Thursday, May 31, 2007

This Blows

Aside from the cake and presents, is there anything good about birthdays? I turn 31 today, and if i'm being honest, it doesn't feel like year has passed since I turned 30. The pages of the callander keep tearing off faster and faster and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Oh well, just 4 more years till I can run for President, so I got that goin' for me... which is nice.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Baseball: More Enjoyable If You Don't Care.

I love everything about Baseball. I think it is the most perfect sport ever invented, as evidenced by the fact that even the fastest man in the world can't beat out a sharp ground ball to short, when cleanly fielded. In 56 days XL and I are going to Cooperstown to see Cal Ripken Jr inducted into the Hall of Fame, in what proves to be my Orioles highlight of the decade.

The Birds have just plain sucked for the past 10 years, made all the more annoying since the Yankees have won 3 titles in that time. (Although to be fair they haven't won one since 2000 and are in last place right now.) The last time I remember really feeling connected to an O's game was October 6th, 2001 when Ripken played his last game. If Brady Anderson could have taken a fucking pitch, Ripken might have come to the plate with a chance to go out with a bang. But, Brady swung at ball 4, and Cal was left stranded on deck. I was left stranded for the past 5 years, waiting for this summers induction.

A funny thing happened during the wait, however, that has me excited about baseball again. No, O's owner Peter Angelos didn't die, my home town got an independent minor league team. (see the mock up of the York Stadium bellow) I'm a fan of most things independent, be it Music, Movies, book or record stores, but I had never paid much attention to indie baseball. Until now.

I've watched a few of the Revolution's games on the road, (the picture above is from a Rev's game in Camden NJ) and listened to a bunch more on the radio. They are a good enough team, and I do look forward to checking where they are in the standings, and maybe even following them to a league title in the future. But, for now, I'm just happy to have a team around the corner, and maybe more importantly; one that I don't have to live and die with.

I don't like the way I feel when the O's or the Redskins lose. It makes me mad, and then I get madder still that I'm mad that a bunch of millionaires lost a kids game. Over the past few years, I have tried to back down from the ledge that is sports fanaticism. Part of that has involved watching more sports that I have not traditionally been immersed in, like Aussie Rules Football and WNBA basketball. Those are great, but my first love is baseball and I've missed having a team to follow with just the right amount of interest.

There here now, and in 16 days they will be playing a game right down the street!

_

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

R.I.P. CNR

I don't know if I'm ready to live in a world with no Charles Nelson Reilly. He died today, leaving us with out an eccentrically gay, old ex-gameshow participant in the world.

He will live on, however, through reruns of Matchgame on GSN. Also, we will all be able to console ourselves by popping in the DVD of Cannonball Run 2 to get our dose of Reilly. For those suffering from major withdrawal, just queue up the stint Alec Baldwin did as CNR on Saturday Night Live skit with Will Ferrell. Ferrell is James Lipton interviewing Baldwin's CNR about his illustrious career.

_

Friday, May 25, 2007

America: Sweet Land of Laziness

It's no wonder the world hates us. I found no less than 7 world newspapers who picked up an AP story about able bodied Americans who use scooters to get around in Las Vegas. The story originally ran in the Dallas Star-Telegram, but I saw it on my daily visit to the Sydney Morning Herald. So now the world knows that there are people so lazy that they will resort to riding a scooter right up to the craps table. One would imagine that they also take it to the buffet, and the pool as well. In fact, it's not hard to see the perfect day for one of these sloths.

Wake up and roll out of bed, onto the scooter. Drive into the bathroom and wash yourself with a rag on a stick, making sure to get those hard to reach spots. (eg feet) Put on your finest NASCAR shirt (men) or muumuu (women) and hit the town! After pissing everyone off on the elevator, zoom ahead of them to the breakfast buffet where you can get more food by placing one tray on the scooters basket and holding another. After consuming thousands upon thousands of calories it's down to the pool, where you can roll right off the scooter and onto a pool float, as not to burn too many of those calories. After the pool, its back to the buffet for lunch and onto the floor for some slots and black jack.

You can really work up a powerful hunger with all that pushing of the slot machine button (no longer do you have to strain yourself by pulling the one armed bandit's arm) so now it's time for dinner and a show. But first, it's back to the room to get dressed up for dinner, which means a Dale Sr. tee shirt. Respect! After rolling up to the crab legs and shrimp over and over again, the time has come to get a handicap seat at the Blue Man Group.

Inky and I have been to Vegas a couple of times, and I thought the walking was the best part. Kind of like our trip to Oz, we found that we each lost weight despite all the wonderful food we had been eating. I know it's hot in Vegas, but come on! These people are so lazy that they don't even get a Segway because that would require them to stand. God Bless the USA!

_

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Movie Review: Candy

Cops and robbers, Mafia, Westerns, and drug addiction. It's the holy grail of movies, and as such makes any movie about any of those subjects very hard to do well. Not ever heist movie is "The Italian Job" (see Ocean's 12) and not every tale of hopeless addiction can be "Trainspotting". "Candy" is a pretty good attempt at tackling the subject, though, and made for a good watch. Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish and Geoffrey Rush star in this tale of a young couple who's love for one another is only exceeded by their love of a fix.

Within the first 5 minutes of the film Candy (Corish) begs Dan (Ledger) to let her shoot her heroin rather than snort it. "I want to do it your way" she pleads and after token refusal, she does. This results in Candy nearly dieing, being saved only by Dan shooting her up with homemade saline solution. There is no real glamorization of the life Dan and Candy are living, as is usual in these types of movies, but there is a great juxtaposition of the elation they feel when using and the depths they will sink to to keep doing so.

In the beginning they are just pawning items from their home and hitting people up for cash. Dan asks Candy's Dad for money, ostensibly to buy her a gift, but it goes right in their arms. When they need more cash they turn to Caspar (Rush) who is the kindly gay College Prof, who appears to Dan and Candy as the best possible example of the drug life. He makes his own H, and keeps hot young men in his house to fuck when high. "He doesn't speak much English but he has a huge cock" Caspar tells them of the first such concubine we see.

As Dan and Candy are gripped tighter by heroin's grasp they find they need to do more to get the money needed for their habit. Upon being turned away from a pawn shop with only $25, Candy finds she can get another $100 by fucking the shopkeeper. The slide into full scale prostitution is a frighteningly fast one for Candy, as she ends up working in Brothels, and hooking on the street. Feeling she is doing all the work, Candy demands that Dan starts making money as well, even if he has to start selling himself as well, in what amounts to a twisted demand for equal expectations among the man and woman. Dan says he would be happy to fuck women for money, but doesn't think he can bring himself to be with men. He ends up asking Caspar for information on how he can meet men who will pay for sex, which Caspar is more than willing to help him with. Sent by Caspar to a public toilet, Dan backs out but still makes a huge score, when he steals the wallet of a guy partaking inside.

When Candy discovers that she is pregnant she and Dan are determined to quit for their own sake and the sake of their baby. But as Caspar had told them in the beginning "When you can quit, you don't want to. And when you want to quit you can't" They are three days into self imposed detox, and all the hell that goes with it, when Dan sees that Candy is bleeding. She is forced to deliver the miscarried baby, and the pain in both Dan and Candy is evident.

At this point in the story the couple takes a few more stabs at getting clean, even moving to the country and living on the dole. Their relationship is so strained by what they have been through that they begin to grow apart, and when things come to a head, Candy is checked into a mental hospital. In the movie's last scene, Candy comes to visit Dan at the cafe where he's washing dishes. He is hesitant to see her at first, but when they see each other they kiss, and it looks to be a happy ending. In that moment, however, Dan can see that while they love each other, they are bad for each other. He lets her go, knowing that to be together would mean an eventual return to that life.

_

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hey Wachovia, I Don't Like You Like That

Has anyone seen the new Wachovia ads that feature the tag line "At Wachovia we're absolutely obsessed with satisfying our customers." Really? Obsessed, Satisfied? Are these words anyone relates with banking? As a person who used to work for a huge national bank who liked making broad, far-reaching statements about how much they loved their Customers (with a capital C) I can tell you it's all bullshit. Wachovia isn't the least bit concerned with your satisfaction, nor are they obsessed with it.

So Please excuse me while I address Wachovia directly.

Come on Wachovia, aren't you getting a bit creepy here. I told you it was over between us, but you just won't leave me alone. You never listened to me when I told you what I wanted, what I needed to be satisfied. I wanted lower fees, fair interest rates and someone who could answer my questions from time to time. Sure, you said these things were important to you too, but we both know that wasn't true. Would it have killed you to tell me you liked me from time to time Wachovia? Maybe that I was pretty? And before you tell me that I'm just being paranoid remember that I've seen things from the bank's side before. I spent 6 1/2 years watching how MBNA treated our customers, all the while saying things like "Think of yourself as a Customer" to the people who worked there.

We all know you're just grasping at straws here Wachovia. You crossed the line and scared us away and now you're trying to get us back by saying that you care about how we feel. It's a little late for that, isn't it Wachovia? Your words say you care, Wachovia, but your actions say that you see us as possessions and will stop at nothing to have us. You're pathetic Wachovia, look at what you've turned into. There was a time, back before you changed your name from First Union to Wachovia, when people said you treated them well. They spread the word to friends and so you grew in popularity and reputation. But, then it all started to come apart, and now you've resorted to begging and making empty statements about how "obsessed" you are with satisfying us.

Pull it together Wachovia!

You have no chance at satisfying us, or should I say the US. A recent AP survey concluded that only 1 in 4 Americans feel satisfied with the state of the Country, so what are your chances of satisfying us? All you care about is making money, Wachovia, and it has limited your ability to please us.

There it is, Wachovia. As long as you're more concerned with making money and being cool in front of all your NYSE buddies, (who, buy the way, can't satisfy us anymore either) then we'll never get back together. Now, don't make me get a restraining order against you Wachovia. Putting ads on TV telling me how much you want to make me happy is just too little, too late. And Wachovia... don't even think about showing up on my front lawn with a boom-box over your head playing "In Your Eye's" because that would demean what we could've had.

_

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The New Top 5.

So here it is, the newest group of celebrities that make up my Top 5 List. They're all beautiful, talented, sexy and a million miles out of my league. But, that's what makes the list fun in the end.

5) Mandy Moore. I won't hold her music career against her, although I have to admit her version of "God Only Knows" from the Saved! soundtrack was amazing. She is beautiful in a girl next-door kind of way, but also undeniably sexy. the longer she is famous, she seems to only get more beautiful, and best of all... not crazy!
4)Jemina Pearl Abegg. At 19, Jemina will be the youngest person I've had on my list in 10 years, but I think she's great. Her band, be your own PET, has an amazing sound and much of it flows through her. As the singer for a punk band, she's a screamer and that just adds to what I like about her. and if scary Jemina is too off putting for you, here is fun loving, yet still hot Jemina.
3) Evangeline Lilly. I will admit that one of the reasons I watched the first episode of "Lost" was the shot of Kate in her bra and panties on the beach with her hand blocking the sun from her face. She has a face that says cute small town girl, but a body that says sexpot.They don't come much more classicly beautiful than Evangeline...
2) Katherine Heigl. If one good thing can come from guys being forced to watch Grey's Anatomy it's Katherine as Izzy. She has all the curves of a 1940's pin up and a beautiful face to boot. Her roll on Grey's seems to belie a certain sense of humor, and that may be backed up by her turn in "Knocked Up" later this year. Katherine's immage has been rather 'soft' in all the rolles i've seen her in. It will be nice when she finaly plays a bitch...
1) Liz Phair. Liz is the only lady making a return from the old list and for good reason. She combines just about everything a guy could want in a woman. She's gorgeous, sexy, uninhibited and has a potty mouth. She is a rock goddess and despite being pixie sized she has a killer body. Never mind the fact that she's 40 and a mother, she is my #1.in addition to being beautiful, Liz is also amazingly sexy and kicks ass too..

_

Friday, May 18, 2007

Narowing the Field

So on Wednesday, I posted my starting list of 34 women from which I will end up with my Top 5. I know it will be crushing to those who are eliminated, but I have to do what I have to do. From the original 34 I am going to step down today to 12 and then on Sunday I'll be posting my final 5. Click on the link to see photos or bios.

In the TV/Movies category I've kept Evangeline, Katherine, Sarah, Jenna and Mandy. I have to say good bye to both ladies from GH, Kelly and Rebecca who effectively balanced each other out. Gone also are two Oscar winners in Angelina and Halle, who have both been on the list before. It was hard to say goodbye to a few of my favorite TV babes in Kat and Kari, they may pop up on a later version of the list. Two Aussie women bow out with the loss of Isla and Abbie. And Scarlett and Kate were the last two on the bubble who didn't make the cut.

Among the musicians still viewing for a spot in the Top 5 are Jemina, Missy and Ani who are are all being considered for the first time. Liz is the only member of the of my current Top 5 who is still in the running for this incarnation. Sheryl and Christina fall from top spots all the way off the list. Kelly and Kate were hard to let go of, but there's only so much room. I also had to say G'day to a few fantastic Aussie songstresses in Ella and Clare.

The sports category was the hardest hit, retaining only 3 of the original 10. Still alive are racer Danica and beach babe Misty. While Sue made it on to the list her teammate in Seattle, Lauren, did not. Neither did Jodi, Shannon, or Stacy who are all great but are all out of the spotlight right now. Natalie could rally and Amanda or Rachel's stock could rise when the next Olympics come around.

Any thoughts or disagreements? Let me know...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ladies Love Cool Greazy

For as long as Inky and I have been together (10 1/2 years) we have joked about our list of famous people we are allowed to sleep with outside of our marriage. They have to be people of some noticable amount of fame, and they have to be commonly know. That's where the blog comes in; it's my public announcement of my list of 5 lucky ladies who are able to party with the Greazy One. Right now my list is 1) Sheryl Crow 2) Liz Phair 3) Scarlett Johansson 4) Christina Aguilera 5) Lauren Jackson.

The time has come to shake things up, and that starts at the top. Sheryl Crow has been on my list for as long as I've had one, and for just cause. I've always loved her music, and she is a beautiful woman, but it's time for her to go. I always kind of hoped that she would get pregnant so she would put some weight back on, but now with her adopting, I guess that's not going to happen. So as long as I'm dropping Sheryl, I decided to rethink the whole list. Here are the 36 candidates:

TV and Movies (16):
Evangeline Lilly 27: Lost
Katherine Heigl 28: Grey's Anatomy, Side Effects
Sarah Shahi 27: Old School, The L Word
Kelly Monaco 31: General Hospital, Dancing With the Stars
Abbie Cornish 25: Somersault, Candy, A Good Year
Scarlett Johansson 22: The Island, Match Point
Jenna Fischer 33: The Office, Lollilove
Mandy Moore 24: Chasing Liberty, Saved!
Kaley Cuoco 21: 8 Simple Rules
Angelina Jolie 31: Gia, Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Halle Berry 41: Monsters Ball, Swordfish
Rebecca Herbst 30: General Hospital
Kate Winslett 31: Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Isla Fisher 33: Wedding Crashers, Home and Away
Kat Von D 25: Miami Ink, LA Ink
Kari Byron 32: Artist, Myth Busters
.
Music (10):
Liz Phair 40: Exile in Guyville, Whip-Smart
Missy Higgins 24: The Sound of White, On a Clear Night
Clare Bowditch: What Was Left, Autumn Bones
Kate Jackson 28: Lead Singer of The Long Blondes
Jemina Pearl Abegg 19: Lead Singer of be your own PET
Ella Hooper 25: Lead Singer of Killing Heidi
Sheryl Crow 45: Tuesday Night Music Club, C'mon C'mon
Christina Aguilera 27: Stripped, Back to Basics
Ani DiFranco 36: Little Plastic Castle, Knuckle Down
Kelly Clarkson 25: Breakaway, My December
.
Athletes/Models (10):
Jodi Albert 23: Actress/Model
Lauren Jackson 26: Basketball Player
Sue Bird 27: Basketball Player
Danica Patrick 25: Race Car Driver
Natalie Gulbis: 24 Pro Golfer
Amanda Beard 25: Olympic Swimmer
Misty May 29: Volleyball Player
Rachel Wacholder 31: Volleyball Player
Shannon McGuire 22: Australia's Next Top Model
Stacey Keibler 27: Model, Cheerleader


_

Monday, May 14, 2007

Record Review: Feist

I’ve really been enjoying the new record "The Reminder" from Feist over the last few weeks. In the Pantheon of 2007 record releases, she occupies the same space taken up by Cat Power last year. Like Cat Power's "The Greatest" this record is getting a lot of first time main stream attention. And like Cat Power, Leslie Feist has been making music long before the big music mag's decided to pay her attention. She has been involved with many other acts such as Peaches, Gonzalez and Broken Social Scene, but has also released 3 other solo records.

"The Reminder" is her most accessible disc to date, much as "The Greatest" was for Cat Power. Unlike Chan Marshall, who dealt with alcoholism and a battle with depression around last year's release, Feist seems poised to make a lot of noise with this record and tour. I'm not immune to a really good record, even if it is a bit of a media darling, and so I'm prepared to give my TGWOOfY stamp of approval to this disc.

There are a few songs that jumped out at me right away, including "I Feel It All" which is by far my favorite on the record. It's uptempo and some what alt-country with it's deep guitar notes, high pitched piano and playful tambourine. The one word I keep seeing people use when refering to this album is "danceable" and this is one of those toe-tapping tracks, but I don't dance, as a rule so I'm limited to bobbing my head along and pumping the volume. Feist has an amazing voice and that is evident on the whole record. "Brandy Alexander" is a great track that starts light and slow, with kick drum and snaps the only accent to her voice, but it picks up to soaring vocals and a strong piano driven tune.

Other standouts on the record are "1234" and "My Moon My Man" which are both a bit more on the "danceable" side. There are other, slower songs as well all of which serve to show of Feist's amazing voice and writing ability. The record features a few nice changes of pace, that make for an easy listen from start to finish. There are also more than a few lines that will jump out at you after a second or third line that are memorable. All in all, it is a great listen.

_

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Not-A-Mother's Day

First thing's first, I love my Mom. I fully appreciate everything she's done for me in my life, and I respect all the sacrifices she and my old man had to make on my behalf. So, today I'll give her a call and tell her so, but, that doesn't mean I have to be like them.

Parenthood is one of the few things they did, that I have no interest in doing myself. You see, I am greedy and self-interested and those things aren't good to be if you are going to drop spawn. I like my life the way it is, and that is why I am hereby decreeing that the Friday after Mother's and Father's day will now be for those of us who choose to not have kids.

There are a few rules for not-a-mother's or father's day, however. Firstly you have to be over 30 and plausibly able to have brats, eg: gettin' some. I'll make one little exception to the age rule if you got married young, so if you are over 25 and have been married a full year, you can join too. That's when the questions usually start anyway "so... when you going to have kids?"

If you are 39 and you last used your junk during the Clinton Administration then, I'm sorry, that's not in the spirit of what I'm talking about. The people I am referring to are the group that I know who have found a husband or a wife and are committed and monogamous, but just not ready or willing to reproduce. In the case of Inky and I, we have been married for almost 8 years, and are now over 30 but we find other things to do with our time and money. We like to travel, and often spend money on dumb things like CD's, book's, nights out or toys. Other excuses for staying childless are continuing your education, advancing your career or waiting till you buy a home. I'd also accept "I'm just not willing to bring an innocent child into this fucked up world" but you've really got to mean it.

Since I don't believe in discrimination, I include gays and lesbians in this group. The same age restrictions apply, but you are disqualified if you refer to your cats and/or dogs as your kids. A sure way to know if you have crossed a line here is if you have given them middle names or if you buy them gifts on their "birthday" or at Christmas. We can't have that kind of crazy here, and that goes for the straights as well.

So for all of you who meet these unflinchingly ridged restrictions, have a great Not-A-Mother's day on Friday the 18th. Go out and get tanked, smoke some weed or even have three way, it's all gold. It's up to you how you'll celebrate the fact that you don't have to once turn to your husband, wife or partner and ask "do you think we should call the sitter and check on the kids."

_

Friday, May 11, 2007

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

I had the pleasure of watching my home-town team play a game while I was doing some business in Camden NJ yesterday. There's nothing like watching a baseball game on a nice day in the spring, especially when your team wins. There are only a few things I need to make a day at the ballpark perfect, despite the final score, and one of them is a hot dog.

Nothing says baseball to me like a dog, and for the first 29 years of my life that meant a dog with ketchup. That's just the way I ate them, sometimes with relish too, but always ketchup. I think it went back to young days when my Aunt Paulette would give us bologna and ketchup on white bread (and cheese and ketchup on white bread after she went vegetarian).

Then came Yacco's, the eastern PA hot dog kings, who's dogs feature mustard. In full, the dogs sport chopped fresh onions, mustard, and a special chili sauce all over a grilled dog and nestled in a steamed bun. The are fucking amazing, I couldn't love a human baby as much as I love a Yacco's dog. Slowly but surely I have become a mustard convert, still using relish from time to time but never ketchup. That's good work out Yacco's, oh and by the way, the dogs at Campbell's Field in Camden are just ok. But, when downed while watching your boys come from down a run to win, they are awesome!

_

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Adventures in Alcoholism

People are amazed when I tell them that I don't drink anymore. That could be because my mother once found some stolen bottles of vodka and rum in my room... when I was 13. It could be because I once got busted by a Priest for stealing alter wine... when I was in the Seminary. It also could have something to do with the fact that I spent a whole lot of time in high school and college drinking, which is how I met my best friend in the world. After 9 or 10 beers and an unknown amount of jello shots I punched the DJ at a frat party because he wouldn't believe me when I told him that James Brown was still alive. Thankfully XL was there to pull me out of the street, which is where I ended up after they through me off the front porch of the frat house.

My name is Greazy Tony and I have a drinking problem.

I'm not an alcoholic in the true sense of the word, because I never became dependant on alcohol. Ultimately it was the fact that I didn't need it that caused me to quit. My grandmother and other members of my family have been classified as a more typical alcoholic. That may be why my older brother didn't take his first serious drink until he was in his very late 20's. It sure was a factor that I thought of when ever I was confronted with the chance to display alkie tendencies, such as drinking alone or driving when I had too much. It was the chance that I may end up like my family members, who had been down that road, that kept me from needing an intervention.

However, I still have a drinking problem, in that, I can be a problem when I drink. I'm not too great at doing things in moderation, usually preferring the 'all or nothing' approach. So if I was going to drink, I wanted to D-R-I-N-K. That would sometimes lead to telling inappropriate stories, being far too loud and generally making an ass out of myself. This was compounded by the fact that I can't drink nearly as much now as I did in college. I had a hell of a tolerance in school, often drinking in excess of 12 beers in an evening, like I did on my second date with Inky. (we split a full case, I think she had 10 and I had 14) I was able to do that because we drank every weekend, but in the last few years my occasion to drink was greatly diminished and so too was my tolerance. Which led to my problem with drinking i.e. my drinking problem.

I began my ban on drinking when I started to play poker with my buddies. As the night wore on I would get sloppy and so too would my play. So I rectified that by not drinking during poker games anymore. Then I spent two years working third shift and that really puts a cramp in your drinking. If you drink at night you're drinking only a few hours after waking up, and if you drink when you get home from work, you're drinking at 9 or 10 in the morning. Neither are very good options.

So, by and by, I just didn't drink anymore, and what I found was startling. I still had tons of fun. I was still able to act silly and even do some crazy stuff like I used to do, but I never really crossed the line like I used to. Plus as an added bonus I was also able to be the designated driver, much like I was a few weekends ago. I went out with Ink, XL and another college friend to the last weekend at out beloved college bar, which is closing soon. They each put 8 or 9 beers away and we all acted like kids again, and when the time came to leave, I was able to drive safely.

Problem solved. And I didn't even have to climb those stupid steps.

_

Monday, May 07, 2007

Waving The Flag

I have a request to make of Conservative Politicians, Pundits and Broadcasters. Please stop saying the Democrats don't support the troops because they want to pull out of Iraq. Not only is the logic behind this statement utterly flawed and ridiculous, it's also counterproductive. The War in Iraq is a bed that W made and all of you have to lie in, and trying to make it someone else's problem isn't the answer. If you really want to help the troops then bring them home.

I drive past a cemetery in my home town a few times a week that brings the problem into stark relief for me. The Prospect Hill Cemetery places a flag in the ground for each American who dies in the conflict in the Middle East. There are a whole lot of 'em, and it's only going to get worse. The fact of the matter is this; the war has been lost, through no fault of the troops. The have fought bravely and in almost every single case with the utmost honor. And many of them have convinced themselves that they are doing it to protect their nation, their families and their very way of life. But, that's not what's going on over there. By toppling Saddam we opened the door for two groups of people that hate each other almost as much as they hate us, to kill each other... and us.


The Bush Administration wants to have a semantic debate of the terms "sectarian violence" and "Civil War." Well it's real simple: call it what you will, but we don't need to be a part of it. They can kill themselves if they want to, but we don't need to be putting up any more flags at Prospect Hill Cemetery. We all know things are going to be bad in Iraq for years, maybe generations, to come but we don't need to be killing off a whole generation of lower and middle class America because of it. We need those people back here in the States having kids to fight the war started by the kids of the countless thousands we've killed and maimed in Iraq. Kids who may not have cared much about America before, but who now want nothing more then to hurt us.

_

Friday, May 04, 2007

Fresh Ink

I took the next step in completing the sleeve on my left arm tonight. I went down to Baltimore to sit with my artist for three hours to get some more of the project done, and I hope to be back in June to have more done. I had already had the compass rose done, which I got back in '03. The next piece I got on the left arm was the southern cross, which I added in the summer of '05 after we got back from Oz. Next came the scroll in the summer of '06, which reads Vita Nostra Brevis Est. Venit Mors Velociter (Our lives are short. Death comes quickly)

In February of '07 I went in to have Angel tie it all together with a few new items. The sleeve now sports an anchor, a sea serpent and an 18th century three masted sloop of war. In my first session we were able to complete the anchor, and this time around we finished the water around it, as well as most of the rope tied to it. Plus we were able to finish most of the work on the ship. In the next sitting we'll be tackling the sky that will span the area between the horizon line and the compass which also goes around the scroll.

There's something so wonderful about getting a new tattoo. Even though it hurts, and the first day or two after you get a big chunk done can be uncomfortable, it is such good feeling. I just keep looking down at it, and it makes me happy to see the art that I'll carry with me for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Holy Crap That's Good

When it comes to the "Burgers and Fries" approach to eating there is more than one way to skin a cat. Unfortunately, the stuff you get these days from Ronald, The King, and even Wendy tastes an awful lot like the anecdotal skinned cat. I haven't eaten at Mickey Dee's in at least a year and a half, and it's been almost as long since I've been to the King. I always feel lethargic after eating there, which I don't really have too much of a problem with mind you, but it's not worth it.

I never sit around saying 'you know what would hit the spot right now? A fast food burger.' What I do like is a real burger that comes of the griddle or the grill. They have actual taste, which the fast food verity seem to lack. The Big Mac just doesn't do it for me any longer, and forget about the Whopper. Not only is the name offensive to my people (I demand an Imus style apology) but it's devoid of any real taste other than the chemical they put on it to make it taste 'flame broiled." Cherry Starburst don't taste like cherries, Orange Trix don't taste like the oranges and Fast Food burgers don't taste like burgers anymore.

Just when I thought there was no place I could get a good burger 'over the counter' anymore, along comes Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries. They are a chain that started in DC and it's surrounding burbs, and they take a Fuddruckers-esqe approach to food, but they are faster then Fuddruckers. And the burgers are way better. They don't have any fancy names for their menu items, of which there are only 4 with variations. There's the Hamburger (or Cheeseburger, Bacon Burger, and Bacon Cheeseburger) which is two big 'never frozen' patties adorned with 17 free toppings. If the two patties are too much for you, pick up the same array of options in the "Little" variety, eg Little Hamburger, Little Cheeseburger etc.

In addition to the Burger and Little Burger they also feature a Hot Dog and Fries. The dogs come split down the middle and grilled, like my old man used to like them. I found the dogs to be the unhealed star of the show, and they go perfectly with a Little Burger. The fries are 'boardwalk style' and they even have vinegar on the tables for you. Be warned, a small order of fries is enough to split with someone, since they pour about an orders worth on the top of your food when it's put in the bag. There's not "for here" or "to go" at Five Guys, as all orders come in a bag. Everything is made fresh, so unlike the big fast food places you'll have to wait a few minutes for your order. Five Guys borrowed a trick from some steakhouse's by putting peanuts out for people to snack on while waiting for their food.

My one knock on this place is that they close at 10 each night, or at least the ones in my home town do. I no longer drink, but when I did, I liked nothing more than a nice burger and some fries to soak up all the alcohol when my night was over. I took Inky and XL to Five Guys after they polished off about 7 or 8 drafts each last Saturday afternoon and they definitely enjoyed it. Back in Jersey we got our 'drunken burger' on at White Castle, or if you had a DD that could get you to Highland Park, at White Rose System. White Rose was a place where your Cali Burger was made and served to you in the time it took for you to tell the lady behind the register what you wanted, so they have that leg up on Five Guys. I have to say, that's good work out of you to Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries. It's some damn good stuff.

_