Friday, May 31, 2013


What's on my mind? The following things...

 [Bombers, 2012. Big Jay is the one in the back row looking for post-game snacks.]
[photo by Grandma Skip]
[OK, that's a link to (not my uncle) Skip, but he'll tell her about it.]

1) The Bombers (my fast-pitch softball team, and not people who blow things up, in case you're new here) get back into action this coming Sunday. We're 2 - 0 thus far and tied for first place. Since our coach, Jack Atton, has a previous engagement that day, I will be the interim coach.

I was coach of the team for ten years, but that was a while ago. I was 3 - 2 in this interim capacity last season. I don't mind coaching, at least for a week, but we're already shorthanded, losing not only Jack (p), but also Robby Costello (p), Eric MacDonald (1b), and Mark Preziosi (ss, and big power bat).

(There may be others missing by game time. Those are just the definites as of Friday morning.)

Robby was hit in the leg by a line drive during a game in his weeknight league. He suffered a hairline fracture, but the good news is the docs tell him he'll be back up and running in 2 or 3 weeks. The bad news is I was looking forward to him keeping me entertained, as he's one of the funniest sons of bitches ever, but now I guess I'll have to get my jollies just from winning. In that regard, with Jack and Robby missing, I'll be leaning heavily on Big Jay Atton. He's our ace. If need be, I can utilize Drew Atton or Joey Baszkiewicz or (heaven forbid) myself, but Jay will probably start both ends of the doubleheader. With temperatures expected to climb into the 90's on Sunday, and with Big Jay being BIG Jay, I think my main task as coach will be to see to it that he keeps himself well hydrated. Also, as incentive, I'll promise him a steak-and-cheese with BBQ sauce and hots, if he wins both games.

(I will not, however, pay for his ulcer surgery.)

As usual, there will be a report on the games come Monday. Pretend you're interested and I'll do the same for you some day when you write about your favorite thing that I don't give a rat's ass about.

2) The Boston Bruins take the next step on the road to The Stanley Cup on Saturday.

The B's will be playing the flightless waterfowl of Pittsburgh. My Darker Grey Friend, Michelle, is a Pittsburgh resident and fan. When it looked as though our teams might meet, I suggested that perhaps a bet might be in order. She was amenable. So now, because I couldn't keep my trap shut, I am involved in a wager wherein I am definitely on the short end without compensating odds. As a man who prides himself on his knowledge of all things gambling, this was not a smart move.

Any reasonable handicapper will tell you that the tuxedo-clad birds should win the series. They are the #1 seed, while my Bruins are #4. In addition, the fat smelly fisheaters won the three meetings between these teams during the regular season. The Bruins haven't beaten them all season.

What in hell was I thinking?

Anyway, loser has to post something wonderful about the winner's city and team, as well as display the opposition logo for a couple of days. I have no idea what I can possibly say about a bunch of short, wobbly, smelly things whose biggest claim to fame may be their prodigious farting, nor do I know what to say about the hockey team, but I suppose I'll come up with something.

OR maybe the Bruins will win?!?

Nah. Every time I make a bet of this sort, and then shoot off my mouth about it, I lose. I'm the ultimate jinx. There is no hope. I predict Pittsburgh in a sweep.

In the unlikely event that the Bruins win and the L.A. Kings win their semi, I will then make a similar wager with Chris Mauger on the finals (unless Mauger is gun-shy, since the last time we made a bet of this sort he ended up displaying the Red Sox logo and having to write a couple hundred complimentary words about Rico Petrocelli.).

3) Some of you might still be wondering how I'm coming along with e-cigarettes in my attempts to quit smoking.

Not bad. I've cut my actual burning leaf sort of cigarettes down to about half of my usual consumption. I'm doing 10 or 12 a day now, as opposed to a full pack or more. I've reached a point where I don't automatically grab a smoke and light it first thing when I wake up. I now go the first 90-minutes or two hours without having one at all, so that's progress.

The benefits are obvious: no tar and other noxious crap into my lungs, as the e-cig delivers nicotine in a water vapor. I've definitely noticed myself coughing less.

If I improve on this, I'll keep you updated. If I backslide, I'll tell you nothing and hide myself in a corner with an ashamed look on my face.

4) As usual around these parts, we have gone almost directly from winter into summer.

 [Willis Carrier, inventor of air conditioning. God bless you, Mr. Carrier!]

We had about a week of pleasant spring temps, but now it is 90 degrees and expected to stay that way for the next three months. The electric company will be pleased to know I'm going to install our two window air conditioning units later today. If I don't have a heart attack doing so, I think I'll reward myself with a ham-and-cheese sub with tomatoes, possibly followed by a real honest-to-God smoke. If I do have a heart attack while installing them, I probably won't make the doubleheader on Sunday and Big Jay will have to fend for himself.

Soon, with more better stuff.


CLR said...

Hey hey - way to go on the softball and the trying to quit smoking!!!

So are you installing the a/c units to save on your electric bill? Curious if that helps!

Suldog said...

Oh, hell, no. Once I get them up and running, the folks at the electric company can rest easy knowing they can afford their summer vacations.

Daryl said...

its gone into the 90s here too ... but 'they' tell us that rain and cooler temps will be heading this way Sunday and Monday ... along with insanely hot days/nights the Yanks got slaughtered by those amazin' Mets (i heard this via the weather reporter who thinks both the heat and the Mets wins are somehow connected) .. oh yeah, your pal Toonman is also risking a heart attack or thrown out back installing our two in window ACs xox

Michelle H. said...

