Ryan Zimmerman: the team

May 13, 2009

Washington National Ryan Zimmerman’s 30-game hit streak came to an end today, but at least he can take solace in the fact that his team won the game. Right?

Wrong. At 11-21, Washington is the worst team in the majors. A hitting streak by its franchise player is just about the only thing it had or will have going.

The only thing the Nationals organization can do to retain any significance and/or dignity, in my eyes, is to release everyone on the team, clone Ryan Zimmerman 23 times, and start an entire roster of Zimmermans. The 25th roster spot would be held by pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, who, although he spells his name slightly differently, is still a Zimmerman at the end of the day. And just to cement it, Jordan should be willing to legally change his name to Zimmerman. There’s not really a need for that extra ‘n’, anyway. It doesn’t add anything. It’s dead weight. Like the previous two sentences.

In this scenario, Ryan Zimmerman would occupy every spot in the lineup except for every fifth game, when Jordan would give it a go. Can you imagine eight, or possibly nine, players in your lineup who are all on 30-game hit streaks? It would be exceptional. It would more than make up for the fact that Ryan Zimmerman would be playing defensive spots like center field and catcher, in addition to pitching, both as a starter and a reliever. So what if he gives up a bunch of runs? They’ll be balanced out by all the hits.

At this point, you can no longer logically call the team the Nationals. You’d have to change the name of the team to the Ryan Zimmermans. And yes, they may play in Washington, but as far as I’m concerned, that town is Ryan Zimmerman’s and we’re all just living in it. (I don’t actually live in that town. In fact, a majority of the people on this planet don’t live in that town. But let’s go with it). So instead of calling it Washington, we’ll call it Ryan Zimmerman.

So we’ve got the Ryan Zimmerman Ryan Zimmermans, consisting of twenty-four Ryan Zimmermans and one Jordan Zimmermann, who now goes by Jordan Zimmerman.

Who should make up the managerial staff? Let’s keep Manny Acta in there, simply because I think “Manny Acta” is a cool name. If you say it really fast, it sounds like it could be a province in Spain. Maniacta. The bench coach would be Ryan Zimmerman, as would be the hitting instructor (obviously). The pitching coach would be Joe Biden. First base coach is Nelly Furtado, and the third base coach is a random guy in a Jon Arbuckle costume. The bullpen coordinator is Ryan Zimmerman.

Sounds like a formula for success!

Ryan Zimmerman

Ryan Zimmerman

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The ins and outs of temping

May 12, 2009

In order to make money, because unfortunately being awesome doesn’t yet pay the bills, I’ve entered the magical world of temping. It’s only been two days, but they’ve been an extremely eventful two days. And by extremely eventful, I mean seven straight hours of entering ten-digit reference codes into a database program. While wearing shoes that are just ever so slightly too tight in the back, causing constant discomfort for said seven hours (and very pronounced blisters on my heels from walking ten blocks up and five avenues over to get to the office and back. Why don’t I take a cab, you say? Well, I’m temping for a reason. That reason is, I don’t have much money. If I had the money to be throwing around for cab rides, I’d be hailing cabs all day long, in the hopes that I manage to find the Cash Cab, answer every question correctly, and make even more money so I can continue hailing cabs to again find the Cash Cab.)

The weird thing about temping is not knowing the culture of the office. At this particular office, there are a lot of Hispanic guys joking around loudly in the mail room. I feel like I should be in there joking around with them, but a) I can barely speak Spanish and b) maybe their “joking around” is actually them plotting the assassination of a high-profile politician. Nothing is worse than plotting the assassination of a high-profile politician and some jackass who’s temping in your office comes in and tries to join in on the fun but doesn’t realize the gravity of what you’re doing and thinks you’re just joking around because he can barely speak Spanish and doesn’t understand the difference between someone gravely saying “asesinato” and jokingly saying “biblioteca”.

Another weird thing about temping is sitting at someone else’s desk. At the desk where I’m working, there is a picture a little girl drew for her daddy, presumably the guy to whom the desk belongs. It would be strange if there was a picture drawn by a little girl for her daddy hanging on the cube wall if the guy was not the little girl’s daddy. First of all, if that was the situation, where is the girl’s daddy? Second, how did this guy get his hands on the drawing? I’d have to guess that this guy is a pedophile. Pedophiles are good at two things: having sex with little kids, and finding pictures that said little kids drew for their daddies. Third, why would the pedo put the drawing up on his wall at work? Wouldn’t that make people start asking questions. Like, “Are you a pedophile?” So when I’m sitting at this guy’s desk, looking at the picture his daughter drew for him, I feel like I’m the pedophile. I feel even more like a pedophile when taking into account what the drawing is a depiction of: Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

A final weird thing about this temp job is that they make me work naked.

