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Monday, December 31, 2007

A New Year


Happy New Year from my little corner of the world to yours. And no, Trot didn't turn into a flesh eater overnight; Just a combination of ham, Doritos, and a chocolate cookie.

All in all, 2007 was a pretty good year; I celebrated my 15th year of marriage, I've got three healthy children (well, physically anyway), and the Red Sox won the World Series for the second time in 4 years.

I met a lot of new friends online, and had the pleasure of meeting several of them in person, including my adopted sister Tex.

My resolutions for the new year are pretty simple; Laugh more and yell less, tell my wife I love her at least 10 times a day, and kiss my kids more often.

Other than that, I'll do what I've always done; take it one day at a time and muddle along the best I can. Like the great prophet Forrest Gump once said, "I'm not a smart man".

I have no idea what the new year will bring; I'm just figuring on going along for the ride.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

They Did It For Sean

I interrupt the normal drivel about my nut job family and the Boston Red Sox to make the following announcement; my football team, the Washington Redskins, made the playoffs. Better yet? They beat the Cowboys to do it.

If you think I'm letting the fact Dallas had already wrapped up home field advantage throughout the playoffs going into the game, pulled Tony Romo, and for all I know had the guy who hands out the Gatorade playing free safety by the end harsh my mellow? You are sadly mistaken.

Other than that period from 1983 to 1992, where they appeared in 4 Super Bowls and won 3, the 37 years I've walked this rock have not been kind to the 'Skins. For every Joe Gibbs, George Allen, Marty Schottenheimer, and Vince Lombardi as head coach they've also had THESE guys; Bill Austin, Jack Pardee, Richie Petitbon, and Norv Turner. And for the record, Steve Spurrier NEVER coached in Washington. You hear me? NEVER.

Comparing Jack Kent Cooke to Daniel Snyder as an owner is sort of like comparing Ann Margaret to Paris Hilton as an actress. Getting richer and younger is cancelled out by being dumber with way less class. After that magical 9 year period, the next 15 years have been one frustrating season after another. From 1993 through 2006 their record was a scintillating 95-135 with 2 playoff appearances resulting in a 2-2 record.

After starting this year 5-3 they proceeded to lose the next 4 games. Their best player, Sean Taylor, tragically lost his life as well during this time. I'm not one for mystical forces and looking at your own belly button for the answers to life, as anyone in my family will readily attest.

But for a team to win it's last 4 games while dealing with the unspeakable tragedy of a young mans life senselessly being snuffed out AND end up making the playoffs? THAT doesn't happen.


They say a picture says 1,000 words; I'll let this one of Clinton Portis speak for me.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I Think She Finally Snapped

Strangely, the moment I realized my wife was certifiably insane wasn't the culmination of some gradual build of events. No connect the dots from one weird incident to the next, no telltale signs, and no "I saw this coming" revelations.

I knew when I rolled out of bed this morning. In 15 years of marriage, she has NEVER taken the Christmas decorations down until after January 1st; when I walked out of our bedroom today, the house looked like Cindy Lou Who's did after the Grinch got through with it. She had ripped down every bit of garland, ribbon, and lights we'd put up not 5 weeks earlier.

Before I realize it, I'm recruited into taking ornaments off the trees and stuffing things into boxes and 2 hours later it's like Christmas never happened. After a lot of yelling about "You slept in and I've done all this work and why won't you just help me", all I'm left with are lights outside to take down and approximately 5 million pine needles to vacuum off the floor. Don't let anyone fool you; a fake tree that is 20 years old sheds as much as a live tree does.

For a brief second I panicked and the one thought that rushed through my head was "Oh crap. She's pregnant". Then I realized that there was NO way a just God would allow that to happen, and figured it was the onset of menopause, which caused another wave of desperation to wash over me. Thankfully, I was wrong on both counts.

Turns out she just got a wild hair when she woke up and wanted to get it over with. Since this woman NEVER does anything without analyzing it to death, I can only conclude that myself and our three little bundles of joy have finally pushed her over the edge.

If that's the case, I only have these 4 words to offer:

God help us all.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Visit from a Scouser

*Photo courtesy of Ciera*

While there was doubt whether Horshamscouse would survive his visit, I'm happy to say my friend John did indeed make it out alive after coming to Casa De Ted.

Rakes and Trot were immediately in awe, I think because of the accent. I'm not sure John noticed, because even in a state of amazement they still act like they are hopped up on sugar. Or meth, take your pick. It helped that John showed up with 3 bags full of presents, including a soccer ball(he noticed in an earlier picture Rakes was playing with a ball that was too big. Them Brits and their football), New Zealand hats, a CSI kit, and even some Jade earrings for Ang all the way from New Zealand. The highlight?

The bears Rakes and Trot are holding: if you look close, one is New Zealand police officer and the other is a crook, complete with miniature handcuffs; Appropriately, Rakes is holding the criminal. Both boys have went to bed the past 2 nights clutching these as they went to sleep, so well done John.

During the day I learned that the Horsham part of his tag name is a market town outside of London, while a scouse is short for scouser. Scouser is actually a Danish dish that the people of Horsham were known for eating, hence the Scouse part. Like some daft tourist, I had to know what a pound was compared to a dollar and what in the world a "quid" was. Turns out, it's a pound. Who knew?

I also got a big kick out of the language difference: "Bugger" and "bollocks" were as funny to me as I'm sure "Y'all" and Angie saying "Tahed" when calling my name were to him. "Homemade Biscuit" is apparently universal.

Surprisingly, there were no major International incidents concerning the boys; they were actually on pretty good behavior. I think Trot running pedal to the metal toward sharp corners made John a little jumpy, and at one point he remarked to Ciera that Rakes didn't seem to have a volume other than 10. We drove around and looked at Christmas lights, and paid a visit to my Mom and Dad; Right after Mom was diagnosed with cancer, John sent us some DVD's of New Zealand for her to watch, so she was tickled to meet him.

Just before leaving, Rakes asked Horsham to "read me a tory":

Note the look of intense concentration on Rakes' face: this is usually only seen when he's getting ready to give Trot a flying body press. With the last story told, John, I imagine with great relief, headed back to his sister's home in Virginia. The fact he got pulled over, had to call a tow truck, and may have been driving illegally is a story for another day that I think I'll let him tell if he wishes.

Almost as soon as he'd left, Rakes looked at me and asked this: "Dad. Been is Mr. John toming back again? Me like him. Me like him A LOT."

I'd say it was a success.

Safe travels, Horsham.

You're welcome here anytime.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After

It appears the great plague of 2007 has finally decided to leave my house and move onto greener pastures; Ang and the kids seem like they have recovered and for some weird reason I was spared the worst of the beast.

There was no new post yesterday because I spent last night reading the biography of Slash (G-n-R guitar player) and chanting "I will NOT get sick, I will NOT get sick". All the while my stomach was making noises like Jeff Bridges' did when Jim Carey gave him that laxative in "Dumb and Dumber". Somehow it appears I escaped the monster's wrath.

Today was the first relaxing day I've had in a while; slept in, then took in the new Nicholas Cage flick "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" with Ciera, Matt, Amanda, Stacy, Keith, Jared, and Libby. I'm pretty sure Keith gave Stacy a roofie in order to get her to come, but I'm glad she did.

There aren't a whole lot of movies I can take Ciera to that I actually enjoy, but this was one of them. Jerry Bruckheimer at his car crashing/shoot 'em up best, but no cursing and a good message. If you've got young children it's a good film to take them to see.

