Thursday, May 31, 2007

MayDay!! MayDay!!

Current date: 5/31/07
Current time: 8:43 AM
Current American East Standings:
Boston 36-16
Baltimore 26-27
Toronto 24-28
Tampa Bay 22-29
New York 22-29

If this was April going on May and saw these standings, I would just chuckle and wait for the inevitable Yankee run. It's now May going on June and I'm still waiting. One month can be an aberration. Two months and 7 games under .500 it appears this might not be the self correcting Yankess of the years past.

Let's look at the standings another way to get a better picture of what sort of disaster we may be witnessing.

Boston 36-15 Total Payroll = $143,123,714
Baltimore 26-27 TP = $95,107,808
Toronto 24-28 TP = $79,925,600
Tampa Bay 22-29 TP = $24,124,200
New York 22-29 TP = $195,229,045

That's right, the mighty Yankees, with the highest payroll in the league, have the same record as the Tampa Bay LastPlacers who have the lowest. I would also like to point out that the payroll figure for the Yankees does not include Roger Clemens. So tack on another $18 mil. Or $6 million less than the entire Tampa Bay roster.

To be fair, tack on $51 million to the Red Sox payroll since they paid that out for the rights to Dice-K.
So what gives? How is the highest payroll in the league slowly shitting the bed and laying what might possibly be the biggest egg in sports history? Glad you asked. Let's do the ole break down.

Age: Granted this isn't the biggest factor, but it appears some of their key players are turning to dust before our eyes. I keep waiting for Abreu to come strolling to the plate with a walker and he's only 33! Damon is battling old age....er...injuries and doesn't seem close to being the player he was even a year ago.

Injuries: This is becoming less of a factor lately. Mussina and Wang are back and healthy, Hughes is still on the DL, which for a hamstring pull seems a bit odd. I'm not really counting Pavano as he was going to suck and everyone knew it.

Roster Moves: This is where things started going south for this team. First was when they traded Randy Johnson back to Arizona. Things obviously didn't work out for Johnson in NY, beginning when he shoved a cameraman his first day in the city, but he was still an intimidating figure to throw at opposing teams and gave them a better chance to win than three of their current starters.

Which brings us to their second, and in my opinion, more damaging trade. Gary Sheffield to the Tigers. When I heard this I let loose a big sigh of relief. Nobody terrifies me more than Sheffield. With him gone there is a big, gaping hole of intimidation in that lineup. Even with ARod tearing it up, he doesn't scare me. Giambi is a corpse, Abreu is still laying down bunts trying to get on base, Jeter hits opposite field singles, Cano is having all sorts of trouble. With Sheffield gone, so is the Yankee swagger. He made them fearsome. Now they're just a bunch of clean cut, 'gee whiz' guys trying way too hard.

Torre: Boss keeps saying he's safe, but if they're 7 games under .500 at the end June will that still be the case? He's made more than his share of puzzling moves so far. If he keeps getting credit for winning with a $200 million team, shouldn't he be getting some of the blame now?

Cashman: He's been one of the best GMs working under the most extreme circumstances for years, but now that he wrestled control of the team away from the committee he is completely on the hook for this team. Steinbrenner has even publicly said so. Be interesting to see what moves he makes to get this team back in a groove. It also raises the question of whether other teams are going to hold the Yankees over a barrel regarding any trades. Everyone knows they're desperate. If you were another team, wouldn't you try to soak them when they attempt to make a move? I know I would.

Pitching: Mussina is 37, Pettite 34, Clemens 103. Only Wang, their most reliable starter, is in his prime. No wonder they got rid of Johnson. They would have had the first AARP rotation in history. But the biggest issue is the bullpen. Rivera seems to have completely lost his confidence, not that he's had many save opportunities, and the middle relief guys are a disaster. They even walked in two runs in a close game against Toronto a few days ago. If this keeps up, will Guidry or the bullpen coach be fired? They had no problem firing the conditioning coach when hamstrings started popping like over tightened violin strings. Someone's going to pay if this keeps up.

Defense: Not normally the strength of the Yankees anyway, but there has been a drastic decline this year. Matsui, usually there most reliable outfielder, not only looks to have lost a step, but there have been a few plays where he wasn't even sure where the ball was. Abreu looks lost and scared, which is confusing, since he's always been at least competent out there. Cano is making errors on routine plays on a nightly basis it seems. In the Mets series David Wright hit a blast to center field that Damon leaped up to grab. 2 years ago he makes that catch 10 out of 10 times. This time it hits the heel of his glove and pops over the wall for a home run.

Chemistry: Maybe this is an overrated aspect of a baseball team, but there has to be something to it. ARod started crying in public about his relationship with Jeter during spring training. Giambi decides to confess his sins about steroids or whatever in an interview, then a story springs up about him testing positives for amphetamines. Public griping about Clemens prima donna treatment. Some Yankees tell other Yankees to shut the fuck up through the newspapers. Does anyone actually talk to each other in that clubhouse?

NOTE: I wrote most of this yesterday, before ARod pulled another bush league play against Toronto when his team was up 4 runs in the ninth inning. That's twice in one week he's put himself and teammates in the line of fire (after the elbow to Pedroia). Is anyone in the clubhouse going to tell him to cut the shit? I'm betting no. Also thought it was interesting he used the EXACT same phrase he used when he was called out after slapping the ball away from Arroyo in the playoffs: 'I would never do that'.
Bottom line: I still fully expect the Yankees to make a run. They have too much talent not to, but at what point are they too far behind? Right now 13 games isn't insurmountable, but considering the look of the Red Sox, Tigers, Indians, White Sox, Angels, Athletics even if they get their shit together and win 18 games in a row, they still might not make the playoffs.

With a payroll of over $200 million, will missing the playoffs literally kill Steinbrenner? Probably not, but it will be fun to find out.

Today's distraction: Browse one of the best sites ever. Good times, my friends, good times.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More New Friends

Some new friend requests from MySpace I wanted to share.

Maggie: I would link to her page, but it contains 'adult content' and asks you to install some questionable plug in viewer. I was tempted, but declined. I can tell you she's bold enough to share her preferred color in panties on her profile picture (say that three times fast). However, I'm more than disappointed she went with lime green. Totally clashes with her obviously bleached blonde hair.

Decision: DENIED!

Dolly Parton Addict!: No really, that's the screen name. I denied it just for that reason. No need to go into much depth here.

Mira: Gotta admit, this one showed some promise. Until I opened up the link and discovered I had been pre-approved for some sort of loan I didn't apply for. However, I needed to fill out some information to get the full benefit of the low interest loans.

Decision: Unless I want my identity stolen, DENIED!

Cinnamon: Apparently Cinnamon is a 'very shy girl'. However you wouldn't know it by the semi-naked pictures splashed all over her page. All I know about her is she's 25 (or so she claims), lives in the U.S. and is actually named 'Ballerina'. So she goes by Cinnamon and Ballerina and I'm guessing neither are her real name. She also likes to 'listen to you make noises just before and when you unload!' Yeesh. What kind of 'shy girl' are you? From her pictures, I gather she likes collagen injections and other forms of plastic surgery.

Decision: After taking a scorching hot shower in a vain attempt to feel clean again, DENIED!

Brandi: Her quote is 'Hello'. So nice. Of all the slimy, naked girl, fake postings, this one is the most realistic. She makes it seem like she lost a bet with 'Mike' who's listed as one of her friends and the bet was 'loser has to put up naked pictures of themselves on the internet for a week'. Of course it links to another site since MySpace won't allow nude photos (stupid MySpace!).

In the name of research, I tried to see said naked pictures, but - SURPRISE! - it takes you to a site you need to sign up for. No thanks. You're cute, Brandi, but I've seen better looking women than you naked in real life.

Decision: DENIED!

NOTE: I had another friend request from Siena, who looks remarkably like Brandi. They must be twins.

On more note before we make history. I keep getting messages from someone named Diane who always leaves me this message:
If you're reading this, Diane, everyone in MySpace hates you.

El Jac: Found this dude in my Friend Request box mingled in amongst the fake porno and sales calls. Figured out it was actually someone I knew. Must admit it threw me since I really don't know that many people and the ones I do know want nothing to do with me. El Jac (who I'm not linking to out of his privacy and sense of common decency for everyone else) is a 27 year old male from Boston who seems to have an unhealthy fascination with WestGate. Not sure what or who that is, but to each his own. One positive is he seems to be friendly with some pretty girls.

Decision: ACCEPTED (no shit!). One thing El Jac, if you and my other friend ever part ways, know that my loyalty is to my first friend. You'll be dropped like a bad habit (a saying I never really understood. Isn't dropping a bad habit hard to do?). Just want to be clear going into our MySpace relationship.


