Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Making a brave stand for the 'Fro

I swear falling off that bicycle and bashing my head killed my ability to write. I'm just not funny lately, and it shows when I blog. There is some medical precedent.

 I remember reading about a guy- I want to say Phineas Gage, but I'm too lazy to Google it- who somehow got an iron bar rammed through his head. Amazingly, he lived... and more amazinglyish, he was basically OK after they disbarred(?) him. It wasn't until later that people noticed his mood swings, irrational actions, and inappropriate responses to social cues.

 Although he was fine fisically (or phine physically), he got some mojo in his mental. The technical version is "frontal lobe injury," but "mojo in the mental" conveys the picture better. I forget how he ended up, but I suppose suicide would be a good guess... although I bet he didn't try shooting himself in the head.

Me? I act the same as I always have acted. All my bruises are gone, my headaches have vanished, and the doctor who did my neck surgery was amazed that I didn't screw that up. You'd think all was well... but the blogs just haven't been hitting on all cylinders.

I managed to drag hubby off to bed before the news for some fresh Staceness, and I've never been able to sleep more than 4 hours in a row since I had the girls- once you get used to waking up every few hours, it becomes habit rather quickly. I still wake up at 5 AM too, and I haven't been in a classroom since late 2004.

We all have our little habits, and mine just seem to leave me awake in the house when all else is quiet. If this were Christmas Eve, I'd most likely catch Santa dropping down my chimney... maybe smoke a joint with him, let him use the bathroom, share some wine, see that he eats something better than cookies... or even bang him, to get myself off the Naughty List. I'd imagine his stamina would be remarkable.

But no. It's just a November night during an autumn that should get all those global warming folks all worked up, even after the hurricane-free summer. I can't say I'm depressed, because I've actually been feeling pretty good lately. It's not a PMS thing, either... I actually grow Stronger during those times somehow, and I'm generally funnier in a sarcastic way when I'm crabby.

Anywho... we're the Sports Column here at, and the best way to shake off a funk is to just hop back on the horse and ride into town for supplies. It's a great big sports world out there, and there's always something to goof on.

In fact, I'm reminded of what Mencken said... "Life may not be exactly pleasant, but it is at least not dull. Heave yourself into Hell today, and you may miss, tomorrow or next day, another Scopes trial, or another War to End War, or perchance a rich and buxom widow with all her first husband's clothes. There are always more Hardings hatching. I advocate hanging on as long as possible."

In fact, nothing could stop me from bringing you the big story in Sport today:

Ben Wallace and Scott Skiles are feuding over Wallace's headband.

Wallace just signed with Chicago for like 16 billion dollars a season, and he DID ask for a list of team rules before he did... can't let "coach gets to sleep with your wife" slip by in the fine print. Either way, Ben was rocking his headband Saturday night, and Coach Skiles benched him.

Chicago is 4-9 this year, and they have bigger things to worry about than headbands. I'm saying this to both Scott and Ben. It's one of those discipline things, and Ben isn't having it. Skiles- who once fought Shaq when they played on the same team- most likely won't budge. "Business is about to pick up," as Jim Ross says.

If you've never seen Ben Wallace, a headband really isn't going to screw up his look. Ben is about 6'10", 270, and built like one of those statues you see at the MFA. He looks like he could rip your car door off with his bare hands, pull you out of it, and hurl you into the air with such force that you enter into a geosynchronous orbit over the nation of Beatdown.

Depending on whether you think that mole on her face made or ruined Cindy Crawford's look, the headband in question draws attention to/from Ben's greatest aesthetic feature... his gargantuan afro. Ben has hair that you could- no joke- hide a grapefruit in. He rocks cornrows a lot, like a giant Iverson... but he isn't afraid to play with the full Fro.

The Fro sweats a lot, and Ben likes to wear a headband to keep the sweat out of his eyes. He's not wearing Nazi regalia or anything... just a team colored headband. The coach- who is mostly bald- doesn't sympathize, and you just know it's going to come down to a man being forced to alter his natual hairdo from fear of being fined. Once that happens, things will be ugly.

