Archive for June, 2010

When I recently posted a picture of the world’s most valuable baseball that I had recently secured in a bidding war on the interweb thingy, and gave details behind some of the the autographs, I received a deluge of calls, e-mails, registered letters and personal appearances from rabid fans seeking to curry favor.

All were passionate pleas to see the ball, buy the ball—even touch the ball, which is like asking to touch the Mona Lisa to see if the paint’s dried! Preposterous. All offers were denied, with a ready supply of scorn and snide commentary.

Still, to appease the masses, I will give you another glimpse of some of the other luminaries who have inscribed this priceless relic.

Click pic for closer view of baseball history!

Frank Zappa signed the ball in 1984 following a game in which he played centerfield for the San Francisco Giants. Zappa played the entire game on stilts, robbing batters of six home runs. He also stole four bases, Amazingly, the stilts had no cleats.

Ed Asner, the man who brought “Lou Grant” to fleshy dyspeptic life, signed the ball twice. The first, after umpiring a 1978 game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies, a game that is the only one in recorded history that ended in a tie, 0-0, after one inning of play. “Both teams played so well,” Asner said, “it seemed a shame that one had to lose.” So, he used his unlimited umpire powers to call the game (apparently Asner was a much softer touch than his Lou Grant character). The second autograph followed a 1981 appearance as a pitcher for the Minnesota Twins against the Cleveland Indians. He hurled a perfect game and ate 56 hot dogs with kraut in nine minutes and washed them down with 19 beers, a major league record.

Lady GaGa. The recording sensation played shortstop for the New York Mets in a game against the Atlanta Braves in 2009. She played flawlessly, turning six double players and throwing out five runners. Unfortunately, she was only one for five at the plate. “I probably could have gotten more wood on the ball,” she said after the game, “if I didn’t have this parrot sewn onto my uniform. Or these traffic pylons stitched on the front of my uniform. Oh, well, what are you going to do– got to look good, right?”

James Joyce penned the ball after playing third base for the Cincinnati Reds in 1911. The legendary Irish scribe had an unassisted triple play, hit for the cycle and wrote a novella in the dugout waiting his turn at bat. “I like baseball,” he told reporters following his impressive game, “but I like writing me tales perhaps a wee bit more.” With that, he spat his chaw, grabbed his typewriter and never cast a shadow in a ballpark again.

Tony Bennett, the legendary Italian crooner, autographed the ball following his incredible performance singing the national anthem before the 1988 World Series game #3 between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bennett held the final note of the song for an incredible 16 minutes 42 seconds while juggling five baseballs and spinning a flaming hula hoop around his hips. Many believe this record may never be beaten.

Charo (A.K.A. María Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Gutiérrez de los Perales Santa Ana Romanguera y de la Hinojosa Rasten). The “cuchi-cuchi” queen played right field for the San Diego Padres against the Montreal Expos on June 28, 1978. The game stands in the record books as being the only game ever played by a player in high heels, and one of two games in which a player sported a sequin dress instead of the official team uniform (trivia experts are challenged to name the other). Charo made many amazing plays and threw out three players at home plate with her incredible canon of a right arm. As a batter, she walked, hit two singles, a triple and laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt.

Garth Brooks. The country superstar appeared as a Seattle Mariner in a 1995 game against the Detroit Tigers. In his first at bat, he was beaned, knocking his cowboy hat off his head. Brooks was awarded his base along with two Grammies and five CMA statuettes. He later collapsed.

Al Capone signed the baseball in 1926 following his appearance with the Chicago Cubs. He was a pinch hitter who batted appeared with the bases loaded. Capone stood in the batter’s box and gunned-down the pitcher with a Thompson submachine gun. He then waved the runners home and trotted around the bases as stunned fans and players watched. This is the only grand slam ever recorded where the bat did not touch the ball.

Julia Child inked the ball following her 1965 appearance as a Washington Senator. She was used as a pinch hitter in a game against the Cleveland Indians. Ms. Child was hit by a pitch, awarded her base and proceeded to steal second, third, and home plate scoring the winning run. “I couldn’t be happier,” she said in her sing-song voice after the game, “although I have a knot on my head the size of a pheasant egg. My goodness, that smarts like the dickens! I need four fingers of bourbon and a fistful of bennies to set me straight again.”

Ol’ “Hawkeye” Pierce, Mr. Alan Alda, signed the baseball following his appearance in a 1976 game in which he was a pinch runner for the Boston Red Sox in a tied game. Alda stole second base but felt guilty about it. Showing incredible empathy and compassion for the opposing team, the Chicago White Sox, he returned to first base. It is the only known incidence of a stolen base being returned. The Red Sox lost the game in extra innings. Mr. Alda has not been terribly popular in Boston since.

