Archives for the month of: May, 2011

I was not his contemporary, and as I recall my opinions on Citi Field and a few other team matters were far afield of his, but make no mistake, Dana Brand—who has just passed away—was an eloquent voice in Mets fandom.

As I said, I was not his contemporary, and didn’t really interact with him apart from being in the same room a few times (most recently last Saturday for the Gary, Keith, and Ron event at Foley’s).  But Greg Prince of Faith And Fear In Flushing has written an appreciation of him, and you can find it here

From it, I take away a concept of which I’m still on the fairer side: aging along with your touchstones.  I’m not yet thirty; things are still new.  They won’t be forever.  We live in a perpetually nuanced space.  …Whatever that means.

Please read Mr. Prince’s piece, then head over to Mr. Brand’s blog.  As real as it gets.

Back on Tuesday. 

Let’s go Mets!

All right.  As suggested, I will read this before getting more bent out of shape.  But I think I’ll have the same attitude after as before.

Mid-read reactions below, as I have them:

  • “Mookie” is a nickname, not his first name.  The man was born William Hayward Wilson.
  • I’m four pages in and don’t find this article terribly fascinating at all.  He (Fred Wilpon) was poor; he blew out his arm; he made his bones in real estate with a longtime friend; he bought the Mets.  Commendable.  Quite commendable.  Not fascinating.
  • To those who say Beltran didn’t check his swing in Game Six:  I don’t even have my glasses on, and it would’ve been a strike regardless, but it looks like a bit of a check swing to me.  I’m going to presume Wilpon has the memory burned well enough to know there was an offer there. And no, that doesn’t make Carlos Beltran any less magnificent, but how ‘bout we give that particular point a rest right now?
  • (Update: I watched the video; a bat waggle, but no change in bat axis, really.  My bad.  I’ll leave the above as evidence that I can make a mistake and own up to it without devolving into pathos.)
  • There are plenty more awful moments to draw upon as evidence of the Mets’ poor play than Luis Castillo’s dropped pop-up, but I guess that’s the road Toobin’s about to go down. 
  • (By the way: still haven’t seen it [the dropped pop-up].  I blogged about this a few days after it happened, but I missed the game while spending time with my then-wife, heard the result over the radio that night, and after spending a weekend deep in some episodes of Lost, had too busy a week at work to watch much TV at all.  Since then, I’ve missed every occasional replay.  I’m actually rather proud of myself that I’ve never seen it, despite once screaming so loud at Castillo to use both hands to catch a ball that he gave me a dirty look.  Castillo, David Wright, Gregor Blanco: the only three baseball players ever to give me the time of day on the field. …Have I ever told the Gregor Blanco story in print?)
  • Thank God Wilpon’s said to Omar Minaya, “Omar, you’re full of shit.”  Thank God someone said it to his face.
  • Beltran IS sixty-five to seventy percent of what he was.  He’s still awesome, but he’s still sixty-five to seventy percent of what he was.  There is nothing wrong with this statement, nor anything wrong with the sentiment behind it.
  • Bernie Madoff sounds like a jackass.  Unless I blocked out all memory of a trial, I’m going to guess he’s admitted his guilt, which is why he’s in jail in the first place.  “…[I]t’s really tragic, and I feel terrible about everything he’s going through.”  Fuck you, buddy.  Every other two words out of your mouth should be “I’m sorry.”  In reference to anyone or anything.  Bilk investors out of billions?  Betray the trust of friends?  Take the last scoop of mashed potatoes?  “I’m sorry.”
  • God, I just read the next Madoff paragraph.  What an ASS.
  • Though no doubt selective to color the arc Toobin is crafting, the paragraphs on Irving Picard and his team make that guy sound like an ass, too.
  • And it ends on a bunt and a fly-out.  Of course.

Done reading.  My reaction’s the same.  I don’t give a damn about the Madoff stuff because Bernie Madoff isn’t hindering Josh Thole’s ability to get the ball out of the infield or Jason Bay’s ability to drive in runs.  I care about the Mets and a great many people in New York care about the Mets, and understand that Madoff has nothing to do with the on-field performance.

Matthew Artus for Amazin’ Avenue wraps up his coverage by stating:

” In context or not, these words are Fred Wilpon’s own. Please recall that they were uttered in the context of the Wilpons’ survival — a case that Toobin describes succinctly by saying:

…to salvage his reputation and his fortune, Wilpon must prove that he was a dupe rather than a crook.

