Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Making A List & Checking It Twice

Dear Santa:

Please accept this as an amendment and a codicil to my most recently submitted Christmas list. I submit it to you with the understanding that any and all lists submitted prior to this one are and shall forever be null and void. I understand if at first blush you might think that this list is a might ambitious and that if you start scrolling through your "Naughty" and "Nice" lists, I might not seem like a candidate for such Noel largess. But I ask only that you give it fair and full consideration you fat bast*rd. Hell, it is not like you do not owe me.

Remember way back when as a little boy, I topped my wish list four or five years running with the Army men I saw advertised on the inside rear cover of every comic book I ever read. They were cheap - something like $2.99 plus shipping and handling - and they were plentiful as both armies (the green and the gray) came with 100 pieces including men, tanks and airplanes. Every year for four or five years running I tore open my presents looking for my soldiers. It was a fool's errand every year. They never arrived. Apparently Peacenik Claus delivered at our house. Talk about your Ho-Ho-Hose Job.

Anyway Fats, I digress. I think you get my point; right? I have paid my dues. I have bided my time. Now it is time to pay up. So while you may feel free to double up on the coal next year, this time round here is what I want to see 'neath the tree ten days from now.

First, I want accountability to be delivered in equal shares and proportionate doses to all adult humans worldwide so that people better understand that there are consequences to their actions prior to choosing to engage in them so that after they do something they are deprived of the opportunity of claiming, "I did not know I was doing anything wrong" or my favorite faux rhetorical bit of self-examination, "I ask myself now what was I thinking?" No more dodging bullets with bullshit back-pedaling. A man (or a woman) stands up. And he or she does so immediately.....not more than twenty-four hours after the fact. The suggestion that the men who run the New York Jets acted "swiftly" and "decisively" vis-a-vis Sal The Tripper - their strength coach who decided to hip check a Miami Dolphins player during Sunday's debacle at the Swamp - is laughable. Presumably Woody Johnson's owner's box is equipped with a television monitor. Presumably General Manager Mike Tannenbaum's seat - wherever it is in the new PSL Stadium - is also. Presumably both men were actually watching the game live on Sunday afternoon, which means they had access to the same crystal clear view (courtesy of CBS) that Margaret, Joe and I had sitting in our den. It took the Jets more than twenty-four hours to issue a public proclamation as to the propriety of one of their employee's actions, which actions occurred in front of an audience of millions? Ridiculous. Right is right and wrong is wrong and the dawning of a new day is often not an elixir that transforms the latter into the former. Willie the Shakes observed that a fish stinks from the head down. So does a professional sports franchise.

Second, Jolly Old Nicky, continuing my theme of unfettered selflessness, I would like you to deliver to Sal Alosi - who presumably will have a lot of free time on his hands in which to catch up on his reading - a copy of "Strange But True Football Stories", which I read as a child. See Santa, one of the advantages of living in the middle of nowhere and having a built-in friend repellent like epilepsy as a little boy was it gave me a lot of quality time to spend by myself so I read everything I could get my hands on - including "Strange But True Football Stories". Actually Sal does not even have to read it. He can simply glance at the illustration on the front cover. Maybe now in the aftermath of his own brain cramp he recognizes what is depicted there? Probably not. Having read Zander Hollander's book as a boy, I can enlighten him. The illustration depicts a moment in the 1954 Cotton Bowl between Rice and Alabama - a game in which Rice defeated 'Bama fairly decisively. The star of the game was the Rice running back Dicky Moegle, described in the account of the game that ran in the Dallas Morning News on January 2, 1954 as, "a pink cheeked teenager equipped with jet propulsion and a one-track mind" who ran for three touchdowns ranging in length from thirty-four yards to ninety-five yards.

It is the ninety-five yard touchdown run that is depicted, Sal, on the cover of Mr. Hollander's opus for it was during that play that something extraordinary happened. Alabama back Tommy Lewis leaped up off of the bench and as Moegle streaked up the sideline on his way to the end zone, Lewis launched himself onto the field (sans helmet) and tackled him. He then got up - stunned by his own actions - and went back and sat on the bench. Moegle was awarded the touchdown. It has been said that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Maybe next year in lieu of "Hard Knocks" on HBO the Jets can ensure that all of their rooms at their training camp have a copy of one of my favorite childhood books on each nightstand.

Third, Papa Christmas, please deliver to FOX broadcaster Jimmy Johnson a clue. During the FOX pre-game show on Monday night prior to the Giants/Vikings game in Detroit, FOX's Jay Glazer reported on the punishment meted out to Alosi for his actions. All of the talking heads on the panel - including three former NFL players - thought that the punishment was appropriate and (in the case of Howie Long at least) that Alosi was fortunate that he was not terminated immediately. Johnson's reaction? He expressed disappointment that Alosi was suspended without pay, pointing out that as an assistant coach Alosi does not earn nearly the kind of money that the players in the NFL earn......including presumably the Dolphins player who he deliberately kneed and who he could have injured. To the credit of the rest of the members of the panel, none of them seconded Johnson's position. Apparently JJ is still feeling the effects of the extreme conditions he encountered in Nicaragua as a cast member on Survivor.

Last but certainly not least O Great Denizen of the Frozen North, I want Carl Pavano to be signed to a the Philadelphia Phillies. The only way it seems to screw up the Fighting Phils' chances of winning the World Series in 2011 - with a pitching staff on which either Roy Oswalt or Cole Hamels is the #4 starter - is to hire Prince Carl the Albatross to be their #5 starter. It has been a great off-season thus far for the Yankees; eh? Other than the addition by subtraction of Javy Vazquez signing with the Florida Marlins not a damn thing has gone well for the Silver Spoon Twins. Since the Phillies have taken the time to assemble the most formidable starting rotation I have seen in all of my years of watching baseball, it is only fair that they be forced to sign Pavano.....if for no other reason than to prevent the Yankees from panicking completely and throwing money at him for a second tour of duty in the Bronx.

Well that is all Santa. If you think I have asked for too much then how about dropping Pavano down the Phillies' chimney and my soldier dudes down mine and we shall call it even? I will even throw in an extra box of Thin Mints and a carrot stick.....


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