Hello, hello

I’ve been updating this site way too infrequently, I know, and hardly sticking to my promise to maintain it in some fashion after leaving SNY.tv for USA Today. But I’ve been busy, and too many hours at the computer make my back act up.

563338_10151521142310135_943651872_nAbout that: I’m again riding my bike for MS research. If you are for some reason still checking TedQuarters, you can help by donating to the cause here.

About that: I’m happy to report that the disease hasn’t progressed much in the years since I wrote this and this and this. My back hurts and I can’t fully feel the pinkie and ring fingers on my left hand. I’ve grown so used to it at this point that I don’t know if I’d even call it pain most of the time. It’s just what it is.

But since I’m used to it — and since I’m gunning for donations here — here’s an anecdote I’m not sure I’ve ever shared publicly before:

It took roughly a million doctor’s visits and tests to diagnose the MS, in part because my case was a bit complicated even by the strange standards of neurological health issues. I kept having to go get MRIs at a place near Columbus Circle, and when you’ve got back problems (and some mild claustrophobia), MRIs suck. I’m not a big drinker, but I used to sometimes buy whiskey at a nearby liquor store so I could take a couple slugs before going in the tube.

It was right after the final MRI I got — the one that diagnosed the disease — when something went awry. Before I could put my all my clothes back on in the dressing room, I entirely lost control of my left arm. It wasn’t the first time it happened, but it was by far the most severe of the incidents. It became spasmodic. I could vaguely control it at the shoulder but nowhere else.

I couldn’t even button my pants, so I had to pull my belt on tight just to walk out of the place with my pants on. And I was so concerned about what the hell was happening to me that I didn’t think to tell the people at the MRI place or anything. It wasn’t even overwhelmingly uncomfortable; it was just terrifying.

To that point, the worst diagnosis I had heard was that I had a strained muscle in my back. One doctor insisted I merely had bad posture. And it was really only at that moment, stumbling around under some scaffolding on 57th and Broadway, that I knew something must be seriously f#@$ed up.

It was such a strange sensation that I couldn’t think of anything else, even decisions as mundane as getting on the subway to go home. I somehow made my way to the obnoxious high-end Columbus Circle shopping mall and sat at a dirty table in the bookstore drinking bourbon out of my backpack until the feeling in my arm was restored.

This reference might not seem appropriate for the gravity of the moment (in my head, at least), but the best comparison I can think of from movies is the scene in District 9 when the guy is first becoming an alien, and the alien arm rips out from inside his and he says, “Doctor, what has happened to my arm?”

That part of that movie was completely chilling to me, because what happened to me felt exactly like some sort of alien life form was taking over my body from inside. District 9. No joke.

Turns out it wasn’t extraterrestrial forces but my own stupid immune system, which has expressed a strong distaste for my body on numerous occasions.

Whatever. I don’t really know where I was going with that, except to try to get at how scary it can be to come down with some indistinct disease that causes you to lose control of your body. So, you know, donate if you can. No pressure.

Also, on a totally unrelated note: You can check out nearly all the writing I do at USA Today here. RSS that piece.

This post might be of particular interest to TedQuarters readers.

Yo!

Hello, people who are still checking this site occasionally. Thanks for your faith and your patience, or, if you’re my wife, for setting TedQuarters as one of your default Firefox tabs and not bothering to change it. I appreciate it. I never meant to let it sit dormant this long, but I’ve spent the last couple of months pretty busy while learning everything I have to learn at USA Today (a work in progress), plus traveling a lot and getting over the post-Asia jetlag that lingered for weeks.

If you’re interested, the best way to find things I’ve written for USA Today is to search the site for my name. As I understand it, there should be an RSS feed for most of my stuff available soon. If you’re going to the site, check out the other sports and baseball content while you’re there. It’s good.

I got an article about the Brewers’ stolen racing sausage on the front page of the sports section a few weeks back, and I interviewed Geddy Lee of Rush about baseball. Things are off to a solid start.

