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© 1986-2004










Huh? 'Five Things You Don't Know About Me'?: Considering that a majority of the 43 of you reading this are probably longtime jackass friends of mine, Howard Owens' game of tag seems especially unpromising. Let's close my eyes a bit and concentrate....

1) My nickname in my own family, for more than three decades now, has been "Fat." This was a lot funnier 15 years ago.

2) I developed my first (and last!) formula for deciding who the baseball MVPs and Cy Youngs should have been since 1876, when I was around seven years old. Went like this:
MVP: Treat batting average like a three-digit number, not a percentage. Now, add to it RBIs and Runs scored, then subtract home runs. Voila! (Chuck Klein ended up with a basket-full of Matt-VPs, ballpark effects having not yet filtered into my consciousness).
Cy Young: Again treating percentages as three-digit numbers, take a pitcher's winning percentage, then subtract from it the winning percentage of his team in all its other games, then subtract from that his ERA, again expressed as a three-digit number. Highest amount wins. (Steve Carlton's 1972 was off the charts.)

3) In elementary school, if I felt blue, I would feign sickness, stay home alone, then play Abbey Road and 67-70 over and over again, singing every part, all playing air-trumpet and air-piano & whatnot.

4) For my entire pre-pubescent life, my idea of a good, no great time, was writing out ridiculously elaborate long-division problems, then solving them, while the teacher prattled on about "sets" or whatever.

5) This is literally impossible to believe right now, but back at Herbert Hoover Jr. High School, in 7th grade, when I had precious few friends and many large mustachioed enemies & the majority of my "socializing" was done either in P.E. or on the viciously competitive concrete basketball courts during lunchtime, I was christened with the unlikely playground nickname of "Magic," because of my no-look-passing point guard skills and my fleeting yet nevertheless astonishing ability to catch extremely long football passes with my fingertips. The guy man who gave me the honor was the best basketball player and quarterback in the school, the 6'4" 8th-grader Vincent Camper. If you've lived within a 30-mile radius of Long Beach, California in the last 40 years, and do not remember going to school with a member of the extended Camper clan, then you are basically lying. There were, for example, at least four Campers going to my three-year school at the time (cousins, etc.). Vince went on to be 6th man of the Long Beach Poly team that went to the California finals in (I think) 1984, along with Chris Sandle and a fella named Stallworth; where they (I think) did battle with Tommy Lewis' Mater Dei. He was (and I'm sure still is) a genuinely sweet, good-natured guy, who could just dunk you into next week, and his pronouncement (which I will never forget -- "Nah, that ain't Matt. That's Magic!") carried the weight of unimpeachable Judgment, and basically meant most of the black males in school had my back at a time when my back needed having. Considering that I was 5'2", white, and somewhat pudgy, strangers would occasionally snicker upon first hearing, thinking it was a joke, and in fact they had something of a point. But for two years there, despite a considerable size disadvantage and zero history of playing organized ball, I held my own in the B and sometimes A game at a seriously hoops-crazed school, being called "Magic" by the likes of Duane Cooper and Mark Carrier. Ironically, when my growth spurt belatedly kicked in years later, I lost the mad ballhandling skillz, and now I'm just a dreadful passer who has to look at his hands to dribble.

Feel a bit worse now, don't you?

You're it! -- Maia Lazar, Zuma Dogg, Reid Stott, Mamie Van Doren, and the Baseball Crank.

12/19/2006 01:27 PM  |  Comment (10)

Seriously, Why Do People Feed the Pigeons? I mean, when the people are not crazy, or young, or old, or homeless. Why would you do it? WHY???

I'm deadly serious. If any of you ever drop bread crumbs for the filthy urban sky-rats, please explain yourselves maintenant. Thank you.

12/18/2006 07:07 AM  |  Comment (18)

Hi! What are you doing down here?

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