Wednesday, October 25, 2006

World Series PPD- time to blogon

Game 4 of the World Series was postponed tonight due to nasty storms in the St. Louis area. That's not the worst news, though: more, possibly more severe, storms are expected for the next 2 days at least. Already tonight's postponement has eliminated the off travel day on Friday, compacting the final 4 (possible) games to Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun. Another day or 2 of rain and we could be looking at the series sliding into next week, meaning we could have Series games on Halloween &/or November 1st. The only other time the Fall Classic was played in the early winter of the 11th month was in 2001 due to 9/11.
This is the result of both the extra round of playoffs, the Divisional Series that were added with the Wild Card in 1995, and the obnoxious television networks like FOX that pay gazillions of dollars to put one game on at only at night for a month (except for a couple of the DS games.)

Anyway, I thought this would be a good time to do a miscellaneous rant/post just to get some things off my chest and onto this page. I'm not sure if this will make much sense because I am still suffering lingering effects of my stressful day Sunday. I feel somewhat like A-Ben-dicitis must feel, minus the bone-crushing hit and reconstructed jaw. Is it possible to drink/yell/sweat yourself into a concussion or some other kind of head trauma? If there's a doctor out there reading, let me know.

-Speaking of my state of mind, I pick up my paper today (which, by the way, is the "newly restyled" St. Petersburg Times; evidently "newly restyled" means lopping off an inch off the page so I feel like I'm holding a pamphlet and enough colors, graphs & website links to make it look like USAToday on Nandro) and what do I see but an article about flavored beers. All of my faithful readers surely remember that in my Bucs game post, one of the causes I attribute my near blackout & lingering hangover to was the god-awful pumpkin beer I was forced to sample at a pre-game tailgate (by forced I mean it was free and they were out of Bud Light.) Well lo & behold this article , about how Anheuser-Busch & Miller are introducing flavored beers to compete with microbreweries and craft brewers, has a list of the Top 10 flavored beers in 2005. And what do you think (after plain) was #2? Give that person a prize, it was FREAKIN' PUMPKIN BEER! Are these people serious? That crap tasted like cough medicine, Thanksgiving dessert and Lysol. My buddy JT and I thought "how bad can it be?" Two sips later we had the answer. And it was the No.2 flavored beer in the country last year?! Wow.

"This really tastes like shit"

-What my Wife & I are watching:
Not just my usual Top 5 TV show list here, but a current, up-to-the-minute record of what we are watching nightly right now.

1.(TIE):MLB Playoffs & Dancing with the Stars
Both events are dominating the sets at this time, and on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, usually simultaneously. I am a baseball fan at heart and I don't care who is playing- it's baseball, it's meaningful, it's (usually) being played at a high level, and sometimes you get Kenny Rogers-level controversy. No matter who is playing in the Fall Classic, this fan is watching. Unless it's the Subway Series; that was blacked out in my house.
But DWTS is merely taking over the nation. My son watches with my wife, parents at the LL ballfield are checking their watches and yelling at the kids to hurry the game up so they can get home and see who got eliminated (it was Jerry Springer tonight-no controversy there), and "stars" on the show are gushing about what a life-altering mega experience it is to them. All this for some ballroom dances? The answer, for 20+ million people, appears to be yes. And although I am not a diehard fan, there is something about the combination of C-list celebs & their professional dancers, with their chemistry, camaraderie, and coquettishness that makes this little phenomenon magical. Ah, who am I kidding- it's the outfits. Put them in dorky clothes and you've got American Karaoke on a wooden floor, and I'm never setting eyes on it.

2.) Prison Break
Suspension of disbelief is not just a suggestion, it's a requirement as the writers seem to be throwing every thriller cliche into a blender then throwing them against the wall to see what sticks. Some of the twists work (Agent Mahone secretly working for Agent Evil & the President-awesome!), and many more don't (Sucre's leg caught under a log- I think I saw that on a cartoon; T-Bag duping Michael with the $5 mil- c'mon Michael has more brains than that, doesn't he?) But like DWTS, there is something that keeps pulling the viewer back every week, whether it's the fast pace, solid cast, good-vs.-evil plot or flat-out fun escapism. Who am I kidding, I know my wife only watches for the "hot-hot-hottie" brothers Michael & Linc. Although trying to follow all the twists and turns caused her to invent a new word the other night when she blurted out "I'm stuped!", which I took to be a mishmash of stupified & stumped. Honey, that sums this show up brilliantly!

