Friday, July 28, 2006

Stoppage Time

I have come up with a couple more ideas for the Plethora blog this week – some may spin off into their own “column” and some may just be lumped in with the Stoppage Time column. I certainly always appreciate feedback, so let me know what works and what doesn’t.

* In the future, when planning to eat barbecued food, please make sure not to wear white shirt.

* You are at an age where you should really stretch before you limbo.

* One of these times, you should really let that pizza or soup sit a few minutes so that you don't burn the roof of your mouth again.

* Next time, in a drunken stupor, do NOT tell anybody that you like the song “It’s Raining Men.”

* A bag of potato chips is not all you need for lunch.

* Just because you don’t like American Idol, doesn’t mean that everybody doesn’t like American Idol. Additionally, it doesn’t’ make them idiots if they like said program.

BAD LOS JOKE OF THE WEEK“If you were a dictator of a country, and you had a wife who's name was Ruth and she died, you'd be a 'ruthless dictator.'" - Now, I didn’t say this gem this week, I said this one a few months ago – but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t say something stupid like this. Now that I have a section of this blog site dedicated to my terrible sense of humor, I will focus on remembering these nuggets (BTW – if you can come up with a better name for this section, please let me know).

"Eva Braun, who is that?" "That was Hitler's wife." "Oh, that chick!" - This was a conversation between me and Ink and Stone at work yesterday. I mentioned something about Eva Braun (not really sure why), and he had no idea who that was. The way he said “Oh, that chick!” almost made me shoot soda through my nose. I’m sure Hitler used those same words a few times in his life.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Gourmet Critic

I was brainstorming ideas to use to make my blogsite more interesting last night – basically I was running out of stories to bore you with. Then, as I was making Chicken Helper, I realized I had the answer in front of me all along. Every now and then, when I try to make/eat something that I have never made/ate before, I can share my experiences, thoughts, and opinions with you (aren’t you lucky?).

Last night was a perfect situation – I have long been a fan of Hamburger Helper and the many delectable options that the brand offers, from the delightfully creamy cheeseburger macaroni, to the succulent beef pasta – Hamburger Helper is affordable, quick, easy, and delicious. However, my wife and I have never delved into the Chicken Helper side of this Betty Crocker mainstay, and since we were curious (and since we haven’t gone grocery shopping in about a month), we decided we would give this one a try.

The actual flavor of choice that we had in our cupboard was Chicken Teriyaki, and we were hoping this concoction/recipe would make Asians around the world proud. I promise I won’t bore you with the details involved in the preparation, other than one needs a pound of chicken breast cut into one-inch pieces, a tablespoon of margarine, and 2 1/3 cups of hot water. The package provides the rice, the Teriyaki-style cooking mixture, and the topping.

Even though I ate my entire allotment of the “bounty,” I must say that Chicken Helper does not live up to the legend of Hamburger Helper. I’m not sure if I prefer the taste and texture of the ground beef/turkey that is normally used with Hamburger Helper products, or if it was the ridiculously poor quality of the rice that was used. Maybe it was the laughably low count of peas used in the Teriyaki seasoning (I counted 3). Whatever the reasons were, I suggest to all to stay with what works – and that, my friends, is Hamburger Helper, and avoid Chicken Helper at all costs (as an aside, I am willing to try Pork Helper or Seafood Helper, for the sake of you – the reader, if Betty Crocker has the balls to release these to the general public).

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Rationality Did Finally Prevail!

As you may know, I attended a bachelor party this weekend – one that was sort-of on the disorganized side. That is not a bad thing, because if people aren’t having fun, we can always change the plan (what plan?).

I got over to my brother’s house around 11:30 a.m., and immediately had a beer in my hand – oh this was going to be a long day. We started off by throwing some darts and playing some drinking games – nothing too crazy yet. At about 2:30 p.m., three hours into the drinking, we pack up the cooler and head onto the van (don’t worry, we had a designated driver).

