wine by the color

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The news has provided an embarrassment of riches today...

-Because my home state maintains a healthy sense of humor about itself, I found this lede to be rather amusing.
-Perhaps if the Jets offered this sort of service outside the stadium, fans wouldn't be stabbing each other.
-One of my personal mottos is 'winning isn't everything, but losing sucks,' and even I find this to be deplorable.
-Words fail.
-And finally, there really is a market for everything.
Hey, I'm not thrilled with how crappy the Jets are this season, but I'm not stabbing anyone in the restroom during games.

It's hard to pick a favorite line from this well-written report. I'd say it's a toss up between a vulgar euphemism for "wimp" and a "gargantuan" amount of fans willing to give up their tickets because of the Jets poor record (now 2-9) lets people who might not otherwise attend games get their hands on season ticket holders' seats.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I've always planned to request that my ashes be dumped from a fishing boat into the Atlantic, but this guy may be on to something. If anyone feels like trying this at Ohio Stadium, I'd be most appreciative.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Speaking of my older nephew's birthday, his party was great fun and marked the first family gathering attended by his girlfriend. Yes, my five-year-old nephew has a girlfriend, and he simply adores her. We had a wonderful time watching the two of them interact at the party.

His younger brother was, as usual, completely out of hand. That kid is days away from getting his own television show.

A pictorial of the day's highlights is attached.
Today, I visited an otolaryngologist for the first time. That’s a face, nose and throat doctor and yes, I had to look it up to spell it correctly. My nose is still sore from the Hawaiian episode, so I decided to have it checked. It was a good news, bad news sort of visit. The good news is that my nose is not broken and thus does not need to be re-broken in order to reset it. The bad news is that I apparently have a deviated septum that should be fixed. Seriously, if it’s not one thing with me, it’s another. But I’m considering it, mainly because it would reduce or possibly eliminate the severe sinus infections I suffer annually.

Because this was my initial visit to the otolaryngologist, I had to complete five pages of medical history forms. It was all fairly standard, but where you detail past maladies, there was a section for ‘Mental Troubles.’ That struck me as simultaneously humorously and poorly worded.
I broke one of my steadfast personal doctrines last evening. For perhaps the first time ever, I left a sporting event before its conclusion. Well before its conclusion.

We were tardy arrivals at the Jets’ tailgate due to my nephew’s birthday party and, quite frankly, I just didn’t have time to drink enough to numb myself for the dreadful football that awaited us. The 2-8 Jets were hosting the 2-8 Saints in a game being televised by the Evil Empire. As a sidebar, I think the league should institute a policy dictating that any time two god-awful teams play, they should use a running clock. The clock should not stop for any reason, meaning that such atrocious games would not last more than 90 minutes.

Anyway, using the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” philosophy, I offer the following positive comments:

-it was not freezing cold, which could have easily been the case for a late-November game
-traffic was extremely light to and from the stadium

To be fair, there were a few other bright spots. Pops brought cognac and the Professor brought egg nog to the tailgate. Lou carried an entire platter of baked goods – cookies, brownies, etc. – right into the stadium, offering one to the security guard as a bribe (which he took). The Professor sang throughout the game. A popular rumor is that Herm will leave the Jets to take over for Dick Vermeil in Kansas City at the end of the season. To honor this, the Professor sang “Going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come” approximately 439 times. For the next game, we’re going to make a mix tape of Kansas City-related songs and blast it throughout the afternoon.

In an actual game highlight, Curtis Martin became just the fourth player in NFL history to surpass the 14,000-yard rushing mark. It was nice to witness that. Less enjoyable was the touchdown the Jets lost on a reversal, for reasons I still don’t completely understand.

So we stayed until the start of the fourth quarter. I was fighting a cold and was tired after a cocktail-intensive weekend, and the game really was awful, so it just seemed best. Fortunately, our decision to leave early saved me from watching former OSU kicking wunderkind Mike Nugent miss a 53-yarder with 10 seconds left, thus giving the Saints a two-point victory. Earlier in the game, some fellow fans had some rather hurtful things to say about Nugent’s inability to reach the end zone on kickoffs, so I certainly would not have enjoyed the commentary following the missed field goal.

Making the Jets’ continued downward spiral worse is that the Texans continue to find new and exciting ways to lose, so they remain in the lead for the Reggie Bush sweepstakes.

Is it even worth mentioning that the Packers and Browns also lost? No, I didn’t think so. But for those keeping score at home, my three NFL teams are a combined 8-25.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A few thoughts on two things in which I formerly invested a good deal of energy and interest, but are currently dead to me: the New York Mets and the National Basketball Association.

First, the Mets. Yes, the Mets signed Carlos Delgado this week (a year later than they should have). Many Met fans are fired up about this. Why? Haven’t they learned? Shea Stadium is where good players go to fall apart. There’s not enough time in my day to list all the players who were All-Stars when they signed with the Mets, only to immediately forget how to hit, field or pitch (except for Pedro, who was the lone bright spot in the 2005 season) (well, okay, along with David Wright, who’s a stud, which means he’ll either get hurt or go on a Gooden-esque coke binge by next May.)

Moving on…

While sitting in Leggett’s last night, several of the televisions were set to the Nets-Suns game. First, the Nets suck. But more importantly, I haven’t really pontificated about this dress code nonsense. Mainly because it relates to the NBA, which, again, is dead to me.

But let me say this. This rule is completely inane. How the ACLU hasn’t gotten involved in this is beyond me. That an organization can dictate what its players wear when they are NOT PLAYING IN THE ACTUAL GAMES just makes no sense. True, Coach Anderson made us dress up for away games when I was in high school. But I was 15 years old, and I wasn't making six million dollars a year.


Last night, they were interviewing the currently injured Amare Stoudemire of the Suns, who was sitting on the sidelines in a mack-daddy, big-pimpin’ black suit. And I have to say, he looked very nice. I’m not saying that makes it right. But I enjoyed the effort.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Hmm. Maybe I should reconsider my plans to rush the field and offer Brett Favre a hug.
In honor of one of the worst air travel days of the year, as well as the official end of my 2005 travel for the year, which happened yesterday, I offer you this, the results of a survey of the airline industry. Not surprisingly, travelers are not happy. I shouldn't complain too much, since Continental is doing better than most of the other airlines.

But this did remind me of the trip I made in July from Newark to Boise via Houston. At the time, I sent this semi-rant to Darren...

I arrived at IAH at 5:15 Houston time and got to gate B84 at 5:20 p.m. At 5:25 p.m., they informed us our gate had been changed to B81, which was clear on the other side of the B terminal. (Given that there was a differential of three digits in the gates, I don't know how that could be, but it was.) So I arrived at B81 to find it even more crowded than the original gate area. It was a complete circus. There must have been 1,100 people in an area suited for 300. It was so crowded, I couldn’t get close to the gate to determine the status of my flight, which was due to depart at 6 p.m. That didn’t happen. The departure time came and went without a single word from the Continental representatives.

At 6:25, they finally made an announcement about the status of our flight. While the plane was there, the crew was coming in on a flight from Dallas, which had yet to take off. We were looking at an 8 p.m. departure at the earliest. For a while, things weren’t too bad because there was a group of high school girls from South Carolina who struck up a conversation with me. Not the brightest girls (after one of them incorrectly guessed that St. Louis was in Louisiana, another sheepishly pointed out that S.C. has the lowest SAT scores in the nation) but very nice and entertaining.

We finally took off shortly before 9 Houston time. Here’s another complaint: for a flight lasting three hours and 20 minutes, we were crammed into an Express Jet, with no movie or entertainment options. Additionally, my seat did not recline.

Upon deplaning, I went to Hertz and mercifully, they were still open, despite the fact they close at midnight and it was now 12:05 a.m. I picked up the keys and returned to baggage. Yep, no bags. Somehow, I sat in the Houston airport for three and a half hours and they couldn’t figure out how to get my bags from one plane to the other.

For everyone who thinks that life on the road is all fancy steak dinners and limo rides, let me assure you it's not. More often than not, it's days like the ones above.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The fact that this was sent to me by a friend who is a Michigan alum makes it all the better. Go Bucks.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Early this week, my plan was to review the end of the Oregon trip, my stop in Columbus and the jaunt to see Bruce in AC. That got thrown out of whack late Sunday night. As I walked out of Boardwalk Hall, reflecting on what a great few days it had been, my cell phone rang. It was my mother, calling to let me know that my father was having acute stomach pains and she was taking him to the hospital.

What’s gone on since is a lengthy and not-all-that-interesting story, and results in him finally being diagnosed late yesterday with an E-coli infection. They have no idea how he got it. He’s feeling much better, but is going to be in the hospital for a few more days. At least he’s not facing gall bladder surgery, which was one early diagnosis.

To quickly review the other events, we had a fantastic dinner in Portland at Jake’s, which is a regular stop whenever I’m in that fine town. After a lengthy day of travel, I arrived in Columbus Thursday night and spent Friday wandering around campus, doing some Christmas shopping (because all young children need "Beat Michigan" shirts). Friday night was one of those classic nights where you go out for dinner and a 'drink or two,' and the next thing you know it's 2 a.m. and you wouldn't know sober if it smacked you in the head. Good times.

This made getting up for the game, a noon start, a little difficult, but it's what had to be done. We proceeded directly to the tailgating portion of the day, where Kevin and I enjoyed the following exchange:

Kev: "Huh, this is the second time in a week that I've started drinking at 10 a.m."
Me: "You're welcome."

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day, and Kevin and I had a fantastic time at the game. It was his first OSU tilt in the 'Shoe, and we were treated to a 48-7 drubbing of Northwestern. From there, it was on to BW-3 with friends. Today I added “write to BW-3 to inquire about a central Jersey franchise” to my to-do list. They specialize in three things: wings, beer and large television sets for the purposes of enjoying sporting events.

After an early morning flight Sunday, I stopped home long enough to empty and re-pack my suitcase before heading south. After meeting the girls at my parents’ house, it was off to AC. Things got off to a good start when we hit a great bar outside AC, where the trifecta was slightly modified to burgers, Belgian beer and the NFL. Thanks to the wonderment of satellite TV, I was able to watch the Packers and Jets games. Packers good, Jets bad. You know it’s been a crazy week when the Packers get their second win of the year and I don’t mention it for four days.

As for the concert: outstanding. Bruce really shines in smaller venues, like Boardwalk Hall in AC and Convention Hall in Asbury Park. I've read that Bruce had a bad cold which supposedly affected the performance, but I certainly didn't notice. There were a few songs I've never heard live, including "Santa Ana" and "4th of July, Asbury Park(Sandy)." For me, the highlight was an amazing version of "Brilliant Disguise," which is one of my favorite Bruce tunes and seemingly made for this format. "Maria's Bed" was also beautifully done.

But one thing puzzled me - the number of people who left the concert early. Many did so. Why? It's not like a football game, where one team is getting blown out and you know there's no chance for the other team to come back (although, as a sidebar, the Professor would vehemently argue, and I would agree, that you NEVER leave a sporting event early). But there was still music to be played and Bruce banter to enjoy. Where were they going?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

About three years ago, I won two fish on the boardwalk. They were promptly named Bruce and Patti and they lived in the tiny, filter-less fishbowl the arcade provided. A short while later, Patti seemingly ate Bruce. But she lived on as a solo act. After about nine months, I decided it was time to get her a proper home. I purchased a 10-gallon fish tank and adorned it with the obligatory gravel, fish castles and plants. Eventually, I got her two tank mates, both of whom were short lived. At some point, she was renamed “Fishy” by the crazy nephews, who are responsible for her care during my travels.

For at least eight months, ‘clean fish tank’ has been on my to-do list. It had gotten completely disgusting. Finally, last week, the filter stopped working and the tank started to turn a murky green shade. I took today off to tackle a bunch of personal administrative tasks, and at last, the fish tank was cleaned. This was no easy undertaking, and required not one but TWO trips to Wal-Mart for supplies. But the tank was cleaned, and Patti was returned to her now-sparkling home. I checked ‘clean fish tank’ off the list with glee.

So I just returned from celebrating my nephew’s fifth birthday, and I immediately looked at the tank to make sure Patti was doing okay.

She was not okay. She was stuck to the now-clean filter. And she is quite, quite dead. I feel awful about this. Because, clearly, I am a fish murderer. Some Pisces I am.

Let that be a lesson. Mess is best.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'm trying to get a post together summarizing the past few days but uncontrollable outside forces are making that difficult. I'm working on it. In the meantime, in honor of Saturday's OSU-Michigan game, here's a little joke someone sent me this morning, one I certainly enjoyed...

An Ohio State fan used to amuse himself by scaring every Michigan fan he would see strutting down the side of the road in their obnoxious maize and blue colors. He would swerve his van as if to hit them, and then he would swerve back on the road just before hitting them.

One day, as the van driver was driving along, he saw a priest. He thought he would do a good turn and pulled the van over. He asked the priest "Where are you going, Father?" "I'm going to give Mass at St. Joseph's Church, about five miles down the road," replied the priest. "No problem, Father! I'll give you a lift. Climb in!"

The priest climbed into the passenger seat, and the van continued down the road. Suddenly, the driver saw a Wolverine fan strutting down the road, and instinctively, he swerved as if to hit him. But as usual, just in time, he swerved back to the road, narrowly missing the guy. Even though he was certain he missed the guy, he still heard a loud "THUD."

Not understanding where the noise came from, he glanced in his mirrors, but he didn't see anything. He then remembered the priest, and he turned to the priest and said "I'm sorry, Father. I almost hit that Michigan fan."

"That's OK" replied the priest. "I got him with the door."

Friday, November 11, 2005

Did anyone else catch Ponyboy on ER last night (is anyone even watching ER anymore)? I saw it today and was fired up to see him in the opening scene. A short while later, I realized he was playing a child-molesting kidnapper. That didn't necessarily ruin the appearance but it did make me think that it's been a long time since his heroic running-into-the-burning-church role of 22 years ago.

I went to IMDB to determine my favorite CTH movie and came across this interesting fact: he was nearly cast as Marty McFly in Back to the Future. The role was given to Eric Stoltz (who was later fired in the middle of filming) and then finally, Michael J. Fox.

After some more digging, I discovered C. Thomas Howell has a blog! Apparently he's even less consistent with the blogging than me as he has not posted since July. I may have to send him a quick note to encourage him to be more literarily prolific.

And a final note (have I actually written four paragraphs about C. Thomas Howell?), he is apparently in the remake of The Poseidon Adventure. Does Joe Pendleton know they remade The Poseidon Adventure? I can't imagine he's aware of it because there would no doubt have been some glorious ranting about it.

Oh, and my favorite CTH movie? I'm going to have to go with The Outsiders. I mean, I can sing "Stay Gold" by memory. But Red Dawn is a very close second.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Some of my travels are crazier than others. To wit, since Tuesday morning, I have:

-flown six hours to Oregon
-had lunch with Tege
-driven five hours to a little town in south Oregon called Bandon, where I stayed for less than 14 hours
-driven seven hours back to Portland, which took considerably longer than the trip down because we went up the Oregon coast, which was worth every single minute
-had dinner with Tege
-slept three hours
-gotten up at 3:30 a.m., flown to Houston, and then to Columbus

Which I where I now sit. I am exhausted, but I'm a gamer which is good because this craziness is only half done. I have cocktails ahead tonight, people to visit tomorrow, a game to watch Saturday, a flight to catch home Sunday morning, and a concert to enjoy in Atlantic City Sunday night.

In other words, don't expect much of me for the next few days...

Monday, November 07, 2005

A few random things …

-I assume everyone has heard about the cruise ship that was attacked by pirates? Seriously, what year are we living in?

-Crazy Tom Cruise is at it again. This time, he canned his sister, who has been suffering the fate of serving as his PR representative. Like it’s her fault that he lost his marbles and started jumping on couches and picking fights with Brooke Shields and Matt Lauer this summer?

-This evening I represented my alma mater at a college fair. I do a lot of these things and they always provide dinner. This usually consists of a big hoagie, which needs to be cut into 1/2-inch pieces to feed 200 people. But tonight's repast was a complete Chinese feast. Fortunately, I’ve recently added Chinese food to my culinary repertoire so I was able to eat, but I thought it was a strange choice to feed a large group. Chinese food is one of those 'you either like it or you don’t' things.

-I can't vote tomorrow because I'll be en route to the airport. At this point, I honestly don't care who wins the N.J. gubernatorial race, I just WANT THEM TO STOP CALLING ME. Jon Corzine's camp has called at least five today, including ONCE ON MY CELL PHONE. How can that be? Are they allowed to do that?

Ok, I think that's all for now.

This has not been my best year as an NFL fan.

Cleveland, with three wins, has as many victories as the Packers (1) and Jets (2) combined. I wouldn't have imagined that at the start of the season.

As a sidebar, let me mention that ESPN Classic aired the 1987 AFC Championship game Saturday afternoon. Better known as "The Fumble" game. Fortunately, I was driving into the city to see The Colonel's latest play so I was spared from the temptation to watch it. Maybe next week they can show the '86 AFC Championship game and really send Browns fans everywhere into a debilitating funk.

Ok, back to yesterday. Thankfully, I had several cocktails before the Jets game, which helped dull the pain of a terrible, ugly loss. Quite frankly, if your football team can't punch it in the g-d end zone on a first and goal from the three-yard line, it just doesn't deserve to win. This is why it’s critical to have fun at the tailgate. Otherwise going to these games might lose some of the appeal.

At least the Jets covered the spread. And it was a beautiful day. It's not often you get a sunburn at a November game, but that's what happened yesterday, thanks to the 71-degree, bright sunny day.

Sorry to be brief today but this is my only day in the office this week and I've got a pile of things to do after being gone for two weeks. Tomorrow I head to Oregon for meetings, which my system is going to love since it spent the weekend struggling to get back on East coast time. Then it's off to Columbus to see the Buckeyes' home finale, then back to NJ to catch Springsteen in Atlantic City.

I'm going to need a vacation after all that. Oh wait, I just had one. Which reminds me that I have yet to summarize the Hawaii trip, but I hope to do so while traveling to PDX. Because I know you're all dying to know what a good time we had.

And speaking of the trip, I'm 91% certain my nose is broken and will have to be re-broken when I get home next week so it can be set properly. While at the game yesterday, I was so bored that I started messing with the bridge of my nose and realized things are crackling around in there. It doesn't sound good, and it doesn't feel good. But I'll deal with that next week. And that should be good times.

Friday, November 04, 2005

It breaks my heart to report that I’m home. Not because I’ve got anything against my beloved home state, but because it means I had to leave my newly adopted state. Hawaii is magical. I’ve had the opportunity to visit many places, and this one is just special. It was completely worth the lengthy flights there and back, as well as the smashed face. I will be going back. In fact, when the time comes to look for a new job, I may strive to find one that requires me to travel to Hawaii at least twice a year. Maybe I could do media relations for the Pro Bowl. Or the Sony Open.

There is a lot of catching up to do (are the Packers really 1-6; I’d have bet my last dollar that the Browns would give the Texans their first win; and the all-Bruce, all-the-time station debuted on Sirius while I was gone) and I’ll get to all that soon, along with a wrap-up of the trip.

For now, I’ve got a dinner date with the crazy nephews, who have promised me a feast of shrimp and pasta. Which is nice since the only things in my fridge are a can of walnuts, a few black olives, some PBR and Yueng Ling, and several bottles of condiments. Not that I couldn’t make a meal out of those items, but since an alternative has been offered, I’m certainly going to accept…