After a week and a half in Florida and a week and a half in Phoenix, I should now have some more defined time away from the work computer (even despite the start of the baseball season) and I hope to post here more regularly. I can be kinda lazy, though, plus I don’t love spending more time hunched over keyboards than I need to, and my various musical instruments are right here next to the home computer begging to be noodled with.

Also: I’m sort of trying to eat healthier, so I’ve been less inclined to write about food — the likeliest lifeblood of this site if I’m not writing about the Mets here. My waistline and general health have followed something of a sine-curve pattern for about 15 years now, and I felt myself surfing a particularly long crest. It is, I’m sure, partly because I ate a whole lot of fatty food in the pursuit of fatty food worth writing about here. Boo hoo, I know. The cross I bear is made of bacon. Could be worse.

But while writing about sports is an unspeakably awesome profession, I do miss writing about things that aren’t sports. And I miss interacting with the people who regularly read this site. Plus, I’m hardly going whole-hog with a diet and I’m allowing myself an occasional cheat meal, so I should still occasionally have food fodder to blog about here.

For example: The few weeks I spent at spring training provided ample opportunity to eat fast food, even as I tried not to.

On the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco: A hearty meh. The most impressive part of the experience was the Port St. Lucie Taco Bell, which was absolutely packed at 7 p.m. on a Monday night. At one point, I counted 17 people on line. There were whole families, packs of teenagers, strung-out looking Florida meth people, and old couples who knew each other’s Taco Bell order by heart. Weird, awesome scene. It was like Taco Bell was functioning as the town square. I support that.

The taco itself was just OK. I expected to like it more than the Nacho Cheese variety, but that wasn’t the case. The Cool Ranch flavor was less assertive than its cheesy cousin, so it added the dry powdery factor that plagued the original but without the benefit of much added Doritos taste. I like Cool Ranch Doritos chips way better than Nacho Cheese, but that didn’t translate to tacos. Tiny sample size, though.

I also ate a couple of fast food burgers I’d like to compare at some point soon, so check back.

Lastly: If you haven’t heard by now, consider this a public service announcement regarding the most important news of the season: Baseball started this week, and David Wright’s 2013 at-bat song is the Luniz’ “I Got 5 On It.”

It’s not merely one of his songs, either. It’s his only song. This is a tremendous development, as I’m sure you realize. I’ve long campaigned for more funky West Coast beats at baseball games.

There was some debate in the press box over what song it was, even as I insisted I knew the song well and that it was definitely the Luniz’ “I Got 5 On It.” So a reporter asked Wright to confirm after the game, and Wright said he didn’t know the name of the band but knew the song was called “I Got 5 On It.” The reporter turned to me and acknowledged I was correct, so I nodded and said, “It’s Luniz. The Luniz.”

“Old school, right?” Wright asked.

“Yeah, West Coast,” I said.

“West Coast,” he repeated, nodding.

So David Wright asked me a question about his own at-bat music, which is the exact opposite of my typical interaction with ballplayers.

Friday Q&A, pt. 2: Food stuff and randos

Man, I haven’t even thought about it yet. Actually, I haven’t even thought about the Super Bowl much at all. I’ve spent most of my days wrapping things up at the office, and most of my nights struggling with jetlag and trying to sleep. Joe Flacco favors Haribo Gold-Bears, as I do. That’s about all I’ve got, Super Bowl wise. I pretty much missed the NFL Playoffs.

I’ll probably have wings. That’s unoriginal, I know, but I haven’t had much time to plan a menu, I certainly haven’t ordered ahead, and I’m totally sweet at making wings. So I’ll get to Fairway and buy up some wings (assuming they’re not already sold out) and Buffalo those suckers up. Maybe I’ll talk my wife into making guacamole, and probably she’ll be excited enough for her first Super Bowl in years without any looming obligations that she’ll do it. So I’ll have wings and guacamole, like everyone else. And then I’ll fall asleep in my easy chair before halftime, because this jetlag.