Temping is like voyeurism. You get a private look at what life is like in some random office that you never knew existed and will never step foot in again once the assignment is complete. You see what people are like in their natural habitat. Kind of like a nature program. A very dull nature program that consists of people doing paperwork instead of flying squirrels flying. Paperwork is one thing you know you’re not going to have to see if you turn on a nature program. Another thing: factories.

If the temp office is a terribly boring environment, which, aside from the Hispanic jokesters, the one I’m at is, you kind of feel bad for the people who work there. After all, you get to leave this place at the end of the week, but they have to come back day after day after day after day after day after day. After day.


Researchless panther post

May 11, 2009

Am I the kind of guy to write on a Friday that on the following Monday I’d like to write about panthers and then on Monday not write about panthers? Yes, I am.

Most of the time.

But not today. I have compiled a list of twelve facts about panthers, which are both felines and sports mascots (that actually brings the panther fact total up to fourteen), and, like previously promised, I have not done a lick of research on the subject. In constructing this list, however, I was quite smugly satisfied to discover that I somehow inherently know at least twelve (at maximum, fourteen) things about panthers. Here they are:

(I will occasionally refer to panthers using the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘him’ and ‘his’).

1. If you give a panther a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk. If you give him a glass of milk, he’s going to claw your face off, because he wanted skim, and you gave him 2%. Seriously? You gave him 2%? Wow. Just wow. Idiot.

2. Panthers like John Coltrane. They really like him. It’s bordering on obsession. More than twice, they have been caught desecrating his grave, hoisting up his corpse, and dancing with it until the wee hours of the morn. At which point the light reflected on the corpse, and the panthers noticed it was actually River Phoenix. Somehow, this happened more than twice.

3. Black panthers were members of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. Not all of them agreed with the ideology, but they did all agree that it was a pretty badass name for a party.*

A violent black panther

A violent black panther

More violent Black Panthers

More violent Black Panthers

4. If you give a panther skim milk, he will still claw off your face, because he’s lactose intolerant, and he only remembered about that after he drank some of the milk, and he thought maybe you should have been more considerate and reminded him of the intolerance, even though your contention is that how could you possibly have known?

5. Panthers are actually caterpillars butterflies.

6. It is commonly believed that Dante wrote Inferno, but it was actually a panther. His name was Jason Gonzalez-Rodriguez Firth.

7. Panthers live in igloos, just like the Inuits. Unlike the Inuits, panthers eat Inuits.

8. The children’s rhyme “Row, row, row your boat” is actually about panthers. It’s an elaborate euphemism about panthers that attack a boatload of children and eat them one by one. They let the last child live long enough for him to think they’re going to spare him. Then they pretend they are going to eat him. Then they say, “Just kidding,” and let him go. About a mile downstream, they catch up to him and eat him.

9. Panthers are nifty knitters, splendid sewers, and wonderful weavers. Betsy Ross received help from a gaggle** of panthers when she was sewing the first American flag. The panthers tried to take all of the credit for the flag, but Betsy knew a very dark secret*** about them that she threatened to reveal to the public at a town hall meeting, so they agreed to back off. If you’re wondering why they didn’t just eat her, it’s because panthers aren’t savages. They don’t just go around eating people.

10. Until 1874, it was normal for panthers to be members of the fire department in certain counties in the state of Tennessee. This trend was put to an end when six panthers ate every person in the state of Tennessee.

11. Panthers are weirdly into the British sitcom Green Wing.

12. If you give a panther lactaid milk, he will say, “Thanks, buddy!”

A Florida Panther

A Florida Panther

*One thing about actual black panthers that contrasts with the Black Panther Party is that actual black panthers don’t need to carry guns. They do anyway.

**Gaggle of geese? Yes. Gaggle of panthers? I doubt it. But that’s what it should be.

***The dark secret involves acupuncture and mayonnaise.


Jobless job, gadillydillion, and pumas

May 8, 2009

Tomorrow, after six months of living back home in South Florida, I’m moving back to New York City. I have pretty mixed feelings about this, as: a) I still don’t have a job, and I like living near my family, and b) Coral Springs (my hometown) sucks and New York doesn’t.

