Monday, October 29, 2007

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served 52 - 7

"Let sleeping dogs lie."
Chaucer circa 1380



The New England Patriots have a lot to be angry about. Why would a team who is 8-0, leading the league in scoring, 4th in the league in defense and about two wins from wrapping up a fifth straight AFC East Championship and a playoff birth be angry? Let me enlighten you.


The Patriots pummeled the J E T S, Jets, Jets, Jets, Jets on opening day at the Meadowlands 38-14. Eric Mangini, the Jets coach ( who was a Patriots bench coach two years ago) reported to the NFL that the Patriots were videotaping, not from the coaches booth high above the stadium, but from the sidelines. This video was most likely being used to decipher the Jets signal calling on offense and defense in order for the Patriots to gain an advantage over the Jets the next time they faced them. This videotaping from the sidelines is against league rules and the Patriots received one of the harshest, if not the harshest penalty of all time. They lost their first round draft choice in 2008, the team was fined $250,000 and Coach Belichick was fined $500,000 personally. The media was in an uproar and dubbed the Patriots cheaters along the same line as the 1919 Black Sox, Rosie Ruiz, Danny Almonte and Barry Bonds.

Many coaches came to the defense of Belichick stating that the videotape gained from the sidelines is of almost no better use than the videotape gained from the press box. Many coaches stated that the coaches who give the signals change them often enough that any info gained from quarter to quarter is only relevant for a short period of time. Many coaches stated that the Patriots didn't do anything that all 31 other teams in the NFL don't already do. Because of the severity of the fine and the media blitz that dubbed the Patriots "cheaters", the football public, at large, has vilified the New England football franchise, especially the head coach, Bill Belichick.

Enter Week 8 of the 2007 NFL season. The Pats were leading the Washington Redskins( who many in the media thought had a good chance of upsetting the Pats) 38-0 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. At this point in the game it is customary for the offense to run the ball on three plays, punt the ball to other team and play tough "D" in order to preserve a shutout. The Patriots chose instead to try to score again. It is within the rules of the game to try to score when on offense. The Redskins offense was still trying to score and did get one touchdown. The Patriots scored 2 touchdowns in the last quarter to win the game 52-7. Did the Redskins "give up" and put in their second string players? No. Then why should the Patriots? To show mercy? Last I looked there is no mercy rule in the NFL; it is not Little League. How much mercy did the league, media and other "haters" show the Pats mercy for a minor rules infraction? None.

Around the league players, coaches and fans are once again vilifying the Patriots, but now for running up the score. They are talking revenge and talking about retribution and veiled threats (intentionally hurting Brady). The Patriots are sticking it to the NFL within the rules of the game. Mr. Belichick is proving the point that all of those conspiracy theorists who tried to equate videotaping some coaches signals with the success of a franchise that won 3 Super Bowls within four years is ludicrous. The Patriots turned over all their tapes the week after the Jets game to the NFL and have played every game since under incredible scrutiny. They have gone out and, with in the rules, embarrassed the rest of the NFL and won each of their eight games by a 25 point margin on average. This trend will continue. Many of the same players and media types who called the Patriots out for being cheaters are the same players and media types whining about the Patriots putting a beat down on the rest of the league.

One has to think, would this unsportsmanlike display of taking no prisoners by the Pats be taking place if the league and the media had not treated the Patriots like Hitler invading Poland? The punishment outweighed the crime in the case of "Spygate". The league wanted to make an example of someone , the way a teacher sends a kid to the principals office the first day of school. The problem is that commissioner Goodell picked the smartest, wittiest kid to send to the principals office and now that kid is going to torture that teacher all school year long. When you humiliate someone by questioning their integrity, ability and accomplishments, then what do you expect? One answer. Pain.

Real Football fans know that videotaping has little to no bearing on the Patriots former and current success. The game is played on the field and the Patriots have few equals when it comes to performance and execution on gameday, as evidenced by their play over the last six years. As one never afraid to make predictions, I told my brother Mark minutes before the San Diego game which was played the week that "Spygate" blew up that San Diego would get blown out and that the theme would continue through Super Bowl Sunday. The NFL and the media has given Coach Belichick an invaluable gift, incentive. In the Pats locker room its us against the world. This is a war and everyone is the enemy. There will be no mercy, there will be no prisoners, everyone will pay and everyone will suffer.

Thank you Roger Goodell, Chris Collinsworth, Wade Phillips and the countless other "Patriots Haters" who have added fuel to the fire. I made my preseason predictions before "Spygate" was an issue, so I couldn't factor these issue intop the equation. If I may add-on to my earlier predictions: Pats 19-0, 4th Super Bowl in 7 years.

