Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Classic card of the week


Dante Muse

Okay, let me explain.

When I was a youngster, I subscribed to Sports Illustrated for Kids. I remember being so excited when that first issue arrived, because for whatever reason I knew Michael Jordan was going to be on the cover -- he was, holding two kids in the air with basketballs -- and I had already planned on keeping that issue forever and ever and ever until it was worth a million dollars, at which point I would symbolically pass it on to my NBA-playing son on my death bed. Well, it was raining the day that my first SI for Kids finally arrived in the mail, and our idiot mailman allowed it to get all wet. Nevertheless, I really do still have it somewhere. Also, like pretty much everything else I own, it is worth nothing.

Anyhoo, SI for Kids was full of cartoon pictures and silly anecdotes that had nothing to do with anything. It was sort of like what regular Sports Illustrated is today. (Oh, snap! No he didn’t!) Even as a child I was mildly insulted by its content. Whatever. Near the beginning of each issue was a page full of nine perforated sports cards that any kid could easily add to his or her collection, if they wanted to drammatically reduce the value of their collection by 20%. Of course, in vintage SI fashion – in which they attempt to jam irrelevant sports down our throats – most of these cards featured bass fisherwomen, log-cutting champions, Los Angeles Raiders, or, in this case, what SI describes as a “roller speed skater.”

You can’t possibly imagine the joy I felt in my heart when I found this beauty mixed amongst some awfully terrible 1990 Topps baseball cards. Of all the cards I had ripped out of that stupid magazine, only one Dante Muse has managed to stand the test of time. And speaking of time, the timing couldn’t be better, as the Olympics are right around the corner, and the U.S. of A. is attempting to regain its rightful place -- third place -- in the Roller Speed Skating events that have since been dominated by the Lithuanians.

Dante Muse himself was often referred to as “the Tom Henke of Roller Speed Skating.” Woe to the fool who accidentally stepped in front of this spandex-wearing, prescription glasses-boasting, regulation helmet-having burst of blazing speed. Muse earned the gold medal in the "Couples skate" event of the 1988 Olympics, where he and his then girlfriend Daisy Bickerford danced hand-in-hand to Patrick Swayze's "She's Like the Wind." Muse's career was thwarted by the introduction of roller blades, which he believed "were gay," a comment that earned him scorn from the SSAA (Speed Skating Association of America).

One of my favorite things about this card -- besides everything -- is the symbol in the top left hand corner, which signifies to the layman that what you are about to view is a roller speed skating card. This is enjoyable to me because it implies that SI for Kids had several other roller speed skating cards in their repertoire, as if Dante Muse wasn't enough. Also:



At top speed, Dante can go 20 miles per hour!

I know that's fast on roller skates. But still. That is stupid. And thanks for the math question while I'm trying to learn more about my roller speed skating heroes, SI:

At his top speed, how long would it take Dante to roller skate 10 miles?

Geez, I don't freakin' know. I did my homework already. False? Also, this is a trick question because roosters don't lay eggs.

Did you know?

Dante Muse officially retired on the day he son Vladimir rolled into the living room wearing these.

UPDATE: Loyal reader/friend/Yankee fan/central Jersey alum/water polo referee Bill has provided adequate proof that I am not a liar. (Notice the rain-soakedness!)

Cardinals attempt to endure brewing quarterback blessing

Note: This column appears in the 7/31 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 8/1 issue of the Peoria Times

The Arizona Cardinals opened training camp last week in Flagstaff. On their website, Darren Urban -- the team’s excellent beat reporter -- did a piece highlighting the top 10 questions for the team going into camp. Number one? The quarterback situation, of course.

Here are the facts as they stand. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt named Matt Leinart the starter for 2008 after the 2007 season ended. Leinart responded to this leap of faith by helping a local woman drink beer in excess. In 2007, Kurt Warner -- who was already replacing Leinart in specific game situations, like when the Cardinals wanted to score -- filled in full time as the starting QB when Leinart went down with an injury, and threw for almost 3,500 yards with 27 touchdowns and led the team to an impressive 8-8 record. If you mix all these facts together, you get a potential firestorm of controversy that can only be resolved in one way: a dance-off.

