Monday, May 20, 2013

An Obituary For A Dear Friend

You were good companion. You were on my mind every morning and sometimes at night. No matter where I went you were right before my eyes. Your curves made every day a little more palatable.

You were a friend, a coworker, and a confident. But most of all you were my copilot.

Even when your twin met an untimely demise in that tragic accident in front of the World Bank, you didn't falter. In fact you became stronger; taking on an almost dark, ceramic edge.

As it is said, "all good things must come to an end." Yet somehow I feel like you're passing was premature. Sure you were bigger than the others and it took longer than I thought to get you filled, but your differences were what forged our special bond.

It's a touch ironic then that in your time of need that bond was not strong enough to help you avoid your own tragedy.

Your life was full of pep and service to others  but your legacy will always be hot and black!

Farewell my friend. As you pass from this world to the next, may you stay clean and true. My desk and my coffee will never be the same.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Judge Me Not By The Bottle I Carry

There are certain things a runner holds sacred. Among them are his shoes, his sunglasses, and his hydration methods. You do not mess with these things. We are creatures of habit and don’t do well with change (or icy roads for that matter).

This is where I found myself yesterday morning. It’s 5:50am and I’m sitting in my car in the garage at my gym. I’m 30 miles away from home. I know I want to go out for a run this morning. I know I want to get somewhere in the neighborhood of 7-8 miles in. Even though it’s spring and fairly cool outside, I’ll still need water at least twice while out on the trail. I also realize that I left my full water bottle sitting on the kitchen counter when I left the house a half hour ago.

What are my options? I could take my chances with the only water fountain on the trail. Is it on? Did a homeless guy or a bird use it as a bathroom? I could take one of the empty bottles of water that are in the back of my car but they won’t fit in my carrier.

So that leaves me with one option. The Kid’s bottle! It certainly not ideal but it holds water and has a closeable lid on top. But how do I hide the Lighting McQueen graphic on the front so that I’m not laughed out of the gym (or off the trail)?

Another stroke of genius. It goes into my water bottle holder and looks just like a red water bottle, albeit one with a blue top. Does anybody have to know? No…well until you read this and eventually tell him when he’s a little older and can old it over his old man’s head.

But judge not less you be judged on your hydration methods. Ok?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Should I Watch NBC Sports

If ESPN actually scripted an action plan for how to deal with a potential story I would imagine that they would try to cover every angle including how to break into their regular programing (even though more of it is live today then ever before). While if they went thought this practice they might have made a list of potential big events, they would have been hard pressed to predict that two crazy brothers would plant bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

With all that said, one thing they could have planned for was a male athlete in one of the "big 4" sports (football, baseball, hockey and basketball) would come out to the world as a gay man. In fact even if this didn't make their list, it's been talked about so much in the past year that somebody would have surely added it on there. And even if that didn't register, surely when they "broke the news" that Baylor basketball player Brittney Griner came out as a lesbian somebody would have gone over to the other side of Mel Kipper's draft board and jotted down a note.

If you answered yes to any of the above questions. you'd be dead wrong. When the news broke late Monday morning that NBA free agent, Jason Collins wrote a first hand message that he was coming out in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, ESPN was in the middle of a programing block. A LIVE programing block. LIVE as in, we could break in at any time simply by handing our anchors a piece of paper with a note on it. But they chose to hold back. While the rest of the known universe was on Twitter and even FOX News learning about the details and reading the article. ESPN was debating how to break the story.

They did finally say something 2.5 hours later by opening up the Outside the Lines show with the story. Then things took a turn for the worse. The show brought on NBA commentator, Chris Broussard. The interview started with the basics but with a few minutes left to go, Broussard was asked what HE thought of the announcement. Completely forgetting that he is paid to be a commentator about the NBA and not religion or other sentiments that should be left outside of the office, he launched into a diatribe about how he's a "christian" (I choose to use lower case here because he doesn't deserve capitalization) and how Collins is "living a life of sin".

For his efforts, Mr. Broussard is yet to be suspended for his hate speech. In fact ESPN management has come out and said they support his comments and he was asked for his opinion. Um..yeah....his opinion about how Collins will be viewed by other players and his future in the league, not his thoughts on the Bible. Tell you what....I don't like the fact that Mr. Broussard eats pork. That's a sin in the Bible, how come nobody comes down on him for that?

