolies of 2004 and 2007 were the most unlikeliest of lays. Those were the "I smiled at the beautiful woman and it just so happened she was so drunk she slept with me" moments. It was the baseball version of Knocked Up. Twice.

Yes. I want to see Josh Beckett be the Josh Beckett of 2007 tomorrow night. I want to go out and feel proud when a drunken fan tells me I look like him. But I don't expect it. And I never will.

Here's the deal: I went to bed. I was convinced they lost.

Part of growing up as a Red Sox fan was learning, at an early age, to deal with disappointment. I'm not sure if this is an Eastern or Western idea, or something I stole from a Bukowski poem, but the only way to assure that one is not disappointed is to NOT have expectations. I've learned that much as a Red Sox fan---although I feel like a shit-heel saying this in the presence of any Cubs fans who might be reading this.

So I expect nothing from the Sox tomorrow night. Logic and statistics tells me that James Shields will be nothing but "Big Game James." Recent history tells me that Beckett is hurt, and the Sox brass are mum. Will The Sox win tomorrow? Will we see another Bloody Sock?

If you jumped on the bus in 2003 or 2004, when The Idiots became vogue and a pink hat became sexy, cue up your Neil Diamond and Dropkick Murphy's CDs and wait for a celebration. Call your up B.U. buddies from Long Island, or text them, tell 'em that you're having a playoff party. "And, hey, did you hear, Cody got tickets!"

For the rest of us, we'll chew our thumbs and know Longoria and Upton and Shields aren't accidents; we'll know that comebacks are both magical and whimsical; we'll try to realize what Gatsby never learned: you can never recreate the past.

And in the process, we'll throw the middle finger at Manny and Damon and Nomar, who are all at home, bathing in bucks, watching the game with us.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My picks for The World Series

Let me start with the National League because, for me, it's not a real league, unless The Sox make the World Series and must efficiently dismantle one of those bands of rogues who don't even have the decency to use a DH.

The Los Angeles Dodgers. After the Manny trade, which Bill Simmons wrote a most excellent article about, The Dodgers became a blip on my baseball radar. In fact, before the trade, I was quasi-rooting for them to do something that Joe Torre could ram right up the asses of Yankee ownership and fans everywhere, and lo, now they're one of the final four teams left in baseball. Where is Joe Girardi these days? Maybe Fox Sports took pity on his sad ass and brought him back an as analyst, or maybe he's stacking cans of Fancy Feast at a supermarket in Long Island. Who cares? Baseball's most bloated budget really fielded a dream team this year, huh? And next year, when The Evil Empire swoons down with their bag of blood-money made on their new stadium and steals Manny away from his new favorite place in the world, LaLa Land, may the same curse of mediocrity befall them again, in their new House of Overpaid Losers. But watching the Dodgers right now is bitter-sweet. If there were to be a Sox/Dodgers Series, it would be fun to hear Manny's homecoming greeting from the Fenway Faithful---guarantee it will make Johnny Damon's first game back look like a group hug---and it is nice to see Torre taking another team into October while A-Rod sits at home and counts his money like Dickensian villain. Then there's Derek Lowe---an alcoholic, philandering, man-child. In other words, my kind of dude. However, those poor fucking Cubbies fans. Jesus, if John McCain is elected, I think Chicago might burn to the ground.

The Philadelphia Phillies. Other than the fact that Ryan Howard may be one of the largest and most dangerous black men since The Sandman in Mike Tyson's Punchout---does anyone remember that son of a bitch? I blame my inability to show love in my adult life on the beatings I took from him---I really know very little about this team. Let's see. There's Chase Utley. Has there ever been a whiter name than Chase Utley? He sounds like he should doing crew at Phillips-Exeter Academy. "Hey, Chase, can you explain to me what a sub-prime loan really is?" But The Phillies took The Mets out of the playoffs, so they get props for making the city of New York a little more miserable this winter. Other than that, I got nothing. Like I said, The NL is not a real league. For me, they might as well be Hobbits competing in some strange game that involves a wicker basket and a yarn ball where Leonard Nemoy does both the play-by-play and analysis.

My pick: The Dodgers in 6 games.

Now to The American League, something I know only slightly more about; however, being a man who has talked out his ass for 33 years now, I do not find it even slightly daunting to act like I know what I'm saying.

The Tampa Bay Rays. What happened to the Devil in the old Devil Rays? I liked the Devil, loved him even. Now the Devil is gone, and in its place is this strange team that seems to have come out nowhere. Actually, that's not true. At first, I thought they were sent by some Prime Mover who controls all that is good and evil in the baseball world (hence, the dumping The Devil) simply to teach The New York Yankees a lesson about avarice by having The Rays finish ahead of them. But as I waited and waited for their Lindsay Lohan-like collapse, it never happened. Now they've become analogous to that girl in high school who was pimply, a little overweight and on the bad side of butt-ugly, who shows up at the 10-year reunion trimmed-down, made-over and showing her enough cleavage to make you painfully aware of the fact that she'll never, regardless of the circumstance, ever sleep with your sad, flabby, drunken ass, nor any of your now-loser buddies who are organizing a Beirut tournament at an afterhours party. Did I say never? Oh yeah, and she changed her name, too. I spent the past ten years making fun of the Rays, now I'm staring at the very real possibility that they might eliminate my Sox, dash their dreams of becoming the first team in nearly a decade to win back-to-back World Series (I can't remember the last the team). To finish my analogy, let's say Crawford is the left tit; Longoria the right one; Carlos Pena the bush (groomed to a landing strip); Garza the left leg; Shields the right; Kazmir the tight ass; and shimmying in a little slink dress, pulling it all together, there's Joe Madden. Okay, Joe Madden's face on a female body just ruined it. Reciprocally, I hope I just ruined The Rays.

The Boston Red Sox. The Boys from Beantown, The Olde Towne Team have, somehow, against all probable odds, made it back to The ALCS. They have a banged up Mike Lowell, a recovering JD Drew, a Josh Beckett who barely resembled his stunning playoff self (that sounded gay, didn't it?), and a dismantled 3-4 line-up that was arguably the most lethal hitting duo since Ruth/Gehrig. But now they have youth and energy, and a couple of guys in the infield---Pedroia and Youk---who have to at least be included in MVP conversations. They have baseball's next left-handed ace in Jon Lester, and I'll always feel comfortable, Manny or no Manny, when the game is on the line and Big Papi grabs a bat. No, this is not a team as colorful as the cardiac Idiots of 2004, but they're professional, especially Jason Bay who came over when Theo sent Madonna to a place where he might land a cameo on Entourage someday, smoking a joint with Turtle. That's assuming it's before the Evil Empire, now headed by Hank "Every Bit the Douche Bag as Dear Old Dad" Steinbrenner, scoops him up by the dreadlocks and transplants him to The New Stadium. Listen, I still have to pinch myself when I stop and think that five years ago I was sitting in catatonic state in a rocking chair after Aaron Fucking Boone's blast in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, convinced that the Sox would never win a World Series in my lifetime---which is why you'll never see me laughing at Cubs fans. But here they are today, seven wins from their third World Series in five years, sealing the deal on becoming a veritable dynasty. Goddamn it. If The Rays beat them, it will be the work of The Devil. God is clearly not looking over our economy right now, so he must be watching The Sox.
My pick: The Sox sweep!