Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Just Go

Good riddance to the worst June of my life. And, no, that’s not an exaggeration at all. Boston became Seattle East for the last 30 days. Rain nearly every day, fog, 60 degree temperatures, drizzle, barely any sun. Just miserable. June is usually the best month of the year around these parts. 70s and 80s with plenty of sunshine and flowers blooming and hot girls in sundresses and beach visiting and back deck hanging outing…

Not so this month.

Thankfully it’s over today. July will usher in full fledged summer. Let me rephrase. July BETTER usher in full fledged summer or I’m going to murder a random homeless person. Only kidding, internet police. Just a figure of speech. Kind of like how I only ‘say’ I chain my kids to the radiator when I need to watch the game down at the local pub. I don’t really mean it.

As far as you all know.

Anyway, some thoughts for the week. I have Thursday and Friday off due to the lovely July 4th weekend, so this might be it for the week. Cherish it.

- Check out CNN.Com’s news briefs today (as of 10am EDT). The top four headlines all involve Michael Jackson in some way or another. His unexpected death prompted a discussion between my neighbors about whether Jackson could be one of the last superstars we’ll ever see.

Consider that nobody alive today approaches his stature and fame. He is known and (for the most part) adored around the world. We could argue Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are still in his class. Probably Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry, as well. Paul McCartney, definitely. But looking at the younger generation is it possible we’ve seen the last of musical superstars?

My guess is that if there would be a superstar it would have to emerge from American Idol or someone will have to startle us as a ground breaking musical artist. Unfortunately, there isn’t much left to originate. Jackson merged soul, funk, pop, and rock into his own fused and hugely popular sound. The Stones brought the grit of blues into rock and roll. The Who invented the rock opera.

What else is there to do? At best, we have a bunch of artists who are creative, but not inventive. I originally thought Kanye West could have been the next big thing, but his ego and last release have dimmed that star. Prince? He was on his way, but the bloom has been off the flower for a while. U2? Overrated. Jonas Brothers? Boring.

Where’s that leave us? When you think superstar, you certainly have images of girls crying in the crowds whenever the artist appears in public. People fighting to the death for tickets to a concert. People who would over look anything in that artist’s personal life.

Madonna? Maybe, but she’s had her time. Sting? Meh. What the hell has he even done lately? I can’t think of a single band or person that would cause varying types of people to unite and agree that ‘Yes, this is great!’ To nearly cause riots during one of their public appearances. To cause teenage girls to faint from the excitement of seeing them in concert.

Everything is so public and segregated we may never see an artist like Michael Jackson again. He could be the last of a breed.

Of course, the same was probably said when Elvis died, too. We’ll see, but the prospects look dim.

- Speaking of Elvis, I wonder two things:

1: Will Neverland Ranch be turned into a Graceland for Jackson?

2: When will the first rumors of Jackson still being alive surface? There are people out there who are still convinced Elvis is running a diner in Utah. Conspiracy nuts will make something up, I’m sure.

- Wifey and I took the boys to a BBQ/Anniversary party for work friends of hers. During the night I went into the house to use the bathroom and my youngest followed me in (just to see what I was doing). On our way out an older gent was heading into the house. Only he didn’t realize there was a screen door in his way and he walked right into it. He wasn’t hurt, but obviously embarrassed which was made worse when my youngest burst out laughing and pointed at the man. I have never seen him laugh so hard in all his life. Tears were rolling down his face. The man laughs and says to him ‘Oh, you think that’s funny?’ Youngest, between laughing, replies ‘Yeah, that was AWESOME!’.

The next night at dinner youngest starts laughing out of the blue and says ‘Dad, remember that guy who walked into the door?’ and he was off into hysterics again. I guess the first real life pratfall is comedy gold for all generations.

- I’m reiterating my health care plan for President Obama. Mr. President, feel free to steal this idea. It’s actually rather simple. Universal health care for everyone, paid for by the corporations and tax payer money. Figure every company worth a certain amount pays 75% of what they currently pay towards covering their own employees to the government. This money is used to create a national HMO (for lack of a better term) AND saves companies millions.

Everyone that currently works for the big HMOs (Blue Cross, Tufts, etc) are shifted into government jobs. Coverage is universal and you can choose any doctor you want. Unfortunately, this also means that anyone 80 and older are no longer candidates for transplants, open heart surgery or cancer treatments. No offense, older folks, but you’ve led a full life and we can’t afford the expense. If you would like to pay for it yourself, then fine, but we aren’t wasting good organs on you.

Obviously this won’t please everyone, but if you can get big business behind this (and by shaving 25% off their expenses they should be behind it) it stands a very good chance of passing.

Get on it!!

- I’m debating purchasing the Netflix player that streams movies and shows to my television from Netflix.com. It’s only a hundred bucks and seems fairly easy to install, I’m just worried about the picture quality as the movies stream and buffer to the device rather than actually download to it. Suggestion to Netflix, why not let the movies download to an internal hard drive on the device so we can watch movies with HD quality and no pausing while things buffer? Shouldn’t be that difficult to figure out.

- One of the greatest criticisms ever put to print was handed to me by a friend. It’s currently taped to my monitor so I can read it every day. It’s regarding the supposedly horrendous ‘Transformers 2’ movie and says simply, ‘Watching Shia LaBeouf act is like watching a kitten die’.

- So, we had Ed McMahon, Farrah and Michael Jackson die which made it the official three celebrities factor. You all know that celebrities die in threes, right? It’s been rumored that was the 11th Commandment. Anyway, with Billy Mays now dying will there be two more celebrities to die? Or does this throw off the three rule? Or should we just not consider Mays a full fledged celebrity?

Alright, enough questions for today. If I don’t get back this week, enjoy the holiday weekend.

Today’s distraction: In one of the least comforting news items ever, it turns out the army is trying to teach killer robots ethics. Like in ‘Hey, maybe you shouldn’t kill that baby and mother’. Can’t wait to see how this actually works in battle. My guess is ‘not well’.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Iconic and Ironic

It's appropriate that Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett both died on the same day.

Both were iconic superstars from the 70s and 80s that literally became bigger than themselves.

Both became parodies of themselves over the past 15 years.

Both were international sex symbols (yes, even Michael Jackson at one point).

Both had way too much plastic surgery.

Both became involved in high profile, questionable relationships with other famous people.

But more importantly

Both were very talented people who became famous for a reason. You can mock them all you want – and, granted, they gave us plenty of reasons to do so over the past decade – but let’s not forget that Farrah reinvented herself from sex symbol bimbo to legitimate actress with ‘The Burning Bed’ before drugs and personal issues got in the way.

Jackson wasn’t always the reclusive superstar with questionable babysitting tactics. While ‘Thriller’ gets all the hype, his greatest album was ‘Off The Wall’ which not only reinvented him as a solo artist, but ushered in the entire concept of a blockbuster album. For all you young ones out there, ‘Off The Wall’ was one of those watershed albums that everyone of my generation remembers hearing for the first time.

I didn’t even like Jackson or his music, but even I appreciated that every single song on that album was great. Not good; fucking great. It changed the way I looked at soul and disco and pop. It also changed the way I looked at Motown, since they were reluctant to let the Jackson 5 take creative control over their own careers. So they left, went to Epic who let Michael release a solo album as part of the deal. Holy shit, what a great deal that was!

Sadly, Jackson’s family life and subsequent borderline insanity eventually took it’s toll and tarnishes how we remember him. His awkward kiss with Lisa Marie Presley is just as imprinted in our heads as his trademark dance moves. Just as Farrah’s bizarre Letterman appearance is just as memorable to us as her hair.

Take the good with the bad. But make sure you remember the good. These were two talented, yet troubled, people.

Today’s distraction: One of the most addicting games I’ve stumbled across in a while. Be warned, once you start you will be playing for the better part of an hour. Great way to kill time on a summer Friday at work.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Crush of the Month

Did you think I forgot? C’mon now, you know me better than that! Which is probably why you thought I forgot, now that I think about it.

Yes, it’s time for the BeachBum Crush of the Month. We’re halfway through 2009 (how scary is that?) and I’ve somehow managed to keep my job, get a Crush of the Month in every month (so far) AND (most importantly) remain restraining order free. Who says your dreams can’t come true in this recession?

