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Archive for July, 2008

Tuesday’s All-Star game left me shaking with rage. It was played at Yankee Stadium (did you know it’s the fourth AND LAST game EVER to be played at that jewel, that national treasure! Who knew? Certainly not I!), and as always, the Yankee fans were classy about it. Booing every Red Sox player as they were introducing, booing Red Sox manager Terry Francona, and out and out taunting Sox pitcher Jonathan “Paps” Papelbon during his turn at the mound in the eighth inning.

Okay, so maybe Paps said some things about wanting to close the game in the ninth. And maybe he said something to the effect of how maybe, as defending World Series champions, he/they sort of had the right. Yeah, that’d make me a little bit pissed if I was a Yankees fan, sure. Mariano Rivera is a great pitcher and a great closer. (I’m not so proud; I can admit that.) And so maybe it’s a little arrogant to say, but let’s be honest: probably all closing pitchers wanted to be the ones to close the All-Star game. Wouldn’t you? It’s just that no one else said as much. And the person that happened to be that honest happened to be a Red Sox player.

And you know what, Francona did have Rivera close in the ninth (as it turns out, the game didn’t end there as logic might have suggested, and things more or less went to hell, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that it was a nice, normal, unnecessarily dramatic and downright overhyped game). Which, you know, he didn’t have to do. So why the big to-do?

The entire point of the All-Star game is to have some healthy inter-league competition. The point is that for a few hours, we are all on the same team. But the Yankees fans couldn’t manage to do that; they had to be rude and arrogant and childish.

I’m not going to say Sox fans aren’t equally rude and childish, and periodically arrogant, and aren’t just as hated by non-Sox fans as Yankee fans are by non-Yankee fans. I know what we’re like. Hell, I participated in a raucous “Yankees suck” chant for a minute or so outside Fenway after the 2004 ALCS win. (In my defense: if you blow a three-nothing lead and have your ass handed to you four games in a row, you do kind of suck.) But in a lot of ways, it seems that while both sides are equally immature, the Yankees are the ones getting lauded for it.

In a night with a near hour’s worth of pre-game coverage, sixteen Yankee Hall of Fame inductees, George Steinbrenner’s Universal Studios tour of his stadium (where visions of Hedonismbot danced in my head), ESPN specials, a parade, and kind reminders from our Fox announcers every few minutes on the History, Legacy, and Cultural Significance of Yankee Stadium and its Legendary Team (just in case we forgot that they are Very, Very Important), I think it’s safe to say that Yankees fans got their heyday. The nice thing to do would be to maintain their legacy and be humble. But they couldn’t cast aside their petty childishness for one night. Real classy, Yankees fans. Maybe if we’d been rallying instead of insulting, the game would’ve ended when it was supposed to.

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It should be noted (should it? Should it really?) that currently on the Next Doors’ porch are six dining room chairs, a rug, a rocking chair, an end table, and what appears to be some sort of armoire. Now, I try not to judge, really I do. But seriously, what are they going for here? Is this a future locale for a Seven Dwarves cocktail party? Do they rent out to a brood of cats who like to nap on sun-warmed cushions and want to eliminate the window middleman? Perhaps they’re hoping to establish some sort of porch cafe for an upcoming B&B?

But the most important question of all may be: is there any actual furniture in their house?

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I’m sure at this point in time, everyone’s heard about the website IMDb. Anyway, I don’t know how long this particular practice has been going on, but these days, under plot keywords, you’re expected to scroll over to find out particular keywords, because the people want to protect you from deadly spoilers. (I don’t judge one’s policies in the matter; I have a tendency to alternate back and forth between complete spoilerphobia and “whatever, bring it on!”, depending on what the film/show/book in question is.) It’s a nice enough practice, but the keywords are just as Joe Schmoe (of the Greenwich Schmoes) -submitted as anything else on the site. So while you get dreadful be-all, warning-worthy spoilers such as character deaths and transvestites and imaginary friends, you also have a tendency to get things like “Character Name In Title” or “Beautiful Women” or “Chicago Illinois”.

Now, come on. Is that really a spoiler, guys? I can’t think of any instance where Chicago is suddenly an enormous second-act plot twist. (“And then he realizes all this time, he hasn’t been in Springfield, but in Chicago!”)

All that being said, I was browsing a film (I won’t tell you what, maybe you can guess) when I came across the following keywords. (Spoiler alert!)

  • Misogyny
  • Dancing
  • Feel Good
  • Baklava
  • Baptism

In what universe is “baklava” a spoiler? (“Dude, you’ll never believe it, but it turned out baklava was the killer all along!”)

But I shouldn’t really complain, because after all, it’s the feel good-est movie about misogyny of the year!

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Things the Big Brain enjoys:

  • Well-done young adult novels.
  • Board games.
  • The 50 Cent/Lil Kim classic “Magic Stick”.

