This Year for Halloween, I’m Going as a Candy Pimp

When you hand out the sweets at Halloween, do you give the kids the candy you don’t particularly want or like first? If you were down to giving a kid a Reese’s cup—I mean, a full Reese’s cup—and a roll of broken Smarties, you’d give the kid the Smarties, right?

I’m asking because some of the kids who came to my house may be surprised to find leftover Easter candy in their bags. Hey, beggars and costumed extortionists can’t be choosers. They might not even be surprised, and will just eat whatever gets tossed at them.

This weekend, the Cub Scouts were cleaning out their storage locker in the church basement, and were throwing out a bag of Easter candy. This year’s candy, I presume. My son, being admirably frugal, picked the bag out of the pile and brought it home to augment our Halloween candy. And I encouraged him. I thought it was a great idea.

First off, I always freak out on Halloween that we’re going to run out of candy. With every trip to the store, I’ll grab an extra bag of treats, just to have in reserve. When the kids stop home for a break, I make them pull out the things they won’t eat so I can pass them along to someone else. (And who can blame them for getting rid of Three Musketeers bars? Can we send this one to the candy afterlife like Maple Buns and Charleston Chews?)

These weren’t just any Easter nibbles. They were chocolate eggs. (I mean, Marshmallow Peeps would start to get a bit hard by now.) And, they weren’t just any chocolate eggs. These were eggs made of Nestle’s Crunch and Butterfinger and other attempts at crossover monopolization of holiday sweets. So, you know, nothing from the Dollar Store that advertises its chocolate as having “really chocolate flavor.”

When kids I didn’t know came up to the house, I didn’t slip them the Twix bars or the York Peppermints or the M&Ms. Those packets were all visible in the basket, nice and shiny. But I made a little pile of the chocolate eggs right up in the front of the basket, where their little eyes couldn’t see them, and grabbed a couple to toss into the first bags. (Dropping in more than one item always creates a sound that makes me look really generous.) All I’m saying is, if we’re going to end up with any leftovers, it better be the stuff that I’m gonna eat. I even ate one of the little eggs, and it was fine, just fine. I’m still here, aren’t I? It’s not like I really pimped them by handing out toothbrushes or religious pamphlets. Those kinds of people deserve to be deported.

And hell, it wasn’t Christmas candy. That would’ve been a little much. Well, maybe not. Does peppermint have a half-life?

I Really Wanted To Hear The Air-Raid Sirens, But…..

WOOO-WOOO-WOOO-WOOOOOOO!I’ll take this White Sox championship anyway. It was damn fine to see this batch of players take it all the way. They embody everything you don’t see in sports anymore, guys who put the team ahead of their own needs, who play the game for the love of it, who stick together and don’t point fingers. These are clichés only because they are true. If it was possible to buy team chemistry, don’t you think every team would play this well? (Maybe someday we will be able to buy team chemistry—time will tell.)

The Sox have gotten short shrift ever since I moved to Chicago 23 years ago. They weren’t the “loveable losers” during their lean years—they were just regular losers. The fans didn’t embrace them for their effort—they voiced their anger with their mouths and their feet, by staying away from the stadium. They’ve played second fiddle in town through most of their existence. And now they’re on top, and it’s a gorgeous thing.

Looks like Alderman Burke and I are on the same page about the sirens. You know you’re getting old when you start agreeing with Ed Burke.

Go, Sox, Go!

So I Can Finally Go To Bed

Courtesy of the Chicago TribuneAfter staying up late to watch the White Sox finally win the game against the Astros last night, my head is a little fuzzier than usual today. So, the real writing of the day has given way to blog ramblings and random thoughts.

Hey, we all know this is the first World Series game ever played in theGreatStateofTEXAS, but for God’s sake, in a close game, don’t look so WORRIED! I’ve never seen so many shots of people in the stands holding their breath in deathly silence, on the verge of tears and a nervous breakdown, when their team has the chance to win the game with one stroke of the bat. How many walks are the Sox supposed to fork over for you guys to show some life?!?

For a while, I just thought people in Houston had an overwhelming urge to sit on their hands and then smell their fingers. Then I blamed it on lazy Fox Sports directors who want to show us what a close game it is by broadcasting pictures of Desperate Texas Housewives and grown men looking forlorn in their rally caps. Maybe the Book of Revelations has some mention of the World Series, and those people were all devout Pentecostals counting pitches. Hell, Texans don’t show this much concern when their state executes retarded people. It’s a game, people! A game you’re going to lose, but still, a game!

Can’t wait for the Series to be over so we can stop hearing that annoying buzzing of the Killer Bees on the PA when Biggio, Berkman, Bagwell, Burke, Brando or Bullwinkle steps up to the plate. I mean, with fire ants, flying cockroaches, nuclear scorpions and whatever kind of surprise bug is mutating inside their chemical factories, you’d think Texans would be reluctant to embrace a lethal insect metaphor for their fave players.