So let’s get to it. As always this is a completely non stalker, creep free form of crush. There will be no discomfort for this month’s crush. Mainly because nobody reads this and she’ll never learn of the highest of high honors she is about to receive.

Her loss.

Who?: It’s Olivia Wilde, that’s who. You probably know her most recently from ‘House’ on which she portrays the troubled, doomed, and brilliant 13. You younger folks probably remember her from ‘The OC’ as the chick that shared a lesbian kiss with whoever that actress was that we haven’t heard from since that show went off the air.

She’s also starring in ‘Year One’ with Jack Black and if he gets to make out with her in that movie I’m going to be pissed. Some things just shouldn’t happen.

If you’re still not sure who I mean, just have a gander at this:

Yup! That she's wearing jeans to a Vogue party is major bonus points.

What Else?: Her exotic good looks may over shadow her acting chops. Her ‘House’ character has been diagnosed with a fatal disease which has prompted some rather self destructive behavior. This would include drug use and picking up strange women at bars and having anonymous one night stands. Yeah, 13 is bisexual. And while two hot females making out is usually hot (ok, it’s always hot), this episode created a distinctly disturbing atmosphere; ending with Wilde staring into the camera glass eyed and emotionally hollow before an anonymous female crawled into bed with her.

You see, House couldn't think of a catchy nickname for her, so....ah, nevermind...

I know what you’re thinking, but Wilde did an incredibly good job portraying 13’s defiant self destructiveness while subtly crying out for help.

Plus, she looks great as a blonde:

Or redhead. Or hell, just pick a color.

That All?: Hell no. What vaulted Olivia to this month’s cherished mountain top is discovering she’s a car freak.

I shit you not. She’s into classic cars.

"All I ever wanted was a classic car, the Thunderbird is really like my little beauty. You can cut somebody off at like 50 mph, and they've be like 'Yes! Nice car!'"

I'm in love....

I should also point out that she is a practicing vegan and very outspoken about animal rights which means she’ll probably never get fat and I could never take her to an expensive steak house for our first date. It also shows she’s got a brain, an opinion and can put more than three words together without the word ‘like’ thrown in 15 times.

Oh, and her actual last name is Cockburn. Just saying.

She's also married, but I won't hold that against her if she doesn't hold my marital status against me.

Congratulations to Olivia Wilde. My Crush of the Month for June 2009.

Today's distraction: Your laugh for the day and proof that the British are masters at using intelligence and low brow humor in perfect balance. Video with sound so beware if at work.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mold Spores

It’s officially day four of the World Without Sun in the Boston area and I need to take my mind off my plummeting emotional state. There was brief session of sunshine on Saturday, but since we’ve had a not so healthy diet of clouds, rain, more clouds, drizzle with occasional breaks of mist. On the bright side we’re supposed to have massive fog tonight and tomorrow.

There’s mildew on my soul.

Anyway, let’s check in on the rest of the world which, I assume, still sees sunshine.

- In my ‘Endorsement’ entry I totally forgot to mention the one thing that prompted the post in the first place. The Prey series of books written by John Sandford. ‘Wicked Prey’ was just released and I’m nearly done with it. The books (of which there are many) all center around Lucas Davenport and his band of Minneapolis cops trying to solve one crime or another. They started out as typical ‘catch the serial killer’ books, but have evolved into much more complex, satisfying thrillers that are totally unpredictable, funny, and realistic; often in uncomfortable ways.

- One thing that strikes me on the unrest in Iran is how technology is making it nearly impossible for countries to keep a lid on information. Cell phones are beaming videos to the rest of the world and infuriating the Iranian Government because it’s contradicting everything they are saying. I imagine a meeting with the Iranian higher ups that goes ‘Who here knew about these video cell phones? Why wasn’t I told this was possible? Can’t we block those signals or at least triple their roaming rates?’

- Let me officially go on record that dealing Rondo would be a huge mistake by the Celtics. He’s the spark plug on that team and the main reason the Celtics over achieved in the playoffs. He doesn’t need a lot of shots, wreaks havoc on the defensive end and doesn’t complain or whine when things don’t go his way. In short, I love the guy. High energy, low maintenance and seems to enjoy getting shots for his teammates.

That said, I could see making a deal if there was proper compensation coming back. But don’t deal just to deal. Unless…and I hate saying this…they already know Garnett won’t be the same ever again due to this injury. Is there something else going on we don’t yet know about?

- Wow. The Timberwolves just dealt Mike Miller and Randy Foye to the Wizards for the 5 pick. That gives them 5, 6, 18, and 28 picks in the first round this year. And they kept Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Are they done trading? I bet no. Rumors are they’re trying to get up to number 2. Is Tyler Hansbrough bound for Minnesota? I bet yes. White boy in Minny. How can you go wrong?

- Say what you will about Ed McMahon being a sidekick or ad whore, but there aren’t many people that can last 50 years in show business. Besides he got to do an ad with MC Hammer. How many people can say that?

- Let me get this straight. There has already been an electric car invented and scrapped. Toyota and Honda are building hybrids of nearly all their models. Yet our government has just handed out nearly eight billion dollars to Ford, Tesla, and Nissan so they can develop more fuel efficient cars? It’s nearly 2010 and none of these companies have started development on more fuel efficient cars and trucks on their own? Tesla, being new, can be excused, but Ford and Nissan? Have they been sitting on their hands for the past 20 years?

Here’s what large companies need to remember. Innovation, quality and self motivation are three qualities that keep companies relevant and in business. You don’t sit on the status quo until everything stagnates and you become a side note; incapable of moving forward. Look at Apple, who were on death’s door until they introduced the iPod. That led to the iPhone and we all see where Apple is now.

Look at Netflix, built from the ground up fairly recently and are already focusing on other means to get us our movies. Their CEO just announced they’ll be focusing more on streaming movies over the internet or onto boxes attached to your set. I’m skeptical this will replace the quality and ease of DVDs, but at least they’re looking forward and trying to find way to stay ahead of the curve.

Ford and Nissan and GM all should have been researching better and more efficient ways to make better and more efficient cars. Not because they were required to, but because it’s good business. No wonder I own half their stock. You do, too. I would go pick up my free car at the Ford dealership, but they suck and I don’t want one.

- My oldest boy loves ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ on Nick and I’ll admit that I am also entertained while watching. It’s original, action packed, yet focuses a lot on the human relationships and what constitutes good and evil. Turns out they’re making a live action version of it that I thought was going to be directed by James Cameron. Instead M Night Shyamalan is directing and I’m a bit nervous. His last two movies were horrible. Well, judging by the new trailer, this might be M Night’s resurgence. Judge for yourself.

- In what amounts to Abbott and Costello joining forces to negotiate peace in the middle east, Time Warner and Comcast are joining forces to deliver television over the internet. Can’t wait to see how poor the quality is and how much money they lose on this disaster. Do you think anyone at either company is aware Hulu.com exists already?

- While I’m all for technological innovation, this fucking thing creeps me out. Look at the size of the needle on that thing!!! If you were a wounded soldier, would you want that poking around in your body looking for shrapnel with nobody at the controls? I sure as hell wouldn’t. ‘Uh, Doc? This robot is trying to stick it’s needle up my dick. Could you make it stop? Like…NOW!!!!’

- A second attempt at a hastily made Cleveland tourism ad. Great stuff because it’s true.

That’s all folks. Need to head home early so wifey can get drunk with friends while celebrating the last day of the school year. Still haven’t figured out if me going home to my wife can get drunk constitutes parental responsibility or neglect. Or is it simply enabling?

Today’s distraction: With the upcoming draft, here is SI.Com’s biggest steal’s in draft history. Pay attention to what Rodman’s doing in the Karl Malone picture. Not cool, Rodman. Not cool at all.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend Update

Some quick weekend updates to kill time and organize scattered thoughts.

- First and foremost, I did not remember any dreams this weekend. Not one. It’s not terribly surprising nor does this experiment end immediately. I will keep trying until at least Friday. I’m nothing if not persistent. Even if it’s a half assed, could care less, wonder if anything good is on TV kind of persistent.

- Father’s Day doubled as my son’s 9th birthday party for the families and I spent a majority of it standing in a cool, constant drizzle and fighting off smoke inhalation while grilling about 20 pounds of food. My bro came out to drink a beer with me, looked at all the food, asked ‘Are you having another party after we leave?’ before shuffling inside to dry off. By the time I was done, my eyes were cooked, my hat and clothes were soaked and I was miserable.