Try to remember that distinction as you become tempted to label the Wilpons as idiots for letting this happen.”

Idiots?  Maybe not.  Short-sighted?  Certainly.

There’s no strategy that helps Wilpon with Picard’s case that includes sounding like a bastard when reviewing his players.  There isn’t.  I’m no Oliver Wendell Holmes but I know the woe-is-me approach, and one thing (the on-field performance of the Mets) has to have something to do with the other (the Fleecing of the Wilpon Millions) for it to work. 

I’m certain trustee Irving Picard only cares about Jose Reyes re-signing with the Mets if it demonstrates access to capital heretofore unrecognized—which can’t possibly be; that guy sounds like Walter Skinner, Gary from Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern, and Dean Ed Rooney rolled into one.  Either Wilpon knows that, and his comments weren’t to help him sound like a dupe, or he doesn’t know that, and they are (which would be sad), or he’s grasping for an out.  Which would be sad and not a little disturbing.

I don’t think one thing has to do with the other, in Wilpon’s mind.  I think he was genuinely frustrated, and saying things which he truly felt.  And they’re not necessarily untrue. 

Reyes may not get Carl Crawford money.  He might, but he has had a history of injury that is such that, if he hadn’t been injured he’d have greater earning potential.  How marginal that history or how much greater that earning potential will always be anyone’s guess, as there’ll be no way to quantify that.

Beltran is not the player he was.  Thirty home runs, one hundred RBIs in a season—those days may be behind him.  He might be on a pace to approach that this year; gone is the time such production is expected.  But seventy percent of Carlos Beltran is still better than one hundred percent of most other major league outfielders.  He has earned his contract by most rational measures, and several irrational ones.  But he is NOT the player he was.  The player he was had cartilage in his knees.  The man is not Superman, and it’s healthy to acknowledge that.

David Wright isn’t a superstar, by modern measures.  He is an excellent player, and certainly my favorite.  (I can tell my favorites, by the way, when I let them off the hook for sub-par play; I do this with Wright all the time, and it drives me up the wall that I do.)  David Wright will be a superstar when David Wright helps to win a World Series.  Which will happen.  Until then, he is an excellent player.

He could also become a superstar if he ever breaks the single-season home run record, wins the Triple Crown, bats over .400 for a season, or breaks DiMaggio’s hitting streak.  In baseball, you become a superstar by being absurdly superlative, or being a crucial part of a championship team.  But I don’t much care for superstars one way or the other, and if I were a betting man (on anything besides low-stakes poker), I’d wager most Mets fans just want a championship season or three.

Ike Davis… well, he said nothing to dispute about Ike.  Smooth sailing, buddy; hope to see you soon!

“Shitty team.”  Back then (late April)?  Yeah.  Right now?  Maybe.  If they remain unhealthy?  Sure.  If they don’t?  Who can say.

So he’s genuinely frustrated, and said things he truly felt, to a reporter while on the record.  That’s short-sighted.

The team isn’t performing as well as it might.  Press outlets are not as fair as they might be toward the team, its players, its fans, or its owners.  Fans of rival teams show extreme disdain and, at times, pity.  Some fans with outlets to express their feelings are over-damning, or contortionists, or apologists.  Lord.

It’s a shit deal at times to be the guy in charge and NOT be able to say what’s on your mind, but if you’re the guy in charge, that’s the deal you took.  You don’t get to blow off steam to a reporter.  That ONLY.  MAKES THINGS.  WORSE.

If Wilpon’s deciding to double-down on the histrionics of media coverage to kill the story, then he’s misguided in his approach, as one can generally only do so if the target of one’s ire is empirically better than you stated, or if one is on their way out anyway.  Neither appears to be the case.  This is thus just more soup.  The only way this has possibly helped is by deflecting any discussion of the implosion yesterday against the Yankees.

Still, as a fan I’d rather argue about poor play than daffy ownership.  Now I have to do both, or engage in neither. 

And talking baseball is important to me.  It’s important to people who spend time and money supporting a franchise.  I shouldn’t have to defend against the weakness of my team’s owner, when the difference between showing that weakness and not was simply shutting his mouth.

Tell me you don’t feel that way.  As a Mets fan, tell me you don’t wish he’d just stayed quiet.  @omniality, on Twitter.  Go for it.

Fred Wilpon came from next-to-nothing and now owns my favorite team in sport.  That required fortitude and luck and a sharpness few people have.  That toughness and serendipity and skill failed him here.  Which is a damn shame.  It implies he had more good fortune than acumen or strength to begin with.

