Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Red Sox Win World Series

Need I say more? I am now officially satisfied as regards sporting thrills for the remainder of this year. Come 2014, we will discuss the Patriots, Bruins, Celtics, and what's left of my softball career.

Meanwhile, a few of the diverse faces of the Sox.

Big Papi - David Ortiz - The best clutch hitter of my generation.

The ultimate dirt dog - Dustin Pedroia.

The utterly amazing Koji Uehara.

My early pick for a future hall-of-famer, 21-year-old Xander Boegarts.

John Lackey. Two years ago, you couldn't find too many Sox fans willing to embrace this pitcher as one of their own. He gutted it out through injury. worked like hell itself on his rehab, and threw some of the most important innings in this championship run. Now he is one of ours forevermore and bad words spoken about him will be met with scorn and derision by the faithful of Fenway.

I could put up the photos of about 23 more guys, but to hell with that. I'm celebrating.

Soon, but it doesn't get much better than this.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Comes First - Your Posts

[If you have no idea what this is about, read the original post and be enlightened.]

Before I give out the thanks, here's a reminder.

This is The Pledge. It's a button/badge to be displayed on Facebook, your blog page, or on any social media platform with which you engage. The more places we put this, the more others will see it and join in.

I have changed my Facebook profile picture to this image. So have a lot of other folks (and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.) It is displayed EVERY TIME we post or comment. That's great power and publicity for this cause. Can you imagine this showing up hundreds or thousands of times on Facebook pages? It will, if YOU join in and then ask your friends to do the same. Can you imagine the sour look on the face of some greedy grinch of a CEO who is trying to make Thanksgiving his personal piggy bank? I can, and it makes me very happy. It's what keeps me fighting.

Please change your Facebook profile picture to THE PLEDGE, and please ask your friends to do the same.

One more thing: If you haven't been to the Thanksgiving Comes First page on Facebook, come on over and have a visit. If you "Like" the page, it's another way to join in the fight. Explore it, have fun, click on links to other pages of a similar nature.

And now, as promised, here are your posts. Thanks for getting on this bandwagon early. It's folks such as yourself who make a revolution worth the time.

(I'll post again, of course, so there's still time to do your own blog about Thanksgiving Comes First. I'll mention you here. You'll feel all clean inside once you do it!)

Messy Mimi gets the spot of honor for being the first to post. She explains why everyone will be happier if they wait for Christmas, and shows valid reasons why giving is much better than receiving.

Next up, It's A Crazy World (I'll say!) with why Thanksgiving is great (and some general raspberries for a few retailers.)

Tilting At Windmills (fine name for a blog, but I hope this doesn't turn out to be an example of that activity) joins in again. Nice to have you back!

Jackie, at Teacher's Pet, is a longtime friend, one of the nicest people on the internet, and she mentions me in her posts far too often (but I love it, of course.)

A couple of news stories at Myrtle Beach Online and The Charlotte Observer mention Thanksgiving Comes First on Facebook. See what can happen? Change your profile picture!

That wonderfully demented bastard, IT, has posted something that mentions the cause.

I don't want to forget these people. There are many more than those I mention here, who have changed their Facebook profile picture, but these folks jumped on it way early and deserve big thanks for getting the ball rolling: Daryl Singer Edelstein, Joe White, Skip O'Brien, Rebecca Harris, Angie Ledbetter, Karen Wacaser Lyons, Jeni Hill Ertmer, Twistlers Tara, Joe Hagy and Janet Comperry McReynolds.

(I have a horrible feeling I may be forgetting someone or some blog. If so, please let me know.)

That's about it for now. Keep 'em coming. If you haven't changed your Facebook profile picture, please do. It's for the best of causes - a non-commercial day with family and friends. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Take The Pledge!

Here's something great. It's a button/badge to be displayed on Facebook, your blog page, or anywhere else you think others will see it and join in. If you can actually get it onto a real pin or button, wear it with pride!

I have changed my Facebook profile picture to this button. So have some other folks. By doing so, it is displayed EVERY TIME you post or comment. That's great power and publicity for the cause. Can you imagine this showing up hundreds of times on pages, because so many people have it as their profile? I guarantee it will attract attention, maybe even become a major news story if enough people take the time to change their profile picture to it.

Please change your Facebook profile picture to this image, and please ask your friends to do the same.

Please take the pledge. Display the button with pride. Let your voice be heard.

Thank you.

Monday, October 21, 2013

To The Victorino Belongs The Spoils

I had two bets riding on the Red Sox - Tigers series. I'm happy to report the Red Sox won (via Shane Victorino's wholly unexpected and electrifying grand slam, thus the title to this piece) and will play in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

(Someone, no doubt from some country outside of the United States, will complain about it being called the "World" Series. Since there are nothing but American teams involved, I suppose it makes sense, on the surface, to question such nomenclature. Take my word for it; for all practical purposes, it is for the world championship. I have no doubt that someday in the near future teams from Japan, Korea, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Mexico, and other places that love the game of baseball, will be able to field teams, in their professional leagues, that could truly challenge for a championship against the best teams from the American professional leagues. That day is not today. If you don't believe that? You're entitled to your ill-informed opinion.)

One of the bets I won involved a forfeit of one's blog in form of a paean of some sort to the winner. You can find payment of that bet, from Sandi McBride, at her blog, Holding Patterns. If you go there, be kind. She's battling the flu.

The other bet, for which I am hungrily awaiting payment (literally), was with my good friend, Craig. I bet him New England Clam Chowder against Michigan Navy Bean Soup. I have not heard from him since the Tigers lost, but I have no doubt he will pay off the bet handsomely. He's a good Catholic gentleman and I trust he will not welch.

(That has been a part of my gambling lexicon for most of my life, but it just now occurs to me that it may be disparaging to Welshmen. If so, I'm sure someone will let me know and I offer my apologies to that nation in advance.)

So, any St. Louis Cardinals fans up for a small wager? The Series begins Wednesday evening. I know I should probably just rest on my laurels, enjoying my well-earned soup when it comes, but I think I might rather enjoy some gooey butter cake for dessert.

Soon, with more bettor stuff?

Friday, October 18, 2013


Yes, boys and girls, it's time once again for my annual imitation of Sisyphus. It's time to roll the Thanksgiving Comes First boulder up the mountain of Christmas advertising that inundates at an earlier date with each passing year.

