Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who Needs Summer TV?

Of the many wonderful gifts Australia gave Inky and I, one was a TV show that had been under our noses, even before we went down under the first time in '05. On our trip this May, we were up and at it early every day. We walked at least 5 miles each day on our way to see all the cool things Sydney, Tasmania, Victoria and the Outback had to offer. A byproduct of these long days starting at 8 am, was that we were back at the hotel and ready to go to bed early, but before we did that, we watched some TV.

Along with the Aussie TV we enjoyed (All Saints, Home and Away, Neighbours, Rove, etc) we picked up one new American show. We began watching the Fox show House M.D. which was in reruns down under, on one such lazy night following a day of exertion. We were both surprised how much we liked the season 4 episodes we watched in Oz, so upon returning home we put all 4 seasons in our netflix queue.

For the last few weeks we've been following House, Wilson, Cuddy and all the fellows at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. In so much as this show is a medical drama there is a lot of cool doctor type shit, but the real genius of this show is the personality conflicts among the staff and between the staff and the sick folks. Hugh Laurie is well worthy of all the praise that has been heaped on him over the years that Inky and I have been ignoring this show.

The added bonus to watching 4 full seasons of the show over a month and a half is not having to wait weeks or months at a time to find out what will happen in a big cliffhanger. The storyline flowed quickly and allowed us to immerse ourselves in the world of the show, so much so that I've had more than one dream about the show in the last few weeks. And more than one of those have focused on Cameron or Thirteen, to no ones surprise.

Now, we are down to our last disc of season 4, so we will have to wait till next month to know that happens in the world of House. We'll be no different than any other viewer, but we'll still be grateful to that Hostel in the Newtown area of Sydney that brought the show to us.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Song Spotlight: Kati O'Toole

I find music can both bring me down and pull me back up again, so sometimes its good to have a peppy little song on your iPod that can put a smile on your face and make you tap your toe. One such song on my iPod is "Move" by an artist named Kati O'toole. I've seen Kati play twice, both times as a part of the opening act for Missy Higgins back in March. She was touring with Robert Francis, and in addition to playing the keyboard for him, she sang along with him on the song "One by One."

Those two dates with Missy lead me to check out Robert's stuff, and that lead me in turn to find Kati's site and listen to her solo work. Her songs are great, and she is a very tallented singer, songwriter and producer. On "Move" her pretty voice is happy, reassuring and soothing and the glockenspiel is sure to put a smile on your face. Check out her MySpace site to hear the song, or check out her new stuff at SnowGhost Music. Here's the lyrics to "Move" enjoy:

It’s really not bad, being out on your own
Sure I feel alone sometimes.
When the day is long and you reach for night
Sometimes dreaming makes it all seem fine.
When you’re wishing you were somewhere maybe more familiar
Think of all you’ve got to be.
When you’re wishing you were holding someone you’ve been missing
Think of all you’ve got to see.

It’s really not bad, walking down the street, with no company in the city.
When the day is long, sing out simple song and soon you’ll feel like you might belong
When you’re wishing you were somewhere maybe more familiar
Think of all you’ve got to be.
When you’re wishing you were holding someone you’ve been missing
Think of all you’ve got to see.

You’ll be fine if you keep on, keep on, moving
You’ll be fine if you keep on, keep on, moving.

When you’re wishing you were somewhere maybe more familiar
Think of all you’ve got to be.
When you’re wishing you were holding someone you’ve been missing
Think of all you’ve got to see.
You’ll be fine if you keep on, keep on, moving
You’ll be fine if you keep on, keep on, moving.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Miller Time!

After a day in the bleachers on the North Side and the Red Line double header the next day, XL and I took a bus north to Milwaukee to see our first game in a retractable doomed stadium. The only other indoor baseball either of us have ever seen was on a trip to Tampa with Inky and our college roommate back in 1998. This was a million times better to be sure, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

We started our day off on the Miller Brewery tour, which, while some Milwaukee residents is tantamount to climbing Everest, was quite easy. When XL and I told the concierge at our hotel that we wanted to do the Miller double she thought we were crazy. "I've never heard of anyone doing that" she said, but we found that Miller has direction cards all printed up for those who want to do the unimaginable. If you are going to Milwaukee to see the Brewers, stop by and see the brewery first, tell em Greazy sent Ys.

