Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Am I The Only One?

Tired of Seth Rogen playing unlikely lead characters? Enough already. In fact, Rambler needs a break from the whole Judd Apatow crew for awhile.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Doug Williams, Jay Schroeder, And Me

Many of us come to a point in our lives where we are forced to confront what we try to keep buried deep inside. For me, it was the fall of 1987 and the quarterback controversy between Jay Schroeder and Doug Williams.

First some background. Schroeder took over as Redskins quarterback in most dramatic fashion. Joe Theismann's career ended on November 18, 1985 when a flea-flicker went horribly awry and Theismann's leg was broken while being sacked by Lawrence Taylor. It was a Monday night game and I was watching it in my dorm room with my best friend. As Theismann was wheeled off the field I figured we were fucked. Our back up was a second stringer from UCLA who had dabbled in baseball until settling on football. He had done a little mop up duty in the first game but that was it.

All that changed in Schroeder's second play when he hit Art Monk for a 44 yard gain, the exact kind of play that Theismann just wasn't able to pull off anymore. Schroeder led the Skins to an emotionally charged win that night and the team finished the season strong. The next season, the starting position his, Schroeder delivered a 12-4 season and a playoff run that ended in on a dark and bitter cold night at the Meadowlands where Taylor & Co. knocked him silly for four quarters.

Still, the future seemed bright and I was a huge Schroeder fan. He had a cannon for an arm. He was great at the fourth quarter comeback. The next season though he went down early in the first game and Doug Williams, the former Tampa Bay QB came in and led the Skins to a victory against the Eagles. The next week Williams played well but the Skins lost by a point due to an inept special team. After that the NFL went on strike and by the time the strike ended Schroeder was healthy and resumed the starting QB position.

But Schroeder was erratic when he returned. He struggled against the Jets, was great against the Bills and then awful against the Eagles. A week later when he was again performing poorly against the Lions Coach Gibbs had seen enough and pulled him. Williams came in and led the team to victory. The next week Williams again started, played well against the Rams and only two rare end zone drops by Art Monk cost him the win. In the week that followed, Williams back was hurt and Schroeder got the call against the hated Giants on a rainy Sunday at RFK. The Skins were trailing 16-0 and 19-3 when Schroeder caught fire and threw three second half TDs (how do I remember this stuff?) and the Skins won 23-19.

Williams was healthy enough to start the next game but Gibbs said he was going with the hot hand and stuck with Schroeder. Williams was devastated and much of Washington was divided over the decision. Washington Post columnist Juan Williams wrote that Williams was "getting jobbed" and raised the race issue. He pointed out that statistically Williams had clearly out-performed Schroeder even if the Skins had lost the two games Williams had started.

I wanted to Schroeder to keep his job. And I was afraid to admit to myself the reason why I felt that way. It had to be because the younger Schroeder had the brighter future vs. the journeyman Williams. Sure Jay had been a little shaky this season, but when the Skins needed a big win he delivered. That had to be my reasoning for supporting number 10 vs. number 17. After all, I was born in Detroit, lived in black neighborhoods for much of my life and was a product of the D.C. public school systems. The cliche "some of my best friends are black" was true in my case. Race couldn't have anything to do with it.

Or did it? After all, as a kid I spent endless afternoons pretending to be the QB of the Redskins and this QB sure didn't look like me. How could I pretend to be him?

Schroeder held on to his job and the controversy faded as he lead the the Skins to three wins in their next five games and they clinched a playoff berth. Heading into the last game at Minnesota though the Skins needed a win to keep their faint hopes of being able to host a playoff game alive.

Once again Schroeder was off. He threw two picks and was flat in a crucial game. It was at that moment I realized I no longer cared what the quarterback of the Redskins looked like as long as he could win and when Gibbs made the move to Williams again I cheered. I knew it was time to let go. Doug led the team to victory and then engineered the big upset in Chicago which led to the rematch with the Vikings at RFK in the NFC championship game.

Williams struggled mightily in that game but not once did I scream at the TV for Schroeder to replace him. I did scream at Williams to get his shit together and eventually he delivered, hitting Gary Clark with a bullet to put the Skins ahead in the fourth quarter and Darrell Green sealed the victory with his hit on Darin Nelson at the goal line.

In the Super Bowl, the Skins struggled early and Williams went out briefly with a twisted knee. Schroeder came in sacked and threw an incomplete pass and the Skins punted. The next time the Skins got the ball back Williams was back and on first down he hit Ricky Sanders with an 80 yard bomb and the blowout was on. It was appropriate that once again Williams shined best when he replaced Schroeder.

