"AND ROCKY RACCOON CHECKED INTO HIS ROOM…"
And he sure’s hell didn’t find Gideon’s bible this time! I discovered an uninvited houseguest last weekend while painting around my fireplace when I heard a critter rustling about. Upon further investigation, a full-grown All-American raccoon had taken up residence in one of my chimney stacks! A little background: according to neighborhood legend, a previous resident of my house was a caterer back in the ‘60s/’70s, and he custom-built this chimney that doubled as a barbecue with two full-sized grills that open to the outside of the house and two more smokestacks imbedded in it in addition to the regular fireplace on the inside. Fortunately, the smokestack for the indoor fireplace has a metal screen and cover over it, but the other two have no covering at all, giving Rocky easy access to a dark place for sleeping his days away. The som-bitch actually seemed offended that I would have the effrontery to disturb his beauty sleep with all the noise I was making too! My initial efforts to evict said critter after opening the flues failed—Raytown Animal Control was about as useful as a one-legged Riverdancer and even dousing him with my water hose down the chimney proved ineffective. Since Elly May Clampett was unavailable to lure Rocky out, I wound up letting nature take its course—knowing that raccoons are nocturnal creatures—and he merely waited until it got dark outside to check out of his little Shangri-La. I immediately covered the other two open smokestacks with heavy cinder blocks, so if Rocky is able to move those, then I’m getting the hell out of Dodge! Never a dull moment during home improvement projects around my house. Full photo coverage coming soon, btw.
Meanwhile, here's what Rocky's been up to since he left here!
DOM DeLUISE, 1933-2009
We lost funnyman Dom DeLuise on Monday at age 75. I remember for the longest time when I was a kid, I thought his first name was Don, from his numerous appearances on the Johnny Carson show. While I wouldn’t quite place DeLuise in the legend category, he certainly had his moments, like in Blazing Saddles, the Cannonball Run flicks and he was probably the lone highlight of the flaccid sequel Smokey & The Bandit 2. He was even part of a song lyric by The Who's Pete Townshend ("He rode his brother's Harley across the TV while I was laughing at Dom DeLuise...") from "After The Fire", which Pete wrote for Roger Daltrey’s excellent 1985 solo album, Under A Raging Moon. Rest in peace, Dom…
YOUR FIRST PLACE KANSAS CITY ROYALS?
Well, well, whouda thunk we’d be able to utter that phrase on May 6th? The boys in blue have won five in a row and are six games over .500 for the first time since, like, the Reagan Administration. Very modest gains, of course, but things do seem to be looking up around these parts, beisbol-wise. Pitcher Zack Greinke has turned in Koufax-ian numbers so far, and ZG already has three CGs (complete games) this season—I don’t think the Royals had three complete games by a pitcher in the entire last decade! Greinke also has only one less victory than the entire Washington Nationals team. In addition to the great starting pitching, the bats are starting to come alive after a sluggish start. Second baseman Alberto Callaspo has also been a pleasant surprise at the plate so far this year, and veteran acquisitions Mike Jacobs and Coco Crisp haven’t disappointed. Now if the Royals can just avoid their annual late May/early June double-digit losing streak they seem to inevitably go on, they might just get to play meaningful ball in the Fall.
And oh yeah, newly-renovated Kauffman Stadium has been getting rave reviews so far. I hope to check out the old/new joint myself during the next homestand.
LET ME UP, I’VE HAD ENOUGH!—PART I
The media (ESPN especially) is busy assaulting us with this new biography on Alex Rodriguez by Selena Roberts where she even accuses him of doing steroids in high school, as well as stealing catcher's signs and various and sundry other skullduggery while growing up. While I’m sure A-Roid is no saint, I really don’t care anymore what he did or didn’t do, plus this Roberts woman is hardly a credible source. As K.C. Star fathead columnist Jason Whitlock accurately pointed out (in one of his more lucid columns) this is the same person who pretty much convicted the Duke lacrosse players without a trial for raping the black stripper gal, yet never printed a retraction or even so much as apologized after they were proven innocent.
One thing I’ve never understood in baseball is why stealing signs is considered to be such a sin. Seems to me if you’re able to crack the other team’s code, then more power to you. Same goes for counting cards in Blackjack—the house already has the huge advantage to begin with, so if someone is brilliant enough to overcome it, they should be rewarded instead of punished.
