Sunday, December 30, 2007


Once in a while, when I come across something truly remarkable, I feel it is my obligation to share my experience with you, my fellow bloggers. As luck would have it, today was one of those days with one of those experiences. The morning after a wonderful holiday party thrown by Barbara Peapod (the food gets better every year!), my wife and I decided to go to Denny’s for breakfast.

Normally, there is nothing of note at a Denny’s on a weekend morning, outside of some church-goers and hookers. However, Denny’s did something revolutionary to its breakfast menu. Let me step back for just a second. Remember a few months ago when I blogged that I hated the lack of breakfast options at local diners and restaurants? Specifically, I was upset that most of these places would pile on a side of home-fries or hash-browns, even though I do not like these.

Denny’s must be listening to me, because the company, in a rare display of brilliance, has begun offering the “Grand Slam Choice” option on its menus. Basically, you have a choice of 4 items to include on your plate (and if you want a 5th or 6th item, it costs an extra dollar). So, now you can choose between such items as eggs, pancackes, bacon, sausage, toast, hash-browns, and grits, just to name a few.

It was as if the heavens opened, and the breakfast angel granted my breakfast wish. I’m hoping this trend sweeps across the fine diners all over Pennsylvania, and, eventually the nation. I rank this brilliant idea right up there with the value menus that fast-food joints came up with around 15 years ago.

This will certainly rank up there in great events of 2007. Speaking of which, have a safe and happy new year, everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


So, first, let me wish all of you a happy holiday season - I know that some of this is belated – I was busy with final holiday stuff. One of the things that occupied me was the Nintendo Wii – yes I got it for Christmas, and let me tell ya, it is AWESOME! But, this item gave me joy I didn’t expect … watching my wife’s parents play boxing against each other! It was absolutely hysterical! We videotaped it, and who knows – maybe we’ll put it on Youtube – it was that funny! There was trash talking and horrible boxing that would even make Manut Bol cringe.

My body was hurting the next day – I don’t know if it was from the laughing, or from playing the Wii for too long. Hey, at the very least, it gives you a workout. But, I digress. The online capabilities of the Wii are remarkable to say the least. I am able to not only surf the internet, but I can download older games from the Nintendo systems, as well as Sega Genesis, Turbo Grafix 16, and NEO GEO. I’m hoping they put on some old Commodore 64 games – that would be cool.

An added bonus (is that even good grammar?) is the “Mii Creator,” in which you get to create characters to use. In addition to creating myself and my wife, I’ve created my wife’s parents and sister, and 4 members of the Rolling Stones … I probably still need to do some work on the Stones, but they look pretty good so far.

Now, I’ve gotta start planning which games I need to buy in the future. My brother already tipped me off on a golf game coming out in a couple of months … I’m sure I’ll get that one. Any other suggestions? Oh, and again, I hope you had a great holiday!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Some More Sports Stuff (Sorry!)

To continue on my sports-related rants (with apologies to El Padrino), this time I want to focus on the steroid and HGH situation in Major League Baseball. Last week, the Mitchell report came out and outed more than 80 baseball players who used these … unfortunately, it really wasn’t anything new ... probably the biggest outing was Roger Clemens, probably the most dominating pitcher of our era.

But seriously, should it surprise anyone that Clemens was on the juice? He was still throwing ungodly stuff even into his 40’s … and had some of his best seasons in his late 30’s. Folks, that doesn’t happen in “real” life. The man was a hall-of-famer long before he started taking steroids, but now his legacy is tainted … much like Barry Bonds.

The only difference between the two is that Bonds is a much bigger ass-clown than Clemens. That is also why Bonds has been scrutinized more than others. Karma really took a giant dump on Bonds’ overgrown melon for all of the years Bonds was a jerk (and it sounds like he was born a jerk). Clemens will get his, I’m sure.

But, I have this feeling that this report only scraped the surface of this performance enhancing drug situation … there were probably close to 100 MLB players who breathed a sigh of relief that they weren’t mentioned in the report (ya hear that, A-Rod?). The 1990’s have been irreparably tainted, and the hope is that Major League Baseball (and all of sports, for that matter), learned its lesson. We’ll see – there are a lot of greedy people involved.

