Saturday, December 29, 2007

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2007

1. Eastern Promises
Like DC's best, this film is not too big and not too small. Viggo pulls off one of the most difficult roles (and scenes!) of the year.

2. No Country For Old Men
Exciting enough to keep us from sitting and worrying about where the film stands in the Coens' pantheon. That said, best since Fargo.

3. Inland Empire (12/6/06 limited release)
Rounds out the "modern masters" top 3. How did Laura Dern do it? I can't imagine not putting this on my list.

4. Michael Clayton
Gimme a few drinks and I might put this at 1. Truly innovative.

5. No End In Sight
Some unbelievable stuff here. Clearly presented and doesn't treat us like morons.

6. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

I'm getting kinda sick of the guy, but Philip Seymour Hoffman is damn good.

7. Manufactured Landscapes

Best opening scene of the year. Best idea of the year.

8. Superbad

Too many films these days are placed alongside the teen classics of our own youth-- this one belongs there.

9. Rescue Dawn

Woulda been much higher if not for a jaw-droppingly stupid ending. Then again, maybe that's the way it really happened...

10. Children of Men

I'll get some grief for this pick, I'm sure. Maybe Atonement or Once was better-- didn't have time to see either one. Also heard the Donkey Kong documentary was great.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Isiah Thomas Marked For Death

Knicks may actually win tonight, but...

Things have been so insane for the past few days with these guys-- I can't believe I haven't said anything about it. I guess I had something better to do, like changing the litterbox or making late-night trips to the store for chocolate-covered pretzels.

I.
Bill "Sports Guy" Simmons got me going on the 5th with some garbage about us Knick fans not "suffering" as much as we complain to be. This guy currently has the Celtics kicking ass all over the NBA, the Red Sox (gulp) world champs, and the Patriots, um, destroying everything in their path. It's ridiculous.
Why now to pick on Knick fans?! He goes on to say, "They (Knick fans) will just have to figure out for themselves that they're lucky they don't live in Buffalo or Pittsburgh, where nobody hears you at all." Excuse me, I'm not "lucky" I don't live in Buffalo or Pittsburgh-- I choose not to live there. Every time someone has suggested that I move to Buffalo or Pittsburgh, I politely decline. It has nothing to do with luck.

II.
Mike Vaccaro wrote a "piece" in the Post blaming Knick fans for extending the current fiasco by supporting the team financially. He says:

"You can scream for Isiah's head. You can engage him at the games, get lectured about how to be a proper sixth man, the way that Mara Altschuler did Monday. You might think that helps. It doesn't.

Just by being there, you extend the misery. Indefinitely."

So we should boycott the team? Gimme a break. Going to the Garden and screaming for Isiah's heah feels really good. Maybe if we did it LOUDER and for the ENTIRE GAME they'd get the picture. We need to complain more, not walk away.

III.
Isiah's latest is the most insane of all. You thought he was nuts when he blamed the team missing layups on the fans (or, the "sixth man"? how about worrying about the third, fourth and fifth man before you start blaming us!)? Today he uncorks this bizarro classic:

"If there's one thing that I hope all of you know about me, or will learn about me, I fight 'til I die," Thomas said after his team practiced yesterday in preparation for tonight's game against Seattle. "It's not about giving up or quitting. To me, it's win or die. And I literally mean death. I don't mean walk away, I mean death."

He literally means death? Promise?

[the Knicks just lost 117-110 to Seattle]

Promise?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

“Fire (at) Isiah!!!”

Me and the missus checked out our first (and probably last) Knick game at the Garden last night. Lee Jr. should be here any day now...

Easily the quietest, most despondent fans I've ever seen entering an arena or stadium. The key word here is entering. The game hadn't even started yet! The current Knick situation (for a while now) is actually worse than being a 2-18 team-- at least then you know some serious changes are on the way soon. But the Knicks do actually win every once in a while, and are so fucking delusional that they really believe they can be competitive. It's like long-term depression instead of horrible tragedy.

The pre-game featured some sort of Marine color guard with rifles marching out to center court. I fantasized that a firing squad was being assembled to execute Isiah Thomas. "They're really gonna do it, honey! The Knicks are finally getting rid of Isiah!" No such luck. Five minutes later, a 10 year-old girl was shrieking out the Knicks starting lineup.

Each Knicks has an official nickname now. This is nothing new for me-- I've had my own nicknames for these guys for years. Theirs are a bit different than mine: Steph "The Floor General" Marbury, Eddy "The Centerpiece" Curry, Jamal "The Closer" Crawford, and Isiah "The Architect" Thomas. How about David "The White Guy" Lee and Fred "Who?" Jones... what about Jerome "Six Million" James or Malik "Seven Million" Rose?

The Knicks were absolutely awful last night. Nobody (and I mean nobody) put in any sort of consistent effort in the entire first half. The only reason we weren't completely blown out by halftime was the fact that Philly was pretty awful themselves. The Knicks couldn't even hold on to the basketball-- I mean literally hold on to the ball. When Crawford and Jared Jeffries weren't bobbling the ball all over the court, they were air-mailing passes into the seats or right at Andre Miller. It got so bad that the mere mention of Jeffries's name on the PA caused mass booing, and he's the least of our damn worries.

Nate Robinson was the only watchable thing in MSG last night. Even the Knick City Dancers were a little off their game. Nate easily outscored and outhustled the rest of his team, and he didn't even come in until well into the 3rd quarter! They had just stopped selling the beer/pretzel mugs when Nate came into the game. I almost lost an arm reaching around the steel gate to get the change from my mug of Harp.

Facilities did everything in their power to keep angry Knick fans in their places. "Fire Isiah" chants were organically sprouting up all over the arena, only to be drowned out by random drum beats blasting out of the sound system. Totally insane. I'd like to see the memo issued to the audio guys in the booth by Dolan for all recent home games.

Dolan was at the game, for once. He quickly issued a statement after the game that Isiah's job was "not in jeopardy." Maybe Dolan was getting blown in a VIP box somewhere, because the game I saw had "jeopardy" written all over it.

We took the emergency stairwell out of the Garden (as we always do) after the game. Some guy was staggering down the endless flights right behind us, ranting about "getting rid of Isiah and everybody that has anything to do with him... Let Herb run the damn team again." The guy was actually talking some sense. Things have gotten so bad that we're dying to have Herb Williams coach the team.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Yes, I am an idiot.

6:28 to go in the 3rd... Suns by 2.

I'm officially predicting a Knick victory.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ass-whuppin’

I'm glad the Knicks are preparing for the big showdown this weekend against the Suns...

The Knicks are on their way to delivering one of the most disgraceful hardwood performances of all time. The third quarter just ended, and the Celtics are up 82-41. Nope, nothing wrong with my keyboard. 82 to fucking 41.

This could be the best thing to happen to the Knicks since they started putting those pretzel rods in the beers at the Garden. They (1) talked total trash about this game ("Celts are overrated, no depth, blah blah blah"), then (2) get absolutely annihilated, and finally (3) Isiah is sent packing. We can only hope we get to step (3)-- (1) and (2) have already happened in green spades.

Isiah said this was "the most selfish performance I've ever seen" at halftime. Dunno, but doesn't "selfish" hint that the Knicks were actually accomplishing something? Selfish people keep things for themselves-- they don't just piss it all down the drain! Not only that, but selfish people actually have something to begin with... the Knicks are easily the most pathetic team in the NBA, and easily spend the most money. Isiah should have called it the most "selfless" performance he's seen.

If Phoenix doesn't beat us on Sunday, I'm officially calling Pete and the rest of the state of Arizona a bunch of pathetic losers.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bonus bonanza

Nice job, Knicks. Lookin' like the early November team that roared to a 2-1 start to the season. They looked like they were having fun out there, even when they were rolling around on the floor or chucking the ball into the stands.

Actually, I wasn't watching the game closely at all. My buddy came over and transferred a bunch of my old ADAT master tapes onto his computer. God bless his soul.Those old ADAT machines are hilarious. These things were "state of the art" at one point. They sound like an MRI machine, and give you the feeling that you're about to watch an old VHS tape on your clunky old VCR. Wait, you are putting an old VHS tape into a clunky old VCR...

In other news, stAy-Rod has agreed to a "marketing package" that gives him $6M every time he reaches a home run plateau: 660, 714, 755, 762 and 763+. Hell, why not throw in some other bonuses into the package?

Prime Time: A-Rod gets $(p x 1000) for every "prime plateau" he hits for the next 10 years. So, at 521 HR he gets a $521,000 bonus, at 523 $523,000, at 541 $541,000, and so forth up to 761, 769, etc.He also gets a bonus for wearing the prime number 13 on his back, and for managing only 7 hits in the last 3 seasons worth of playoff games.

Art-Rod: The Yankees must continue their tradition of honoring Alex with a new piece of "art" for each of the above milestones. Maybe an enormous piece of twisted sheet metal by Richard Serra would be appropriate for 714? (just don't drop it this time!)

A-Bombed for A-Rod: Every Yankee fan gets a personal "A-Rod number" based on the last 3 digits of their social security number. If he hits a dinger corresponding with a fan's AR#, that fan drinks for free for the rest of that game (even after the 7th inning cutoff). The lucky fan(s) also automatically becomes Bud Fan of the Game. The man would never be booed again. I'll be eligible for my drunken mess of a game sometime halfway through the 2010 season or so.

Friday, November 23, 2007

This one’s for Pete…

Finally, something that might actually be fun! All aboard, PJ!

