Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Best Lunch Deal in the City

So, as all of you know I'm a food junkie and based on prior posts on this blog I'm extremely opinionated when it comes to my food. That being said, I tend to frequent places, often by myself, to get a little down time from the office. Bars are among my favorite lunch spots since they are typically not crowded during lunch (except during march madness) and they tend to have surprisingly good food during the day (when people aren't drunk enough to know the difference).

That being said some of my favorite places have lunch specials, which will either be the meal alone or both a drink and the meal. Remedy Bar on 52nd and 3rd had a good lunch special...it was $9.99 for most of the menu items and that came with a beer or soda (it's since gone up to $12.99 for a limited number of items). But deals like that are what I'm after.

So one day I happened to drop into the popular happy hour spot Mercury Bar on 33rd and 3rd. They advertise a $5.95 lunch special. Being that an average sandwich in NYC is $6 and an average salad as soon as you add anything other than lettuce is $7+ I figured what the hell. A few weeks ago I had the vegetable lasagna and it was fantastic. Just like the bartender John recommended. So yesterday I figured I'd drop back in to have a quick bite. The female bartender Crystal recommended the Rigatoni with Roasted Chicken. That was fantastic as well. I'm sure I could've said anything on the menu and she would have said it was fantastic...but i'm glad her words didn't disappoint. It was a nice sized portion, with roasted zucchini and 2 pieces of garlic bread. All for just $5.95. That would be like $14+ at a place like Olive Garden or like $19+ at most fancy Italian restaurants and I'm telling you, no joke, this was at least as good if not better than what you get at places like that. Really good...and not just because it was cheap, that's just an added bonus. They have about 12 different items on the $5.95 lunch menu and so far both haven't disappointed. Here's the link to view their menu: http://www.mercurybarnyc.com/eastside/media/mercurybar.html

The delicious Rigatoni and Roasted Chicken at Mercury Bar

I added a Blue Moon and the bill was $12.45 w/ tax. I left $16 on the counter since I happen to be a generous tipper (if Rachel Ray was around she'd have a heart attack). Actually let me vent on her a bit. She's a cheap ass S.O.B. She probably would've tipped 10 cents. I could hear her whiny, nasely voice - "you guys, I only spent $6.50 on lunch including tip. The meal was $5.95 plus 40 cents tax. Isn't that a great deal or what. YUM-O". I would argue she's done more harm than good to Americans with her cheap tipping habits and her awful talk show.

Pictures like this prove why Rachel Ray is doing more harm than good to Americans

Don't believe me? Just google Rachel Ray and Cheap sometime and see how many links there are. You'll find people trying to defend her and say she's overly generous. If that's the case why go on a show that millions of viewers watch and tip 10% and below. If people are going to emulate you don't set a bad example by tipping $1 on a $15 bill. So Rachel, do us all a favor and go back to your 30 minute meals and teach us something useful. No one needs to see your stupid magazine or your stupid talk show. Only the brainless people of the world follow her word like it's the gospel. Yes, she'll pull the occassional good tip or time saving thing out once in a while. But don't sit there and tell me she's not annoying. And a cheap ass. Cause she is. And her damn voice...it's stuck in my head...get it out!!!

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

So we've all seen these types of photos before. Signs that have been manipulated to put out a comical twist on traditional "out-of-home" advertising (I'll take useless media knowledge for $200 please).

Anyway, came across this site called Dribbleglass.com and they have all sorts of funny "photoshopped" images with billboards, signs and the like. Definitely check out the site if you get a moment...some good stuff. Here are some of my favorites...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Avi, Chris, Shye & Tom Go To White Castle

So in honor of Avi's 82nd...i mean 32nd bday this past weekend, we had a little get together in the city. Avi's brother Shye and "adopted brother" Tom made the trek down from Beantown for the occassion. We "pregamed" at my apartment with some drinks and some Nintendo (Super Tecmo Bowl, Ice Hockey, Double Dribble, etc). Avi and Lauren (Avi's girlfriend) were playing some drinking game with dice that didn't make any sense at all. I guess the point was to pick a number between 2 and 12 and if the roll of the dice wasn't that number you had to drink that amount you said (obviously a very pro drinking game). At one point Lauren asked me to pick a number. I quickly blurted out 2. Quote Avi "that's the stupidest number..." followed by Lauren saying "oh my god it's a 2". Ha. What are the odds that she would roll a snake-eyes?? (Actually the odds are 1 in 36 for all of those who are wondering. I'll save you the trouble of counting or googling it). Anyway it was a pretty funny moment and something that will go down in the annuals of the all time greatest "calls". I'm also going to play mega millions on Tuesday just in case it was a sign of luck!

