Monday, December 31, 2007
That’s why, every New Year’s Eve, I take a page from the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, and draw out the moment of anticipation by starting my countdown not from the final ten seconds, but from the final hour. There is nothing like beginning the New Year’s countdown at 3600 and living out the mounting drama three thousand six hundred times. Sure, I’ve received angry stares, many a Shut the fuck up!, and celebrated one or two midnights on the street after being told to leave, but commencing the moment of joyous abandon while everyone else is still making small talk about property taxes and sinus problems makes such awkwardness well worth it. Like how the great Hitchcock let his audience in on the secret and stretched nail-biting suspense across the next hour of Rope, I’ll be starting my countdown to Happy New Year! at 11:00 sharp. Care to join me?
Now let's all sing in our best Alfred Hitchcock voice:
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind…
Friday, December 28, 2007
As hot water cascaded down my body, I found that the hotel’s complimentary amenities did not include a vial of shampoo. Sure, I had body lotion and conditioner—but using conditioner without shampoo is like squatting in a forest of the Chugach Mountains and trying to flint-strike a fire without kindling. Pondering my conundrum as soothing steam rose around me, it was too late to hike down to the front desk—my only option to forge ahead with a shampoo-less rinse. Predictably, the ordeal left my hair as matted and unmanageable as Alaskan reedgrass. Bear Grylls may have had to glissade down the side of a glacier, but he didn’t have to endure an improperly washed coif…
When you consider the myriad other perils I faced in that Tarboro hotel—a slightly malfunctioning heater that plunged room temperature to 68°, a lumpy pillow, the noisy occupants across the hall, a mini-fridge set all the way down on the floor instead of knee-high on the bureau, and the looming threat of an errant wake-up call—you can see that a night in a hotel can be just as harrowing as a night in the wild.
So the next time you're traipsing through the forest and find yourself face to face with a 900-pound grizzly, Bear, consider what it's like to experience an incompetent hotel clerk who can't tell time...
(Photo of Bear Grylls copyright The Discovery Channel.)
Monday, December 17, 2007
If I were her, I’d outbid everyone for Magna Carta…and then revoke it. Yeah, Queen Elizabeth has a sweet life, living off money doled out by Parliament and getting to speak in the third person without ridicule. But no English monarch has held real power since Victoria—and what’s the point of wearing a crown without wielding absolute, unpredictable, crazy power? A revoked Magna Carta restores feudalism, neutralizes Parliament, and turns the Queen from a figurehead into a figure of dread. Personally, I suggest renewing English claim to Brittany, Anjou, Poitou, and Aquitaine. If the ancient wars between England and France taught us anything, it’s that they make for really smashing theatre. Then issue a royal edict that Led Zeppelin must go on tour—watching their recent one-off reunion on DVD with a bag of Cheetos ain’t gonna cut it for hardcore fans. And include in that decree that they have to play their obscure gem, “Poor Tom." I further suggest moving the capital from London to Land’s End in Cornwall. Let’s face it: the soul of English culture is fish & chips—the capital should be seaside, where this delicacy is freshest and most readily available. Fish & chips should also be incorporated into the union jack.
And most importantly, confer a posthumous knighthood on the late, great Benny Hill.
Sotheby’s, this Tuesday, Your Majesty. England is yours for the taking…
(Graphic enhancements courtesy of Dave.)
Friday, December 14, 2007
Angry at Stalin’s treatment of hand-puppets and fearing a widening of anti-puppetism, Snuffleupagus escaped the Soviet Union and made his way to the United States via a Japanese fishing trawler in 1952, whereupon he requested political asylum. Though eventually granted resident status, Snuffleupagus—an aspiring actor—found himself quietly blacklisted because of the close proximity of his Wrangel mating ground to a Soviet weather station. After years of surviving on odd jobs in the Cold War '50s, he finally found work in the more liberal-minded '60s, becoming an extra on Days of our Lives. Several cigarette commercials followed. Then came Snuffleupagus’s big break: landing a cameo on an episode of Sesame Street in 1971, which, of course, grew into a recurring role. Ironically, Brezhnev assumed complete control of the communist party around this time, and most of Snuffleupagus’s early exchanges with Big Bird constituted diatribes on Soviet foreign policy, including this one, which aired March 12, 1972:
Big Bird: “Hi, Snuffleupagus!”
Snuffleupagus: “Ohhh, hello, Big Bird. Ohhh.”
Big Bird: “What’s wrong, Snuffleupagus?”
Snuffleupagus: “Ohhh, it’s those damned Soviets, Big Bird. Why don’t they get out of Czechoslovakia? Czech dissidents such as Václav Havel have clearly demonstrated a mandate for democracy. Damn that Brezhnev. Ohhh.”
Big Bird (whispering): “Stick to the script, you putz!"
Brezhnev publicly expressed contempt at Snuffleupagus’s frequent harangues, going so far as to call Snuffleupagus a “punk” during the SALT I talks in Moscow (although Pravda added that Brezhnev admired Grover). Thus, in addition to their startling physical resemblance, Snuffleupagus and Brezhnev possess the classic qualities of sibling rivalry.
Although the Kremlin still categorically refuses to release any information on Brezhnev’s DNA or medical history, and Snuffleupagus isn’t talking, I believe that the evidence is overwhelming.
(Photo of Leonid Brezhnev copyright Associated Press.)
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Though it be baseball heresy, I say the free-spending Chicago Cubs must vacate venerable Wrigley Field for a larger stadium—one with a seating capacity of at least 50,000 and sporting all of the pricey luxury boxes and accoutrements that have made other franchises so lucrative. In fact, I suggest that the Cubs build a domed stadium...and name it—in honor of their latest savior, Kosuke Fukudome—the Fuk-U-Dome, with the lettering directed toward the South Side.
That would really put those hated White Sox in their place.
(Graphic enhancement courtesy of Mount Drinkmore's Dave.)