Tomorrow marks the arrival to NC of Horshamscouse, who's coming to visit this nuthouse. I'm making him sign a liability waiver that if he gets sick, he was duly warned. I'm also advising him to bring earplugs, full body armor, and an athletic cup just in case. And not necessarily in that order.

Great Britain meets the Deep South.

Anyone available to interpret?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Medicine for 1 wife and 3 kids beat down from the flu and one dead-tired Dad? $57 dollars.

Carpet cleaner, Lysol, and detergent to clean everything from the plague? $23 dollars.

Loss of productivity of Dad due to lack of sleep? $2 dollars. (Let's be honest: I don't REALLY do all that much.)

A dime for every time I fussed at the boys tonight for running, yelling, and in Trot's case, sneaking outside? $1,000,000,000.

Looks of joy on their tired, sick faces as they opened up Elmo, Batman, and Hannah Montana toys? Priceless.

I'd like to wish all of you who come by here on a regular or semi-regular basis a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

And if you see Santa, tell him to hurry up with those horse tranquilizers.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Is Anybody Here A Doctor?

I could have used one of these suits this weekend; Apparently, my house was where the bubonic plague decided to take up residence the past 48 hours or so.

First it was Trot who started with a runny nose and ended up expelling what I'm POSITIVE was more than his body weight until late yesterday afternoon. Just when I thought we were out of the woods, Angie gets sick in a way I never read in one of those "What to expect when you get married" books we read 16 years ago. I'm a firm believer that God never intended for a man to see his wife do the following: A. Go to the bathroom, B. Give birth, and C. Throw up.

That is why he invented Doctors and doors.

During the night I wake up to what I initially believe is a flock of seagulls coming down the chimney; turns out it was just Rakes flipping out because he had gotten sick in his bed. And on the floor. And all over his stuffed animals.

Remember, the one who SHOULD be handling this is riding the porcelain highway, so here I am disheveled, half asleep, and muttering under my breath about that stupid Bing Crosby/David Bowie version of "Little Drummer Boy". Just when it can't get any better....

Ciera turns into that kid from the Exorcist around 8:30 this morning. Honest to God, I kept watching her, video camera at the ready, waiting for her head to swivel 360 degrees. How I have not gotten this entity yet is beyond me; I've rubbed my hands raw washing them under scalding hot water and I think I cleaned WalMart out of Lysol.

Thankfully it looks like the worst is over; Trot has been asleep for over an hour and Rakes went down 30 minutes ago without me having to threaten to barricade his door with a refrigerator. Ciera is eating an ice pop in my bed and Angie's skin color no longer makes chalk look like a neon sign.

I really hope Santa is bringing me syringe full of Horse Tranquilizer tomorrow night.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

One Year Later

*Picture courtesy of Kelly*

I got to thinking earlier today while I was getting Trot out of the sink for the 5th time in 20 minutes that it had been close to a year since I started this little lemonade stand called Red Sox Dad. Sure enough, when I went back and looked at the archives, it'll be one year tomorrow.

In honor of my good friend Tex, who sort of gave me the final push I needed to get the thing up and running, I've used a picture of Josh Beckett for this post. Beckett also happened to be the subject matter, such as it was, for my first ever entry for the blog. You know that saying about even a blind squirrel finding an acorn every now and then? In hindsight, that first one hit the nail square on the head: Who'd a thunk it?

Reading over some of the earliest posts, I've got to give a big thank you to anyone who's still reading that was around for the first few months. While I'm not gonna win a Pulitzer anytime soon, I'm a lot better now than I was then. Of course "better" is a matter of opinion, but I'd like to think so. For those of you who found me later and still take the time to stop in everyday, thanks.

As far as my regular group of reprobates and mental patients who obviously have a sadistic side, a big thanks to you as well. I appreciate all the comments and constructive criticism I get from you. And by constructive criticism, I of course mean insults: well, Tex, Matt, and Scott provide the insults. The rest of you are much nicer.

If you fall into the "read daily but occasionally/never comment" group, I appreciate you reading this mess as well. I've said from the beginning that it's therapy for me and since it's free, it's a whole lot better than a shrink. Like any writer, you're only as good as your subject matter.

Luckily mine is the Boston Red Sox, who are positioned to be REALLY good for a LONG time, and my completely insane children.

It looks like you may be stuck with me for the foreseeable future.

Friday, December 21, 2007

An Update On The Can't Miss Kid

Outside of following the Red Sox with a fervor usually reserved for radical Islamists and Fantasy Football players, my other favorite baseball related thing to do this year was try and keep up with Josh Hamilton.

I've posted a few times on him: local Carolina boy who was the 1st pick in the 1999 baseball draft. You may have heard of the guy who was picked 2nd: Josh Beckett. Hamilton was the classic tale of someone who had the world by the tail, but ego, drugs, and alcohol took him down.

Except this kid was the exception: through faith, hard work, and the love a woman who wouldn't give up on him, he made it back. All the way from strung out in some crackheads mobile home to playing CF next to Ken Freaking Griffey for the Cincinnati Reds.

After being away from the game from basically 2002 to 2006, he played in all of 15 minor league games in 2006. With the odds almost a million to one, he made the Opening Day roster of the Reds this past season and ended up hitting .292 with 19 HR's and 47 RBI's in 90 games.

Word came down late today that he had been traded to the Texas Rangers. Part of me is thrilled for the guy because Ron Washington seems like a perfect manager for this kid and part of me is already worried that change may not what he needs in regards to his recovery.

I hope he's mature enough to handle it, though the fact he's made it this far tells me he is.

I hope he'll get the support in Texas he had in Cincinnati, and the fact Washington is there sort of tells me he will.

I hope he hits .300, 35, and 120 next season; 'cause if anyone deserves to have success it's Josh Hamilton.

If this isn't the perfect time of year to wish for hope, I don't know what is.

Merry Christmas, Josh.

I'll be pulling for you.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What was Tek THINKING?

*If you like the picture, see Kelly*

Back in 2004, Doug Mientkiewicz ended up with the ball that represented the last out in the first World Series title in 86 years for the Red Sox. To call what happened in the ensuing months controversial wouldn't do it justice; you would have thought Eyechart had made off with the Holy Grail, Mona Lisa, and Manny's lucky underwear all at the same time.

So when Jonathan Papelbon struck out Seth Smith to end the 2007 World Series and Jason Varitek, the esteemed Captain, stuck it in his back pocket on his way to the mound, you gotta figure all is well.

Even the announcers commented on it, noting there would be no controversy this time around. I mean, who better to be entrusted with such a valuable piece of history than Tek, right?

Turns out he must have had one too many bottles of champagne while celebrating and the ball ended up back with Papelbon. How else do explain the fact the most respected player in the Sox locker room gave THAT ball back to a guy who danced in his underwear on the field, sported a Bud Light box on his head, and by all appearances is nuttier than an out house rat?

After nearly 2 months of wondering what happened to the ball, the truth is finally out: does it honestly surprise anyone that Pap's dog ate the freaking ball?

Of course it did.

It was probably wearing a Kibbles-n-Bits box on it's head at the time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Silent Night It Wasn't

Ciera had her play/Christmas musical at church tonight, and as usual did a great job. Dad and Mom, as usual, forgot to bring the camera and I have exactly zero pictures to show. Thankfully they video taped the whole thing and I can get a copy later.

There was no kids classes tonight, which meant Rakes was in the sanctuary with me the whole time. When we first picked our seat out, he bunny hopped all the way down the pew and turned to face me. He then yelled "Here I tome, Daddyman" and proceeded to hop his way back down the pew.

