Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A-Rod? F*** NO!

Alex Rodriguez should NEVER be part of the Red Sox.

I'm not so idiotic as to suggest that A-Rod isn't a Hall Of Fame player. His regular season batting stats are monstrous, and he will probably hold the all-time home run record before he's through. He is also a fine fielder. It's just that when push comes to shove in the playoffs, it can reasonably be argued that the Red Sox are better off with Julio Lugo at shortstop. And any comparisons to Mike Lowell are just ludicrous.

His numbers during the post-season are abyssmal. Here is what he has done during the playoffs while with the Yankees:

     G  AB   R   H  2B 3B HR RBI  BB  K   AVG   OB%  SLG%   SB CS
2004 4 19 3 8 3 0 1 3 2 1 .421 .476 .737 2 1
7 31 8 8 2 0 2 5 4 6 .258 .378 .516 0 0
2005 5 15 2 2 1 0 0 0 6 5 .133 .381 .200 1 1
2006 4 14 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 .071 .071 .071 0 0
2007 4 15 2 4 0 0 1 1 2 6 .267 .353 .467 0 0

TOT 24 94 15 23 6 0 4 9 14 22 .249 .342 .449 3 2
His AVG is 57 points lower than his regular season AVG. His OPS (combined OB% & SLG%) is 228 points lower. Mister Clutch! Of particular note, his team won ONE of those series and lost FOUR. He has set up shop at The Mendoza Line for the past four series, hitting an anemic .200, and if you go from game four versus the Red Sox in 2004 (when the pressure really came to the fore) his performance is as miserable as just about anybody in the history of baseball, given a similar number of playoff game appearances.

But, nevermind the numbers. He is an abomination on many other levels.

His presence in a locker room is anathema to chemistry. Have you ever heard a good word concerning him from former teammates? While team chemistry is sometimes overrated - the Oakland A's from the 70's being a good example of how men who don't really like each other much can still win a lot of games - it really makes no sense to add a disruption to a World Championship team that exhibits marvelous chemistry at present. Adding A-Rod to this current Red Sox locker room would be like throwing anchovies onto a tasty pizza that many folks are already eating and enjoying. Maybe some of the folks would enjoy the anchovies; many more probably would not. Why screw with what's good? Why fix what isn't broken?

His hideous display of "Me! Me! Me!" during the just-completed World Series is as egregious a break from baseball etiquette as has ever been displayed. It is de riguer for anyone in baseball to attempt to steal the spotlight from the two teams competing in baseball's showcase event. To attempt to do so during the closing innings of what appeared to be the deciding game goes beyond anything even remotely defensible. Rodriguez - and his most boorish of agents, Scott Boras - chose to announce his free agent status while the Red Sox were closing in on the World Championship, hijacking the stage from those who - unlike Slappy McBluelips - were actually accomplishing something in a pressure situation in October. For that act alone, he should be shunned forevermore by anyone who calls him or herself a Red Sox fan.

Aside from the above, it's just plain tremendous FUN to root against the selfish bastard. I'd rather have him as an enemy for that fact alone. There is nothing I would rather see - NOTHING! - than for the Yankees to sign him again. Unfortunately, even the Yankees do something sensible every so often, and they have stated categorically that they will not enter into negotiations with him.

In a game where money more often supercedes fun, though, here is the bottom line the Red Sox might like to consider: You already sell out every home game. A-Rod will not put any more asses into your seats. There are no more seats, and plenty of asses waiting in line. In economic terms - and even putting aside the disaffection of fans like myself - the acquisition of Alex Rodriguez is not good for the bottom line. He will cost more than any other option and he will return less.

Here's the bottom line for me, and I'm as serious as a heart attack.

I've been a Red Sox fan for well over 40 years. I started following them when they were in last place and folks in these parts were calling them the Red Slobs. I suffered through some fairly hideous years, but suffer through them I did. I remained staunchly loyal at times when others laughed at me for doing so. I've been rewarded with much joy for having done so, and I'm willing to go to my grave as a Red Sox fan.

The love of the Red Sox is bred into us here in New England, and it is not entirely out-of-bounds to refer to the emotional display as a sort of religious fervor. The fans and ownership have a relationship somewhat akin to marriage. Both parties occasionally have a spat over finances, or how to redecorate the living room, but irreconcilable differences haven't been part of the equation. Until now, that is.

If they sign Alex Rodriguez, I consider it grounds for divorce. I will NEVER root for them again. That is an iron-clad guarantee.

In the meantime, the Rolling Rally is about to start. The only Alex involved is named Cora. This is exactly as it should be.

(Addendum: An on-line petition, urginf the Red Sox to re-sign Mike Lowell, and also ignore A-Rod, may be found HERE. Please go and do your part for sanity in sports. Thank you!)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sullivans Again Successful In Attempt To Fix World Series!

In 1919, the Chicago White Sox played the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. The White Sox were overwhelming favorites to beat the Reds. In an upset of enormous proportion, the Reds won the World Series, 5 games to 3.

Rumors concerning a fix were rampant. As it turned out, the rumors were true.

A gambler from Boston, J.J. "Sport" Sullivan, had met with White Sox player Chick Gandil prior to the beginning of the series. Gandil told Sullivan that his teammates were willing to throw the series if a certain amount of money could be delivered. Sullivan arranged delivery of the money with three other gamblers - most notable among them, Arnold Rothstein - and the fix was in.

(For a more complete account, see this article.)

Legend in our family has it that "Sport" was a distant relative. Being Irish, we took a sort of pride in having such an important rogue on a branch of the family tree. So, bearing that in mind, you shouldn't be surprised when I tell you that I have no shame in admitting that my cousin, David Sullivan, won the contest I ran during this World Series.

For purposes of my contest, I asked for a final total of runs, hits, and errors, for the World Series as a whole. Here are the guesses that were submitted.

MICHAL - 112
MERISI - 134
KARL C - 142
ANALI - 148
TARA - 151
PIERCE - 155
DAVE - 162
TYLER - 173
SHARFA - 195

The final totals were as follows:

RED SOX - 29 runs, 47 hits, 2 errors
ROCKIES - 10 runs, 29 hits, 0 errors

COMBINED - 39 runs, 76 hits, 2 errors = 117

Thus, my cousin, David Sullivan, with his "guess" of 120, came the closest to the actual total. Obviously, we couldn't have him "guess" 117. That would have been too obvious. By having him miss by 3, we remained above suspicion. Until now, of course.

Having missed by 3, David has the $50 possible prize reduced by that amount, as stated in the rules. He wins his choice of $47 of merchandise from this place, which also has a link in the left sidebar and I'd rather you click through from there so I can get a piece of the action, thank you.

So, you may be wondering why I'm confessing to having put in the fix. Well, here's the deal. It cost me $675,000,000 in bribes to pull this thing off. I wrote a check in that amount, to be split evenly among the Colorado Rockies, IF they kept their production down and went quietly once the totals were in favor of my cousin.