Our first stop was the Phillies game – that’s right, the lowly Phillies. God must’ve been on our side, because the Phillies did NOT lose the game yesterday … however, they did not win the game either. As luck would have it, we god smashed with a massive rain storm. We actually never did make it inside the stadium, we kind of walked up to it, felt the raindrops start coming down, hustled back to the van, and hung out inside there. We were hoping it would stop raining, but when one of the radio announcers said that the Phillies’ batting circle was floating down the third base line, we knew that it was hopeless. Oh, as an aside, I need to know how often the Phillies have their porta-potties cleaned, because the one we were next to smelled like it hadn’t been cleaned … ever. The urine and fecal concoction was just about all the way to the top of the lid, and the smell would probably make dead people wince.

We decided that since we are in the city, we should go to Dave and Buster’s. Man, I’m old. I was looking for the pinball machines, which are no longer there, and I ended up settling in for a couple of games of Donkey Kong (ugh). Finally, I made my way to the bar, had a few Coronas, and played Megatouch.

After Dave and Buster’s we went to Nick’s Roast Beef in Springfield and hung out there for a few hours, before somebody suggested going to Lou Turks. Suddenly, I realized that maybe this could still be a salvageable bachelor party. Lou Turks may not be a very classy place, but thankfully it is a strip joint. Amazingly enough, everybody agreed, and off we went. I’m not saying Lou Turks has many “on-nights,” because if you are a half-decent looking stripper, Lou Turks is not the place for you. However, Saturday night may have been the worst I’ve ever seen at Turks. The ladies looked like they were in their fifties (not a bad thing if you are Cheryl Tiegs), and I swore that one had an Adam’s Apple.

Not satisfied with the “mature” ladies at Turks, we decided to go to another strip joint! Again, I was floored – I expected zero strip joints, and we got two! It was like Christmas in July! We went to a place called the Purple Orchid in a not-so-great part of Philadelphia. I’ve never been to this place, but I’ve heard some stories. Surprisingly enough, the strippers were much younger. Some, however probably could’ve used some time on the treadmill, but hey, who am I to complain about girls stripping in front of me. One of the strippers actually came up to me and thanked me for looking at her, and showing interest in her stripping routine. I told her it’s the least I could do, as I slid a dollar into her cleavage. The groom-to-be was a little uptight at this place, as he basically sunk into the couch during both of his lap dances. One of the strippers said that he was “well behaved.” I’m guessing this is more of an insult than anything else.

We ended the night by going to a couple of local bars. All in all, a fun night.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Stoppage Time

1.I’m going to a bachelor party this weekend, and there is a good chance that I won’t see any fun-bags. No, I’m not blind, silly! But, the bride-to-be apparently is forcing the groom-to-be’s hand (and the best man’s hand, for that matter)! The groom-to-be will probably say something to the effect of “I really didn’t want to go to a strip joint anyway, because I love my fiancĂ© too much.” To that, I say (a) Bulls**t, and (b) can you please ask for your balls back, just for the night? I will still have fun hanging out with the guys, but can one consider it a bachelor party if no dirty pillows are present? To me, that’s just a night hangin’ out with the fellas. Again, I’ll have a good time, but I’m just sayin’ (I’ll still have a good time, even though we are starting out by going to the Phillies game).

2. Because I had lost power for 20+ hours a few days ago, I had to throw out the milk and OJ (no, not the wife-murder). I’ve been eating pop tarts for breakfast the past two days, and I came to a realization – the best Pop Tarts are the ones with the frosting. The ones without frosting are like a date with Janine Garofalo (sp), sure she’ll make you laugh, but you really aren’t that excited about sleeping with her.

3. I just got a new cell phone the other day, and it is absolutely awesome – it has a camera a video camera, and all other kinds of cool gadgets. The only problem is that with my previous cell phone, I accumulated a bunch of cool ring-tones and games, and now I have to start from scratch with the new phone. I am convinced that the “free” tones they give you on the cell phone encourage you to immediately download cooler tones. My phone has tones that make the Paris Hilton song almost enjoyable. Yeah, I need to get some new ring tones.

4. To prove once again that some of my co-workers have entirely too much time on their hands, I want to show you another “creation” from an office-mate (boy, that sounds gay). This is from Ink-And-Stone, and it almost caused me to spit coffee onto my monitor (however, it is posted on Reverse's site) - click here

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Electric NIX

Good News – I got my new cell phone yesterday.

