Decorate Your Ride

I realize of course that we live in a strange place; a tiny village nestled amongst a hundred other tiny villages. It’s a staunchly conservative landscape at the tip end of a historically blue state. “Redneck country” some might call it. It is the only place that I know of where you have to license and insure your golf cart or UTV in order to drive it on the roads, but old men regularly cruise their riding lawn mowers down Main Street to the post office without incident. It is a place when the men cut the sleeves off of their shirts, drive big pickup trucks and chew tobacco.

I would like to think that we are a unique oddity in small town USA. But somehow I doubt it.

To be fair, though the vast majority of my shirts still have their original sleeves and I certainly don’t chew tobacco, I do drive a big pickup truck. But for the record, one item that my truck lacks that most of the trucks in this area possess is the all too common decal on the back windshield in the shape of a bastardized Calvin peeing on something.

Sure, truck decals and other ornamental baubles come in a wide variety of flavors down here. There are plenty of Harley Davidson logos, deer heads and geese in flight, coal miners’ silhouettes, Nascar numbers, Disney characters, magnets shaped like ribbons to show support for just about everything, camouflage accents, and things that attach to your trailer hitch that look like large-mouth bass or boat propellers. There are also the always classy “Truck Nutz”. But that’s a whole different story.

Words and phrases are always some of the oddest decals I see. Like “If it’s brown, it’s down”; which is obviously some sort of hunting reference, but in certain neighborhoods will surely get you shot.

I will admit that I too decorate my truck to a certain extent, but on a much smaller scale. There is a St. Louis Cardinal logo in the back glass. There is also my statement about the silliness of the war between the Jesus fish and the Darwin fish, while simultaneously flexing my geek muscle; the Yoda fish. But I removed the decals that said “Han Shot First” and “There’s no place like 127.0.0.1” because I was getting tired of having to explain them.

The peeing boy on the other hand is a phenomenon that just makes my heart sink. It probably shouldn’t, but it does. It pains me first of all to see one of my all-time favorite comic strips perverted into something that the artist never intended and most certainly wouldn’t approve of. It bothers me too to believe that there are people who actually think that they are cute, funny, or clever. It’s really nothing but childish potty humor. As a friend of mine used to say, “Rude, crude and socially unacceptable.”

As if I needed you to prove your loyalty to Ford Motors to me, not simply by buying and driving one, but by displaying your desire to pee on a Chevrolet or Dodge logo. Ahhh – I get it now. Thanks.

There are also a handful that will inevitably lead to some sort of an unpleasant incident; like peeing on the words “Work” or “Ex-Wife”. I’m sure those will really get you ahead in life.

Probably what bothers me most of all is that these blatantly show that by liking one thing, it is okay to vehemently hate another to the point of doing something to it so vile and disgusting as publicly urinating on it. This is not the way people should treat one another. Yes, I prefer the St. Louis Cardinals to the Chicago Cubs. So I show my loyalty to my team with a “Bird on a Bat” logo – not by defiling a Cubs one. Why? Because though we disagree, I respect their fans’ right to support their team. I can root for mine without wishing theirs ill will.

No matter how delusional they are.

Wait… What?

SkyWatch Friday: Play Ball

govisitbanner

An unusually cool and cloudy August afternoon ballgame at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO.

busch stadium 1

The longer the game went on, the cloudier and cooler it got. By the 7th inning stretch, the wife was ready for a vendor to walk by yelling “HOT COFFEE” rather than “ICE COLD BEER”. Which, for the record, did not happen.

busch stadium 2

I’m pretty sure they’re going to have to add another flag to this array after this year’s World Series. (Hey, it never hurts to think positive, does it?)

busch stadium 3

Trade Winds Are Blowin’

I have often laughed at the expense of Padres Shortstop Khalil Greene for looking like everyone’s favorite stoner from Ridgemont High, and have always expected him at any moment during an interview to hit himself in the head with his own shoe and say “That was my skull! I am so wasted!

khalil_1

And now it seems that he is on the verge of being traded to my beloved Cardinals.

