Monday, October 31, 2005

I thought I’d pass along some more thoughts, brief observations, concerns, etc.:

1. I discovered another thing I truly hate, and that is throwing a party in which only half of the people who responded that they were showing up to said party actually come, and most of the people who don’t show up, don’t even bother to call to let you know they won’t be there. I think it is beyond rude, and goes as far as being very disrespectful. Instead of purchasing a ½ keg of beer, I could’ve bought a few cases of beer and saved money (and not wasted so much beer – something I really hate to do). I believe in Karma, so I’m really hoping that “what comes around, goes around.”

2. Can Penn State win the Big 10 title? As of right now, their destiny is in their hands. Of course, this was also the case in 1999, when they fumbled the ball (no pun intended) around the same time. I hope this year’s team is different. Wouldn’t it be great for Joe-Pa to get one more Big-10 title under his illustrious belt? If this happens, he might very well retire, but at least the program is in good hands again.

3. A few more things I really hate/fear:
a.Noticing the roll of toilet paper is empty after taking a “growler.”
b. Cutting too much of your finger-nail off.
c. Chewing on tin-foil

4. I hear Paris Hilton’s new cd is out. I’m wondering if this will outsell William Hung’s cd, or her porno dvd, for that matter.

5. I can’t believe it is already Halloween. It feels like just a few weeks ago, I was in shorts and a t-shirt with the air-conditioning on … now granted, the fall has been on the warmer side, so that may have only been a few weeks ago, but still…

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ghoulish Tidbits

Since I don’t have anything really important to talk about (I know – since when have I ever had anything important to talk about), I’ll set you up with some tidbits:

1. I love Halloween – I love dressing up for Halloween. I guess it may be because my mom never let me get cool costumes as a child. I was the guy dressed up as a hobo every year – my mom would save the pants that I put holes in, and she would patch them up and save the clothes for Halloween. Other people got to be vampires, and ghosts, and He-Man – I was the hobo. Here are the five costumes I’m most proud of (that I developed):
* Mick Jagger – I dressed like him in college. I borrowed a girl’s purple stretch pants, and put make-up on and everything. I even lip-synched to “Start Me Up” at a party. Very cool.
* Drew Carey – I borrowed my dads pants, shirt, and jacket; used a pillow, and got black glasses. I won for best costume.
* Ric Flair – My wife (girlfriend at the time) and I got a black robe, put all kinds of sequins on it, I got a blond wig, black boxers, and a championship belt. I ruled.
* Heino – If you don’t know who this is, google him. I got a blonde wig, red suit-jacket, little guitar, and a picture of mountains that I attached to the suit jacket. It ruled!
* Napoleon Dynomite – I’m dressing like him this year, because I rule!

2. I think one of the biggest fears I have is the toilet bowl overflowing. I’ve never actually had this happen to me, but I’ve been close on more than a few occasions. God, what a rush when the toilet finally flushes!

3. Besides Forsberg and Gagne, are there any other Flyers that can score?

4. Am I the only one who thinks that naming Hurricanes after the Greek Alphabet is stupid? Hurricane Beta??? C’mon! I have some suggestions:
* Name them after fast food restaurants: “Hurricane Bob’s Big Boy just rammed into the Gulf Coast.”
* How about naming them after animals, but really cool ones like “Hurricane Wolverine.”
* Name them after cool movie characters, like “Hurricane Boba Fett.”

5. Does anyone else feel ripped off that after Howard Stern leaves, the east coast gets David Lee Roth, while the west coast gets Adam Carolla? Has any rock legend (besides Gary Glitter) dropped so quickly?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Another One Bites the Dust

Well, it looks like the volatile Philadelphia radio landscape has claimed another casualty. 94 WYSP has changed formats from a rock station to – get this – an FM talk station. As if this radio market was already suffering from a lack of musical choices, it was dealt another blow. Now, I admit that I haven’t listened to WYSP a lot for many reasons. A big reason is because Stern was getting monotonous with his daily “Sirius Satellite Radio” banter (and Preston and Steve are much more compelling and interesting on 93.3).

But, WYSP’s musical selection has been dropping quicker than Paris Hilton at a sausage convention. The station really should’ve considered naming itself the “Ozzy Osbourne, Led Zeppelin, and Metallica station with a touch of Stained and any other band that sound like Limp Biskit.” I think if WYSP tweaked their music to include a larger variety of groups that didn’t sound exactly the same, they would’ve had more success, but when a company is corporate owned, creativity is usually the first thing to go. It’s all about the bottom line and reaching the common denominator, and that means if Limp Biskit has a great new song, we need to find bands that sound exactly the same, because they will probably produce hits as well.

