Category Archives: Random

Awash in a feeling of joy

Greatest. Day. Ever.


HARLEM – Living in New York requires that you accept that everything here is a pain in the ass.

What are otherwise routine chores everywhere else in the country are transformed into harrowing, patience-testing productions. Wanna go to the grocery store? Don’t buy too much, because you’ve got to carry it all home. Wanna get out of the city? Don’t forget to consult the train schedule, which may or may not be honored that day. Wanna park your car? Don’t bother.

More to the point: why the hell have you bothered keeping your car?

I love the city, so this isn’t so much a complaint as it is a display of resignation. As with everything else around here, living in the city comes with a toll. Which is why, in my building the last few days, you’d think that New Year’s Eve meets D-Day. Or that the city has indefinitely suspended alternate side parking.

For years, the folks who run the building have promised tenants a laundry room in the building. A few days ago, they finally delivered. And I’ve spent the last 48 hours indulging myself in the convenience taken for granted by everyone else. I’ve been doing laundry — pretty much nonstop — all without having to leave my own building.

Until the sudden appearance of the laundry room, I was forced to lug my dirty laundry a few blocks to the crowded laundromat down the block. For awhile, I stubbornly did the laundry myself, mostly because I could never get my mom’s voice out of my head. “Hey,” she told me once. “There’s no maid working here.”

But that didn’t last long, and for the last few years, I’ve instead paid to have the laundry done for me. In this scenario, the city had left me with two choices: a.) Waste time. b.) Waste money. I chose the latter.

On Saturday afternoon, everything changed. My roommate said she had heard a rumor that a new laundry room had been installed. She hurried to the basement, confirmed the amazing news, and promptly began a load of laundry. I wasn’t far behind. Her reports were accurate. It was our own dank, dingy, slice of heaven.

Objectively, it was a space that only a serial killer would love. The white paint couldn’t hide the roughness of the old walls. And despite the peach-colored paint splashed on the pipes overhead, it didn’t change the fact that some of them were low enough to conk your noggin.

Against the wall stood three shiny new washing machines, one of them industrial sized, and three dryers big enough to fit a smart car. A long folding table stretched across the opposite wall, waiting to be covered clothes that were still toasty from the machine. The building super even included a laundry cart to haul damp clothes from the washer to the dryer.

To me, it was Vegas on a Saturday night, and I had a laundry bag filled with cash.

It has been about 24 hours since my roommate let me in on the secret and I’m just finishing the last of my laundry. The first day, I had the place to myself. Three loads of laundry, uninterrupted, no crowds, no screaming children, no substances of unknown origin clogging up the detergent dispenser.

“How did it go?”

“It was everything I thought it would be. And more!”

But people in this building talk, and news of the new laundry room has spread like wildfire. Sadly, I’ve already seen two others down here today. I suspect there will be more. One of them celebrated appropriately. Upon walking into the laundry room for the first time, she jumped up and down, and threw her arms around her boyfriend in a moment of unrequited joy.

“This is the happiest day of my life!”

“I thought the happiest day was when you met me?”

“Want me to do some of your laundry?”

No more than 20 minutes later, as I loaded one of the smart-car sized dryers with newly-bleached socks, she used the washing machine I had intended to fill with a bag of dirty T-shirts.

Alas, the gleaming new laundry wasn’t going to stay a secret forever. But a break is a break, and when you live in the city, you learn to enjoy them. Even the small ones. They don’t come around often.

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Update: Bad things happen when you show up to Yankees camp wearing hideous shorts

I didn't think they were that bad... though some colleagues helped change my mind.

UPDATE, 3:21 p.m.: Joe Girardi talked about Joba Chamberlain’s weight, Andruw Jones’ role and Jesus Montero’s development. But before he began his media briefing here today, he tackled a much more colorful and far less important subject. And now, I give you the manager of the Yankees:

“I’m just laughing a little inside, that’s all. I’m trying not to. Shorts. Shorts are… something I didn’t quite expect. I just didn’t. Maybe from one of our younger players or something. Or my son. I didn’t quite expect it. And he’s sitting right in front of me. He could sit over there where I couldn’t see his shorts? I thought when we got to a certain age we didn’t dress loud. Or surferish. Now I wonder what he does when he goes home at night.”

Now, if you’d excuse me, I’ll be over at Publix. I’ll be the guy cruising the aisles for a pail and lighter fluid.

TAMPA, Fla. — Well, that was a painful wardrobe malfunction

Here’s a sampling of the abuse from Yankees camp this morning after I made the mistake of wearing this hideous piece of clothing. This was just in the space of an hour. Actually, I didn’t think the shorts were that bad. Most disagreed.

“I actually have a pair just like them,” one critic admitted later. “But I don’t think I’d wear ’em though.”