A key hit in the game - one that brought the total to 117, rather than a 116 that would have required a split of the prize - was delivered by Cory SULLIVAN. Coincidence? Do you really think so? Hah! Here he is during an earlier part of the bet, taking a literal dive. Notice where the ball is in relation to the "attempt" to catch it.

(Our fail-safe position, just in case the Rockies got out of line, was my Uncle Jim's "guess" of 128. Thankfully, we didn't need that margin of error.)

In any case, the Rockies did their part, but I came to my senses last night and realized that the prize we kept in the family was only $47. I have now come to the conclusion that the only way out is for me to go to jail. I'll probably be safe there; at least, barring any of the Rockies doing time. Therefore, I implore the authorities to PLEASE come and get me. If I'm not arrested, I'll have to make good, which I've never done before.

Soon, with more better stuff - once the coast is clear.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Can This Get Any Better?

The Contest

The Entries & The Prize

ROCKIES - 1 5 0
RED SOX - 2 6 1

Total for game two - 15

Total for the World Series, thus far - 52

The totals for a complete series, if this pattern continues?

4 games = 104
5 games = 130
6 games = 156
7 games = 182

So, how are YOU doing?

I'm doing swell, myself. Last night was about as good a night as I've ever had as a sports fan. Not only did the Red Sox take a commanding 2 games to one lead in the World Series, but the Boston College Eagles remained undefeated. They beat Virginia Tech, 14 - 10, in an absolutely thrilling finish.

I was wearing out my remote control flipping back and forth between the two games, but I was glued to the Eagles game for the final 3 minutes. They trailed, 10 - 0, with about 2 minutes and 30 seconds to play. Matt Ryan had looked very pedestrian in the first 55 minutes of the game, and I was gearing myself up for a defeat. I was consoling myself with thoughts of how lucky we Bostonians were to have the Red Sox in the World Series, and the Patriots undefeated, and the Celtics with a rosy outlook, and the Bruins winning again. How sad could I be if BC lost a game? How much right did I have to be sorrowful when the rest of my plate was so full?

And then, in an amazing finish - and the best argument I've yet seen for Ryan winning the Heisman Trophy - the Eagles scored two touchdowns in the space of about two minutes, savagely killing the buzz of the Virginia Tech home crowd and leaving them stunned and silent.

My plate remains overflowing.

Tonight, I get to see the Celtics in person. My friend and co-worker, Dan Nelson, has a season ticket package that he bought along with his wife, Mandy. She is otherwise tied up this evening, so Dan invited me to accompany him to a pre-season game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It should be a lot of fun. I wish I had a big poster of LeBron wearing his Yankees cap.

(For those who didn't see it, let me tell you what LeBron did to diss his fans in Cleveland. While the Cleveland Indians were playing the Yankees in the playoffs a couple of weeks back, LeBron showed up in the stands at Jacobs Field (the Cleveland home ballpark) sporting a Yankees cap on his head.

What a dick! Sure, he's entitled to root for whomever he desires. If he's a Yankees fan, more power to him. But you don't show up in a gathering of 40,000 of your most ardent supporters wearing the colors of the enemy. That's just overwhelmingly stupid. Not to mention that many Indians players had shown up at HIS games in support, and none of them wore San Antonio Spurs gear.

If I was a resident of Cleveland, I'd boo the guy out of town. Thankfully, I'm not a resident of Cleveland.)

Anyway, there's a possibility that the World Series could end over the weekend. If so, I'll be back on Monday to announce the winner of the contest. If you entered, you should click onto the little Red Sox cap over there on the left and pick out the prize you'd like, should you be lucky enough to be the winner.

(I personally feel that the Rockies will take one of the two weekend games, and we'll have to wait until Monday for a winner. We'll see.)

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Your Guesses, Your Prize - The Details

Before I list your guesses and give you the details on your possible prize, I have to tell you about MY WIFE.

MY WIFE is a very funny woman. You know the song "Centerfield" by John Fogerty? The one with the following lyrics?

Oh, put me in, coach
I’m ready to play today
Look at me, I can be centerfield.

This morning, they played it on the radio as we were getting ready for work. When it finished, MY WIFE sang me her version of the song, which went as follows:

Oh, put me in coach
I can't afford first class

Well, the Sox can afford first class and they got off to a wonderful start last night, winning 13 - 1. The amazingly reliable Josh Beckett threw 7 good innings. Dustin Pedroia hit a home run to lead off the game, and all was right with the world. Boston scored three runs in the first and that gave Beckett as much cushion as was needed. The Sox cruised from there, setting or tying a number of World Series records.

The totals:

ROCKIES - 1 run, 6 hits, 0 errors
RED SOX - 13 runs, 17 hits, 0 errors

Total for the first game = 37

If this were the total for all of the games, it would work out to...

148 for a 4 game series
185 for a 5 game series
222 for a 6 game series
259 for a 7 game series

Here are all of the entries I received prior to 6am this morning. First, however, a few notes concerning some of the guesses.

CONNIE/MOM said that my stepfather, BILL MacDONALD, wanted a total of 123. I did the math and what he wants is actually 133. That's what I gave him.

REBECCA only gave me a total for the Red Sox, and it was 89. Since there was actually a guess lower than that, I'm afraid that's what I'm going to have to put down. I hate to say it, but I think you were right when you said you sucked at math :-)

Both BRIAN IN OXFORD and ANALI gave answers of 146. MAGAZINE MAN had given 146 as his answer, the first one to claim that number. Rather than summarily dismiss them - since I said the earliest guess would win a tiebreaker, and MAGAZINE MAN took tht guess first - I'm going to give them 145 and 148, respectively.

Both SHARFA and UNCLE JIM got their entries in slightly late. My Uncle Jim sent me his via e-mail, as for some reason he couldn't post. I'm going to allow them, since I know they're both good folks and not actually trying to cheat in some way.

MICHAL - 112
MERISI - 134
KARL C - 142
ANALI - 148
TARA - 151
PIERCE - 155
DAVE - 162
TYLER - 173
SHARFA - 195

If you posted a guess, but I didn't get you on the list, let me know ASAP.

And now, what you've all been waiting for with bated breath - THE PRIZE!

Do you see Mr. Potato Head over there on the left?

(Since originally writing this, it seems to have morphed into a red Red Sox cap. Oh, well.)

Well, if you were to click onto him - or it - which I suggest you do, right after reading this, you would be transported to a wonderland of Red Sox clothing, collectibles, books, and more. And one of you - The Winner - will get to choose a prize from among those fine items. And it might be anything valued at up to $50!

(Here's the fine print, so pay attention.)

If your guess is perfect - that is, if your guess exactly matches the total of runs, hits, and errors, for the entire series - I'll pay $50 towards your choice of merchandise. The $50 is for the prize and shipping, so the total cost of the merchandise and shipping must be equal to (or less than) $50. You must purchase something - you can't just ask me to send you a $50 check. These people are sponsors of this blog and they deserve a taste. Also, if you're a (*shudder*) Yankees fan or something, I'm not letting you get away without having something with "Red Sox" on it shipped to your home.