Bad News – Shortly after dinner, the power in our house went out, thanks to an approaching storm.

Really Bad News – After 12+ hours, power has still not been restored to my house. I had to sleep in my basement last night, because that was the only place in my house that was cool enough not to induce uncontrollable sweating.

Potentially Grave News – My wife heard that there is a chance that power won’t be restored in my neighborhood until the weekend. Um, seriously??? This wasn’t that bad of a storm – we went through worse 2 weeks ago. What the hell is going on? I have a fish tank – there is no way my tropical fish will survive more than 1 day without proper filtration. My fridge may as well be a trash can if that is the case.

What I’m Gonna Do About It
·First, I’ll probably have to buy a bunch of ice, and stick anything I can salvage from the fridge and freezer into a cooler.
·Second, I’m going to write PECO a nasty e-mail. I see their shameless self-promotion on TV far too much. Prior to this situation, I didn’t mind too much about it. But after last night, I will only think of PECO in a very negative way. The commercials focus on employees and how they give their all to make sure that we always have power. Well, it’s been 12 hours, and I don’t have any power. I don’t believe your stupid commercials anymore. I want them off the air (which is exactly what is going on at my house … only everything is off the air).
·If the power is still out at my house, I’ll probably have to see if I can sleep over my brother’s house or mom and dad’s house. Joy of joys! What the hell am I gonna do after I get home from work? This is absolutely ridiculous.
·I’ll probably bring in our solar lights from outside to use as night lights. We brought one in last night, and it worked great! Plus, it is safer than candles. Who knew?
·Am I overreacting? Probably. That’s what happens when I get a lack of sleep, and sweat all night.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My friend and office buddy (not in a gay way), Reverse, photo-shopped this picture (the face is mine, in case you are interested). I'm not even sure when that picture was taken, but it is hysterical in a very disturbing kind of way. Check out more of Reverse's office antics here:

Monday, July 17, 2006

Justifying My Suggestion

On Sunday, My wife and I went out to dinner with my cousin and her husband, and my parents. You see, my cousin, my wife, and my mom have been playing cards every other Wednesday for about 2 years – they play small stakes Pinochle, and they have saved the money they raised playing cards in order to take the guys out to dinner (so obviously, I encourage the continued card play).

We chose to go to a German restaurant near Willow Grove named Otto’s (obvious choice, since my parents are very German). Unfortunately, my dad volunteered to drive – he is starting to get up there in age (74), and even though he is still a more than capable driver, he is starting to slip a little. This is especially true when having to go through a toll area with EZ pass lanes. For those of you unfamiliar with EZ Pass, it is a device that is put into your car that automatically pays toll fares via an account that you create. It is a wonderful creating that totally eliminates the need to seek loose change seconds before reaching a toll, in addition to making the whole toll experience faster and easier.

However, my dad does not have an EZ pass. And, this is where the fun ensued. On our way to Otto’s, we took the blue route (Route 476). For some unknown reason, my dad took his Windstar into the left lane of the highway, even though he was barely able to get above 50 mph (one of my biggest pet peeves as a driver is when a slow car enters the passing lane for no apparent reason). My dad was once a relatively fast driver, so I’m guessing he still considers himself one, even though he should be strictly relegated to the far right lane for the sake of everyone’s sanity.

He is in this lane for a good 15-20 minutes, probably contributing considerably to the road rage epidemic in this country. But, unfortunately, that is not the end of my torment. My dad fails to see the 37 signs posted on the highway leading up to the toll area, instructing drivers without EZ pass to use the right lanes. He ends up zipping through EZ pass, and onto the Turnpike – now we have no ticket to give the toll collector at our exit. My dad, of course, does not blame himself, but instead blames PENDOT, because, apparently, 37 signs was not good enough.