Today's distraction: Use your mouse to throw Boneless Girl around. Fun, but wears out it's welcome rather quickly.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Memorial

A tribute to the weekend that was.

Absolutely glorious weather, but something about the Boston mentality makes people around here complain no matter what. When it's cold, they can't wait until spring. When it's rainy, they can't wait until summer. When it's warm, they can't wait until fall. I think there are a grand total of 5 days a year in this area that almost make everyone happy. That may be an over estimate.

Had another impromptu party at our house on Friday night. Bunch of neighbors dropped by to drink in the long weekend. A couple across the street could be the biggest Red Sox fans ever. Husband brought over a bottle opener that plays the WEEI broadcast of the final out of the 2004 World Series. They also named their son Theo.

There are a few movies that seem funnier to me the more I watch them. One is 'Anchorman' which actually seems to improve every time I watch it. The other is '40 Year Old Virgin'. Didn't really like it the first time. Turns out I watched the 'Extended Edition' DVD which threw in a bunch of unnecessary, unfunny, insulting, ad lib scenes that went nowhere. The original is much more streamlined and funny. There's a reason some that footage gets axed.

Also, caught 'Mr and Mrs Smith' again and this is another one that seems to improve with repeated watchings. I don't like Brad Pitt, but he's actually pretty funny in this.

Did the following on Saturday because I kick ass. That's right, I am a kick ass father/husband/home owner. Ready? Mowed and weed wacked the lawn. Setup the new pool. Mulched some of the garden, but ran out. Washed the cars. Watched the Sox. Bathed both my children. Put one of them to bed. Started writing this blog. Drank approximately 10 beers and grilled up dinner. I should probably mention I was completely exhausted and fell asleep around 9:30. Still, I RULE!

Watched some of 'Jaws' on my relaxation Monday (hey, after Saturday, I needed to rest!) and am still amazed how watchable it is after all these years. Has any movie aged better?

Just putting this out there but now that Sammy Sosa seems to be hitting again, does this diminish any steroid suspicions about him? I must admit, when he fell apart with the Orioles I was convinced it was the inevitable post-roid decline. Now that he's back to being Sosa, maybe he did just have a foot injury that took time to heal properly (so he says). Or maybe he's just doing HGH and hoping not to get caught.

Wifey and I setup a slide into the little kiddy pool on Sunday to entertain the youngest. He enjoyed it so much he went up and down into the pool so many times he finally just burst into tears from exhaustion. Fell right to sleep for his nap and right to sleep that night. One more reason to love summer.

Since we're here - Reasons I Love Summer

- Women's wear. This will include bikinis, those sleeveless, low cut business blouses, and short skirts.

- Beach. Duh

- Cigars and beers on the back deck

- Going barefoot all day

- Smell of fresh cut grass

- Lobsters!!!! I know these can be had in the winter, but I always associate them with summer.

- Baseball season

Speaking of which, since last we spoke, the Sox have won 4 in a row and the Yanks have lost 4 in a row. Just thought I would bring that up.

Finally finished watching 'Lost' last night and am consistently blown away by the creativity of the writers. Not just in the story line (which was great) but also how they love to fuck with our heads. As a warning, I'm giving away a few things about the season finale, so skip the next few paragraphs if you haven't seen it yet.

First, the entire Jack 'backstory' which blew me away at the end. The writers know we all thought this would be a part of Jack's past we haven't learned about yet, only for them to turn the tables and give us the shakes until next season. However, it did raise some questions for me.

- When Jack is confronted in the hospital hallway and he says 'Bring my father down here and if I'm drunker than he is, you can fire me'. Knowing the ending, does this mean Jack's father is alive? Or was that just the drugs talking?

- Ben is obviously lying about the members of the boat 'killing every living person' on the island, since it appears Jack and Kate get off some how.

- I figure it's either Ben or Locke in the closed coffin. Jack claims he wasn't friend or family and Kate was offended Jack even asked her about going to the funeral. So it couldn't have been Sawyer, since she would have felt the need to go. Maybe Juliette?

Nice to see Walt make an appearance. I was waiting all season for Micheal to reappear for redemption. Shows how much I know. The greatest was Jack finally calling Ben's bluff, then beating the living shit out of him and tying him up. Ben has apparently lost complete control of his gang. Oh, and one eye is apparently invincible.

One last note on 'Lost' - for the first time I haven't been able to buy into two things. First being Charlie having to swim into the 'Looking Glass' to disable the transmission blocker. Why didn't they just cut the electrical line running to the station? You know the one they used to pull themselves out with? Second, why the hell didn't Charlie just swim out the window rather than electing to drown? Or am I guessing next season's premiere?

Back to real life. Hope everyone enjoyed their weekends.

Before I forget, my own personal memorial list.

- Both sets of grandparents. The last having left at the tender age of 96 and was still sharp as a tack.

- Tony, who still has me and my friends scratching our heads.

- Dick, who always has a fond place as being the first one to buy a round.

- Arthur, who isn't actually dead, yet, but will be soon. My best friend just told me has bone cancer and probably won't make it to his own son's wedding in October. Please make it for his sake. I can't imagine anything more devastating to him than you not being there.


Today's distraction: A Memorial Day Word Search. Did you know M-Day was originally called Decoration Day? It's true! Another fun fact learned at the most useless blog ever. You're welcome.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dotting the T's

Some finishing touches on a crazy week before I take a nice, long, well deserved weekend.


Impressions of McLean, Virginia: The mall capital of the world. There's Tyson's Corner mall. Across the street is Tyson's Corner 2 mall. Down the street are multiple strip malls. The town appears to be made up of malls, office buildings, hotels, and three lane divided highways. Not even sure anyone actually lives there.

Flew US Airways back to Boston and was impressed. Very organized and efficient. Although it's tough sitting in a terminal for 2 hours that has NO BAR!! What the fuck!??

Flying out of Reagan is pretty cool. Get to see all the landmarks and monuments while taking off.

Love the weather. Why can't it be like this all the time? Whyyyyyy????

One great thing about McLean: restaurant called Maggiano's that makes the best chicken parm I've ever had. But that's not the main reason to go there. Go there for the absolutely mouth watering cheese cake. Screw Cheesecake Factory, this is the best.

Had an odd moment of dislocation yesterday when three people from the Baltimore office showed up in the McLean office. I had just met them and knew I recognized them, but couldn't figure out from where. There was that awkward moment of 'Hey!' followed by me trying to remember where I knew them from and what their names were.

Not sure what's going on with the blog, but every time I save it and return the spaces are doubled. Stupid blog.


Have you ever been anticipating a movie less than the third 'Pirates of the Caribbean'?

Say what you want about LeBron against the Pistons, but in the first game he made the absolute right play. Always go for the win on the road as opposed to over time. That said, the first two games of this series have been atrocious. Both teams should be embarrassed.

I like John Kruk and what he has to say on 'Baseball Tonight' but his hair is becoming a major distraction.

Just finished the season finale of 'Heroes' and was surprised they actually wrapped up the story line. Thought for sure they would leave you hanging. Strong first season, by the way.

On another front, '24' ended with a whimper. They really think we'd swallow Jack feeling sorry for himself and contemplating suicide. Give me a fucking break. If anything he would want to go out and kill someone that slighted him. They better get their shit together next year or I'm replacing '24' with 'Heroes' on my top 5. Don't make me do it!!

Just need to watch the two hour 'Lost' and I'm ready to continue my life.

Today's distraction: We're entering one of the best weekends of the year. You don't need a distraction. Enjoy, y'all!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Baltimore


'Just stay by the Inner Harbor'. When this is the advice you get from nearly everyone who lives and/or works in the area, you listen. The Inner Harbor is a beautiful little area of Baltimore that reminds me of Boston. It even has a little US Constitution-like ship. It's called the Constellation. You can see it in the above picture. Little more cozy than the Boston harbor area, but the similarities are striking.

A rundown of the city by category:


People

Positives: In a total upset, I actually like the people here. They have a touch of the southern hospitality without the reverb of thumping Bibles. Very friendly and helpful.

Negatives: The startling number of homeless people walking the streets. This is supposedly a tourist area, but it looked like dawn of the dead at times. Only these zombies chant 'Spaarree change...spare change...' while they stagger around. Very disturbing.


Accomodations

Positives: When you wake up every morning to the view in the picture above, there isn't much to complain about. One great new innovation in my room - there are speakers everywhere in the ceiling which pipe in the TV sound. I happily realized this when I jumped in the shower and could still hear SportsCenter highlights loud and clear. How great is that?

