Monday, June 30, 2008

Conked republic

Blog on the Run editor

In a roundabout way, there's been quite a bit of news centering around a couple of Key West's finest. Though, I guess if you have a familiarity of any area and you read a lot of news stories, you'll always be able to draw connections between certain stories and a certain place. There's always a connection if you look hard enough. But if you tell a girl you "feel a connection" then there's no chance there's a connection.

About 10 days or so ago, former Key West High School catcher Ralphie Henriquez Jr. was on the opposite end of this semi-infamous YouTube sensation and SportsCenter clip:

Ralphie was Key West baseball in 2005.
When Key West hits the road, the team doesn’t travel alone. Up to four busloads of parents and fans travel hundreds or even more than 1,000 miles to games, all of which are broadcast live on a 5,000-watt AM radio station.

“It’s like a freaking band of gypsies,” a veteran Florida area scout said. “I’ll never forget when they piled off a bunch of buses in Orlando and the parents there were staring, like ‘What planet are these people from?’ Yeah, they love their baseball.”

Key West went on to win the state title that year. I broke my leg jumping over a fence following the state semifinal victory. After following them all season, all the way to Sarasota, I missed the state championship game. I liked that squad but Ralphie was the most different. Coach's son in a place where only in D.C. are politics practiced more often. I'd say a majority of people - even his teammates - disliked him. He eventually became a second-round draft pick a couple weeks after that state title game but hasn't done much. He's struggled and is still playing split-season A ball in his fourth professional season. The guy picked right after him? Kyle Slowey. He pitched a three-hit shutout yesterday to lead the Minnesota Twins to a win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Not exactly the Brooklyn Cyclones. (NOTE: On his stats, I think it's funny that they combined his dad's stats with his own. That's something me and my dad will never have to worry about ... unless it's a "Miller Lites consumed" stat.)

So when I told The Sports Writer about the video, he laughed and said, "only Ralphie."

The publisher of the paper in Key West was John Cooke. It was Jack Kent Cooke's son. JKC owned the Redskins until his death in 1997. Can't really own a team when you're dead. The decision making aspect, yeah, that is no more when your time has expired. Fucking biology. The son was a pretty nice guy. He was very hands off - at least with the sports department. He had an office in our newsroom and I had maybe five to six meetings with him in the course of two years. I remember he wanted there to be more outdoors coverage. Eh. I probably didn't listen.

Anyway, JKC's daughter ... he had her when we was 74 ... PIMP (!!) ... is 20 years old now. Her name is Jacqueline Kent Cooke. She's pretty hot.

(Then and now.)

I never saw her in the newsroom. Then or now. Damnit to hell. Anyway, she ran into some problems with the law over the weekend in Boston.
The pair returned to the car 10 minutes later and told the officers that it was useless for them to keep watching because they could not stop them from driving home, police said. The officers again suggested a taxi.
Didn't work out well. I think the mug shot tells the story. She does look kind of "dirty hot" in it.

So Henriquez takes his cuts and walks away. Pissed off, but you know, doesn't really do anything stupid. Maybe Jackie Cooke could have taken some cues from the fella a year her elder.

We'll take it

Blog on the Run editor

One of the reasons I decided to get out of the newspaper business was to have a little more of a "normal life." I wanted to work Monday through Friday and have Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights off. I enjoyed boozing heavily at Club 185 every Monday and Tuesday night but working from 4 p.m. to midnight every Saturday ... well, it sucked.

As I'm sure all of you have noticed, it's rained 31 weekends in a row in Columbus. Not that I spend a lot time outside (maybe 30 minutes yesterday), it's just better when the sun's out in summer.

There is good news.

The sun is scheduled to come out and play all day tomorrow. Wednesday, too.

It's been a good two or three weeks since we were graced with such a forecast. Granted, it's supposed to rain this weekend. After all, 32 does follow 31. But it might be the forecast that just suggests the "atmosphere is favorable for thunderstorms." I remember in Florida they had the "sun/cloud/thunderbolt" symbol for at least 20 days in a row and it never once rained. Weather people are known for covering their asses. And the rest of their bodies' too. Not a whole bunch of nude weather men.


