August 2007

I really feel sorry for Senator Larry Craig, the senior Republican from Idaho. While many of the left may be smirking in delight that a man who has made known his disapproval of the gay lifestyle has been exposed as a homosexual himself, I can’t help but wonder what is going through his mind right now.

Certainly, I will be able to sleep fine tonight, but the thought crossed my mind not once today that the senator may just want to die right now, that’s how embarrassing this whole episode must be to that. Add to that that Mr. Craig is clearly–and I do believe he was “cruising”–dishonest with himself about his sexuality for so many years the public embarrassment of a lurid restroom apprehension, he may seriously just want to die right now.

There’s not much I can say about it more than that I hope he holds his life together. I may not agree with a war-hungry Republican politician but I certainly believe that this is a man who is capable of effecting great change and opportunities for his people. It is too bad  that to get ahead  in his career, Mr. Craig has bad to lie to himself and his family about the fact that he is attracted to men.

Several weeks ago, I went with my roommates to Home Depot to pick up some supplies for a painting project in my apartment. My roommate Jeff, who struggled for several years to be honest with himself about being gay jokingly told me that in gay circles the lumber outlet is referred to as “Homo Depot” as it is a cruising spot for many gay men across the country.

That America’s largest home improvement supplies store should be a haven for closeted gay weekend warriors is no surprise to me–after all, what better place to hide your sexuality from the naive than in a place that sells power tools,  electrical supplies and other purportedly manly things. What is bizarre about it is that there are could be so many people who are willing to invest the time and energy into pursuing such a double life to save face for family, friends and employers. Wouldn’t all those trips to pick up drywall or check out wire cutters end up wearing a poor soul out?

Of course my perspective is a little clouded. My sexuality is perfectly acceptable in mainstream society. And though there may be those who don’t want to hear about it, it’s still perfectly acceptable and not a stumbling block for me the way it is for a gay man.

Without hearkening back to a McCarthy-like attitude of paranoia–interesting as it is because Senator McCarthy was a gay man himself–I wonder how many gay men there are out there hiding in the shadows, the restrooms, the plumbing aisles waiting to express a side of themselves that is unacceptable to their culture and their own heart. It’s a sad thought. I’ve often thought that the clearest indication of one’s homosexuality is his attitude of acceptance towards gay people. The more opposed to gays one is or the more false machismo he exudes, I think the greater the possibility is that he could himself be attracted to men.

Hearing about journeyman ballplayer Carl Everett a few years ago tell newspaper reporters that he would retire if he ever had to suffer the horror of playing on a team with an openly gay teammate was a surprise. Of course Everett has always had a cleat in his mouth, but to expect that there weren’t already gays in Major League Baseball and professional sports already was a shock. Of course there are. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL leads all sports in that category.

We’ll see how this plays out, but the one lesson we can take is that some people are better than others at hiding their personal lives, but gay people are in all parts of social and professional life so we’d better get used to it.

I hate to admit it, but I think that the Boston Red Sox are the team on which the smart money should be wagered for a World Series Winner.

Certainly, it’s disappointing to admit that they will be ones celebrating with champagne and beer, perhaps in the clubhouse of a National League ball club, but after all, it’s just baseball, right?

The Curse of the Bambino was lifted in 2004 and perhaps second to only the Chicago Cubs nearly century-long hex, the Yankees could be suffering the misfortunes of an owner who seemed to forget to reward some of his front office staff with their finger jewelry after the club vanquished my favorite team, the New York Mets, in 2000.

Yes, the Curse of the Rings could be true. I believe that their was if not a curse, some bad vibe that Sox fans brought on their team throughout the better part of the last 100 years, due to their persistent negativity, perhaps. Who knows. Or maybe it was just how the cookie crumbled each time that way, when the Sox blew a huge divisional lead in 1978, long before the days of the Divisional Series, Bob Stanley threw gasoline on their seemingly inevitable defeat of the New York Mets in 1986, or when Roger Clemens ran his mouth in the 1990 ALCS or Aaron Boone sent a ball sailing half way to the stars under a Bronx sky in 2003 (perhaps the most exciting game I’ve ever seen).

