Thursday, October 28, 2004


A brand new curse . . .

All right, I'll admit that I muffed this one. The Red Sox won the World Series, thus ending the infamous curse of the Bambino. Congrats to the team, and to all my long-suffering friends who are part of Red Sox nation.

Of course, today begins a new curse for the Sox.

No longer are they the lovable losers, the team that just can't get past the evil empire. Today - or at least at the beginning of next season - they are the Florida Marlins, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Atlanta Braves. They're just one of a bunch of teams who have won the World Series.

I have no earthly idea how you overcome a curse like this one. Next year, what will be special about this Red Sox team? Will we feel any different about their fans in April and May than we do about fans of the Reds or the Dodgers or Angels or Giants or any of those teams? Probably not.

Welcome to the big time, Red Sox nation.

California note: Hokey smokes! It rained out here in Cali. We got dumped on for a couple of days here, and the weather cooled down into the 60s. It kind of looks and feels like fall. Should be in the low 70s and sunny for Halloween, though, which is good because a crew of Chicagoans is out here right now.

Julie Granata got out here last week (she and boyfriend Eric Hunicutt are ditching the Windy City for good in January for the sunny climes of SoCal). Tara McNichols gets here on Friday to party with the Wielands on Halloween weekend.

Not sure where we're going. West Hollywood closes down Santa Monica Boulevard on Saturday and Sunday, so that'll be part of it. Probably we'll hit a couple of those Silverlake/Los Feliz (pronounced Los Feel-isss) bars. Might watch Marty and Elaine play at the Dresden (a la Swingers). We'll probably catch a little time in Malibu and Santa Monica, too.

I'll let you know . . .

Thursday, October 21, 2004


We hardly knew ye, Reggie Newton

Over at, you'll see the host of this site making apologies hitther and tither (or is it thither?) about saying that Red Sox fans are masochists and this would all end badly for the Cubs of the American League.

Now, the Sox did record a major win last night, and they did indeed make MLB postseason history. No disputing that. But they're not winning this Series.

Keep in mind, folks, curses are painful. That's why the Red Sox are going to get shellacked by whoever wins the National League. I know it's not the popular thing to say. I know that everybody wants those lovable guys from Boston (they're cute, just like Damon and Affleck!) to just get over that hump and succeed. They wanted the Cubs to do it, too.

And while we're at it, they all wanted Macbeth to find away to escape the soldiers in Dunsinane wood, too. They wanted Achilles to find a way to not get hit in the ankle.

A curse is a curse, folks. And it comes with pain. Sure, you want Charlie Brown to kick the ball, but like death and taxes, it's painful and inevitable that he won't.

The Red Sox have been to the Series a few times - and each time (since the curse was hatched), they've lost in a painful, demoralizing way. Bucky Fucking Dent, for Christ's sake. Bill Buckner, for Christ's sake.

I hate to break it to you all . . . but something wicked this way comes for these men, for Boston, and for all of New England.

You'll say: "The Sox got past the Yankees! They came back from three down! They're over the curse!" Right. The people who launched that curse a few generations back are sitting back at the sports bar in hell, and they're cackling like a gaggle of witches. The curse sets you up. The curse lets you think you might finally have a victory. And then the curse takes its pound of flesh.

Look for the day that St. Louis knocks the team from Boston down to size and records its 10th Series win. Or look for Clemens to come back to Fenway (which could happen in Game 7) and knock his former masters out, giving the Astros their first championship.

It's going to happen. The curse is just letting you get your hopes up. It did it to you last year, too - with the Cubs and the Sox. Curses work. No matter how much you want it, Sox fans, it's not over. You might try and comfort yourselves - getting over the Yankees was a major hump. But it'll feel pretty small if there's no Series to go with it.

Double, double, toil and trouble . . . Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Monday, October 11, 2004


I believed a man can fly

I know that I'm not going to be the only person out there blogging away about Christopher Reeve's remarkable life and premature death yesterday at the age of 52. But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention something.

I love the first two Superman movies. That's not such a shock, really. I'm a huge comics fan, and I was already reading and collecting them back when those movies came out. There are a lot of great moments in the first two, especially. They gave dignity and honor to the super-hero genre, and still had fun with it.

Gene Hackman's Luthor is hysterical, as is Jackie Cooper's bombastic Perry White. Terrance Stamp's General Zod (You will kneeeeeel before me Jor-El! And one day, your HEIRS!) is maybe one of the great movie villains of all time. Margot Kidder does what she has to do as Lois.