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Vick’s prison stripes are bold and stark, serving not just as a literal depiction of his courtroom apparel but as an allegory of inevitable justice. Vick’s defense team—the eldest gentleman behind, the slightly younger lead counsel to Vick's right, and the youngest seated—represents the three ages of man, a metaphor for the spiritual growth over time Vick will experience as he physically serves time. Perhaps most impressive is the array of characters in the background. Their detail is at once revealing yet obtuse. At far left, Vick’s brother clings to his wife in fear of the coming judgment. His fright is palpable, yet his embrace borders on amorous, as if to signify that sex can happen even on the day his brother goes to the slammer. To their left, a host of anonymous eyes observes the fall of an icon. Their gaze is one of incredulity as they ostensibly muse, “You jackass! How could you jeopardize your gargantuan NFL contract plus tens of millions in endorsements to make pocket change by letting dogs maim each other? You’re a complete idiot!” And at extreme right, the red doors symbolize, of course, the gates of hell.
Not since the Mona Lisa has background contained such intricate poignancy.
The splendid work produced by courtroom artists has gone virtually unnoticed in the glare of more respected masters such as Rembrandt and Renoir. But study Verkouteren’s piece against Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party:
Yes, in Renoir’s work, the wine flows as the subjects enjoy a lovely summer day instead of killing dogs (note the lady at left playing with a small dog rather than starving it and administering electric shock); startling technique aside, Renoir concentrated too much on the hats while remaining conspicuously silent on growing French colonialism in North Africa—a detail, I suspect, the daring Verkouteren would not have omitted.
Verkouteren’s piece is similarly on par with a work such as Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère:
Again, the technique is astonishing—there’s plenty of booze in the foreground, and the bartender’s got a nice pair. Behind her, a multitude of thirsty patrons clamor for absinthe so they can forget that their grandchildren will one day roll over to the Nazis without a fight. Manet managed not to paint outside the lines on this one, and his effort shows abundantly. Still, there is no apparent superiority to Verkouteren’s piece. And let’s face it: those impressionists often used hot models, so their subject matter was more interesting from the get-go.
Regardless, it is time for courtroom sketch artists to be placed among the masters. Their medium reflects who we are, in all of our seedy shame. Only when The Birth of Venus, American Gothic, and The Starry Night are joined by O.J. Tries on the Glove, Saddam Denies Court’s Legality, and Kenneth Lay Weeps Like a Girl will the human race's story truly be told…
(Sketch of Vick’s sentencing copyright Dana Verkouteren and Associated Press.)
Monday, November 26, 2007
Each morning, before getting ready for work, I watch ESPN SportsCenter to catch up on the previous evening’s scores and highlights. Last Friday, as the scoreboard of the upcoming evening’s NBA games is being displayed, my bleary eyes see the Knicks-Kings graphic as:
(That's what happens when you mix so many k's early in the morning.)
I realized my mistake soon enough—but it got me to thinking: Wouldn’t the game be better if the New York Knicks did play the Kinks instead of the Sacramento Kings? I mean, the Knicks were on a four-game losing streak and off to a 2-5 start. Their highest-paid player, Stephon Marbury, was fined nearly $200,000 for skipping a game and didn’t seem much interested in earning a penny of his $20 million salary. Not to mention the franchise’s shame stemming from the sexual-harassment suit of Knicks' Head Coach/President Isiah Thomas.
Let’s face it: the Knicks had no chance of defeating Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, and co. (True enough, New York lost that evening, 123-118.)
But the Knicks—a team in turmoil—become instantly competitive against a bunch of sixty-something Brit-rockers who probably never picked up a basketball in their beer-sodden lives. Ray Davies has penned some of the greatest songs of the rock era, but his penchant for portraying lower-middle-class English life isn’t going to stop Zach Randolph and his 12.3 rebounds per game. Sure, Dave Davies and his surly attitude might hang with Eddy Curry for a quarter, but Curry’s got nearly a foot on him and would dominate the Muswell Hill guitarist in the paint. Yeah, you’d better (Wish You Could Fly Like) Superman, David…
I know what you’re thinking: the Kinks are only four members—how could they possibly compete with the New York Knicks? Well, you’ve got the Davies brothers at small and power forward, Mick Avory in the middle, and spunky Pete Quaife working the point, with Quaife’s successor, John Dalton, at shooting guard. Then there’s John Gosling, their keyboardist in the 1970s, as sixth man, rounding out with Jim Rodford, Ian Gibbons, and Bob Henrit from the Arista years off the bench.
Wanna make a team of overpaid, dysfunctional prima donnas look like a well-oiled machine? Have ‘em play a band of senior-citizen musicians who couldn’t tell Lola from Tom Gola.
Now if we could only get the Seattle Sonics to play the Rolling Stones…
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Rich: "I had a Bloody Mary yesterday at brunch. Went back to bed."
Randy: "(Rich in jammies and sleeping cap.....alarm rings....Rich pops up, grabs the bloody mary on the nightstand next to him, drinks it down, goes right back to sleep)"
Pat: "I never understood sleeping caps. Sleeping with a hat on is not comfortable. And a kerchief? Ma is gonna roll over and strangle herself in the night. 'Twas the night before Christmas.....and improper sleeping clothes killed the parents."
Rich: "Ma: 'Well, time for bed.' (fits goldfish bowl over her head)"
Dave: "I got this sombrero and tried to sleep with it tilted over my eyes like you see guys doing in the movies while leaning up against a wall. You basically wind up breathing in your own sombrero-tainted breath over and over again until you can't take it anymore."
Randy: "Sleeping caps are still essential to sleepwalkers. You can't afford to sleepwalk down a flight of stairs, out a window, or even across train tracks without a sleeping cap. You might catch cold..."
Rich: "The Bloody Mary must have had at least 3 shots worth of vodka in it. I was looped by the end of an omelette. What do they put in those things? I was seriously buzzed, enough that I was slurring my speech. I felt like a hobo."
Randy: "That slurring thing's an urban legend. Most hobos enunciate quite well."
Pat: "I like the boxcar idea of hobos. Is that still going on? I say we all take a week off and investigate."