After our 15 minute walk to the Stadium we were struck by how tall Miller Park is. They had to make it tall to allow for the stackable roof, but the side effect is the high vaulted effect, accented by the huge wall windows beneath. Once inside, the view is that much better. The decks are short, and close to the field. All of the sight lines are excellent, and if you are there without tickets and the Brewers doing well, you may have to get standing room only like we did. If you do end up on your feet then you'll be really happy that you can see the whole park from all of those standing room areas.

The big plus to this stadium is the kids area, which you would think I wouldn't know, being as I'm a 32 year old man. But, XL and I had a good old time taking pictures with the sausage statues, the mock up ballplayers and in the giant mitt, where I played the ball. In addition to the great play area the Brewers provide an amazing array of shops, stores and eateries.

The in game experience was what you might expect from a fan base that was downtrodden for years, and has just become invigorated. There were a lot of fans in late model Brew Crew shirts, hats and jerseys who all knew their heroes well enough, Weeks, Hardy, Hart and Hall but probably couldn't tell you who was on the 1982 team. The shear amount of people in CC Sabathia jerseys show how out of touch these fans are. There is slim to no chance that he'll be there next year, but still they drop $20 on a tee shirt or $150 on a jersey.

Lucky for us the game lived up to the setting as the Brewers beet the Pirate Hookers 6-3 on a double and a homer from Ryan Braun. I hate to say it, but the only thing that was missing was a sudden and unexpected rain storm that would have forced them to close the roof to close above us. Which makes it the first time in my life I've ever prayed for rain at a ballgame.

***Note: This post originally appeared on the now defunct blog "Inky and the Sports Guys" and has been imported to TGWOOfY for continuity purposes.***

Quick Hits From The Road

I'm back at home after a few days on the road for work, and for fun. I always love to travel, but as always, it comes with a bunch of headaches too. You can't go from York Pennsylvania to Baltimore, Chicago, and Milwaukee without tripping over the odd occasional roadblock, but you also end up with some funny stories too. Here are a few of each:

While sitting in the stands at Wrigley Field, I saw a couple eating peanuts. Nothing Strange about that right? Wrong. They were eating the nuts whole, without shelling them. I'm sure there are all sorts of nutrients in peanut shells and all that, but they are also grown in the dirt, and rarely washed. Gross.

It is impossible to walk around Chicago's Chinatown without being assailed by countless homeless people who want to take your money in exchange for directions or suggestions. Maybe they should just stick to begging and stop trying to be helpful, its kind of off putting.

Milwaukee has absolute no mass transit, and there is nothing more annoying than spending almost a hundred bucks on cab rides just to see a baseball game and a brewery tour. You've got a beautiful town (I see why the Algonquins called it the 'good land') but how are out-of-towners supposed to see it if they can't hop a train here or there?

While being bombarded with some serious Wisconsin accents at the ballpark, XL and I stumbled on something that will always be funny: when a woman from Milwaukee puts a man's penis into her mouth and brings about orgasm through sucking, licking and stroking it is called... a blouw jaab.

The flight from Milwaukee to Chicago takes 16 minutes, which is about 10 minutes shorter than the cab ride from our hotel. Some other things that take longer then that flight: The line at security, the walk from the gate at US Cellular Field to our "seats" in the 500 level, A good dump after eating a multi course meal in Chinatown, a blouw jaab, the wait for the Lot A bus at BWI.

Some people don't take the time to think about how their actions impact other people when you travel. Like the ridiculous family in front of me in security at the Milwaukee airport who had liquid in all their bags, and had to be checked for about ten minutes. Worse then that, was the douche next to me on the plane who wanted to wait till everyone deplaned before getting up. "I like to be the last off" he said to me as I started to stand. "How nice for you, but I don't." I responded as I started to push past him before he turned his knees and let me by.