Yes! We ate incredibly well in Southeast Asia. A lot of that meant stuff we already knew about — pad prik king, pho, banh mi and the like. But some popular regional foods were new to us, especially khao soi in Northern Thailand and cao lau in Hoi An, Vietnam. They’re both noodle dishes, and, interestingly, they both include both boiled and fried noodles. But the similarities end there: The khao soi noodles are swimming in a yellow curry broth with vegetables, the cao lau are served with fresh pork, lime and an array of fresh herbs. They’re both amazing, and I’ve used Menupages.com‘s find-a-food search to figure out where I’m going to try both in New York.

I’m not sure it counts as cultural, but the most eye-opening thing was definitely the difference in traffic patterns and roads. I think Americans — at least this one — tend to take our infrastructure for granted, but it’s pretty amazing the way so much of the contiguous part of this country is linked by our interstate system, and how you can drive in a reasonably direct path from anyplace to anyplace mostly via huge, well-paved two- and three-lane highways. In Ho Chi Minh City, a bustling, modern metropolis of over nine million people, we needed to take all sorts of odd sidestreets and alleys to get from the airport to our hotel — and our hotel was close to the center of town. I don’t know if it was something the driver was doing to skirt traffic or what, but it was enough to make a lifelong New Yorker appreciate the Van Wyck. And the traffic inside Ho Chi Minh City is unlike any I’ve seen anywhere: thousands upon thousands of mopeds and seemingly far, far fewer traffic lights per intersection than we’re accustomed to, creating an oddly ordered chaos expertly and somewhat patiently negotiated by the locals but appearing completely overwhelming to tourists. Check out some of the videos on YouTube. It’s mesmerizing.

And all that’s to say nothing of the grueling songthaew trips we took in Southern Laos, which were amazing and confusing enough to make for their own blog post sometime when I’m not charged with cleaning out my desk before getting out of here.

Pack my bag and let’s get movin’

This I’ve mentioned before: Tomorrow I’m leaving for vacation. I’ll be out of the country for a few weeks, visiting various points of interest in Southeast Asia and ideally eating all sorts of delicious food that I will tell you about when I return. I may check in here a couple of times, but I’m not really planning on it and I don’t know how often I’ll have access to the Internet.

thailandThis I haven’t mentioned: After I get back, I’m leaving my job at SNY and this blog will no longer update with anything like the frequency it has for the past three and a half years. It will still exist in some fashion, and I hope to continue discussing sandwiches and Taco Bell and nearly everything else here when I’m so moved. But it will live outside the SNY umbrella, and it will not even nominally be a sports blog.

You definitely haven’t heard the last of me, and, in fact, I hope you’ve only heard the first of me. But I’ll discuss that more once I’m back from my trip and stuffed to the gills with banh mi. For now, in lieu of anything more creative, I wanted to use this post to express some gratitude.

Maintaining this blog is awesome. So is working at SNY. I became a Mets fan sometime in the winter after the 1986 World Series, and went to my first game at Shea Stadium on Opening Day of 1987. Bob Ojeda won the game and Darryl Strawberry hit a home run. Thanks to this job, I get to chat about baseball with Bob all the time. And one time Darryl Strawberry bought me a sandwich. That’s so unspeakably crazy to me. I hauled soda and hot dogs around Shea Stadium in the summer heat in 2000 and it seemed nuts then that they’d pay me to go to Mets games. Now they pay me to go and I don’t even have to lift anything. Please don’t take that as bragging. It’s just… how is that real?

I have this forum here in which I can write about nearly anything I want, from the fringes of the Mets’ roster to the far reaches of outer space. And actual human people read it regularly, and comment on it and email me with links to other things to write about or sandwiches to try. It’s so amazingly flattering, and it makes me feel awesome, and I love it.

I should say, also, that this blog would never have been possible if it weren’t for my excellent colleagues here. In making the real-job aspects of my job easier, the entire SNY.tv team afforded me time to write from the office. So thanks to Jeff, Jay, Adam, Fred, Jaime and Gil, Tom at MLBAM, and to Matt Cerrone for encouraging me to start this site and getting it set up in the first place. All the bloggers whose sites are, for now, linked in the left column here are excellent people producing good stuff and far less demanding of my time than they could have been, so thanks to them too. Really, thanks to most everyone here for being cool.