Once I convinced him to move down to where my parents were sitting, he yelled out every 3 seconds "I Tan't SEE!", even though the thing hadn't even started yet. As I leaned over to talk to Angie, I made a critical mistake: I took my eyes off him for a few seconds. When I turned back around, one of the ladies sitting in the row in front of us was pointing at the end of her row with a concerned look on her face.

There he was, no socks or shoes, standing on the 1 foot long, 3 inch wide arm of the pew, bouncing up and down like some meth addict in need of a fix. And the program HAD NOT EVEN STARTED YET.

After I had corralled and gotten him still, the musical started. 5 minutes in, I hear a familiar form of gibberish at a REALLY quiet point in the program. Turns out the nursery workers had brought the toddlers in the sanctuary, and sure enough, there was Trot on the back row, pointing and ranting right after his Sissy had her speaking part.

Every song and every story you hear during this time of year talks about the peacefulness of Christmas and silence seems to be a prevailing theme: I can truthfully say that since Ciera came along 9 years ago peace and silence are two words that have NOT been a part of Christmas for us.

However, laughter, joy, noise and happiness have played a prominent role.

Call me crazy, but I think we got the better end of the deal.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Can't Believe I've Put Up With Her For 15 Years

15 years.

3 wonderful, healthy, and completely deranged children.

2 Miscarriages.

10,000 kisses.

4,321 arguments. (This may be on the low side)

4,321 time I've said "I'm sorry". (Also may be a conservative estimate.)

4,897,565 laughs, smiles, and " Stop cracking me up or I'm gonna wet myself" moments.

Missing out on winning the Funniest Home Video $10,000 dollar prize because the video camera wasn't charged when Rakes was doing something funny? More times than I care to count.

2 Red Sox World Championships.

15 years ago tomorrow I somehow convinced the most beautiful woman I've ever seen decide that spending the rest of her life with ME was a good decision. Through every dumb, idiotic comment, every "I promise I'll do it tomorrow", and every time I've let her down as a husband, she's been right there by my side.

Happy 15th Anniversary, Ang: I don't deserve you.

In a related note, I'll also always be thankful you have REALLY bad short term memory.

Thanks for putting up with this idiot: I love you more than you'll ever know.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Walking Tall or Lying Through His Teeth

*Picture courtesy of Kelly*

"If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize."
Andy Pettitte

"I did something absolutely wrong. I shouldn't be made a hero."
F.P. Santangelo

"Roger has been repeatedly tested for these substances and he has never tested positive. There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances and yet he is being slandered today."
Roger Clemens ATTORNEY Rusty Hardin

"Once I learned Anavar was classified as a steroid I realized that was not an option. That was the end of it. Yes I called him. But I did not purchase or receive anything from him and have never taken Deca or Anavar."
Brendan Donnelly

Just a small sample of reactions from players mentioned in the Mitchell report: anything stand out? The biggest fish caught in Mitchell's net has his LAWYER issue a statement ( by the way, if it's slander, WHERE is the lawsuit?) and his running buddy uses the same excuse I do when I've ticked the wife off: "If I did it, I'm sorry".

Meanwhile F.P. Santangelo (Who? Exactly.) flat out admits it and Donnelly flat out denies it, which means he's either an idiot or is in fact telling the truth.

Donnelly was one of two players named who played for the Red Sox in 2007: the other is Eric Gagne. Since Red from Surviving Grady already wrote the best thing I've seen regarding Gagne, I picked Donnelly to focus on.

This is a guy who spent 10 years in the minor leagues before making it to The Show, except for a brief period in 1995 when he was a replacement player in Spring Training: trust me, this didn't earn him any brownie points with the big leaguers. I'm guessing "Scab" was the nicest thing he heard. Because he crossed the picket line, he's ineligible for Union benefits, has no say in anything union related, and if Jimmy Hoffa were still with us, Donnelly most likely wouldn't be.

He's also at various times been suspended for having pine tar on his glove, been the Hulk Hogan to Jose Guillen's Andre the Giant, and upon arriving in Boston, immediately let Dan Shaughnessy know he wasn't going to be a part of the CHB's pot stirring.

Last, but not least, is this: After being accused of "vigorously" adjusting his cup toward an opposing player, seemingly in an aggressive manner, he responded with this. I'm paraphrasing, but " Of course I wouldn't do anything that crass: there were F%$#&^g kids in the stands" essentially covers it.

Does THAT sound like a guy who gives two rips about what the public, the writers, or MLB thinks? So why would a guy like that lie about using PED's? A man who has been caught cheating (the pine tar), has a running feud with a certifiable maniac (Guillen) and incurred the wrath of the most powerful union in sports going to lie about whether he used an illegal substance? When all the guys that ARE admitting it are being nominated for sainthood because they are "coming clean"?

I actually believe we may have one guy who is denying he did it that is telling the truth. No "it was from a tainted supplement", no "I thought it was a B12 shot" and no "If I did it" nonsense. Just a flat out denial of any wrong doing.

I believe Brendan Donnelly.

Of course, I may just be subliminally wishing for a joint Josh Beckett/Brendan Donnelly press conference where they commit at LEAST 8 FCC violations while talking about that nights game when in fact, he's guilty as sin.

You just never know.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's a New Day

I can't decide if he looks like Edward Furlong in "American History X", Private Pyle from "Full Metal Jacket", or that kid from "Sling Blade". Should you ever get the wild hair to go buy yourself a hair trimmer to give your 4 year old a hair cut, a word to the wise: DON'T.

If you spend any amount of time reading this car wreck filled with incorrect pronunciation and grammar, you know that I'm either doing one of two things: pontificating about the Red Sox or talking about my deranged family.

Yesterday was one of those days where I went to bed at night thinking I'm a horrible Dad and convinced my kids would be better off being raised by Angie and a hamster: every time I turned around there was yelling, crying, screaming, and throwing something at someone. And that was just me.

Due to the fact it was pouring down rain all day and about 40 degrees outside, we spent all of Saturday indoors. Having to spank Trot on the hand for trying to bite through the PlayStation cord and then pulling it off the cabinet, then listening to him scream for, I kid you not, 47 minutes that "Dad pop" while he smacked his hand was just the start.

Until nap time, the rest of the day consisted of Trot and Rakes on what appeared to be a concerted mission to do everything in their power to see how many different shades of red my face could turn: if I wrote it all down, it'd make the Mitchell Report seem small.

At 5, I had to go pick Ciera up from play practice in the rain and somehow in the entire 20 minute drive home she picks me backing into the garage as the perfect time to let me know she has the Youth Pastors keys: I didn't ask why she had the keys because I was scared the top my head would pop off.

Giving Rakes his haircut while he screams "Dis it taking FOREBER" in between crying fits, it hit me about 5 minutes in: This was NOT going to be good. I don't think Angie even got that slow pit in her stomach like I did: she pretty much just started to cry.

We ended the day with Curly and me playing Star Wars Legos on the PS2, fighting the bad guys while my 4 year old mental patient berated me with "You not mobing fast enough, Dad" for an hour and a half.

After feeling sorry for myself the rest of the night, I woke up this morning and came to some realizations:

I'm not a bad Dad, I just had a bad day, and all the things my kids do that make me want to run away and join the French Foreign Legion don't make me lose my patience: They TEACH me patience.

Finally, I learned this: trying to cut corners and save money with 3 kids and a stay-at-home Mom anywhere you can is a good and noble idea.



