Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Night Baseball

Last year for my birthday, Inky and I were in Sydney, LA, Chicago and Philly. That's tough to top, but you have to try. So XL came to town today and the fun has begun in ernest. Tonight we went to Baltimore to see a baseball game, but we might as well have gone back in time to 1997. There was a buzz of excitement and hope among the 40,000 plus people at Camden Yards that has rarely been seen over the last 12 years, even on opening day.

Ostensibly, most of the people there were excited to see the major league debut of the O's top prospect, Matt Wieters. But it was all the other goings on that had me smiling. Another youngster (who's major league debut I saw in person last month) pitched 8 strong innings and our "old" guys were bashing the ball like the Cerrano of old. The pitcher was Brad Bergeson who went 8 innings plus a batter allowing two runs on 7 hits with no walks and 3 k's. That's a quality outing even when the bats aren't on fire, but they were.

The star of the game was Luke Scott who was 3-3 with 2 HR and 5 RBI including a grand slam that I made happen. As he came to the plate I turned to XL and said "I see a chest bump in our future" referring to our post home run celebration and I smelled salami, which was either a reference to the nickname salami, as in grand salami or a dick joke. It can be difficult to distinguish. But, Scott hit his granny and the O's stormed to victory.

For his part, Wieters went 0-4 with a strike out, but he played a pretty solid backstop and he will hid sooner or later. XL and I did some scouting on him (and fellow prospect Nolan Reimold, who also doubled in this game) last year at Bowie and we could tell then they were studs.

The next part of the multi city birthday blow out involves Easton PA, Hoboken NJ, Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as a ton of meat. But I'm getting ahead of myself.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ever Approaching Horizons

One year ago at this very moment I was sitting at an internet kiosk at the Ayers Rock Campground. Of course, this moment was early in the morning of the 28th in Oz while it was late in the afternoon of the 27th back in the states. I was doing a little blogging before we had to get ready for our flight to Sydney and I got a bit introspective. I didn't quite end up having the religious experience I had hoped for when I came face to face with Uluru, but it was close. I clearly remember standing there on top of a dune with Inky and realizing that this huge hunk of rock has been there hundreds of thousands of years before me, and would still be there for eons after me. All of this cosmic context made me feel small, and made me want to grab the rudder of my life and start steering, or as I said it then:
I need to get busy living on my own terms, which is an easy impulse to have when you haven't punched a time clock for three weeks and have been living in vacation mode. I don't understand how it is we are supposed to balance the requirements of life with the things we actually enjoy, but I swear that I'm going to do more to find out.
Sadly, yet predictably, I didn't do any of that. In fact, after we got home I settled right back into my regular life, which isn't bad, mind you, it just isn't all I would hope for.

When it comes to my everyday existence, I feel like my life is just happening to me. It's almost as if I've spent the last 15 years or so of my life just taking steps because they were there. I went to college because I was supposed to and after that I took jobs because they seemed right, not because they fulfilled me in any way. It was all too easy and with that ease came a real lack of satisfaction. I really don't like to complain about my life, mind you. I am lucky enough to have the companionship of the woman I love, and in the end that is all I could ever really ask for. To top that off, I am a free, middle class American who hasn't faced real hatred, bigotry or discrimination in my life. So, I should feel a lot more lucky then I do.

But I don't.

I find myself not only lacking the ability to achieve my life's goals, but lacking any real goals. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, and I don't really have a "dream job" to speak of. I don't know what is worse: not being able to achieve what you really want, or the realization that there is no job out there that you'd give anything to do.

What does compound this issue for me is the ever present ticking of my clock. It's not a biological clock that I hear, it's the countdown to death. I know this is terribly morbid, but it's something I'm used to. I've had a very strong sense of the end since I grappled with death and my faith as a young boy. After my baby brother died, I moved into his room and I started having terrible dreams about death. I was 12. Two years later I went off to the Seminary and rather than strengthening my faith in an afterlife, it was weakened. About a decade later, my father died and I was truly lost.