 The NBA is already too far into the player wardrobes. They have a dress code that is worse than what you see at a Catholic high school. Jermaine O'Neal had to pay $5000 for wearing his wristband too far up on his arm. Kobe Bryant can't wear his pantyhose any more, and you simply can't wear a pimp suit on the bench these days unless you're willing to spend about $20,000.

There's a big fat racial streak through the policy. It came at a time when most NBA players are young blacks, and it was aimed right at the hip-hop look. It forgets that men in suits have done more damage to the world than every thug black teen ever, combined. It ignores the fact that Dennis Rodman could wear a dress while both looking and playing better than Chris Kaman.


I like seeing how Allen Iverson dresses on his night off. My tastes might be extreme, but I think some of the styles you used to see on NBA benches look good. I think some are horrific, but that's what happens when young men dress themselves.

Instead, we get a strictly-regimented dress code that boils down to a 50-something NYC lawyer deciding how young blacks should dress. David Stern has had a stranglehold on the NBA Commish job since he rodeMagic, Larry and Jordan to big money and marketing Heaven. His rule is unchallenged, and his word is law... he was even able to overrule a court's decision somehow in the Artest case.

His power can only be limited by David Stern... and he's set on increasing his power, right down to your socks and especially your wallet. Few players challenge him, and fewer succeed.

There's not much you can do, other than get on a plane and play in Spain for short money. Still, I'd like to see the black players speak up somehow. Imagine how funny the NBA would look if all the black guys sat out a game or ten to protest Stern's policies? Several teams- including the Celtics- wouldn't be able to put 5 guys on the floor. That's a lot of money to refund, and the owners will be looking for blood... and both player and commissioner blood will suffice.

Stern fines the players.. why shouldn't they fine him and the owners back? Sure, the NBA pulled a lot of these dudes out of the ghetto and plopped theminto a 2007 Porsche, but all these black kids make a lot of money for a lot of owners/media/business people involved in the game.

Sport used to be more blue collar. The Bruins games I went to as a kid look/sound/feel nothing like today's games. The Celtic crowd is even more drastically changed. The crowd is much more white collar, and the arenas lack soul. Most places actually have to urge the fans to cheer, via cheerleaders (good) and Jumbotron applause begging (bad).

You have to sell advertising and luxury boxes to stay in the game these days, and the corporate voice has far too much influence in the game. The NBA has been forced to cater to this, by both corporate pressure and a lawyer who gives himself too much of Michael Jordan's credit.

Stern is a fine businessman, but he's got far too much power for someone who only played on courts with judges in them. There has to be someone else who can do what he does, and that person should be working for the next NBA Commish... Allen Iverson.

Commissioner Iverson isn't as goofy as it sounds. He'd have the instant respect of every player out there. He's too rich to bribe. You'd have to work pretty hard to put together an outfit that would offend Commissioner Iverson, which means that any move he made in that area would be understandable to all parties. He also balled for 20 years, so he understands the NBA as well as any NYC 50 y/o lawyer.

 For all the dress-up David Stern wants to play with his action figures, he should always remember that the NBA was at it's commercial peak when Rodman was wearing a dress and Jordan had his wristband up around his elbow.

Saturday, November 25, 2006



Thanksgiving was tremendous, I didn't have to do that much cooking this year, I took a bit of a road trip, and it's good to be home. Let's bet football games.

Chicago at New England (-2)

Chicago has had a superb season. I'm amazed that we're favored in this game, considering the beatings we've taken from teams both good and bad this season. I hate betting against the Pats, and the mob has the holiday spirit in giving us a 2 point cushion. Take the Bears, hoping that the Pats win by one.

New England, 21-20

NFL logosPhiladelphia at Indianapolis (-9)

Donovan McNabb is not only out for the season, he now knows that he can't pull a Steve Young and win the Bowl without TO- who, I might add, is on a really good looking Dallas team right now.  On top of that, he has to contend with his mother, who will be all bitter now that her 15 minutes of fame as the Chunky Soup Football Mom are over.

