Classic Dishes...

Girls Who Play Hockey Rock

So you know, in the wake of dropping my keys down the elevator shaft, I never got around to making that post about the fine evening leading up to the incident.

A buddy of mine’s wife plays ice hockey on a team associated with the Seattle Women’s Hockey Club, and that night they were holding their Exhibition Games and Beer Garden Fundraiser. About a week before, they were contemplating how they could scare up an announcer for the event. Hello, over here. Eventually they got the bright idea to call me, I considered it for exactly 2.4 seconds, and accepted the gig.

Reason #62854 why hockey is the greatest game in the world: the public address announcer is actually mentioned in the NHL rulebook. He is required by rule. Of course, this rule is frequently broken on ponds and in small rinks across the country, but it was good to see the SWHC adhering to code. ;)

So the club President, who I also happen to know via having met her at the annual Tri-Birthday Celebration thrown in May for myself and two friends of mine with birthdays within a week of my own, gets in touch with me a week in advance, and actually has scripts for me. This was a level of preparation I was not used to, and was thrilled to see, as I was able to spend the week rewriting the information in my own voice while still getting across the information they wanted to disburse. Usually, this is something I’m furiously doing on game night via scribbles in the margins of the notes they give me, instead of editing it in nice big text on my laptop, which enabled it to double as a TelePrompTer. (Yeah, I have no idea why they capitalize the second T, but it’s a brand name, and I’d hate to see it go the way of Jell-O.)

Said laptop also tripled as the music system, as I loaded my entire MP3 collection to it, ripped a bunch of other songs I had on CD that I thought would fit well, and downloaded a few more. (Shhh. Don’t tell the MPAA. Or RIAA. Or AARP. Or AADA. Generally keep it quiet from anyone with a lot of ‘A’s in their name.) So, a trip to Radio Shack to get a couple little adapters I needed on Saturday, and it’s off to the game.

As expected, last-minute preparations were at a fever-pitch as I was trying to set up, which always makes me a little antsy, but with some help I got everything hooked into the sound system at the rink and my sound checks done. And when I went on the mic the first time, I have to admit I had a little bit of stage fright, as I was playing to a full rink, and wasn’t expecting to.

But it didn’t take long for me to get into the swing of things, and I don’t want to sound like I’m tooting my own horn here (even though I suppose I am), but it’s a crying shame there isn’t a full-time industry for public-address announcing, because DAMN am I good at it. Much as Gretzky’s office was directly behind the net, mine is behind that mic in the scoring box. And it’s fun and satisfying to do something you do well.

But the greatest part was meeting everyone. What a GREAT bunch of women, they couldn’t have been nicer, and they truly appreciated having someone there to make their games feel like a major event. And the feeling was mutual…I truly appreciated that they WANTED me there, and it totally pumped me up to hear how much they enjoyed it. You just don’t get genuine props like that a whole lot.

I’ve been told I’m welcome back anytime, and I may well take them up on that next chance I get!

Jose, Can You See?

This morning, while I was getting dressed for work, I flip on the TV, and there’s The Today Show on NBC, and Matt Lauer is introducing Jose Canseco, live and in person at the NBC News studios at 49th Street and Rockefeller Plaza.

For the non-sports fans, Jose was a baseball player who enjoyed some success in the late 80’s and early 90’s, most notably in 1988 for becoming the first player in baseball history to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in the same season, before losing in the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games. (As a former Dodger fan, I had to get that shot in. :)) Unfortuntately, those ubiquitous “personal demons” caught up with him, and the twilight days of his career were spent in relative obscurity, if not notoriety.

And now he’s written a book, which I refuse to plug by name (if you really wanna know, search Amazon, I’m sure it’ll pop right up), a tell-all where he not only admits to having taken steroids during the majority of his playing career (and if you’ve seen him, you can file that one directly under “N” for No Shit), but he also outs several other players, including Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, and Bret Boone, as being regular steroid users themselves. And, of course, the media being what it is, this is causing some controversy, and Jose’s doing the talk show circuit to drum up some more sales.

No shock here. This is the same Canseco who ran a 900-number in his heyday where you could find out what he had for breakfast, who has sold off a great many of the momentos of his playing career, including MVP trophies, equipment, milestone baseballs, and stuff of that nature. Jose’s always been about the Benjamins.

Now, the great thing about writing a tell-all book is that you can pretty much make any accusations you want and the people being accused don’t get a floor to respond. So, of course, Lauer lays in with the questions. “How do you respond to their denials?” “Is it all about the money?” “Why are you selling your World Series ring?” (He was a member of the 2000 Yankees, I believe by trade. One at-bat in the Series itself. He struck out.)

(Oh, now, THIS is interesting. I was gonna link to the ring on Jose’s online store, but it’s no longer there, and at $40,000, I doubt it found a buyer. But you can get a game-worn autographed jersey from when he was with the White Sox (I don’t even remember him BEING with the White Sox) for the low low price of $745.95.)