I do this every year because I am an optimist at heart. I truly believe that the cheapening of our holidays can be stopped. Do I believe it will happen right now, because of this post? Hardly. I've done the same sort of thing for EIGHT years with limited success. But it could go viral this year and do the job. Lotteries are hit even though the odds are astronomical for any one individual doing so. Get enough people picking enough numbers and it happens. The same dynamic can work for change; enough people, writing enough letters and posting on enough blogs, and... well, you get the idea.

I'm extremely gratified that many of you have joined in the effort in years past. Perhaps you'll find some entertainment in doing so again this year? I find self-righteousness endlessly entertaining, so perhaps you'll get some joy from it, too. As always, I'll do a follow-up post with links to all blogs and websites that have helped. To make sure I don't miss your efforts, drop me a line if you're joining in.

(Much of what follows appeared in a column of mine in The Boston Herald a couple of years ago. It is with their kind permission that I reprint those parts here.)


When I was a kid, Christmas was magical. The lights were colorful and amazing, making the night a warm, bright, wonderful place to be, even if it was 20 degrees outside and the snow was up to your waist. If you're old enough, maybe you recall that Christmas carols gave you the same sorts of butterflies in your stomach that would be associated with love at a later time in your life. Cities and towns put up decorations on the main streets, with the larger municipalities erecting lovely Christmas trees in central spots.

All of the above worked, on a spectacular level, because it happened at an appropriate time and was limited in duration. No retailer (or city, or homeowner) dared breach the unofficial line of demarcation – Thanksgiving. It was an unwritten rule that one holiday would play out completely before speaking of another was allowed.

Now? Few retailers care. Whatever you can peddle, whenever you can peddle it, is the mantra. It matters not a whit how many people’s memories are trampled, nor how irreligious the displays and advertisements. The only thing that counts is that ledgers get into the black. Restraint and taste are passé. It seems the more outrageous the spectacle, the better for the bottom line.

Make no mistake about it: I’m a capitalist. I’m all for everybody making as much money as they can, as fast as they can, in whatever way they can, so long as nobody is physically hurt in the process. I’m not looking to enact laws against early Christmas advertising. What I am in favor of is standing up and being counted. That's fair. Opinion can drive a market in the right direction without resorting to the force of government intervention. If you decry this incursion upon our holiday ground as much as I do, I hope you'll join me in raising a slight ruckus. My hope is that we make enough noise to affect the situation.

I’m going to give it a try. I hope you'll help.

If you believe, as I do, that Thanksgiving should play out fully before Christmas season begins; that Christmas carols should not be heard on the radio before at least Thanksgiving evening; that advertisers who dare to encroach upon Thanksgiving - or, God help us, Halloween - should be told in no uncertain terms that you despise their hideous advertisements and that you will not shop at their establishments unless they cease and desist; that malls who put Santa Claus on display before Veterans Day should be ashamed of themselves; then please consider doing something about it.

Should you be as depressed as I am, concerning Christmas schlock, please post a "Thanksgiving Comes First" entry on your blog. Write from the heart. Everybody who visits your blog will find out how you feel. My guess is they'll agree with you. If you invite them to write a blog about it, perhaps they will. And maybe they'll ask their friends, and so on. If enough of us do this, who knows what might happen?

Please title your post "Thanksgiving Comes First". If we all do that - use the same posting title - it will make a bigger impact. If you wish to reference this post, or other posts with a similar title, please do so. It isn't mandatory, of course. I'm not looking to drive people to this blog. I'm only trying to make a bit of difference concerning something that truly rankles me.

If you wish to use the snazzy graphic at the top of this page, or any of the other graphics here, either on your blog entry or as a semi-permanent graphic on your sidebar, please feel welcome to do so. I'd appreciate it. Having a visual symbol that folks see repeatedly would be a big help.

(You can also explore THANKSGIVING COMES FIRST on Facebook. "Like" it for extra karma points!) 

Following are my most personal reasons for wishing to see something positive occur. Yours certainly don't have to match mine, by any means.

I'm a Christian, so I have more than an annoyance factor at work here. I think that cheapening the holiday, by expanding it beyond reasonable bounds, does a world of disservice to my religion. It gives people a false view of it, by making Christmas seem just a huge greed-fest. However, if you aren’t a Christian, your take on matters is certainly as important. If you're Jewish, for instance, or maybe a Muslim, it might make you mad to see some of your own holy days being given short shrift because of this overkill. If you're an atheist? I imagine it doesn't make you happy to be bombarded by this stuff. Whatever your reasons, please consider telling the world that you've had enough.

(I'm not encouraging obscenity, but I won't discourage it, either. Make it funny, or use it to emphasize a point, but I’d prefer that you don’t be gratuitous just for shock value. Obscenity always works better when it is an organic part of the whole. Be creative. For instance, this variation on the Wonderful Life poster from above, which I created during one of my fouler moods. You can decide whether it's gratuitous or appropriate, then do likewise or not.)


So, to reiterate:

If you believe as I do, that Thanksgiving Comes First, then please let your readers know where you stand.

If you post a "Thanksgiving Comes First" entry to your blog, please let me know by leaving a comment here. Trust me - I'll write about this again. If many of you join in, it will be a joyous post detailing all of the successes, pointing folks to all of the other blogs, including yours, that have decided to fight the madness.

(Image courtesy of Thanksgiving Corner)

In order for this thing to have any real effect, it has to keep spreading via others. While I truly LOVE anything you do in response, we have to ask others to do the same. If we don’t, then we’re just ranting. While that's certainly fun, it doesn’t accomplish as much as making our feelings known and also getting others to make their feelings known.

I firmly believe – and I’m sure you do, too – that the great majority of people are sick to death of the way Christmas has been commercialized. I’d be willing to bet that whenever you talk to anyone about this stuff, they almost always say, "Yeah, that's how I feel, too!"

Don’t you think we hold the majority opinion on this? If there were some way we could vote on it, wouldn’t we win easily? I sure think so. I think that for every person who loves hearing Christmas music at the beginning of November, there are ten of us who want to blow up the radio it’s playing on. I know that’s the way I feel. And I really, truly LOVE Christmas music. I honestly do. I own some 35 or 40 CDs full of Christmas music. But it has its place, and November (or, God help us, October) really isn’t it.

Are we tilting at windmills? I’d like to think we're not. The response in previous years, from all of you kind folks, gives me hope.

