A rose by any other name …

Scene: Zan and Daddy on the couch, watching the Red Sox play the Angels.

“Daddy, do you know any of the Angels players’ names?”

“Well, their newest guy is Mark Texaira … and they have a great hitter named Vladimir Guerrero …”

“V-lad-i-mir Gor-arrow?”



“Almost. It’s Guerrero.”


“I wish they named him Bill.”

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Subject: No cellphone

To: [Lots of people]

Hi, this is Jon. I can’t get to the phone right now because it shattered into a million pieces on Interstate 95 early last evening. Its pieces are intermingled with those of the six-hour-old BlackBerry Curve that I received from my employer yesterday. I left both on the roof of my car while transporting my family from point A to point B. Total estimated retail value: $700.

If you need to reach me, please call me on my home phone … which I probably won’t answer, because I’m busy throwing up.


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A funny thing happened on the way to my blog …

So, as I was mentioning a while back, I was hoping to start posting here with a little more frequency … but, as I also was mentioning a while back, I had been busy getting my Red Sox website off the ground, and it was eating up a significant amount of my time.

Well, it turns out that the site actually was only nibbling at my time back then—a comparison I am now able to make because, shortly after I wrote that post, the site began devouring my time in massive, sloppy, impolite, noisy, Cookie Monster-like chomps and gulps. Here’s what happened:

Two days after I wrote the aforementioned post in which I addressed my Red Sox site, the proprietor of my second most-favorite Red Sox site, Boston Dirt Dogs, emailed me to say that he was a fan of my work and would like to feature some of it on his site (which, incidentally, is part of The Boston Globe’s boston.com site).

If, on the day I had launched my own Red Sox website, you had asked me which other Red Sox site I would most like to get hooked up with, can you guess what I would have said? Yes, that’s right: Boston Dirt Dogs. Suffice to say, I was pretty psyched.

So, on Sept. 27, as the Red Sox were winding down their regular season and were poised to win the A.L. East pennant for the first time in a dozen years, this comic of mine was featured on the Boston Dirt Dogs site, and was credited with a link leading back to my site. (And I’d post the actual images themselves within the body of this entry rather than simply linking to them if it weren’t for the fact that they are too wide for this template, and thus mess up the page.) Traffic immediately spiked, and I suddenly had an audience. (Chuckleworthy aside: I emailed to Matt Damon’s publicist the link to that comic, and she passed it on to him. This very funny video will give you some idea of how big a fan Matt is of the Red Sox.)

Well, Mama didn’t raise no fool, so I knew I had to make the site a priority in order to keep, and grow, my newfound audience. Thus, I spent the entire month of October watching the Red Sox play late into the night, and, after each game, worked into the wee hours of the morn to create a new image worthy of publication—a number of which also ran on the Boston Dirt Dogs site (which I shall now refer to as BDD, both because doing so is hip and cool, and also because it will allow me to budget an extra .067 seconds into my week).

One such image was this “E.R.” spoof, which appeared on BDD Oct. 18th.

Lots of people read BDD. Turns out one of those people is Peter Wilson, Executive Producer of WBZ-TV, the Boston-based CBS affiliate. Peter emailed me out of the blue on Oct. 18th to ask if he could use the “E.R.” image on that day’s 6 p.m. news broadcast, and said he would run with it an onscreen credit in the form of the SoxNation.net URL. Here’s the result:

OK, so anchorman Jack Williams flubbed the actual dialogue shown in the comic, and it was just a quick hit at the very end of the news, but it was kinda cool. (And, in case you’re interested, that second illustration was created by a talented artist named Frank Galasso, whose work also is frequently featured on BDD.)

Now, as that “E.R.” comic suggests, on Oct. 18th, the 2007 Red Sox were gasping what appeared to be their final breath … but, that night, Red Sox ace Josh Beckett—who has turned out to be the Tiger Woods, the Michael Jordan, the Obi-Wan Kenobi of postseason pitchers—laid a hellacious smackdown on the Cleveland Indians in their own house, thus avoiding elimination and forcing a Game 6 back at Fenway Park. So inspired was I by his virtuosic performance, I created this photo illustration after the game. I liked it. So did Peter Wilson, who asked if he could run it on the Oct. 19th evening news, which he did, prominently, at the top of the main “Sports” segment:

The part where the anchorwoman, Lisa Hughes, says “And the folks at SoxNation.net … “? Yeah, that’s when Wonder Woman and I laugh our asses off. We were watching it with the kids when it aired live, and Wonder Woman goes, “Hey, the folks at SoxNation.net! That’s us!” Funnier still, of course, is the fact that the folks at SoxNation.net are actually me with bedhead sitting at the computer in my underwear.

So, anyhow, the site got some great attention during the Sox’s World Series run (I really couldn’t have picked a much better time to have created it), and I felt compelled to keep trying to outdo myself with each successive entry. The evening the Sox swept the Colorado Rockies to win their second World Series title in three years (woohoo!), I stayed up all night making this one here (which isn’t too wide for this template):

The Boston Red Sox are the 2007 World Champions

Believe it or not, creating that image (the original version of which you can see here) was insanely difficult; it is by far the most difficult photo illustration I’ve ever made, and I almost bailed on it several times during those early morning hours. I am a bit masochistic, though, and it just seemed right that the image that forced me to work the hardest and longest would be the one that would commemorate a World Series victory.

So, in order to strike while the iron was hot, as they say, I devoted an insane amount of time and energy to my Red Sox site this fall. Things have settled down quite a bit—though, fortunately, the Red Sox fanbase is hardcore enough that there is plenty of interest in the team during the offseason, which means I am still getting a fairly steady flow of visitors to the site—but, for several weeks there, I was basically eating, breathing and (not) sleeping SoxNation.net … and that, my friends, is why y’all ain’t seen me ’round these parts for a while.