You just don't do it with hair cuts.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Day After: I Needed a Break

After "Black Thursday" and the Mitchell report, I needed a laugh: I found it while googling "Images of Manny Ramirez" and surfing the World Wide Webs. Here we see Papelbon and Lowell, dressed in their Sunday Go To Meeting clothes and drinking beer out of a can.

Contrast that with this shot of Manny dressed like Arthur Fonzarelli and Okajima looking like Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Caribbean" drinking what looks to be wine out of a crystal goblet. If you use your imagination, you can almost hear Manny saying "Heyyyyyy": I'll give you 10 to 1 odds there is a black leather jacket to the left of Manny JUST off screen.

If you look over their shoulders, you can see Lowell and Papelbon, along with what appears to be the back of Josh Beckett and his girlfriend's heads. I can only imagine they were playing cards while Beckett was muttering epithets and dropping the F bomb every 3 seconds while he and Papelbon stare each other down and Lowell plays the peacemaker.

All the while, Manny and Oki are seemingly debating the merits of what type of Red Wine goes best with halibut and which one of the Three Tenors was actually the best.

After 2 days of talking wonks going on and on about the Mitchell report, who else is out there whose name DIDN'T come out, and hearing more about Roger Clemens than I'd want to in a lifetime, finding these pictures was a Godsend.

My quest for tomorrow? Previously undiscovered pictures of Papelbon doing the Riverdance WITH the Bud Light box on his head.

Like I said: I need the break.

*Saturday Night: After a day filled with crying, yelling, and Rakes ending up looking like he's ready to join the Marines, I just don't have it in me for a new post. I'll try tomorrow: for now? I'm gonna go downstairs, watch my World Series DVD for the 3rd time, and try to forget today ever happened. Is it Spring Training yet?*

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Tale of Two Trots

I got a call from my buddy Josh up in MA today, and the poor guy sounded like he'd just been to a funeral. This was around noon, a good two hours away from the release of "The Mitchell Report", a nearly 2 year witch hunt that Uncle Bud commissioned to find out the "truth" about steroids and baseball.

Josh told me that WEEI was reporting that among the names on Mitchell's list was Jason Varitek, Julian Tavarez, and Trot Nixon: His sadness wasn't for Tek, or Tavarez, or Trot (Incidentally, NONE of the three were mentioned in the report: some dink just dragged their names through the mud for nothing), it was for me. I'm paraphrasing here, but "I just feel bad for you and your boy."

Spoken like a fellow Munchkin: Thanks, man.

What I told him in response was basically this: If Trot Nixon HAD showed up on that list, it wouldn't have changed the fact he is one of my all time favorite players or caused me to regret I named my son after him. Nixon just happened to come along during the most controversial period in baseball since Shoeless Joe Jackson fixed the World Series: for any player in the same boat, it's gonna be guilt by association. And that's too bad: because of no tests for certain drugs such as HGH, we'll NEVER know exactly how many guys skirted the system.

Besides, with every passing day I'm more convinced that choosing the name Trot for our 3rd child was perfect. Consider today:

My Mom kept him for a few hours today, and at one point, she found him furiously running in place.

In.

The.

Toilet.

She had to change his socks, shoes, and pants: WHY is this child fascinated with the commode?

Later on, I took Ciera to the book fair at her school: when we left, the boy was fine. When we returned 45 minutes later, he had ran into an open cabinet door and richoched off the wall, ending up with a Gorbachev-esque mark on his forehead and a wicked bruise on his nose:

Now, if THAT isn't a Dirt Dog, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Wild Bunch

Every now and then as I'm driving back and forth across NC calling on my customers, I'll imagine myself as a stay at home Dad: you know, if we win the lottery, Ed McMahon comes knocking on my door, or suddenly some never before seen athletic skill appears and I become the oldest Rookie of the Year EVER.

Taking the kids to school, cleaning the house, and changing diapers? I already do all that, just not as much as Angie. Taking them to the park, outside to play, or to the mall? I could do that: might take some getting used to, but man would it be nice to be able to be with my kids all day.

Just when I think I've got myself absolutely convinced I could handle it, I invariably get a call from Angie like the one I got today: and I realize I've been kidding myself. There is NO WAY I could do it and keep my sanity.

Rakes followed Angie into Ciera's room and asked about all the presents under her little tree ( We have to put the presents upstairs with the door locked: don't ask.), in particular one that was bigger than the others.

Angie: That's yours.
Rakes: Can I open it?
Angie: Not until Christmas.
Rakes: Otay.

Angie locks Ciera's door, then locks the study door that leads to Ciera's room, AND puts the penny used to open the doors on TOP of a picture frame hanging 5 feet off the ground. Two minutes later, after changing Trots diaper, Angie comes out in the hall and sees the following: a chair under the picture frame, the door to the study open, and strolling out of Ciera's aforementioned locked door, Rakes.

Angie: What are you doing buddy?
Rakes: Me not doing anything.
Angie: You didn't open that present did you?
Rakes: No, me not. Dat is a cool Spider Man helmet, Mom.

Later in the day, completely wore out by Trot pushing a bar stool around the kitchen and climbing into the sink, on top of the stove, and into the refrigerator, Angie takes some wire and ties all 4 bar stools together while Sundance stands there and quietly watches her.

10 minutes later she hears the unmistakable sound of a bar stool being slid across the floor: how that little sucker cut that wire we have no idea.

Now, what they did today is pretty tame in the grand scheme of things: but make it 5 days a week with days like today, and then combine THAT with the peeing out of the car door, playing in the toilet, and rubbing lipstick all over the wall incidents that always pop up.

THAT little cocktail?

I'd never get out alive.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Serenity Now

I had all three kids by myself from 4:30 until 9:45 tonight for Angie to go to a local women's club meeting where she attempted to sell the rest of her and Amanda's stuff they've made.

I have NO clue how she does this everyday by herself, 5 days a week: I changed 4 dirty diapers (all Trots), threatened to send Rakes to Military School at least 6 times, and promised myself I'd start Home Schooling Ciera within the next 2 years.

Mind you, this was ALL within a 5 hour window with a 30 minute dinner break included: I need a shrink, a drink, and possibly a lobotomy to recover, and not necessarily in that order.

Highlight of the night? Rakes and I playing "Star Wars Lego" on the PS2 while Trot tried to turn himself into a mummy with the chord from the remote: good times, good times. Throw in me not having a CLUE how to help Ciera with her 4th grade homework, Trot wanting to climb into the kitchen sink every 2 minutes, and some telemarketer trying to sell me a time share in Orlando and you've got the recipe for a mental breakdown looking for a place to happen.

Before I finish, I need to send out a prayer for Matties little girl, Caroline, who is in a Raleigh, NC hospital tonight with pneumonia: be well soon, Baby C.

Also, to my sisters Sonya and Sheri in Oklahoma City, who have been without power since early yesterday due to the ice storm of biblical proportions that hit that part of the country on Sunday. PV's for you as well.

I'm guessing you don't want to hear it was almost 80 degrees here today and I currently have the A/C running?

Monday, December 10, 2007

'Tis the Season

Have you ever gotten home after dark and thought about hanging Christmas lights on the tree in front of your house? In fact, not only YOUR house but the nice widow woman who lives next door? If so, can I give you a bit of advice?

DON'T DO IT.

The fact I told Rakes and Ciera they could "help" me may be coloring my advice just a little: throw in Trot figuring out how to get out the front door, my aforementioned widow neighbor trying to hold the ladder, and everyone in the universe picking tonight to drive down our street on the way home, and you've got a recipe for an epic meltdown by Ted.

