Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Hope everyone has a great holiday season.


Once again, there is nothing to continue reading. Once I figure out the code required to make that go away, I'll let you know.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Whatever

Teixiera Chooses Yankees



(don't believe the "continue reading" part after this; I don't have anything else to say--it's just a glitch in the code. One day I'll actually express my opinion on this one. Maybe.)

Good Evening from the Flight Deck

And now, for your complete disapproval, a boring, real-time blog of my flight from L.A. to Seattle last night.


It is 7:41 pm. I am currently sitting on Virgin America flight 797, direct from LAX to Seattle. Scheduled flight time is two hours, sixteen minutes. I believe we took off around 7:13, because after closing my eyes and counting to 300 (a thing I do), my watch read 7:18. The handy map on the back of the seat in front of me indicates that we currently have 804 miles to go. When I first turned it on, that map said 913 miles to go. I call that progress.

I did not enjoy takeoff. It was windy in L.A., though I doubt that had much to do with the big turbulence about seven minutes after wheels up. It was not fun, and during any type of turbulence, I pretty much panic. This is what I do.

Turns out we can watch live television on this plane, which means Monday Night Football. That's interesting.

796 miles to go. Yes, I guess this will be sort of a real-time blog post. I won't be able to actually post it until I get to my parents' house, but I'll write it in real time. If nothing else, it will help keep my mind off my extreme fears.

I am on Lorazepam at the moment. One milligram. I once tried this anxiety-reducing drug about four years ago, and I didn't really think it worked. I was take .5 mg at that time, so I had the doctor up the dosage and give me the hard stuff. It's difficult to say whether it's working. I was in tears for a lot of the beginning of the flight, but I seem to be okay at the moment. Whether that's my own rational mind taking over, or whether the pill is having a sedative effect, I can't say. I won't take any chances on the return trip, though--I'll pop that pill right away.

Altitude: 35899 feet. Must be approaching cruising by this point. Air speed is 524 mph, which is just a little bit better time than I could have expected to make driving my parents' car back up to them in the great northwest.

I texted a few people before I got on the plane. Pretty much anyone I thought would answer the pleas of an insane 28-year old who grew up around planes and pilots and still has nothing but bad things to think about the whole shebang. Claire wrote back, then called when she realized I was maybe a little less "jokey" upset and more "petrified." So she gave me all the clichés, and made me feel a little better. I was just glad to hear her voice.

Cate texted as well, telling me how she had just been talking to her grandmother about me. I'll have to wait until I land to find out what's that's about.

And of course, my girl Christine was doing the best she could, despite being stuck in San Antonio at her mom's house. We chatted via Facebook. I was on my iPhone, she was on her computer. It's really remarkable how all that works so well. I was glad it did.

I had been updating my Facebook status all day with various quips about my state of mind: "Erin is awake and nervous" or "Erin has the drugs and is hoping she can ward off a panic attack" or "Erin is on the way to the airport. Pray for her. Seriously." You know, lighthearted stuff like that. My friends Heather and Sean left very nice notes telling me it would all be okay. My brain knows that, of course, but I can never get enough of people going out of their way to try to alleviate my fears, even though that's not really possible because my mind is a steel trap of panic.

Air speed: 521 mph. 738 miles to go. Tiny bit of turbulence there for a minute. Nothing that would bother a normal person, but you are not dealing with normalcy here, folks. Would a sane person blog the minutiae of a two-hour flight to Seattle? Unlikely. I had a friend tell me last night that I seem like I have a mild case of Asperger's or autism, what with my insane ability to count letters in words. This seems reasonable enough, I guess. But are autistics known for having a fear of flying?

I just wrote a few paragraphs but hadn't saved this document yet, and Word "unexpectedly quit." So, I don't know exactly what I wrote. I'll do my best.

I would like to tell you that I once had some horrific experience on an airplane, and that is why I can't stand to be on them ever. But that's not really true. I grew up around planes and pilots. I know that the method of travel is inherently safe. I know that my father, as a test pilot, has done far more dangerous things inside a plane than I will ever even dream about, and has lived to tell the tale. So a two-hour flight to Seattle should not be so freaky.

