Thursday, August 27, 2009

Classic card of the week

Tim Salmon, 1996 Topps Profiles by Kirby Puckett series

Some of you may recall that glorious time when Barry Larkin selected a handful of lucky players that he referred to as “Little Dawgs” because he did not know their actual names and who, as a result of being deemed Little Dawgs by shortstop Barry Larkin, became part of the unpopular Little Dawgs series of baseball cards. Those were great times, am I right? Of course I’m right.

In that vein, today I present to you a card from the “Profiles by Kirby Puckett” series. Personally, I find these cards to be even more enjoyable if you say, “Profiles by Kirby Puckett” in the same “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy” voice used on SNL. But that’s just me.

Before we continue, I’d like to say rest in peace to the late Kirby Puckett, who was a great player and one of the brightest stars from my heyday of baseball card collecting.

The subject here is Tim Salmon. Let’s begin in the only way we know how: with “Kirby Puckett Insights:”

I like Salmon as a player…REALLY like him.

Whoa, Kirby Puckett. You better relax or this Kirby Puckett profile will lose its objectivity.

When he first came up, somebody told me he won a Triple Crown in the minors,

That somebody? Tim Salmon. I also have to be honest here –- going into this Kirby Puckett profile, I had mistakenly assumed that Kirby Puckett would have more background on Tim Salmon other than the fact that somebody told him about him. I almost don’t want to read the rest of this. Almost.

and I’m thinking, “well, that’s the minors.”

Gary Gaetti: Hey Kirby! How ‘bout that Tim Salmon, huh? He was pretty good in the minors…

Kirby Puckett: Pffttt. I hate Tim Salmon…REALLY hate him. Let’s see him do it in the bigs.

Then I saw him play, and I knew right away that he was the real deal.

Awesome. Fairy tale ending. Here is where we find out how Kirby Puckett’s skepticism re: Tim Salmon was instantly squashed. My guess? He hit 12 home runs in one inning.

One thing that sets Tim apart is that he plays hard and he plays every day.

Or that. To reiterate, what sets Tim Salmon apart from every other Major League Baseball player is that he plays hard, and plays everyday. The implication here being that every Major League Baseball player at the time not named Tim Salmon -- and including Kirby Puckett? -- was a loafer who only played on Tuesdays. I also enjoy the fact that what instantly struck Kirby Puckett the first time he saw Tim Salmon play, and what immediately cast aside any doubts he may have previously had regarding him, was that Tim Salmon was a) there, and b) not lollygagging it.

He’s gives you all he’s got.

I’s thinks that’s the tops! What else?

He’s a quiet guy

What kind of quiet guy?

who doesn’t say much,


just goes about his business, getting in extra work with (California Angels hitting coach) Rod Carew.

That’s cool!

But as good a hitter as he is,

A subject we have covered here today ad nauseum.

I often think of his defense first. He flat knows how to play right field.

I’m going to assume that was supposed to read “flat out knows,” as everyone and their mother flat knows how to play right field. In conclusion, let’s summarize this Kirby Puckett profile on Tim Salmon, ballplayer:

works hard
plays in the games
gives you all he’s got
quiet, borderline unfriendly
takes batting practice
can field his position

With that type of resume, it’s amazing Tim Salmon was never considered a Little Dawg.

Did you know?

Rod Carew once said to Tim Salmon: "Let's go fishing. I'll be the rod, and you be the salmon." And then they laughed. But they never actually went fishing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good morning Arizona

Note: This column appears in the 8/27 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/28 issue of the Peoria Times

I had an interesting morning a couple of weeks ago. Would you like to hear about it? No? Well too bad.

It was Wednesday morning and I was up at my usual time of whenever our seven-month old foster son decides to get up. So who knows…4:30am? I have not woken up with the sun in five months, so all I know is that it was dark.