Schroeder was gone by next season and Williams never quite recaptured the magic of that fall but it didn't matter. He had left an indelible mark on the Redskins, the NFL and my own concept of what a quarterback is supposed to be.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rambler's Rules

You've had a good night if when you get home and have no desire or need to rub one out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

For One Perfect Night

For one perfect night
One where there are no regrets
One where I'm desiring more
One where I'm at peace with less

For one perfect night
That didn't want to end
That reminded me why we're here
That showed me hope

For one perfect night
If it fades into oblivion
If it turns out to be a trick
If it was nothing it was worth it

For one perfect night
Showed me I can still feel
Showed me I can still give
Showed me I can still be

For one perfect night
And if tomorrow I'm back in hell
And if tomorrow I'm empty again
And if tomorrow the clouds return

It won't matter at all
Because for one perfect night
I knew the hunt was still on
The chase was still in me
That I was worth it
I could feel
I could be felt
I could breathe
That all that went before
Was just a prelude
For one perfect night

Monday, October 20, 2008

Things They Should Never Run Out Of At Starbucks

Spoons. Whole milk. Sugar. Especially the latter. How the hell do you run out of sugar? I know I'm an oddity. I use real sugar. I also tend to favor whole milk. Just call me throwback dude.

Oh, and toilet paper. Those napkins don't cut it

Got Me Again

I couldn't do it today
I tried to get up
Tried to go running
My body said no way

I climbed back in bed and shut the shades
I pulled a sheet over my eyes
And prayed for the voices to go away
It wasn't enough to stop the raids

They came from every angle, every side
Screaming and seething
Unrelenting and unforgiving
Won't they just leave me to die?

Can't stay here
Can't go there
These voices they don't stop
Can't lose these fears

Pushed myself out of bed
Raised the window
Walked on the ledge
What was it they said?

Will this make it stop?
Leave me at last
Only one way to find out
Got to make that drop

They got me again

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Six-String Razor

I should be (back) in Hollywood. Just last week I said to a friend that Life on Mars should use "All the way from Memphis" and lo and behold it's the first song in tonight' episode. If that's not scary enough, Ian Hunter is nearly 70. Next week I want The Faces' "Bad `n' Ruin."

That Looks Like Gub

Rambler's always had sloppy handwriting. It has been my curse. Even my print is messy. I'm sure there are plenty of deep-seeded psychological reasons for this but I don't have the time or the cash to figure that out.

But I will share how my bad handwriting has put me in a bind. My middle name is spelled differently on every piece of identification I have and that is a nightmare waiting to happen. I don't know how it started. At some point someone misread a `K' for an `H' and the trouble started. Later an `M' became an `N' or vice versa and now it's just a mess. Truth is, sometimes I wasn't sure how to spell my middle name. It's a grandmother's maiden name or something (thanks a lot, mom). I wouldn't notice the error until well after the fact and would just sigh and mutter `fuck it.'

None of this used to matter much but nowadays the last thing I need is to be bent over a table at security at JFK getting an anal probe because my middle name is spelled differently on two pieces of ID. Of course, if it's a hot chick doing the probing...

I also need to get a New York license. I don't want to do it and have twice tried to and then gotten pissed off and left the NYC DMV. I resent that New York illegally requires a Social Security Card in order to apply for a license thereby violating the rule that an SSN card and number is NEVER to be used as a form of ID.

But my CA license expires next year and while I could do what I've done in the past and just go out there and renew it, I've decided it's time to surrender. Now though I need to get my middle name situation fixed. I'll start with Social Security. They fucked up my new card a few years ago. Now in order for them to change it they need to see a picture ID with the name spelled right. I don't have one. Now I just got off the phone with SSN and they actually have the 1969 application with my middle name spelled right. Guess what? Doesn't matter. I'll get to make a trip over there and plead my case soon. I do have a copy of my birth certificate with my middle name spelled right.

Once I get the SSN taken care of, I'll go after the passport. From there the rest should be easy. I hope. Or I'll just renew with CA again.

As much as I want to bitch at SSN or all the other places, the truth is this is my fault. And it sucks to have to go around cleaning up my own messes.