Randy: "Even back then, riding the rails was illegal. The G-men rounded up all the hobos and locked them in a special camp on the Jersey side of the Hudson.
And that's how Hoboken, NJ came to be.
It's sort of like the 1930s version of Manhattan in Escape from New York."
Rich: "I'll get us some sticks and bandanas."
Pat: "I read bananas instead of bandanas. Could you also get us some bananas?
They should have Pop Tarts with vodka in them. 'Not enough time to get drunk in the morning?'"
Randy: "Or they could fill the middle with amphetamines.
Pep Tarts -- Get your day off to a hyper start."
Rich: "Beer Tarts -- each tart has 12 oz of beer in its center. Creamy beer filling."
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Boston has received a modest first return on its $103 million investment: 15-12, 4.40 ERA, 201K, plus three mediocre starts in this postseason.
One cannot blame Boston GM Theo Epstein for dishing out a fortune on a player with, at the time, zero Major League experience—he wanted to beat the rival New York Yankees to the punch in acquiring the next potential phenom.
Personally, had I been the Red Sox GM, I would have signed Dice Clay instead of Dice-K. With little going on in his career these days, Dice Clay could have been signed for a lot less than $103 million, and his array of filthy language would mow down hitters far more effectively than Matsuzaka’s array of filthy pitches.
Hall of Famer Warren Spahn once said, “Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing.”
Well, nothing could upset a batter’s timing more than hearing the pitcher yell, F*ck you, you stupid muthaf*ckah! You think you’re gonna hit my f*ckin’ fastball, ya fat f*ckin’ pr*ck?! There’ll be martial law in this stadium, ya hear?!
Dice Clay: 20 wins easy.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
October 23. Eight days until Halloween. The temperature today is once again expected to break 80 degrees.
And it's humid.
Indian summer? Global warming? As the pundits battle over the cause, have those air-conditioned fat cats in Washington stopped to realize that America is eight short days from crisis? If this autumnal heat wave does not abate, untold Halloweens will be ruined as trick-or-treaters' chocolatey loot melts in the street, not in their mouth.
I needn't stress the importance of Halloween on the child psyche. We've all experienced the joy and the succulence of costume and candy, the emotional release from the relentless grind of homework and the ever-present dread of pop quiz.
Fistfuls of free candy is all that keeps a kid going. Without it, they may as well quit grade school, get a dead-end job, settle down, and prepare for old age.
If autumn doesn't come soon, we're in for a messy All Hallow's Eve and a long winter of discontent.
Al Gore...where are you???
(Photo of jack o'lantern copyright Encyclopaedia Brittanica Online.)
Monday, September 24, 2007
Jacqui's [my girlfriend's] family, who live in Atlanta, were in synagogue Saturday for Yom Kippur services.
And who was also in the congregation?
He had a gig in Duluth, Ga., that evening and attended services earlier in the day at Jacqui's family's shul. The rabbi even had him up to the bimah.
Pray Bobby Pray
Heed what the rabbi said
Until the break of the fast
Pray from your frizzy, yarmulked head
Monday, September 17, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
I ignored her and kept walking, and from behind comes: I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME!!!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
RANDY: I guess he's now first mate on the boat that crosses the River Styx.
PAT: "TV critics were less kind, dismissing the show as inane. But after it was canceled by CBS in 1967, it found new audiences over and over in syndicated reruns and reunion films, including 1981's The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island.'
Thank God we got to see what would happen if a fake basketball team got to the island.
RANDY: I think a more interesting plot would have been Gilligan Trots in Harlem and centers on him running to get out of the area while pursued for two hours by local thugs.
DAVE: Do basketballs bounce on sand?
PAT: I'm pretty sure they just spun the ball on their finger and whistled "Sweet Georgia Brown" in between Gilligan's hat beatings. The movie was 4 1/2 hours.
RANDY: Wasn't the premise for how the Globetrotters got onto the island that a bolt of lightning hit one of the indigenous lemon trees and turned the fruit into Meadowlark Lemon? If it wasn't, it should've been.
DAVE: Why was it Gilligan's island?
RANDY: Gilligan was a homesteader and he claimed it under the Homestead Act. His horses and cattle drowned on their way to the island.
PAT: He had incriminating photos of the rest of them.
DAVE: Pics of Mr. Howell in a dress.
RANDY: Thurston Howell Sr. and Thurston Howell Jr. were cross-dressers as well, so Thurston Howell III was just carrying on a family tradition.
PAT: That makes sense because I am pretty sure "Lovey" was a man.
RANDY: I don't think it would have mattered. With nothing but fruit to eat day after day and virtually no protein, Lovey, Ginger, and Maryann would have been menopausal inside a year.
DAVE: They could've eaten Gladys the gorilla (sometime-lover of Gilligan).
If I were on the island, I’d have killed them all, made a raft out of their corpses, and sailed away with the Howells’ riches. Now THAT'S comedy, folks!
RANDY: Dave's "Wilson" would have been the Professor's head bobbing in the water.
PAT: Best episode ever: Giant stuffed spider in a cave dangling from a string. They scare it back into the cave with a mirror.
RANDY: And that episode with the Japanese soldier……….whom they scared back into the cave with a mirror.
They ran out of ideas pretty quick.
DAVE: There's always a canal!
RANDY: Dave's been screaming that for a month. Nobody knows why.
The one I most remember was when Gilligan got struck by lightning and his mouth became a radio. I tried for years to get that to happen to me, but I finally broke down and bought an RCA Victor.
PAT: Remember when they would put on plays for themselves? Was that the only way to keep entertained? What about doin' Maryann and Ginger? Didn't they ever think of that?
RANDY: The castaways weren't members of SAG either. They should have been prosecuted the moment they stepped onshore after their rescue.
PAT: How about the TV movie where they are rescued, decide to take a boat trip again, and get stranded on the same island?! I mean, are you KIDDING me?! And none of these people committed suicide?