Barring a dance-off in which both quarterbacks inevitably get injured, the Arizona Cardinals are a team with two healthy and seemingly very capable starting quarterbacks. So I have to ask: And this is a bad thing?

Allow me, for a moment, to take you back to October 14th, 2007. Cardinals versus the Carolina Panthers in an important NFC matchup. Tim Rattay versus Vinny Testaverde. Worlds colliding. Worlds without quarterbacks. Interceptions. Fumbles. Oldness. It was the first game that NFL Films refused to officially document, and you can actually not find any record of that game on the Internet. True story. (Not true. But still. That was awful.)


Here goes nothing...

If that game, and the entire 2007 NFL season for that matter, taught us anything, it’s that having two capable starting quarterbacks heading into the season is a great, great thing. In fact, the Cardinals had two starting quarterbacks going into last season, and yet they still had to put a phone call into Mr. Rattay. Things happen.

Sure, the storylines are there. This is Matt Leinart’s make-or-break season. Is he a bust or the QB of the future? Does he even care? Kurt Warner still has it. But what is he, like, 60? Shouldn’t the team be looking long-term? But this could be the year, so which guy gives the team the best chance? These are the storylines that suggest the Cardinals are in a predicament, when in fact, they are very fortunate.

It’s true that a team and its fans want to cling to the quarterback as the face of the franchise, which is great if you’re the Indianapolis Colts. Not having a clear-cut starter means no face. But sometimes this idea can defeat the ultimate purpose, which is (cliché alert!) to win football games. The Arizona Cardinals are simply better prepared to win with both Leinart and Warner ready to go, a fact that Ken Whisenhunt thankfully realizes. There’s no reason we can’t split their faces in half, and then combine them into one better face. Ya’ know, figuratively.

But if you like quarterback controversies, like it did last year, I’m sure that this one will resolve itself. One of them will get hurt. Or not play well. Or fall into a well. Or both of them will contribute and play well. Or both of them will get hurt and Vinny Testaverde will be waiting by the phone and we can all start thinking about 2009.

So instead of beating ourselves over the head trying to figure who “the guy” will be, it probably makes more sense to just be patient and let this thing play itself out. And by “thing” I mean dance-off. It’s really the only way to settle this.


Big ups to azsportshub for this ridiculous pic

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Classic card of the week



Steve Sax, 1990 Upper Deck "A Collector's Choice"

It was 1989. I was flipping through my baseball card collection, seeing the same old names, same old poses, same old everything. I remember thinking to myself, “Man, you know what I could go for? An artist’s rendition of Steve Sax, montage style!" So you could imagine my surprise when Upper Deck released its “Collector’s Choice” edition in 1990. What a coincidence! I was a collector. And my obvious choice was to have an animated Steve Sax baseball card in which Steve Sax is about to run to first base, while Steve Sax looks on in quiet approval.

Now I’ve got to be honest here. I’ve never understood the vast appeal of one Stephen Louis Sax. The guy was just an okay ballplayer. Yet V. Wells -- the nationally renowned Upper Deck artist extraordinaire -- was summoned to provide a portrait of the man, in painstaking detail. (Legend has it that Wells was released from exile on the island of Guam by the King of Mozambique for one week in order to complete this Saxian masterpiece.) Did Steve Sax deserve this kind of treatment? How does one explain the prolific efforts of Steve Sax as they relate to his baseball abilities? I mean, the guy was on The Simpsons for crying out loud!

As usual, there was only one source that could provide all of the answers to my Steve Sax-related questions: Wikipedia. And let me tell you something, from the bottom of my heart: If you haven’t been on Steve Sax’s Wikipedia page -- and chances are that you haven’t -- I demand that you go there right this second. Every question you’ve ever had about Steve Sax will be answered, including:

-Was Steve Sax ever a contestant on a game show hosted by Betty White?