I don't like the Suns. First I thought it was Skeevy Nash-- something about that guy bugs me. He reminds me of Moocher on the Cutters cycling team in Breaking Away, except that Nash is really good (like Kelly from Bad News Bears). Nash is that guy who just shows up at your pickup 3-on-3 and kicks everyone's ass, and then tells you he's mainly a soccer player.

Something Pete said brought me closer to the root of my dislike for all things Phoenix-- goddamn 2001. One of the more disturbing experiences of my sports fan career-- right up there with the aforementioned Knick debacle of '97 and the morbid horror of October '04. And yes-- I'll abuse double hyphens whenever I damn please.

I'll be rooting for the Nuggets or Hornets this year. If the Hornets (or Sonics!) find a way to really move to OKC, I just might follow them there. Preferably the Hornets.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Boras the spider

When it comes to the Yanks, my new motto is "let's move on." We lost in 4 to the Indians? Let's move on. Torre got screwed? Let's move on.

I think I'm ready to move on with A-Rod, too. Scott Boras is a goddamn asshole. Here he goes:

"Without Pettitte, Rivera and Posada, it's not the same team," CNNMoney.com quoted Boras as saying. "He's held accountable for being on a playoff team and winning in the playoffs."

In other words, how can A-Rod possibly function here in New York with all the recent tumult? How can we expect A-Rod to deliver in the post-season with so much up in the air?

7 for 44 with 1 RBI in the last three years? That's gonna be mighty tough to reproduce without the old gang around. Wait a sec, unless... A-Rod actually stepped up and filled the hole left by the leaving vets himself!!?? That might be worth a few million!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pass the popcorn!

What a day for bizarre sports headlines!! A-Rod bucks the system and crawls back to New York?! Marbury responds to a $200K fine by threatening to bring down an already disgraced Isiah Thomas?! The PGA Tour is starting a super-strict drug-testing program?!

Sorry, but nothing tops Phil Jackson's postgame comment following the Laker loss in San Antonio last night:

"We call this a 'Brokeback Mountain' game, because there's so much penetration and kickouts."

Huh? What the hell is he talking about? Did I miss something?

Maybe Isiah should take a poke at some quotes like that after a hard Knick loss:

"We call this a 'Summer of Sam' game, because five or so New Yorkers were brutally murdered."

"We call this a 'Grapes of Wrath' game, because a trip to the West coast left us impoverished and humiliated."

"We call this a 'Gigli' game, because the crowd wouldn't stop booing and jeering."

"We call this an 'Into the Wild' game, because our star dropped out of sight somewhere in Arizona."

"We call this a '2001: A Space Odyssey' game, because we had absolutely no idea what the hell was going on five minutes before it ended."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Steph skips Suns

Seems I'm only able to muster up a post about the Knicks during the game, or before they actually lose. The Miami and Orlando games were depressing, and this west coast "swing" looks to be a hell of a lot worse.

Tonight's is the worst Knick lineup I've seen in a long time. Crawford-Collins-Curry-Lee-Jones? Fred fucking Jones?

This is what happens when Marbury flies the coop and Z takes a seat. It's a stark (ouch) reminder of just how awful this team can be if just a couple of things go wrong. At full strength, they're somewhat competitivem, at best, against mediocre teams. At anything less than full strength, they're potentially horrific. Kinda like a can of Bud Light-- ice cold it can be swell, but warm it's a nightmare.

As bad as they look, they're managing to keep the deficit just above double digits against the Suns tonight. It's 63-51 with seconds left in the first half. My official prediction: Suns 119-104.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Greetings from the Garden!

I've pretty much watched every game so far-- just been too busy to check in. I must admit that I kinda like what I see.

1) Finally, J.C. gets some real playing time. Dammit, the guy's pretty good. He'll have a few AWFUL games here and there, but he'll easily lead the team in scoring.
2) I think I like Zach quite a bit. No, I'm not a cast member of "Saved by the Bell."
3) I'm already sick of Little Man Nate.

In other words, I'm glad the biggest news about the Knicks these days is basketball! A total nightmare of an off-season is now merely a potential nightmare. I'll take it.

Oops, they just lost a stinker to the Magic. This game followed the same script as 95% of all Knick games:

Act I- "Hey, they don't look THAT bad..."
Act II- "Jeez, they actually look pretty damn good!"
Act III- "What the hell are they doing??!!"
Act IV- "Shit, we actually had a chance to win this one..."

Note that the "acts" don't necessarily correspond to game quarters, but they often do. In fact, the only deviations from the above script are (1) The Blowout: skip Acts I, II and IV, and (2) The Victory: replace Act IV with "Holy shit, we actually won that one!"

I'm gonna hang in there with these guys this year. They may be a disaster, but at least we know what we're in for. Kinda like driving on the NJ Turnpike on a Sunday night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A fitting fairwell…

Quote from Curt Schilling's blog:

"If October 28, 2007, was the last time I ever wear this uniform, thank you," Schilling wrote on Monday. "It was an honor and a privelage [sic] to be allowed to play here."

No, the privelage was, ours'.

Monday, October 29, 2007

This week in baseball…

Dave Denby's right-- I've been a bit reserved lately.

My brain has turned the consistency of a hot dog bun on the floor of the Fenway bleachers, but here's some of the bullshit I've jotted down over the past few days:

Is that a fat little wooden cross around Todd Helton's neck, or a piece of petrified bear dung?

How did anyone actually get psyched up for the Rockies?

The "Black Pearl" pirate ship??!!! Absolutely the stupidest fucking thing I've ever seen in my life! Eighth graders play hacky-sack with more soul than that! Never in the history of sports have grown men done something as pathetic as this. Including the Super Bowl Shuffle, various Met handshake/celebrations, you name it. I pray to God they don't do this next season.

As sleeping pills rescued me from the clinching Game Four of the Series, I muttered (to no one in particular) that "I can only name three Red Sox players that aren't complete assholes. Manny, Dice-K, and Francona..."

I stuck up for A-Rod at least three hundred times in the last few years, but screw him. Exactly what kind of career is he trying to assemble? What kind of legacy? Is he going for a 0.052 approval rating? Is he planning to retreat into an innertube ride in Anaheim?

PS- To all Yankee fans that booed A-Rod mercilessly: you're not to blame. You never were.

Did anyone else notice Manny looking for other guys on the team to celebrate with after the Series, and nobody really hanging out with him? Did you notice that Manny didn't give a shit at all?

Joe Buck called him "Jose Lugo" at least once.

He also said something about Boston "removing their onus."

I'm secretly praying that they forget to make the bleachers "no alcohol" in the new Yankee Stadium.

Everybody seems to have forgotten about how badly the Mets screwed up this season!

I can finally wear my "Pavano" jersey in public now.

Now Red Sox fans might have a real reason to be scared coming to the Bronx. I'm predicting a 200% rise in violence at Sox-Yanks games next season.

Let's go Knicks!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Knicks redux

It's time to start talking about the Knicks again! As I sift through my pre-season notes, I realize that not much has changed at all. So, I'm recycling last season's opening blog.

[from October 14, 2006)

WICKED GARDEN 1: Lazy Knick players

Welcome to the first installment of Wicked Garden, where we'll be trashing the New York Knicks until April 18th (the last regular season Knick game a.k.a. the last game they'll play).

Let's start with the embarassment they called "first day of workouts." Isiah requested that all team members show up a bit early for informal workouts-- you know, to try to try get some team spirit going for the new season. I mean, it sounds like everybody's so excited to play for Isiah, right? So glad Larry's gone, right?

Maybe the letters were mailed to players' summer homes, or Isiah's secretary was too busy fending off sexual advances from her boss-- only four Knicks showed up. That's about the same number of guys that "showed up" for most games last season, on a good day. Of course, Frye and Lee were 2 of the guys that made it to practice... I wonder if Jalen Rose made it?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Who farted?

So the season's finally over. Who's to blame? Joe? A-Rod? Clemens? Tyler Clippard?

None of the above. You wanna know who's to blame for the colossal disappointments of the 2007 Yankees season? You really want to know?

We are.

We bitch and we moan every year about how this guy sucks and this guy makes too much money and this guy chokes, but we have it pretty damn good. Yeah, beer costs an arm and a leg (sometimes two legs) up at the Stadium, but you'll have a great goddamn time drinking that swill. We get our asses whupped by the Sox all the time, but it's pretty sweet when we do it back. In fact, it's pretty amazing just to have the NY-Boston thing going at all-- most fans don't have anything even close.

We've won 4 Championships since I've been actively going to 20 or more games a year. We've also been in the playoffs as long as I can remember. That's a lot of extra excitement and good times added on to an already long baseball season. We've been spoiled for a very long time.

We should all know by know that buckets of money can only do so much. We're not twice as good as a team with half our payroll, not even close! I accept the fact that we're a financially bloated team, and I often hope to see some of it translate onto the playing field, but I never have the unmitigated gall to demand the results that we pay for as fans! I demand the seat that I buy, the beer that I buy, and that's about it.

With a few exceptions, the guys on the Yankees do their jobs. Sometimes they do their jobs very well, and sometimes not very well. To suggest that one guy's slump has crippled the Yankees chance of winning a championship is insane. To suggest that a manager is somehow preventing his players from performing at their peak level night after night is ridiculous. Hell, I even blame myself every once in a while for a bad loss (which shoes was I wearing? was the hat on the bed? did i leave that light on for the whole inning?). It's all silly.