And thanks, of course, to the larger Mets blogosphere for hooking up the traffic, especially my friends at MetsBlog, and Eric Simon and the folks at Amazin’ Avenue.

When I spell it all out like this, it makes me wonder why I’m leaving. But I’ve been here five years, and new frontiers await, and it’s time. The Mets’ front office seems to be in good hands, and all your yelling isn’t going to convince me otherwise. Increasingly, I find myself explaining the team’s decisions rather than berating them. Hell, not only did the Mets just actually sign the Minor League outfielder I clamored for, but Paul DePodesta then tweeted Andrew Brown’s Minor League slash line against lefties immediately following the announcement. This is fantasy-land stuff for the True SABR among us who were blogging during the Omar Minaya era.

Plus, when you get to interview Keith Hernandez on stage immediately after he publicly shaves his mustache, you drop the mic and walk away. I started writing about the Mets for SNY.tv in Oct. 2006, when I was an MLBAM employee, a couple weeks after Carlos Beltran struck out to end Game 7 of the NLCS. At the last Mets game I attended for SNY.tv, Keith Hernandez shaved his mustache on stage and R.A. Dickey won his 20th game. Those seem like as good a way to bookend this phase of my career as any I can think of. And I got to witness the Mets’ first no-hitter as part of it.

I’m straying from the point, which is this: Thank you so much. Thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, thank you for emailing. I have put a lot of thought, a lot of effort, a lot of words, and, occasionally, a lot of emotion into this site over the past few years. On the whole I’m proud of the output, and it’s led me to the next step in my career. And there’s no chance I’d have done any of it if I didn’t know there were people out there enjoying it.

Like I said, I’ll be back — both here and elsewhere. But it’s 2013, so you can also get at me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, or via email at dtedberg-at-gmail.com.

Since I expect this post will sit here at the top of the site for a while, here are some links to select past posts to entertain you while I’m gone. Some of these were popular, some of these I just kind of liked and remembered this morning when putting this together. For lack of a better system, I categorized them the same way they are in the tabs up top:

Baseball

Feb. 2, 2009: Moving out, moving on
Oct. 15, 2009: Embarrassing Photos of Cole Hamels
March 1, 2011: Beltran selfishly punishing Digital Domain Park scoreboard
June 15, 2011: What we carry
March 7, 2012: The lobster pot

Other sports

June 12, 2010: For the Internet
Sept. 24, 2012: Is anyone really ready for some football?

Taco Bell

Aug. 31, 2011: Dear Taco Bell
Sept. 14, 2011: Mets as Taco Bell menu items

Other stuff

March 18, 2010: From the Wikipedia: The Great Auk
Feb. 25, 2011: Spaced out

Sandwiches

June 30, 2010: The sandwich that made me love sandwiches
Sept. 8, 2010: Sandwich of the decade

Video
2008ish: Matt and Ted go to Philly, Mets Weekly vendor piece
March 18, 2009: The Nooner
Oct. 5, 2012: Requiem for a mustache

Friday Q&A, pt. 3: The randos

Brief note: I am shocked, horrified and generally miserable after what happened in Connecticut this morning. It’s a shocking, horrifying and miserable thing. I’ve got nothing insightful to say about the subject.

I’ve seen several people suggest that anything written about anything else today is unnecessary and/or unimportant, and I certainly hear that. But nothing I ever write about here is necessary or important, and I don’t really know what else to do this afternoon but answer some silly questions about silly topics in a silly fashion. Is this the time for that? Of course not. But if you think about it that way, it’s never the time for that.

In other words: Please don’t take this stupid blog post as a lack of respect for the awful gravity of a shooting that killed 27 innocent people, 18 of them children. It’s not meant that way; it’s just a stupid blog post. I don’t blame you if you don’t feel like reading stupid blog posts today, so if that’s the case just click away. There’ll be plenty of stupid blog posts here whenever you feel up to returning.

