More on Benoit

June 27, 2007

I never know whether I should be happy or bothered when someone accurately captures the way that I’m feeling, but better than I do.

 From my favorite sports journalist: Bill Simmons at ESPN.com’s Page 2

Bill Simmons: I am still gathering my thoughts, waiting for all the facts to come out. It just doesn’t seem like any non-wrestling fan realizes how huge this story is to everyone who actually follows wrestling – in my opinion, it’s the biggest sports story of the year even though wrestling technically isn’t a sport. Benoit was one of the 12-15 greatest wrestlers of the past 30 years. For the wrestling world, it’s like the OJ thing all over again – only its worse because his little son was involved. It might be the single worst sports story since the Rae Carruth thing.

And from someone else in the same chat recap:

josh ut: Just one more thought on the Benoit situation for the non-wrestling fans. This was the equivalent of a Derek Fisher or Donovan Mcnabb or Derek Jeter committing the act, one of the most recognizable class acts of a sport. The man was known as classy individual and had the respect of everyone he worked with. If your kid was going to be a wrestler, you would have wanted him to be Chris Benoit. This is why it is so hard for the wrestling community to come to grip with this tragedy.

Well put by both people.

I wrote in an email to my friend Boner yesterday (and yes I’m in my mid-30s and have a friend whose nickname is Boner) that now I know how Buffalo Bills fans feel about OJ Simpson. 

This guy was one of my top 10 favorite wrestlers of all time.  I had tears of joy on my face when he won the world title at WrestleMania XX.  There’s an image, a classic image, of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero (who are now both deceased), both world champions, hugging in the middle of the ring.  And the unspoken words between the two were essentially: “They told us, we weren’t big enough, weren’t good enough talkers, couldn’t draw fans to the arena, that we weren’t good enough, and look where we are now, buddy.”

I mean, I didn’t cry because Benoit had won something. People in a boardroom, looked at the demographics, the buyrates, the television ratings, the Q-Rating, and merchandise sales and determined that Chris Benoit could win the title at WrestleMania XX.  What made me cry was that Benoit ignored the criticsm, busted his ass every day, doing his job, working hard, putting his body on the line, and he was rewarded. That’s a good story for anyone.

Is that moment tainted?  Should it be, if it’s not?

Killing his wife, while reprehensible… is at least understandable.  We all have been enraged by someone.  And those who are closest to you, can in an instant drive you the craziest.  And someone with the strength of a professional wrestler, could most likely hurt someone, before they truly realized what they were doing.

Killing himself… I don’t believe in suicide, but I believe in the right to kill yourself. They say that it’s the coward’s way out, and in some cases I believe that, but we all have moments of cowardice. Benoit killing himself denies us answers, but it also removes the circus of a murder trial. I can see him, being regretful of what he had done, seeing no other option other than his own death.

Killing his son…

No.

No justification.

It’s an innocent life.

Even making the arguement, that the kid would be emotionally traumatized by the death of both of his parents, and maybe even more so with the child’s Fragile X syndrome.  Even so.

Then take into account that it occured the following day, so it wasn’t ‘in the moment’.  When you think for that long of a period of time, you have moments of clarity, that is unless he was mentally ill or chemically unbalanced.

But that is supposition. And there is still responsibility for the act.

My current feeling is that I cannot really watch wrestling anymore. Not that I watch it much anyway. Once Suzanne moved in, Monday nights turned into CSI: Miami nights more than Monday Night Raw. And Zack basically turned wrestling time into bath time.

But it’s more when you have a bad reaction to food, sometimes remembering your upset stomach or worse vomitting the substance keeps you from returning to that food. I haven’t had Southern Comfort in 14 years, and the thought of a Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak with blue cheese makes my stomach turn.

I’ve been watching this stupid ‘sport’ for close to 20 years now. And that is really scary. Since the advent of the Internet, learning about backstage politics, advanced booking, and pay-per-view results, had been more of an addiction than the actual action in the ring. But I have no appetite for it now. I don’t see going cold turkey, but I don’t feel the need to watch it anymore. If I could remove the wrestling websites from my memory, I would.

