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I think I've found a new gimmick, and when I mean new, I mean something done so many tens of thousands of countless times before that it's less of a gimmick than a brazen assault on our collective intelligence: I'll look into the old mailbag! And here I thought my readership consisted of ol' Needham constantly refreshing the page . . .

"Scoops Malone" writes: Say, what do you know about Investcorp., which just acquired the Maritime Plazas, which are close to the proposed ballpark? Sound interesting?

Dear Scoops: My knowledge of Investcorp. extends only to what my sources tell me. They say that Investcorp. is a "New York-based team of real estate professionals invests in all major real estate asset classes with risk/return profiles ranging from core plus to opportunistic, for mid- to long-term holding periods." Sounds fishy, so I researched some more. I found nothing, but my suspicion still exists that this is an evil, heartless, multi-national conglomerate focused on world domination and the imposition of a futuristic society in which we live underground worshipping a rather unaffectionate nuclear bomb. I could be mixing in a plot point from the second Planet of the Apes movie into that last sentence, but that doesn't deter me from some very real fears about Investcorp.

"Roto G." writes: The O.C. (or should I say, heh, the Orange County Register? get it? I'm funny!) reports that Jarrod Washburn is coveted by the Washington Nationals. It's my understanding that RFK Stadium is a good park for pitchers. I think it would be a good spot for Jarrod, as he can keep his homer totals down. Of course, his HR/9IP figure wasn't bad this past season, but it has been dangerously high previously, including 2003, when he suffered 34 homers in . . . [edited for uninteresting babble]. So, the long-and-the-short of it is I think that Jarrod can do well in RFK. Do you think he'll get enough run support? Also, is there anything else I would want to know about this?

Dear Roto: Dunno about the run support. Otherwise, yeah, there is something you should know: Jose Guillen is on the Nats. And he wields bats---four of them, at a single time. And he's crazy. Jarrod would need the heinous power of Investcorp. at his disposal to survive the season.

"Farmer Grady" writes: What do you know about Eden sod? It seems like a major player in the mid-Atlantic field sodding business . . .

Dear Farmer G.: Eden sod was perfect. And then Investcorp. bought it.

"Tony T." writes: I need your help. I disapprove of Frank Robinson, but now the guy has gone off and won the Presidential Medal of Freedom. How am I supposed to smear his alleged lack of diligence on-the-job now?

Dear Tony T.: That's a tough one. Is there any truth to the rumor that Robinson will pull President Bush two-thirds of the way through his speech? Just kidding. Anyway, did you know that one of the other recipients is named "Robert Conquest"? That's an awesome name! And did you know that Mr. Conquest is a Cold War historian? The guy's name is Conquest, and he studies an era where we kicked a Gorbie-sized blotch on the collective Soviet booty? How cool is that? (You think Investcorp. was on the Soviet side?)

"Bill L." writes: Do you know if the Nats' minor league team in Vermont will still be called the Expos? What is Barry Larkin's hometown? Has anyone thought of batting Cristian Guzman leadoff? What is Endy Chavez doing now?

Dear Bill: Yes. Altoona. Brilliant. Investcorp., mop/bucket.

"Jim B." writes: Am I more of a Boston guy or an L.A. dude?

Dear Jim: You are your own man, and you can do anything if you set your mind to it. Never forget that. Follow your heart, and you will find success. On an unrelated note, I don't think the DC housing market really suits your interests; lots of Investcorp. people in DC, too.

"Homer J." writes: Don't you hate pants?

Dear Homer: No. Pants keep us warm and are critical to the function of an orderly society---which, if Investcorp. had its way, would be undermined by the pantsless. We're through the looking glass, people . . .

Thanks for all the questions! If this is received as well as I expect it to be, I'll never do this again!

Oh, and one more thing before I go: keep an eye on Investcorp. Really, I mean it. You could save a loved one.