We get to the exit, and now he has to explain to the toll collector his error, which now causes a traffic jam at the toll, as the lady takes a picture of his license plate, and has him fill out a sheet. Oh, one more funny thing, my dad is trying to hand her a dollar bill for the toll, and she is repeatedly asking him for his license. He is just giving her this blank glazed over smile while holding the dollar bill out. Now, I’m not sure, if he was hoping she would think he is a foreigner, and just take his dollar to move traffic along, or if he is really starting to lose touch – I’m hoping it is the former and not the latter.

Thankfully, we finally get to Otto’s, and I’m hoping to enjoy some fine German cuisine (yes, it does exist outside of Wisconsin). We get seated, and I notice a buffet – I’ve never seen a German buffet (no, a pot of Bratwurst and sauerkraut does not count as a buffet – that is an Octoberfest). My first instinct was to run – I couldn’t imagine eating dried out Wienerschnitzel (sounds like some kind of gay porn quote). However, much to my surprise, the German buffet was excellent.

Unfortunately, the food didn’t sit in my stomach very well, mainly because my dad had to drive us back home. This brings me to my final point. For years, I have suggested that separate roads be built for the elderly, complete with either cushions on the sides of the roads or those bumpers from bumper bowling. Additionally, these roads should probably have a rest stop every 1-2 miles, and complimentary Geritol included at each rest stop. Sadly, my dad probably would qualify to take these roads (if they were around).

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Gonna Make Ya Sweat.

It has been a sweltering weekend in the city of Brotherly Love – hot enough to make your balls stick to the side of your legs (didn’t come up for one for the ladies, but if you have one, you are more than welcome to post). These are the days you thank God for air conditioning.

I decided to mow the lawn after work on Friday, and it is a good thing I did, because one can barely breathe, it is so hot outside. Sure enough, in a couple of days, we will be hearing stories of heat-related deaths – probably most coming from South Philly homes that don’t even have fans in them.

These are the days when all you feel like doing (if you do not have access to a pool) is sit in front of a television set, and hope to God that you don’t have to suffer through an 1990’s Chevy Chase movies (with the exception of Vegas Vacation – that one wasn’t too bad).

Barbecues during this time of year are the worst. I went to one yesterday, and for the most part, it wasn’t too bad. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy hanging around with friends, eating charred flesh, and drinking booze. But, when your body is spitting out sweat at an uncontrollable rate, things tend to get a little uncomfortable.

Last night, it felt like a sauna. The haze didn’t let up, even hours after the sun went down. Luckily, I remembered to bring a second t-shirt, because the first one was wetter than Paris Hilton at a sausage party (I know, that one was low). But, hey, I’d rather sweat like that than be working.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Electric Six!!!!!

As promised, here are my thoughts and observations regarding the Electric Six concert at the Khyber in Philly a few nights ago.

• First and foremost, I want to thank Smokin’ for agreeing to go with me to the concert. We had sort of a man-date (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It was good to hang out with Smokin’ again, as we sometimes get too busy to see our friends.

• Smokin’ introduced me to Indian food – we stopped by this little place on 2nd and Chestnut, and I gotta tell ya, I enjoyed the experience, and look forward to partaking in more sometime in the near future. The Naan was good, as was the Chicken Taton (I’m sure I butchered that one).

• I have never seen a rock concert in a sauna … until last night. The Khyber is a cozy place to see a band play, but man, does somebody need to install/fix the air conditioning! The smell of 100’s of people’s sweat can take away from a show.

• The first band we saw was a local group called The Distance. I’m guessing they are relatively new to the scene, as their stage presence was a little lacking. They did have a nice pop/punk sound, and seemed like generally good guys.

• The second group was called Priestess, and they seemed to be polar opposites of the first band. If the lead singer had bitten a bat’s head off on stage, I wouldn’t have been surprised. That being said, the group, from Montreal (don’t hold it against them), had some major talent. They had two great guitar players who were able to weave in and out of lead and rhythm guitar seamlessly, and the drummer was an absolute madman. I would say that they reminded me of a mix between Gwar and Dio (if that is possible). A side note, my ears are still ringing from them. I should’ve known they were going to be loud when they started setting up the columns of amps.