I embarked on my daily morning routine of bringing our foster son downstairs with our dog Mac happily following in my footsteps. I put the little guy down on the carpet so I could feed the dog. Then I let Mac outside so he could do his thing. As I approached our foster son and got ready to pick him up, what did I see resting on the nearby tile floor trying not to be noticed? Yes. A scorpion.

So that was cool. A scorpion. In our house. Just feet away from a toddler. I celebrated this early morning surprise by smashing the scorpion to bits with my sandal. I smashed it so much that there was nothing to clean up, and I can only assume that the remaining particles of this particular scorpion are now embedded into the bottom of my sandal, along with the particles of other scorpions that have died similar deaths.

Now I’m all flustered. Few things in life make me feel as angry and yet helpless as seeing a scorpion. I’m still shaking as I turn our foster son over to change him. He attempts to take my mind off of things by diverting my attention towards the other surprise he has left in his diaper. But then my attention is diverted towards something else.

There is a golden rule in our house: whenever you don’t know where Mac is, and you can’t hear his chain jingling, he is getting into trouble.

I hadn’t heard Mac’s chain from outside this whole time.

I scooped up the little guy and rushed to the screen door that leads to our backyard. It was just now starting to get light out, which allowed me to see Mac lying happily on the ground with a dead bird in his mouth.

Now, it must be mentioned here that my wife hates birds. Despises them. Thinks they are all rats with wings. If scorpions could fly, she would still hate birds more. It’s irrational, but very real. We have tried to trace the roots of this loathing, and it may stem from a youthful and impressionable viewing of the Alfred Hitchcock movie. Or the time she was inadvertently left in a cage filled with birds while on a family trip to Italy as a child. Either way, she will literally turn around and go back from whence she came if there is a pigeon in her path. It's a miracle she graduated from NYU.

I’m not a huge fan of birds myself –- especially dead ones –- but I knew, for my wife’s sake, I had to resolve this issue before she awoke.

So I rushed outside with the little guy in my arms, with no plan of action. Mac, knowing this, simply ran away with the dead bird in his mouth, and into the house thanks to the fact that I had carelessly left the screen door open.

He ran upstairs towards our bedroom. “She is going to die,” I thought.

Luckily, Mac had dropped the dead bird on the stairs. At this point, my wife had walked out of the bedroom to see what the ruckus was. “DON'T LOOK!” I screamed. But her eyes had already witnessed the dead feathered creature on the stairs. She cupped her hands over her mouth as if to throw up and ran back into the bedroom on the verge of tears.

I had to get a small garden shovel to scoop the dead bird into a garbage bag. When I first touched it with the shovel, it fluttered a little bit, scaring the living crap out of me. One last dying breath.

Then I got stuck in traffic.

The circle of life

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Classic card of the week

Heathcliff Slocumb, 1996 Topps Star Power series

If you know anything about star power -– and I think that you do -– then you know that not only did Heathcliff Slocumb have it, but he also encompassed the ideals of star power better than any other baseball player in the history of the game. I mean, hey -– just look at all those stars!

If you were a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies in the mid-90’s, then you went to the ballpark to see Heathcliff Slocumb, plain and simple. Sorry rest of the 1995 Phillies! Basically, you threw on your Heathcliff Slocumb jersey and went to the park hoping that he would be granted the opportunity to come out of the bullpen and save the game, so that you may bear witness to his star power and also his 1.51 WHIP. What’s that you say? For nostalgia’s sake you’d like to see a monthly breakdown of Heathcliff Slocumb’s 1995 season? Why sure:

Interesting that they included “October” in that breakdown, and doubly interesting that Heathcliff Slocumb’s star power did not advance the 1995 Phillies to the postseason. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoy the additional stars and being reminded of how high Heathcliff Slocumb’s hat sat on his head.

Wikipedia would like to chime in with regards to a nickname:

Heath “Heathcliff” Slocumb

Shouldn’t that be the other way around? I actually consulted several other sources and discovered that yes, his birth name is indeed “Heath,” which means that Heathcliff Slocumb is the only known player in MLB history to have a longer nickname than his birth name for the sole purpose of associating him with Dr. Huxtable. Talk about star power!