Negatives: Beers in the lobby bar were too expensive. $5 for a Miller Lite? No thanks. Well, I mean, thanks, but what the hell?


Camden Yards

Positives: Way too many to count. Let's break this down, shall we?

- Tickets were $8 and we bought them five minutes before the game started

- Got to sit where ever we wanted. The place was half empty. Below is the first place we stopped to watch the game. This was the center field bleachers.


Next we strolled over to the left field side where we had this view:



- Seats were great! No, not the view, but the actual seats. Comfortable and enough leg and arm room for a normal male to move around.

- Highlight was seeing a 3 year old black boy dressed in an exact copy of Miguel Tejada's uniform. It was like a mini-Tejada. Then, out of the blues, Jay Gibbons runs over before the start of an inning to give the boy a game ball. Kid was in his glory.

- Full picnic area behind center field complete with small trees. Of course, this apparently turns into the make shift smoking area for the park so it was a cloud of haze. Good idea, though.

- Watching Sox - Yankee highlights on the huge screen and having nearly everyone in attendance cheer when they show Manny cranking a three run homer. Yankee hating seems to be a national past time.

- Actual beer guys. No kidding. I sat in my seat and ordered bottled beer from a guy running up and down the aisles. When I was low he was right back with more. Love the beer guy.

Negatives: Two here. First being the realization that Fenway is a pit. A complete internal renovation is needed to make the seats more comfortable and facing in the right direction. Being in a real ballpark makes you realize what an abomination of comfort and style Fenway really is.

Second was eating one of the worst hot dogs ever. And I mean in the history of mankind. It may have been horsemeat for all I know. Awful doesn't begin to describe it. I will never complain about Fenway Franks again.


Women

Positives: Another shock, they are beautiful here. We have an office of 15 people and there are three legitimately hot women there. Remarkable percentage. Even the general population turned my head quite a few times.

Negatives: My marital status.


Sports

Positives: Ravens and Orioles are it and the O's rule by A LOT. I'm guessing the history behind the team makes the baseball team more of a city institution than the fairly new Ravens. There are street signs and posters hanging from street lights every other block. Tejada appears to be the face of the franchise now that Ripken's gone, but good ole Cal is still showing up on TV ads here on an hourly basis.

Negatives: The Orioles suck! And have for a while. There is a built in depression about the team that seems imbedded in the natives. Example: I asked if I would just walk up and get seats at the game that night and was greeted with laughter, eye rolls and 'Yeah, there will be A LOT of seats still available'. One guy morosely followed that up with 'We haven't been good for a looonnng time' while staring at his shoes. I feel bad for O's fans.


Boston Sports

Positives: Sox - Yankees series. Love that everyone overreacted to the Yankees winning the first game of the series with 'Here they come!' and 'They have that look about them' only to get destroyed the very next night. It was one game. Calm down. Just like it's only May. Long way to go folks. Sox aren't unbeatable and everyone is still in it. Take a breath.

Negatives: Celtics and the lottery. What the FUCK!?? It literally could not have been a worse outcome. Yeah, they still have the fifth pick, but everyone that knows Danny Ainge just knows he'll blow it on some unknown Chinese or European guy. I can't explain the shock when I found out. I'm just speechless. Fucking ping pong balls. The topper being Portland getting the first pick while being represented by the fucking guy we could have had in last year's draft. Did I mention he won Rookie of the Year? What a disaster.


Today's distraction: Run your own mock draft. I would but couldn't figure out how to trade every player on the Celtics for the first pick. Too depressing otherwise.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Weekend Blahs

I hate weekends like this. Rain, rain, downpours, rain, mist, downpours, rain. Sox games cancelled, kid's games cancelled, picture day for his baseball team, all cancelled. Everything cancelled, soaked, or drowned

I do have some things to keep my spirits up, though. Figured I would share them so my fellow Bostonians can have a virtual ray of sunshine.

1: Waking up to find the Yankees 10 games behind the Red Sox this morning. 10 games!! What the hell is happening with that team? Actually, I don't care and neither do the rest of the Yankee haters. I'm just enjoying the ride. On the plus side, Clemens should be ready for his first shelling any day now.

2: Watched a fun, animated movie with my son last night called 'Monster House'. It was about a house that was a monster, believe it or not. Hence the title.

3: Watched the Sun - Spurs game last night which was entirely entertaining. Sorry to see Nash and crew go out. Gotta admit the pace of the game had me exhausted. Non stop. Those dudes are in shape.

4: Also watched the Nets - Cavaliers game which had an entirely different pace. As in boring. Bye Vince. Thanks for stopping by.

5: My buddy's kids and mine get along great, so we've decided to get together today and let them run around crazy. Why does this help me? Because this is going to be a liquid play date where the parents get shitty while the kids play Star Wars in the playroom. Role models we ain't.

6: Besides the shitty weather, why was I watching so much TV yesterday? Because I just bought a new 42 inch high def set, that's why! It's freaking enormous in our family room! I just need to get a high def receiver from DirecTV and my life will be complete. Can't wait for football season to start now.

Yes, that last one doesn't really make you readers feel better, but I'm happy. And in the end, isn't that all that matters? Thought so.

Today's distraction: Turn your frowns upside down with a happy little pill. Beware, too much of a good thing will kill.

Friday, May 18, 2007

TGI....Uh, What Day Is It?

Some random links and thoughts to end this hectic week.

- Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have developed and tested a marijuana vaporizer. Would you expect anything less from a college based in San Francisco? Turns out this new vaporizer provides the same 'biological effect as smoking cannabis, but without the harmful toxins'. Where were all these 'scientists' when I was in school? Ever feel like you were born in the wrong generation?

Since this is legitimate science, it was conducted under the guise of medicinal purposes and alleviating the pain associated with HIV related neuropathy. As part of the study patients, or as I call them 'willing volunteers', were given pot three times a day using differing methods (smoking or vaporization) and varying strengths of weed. When pot was smoked CO levels rose to expected levels (bad). When vaporization was used, little or no increase in CO occurred (good).

More importantly, 'Patients rated the “high” they experienced from both smoking and vaporization and there was no difference between the two methods'. In the end isn't all that matters? It's just a matter of time until 'vaporizer raves' become part of the teenage culture. Hell, I'm already considering which room I should use.

- John Zimmerman has created a 'Reverse Alarm Clock' designed to keep children asleep throughout the night. He may call it that, but I call it 'The Answer To All My Problems'. Using sunrise and sunset programming, the clock is designed to put the responsibility on the kids for when they get out of bed and go to sleep. They can even program their own sleep and wake up music. The clock uses a wall projection to let the kiddies know when it's ok to get up. If the moon is showing, it means 'go back to sleep, you little brat' whereas the sun display would mean 'you can get up, but leave mom and dad alone or you will be beaten and chained in the basement'. Or something. If I ever meet Mr. Zimmerman, I will hug him.

- Did you know there was a World Rock-Paper-Scissor organization? I shit you not. You can go to the site http://www.iamacompletedork.com for all the details. OK, not really. Go here if you really want to see. The Philadelphia competition is sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and I still can't decide who should be more insulted. Let's just call it a toss up.

- Remember our bee friends that have disappeared? Remember how I said that we haven't developed methods for pollination and that if the bees all died off we were basically fucked? Remember how I'm wrong about nearly everything? Cornell researchers are looking into identifying the gene that self pollinating plants use. Apparently these plants can turn their self pollination on and off and they want to see if the gene can be somehow used for plants that currently do not self pollinate. You know the ones that need actual bees for their pollinating. Still, no guarantees.

- My ill informed rant against Ethanol created quite the commentary from people I never knew read this humble little blog. They actually seemed to know what they were talking about, too. Quite a rarity for this space. Here I thought I was entertaining myself and two or three others (Note: The term 'entertaining' is being used in the broadest sense here). Anyway, it turns out I'm not the only one who was wondering about the legitimacy of this alternative fuel. An article in the Sacramento Bee raised the (in my opinion) relevant question of whether we are ignoring other, more viable alternative fuel options with our hard-on for ethanol. Here's the link, but you have to register and sign in to read it.

You can, however, check out this op-ed piece in the LA Times that reinforces my belief that ethanol is now big business and the amount of money being invested and made from this fuel source may be warping perspectives (corn prices have doubled in the last year). It also points out that since corn byproducts are used in all sorts of different foods any 'shock to corn yields, such as drought, unseasonably hot weather, pests or disease could send food prices into the stratosphere'.