646 miles to go. Closing in on Lake Tahoe, where my friends the Harpers are celebrating Christmas. I'll wave out the window to them.

When I was in college, I flew from New York to Tampa so that I could meet two friends and drive to our hometown (Niceville, baby!) for spring break. The flight was awful. There were storms up and down the eastern seaboard, which made for an incredibly turbulent flight. I was freaking out like you wouldn't believe. I got out the paper jacket that held my boarding pass, and started writing my goodbyes. There wasn't a lot of space to write on that thing, so I had to be creative. Meanwhile, I was sobbing. Quietly, but still. People probably knew what was going on. At least the guy next to me. But I didn't care. I don't know why I thought that flimsy piece of paper would survive a disaster if I didn't make it, but rationality is obviously not a big part of these scenarios for me.

On our final descent into Tampa, we finally broke free of the clouds and I saw land and lights and water and my home state. Right then, I thought there just might be a god. That feeling was fleeting, but it was nice while it lasted. Shane was waiting for me at the gate (this was before 9/11, so he could do that sort of thing), and I hugged him like I've never hugged anyone before or since. I told him, and meant it, that I had never been happier to see another person in my life.

But after that flight, I got on a lot of planes over the next few years, never worrying about it at all. I don't know if 9/11 affected me, but I'm not afraid of terrorists; I'm afraid of crashing. So I don't know what my deal is. It's irrational, I know.

The flight attendants are serving drinks. I don't want anything. I have a bottle of water, but I'd rather just focus on the task at hand. I'll get water later. Hopefully my dog is surviving. I can't even see her, but she doesn't seem to be moving around very much, which is a good sign in this case. I don't want her trying to claw her way free through the mesh on her crate.

Altitude: 35858 feet. Air speed: 528 mph. 606 miles to go.

I believe our main flight attendant told us his name is Ting Ting.

Slight turbulence now. Did I mention I hate that? It's 8:08 pm, and I'm having a hard time believing I can handle another two hours up here. But maybe the drugs are working, because I'm certainly not at my full-on panic threshold. I will say that I was reading up on the side effects of this drug, and one of them said "false sense of well-being." Um, what? Isn't that the entire reason I'm taking this drug? I'm anxious, I don't want to be, so I'd like a chemical reaction in my body to make me feel like I'm just fine. That's the deal I made with the doctor this morning. Side effect, my ass.

This will be long if I keep writing for the next two hours. So maybe a break is in order. I'll watch a little football, maybe play a video game. I can't read my book because I'm afraid I won't be able to focus. We just passed over Tahoe. I waved. Hi Harpers!

Okay, it's 8:10 pm. I'll be back to the writing shortly.

Back one minute later, only to note that the satellite TV on board has lost its signal. Aren't we much closer to the satellite itself right now than we were when we were on the ground? This doesn't make sense.

On another note, I breezed through security, and was only slightly mortified when the agent made me take off my hat so she could verify it was clean (of terrorist tools, I mean; she didn't sniff it to find out when it had last been washed, and believe me, that's a good thing for her). I've never had to do that before. I wear my hat so you can't see my lack of hair. I don't like to take it off, particularly in public. That part was not cool.

8:13 pm. Guess that means it's been one hour since wheels up. Altitude: 35948. Air speed: 525 mph. 560 miles to go.
_________________________________________________

8:47 pm. Altitude: 35920 feet Air speed: 525 mph. 285 miles to go. When I turned on the screen and the map first showed up, it showed us only just beyond Tahoe, which seemed very wrong. But it fixed itself, and I'm now somewhere over central Oregon. Perhaps near Bend, though that town is not showing up on the map.

Played a few rousing games of Anagramarama, after giving up on a game called Mad Bomber. Seems like a pretty stupid name for a game people will be playing on an airplane, but maybe that's just me.

I just saw the Bears block the Packers' field goal attempt with less than a minute left in the game. That was kind of cool. And now we go to overtime. I'm not really all that interested in the game, but it provides a nice distraction now and then. My brother has it up on his TV next to me, so I can keep the map up on the screen in front of me.