If the closest guess is not exact, I will subtract $1 from the prize for every run, hit, or error you missed by. For instance, if you guessed 171 and that was the closest to the actual total of 161, you would win $40 worth of credit, since your guess was 10 off.

Everybody understand? Good!

In the event of a tie - if two non-exact guesses end up being equidistant from the actual total - the prize will go to the guess UNDER the total. I may offer a consolation for the other guy, but no guarantees on that. It all depends upon how much I like you, I suppose.

(Of course, I like all of you, so I suppose I'll give you something or other. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

That's about it. Good luck to everybody, and I'll be back with an update following tonight's game.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

As Promised, And You Need To Hurry!

A short time ago, I told you that I would have a contest of some sort once I reached the magic threshold of Google.

(That sounds like some sort of Dungeons & Dragons thing, doesn't it?)

Yesterday, my account passed $100. I should be receiving a check by the end of November - at least, according to the Google Ad Sense website. So, in accordance with my promise, I will have a contest of some sort for you to possibly share in my overwhelming success as a writer.

("Overwhelming" being herein defined as "underwhelming.")

Being the slug that you've come to know and love, I have not given any thought to just exactly what the contest will consist of, nor what the actual prize will be, or anything other than getting you to come back here again tomorrow.

So, please come back tomorrow. Maybe I'll have it all doped out by then.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox begin the World Series tonight - weather permitting - and...


OK, here's the contest. You will only have a slim window of opportunity to enter, so make it good.

What is your prediction for the total runs, hits, and errors - by both teams combined - in the World Series this year?

You must leave your prediction in the comments section. You must do so no later than 6am Eastern Time, Thursday, in the United States. This means that you can even wait until the first game has already been played, and then make your best guess. However, in the event of a tie, the person who posted their guess earliest will be the winner.

For those of you reading me from a foreign land, and thus unfamiliar with baseball scoring, I will give you a general idea of what you may need to guess. Every baseball game ends with a score similar to the following:

BOSTON - 7 12 0
NEW YORK - 2 5 1

The first number following the name of the team is the runs, which is really the only thing that matters. That's how you decide a winner. In this case, Boston would have beaten New York by the score of 7 - 2.

The second number is the hits accumulated by each team. In this case 17 total.

The third number is the errors; the fielding mistakes. In this case, 1 between both teams.

So, the total runs, hits, and errors, for this single game? 27. I would guess the normal range is from about 15 to 45. Lower and higher are certainly possible.

The World Series will be either 4, 5, 6, or 7 games in length. You do NOT have to predict the number of games it will last. However, it probably should figure into your guess. If you think the series will last seven game, a guess of 80 would probably be too low. If you think it will be a four game sweep, 210 would most likely be extremely high.

(I hope I've made it fairly clear. That's as much explanation as I'm willing to give.)

So, there you have it! Take a stab and have a rooting interest of sorts in the World Series, even if you don't know a baseball bat from a vampire bat.

I'll compile all of the guesses tomorrow and put them out here for everyone to see. Remember, deadline is 6am, Eastern Time, United States, Thursday, October 25th. Any guess posted after that time will be ineligible. Only one entry per reader, please. Good Luck!

I'll tell you the prize tomorrow.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Yeah, I Know The Red Sox Won, But I Wrote This Earlier

As I write this, it’s Sunday afternoon at about 5 o’clock. About an hour ago, the New England Patriots finished dismantling the Miami Dolphins. The final score was 49 – 28, but that was in no way indicative of the game that was played. The Patriots lead at the half was 42 – 7. If they had wanted to be true a-holes, they could have scored 70 points. Hell, against those horrendous Miami defensive backs, Randy Moss himself might have been able to score 60.

This is the best Patriots team I’ve ever seen. Considering the fact that, during this decade, this organization has already won three Super Bowls? That’s some high praise. And not only are they tremendously talented, but they also have decided to take no prisoners. Coach Bill Belichik had removed starting quarterback Tom Brady and inserted backup Matt Cassell. When Miami had the temerity to get back within 21 points with 10 minutes remaining in the game, Belichik put Brady back in and it was pedal to the metal again.

I want to say a great big “Thank You!” to Eric Mangini and the New York Jets. Ever since Mangini complained to the NFL brass, following the first game of the season, concerning some illegal videotaping that the Patriots were doing, there has been absolutely no let-up. The Patriots are on a mission to show the entire league that they don’t need no stinkin’ videotape to crush whoever they’re playing. If this team goes undefeated – and there’s a truly decent chance that they will – it may well be because of that added incentive.

Meanwhile, it is about three hours before the Red Sox play the Cleveland Indians in a deciding game seven in the American League Championship Series. One more win and the Red Sox go back to The World Series for the first time since they won it in 2004.

Four nights ago, much of the city of Boston was in a decided funk concerning the Sox. They trailed Cleveland, three games to one, and half the lineup was in a slump. The starting pitchers couldn’t get past the fifth inning. It looked like it might be an early winter around here.

Now, there is hope, thanks to Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, and J.D. Drew (J.D. Drew!) among others. It is a couple of hours before the start of the seventh game. The Sox are now favorites to win this series.

And, yet again, meanwhile – the Boston College Eagles are the #2 ranked team in the country. While they had the weekend off, the previously #2 ranked University of South Florida Bulls lost to Rutgers on Friday. In the latest polls released today, BC has jumped to #2 in the nation. They play Virginia Tech this coming Thursday, while #1 Ohio State plays a tough Penn State team come Saturday. There is a very real chance that BC could be the #1 team in the country by next Sunday.

The Celtics, despite my initial misgivings concerning the trading away of Al Jefferson, seem to be a team that can kick serious ass. It’s only the pre-season, but the signs thus far are good. We’ll see what happens when it’s for keeps.

Even the Bruins, the for-the-last-generation-woefully-mediocre Bruins, have come alive. They played a dandy against the New York Rangers on Saturday, beating them 1- 0 in a shootout. They stand at 5 wins and 2 losses.

There has rarely been as good a time to be a sports fan in the Boston area.

Somewhere, sometime, the bubble will burst. It might even be tonight at Fenway. Until then, though, it is like floating on air. We could possibly see five different championships in this city within the next 8 months.

(Hell, SIX if you want to count the local soccer entry, the Revolution, but it’s American soccer, so let’s not get carried away here.)

In other good news, I had breakfast this morning.

MY WIFE and I went to a wonderful place called Donohue's. It is located in our town of Watertown, Massachusetts, so this may not be entirely helpful to you should you live in, say, Australia. However, if you’re in our area some Saturday or Sunday, and looking for an excellent breakfast, you should definitely check it out.

MY WIFE had a mushroom and tomato omelet, English muffin, home fries and coffee. I had the Full Irish Breakfast, which is probably illegal in California. It consisted of scrambled eggs, home fries, sausage, scrumptious meaty Irish bacon, fried tomatoes, hearty whole grain toast, and two types of “pudding” – black and white.

