Monday, March 3, 2008

The beach cultivates my intuition

..Or atleast I'll know in the next 24 hours whether this holds up yet again. Anytime, I've found myself in a rut creatively, personally, physically..My greatest relief, break, leap has come at the beach. In my formative years, this occured in Long Beach Island and in my only spring break appearance Jamaica. Later, Bethany Beach in Delaware is where my family decided would be our next summer break and so I dutifully drove down six hours every third week of August (and cursed at the Delaware highway authorities because there were traffic jams in Delaware on every single trip). Tomorrow, the next stage is in Aruba where I join my wife's family. I'm not sure this is going to be a relaxing trip. Eight of us will be stuffed into a two bedroom apartment. My solace will come during the day when I'm poolside or at beach. At night, my 3-year old and six year old nephews may go nuts. But that's what family trips are about. I was no less wild 26 years ago (though I thought I was a little more tame).
Either way, I'm certain I would've gladly taken a break from work on Aruba or Montana. Its been a cold, windy and harsh winter. We've not found luck in homes yet. Its taken a claw-like grip on our lives and its not a very pleasant experience.
But the beach, wow, my mind opens up with waves hitting the shore. Tropical drinks unlock the safe that kept my imagination in check. I start thinking about those days in Long Beach Island when I was a teenager, when I got so much fulfillment out of life.
A "beach romance" almost happened, but I let is slip through my fingers because NJ-to-Ohio commute was not really conducive though we remained in touch for a few years (KB from Cuyahoga County, I am talking to you).
Then there our endless games of Scrabble, Boggle, tennis, Kadima. ENDLESS being the right way to phrase it.
Marathon bike rides and running. So thru much needed time to exercise, I could replenish my soul. You see I've never gotten used to early-morning exercise before work ever. So as much as I enjoy working out on the weekends, working out during the week is a crap@#. So vacation is where this happens and I enjoy every second of it
Finally, me and good literature connect here at the intersection of land, sea. Giving me some newfound patience and insight on a level I never thought I would have. Michael Chabon has taken words to a new level of precision and appreciation. You can't read this man in a bus or subway or even at home
In order to appreciate his words, you need to be free of responsibililty, absolved of any obligation and this is precisely what I found out last summer with the Yiddish Policeman's Union and later, the Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (the latter, which I will finally complete on this trip).
Well even in writing this, I've truly gotten myself excited.
Until next time.
Have some cocktails, put on the Beach Boys and read a good book when you find that you find that intersection of life and work has gotten too clogged and stuffy.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Aftermath

Glory is fading, it is still a desolate February afternoon. What I experienced in the last 21 days (this was no blackjack moment) was triumph, elated glory, disappointment, anguish, sorrow, desperation and finally yesterday defeat. This is what happens when the football team you routed for since you were able to crawl rises up from nowhere to not only win the Super Bowl, but beat Green Bay at Lambeau Field to get there and then beat the undefeated all-world beating and yes undefeated (at the time) Patriots to get there. Then this is what happens in the forthcoming days, when your housing search starts to get numb as the days get colder. When you realize your place of work is no longer what it seems. Then finally, you get great news, that you finally found a house that we (meaning me and Mrs) only to be told that another bid was accepted. The momentary sense of warmth replaced by bitter cold yet again

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl XLII

There will be some great highs that I will experience today. In no particular order, its Skyping with my 7-month old nephew halfway across the world, running for nearly two hours in the frigid artcie, making an ambitious bean dip from the pages of that culinary thesis (the NY Post), for once staying home on a Super Bowl Sunday with a six pack of beer for the first time in about oh six years and finally watching my Giants run thru the tunnel in about 10 hrs to try and make a run at history.
I can't say what happens next.
Who can get into the mind of the madness. The Patriots are after all 18-0 and are playing in warm weather again after struggling in cold weather over the last month. Their run-and-gun show can resume. They've also had an extra week to heal after looking miserable in a 12-point win against the Chargers.
Yet everytime I dissect an opponent these past few weeks; I've noted that they might have too much momentum and too much skill and it could be a long night for the G-men. My team in all honesty is in that kind of zone, where they've basically defied all the odds and won.
And that's precisely why I'm staying home today. I like getting together with friends and family, but when it comes down to my team starting at oh 6:18 on a cold Sunday night.
I'd rather just be with the wife and my cat if the worst happens and the missus suckers me into watching something on TIVO when its 38-0 Pats in the 2Q or is there in triumph of another ridiculously awesome upset.
Driving home or taking a subway after all this madness seems like a long slow boring anti-climax under any of these scenarios today.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pardon The Interruption

NY Post hockey beat writer Larry Brooks manages to be the one writer at that publication who raises my ire the most (more then Mushnick would ever hope to get from me). Why? Because he's a partisan NY Rangers, anti-NJ Devils fan and he writes like one. I can't believe the NY Post keeps this guy on payroll, because not one nice thing is ever said about the Devils, he overanalyzes line shifts by current Rangers head coach Tom Renney and every chance he gets he lobs a fastball at the Devils.
This happened again this Sunday, when he wined about the state of parity in the NHL in advance of tonight's all-star game. How teams now play to get to overtime to get that one point that the NHL awards even if you lose. And then he says, how else do you explain the Devils. Well, Larry..the standings today, show the Rangers have 6 OT losses and the Devils 3. Also, you take a swipe at the state of affairs on the Devils.
Well, having lost many key free agents in recent years, my favorite hockey team is still in first place and its because Martin Brodeur is once again the finest goaltender in the game. Absent a first rate defense, it looks like he is on his way to getting his most saves ever. (he has made 1166 saves so far this year and last year his 2,182 saves was the most in his career), is averaging 2.16 GAA and .919 save percentage. All amongst his best marks. Also, we've seen the rising of some news stars this year in Zach Parise and Travis Zajac and a fiery head coach in Brent Sutter. Whether this combination works in the end, we'll know more in April. For now, Mr. Brooks, your boring, boarish behavior and 1600 word columns need to go the way of Stephane Matteau, who's heartbreaking OT goal against the Devils in the 1994 Eastern Conference finals stands as the last great highlight that your Rangers will ever see (okay, I'll concede that um Stanley Cup win too).
Signed, this snobbish Devils fan.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Final Showdown at the Frozen Tundra

Am I getting caught up in the hype?
You bet I am. My fun-loving giants, who seem to lose players to injuries every week. Are back at at it again. With a Super Bowl shot on the line. In Lambeau Field vs. The Last Gunslinger. (and this is not Stephen King's gunslinger Roland, the protagonist of the Dark Tower anthology). Brett Favre has had his own tragedies and triumphs to fill a couple of novels in his 15 + years in the league.
But what's stood out is that he has done it in one place and united by one nation. The Green Bay Packers ties with their hometown go back to 1921. They play in the same stadium and are a true standardbearer for this league. Their road to redemption (two years after a 3-13 season and Brett's "certain retirement) are also an inspiring story.
Like I said last week kids, I've written way too much on my Giants these past few weeks. Its time to let the story unfold on the field.
I promise like I said last week, more on politics, entertainment and prose in the coming weeks.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thanks Frr The Memories

Well unlike Fall Out Boy's not-so-memorable to one night stands, the Giants atleast have stuck around thru now 17 nights this season. Teasing us with the extraordinary and more often then not breaking our hearts with dropped passes and misreads. But in the last two games, this team has proven that its ready to rise above the muck and make a name for itself. BTW, PTI..while Brett Favre said yesterday on multiple occassions that he was ready for Dallas, he forgot that they hadn't played yet. Or was Brett, rather, subconscioulsy SCARED to face the Giants..Well anyways, getting back to the task at hand. The G-Men have a shot today and I think its because we drafted Ahmad Bradshaw in the seventh round. Honestly, the kid never saw a pass or rush thrown in his direction until the 11th week of the season. He has fresh legs, and he's actually pretty darn fast. I know the NFL will punish you for crimes and misdismeanors in College in the NFL draft, but I'm rather shocked no team took this kid as a fourth round draft choice. The Cowboys know everyone else on the Giants, except this kid. So I have a feeling like the Giants can win this game if they stick to a classic 1-2 rushing attack w/Jacobs and Ward and get Eli 20-25 passing attempts in play action.
This brings us back full circle to game 1 of the season. The Giants must still find a way to stop the passing attack of Romo, Owens, Witten and crew. But you know what, I think we'll have another ole fashioned shootout in D-Town and the Giants will not go down thrice to Dallas. As a backup though I did buy free tickets for Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, plus Carrie Underwood to attend the game. Not sure why that might be noteworthy here.
I assure you loyal readers, I will delve more into politics and prose next week or the week after, but I gotta see this through.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

On Any Given Saturday...

What happened last night might be the turning point in Eli Manning's young career. We reserve judgement on this call until next weekend at Raymond James Stadium when we face old foe Jeff Garcia and yet another new team, the Tampa Bay Bucs, for the third wildcard playoff game in the last five years.
But what can I write this morning, that hasn't been said already by my the magnificent sportswriting brethren! Eli stared down the kings of kings, the New England Patriots, and nearly won the battle. He found a new weapon in Kevin "Who's the" Boss, was composed in the pocket, and found Plaxico Burress again (he looked the healthiest he has since the first month of the season). The Giants D, as I predicted, could not stop the Patriots all-world WR tandem of Randy Moss and Wes Welker, but the Pats RB, Laurence Maroney did nothing and Tom Brady got some pressure on him.
Did we lose the war? Well if Kavika Mitchell is out next week, I think the Bucs are still going to be scared by this Gerris Wilkinson guy. Came off the bench was involved in every play. Offensive line didn't flinch when their true center Shaun O'Hara came out with an injury.
So here is what I think this did and history may have to soon start judging "crazy" Tom Coughlin on this year. I think he motivated this squad by leaving all the starters in and fighting till the end when they had ZERO to play for.
You read the comments by some of these G-men this morning and they sound pretty darn confident. Whether this translates to a "W" in Tampa and beyond, we don't know. But we do know is that Coughlin and "easy" Eli have these guys on the same page. These guys possibly have the best mindset heading in the postseason then the previous two years. And more importantly, they get homefield advatange (because its a roadgame).

Note to readers: I promise you that after this month is over, I'll return to more widranging topics then the pigskin. Until then, Chris Matthews can sure as hell adequately tell you about the upcoming presidential caucuses in Iowa and New Hampshire over the next week or so.