No team can win all the time. Our beloved Yankees come pretty damn close, so let's chill out and try to enjoy the good times when they come. Otherwise, what's the point.

But we do need some goats for the grill, so here they go...

1. Carl Pavano- the damage he's inflicted on the Yankees, both financial and organizational, cannot be measured. Like his statistics for the past few years, it cannot be measured. Just look at Beckett if you don't remember what we thought we had.

2. Jason Giambi- athletic cesspool.

3. Kei Igawa- we still have no idea what he is.

4. Mike Mussina- bad pitching and bad attitude.

5. Roger Clemens- I don't really care about this, but the $tats are $taggering.

6. Johnny Damon-He hasn't earned the right to talk about the Yankees anywhere near as much as he does.

My ambien's kicking in-- i'm going to bed.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Yankees 8, Indians 4

Honestly, I had a pretty good feeling about this one from the git. We got there in record time, marred only by a very long wait for a chicken strips basket five minutes before the first pitch. Our seats stunk, but so what?!

Our section (U-34!) was peppered with an entertaining assortment of freaks, weirdos and lowlifes. A girl to our left waved an enormous sign around ("Marry me, Jeter!") for the entire damn game. My favorite character was "Victor"-- a super-slick young man with a gold chain, earring, visor, bluetooth headset, and wet-looking hair. A classic middle-aged nerd was diagonally in front of me, with whom I shared two botched high-fives.

But none could compare the terrifying twosome directly in front of my date and I (row K, seats 5 & 6, to be exact). The miscreants were dead ringers for George Kennedy and Al Goldstein, respectively. The latter had one of the worst cases of dandruff I've ever seen, which he promptly scritched into my Diet Coke as soon as I sat down (I swear to God!). The back of his blue shirt looked like the bottom of a bag of pretzels. He kept taking his hat off and scratching his head.

Even worse was the guy's gaping buttcrack. First I was cracking up (hah!), then I was embarassed for the guy, and then I was just plain embarassed. I don't ever want to see anything like that again.

Not much else to say, although I did have a quick back and forth with a pathetic Indians fan, who scurried off shouting, "Fausto will be waiting for you on Wednesday!!" Maybe the weirdest "diss" I've ever heard.

I thought Wang was pitching tomorrow, but they have Moose up on yankees.com. I liked the Matsui batting 7th thing, but they'll probably screw that up all over again. We confirmed that we really only need half the guys to hit reasonably well to win, and maybe our pitchers to pitch reasonably half-well. Or maybe that will only work half the time.

Game 3 postscript

A few things I forgot to say...

I told at least three people yesterday that "all I want from Clemens is a quality start." On my way to the stadium last night, I realized how absurd my claim was. When wouldn't anyone be happy with a quality start from Clemens (or any pitcher, for that matter)?!As I thought about it, I realized that what I meant to say was that I'm happy if Clemens only lets up three runs. I didn't really care how many innings he pitched-- "limit the damage," as they say in Toronto. So I'd like to introduce a new term into the grand baseball lexicon:

A near-quality start is defined as any game in which a starting pitcher allows no more than three earned runs, regardless of the number of innings pitched.

I'll be using this as the new standard for most Yankee pitchers, both geriatric (Clemens, Mussina, etc.) and psychiatric (Igawa, etc.).

Oh yeah, I've been slagging the Yankees for years about their refusal to give anything extra at all to the fans (promotions, performances, BEER!). Last night was no exception. They just don't understand what the fans really want.

Is it really that hard to find someone to sing the anthem??!!! Preferably a local singer that people love?! I have nothing against the West Point Glee Club, or whatever the hell they were, but gimme a break! I felt like I was at a funeral, not a friggin' baseball game! They never get the sound for the ensemble vocal performances right anyway-- last night's feedback-drenched ordeal was typical.

Here are some easy ideas:
Jon Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, Norah Jones (ok, maybe she's a Texas Rangers fan), Mary J Blige, Karen O... they'd all jump at the chance to sing the anthem at Yankee Stadium, right? The place would go nuts. I remember seeing Michael Bolton sing at a playoff game years ago, and it was fucking awesome!

Friday, October 5, 2007

aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How the hell is nobody throwing in the bullpen while Joba walks 2 guys, throws 2 wild pitches, and hits a guy???!!!! I mean, that was the definition of a pitcher being "in trouble." I can't take it-- someone's doing a shitty job here...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Eastern Promises

Hey, Eastern Promises is great. Viggo "Yes, those are really my balls" Mortensen does a phenomenal job in this one. One of the best/funniest fight scenes you'll ever see. Think Borat meets Bad Boys (Sean Penn) and you're getting warm.

Not that anyone ever listens to my movie rec's anymore. Anyone. Well, enjoy it on fucking Netflix, tightwads!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

just some thoughts

* Let's see Meintkcweizc play first on a regular basis from now on. Only sits against terrifying lefties.

* Give Edwar a break! Don't wanna see him change his last name to Quantrill.

* A-Rod's heading into a mini-funk. Better now than later.

* Gotta be 12 pitchers in the playoffs.

* I propose renaming "Scooter" the squirrel-- "Nutso" the squirrel!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hell bent for leather

Ya gotta love it... we have like seven first basemen on the Yankees, and we play the one that can't field against the Sox.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Yankees 9, Devil Rays 6

This was the start of a grand day of baseball and drinking. Chuck Simone was on hand for the game and the first annual MLB Predictions Pool party to follow. A long day for sure.

The game seemed to take forever. We agreed to hold off on the beer until the Yankees scored, which didn't take long. A-Rod was barely across home plate and our 24 oz'ers were already paid for. We did make the mistake of buying our beers from "Rain Man"-- luckily this didn't come back to haunt us later on.

Not much else to tell about the game. The whole corked bat thing was both confusing and amusing, but not much else happened. I guess we grumbled a bit about having to use Mariano for 4 outs, but who the hell cares?

The PP party at the Riviera on 7th Ave was pretty damn fun. Lots of trivia questions and lots of beer. Lots of damn Sox fans too, who were pretty happy to watch the "shifty" Clay Buchholz no-no the O's. Ended up being a pretty good choice for the party.

Our "after party" choice was a bit more suspect. Karaoke at Winnie's is a long-standing tradition with this particular group of, um, friends. The place hasn't really changed at all, except perhaps that it's not quite as trendy (crowded) as it was a few years ago. Thank god.

I literally staggered home with a box of three enormous slices of pizza, slept in my clothes, and forgot to take out my contacts. Then I woke up and totally botched the pool update in the morning-- I couldn't see a goddamn thing. Glad tomorrow's Labor Day, 'cause I have a shitload of work to do.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

TV Tips

Looking for something good to watch? All of the following are excellent (and available "on demand" from all reputable cable providers):

Mad Men (AMC), Thursday 10pm
Another quality product from Team Sopranos. Easily the most cigarette smoking ever seen on television (in bed, at work, during meals, you name it!), and a nice performance by John Hamm as Don Draper. Oh yeah, one of the main characters is named Pete Campbell.

Hard Knocks (HBO), Wednesday 10pm
I love this show. Behind the scenes at the K.C. Chiefs training camp?!! How could it possibly go wrong?! Herm's always hilarious, and Tank Tyler could become HBO's next Bobby Bacala if he plays his cards right. I'm rooting like hell for the Priest Holmes comeback.

Intervention (A&E), Friday 10pm
I think I'm addicted to this show. You haven't walked the earth until you've seen the "Laney" episode-- a former millionaire who squanders her fortune on gallons and gallons of Malibu rum and $18,000 car services across the country. Often truly uplifting and utterly devastating in the same episode.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yankees 5, Tigers 2

Clemens was a lot of fun today. He gave up a ton of hits, but he seemed to be giving that extra 10%. You know, that 10% that Mussina has been leaving off?! I had the feeling that Rog was ready to do just about anything to keep the Tigers down. I was sorta hoping he might hit Sheffield in the back, but that never happened (Sheff scalded the ball all three times off him)...

Farnsworth had a certain tenacity to him as well. Almost thought he might get a curtain call-- unbelievable! I've said it a million times: there has to be some way this guy can help us, and I don't mean on his hands and knees with a scrub brush in the locker room. Dunno.

Back to Sheffield, who was brutally booed by the Saturday afternoon crowd. It was that weird kind of booing reserved for the "former fan favorites that leave for the team that just knocked us out of the playoffs and then bad-mouth our manager and other players as well" type of players (David Wells, etc.). The "SHEFFIELD SUCKS!!!" chant was absolutely hilarious.

Before I forget, last Wednesday's lineup was another joke in the "Facing Lefty Aces" series. We did the same thing against Johan Santana earlier this summer (Cairo, Phillips, Thompson, Nieves, etc.), and it was just as embarassing. It's not like Santana or Bedard even beat us by much-- a few runs make a difference! Let good hitters hit against good pitchers.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Orioles 6, Yankees 3

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Orioles 6, Yankees 3 (postscript)

I woke up on the couch wearing a "BOSTON SUCKS" shirt the evening after this game...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Yankees 7, Orioles 6

Got off the 4 at around 6:30 tonight. There was something special in the air as Yankee fans crept down River Ave for the turnstiles-- a surprise A-Rod promotional item commemorating his 500th career HR was in effect!!! The only question on our collective mind was, "Just how shitty are the Yankees willing to go with this?"