Besides being one of the brightest stars of mid-90’s baseball, Heathcliff Slocumb is also famous for being on the wrong end of one of the most lopsided trades in recent history, as he was traded from the Red Sox to the Mariners for Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe in 1997. Sure, Boston ended an 86-year drought with a 2004 title thanks in large part to the efforts of both Lowe and Varitek, but the star power they lost could never be fully recovered, and the franchise has struggled both professionally and financially ever since.

Heathcliff Slocumb would later pitch for the Orioles, Cardinals, and Padres. He finished his career pitching in his hometown of outer space.

Did you know?
Many have argued –- because of his propensity for annoying the local fish store owner and the fact that his best friend was named “Riff Raff” -– that Mr. Slocumb’s nickname is actually in reference to Heathcliff the Cat.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Professor graybeard, old age on line one

Note: This column appears in the 8/20 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/21 issue of the Peoria Times

Ever since I could grow it, I have had facial hair. In one form or another.

As a young teenager it was the wispy mustache and patchy beard. Later on it was the goatee. In college I rocked the thin-beard plus goatee combination, which I only now realize made me look like a rejected member of the Backstreet Boys. Besides appearing dangerously older to members of the opposite sex, another important attribute of this early facial hair was my increased ability to buy beer.

To this day I sport the facial hair. Currently I am enjoying the beard that is not fully a beard, but more like a “third day on ‘Survivor’” beard. This look was popularized by Don Johnson and Bruce Willis in the 80s, so obviously I am up to date fashion-wise. The irony of it all is that this look is supposed to say, “Hey, I don’t care…shave, don’t shave, whatever, man,” but I actually have to trim it to keep it that way which requires effort and is evidence that I do, in fact, care what I look like.

Which makes it all the more traumatic that I recently discovered some gray hairs mixed in near the chin area.

To be honest, I am not exactly certain that they are, indeed, gray stragglers. My facial hair has a way of, when reflecting in a certain light, looking bleach blonde. This is what I have been telling myself. My wife is convinced they are grays and has not let me forget it.

Scared off by a potential disaster in which I am mistaken for a college professor or an elderly member of the Backstreet Boys, I have, on several occasions over the past few months, shaved completely. They were very uncomfortable days in which I felt facially naked and oddly adolescent. On one occasion I was actually carded while buying beer, which was kinda cool considering I’m over 30, but not really. Without facial hair I am just another white guy walking down the street.

I partly believed that if I shaved completely, my facial hair would grow back normal and grayless, as if the gray was an aberration or a temporary genetic hiccup. As I have restarted my half-beard from scratch, I now realize this is not the case.

Now I am torn. What do I do? For me personally, my facial hair has been a strong indicator –- maybe the only indicator –- of my masculinity. I don’t know anything about cars, I can’t fix or build anything, and I hate AC/DC. My facial hair is my only defense mechanism, the only thing that says, “Hey, you might not want to mess with this guy. He doesn’t care about shaving, so who knows what he’s capable of.”

Yet I am certainly not ready for grayville and a life of buying Just For Men beard formula at Walgreens. I’m only 31, for crying out loud! My wife tried to comfort me the other day by informing me that George Clooney has a graying beard. This was unconvincing, as the rest of George Clooney’s features look like George Clooney, and also George Clooney is 48.

I also do not think it is a coincidence that I noticed this a month into our latest foster placement. I have aged seven years in the past four months. That is why I am buying so much beer.

Inside he is crying. Trust me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Classic card of the week

Scott Fletcher, 1987 Donruss Diamond Kings

Scott Fletcher, what happened to your face? It looks like an old catcher’s mitt…

When he wasn’t being recreated as a 60-year old man in watercolor form, Scott Fletcher was busy playing baseball in a mediocre fashion. Back of the card, elaborate:

Scott Fletcher has developed into one of the steadiest

I hate to jump all over this thing right out of the gate. Really, I do. But: “steadiest” = meaningless.

and most productive shortstops in the AL.

