a-rod hr off an eephus

Alex Rodriguez hit a home run off an eephus pitch today. That’s a hell of an accomplishment: the eephus is notoriously unfriendly to power hitters. (An “eephus” pitch is a high, arcing pitch thrown at very slow speed — only about half the speed of a regular fastball. Some can go as far as 30 or 40 feet into the air; they drop right over the plate.) They’re hard to hit far since they’re thrown so slowly; Rip Sewell, who invented the pitch, gave up only one home run using it, a famous shot to Ted Williams. Just one more sign that A-Rod is beyond human.

northern tour recap

Since I promised it back on Monday, a brief recounting of the Northern Tour 2002:
– Landed in Boston Friday night. Had a nice time at ex-roomie Bob’s wedding. He’s Catholic, she’s Jewish, so the merged ceremony had something of a priest-and-a-rabbi-walk-into-a-bar feel. Bob forgot to kiss the bride at the appointed hour, but other than that, a lovely event.
– Rented a car Sunday and drove west. Hertz gave me a Hyundai Sonata, which was a pleasant surprise — fun to drive through the backroad hills of upstate New York. Made a couple-hour stop in Cooperstown for the Baseball Hall of Fame, a pleasant diversion in a quaint little lakefront town. Learned of the existance of the Rayne Rice Birds, a minor-league team in my Louisiana home town from the 1920s to the 1940s.
– Hit Toronto around 1 a.m., after a border guard checking my NAFTA motives asked why I was visiting Canada: “You seeing some girl you met on the Internet or something?” I hastened to point out I met her at a party in Austin, Texas, thank you very much. Had a very nice time touring alt-Toronto and the area around UT (not to be confused with UT or UT). Even got to dine at Aunties and Uncles, which I insist is the inspiration for the Flashing Lights tune of the same name. Also: walked past many Portuguese people, watched the finest Canadian vampire movie of the mid-1990s, and consumed bad sausage.
– After a couple days, mournfully headed down the 401 to Detroit Rock City and my final destination, Toledo. Hung out with the old Blade crew and got to see some bloggers. First, Tam, who is getting honest-for-true married tomorrow at BlogCon (!) in Vegas. Then it was finally getting to meet the very funny Kelly M. And of course, got to see my favorite Toledo blogger, Kelly L.
Another plus: got to see Molly, who some may remember labeled me a burritovore in the pages of some crappy rag. Saw two drive-in movies and watched The Paper for the first time (a crime for a newspaperman like myself). And thanks to my host Ryan, even scored a t-shirt.
The plane didn’t crash on the way back to DFW, so the trip must be judged a success.

guitars, richard lloyd’s guitar lessons

At the end of a date, a woman looking around my apartment once told me: “You know what I like about you? You’re not one of those guys who play guitar. You know the kind of guy I’m talking about.”
I pointed to the guitar case sitting not 15 feet from her shoes. She quickly backtracked. Perhaps it was good enough that I’m not one of those guys who play guitar well.
If I were interested in getting beyond the 12 or so chords I know, I can think of few better teachers than Television‘s Richard Lloyd, whose solos on Marquee Moon are still blowing minds 25 years later. (A more recent vintage of music fans may know him for his guitar work on Matthew Sweet’s 1990s albums.) His lessons look too technical for me, but no doubt are essential for any budding art-punks in the crabwalk.com audience.

chanda wins a tourney, seeded 14 at us open

Chanda Rubin, my old high school classmate and the Official Tennis Player of crabwalk.com, is seeded 14th at the U.S. Open. (See the May-July archives for previous Chanda coverage.)
I haven’t been keeping all you Chandafans as up to date as I should since her terrific runs at Wimbledon and the French. Ten days ago, she won the JP Morgan Chase Open in Los Angeles. And it’s not like there wasn’t any competition. She beat Serena Williams (!) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in the quarters, ending her 21-match win streak. In the semis, she destroyed world No. 4 Jelena Dokic 6-0, 6-2, then beat Lindsay Davenport 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the finals. I tell you: Chanda’s on fire!