But Reeve's Superman is now and was then a revelation. We really did believe that he could fly. We thrilled with the guy when he called General Zod out for a mammoth battle over Times Square ("General? Would you like to step outside?").

And most of all, Reeve's Superman showed us what the character was supposed to be about. His Clark Kent was us - stumbling around, flustered around the people we love, funny and sweet, not particularly brave, but one of us nonetheless. His Superman was what we all imagine ourselves to be - if we were to take off the glasses and the goofy suit, and really show our true face and our true power to the world. We wouldn't be able to save everybody, but we could all make a difference.

(He also, incidentally, finally solved comics' greatest mystery: why Lois Lane doesn't figure out that Clark and Supes are the same guy. Reeve's Clark and Superman don't look alike. They don't sound alike. They're just two guys with dark hair - a description that also suits Alec Baldwin and Jerry Seinfeld, and I'm fairly certain they're not the same guy.)

We believed that his Superman was here for us, whether our lives were really in danger, or whether the cat was simply up in the tree. We all sleep better at night believing that Superman might be out there to help us out if the chips are down.

There's a cheesy exchange at the end of that first movie, but I still get goosebumps when I hear it. Superman flies off after having saved Lois and Jimmy out in the middle of the desert, presumably to go off and "save Clark Kent". Jimmy turns to Lois:

Jimmy: I think he really cares about you, Miss Lane.

Lois: Clark? Well, of course he does, Jimmy, he -

Jimmy: No, not Mr. Kent (points upward toward Superman)

Lois: Oh. (a beat) Well, Superman cares about everybody, Jimmy.

And he did. Reeve showed us a man of steel who was out there fighting for us and with us. We'll all miss Reeve, but that Superman - and what he stands for - is thankfully still out there.

Monday, October 04, 2004


The Mildcats go Mild!!

It took 33 years, but finally - FINALLY - Northwestern's mighty Wildcats score a win against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Who'd have thunk it.

Certainly not me. I went to Northwestern during those less than glorious years when a barely eked out win over Northern Illinois or whoever was at the bottom of Big Ten was cause for massive celebration. Not just let's have a beer because the Cats won kind of celebration. I'm talking "Loot the North Shore, lock up your daughters, pick up the goalposts and throw them in Lake Michigan" kind of celebration.

The kids who went to NU after me never understood. They got a football team that went to the Rose Bowl and the Citrus Bowl, which beat Michigan and Penn State, and took shares of three Big Ten championships.

But that team never beat Ohio State. No, sir. It took a totally gutty team - and a player wearing #33 and carrying the ball 33 times to get the final overtime score of 33-27, in order to end the 33-year curse. The Chicago Cubs should be so lucky.

But today, the Mildcats, despite embarrassing losses to Minnesota, TCU, and Arizona State, are outpacing the mighty Buckeyes. I grew up in Ohio, as a fan of the Bucks (which, given that our pro teams are the Bengals and Browns, isn't really so surprising). My dad went there, and I spent countless hours at Buckeye football games, hearing about the legends of Woody Hayes and Archie Griffin. So this is about as happily surprising as it comes.

Kudos to the Cats themselves, to coach Randy Walker (like me, a son of southwest Ohio), and to one less monkey on the back of the Chicago sports market.

Go Cats! Next week brings the Indiana Hoosiers (my mom's alma mater). Sorry, Mom. Here's hoping that NU can put together a two-game streak over the house of Wieland.

P.S. California's Golden Bears did, as predicted, slam the Beavers (of Oregon State) this weekend. Alas, poor Beaver.

P.P.S. There's probably not a shot in hell that they'll win, but I will be cheering for the Dodgers to upset the mighty Cardinals this week in the NL playoffs. Go, freeway series!

Friday, October 01, 2004


Sometimes it's hard to be a Beaver

Since relocating to the West Coast, I've been doing what I can to follow Pac 10 football. At the urging of old buddy Reggie Newton, I've been trying my hardest to keep up with his favorite team from the Pacific rim - the Oregon State Beavers.

Mostly, Reggie and I like their names. We dream of the bowl game matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks.

But this year, beating the Beavers has been particularly tragic. First, there was a nail-biter against LSU. They took the Tigers to the limit, and then . . .

The Beavers were beaten.

Then there was Fresno State - the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs slammed the Beavers as well.

This weekend, its the California Golden Bears. Cal's probably the only team in the Pac 10 that can really challenge USC for conference domination. Their passing game is considered one of the best in college ball this year. So you can look for the long ball to impale the Beavers again this week.

Alas, alas . . . poor Beavers.

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