She's a Real Mother

Mutha's got eyes in the back of her head.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Who am I? I Live Here!

Back in the care-free pre-house days -- my husband (and then eventually babies too) lived in apartments in Somerville, MA. Known for its three story homes called "triple-deckers," Somerville was the one of the cheapest place to live -- and sometimes for good reason. You don't get the nickname "Slummerville" because you won any beauty contests. So, if you found a good one -- you stayed in it as long as you and the landlord could stand each other. Well at least we did. My husband and I both hate moving, so we stayed put. But lots of people were just passing through.
Always on the second floor of the triple-deckers, we had to meet and stay pleasant with the stream of folks occupying upstairs and downstairs. It seems downstairs always had college students who could keep themselves pretty under control (Okay- once in my 8th month of pregnancy I had to stand in the doorway and intimidate the hell out of five boys who were blasting Sticky Fingers at 2:00 a.m. -- but no one was hurt, I promise). But the upstairs apartment was a much more exciting affair. To call them all "young professionals" would be stretching that term to its outer limits.

There were several instances of young white men who were working on dissertations and all of them had Asian girlfriends.

There was a guy who was somehow related to James Taylor. He wanted a bird feeder outside his window, but our landlady said no, because everyone knows birds attract mice. We became friendly enough with bird-loving-James-Tayloresque guy for me to trust him with watering my plants while we were away. He killed my African violets.

There was a young woman who was the manager of a large homegoods store. She was the only person I knew who was in her twenties and had a Christmas tree bursting with ornaments. Then one day during the holiday season, a squirrel got into her apartment from the attic and trashed the place. We found out by hearing her scream.

There were two guys named Seth and Jeff who played Peter Cetera songs on a casio keyboard and sang along really loudly. "I am a maaaan that will fiiiiight for your honor! I'll be your heroooooo...." Yeah, you get the drift.
Then, there was the most exciting couple. A young man and woman who ran their own "business." They got chattier and chattier, more and more animated. They came and went at all hours as did their guests. They bought an expensive new car, announced that they might be moving, and then left after one night of frenzied packing. But before high-tailing it out of Dodge, they left us the gift of a stuffed animal for our soon-to-be-born child. A week or so later a guy who really honestly looked mob-connected knocked on our door and asked where the couple upstairs had gone. We kept shrugging and saying, "Sorry buddy," as good-naturedly as we could. Again, my large-pregnant-self may have been the reason he decided to leave us be -- but after that, we referred to the couple's gift as "Coke Bear."

Monday, October 20, 2008

10 Reasons I'm Cheering for the Phillies

My red Sox did not make it to the World Series this year. A disappointment, but not a shock. I am 100% behind Philadelphia, and here's why:

1. The Phillie Phanatic. In the spirit of my last post about mascots, the Phanatic is really a stand-out. Rather than just mocking people, he can be downright socially unacceptable and sexually suggestive with that weird long party-blower tongue and the belly-bump/pelvic-trust move he has. Now that is family entertainment.

2. I was born in Camden, NJ -- right over the Ben Franklin Bridge from Philly.

3. Philadelphia Hot Soft Pretzels. I had a warm(ish) soft pretzel the other day in Cambridge and I am here to tell you it sucked. Philadephia has incredibly good pretzels -- and spicy mustard to go with them. I mean, it is in Pennsylvania -- pretzel homeland of these United States.

4. The Mummers. For those of you who do not know who the Mummers are, you have not lived until you see the drunken strut that is the Mummer's Parade. Picture Mardi Gras Vaudevillian Cross Dressing -- but with drinks.

5. They boo Santa at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Yes this is unnecessarily mean -- but even as a little kid, I found it funny.

6. Would be cheesesteaks if I ate meat. I'm told they are delicious, so if you are a meat-eater, go enjoy one in my place.

7. The Phillies have lost more games than any other franchise in baseball. With over 10,000 losses -- here is an honor you have to have been around a long time to reach. And you have to have really sucked a lot of years.

8. Tamp Bay Who? The Rays have not been around long enough to even have a history. I love my old time teams.

9. The Philadelphia fans are never afraid to boo their own players. If your family can't be honest with you -- who can?

10. The Phillies are not the Rays.

Let's go Phillies -- Beat 'em bad!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

If You Can't Take the Mascot -- Get Out of Chicago

I caught my first sight of the White Sox mascot during the White Sox/Rays playoff last week. Turns out the thing is named "Southpaw," a reference to not only left-handed pitchers, but the south side of Chicago. Any who, the reason the thing got my attention was because he sat himself down in what could not have been a cheap seat directly behind the batters box. The Ray's pitcher had just stopped the game in order to demand a retooling of the pitcher's mound. It had rained before the game, and this pitcher was not liking the gravely substance that the Chicago grounds crew put at the base of the mound in order to counteract the dampness. Play stopped, grounds crew in, everyone starts digging and scraping while the pitcher stands by and occasionally taps his foot onto the area. When the game resumed, and Southpaw had taken his new space directly in the pitchers view, the mascot -- already completely distracting with his gigantic fuzzy green head, decided to make fun of the Ray's pitcher. He dramatically rubbed his eyes and then rocked his arms in a cradling motion over and over -- the universal gesture meaning "Cry Baby."

I found this ridiculously funny. As I have said before, silly is very underrated. Silly and passive aggressive is even better. I kept hoping the pitcher would call time and complain. I couldn't wait for what the discussion with the ump might sound like.

Pitcher: "He's mocking me, sir,"

Ump: "Who? That green thing?"

As far as I am concerned mascots can mock whom ever they please. While looking into Southpaw I came across list of current and former baseball mascots. Almost all of the former mascots were discontinued after they were beaten up by fans! Can you imagine? Drunken middle-aged men taking swings at something in fur and a too-large head...

"Get the fuck outta they WAY! I can't see the game -- you FREAK!"

Man, that's funny too. But not for the kids...Which reminds son and I got to go to part of the pre-All Star game festivities when it was held in Fenway. My son was a toddler in a backpack, excited to be at such an exciting event. He pointed at everything and had lots to say. Then the mascots from all the teams paraded around the field and my son got very quiet. "You okay?" I kept asking, but he didn't answer. Fast forward to a year later, when he woke up crying from a dream. I asked him what had scared him and he said, "That man with the ball head! Remember?" I didn't remember, until months later, when for some reason we saw a Mets game on TV and my son yelped. It was Mr. Mets, the mascot who scared my child as a toddler and haunted his dreams! Do you blame him?

I knew there was some reason I didn't like the Mets.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Oh the Agony...

I read something the other day that made me wince. It seems a Cubs fan is trying to auction off his loyalty on eBay. I don't think it's the guy in this picture, but who knows -- it could be. There's enough misery to go around in Chicago right now. For those of you who don't pay attention to Major League Baseball, the Cubs just tanked a post season...AGAIN. This marks 100 years since the club has won the World Series. Say What?!! Yes -- One Hundred Years. Damn.
Much has been written about the phenomena of "Wait 'till next year." There's been much speculation about how people can stay loyal to a team even though they are let down over and over again. And not just over one lifetime -- but through generations.
One of the most unexpected sights I encountered here in Massachusetts after the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 were balloons, flowers and champagne bottles at graves. Then I heard story after story of people who went to graveyards all over New England (maybe the country) in order to celebrate with the fans who never got to see the day come to pass. I must say, a die-hard Sox fan myself, I do get it -- but...YIKES. Why do we do this to ourselves?
A story comes to mind as one way to understand it. A journalist shared that he regretted his father was not alive to see the Red Sox win. It seems the father had been a loyal fan since boyhood, and had most tragically died of cancer in January 2004. But the journalist said that the thing he kept remembering was one of the last times he was able to talk with his dad. Ill and weak, his father beckoned his son to his bedside and asked, "Did we get Schilling?" -- referring to whether the Red Sox had won over Curt Schilling, the Ace pitcher, in trade negotiations. His son told them the Red Sox had him and his father smiled.
That feeling of possibility can get human beings through so much. Even a failing economy, even illness, even a hundred-year drought. Well, not every human being I guess.
Sorry buddy. I hope you get something for your trouble, but something tells me the Cubs have got you whether you like it or not.