More importantly, the article says 'although corn is a renewable resource, it has a far lower yield relative to the energy used to produce it than either biodiesel (such as soybean oil) or ethanol from other plants. Moreover, ethanol yields about 30% less energy per gallon than gasoline, so mileage drops off significantly'

This rundown on ethanol from Business Week gives some solid info, both negative and positive. Among the more notable items is the belief that producing ethanol actually uses more fossil fuels to create than it gives back. Fantastic.

I happen to agree with friend Bob Moffitt who commented in this space that any step away from fossil fuels is a positive step, but we shouldn't be focusing solely on corn based ethanol at the risk of ignoring other, more effective fuels. When you put all your money on 24 or 36, you tend to ignore all the other colors and numbers on the wheel.

- In related news Norwegian Scientists have put together a table for rating alternative fuel sources. I can't link to the table, however, as it means I have to subscribe to some scientific publishing community and there is no way in hell that is happening. These brainiacs have rated a bunch of different environmental impacts each fuel can have and come up with what they call 'a simple ranking system' that I couldn't make heads or tails of. I will try and find a free version of this table and link to it later.

- In my searches for new robots to be afraid of, I ran across the Robot Hall of Fame. No, really. This year's inductions will be the one legged Raibert Hopper, the NavLab 5 self- steering vehicle, the LEGO Mindstorms kit and Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek. They will be joining HAL from '2001: A Space Odessy', R2D2, C3PO, and the Mars Pathfinder Robot among others already in. I want to know when the robot from 'Lost in Space' will be inducted. 'Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!!'

- Hey, did you hear about that crazy storm that blew through the Boston area on Wednesday? Guess who got caught in the second phase of that storm on my walk back from the subway? Me! Lucky me. I was halfway home with no coat (it was 80 that morning!) and no umbrella when the sky turned black, lightning flashed and within 30 seconds I was soaked. On the positive side it was 50 degrees out. We usually don't see weather like that unless it's 90 and humid.

- Last, but not least, I would like to wish LeF and LaF a fun time at Fenway tonight. I believe attending this game will officially mean they've attended more games this season than I have in my lifetime. I may like them, but that doesn't mean I don't hate them. On the other hand, good things seem to happen with the Sox when they go. They were in attendance for the '4 homers in a row' and 'Dice-K complete' games. They still suck, though


Today's distraction: One of the greatest games ever is now available online. Good luck playing just one game of Battleship. When I first found this I played 5 games in a row.

Blog note: I'll be touring the Baltimore/DC area for work next week, so not sure how often I'll be able to post. Will try to keep the same schedule, but can't promise anything.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

10 Lists of 5

I've had these rattling around in my feeble little brain for a while now. Since they're too brief to stand on their own, I'm mashing them all together. None of these lists are in any order.

Five Movies I've Watched a Combined 15,000 Times
1: Jaws
2: Raiders of the Lost Ark
3: Die Hard With a Vengeance - needs to be unedited
4: Anchorman - rising quickly thanks to HBO showing it every other hour
5: A Christmas Story - this is on the list solely for how many times I watch it during the holidays

Five Shows That Correlate to a Child's Maturity (Boy Edition)
1: Sesame Street ages 1-2
2: The Wiggles ages 2-3
3: SpongeBob Squarepants (for the colors) ages 3-4
4: Power Rangers ages 4-5
5: SpongeBob Squarepants (for the humor) ages 6 - 55

Five Reasons I Hate Kobe Bryant
1: The way he looks
2: The way he acts
3: Using the Clippers to soak the Lakers for more money
4: Forcing the Lakers to trade Shaq
5: Complaining about the lack of support on current Lakers team even though 3 & 4 directly caused lack of support on current Lakers team. What an asswipe.

Five Bands That Shaped My Musical Tastes
1: AC/DC
2: The Beatles
3: The Who
4: XTC
5: The Clash

Five of the Best Shows This Season
1: House
2: Lost
3: The Office
4: Baseball Tonight
5: 24 - still makes it into the top 5 despite this being the worst season yet

Five Shows That Bug The Shit Out Of Me
1: Grey's Anatomy - when the main character the show is titled after is whiny and grating, you're in trouble
2: Ugly Betty - would probably work better as a half hour
3: Brothers and Sisters - Rob Lowe + Calista Flockhart = nausea
4: Friday Night Lights - I tried this a few times, but the jittery camera work, improbable last second wins, and soap opera story lines have lost me. Too bad, cause I liked the coach and his wife and their relationship.
5: Extreme Makeover Home Edition - exploitation and manipulation hidden behind good deeds. The way Ty tries to act noble and caring in order to get the families to cry is sickening.

Five Songs That Change The Way I Walk When It Comes On My iPod
1: I Hate Everyone - Get Set Go
2: Did I Ever Tell You I'm In Love With Your Girlfriend - Irving
3: Midnight - Rock Kills Kid
4: Whatsername - Green Day
5: From the Ritz to the Rubble - Arctic Monkeys

Five Things I Would Like To See Happen When Barry Bonds Hits #756
1: Hank Aaron jumps out of the stands to beat Bonds to death with his own bat
2: Complete and utter silence from the crowd
3: Bonds greeted at home plate with arrest warrant and results of positive steroid test
4: Lightning bolt strikes him as he rounds second
5: Bonds crosses home plate, rolls up sleeve, injects himself with something, gives stadium the finger and walks away never to be seen again

Five Things My Office Should Add To Make Me Happy
1: Standing, ice chilled keg
2: Hammock Room
3: Weekly massages with optional happy ending
4: No asshole zone (preferably this will be my office)
5: Public beer o'clock every Friday (not the same as the private one I usually have)

Five Items I Never Leave Home Without
1: Keys
2: Wallet
3: iPod
4: Head
5: Cell phone

Today's distraction: USA Today's 25 Most Memorable Quotes. Disagree with 25. I would argue that this last list of 5 are more memorable than the one they give.

1: Master of my domain
2: SERENITY NOW!!
3: They're very refreshing
4: Worlds are colliding!
5: These pretzels are making me thirsty

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tinky Winky Learns About Death


I have just learned that the kind, patient, and tolerant Reverend Doctor Jerry Falwell has passed on to his glorious afterlife (am I the only one that thought it was amusing he died in Lynchburg?). Not sure what the cause of death was, but I'm willing to bet Twinkies were involved.

Oh, man, forgive me! Was it Doctor Reverend? Whichever. Either way the world is now down one self serving, egotistical, hypocritical, supposed 'Man of God'. Falwell is a prime...oh, sorry, again....WAS a prime example of everything that is wrong with our country. Someone who cloaks his bigotry, prejudice and hatred in a robe of morality and holiness.

But, you know what? His death is making me reconsider my beliefs. If he could be tolerant, forgiving, and patient, than so can I. As of now, I'm carrying on everything Falwell stood for. I just need to figure out what those things are and my plan will be complete. Below are some quotes directly from Falwell's mouth that should help me find my way.

'There's been a concerted effort to steal Christmas'

No longer! This year I am sworn protector of Christmas. It's not going anywhere.

'That is the way politicians talk. They all use intimidation and political strong-arming to hopefully pick up a vote or two'

Right you are, Mr. Dr. Rev. I promise you I will not use intimidation to pick up any votes during my Presidential run. I may smack a few people around, but no intimidation. Promise!

'A mighty oak has fallen in God's forest'

Uh. Ok, if you say so. I'll get my chainsaw. Does God have an outlet? Mine is electric.

'Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them'

I would add 'or paying for them', but I see his point

'AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals'

Riiight.....um....you know what, I'm just going to ignore this one. He might have been coked up when he said this. Mulligan for Falwell. Ok? OK, great. Let's just move on. Quickly now.

'Billy Graham is the chief servant of Satan in America'

Yes!! This is more like it and he's totally right. I saw Graham serving Satan eggs for breakfast one morning. I swear.

'If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being'

Hey! What the fuck, man? I'm not a born again. You calling me a failure as a human being? Most born agains I've known are just substituting religion for other addictive behaviors. God is their new addiction if you will. The fact that I'm a failure as a human being has no relation to my religious beliefs. I'm just a dick.

'Textbooks are Soviet propaganda'

I have no idea what he means by this, but I'll be against textbooks, too. They're so friggin' expensive these days and have all sorts of typos and shit in them.

'It appears that America's anti-Biblical feminist movement is at last dying, thank God, and is possibly being replaced by a Christ-centered men's movement which may become the foundation for a desperately needed national spiritual awakening'

Christ centered men's movement? I thought he was against homosexuality. Does this explain Bush's Presidency? I'm leaning towards yes. And I am afraid. Very afraid.