Pretty shitty. We were handed a bizarre 9" by 6" flimsy piece of cardboard with two side-by-side Peter Max paintings of A.E.R. himself. The paintings are... interesting. My date immediately tried to throw hers in the trash just inside the stadium. I grabbed it from her hand as if she were chucking out a Mantle '51 baseball card and tucked it under my arm.

Far more interesting was the pre-game ceremony. Two easels covered with Yankee tarps stood to the left of home plate; a third, shorter easel stood on the right. Randy Levine, Cash, some guy and some lady were introduced by Shep, and finally A-Rod was paraded out. After A-Rod's ass was kissed for a couple of minutes, Peter Max came out! (hilariously intro'd as "the most popular artist in the worrrllldddd...") The ragtag group awkwardly interacted, and quickly settled in for the unveiling.

Were they presenting A-Rod with three bonus checks??!! No, it was the paintings. A-Rod gasped as the works were bared; my date and I laughed uncontrollably. We had no idea that the atrocity exhibition was just beginning.

Bob delivered an incoherent intro to the third piece, something about bats and zeroes. As you may have already seen on tonight's reels, Max and co. wrestled with the tarp cover and knocked the damn thing right over on the ground. I say "thing" because that's just what it is. A weird monstrosity made of balls, bats and a "500" in the style of the paintings. It's utterly awful. I asked my date to grade the paintings and the "piece" from 1 to 5: she gave the paintings reluctant "1"'s and the sculpture-thing a firm "zero". I sheepishly put my promotional replicas under the seat.

Wang was busy stinking up the joint when one of the strangest things I've ever seen at Yankee Stadium happened (and I've seen some weird shit). So fast I missed most of it. Ingredients: sudden commotion, lots of noise, people jumping out of their seats, soda/beer flying everywhere, something shooting past us, and me nearly running for my life. My immediate theories: (1) a drunken dwarf just fell from the top row of the upper deck (we were row R), or (2) the woman behind us was just assassinated by a rogue sniper on top of the stadium diagonal from us.

Turned out it was an insane SQUIRREL darting through the tier reserved. It seemed to just drop out of the fucking sky. People were saying something afterwards about it darting out of a popcorn tub, which may be true since there was popcorn flying everywhere. Anyway, my date got doused with soda. My A-Rod portraits were completely soaked (I still took one home like a complete idiot). The squirrel scratched up the arm of the little girl behind us (allowing me to hang on to my "assassination" theory for just a little bit longer) and bounced around off the legs of the guys right in front of us. Not really sure where the little bugger ran off to. Hopefully not the River Avenue Grill.

Oh yeah, the game was pretty good. Great to see Mo bounce back after the blow, Joba, the walk off... OK, I'm lying. We actually left early. In fact, maybe the earliest I've ever left (in hours & minutes) a game I wasn't thrown out of. I know this is thin ice, but we felt like it was the right thing to do. I was hooked up to a damn IV for most of the afternoon, my date was kinda tired, and that fucking squirrel scared the dickens outta me. Sue me.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 4


Rogers Centre is pretty weird. We went through the turnstiles and entered what appeared to be a parking garage. Then it looked more like an airport. Just when I was sure we were completely lost-- "We stand on guard for thee!!!" floods the grey cement entryway. Take me out to the ballgame!

We were fifth row in what I would call the left field bleachers. They call it "139-5-108". Unfortunately, our seats were smack dab in the middle of a long, long row. Even more unfortunate was the fact that they were the size of toddler carseats. Seriously. We tried to sit down, and I said to my date, "We must be doing something wrong here."

The guy next to me had a complete Blue Jays Cliff Politte uniform on (complete with pants). That's really weird. He also had his legs spread apart like Yosemite Sam, which didn't help. Not to mention, Toronto fans never leave their seats. Oh yeah, it was totally silent. Somewhere in between "library" and "funeral" on the noise scale. We got water and soda in the fourth inning, and didn't return to our seats until the eighth.

We decided to take a stroll around the stadium instead. The Rogers Centre makes a complete oval, so we just kept on going. The seats behind centre (you like that?) field are behind a giant tarp, so nobody sits there. We tried to just for kicks, and were told to return to our assigned seats. I've already been thrown out of one Canadian baseball stadium, so we hightailed it out of there.

My heart was racing, so I thought I'd have a beer. As the gentleman poured my Labatt's Blue, I asked him when beer is cut off at the Rog. He says, "Bottom of the 8th inning, two outs." Then he puts a plastic top on my paper beer cup! Not wanting to make waves, I promptly inserted a straw and started sipping away. I spilled Labatt's all over my shorts.

Some other weird stuff:

Everything at the Rogers Centre appears in the form of cartoons. Maybe this is how they justify the size of the seats-- they're going for the 6-and-under crowd. A truly bizarre segment at the end of the 2nd inning featured "Rocky the Mudhen" doing I'm not sure what. They also had a convoluted take-off on the Seinfeld Steinbrenner view-from-behind-the-desk thing, which made absolutely no sense.

The house organist was using keyboard sounds directly from Martin Hannett's Joy Division sessions. Not just because we just listened to the CD-- it really sounded like "Isolation" meets "Charge!!!!"

The Blue Jays don't have retired numbers. They have a "Level of Excellence". When I went to the men's room, I expected a sign to read "Hall of Relief".

By the way, the restrooms were completely empty. Apparently nobody was drinking any liquid and staying in their seat for nine innings.

The floors in the stadium were the cleanest floors I've even seen. I told my date I'd gladly eat a hot dog if I dropped it on the floor, since the floor was cleaner than any plate I've ever used.


Toronto fans love to take their shirts off. Here's, some evidence (David Beckham was just to the left of this shot).

What about the game? As soon as we made it away from our awful section, the Yanks piled on four runs in the sixth. To be fair, the Toronto fans were a lot better once we got closer to the area behind home plate. They were yelling, cursing at A-Rod, and having a generally good time. I was surprised nobody made fun of my Pavano shirt. Several Yankee fans asked me where I got it, though.

One more thing. If you've ever been to Toronto, you know that Rush is sewn into the fabric of the city. Maybe not in obvious ways, but it's there. They managed to save "Limelight" until the Jays' rally in the eighth inning, which I admired. We had dinner at the Hemispheres restaurant at our hotel after the game (this was nice, except for the drunk, loud, obnoxious Red Sox fan at the bar. This was the one time I got kinda dressed up, and he was wearing a ratty Sox visor, a Schilling jersey tee and flip flops). We stayed in room 2117, which was eerily close to...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Royals 7, Yankees 0

Showed up hoping to see A-Rod's 500th, another Yankee blowout, etc. Ended up praying for a goddamn run.

We had a hell of a time just getting to Kauffman Stadium from our hotel, which was supposed to be "across the street". Dodging cars coming off I-70, climbing up and down grassy hills, even avoiding a few Red Sox fans. It was a bit weird.

Yankee fans were everywhere. I'm not sure ANY of them were actually from New York. No big deal, but the guys next to us (who we bumped into later in the hotel lobby) were muttering something about "Sean Penn" in the 7th inning. Other Yankee fans at Fenway or Shea usually feel like brothers in arms-- these ones were more like cardboard cutouts.

An enormous opera singer performed the national anthem tonight, which was hilarious. She even threw in a Mariah-shriek at the end. I enjoyed two $6.25 24 oz Miller Lites and a weird polish sausage. The communal urinal-troughs were easily confused with the communal sink-troughs in the men's room.

Igawa really sucked again. It was downright embarassing to drive over 1000 miles to watch this half-wit pitch. At least Kevin Brown seemed kinda tough when I had to see him pitch in Arlington, Tampa, Flushing...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Yankees 7, Devil Rays 3

Iggy the Stooge somehow made it through five innings this afternoon-- sorta like eating five Big Mac's in two hours. Maybe there's a role for this guy somewhere in the bullpen (manual labor?), but I'm not sure what that would be. He walks lefties and serves up dongs to righties-- not exactly the "lefty specialist" model.

It was real hot today. The only beer being sold in the upper deck was Foster's oil cans, much to the chagrin of the non-independently wealthy residents. The only explanation I heard from one of the vendors was "we're out of regular beer." As if they were stuck selling 40's of St. Ides. Actually, I'd gladly pay $12 for that.

Speaking of 40, happy b-day to Joe Maissel. We had to leave the game a little early so we could make it to Joe's shindig out in Coney Island, which was well worth the long trip on the D train. Except for the crazy guy sitting across from us jabbering about "seeing some fucking live music" and "smoking hydro."

Speaking of smoking hydro, am I the only one that thinks this whole Shelley Duncan thing is a little weird? Wasn't she in The Poseidon Adventure? I seriously thought he was some kind of Sidd Finch-style practical joke until he jacked one into left yesterday. He looks like Rusty from Vacation.

My next Yankee field report will be from Kansas City on Thursday night.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2

The following is an experimental "game diary" lasting about four innings.

6:17 pm
1 train came right away-- good sign. The 1 has been bloody awful lately. I can't wait to give it a rating like the 7's supposedly getting right now.

6:24
Going to the Stadium the "old way" tonight (1 to 145th, walk across to St. Nick, B to Bronx). Passed by the enigmatic M & S Front Line Co. bar on 145th, which is one of the weirdest looking joints in town. Jeff G took a dump there once.

6:32
The theme song from Little House on the Prairie has been stuck in my head all night. The closing credits song, that is...

6:38
Making unbelievable time-- until now!!! Stuck at 145 waiting at the goddamn local track.