Will I still be able to make fun and laugh at his expense if he is on the team that I root for? Or will I take the higher ground and appreciate him for the ballplayer that he is, regardless of his Fast Times persona? I suppose that will depend on whether he plays at his 2007 caliber or relives a below average 2008 season.

Who am I kidding? No it won’t – I will still make fun! That’s just how I am!

At least he will feel at home with fellow classic high school movie character, Ferris Bueller’s best friend Cameron (aka outfielder Ryan Ludwick).

cameron-ludwick

So, even though the deal isn’t complete yet this morning, let me be the first to offer a sincere, “Aloha” to Mr. Khalil Spicoli. Welcome to Redbird Nation, dude.

Little Cardboard Rectangles

My earliest memories of baseball are centered around large family road trips to St. Louis to watch the Cardinals play.

My Grandpa had an obvious youthful love for the game. He shared our excitement when Ozzie back-flipped to his position at shortstop, or when Willie McGee came to bat. My Grandma on the other hand had an obvious youthful love for ballpark food. I remember us spending an inordinate amount of time running back and forth between our seats and the concession stands in a futile attempt to try every item they had to offer; “You like peanuts? Let’s get some peanuts. We’re going to get peanuts. You like pretzels? Let’s get a pretzel. How about ice cream? Crackerjacks? Hot dogs?…”

I suppose I inherited both passions.

Somewhere along the way I fell out of love with baseball though. Maybe it was the strike. Maybe it was before that. I’m not sure, and I’m not sure that it even matters now. But several years passed between the exuberant excitement of catching a game with my Grandparents and my reintroduction to the sport, which came in 1998. One of the first dates I went on with the lady that now calls me her husband (among other things) was a Cardinals Home Opener. That’s right. I wasn’t a baseball fan, but she was! So much for gender roles, huh? And I’m not talking about a casual fan either. No, she was die-hard! I will admit however that I didn’t find the player’s “tight white pants” nearly as intriguing as she did. (Darn you Jim Edmonds!)

It was just coincidence that my reintroduction happened to be the same year as the historic Home-Run record chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. And if that race didn’t excite you, someone should’ve checked you for a pulse! I was hooked almost instantly. We followed it religiously, watched the games on TV, and went to Busch several times. Later that year, but before the season was over, we were married. I guess I fell in love with my wife, and back in love with baseball almost simultaneously. I’m sure there’s some sort of bizarre correlation but I’m not sure what it would be.

One thing that my wife always did back then was to assemble a Cardinals team set of baseball cards each year and arrange them in a series of binders that she kept in her closet. Naturally, I started helping her. One thing led to another and suddenly I’m the one addicted to the hobby.

My name is Scott, and I’m a card collector!

“Hi Scott”

Years later, after Grandpa passed away and Grandma moved into an assisted living facility, while cleaning out their house my Dad found a stack of old cards in his dresser drawer. None of us knew he had any cards at all until that moment. So he gathered them all up and gave them to me. They’re pretty random and probably not worth much, just some of the players that he liked. But to me they’re priceless. I now have several things that belonged to my grandparents; dishes, steins, hats. But it just makes sense that the ones that mean the most to me are a handful of old baseball cards and a stadium full of memories.

Monday Miscellany

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a “double M” but I’m feeling very miscellaneous today. Maybe scattered is a better word. Or unable to focus. Regardless, here goes;

Baseball Blues

My team seems to be waning. After dropping two of three to the Phillies this weekend the Cards are six games behind the improbable Cubs and one behind the team I thought was going to run away with it, the Brewers. I know Yogi, it ain’t over ‘till it’s over. But I’m starting to get that gut feeling when I watch them play now. It’s almost painful, even when they have a small lead. Heck, especially when they have a small lead!

But this is baseball! The sport where the expected almost never happens. The Cubs could have a historic collapse like the Mets did last year. Or the Cards could barely scrape through the regular season and dominate the playoffs circa 2006. But (and I’m sorry to all the other, more optimistic fans out there) I’m not holding my breath.

