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Introducing: The Conglomerated Realmspace
A multifarious grouping of sports minded individuals, beings and general sports fans of varying interest and diversity sharing a passionate affection for the art of syllables and storytelling. Brought together by the devious Manny Stiles are his close companions and on occasion featuring writers/opinionists/crazed fans from across the spectrum of sportsdom and the world wide web. The Algonquin Roundtable for the 21st Century. Hey, a 6'6" 260lb guy can be a big Dorothy Parker fan too!
Contributors in this edition include Manny Stiles (with special appearance by Ekom), Sports Shaman, Captain Sarcastic, Guy Named Guy, and blues musician/long-time bar trawler/sports editorialist 'Blisterthumb' Jones. Manny Stiles did the preliminary editing (I'm sure the faceless and underappreciated freeki-wikis will find missing links and correct the obligatory errors).
"It's like six, six, SIX articles in one!"
(uh, oh - 6-6-6? That can't be a good sign, can it?)
Life in a Northern Town
by Manny Stiles
Traverse City, MI (AGM) - In case you didn't know already, I have relocated from the Valley of the Sun to the Cherry Capital of the World, Traverse City, Michigan. I traded "it's a dry heat" for "you need to wear layers". Far, far away from any serious metropolis, between the pinky and the ring finger of the Lower Peninsula/"mitt", is a quaint, get-away-from-it-all town at the base of a smaller peninsula at the bottom of the two arms of Grand Traverse Bay.
It might as well be Canada.
Luckily (that's sarcasm) Mr. Stiles arrived in town in the dead of the deadest winter in most Local's memories. Colder, Snowier and Drearier (Yes, they are capital words in this sentence) than any Winter on record - and topping off the proverbial fun is a local feeling that not even the almighty President Obama can inspire hope here. There are undertones of despair for the economy (unemployment is drastically high locally), there is little hope for the future (schools, public servant-ry and local government are threatened by cutbacks/closures and all scarily under-funded and under-supported) and the flavor of the local "sports" scene is - at least to this metropolitan-tinged author, in a newly invented word - beyondesolate.
But this is the price you pay to be "on the water" and far away from "the rat race", traffic and pollution; far away from the "ghettos", gangs and urban warfare; far away from likely terrorist targets, nuclear mishaps or imminent disasters that threaten life in the population hubs. It's nearly life as it should be - living for life's sake; living off the land; living at your own pace; life under the dome of sky and Sun. Yes, time moves slower here and what dominates the sports scene isn't the usual/typical fare.
Sure, it's easy to trash a local sports scene when the Detroit Lions are prominently involved, but even the Mighty Detroit Red Wings are a veritable blip in this town - and this is the town in which the Red Wings hold their Preseason Camp! I've met ONE die-hard Tigers fan and I'm not sure anyone follows the Pistons beyond whether they won or lost last night. Sports is the residual conversation when all the typical talk of the weather, hunting, fishing, fixing boats/snow machines/tractors/shotguns/tools/snowplows/snowblowers/other assorted vehicles, Michael Moore (he's a much ballyhooed and very disliked "local"), views on politics, Fudgies (the bastards from "Down State"), Yoopers (the bastards from the Upper Peninsula) and all things religion has dried up.
It's a different fan base - an invisible glow of supreme not caring; it's as if Sports isn't one of the basic life needs! I know! Can you imagine? No, professional sports is a prime resident of Back Burnerville here in the great "Up North". I might be the only "Sports is my Crack"-head in the surrounding five counties!
The local TV sports coverage often starts out with High School Girls basketball!!! Maybe I really am "too urban" (grew up in Philly, spent nearly a decade in Phoenix) for Cherryville, U.S.A. but the only time I've ever seen High School girls basketball on the news is... well... NEVER! Snowmobile races, cross country skiing, even the local fishing and hunting reports get priority coverage over the pro sports teams in Detroit or even NASCAR - yes, even NASCAR is an after-afterthought. And I'm cool with it.