Do you realize it's EXTREMELY stressful to be on the top of a 12 foot step ladder with a strand of Christmas lights in one hand and a paint roller extension in the other while a not yet 2 year old is playing in the street while headlights are coming down the road?

If you didn't: Trust me.

It is.

Add to the equation a wife with a previously unknown knowledge of EXACTLY how the lights should be strung, a faulty drop cord that keeps tripping the breaker, and Rakes figuring 6:30 pm was the PERFECT time to ride his scooter in the road, and you'll get some idea of how the night went.

And I STILL don't have my lights up on the tree: I'm starting to feel like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day".

At least I still have this going for me:

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Looking at the Lights

Most Sunday evenings from Thanksgiving until the end of the year, we load the kids up in the man van and go look at the Christmas lights. Tonight we started at the rest home down the road, where they do a Two Night Only drive through light show.

Per Ciera's request, we popped some popcorn before we left for her and her brothers to eat during the drive: We didn't make it out of the garage before Trot dumped his out all over himself.

Once we got there, as much as I hollered, waved my hands in front of his face, and at one point, PHYSICALLY turned his head, Trot wouldn't take his eyes away from Toy Story, which was playing on the built in VCR. As far as he knows, we loaded them all up and drove around the block for an hour.

Rakes at least paid attention: though after we saw the Chick-Filet cow wearing antlers and passing out "gifts" (which turned out to be a baggie of cookies stuffed in a plastic cup), every 5 seconds he would blurt out "Me wanna get my present from the Chicken Cow!" The facility sets on two man made lakes, with trees and lights scattered all across the water: it really was beautiful. Too bad Trot was engrossed in the adventures of Buzz, Rakes was obsessed with the cow on two legs, and Ciera was more into laughing at Frick and Frack than actually looking at the lights.

At least we tried, right?

I think the elderly residents who were directing traffic and no doubt praying no out of control SUV would come along had the best time. At every intersection we heard a "Merry Christmas" and "Thanks for coming" shout. If they only knew I had the 2007 version of John Dillinger and Al Capone in the back seat.

Next weekend it's the drive through Nativity Scene at the local Methodist Church.

Real people acting out Mary and Joseph, live animals, and Rakes and Trot.

I REALLY hope they have good insurance.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It's a Pirates Life for Me

Rakes went shopping with his Mom and sister today, and came home with this Pirate get up: He wears it well, right? Why does he always want to play the villain?

He's also bent his new Star Wars PlayStation game won't let him be Darth Vader. "But Dad: HIM is who I want to be." I swear it won't surprise me if he asks to be Barry Bonds for Halloween next year.

His Uncle Keith asked him last night if he had swallowed a megaphone. As I've mentioned before: He's LOUD. Angie said you could hear him all over the Dollar Store today: in fact, Ciera said she was going to look at something a few isles over, and I quote: "Don't worry Mom. I'll be able to find you: I'll just listen for Rakes and I'll know exactly where you are."

See, MY kid is the one all of you are muttering about under your breath when you're shopping, wondering why his parents aren't doing something about him. Just to give you a heads up next time: We ARE trying. It's just tying him to the shopping cart and putting a muzzle on him is sort of frowned upon these days.

I think I'm just gonna start telling people he's got Tourettes Syndrome.

Word came out today that Eric Gagne declined the Red Sox offer of arbitration: that big loud WHOOSH you heard was RSN letting out a collective sigh of relief. It looks like the Brewers are on the verge of getting a deal done with him, and I wish the hoser nothing but the best. That said, I'm extremely grateful I won't have to breathe repeatedly into a paper bag while offering Hail Mary's everytime he pitches next season.

Making the move for him, at the time, was the right thing to do: the results, however, reinforce an important life lesson for all of us. To paraphrase Richard Vernon from The Breakfast Club:

Sometimes when you mess with the bull, you get the horns.

*Update: I just heard this about today's shopping trip. Rakes had to "GO POTTY" so Ciera took him. 5 seconds later, Rakes was running out of the bathroom at Walmart with Ciera right behind. According to Angie, Ciera spent the next 5 minutes proclaiming to the world that "I didn't get to wipe and Rakes never went!" I'm glad I've held firm to my No Shopping Policy Until They All Hit 7. *

Friday, December 7, 2007

Surviving Santa. Or Santa Survived. Take Your Pick

What is it about Santa Claus that causes reactions like the one Rakes is having in small children? All week long he'd been going on and on about getting to see Santa tonight: in order to get him to even take the picture I had to PROMISE him he didn't have to sit on Santa's lap, he could get a cookie afterwards, and I'd take him to the bathroom as soon as we finished. Yet he STILL looks like I told him he couldn't have that catapult he wants for Christmas.

I'm pretty sure I threatened to make him sleep in his Christmas stocking as well, but there was a lot going on, so I can't swear to it.

Some other moments from visiting Santa:

Rakes uncovering one of life's great mysteries while watching the puppet show: after going behind the screen, he finds out there are PEOPLE who make the puppets move. I was cracking up at his expression and more than a little sad he figured this out, all at the same time.

Ciera's reaction to Santa's helper asking what she wanted him to bring her this year: happy, yet sort of embarrassed. I'm starting to think this might be the last year she is fully behind this whole "magical man bringing presents to ALL the children in the ENTIRE world" thing. With 90% of her friends telling her he's not real, to her being pretty quick on the uptake, I'm pretty sure she's on to the whole thing. In fact, I think she's kept it up this long for my sake: she knows how much it's going to break my heart when she finally grows up, I think she's putting it off for me. Excuse me for a second: it's a tad dusty in here.

I'll end on a good note: Trotter high fiving Santa Claus. He jibber jabbered at him the whole time, and except for not wanting to sit on his lap, Trot seemed rather fond of the guy while we were there. I'm honestly amazed we got one picture where he was looking at the camera and not craning his neck in a way that would have crippled a lesser child just to take a peek at Mr. Kringle.


As an adult, we tend to lose sight of how special Christmas really is: all the hype and commercialism makes me weak in the knees.


Viewing Christmas through the eyes of a child?


It's like you get to be 4 years old all over again.



Thursday, December 6, 2007

My Choice For President in 2008

As we near the end of 2007, we're less than one year away from voting for our next President.

I've studied the candidates closely, listened to their positions on the important issues, and tried to discern what is the truth and what is b.s.

I want a President who is intense, focused, and ready to do whatever it takes to right the ship. I want a person who will put the best interests of this country first and his/her own interests second. Someone who will have a platform of solving the war in Iraq, fixing the economy, and getting us back to being the beacon of light for the rest of the civilized world.

Brutal honesty, loyalty, and a definite plan in mind for leading this nation for at least the next 4 years: After much deliberation, I think I've found my man.







Seriously, he CAN'T be worse than any of the rest of them, right?

*Thanks to Kelly for the use of the picture*



Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dr. Phil NEVER talked about This

I ask you: is this normal sleep attire? For whatever reason, Rakes has gotten into this weird habit of wanting to go to sleep dressed like a mental patient for the past few weeks. Tonight, it was dinosaur pajamas, his pre-school T-shirt, and my Redskins toboggan from when I was a kid: only HE wanted to wear it backwards.

All this came after I got him out of the tub. He stood there with his towel on, shivering and going "I'm TOLD, Daddy, I'm Told" for about 3.7 seconds, then dissolved into a giggle fit.

Upon me asking him what was so funny, he belly laughed and pointed downward.

Sometimes I find it hard to go on with a straight face.

