Saturday, July 30, 2005

Who's The Manny?

   Manny Ramirez wants out of Boston. This saddens me, because Manny is truly one of my favorite athletes. I feel he is being mismanaged, to an extent. I think we have no chance of getting equal value in any trade involving him. Trading him rips the guts out of a curse-smashing team that may, on any given day, be the best team in baseball.

   Also, it takes from our ranks the man(ny) who gave us this legend:

   While playing with Cleveland, Manny once offered a clubhouse attendant $50 to go get the Ramirezmobile washed. "There's some money in the glove compartment," said Manny, letting the flunky know that the car wash wouldn't be coming out of his $50. When the kid got to the car wash, he opened the glove compartment to grab the jar of change he expected to find there. Instead, there was about $50,000 in hundreds, and a loaded 9mm. pistol. He's the Dominican National Bank of Manny, and he handles the security as well, it seems.

   Manny pulls some strange stuff. He refuses to play right field, which he is better suited to. He refused to go into a game as a substitute the other night. He's a bit of a flake, and he does that stuff that old timers hate- occasionally not running out grounders, admiring his home run shots a little too deeply, baggy clothes, Sideshow Bob haircut, etc...He also asks to be traded to the hated rival team a lot.

   There are few other positions in baseball- or in any sport- as unique as being the left-fielder for the home team at Fenway Park. Very few men have done it. Ted Williams had the job locked down for a quarter century, and Yaz took it over after that. When he was done with it, Jim Ed Rice took over. Mike Greenwell had it after that, Troy O'Leary took a crack at it, and now it's Manny's spot. No one else- in 75 years or so of 30 team, free agency-driven baseball- has held the job.

   Some notes about the above list.....they're all a little crazy. Williams was a Renaissance Man, at any given time being the best hitter, fisherman or fighter pilot on the block...and the best combination of the three ever. He also hated the fans, refusing to tip his hat after his career-ending home run. Yaz was a bit of a character, but he's Polish, so that can be written off. Rice may have been the surliest man alive, and is among the few men who aren't in Cooperstown because reporters think he's an a*****. Greenwell, who used to slide into first headlong just to enrage my father and make him give me half-assed physics lessons, is eccentric enough to lobby for the 1992 MVP award in the summer of 2004. O'Leary was an anomaly in ways that had nothing to do with his Wesley Snipes skin tone on an Irish last name. Manny, as you might imagine, is also a tad unusual.

   It must be the Green Monster. Alone in that big outfield, with all that space to cover, and that Monstahhhh looming over you, blotting out the simply must get to a man after a while. Left fielders in Fenway end up being a little crazy...sort of like hockey goalies. And while he's the best swinger in the game, Manny doesn't seem to be what we will call well-equipped to deal with things that might make you crazy afer a while.

   Simply put, he's eccentric, and you can't "handle" Manny the way you'd handle a goverment mule/ham'n'egger like Kevin Millar. Offhand, I'd say that guys like Manny- and the slew of high school seniors in the NBA- are the two things that truly scream out for female coaches in male professional sports.

   Great hitters are like Divas. You can't lean on Mariah Carey- she'll fall apart. You have to work around the problems. You do it with Mariah because she's hot, and 15000 people will stuff a concert hall to see her do that 4 octave dog whistle show she does. You do it with Manny because he has the best natural swing in the game, and he's good for 40 HRs and 135 RBIs every year. While a David Ortiz may respond to typical American sports management, Manny "has his own thing going on," which I used to tell parents who I wanted to say "Your child needs to be briefly institutionalized" to when I was teaching

   A woman would know how  to handle Manny. Appease the ego, inflate the self-worth. I do it every day. "Honey, can you open this for me?" Manny will be asked to perform great things, heroic things. You need to make him feel larger than life. Even with all the Man-Love that goes on in professional sports, a guy just can't get that riled up to go out and do battle for Tito Francona. They need greater motivation. That's why they get paid so much.....but some things just can't be bought, at any price.

   Women provide that motivation. A wimpy trophy wife won't get it done, either. You need a Lady Macbeth-type, a Sharon Stone of the managerial sort. Ruthless, manipulative, shrewd, Machiavellian... a real girl you wouldn't bring home to Mother. You'd have to keep a Don Baylor around the dugout to make sure that Wells and Millar put the Black Jack away once the game starts, but a woman on the bench would offer ways into the minds of players that a lot of today's managers can't reach.

   The bottom line is getting the most out of every player, not how baggy his jersey sometimes fail to see the forest for the trees, as my mother told me once.

   There's nothing wrong with Manny that a mid-to-late 20s French mistress wouldn't solve. This is a man who needs nothing more than a pot roast, a hot bath, a scotch/rocks handed to him on the couch, and a sympathetic ear.....with a few fringe benefits thrown in, of course. Arriba!!!

