Friday, March 31, 2006

MLB "Investigation-apalooza"

So Major League Baseball is ready to “take a stand” and really address this steroid situation after all these years? Man do I have a bunch of issues with this. Let’s get started, shall we?

First, I have a feeling that this may be a little too late. I mean, it is now 2006, and this stuff was going on for at least 10 years prior to 2003. How can this “independent” investigator possibly find any information this late in the game? All he will get is a lot of third-party hearsay.

Second, do you really think the players union or any of the players (besides Canseco) will provide any information? Of course not. Expecting this to happen would be like expecting Michael Jackson to turn black again. It’s not going to happen.

Third, are we supposed to believe that this will be an “independent” investigation? Seriously? MLB has hired one of its own to do the investigating – a part owner of the Boston Red Sox. Hmmph, that doesn’t sound very independent. Brad Pitt’s relationship with Angelina Jolie seems more independent than this. Second, to appease the government, this part owner used to be a senator or something like that. This means that the MLB carefully selected somebody that they could influence AND would get the government off their back. I haven’t seen this much backdoor collaboration since OPEC was formed.

Fourth, do the owners REALLY want to “find out” what happened? Could this be incriminating to some of them? Weren’t they a little too giddy after the pumped up home-run race of 1998 “saved” the game? I have a feeling that many of these owners knew what was going on, and some may have even secretly encouraged it. I have no proof on this, but I have a hard time believing that they couldn’t have noticed the juiced up players with the watermelon-sized heads, and the pumped up stats.

There are probably more things that make this “investigation” just a ludicrous attempt to “legitimize” the game. I’m not buying it. Like I said in my other blog, Why do I have the feeling that this will be about as successfull as the Warren Commission investigation of the Kennedy assassination?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My Two Cents

1. I heard that Kevin Federline said that if he doesn’t make it as a musician, he would become a stripper … After hearing his first single, I would suggest that he start learning the art of pole dancing.

2. Robert Esche started acting like a little baby when interviewed by the Daily News this week – whining about how Coach Hitchcock probably already made his decision on which goalie will be the starter going into the playoffs. Will Eschie, would you start a chronic, inconsistent complainer in the playoffs? Neither would I. Enjoy the pine.

3. Basic Instinct 2 is coming out. Basically, my decision on whether or not to go see this movie depends on whether or not Sharon Stone bears her clam again. That was the only redeeming quality of the first one.

4. I had some really disgusting French fries from McDonalds about 2 weeks ago. Thanks to this, I haven’t had a craving for McDonalds since then.

5. The NCAA college basketball tournament has been the most exciting one in years. Even though my pool has been shot more times than Kennedy, I’m still enjoying the games – most of which have been very entertaining. I hope that George Mason wins it all, as long as they beat UCLA in the finals (I still have a shot of winning some money in the pool, if UCLA gets that far).

6. Daylight savings time is coming up again – it may be one of my least favorite days of the year, because now I have to set the clocks forward and essentially lose an hour of sleep. So, if you see me Monday, try to avoid me.

Monday, March 27, 2006

50 Years

So, April marks 50 years that my parents have lived in this Country. Of course, some may find this hard to believe because even though they have lived most of their lives in the good ol’ U.S.A., their accents are still thicker than the gravy at the Old Country Buffet.

Heck, my mom’s grammar is almost as bad as Anna Nicole’s. It’s so bad, that I actually have a running list of some of her biggest “zingers” on my old website: My all-time favorite would have to be one she used to say when I was in the bathroom and somebody called. Normally, you would expect your mom to say something along the lines of, “Can Karl call you back, he is busy.” Nope, not my mom. I guess she never wanted to lie, so instead she would answer, “I’m sorry, Karl’s in the toilet.” This was done in a thick accent, which only added to the funny. Of course, in high school, this really wasn’t so funny in my eyes, especially if a girl was calling to talk to me. I can only imagine how much of a turn-off this was, visualizing me taking a growler. Ah, but what a story.

There are so many other Inga-isms, and I try to add them whenever I hear new ones – however, since I no longer live there, I don’t hear them as often (one of the things I miss about not living there).

But, they’ve come a long way, thick accents aside. Just imagine immigrating to a country that speaks a language that you know 0% of. Imagine doing this before the internet, cable T.V., and Sesame Street. Yep, that was my parents. They were lucky enough to find good employment (they were sponsored by a company that was looking for German immigrants), and even more lucky to find neighbors who helped them learn not only the language, but also fit in to society.