Well, okay, I guess. Considering that other shortstops in the American League in 1987 included this guy, and also this guy, then…yeah, whatever. But a “Diamond King?” Listen –- you can’t just name anyone a Diamond King. Not when, along with the prestige of the title of Diamond King comes the accompanying thrill of being the subject of such an artistic rendering, with a mini-you playing defense and all types of cool lines and graphics and stuff. This is serious. And no offense to Scott Fletcher –- well, okay…some offense -- but I know one AL shortstop with a major gripe. But please, continue:

His career high BA with the White Sox was .256 in 1985 but with the Rangers he has hit .300 in 1986 and .287 in 1987.

1) Batting average is stupid. 2) As it relates to a previous observation made regarding Scott Fletcher, that is the opposite of “steady.”

Enough of this. Let’s check Wikipedia and discover what noted statistician and baseball guru Bill James has to say regarding Mr. Fletcher:

Bill James noted that Fletcher “didn’t do anything exceptionally well” and that he mainly “filled a slot,” though he ranked him the 85th best shortstop of all time.

I enjoy how James ranking Fletcher 85th all-time is seemingly in contradiction to his own statements about him. As if being ranked 85th in anything should warrant higher praise. (Note: if somebody told me that I had the 85th best blog about old baseball cards and foster parenting on the Internet, I would immediately retire because my career would have peaked.) And hey –- nobody’s saying that Scott Fletcher was not a good baseball player. He was.

But again. A Diamond King? I think the gloriousness of this particular card would be appropriately downgraded if all it read on the back was:

He filled a slot.
- Bill James

Did you know?
Scott Fletcher never sat down for an artist's rendition of himself ever again. Until 2005, when he allowed a local carnie to draw a portrait of him with a giant head and riding a unicycle.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

‘How Does It Feel?’ Dylan & Co. respond: ‘Too hot’

Note: This column appears in the 8/13 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/14 issue of the Peoria Times

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you are Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and the artist formerly known as John Cougar Mellencamp. You are a combined 712 years old, but you are still jamming.

You want to bring your brand of folksy-country-Americana music to the Valley, but you are not sure when, or where. So you consult your concert promoter, Jam Productions, who are, coincidentally, the same promotions company aligned with the Chicago White Sox. In turn, you agree to be the first musical act at Camelback Ranch, an outdoor venue and the spring training home of the White Sox and Dodgers.

The date you choose is August 11th. At 5:30 pm. What could go wrong?

If you are indeed, and not hypothetically, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and John Mellencamp, or one of the thousands of fans who bought tickets to see the show, what went wrong was that the show was canceled. Due to the heat.

Considering that word of the cancellation came just days before the show was scheduled, it seemed as though Jam Productions and virtually everyone involved was surprised that temperatures were expected to, according to the press release, “soar to 110 degrees” on Tuesday. For anyone familiar with Valley weather, 110 degrees is pretty much autumn, or, at the very least, standard as it pertains to mid-August.

Nevertheless, outdoor concerts do indeed take place here in the summertime. However, they typically start after sundown, and not when the sun is at its absolute peak of hotness. It’s uncertain if the Jonas Brothers could survive a 5:30 pm start in mid-August in Glendale, much less three men most famous for a collective diet of whiskey, marijuana, and now Ensure.

Every fan that purchased tickets will be refunded, and an additional show scheduled for the following day in Las Vegas –- "What? It’s hot there, too?!" said Jam Productions -– was also canceled. According to Jam Productions, the impending heat was a risk “too great for all involved.” But the obvious question remains: Then why the heck did you schedule the show for 5:30 pm in mid-August? This is, of course, reminiscent of the time Jam Productions scheduled a December 25th Hootie & the Blowfish show in the North Pole, but had to cancel two days beforehand, claiming: “We had no idea it was Jesus’ birthday.”

