Monday, October 25, 2004

Image over-haul

A lot of people who know me assume that I can do manly things like build decks, not because of my physically imposing presence (I have a cleft lip that appears to be the remnants of a fight that I lost) or my tattoo, but because I drive a pick-up truck. But in reality, the only manly thing that I really know how to do is drive a pick-up truck, although I have been known to mow a lawn or two in my day, if that counts. Oftentimes other pick-up truck drivers will look at my truck up and down, and then ask me questions like "What kind of truck ya' got there?" to which I will reply, "red." Then they will ask me how many "cylinders" it has, and I will pretend that someone is calling me on my cell phone.

I drive a pick-up truck because when I graduated from college, I got a job in the field of construction. At that point, my background in construction consisted of living in a house (my parent's house) that was more than likely constructed at some point, although I was never sure how. Anyway, I don't know how I got this job, or why I accepted it, but I needed a pick-up truck for it, so I could haul building materials all over the "site," like wood and nails, and sometimes Mexicans, who the company often hired to clean stuff up. It didn't take long for everyone to realize that I had no idea how to build a house, mainly because during my first week on the job, it took me 2 1/2 hours to install a doorknob, which was never "officially" installed correctly, but would eventually require a replacement door. Anyway, after that incident I ended up sweeping basement floors with my new Mexican friends, who would always ask me for a ride home. Then I quit.

Anyway, here I am years later, with the same pick-up truck, which no longer has the same manly effect because I now drive it around wearing a shirt and tie (I used to drive it while wearing work boots, and making mean faces at other cars while "Like a Rock" blared from the radio). But I still can't actually DO anything manly, which is evidenced by the fact that I had to call my dad to come over last week to fix the sink. He brought over his "bucket o' manly tools" and then went to work, while using terms like "gasket," "washer," and "can you get me some paper towels?" He tried to show me how he fixed it so I could do the same if it should become clogged again, but I wasn't really paying attention.

My wife is utterly unimpressed by my inability to fix or build anything, although I am very good at carrying heavy things up the stairs. Just this past weekend, my wife's uncle gave us some firewood, and I loaded it into the back of my pick-up truck in a very manly fashion, and when I got home I carried it all upstairs. But then I got a splinter, and my wife took it out with her tweasers. Then I quit.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Half-inning from hell

If it's not bad enough watching playoff baseball on the FOX Network, with it's shameless promotions and useless gimmicks, there is a chance in 2004 that the St. Louis Cardinals will be in the World Series. FOX's marquee broadcast team - Joe Buck and Tim McCarver - are St. Louis Cardinals through and through. Buck is the current Cardinals' broadcast voice and son of Jack, the former Cardinals' broadcaster, and McCarver is the former Cardinals' catcher, and proponent of everything Bob Gibson, the former St Louis pitching great. Whether or not the Cardinals make it to the Fall Classic this year, it deserves to be examined what a FOX broadcast would be like under these circumstances. Hmmm...

Joe Buck: What a night for baseball as we get set to call Game One of the 2004 World Series. Hi everybody. I'm Joe Buck, and next to me is my good buddy - I think you all know him - Tim McCarver. Tim, it's been 20 years since the St. Louis Cardinals have been in the World Series. Do you think these guys have goosebumps?

Tim McCarver: They certaintly do Joe. I remember being in the World Series as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals years ago, and I definitely recall having goose bumps all over my body - even in places I can't mention on the air. But luckily for me, I had Bob Gibson on my side, and Gibbie - probably better than any player in the history of the game- had a way of turning goose bumps into outs, if you know what I mean.

Buck: I sure don't Tim. But it's pretty obvious that FOX couldn't have found two better, and more impartial announcers for this series than you and I, my friend. We have absolutely no affiliation to either team in this World Series.

McCarver: There's another team in this Wolrd Series besides the Cardinals?

Buck: Ha ha! Good one buddy. But seriously, let's go down to the field where Kenny Albert is standing with Cardinals' slugger Jim Edmonds. Kenny?