A few years back, Tony Kornheiser made a comment on his ESPN radio show about the outfit that a female Sports Center anchor was wearing. He said her red go-go boots and short skit took attention away from the stories she was reporting. He was 100% correct and he got a suspension for it. Mr Broussard goes on a hate filled rant and tries to use religion as a defense and gets the support of ESPN Brass. As it has been said, "That's a Paddlin'."

ESPN has proven over the last 5 years or so of being less and less relevant in the sports world. Their flagship program, Sports Center, spends more time playing compilation highlights to music then they do showing you what happened in the game. Every anchor now has to have a catch phrase and many of them are contrived and offer no humor or value. Many more of us (myself included) are getting our sports elsewhere. Speaking for myself, I watch MLB Network when I want baseball highlights and follow Twitter when I want info on pretty much anything else.

Monday, April 29, 2013

With the first pick in the 2013 NFL draft

Nobody Likes a Jerk selects...he'll it doesn't really matter who I selected. He's either going to be labeled a savoir or a washout depending on how the rest of the team plays behind him.

I took my one and only break from baseball season this weekend to catch a little of the NFL draft. It didn't hurt that the Mets had an awful series against the Phillies, so that freed up my schedule a bit. It also didn't hurt that the Jets had two picks in the first 15.

The draft used to be appointment viewing with Chris Burman and Mel Kipper going at it for 8 hours on a Saturday afternoon. Depending on which side of the coin you're on, that has now been reduced to 2 hours on Thursday night, 2 hours on Friday night, and some time on Saturday where no one is really watching unless you have a Geno Smith or Brady Quinn type in the Green Room beyond the first round. 

Speaking of Mr. Smith, those Jets drafted him in the 2nd round and I'm happy. He's a very athletic quarterback who has a strong arm and big legs. He kind of reminds me of Tim Tebow only with out the Christ complex and with an actual working arm. Mr. Tebow was released this morning by the team which brings the number of QB's on the roster down to a manageable 5 (there's a lot of sarcasm here). Actually if the team is really interested in teaching Smith and grooming him to be the QB of the future then put him down as the 3rd on the depth chart behind starter Mark Sanchez and back up David Gerrard and let him hold the clipboard this season and learn. We are not going anywhere and can put up with another season of Sanchez.

But all this talk of players and strategy takes me off the point I was trying to make here today. Did you watch the draft? Did you see the tables where each team's staff was huddled around just before making each pick? Did you notice something out of place on those tables? If you said "A Bottle of Gatorade", you would be correct! 

One of the NFL's biggest sponsors made sure to have their products placed in a high-eyeball area during the draft. While that's great for the world of product placement, does anybody care that a sports drink was being featured in an environment where there were more neck ties than score ties?

The Draft has it's fair share of corporate sponsors this year. Ad Age points out that among them are Visa, Verizon, and other companies that don't even have V's in their names. ( But why was Gatorade the only one featured up on the tables? Did other companies just not give as much? What a great tie-in Visa could have had if each team went up to congratulate their newest acquisition and handed him a pre-paid Visa card with his signing bonus already loaded up!

I get that this is a prime time event with lots of the coveted "Males 24-40" demographic tuning in but I don't think that calls for this much of an insult to "our" collective intelligence. Do you think we don't know what Gatorade is? We've grown up with the "Be Like Mike" campaign and the 1986 Giants starting the Gatorade showers. We get it. What we don't get is why?  When I'm in the office and the pressure is on. Do you know what I reach for? If you said a big bottle of lemon-lime G2, you'd be wrong....coincidentally if you said whiskey, you'd be right! 

That's it! The 2014 NFL draft brought to you by Jack Daniels and Lazy Boy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oh Great Wall of Pork, Beef and Turkey

please tell me which of the 700 types of hot dogs I should have for lunch. All I ask is be fair, be consistent and whenever possible, please include bacon.

[insert whirling sound, shaking of room and a "poof" of smoke]

Oh thank you great wall...the Carolina Slaw Dog is a great choice. I shall enjoy it's bacon covering and it's chili topping. I will also enjoy the creamy coleslaw and the dotting of fried onions on top while I amaze at the poppy seed bun that holds it all together.

Yep, that was my first trip to my town's (not-so-newest) food emporium, Great American Hot Dog. Known as GAHD to it's biggest fans (as in "Oh my GAHD!!"), the idea has been around as a food truck on DC's vibrant scene for a while now but has just recently opened more traditional and non-moving doors.

