Saturday, December 13, 2008

Virtual Hell

You remember Thursday, when I came up with the Crazy, Hairbrained Scheme of buying Red Sox tickets for express purpose of re-selling them on the Internet? Of course you do. Well, the tickets went on sale at 10am and here it is 1:30pm and I find myself sitting in the Sox Virtual Waiting Room, which is a lot like a real waiting room, only the magazines are better.
The screens have been refreshing every thirty seconds since then. I can't do that kind of high-powered math in my head, but suffice it to say, it's a lot of refreshes. The one on the left is for what they call "Sox Pax" - four-game packages to selected games. The one on the right is for individual game tickets. Neither have opened since I've been staring at them.
So that it isn't a total loss, I'm doing some light housework and laundry. In their e-mail, the Sox call this a "highly anticipated ritual." It's a ritual, all right. They also say that fans will have the "chance to purchase" tickets. Carefully worded.
As of now, three games and four Sox Pax have limited availability.
As of now, my time is limited and I find myself staring out the window thinking about all of the things I can do that have nothing to do with virtual anything.
It is now 6:05pm and the Virtual Waiting Room is still full. In the interim, I managed to go to the post office, the gym and stop for a dinner sandwich. 4 of the Sox Pax are sold out and the others have obstructed view seating available. No single games are yet sold out, but there are several with limited seating.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rub my StubHub.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That's the saying.
For the past three years, I've ranted over the strange relationship between after-market ticket seller StubHub and Major League baseball. They advertise on the teams' web sites and now the teams are encouraging fans to sell their unwanted tickets via StubHub. So I joined 'em. In the spirit of President-elect Barack Obama, I am embracing change.
In addition to the 17-game plan that my friend and I have, I went on the Phillies web site last week and bought what they call a Six Pack - six additional games of my choosing of various seat locations. I picked up a Red Sox game, a Blue Jays game, a Braves game and a couple other plum items. I spent $326 on tickets that I plan on selling for much more than that to willing suckers via my newest, bestest friend - StubHub. The Phils had 51 sell-outs last year, and with the stink of "World Champion" fresh on them, it stands to reason that they'll have more in 2009.
At the current prices listed on the site, I can sell 4 of the games (keeping the two Orioles games I bought the plan for) for $682 - theoretically. That's just for 4 games. I can earn $356 and still see the Orioles games. Ain't that a bitch?
Yesterday, I got this little missive from the hated Red Sox, telling me that their tickets are going on sale Saturday. Guess who will be sitting by the computer waiting for an opening? Me.
In what has become an annual and highly anticipated ritual, fans will have the chance to purchase 2009 Sox Pax as well as single-game tickets to 15 selected games in April and May starting at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, December 13.
Those Red Sox fans are suckers for a game ticket, and I'll be damned if I'm going to drive to Boston to watch them, so the next best thing is scamming a fan for a couple of seats to a game. Every Sox game is a sell-out, and why shouldn't I be a sell-out too?
Ya gotta love the Internet.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Is the opposite of Facebook Assmovie?

