Posted by: dodgrblu | July 14, 2010

The Nickname of the Rose

It’s been pointed out to me that my last post didn’t mention Scarlett’s nickname. I recognized that, but felt the entry was too long already, so I decided to make her nickname the subject of a separate post. And since there’s no baseball today (sob), rather than bore you with the details of my All-Star ballot, which players I voted for 100 times, and why, I might as well tell you about Scarlett’s nickname.

While we were going through the whole baby naming process, Scott and I talked a lot about nicknames. During Scott’s reconsideration of the name, “Scarlett,” he fretted a lot about what kind of nickname could come out of that name. He favored “Cari”— with the first syllable pronounced “car” as in vehicle (and most certainly not pronounced “Carrie” like the telekinetic girl in Stephen King’s novel of the same name). He hated “Scar,” but I suspected even then I’d call her that from time to time. Ultimately, “Cari” showed no sign of sticking, and since no obvious nickname was presenting itself, we figured we could just call her Scarlett.

I mentioned in a previous post that Disney Channel runs the cartoon “Phineas and Ferb” (P&F) a lot. Right after Scarlett was born, it seemed like every time we sat down to feed her or get her to sleep, P&F was on television. Being thoroughly sleep deprived and in a supposed “Percocet stupor,” I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention.

Then, one day, Scott started calling Scarlett, “Doofenshmirtz.”

Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz

Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz is a villainous mad scientist, who has appeared in (I believe) all but one episode of  P&F. He is the head of “Doofenshmirtz Evil, Incorporated” and invents bizarre contraption with a goal of becoming the overlord of the entire “Tri-State Area.”

I’ll let that sink in. Yeah, that’s right: our adorable baby girl is named after a villainous and evil mad scientist. That was pretty much my reaction when Scott started calling her “Doofenshmirtz.”

But P&F is a children’s cartoon, and Doofenshmirtz, despite his best efforts, never manages to actually do anything evil. His bizarre evil schemes and his peculiar inventions inevitably fail spectacularly. He’s not even really a doctor: it is mentioned in passing that he purchased his doctorate, and with his ex-wife’s money at that. (Yes, he has an ex-wife–and a teenage daughter.) Doofenshmirtz is bumbling, incompetent, and very, very goofy. And in this way, he is totally loveable. (That’s a poor choice of words though, as Doofenshmirtz’s failed love life is a recurring gag in the show.)

Our Doofenshmirtz

Improbably, the nickname “Doofenshmirtz” or simply “Shmirtz” has stuck for Scarlett. And now nearly everyone calls her that. (I also call her “Shmirtzy Schmirtzerson,” which Shea has picked up. Hearing Shea say, “Shmirtzy Schmirtzerson,” is a hoot.) Scarlett recognizes her name when we call her “Scarlett.” But she also responds when we call her “Shmirtz.” (We tried for a while calling Shea, “Doofenschmidt,” but that hasn’t really stuck.)

So, that’s how Scarlett came to be called “Shmirtz.” Of course, this is all well and good for now, when she’s an infant and doesn’t care what we call her as long as we feed her and change her diaper regularly. But if P&F is still on in a few years when she goes to school, Shmirtz is going to hate us.

I’ll be sure to point out it’s her Daddy’s fault.

Posted by: dodgrblu | July 11, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name May Be A Rutabaga

Until now, I’ve identified my darling daughters only as “Little Vamp” and “Baby Vamp.” But now that Facebook has rendered any hope of privacy obsolete, I might as well introduce them, and tell you how they got their names.

I had two primary criteria for a baby name:

1. It could not be in the Top 100 names for the United States or Washington state for the most recent reporting year. No girls named Emma, Emily, or Olivia; and no boys named Jacob, Michael, or Ethan in our household!

2. NO STRIPPER NAMES—no Candy, no Sugar, no Misty, etc. Especially for boys.

Actually, we had a boy’s name picked out long before a baby was ever on the way. We decided on it one day as we were driving down I-5. (With the traffic in Seattle, you end up with more time than you need to discuss relevant stuff, so you start discussing irrelevant stuff like what to name a baby you don’t have.) Scott shares the same middle name with this father—Anton. So we decided, if we were to have a boy, we’d name him Trey Anton, since he’d be the third male child in the family with that middle name.

Years later, along came a girl.