There’s more thoughts, but trying to keep things brief for now.

Cheers,

Robert

Advertisements

Quick Thoughts: Chris Benoit

June 26, 2007

I turned on wrestling last night, while Suze was upstairs nursing Zack.  I saw John Cena talking to the camera, very somberly. As they had been pretending that Vince McMahon died when his limo exploded, I thought this was some rather tasteless part of that angle.

I flip back to read the words in the bottom left corner, “Remembering Chris Benoit.”  My jaw hit the floor.  And within a few more minutes, I learned that Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy, and son Daniel were all found dead in their home.

The early reports suggested some sort of poisoning, but as I went to bed the news in Philly said: “The police in Atlanta are investigating this as a murder-suicide”

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=2916498

So, talk about a range of emotions.  How do you feel, when a ‘hero’ of yours (hero only meaning someone whose accomplishments, in this case athletic accomplishments, you admire) does something this horrible. 

I mean I’ve learned over the years that wrestling is a seedy business and that most professional wrestlers are dispicable human beings, but that’s more from the self-absorbed, womanizing, substance-abusing bullies standpoint.  To a degree, it’s probably difficult to devote your life to semi-violent entertainment, and turn it off when you leave the ring.  But this is something else entirely.

He was one of the best.  But unfortunately, that does something sometimes…  I dunno…. Can make little sense of it all…

Cheers,

Rob


Unsafe

June 19, 2007

Life as I know it has ended….

… yet again

My son has started crawling.

Well, that’s not putting the entire correct spin on it.  My son has started crawling, rolling from his back to his stomach, pulling himself up to a standing position, grabbing everything that seems interesting from places he couldn’t get to before, and in the process causing himself pain.

Two weeks ago, Zachary was mostly immobile.  You put him in a place, and he stayed in that place, within a two foot circle around him.  But now he is a path of destruction that cannot be stopped, and doesn’t understand the word “No” yet. 

Yesterday he fell on his head twice.  The first occurred before I got home, so I’m shakey on the details.  The second occurred on my watch.  I placed him on the changing table tying the straps around him, and I went to fill up his bathtub.  Now, I knew that there would come a day soon, that Zachary would no longer be safe on the changing table without one of us watching him. But I was hoping for the sign of the changing table pad lifting up or some other thing.  This was not to be….

As I was heading back to his room to check on him, I heard the sound of 20 pounds hitting the floor, immediately followed by Zack crying.  Now, as this was his second fall from the changing table, I wasn’t too worried in general.  Don’t get me wrong, when he seemed sluggish to pick up his little rubber duckies in the bathtub, which he always does, I started to think about brain damage… but once out of the tub he was back to his normal self. 

However, my years of experience did help me.  Suzanne read the Pediatricians Parents Reference Book over the symptoms of concussions.  Me, having watched football and hockey for years now, knew the basic signs, I mean just watching Eric Lindros after getting nailed by Scott Stevens gave me enough information as to what I would expect from a true concussion. 

So the world is now unsafe.  The next weekend that Suzanne works, I fully expect to nap on the couch watching him, only to find Zack playing with the circular saw, holding the bottle of Draino up to his mouth, and watching porn on the television.


Sitting on the Sidelines

June 13, 2007

I’ve been aware of a movement within my pop-culture being. It’s nothing serious, nothing that is truly that tragic, yet….Well, it’s a complete departure from where I’ve been recently, and in a sense most of my life. I’m no longer at the forefront of the entertainment wave.

It’s not that movies, television, or music are no longer being directed at me. But rather that it’s the reason why movies, television, and music is not directed at people of my generation. And that is that I don’t have the time for it. If the wave hits me, it is well after the fact. I am standing on the shoreline by the lifeguard stand, while others are out in the middle of it, riding the wave and catching it.