If I’m to take a look at this article from the lens of a rags-to-riches story, then I feel sorry for a man who neither needs nor desires my pity.  Those thoughts, and others along those lines, are borderline insulting to his life’s work and presumed ethos.  But I don’t know many dupes who wouldn’t be offended by their gullibility if you presented them with it.  I know I usually am, but I don’t respond by tossing my self-respect; that invites an introspective paradox of which I want no part.

So, I’ll park this with the other media missteps, and allow myself my reaction, if that’s all right.

::ahem:: Good Lord, man.  Toobin must’ve had a notepad or digital recorder, or something.  Next time, keep your mouth SHUT.

Remember chemistry?  Remember physics?  I like to think I do, and I spend a great deal of time thinking about basic properties.  Systems guy, here.  I believe in systems, and replication of systems, voluntary or not, on macro scales.

I shall now proceed to ramble.  Or have already begun.

Heat from the sun is actually radiation. Particles of matter are under such intense pressure, as a result of the force of gravity, that a fusion reaction happens: nearby hydrogen atoms are excited (vibrate; shoot about) to the point of intense heat and sublimate into plasma; they lose their electrons and become hydrogen isotopes; their electrostatic charge is lost by the loss of their electrons; the leftover nuclei are then able to collide and form helium isotopes.  This happens many times over, with the fused isotope [singular] being LIGHTER than the sum of their parts [i.e. plural], and happens FAST. 

Energy is equivalent to mass times the square of the speed of light.  So the difference in weight between your “before” and “after” is expelled as energy.  Again, it needs to go somewhere, and Einstein would tell you that if it’s not coming out as mass, it will come out as energy.  Radiated (highly excited/vibrating) particles. 

Radiation.  Cuts through the sun’s core, passes through the layers of insanity wrapping around it (photosphere, chromosphere), and is ejected into space as various types of human-killing nonsense, as well as sunlight, which we generally enjoy when we’re not thinking of the UV radiation that gives us skin cancer.  The heat is the radiation: the atoms that comprise the mass of our bodies are affected by interaction with these highly-charged particles.

(Physics is awesome, but weird as hell.  The particles have no mass.  It’s just a wave coming at you.  But they also exist as point particles—i.e. the wave can display the same properties as discrete particles when you run experiments to isolate them as such, like tracking their momentum.

Physics is also awesome in that one may infer that in order for the physical world to exist as it does, we NEED photons to exist both as waves and particles.  It’s not a trick of science or a thought experiment; this shit is REAL.  But discussing that gets into quantum physics, and I’ve limited time before I fall asleep.)

When we don’t get that radiation, it gets cooler.  Happens in winter, when we’re tilted further away; happens when clouds block that radiation from getting to us with their radiation-absorbing mass.  Of course, if something should befall the sun in a permanently unfortunate way, we’d be screwed.  Fortunately, that appears unlikely for a good long while.  And if something did happen, we’d know it in about 8 minutes, and then it’ll have happened already.

The thing, though, is that reduction in radiation.  Sometimes the sun goes through periods where the internal reactions aren’t as frequent.  We can tell by recording sunspot activity: solar storms that are the result of particularly violent reactions within the clusterfuck that is plasma swirling about at millions of degrees Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin.  Fewer violent reactions mean less radiation coming our way—not calamitously less radiation, necessarily, but certainly inconvenient and, at times, approaching dire.

More radiation means more heat.  We plan on this; we build economies on this.  More than just a quick run out to St. Croix, or Six Flags for the roller coasters and water slides: we depend on fairly consistent weather patterns for food and textile crops.  Consistent summers, consistent winters.  Consistent rain.  When that doesn’t happen—when we don’t get consistency—that’s when things start going wrong.

So the sun having these periods of reduced activity can be difficult.  They’re called solar minimums, and are supposed to occur every 11 years or so.  Reduced activity for a couple years, then heightened activity, followed by a leveling-off to the tried and true solar belches that regularly put on a light show for those lucky bastards in Canada, and on occasion can muck up your cell or radio reception.

While the cause of the specific Year Without A Summer mentioned in the title is generally believed to be more frequent volcanic eruptions that obscured the atmostphere with ash in the year leading up to the one in question, 1816, it also occurred during the deep well of what is called the Dalton Minimum. 