This is Shea. Her real name is Shealynn, but we almost always call her Shea (i.e., unless she’s in trouble). Her name came to us pretty easily. Scott wanted an Irish name in honor of his grandmother (Jane). And he was able to sell me on “Shea” very easily because of Shea Stadium, where the New York Mets played through 2008. (In case you’re interested, Shea Stadium was named for William Shea, who is credited with bringing National League baseball back to New York City in the 1960s after the Dodgers and Giants left for California.) “Shealynn” was perfect: an Irish name for Scott, a baseball name for me. Everyone was happy.

Shea Stadium is gone now, but our Shea lives on. I’ve collected a few pieces of Shea Stadium memorabilia for her. Also, in the Mets new ballpark, Citi Field, there is a placard on the outfield wall, next to the retired numbers, that reads “SHEA.” We hope to have the opportunity someday to get her picture next to that. Not sure how we’ll manage to get onto the outfield at Citi Field to snap the picture, but if the opportunity comes up, we’re there. (Otherwise, maybe we can just make her lie down in the parking lot next to the brass markers that memorialize where the bases were in Shea Stadium.)

We should have known before she was born that Scarlett would be the more difficult kid, because she was far, far more difficult to name. Since Scott got to pick Shea’s name, I figured I should get to name the second one. My first choice, Anastacia (Stacey), died on the vine because it’s consistently mispronounced “Anna-stasia” (like the continent of Asia). So, I moved on to my second choice, “Aurora,” with a nickname of “Rory.”

Ah, Aurora. It’s a lovely name, isn’t it? Brings to mind images of the Aurora Borealis or Princess Aurora (of Sleeping Beauty fame).  Unfortunately, in Seattle, it may also bring to mind Aurora Avenue. And Aurora Avenue in Seattle is infamous for drug busts, hookers, and cheap motels. About 50 percent of people to whom we mentioned the name were horrified.

Scott tried but couldn’t get over the association with Aurora Avenue. So there went my second choice.

If I couldn’t have Aurora, I wanted a baseball name. Turns out it’s hard to find baseball-related names for girls. We discussed Camden—with a nickname of Cami. But in the end we rejected Camden as too boyish.

Fenway? Dog name. In fact, we know someone with a dog named Fenway.

Wrigley? Another great name: for a PET.

Landshark? Oh, now, COME ON. (I actually didn’t know the stadium in Florida had been renamed Landshark Stadium until somebody suggested that as a name.)

Taking a page out of George Costanza’s book, we joked about naming her “Eleven” for Edgar Martinez. Edgarina was also mentioned. We were never really serious about those two.

Scott thought he had found the Holy Grail when he came up with… “Brooklyn.” As in, the original home of the Dodgers. He almost had me, too. Except that Brooklyn happened to be #37 on the list of popular baby names. AND there was a little girl at Baby Storytime at the library named Brooklyn, so I knew there was already one around here. (I was willing to overlook the fact that it sounds like one of those obnoxious celebrity baby names.)

In spite of this obvious violation of my #1 criterion, Scott campaigned hard for Brooklyn. He did everything but prepare a PowerPoint presentation. He DID in fact prepare a PDF making his case for choosing “Brooklyn.”  I was closer than he knew to conceding. But the final nail in the coffin for “Brooklyn” was Scott’s grandmother’s reaction, which went something like, “Why would you want to name a beautiful baby after a dirty little blue collar town like that?” Ouch!

By the end of summer, not having a name picked out was driving Scott insane. And he was driving ME insane with his obsession with names. Scott should definitely hold the Guinness World Record for the Amount of Time Spent by a Father Searching for Baby Names. (Alas, that isn’t one of the Guinness categories. I checked.) He spent way, WAY more time searching baby name Web sites  than I did. Just about every day, he’d present me a list of 5-10 name suggestions, which I’d summarily reject. The various lists included:

  • Arianna
  • Ariel (hey, if we can’t pick Aurora, no other Disney princesses need apply!)
  • Autumn (didn’t sound good with our last name)
  • Cristina/Christine and several variants thereof
  • Dylan (doesn’t sound good with our last name)
  • Erin
  • Kaitlyn
  • Kaley
  • Keira
  • Kiley
  • Taryn (pronunciation was a problem; even we couldn’t agree how it would be pronounced)
  • Zoe