Trouble follows Donovan McNabb like a duckling follows its mother. And the city of Philadelphia just eats it up. This city has refused to embrace the guy ever since he was drafted instead of Ricky Williams (a smart move, by the way) in 1999. Donovan has weathered that draft, the T.O. era, throwing up in the huddle during the Super Bowl, Rush Limbaugh, and numerous injuries in his time.

But, I get the feeling that his conversation, whatever it may have involved, with Pam Oliver, might be the straw that broke the camel’s back. McNabb apparently expressed his dissatisfaction with the ownership and the city, and said something along the lines of feeling that ownership is distancing itself from him, and might trade him next season. Pam Oliver reported this during the game.

One thing must be noted here – you should never, ever say negative things about the city of Philadelphia if you play here … the fans will never, ever support you. Mike Schmidt’s popularity is still only luke-warm in this city, even though he was VERY successful. Mitch Williams is possibly more popular, even though his last pitch caused the Phils to lose the World Series in 1993. Why? Because Williams is likeable, and lets criticism roll off his back. McNabb seems to take a lot more personally, and that’s the problem.

McNabb will probably be best off playing in a city that only cheers for its team, and never criticizes it – like maybe San Diego, or Miami. He should stay away from Chicago or New York, or more of the same will probably happen.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

BCS .. It's Fantastic ...

I don’t normally blog about sports too much, but please allow me to get some of my thoughts off my chest – I’ll try not to be too boring or long-winded (applause!).

First, I’d like to discuss college football – specifically the BCS system. For some reason, still not entirely clear to me, there is no legitimate playoff system in division 1 college football. I know, I know – a lot of sponsors (and college football itself) make a lot of money with the current bowl system. Basically, there is some sort of elaborate calculation that chooses the top two teams in the country (as well as a few others who play in other “bowl championship games” that, besides being more profitable for the “qualifying” schools, serves no real purpose). This season was especially trying for the BCS, because so many teams ended up losing games they probably should’ve won. Hence, a huge dilemma resulted – which teams should play for the national championship? The BCS (and all of college football) breathed a sigh of relief when Kansas, Missouri , and West Virginia all lost – these three teams don’t really carry a lot of weight in the world of college football, and sponsors probably would’ve lost out on advertising had any of these three teams survived.

As it turns out, LSU – a team with two losses, is facing Ohio State – a team that really hasn’t played anybody great, for the national title. How can a two-loss team possibly qualify for this? The answer is MONEY. I’m guessing the BCS calculations were mixed with sponsor pressure to force this game. Shockingly enough, USC isn’t involved in the title game – I figure the sponsors were really “hoping” for an LSU vs. USC game – they’d just have a difficult time justifying having two 2-loss teams play for the national title.

My question is this – why can’t we have an 8-team playoff in the month of December? I mean, most of the month is spend watching lower division playoff games, right? Can’t we have a playoff system, as well as bowl games? Wouldn’t the sponsors, as well as college football, make even more money this way? Wouldn’t this alleviate the issues college football currently has to deal with?

I’m sure there will always be issues, even with a playoff – especially trying to decide which 8 teams make the playoffs. I mean, would Hawaii (undefeated) even get represented? Would only the major conferences (and Notre Dame, unfortunately) demand representation? Possibly. But, wouldn’t this dilemma be far better than the one we currently have? I just wanted to see your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

So ... What is Rock And Roll?

Big news in the “rock” industry this week, as it was announced that Madonna will be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Let me first start by saying that I actually like Madonna’s music, for the most part – heck, I even bought the Immaculate Collection cd … by the way, that doesn’t automatically make me gay, does it? My wife is a huge Madonna fan, and she says that next time Madonna goes on tour, I have to go to the concert with her (probably a topic for another blog, but I wonder what the over-under will be on gay people hitting on me).

My question really focuses on what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is. I mean, is Madonna’s music really rock and roll? And if so, what constitutes rock and roll? Will the Beastie Boyz make the rock and roll hall of fame, and if so, why? Is their music really rock? If these people are let in, what about Tony Bennett? Should he be there? How about Sammy Davis, Jr.?