I wish it was for a really cool reason, like that I’ve become bored with mass-produced, 30-something media, and I’m off into the cyber-ooze to find something pure, not brought down to the lowest-common-denominator, and achieveing artistic merit in the truest sense of the word. But it’s not.

The truth is that between a 8 hour work day that starts at 5:30 AM, sitting in a traffic filled commute for 2-3 (yesterday it was 4) hours a day, being married, supporting a household, raising a child… that there just isn’t time. And the time that I have is usually spent with things that are easily digestable, predictable, and chat worthy like sports radio or American Idol. I don’t have time for a full meal, so I’m content to have the fast-food of pop-culture.

I remember talking to my parents, about cultural phenomenon that happened when I was a young kid. And they’d be missing these pieces of culture that everyone talked about. They didn’t have time for it. They were absent from the entertainment of the day. And I feel it happening to me.

Now I understand that it isn’t a tragedy that I’m only hearing music when it hits popular radio, seeing television shows weeks or months after they were released, and only seeing movies that both my wife and I like. But the part that’s bugging me currently has to do with Strangers in Paradise.

Strangers in Paradise (or SiP) is a comic book series about two women named Francine and Katchoo. To call it a comic book or a graphic novel reduces the power of it, but not from an elitist way. It truly achieves artistic and emotional merit. Now, after 14 years and over 100 issues, the creator Terry Moore, has ended the series with issue #90 which came out last week.

The issue is that I stopped reading individual issues of comic books shortly after Suzanne moved in with me (fall of 2003). I just couldn’t see sitting down with a huge stack of comic books, as was my norm, and reading them fresh from the comic book store. I mean one of the reasons you get married is to have companionship, and I always read comic books like it was my sworn duty.

When comic books are collected in trade paperback form, to me, it feels like there is less urgency. I can read the whole thing in one night, or slowly take my time reading only a chapter (issue) at a time. And usually the next trade isn’t coming out for 6-9 months.

But, you do feel like you are behind the curve. It’s like running a marathon, and you’re finishing in the “well, good for you” group instead of one of the front runners.

Plus, with the Internet, there is discussion, conversation, and spoilers. And I want to interact. I want to give my opinion, see what others think, participate, and enjoy. And by the time the trade is released (next month I hope), it mostly will be done, passe, after the fact, as it were. It’s like wanting to wait til the Sopranos to come out on DVD, and hearing it talked about on the radio and television, you have to put your fingers in your ears and go “lalalalalalalalalala”.

*Sigh*

The other recourse, is to go to a comic book shop, buy the last 8 issues of the series, read them, and then buy the trade paperback so it fits nicer on my shelf.

Don’t like that option either.

I’ll just watch others surf while I play in the sand as the occassional remnants of a wave wash across my feet.


Summer Sucks

June 11, 2007

I really dislike summertime.

I know this will make me sound like some old sort of crumudgeon who stands on his lawn in a bathrobe, black socks and sandals, but it’s true.  The values, conditions, and social phenomenon that occur during summer are as a whole worse than the other three seasons.

Yes, the dead of winter sucks in terms of weather, but the remaining values and connotations associated with the winter are wonderful.

Summertime means that you always have to be conscious of the weather. Sweat stains on dress shirts, putting suntan lotion on your body so you don’t burn, and the constant lookout for the dreaded Triple H (Hazy, Hot, and Humid). And these days we keep the air condition on full blast so it stays freezing inside the buildings we live and work in. 

Fashion goes totally out the window.  Yes, there is a basic freedom of wearing shirts you would never think of wearing during the cold months.  But think of what we give up: jackets and coats, jeans, leather, boots, wool slacks.  Pulling off your shoes to find that your socks are soaking wet from sweat is one of the most disgusting normal things that happens in this world.

And if we want to do work around the house, whether it’s painting, gardening, mowing the lawn, cutting firewood, or cleaning out the garage, we have to determine whether we want to sacrifice the protection of long sleeves and pants for comfort in rising temperatures. As someone who has an annual confrontation with poison ivy, I know the dangers of both.

