Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Taking The Motorcycle Down To The Packy Christmas

Abdullah here.

As you know, Smurfs get very busy during the holiday season. Have no fear, though... Stacey now has a staff to do her grunt work for her.

To the guy I talked to last night... I'm not actually a real photographer, so forgive my difficulties with Light and stuff. I may be knocking on your door during the day this week, asking you to inflate these bad boys so I can get a proper picture.


Not a lot of people know this, but Santa only takes the reindeer out on the 24th. The rest of the year, he gets around on a Fat Boy.


You'd be jolly too if you could get Old New England Chocolate Egg Nog for $7.99 a liter.


What really brought Nicholas to Mayflower Liqours in Wareham (on Rte 6, opposite Sun On The Run tanning!) was the opportunity to get screwball drunk off some Tim Wakefield wine.

Why waste good money on French wine when you can get some Caberknuckle for $11.99? Longball Vineyards did wine for Tim, Curt Schilling and Manny Ramirez.. I think it benefits some charity or something.

Here's the link... see for yourself....Charity Hop Fundraising & Baseball Consulting - Charity Wines & Longball Vineyards

While I can live or die without Schilling Schardonnay, I'll smash open my daughter's piggy bank to ensure that I have enough money to get some Manny Being Merlot when Mayflower has some in stock. One must have priorities...




Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving In Duxbury

Due to some IRL, Elle and Abdullah will be handling the column for a while. You'll be in good hands.

Thanksgiving In Duxbury


Duxbury is a quaint little town, 40 miles SE of Boston. Not a lot goes on here, but it's pretty.


Notice lil' Brady out in front....



The Four Sisters Of White Birch...


Not to be outdone are the Reds...



Duxbury is a nice place to spend Thanksgiving, as it is one town north of Plymouth.


For more Pilgrim credibility, Duxbury was founded by Myles Standish.

Duxbury was founded by a guy.. no joke... for whom 1620s Plymouth had gotten just a little too crowded.


Sadly, the little beam doesn't light up when you get mail, not does it do a foghorn

.. though I suppose such a thing could be rigged by the right tradesman.


Although it may be better to have him rig it so that the Scarecrow brings your mail in for you.

Sadly, this feature is only offered in Oz.


Supper Time!

The irony with Comfort Foods is that I eat them until I am uncomfortably full.
Now... I'm just a kid... and the real author here is French... but we're talking turkey, squash, stuffing, spuds, rolls, cranberry sauce....washed down with root beer from a bottle.... and I added gravy and green beans after I pic'd the plate. It's tough to top that.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Chinny Chin Chin

One of my favorite people, Coach Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans... 

 That's from a few years ago(2004), when Tenny played the Patriots in the playoffs. The game was played in that tundra stuff that you just don't get in Nashville, which is why Elvis didn't build Graceland in Northboro, MA.

Coach Fisher is good. He was in the playoffs then, and he looks good to be in them this year... even with a quarterback who can't pass... a defensive lineman best known for stomping on someone's face with cleats... and with his best cornerback both a) suspended for the year and b) named "Pacman."

That's good coaching, kids.. and Fisher is a good coach, one of the best. Unfortunately for him on that desolate landscape back in the day, the coach on the other side was the best.

Long story short, we won... and towards the end of the game, Coach Fisher began to fascinate me for two reasons. First... as Bad Things kept happening to the Titans, Fisher wore a near constant look of befuddlement. You could tell that the game had moved completely out of what he had a game plan for, and that he was pretty much just surfing the avalanche towards the end.

More importantly to me, his beard began to freeze. I suppose it was from all the shouting... on cold days, the contrasting levels of warmth between the body and the outside air is so vast that breath exits the body as a sort of steam.... which condensates on the beard and refreezes, especially if you're continuously screaming over 60,000 people in a Jack London nightmare of frost and cold.

He also had that steaming head that you usually see only on huge bald brothers, but that was secondary to the frozen chin. Same goes for that Rodham/Clinton headband he's wearing. The picture here doesn't do it justice,,, for parts of the final quarter, this man was essentially the Cold Miser.

The look known as the Ice Grill is funny enough, but when combined with the perplexed look on his face as the game slipped away... pure Jungian archetype. Jung never got to watch much NFL... but if he'd watched the Ice Bowl that year, there would be a Bewildered Guy archetype.

I'm not picking on Coach Fisher, who I've always admired. I'm just noting the Look, for two reasons. One, winter is coming to Cape Cod, and winter will freeze your chin to your neck. Two... we've all worn that look before. At some point in our lives, something went terribly, terribly wromg.... often for no reason other than that's how the Dice of Fate rolled for you that day.

Overall, Coach Fisher has my fourth favorite Chin in sports.

Chin number three belongs to former WWF (now champion Sgt. Slaughter. This is the man who personally stopped the Iron Sheik from bringing the Islamic Menace to our shores in the 1980s.

 This is the classic jutting chin, displayed by a man who knew where his bread was buttered... even if he couldn't see it because of said jutting chin.

Incidentally... if you ever need to laugh at an aged, drunken Iranian powerhouse ranting to whoever will listen, throwe "Iron Shiek Interview" into a search engine.

Chin number two belongs to Your Favorite Street Fighter, the lovely and talented Kimbo Slice:

Aside from the pleasing aesthetic qualities he enjoys with that chin, it also seems to be smelted from molten steel. Watch himwade right through 3 of this guy's best shots in this video if you want proof... YouTube - KIMBO SLICE. This one is bloody, so be warned.

That's a solid chin, folks... you could pretty much smash him in the face with a brick, and it would only serve to upset the gentleman. I'm pretty sure that there is absolutely nothing I could do to knock this man out, even Tazering him or hitting him with my Cadillac.


If I tried to tell you how much time I've wasted image-searching for that one perfect picture of Bill Cowher's near-Neolithic jutting chin, but it seems to have cowered the Internet.

I'll post a good-enough one in a second, but I can actually send you to the live action. If you have a tape of the 2004 AFC title game... watch Bill Cowher as the game slips away. Here's a good quote, from Wikipedia...

 "Bill Cowher has been nicknamed 'The Chin'...because of the face that he makes in frustration or anger."

I don't really know how to say this in English or express it properly in a technical sense.... but, at certain points of the game where those Bad Things we were talking about with Coach Fisher were happening to Coach Cowher, his chin would actually protrude forth in what sculptors call extreme bas-relief.

If he had an icy beard that day, it may have been impossible for him to stay standing... and the fall might drive that splendid chin into the ground with such force that it discovers oil. Many speculate that his early retirement was financed by oil speculators, who plan to wet his beard and let him fall forward in various places in Siberia where they think oil deposits may lay.

Anywho.. lemme dig up a good Chin shot....

We try to provide video proof here on Cape Cod.... YouTube - Coach Cowher

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Gurnet Classic Beach Run Memories With Bob Hodge


For just a brief time when I was a kid, they used to have a big race on Duxbury Beach every summer. They called it the Gurnet Classic Beach Run. It was a straight up-and-back shot down Duxbury Beach, probably one of the few races an elite talent like Bill Rogers or Alberto Salazar were ever in that involved making a U-turn.

More races should have U-turns. No, that's not where I'm going with this, but I just wanted that on the Internet somewhere. Look at the Olympics... no U-turns, except in the swimming events. It's wrong. The NFL, NHL, and NBA are based on back-and-forth movement of players and teams. The President's Physical Fitness Test involves a shuttle run, which is back and forth in nature. Why not the Olympics?

I'm a Mommy now, but I worked in a factory, as a waitress, and as a teacher. Running back and forth between stuff is a viable and important part of American existence.... and I'd imagine that the eggs don't bring themselves out to the table in Finland or Thailand, either.

All the better sports evolve out of human activity. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to envision where racing, boxing or wrestling came from. You could imagine where javelin throwing or archery would be handy skills to have in the caveman days... and once you establish an activity as being important, it's only a matter of time before people start betting on who can do it better.

It takes a little more creativity to guess that hockey is the natural competitive outgrowth of some poor Mongolian who had wandered across the frozen Bering Strait.... and figured out that he could get somewhere faster by sliding on the ice than stepping.... then figured out how to use a stick to push his supper (a penguin, baby seal, or whatever Eskimos eat) along the ice with him, as it was too cold to carry. Other Eskimo people see the success he enjoys, and get their own sticks to try to steal the penguin from him. Eventually, you get hockey.

Racing is more innate. Horsesand dogs do it. Running goes back in history at least as far as "trying to get away from the Mammoth." But we got pretty close to the time of Christ before running made it's true mark in history. Peep this: Battle of Marathon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2500 years have passed since then, but running is basically the same now as it was when the saber-tooth was chasing you. They have races as arduous as 26 mile marathons and as brief as racing your sister to answer the phone when you both are waiting for a call... hell, those were sometimes as short as 3 feet in my house, and sort of resembled the scramble that the XFL used to have to determine possession of the opening kickoff.

Boston is known for marathons, but Duxbury was known (in running circles) for the Gurnet Classic Beach Run. Run in late July on a flat barrier beach, it started and ended at the infamous Gurnet Inn... hence the U-turn we spoke of earlier, which occurs just before the village of Saquish (Wampanoag: "many clams") at the end of the mini Cape.

There really wasn't a better place to watch a race. Why pay $50 to park on someone's rhododendron just to watch the Boston Marathon go by as you shiver away an April morning in Natick?  Trust me... Duxbury Beach in July is better, and everybody goes by you twice. You can sit in the sand, mix a nice iced drink, and enjoy the day's entertainment in style. Ayup... as far as racing goes, the Gurnet Classic Beach Run was the bee's nuts.

Of course, I was just a kid. No margaritas for me at the Classic. I was just enthralled to see my lonely spit of land become a beehive of activity. I'd circulate with my friends among the watch-the-race people who would slowly get sloppy drunk in our front yard. I'm pretty sure that my first beer was given to me- when I was maybe 9 years old- by one of the Eliot Lounge people.

We had some kick-ass races, from a running fan's perspective. Bill Rogers, Alberto Salazar, and Bob Hodge would have been the Olympic marathon trials in 1980 if Jimmy Carter hadn't decided to politicize the Olympic team.

I don't really run much, myself... I move with a sort of short-legged mother duck waddle that belies the myth of me actually beating someone to something. But other people do.. and, as far as Google is concerned... there is no greater authority than Bob Hodge.

Bob Hodge was a Lowell kid who made it to the top of the marathon business. He's won races from here to Japan. He'd have been an Olympian, except that he peaked right around the the Olympiad where the Soviet Union went into Afghanistan... so there went that.

Instead, the local jogging elite squared off at Duxbury, running to a lighthouse and back. Folks in Green Harbor and Duxbury still talk about Bob, Bill and Alberto going neck and neck down the stretch... although, rather than settling the issue, they chose  to cross the finish line together in an act of Runner Solidarity.

Here's some Bob Hodge goodness:

Bob Hodge (runner) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hodgie-San Through Miles of Years: Bob Hodge Running Page

I tracked down and hassled Bob Hodge... and he was good enough to do a brief email interview. A lot of my interviews die once the subject reads/hears my questions- WWE superstar Chris Nowinski is my biggest loss in this area- but Mr. Hodge was a trooper.



Stacey:  What did the Gurnet Classic Beach Run mean to you?

Bob Hodge: A day at the beach.


SDid you ever win it?

B- Sort of....

 Aug. 5, 1978 - 6M Beach Run, Duxbury - 30:39 (tied for 1st w/ A. Salazar)

1982 Gurnet Beach MA - 5m - 24:17 (mass group tie for first)



S- What advantages and disadvantages lie in running on a beach?

B- None. It is still one foot in front of the other, repeat.


S- How long was the longer version of the GCBR?

B- No one really knows for sure, perhaps six miles?



S-  About how long does a serious runner need to recover after a beach race before heading up to the Gurnet Inn bar?

B- Depends, you buying?

S- Wish I could. The Inn ws flattened by a nor'easter. They ran the bar for awhile, but I think there's like 2 big houses there now. It's a shame... I liked having a bar I could stumble home from in the neighborhood.


S-  Were you a big Eliot Lounge patron? We used to have two guys park in front of our house every year and drink like 20 beers each as the race wet on. They claimed to be "personal emissaries" of Tommy Leonard's, and yelled "Epic!" a lot. I know that they were allowed to take the official microphone now and then during the course of the day, so they must have had some clout.

B- Yes. My feet were cast in concrete outside.

I moved to the South Shore in 1978 to work at the RUNNERY in Hanover for ownwer/founder Sharpless C Jones of Scituate. They sponsored the race and of course Jack McDonald, father of the GBTC masterminded it. Eliot Loungers are everywhere awaiting the next reunion.

S- My husband said something about casting my feet in concrete once, but he said we had to be offshore in his boat. But anyways.... Did the GCBR hold prestige in the running community? If you lost the Boston Marathon to Alberto Salazar, could you sneer "Well, I whipped your ass in Duxbury" at him?

B- No.


 S-  How'd you do at Falmouth?

B- I had multiple top ten finishes beginning in 1975. My best was 4th in 1980, 32:38.


S- Would a Kenyan runner enjoy the same advantages in a shorter beach race that he seems to enjoyin the marathons?

 B- What advantages do you suppose they have?  

S- Running from Kenya.


S-  Did anyone ever use a Boston Whaler to sort of pull a Rosie Ruiz-style circumvention of the race route?

 B- .....


S-  A beach seems like a strange place to hold a race. Have you ever raced somewhere sillier?

B-  Mt Washington? A beach is the ideal place to race, at least at low tide.


S-  Why do they call you "Hodgie-san?"



S- Did you learn to run fast while fleeing thugs while you were growing up in Lowell?



S- Do you think Marathons are dangerous for rookies?

B- Preparation is the key.


 S-  Did you ever bail out mid-race take a leak?

B- ....


S-  A runner I know from Duxbury ( SRR Profile: Tamara Toselli-LoVuolo) has been flashed like 5 times during races at various levels of competition, including once during her high school career. Do/did you have any race groupies?

B- No


S- Did you ever get any Jordan-like sneaker company endorsements?

B- No, but I did OK.


S-  Have you ever run the historical Marathon-to-Athens route? I figure that'd be like a Jogger Hajj.  

B- No, I wish I had. Perhaps I will.


S-  IPodon a runner. Cool or Fool?

B- No ipod for me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Nor'easter Blues


Every now and then, you need to re-title the old blog.

High Above Courtside was a good name, and will still be in the web address. Unfortunately, it's Johnny Most's catch-phrase, as well as the title of his autobiography. He deserves it for his own, and I merely wore the title in his honor for a few years.

So... one day, while I was cranking up a Marley.... I decided that we needed a new name... especially with the sudden increase of our staff, what with the babysitter (Elle) and the bookie (Abdullah) becoming more involved in the day to day operation of this website.

Ayup... we're going big-time now. My people are currently in heavy negotiations with the  people, and a nice, comfortable salary will be floating towards your favorite French-American sports blogger. You can follow us by the trail of the dead.

Honestly... I only started this blog to win All Star Game tickets, and I was amazed when I won that... I thought Diecast Dude would roll over all of us. Now, someone's gonna pay me to sit on my ass and type nonsense... it's good to be (blog)Ging.

Anywho... I thought I'd synch up all the names of all the blogs I do, just for the hell of it. East of Boston in Cape Cod Today will undergo a similar name change, although The Belly Check and Zamboni Rage (now found in The Cape Cod Times) will maintain their current monikers.

I just grabbed Nor'easter Blues out of thin air, more than one of my friends thought it sounded cool, and it should do for now. I suppose it will obligate me to go out in storms and get wet taking pictures for your amusement, but these are indeed the sacrifices artists make for their audience.

I don't think you have to change the address (for all 5 of you who have this page bookmarked), and I don't think it will screw up the Entry Alerts.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ohhhhh, I- Aye, Oh Oh, I'm Still Alive

I'm fine. Thanks to all who have written.

The worst is still to come, but Mother Nature settled her score with me in 1991, so I would assume she's after the Republican Guard now.

Cape Cod is taking a beating, trees are down, there's coastal flooding, the power is on and off... but we've had worse.

To my sister... if I suddenly go offline, I'm most likely not dead. Chances are it's the power.

I'll try to get out tonight and tomorrow with the camera, but I have this aversion to getting soaked needlessly, and we've had about 3 to 5 inches of rain. The best wind gust I've seen was 54 mph, but my wind speed thingy is sort of in a bad spot... we may have had worse.


Current Radar in CT - Hartford region

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A Grassy Noel

Noel Swipes New England

I'm about a millimeter to the left of Barnstable on that map. I'm right on the water, but I'm on a bit of a hill... I should be OK unless a tree falls on me- which, if you know me, isn't out of the question.


Not so bad so far... 24 mph winds... 9 AM


So..since I may not be coming back this afternoon.... I'd better get some more cranberry pics up. Again, this is Mann Farms in Buzzards Bay.


I actually met Keith Mann, who runs the place. He told me that I could go to their screening room to photograph that process as well... but every time I wander over to the bog, he's too busy to ask. Someday... maybe.


That's Keith on the water picker, stirring the berries off their bush. They float to the surface, and are then reeled in by hand.


Same picture? No.


I hope that they get all the cranberries in within the next 3 hours or so, because the rest of the day looks pretty f'ugly.


Run for your lives! It's the Six And A Half Foot Super Shadow Dummy. "Trust me,,, that's a great shot. You may win the Nobel for blog photography. In fact... I've never looked better."

Notice how Mr. Nobel not only got his shadow in the picture, but he somehow turned the cranberries sort of gray in the process.

A few links you might find useful:

Kathys Pumpkin Patch - Pumpkin-Cranberry Waffles

Thanksgiving Bread recipe - Cranberry Recipes

Recipe: Ginger-Cran Leek Glazed Salmon

Recipe: White Chocolate Cranberry Cake

Recipe: Cranberry Cream Pie

YouTube - The Cranberries - Zombie


from my friend Gail in Rhody.....

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

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dog Meets Bog

Hi! I'm Sloppy Dog. It's cranberry harvesting season at Mann Farms in Buzzards Bay. That's Massachusetts, on Cape know, Pilgrim Country.


Most dogs get their cranberry sauce from the store, but I like to get mine fresh from the bog.


Fortunately, they have plenty to spare.


They have to harvest them today, because we're having a visit from Tropical Storm Noel tomorrow.



Being a dog, I don't know what all that stuff in he bog is. I assume that they use it when harvesting.


Keith Mann, who runs the place, told me that these cranberries are headed to Ocean Spray... so if you enjoy your cranberry sauce or Cape Codders, pour out a little liqour for the hardworking folks at both Mann Farms and R+B Farms.


I'm actually quite enchanted with this shade of red, myself.


Don't worry, Sloppy Dog.. we'll go back soon.

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
A Grassy Noel.. yet more cranberries.. with recipes!




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