I was going to mention the rain coming in tonight and Saturday here in Pittsburgh, so you might get rained out on your Bomber game come Sunday. I'm crossing my fingers that won't happen as you can have a great game.

I'll leave you with this interesting fact concerning hockey instead on ragging on you in not considering the game stats concerning the Bruins and Pens playing against each other during the regular season:

The final four teams that are playing are the four teams that won the past four Stanley Cups. The Pens won in 2009. The Blackhawks won in 2010. The Bruins won in 2011 and the Kings won in 2012. I probably would have made a bet with you just to see if the Pens can close the circle and win 2013. Of course, it would be fascinating if these four teams did a streak like that for another 4 years.

Michelle H. said...

Oh, and congrats on the e-cigs! Beating that morning craving is the hardest a person a can do.

Chris said...

Gun-shy? Not in the least. I'm HOPING for a Kings-Bruins final. Chicago is going to be a daunting task for sure (especially since my Kings don't have home-ice advantage and they're an abysmal 1-5 on the road thus far in the playoffs). Also, Chicago is damn good. If LA does advance and gets the Penguins, that's gonna be tricky. The Kings have had a tougher time with fast, offensive-minded teams and Pittsburgh is the best of the lot in that regard. The best bet would be to forecheck like mad and beat up the Pens' skill guys. So yeah, I'm rooting for Boston in the east.

The wildcard, though, is my lucky LA Kings socks. I only don them for key games, and so far this postseason they're 5-0 with two shutouts.

Anonymous said...

Great Pic of the team! Ouch for Robby. Hope he heals fast. But with you not smoking you can be his pinch runner!: )
Have a fun weekend. in the 100's here.
Deb D.

Lowandslow said...

I'd like to recommend Mr Carrier for Sainthood! And congrats on the quitting (cutting back?) smoking thing. Good luck on your ball game this weekend, too. You gonna give 'em a "win one for the Gipper" speech?


(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

After looking at the pic, I think GS can probably sue you for defamation of camera.
The Bombers deserve to win because they're a bunch of swell guys who can smile even after being eliminated from the playoffs.

I won't even discuss hockey (or roundball) now... it's almost freakin' June for chrissakes!

I like Carrier because he has a cool first name.
It's gonna be in the 90s here, too... but it's a dry heat so we can get by with evaporative cooling.
The downside is the wind is reportedly going to be hellacious, thus the fire danger will increase.
BTW - by evaporative cooling I do not mean sweat.

Keep on keepin' on with the quit smoking.
I can vouch you will feel so much better.

joeh said...

Hmmm, does that reverse predicting crap ever work?

And please tell me more every week about your fast pitch softball games as I am definitely just sooo interested...zzzzzz No really!

And just quit the damn cigs, it's not that hard...I've quit now for two years, three months, eight days, two hours and seven minutes and hardly ever think ab...eight minutes... about it!

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

1,801 days, 10 hours, 2 minutes

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

Good luck with the smokes

The nice thing about where I live is how, when it gets hot, the wind increases so you're so busy complaining about the wind that you don't notice the heat

I'm with Skip in that I think indoor sports should conclude before the apricot harvest

messymimi said...

A friend of mine has gone totally over to e-cigs, and i'm so glad! Congratulations on trying, i know you can do this.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Well if you're looking for more in the way of a silver lining you also wouldn't have to write anything about the Penguins should they happen to win the series, so there's that too.

But I expect to see you writing and the Bruins to come out ahead if for no other reason than they are the underdog.

Very cool though that the 4 teams vying for the Cup are the last 4 teams to have won a cup.

Buck said...

OR maybe the Bruins will win?!?

You have what passes for our prayers in this endeavor. You KNOW the rest...

Hilary said...

I hope that your team wins.. that the Bruins win.. that you win the smoking battle. The a/c is almost essential as heat in winter. I'm very grateful for ours, this week.

SueAnn Lommler said...

Me? I am still watching the Cleveland Indians and hoping....which will most likely be crushed before season's end. sigh

Craig said...

". . . the 4 teams vying for the Cup are the last 4 teams to have won a cup."

Heck, go ahead and make it 5, since the last team out before that was the last team to win the Cup before that. . .


Go Tigers! (But sheesh, guys, do somethin' about that bullpen, eh? Ya got the best starters in the universe, and a murderer's row of a lineup, but you're only barely above .500???)

I think one of my old Thermodynamics professors had actually studied under Willis Carrier at Syracuse, back in the day (which was a LONG time even before I got to his class, which was a LOOOOONNNNNGGGGG time ago). At the very least, he had a severe case of hero-worship focused on ol' Willis, as one of the very few professor-types who had managed to parlay his research into a massive personal fortune. . .

Babs said...

Well, I'll take that ham n cheese because I read all the way through sports info. It wasn't bad, really. Entertaining is more like it.
As for your cutting back.. been there. I quit by remembering this. Remembering how far I'd come through the hard times and didn't ever want to go through it again...I only kept looking forwards ..I think maybe Cheech or Chong said this..maybe can do eeet.

The Geezers said...

Man, I admire the athleticism at your age. I wouldn't even dream of fast-pitch softball anymore.

3GKnight said...

Congrats on the no-smoking thing! Keep it up.