Brutal as they are, rocking these shorts is still a better alternative than showing up in a Speedo.

If you have a minute to kill at work, see if you can match the comment below to the smart-alec who made them. Answers listed at the bottom of the post:

a.) “Feinsand, remember when you wondered what ever happened to your grandmother’s couch? Looks like Carig turned them into shorts.”

b.) “Hey, nice shorts! You golfing? No, seriously, I like them…”

c.) “Couldn’t bother to change when you got out of bed this morning?”

d.) “Very patriotic.”

e.) “Like you said, those are one and done, right?”

f.) “You should have wallpaper made out of those shorts. Same pattern.”

g.) “Did you really get up in the morning and think nobody was going to say anything?”

h.) “Those are the worst shorts I’ve ever seen. You wear shorts like that, they should give you a free bowl of soup… Looks good on you, though.”

i.) “That’s California.”

Answers:

a.) Sweeny Murti, Yankees beat reporter, WFAN Radio, to Daily News beat writer Mark Feinsand; b.) Joba Chamberlain, Yankees relief pitcher; c.) George King, Yankees beat writer, New York Post; d.) Jason Latimer, Yankees media relations; e.) Tony Pena, Yankees bench coach; f.) Pete Caldera, Yankees beat writer, Bergen record; g.) Mark Kafalis, Yankees security; h.) Bryan Hoch, Yankees beat writer, mlb.com, in a dead-on rendition of Rodney Dangerfield’s character in Caddyshack; i.) Mick Kelleher, Yankees first base coach.

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Averting crisis with some timely motivation

Desk at my spring training hotel.

TAMPA, Fla. — Back in my cigarette smoking days, I always took care to earn good smoking karma. All you had to do was ask. And sometimes, I even gave up the last one in my pack, which for smokers is about as precious a gift as organ donation is to non-smokers.

Of course, when you quit smoking, that karma is worthless. And at worst, it can be a hindrance to remaining a quitter, as it was tonight when I was at dinner with an old friend.

We hadn’t crossed paths since last fall. I was smoking like a chimney then, and midway through a bar-hopping excursion with a group of other pals, he asked for a smoke. I obliged. This went on until they dragged the last of the drunks out of the bars.

Anyway, he let me know early during dinner that he was prepared to pay me back in smokes. For the first time since quitting (again), I faced serious temptation.

But I didn’t give in. For that, I have only my motivation to thank.

I met her for the first time exactly a year ago today. She came into my life at a great time of change and has stuck with me ever since. When we met, I was in the midst of quit attempt version 3.0. And when I started again we were already dating.

She made it clear she wasn’t happy about my relapse but never once nagged me about it. I promised I’d quit again and I’d be done for good. She’s been patient with me about everything else — such as being away for work, sometimes days at a time — but she was especially understanding as I prepared to quit once more.

So, as my friend offered karmic payback, all I could think about was Jo.

I thought about how amazing (mostly) this last year has been, and if just one year with her was awesome, imagine two? Or three? Or even 30? I thought about something I read once, that each cigarette cuts about 11 minutes off your life. I thought about how many days I could have with her that I’ve smoked away.

Then I thought about the foolish decisions I’ve made in my life, and how none of them would be as stupid as giving up even one more minute with her.

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Finally, my very own building!

"Well, it looks like you're a cheap place to go to have sex with prostitutes."

TAMPA, Fla. — Some dreams come big. Some dreams come small. Mine, they come… stupid.

This is my fourth season covering baseball, all of them in the American League East. If I were to compile a list of most-visited regular season cities list for that span, I’d wager that No. 1 would be Tampa.

All that time, there has been one photo I’ve wanted to take from here, but the right opportunity never seemed to present itself. Well, that all changed this afternoon on the way home from the driving range.

The building is in Tampa near I-275. My thanks to my buddy Bryan for humouring me. Turns out I was wearing the perfect ballcap for this mission — a vintage 1960s-style Cubs cap — which features a prominent “C” and not a “K.”

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The gang’s all here

Sign of a new season: This year's BWAA cards.

NEWARK, N.J. — I’m roughly two hours into the beginning of my 2011 season but already I’ve bumped into a few familiar friends at the airport.

Such as “Wait, it’s not cool if I walk through the scanner in my chain mail guy.” As an added bonus, be brought his entire family, who also dressed for the occasion by adorning their bodies with scrap metal.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I suppose. But when they show up to the security line as if they’re there for the first time — even though the tags on their luggage tell you otherwise — then I have a problem. That was a fun 30 minutes, watching this dude take off his belt and walk toward the scanner, only to be told he also had to remove his watch, his pocket change, his cell phone. He looked surprised every time, which is to be expected of morons.

Guiding him was another pal, “TSA employee who appears to do next to nothing.” Actually, this particular guy seemed to be a whole new subspecies.

