The Marlon Byrd, The Witch, and The Wardrobe?

Sometimes I think that names are spelled peculiarly for a reason. For example, Marlon Byrd spells his last name with a “y.” Why? Would it not make sense to be Marlon Bird? It’s a clue, you see, into his real identity. Don’t you find it disturbingly odd that the spelling of “Byrd” and the word “satyr” both have strange uses of that same letter “y?” It’s almost incomprehensible to me that this phenomenon isn’t on the lips of people nationwide. Do I have to spell it out for you?

Marlon Byrd is a satyr.

Look at him when he’s in the batter’s box. Just try and convince me this guy isn’t living in a cave in Narnia. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in love with the addition of Byrd to the Cubs roster. I just wish we’d gotten more half-men/half-beasts sooner. I hear Mister Tumnus has a pretty wicked screwball.

The best Mr. Tumnus picture I could find.

Marlon Byrd — A true man-beast.

New Tiger Woods Nike Commercial — Just Hate It?

Tiger Woods has a new commercial out. It’s a Nike ad.

That’s the voice of Tiger’s late father, Earl Woods. Nike hasn’t released information regarding the context of those words spoken by Woods’ father, but I’d speculate that it’s commentary on the state of Tiger’s progression as a golfer. Likely as a very, very young golfer.

It’s going to raise eyebrows, and it’s going to be objected to, but this is a pretty brilliant stroke of advertising gold, if you ask me. I don’t think I approve of it, or even like it, myself, but people like me, SportsCenter, news shows, and talk shows around the world are likely going to be talking about it, posting it, and generally discussing it. This commercial will get more free airtime than storm clouds.

And if Nike feels the need to defend the ad, it wouldn’t be difficult. They were one of the few sponsors who didn’t drop Tiger after revelations of his infidelities began to pour into the media. They could argue that they stood behind Tiger like a disappointed father. They could argue that they found Tiger’s behavior irresponsible and amoral, but not unforgivable. Would Earl Woods drop Tiger as his son? Certainly not. But he might require that Tiger sit down and explain his actions.

Now it’s doubtful that Tiger had any sort of heart-to-heart conversation with any of the top brass from Nike, but that’s how they can defend this ad. Or they can say it’s just about returning to golf after a difficult layoff.

The thing is, it’s not a public apology. It doesn’t acknowledge anything specific. It is sort of eerie — the visual of an aged, sad-looking Tiger filmed in sort of grainy black-and-white accompanied with the disembodied voice of his dead father — but it’s well done.

I guess the shame is that people will look at Tiger as cashing in on his infidelities. And maybe people are right for thinking this. But at the same time, this is part of his job. If I work as a mail-carrier and it’s discovered that I’ve cheated on my wife, I’m still going to go to work. People on my route aren’t going to decline acceptance of their mail because I’ve committed adultery. But then again, I’m not going to receive a bonus check for it either. Of course, Tiger’s paid his price in the form of all the lost sponsors. But I understand: it’s tough to feel sorry for someone who’s a billionaire.

The fact is that people will embrace Tiger again, and whether you approve of this commercial or not, there had to be a first step. It’s okay to not like it, just don’t be surprised with it. But I understand the disgust many feel. Nike is cashing in on others’ pain; specifically Elin’s and the dozen-plus women Tiger “befriended” in various cities.

But really, it’s a job, and Tiger is just back to work.

I will say this, though, I’d hate to be Elin Woods as she’s just trying to relax around the house some afternoon, hoping to watch her stories with a box of a Fiddle-Faddle, when she suddenly has Tiger staring her down from the 200-inch plasma screen on the wall.

Should she put a nine-iron through the screen?
Just do it, Elin.

Encouragement for Marathoners

I just got an email from my cousin Jess. Her husband Chris ran in a Seattle Marathon recently and she sent a pic of him with some of the family after the race. It’s always sort of inspiring to me to hear of people accomplishing physical feats such as a marathon or a triathlon. I’m impressed with these individuals because they’re doing something that I’m pretty sure that I’ll never achieve. Feats of strength and endurance simply aren’t for me. I tend to gravitate more toward feats of discontinuance. Like that week where I left every beer I opened with about three or four mouthfuls still at the bottom. It was a difficult task to attempt. And needless to say, I couldn’t stay with it. Once I got into the second week, I had to start finishing those beers.

Anyway, after reading my cousin’s email, I felt like I wanted to be involved in Chris’s next marathon experience. So I volunteered myself to be his personal motivator. I thought that it might be helpful to have someone there to offer up encouragement. So my idea is to rent a moped for the day, and follow him along on the marathon route.

I’m keeping a list of things to yell out that will be sure to push Chris as he toils in the race. Here are some examples of what I’m coming up with:

“Run faster you lazy-gaited sissy-strider!”

“You call that running? I’ve seen 75-year-old refrigerators run better than that!”

“My moped is running outta gas. Let’s stop at that Marathon gas station over there. Here’s 20 bucks. Run in and get me 10 bucks of gas and a Red Bull. And I want my change!”

“From back here you sorta look like Melanie Griffith.”

“Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Right. Right. Get up, slacker!”

“So then in my third senior year of college I was sorta dating this chick named Sparkles. Her eyes really did sparkle, too! But that was more on account of the bad case of Fungal Keratitis that she acquired somehow. But as a result of her poor eye sight, her other senses were heightened dramatically. Especially her sense of entitlement. Eventually, we had to go our separate ways, but I’ll never forget her scent. She emanated an odor not unlike a rose bush covered with stink bugs, lit on fire, thrown into a bathtub full of hair, and extinguished with a spray of the juice drained from fifty cans of tuna. I miss Sparkles.”

“Pick up the pace, there Prancer. Rudolph is waitin’ for you!”

“Ever hear the song by Bruce Springsteen called ‘Born to Run?’ Yeah. I didn’t think so.”

“Gettin’ tired yet? C’mon, I know you are. Look, there’s an Applebee’s. Let’s get some margaritas.”

“Your shoelace is untied! Just kidding. No, really, it is. Ha. Just kidding.”

“Remember that lady in the Olympics that ran with no shoes on? Remember when she knocked down Mary Decker Slaney and Mary Decker Slaney fell to the infield and started crying? Remember that? The lady without the shoes was named Zola Budd. Remember that? Zola Budd. What a great name. Maybe you should change your name to Zola Budd. You’ll have to take off your shoes though. Remember that Olympics though? It was ’84. You know what else happened in ’84? Yep. That’s right! The Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers played the longest game in MLB history! The 25-inning affair was played over a two day period and lasted 8 hours and 6 minutes. That’s almost as long as it took you to get through the first three miles of this race! How ’bout less slacking and crying and more running, Mary Decker! I’m starving!”

“You run like Nathan Lane with both legs asleep.”

“Push it! C’mon! You can do it! You’re doing great! That’s it. You look great from back here! You should be proud. Keep up with those long strides. Fantastic! That’s it, keep it — Chris, will you shut it back there! I’m helping this young lady with her form — that’s it! Long strides. Let your body rise and fall heavily with each step! Great! That’s just great! Oh yeah!”

“Dude! I’m so bored back here! Lemme use that walkman for awhile, will you? I’ve got a Lionel Ritchie cassette I’d like to listen to.”

“Oh, sweet! There’s a UPS store over there. Let’s run in and pick up some bubble wrap.”

“Aw, look! You just got lapped by Cate!” (Chris’s three-and-three-quarter year old daughter.)

Doesn’t it sorta bring a tear to your eye to think about one man doing so much to help and encourage a fellow man as he participates in a grueling event that tests the body, along with the mind and spirit. But please, don’t embarrass me with praise for my efforts. Just pay it forward. Use these gems of encouragement to help along someone that you love.

Pay it forward.
And let us remember what a wise man once said:

“Sorry about the mess”
-Han Solo

Holy Cow!

Today is Harry Caray’s birthday. He would be 93 today were he still alive.

180px-caray_the_gibberian.jpg

Those sentences spelled backwards would be:
Evila llits eh erew yadot 39 eb dluow eh. Yadhtrib s’yarac yrrah si yadot.

Papa Bear George Halas would be 112 years old today

So as we enter Super Bowl weekend, I just wanted everyone to know that today, along with being Groundhog Day, is also George Halas’s birthday.

There’s sort of a festive attitude around the office today. Everyone’s really excited about the big game. I know I can’t wait. I’m starting to feel like a kid at Christmas. I can’t wait for gameday to arrive. But check out the cake that was here in the office this morning. How funny is this?

That Bear mauled the poor little horsey. Sucker.

Around the office here this morning, people are wearing Bear jerseys and t-shirts, scarves, or just Bear colors. Me? I’m wearing a black turtleneck sweater. But that’s because today is my birthday also. Well, I’m not sure how wearing a black sweater and my birthday are related, but whatever. It’s my birthday, I can write what I want.

A Prayer for the Chicago Bears

I’m the farthest thing from a religious man, but when it comes to matters of Chicago Bear football, I’m up for anything. So I’m posting this prayer that was forwarded to me by my sister. Unfortunately, I have no idea who actually wrote it. I just know that it’s funny. But more importantly, let’s hope it does the trick.

This very well could’ve been written sometime in 2004 when Craig Krenzel was a starter for the Bears before getting hurt. Hence the reference to him at the end of the prayer. But it stands true to this day, for we shall always fear the wrath of the QB who can’t move the chains.

Anyway, please bow your head….

Cubs misery spells cheaper souvenirs.

I’ve decided not to attend any games at Wrigley Field this year. At least, not until I can recognize that some effort has been put into fielding a good team. And certainly not while Dusty Baker is still their manager.

Here’s the way I look at it. The Cubs are bad. They’re playing about as bad of baseball as I can remember watching them play. If this was a bad movie, I wouldn’t pay money to go to the theater to watch it. I might catch it when it comes on television.

I’m not any less of a Cub fan. In fact, I hope people recognize how this might make me more of one. I’m sacrificing one of the things I love because I refuse to put money into the pocket of the organization that is helping to contribute to my having a lousy summer. I still root for them everyday. I still wear my Cubs hat with pride. I’m just not going to feed the Tribune Company any more of my money.