Friday, August 22, 2008

XL and Greazy at Wrigley: Take Two

If the game XL and I saw yesterday was the quintessential National League game, then today was the exception to the rule. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. We started our day off by walking along the lake (I don't want to sound like a queer or nothing, but I find large bodies of water to be very romantic.) down to Soldier Field. There was a preseason game there last night, but we weren't willing to drop the extra cash to see J.T. O'Sullivan take on Kyle Orton, so we saw the famous gridiron by the light of day.

Once our walking tour was done, we headed back to the North Side and remarked how nice the weather was. Not for long. While walking around Wrigleyville it began to pour, and we were afraid we may miss our game one, or have it pushed into our game two, and you know how painful that can be. After about an hour of a rain delay the game got under way and we enjoyed Chris Chelious showing off the Stanley Cup and throwing out the first pitch to Eddie Vedder, which is like a non sequitur rapped up in another non sequiture. Once the game was on, we were treated to an 18 run affair in which former Oriole (and Delmarva Shorebird) Willie Harris cracked 2 dingers including a grand slam in route to a surprising Washington win.

XL and I really loved our time on the North Side, and now we are on our way to the South side to see if we can get some tickets to see a battle of first place teams, as the Sox take on the Rays. I don't know if the White Sox experience can live up, but I can't wait to complete the Chitown double header!

***Note: This post originally appeared on the now defunct blog "Inky and the Sports Guys" and has been imported to TGWOOfY for continuity purposes.***

Chicago Syle Get Away

I'm all about killing two birds with one stone, and so I am back in Chicago to follow up on the business I did here back in January. I'm also here with XL to see both of the town's baseball teams and eat some of the food for which the town is famous. You might say coming to one of the greatest cities in the US just for food and baseball is shallow of me, but I say it is as deep as the style of pizza for which the town is named.

Unlike my last trip, it is ok to go out doors with exposed skin this time around, which adds something to the experience, believe me. We're trying to see some of the other sights in addition to the ballparks as well, but we have limited time. More to come later, right now, I've got two baseball games to go to.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

X.L. and Greazy do the Midwest: Part One

XL and I made our way up to the North Side of Chicago today to see 134 minutes of baseball action. It was a life long dream for both of us to make a pilgramige to the third of the grand old ladies of baseball, having conquored Yankee Stadium and Fenway already. We walked all through Wrigleyville and picked up some "outside nuts" to take into the game with us. What we didn't do was buy one of the funny shirts that are for sale out on Waveland Ave, most notably the "Green Gay Fudge Packers" shirt, which was about $5 too much to buy.

The Wrigley experience is an interesting one, since there are so many people like XL and I who just want to see the great old stadium. Many of the fans seem to be from out of town, and the people from Chicagoland sometimes sound like they are more interested in drinking as much as possible while ocasionally calling out the name of one of the Cubs players and then Wooing. Then again, we were sitting in the right field bleachers, so who knows what the fans will be like tomorrow when we sit in the stadium portion.

Upon entering we saw a vender selling PBR, and we couldn't pass up on that so we picked up a couple. After downing the beers and munching on our imported nuts, we had a few dogs and a brat, covered in onions, tomatoes, mustard and some crazy bright green relish. I can't complain about the eats, or the view either. Sitting in the Wrigly bleachers is quite simply, amazing. We got to see Carlos Zambrano pitch his way to a win by going 7 innings. We also got to see a fair amount of dingers, one of which was hit by Big Z, deep into center. One of the homers, hit by the Red's Jay Bruce, went right over our heads but XL couldn't come with, so someone else got to throw it back.

In the end the Kerry Wood closed it out and the Cubs won 3-2 in a quintesential national league win: 2 hours, 16 minutes. We had a blast of a time, and now know what the Wrigley bleachers are all about from first hand experiance, not just from Ferris Bueller's Day off.

***Note: This post originally appeared on the now defunct blog "Inky and the Sports Guys" and has been imported to TGWOOfY for continuity purposes.***

Stiff of the Week: Lil Greazy

There are no words, they should have sent a poet. Sitting in my hotel room here in Chicago and what to my wondering eyes did appear, but, a rain soaked gold metal beach volleyball match. And Misty May. And Kerri Walsh. In tiny white bikinis. And obviously cold too.

