Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Nuttin’ Much

Not long ago, three Red Sox players donated items to the baseball Hall of Fame. Slugger Manny Ramírez chipped in his batting helmet and the lineup card from May 31, the night he hit his 500th homer. John Lester threw in his spikes and a baseball from his May 19th no-hitter, and Jason Varitek provided his catching gear from the same game. Since then, I’ve made two phone calls and sent several emails to Cooperstown offering the empty Dunkin’ Donuts cup I sipped on while listening to Lester’s no-hitter. I also mentioned the socks I wore that day, which could be gotten for a modest price. I was careful not to launder them and thus drive the value down. So far no response.


When Iron Man came out, I saw it twice. If I had the money and time, I’d see it two more times, no sweat. I enjoyed it that much.


Lately I’ve been reading books from my parents’ home library, something I never thought of doing back when I was a kid and actually lived there. They have something like two hundred books jammed into a built-in bookcase that came with the house. One shelf is filled with Reader’s Digest condensed books, which kept my mother company when the family first moved to the area and she didn’t know anyone. There are probably nine or ten Perry Mason books mixed in and a complete set of World Book encyclopedias from 1965 (I remember helping my mother unpack them and can still recall the smell of fresh varnish as they came out of the boxes). Which brings me to this: you should read Captain from Castile, by Samuel Shellabarger, an historical novel my dad bought back in the 1940s. Never in my life have I read a book, drawn a short breath, and then went right back to the beginning to read it again (although I’ve thought about doing that before). This guy can flat out tell a story. It’s a Schprock Lock.


If I had a super power, here’s what it would be: the ability to make four car tires go flat all at once. If somebody cuts me off or gives me the finger — blam! blam! blam! blam! Doughnuts to pancakes in a fraction of a second. Being a cyclist in the city, I have drawn the ire of many a motorist. Why, I can’t guess, because no one is more lovable than your humble servant; however, some of Boston’s drivers apparently think I shouldn’t be on the road. My favorite is when they pass me and then hook a quick right turn directly in front, so I have all of .03 seconds to apply my brakes. Usually I yell a bunch of naughty words after that, but what I’d really like to do is blink my eyes and blam! disable a Sable or handicap a Cadillac. Am I being mean? Does that make me bad? Aahhh, whatever. It’s worth going to hell for.


Here is a phrase I say from time to time: “Stay blonde, Ponyboy.” I took that from the only scene I ever saw of a movie called The Outsiders. I really don’t know what hell that’s supposed to mean. But I just like saying it.


I’d like to be a Left Pinky Specialist, or a Leftidigiminiotrist. I figure that way I won’t need to go the full stint in medical school; after all, I’d only have to learn all there is to know about the left pinky. Seriously, how many years of study should that take? One? Two? I’d set up my practice in a mall near a factory where the safety standards are a bit shaky. I can imagine one day two factory workers carrying a comrade into my office, his hand wrapped in a blood-soaked bandage, his face drained of all color. “Doc!” exclaims one, “It’s Bill here. The Chicken Innards Extractor done tore his pinky fingernail clean off!” I put on my glasses and command, “Bring him into the examination room at once!” Then, just before the door, I grab one of Bill’s coworkers by the sleeve and say, “Wait, man! Did that injury occur to his right hand?” Here the glasses come off. The pain and disappointment shows on my face. The hopelessness of the situation is too real, too intense. “I can’t help him. Find a general practitioner. I’m sorry, boys.”


Last Friday I saw The Happening, the latest film by M. Night Shyamalan. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 19 percent rating, which is very rotten indeed. I knew it would stink, but I just had to see it because I admired his earlier work so much and hoped he’d redeem himself after the wretched Lady in the Water. Alas, alas! It saddens me to report that the movie completely did not work. It was irretrievably bad, a botch from start to finish. What happened? What makes the director and writer of The Sixth Sense act like such a bewildered amateur who doesn’t know how to do anything anymore? Shyamalan might have to start worrying about studios bankrolling his films and name actors wanting to work for him. Scenes meant to put you on the edge of your seat go flat and and the stuff intended to shock you makes you laugh. Woof! That’s no good.