Meggings, Rob has explained to me, are leggings for men. I don’t know why they need their own distinct name, since the term “leggings” is not at all gendered to begin with.

Regardless, they’re not for me. Maybe they’re comfortable, but my issue with pants isn’t their name but how constricting and unventilated they are, and that doesn’t seem likely to change with meggings.

Also, you guys can’t see my lower half on the web videos, but I’ve got disproportionately large legs. It’s a weird family thing. My brother held our high school’s squat record until I broke it eight years later. It’s a useful body type for pushing stuff around, but it’s decidedly the wrong build for tight pants of any sort. What I’m looking for is more of a toga or muumuu.

That is an outstanding article about a $26 chicken sandwich, and I’m far too vain to callously recommend lengthy sandwich reviews besides my own. This one’s funny and well written, and it demonstrates a very strong understanding of the nature of sandwiches. Kudos to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, whose Food Lab posts are also consistently interesting.

These sentiments should sound familiar to TedQuarters faithful:

…the First Rule of Sandwich-Making: a sandwich must be greater than the sum of its parts.

There are implications to this statement. In order to achieve sandwich greatness, you don’t necessarily need to start with great ingredients—so long as when you add those ingredients together and put them between bread, if they are thus improved, then you have succeeded at the art of sandwich-making.

I didn’t watch the whole thing; I got home late and fast forwarded through most of it, breaking when I saw Adam Sandler, when I noticed that Kanye was wearing a skirt, and then when I caught up with the DVR during Billy Joel’s set. As a Long Islander, I am oddly comforted by the music of Billy Joel and found myself getting a cup of warm milk and taking out my contact lenses during his performance — Billy Joel was literally putting me to sleep.

I don’t particularly like Coldplay and I thought Chris Martin sounded like he might have had a cold or something, but Michael Stipe’s appearance was great. It made me think of what other R.E.M. songs I would have liked to hear, which made me think of “Stand,” which made me realize “Stand” is probably too cheery for the occasion, which ultimately made me turn down the volume during Chris Martin’s last song so I could see if there was a way to sing a sad version of “Stand.” It’s not really possible. If you slow it down a lot you can make it sound sort of wistful, but without changing the melody you’re not really going to make it full-out sad.

I thought Paul McCartney sounded pretty great, and the pyrotechnics during “Live and Let Die” were amazing. I wish he did more Beatles songs and I wish he played more than one song with Nirvana, though. And I need to go back and watch Roger Waters’ set.

Maybe. The operative part of this question is “if you were a monkey.” If I’m a monkey, I’m not into the same things that the human me is into. What do we know about monkeys? Monkeys like eating things, climbing things and throwing feces at people. You can do all of those things at Ikea!

Plus, presumably the monkey version of me wouldn’t be holding a lot of cash, both because I don’t often hold a lot of cash as a human and because monkeys are more or less unemployable. And say what you will about the food at Ikea, it’s reliably a pretty great deal. Don’t sleep on those Swedish meatballs.

Problem is, you need something that you could stomach for breakfast and something that you wouldn’t get sick of too quickly. My instinct is to say it’d be my mom’s ravioli, but I don’t know that I could handle eating it for breakfast. So it’s probably a cheeseburger, preferably one with lettuce and tomato so I get my vegetables. I could pretty much always go for a cheeseburger.

Oh, ahh… this is going to be sadder than it should be. Growing up, my family had one ornament that was a really tacky gold metallic bird with bendable legs that clamped on to the top of a branch — like a bird, get it? — instead of dangling from the branch. Everyone thought it was pretty ugly, but my brother always thought the bird was the neatest thing. The original got lost or broken or thrown out at some point before he died, but after he died, I got my parents and sister similar birds at a Christmas market in France. After I got married and started getting my own tree, my wife got me one of my own. It’s great; the bird clamps on top of the branch like real birds do. Very neat.

Private investigator

Friend of TedQuarters and N.Y. Times Giants beat writer Sam Borden uncovers a shocking truth: NFL players do not typically wear cups.