Give me just a moment. Whew!

Where was I? Oh yeah the itsie bitsie, teenie weenie white translucent volleyball bikini. I think those four minute pieces of fabric should each win a gold metal. I know that they COULD play that game in board shorts and tank tops, but why? Is there any more amazing example of the female body then that of a beach volleyball player? I think not, and what went on for 45 minutes in Beijing may have bordered on porn, but it was also impressive and compelling sport. Misty and Kerri are about as dominant in their sport as anyone else has ever been. They are twice the Tiger that Tiger is, and about a million times as hot. Its a win win win win, in skimpy white bikinis, that were practically see through under the Chinese rain. Slowly dripping down those perfect abs...

***Note: This post originally appeared on the now defunct blog "Inky and the Sports Guys" and has been imported to TGWOOfY for continuity purposes.***

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

Inky did a post yesterday about all the different jobs that she's had in her life. We spend half of our waking day at work, and some people end up spending more of their time stressing about it. I find the whole process maddening, and the worst part is the act of looking for, and attaining a job.

I've been in my current job for the last two years, and I was with the previous employer for almost 7 years even though I had 7 different jobs while there. Even if those involved a ridiculous internal interview process to attain, so I've spent a lot of time in this process. The idea of interviewing again is so loathsome in my mind that there is a better than average chance that I won't be going anywhere anytime soon, unless I back in to one of my dream jobs, like Play by Play announcer for the O's or Carmen Luvana's practice dummy. I do have to sit on the other side of the desk, however, and interview people for jobs on our staff.

I hate all the theatre of the interview process from either side of the desk. It's all just well prepared answers to standard questions and in the end the interaction does little to bring to light the pros and cons of applicant and employer. "Tell me about a challenging situation in a previous job, and how you overcame it" doesn't tell you a damn thing about a person. Likewise, saying shit like "I'm a self starter" or "I am a fast learner" do very little to bring to light who and what the applicant is. In fact the only thing you can learn about a person in an interview is whether or not they are socialized enough to know what they are supposed to say in an interview, a truth that counts equally on either side of the desk.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could really lay it all out in one of these situations. "You're resume looks very good, but are you going to be a total pain in the ass that I'm going to have to watch like a hawk?" Now there's an interview question! How about: "Any fuckwit with commonsense can do this job, but I want someone that will be able do so and also be fun to be around." As for the applicant side, I'm thinking how great it would be to be able to say "Listen, the job you have advertised can be accomplished by a trained chimp, so I'm going to spend half my day getting shit done, and the other half emailing, talking about baseball and Lost and making personal calls." Of course the ultimate would be "I wasn't good enough to accomplish my childhood goals, but I still need to keep the bills paid and save some dough to go on vacation, so I want your stupid job."

If it were up to me I rather know if the person applying can quote a Will Ferrell movie than if they are proficient in Microsoft word and works. Likewise, I would rather be able to ask my prospective employer they are going to be a meddlesome and overbearing tool than tell them that I work well with others. As usual, it's all a pipe dream, but wouldn't it be nice.


Monday, August 18, 2008

On Deck: Chicago and Milwaukee

In our ever present need to cover sports first hand, XL and I are getting ready to do some road work this week. We are headed to Chicago and Milwaukee to see some baseball, but more importantly: baseball in August that counts. That's something we can't get in Baltimore these days. XL and I have been to 13 stadiums together (Oriole Park, RFK, Nationals Park, The Vet, Citizens Bank Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Jacobs Field, Busch Stadim II, Kauffman Stadium and Tropicana Field) in addition to that, I have been to Shea and we both have been to Memorial Stadium. So, it is big for us to add three new ballparks to our list, and even bigger when one of them is Wrigley which is one of the crown jewles of baseball.

We will be updating the blog with pictures, impressions and notes about the games. We luck out a bit in getting to see 4 teams who are in the playoff hunt on this trip, even though we miss out on seeing CC Sabathia in Algonquin for the good land. Here is what we will see:

On Thursday at 2:20 central time we see Carlos Zambrano (12-5) take on Cincinnati at Wrigley. The Reds will throw Aaron Harang (3-13) and knowing the way baseball can work, they will somehow get a win in this game they should lose by 20.