3.) Help Me Help You
We were skeptical of this show at first, mainly because it stars Ted Danson, who ruined himself for TV comedy forever when he hung up Mayday Malone's hairpiece, Jere Burns, who hasn't been funny since Dear John, and a bunch of no names. Except for Jane Kaczmarek, who plays Danson's soon-to-be ex-wife. Danson plays Dr. Bill Hoffman, a pompous, arrogant, egotistical, narcissistic therapist who is loonier than his cuckoo patients. They include Inger, an Asian woman with commitment issues; Dave (Jason Ritter), a shy guy with mommy issues; Johnathan, a bald little married dude who looks like Michael Stipe and is in denial over his true sexual preference; Jere Burns as hot tempered, no-BS businessman Michael, who gives it to them straight and is screwing around with mousy-but-sex crazed Darlene, who has the hots for Dr. Hoffman. The chemistry between the always-terrific Kaczmarek as Anne and Danson is great, the jokes are hilarious (Bill to the group: "can we put the genitalia discussion on the back burner, please?") and the episode with Bills' band of goofball therapists, named Pink Freud, was worth the whole season alone. This show is finding its footing, and my wife and I are really starting to enjoy it; the time slot after Tuesdays DWTS ep (9:30, ABC) doesn't hurt, either. Check it out.

4. & 5) The Office & My Name is Earl
The only reason The Office isn't higher is because we haven't watched it in a week due to the above mentioned items as well as our son's school projects & baseball games. I still have it on the DVR, and I plan on watching that ep & this weeks' show back to back tonight. No doubt that will catapult the show back to the number one spot next week, because it is the best show on television, hands down.
I also have about 3 eps of Earl to catch up on, but the way this season started, I have a feeling it's going to be dropping out of the top 5, not climbing up.

-Wanted to let you sports fans know about an excellent column called the UniWatch by Paul Lukas. It is totally dedicated to all things related to sports uniforms, including caps, jerseys, gloves, socks, logos, emblems, cleats and anything else that an athlete wears on his body. I caught onto this column when it became a semi-monthly feature column on a couple of years ago; it has since been given its own site, and the compilations & information contained make for fascinating, entertaining, and informative reading. Recently two of UniWatch's columns have gotten heavy press- the one about the Detroit Tigers Old English script "D" not having one design, but 3 or 4 different variations all being worn by the Tigers at once has caught everyone's eye now that the "D" is being seen worldwide in the Series. Also the article notes that Kenny the Cheater has been wearing a darker, BP cap during games all season, an MLB no-no and a perfect place to hide his pine tar stash-busted! But this incredible column about Bill Buckner wearing a Cubs batting glove underneath his regular glove in Game 6 of the '86 Series nearly blew me off my feet. Not only was he muffing a routine grounder that cost the Bosox the game & Series, but he had a Cubbies batting glove that was at least 4-5 years old underneath the glove that missed the ball! As the kids like to say, "double jinx!" Great stuff. So if you are interested in arcane facts like how 30 Major league teams have logo discrepancies, you'll get a kick out of this site.

-My Fabulous Sports Weekend, Part II
Last weekend it was a football tripleheader (went to a High school & pro game, watched a ton of college) but this weekend is going to be a little different. Friday night I will be coaching in my son's Little League Tournament, starting Friday night at 6:00. We will most likely play 2 games Friday night in the 10-team, inter-county tourney, and then right back out there Saturday morning for 2 or 3 more, depending on how we do. Last spring we played in one of these and the boys made it all the way to the final game, where the exhausted kids finally succumbed to the combo of blazing heat & playing 5 games in less than 24 hours. But it was great fun and I am looking forward to it almost as much as he is (actually he was a little disappointed because he had so much fun at the Largo High football game last week he wanted to go to the homecoming game this Friday!) So that takes care of FRI/SAT (I will come home & crash on the couch and ingest about 12 straight hours of college football/World Series baseball after it's over) but on Sunday I hope to be attending on of my favorite annual are sporting events: The Chrysler Championship PGA Tour Event played at beautiful Innisbrook Country Club in Palm Harbor. I am not an avid golfer like the majority of my Florida buddies (Bob, JOE, JT...), in fact I've only golfed twice, both times at my good friend, the late, great Chicago Bob Allen's home course, Seminole Lakes CC. But there is something about attending a PGA event that gets my blood going. I think it's the mixture of beautiful scenery, up-close access to PGA pros, the leisurely pace & subdued crowds (as opposed to the concussion-inducing football games), and Michelobs in those cool new bottle/cans. Because the last few years have been hot enough to consume multiple beverages while trudging around the gigantic course. But it is great fun; the big-name pros usually make it to the event because it offers a large payoff (nearly a mil)- this year Goosen, Els, Vijay & Adam Scott will be there, last year Lefty & DL III were there- and they are extremely accommodating to the fans (although that's because Tiger hasn't been there yet), as the autos of Vijay & Goosen adorning the walls of my Sports Den can attest to.

No, that is not me standing next to Retief.

(I was illegally snapping the picture)

All I can say is thankfully the weather has changed to fall-like conditions so there will be no repeat of last weekend's blackout. My wife & I tackled that Copperhead course last year in the sweltering heat and nearly had to be hospitalized with heatstroke.

But one thing's for certain this weekend- I will not come within a 300-yard drive of Pumpkin Beer- or else I might really feel stuped!

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