• Electric Six was incredibly entertaining. I really hope these guys make it. They definitely have the sound. The lead singer is not your normal lead singer, in that he doesn’t dress the part. He had short hair, and a buttoned shirt on. Additionally, he clowned around the stage the entire night, which was very entertaining (I love it when a band member, especially a lead singer, isn’t full of himself). The guy was quick-witted, especially during one song when the drummer’s base pedal broke. Almost immediately, the lead singer asked if either Priestess or The Distance had packed their gear up. Then, he went on to ask if Hall and Oates were around (originally from Philly). THEN, he asked if Allen Iverson was in the building, and if so, if he had a base-pedal with him. Then, he started imitating Iverson, saying something along the lines of “We’re talkin’ about base-pedal, here!” I had heard he was a little on the weird side months ago, and he definitely fit the bill, in a good way. He later was talking about his drummer, who was a local guy from King of Prussia, and proclaimed to the audience “My drummer is a strip mall!” Funny stuff.

• I had no idea that Pabst actually sold beer in bottles.

• On the drive home, I realized it was 12:45 a.m. At this point, I said to Smokin’, “I can’t wait to get up for work later this morning.” Believe me, I was cursing fire when the alarm went off at 6:30 a.m.

• All in all, a great show, and when they come back, I hope they can go to a bigger venue, like maybe the TLA or the Troc, or maybe the Wachovia Center (if they get big enough).

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Things I hate!

20 Things I Hate:

1. That many restaurants only offer home fries as a side for breakfast dishes – I hate home fries. I think they are purely filler, because restaurants don’t want to give us a plate full of just eggs and meat. I propose that ALL restaurants give you a choice of sides in addition to the home fry, such as French fries, hush puppies, tater tots, or grits. This would make me a happy camper.

2. Philly Radio sucks – If you are looking for cool new modern rock music, this is not the place for you. If you are looking for Zeppelin, Metallica, Ozzy, and Audioslave, you’ll hear one of these groups about every 5 minutes. It’s sickening.

3. I will agree with all the other bloggers with regards to the lack of use of turn signals. I especially hate it with people who are making left-hand turns! Frustrates the hell out of me – I’m sorry, not all of us have developed ESP.

4. The WNBA – no offense to the ladies, but I would rather watch golf, than watch women repeatedly miss layups (I get that enough with the Sixers).

5. People Who Buy Hummers in and around Philadelphia. Are you guys and gals serious????? Are there really that many hills and mountains in the city? If so, I must be missing them. All I know is that they clog up the streets, and guzzle the gas. I hope that all of you who thought you were cool when you bought the Hummer are now pissed that it costs you $379 everytime you have to fill up your tank.

6. These companies that are masking their telemarketing efforts via these “hey, just calling to see how you are doing” phone calls. My cable company has started doing this – I know what you are up to, you maggots! Knock it off!

7. NASCAR – I’ll never figure it out.

8. How Brad Gilbert got another TV show after Everybody Loves Raymond ended. How did this show stay on the air so long? Who was the guy in charge that said, “Yes, we need to give Brad his own show, he deserves it?” How does this guy still have a job?

9. American Idol – Why do you lemmings continue to watch this show? Are you that obsessed with wedding singers?

10. The Phillies Ownership – seriously guys, just sell the team. Nobody trusts you, likes you, nor sympathizes with your phony plight. You’ve made all the money you can, and you’re going to start losing money soon, if you continue to take that giant dump on the field like you have in recent years.

11. Barry Bonds – Please, leave us and our baseball records alone, you big-headed cancer.

12. Ham – I can’t stand it! If you are making ham for dinner and inviting me over, please (a) have some standby food item, or (b) don’t invite me (I won’t mind).

13. Paris Hilton – Now it’s music. When will we get to see her wafy body on a movie screen (and not in a porno house)?

14. High Gas Prices – I’m not sure who to blame, and I know there are many suspects, but I just can’t stand these high prices. I’d rather spend the money on booze.

15. Ladies wrestling on the WWE – Look, I know that many of these women are very talented and very beautiful, but it really is a dropoff, when the ladies are out there wrestling (especially if the clothes stay on). They should be relegated to managing wrestlers.