If your team is not the football franchise from New England then God have mercy on you and your team. Its gonna get uglier.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I Swear I'm Not Gay

I am hetero, through and through. I have no interest in sausage. I love vagina. I love curves. I hate hair. That being said, I have some serious crushes I've developed over the past few months and these crushes are on men. Could I be gay? Am I bi? I feel as confused as a 12 year old boy finding out that that Dumbledore is gay (I always thought Harry was. OK I've never read a single line of Harry Potter).

Let me tell you about my man crushes.

"The Role Model"

Matt Ryan



Boston College quarterback. This guy is the all-American boy. I wish my son was about 10 years older, so he would have "Matty Heisman" as his hero and role model. He is as poised in front of the camera as he is in the 2 minute drill. At the college level, he has it all, good looks, an 8-0 record and a shot at the BCS National Championship. If there ever was a "BMOC" (big man on campus) he would be it. At 22 years old he will be a number 1 pick in this April's NFL draft making him rich and handsome. I like 'em young.



"The Bad Boy "

Josh Beckett

I love this guys attitude. He has the Clemensesque sneer without the cockiness. His disheveled appearance matches his "I don't give a shit what you think" attitude (man is that sexy!). He is young, 27 years old, but is one of the most accomplished pitchers in playoff history. He is the best pitcher in baseball on the best team in baseball playing in the best sports town in baseball. The world is his oyster and I'm happy to be swimming in the same ocean. He's a "bad boy" without the rap sheet or the tabloid fodder. I absolutely love this guy!

"The Man"

Tom Brady

There is not a man on the planet that doesn't want to be Tom Brady. He has it all. Giselle, Bridget, a baby boy, 3 going on 4 Super Bowl rings, Saturday Night Live, GQ, Goats and the list goes on and on. Tom would get a reach around and I would not expect one in return, he's that hot. How many guys can knock up one gorgeous woman, start dating a supermodel and lead your team to the AFC Championship game in a two month span? Only #12.

Honorable Mention (Not quite reach-around worthy, but close)

Randy Moss- He would be my bad boy, if he were being bad. He has decided instead of smoking weed, mooning fans, squirting water bottles at refs, running over cops and leaving the field before the game is over, to catch touchdowns and torch defenders. I don't have a crush, but I'd do him if I was drunk (or stoned).



Mike Vrabel- Steeler cast off has become a Pats mainstay. I love his versatility and get all tingly inside when he scores on offense. Nine career receptions, nine touchdowns. This guy knows how to score!! Yum.



Big Papi- Clutch. I love him. He gets taken for granted because its just expected that he will perform. I am not attracted to "Bears", but if I were, Papi would fit the bill.



Well, am I gay? Maybe. What do you care? Who gives a shit? Gay or not I love these guys and have big time crushes. I am star struck and as giddy as a school girl whenever I watch them perform.

As I was transfixed to the TV this morning watching a NESN report about Matt Ryan's performance against V Tech Thursday night, my boy was trying to get my attention. I didn't get what he said, but came out of my "Matty Heisman "daze in time to hear my wife tell him " he didn't hear you, he is to busy watching his boyfriend". I guess my man- crushes are transparent and obvious. Can't a guy have a crush?



Thursday, October 18, 2007

One of the Beautiful People


Yesterday I played golf at the exclusive Dedham Polo and Country Club. I grew up in the Fairmount Projects in Hyde Park about five miles, as the crow flies, from the manicured lawns and sculpted grounds of the club. In Western Massachusetts, where I now reside, taking a five mile trip in any direction brings you, pretty much, to another friendly burg similar to your own. In Boston, five miles brings you to another world. We pulled in to the parking lot of the club at around 9:30 AM in my friend Hiroshi's 1998 Mercedes. Thank God we didn't take my Grand Cherokee or Chris's Explorer because they would have stuck out amongst the Jaguars, BMW's and Mercedes. I am sure the members thought we were roughing it in Hiroshi's decade old car, but assumed that his garage must be minding his late model Aston Martin, Porsche or Maserati.


One of my regular golf partners, Steve, (who happens to be my wife's second cousin, as well as her Scotch league partner) was able to gain us entry into this world of the privileged through his secretary, whose son is the course superintendent. As a child attending a private, catholic school I was one of the few indigent children in a world of the upper middle class. Throughout my life I have been able to shift seamlessly between social strata. I can morph into anybody from a CEO to a barfly. The key? Act like you belong. If you are there (country club or crackhouse), as long as you aren't dressed completely out of place (like wearing a suit in a dive bar(cop) or a "got milf?" t-shirt for drinks at The Ritz) then people assume you belong and will accept you as one of their own.