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Posted in Inspiration, PhotoChops, Red Sox, TV | 4 Responses

Battered Van Halen-fan syndrome

Look, I appreciate your concern, but, really, I’m OK. He’s not going to hurt me again.

Yes, I know it’s not the first time he’s said he’d change … not the first time he’s said it won’t happen again … that he’ll stop drinking … that I can trust him … that he really loves me. I know.

But, seriously, I think he really means it this time. I mean, look: he went and got help. Real help. Professional help. That month he just spent in rehab … I mean, c’mon, that’s a big step. He’s making a real effort. He’s so different this time. Just look at him. Look how happy and healthy he looks compared to how he was before he sobered up. Can’t you see that it’s really gonna be different this time around?

No, I haven’t forgotten what happened in ’96. Ugly. Very ugly. After making me believe for all those years that the magic would never end, he just … just cut things off, so … so abruptly. Yes, some very nasty things were said. It was awful. And then … then, that whole thing in ’98 … when he tried to convince me it was the real deal again, when I just knew it wasn’t.

Yes, I remember that thrashing he gave me in ’04. Years of silence suddenly broken by the reunion for which I had so longed. My long-shattered faith was restored. The magic was back. The ’96 trainwreck wasn’t the end after all. I was so happy. He sucked me in good that time, only to turn around and blow it all to hell.

It’s been a bumpy ride since then. The unpredictable behavior, the boozing, the lashing out, the downward spiral, bad decision after bad decision. Yes, I had pretty much written him off, too.

But now … well, how can I not give him another shot? How can I turn him away? I mean, as bad as it ever was, he’s given me so much joy, touched me in a way that no one else ever could. How can I not take the chance? I have to. I have no choice. I want to believe.

Please, Ed … do the right thing. For me. For us. I’m begging you.

Jon & Ed 5150

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Posted in Music, Van Halen | 2 Responses

I propose a toast to you, my readers

So, yesterday morning, I went for a short run (redundant, really, since “short” is the only kind of run I ever seem to go for, if at all), and returned home feeling all fit and spry—and hungry. This last part is always a challenge, because the extent of my culinary abilities is limited to boiling and toasting—or so I thought. Turns out I can remove “toasting” from my résumé.

For the “boiling” part, I placed a couple eggs in a pot of water on the stove. For the “toasting” part, I placed a couple slices of wheat bread in the toaster oven, and set the toast-cooking dial to what I hoped would be an appropriate setting for achieving that perfect, golden-brown finish.

Already, we’re off to a bad start, because, as anyone with a few brain cells knows, it takes considerably longer to boil a couple of eggs than it does to toast a couple of pieces of bread—a fact that, had I not been high on endorphins and preoccupied with listening to Howard Stern, I probably would have considered before embarking on my culinary journey.

So the toaster oven goes “ding,” and the toast, I must say, was almost the perfect shade of golden brown for which I had hoped … but the eggs still had a ways to go. I let them boil for a few more minutes, then turned the toaster oven back on, with the intention of briefly reheating my lovely, golden-brown toast so that the butter I planned to spread upon it would melt accordingly, and—“Hey! That would create the perfect surface on which to sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon! I think I’ll mix a bit of those two seasonings together right now!”

I grabbed the sugar bowl. I grabbed the cinnamon container. I grabbed a small receptacle into which I poured and mixed the two. “Hmmm. Looks like it needs a little more cinnamon.” I added some. I mixed the concoction some more. “Looks good. I’ll just place that down right here and get my—TOAST! HOLY MACKEREL! AM THAT A FIRE? WHY, I DO BELIEVE IT AM!”

Yes, one of my two pieces of toast was completely engulfed in flames. Like, it appeared as though the entire slice had been dipped in JP-4 jet fuel. Its twin brother apparently was flame-retardant, which seemed really interesting to a small part of my brain, but I had no time for such musing, because, seriously, those flames were beginning to lick out of the top of the toaster-oven door, and were dangerously close to all of those random pieces of paper and photos hanging from the side of the refrigerator, against which the toaster oven had, until yesterday, lived.

At that point, option number one would have been to unplug the toaster oven, carry it out the back door and dump the flaming toast into the snow. Unfortunately, the outlet into which the toaster oven was plugged is literally behind the refrigerator, at a distance from the toaster oven that is exactly the length of said toaster oven’s electrical cord. Basically, there was no way to unplug the toaster oven without setting flame to my body.

Because I was unable to unplug the oven, I also was unable to douse the flames with water. I briefly attempted to blow out the flames with a blast from my super breath, but it quickly became evident that this method was going to accomplish nothing more than increase the likelihood of my home burning down.

And so I grabbed the fire extinguisher and blasted that flaming toast back to the depths of the fiery Hell from whence it came.

The events of the past four paragraphs occurred over the course of about nine seconds.

The most noticeable side effect of setting a piece of wheat toast on fire in your home and then blasting it with a fire extinguisher is the positively voluminous amount of smoke that billows throughout the house, thus necessitating the opening of all of the windows and doors—which, really, is perfect on a brisk, February morning.

Think I’m joking? Exhibit A:

Burnt toast

The residue on the glass door is what came out of the fire extinguisher; the brown-and-black dust on the pavement is the toast, which Zan and Jayna, upon returning home shortly after the incident occurred, promptly removed from the oven and pulverized.

Stick around; there’ll be more buffoonery to come, I assure you.

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Posted in Buffoonery | 4 Responses