John Dalton, a meteorologist and one of the fathers of atomic theory (that atoms exist), noted a 40-year period of reduced solar activity, culminating most drastically with the minimum he observed; average temperatures around the globe dropped about three degrees.  (One can tell by carbon-dating tree rings.  Not me. It’s been almost 15 years since I barely passed my high school carbon-dating experiment I couldn’t find a mass spectrometer with two hands and a flashlight.) 

Cold ruins crops.  On the most elemental level, the crops we sow for growth in the summer have plants with thin cell walls.  If the molecules forming the matter of those cell walls are not sufficiently excited by the radiation of the sun, they will slow, grow brittle, and keep the processes that keep a plant alive (intake of carbon dioxide, synthesis of oxygen) from happening.  In short, they will freeze, and then they’ll die.  That 40-year period of reduced activity with the double-dip occurring in 1816 is part of a macro cycle that occurs every 200 years.  So: our usual minimum was supposed to end around 2007 or 2008.  Instead, the reduced activity has not changed, and we may well be in a double-dip.

The same atomic process that gives birth to an amazingly powerful form of energy can, if not properly accessed, swing in the opposite direction and kill what we cultivate and ingest to provide a very manual sort of energy.  From deuterium to sprouted bread.

As humans, aside from some remarkable examples of banding together to face shared disaster, we suck at coordination.  Too often we’re petty, manipulative hosers who’d just as soon chuck a stick at you than share the last loaf of bread.  Even one of the phrases we use to breed fealty to the common good is some snarky, clever bullshit: “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’”  If you can’t spell “team,” you’ve got larger problems than trying to get on mine.  We’re individuals, not atoms or isotopes, and thus shouldn’t necessarily be entrusted as individuals with access to a similar level of power. 

So we exist in a delicate balance between Sun Tzu/Machiavelli/Smith/Nash, and governments that often do what they can to keep us from running at each other’s throats.  We’re much like the global climate and all that depends on it in this way: too hot or too cold, and we scorch or freeze.  The Year Without A Summer allowed folks in New York to ride sleighs from the tip of Manhattan to Governor’s Island over a frozen New York Bay, but it also killed tens of thousands in Europe and led to food riots, and the poverty that comes from a bushel of wheat taking an astronomical jump in price year-over-year.

I believe in systems, and the replication of systems, which is why I took a left turn in the paragraph above.  Whether the global climate improves or doesn’t, we’re going to have to find a way to rise above this particular system we’re locked in, and be of heartier constitution than a plant that could freeze in a cold snap. 

There are plenty of examples of constancy.  Gravity’s one.  We all like keeping our feet on the ground while conducting everyday activities.  Maybe we should follow gravity’s example, and realign our perspective.  Start from bedrock truths, rather than a suggestion that, as long as we remain in a sweet spot everything will be ducky.  Build from the strengths, not on a wing and a prayer.  That way, if the sun craps out, we won’t freak.

Or, in short: it’s been raining in New York since Saturday.  It will keep raining through next Saturday.  It’s cold, and my hands and feet are cold, and it’s making my prematurely arthritic joints ache.  I miss going out to ball games; I miss going out at all; I miss some people a whole hell of a lot.  And I miss the sun.  And it’s making me crabby and paranoid. 

But, I’m keeping my feet on the ground.  Getting stuff done.  And hopefully we’ll all catch a sunny break here or there.

And not fracture OUR FUCKING BACKS


Goddamn it.

Godfuckingdamn it.

HOLY shit, goddamn it.

David Wright has a stress fracture in his lower fucking back, and Willie Harris is playing third base tonight.  And it’s cold out, and it’s raining, and it will rain for the rest of the week, and… and…

EVERYBODY FUCKING PANIC. Take two minutes out of your life and panic RIGHT NOW.

You ever fracture your back?  I’ve broken a rib.  That shit HURTS.  Imagine what fracturing YOUR FUCKING BACK feels like.

What the hell’s going on in the back, anyway?  Spinal cord, discs.  Someone very close to me has been suffering general lower back pain for a few weeks now, and it looks like it hurts like a bitch.  And he FRACTURED his back?

Fuck.  Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck.  FUCK.


As that took about two minutes to draft, my time to panic is over.  I will now proceed with the rest of my day as though the third baseman on my favorite baseball team didn’t just fracture HIS FUCKING BACK.  Because as we all know, we’re each of us one fractured back and seven to ten days’ worth of rest from NOT being on a pace to strike out 172 times this year.

Yes, I know.  I’m all over the place on this post.  Leave me alone.  David Wright fractured HIS FUCKING BACK.


(via Foul Ball Mom – mlkshk)

Sweet sassy molassey.

And is that infant wearing headgear?

I really wanted to write a long post about Carlos Beltran tonight. Had it all mapped out, with a fairy tale artifice: the Mets as a struggling village of well-meaning folk; the Rockies as marauders.

Then it got me thinking of that Japanese story about the bear that terrorized a village, and their salvation lying in the skill of a grizzled drunk hunter, who’d tangled with the bear before. Yellow Fang? Something.

But truth be told, it’s late, and I’m too tired to engage in crafting conceit. It’s the first week in ages that I’ve spent entirely at the office. I’ve had a brutal stiff neck that has yet to respond to heat, and I can’t get a massage for dumb yet important reasons. And an event which took place earlier in the week makes me want to hunt down a certain clueless driver in western Massachusetts with a baseball bat, and show him what a ground-rule double means in South Brooklyn.

So no. Let’s keep this simple and effective:

Carlos Beltran hit three home runs today. In doing so, he tied Mike Piazza for second on the Mets’ all-time multi-HR game list with 17, needing five more to catch Darryl Strawberry (though Beltran will never hit nine against Shelbyville). He carried the Mets to a series win against a team that swept them at home, which if I recall was the start of bad feeling this season. It’s when I started feeling shitty, anyway.

Carlos Beltran hit three home runs against the Colorado Rockies, shutting up a pain in the ass heckler in the seventh and a half-full stadium in the ninth. Carlos Beltran of the bad knees and generous, if wholly earned, contract. Carlos Beltran hit three 2-run bombs, to left, right, and center, from both sides of the plate.

Carlos Fucking Beltran.

And then he skinned Dinger, the Rockies mascot, wore his hide through the Denver rain to the highest spot in the city, and decried the hubris that led to the construction of a ballpark so close to the heavens.

“Only heroes may venture so high,” he announced in a booming baritone that shook the very souls of men and made women quiver. “Only heroes. And they must first ask permission.”

Somewhere, his toy poodles sleep soundly. I shall do the same.

I’m watching the Brewers “play” the Padres, or, more appropriately, the Padres play the Brewers.  Randy Wolf was wholly ineffective through 3.1, and now Sergio Mitre is on the mound with one on and one out in a 5-0 game (advantage: camo fathers).

So occasionally I look over to see what’s happening.  I just looked over and saw this.

I’m too lazy to run a search, and doubtless any internet search at work for


…will overload my workstation’s filter.

So, if you know, let me know on Twitter (gah): @omniality

Sergio Mitre allowed a hit and induced a double play.  Inning over.  ::Snooze.::

On March 30th, I wrote:

“I’m going to find the site bearing the most direct explanation of saber-style statistics I can, hoist a beer, and watch the Sox do whatever it is they call baseball.

Which is some horseshit, because they don’t even let the pitcher BAT.”

If you know me, you understand that a great deal of the writing that I do is for entertainment purposes only.

Still, it recently came to my attention that my joke was worded in such a way as to preclude the possibility of seeing and experiencing things that I would find fairly VERY mind-blowingly enjoyable.

I very much want to see and experience these things.

So: I retract and correct my statement.  Red Sox baseball is not horseshit.  The DH rule is wrong: all players should be on offense and defense.  And thus, that is horseshit.  But the rule is not the sole fault of the Red Sox if they voted for the DH (it was passed by AL teams in an 8-4 vote), and not their fault at all if they didn’t vote for it at all.  The fault lies with old Philadelphia A’s manager Connie Mack for thinking of it and with Charlie Finley of the Oakland A’s for being its latter-day champion.

Thus, “watch the Sox do whatever it is they call baseball” is a misleading provocative clause.  The Red Sox do play baseball, and as I recall they were playing against another, American League team, certainly poorer in history and charm, if not just in aptitude or ability. 

I also apologize for the poor grammar: “do whatever it is they call baseball?”  ::Chuckles nervously.:: Who talks like that?  People play baseball.  I’m a moron.

In short: it was wrong and short-sighted of me to present the Red Sox as a source of ridicule, especially at the beginning of the season, and especially on the matter of the DH, which is something they cannot control.  I am sorry.

Very, very sorry.

But in a suave, adult, and still-attractive way, and not a simpering, childish, begging way. 

Unless that would be appreciated.

In which case, I’m probably not above it.