And, even though I struggled for years with not only generation gap issues with my parents, but also culture gap issues, it made me a stronger, more compassionate and understanding person. My parents did good, and I am proud of them for overcoming so many obstacles to live the American dream.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Jones for Brian

As some of you may know, I happen to like the Stones. To make a comparison, the Stones to me are like air to others – I need them to live. I heard about a movie being made on the live and controversial death of Brian Jones about a year ago. If you don’t know Brian, let me give you a little background on this tortured soul.

To start off, if there never was a Brian, there probably would’ve never been a Rolling Stones band … yeah, a pretty important person. Jones was the catalyst behind the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band, at least in the early years. He was the guy who formed this often combustible, but always exciting band.

He was the leader of the band, even though traditionally, the lead singer was the face of the band. This would eventually cause a riff in the band – the first of endless. But first, the band would focus on good ol’ fashion American blues music, something the British kids were eating up like tea and krimpets. The Stones hit a chord with the masses, and rapidly gained popularity rivaling that of the Beatles.

For a while, the thrill of being “3-chord-wonders” and the financial and sexual returns associated with that was enough for young Brian. However, Mr. Jones never wanted to stop creating – as evidenced by the numerous instruments he played. When Mick and Keith started to become the main songwriters, Brian, who probably was already too into the experimentalization of psychedelic drugs to even bother to write music, felt pushed into the background of the Stones, a place he was never comfortable in.

Brian overmedicated himself in order to “deal” with his lesser role in the band. This, and his relationship with Anna Pallenberg (sp) got him through. However, Keith made sure that Pallenberg would no longer be an outlet for Brian, as he ended up taking her away from him. This helped Brian get to the point where he was really no longer functional as a musician, and the Stones had to ultimately make the difficult decision to cut ties with their “creator.”

The movie hopefully will cover this, and go into great detail with the circumstances around his death. Was it murder, suicide, natural causes, or accidental overdose? There are many theories and legends to what happened to Brian, and I have my own. From what I have read, the research that went into this movie lasted more than ten years and was excruciatingly extensive to the point that the British government is considering reexamining the death of Brian Jones because of the new information that was provided by these detail-oriented directors. I, for one, can’t wait to see it – hopefully, it will make it to Philly.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Random Thoughts

Sick Sucks
Isn’t it funny that you never realize how good feeling good feels until you are sick? It’s not that I have anything major, just a slight case of the flu, which comes with an annoying headache, and nausea. Hopefully, I don’t have bird flu.

Enough Esche
The Flyers open a stretch of important games starting tonight against the hated New Jersey Devils. Hitchcock finally has given Niitimaki a chance to showcase his talents in goal, and I think if this team has any chance of going deep into the playoffs, they will need to ride him. Esche is just too inconsistent.

Philled With Anticipation?
Less than two weeks until the Phillies start their season, and you know what? I’m actually kind of excited about it. Maybe it is partly because the Eagles did a very good job of impersonating the Temple Owls last season. Probably more importantly, the Phils got rid of Ed Wade, and have brought in a more knowledgeable and honest general manager. Sure, the Phils have some holes, but I am more apt to watch and attend games with out Wade’s “influence.”

Should Billy King be kept on next season? The Sixers look atrocious, and it doesn’t seem like they will have any room to make any moves to improve this team anytime soon. I guess at least he’s not as bad as Isaiah Thomas, but still – this team has fallen a long way since the 2001 season.

True Cowpie?
T.O. is now a Cowboy, and lots of Eagles fans are jumping ship faster than NBC did after the first XFL season. Immediately, they are writing the Eagles off, while giving the Lombardi trophy to the Cowboys. It’s not like Dallas has a perfect team. Their quarterback is woefully inadequate, and this is probably the most important issue when it comes to T.O. In fact, I’d like to see how the relationship goes after Bledsoe throws a few worm-burners at him. Additionally, I think the Birds should resign Tim Hauck, so he can work the same magic he used when he ended Michael Irvin’s career.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Things in My Head

1. I absolutely love the new Dairy Queen commercial advertising the new sandwich that apparently is really, really hot. This is the one where the guy is in the office and takes a bite of the sandwich, and immediately things start catching fire in his office – because his breath is so hot. I think that companies that try to be funny – like Anheuser Busch and Miller really should find out who came up with the concept of it

2. My new car keeps getting crapped on by birds – more-so than any of the other cars that I have driven. I’m wondering if these birds (a) realize that one car is newer or more expensive than another car, and (b) have some sort of complex game with other birds in which they score points for crapping on new cars. The birds in my neighborhood are excellent at this game.