Sooner or later, if we speak up and ask others to do likewise, I honestly think we can have some effect. I’m not saying that we’ll bring the corporate world to its knees, nor is that even slightly what I hope we accomplish. This isn’t a power trip. But, if we can get them to ramp it down a bit, that would be an accomplishment of which we could be proud.

What this is all about, truly, was brought home to me while watching an episode of Mister Rogers.

On one of his shows, Fred was explaining the concepts of noisy and quiet. In order to illustrate the difference, he took his television audience to see a musician friend of his.

Fred had the musician, a percussionist, play his many instruments. Some were very loud, while others were soft and gentle. Afterward, Mister Rogers looked into the camera and spoke. He said, "In music, the silences are just as important as the loud parts."

The silences are just as important as the loud parts.

That’s a very profound statement. It’s true, isn’t it? Without the silences, it’s all just noise. The silences – the pauses, the gaps, the unfilled spaces – are what give the notes their power and meaning. And when it comes to a holiday, the silences – the quiet times preceding (or even within) the holiday – are extremely important. They give the celebration its power and meaning. That’s why I care so deeply about this. We all need some silences. They’re just as important as the loud parts.

Please keep writing, as well as asking your friends to write. Maybe send off a letter or two to your local newspapers. I've had a couple published (as well as the op-ed referenced earlier) and some of you are much more eloquent than I am. Let us know what sorts of responses you receive. As promised, I’ll list (and link to) all of your blogs in another post later on.

For now, Google the phrase "Thanksgiving Comes First" and you'll find some past postings. Even that simple act, in and of itself, helps to spread the message. Getting many hits on Google, for the phrase, will bring it to the attention of some more good people.

Thank you for listening. God bless you if you help.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

An Ode To Ham Sandwiches Past

The other day, MY WIFE and I were discussing the best meals we've ever had. We talked about wonderful feasts in five-star restaurants, but it turns out some of the most memorable treats we've eaten were decidedly pedestrian. They were magnificent not so much because of top-shelf ingredients or sterling preparation, but because we were hungry as hell. And, for me, into that category fall some ham sandwiches eaten in Mexico and England.

One night at a fronton in Mexico City
Jai-Alai (a fast game, and also quite pretty)
I'd been there three hours, maybe some change
True pangs of hunger had come into range

I'd heard a warning to not drink the water
And don't eat strange foods that you shouldn't oughter
But there, for two pesos, just under the stand
Yummy ham sandwiches that looked oh so grand

No lunch, and no dinner; My mouth salivating!
I reached in my pocket; no time for waiting!
The roll nice and crunchy, and on the inside
An oddly green condiment came for the ride

I have no idea what that condiment was
I sure wish I knew; I would buy some becuz
It was lovely and smoky and just the right touch
Jai-Alai ham sandwich! I loved you so much!

(I have a cast-iron stomach, it seems
That sandwich came back, but only in dreams) 

Then, on another day, horses were racing
A cool English Saturday, a wind somewhat bracing
Again, food was something I hadn't had lately
And, yes, I again wanted something quite greatly

For five shillings sixpence my old friend was had!
This time with mustard, both me and My Dad
Had two or three each, they were so good and tasty
And we still made next post because we were hasty

It kept us both happy until Putney Bridge
The coldest damn station, as cold as a fridge
But that's a sad tale for some other day
And it damages ham's reputation no way

I suppose I could tell you of hot ox tail soup
In an Irish inn after a trudge through some goop
But I won't keep you and bore you to tears
With all of the garbage I've et through the years

(I felt that these sandwiches should get their due
So now that they have, good morning to you!)

If you've never been to a Jai-Alai game, you should go. It's pronounced "high lie" and it's the damnedest sport around. As you can see from the photo above, the players wear huge long baskets (called cestas) on their hands. They use these to propel the ball (the pelota) off the concrete walls at speeds up to 180 miles per hour. The ball is about three-quarters the size of a baseball and as hard as a rock. It is one of the world's fastest games, and also one of the most dangerous. It is, so far as I can tell, always played professionally in settings which allow betting on the outcome. I find it endlessly fascinating, and I would attend it often if it was played anywhere near where I live (which it isn't.)

Here's Putney Bridge Station, on the District Line of the London Underground, except Putney Bridge Station is NOT underground. It is an elevated station near to the Thames, and on a cold night, with the wind blowing in off the river, polar bears would feel very much at home there.

On that day, I had dressed in a short sleeve shirt, no jacket, and was OK until the train stopped at Putney Bridge and we were told that the train was coming out of service for some reason or another. My Dad and I stood on that platform for a good 30 minutes waiting for another train to arrive and I froze my ass off. The ham sandwiches were so good, though, that they, and not that hideous station, remain the top memory of our day at the races.

(One can deduce from that last sentence that our wagers were not so memorable as to top either experience. You win some, you lose some, you have a sandwich. Such is life.)

 Soon, with more better stuff.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Couple Of Bets

Via my previous post, I was able to secure two bets from Tigers' fans.

The first one to take up the gauntlet was Sandi McBride. Sandi is a self-confessed crazy cat lady. As a matter of fact, that's the title of her book.

Other than that, she's normal (so far as I know.) Being a crazy cat lady, however, it should have been no surprise for me to find out she roots for the Tigers.

(Following along the rails of that crazy train of logic, in order for her to be a Red Sox fan she would have to be the crazy hosiery lady.)

The bet with Sandi is as follows: Loser will write an essay extolling the virtues of the winning team. Said essay will be published on the loser's blog, along with the logo of the winning team, and will remain there for a minimum of 24 hours.

The other bet involves an actual expenditure of money.

Craig, of Running In The Yard Next Door, is a die-hard fan of the Tigers. Off the top of his head, he can name you the starting line-up of the 1968 team.

[The top of Craig's head, which appears to be missing the 1968 team.]

Hell, I think he could name the entire roster, including the coaching staff and late-season minor league call-ups. In that regard, we are quite sympatico. I can name every member of the 1967 Red Sox and maybe give you the names of a few of their wives and kids.

(Meanwhile, MY WIFE will read this and once again embarrass me by asking me to name all of my cousins. I will scowl and leave the room, ashamed. What can I say? My cousins were not on the radio and TV some 170 times in 1967 having their exploits described in breathless manner by Ken Coleman and Ned Martin.)

The bet? If the Tigers win, I am to send a quart of New England Clam Chowder to Craig. If the Sox win, he will send me a quart of Michigan Navy Bean Soup. One of us will be eating well.