6:41
Just saw the usual crew of suckers coming within seconds of being sent to Tremont Ave on the express "D" train. I love how the guy lets'em sweat it out for 20 seconds or so, and then finally opens the doors.

6:55
Just bumped into Sweeney Murti in front of Loge 16! We exchanged a solid glance and nod; I gave him the "don't let Francesa grind you down" look...

7:01
Made it to my crappy seats (U26 row B) and promptly kicked a kid and his dad out of the way. They actually had better seats (of course!) and made their way into the tier box.

7:05
Jeter's totally horsing around with Cano and A-Rod during "O Canada." One can only imagine the shenanigans they're reminiscing over. I mean, these guys have had more Canadian tail than the Jacques Cartier expedition!

7:14
Some moron's sitting directly behind me rooting for the goddamn Blue Jays. He's wearing a Yankee shirt.

7:24
I don't think anyone up here knows where their real seats are. Lets make a rule: you only get one chance to sit in the right spot. If you fuck up, you're immediately banished to a holding area-- somewhere near the left field bleachers. This would cut down on lines and other nuisances.

7:32
A girl just spilled most of her beer on the heads of three young boys one row in front of her. One of the kids licked the beer off his hands.

7:39
AAAAHHHH! A 16 oz Coors Light, a giant salami hero, what more could I want? All I need is a jewel-encrusted sceptre and I'm pretty happy.

7:40
This is the worst beer I've ever tasted.

7:42
I've decided to drink a beer for each run the Yankees score tonight.

7:43
The hotshot in front of me just tried to pay for two 24 oz Heinekens with a $20 bill! Imagine the fool!!! He had to fish into his pocket for more dough as his girlfriend watched in shame. Then he held the giant beer up to the light, as if to assess its worth. Gimme a break!

7:50
Unbelievable. The other guy in front of me just stowed his tray of trash behind him in my row, right next to my seat! What the hell is that?! I don't know how long I'll make it up here.

7:52
The garbage guy has a really weird black cap on. It almost looks like the German coat of arms eagle-type thingie. I'm sitting behind a fucking Nazi!

7:54
A few little kids and their folks just came across my row, spilling my beer a little bit.One of the very first things toddlers should learn is to NEVER spill anyone's beer. This was one of my earliest "no-no" lessons in memory-- somewhere between stealing money out of my dad's wallet and wetting the bed.

8:02
The dork behind me really knows all the Blue Jay nicknames-- "here comes the Big Hurt..." and "that's 'Doc' Halladay right there..."

8:07
I'm starting to think I'm the biggest dork of all for scribbling all this stupid shit down during a Yankee game.

8:10
Ah yes, the befuddling "Number Stumper" of the night. Let's say we try a real tough one:
[(WHITEY FORD)^(0.25)]*[(JOHNNY DAMON)/(ROGER MARIS)]+[TYLER CLIPPARD]= ???

8:19
The three Diet Mountain Dew's I drank this afternoon (2 1/2 really-- I spilled half of one on the living room floor) are starting to catch up with me. Or maybe I'm catching up with them.

8:20
The 24 oz beer guy and gal sit solemnly, looking like they just made their first mortgage payment. "These next few months are gonna be tough, honey, but we'll make it..."

8:23
Hey, remember the great arcade game Crystal Castles? One of the best track-ball games around. Along with Zaxxon, that game may have shaped some of our nation's most creative mathematical minds. Not a big step from there to surface integrals and Riemann sums.

Here's where I ran screaming from my section and found Jon Pauley in a more civilized environment. I barely finished two 24 oz Heineys before I stumbled home in time to catch Christopher Walken on Jon Stewart.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Brundle-Kei

Jeez, Igawa is awful. It's only the bottom of the third and I can't take it any more.

At least I figured out what he is. He's the result of a hideous experiment gone wrong: Jeff Weaver and Hideki Irabu fused together in the transporters from The Fly. Somehow the unspeakable result came out left-handed.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Yankees 14, Angels 9

My second stint in the non-alcoholic beverages section this year (kinda like going on the DL), and this time I was actually straight as an arrow. "J-Lo" was more passive than aggressive, as she doled out the dirty work to various underlings. The guy next to me got hassled for drinking a beer (he honestly had no idea what he did wrong), and some other guy had the shirt over his "BOSTON SUCKS" shirt buttoned down too low (I swear!). Pretty mellow game.

Mellow in the stands, that is. As Sir Sterling would say, this one was "a real donnybrook." Things seemed a bit out of control from the bottom of the 2nd on. Pettitte was almost worse than Colon; some might say he was worse. Andy's last two starts have an eerie "leading-up-to-a-trip-to-the-DL" feel to them. Sorta like when Lindsay Lohan gets fucked up a few times in a row and you know another trip to rehab's not far away.


NOBODY in our entire section had any idea what happened to Cairo/Cano on the weird play that ended the fifth. Actually, I figured it out pretty quickly, but... how often does a run just disappear from the board?!

Lots of other weird things seemed to be going on with the audio/video tonight. A-Rod was knocking the living shit out of the ball all night, but still had an "0-for-3" graphic up at one point. The usual cryptic comments were delivered by Bob Sheppard (a disembodied "Bbbrrerraa..."), and nobody's "Express Food" orders seemed to be arriving. Don't ever use that service-- you're asking for trouble.

Oh yeah, we never got our damn Koozies. They looked pretty lame anyway.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Yankees 8, Twins 0

Johan Santana very well might strike out 20 guys today-- this is the worst Yankee lineup I've seen in a while.

Anyway, fun game last night. I was super-uptight about getting there early enough to receive our free 1977 World Series Game 1 DVD, which I lost at some point. We sat next to a couple of out-of-towners wearing Twins and A's hats (I still can't remember what that was all about). After rubbing the Yankee drubbing in their faces all night, we decided to invite them out on the town with us after the game-- like all good NY'ers do. They probably left with all of their stereotypes confirmed: all people from New York are gay, liberal and drunk.

Apologies to the dozens of people I called from the game ("who the hell is pitching right now?!!"). I meant well.

Happy birthday John Sterling, George Steinbrenner and Mike Bonner.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Athletics 7, Yankees 0

I almost bought an Igawa shirt before the game-- thank heavens I came to my senses. My escape was the Ballpark Lanes restroom, where stingy pissers can be seen desperately wiping their hands on their pants in order to avoid tipping the weird guy at the door.

Nothing to report about the game. I bought a beer in the 3rd inning (Lite), only to be pleasantly surprised in the 6th with another beer (Foster's?). This was about as exciting as things got.

Apparently Scott Proctor burned several personal items in a small bonfire near the top of the Yankee dugout steps at the conclusion of his disastrous relief appearance today. Here's a practice I'd like to see more of. Maybe Wil Nieves can burn his batting gloves next week.

A's 7, Yanks 0 postscript

OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS!!!

Got home from today's drubbing and passed out on the couch. Woke up and realized I completely burned the shit out of myself at today's friggin game. No, I wasn't trying to get Scott Proctor's autograph.

I feel like the guy in the hospital that fingers Keyser Soze from his deathbed-- burnt to a crisp (ok, that's an exaggeration and I never fingered nobody...). My arms are the color of strawberry popsicles. I managed to avoid the "of course you feel like shit, honey-- you drank way too much at the Yankee game!!" look this evening but succumbed to the "of course you feel like shit, honey-- you didn't bother to use sunblock at the Yankee game!!" look instead.

I might as well've gotten drunk. At least I'd still be asleep on the couch.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The misery continues...

"Aim for the middle of the plate, and hope for the best."
-Ken Singleton, YES commentator

I didn't watch a lot of this game, which I'm thankful for. I did manage to see more "he said, she said"-style hijinks in the outfield, terrible RISP performances, and complete lack of command in late relief.

How is it that Proctor walks the leadoff guy, gives up a hit, nearly breaks his wrist on a beautiful diving catch, and there's no one warming up in the bullpen? Again, I wasn't following the game closely-- maybe I missed the update that the entire Yankee bullpen had a sneak attack of the runs. I mean, what if Proctor has control problems and he can't throw a ... oops, he just walked two more guys.

This is without a doubt the crappiest this team has looked in at least 10 years.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Interleague laughers

The Yankees have just completed a horrific debacle of a "west coast" NL swing. It completely sucked. Their stints in Denver and San Francisco rivaled some of the most depraved touring incidents of my own musical career, in the very same cities. If the Yanks had only found a way to play in Chico, CA on this trip, they'd be in last place.

Anyway, the Yankee toolbox was missing a few wrenches today-- no one could throw, catch, run or hit. Our awful pitching wasn't even close to being the problem. Which reminds me: Brian Bruney is about to implode. Mark my words...

The much-ballyhooed matchup between Clemens and Bonds was a mere bedfart. Then Villone plunked Barry on his next at bat. Bonds aside, the Giants' batting order was probably the worst I've seen all year. They still killed us.

Best thing of the day was Chris Basak's first major league at bat. He lined one out to left field, lowered his head, and chugged around the bases in the style of Jim Eisenreich. Basak proudly arrived at second with what appeared to be a stand-up double. The rook was completely unaware of the fact that Senor Bonds caught the ball. He stood on second for a while, with Larry Bowa making frantic, never-before-seen gestures to him from third base (starting with the standard "you're out" thumb, and moving on to a fist-in-palm sign apparently meaning "he caught the ball and you're out, you fucking idiot!!!). Basak shrunk back to the dugout, getting the requisite ribbing from Jeter but rolled eyes from the rest of the bench.