16. QVC – You may have read my blog entry from a few posts ago. This is what happens when I don’t get my microwave!

17. TV commercials that aren’t funny – If you want me to pay attention to your product, then you better make me laugh. I don’t like your serious Allstate commercials with Cerano from Major League, and I don’t like your poor attempts at humor (Miller Lite and Taco Bell). Make me laugh, dammit!!!!

18. That construction going on right near the airport on I-95 and also the construction going on at 5th and Market Street (in and near Philly). Guys, it’s been over a year (actually, closer to 2 years with 5th and Market). Skyscrapers get built in less time. What the hell is your problem?

19. T.O. – Instant Karma will get you, Mr. Owens. And when it does, you better have a shovel with you, because it’s gonna take you months to dig your way out from under that big steamy pile of sh*t.

20. George Steinbrenner – he single-handedly ruined baseball for many cities (like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, etc.) with his bottomless pocket-book. Actually, I’m probably more jealous than mad – the ownership in Philly is a travesty.

By the way, I'll tag Reverse and Ink and Stone for this one. Your turn, boys!

Stoppage Time

Stoppage Time

Just a few more thoughts creeping through my brain.

· Whatever happened to Pop-Up Video? I loved that show – finding interesting facts about bands and their songs. I guess since VH1 and MTV don’t really play music videos anymore, there was no need for Pop-Up video.

· And speaking of which, why is MTV still called MTV? Do they play music anymore? That’s like Burger King ending their practice of selling burgers. Ridiculous if you ask me.

· I was actually rooting against Ryan Howard in the Home-Run derby, mainly because I didn’t want the Phillies to have any positive moments that they could promote the hell out of while their team is 7 games below .500.

· Barry Bonds might be indicted on perjury charges as early as next week. I would love to see this guy behind bars, sharing a cell with a guy named Bubba who loves big-headed jerks that wear a huge elbow-shield.

· The Eagles start training camp in less than 12 days – finally, we can stop pretending to watch sports when the Phillies are on.

· Smokin’ and I are going to the Khyber in Philly tonight to see Electric Six. I will give a full recap of our “experience” on Friday.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and the French

Congratulations go out to Italy for winning their first World Cup since 1982, and their fourth overall. Not many believed they even had a chance after the goal-fixing scandal that took place in the Italian league this past season – but they were able to block all of that out, and play sound soccer throughout the tournament, winning an incredible semi-final game against the equally surprising Germans, and then outlasting the French in the finals.

Here are some of my thoughts about the final:

1. First, and foremost, the best header of the entire cup took place when Zidane rammed his noggin into an Italian player’s chest. The French will probably make him the leader of their military, as physical aggressiveness like this hasn’t been shown by a Frenchman since Napoleon was in charge.

2. All kidding aside, this ridiculous play by a captain like Zidane will probably ruin his legacy in World Cup soccer lore. A display this putrid by a captain of a sports team hasn’t been displayed since Lindros slept with Brind’amour’s wife.

3. I think settling a World Cup final (or any World Cup elimination) by penalty-kicks is embarrassing – it should be settled on the pitch. I’ll go into my potential solutions later on.

4. Germany played a great host for this cup – hopefully distancing themselves even further from the bad images that some still think of when they think of Germany.

5. Although soccer will probably never really catch on in the United States, it was nice to see high viewership in this country – even from part-time (or hardly ever) soccer fans.

It is obvious that there are still some major issues that FIFA has to deal with in order to increase the pace and enjoyability of the game. Below, I will go into some of the problems that I see, and potential solutions:

1. The dives that players take have been getting out of hand for a number of years. You know it is a problem when you hear of players and teams practicing them. It takes away from the fun of the game, and could be a major reason why the game is lagging in the United States. Players drop to the ground as if they were shot by a machine gun, even with the slightest of touches (sometimes not even touched). Even thought FIFA has stressed to the referees that they can give cards to players they think are doing this, not a single card was given this World Cup to a dive. This is unacceptable. I can’t fully blame the refs, because one cannot expect a ref to see everything on the pitch. So, here are a couple of solutions to remedy this:

a. Have officials watch video of each of the games after they have ended, and award yellow cards to any person that flamboyantly dove in the game. This will have an immediate reduction of dives (especially from those stinkin’ Argentineans and Portuguese). As some of you know, that once a person gets a yellow card, a second yellow card causes an immediate one-game suspension.