The attendant delivered our clubs to the driving range from our car and we spent 15 minutes hitting balls and shooting the shit. There was not another soul on the expansive range. We were greeted by the pro who told us to head to the first tee at our convenience and not to rush; there were no tee times for quite a while after us. It was a quintessential fall day in Eastern Massachusetts. The leaves were changing. The morning fog was burning off. The temperatures were in the low 60's and the course was dewy. It was a shame the course was empty, it seemed like such a waste. We teed off at 10 AM and started our way around the hilly track. The greens were fast and firm. On every hole there were groundskeepers working feverishly to trim the fairways and blow stray leaves off the greens. I was starting off slowly, struggling with muscle memory not having played for two weeks. Golf for me during the past few years has been bittersweet. Since my sons were born I can't play often enough to maintain my 8 handicap, but I occasionally regain my former swing just enough to play acceptably.


Midway through the front nine I was soaking in my surroundings. I admired the stone walls built along the roads bordering the grounds and gazed at the changing foliage. I then came upon a grounds keeper repairing a sand trap on the left side of the fairway, where my ball seemed to be slicing all day (I am a lefty). He was a dark skinned man of Hispanic decent. As I approached my ball next to the bunker I said "Hi". He smiled and looked down, avoiding eye contact. I speak fluent Spanish and I'm sure he understood "hi", but his body language spoke volumes. For the next few holes I was troubled. Why should this man have lowered his gaze? I am no better than him. I grew up in squalid, destitute surroundings no more than five miles from here. I felt out of place. The pretension and hubris of the place hovered over my walk down the tenth fairway.


My guilt was short lived having a $10 Nassau to contend with and the comforting fact that this man had a job; his prodigious mid section assured me that he wasn't starving. My game picked up knowing we lost the front and were four down on the overall with only eight holes to go. Hiroshi and I heroically won the back nine by one, only losing 10 dollars of the Nassau and four buck on other side bets. Upon completion of the round we thanked the pro for the round and made our way to the car. People at exclusive clubs (which I have been privy to quite a few in my golf travels) always look happy. Smiling faces and politeness are traits that are easy to come by in such beautiful surroundings. In stark contrast, at my blue collar course, f-bombs echo throughout the place. The drinking is heavy and the scowls are many. The parking lot at my club is filled with pick-up trucks, many with the logo of the plumber or builder's business who drives it. The "nineteenth hole" can be described as a place where golfers drink. My club has been described as a place where drinkers golf.


I won't pack my clubs away for the year, I never do, but this is probably my last "trip" of the year. I was a beautiful day, at a beautiful course and, for a day, I got to be one of the beautiful people.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Orgy Recap

Whew, am I frickin' beat up.

I don't have the stamina I used to have, but not too bad for someone looking down the other side of the hill.

Sox split. Disappointing, especially since Eric Gagne gave up the winning run to the Indians and I didn't even want to see him make the post season roster. As I was mopping up stale beer at 1:30 in the morn I had to endure a 7 run 11th inning all started by Eric Gagne's weak right arm. The Sox have professional hitters and after patiently pummelling Cleavland's number 1 and 2 starters, should feast off of Westbrook tonight.

UMass won in quadruple overtime. I was at home watching the beginning of the BC game vs Notre Dame when UMass finally pulled out the victory; I left in the third quarter when I almost fell asleep in my seat. The game was that boring and I was that tired. As soon as we left the offenses picked up. My lethargy must have been contagious.

BC put a beatdown on Notre Dame, but only went from #4 to #3 in the country. South Florida beat Central Florida and went from 5th to 2nd. WTF!!!

The Pats demolished Dallas. T.O. says "They good, but I can't say they the best team." Are you shitting me? They are averaging 40 points per game and just beat a 5-0 team with the second leading offense in the NFL, and oh yeah have the top ranked defense.

Hey, T.O., shut the fuck up!!

Working the door? Uneventful. The usual puking coeds. The usual bumping and grinding. The usual liberal drug use. Shittier tips than usual, but no blood spilled. I'll call it a wash. Time to eat dinner and settle down to watch "Dice K" earn his money and shut down the injuns.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Orgy

Have any of you been to an orgy? I've participated in a few. If you haven't had the pleasure then you don't know what you are missing. This weekend's orgy will last from 6 PM tonight and last until 8 PM Sunday. A long time to "maintain" you say? You do have to pace yourself, for sure. Let me give you a breakdown.