These doors aren't all that impressive. They sit in the far end of an industrial strip center on a side street near the small general aviation airpark. During the week, when the food truck is running there isn't much to even tell you it's there. At least on the weekend the truck gives you something other then cars in mid repair and assorted dumpsters to look at.

But the decor isn't why you come to this outpost. It's all about the dogs. There may not be 700 varieties but the total number does come close to at least touching 100. Thankfully for my already drained mind, when I came in this weekend they were only pushing some 25 varieties. Now as I was waiting for my wiener (yes I've been waiting to say that!) to be cooked I stated to think, "How many is too many?"

If I were eating them, it's an easy answer (enough until I'm full) but because I had to actually select one from their wall menu, even 25 was a little overwhelming. Do I go with a traditional Manhattan (brown mustard and sauerkraut) or get fancy with the Phily Salami Dog (Char-grilled Hebrew National hot dog wrapped in fried Hebrew National salami, topped with mustard and a sliced kosher pickle)? Do I stay local and get a Half Smoke or do I go down and try their take on the Varsity's Chili Dog? Do you see my challenge? This is too much to take in on an empty stomach.

Fortunately, the nice lady behind the counter shouldered the load for me when I asked her for suggestions. She picked the above mentioned Carolina Slaw Dog. She said I should try it because it's a rotating special and doesn't come around all the time. Fine...I like bacon, I like chili, I like coleslaw and of course, I love hotdogs! She didn't mislead me. This thing was damn good. Unfortunately it's also the most expensive one on the menu weighing in at $8.50. That seems a bit high for a regular size hot dog but I did get a Cel-Ray to wash it down so I'll accept that as an omen. An omen for deliciousness.

I will assure you that my very biased restaurant review in today's post will be replaced my usual snarky and slightly intellectual musings the next time you visit.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blame It On The Zombies

At least that's what I'm going to do in order to explain this several week absence from filing this little corner of the interweb with joy and filth all at the same time! And while the dead rising from the grave to feast on the brains of the living may give me artistic license to skip a few weeks of posting it never, ever, ever, ever gives you reason to call the police. That is unless you live in Montana.

Montana-ians (or -ites if you like) have always been a different breed. Ever since they joined these fine United States of America they have stuck to their guns, their beef, and what ever else there is to stick to in Montana. Snow maybe? But the one thing that we can always rely on is a certain level of stupidity and high traces of gullibility.

This is not to indict all citizens of Big Sky Country. I'm sure many are loyal, law abiding, gun toting, tobbaco chewing, patriotic Americans. There are at least four that I will call out for their distrubing behavior.

You see it all started out inocently enough. Roughly 100 viewers (or 10% of the state's population) were watching the CW network yesterday afternoon. Ok let's stop there. The CW network? Really? Perhaps it wasn't the living but rather the Zombies who were watching? I don't think you're even allowed to watch that unless you actually have a brain...but I digress.

As the gentle folks of Montana who were home at 2:11pm local time during the middle of the week...ech...a Emergency Broadcast Alert came across the screen intrupting not only an infomercial for a non stick pancake maker but also an episode of the Steve Wilkos show. And not just any episode mind you, but it cut right into the juicy part of "Teen Cheaters Take Lie Detector Tests"

The viewing public heard the tell tale tones and chirps followed by a warning that dead bodies have risen from the grave and they are dangerous. You should not approach or try to apprehend them.

Ok...hardy har har har. We've been punked. Dead mean Zombies? Oh sure, Look Out Martha, the Zombies are after us!  Very Funny. It must have been an intern on his last day at the station...or possibly...well lets just say that 1) I was in high school and 2) it was public access (which may have had more viewers than the CW in Montana)

But wait....not everybody got the joke. Police report getting at least four calls asking if this was a real thing. Not 1. Not 2. Not 3. But four people actually had to stop what they were doing, ask themselves "can the dead actually rise?" and then pick up the phone can call police. That takes a certain amount of "asshole" that I don't believe I have the ability to even fathom.

So in the end it turns out that hackers got into the Emergency Response System and were playing a trick (duh). But I hope during the course of this investigation and even better a possible trial, that the 911 tapes are played. I really want to hear how these calls went down....

Hello 911, please state your emergency

Uh...yeah...the TV just said that Zombies were coming for us....what should I do?

