Friday, July 08, 2005

Choosy Curmudgeons Choose Id! (We're "Topps" in the Toxic Dept.)

Vince Vaughn to Jon Favreau in "Swingers": "I don't want you to be the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone's really hoping makes it happen. I want you to be like the guy in the rated-R movie, you know? The guy you're not sure whether or not you like yet. You're not sure where he's coming from..."

I have a confession to make, folks ...I'm in pain. The kind of pain that rips a guy up inside - like drinking Drain-O. This Indians' losing streak is tearing me up emotionally - and it's obviously having a frustrating effect on C.C. Sabathia too.

Wednesday night, my friends and I were sitting behind the Tribe dugout after C.C. got yanked from the game (to a chorus of boos). Some jerk - but a paying fan entitled to his opinion nonetheless - yelled out to Sabathia as he moped off the field: "Hey, C.C., aren't you supposed to be our #1 starting pitcher...?"

Well, needless to say this sent our (other) young hothead, Sabathia, off - he rattled off a verbal barrage of "bombs" to said fan that would make your dear old grandmother blush. And it got me fired up as well. Maybe it was the sun, the sudsy fun, or the frustration of a losing slide (again) in C-Town - but I was on the war path that night.

Hey, I can be sarcastic, irritable like a bowel syndrome and sometimes a tad too toxic for my own dumb good at times, too. But I sympathize with C.C. on this occassion - this kid is under an amazing amount of pressure to be really good, really soon (not that he's not well-compensated for it). But a "great pitcher" takes years and years to hone their craft - and not to make excuses for him, because, yes, he should be coming into his own by now - but the fans, at times, can be brutal on him. However, that being said, I think C.C. would be better served - as a professional major league ball player - to grow a thicker skin and rise above the scrutiny and cat calls in Cleveland. He has a job to do, so "just do it."

And now a word from "Plastered Peanuts"...

The other night I was flipping thru the channels, because that's what we "shallow" people do afterall, is watch television until our crying eyes bleed - blood, sweat and tears. Anyway, I'm not into all the hype produced by "The Food Network Nerds" - because hearing these psuedo-celebrity-chefs make inane comments like "ice cubes make a tasty treat, so I like to have several trays on hand when friends stop by unexpectedly" is as fascinating to me as watching paint dry...

But, regardless, I'll give the Food Network folks credit for once: They had a great special on the history of Wacky Packages! My Peter Pan complex be damned, these were one of the great inspirational memories of my Gen X youth! (Listen to me gushing and waxing nostalgic on the past: Dare I shudder to say it - I sound like the young, ever mighty morphin' Ewan McGregor version of Dick Feagler!) And the good news is, the Topps corporation is re-issuing Wacky Packs (a blend of the NEW and the old) for a new generation - and Charlie Sheen "sad sacks" like myself who (sigh) can't seem to let go of the past.

That reminds me of another post I've been wanting to make: Why doesn't Cleveland have a Pop Culture Museum here in town? I mean, Bowling Green University has the first (and only?) official "pop culture department" 2 hours away right here in the Buckeye State, right? And Cleveland was the hometown of "Superman" co-creators, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, who I believe both met at Glenville High School - so there's something tipped in our town's favor. I mean, it's something more than naming a street after someone like Bob Hope who passed thru town for like 5 minutes, anyway.

Race you to the lighthouse at Fairport Harbor!

Earlier today - and just like U2 promised, it was a beautiful day outside - I went cruising in the car with the windows down and blasting Coldplay's "Speed of Sound" in the background. After all the ugly turmoil going on in the world, as cowardly as it may sound, I needed to get away from the news - I needed "an escape." And a stroll along the Lake Erie shoreline at Mentor Headlands beach on a picture-perfect sunny day was just the what the doctor ordered (ohmigawd, is the lake actually blue now???)

After that, a late matinee showing of "Fantastic Four" - which was a bit of a disappointment, especially after the brilliant, complex character study of "Batman Begins." F4 is flimsy fun at best, but comes off a bit shallow in contrast to Christopher Nolan's comic masterpiece (did I actually just criticize something for being too shallow?) The guy who played Johnny Storm ("The Human Torch") actually stole the show, and Michael Chiklis was pitch-perfect as "The Thing." But if the guy playing Reed Richards ("Mr. Fantastic") was just adequate in his role, Jessica Alba was horribly miscast as Susan Storm, spewing her lines like some B-list soap opera star. Dr. Doom was a delight before he donned "the mask" - becoming a watered-down version of one of Marvel's most beloved villians - a Darth Vader Lite, if you will. Hopefuly, F4 will learn from the original "X-Men" movie and sharpen the script, like the producers did for "X2".

"Hey, don't write yourself off yet. It's only in your head you feel left out - or looked down on. Just do your best, do everything you can. And don't you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say..."

Okay, enough "geek shop talk" for now - I've gotta run. Meeting friends out at "Pickle Bill's" in Grand River for dinner and drinks. If you've never been there, complete with an "island bar" in the river - and an upstairs/outdoor Tiki patio that has old-fashioned rope swings for chairs around the bar it's a helluva cool place to check out sometime. Ah, it's the "little things" in life that amuse me, and I wouldn't have it any other way...

I love me just the way I are!


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