   If Lil' Kim managed the Red Sox, Manny would be hitting .375, and would do 50 homers a year even with the inevitable hamstring pulls. For all his millions of dollars, Manny isn't the most sophisticated guy in the world....and beauty, like music, hath charms which doth soothe the savage beast.



Thursday, July 28, 2005

America's Sweetheart Can't Be Stopped

   For those of you wondering about the behind the scenes stuff here at High Above Courtside, I will share a little nugget of information with you that might prove interesting.

   We got the first TOS violation on our new computer. It took us 4.5 days. That's four point five, folks. When the HAC engines were being fired up yesterday, the system shut down and we had to log on to the Master Screen Name, change the password, and send an angry letter to TOS Reports.

   What exactly did those crazy kids at HAC do? While researching the Mohammed Hassan article , HAC (Bo Jackson speaks of himself in the third person.....HAC takes it to that next level, and is the first sports-related entity to speak about itself in third person plural) ended up in a wrestling chat room, where we- upon request- posted a link to HAC. We may or may not have implied that children should be forced to read HAC at gunpoint in developing countries. It was all in good fun, and no one said Boo.


"Are you threatening me?"

   But the next day, we got TOSd. I immediately wrote to the TOS people and demanded that this affront be removed at once from my permanent record. They declined, and I have another black mark against my name.

   I get TOSd all the time, usually for insulting people on message boards, but also for other more diverse reasons. You'd be shocked at how few TOS violations I get for the actual content of the articles....most of them are for protocol violations.

Off the top of my head, here's some stuff I've been TOSd over:

- Disparaging Cubans, who I actually enjoy. Even if I didn't like Cubans, I'd tolerate them simply for the plantain recipes.

- Offering to kill someone for pay on a Scottish message board. Incidentally, they weren't upset that I offered murder-for-hire....they were upset that I was using AOL to advertise what they termed an "untaxed overseas business transaction." I consider this to be my greatest TOS.

- Spamming my "Sexiest Athlete Poll" article link onto about 500 message boards. I wanted the most replies I could get,and I spent a weekend Dropping the Links like Tyson dropped Spinks. For my efforts, and the multiple TOS violations I got, the article generated a whopping 39 replies. Jersey Girl, who takes pictures of sand, gets 75-100 every article.

- WOWTOWN is a private group I'm in for what we'll call "female athletes." It is also the single best place to watch arguments online, or get into one yourself. I was TOSd there for suggesting that one of my fellow members may have been deprived of the necessary oxygen required in the birthing process. Turns out she had been, and she took offense...straight to TOS.

- In what I am sure was a misunderstanding, I got TOS'd during last year's All Star Game, which I attended after winning the All Star Blogger Contest. Ruben Stoddard was singing God Bless America, and I speculated that the entire cotton crop of Georgia had been requisitioned to construct his shirt. Bang, TOS....didn't go through till the following morning, or wouldn't AOL have been mad if the All Star Blogger vanished in the 7th Inning? 

  This was also noteworthy because I was the first sports blogger to ever get in trouble during the game I was covering. No other reporter had even filed yet, and I already had angry mail waiting for me from the people who had paid my way down there in the first place. They don't keep track of that stuff...but if they did, I'd be on someone's VIP list.

   I'm assuming the person who TOSd me saw a racial dig in the black guy/cotton/Georgia reference, and the connotations it may have implied. I'd have made the same joke about Van Morrison, David Wells, Rikki Lake or Kirstie Alley, though.

- I have done the rarely-seen TOS within a TOS, when I threatened the AOL Service Rep I was arguing my TOS violation with.

While I'm working from memory here, my threat was along the lines of "If I have to come down there, be warned that it will be the 100% opposite of your commercial where that mousy girl brings you her 'famous apple crumb cake'to thank AOL for their anti-virus software."

I evaded criminal prosecution by telling that guy's boss- who I immediately demanded to speak to- that it would be a poor career move if he TOSd "Ted Leonsis' neice."

A bold-faced lie....but it worked. An ends/Means situation, kids....and the Code of the West can mean whatever you need it to, in a pinch.

- Did I  mention message boards? While the actual things I've said escape me, I know I was TOSd for arguments centered around Raef LaFrenz(my personal boogeyman), Kobe/Shaq, Peyton Manning and the Colts (the Colt defense was referred to as "the Easy Whore of Mr. Touchdown, USA,"  which I hope cracked up the TOS guy), a perfectly nice kid named Tony Allen, George Bush, Ron Artest, Terry O'Reilly, the girl Kobe may or may not have raped, people who insult Teddy Bruschi, skateboarding on the street in Whitman, Massachusetts, betting on high school football game field goal attempts in front of the town preacher, Bobby Knight, hitting a kid at the YMCA with my Good Citizen award, smoking marijuana, Antoine Walker, Rick Pitino, and a few dozen more.