I had dinner and drinks with my friends Stacey and Jenn last night (they're the ones who diagnosed me with autism and called me Rainman and shit; they're such mean girls). Four beers, it would appear, is my threshold for being able to function at a reasonably sober level. Four beers in about three hours, so my blood alcohol level probably wouldn't have been too shabby. I was good to drive, because I don't drive drunk and I'm not interested in tempting fate by giving it a shot. If necessary, I would have taken a nap on Stacey and Jenn's couch, which I'm sure they would have loved. But it turned out to be just fine. I made it home (after stopping at the liquor store to pick up the driver's license that I had left there earlier, like an idiot), and talked to Christine for a few minutes before crashing. It was probably about 11 o'clock. I woke up, alert and ready for the day, at 2am, because that's what alcohol does. I had an alarm set so that I could get up and go get the anxiety medication prescribed, but I basically tossed and turned until that alarm went off. It sucked, and you'd think I'd be more tired right now, especially with the drugs that may cause drowsiness, but you'd be wrong.

Bears just won the game. Yay?

235 miles to go. We're at a healthy 35922, and it is -51 degrees Fahrenheit out there. Chilly.

9:00 pm on the nose. Altitude: 35928 feet. Air speed: 526 mph. 204 miles to go. This pilot seems to have made excellent time. Good job, buddy.

Soon I will be asked to put away my electronics. It was not my intention to provide the most boring blog post of all time, but I think I've accomplished that goal nonetheless. I think maybe some might believe this whole exercise of obsessive blogging for an entire flight is just proof of my borderline autism/Asperger's. Right, Jenn?

My brother's screen says we have 148 miles to go, and mine says we still have 154. My brother insists this is because he's taller and therefore closer to the destination. Even he knows that makes no sense.

It's 9:09 pm and the map says we're right over Portland. Hi Aunt Karen! Hi Nicole and Dan! I'm waving out the left side of the plane, toward Beaverton.

There is now a discrepancy in the altitude between my computer and my brother's. Mine said 35906, his said 35919. The brother: "That's 'cause I'm taller."

9:11 pm, and I get the distinct feeling that we are beginning a slow descent with 120 miles to go. Looks like we just crossed the Oregon/Washington border.

9:13 pm means we're exactly two hours into the flight. We're definitely descending, as we are now at 34184 feet. Won't be long now.

Gets a little bumpier as we descend. I think you've all learned by now that I could do without that part of the magic of flying.

When this flight is over, I can finally be excited about Christmas. That will be a nice feeling. That is, until I have to start thinking about the return flight on December 31. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

9:18 We have been asked to return to our seats and buckle the belts. A little bumpy, but not too terrible. I have not been asked to stow electronic devices for landing yet.

9:20 Altitude: 19100 feet. Air speed: 385 mph. 60 miles to go. Almost there. So far, so good. Just get us to that ground safely, captain.

9:25 We're at 12238 feet with 42 miles to go. I have not been asked to turn off the computer, but I'm just going to anyway. Final status to be reported when I'm back on terra firma.
_________________________________________________

We landed at roughly 9:35 pm, and then waited at least an hour for my one checked bag. It was 26 degrees in Seattle, and there was (is) a ton of snow on the ground. And my parents don't believe in turning on the heat. So, I'm alive, but very, very cold.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Root of All Evil

All right, here we go.

The response from Josh Rawitch, PR guy for the Dodgers, regarding my post about the holiday party essentially said that the McCourts had nothing to do with the plan to sell the giveaways for under three bucks. It was just an idea the staff came up with in a meeting, to both give the fans something they would want, and generate a little revenue for the team.

Here's my deal. Yes, I am going to harp on the McCourts pretty frequently because, yes, I think they're greedy. Do I think they're any more greedy than any other rich people and/or baseball team owners in this nation/world? Probably not. So a lot of my rancor over this particular issue stems entirely from my opinions on money. People like the McCourts have plenty of it, but only want to continue to make more. That is the goal of business, but I tend to think there's something wrong when people have much more than they will ever be able to spend.

