Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dear Jack:

Dear Mr. Jack Harry,
As a member of the media for over 40 years, you should know better. Stating your opinion and following up your statement with, “it’s MY opinion,” as you often do, is a complete copout. It’s embarrassing really. My 10 year old will give reasons for her opinions, and even if it’s an attempt to explain why I’m so mean and the world is so unfair, at least she puts some thought in to it.
Yesterday on the radio, with Kevin Kietzman, you again stated that you believe the University of Missouri is far superior to West Virginia University. When asked in what context, you said all. When specifically asked if you mean just sports, you said yes. Mr. Harry, that’s ridiculous. With the use of any logic, or you know, actual real life events, there’s simply no way one could come to that conclusion. Yes, you’re still entitled to your opinion, but so what? You could say, and at this point it wouldn’t shock me, that in your opinion, the earth is flat. Sure, you’re allowed to have your own beliefs, but when those beliefs fly directly against fact, you have to be called out on it.
The facts, Jack, let’s deal with facts.
West Virginia is the by far, the superior football program. Why can I say this? Because of the following:
·         An all-time record of 700-457-4 compared to MU’s 629-520-52. That’s a .603 winning percentage against a .545.
·         Since joining the Big East, WVU won seven conference titles. MU never won the Big 12, and last won the Big 8 in 1969.
·         Winners of three BCS Bowl games. By my count, MU hasn’t played in any.
·         Gary Pinkle’s tenure is the bright spot for MU, and he’s done a great job. Since 2001 he’s 85-54 at MU. Over that same period, WVU is 98-41.
·         In hoops, the Mountaineer’s have a record of 1621-1005 compared to MU’s 1532-1045. Again, a better record.  MU has never been to a Final Four, West Virginia has been to two.
Sure, you can have your opinion. You do that. The rest of us, we’ll just stick with the facts. That way our opinions can actually be worth hearing.  

Insincerely yours,
Gregg

Monday, May 21, 2012

Back to the Future

Last Friday, one time Chicago Cub messiah, Kerry Wood retired after a 14 year career that was plagued by injuries, and will go down as one of the all-time greats. To be specific, “great what coulda-beens” By now, if you follow sports at all, you know that in just his fifth start in the majors, he threw what I believe to be, the greatest game ever. A complete game, no walks, one infield hit and 20 strike outs. It was 1998 and with Roger Clemens in his mid-30’s, it looked like the un-official baton of Texas Fireballers was being passed on. Of course, Wood’s arm was a mess after the year, and he missed the entire following season. Still, he bounced back and by 2003, he reached 1000 strike outs faster than anyone else had before.
The point of all this? Well I was speaking with a friend about Wood’s career after his last game, and it just amazed me that 14 years had passed. I started a list of things how things have changed:
In 1998, the following were all true, happening, news or just interesting to me:
·         Robin Young, Nolan Ryan and George Brett weren’t in the Hall of Fame yet.
·         Alex Rodriguez had 64 career home runs.
·         The New York Yankees had won one World Series in 18 years.
·         Peyton Manning was a rookie and John Elway was a Super Bowl champion.
·         Kobe Bryant was in his second season and Michael Jordan won his sixth NBA title.
·         You were playing video games on either: a Sony PlayStation (the first one), Nintendo 64 or a Sega Saturn.
·         Shawn Colvin won the Record of the Year Grammy for “Sunny Came Home.”
·         Top five movies in the box office were: Armageddon, Saving Private Ryan, Godzilla, There’s Something About Mary and A Bug’s Life.
·         You were using AOL 3.0 when the year began.
·         Mark Zuckerberg was 14.
·         The Bellagio opened where the Dunes once stood.
·         Sex and the City, Dawson’s Creek and Sport’s Night made their television debuts. One out of three aint bad.
·         The Nokia 6120 was the top selling cell phone, and you played the hell out of Snake.
·         A gallon of gas cost $1.15.
·         A little company called Google was founded.

All this makes me feel old. I have a this weird quirk (one of many) where I judge time by how much has changed in sports and pop culture. When guys my age start retiring, I start questioning where the time went. Truth be told, I don’t feel any different today than I did 14 years ago. Maybe I’ll mature a little over the next 14, just in time for Kerry Wood’s son to take the mound.

Friday, May 18, 2012

PVD: It's Real

Three weeks ago my wife and I went to Mexico, an island called Isla Mujeres that sits just a few miles off the coast of Cancun, but it’s nothing like Cancun. We stayed a small resort called Privilege Aluxes. It's taken me this long to sit down and write a review because of Post Vacation Depression (aka PVD, don't be afraid to seek professional help.)

We went with two other couples, and it was our third trip to the region after having gone to Playacar in the past. I loved Playacar, but after our six days in Isla Mujeres, I can tell you that I doubt we'll return to the mainland. The island is just fantastic. I haven't been, but it felt more like Europe. A serious Mediterranean vibe going on. As my friend said, "every trip should start with a boat trip." Just driving through Cancun to get to the dock, was too much Cancun for me. But once we boarded the ferry, the stresses of everyday life and traveling, washed away. You cross maybe four shades of beautiful blue water to get to Isla. When you reach the island, it's a little overwhelming for a moment, with all the offers to help with luggage.

