posted: Dec. 1, 2005  |  Feedback

Quick follow-up note on the second book tour: Some people have asked if they could just bring the books they already bought to get signed (instead of buying a new one). Absolutely. Should have made that more clear.

I wanted to mention two online petitions today:


If you're a Sox fan, here's your chance to sign a petition and express your disappointment that the Red Sox are thinking about trading Manny Ramirez -- a future Hall of Famer who plays 150 games a season and always delivers the goods on the field. After five years, we know what we're getting here. Two or three times a year, he's going to stop running hard on fly balls, he's going to passive-aggressively mention that he's unhappy and wouldn't mind being traded, and nobody's going to take him that seriously, the clubhouse will keep chugging along, and then he'll start hitting again and that will be that.

You know what? I understand the ground rules. And I'm fine with them. So is just about every other rational Red Sox fan. Why would we ever trade this guy for 50 cents on the dollar? I didn't understand this logic last July when they almost traded him, I don't understand it now, and I will continue not to understand it. Sure, he's a little overpaid, but when you consider that Big Papi is outrageously underpaid, it all evens out, doesn't it? So you're paying the best 1-2 offensive punch in baseball a combined $27 million-$28 million a year for the next three. Isn't that the going rate? And what about the dramatic effect that Manny's departure would have on Big Papi for 162 games a year? Would he ever see another strike?

Here's the thing about Manny that you have to remember: You know when your girlfriend/wife is getting ready for a party and irrationally flips out because she can't find her favorite dress, or because she ran out of eyeliner, or because one of the heels on her favorite shoes is broken, and she breaks down like a complete maniac for about 25 minutes and starts ranting and raving, and you're thinking, "My God, she's a lunatic, I'm stuck with a full-fledged lunatic," and then she finds the dress/eyeliner/second pair of shoes, calms down and everything's fine? That's Manny. Every once in a while, he flips out. There's no rhyme or reason to it, and it's usually for a reason like "somebody parked in my parking spot today" or "the guy behind the counter at CVS accidentally called me Pedro." But it never affects the other guys on the team, and he usually settles down, and that's that. I can't possibly fathom why you would trade someone who produces like Manny does. Besides, he's not smart enough to genuinely sabotage his relationship with the team to force a trade -- it's just not in him; he lacks the requisite savvy. I'm not being mean, it's a fact. So keep him around.

Anyway, I'm signing the petition. If you're a Sox fan, I hope you will follow suit. It would be a shame to see Manny traded because the Red Sox' front office is in shambles and John Henry lacks the requisite spine to stop Larry Lucchino from micromanaging the baseball operations, bullying team employees (including the manager, who last season was routinely awakened at 6 a.m. to hear Lucchino ranting on the other end of the phone) and driving valued employees out of the organization when he didn't even put up one-fiftieth of the money to purchase the team. He's turning into one of those characters on "24" who works for the president and runs roughshod for half the season before the president realizes what's happening.

Yo, Mr. Henry? You're the owner. The buck stops with you. Get rid of this guy. There's a reason nobody wants to interview for your GM job, and there's a reason Theo inexplicably walked away from his dream job. Deal with it. If we lose Manny because nobody has the guts to deal with Lucchino, like many other Sox fans, we will be blaming you and you alone. Prepare for our wrath.


All right, this is stupid, and I don't care if you think less of me …

But the Sports Gal made me start watching "Reunion" on Fox this season, and I ended up getting hooked for five reasons:

1. I'm a sucker for any show or movie where the characters age over the course of time, as well as any show that's set in a certain time period, plays the music from that period, has everyone dressing like they did in that period, and so on. (When you think about it, that was really the only reason "The Wedding Singer" was funny.) When watching the 1991 episode, all the girls will be wearing baggy sweaters, and I get to relive the days when girls ate whatever they wanted and everyone was afraid to have sex. Good times!

2. I'm a sucker for any show where the acting is so staggeringly bad, you can't even believe it's happening, and then you reach a point where you're actually rooting for the actors to pull off scenes. In other words, it's like any bad '80s movie -- "Secret Admirer," "Oxford Blues," "St. Elmo's Fire," "Just One of the Guys," you name it. Seriously, this was the first TV show ever made with the hopes of being as bad as your average '80s movie -- I'm convinced everything was intentional, right down to the casting. In particular, the black guy from "Six Feet Under" pretty much ends his career on this show -- he plays a "hard-hitting detective" whose idea of an intense scene is furrowing his brow and making the Mike Tice "Did we win that replay challenge, I'm confused?" face. Fantastic work by him. He'll be serving me coffee at Peet's in about six months.

3. I like shows where I can predict everything that's about to happen before it happens. Literally, everything. It makes me feel smart.

4. The girls on the show were hot. There. I said it. I don't care if I get divorced -- actually, the Sports Gal loves the guy who ends up getting paralyzed, so we're probably even. My favorite was Amanda Righetti, who played Kirsten's sister in the "OC," then spun off to "North Shore" (canceled) and "Reunion" (canceled). She should change her name to Shareef Abdur-Righetti at this point. But she's gorgeous and you will definitely be seeing her playing a detective investigating a murder at a brothel on Skinemax in about 18 months. Same for the curly haired girl who had Will's baby and gave it up for adoption -- she's one set of implants away from becoming the Tiffani Amber Thiessen of this generation.

5. The murder mystery was actually pretty cool -- these six high schoolers started out as best friends in 1986, one of them was killed in the present day, and then they go back year-by-year starting in 1987 to figure out what happened (with new clues every year). Interesting concept. And just when I was totally hooked …


Umm … what????

How can you cancel a sequential murder mystery? Apparently, they were scheduled for 22 episodes, but Fox pulled the plug after 13, which means they'll be speeding up the rest of the years (we're up to 1993 right now, the Grunge Era) so we can figure out what happened. I find this unconscionable. Look, people at Fox, I didn't ask to watch your show. You kept plugging it, and you stuck it on after "The OC," and you put Amanda Righetti in the cast, and you eventually sucked us in … now you're screwing us? Sure, only 4.3 million people were watching, but still, that's 4.3 million people! At the very least, move it to FX for the remaining episodes. This is an outrage.

Anyway, I have never had a favorite show canceled before -- it's almost like finding out that one of your teams randomly made a horrible trade, multiplied by 10. So here's my plea to Fox. Next weekend, run all the "Reunion" shows in a row on a Saturday afternoon -- just bump all the crappy reruns that nobody would have been watching. People can get caught up. They'll watch the first one, think it's terrible, vow to stop watching it, then inexplicably keep watching. By the third show, not only will they be hooked, they'll feel like an idiot for being hooked. But they'll keep watching.

The thing is, it's tough to find watchable TV shows that aren't mentally challenging, remain vaguely interesting, keep you visually stimulated and give you the chance to crack 200-300 jokes per episode. So please, bring "Reunion" back. Run all 22 shows. I don't ask for much.

(And if you want to sign the petition to help me out, feel free.)

December 2005