wine by the color

Sunday, September 27, 2009

When I awoke very early this morning, the sound of heavy rain outside sent me back under the covers for another hour. I figured since I was going to spend the next seven hours in the rain, there was no need to waste time taking a shower.

Although today's soggy weather was not ideal, it was at least 30 degrees warmer than last year's brutally frigid WetFest, which made today seem much more tolerable.

Of course, the biggest difference is today the New York Jets beat the Titans to run their record to 3-0, which no one (and I mean not a single one of us) could have seen coming. Unusual behavior was afoot - Jets' fans optimistically speaking of possible home playoff games in January; a general lack of hostility directed at opposing fans and the referees; Gang Green's rookie quarterback recklessly hurtling his body down the field and across the goal line...

All in all, it's a rather nice time to be a Jets fan.

The Jets aren’t perfect by any means and they’ve still got a long road ahead. But, whatever Jet fan it was who sold his soul to the devil for a smash-mouth coach and a promising young quarterback, I just have to say one thing. Thanks, Man. You’ve got my back.

On the other hand, at one point during the game while checking out the scores of other games, the Professor leaned over and asked, "Are you still supporting the Cleveland Browns?" Uh, no.

Now, if I were still fervently supporting His Holiness, I would have found the following very, very exciting...

But I will not get sucked back in...

(oh you know I will. but I'm really, really trying...)

Friday, September 25, 2009

I watched the crazy trio earlier this week so my brother and sister-in-law could go to back-to-school night. About 10 minutes before bedtime, we enjoyed a little musical interlude...

Despite this strange method of winding down for the day, they went to sleep without any trouble.

And I think they just might be ready for their first Metallica show. Particularly Sweetie Pie Princess.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A quick note before I hit the shower and head to work...

I made it to boot camp this morning but it wasn't easy. I got in and out of bed three times before I finally decided I needed to go, thanks to yesterday's culinary folly. Which I mean in the best possible way.

The fine folks at the Jets Blog continue to do a terrific job recapping the games and yesterday's was a real joy.

Of course, for veteran Jets’ fans, the last 28 minutes of regulation were sheer torture. Most stood by their televisions or hugged their neighbors at the stadium and expected another Brady-Belichick miracle.

But, it never came.


What can I say. Last week was a thing of beauty. This week was Giselle Bundchen. It’s fun to be a Jet fan these days.

Ok, off to work...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sept. 11, 2000. A year before the significance of that date changed forever. Two months before my oldest nephew, Adam, was born.

And until today, the last time the Jets beat the Patriots in the Meadowlands.

The Jets' home opener is always one of my favorite days of the year, but the last few seasons have been slightly marred by two things: obscene heat and losses to New England. Today, no problems on either count.

We got a gorgeous day to catch up with old friends, eating and drinking prior to the game. The first game of the season always brings out a large crowd and today was no exception.

And the game. Oh, the game.

Spurred on by Rex Ryan's voicemail last week, the fans were louder than I have ever heard in the stadium. It was terrific to be part of such a lively, engaged crowd. And while I don't want to get ahead of myself, I'm officially excited about the team, particularly its new coach, the defense and the rookie QB.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about this later. For now, however, I must slumber. I have been awake since 5:20 a.m. and am just exhausted. And given the amount of food I consumed today, highlighted by three sausage sandwiches, I most certainly need to rise early tomorrow to go to boot camp...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We knew it wouldn't take long for my younger nephew, who started kindergarden last week, to find trouble. Apparently he was a little boisterous on the bus today and the driver had to put him and his buddies in separate seats. When my sister-in-law asked about it, his response was: "it's the fifth day on the bus, can't a guy have his dreams!"

That kid really needs his own television show...


I always thought there were a few things I would never, ever do. High on that list?

-eat raw fish
-fall for someone who supports the other NY baseball team

And lo and behold, here I am, eating sushi and dating a Yankee fan.

Funny what love can do.

Last week, the Captain and I headed to see our first game in the new Yankee Stadium. He is a huge Yankee fan and I admit to having an interest in checking out the new stadium, so off we went. The weather forecast called for rain but what we got was a beautiful, crisp September night.

The stadium is nice, although I was amazed by how many empty seats there were, even with Derek Jeter chasing history. When I told my older nephew that we went to the game, he replied, "But tickets are so expensive!" He has an incredible amount of random information in his 8-year-old head.

We were seated in right field, which made this sign interesting:

I can understand the threat of balls but it would have to be a wild scene for a bat to wind up in that section.

