I’ve got a week in the office to get caught up before I head west for my first business trip of the year. That means cleaning out the in-box, and getting a few things posted to the blog.

I’m writing this while watching the NBA All-Star game on Sunday night. Bill Simmons had a great point a couple weeks back. He talked about how great mid-February was if you were a boy growing up in the 1980s. The SI swimsuit edition showed up right about the same time as NBA All-Star weekend. If you didn’t have older brothers, like me, SI was about as close as you could get to regular access to porn. Why do I like brunettes? I’m pretty sure Carol Alt had something to do with it. Then the All-Star weekend was actually an event back then. The Slam Dunk contest was full of things we had never seen before. I can still hear Rick Barry breaking down Michael Jordan’s amazing dunks in the 1987 contest. “He’s actually turned his body so it’s almost parallel to the ground!” People actually got fired up about the 1988 finals between Dominique Wilkens and Jordan like it was a real game. We’d rush to the nearest eight foot goal to try to recreate the insanity that had gone down on TNT. Plus, the All-Star game itself was actually interesting to watch back then. Those were very good times.

Things I liked during this year’s All-Star game: the court and uniforms were nicely understated in an old-school way. Watching some old All-Star games on ESPN Classic earlier in the day, I was horrified at some of the atrocious uniforms and court designs used in past years. Many resembled what I imagine my shirts will look like once the baby comes and I’m getting puked on 20 times a day.
Things I didn’t like: I’m all for relaxing the officiating during an exhibition game. I don’t need to see Shaq fouling out. But I also don’t need to see players literally walking with the ball for ten feet, then suddenly remembering they’re in a game and making half-assed attempts to dribble and nothing is called. Give players an extra step so they can throw down spectacular dunks, that’s fine. But when Steve Francis gets a rebound, puts the ball under his arm, and takes three steps towards the perimeter, then dribbles, you’re pretty much telling me the whole thing is a farce. Also, it was sad seeing how poorly most of the team shoots compared to say the 1981 All-Stars. That game was full of spectacular plays, yet still looked like a basketball game. Players screened, moved without the ball, and knocked down every open shot.

I’m officially addicted to Sam Adams’ Winter Lager. A terrific, terrific beer. I may start hoarding massive amounts of it before it disappears. Then again, the utterly brilliant Guinness commercials for St. Patrick’s Day have me craving tasty, thick stouts as well.

I’m thoroughly disgusted on two levels by Alex Rodriquez’s move to the New York Yankees. First, that it was so easy for the Yankees to make the deal and in the process assemble a payroll that’s seven times as big as the payroll of several other major league clubs. Second, on a personal level, because I was so into the A-Rod to Boston saga of November and December, to the point where I ran out and watched ESPN News every 30 minutes for updates on deadline day. For some reason, anyone but the Yankees spending absolutely ridiculous amounts of money to stockpile players is ok, because it’s a way to keep the Yankees from winning. If the Red Sox had picked up A-Rod and Maglio Ordonez, realistically they would be big favorites to win the AL East over the Yankees for the next 3-4 years. The ends justify the means when you’re trying to beat the evil empire. Baseball is stupid.

Oh yeah, A-Rod is a money grubbing whore.

While we’re on the topic of things that disgust me, I was disgusted by the number of books I threw away before we moved. Boxes and boxes of books that I couldn’t sell or donate got thrown into dumpsters. I was disgusted not only by the numbers, but the amount of money I had spent on them. So I vowed to buy fewer books and start going to the library more and with that in mind, I went out and got a library card Saturday. It’s my first public library card since high school. Oh I’ll still buy books; I think that’s some genetic thing I can’t avoid. But I’m going to make an effort to always have a couple around from the library to avoid the urge to go on $80 sprees at Barnes & Noble. For those of you who follow my list of Zen on the right side of the page, you’ll be amused this time next week when my first pregnancy-related book hits the list. I’m about 200 pages into The Expectant Father.

Speaking of the pregnancy, all is well with that. We’re in the midst of week 16. S. continues to feel good the majority of the time. She’s in that high energy phase that I’m sure we’ll both look back fondly on when she feels miserable in a couple more months. Every so often she gets a strange pain and winces, and I ask what hurts. “Fetus decided to poke me, I think.”

We were out and about the other night, and when we pulled back into our neighborhood, there was a large lump in the road. “What’s that?” asked S. “Looks like a possum. Maybe it’s ours.” “That would be awesome!” she exclaimed. I looked at her in mock horror. “Well, I mean I’m not glad if it is ours that got killed, but at least we wouldn’t have to deal with it then.” For the past couple weeks, there’s been a fair-sized melted spot in the snow on our deck that is no doubt from the body heat of our possum which is slumbering below.

We rented our first movie in a month Friday, Seabiscuit. I loved it. I haven’t gone back to reread reviews to see how far, if at all, the movie strayed from the real story, but I really enjoyed the pace, the acting, and of course the story. “Have a nice race, Red.” Not quite as good as The Return of the King, though.

Who knows what’s going on with this band The Darkness? They’re clearly insane, and completely geniuses. But I can’t figure out if they’re kind of a British Tenacious D, or if they’re serious. The video for I Believe in a Thing Called Love is one of the most amazing things every, and proof that videos can still matter.

My rather brief trip to KC last week was not as impressive in culinary terms as my epic return in October. I was only, only, able to drop in on Gates and Waldo Pizza. My trip to Gates was noteworthy, though. The hostess, or whatever you want to call her, was quite enamored with my hair (and with Mike Allison’s bald pate as well). If I knew my hair had this kind of affect on ethnic women, I would have grown it out in college.