-Is Steve Sax married or divorced? And if he is divorced, how did that event affect his 1996 run as a Republican for the California State Assembly 5th District?

-Is Steve Sax offended by often being mistaken for former MLB player and Fox baseball analyst Steve Lyons, and if so, has Sax ever compounded that confusion by being a candidate for the baseball analyst position at Fox made available by the departure of Steve Lyons?

-I could have sworn I saw Steve Sax on Who’s the Boss…am I crazy???!!!!???><<:::

-Is there such a thing as the USA Rice Council, and if so, how is Steve Sax involved?

-Was Steve Sax, at one point or another in his lifetime:
a) a Los Angeles Dodger
b) a black belt
c) a scab-hater
d) a fitness enthusiast
e) a financial consultant
f) an author
g) not Steve Lyons
h) a podium speaker on Hot Seat
i) whatever “h” means
j) a player who did not inspire confidence in Pedro Guerrero
k) All of the Above?

If you are for some reason unable to access Wikipedia, your answers can be mailed to the following:

The Steve Sax Data Deciphering Corporation
c/o Steve Sax
Attn: Steve Sax…or Marge
3 Saxy Boy Blvd Ste 3
Saxton County, Saxville, USA Rice Council

By the way, the Sax portrait above is a clever cover for a team checklist card:



Also by the way, not including the checklist aspect of the card itself, a whopping seven players on the back of this card have been featured as Classic Cards, including #497, #549, #458, #615, #172, #152, and #191. That’s gotta be some kind of record.

Did you know?
V Wells was originally exiled for creating a provocative water color photo of Jim Deshaies.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Country’s 43rd best magazine names Peoria 55th best place to live

Note: This column appears in the 7/25 issue of the Peoria Times

If you’re like me, then you subscribe to Money magazine and you firmly believe in everything it states, especially when it comes to a subjective compilation of the best places to live.

Which is why I was so ecstatic to discover that Money magazine listed Peoria, AZ -- yeah, this one! -- as the No. 55 best place to live in the United States of America.

My first reaction to this news was this: “Wait, there are 54 places better than here? Get my real estate agent on the phone!” My second reaction was this: “How the heck did they come up with this information?”

It’s simple, really. Money magazine has a staff of approximately three million people, who were each assigned to live in various locales with populations ranging from 50,000-300,000 people, for one year. Each staff member created an Excel spreadsheet detailing all of the aspects of their respective town, including the weather, school system, proximity to a Cheesecake Factory, crime, how many houses decorate for Christmas, and the ingenuity of local television car dealership advertisements. All of this information was then brought back to Money magazine headquarters, where it was compiled into a giant computer that crashed immediately, forcing Money magazine to make up this entire list.

This process would serve to explain why exactly zero Arizona cities made the list in 2007, yet four made the cut this time around. It’s difficult to decipher how a city can gain or lose its ability to provide for its citizens in twelve months time, but this probably has much to do with the perceived monotony of naming the same cities each year. It reminds me of People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue, which differs from year-to-year, as if Matthew McConaughey lost his sexiness or something. C’mon People!


I mean really

Nevertheless.

As far as the other Arizona cities on the list, each of them -- Gilbert, Chandler, and Scottsdale -- were ranked higher than Peoria. However, Scottsdale was only ranked No. 47, which means that Money magazine deems that Scottsdale is only a very slightly better place to live than Peoria. Something to think about the next time you’re dragged to a Scottsdale bar and seven fake-breasted women are bragging about seeing Matt Leinart at the local Safeway. Now you can roll your eyes with confidence!

The factors involved in Peoria’s inclusion on this list were its parks and recreation, its grid system (always a tourist attraction), the spring training allure of the Peoria Sports Complex, its ability to develop while maintaining preserved space, and its general awesomeness.

And hey, guess what? Peoria really IS a great place to live! I mean, that’s why my wife and I moved here in the first place. I guess I just didn’t need a list to tell me that. Especially a list that named Plymouth, Minnesota -- in Minnesota, by the way -- as the best place to live in the country.