'homosexuals are] brute beasts...part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven'

Whoa, this is way off! Most homosexuals I know are nowhere close to being brutes. In fact, they're rather effeminate in their mannerisms and are fantastic dressers. They tend to be neat and use lots of hair gel, too.

'I really believe that the pagan, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen'

OK, this experiment is over. Falwell was referring to the events of 9/11 with the above quote. Once again confirming his insanity to the world.

He once even disagreed with Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr's stand on civil rights. I think Falwell was just jealous that King had more titles in his name.

But, wait, that's not the end of it, as Falwell led a productive, isolationist existence. He once called Rev Desmond Tutu 'a phony'. That phony wound up winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Falwell also disagreed with the end of apartheid, thought public schools should be eliminated so churches could teach the country's children, founded the ironically named Moral Majority organization, and thought the Teletubby Tinky Winky was a covert homosexual symbol. Man, those were the days.

He also sued Larry Flynt for a fake advertisement published in Hustler Magazine that quoted Falwell as saying his first sexual encounter was a drunken night with his own mother. Setting off a First Amendment court trial and me into fits of laughter everytime I think of it.

Since this is a Falwell tribute, I will allow him the last word. Goodbye Mister Doctor Reverend Falwell. Sadly, there will be plenty of followers to fill your shoes.

'Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions'

Today's distraction: Take a few minutes and read how you can get spiritual help from Jerry Falwell Ministries. Ran across this line: 'To become a true Christian believer, you must come to know Jesus Christ. This involves a personal encounter with Christ'. Does this mean Christ has to make personal appearances? Man, he's gotta be beat. I bet he didn't see that in his contract or he would have bailed with Mary. Poor guy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Movie Reviews

Thoughts on some of the latest viewings. I should note that I never go to theaters to see movies anymore. Besides being over priced, over crowded, while serving crappy food, the people there tend to be social morons who have no common courtesy for people around them.

Plus, at home I can pause, rewind, and drink as many beers as I want. So there

The Illusionist This was just ok. Ed Norton was, as always, very good, but I hate when movies supposedly have a 'surprise ending' that I guess halfway through. There is a pivotal moment that dictates exactly what the main character is thinking and what his plan is going to be.

The Prestige I love Christopher Nolan's work. 'Momento' is still one of my favorites and thought his 'Batman Begins' was the best of the series. Sadly, this movie is a mess. Not only is it hard to follow, but there are times when the movie consists of the two main characters sitting there reading each other's journals. I think at one point the movie had a flashback within a flashback within a flashback. One more and it might have created a black hole. To top it off the ending came off like a screen writer's personal challenge in how many surprises they could throw at the viewer. And one of the 'twists' turns out to be a bit of a cop out. I'll give Nolan a mulligan on this one.

London Gotta admit, this one started out gang busters. A darkened, explicit sex scene with Jessica Biel going down on the guy in the final moments. Unfortunately, that's the highlight as the rest of it degenerates into who can over act the most. Scenes are cliched, loud and annoying. The guy trying to get Biel (London) back is played by the guy that plays the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies. He spends the majority of the movie in a girl's bathroom with the guy from 'The Transporter' snorting coke and crying over his lost love. You know what? Fuck him! He's a loser and, if the flashback scenes of their relationship were any indication, treated her like shit. You got what you deserved, dickweed. Stopped watching this after an hour and the only reason I lasted that long was to see if there were any more Biel sex scenes. There was, but nothing worth mentioning.

Sidenote: The Transporter guy wore one of the worst hair pieces in movie history. You know it's bad when you become obsessed with it when ever it's on screen. It basically diverts your attention from everything else.

Some others while we're here:

Alec Guiness in the first 'Star Wars'
Bruce Willis in 'The Jackal' and '16 Blocks'
Nicholas Cage in 'Con Air'. His mustache in 'World Trade Center' should be mentioned, too.
Tom Hanks in 'Da Vinci Code'.
I'm sure there are others, just can't think of them at the moment. This may turn into it's own entry.

Children of Men Now we're talking. One of the best movies I've seen in some time. It's a bleak, depressing view of the future in which women have stopped becoming pregnant for reasons unknown. I don't want to give too much away, as part of the pleasure of this was not knowing where it was headed. I know when a lot of you heard 'bleak' you immediately crossed it off your list, but just because it's depressing subject matter doesn't mean it's humorless. Michael Caine (who I neglected to add to the 'makes it look easy' list in the last review entry) sees to that.

Two things to note. This movie contains two visceral scenes that astonished me. First is a single cut, hand held take of Clive Owen's character navigating his way through a gun battle between government militia and rebels. It's intimate and terrible and you actually feel like you've been through a battle by the time things wind down.

Second is the impact a newly introduced character has on the people around her. Again, don't want to give away too much, but the reverential silence from everyone around her stuns you to tears. Or near tears anyway. What I loved about this movie isn't it's realism, although that does come into play immediately after the above scene, but the sliver of hope that ends the movie.

Highly recommended.

Today's distraction: Another movie quiz. I've done about 4 of these and have fun with all of them. For the record, the titles have to be exact. For example, you can't write Tango and Cash, it must be Tango & Cash for you to get credit. I got 20 out of 30.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I Rule!

Here's a question: Who's better than me?

Answer: Nobody.

Saturday's entry about King Dickwad (aka Herod) was my 100th blog entry. That's right, this blog is now ready for syndication. You can catch old entries on CW56 every night at 5pm EST. Check your local listings.

Since none of you loyal readers (if you exist) have the common decency to congratulate me, I'm going to have to do it myself. As the saying goes, if you want something done right....

By the way, this is entry 101 so you are already late with your well wishes and congratulations and sexual favors and cash. Just forget it. Christ, I slave for minutes a day to put this together and this is the thanks I get. You can all just bite me.

A matching game for today. Could be the easiest one in history, too. I put some of my favorite quotes from previous entries in the top section. In the bottom section are possible topics and/or people I was referring to. Simply match the number to the letter. Or vice versa. Or don't play at all. See if I care!

There is a trick one in here. See if you can guess which one is not my quote.

A: "a talentless hag who thinks acting simultaneously shrill, condescending and hypocritical makes her interesting"

B: "underground tunnel that is dripping what looks like anti-freeze"

C: "Your life makes me laugh....but you knew that. And we're clear how pathetic this is, right?"

D: "one word that exemplifies the difference between men and women more than any other"

E: "He's a chain smoking, former basketball player who has the most addictive personality I've ever witnessed"

F: "Stupid broken satellites"

G: "Always leave a buffer zone"

H: "I punched her a couple of times, but it was totally in self defense"

I: "Man alive, this is the best we could do?"

J: "They both flew on the last Discovery Space Shuttle mission which, I'm guessing, makes them members of the elite 100,000 mile club."

K: "didn't even freakin' exist when I was a kid"

L: "What I can't live with is them putting ideas into my wife's head"

M: "once Iraqi men get one and Iraqi women know how to give a proper one making bombs will be the last thing on anyone's mind"

N: "A staggeringly simple, yet profoundly genius invention that I will be using and abusing for the rest of my life"

O: "I can't shake the feeling I've been gypped"

P: "was hoping they would name it Keep The Fuck Out Act"

Q: "I may never be heard from again"

R: "burn just as much, if not more, going out as they do going in"

S: "I'm a fucking idiot"

T: "a conspiracy backed by CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens to drum up more business"

U: "I got dibs on San Diego"

V: "My problem is not people. Just people I don't know"

W: "best written show on TV"

X: "delighted to announce that ________ has become the most common plastic surgery procedure in the U.S."

Y: "You need something so ridiculous and borderline asinine that people sit up and take notice"

Z: "I rule!"

1: Rosie O'Donnell
2: French Embassy
3: Trick one!
4: Fart
5: Childhood Friend
6: Broken Satellites
7: Urinal etiquette
8: Other Woman
9: Super Bowl
10: Lisa Marie Nowak & Bill Oefelein
11: Disney Channel
12: Entertainment Shows
13: Blowjobs
14: www.callthefuture.org
15: New Female Sexual Behavior
16: New Border Fence
17: DirecTV, DVR, March Madness Combo
18: JJ Foley's Buffalo Chicken Tenders
19: March Madness (though could apply to all entries)
20: Supposed Terrorist Plots
21: Post Apocalyptic World
22: People
23: 'House'
24: Breast Augmentation
25: Getting your band noticed
26: How great I am

Today's distraction: What, that game wasn't enough for you? Fine. Then try this game that sums up this blog perfectly.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Herod....the Great??