- On a completely related note, this has been - far and away - the worst June of my lifetime. For every day of sun we get, five days of rain immediately follow. Sadly, I’m not exaggerating. One report stated a normal June sees 70% sunshine. This June? Only 32%. And that’s before this current week long rain storm came along. Believe it or not, the fucking thing is turning into a Nor’Easter which this area usually only gets in January or February. I’m guessing this means we’re down to about 25% of sun shining on us this month. If you’re wondering, yes, it’s starting to take a toll on my emotional well being. Depression is right around the corner. I can hear it calling.

- I just had a chicken quesadilla for lunch and it’s sitting in my stomach like a rock. This is not improving my mood at all.

- During yesterday’s party, my brother in law was making fun of my son for listing Nick Green as his favorite baseball player on the back of his little league card. An hour later Green hit a bullshit, cheap as hell home run to win the game for the Red Sox. Truly a karmic turn of events for my brother in law who has a tendency to make fun of people for something only to have it blow up in his face. This was just the latest example.

- For the record, Jason Bay is his current favorite player and neither one of us have figured out why he put Nick Green down on the paperwork. As son number one says, ‘I don’t even remember being asked’.

- In between Saturday rain showers, my brothers and nephew squeezed in a half day of paintball kick assedness. I managed to kill more than be killed which – at my age – is an improvement. I even managed to stay relatively injury free save for a huge scrape on my forearm which resulted in my running down a hill for cover only to realize the hill was much steeper than I thought. Rather than stumbling into the open (and a hail of paintballs) I used the closest tree to stop my descent. Wasn’t pretty, but I looked cool coming out of the carnage without getting shot and blood dripping down my hand. At least, I think I looked cool. In reality I probably looked like a middle aged man thinking he looked cool.

- Interestingly, there is a brand new nudie bar right around the corner from the paintball range. While I can’t confirm, I’ll bet they’re related. Call it a hunch.

- And, no, we didn’t visit.

- Discounting my old man aches and pains, I must proudly admit I’m in better shape than I was last year. Considering all the running and crawling and crouching and shooting and dodging I did on Saturday, I was not sore at all. Well, except for the multiple welts covering my torso. Last year I couldn’t walk for two days and I didn’t strain myself half as much as I did this year. Hold on while I try to pat myself on the back.

- My over weight brother in law didn’t fare as well. He’s always been heavy and this year he paid the price; throwing his back out after round 3. He gamely joined in round 4, but he could barely move and wasn’t much use to us. I was going to mention losing some weight (he’s easily 40 pounds too heavy), but I figured that’s what my harpy sister is for.

- As for wifey, well she pulled a male gift giving on me for Father's Day. She bought 'me' a fire pit for the back yard. It's basically one of those caged in mini fire places, but it's not anything I've expressed interest in. In fact, it's something she's wanted for a while. So, she basically bought something she wanted and turned it into my gift. Well, done, grasshopper. I've taught you well.

- I should point out that I bought Red Sox tickets for our anniversary gift. Couples married for as long as we have been should just buy our own shit and stop all the pretending.

That’s it for today. If I haven’t drunk myself to death, there will be more this week.

Today’s distraction: The main reason I can’t stomach this Jon and Kate bullshit. They’re so concerned about their privacy and living life in the public eye, yet here they go pimping their ‘private’ decision as a way to boost ratings for their show. They’re caught in the lion’s den but really don’t want to leave. Sadly, it’s the kids who will be mauled to death.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dream Catcher

I’ve been struck by the odd fact that I never remember my dreams.

I mean ever. The last one I had I still vividly remember. I was about 10 years old and it involved me and my baby brother (who was three at the time of the dream) playing in the field behind our house. He decided to stroll over to the puddle at the edge of the neighbor’s driveway and jump in to make a splash. Only he went straight in. Disappeared into the puddle which was as deep as an ocean. I ran over to pull him out but he was gone.

It was the last time I woke up and thought ‘Oh, just a dream’.


I fall asleep, I wake up, I carry on with my life. There are no televised segments to psychoanalyze in the morning nor any fun sex dreams with women I would never have sex with in the real world.

I’m getting gypped, I know it.

This doesn’t mean I don’t dream; I just don’t remember them. At least that’s my theory. I often wake with residual feelings of something or other. Could be anxiety from a nightmare or good humor from a funny dream. Or maybe it’s just my mood due to the upcoming day or whatever happened the previous day.

I have verified with wifey that she has never heard me talk in my sleep (which, believe me, is a very good thing for our relationship). I don’t sleepwalk or toss and turn. I do wake once or twice a night to readjust or take a leak or check on the boys if they are making sounds, but I would assume that’s normal. Especially with kids.

I have also discussed my non dreams with a friend of mine who was a psych major in college. She said that everyone dreams unless they are under heavy medication, but not remembering anything for such a long time is unusual. ‘Just like you,’ she so kindly added.

I wonder aloud if I just sleep efficiently because I’m basically awesome at everything. When she got her laughter under control she offered it may have more to do with me being comfortable with myself. ‘You don’t have a lot of hangups and are extremely laid back. Maybe your lack of neurosis has something to do with it.’

‘Meaning I really don’t dream?’

‘Oh, no. If you didn’t dream you’d know it because you’d be insane by now.’

Well, then. Good to know. Although if I was insane how would I know I wasn’t dreaming?

Whatever. According to semi-pro psychologist, dreams are a way for our subconscious to process everything and purge any inner demons or dark thoughts from our systems so we can behave like normal humans to each other. Considering my inner demons are usually on full display for everyone to see, perhaps I don’t need to purge them subconsciously.

As another buddy of mine pointed out, ‘You know, you keep in constant touch with your dark side while you’re awake’.

So maybe I don’t need to remember because there are no surprises to be found?

Whatever the reason, I’m making it my mission to remember at least one dream this weekend. According to my psych friend and random quack websites littering the WWW, there are three things I should try:

1: Keep a notebook on the nightstand. This I can do. This is the one suggestion everyone and all sites have in common.

2: Before falling asleep, repeat to yourself that you will remember your dreams. I guess this is basically training your subconscious to get it’s shit together and keep me entertained. I consider myself dubious about this working, but I’ll try it.

3: When first waking up, don’t move. Just lay there and do nothing. I should note that this is usually what I do when I wake up. I don’t jump out of bed or roll over or groan. Wait, I may groan in distress that I have to go to work. I’ll stop doing that.

Other than those three, there seem to be some contradictory other options.

One site suggests setting the alarm halfway through the night so you wake up four hours after you fall asleep. I can safely say this ain’t happening. Sleep is precious to me and wifey would kill me if I set the alarm for 3 am.

My psych friend offered another piece of advice that I will take. Instead of using the alarm to wake up, set it so the radio goes off. This way I should wake up more gradually and have a better chance of remembering any dreams. She also disagreed with the middle of the night wakeup call. ‘Better off letting your natural sleep cycle do it’s thing than interrupting it. That might be counter productive’.

Fair enough.

One other suggestion that was immediately dismissed.

‘Don’t drink any alcohol before falling asleep’. Riiiight. That’s not happening. Let’s be honest, we all know which one will lose the battle between alcohol and dreams.

I’ve lived without dreams for this long. I can make it the rest of my life. It’s not THAT important to me.

Today’s distraction: Use the Dream Dictionary to interpret your own dreams. Hopefully I can use this next week!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ringing Endorsements

Since I’m in a fantastic mood today, I wanted to share some of the things I have enjoyed or will be enjoying. Some of these I may have mentioned before, so apologies for being repetitive.

Today’s Weather: Just perfect. Not too hot, not too cold, brilliant blue skies, comforting warmth of a long lost sun. After two weeks of miserable shit weather, it was nice to wake up to blinding brightness. Sadly, it isn't looking like it will last.

DirecTV: I’ve had this since we moved into the new house (over 9 years ago) and have never taken it for granted. Crystal clear picture, much cheaper than ComCast (which is a total ripoff!) and constantly adds new features to make my life a pleasure. The latest being a ScoreGuide you can access by pressing the red button on the remote any time you turn to a sports oriented channel. For example, if I flip to the Red Sox game and hit the red button a menu pops up on the right of the screen. I can see the current score of every ongoing game in every sports. If I want to, I can select Watch Now and it will turn to the channel broadcasting that game. Simple, yet brilliant. And I didn’t even ask for it. DirecTV just added it (at no extra cost) simply to make me happy.