It actually makes some sense. For whatever reason, shots to the groin are not common in football. I wore a cup for my first week of pee-wee football in 3rd grade, then never again in 10 years.

But this much I know is true: If you’re playing lacrosse, you should definitely, definitely wear a cup. And for most of my short lacrosse career, I always did. But in the winter between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, the head coach decided I should learn to play goalie. I used to show up to school at 6 a.m. so he could walk me through various goalie techniques in the school gym at part speed. Since they were never full contact and because I always had a full day of school ahead of me, I never wore a cup. It didn’t seem like I was in any danger.

Then one time, the coach decided I was ready to block some whip shots to show off what I had learned. He had the assistant coach come with a video camera so we could watch film of my form afterward. I was 15, and apparently too shy to admit I went to a lacrosse practice — even a before-school, slow-speed practice — without a cup. And it turns out lacrosse balls spinning on gym floors can bounce at unpredictable angles.

Long story short: Soul-shaking pain. And to make matters worse, it was all on tape, so all the coaches had a hearty laugh at me collapsed on the gym floor in pain. It’s probably still out there somewhere, circulating in the phys ed department of my high school, just waiting for someone who knows how to upload VHS tapes to YouTube. I think I’m ready to laugh about it now.

Friday Q&A, pt. 2: Food stuff and randos

Via email, Carl writes:

Ted, I just ate a sandwich where the bread was too hard and all the softer stuff inside the sandwich squeezed out to  the sides every time I took a bite. It kinda ruined the sandwich for me. Do you know of any ways to stop this from happening so an otherwise good sandwich doesn’t lose its sandwichy goodness?

I’d have to see the bread to know if this will work, but you can try “scooping it out,” the common carb-cutting technique. If the crust is strong enough to hold up, pulling out some of the bready middle should create open spaces to contain the sandwich stuff, allowing it to essentially replace the part of the roll you’ve removed rather than trying to crush it between two sides of a roll.

Also, I don’t know what you’ve got inside the sandwich, but maybe try piling all the ingredients on one half, topping it with cheese, and toasting it in a toaster oven for a minute to let the cheese melt and act to bind the rest of the sandwich stuff.

What about pheasant stuffed with squab stuffed with quail? Squab is a massively underrated meat, for what it’s worth. Really good stuff.

Alternately, what about pork stuffed with lamb stuffed with beef? Obviously the cow is the biggest of these animals, but I figure you’re not going to want the beef on the outside because you’d have to dry it out to get the pork cooked. But pork on the outside means maybe you can cook the lamb and beef to medium rare, with the added benefit of the delicious pork fat seeping into the interior meats. Actually, I can’t believe I’ve never considered this before. Somebody get John Madden on the phone. We’re past due for the Porlambeef.

The Jets in a baseball game against the Mets, definitely. Who’s your offensive line, if you’re the Mets? Just based on size alone, and picking from the Mets’ whole 40-man roster, you’d probably have to go with Lucas Duda and Robert Carson at the tackles, Jeurys Familia and Anthony Recker at guards and Frank Francisco at center. Those guys would get trounced by the Jets’ defensive line. No matter how good Kirk Nieuwenhuis is in the backfield, the Mets aren’t getting a single play off against the Jets’ D. Also, the Jets have way more dudes, and for the Mets to field a full football team with everyone playing only one way, they’re going to have to field some guys who will be absolutely torn apart by NFL players.

The Jets’ ace in the hole, also, is that Jeremy Kerley can supposedly throw fastballs in the mid 90s. And every guy in their receiving corps and defensive backfield is probably fast enough and coordinated enough to lay down an occasional bunt hit then steal some bases, and cover a lot of territory defensively. The Mets would obviously still kick the crap out of them in baseball, but I think it’d be a closer game.