A Kitchen in Disarray

The kitchen remodel moves forward this week. We emptied out all of the cabinets last night and I just got off the phone with my wife who said that they are completely gone now. The “they” in that sentence refers both to the cabinets and to the guys who ripped them out. She’s not sure where either is now, but they’re not in our kitchen. I should probably feel some sort of loss or apprehension about this endeavor, but I don’t. Maybe it’s just because the wife seems to be feeling enough of it all for the both of us.

You may have to put up with a few pictures on here in the coming days since this project is completely disrupting our lives right now. Maybe I should apologize in advance.

Entertainment News! (groan)

New photos of fifteen year old superstar Miley Cyrus showing off her underwear are circulating on the internet! …Again. The buzz from the last time was starting to grow silent, so she had to do something to get our attention! Is anyone surprised? Not hardly. Does anyone care? Unfortunately so many people care so much that the sites hosting the shots can’t keep up with the bandwidth. She’s fifteen for crying out loud. Our society is going to hell! And don’t start with the whole “train-wreck” theory that you want to see them just so you can look away in disgust. It doesn’t fly with me.

Did you know there’s a war going on? Gas prices have dropped to under $4 gallon and we think we’re getting some sort of sick bargain? Crazies are kidnapping their own kids and killing each other at alarming rates? But somehow the top “news” stories are about Miss Cyrus, Brett Favre and the Brangelina twins! Did I mention that our society is going to hell? Yeah, I thought so.

Our Weekend – In Pictures

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

It’s official – the St. Louis Cardinal’s perennial MV3 team of Pujols, Edmonds & Rolen has officially been split up.

MV3

Jim Edmonds was traded to San Diego in December for David Freese. And a deal was finalized yesterday that sent Scott Rolen to Toronto for fellow 3rd baseman Troy Glaus. It breaks my heart a little as a fan because they were the heart & soul of this team for quite a while. Now all that’s left is Albert; which, let’s face it, ain’t all that bad. There’s been tons of talk about these two trades – a zillion blog entries – some happy, some angry. But I am holding back, reserving opinions & rants for another time. It’s not like I could add much to either argument anyway. Let’s just say I’m grieving a little bit which will probably pass by the time the ’08 season gets underway. Rebuilding years can be a lot of fun… as long as the Cubs don’t win.

Beloved Mascot’s Name Makes ‘the List’

In a shocking twist to the buzz surrounding today’s release of the Mitchell Report; the results of Senator George Mitchell’s 18-month investigation into performance-enhancing drug use in Major League Baseball; only one name comes as a huge shock to fans, long-time St. Louis Cardinals mute yet jovial mascot Fredbird. Cardinal center-fielder Jim Edmonds had this to say, “I don’t understand why everyone’s so shocked by this news. The warning signs were there. His head alone has been getting bigger & bigger for several seasons now & let’s face it; nobody has that much energy without some serious doping.” It’s true that while the players tend to physically wear down over the course of a game, Fred has been going full-tilt from two hours before each game until well after the last fan left the stadium day-in & day-out. However the casual fan probably wouldn’t notice because he’s rarely in one place longer than a minute or two.  

Fredbird named in Mitchell ReportOf course I knew he was on the juice,” long-time friend Cincinnati mascot Mr. Red said. “But what are you going to do? He wouldn’t listen to reason & I’m certainly not the kind of guy to rat-out a friend.

Fredbird was unavailable for comment, but 19 year-old Brandi, a representative from Team Fredbird, told us that he’s anxious just to accept whatever punishment is handed down, get it over with & get on with the business of entertaining & invigorating lackadaisical fans. She then giggled & twisted a strand of peroxide blonde hair around her index finger before skipping away.

The repercussions of today’s news are yet to be determined, but the consensus at the Hot Shot’s sports bar on Manchester is that it will deeply affect the sports world in a markedly negative way. Buzzed from a liquid lunch, fan Roberto R. Robertson slurred, “It’s hard not to lose your faith in a sport that would let a guy like Fred hang himself like this just to make a bigger buck. There’s more to baseball than the bottom line. There’s also overpriced beer & foam fingers, & they can’t take that away from us! WOOOOOOOO!