He was 58 years, 289 days old and he was gone. His father had died in his late 40's and his grandfather had died in his late 30's. It seemed the best I could hope for was my 60's and in my mind all that was left after that was eternal nothingness. It keeps me up at night. At the time that basically meant 40 more years for me, but rather than spurring me on to do more, to see more, to experience more, it actually gave me a feeling of time. Like knowing you have a term paper due at the end of the semester. While some do it right away, I always said "I still have more time" and then scrambled to do it at the last minute.

But you can't scramble to live your life to the utmost at the end of life's semester. I was well aware of that while standing on top of that dune in the outback a year ago, and I swore that I'd come home and find something to do with my life that made me happier. Of course, I didn't. I kept letting my life happen to me and I got one year closer to the end in the process. And it would be so easy to keep doing that until March 12 of 2035.

On that day, I will be exactly the same age as my father was on the day he died. 58 years, 289 days old. If it ended for me on 3/12/35 that would mean that I have less than 26 years left to live, or 9419 days. That is not a lot of time. Not when I told the woman I love that I want to be with her forever. Of course, I could have more time, or less, but that we never get to know in advance. We don't get to know when the semester ends and so, unlike that term paper it is incumbent on us to get our assignments done right away and not put off till tomorrow, that which we can do today. And if a blazing sun set viewed from the top of a dune in the Outback wasn't enough to make me assert control over my life, I doubt sitting at desk in York Pennsylvania will do it.

Maybe, just maybe, a count down, no matter how unreliable, will get me to focus on what is most important. Maybe thinking about March 12th of 2035 as the place were my earth ultimately meets my sky will lead me to live more a purposeful existence. Maybe I just need to get drunk, high or slapped around. I don't know, but, I know there's got to be something to do differently.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ummmm...I Don't Know About This

Even thought I was only 8 when the original "V" TV series aired, I kind of dug it. Then, when I was 12 "They Live" came out and I fell in love with the line "I'm here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubble gum." By the time I was 20 it was "Independence Day" that brought tales of aliens taking over the human race, and to be honest, was was spent.

Now, ABC, is bringing back "V", and from the looks of the "ships flying over the world's major cites shots" it is also borrowing heavily from the look of Independence day. We can only hope one of the characters in the new V finds sunglasses that can show them who the aliens are.

I'm torn on this, because I love science fiction shit, and I always remember the original V fondly. Of course, I also remembered Duke of Hazard fondly till it started to re air in the 90's and I found out it was a piece of shit and I was a kid with poor taste in TV and an apparent inability to notice super repetitive storyline syndrome. All that said, this could be good.

The star of the show is Elizabeth Mitchell who is most recognizable as Juliette on Lost, but in my mind at least, most memorable for her sex scenes with Angelina Jolie in Gia. Other recognizable stars are Morris Chestnut, Party of Five's Scott Wolf and Laura Vandervoort who played Sadie on Instant Star. What's that you say? I shouldn't know that and the fact that when I saw her in the trailer and immediately thought 'hey there's Sadie' makes me kind of a fag? OK.... uh-hum... and Laura Vandervoort who was the superhot Supergirl on Smallville.

In the end I'll give the new V a chance and if after an episode or two it sucks, I'll move on. One thing's for sure, Star Trek it ain't, but so few are.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Greazy Tony's Firecracker 500 (Minus 450)

When I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, holiday weekends always had a set game plan. Amid the family BBQ's and merriment there would always be a soundtrack provided by one of the local radio station's countdowns of the greatest songs of all time. The one that really sticks out in my mind was WNEW's 1996 Firecracker 500 which was held on 4th of July weekend. I know it's pathetic, but I still remember where I was when they announced Stairway to Heaven as the number one song. Looking back on the list, it's really just every Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Allman Brothers song ever, which obviously informed my musical pallet, since all of them are on my list. In fact, 7 of the songs that appear in the top 100 are on my top 50. I guess you are what you are exposed to.

Since this is a holiday weekend, and I've already been to the family BBQ, I figured it was time for me to update my list of favorite songs of all time. Falling off the list are 5 songs that I still love, but that had to go to make way for some new stuff. The US still represents the largest part of the list, with 60%, and the England and Australia are each at 16% with Canada, Jamaica, Norway and Scotland each placing one song on the list. Male voices account for 73% of the list and there are 5 tracks that are covers. As a child of the 90's it's no surprise that 32% of the songs come from that era. The 70's account for 24%, this decade has 22%, the 60's has 14% and the 80's posts 8%.

Now, here is the TGWOOfY Top 50 for 2009, the new songs are bolded:

50) Sara Bareilles - Little Voice
49) Camera Obscura - Eighties Fan
48) Youth Group - Forever Young
47) a-ha - Take on Me
46) Counting Crows - Einstein on the Beach (For an Eggman)
45) Ass Ponys - Little Bastard
44) Frank Sinatra - Wave
43) The Cyrkle - Red Rubber Ball
42) Rilo Kiley - Portions for Foxes
41) Augie March, Missy Higgins, Paul Kelly - Droving Woman

40) Liz Phair - Divorce Song
39) Pearl Jam - Jeremy
38) Archers of Loaf - Web in Front
37) The Waifs - Lies
36) Lou Reed - Walk on the Wildside
35) Hey Mercedes - Playing Your Song
34) Crowded House - Weather With You
33) Death Cab for Cutie - What Sarah Said
32) Augie March - One Crowded Hour
31) Missy Higgins - Going North

30) Tristan Prettyman - Songs for the Rich
29) Paul Kelly - From Little Things, Big Things Grow
28) Son Volt - Route
27) Cold Chisel - Khe Sanh
26) The Smiths - There is a Light That Never Goes Out
25) R.E.M. - Crush with Eyeliner
24) Dusty Springfield - Son of a Preacher Man
23) Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire
22) The Kinks - Picture Book
21) The Indigo Girls - Least Complicated

20) Don Mclain - American Pie
19) The Clash - London Calling
18) Green Day - When I Come Around
17) Janes Adiction - Jane Says (Live)
16) Red Hot Chili Peppers - Suck My Kiss
15) Jimi Hendrix Experience - All Along the Watchtower
14) The Beatles - Let it Be
13) Bob Marley - No Woman, No Cry (Live)
12) Bob Dylan - The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)
11) The Dead Milkmen - Methodist Coloring Book

10) XTC - The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead
9) Queen and David Bowie - Under Pressure
8) Sheryl Crow - Hard to Make a Stand
7) The Allman Brothers Band - Mellisa
6) Ani DiFranco - Little Plastic Castle
5) The Band - The Weight
4) Derek and the Dominos - Layla
3) Janis Joplin - Me and Bobby McGee
2) Led Zeppelin - D'Yer Ma'ker
1) Billy Joel - Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)


Friday, May 22, 2009

On My Knees Behind My Desk...

...not like that you perv, but there was a moment today where I was in that position. It started at 7:00 AM when I woke up to listen to my Geelong Cats play the Western Bulldogs in round 9 AFL action. Even though the Cats came into the game undefeated, Inky and I weren't too confidant. See, the Cats are down a few good players due to injuries and a stupid suspension. Add to that the fact that Western are a very good side who sit third in the standings and this was always going to be difficult game.

Oh yeah, and it was week nine and Geelong were 8-0 going into a Friday Night Footy match up against a team that played them tough in the previous year's preliminary final. We've seen this scenario before... in person. Last year the Cats were 8-0 heading into a Friday night game against Collingwood, who pushed them to the limit before the Cats went on to the Grand Final. And Inky and I were there to see the Geelong drop to 8-1 in person. It was the first and only time we've ever seen the Cats play live, and one of only two games they would lose all season. It hurt.