Zombies? Sir...this line is for emergencies only

NO I'm said the undead are out to get us...what should I do? Do I shoot 'em or try to stab them in the heart?

Sir, are you on drugs or narcotics? 

Well yes but that's not the point....I'm scared and don't know what to do. If they were commies, or liberals I'd just shoot them in the head, but how do you kill a zombie?

At least that's how I'd play it out on the big screen. My advice: shoot them in the head and then stop watching the CW!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Don't Know Where the Wings Are Officer?

That is, I don't know where they went after we loaded them onto the back of a rental truck and drove it to my Mama's house. Ok, so the truth is that even the police don't know where $65,000 worth of Tyson's brand chicken wings are but they do have the two guys who took them in custody. I do believe that the cops strategy here is to let them sit for a while and then follow the stench to the storage locker or basement where they are stored.

On the face of it though, this is a brilliant crime. One of those that if I were involved with that element I might be inclined to get in on. Think about it. You have the biggest football game of the year coming up and what do people eat (besides what they are told to by the tv advertising overlords)? That's right, chicken wings, and these guys boosted enough of them to stay full for a week and still make a nice little nest egg selling off the rest. In fact the only thing that would have been smarter (other then not getting caught in the first place) would have been to also boost a truck load of hot sauce.

So to the fans in the greater Atlanta metropolitan viewing area, I'm sorry but not only will your pizza take several hours to arrive but the wings that come with them will be approximately $5 each (wing). You can thank your friends Dewayne and Renaldo.

Monday, January 28, 2013

What Constitutes Fun?

We learn alot as we age. We learn not to put our hand on a hot stove, women don't like it when you push them out of the way to get to another, hotter girl, at the end of the bar, and our definition of fun changes too.

When you're 10 years old, all you need is a group of friends, a sunny day, and a football and you're set for at least 2-5 hours of running around, cursing a little bit, and maybe breaking your arm. You don't need to plan anything out, just show up and have a good time.

When you're 19, you need some cheap beer (or screw top wine if you're that kind of person), music, and somebody to look out for the cops and it's an instant party

When you hit real adulthood, things change. You're concepts change and certainly what you call "fun" changes.

Let me give you a run down of what I now consider a fun weekend day.

7:05am: wake up...the kid let us sleep in past 7pm ...Hallelujah
8:00am: breakfast of defrosted bagels, leftover qinua with fruit and coffee
8:30am: Skyping with my inlaws. FIL appears unshaven and without a shirt....breakfast ruined
10:00am: out the door and off to Frederick with the wife and kid
10:30am: Costco to browse but we did buy two things that we could have gotten anywhere. Checked gas prices, they are the same as at the station by our house.

11:00am: On a quest for Baltimore Ravens stuff for my SIL/BIL and their kids. We stop at three stores...nothing.
12:00pm Wegmans for lunch. Kid consumes all of his food and half of Mrs. Bloggermans. My Indian leaves a lot to be desired
12:30pm Actual food shopping which isn't much since we're doing all defrosted leftovers this week.
1:00pm All the food goes into the car trunk and since it's 20 degrees out we don't worry about it going bad. 
1:15pm More stores for this superbowl stuff. Mrs. Bloggerman hits a winner at Sports Authority.
1:45pm Back in the car for home.
3:00pm Take dog for walk, only get to listen to half of Morning Edition Sunday on NPR podcast due to technical issues.
4:00pm Arrive home to defrost and sit down to watch some TV. Settle on the Capitals game. I remember why I don't like hockey.
6:00pm Skype with my parents. About as much fun as it sounds like
6:30pm Dinner consisting of leftover Chinese food from Saturday night.
730pm Kid goes up for bath and bed
830pm We go up to watch tv and unwind. I get to see 10 minutes of the Knicks game before treated to an hour of Grey's and some new House Hunter's show about people who I want to punch in the face because they 1) aren't real and 2) really bad actors

See and you thought my day wasn't fun.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

These Truths Which I Hold Self Evident

Monday was the second inauguration day for President Obama. It was a glorious day of speeches, fanfare, and of course a broken mass transit system. It doesn't matter who you voted for or even if you voted but rather it's a wonderful celebration of the symbolic transfer of power of this country. Not a single shot was fired, no blood poured, and only a few protesters climbed trees.

So here are some "truths" that I've learned:

It was warmer then last time. 
If you go back and look at the weather report for Monday it topped out in the low 50's which is certainly quite a bit warmer then the freezing temps we had to brave out at the Capitol in 2009. Now it didn't hurt that I was sitting in the comfort of my own home this time around surrounded by friends, family, heat, and fresh chili. Speaking of which...

Fritos are gluten free
We generally are healthy eaters around here. We don't stock the cabinets with Twinkies and Snickers. We try to stick to egg whites, fresh vegetables, and lean turkey.  But because of the aforementioned festivities, we added the highly addictive, not so healthy, fried corn chips to our pantry. They went great with the chili but unfortunately not so well that they were completely gone. So because I don't have much to fill my days with anymore I took to reading the small print in the packaging. Did you know they are gluten free? Me neither. Now I don't know if they are also glue-free but at least I can eat them knowing that I won't suffer from the effects of celiac disease. Plus if I can't stop eating them at least there's a reason out there.

Levin and Franklin are related?
One of our esteemed guests on Monday was observing that there was a lot of shots of Senator Carl Levin of Michigan. It also seems that the esteemed Senator looks a heck of a lot like another Senator. Ben Franklin. Well actually Senator Ben Franklin was from Texas and served in the late 1800's. But the Founding Father Ben Franklin is whom I'm referring too. They really do look a lot alike. As one blogger pointed out, "If Levin had syphilis he'd be Franklin." Hopefully he didn't mean Senator Franklin too...I always thought of him more as a gonorrhea type fellow.

That is all for now. We'll see what happens in January 2017. Hopefully I'll have some new material by then.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Who Is Buying This Stuff?

Lance Armstrong is a douche. That's not a surprise and after watching the highlights of his interview with Oprah Winfrey the other day that assumption is confirmed.

Actually after watching the interview, I have another assumption that was shown to be true. The only thing that Oprah can be hard hitting with is a rack of ribs and a bucket of The Colonel's chicken. This was at best a fluff piece and Armstrong knew it which is why he came out now. He purposely avoided ESPN, or one of the main stream news outlets so that he could admit his guilt and be done with it. Actually I wouldn't be surprised if he was the source of the leak to Deadspin about the Manti Te'o story. Just enough sensationalism to pull the pressure off of him.

But Lance's douche-iality, Oprah's eating prowess, and Te'o's gullibility are not the topic of conversation in this space today. No. Today I want to talk about a different type of "performance enhancing drug". 

I love my XM radio and if you're into music, sports, or have kids I definitely recommend getting one (talk to me first though...I can get you a deal on the service). Many of the stations are really commercial free, if you include all the promos for the upcoming programs. I'll let that slide as NPR does roughly the same thing. But some of my favorite channels are not blessed with such wealth and thus if I want to hear uncensored comedy or the latest baseball news I have to put up with a commercial or two.

That's fine. I won't buy anything advertised if I can help it so fire away. Coke, Verizon, Bank of America, whatever. Keep tossing them out and I will "toss" them out.

But my problem starts when Johnny Bench, yes, the "Little General" himself becomes the sales manager and starts plugging away and selling primetime spots to "performance enhancing drugs" marketed specifically to males. Viagra, Cialis and the like are the mainstream. They are too cool for satellite. No, if you want to get your woman to love you and make her scream like a school girl you need to go a little lower on the scale. Science be dammed; you don't need to wait hours for your flag pole to be ready to salute, now you only need 7 seconds for something called Stendra. only need 7 little seconds. That's less time then snorting a line of meth or even for a hit of ecstacy to kick in.

Why do I know this? Well I've heard that advertisement about 300 times. And that was just yesterday. But other people are hearing these ads and somebody's buying this stuff...otherwise they wouldn't keep advertising. But who?

The best I can figure is that the target demographic are men (duh), and many of them are not able to get or maintain an erection. Thankfully I'm not in this demographic, yet. But if I was I would think that many of my medications, most would come from a doctor's script. I generally try to avoid calling strangers on the phone for a cure to a condition that I would prefer to have a medical professional look at first.

But that of course doesn't stop people from doing dumb things. See Bush, President, George, W two times. So people are buying this stuff. They only have so much time with the hooker after all. So what now? How much longer is it until we get the 6 second pill and the 4 second pill. Hell why do we even need to wait that long. Why can't we just walk around at full mast the entire time? Sure we'd need to buy new pants and rejigger the steering wheels in our cars but how cool would that be.