- There's one guy, who may be reading this now, who is mad at ME because he accidentally hit the "Notify Me When This Journal Updates" button when he was reading HAC, and he gets a letter from AOL whenever I do a new entry. He gets Jamie Mott, too. He can't be reasoned with in IM, either...and I am licensed to practice psychology.

   I get out of most of these by vigorous protest to the proper AOL channels. I'm not sure how many you can get before you go POOF, but I must be in the neighborhood. Someday, I may just vanish. It will be a sad day when that happens, but I'd rather lose an AOL account than alter the hard-hitting, smashmouth style that has made me America's Sweetheart.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Stealing Snoopy







   Boy, it sure sucked to be Matt Clement last night.

   We were at the 99, having some dinner. I was happy, because I had the seat facing the TV and the Red Sox game. I got there just in time to see a wild pitch run scorer, but then the bloomin' onion arrived and I needed to concentrate there for awhile.

   I swear that the next time I looked up, I saw a guy line a shot directly off Matt Clement's head. The ball ricocheted into the outfield. MC went down like a bad stock, and he didn't move for quite some time. He was eventually taken off the field in one of those halo neck braces.

   I felt badly for the kid who hit the ball. He was standing on first base, with a look that was somewhere between grief and guilt. Baseball isn't supposed to bust people up like that, and the fact that he had singled off(quite literally) one of the AL's better pitchers really didn't matter to him that much. His face was the 100% opposite of smiling. Had he begun to cry, I would have not been shocked at all.

   Everything in the bar stopped. Even the waitresses stopped working. This was some genuine televised ugliness,  or at least a blow to our pennant hopes to the more callous fans. "What happened? Who's hurt?" asked the less observant, but the keener eyes were tuned in to the mob at the mound, looking for any sign of movement, or, God forbid, CPR. Even baby Melissa, who doesn't speak, sensed the apprehension in the room and was somehow more alert.

   I really thought I saw my first live televised death, and I was so upset that I couldn't eat my turkey club sandwich. My husband, who was in Desert Storm, never stopped eating. It was something to see. Had I put my hand near his plate, I may have gotten a fork in it. I even caught him stealing my fries when they were putting poor Matt onto the stretcher for the Gurney Journey. 

   I was about to get really angry with him- NEVER touch someone else's fries, kids- but I admired the sheer cold-heartedness he displayed. While a man- a man we had cheered for- was straddling the line between life and death, he was calculating when I'd be the most engrossed, so that he could steal my fries and blame 3 year old Gabrielle.

   I love to eat- I try to do it every day. I can take a block of cheese and a bottle of wine and sit on the porch all damn day. I have hoarded chocolate. I know how to make ice cream with Southern Comfort in it. I have nineteen cookbooks, and all of them were deemed "necessary" when we last moved.

   Still, this was a true display of force. I fully plan on out-living him, and will kill him if need be to ensure my doing so. If there's a great beyond somewhere, I don't want to be looking down from it on my funeral and see him eating a steak and cheese sub as he sits 5 feet from my coffin.

   There are some things a woman shouldn't be asked to bear.


Bonus: I don't know if Matt is married, but he should pretend to forget stuff he's done recently that has upset Mrs. Clement.

"I can't recall doing that, dear."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Three Way Dance and a Guy From Detroit

   The WWE quietly slipped into the news this week with their decision to drop the character portrayed by someone with a name sort of like David Spinaldi. David didn't actually do anything wrong- he did exactly what the WWE asked of him, and did it so well that he had skyrocketed up in the ranks of the new grapplers. He just crossed someone with a lot more clout than him, and he's now the most buff guy in the unemployment line.

   The WWE fires a lot of people, and only the thin line between Sports and Sports Entertainment keeps me from discussing it in here. There are probably other wrestling blogs out there- Amanda's Wrestling Report is a good one- and you wouldn't have to look too far to find one who actually knows the real names of wrestlers as opposed to just making up something like David Spinaldi and knowing I'm close. One of those could probably satisfy your wrestling fix better than I, sadly.

   As I said, the WWE has a high turnover rate. A lot of these are for drugs(coughRoadDogcough), which patriarch Vince McMahon doesn't tolerate...unless they make you have really huge arms. Others are for acting like an idiot. Scott Hall lost his job for being uncontrollably drunk on a plane. Some are even funnier. The Godfather lost his job when parents started protesting his character- a 300 pound pot-smoking black pimp who came to the ring with a Ho Train (his term) of girls who would then incessantly dry hump him. "Roll a fatty for this pimp pimp daddy" was his battle cry. The Matt/Lita/Edge thing was even sillier.