Since the baby was going to be born close to Christmas, we tried Christmas names. I rejected “Noelle” (as a first name) due to my fear that people would constantly sing “The First Noel” upon meeting her. (This is directly related to my extreme aversion to the Beatles’ song, “Michelle.”) Scott rejected “Natalia” when he Googled it and discovered it to be altogether too common among Eastern European prostitutes. (At least that’s why he said he was looking at Eastern European prostitutes. Hmmm…)

Knowing that we were never going to have a boy to use it, we even tried converting “Trey” to a girl’s name—“Trea.”  But with the incredible number of people who can’t pronounce “Shea” properly, having a sister with a name spelled nearly the same but pronounced completely differently seemed almost cruel. (It is a good example of why English is a tough language to learn, though.)

This is Scarlett, aka Droolia.

Then, there was “Scarlett.” The first time Scott heard it his reaction was, and I quote: “What a silly name!” He associated it with Scarlett O’Hara, and therefore with the South. But after his grandmother’s utter rejection of “Brooklyn,” our options were dwindling, so he took another look. Research revealed that Scarlett has never been a popular name in the South. Go figure. It is quite popular (in the top 50) in Great Britain and Australia, and is rising in popularity in the U.S. (I assume due to Scarlett Johansson). But it has not yet cracked the Top 100 in the U.S.

Long about October, Scott decided he could live with “Scarlett.” His family was also on board with it, so it was pretty much decided.

And that’s how we named the girls. I will not be popping out any more children, so thank goodness we don’t have to do THAT again.

And just when you thought this ever-long post was finally done, there is an epilogue. Scott and I agree that, to this day, Scarlett does NOT look like a “Scarlett.” Shea’s name is a good fit, but Scarlett’s is not. (She also doesn’t look like a “Brooklyn” either, though, so we dodged that bullet.) So we have a little bit of “The Namers’ Remorse.”

And better names have cropped up since Scarlett was born. Joking that we should have named her “Droolia” because she drools so much, I said we could call her “Drew” for short. DING! “Drew” would have been a great name. And she looks like a Drew.

Then last week, Scott suggested we could have called her “Drea” (pronounced “Drey-ya”). Damn! That’s a great one. But it’s got the same problem as “Trea” vis-à-vis the difference in pronunciation between “Shea” and “Drea.”

Oh well, what’s done is done. Scarlett will decide what she wants to be called when she gets older (probably Emma or Olivia). But you have to admit, you can’t beat “Scar” as a tough-girl nickname.

Posted by: dodgrblu | July 8, 2010

I Have An Active Fantasy Life These Days…

Matt Kemp Superhero Action Figure
Andre Ethier Superhero Action Figure

Men in tights!

Ah, July 8. The day is finally here. It’s…Andre Ethier Action Figure Night at Dodger Stadium!!!

I’d be doing the dance of joy if I didn’t have a broken foot. And if I lived fewer than 1,159 miles from Dodger Stadium.

But with this event in mind, I’ve been trying to convince Baby Vamp to blow this popsicle stand and run away with me to Dodger Stadium, so she could get (me) an Andre Ethier action figure of her (my) very own.

Hey, don’t judge me! I am not the world’s worst Mommy. I made her an incredibly sweet deal for that toy.

For starters, I promised I’d buy the special Value Pack they’ve been advertising on TV–four tickets, four Dodger Dogs, four soft drinks, and four Matt Kemp action figures. She could have a Dodger Dog in one chubby little fist and a Matt Kemp action figure in the other: I can see the drool now. (Bonus: we’d have an extra Matt Kemp to take home for Little Vamp. Am I a great Mom or what? Double bonus: An extra Dodger Dog for Mr. Vamp. A great wife, too. Oh yeah, I’m the total package.) I might even be convinced to sneak her a few sips of Diet Pepsi…

But wait, there’s more!

I promised her we’d hit Dodger Stadium again on Saturday for Photo Day. We’d pick her up a chic new onesie for the event. She’d get LOTS of attention, being a cute baby and all. (And, as the holder of the really cute baby, I’d get lots of really cool pictures. Wheeee!)

On Sunday, we’d head over to Anaheim and hit the All-Star Fan Fest. Again, it’s all about Baby Vamp: she’d get tons of attention. I even offered to tell people she was Steve Garvey’s daughter. That should be good for a few laughs, right?