So, now it looks as if the Santana deal is out the window, which is fine by me. The way I see it, we've won 2 World Series without him, so it's not like we need him to win. Thing is, I'll get up tomorrow and they'll be saying we are minutes away from announcing a deal.

Right now, I just wish they'd say yea or nay so we can all get on with our lives: I've had 7 months of intense drama this year already, thank you very much. I want to enjoy Christmas without worrying about who will make up the Sox middle relief corp this year, but you and I both know it'll keep me up at night.

Finally, rumor is Varitek has instructed Scott Boras to explore contract extension talks with the Red Sox: in all the Lowell/Santana mess I'd forgotten the Captain's deal runs out after next year. So now I've got THAT to obsess about as well.

Somebody hold me: I think I need a hug.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Waiting for Johan

I got my World Series DVD in the mail today, and it's burning a hole in the case as we speak: So this will be short and sweet.

Apparently, we've basically got Johan Santana in a trade for Jon Lester, Coco Crisp, Justin Masterson, and Ryan Kalish, the latter two being top prospects in the minor league system. Except we really DON'T have him yet: there is the tiny matter of how big of a small third world country does he want to own? IF the trade happens, the Red Sox will have 72 hours to work out a contract extension: if they don't accomplish that, the deals off.

All this is doing wonders for my budding ulcer, by the way.

The Detroit Tigers DID make a major trade today. In exchange for 6 minor leaguers they received Miguel Cabrera AND Dontrell Willis, which automatically makes them the front runner in the AL Central for 2008. Bonus for the Red Sox? Neither one will play for the Yankees: at least next year, anyway.

Finally, Trot pulled the Christmas tree over on top of him today: Angie found him lying on the floor, tree laying on top of him, merrily playing with ornaments and lights and without a care in the world.

I'm starting to worry:

He may very well out-Rakes Rakes.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Over the River and through the Woods

When I last saw Rakes and Trot this morning, Angie had them loaded in the man van and heading off to visit Angie's Grandmother, Annie. I've gone on these trips before, and the combination of headstrong, curious children and slow moving elderly people has presented a bit of a challenge. What happened today may well keep Angie from ever going without back up again.

According to her, for awhile all went well. Annie's son and his wife were there, and they were enough of an audience to keep the boys busy. For a while. It wasn't long until Trot was firing the contents of Annie's fruit basket across the room while shouting "ball" and Rakes was doing his 2 ft, 4 year old impression of J.J. from Good Times.

It was then that Trot discovered Annie's walker, which he then proceeded to bang into every wall, door frame, and piece of furniture in her room. About the time Ang got THAT put away, her phone rang. At this point, the wheels just freaking fall off the visit.

As she answers the phone, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum take off running down the hall like someone with their hair on fire: if you've never seen a 4 year old and a toddler run, it's sort of like a Mama Cheetah flat out hauling tail while the newborn baby Cheetah hurtles along RIGHT on the edge of out of control.

When she finally catches up to them, they are in some elderly mans room. He's passed out asleep in bed while Rakes is standing over him shining a flashlight at his eyes shouting "Wake up Grandpa! Wake up!"Meanwhile, Trot is frantically running in circles in this poor mans bathroom, looking for something, ANYTHING, he can stuff in the commode.

As Ang comes into the room, Rakes turns to her and says "He not waking up, Mom. What wrong with him?" while all she's trying to do is keep Trot from clogging this poor guys toilet up and getting them out of there without him waking up. They somehow make their escape without either the old man stirring or his toilet overflowing in the process.

After I got home, I asked Rakes why he was trying to shine the light in the mans eyes: his response? (You have to get the visual at this point: he's in a cape, a Spider Man mask, and holding a Pirate sword.)

"I was dust tryin' to see what tolor his eyes were, Dad."

Of course he was.

I'm not sure Dennis the Menace's Dad ever had days like this.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Final Countdown

*Picture courtesy of Kelly*

On April 2 of this year, Gerry Callahan of the Boston Herald wrote the following:

"Ramirez has two seasons remaining on his eight-year, $160 million dollar contract, and then he'll be out of the Red Sox lineup and out of our lives for good. We're at T-minus 19 months to liftoff from Planet Manny, and then the man will disappear into Red Sox history, never to appear at NESN again."

I knew this was coming: it's sort of like tax day: you just put it to the back of your mind, force yourself to forget about it for a while, and then deal with it when it gets here.

Over the weekend, I received my Boston Herald and Boston Globe commemorative World Series books in the mail, and reading those I came across the article I quoted. Technically, Manny won't be a free agent: the team has $20 million dollar options for 2009/2010. The likelihood they exercise them falls right behind Rakes NOT getting in trouble tomorrow and the sun rising in the morning. NO WAY this ownership group is going to give 1 player $40 million for 2 years: especially not one who will be 36 at the end of next year and whose effort and defensive skills are considered by some as, well, questionable at best.

No more manic finger pointing, petting other players heads, and water bottles in the outfield. No more IPods during BP, random head first slides, and wearing Wally's glove in the dugout.

On the flip side? No more tape measure Home Runs, no more circus catches NOBODY saw coming, no more getting to watch one of the best pure hitters to ever play the game on a daily basis, and no more man hugs with Papi, Tito, the clubhouse attendant, and the guy selling hot dogs behind the Red Sox dugout.

Without Manny, the Red Sox world will be a little less brighter, a little less quirkier, and infinitely less entertaining.

Finally, I've gotta wish a Happy 33rd birthday to my younger and much uglier little brother, Mattie. You're getting old, man.

Welcome to the club.

Friday, November 30, 2007

My Girl

Ciera just got home from her first dance a few minutes ago. To say I'm not happy with this development would do the phrase "not happy" an injustice.

Not that I didn't want her to go to the dance: the fact she's OLD enough to be going to dances is what bothers me. All I know is I'm not ready for all this: she's 9. And I'm aging 1 year for every day by now. Throw the fact there is a new female student in her 4th grade class who is 12 (My heart goes out to this kid, but I'm going to be LIVING at an Elementary School until this gets resolved, one way or another), smokes cigarettes, and apparently has seen more than your average inner city gang banger. I'm presently breathing into a paper bag and chanting "It's not a tumor. It's not a tumor".

I'm happy to report there was no slow dancing with boys: Ciera spent the whole time with her friend Taylor, and they left early to get back to Taylor's house to watch " The Polar Express". I've got a feeling this may be the last year something like that happens. I'm trying to encourage her to be friends with this kid named Jared, who is a bigger Red Sox fanatic than I am.

In fact, I'm thinking about arranging a marriage with his parents: he's polite, a Sox fan, well behaved, a Sox fan, smart, and did I mention? He's a Red Sox fan. This is my deranged mindset right now: the fact she is starting to go to dances and notice boys has me considering arranging a marriage based on the fact the boy loves the Red Sox. If I make it through the teenage years without buying a handgun and intense therapy I'm considering myself lucky.

Next, it took all of 4 years of being alive, but Rakes finally committed his first criminal act today: he tried to put his buddy Tommy's toy in his book bag at school today. Twice. Upon being asked why he was doing that by Mrs. Becka, his response? " I beally like dat toy, Ms Becka: By tan't I have it?" I've got a sinking feeling this is EXACTLY how Al Capone got his start.

I'm hoping this isn't a sign of things to come, however, I'm not going to hold my breath.

Did I mention Trot is cutting teeth?

