Jan 29, 2010

The Death of Chivalry

[The following is an excerpt from a collection of short stories I wrote about growing up in Boston and riding the T.]

I like my job. I’ve managed to create the perfect combination of challenge and expectation from my supervisor and slacking off on my part. However, I can’t stand traveling to work. I use the “T”, this city’s excuse for public transportation, and honestly it’s a trip. It really is. If I get to the train station early I can score a seat. This would normally be a good thing because it would ensure a comfy ride all the way to work. Except, as a young male, if you have a seat you also have an obligation to give it up at your first opportunity. Not an issue for me. I see nothing wrong with giving my seat to an elderly lady or someone, usually a young woman, with children. However, I think it’s fair to keep your seat if you have a good enough reason – like an injury.

Recently, I sprained my ankle playing football with some friends. The injury wasn’t serious I limped into the doctor’s office and was given a small, white “airbrance,” some ibuprofen, a pack of ice and told to “walk it off.” This meant that I was fine to go to work as long as I was careful to not re-injure myself. All was fine until one morning when I happened across an empty seat on the train. I sat down relieved that I would be able to take some pressure off of my foot and promptly fell asleep.

I awoke later to a sharp pain in my injured foot. Fearing the worst I snapped awake to see what was causing the pain, as a young male with a seat on the train, it was my worst fear. An old woman with a young child was standing in front of me. She and the child were holding on to the pole near my seat and the woman was casually tapping my foot with her cane. I decided to avoid confrontation. I moved my foot.

The tapping ceased momentarily and I tried to fall back asleep. Only three stops had gone by since I got on the train. The woman found my foot again and the tapping renewed. I moved it again and pretended not to notice. A woman sitting across from me sighed heavily and shook her head. I dozed a bit more until I was two stops away from my destination. More tapping, a little harder this time. I moved my foot, cleared my throat, and looked at her. She glared back at me. I would not be intimidated. A few seconds later she started tapping my foot again.

“Excuse me.” I said. She just stared at me.
“I’m sorry, maybe you didn’t realize it, but you’re tapping my foot and I’m in-" she cut me off.
“Maybe you should move then…be a gentleman.”
She spit out the word “gentleman.” I felt the urge to wipe spittle off of my jacket.
“Look I would move but it’s just…”
“Always an excuse right?” She said over me. “Chivalry must be dead ‘cause I been tapping you, trying to give you the opportunity to do the right thing but all you did was ignore me! Lord Almighty! These young men don’t have no respect and ain’t got no chivalry!” She exclaimed. Other women on the train nodded in approval and looked at me with disappointment.
“Fine!” I said. “You’re right chivalry is dead.”

I stood up and prepared to get off the train as it pulled into my stop. The brace on my ankle flashed briefly as I stood up when this happened, the little boy the woman was with brightened and began pointing at my foot.

“Gramma, Gramma. That’s the same brace I had when I broke my foot!” he said excitedly. I swung my bag onto my shoulders and limped off. I hate the train.

Jan 27, 2010

She looks back at me and I look away. Her embarressment is too much to bear.
The motion reveals a deep run in her stocking from mid thigh down to her calf on her right leg.
The walk signal lights up. She moves off the curb, a little shaky in her heels. The shift makes her dress hike up in the back.
Black stockings and black three-inch-heels complete the look. A gray purse hangs loosely in the crook of her left arm.
The coat is unbuttoned at the bottom, revealing the hem of a satin cocktail dress. When she shifts her weight while waiting, the dress rustles.
Her makeup, a "smoky eye," look is now ashen the morning after and eyes are heavy and bloodshot. She doesn't make eye contact with anyone.
Her hair is a bit messy as if she couldn't find a comb before she left the house and had to use her fingers.
She is wearing a black peacoat that still drapes her like a smock despite being tailored for a small man.
I'm walking to the bus stop, on my way to work. As I stop at a corner to wait for the walk signal a pretty brunette comes to a stop next to me.

Jan 19, 2010

Jan 10, 2010

New gig

A friend of mine recently became editor of an online fashion and politics website called Club Relaford. Based out of Washington, DC, they cover just about everything. and do a pretty good job. I did a story about JAY-Z for the most recent issue as a favor to my boy. It's under the new "Freelance Work" section. As I do more non-Bay State Banner or WEEI stuff, it'll show up there. Check out the story and check out their site. It's worth a read.

