Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oktoba

October is one of my favorite months. In the words of my nephews, “it is one of my most favorite months.” When he told me that, I looked at him, right in his 3-year old eyeballs, and said, “You’re damn right it is.” I really think if children are going to be exposed to moderate swears, such as damn and hell, it should come from a family member. Just kidding. I just like to see their eyes light up when I say the word damn, like I am their risk taking, badass uncle. That, and it bugs my sister. It is a win-win.

However, I really do think that the English language should allow the use of ‘most favorite’ because I believe that one can posses many favorites, some more than others, and certainly one beyond all others. English professors and grammar-Nazis world-wide would correct this error, telling you, “If one is preferred above all others, than it is simply: your favorite. The ‘most’ is used unnecessarily.” They are right, technically; if you are in to that kind of thing. The definition reads:

fa·vor·ite
noun
1.
a person or thing regarded with special favor or preference; preferred above all others of the same kind


I know this definition because one of our senior editors told one of our countless peons at HITS, to go get a dictionary and look up the meaning for this article. We then did our best Brian Regan impression, and demanded the peon, “Bring us the head of a pig!” Then we had a good laugh, and spent the rest of the afternoon drinking 150-year scotch whilst congratulating one another on being billionaires. Working for HITS offers many perks, with moments like these. It also offers absolutely no pay, and zero health benefits. Health benefits are so far from the spectrum of what HITS is about, we had to have the same peon look up the definition of what health benefits were. From what it sounds like, they sound amazing. With all of the talk about word definitions and whatnot, we asked ourselves, “As the collective HITS writing team, do we care about things pertaining to the nature of grammatical correctness? Do we care what argumentum ad populum means, and support that it’s use in writing as being 100% incorrect, because anyone who says otherwise, is wrong and a dope?!”

No, we do not.

These columns are lucky to get a quick read through before publishing. That is no joke. MLA, APA, AMA, Chicago/Turabian—with their prickly rules and formats—who need ‘em? Spell check? Spel chek iz fore wusies. What were we talking about again? Oh yeah, October.

Part of the reason I like October is because just the word by itself looks cool, no matter the language. In German, October looks like Oktober. With Bulgarian it reads октомври. Spanish is Octobre—same with French. Swahili might be my most favorite: Oktoba. Looks like it would sounds gangster if spoken aloud and like things that sound gangster.

I also enjoy Oktoba because it brings my life World Series baseball and I am the kind of guy that needs World Series baseball in his life. After the sting of the Red Sox collapse, I distanced myself from the sport to almost, but not quite, extinction. It is what you do in the wake of being utterly dumbfounded from one of your favorite sport franchises. In the aftermath I was only able to physically watch one playoff game (Brewers/Cards—where my wife inexplicably became a diehard Cardinals fan). It was all I could muster. Some of those games should have been Red Sox playoff games, and they were not.

Nonetheless, I put in the bare minimum, and followed the games to see what the scores were and who was likely to beat who. My original projection was that the World Series winner would be the victor of the Milwaukee Brewers/Arizona Diamondbacks series. Well, the Brewers beat the D-Backs, and the Cardinals beat the Brewers, so logic would suggest that I think the Cards will be the team to take it. This ordered thought process pleases ‘The Boss’ because if you do not know by now, she has been a Cardinals fan since the dawn of time. At her request I was asked to put in a “Go Cardinals” if I ended up writing about baseball. She thinks they will win. And perhaps they will. But I think I am going to go for the root for the Texas Rangers because they made it back to big dance after they were dumped and humiliated in front of the whole school the year before, ya know? I mean, how about Nolan Ryan, taking his team to World Series in his first two years of ownership? This is the same owner that signs autographs of him holding a man in a headlock while pounding his fist in to the guy’s head. That is straight gangster, and as we mentioned earlier, we like things gangster. There is the gangster standpoint and then there is fact that the Rangers play in the same division as my Seattle Mariners. When one of your teams has a season, as bad the Mariners did in 2011 (a 67-95 season; besting only the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins), sometimes the only way you can cling to any sort of dignity, is to say your team played in the same division as the World Series champs. I am sure the Toronto Blue Jays fans feel like this all the time.

[Somehow, somewhere, some Jays fan is reading this and nodding woefully to himself.]

Continuing with my love of this month, besides signaling the weather to transform the air in to that brisk, perfecting chilled goodness—and the leaves repainted themselves with yellows, chocolate browns and stunning reds—October usually Usher Raymonds’ in the start of NBA action. But the NBA is in full lockout, lockdown mode. You and I should be panicked. We soberly are not.

If you lend your ear to anyone who covers the NBA for a living, you will hear them telling you this lockout is super serious—way more serious then the NFL lockout—because the problems perpetrating the lockout are completely different then the ones sports fan faced two months ago. The NFL was arguing over how the billions of dollars in profits were split up. The NBA is arguing about how the owners are not making any profits, how it is the players to blame, and how they to give in to order to fix it. The players on the other hand are like, “Look, you are the ones who paid us this money. Blame yourselves.” As a result of this back and forth, the NBA has already cancelled two weeks of the season, and could cancel the entire season if both sides do not make some headway before Thanksgiving. These are the facts, but if I am honest with you, and I think I speak for 76% of NBA fans, the urgency of panic associated with the threat of cancelling an entire season, is at a sure-and-steady low. If I were to illustrate this panic by using Smokey the Bear’s fire danger meter, we would be holding steady at blue. The role of Smokey will be played by Marc Gasol, with is brother Pau as his second.

[Dirk Nowitzki just slammed his fists on his desk after reading that last sentence.]

The NFL lockout ruined any fear the NBA lockout could instill in me. It is kind of ironic because the fear of losing the NFL season was more of a propaganda tactic, used by owners to get the players to agree to their deal, whereas the NBA threat of a cancelled season is likely a reality. Even though I know this, in the back of mind I am telling myself that the NBA will work something out in a reasonable amount of time and I will not feel any sort of loss, because that is exactly what happened in the NFL lockout. The NBA has already cancelled regular season games. I should be freaking out, but I am not. However, I will agree missing two weeks of NBA basketball is not the same as missing two weeks of the NFL, but still. We have the writing is on the wall. However, one could argue that on the flip side, even with the missing two weeks, the NBA could still put a condensed schedule together, featuring the 82 games. My NBA panic button is still collecting dust. We are still sitting at threat blue.

[Meanwhile, Dirk Nowitzki is furiously punching the keys of his keyboard, in a hate filled e-mail in response to his Smokey the Bear snub.]

With the NFL, World Series baseball, and college football in full force—the possibility of losing professional basketball for a year does not seem too scary. It is like a mom telling her kid that she is going to take away his Nintendo Wii for six months. It sucks, but the kid will still have his Playstation 3, X-Box 360, and Nintendo DS to tie him over. It will not be until February that the Sony and Microsoft systems begin to fizzle the lack of any new games, on then we will feel cheated. But that is February.

Right now, it is Oktoba.

.