Friday is a big day for us, as we will attempt the North Side/South Side double header. First up will be another game at Wrigley as Jason Marquis (8-7) will toe the rubber against the Washington Nationals. The Nats will send out another pitcher with a rubbish record in the person of John Lannan- I don't know her name. Lannan? Lanolan? Like sheeps wool- a lefty with a 6-12 mark. Just as soon as the Cubs game ends, XL and I will hop on the red line and head south to see the Sox take on the Rays in a possible playoff preview. For the Sox it will be John Danks (10-5) taking on Edwin Jackson (9-8).

After that long day in Chitown, we'll get up first thing on Saturday to take a bus to Milwaukee. Once we get settled in Beer Town USA we'll head to Miller Park to see Jeff Suppan (8-7) battle Pittsburgh's promising young righty Jeff Karstans (2-2).

Once the sun rises on Sunday we'll know a bit more about the crazy NL central race and have a good idea how bad the injury bug has effected Tampa. XL and I will also, undoubtedly, have gas, sleep deprivation and need of a bit of a break. That said, I'm sure we will have had a great time, and many new stories.

***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, August 17, 2008

Golden Hotness

Inky and I are surprised at how much of the Olympics we've watched over the last 9 days, but there have been some compelling story lines playing out, and then of course there has also been some hotness. While Inky gets to look at all the v shaped torsos among the swimmers, it's been a veritable hard body parade for me. From the beach volleyball to the pool and the hard wood one cant help but get... hard wood.

I was watching a semifinal game on the "beach today" and Xue Chen (top right) caught my eye. Now, I've long loved beach volleyball for Misty May and Keri Walsh, who are, in my mind, sexy as hell. Then, here comes the red Chinese invasion, in the form of Chen who is 6'2" 165 and retardedly smoking. In the pool, Aussie Stephanie Rice (left)broke up with her man before she got to Bejing, and with a body like that you can understand why, the girl just wants to have fun... and win the 200 and 400 IM. No matter where I turned I was seeing hotness, like Penny Taylor (above bottom right), who is a starting forward on the Opals, Australia's national basketball team.

The backcourt isn't too bad on the Opals either as evidenced by Erin Phillips pictured left. Phillips it on a one woman mission to get on my top 5 list as she combines spectacular play as one of the Opals guards to the fact that she was the first woman to play professional Aussie rules with boys. The backside and cute face don't hurt her case either.

And so I'll keep watching the as the athletes keep racking up golds, silvers and bronze but I'll also be watching the racks. The best part is, there is just as much male eye candy, if not more, so there is plenty for both sexes. Even better then that, it is the amount international hotties that we only get to see every 4 years making them kind of like smoking hot comets, on their orbit past us.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I'll Share the Road When They Share the Sidewalk

One of the many downsides to the ridiculous price of oil, is the current increase in the number of douchebags who think a bike is a motor vehicle. See: if it doesn't have a motor, then it doesn't belong in the same lane as my car. But, with people trying to save gas, more and more of them are biking to work, which I applaud, but not when they are in my way. Stick to the side of the road or the sidewalk, and we'll all get along just fine. You can't tell me that these "Share the road" numb nuts actually think that they should be in line with a Hummer in front of them and a semi behind them.

Oh, but they do. Since my office moved to the other side of campus last month I have been taking a different route to work, which takes me through the city. At least two times a week I end up with some tard either in front of me, or behind me on their bike, riding in the normal lane or travel. They usually sport the work clothes, but with sneaker, because you can't ride in wingtips! Of course there is the requisite helmet and the bag over the shoulders that, one would assume at least, contains work shoes, lunch and their renewal of their Greenpeace membership.

As I said, I applaud people using less gas and saving mother earth a bit while they are saving a few greenbacks, but I won't have it on my conscious when when of these hippies cuts me off and they accidentally end up on my hood. There is a time and a place for everything, and the place for bikes is the side of the road or the sidewalk. Unless, of course, they are willing to let me drive up on the sidewalk from time to time... no? Then fuck the bikes! Greazy has spoken.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Holy Crap!