Anyway, despite being surrounded by supporters of the Yankees, I managed to enjoy myself. Perhaps it was the company...

Derek Jeter entered the game three hits shy of Lou Gehrig's all-time Yankees record of 2,721. Jeter had gone 0-12 in the three games prior to this one so I didn't think we had much chance of seeing the record fall.

But alas, after starting the bottom of the first with a first-pitch bunt, he tied the record several innings later...

In the top of the ninth, he had a chance to break the record but earned a walk, setting off a robust chorus of boos from the crowd...

We were seated fairly close to the enormous television in the outfield, which provided quite the view of Jeter being interviewed after the game:

On our way out of the stadium, a very happy Yankee fan paused to take a photo with the new hits co-leader.

All in all, a rather nice night in the Bronx. But no need for my Mets brethern to worry - I'm not switching teams. Just being a supportive girlfriend.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

So as I sit and follow the Jets' season opener on the internet because I am working yet another weekend spreading the good word of the golf world, I decided to do a little online shopping. Usually, it's too warm at the home opener to wear a jersey and most of my Jets t-shirts have the number 4 on the back of them, so I thought I'd buy a new one for next week's game.

Let's look at some of this year's options...

Is it a bra? Lingerie? A shirt? Whatever you call it, it would cause a riot at the tailgate.

And then there is this...

I mean, really. What the hell is that? It appears to be a tube top with spaghetti straps. I can't imagine what I would look like in that after I polished off an Italian sausage sandwich, a burger, a variety of saturated-fat-filled snacks and a bottle of wine.

But the questionable options don't stop with the clothing. Let's check out the accessories...

This is the Jets "Fender Flair," which is described as "a purse is designed with two full size recycled aluminum team license plates that form the sides, and teardrop-shaped nickel plated steel end caps. The velvet lined bag has a pocket for your cell phone or makeup and a 21" leather carry strap."

Makeup? I don't ever wear make-up, let alone to a Jets game. And if I did, I would not pay $299.99 for a bag to carry it in. That's right, that costs 300 bucks.

Moving on...

Because nothing says "I love you and want to be with you forever" like a set of Jets rings.

I think I might just go with this...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Can you feel it? Football season is here.

I love all sports - baseball, basketball, hockey, golf. But nothing compares to football. Last night at the Yankees game (and more about that tomorrow), the Captain and I ran into my friends Hank and Scott, our Jets tailgate revelry friends. The excitement about the impending Jets' home opener was palpable. And that's for a team we think is probably going to suck.

So as I sit in a suburban Philadelphia hotel watching the NFL season opener between the Titans and the Steelers (and hoping the Titans don't lose by more than 5.5 points because I am apparently a borderline degenerate gambler who is involved in four pools - five if you count my contributions to the Captain's fantasy team and yes I just might have convinced him to pick Favre as his back-up but it was a weak moment and my arguments were obviously convincing and old habits die hard), I'm looking forward to two football games this weekend - the OSU game against USC and the Jets' season opener against Houston. Do I expect either of them to go well? No. But WHO CARES! It's football season. (By the way, I've had some wine tonight and should be sleeping. Bear with me.)


The fine folks at The Big Lead pointed out this story today and I have to say, I stenuously object. Sure, I don't love that the Buckeyes keep losing big games. Would I prefer they don't lose Saturday, or at the very least not get blown out? Um, yes.

But I am certainly happy with the consistent Big 10 titles and wins over Michigan. I'm very pleased they are competitive year in and year out. And most importantly, I'm quite happy the program isn't an ongoing source of embarrassment, with players getting arrested for a litany of offenses or suing each other, as happened during John Cooper's era, when one player sued another for an injury suffered during a fight during a Buckeye practice.

This reminded me of a gem from my literary archives. When OSU finally fired John Cooper in 2001, a legendary sports writer named Bernie Lincicome, an OSU alum, wrote a column questioning the hire. I took the opportunity to fire off a passionate communique. He wrote back and was quite friendly, although I'm sure he also notified the authorities. (As a follow up, he covered the Women's Open in Denver in 2005 so I finally had the chance to introduce myself. I admitted I was the crazy lady who wrote 'the Ohio State letter,' and he knew exactly who I was. Guess I made an impression...)

Oh, and as an additional side note, the part about Eddie George talking about how people make too much of the Michigan game is 100% true, which makes what he said to players at the title game a few years later (about it being more important than the Super Bowl) all the more amazing.