I just think now that the Yankees torch dimming. Like the Atlanta Braves who failed not only failed win their division last year, but also didn’t make it to the post season, it could be the Yankees who will be for years wanting for a divisional title.

Baseball is a strange game. From where they stand now, the Yankees are seven games out of first place and more than two behind Seattle for the wild card. Certainly if they are to overtake the Red Sox they’d better make it quick because with the first day of September closing in, time is running out.

I not only have to hold my nose and predict the Sox will win the division, but I have to believe that they are the most likely of all teams to win the World Series. They have great pitching with Beckett, Schilling and Matsusaka and a bullpen that is ridiculous (Eric Gagne could be its weakest link). If I was an honest bettor and had to put my team from Flushing up against the Sox, logic would tell me Boston would have the advantage. Last season, a much similar squad trounced the Mets in three straight at Fenway (Bastards! How dare they beat the team I like!)

If I have to take some good out of the Sox winning it all it’s that some good players and a solid manager will get their rings. Certainly, if there was one Red Sox that I didn’t want to see be trounced by Boone it was Tim Wakefield.

I hate to say it, but if I had to put my money on a team, it would be the Sox. It would be nice though if my Mets could meet them in the series and beat them in seven games on the Fenway greens! I guess you gotta believe, but first the Mets have to get there!

Further proof that our president, George Walker Bush, is perhaps one of the most insensitive and ridiculous assholes in America today.

On Wednesday, Bush told a crowd in Kansas City that a U.S. Armed Forces withdrawal from Iraq like the one that took place in 1975 from Vietnam, would embolden terrorists by showing the rest of the world that the United States was a weak nation.

“Here at home, some can argue our withdrawal from Vietnam carried no price to American credibility, but the terrorists see it differently,” Bush sad.
“Unlike in Vietnam, if we withdraw before the job is done, this enemy will follow us home.”

Bush’s buffoonery amazes me. That is absolutely amazing that a man who actively avoided fulfilling his military service while others had fought and died for the same war he supported, could have the audacity to say something like this. I shouldn’t be surprised, however because this is the man who has sold the Iraq War to a nation of willingly ignorant people.

I know what they say, if you’re a New York Mets fan you’re supposed to loathe and despise the New York Yankees. It’s expected that if the crosstown Bronx Bombers are playing out in Los Angeles against the Angels, you root, root, root your ass off so that they suffer some type of on-field meltdown or catastrophe: Jason Giambi getting a golden sombrero, Derek Jeter jamming his shoulder sliding into third, A-Rod being emotionally too fragile to drive in the man from third, Mariano Rivera blowing a four-run lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. All these things can be kind of amusing when one is surrounded by obnoxiously over confident Yankees fans, but if it helps out the Boston Red Sox I want no part of it.

I’m going to say in the blogosphere what I’ve been saying to my insipid Yankee-hating, Red Sox fan roommate about his beloved boys from Boston: I will never, never, never root for the Sox over the Bombers so long as I live. That’s a promise.

All grudges are based on something personal, and I will be the first to admit that my hatred of the Boston Red Sox may have some personal foundations. For a while before I moved to Brooklyn (I live in Albany now), I was a college student in Boston and had to endure the constant whining, crying, self-important insistence that by virtue of the fact that the Red Sox hadn’t won the World Series since before radio broadcasts existed I was somehow an ass for not routing for them.

Going to Emerson College for two semesters, a school known for it’s not so manly guys, I was was familiar with the fact that many guys who move to the city to go to school adopt the Sox as their favorite team. They do it for several reasons: A) Their fathers never threw the ball around with them as a kid and it was their first time to really connect to a sports franchise, B) Being in the “Hub” they believe that they must root for the team that is most associated with Boston and C) That by routing for the Red Sox they are pulling for a team that is somehow more genuine, real, and less corrupted than the other profit-driven teams in Major League Baseball, particularly the “Evil Empire” in the Bronx, the New York Yankees.