To quote the great philosopher Frank Costanza:

Serenity now.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's Time To Show Some Love

*Thanks to Kelly for the picture*

I really have no clue what Tito is doing to Pedroia in this picture: he's either giving him a neck rub, a noogie, or is measuring him to see if he's grown any taller. Whatever it is, it's a perfect picture of what kind of manager Terry Francona is: a players manager.

Oh yeah, he's also a winning manager: After an 86 year drought in Boston, all this guy has done in 4 years is win TWO World Series, and yet he remains one of the most underpaid skippers in the game.

He may not be the best when it comes to in-game strategy (though I challenge you to find one major mistake he made in the World Series and you can count on one hand the ones he made in the playoffs combined), he is more often than not loyal to a fault, and his arguments with the Umpires are some of the worse you'll see.

If you ask any player on this team what they think about Francona, however, I'd almost bet the farm you'd get a positive response. Well, Julian may still be a little miffed he was left off the post season roster, but other than him, I really can't think of anyone else.

Epstein has been on record saying that once they got all the on field decisions taken care of that Tito was next on the to-do list. I know there is still the tiny matter of trying to trade for Johan Santana still hanging out there, but I hope the second item on the agenda is inking Francona to a much deserved contract extension.

This guy has endured knee replacement, throwing up blood, trying to quit chewing tobacco, and Manny being Manny on a daily basis since he got here: and all he's done is WIN. Add to all that the fact that after EVERY game he's had to endure Tina Cervasio asking some of the most idiotic questions known to man and he's managed to keep from beating her about the head with the microphone so far, there is no question he deserves to be in the top 5% when it comes to pay scale for MLB managers.

Theo: it's time.

Time to show your manager some love.

After all, he's earned it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sitting in the Catbird Seat

In my mind, I can see Theo and Beckett cracking open a couple of cold ones, Beckett tossing out an F-Bomb every other word and the two of them laughing like idiots at the Yankees scrambling to sign Johan Santana.

How else do you explain the reports all over the World Wide Webs that the Twins are insisting on Master Jacoby as part of a deal for the Sox to sign Santana? Do the Twins honestly expect Theo to give up what turned out to be the catalyst for the Red Sox winning the World Series? For what? To get a great regular season pitcher who is basically Alex Rodriguez on the mound once the playoffs start?

I don't think so.

Don't get me wrong: Johan Santana is one of the premier pitchers in the game today, and any pitching staff with him on it is all the better for it. I just don't think you give up the future to make it happen.

Various reports have the Twins insisting on Boston to include Ellsbury in any proposal for Santana, and thankfully, so far, Theo is responding with a firm negatory. As he should: there are prospects and there are future legends. All this kid did was step into a win or go home situation in the ALCS and just roll right on to the World Series Championship: he's not a prospect anymore.

Really, do the Sox actually NEED Santana? No freaking way: they just won the World Series with Beckett, a 41 year old Curt Schilling, a Japanese import in his first year in MLB, and a kid one year removed from cancer. Would he make them a better team? No doubt about it. But he's not a NECESSITY. Which is why I think all this noise we keep hearing out of Boston is just that: noise.

All this posturing is intended to make George's egomaniacal son go insane: if Boston actually ends up getting Santana it'll just be the cherry on top of the sundae. Left is right, right is left, and the Red Sox have turned into the biggest bully on the block.

And I LIKE it: I REALLY like it. Let the Yankees be the team to bet the farm and give away their best prospects to mortgage the future for the here and now. It still won't do them any good: no way they get past the Red Sox next year.

I guess you could say the balance of power in the AL East has shifted, and the hunted has become the huntee. The Boston Red Sox have eclipsed the New York Yankees as the team to beat and somewhere Joe Dimaggio is crying.

All I can say is: it's music to my ears.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another Brick in the Wall

24 years old. Father to a little baby girl. Dead of a gunshot wound that happened during a home invasion. Or so they say.

Joe Kennedy, 28 years old, also a father to a young child, dead of supposedly an enlarged heart.

Screw the world of sports for turning me into a cynic: first thing I thought of when I heard SeanTaylor had been shot and then passed away? His somewhat checkered past had come back to bite him in the end.

When I read of Kennedy's death, I'm sad to admit, the FIRST thing that crossed my mind was this: steroids.

I have no reason to believe that either one of these men died of anything other than what is being reported, and I feel like a first class dink for thinking otherwise. But when you've been reading and listening to the stuff that has happened over the past few years, it's really hard NOT to be a cynical S.O.B.

Barry Bonds, the all time Home Run king, has been indicted for perjury for reportedly lying about using steroids and HGH.

Chris Benoit, a professional wrestler, kills his wife, then his son, and finally, himself.

Rafiel Palmiero lies to congress, Jason Grimsley is apparently MLB's equivalent to Scarface, and Sen. George Mitchell has a report that is going to rock the baseball world. And those are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to scandals and the world of sports.

Growing up, I don't remember all this nonsense going on in professional sports. Athletes were heroes, and as such, deserved to be looked up to. At this rate, by the time Rakes and Trot are old enough to understand reality, I'm going to have to institute a ban on anything involving a ball and let them watch CNN and FOX News because the world of sports has turned into a cesspool.

Before you think I'm some naive yahoo, I realize the Mick was an alcoholic womanizer, L.T. was a coke head, and O.J. Simpson was a tad more evil than his Hertz commercials and The Naked Gun movies implied. It's just we didn't KNOW it: before the advent of 24 hour networks, sports talk radio, and the Internets, all this stuff just never got out.

I'm not mad and I'm not bitter that we find all this stuff out 1.3 seconds after it happens these days: I love the fact we can get news and get it quick, and I'm a rabid listener of XM radio and ESPN. Anger is not the emotion that I feel when I hear a story like the one involving Sean Taylor.

It's sadness I feel: sad that a father lost his life at such a young age, and sad that the culture of violence and lack of respect for human life has ingratiated it's way into our society in such a way that this sort of thing doesn't shock us anymore.

Sadness for my two boys: that they will never get to see sports as a special, magical thing. For them, the world of sports will be just another facet of life, with no demarcation line between fiction and reality.

Isn't that what sports is supposed to be? A diversion from our daily life, a welcome break from reality, where we can forget about all the pain and suffering in the world, forget about the bills and the mortgage and just enjoy a game of baseball for what it is? A child's game, played by grown men getting paid a king's ransom.

Thankfully, there are still people like David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, and Mike Lowell I can point out to my kids as people to look up to and admire.

In the back of my mind though, I wonder: what if one of them was exposed as being a phony? What if they were like all the one's we read about and it has all been just a front? Frankly, the thought of that happening makes me sick to my stomach.

Growing older and wiser has it's good points.

But sometimes it just flat out sucks.

Monday, November 26, 2007

West Coast Ramifications

Do you wanna know how far the long arm of the Red Sox has reached? Take a look at the Los Angeles of Anaheim Palm Beach Hollywood and Vine Angels. They just signed Torii Hunter to a 5 year, $90 million dollar contract.

I know what you're thinking: they did it to win the AL West.

Wrong: they did that last year.

Or they did it to upstage the other show in town, the Dodgers: nope. They never even made an offer.

Get this: they signed him so they can BEAT THE RED SOX in the post season.

So says the Wonderdog, Rex Hudler, color analyst for the Angels. He was on the MLB channel on XM today, and in his own words the Angels signed Hunter so they can counter the attack of the Red Sox offense once the playoffs begin.

In his own maniacal way, Hudler (if you've never heard this guy, he talks about the Angels the way a TV evangelist asks for money) said the Hunter signing was solely based on beating the Red Sox in the post season. He hilariously recounted how the Angels have beaten the Yankees the last 2 times they've faced them in the post season, and according to my Yankee buddy Shawn, he HATES seeing the Angels on the schedule.

