All posts by captainlarby

Congratulations, LTJ and MP

I wanted to pass along a huge congratulations to the newlyweds. You guys threw an awesome 2 day party, replete with softball, horshoes, Fa-Jy-Ta’s, B-Side, Growlers, Jazz Hands the photographer, racing-stripe shoes, holding the chuppah and signing the ketubah, The Zohan, Gogol Bordello, Blinded by the Light, German lessons and much, much more.

Enjoy your time together, you deserve it!

Remember, remember the fifth of November

A Historian I am not. Prior to viewing the excellent film “V for Vendetta” yesterday, I had no idea who Guy Fawkes was. I didn’t know that in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe there was such a thing as Guy Fawkes Night. Much to my delight, the Brothers’ Wachowski and James McTeigue illuminated this little slice of European history for me and peaked my interest. I flat out loved this movie.

This film is not about the Gunpowder Plot itself, which was a botched attempt by Guy Fawkes and other Catholic conspirators to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 London, while King James, a Protestant, was there. In Fawkes, however, our antihero V finds a personal connection and sets in motion an elaborate plan to create a modern day edition of that failed plot. It’s 400-plus years later but London is at the mercy of a totalitarian tyrant and V feels that a symphony of explosions-percussion instruments is how he refers to them-is just the answer. A happenstance encounter with Evey (Natalie Portman-luscious even without hair) ultimately alters V’s vision of the spectacle, but does not deter his plan. The character of V is a brilliant mix of Edmond Dantes, the Phantom of the Opera and a Shakespearean Bard.

The action in this flick is stylistic, without stepping on the toes of “The Matrix”. There are swords, blades and bullets galore but the bloodshed is minimal and also stylistic (think Kill Bill). In fact, V’s preferred method of murder—check that, justice—is poison, leaving a peaceful corpse decorated with a rose. His victims are not innocent bystanders to some delusional terrorist plot, but rather decorated society members with horrifying skeletons in their closet such as a lecherous priest and a Limbaugh-esque talk show pundit.

The overtones reek of political strife. The film blatantly references Hitler and Islam while also evoking post 9/11 fears of terrorism in the form of subway explosions and biological warfare. It is entertaining, eye-candy, thoughtful and exciting all at once. If you have Netflix, cue it. If you rent from Blockbuster run, don’t walk, to rent “V for Vendetta”. Sadly, the Guy Fawkes mask, cape and hat don’t come with the movie. But I know what I am going to be this Halloween. Or, perhaps on the eve of November the fifth…

Fusion

What a sucker I am.  Gillette has me by the balls, and they know it.  Every time they release a new blade, tout it as the new revolution in shaving, and rain-down a blitzkrieg of advertising I take the bait hook, line and sinker.  Their latest innovation–Fusion–is no exception.  Captain Larby has been reeled in.

The boys of Dunster Rd. (extended family included) used to gather ‘round the ubiquitous 30-rack of Bud Light and discuss the finer points of shaving.  We used to trade secrets like a bunch of high school girls discussing the latest skin cream craze.  Some preferred shaving in the shower, others the sink.  Some liked Gillette, other Schick.  Some liked foam, and others gel.  And then, of course, there was the kid who preferred electric.  But I can vividly remember being the first to jump on board with the 3-blade Gillette Mach 3.  I caught a lot of guff for that one, but the rest of the guys folded like an origami swan napkin in a Chinese restaurant.  “3 blades”, they scoffed, “Is that really necessary?  Will it really help?”  Oh yes, dear readers, oh yes.

And now the bar has been raised once more.  5 blades-6 if you count the single blade on the back for those “hard to reach” places.  I own it.  I love it.  I recommend it.  What’s next?  I can’t wait until they release the nanobots that crawl all over your skin and snip away with their tiny clippers.  What a sucker I am. 

This town needs an enema! -The Joker

I love Christmas. My DVD collection always grows this time of year, often exponentially. This year was no different. Santa Claus brought Captain Larby the Red Sox World Series collection, The 40-Year Old Virgin and Batman – The Motion Picture Anthology (1989-1997). The latter will be the subject of this diatribe.

To date, Mrs. Larby and I have only watched Batman (1989), by far the best of the bunch. My Christmas wish list didn’t specify the entire gift set because, quite frankly, I don’t care for the other three movies. Nevertheless, I now own them all. To be fair, Batman Returns is a decent flick. With Tim Burton at the helm, the Dark Knight and Gotham City maintain that dark, moody edge. Not to mention the fact that I would recommend any movie where Christopher Walken makes an appearance, let alone a leading role. But let’s face it, Joel Schumacher swooped in to direct the final two installments and completely ruined the franchise. Don’t blame Kilmer or Clooney, Uma or Kidman, Schwarzenegger or Carey. Blame Schumacher the schmuck.
But I digress.