3. Another movie to add to the “it was better when I was younger than it is now” museum – Dragnet. I remember when this movie came out in 1997, and it had quite a buzz around it. Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd (at the time, he was still making decent movies) co-starred, and when I first saw it, I loved it. Well, it was on Encore on Sunday, and I was excited to see it again. I’m not sure if it was because I was still a little tired, wasn’t drinking coffee, or hadn’t taken my morning growler yet, but I did NOT find it funny anymore. Maybe I’m just so tired with Dan Aykroyd and his amazing Chevy Chase career impersonation. I don’t know. All I know is that I’ll probably never watch this movie again.

4. The World Baseball Classic is still going on. I know, I know – many of you had no idea it even started, or what the hell the World Baseball Classic even is. I watched a few games, but lost interest rather early. But the funny part is that not even did the U.S. embarrass themselves by losing so early (why can’t any of our teams play well against other countries anymore), but they lost despite the obvious “leniency” that the officials and umpires gave them. We can’t even win when we have all the cards. Thank goodness nobody gives a crap about the World Baseball Classic.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Big Dance

I may have commented about this last year, and if I did, I don’t care … so there.

We a day away from one of the greatest sporting events in the world, March Madness. So many would-be prognosticators come out of the wood-work around this time every year, that I’m surprised Punxatawny hasn’t gotten involved with this – I’m sure that ground-hog has a wide-open calendar after February.

You couldn’t swing a dead cat and not hit somebody who truly thinks he/she truly knows college basketball. Most of these people have probably seen a few highlights on ESPN throughout the year, and based on this amount of “research,” they feel confident in their picks. These are the same people who probably wouldn’t feel confident in telling you what they’ll probably be eating for lunch later in the day, but with this “bracketology,” they all think they’re experts.

That’s the fun (aggravating) part of this time of the year – somebody who never paid attention to college basketball always seems to win. Last year, I came in first in two pools, and second in another pool (making about $500 in the process) – and I didn’t watch an entire basketball game all season. Somehow, I just “knew” that Vermont would upset Syracuse and dash the hopes of half the participants in basketball pools throughout the country. I picked a few other upsets, based on nothing more than a hunch. But, man did I feel like a genius at the end.

This year, I’ll probably fail miserably. I’ve already invested more time in trying to pick the winners than I did in the last 5 years combined. I’m sure that I have already outsmarted myself, trying to find that improbable upset. But, hey, I can’t think of a better way to spend a day at work, than going to, and rooting for teams that I didn’t even know existed a few weeks ago.

One of these years, I’m going to take Thursday and Friday off, and go to a bar to watch the games. I hear a lot of people do that, and I think that may be fun. Of course, with St. Patrick’s Day falling on Friday, I think I’ll avoid the “Once-a –year” Irish people, and enjoy the games at home.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Truly March Madness?????

In what might be the most ingenious events planning of all-time, March Madness begins on St. Patrick’s Day. I have a gut feeling that there will be an un-heard number of sick-days being spent on Thursday and Friday.

One question pops to mind – is it o.k. to drink green beer and watch the basketball tournament? My guess is yes, only because it is still beer. If it were broccoli juice or something disgusting like that, maybe I would think differently.

Another question – Can college basketball be watched with that annoying Irish music being played in the background? I’m guessing the green beer will make it palatable – hopefully the green dye used will actually increase the alcohol level in the beer (and the body).

Finally, everybody knows that St. Patrick’s Day is amateur night for many beer-drinkin’ wannabe’s. These part-timer’s come out of the woodwork and crowd just about every bar around (and the bars that are not crowded on St. Patrick’s Day, are bars you probably don’t want to go to in the first place). This will most assuredly cause problems with the patrons who are trying to watch the basketball games, possibly causing drunken riots of unmatched proportions. Again, maybe the green beer will help with this (maybe they will put prozac in the green dye).

O.K., so on second thought, maybe having March Madness start on St. Patrick’s Day is not such a good idea.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Was Booger Really a Nerd?

A few of the guys at work got to talkin’ the other day about movies that we really liked as kids. One of these movies was the critically acclaimed (or not) masterpiece - Revenge of the Nerds. I remember watching this on PRISM as a youngster (if you don’t know PRISM, you obviously aren’t from Philly – it was like the local version of HBO).

There were many reasons I was always excited when this movie was on. Sure, it was witty, funny, and the underdogs won despite great odds against them (see Victory, Rocky, Bad News Bears, and just about any other movie out there now). But, as raging adolescents, we loved the movie because of the gratuitous nude shots - probably around five minutes worth – which was like an eternity for our horny little minds (weird how no movies with that kind of nudity are really produced anymore – at least not ones from major studios).