This may be more confusing than college football’s BCS “scoring,” or what race Michael Jackson really is at this point. Speaking of which, what about Michael Jackson? Should he be in the hall? Back to the argument. Are there set rules in place that makes one eligible for the rock and roll hall of fame? I know one rule is that you cannot be selected for it until 25 years after your group formed. Outside of this, what are the rules? Do you have to have a guitar, drum, and bass in your music? Do you have to have a certain amount of top 10 hits? Do you have to have documented proof that you did a certain amount of drugs? Do you have to sleep with a certain amount of women? Do you need a certain amount of STD’s? How many times do you need your stomach pumped?

Again, let me stress that I like Madonna – I’m just wondering if a “new” hall of fame needs to be made for pop music – maybe it can be built in San Francisco or something.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

War of the Roses!

So, this weekend, I play in the semi-finals of my fantasy football league. At stake is more than $1,000 (we have a 20-team league … it’s kind of complicated). If I win, it’ll be the second time in the 10-year existence of this league that I have won … I will be the first repeat champion … so, in addition to the hefty winnings, I will also have bragging rights for a year … almost as important as the money … almost.

However, I face an interesting challenge … you see, my opponent this week is none other than my wife and her friend (Barbara Peapod – check out her blog on my blog roll!). History could possibly be made either way here – in the 10 years our league has existed, no woman (or women) have ever gotten close to winning. I stand in the way of this – and I know that many of you bloggers will claim that my “manhood” is at stake.

The girls had a really good season … in fact, they’ve had a really good three years, making the playoffs each of those seasons … they aren’t your typical “girls.” These girls follow the games rabidly, and converse quite a bit about fantasy football strategy. If one didn’t know any better, one would probably swear that they are hiding penises between their legs.

I have to say this – I’m a long shot to win this game. It’s really a surprise that I’ve made it this far, especially if you consider the 0-3 start that I had to the season. My roster is full of hit-or-miss players (with the exception of Peyton Manning and Jason Whitten). Thankfully, I caught a couple of breaks and my players have been performing very well the last few weeks.

I guess the real question is, what should the league do if the girls win the championship? Have we gone into uncharted territory here? Please, be candid with the responses!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


We got our Christmas Tree (no, not holiday tree) last week, and had a small Christmas tree decorating party this past Saturday night – the tree looks “tree-mendous!” However, it got me to thinking about positives and negatives of real and artificial trees.

I’ve never had an artificial tree – I kind of like the fun of going out and “finding” the perfect tree. But these prices are starting to get ridiculous – we paid around $40 for our tree this year – by far the most we’ve ever spent on a tree. Sometimes, it seems more “economical” to pay a one-time fee for an artificial tree.

However, I love real trees – love the smell of them in the house, and frankly, I think they look far better than any artificial tree I’ve ever seen. Plus, taking an artificial tree out of a box in the attic and putting it together doesn’t really signify Christmas for me.

But, stripping the tree naked after the holidays and throwing it to the front curb doesn’t feel like Christmas either, does it? It feels like an unwanted family member, or something. I’m sure the real trees would probably agree with me on this.

Where do these trees go once they no longer are of use to us? Is there a Christmas tree burial ground somewhere near the airport that I’ve never heard of? Does somebody have a huge Christmas tree bonfire after the holidays? Is there somebody out there with the biggest Christmas tree collection ever? I gotta know!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

More Trash???

So, by now, many of you have probably heard or read about the writers’ strike going on in Hollywood. Basically, it has something to do with the writers wanting to get paid for DVD sales – I’m sure one can argue either way whether this is a good idea or not (this is not the purpose of this post).

Probably the majority of you don’t care, and normally I wouldn’t, either. However, I have a few fears. First, the most obvious ones surround my favorite tv shows – namely, Lost, Heroes, 24, My Name is Earl, and the Office. These shows have stopped production, and, in the case of Lost, may result in the cancellation of the entire season. This does not sit so well with me, although it will give me more time to follow college basketball, football, and hockey.

However, a more disturbing fear I have is that the networks will increasingly rely even more on those awful reality shows that have already, in my opinion, supersaturated the airwaves. I just saw recently (no offense, Barbara Peapod) a gospel talent show commercial … seriously? Is this what’s it’s come to? What other shows will be on the horizon – Who Wants to Be a NASCAR driver? If this happens, I may do more than throw up a little in my mouth. Will we have to deal with reruns of long-forgotten shows like, god forbid, Mama’s Family or T.J. Hooker?