Then Baby Vamp and I would spend Monday at the Home Run Derby, and Tuesday at the All Star Game. This would involve a lot of sun block for both of us, but it would be so worth it. I didn’t promise her any particular player would hit a home run for her: hey, I don’t promise what I can’t deliver. (Great Mom, remember?)

Then, the cherry on top: on Wednesday, we’d hit Disneyland!! A ride on the Dumbos; waiting in that ungodly long line to see the Disney Princesses®; heck, even a cruise through “It’s A Small World” (only once though—I know my limit). Whatever you want, Baby Vamp!

All this could be yours, Baby Vamp. Imagine it! We’d be just like Thelma and Louise! That is, if Louise was six months old and Thelma was her Mommy. And hopefully we wouldn’t end up dead at the bottom of a canyon at the end of the week. Hmm. Too creepy? Okay, forget the whole Thelma and Louise analogy.

How could Baby Vamp possibly refuse a trip of a lifetime like this?

Apparently, pretty easily.

Her response to each and every one of my plans was the same: “Nnnaaaah nnnnnaaaaah nnnnnnnnn.” Which I’m pretty sure means no. If we hooked her up to Herb Powell’s Baby Translator, it would probably say (in Danny Devito’s voice), “No way, Mom. Forget it. Little Vamp warned me that the only changing table on the lower seating level of Dodger Stadium is out in the concourse right next to the men’s room. And there’s NO way you are changing MY diaper in front of a bunch of drunken guys!”

Smart girl. I can’t argue with that.

So I said, “Screw it!” and preordered an Ethier action figure off some scalper on eBay.

It’s supposed to be in the mail Friday morning.

Posted by: dodgrblu | July 6, 2010

Curse You, Disney the Channel!

Little Vamp is addicted to two things: her Binky and the Disney Channel. (Well, there’s also her “Boo” (translation: blankie), but let’s ignore that for now.)

The Disney Channel addiction started after we took Little Vamp to Disneyland when she was 18 months old. Prior to that, she didn’t know Mickey Mouse or his cohorts and had no interest in watching them cavort on television. Some would say we should have nurtured her blissful ignorance. But we just had to let the genie out of the bottle. (She had already made the acquaintance of a couple of the Disney Princesses® before we went to Disneyland, though. I’m not quite sure how THAT happened.)

But our visit to Disneyland offered all the introduction she needed to Mickey and friends. After we got home, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse became her new favorite, leaving Elmo and his pals on Play With Me Sesame cold and alone in the unrelenting darkness of unplayed Tivo recordings. Every morning when she woke up, after she bellowed for Mommy and demanded milk, Little Vamp would invariably ask for “House.” (After a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, it quickly became clear she didn’t want to watch Hugh Laurie on FOX.)

Her tastes have evolved over time. She still likes “House,” but her list of favorites has expanded to include The Little Einsteins (be afraid, be VERY afraid) and The Imagination Movers (she has a “baby crush” on Rich–yeah, him and Manny Ramirez). She watches all of the shows in the “Playhouse Disney” block at one time or another. Fortunately, not every show is number one with a bullet: Special Agent Oso and Jungle Junction lacked staying power. (Thank God for small mercies. I don’t think I could get out of bed in the morning if I knew I had to face “Special” Agent Oso.)

But lately, Little Vamp has been all about Phineas and Ferb. This is actually okay with me. Phineas and Ferb is funny: sometimes hilariously so. (My personal favorite line, from Dr. Doofenshmirtz: “As they say in Mexico, Dosvedanya! Down there, that’s TWO vedanyas!” If you know Russian, this is pretty funny.) And as far as educational content–well, if not for Phineas and Ferb, how else would we (and everyone in the Tri-State Area) know the end of a shoelace was called an “aglet”?

I should mention though that not everything on Disney Channel is fair game for Little Vamp. Shows that are off-limits include Hannah Montana Wizards of Waverly Place, and any show featuring kids named Zack and Cody.

Little Vamp says, “When I get bigger, I watch dat.” Yeah, sweetie, Mommy sincerely hopes Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers are long gone to rehab (or wherever else all those Disney kids end up after they get too old for Disney–e.g., jail) by the time you’re old enough to watch those shows.