Indy, 37-6 

Houston at NYJ (-6)

While I do like the Texan uniforms and it is possible that I'm irrationally holding onto a childhood totem, I prefer the old Houston Oilers gear. Houston coach Gary Kubiak constantly offends NYC's Puerto Rican population by saying things like "How'd y'all get so many Mexicans up here?"

Whoston, 14-13

New Orleans at Atlanta (-3)

N'awlins has had a nice season, but this looks like one of those games where the wheels fall off.

Hotlanta, 21-18

Cincy at Cleveland (+3)

I wouldn't touch Cleveland with a 7 foot pole... and neither would Kowalski, the 7 foot Pole.

Cincy, 37-20 

Jacksonville at Buffalo (+3)

If you go to the right betting sites, you can bet the over/under on how much snow Buffy will get in the week before the game.

Jacksonville, 17-16 

San Francisco at St. Louis (-5.5)

Whichever city loses this game should have to use the French/Spanish spelling of "Saint" for a month after on all official documents, etc. They should then have this game every year... prefrably from a neutral Saint site, like Sao Paulo or New Orleans.

St. Louis, 28-10

 New York Giants at Tennessee (+3)

Calling Vince Young the worst young scrambling QB in the NFL is almost as cruel as referring to Eli as the less talented Manning brother. Both work for me, however.

NYG, 18-15 

Arizona at Minnesota (-6)

My heart tells me that Aridzona can't lose 'em all, and that this could indeed be the week that they whup up on someone. That's why I never EVER bet with my heart, especially with Denny Green prowling the sidelines.

Minnesota, 20-19 

Carolina at Washington (+4)

Much like a fat man at the Thanskgiving dinner table... I look at this game and think, "that spread's not big enough."

Carol, 28-7 

Oakland at San Diego (-13)

THAT'S a spread.

San Diego, 28-6 

Pittsburgh at Baltimore (-30

I only went down a hill. Big Ben went through someone's windshield.

Stillers, 13-12 

Green Bay at Seattle (-9.5)

We beat these guys like they stole something last week. It was a simply brutal curb-stomping, and Wisconsin can't put it all back together this quickly... 'specially not against the defending NFC champs.

Sea Town, 17-12

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The Million Cran March

(Editor's Note.... There may be a considerable delay between when you get the alert and when this article is actually finished, as I have to learn how to work the f*cking camera, it seems.)

The best way to win a VIVI Award for Sports Journaling is to go into the hospital for a week, then turn your journal into a Cape Cod photo-essay that has nothing at all to do with any kind of sport at all.

Ah, f*ck it... I already have one of those anyhow. Let's dig deeper into my pictures.

Before we do, it's funny to note that I don't have a digital camera.... I only have the little disc that goes in one. I have a neighbor with a digital camera (I bought the disc to match it), so I borrow it now and then when I feel like posting pics here. I have a regular camera, but there simply isn't room on my desk for a scanner.

I actually visited this same farm last year, and I sort of milked the same formula for this harvest. I actually tagged along with the owner this year, as opposed to my bothering the Portugeuse guys doing the actual grunt work last year.

Anywho... this is Buzzards Bay, MA. It's October of 2006, and they're about 2 weeks ahead of when they harvested last year. I read that as a harbinger of a bad winter, but neither boss I spoke with would commit himself to a prediction.

The two farms (on the same 1000 acre "plot") shown here belong to Mann Farms and R+B Farms. Mann Farms has about 50 acres set aside for organic cranberries, but they were sort of uglier than the chemically treated bogs.

The guy who runs R+B Farms didn't change his expression one iota when I was like, "Oh, I love R+B." Nice enough fellow, though...


(Editor's Note 2... Always marry someone dumber than you are, even if you have to go to heroic lengths. The shadow at the bottom of the above picture is the Colonel, accidentally working himself into the pic.)

These cranberries below sort of floated up before they took the machinery to the bog. If you buy Ocean Spray, you may be eating/drinking these fellows before/during/after the football game.


Every now and then, I like to lean right over the water and get a pic like below. You already know that I'll drop the camera in the water someday.

The million cran march.


Not as if I'd do something like this... but if you want free cranberries, sneak into the bog at night with a Zip-lock bag and climb into the red truck's bed.. Valhalla, I am coming!

This is a Water Picker. It drives through the bogs and stirs the cranberries loose. The farmers don't use this particular set of words, but it makes more sense phrased my way... to me at least.

Here it is in action:


This pic only got blurry when I put it in here. I'll figure it out later, when the painkillers kick in.

Fill the truck with water, dump in a F-150 worth of sugar, then light it on fire... you'll have enough cranberry sauce for everyone in Rhode Island.

This is where the reservoir empties into the bog, making a cool Schmoo-like disruption of the cranberry blanket.

Another inexplicable blurring... I'd kill the photographer, except for the fact that I'm the photographer.

Because someone asked, behind ol' Sloppy Dog here is what a cranberry bog looks like when it isn't flooded, which is 11 months and 15 days of the year.

Is this tree like totally spooky or what?


October on Cape Cod ... foliage
Bournedale... ruff-ly the same area
Dog Meets Bog.... yet more cranberries..
A Grassy Noel.....berries

Sunday, November 5, 2006


One of the five villages of Bourne, in case it ever comes up in a bar bet...

This is what you git  when you give me the lane. I close your ballfield. I am Dusk. Play at your own risk.


That little bump on the horizon is the Bourne Bridge.



You know it's an ancient way when you see a stone wall... some on my neighbors are worried that the British might come back, you see....


I prowled around a bit, but this was the highlight shot of the Burying Hill.

Bournedale Herring Run. One can chop down the tallest tree in the forest wiiiiith... a Herring!

In case you ever wondered how I smoke marijuana with two kids, there's usually a point of every day where I leave them with Shea and walk down here, which I believe is the most peaceful place on Earth.

In the winter, I just do an inordinate amount of laundry.

Herring are born in fresh water, go to sea, then return to spawn in the pond which, umm, spawned them.


Well, they weren't really crossing... but I found a few in the pasture.


This pic cost me my apple, but it was worth it. "Ladies call me Hoss, the booty filler."


Vincent  on West Monponsett

 transpixel This is actually a guy I don't know, fishing Monponsett Lake (my namesake). I'm trying to work this into one of Scalzi's Monday photo shoots.That's a cutting board in his left hand, in case you thought he was gonna throw the little fella back or something.

We visited last year, and explained the process better here... The Million Cran March<FONTCOLOR=#FFFF66>  and here... Mann To The Fiz-Arm

October on Cape Cod ... foliage
Bournedale... ruff-ly the same area
Dog Meets Bog.... yet more cranberries..
A Grassy Noel.....berries


October on Cape Cod


Yes, I know it's November, but we've been kind of busy here at the home office. Them thar pictures were taken in October... I just didn't get around to fiddling with them until November.


I suppose we all have our favorite colors, and living near a forest and a cranberry bog is a fortunate ending for someone who loves various shades of red.

"There's a red house over yonder.... that's where my baby stays."

I love red. This blog is blue... but I have this whole Smurf thing to live up to, you see.


We favor no shades on the page, though. Cape Cod is sort of pine-dominated (coniferous?), so we never get that full calendar treescape thing. Green is solidly represented in pretty much every shot, even in the winter.

This one sort of dominates the yard, and puts off fat color at a time when everything is pretty much fading out. Props to the landscaper.


Ol' Yeller.

Some of these pictures are from Cape Cod, while some are in the generalarea of Stark... which is way the uck fup in New Hampshire. New Hamster was past peak foliage when I was up there, but you can get some fat shots if you Smurf around a little bit.


Only the fact that it would dry out by Thanksgiving (and then go up like napalm the first time someone lit a Newport near it) kept me from having this sucker chopped down and hauled home for the Monponsett family Christmas tree.

That fact, and the fact that my living room ceiling isn't 28 feet high.

We visited last year, and explained the process better here... The Million Cran March  and here... Mann To The Fiz-Arm

October on Cape Cod ... foliage
Bournedale... ruff-ly the same area
Dog Meets Bog.... yet more cranberries..
A Grassy Noel.....berries