Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea..."-Book of Revelations 13:1

Monsters Are Among as the End-of-Days Nears, Apparently

Be afraid. Very afraid. Seemingly each day there are reports of terrifying beasts rising from the sea or descending from the stars. Make no mistake. We are under attack. By Monsters. And not cuddly, witty monsters with paper-mache skeletons and felt teeth. No, we're not under attack from any sort of cookie-loving creature or pansexual ticklish consumer products. We're under attack from mutated, sea dogs with dino-beaks and razor-sharp teeth. And, they're starting their conquest of the Eastern seaboard from Montauk, Long Island. Yup, the monster hordes are headed for the Hamptons. The last place us simple-minded humans would have expected.

I first heard about this washed ashore creature-corpse on Tuesday when the WWOD? Special Correspondent for Monster Issues forwarded me a link to a story in Gawker. From there, I did some digging and confirmed the location of some sort of high security government facility on an island not too far off the LI coast where this cutey washed up.

Those living in the vicinity of the US Governments' highly secretive and openly biohazarderrifc Animal Disease Research Center on Plum Island have long thought that dangerous and terrible experiments were going on there, both in terms of the treatment of animals as well as the existence of highly contagious disease possibly being used to create biochemical weapons. Or Monsters. Rumors have swirled (read: I've found them written on the Internet) that both West Nile Virus (which first appeared on US soil on Long Island and in nearby Queens in 1999) and Lyme Disease (which was first recognized as we know it today after several cases turned up in Connecticut, not too far from Plum Island) first appeared after being released, accidentally or otherwise, from this complex.

Since we are talking about a monster in this cynical day and age there are varying responses: Some say hoax and others say this is a prodigious blogger.

And if sea monsters weren't enough to get you to rent a copy of Monster Squad to brush up on your beast-fighting incantations then maybe this crazy beast-pig-gorilla, which was born in China (yeah, that place is totally safe for our most finely-tuned athletes), will do the trick. It is clear the Rapture is upon us. The four horsemen are in the saddle and the seventh seal is about to be opened. I'll see you in Hell. Or, out at the Hamptons!

"This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions... Human sacrifices, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria!"

If FOX NEWS is trotting out "experts" to deny the existence of "Monty" the Monster then he must be real. Right? I mean if Fox News says it's a lie then it's the truth. Right?

Wednesday's Starting Five

1. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in California. The refrain has been the same for several seasons this time of year. The Angels need a bat to slot behind Vladimir Guerrero in the batting order. And, each year management has not gone out and gotten that bat and each year the Angels have been dispatched in the playoffs after a meek offensive showing. The Angels scored just 4 runs in their 2007 ALDS defeat to the Red Sox and just 11 runs in the 2005 ALCS defeat at the hand of the White Sox. Mission accomplished this time around the trading deadline, though. Already boasting the Big League's best record, the Angels went out and traded for one of the most high-profile piece's available: Atlanta Braves first baseman Mark Teixeira. The former Georgia Tech slugger is batting .283 so far this season with a .390 on-base percentage. He's driven in 78 runs and scored 63 while hitting 20 home runs and 27 doubles. Most importantly, he seems to be rounding into form after a slow start to the '08 campaign (because as Andruw Jones showed last year, Atlanta Braves don't always perform well in contract years). Tex has been hitting .412 since after the All-Star break and might be just what the Angels need to put them over the top in the AL.

2. Brad Ziegler. From the straightforward, easily observable brute force of a power hitting first baseman like Teixeira we shift our gaze to the more ephemeral, harder to quantify "stuff" of a side-arming rookie middle reliever who is doing something that no one in the history of Major League Baseball has ever done before. The Oakland A's Ziegler has broken a record that stood for over 100 seasons. By comparison, Babe Ruth's single season home run record only stood for 34 years and Roger Maris's for 37. Ziegler has started off his Major League career with 27 scoreless innings of work (out of the bullpen), besting the 1907 record of 25 innings pitched by George McQuillan of the Phillies. For you math-majors out there, Ziegler has tossed the equivalent of three complete-game shutouts. He's allowed 16 hits and struck out 13 during this unprecedented stretch. Not too shabby for a guy who didn't make it the Show until he was already 28-years old.

3. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Two down and one to go. Arguably the greatest American rock and roll band ever (and I say arguably because I know a lot of you non-believers want to argue), has already played 59 songs over the course of close to seven hours at Giants Stadium this week. The parking lots have been packed early, the smell of overcooked burgers and hot dogs has mingled with the battling car stereos blasting your-favorite-Bruce-albums and the excited and increasingly drunken reverie. In other words, the block-party has been as good as it ever was. And, most importantly, the E Street Band is in good form and Bruce is in good voice. The setlists have been strong and mixed some long lost loved ones (Drive All Night, Sherry Darling) and hoped for classics (Growin' Up, Jungleland) with new songs from Magic (Radio Nowhere, Long Walk Home). From the moment that the first chords of "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" grabbed a full-up Giants Stadium by it's shirt collar shortly before 9pm on Sunday night there hasn't been a let down. The final show of the band's run in the Meadowlands is Thursday night. WWOD? will be there.

(this is the Detroit Medley, which was in Monday's setlist, live from the Hammersmith Odeon in London during the 1975 tour.)

4. The Chicago Cubs. This time last week it was the other team in the NL Central with a new pitcher that had the momentum. CC Sabathia was tossing complete-game gems while eating in his sleep, JJ Hardy couldn't make an out and Ryan Braun was knocking clutch home runs. But what a difference a big July series means. The Cubs and Brewers have been squaring off in the Beer City since Monday night and the Cubbies have taken the first two games of the four-game set off the Milwaukee club. And, they've beaten the Brewers co-aces, Sabathia and NL All-Star Game starter Ben Sheets. After being tied for first place in the division (and for best record in the NL) over the weekend, the Cubs have staked themselves to a three-game lead with two games left to play against the Brew Crew this week.

5. Lionel Messi. International football's (soccer's) governing body, FIFA, ruled that professional clubs are obligated to allow players aged 23 or under to participate in the Beijing Olympics. Messi's club, Barcelona, had been trying to hold back their talented Argentinian striker for fear that he would either be injured during the competition or just pick up a few unnecessary (in their eyes) miles before the start of the La Liga season in Spain. But, FIFA stepped in and did what governing bodies are supposed to do, they got the players to the fields. This mandate changes the Olympic football matches from could-be-good to can't-miss.

Benched. The Yankees. Not the team, they're doing surprisingly well, having won 2 out of 3 of the Red Sox at Fenway last weekend and otherwise staying within striking distance in the AL East. No it's the organization that is benched for their draconian rules about bringing anything into Yankee Stadium. Aside from making everyone check bags over at that depressing and money-grubbing bowling alley across the street at gun-to-your-head fees (after all, what else are you going to do with your bag/briefcase), the folks at the stadium have apparently also sided with cancer: They were recently banning people from bringing sunscreen into the stadium, even during day-games. Of course, once this story hit the local papers the Yankees did cowardly relent to those fair-skinned health mongers out there. Evil Empire indeed.