Monthly Archive for October, 2004

Tell me who The Curse is on again?

It looks like my home town team is the one cursed in the World Series. The powerful St Louis Cardinals, winner of a whopping 105 games this season, are looking more like the Bad News Bears. Especially in Game 3, where basic baserunning rules that every Little Leaguer knows were apparently forgotten by one particular highly paid professional. And I don’t agree with those that say Larry Walker should have tagged on that short fly ball to left (he was out easily). It was shocking to hear the loyal Cardinal fans actually boo the team. That’s extremely rare in St Louis, but they deserved it and they would admit it.

It definitely looks like Boston has lost the “curse”, although I think that’s always just been a nice way of saying “choke”. Evidence? They seem to score every time they have a man on with 2 outs, the Cardinals have left so many more men on base, and the Cards’ big hitters suddenly aren’t hitting (Scott Rolen is statistically the coldest clean up hitter in World Series history, 0-12 at the moment). And how often does a team have back-to-back 4 error games and win both?

If Boston goes on to win, they have to rank up there with the worst ever defensive ball clubs to win a championship. Perhaps the Cardinals pitching has really never been very good and has been masked by their awesome bats. They threw a telling stat out today where Boston hitters have swung and missed at only around 10 pitches all series. Oh well, at least if they win, we won’t have to hear about their great curse any more. And here’s hoping it travels across town to where the Patsies play, as they’ve been the luckiest team in the NFL the past three years.

Related question: Why do the Red Sox, a wild card team, get home field advantage in The Series over the team with the best record in baseball? Because the geniuses over at Major League Baseball decided to alternate between leagues, rather than give home field to the team that deserves it. That doesn’t make sense.

Lastly, I want to set my pal JP straight…and I bet a lot of people are under the same false impression. That is, that the Dodgers have the richest history of any National League team. Wrong! Everybody knows the American League’s NY Yankees are far above all others with 39 division championships and 26 World Series titles, but the St Louis Cardinals are second in all of baseball with 21 division firsts, 16 NL Pennants, and 9 World Series. The Dodgers have 22 and 6. The AL’s Oakland/KC/Philadelphia Athletics also have more with 22 and 9. Plus, the Cardinals get bonus points for being in the same city since 1882. The Dodgers started in Brooklyn (since 1884). The Cardinals franchise is also about 20 years older than the Yankees (since 1901). This makes the Yankees record that much more impressive, but the Cards get props for their history and being around longer.

I still have confidence that the Redbirds can rock the baseball world and come back to win four straight, but as I type this post, I see that Boston has taken a 1-0 lead with a lead off homer in the first. Not a good sign, but at least it wasn’t with two outs.

It’s over. Sad and meek display of baseball by the Cards. Unfortunately, that’s all everyone will remember….not the 105 wins and all the other season’s achievements.

My Kinda Town

Frank Gehry's workOn the way to St Louis, we stopped in Chicago for a couple of days. I always liked that city and wanted to show AussieGirl around (real reason: Geno’s Deep Dish Pizza, baby). The lakeshore city was always a great place to visit (I still have my Mother’s t-shirt from, like, the 80s) and now they’ve got the added bonus of the new Millennium Park downtown. It’s very well done with some very original architectural elements. I love metal and glass in sculpture and design, and there was a lot of it here. Frank Gehry designed a beautiful, serpentine bridge and a stainless steel, wing-like pavilion/amphitheater. The design is such that you wonder if it might take flight in the famous Chicago wind.

beforeafterThere’s also a unique fountain made out of two 50 foot glass block towers that “spit” water out at intervals. They each project movie images of regular Chicagoans and face each other. At some point, they pucker so that a flow of water comes gushing out of their mouths, to the enjoyment of the kids. There’s a shallow reflecting pool between the two towers as well.

Anish Kapoor's BeanIt’s hard to pick a favorite, but mine was probably the Anish Kapoor “metal bean” sculpture. It’s really striking against the backdrop of Chicago, reflecting the skyline and blue sky. The architectural beauty of the city was evident everywhere you looked….well almost everywhere. I must say that the modernization of Soldier Field was not done very well. It kind of looks like a space ship landed on top of the old stadium with the Greek facade. I like that they kept the Doric columnade, but they could’ve done a better job of integrating it with the new section.

Of course, we had to pay a visit to the Chicago Art Institute, one of the best museums in the country. I came away from that visit with a funny story that may make Contemporary Art haters chuckle. It goes a little something like this…

string artWe were checking out the Contemporary Art section when we heard one of the security guards – an older, black woman – call out to someone to stop what he was doing. She was scolding a twentysomething, arty looking guy with a soul patch. He was in front of an installation that simply consisted of a black string stretched across a section of floor and then continuing to the ceiling. I believe it was a sculpture made by the late minimalist from New York, Fred Sandback. If you look hard, you can see it at the right.

He evidently was touching the string. A no no, of course. You’re not allowed to touch the art. He then had the courage to ask her, “What is it?”.

She replied with a stern face, “It’s a string………..It’s ART”.

I barely contained my laughter. I couldn’t tell if she was being serious or sarcastic, but something about the way she said it – maybe the way she emphasized “art” – was hilarious. And maybe the fact that a guy that looked like he should maybe know modern art asked the question, made it that much more funny. Of course, he should’ve known that the sculpture makes one ponder our preconceived notions of space and dimensions, and changes one’s perception of the space. That it obviously uses space as a tangible element and presents the volume of sculpture without the mass traditionally associated with this art form.