Friday at 6PM is the Red Sox pre-game on NESN. Sox and Indians face off at 7 PM for the first game of the ALCS. At about 9 PM I will head up to my buddy Hiroshi's golf club to work the door for him at a UMass sorority party (aka college orgy). I will catch the rest of the Sox game while supervising a bunch of drunk, scantily clad girls and Abercrombie wearing, striped-shirt boys who think they can hold their liquor and pick up chicks, but have no clue. The fun part will be catching a few panty or if I'm lucky, beaver shots, while the girls are bumping and grinding. The inevitable downside will be physically escorting inebriated frat boys out of the building. The other bummer will be that at Sorority parties the ratio of men to women are 2:1.

Saturday I will go to work, but may be taking my clients to see the #3 ranked (1AA) UMass Minutemen play Villanova. I should get home in time to plop on my couch to watch the #4 ranked Boston College Eagles play Notre Dame. I will have to listen to the end of that game on the radio as I am supposed to accompany my family to a house warming party for a friend of my wife at 6 PM. I will have to leave the party by 8:30 PM because I have to bounce another party at Beaver Brook, this time a frat party (better scenery, 2:1 ratio women to men). On the ride to Beaver Brook I will listen to the start of Game 2 of the ALCS. I will catch glimpses of the rest of the game between the bumping, grinding and puking.

Sunday I will spend the day watching the NFL. The weekend will reach its zenith when at 4:30 PM the 5-0 Patriots play the 5-0 Cowboys in Dallas. If I have any energy left I will fall asleep to game 3 of the NLCS, Rockies/Diamondbacks.

On Monday I will be spent, with only the visions of tight ends, bumping and grinding, wide receivers and balls flying all over the place.

I better nap this after noon.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Endless Summer

I am a creature of habit.

Change is part of the human condition and I do my best to fight the inevitable. For 42 years I have been a slave to my circadian rhythms. As the light starts to fade in mid-September I slow down. By January 1st I am in full hibernation mode and usually won't be seen or heard from until the Ides of March. I don't have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I am not depressed. I just spend the months of April through September in such a state of mania that to maintain that pace throughout the entire year would surely kill me. I enjoy the winter. I enjoy staring out my window as the snow falls. I relish the solitude and introspection. When Spring comes though, I am ready to go full bore into the things I love and those things just happen to fall during the warmer, light filled months. This year was no exception. Starting with Opening Day at Fenway Park, I have been on a six month, non-stop, run of baseball, beach vacations, cookouts, golf outings, day trips and melted ice cream cones.

The difference between this year and all others is that the fun hasn't ended. Usually by now I am taking longer to get out of bed in the morning. Usually by now I've put the hammock and lawn furniture in storage. Usually by now the highlight of my week is hunkering down on my couch at 1 o'clock on Sunday to watch 10 hours of football, preferably with the rain falling outside and me enveloped in a thick blanket. This year, since the autumnal equinox when I usually start prepping my house for Winter, my weekends have been full ( playing in three golf tournaments and going to a college football game). Its hard to make yourself do chores when its 80 degrees and sunny.

The weather here in the northeast has been exceptionally mild for the time of year so my fall days have been a continuance of my days in the summer, pitching baseballs to my sons, walks to the park, peanut butter and jelly on the front steps. I have yet to remove the AC from my windows and store them in the garage due to the mild temperatures. The foliage change seems to be a month behind. The large Oak in my front yard and the Maple in my neighbors yard are as green as they were in June. My lawn is green and lush and without any sign of frost, continues to need mowing a few times per week.

The end of summer may come on November 4th. That's when Daylight Savings time ends and we lose an hour of daylight at the end of the day. This autumn it occurs a week later than usual. From 1986 to 2006 DST was the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October, but starting in 2007, it is observed from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, adding about a month to daylight saving time. This has been great for commerce and energy savings, but for a creature of habit such as myself, it has pushed me to my limit.

As I sit here on another sun-splashed, 65 degree morning looking out the window at my lush lawn, green oak with nary a red, orange or yellow leaf in sight, I am awaiting fall. I need the cooler weather and the fading light to feel normal. Its only natural in October to have frost on the pumpkin, sweaters and fading sunlight. Fall is inevitable. The leaves will change, the north-wind will start to blow and I will start my hibernation. Until then its shorts and sandals.