After getting liquored up, we officially celebrated the festivities at BB&R on the UES (that's Blonde, Brunette and Redhead on the Upper East Side for those not in the know). The night was fun...filled with triple shots of jagermister and an experiment with Brazilian rum and coke (which you should stay away from trust us...tasted like raw sugar from someone's ass - not that i know what that tastes like).

Anyway, Shye had never been to White Castle before and even though he's had opportunities to go, he was waiting to visit the Castle with the world's foremost expert on White Castle (that would be me of course). So we decided to "break his cherry" in style with a few WC novices (Tom and Avi). Avi was present last time I was at the WC in which I ate about 10 burgers in about 20 seconds...before Avi even had his second.

With Harold and Kumar being locked away and no where to be found, it was up to the four of us to represent at White Castle

Being that we were all under the influence we decided that a case of 30 should be a good amount for us to split. Plus a sack of chicken rings (the best thing on the menu if you haven't tried). Avi wanted to push to 40 burgers (10 a piece), actually he wanted the sack of 100 but that would've been asking for death on a platter. So we convinced him 30 was enough.

As we were waiting for our order these two other guys (white I may add) were in there. They were a perfect match for David Spade and Chris Farley...so much so that the Spade dude was saying "look at my friend...look how fat he is" with the Farley dude rubbing his stomach for emphasis. Very bizarre. But being that was 3am in the WC nothing surprises you. And with the four of us and the two of them that was 6 white people in white castle. Probably a new record in East Harlem. And further proving my point that the gentrification of Harlem is on - just take a look at the Apollo one night...50% white. (Side note, another funny story that you just had to be there for was a night Avi and I hit the castle at 4am after a night of drinking. In walks this girl who was definitely a 10...one of the hottest girls we've seen and definitely one of the hottest girls to ever step foot in a White Castle. Especially in East Harlem. In fact, the funny part was the young (and large) black male working behind the counter was staring at her so hard, his headset fell off his face onto the ground and he barely even moved. That was comedy.)

Anyway, the girl behind the counter announces our order is ready. I look for a bag and don't see anything. Suddenly she slaps a suitcase on the counter. A suitcase. Awesome. I mean imagine going to a business meeting and plopping that down on the counter. Or an drug transaction where the case was filled with burgers instead of cash.

Shye and the Crave Case

The unveiling of the holy grail

We proceeded to plow through them...or at least I did, having 6 before anyone could even remove the first one from their sleeve. I slowed down to make sure I shared the wealth (and that I didn't puke on the spot). When all was said and done, the table was filled with nothing but empty cartons and a few crumbs. I had 9 and the other guys had 7 a piece. Not bad. Definitely soaked up all the alcohol and then some.

Showing off my world championship form

Good stuff...although not so good for our systems or my toilet, but definitely a successful first venture to the WC for Shye. Welcome to the brotherhood my friend.
Shabbat shalom.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

You call this a chicken cutlet???

So today I was walking from my apartment to my office to fill out my paperwork for my taxes and get me some money from the gubrment. I stopped at a normally dependable deli, Murray Hill deli on 34th and lex. Has a good selection of sandwiches and salads, etc...a decent lunch spot. I resisted the urge to stop at a bar for lunch, but in hindsight i should have. Anyway, I asked for a chicken cutlet on a roll with muenster cheese lettuce and tomato. I walked away and the guy behind the counter asked me if I wanted mustard. I said no, muenster. We had a laugh and I thought we were cool. I ventured to get a drink and picked up some chicken noodle soup. I came back got my sandwich and ventured to my office.

I had the soup which was very good, nice and salty. Tender chicken, fresh noodles. I unwrapped the sandwich and took a bite. I chewed. And chewed. And it tasted like rawhide. Like a dog chew toy...it had the same consistency. And yes I've chewed them before ;). I opened up the sandwich and the chicken wasn't even chicken. It was like dried out pieces of wood. Stringy wood. Terrible. Beyond chewy...it was like having a beef jerky. Even better, guess what was missing from the sandwich...the muenster cheese. After all that. Bastard. And he charged me for it too.