But a list is a list, and people seem to like them, and this is certainly good press for the great city of Peoria. In that regard, I urge all of us to work towards making Peoria an even better place to live for 2009, so that it moves up on this list instead of falling completely off. My first suggestion: ten Dunkin’ Donuts stores.

Seriously. It’s our only hope of moving ahead of Edison, NJ.


Only thing holding us back...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Classic card of the week


Greg Cadaret, 1988 Topps

So you’re Greg Cadaret. Just last year you made the transition from Double A Huntsville, to Triple A Tacoma, to the big leagues. Your dream of becoming a major league ballplayer was finally realized. Your family had a big party and everything. There was cake. Even Aunt Sherry was there, and she didn’t even come to your own wedding.

You grew a mustache. Or, possibly, you already had one. You grew a better one. You spent some of your newfound dough on snow tires for your truck, and you bailed your friend Jimmy out of jail, who was arrested for selling malfunctioning Chia Pets to elderly women. Your hometown of Lakeview, Michigan held a parade in your honor. You wore your uniform and sat on top of a giant baseball glove-shaped float and blew bubbles. Your birthday -- February 27th -- was declared a local holiday in Lakeview, and everything in town will shut down on that day for the rest of eternity, so that the citizens will have a full 24 hours to reflect on your greatness.

The sky is the limit for your life and your career. In your first taste of the bigs, you wowed the fans with a 6-2 record, a miniscule 4.54 ERA, and a horrible stellar 1.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Oakland A’s want to sign you long-term for $12 billion, but you think you can do better. Even though you’re a pitcher, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco want to make you an honorary “Bash Brother.” Madonna asked about you. You are married, but you are not ruling anything out.

Everything is there for you. But there remains one more piece of business that needs to be taken care of in order to make the cycle complete. You need a baseball card -- the only concrete piece of evidence that you are a Major League Baseball player. Everything else is fleeting. After all, how will people in the year 2008 remember you? Today you are preparing for your first baseball card -- your rookie card! -- and the company taking your picture is none other than the Bradlees of baseball cards: Topps. They tell you it’s not going to be an action shot, but a pose. And a close-up. Very close-up. You want the picture to encapsulate everything that Greg Cadaret is about. Your struggle. Your ambition. Your mustache. The twinkle in your eye will provide inspiration for future generations. This baseball card will speak volumes about the man you are, and onlookers will be provided a brief glimpse into your very soul.

You are Greg Cadaret. And you are ready for your close-up.

...



Nailed it.

Did you know?
Greg Cadaret is allergic to beans.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

American Idol goes back to the well that is…here

Note: This column appears in the 7/17 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 7/18 issue of the Peoria Times

The American Idol auditions are coming to Glendale, and this is big news.


Off you go...

The city of Glendale has long been recognized for its firm opposition to reality show tryouts, as outlined by the founding fathers. So not only does this event symbolize the progression of a city, but it will also provide a rare opportunity for the FOX Network to callously exploit many of this area’s great young citizens for their inability to sing and/or possess any kind of self-awareness.

Let’s face it -- while this is being billed as simply a “tryout,” anyone who watches American Idol is quite aware that each season peaks in its first few episodes, during auditions. Take the show’s website, for example, which states: Once again, auditioners will have an extraordinary opportunity to perform before millions of TV viewers and become household names, with one winning the coveted American Idol title and a major recording contract. Right next to this statement is an advertisement featuring that dude Renaldo from last season, who sang the “I am your brother” song and who wore a fur cape and top hat. So we can see just how important auditions are.



Is there a Renaldo in Glendale? Technically, probably. Realistically, those of us not between the ages of 18-26 and without aspirations of having Simon Cowell berate us on national television will have to wait until January to find out. But of course, the talent pool will not just consist of Glendale. Young adults from Peoria, Surprise, and every other locale with the possible exception of Sun City will be there. I’m sure there will also be people from Kentucky at Jobing.com Arena on July 25th, mostly because they failed to impress the judges at auditions in Louisville, and spent $500 on air fare to come here so they could get made fun of again. They will probably be wearing chicken costumes. Man, I can’t wait for Season 8 to start!