(My brother-in-law, who was our houseguest on Friday evening, had a chance to expound on the subject of pudding when MY WIFE brought home a tinned spotted dick as an experimental treat for us. We had never had spotted dick before, although we had certainly made our share of jokes about it; perhaps many of the same ones you’re thinking up at this very moment. Anyway, we started discussing desserts in general, and he opined how “pudding” is always something sweet in our culture, but may consist of many decidedly non-sweet conglomerations in other societies. And now, here I was eating two different kinds of pudding that fit the latter description. How… something!)

The service at Donohue’s is friendly and the atmosphere relaxed. The place is loaded with about 15 television screens, including two or three very large ones, for viewing of sporting events. We also went here to view the BC game a couple of weeks back. The place was as empty then as we found it this morning. We can’t imagine why this is.

Just down the road, every Sunday, there are long lines of people waiting to get into The Town Diner and Uncommon Grounds, two decent establishments but nowhere near the bargain that Donohue’s is. Our breakfast - and we took home enough for a third meal – cost us about $20 total. It was all delicious and hot; the presentation was lovely; the staff convivial; and the seating comfortable. If some of those folks standing in line elsewhere might want to have a good meal at a good price without having to wait in line, they really should go to Donohue’s.

Donohue’s is located at 83 Bigelow Avenue in Watertown. There is plenty of parking within very-short walking distance. No reservations are required, although there would be if it got the business it deserves.

The final lovely note concerning my lovely Sunday comes from (GASP!) Comcast.

You’ll remember that I was less-than-pleased last week concerning Comcast’s service. Now I’ll tell you about the very good service I received this morning.

Since getting the unwanted digital converter box, I had found a serious problem with our remote control. The volume and mute controls did not work. Now, it wasn’t an insurmountable problem, as we could control the volume via the remote that came with our television set. However, I discovered that not being to control the volume via the cable feed resulted in programs I had taped being far less than optimal. The sound quality was weak and strained.

I attempted to find some way around the remote, but there appeared to be no way to change the volume of the feed other than through the remote itself.

MY WIFE, having read my previous piece and knowing my unwillingness to subject myself to hanging on the line waiting for a cable representative, volunteered to make the call for me. That display of love, by itself, would have been enough to make my Sunday, of course, but then we actually received good service and that completed my circle of joy.

She reached a rep within a minute or so of the call being answered, which is much better than our previous encounters with Comcast. When she was asked a question that she didn’t know the immediate answer to, she handed the telephone to me. The service agent was both friendly and knowledgeable. She asked me to do a couple of things with the remote and then the volume and mute controls became immediately available.

Aside from the most recent good service, I do have to admit that there are features within the digital package that are interesting and useful. It’s still a pain in the ass to have to learn all of the new ways of navigating around the system, but in the end it will probably be a better array of services overall. So there – fair is fair, and now I’ve told you some good stuff about Comcast. Further updates will occur as I become more pleased or more pissed.


Summing up, here is my Sunday:

Sports – Couldn’t be better.

Food – Wonderful.

Television – Better than I thought.

MY WIFE – Still glad I married her.

It has been a lovely Sunday, indeed.


P.S. The Red Sox, as you may have noticed from the title, won. They are headed to The World Series to play the Colorado Rockies. First game is Wednesday, at Fenway. I'll predict the Sox in five games (although I'd rather see them win it in six, as they could then celebrate on their home turf.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Big Old Bunch Of Mostly Unrelated Photographs

No other reason than I felt like posting something before next week and I had all of these various shots sitting in a folder on my computer, so here you go.

The above is a photo I took of Smith Field in Brighton. It is the morning of my final softball game in the Sunday league. I was the first one down to the field, as usual, and I wasn't really sure if we'd get to play. The field was very wet from the previous night's rain. Notice the batter's boxes, both of which are basically quicksand at this point. I groomed them a bit with dry sand and such, and then I also dragged that soccer net by second base off of the field before anyone else arrived. Not shown: The two other soccer nets that were in left and center field. I dragged those off, too. I got a pretty good workout before the actual game.

Following the game, I took a couple of shots of some teammates. This is Eric Benoit on the left and Fred Goodman on the right. Do you think that maybe, possibly, Eric has had a few beers in his life? Both really good teammates, in any case. I've been blessed with many.

Next up, we have a series of pictures of Jim Sheehy, Jake Sheehy, and myself, wearing funny hats.

Jim and Jake are the altogether brilliant children of Valerie and Jack Sheehy, good friends of MY WIFE and myself. These shots were taken by someone other than me, obviously, at the end of a wonderful evening at their house. Jim and Jake pretty much consider me to be a peer, and not an adult, which I take as an extremely high compliment.

Keeping with the theme of funny hats, here's a whole slew of people from my office, all wearing the same hat.

As you might have guessed, this happened during the holidays. Why? Because we have a fun office, that's why. As further proof, I offer this photo of my production ally, Dan, gleefully whacking me on the head with a hammer.

Finally, we have this shot of me in the garden at Prescott Park, wistfully gazing out towards Portsmouth Harbor.

Welllllllll, I'm supposed to be looking wistful. That's what MY WIFE said. She said, "Jim, look wistfully towards the harbor." Personally, I think I look more as though I've seen Godzilla rising from the depths. Or maybe it's just gas.

And that's that. If I could give you back the previous five minutes of your life, I would. Thanks for your indulgence, as always, and I'll see you next week.

Oh, what the hell. Here's something truly worth looking at. It's Dan's daughter, Birdie, in her Celtics cheerleading outfit. Go, Celts!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sometime Between Noon And 4 PM

My workday usually starts at 8:30am. However, yesterday I went in to work at a bit after 4:00 in the morning. Let me tell you why.

Tuesday night, MY WIFE and I were sitting in the living room, chatting about our respective workdays, when she noticed that it was a couple of minutes past 7. She wanted to see what the topic was on Greater Boston, a local interview show that comes on at 7 o’clock weekdays. So, I turned on the television.

Here’s what we saw:

Yes, the cable was out.

As anyone with cable knows, this sucks big hairy donkey dick. Not only did we not have TV, with the Red Sox-Indians game an hour away, we also knew that we had to call the cable company.

Calling the cable company ranks right up there with visiting the dentist, as far as I’m concerned. No, I take that back. I’d rather have oral surgery than call the cable company. At least when you have your gums sliced open and pieces of jawbone chiseled out, you might get some good drugs afterwards. When you call the cable company, the best you can hope for is that you won’t be driven to ripping out your own eyeballs in frustration. The best-case scenario is that maybe you’ll get TV again, which is what you had anyway – or so you thought, until you saw the snow on your screen.

Anyway, I ring up the cable company. They answered my call immediately, knew exactly what the problem was, and everything was hunky-dory before I could even say “Federal Communications Commission.”

Yeah, and I’m getting a blowjob from Charlize Theron as I write this.

Has there ever been anybody who was immediately connected with a customer service agent when they called the cable company?

(Don’t bother answering. It was obviously a rhetorical question.)