I like WMMR, but sometimes they play too much Zeppelin and Ozzy too. I wish I had variety. 102.9 is ok for a classic rock fix, but after about 15 minutes, it gets old. I wish somebody would get the balls to put on a station again like WDRE (back in the early 1990’s). Did I like every song that was on this station? No. But, I did like the fact that I could put this station on, and know that I wouldn’t be hearing the “same old, same old” over and over again.

Terrestrial radio is reeling because of the increasing popularity of satellite radio. They don’t know why it is so popular. Maybe, if they just stepped back and looked from an outsider’s perspective, they’d realize that terrestrial radio is no longer creative and all of the channels are starting to sound the same. Niche markets are no longer cultivated like they used to be by terrestrial radio. These niche markets are now being exploited by satellite radio, and people are willing to put up the $12 a month in order to get this programming. This warning sign has unfortunately not been noticed, and the landscape will continue to change to try and get the “new packaged” thing.

** By the way, I though BEN-FM was cool at first, but it sucks. They are obviously competing with other bland stations like B-101 and 104.5. The “variety” they tout is crap. I hate Philly radio.

Monday, October 24, 2005

You Go, Jason Bateman!

I've always been a Jason Bateman fan - all the way back to the time he was making appearances as Ricky Schroeder's "Eddie-Haskall-like" friend on Silver Spoons. He, of course, moved on to be a compelling character on such semi-hits as "It's Your Move" and "Valerie's Family," but then, for some reason, he seemed to have fallen off the face of the Earth for more than a decade.

Then, thanks to the grace of God ... and maybe Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller, he made a triumphant return as a supporting actor in such funny hits as "Starsky and Hutch" and "Dodgeball." Now, his career recovery, which is almost Travolta-like, is reaching new heights with a hilarious sit-com called "Arrested Development." The good news is that it is that the critics love it. However, for some reason (maybe it is because FOX promoted it about as about as strongly as PBS shows are promoted on network television). The cast is top-notch, and Bateman - as the central character - plays an amazing straight man. The premise is nothing new - a dysfunctional family - but the writing and camera work is excellent. This show is one of the best sit coms currently on network television, along with Family Guy, My Name Is Earl, and The Office.

I have two suggestions. First, to Justine Bateman - the once hot sister of Jason Bateman (I haven't seen her in a while, so I don't know if she is still hot - I suggest that she find a way to sleep with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, either of the Wilson brothers, or Will Ferrell. Maybe this will get her parts in movies that could help revitalize her career.

Second, if the Zucker brothers start getting heavy into the spoof comedies again, Jason would make a great straight man.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Slime, Slime, Slime.

After the last few years of “He said, he said” crap going on in our nation, I’m sick of politics. However, an interesting situation occurred in our great city of Philadelphia yesterday involving a city councilman, who is the target of a federal investigation, who had to be escorted down from City Hall's glass-enclosed observation deck by the police commissioner Thursday. The councilman’s name is Rick Mariano, and he seems to be a lightning rod for controversies – of course this seems to be a prerequisite to be a city councilman or to hold any sort of government-related job in the city.

From everything I’ve read and heard about, not just with this case, but with anything going on in Philly, it is not shocking that Philly dropped the ball when it came to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Aquarium that is now located in Camden, and any of the other venues that are now along the Camden Waterfront. The corruption in this city makes city corruption in New York and Chicago look like jay-walking violations.

I know there is no easy answer to this question, but why can’t anyone get elected to a government position in Philly who isn’t a slime-ball, and who isn’t corrupted? Certainly, money talks, and people in these positions have the backing of very rich people (just like our federal government – isn’t that funny). I just hold out the hope that enough people get fed up with the crap shoveling that is going on in the City of Brotherly Love (yeah, right).

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Quick Hits

I feel uninspired today, so I must apologize. I guess it was the combination of playing Mario Golf and watching the World Series of Poker last night. But I do have some quick thoughts that may or may not be of interest. Here goes:

1. Does anybody else besides me think that Hamburger Helper rules? I used to laugh and belittle those commercials with that “Chef’s Hand.” Actually, they probably still are stupid, but man, the creations taste so good, and they only take a little time to make. I made the Cheeseburger Macaroni one last night, and it was scrumtralescent (a word that Will Ferrell made up).
2. There are so many acorns in my back yard, that the squirrels are now wearing stretch-pants and elastic flannel shirts.
3. Christmas is almost two months away, but the stores (such as Macy’s) are in full holiday swing already. Screw Halloween and Thanksgiving, let’s make Christmas 3 months long!
4. With all these remakes out or in the process of coming out, why not just shut the doors to movie companies altogether? Obviously, they’ve lost their desire to be creative, so why not just re-release the originals in the theatres? First, this would be way less expensive, and second, the originals are so much better than the remakes. Maybe the $10 ticket prices could come down to a more reasonable level .. ah, I guess I’m not making any sense.
5. Is anybody out there thrilled with the idea of David Lee Roth replacing Howard Stern? I know, Stern has been getting really boring in the last year or so, talking about his move to satellite radio. What is Dave gonna talk about? Unless he brings in Eddie Van Halen and Sammy Hagar and stages elaborate fist-fights with them, I don’t think his “schtick” will last very long. Hey Philly, try Preston and Steve on 93.3 WMMR – they really do rock.
6. I'm currently listening to a cd called "39 Minutes of Bliss" by a group called "The Caesars" in my car. I absolutely love this cd, and yes, I know it has been out since 2003, but I just got it. You may recognize the one song from a commercial - it is called "Jerk Out," and it is way too addicting. The group sounds somewhere between an early Beatles or Stones and the Hives or Vines.

Monday, October 17, 2005

What Gives with the ND Rankiing????

I’m sick of Notre Dame and the privileges that they receive from the NCAA, especially in college football. Does anybody realize that they have lost 2 games and are in the top 10? How is this possible? Did God have a vote for the Irish? Is there some conspiracy with the IRA that we haven’t been told of?

The Irish lost to USC this weekend in the very last seconds. Yes, this was pretty impressive, but THIS was Notre Dame’s Super Bowl. They’ve been preparing for this one for two weeks, and the game was a HOME game. That means that Notre Dame has lost both of its games at home this season. Does this sound like a team that should be in the running for a BCS bowl???? I am thoroughly disgusted.

Notre Dame came into Saturday’s game ranked ninth in the country. I have no problem with that ranking – ND has won some impressive game. But after the LOSS, Notre Dame is still ranked 9? Has this ever happened in college football history – a team losing and still being ranked 9th? I’m pretty sure some people were toying with the idea of actually putting ND at 8 or 7 after the loss. If the Irish won that game, they probably would’ve been ranked 1. I am so sick of this school and all of the liberties that are given to it.

Maybe it is the fact that they have an exclusive contract with NBC. What is NBC thinking on this one? They cannot show any other college football games because of this. Also, Notre Dame plays about half their games a year on the road, which means NBC can’t cover those games either. Is it worth the 5 or 6 games a year? Half of those games are against teams that aren’t even that good.

I like Charlie Weis, and I think he’s a great coach. But, man, do I hope that he fails miserably at Notre Dame. I want this arrogant college to finally have to choose a conference to play in, instead of waving that annoying “We are independent, and we love it” banter around.

Oh yea, and they lost on Saturday even though they wore those precious green jerseys. Shouldn’t that knock them out of the top 20?

Friday, October 14, 2005

John Mayer Trio Opening for the Stones? What Gives?

First, I’d like to apologize to all of you John Mayer fans, as this will not be flattering to the young pop-folk star (or whatever he is).

When I heard that the Stones were going on tour again, needless to say, I was quite excited, and of course, happy in my pants. I got even more excited when I heard some of the possible opening bands – Beck, Pear Jam, Metallica? How cool would that be to see any of these three bands? Surely, Philly is an important-enough city for a super-show like this to be planned for.

Then, I read that John Mayer would be opening for the Stones in Philly. The blood rushed from my head, as I tried to comprehend such a terrible choice for an opening band for a Stones show. Were they serious? Would there be a second, more intriguing opening band? Unfortunately, no. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh get Pearl Jam, and Hershey Park gets Beck. What’s with that? Why do these two second-rate towns (sorry, guys) get first-rate opening bands? Why does Philly always get the crap bands? I was obviously pissed.

People told me that John Mayer did a nice job at the show, but I had no motivation to go see the guy. Couldn’t they get Bon Jovi? What was Thorogood doing that night? Hell, even the Hooters woulda been better than Mayer. Why does Philly always get the shaft? I want answers, dammit!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones!!!!

I remember the moment I got hooked on the Stones. I was a pre-pubescent seventh grader who liked to listen 98-WCAU Hot-Hits. Groups like Kook and the Gang and the Go-Go's were songs that I would sing along to. I knew nothing about the good music that was being played just down the dial, other than I saw a lot of vandalism that included references to Van Halen, The Who, and The Rolling Stones. In my mind, these groups were evil (I made the connection because I knew that vandalism was evil), and not as wholesome as Michael Jackson and Rockwell.