Now, we're forced to watch on TV (when Setanta sees fit to broadcast their games) or else we have to listen on the radio via the net. I'd much rather see the game, either in person or on TV than listen on the radio, because the nature of radio heightens the tension in tight games. Like that preliminary final vs Collingwood back in '07 (which I also got up early to listen to) today's game had me on the edge of my seat. The Cats held a 3 point lead with less than a minute to play and the Dogs were playing very well in the 4th quarter. When one of their best players took a mark and lined up for the game winning goal with no time left on the clock, I slipped right off the edge of my seat and on to my knees. Right there behind my desk, at 8:20 in the morning.

I'm getting too old for this shit. But, so too is Brad Johnson who missed that game winning attempt, scoring only one point and handing the Cats a 2 point win in the process. 9-0, but it brought me to my knees.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Humor is Everywhere, Even in Porn

My love of pornography is deep and abiding, and the reason is simple. It’s video of people having sex with one another. I sometimes think it’s the video part that trips people up. I know there are those in our society who eschew TV and movies for the theater, and I can appreciate the purist nature of this preference. Believe me, if there was a porn stage show I’d have season tickets in the orchestra pit, but that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon these days.

So, like the millions of other red blooded boys and girls out there who enjoy taking a peek at porn now and again, I am forced to turn to more available sources. While I prefer the DVD or the writen word, I am no stranger to the wellspring of porn possibilities that the internet puts at your fingertips... so to speak. So from time to time I’ll take a little surf over to redtube, youstrip, youporn or any of the others sites that play on the brand name established by YouTube.

There’s something really quite amazing when you consider that we live in a world where two clicks of your mouse can take you to video of a good Christian couple from the bible belt going nuts on each other. Or a 20 year old co-ed paying her way through college. Or a lonely housewife who needs a sexual outlet. Or an exhibitionist who gets off on knowing people are watching. It can be these or any other of the million reasons people put porn on the web. While there are certainly cases of exploitation and depravity out there, by in large, I think porn is a good thing.

It’s with that as my rather lengthy preface that I tell you of a trip I took this evening to one such site, and the hilarity that ensued. I was clicking on various thumbnails at youporn and I came across a video shot in Russia. (This link is obviously NSFW, duh) There is a shirtless guy with a face tattoo sitting on a couch talking to a girl who is clad only in her underthings. They were speaking to one another in Russian, but there were English subtitles provided, which, kind of blew my mind. Here's a sample of the pre scene banter:

Face tattoo: I will give you current questions

Girl: (nods)

Face Tattoo: How old are you?

Girl: I'm 26.

Face Tattoo: Really?

Camera Woman: I couldn't believe it too.

Face Tattoo: You look younger. You have beautiful eyes. Is it after mammy or daddy?

Girl: That's my mammy

Face Tattoo: Have you seen movie Hot shots? There was some part with daddy's eyes in a box.

Girl: (smiles and nods)

Face Tattoo: I'm just kidding... do you like sex?

Girl: Yes I do.

I was laughing so hard I didn't even watch the rest of the clip. The faulty translations are almost as funny to me as the early 90's film reference. Here is some ex-KGB looking motherfucker talking to a three-quarters naked girl he's about to have sex with and he pulls Hot Shots out of nowhere? Really? Perhaps that movie just came out over there and it's real big in the theater, who knows. I don't want to say the art of foreplay and seduction are dead, but... come on. I wish I could find a YouTube clip of the Hot Shots scene in question, but sadly that is harder to find on the web than just about any obscure sexual predilection in existence.

Oh, and just in case you don't want to click on the link to see this hilarity unfold yourself, I've generously screen capped the two best lines below. Just claaaasic Peg:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Allow Me To Introduce: Camera Obscura

I'm counting down the days till I get to see Camera Obscura in person at the 9:30 Club in DC. I'll pass the next 31 days listening to music of all kinds, but you can bet that this amazing Glasgow group will be in heavy rotation. I'll be playing their newest release My Maudlin Career which is amazingly good, but I'll also be playing the other 3 records they put out in the 00's.