The series, best of seven, begins tonight. Go Sox!

Soon, with more bettor stuff.

P.S. Most of you know I am in no position to make bald jokes. Craig has more hair than I do. It was a pretty good line, though, wasn't it?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Blood, Sweat & Beards

It's time for the American League Championship Series. My team, the Boston Red Sox, are playing the Tigers of Detroit.

Normally, I wouldn't give a pair of red socks much chance against a gang of ferocious felines, but I'm willing to entertain wagers from my fellow bloggers who happen to be fans of the tiggers. Anyone up for a bet?

(MY WIFE and I used to like to imagine who would win for real in a sporting match between teams actually made up of what they liked to call themselves. It was always a good argument when it was the Jaguars versus the Panthers. On the other hand, it was pretty easy when it was, say, the Detroit Lions against the Indianapolis Colts. When was the last time you heard of a lion getting his ass kicked by a horse? We gave it up for two reasons...

1 - In real life, the Lions were getting beat down by just about everybody, even teams with wimpy mascots like the Cardinals.

2 - We came to the theological conclusion that nobody would ever beat the Saints.)

Anyway, the Tigers are a good team. They probably have the best pitcher in baseball in Justin Verlander. But I still like my Sox.

This year's edition of the Red Sox are a fun bunch. The team motto has been "Blood, Sweat & Beards". This is because the entire team has been growing beards since sometime back in May. When someone does something good, his teammates tug on his beard rather than shaking his hand.

In addition, fans have taken to wearing false beards to games, especially women and children.

If you can't tell who's who under all the hair, just use the following chart to identify your favorite players.

So, any Tiger fans up for a bet? Propose your terms below and we'll get something together; I guarantee it.

Soon, with more bettor stuff.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Discovered: Me!

I keep coming here and telling you what a big deal I am. I've been published, etc., etc.

You have to be getting sick of me crowing about myself. So, how do I blow my own horn again while keeping it intriguing enough to instill a desire in you to buy the publication in question? Since I am a bear of very little brain, I can think of only one way - a contest!

Here's the deal: I will pay for a subscription to Discover (the latest in my magnificent string of triumphs, wherein [or whereupon] my story about robots is featured on the cover, thank you.)

In order to get the FREE one-year subscription, you must do two things.

1) Buy a one-year subscription (only $15, which is half the regular rate because they love my friends!)

2) Mail me proof of your subscribing (only 46 cents, last I checked, and you'll be helping to keep my mailman employed! You'll be doing your bit for the federal government, too!)

I will put all of the proofs in a non-partisan hat and randomly choose one. Yay! A Winner! The rest of you will own a paid subscription to a vastly interesting and well-written compendium of the latest news concerning science, technology, health, physics, the environment, medicine, and Santa Claus.

(That last was a hint concerning the next piece of my writing scheduled to appear in the magazine. Get your subscription now and be the envy of your neighbors when you have the inside scoop on Kris Kringle!)

In other words, there will be no losers.

I'll sweeten the deal. If you don't get the FREE subscription, I'll mention you here and give your blog a link. That'll be worth at least three or four hits. Wow! I'll also say a prayer for you (which may or may not carry any weight - considering my past - and may actually pull you down a peg in the eyes of God, but I've heard rumors to the effect that He's benevolent, so it will probably go on the good side of your ledger.)

Send your entries to:

Suldog's Totally Awesome Contest
93 Winsor Avenue
Watertown, MA 02472

Entries must be postmarked by October 20th.

In the meantime, those of you unwilling to part with a few bucks may still bear witness to the glory which is me. Discover, in its infinite wisdom, has posted my piece to their website. I think this comes under the heading of "Giving away the milk before you sell the cow", but they're the professionals and I'm just a writer.

(But a damn good one, and I would point out that buying a subscription will get you my words on super slick glossy pages, while clicking onto the link below will not. Since all of my previous publications have been in newsprint, this is a BIG DEAL and you should get in on the ground floor. When I am awarded my Pulitzer in 2021, you'll be able to sell this issue on E-Bay for at least the cost of the subscription. If it doesn't fetch that much, give me a call - if I'm still alive - and I'll buy you lunch. See? You can't lose!)

My First Appearance In A Glossy! (but only if you buy the print edition)

So there you have it. Make of it what you will. I certainly have.

Soon, with more scientific stuff.

P.S. I owe special thanks to quite a few people at Discover, but I'm sure they'd appreciate not having their good names dragged through the mud via association with me. However, the person who worked most closely with me on this was Gemma Tarlach. Her editing skills, and fine suggestions, were at least as responsible for this as I was. Sorry, Gemma. That's what you get for being kind.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

My Teeth Are In My Hat (Finale)


When last you left me (or I left you; it was probably my fault) we had swum, eaten and rocked.

(I wasn't sure about "swum", but spellcheck didn't say anything, so I'm going with it.)

(Oddly enough, spellcheck has a problem with "spellcheck". For some reason, that makes me happy.)

Prior to leaving you then, I left you before. At that time, I had not told you why the gap-toothed boy was wearing a number. Today, you will find out the reason; right now, as a matter of fact.

He was in a road race.

(Anti-climax is my middle name and I'm pissed at my parents.)

Most of you guessed he was in a race, so it's not much of a surprise. The surprise comes from how well he did. I'll give you that result in just a bit, but first here are some more photos of him (as well as of his aunt and his grandmother - guess which is which!)

[This photo is for those of you who thought, from the photo I ran in Part One, that Darian had no arms.
This photo proves he has at least one.]

[Darian with his aunt and his grandmother, though not necessarily in that order.
Yeah, I know. Neither one looks old enough to be what I'm telling you they are, but it's the truth.]
[And here they are showing off their numbers. Unfortunately, now it looks like Darian has no arms again.]

On Sunday, we checked out of the hotel and drove to Middleboro, where three of our relatives were entered in a 5k road race. The three were Darian, to whom you've already been introduced; his aunt, Ava; and his grandmother, Victoria. Ava is the shorter blond, #1289, and, yes, she IS Darian's aunt. I'm looking forward to when they both get to be about 19 or 20 and Ava introduces Darian to someone as her nephew or Darian introduces Ava as his aunt. Given their closeness in age, as well as their huge disparity in skin tone, nobody is going to believe them. I want to be a witness to those conversations and see how long it takes for them to convince someone that it's true.