Duhhh, I coulda told him that.

Shit-eating Grin

The Ginos boys discovering art at the LoopWhen we were visiting St Louis for brother Peter’s wedding earlier this month, we had lunch in the hip Loop district on Delmar Avenue (the rapper Nelly hails from an area of University City nearby). Our great friend Xtina joined us with hubby Tom and two sons(pictured here). Oh and lest I forget, Canadian Master Fisherman Telly K from Toronto was there as well. We ate the famous, chargrilled burgers of Blueberry Hill and as I perused the restaurant/bar’s Rock n Roll memorabilia and the stars on the sidewalk of the St Louis Walk-of-Fame, I was reminded of a bizarro story about one of St louis’ most famous sons – Chuck Berry. Telly wouldn’t believe me and damn if I can’t find a reprint of the actual article on the web, but here’s a page with a series of St Louis Post Dispatch articles written about his legal problems at the time. My fave is his quote after he swung a bag at a TV reporter at an airport in Sweden – “It must be a sting. Someone is out to get me.”

I originally had read about CB’s troubles in a Spy Magazine story around 1990. That was a great magazine, by the way, that went under in the 90s. I know I have that back issue and others in storage somewhere back in the states, but here’s what I remember….

Chuck was the object of class-action suit(s) stemming from a massive library of ‘toilet’ videos that were uncovered when police searched his home in response to a drug trafficking tip(only small amounts of marijuana were found, although the tipper said they’d find large amounts of cocaine). The videos uncovered the fact that he had installed surveillance cameras in the women’s toilets of his restaurant in west St Louis(Wentzville), to include close up shots of ladies as they urinated and defecated. The logistics of camera placement must have been difficult, but the man famous for his ‘duck walk’ found a way. That was weird enough, but then came the news about his “home movies”. Read on at your discretion…

Spy went on to describe a scene from one of Chuck’s personal home videos:
Cut to one of his women soaking alone in a hot tub. Chuck suddenly appears naked. He talks down to her, then lets loose a steady steam of urine onto her chest. She pretends to love it and rubs it all over her body. Then, when she asks for a kiss from him, he refuses because, he says, she smells like piss. So she rinses off. When she’s clean, Chuck reappears and hollars, “time for my breakfast!” (well it was either that or an enthusiastic “dinner time!”, but you get the gist). Now for the really nasty part – he sits in the tub as she squats above him. She then proceeds to defecate on his face and in his mouth to the sound of his moans and groans.
Gives new meaning to the title of this post and I’ve never looked at the pioneering Rock legend the same way since.

Coolness and Strength Down Under

AussieGirl and I currently have an Aussie friend of hers visiting and she had told us the other day that in the race for Australian Prime Minister, left-wing candidate Latham was ahead in the polls. That was disconcerting news. He was promising to withdraw all Australian troops from Iraq before Christmas (sounds very Spanish of him). And this, even though there hasn’t been a single Australian casualty in Iraq. Well, I don’t know what polls she was reading, but John Howard won handily the other day.

The Aussies are even cooler than I thought.

I’ll have to put away my bitterness after those anti-freedom yahoos vandalized the beautiful Sydney Opera House with red paint last year. This certainly shows that the Australian people have some backbone, won’t give in to terrorism, and are willing to fight for a free world – no matter how difficult the fight may become. What a contrast to the way the weak-kneed Spanish electorate reacted to the despicable murders on their own soil….and the pathetic rolling over by the Philippine government.

Australia – Stay strong and keep on keepin’ on.

Big, Fat, Greek-American Wedding

Pete n Megan get marriedNo, it wasn’t me, ladies.

That wailing noise is the sound of all the broken-hearted girls as brother Peter left the market for good. He married his beautiful bride, Megan Barnes, on Saturday the 2nd of October. Froboy was honored to be one of Pete’s two Best Men. He was on ‘stefana’, while cousin Takis Morris was on ‘rings’. The rings are exchanged during the first half of The Sacrament of Marriage – The Service of Betrothal, which celebrates the engagement of the man and woman. The stefana are crowns , connected by a ribbon, and placed on the heads of the betrothed during the second half – The Marriage Service. They symbolize the “oneness” of the couple.

It was a lavish affair of 250 or so people. The ceremony taking place at St Louis’ Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, with Father Doug presiding. The reception was at the picturesque St Albans Country Club, generously hosted by Mr and Mrs Dennis Barnes. The happy couple is now honeymooning on the Greek Island of Santorini, before they move on to Crete and the lux Elounda Beach Hotel. Then finally to Athens for a day and a half to celebrate with Peter’s Greek family.

Na Zisoune!

More photos from P and M’s big day can be seen on my PhotoBlog at Buzznet

2 Amys Pizzeria: 2 Legit

since moving into our nation’s capital and into the ‘big city’, one of the major perks (to offset the crime blotter and occasional parking woe) is a broader culinary landscape. i moved on a hot tip and walked over to find 2 Amys Pizzeria – the verdict: excellent! They tout membership in the Asscciazione Verace Pizza Napoletana so my expectations of a wood-burning oven caressing the sides of a thin, hand-tossed, barely-sauced pie were met with near tears of joy. mmmmm, despite the Cleveland Park price tag (~$13, for a pizza-for-one), this pizza was the real deal.