For an event that was supposed to bring money, fans, and attention to one of the city’s newest facilities, this is just another black eye for the city of Glendale. To add insult to injury, I imagine Dylan will perform nightly at the new Tohono O’oodham casino in 2011, after singing the national anthem at the first Ontario Coyotes game.

When asked to comment on the cancellation, Bob Dylan muttered something incoherent, Willie Nelson fell asleep mid-sentence, and John Mellencamp just kept repeatedly singing, “”This is oooouuuurrrr country…”

Man, that show would have been awesome. I am sweating just thinking about it.

Friday, August 07, 2009

On obnoxiously large desserts

While in San Francisco last week, my wife and I, after dinner, decided to go somewhere for dessert and coffee.

For whatever reason, on this particular night, I was very much in the mood for dessert. I wanted one of those brownies with nuts and ice cream and caramel dripping from it. It’s called different things in different places, but I refer to it as a “brownie blast” because it is, and usually results in, a brownie blast. Luckily I found it on the menu of the place that we went to, which was just a diner. My wife was content ordering some kind of coconut cake thingee.

So a few minutes later our desserts come out and they are just completely ridiculous. The ice cream on my brownie –- and by brownie I mean twelve brownies -– is stacked so high that I can no longer see my wife across the table. Her slice of coconut cake was not a slice, but a complete cake, one that a person might purchase at a bakery if he or she was going to a wedding and the bride had called beforehand and was like, “Dude, somebody dropped the cake! I need you to pick up another one. Preferably coconut.”

As I sat there behind my Sears Tower of ice cream, I was feeling a mix of embarrassment and anger. Embarrassment because we were in a public place, and the attention of the other tables had now shifted to the couple who had just ordered two obnoxiously large piles of calories. I mean, here we are in a struggling economy, with people out of work and houses in foreclosure and businesses folding and livelihoods being ruined. But hey –- no matter to me! I’m doing just fine, as evidenced by the ginormous and extravagant brownie blast in front of my face. Excuse me, miss? More brownies!

Making matters even more embarrassing for us was the fact that San Francisco is -– as we realized quite immediately upon our arrival there -– the unofficial homeless capital of the country. It is both scary and sad, but there are homeless people everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Yet there we were, with desserts that could feed the entire homeless population of San Francisco for three days. This in turn, caused my wife and I to discuss taking a few bites, wrapping up the remainder of our desserts, and actually handing them to a homeless person on the way back to the hotel. Then we began imagining scenarios in which our kind gesture was literally thrown back into our faces -– the homeless in San Fran aren’t exactly the sanest bunch –- and we'd be forced to walk back to the hotel covered in caramel and coconut. That actually made us laugh as we ate, making us look even more fiendish.

(A few quick homeless sidebars. One day we were walking down the street in San Fran and a homeless man walked up to us and said, “If you think she’s got big legs, you should see her lips!” and then walked away. This quickly became the slogan of our trip. Also, after eating breakfast one morning at a local restaurant I went to use the bathroom and found myself at a urinal next to a homeless guy who was groaning uncontrollably as he peed, and I had to pretend like I was still peeing until he left, which took about five minutes. Awkward. Finally, while watching the local news one morning, we were informed that the San Francisco homeless soccer team had made the Homeless Soccer Tournament semifinals in Washington, D.C. So…congratulations? I'm not sure how that works.)

Anyhoo, my anger was reserved for our idiot waitress, who neglected to inform us that each dessert was enough for a full season’s worth of temptation challenges on “The Biggest Loser.” Moron. Do your job.