Sell the team, Tribune. Sell it to Mark Cuban, actually. We’ll be winning in a year.

A poem for the Pittsburgh Steelers

In honor of the football coming to a close with yesterday’s Super Bowl, I thought I’d post this poem I stumbled across by the British poet, Harold Pinter. Pinter just won the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature.

American Football

Hallelujah!
It works.
We blew the shit out of them.

We blew the shit right back up their own ass
And out their fucking ears.

It works.
We blew the shit out of them.
They suffocated in their own shit!

Hallelujah.
Praise the Lord for all good things.

We blew them into fucking shit.
They are eating it.

Praise the Lord for all good things.

We blew their balls into shards of dust,
Into shards of fucking dust.

We did it.

Now I want you to come over here and kiss me on the mouth.

Is it White Sox apathy? Or can a Cub fan really be sort of happy for them?

I’m guessing this will be my last post about the White Sox for awhile. They won. The World Series is over. Sadly, so is the baseball season.

It’s sort of hard to believe that I live in this city and am as big a baseball fan as there is but yet I don’t really care that the Sox won. I was really wondering how I’d react to this. As a monumental Cub fan, I didn’t know if I’d be jealous, angry, happy, sad, or what.

I realize now that I’m just apathetic.

No, I guess that’s too strong a word. Because it’s not like I didn’t care at all. I wanted to see them win for the sake of my parents, who both root for them.

And don’t get me wrong, I was pulling for the Sox. But I was pulling for them the same way I was pulling for the Red Sox last year. I don’t have anything invested in them, but it would be nice to see them win it. Oddly though, I could have said the same about the Astros.

I’m sure there are a lot of Sox hating Cub fans out there that are pissed off and angry. I’m sure there a lot of Cub fans who would say that I’m not a true Cub fan because I don’t despise the Sox. My dad is a Sox fan. So I grew up with a sentimental attachment to them. My heart is always with the Cubs, and as I said before, you may love the Cubs as much as me, but there’s no one out there who loves them more. But it’s impossible to discount sentimental factors here.

Ironically though, I probably have more reason to be a Sox fan than most of the fans that have jumped on the bandwagon in the last two months.

I remember going to a game at old Comiskey over 20 years ago. I believe we were sitting in the bleachers with my cousins and uncles from my dad’s side of the family when my dad took a hit from a pigeon square on the shoulder. I mean this pigeon just unloaded, and I was sitting right there and received some residual splashes. I cried like a little bitch. I guess I should have known then that I could never grow to love the White Sox, because they remind me of pigeon shit. But my point is that I was raised to root for the White Sox. But the Cubs were the team that I connected with.

My dad would come home from work early some summer afternoons and I’d be sitting and watching the pregame show with Harry Carey and my dad would ask if I wanted to go to the game. We’d hop on the el and get there shortly into the first inning and basically have our choice of seat. This was before the Cubs fan base exploded in 1984. This was in the days of Dave Kingman, Rick Ruschel, Ken Holtzman, Bobby Murcer, Bill Caudill, Bruce Sutter, Bill Buckner, Ivan DeJesus. I even remember Bobby Bonds as a Cub for a short time in 1981 (but that’s mostly because one of my first baseball mitts was a Bobby Bonds model). The thing is, my dad was a Cub fan, too. He’s one of the few people I know who is so even keeled and non-judgemental when it comes to any sort of favoritism, that his personality allows him to have a connection to both teams. When it comes down to it and the Cubs and Sox face off, I think he finds himself pulling for the Sox pretty hard, though.

A lot of it comes from my grandfather, his father-in-law. He was the biggest Cub fan I knew and ultimately the reason I grew to be the fan I am. But he was also such an amazing person that my dad, a lifelong Sox fan, grew an affinity with the Cubs based solely on his love, respect, and admiration for my grandfather.

So, although I wish it were the Cubs that just won the Series, I’m not jealous. Actually, not even in the least. I’m no more jealous then when the Red Sox won last year. I’m no more jealous than when the Yankees won any of their championships. The White Sox might as well be a team from Milwaukee, as far as I’m concerned. I’m happy for them, and for my dad. And I guess I’m even happy for my Uncle Joe, who I think might truly hate the Cubs. But alas, we can’t all be perfect.

Granted, this all might be a different story had the Cubs been in the playoffs this year. And don’t get me started on what it would be like to actually lose should the Cubs and Sox ever face off in the World Series.

But for the next year, the Chicago White Sox are the world champions of Major League Baseball. And they deserved it. They looked pretty phenomenal.

Take a cue from that, Cubbies, it’s time to step up and play like professionals.

And in one final note, I’d like the record to show that I actually picked the Sox to win their division way back before the season started. The proof is here in the yearly Negative Waves baseball preview. (Note that with the exception of the Astros, I also picked every other playoff team as well.) I wonder if anyone can find a single prognosticator that picked the White Sox to finish higher than third place, let alone win the division and beat the Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs.