Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The saga continues; bowels uncooperative

To those of you foolish enough not to believe in the notion of karmic retribution, I offer the following cautionary tale. Behold, ye of little faith:

His convalescence from that nagging muscle strain complete, Your Humble Narrator targeted this past Monday as the day on which he'd set about cutting into all the walks to work that'd accreted over the three or so weeks during which he'd been more or less immobilized.

The weather having turned predictably balmy over that same period, a five-mile trek in the a.m. was out of the question, lest he turn up at work gushing like a BP-built undersea well and smelling like a Frenchman and generally ruining everyone's just-burgeoning lunchtime appetite. Packing his tennis shoes, Orioles shirt and Adidas drawstrings into his backpack, our intrepid — though pitiably stupid — subject resolved to make the walk home after the workday was done.

Ah, but here Fate, that cruel mistress, would interject her horrible bitch-ass self into the equation. Where our poor protagonist, had he chosen to undertake the usual morningtime sojourn, would've by rights been ravenously hungry upon arriving in downtown D.C., today, after a pleasant combination bus-and-Metro commute, he was merely a mite peckish, and so elected to keep things relatively low-calorie, breakfast-wise: Some fruit and yogurt would be quite enough to sate his innards, by this point registering no more than a low, tame growl.

The kiwi tasted odd. That much was undeniable. A few slices, maybe, were OK — tart and tangy and ripe enough they had to be chomped on a pulse or two before swallowing. But the rest were overly watery, far less than sweet, mealy. If our boy wondered whether maybe they'd sat on that little barely refrigerated counter an hour or two too long prior to his purchase, it didn't show in the way he tore through the fruit, barely pausing to sip his green tea in the process. Like we said, stupid.

And here's where karma really comes into play: Following his little mini-meal, the guy e-mail-forwarded this story to several friends and co-workers, taking great schadenfreudal delight in their amused, amusing responses.

Fast-forward eight or so hours. Our man, if he can rightfully be identified as such, is getting rained on by the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, at roughly the midway point in his walk. Grinning imbecile that he is, he's got his arms outstretched, pirated copy of the new Eminem album blaring over his headphones, glorying in a refreshing summer rain and blissfully unaware that this storm is an omen — nature's foreboding opening act.

And then the first wave hits him. He's way beyond public transportation now, a quarter of the way over the Memorial Bridge, when the acute pain shoots over his obliques. He shrugs and keeps walking, figures it's one of those inexplicable proprioceptive flashes, all sound and fury and signifying nothing, really.

At the base of the bridge a taxicab cuts too close to the curb and sends a torrent of hot rainwater slashing over his face. He wants to flip the guy off, but his guts seize when he turns. There is a godawful basso rumble he swears is audible over the sound from his headphones. And now the stomachache — a sharp, stabbing, low-in-the-low-intestine stomachache — now the stomachache starts.

He's still walking but now he's grimacing, hunched over, soaking wet and still two, maybe two and a half miles from home, and between him and that toilet — that porcelain fixture he'd never regarded as being so unbelievably, purely lovely as he imagines it now — between him and home is a stretch of road and sidewalk with nary a convenience store, nary a Salvadoran restaurant or motel office or even hidden-from-view alleyway to offer. Worse, this is Route 27, Washington Boulevard, there are no buses here, no Metro that runs parallel to the roadway; even worse, if the shit hits the fan (oh, God, not an image he should've conjured), he's directly adjacent to the Pentagon, and it's probably not a good idea to be ducking off the sidewalk and down some sloping patch of grass to try to pull of a quick covert defecation. Imagine the headlines for that shit: SUSPECTED TERRORIST ONLY POOPING.

Somehow, after many promises to God — about not delighting in others' misery, about trying to get to church on Sundays now and again, about being kinder and gentler and helping old ladies across the street and finally taking that trash bag full of disused garments to the Salvation Army and never again getting drunk and peeing off balconies — somehow he makes it home in just enough time to kick the cat aside and rush into the bathroom and undo the drawstring and ...


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Phil Ewes

Look, I don't want to beat a dead horse or kick a horse while it's down or do anything generally unsavory to our fine equine friends. I've already registered my gripes with MASN's team of commentators, and I understand it can't be much fun for Gary Thorne to have to sit for God knows how many hours each day in sweaty press boxes repeating himself ad nauseam about glorified triple-A'ers being unable to pick up runners in scoring position or making untimely errors or blowing yet another save or, like, failing drug tests and getting caught cheating with one another's wives (which has to happen if this season is truly to go down in history as the quintessential baseball train-wreck).

What's more, I understand how all this might eventuate in Thorne's tendency to pour it on a little thick whenever the inevitable in-game meltdown happens each evening; it's like the guy's patting himself on the back for prognosticating the painfully obvious, gloating that (for example) Robinson Cano was just due for the hit that would continue his remarkable streak, and wouldn't you know it, the base knock came just when the Bombers had loaded them up, thereby putting themselves in position to take the lead, and at the expense of Cla Meredith, who just couldn't buy a hold this year.

So Gary gets a pass for all that, in my book. I'll even let him off the hook for his supremely irritating "three-RBI home run" call; ditto for bastardizing the surname of erstwhile O's manager Dave "Tromblay." (In a previous life, after all, Thorne was one hell of an NHL announcer, and it's gotta be tough to scrub one Yannick Tremblay from the ol' memory bank.)

But what I really, really cannot abide is the way Thorne pronounces the last name of Yankees hurler Phil Hughes: "Yoos," he calls him. What is this, Pygmalion? Do we need to get 'Enry 'Iggins up in the booth to work with Gary on speaking the King's?

Please, Gary, if we have to play — and probably lose to — these guys 18 times a season, at least heed this advice: You're a professional broadcaster. You're not beneath proper intonation of glottal fricatives.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

71 and 8

No, friends, that's not the record this sorry excuse for a ball club will have to post the rest of the way to break even this season.

Rather, it's the running tally of exercise sets and walks to work, respectively, that I've racked up while allowing the muscle strain in my lower right leg to heal. Rest assured that Your Humble Narrator will not be invoking a piddling little high-ankle tweak toward the end of excusing himself from his stated summer mission. A little more ice, a little more Ben-Gay, a steady diet of Advil and a new pair of tennis shoes and he'll be right back in the game — and just in time for the yearly D.C. wave of ungodly, oppressive heat. Gonna be a fun June, that's for sure!

Anyway, since moaning about the Orioles has long since passed the point of fun grumbling and entered into the realm of the massively redundant, here's some other news:

This photo comes courtesy of one Pat Ostrye, who attended the May 26 contest at which the Baltimore brass apparently decided to wholeheartedly embrace the laughingstock-of-the-league image the Birds have cultivated by way of their play on the field this season.

I'd say more about it — and there's a lot to say; just look at the position ol' Bobblehead Reimold's assuming to, er, make that catch — but I can't put it better than Pat himself, who writes:

Also, when I got home and opened it, it was broken. They were basically handing out metaphors for the Orioles' season last night.