Kenny From Dunkin’ Donuts: Kenny who made my ice coffee just the way I liked it every time. It’s past tense because they recently renovated the DD across the street from my building and apparently replacing Kenny was one of the ‘improvements’. He’s no longer there and when I asked where he was I get a ‘Kenny who?’ in response. So, my buddy R and I have come up with possible options as to what is going on.

1: We made Kenny up in our heads and he really didn’t exist. Since he physically handed us coffee before and took our money, this seems a stretch.

2: Kenny was dealing something other than coffee out of Dunkin’ Donuts and was caught. This led to his dismissal and the renovation of the shop just so corporate was sure whatever Kenny’s ‘product’ was had been completely cleared out with no evidence left behind. Or those old counters are now in a police evidence warehouse to be used in Kenny’s trial.

3: Kenny was fucking with us from day one and his name really wasn’t Kenny. So when we ask where Kenny is the other workers truly don’t know who we’re talking about because they knew him by his real name.

Kenny, you'll be missed.

City of Boston: Especially in the morning. Nothing like taking a leisurely stroll through the city first thing in the morning. The sidewalks and cobblestones have all be hosed clean, it’s not too hot, the harbor sparkles, and – most importantly – there aren’t throngs of people getting in my way. With school getting out this will become a regular thing for me throughout the summer.

Morning Sex: Any kind of sex is obviously a plus, but unexpected, half asleep morning sex gets the day off on the right foot. This may or may not have something to do with my good mood today. You'll never know.

Al’s Chicken Salad Sub: Which I picked up for lunch yesterday. Al’s is a deli shop that has two locations. One on State Street and a new one right on South Street which, conveniently enough for me, is right next door. They make the best goddamn chicken salad in the city. Combine that with the freshly baked bread, their Bag Lunch deal that includes a small sub (which, at 8 inches long, ain’t so small), a drink and bag of chips for $6.50 and you can’t go wrong. I get mine with pickles. Mmmmmmmm, chicken salad…..

Bill Simmons: Who intelligently and articulately summed up my thoughts on Kobe and the Lakers while providing evidence that I should be appreciating Kobe more than I have. He’s right. The last 20 months of Kobe’s career have been nothing short of historic. Considering how much I hate Kobe, that Simmons got me to appreciate him at least on a professional level is a tremendous achievement. Well done!

My Job: Yeah, that’s right. I still have one. I usually enjoy it. It pays me fairly well. That’s all I’ve got.

My BlackBerry: Which helped out a cute, young thing when she was lost and trying to find her way to a job interview. I wasn’t sure where the street was she was searching for so I pulled up Google on my phone, entered in the address and showed her the map. Turns out she was only a few blocks away and could still get there in time. Cutie girl, I hope you get the job.

My Boys: Who now sleep through the night and make me laugh on a consistent basis even if it’s unintentionally. We seem to have turned a corner where they are more fun and less work than ever before. I’m enjoying it.

My Friend M: Who will remain nameless, but has been the sunshine of my workday for several years now. Thanks for keeping me smiling even during the shittiest days.

That’s it for now. I’m sure there will be many more things I’ll be grateful for as the day progresses, but this is all I have time for today. Feel free to share your own small pleasures.

Today’s distraction: Silhouettes made from an unusual source. Would love to know which albums are being used for which to see if the titles match the figure. I may be reading too much into these.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Couch Session

Our company is doing something it hasn’t done in months: Hiring somebody.

After a bunch of layoffs, one of the admins gave her notice and bailed along with three others who walked out with pink slips in their hands.

NOTE: Our company’s pink slips are actually plain, white paper which I thought took the mystique out of the entire process. Our company is lame.

One of my few friends here (a tiny group I refer to as ‘The Elite’) is being asked to interview the prospects. She wanted my advice on what to ask.

Here is what I’ve come up with and reasons why I think they are important questions.


Reasoning: This is all about the answer. If they answer with Oak or Pine they should be immediately crossed off the list. Oaks, you see, drop this stringy, crappy shit during the spring only to turn around in autumn and try to pelt you to death with acorns. Pines are sappy, sticky, annoying messes that clog up your gutters and destroy your lawn.

Bottom Line: If you hire an Oak or Pine you are hiring an annoying, selfish, trouble maker that will gunk up the inner workings of the office. You only have yourself to blame.


Reasoning: What a person watches says a lot about them. For example, if they watch ‘House’ they are probably intelligent people with a deeply cynical sense of humor. Or hot for 13 and Cameron. If they watch ‘The Hills’ they probably enjoy laughing at retarded people or are retarded themselves. If they watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ they probably cut themselves on a regular basis.

Bottom Line: Never hire someone that says ‘Oh, I read’. They’re lying and trying to impress you. Can’t trust a liar. Or someone that doesn’t watch television. Or someone that’s simply trying to impress you by lying about not watching television.


Reasoning: This answer doesn’t really matter. If they like alternative, metal, top 40, jazz, classical, or country western. What you want is for someone to commit to one or several types without hesitation.

Bottom Line: Do not hire anyone who replies with one of the following:

1: ‘I like all kinds of music’. They’re lying or know nothing about music. By ‘all kinds’ they probably mean they like U2 AND Coldplay.

2: ‘I don’t listen to much music’. This means they are soulless, unfeeling, psychopathic machines. Unless you’re hiring a lawyer or broker, stay away.


Reasoning: To learn what you can hold over their heads when you need them to work for free or to perform duties outside the job description. For example, if they answer ‘My family’, you can then take his or her mother hostage and get the newbie to do your bidding. If this happens to be a hottie newbie, then score for you!

Bottom Line: Beware of people who claim a pet is the most important thing in their lives. They obviously can’t form healthy relationships with any other human and will create a toxic work environment when they start smuggling their ‘bundle of joy’ into their cubicle only to have it piss and shit all over the office.


Reasoning: To gather insight into both the interviewee’s decision making process and how likely he or she would provide some much needed action in the inter office dynamics.

Bottom Line: Answers and their (possible) meanings.

None: You’ve accidentally invited an 10 year old to the office. Call parents before Amber Alert is issued.

1-5: Two options here. First is they had a long term, monogamous high school relationship, they split during college only to get back together and wind up married. Second is person was probably loser who managed to gather some pity screws courtesy of alcohol only to marry upon realizing it was the best they were ever going to do.

6-10: Not prude by any means, but has solid weeding out process. Chances are they are well adjusted with an ability to decline unwanted advances in a tactful way.

11-25: Had a GREAT time in college with some potential blackouts that make the full number blurry. The upper number in this range means they are more than capable of pleasing other people, too.

26-50: Getting into sketchy territory here, now. If the person is in the 30-40 range, it could make sense. If the person is 22, then you might want to question their maturity, potential binge drinking problem, any parent issues and if they are posted in a four minute video clip on the internet somewhere.

51 and above: Potential drug habit or emotional instability. Suggest a fist bump rather than full hand shake goodbye.


Reasoning: Two pronged attack here. If the prospect is male you want to make sure he has a grasp on what it means to be a man. If female you will need a gauge on just HOW crazy she is.

Bottom Line: Answers vary depending on sex


‘When my *insert close relative here* died last year’ Acceptable

‘Watching Big Papi hit this season.’ Semi-acceptable for Red Sox fans only.

‘Last week when I got nailed in the balls by a backswing.’ Semi-acceptable. Eye watering is allowed, but actual crying is for pussies. You may want to clarify if there was full fledged sobbing or simply the involuntary effect of intense pain.

‘Watching Oprah yesterday.’ Unacceptable and should be slapped.

‘Watching my wife walk down the aisle during our wedding.’ Unacceptable.


‘Walking down the aisle at our wedding.’ Acceptable.

‘Watching Oprah yesterday.’ Acceptable.

‘When I got a birthday card from my friend.’ Acceptable.

‘Just before this interview started.’ Semi-acceptable.

‘I have a good cry every day at 3.’ Unacceptable.

‘….’ bursts into tears. Unacceptable.

