Let Them Play

I know. I’m sorry. But you don’t really want to hear about my fantasy baseball team’s ongoing championship series, do you? Managing the California Teabaggers is a full-time job. (I look amazing in the uniform.) Today I cut Ian Snell, who has been a great help to us after we signed him as an undrafted free agent. But his year is over. It’s like the last day of summer camp. We had a fantastic time, but this group will never be together in this configuration again, and it’s time to say goodbye. We put Freddy Sanchez, Brad Lidge and Billy Wagner on the bus yesterday. That was hard. I don’t mind telling you it got emotional. Dammit, these guys gave the ‘Baggers all they had these last five months! WHY ISN’T THIS A DYNASTY LEAGUE? It’s just not fair.

Pick your teammate up in the comments, kids.

He Gave His Life For Tourism

Report Card of Visited Airports, July 2006-2007

F:

Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
Ruinously renovated to turn it into O’Hare Junior, gracelessly connected to the CTA, and advertises wireless internet availability. Not advertised: Wireless internet access at Midway costs $9.

O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
I hate the United Terminal, the pickup area half-pipes of my childhood have speed bumps, and wireless internet access is not free.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
In a misguided display of civic pride, CNN blares out of every speaker and television in the place. I don’t understand how they get away with this. If SLC blared Mormon teachings at “The Red Zone is for loading and unloading ONLY” volume, there would be a national outcry. Why must I be marinated for two hours in the teachings of the Church of Current Events? I just want to read my book and wait for my flight. Wireless internet access costs $9.

D:

Palm Beach International Airport (PBI)
Apparently designed to not be an airport, but something more like Woodfield Mall but with unusual entrances. Not enough windows. Too many shops. Inconveniently located in West Palm Beach. Security guy that got suspicious and cranky with me when I asked how the compressed-air security checkpoint machine worked. The only pro: Free wireless internet access.

Miami International Airport (MIA)
Has expanded gracelessly. I think I ran two miles there on the last trip. Plus the rental car procurement system is difficult to figure out and an unpleasant experience once you do. The only pro: Tammy’s Bakery, a mile north on LeJeune Road. My God…the arroz con leche. The empanadas. The eclairs caramello. You owe your D to Tammy, MIA.

Logan International Airport (BOS)
Impossible to get to by any form of transportation at all and filled to the brim with Bostonians. The only pro: Legal Sea Foods.

McCarran International Airport (LAS) (Departing):
It’s not just because you’re leaving Vegas. It’s because you, and everyone else, are exhausted, hung over, unshowered, filthy, raw-throated, poorer, fatter, headachy, stiff, reeking of smoke and liquor, grubby, greasy, nauseous, coughing, and ill-packed, as you stand in Terminal D’s Space Mountainish security line trying not to pass out and watching the security video in which prominent Vegas citizens urge you to stop behaving like you’re in Las Vegas. The reward for getting through this line is to get on a tram that drives you out into murderous blinding sunlight and eventually drops you off at a place where you have to get on a plane and go back to the real world. The only pro is that you have not been left in the desert to die. In McCarran on Monday morning, that begins to feel like an accomplishment.

C:

Tampa International Airport (TPA)
The nicest of the recently-built airports. Pluses: Multiple Starbucks, the most efficient airport security I’ve encountered, an amazing view of the runways, and my absolute favorite feature of modern airport design, open gates. Minuses: The term “Remote Parking” does not nearly convey the remoteness of the Remote Parking at TPA. It’s very easy to drive into the airport itself, provided you are a 36th-level Freemason, and thus entitled to know which UNMARKED EXIT off of 275 is the one for the airport. (TPA may be upgraded after they finish the airport extension and put the sign back up.)

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT)
Pros: Small. Coffee readily available. This happened there. (Scroll past the bullet points.) Cons: Rental car people breathtakingly inept. Security personnel touchy about people throwing a football around the gate area.

Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
Pros: Nothing stands out. Cons: Nothing stands out. Evaluation: No airport in America is more deserving of a C.

B:

Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)
Spartan decor, generous windows displaying gorgeous scenery, free wireless internet, and the air show that is Kirtland Air Force Base make ABQ a nice place to kill ninety minutes. Denied an “A” because it took the airport staff forty-five minutes to get someone to come clean up the vomit generously distributed by the child who had been sitting next to me at Gate 8.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
Almost a perfect airport. Reasonably priced long-term parking, a location convenient to everything, a complete SWA terminal smaller than any four consecutive gates at O’Hare, and the nicest rental-car depot in any airport I’ve ever been in. Denied an “A” because there is only one place to buy coffee in terminal B, and because the free wireless internet is unreliable.

A:

Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
A two-hour layover at Sky Harbor is like visiting 1978. Everybody is older than me, the decor is that of the old terminals at O’Hare but with desert browns replacing the red-white-blue theme, and virtually every vertical surface that can be a window is. Clearly a product of the golden age of airport design, PHX does not attempt to be anything other than an airport, nor does it attempt to give the impression that a flight bound for Mars will be departing from the next gate over. A pleasure. High-quality snack options and lightning fast free wireless internet. Bonus: Westbound flights provide a terrific view of Phoenix, especially Chase Field’s retractable roof.

McCarran International Airport (LAS) (Arriving):
Walking off the jetway at McCarran, one is greeted by the sounds of slot machines, the glow of increasingly extravagant advertising, the smell of greasy food, liquor, and smoke, the kindly visages of Rita Rudner, Wayne Newton, Penn, and the Top glowering down at you from every turn, and the striking difference between the anticipatory grins on the faces of those deplaning and the bedraggled weariness on the faces of those waiting to board. It is an absolutely perfect table-setter for your trip. McCarran is, to borrow a phrase once deployed in similar context, a gross physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of the next ninety-six hours of your life.