As far as I'm concerned, Camera Obscura is the band of the decade and I don't say that lightly. There are a lot of other acts that I have loved over the past 9 1/2 years, but none who can measure up. With full length releases in '01, '03, '06 and now '09 they have blanketed the decade with their profoundly deep brand of pop music. They have some of the saddest sounding love songs, and some of the happiest sounding breakup songs imaginable, and everything they do oozes sorrow, drama, emotion and earnestness.

I don't know yet if My Maudlin Career will be my favorite Camera Obscura record, but it's sure on it's way to being my favorite of '09. I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to it, track by track, by posting these clips in which Traceyanne Campbell tells you about each song. My favorite track on the record is the last one Honey in the Sun, which, preictably, was inspired by Traceyanne sighing the Southern Cross on a trip to Australia.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Stiff of the Week: Rick Perry

In the history of political posturing nothing has ever risen to the level of the ridiculous like Rick Perry. Perry is the Governor of Texas, so chosen by 39.3% of the electorate in 2006. I'm thinking that he might see the 61.7% of Texas voters who didn't want to see him get another term unite to put him out of work next year. That is, at least, if he insists on doing this cute little dance with the idea of Texas seceding from the Union.

First and foremost, there is absolutely no chance that the Lone Star State will ever become the Lone Star Nation. Just like all those beg belt buckle wearing hicks remember fondly a time when Texas was a Republic, their neighbors to the south remember just as well a time when it was part of Mexico. The ink wouldn't be dry on the articles of secession before the Mexican Army and the drug cartels began carving off pieces of Big Tex. But that's neither here nor there. The important thing is this: Texas can not stand on it's own, which practically speaking is true for just about every state in our glorious Union.

It's all bluster from a political party who has decided to retreat to it's base. They some how think that they have to reinforce their standing with the people that were already with them. It would be like sending an Evite to 100 people that you want to come to a party, knowing that 35% of them are going to come for sure, and that 35% of them will never come no matter how good the BBQ is. Rather than focusing on either of those committed groups to have a successful party, you want to follow up with the other 30% who are on the fence. The Republicans can't stop emailing, texting, calling and trying to impress the 35% of people who have already RSVP'd yes to the Evite, no matter how much it turns off the rest of us in that middle 30%.

And so they turn down stimulus money that their state could actually use. They act as if our nation has descended into some kind of dictatorial junta rather than realizing that a large portion of that middle ground group has RSVP'd to the party across the street. Not seeing this, they make proclamations that would have been ridiculous when they were in power, and grab their car keys and say they're leaving the house to hang out with their buddies for a few nights. It would be funny if it weren't so dangerous, but in the end it's just juvenile.

It reminds me of a time when I was 12 or 13 and I was mad at my mom and dad for something. My mom found me looking at apartment ads in the newspaper, just like my 18 year old sister had done when she moved out. She asked me how I was going to pay for my apartment, how I was going to get to school, buy food and clothes as well as a million other things I relied on them for. I had no answer, and so I had to begrudgingly agree to live 5 or 6 more years in the Union of Soviet Susan and Ralph. (see what I did there?)

Well Rick Perry needs to start thinking about who is going to do all those things a parent does for it's kid, because that's what the Federal Government does for it's 50 kids. Perry wants to complain about how the Federal Government does it's job, but forgets that his state has the second largest congressional delegation, making them a big part of the process. In the end, the people of Texas will have their say in 2010 on what will become of Perry, but till then, I hope we can all calm the fuck down with the rhetoric for a while. Because, if you're not actually willing to leave don't make threats, it just makes you sound like a douche bag.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

How Low Can I Go?