Secretariat, one of the world’s most beloved thoroughbred racehorses, was a pinch hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals in a game against the Houston Astros. Unfortunately, the Triple Crown winner had a poor showing, being called out on strikes. Many fans questioned the move by manager Red Schoendienst, thinking a horse with such great speed would have been better utilized as a pinch runner instead of a hitter. The Cards skipper said the move was “totally unexpected” and “brilliant” and that “had it paid off, the stupid fans would keep their idiotic yaps shut like they oughta.” As for Secretariat, he kicked dirt on the umpire following the called third strike and trotted off the field proudly leaving a trail of momentos.

Kim Novak, the “Vertigo” starlet, made big news when she appeared as the center fielder for the Kansas City Athletics in a game against the Baltimore Orioles. The batting beauty struck out in all four at bats and committed eighteen errors in the field, a record that still stands. “I guess baseball’s not my game,” she said afterward in a locker room interview. Her teammates consoled her and told her not to worry about it. They said she’d feel a lot better after a long, hot shower. A very long shower. And that’s what makes baseball great–– teammates who care!

An easy target for political gain. Make hay with Hayward!

It was open season on BP CEO Tony Hayward yesterday in D.C. as politicians on both sides of the aisle beat on him in a great display of what passes for leadership these days.

“You shouldn’t have allowed this massive oil leak to happen,” said one representative. “There ought to be a law against such things.”

“Obviously you are worse than the byproduct of Hitler and Stalin’s gene pool,” said another frustrated lawmaker, “you can’t expect government to regulate you and fix you. Everyone knows government doesn’t work. It’s your fault this happened, I suggest you promise us that this will never happen again.”

“I believe you are Satan himself,” said another representative, “you should have been better about ensuring safety so that this tragedy could never happen. I mean, come on, you’re part of the free market system– can’t you just make sure accidents like this never happen again? I demand it, and my constituents deserve it! Thank you, and folks back home, please remember to vote for me this November. I do your bidding and do it very well!”

Finally, one representative spoke out on behalf of BP. “If we hold BP responsible, it will be damaging to their profitability and the oil industry. We need the oil industry, it is the lifeblood of our economy and we must protect it at all costs. Let’s just clean up this mess, fix the problem without government intervention, lower taxes and let the free market rule, as our founding fathers intended!”

With that, the lawmaker closed his notebook, lifted the canvas bags of money that had been discreetly placed beneath the table and left the proceedings to cheers and backslaps from excited oil lobbyists.

BP claims robots responsible for failure to fix the oil spill

BP today issued a formal statement charging “evil terrorist robots” for the failure to cap its Deepwater Horizon calamity.

“BP is not to blame for this catastrophic oil spill,” the statement begins, “rather, we place the blame squarely on technology, specifically the robots who are supposed to fix the mess. We have repeatedly asked them to fix the problem but they have had little to no success in doing so. Obviously, these robots are either terrorists from the middle east who want to ensure our failure in the Gulf so that the world is more dependent on their sources for oil, or these robots are eco-terrorists determined to embarrass and shame the company from continuing its drilling operations in the Gulf. It may also be a terrorist group wishing to derail the England football team in succeeding in the World Cup. While we cannot say which group is responsible for the concerted effort in not fixing the problem as we have strongly requested– we most assuredly know someone nefarious is behind this failure of technology. Whatever group is responsible, we want the world to know that BP is not responsible– evil terrorist robots are. Thank you.”

No BP spokesperson was available for further comment. Nor any robots.

Some members of the prestigious class of 2010! All you add is inspirational words of encouragement.

While I did not receive the call from Harvard, Oxford, Stanford or Cambridge to address their graduating classes, I did receive an invitation to make the official commencement address to graduates of The New Bark City Obedience School. These 22 special canines had successfully completed one of the most respected disciplinary regimens in the southeast. Here is a transcript of my speech in its entirety.

“Good morning, my furry four-footed friends. WHOA, SOMEONE’S EXCITED TO SEE ME– DOWN, BOY, DOWN! SIT, BOY, SIT! That’s a good boy. That’s a very good boy, oh, yes he is! Oh, yes he is!!!

My tail-wagging friends, as you go forward into the world, I want each of you to remember these important lessons of life… NO! NO! BAD BOY! DOWN! DO NOT HUG MY LEG! PLEASE, THESE ARE NEW PANTS! DOWN, BOY, DOWN— TEACHERS, DOES ANYONE HAVE A TREAT? GOOD, THANKS. LOOK, BOY— A YUMMY TREAT IF YOU GET DOWN! DISMOUNT MY LEG, PLEASE. DOWN, BOY, DOWN!!! Oh, that’s it. Good boy. Here’s your treat. Now, get back in line. That’s it, good boy. Thank you. Who’s a good doggie? You’re a good doggie! Oh, yes you are! Oh, yes you are!

Um, where was I? Oh yeah, important lessons of life. First, you must always remember that NOW STOP THAT! NO BARKING! YOU THREE, STOP BARKING, I’M TALKING HERE! PLEASE! I NEED SILENCE. DON’T YOU WANT TO HEAR WHAT I HAVE TO SAY?! OH, GREAT, NOW ALL OF YOU ARE BARKING. QUIET! NOW! SILENCE! COULD I GET A LITTLE HELP HERE? TEACHERS, PLEASE?!!! A LITTLE NOISE CONTAINMENT, PLEASE!

(NOTE: For the next six minutes, recording equipment picked-up loud barking, growling and angry cursing by the esteemed speaker. Finally, order was restored.)

O.K., I hope you’ve all gotten your bad behavior out of your systems. Now, I’d like to continue with my important lessons of life. Number one, never forget that NO, NOT AGAIN! WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE GET THIS LONELY DOG OFF MY LEG?! THESE PANTS ARE NEW AND I DON’T WANT THEM RUINED. PLEASE, A LITTLE HELP OVER HERE, MY VIRGIN LEG IS BEING ASSAULTED BY THIS EXCITED BEAST…

(NOTE: The speech ended abruptly as the speaker and his anxious mate were hit with the garden hose and eventually separated. The angry speaker stormed away in a huff. The dogs chased him and barked.)

Sometimes finding the right words is, kind of, you know, uh, whatchacallit, ummm...

Recently, BP launched an extensive media blitz to reassure Americans that it is dedicated to cleaning up the mess it has made in the Gulf of Mexico. The spokesman for the TV campaign is the company’s chief executive officer, Tony Hayward. The Lint Screen has obtained some early drafts of scripts allegedly penned by the executive. They are reprinted here for your enlightenment.

TH: I’m Tony Hayward, CEO of British Petroleum. Since this unfortunate oil spill, I have been getting terrible mild headaches. My appetite is lacking and my palate cannot confidently discern a ’98 Petrus Pomerol from a ’99 Chteau Le Pin Pomerol. Looking at my massive net worth does not bring me the intense pleasure it once did. While I can empathize with what many people and animals in the gulf coast are going through, I wish more people would empathize with what I am going through. Look, we’re all in this together. I feel your pain, so please, return the favor and feel a bit of mine. Have a little compassion, won’t you? Thank you.

TH: You know, it’s easy to play the ‘blame game’ for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Sure, BP had 760 safety violations in recent years, but let’s not assume that makes us guilty of negligence in this horrific accident. If you’re like me, you believe in God, and He ultimately is responsible for everything on earth. After all, He made it, populated it and allows both good things and bad things to happen. Why God wanted this awful oil spill, I don’t know. But my faith is strong enough that I am willing to accept His will. I hope that you will do the same. I’m Tony Hayward, asking you to pray for me and BP.

TH: At BP, we’re concerned for your health. While many support solar power, we know that the sun can also be very dangerous with its harmful UV rays. Especially to those of us with pasty white complexions. Well, one benefit of the recent oil spill is that the pristine beaches so inviting to so many sun worshippers will soon be closed for clean-up operations. This means that BP is helping save millions of Americans from the dangers of UV rays and the risks of sun cancer. Protecting people is just another reason BP should be your first choice in quality petroleum products. Thank you and please don’t forget the sunscreen. BP cares.

TH: Hello, I’m Tony Hayward, CEO of British Petroleum. At BP, we’re concerned about our environment because Mother Nature is our mother, too. She is getting on in her years and we love her as much as ever. So, we’re working hard to clean-up the unfortunate mishap that occurred recently in the Gulf of Mexico. While no one can say what exactly caused the terrible oil spill, we’re going to spend our own money and make great efforts to clean it up. Yes, it’s costing us a bloody fortune, but we will spend whatever it takes to make it right. You see, at BP we believe that oil and water don’t mix, and we’re going to help our poor Mother clean herself up. Not because it’s our fault, but because it’s the right thing to do for the poor old girl.

There was one surprising silver lining on the black oil cloud of the recent failure of BP’s “Top Kill” effort– the live camera feed of the oil leak disaster drew millions of curious viewers from around the world.

The viewer response was so strong, BP has decided to launch the live camera feed as a new dedicated cable channel available this summer.

“We’ve been looking at viewership numbers and they are incredible,” said Rory Cappingstap, an independent producer hired by BP. “In overnights, we’ve been posting ‘American Idol’ kind of numbers, which is unheard of these days for a new show. We’re even thinking of getting Simon or Ellen as a guest commentator on our new channel.”

To offset the costs of fixing the spill, BP will sell advertising time on its network. “We’ve been talking with P&G about doing big tie-ins with Dawn, Tide and some of their other products that are smashing at dealing with oily stains and such,” said Mr. Cappingstap. “We’ll also have a heavy rotation of BP corporate spots letting people know how much we care about the environment and that sort of thing.”

If the oil leak is stopped in August, it would severely curtail viewership, but Mr. Cappingstap is optimistic. “We may not be able to cap this well, in which case we’ll be able to keep airing into the fall, and God willing, even get into the spring sweeps. With lots of hungry eyes and untold opportunities for advertising revenue, BPTV is the sort of diversification the company needs in troubled times likes these. This truly is Must-Sea TV! Rather clever, isn’t it?”