On Monday night it was announced that Professor Ehud Netzer and his team had discovered the tomb of one King Herod. Not that I know who Herod is, but it sounds like Steve Martin might have another hit song in the making. If you got that joke you're either over 35 or extremely well versed in old SNL skits. Either way I consider you my friend.

Professor Netzer, member of the Institute of Archaeology from Hebrew University of Jerusalem had been excavating the site most people thought held Herod's tomb since 1972. To quote this article, 'the tomb was discovered when a team of researchers found pieces of a limestone sarcophagus believed to belong to the ancient king'. Limestone sarcophagus! Rock on, dudes!!! We just found some limestone sarcophagus! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Turns out, poor Netzer wasn't even at the site when the discovery was made. How much of a bummer must that have been? He spends more than 3o years looking for something and the minute he turns his back....son of a bitch! It should be noted that the King's tomb was found at a site named Herodium (pictured above). Now why they decided to look there is beyond me, but they're the experts.

Anyway, this Herod was a self proclaimed 'King of the Jews' from...oh...sometime before Christ. It was in the BCs, that's all I can tell you. Problem was, technically Herod wasn't Jewish as his mother was actually daughter of an Arabian Sheik, so he riled a few feathers from actual Jews by calling himself King of the Jews. Should consider himself lucky, considering that other 'King of the Jews' wound up nailed to some wood wearing a thorn hat. You can do a quick bio on Herod here, but trust me when I say it's not stimulating reading.

Herod, by all accounts, did some good things for Jerusalem, including building Caesarea Maritima, expanding The Second Temple (which he humbly renamed to 'Herod's Temple'), and creatively resolved the spreading of starvation and disease after a prolonged drought by importing grains from Egypt. He may have been the first outsourcer in history. A role model for cheap CEO's everywhere.

Unfortunately for Herod, he is best known for his role in what is referred to as 'Massacre of the Innocents'. I'm no historian, but being well known for involvement in any massacre, never mind one of innocents, is probably bad. In this case, Herod ordered the execution of all newborn boys in Bethlehem. Apparently a magi had foretold of the new 'King of Jews' being born and Herod didn't feel like losing his self imposed title. Bit of an extreme measure, I'd say.

Thing is, if you look at Herod's pattern of behavior, it shouldn't have been that surprising he ordered the slaughter of hundreds of innocent babies. He seems to have been petty, vindictive and a tad paranoid. When he was 17 he appointed his own brother 'High Priest' so he wouldn't be eligible for ruling. Then the next year that same brother drowned at a party. I probably should put drowned in quotes.

Some other notable events.

- Banished his first wife and 3 year old son, despite the fact he could have more than one wife. How annoying a wife must she have been?

- Executed brother in law under charges of conspiracy to do something. Like the charges even matter. Herod probably lost to him at pool and was a sore loser.

- Had his second wife tried for adultery and forced her own mother to testify against her. He did this after second wife found out Herod was going to kill her, so stopped sleeping with him. She was executed. He did get that he could have more than one wife, right? This was explicitly spelled out to him?

- Suspected his own sons of attempting to kill him and took them to trial, but eventually dropped the charges. Then decided they really were out to get him and executed three of them.

So Herod The Great had serious woman issues, was not much of a family man, was probably paranoid schizophrenic and spent a majority of time building shrines and monuments to himself. Plus he killed a bunch of babies.

When the tomb was uncovered after centuries of being buried and lost, the first thing archaeologists noticed was the tomb had been vandalized. If anything this find just proves that the Jews were getting the last word back then, too.

Gotta love it.

Today's distraction: Browse a photo gallery of the dig site. My one impression - it looks like they need rain.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jury Doody

By the time you read this I'll be sitting in a jury room in Cambridge, trying to avoid eye contact with the other misfortunates around me and hoping to get out of there without any further obligation. My only hope is the hotline that you call the night before. I am burning incense, using voodoo, calling John Travolta, anything I can think of to sway the Court Gods into telling me I don't need to show up Friday morning.

The last time I was summoned to perform my civic duty was about 5 years ago. For whatever reason they called me to Framingham. I tried to get it changed to closer to home, but those bastards just wouldn't listen. Then, the day I had to go we just happened to be in the middle of a blizzard. No, not just a snow storm, a full fledged, how the hell am I getting out of my driveway, school cancelled, work optional blizzard.

I kept calling the hotline and the recording kept saying 'Court is scheduled as usual. Potential jurors should arrive by 8 am'. This was the recording right up until I got in my car and plowed my way to a courthouse 30 miles away from where I was living. Took me 2 hours to get there, so I was an hour late. I walk in, ask the guard where I should go and he says 'Oh, court's been cancelled.' I then got back in my car and drove another 2 hours back to my house. Good times! The good news is that was my jury duty. I got full credit just for showing up. Yay for me!

Tomorrow (today for you) will be different. It's maybe a 10 minute drive and it's been beautiful, so inclement weather won't be an issue. I have another problem, too. I'm supposed to go on a business trip next week, but if I get sucked into a trial I'm going to have to cancel it. Especially if it's something that takes up the better part of next week. My only hope is that it is a Friday, so court is usually slow. Monday's are the worst. All the arrests from the weekend have been piling up just waiting to give their side of the story.

Just in case, I've devised a few game plans to make sure I don't get selected for anything. I want a one and done deal. Pros and cons for each are offered.

Acting insane

Pros: This has the best chance of working as I'm rather odd anyway and it really wouldn't be a stretch.

Cons: Could wind up under 'evaluation' for extended period of time.

Dropping racial slurs as often as possible
Example: 'Do you have any prejudices?' 'Absolutely not, sir. Well, unless you include them spics and niggers. Oh, and the towel heads, too. I would convict one of them there terrorists in a second. So, except for those people and the Jews, I have no predijuices at all.'

Pros: Nobody wants a racist on their jury. I hope.

Cons: If court officer is black, I could get the living snot kicked out of me.

Insult the judge

Pros: Kicked out of court.

Cons: Possible jail time.

Wear and blast iPod at all times

Pros: Get to enjoy my fantastic taste in music and filter out the judge, bailiff, and everyone else. If it get selected how would I ever know?

Cons: Could actually increase my odds of being selected as I won't say anything offensive or stupid.

Wear suit and pretend I am highly important and shouldn't be wasting my time with something so trivial as jury duty

Pros: If I talk into my cell at all times, I might annoy enough people to get thrown out.

Cons: I hate ties.

Bomb threat

Pros: At the very least, a two hour break.

Cons: Believe that's a federal offense and might be facing life in jail. Possible injuries from stampede of people.

Acting like Rain Man

Pros: Could pull it off fairly well. Never make eye contact, repeat certain words over and over when spoken (example: 'Please stand!' Me - 'yeah, stand. everyone stand. stand...everyone....stand..stand.')

Cons: Might bug the shit out of myself

Arrive naked

Pros: Way too many to count

Cons: Traumatizing a building full of other people. Wait, this is actually a Pro. How about my nude ass sticking to those cheap chairs.

Sexually harass any good looking women in my vicinity

Pros: It's who I am, anyway. One might actually take me up on the offer..AHHAHAHAHAHA, man I am funny

Cons: Lawsuits, divorce, never see boys again. At least two of those are cons.

Arrive drunk

Pros: Most fun

Cons: Would need to start drinking at 4am. I suppose I could just stay up and drink all night......

Suicide

Pros: All my troubles are over, boys' college education paid for, finally get some sleep.

Cons: Rulers of the afterlife (if there is one) fighting eternal holy war over who gets me. I go to the loser.

I'm sure some other options may present themselves as I figure the layout. Maybe there is a back door I can sneak out. Just like back in the high school days. Sign my name to the sheet, pretend to get coffee, bye bye class.

As always, I'm open to other suggestions.

Today's distraction: Here's an Ohio man who had the same thought I did. He spent a night in jail, but was eventually removed from the jury. So, a night in jail or jury duty for a week or more. I really liked his excuse, too.

Crap Morning

Yesterday morning, I awoke to glorious weather. The boys had slept all night and I was refreshed and ready for the day. I get the boys dressed and they are cooperative and happy. Not usually this way, for the record. Often they fight me to put a shirt on or can't decide what they want for breakfast or don't want to brush their teeth. Not so this day!

I bring them downstairs and get them fed and they are watching Spongebob and laughing and just in a generally good mood. Things are going well. I open the windows and begin making lunches for school while wifey takes a shower and gets herself ready. Just then - OW! Sharp pain in my foot. I hobble over to the coach to see if I can pull out whatever it is I stepped on. Since it feels like a splinter, I get the tweezers and try to get the fucker out.

