Monday, December 20, 2010

Keep Your Eye on the Ballgame

Call it the "Miracle at the New Meadowlands." Or, if you're a New York Giants fan, call it "The Nightmare Before Christmas." I'll just call it the worst mistake of my football-viewing career.

Disgusted by the Philadelphia Eagles' heartless play in the most important game of the season, I switched channels in resignation to the Colts-Jaguars game after the Giants had upped the score to 31-10. With 8:17 to go in the game, Philadelphia was surely defeated. Sadly, I sat down at my computer as the Colts and Jaguars slugged it out in their contest, the television over my shoulder. Listening more to the game than watching it, my occasional glances at the action weren't enough to alert me to the monumental comeback slowly progressing on the update ticker at the bottom of the screen. Not until many precious and historic moments had passed did I notice that the Eagles had somehow risen from the dead and tied the Giants, 31-31. Disbelieving, I leaped from my chair and grabbed the remote, furiously pressing the "Last" button as a spate of expletives escaped my lips. A near-eternity elapsed as the screen changed from the Colts-Jaguars game to black to the Eagles game...but there was DeSean Jackson racing across midfield and on his way to a stunning, game-ending, punt-return touchdown—a freshly minted spectacular moment in NFL history.

It was right about this time that my body took on a quick series of animated forms.*

*An incidental ascending vibraphone note may have accompanied each transformation—details are difficult to recall after such a life-altering moment.

I learned my lesson the hard way: Never change the channel. Never break away from a highly anticipated and critical sports contest no matter how lopsided the score. Not even if it's 62-3. With twelve seconds to go. And the starting quarterback has bilateral Joe Theismann leg fractures. And Ron Jaworski and John Gruden are over-enunciating so much that smoke is billowing from the television. And Charlie Batch is squatting in the bush, getting stronger while I get weaker and the walls move in a little tighter.

Never change the channel. Absolutely goddamn right.

(Photo of DeSean Jackson copyright Associated Press; animated photos copyright Warner Brothers.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Phillies Could Beat(le) All Comers in 2011

With the acquisition of Roy Oswalt, the Philadelphia Phillies now have baseball’s equivalent of what Mick Jagger called The Beatles in their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech: “the four-headed monster,” for pitching rotations such as the Phillies will have for 2011 come along very rarely. So, as I have neither heard nor read in any media outlet, I am hereby coining Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt the “Phab Four.”

Any why not?
Halladay, ever the artist on the mound, cranks out no-hits almost as frequently as Paul McCartney wrote hits. Cliff Lee possesses the same slender physique as late-sixties Lennon. Cole Hamels, now somewhat lost in the glare but still a vital craftsman, parallels dark horse George Harrison, and Roy Oswalt, perhaps the least picturesque of the quad yet undeniably instrumental to its success, fits Ringo’s throne.

If that makes Charlie Manuel Fifth Beatle George Martin, then so be it—although folksy Charlie trying to effect a London accent could well cause his mouth to explode.
And, as other teams in this town have had their own songs, such as “Phillies Fever” and “Here Come the (1-2-3-4-5) Sixers,” the 2011 Phab Four surely need their own:
Here come the top Doc, he come grooving it quickly
He got joo-joo fastball, he earn Cy Young dollars
He got no-hitters down to his knee
Gotta be a 20-game winner, he just throw what he please
Lee wear no pinstripe, he shun Texas baseball
He got mustard finger, he love Philly pretzel
He say "I know you, you know me"
One thing I can tell you is I wanted back in Philly
Come together right now...and win the World Series
Cole bag run production, he got runners picked off
He got the Braves’ number, he one Atlanta cracker
He got cleats down below his knee
Hold you in the bullpen he don’t need no relief
Come together right now...and win the World Series
Low ERA-poster, this Roy got Oswalt surname
Just like Muddy Waters, he from Mississippi
He say “One and two and three out is me”
Ain’t no one gonna rob Roy of victory
Come together right now...and win the World Series

(Phillies photos copyright Getty Images; With the Beatles photo copyright Capitol Records.)    

Monday, December 6, 2010

Every Picture Doesn't Tell the Right Story, Don't It?

So Monday Night Football is about to start: New York Jets (9-2) at New England Patriots (9-2), in a battle for first place in the AFC. As a network always does, ESPN is showing scenic night shots of Boston, specifically Quincy Market. However, the Patriots play in Foxborough, and the approximate 22-mile distance between Foxboro and Boston may well be the longest distance between a football stadium and its associated city (possibly equaled only by Arlington/Dallas).

Twenty-two miles is not an insignificant distance, especially considering Boston's ubiquitous traffic problems. And at that remove, Foxborough residents certainly can't be considered Bostonians. In fact, Foxborough is actually closer to Providence, Rhode Island than it is to Boston.

So why not show exterior nights shots of Foxborough during the pregame introduction? After all, the franchise left Boston proper—and even abandoned its "Boston Patriots" name—in 1971, so Foxborough has earned that right. How about a shot of the Foxborough Comfort Inn bathed in its lawn spotlights? One of the jewels of the Foxborough Skyline, the Comfort Inn offers free breakfast and a fitness room equipped with a Stairmaster and a wall clock.

Or the Paine School, built in 1795, either apparently to teach color-blind colonial youngsters how to enter and exit structures or, according to its colloquial spelling, as Massachusetts' first S&M grotto.

And what about Extra Space Storage, one of Foxborough's finest self-storage facilities? Stuffed with sentimental garbage that local pack rats can't throw away, this oversized closet serves as the town's silent nerve center, likely housing aged heirlooms and hand-me-downs from Foxborough's bygone days. Who knows what treasures from its sleepy suburban past lay in climate-controlled darkness?

So, get on the ball and do away with the visual clichés, football networks. There's a hell of a lot more to the hometown team than the postcard-mimicking money shot.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Blow Must Go On

As was reported in The Smoking Gun on November 29, a South Carolina couple were involved in a domestic disturbance on Thanksgiving day when the woman, while performing oral sex on her boyfriend, stopped in mid-act to answer her cell phone. As can be seen in the official sheriff's report below, she lied to her boyfriend that the caller was a woman, later admitting that the caller was a man, which infuriated her boyfriend—as if halting her blowjob to take a phone call from her girlfriend wasn't infuriating enough. The boyfriend then allegedly slapped her, at which point she called 911. The investigating police officer examined the woman's face but found no evidence of physical harm. After refusing to give the officer a statement, the woman left the scene, and no further action was taken.

As you may be aware, South Carolina is home to many kooky laws. And as still extant in the South Carolina Code of Laws as of the end of the state legislature's 2009 session, under Title 16: Crimes and Offenses:

SECTION 16-15-120. Buggery.

Whoever shall commit the abominable crime of buggery, whether with mankind or with beast, shall, on conviction, be guilty of felony and shall be imprisoned in the Penitentiary for five years or shall pay a fine of not less than five hundred dollars, or both, at the discretion of the court.
"Buggery," of course, is the archaic term for what we commonly refer to as "sodomy," which, in legal matters, encompasses a range of sexual acts, including oral sex.

Now it's lunacy to still have a puritanical law such as this on the books, even if virtually never enforced. But it's beyond lunacy not to have a law on the books criminalizing the halting of a blowjob for any purpose other than to cause ejaculation via a different manner. Let us be plain: once a person is involved in administering the act of oral sex, the recipient cannot be left hanging. Let the phone ring. Allow dinner to burn. Disregard the doorbell. Ignore the fire. South Carolina legislators must realize that—regardless of whether oral sex is outlawed in their state—once "head" is underway, the mission must be completed. Even under the aegis of such prudish laws, failing to complete a blowjob is far more heinous a crime than engaging in the act altogether.

Perhaps this man did slap his girlfriend—which, of course, would be criminal under any circumstances. But police found no evidence of such, and the accuser refused to file a statement, which not only makes her allegation dubious, but renders the matter moot. It is she who is guilty in this case—guilty of stopping a blowjob to answer a phone. Sadly, there is no weight with which the law can come down on this unconscionable for perhaps banning her from South Carolina Gamecocks events. Shame on this woman.

Therefore, I propose that the following amendment be added to the South Carolina Code of Laws—and, indeed, to the Code of Laws of each state:

SECTION 16-15-120a. Fellatus Interruptus.

Whoever shall commit the abominable crime of fellatus interruptus, whether to tend to another matter or to cease for reason other than to change position or stimulatory method, shall, on conviction, be guilty of felony and shall be imprisoned in the Penitentiary for five years or shall pay a fine of not less than five hundred dollars, or both, at the discretion of the court. The offender shall further be required to wear a scarlet "CT" at all times that the offender be known publicly as a cocktease. So do the right thing and finish what you started.


It is my hope that this incident—as have many other actual criminal occurrences—becomes the basis for a future Law & Order episode. Sure, fellatus interruptus probably would constitute only a Class E felony in more liberal-minded New York City, but any chance to see Assistant DA Connie Rubirosa reenacting the crime in court for the benefit of the jury is sure to be a ratings-grabber!

In fact, I think I'm gonna write the episode myself.

Maybe even story-board it, too...

(Photo of Law & Order copyright NBC.)