Kenny Albert: Thanks guys. I'm down here with Cardinals' center fielder Jim Edmonds. Jim, how does it feel to be playing in your first World Series for the great city of St. Louis?

Jim Edmonds: What do YOU think, idiot? It feels great. By the way, your father's a cross-dresser.

Albert: Back to you guys in the booth.

Buck: Thanks Kenny. That interview was brought to you by Budweiser, the King of Beers. Budweiser - I'm lovin' it. Let's now go back down to the field where recording artist Kenny G. will be singing our National Anthem...on his saxophone, of course.

McCarver: A lot of people don't realize this, but Bob Gibson also played the saxophone on his non-pitching days. That's how he came to get the nickname, "Mr. Saxy Pants."

Buck: Another beautiful melody by Kenny G. I don't think Steve Sax himself could have done better. Tonight's National Anthem was brought to you by the new hit FOX drama, "North Shore." Critics are hailing it as, "A mix between 'Melrose Place' and '227,' with an extra two scoops of hottness." That's the new season of "North Shore," starting November 5th, only on FOX.

McCarver: If I could go back to baseball for a second here, Joe. If the '27 Yankees were "Murderer's Row," then the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals are "Serial Killer's Lane." There is just no break in this lineup for opposing pitchers.

Buck: Speaking of murder Tim, stay tuned after the game for FOX News, where they'll have all the info on today's murders, and the weather with Nick Gregory. The 2004 World Series gets under way right now, as Tony Womack fouls a fastball back for strike one.

McCarver: If you look at the flaming icon on the upper right hand part of your screen, you'll see that last fastball came in at 93mph, a very good sign for people NOT rooting for St. Louis...if there's anyone out there that stupid.

Buck: Since a lot of people probably don't know what one is, here's "Scooter" to explain how a fastball works.

Scooter: Hellllloooo everybody! No, you're not drunk - you're actually watching ME, Scooter, a cartoon talking baseball here to explain what a fastball is. When a pitcher throws a fastball, he holds the ball with his fingers, and zip-zip-zippity-ZIPS it to the catcher as fast as he can! Watch me - WEEEEEEEEE!!!.

McCarver: That's a great job by Scooter, and a good job by FOX, as they try to target this broadcast to the real fans, the kids.

Buck: You make a great point, Tim, even if every kid in America is fast asleep, considering it's almost midnight. Womack grounds out to first for out number one.

McCarver: Let's take a look at the "ground cam" to get a closer view at that ground ball. As you can see, Womack gets jammed with the inside pitch, and watch out! It looks like that grounder is coming right into your living room. What a great shot from the "ground cam."

Buck: I thought I was going to need my glove for a second there. Wow - what a wonderful job by FOX. With one out here in the first, now's the perfect time to say hello to Larry Walker, the Cardinal's first baseman who's "miked up" for tonight's broadcast. Larry - Joe Buck and Tim McCarver here. What would you say is your plan for this upcoming at-bat?

Walker: Uhhh, can I like, talk to you guys later. I'm kind of busy. I'm about to step into the batter's box during the biggest game of my life.

Buck: We'll try and get back to Big Larry in between innings. That interview was brought to you by the new hit FOX drama, "My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss." Starting November 7th, watch as 12 smarty-pants candidates compete for a fake job, with the most obnoxious boss...EVER! From the makers of "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance," it's "My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss," starting next Tuesday, only on FOX. And as Walker takes ball one, I'll turn to My Big Fat Obnoxious Broadcast Partner, and ask him - who needs to step up in this series for the Cardinals to be victorious?

McCarver: Heh. Well, I've been called worse than that before my good friend. But the guy who really needs to step up for St. Louis is Scott Rolen. He really needs to get his bat going in the middle of that order for the Cards to be able to do what they want to offensively. He's also very handsome.

