Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Memories ....

A friend of mine and I were talking just the other day about “days gone by.” Yep – we were reminiscing about the past … tends to happen in the summer time for me. Remember those days when school let out? How great was it that school didn’t start up for what seemed to be an eternity (of course, the summer always seemed to fly by anyway, right?).

Growing up, I spent most of my summer days at the Glenolden pool – a public pool where many of my friends also congregated. I’ve probably blogged about this before, but screw it. Every day, we’d get down there around noon, take a swim, play basketball or wiffleball, then go back and swim, maybe play drain tag or underwater tag – ah, just a spectacular way to spend the summer days.

My friend and I talked about the splash parties (pre-teen, and teen) that the pool used to hold. It was there as a pre-teen when I first saw two people making out during one of the movies that was showing. We all joked that we were getting to see a double feature (yeah, I know, a stupid joke – but at the time, we thought we were funnier than Bob Hope).

Usually, at night, we would walk around the neighborhood, and meet up with friends from the pool, maybe play some flashlight tag, or play Nintendo (or Commodore 64, or Atari, depending on the year). I remember on a few occasions how we wished we were adults, because we’d have so much more that we could do … sigh. If only we knew better.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fast Food, My A$$!

I’ve gone on a fast-food rant in the past, but it had to deal with drive-thru’s. Well, I got one for when actually ordering inside a fast food restaurant. My wife and I went to KFC on Sunday because we were in the mood for some “finger-lickin’.” Service was predictably slow, and there was a long line – it took us about 20 minutes to get our food – fast food, my a$$.

However, that’s not what my rant is about. There were these three older ladies in front of us, and they too had to wait in line. One would think that whilst in line, you would generally look up at the menu and get a general idea of what you want. Nope, not these mental midgets. They looked at the menu as if it was printed in Chinese, and they couldn’t get the handle of the “intricate” value meal numbering provided by KFC. Fast food companies “invented” this so that it would be easier to order. However, to some, there is absolutely nothing that could make ordering easy.

The first lady asked if the “Number 1 chicken breast meal” included a chicken breast. I kid you not. After the cashier informed her that it did indeed include a chicken breast, he asked her what sides she wanted. You would’ve thought the guy asked her to take pi to the 23rd digit. She was flabbergasted, and for a time, I thought she was going to pass out … no such luck. The second lady faired even worse, ordering the number 5, and when asked if she wanted a thigh or a leg, I could hear gurgling originating in her head. It was much the same with the third lady.

On the way home from KFC, my wife proclaimed that these ladies, in their advanced age, had to have gone to a fast food restaurant prior to this, and if they can’t order by this time, they shouldn’t be allowed back. I wondered out loud if there was some sort of training available for customers who are incapable of placing orders at fast food restaurants.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


The Simpsons Movie comes out this Friday …. No, not another documentary about the whole O.J. saga, but the one on the cartoon that features that loveable dad, and the son who constantly says “Ay-Caramba.” Obviously, the Simpsons are much more than that, and have been a large part of our fabric as a country (planet?) for a very long time.

I remember (as most of you probably do) when the Simpsons were just a small segway on the Tracey Ullman show back in the mid-to-late 1980’s. They were funny, and hip, but who would’ve thought then that they could become what they have now? I certainly didn’t. I didn’t think the show could possibly be stretched to ½ hour. I was proven wrong when they released their first Christmas (or holiday) special, prior to the actual tv show – the one where they end up adopting Santa’s Little Helper. I remember being so excited, and couldn’t wait to watch the special.

I became a huge Simpsons fan early on – watching the tv show every Sunday night (in addition to watching Married … With Children). I kept to this ritual for quite a few years, and though I’m not as hard-core about the Simpsons as I once was, I know that I can turn the show on anytime and get a good laugh (I’m much more partial to Family Guy at this point than I am to the Simpsons).

I’ll probably go out and see the movie at some point, and I bet it will be very successful. I’ve already had one friend contact me and ask me to go see it on Friday (opening night) – that is one thing I won’t do. I guess I’m getting too old (crotchety), because I really just don’t feel like dealing with the crowd … Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the Simpsons movie is more than worth it, but it’s just not something I feel like subjecting myself to.