b. Have officials in the stands watch the game, and radio down any dives to the referee on the field. This way, a yellow card can be immediately given to the player.

c. Have a second referee on the field who can see a different angle and may be able to help the first referee determine dives (or have an extra referee behind the goal at either end, so that they can see potential dives at angles the regular referee can’t).

2. Offsides traps are being employed more and more (the Germans were masters of this). It slows the game down immensely, and takes away potentially big plays. FIFA wants more scoring, and this is how this can be achieved - eliminate offsides on any free kicks (direct kicks, indirect kicks, and corner kicks). This will allow the players more open space to make plays.

3. Penalty kicks are a ludicrous way to decide meaningful games. In elimination round matches, some other means to crown a victor must be used. Sure, penalty kicks are really exciting, but a hard fought game being decided by this is deflating. This is probably the most difficult issue to solve. I have given it some thoughts, and this is what I have come up with:

a. After the overtime session, reduce the number of players to 8-on-8 – this will open the field tremendously, and should eliminate some of the clogging play (also, give each team an extra 2 substitutions for this session). This part of the game should have no time-limit, and should only be decided by the first team that scores.

b. Rather than doing two 15-minute overtimes, go with 2 30-minute overtimes (with each team getting an additional substitute). This may not solve anything, especially if the teams are tired, but I just think the current structure is not long enough.

c. Eliminate the goal keepers after the two overtimes – or do not allow them to use their hands at all. Yes, I know this is extreme, but I’m just trying to think outside the box.

d. Eliminate all offsides after the two overtimes. Again, it might be extreme, but I am trying to come up with something.

I encourage any of you who have any ideas to share them with me. If you don’t care about soccer – I’m sorry – I’ll have a non-soccer-related post midweek. See you in South Africa for World Cup 2010!

Friday, July 07, 2006

To the Cor-zine

I never thought I’d see the day when a state would close down all of its casinos for budgetary reasons (I know that casinos were closed down south because of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation – but that is obviously a different situation). I’m not sure how to react to this – I’m not a heavy gambler, so it doesn’t really affect me at all. But, I do know that casinos make a lot of money for state governments, and it is probably in their best interests to make sure they stay open.

Corzine (the governor of New Jersey), basically decided that in order to balance the budget, he needed to be serious – and what better way than to hit the legislators where it counts … in the casinos. I must confess that I don’t know too much about this situation, other than Corzine was hell-bent on balancing the budget, lower property taxes, and that he wanted to raise the state sales tax 1% in order to do these things. I’m not a big fan of raising state sales taxes, since I work in New Jersey and sometimes buy things there.

One thing that I am impressed with is that Corzine went against his own political party with this one – Even if the person is doing the wrong thing, I get excited when a person in office goes against his/her political party (and the opposition), because in my mind, this means less partisan politics – the devil of all government.

The state of Pennsylvania is going to be getting some slot parlors in the next few years, and I’m eager to see how the city of Philadelphia wastes…er…spends the money that they get for this. John Street can’t get these casinos up quick enough so that he can pay for his and all of his family’s retirement. One thing is for sure, Street would never lockout the casinos if he was governor, because money is his middle name (and first name, and last name … although it is hyphenated with corruption).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Gone Fishin'

Whoever said a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work was probably not somebody who enjoys their job. Personally, I don’t like nor hate my job – I have good days and I have bad days. Why am I talkin’ about this? Because I went fishing today – an annual thing my family likes to do.

We go to Fortescue, New Jersey – a place that has named itself “The Weakfish Capital of the World.” With a nickname like this, one would expect to maybe catch some weakfish on a fishing trip, and maybe this was the case once. However, thanks to overfishing and commercial fishing, you probably have a better chance of catching a weakfish in the desert. But, I digress.