(How it works is this: Darian is the son of Victoria's oldest daughter, who is in her late twenties. He is, as I recall, about 6 or 7 months younger than Ava.)

Victoria had been in the previous year's race and the kids were so impressed with their Mom/Grandmom, they decided they wanted to join her in this year's edition of it. Although it would slow her time considerably from last year, Victoria is a great Mom/Grandmom and she agreed to them being with her on the course.

The race was, as I said, 5K. There were running divisions and walking divisions. Victoria, Ava, and Darian were entered in the walking division. The whole race was to benefit the Sacred Heart Food Pantry, so there was that added goodness to the affair.

MY WIFE, Bro-In-Law Joe, and I saw the start and then waited for them to finish. The course was more-or-less circular, so they would be finishing at about the same spot. We enjoyed some coffee and bagels while our three runners made their way through Middleboro.

Given the kid's ages, we were fully expecting all three to not separate and then finish together. To our surprise, we saw Darian running all by himself. His aunt and Grandmother were nowhere to be seen.

Actually, I shouldn't say Darian was running by himself. While he had left his two relatives behind, he had picked up six or seven teenaged girls. He was in the middle of a pack of female Middleboro track team members, keeping pace all the way to the finish line. He beat his relatives by almost three minutes. As the story was later related to us, he could have probably knocked off another four or five minutes but, every time he came to an intersection with a stop sign, he would stop and wait for Ava and Victoria to catch up. Once they did, he would start his own pace again. The only time he didn't stop and wait for them was on the final leg.

Look at these results for the walkers (I've bolded the names of my kin):

September 29, 2013

Results By Spitler Race Systems, Inc.