Enjoy. And remember, I'm not crazy. I just love football. And my alma mater.


Dear Mr. Lincicome,

I wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts evoked by your column regarding the Jim Tressel hire at Ohio State. I always enjoy reading your work, particularly since your move from Chicago to Denver. Imagine my delight to learn that you are a fellow Buckeye.

As a teenager, I visited the Ohio State campus for the first time in the spring of 1987, the week after Woody Hayes died. Midway though my visit, standing in the lower level of Ohio Stadium, I announced to my parents, "I'm going here." So enthralled and determined was I, only one college application was completed.

I arrived in Columbus from New Jersey in the fall of 1988, the same year John Cooper arrived from Arizona State. After a tenure-opening 4-6-1 season, I wondered what had happened to the glorious Buckeye teams of the past that my uncle, a 1971 OSU grad, had talked about. Growing up in Jersey, I watched Rutgers wallow in this sort of mediocrity for years.

Despite this, I immediately developed a passion for Ohio State and its traditions. I went to Heinegate and the Varsity Club on Saturday mornings. I sat in Block O. I learned how to slur my way through Hang On Sloopy. I vowed I would one day walk down the aisle to Le Regiment. I decided I'd rather be struck down with a horrible illness that ever say one nice thing about the Wolverines.

Cooper quickly brought in a pool of incredibly talented players and returned the Bucks to their winning ways, and the program back to national prominence. He teased fans with a glowing winning percentage, bowl appearances, even a Heisman Award winner.

But he didn't deliver where it mattered most - the big games. Games he should win, and games he needed to win. Bowl games against Air Force. Regular-season games against Michigan State. And most certainly, games against Michigan. The rivalry. The biggest tradition in Ohio State's rich history.

When the Bucks tied Michigan in 1992, I jumped and cheered. For a tie! 92,000 fans were just so happy to have not lost to Michigan for the fifth straight year, they didn't seem to mind that they hadn't actually won the game. We were being lulled into accepting mediocrity.

This is the legacy that is John Cooper.

So you are absolutely correct when you say that Cooper was fired because he did not beat Michigan. Not because he didn't win the games, but because he didn't seem to care that he was losing them.

And I think he was given such an inordinate amount of time to try and try again was because he was a decent man who seemed to be running a fairly clean program. And let's face it, he got a lot of mileage out of that 97 Rose Bowl win.

I spent a year covering the Bucks for the Lantern, and spent a lot of time in the company of John Cooper. John Cooper is a good man. Someone I defended for far more years than I should have.

But that ran out on January 1, 2001. Eighteen days ago, I opted to watch the Mummers' Parade rather than suffer through another John Cooper-led New Year's Day heartbreak. Mummers!

But I'd seen it too many times, this season-ending two-game fold, and couldn't sit through it again. I did not perform my pre-game ritual of putting on my red jersey and playing the Best Damn Band in the Land CD.

If someone who has converted their dining room into an "OSU Room" cannot bear to watch a bowl game, the State of the Union, so to speak, is sorry indeed.

Ohio State did not call and ask me for my opinion on a new coach either, although I would also have been happy to provide it. Was I delirious at the thought of hiring Glen Mason? That goes without saying. Had I convinced myself, as well as anyone who asked me for an opinion, that Chris Spielman could do the job? You bet.

Sure, the name Jim Tressel lends itself to a bit of queasiness on my part. Can he recruit Big 10 talent? Who knows. Can he handle the incredible scrutiny he's about to face from the media and, worse yet, the alumni? Tough to say. How will he react if the team starts out 2-5 and OSU fans put 'For Sale' signs on his front yard, as they did to Cooper in the fall of 1988? Should be interesting.

But we get to start over. At the very least, Tressel will bring a new enthusiasm to the program. I want to be excited about Ohio State football. I want you to be excited. I want my kids to one day be excited. I want them to sit in Ohio Stadium and have their spine tingle at the sight of Script Ohio.

So, although I don't know who Jim Tressel is and I don't know if he can recruit or win, I do know this: he's not John Cooper, and that's good enough for me right now.

I know there will be someone in the Woody Hayes Athletic Facility who's an Ohio guy, someone who understands how special it is that he's there, who understands the importance of the tradition of Ohio State football.

Someone who understands why the Michigan game is important.

Half the beauty of sports is its rich traditions, and that's what makes Saturdays in Columbus, Ohio so special. I have plenty of friends who went to places like the University of Delaware and East Strousburg State. They'll never have the thrill we do sitting in the 'Shoe, and my sympathies are truly with them.