The Celtics recently won the world championship. The Red Sox won the world championship last fall. And the Patriots should have won the Super Bowl last January. And why didn’t they? Because someone on the Giants had to go and sell his soul to the devil. Lucifer, Prince of Darkness, completed the pact by causing a mortal to catch a poorly thrown pass on his helmet for a first down. I’ve watched the replay over and over again and can see that there is no way that catch can be possible. Eternal torment for a single moment of glory on this earth? Was it worth it? Was it, Tom Coughlin?


That is all.


Blogger Wordnerd said...

Ahem. It's "stay gold,Ponyboy." Jus' sayin'... ;)

12:27 PM  
Blogger LL said...

Gold... blonde... is there a difference?

Boy Schprock... have I got a bike for you... I read about it in a periodical that I need to find again and give you the link to... I think you'd dig it.

As for the rest... stay blonde Schprockieboy...

7:26 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

We have to talk about Iron Man. I loved that movie. Is there a funnier man alive than Robert Downey Jr. other than yourself? That scene at the beginning with Tony Stark in the Humvee with the soldiers was the stuff of legend.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Farrago said...

Did you ever stop to think that maybe, JUST maybe, Shymalamanan's movie was cleverly disguised as a comedy, and you were supposed to laugh?


And don't bitch about the dream of a sports team trifecta dream gone awry to a Cubs fan.

Just. Don't.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Farrago said...

What the HELL did I just write?

8:50 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Another gem of a post. The weird thing is ... I tell my son, "Stay gold, Ponyboy" ALL the time. My kids think that's such a strange thing to utter and I read your blog and had that strange Shymalmananadingdong feeling so looked around a bit. That's just an odd coincidence ... or maybe that phrase caught on and parents everywhere are saying it?!?

I loved "Ironman," but I love superhero stuff in general. I have very manly movie tastes, I believe. Manly and boyish. Lesbian stuff good, superhero stuff great, spy stuff super cool, but chicks drinking cosmos and not sure about love when they are well into their 40's, not so much.

Thanks for the laughter!

7:44 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Our encyclopedias were from 1963...I loved it because JFK was still alive in them.

Oh, different book...oops. I still think you'd enjoy Arturo Perez-Reverte's books.

Also, if you want I can mail you my Anne Rice books. I'm not seeing me read them ever again.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Curse you, Kathleen. Anne deserves multiple readings, but yeah, pass on the genius. =)

6:38 PM  
Blogger Flash said...

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I am one of the yellers at the bicyclist.

Sometimes, in rush hour, they don't belong in the middle of the street holding up traffic.

But thats the only time I yell.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Tera said...

You sure that's it? I love the Outsiders...both book and movie! Go ahead say that all you want!

I haven't seen Iron Man yet, but the boys are waiting paitiently for me to buy our bootleg copy from the Barber Shop.

P.S. I often secretly wish I had the same super power as you...not that I have road rage or anything...just sayin'.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Beth - I liked them well enough, but I have so many books waiting to be read and I know I didn't like them well enough to re-read again, so they might as well get some additional use. Heck, there are some I never even got around to reading. How pathetic is that!

9:46 AM  
Blogger Beveridge D. Spenser said...

I never knew Captain from Castile was a novel - I guess it would have had to have been, but... Anyway, it's a great swashbuckling movie starring Tyrone Power. He could swash those buckles like nobody.

I second Kathleen's Perez-Reverte suggestion, esp. The Club Dumas. Concerning the film version, The Ninth Gate, well, your mileage may vary.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

The Club Dumas is MUCH better than the movie which I would say was hardly recognizable as being based on the book.

I've been considering sending a Perez-Reverte book in the box of Anne Rice books...only thing is that (those) I'd want to back. ;-)

7:15 AM  
Blogger JennyC&F said...

Welcome back to the posting world and I am so happy you don't have super powers! But that is a great choice of a power to have, eth?

6:48 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Kathleen, never read? Which? Do you have just vampire tales or the others? I've never read anything else by her except for the first JC book.

Oh, and Schprock, curious to if you're going to see the new Batman flick. I'm going this weekend.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

That title - Me Paint Pretty You Pay Okay - still cracks me up.

So, you're reading Anne Rice and you love it? I love that you love it! That was such a great book! See what I mean about yeah, she's writing about vampires, but there's also all this rich writing going on and all this background work she does, which goes so far beyond those types of novels.

7:01 AM  
Blogger eda said...




1:16 AM  

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