Otherwise, this can happen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Big Nothing

Thinking about that time when I mattered
Wondering if you think about those days too
Remembering when the day was something to live
Rather than just one more thing to finish
Now each day bleeds into the other
Nothing to remember, nothing to cherish

Just sitting in the big nothing
Waiting for the sun to fade again
Just sitting in the big nothing
Wondering when I'll reach the end

So yesterday I thought about going down
Take that 10:01 train and get out
Find you in your little world
And shatter that fucker wide open
Don't think I'm that angry anymore
But sometimes that bitch just shows up
And I get afraid that I'll take this whole place apart

Just sitting in the big nothing
Waiting for that road to lead me out
Just sitting in the big nothing
And don't it make you want to shout

If I could take my pain away
And maybe your pulse too
That might be my redemption
Or just another false promise in the big nothing
Not getting out of here today
Still got my dues to pay

Just dying in the big nothing
Ain't no reverse in that hearse
Just dying in the big nothing
And you know, things could be worse

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Indian Summer

What do you think when you catch me trying to catch your eye?
Will you look at me and say `yeah, let's go for a ride.'
Or just glance past to the guy down the street ten years my junior?
And who's reflexes caught you sooner

Am I that one you want me to be?
Or just another you pretend not to see?
Do I have a chance to get into your head?
Or am I headed towards another night alone in my bed?

The Indian summer brings them all out
Keeps me glued to that corner watching their route
One last day for backless dresses and strappy sandals
One last night for no regrets and a throwaway scandal

Sat on that stoop from dawn to dusk
Watching my mood turn from love to lust
Spread what's left of my hair across my top
Flex my arms as if that'll make you stop

Blow two hours running and lifting in the gym every day
Not that it'll keep grim reality away
Got rid of the beer, the smokes and the wine
Like somehow that'll turn back time

Someone said this getting old isn't for cowards no sir
And I'm the living proof, that's for sure
Just about at the halfway point, maybe a little more
Is the fun part of this ride really over?

I got one more Indian Summer to sit and stare
Another weekend to be stuck in my lair
In my head we dance down the street
In my heart you make me believe

Not going to go away just yet
This heart's got one more big get
Get my self off this corner for just one day
And chase you down and make you stay

Friday, October 10, 2008

Life On Mars

Time for Rambler to play TV critic. I tuned into Life on Mars last night on ABC. The premise is that a New York cop in 2008 gets run over while searching for his missing cop girlfriend (played by a still hot Lisa Bonet) and wakes up in 1973 New York.

Of course I was going to be into this show, especially since it cast includes Harvey Keitel and Michael Imperioli. I'll touch on the plot a little but for now I'll focus on the show's look and feel since that is obviously its big selling point.

Even though they filmed a lot of it in New York, it still looked as if it was done on a backlot. Actually, it looked more like it was shot on the set of Sesame Street (see below). Because this city has changed so much in the last 35 years, most shots had to be very tight otherwise one would probably see a Starbucks logo or Duane Reade in the background. That's not the producer's fault but it did take away from the gritty look they were trying to convey.

Imperioli's character looked like a guy dressing up for a 70s costume party. Keitel, however, didn't pull it off. Honestly, he's too old for the role. He sort of resembles Mick Jagger these days and not in a good way. Neither his hair or clothes seemed right for the era.

Now what would've been funny is if the main protagonist actually comments on a Starbucks-free New York City or one where there aren't banks every 50 feet and the banks that do exist are Manufacturers Hanover vs HSBC and Chase. Maybe he can step in dogshit and be all `what the fuck???' It'd be more amusing than hearing jokes about Diet Coke that were played out in Back to the Future.

With regards to the plot, well the old bump on the head sent back in time thing seems a little tired and we're not really clear why he's there and if he is there to stop something he could do it easily enough by killing the little boy who later grows up to be the serial killer he's chasing in 2008. Oops. Well if you read this far you probably already watched the pilot anyway.

Me, I'd just bet people on the Mets battling their way out of last place to make to the series and make a killing.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


In the spirit of the season, enjoy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tell The Teacher Moses Didn't Wear A Suit!

I was talking with my brother about his experiences with Hebrew school and our father and he told me this good one. My Dad was notoriously cheap and did not want to shell out the cash to buy my brothers sports coats or suits and ties to wear to temple. It was required and my brother says an instructor would often pull he and my other brother aside suggesting it would be more respectful if they wore suits to synagogue.

Not wanting to bring this to my father, who had an explosive temper in those days, my brothers dodged the issue. But it was stressing them out and one day my brother brought it up with my father who screamed, "tell the Hebrew school teacher that Moses didn't wear a suit."

You can't make this shit up.

Taming Of The Jew

I'll be at work Thursday. Just like I was last Tuesday and Wednesday. The charade is over for me. I have always struggled over whether to work on the "High Holy" days. Growing up, I went to Hebrew school three times a week so if I took those days off from regular school it was no big deal although more often than not I opted to show up.