As much as I like good action movies, stupid comedies, and fun animated movies for the kids, the summer is too saturated with them. When we actually get a good drama in the summer, we kindof look at it, wondering why it was released in between the latest action sequel and the newest Pixar phenomenon. Television goes on full hiatus, not wanting the American audience to get attached to a show when they can’t tune in next week, cause of a fireworks show. So, when we are home, we get treated to shows like National Bingo Night and Law and Order reruns.

In the middle of summer there is only one major sport that you can watch on a daily basis, baseball.  The rest of the year, you have pro and college football, pro and college basketball, and even hockey every night.  Summer is left to baseball, and you get some NASCAR, golf, and tennis on the weekends.

Okay, when I was in school, I loved the summer. Even when I was working 50 hours a week, it was a change of pace from the school year.  I mean, having disposable income and hanging out with your age demographic in a work environment is always a good thing. It usually led to flirting, parties, softball/volleyball games, and one kitchenwide, sing-along session of “Runaround Sue”.

Back then, eating greasy food, checking out the latest arcade games, staying up til all hours of the night, and driving around cruising (for chicks or just in general) was the greatest. But now, all of that is gone.  The only thing left is chicks in bikinis.

Now admittedly, as a guy this is the best part of summer.  Guys get to check out chicks of all ages and levels of attractiveness who wear as little clothing as is deemed decent.  And whereas this is still wonderful, the impact is diminished by Maxim Magazine, Swimsuit Illustrated, and the Victoria Secret Model show. 

And the worst of all, is the aspect of time.  On the east coast, summer officially lasts from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  If you have kids in school, usually the first two to three weeks of June are spent with kids finishing up school.  So all of the major activities of summer are in July and August.  During these 10-12 weeks, there is a huge demand of one’s time, with barbecues, family gatherings, social obligations, summer blockbusters, baseball games, golf outings, summer concerts, neighborhood/church activities, graduations, vacations, and outdoor projects, and this is not mentioning the regular day-to-day activities of work and home maintenance.  And we must fit everything in, because it’s summer. 

Activities and obligations during the other 9 months are much more casual, and can be put off a week without a batting of ones eye.  But moving obligations during summer knocks over a series of dominos that are impossible to pick up without knocking several others over in the process.

Maybe this is all just me.  There is an aspect of ‘youth is wasted on the young’ here.  A longing for the day when my parents paid the bills, all the money I earned was mine, and I spent my time relaxing on the beach, reading books I want to read, driving all over shore towns in my 1976 Chevette, drinking with a bunch of strangers and acquaintences, and generally basking in the hormone explosion that was summer.  But that is long faded. 

I miss most is the change of pace.  That you bust your butt in school for 9 months, and when you finally finish up, and take your test, cross the finish line, that there was a reward: summer vacation.  A freeing of the usual monotony, and establishing a different monotony for a month or two. Doing something different for a few months.  Reducing the intensity.

I hear rumors of this still being true in Europe and parts of Canada, but that is long gone in corporate America.  I hear of it disappearing for the American Teacher as well, but still I have to believe that no matter the number of hours that teachers work doing summer school, taking required classes, designing curriculums, and participating in the bureaucratic bullshit of a government institution, that is still enough of a change of pace that when the kids leave on that last day, that they have that sigh of relief.

Sheesh, I’m already missing the cool breeze of early September that makes me run upstairs and put on my favorite pair of jeans. 


Where’s my fucking blog post.

June 7, 2007

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck FUCK

Okay, only one (maybe two) person is going to get this joke, but as he’s the only one who I know regularly checks out my blog, well….

The first rule of entertainment is know your audience, and I know Zonker (aka Royce) very well.

And yes, Zonker, it isn’t the classic 8,000 words. I’ll wait until The Beast gets elected for that stunning diatribe.

Cheers,

V