This wasn’t the first time I’d been given an obnoxiously large dessert -– there are places that wear their obnoxiously large desserts like a badge of honor. This experience got me thinking though -– is there anything more unnecessary on earth than the obnoxiously large dessert? They’re wasteful, a slap in the face to the poverty that persists worldwide, financially unsound for both the consumer and the establishment -– there’s no way those places are making their money back charging $3.50 for six gallons of ice cream mixed with designer candy, and the consumer feels screwed when they inevitably throw away over half of what they paid for -– messy, unhealthy, and they almost always result in some form of diarrhea. On the plus side, they are truly American.

As for me, I valiantly attempted to finish my dessert as a big “f.u.” to our waitress and the entire practice of abnormally large desserts. My plan was to finish, stand up with brownie crumblings and ice cream all over my face, dramatically throw my spoon down onto the dish, take my wife by the hand as we passed the crowd of stunned onlookers, and go outside, at which point I would throw-up violently. Unfortunately, I couldn’t put a dent in the thing. Nor could I even bring it back to the hotel, due the ice cream and the fact that we were leaving the following morning. However -- again of out of sheer principle -- we boxed up the remainder of my wife’s cake, dragged it through security and onto the airplane, and brought it home.

We have been picking at it everyday since we’ve been home. There is still some left. It is stale, but I will not give up. Like I always say, if you think this cake is big, you should she her lips.

Me: How do you sleep at night, buddy?
This Guy: On a bed of whip cream and chocolate swirls.

This picture does not do our dessert justice. I had already eaten, literally, four brownies and at least three scoops of ice cream. And the thickness of the cake does not transfer well in photo form. My wife was done after two bites.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Classic card of the week

Pascual Perez, 1989 Donruss

Ahhh, the 80's. Where a guy like Pascual Perez could utilize his “Here Is What I’m Throwing –- Betcha Can’t Hit It” pitch, accompanied by a comical sneer, and still maintain a job in Major League Baseball. Nothing against the great singles hitters of 1989, but I am presently enjoying myself by imagining the result of this particular pitch meeting Albert Pujol’s bat.

That was fun. Anyhoo, let’s find out more about Pascual Perez, shall we? I am going to pick a year off the top of my head and we will examine the statistics of Pascual Perez and then compare them to the rest of Major League Baseball during that year. Ya’ know, for fun! The year that I randomly selected is 1986:


Bad choice on my part. Wikipedia, thoughts?

Released by the Braves on April 1, 1986, he missed the entire 1986 season.

So, he just…missed it? No injury? No minor leagues? No nothing?

Bob: So, Pascual. Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately.

Pascual Perez: I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.

Randomly taking a year off during your athletic prime would indeed seem odd, unless of course, you are talking about Pascual Perez, whose eccentricities knew no bounds:

Also a showboater, he often drew the ire of many of his opponents. He would use an imaginary finger gun to shoot opponents

I thoroughly enjoy the use of “imaginary” there, so as to specify that Pascual Perez’s finger was not actually a gun. It should also be noted that the term “finger gun” has its own Wikipedia page. Also: really? Twenty years later people make a big deal when Joba Chamberlain shakes his fist after a strikeout. Pascual Perez would pretend to shoot you.

And that wasn’t nearly my favorite thing that Pascual Perez did on the mound:

Pascual first made his trademark peek through the legs to check the runner on first in 1979 in the Dominican League. He put his head through his legs to look at Rafael Landestoy on first base.

When you consider baseball as a whole, with its iconic and legendary players, valued traditions, and influence on American culture, you just have to rank the legacy of Pascual Perez –- the man with the courage and wherewithal to stick his head between his legs to check the runner at first –- right up there with anything the sport has accomplished throughout its long and storied history. It’s shame there was only one Pascual Perez:

Two of his brothers, Melido and Carlos, were also major league pitchers, as was a cousin, Yorkis.


Did you know?

Pascual Perez once caused a three-car pile up on the New Jersey Turnpike after he attempted to check his rear view mirror by sticking his head under his armpit.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

One doctor’s specialty: indifference

Note: This column appears in the 8/6 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/7 issue of the Peoria Times

Two weeks ago our foster daughter woke up crying in the middle of the night yelling “I sick!” We took her temperature and it read 103.5.