When I started my solitaire quest late last year I never really thought I'd be able to play a 90 second game. Now, my three best games are all 90 seconds or less. At least, now that I've posted yet another career best game of 9159 points in 82 seconds, they are. I was sitting in the home office the other night playing a remarkable string of games while rocking out to one of my play lists. I put up four or five wins in a row that were all under 120 seconds, a time I thought impossible not that long ago. Then it happened, I was listening to "St. Joseph's" by the Avett Brothers and I finished this game in a minute and 22 seconds.

I don't know how low I can go, but I'm thinking if all broke right I could play a game in a minute. That is a task of epic proportions and I just don't know what my motivation will be in these dark days I find myself in. I'm 6 weeks away from being unemployed and my phone hasn't been ringing off the hook or anything. To make matters worse, on each day that passes over the next few weeks I'll be forced to think about where I was at that moment a year before. For instance, at this time last year, Inky and I were in Tasmania at an awesome hotel we got a great deal on.

Who knows, maybe we'll find a way to get back to Oz sooner than we think. Maybe we'll even think up a plan that allows us to stay for an extended period of time, which is what we both really want in the end. While I work on that plan, I'll keep clicking my way toward even lower times in solitaire. That is my solemn vow.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Now That's More Like It

If you're like me, than you've become tired of all this Mac vs PC bull shit in TV commercials. This one is more my speed.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Love Letters

No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to do enough to show Inky just how very much I love her. Would that I could, I'd catch a shooting star and give it to her. Or, at the very least, I'd kidnap Jimmy Bartel and take her to a hotel room where he was tied to the bed. You know, which ever would be easier to pull off. Absent of those Herculean and/or illegal tasks, the best I can do is spend an hour infront of the computer to give life to a fanciful joke made in a record store.

This weekend we went to Sound Garden in Baltimore where we spotted a rack filled with rock n roll stickers. Inky has a large collection of stickers of all varieties layered on her CD holder. So we stopped to look over the ones on offer to see if any would fit in with her famous collection. Of course some did. Among the stickers for sale was an AC/DC sticker, which prompted me to say "It would be cool if we could figure a way to change the D to an H" which would then spell out our initials, like you might see carved into a tree. AC+HC...

Later that night I jumped on the web and found an excellent AC/DC exemplar. I figured that all I needed to do was use the bottom of the "A" as both the top and bottom of the missing "H". So I flipped the image upside down and then pasted each of them into Microsoft paint. I cut the now inverted legs off of the A and then pasted it over the top of the right-side-up A but that didn't work. The shading was all wrong and the resulting letter was smaller than the A and two C's due to the fact that the bottom is the smaller part of the A.

To solve the shading I made a reverse of the upside down image so it read AC/DC but inverted, as opposed to CD/CA. To solve the height issue I cut the A high up on the cross and the pasted it higher on the existing A. This made an H that had proper shading and was the same size as the other letters. Even though the bar of the H is far too thick, it looks passable in the final product.

I know this already sounds like a lot of work, but I wasn't done yet. When I tried to put the H into the finished product, it wouldn't fit between the lightning bolt to the left and the C to the right. So I had to isolate the bolt and then shrink it to 75% of it's original size to make it fit. All told I spent about an hour jamming out to an iTunes playlist and mocking this thing up, but it was all worth it to see a big smile on my lady's face.

She's the best, and I love her more than I can ever say with an altered logo stolen from an Aussie hard rock band. But, I'll keep trying.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Taking the Good with the Bad

I'm doing my best to not think about the fact that at this moment a year ago Inky and I were getting ready to leave for Oz. The fact that we're not going to heading back any time soon is very depressing.

I've tried just about everything to combat that depression over the last few days. First it was the Star Trek Movie (which was just as great as I hoped) then it was staying up late to watch the Cats with Inky. Yesterday we went down to Baltimore and hit up Baja Fresh before making stops in Fells Point and Little Italy, all of which would normaly pep me up. But it's not to be.