Our Yanks are now back below .500 and behind the Blue Jays (!) in third place. Three of our next four opponents have better records than we do. I'll let you know how things end up.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

YANKEE DOGHOUSE 4: Joe Torre/Ron Guidry

Why the hell wasn't Proctor instructed to walk Omar Vizquel with Klesko on 2nd and two out in the bottom of the 13th?!!

OK, the Viz isn't hitting all that well this year-- you want to give Proctor a crack at him... fine. But with a count at three balls, WALK HIM! Or at least give him something he can't get a bat on.

Instead, a weird grounder gets the runner to third. Now any hit (no matter how crappy) wins the game for the Giants. Guess what the rookie Shitzenhootz comes up with? A crappy hit.

A crappy hit that would not have scored Klesko from second. He might've tried to score, but wouldn't have made it. Even better.

While I'm at it-- can we please get a real first baseman? Not a superstar, just a merely adequate one. We don't have one of those at the moment. Andy Phillips? Jorge (who wasn't bad!)? Johnny Damon?!! Gimme a break. I don't even care if he bats righty or lefty at this point. Whoever he is can always DH anyway, since we don't have one of those either!

Mattingly must be losing his mind.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Yankees 11, Mets 8

Always a bit weird going to a 1:00 Saturday game after a late Friday night at the park. My buddy drunkenly predicted it would be "95 degrees" on Saturday, and he wasn't far off. It was hot as hell.

I bumped into an old friend right before the rain delay and got separated from Mrs. Mazz. Not legally separated (yet), but separated by about 8,000 drunk and wet NYers packed into the upper deck hallways. We went home right away.

Some expert heckling took place in our section. A bunch of guys behind us tortured an uptight Met fan to such a degree that the mere mention of "Reyes" in a medium voice set the guy into a frenzy. Then his wife got involved, and it almost got real ugly. I'm a little worried that we haven't seen the end of this showdown yet, as most of the participants are season ticket holders in my section. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mets 2, Yankees 0

The 6th annual "Kerzner Klassic" was a fun bust. First time the Mets actually won the event and probably first time I wasn't lethally hung over the next day.

notes:

- Josh Phelps at DH was a complete embarrassment. How can this be the best we have? The guy staggers around the box as if the bat was made of 350 pounds of plutonium. Anyone remember Ruben Sierra? Glenallen Hill?

- Great fun watching "J-Lo" persecute and prosecute offending drinkers in our ALCOHOL-FREE section 13. She watched the entire tier like a hawk for the first three innings of the game-- I felt like I was taking the SAT exam.

- Stuck in the bowels of the 161st St subway station for what seemed like hours (we squandered precious pharmaceutical time down there!), fans were presented with every reason necessary to build ourselves a new Yankee Stadium.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Yankees 9, Pirates 3

I thought I'd start out by describing the majestic walk from bullpen to mound by the returning Roger Clemens, but I can't do that because I wasn't there. It took me TWO FUCKING HOURS to get to the damn game. No exaggeration, TWO HOURS. It's a minor miracle that nobody on that D train was murdered or seriously injured. The idiot next to me kept asking me, "Do you know why the train isn't moving?" or commenting, "I think we might miss Clemens's opening pitch." You think so, old man??!! Thank the lord for my PDA-- I nearly poked a hole in the screen playing at least sixty games of "demon" solitaire.

Screw the game. I couldn't get into it. The only highlight was some lady behind us totally ratting out a couple that were smoking cigarettes in the upper deck. The couple already had a profile in our section: the guy's face was bright red and the girl's boobs were enormous. Both were very drunk.Anyway, a security team came up and removed the offending smokers. And I mean "team"-- a regular security guy, a cop, a really big guy, and two "yellow shirts" (including the legendary "Angel of Death" a.k.a. "J-Lo"). Both seemed confused as they were escorted from section 6.

This is beginning to bother me. It's like the "If you see something, say something..." campaign on the subway, right? They're experimenting with these little remote controls in movie theaters with buttons to report "problems" with the film. You know, like sound, picture, temperature, and of course, other.
Speaking of films, my date and I went to see Knocked Up after the game. Worst previews I've ever seen in my moviegoing lifetime.

1) Something with Adam Sandler and the King of Queens guy as friends pretending to be a gay couple so they can fool local authorities
2) The ping pong version of Dodgeball
3) Something with Robin Williams as some sort of religious guy that counsels/spies on a couple about to get married
4) The new Die Hard
5) I don't remember, but it was awful

All of the above (except Die Hard) contained homophobic innuendo, people getting hit in the face with flying objects, and Christopher Walken.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Ocean's 1918

Bragging on Letterman about the Sox in JUNE??!!! EARLY FUCKING JUNE??!!! Talking shit about how the Yanks spend so much more money than the Sox or the Mets??!!! Get a clue, meathead.

I've stuck up for this guy so many damn times. Forget Ocean's whatever and the Bourne whatever too.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A-Rod's hijinks in Toronto

Hitting the town with a hooker wasn't the only dirty trick A-Rod played in Toronto. Just exactly what did Alex yell as he ran behind Howie Clark on Jorge's infield popup? My research has uncovered the following possibilities:

A) "I got it!!!"
B) "Noonan!!!"
C) "Sacrebleu!!!"
D) "I ate some prime King St. poontang last night, chump!!!"

I'm going with (B)-- I hear A-Rod's a big Ted Knight fan.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

YANKEE DOGHOUSE 4: Michael Imperioli

Michael "Spider" Imperioli was a guest on YES Network's "Centerstage" last season. Probably the most boring thing I've ever seen. Imperioli was barely audible as he droned on about being an actor and filmmaker, giving the impression he gave no shit at all. "Blahhh... Cassavetes... blahhhhh, genius... uhhhh... Gena Rowlands... blahhh... art..." It didn't help that the program's host and resident windbag Michael Kay was on leave for personal reasons, leaving Bob Lorenz in charge. I don't think Lorenz knew who John Cassavetes was, although he may have seen a couple of Sopranos episodes.

So what?? you say! If you've been sucked into A&E's reruns of the Sop's, then you've certainly seen Imperioli's endless stream of Toshiba HD ads, portraying the artist as a young man and DVD player enthusiast. Which film is the artsy fart studying carefully in the ads? Killing of a Chinese Bookie? Woman Under the Influence? Citizen Kane?

King Kong. The remake.

HONORABLE MENTION:
Scott Proctor
Kyle Farnsworth
Luis Vizcaino
Mariano Rivera
Mike Myers
Matt DeSalvo
Johnny Damon (still!)
Bobby Abreu
Robinson Cano
Josh Phelps
Wil Nieves
Jason Giambi
Doug Meitnckewcitscz
Hideki Matsui
Melky Cabrera
Carl Pavano (duh!)
A-Rod (pretty soon)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Angels 3, Yankees 1

This game was such a downer that it took me a few days to find the energy to write something about it. Brought a friend to the game (not a Yankee fan at all) that actually seemed willing to root for the old boys if they deserved it. They didn't.

My dad has an interesting theory about A-Rod, which he told me about a few weeks ago. He thinks Alex is:
1) learning disabled, or in his words, "mentally retarded." This was not a casual throw-away insult like "A-Rod sucks"-- this is something my dad's been thinking about for over a year.
2) visually impaired, or in his words, "partially blind." I asked if this means he can see sometimes, but not other times, and Dad nodded his head. I then wondered aloud if maybe Alex has some sort of bizarre sight-related allergy, and Dad practically jumped out of the couch in agreement.When they showed a close-up of A-Rod squinting and chewing gum in the dugout, I have to admit that the theory didn't seem so farfetched.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Yankees 8, Red Sox 3

It's been a bizarro kind of year for the Yanks, that's fer shitsure. I've personally seen them beat the Sox twice at home (unheard of for yours truly!) and also watched 'em lose at Fenway (first time for me). Oh yeah, they're also under .500, but let's not talk about that.

AWESOME seats tonight, courtesy of my date. Just a few rows off the field, a little bit past the visitors' dugout. A-Rod was within spitting distance.

We placed our food & drinks order asap-- around the top of the second inning. Our booty didn't arrive until the 6th. I was "ready to eat just about anything" by the time my Premio sausage finally showed up, and "anything" was a perfect description of the pathetic dog. Didn't matter-- I would've eaten three if they'd let me.

Couple of ridiculous Boston fans sitting in front of us that may have stepped right out of the Good Will Hunting DVD. They tried to act tough, but were more Dead Poets Society than anything else. And I don't think either one of them will be caught scribbling a ring theory proof in the hallways of MIT any time soon. And certainly won't be banging J-Lo either. I hated the fucking jerks.

Farnsworth needs to be slapped around by somebody. Not me.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

notes from the doghouse

Hey, Johnny Damon is emerging as a real five-tool fuck-up! He hurts his own team in so many ways...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

YANKEE DOGHOUSE 3: Johnny Damon

Let's just assume that Carl "Pablo" Pavano has his own permanent spot in the maison du chien...

Otherwise, Johnny Damon is starting to wear out his welcome. He's always hurt, can't field to save his life, can barely hit, and is ALWAYS yapping about something. Johnny Damon is now the voice of the Yankees?!

Earn your stripes, punk.

ps- Have you noticed that they're now displaying Wil Nieves's batting average in scientific notation? He'll be at .035 or so before the night is through...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rangers 14, Yankees 2

The worst kind of game-- boring, long and disastrous. Unfortunate, since I was leading a group outing of about 100 people.