Incidentally, and slightly off-topic, this goes hand in hand with my opinion on athletes who claim to love the team they're with, then hit free agency and leave that team for, say, fifteen million dollars more over four years (that's something like the number for Johnny Damon, if I'm not mistaken, whom I didn't like even when he was in Boston, but he's a good example). I've obviously never been in a position where someone has offered me millions and millions of dollars. But, I don't think I'm being disingenuous when I say that if I had the chance to stay with my team and in a town that loved me, as opposed to going to another town and team for a few million more, then I'd start to wonder what the difference is between $90 and $100 million. Rafael Furcal made me a little happy this week by deciding to take the Dodgers' offer, even though Oakland had offered him four guaranteed years, and a little more money. Tim Duncan has taken less money in an effort to keep Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili around with the San Antonio Spurs. But these stories are few and far between, and it probably won't be long until, like my father, I decide to give up on professional athletes entirely.

But I digress. I understand that a baseball team is a business, and that businesses have to make money. The McCourts just seem to be atop a pile of greedy business owners, and they also happen to be the ones most prominent in my community, at least when it comes to sports. I could get on the owners of my other team, the Red Sox, but I also know that the Red Sox are one of very few teams to not raise ticket prices for 2009. The Dodgers definitely can't say that. And considering parking prices have gone up nearly 100% since Frank McCourt took over the team (it was $8 before he came in, I believe), it's hard to see Mr. McCourt as anything other than a guy whose sole goal is to squeeze every possibly penny out of the fans, no matter what. If that's the deal, fine. But be honest about it.

The thing is, McCourt wants to turn Dodger Stadium into a sort of wonderland, so he has to get the money from somewhere. I am a little wary of "Dodgertown," since it seems like we'll be turning a baseball stadium into a mall. I'm not a complete baseball purist, but I do believe that the reason most folks go to the stadium is to actually see the game. I'm not sure that's the opinion of the McCourts and those around them, but I guess that's a story for another day. The point is, McCourt has to pay for all these changes somehow, so why not get the fans to do a little extra to help? That extra parking money has to go somewhere, right? McCourt can do the modifications without having to dig too much into his pocket, and then rake in the profits.

That said, I believe the staff that works under McCourt is full of genuine, honest people who really believe in the Dodgers' organization, and who really want to make the fans happy. And I just have to say that McCourt should thank his lucky stars every day that he has these people working for him, or he might end up looking a lot worse.

I do think it was nice for the Dodgers to sell the giveaways to the fans for a relatively low price. That particular gesture was not really the cause of my ire; it was merely a microcosm of what I see as the bigger problem.

As for what I said about Vin Scully giving us the hard sell in his speech, Rawitch wanted to assure me that Scully was simply told that this was a celebration for the season ticket holders. So, Scully went out and said what he felt. I can believe that easily, and I'm pretty sure I even mentioned that Scully probably meant every word he said. So if anyone walked away from that post thinking I was disparaging Scully, please believe me that I would never, ever do that.

So, that's it. Hopefully I was clear, and if not, feel free to ask questions.

In the next post, I'll answer Cobra's question about whether or not I'll be attending any WBC games at Dodger Stadium. Also, I have a few things to say about the issue public transportation to and from Dodger Stadium (or lack thereof).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reborn

There were a few photos from the holiday party that I intentionally held back, knowing that they would be better served in the hands of one Mr. Bruce Paine over at Cobra Brigade. As you can see here, he did not let me down.
FYI, Paine reciprocated and sent me a few photos of his own. I will not be reposting them here, at least not yet, because I am enjoying them too much on my own. Maybe if you're lucky, I'll share them with you one day.

