Saturday, October 31, 2009

Girls of Cancer: Miss Halloween

Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates discovers a crashed automobile on a snowy, New England road. The driver—James Caan—is an author who Bates is hugely fond of. After being “rescued” by Bates, Caan finds himself drugged, beaten, and at her mercy.

I have never heard of Misery, the 1990 thriller starring Bates and Caan. I probably should have—it grossed $61m, was based on Stephen King’s novel, was directed by the same guy who did When Harry Met Sally, and features Kathy Bates, who won an Academy Award and Golden Globe.

Kathy Bates was a scary mammajamma in Waterboy, playing Adam Sandler’s deranged mother. Are you surprised by this eerie trend? You shouldn’t be. An urban legend has been circulating about Kathy Bates for years. For those who scare, proceed with caution.

It began on Halloween sometime in the 60s when Kathy was a teenager. Her friends had stopped spending time with Kathy—they thought she brought down the group’s rep. Instead of partying in one of her classmate’s basement with everyone else, she sneaked around neighborhoods stealing Snickers bars.

Every Halloween thereafter, Kathy increased her destruction: snatching bags from little kids, smashing pumpkins, and setting lawns alight. It is said that, at twenty, she spotted a rabbit in the woods at precisely 11:59 on Halloween night. The rabbit was as white as a ghost with white pupils and white claws. The rabbit summoned Kathy and spoke in tongues about the species taking over the world and harvesting humans.

The rabbit population began to shrink as Kathy collected those in her hometown of Memphis. People close to Kathy thought she had a taste for the gamey meat. Really, she was preparing for the worldwide takeover. The date was planned for October 31, 2005.

But the plan changed in 2003 when Kathy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, though she didn’t reveal her disease publicly until 2008. Later, Kathy said that she wished she went public sooner. She could have helped others, she said, since ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose early.

In truth, she waited to disclose her illness to cover up the white rabbit’s ultimate plan. “Now, they’ll never see it coming,” the rabbit said, in tongues, of course.

The plan to abruptly alter the world’s dominant species without abiding by the rules of evolution is still in play—Kathy’s cancer just pushed it back four years, to October 31, 2009, at the stroke of 11:59, which also happens to be your last opportunity to grab a free Black Jack Taco from Taco Bell.

Facing Armageddon, I’m strangely not in the mood for artificially-colored crunchy tortilla.Kathy Bates holding a knife

Leia Mais…

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Damn Yankees

"Tonight we feast like the Romans,” I said to my dad.

He and I were headed to Long Island. There’s a restaurant off Hempstead Turnpike named Colony Diner, which looks like all other diners—chrome siding, lots of windows, and jukeboxes at the booths. But this is no ordinary diner.

My family used to take annual trips to New York to visit relatives and my grandparents’ gravesite. We would hit all the attractions—The World Trade Center Towers, Empire State Building, United Nations, Jewish delicatessen in Brooklyn, bagel and cookie bakery—but Colony Diner eclipsed them all.

The last time I had been was in 2000, a month before being diagnosed with my first cancer. Each year that I didn’t go, Colony’s prestige grew. In my mind the plate of roast beef drenched in au jus became a tableful. The matzo ball became the size of my fist. The tall slice of strawberry shortcake became the size of my head.

My dad and I hit terrible traffic, and the normally five-hour trip turned into seven-and-a-half. My dad and I discussed Colony on the way. Would we even be able to finish all our food? Was it going to be the best meal ever? Would the Jose Canseco-lookalike still be working there after all these years?

When we finally arrived, we sat at a large, plump, red booth. We ordered cherry Cokes, which at Colony amounts to about half Coke and half grenadine. Our challah bread and sesame sticks arrived. Then came the matzo ball soup. The main course followed.

My dad ordered half a roast chicken, apple stuffing, a baked potato and broccoli. He left some of the stuffing so that he’d have room for dessert. I came to gorge and that’s exactly what I did: a large, round plate with stacks of medium roast beef lying in a pool of au jus. A baked potato smothered in butter. A bowl of steamed broccoli. A second cherry Coke. There was just enough room for my slice of strawberry shortcake with mounds of whipped cream. Little had changed over the last nine years.

The next night I outdid myself: a 20-ounce prime rib topped with frizzled onion straws, corn on the cob, a plate of French fries, matzo ball soup, two cherry Cokes, challah bread, and the second largest slice of chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten (after a $15 slice at The Palm in Vegas). I certainly wasn’t feeling tip-top while watching the USC-Ohio State game later that evening.


It’s surprising that after having visited New York some 10-15 times in my life, I’d never been to old Yankee Stadium.
Old Yankee Stadium before demolition

I wasn’t going to allow that to happen with the new $1.5 billion coliseum. New Yankee Stadium looks like a castle from the outside, with “Yankee Stadium” inscribed in gold-colored letters. The inside looked like a monument to past Yankee greats with banners drooping from the ceiling. We took the elevator to the upper level, where the field looked immaculate and the high definition scoreboard bigger than I’d ever seen (though, it may not compare to Jerry’s Dome in Texas). We walked past Nathan’s hot dog and New York-style pizza stands.
Brand new Yankee Stadium
Brand new Yankee Stadium
Brand new Yankee Stadium
Brand new Yankee Stadium
Brand new Yankee Stadium giant scoreboard
Brand new Yankee Stadium
Brand new Yankee Stadium Memorial Park

We saw my Baltimore Orioles beat the Yankees on a cool, wet afternoon. Brian Roberts hit a grand slam and I stood and cheered wildly in the midst of silent New Yorkers.

I was happy with the outcome of the game, but something didn’t quite feel right. It brought back memories of my one autumn with the Yankees back in 2000 when they comforted me during my first month with cancer. I couldn’t help but root for Derek Jeter the day after he surpassed Lou Gehrig for the most hits in Yankee history, as the former public address announcer, Bob Sheppard, proclaimed, “Shortstop...Number 2...Derek Jeter...Number 2.”

My brain knows that I hate the Yankees. But deep inside of me, all the way down in my appendix I think, I didn’t forget that autumn many years back. It felt like an infection, spreading to my gallbladder and igniting my gallstones. My umbilical cord-donated white cells tried to beat back and kill the infection, but they could only contain it, sort of like Valtrex and herpes.

I hate the Yankees, with their unchecked spending, enormous fair-weather fan base, and constant winning. I hate the Yankees, I hate the Yankees, I hate the Yankees…

But, while Jeter, Pettitte, Posada and Rivera are still playing, there will always be a chance that the infection picks up its pace and spreads throughout my bloodstream. My first-grade immune system can only fight it off for so long.

After all, I hate the damn Yankees.


Postscript: Have you ever seen a better mullet?
Man with mullet at Yankee Stadium

Leia Mais…

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One-Million STRONG

Drew Carey said that he would donate one million dollars to LIVESTRONG if he got one million Twitter followers by the end of the year. He currently has over 103 thousand followers.

I will follow Drew if I get 15 Twitter followers by the end of the month, doing my part in funding cancer research. I currently have ten.

Leia Mais…