But Phineas and Ferb is where my current trouble with Disney begins. Apparently Disney Channel changed their schedule without proper notice to Tivo. Starting last week, Tivo recorded numerous programs identified as Phineas and Ferb. But what was really on the Tivo was NOT Phineas and Ferb but a bunch of THE FORBIDDEN SHOWS (dunnn dunnnn, duhhhhhh!). So, for the last week, I’ve repeatedly found myself frantically searching through these recordings trying to find Phineas and Ferb, while Little Vamp quivers and moans next to me like a junkie with a bag of China White and no syringe.

This leads directly to my other problem with the Disney Channel. While searching through the Tivo recordings, I’ve repeatedly been exposed to one of the most egregious cases of Bad Grammar Gone Wild that I’ve seen in a while. Apparently, the Jonas Brothers have a new song and video. The song is called (hold on, let me get this umm… “right”),

“L.A. Baby (Where Dreams Are Made Of).”

Yes, I typed that correctly. And, no, there is NOTHING right about the grammar in that title/lyric. Every time I see that video, it pushes me over the edge. (And it runs a lot. Hence, it has reached the point where I’m blogging about it.)

This could have easily been prevented. Drop the “of,” and add a comma after L.A.: voila–all fixed! “L.A., Baby (Where Dreams Are Made).” Yes, L.A. certainly is where the magic happens, baby.

Or maybe the brothers Jonas lost a fortune in the financial crisis? “L.A. Baby (Where Dreams are…MADOFF!!!)” What, too much of a stretch?

But all jokes aside, here’s the problem as I see it: the target demographic of pre-teen girls isn’t likely going to recognize that “where dreams are made of” is nonsensical, meaningless, and W-R-O-N-G. So usage like this could easily spread. (Be vigilant, middle school teachers everywhere!) No wonder we, as a nation, appear to be getting stupider, when we’re exposed to stupid flagrant mistakes like this during our formative years.

As a Disney shareholder, stupid little things like this make me mad. But as a holder of not-all-that-many Disney shares, I am powerless to do anything about it.

So, to paraphrase Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz, “CURSE YOU, DISNEY THE CHANNEL!”

L.A. may be where dreams are made (of—grrrrrr!), but Burbank is apparently not where examples of good grammar are made. And for this, the folks at Disney should be ashamed.

Editor’s note: It has been correctly pointed out that iCarly is not on the Disney Channel. I apologize for attributing the production of what I’m sure is a very fine TV show to the fine folks at Disney.

Posted by: dodgrblu | June 30, 2010

Fear and Loathing in San Francisco

broom

SWEEP! SWEEP! SWEEP!

On Wednesday, the Dodgers completed a three-game sweep over the hated Giants in San Francisco. Better still, the division-leading Padres lost two of three to the Rockies this week, so the Dodgers are back in second place in the West, and only three games back of the division lead. (For the moment, let’s not think about where they’d be if they hadn’t gone practically 0-for-interleague.)

Now THIS is more like it!

Rafael Furcal is hot, hot, hot. Matt Kemp got off the pine and smacked a couple of hits, including a home run. And Andre Ethier got… a day off. Which, based on Monday’s and Tuesday’s games, I’m guessing he needed. I hope he’s back to his normal (by which I mean extraordinary) hit-spraying self on Friday in his hometown.

Of course, let’s face it: nothing is really fixed:

  • Depending on what the MRI of Manny’s hamstring shows, things could be even worse than they were on Sunday.
  • The Dodgers still need a quality starter. (Cliff Lee! Cliff Lee!)
  • Ethier has hit only one home run since his stint on the DL (but it was good to see him hitting to all fields last weekend).
  • Inconsistency runs rampant in starting pitching, bullpen, and the offense.

No, all is still not peachy keen in Dodgertown.

But the Dodgers swept the Giants in San Francisco, and you know what? THAT AIN’T EVER BAD! (So take your “Beat L.A.” and SUCK IT, Giants fans, SUCK IT!)

Really, though, it seems to me that the Giants fans hate the Dodgers (and all things Dodgers) more ardently than the Dodgers fans hate the Giants et al.

It seems a lot like the rivalry in football between the Seattle Seahawks and the Oakland Raiders. Seahawks fans hate the Raiders a lot more vehemently than the Raiders fans hate the Seahawks. (The Raiders save their blackest hatred for the Broncos.)

Maybe it’s just that “Beat L.A!” makes a better chant than anything anybody can come up with for San Francisco.