Cobra Kai robbed of glory in '84

Blog on the Run columnist

It’s been 24 years since Miyagi-Do Karate shook up, what had long been considered the establishment, at the All-Valley U18 Karate Championship. To this day, we all can’t help feel a little bit cheated.

Nevermind the fact that Daniel LaRusso’s run was marred by his illegal Black Belt, obtained when Mr. Miyagi swiped it from one of the tournament’s administrators, but this was clearly the Cobra Kai’s year. They were loaded.

(Stacked with talent.)

One would assume that Johnny Lawrence had won the tournament in previous years – probably more than once. Following his stunning loss to LaRusso, Lawrence didn’t return to the tournament the following year. He may have been discouraged by Sensei John Kreese and left the dojo, and the sport, altogether, but was more than likely 18 and in his final year of eligibility. As were many of the others near the top of the class, including Bobby Brown, Dutch and Tommy.

Months prior to the tournament we get a sense that Bobby isn’t as brainwashed by the Sensei’s teachings as the other members of the class. In the incident following the Halloween Dance when the Cobra Kai members are handing Daniel a severe beating, Bobby suggests to the other members to “Leave him alone, man. He’s had enough.” Again, before Bobby’s semifinal match he mentions to Kreese “I can beat this guy.” That one final plea to let the competition become more legitimate is telling. Bobby got a favorable draw, being placed on the opposite side of the bracket as Johnny, and seemed to be peaking at the right time. This may have been his year. For certain, he would’ve given Johnny a better match than at any time in the past. His "spinarama kick" to defeat an early-round opponent was arguably a more difficult move to defend than the crane technique.

Dutch also had coasted through to the quarterfinals before facing Daniel for a spot in the semifinals. Dutch never wavered in his enthusiasm for punishing Daniel with dirty tactics. Before the tournament he sent the message to Daniel “Points or no points, you’re dead meat.” He went through the motions in his match with Daniel, landed a blatant kick to the face, and took the loss in stride. If not for the systematic beating gameplan – or Daniel’s illegal Black Belt – the stage may have been set for Dutch vs. Bobby and Johnny vs. Vidal (his semifinal opponent who dispatched of several Cobra Kai members in his own bracket before running out of steam).

Certainly, the favorite would’ve been Johnny. His reputation as the best in the dojo to that point was based on skill level and performance, but he had a rough year, getting dumped by Ali Mills and also slugged in the face. He may have been destined for more disappointment, either way.

This was the all-Cobra Kai finish that needed to play out, had circumstances allowed. It’s also likely that Freddy Fernandez would’ve attended.

Fernandez served as LaRusso’s buddy, briefly, when he first arrived at the apartment complex in Reseda. He invited Daniel to the beach for the end-of-summer bash. Daniel first meets Ali and then confronts Johnny for the first time after Johnny steals Ali’s radio.

After Daniel gets beat up by Johnny and is lying face down in the sand, Fernandez appears deflated and ultimately wants no part of being friends. Another of Fernandez’s friends asks “Where did you find this guy?”

This is a humiliating moment for Daniel all-around and at the same time, an important question for Fernandez moving forward. Can he remain friends with somebody who just got his ass kicked or isn’t as good at karate as he had hoped?

Even being residents of the same apartment complex, the answer is "no," although during the All-Valley Tournament we see Freddy and two friends taking in the action.

Did they come around and decide to support Daniel? That’s possible but unlikely, since Daniel had given no indication to being a threat going into the tournament. Why would Freddy back him then if not before, when he clearly wasn’t the best in the town.

Freddy went for his general interest in the sport and knew the chips could fall any number of ways.

The rest of us weren’t as fortunate.

Stu Arl lives in South Florida and is the newest member of the German Village Media Family of Networks.

When I stepped out into the bright sunlight

  • Sources tell me that they stopped serving beer at Comfest last night sometime before 9 p.m. That's odd.

  • Always said there'd be "About Last Night's" like this one. I think a post on Deadspin yesterday titled "To Watch Tonight" said it best:

    "Movie: The Lost World: Jurassic Park. 7 p.m. [FOX] Coddamn. When there's nothing on TV, there's really nothing on TV."

    Aside from the "Coddamn," it's so true. I really couldn't find much of anything to do last night. Talked on the phone to various family people for about an hour, walked to the bank, watched "The Outsiders," looked forward to the week. Should have cleaned up. Didn't.