While his colleagues appeared to be doing important work — such as fondling the dude in 13A like he’s a supermarket cantelope — this new character stood around and watched people put their luggage on the belt. That’s it.

Sometimes, he’d sort of do something, like tend to chain mail guy the fifth time he attempted to go through the scanner wearing more metal than Dennis Rodman.

When I went through, TSA guy appeared eager to look busy. He approached as if he were going to tell me to remove the laptop from my bag. When I beat him to the punch, he stood there with a confused look, gestured at my bag, and said “oh good.”

Perhaps this is some junior level position in the TSA. If so, I really hope he one day graduates to feeling up passengers. He looked gentle.

As I walked toward the gate, another old pal came swooping by. Didn’t recognize him at first. But then I heard screeching tires and the faint sound of a grown man saying “beep, beep,” the way you’d think Daria would impersonate a car horn.

Yes, “Reckless Golf Cart Driver” guy was in the house, burning rubber and breaking ankles.

Anyway, I’m at Gate 71, getting on my flight to Tampa. Baseball season is officially here.

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Welcome to the not so all-new marclestercarig.com

HARLEM — It’s important to always embrace your identity, even if it caused your classmates to call you “molester!” To that end, the blog is now registered under marclestercarig.com. Yes, that’s my full name. No, I don’t think it’s funny. Yes, I’d like for you to stop laughing.

Nothing else about the site will change. It will still primarily feature my nonsensical bullshit, and promises about blogging regularly, which I will probably break. The only difference really is that it’s now slightly better-branded nonsensical bullshit, so I’ve got that going for me.

Anyway, I get a plane for spring training in less than 24 hours, which is always exciting. But as much fun as it is to start a new season, it comes with some fear that I won’t have the time to devote to other cool things, such as writing in this space. It’s been an off and on experience, but whenever I’ve had one of those bursts where I feel like I’ve got to blog, it has always brought nothing but good.

Old friends come out of the woodwork and it feeds the desire to keep writing. It applies to work, too. It seems as if I have a lot more fun writing my newspaper stuff when I’m also farting around here with you all. This last week or so has been no exception and I’d love to keep it going. Not a promise, mind you, but an acknowledgment that I really enjoy our time together.

Besides, doing this is better than taking a smoke break.

Speaking of work, one last thing: Have you ever played or coached with Yankees pitching Larry Rothschild? Do you have any insights as to why he is so well respected around the game? Well, if you’re reading this and I haven’t called or texted you yet, boy would I love a few minutes of your time!

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‘This concludes our broadcast day’

HARLEM — Before the Thigh Master, Butt Master or Eight-Minute Abs, before Jack LaLanne touted the power of the juice, or Matthew Lesko boasted about free government money, or Ron Popeil reassured audiences that it was ok to “set it and forget it,” the broadcast day used to come to an end.

Some TV stations called it quits at 1 a.m. while some stayed on until 4 a.m. But at some point, they all pulled the plug for the night.

They haven’t done that for years, of course. There’s too much money to be made in infomercials. Still, I remember being just old enough to stay up late and get away with it, and the strange sense of accomplishment I felt whenever I lasted until the end.

Our family didn’t have cable back then and it seemed as if I was always watching KGO, the ABC affiliate in San Francisco, one of of our seven (count ’em, seven!) TV choices back then. So, it’s their version of the sign off I remember most clearly.

The station manager gave short editorial about some civic issue, the deep-voiced announcer declared the broadcast day finished, and a marching band played the Star Spangled Banner over a montage of scenes from all over the country. It always felt like I shouldn’t have been watching, as if I stayed up way later than I should have. And that late at night, the end of the broadcast day made me feel a little bit alone.

It’s crazy to look back at it from this era of constant media bombardment. A channel showing nothing? The idea is unfathomable. As is the notion that at the end of the broadcast day, you were cut off until the morning, whether you liked or not.

Now we’re all connected, of course, for better or worse. The broadcast day knows no end. It’s past 3 a.m. as I write this and there are about 400 television channels on the living room TV at my disposal. There’s YouTube, and Facebook, and Twitter — all of them going strong, 24/7 — all of them accessible from virtually anywhere.

It’s an era of endless possibilities — and for those who work in the information industry in the midst of the information age — profound challenges. We live in an exciting time, bound to one another like never before, pushing together to see how much further technology can take us.

But sometimes I miss being that kid laying awake at 4 a.m. — the announcer saying “this concludes our broadcast day,” the national anthem playing over an aerial shot of the Golden Gate Bridge, the color test pattern filling the screen, and then nothing — feeling eerily but blissfully disconnected.

* (Here is a version of the KGO sign-off I remember on YouTube. It may be a few years off, but it’s close enough. Skip ahead to the 2:29 mark. Now, as I did then, I don’t care for the random thunder in the middle of the anthem).

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