You may be asking yourself, why Glendale? To you I say, welcome to the new millennium. Contestants from Glendale and its surrounding locales have been dominating the American Idol scene for the past few seasons now. Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks is from Glendale. Two of last season’s Top 12 finishers -- David Hernandez and Brooke White -- are from Glendale and Mesa, respectively. Clay Aiken’s aunt lives in Peoria. That last part I made up. Still though, the higher ups at American Idol have been virtually forced to host auditions here to see if the talent is as overflowing as the above facts would imply. Also, Ryan Seacrest had a good time here during Super Bowl week.

I imagine the end product -- the actual airing -- of these auditions will go something like this: Producers make the entire crowd at Jobing.com Arena scream “I’m the next American Idol!” It is mentioned approximately 400 times that Jordin Sparks is from Glendale. The first 5,000 people to try out are nothing like Jordin Sparks, in that they are awful. At least three contestants try to argue with Simon, failing miserably. Everyone tries to open the door that won’t open on the way out. Every home viewer gets the impression that Glendale has a collective IQ of 17 ½. Simon, Paula, and Randy begin to wonder if there is any talent here. Then, out of nowhere, a contender emerges! She is immediately labeled “the next Jordin Sparks.” Paula has goose bumps.

This is going to be awesome.

Regardless of how this plays out, allow me to wish each and every local hopeful the best of luck in their quest to become the next American Idol! Make Glendale proud.

Actually, don’t. It’s more fun that way.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Classic card of the week


Robby Thompson, 1989 Score

Robby Thompson. Baseball card. Whatever. I’m bored. Let’s turn it around:



First of all, it looks like somebody photo shopped that eye black onto his face. But that could be because I’ve been staring at that picture for the past twenty minutes for some reason. Robby Thompson has put a trance on me! With his guy-next-door charm. Let’s find out more:

Robby, a fine contact hitter who is an adroit bunter…

Robby Thompson: Adroit bunter. That is what his tombstone will read. When he dies in 2065 from adroitness of the leg muscles. Also, adroit? Really? Looks like somebody was using the thesaurus when they put this little tidbit together.

(Side note: sometimes when I read these things, certain baseball terms that have been used since the Mesozoic Era magically come to light in their stupidity. In this case: contact hitter. As we all know, contact hitter = zero power. I doubt that Robby Thompson was better at making contact when he hit the ball than other players.)

But besides his otherworldly ability to tap the ball in front of home plate adroitly, what made Robby Thompson special?

But it is Robby’s ability to get rid of the ball quickly on double plays that brings accolades…

Unfortunately, Robby Thompson could not release the ball quickly enough to prevent a picture being taken of him holding onto the ball, as you’ll notice above. Geez, Robby -- throw it already! Too late. The runner is safe.

Nevertheless, it is true that Robby Thompson earned many accolades for this underrated talent. In fact, from 1987-89 Thompson won MLB’s prestigious “Gets Rid of the Ball Quickly Award” a record three consecutive seasons. His Wiki page also mentions that Thompson won the Willie Mac Award in 1991 -- not for his ability to throw a ball quickly, mind you -- for his spirit and leadership.

To recap, here is a list of things that Robby Thomson is/was adroit at:

Bunting
Throwing a ball quickly
Wearing eye black
Leadership
Tuna casserole
Spirit

If you happen to know anything else that Robby Thompson is adroit at, please do not email me. This list is final.

Did you know?
Robby Thompson is most famous for laying down "The Adroit Bunt Heard 'Round the World."

Note: Sorry for the surplus of ’89 Score cards…they have paragraphs of “info” on the back that are often irresistible.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Don’t look now, but Cardinals’ season on the horizon

Note: This column appears in the 7/10 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 7/11 issue of the Peoria Times

This summer is flying by so fast. It seems like just yesterday it was 100-degrees and sunny, and now every day it is 113-degrees and sunny. Where have you gone Old Man Winter? We hardly knew ye’…

Anyhoo, now that we’re already nearing mid-July, we can start turning our attention towards football season. (And I can take a break from writing columns about library drive-thru windows and local cell phone towers.) So what is up with the Arizona Cardinals anyway? We haven’t heard from them in a while. Many people would argue that we haven’t heard from them in over twenty years, but that is mean, and those people are jerks, and I will not justify those sentiments in this column.