After being answered by a recording, then pushing “1” for English, pushing “1” for “Yes, DUH, there’s something wrong with my cable”, and then pushing “1” yet again for some other stupefyingly inane question, I was informed – via recording – that all customer service agents were busy helping other customers and that my call would be answered in the order in which it was received. Then the damn music started playing.

Understand this – I create those phone messages, all day long. You think you get pissed when you hear one? Try hearing them all day, as part and parcel of your job, and then getting yourself put on hold wherein you have them force-fed back to you while you’re already torqued about the shitty customer service you’re expecting, but pray might not be the case just this once. And then have the same production music that you’ve heard thousands of times, because it’s a popular choice from the music library you use at work, played back at you for an indeterminate and indefinite length of time. And then, just when you’ve resigned yourself to listening to the music – which is not entirely unbearable, since you’ve heard it so often you don’t really hear it after a few minutes, anyway – the motherfucking recorded voice comes back on to tell you the same motherfucking message it told you one minute ago, but since it’s a HUMAN VOICE, you get tricked into thinking perhaps it’s a real person finally answering your call, and this goes on for about ten minutes, and you realize that you have been delivered into your own personal circle of hell.

I was not pleased.

But, OK, just as I’m beginning to think that disemboweling myself with a broken coke bottle might be preferable to hanging on the line, I hear a ringing on the other end. This surely means that I am going to speak to a seasoned professional who will give me exactly what I need to restore my service and thus make the whole experience worthwhile. Thank you, Jesus!

Hey, Charlize! Get back here!

The entirely-friendly-yet-ignorant customer service agent who answered, named Manuel, had no idea what was wrong with my service. He had me unplug the converter box, then plug it back in. When that didn’t restore my picture, he was at a total loss. He suggested I make an appointment for a service technician to visit. Meanwhile, as the converter box was unplugged and we were waiting an appropriate length of time before plugging it back in again, Manuel told me that he could give me a digital converter box at no extra cost and I probably should take it, since an analog converter will only be useful as a paperweight come next year.

What I wanted to do was reach through the phone line and start strangling the son of a bitch, all the while asking him to explain just what in the fuck they could possibly be paying him to make him accept a job where he would be doing nothing but disappointing angry people all night long and have them curse him out and want to reach through the phone line and start strangling the son of a bitch, all the while asking him to explain just what in the fuck they could possibly be paying him to... and so on. What I did, though, was have him make an appointment for the next day, Wednesday. He did so, saying that the service tech would be at my house sometime between noon and 4pm.

(The following will look like a non-sequitor at first glance, but it isn’t.)

I have three vacation days left.


I have three vacation days left, but I’ve already allotted those for use during Thanksgiving week as ACTUAL VACATION DAYS. I had no intention of taking back one of those days to use today so that I could sit here in my living room typing nonsensical rants about the cable company while waiting for the service tech to arrive. So, I did the only thing I could do to make this all work. I went in to my job at 4am so that I could leave at 11:30 and then come home and sit here in my living room typing nonsensical rants about the cable company while waiting for the service tech to arrive.

Since I have invested such an inordinate amount of my time and energy towards this task, and my temper is on a hair-trigger due to the lack of sleep, please allow me to finish this all up with a balls-out rant. Excuse me while I prepare myself just a bit.

(gargles with Drano, while swabbing war paint onto face)

Sometime between Noon and 4pm?!?. What in SATAN’S GORILLA-HUMPING WHORE OF A MOTHER is up with that??? Give me a REAL fucking appointment time, Cable Dickheads!!! No other company on the face of the earth can get away with crap like that, so why do we let these shitsuckers do it? Not even doctors, who are notorious for dressing you up in a gown that leaves your ass hanging out and then making you wait in a little room while they check their stock portfolios, would dare to keep you waiting FOUR FUCKING HOURS. Either you can get someone to my house at Noon or you can’t, you scumsucking douchebag assholes.

(You’re lucky I’m a Christian, otherwise I would have let you know how I really feel.)

So, here I am, waiting. And aren’t you glad that you decided to read this? Didn’t it brighten up your day? Didn’t I just fill your whole life with sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops?

If you know what’s good for you, you’ll say, “Yes.”


The cable tech showed up at 2:35. When I answered the door, he was holding a digital converter box. Obviously, Manuel had just gone ahead and written the order for it without my having said that I wanted it.


I don’t know enough about how cable works to really make the accusation I’m about to make, but I’m going to make it anyway. I think that Comcast DELIBERATELY put my cable out on Tuesday night so that they could get a digital converter box into our house on Wednesday afternoon.

(Don’t you DARE say, “Jim, it’s the 21st century. You were probably the only customer they had who actually wanted to keep his analog converter. They had to do something.” I swear I will come through your computer screen, rip out your esophagus and tie it around your neck for a bowtie.)

Well, this has gone on for far too long, so let me wrap it up. I now have a new drug, which is why I never wanted a digital converter box. The new box delivers about 683 additional channels, plus free movies and concert videos, and it will record up to 80 hours of programs that you’ll have to schedule time on your calendar for the next four years to watch, and it allows me to fast forward and rewind and pause actual live television programs, and it may even let me really dial up Charlize Theron for a blowjob, but I haven’t gotten that far into the tutorial yet. I expect that the rest of my life will now be spent on the couch watching TV, so they may as well have hardwired the thing directly into my eye sockets.

(heavy sigh)

Soon, with more better stuff – unless I decide that, instead of typing a blog, I’d rather watch Deep Purple live from the California Jam in 1974. What the hell - it’s free.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

One For The Money

This is post #376 on the blog formerly known as Suldog-O-Rama. I began writing (if you can call it that) on August 11th, 2005.

I mention these things because I am now approaching the initial goal I set for myself when I began this... thing. I am about to pass the threshhold where payments from Google will kick in. Google will actually cut me a check any moment now.

Here's the deal: Google pays me for the advertisements I've placed here. How much? I truly have no idea. That is, I've tried to figure out what the rate may be, but I can't for the life of me figure out the formula they use. I know I get something for any sales made, and maybe something for each click-through, and maybe even something for just sheer numbers of visitors... maybe. But how they figure what I've earned? No idea.

The important thing, though, is that they begin sending out payments once your account reaches at least $100. And, after better than two years of putting electronic pen to screen, I am now only about 60 cents away from getting an actual check.

(I would like to point out that not all of the ads here are by Google. Those on the sidebar are via the Boston Blogs Ad Network. Despite the fact that you won't find this blog listed on the page I've refered you to - and I'm not really sure why, unless it's the fact that I sometimes swear a lot, and talk about things not having anything to do with Boston, and go off on tangents about drug usage, and generally do lots of things that might make advertisers not want to be associated with my scribblings... well, OK, I suppose that's why - they have paid me many times already, if you've been able to follow this sentence all the way through and kept track of the meaning. Adam Gaffin, who runs the deal, is a swell guy who lets us know EXACTLY how much we get for each click-through, and he sends me a check on a regular basis. I've earned - this is just a rough estimate from my sieve-like memory - perhaps $70 from these ads? That's in much less time than the Google ads have been running. I'm highly satisfied with my arrangement with Adam.)

