The package reads:

“Pronounced Grape-Els, these tasty treats look like an apple, but taste like a Concord grape.”

Has anyone ever had these? Are they any good? I’m not allowed to buy them because they are ‘genetically modified’ says Miss Possible. What a bummer.

Times must be tough

I remember when ‘The Dollar Store’ concept first came into being when I was a kid. It seemed like such a great concept — tons of crap, all for $1. My sister and I happened to be walking be a ‘dollar store’, where the sign reads ‘Almost Everything for $1.25.’ We were shocked.. what’s become of the Dollar Store, that they needed to raise the prices to $1.25.

Well, the madness doesn’t stop there. Seven days later, Miss Possible and I were going to the grocery store and we walked by the very same ‘Dollar Store.’ This time, the sign read ‘Almost Everything for $1.37.’ What a ridiculous number. We decide to go into the store to see if we can find any cheapo-goodies, and over heard this conversation:

Woman: So how much is this?
Clerk: One Dollar & Thirty-Seven Cents
Woman: Hmm.. And how much is this?
Clerk: One Dollar & Thirty-Seven Cents, nearly everything is $1.37.
Woman: Why? I thought everything was $1.25.
Clerk: That was last week, this week nearly everything is $1.37.
Woman: So… how much is this?

At this point we were no longer within earshot of the conversation, but I’m sure it continued on for some time. I tell ya, you know times are tough when a store needs to mark up its prices nearly an extra 10%. Go figure.

Seven Minute Sopranos

Unless you’re living under a rock, this is the last half of the sixth and final season of the HBO hit show, ‘The Sopranos.’ In my opinion, the show revolutionized television when it began with its cinematography, character development and complicated plotlines. As the show comes to an end, I revel in its success and appreciate the last several shows that I have to enjoy.

I’ve spoken with several co-workers about the show’s conclusion, and everyone agrees that we’re glad to see it go out on top. Shows that drag on too long (coughcoughXFilescoughcough) are often a disappointment to the fanbase. So, if you haven’t yet seen the show, here’s a very well done and extremely accurate 7 minute summary of the first 6 1/2 seasons of The Sopranos. Enjoy.

Keep on going deep, Dougie!

Last two games for Doug Mirabelli:

* 4-8

* 2 runs

* 4 RBI

* 2 home runs

Dougie is on pace to demolish his career high in home runs, which should be 10, but those fucks in Toronto cheated him out of #10 at the end of 2004.  Clearly, Dougie remembered that last night at SkyDome, Rogers Centre, or whatever they’re calling it this week.  Then he went to high-five Manny Ramirez and Manny thought Doug was cocking his arm to punch him, so he hid under the bench for the rest of the inning. 

Anyway, as Dougie goes, so go the Red Sox.  Doug had a sub-par year in 2006 and the Sox wilted.  Doug is on fire this year (as is his boss Tim Wakefield) and the Sox are looking good.  Just one question, with Nomar gone, does that leave Coco as Dougie’s de facto urine recepticle?

Manny Being Manny

I am thoroughly excited to read the new ‘New Yorker’ article about Manny Ramirez. I need to track it down ASAP. I can’t remember the last time I even picked up a ‘New Yorker,’ but the old rag has my attention now.

I was watching TV earlier and a commercial for Heelies, or some competitor, came on and it struck me that Manny Ramirez seems to me like the type of guy that wears Heelies. I can totally picture him wheeling around The Home Depot, the supermarket, the Red Sox clubhouse, or wherever he goes. I would bet money that Manny owns some Heelies. And it they’re not made in his size, then he plunked down $5,000 to get a pair custom-made.

It would be just fascinating to spend some time with the enigma wrapped in a riddle, infused by madness that is Manny Ramirez. I mean, this is a guy that was selling an autographed grill on eBay for a neighbor. Wha…? Paraphrasing David Ortiz, as quoted in that article, ‘Manny is just a crazy shit. He lives on his own planet.’ I love it. From a sneak preview of the article, I learned that Manny watches The History Channel and wants to visit the Forbidden City in China. No doubt he’d be wheelin’ around on his Heelies hip hoppin’ down the Great Wall of China with his iPod cranked up and his dred locks blowing in the breeze.

When his Washington Heights high school baseball team was chronicled by the ‘New Yorker’ about 16 years ago, the world learned that Manny got up early in the mornings and ran up hills dragging a tire on a rope tied to his waist. We know that he still works very studiously at what he does, with a fierce dedication. However, he’s also a space case. I can’t wait to find out more idiosyncracies about him. Until then, I can only imagine that he sleeps with a teddy bear, watches the Teletubbies, probably speaks fluent Italian, has season tickets to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, has never written or cashed a check, thinks Curt Schilling is the assistant manager, probably loaned Theo Epstein that infamous gorilla suit, thinks the Green Monster speaks to him between innings, is deathly afraid of Wally the Green Monster mascot, probably calls Mayor Menino from time to time, can’t remember his shoe size, refuses to shower until Doug Mirabelli is out of the shower room, and thinks the show ’24’ is a reality show.

Manny is the Syd Barrett of baseball. Gifted by God with immense talent, yet fragile and introverted. The miraculous thing is that Manny has been able to stay focused enough to keep doing what God put him here to do. Why, you ask? That’s just Manny being Manny.

The Power of Persuasion

Several years ago, when my friend “Vandelay Industries” was still working in my office, we shared a cube wall for a while. I don’t know how we got any work done, because the days were filled with conversations, cracks, and office pranks. One day, I happened to make a comment about Hilary Swank and Vandelay just snapped. He made it clear that he did not find her attractive and could not stand to even hear her name. I had definitely tapped into something and I kept pressing. I would email him pictures of Ms. Swank and gush about how hot she is.

