Archive for November, 2007

RIP Gram

Posted by rich on 30th November 2007

It’s been a sad day at the house, Lyra’s grandmother died today.

Gramma Mae Jean was a bit crazy, the type of old lady who said whatever she wanted to and screw it all to anyone that dared question her on it. Basically, I thought she was a hoot.

There were times that the old bird dissed her son, and his wife (not Lyra’s mom), and that always made me laugh. She didn’t like the way that they lived, and chose to raise their grandson, and she wasn’t afraid to say something about it. I respected that quite a bit because no one else would say word one, but ol’ gramma didn’t care, she was going to be heard and that was that.

She also trusted no one that lived near her. There were times I thought she needed to be wearing a tin foil hat. I remember when she lived in a retirement community that one of the other old timers walked by and they exchanged pleasantries. Then, after the old lady walked away she told us that the woman was trying to steal her stuff. I laughed. I don’t know what was true and what was made up but Mae Jean was nothing if not entertaining.

My poor wife is distraught beyond belief. She has lost three grandparents this calendar year. The last 11 months have not been fun for her. She lost her Grandma Dot back in January and now Mae Jean today, and she’s feeling it very hard. I wish I knew what I could do to make it all better, but other than offer a hug and a shoulder to cry on, there isn’t much that I can do.

Mae Jean’s in a better place now, and I believe that. She believed she was going to heaven, and I’m glad that she’s there now. The last couple of weeks could not have been a good way to go out. They had her drugged heavily, which might have been a part of her rapid decline, and who knows the last time that she had a cogent thought. But, I do know that she enjoyed Lyra’s visit a few weeks ago and that our little ones entertained her with a show. She clapped and laughed and had a good old time as they sang her songs from their summer performance at Awana. That was the last time that they spent quality time with her, and also the last time that Lyra did too. She visited again last week, but it wasn’t quality time, it was wasting away time. I wish Lyra hadn’t had that trip because this might be easier.

We were listening to our voice messages tonight, and they had backed up over the last two weeks. Lyra isn’t too good about checking them, she just returns the calls. Anyone looking for me just calls me on my cell, it’s easier that way.

The first message was from Lyra’s grandma. The last words that Lyra heard from her were “I love you.”

Now if we had checked that message when it came in (we have caller ID by the way, so we return calls, just rarely check messages) then she probably would have deleted the message. Instead she saved it. At least when she wants to she can hear her grandmother’s voice again, and hear that she loved her.

Tomorrow morning we have to go to Peabody to see my grandmother. The family is throwing her a surprise 85th birthday party. You can bet that I’m going to make sure I tell her how much I love her. Grandparents are so important, if you still have them, make sure you tell them that you love them. It’s a morbid thought, but you really don’t know when the last chance to say that to them will be. Hug them, give them a kiss and enjoy their company.

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Santana Talks

Posted by rich on 29th November 2007

So the Sox aren’t happy with just winning the World Series. They want to dominate the world, which is fine by me.

According to ESPN.com the Sox are in the midst of talks to land Johan Santana, who just might be the best pitcher on the planet. The crux of the deal can be read here.

I love this idea because the Sox upgrade an already strong rotation and do so without mortgaging the future. You’ll notice the names Ellsbury, Buccholz and Pedroia were all missing from that story.

If it happens this will be great, and it might send the already crazy Hank Steinbrenner over the edge. He may seriously lose his head.

Theo and Co. do not want to sit on their laurels. If they land Santana there will be a whole lot of ticked off New Yorkers, which is really all I want for Christmas.

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Going To The C’s; NFL Network

Posted by rich on 28th November 2007

I rarely take in pro sporting events any more, it’s just become too expensive these days, and you have better sight lines at home. But, when Aaron called tonight (first time we’ve actually spoken in weeks) and invited me to next Friday night’s C’s game, I couldn’t say no.

Aaron is the biggest Celtics fan I know. He has been for years and years and years. We cut our teeth on The Big Three v1.0 back in the day, watching Larry Legend and The Chief and McHale work their magic. I can still remember watching one of the 86 playoffs games at his house, during the afternoon. It was a big party, with about 20 people there for the game. We were like 12 at the time, and the Celtics owned the town.

He’s such a big C’s fan that he kept a Xerox copy of a signed Larry Bird document in his room that his mom copied for him from the Barnstable Court House. I don’t remember exactly how she got it, but he showed me that piece of paper with pride.