 Matt Hardy was a mildly popular wrestler with a pretty wife- former women's champion Amy Dumas, aka Lita. Then Lita met Adam Copeland, who goes by the nomme de guerre of "Edge," and has the funniest chin of anyone on the planet not named Bill Cowher or Leno. Edge is much more popular than Matt Hardy. Once  the affair went public, the WWE had two defensive end-sized men on the same flights for the rest of the decade who want to kill each other.

   Something had to give. In a perfect world, Lita would be fired...but that would still leave the 2 angry men and the endless fights  in locker rooms and bus  stations. Lita is also one of the few women on the roster who can actually wrestle a bit, and gives them a Latino.  Edge helped break up a marriage of a co-worker, but he's popular....and it's better to be popular than good, kids. Matt Hardy was sent packing. We Hard(l)y Knew Ye, Matt.

   There's probably a lawsuit in there somewhere. Matt didn't really do anything wrong. It's just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. Matt probably has no other job skills, and he's a good bet to just shut up, wrestle in a few high school gym/town fair leagues for a few years, and come back when Lita and Edge are fired for whatever they do next. So, aside from the "Slut" chants aimed at Lita during live WWE events by Matt Hardy fans, the story is hibernating.

   David Spinaldi isn't hibernating. I was reading the USA TODAY at breakfast when I saw that David had been let go. The reason? His character offended Arabs. David had a unique gig, snatched right out of the headlines and colored with a unique angle. David was "Mohammed Hassan," an Arab-American wrestler. He grew up in Detroit (I'm breaking into what fans call "kayfabe," talking about wrestling like it's real....the best analogy I could draw would be like how you talk about Santa Claus when your toddlers are around), a "normal" American up until 9/11, when people started calling him names and chasing him through the streets like a giant rat.

   Try as he might- Hassan's entrance video is an All-American montage of Mount Rushmore, Iwo Jima, Washington DC, Patton- people kept looking at him as an Arab first, and an American second. He loves America, but America doesn't love him. That kind of thing fills a man with the rage that makes him strip down to bikini briefs, oil his body up, and beat another man with a steel chair. Happens all the time...

   He wasn't the first Asiatic superstar-  the legendary Iron Sheik debuted around the time of the Iranian Hostage Crisis and was loathed by generations of Americans. A legitimate Iranian, he dressed like Yassir Arafat and violently denounced our American ways. He was a hoot, and his role was so simple it could have been portrayed by anyone smart enough to remember "Iran #1, USA Bah" .....even a drunken Persian,which he essentially was.

   "Pali Al-Azzar, the Syrian Terrorist" from GLOW was another good one.  Pali was sent to GLOW to demonstrate the superiority of Muslim women over the decadent American shopping mall Barbie dolls. Pali was actually a Puerto Rican girl from NYC instead of an enraged Syrian, but that doesn't really matter in the great wrestling scheme of things.

    Both Pali and the Iron Sheik forced submissions from their prostrate rivals via the inescapable Camel Clutch(see below), which can only be properly applied by Muslims..."All that praying towards Mecca strengthens certain muscle groups," said Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, who may have just made it up.

(she converted)

   Hassan was the next in a line of great Muslim superstars. Then, the politcal people became involved. Seeing 15,000 fans hating on some poor Arab is intimidating, and those people might descend upon a 7-11 if Hassan wins...which he always does. Protests, boycotts....and Hassan was let go. They didn't care that Hassan was protesting how Arabs are treated in America- they cared that he was exploiting it.

   Not being fans of the WWE, these protesters had no way of knowing that even the Angry Arab American gig can only run so long, at which point Hassan would have to  make a "Face Turn" which would then make everybody love him. While some wrestlers (Triple H, The Undertaker) can only effectively play villains, most grapplers alternate between good and evil almost seasonally.Hassan had actually lined up his gimmick so that when he turned good, everyone would start loving Arabs, the Israelis would convert, and we'd have a peaceful new Mediterranean resort. But the tree-huggers and apologists have now taken that from us.

   The fun part? When a guy has to go in the WWE, they usually do something terrible to him. No disappointment here- at Hassan's last match, the Undertaker held him over his head and threw him through a hole in the stage floor.....a powerbomb with about a 15 foot drop. Hassan landed poorly, and the Undertaker- who has "crippled more men than polio, and retired more men than Social Security"- could make another notch on his Chump Belt.

   Hassan will pop up in a few months with a new gimmick, and he'll get on with his career. He played his role well, and made no waves when the papers came calling. Vince- who operates his business sort of along the lines of a mob family- rewards such discretion. Still, it saddens me to see World Peace so close to  our grasp, only to be taken away from us by yellow liberals.