I woke up this morning at around 4:15 a.m. To give you a little perspective, a few nights before this, I went to sleep about this time (actually, passed out). Birds outside could still be heard snoring … yeah, it was early. I made my way to Wawa to pick up a cup of coffee and a sandwich. My dad promptly picked me up at my house at 5:00 a.m. For most of the ride down to Fortescue, we were the only car on the road – basically, the traffic report on KYW consisted of “Back to our studios.”

We got to Fortescue around 6:15 a.m. – about 1 hour before the boat left. My dad insists on getting there early because he is a freak like that. The captain of the boat was shocked to see customers at such an early hour. But hey, better early than late, I guess.

The water was a little choppy at first, but thankfully it was overcast and not too humid – we went last year, and the bay was boiling … yep, it was a tad hot. In the 7 hours on this vessel, I was able to catch 3 fish – two flounder and one croaker …. All three of which were far too small to keep. It seemed as if everyone else on the boat was able to catch some sort of keeper, which was slightly disheartening to me. I think of myself as a pretty good fisherman, but today I sucked more than the Phillies did in June (hey-yo).

When we came back to shore, the heavens opened, and we were instantly soaked. I quickly cleaned my dad’s fish (yes, even my dad outfished me today – something that probably hasn’t happened since I was 7 … but, I’m not bitter). The ride home was certainly more eventful than the ride down, thanks to the buckets of water repeatedly hitting the pavement.

So yes, this qualified as a bad day of fishing for me. But, you know what? It was indeed better than a good day of work. Ah, those smart philosophers.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Red Rocker Can Still Rock ... Sort of.

As promised, I am providing you a review of the Sammy Hagar concert that took place at the Tweeter Center in Camden, New Jersey last night. We arrived in the parking lot at about 4:00 p.m., and tailgated on an absolutely gorgeous afternoon. Our illustrious tailgate consisted of beer, water, hot dogs, burgers and chips – a standard tailgating concoction.

By the time 7:30 rolled around, we were nice and buzzed, and made our way to the venue. The Tweeter Center is an awesome place for a concert in the summer time, with out-door seating (for the cheaper tickets – which of course, we purchased). We made our way to one of the outdoor bars, and had some of those Cabo-Wabo tequilas, which were delicious and highly alcoholic (which is what we expected for $10 a drink).

Finally, we made our way to the lawn, and anticipated a kick-ass concert by Sammy. The first set was o.k. at best. It mainly consisted of Sammy’s solo stuff, of which I new maybe 5 songs. I do have 3 Sammy albums including two greatest hits albums (yes, Sammy actually does have two greatest hits albums). I’m guessing Sammy wanted to play deeper cuts instead of the traditional songs. They were good, but it was tough for me to get into it.

He took a break, and when he came back, Michael Anthony (the bass player of Van Halen) joined him, and the music and energy immediately picked up. They played song after song of Van Hagar classics, and even threw in a Dave song – Running With The Devil, that Michael Anthony sang. They ended with a bit of a shocker – Fight For Your Right to Party (of course, done by the Beastie Boys).

Now, normally, one would think Sammy would come out with an encore. But, I guess since he did two sets, he decided not to. I enjoy encores, and he had quite a few Van Hagar classics left to whoop the crowd into a frenzy … however, he never came back. That was a big letdown for me. YOU HAVE TO DO ENCORES! FANS EXPECT THEM! I’m also guessing since the turnout was rather low (I’m going to estimate maybe 3,000 fans were there, and the place can easily hold 8,000), Sammy decided not to “waste his energy.” Again, ALWAYS DO AN ENCORE, EVEN IF YOU ARE PLAYING IN FRONT OF 100 PEOPLE!!!!

Oh well, it was cool to have the run of the Tweeter Center – it was easy to get drinks, and there were absolutely no lines for the bathrooms – unheard of! I even decided to pee in the ladies room, just because – a first for me.

All in all, the show was good, but definitely not the best that I’ve seen from Sammy (I saw him a couple of years ago when he toured with Dave, and he absolutely brought the house down – maybe because there might have been some sort of underlying competition between the two former lead singers of VH).