Even this new double digit solitaire score isn't getting it done. Normally a new third place score would be a great thing, but I made a big mistake toward the end which cost me a new gold. Rather than hitting 80 seconds or less, I ended up having to back track and I finished with a 8268 in 92 seconds.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

From Dishwashing to Espionage

Looking at the 16 year old kid in this picture, would you ever guess that he was a spy? No? Then you'd be wrong. A little back story first. My first job that didn't involve newsprint was at one of the many pizzerias in my town. I started as a dishwasher and mop up boy when I was 14 which was completely and totally illegal. Of course, I didn't care about the law, because I was banking big money each week. I made three bucks an hour and I worked about 10 hours a week for a staggering paycheck of thirty bucks, albeit tax free.

As the years passed I started to make more money, and work more hours. It got to the point where I was like a second lieutenant in the place, and I was often trusted with important tasks. By the time I left I was making 7 or 8 bucks an hour, plus another $10 or so an hour in tips. At 18, that was pretty big money. I have a ton of great pizzeria stories, from nasty things done to people's food to buying stolen goods from one of the many fences who came into the shop. Today's story, however, is about my introduction to the world of business espionage.

My bosses would have me apply to one of the many other shops in town, or after I got my licences, a few towns away. I would only stay at the rival shops for a few days, usually not even long enough to get paid at the end of the week. But, I got my payday when I returned to my boss with all the information I could glean while I was undercover. Things like: who was their supplier, how did they make their sauce, what type (or types) of cheese did they use, what was their estimated take at the end of the night and so on. It's because of this side-work that I had quite a little collection of tee shirts with pizza parlor logos on the left chest.

I'd love to say that these little information gathering missions were one of the bad parts of my job, but that wouldn't be true. In fact, I quite enjoyed them. There was an edge to these days spent undercover, and it was only amplified by the fact that most of the guys who work New Jersey pizza places already think they're in the mob. I'm not going to say that I took an omerta' when I started, but only just. The way they dressed, talked and acted was right out of Goodfellas or the Soprano's, and, I'm being honest, I enjoyed that too.

Maybe I should check the want ads for openings in the pizza world.

Friday, May 08, 2009

To Go Boldly

I'm not ashamed to admit it,I'm stoked to see Star Trek today. In fact I may bounce out of work early so I can see it before the kids get out of school. That way it'll be just me and the geeks. And I'm ok with that. The characters that will grace the big screen I see today have been a part of our collective consciousness since my father was in his early 20's. Through all that time, they have served as a subtle suggestion that we still had a very long way to go as a species.

The very fact that there was a black woman, a Russian and a Japanese man on the crew in leadership positions was a huge statement in the mid-60's. Since then, in all it's incarnations, Trek has pointed to a future where the human race is united in their desire to learn more about the universe of which we are such a small part. Frankly, I can't think of a better aspiration for our world either in the 60's when we were afraid of a new world war, or now when rogue elements in Pakistani could get a hold of nuclear weapons any day.

Maybe the Taliban is just upset that they've never had a representative among the crew of the Enterprise. I guess while Gene Roddenberry was working to put other castigated members of society on the ships in the past, he never got around to adding a few Moores, huh. While I'm relatively sure this slight is not the reason for their hatred of the west, it is a surprising omission on Roddenberry's part.

He was normally on the cutting edge when it came to telling stories that needed to be told. You can have your Star Wars, which is just a self contained story that doesn't rise to the level of self examination. I'll take the countless Trek story lines that dealt with everything from longstanding ethnic hatred, to the inequality of treatment suffered by minorities throughout time. They were all framed in the context of distant worlds, but it was never too hard to see what it was they were getting at.

So, it's for all those reasons that I'm going to cut out of work early today (what are they going to do, fire me again?) to go see the new Star Trek movie. And no matter how hard anyone may try, they aren't going to make me feel like a dork for it.