Anyway, I just wanted to gauge what your thoughts, feelings, memories, or favorite Simpsons moments are … if you have any.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Why Do Some Weekends Have To End?

You ever have one of those weekends you wish would never end? Yep – this past weekend was one of them. First of all, for me, it was a three-day weekend, which is a good start.

Thursday night after work, a group of us went to the Police concert at Citizen’s Bank Park – I’ve always wanted to see these guys, and they didn’t disappoint. Sure, some of the songs had to be done in a different key than the original – that’s kind of what happens when you get older. But, these guys still know how to rock. I was surprised at just how good of a guitarist Andy Summers is, it never really did come across on their studio albums, but the guy can shred. Mr. Copeland was awesome, as I expected he would be. And, Sting’s basework is often forgotten (thanks to his adult contemporary music). And mother nature spared us, as it was threatening to rain all day, and even did drizzle a little while we were tailgating, but that was it.

On Friday, I spent most of the day doing house-work so that I could have the rest of the weekend to myself. This wasn’t much fun, as can be expected, but I did manage to come away with a sense of satisfaction, knowing that this would be all the work I’d be doing for the rest of the weekend. On Friday night, my friend Slant and I went down to Barnaby’s for happy hour, and discussed all kinds of topics, from Sesame Street to 80’s music. We were both miffed that Big Bird was looked at as kind of a lunatic when we were growing up – none of the adults ever saw his friend Snuffleupagus (sp), even though he was a 10,000 pound mastodon. Additionally, we couldn’t believe that Cookie Monster was now eating fruits and vegetables, and we considered writing the fine folks at the Children’s Television Workshop, and asking them to rename him “Waldorf Salad Monster.” I also “discovered” that my first foray into reggae music was through Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long,” and UB40’s “Red, Red Wine.” Move over, Peter Tosh!

On Saturday, my friend Yon invited us down to Long Beach Island – he rented a place there for the week. The weather was perfect – not too warm, nice breeze, and sunny – the best ingredients for a beach day. I, of course, got burned because I still haven’t learned the finer techniques of applying sun-screen to all parts of my body (I have blotches of redness on my arms). Saturday evening, another good friend of ours and his girlfriend came down, and we ordered some really good seafood – ate it on the deck whilst drinking Long Island Iced Teas (or Long Beach Island Iced Teas). Then, we ended up playing some drinking games, and Yon got so hammered he ended up wearing somebody’s bikini (thanks to a rule in A$$hole).

Nothing exciting really happened on Sunday – just the ending of a great week (and the ruing of the week to come).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dog-Gone It!

Let me first apologize for blogging about another “sports” topic.

With that said, the Michael Vick saga took another turn yesterday, as it was reported he has now been indicted. In case you are unaware of who Michael Vick is, he is the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons (American Football), and has been one of the more popular players in recent years – appearing in all sorts of commercials and ads.

He was indicted the other day on charges having to do with raising, fighting, and killing pit bulls – it is a VERY grotesque “sport” that, even though illegal, is apparently popular down south. You can find out more about this story by going here: http://edition.cnn.com/2007/US/law/07/18/vick/index.html.

Two of the main arguments supporting Vick are as follows. First, because he was raised down south, he grew up with this stuff, so he really didn’t know better. To me, that’s about as logical as eating crackers when you’re thirsty. One must understand that when one is a celebrity or superstar athlete, one is a role model whether one likes it or not. Mr. Vick, just because you have made a lot of money in the NFL, this does not make you invincible and above the law. I think there are many athletes (and stars) with this ridiculous mindset. Mr. Vick, you HAD to know that this would probably cause some trouble if anyone ever found out. I mean, the guy was making money hand over fist. Why risk it on something this demented, sick, and potentially damaging? Aren’t money and fame, not to mention your teammates, important enough to you, that when presented with this “endeavor,” you would decide against it? Am I giving you too much credit for this? Are you really this stupid, ignorant, and crazy?