    A few things about "The Outsiders," aside from the opening credits look a lot like the closing credits of any other movie, that I learned watching yesterday. Bob (the guy with the rings) that Johnny Cade kills is played by Leif Garrett! I never knew that. Also, why is Patrick Swayze's character named "Darrel?" Granted, they call him Darry but wouldn't it have made more sense ... with brothers named Soda Pop and Pony Boy ... if his name was just Dairy? Insert lactose intolerant joke here.

    Also, Sophia Coppola is in the movie as the ugly girl who asks Dallas Winston (Matt Dillon) for 15 cents at the Dairy Queen. C. Thomas Howell stars.

    C. Thomas Howell. Now you don't.

  • Did watch an episode of "The Sopranos." One of my favorite episodes. Oddly enough ... it's called "Watching Too Much Television." Here's what makes that show arguably the greatest drama of all-time: You really never feel comfortable saying, "[X character] is my favorite." I mean, it really changes from episode to episode. Christopher and Paulie are my (I think) favorite characters but sometimes it's Tony ... or AJ ... but it's never Silvio.

  • Good news for fans of "The Office":

    "Variety reports that Ryan will reprise her role as human resources executive Holly Flax in at least five episodes of series five."

    That's a button, Kevin.

  • - Compiled by Art McGregor

    "Meet the Ump "

    Blog on the Run columnist

    So, welcome to the first installment of trendy’s weekly column. My assignment according to Art McGregor: politics, the Court, and pretty much anything else that most people don’t care about.

    Anyhow, what a week for the Supremes! As AMG has lamented on GVM, Justice Kennedy has been on a terrorist/child rapist kick lately. At least the Court said the 2nd Amendment actually exists. Too many times, the Court just arbitrarily ignores Amendments (see, e.g., the 10th Amendment, the most dissed Amendment ever). This time, the Court got it right, thanks to my boy Scalia.

    Anyhow, enough of that. Here’s something I know no one will care about: Chuck Todd was on "Meet the Press" today. It wasn’t like he was on a panel of journalists or anything. It was just “Chuck Todd – Political Director, NBC News” as one of the featured “guests” on NBC. That’d be like Glimmer being a featured guest at McGinley’s place. Or perhaps two Miller Lites as featured “guests” of AMG’s hands on a Friday night. Makes no sense.

    Well, it’s sad that Russert is gone from "Meet the Press," despite his liberal slant. I think The Godfather should take his place as host. He would be sufficiently knowledgeable and would add a jovial and entertaining twist to the drab that is Sunday morning talk. I even think he could be better than that John Fortney guy on ONN that never blinks. I can see it now - The Godfather would do umpire signals to react to guests’ answers. For example, when asking Obama “why did you abandon Rev. Wright?” and upon receiving BHO’s response of “he and I didn’t see eye-to-eye anymore,” the Godfather would respond with the classic foul-tip-into-the-catcher’s-glove-for-strike-three signal with a thunderous “he’s out!” Obama would just chuckle.

    "Meet the Press" would be renamed “Meet the Ump.”

    Anyhow, I know this post doesn’t make any sense, but I hope to do better if kept on the staff here at Blog on the Run. Peace.

    Sunday, June 29, 2008

    What you missed at ComFest

    - Compiled by Art McGregor

    Franchise killers

    Saturday night, we hardly knew ya

  • I put the Saturday of Comfest right up there with The Friday at The Memorial Tournament, although Comfest is not presented by Morgan Stanley. Those pseudo-hippies would not want any part of that business or that business. There are very few events in Columbus that compare to Ohio State home football games. They're too few and far between, in my opinion.

    (UPDATE: This would be a good time to note that the entire throng of people on the Haus und Garten Tour is outside my front door. A few have sun umbrellas. And there's a golf cart.)

    After the season ends, you've got the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day, The Crawl for Cancer, The Friday at the Memorial Tournament and the Saturday at Comfest not presented by Morgan Ensberg. That's it. There needs to be a Comfest or something like it in the German Village. But I guess it's cool we'll have the 50th annual HAUS UND GARTEN TOUR next year. At least there's that. Recognize about half the people on it from the Varsity Club after the Wisconsin game.

    Really liked the crew at The Patio last night. Saw just about every person I know. Maybe like .05 percent of the people I know, but still. Didn't take terribly long to find a beer, enjoyed the company of The 1, The Godfather, Mathlete, Johnny K and Three Clicks. Night went by too fast. I think we got there at 10 p.m. and people scattered around 1 a.m.

  • Tribe lost its first season series to the Reds last night since 1997. That's sad news. Back then gas was $1.36 a gallon. Congrats Reds. Now you're the state champs of Kentucky and Ohio. Shame.

  • Before heading out last evening, I stumbled across a pretty sweet Web site. I don't think anyone compares to Italian women. The Croatians also look strong. Every country has some talent. The brunette Swedish girl? Nice! I will say this, judging from how these girls look, about 95 percent of Internet porn is not coming from the United States. I recogn ...

  • - Compiled by Art McGregor

    Saturday, June 28, 2008

    Long Duk Receipt

    Blog on the Run editor

    this crowd
    - mistertrendy, October 2006

    This post would be a lot better if I owned a ruler. I've moved some stuff around on my desk looked for one all over, but haven't been able to find one ... or 12 inches in this case. That's what she said.

    I do have some 8 1/2'' x 11'' paper, so that will have to do.

    Can't say I pay attention to receipts. I know people who save them. Whatever. I've turned in a couple (maybe three) for expense reports in the past, but mostly, I either throw them away or eventually wash them in my jeans pockets. They're not meant to be washed. Like most of the hipsters drinking PBR at Cara Bar.

    It's a well known fact that I don't go to the grocery store very often. It's newsworthy when I do. I guess I've been going a little more recently, but I don't think I've ever bought more than six items at the store. Maybe eight.

    Keep in mind that on the receipts I'm about to describe, I never bought more than three items.

    A receipt for Gay Kroger in the German Village is slightly more than 11 inches long. Giant Eagle German Village gives you a receipt that is a little longer than 10 inches. Subway (SOT - South of Thurman) prints out a receipt that's about nine inches. Is this necessary? I'm not Mr. Green or anything, but why do grocery stores go through all this trouble being environmentally conscious with the re-usable bags and such and then give you all this excess receiptedness.

    I doubt an entire receipt has ever been read.

    Like whoever penned this nugget on a Kroger receipt:

    "Eligible Rx spending is included."

    Sorry pal, I don't know that anyone (other than me) has ever read that sentence.

    They say the 1980s were the decade of excess, I like to think receipts were about 25 years late to that party.

    Friday, June 27, 2008

    Cross-country malarkey

    Blog on the Run senior writer

    YAKIMA, Wash. - Hello? Testing, one, two, three. Is this blog on? By the looks of the comment section it isn’t.

    The great Art McGregor asked me to write for this online rag. Who could turn down a chance to spew screed for the German Village Media Family of Blogs? At least anything I post is better than that Sports Writer guy. Get a haircut and a real job you hippie!

    Thursdays I’m supposed to put on my scribe suspenders and write something. I tend to be thirsty on those days, and alcohol rarely helps me remember deadlines. AMG used to threaten my job when I didn’t do stories for him; now his only power is snarky text messages comparing me to athletes or political figures who let him down.

    He’s good at those: “Don’t Danny Ferry me today,” is a lame attempt from me.

    Sporadic will best describe me since I’m about to start a cross-country journey and a new job at Fossil Publishing writing newspaper articles. Seth is coming out here for my going-away bash at Yakima’s trendiest night club, Victoria Continental, and just dropped off a complementary bucket of women on his way across I-90. He said something about a retirement party for a guy named Bill in Seattle.

    Once he’s done with that malarkey, the real adventure starts July 8 with Wine Snob in the navigator chair. There’s scheduled stops in Bozeman, Mont., to pay my respects to “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” Then our crew begins the great crossing of North Dakota before reaching Chicago for a few days. (Seth says he met Kanye at the Super Bowl.)

    If nobody dies from dysentery, the oxen hold up and I avoid fording too many rivers, we should arrive in C-Bus around July 16-18ish.

    Jose Canseco was supposed to meet up with me and AMG for a reunion but just bailed. Our triumvirate ruled Fogarty’s on football Sundays in Key West, but lately he’s been busy. His lame text-message excuse was accepted the moment I heard the UPS man ring the doorbell.