RANDY: At the very least, murder among the castaways would have been inevitable. The HMS Bounty's crew that marooned themselves on Pitcairn Island started killing each other left and right over food and women. Don't tell me Gilligan wouldn't have sank into a primal state and taken out the Skipper, his chief rival as alpha male.
PAT: Not to mention, these people get on a boat with the Skipper and Gilligan again? Their ONLY experience with them is them losing control and getting shipwrecked. I would politely say "No thanks."
RANDY: They probably thought lightning couldn't strike twice and figured that getting on a boat again with Skipper and Gilligan is about the safest place they could be.
RICH: There was a sequel to that movie. It was just a shot of their feet swinging back and forth after they had all hanged themselves. The soundtrack was the sound of the palm-frond ropes creaking and wind in the leaves.
RANDY: There's supposed to be a "lost" episode in which Lee Marvin lands on the island and beats the hell out of each castaway in turn. Maybe one day the Marvin estate will cancel the injunction...
DAVE: I remember one of the last ones where they escape from the island and pull into a port full of cheering people on a triple-deck bamboo yacht.
RANDY: Wasn't that converted into the world's largest lawn chair?
RICH: Skipper to passengers after leaving harbor: "I gotta tell ya…I'm reeeeeeeeeal drunk. So is Gilgame...Gilligis...I mean Gilligamagen…"
RANDY: Wouldn't a competent captain have prohibited the Howells from bringing a year's worth of clothing on board before they even set sail? I think the "Skipper" probably was just an ordinary guy who showed up at the harbor wearing a captain's hat and boatjacked the Minnow for a joyride.
RICH: Someone I used to know came up with a great idea for a short movie: The Professor vs. MacGyver. You see each one paddling to an island from opposite sides, they each run to a bush (the island is tiny and the two bushes are the only thing on it), and 10 seconds later, there is a nuclear explosion.
RANDY: You figure that uncharted isle on which Gilligan et al were marooned would have been used for atomic testing, it being the early 1960s and the Cold War and all. That would have been a great final episode -- Gilligan and the gang squint up to the sunny sky:
"Skipper! A plane!"
“A plane, little buddy! We're saved!"
RICH: "I think it's dropping supplies!"
DAVE: I vaguely remember an "Old West" episode too...
RICH: Did you guys ever see the pilot episode? It was in black and white.
RANDY: Wasn't there an eighth member to the cast? I think it was a "Chuck Cunningham." They decided to drop him after the pilot, and then he showed up uninvited on the set of the Happy Days pilot ten years later.
RANDY: If they went on a three-hour tour from Hawaii, that means they were, at most, an hour and a half sailing time off the islands. The storm in which they were shipwrecked apparently carried them about a thousand miles away……..which is about as plausible as Tina Louise having an acting career in the first place.
DAVE: It takes a fast catamaran about 30 minutes to get from Kauaii to Niihau. On the Minnow, they'd still be able to see the Hawaiian Islands after 90 minutes.
RANDY: Woulda been kind of cool if the island on which Tom Hanks had washed ashore in Cast Away was Gilligan's Island and we briefly see Hanks come across a skeleton in a red shirt and white pants and hat. Nothing need to be said for that scene, but it would've been a neat homage.
DAVE: Didn't every episode end with someone running or swimming away with the film sped up so it looks really funny and fast?
RANDY: Yeah, but they had to do that because every episode always ran about thirty seconds too long due to the Skipper's "Keep the reds out of Southeast Asia" message directed at the kids.
Hey, the producers' hands were tied -- it was in Alan Hale's contract...
RICH: Yeah, with the same laugh track used over and over again. Is there such a thing as a sob track?
RANDY: Yeah. They use it when a character is chopping onions.
DAVE: A "Getting-up-with-a-stiff-back" track.
"Arrr... Oh man. Jeez."
PAT: I like when all the visitors would get away somehow. It was quite a heavily travelled unknown island.
RANDY: They never had an episode in which the island was visited by Canadian Mounties. There were a lot of possibilities there...
RICH: I think Jurassic Park should have taken place on the island.
PAT: "Uh, Professor, I think you can stop trying to power that radio with a coconut now. They are cloning dinosaurs over there, for chrissake!"
RANDY: You know the Professor never really invented anything truly sophisticated enough to help them in a tangible way. I'll bet he was just a professor of philosophy or something.
"Professor, a plane! Do something!"
"I can only stand here and be stoic…"
RICH: Dr. Grant: "So…What have you been feeding the raptors, Mr. Hammond?"
Hammond: "Er….Stuff and things…"
RANDY: T.Rex burps out Gilligan's hat.
RANDY: Or at least King Kong should have been there. Then Kong has to decide which chick to covet -- Ginger or Maryann.
DAVE: I would've like just one episode where they all just sit in silence staring into space with glazed-over eyes.
RICH: And Mr. Howell delirious with fever, trying to eat his own foot.
RANDY: That happened in a Mr. Magoo episode…..although that had to do more with Magoo's poor eyesight than raging delirium.
DAVE: When I was a kid, I thought the theme song said "if not for the mighty sailing crew, the middle would be lost."
I mean, a boat without a middle. You're screwed, man.
RANDY: “I mean, a boat without a middle. You're screwed, man.”
That was the opening line in the original folio of Moby Dick.
DAVE: I thought it was "Call me... crazy! But I can't get enough of that ooey gooey fish chowdah!"
RANDY: With the proposed cover an etching of Captain Ahab holding a can of chowder and giving the thumbs-up sign.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
So I'm at home last night, trying to prove my theory that Pink Floyd's Animals syncs up perfectly with The Apple Dumpling Gang, when the phone rings. Caller ID displays "Florida," so I figure it's my folks. But the 850 area code is not theirs -- it's strange and foreign. I pick up the phone and find myself trading Hellos with a gravelly voiced woman dripping cigarette-smoked drawl. Her area code is the Florida panhandle, hundreds of miles from my folks or anyone else I know in the Sunshine State.
"Ah'm callin' 'bout the two FSU season tickets fuh sale..."
Whoah, wait a minute, sister. Whoever ran the ad misprinted the area code as 856 instead of 850. This is New Jersey. No one's got FSU season tickets here.