The funny thing is I remember when the C’s traded for KG that he was irate. I called him on it tonight (old friends have the obligaton to bust on their friends, and we’ve been friends for better than 30 years). He said he’s reconsidered, but that he thought that the team had given up way too much to get him at the time, but now the trade looks great.

It’s so funny because he was really mad at the time. When I talked to him tonight I found out that he’s already been to four games this season already and is going again on Sunday with his daughter, who apparently is becoming quite the little hoopster herself. When we go next Friday, against the Raptors, it will his sixth visit to the Gahden this year. He’s slated for seven more trips after that, hopefully I’ll be invited back for at least one of them.

****

You might have heard about the big blow-up between the NFL and Comcast and some of the other cabe companies. Well if you live in Falmouth you’ve noticed that on your digital cable that there is still a spot for the NFL Network, but that you haven’t been able to see it since July. Well, with Thursday night slated for one of the biggest regular season games of the year — Packers vs. Cowboys — I had to find out what the deal is. Can we really watch the NFL Network, or is it unavailable.

It turns out that if you live in Falmouth, and probably any of the other neighboring towns that has Comcast, you can get the NFL Network. I signed up tonight. They’re running a special for $4.99 for the next three months, and it included some other channels as well. I now get a bunch of Fox Sports channels, a College Sports network, all the soccer I could ever watch (yay) and some movie channels too (Sundance, Fox Movies), along with NFLN.

For me, I can write it off, but if you’re interested in watching the game, you can get the channel. You’ll just have to find an interesting way to explain it to the government if you try to claim it on your taxes. For me it’s a legitimate business expense. Actually, since I write so much about TV shows and games I saw on TV, the whole cable bill is an exceptable write-off, as is part of the power bill and some of the other monthly bills, but that’s another story for another day. It’s all on the up-and-up, though, no really it is.

****

Reports over the next few weeks will not be quite as frequent as you’re used to, at least that’s the plan right now. I’m on a mini-vacation for the rest of the week. I’m supposed to return back to The Enterprise on Monday. In the meantime I’ll probably have one or two posts here, but it won’t be daily. It’s tough to come up with new material every day this time of year anyways. With no Red Sox, and the Pats only weekly, it’s tough.

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Bullet Dodged

Posted by rich on 26th November 2007

Everyone just calm down, okay. The Patriots played a close game last night, that doesn’t mean that the dream of the perfect season is over, it just means that the Eagles played the Patriots close, like a professional team is supposed to. Did you really think that they were going to blow every team out by 30 points this season?

In fact, I think that playing a close game was good for the team as a whole. You need to know that when your backs are against the wall that you can rally back and get the job done. That’s what the Pats did, the came back and delivered on a night when they were not their best and the Eagles were at their apex.

Vince Wilfork said it best this morning on WEEI. “I am not going to apologize for being 11-0.”

Nor should they have to. The Pats saw AJ Feely play the best game he’s ever going to play. He sliced the secondary up, mostly going over the middle. He was squeezing passes into the littlest of openings. It was actually a treat to watch in person, even though I was rooting the other way. Feely and his offensive line did what many aspire to do, but few accomplish: they took their game to another level when they had to. In the end they didn’t win, but man did they give the Pats a scare.

I’ll tell you, they took the crowd right out of it, too. The Pats fans were confused by what they were watching. They’d become so accustomed to everything going so well that this just seemed weird. Everyone within ear shot kept uttering some version of “what the (fill in the blank)” time and again. The only time that the fans were really, really into the game was when the Pats scored to go ahead in the fourth. The crowd really got behind the defense as it came out to try to finish off the Eagles, and then Feely just did his thing before Asante Samuel finally said “enough is enough already.”

History books do not write themselves. If this team is to assume the mantle of greatest ever and undefeated it is going to have to work to make it happen. The next five weeks will be telling and you can rest assured that every team that they face will make this their biggest game of the year.

No one ever said it would be easy. Few things worth accomplishing ever are.

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Can’t Give It Away

Posted by rich on 25th November 2007

Imagine you get a call from your favorite uncle and he offers you two freebies to see the best football team of all-time take on the Eagles. You jump at the chance, right.

Now who to take? Because it came from a family member, of course your first choice is your brother. “Dan, got two for the Pats on Sunday night.”

He declines. Why? I don’t really know. He’s just lame I guess. Let the guy get married and stop seeing him have fun with his brother. I should have invited his wife, she would have gone with me.

Then I call up my best friend, Eagle One (his new nickname, you might remember him as Unmarked Cruiser). “Nah, I’d rather sit on my couch and watch it at home.”

What is with these people? If these were Sox tickets they’d be doing backflips, but of course it’s 75-95 degrees most days when the Sox play.