Conversely, things the Big Brain does not enjoy:

  • The Next Doors, who are a raucous bunch with, as near as I can tell, a revolving door as far as cast goes. The only constants I can determine are the mentally damaged six-year-old who likes to follow neighbors into their houses, and the bearded fat man who likes to sit shirtless on the couch on his front porch at all hours of the day. (Really, he is there and shirtless when I haul myself to work at 7:30 every morning.) The Next Doors tend to throw loud parties on the weekend, which I do not mind, complete with barbecue smoke that leaves all the laundry on my line smelling mesquite-y, which I do mind.
  • Cranberry juice. This is a necessity, good for cleaning out one’s, er, front plumbing, shall we say, but also something of an acquired taste. I have an acquaintance who swears by the stuff and drinks it – get this – for fun. Personally, I find her crazypants, from her loafers up to her belt. The taste is bitter, vaguely reminiscent of grape juice but not enough to con my taste buds for more than a millisecond at best, and seems altogether cruel, like most health food. And this is coming from someone who consumes no soda to speak of, and only 100% juice. A beverage elitist. Normally, I’d be all over this good-for-you drink. So what’s a Brain to do? Would I still get all the sparkly health benefits of le cran if I switch to a cran-grape or cran-blueberry or cran-pom blend? Or will that cran taste just contaminate everything it touches? (Et tu, Cosmopolitan?)

A side note: this very afternoon I found a spent firecracker-type thing on my roof. My roof. I’m looking at you, fat man.

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One of my “secret” guilty pleasures (along with Samoas, novels that explore another side to the story of existing novels (which is more or less published fanfiction, but that’s another matter), and VH1 programming, the crappier the better) is booty songs. Objectifying and borderline misogynistic though they may be, they are catchy as anything. I’ve been known to passionately declare that no booty mix is complete without the classic “Rump Shaker”, which, for me, is the definitive Awesome Ass Song (hyphens optional, positioned at your discretion). It’s a sad fact of the matter, hence the use of the phrase guilty pleasure, that I enjoy these things. There’s no indie cred to be earned in admitting you like “retro”, early-90s, heavy radio-play songs about the female posterior. (Unless, of course, the song in question was an ironic, possibly acoustic tune by a band named something like The Deli Llama.) And yet, I’m weak. If Juvenile pops up on our local “80s, 90s, AND NOW!” radio station, those windows are going down and that volume knob is going up. (Indie cred is for suckers, anyway.) Music should be enjoyable, and songs that make me sad (or that want to make me sad) just aren’t going to cut it. I’m in touch with my emotions, damn it! My emotions just happen to want more Mystikal. And Mystikal wants me to be in touch with my booty.

The point? There is no point. I’m just saying that my anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hon. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go scarf some cookies and Love the New Millennium.

Fun bonus links designed to make you rock out:
The Top 10 Rap Songs White People Love
The Top 10 Rock Songs Black People Love

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While flipping through this book’s table of contents, I noticed some of it was a bit… shall we say, odd.

  1. Restoring natives to suburbia
  2. The vital new role of the suburban garden
  3. No place to hide
  4. Who cares about biodiversity?
  5. No, seriously, who really gives a fuck about biodiversity?
  6. I don’t even care about biodiversity, and I wrote the damn chapter
  7. Why can’t insects eat alien plants?
  8. Why do insects have a stockpile of space plants in the first place?
  9. Why are we sending insects into space?
  10. What is native and what is not?
  11. Has anyone seen my coat?
  12. The costs of using alien ornamentals
  13. How to turn that decaying Martian corpse into a fun centerpiece
  14. Creating balanced communities
  15. Gardening for insect diversity
  16. Blending in with the neighbors
  17. The art of camouflage and subterfuge
  18. Planning for it to happen
  19. Making it happen
  20. Pretending like it never happened
  21. What should I plant?
  22. What does bird food look like?
  23. What do hummingbirds taste like?
  24. Answers to tough questions
  25. The last refuge
  26. Native plants with wildlife value and desirable landscaping attributes
  27. Native plants with a stamen only a mother could love
  28. Host plants of butterflies and showy moths
  29. Host plants of reclusive moths and confused earthworms
  30. Experimental evidence

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In the past week or so, I’ve found at least two used condoms on my street. Literally in the street. It makes me curious as to who might be getting their freak on, and where (their car? someone else’s car? my lawn?), and why they feel compelled to deposit their… deposit on the asphalt. I recognize there aren’t many open and nonjudgmental garbage cans lurking the sidewalks at three in the morning (let’s assume for the sake of argument that 3AM is the time of these alleged hook-ups, as it seems a very good time for seedy curbside goings on), but dude, the rest of us have to live here, too. Or maybe just “the rest of us have to live here,” because I can’t guarantee that you live here “too.” You could be a horny, wrong-side-of-the-tracks stranger, for all I know, picking up your ladyfriend to make a connection in a neighborhood that is not your own. Hey, whatever floats your boat, bro, but come on. The next three houses on my side of the street all have upwards of two youngish kids apiece. Please to not be leaving your sticky used condom where they can find it. Or where I can find it, for that matter.

This has been a public service announcement from the Society of People Who Just Got Home From a Long Day at Work and Do Not Want to Navigate Around Crap You Threw Out Your Window. (For interested parties, we meet on Wednesdays.)

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