LET ME UP, I’VE HAD ENOUGH!—PART II
Here we go again with the Brett Favre un-retirement thing. It’s so obvious that he’s a limelight whore and can’t bear the thought of walking away from it, just like Michael Jordan. If Favre wants to keep playing, fine, but he needs to knock off this drama queen act and just take a wait-and-see approach in the off-season instead of announcing his retirement every January, only to renege on it. Meantime, I can’t fathom why the Minnesota Vikings—a team on the rise—would want a 42-year-old QB with declining skills as their starter, especially after going out of their way to acquire Sage Rosenfels from Houston already.
Once again, one of our elected officials is totally unaware that we have big problems in this country, since he’s so concerned about forcing the NCAA to replace the current BCS bowl system to determine the national championship in college football. Rep. Joe Barton of Texas (a Republican, naturally) wants to ramrod legislation through that would ban the NCAA from advertising its national football champion unless they adopt a playoff format. "It’s interesting that people of good will keep trying to tinker with the current system," Barton says, "and to my mind it’s a bit like…Communism." Oh, puh-leeze! First off, Mr. Congressman, this is totally out of the NCAA’s control—it’s the individual conferences (Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, et al) that are calling the shots, and none of them want to abolish the bowl games, which are far too profitable for the schools. Nobody wants a playoff system more than yours truly, but I’m so sick of these grandstanding politicians trying merely to win votes with crap like this when we have far bigger fish to fry these days. And, oh what a coincidence—this Barton goombah just happens to represent the district where the new zillion-dollar Dallas Cowboys stadium resides—a potential home for upcoming NCAA title games and the ancillary financial windfall therein.
KICKIN’ IT OLD SCHOOL!
The NFL is recognizing the upcoming 50th anniversary of the American Football League by staging several games this coming season with the old AFL franchises sporting throwback uniforms from back in the day. I was hoping they would do this a couple years ago to honor the passing of Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt in late ‘06, but I guess waiting an extra year or two is worth it. The Chefs will wear the old Dallas Texans uni’s from 1960 (more or less the same as their current ones, only with Texas on the helmets instead of an arrowhead) in three games, including the one against the Dallas Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium—former Dallas vs. current Dallas. Some teams have been wearing the throwbacks regularly already, like Buffalo and the New York Jets (as the Titans), and the other old AFL alums will follow suit—can’t wait to see Tom Brady and Randy Moss in "Boston" Patriots threads. The Tennessee Titans will even revert back to the Houston Oilers for their pair of games in the throwbacks, including one with the Jets—new Titans vs. old Titans! Too bad Tennessee doesn’t play the Houston Texans this year—old Houston vs. new Houston. Similarly, too bad the Houston Texans don’t play the Chiefs—new Texans vs. old Texans. Confused yet? Something to look forward to this Fall…
NOW DON'T BE BASILLIE!
It seems the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes are threatening to file for bankruptcy, and are being courted by potential buyer Jim Basillie, who wants to move the team to southern Ontario. This is the same guy who struck out a couple years back on trying to buy the Nashville Pre-Daters and moving them to Hamilton, which is right smack between Toronto and Buffalo. Commissioner Gary Butt-Man is against this move, and so am I—mostly because Kansas City Coyotes has a nice ring to it! No offense to the good people of Hamilton—a hardy working-class town that would fit in just as easily in Pennsylvania as it does in Ontario—but I just don't see them as a major league hockey town. Let the puck stop here, please!
According to the paper, "comedian" Mo’Nique is performing at Ameristar Casino here in July. Tickets start at $55. I repeat—START at $55. By my count, that’s about $27.50 a laugh (plus service charge), if you're lucky. I bet I could outdo this silly fat cow without even trying. By way of comparison, Ameristar only wants 35 bucks for Alice Cooper tickets, and old Al's a helluva lot funnier, too!
COULD I BORROW SOME VASELINE?
Because I just took it up the ass today, having to plunk down $650 for a freakin’ fuel pump for my car! I’ve heard most fuel pumps are in the $200-300 range, but Chevy, in their infinite wisdom, requires replacement of the entire fuel module. Kinda makes me hope GM does go under sometimes…