Certainly, I will never admit to being a New York Yankees fan. For four years I dated a girl who lived on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx and we would have to agree to disagree about which team was more likable in New York. But never during our relationship and subsequent friendship have she and I differed over who we would support should the Yankees make the trip up the Mass Pike to Beantown or the Sox head down the Taconic Parkway to play one another. We were always on the same page: Go Yanks!!!

It disturbs me a bit when I hear fellow Mets fans say that they were happy when the Yankees imploded in the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Sox. Having watched every pitch of the 2003 series in my Bay Ridge apartment and nearly every pitch of the 2004 rematch, I’ll admit that I had a little too much invested in the Sox losing, but I must say that liking the Mets in no way should require one to root against the Yankees arch nemesis on Yawkey Way.

So where does this impervious and peculiar bedfellowship with the Yankees come from, particularly when in recent years the crop of Yankees players with their arrogance and cowardice (Giambi, Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, Tom Gordon, Carl Pavano) have driven me nuts with a mixture of anger and glee? It comes not from a hatred of Red Sox players or fans, for to take sports that seriously is a little bit frightening. Rather, my dislike of the Boston Red Sox comes from an attitude imbued by Fenway fanatics that theirs is somehow a benevolent team cast unfairly against a heartless, soulless divisional foe that is resembles more of a comic book crime syndicate than a professional sports franchise.

The attitude that New England’s favorite sports team was worthy of a World Championship in a sport that embodies the spirit of capitalism and competition as well as baseball without earning it really bothered me. That spirit was conversely what caused the the Sox to win the Series to fairly and squarely beat the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. Still, doesn’t mean I should ever have rooted for them. And so I didn’t. I never will. Ever. Did I say that already.

I think that a lot of the bitterness that exists from Red Sox towards the Yankees fans has less to do with baseball than it has to do with an alienation over the fact that New York City is a far bigger and influential town than the city of 500,000 on the banks of the Charles River. I’ll never forget being told over and over again by New Englanders at Emerson that New York City sucked, that New Yorkers were rude and arrogant and entitled, just like I’ll never forget during the 2000 World Series against the Yankees walking on Massachusetts Avenue wearing my Mets cap and being approached by guy with a Sox shirt who stopped me to say, “Fuck New York”, before walking away into the bittahness of his life.


I just started watching the  HBO series Big Love recently, so clearly I’m behind the the curve on reviewing it in any capacity, but I must say, this show is great. I really enjoy it so far.

The characters are so well-defined and each episode reveals a little bit more about them and their pasts.

I can’t so far say enough for this show. It’s fantastic and I look forward to Netflixing as much as I can of it!

Today I’ve had two eggs, an English muffin, and two small veggie sausages. There was a piece of pizza and small salad for lunch, along with a pretzel rod and a bite-sized Snickers. It’s very hot and humid here in Albany, but I look forward to the cooler weather to come!

Had a slice and-a-half of pizza, a small piece of ice cream cake (it was a coworker’s birthday). I also had bagel this morning, a can of lentil soup, a banana and a cup of yogurt. Probably too much, but I was able to forestall the superficial urge to eat by having water and distracting myself with other things.

I weighed myself before a good four-mile run. I am 211 pounds. I understand why it is so hard to lose weight now. I eat when I’m bored, anxious or perhaps said. The last two days I’ve been asking myself the question, “what am I feeling” when I begin to feel hungry and I am finding more and more an emotion ease that coincides with and perhaps causes a feeling of hunger in me.

Rather than submitting, there may be other things to do. Who knows. I’ve been pretty steady at 211 for the last three months, occasionally dipping up or down but rarely far below that. I’d like to be at 209 by the end of the week and you’d better believe that I’ll weigh myself this upcoming Sunday.