Shortly after arriving at the office today I got a bit of an unwelcomed scare. I felt something brush my little finger while using my mouse, and when I turned to see what it was I nearly jumped out of my pasta lovin' skin. It was a spider that was brown and black, and about the size of a small post it note. Once I peeled myself off the ceiling, I grabbed two of my business cards out of the holder on my desk and tried to coral it. All I succeeded in doing was to push it off the back of my desk, where it just sat there between my desk and the wall.

So I grabbed a tupperware container and my umbrella and captured the nasty little thing. I'm not the kind of guy who can just catch a big ass spider in his office and leave it at that. So after I poked holes in the top of the container to keep him living, I googled him based on his appearance: spider, brown and black, two inches (that's right I measured him!)

Turns out my office mate is a Wolf Spider of which there are many varieties. The one he most clearly matches seems to be the variety that lives in the American Midwest, which is a long way from Pennsylvania. The only thing I can think of that could have brought him to me would be the new printer that I just unpacked yesterday. He is far to big to have escaped my notice up until this point, and it seems to be too much of a coincidence that he showed up the day after the printer was opened.

It's good that it was me that found him and not Inky, because she would have smashed him to death with the nearest hard object. Just ask the bug that met the business end of the remote control the other night while I was sleeping. She took matters into her own hands, because I was unable to live up the most important part of my husbandly duties: pest assassinations. Some people in my office ask how I can be so cavalier about having this disgusting, huge, hairy spider walk past my hand. The answer is simple: I've survived Australia. Twice. On our second trip to Sydney, Inky and I saw two spiders that were big enough to make the Olympic judo team. (as seen in the above picture) After you get passed that, a little wolf spider ain't nothing but meat on the bone.

So, when work is done I will take George out to the track that sits between my building and the gym and let him go, free to scare the shit out of someone else. I would have killed him, but he was nice enough to spin a web in the corner of my office that said "some dego" so I decided he should be set free.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Like a Troubled Bridge Over Waters

As a guy there a few things I can't help but love. Most of them are big, ostentatious and out of the realm of my understanding, but I love them anyway. These things: Skyscrapers, huge ships, hydroelectric dams and Bridges are regularly the stars of the show on networks like the Discovery Channel or TLC and it's no surprise that most guys can't help but watch these shows. I marvel at the wealth of knowledge, planning and balls it takes to bring one of these items to life. There was a time that a project like a mammoth ship, a super high building or a really long bridge brought out the best in America, but I'm afraid those days are passing us by.

Sure, we still make the big, kick ass aircraft carriers but that's just because our government always wants to spend billions on weapons of war. They also go above and beyond when building tanks, missiles, planes and ships, in an effort to make sure that they will be viable for years to come. The same can't be said for a lot of the other "guy things" on my above list. It's been almost 7 years since the twin towers came down and we still have no progress on replacing them. Likewise, we bitch and moan about energy prices and bandy about plans involving digging in the ground for yesterdays source (oil) rather than building new and inventive solutions, like wind farms or new dams.

All those short comings aside, the biggest failing of our government is in our once proud infrastructure. As we spread like a growing fire across this country we did an amazing job of building roads, bridges and tunnels to accommodate the people and industry who were relocating to previously underused parts or our land. But, somewhere along the line, we stopped updating and augmenting those projects and have allowed many of the shining stars of our highway system to begin to succumb to old age, tragically taking lives with them in the process.

One year ago, the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed killing 13 people, and just last week an apparently immature teen caused a wreck on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge that sent a truck over the side of the bridge, killing the driver. These two incidents represent two different sides of the problem, one involving the aggressive over use of old infrastructure and the other involving user error, but they are both driven by the same root problem: poor planing and management due to bad government regardless of party.