Long and Strong

The CTA and Under What Circumstances I Would Cheerily Approve Their Demands For More Money

Now before I put forth my one-sentence requirement, which if fulfilled would fix all the CTA’s problems and get me on board with the idea of giving the CTA all the money it could ever possibly want, let me give you two small pieces of information:

1) I formed this theory before the NTSB basically called the CTA a gang of self-serving shitbird bureaucrats who would be charged with a hundred and fifty counts of willfully negligent attempted homicide if there was any way to charge chimps with crimes, and,
2) One of the routes on the absurdly named Doomsday cut list, 90N, would be a seriously expensive inconvenience for me personally.

To the solution:

I will fully and enthusiastically support the CTA being given a bunch of fresh money if they agree to immediately fire, without severance or pension or benefits, any employee who has not had personal physical contact with a bus or train in the last thirty days.

Until they do that, I will continue to root for the CTA to discontinue every route and service that can’t pay for itself.

* * * * *

No One Watched The Bears This Week But Me

“Rex was Rex”? “Same old Rex”? “RIGHT WHERE WE LEFT OFF”?!?! I lost count of how many sportswriters I thought handed in their coverage Saturday night.

That was a whole different Rex. It wasn’t Rex Marino, and it wasn’t Wrecks Grossman. I thought he had made a lot of progress. At one point, Fox showed a graphic: Rex had been to that point sacked twice, hit four more times, and hurried into a throw eight times. Last year, the fourth column would have been “And five turnovers, two returned for touchdowns.” But Rex made good decisions when he had the chance not to, this week. As Luna and J-Mac’s adored cheezburger cats would say, I has a hope.

(Cedric Benson, of course, sucked. But let’s give him more than a week, you wailing Mariottis.)

* * * * *

Fantasy Baseball Semifinals: More Stressful Than 9/11, Or Is It A Tie?

9/11 came and went. I don’t understand the people who say stuff like “Never forget” or “Remember the victims”. I remember. Let me forget.

(Though I could not help but notice the parallels of working in the newsroom on 9/11 to the fantasy baseball playoffs I’m currently in:

* I cannot tear myself away from sources of update.
* I’m tense and nauseous all the time.
* I’m drinking much more than usual.
* I’m mining the internet for any new information.
* I can’t think of anything else, any waking second.
* I talk to my brother 47 times a day.
* My fantasy football league is suffering.

This bodes very, very well for this Saturday’s barbecue and the next Halloween party. Those rocked right out of control in ’01.)

* * * * *

A Dealer’s Guide To Rib Appreciation

I have seven grandpits, and have recently hooked a second near-toddler on genuine smoked pork barbecue. I wonder if John the Baptist knew what he was starting?

* * * * *

How I Knew For Sure What I Bought Was Goat

In Europe, after the war, butchers that sold rabbit would leave the heads and feet on the skinned carcass, to prove that they weren’t trying to pass off cleaned and prepared cat. While there is no war ongoing in Niles that I am aware of, I am 100% sure that the bilaterally bisected passenger side of cabrito I cooked last weekend was what I was told it was. Though the butchers and I had no common langauge, I was able to discern that I was not being hoodwinked by looking the cabrito-roast-to-be square in the eyes.

* * * * *

Bonus: Today’s Strong Political Opinion

Turns out, neither the Blue Team nor the Red Team accepts members of the squad being outed. That’s not what I’m mad about, though. Party closemindedness doesn’t surprise me. What really got to me was the alleged offense. Public sex? That wasn’t public sex. They were in a stall! That isn’t legal? WHAT IS THIS, RUSSIA? PEOPLE DIED FOR OUR RIGHT TO GET BUSY IN BURGER KING BATHROOMS.

An America in which you can be jailed for getting some based on preferred venue, no, no, no! Discreet strange is a tentpole issue in Blood & Thunder’s America.

Called Out

Tomorrow: A recap of the last week. Topics covered will include:

The Crown Someone’s Ass’s Live Draft and the Three-Day Recovery Period Required Subsequent
The CTA and Under What Circumstances I Would Cheerily Approve Their Demands For More Money
Fantasy Baseball Semifinals: More Stressful Than 9/11, Or Is It A Tie?
I Am Not Too Old To Play Softball.
I Am Too Old To Slide.
A Dealer’s Guide To Rib Appreciation
How I Knew For Sure What I Bought Was Goat
No One Watched The Bears This Week But Me

Bloom And Grow Forever

During our live fantasy league draft last night — more on the 2007 Las Vegas Goddamn Animals tomorrow — I was struck by the selections of MarShawn Lynch and JaMarcus Russell. You know what? It’s high time white people stopped sneering at common names with added monosyllabic prefixes and got with the damn flow. Those are cool-ass names, honkies. I believe it’s time to retro-name some of my friends, just to prove my point.

I cast about for a suitable set of syllables, figuring that this cannot be just random, or it’ll be just incoherent. (If a thing is to be done, it ought be done right.) I considered my options carefully, and decided that there’s really nothing whiter than the Sound of Music.

So, DoRob, ReBarb, MeJuli, FaBecky, SoCara, LaJeremy, TiGail, time to update those driver’s licenses.

I know it’s a pain, but don’t y’all feel cooler now?