Tim Burton hit his prime with the first Batman. I mean, can you possibly imagine a more perfect live action film based on a comic book? Everything from set design, to costumes, to Danny Elfman’s brilliant score help this story leap right off of those colorful storybook pages and on to the screen. Furthermore, DVD’s were invented for certain movies, and this is one of them. It took Warner Bros. far too long to release this treasure, but I don’t hesitate to say that it was worth the wait. First of all, the movie looks fantastic. It is crisp, clean, and despite the dark lighting and nocturnal action sequences every scene is clearly discernible. And the aforementioned score, by my personal favorite score composer, is treated to a much deserved DTS track. Simply scintillating. Technically speaking, this DVD gets 5 out of 5 Peg Legs from the Cap’n.

Does the movie stand up, even after 16 years?

First of all, HOLY SHITE! Just typing that gave me more gray hairs. This movie is already 16 years old?! Ouch. I remember, as if it were yesterday, walking to the theater with my boy Mike V., barely able to contain our excitement. Hold on, I need a shot of Metamucil…okay, good to go.
Continue reading This town needs an enema! -The Joker

Baseball, it’s a business.

This sport will kill you. As a fan, you pledge allegiance to a team and it’s players. Over 162+ games, you ride the tide up a down. Some players you loathe, others you adore. Others come and go and you hardly knew they were there. In 2002, the Boston Red Sox acquired a wily center fielder from the Oakland A’s, a man that, admittedly, I was not familiar with beforehand. But in 4 gritty seasons, he became larger than life. And now, as a result of the mergers-and-acquisitions-style of sports today, Johnny Damon is gone. And not only is he gone, he’s gone to the enemy.

Blame the players? Sure, if that would make you feel better. But not me. Let’s face it, the day and age of the true “franchise player” is long gone. Are they overpaid, money-grubbing babies? Sure. But we still eat it up and idolize them. Blame the agents? Some are referred to as the Antichrist, and they should be faulted for driving contract prices through the roof. But you know what? I can’t do that either. For better or for worse, the old cliché is true: Baseball is run like a business. Dollars and cents. Contract negotiations. Sales pitches. Presentations. Conferences. Wining and dining. You get it, the whole nine yards. Not too long ago I changed careers, effectively joining the rat race of Corporate America. I live it and I get it. Business is cold, a place reserved only for the thick-skinned. So whom do I blame? My finger is pointed at the top of the heap, the Brass. Who holds the President/CEO title? Ludicrous Larry Lucchino.

The Red Sox team is like a company, and when companies fail to live up to expectations you have to look at the leader. This winter, Lucchino has failed time and time again. I only wish Donald Trump could sit across from him at the Yawkey Way boardroom, stab the air with that hand motion he does, and utter those now infamous words, “You’re fired”. Sorry Larry, but you suck. Your company is in turmoil. Make no mistake about it: It is your fault. You have to answer for you failures, and the time is now. I’m reminded of Michael Corleone, confronting Carlo in Part I, “You have to answer for Sonny, Carlo…Don’t tell me you’re innocent”. You’re not innocent Larry. You had a nice run, but these failures are inexcusable. Theo and Johnny, Bill Mueller, gaping holes in the infield and outfield, a clubhouse in confusion, and now a bolstered NY lineup.

Merry Christmas Laughable Larry. Rot in hell.

West Coastin’ It

I visited L.A. last week on business. My company is based there and as a result, I have the opportunity to visit the City of Angels from time to time. In case you’ve never been, here is the answer to a few questions:

1.) Yes, EVERYONE is either in the entertainment business or knows someone in the entertainment business. I met a bum yesterday who said he could get me representation.

2.) Yes, EVERYONE drives…EVERYWHERE. New Yorkers might know a thing or two about traffic, but these people plan childbirth around traffic reports.

3.) Yes, In-N-Out Burgers are delicious.

4.) No, Jackie Treehorn doesn’t really exist, and there is no house on the beach where topless beauties are hoisted in the air on makeshift trampolines. As for the Dude, well, I like to think that he’s out there somewhere, bowling to Credence and sipping on his caucasians. Because, you know, that’s how the whole darn myth keeps perpetuating itself. Sometimes there’s a man…

Get in my Mira-Belli

It has been a hell of a few weeks. For the record, there is no more Future Mrs. Larby: There is only Mrs. Larby. For the record, Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor, NY puts on a hell of a party, replete with fireworks and desserts galore. For the record, Hawaii—any island, any time of the year, any day of the week—is the most spectacular place one could imagine. And for the record, being away from work for two weeks is good for the soul, but it doesn’t make getting up at 6 a.m. any easier.

The Holiday Season is in full swing. Most people are shopping…music, movies, books, clothes and whatever else may be on a loved ones wish list. Most people are shopping for friends and family. Red Sox Brass, on the other hand, are shopping for relief from a disastrous playoff run and a (thus far) tumultuous offseason. Let’s face it, baseball is business. Players come and go and despite the fact that fans get attached, we have to deal with it and cut the apron strings. But still, sometimes it just plain hurts. And that, dear readers, brings me to the loss of Doug Mirabelli.