Much has been happening with the Cardinals since we last saw them putting the finishing touches on their first .500 season in almost a decade. There is some good news surrounding the team, as well as some not-so-good news. So let’s get the icky stuff out of the way:

Bad news:

Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett remain unhappy with their contract situations. The “situations” being, of course, that they’re under contract. This will be a much bigger bout of bad news if either decides to skip training camp.

J.J. Arrington recently arrested at a club in North Carolina. You’re not going to believe this, but at 1:30 a.m. in the morning -- at a nightclub no less! -- a fight broke out. People were arrested. The Cardinals’ running back was one of them. Not really a big deal, and it shouldn’t affect the team in any way. Besides, Pacman Jones has set the bar so high when it comes to this kind of stuff, that this is almost a positive story in that no strippers were involved and no guns were fired. Whew!


Pfffttt

Longtime Cardinals’ trainer John Omohundro steps down. The man who managed to keep Kurt “Graybeard” Warner healthy for almost the entire 2007 season is moving to an advisory position. Maybe this is a non-issue. Maybe Tim Rattay is warming up right now.

Good news:

Cardinals shore up defense and skill positions with draft. Okay, maybe it’s hard to say if this is “good news” as of yet, but hey -- I have space to fill here. Besides, anytime you bring in guys named Dominique, Calais, and Early, it’s definitely not bad news.

Matt Leinart noticeably absent from online gossip pages for the past couple of months. I take this information to mean that the Cardinals’ starting -- yes, coach Ken Whisenhunt has made it quite clear -- quarterback is working out furiously and memorizing the playbook. That, or he has finally banned cameras from his house. For the purposes of this column, I’ll believe the former.


Stop trying to hold me back -- I gotta get to practice!

Cards hire Jason Licht as front office executive. I would be lying through my teeth if I said I knew anything about Mr. Licht, but people within the NFL circle – none of whom I’ve actually talked to, by the way – seem to think this is an excellent, excellent hire. So there’s that.

Team reports to training camp at NAU on July 23rd
. Of course, the best news surrounding the Arizona Cardinals -- for all of their fans and for football fans in general -- is that training camp is right around the corner. Which means that the NFL season is right around a corner that is only slightly farther away. Hooray!

Believe me, before you know it, it’ll be September 7th, the Cardinals will getting ready for their opener against the 49ers, and you’ll be wondering where the summer went.

Actually, you’ll be wondering when the heck summer is going to end. But still.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Classic card of the week


Claudell Washington, 1989 Score

Claudell Washington -- seen here playing cricket -- is still waiting for his Yankeeography. One would imagine (myself being that one) that production is already under way, and that John Sterling is wearing an ascot and berating an intern for spelling Claudell with only one “L” on the cue cards. Besides, although he was only a Yankee for three of his 37 career seasons, he made quite an impact:



Claudell, who can win games with his bat, glove and fleet feet…

Over 90% of the Yankees’ 89 total victories during the 1987 season can be attributed directly to one of the three outstanding facets of Claudell Washington’s baseball prowess. For example, his 10 fleet-footed stolen bases that season were all steals of home in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs, which coined the term “walk off steal” that has become so popular today. So that’s 10 wins right there. He also used his glove on occasion. We’ll give him 30 wins for that. And I think it’s fairly obvious from the above card that Claudell Washington was pretty adept with the bat, rarely chasing pitches out of the zone. That’s good for like, 13 wins. Somebody do the math on that.

But the sheer awesomeness of Claudell Washington could not be measured with mere percentages and wins alone. To wit:

…gave the Yankees a lot of quality time in center field in 1988.