I began hanging out with a couple of friends at school, and they informed me that the music that I cherished so, was really just crap. I questioned them about how Tommy Tutone could be considered dog-shit. They informed me that it was true, and began turning me on to classic rock. At first, I was a little apprehensive. I mean, would I have to start wearing bell-bottoms and stop washing my hair in order to "get it?" As it turned out, all they needed to do was spin a Stones record, and I was hooked. The album - Tattoo You. From the opening riff of Start Me Up, to the masterful ending of Waiting on a Friend, this album had me begging for more.

Now, more than 20 years later, I somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 Rolling Stones cds, and probably another 20 Stones-related cds (not to mention many bootleg cassette tapes). Tonight, I am going to my seventh Stones concert, and on February 1, I will be heading to an 8th show. I figure these two will be part of the last tour the Stones will ever do ... although I've been saying that since 1989. They are touring in support of their new album "A Bigger Bang," in which they go back to their roots. It probably doesn't have as many defining pop songs as some of their early ones, but does display a bluesy grit that has been lacking in recent years. I, for one, love it - which is not unusual, because if the Stones packaged up a pile of dog-crap and sold it, I probably would love that too. But, it is, as always, something I look forward to with much anticipation. I'm still amazed that these guys can put out quality music and play with enthusiasm more than 40 years after they started.

As one of my co-workers said after hearing the first single, Rough Justice, "Man, some of these up-and-coming bands should be ashamed of themselves with the crap that they are releasing. They should listen to this and start taking notes." My sentiments exactly. Go Stones!

Monday, October 10, 2005

What is the Deal with Homefries?

My wife and I went out to breakfast on Saturday to a local restaurant that we like to frequent. As I looked on the menu, I noticed that no matter what was ordered, home-fries would be provided "on the side." This miffed me, as I am not a big fan of home-fries. I don't hate, them, but I really don't like them, and it got me to thinking (oh boy, that's always trouble). What is the deal with homefries?

I really wish that some of these restaurans - especially the ones that focus mostly on breakfast/lunch - would get a little more creative with their breakfasts - especially their sides. Can't there be a choice? How difficult would it be to provide options like tater tots, grits, or even french fries? Instead, I'm stuck with a half-plate of half-cooked potato slices. Ugh, can't I just pay a dollar more and get more eggs and less home-fries? Why is that not an option? Are you f**kers just too lazy? Why do you insist on "no substitutions?" Do you really want me to never set foot in your place again (don't answer that)?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Weird Things That Make Me Feel Good

No, this will not be a dirty post (get your minds out of the gutters!). I just didn't know what else to call it, so I came up with this lame-ass title. Anyway, what spurred this post on was what happened to me last night ... again, get your minds of those stinkin' gutters. I had to get up to take a piss (I didn't want to see "I had to get up and pee, because that would sound gay .... and I'm not gay ... not that there's anything wrong with being gay, but I choose not to be gay ... not that people have choices like this ..... ah, now I'm rambling. Back to the story). I was afraid that it might be like 6:00 a.m., which would mean that I would only have 1/2 hour left before I actually have to wake up, and I hate that, because it is almost pointless to go back to sleep at that point.

But, to my pleasant surprise, it was 1:30 a.m. Isn't that awesome when you wake up to go to the bathroom and you check the time, and you still have 3 or more hours of good sleeping time left? It's one of my favorite weird things. I decided to come up with a list. Please add some if you have any.

1. Waking up to go to the bathroom and realizing you still have 3+ hours of sleep left (as discussed above).
2. The smell of rain hitting asphalt on a summer day - I'm not sure why I like this, but I do.
3. The smell of pipe smoke - especially tobacco with a cherry flavor.
4. Realizing that there are more french fries left in the McDonalds bag after you are finished with the ones in the container/holder.
5. Putting on jeans that you haven't worn in a few months and finding money in them (preferably $10 or higher).

There are more, but I'll leave those for another time.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A few Random Thoughts

1. Finally, hockey is back. I know some of you may have lost your zeal for the greatest sport on ice (sorry, all you curlers). Comcast has done a great job marketing the NHL, but I still fear that the move to the OLN network was not in their best interests ... that is, unless they decide to make this channel (or a future channel) into a rival of ESPN.

2. I'm not remotely interested in baseball at this point. The same teams made it in again, and since the Red Sox won the title last year, I have no real rooting interest - I guess I'll root for the White Sox and Padres, because they usually don't make the playoffs. Thank goodness for hockey.