What about those talk shows, especially the late night ones? I mean, I’m thankful that I don’t have to hear any Jay Leno sound-bites, but I genuinely miss Letterman, Kimmel, and even Conan O’Brien. Sadly, The View is still being run, and Ellen’s talk show is still being filmed.

And, what about movies? I know production has stopped on quite a few (probably all major ones). What does that mean for us (the consumers)? Does that mean that Hollywood execs will begin releasing movies that they’ve had in the can that should never see the light of day – like Problem Child 4, or Police Academy 12? If this all continues, I might actually have to … gulp … pick up a book!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

R.I.P. Evel

A few days ago, the renowned Evel Knievel passed away, seemingly unable to defy the odds one last time. I remember growing up and hearing these legendary stories – heck, I even had an Evel Knievel action figure. I never got to see any of his death-defying stunts, but the stories I heard made me feel as if I had.

I remember some friends telling me some crazy stories they heard – when we were kids, our imaginations were boundless (plus, we’d believe just about anything). One friend even told me that Knievel was planning on jumping his bike across the Pacific Ocean … it made perfect sense to me.

I saw a documentary on the guy this weekend – it was actually pretty good. One thought kept going through my mind – how the heck did he get into this line of work? What prompted him to say to himself, “Hey Evel, I really got the jonesing to jump my Harley Davidson over 15 school busses?” Maybe it was the celebrity and fame, perhaps it was the money, maybe the insatiable appetite for danger, more likely it was because he knew that he’d be able to sleep with just about any girl out there.

Jumping over busses, trailers, cars, and trucks is one thing. Mr. Knievel’s desire to jump the Snake Canyon makes me think that insanity had probably taken over. I saw the footage of this “attempt,” and can’t believe all of the hype this guy got. In a way, it was sort of an early “reality” show. In fact, I’m surprised we haven’t seen a reality show in which stunt men tried to outdo each other … I’m guessing insurance costs would be through the roof. Which brings me to another question – would this Evel Knievel thing even work in this day (First, would there be a market in this, and second, would the insurance risk involved even be worth it?)?

We’re gonna miss ya, Evel!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ho, Ho, What???

Do you remember growing up and experiencing the whole “pageantry” of Christmas? You know – going shopping at one of those big department stores, like Gimbels – you know – the ones that anchor the nicer malls? In the center of those malls, there would be some sort of elaborate area where Santa Claus would be “taking time out of his busy day” to take pictures with kids (quite coincidentally, this area was also frequented by the Easter bunny in April – kind of like that one scene in “A Christmas Story.”

Well, apparently, Walmart has put a new twist on this “tradition.” Unfortunately, because I now have a significant amount of cash “locked up” in Walmart gift cards, I have to frequent their hideous stores – that’s besides the point. Whilst trying to find something useful at a local Walmart store on Saturday, I came across the Garden center, which also doubles as “Christmas and Holiday Headquarters” in the winter-time at Walmart. The Garden center is usually located way in the corner of most department stores, and with Walmart, this is no different.

However, I discovered that Walmart’s holiday headquarters also includes a park bench complete with Santa Claus, and a camera person, and elf waiting for families to “find” him … kids, he’s located right next to the manure and fertilizer. That’s right folks, Walmart has decided to add their own Santa Claus tradition by sticking their Santa “Display” right next to the lawn mowers and grass seed. Nowhere in the store does it even indicate that there “may” be a Santa Claus in the building waiting to have his picture taken with you. Who came up with this idea, anyway?

The even funnier part about this is that for the 15 minutes I was in this area (lots of Christmas lights to look at), not one child had his/her picture taken with St. Nick. Poor Santa was just sitting there staring into the deep, dark abyss that is Walmart. In fact, at one point, he was just slowly lifting his feet up and down off the floor, and seemingly counting the amount of times he could do this.

I felt bad for the guy. I mean, how does one get to the point of being Santa Claus at Walmart? Is there some sort of Santa Claus pecking order? If so, how does one climb up the Santa pole (wait, that didn’t sound right)? What are the skills that must be proven to become a mall Santa as opposed to a Walmart Santa? And what about the elves and photographers – are they just as scrutinized as the Santas? Did the Walmart Santa lose a bet? I gotta know! If anybody has any insight, please share!