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Wednesday, November 25, 2009



I feel I have let down an entire franchise, their fans and their players. My friend Phil squanders at least one set of tickets every Giants football season on me and my wife. At first I thought he enjoyed my company. But when I was extremely annoying game after game, season after season, and he still invited me, I grew suspicious. Then I realized it was my record. I am lucky like a rabbit’s foot (a rabbit’s foot is luckier for humans than for rabbits). Dating back to the 1986 championship season, I estimated that the Giants’ won/loss record for games I attended was 26 and one. Every once in awhile I am called upon to save the Giants’ season at a critical time, and this was one of those moments.

Things were going well, and the Giants had engineered a seemingly safe comeback in the late stages of the game. But a last minute scoring drive by the opposition left me with my jaw hanging lifelessly like an empty windsock. My wife looked at me like I had just tracked in dog-do. I glanced over at Phil and he had a look of disgust on his face like I just dropped a cigar butt into his Cheerios. Even his 8-year-old kid looked at me like I had just stolen his Halloween candy. I looked around the stadium and everyone was looking at me like I had just run over their cats, and the ones who hated cats looked at me like I had failed to run over their cats.

I myself was stunned, and I immediately looked to blame others. For instance, how come the Giants have no cheerleaders? How do we know when to cheer? There are specific rules about it. You are supposed to cheer very loudly when the home team is on defense, so the opposing quarterback can’t hear his cellphone ringing. While the Giants are on offense, you are supposed to cheer in a kind of whisper, and clap so that your hands stop when they are an inch or so apart. Even that is too loud and Eli Manning flaps his arms, telling the crowd to “Hey- hold it down over there.” He flapped his arms so fast that he actually lifted four feet off the ground, and flew around the backfield. The crowd that witnessed this was amazed, because they figured the Giants would just go for the field goal. Then Eli landed flawlessly behind center in just enough time to get a delay-of-game penalty.

I wanted to watch it on instant replay, but they don’t replay things instantly in live football. Luckily, since the Giants have so many penalties, they replay each down at least twice, so I am MORE than satisfied. They do have a huge Jumbotron on each side of the stadium. If the Giants make a spectacular play, you can look up afterward on the big screen and see a replay of a Geico commercial. At the stadium in Dallas they have a Jumbotron so big that runs the length of a football field. I happen to know this because there is a football field right underneath it.

In Seattle, the crowd does a thing called “The Wave.” It is a cheerleading phenomenon whereby everyone in the stadium, in succession, rises from their seat and waves their arms. From far away it looks like a big tidal wave. I was at the beach and thought I saw the same thing, but it was just an actual wave. At Giants Stadium they do not have the wave- any spontaneous acts of cheering that don’t involve the words, “You DICK!” are frowned upon. But New York fans have their own version of the wave where somebody finally has to get up to pee, and everyone gets up in succession to let them out, throwing up their arms at the same time because their foot has been stepped on.

Once you get to the Men’s Room you run the risk of standing behind a slow pee-er. I always look for a guy who looks like either a Mormon, a recovering alcoholic, or somebody who has been out all day in the sun and is dehydrated. But I always end up behind a human fire hose directly connected to the water table. The worst is getting behind a guy who has a kid, because then he stands there and teaches him how to pee. And god forbid the kid is hard of hearing, and has to turn around to hear what his dad is saying.

And all this is if you even get into the stadium. It takes so long to park because if you are a TRUE BLUE Giants Fan you must arrive two or three meals before the game and “tailgate.” This is a ritual that involves a barbecue, a cooler of beer, an underinflated football, and the parking space that I WAS GOING TO TAKE. Ironically cars don’t have tailgates anymore, so most people “hatchback.” Tailgating has become so high-tech and overblown, it’s hard to believe anyone would ever leave ribs and a barcolounger to go watch the game in those uncomfortable seats…. People even had these giant blue Giant blow-up dolls. The people who blew them up were also blue in color.

Incidentally, legend has it that Wellington Mara purchased the team in 1925 for $500. It came in a big box with a lot of instructions, and he had to put it together himself with some help from his big brother. It was either buy the NFL franchise or buy France, and I think he made the right decision.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009



I can’t get over how different Halloween is now than it was when we were growing up. There is just no longer the inner desire to try and procure by any means available as much candy as is humanly possible. Is there a glut on the candy market? Are many more moms now candy-shunning vegans? Or is it just laziness?

We live in a picture-perfect neighborhood, all the neighbors dress up their homes for Halloween, they have more than enough chocolate-related products, and the only thing missing is children to give them to. This year we had three trick-or-treaters ring our bell, and they made the trip all the way from the house on our right. They did not make it as far as the house on our left, as I found out the next day. The house on the left had one group of seven, who didn’t get as far as our house. We had three bags of candy, and my wife said we should have given each kid an entire bag and gone to bed.

When I was a kid you made damn sure you had enough energy to get up and down the driveways of at least 20 or 30 houses. Even if it was up a hill. Even if there was five pit bulls guarding the door, a chicken-wire fence, and a chicken. If something about the house seemed a little scary, hey- IT’S HALLOWEEN! It’s supposed to be scary. There were no pedophiles back then, just gym teachers and clergymen. The most dangerous threat was the presence of other rogue groups of kids who might seek to unlawfully gain access to your candy.