We got to talkin’ more about the characters in Revenge of the Nerds, and something dawned on me. Why was Booger considered a Nerd? It’s not like he dressed like a Nerd – he dressed more like a slob (slob does not equal nerd). In fact, he was very slob-like altogether – and most Nerds are obsessed with keeping things clean.

Booger also drank a ton of beer and burped (and farted) about as much as I do (a lot). Again, Nerds may enjoy the occasional Gallo, but they certainly don’t indulge in binge drinking. Since drinking kills brain cells (see Michael Jackson), this would be like Kryptonite to Superman, wouldn’t it?

Booger also enjoys daily toke from a doobie. Again, very un-nerd-like. Some nerds may at least experiment with the Gonj’ to see if it can help them solve problems, but they end up doing uncharacteristic things like paint picture and other artsy stuff – so they immediately stop.

Finally, Booger never really displayed any intelligence at all as a “nerd.” The most he did was show his other nerds how to roll joints and play cards – more of a negative influence, if you ask me.

Booger reminded me more of Belushi’s character in Animal House. Why wasn’t Booger part of a better fraternity, anyway? Wouldn’t fraternities kill for a guy that can drink, belch, fart, and roll joints with extreme precision? Wouldn’t this be a good mascot? I never really figured this one out.

Oh, speaking of thinking outside the box, I really do think that Booger would’ve been a great character in the Police Academy movies. How cool would that have been, if his character did do a crossover? Just think how great this would’ve been if this was somehow done – it would’ve predated that whole Jason vs. Freddie thing.

Hopefully, the Last Bonds Piece I Do
One more thing totally unrelated to this post, and hopefully the last Barry Bonds issue I post (I’ve typed far too many words already). After speaking with numerous people on this Barry Bonds/Steroid cluster-f*ck, I have a question for you (both of you). What is worse – gambling on baseball, or taking steroids (basically, what I’m asking is this – is what Pete Rose did worse than what Barry Bonds is doing?)?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Topical Chat, March 7, 2006

Why No Coat Racks??

I did a post on my other blog site a few days ago about a state (I think Connecticut) that is looking into a bill that would require restaurant and bars to have coat racks in their rest rooms. Initially, I thought this was a stupid idea – I mean is this state so well off that they can think about frivolous bills like this one?

Don’t get me wrong, I still feel that way, BUT whilst eating at Wendy’s last week, I realized how great it would be to have a coat rack at each table of restaurants (more importantly, fast-food restaurants). Fast food companies already try to maximize their space by cramming as many small tables as possible inside their walls. A typical “four-person table” is only really comfortable for 2 people. Now, when one includes jackets, this reduces the precious “ass-space” even further.

I guess I shouldn’t complain about that – after all, if they did add coat-racks, I might have to pay an extra 20 cents for value-meal #4.

Say It Ain’t So, Barry….NOT!!

So, Sports Illustrated is about to blow the roof off of the baseball industry when they publish a story about Barry Bonds and his use (abuse) of steroids. Bravo, SI! Hopefully, they will have enough room in the magazine to report on the moon landing of 1969.

Look, I hate Barry Bonds for many, many reasons – one of which is because he not only cheated with steroids, but he was so smug about it. What makes anyone think that this story is going to change anything? Everybody knows he used steroids (and those of you who refuse to believe this should grab both of your ears and pull them out of your rectum immediately).

Major League Baseball, which is still suffering from a strained neck caused by many years oflooking the other way, will not be forced to do anything about it now (and therefore, they will continue the status quo of ignoring it) – their motto is “what’s in the past, stays in the past, and as long as nobody else cares, we don’t care.” MLB made so much money off of players’ use of steroids in the mid-to-late 1990’s and beyond, that it is in their best interest not to do anything (it can be argued that steroid usage saved them after the 1994 lockout, or at the very least sped up the recovery).

I believe in Karma, and I’m betting that someday, somehow, Barry Bonds will have his day … I hope it is the worst day ever recorded.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sit-Down Shopping???

I might sound a little insensitive with this post, but frankly, I don’t care. If something is bothering me, I want to get it off my chest, no matter how many small animals I hurt in the process.

A recent trip to the super market spurred this ‘rant’ on. I want to preface this by saying that I obviously have no problems with places of business making it easier for people with disabilities to shop at their store – in fact, I encourage it. However, after observing certain “disabled” people at the supermarket last week, my head almost exploded.