I don't completely understand Facebook. I know where it is and what it is but I'm still working out the kinks. It seems to be some sort of social networking deal. I'm on there if you're interested, but you'll find much of the same content you find here, minus the witty banter. My workplace Internet bans the site, which makes it all the more appealing to me.
Ads and surveys run along the right side of the page. One of them bought my eye. "The iPod of Shaving" it said. I'm intrigued. Especially because I'd like to see the Atra of Personal Stereos, but I must have missed that ad.
There it is, on the right. It's called the Rolling Razor. Some sort of ring with a couple of blade heads. If it wasn't for the blades, I'd say it was some kind of sex toy. I don't know. Buy one and tell me how it is. It seems complicated, and I'm not sure I want to complicate something that I know I'm going to have to do again tomorrow regardless of the razor I use.
Baseball's annual circus called Free Agent Signing Season has begun. Fatso CC Sabathia signed a $160 million dollar, 7-year contract with the New York Yankees. That works out to $22.85 million a year, but there's an opt-out clause in it after three years, if either the Yankees or common sense decides he isn't worth the money. As a point of reference, that works out to $439,560 a week (before taxes).
I keep hearing and reading stories about what a shitty mess the country's economy is in, but I suppose it depends on what industry you're in. If your industry is professional sports I don't think you're feeling the pinch. The average salary of a major league baseball player is $2,930,000 per year. I don't know the average salary of the fans attending the games, but I'd bet you'd have to remove at least two of those zeroes. I think $160 million qualifies as "rubbing our noses in it" especially when the price of my Phillies tickets went up 7 percent a game this year and my salary only went up two percent.
Meanwhile, (speaking of a shitty mess) a friend is considering one of those flushing colonic deals. Seventy bucks to have them run a pipe up your ass and clean out your innards. Their web site says they have "... spared no expense in providing a state of the art pressurized system. Our system lets the water enter the colon at a low pressure, "sneaking in" before the colon can contract and stop the flow. I guess you wouldn't want them cutting any corners once that hose is up your butt. Something tells me that there's a reason the colon wants to contract, but I'm no doctor. It's an exit, not an entrance, right?
They say that "there can be from 5 to 25 pounds of impacted waste material in the colon with the consistency of cement or "black tar encrusted into the walls of the colon like bark on a tree."
Wow. I guess that's why those squirrels won't leave me alone? Maybe they can find that penny I swallowed when I was four?
Stand back, you never know what'll come out.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Tis the season. I love Christmas music. So much that I find myself forced to listen to it all day on our company's MUZAK system. I've gotten to the point that I can recite the words, and the calming effect makes me forget how I'd like to crawl into the ceiling and start cutting wires.
So, what better time to list my 5 favorite Christmas songs - in no particular order. You'll no doubt be singing some (or all) of these at your office Christmas party or in the back of a dimly-lit bar:
5 - Jingle Bells. A catchy little number about animal abuse. One horse pulling a sleigh full of (probably) drunk holiday revelers. The harder the poor horse pulls, the more they laugh. Written in the days before animal cruelty became a legal issue. A rarely sung third verse goes like this:
A day or two ago, the story I must tell.
I went out on the snow, and on my back I fell.
A gent was riding by, in a one-horse open sleigh.
He laughed at me as I there sprawling laid, but quickly drove away.
Seriously. That's a real verse. A cheery tale of near-fatal injuries ignored. He probably wound up frozen stiff like Nicholson at the end of "The Shining." Happy holidays.
4 - Frosty the Snowman. The eerie tale of children run amok. They built a snowman and cast some sort of voodoo spell to get him to come to life, and shortly thereafter terrorised a small town. They would see him destroyed before their eyes, then through some (apparently) pagan worship connected with the Christmas season, Frosty threatened the children, promising to return, probably at night when it's cold. Don't fall asleep, kids. The snowman is coming.
3 - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. The child was obviously traumatized at the sight of his mother making out with (someone) a neighbor or just a fat fireman with a beard. Either way, it's a sight the kid won't ever get over. I think the line about seeing her "tickle Santa Claus underneath his beard so snowy white" is a bit vague. The kid was half asleep, what did he really see? Which "beard?" Santa had a lot of white hair. And why did mommy tickle him with her tongue? I think the reason daddy didn't see what mommy was doing was because daddy was in the garage loading his shotgun. I saw daddy capping Santa Claus.
4 - The Twelve Days of Christmas. The poor girl is obviously the victim of a stalker who has enslaved several musicians, maids and dancers. The guy appeared to have a thing for birds, too. He sings it over and over in a hypnotic tone until she finally gives in and takes his gifts.
5 - Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. My all time favorite. The song starts out innocently enough. It's a cheery little tune about a horribly disfigured animal who probably landed his job because of some Equal Opportunity Law at the North Pole. His friends wouldn't let him join them because of his deformity and harassed him until he appeared to develop an eating disorder. (I assumed that part) Once it was found that his difference could be used to benefit the reindeer community, the others began to love him, even though they started out hating his red-nosed guts. When they found out that he was able to help them, their attitude toward Rudolph changed. A life-lesson for kids everywhere: Ridicule people who are different until you find a way to take advantage of them, then make them your friend.
Merry Christmas, bitches!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Three things that will never change.

I've been lifting weights at various gyms for over 25 years, and during that time I've noticed that one thing never changes - the propensity for people to leave things wherever they please. In spite of (or maybe because of) signs that say "Replace weights when through" or something to that effect, I find that I routinely have to remove hundreds of pounds of plates from bars almost every day. Today was another such occasion.
Not only was there 135 pounds left unattended, but another 150 on a bar left on the floor, presumably for someone to trip over. To no one in particular I said, "People leave their crap all over. These are the same people who will yell at their kids for leaving their toys on the floor at Christmas!" Knowing I was right, I proceeded to roll the offending bar out of the way and take down the 150 pounds from the bar I wanted to use.
There is a faction of the population that believes that they can leave their junk lying wherever they want because, in their view, "Someone will clean it up." [me] These are the people who throw trash out of their car windows and leave popcorn containers at the movie theater.
Today, while watching television (which I was doing because the wind was blowing 30 miles per hour and I had already done my heavy lifting) a Subway ad came on touting their new Flatbread Sandwich. It looked good (because it was on TV) and the announcer told me how good it was. Then, he told me that it was "available for a limited time." Why? If it's so good, why wouldn't Subway want to sell it permanently? Once they got us hooked on it, the next time a customer came in and wanted one and the "sandwich artist" told him that the sandwich was no longer available, would that create a good or bad relationship between Subway and its customers? Anyone? If it's a good sandwich, keep selling it. Don't tease us with it and then take it away. That's how my marriage ended.
60 Minutes did a story on the Saudi Arabian oil producers. They sent Lesley Stahl to talk to Ali Al-Naimi, the Saudi oil minister and de facto head of the OPEC oil cartel, because she's a girl and even the Saudi's wouldn't beat up a girl. One thing that came out of the story was that it costs those bastards "less than two dollars" to produce a barrel of oil. The other thing that came out of it was that there is more oil in the Khurais field than in the entire United States. It's the largest oil facility to come online anywhere in the world in nearly three decades with, the Saudis say, 27 billion barrels of oil. They also aren't scared of hydrogen, solar, wind or other so-called alternative fuels because they are developing their own green (that word again) and that Saudi Arabia is doing research on solar power because, no place on Earth is sunshine more abundant than in Saudi Arabia.
"But listen to what the professionals say and what do they advise: it’s not going to happen today. It’s not going to happen ten years from now. It’s probably not going to happen 20 years from now. It’s not going to happen 30 years from now, okay?" Because you are still going to be using fossil fuels," Al-Naimi predicted. He told Stahl the kingdom is doing research on solar energy, as sunshine is more than abundant in Saudi Arabia. And he says it won't hurt their oil industry, but supplement it. "Our vision is that we will be exporters of gigawatts of electricity. We will be exporting both: barrels of oil and gigawatts of power."
So - let's review. We're hopelessly addicted to oil. Most of the world's oil is in the Middle East, the most volatile area in the world. The country that controls the oil is doing everything it can to keep us on the oil standard and failing that, they will develop an alternative that they also control.
Al-Naimi says the U.S. is Saudi Arabia's number one customer. And the question is: what will Aramco do to keep it that way? One thing is discourage the move toward electric cars by trying to alleviate our concerns about the environment. They showed 60 Minutes their new $4 million experimental combustion engine they hope will increase gas mileage while it lowers CO-2 emissions.
We're screwed.


There's a debate going on over in Friday's comments about the Sean Avery "sloppy seconds" comment. Of course, he's a clown and probably a jerk, but I don't know that that's the issue.
The issue is that he said what he said on camera. Worse things are said on the field, but nobody has documented it. When it's recorded and presented to us, we act surprised.
I've never figured out what we expect of our pro athletes. They're men who generally have no other skills, and if it weren't for sports they'd probably be making minimum wage, but they can catch a ball or skate really fast, so we reward them with millions of dollars. They get all the hot women and when they go out, they don't have to pay for dinner.
We forget that they're clowns who are sometimes socially inept. Generally, they've been pampered and looked-after their whole lives because of their athletic skills. Most of them were given free educations (which they may or may not have taken full advantage of) and for most of their lives they have been the center of attention. We think that because of their station in life that they are going to act the part, when generally the opposite is true. That's why it's such a surprise to run into an athlete who acts like a regular person. It's also why I like the LPGA so much.
So, when you hear about athletes making rude comments, shooting themselves or generally acting like an ass, remember who they are and apply some perspective. Then, you won't be so upset by their actions and you'll wonder (like me) why such things become such major media events.