No good. Can't even see it, never mind grab a hold of it. I get the nail clippers and start digging. Feels like I got it until I start walking again and the stabbing returns. What the FUCK!?? Sit back down and really go at it. I don't want to be walking around like this all day. Want to get it out before I head to work. Dig away, more blood than should be for a splinter, still can't get it out.

Wifey comes downstairs and I say to the boys, 'get something on your feet cause I don't want you stepping on anything'. Wife says 'Oh, I broke a glass last night. Thought I got it all'. I say 'Great, that glass is now in my foot.' To which she says 'Well you shouldn't be walking around barefoot'. She says this knowing I walk around barefoot ALL THE FUCKING TIME! I say 'I wouldn't have been walking around barefoot if I knew you broke a glass last night.'

As you can see, my glorious morning quickly went to shit. As I write this, that fucking piece of whatever is still in my foot. I doubled up the socks and went to work. Hopefully it will loosen and soften up in the shower so I can get it out later.

This also got me thinking about how many different ways a day or morning can be ruined by one little detail or problem. Mornings are the catalysts for the rest of your day. Below are things that have personally happened to me that ruined an otherwise perfect morning. Feel free to add your own.

For the record, I've left out two mornings when I've learned about the death of a loved one. Not minimizing them, just that the news and loss ruined more than one day.

No hot water. The worst. You wake up, eat, iron your clothes, go to shower and it's ice cold. Not only can you not shower properly, but most likely you will know have to call in sick to work and wait for a plumber to arrive or call your landlord and let them know. At the very least, you're going to be late for work and look pretty shitty when you get there.

Flat tire. Close second to no hot water. Not only are you going to be late, but you'll be dirty and need to take another shower after putting that ridiculous looking toy wheel on. Compounds ten fold when it's a hot summer morning. Like in August. When the humidity makes it feel like 120 degrees out at 7am. Good times.

Waking up sick. Not a head cold or even flu. I can handle those, but that 'man it's beautiful out today. Think I'm going.....' then suddenly having to run to the bathroom due to stomach issues.

Injury. The glass in the foot is minor compared to some of the things I've done. Cutting myself on a cat food can, throwing my back out picking up the laundry basket, falling down a set of icy stairs on the way out the front door. Nothing ruins a morning quicker than intense, unexpected pain.

Environmental Disaster. Living in Malden, wifey and I were woken up by firefighters pounding on our door. Looking up at me on the second story balcony he asks 'You have any children in there?' Me answering 'Whhhyyyyy??' Not the question you want asked at 4 am. 'There's an ammonia leak next door. We're telling everyone to evacuate the area.' And here I thought the cats had pissed on the carpet.

Sick kids. Nothing gets you out of bed faster than the sound of your child retching in the next room. Cleaning up before you've had coffee isn't the most ideal way to start a day.

No heat. Close relation to no hot water. If you own your house, you're missing some work and will probably be waiting around in the freezing cold until someone shows up.

Ceiling leak. Either from outside or the upstairs shower leaking downstairs, there is no more horrifying site than dripping water. One suggestion, if you want to deal with it later, but not worry about damage: drill a hole in the center of the leak. This way the water will get out quickly and dry and you can go to work and figure things out when you get home.

Blackout: Surprisingly, this hasn't happened too often and even when it does it's merely an inconvenience. Of course, I don't blow dry my hair and can shower in the dark. There are worse things then going to work with wrinkled clothes. Women would probably move this up to number 2.

Weather: Waking up and realizing it snowed about 10 inches over night. That sucks. I also hate planning a day off during the summer only to wake up to unpredicted, pouring rain.

My grandparents have me beat on every count, though. One morning, after a particularly riotous, overnight thunderstorm they walked into their kitchen to find a tree had fallen through the window. Damage wasn't as bad as it first appeared, but I can't imagine anything more troublesome than finding a forest of branches in your kitchen when you're still barely awake.

Today's distraction: 6 Great Ways to Start Your Day. Personally, think these are great, but since I'm pressed for time in the morning I'm combining three of them. From now on I'm doing Yoga and eating a balanced meal while stretching in the shower.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Futurama


Three recent findings have the scientific and technology community buzzing with excitement. Sure, geeks humming with excitement sounds a bit like nervous, high pitched, annoying laughter from 40 year old virgins, but these items might be something to keep an eye on. Especially the middle one since it could end life as we know it or, at the very least, give someone super powers.

The first is the discovery that light can behave like a solid. Melbourne and Cambridge University researchers Andrew Greentree, Jared Cole, Lloyd Hollenberg, and Charles Tahan have figured out a way to get light to act like crystals. In their words, 'Usually, photons flow freely, but in the right circumstances, they repel each other, and form a crystal'.

If you say so. Apparently this is a big deal and is supposed to lead us into an entirely new technological direction, which could include new sources of energy. I say 'could' because nobody is really sure what good this will do. Can't help but think of Superman's Fortress of Solitude when they say 'solid light will help us build the technology of this century'. You can read the self congratulatory press release here, if you so choose.

Second on our list is this discovery of a new type of SuperNova. This is the biggest and baddest stellar explosion ever recorded. If you go to that link you can even have a cool artist rendering of what it would look like up close. In fact, here, I'll put it at the top of this entry. Pretty, isn't it?

According to Nathan Smith of the University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley again!!) 'This was a truly monstrous explosion, a hundred times more energetic than a typical supernova. That means the star that exploded might have been as massive as a star can get, about 150 times that of our sun. We've never seen that before.'

Why is this important to us, you ask? Because those in the know are comparing this massive blast to similar behavior a star in our galaxy is exhibiting. Prior to blowing up, the star (dorkily named SN 2006gy) 'expelled a large amount of mass prior to exploding'. Sounds like me after a night of heavy drinking. Eta Carinae is a star in our galaxy that is displaying the same mass expulsion behavior. As Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore says, 'We don't know for sure if Eta Carinae will explode soon, but we had better keep a close eye on it just in case'. Good idea, Mario. Let us know if you need anything.

For the record, any SuperNova emits massive doses of gamma radiation. Eta Carinae is about 7500 light years away from earth and, if you ask me, that's too close. Besides, we all saw what happened to Bruce Banner when he got exposed to gamma rays. Would you want to be walking around in a world full of Hulks? Me neither.

Lastly, and probably the coolest of the three items, is Sony's development of Data Tiles. I can't properly explain them, so go here and watch a demonstration. Pay particular attention to the online shopping demo and how they pay for their purchase. It's about halfway through the clip and found it interesting. Talk about your paperless society!

I have no idea how these tiles work, but it has something to do with those red and gray wires and little blinky lights. I'm sure of it. Can't wait until these are introduced into the workplace and those dopes that can't figure out how to send an email or turn on their laptops need to be trained on them.

Just kill me now.

Today's distraction: Read one woman's 10 Most Needed Inventions. Couldn't agree more about number 2. I want to be able to travel without spending 8 hours on a plane. I'm 6'1 and get cramped and cranky when I'm flying for more than 3 hours.

On the flip side, the last thing we need are flying cars (number 8). The bozos driving now can't figure out the highways and side roads. Do we really want Grandma flying into the side of an office building?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Baseball Whore


In case you haven't heard, Roger Clemens signed with the Yankees over the weekend. He should be ready to go by June and will be making approximately one million bucks per start. That's if he stays healthy, of course. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than watching him hurt himself in his first start with the Yankees and mentally hearing the sound of a toilet flushing with George's $28 mil swirling to the depths. I can dream.

Years ago I would have been beside myself. The rich getting richer. I was pissed when Clemens forced a trade from Toronto to NY so he could get himself a ring. Sure, we could have kept him in red, but everyone forgets how he would show up at the start of spring training looking like he opened and ate from his own Texas BBQ joint and barely left the coach. Nothing more infuriating than watching your number one pitcher play himself into shape from April to June. His maniacal fitness routine didn't kick in until Dan Duquette showed Roger the door and uttered his infamous 'twilight of his career' statement. Go back to the day after we cut ties with Clemens and you would be hard pressed to find one Sox fan that thought it was a bad idea. I thought Toronto was foolish for paying him that much. Until he showed up 20 pounds lighter and pissed off the first day of camp. Fucker!

Today, this is nothing but a desperation move by a team with virtually no pitching. Like we all didn't see this coming when Carl Pavano was named opening day starter after they traded Randy (I Hate NY) Johnson back to his cushy life in Arizona. So good old George opened the vault so Roger could play with his buddy Andy, Derek, and father figure Joe. If anything, this smacks as more a publicity move, than an actual free agent signing. Why have Clemens personally announce to the crowd during the seventh inning stretch if they weren't trying to give the NY crowd something to be hopeful about?