As you can see females get much more leeway.

So, I know you’re asking, what would the perfect employee be if they answered these questions without storming out or filing a lawsuit? Glad you asked.

It would be someone who watches shows like ‘The Office’, has had 6-25 sexual partners (depending on age), is passionate about music of any kind, would be a palm or elm tree, and has something important enough in their lives that you can use it for leverage against them in times of crisis but wouldn't cry about it.

Happy hunting!

Today’s distraction: 50 ‘Great’ Interview Questions. Should ‘Tell me about yourself’ really be number 1? I would hope any company I work for would ask me more original questions than that. Or pay me a lot of money. Either – or.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Quick updates from the weekend and various links to occupy your day. Work is still busy due to last week’s storm, so I’ll try to keep this brief.

- Son’s team rebounded nicely from last weekend’s traumatic loss. They ended their season with a win and eldest was even presented the game ball. I should have kept track of his on base percentage this year. Between walks, hits and being hit by pitches it had to be close to 70%.

- One of the gifts for his upcoming 9th birthday was a new bike from Mom and Dad. Thankfully it was already put together and he spent all Saturday afternoon cruising around the neighborhood. However, since it is a bigger, heavier bike he’s still getting used to it. As the two bloody scars on his knee can attest. One of the funniest moments of the day came when he walked onto the back deck and announced ‘Think it’s time for me to take a break’ before displaying the blood running down his leg. You think?

- The big news is that our recently remodeled kitchen is officially complete. Finished painting it over the weekend, installed the new ceiling fan/light fixture, and wifey even put up flowery curtains in the window. Done and DONE! On a completely related note, I’m sore as hell today. Even my hands are stiff. And, no, it’s not arthritis. I’m old, but not that old.

- If you ever want to test your relationship before marriage, I suggest you work on a home improvement project together. If you can survive that, you can make it through anything.

- It’s only June 15th, but I can officially declare this the shittiest June of my lifetime. We’ve had a grand total of 3 nice days this month with a majority (including all of last week) rainy and around 55 degrees. The normal temps for this time of year are in the mid 70s. This year it’s been closer to 60. Global warming my pale, white ass!!

- Congrats to the Lakers for mercifully finishing one of the least entertaining Finals that didn’t include San Antonio or Detroit. Anyone else notice that Kobe just can’t win a championship without Derek Fisher? He’ll have that monkey on his back until he can prove otherwise.

- Since I’ve never read it and the movie is coming out on DVD soon, I picked up the full copy of ‘Watchmen’. Don’t think you won’t hear about it when I get done.

- What if the Red Sox replaced Ortiz in the lineup with Josh Beckett?

- According to this study, my spunk has…well…spunk. Take care of it fellas. Has more to do with the development of you children than you think. My poor boys are doomed.

- Hilarious and disturbingly true. Magical squares of light!!

- What your tattoo says about you.

- As we are apt to do in this country, everyone is over reacting to a series of accidents around here and now want elderly drivers be tested for their driving licenses more often. The last one killed a 4 year old girl as she was crossing the street on her scooter. What’s being over looked is the 80 year old driver involved isn’t being charged or even cited. Doesn’t that mean he or she did nothing wrong? I understand that elderly drivers need to have their eye sight and reaction time tested on a regular basis, but are they any more of a danger than these idiotic (young) people who text and talk on their cell phones while they are behind the wheel?

- Lastly (for today), see how well you would fare on a road sign test. I got all but the double arrow sign which I have literally never seen before today.

Today’s distraction: Take some aggressions out on 3D dude. It’s quite fun and he can take it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mopping Up

Cleaning up the carnage from this week. I feel like Arnold emerging from the woods after the Predator nuked half the forest. Dirty, bloody, exhausted, but still alive. Too bad I don’t have a cigar to chomp on.

I survived round three of layoffs, but many of my colleagues did not. A whopping nine team mates took the fall on Wednesday with another to go at some point. Apparently there was one person they couldn’t get in touch with to let him know (smart move). I know that’s not me since I’ve been at my desk (or scurrying around the office) all week.

Most of the people let go were based out of our HQ in New York, but there were people I dealt with on a weekly – often daily – basis. By the time our department’s impromptu conference call was over on Wednesday afternoon, I felt like I had been to a funeral.

Don’t mistake my employment for being indispensable. I honestly think they haven’t laid me off because they forget I work here. Let’s just keep it that way. Quiet and under the radar is how I like to operate.

In order to purge my darkness, here are some random rants and thoughts to carry you through the weekend.

- One of the most difficult parts of being a parent is watching your child learn the harsh lessons of life. Last weekend eldest went through a soul crushing loss with his baseball team. They haven’t been great this year and are clinging to any victory they can get. Think they’ve only won three games all year.

So Saturday, as they entered the final inning with a three run lead, my son was all excited to get another win. ‘I’m so nervous,’ he called to wifey and I from his position. I don’t need to tell you they lost the game after various pitchers kept walking batters and finally gave up a bloop hit that just got past the third baseman’s glove.

It was such a tough loss that even the parents of the kids were quietly crushed. I talked to the coach the next day and he told me that several kids were crying in the dugout immediately following the walk off hit.

Compounding the loss was that it was to a team that was in first place, is obnoxious on many levels, and every other team in the league hates with a passion. That coach was gracious enough to drop an F-bomb during a game a few week’s back and has raised a son that is destined to be the biggest prick on the planet by the time he hits high school if someone doesn’t knock him on his ass very soon.

- The only saving grace to the night was knowing he had a birthday party the next day. This party happened to be taking place at a Laser Tag arena. When I went into his room to say goodnight, I asked if he was doing ok. He said ‘Yeah, but I thought we were going to be 3-18!’ (Note: they don’t even play 18 games, so no idea where this number came from). As I was leaving he says ‘Dad?’


‘You ready to kick some laser butt tomorrow?’

He bounces back quicker than I do, apparently.

- Laser tag is a blast if you haven’t tried it. Perfect for kids of any age, but more designed for the 7-13 ages. Although, a bunch of fathers certainly got heavily into the fake warfare.

- Remember my telling you about my crazy sister in law who was on the raw diet? Well, wifey got a call that she fell and broke her shoulder. Not her arm, her actual shoulder bone, where the upper arm connects to the shoulder socket. I didn’t even know that was possible. My first thought when I heard the news ‘Gee, wonder if her bone density has been eroded from her horrendous diet?’

Sympathy? Not here. Look, you don’t eat properly and it will take a toll on how your body operates. She hasn’t been eating proper quantities of protein or calcium for months. Now she trips getting out of a pool and breaks a bone that isn’t easily broken? You want to tell me those two things aren’t related? I understand it could simply be a freak accident, but if her body were properly fed and cared for there may just be some ligament damage or simply a sore shoulder.

Instead they’re considering putting screws into the shoulder in order to line things up properly again. On the bright side she's so skeletel there's no need for x-rays.

- Red Sox 8 – Yankees 0. I know this can’t possibly keep up, but I’m certainly going to enjoy it while it lasts.

- Big news around here is the possible demise of The Boston Globe. They’ve agreed with unions on some concessions and things are looking better, but why don’t they get rid of the main cause of expense: actually printing the paper? Why not make it an all digital paper with access to all of their columnists and writers and news via www.boston.com? If they want to keep most of the revenue from advertisements continue printing a Sunday edition. Wouldn’t that save a ton of money currently spent on paper, ink, and transportation? If they wanted, charge a yearly fee of $20 to have access to the site. I would pay $20 a year for Boston.com. I’m sure others would, too.

Better yet, have a subscription for the Sunday paper include access to the web site. Wouldn’t this drastically reduce costs? Or am I missing something? (I’m probably missing something)

- Watched some of the Lakers – Magic game last night and was struck by two things:

1: There was absolutely no flow to the game at all. Fouls are called nearly every time down the floor and it turns into a hail of free throws.

2: The refs absolutely suck. I know Simmons did an entire article about this, but last night was just ridiculous. It’s bad enough that Turkolu seems to be getting mugged every time he touches the ball (on multiple plays I could see his jersey being pulled as he simply tried to move around a pick) or that Kobe is fouled whenever someone breaths on him. The clincher was a loose ball foul called on Gasol when replays showed it was Howard that not only pushed off, but shoved Gasol to the floor in one of the most obvious fouls ever put on film. Just a disgrace.