So after that I went to Money Matt. I figured he’d be good to go, and I owe him one for taking me to a Sox game last summer (I’m too big a man to mention that the game got rained out and I didn’t see any baseball that day. It’s the thought that counts). MM said he’d love to go. At least one of my buddies is still a real man. So what if his wife lasted longer than he did at the charity poker tourney last week.

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Brain Stew

Posted by rich on 24th November 2007

So the family is away, which is supposed to be time to play … right? Unfortunately that’s not the case.

I’ve been working my tail off on photography stuff over the past two days. My head is spinning from being in front of a computer screen for countless hours, it’s just nuts. My eyes hurt at this point.

*** Saw some of the C’s-Lakers game last night. Celtics looked pretty good. They did let the Lakers come back on them some, but that always happens in the NBA. So far so good. They’re 9-1 and kicking butt. If they stay healthy, it’s going to be a heckuva season.

*** Got some freebies for tomorrow’s Pats-Eagles game. With no McNabb in the lineup, the Pats look like a sure thing to go to 11-0. I can’t believe that they’re favored by 24, that’s just nuts. What’s even crazier, I think they’ll probably cover. It’s like college football lines at this point. You don’t know if you’re looking at the line for Pats vs. whoever or Nebraska vs. Wright State.

*** I rented Transformers last night. I had been wanting to see it for a while and with no one home it seemed like a good night to rent a movie. First of all, I can’t believe how expensive Blockbuster has gotten. Over $5 to rent a flick? I could get one on in-demand for $3.99 and not have to leave the house (of course Transformers isn’t on there yet).

As for the movie, it was alright. Like any Michael Bay movie, the explosions and action was really good. The story was okay, especially since you have to remember that it was drawing on the old cartoons. The human characters were pretty good, although it’s hard to see John Torturro, who played Knish in Rounders be comedic fodder. The Autobots were alright, but they were portrayed a bit too goofy for me. The thing is, if you’re going to be goofy, you have to be totally family friendly, but they threw in way too much inuendo and bad language for that. Make up your mind, are you a kids’ movie or a teenager movie? My little guy is too young to care about Transformers, but he’s close to being that age. It’s a shame that I couldn’t let him watch the movie because it’s too mature for him, and not mature in the over-his-head way.

*** Facebook.com is an addiction. It’s unreal, I’m spending far too much time checking messages on my wall and responding to my friends. I’ve been on there for less than a week and already have close to 30 “friends.” Apparently I’m popular.

*** What’s the deal with Verizon. Man, talk about needing to loosen up. I happened by the store today to look at new phones because I knew that I was up for my $100 credit towards new equipment at the end of this month. So I’m looking at the Treos and Blackberrys and LGs (haven’t made up my mind yet) and they look up my info. Turns out I’m not eligible until Nov. 28, which is Wednesday. Since I’m there, I ask if there’s any way that we can just do it now, and they not only said “no” but gave me a look like I was trying to pull a fast one. “Can I just get it done today?” and the response was a terse “not if you want your $100 credit.”

Well excuse me, I just was looking for a little mroe convenience in my life. I didn’t mean to offend you Ms. Verizon Desk Jockey.

*** That’s it for now. I’m going to catch the rest of BC-Miami.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by rich on 22nd November 2007

It’s a great day to be a carnivore. I’m sure those vegans and vegetarians enjoy their tofurkey and soy-based gravy, but let’s face it, that stuff is awful. And, can you really get pumped up about it. Ooooh, here comes the tofurkey. Sorry veg-heads, but this is our holiday, and yes thousands and thousands of tasty birds will have to die to make it possible.

Lyra’s been baking all night long for Thanksgiving at Dan’s house, he and Jen are hosting in their first year as married folk. My lil’ brother can cook some, so it should be good. Big things he really gets into, so I’m expecting he’ll be pulling out all the stops for this one.

Lyra made a ton of cookies and brownies and cupcakes. Basically we’ve got the goodies handled at our house. I’ve been sampling all night, and the stuff is good.

Here’s how my day breaks down. Up at 8, out the door at 8:45, coffee at 9, wait at the Fuller Field parking lot til 9:45. Head up to the press box around 10, kickoff at 10:05, and then to the office at 12:30. I’ll be writing until about 1:15 and then editing until around 2:30 or 3. Hopefully the other writers get their stuff in early so I can go enjoy the good stuff with my family.

Thanksgiving is truly my favorite holiday. You eat and eat and then nap. There’s no pressure to get the right gift and everyone is usually just jolly. I love it.