It wasn’t that surprising to us, as she had felt a little warm when we put her to bed that evening. Also, things had been progressing too healthily over the past few days for something like this not to happen. My wife and I compromised: she would stay home with her that day, but I was going to take her to the pediatrician’s office before work. This was obviously going to be a fantastic day.

Because of the circumstances we could not go to our regular pediatrician, but we had been to this office before when our foster daughter had pink eye. I remember because it was like “Children of the Corn” in the waiting room, with kids walking around like zombies. Some were crying and others sat silent with breathing masks on. My only retreat from the horror was wiping away the constant stream of gook oozing from our foster daughter’s eyes, which was gross, but better than surveying the surrounding scene. And even though we waited for what seemed like three years to get called in, the doctor was nice, professional, and our little one was better a few days later.

This time was a little different.

Besides burning up, she had been saying that her “mouth hurt,” which we translated to mean that her throat was sore. When I told the nurse this, she placed her down to swab her throat. Now, I am 31 years old. Getting my throat swabbed is probably the most uncomfortable thing in the world this side of a rectal exam, which I may or may not have experienced before. This girl is 3-years old. It was not pleasant.

She was still crying when the doctor stormed in a few seconds later. The first thing he said to me, in a huff, was, “I was just about to go home.” Apparently, I was supposed to feel guilty about my foster daughter waking up with a 103.5 temperature as his shift was about to end. My bad, doc.

Without any coddling or small talk whatsoever to make a sick and scared three-year-old feel more comfortable, he started jabbing her with things and talking to her like she was my age. "What hurts?" he asked bluntly, and incredulously, as if this was all one big scam. Our little one, still crying and now confused, said her eye and head hurt. Then the doctor condescendingly quipped, “Yeah, sometimes the story changes on the ride over here, huh?” He then told me to give her children’s Motrin and rushed out of the room.

I was made to feel like an overbearing parent that overreacted and inconvenienced someone who is paid handsomely to treat children. Our little one was left dazed by the whole experience. When I went to complain at the front desk, no one was there.

Luckily for me, I just so happen to write for the local paper, where I can embark on personal crusades under the guise of public interest. So let this serve as my official complaint.

If you’re reading this doc, you know who you are. Maybe I caught you on a bad day. Maybe you are just bad at your job. Maybe you watch too much “House.” Whatever the case, see you again the next time our kid gets sick? I’d rather have a rectal exam.

Even Dr. Nick would have been better...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Bon Jovi: "I'll Be There For You," explained

Today we continue our randomly strung-together series breaking down "classic" songs that I am reminded of when I hear them somewhere and suddenly come to the realization that, "Wow, that song is stupid." Featured here is Bon Jovi's "I'll Be There For You." I left out a few lines and the mercilessly repeated chorus. Please enjoy.

You say this time you’re really leaving
I heard your suitcase say goodbye

Your suitcase did not like, literally, say goodbye. That would be crazy. I heard that freakin’ thing rolling all over my new Brazilian hardwood floors, and I was like, “Well, guess the bitch is leaving…again.”

Well as my broken heart lies bleeding
You say true love, it’s suicide

True love is like suicide because after you’ve been a total jerk to someone that you apparently love for like, many years or something, inevitably your heart will fall out of your body as that person finally and justifiably decides to leave you. Snapple fact: Every person who has ever fallen in true love has died of suicide.

You say you’ve cried a thousand rivers
And now you’re swimming for the shore

I hope you didn’t actually say that. Because that is totally stupid. Really though -– you’re swimming in a sea of your own tears towards the shore? A shore that symbolically represents a person who is not me? Please. You should have swam back to third grade literature class so you could have come up with a less-cliched metaphor than that.