Sure, it's a change of pace; closer to the Earth and in tune with the surroundings more. Hell, I love fishing - really do (when the ice is melted)!. I love eating recently slaughtered game for dinner, I have a nice garden to tend to this year (I'm very excited about that) and I might even ride a snow machine eventually... it's kind of relaxing being disconnected from the "mainstream" media. My blood pressure is certifiably "normal", I don't wake up with the shakes for the latest "Top Story" (which always seem to be recycled/repackaged "Old" stories with a spiffy new shine) on the foul-ish four-letter network and what-used-to-be-necessary news is now a casual "meh" by all regards. I've got a new perspective on the Sports World and on life in general. I used to think "It is what it is" but now I realize "it is what you make it out to be".
Life in a Northern Town has been good for me so far. The days are slower, I'm learning more than I ever thought I would know about shotguns - without even trying - just by overhearing conversations, I'm enjoying time more and so what if Spring Training has started and it was a balmy -11 degrees (that's Fahrenheit) yesterday?
Pardon me as I get back to sorting my flannel shirts by color.
A View from "the Captain's" Chair
Ocean City, NJ (AGM) - When a friend asks for a favor, you do what friends do and you help them out. When "Manny Stiles" asks for a favor, you know that splashback is inevitable. What a despicable excuse for a human being... no; Prick is the right word... What a despicable excuse... no; excrement is a better word. What a despicable... no, perhaps total dick is the right phrase? Anyway. Here's my 'contribution to your piece', you bastard.
I've known the guy behind Manny Stiles too long (we go WAY back - as in decades) to let another moment go by without saying this... Manny Stiles is a douche. And that's really a harsh criticism of douches considering their function and deceptive importance in the chain of human events. I mean, even a douche has a valuable trait - it makes a smelly twat smell and look cleaner! Like It's a sanitary aid that prevents infection and cleanses one of God's most beautiful and well-intended designs from the funk and schmegma that sometimes defiles the tasty Gash of Heaven. And it's not just spraying Avon cologne on a dead-for-a-week fish, there's actual cleaning going on in the proper application of the douche. If it smells like cologne, leave it alone!
Let's face it, the douche you know as Manny Stiles might be hated, despised or even loathed for merely being the fantastic douche that he is, but like any other weirdly designed genital cleansing device or any other general opinion sharing moron on the web or in the professional media doesn't he deserve to be viewed for his positive contribution(s) as well? If we didn't have douches to clean the filth-riddled glory boxes of the world, all we'd have is nose-curtling vapors of skank, far too much vomit in our mouths and our dicks in our hands at the end of the night.
Then again the downside of douches is how they take the disgusting and make it appetizing, make it palatable, make it deceivingly enticing when in reality it could be a trap! Douches don't cure disease, they don't eliminate cankers, or warts and they are only a temporary solution (pun intended) to a much stinkier and wafting issue. And that's what I think of Manny. He moves the foul slime, the caked-on spewage and snot-like mucous-y residue - the sensory overload - from the topic before us, boils it down to the vulvic essence and shows us why we bothered to yank the drawers down on the issue in the first place; disease, cankers, warts and all!
Truth be told; maybe he's a malfunctioning douche, or a douche in the hands of a poor, witless, unseasoned aimer spraying in all directions and only re-constituting some dried up shit? But any douche that calls me a friend is as terrific as any douche may ever be.
The Rays suck and you know it, Stiles. Go Yankees!
You better post this, you bitch.
"It's About Time"
Reading, PA (AGM) - This is what I think. It's all about TIME.
The future is more important than the past, but you can't have one without the other. Only one is a known commodity and the other is unknown.
Baseball needs to look to the future. With so much young talent right now and so much focus on the steroids of the 90's and 00's, which way should they be looking? At NOW!