Don’t forget to say grace before you eat, and thank God for all of your blessings. I’ve got tons of blessings, and the list could get lengthy, but it starts with Lyra, Rye and Leanna. Tofurkey didn’t make the list.

Happy Turkey Day.

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Lemming

Posted by rich on 21st November 2007

I feel like a lemming. I’ve done it, bitten the bullet, given in.

I joined facebook.com.

I never wanted to, but felt compelled to do so when an old college friend sent me an email asking me to join. Then I went through and saw just how many Liberty University alumni were on there, and I had to.

The worst part is now I’m addicted. I’ve added features to my page, edited my profile, chosen music. What is wrong with me?

In one sense it’s a great way to keep up with people. My buddy Will and I exchanged messages about what games we’re covering on Thanksgiving and the coming winter sports season. I also have “talked” to folks I haven’t spoken with in eons. But, it still feels weird.

Those types of web pages are places where underage kids get caught drinking by their parents. Where scorned lovers post embarrassing pictures of their exes. Apparently it is also where I now give my younger cousins a hard time and catch them in photos doing things they shouldn’t be doing. That’s the funny thing about today’s kids, not only do they do much more stupid things than we did, but they also document it. They have no concept whatsoever of plausible deniability.

Well I’m off, I have to see who’s written on my wall.

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Mikey’s Back

Posted by rich on 20th November 2007

By now you know that Mike Lowell resigned with the Red Sox yesterday. Three years, 37.5 million for the third baseman.

Here’s the funny thing. A co-worker’s parents were having dinner at the Chappy Grill in West Falmouth the other night and wouldn’t you know it but one of Cape Cod’s most famous part-time residents was in the restaurant as well, my hero, Peter Gammons. Now my friend’s parents are Sox fans and couldn’t help but ask PG about the chances of Lowell re-signing with the Sox.

He said that they were great, because Lowell didn’t have any offers elsewhere. Interesting, huh. That could just mean he hadn’t gotten any solid offers, or it could mean no one was interested. Regardless, the Sox have the World Series MVP back in the fold and I couldn’t be happier.

Lowell is the type of guy you build a winner around. He’s a solid citizen, a great defensive player, not a “me first” type of dude, and he delivers from the no. 5 hole. Having him there helps Manny see more pitches, and makes pitchers get punished for not giving Manny something to hit.

And most importantly to me, it means that my son’s favorite Red Sox player will be in Boston for at least another three years. When I was growing up my favorite player, Dewey Evans, spent his whole career — minus his final one — in Boston. It was awesome to know that your favorite was going to be there every day. At least Rye will have three more years of his favorite, and when you’re little and becoming a big fan that kind of stability helps to really cement your fanhood. We don’t want him becoming bitter with the Sox and switching allegiances at this young stage of his life.

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Yup, They’re That Good

Posted by rich on 19th November 2007

The phone rang a few times during last night’s blowout, and each conversation was pretty much the same. Well, if you can call giggling a true conversation. I mean, come on, 56-10. The Bills were supposed to be a good football team, not great, but they’d won four in a row and had gotten back into the playoff race. They were supposed to be decent.

Seriously, I don’t even know what I can say about what the Patriots are doing right now. They’re beyond simple words. They are on another plain, in a different stratosphere. Break out the adjectives, and let them fly, but the thing is we can’t find the proper ones to describe just how good the Pats are right now.

Good. That doesn’t even come close. Great, that falls short too. They are not perfect, because that is an unattainable thing. Perfect teams would score on every drive and never give up a yard. Unless Jesus is your quarterback, and The Apostles are playing defense, there won’t ever be a “perfect” team.

But, this New England team is about as close to perfect right now as you’re ever going to see. They may not stay that way. Injuries happen, and teams slow down from them, even ones this good. Laurence Maroney might be banged up, he only ran the ball like three times last night, and never played in the second half. Kevin Faulk got banged up. As good as the Pats are, I don’t think we want to see Kyle Eckels get 20 carries next week.

But if they stay healthy, they really could go 19-0. They’re just playing a different game from everyone else right now, and never has anything looked as easy as when the Pats play offense. Tom Brady is like a 10-year old playing Munchkin soccer, he’s unstoppable. Remember when Billy Madison played dodgeball against the second graders? It’s kind of like that right now.

Years from now we’ll be telling our grandchildren about this team. Some hotshot will come along and lead his team to a great start and comparisons will be made to this team. You know why? Because this team is on its way to being the one that all other great football teams are judged by.

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