According to the Florida State Seminoles Web site, a pair of season tickets runs $430. Why didn't I tell her to wire me the cash and then send her those unused passes to the Gordon Lightfoot laser show?
Because I'm too honest about area codes. Always have been. I get an inordinate amount of wrong numbers, yet I decline to take these rubes for all they're worth. I could've had 430 easy smackers.
But what price my soul?
Thursday, August 23, 2007
But this is how I like to remember him:
Thursday, August 16, 2007
If Michael Vick is found guilty of—or plea bargains to—the dog-fighting charges on which he’s been indicted, I say he should be suffocated in a vat of Vicks VapoRub.
There’s no justice like ironic justice…
(Photo copyright Reuters.)
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
I watched on live television Carlton Fisk's 12th-inning "body english" home run that ended Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Likewise, Reggie Jackson's three home runs on three consecutive pitches in the 1978 Fall Classic. Ditto Cal Ripken's breaking of Lou Gehrig's "Iron Man" record. As well as many other wildly celebratory sports moments that have become landmarks in public memory.
I was not in front of the television last night, when Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run, surpassing Henry Aaron and claiming the most hallowed record in all of sport. In fact, I didn't even learn of Bonds' achievement until this morning, during my commute to work.
And lemme tell ya—the three seconds of indistinct cheering supplied by NPR indelibly brought home the moment. If anyone ever asks me where I was when Barry Bonds became the all-time home-run king, thanks to National Public Radio, I'll be able to reminisce, "I was in my car...twelve hours later."
(Photo on left copyright Reuters.)
Thursday, August 2, 2007
So I'm driving into work this morning when traffic comes to a dead stop near I-95's Academy Road interchange. But I'm driving north—there's rarely major congestion driving away from the city during morning rush hour. An accident must lay ahead. As cars inch along in their maddening dance and the minutes tick toward a late arrival at work, I see that the southbound lanes are also at a standstill. In the distance are parked police cars in the left-hand emergency lanes straddling the median. Though their red lights are flashing, there's no apparent disturbance—no disabled or wrecked car, no apprehended violator, no sign of distress whatsoever. What's going on?
Two policemen are standing on the other side of the median, in the emergency lane, seemingly doing nothing. For a second, I thought they might actually be conducting a really-ill-conceived seatbelt check. But as I slowly approach the police cars, I see that the two officers on the other side of the median are positioned about six feet from an owl standing on the side of the road. They're safeguarding it...and presumably awaiting the arrival of animal-protection personnel.
I believe this to be the first owl-related traffic jam in the history of the Pennsylvania highway system. (Unofficial confirmation has come from PENNDOT...if you consider their response of "You're an idiot." as verification.) Although this lazy bird of prey added fifteen minutes to my commute, I suppose I should feel a part of history...not to mention a bit of kinship—as a Temple Owl, I once interrupted traffic by lying down on Broad Street to show my solidarity for Switzerland's struggling longshoremen.
And as owls are not normally indigenous to interstate roadways, I suggest this to be a new species of owl, whose name and taxonomy I submit as the "speckled commuter owl" (Ninox commuterii).
(Photos courtesy of PDPhoto.org)
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
"Like I have said all along, I have the best doctor of all, and that is God. You can't argue with a guy like that." —— Terrell Owens to reporters before Super Bowl XXXIX
PAT: I wonder if God accepts Keystone?
RANDY: Yeah, but if God tells you that you're going to die, where the hell do you go for a second opinion?
DAVE: "You can't argue with a guy like that."
God is one heckuva guy! A Philadelphia Guy?
PAT: I bet the waiting room at his office is pretty boring. G-rated magazines and such.
DAVE: My dentist has the same Golf Magazine from March 2004 in his office. That's the ONLY magazine he has. Gab [Dave's wife] had to have a cavity filled, and I wound up going along and waiting for her. I read every article in that damned thing. I even read the advertisements. The disclaimers in the advertisements. I read the masthead. What a nightmare.
RANDY: My dentist's office has a huge, framed movie poster of Marathon Man. It really freaked me out the first few visits, but hey, it was a great film...
RICH: I used to get my hair cut at "Frank's" in Chestnut Hill. [The only magazines] he had were Leatherneck and Soldier of Fortune.
RANDY: You go all the way out to Chestnut Hill for a haircut? Seems easier for you to just take a run at the single-season home-run record and have your hair fall out in clumps as the media drives you insane with their round-the-clock hounding.
RICH: Is there bald-head grease for bald people? I'd want my head to be extra shiny.
RANDY: You could get work as a lighthouse in the daytime. Your nights would be your own....
RANDY: God: "Now what seems to be the trouble?"
Patient: "Uhh, shouldn't you already know?"
DAVE: God: "Erm. I just want to hear it in your... own... words."
RANDY: God: "Hmm, your blood pressure's a little high."
Patient: "Whaddya expect? I'm sitting here naked, talking to God."
DAVE: My blood pressure's always high when they check it. I can't take the performance anxiety.
RANDY: The secret is to pretend the doctor is a bear -- then play dead. Not only does that give you a good blood-pressure reading, but you get rushed to the hospital and receive a premium check-up instead of the assembly-line office visit.
PAT: God: "Let me write you a prescription."
Patient: "Uh, can't you just cure me?"
RANDY: "...and don't look directly at the prescription. My Word will turn you to salt."
DAVE: Speaking of premium check-ups, I went for a cleaning last week, and after the hygienist is finished, the dentist walks in, chucks me on the shoulder, asks if there are any problems, looks at my chart, asks if I have any questions, then WALKS OUT.
The guy didn't look at my teeth. I was speechless. I had no speech.
RICH: They should give you a partial refund for that.
RANDY: They should give you a partial denture for that.
"Sorry about that. Here you go."
"But I'm not missing any teeth. I can't wear this."
Dentist starts shoving it in your mouth
RICH: "OW! OW! OW!"
"FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! FOR YOUR...."