Buck: Walker flys out to center for the second out of the inning. Up next for St. Louis is the great Albert Pujols, and let's take a look at his in-box profile. As you can see on your screen, Albert's favorite food is Frankenberries Cereal, and his favorite group is "The Terror Squad." He says his friends would describe him as "nice," and "a hard worker." And this hard worker takes a breaking ball for strike one.

McCarver: What that profile box forgot to mention Joe, is that Pujols is a dead fastball hitter, and he'll wait on that pitch until he sees it. If he does connect with a fastball, watch out, because he can provide some offensive fireworks.

Buck: Speaking of fireworks, if you look at the bottom left hand corner of your screen, you'll see the FOX-generated exploding fireworks, with the day and time for Game Two of the 2004 World Series, only on FOX. That's another great job by FOX. It must feel just like the Fourth of July in living rooms across America. Pujols gets the fastball right there he was looking for, and just misses it, as he fouls it staight back into our superimposed ad for the brand new season of "The Simpsons" on FOX. Starting next Sunday, catch Homer, Marge and the gang, as "The Simpsons" begins it's record 16th season, here on FOX.

McCarver: If Homer was up at bat right there, he'd definietly be saying "D-oh!" after just missing that fastball, which was right over the plate.

Buck: Pujols takes a breaking ball low for ball one.

McCarver: Bob Gibson never missed the strike zone that badly. He was the greatest.

Buck: Pujols chases a low and away slider, and the weak grounder to first is scooped up, and the Cardinals go three up and three down here in the top of the first. St. Louis not showing their "Cards" just yet. That first half-inning was brought to you by the new hit FOX drama, "House." He's a limping doctor who doesn't play by society's rules about being a doctor. And his name is "House." That's "House," starting next week, only on FOX. We'll be back after this word from FOX.

McCarver: You know Joe, Bob Gibson used to be a doctor on his non-pitching days.

Buck: Sure, but did he have his own show on FOX?

McCarver: No, but he should have.

Buck: Knock, knock?

McCarver: Who's there?

Buck: FOX. We'll be right back.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

These pictures of you

I've often found myself strolling down the aisles of a local supermarket, and saying to myself, "Ya' know - I wonder who the Produce Manager is here. Is it a man or a woman? And what does he or she look like?" Luckily for me, most supermarkets have an entire wall dedicated to their most famous employees, accompanied by huge 35" x 45" close-up photographs, with a label specifying each person's job title.

This "Wall O' Employees" is integral to the average person's grocery shopping experience. For example, let's say that you asked the idiot teenager at the deli counter for a pound of Boar's Head turkey breast, and he goes and gives you 1.19 pounds, completely going over what YOU were willing to pay for turkey breast on that particular day. You ask him to see the Deli Meat Manager, and some other teenager comes out claiming that HE'S the manager. "What a farce!" you think to yourself. So you haul yourself over the "Wall O' Employees" only to discover that this moron isn't the Deli Meat Manager! The REAL Deli Meat Manager is Roy McDougall, and he has three chins and a unibrow. You instantly demand to speak to Roy, but are told that he's on disability thanks to a meat slicing accident, but you are able to speak with the Assistant Deli Meat Manager, Karen, who's picture will only adorn the wall if Roy dies. She takes the excess turkey out of your cold cut bag and puts it in her pocket, prints out a new sticky label, and you're on your way. Problem solved.

There are a million instances per day like the one I just described that make it quite obvious just HOW important the "Wall O' Employees" is. It's unfortunate that it took me so many years to realize this, because when I was in college, and much less mature than I am today, I used to steal these framed photographs and hang them in my dorm room. I thought it was soooo funny that nobody in the local supermarket knew what happened to the picture of Jim Bettle, the Poultry Supervisor, OR Kim Igglesworth, the Assistant Pharmacist. Little did I know, that these humongous photographs were placed on the "Wall O' Employees" as a benefit to shoppers everywhere, and I was depriving my fellow man of having the full, complete grocery shopping experience. Shame on me. But on a positive note, I'm pretty sure one of roommates dressed up like Jim Bettle for Halloween one year, which was amazing considering he had only a gigantic head shot to go by. Those were good times.