Of course, Jose neatly dodges everything thrown at him, and, with some blather along the lines of “Something’s gonna happen in a month. I can’t talk about it, but you’re gonna wanna keep watching. ‘Cuz something’s gonna happen. That I can’t talk about. In a month. The something, that is.”, strongly hints that he’s gonna take a lie detector test to prove the veractiy of his claims…on Pay Per-View.

You see it coming, of course. In cooperation with our friends at Oreck Vaccuums, we proudly offer a “You Just Suck”…to Matt Lauer. For letting Jose get away with it.

If Matt really wanted to, he could have put the screws to Jose, but he didn’t. Every time Jose started dodging a question, Matt just took it, and moved along to the next question. Yeah, sometimes he pressed for an answer, but he never once called him out outright for not giving one. Big fat softballs, right across the plate. Might as well have been Larry King.

(And a second one should go to whoever booked Jose’s dumb ass on the show to start with. Because if you had done ANY research at all on the guy, you should have been able to tell that this was EXACTLY where the interview was gonna go.)

Slow Motion Moment

I’m about to go to sleep, but I had to write this one as the events were all fresh in my mind.

It was about ninety minutes ago that I got home from a particularly wonderful night out, helping some friends out with a hockey exhibition. Indeed, it was such a fine night that it will probably get its own entry sometime later today. But right now, I’m not here to talk about that.

I think we’ve all experienced a Slow Motion Moment at one time or another in our lives. The nutshell of a Slow Motion Moment is this: something dreadful is about to happen, and the Moment begins. For the duration of the Moment, life is now moving in Matrix-esque bullet-time, Indeed, the Slow Motion part of the Moment starts about a quarter- to a half-second before the actual incident that triggered the Moment takes place. This is so you can get a good solid look at the incident from start to finish, and even get that false sense that you could have done something to prevent it. Not that you could have…once a Moment is underway, there is no force of nature that will keep it from playing out to a conclusion. In fact, I believe that interrupting a Slow Motion Moment would rip a huge hole in the space-time continuum and swallow up the very Universe as we know it in a fantastic explosion of supernovaing stars and Cheesy Poofs.

So I arrived home, tired and content after a long night of good work and a double cheeseburger and fries from Denny’s, and I walk into the elevator lobby in the bottom floor of my building, punch the button, and watch the door open immediately, as it does so often when I get home at a late hour. And I’m not thinking twice about it, and I step into the elevator, sifting through my keyring to locate the one which will release the lock on my front door.

And the Moment begins.

Slowly, oh so slowly, the keys slip through my fingers. I have a lot of keys and fobs and such on my keyring, to the point that friends of mine have commented on it. I also have four fingers and an opposable thumb on my left hand, so you would THINK that one of the latter would be able to intertwine somehow with one of the former and keep the keys safely within my grip. But, this being a Slow Motion Moment, this was not to be.

Nope. The keys tumbled gently from my hands. And a detailed analysis of the trajectory of the keys as they left my hand, combined with the force of gravity, made my blood run cold. For I knew precisely where the keys were going to hit when they reached the ground, and it wasn’t good news at all.

You see, my faithful readers, there is a gap of about an inch and a half between the elevator door and the car itself. And it just so happened that I dropped my keys at the exact time necessary for them to fall neatly through that gap, coming to rest with an unceremonious clatter some eight feet further down at the bottom of the elevator shaft.

A friend of mine brought up a very good point about this: Nothing good has ever come from keys. The only things that can happen to you when you have keys are bad things: they break, or fail in some other kind of mechanical fashion. Or they get trapped behind one of the locks they are designed to open, such as we do when we lock them in the car. Or they get lost outright. Or, in this most bizarre of cases, they are quite simply out of reach at the exact time you need them most.

So at 2:00a on a Saturday night, I experienced the unique pleasure of waiting out in the cold for 40 minutes while the maintenance guy (who, while understandably displeased at being awoken, was surprisingly tolerant of my ultimate act of dipshittedness otherwise…I guess that good karma of saying “Good morning!” on my way out to the car every day to go to work was paying off) drove out to me, and recovered my keys in a three-minute operation – he ran the elevator up to the top, stopped it, forced the door open (there’s a hole you can shove I-think-it-was-a-screwdriver into that detaches the outer door so you can open it manually), and climbed down a conveniently-placed access ladder to arrive at key-level. It will probably cost me a fortune. And I will pay it gladly.

I’m a big fan of biometrics right now.

Fonzie’s Landed Safely

So let me get this straight: The same Donald Trump who shitcanned a contestant last week without the benefit of a second Boardroom session and allowed a player to forfeit an Exemption outright on a complete and total whim last season now refuses to fire a player at the behest of his ENTIRE TEAM who completely and utterly sandbagged their efforts because he was Exempt himself and could get away with it? All of a sudden, “rules are rules”? When the hell did THIS start?

Is that a single fin I see behind the landing ramp? The theme from “Jaws” I’m hearing? Evgeni Nabokov out for an afternoon swim? Why, it must be!