PAT: "You will do what I say.......enDENTURED servant! hhahahahah."
"Uh mahn, dat wa bad!"
RANDY: Dentists aren't naturally funny people. That's why they had to invent the chattering teeth. Then people realized that even that wasn't very funny...
DAVE: Has that ever happened to anyone else? Nobody I know has had that happen to them. This guy was, like, "Alright buddy, take it easy!" And that's it!
RANDY: No, but when I was about 14 or so, I was waiting in the examination room for a doc I'd never seen before, and he comes out of his office smoking a cig and hacking so hard I thought he'd die before the examination ended. I was tempted to ask him what I should do if he keels over.
RICH: I wonder what he would have said if you asked for a smoke?
RANDY: Probably: "You're too young to smoke cigarettes........Here's an El Producto."
RICH: "Thanks doc, I was getting tired of Phillies Sweets."
RANDY: Me, leaning back in big leather chair: "You know, doc, there really are masters at Dutch Masters."
Doc, drawing a puff: "There sure are, kid. There sure are..."
RICH: My dentist once stood outside chatting with a patient about rugs for ten minutes. This was while he was waiting for me to get numb. I was drooling all over the wacky napkin thingy.
RANDY: Dentists' tastes and interests are very varied. Sometimes they stand outside the exam room and chat with patients about Senegalese wood carvings or Yo La Tengo's latest album.
DAVE: "Yeah, rugs are great."
"Yeah, I like a good rug."
RANDY: The new "Wacky Napkin" by OrthoMed -- for the dentist who likes to keep his office light and fun."
PAT: That saliva sucker always pinches my mouth. I just want to rip it out and smash the lamp with it.
RANDY: I just start singing the middle part of Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way" when that thing's in my mouth.
DAVE: A few thoughts I had while my teeth were being scraped by the hygienist:
* Wouldn't it be funny if the choices for the polishing paste are mint, cherry, and beef stew?
* Why not have posters of bikini models in the room? I mean, at least offer some kind of distraction!
* I feel like livestock. Why is this woman digging her knuckle into my lower jaw?
RANDY: Beef-stew polishing paste. Bernaise-sauce dental floss.
Sounds like an opportunity for a whole line of Denty Moore orthodontic supplies.
RICH: I would love to go to the dentist after eating a rack of ribs.
RANDY: What does a dentist do when he needs his teeth cleaned? Does he sit in the chair and work on himself?
RICH: Or how about speed-metal instead of elevator music?
RANDY: I hear Lemmy is gonna go for his DDS when Motorhead finally splits.
PAT: The polishing paste always makes me gag. I hate that stuff.
RANDY: Maybe it's just that gag order imposed on you by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Your attorney told you it wasn't gonna be a picnic...
RICH: Do any of your dentists use the hypersonic thing? It makes a screeching sound as it does whatever it does to your teeth.
RANDY: Not the actual device. My dentist uses his own voice to make a hypersonic sound. It's pretty unnerving.
RICH: "I will now clean your teeth with the power of thought."
Widens eyes, furrows brow, and stares at you
RANDY: My dentist's chair is hydraulically souped-up so it goes up and down ultra-quickly. He tries to shake the tartar out of you. Saves him a lot of effort.
DAVE: An entire box of Oreos.
"I'se ready to have my teef cleaned!"
RICH: I think he would break out a hose and shove it in your mouth.
RANDY: I agree. Most dentists are frustrated firemen anyway...
RANDY: Dentist: "Double-Stuffs?"
Dentist: "Jesus, we're gonna be here all night..."
RICH: That and some crackers and gum beforehand.
PAT: We should make real ones. "Our animal crackers are only made from the finest animals."
RANDY: Why don't the makers of Animal Crackers stop with the animals and model each piece after the four Marx Brothers in the film? Then they can get the animal-rights people off their back and celebrate the anarchic brilliance of Captain Spaulding, Ravelli, The Professor, and Jamison.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
At first, I chided his foolish act. A dare? A PCP-fueled freakout? The latest "extreme" sport? No matter. Even though the pimply oaf performed his stunt without dashing his tiny brain all over turnpike blacktop, I chuckled contemptuously at his idiocy.
But after several moments of reflection, I applauded this young daredevil's act. Traffic jams are so draining; they can suck all the enjoyment out of a good day, ruining a pleasurable afternoon or killing the mood before its even begun. Yet here was a public performer entertaining throngs of frustrated, immobile travelers at no charge, coloring our lost moments with a memorable semi-suicidal act. If only more asphalt artistes would take to congested thorofares and ease motorists' pain with their roadside lunacy. Highway commissions would do well to employ concrete-barrier gymnasts, exit-ramp fan-dancers, and mile-marker comedians along traffic-prone routes. Road-rage incidents could be cut dramatically, and complacent state governments would finally be doing more than committing highway robbery with our tax dollars. Let's face it: in our overly crowded society, we Americans spend too much of our all-too-brief lives caught on choked roadways, cussing up a storm on the road to hypertension and peptic ulcers. It's time for the Department of Transportation to give us a brake.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
And I smell feet.
Foot odor on the can.
So basically, there's a big, fat, sweaty guy somewhere rubbing unopened cans of Coke on his feet before packaging them.
And if you're wondering...Yes. I finished the entire can. But I sure didn't like it.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
After several months on a deserted island, I think the first thing I would ask the box for would be a beer. Then perhaps I would move on to a steak.
Friday, March 16, 2007
This exchange from the summer of 2005 grew out of a CNN story on a comment made by actor Ben Jones ("Cooter" from The Dukes of Hazzard television series) upon the release of the film, in which Jones urged fans to avoid the new film because its sexual content did not make for the "family" entertainment provided by the television show.
DAVE: [Comment by Ben Jones]: "...but to take a classic family show and do that is like taking I Love Lucy and making her a crackhead or something."
Now THAT'S what I want to see.
Ricky: "Lucyyyyy! What are you lookeen for?"
"Lucy (on all fours): I think I dropped my rock! Waaaaa!"
RANDY: "...starring Lucille Speedball."