Or could it be that green-eyed beast called Jealousy? The Dodgers have won the World Series five times since moving to the West Coast. The Giants have never won the World Series since coming out West. (Ah, it pleases me greatly to type that.)

Back to the analogy: the Raiders have won the Super Bowl four times, and the Seahawks have never won it all. More to the point were all those AFC Championships the Raiders won over the Seahawks, back when the Seahawks were still in the AFC.

Oh, I do hate the Giants. But truth be told, I hate the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees just as much or more.

Still, there’s really nothing like a good old-fashioned Dodger beat-down of the Giants.

And I’ll rest easier tonight knowing that the chilled and bitter Giants fans are even colder and more bitter than they were on Monday. All they have to keep them warm is their hatred. And all of those fuzzy panda hats.

Embarrassed Panda

Nothing like supporting your team by embarrassing an endangered species.

Posted by: dodgrblu | June 28, 2010

To Sleep, Perchance to…EWWWW!

This magazine was front and center in the magazine rack at the doctor’s office. Now, is that really the message you want to send your patients?

I can’t bring myself to blog the Dodgers today. So, without further “a-doo” (heheheheh), something completely different. But be warned: by the end I’ll bet you’ll wish I’d stuck with the Dodgers.

I saw the orthopedist today. I sincerely hope there’s a special place in hell for the person who put an orthopedist’s office on the third floor of the building.

The good news: I have an Aircast (aka, a boot), not a “real” cast. I quickly discovered “Aircast” is a misnomer: it weighs about 50 pounds. The bad news is I may be in it for two months—six weeks if I’m lucky—and no weight bearing at all in that time (except when the doctor wants me to bear weight on it).  I have to go back Friday to get the results of the CAT scan which I got today, and do some kind of X-Ray that involves putting weight on my foot. (The alternative to the X-ray where I put weight on my foot is to be knocked out to do it. Heck, I’d probably let an elephant tap dance on my foot if the alternative is an IV.)

I left the orthopedist’s office with two prescriptions. One is for Percocet. You’d think I’d be more excited, but I find Percocet (and it’s wimpier cousin Vicodin) overrated. People always talk about how Percocet and Vicodin are such great drugs, making your head all floaty and stuff. I wish it did that for me: assistance in escaping from reality would be most welcome right about now. Instead I find Percocet is merely adequate to kill the pain: if I take two at a time, and if I don’t go too much more than six hours between doses. (For the record, it’s also difficult for me to get drunk, even when I want to. What can I say? I’m an expensive date.) Percocet/Vicodin don’t even make me sleepy. Instead, they have the opposite effect—they wire me so that I can’t sleep.

Which brings me to the other prescription: Ambien. Oh, Ambien, your reputation precedes you! The Ambien Midnight Munchies gained fame a few years back—binge-eating in the middle of the night with no memory of it in the morning. (Gives new meaning to  “a full night’s sleep.”) Then there are the tales of sleeping through sex: that’s even in the official Ambien prescribing information. (But haven’t most women done that at one time or other?)

So, I’m not that enthusiastic about taking Ambien. But I may change my mind when I’m wide awake and can’t get back to sleep at 2:30 in the morning (again). So, we filled the prescription. The pharmacist emphasized going to bed immediately after taking it because it causes amnesia. (She didn’t say it may cause amnesia, she stated it as a fact.) And she clarified that it’s not amnesia in the sense that you’ll forget about having a broken foot (again: a good thing), but in the sense you’ll forget what you’ve already done before going to bed. (“And how did you overdose on Ambien?”) Well, if it doesn’t actually make you sleep, maybe you’ll forget you didn’t.

So, browsing the literature that comes with Ambien  the first item under “COMMON side effects” caught my eye:  Diarrhea. Now, it is just me, or is that a highly undesirable side effect for a sleeping pill? I can just see it: you wake up in the morning with no memory of the night before, and you’re covered in bright orange Cheetos crumbs and CRAP. Well, that must have been quite a party last night. If only you could remember it! Think I can’t make that already pretty picture worse? Instead of Cheetos, try a bag of fat-free potato chips made with Olestra! (Okay, Procter and Gamble doesn’t actually use Olestra in food products any more. It’s now marketed as an industrial lubricant and paint additive. Mmm! Mmm! Good!)