Ask a Maryland resident if they want a new bridge (or a tunnel) and they are bound to say yes, but only if it doesn't cause their taxes to go up. And so, most candidates for Governor will shy away from roads projects that would involve any kind of tax burden. Tolls can offset a bond used to pay for the project, but budget money would still have to be found and not many politicians have the balls to look at their constituents and say: "this is money we need to spend" and then get the job done.

Even if the government can get the project under way, they rarely have the foresight to do it right the first time. When the first Bay Bridge was built in 1952 is was to take the place of the ferry service previously used and so it was only built 2 lanes wide. Once the bridge opened the door to vacationers from DC and Baltimore, some started to stay, and the bridge was quickly too small to keep up with demand. So, it was decided that a second bridge would be needed, but rather than just make another 2 land structure, they had to go bigger right? Well they did: one lane bigger. The 3 lane "Westbound" bridge was opened in 1972 and it wasn't too long before it was also swamped with more traffic then it could handle. Poor planing and lack of vision brought us to were we are right now.

It's not as if no one can get it right. There are bridges and highways aplenty across the world that were built to accommodate more traffic than the roadway had at the time of construction. One such bridge just so happens to be one of my favorites of all time: the Sydney Harbour Bridge, pictured at the start of this post. It has 8 lanes for car traffic, two lanes for railway traffic and two pedestrian walkways. All this bridge (which is 161 feet across as compared to 38 feet for the larger Bay Bridge) was finished amid political turmoil in 1932.

There was no need for 8 lanes of traffic in '32 but the designer John Bradfield knew it had to be much bigger than was needed because when people see a bridge: they tend to cross it. Some of them find a home on the other side and begin to cross it every day, to and from work. When the Harbour Bridge began to take on more use than engineers thought it should, they built a tunnel to augment it and it all flows quite nicely.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could still get shit done in this country. The only thing we manufacture any longer is celebrity, and the only thing we build is our own sense of self worth. It's sad, really.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Mere Oversight, or Ridiculously Racist?

Sometimes you can see something a million times without realizing that anything is amiss. Then, that 1,000,001th time you say: "hold the phone, I do believe that is fucked up." I had this experience the other day while watching TV. A commercial came on for Michelin Tires and I turned to Inky and posed, what now seems like a dumb question:

Greazy: "Is the Michelin Man supposed to be like a walking stack of tires?"

Inky: "Yeah, I guess. What else would he be?"

Greazy: "True, they are a tire company, but, um, why isn't he black?"

The conversation repeated itself with XL a few days later and after much reflection (and sadly about 45 minutes of Internet research) I have come to the conclusion that the Michelin Man's lack of pigment is nothing short of a thumb in the eye of any person of color. You have to believe that the marketing department at Michelin got together around a board room table filled with crusty bread and stinky cheese and had a frank discussion about the mascot that they had been asked to come up with.

The story goes that Edouard Michelin, the brother of the French company's founder Andre, came up with idea of a tire man named Bibendum after seeing a stack of bicycle tires in 1898. The most faithful reproduction of this stack of rubber would have looked just like the rolly poly M.M. we know today, but he would have been totally black. Not the image that you use to sell tires in the late 19th Century, unless of course they have 19" rims.

So the decision was made to make him white, and almost cute, and 110 years later we have this Klan looking motherfucker bouncing around our TV selling us black rubber tires. Makes you think, doesn't it?


Saturday, August 09, 2008

El Greazo Fantastico

Ten years ago I was working as a cameraman at the local Fox affiliate. I was approached by the Sales Manager and asked to apply for an open position on the sales team. I thought it was because I had all the raw skills to be a great sales person, but as it turns out it was because they thought they were filling a minority quota. Greazy, what minority are you? Well I'm an Italian American Man, who grew up in middle class Catholic family. But, I am left handed, but that's not the quota they were trying to fill.

See, they thought I was of Latin decent. Other than taking Latin in high school and once dating a Puerto Rican girl I am about as far away from being Latino as you can get. But, the bosses at the Fox affiliate were sure I was, and so too are a bunch of my friends. These are guys I have known for over a decade and they keep saying I look like Hispanic people.