Note: I was not at all enamored with her at the time, but neither did I feel the distaste for her that Vandelay did. I merely felt that she was attractive, but had a overly toothy smile.

Over the last three years, I’ve made it a point to bring up Hilary Swank in conversation with Vandelay. It’s not as fun as it was then, because I can’t see his disgusted reaction in person. However, a couple of weeks ago, we were at a convenience store and I made a point of showing him Swank’s Esquire cover and the spicy pictorial inside. He just looked away.

Here’s the point, and this is an admission to Vandelay: I did not have nearly as high an opinion of Hilary Swank back then as I let on, but it was just too much of a comedy goldmine to let go. So I artificially amped up my love for Swank and it just grossed him out. The funny thing is, I ended up convincing myself that I think she’s mighty attractive (as long as she’s not smiling that giant toothy grin). I wasn’t sure when I would ever let Vandelay in on this gag, but this is as good a time as any. Why? you ask – because he emailed me a Howard Stern Show-induced admission a few days ago. I’ll save him the indignation of the exact quote, but let’s just say he’d have a date with Hilary.

So, the gag is kind of over, which is sad. But I feel that I’ve won a major victory. Happy Belated April Fools’ Day (for 2004-2007), Vandelay!

Sunday Dreary Sunday

It’s a Sunday during baseball season.  Ordinarily, these are the days I live for.  Now that I’ve finally managed to purge from my system the feeling of dread that came from two decades of school following Sunday, I now treasure this day.  Especially during baseball season.  I don’t necessarily have a set routine, but it usually includes sleeping late, making some coffee, hopping on line for a bit, and then settling in with the Sox day game, some lunch, and a few beers.  Proper.

But the entire country is dealing with the worst April, weather-wise, in quite some time.  Snow-outs and rain-outs are affecting the entire MLB schedule.  Ahhh, if only the Sox were playing in a city with a domed stadium today.  Side question:  if Messrs. Henry, Werner, Lucchino, or Epstein are reading, when you’re done trying to put lipstick on a 95-year-old dame, how about giving Boston a domed stadium like the new one in Milwaukee?  Please.

Spring means rebirth and baseball is intrinsically and psychologically tied into that.  Baseball has just as much power on our collective psyche as the flowers blooming and the grass turning green again.  And I’d wager that most of our country is heavily bummed out right now. 

With no baseball, what is supposed to compliment my Sunday beers?  What will be my excuse to Swedish Girl from having to clear up my desk?  How will I extricate myself from antiquing and store-hopping?  I’m just about finished this blog entry, so the time on this excuse is expiring. 

Wish me luck.  I’m about to brave a world that consists of no baseball on a springtime Sunday.  It’s just not right. I might actually have to tune in to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Talk about a bunt when you needed a grand slam.     

Cool Jesus Rising

It’s Easter and Cool Jesus is back.  Just felt right.

I’m about to turn 30, and no, I’m not happy about it.  I don’t feel 30, but I sure as heck am starting to look like it.  I’ve always been mistaken for being older than I am, and that’s cool when you’re a kid, but not so cool when you’re not getting carded anymore.  That stings.   I remember having a hard time turning 20 and kissing my teenage years goodbye.  It was the first birthday that was hard for me to swallow.  After that, 21 was a celebration and I was on cruise control for the next few years.  But hitting the official mid-20s, then later the official late-20s, were both bitter quasi-milestones.  I realize that 30 isn’t quite over-the-hill, but still…

I was a youngster when I first starting working for my current company.  Now, there is a whole crop of recent college graduates who are looking at this 29-year-old like a graybeard.  And I do feel like their elder.  It’s such a strange feeling.  They’re so hyper and bubbly and flirty and rambunctious and I just get the feeling they’re looking at me as the old guy.  I don’t suppose the gray hairs are helping much.

Anyway, it’s 9:14 and past my bedtime.  Got to take my Geritol and soak my dentures.  Good night!

Bay Area Baseball

The San Francisco Bay Area is a ‘Two-Team Town’ for all intents and purposes. You’ve got the San Francisco Giants in downtown San Fran and then you’ve got the Oakland A’s just on the other side of the bay. The distance is similar to that of Queens to Brooklyn, I’d imagine — maybe a little closer.

First off, it’s strange to be on west coast time. By the time you’ve left work the vast majority of teams have already played (some as early as 10:05am PST for the 1:05p starts) and there’s possibly only a few games left: LAA, LAD, SF, OAK, SD & SEA. Most of these teams play eachother, so that really means that there’s about 3 games left by 7:05 PST. It’s nice to watch (or listen) to the games at work via — because I feel like I can keep closer tabs on what’s going on. Especially being in a Fantasy League for the first time in years.

But the time difference aside, I actually enjoy the baseball here in the SF Bay area. It’s the opposite of New York where the American League Yankees dominate the headlines and water cooler gossip. Out here, the National League Giants are the focus of conversation and the A’s are an afterthought. The Giants are televised nearly every night whereas the A’s are a little harder to find. It’s nice to watch the Giants… watch HD quality baseball of two teams you could care less about. The ambivalence is relaxing. I’ve even found myself tuning into some Giants games during the day just to stay in touch with baseball.

Don’t worry, I am not going to turn into a Giants fan. The Sox are my pride & joy and I’m not getting involved with any team that does business with the likes of Barry Bonds. Most people feel the same here as well. I often hear “Yeah, I love the Giants.. but I hate Bonds.”

It’s nice having baseball on during the day. Kinda like the nice change with Sunday Morning Football. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the 8:05am start for Marathon Monday.. but apart from that, it’s ok. Besides, I’ve got one Sox fan neighbor in the cube next door, two on the floor above — and even better — not a Yankees fan in sight. I love this place.