See? I warned you that by the end you’d be wishing I’d stuck with the Dodgers.

Posted by: dodgrblu | June 26, 2010

I have a bad feeling about this…

Still shot from Star Wars.

After the three-game series last weekend in Boston, I was frustrated with the Dodgers. I was ready to take a baseball bat to an unsuspecting cooler of Gatorade. Fortunately, we don’t keep coolers of Gatorade around the house, so no sports drinks came to any harm. But if an innocent bystander, 1,153 miles away from Dodger Stadium, was that frustrated, I can’t imagine the level of frustration in the Dodgers’ clubhouse.

I keep reminding myself: it’s just interleague. The Dodgers are notoriously unsuccessful against the American League, and especially against the Angels of Anaheim (, Azusa, and Cucamonga). But I’ve seen some disturbing things this week. Ominous things. Things that make me worry that the Dodgers’ problems are deeper than a June Swoon or the Interleague Blues or a Lakers Inferiority Complex, or whatever you want to call it.

Back on June 10, as the boys set out on the long road east out of Blue Heaven, things seemed to be looking up. They had just swept a three-game series with the Cardinals, and they were leading the NL West by a game. Okay, the space aliens that had abducted Matt Kemp in April brought back the real one, Russell Martin continued to struggle under the weight of the extra “J.” on his back, Manny is being “Manny Lite,” and Andre Ethier was struggling after his stint on the DL (darn pinky finger). All that and they were still on top.

Other than losing Billingsley, the series in Cincinnati went okay. But then Boston happened. (I’d rather not talk about it.) And then it was time for another rocky road trip down the freeway to Anaheim.

Wednesday, under the full moon, the Dodgers felt the need to INVENT new ways to lose. (Maybe the usual ways had been used so much in the past week, they were tired.) In a truly bizarre series of events in the 9th inning, Kemp got picked off second base, Martin inexplicably took a wide turn at second and got thrown out, and Reed Johnson was distracted (perhaps by a shiny object) and didn’t run hard from third to home, so his would-be tying run didn’t score before Martin got tagged for the third out.

WTF?!?

Any one of those mental mistakes doesn’t happen, and the Dodgers tie the game. If NONE of those things happens, the Dodgers take the lead. I don’t know where their heads are at, but they certainly aren’t in the game.

Wednesday’s game felt like one of those games that can make or break a team. At the lowest point in the season, they climb out of the cesspool they’re in, clean themselves off, and resolve never to speak of it again.  Either that or they start circling the drain.

On Thursday, the Boys in Blue managed to pull their heads out of their collective backside long enough not to lose. But it was an ugly win. Two more Dodgers (I’m looking at you, Jamey Carroll and Casey Blake) picked off at second base. Carroll’s pickoff was especially egregious:  he was safe at second, but jumped up and headed for the dugout, apparently thinking he was out. And, while they managed to score 10 runs, they left another 10 on base.

Friday was the pinnacle of ominousness. (Yes, yes, it is a real word.) I didn’t expect them to beat the Yankees on Friday. And they didn’t. But it was how they went down in the 9th that is deeply concerning to me. The last four batters struck out (still naming names: Ethier, Manny, Kemp, and Loney). They looked lost up there. And they looked angry. Check that, they WERE angry. After striking out, Loney tossed his helmet and barked at home plate umpire, Phil Cuzzi. Cuzzi tossed him (feh, the game was over: so what?). Suddenly Kemp and Blake were also screaming from the dugout. And, lo, the Dodgers’ frustration was laid bare for all to see.

(Okay, to be fair:  from what I could tell, Kemp and Loney had a right to be angry. Phil Cuzzi’s strike zone for Mariano Rivera appeared larger than Jonathan Broxton’s ass. A lot of balls that sure looked low and outside on TV were called strikes.)

Clearly, all is not well in Dodgertown.

Yes, it’s only June.

Yes, the Dodgers are only 4 games out.

No, we’re not even to the halfway point in the season.

I shouldn’t press the panic button quite yet. (Is it just me, or does this sound like a Jedi mind trick?)

But I’m worried. These guys need to figure out who they are and what they’re doing before the season gets away from them.

And so, I send my plea into the void of the Internet:

YOU ARE THE LOS ANGELES. FREAKIN’. DODGERS!

And if this really is your town, START PLAYING LIKE IT. Please.