Never before has a backup catcher inspired so much devotion from a varied fan base as Dougie. Last year, when he was ROBBED of his 10th home run of the season, I thought there was going to be a revolt against the umpiring crew. Tim Wakefield, veteran and anchor of the current Red Sox crew, virtually broke into tears when he heard the news of Mirabelli’s departure. And the fans, we cannot forget the fans and how much time Dougie spent responding to their unrelenting devotion. I mean, check out this exerpt from a letter Dougie sent to one fan inquiring as to why he doesn’t wear batting gloves: “Hey P*ssy, I don’t wear batting gloves because they are for p*ssies like your boyfriend Nomar “. Wow, you can feel the connection between Dougie and his fans just pouring off of the page.

Baseball is business. But for the record, everyone here at the Diatribe will miss Douglas Anthony Mirabelli.

The Jazz Singer

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Last week the Future Mrs. Larby and I went to see Neil Diamond live and in concert at Madison Square Garden. It was a sight to behold. When he rose out of the stage — oh yes, he ascended out of the floor like a Phoenix rising from the ashes—you would have thought it was the early ‘90s and Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley and John Starks were running up and down the basketball court. The Garden came alive. I mean, it thundered to the sound of Crunchy Granola Suite. It was out of this world. He looked good. He sounded good. The ladies in the audience were out of their skulls, hanging on every word and shivering with every sway of his hips. For one rockin’ song, I thought this was going to be a magical show. But for me, the thrill ended with the last note of the first tune.

Love on the Rocks, Coming to America, Sweet Caroline, Forever in Blue Jeans, Red Red Wine, Believer…he performed most of the hits. Unfortunately (okay, fortunately) E.T. didn’t make an appearance because there was no Turn on your Heart Light. And, much to my dismay (seriously) he didn’t sing Solitary Man or Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon. In fact, let’s clarify things and say that the band played and Neil, well, he spoke, quasi-crooned, belted and yes, occasionally, sang his way through his catalog. At times he was a bad parody of himself. And at other times, I could see the twenty-something talent playing the coffee houses in Greenwich Village, before the sparkles and really bad hair took over. He spoke of his movie career and yet failed to mention Saving Silverman. Now come on! ANY time you share a screen with R. Lee Ermy should be the highlight of your career. Don’t shy away, Neil, you were brilliant!

But I have to hand it to him. This guy had every woman in the audience quivering. He even made out with an audience member. I kid you not. Neil was sprawled out on the floor at the edge of the stage and invited her over for a little longfellow serenade (another gem that he didn’t play). 30 seconds later they were still going at it! Crazy. I don’t know if she was planted or what, but he came off looking like the man. And who knows, maybe Neil Diamond is the Man and I just need to take him for what he is. But I was disappointed. It’s 2005, and at age 64 he’s doing all right for himself. But I prefer the 31 year old, on a Hot August Night, and that’s the way I’ll remember Neil…Forever in Blue Jeans, not as the Jazz Singer.

BIRG

Friday night—nearly 10 months after the October magic of 2004—I watched NESN’s Faith Rewarded dvd for the first time.  Three reasons led to my decision to pop the dvd in the ol’ player:  1) The Sox (fronted by Charles Bronson Arroyo) were getting their arses handed to them by the Twins, 2) The Yankees (led by a no name called Aaron Small) were walking all over the Blue Jays, and 3) Friday night is my favorite night to watch baseball.  Needless to say, things were not going my way that night.  So, rather than start the weekend off on a sour note I decided to BIRG.

BIRG is an acronym for Bask in the Reflected Glory.  It is a term I learned in a social psychology class I took during freshman year.  Dr. Harkins planted this little gem on me one day and I’ve never forgotten it.  The premise is simple:  We feel better about ourselves when we share in the success of others.  The best example is being a fan of a sports team.  It’s not a bad thing.  It’s just a term social psychologists use to explain away our behavior.  For some reason, I really like this term.  It has a great ring to it, kind of like the Italian word schifozo.  But I digress.

All in all the dvd captures the great moments and hands them to the viewer on a silver platter.  The fact of the matter is, you can’t go wrong with this material.  But, for me, it lacks the real drama of the situation.  In fact, I think HBO did a better job tacking on a (happy) ending to their Curse of the Bambino special.  Maybe it’s because Joe Buck’s is the voice that is engrained in my head for each and every play, and the NESN dvd doesn’t use the FOX commentary too often.  Bill Simmons recently praised the special edition dvd that MLB put out of the entire ALCS and World Series.  That is a must own.  I will most definitely shell out the cash for that collector’s piece.  But for now, the Faith Rewarded will have to suffice.  It satisfied my need to BIRG, and Friday night, that’s all I really needed.