Coming soon, the response from Josh Rawitch regarding my post about the holiday party. A preview: I got a little bit of a scolding.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Best Day Ever

Let me start with this: I spend a lot of time on this blog complaining about the Dodgers, with regard to both the on-field play and the off-field bureaucracy. But, as my fiancé pointed out to me this past Sunday, someone from the team (Josh Rawitch, to be exact) has always gotten back to me and addressed my issues. Now, maybe that's because I write a blog. But, really, I don't get a lot of readers. I'm not getting a hell of a lot of publicity, so keeping me happy shouldn't really be a huge priority. But I'm a fan, and they know that, and they do a pretty good job of trying to keep me satisfied. I may not always agree with everything that happens within the organization, but I guess I'm saying I appreciate some of the efforts made for the fans.

Sunday was a prime example. We were invited to the holiday party at Dodger Stadium, I guess because we had a season ticket package in 2007 (twelve whole games, but it still counts) and they were hoping they could get us for one again. So, Oscar Delgado, our inside sales rep, sent us an invite, told us to bring people, and we showed up at right at noon, ready to go.


We heard that 2000 people were invited overall, but I'd be surprised if that many showed up. It certainly didn't feel crowded at any point, save for the 30 minutes or so we spent in line waiting to get autographs.

We entered the stadium through center field, and quickly learned that there would be no restrictions. We could walk all over the outfield, infield, mound, whatever. It was, to put it mildly, amazing.

But, first things first, McCourt (who wasn't at the event, as far as I could tell) needed to get us do the thing he likes us to do best: spend money. And so we were hustled into a little area just before the field, where we could buy "stocking stuffers" for anywhere from one to three bucks. These were all giveaways from the past season: bobbleheads, t-shirts, calendars, etc. and McCourt was now selling them to get a little extra cash. I hear Jamie wants a PS3 for Christmas. What, you thought this would be a fluff piece for the team? Please. I said the Dodger staff makes a good faith effort to keep the fans happy. What I neglected to mention is that I think it's necessary in lieu of what the owners of the team to do accomplish the opposite.

Anyway, they got us for seven bucks (don't worry, though. We spent A LOT more later.) when we picked up a Jackie Robinson figurine (he's sliding into a base), a Saito bobblehead (the only one I missed last year, I think), and a Jackie Robinson t-shirt. Not bad, I guess.

Then it was time to head for the field. We had heard from a reliable source that it wouldn't be too long before Vin Scully spoke to the crowd from a podium behind second base. When we walked onto the field, no one was near the podium, so we stuck close by so we could be right up front when the man himself entered. We took pictures on the infield and the mound, then played a little catch on the outfield grass.

And then Scully came out, and we stood listening to him speak from about ten feet away. It was awesome. The team must have known we would all listen attentively to Scully, because it seemed he was given the task of really selling us on the fact that the Dodgers care about the fans. He said it a lot, really hammering home the love the organization has for the town, the stadium, etc. I would buy anything Vin Scully sells, though, so though it felt a little awkward (for me, though I obviously wasn't listening from the point of view of an average fan), it was still great to just listen to him. And he's been with the team for more than 50 years. He doesn't need the money. So something is bringing him back next year. Maybe I'll just stop being so cynical. Probably not, though.

After listening to Scully, we hung out some more on the infield, playing around. Then I looked up and saw Santa Claus walking toward where Scully had just been. I was standing about ten feet away, and I looked a little closer and realize that it was really Tommy Lasorda, or "Tommy Claus," as the PA announcer called him. Tommy Claus would be taking photos with fans, so we jumped in line immediately and got in there with Mr. Lasorda. Pretty sweet. The Dodgers had a real photographer there taking the photos, and after about an hour, we went and picked ours up. They had printed it out and put it in a decent cardboard frame, which I thought was a nice touch. If I were sending out Christmas cards this year, that would definitely be the picture.

We were with our friend Peg and her niece and nephew, Hailey and Conner. Hailey, who is eleven, was excited to be there, but Conner, who's three (I think), wasn't so sure about the whole thing. And it didn't help that he was petrified of the weird mascot, Bernie, who I think represents the Las Vegas Triple-A team. We left the kids and Peg to get their faces painted, and we headed up to where various Dodgers, past and present, were signing autographs.