Things would be much better if I can get a job quickly. I want a job as a guy who doesn’t have a job. People would be like, “What do you do for a living?” And I’d be like, “Nothing.” And they’d be like, “Oh, you don’t have a job?” And I’d be like, “No, I do.” And they’d be like, “I don’t understand what you mean.” And I’d be like, “Can we talk about this later? I’m working here.”

That would be pretty damn sweet. But not as sweet as what comes next: a paycheck. For a gadillydillion dollars. Yeah, I made up the word gadillydillion. But I didn’t make up its assigned value: it’s a one followed by 9,302,475,006 zeroes. I know, that’s a very large, very specific amount of zeroes. But gadillydillion is serious business.

Next post from New York. I would like to find a way to write about panthers, but I currently know very little about panthers, and I’m against doing research about a subject that is both a feline and a sports mascot. So this means bobcats, wildcats, tigers, lions, pumas etc are all off limits. Is there a team with a puma for a mascot? I know there is a shoe company called Puma. But a shoe company is different than a sports team. Unless you’re talking about a sports team made up of shoe companies. But I don’t see how that could possibly make sense. So that’s probably not what you’re talking about. Unless you’re not talking about that but I just said you were talking about it anyway. Which I didn’t do. In fact, I already admitted the possibility that you weren’t even talking about it. I have no idea what I’m talking about. I’ve just been typing without actually thinking. For all I know, I’ve been typing about shoe companies and sports teams. I just read back this paragraph, and I’ll be damned! That’s exactly what I was talking about. But not necessarily what you were talking about. That was my whole point. Or at least, that was the point I started making about halfway through. It started out about my next post being from New York. And incidentally, that’s also how it’s ending.


Manny tested positive for something else, too

May 7, 2009

Los Angeles Dodger Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, but that’s only half the story. The other half of the story is that he also tested positive for heroin, which is decidedly a performance decreasing drug. When you combine the two, they balance each other out, so technically, Manny has been operating at a normal level of play. My contention is that Manny should either be allowed to continue playing baseball or sent to a rehabilitation clinic. But he shouldn’t have been suspended, because he has no advantage whatsoever over other players.

You might think it’s pretty dumb of Manny to have taken performance enhancing drugs. After years of trials and accusations over whether or not players formerly took steroids (in an era when such thing was typical), a player would have to be a real moron to get caught for currently using. And somehow, Manny managed to let that happen. He’s really being a nimwit here. Or maybe he’s just being Manny. I still don’t know what that means. Of course Manny is going to be Manny. Who else is he going to be? Livan Hernandez?

But give Manny a break. Obviously, he wouldn’t have ever taken the PEDs if he wasn’t also addicted to heroin. And while performance enhancing drugs are looked down upon in baseball, Jose Canseco never pointed out people who were hooked on heroin. And if Jose Canseco isn’t trying to make money off it, it probably isn’t very significant.

So who cares if Manny took some steroids? If you were on heroin, could you play baseball without steroids? Fuck, if you were on heroin, could you play baseball even with steroids? Let alone, play baseball as well as Manny Ramirez? Hell no, you couldn’t. I’d be surprised if you could even get up off the couch. Shit, I’d be surprised if you were even on the couch. You’d probably be lying in a corner somewhere, zoning out and thinking how cool it would be if you hadn’t just shot yourself up with heroin, because now you’re probably addicted, but damn, this feeling is sort of worth it. No, it’s totally worth it. There’s a baseball game on the television, but you can’t lift your head up enough to really see it. If only you had some steroids, then maybe you could perform a normal function like slightly lifting your head up in order to see the television.

Manny snorting a line off his bat before a game

Manny snorting a line off his bat before a game

Now imagine you’re Manny Ramirez. Chilled out on dust, trying to react to a 94mph fastball quick enough to hit a home run. Kinda hard, right? Not with steroids! It balances out the china white to the point where you have enough energy to overcome the uber relaxed nature of a heroin high, but not to the point where you’d hit a home run on a pitch you wouldn’t have hit a home run on if you weren’t on heroin in the first place.

So leave Manny alone. When it really comes down to it, he’s not doing anything illegal at all.