Jan 6, 2010

People, if a bouncer approaches you in a club don't run. You're asking to be kicked out!
Also He's the most responsible one of his friends. They all do ecstasy. All he does is drink under age...
He's crying now because He's alone and doesn't know what to do...
His car is parked at Alewife. But his keys are someone else's car. Kristy and Mel are gonna pick him up from Alewife.
He tried to escape. It did not go well. Once caught he was ejected...
After emerging from a bathroom he was approached and surrounded by several people... 15 if you believe his count.
Apparently he was kicked out for severe intoxication. Let me explain why...
He was at a concert at the House of Blues. He was kicked out...
I'm waiting for the train at Park Street. There is a young man waiting for the Alewife train across the tracks. He is drunk and complaining...

Jan 4, 2010

Adalius, is the end near?

[EDITOR'S NOTE - This Was a piece I did for WEEI mid December. They decided not to run it so I'll post it here.]

With an 8-5 record, the Patriots present a ton of questions and things to watch for the rest of the season. There are some that come immediately to mind like whether or not the secondary will hold up for the next three games, or if the offense will finally show up for the second half of a game.

Those are both important and should be addressed. But the major question is: What's up with Adalius Thomas? He's seemingly gotten caught in Bill Belichick's crosshairs, not once, but twice this season. What does that mean for his future in New England? Since it's finals week on college campuses, let's do a quick refresher on Thomas this season.

Lackluster performance
A quick look at his stats shows that Thomas has been struggling to make an impact this season. Through 12 weeks of the season, Thomas has amassed 28 tackles and three sacks. As a comparison, he played nine games in the 2008 season before getting injured and ended up with 35 tackles and 5 sacks. Not a good look. Perhaps the broken arm that year was the beginning of his troubles.

To be fair, there have been some changes made that may account for the decrease in numbers, namely the fact that the Pats are playing a slightly different type of defense since 2007 and 2008 and the fact that Thomas has moved to a different position within the linebacking scheme. During past seasons, Thomas played the left inside linebacker in the 3-4 defensive scheme, which put him in the middle of the field and therefore, in on more plays to make tackles. This year he is playing right outside linebacker, which means more dropping off the line of scrimmage into pass coverage.

Thomas has always been known as a pass rushing linebacker. Were it not for two passes in Super Bowl XLII it's arguable that Thomas had set himself up for Defensive Player of the Year honors. In 2006, Thomas had 11 sacks with the Baltimore Ravens, second only to defensive end Trevor Pryce. Perhaps the Patriots should put him in a different position, and let him pin his ears back and get after the QB. If he does well, it might not lead to situations that caused his first apparent "strike" in Belichick's eyes.

Tennessee Game
We all remember the tattooing of the Titans the Pats laid down in the the snow back in October. Everyone remembers Brady's second quarter but another interesting development was the fact that Thomas was a "healthy scratch." It was commonly held that benching Thomas was a motivation technique employed by Belichick. Maybe it had a delayed effect since Thomas only had one tackle in the following game against the Bucs, but four tackles and a sack against Miami, the week after the Bucs. The point remains that for some reason, as yet unexplained to Thomas, he was benched. After seven weeks of relative silence, Thomas, once again, was punished by Belichick.

Don't be Tardy
The most recent transgression was being nine minutes late to a recent 8 a.m. meeting. The penalty, usually, no more than a fine, was a bit more drastic and Thomas was sent home along with Randy Moss, Gary Guyton and Derrick Burgess. At the time, Thomas had nothing to say about the matter, leaving the dismissal to be discussed by the professionals.

Later, Thomas would speak about the incident and generally make light of the situation. The Jetsons reference is a good throwback.

This past Sunday, Thomas was inactive for the game against the Carolina Panthers. It's difficult to not associate the inactive listing with him speaking about being sent home.

The question now becomes how long will Thomas remain a Patriot? There is a large contract that will affect cap space so there are many concerns to be dealt with in terms of letting him go or trading him.

It is unfortunate because the size of his contract will always seem to overshadow his play on the field. What remains to be seen is whether or not Thomas will suit up as a Patriot for the rest of the season and will he be here once the season ends. Dale & Holley hit the nail on the head when they ask if Thomas is done as a Patriot.