(Hi, Adam! If you're reading this, feel free to make an additional pitch. If it will help any, I'll disavow the preceeding paragraph.)

Anyway, I'm a rather wordy SOB, so I figure a bit more than 1,500 words an entry, on average. I've put about 600,000 words out here during the 376 posts/2+ years I've been here. This means that Google has been paying me at the rate of about 1 cent for every 60 words. Or, at least, will have paid me that whenever I get my first check.

Woo (and, further unto that, Hoo.)

Now, as I said earlier, that was my goal when I started this blog; to get paid. I expected the Google check to arrive a bit more quickly than it ultimately will, but that's OK. They've provided the platform for me, and they haven't censored me, so it's all good.

One of you will put me over the top any moment (day, week) now. If I had some way of knowing who exactly did so, I'd give a prize to that person. I won't have much of a clue, though. I might be able to narrow it down to the nearest hundred or so, since that's a fair average of my unique daily hits, but that's about it.

So, what I'm going to do is this: Keep the damned money for myself. I did the writing, so fuck you.

No, no, no, wait a minute. I didn't mean that. I like you. I want to show my appreciation. So, I shall run a contest, with a prize of...

You don't get to find out until I hit the $100 mark. So, take a hint. HOW do I make money? It had something to do with ads, right? Yes, it did.

See you soon, maybe with 100 big simoleons bursting out of my pocket - and some of them fairly straining to get into yours!!!*

*All promises, whether implied or actual, should not be construed as real. This is not a toy, and may contain choking hazards to small children. Do not puncture or incinerate, except in California. May contain peanuts.

(By the way, the picture at the top of the page has nothing to do with anything. It was just a leftover from the rainy New Hampshire trip, and I have absolutely no good reason for posting it. You're welcome.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Raining In Our Enthusiasm

(Disclaimer: I am the world's worst photographer. There is no proof of this [Hah! Proof! It's a photography joke!] but the pictures themselves should be enough to convince most of you.)


Vacation is over.


It was a good vacation, insofar as it was relaxing and it gave me a chance to decompress from the stress of work. I always enjoy being slothful, so it was a joy in that regard. However, it rained six out of the seven days we were in New Hampshire, with the one day it didn't rain being a day we spent on the seacoast, so as a foliage viewing event, it was almost a total washout.

Here is what it looked like most of the time.

We began our vacation a week ago Saturday by going to a bar in Watertown and watching Boston College beat Bowling Green. Other than that, we did a bit of packing for our trip. And naps. We took naps.

(Naps were a part of every day of the vacation. We are the world’s youngest old fogies. When we are actually really old – if we get that far, I mean – we will be so well-practiced at fogiedom, we will make our contemporaries look like novices by comparison. No early-bird special will be safe, and if you try to reach us after 7pm, you will be as severely disappointed as if you tried to find a black Mormon hooker slugging down an espresso in a casino. Theoretically possible, but not likely.)

On Sunday, we made our way to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s a lovely little city on the New Hampshire coast. Since there are only 11 miles of coastline in New Hampshire, I believe I can say with little chance of contradiction that it is easily the nicest city on the New Hampshire coast.

It really is nice. We like it a lot. There’s a great park to walk around in, lovely little neighborhoods with colonial architecture, and a bunch of very good restaurants. There are also pigeons in puddles under a bridge, which is the only thing I took a photo of, so here you go.

We stayed at a hotel with a gym, a pool, and a hot tub. On both days, we went down and had a light workout in the gym, swam a lap or so in the pool, then floated in the hot tub for a few minutes, after which we took naps.

The other thing we did was eat. We went to a Mexican restaurant and an Italian restaurant. We like both of them a lot, so we won’t tell you the name of either one because we don’t want to have to wait in line the next time we go. Sorry!

(Oh, OK, the Italian restaurant is called The Rosa. The Mexican restaurant is called Margarita's. If you tell them that Suldog and HIS WIFE sent you, they’ll give you a look as though you were a black Mormon hooker slugging down an espresso in a casino, and you’ll deserve it, too.)

On Tuesday morning, we checked out of the hotel and started north to my Cousin Joan’s place. Here is a nice shot of it.

This place once belonged to my Dad, and it became mine when he died. After a bit of renting it out, we sold it to my cousin and her husband, Eddie. We gave them a good price, with the proviso that we be able to use the place a week or so each year if they aren’t using it themselves.

On the trip up, it was raining. It rained all the way north, and while we were north, and as we made our way back south, too. As soon as we got home, the sun came out. I therefore took no pictures of foliage. Who wants pictures of wet gray leaves?

I did take pictures of us all duded up for a night on the town. Here we are!

We decided to go for dinner at a place called The William Tell, a truly tremendous restaurant in the middle of the woods on Route 49 in Thornton. We had eaten there before and were amazed at the quality of food we received, the level of service, and the overall ambience. It is a real four-star restaurant, basically in the middle of nowhere.

Keeping with one of the themes of this vacation (general disappointment) it was closed when we arrived. Keeping with the other theme, (nice little bits that more-or-less made up for the crap) we found a place called The Common Man, in Lincoln, that wasn’t as ritzy, but was very satisfying, friendly, and more reasonably priced. We inhaled a bottle of wine, had a wonderful cashew-encrusted chicken with pumpkin ravioli on the side, and enjoyed a huge strawberry shortcake for dessert. We did not nap afterwards. It was 10pm, so we just plain slept.

The general highlights of the trip concerned wildlife. There were many birds feeding at our window. Here are some shots that will give you almost no idea of their cuteness.

In addition, we saw a squirrelmonk. It may be a squirrel; it may be a chipmunk. We are city people and have no idea. All of the squirrels we have ever seen are completely gray, and all of the chipmunks have been reddish brown and striped. This appears to be some sort of mix.

Finally, there is an apple tree on my cousin’s property. It is a golden delicious tree. When we arrived, there were dozens of apples on the ground. If it hadn’t been raining almost constantly, I might have picked up most of them and tried to make a pie or a cobbler or something like that from the best of them. However, since it was raining, I just left them there. Because I left them there, here is what we saw on the last day of our vacation.

MY WIFE was taking a nap when I spotted them, but I felt sure that she’d like to see them, so I woke her. We watched them eat apples for about ten minutes, and then they took off like a shot, running into the woods on the other side of the house more quickly than we could run to the windows over there. The reason they took off was...

... the train that goes through the backyard every evening.

It goes by at a leisurely pace of about five or ten miles-per-hour, as there are grade crossings very near to our yard. When it isn’t raining – and if we aren’t napping – we go out into the yard and wave to the engineer and passengers.

(In this instance, it was raining and I went out to wave and take the pictures, anyway. I don’t know whether this endeared me to the engineer and passengers, or whether they thought I was just a plain nut.)