- Hey, digital television officially kicked off today. Anyone but me not give two shits about that?

- Finally two music recommendations:

Green Day’s new one, 21st Century Breakdown, is every bit as good as you’ve been hearing. I thought ‘American Idiot’ was over rated. It wasn’t horrible and I liked it, but I certainly didn’t consider it a ground breaking Green Day album. If anything it was more of the same with a political slant.

Not so, this one. This is Green Day branching out in both sound and scope while still retaining it’s unique…uh…Green Dayishness. Just take a listen to ‘Peacemaker’ which sounds like a Russian march put to an espresso punk beat. Or ‘See The Light’ which sounds like a lost Who song. Or ‘Viva la Gloria’ which tricks us into thinking we have another ballad on our hands before ripping it up about a minute in. Or Armstrong’s surprising vocal range on ’21 Guns’.

Fear not, though, as there are still plenty of rockers like ‘Murder City’, ‘Horseshoes and Hand Grenades’, ‘Static City’ and ‘Christian’s Inferno’ which could be the most straight ahead punk song they’ve ever recorded.

I could go on, but you get the point. After more than a few listens I’m comfortable declaring this Green Day’s best work. So far. Who would have thought that the teens who first burst onto the scene with songs about smoking weed and masturbation would become the most relevant American band around.

My second is a merely a band recommendation. I stumbled across Oceansize a few years back and have been hooked ever since. A release of theirs just became available in the states (‘Frames’) and it’s just as creative, challenging and addictive as all their other stuff. While I wholeheartedly recommend ‘Frames’ you may want to start with ‘Efflorescence’ which is more accessible and still one of my favorite albums ever.

I can only describe them as an experimental, heavy metal band with jazz influences but even that doesn’t do them justice. If anything their band name is the most appropriate description I could give. Their songs tend to ebb and flow, trickle in before blasting you away. They can start with a simple repeating chord only to add layers upon layers. Before you realize it they’ve created a totally different song from where they began. Their songs seem to be shaped after the ocean. Constantly changing, raging and quieting. Go here to listen to a few of their songs.

Start with ‘WomenWhoLoveMenWhoLoveDrugs’ which will give you a idea of what they’re like. ‘Savant’ is off the new release. Some of these songs you have to stick with before you get the full idea. At over 8 minutes it can be a challenge, but it’s well rewarded.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

That’s it, folks. Enjoy the weekend. Hopefully it will get above 60 in New England.

Today’s distraction: Believe it or not, one of my all time favorite games turns 25. Fuck, I’m old. Go find an online version and waste the afternoon away.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Killing Time

Well it happened.


Our company just sent out an email that round three of layoffs are under way. ‘Those positions being eliminated will be notified by their managers by the end of day tomorrow’.

Fuck me. If you’re laying me off, tell me now so I can go nap and start catching up on my movies. I’m woefully behind on my movies.

I wonder if companies realize how simply announcing there will be layoffs effects production. The email announcing the ‘Reduction in Force’ (or RIFs for you laymen who actually have souls) arrived in my inbox at 9:06 am. Since that time I have done absolutely, positively no work. None. I mean, why bother if I'm gone soon anyway? Why should I start something if I won't be around to finish it? Hey, it's my rationalization. Let me cling to it for a day.

Instead, I have been IMing colleagues within my office and across the country while emailing anyone I could think of to find out the casualty numbers. Actual work is taking a back seat to waiting and hoping I make this third round with my paycheck still in place.

Then I consider it.

Would getting laid off be so terrible?

Well, let’s just break it on down, shall we? Damn straight we shall!

From what I understand most severance packages usually provide two weeks for every year you’ve worked at the company.

I have been here for 7 years. Wait. No, 8 years as of this month. Score!

This means I would receive a 16 week package.

Current date is June 10th. This current pay period ends on Friday, so I would assume they would want me to stay until the end of the week. Whether I would or not is an entirely different matter (Hint: no fucking way!).

This means my 16 week package would run out on October 2nd. Well, fuck! I could take the entire summer off!! It would be like being a teacher again. I could kayak and fix up the house and spend quality time with my beer…uh…family.

I could take classes and better myself through education while having a legitimate excuse to leave the house, spend time in Boston and check out the hotties in their summer dresses.

I could spend every morning at the beach.

I could learn how to cook in my new, remodeled kitchen. Maybe get so good I would try out for the Food Network’s Next Star Chef program thingy.

I could waste more time wasting your time with nonsense like this.

I could work out every day for hours and become a mean, lean…well, ok, let’s not get carried away. I'd get less blob like, at least.

The best part is I could start looking for work at the beginning of September with plenty of time to find another job before the package runs out.


Most likely I’ll be more marketable due to my new schooling and the economy will probably be heading in the right direction (if you look close it isn’t nearly as bad as ‘experts’ are saying). Therefore, I could land a better job that pays more than I’m making now.

Hell, maybe I'll stumble into some new career like beer taster or...beer taster. I just want to get paid for drinking beer, ok?

I’m not saying all (or any) of those above things will happen, I’m just saying that’s not such a bad deal.

What the hell am I so worried about? Getting laid off could be the best thing to happen to me.

Excuse me! Mr. CEO! Can we have a talk?

Today’s distraction: More evidence that Google is hell bent on dominating the entire fucking universe. Now they’re sending out homing devices to random people. Wanna bet that mouse has tracking software embedded in it? Or the pen has a micro eavesdropping device hidden inside? I’ll bet that USB drive sends out wireless signals to the T-1000 Google Terminator (Googlator?) that's disguised as the household pet.

Still, if you want to send one to me, feel free.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Reality Check, Please!

As a public service I am now appointing myself the Reality Check Commissioner of the world. Why not, right? I’m just as qualified as anyone else. Besides I certainly have no problem calling people out. In fact, I rather enjoy it.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

Reality Check To Myself: Don’t make promises you can’t and very likely won’t keep. Last week I vowed to post every weekday during the month of June; a promise that fell quickly by the wayside yesterday. I really should know better. In my defense, work was hellacious yesterday. I just didn’t have time.

Reality Check For My Company’s Executive Board: People talk. It’s what they do. When you clamp down on all sorts of official communication rumors will fly about more layoffs, salary cuts, budget problems and mergers. It’s what experts call ‘human nature’. Since we don’t have car services or make six figures or hang with anyone that has any control over the finances of our company, we have no idea what’s going on. Therefore, we will speculate and wonder and talk amongst ourselves to ease our fear. Tell us what’s going on or don’t, but don’t keep things secret then send out an email to the entire company that spreading rumors is counterproductive. You can’t have it both ways.

Reality Check For Brett Favre: Just because ESPN is fascinated by your every move, don’t assume the rest of the world is, too. We aren’t.

Reality Check For Kobe Bryant: Gritting your teeth and acting all angry and animal like doesn’t scare anybody. You’re still a border line sociopath who got away with raping a hotel employee and can’t relate to any normal person at any level. Yes, you are a great basketball player, but that’s all you are. I am truly terrified what your family’s life will be like when you can’t play basketball any longer.

Reality Check For Jon Voight: Nobody cares what your political views are except your sycophantic fans and anyone hanging onto your coat tails in case you make a run for some office one day. Go back to acting and figuring out what you did to so emotionally fuck up Angelina that even being one of the sexiest and famous women in the world, Brad Pitt and hundreds of adopted orphans can’t repair.

Reality Check For President Obama: You can’t propose a ‘Pay As You Go’ Federal spending initiative after footing the bill for nearly one trillion dollars as soon as you stepped into the White House. While it actually does make sense to pay for things as you spend for them (something my wife and 99% of Americans don’t fully understand), you should have announced this initiative BEFORE pumping billions into companies that are going to fail anyway. Once again, you are two months late.

Reality Check For Fat Loads Everywhere: Fat foods makes you fat. Even more so than we ever thought. Turns out fat from the foods we eat activates the hunger hormone ghrenlin. In other words, the more fat we eat the hungrier we feel. Even if our stomachs are full, the fatty foods make us think we’re still hungry. I just know Pizza Hut is behind this.