Place   Name                   City            Bib No  Age Gend  Group  Time     
   1    Anne Gallagher         Raynham          1172    49   F   40-49  28:46.0
   2    Colin Gaughan          Middleboro       1175    15   M    1-18  29:00.0
   3    John Boersdamm         Middleboro       1126    48   M   40-49  29:39.0
   4    Samuel Silva           Westport         1396    49   M   40-49  30:37.0
   5    Graham Wright          Quincy           1340    52   M   50-59  34:37.0
   6    Danielle Black         Middleboro       1122    14   F    1-18  39:27.0
   7    Pamela Silva           Middleboro       1397    45   F   40-49  40:20.0
   8    Jeremy Marino          Lakeville        1385     8   M    1-18  41:50.0
   9    Jacqueline DeMichele   Lakeville        1153    48   F   40-49  42:44.0
  10    Sheryl Daley           Middleboro       1149    46   F   40-49  42:44.0
  11    Emily St.Laurent       Lakeville        1393    20   F   19-39  43:01.0
  12    Ian Abreu              Somerville       1390    23   M   19-39  43:02.0
  13    Nicole St. Laurent     Lakeville        1394    13   F    1-18  43:07.0
  14    Joseph St. Laurent     Lakeville        1395    47   M   40-49  43:12.0
  15    Alyssa Murphy          Middleboro       1239    15   F    1-18  44:53.0
  16    Christine Murphy       Middleboro       1238    49   F   40-49  44:58.0
  17    Torie McDermott        East Bridgewater 1304    11   F    1-18  45:12.0
  18    Kiyah McDermott        East Bridgewater 1308     9   F    1-18  45:16.0
  19    John Beausoleil        Middleboro       1115    48   M   40-49  45:28.0
  20    Lorrie Maree           Middleboro       1226    63   F   60-69  45:45.0
  21    Avril Jackson-Black    Middleboro       1197    54   F   50-59  46:03.0
  22    Caroline Woodward      Hanson           1288    15   F    1-18  46:12.0
  23    Daniel McDermott       East Bridgewater 1307    33   M   19-39  46:23.0
  24    Rosanne Marino                          1387    45   F   40-49  46:40.0
  25    Emily Marino           Lakeville        1386    11   F    1-18  46:40.0
  26    Kimberly Robbins       Middleboro       1255    45   F   40-49  47:16.0
  27    Glenn Gately                            1370    65   M   60-69  47:19.0
  28    Veronica Ramos         Middleboro       1250    41   F   40-49  47:29.0
  29    Carol Kalchthaler      Middleboro       1203    72   F   70-99  47:37.0
  30    Robert Kalchthaler     Middleboro       1202    75   M   70-99  47:37.0
  31    Lisa Beausoleil        Middleboro       1114    42   F   40-49  49:11.0
  32    Shayne Hynes           Middleboro       1195    43   F   40-49  49:36.0
  33    Carolyn Doyle          Plympton         1158    73   F   70-99  49:39.0
  34    Carolyn McDermott      Middleboro       1303    57   F   50-59  50:01.0
  35    Erin Wright            Quincy           1341    32   F   19-39  50:06.0
  36    Michelle Henry         Middleboro       1306    42   F   40-49  51:11.0
  37    Valerie Gaughan        Middleboro       1174    47   F   40-49  52:04.0
  38    Andrew Grenon          Lakeville        1399    50   M   50-59  52:39.0
  39    Patricia Egan          MIddleboro       1326    16   F    1-18  52:44.0
  40    Megan Berryman         Middleboro       1323    17   F    1-18  52:44.0
  41    amanda ford            Middleboro       1169    20   F   19-39  52:47.0
  42    Pamela DeBerry         Middleboro       1152    41   F   40-49  52:47.0
  43    Lisa Perry             Middleboro       1334    48   F   40-49  53:00.0
  44    claire entel           Assonet          1161    53   F   50-59  53:20.0
  45    Jenna entel            Assonet          1162    15   F    1-18  53:21.0
  46    Rick Di Salvo          Middleboro       1155    67   M   60-69  53:26.0
  47    Allison Asiaf          Brockton         1632    34   F   19-39  53:35.0
  48    Lindsay Dahlquist      Brockton         1631    30   F   19-39  53:36.0
  49    Meghan McPeck          Brockton         1400    29   F   19-39  53:36.0
  50    susan black            Middleboro       1120    65   F   60-69  53:59.0
  51    edwin black            Middleboro       1121    67   M   60-69  53:59.0
  52    Danielle Trocia        Middleboro       1362    15   F    1-18  54:27.0
  53    Lindsey Tracki         Middleboro       1363    17   F    1-18  54:29.0
  54 Darian Sanders  Middleboro  1262   7  M  1-18 54:33.0
  55    Lindsay Woodwaro       MIddleboro       1312    14   F    1-18  54:33.0
  56    Melissa Klemme         Middleboro       1359    14   F    1-18  54:33.0
  57    Shaina Poh             Middleboro       1360    16   F    1-18  54:34.0
  58    Gabby Boutin           Middleboro       1324    17   F    1-18  54:36.0
  59    Carla Pelton           Middleboro       1311    14   F    1-18  54:37.0
  60    Madison Murray                          1369    16   F    1-18  54:57.0
  61    John Falcas                             1371    27   M   19-39  54:57.0
  62    Riley Keenan           Weymouth         1343    14   F    1-18  55:06.0
  63    Jenna LaMarca          Braintree        1345    13   F    1-18  55:06.0
  64    Carol Medeiros         North Dighton    1354    51   F   50-59  55:08.0
  65    Amy Bergman            Abington         1116    36   F   19-39  55:18.0
  66    Susan LaMarca          Braintree        1208    44   F   40-49  55:18.0
  67    Kathleen Woodward      Hanson           1289    48   F   40-49  55:21.0
  68    Elaine Boersdamm       Middleboro       1125    47   F   40-49  55:21.0
  69    Barbara Davin          Rochester        1348    67   F   60-69  55:22.0
  70    Estelle Amber          Middleboro       1108    64   F   60-69  55:47.0
  71    Susan Curran           East Bridgewater 1145    33   F   19-39  55:47.0
  72    Michele Bolton         Middleborough    1127    53   F   50-59  56:18.0
  73    Thomas Estey           Middleboro       1163    42   M   40-49  56:24.0
  74    Jeanine Knowlton       Middleboro       1205    53   F   50-59  56:27.0
  75    John Knowlton          Middleboro       1204    48   M   40-49  56:27.0
  76    Debbie Curran          Brockton         1146    53   F   50-59  56:29.0
  77    Margaret Estey         Middleboro       1164    68   F   60-69  56:32.0
  78    Victoria Bolton        Middleboro       1128    16   F    1-18  56:42.0
  79    Stephen McKinnon       Middleboro       1233    65   M   60-69  56:55.0
  80    Evelyn Pupek           Middleboro       1310    49   F   40-49  57:00.0
  81    Joshua Newcomb         Middleboro       1364    10   M    1-18  57:00.0
  82    Gabrielle Costa        Middleboro       1141    42   F   40-49  57:00.0
  83    Grace Rogers           Middleboro       1365    15   F    1-18  57:00.0
  84    Liz Porter             Middleboro       1249    50   F   50-59  57:01.0
  85    Rose Teixeira          Carver           1276    66   F   60-69  57:01.0
  86    Paula Smith            Bridgewater      1266    57   F   50-59  57:01.0
  87 Ava-Marie White Middleboro 1285  8  F  1-18 57:11.0
 88 Victoria Turnor Middleboro 1278  45 F 40-49 57:11.0
  89    Sherri Vannes          Middleboro       1280    51   F   50-59  57:11.0
  90    Greg Anderson          Middleboro       1110    43   M   40-49  57:40.0
  91    Jennifer Anderson      Middleboro       1109    41   F   40-49  57:41.0
  92    Allin Frawley          Middleboro       1375    42   M   40-49  57:41.0
  93    Dotty Caron            Middleboro       1342    40   F   40-49  57:41.0
  94    Lisa Cowen             Somerset         1142    49   F   40-49  57:42.0
  95    Jennifer Litterio      East Taunton     1347    40   F   40-49  59:04.0
  96    Rachel Gifford         Raynham          1335    39   F   19-39  59:05.0
  97    Kelly Camara           Fall River       1136    29   F   19-39 1:00:21.0
  98    Joel Ruiz              New Bedford      1261    29   M   19-39 1:00:22.0
  99    Debbie Warwick         Taunton          1282    58   F   50-59 1:00:23.0
 100    Michael Amaral         Fall River       1105    35   M   19-39 1:00:23.0
 101    Raul Botelho           Fairhaven        1129    55   M   50-59 1:00:26.0
 102    Tiffany Chaves         Fall River       1138    24   F   19-39 1:00:27.0
 103    Katelyn Warwick        Raynham          1283    25   F   19-39 1:00:27.0
 104    Erin Early                              1316    15   F    1-18 1:00:53.0
 105    Abigail Ethier         MIddleboro       1322    16   F    1-18 1:00:53.0
 106    Cayla Smith            Middleboro       1372    16   F    1-18 1:00:53.0
 107    Mary Mariano           Bridgewater      1227    59   F   50-59 1:03:09.0
 108    Joseph Mariano         Bridgewater      1228    81   M   70-99 1:03:09.0
 109    Carol Pearl            Middleboro       1248    75   F   70-99 1:03:34.0
 110    Sandy Mulligan         Middleboro       1314    52   F   50-59 1:03:35.0
 111    Joshua Robinson        Middleboro       1259    14   M    1-18 1:05:22.0
 112    Kathleen Robinson      Middleboro       1256    49   F   40-49 1:05:47.0
 113    Barry Robinson         Middleboro       1257    44   M   40-49 1:05:47.0
 114    Karalyn Robinson       Middleboro       1258    16   F    1-18 1:05:48.0

Darian is uber-competitive, and he was pissed. Medals were awarded to the top three finishers in each age group. He didn't get a medal. But please look at that list again. The grouping he was in was 1 - 18. Good Lord, the difference between a kid 7-years-old, like Darian (THE youngest entrant in the race) and, say, a 17-year-old, is gigantic. I think it would truly be more fair if there was a 1 - 10 year old division. Darian (THE youngest entrant in the race; did I already point that out?) would have finished third and gotten his medal. Heck, if they had that division (and if he hadn't stopped and waited for his relatives, like the extremely sweet kid he is) he might have pushed it and finished first. I was damn proud of him, and tried to explain to him how well he did, but it took a while before he wasn't sad. I expect he'll be in the race again next year and I wouldn't bet against him smoking the field.

(By the way, I'm also proud of Ava and Victoria. This was the first time Ava has ever walked this distance. And Victoria, based on her time from last year's race, probably would have won her division if she wasn't such a swell Mom/Grandmom.)

That wraps up the major parts of our extremely enjoyable weekend. If you enjoyed reading about it half as much as we enjoyed living it, then we're twice as happy as you, so I apologize.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

My Teeth Are In My Hat (2)

[Friday, which generally comes before Saturday, may be found HERE. There is nothing in this current part that explains about the title. If you absolutely have to know, go to the previous day. It won't be worth it, but what in life is?]