I saw Fernando Valenzuela sitting there signing, and I was beyond excited. I wasn't a Dodger fan when Valenzuela was pitching, but I know my history, and I know what he meant to this team. Christine, my fiancé, went off to buy some new balls at the concession stand, so we would have something good for the guys to sign. Two minutes after she left, Valenzuela got up and left, and I was sad. I kept calling Christine, telling her not to worry; Valenzuela was gone, so our old balls would do.

Christine came back with the new balls a few minutes later, but one of them was already signed. Turns out that, on her way back from the stand, she and Valenzuela had shared an escalator. Just the two of them. She asked if he would sign the ball, he did, and we were set.

We stayed in line watching Don Newcombe and "Sweet" Lou Johnson sign, but both of them left before we got up there. Matt Kemp and James McDonald came up to replace them, though, so all was not lost. In the end, we got autographs and took pictures with Delwyn Young, Andre Ethier, Tommy Davis, Ron Cey, Matt Kemp and James McDonald. Not bad. I like the look of a signed ball, especially when I get it signed myself (I wouldn't want to purchase a signed ball--what's the fun in that?), so I was very happy to add these to our collection.

We needed to find our inside sales rep, Oscar Delgado, because it was time for us to get down to business and figure out what ticket package we wanted to get for this year. We had gone without one last year, but you probably remember how many games I went to anyway. And I don't think I have to tell you that I got most of those tickets at well above face value. So, a season ticket plan seemed like a wise idea.

We walked around looking for Oscar, but couldn't find him, so after saying goodbye to Peg and the kids, we decided to spend some more time playing catch. We stood about 40 feet apart in center field, tossing the ball, and really only had to stop for other people a few times. There was just so much room. It was amazing. At one point I looked up and realized I was on Dodger Vision, and I probably stayed up there for at least a minute while the entire stadium watched me play catch. There was such a delay that I could throw the ball, then look up at the screen and check out my form. It was not bad, if I do say so myself. And a pretty good way to get up on Dodger Vision for the first time.

Finally, we got a little more proactive in finding Oscar, and sat down with him to figure out our plan. We had come to the stadium assuming we would get a twelve or fifteen-game pack of tickets, and only put down a deposit, then pay the rest a little later on. We left with a 27-game pack, with the entire amount paid. Field level, third base side. We probably won't have the same seats for every game, but for 27 games next year, I will be seated somewhere in sections 45-53 (my fiancé likes 51 and 53, so we will probably be there more often than not).

I don't know if this super long post can accurately convey the sheer fun we had on Sunday. We would have bought a season plan anyway (though maybe not 27 games), but the incentive of playing on the field and getting all those autographs and pictures really made the whole thing quite the memorable experience. My fiancé is still talking about it, six days later. I have a feeling we'll be reliving the day for a long time to come.

And now for the pictures. As per usual, please click on the slideshow and you will be magically transported to a land where you can view larger pictures, complete with captions!

Dodgers Holiday Party

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Signing I Don't Like So Much

From the official press release:

The National League West Division Champion Los Angeles Dodgers today agreed to terms with third baseman Casey Blake on a three-year contract with a club option for the 2012 season. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.

As MSTI (two plugs in one day; guess where I've been going for Dodger analysis lately?) points out, the Dodgers essentially outbid themselves on this one, all for the privilege of getting a mediocre, aged, everyday third baseman.  Not sure about the logic there, but I definitely don't like the outcome.  I suppose we'll have to wait and see how Blake does with a full season in Los Angeles.  My guess?  Not so great.

My Fiancé Is So Happy

Dodgers Agree to Terms With Mark Loretta

She has loved Mark Loretta since his days in Boston. At an Anaheim game once, he tossed us a ball he had been using in the pre-game warm-ups. Maybe now he'll sign it for us.

Good signing for the Dodgers, by the way. Loretta is relatively cheap, is solid at every infield position, and apparently murders lefties. Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness likes it, too, so you know this is a good thing.

Monday, December 08, 2008

In the Spirit

Something to look forward to: when I get all the pictures uploaded, I'll let you know what happened on Sunday when my fiancé and I attended the holiday party at Dodger Stadium.