The second argument deals with racisim. There are quite a few out there that believe that if this happened to say, Joe Montana, the public would treat it differently – give Joe a pass (no pun intended). Seriously? Do you really think that’s what the public would do? I can only speak for myself when I say I would shun the guy, and I’m guessing the vast majority of the population would be with me on this one. Do you think that Al Sharpton is trying to figure a way to get in on this, without “tarnishing” his image? Me too.

And I know that Vick hasn’t been proven guilty by anybody on this yet. However, when the government gets involved, you know they (a) have enough evidence to move forward, and (b) when they do indict somebody (like they did with Vick), they have a 95% success rate in court. Those odds aren’t too shabby, are they?

I feel bad for the Falcons – I mean, they just got rid of Schaub, and now they will most likely have to bank on Joey Harrington this season – looks like they may be on the clock for the 2008 draft.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Fantastic Milestone!!!!!

As a Phillies fan, I couldn’t help but blog about this happening. My beloved Phitin’s have become the first professional sports team in the United States (no, I’m not counting the Generals who play the Globetrotters), and probably the world, to lose 10,000 games – the team has basically ignored the accomplishment, although I think management probably would’ve endeared itself to the fans had it decided to do something creative – not sure what that could have been, but ignoring it was wrong, in my mind.

Here’s the thing – this ball club can’t even lose correctly. The Phils had a chance to lose their 10,000th game on Friday the 13th – would there have been anything more poetic than that? Nope, they decided to win on Friday and Saturday … and then, instead of waiting until the west-coast trip to lose, they end up getting clobbered on the last day of the homestand … ugh! I hear that ticket stubs from this game are being sold on E-bay – what a country!

Now, this current ownership isn’t responsible for all 10,000 losses – in fact, the past few years, the team has done pretty well, finishing above .500. The Phillies had their heyday of suckiness in the early 20th century, when they managed to have 30 losing seasons in 31 years – how does a professional sports franchise survive with that kind of apathy, anyway? This is the main reason why this team has so many losses.

However, this management has refused to do enough to push this team into the playoffs, whether it is offseason acquisitions, or trading deadline maneuvers to give them a better shot at the playoffs. Their minor league system is god-awful, which helps to explain why the Phils have such a horrible pitching staff, and why Jose Mesa still has a job.

The crying shame of it is that they have a really good nucleus of players – Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Aaron Rowand, Shane Victorino, and Cole Hammels to name a few. But, there are, and have always been, far too many holes that continue to be neglected. What is the normal response we get from management? “If we were healthy, it would be a different story.” Ha – every team goes through injuries every year. The Phils make a habit of using this excuse.

Their P.R. staff (run by ownership) constantly neglects the fans – David Montgomery (the mouthpiece of the organization) seems to be crying and pointing fingers more than T.O. did when he was in Philly. Management never seems to take responsibility, and that is why there is a disconnect with the fans (that and 1 championship in the 125-year history).

Our only real hope at this point is that the woeful ownership group that currently is holding the team hostage decides to sell the team, and the new owner brings in some real baseball minds who know a thing or two about running a ballclub from bottom to top. Now, I know that Jeff will defend the Phillies when he responds here, and that’s fine – they have had a lot of good prospects come up in recent years. But, the pitching staff, with the exception of Hammels and maybe Lieber, has been a joke. The catcher spot and third base haven’t been much better. Come the trade deadline, the Phils will really have nothing to offer other clubs.

But, I digress …. Congrats to the Phils for being “The Team to Beat,” and for beginning their second 10,000 losses with another clunker last night!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tour De Wha?

Not sure if anybody noticed, but the Tour De France is going on. What a mess of a sport cycling has become – the NHL thinks they are handling things poorly. Nobody can seem to figure out how to test for steroids, how many times cyclists should be tested, how to keep tests clean … sometimes it seems like Major League Baseball is following the policy of professional cycling.