Overheard:
"This is so f%#$@& boring..."
"This is worse than watching on TV..."
"Which one is Derek Jeter?"
"Did the game start yet?"

Things are tough from the left field bleachers. None of the comments above were unjustified from our vantage point. It's a little bit like watching a movie on an airplane.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Yankees 8, Mariners 1

A beautiful day for baseball. Charles Simone made the trip down for the game, which often means the Yanks are gonna lose. Not this time.

CS and I saw Moose one pitch away from perfection at Fenway in 2001 (or as the Red Sox radio guys referred to it a few weeks ago, "David Cone's near-perfect game"). I was a little drunk at that game, and almost entirely blind out in the bleachers without my glasses. I was never entirely sure who was batting, although I had a pretty good idea that Mussina was pitching a decent game. It's possible that I jinxed the poor bastard with an excited utterance in the late innings ("Has he walked anybody?" or something stupid like that), but my conscience is clear.

Regardless, I was determined not to do anything wrong this time. I even tried not to leave my seat at all, but decided that pissing in my pants was a bad idea. My general approach was to be consistent in my behavior from the third inning on, which meant drinking Miller Lites and jabbering on and on about Allan Holdsworth and the BBC. When Wang gave up the dong in the 8th, I felt confident that it wasn't my fault.

Not much else that interesting went on: Bob S fucked up a few times, we had some post-game drinks at the "Mexican place" (Cinqo de Mayo was about as big a deal at this joint as Groundhog Day), and continued on and on into the night.

Oh yeah! Right after the 7th inning stretch, Hideki Irabu grabbed a microphone in the radio booth and announced that he was returning to the Yankees to pitch this season! The place went wild. Maybe that was what threw Wang off in the next inning...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

YANKEE DOGHOUSE 2: Carl Pavano

The Yankee braintrust finally got rid of Marty Miller, the sadistic former strength and conditioning coach. Ironically, that'll be his ticket out of the Doghouse.

The Hughes incident was just too much. Johnny Damon said something about Miller using "conditioning tools" that most of the players were not familiar with. What exactly were these tools? Leather straps? Metal clamps and harnesses? Super-dose injections of thiamine? It may be a miracle if any of our pitchers ever walk again.

Speaking of injured pitchers, please give a warm round of applause to Carl Pavano. He might be the only guy on the team whose injuries are not the fault of Marty Miller and his medieval crew of assistants. Carl doesn't need any help getting hurt.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Yankees 3, Red Sox 1

Everything seemed back to normal in the Bronx today-- Mariano closing, Farnsworth frustrating, people fighting, and A-Rod sucking all over the joint. It was a great day.

Apparently self-preservation is an instinct that Kei Igawa possesses. He bought himself a little time today.

ATTENTION ALL CRO-MAGNON YANKEE FANS: enough with the fucking anti-Japanese bullshit! This was the third game I've been to this year where I saw and heard idiotic imitations, slurs, etc.. Take that shit somewhere else. I'm as annoyed by "Dice-K" mania as anyone on the planet, but that's no reason to give people shit just for coming to a baseball game. It's wrong, and downright embarassing. I wished Matsui himself would appear in the upper deck today and pound some heads.

Can't wait to see the replay of A-Rod trying to get away from the flying bat.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Red Sox 7, Yankees 6

Well, that pretty much sucked. I went on record opposing a couple of things:

1) Bringing in Myers to face Ortiz.
Actually, it was my idea for Myers to hit Ortiz... but that's not the point. Myers does have decent numbers against Papi, but I've seen at least a HR and now a double in this "specialty match-up."

2) Bringing in Rivera for 5 outs.
I thought this wasn't ever going to happen this season! It's only April 20th. Proctor never should have come out in the first place.Easy to say now, but I said it last night while we were there. I think.

The Sox were wearing green uniforms to honor Red Auerbach, black patches for Virginia Tech, special decals for 9/11, another black patch for Dennis Johnson, a number 42 for Jackie Robinson (or maybe Mariano Rivera!), a commemorative red sock for Brad Delp, and their 2004 World Series rings.

We sat in front of a total idiot who said things like, "Turn two!" when nobody was on base, etc. A slightly pornographic poster of a girl hung over the urinal, which made it a little tough to piss. That and the fact that dozens of angry Boston fans were standing right behind me, seething at A-Rod for hitting another home run and at me for taking at least 5 minutes to piss.

It was $7 for a plastic cup of Bud Light. It wasn't entirely clear whether we were getting 12 or 16 oz.-- it was abundantly clear that we weren't buying more than two at a time. Maybe they were 400 ml or something like that. We were sort of close to Canada.

No, Fenway is a lot of fun. Even a crappy game like that one.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

2007 Yankee predictions

The "on pace" statistic is a great way to calculate a player's end-of-year numbers early in the season. It's almost always right!

Here's what we can expect from some of our favorite Bombers:

A-Rod: 116 home runs, 301 RBI, 197 runs (not bad!!)

Mariano Rivera: 0 saves, 12 blown saves (hmm...)

Derek Jeter: 69 errors (wait a second!)

Carl Pavano: 12 trips to the DL (that sounds about right.)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

YANKEE DOGHOUSE 1: Marty Miller

Wait a second, do you put heat on a muscle pull or do you ice it? I think you put heat on tightness and cold on inflammation... or is it ice on tightness and heat on inflammation? I always mix those two up.

(I meant to put this guy on two weeks ago, but it seemed a bit premature)

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Yankees 10, Orioles 7

I can already hear it:"OK, but let's see him do it against a good team!""Yeah, but I'd like to see A-Rod deliver in the playoffs!""He needs to do this in the World Series..."

A-Rod might need to hit two walk-off grand slams in one Fall Classic to truly rid himself of the stigma. It's gotten that ridiculous. Even after yesterday's heroics, it's not over. Not by a long shot. A walk-off, bases loaded long shot.

Somewhere in between his mammoth home runs yesterday, things did seem to be improving slightly. He still got booed, but most of the razzers had to laugh at themselves while they did it. A-Rod occupies a truly bizarre spot right now: he's not going back and forth between hero and goat-- he's actually both at the same time. I'm still trying to figure out why my "PA-RA-DOX!!! PA-RA-DOX!!!" chant hasn't caught on up in the Bronx this year.

Looks like A-Rod himself is catching on to the folly. He's already called himself a "moron" and a "fool" in this short season, along with his 3 titanic dongs. Wait a second... it's possible that A-Rod's simultaneous gore and glory might make us all aware of our own inconsistencies as human beings, therefore enlightening us all! He can act as a mirror, reflecting the fact that we're all deeply flawed yet ultimately perfect! Hallelujah!!!

Kei Igawa seems a bit closer to the deeply flawed side so far. A bit painful to watch. I'm not sure what the "adjustments" will be before his next start.

NOTES:
A really drunk guy tumbled at least five rows down in the upper deck in the middle of the game, which was by far the most exciting moment until that point. Apparently he fell over a vendor-- either a case of beer or a hot dog box. The drunkard was out cold for about 5 minutes after his fall. He was escorted out to wild applause, unlike our starting pitcher.

The Yankees need to make the distinction between Tier Reserved and Tier Box a little more clear on printed tickets. It's a ritual as regular as the bleachers' roll call or "Cotton Eyed Joe"-- somebody always sits in our upper deck seats that should be sitting down in the box seats. Not entirely their fault, as Tier Box seats are stupidly designated with the upper deck markings (U3, U17, etc.). I just hate the smirk of the asshole that just realized they're sitting in the wrong seats, and that their real seats are even better!

Bob Sheppard continues to mutter incoherently into the microphone.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Devil Rays 7, Yankees 6

Brrrrrrrr........

We froze our asses off tonight. We waited forever for the bus to take us to the train, which we waited forever for. Then we stood on line for at least 30 minutes so I could cash in my retarded $5 vouchers for more lousy games in July and August. Then we waited in line for another 20 minutes to get into the stadium. Then we sat in the freezing cold for 4 hours and watched the Yankees stumble through 9 innings of inept baseball. Then we took the subway to 125th st and waited another 30 minutes for a bus that never came, and bailed out into a cab.

At least 3 wild pitches, a passed ball, 3 errors (2 by Jeter), a bungled pickoff move, and lots of walks made for a sloppy and cold experience. Luckily we smuggled in some vodka, or else we'd be cold, pissed and broke instead of just cold and pissed. Cough syrup would've been more appropriate, as the Yanks pitched and fielded like they had oven mitts on both hands and 3-D glasses on their heads. Very bad.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Yankees 9, Devil Rays 5

Another Opening Day victory witnessed by yours truly. Not a pretty one.

Pre-game ceremonies were actually pretty good, even touching. I had a lump in my throat during the Cory Lidle montage and surviving family appearance (which I soon realized was the enormous ham and salami sub I was scarfing down). Hank Bauer also got a nice memorial piece.

Bob Sheppard seems to be in very bad shape. The "moment of silence" for Bauer (and Bowie Kuhn) was dominated by the sound of Sheppard wheezing into the microphone. In the 5th inning, the appearance of Brian Bruney was mysteriously announced as "Seeeaaan Hennnnn..." in a strange digitized voice. That was the last thing he would say all day, if he even really said it. Sheppard was immediately replaced by whoever the guy is that will be replacing him as soon as he needs to be replaced full-time.