We walked from the pier to Privilege, while someone took our luggage to the hotel. When we entered the lobby, we were very impressed by the decor (and my new goal is to one day have a water feature like theirs in our home.)

My wife and I were in a superior room (524) with a partial ocean view, we were on the side of the school. ANd yes, we heard the children the first two mornings we were there. But it wasn't that bad. The room itself, a little small, but that's pretty insignificant. The balcony is huge, with a roomy jacuzzi and tons or privacy. One very cool feature that I don't remember being mentioned in any reviews I read, was the door from the shower (also huge) that opened up to the balcony. The bed was on the firm side, but pretty comfortable. Our friends stayed in Premium Suites, and 625 has the best views, from the rooms I saw. The suites are very spacious, with a great living room and balcony. Probably worth the upgrade, but definitely so if you’re going with a larger group.

The grounds of the hotel are kept immaculate. Almost every day we saw them working on the little details, like painting a fence or hosing off the paths. And everyone was very nice, often helping us with our very limited Spanish. The beach is beautiful, and it’s not hard at all to find a spot. Make sure you have your camera ready at sunset. Also, if you want some great pictures, head down the road a bit to the bridge to the Avalon Reef hotel, beautiful views there. The pool is pretty relaxed, and like the rest of the hotel, never overly crowded. In fact, I think that might be my favorite aspect of the resort: it’s just so peaceful. There’s plenty to do, but doing nothing might be the best choice.

We ate most of our meals at the restaurant, where we were waited on by Anthony, and he was fantastic. Flirted with our wives, but it was funny. We ate out twice, once at Olivia’s, which was our best meal on the island. It’s a cool place with a friendly staff. And then we went shopping one night and ended up eating at Rolandi’s, pretty good pizza (and I’m a pizza snob) also a really fun atmosphere.

One day we rented a golf cart to drive around the island, which was a fun way to get to see everything the island offers. We learned that next time; we HAVE to go to Garrafon. Looks like an all-day activity, with the zip lines and snorkeling. There are beautiful views of the water and Cancun.

Remember to bring lots of $1 bills, as it’s a little challenging to get change, and you’ll want to be able to tip the staff during your stay.

Writing this brought back the PVD. Can’t wait to go back next year.
video



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Eat Lightning, Crap Thunder

She was six years old and thrilled to be a big sister. He was the cutest baby ever, wait, correction; I was the cutest baby ever. For the first few years of my life, I shared a room with my sister. I’m told that I used to often sing myself to sleep. Now, judging by how awful my voice is now, I can’t imagine it was much better back then. What would have caused most big sisters to smother their little brother with a pillow was somehow music to her ears.
My sister has jammed multiple life time’s worth of surviving into her 40 years here. She’s battled her demons long enough that the fight should go to the judges, but there was always another round and another bell. She has a Rocky-like way of answering each bell, when the average person would throw in the towel.
A few months back she found out she had a new opponent, with a long ridiculous name: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. A dirty fighter who never really lost, but at the same time doesn’t win all that much either. So she threw down the way only she does. You’d swear she’s part pit bull.  Things were going well, and they were taking a break from the chemo to see just how big of an ass-whopping she had put on her ugly rival. I don’t know much about these fights, but I was told that was a very good sign.
Then about a week and a half ago she had some pain in her abdomen. The woman with a pain threshold like no one else retreated back to her corner for some help. Tests were run and now those results are back. Damnit to hell, it’s another nasty, dirty, repulsive opponent with another horrifying name: Renal Cell Carcinoma, or Kidney Cancer for short.
Like many of her other past fights, the odds makers can’t be trusted, but those of us in her corner hope she goes mid-evil on her foe and then get some well deserved rest from fighting for her life.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bore

I often find myself missing writing these days. It’s just that I can never find something I really want to write about. Raising a ten year old, who can often make me question every decision I make and doubt any parenting “skills” I thought I may have. Then in the blink of an eye, she says something that makes me feel like I actually get it. Sure, that could be fun to write, but it’s a lot like watching old Met highlights (like you can call them highlights) because all I see is what could have been. Really Carlos Beltran, I’m still waiting on you to swing at that pitch.
I’d love to add my two cents to the political debate of the week, but I’ve made an effort to back off that sort of thing, besides, the world needs less political blogs. Even mine would be right at all times. I don’t see enough movies or listen to enough music to have anything to say there either. Although Avengers was awesome and there’s a bunch of movies coming out this summer that I’m looking forward to seeing: (The Dark Knight Rises, Gangster Squad, The Dictator, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Bourne Legacy)
I’m also not sure of the exact moment I became such a dad that I have almost no idea what music is popular these days. It happened before I joined Spotify, but that probably hasn’t helped much. I put some music on while I’m at work, but I always seem to just play what I know. Same goes when I’m mowing. If I turn on the radio, it’s sports talk. Or if I just happen to put on a station that plays music I hear one of five artists: Adelle, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Ke$ha or Rhianna. Basically, the same stuff my daughter players.
My only conclusion: I’ve become amazingly boring.