Anyone who deluded his or herself into the magical belief that by merely shutting their eyes or for that matter shutting off the television, they could somehow prevent baseball’s biggest pariah Barry Bonds from tying Henry Aaron’s all-time homerun record most open them up today and face the ultimate reality: he did it. At 756 homeruns Barry Bonds will become baseball’s all-time leader. The record that stood for more than 30 years, that held by one of the game’s most exciting players will be kapoot, gone forever. Goodbye. Barry may break it today against the SanDiego Padres. He may do it back in San Francisco soon. He may do it on the first day of September. Regardless of when he does it, he’ll certainly do it, and there’s no point in turning your back on the game or turning your satellite dish off to prevent it from happening.

As Hank Aaron has said, baseball is a sport of records that are meant to be broken. If for no other reason, baseball, the game of statistics ranging from concrete to slightly inane will always be one in which feats and hallmarks can be shattered. No matter how unbreakable a player or franchise’s individual record may be, there is always something looming in the future, a sniper of sorts to tear it down. And therein lies the solution to the collective depression of Barry Bonds, the bionically-modified slugger seems to have brought about in most ballplayers who live outside of the Bay Area.

The solution: A clever nickname coined to describe the man who may be baseball’s greatest living hitter: A-Rod.

Whether you like Alex Rodriguez or not  is of no importance. So long as you consider yourself a baseball purist–and let’s face it, steroids or not, baseball is about as pure as Jason Giambi’s syringe–the looming sniper of of someone breaking Barry Bonds’ homerun record is quite a sweet relief.

Sure, he may come across as the second most conceited player in the game (Barry is perhaps number one) but Alex Rodriguez has the best chance of anyone who has not been genetically enhanced of breaking Barry Bonds’ record. The excitement that surrounded Mark McGwire’s quest for 70 homeruns was replaced three years later with that of Bonds’ 76. How much sweeter will it be when the memory of the steroid era is diminished when Alex Rodriguez crushes something more than 400 feet into the screaming gallery of fans and attains–albeit for a finite time–baseball’s greatest acheivement.

Barring tragedy, A-Rod can do it. How sweet it was that on the same early August day that Barry Bonds tied Hammerin’ Hank, Alex Rodriguez reached the milestone that separates a career power hitter from a Hall of Fame member, crushing his 500th homerun.

I’m not a terribly big Alex Rodriguez fan myself. I root for the team that plays one borough beneath him, just over the Whitestone Bridge. I was dissapointed when he collapsed in the 2004 ALCS (although most people could never hit the way he did in the first three games) and I was even more angry when in Game 6, he smacked the ball from Bronson Arroyo’s hand. Regardless, he’s a great player and pretty exciting to watch. The fact that the Mets have had his number in key games endears me more to him.

Let’s face it, baseball will never be perfect. But if we are to hold it up as our nation’s pastime, then we should embrace the fact that like our country, Baseball must always have room to improve itself and that it is the duty of the game to look for better ways to become a more perfect sport.

Just because we have endured more than six years of some of the worst governance in American history doesn’t mean we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, for we can strive to do better the next time around by better vigilance and demanding more. To be a fan of Major League Baseball requires the same diligence and fortitude.

Last week, major league baseball inducted two great hitters from my childhood: Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripkin Jr. Both players were embodied the ethic that most baseball purists are perhaps missing when they see Barry Bonds on television.

Surely out there, somewhere between Brooklyn, NY and La Jolla, CA or wedged from Fargo, ND to San Antonio, TX there are kids who are working dilligently to develop themselves in the same mold of these two great players.

I believe that is the case. And don’t forget, baseball extends beyond the borders of the US to sleepy backwaters in the Dominican Republic to Venezuela and far beyond to East Asia.

Watching the tremendously talented Ichiro Suzuki, who made his Major League debut while Gwynn and Ripkin were calling it curtains must inspire something that gives baseball the redeeming qualities that must make us hold on for another season, another generation.