I apologize first of all, because I have no idea if there is a “league” for professional cycling – the sport just doesn’t interest me. I mean, sure, I got caught up in the Lance Armstrong phenomena every summer at this time for the past bunch of years, and yeah, I was excited when Landis won last year, especially since he’s sort of a local guy. But the circus that followed this, and continues almost one year later, is just ridiculous. It seems like every year, we hear about some sort of doping scandal in cycling.

Here’s the thing, when there are no U.S. favorites in the Tour De France, nobody really cares about cycling (or at least the masses don’t). Add this big controversy/scandal to the mix, and this sport is in real danger of reaching WNBA status, if it hasn’t already. And, I’m not trying to belittle what these guys do. Just reading about the Tour De France makes me exhausted – one must be in the best possible physical condition to even finish this course.

And with professional athletes having this huge competitive streak in them, some may look for some sort of advantage. I know, this probably happens in every sport … but at least the four major ones are INTERESTING. I tried watching some of the Tour De France on Versus (awful station, by the way), and after 30 seconds, I began sensing that this was a waste, and I could find many better ways to spend my time.

So, with that said, what do you guys think about the Tour De France? Has this event reached the point where it will never again be popular in the U.S.? Are many of the problems related to it being held in France and run by the French?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I am Man!!!!!!

On Sunday morning, as I got into my car on my way to Target, I noticed something wrong with my car – as luck would have it, I had somehow acquired a flat tire … and this sucker was all the way flat … not a little flat or anything like that, but FULL BLOWN FLAT. What a pain in the keester. I had a minature air compressor in my car, and decided to try blowing this tire up … and I did manage to get some air in there … enough to get me to the gas station up the street, where I proceeded to fill it up fully. The leak, thankfully, was a slow leak – I was able to make it to Wal Mart, purchase some Fix-a-Flat, and fill my tire with it – thankfully, I bought two, because the first one exploded onto me (the tube, for some reason was weak) – and I was able to give some fellow shoppers a good laugh.

I monitored the tire, and for the most part, the leak was controlled. I was hoping the tire would last me until the weekend, where I wouldn’t have to waste any work time taking care of the situation … and for a few days, the tire was fine … until Wednesday evening, on the ride home from work …. In the middle of a nice rain shower … in blistering heat and humidity. The tire finally gave, and the air compressor was no longer providing any relief … I immediately called roadside assistance, as I didn’t want to go to the trouble of changing my tire in the weather conditions … and probably because I’ve never actually changed a tire by myself before. Roadside assistance would take an hour to get to me … I knew what I had to do … BECOME A MAN!First, I read the owner’s manual, and found the jack and spare tire. Next, I loosened all the bolts except for one … this bolt was different than the rest, and I couldn’t figure out where the tool was to use on this. It took me another 20 minutes to actually find this tool – nope, not in the emergency kit … nope, not anywhere else in the trunk … let me check the emergency kit again … nope, not in the first aid kit. Finally, I looked in the glove compartment, and to my surprise, I found the tool! I loosened that bolt as well, put the jack in place, and jacked up the car. I removed the flat, replaced it with the spare, and was on my way … it took me about 10 minutes, after I figured everything out.

Was I pissed about the flat tire and weather conditions? You betcha. But, as I continued my journey home, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride and pure manliness … almost making the entire ordeal worth it … almost.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Good Fit?

A few weeks ago, my friend Slant and I were on our way to Baltimore to meet up with our friend Mung for our fabulous weekend in Cleveland. We were listening to both Volume 1 and 3 of the Traveling Wilbury’s. In case you’ve never heard of this band, all I have to do is mention the members and you’ll get an idea of them (or, you could go to Amazon.com and read up on them): Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison … of course, Orbison died after Volume 1 …

For some reason, Slant and I remember that there were some rumors out there that the Wilbury’s were going to replace Orbison for Volume 3, and go on tour … which probably would’ve been one of the coolest things ever to happen … anyway, I’ll present some of these rumored replacements with my opinions – please, add any others you’d like (past, present, or future … or at least newer than the remaining Wilbury’s).