After eating our breakfast again (once more, you have to have read Part One to find out why we're eating our breakfast AGAIN, but it probably isn't worth backtracking. Boy, I have delusions of inadequacy...), we went swimming in the hotel pool. We were joined in the aquatic fun by sister-in-law Victoria, brother-in-law Joe, niece Ava (or Avaroo, if you prefer), and grandnephew Darian (he of the gap-toothed smile in PART ONE, and in this case it's worth it to go there and look.)

As everyone splashed around in the pool and hot tub, I stood off to the side. I was reticent to put on a swimsuit because I have gained about twenty pounds this year. Everyone told me what a party pooper I was, though, so I went back to our room and donned my swimming togs. And I'm glad they got on my case because I enjoyed myself, even if I did look a bit like a hairy Pillsbury doughboy in my Tommy Bahamas.

Once the swimming was done, we went to Friendly's and got ice cream because burning off a couple hundred calories should always be rewarded with sugar and butterfat.

Now I get to tell you a little bit about Darian. He is the most physically fit child on earth. His favorite foods are vegetables. He once opined, when asked why he wasn't eating at some family gathering, "Why would I eat if I'm not hungry?" This made us question if he was actually from our gene pool. And, when we said we were going to Friendly's for ice cream, he pouted. He said he wanted real food, not ice cream.

WTF? He's seven. What seven-year-old pouts when he's told the family is going for ice cream? I'd blame it on his schooling, but Ava goes to the same school and she hasn't shown any such tendencies toward insanity. We finally talked him into having ice cream by saying we were going to order this thing called a "Crowd Pleaser" which comes with twelve scoops of ice cream and six different toppings, and we each would get to choose two flavors and one topping.
(As an aside - like this whole piece isn't an aside, but I digress - I'll tell you that our Crowd Pleaser came with about four fewer cherries, didn't quite jump over the top of the bowl like the one above, and we swear they didn't include about three of the flavors we asked for. We didn't really figure this out until we were mostly done scarfing it down, though, so we had no way to prove it if we had wanted to complain. If you go to Friendly's in Plymouth, I suggest you count your scoops before you start eating. I'm just saying.)

Darian had ordered gummi bears as his topping. And the boy who didn't want any ice cream ate about half of the Crowd Pleaser all by his lonesome. One of the reasons for this is because none of the adults much cared for gummi bears and one thing our Crowd Pleaser was not lacking was gummi bears. Every frigging spoonful had six or seven gummi bears in it. Bleh.

With the ice cream gone, Victoria and Joe took the kids home while MY WIFE and I returned to our room for naps. You vacation your way, we'll vacation ours. Swimming, ice cream, naps - yes, we are 50-something kindergarteners. Actually, we knew we had a good night of partying in front of us, so we wanted to build up our energy.

Victoria and Joe returned at 4:30 and we went to the New Tokyo restaurant. We sat around the hibachi grill and ate great food while Chef Sing entertained us with good humor and tremendous culinary skill.

"I am not a crooked Japanese chef!"

Here, he builds an onion volcano.

And here he does mostly straight-ahead cooking while explaining his nice philosophy.

The food was great, the entertainment a load of fun, the drinks were good, the price was reasonable considering what we got (and extremely reasonable considering Victoria and Joe were treating) and I have placed it on the list as one of my favorite meals ever.

We then drove into Plymouth to see James Montgomery.

James kicked ass, as did his band. It was a great concert, rocking hard all evening. Best of all, it was a benefit for Project Reach in Plymouth, a wonderful organization.

Tony V opened the show. Great comedian who does a load of benefit concerts and God bless him for giving of his time as often as he does. Next up was Emily Hodges, a singer/guitarist/songwriter.

Emily, with David Hull (bass w/Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, others) and James Montgomery

Emily is 13, with the voice of a 30-year-old. She did a fine original number and then a cover of Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Pride & Joy". Next, David Hull took the stage to do a couple of rockers, which led into James coming out and taking over. And from that point onward, the sweat flowed freely. There was a space in front of the stage for dancing, and it filled up quickly.

Here's a bit of James and the band (taken from the slamming dance floor, so excuse the video quality.)

As most of you know, I don't dance. I am to dancing as Colonel Sanders is to PETA. People have suffered grievous injuries via attempting to dance with me. No joke. My Grandma was a dancing teacher. She tried to teach me how to dance once. I stepped on her feet three times in 45 seconds and she told me in no uncertain terms to sit down. So, it was very surprising that, while I was standing near the front of the stage and tapping my foot (I do have timing; I'm a musician.), a woman came up to me and said, "I hate to see you dancing alone. Come on; dance with me."

She was a decent looker, and had I not been happily married with MY WIFE sitting about twenty feet from where this woman was asking me to dance, I might have accepted the offer despite the possibility of my breaking her ankles. However, I was and am happily married. I told the woman this. She wasn't fazed. She grabbed my hand and started dancing. Being a gentleman and not wanting to totally diss a lady, I tried a half-hearted step or two, realized I hadn't improved in my terpsichorean charms since the last time I tried to dance some ten years back, and stopped before I crippled her. Did that deter her? No. Despite my being married and a terrible dancer, she moved in front of me and started dancing in a way that was grinding her ass into my crotch.

OK, I was flattered, but I was also MARRIED. The song stopped, I thanked her for the non-dance, and returned to my seat next to MY WIFE (who, I have to say, looked nothing other than bemused.) I looked at the dance floor and there was the woman trying to get my brother-in-law to dance with her. Apparently she specialized in men who were already spoken for. Same deal, as he tried to ignore the come on, but she started grinding him, too. He did his best to move out of the way, considering the dance floor was crowded.

(By the end of the night, she had found someone not quite as reticent as me or my bro-in-law. MY WIFE spotted her in a corner of the auditorium making kissy face with some other guy.)

I don't care if she was drunk, horny, and was going all the way with someone no matter how many guys she had to try before she found one to accept, I was flattered. You take your sexual compliments where you can get them when you're my age.

(I could tell you two other strange women tried to dance with me, but you probably wouldn't believe it. True story, though, and I highly recommend a James Montgomery concert if you're looking to hook up. By the time the third one started dancing with me, MY WIFE had had enough. She got up and joined me on the dance floor, making sure all the other women knew she was in charge of the awesomeness that is me, even if I do keep my teeth in my hat sometimes.)