Although I’ve never been there, Minute Maid Park, with its manufactured quirkiness, seemed to have all the character of a T.G.I.Fridays. The choo-choo train full of oranges looked like it belonged in a Nieman-Marcus Christmas display, the zigzag home run line in the outfield is a complete mystery, and the hill in the outfield was lifted from Cincinnati’s Crosley Field, which was built 93 years ago on top of a brick quarry. What are they going to do next year for that “quirkiness”, replace the bases with milk crates and car seats? Line the outfield wall with winos who can steal the ball and delay the game? Build a highway through the outfield so everyone can yell “Car!” to warn the players?

Thank you, Fox Sports, for showing the replays of Phil Garner and Carl Everett yelling obscenities at each other. For a minute, I thought I was watching HBO.

Thanks also to the local Fox Channel for putting their talk-to-the-hoarse-drunks reporters in a bar called Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park. Gives the broadcast a Mardi Gras kind of feel, mostly because the crowd was 100% white. It also made me look up on a map where Merrionette Park is, and vow to never go there.

I’m the only one in our house who likes baseball (blame it on the Tigers of 1968), so through this postseason, I have kinda been on my own. I try and get my kids riled up, and while they do like to sing the “Go Go White Sox” song–and who doesn’t?– they don’t have the interest to sit through any of the broadcast. I’m making slight inroads on my wife, who will put down her book and come downstairs to see the last two or three innings. She got to see Konerko’s grand slam and Podsednik’s game-winning homer in Game 2, and I hammered home the fact to her that she just witnessed a little bit of history.

So last night, as the game stretched into extra innings, she watched a little bit with me. The game is tied, and the Sox keep walking batters and then putting out their own fires. About 11:30, she shows a little grown-up sense and heads to bed, but tells me that if she can’t sleep from the tension, she’ll come downstairs to watch some more. I figure she’s joking, but when Geoff Blum homers in the 14th and I cash it in at 1:15 a.m., who is listening to the game in bed, like a little boy sneaking a transistor radio under the covers? My ever-lovin’ wife! There may be hope for her yet.

Conspiracy for Dummies

Good Morning, Mrs. Wilson
For anyone still confused by PlameGate and why it should be a no-no to drop names of CIA agents to newspaper columnists, a nice and simple version of the story–suitable for bedtimes–is available here.

In Case You Didn’t Get the Point, I’ll Repeat it 3 Times

This has been an unbelievable year for the White Sox, who now head into the World Series. One of my favorite elements has been the resurrection of the old fight song from 1959, “Let’s Go Go Go White Sox” by Captain Stubby and the Buccanneers. Rousing, if redundant.

Now, I didn’t grow up here, and I wouldn’t have been alive in 1959 anyway, but I love these old kinds of fight songs. They alternate between football chants and beer hall polkas, and aren’t so aggressively in your face that you want to hit someone.

I remember when the Tigers won the World Series in 1968, the radio used to play “Go Get ‘Em Tigers” which had exactly the same feel as Captain Stubby. I remember every word of it, but haven’t bothered to hunt for it on the web. When the Tigers cease sucking, maybe I’ll look then.

Anyway, for Jim S., and anyone else who wants to annoy their kids with some schmaltz, I found the Go Go Go song here.

Questions about playing the Angels of Anaheim in Anaheim -heim -heim -mmm

1. What’s with that goofy looking outfield? Is it a penguin sanctuary? A skate park? Some kind of flood control structure?

2. Why are all the fans banging salamis together?

3. How many volts of electricity are they pumping into that Rally Monkey’s rectum to get him to jump up and down like that?

4. What is all that crap on the Angels’ batting helmets? It makes Vladimir Guerrero look like some kind of life-size novelty candle.

5. Speaking of Guerrero, when is he going to show up?


Okay, the Sox won last night. It wasn’t pretty, and it might not have been the correct call, but a win is a win. I for one am glad that the umpires’ call was the final say in the matter. If this were a football game, all the replay cameras would be out, the diagrams on the screen would be flashing like heat lightning, and the commentators would be spitting and screaming enough to require squeegees and tarps in the broadcast booth. This is just one reason why baseball is superior to football: the human element has not been sacrificed to the machine (and by machine, I don’t mean just the camera, but also the entire lurching, faceless, bone-crunching apparatus that is the NFL).

Angels manager Mike Scioscia had the most class I think I have ever seen under such pressure. When he said that regardless of the dispute his team didn’t play well enough to win, he could’ve been speaking for the Sox as well.

Here’s something to be EXTRA thankful for: Had this happened in a Yankees—Red Sox series, we’d be hearing about the damn play for the rest of our natural lives. The East Coast hacks would have elevated it’s importance to something around the level of the firing on Fort Sumter or the Kennedy assassination. Epic poems would be written about it, lives would be sacrificed defending the ump’s decision, whole generations of East Coast children would be raised in hate and fear as their parents taught them that it is a cruel and random universe.

So, thank you, Angels, for safeguarding the sanity of the rest of the nation. You guys took one for the rest of us.