3. I'm going to see the Stones in a week - this will be the 7th time that I have seen them. It's hard to have great expectations for a band that is no longer in their prime (and are over 60 years old), but the new album is excellent, and the show reviews have been promising. I also will be seeing them on February 1 in Baltimore. I'm guessing this will probably be their last tour (I've been saying that since 1989).

4. I know I've harped on this before, but can somebody PLEASE put on a good radio station in Philly? Ben has become way to feminine - they may as well use the B-101 logo now. 93.3 is probably the best, but that isn't saying much. Both WMMR and WYSP should use the slogan "We can't play enough Ozzy and Zeppelin." 102.9 just sounds old way too often - not enough deep cuts on any of these stations. It is really making me consider looking into getting satellite radio. I love hearing new music (and I mean new good music, not new music that is playing on 102.1, 96.5, Power 99, 100.3). Somebody needs to start thinking out of the box instead of trying to package music into small playlists (and I know, that is what big media conglomerates do).

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Phillies with a Successful Season?

No, the the Fightin' Phils did not "phinally" put a merciful end to the sweltering 12+ year playoff drought. Yes, the Phils once again reached fans' expectations of coming up short in the playoff race. But this year was still different, and "phinally" in a good way.

Prior to the start of the season, I predicted that the Phils would not only miss the playoffs, but would be lucky if they won 75 games. I also predicted that ownership would change the name of the team to the Underachievers, so that nobody ever got the wrong idea. My prediction (about the record, not the name change) was based on a number of factors - hiring an incompetent (in my opinion) coach, not bringing in any marquee players that would help put them over the top - particularly an ace (my apologies to Lieber).

The 2004 team had many holes - an overpaid, underperforming catcher, a very inconsistent pitching staff, a third-basemen on his las wheels, a suspect bullpen, and too many strikeouts in the lineup. That, combined with the Phillies choosing to hire a very player friendly manager as opposed to one with a World Series ring, provoked me to send an e-mail to the Phillies informing them that I had no confidence in their organization, that I wasn't going to go to any games this season, and asking them to provide me with a suggestion for another professional baseball team to follow that actually gave a flying f**k about winning.

But, the Phitin's did prove me very wrong this season. Yes, the manager made some mistakes (probably more than a professional manager should have), but he did some good things too. Particularly, he got the players interested in playing ball again (something Bowa apparently took away from them - although I am still a Bowa fan). The Phils were also blessed with some luck - being able to survive a season-ending injury to Randy Wolf - their only left-handed starting pitcher - and being able to find some good young arms to replace him. Jim Thome's season-ending elbow injury, and the blossoming of Ryan Howard at first base. Chase Utley becoming the best clutch hitter on this team (Ryan Howard is probably a close second). Jimmy Rollins, no only learning how to hit correctly, but doing an incredible jog down the stretch.

This team kept me interested until the very last day. Now, they have to answer some questions in the offseason:
1. Who's on First? If they stick with Thome and get rid of Howard, they better get some major value in return - such as an ace-starting pitcher, and a very productive utility infielder (or a starting catcher). I sincerely hope that they get rid of Thome for many reasons - Howard is the future, Thome will be booed here and he doesn't deserve that, youth is important on this aging team.
2. Centerfield ? Lofton probably won't be back, and even though he is whiny, he was a helluva player. I'm hoping they either bring in somebody or platoon Jason Michaels and Shane Victorino (it's time to pull the plug on the Endy Chavez experiment).
3. 3rd base - catcher? Probably the weakest part of this team. Bell and Lieberthal played more than adequately down the stretch, but can we honestly expect another adequate season from these two dinosaurs?
4. Starting Pitching - Are you excited with Myers, Lidle, Lieber, Padilla, and Wolf-Brito-Tejeda? I'll take Lieber and Myers, no question. Even Lidle produces enough wins. But, Padilla was very inconsistent, and I'd love to replace him with a number 1 (which would make this team a playoff contender). I'm guesing the last spot will be open to Cole Hammills or Gavin Floyd, and I hope that one of these young studs (according to Wade) will step up.
5. Bullpen - Arron Fultz was a nice player. Obviously the 3-inning closers were awesome. Other than that, you can burn up the rest of them. Plus, rumor has it that Wagner will go to the Mets. If that happens, what now? Do we resign Urbina to big money and make him a closer again? It would be a step down from Wagner. Is Madsen good enough to close? Again, a step down. Can this team afford to take a step down?

Lots of questions, and these are only 5. But hey, at least I'm talkin' about the Phils in a "what-if" style instead of a "who cares" style.