This seems to be a popular topic, so I'll save you the bother of emailing me the following:


- I don't know where Sabu is from, but my people tell me Afghanistan or Pakistan.

- Kamala was from Uganda, which was, contrary to what my emailer told me, not in the Middle East. Uganda was African, although exiled leader Idi Amin did seek asylum in Yemen.


- Abdullah the Butcher(real name "Larry Shreeve, from Ontario") was "from" Sudan.


"Kids call me Abdullah, cause I'm the Butcher."

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Does Anybody Really Care?

If you have terrible vision and look at this pic without glasses, he looks like the Heat Miser

   I didn't have much of a say when my family left France to settle in America. I was two, and wouldn't have made much of a contribution to the argument anyhow. While my father always gave "relative proximity to Germany" as the reason we ended up here, my senses tell me there was more to it than that.

   It was very early in life- not more than 3-4 years after I became fluent in English- that people began to notice that I was a little too into sports. My nickname("Smurf" came later) was "Bounce," due to my constant dribbling of a basketball. I was the girl in town (there's always one) who wanted to play Pop Warner with the boys, and I was always partial to the Free Safety position. The basic decoration of my room was in sort of a Foot Locker motif- jerseys and sports posters everywhere.

   It wasn't hard to figure out what happened to me. I was my father's daughter. Short of the lack of posters and 6 hours of basketball a day on his part- which I'm sure was due to my mother's influence- we were two peas from the same pod. Both of us could speak English, but we sounded silly. Both of us would set up plans around Patriot games. He missed me winning an EMass championship in soccer because he had scored tickets to some Monday Night Football game somewhere, and I not only didn't resent it, I was the one asking him for details after my game. He promised to make it up to me by buying me a pony, but the SOB died before I could call that one in.

   Still, we were one in the same, which makes me wonder if our coming to America was not in some part motivated by my father's desire to put at least an Atlantic Ocean between himself and this Tour De France stuff. The funny part? Once my father gets here, an American starts winning the Tour De France, and it's all over the news here, too.

   Before I get into my rant, understand that I don't hate the French. I am French. It's not a gender thing, although I think girls look stupid on bicycles. I personally haven't pedaled a bicycle since the day boys with cars started asking me out. I also respect the athletes. On paper, I might be the perfect Tour de France fan- liberal/French/twenty something/ Massachusetts/ sports freak. That's why they play the games, folks...things rarely work out as they do "on paper."

   I just don't think it's that compelling a viewing event. That's 200 or so people riding bikes- many of whom don't realize that a really thin guy in Spandex looks just as stupid as a really fat girl in Spandex. It's like a p**sy Hell's Angels, with French overtones and a Sheryl Crow soundtrack, conducted roughly along the proposed route of the Schlieffen Plan. I'd watch Mexican soap operas first. I'd watch Mexican soap commercials first- at least you get to see sudsy nude people.

   Some people are all into the Tour de( "of " ) France. God bless 'em. Really. I watch some stupid stuff myself. I rarely miss Smackdown. I thought Buffy the Vampire Slayer had 2-3 good years left when the plug got pulled, had they killed off the kid sister (Sorry, Shea...but life was cheap at Sunnydale High). That said, I would rather drink 100% pure Ebola juice than sit in sweltering July France with a million people waiting for a bunch of geeks to pedal by. I skip the Boston Marathon every year for the same reason.

   First of all, in both the Tour and the Marathon, it is a distance race more than a speed race. This means that no matter where you watch from or when you tune in, you'll see some dude pacing himself. The race is conducted in stages and often won by several minutes, so you rarely see two guys neck and neck.

   Crashes occur, but they aren't the fun kind that you see in NASCAR that are caused by some malevolent redneck gearhead who honestly thinks he just "gave him a little bump" as he bashes some rookie off the wall on the third turn at 185 mph. How do you think Dale Sr. would have reacted if he was racing some Lycra-wearing skinny German named Hans? "Cleanup, turn two."

   I'd like to think that most Americans agree with me, and that this fact would be proof that I belong here. Sadly, I see a small flaw in my theory- the rock star popularity granted to one Lance Armstrong.

   Lance is 100% man, make no mistake. He's a Texican, damnit. He not only dominates his sport, he dominates it in their country. Europeans hate it when Americans win their sports, trust me. He gutted his way through surgery that would retire a longshoreman, and his performance never really fell off. I would pay $2500 cash under the table for his excised testicle. He has a rock star hotty waiting for him at the finish line. He has several of those incessant Nike/ Gatorade commercials, and would probably be recognized before Ray Lewis or David Ortiz in 9 out of 10 cases. Sheryl Crow would run in horror from Ray Lewis. Or maybe she'd take on him, Boulware, Kyle Boller and Neon Deion while brandishing a 9 foot horsewhip and a leather face can never tell with the rock stars.

     Still.....he rides a f*****g bicycle, for the love of God. Most Americans couldn't tell you the name of a second Tour de France competitor. I haven't seen the Tour TV ratings in America, but I bet it's a case where they lose out to Candlepin Bowling and skateboarding in many major markets. Very few kids here grow up dreaming about ducking their head into the wind as they ride a super modified Huffy down the leeward slope of the Alps, even if they do get to bang Sheryl Crow after the race.


She ain't peeling labels off bottles of Bud now that the Lance is in the hizzy....


   Seeing Armstrong and Tony Hawk (does this man not look like 25 years too old for his sport? Watching him skateboard is like watching Dick Cheney get high) all over the TV while Manny Ramirez can't even get a  local donut joint commercial makes me think that there are still a few huge flaws in our system. Is this the best that Madison Avenue can do in regards to producing a Great White Hope? One rarely sees brothers on the Tour, and maybe once Grant Fuhr won the Vezina Trophy, a crack team of advertisers sat down and figured out that ol' Lance was exactly what America needed.

   Armstrong and Hawk also star in sports that are very eco-friendly. When Tony Hawk pulls over, no one runs out and puts 50 pounds of rubber tree tires and $500 worth of gas into his skateboard. Both sports cater to kids with no money and lots of street to play on. "Given the concrete/ashphalt nature of American cities, I'm surprised more blacks don't skateboard," said former Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, before tossing up the honorary jump ball at this summer's Rucker Tournament..

   The amazing media coverage given to a guy like Armstrong- who essentially pedals a bicycle around for 50 miles- makes me think that the war in Iraq might be going worse than they're telling us. With gas prices Bushwhacking the economy, someone who can ride a bike 35 miles a pop may be the next MLK.


Lance ArmstrongWhile Lance won this race, millions slept in Alabama.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Southern Comfort Ice Cream

I know it's a sports journal...I like shhhh



50 ml full cream milk

50 gm caster sugar*

2 large egg yolks

2 double shots of Southern Comfort (or other alcohol)

150 ml full cream


1. Put the milk in a pan and bring it to a gentle rolling simmer. Don't let it boil.

2. Cream the yolks and the caster sugar* together.

3. Pour the yolk & sugar mixture into the milk, stirring as you do.     Again, don't let it boil or the egg will separate.

4. Stir until a medium thick custard that coats the back of your spoon in a film is formed.

5. Add half the Southern Comfort. Let the custard thicken again.

6. Let the custard cool.

7. Stir in the cream and the rest of the Southern Comfort.

8. Pour into the ice cream maker. Mix for 30 to 40minutes until you have ice cream. 


*Caster sugar is a fine sugar, sized halfway between normal granulated white sugar and icing sugar.

Jam sugar can be used as a good substitute. If you only have normal sugar then whiz it around in your food processor or mortar and pestle for a while until it's broken down a bit.

To make a stiffer ice cream, freeze before serving.

You can exchange the Southern Comfort for the alcohol of your choice, and add other extras. A favorite of mine is Ginger Wine & Stem Ginger Chunks ice cream. Vodka & Mango ice cream is also good


While some people say that excessive alcohol will disturb the consistency of the ice cream, add away and eat it as a pudding if all goes wrong.





Not really ice cream, but try these:




  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1-2/3 cups fine Graham wafer crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Creamy Center:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sifted icing sugar*
  • 1 egg

Chocolate Topping:

  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp. butter

Grease a 9-inch square cake pan. In a sauce pan combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, egg, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly, until smooth and slightly thickened. Stir in the remaining crust ingredients and press into prepared pan. Make the creamy center: cream the butter and gradually beat in icing sugar and egg. Spread over crumb mixture and chill for about 15 minutes.

Make the chocolate topping: melt the chocolate and butter together over hot water or in a microwave, being careful not to burn. Spread on top of the previous part. Chill until set. Cut into squares with a sharp knife.

*Icing sugar is the name Canadian's use for confectioner's sugar.

Nanaimo-Bars II

This recipe comes from a page in an obscure, no longer published magazine called Canadian Homemaker.

Ingredients for 2 dozen bars:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 2 cups Graham wafer crumbs
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 4 squares. semisweet chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar

Mix the 1/2 cup butter, white sugar, egg and cocoa. Set over boiling water and stir until mixture resembles a custard.

Combine crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Combine with the butter/sugar mixture, blending well. Spread and press tightly into a 9x9 inch pan.

Cream the 1/4 cup butter, milk, pudding mix and confectioner's sugar. Spread over mixture in pan. Melt the chocolate over hot water; add butter and blend well. Spread over the icing. Let set. Chill and keep refrigerated.

Try substituting cream cheese in place of butter for the creamy center for a different (just as decadent) bar.






Hooper Drives The Boat, Chief


Paul Cataldo


   Tom Coughlin and I go back to our old BC days, and he stops by occasionally for a glass of wine. When Tom says he'll be over at 7, you'd better be standing at the door at 6;55.... but he's a jolly enough drinking companion, and he has great insight into professional football.

   Coach Coughlin and I were sharing a bottle of burgundy the other day, talking about discipline. The conversation soon came to the poor SOBs in that Martha's Vineyard fishing tournament that caught a true leviathan of a tiger shark- 1100 pounds- only to miss the contest deadline by 6 minutes.

   For those of you who didn't grow up on a harbor or don't have The Discovery Channel, an 1100 tiger shark is a nasty thing to have in your local waters. If you were swimming around and this nightmare rolled up on you, you'd pretty much want to make your peace with whatever God/Gods you follow. The story I heard only listed the weight, but my people assure me that this porker goes about eleven or twelve feet, depending on the sex.


   That's a Pontiac with teeth.... BIG teeth, maybe 3 inches long, serrated, with a curve unique to Tiger Sharks, and in many terrifying rows. You, your husband, and your oldest child could fit your heads into its' mouth at the same time. They eat by latching onto prey and tearing off great hunks of flesh with violent shaking motions. While more of a tropical fish, it isn't that unusual for them to be in New England waters. If you are less into science than I, let's just say that this is a shark that could indeed f**k you up.... probably quite badly.

   Not the kind of thing you want to see coming at you while you're floating on a rubber raft, trying to forget about that rotten job back there in the city.....but it is PRECISELY the thing you want to see when you're trying to win $5000 or so in a local shark fishing derby.

   It just took them a little while to boat the beast. They got back to Oak Bluffs a mere six minutes too late to claim the contest prize, which went to some dude who boated a "smaller" 9 foot Mako. Everyone was impressed with the catch, but deadlines are deadlines.

   Fishing isn't an easy life, and while six minutes may not seem like a lot to you or me, it's life or death to a fisherman. Fall off the boat in December, and you'll be dead in six minutes. If the crew of the Castafarian were man (tough term to use- many fishing boats have women on the crews) enough to boat a tiger shark, they probably didn't complain that much. Ex-shark to the next shark....


Paul Cataldo

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Welcome to Cape Cod

   I'm pretty much settled in here on the Cape, and all is well. I even got a new computer- my last one was a 1997 with less Mhz than my cordless phone. Now I have the flat screen, and enough RAM to play GTA: San Andreas.

   Moving is never easy, but one must handle all the settling in business before any wistful remembrances can occur. I have found a tolerable supermarket, a quaint farm stand with everything, a nice veterenarian(?), a good bookstore, a cranberry bog I can walk Sloppy Dog on, a mall, and- most importantly- a proper place to have breakfast.

   I don't like doing free advertising, and I like my cafes empty. I'm particular about where I have breakfast. In fact, you could say I'm spoiled. My grandfather used to take us to a place in- I think- the Prudential Tower, which is where I developed the fear of heights that I swear has kept me at 5'1".

   Growing up in Duxbury, I was able to go to Arthur and Pat's every weekend. A+P's was a family place, and the namesakes were elderly even when I was a kid. They would scream at each other all day, throw stuff, and it was not unusual to see someone threatened with a cleaver- even a teenage waitress. It was sort of like Orange County Choppers, except with pancakes.

   As opposed to most places, they would often tell you what you were having for breakfast, and it didn't make sense to argue with them. They would think nothing of striking Stephen if he made a complicated order, and he stands about 6'6". They seemed to like me, which may or may not have been a good thing.  I, too, think nothing of striking Stephen. But the food rocked, and people came in droves.

   Monponsett was just getting Pogos, which was a hard-to-find Portuguese breakfast place, when we moved the High Above Courtside offices to Cape Cod. I'll examine that when I visit old friends. But I've found a tolerable place to have breakfast that isn't worried if I bring in two babies.

   The staffing is important. My new place is "operated" by 3 teenage waitresses and a harried cook, but it is "run" by a mean old woman who is generally in the kitchen overseeing the operation. It's off the main road, in an area that was a business district back when "business" was fishing and whaling. It's usually quiet enough that I can commandeer a whole corner of the place for my brood, and they have an invaluable play area. It may also be a first step in making me feel at home.

   So, as I settle in, we'll power up High Above Courtside. This page was not dead- it was merely hibernating. Now, much like a freshly awakened bear, we'll kill and eat our food to satisfy our months-long hunger. We'll run wild through the forest, marking our territory and eliminating all rivals. We'll rut with 900 pound carnivore-like intensity, and then stick our face in the stream of the Blogosphere and come out with the Salmon of Primacy. Ain't no "get in where you fit in," kid- I'm straight to the top.


As for stuff from the world of sports:


- Larry Brown changed jobs again. Living the adage that no moss gathers on a rolling stone, the LB has ended his association with the good people of Detroit.  Mrs. Brown must be either really pissed or she must have the exact same sort of Travelling Jones, and a generous redecoration/relocation budget.

   While the Pistons have contacted me about the head coaching position, look for them to go with someone who would actually move to Michigan.  I don't care how Great the Lake is....I need ocean.  I'd be the new November Witch.

   If someone at TNT has a sense of humor and a little foresight, they would do well to occasionally gauge Mr. Brown's senility level as he ages. By 2015 or so, when Brown has coached in like 8-10 more cities, he'd make a superb commentary guy. There's probably an accidental reality show waiting to happen as a senile Brown stumbles around, not really sure what city he's in. Allen Iverson- who has a great deal of battle-tested affection for Mr. Brown- on the broadcast team would add a touch of soul that would probably draw in the viewers like whores to a wharf.

   A tribe in the Peruvian rainforest actually plan their harvests on Brown's jilting of employers. While it takesissues of SLAM magazine a few months to get down there, many aboriginals are well-informed about NBA matters. They consider a Brown job switch to be an omen pointing to a dry summer.

   People were shocked when Larry bolted a young title-level team in Motown, but not this page. He made one of those calling-out-the-wrong-name-in-bed kind of Freudian slips in March, when he said he always wanted the Knicks job. Shrewd NYC realtors immediately began emailing him apartment listings, and the Pistons themselves may or may not have tuned out his lame-duck ass during the Finals.

   So, this move was no shock to anyone who knows the man. Only the lack of NBA teams in places like South Dakota, Rhode Island or Mississippi has prevented him from coaching there. It is not at all unreasonable to think that, should he live long enough, Larry will one day have lapped the entire NBA. I'm sure Joe Dumars saw this coming, and that he already had a short list comprised when Larry came into his office, looking guilty.

   In fact, "Leaving Town" Larry Brown talking about switching jobs is a lot like what they used to say about Andrew Jackson (the guy on the $20 bill, kids) to people who didn't think he was serious when he spoke of hanging secessionists.

    People like to think that the President won't arbitrarily kill people, and asked around when Andrew- speaking of states' rights advocate John C. Calhoun, who frequently brought up the spectre of secession- would say, "John Calhoun? I would hang him, Sir....Hang him as high as Haman." Some didn't take him seriously, but those who knew his past suggested listening closely.

   "When Andrew Jackson speaks of hanging a man, you may as well go get the rope."

-  ESPN was forced to recall March Madness ads featuring slinky actress and fervent Kentucky booster Ashley Judd playfully teasing rotund ESPN analyst Rick Majerus. At one point, Majerus threatens to slap Judd "across that fat azz....with a fat Rick."


-  I was disappointed to see that the Fenway Park foul pole may no longer be named after Johnny Pesky, who has served with the team since Jesus walked the earth. The pole may be called the Carlton Fisk pole. Personally, I think it should be named after current closer Keith Foulke, and many people on Cape Cod agree with me. Here's why:

A) The man won a World Series, and broke a curse that Ted Williams, Yaz, Clemens, and Nomar had failed to defeat.

New England has a poor history in regards to witchcraft, and we can't incur any negative karma at all.

B) "Foulke" sounds sort of what like pitchers would scream when a long foul ball suddenly curves into the pole for a home rrrrrrrrun.

C) "Foulke" sort of looks like "Foul," which will make tourists think that the relatively ancient city of Boston is using some charming Olde English designations around the ballpark. "Honey, I can't seem to find 'Ye Olde Bier Stande' anywhere."

D) I thought of it, and I have this article as proof. That should at least get me free beer somewhere.


- Has anyone ever seen Jason Williams and The Professor from the And One Tour in the same room? That guy is just daring White Chocolate to sue.  In the WWE, this is called Gimmick Infringement, and they hit you for real when you do it.

   Vince McMahon would have that kid in f***ing Saskatchewan.


- General (and President) Eisenhower was very much into golf. One day, he needed a fourth, and asked a young staffer. The staffer begged off, citing some date with his wife that he had to keep.

   Presidents aren't used to people saying "no" to them, and generals even less so. "Come on, son," said Ike, "are you a mouse or a  man?"  

"   I'm a man," said the kid. "My wife is afraid of a mouse."