Paul McCartney – Certainly, royalty when it comes to rock and roll, and his voice would’ve replaced Orbison’s heavenly voice admirably. However, McCartney is far too “poppy” for the Wilbury’s, and his guitar work, although pretty good, can’t match up to any of the remaining members.

John Fogerty – The guy is a folk/country icon, and probably would’ve fit in nicely with his writing style and guitar play … not sure how his screaming voice would’ve played into the Wilbury’s, since they already have Petty.

Keith Richards – Without a doubt, his songwriting and guitar work would’ve been a perfect fit … however, the Wilbury’s already had Bob Dylan’s raspy voice, probably didn’t need another one in Richards’.

Eric Clapton – Probably the most sensible choice – the guy is a wizard with the guitar, could add a nice bluesy touch to the country and folk, and certainly his voice, although not as high as Orbison’s, is distinct and classic enough, that he could’ve pulled this off.

Pete Townsend – A gifted songwriter and guitarist, I just don’t know whether Pete could pull off a convincing country/folk sound. I mean, I think the closest the Who ever got to a country sound was Squeeze Box, right?

Roger Waters – He would’ve added an interesting psychedelic touch to the Wilbury’s, but if they really wanted to go that way, they already had Harrison in the band.

Jimmy Page – The guy would’ve been the R&B backbone of this band, and probably would’ve given it some added muscle … however, his voice is less than good, so he probably wouldn’t have fit very well.

Eddie Vedder – He was fresh and new at the time, and as far as song writers go, he would’ve been excellent. His sound was a good match too, but his guitar play isn’t up to standard with these guys.

Neil Young – Another great song writer, with a good folk-hard edged sound, and a really cool guitarist … but he just seemed a little to hyper and unsettled for these guys.

Roger McGuinn – Great guitarist, good lyricist, and certainly a nice folksy background, but he sounds almost exactly like Petty.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I Wouldn't Be More Surprised If I Woke Up With my Head Stapled to the Carpet ...

A friend of mine just sent me this picture which is going on sale on Ebay for $10,000. I know, I know – I try not to blog too much about Barry Bonds, but after seeing this, I couldn’t resist. I mean, seriously – at this point, is there any doubt that Bonds has probably plugged himself with more steroids than a champion race horse … or a Tour De France winner? This picture is priceless – I think $10,000 is far too low a price.

But, that’s not the only reason I chose to blog about Barry. He was somehow voted in as a starter for the NL all-stars this season. Obviously, those San Francisco fans stuffed the ballots more than Central American politicians, my friends. It is a crying shame that he got voted in, and not because he’s a cheater (although that’s reason enough). Ladies and gentleman, the biggest reason why he shouldn’t have been voted in was that his stats were not all-star quality. But, since the all-star game is being held in San Francisco this year, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the MLB “helped” in his selection.

But that’s ok – karma has a way of evening things out. One would figure that Bonds would be more than willing to appease his own hometown fans by participating in the home-run derby, right? Nope – ol’ melon-head decided that he was too good for that. When questioned about it, he basically said that thrilling his hometown fans really didn’t matter to him, and he could do whatever the hell he wants to. Great work, Barry. Burn you last bridge. I hope those fans finally see you for what you are.

In the meantime, does anybody have $10,000 that they wouldn’t mind giving to me?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

How I Spent My Fourth ...

A good friend of mine, Yon, called me up the other night and asked if I wanted to go with him to the Moorestown parade, in New Jersey. I’m not big on parades, but I haven’t really seen his place in New Jersey, and it gave me something to do. I was on the fence about it, but he sold it like a used car salesman, telling me things like “Moorestown was voted best small town in America” by some magazine a few years ago, and that this parade “would have floats, fancy cars, and great food.” What the heck, I thought.

I got to his place around 9:30, and we walked to the center of Moorestown … something he left out was that the center of town was around a 30-minute walk … not a big deal, I could use the exercise. When we got there, the place was packed with families – which is what I expected. Unfortunately, I didn’t expect a 20-minute “parade” which featured an old fire engine, and the mayor of Moorestown riding down in a convertible Corvette. Some of the highlights:

* The Moorestown running club marching down the street, with three of its members holding up billboards that had shoes glued to them that spelled out R-U-N. Every once in a while, the coach would do a figure 8 jog, with the other members following suit … thank goodness they did this, because I would never have known what running was.

