August 8th, 2007


Airport '38

Hello there!

This post is coming to you from Chicago's roomy O'Hare airport, where the last hours of my vacation dribble away into a haze of boring prior to my return to tasteful San Antonio. I'll have a full report later, when I'm not in an airport (thesis statement: nothing worth reading has ever been written in an airport, including this post), but for now, a few highlights:

- I miss Chicago terribly. Doing nothing there is a hundred times better than doing anything in SATX.

- Still, I would have liked it even more if it had knocked off the heat and humidity a bit. Every time I stepped outside yesterday, it was like jumping into a boiling swimming pool, and I seriously thought I was gonna die last night while trying to fall asleep. Which is much more uncomfortable than dying in your sleep.

- My friends are about the best anyone could have. My dear friend thaitea put me up several nights of my stay, gave me a very cool Middle Eastern cookbook, and takes good care of our fat handsome cats Gus and Kirby; rum_holiday and her husband Doug also gave me a place to stay, cooked me a fantastic meal*, and hosted a couple of games of Cities & Knights of Catan, one of which I won**; Lara and her husband theletterr likewise put me up for a night, were tremendous hosts who treated me to a great Greek meal in Lincoln Square, and took me on a tour of their awe-inspiring early '80s LP collection; and doraphilia and picodulce, who just moved to Chic, took time from unpacking to hang out with me (accompanied part of the way by thevulgartrade, meet my friends, and generally be the kind of people who make me wish I still lived with even more. Even so_crates was able to truck down from Evanston to have tiki drinks with us at Hala Kahiki, which was the same as it always is: fucking awesome. Much apologies to those of you I wasn't able to hook up with, including Annie, adsinfinitum, and fengi, and much love to those of you I was able to see.

- We also drank at the Long Room, which was well on its way to becoming one of my favorite bars in Chic before I moved away. never_fear was there with her new girl, and they looked and felt very happy. I drank at least one too many Southern Comfort and Coke, a hardcore white trash habit I have picked up from living in SATX.

- Driving around in my rented Malibu, I became quickly bored of what the radio in Chic had to offer, and I didn't bring my iPod, so I stopped at Reckless and bought some new CDs. This is how I found out that Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky by Earthless is probably my favorite metal album of the year.

- We saw The Simpsons Movie on Monday, and it was pretty good. Not ten-dollars good, as Homer helpfully reminds us in the pre-credit sequence, but a pretty couple of episodes of the show stuck together before it kinda petered out at the end. Any Simpsons ep involving both John Swarzwelder and Albert Brooks can't be all bad, and this one had both in abundance. Plus, I picked up S10 to watch on the plane! It's 1998 all over again, and that year was really drug-saturated fun for me!

- Yesterday was my eleventy-billionth birthday, and to celebrate my shameful decrepitude, I got a new tattoo. (Warning: soaked in my own gore.) The tattoo guy noticed that I had a huge spider bite on my arm, and said he hoped I didn't turn into Spider-Man while he was inking me up. I said it wouldn't be so bad -- instant celebrity endorsement. Ah, geek banter.

Enjoy your day, buddy pals. We'll talk more soon.

*: Andrea also made a cinnamon-butterscotch ice cream that was off the fucking chain.

**: Okay, let's admit it: I DOMINATED that game.
i brung you purty flowers

That sports thing.

Okay, so, I am officially not getting it.

1. Barry Bonds has not been proven (by a court of law, by MLB's internal testing, or by his own admission) to have taken steroids or any other performance-enhancing drugs.

2. Even if he did take them (which, sure, in my completely uninformed and without admissibility to any governing or regulating body opinion, he probably did), they were not against the rules of Major League Baseball for the majority of his career, when he hit the vast majority of his home runs.

3. Despite the fact that Bonds, if he did use performance-enhancing drugs, is hardly the only MLB hitter to do so, he is the only one to have come even remotely close to breaking the all-time home run record.

So what's the big deal?

Even discounting the ready availability of steroids, HGH and the like, Bonds played in the era of the bandbox ballpark, the expansion-diluted pitching staff, and the (allegedly) juiced ball, but he's the only hitter who takes this kind of shit. Every hitter who ever played for the Colorado Rockies ought to have an asterisk next to their name, but they won't get one. I don't remember this kind of bullshit in '98 when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were vying for the single-season home run crown; far from tainting the purity of the game, they were praised as the saviors of baseball. And yet everyone 'knew' (as much as they 'know' about Bonds), even then, that McGwire and Sosa were probably juicing. And today, when there's little doubt -- McGwire is damned by his own hand and the testimony of others, and Sosa's catastrophic collapse and suspicious taste in friends has created more than enough reasonable doubt -- they don't catch nearly the heat that Bonds does, despite having broken another supposedly sacrosanct record. Bonds is and was a better player than both of them; McGwire was always a one-dimensional crusher and Sosa's home run hitting came at a time when every other aspect of his game was on the decline, whereas Bonds was always great, a terrific runner and a canny slugger, a fantastic fielder and a smart hitter who knew what swing to use when. He won a stunning three MVP awards before he became known as a home run hitter.

It's enough to make you think that his real sins are things like hating the press, being short with the fans, and failing to be properly deferent and respectful. None of which, last time I checked, earn you an asterisk.