    "A-Rod is being a bitch again, so I’m hitting another book out of the park. My fault. See you, AMG and The Godfather on your cross-country tour stop in C-Bus. The 40-40 club is my goal for the night. The bottle of 'Dre on the table is from me."



    (Each morning we'll have an "About Last Night" post.)

  • With the 19th pick in the NBA Draft, the Cleveland LeBrons Cavaliers selected J.J. Hickson (N.C. State) to add "some youth to their front line." I'm glad they went with youth in the draft. Rarely does a team that drafts a 44-year old reap any benefits. Credit Danny Ferry. He found youth in this draft. Like a needle in a hay stack. Hickson won't turn 20 until September. (Jimmie Walker turned 61 this past Wednesday.)

    mistertrendy and I were not too pleased with the selection. (We had no thoughts - negative or positive - on Jimmie Walker's birthday as we didn't know what day it was on.) Still judging from trendy's "If we take Kosta Koufous, I will fall out of my chair" text, he's got to be happy the Cavs didn't select the Ohio State attendee.

    My initial reaction: "He's 6-foot-9? This guy sucks. He is a nerd. He will miss so many easy shots next year. He is a guy who misses a lot of shots."

    trendy's: "No shit. Fuck. Why not Arthur or Douglas-Roberts? Fuckin' Ferry!"

    In related news:

    "Koufos' teammates, Othello Hunter and Jamar Butler of Lima, were not drafted."

    I've always said that guys like Jamar Butler and before his time, Brent Darby, deserve to play six years in college.

  • The Indians moved into a tie for last place (yes!) with a thrilling 4-1 win over the powerhouse San Francisco Giants. These are not the same Giants who won the Super Bowl. These guys are in last place. They might be Giants, but they don't play like it. Cliff Lee, again magnificent, struck out 11 in eight innings.

  • Rain/lightning/thunder did away with our softball game last night. We've had four rainouts on the season and played one game in the month of June. Does it rain anywhere else in the world?

  • Comfest begins this afternoon. Our boys Hotel War play today at 1:20 p.m. on one of the stages (UPDATE: It's the "offramp.") I can't wait to see what "socially concious" message they have on the giant cups this year. And then I'll put duct tape over it. (But not the top of the cup. That would make it difficult to drink.)

  • - Compiled by Art McGregor

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008


    Blog on the Run editor

    "This next one is the first song on our new album" - "Jimmy James" (from "At Budokhan" by Cheap Trick)

    Twice upon a time, a fellow in the German Village wanted to give his buddies and pals (not co-workers) a chance to keep up with the shenanigans of a group of dudes who hum black people's music well into their 30s.

    That fellow is me. I'm not the second person who's ever spoke in third person.

    I was on staff at German Village Media from the blog's onset. I wanted to do something different. So I left my position as editor at GVM and started this Web site a few weeks ago.

    Blog on the Run has a full-time staff of three other writers. My boy Seth also is on "staff" for insurance purposes. Or so he claims.

    Some staffers you've read in the past, others you haven't. One lives in North Carolina, another in Florida and another in Lower Arlington (the more ghetto part of Upper Arlington). The guy in Lower Arlington lives next to people with a BHO sign in their front yard. I know. Right.

    Dr. Willy Loman and mistertrendy will supply something every week. Even if it's just an excuse. Stu Arl will provide up to two pieces a week on culture, the passage of time and answer questions like, "what if Jesus Shuttlesworth would have went straight to the NBA?" I'm glad to bring Stu Arl aboard.

    Seth also will stop by every now and then for a report from whatever road he's traveling on these days. Maybe it's not even a road. A few times he's phoned in (on someone else's phone) from the woods. He even once claimed to be Tiger Woods. He's not.

    I'll have a weekly mailbag and offer other observations on a daily basis. We'll also link to other sites and provide recaps and previews for things that begin at certain times and other times never end.

    I'll also follow-up on a couple things I didn't get a chance to do over at GVM, mainly investigative reports around the German Village.

    I'm not kidding anyone. I fully expect about the same readership of GVM. I mean, in terms of the type of people reading. I'll write for that audience. There will be a smattering of sports, women, booze, music and sleeping 'til noon.

    All of which, really, adds up to sleeping alone.

    ... And we're on!