Posted by: dodgrblu | June 25, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For…

Even though I’m a writer, I’ve always had two excuses why I wouldn’t start a blog.

First, the Internet is teeming with people harboring the delusion that somebody cares about what they think. I didn’t want to be one of them.

Still, those who know me know I am pretty opinionated. I used to think that was a bad thing, but I’ve come to believe there’s nothing wrong with being opinionated. Having an opinion means you’re thinking. I try to keep my opinions to myself, but I’m not entirely successful. So, usually I avoid public outbursts of my opinion by venting in the car. This works pretty well when I’m alone in the car. But now Little Vamp and Baby Vamp are often in the car, so they are subjected to my opinions. And as They Might Be Giants or Chris Ballew (or any of the other former pop musicians who have turned to making music for children) could tell you, small children make a great audience. They can’t tell you that you suck, and they can’t expose the flaws in your logic. Ah yes, the car was the perfect place to air my opinions–until last Tuesday night.

Tuesday night, the girls and I were on our way home from the Mariners game. Being a masochist, I wanted to hear the end of the Dodgers game. (Hurray for XM radio!) The Dodgers had wasted a three-run lead and a pretty good start by Clayton Kershaw, and were now losing 6-3 in the 9th. So, top of the 9th, Jamey Carroll gets on, with the top of the order coming up. Okay, Russell Martin can’t be counted on to help, but surely Ethier can get on base and Manny can be Manny, and I can have extra innings to entertain me on the way home?

Alas, no. Ethier couldn’t, neither could Manny, and stop calling me Surely.

As soon as Manny made the third out, I launched into my rant about the wretched state of the Dodgers’ offense. This is becoming automatic these days: like Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” starts playing right after the Dodgers win, I start bitching after they lose.

I sputtered and spewed until a little voice piped up from the backseat:

“That’s annoying.”

“Excuse me?” I said.

“That’s annoying,” Little Vamp repeats.

Wow.

In my defense, I don’t know exactly what was annoying her: my rantings, the Dodgers’ abyssmal offense, or just having something besides “This is Halloween” coming out of the radio. But when a kid who is enthralled by the freakin’ Little Einsteins tells you you’re annoying, something has to change.

So, while I still believe that no one really cares what I think about anything, why should my darling daughters be the only ones to suffer?

My other excuse was that I didn’t have time to write a blog. This is where, “Be careful what you wish for” comes in.

On my way to work Thursday morning, I got into a car accident. Totally NOT my fault: the other driver drove into my lane, headed straight for me. It’s a pretty narrow road: it used to be only two lanes; now it’s two very skinny lanes, with a very skinny turn lane in the center. [Think Calista Flockhart, Nicole Richie, and (insert your favorite supermodel here), standing shoulder to shoulder.] So, here’s this Honda Odyssey headed right for me, and I have nowhere to go, so I slammed on the brakes. The Odyssey hit my Nissan Rogue head-on. I don’t know when I’ve been so scared. After the crash, I couldn’t get my door open, so I had to climb over the center console and out the passenger door. There were lots of witnesses. From what a couple of them told me, the woman in the other car fell asleep. Fell asleep–at 8:00 in the morning? It’s called c-o-f-f-e-e, lady: LOOK INTO IT.

I was mostly okay, but as the adrenaline disappeared, my foot and ankle really hurt. So, some very nice medics carted me off to the hospital: my first time in an ambulance. I have three broken bones in my right foot: that would be the foot that was clamped down on the brake pedal. I went home with a splint, crutches, an Rx for Vicodin, and a referral to an orthopedist. I’ll eventually be in a cast, and the ER doctor said I will have to keep weight off my foot for at least the first three weeks.

Three weeks in bed or on the couch is a long time.

And there went my last excuse for not writing a blog. (Or joining Facebook: start the bidding for my soul at $9.99.)

My first few posts are very likely to be about baseball, since that’s what I obsess about from April through October. And there probably will be a lot about the Dodgers at first, since I was already frustrated with them before I ended up off my feet with too much time on my hands. (The Mariners suck this year, so they are not proving to be a good distraction.) But stick with me. I promise I will write about other stuff–children, beer, wine, toys, books, food, music–all the topics that, like little vampires, suck my brain power away from developing the ultimate unified field theory, or solving the Middle East crises, or anything that would make the world a better place.

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