And if god forbid we ever received anything healthy, like a candied apple or something, you should expect it to end up in your mailbox, minus the candy. And don’t even talk to me about a box of raisins. We never went out while it was still light out, especially if we didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the costume. Since it was impossible to see through your mask anyway it didn’t make much difference.

This year our young guests arrived with UNICEF boxes, which I hadn’t seen since the last time I trick-or-treated myself, age 18 or so. I remember getting the boxes in school, and spending about an hour and a half trying to figure out how to put the damn thing together, tab A into slot B, fold here, etc. I can’t even get a newspaper to fold the right way, so I just scotch taped the damn thing into the general shape of a box and called it a day. When I was through I couldn’t find the slot that the coins were supposed to go through so I had to cut a new one.

When the kids arrived with UNICEF boxes, I had to wrack my brain to figure out how much to put in it- back when I was a kid you would put a penny or two in. Adjusted for inflation over the years, I figured out that today you would have to put $187.30 into each box.

I keep trying to think of a way to make Halloween work better financially for me. In my own mind I think of candy as a charitable donation. I wrote on my 1040 that we gave away 6.2 million dollars in $100,000 bars. One year a kid took so much candy we claimed him as a dependent.

The day after Halloween re-donned my Jesus outfit and went on a mission of “Reverse trick-or-treating,” whereby I give candy to the neighbors who may have run out already. You can’t keep that stuff in the house, especially if you are Jesus, trying to set examples about gluttony and avarice. No one likes a corpulent Christ, a meaty Messiah, a swollen savior…. I know I was only pretending to be Jesus, but it gave me some great ideas. Like what about a handy reference section in the back of the bible, with a conversion table that tells you how many locusts make up a plague, or how many inches in a cubit (about 18).

Incidentally, if an owl sees you through the window, it is considered to be bad luck for you. If the owl sees you naked through the window, it’s his own bad luck. If you are an owl yourself and another owl looks at you through the window, it’s a “push.”

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

Monday, November 2, 2009



Halloween isn’t a national holiday but it should be. When else can grown people get all dressed up, drink to excess, say scary things to one another and eat fattening foods? Well besides their wedding day? We went to a party on Saturday night at Matt’s vintage guitar store- what a cool idea to have a party in a place where one can do the MAXIMUM amount of damage to irreplaceable objects? About 500 beautiful guitars were hanging up in a row, and I pictured myself getting really drunk and knocking one of them over. But that one bangs into the next one and knocks it over, and all of a sudden all the guitars are falling over like one of those playing card displays that goes around and around the room each card knocking over the next... Or like one of those movies where the Hells Angels are all inside the bar and they come out just in time to see Chevy Chase or somebody knocking over all their motorcycles. Or like the economy.

I went dressed as Jesus, because I hate wearing a mask or a wig. I don’t mind stockings or a push-up bra or Manolo pumps (size 11EE). I understand that Jesus didn’t wear stockings or a push-up bra, but I figured who’s going to know? My wife was dressed as Janis Joplin, but she did not realize that it was a costume party. There was another jesus there already, and they were about to hold a jesus-off, but I whipped out my drivers’ license with my birthday listed on it, and won that one hands down. Plus I out-annoyed the other jesus with bad jokes about me talking things over with my staff, and that back at the manger there is a sheep in wolf’s clothing (hey it’s Halloween for them too).

I grew a beard just for Jesus, and it’s one of the few things I have ever done for him. Only it came in half gray, and made for a geriatric jesus, a senior savior. So I got my hands on some “Just For Men.” The directions said to brush it onto the beard and leave it on for less than 5 minutes. Unfortunately, at that moment water from the rain outside started streaming in through the improperly installed windows. 35 minutes later, I looked like Osama Bin Laden. And my beard did not grow in evenly- it looked as though some parts of my face got more sun than some others. Another thing I always forget is that food always ends up in my beard, and I wonder if the same thing happened to Jesus. I went back and looked at the famous painting, “The Last Supper,” and sure enough you can make out what looks like a sprig of broccoli in his beard.

The party was fun, and I enjoyed jamming with the guys. As Matt was saying, since drunk people have no conception of time, each song can last an eternity. The songs have no discernable beginning or end, only a middle. Sometimes after a 20 minute lead break, no one can remember what song we started on. Most likely you will hear 5 or 6 people singing a different verse at the same time, although sometimes a moment of kismet will cause one word to overlap. Typically a song lasts until someone has to go to the bathroom. Sometimes it goes on just past that point, but hey- that’s rock n roll. One Led Zeppelin song would still be going on right now except the lead singer passed out.

The strange thing about Halloween is that after a while you forget you have the costume on, and you may find yourself engrossed in a very serious conversation. And if someone from another country that does not celebrate Halloween walks in it could be very confusing. He could see Jesus talking to General Custer with an arrow through his head talking to an M & M about global warming. He may wonder what qualifies an M & M to converse freely about global warming, but if the polar ice caps could be made to melt in our mouths and not in our hands, it may do some good.

Incidentally, traditional games such as “bobbing for apples,” already known in Ireland during the festival of Samhain, became popular in the U.S. in the middle 1800s, when immigration dramatically increased. Participants would fish for apples bobbing in a water-filled tub using only their teeth. In a variation for senior citizens, players would fish for their teeth in a water-filled tub using only an apple.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.