Now, the Yankees have had no shortage of legendary center fielders. But really -- how many of those guys truly gave the Yankees quality time in the middle of the outfield? The answer to that question is zero. Unless you count Claudell Washington, in which case the answer is: One, Claudell Washington. You see, Claudell Washington paid attention to center field. He took it out to dinner. Watched movies with it. On certain homestands he would talk to center field all night long. He made sweet love to center field. Most importantly, he listened to center field. You think Mickey Mantle gave a crap about center field? Pfftt. Ask center field what it felt like to get barfed on by Mantle two innings into a doubleheader after a night of debauchery with his buddies, a night that didn’t include -- surprise! -- center field.

Claudell Washington would try his hand at acting when he appeared in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He played himself and his only line was hitting a foul ball, which, Washington would later claim, was easy because he wasn’t acting and it was actual game footage.

Did you know?
In 1990, after center field told Claudell Washington, “We need to talk,” he knew it was time to retire.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Local library adds convenience to the menu

Note: This column appears in the 7/3 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 7/4 issue of the Peoria Times

Have you ever wanted to go to the library, but didn’t want to actually get out of your car?

I know. Me neither. However, this is an issue facing thousands of potential local library goers throughout the area, and it is one that has prevented -- by my own non-research -- millions of books from being checked out. No, billions. What is a person who is lazy but who also likes to occasionally read supposed to do?

Foothills Library, on the northern edge of Glendale near Peoria on 57th Ave, has an answer. A drive-up window. Also, I am not kidding.

I am not exactly sure how this drive-up window works -- I imagine I could have done more research for this column, but I am, apparently, lazier than a person who will not walk into the library. Besides, it is more fun for me to make up what I think this drive-up window is like.

First, you make the decision that you are not getting out of your car. This is the first step. (It should also be mentioned right now that, contrary to my earlier digs, not getting out of your car in July in Arizona is not lazy, it’s smart. Unless you don’t have A/C, in which case you are already dead.) Then, you pull up to the library menu, which is either the size of a football field, or a small sign that says “Books.” Fyi: If it is a popular reading day, like, ummm, a Tuesday, or National Reading Day, you may have to wait in line, and that could mean waiting behind some moron who can’t decide between Joyce and Hemingway. Argh!

You have now made your decision. The pleasant but shaky voice of 100-year old woman comes through the speakers, asking what you’d like to order today. You say, “One ‘Da Vinci Code,’ please. Hold the controversy!” She does not laugh. Also, they are out of “The Da Vinci Code.” You settle for Volume XII of a “Hardy Boys” mystery. “Okay,” she says, “That will be zero dollars.” Unless, of course, you have neglected to return the previous 17 books you checked out from the drive-thru window at Foothills Library, in which case you owe $10,000. Please drive to the next window.


Well I got a flash for you, joy-boy: Party time is over. You got seven days, Kenny. The drive-thru is open.

You are almost finished. You get to the last window, and you flash your library card. “That doesn’t look like you,” the librarian says. That’s because it’s your wife’s card. You accidentally left your own card in the shorts that just went through the washing machine last week. They have to call your wife to confirm. The cars are backing up behind you. People are yelling. Beep beep! You wonder if you’re going to have to get out of the car, ruining your trip to the library. But just as you’re about to lose hope, success! You have just checked out a book from the drive-up window of a library, and you feel awesome.

Before you drive away, you astutely make sure you got what you ordered. Whew! It’s “The Hardy Boys” all right. Time to go home and read. Your cell phone rings. It’s your wife. Don’t forget -- dinner tonight at her boss’ house! Maybe you can pick up some wine. Luckily, you have just the plan: the drive-up window at the liquor store. You’ll read next week.

As you can see from the above scenario, the convenience of the library drive-up window will -- or possible, already has -- revolutionized the way people check out books. Luckily for us, Foothills is just a start. The new West Branch Library in Glendale, when completed, will also feature a drive-up window. Pretty soon, we will never have to get out of our cars ever again, which is good, because it’s pretty friggin’ hot out there.


Thank you for this autobiography of KRS-One. Now let go, bitch!