Not this week, sorry. I was kind of hoping no one would notice. On average, I wind up eating probably three or four sandwiches for every one that gets reviewed, and I’m planning a vacation for January and trying to be healthy and save money until then. I’m not intentionally avoiding sandwiches or anything, I just haven’t been eating sandwiches with the frequency I typically need to find a sandwich worthy of review. If I happen upon one, I’ll write it up here. More on the vacation certainly to follow, but I expect it will provide much fodder for food porn here.

It’s cool that there’s going to be some sort of professional sport on Hempstead Turnpike once the Islanders leave, but unless the Cosmos bring back Pele they’re not going to recapture the magic of having Pele on your soccer team.

I’m for it. Heartily. One of the best perks at my last job was that the soda machines had cans of Yoo-hoo for 50 cents. This office has free soda, but no Yoo-hoo. It’s good because it’s both a beverage and a dessert.

I don’t know. Wikipedia says it doesn’t even necessarily have meat in it anymore, which is about the most flagrant type of false-advertising. You can’t name a food item for another, more established type of food item when it has no relationship to that thing.

“Hey have you tried lingonbacon?”
“No, but it sounds amazing.”
“Sorry, it’s a vegetable, and it sucks.”

You used to laugh about everybody that was hangin’ out

If you’ve only got time to look at one set of pretty and mystifying pictures today, I recommend this article, about the rolling stones of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley, California.

Though no one has ever seen it happen, the stones — many of them upwards of 25 pounds — sometimes move on their own in the night, leaving behind them trails in the sand as long as 1,500 feet. The article’s got a bunch of pictures and some possible explanations.

Via a few people, first Rob V.

Friday Q&A, pt. 4: The randos

Via email, real-life friend Bill writes:

Ted Berg’s all-time, no-holds-barred, ultimate music supergroup line-up?

It switches all the time, as Bill knows. And you might have to look some of these guys up. For today, let’s make it funky and go with Stanton Moore on drums, Norwood Fisher on bass, Phelps Collins and Jimi Hendrix on guitars, and a horn section featuring Cannonball Adderley and Skerik on saxophones, Wycliffe Gordon on trombone, and Maynard Ferguson on the trumpet. I’m not sure I’d say any of those guys is the best all time at his instrument, I just think they’d make for an unspeakably awesome band. Hendrix could sing if necessary, but I don’t really think they’d need vocals very often.

First things first, I take off my pants. No one’s ever going to make me wear pants again.

What was it, $580 million or something? So figure I wind up with $300 million after taxes. I use $100 million to make sure my parents, my sister and her family, and all my in-laws are set for life. I put $100 million in the bank to collect interest and so I can pay taxes on all the stuff I buy with the remaining $100 million.

Next, I throw the most baller-ass party anybody can possibly imagine. Rent out some awesome venue, hire the fanciest caterer and have him make cheeseburgers, serve Johnnie Walker Blue in every cocktail, all sorts of ridiculous excess. I don’t even know if I have enough friends to come to my multimillion-dollar party, so I have my people reach out to Puff Daddy’s people and see if he’ll co-sponsor it and come hang out under the agreement that he is absolutely not to rap at any point in the party. We’ll book the remaining members of the Wu-Tang Clan for that. So it’ll be me and a bunch of my friends, Puff Daddy and a bunch of his friends, and the Wu-Tang Clan, hanging out. And there’s going to be carnival rides, games of chance, a wheel of cheese to put Andrew Jackson’s to shame, and that guy Ted Batchelor who sets himself on fire.

Finally, I buy the penthouse at 432 Park Avenue, the highest residential location in New York City, and a pet alpaca, and I hunker down for the pantsless life of an eccentric rich guy.

My listening habits suggest it’s the 70s or the 90s, followed by the 00s. I would have thought I listened to more stuff from the 60s, but looking through my iPod, it’s mostly the Beatles and some live James Brown material from that decade. I probably listen to more stuff from the 90s than any other decade, though I don’t listen to a lot of the same stuff now that I did in the 90s. I don’t have a ton of music I love from the 10s, because I’m old now and crotchety. These kids these days with their dubstep. Bah.

Wait, who said I’m going to die? I’m planning a full St. Germain.