That’s about it. I watched a lot of sports, too, which wasn’t much different than my regular everyday existence. Boston College beat Notre Dame, going to 7-0 and earning themselves the #3 spot in the BCS rankings, the highest ranking they’ve had since I’ve been alive. The Red Sox earned a spot in the ALCS, and the Patriots remained undefeated by walloping the Dallas Cowboys. It’s a great time to be a sports fan in Boston.

The final thing we did on our actual vacation was to eat at Hart's Turkey Farm in Meredith - which isn’t actually a farm, although it was approximately forty years ago. They serve somewhere in the neighborhood of a ton of turkey each day – no exaggeration - and MY WIFE and I feel that they could make a whole bunch more money if they had cots available for naps after the meal. We’d be willing to pay five bucks more if we could sack out for a couple of hours afterwards. However, most everybody else seemed able to leave immediately after eating, so we reluctantly did so, too.

And now here I am, back at work. I’d rather be napping, of course, but that goes without saying.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Back, Briefly

Just a quick shout-out to all of my "back watchers." Thanks!

The Red Sox came through, making it to the American League Championship Series, whereas the Yankees were defeated by Cleveland. Barbara (my favorite Yankees fan - although I must be honest and tell her that it is a very short list) has done the honorable thing and made good on our bet. She has posted the Red Sox logo on her site.

(By the way, if the Yankees fire Joe Torre - which I have little doubt they will do - they will have further convinced me that they are, indeed, an evil organization. That man is a class act and always has been. He doesn't deserve to take the fall for Chien-Ming Wang and A-Rod.)

I am well-rested after a rain-filled week. Not much foliage to see in the wetness. I did get a few good snaps of semi-interesting things, and I'll share those with you on Monday.

See you then.

Friday, October 05, 2007

One More For The Road

I have a bet with Barbara. She is a Yankees fan. I am not. She bet me that the Red Sox (of whom I am a fan) would have a worse finish to their season than the Yankees. Loser must post the logo of the other team on his/her blog for a week following the outcome.

The reason I am writing again, after telling you last time that I wouldn't be writing anything until I returned from vacation, is because I realize that the bet may be decided during my absence. If this turns out to be the case, I may never get to enjoy the fruits of my victory. I will not have any access to ye olde internet while I am in the mountains of New Hampshire.

Considering the outcomes of the first two games in their respective series (Red Sox win, Yankees lose) there is a distinct possibility that the bet may be decided by Sunday.

If I win - if the Red Sox win, and the Yankees lose - I want SOMEBODY to enjoy my victory.

I am therefore giving you my proxy, loyal reader. Please feel free to go to Barbara's place and say "In your FACE, Yankee Woman! Derek Jeter eats old smelly bananas! A-Rod is a poopy pants! And Clemens? Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! I got your rocket right here, Roger!!!"

Or, we could just be sporting chaps about the whole thing, accept our congratulations in a humble manner, and thank Barbara for being such a good sport.

Your choice - YOU are my representative.

Of course, if the unthinkable occurs - if the Yankees win and the Sox lose - I expect you all to ignore this entire thing. If you can't - if some Yankees fan gets all up in your grill about it - just remember this image...

... and smile.

See you soon.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Coming Soon To A Small Town Near You, Maybe

It is time for my annual October vacation. This may be my last posting until I return. Savor it. Soak in the verbosity that is me, for you will not have the chance to get your skin metaphorically wrinkly in my waters again for at least 12 days - unless I decide tonight that there's something I really want to get off of my chest, in which case I'll be here again tomorrow to bother you.

I plan a couple of vacations a year to coincide with Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. You know why? Because I can get 9 days in a row off, but only have to use 4 vacation days and 3 vacation days, respectively, to accomplish it. Luckily, I have seniority in the company for which I work, thus tradition in picking these weeks and nobody complains.

By the way, I've had about four hours sleep both of the previous two nights. I expect that this will be coming through in my writing here. I'll probably go from subject to subject without so much as even a feeble attempt at a segue. If so, I pick the Red Sox to meet the Yankees in the ALCS, while I expect Philadelphia and the Cubs to get through in the NL. Meanwhile, BC plays Bowling Green this Saturday, and they have a chance to go to 6 and 0 for the first time since fire was discovered, I think, and the first day of my vacation will be spent in a pub in Watertown quaffing a few brews and watching that game. If USC, LSU, Ohio State, Cal and Wisconsin all lose, while BC beats BG, the Eagles could become the #1 ranked team in the country, which would probably be a sure sign they'll lose to Notre Dame the following week.

What else do I want to talk about?

I suppose I could take this opportunity to thank you for your continued patronage. I have my moments, I know, but I'm about as wildly uneven a writer as there is on the planet, so I truly appreciate the fact that some of you have waded your way through crap like this in order to find the cubic zirconias I occasionally produce. I can't possibly keep a straight face while promising you a better effort, but I can keep one while expressing my gratitude. So, Thanks!

My return to this space should happen on October 15th (I think that would be the 9th of December in Australia) so please come back then. Of course, you could always drop by in the meantime and read my old stuff. Like cheap wine, it gets more vinegary-smelling with age.

See you then - whenever the hell that is - and remember: If you're in a small town in New Hampshire next week, and you see a bald guy with a goatee wearing a Boston College cap and a Red Sox t-shirt, buy him a drink and he'll mention your name here (or promise not to, as is your preference.)

Soon, with more better stuff.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Blood In The Suds - The Finale

Here's The Beginning.

Here's The Middle.

Here's The Other Middle.

So, there I was in the kitchen of The Pillar House restaurant in Newton, Massachusetts, trying to get directions to the train station from a fellow who spoke about as much English as I did Spanish, which is to say mas poco.

It needn’t have been that way. I had taken three years of high school Spanish, so I should have been able at least to ask him which way it was to el tren verde. However, I had taken three years of first year high school Spanish, and flunked three times, because I have no facility for languages other than English.

(I have also taken two years of [first year] Latin, and a half-year of French. The sum total of my knowledge, to this day, is as follows:

French – Je mal a la tete. This means, “I have a headache.” The reason I remember it is because the literal translation is, “I’m sick in the head.” I thought this was pretty funny stuff and that I’d get to use it someday in a joke. This is it, I guess.

I also learned “Voulez vouz couchez avec moi?” which means, roughly, “Will you go to bed with me?” My use of this phrase has pretty much been a joke, too, although it was never meant to be.

Latin – De gustibus non est disputadum. This means, “There’s no disputing taste,” which fairly much sums up why I’ve never been successful with that “Voulez vouz…” line.

Spanish – Uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez. I have since learned, in my capacity as a recording engineer [who often records Spanish voice talents for phone applications], “Lo siento, su tarjeta es invalido” and “Simplemente cuelge.” These two phrases mean, respectively, “I’m sorry, your credit card is no good” and “Simply hang up,” neither of which would have been helpful in the least, even if I DID know them 32 years ago in the restaurant kitchen, which is where we now return and please pardon the lengthy digression.)