The supermarket that we usually frequent has motorized carts available for people who have trouble getting around. When not abused, this is a terrific idea. BUT, as with many conveniences like this, there are “opportunists” who continually try to take advantage of the system. These people are just too plain lazy to go through all the aisles the traditional route – on foot. No, the only way they can apparently grocery shop is by using one of these carts – EVEN THOUGH THEY DON’T REQUIRE IT. They just meander from aisle to aisle, getting up and walking around to pick stuff up, and then sitting back down in their carts (again, I want to stress the fact that I like the idea of carts for disabled people). They expect you to move out of their way, and have a certain smugness that makes me want to hit them over the head with a box of Cheerios.

I really believe there should be some sort of application process that one should go through in order to use one of these motorized carts. I’m not sure if it should be a written test, or a test accompanied by a letter from a physician, or some other suitable process.

In summation, I don’t think this option should be available to anybody who is just too plain lazy to go grocery shopping. Am I overreacting to this? Probably. I think I’ve been given that “Look at me, I’m shopping while I’m sitting down, and you’re not” look one too many times by some of these cheaters.

Friday, March 03, 2006

That Was NOT Easy!

I’m not going to take a bite out of Smokin’ Steve’s blog-site’s weekly asshole of the week award, but I have my own personal one. It is not necessarily a person, but more like a company. I won’t give you the name of the company, but I will give you its slogan – “That Was Easy.”

Let’s call the company “Paperclips.” Last week, they had a pretty amazing store sale – in fact, I was able to pick up a remote control, and a 6-outlet surge-resistent plug for free, and a 50-pack of DVD’s for $5. So far, so good – Paperclips was really making things easy for me.

Later in the week, I noticed that they had a special on a DVD burner (internal) for $20 (after rebates). This was certainly another fantastic deal that I couldn’t pass up. I went to the Moorestown Paperclips to purchase the burner, but found out that they had sold out of them. The sales person, who was actually very helpful, ordered one online for me. He had also given me the locations of other Paperclips stores that had some left, but I figured, it would be great just to have the thing delivered to my house … YES, because I’m lazy.

I was expecting it on Monday, but it didn’t show. When I got home on Tuesday, and saw no package again, I thought (A) it was stolen, (B) delivery people are as lazy as me, and (C) I’m gonna screw the pooch on this one. Well, you guessed it, the correct answer was indeed C.

I received a phone call from Paperclips (they conveniently called my home when they knew I’d be at work) and the lady said that she could not fulfill my order, and she would be crediting my credit card. Needless to say, I was pissed. I mean, had I known that the online service of Paperclips sucks the big hairy banana, I would’ve gone to another Paperclips store and picked up the burner there. Now, the sale is over, the product is sold out, and I have no burner.

I’m going to go to the Paperclips store today, and (A) complain, (B) yell and scream, and (C) suggest they change their slogan to “We’ll help you screw the pooch.” If you know the company I’m talking about, don’t go there. Go to Office Max or Office Depot instead.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lottery Blues

So, I didn’t win the big New Jersey Lottery last night – well, actually, I did win $2 for hitting the powerball, so I got that going for me…. But, it got me to thinking. What would I do, if I won a substantial lottery – say anything over $100 million (I’d gladly take less, but I might do things a little differently).

First thing I (and most intelligent people) would do is contact a trusted attorney (should these two words be in the same sentence?) to guide me with specific financial details that I may not be aware of.

Next, I would probably put my house up for sale and move out (I still wouldn’t claim the winning ticket at this point). At this point, I would probably tell my parents, and THAT’S IT. Last thing I need is to have thousands of my so-called “friends” call me out of the blue to see how I’m doing (no offense, I know who my real friends are). Also, I’d be afraid of people who prey on these lottery winners – and you know those people are out there (many of them are going to Ohio to find the winner as we speak).

I would move into a new house (or maybe an apartment for the time-being), and make sure that it is unlisted. I would probably put a big chunk away in safe investments in which I could live off of the interest. I’m not sure if I’d stop working at my current place of employment, but if I did, I’d probably find someplace to either work part-time, or I would take up some exciting hobbies (internet radio, golf, skiing, big-game fishing, etc.).

I’d definitely like to buy property – maybe a place down the shore and in the Poconos that I could rent out for part of the year, and live in for other parts. I might buy other real-estate, and rent it out, or fix it up and sell it. I’d definitely like to try and make money because (A) I’d be afraid of blowing all the winnings, and (B) it would give me something to do.

I’m not sure where I heard it, but somebody told me that many big winners in lotteries are broke after 5 years, because they don’t pace themselves, and splurge at a rate that they can’t withstand. I don’t want to be that guy if I’m ever lucky enough to be in this position. I should probably stop dreaming.