PAT: [Comment by Ben Jones]: "...make a mockery of the family-friendly show."
Uh, the TV show was based on guys who bootleg whiskey. Is that wholesome?
RANDY: Plus....the boys didn't have any discernible employment.......they continuously broke the law and drove recklessly......they probably fought constantly over who got the car on Saturday nights.........and you just know they cussed up a storm.
RICH: I still want to see the gang from What's Happening!! running guns in Mali.
RANDY: Dwayne: "Hey hey hey!”
Re-Gun: What's happening?!"
Rog: "It's a revolution, man!" We're gonna seize control of the capital and set up a de facto regime."
Dee: "I'm tellin' Mama!" (puts out her hand)
Rog: "Alright, here's 25 Communaut Financiaire Africaine francs."
Dee: "I want American currency............MAMA!"
Mrs. King: "Roger, are you planning a bloody coup? Give me your belt."
(Roger dejectedly hands her his belt and gets a whipping)
DAVE: Dwayne: "Where's Rerun?"
Rog: "He's supposed to be bringing over a crate of AKs. I hope he hasn't gotten into any trouble."
Dwayne: "Nah. Rerun? He can handle himself."
(cut to Rerun floating face down in a swamp)
RANDY: Must've been a fresh kill, 'cause Rerun ain't floating for long...
RICH: Then the Doobie Brothers show up to fight the warlords with music.
RANDY: I'd like to see the Doobie Brothers stranded in an actual Chinese grove and see how long they can survive with just their music to live on.
PAT: The intro can have Rerun chasing after the convoy, like how he chased after the pickup truck in the real show. Except this time, he's being fired upon.
RANDY: If they actually succeed in overthrowing the Malian government, then the What's Happening!! theme would become the new national anthem.
That'd be awesome whenever Mali won an Olympic event.
RICH: Rerun is captured by cannibals.
RANDY: "He taste like Fred Berry."
"No, he taste like blueberry."
RICH: Somehow, we have to work in a scene involving Dwayne, a car battery, and a kiddie pool.
RANDY: Sounds like a plotline for a cumbersome and ill-planned assassination attempt to me...
DAVE: Gab [Dave's wife] has never seen Star Wars, so we started watching Episode IV last night. At the scene in which the Jawas capture R2D2, she says, "Are those little guys Ewoks?"
Me (in my Comic Book Guy voice): "Of course they are...NOT!"
RANDY: So Gab had the one chance of anyone in the world to actually watch the entire double-trilogy in sequential order and yet she still started on Episode IV? Does she have a thing for Peter Cushing?
DAVE: I wanted to start her off right. Not with that crapfest cartoon, Episode I.
RANDY: By the way, how did Gab manage to avoid seeing all of the films? Did she spend the summers of 1977, 1980, 1983, 1999, 2002, and this summer on Tristan da Cunha, the most remote island on Earth? 'Cause I hear they're building a drive-in there, so if George Lucas ever makes the final trilogy, she'll have to go to the moon to avoid it.
RICH: Was Peter Cushing ever not old?
DAVE: Cushing at 4 years of age:
RANDY: His body still hadn't developed -- he was just a head.
PAT: I heard he hatched out of an egg.
RANDY: That's true, although it was actually a feta cheese omelette with a side of chips. He spent his first year at the Luton Luncheonette until someone claimed him.
RANDY: When Peter Cushing ordered that the Princess be "terminated," shouldn't he have done it himself with a stake through her heart? I mean, that's all he ever did in those 400 other films he made...
RICH: From out of nowhere, Frankenstein staggers up and tries to strangle him.
RANDY: I wish Peter Cushing had married Whoopie Goldberg. Then she'd be Whoopie Cushing.
DAVE: "From out of nowhere, Frankenstein staggers up and tries to strangle him."
I always thought that would've worked perfectly in The Remains of the Day.
RANDY: Then it could have won an Oscar for Best Fucked-up Visual Nonsequitur.
RICH: All the President's Men:
Ben Bradlee: "Who is your source? Where the hell is the story?"
Bernstein: "We ha...
(Frankenstein and Dracula come crashing through the wall, fighting with each other)
RANDY: Why even have Woodward and Bernstein at all? Just have Frankenstein and Dracula working as reporters for the Post, and they break the Watergate story.
The Invisible Man would be perfect as Deep Throat...
Thursday, March 8, 2007
It is constitutionally possible for new states to be formed by reorganizing current states with the permission of their legislatures.
The State of Maine was part of Massachusetts
The state of West Virginia was formed during the Civil War by counties in northwestern Virginia that had remained loyal to the United States.
One proposal has been for New York City to secede from New York State (See New York City secession), which has been reciprocated by a call for Upstate New York to secede (See Upstate New York's Statehood Movement).
A similar circumstance has been proposed with the secession of Chicago from Illinois since over a half of the population of Illinois resides in the metropolitan area. A variation of this was called Chiwaukee, which would be the strip of land from Milwaukee down to Gary, Indiana.
Historically, it was possible that the counties of southern Oregon and northern California might have seceded from their respective states to form a new "State of Jefferson". Jefferson would have been the 49th state, making Alaska and Hawaii the 50th and 51st when they became states in 1959.
Also there have been brief calls for a 51st state named the State of Lincoln in 1996, 1999, and 2005. The state would be made of Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle.
During the late 1700s, portions of North Carolina and Tennessee joined to form an alleged "State of Franklin" and while "lawmakers" were elected to its alleged "Legislature," Congress never admitted the "State of Franklin" into the Union.
Similar junctions have attempted to take place in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which some wish to secede (sometimes along with adjoining counties of northern Wisconsin) in order to make a state called "Superior"."
(Courtesy of Wikipedia.)
Monday, March 5, 2007
Instead of a remote control, wouldn't you rather control your TV using a big, wooden captain's wheel from an old wooden ship? Just set it up in your living room with an infrared sensor tuned to the TV, and when you want to change the channel, you take the wheel. Spin it to the left and the channels go down; to the right, they go up. The faster you spin it, the faster the channels change... like the iPod click wheel.
