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January 29, 2002

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance

Someone (me) said something about the National Football League to someone else (people) on their (mine) porch some time ago. I said the AFL-NFL championship game, which some (all) have been referring to by the unfortunate term of "Super Bowl" would be contested between the Boston Patriots and Los Angeles neƩ Cleveland Ram-Men.

And my prophecies were fulfilled. Anyway, at least four people can attest to this. And one person can tell you that I said that the Patriots would be in the AFC championship game in OCTOBER. But since I neither a) published these prophecies or b) wagered money on them, for all my eerily accurate flibber and flabber, I have been reduced to c) a shambles. The take-home message: Start gambling on football, with money that has already been earmarked for more important things.

The Freewheelin' Pete Beatty

Not enough people gamble on football these days. Based on this information and the events of last Friday evening, I think I am more like John Cusack than previously theorized, to the extent that you or anyone else have no right to question anything I do or say for the next four months, until my beard grows in, and then, then I doubt you will regain your right to question me. But there will be a reappraisal, which may come off poorly.

Notes on the Week Just Concluded

It was somewhat taxing.

I won. You know it, the refs know it, and the guy in the booth knows it.

Illumination, My Boy

He doesn't actually say "My boy," but you can imagine what it would be like if he did. Anyway I have decided that Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is my favorite movie, based on extensive Yuletide research, involving four dusty manuscripts and three cats, none who speak English.

Define "Rarely"

I am, at the present time, calling for the return of Drugs and Sex Man.

Frequently

Miscarriages freak me out, incidentally. It's a good thing I didn't live back in the olden times when most babies would die if you looked at them funny.

Top Ten Dogs from My Youth and their 1992 Cleveland Indians Equivalencies

Or, How I would cast a play about the 1992 Cleveland Indians using dogs, Or, How I would cast a play about the Dogs of My Youth using members of the 1992 Indians.

1. Clark, a Chocolate Lab as Steve Olin, the talented but doomed submarining closer. The hero.

2. Eloise, a Basset Hound as Brook Jacoby, the aging, mediocre hot corner.

3. Rags, a Mutt as Jose Mesa, the flaky Latino pitcher.

4. Chi Chi, a Chihuahua as Felix Fermin, the durable but pedestrian shortstop.

5. Sadie, a Basset Hound as Charles Nagy, the staff ace.

6. Sammy, a Basset Hound as Paul Sorrento, the Rob Deer-esque first baseman.

7. Alex, a Great Dane as Sandy Alomar, Jr., the oft-injured catcher.

8. Pete, a Beagle as Alex Cole, the speedy, weak-hitting CF.

9. Bailey, a Yellow Lab as Jim Thome, the power-hitting rube.

10. Howie, a Miniature Dachshund as Kevin Wickander, the Mercutio to Olin's Romeo, except he's not going to die.

I haven't really worked out any of the logistics of either of these plays. Except that one will involve sewing several dozen dog-sized baseball uniforms and the other will involve sewing several dozen baseball-player sized dog uniforms. Both plays will have to be tragedies, because the hero is going to die, because Steve Olin died and Clark died too. Except Clark died in my arms in the driveway one morning before school and Steve Olin died inside my radio at 4 in the morning one day before school.

Do you remember Walter?

In my younger days, I wanted to be a professional baseball player, preferably a starting pitcher. I thought I could make it as a trad power righty for the following reasons.

i) My fastball has always had this weird natural action on it. It cuts down and away from a righty. Kind of like Jeff Nelson, but without the mustache.

ii) When I was a kid, I could throw pretty hard. About 50, which is kind of fast for a little kid.

iii) I like baseball.

Unfortunately, I never really panned out as a pitcher, for a variety of reasons.

i) My fastball topped out at about 55, which is not very fast, as far as thrown baseballs go.

ii) My change-up doesn't move much. In fact, it looks a lot like my fastball, except slower and much easier to hit.

iii) Those are the only two pitches I have.

iv) I am scared shitless of getting hit in the face by a line drive. When I was a kid, my dad and I would hit around out at diamond three at Groza field. One time, he was hitting me grounders and he hit one a little too hard and it almost took my head off. I eventually got over that fright, and by the time I was maybe 11, I had worked up the courage to ask my BBA coach if I could pitch instead of playing first base, which I was pretty good at. Unfortunately, the first time I pitched at practice, one of the coaches was taking BP for some reason. It was Mr. McCoy, whose son was that kid, the kid who smoked cigarettes in elementary school and had some ingrained distaste for sleeves. Mr. McCoy looked a lot Dennis Eckersley, only trashier. I threw him one pitch, and he hit a line drive that almost killed me. I never wanted to pitch again.

Then I wanted to be a football player.

Reasons that didn't work:

i) Not fast.

ii) Not particularly strong

iii) Have stubby fingers

iv) Have uncanny ability to commit penalties without gaining anything by them. I.e. if I was playing lineman, I could somehow commit holding on three different defenders, who would all get by me anyway, and then everyone would be mad at me.

v) I don't have a good nickname like "Sugar Bear" or "Turkey."

Then I wanted to be a musician, which was doomed from the start.

i) Can't for the life of me understand how to read music.

ii) If you could be 50 percent tone deaf, I would be.

iii) Can't sing either.

iv) Have no rhythm.

v) Do not have any brothers.

I Enjoy Getting Mail or, we roll deep

Mail me an index card with A) the name of a loved pet and no more than 50 words about that pet, B) the first names of your cousins and C) your thoughts on The Strokes. They had better be cruel and ugly thoughts.

Dear Diary

c/o Chicago Maroon

1212 East 59th Street

Chicago, IL 60637