I find it amusing that the potential of the Red Sox landing Clemens seems to have spurred Cashman and Steinbrenner to up their bid. Can't say for sure, but I'll be the Sox were offering around what Houston paid him last year. $28 million? Doubt it. Seems strange to be living in a world where the Yankees overpay for an aging, past his prime player because the Red Sox were showing interest. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?
Let's look at this from a strictly practical standpoint and you'll see why this isn't really bothering me.

- Yankees are a team hammered by injuries to their pitching staff and appear to be aging in fast forward. Their solution is to sign a 44 year old pitcher.

- Yes, Clemens has been effective for the past few years, but eventually age is going to catch up to him. Keep in mind, too, that he's been pitching in the National League where every ninth batter is an automatic out and the average shortstop hits around .200. The NL Central is light years removed from the AL East. Christ, the worst team in our division is the Devil Rays and they still throw a tough lineup at you every night.

- As John Kruk pointed out on 'Baseball Tonight', this really doesn't help the Yankees bullpen that much. The last few years, Clemens has been a 5-6 inning pitcher. Figure with the tougher AL lineups, he may be even less than that. This means the bullpen isn't going to experience much of a break. They're still going to have to come in and work after they've already been over worked. And it's freaking MAY!! We need to start a pool on how many Yankee relievers go on the DL or have their velocity dip 3-5 mph by August. It's going to be double digits if this keeps up.

- Who goes into the bullpen to help out? Usually you get a new front line starter, one of your semi-reliable starters can join the bullpen and become the long relief guy. Who does that for the Yankees? Igawa? You would think, but he was just sent down to Class A Tampa. Oops.

Clemens has proven himself to be nothing but a baseball whore with this signing. Toronto I can understand. Forcing a trade to the Yankees I can even understand. He wanted a ring and picked the right place for it. Houston? Sure, he's playing at home and wants to stay near his family. This one? No explanation for it except he picked the highest bidder. Word is Boston and Houston both offered him a deal, but he chose the Yankees. Because of his friends? Because of his family? Because of his loyalty? No, no and NO. Because of his bank account. He prostituted himself to the highest bidder, plain and simple.

Need more? How about a story that he hadn't even told his kids (you know, the ones he went to Houston to spend all that time with) he had signed with the Yankees. According to Buster Olney's blog, son Kacy figured it out when Clemens' agent picked him up at his house. Now there's a family man for you.

You can take my opinion with a grain of salt if that makes you feel better. I am a Red Sox fan and devout Yankee hater, after all. Yeah, he does make the Yankees rotation better, but then again, signing me would have made that rotation better. And I don't top 60 on my fastball.

It's just that Clemens has once again shown himself to be a mercenary. Someone who wants to be stroked and coddled and given maximum pay with maximum perks for minimum work. He's now screwed over the following teams in one form or another: Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees (faking retirement then signing with Astros), and now Houston. If anything the Astros and their fans should be more pissed than anyone. They bent over backwards and forwards to accommodate Prince Roger. Then gave him $18 million to start about 20 times for them last year. His response: "Um, yeah, that family thing I was playing for? Not so much any more. I'm heading to New York. Enjoy your season!'

Don't believe Hollywood or Julia Roberts; there really is no such thing as a prostitute with a heart of gold.

Today's distraction: Read this hysterical letter to Roger written by Seth Stevenson back in 2004. Still appropriate today. In fact, Houston fans are probably sending it to each other like crazy this week.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Fund This

Paul Williams of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has recently conducted a study on the effects of exercise and aging. I hope you're sitting down, because the results are mind boggling.

Seems they found that people who maintain an active lifestyle gain less weight than those people who don't. I know!! It's the exact opposite of what I would have thought!! To quote this press release, 'men and women who ran over 30 miles per week gained half the weight of those who ran less than 15 miles per week'.

Whoa, whoa, slow down! Let me see if I have this straight. You're telling me if Joe runs half as much as Lisa, Joe will put on twice as much weight. Well, thank you for that information. Hold on while I file that away in the 'No Fucking Shit' section of my brain. Here, I'll put it between the 'Anna Nicole Smith died from a drug overdose' story and the 'Black Players Get Whistled For More Fouls in the NBA' report.

Mr. Williams, your rebuttal? 'To my knowledge, this is the only study of its type. Other studies have tracked exercise over time, but the majority of people will have changed their exercise habits considerably.'

Allow me one possible reason this is 'the only study of its type': Because it's fucking obvious! That's why! Do we really need a seven year long study conducted that proves people who run more gain less weight? What other outcome were they expecting?

But, wait!! There actually was another study that looked at the same thing. Back in 2006, an article in Obesity Magazine 'found that runners who increased their running mileage gained less weight than those who remained sedentary, and runners that quit running became fatter'. Wow! I can't figure out which is more amazing, that this was published as a legitimate scientific find or that there is a magazine dedicated to fat people. Hey, want to guess who one of the co-authors of that article was? Our good friend Paul Williams, Dean of Obvious University.

Normally, I would probably just laugh this off (ok, I'm doing that anyway), but I'm also a bit pissed off. See, this particular study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Who funds that? We do. It falls under the the Department of Health and Human Services. Unfortunately, I couldn't find how much of our money was spent on this. Attempted searches on the NHLBI site regarding funding became so layered and convoluted I wound up getting lost. Here is the archive for past Requests for Applications if you want to see how your tax money is being spent.

The best I can figure is it was at least $186,000, but probably not more than $1,515,000. That's just a guess. Searches for Paul Williams and/or Berkeley Labs produced too many results to be helpful.

I figured since there seems to be good money in proving the obvious, I would apply for some funding myself. Some proposed subjects for research:

People who drink alcohol more likely to be caught drunk driving

Coffee drinkers more social approximately 30 minutes after morning cup

Boston residents crankier than San Diego residents

U2: Overrated or just annoying?

Kobe Bryant is a flaming asshole: a qualitative study

Barry Bonds used steroids: statistical analysis of cap size

Couples without children sleep better than those with children

Beer - delicious or just plain yummy?

Pass along any suggestions you may have. I'll submit my options online and could definitely use a few hundred thousand to buy some beer.

Today's distraction: The 10 most obvious studies of recent years. Did you know the beer goggle effect was proven? Or that objects far away are tougher to see than those that are close? Now you know. It's been scientifically proven. Can't wait until they update this and put this study right at the top.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Honey, I'm Home

If you haven't heard, the global honey bee population has been mysteriously disappearing. In a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD for you acronym junkies) honey bee nests are left with only the queen bee and a few worker bees. The rest are gone. Just gone. No dead bees, no trace of anything. According to sources the queen was quoted as saying 'They said they were just running out for milk. Next thing I know I'm all alone caring for the little ones. Bastards! They're all bastards!' Queen bee then burst into tears and flipped to Oprah.

Why should we care? Because honey bees are a vital part of pollination process for over 90 different types of vegetable and fruit plants. That's right. No bees, no food. That's bad, I would gather. What's truly concerning is we have no way of duplicating the pollination process. So those of you thinking we can just 'figure something out' might want to stop that thought. We've already tried and we can't do it.

Reasons why this is happening are a bit cloudy for the moment, but researchers at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (a U.S. Army product!!!) have some possibilities. They identified both a virus AND a parasite that could be causing some problems. Here's the press release if you're interested. Doesn't say much other then they used some fancy new technology called 'Integrated Virus Detection System (IVDS)' to discover the pathogens. Whoopie!

Fortunately for all of my loyal readers (all two of you), I may have the real reason. Bees don't want to have sex with the queen. They have fled in mortal terror of their genitals. When bees mate with the queen their genitals literally explode. Then their penis falls off and stays stuck inside the queen to prevent any further mating. Not sure about the rest of you guys, but I would get the fuck away, too. I like my penis and exploding gonads doesn't sound like the best way to end a date. It shouldn't be called Colony Collapse Disorder it should be called Genital Preservation Syndrome (GPS!!! Shit, that's taken).

Interviews with some runaway bees have been tracked down. According to a National Hive article, one worker bee (identified only as Bubba) said, 'All day long it's work, work, work. I mean, what the fuck? We fly around, we pollinate, we fly some more, pollinate, then get back to the nest only to serve Her Holiness Queen Bitch, who just sits around all day sucking on Bon Bons. We never get to have fun and the one time in our lives we get laid our balls explode. This life sucks! Me and my buds are heading to Vegas for a few weeks to recharge.'

So there you go. They aren't dying off, they're just getting ready to form a union. Worker bees unite!

Today's distraction: Play Bee Commando. Fun, stupid little game. If you're at work turn down your volume before you start playing.