Reality Check For French: If you don’t post something new soon, I’m taking you off the blog list. That would be a shame as .0001% of the traffic going to your blog is directed through here. I may have missed a zero there. I don’t care if it’s a post notifying us of yet another blog you’ve started or just to let us know you’re off suicide watch.

Reality Check For The People Who Made ‘Hitman’ (The Movie): The video game you based your movie on was a brainless excuse to walk around gunning people down to fulfill our testosterone fueled need to take aggressions out on virtual bad guys. Therefore, you really should make a movie that takes after the game. Instead you made one of the most confusing, complex movies I have ever seen. I just wanted to see some blood and gore and instead I got a headache trying to keep track of who was who, who was impersonating who and why the fuck everyone was trying to kill the girl. I still don’t have an answer for that last one.

Reality Check For Microsoft: Google is coming for you. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Time’s up. Need to do even more work. I need to become independently wealthy so I can spend all day thinking up useless shit like this. Maybe I can parlay this Reality Check Commissioner into a six figure job.

Today’s distraction: It’s an interactive, online kaleidoscope. There is a full screen option that you should only use if you want to risk a brain hemorrhage. You’ve been warned.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Big One

Today is a special day at the Beach.

Do you know what today is?

I’ll give you a hint: It’s a milestone day. Kind of like Randy Johnson’s 300th win last night only much more impressive as I have done it in only two and a half years. Man alive, has it been that long?

Today, dear readers, is my 500th entry. That’s right number 500 is right now. You're reading it! You are participating in blog history. Feel special?

I probably should have led up to this with some big countdown or something, but I didn’t really know I was close until yesterday when it marked that post as 499.

Whatta you gonna do? Nothing! As always.

So, in keeping with the theme of this space I have absolutely nothing of relevance to say. Instead I’ll give you one of the more addictive games I’ve stumbled across lately.

Today’s distraction: Beat 2719, MoFos!!! That’s the best I’ve been able to do. Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Random Crap

Some follow ups and random notes.

- My dream of Matt Holliday becoming a Boston resident doesn’t seem so far fetched after all. I can see the A’s taking Justin Masterson or Clay Buchholz off the Sox hands in order to give Holliday a chance to play in the postseason. Can’t you? C'mon!!! Let's do this! We'll even throw in Ortiz.

- Apparently the Braves read this space because they immediately got Nate McLouth from the Pirates after reading that I thought they needed more pop in their lineup. The Pirates got three Atlanta minor leaguers in the deal that sent McLouth along with any hope the Pirate fans had for an entertaining season to Atlanta.

- Oh, and while we're here, I totally screwed up on the Pirates section yesterday and have no explanation other than I'm a moron. I know they don't play in the NL East (although, they probably should) and it even felt wrong as I was typing it, but it stays. I was going to go back and fix it but just couldn't be bothered.

- My fantasy stud from last year just had ankle surgery and will probably miss a bunch of training camp. Yet, I think this is a good thing. Not only will Westbrook be healthy, but he’ll be well rested by the time the regular season rolls around. Unless this is something more than simple bone spurs, I predict another huge year for him.

- Is it sad I’m already looking forward to football season? I should enjoy my summer first, I suppose.

- The lack of any worthwhile viewing on television lately is depressing.

- And to make my mood worse, I just found this out. Kill Bill, indeed. I used to watch ‘Kung Fu’ every afternoon when I came home from school.

- The topless coffee shop that I never had a chance to visit was burned down by some arsonist. Although after seeing one of the waitresses that worked there (she’s the second picture), I’m not sure I would have gone out of my way.

- I would like to point out that the torched coffee shop is the second incident of violent, criminal behavior by people I’m assuming to be Christian fruitcakes. The first being the murder of an abortion doctor while he was attending church (which is the perfect place to kill someone if you're delusional enough to think you’re doing God’s work). This now means those highly religious folks who protest outside the clinics and push to have gay marriage banned and pressure teens to sign unrealistic abstinence contracts seem to be adopting guerrilla warfare tactics. Super!! And we thought Islamic terrorists were our biggest problem.

- Even New Hampshire (The Redneck State Stuck North) has approved gay marriage. How ya feel now, California? What's interesting about this is the Governor of the state was going to veto it, but had his mind changed when gay couples intelligently and articulately stated their case to him. Nice to see a politician can be persuaded with good, old fashioned common sense.

- Is MLB getting a little carried away with these suspensions? Burnett gets 6 games for pitching NEAR someone’s head, but Vincente Padilla hits Teixiera twice in the same game and gets a fine? What the hell? I hate the Yankees and even I think this sucks.

- I would personally like to thank Wall Street for not freaking the fuck out when GM announced it was declaring bankruptcy. Sometimes a sinking ship needs to jettison excess cargo in order to right itself. Did GM really need to run Pontiac, Hummer, Saturn, Buick, Saab and Chevy? Can you tell this company may have spread itself too thin? Hopefully declaring bankruptcy and getting their house in order will stimulate a new era of growth and dominance.

- Speaking of which, I noticed a Chinese company bought Hummer from GM. Did anyone else notice that some Chinese investors bought a share of the Cleveland Cavaliers? There have also been stories about Chinese citizens buying up large bunches of houses in the California area. Is this how we lose to the Commies? Not through war, but by the Chinese using our own capitalist system to slowly buy up our entire country?

And, if so, doesn’t that mean even the Chinese are capitalists now? Which means we win! Yay for capitalism!!! We rule! Just not the Chinese. They own us.

- During my walk to the train this morning I witnessed a cute 20 something girl driving her car while chatting on her cell AND applying lipstick. At the same time.

Last week wifey got angry with me when I callously suggested an 18 year old girl who was killed in a car accident was probably talking on her phone when she lost control of her car and smashed into a tree. Turns out I was wrong. She was texting someone at the time of her death.

What made this even more disturbing was the girl was heading home and was less than a mile from her house. This means she was texting while driving, wound up smashing into a tree and killing herself when she could have waited less than 3 minutes to do it from the safety of her own driveway.

Increasingly, I witness more lunacy on the roads than ever. People texting while driving, (including one girl who was so erratic I finally pulled along side her and told her she was going to kill someone if she didn’t start paying attention. She gave me the finger for my friendly advice).

People punching an address into a GPS device while moving.

Queen dipshit above.

One women who was applying mascara while looking into the rearview mirror at herself while driving. And I mean moving with cars all around her.

An elderly women I posted here before that was READING A BOOK while driving.

Several men READING THE NEWSPAPER while driving.

I get the we’ve always had sucky drivers, but the recent level of ignorance has raised the danger level to new heights. These days it’s like everyone is a drunk driver. Only worse. At least drunk drivers are trying to concentrate on driving. Cell phone users can’t keep their eyes on the road and their phone at the same time. It’s impossible.

Therefore, I propose we apply the same penalties to text drivers that we do to drunk drivers. Three strikes and you lose your license for a year (or whatever the drunk driving penalty is). We setup road blocks and check people’s cell phones to see if they’re in mid-text. Public service announcements will be aired during every football, baseball and basketball game. Mother’s Against Texting (MAT) will be formed across the country.

We need a full fledged assault. And the time is now.

Today’s distraction: A fun new word game to kill some time. Don’t say I never gave you anything.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NL Roundup

I have nothing at all interesting to add to this, so let’s get right to it. My crankiness due to my exhaustion my creep in here, so I’ll just apologize in advance. Actually, fuck that. No apologies. You get what you get.



Bright Spots: Ibanez, Utley, Victorino; the shiny new rings glinting in the Philly sun; Ryan Howard hitting above .250; 17-6 road record.

Causes for Concern: Hamels, Moyer and nearly every other pitcher on the roster; Jimmy Rollins slow start becoming a full fledged red flag; a losing record at home. What’s that about?

Bottom Line: Despite the early season struggles from their most important players, this team is in very good shape heading into summer. Hamels and Rollins should turn it around if they aren’t secretly injured. Which, by the way, is a distinct possibility.


Bright Spots: Carlos Beltran playing like he cares for a change; David Wright; Sheffield apparently on ‘roids again; Santana doing his thing; K-Rod showing he’s no fluke; much better bullpen this season.

Causes for Concern: Honestly there isn’t much. Delgado’s hip injury is the only thing I can think of. Is it me or have there been a rash of hip injuries the last few years? Lowell, A-Rod, now Delgado. Is that where everyone has been injecting?