A-Rod was given a hero's welcome during his first at-bat (even though he muffed an easy pop only minutes earlier), and promptly whiffed. He got booed a few times before his hot-shot single and, finally, his mammoth center-field dong. He's almost like a mascott at this point: a goofball savant.

We'll get to Pavano next time he pitches.

BEER UPDATE:
24 oz. Fosters/Heineken: $12 (up from $9.75)
24 oz. Beck's: $10
24 oz. Bud Lite: $9 (this is what I'll be drinking from now on)
16 oz. Beck's: $8.75
16 oz. Miller Lite, etc.: $8.00

Even at these prices, there were lots of very drunk people in the crowd today. The deli up the hill was selling big cans of Miller for $3, and encouraging people to drink them right in the store! We ordered our sandwiches in the middle of a drunken, burping mob. We'll see how long they get away with it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

eBay Blues

Dammit! Just got an eBay purchase in the mail-- what should have been a 9th Wonder multi-CD set turned out to be Paul Weller's Heavy Soul. That's a nasty trick.

Reminds me of the time I ordered a Pete Townshend CD from Barnes & Noble and got a Dr. Phil book.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Team Gizzola rides again

We put in a sorry showing for the first round of the custodians' NCAA pool this year. 25 correct picks, and 7 stinkers. Here are the culprits:Notre Dame, G.Tech. Villanova, Holy Cross, Duke (!), Gonzaga, and Texas Tech. Looks like I might be wearing a paper bag at work on Monday.

Speaking of paper bags, I almost needed one to puke into last night when my finished Signals review disappeared from my screen, never to return. I had just make a tasteless joke about the Challenger disaster when ---poof!---. I don't know if I have it in me to bring that one back...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bumbling idiots

The Knicks are absolutely absurd. They sometimes win games they have no business winning, but usually lose such games. It almost never seems that the Knicks actually deserve to win. This is starting to sound like a question on my Symbolic Logic 225 final exam...

Steve Francis misses a free throw with the Knicks down by one, gets the ball back with five seconds left, dribbles wildly down the length of the court, goes behind his back, and drains a silly three to bag a one-point win over the Wiz. Then he leaps up on the scorers' table and makes idiotic gestures at the crowd. His grandmother is in attendance. Of course, Nate Robinson also must leap up on the table, even though he barely played at all tonight. Robinson then jumps on Francis's back and rides around for a while with his shorts falling off his ass.

COME ON ISIAH! There are guys with real talent on this team, but they're about as disciplined as a bunch of 7th graders on a Friday afternoon. They just don't seem to be concentrating! I exempt Steph from that comment-- he's grown up a lot this season (although he kinda stunk tonight). Yes, I blame Isiah for this.

The Knicks will end up just below .500, and might even make the playoffs (!). This will keep Thomas here for at least another year, and chaos will continue to rule. Chaos will win us a few games here and there, but that's about it.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Moving Pictures (remaster)

Some heavy records have a mystical, dark quality to 'em-- Back in Black, Led Zeppelin (IV), Master of Puppets... and certainly Moving Pictures. Not that MP is really a dark record at all, but something about the cover, color and "Tom Sawyer" itself says it loud and clear: DON'T FUCK WITH ME.

Moving Pictures (1981) stands alone in any genre one chooses to place it in. Of course, I think of it as "prog-rock-pop". Or something like that. Let's put Abacab, Ghost in the Machine (both also 1981) and 90125 up there with MP as phenomenal-sounding early 80's PRP records. Besides the fact that Rush's offering is simply more consistent than the others, something much more profound distinguishes Pix: Rush could, did and still does play it live (at least the great songs from it) note for fucking note! When's the last time you saw the Phenix Horns jump up on stage to play "No Reply at All" with Phil and the boys? The Police mighta ripped up their tunes live a few times, but I guarantee it didn't sound anything like the record. And don't get me started with Yes-- Trevor Rabin would need three USB cables shoved up his arse to pull off "Owner" or "Leave It."

"Tom Sawyer" defines 80's classic rock. Period. Gritty, spacy, and tighter than all get out. Each of the boys' strengths are brought out to the nth degree, but in the right direction. It's all too easy to listen to the verse kick drum patterns and say "Oh yeah, this is pretty stock stuff-- I've heard this kinda thing lots of times..." Not before the record came out you didn't!!! I can't think of a pop song before or since that sounds like "Tom Sawyer," and that's because one doesn't exist. It's the Boba Fett of modern music.

"Red Barchetta" wins the "Stairway to Heaven" guitar store award for inspiring clumsy imitations by thousands of kids with ham-handed harmonics. It's kinda like a feel-good song, no? We probably needed one, after "Tom Sawyer" left us feeling about 7 inches tall. Not to mention, haven't we all raced back to the farm to dream with our uncles at the fireside more than a few times in our lives?

"YYZ" (called "XYZ" by countless mongoloids) finds Rush in one of their most compactly jaw-dropping moments-- I always thought of the tune as a kind of a "fuck you" to the jazz fusion community, to be honest. If guys like Weckl, Dimeola, Corea and whoever the hell else actually cared about the listener, they'd put some real effort intro constructing a tight little song like "YYZ", but they'd rather get laid and make records about gypsys and Brazil and all kinds of bullshit. The fusion cats do it to death, but they do it for themselves. Rush does it for US, goddammit.
You gotta love the legendary dueling bass and drums in the middle of the tune, where Neil reels off some gravity-defying 270 degree fills. Finally Geddy caves in: "Uncle! Uncle!" as he rolls out some kind of jazzbo jive turkey bass climb over the bar, which is immediately hacked to pieces and fed to Alex's amazing guitar solo for lunch. Yummy.
"YYZ" also wins the "Trees" drum store award for inspiring thousands of kids to buy a completely useless accessory for their drumset: the crotale. I can see the guy at Sam Ash right now, "OK Timmy, let's order the complete two-octave set of Zildjian crotales for you right now! You'll also need the custom crotale stand..." Timmy's poor father can only watch the back of his station wagon fill up with golden discs and huge boxes, while his credit card takes a tough hit and certainly not the last of its kind.

"Limelight" kinda fits the "dark" vibe of Moving Pictures, but only for the intellectual. It's a fantastic pop song with a darn dirty guitar sound and all sorts of funky cymbal chokes. Plus the legendary "One must put up barriers To keep oneself intact." I came to prefer "Fuck wit' me, I'll put a foot in yo ass." for no real reason.

That's side one, which has to be one of the most rockin' side one's you'll find just about anywhere! They didn't miss a whole lot.

After some fairly inoffensive bleeps and flutters, a keyboard sound usually reserved for Vivid Video releases is heard. The listener isn't quite sure whether he's watching a cheesy filmstrip in science class or a Christy Canyon video. Then he realizes that he's flipped over his Moving Pictures album and "The Camera Eye" is beginning. The band actually builds pretty nicely out of the silly keyboards stuff, and pushes it into a nice rock groove. Look, it's just kind of a weird song, but it really works. Back in the day, they would have made this the first song on the album, and probably even called the whole record The Camera Eye, but now we have inventions like "Tom Sawyer" to prevent such folly.

"The Camera Eye" (11:01) is supposed to be a sprawling bi-continental piece on humanity vs. civilization, ideals vs. progress, etc.. Actually, it's about tripping on acid. Listen to this:

"Head-first humanity
Pause at a light
Then flow through the streets of the city."
or
"They seem oblivious...
So light, yet endless
From a leaden sky.
The buildings are lost
In their limitless rise
My feet catch the pulse
And the purposeful stride."

Come on! Still don't believe me? Listen:
"A quality of light
Unique to every city's streets
Pavements may teem
With intense energy..."

Not to mention, right around 9:00 into the song you can barely make out Geddy saying to Alex under the music, "Hey, I think the walls are melting."
No doubt in my mind.

In all seriousness, "The Camera Eye" is notable as it marks the end of an absolutely astonishing streak by Mr.Lifeson-- seven consecutive album tracks with top-notch ass-kicking inventive guitar solos, dating back to PW's "Different Strings" (his eerie outro piece), and the third movement of "Natural Science." Obviously TS, RB, YYZ and LL have Lifeson's very best work in them (the "Tom Sawyer" solo is toootalllly gnarly!!! Really!), and I propose extending the marathon one more spot into "The Camera Eye." He's got a Fripp kinda thing which runs through Vai and then ends with an almost Knopfler-esque arpeggio bonanza. It qualifies, friend!

"Witch Hunt" is fine, but breaks no real ground amongst its trackmates here. Did we really think it would? "Vital Signs" is more of a Police-style jaggedy song, and provides a nice closing for the record. VS sort of gives us a taste of what's to come on their next proper release, in many ways. We'll explore that next time.

I love the fact that Saga and .38 Special were among the only bands thanked in the liner notes for Moving Pictures. Really, who would dare to play with them? It was usually guys like Tommy Shaw or Aldo Nova that did well, because they got on and off stage without completely humiliating themselves like Marillion and others of that ilk usually did.

Go back and check out the record jacket for Moving Pictures. You won't even have to play the album, and you'll remember everything.

rating: 5 stars

FUN FACT: The very first pressing of CD's in 1983 contained a mastering glitch. A fraction of the very first beat of "Tom Sawyer" is clipped off at the top of the song.
This happened to one of my own recorded CD's once as well. Well, my record actally started with the click of an overdriven amplifier being turned on, which made a nasty 'pop' sound. Not quite a match with the first kick drum of one of the most influential percussion compositions and performances in modern history...