It started a few years ago when they said I looked like journeyman pitcher Russ Ortiz (above right), who as fate would have it is also a lefty. Then the other day I get a call wherein they told me that they all thought I looked like Jose Medellin who was put to death in Texas.

What the fuck, Que Passo? Why does everyone think the Greazy One is Latin? Is it my olive skin, my aquiline dego nose, or the fact that my name is Anthony... wait, the wetbacks kind of took that one from us didn't they. No matter. I still don't look Latin, but you can look at the photo above and tell me what you think.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

No! No, It Can't Be!

I don't know how I feel about living in a world where something Paris Hilton did was intentionally funny. Since it was done by the geniuses at Funny or Die, I'm sure it was all Adam McKay's idea, but still, she pulled it off. The last thing that Paris successfully pulled of was Rick Solomon... oh wait, that was jacked off. I'm so confused. Down is up. Up is down, and Paris Hilton was kind of funny!


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Nothin' to Show 'fer it.

I would venture to guess that you can't go more than a week without reading a story about some rich and or famous person who gets picked up for driving under the influence. They come from all walks of the good life, be it Athletes, Models, Movie Stars, Musicians, Politicians, rich kids or the super rich, like, oh I don't know the CEO of Brewing Company. (he should have also plead guilty to irony in the third degree.)

What is most maddening about this situation is the fact that these are people who can most certainly afford to, at the very least, call a taxi. If that is too low brow a solution for the rich and famous, why not hire a limo? Plus, it's not as if these people don't all have millions of hangers on, from whom they could certainly get a ride. Just tell part of your entourage that they are the one who is on the water that night and let them pilot your Escalade back to the crib. Is that so hard?

I think the only solution here is a Greazy Law, and so here it is: If you get caught driving drunk and you A) Have an annual income of more than $250,000. B) have a net worth of over 2 million. C) have a assistant, attache or posse member who is at your beck and call. Or D) you are recognizable to the average American as a famous person then you shall be put to death. I know, it's a bit stringent, but it's only fair. If you are willing to risk your life, the lives of others and your fame so you can get home from "Paddy McDollarshots" while possessing the motor skills of a parkinsons patient then you deserve to die


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Security Blanket, take 3 and 4.

Nearly two years ago I told you all about my Teddy Bear, Teddy Roosevelt, here on my blog. I've had Teddy for my entire life, since my mother bought him for me the Easter before I was born. As a kid, I would hold onto Teddy as I slept, a habit I tried to break when I left for boarding school when I was 14. I couldn't break that habit then -just as I haven't been able to do so since- so I needed a substitute, lest I be ridiculed by boys in the dorms and by girls I was trying to fool around with.

Although Teddy came with me to St. Joesph's in Princeton, I would never again hold him in my sleep. In his stead I used the blanket I took along to St. Joe's with me. The same blanket I took to college with me a few years later, and continued to use up until Inky and I moved into this house 6 years ago. By that time, Inky had dubbed it my woobie, in a reference to the security blanket the kid has in the movie Mr. Mom, and it was a name that stuck. However, that woobie was damn near 15 years old at that point and probably consisted more of my body hair and skin cells than of cotton. You could read the newspaper or watch TV through the thing, so it was time for it to go.

So, in 2002 I bought another blanket that suffered under my grasp each night, and during the day when I was working the overnight. In the last few months it has started to pill like crazy and leave little woobie-droppings everywhere, so it was time to take woobie number two out behind the woodshed and put it down. Inky and I were lucky enough to find a great deal (There's a sale at Penny's! I can make a hat. Or a broach. Or a Pterodactyl!) so I picked up two new blankets for the price of one today. It is my hope that much like the Pilgrims used the crop rotation lessons they learned from the Indians to sustain a more bountiful harvest, so too will I be able to maintain a longer lasting Greazy-Woobie relationship by swapping them out to avoid wear and tear. You know, like NASA does with the Space shuttle.

That's right. I just compared my clutching blanket to the most sophisticated mode of human transport ever invented. And I'm a grown man with tattoos who has a Teddy bear and a woobie, but I'm comfortable with all of the oddities and contradictions that I embody. Maybe it's because I have a huge dick. Really... it's mammoth.