By @sixthfoul (Jeff Reguilon), retweeted (…God damn it.):

I wanted to gloat about the Lakers disaster, but then I read a fake Martin Luther King, Jr. quote and it totally turned me around.

That’s about right.

From April 29th through yesterday, there hasn’t been much time for baseball.  I watched a great deal of baseball, to be sure, but while monitoring/preparing for a whole host of events having little, if anything, to do with baseball.  This post will follow the same pattern.  Strap in.


I was asked by a friend from West Virginia how long it would be before we could make fun of a devastating national event on the day of said event.  Because I felt it was a wholly inappropriate time to ask, I told him, “Never.”  Of course, “Never” for me turned out to be about five hours, when I told a joke about how the events of the day had really taken “the heat off the sharks.”  (Let it be known: I told that joke first.  Not the guy quoted in the Times a couple weeks later, and not Stephen Colbert’s writers last week.  Me.  And it’s GOLD.)

I spend a great deal of time thinking about timing, and in fact have been working slowly to revive a venture dedicated to supporting comedians who are willing to help discover the boundaries of good humor.  The musty attic of that venture, A Lush In Rio, holds a trove of poorly-written yet well-meaning and hard-striving witticisms, chuckles, and giggles, with a few genuine explosions of glee.  The new face of it will more pointedly ask when it is okay to make fun of… anything.

I’m not seeking to kill humor.  I understand that the answer to the question “When is it okay to make fun of [person, place, or thing]?” is “It depends.”  But I believe that if we all took a bit more time to chart the edge of that border of appropriateness, at times going OVER the line so that we may know what that line is, we’d get along better.  Take yourself seriously, but understand why others might not take you as seriously.

“Never,” therefore, bothers me as a response that I was so certain about, it came from my mouth as soon as my friend had stopped speaking.  Yeah, it’s understandable I would have such a reaction.  But I’ve watched Kelly’s Heroes and laughed uproariously.  Is there anything funny about World War II?  Depends.  I reserve the right to laugh at Donald Sutherland as a hippie tank commander, even though I was born nearly forty years after the war’s end, because it’s fucking funny.  He barks; he conducts music blaring from a loudspeaker attached to the thing; he gives Gavin MacLeod a hard time the way only a hippie can.  Quoting Jimmy Valmer: “I mean, come on.”

The shorthand for all this might be declaring myself in pursuit of a sort-of “Voltaire’s Utopia,” defending the right of free speech for all.  But that’s actually glib.  I’m after humor as effective catharsis, as a means of pursuing and processing debate on the problems whose solutions will define us as a people.  I’m also after defusing the lazy charge that those who use humor as entry into discussion aren’t serious about the topics they choose to discuss.  And I’m after neutering the perception that some of the more hard-core humorists operating today are guilty of prejudice or bigotry. 

But neither am I looking to be soft on the funny.  An effective examination of the boundaries of good taste and humor requires a knowledge of the topic greater than simply a skimming; such research should and must be done so as to avoid being tagged a philistine.  (Which reminds me: I must start reading everything I can about Larry the Cable Guy.) 

I want people to read more.  I want them to seek understanding through reasoned discussion.  And instead of resorting to shouts and slings at the first sign of stress or conflict, I want jokes.  Jokes that highlight folly, and jokes that are pinpricks into overblown balloons.  I think that’s how we’ll be freed from an overabundance of people full of hot air.  And how we’ll know that our pain is real.

The night of May 1st, I watched the Mets-Phillies game on my laptop in my office, repairing shelves that had come down around me the night before.  Around 11pm, I checked the website of The New York Times and, a moment after I had, my mother called me.  A friend came over.  After one bourbon and three hours of news coverage, we left for a diner, but not before watching a YouTube clip of the opening to The A-Team.  Stirring.

After a grilled cheese sandwich and a goodbye to my friend for the night, I walked home, cried a little, and went to bed.

You probably know what I’m referring to on the basis of the date, and would be more certain if I told you I’m from New York (which you could possibly infer by my Mets fandom), or if you knew what year held “The Summer of the Shark.”  But change just a few things around here—and eliminate the reference to The A-Team, say—and I could be talking circuitously about any number of major news events.  The things I find funny are things you might not find funny if you’re closer to them.  But I defy you to carve out an existence wherein ANY joke about murder or poverty or disease or mislaid supremacism is considered in poor taste for all time.  If you have carved out such an existence, then you are, by brutal definition, merely existing.

So they found the man’s medicine cabinet held a bottle of Viagra.  I guess he really wasn’t packing heat…