Friday, March 2, 2007
"PHILADELPHIA, PA (February 26, 2007) – SEPTA will commemorate 100 years of subway-elevated train service in Philadelphia with a special day of celebrations beginning with free rides for passengers on the Market-Frankford Line.
As a token of appreciation for its many loyal customers, SEPTA will provide free Market-Frankford Line train service between noon and 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 4.
The day will mark a century of service since the line originally opened on March 4, 1907 and operated on elevated tracks through West Philadelphia as the Market Street Subway-Elevated before continuing through Center City in an underground tunnel and ending at ferry terminals along Delaware Avenue.
The riding public is invited to attend the festivities where they can commemorate the event by signing one of 12 specially made oversized birthday cards or listen to music played by legendary DJ Jerry Blavat."
This Centennial anniversary begs the question, when did The El first smell like urine? Did it have a grace period before people began to use it as a moving public toilet? Kind of like a "30 Feet High Club" but for incontinence. Hopefully this will be covered in the retrospective. I also hope an explantion of the painting/mural (right photo) is made as I have been to that area many times and there seems to be 100% less trash and condemned buildings in this rendering.
For more on my tirades about the malodorous conditions of Philadelphia Public Transportation, refer to my Award Winning Superheady.com article, "This City Stinks: An Olfactory History of Philadelphia".
(Top Photo copyright Steve Zable, 1980. Bottom Photo Copyright SEPTA. Text excerpted from SEPTA Press release)
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I found myself trying to find at least one 23 in my own life and came up empty. Not a birthdate, anniversary, or even dentist appointment came up 23. Does this mean I am immortal? I'm going to bet YES.
Friday, February 23, 2007
"Beavers return to New York City after 200 years
NEW YORK (AP) -- Beavers grace New York City's official seal. But the industrious rodents have not been seen in the flesh here for as many as 200 years -- until this week.
Biologists videotaped a beaver swimming up the Bronx River on Wednesday. Its twig-and-mud lodge had been spotted earlier on the river bank, but the tape confirmed the presence of the animal itself.
"It had to happen because beaver populations are expanding, and their habitats are shrinking," said Dietland Muller-Schwarze, a beaver expert at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. "We're probably going to see more of them in the future." "
(Excerpt from http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/23/beaver.bronx.ap/index.html)
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
I sat in my boxers in a big, red, plastic tub full of water and slid around campus in it. Just slid all over the place. Everyone thought I was so cool because nobody else was doing it.
Then I went into a park and started a conversation with another student. He asked "Are those scorpions?" Turns out we were both covered in tiny brown scorpions. I screamed and screamed and woke up drenched in sweat.
So just like that, I go from the coolest guy on campus to being covered in stinging scorpions.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters)—An asteroid may come uncomfortably close to Earth in 2036 and the United Nations should assume responsibility for a space mission to deflect it, a group of astronauts, engineers and scientists said on Saturday.
Astronomers are monitoring an asteroid named Apophis, which has a 1 in 45,000 chance of striking Earth on April 13, 2036."
I, for one, am gonna start drinking more.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Yet ever since Queen Elizabeth tapped John's shoulders with a sword, obsequious talking heads in this country kow-tow to English protocol as if the American Revolution never took place. There's nothing knightly about an out-of-control spend-a-holic who admitted to dropping almost £300,000 on flowers.
And look at that photo. Is that the stuff of knighthood? Had Sir Francis Drake sailed into battle dressed as Donald Duck, the Oxford English Dictionary would be written in Spanish.
Sir Paul McCartney? Hey, just for "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," I'll call Paul His Royal Highness and let him use my back as a step-stool for climbing into his Rolls. But as for Elton John...well, DJs and broadcasters, this is the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, not the Land of the Spree and the Home of the Knave—this madman across the water doesn't rate a Sir on these shores.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Natasha Timarovic, 27, was cleaning her teeth in her home in the Croatian city of Zadar when lightning struck the building. She said: 'I had just put my mouth under the tap to rinse away the toothpaste when the lightning must have struck the building. I don't remember much after that, but I was later told that the lightning had travelled down the water pipe and struck me on the mouth, passing through my body. It was incredibly painful, I felt it pass through my torso and then I don't remember much at all.'
Doctors at the city hospital where she was treated for burns to the mouth and rear said: 'The accident is bizarre but not impossible.'
She was wearing rubber bathroom shoes at the time and so instead of earthing through her feet it appears the electricity shot out of her backside," a medic told local newspaper, 24 Sata. "
(Excerpt from "Lightning Exits Woman's Bottom", http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20548077-13762,00.html)
Monday, February 12, 2007
Well, so long as Katie Couric wasn't asking the questions...
Mount Drinkmore salutes the Great Emancipator. As a tribute to our carved-in-granite counterpart, we'll be playing quarters -- using pennies, of course -- for shots of Kentucky bourbon, after which we'll discuss in-depth the Second Battle of Bull Run, using a Civil War chess set to investigate why Union General Pope failed to castle his troops when Stonewall Jackson made a decisive flanking maneuver.
(Photo courtesy Abraham Lincoln Art Gallery.)
Sunday, February 11, 2007
"Next one is on me," she says.
I'm wondering if she's just saying that and if she'll forget or claim ignorance because the bar is packed and LOUD, and in that kind of atmosphere, you can't hold anyone to anything.
"How you guys doing?" she asks.
"I'll take THAT BEER now," I say—implying that she knows damned well what beer I'm talking about. The free one I've got coming to me. And lo and behold, I get a fresh, free beer placed on the table before me. It's mine and mine alone. A new frontier. And when the bill comes, it's minus 1 beer. The free one. The one I drank for free.
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Now Eddie's back with Norbit, in what's sure to be hilarious look at a spineless loser with a morbidly obese wife. Be on the lookout for Norbit 2, or perhaps a remake of The Absent-Minded Professor in which he invents a Flubber fatsuit.
(Photos copyright Paramount and Dreamworks Pictures.)