(I know the title of this post is not accurate when framed in the context of Star Trek, wherein is should be "To Boldly Go..." but if there's anything that I'm a bigger dork about than Star Trek, it's proper grammar. We all know you can't split an infinitive with an adverb...)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Surprisingly, This Looks Decent.

I rarely miss an episode of The Daily Show or The Soup, so this preview for one of NBC's new sitcoms caught my eye. It stars Joel McCale as a bullshit artist who is coasting through life and winds up hitting rock bottom when he has to go to a Community College. There he meets John Oliver, Chevy Chase and a bunch of others. I found myself laughing more during this 5 minute preview then I would during whole episodes of most sitcoms that are on the air now, so I'll say that is has promise.


Monday, May 04, 2009

This Week in Subliminal Racism

I know people have been spotting Elvis for the last 30 years, so this should come as no surprise to anyone, but: Tupac is alive! So sayeth the paragon of in depth reporting: TMZ. They got their hands on the photo you see on the right above, which just has to be Tupac... right? That photo was taken in New Orleans last week but that's not the only place Tupac has been seen lately. He also popped up on April 15th at a Celtics game in Boston. Wow, for a guy who faked his own death he's certainly playing fast and loose with his anonimity these days.

Let's examine the evidence people are using to determine the fact that these guys are Tupac, who, by the way, was killed 13 years ago in Vegas. Black: check. Nose ring in the left nostril: check. Bald head, possibly with bandanna tied in the front: check. Goatee: check. Wow, that is pretty rock solid, how could I possibly argue with that? I mean, other than the lack of tattoos on Celtics-Tupac and the fact that the TMZ pics are all pretty shitty. But it just has to be him, right?

This is the equivalent of: they all look alike. It makes me think about the song "My Hooptie" by Sir Mix-A-Lot in which he talks about a traffic stop by the cops where he and his crew are mistaken for drug dealers. "We fit a stereotype, that's what he said, big black car, four big black heads... cops took my wallet, looked at my licence, his partner said 'damn they all look like Tyson.'"

Don't get me wrong, I know that Tupac made more money last year than most zip codes did, but that doesn't mean he's still alive. If he was alive, do you think he'd be running around looking just like he did in the 90's? No way. He'd at least change his nose ring from the left side to the right and start tying his bandanna in the back or on the side. It's just common sense, isn't it. In the end, I fear the only way to put this nonsense to rest is to dig Elvis and Tupac up and do some DNA testing.

Fucking simpletons!


Saturday, May 02, 2009

Greazy Tony Wonders: What's With All The Lil Burgers?

First things first, let me just say that I love me some little food. As this post unfolds it may seem like I have some sort of a problem with the sudden proliferation of tiny burgers, but that couldn't be further from the truth. I grew up minutes away from a White Castle and whenever there are pigs in a blanket at a party, I'm never far from them. There's just something great about a smaller version of one of your favorite foods. To that end, I whipped up some mini-cheesesteaks a few years back and once again proved the theory.

In that post I mentioned that I had started to notice a bunch of chain places putting sliders on their menus. Over the last 19 months this slider mania has only intensified. Now, you can enjoy all that slider goodness in the privacy of your own home. Sure, you could've just formed some ground beef into tiny patties and put them on dinner rolls, but that's too much work. Our supermarket sells preformed sliders and the management has considerately placed some buns right next to the case.

What's that you say? You don't want to use pre-pressed slider patties? Well, this is your lucky days. Because now our good friend Billy Mays has put together a product that will take care of all your slider needs. The Big City Slider Station is a frying pan with five separate cylinders to cook the burgers and a press for the top so you don't even have to flip them. I'm not even going to say anything about how pathetic it is to use not having to flip the burger as a sales tactic, because that's low lying fruit. What I will say is, I see another trend coming, just like I saw the sliders coming in October of '06. In the fall of 2012 there will be a whole fuckload of "slider stations" at yard sales all across the nation.