In short, it awesome. Pictures and details to follow shortly.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hot Stove

A lot of people really like the offseason. They like the rumors, the deals, the Winter Meetings.

I am not one of these people. I do not enjoy any of these things. When a deal is done, that's when I begin to care about it. I can't deal with all the different opinions about what the Dodgers should or shouldn't do about Manny Ramirez, or what the Red Sox might do about Mark Teixeira.

The Sox signed Dustin Pedroia to a six-year deal, which is news that matters. Nice of the Sox to figure out a way to lock up one of their superstars. Perhaps the Dodgers could take a cue from that sort of behavior.

So, maybe next week I'll have some more baseball stuff to talk about, assuming anything gets done. Until then, other commercials I find annoying. I'm willing to bet that the same people who think Prop 8 protects their morals also find these commercials hilarious. Classy.





That one might not take the inappropriate prize from this doozy, though, which aired all the time during Dodgers' games this last season. Family values, indeed.



Wednesday, December 03, 2008

More YouTube Fun

Every year, I grow more and more disgusted by the Lexus holiday, "this woman is so rich her husband can buy a $60,000 car without her even noticing" commercials. But this one has to just take the cake. I really hope the grossness speaks for itself:




In other news, I've had some words to say about Taylor Swift. For those not in the know, Swift is a teenage country singer who has become nothing short of a sensation in recent years. She burst onto the scene with a song I love, called "Tim McGraw," and has had hit after hit ever since.

I try to ignore the fact that Miss Swift only reached her eighteenth birthday in the last few months, because then I'd be extra annoyed by the songs she writes about love gained and lost. I tend to enjoy those who write songs for themselves, so I don't want to begrudge Swift her age.

But a few lyrics in these songs have really gotten to me lately. Not because of the age of the writer, but because of the seeming naivete involved.

First, let's go with "Our Song." I'll put the video up here, because it's the simplest way for you to hear the words (I found one that just has the song playing with the lyrics written out, for added convenience). Please pause and read the lyrics that appear at 0:37 (which, strangely enough, are on the screen shot that shows up when I embed the video below):




Why, Taylor? Why does his "momma" not hear you when you "talk real slow"? Grammatical errors aside (which I forgive in most songs, for poetic reasons; the sole exception is the "20 years have came and went" line in Tim McGraw's "Angry All the Time," because "come and gone" fits in there just as well, and has the added bonus of not making me grit my teeth every time I hear it), the line doesn't make any damn sense. I can speak very slowly in a yell, and I'm pretty sure my momma would hear me. Shouldn't it be "talk real low"? Still rhymes, and doesn't make it sound as if the boyfriend might be a little "slow" himself.

The second, possibly less annoying, offense is from a song called "Love Story," which is from Swift's sophomore album. It's all about a girl whose father doesn't like the boyfriend, blah, blah, blah. But the killer line comes in the first chorus. Watch the video (again with lyrics! Thanks, obsessive Taylor Swift fans!):




Now, I realize that Swift has probably spent a lot of time with tutors and/or being home schooled, what with being a recording superstar and all that. But, really? "Scarlet letter," combined with comparisons to "Romeo and Juliet"? I don't get it. You aren't a scarlet letter, Taylor. The scarlet letter, according to Nathaniel Hawthorne, involves adultery, which is a theme this song does not seem to cover.

For the record, every time I sing along with "Our Song," I sing "low" instead of "slow" (same goes for "came and went" in "Angry All the Time"). I wouldn't say it's a favorite of mine, and neither is "Love Story." But I'm without my XM right now, which means I listen to the one and only country radio station in the L.A. area. And they play these songs A LOT. So, without even trying, I've heard them hundreds of times. Each time, I get more and more perturbed. Taylor, you're growing up. Let's make sure we know what we're talking about before we start committing pen to paper, and, likewise, voice to recording device. Okay? Thanks.

The Musical

As per usual, I have been lax in my posting duties. That continues for just a bit longer. For now, amuse yourself with this genius: