Thursday, February 28, 2008
During one scene this season, McNulty is checking to see if his case has made the front page of "the sun paper." Rather than drop coin in the little street corner box, he waits till someone else buys the paper and then grabs the door before it closes, thus picking up the paper for free. I remember thinking that no one really does that anymore, and that it was such a movie and TV cliche. But, I guess I'm wrong, because I saw it happen in downtown York today and that led me to think about the newspaper box as the harbinger of the death of the newspaper industry.
If you are still selling your product in exactly the same way in 2008 that you did in 1968, you're in trouble. Think about it, has the design of the paper box changed much in the last 40 years? No, it is still the same honor system approach, and while some have credit card swipe capabilities (like the one pictured on the right) that is mainly in big markets. That means that in 98% of the cities in this country, if you want to by the paper on a street corner, you have to have change in your pocket.
Sure, some people still include a trip to the paper box with a few quarters in hand as part of their daily routine. Those people, however, are old and not passing their habits on to their kids. In the very act of reading this blog, you are among the problem (as perceived by newspaper purists) since you are one of the "new media" people we hear so much about. I think the problem stems less from people's decreasing desire to read the paper and more from peoples increasing desire to read the paper at their desk and not lug around a pocket full of coins.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Concerning your countersuit:
A) You’re going to have to forget about throwing one back, as that will never happen again. You should, however, be thankful that you always have someone to drive, go to 5 Guys to get food and cook you boneless wings. Also, remember that I still act like a dumb ass fool, even though I no longer drink.
B) I have never watched, and will never watch Project Runway. That is a hurtful and salacious rumor.
C) I could stomach the American Idol, the Survivor, the Apprentice et al, but Knight Rider is just too much too soon. I mean, you need to give a brother a decade or two more to be ready for that kind of blow! Next thing you’re going to tell me is that you have the Dukes of Hazard movie on DVD.
C) Your claim that there isn’t anything good on due to the strike is flawed on it’s face. There may not be anything good on YOUR tv, but that is because your cheep ass doesn’t have pay channels which feature some of the best shows around. You’ve been missing out on the Wire which is probably the greatest show ever shown on TV... of all time, and it’s set in your home state.
I await XL’s response, and I still maintain that this can all be solved with a game of Garage Top Whiffel bal.
One of the things I love most about music is it's ability to grab a hold of us over and over again. You can go months, even years, without hearing a song only to find yourself thinking about it out of the blue. In this age of the iPod, you can also find that you're just scrolling through your artist list and come across a band you haven't listened to in a few months, and fall in love with them all over again.
Yesterday I listened to Rilo Kiley, which made me think about the band The Postal Service which will inevitably make me think about Death Cab for Cutie. Ben Gibbard has penned some amazing songs for both bands he fronts, but few are more impressive than "What Sarah Said." I've listened to it a million times since Plans came out in '05, but yesterday, as I listened, I had these technicolor visions of standing in the room while my father slipped away. Then, I had dream after dream last night about him, and the day we had to say goodbye to him. There is something so special about a songwriter who can take an event from their own life and make you feel what they were feeling when it occurred. There is something so much more amazing about a person who can take that same event, and somehow write a song that manages to evoke emotion in you, despite the fact that the song is not about your life.
This song is so fucking sad, and yet so poignant which is precisely what we need from time to time to pick away the emotional scabs in our lives, which allows us to both remember and move on.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Just about the only thing that I've been looking forward to with as much zeal as our trip to Australia, is the completion of my 3/4 sleeve tattoo. It has been a long and (of course) painful process, but I'm happy to say the end is near. I went on down to Maryland tonight and had another few hours of work done, and it looks like the next session may be the last for this project. Weather I continue down to the forearm remains to be seen, but for now, I'm just happy to have more of the serpent done, and the sun, sky and water on the other side of the ship finished.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
So this morning, after getting 3 hours of sleep, scraping the ice crystals off my car, and trying to get prepared for a huge meeting tomorrow, it’s all about the Oz. I drove to work listening to the Cat Empire, and right now I’ve got the Missy Higgins playlist going on my iPod all the while I’m dreaming about the view above! I’m just pretending the glare of the snow covered campus is the shimmer of Sydney Harbour, now if I can just get the folks around here to roll with the accent.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
So there I was, flying down I-81, doing well above 80, trying to get home to Inky before the sun went down. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a New York State police cruiser that was shifting into high gear. What happened next is a bit of a blur, and if pressed on it in a court of law, this is how I would have to testify:
My eyes glanced from my rear view mirror to my speedometer to the road ahead, where I saw that I was about 500 yards away from the next exit, which was beyond a bend to the right. My body went into action, as if I were some kind of sleeper agent who had just been triggered a la Jason Bourne. Rather than slowing down, or hitting the breaks, I sped up and crossed from the left lane to the right, and once around the bend I took the exit ramp.
At the bottome of the ramp, I watched as the cruiser flew south on 81. Then, out of no where he slammed on his breaks and crossed the median to get on the north bound lane. Once he did that, I proceeded to take the ramp back on to southbound 81. My hands were shaking a bit as I took the next exit, and asked Karen (my GPS) how to get to Binghamton without getting back on 81. She sent me on rt 11, and I by the time I made it, my hands had stopped shaking. Sometimes it's good to be the Greazy!
(* Five Bucks to the person who can name the movie the title of this post comes from)
Monday, February 18, 2008
A few things struck me about my time at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. First, was the putrid excuse for a hotdog that I paid $3 for and promptly spit out into my hand without shame in front of my whole row. Second, was the fact that from 1977 to 1980 the team was known as The Broome Dusters, which cracked me up. Then there was the douche nozzle that was sitting a few rows behind me in section 3.
This guy really thought he was part of the show, and sadly so did a number of the Sen's faithful. He would shout some barely coherent sentiment at a player of a ref that sounded something like: "Hey Fleury, what kinda humma humna goal tending blahdee blah muffa dee puck frizzie butterfly position? To which the whole section would chime in: Yeah! As if this guy had made some great point. This went on through the whole game, and I couldn't believe that people were into it, but in the end, I have to admit, I wanted to stand up and yell: hey ref, you call that a mumba numba chaka lata hooking funzta lipta slashing dang ole boo you need glasses... and see if they would do it for me too.
Mostly I watched as Marc-Andre Fleury looked like an NHLer among AHLers for the first two periods, before holding on to win 3-2. There were two early fights, one of which took place right in front of me, and that added to my over all enjoyment of the game. In the end it didn't matter that for some reason the clubs mascot was a lion named Maximus. Or that only one of their six "ice girls" was pretty enough to make a JV cheerleading squad, because there was blood. And that's what hockey is all about.
What is better than a Hockey fight?
Another Hockey fight in the same game.
But, what's better than sitting in the front row?
***Note: This post originally appeared on the now defunct blog "Inky and the Sports Guys" and has been imported to TGWOOfY for continuity purposes.***
Sunday, February 17, 2008
As I have mentioned in a previous post I keep myself amused while traveling solo in various ways. This time around, I didn't feel like working up an elaborate back story, so I just decided to blend into the wood work and listen to the goings on while I ate at the Bar at O'Hanlan's Steakhouse. I had the Irish Nachos to start, and a chop salad for dinner, both were great but I was surprised when the bar tender poured my Pepsi from a 2 liter rather than a fountain. That's neither here nor there, I was just surprised.
I sat with my book open on the bar, turning pages from time to time as to look like I was reading, and I just listened. I don't want for this to sound duplicitous, because non of the conversations were being hushed, on the contrary, most were being shouted across the bar. But, people tend to talk a bit differently when they think they have an eavesdropper, or a simple out of town audience. The crowd at O'Hanlans tonight was mostly local, although there were a number of out of towners in the dining room (damn three day weekend). Absent the frozen over parking lot, and ubiquitos baseball memorabilia this bar could have easily been in the deep south. The people were decidedly small town Americans, the type us city kids tend to call rednecks. They gossiped, shared stories about kids and even invited one another over for dinner later in the week.
Please, don't misunderstand, I don't mean to sound like these types of things don't go on in bigger areas, because they do. And I'm not slighting those who live in small towns, because there's just as much salt of the earth here as there is anywhere, but something was different in the bar at O'Hanlans. Not better, mind you, but different. It may be the same difference that drew my whole family to move to Maine, fleeing Jersey as if it were on fire (oh yeah, parts of it are.) It also may be the type of things that drives some people from here to move away and seek out the city. Call it a slower pace of life, call it Mayberry or call it the sticks, it's the same in upstate New York as it is in Central PA, West Texas or Southern Alabama. To bad all the places that have this kind of vibe to them have to be so damn far away from anything worth doing, as to warrant living there.
Friday, February 15, 2008
The rank and file "christians" are the people I have a problem with. They are the people who (like Westboro Baptist Church) cite Leviticus chapter 18, verse 22 which they believe is rock solid truth that men and women can't have same sex relations. Never mind that in the preceding chapters of Leviticus it also basiclly says that you can't eat any living thing in the water that doesn't have fins or scales, (i.e. shrimp, crabs, clams, lobsters etc, see LEV 11:10-13) or else that is also and abomination. Abomination is, of course, the same word that 18:22 uses for "lying with a man." So there is a whole religion of people who are able to look at one part of a book of the bible and disregard it as they munch on fried shrimp, but get up in arms when a chick wants to munch box.
It is this tacit and sometimes active ignorance of one rule and blind acceptance that I have a problem with. All I ask now, it that any person who wants to claim to follow the bible begins to follow all of it. If you think fags and dikes are going to hell because they are an abomination then stop eating shell fish.
Moreover, if you think that the main reason for two people to get married is to produce a happy marriage in god's eyes, and ultimately children you need to start coming after me too. I married Inky on a golf course in front of the town's Mayor and with no intention of ever having children. So if you have problems with secular weddings between two men or two women, then you have to start drafting a law to say that Inky and I can not be married either.
All or nothing people. Either you believe the words you say and pray, or you don't. So either let gays get married, or go the whole nine and try and stop people like me who had no intention of getting married in the church. That's all I ask. Of course, we all know the people out to stop gay marriage would never take this step, because half of their kids get married in front of the J of the P when Joe Bob doesn't pull out in time while banging Brittney in the back of the '88 Olds.
Have a good weekend.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Just take a look at the computer screen of the bank teller being robbed above, and a few things become evident. A) People just don't dress for bank robberies the same anymore: where is the hamburglar mask, the striped suit and the sack with the dollar sign? B) Why didn't she move that three of diamonds to the diamonds pile so she could uncover more cards. And C) This teller knew there was a camera behind her, and said "fuck it, I'm going to play solitare no matter what the bosses think.
The story of this robbery (scroll down on this site to the second bank robbery story dated 11/2/07) is as old as time. Customers always ruin our down time. Do they deserve to wait in line while we play games on our computer? No, but will we make them wait? Yes, and do you know why, cause fuck 'em that's why. We have to put up with all sorts of shit in our jobs (some people have to put up with robbery) so we deserve a little down time... on the clock.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Why you ask? Well, because the person doesn't really give a shit what or who I am, they are just making small talk. And secondly, because it's really fun. You get to invent a whole different person, sometimes complete with a different name. I started doing this years ago, once on the train from Princeton (where I was going to school) to my parents house in Central Jersey. It was like living in my own little story that came to life around me, and I should point out, it's not like anyone gets hurt here. It can seem odd to on lookers however.
I once had to take a bus (or as I like to all it a poor person's chariot) from York to Newark NJ, via Harrisburg. There were a few little stops along the way, and so I had a few different row partners to talk to. I was about 19 at the time, and a sophomore in college, so my versatility level was high. With one person I was a seminary student, with the next I was rushing home to be at the birth of my first child which caused my high school sweetheart to have to drop out of school. Then I was a baseball player going to New Jersey to get a shot with the new independent baseball team there, that was followed with a tale about being a guy who left home at 18 and was seeing as much of the world as I could.
I had great conversations with these people, as evidenced by the fact that I only read a few pages of my book on that trip, and I throughly enjoyed my experience. When I got up to get off the bus at Newark, the lady in the row in front of me stood and looked back at me with a face filled with scorn and alarm. I smiled for a second, until I remembered that she had boarded the bus with me at York, and as such had heard virtually everything I had said throughout the trip. I couldn't stop myself from laughing.
I thought about that as I was chatting with the lady who was next to me on the plane to Chicago. She was going to see her grandkids in the windy city, and as fate would have it, I was on my way to reunite with my long lost brother.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I picked up this pair of Converse three quarter tops a week or two ago for one reason. I wanted to have enough time to break them in. I don't know about you, but the first 30 or 40 times I wear a pair of shoes they still feel like rentals at the bowling ally. The size is right, but they don't feel like a part of me. I wanted to have the time to make these shoes mere extensions of my feet by the time they set foot on Aussie soil in 91 days. So I have the next 14 weeks to break these shoes in, thus ensuring that they will be at their optimal level for conveying me about Sydney, Launceston, Uluru and Melbourne.
Does that make me:
A) A well prepared and intelligent traveler
B) A ridiculous over-thinker
C) Kind of crazy
D) A loser
E) Both A and D
F) All of the Above
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Woody nearly brought the heat with Scarlett once before, in 2005's "Match Point", but "Vicky Christina Barcelona" is on a whole different level. I say again, Scarlett in an "extremly erotic" scene with Penelope, to be followed later in the film by a threesome scene. Call our boys and girls home from Iraq.
This is shaping up to be Scarlett's best year since '05, when she started in "Match Point" and "The Island." Over the next year we'll see Scar as Ann Boleyn in "The Other Boleyn Girl" in the title role in "Mary Queen of Scots" and locking lips with Peny Cruz. Buckle up, it's going to be a smoldering hot ride.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Some people have questioned why we are making a second trip to the land down under, as opposed to doing a tour of Europe, or exploring another far reaching part of the planet. That is a good question, but the answer is simple: we love Oz. It is a great and far reaching country filled with interesting and exciting people and exhilarating things to do. We are going to get a closer look at two cities we’ve seen before, Sydney and Melbourne, and we are going to spend some time seeing some sights for the first time, like Uluru and Tasmania. Of all the people who go to Oz, only about half see Uluru, and only 1 in 10 make it to Tazzy.
All that aside, it’s just over three months until Inky and I touch ground in the Lucky Land, and I can’t wait.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
I landed at Midway on Tuesday night, and was confronted with single digit temps, and windchills of as low as 20 below.
While many people were wearing what looked like the caracas of a dead moose, I opted for heat retention and minimizing skin exposure. It seamed to work well enough, as I kept all my fingers and toes. I looked a tad ridiculous, however.
You know it's cold out when the water in the river is warm by comparison. Here, the Chicago River steams it's way through the fridigity of downtown and under the North Clark St Bridge.
As many men are, I am totaly obsessed with big ships, bridges, tits and buildings. I was completely enamored of the Sears tower, and captured it from a few different angles. Sadly, however, I chose to take the view from the top at night, and those pictures kind of suck balls, so I'll omit them.
I had to take a picture of the Smurfit-Stone Building, since: A) It is fun to say Smurfit-Stone, B) It is cool as hell and C) There is a Smurfit-Stone property behind my alma mater. I don't put any stock into the idea that this building was designed to look like a vagina, to counteract all the other phalic looking skyscrapers in the world, but it's a good tale.
Officially called "Cloud Gate" but colloquially referred to as "the bean" I was more than transfixed by Anish Kapoor's sculpture, which is one of the focal points of Millennium Park. Completed in 2004, they boldly chose to still call it Millennium Park, rather than Millennium plus four park. No matter the name it is very nice, even on this frigid day.
Millennium Park also sports another accessory which is a must for any big city these days. A Frank Gehry design, like the Pritzker Pavilion seen here, is to Chicago what a pair of Jimmy Choo's or a Coach Bag would be to trendy woman these days. I mean no offense, either to fashion conscious women or to the Pritzker. I found the Pavilion to be perfectly situated, and quite striking.
I didn't make it to the John Hancock Building, but I had a great view of it over the Rock 'n Roll McDonalds when I left my Hotel every day. That is, when It wasn't snowing it's fat ass off out.
By my second night in town, it was up to a balmy 15. I took this picture on Jackson Street, about a block from Giordano's and looking west toward the Sears Tower, which is somewhat visible in the background.
With the 11 degree increase in temperature from Tuesday night to Wednesday night I felt as if I could go sans hood and just stick with the stocking cap. I was still sporting some red cheeks, however.
Who in their right mind goes an hour, round trip, out of their way to see a shuttered baseball stadium during a winter snowstorm? I do, of course. Sports is a big part of travel for me, and I also caught a Ho League Game while in town, but I enjoyed Wrigley more than should be allowed in January.
It really was beautiful when it was snowing in the city. Sadly, and somewhat predictably, I took a bit of a tumble on the steps to the Red Line Subway during that snowy night, and I wrenched up my ankles pretty well...
After some frozen aqua therapy in the hotel's non-working pool, I opted for a few redneck icepacks to further treat my aching stubs.
My siblings, friends and I have had a somewhat juvenile obsession with that fecal hitchhiker: the corn niblett for years. Once finished with the corn as an icepack, I decided to amuse myself by leaving an appallingly funny gift for the maid. I laughed about this for, well... I'm still laughing about this.
I may have been about as surprised as the maid, when I saw the massive dump on Friday morning. Rather than corn laced shit, I had to deal with 10 inches of fresh powder on Chitown's streets. I will say this though, the plows in the windy city do their jobs quickly and quietly. I never heard them that night, and the streets were clear in the morning.
I also awoke Friday morning to find that the temperature was on the rise. By the time my work was done in the afternoon it was all the way up to 30. I, naturally, spent the whole day singing "We're having a heat wave. A tropical heat wave" in my best Walter Matthau from Grumpy Old Men voice. Sadly, there was no one to call dickhead, as I couldn't raise XL on the phone.
Also on Friday, my work took me to the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, once the home of Frank Lloyd Wright. I took in a number of his works, including Unity Temple pictured here. I was not only was quite impressed with Wright's work, but I was finally able to stop singing "heat wave" because upon seeing Unity Temple, I was then stuck on Dave Chappelle as Rick James saying "Unityyyyyy"
Saturday, February 02, 2008
It's kind of like that with Giordano's famous stuffed Pizza. It was mindblowingly good, but it just isn't pizza. Pizza is a melding of sauce, cheese, toppings and crust in to a fully coalesced unit. When brought together these items can... nay, must be eaten by hand. No forks and knives allowed when you eat real pizza, the American way. Italian pizza is also a different story, kind of like how the World Cup is also football, what they do is also pizza but that's a different story for a different day.
I ate at the Giordano's location just down Jackson Street from the Sears Tower, on a cold evening earlier this week. To say it was a cold evening earlier this week goes without saying, since the whole city was frozen during my stay. I knew going into it that the house specialty takes about 40 minutes to cook, so I positioned myself in front of a TV so I could watch Maryland take it to Virginia.
When my pie (you can't order by the slice, so I had to opt for the 10") arrived I was instantly impressed with the presentation. As you can see by the picture, the order in which the ingredients are put together is different in Chitown. After layering the pan with the dough, the cheese goes in next, and then is topped by the sauce, which is more of a marinara then you would get in New York or New Jersey.
It doesn't just look good, it tastes damn good too. The cheese is of a very high quality, which is hardly ever the case at a chain pizza joint, and sadly doesn't seem to be the case at local places out here in the boondocks. All the elements of the pie come together very well, although I would like a slightly crispier crust. I downed three slices before I had to throw in the napkin, but I really enjoyed every bite.
If you find yourself in Chicago, run do not walk to a Giordano's location (there are 14 in the city proper) and chow down. Just remember: while you love football, you can also like football and occasionally even football. This world has a plethora of things to put in your mouth.
Friday, February 01, 2008
First and foremost, the UIC Pavilion is what you get when you mate an NBA arena and a middle school's multi purpose room. You know the kind, where they can use it for lunch, a gym and auditorium. The huge blue curtain somewhat drowned out the excitement of hundreds of screaming fans, seemingly as many members of the dance team and cheer squad and the quaint pep band. The game itself featured a 29 point performance from Scott Mayo as he joined the 1000 point club at UIC.
The hosts used the scoring of Mayo and the towering nature Scott VanderMeer (you can't teach seven feet) to win 74 to 68. My other choice on Thursday night was the clash between Loyola and Youngstown state. As it turns out I picked the wrong Chicago vs Ohio game, as this game came down to a buzzer beating three pointer to win it 69 to 68 for Loyola. Damn! I wish I had caught that, but there's always next time.
***Note: This post originally appeared on the now defunct blog "Inky and the Sports Guys" and has been imported to TGWOOfY for continuity purposes.***
For now I'll leave you with a few quick hits: First, let me tell you how much it sucks to walk around a town with two sore ankles, thanks to some very slippery steps down to the Red Line. When I got back to the hotel Wednesday night I though about filling the ice bucket so I could ice them down. Luckily for me, I had a better option. On Tuesday night I got unpacked and decided to get bathing-suited up and take a dip in the spectacular rooftop pool that the hotel's web site advertised. So up I went and just before I jumped in, I decided to dip my foot in to check the temp. Maybe I was being overly cautious, or maybe I was alarmed by the lack of steam on the windows, but the water was ice cold. Trust me, after the last three days in Chicago, I know from ice cold.
The upside of the pool being roughly 33 degrees, was it gave me a great place to soak my painful feet yesterday afternoon. While I sat there with my feet in the icy drink, a janitor came in and was visibly shocked to see someone in there. Maybe it was his surprise that lead him to say the following, without thinking first: "You know that water is cold, the heater is broke." "Yup, just icing down my sore ankles" I responded. I don't know what kind retard I'd have to be to not know the water was cold, but I guess I look like one.
I had a lot more fun on my trip, both with my ankles and creative ways to treat them, and with some of the things I did in my down time. I'll be updating my posts with pictures when I get back, so keep it tuned to TGWOOfY!!! You'll be glad you did.