And that pretty much wraps up Saturday. I still haven't told you why the kid (PART ONE, damn it) is wearing a number. Guess you'll have to come back tomorrow, huh?


Soon, with less of me getting hit on by strange women.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

My Teeth Are In My Hat

[Too late. You've read the title. How can you possibly go away without finding out what in heck it means? But if that isn't enough to lure you in, how about this?]

[I'm using an innocent child's gap-toothed smile to pimp for my blog. And why is he wearing a number? You'll have to read on to find out! Yes, I'm shameless.]

MY WIFE and I were invited to Plymouth, Massachusetts, for the weekend. The inviting was done by my sister-in-law Victoria and my brother-in-law Joe. They wanted to see a concert with us as well as share a meal at a good restaurant. They said it would be their treat for dinner. That sealed the deal for me. You could invite me to a three-day festival featuring sculptures made of rabbit poop and if there was a free meal included, I'd be there with bells on.

Here's the whole weekend.


We headed to the Hilton Garden Inn in Plymouth, our base of operations for the weekend. On the way, we stopped for lunch at Persy's Place in Kingston.

Actually, we didn't have lunch. We had breakfast because Persy's serves breakfast all day (except they close at 3pm, so it's not quite all day, but we were there at 2:15, so who cares?) and we're both breakfast people. If a place serves breakfast, we order breakfast. If it has home fries and eggs, we're on it like a democrat on a tax increase.

I ordered something called a "Dapper Dan", which is 3 eggs, hash, home fries, a stack of pancakes, baked beans, and coffee. MY WIFE ordered pumpkin pancakes because she is a pumpkin junkie and would eat an old shoe if it was pumpkin flavored. That sounds like a lot of food, and it is, but what arrived at our table was not a lot of food; it was a mountain of food. There was no way I only had 3 eggs on my plate. It looked more like 5 eggs. And everything else was similarly steroided. We ate our fill and still had full plates. We took away enough to have pancake snacks later that night while we lay in bed at the hotel watching TV, and then we had breakfast again (reheated in our in-room microwave) in the morning. We have a theory. We think since we arrived at 2:15, and Persy's closes at 3:00, we were probably the last people to order breakfast that day and they pretty much gave us everything that still remained on the grill. In any case, it was delicious all three times we ate it.

We arrived in Plymouth at 3:45 and checked into our room.

Very nice, non-smoking.

You know me by this late date. I smoke, a lot. We had requested a smoking room. Apparently, they don't have any smoking rooms. Enter Jim's wonderful electronic cigarette.

A few months back, I invested in an electronic cigarette. I won't describe the physics; you can figure those out from the illustration. I'll just tell you that it works. If I have to be someplace where I can't smoke, it does the job for me. I can go a full night without a real cigarette so long as I have my nicotine delivered electronically.

(I know - it's still no health treat to be sucking in nicotine, but it eliminates the tar and gunk that rots your lungs, AND there's no actual smoke to stink up wherever you are that doesn't allow addicts to feed their monkeys.)

It is the only thing I've ever tried that takes away the craving. I highly recommend it if you need to not smoke.

After we unpacked and I didn't smoke, we decided to take a walk around downtown Plymouth. We saw...

It has a very spiffy home.

In actuality, though, it is a prisoner. They keep it in a cage.

Here's the deal: Plymouth Rock used to be much larger. You couldn't expect a shipload of pilgrims to have landed on what's there now. Heck, a canoe of girl scouts would be hard-pressed to fit. What happened was people kept coming to see it and they'd take a little chip from it as a souvenir. So now it is a much smaller rock, kept in a cage so people don't keep stealing pieces and turn it into Plymouth Pebble. So you stand above the rock, look down about 10 feet or so onto it, and marvel at the fact that one individual had celebrated his or her freedom by tossing an empty Marlboro package into the cage. If that person had an electronic cigarette, of course, then the rock would have a nice clean cage for itself (or maybe the idiot would have taken a poop on the rock because a jerk is still a jerk even if he or she is not smoking.) Anyway, as a person who had ancestors on the Mayflower who probably stepped foot on that rock, I'd appreciate it if you newcomers would stop throwing garbage at it. Thank you.

After looking at history, we were hungry again. Well, I was hungry again, anyway, but MY WIFE said she wouldn't mind watching me eat, so we walked back to the main drag and I had two slices of pizza at a place named The Pie Hole.

Yup. The Pie Hole.

Whatever you think of the name, it was excellent pizza of the thin-crust variety. I'd say it ranks in the top ten of my pizza eating experiences (and that's high praise considering I was still partially full of eggs, hash, home fries, beans, and other breakfast foods.)

After the pizza, we strolled back to where I had parked Roddy The Wondercar. Along the way, we traversed The Oldest Street In America. The asphalt has held up surprisingly well. They must have had a wonderful public works department in 1620.

Finally, we get to the title of this tale that's going nowhere. As I readied myself for bed, I took out my denture (I have a lower that pops out.) And, as always when I'm away from home, I then wondered what to do with it. I don't like leaving it out in the open because lots of my family had dentures when I was a kid and I'd always be coming across them in glasses of water in the bathroom, on bureaus, on the kitchen sink, or on the coffee table if somebody took them out to pick some crud off them and then forgot to put them back in before they went to make a sandwich or something, and I often found it shocking to have someone smiling at me without them being attached to their teeth. Also, even though MY WIFE certainly knows I have a denture, I try not to be too gross about it. So, I had to figure out where to put it so it wouldn't be a constant reminder of my gumminess.

The problem with hiding it, though, is that if someone doesn't know that a place has dentures in it, they might make some sort of mistake and break your teeth and then where are you? I'll tell you where: In Plymouth, without enough choppers to really enjoy the Japanese dinner you're going to have with your sister-in-law and brother-in-law the next evening, so even though you don't want to leave your teeth out in the open to surprise anybody, you still have to tell them where they are so they don't ruin them. And that's why you say, "My teeth are in my hat."

(I know that wasn't particularly worth waiting for, but you have to agree there aren't too many titles that can top it.)

And now I'll leave you hanging in (relative) suspense, not knowing why the boy at the top of the page is wearing a number. Feel free to hazard a guess, but I won't acknowledge it.

Soon, with Saturday & Sunday (Hot Tubs! Music! Food! Video! How can you not be excited?)