* Some kind of a folk band on the back of a flat-bed playing “Camptown Races.” I’m not sure how the black population felt about this … I would’ve expected another selection.

* Everyone who drove their Corvettes in the parade … not sure what they were getting at, but these weren’t your classic Corvettes … just regular run of the mill ones.

That’s really it for the highlights of the actual parade. Even Yon admitted that it was lame. We walked to the park, hoping the town would redeem itself … boy were we in for disappointment. We get there, and hardly anything is set up, with the exception of a stage, which would probably once again welcome the “Camptown Racers.” There was stand where the local Lion’s Club was giving away free hot dogs … problem was that they were cold … and I don’t mean luke-warm, either. After about another 10 minutes, Yon suggested we go to the movies, which was fine by me – I had it up to my gills with “Small-town America.”

The movie we saw was “License to Wed,” a movie featuring Mandy Moore, John Krazinski, and Robin Williams – this was the only movie playing at the time we got there. Shockingly, the movie wasn’t bad, and Robin Williams was actually sort of funny. It’s not one I’d recommend going to see, but definitely one to watch when it hits cable in a few months.

So, that was it. Now, it’s raining, so we probably won’t go out and see any fireworks – probably we’ll just hang out and watch some movies. It’s weird when the 4th of July is on a Wednesday – can’t really drink too much, because I have work tomorrow. I think they should celebrate Independence day on the Friday of the week of the 4th of July … that’s probably a subject for another blog posting, though.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust ...

I got an interesting text message last night from a good friend of mine, Davers. It stated, “Picked me up a fiancĂ© last night.” If you know anything about Davers, this text will make perfect sense. I’ve known the guy since I was 6, when his family moved from South Philly to just a few blocks from my house. I remember walking by and seeing a little police tricycle on the front lawn and saying to myself, “Great, just what we need, more little kids” Remember, I was 6.

Little did I know that this 4-year old was already way better than me in sports. The kid was a natural – could pick up any game and master it in no-time. He began playing soccer when he was 8, and instantly became the best player on the team. He was a tri-sport captain in high school, and was being recruited by colleges, until he blew his knee out.

His real passion in life, however, has always been fishing. If possible, he probably would fish 12 hours a day, every day. He loves fishing in Brigantine – something his father probably instilled in him when he was born. The family has a place in Brigantine and Davers ended up moving down there a few years ago, working for some insurance company (I think).
Anyway, he met a girl probably about 1 ½ years ago, and it went really well. I think he even sacrificed some surf-fishing time to be with her … yep, it was true love. Anyway, when he texted me, I came up with some possible scenarios on how he popped the question:

* He brought her over to help him gut some stripers, and he ended up pulling a ring out of one of the striper’s intestines.

* He took her on the beach and had her reel in one of his fishing poles, which had the ring on the end of it (He told me he was considering this, but (A) he was afraid a bluefish would eat the ring, and (B) that she might not like this technique).

* He took her to the Rod and Reel at 4:30 a.m. after a hard night of partying, ordered some buffalo wings, and when the plate came out, there was a ring aournd one of the drumsticks (local Brigantine water-hole that Davers frequents).

* He took her to the Tropicana, went to the sportsbook, bet on a race, and the cashier gave him a ring instead of a ticket.

* He took her to a craps table, and instead of putting a chip down on the “Don’t Pass Line,” he placed a ring there (Davers’ favorite table game).

In talking to him, I was relieved to find out that he did none of these, and actually was kind of romantic (something very un-Davers-like). He took her on the beach after a booze cruise (ok, maybe not that romantic), and gave her a chocolate rose, with the ring underneath the chocolate … oh yeah, and it was her birthday.

I’m proud of him – I never thought I’d see the day a lady could take him away from the sea.