Bottom Line: As long as Santana and K-Rod aren’t pitched into the ground, the Mets should be fine. Even without Delgado this is an explosive lineup and should provide enough run support.


Bright Spots: Chipper Jones; Yunel Escobar; the continuing emergence of Brian McCann; Jair Jarriens; Derek Lowe; Javier Vazquez (yes, that one!).

Causes for Concern: The decline of Kelly Johnson; Jeff Francoeur still trying to figure it all out; Garrett Anderson’s single home run in over 100 at bats.

Bottom Line: As always, their pitching is in great shape. They just need to find some power to plug into their lineup.


Bright Spots: Hanley (who deserves to go by a single name now); Jorge Cantu; Josh Johnston; and….that about covers it.

Causes for Concern: Uggla’s woeful batting average; Anibal Sanchez; their closer sporting a nearly 6 ERA and nearly every other pitcher not name Johnston.

Bottom Line: The lineup isn’t close to being as potent as it was last year. If the pitching doesn’t pick up they’ll be in for a long season.


Bright Spots: A fairly potent lineup with Zimmerman, Dunn, Johnson, Guzman and Dukes; um….a nice, new ballpark?

Causes for Concern: Every single pitcher on the roster. When your ERA leader is over 4 and owns a nifty 2-5 record it’s going to be a long, life learning season.

Bottom Line: Insert sad face here.



Bright Spots: Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, even Mike Cameron (who I totally forgot was still playing) are having terrific years; 1995 Trevor Hoffman showing up to play in 2009; Yovani Gallardo off to a good start.

Causes for Concern: Every other starter – Looper, Bush, Suppan, Parra – hovering in the mediocre realm; Jason Kendell, JJ Hardy and Bill Hall struggling to get above .250.

Bottom Line: With this lineup, they can thrive with mediocre starting pitching. Still, if they want to contend and not just compete they’ll need to get some help. Kudos for this management team keeping the Brewers interesting with scraps from other teams.


Bright Spots: Pujols; Yadier Molina attempting to run; Chris Carpenter healthy and dominant again; Wainright, Pineiro (!!!!) and Lohse forming a very good 2-4.

Causes for Concern: Other than a grand total of 2 hitters above .300 at the moment? And their MVP nearly breaking his ankle Monday? No worries here at all.

Bottom Line: Unlike a lot of other teams, the pitching seems to be in place to make a run. Ankiel obviously isn’t on HGH any longer and Khalil Greene is an automatic out at this point, so their lineup needs some major upgrades if they want to stay in the race.


Bright Spots: Ramon Hernandez; Brandon Phillips; Johnny Cueto and Harang holding down the fort; Codero becoming one of the most reliable closers in the game.

Causes for Concern: Where to play Jonny Gomes (if at all); Jay Bruce’s 14 homers combining with his .225 average (good news/bad news type of stat).

Bottom Line: Other than Phillips and Bruce there isn’t much power in this lineup. Gomes could help that, but he seems to be in limbo with this team. Having Arroyo as your number 3 starter is never a good sign for a team. How they’re 4 games above .500 is this year’s big question mark.


Bright Spots: Fukudome; Ramirez (see below); Randy Wells (despite being 0-2); Ted Lilly.

Causes for Concern: Ramirez’ shoulder injury; Dempster, Zambrano, and Harden not matching last year’s production; Soriano and Lee both hitting below .250.

Bottom Line: For all the press about this ‘killer’ lineup, they haven’t done much to show why we should be paying attention. Soriano seems to be turning it on as the weather warms, but let’s see how this plays out. The starters need to be more consistent, as well, if they want to end this ‘curse’.


Bright Spots: The return of Freddie Sanchez (was he hurt last year and didn’t say anything?); Nate McLouth; playing in a beautiful ball park; watching the Red Sox farm system play in the big leagues; the maturation of Zach Duke (finally!); Maholm, Ohlendorf, and Snell actually giving the Pirates a chance; the smell of hope in the Pittsburgh air.

Causes for Concern: Playing in the same division as the Mets, Phillies, Braves, and Marlins; the questions on whether the starters can keep this up; limited payroll to actually make any in season improvements (aka ‘cheap ass owner').

Bottom Line: While they’ve been much better than expected, they still don’t have any serious chance of contending. Not in the NL’s toughest division, that’s for sure. Still, there shouldn’t be much risk of a fan walk out this year. I guess that's an improvement.


Bright Spots: Carlos Lee, Hunter Pence, Miquel Tejada still providing some punch; Oswalt and Rodriquez.

Causes for Concern: Berkman sitting at .238; Matsui at .219; figuring out who the fifth starter will be while having Mike Hampton as your fourth; the bullpen except for LaTroy Hawkins.

Bottom Line: If Berkman and Matsui start hitting like they’re capable this should be a tough team. Rodriquez and Oswalt (despite some struggles) provide a nice 1-2 punch, but they’ll need help. Unless they can find some farm stud to bring up, there isn’t much hope for better than .500 this year.



Bright Spots: Where do we begin? Pierre, Kemp, Hudson (why didn’t anyone want him?), Blake, Loney, Billingsley…you know what? Let’s just put the entire roster on here.

Causes for Concerns: Other than getting a fresh, female hormone free Manny back? I can’t think of one.

Bottom Line: Let’s run this down real quick and you can make up your own bottom line about this team.

They lead the National League in the following categories: Team Average (.285), Runs (295), OBP (.367), OPS (.689), Batting Average Against (.236), and are second in ERA (3.75), Saves (16), and Stolen Bases (44).

They have outscored their opponents by a whopping 87 runs and we’re only two months into the season.


For the most part they’ve done all this without one of the most dangerous hitters in either league in the lineup.

I don’t know about you, but my bottom line is ‘Holy Shit!!’


Bright Spots: Matt Cain; Tim Lincecum; Barry Zito (yeah, that one); Rowand; Molina (Bengie, that is); Sandoval.

Causes for Concern: Randy Johnson’s up and down games; Edgar Renteria being on your team; everyone in the bullpen area.

Bottom Line: Despite his 1-6 record, Zito has pitched better than ever in a Giants uniform. If he keeps it up with Cain and Lincecum, this could be a formidable team in the coming months. Will need to pick up some more power for their lineup (Mr. Holliday is right across the bridge) to take it to the next level, though.


Bright Spots: Peavy, Chris Young (despite some struggles): closer Bell: Adrian Gonzalez; Scott Hairston; the bullpen; a totally unexpected winning streak last month.

Causes for Concern: Having Peavy veto every trade the Padres attempt to make; spots 1-3 and 5-9 in the order; starters 4 and 5 (whoever they may be).

Bottom Line: Pitching isn’t much of a problem with the Padres as long as they have Peavy and Young to throw out there. Gaudin may help out, but it’s too soon to tell. The real problem is lack of run production. Other than Gonzalez there is not one single intimidating hitter on this team. AG may not be getting much to hit the rest of this season unless they get him some help.


Bright Spots: Justin Upton becoming a superstar; Mark Reynolds; Dan Haren; Tony Pena; Doug Davis; their entire defensive infield

Causes for Concern: Jon Garland crapping the bed; Stephen Drew still struggling at the plate; Chris Young with 3 homers and a .175 average (what??); Eric Byrnes becoming a shell of himself.

Bottom Line: They need Drew to figure things out, Byrnes and Young to get back to their 2007 forms and even then I can’t see them having much of a chance getting to the top of the pack. Not with the Dodgers playing the way they are.


Bright Spots: Brad Hawpe (the best hitter you never heard of); Todd Helton still chugging along; Jason Marquis and Umbaldo Jimenez providing some quality starts (14 out of their 21); Hudson Street still shutting down the ninth.

Causes for Concern: The Dodgers putting things out of reach early; starters 3-5; lack of firepower in their lineup; Troy Tulowitski barely hitting .220.

Bottom Line: Can’t see much happening with this team other than being major players during the trade deadline. Remember when the Red Sox almost had Todd Helton? We may see that play out again.

So there you go. The National League in a brief, irrelevant, 10 minutes of reading. I’ll bet you’ve forgotten it already, haven’t you?

Today’s distraction: The Top 100 funniest one liners from the internet. Some of these aren’t really so funny, if you must know but there are fantastic ones sprinkled in that make it worth it.