Hockey needs to look to the past to ensure it's future. The economy might be tough, it might just be far stronger than any of us know (probably is better than the news people say) but hockey needs to stop hiding behind excuses and upstage the other sports while it has the chance. The NBA is flailing and NASCAR is feeling pains too. If they make little changes in the game and get themselves into the collective consciousness, the NHL can get it's foot all the way in the door long before the door swings all the way open.
The economy can't stay bad for long. Unless food disappears and people start to die. Even then, the morticians will have their own stimulus on their hands. Businesses that make their move now will be set up when the chips start to hit the table again. There's no stopping the revolution of time.
NASCAR would be well served - as would car manufacturers - to return to the days of STOCK CAR racing. Today's race cars are not stock. They don't look stock, they don't act stock and they don't represent stock cars. All the billions of dollars they have pumped into racing over the years have alienated the consumers from the so-called product. I would love to see an electric car or "green car" race series! That would generate some "buzz" and perhaps the advancements in technology would get us into a more intelligent future faster?
Only time will tell. Time heals all wounds and time stops for no one... not even the American Economy. We can keep living in 'what was' or we can find a way to make a better 'what is'. The time is now.
Crumbs in the 'Chair
by Manny Stiles
- So the Suns (namely GM/Robert Sarver's Knobshiner Steve Kerr) fired Terry Porter then blamed the team for not playing tougher defense. Oddly enough, just a few measly weeks ago that same GM/Knobshiner TRADED AWAY THE TEAM'S two best defensive players (Raja Bell and Boris Diaw) for JASON RICHARDSON!!! Gotta love that anti-logic!
- Mavericks, Suns... Doesn't matter who gets that Number 8 seed in the West. Seriously, it doesn't matter!
- LeBron is at that stage where it's put up or prepare for the end. He's got a team around him that is suitable and capable enough. If he doesn't take them to the Championship this year - whether he leaves Cleveland or not - he will NEVER win a Championship. The field is ripe for picking.
- The Celtics are vulnerable (and old).
- The Magic are young and inexperienced.
- Don't let the Lakers fool you - they can win one game at a time and perhaps endure long enough to win the #1 seed in the West, but they are not built for a tough series with a dominant swing player like #23.
- Besides, the Spurs are the REAL team to beat in the West - Despite adding the human monkeywrench in the works, Drew Gooden.
- LeBron is teetering on "The Moment". He's as good as we all think he is, but if he's going to be as great as we think he should be - NOW - is the time! If he goes to another city, his star celebrity (and contract) will handcuff the franchise. Stars carry teams, but teams win Championships!
- I like what the Yankees and Red Sox have done in the offseason - tore up their blueprints and reacted to the Rays. The Rays are still going according to planned, even if they were one year ahead of schedule...
- The Yankees are going to struggle with cohesion (but could still win 120 games on paper) and the new additions will have to adjust to the toxicity of the Big Apple spotlight. Me thinks Tex and CC aren't exactly ultra-suited for the onslaught and will press too hard to make good impressions - or failing to make good impressions, will drown in over-weighted expectations.
- The Red Sox got old.... quick! The additions they made were of little consequence. I love John Smoltz, but 'John Smoltz, Red Sox pitcher' REEKS of the Pete Rose game. Nice knowing you, Smoltzie!
- What's weirder? John Smoltz, Red Sox, or Garrett Anderson, Braves? Guys playing that long with one franchise and leaving for another is never a winning combination.
- I know what's weirder: Randy Johnson, San Francisco Giant. HOW did this take so long??? All players over 6'8" should automatically be assigned to the Giants. it just makes sense!
- Weirder yet.... Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle Mariners... Poor guy. I know striking out to end the ALDS against the Rays wasn't how you wanted to go out, but this REALLY won't end pretty. Nostalgia is over-rated, though I suppose it pays well.