Although I was raised Jewish, I never have felt embraced nor have I embraced the faith. This probably comes from a lackluster (that's an understatement) effort by my father to instill a love of the religion in me. My Dad didn't lead by example. He never went to temple but we had to go to Hebrew school. That breeds resentment.

My mom isn't Jewish. We were all converted. We are, my brother says, Sammy Davis Jews. At Hebrew school, I felt different from the other kids and also felt I was treated differently by the teachers who knew that I wasn't 100% Hebrew National.

My father always calls and asks if I've taken the day off. `You're a Jew, you shouldn't be working,' he'll say. I want to respond, `yeah, how was temple today anyway?,' but I hold my tongue.

My attitude is that since I don't go to temple and haven't been in one for years (except for the occasional funeral)it would be hypocritical of me to take those days. If I marry someone Jewish who does all those things, I will too.

None of this means I bear ill will towards the chosen peeps. My experience and issues have little to do with Judaism and a lot to do with my own family baggage. It took me a long time to realize that but there you go.

If you're looking for me Thursday, I'll be doing what I always do and probably eating as well. Fortunately, I only have to atone for half of what I eat.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sit Down, Shut Up!!!

Rock critic Greil Marcus once wrote of Rod Stewart, “Rarely has a singer has as full and unique a talent as Rod Stewart; rarely has anyone betrayed his talent so completely.”

Replace singer with DJ and Marcus could've easily been talking about Howard Stern. Like Rod and Vanity Fair honcho Graydon Carter, Howard fooled us for many years. Once a down to earth satirist of the rich and famous, Howard has become what he used to mock. This is not a news flash. Howard long ago turned his back on his Long Island roots in favor of Nobu's and the fast lane. But the fait accompli was his wedding the other day to second tier model Beth Ostrosky at Le Cirque with Barbara Walters and Kelly Ripa (the exact type of celebrity that Stern used to mock) among those in attendance.

This is not about begrudging a man his success. He entertains millions and deserves his. This is about the disappointment when one sees what was really motivating the drive for that success. I miss the guy who ranted about his in-laws and who made fun of celebrities who left their first wives for bimbos. Howard would always express disdain towards them, which seemed real and envy, which seemed fake. Who knew we had it all backwards.

Marcus also wrote of Rod (and I'm paraphrasing here), that it appears all Rod wanted to do was fuck models and hang out with celebrities and if he had to become a great artist to do that, he was willing.

Sad to say the same can be said of Howard these days.

It's Complicated

The problem with dating is you actually begin to contemplate the consequences of your actions. This is different from how Rambler usually enters relationships which basically consisted of you liked my booze, you liked my goodies and I made you laugh and we'd fuck (you'd like that too) and then presto instant relationship.

Now I actually have to feel something for someone before I consider making a move. And I can't let it just be about the physical unless you say, `it's OK, just because we fuck doesn't mean you are somehow indebted to me for the rest of my life.' And strangely enough, without the chemicals, the physical desires aren't there without an emotional one as well. Weird, huh?

It's a whole new world out there.

Friday, October 3, 2008

And we have not got to allow....

I don't know where to start. I'm not sure when knowing how to talk in complete sentences became a liability. I can't figure out how anyone could watch that debate and not wonder what the hell McCain was thinking. I don't know if the media is just beaten down and afraid to state the obvious or if this strategy of lowering expectations actually worked on these bozos. Imagine if we applied the Palin standard to our sports teams. Wow, Andy Petitte did't bean anyone today. Woo hoo!!! Lets give him a Cy Young award.

Oy! McCain may be a Maverick, but Palin's a Pinto.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mayor Mike's Backdoor Shenanigans

I am against term limits in any form. But twice New Yorkers have voted for them. If Bloomberg wants to run again, let the people vote to repeal term limits and run again. The way he is going about this is, for lack of a better word, bullshit.

What we're seeing is Bloomberg at his worst. This is not the reformer who isn't in any one's pockets. This is the guy who knows best for everyone. This is the guy who wants to tell us what to eat and how to live now telling us that this city can't go on without him at the helm. And he's so right he doesn't even need to bother actually trying to convince voters.

Bloomberg has done a lot right in his two terms. But there is an arrogance to him that is, in some ways, worse than his predecessor and this is the proof. Heck, Rudy only wanted a few extra months. Bloomberg wants four more years. Wonder what Ray Kelly thinks.

He'll win easily which makes his approach even more annoying. He could have done this the right way instead of the wussy way.

I'm just wondering what he'll ban in his third term. I'm guessing pizza.