You left me drowning in my tears
And you won’t save me anymore

See that? THAT’S how you do a tear-metaphor. Bam. You’re swimming in your tears? Well I’m drowning in mine. And you won’t even save me! See how I twisted that around? Now you’re the bad guy in this scenario. That’s why I’m Bon Jovi and you’re just some person. But seriously -– don’t leave. I love you.

I’ll be there for you
These five words I swear to you

Yep. I checked. It’s five words. I had to combine “I” and “will” though to form a contraction, or else it would have been six words. And I didn’t want to say “these six words” because “six” sound like “sex,” and “Sex Words” is the name of a new R. Kelly album and I didn’t want people getting confused.

When you breathe I want to be the air for you

I don’t even care. I’ll be air. Whatever. Breathe me in. Bon Jovi air tastes like Aqua Net and tube socks, so it’s pretty much the best air around. The point is: I’m there for you. Like air.

I’d live and I’d die for you

Listen, I just thought of something. I can't really die for you, because then I wouldn’t be there for you, right? Hmmm? Exactly. But I would totally live for you. I mean, not just for you. My mom, too. And a few other people. But I’ll definitely stay alive. If that’s what you want.

Steal the sun from the sky for you

You want the sun? I’m freakin’ Bon Jovi. I’ll go up there and get it. And that shizz is like a million degrees or something. Whatever. What’s that sky? You want a piece of me? I don’t think so! I’ll lasso that sun with the complimentary rope they gave me from “Young Guns.” But hey -– when the rest of life in this galaxy becomes unsustainable because of your bizarre and selfish demands, don’t blame me. I’m just saying.

Words can’t say what love can do

Indeed, they cannot. Although I just tried, and some of the words I used involved me stealing the sun from the sky. That’s probably as close as any words have come to nailing what love is all about. I smell a Grammy.

I know you know we’ve had some good times
Now they have their own hiding place

That time we went to the county fair and you dropped your Toasted Almond bar on my crotch? I stuffed that time in my closet next to my slippers. And you say I don’t care.

I can’t promise you tomorrow
But I can’t buy back yesterday

I hope you are enjoying your ride on the Bon Jovi excuse train. I wash my hands of all past mistakes and I guarantee nothing when it comes to the future. Also, today I have to go to my cousin’s house and then we have a show at nine, so you’re on your own. I don’t really know what else I have to say to convince you that I’ll be there for you.

And baby you know my hands are dirty
But I wanted to be your Valentine

You think they wash these microphones on tour? Pfft. I am as blue collar as it gets, except for the puffy hair, makeup and assless chaps. Plus I was totally going to take you out for Valentine’s Day until you asked me to use hand sanitizer before diving into my bucket of Alaskan crabs. You are so high maintenance and I’m so blue collar. I’m like Billy Joel and you’re like Christie Brinkley, to use an analogy involving a less-talented musician than myself.

I’ll be the water when you’re thirsty, baby
When you get drunk, I’ll be wine

Are my metaphors involving things that the human body consumes in order to sustain life/get drunk becoming redundant? I didn’t think so.

And I wasn’t there when you were happy

Could it be that my absence in some way played a part in your happiness? I hope not, because then I will have a write a new song. A song about cowboys!

I wasn’t there when you were down

Let’s just lay it all out there, okay? I was never there. But now I will always be there. I don’t understand your skepticism.

I didn’t mean to miss your birthday, baby

Okay, so I missed your birthday. But I didn’t mean to. It wasn’t as if I was all like, “Oh, it’s her birthday today? Whatever. I’m just gonna sit here and play checkers and maybe make out with someone!” No, baby! I was doing something. And she didn’t even mean anything. Also, happy belated birthday. It’s a toaster. But wait –- pop it up. See? Two tickets to “Cats” tonight, upper deck! I can’t go.

I wish I’d seen you blow those candles out

What did you wish for? Me to be there, probably. You’re so clingy. On my last birthday I wished to write the greatest rock ballad ever.

So yeah, wishes do come true.

They washed my hands for this photo. But it wasn't my idea