- Why do I have the feeling that we'll hear more about Curt Schilling and Barry Bonds than any of us wants to, wishes to or deserves to? The only "happy ending" to their careers would be if they were locked in a small room together so they could inflate their egos until they both died and left us all alone!
- Maybe the Tigers will have a 2009 that was supposed to be their 2008?
- Can someone call the people at one of the leading toothpick manufacturers (I'm assuming there is more than one) and get Dusty Baker an endorsement deal before it's too late? Maybe it is already too late.
- The Cubs - HA HA HA HA HA Ha hahahahahahha!!! Yeah. (wipes tear from eye) Sorry, that had to be done.
- $100 says Frankie Rodriguez doesn't break the NL saves record.
- $100 says Jose Reyes is certain to start the season off with a bang! And then he'll get injured.
- The Phillies took a step backward. I know they didn't necessarily love Pat "the Twat" Burrell, but Raul Ibanez is far more myth than legend. Plus, now that Brad Lidge exercised his demons, isn't it time for him to become Brad Lidge again? Yeah, I think so. But don't think this is me rooting for the Mets, Braves or Marlins.
- What can Evan Longoria do to better his 2008? Anything Evan Longoria wants! Take note - NO Rays player had a career year! Longo, C.C., B.J., Kaz, Carlos Pena, Dioner Navarro... these guys ALL missed significant chunks of their respective season. A HEALTHY Rays club has no limits - hype, pressure, expectations? Throw 'em out the window if this team stays healthy in 2009. They're only getting BETTER!
- I want to like the Washington Nationals. I really do. Maybe if I start to like them, they can get good next year! Without the mad hatter, a.k.a. Jim Bowden around, it's not impossible!
- I'm glad no one made me into a Royals fan. I simply don't understand what they are pretending to do. It's not just sad, it bafflingly sad.
- Here's hoping Manny Ramirez doesn't stimulate the economy too much. I pity the Dodgers. Someone should shove a stick in them and lick their stickiness until you get to the chewy center.
- In case you missed the memo, the 1999 All-Star Reunion Tour is showing exclusively in Oakland. See? A bad economy IS good for the small-market teams! At least until May. Hope there's enough ben-gay to go around!
- The Toronto Blue Jays got better and no one will notice - except the Orioles.
- The WBC is going to be a ratings screamer. If you have an ample supply of nitrous oxide and amyl nitrates on hand. I love baseball as much as anyone but I cannot force myself to get excited for this...
Other Stuff division
- I guess you can call this a "comeback". I'm working nights now and have found time to contribute to the 'chair once again. I'm feeling good, am getting healthier every day and taking a step back from sports-up-the-wazoo has refreshes my proverbial batteries. My wit and sarcasm are honed and ready for display more than ever and torturing the masses with confustication and tomfoolery is drawn nigh as wont.
- The second I can get my ass in line to write for cash - I'm working on some "ideas" - I'm out of here! So there's your incentive to rid me from the "chizzy. Help me get paid to spew syllables!
- Regardless, 2008 was the worst, most depressing and least productive year of my life but in no way, shape or form am I "done" yet. I'm starting anew and fresh and have plenty of Stilish madness to spill all over the web - you've been warned!
- Seriously, if you think you know me and what I'm all about, please note: you're wasting your time. I am VERY subject to change, but how you decide to view me is your matter to deal with. One thing that is consistent with Manny Q. Stiles - you get what you give!
- Yeah, for the most part, this whole sports journalism thing is a game I like to play here at AGM, but I'm tired of hearing people bitch about the things that are wrong with AGM. So what if the founders packed up left? So what if it's not as busy as it once was? Quit your bitching and fix it or just shut up! Stating that it's not what it once was or what it can be only manifests that situation! Imagine a potential contributor reading in every other post about the things that are wrong with this site... our posts ARE our advertising. More advertising for YOUR efforts. It is what WE make it! Want more traffic - create it! Can't create? Invite someone who can! It's still OUR community - WE are caretakers, not victims.
A Rising Moon
The Inner Cosmos (AGM) - With Jupiter hanging low in the Western early evening sky of the Northern hemisphere, big events are passing into the depths of 'the black'. A rising moon through the first part of March lends the energy to illness, injuries and mis-treatings only to fall by the wayside by mid-month. However - Beware the Ides of March! By the 15th, the boredom of the prolonged winter and gentle nudge of a new season may provide a ripe field of false possibility and an eager yearning to proceed too quickly.
Take heed before leaping; wait for Spring, do not rush into ventures before their proper time despite wants and wishes.
March Madness is MORE than just a basketball tournament, it's an annual condition!
A Game called "As Many as I Do"
Traverse City, MI (AGM) - An easy game to play. Play along at home if you so choose:
Bud Selig: Has as many Nobel prizes as I have - none. You just met me and we all know I'm a LOT closer to getting one than he ever will be. I win.
Tom Brady: Has as many eventual ex-wives as I have so far. She might be a "supermodel", but now she's just another wife. We both lose. He traded a working knee for a ball and chain in a Yankees hat?... double ouch!
Derek Jeter: Has as many MVP trophies as I do. Say what you want about intangibles, because the ladies LOVE ever inch of my intangible. The ladies are the winner here.
Alex Rodriguez: Has as many World Series rings as I do. To his credit, he has one more divorce so far! All of my stuff is probably less than half of his stuff, but I win.
Alex Rodriguez, Part Too: Has as many contrite apologies as I do. Then again, I don't have a tainted career, fraudulent persona or ubergay haircut to apologize for! I win again!
Kevin Garnett: Has as many points, rebounds and post-game interviews this week as I do. But I can cook better than he can. I win.
Manny Ramirez: Has as many ethical, non-psychopathic agents as I do - none. But his dreadlocks are longer than mine. Draw.
Tiger Woods: Has as many wins this year as I do. But nobody is putting me on any magazine covers. I can still outrun him - he won't even take me up on my challenge to race him. Because he knows what happens if he does... I win.
Charles Barkley: Has as many breathalyzers on his ignition as I do. Actually, he has one more than me... or one for every car more than me... talk about stupid - what prevents a guy like Barkley from say... getting fubared and buying or renting a NEW car without a breath analyzer? Lawmakers in Arizona really thought that one through. Lesson learned - We all lose! Dumb lawmakers only make more creative criminals - even petty, self-centered morons like Drunk Drivers.
You: Have as many days until St. Patrick's Day as I do. Let's ALL get a DUI and show our support of Sir Charles! That'll show TNT!
Seven Words or Less
Manny Stiles - Tampa Bay Rays, 2009 AL East Champs!
Guy Named Guy - Steroids? New scandals are happening right now!
Captain Sarcastic - Tampa Bay Rays, The Yankees' personal bitches.
Sports Shaman - Less is more than seven words.
Blisterthumb Jones - I like what the A's are doing.
Ekom - Please Un-ban Tyrone Briggs! (But only him).
"Goodbye, Good Friend" by Ekom
It comes with sadness that I dedicate this post to my loving friend and companion who recently passed away. He was always there when I needed him and never complained (much) about me or the things I did that make me who I am. He was kind, shared his heart passionately with me and we had a special bond that I can never dream to replace or find again. As he died quietly in my arms yesterday, he took a beautiful, special piece of me with him...
He was a cherished member of my family. But after days and weeks of suffering, he finally and thankfully found his peace.
I will miss you, my family will miss you and your brother will miss you!
You were the best cat I'll ever know!
R.I.P. Ricardo Alphonso Grometti-Kombol, a.k.a. "Grommet" (2001 - 2009)
Have a special request? Want to make a suggestion or demand that Manny or any of his cohorts change their behavior to fit your weak minded or morally superior ideals? Want to dispute something posted? Want to join the Conglomerate as a special guest on a future post?
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