The cleaner listened intently while I asked, as simplemente as possible, how to get to the train station. I tried to do the same while he answered me. After a few minutes of painfully inarticulate interaction, I thought I had some sense of which direction to head in. He seemed to have indicated that I should take a left and a right. I left the restaurant and took a left at the top of the driveway, followed by a right at the first intersection. I then continued forward, expecting the train station to come into view any moment.

(You KNOW I didn’t find the train station, right? Well, of course you do. Why else would I be writing this? There’s no humor in actually getting to your destination at 11:30pm following a thirteen-hour workday spent almost entirely on your feet. Having to continue walking, in a fruitless effort to come upon any one person, place, or thing that just might help you orient yourself to your current surroundings and get you pointed in the right direction, is much funnier, so let’s stay with that, shall we? Good.)

I found myself in increasingly less-well-lit neighborhoods. Presently, I spend about nine hours every day in Newton, and I can find my way to almost anywhere, but at that time I knew absolutely nothing about the place.

Well, OK, that’s a lie. I knew that a lot of very well-off people lived in Newton, and I do have to say that some of the houses I passed were spectacular – at least what I could see of the joints, many of them being far from the street – but there were none of these people out and about, and I mean not only foot traffic, but also automobiles. It was stunningly non-busy and eerily quiet.

Having come from Dorchester, I was used to a little bit of noise – the occasional street fight, domestic donnybrook, or armed hold-up, all of which added spice to life and provided me many enjoyable hours of imagining the participants dying hideously painful deaths so I could get some sleep – but Newton was just lifeless. The only sound was of a breeze through the leaves of the many splendid trees that lined the… tree-lined streets.

The lack of noise was important. I was desperately trying to catch the sound of a trolley coming down some tracks, or perhaps ringing its bell at a crossing, or SOMETHING. If I could hear one, I’d at least have known the general direction in which to walk. What I heard was - as so eloquently stated above, if I do say so myself - absolutely nothing.

Well, I could tell you about more of my walk to nowhere, but I’ve drained all of the life from it long ago now, haven’t I? Yes. So, I finally ended up at the intersection of Beacon and Walnut, where I spotted a clock in a storefront window. It said 12:45am. The trains in Boston stopped running at 12:40 then. Even if I now found the train station, it wouldn’t have done me any good.

I felt like crying, but I was just plain too tired. Instead, what I did was find a pay phone (lucky for me, with an intact Yellow Pages) and called a cab. I sat on the curb, in my greasy and smelly clothes, waiting for it to come. I knew that it would cost me close to whatever I had made in that miserable day just to get home now.

(By the way, as an interesting coda to this part of the tale, the cleaner wasn’t far off in his directions. If I had simplemente reversed them – taking a right, first, and then a left – I would have come to the Woodland station of the MBTA’s Riverside line in about ten minutes – and you would have been spared the last 9 paragraphs and 4 parenthetical interruptions. Instead, I made some Newton cabby’s night, and you've spent longer reading about the trip to the train station than it would have taken me to actually walk the damned thing. Ain’t life grand?)


I finally got home at about 1:30 in the morning. My Dad was still up, as he had been worrying about me for three or four hours, wondering where I could be. He was the type to start calling hospitals if someone was a half-hour later than expected.

I told him the story of my day, and he commiserated somewhat, but he was also mad that I hadn’t called him for a ride. God bless him, he would have happily given me one, but I was way too proud and self-reliant to have called someone I actually knew, at that ridiculous hour, and admitted my lack of sense.

While we talked, I made - and then quickly wolfed down - two cheese sandwiches. After that, I stripped off my nasty-smelling clothes and climbed into the shower. When I had finished, and was toweling off, it felt damned good to be clean again. However, no matter what I did – no matter how many times I blew my nose, or even with a healthy splash of after-shave – NOTHING could remove the stench of that damned kitchen from my nose. I went to sleep smelling the same hideous combination of grease, sweat, and half-chewed food that had made me feel like puking for much of the day.


I think just about any sort of sane man would have slept in the next morning, and then called the restaurant to say, “I quit!”

I awoke at 7am, having set my alarm to give myself plenty of time to dress, eat a BIG breakfast (big enough to last until whatever inadequate meal they might give me around 8 or 8:30pm) and then travel to the restaurant. The only thing setting my alarm for 7am didn't give me time for was a decent night of sleep, of course. Between my late arrival home and my early wake-up-call to myself, I had gotten about 4 hours. And I was facing another 12 or 13-hour day, not including travel.

When I awoke, I still smelled the kitchen. I took another shower, dressed in immaculately clean jeans and t-shirt, splashed on cologne, and still couldn’t rid myself of it completely.

I reported to the kitchen a few minutes before 10.

(I had taken the train – more correctly, a train and two trolleys – to get there, rather than accept another ride from my Dad. I had to find out where the damn station was, so that I could find it again that night after work.)

I entered via the kitchen door this time. Since I had been smelling the lovely fragrance of the place ever since I left it the night before, it didn’t hit me in the face like a sledgehammer when I walked in; more like a slight tap on the forehead by a ball peen.

The first thing I had to do was scrub out the pots and pans I had left soaking the night before. I did, using a steel bristle brush to get rid of the majority of the nastiness. I then placed the scrubbed vessels into the big dishwasher for a final ablution.

While they were being washed, I went back to the dish trough and resumed the position. Sweat poured, new bits of funk drifted into my nostrils, my hands quickly became red again, and the blisters I had acquired from my three or four mile midnight hike in work boots started to tell my brain what an idiot I was to be here again. I kept my mind occupied with self-pity while I washed the first bus tub full of dishes, then I started on a second bus tub.

I looked down at the plate I had been sponging. It was clean except for a bit of some sort of bright red sauce, maybe claret of some sort. I applied a bit of detergent, worked up some suds with the scrubber, and then dunked it into the grimy water. It came out clean, but when I had placed it on top of the stack of finished work, the red sauce was there again. What the hell...?

I looked down at my hand. It was bleeding. My index finger had a slice in it about a half-inch long. I had no idea when this might have happened. For all I knew, I might have been soaking my cut finger in this filthy slop for an hour or so.

That did it. I wanted to be a musician, but here I was doing a job where I could slice open a finger, then not even be aware that I had done so until I saw it bleeding after pulling it out of some putrid muck containing other people’s garbage and spit.

I walked to the kitchen manager’s office and told him he had been right; I wasn’t the man for the job. He looked at me, let out a long sigh, and shook his head; nothing more, no words. I told him he could mail my check. He just sort of grunted, softly. I took that as assent that he would.

I went to the men’s room, washed my hands, and wrapped my bleeding finger in a wad of paper towel. I then walked out the kitchen door, into the fresh air. I found the train station rather easily in the sunshine.

To this day, I sometimes empty out a dishwasher at home and get hit by a smell slightly reminiscent of that restaurant kitchen. When that happens, I vividly recall The Pillar House. Then I count my blessings, and thank God that He has blessed me enough to never have to work a job like that again in my life.

(By the way, in case you’re interested: I worked the dishwashing job for less than a day-and-a-half. It took me about four times as long to write about it. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what it is.)

Soon, with more better stuff.