So from all the way in Boston, the Red Sox have caused the Los Angeles Angels to pay Hunter around $18 million dollars more than the next closest team, reportedly the White Sox, were offering.

Can you imagine that? A team the Sox will play roughly 6 -9 times a year has committed to the equivalent of a small third world countries budget to a 32 year old outfielder who hit 28 HR's last year.

All because they can't beat the Red Sox, in their mind, without him.

Man, have things changed in the last 4 years.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

You Like Apples?

Ever since Mike Lowell re-signed with Boston I've been trying to come up with a visual that would show I how I feel about it. Today, it hit me: that scene in the movie "Good Will Hunting".

If you haven't seen it, Will is hanging out in a bar with his buddies when he meets Skylar. Will's buddy Chuckie is trying to pick up Skylar, when this dink in a pony tail named Clark steps in and puts him down. Will comes over, humiliates Clark, and as Skylar is leaving the bar, she gives Will her number.

When Will leaves the bar, Clark is sitting at the window with his friends and it's here one of the all time classic movie quotes is uttered:

Will: (banging on the window) You like apples?

Clark: Yeah.

Will: I got her number. How you like them apples?

Mike Lowell is Skylar: sitting at the bar, getting hit on by all these different teams in baseball, including the Yankees by all accounts. Getting all the pick up lines and promises of free drinks and a good time, when the Phillies(Chuckie) put the move on. The Yankees(Clark) arrogantly assume they can sweep Lowell off his feet with their big money offer when Theo(Will) steps in and puts the freaking Yankees in their place.

Or maybe not: it just works for me.

I'm happy Lowell will be manning 3rd for the Red Sox for the next three years. I'm glad to know our younger players will have a vet like him to look to and learn how to be ballplayer, and our collection of goofballs and weirdos will have a professional to hopefully keep them somewhat grounded.

Most of all, I'm proud Mikey made a decision not totally based on how much money he would be making: that he took into account things like a city, a fan base, and his current teammates when he made one of the most crucial decisions I'm sure he's ever had to make.
I guess I'm just glad Mikey decided he had to go see about a girl.

EDITOR'S NOTE: LINKS ARE NSFW


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rakes Birthday, Part Deux

Even though his birthday was yesterday and we'd already gone bowling and played "dames", we had the boys birthday party today with our families. Here's the little bugger showing how old he is now. Either that, or he's thinking about taking Ric Flair's place in the 4 Horsemen.

You think he was having a good time? Who am I kidding: EVERYDAY is a birthday for this kid. 5 minutes after getting fussed at, he's right back to Defcon 5, whatever trangression he just committed erased from his memory. Sort of like The Govenator in Total Recall. Only the little people version.

Little brother Trot taking it all in.

Lord, does that kid needs a haircut. He looks like some demented 19th month old Albert Einstein. You have NO idea how much I hope he uses his fertile little mind for good.


Mom, Sissy, and Rakes checking out his Toy Story video game. Before today, I've only seen him this serious once: remember the mouse episode from the other week?

Rakes and I sharing a rare quiet moment.

3 seconds after this picture was taken, he was riding his new Spider Man scooter through the kitchen, hollering at the top of his lungs.

I'll take my Norman Rockwell moments whenever I can get 'em.

FOOTNOTE: ALL THE PICTURES WERE TAKEN BY AUNT STACY. NICE JOB, SIS.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Little Man

Has it been 4 years already? Seems like yesterday we brought Rakes home from the hospital, yet today marked his 4th birthday.

He told his Mom earlier this week he wanted to "do bowling and play dames".

So, that's exactly what we did: and I'm proud to say the boy bowled a 76, which beat his older sister by 5 points. Dad, however, rolled a 138.

Of course, this was with lane guards that prevented a gutter ball, so in all likelihood, I finished with a 68.

My God does time fly: my oldest son just turned 4: where did it all go? He's gone from a small, crying baby to a miniature version of me, right down to the thick head of hair and the attitude.

It's hard to convey in words what I'm feeling right now: my first born son just had a birthday. My Mom used to tell me that time flies once you have kids, and now I finally believe her. The last 9 years have gone by in what seems like 9 months.

As weird as that seems, even more weird for me is Rakes turning 4. He's my little man: even though he's still very little, 4 years old seems like a BIG age. As my kids grow older, I want time to slow down even more: I mean, how did I get to this point?

Even though it's been a roller coaster, I wouldn't change a thing: how many 37 year old men do you know who can honestly say they are REALLY happy? If you're like me, not many.

So I'll deal with the ulcers, the stomach pains, and the high blood pressure: I'll go to bed tonight knowing that at LEAST 3 people love me.

Even if they don't know any better.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blessed

Even though the day started off with Rakes getting up at 6 in the morning, today turned out to be a fairly normal Thanksgiving Day. Well, normal is relative: nobody got a whipping, nothing was set on fire, and Trot only climbed onto the counter top around 20 times.

We ate lunch at the in-laws, got the boys down for what turned out to be a 2 1/2 hour nap for them and Ang and peace and quiet for me.

All the inside and outside lights and garland was put up, which is not the easiest thing to do with 3 kids running outside every 7.3 seconds wanting to know if you're done, how much longer, and what's for dinner.

As I type this, Trot is asleep and Angie, Ciera, and Rakes are putting the lights on the Christmas tree: so far only a few minor skirmishes, 3 shouts of "It's MY turn" and only 2 threats by Angie of bodily harm. MY job is finished: everything down from the attic and all the outside stuff finished. I can just sit back and watch the insanity unfold.

In the past, Thanksgiving has just been another day: this year, with Mom's cancer, it takes on a little more meaning. I've got both my parents still with me, a beautiful wife, and three little monsters who mean the world to me. I've got a roof over my head, food in the pantry, and other than the mental part, I'm relatively healthy.

For me, that's enough.

Here's to hoping that if you happen to stumble by and read this post, that you thought of something you're thankful for today.

'Cause I know I did.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's That Time Again

Ah, the holidays: getting together with family, giving thanks for all the blessings in our lives, and watching out your window as cousin Eddie merrily describes to the world that "the s******s full".

Rakes and I spent most of the morning getting all the Christmas decorations out of the attic while Angie took Ciera and Trot to Sam's Club for the monthly grocery run.

Let me clarify a bit: I took all the decorations out of the attic while Rakes went up and down the attic ladder roughly 45 times, talked nonstop for an hour and a half, and kept trying to convince me that the bunny we typically put out on the front porch at Easter would make the PERFECT Christmas touch.

If you have never gotten Christmas decorations out with an almost 4 year old practicing his future career as an auctioneer while worrying he will step off the 12 X 12 sheet of plywood that is keeping him from falling through the ceiling while at the same time holding a 30 pound box of ornaments because you are waiting for him to get down a ladder? Well my friend, you just haven't lived.

We got them all down: apparently that is the easy part. They are all still sitting in what used to be my office but has lately been taken over by my wife and sister in law's business, and now the contents of my attic. It's all good though: I've carved a path from the door to the computer so I can continue to feed my Internet addiction without any big delays.

On the Red Sox front, Mike Lowell is officially back in the fold, and Curt Schilling couldn't be happier. I'm still amazed by the fact that an athlete took LESS money to stay where he and his family were comfortable.

Long gone are the days of 25 players/25 cabs: THIS Red Sox team has turned into the model franchise that all the other teams hope to emulate.

Who could have seen THAT coming?