Falling in bottomless pits: not ideal

May 6, 2009

When you think about people falling into bottomless pits, you always think about that moment when they first fall in. You see a guy trip and fall into a large, dark hole and think, “Holy shit! That guy just fell into a bottomless pit!” You run up and look down and you can hear him screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming, but what can you do about it? You’d like to save him, but you can’t jump in after him, or else you, too, would be falling in a bottomless pit. And there’s no reason for both of you to be plunging endlessly into the darkness. So you shrug your shoulders, chock the tragic misfortune up to one of another of God’s mysteries, and get on with your life. You go home, cook dinner, watch Lost, have sex, go to sleep, wake up, go to work, go to the gym, nap, watch a baseball game. You just live. Two weeks later, you’ve forgotten all about that poor guy.

But two weeks later, that poor guy is still falling in a bottomless pit. Life doesn’t change much when you’re falling in a bottomless pit. Which is why, over time, the dude’s initial terror has gradually transformed into extreme boredom. I mean, falling in a bottomless pit can only be scary for so long. Eventually, it becomes routine. And if you’re falling in a bottomless pit, you just kinda accept that your life is now reduced to falling in a bottomless pit. There’s gotta be a moment where that transition occurs. From: Agghghhhhhhhhhhhh!, to: This fucking sucks.

Your future

Your future

The only thing that does change over time when you’re falling in a bottomless pit is your level of hunger. It gets exponentially worse. It starts off marginally but is guaranteed to reach full-blown starvation. There aren’t any bystanders hanging onto rocky cliff walls and passing out bananas and water like during the New York City Marathon. There aren’t any rest stops like there are along major highways featuring a Burger King or maybe a Sbarro where you can pay for an overpriced slice of flimsy pizza and be hungry again twenty miles down the road. There’s just you and the silence. And the bats.

Yes, bats. In many bottomless pits, there might not be bats. But in my imaginary bottomless pit example, there are. I don’t mean the animal. I mean baseball bats. Aluminum baseball bats. Frozen in physical space. And as you fall, every so often you will crash into one of these bats, and you will get very bruised. Very, very bruised, and hurt. It will be very painful. In fact, starvation is not what will ultimately end up killing you.

Your future, a little bit later

Your future, a little bit later

What will kill you is a blow to the temple by an aluminum baseball bat.


May 5th, I mean, Cinco de Mayo

May 5, 2009

Today, millions of Americans are chugging Coronas and shooting tequila in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Which is strange, because Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that commemorates the May 5, 1862 Battle of Puebla, during which an outnumbered Mexican army defeated a much larger, much better-equipped French army that hadn’t been defeated in almost fifty years. Yet despite no presence whatsoever of the United States in this conflict, Cinco de Mayo has, over time, become a more popular celebration in the US than in Mexico. I find this to be a bit peculiar. It would be like if on Doce de Febrero (Abraham Lincoln’s birthday), the Mexicans chugged more Bud Lite and shot more Jack Daniel’s than did Americans.

Or like if the Jamaicans commemorated the 53 B.C. Battle of Carrhae, during which the powerful Roman army, under Marcus Licinius Crassus, failed in its invasion of the Iranian civilization of Parthia. You might be thinking that this comparison is a bit of a stretch, since while Jamaica (and virtually all of the modern world) has little to do with the Parthian War, there are 28.3 million Mexican-Americans living in the United States, some of whom might be direct descendants of the brave men who fought at Puebla.

Parthia, the ultimate excuse to party

Parthia, the forgotten failed invasion

But you’d be wrong. Because the average participant in Cinco de Mayo festivities is not a Chicano paying homage to the history of his ancestors’ homeland. It’s college students embracing another opportunity to procrastinate studying for that final. And middle-class workers seeking to forget about the monotony of the workweek. Basically, it’s just people who want to get wasted, pretend they aren’t alcoholics, and yell broken, out-of-context phrases in Spanish.

So, noting that, why shouldn’t the Jamaicans celebrate the Battle of Carrhae? It’s just as random and arbitrary as Americans celebrating the Battle of Puebla. Jamaicans could hold “Serfs and Kings” themed parties, where they’d drink wine and converse in Aramaic. And farm. And trade silk. And defeat Roman armies.

Because honestly, what could make a cultural holiday more meaningful than another nation’s citizens using it as an excuse to hit the bars on a Tuesday night?