Cooper didn't seem to feel it. He didn't teach his players to feel it. That was evident watching Eddie George on ESPN the other day, talking about how maybe people in Columbus make too big a deal of the "supposed" tradition at OSU.

An Ohio State Heisman Trophy winner, overestimating the importance of tradition? Quick, somebody stop Woody's grave before it spins itself into orbit. Maybe Coop should have slugged someone.

Maybe Desmond Howard after he struck the Heisman pose in the endzone. At least then we would have known he cared. That he was upset about losing big games when he had a stable of future first-round NFL talent that any coach in the country would have killed for.

I am now 30 years old and eight years removed from my time in Columbus, and it still matters to me whether we beat Michigan. And unless Andy Geiger has lost his mind, I'm pretty sure there is now someone leading the charge to whom it will matter as well.

Go Bucks!

Jersey Girl
Ohio State '93

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Years ago, I was an enormous Bill Simmons fan. I knew exactly what time, on which three days per week, his columns would be posted and waited for them, hitting the refresh button until they would appear. I laughed heartily at his pop culture references and rampant fandom. I sent him a message that included a reference to my ownership of the "Fast Break" soundtrack (on vinyl, no less), which led to a brief but humorous e-mail exchange.

Somewhere along the line, my devotion waned. I found other things to read, and he wrote about professional basketball way too often for my tastes. And not surprisingly, the Evil Empire overexposed him, creating the Sports Guy's World, which completely flooded the internet with content. It was too much.

But then, he writes something like this (with part 2 here) and completely sucks me back in. As far as I'm concerned, writing just doesn't get any better. He makes me feel like I am there in Vegas and know his friends. Actually, his friends sound a lot like my friends, which may have something to do with that. But his talent for setting the scene and making the reader feel a part of it is a true gift.

At first, I was going to highlight a few of my favorite lines from this two-part gem, but I was highlighting every other paragraph. As a teaser, here are two things that made me laugh very, very hard:

12:20: The doorbell rings. It's CEO Eric! He's accompanied by two scantily clad Pizza Girls, five pizzas and a case of Bud Light. I'm not kidding -- this almost caused a riot. One girl is dressed like a cheerleader; the other is wearing Tom Brady's jersey and underwear (only if both had been shrunk to one-fourth the size). Later, CEO Eric described our reaction as "2-year-olds at a birthday party as Barney walks in." By the way, we're old.


The bad news: I am officially constipated. Food I've eaten since Friday morning: Arby's roast beef and curly fries, pizza, Sausage McMuffin, blueberry muffin, more pizza. Call it the Vegas Diet. I think my body would reject fruits and vegetables like a bad kidney match at this point.

Read and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

There are a few things that came to my attention during my vacation that are worthy of a mention...

I don't remember in what context this was brought to my attention, but brought to my attention it was. And after the week of eating and lack of exercise I enjoyed while down the shore, it's comforting to know that should I become a size that precludes taking care of business by my own hand, help is available. The Freedom Wand. "A product that gives you your dignity and independence back!"


In other news, the Evil Empire has found its new ombudsman. I found this an interesting side note:

More disclosure: One of my sons has worked at ESPN Regional Television for 15 years as a producer/director. He's made a great career for himself. If one of his shows requires comment in this space, I'll be sure to remind you. As the saying goes, "A conflict disclosed is not a conflict."

I don't have a great feeling about this. His first column goes a little easier on the Evil Empire than his predecessors would have been and I question whether someone with a background in television will be as objective as someone outside that world. Of course, given my officer standing in the LeAnne Screiber Fan Club, I don't know that I can be trusted to be objective so what do I know.

But while we're talking about a lack of objectivity, I need to be honest about something. As I mentioned before I left for vacation, just because you give someone the boot doesn't mean you stop thinking about him, particularly the good times you shared. And if you do a search on this web site for how many times the words "His Holiness" have appeared, you will see we shared a LOT of good times.

So when I saw this the other day, I'll admit my hard-line stance wavered a bit...

Then I watched this and the off-the-cut wit His Holiness displays really threw me for a loop:

I'm not going to lie. This may be harder than I thought...

Last weekend, the Captain and I were hanging out with two of his best friends and their wives, and the ladies were discussing how YouTube completely sucks us in, that you go looking for one simple thing and the next thing you know, you're looking at something completely unrelated.

Which is to say, somehow I wound up watching this...