The so-called "chicken cutlet"

So, so disappointing, considering chicken cutlet is one of my favorites. Needless to say on a saturday, stick to a bar for fresh food not a deli. Or have them hand carve the cutlet and fry it in front of you so you know it's fresh. The paninis looked like they were left over from Wednesday so I stayed away, and likewise i'm sure the tuna or chicken salad wasn't made that morning either. But still...next time, if i want rawhide I would've asked for it. Without mustard. Or muenster.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Beavers are coming

So apparently the 1st "beaver" was spotted in NYC in over 200 years. The beaver was spotted in the Bronx. Here's the article:

Although I'm sure they'll later find out that the said beaver was actually a shriveled up prostitute from Hunts Point who got dumped in the river. Hey oh! Its funny though, since they are trying to develop the South Bronx (SoBo) into the next trendy area - redoing warehouses into condos and fixing up some of the crack houses. Although it's putting the squeeze on hunts point prostitutes since the area is trying to be "gentrified" with "types of people" who aren't out to get them some poontang.

Here's a quote from the article: "...beaver populations are expanding, and their habitats are shrinking," said Dietland Muller-Schwarze, a beaver expert at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. "We're probably going to see more of them in the future."

Although I guess the good news for the "beavers" is that having the South Bronx developed and gentrified is opening up a new clientele to those "beavers" who sell their wares in Hunts Point, especially the ones who have been featured on HBO's special "Hookers and Johns".

Beavers looking for work in the South Bronx

Wait. Am I confused? What? It was an actual beaver they spotted? Like the animal? Oh...oops. Well good luck to those beavers as well. Most of the union construction jobs have already been taken.

Speaking of union jobs it seems that rats these days are trying to get in on the action (I mean why should they be denied umemployment when most illegal aliens get employed too). It appears a gang of rats infiltrated a Taco Bell/KFC this am before the store opened "looking for work".

Read the story here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070223/ap_on_fe_st/restaurant_rats

Rat looking to bus tables

Its a good thing these rats weren't trying to gain employment at a chinese restaurant...hey oh!

I won't finish the punch line if you're looking for one.

Anyway, rats have long been hard workers, mining our subways tunnels for centuries. They've also held memorable jobs in the restaurant industry before! In fact, who can forget the vital role rats played in the movie Muppets take Manhattan?? Rizzo the rat got himself and his friends a job in the kitchen at the diner and they saved the damn place. Even futher, his girlfriend Yolanda was the first female rat to gain a part in a movie and quite honestly was more attractive in her waitress role than most other human waitresses. Don't believe me...compare Yolando to Flo from Mel's Diner and you be the judge:

Yolanda lookin good in the kitchen

Flo from Mel's Diner

The rats went beyond the kitchen, exposing themselves to great danger when they went undercover to perform a "whispering campaign" for Kermit's Manhattan Melodies at Sardi's. They were swatted at, stomped on and thrown to the curb. Definitely broke all sorts of animal rights violations on the set. Did you hear them complain though? Not a peep. Maybe more workers should learn from rats and just do their jobs and not complain. Then maybe we'd have a more productive workforce in this country!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A lifelong goal...achieved?

So continuing on this whole Nintendo gaming kick. I recently decided my next challenge from my gaming past was to try and throw a shutout in Nintendo Baseball. Yep, the original Nintendo baseball game with 6 teams that had letters to describe the team since they couldn't use team licensing. So what they did was match the uniform colors to the team letter. The teams were: C (Cardinals), R (Royals), P (Phillies), Y (Yankees), D (Dodgers), A (Athletics).

The game was baseball in its simplest form. Nintendo baseball games got a lot better with the advent of baseball stars and bases loaded (yes Brian, i'm still working on getting that "footage" of Paste charging the mound in Bases Loaded).

Anyway, I've never thrown a shutout vs. the computer in Baseball. Its nearly impossible to do thanks to some internal "cheats" where the computer magically drums up some hits when they're down to score a run. I mean I've blown the computer out several times, scoring as many as 30 runs. But pitching wise, it's hard to keep the computer, or a human opponent for that matter, without a run.

I tried my quest with the Yankees at first and got to the 6th inning shutting out the A's, but gave up a 3 run homer in the top of the 6th (I went on to win the game 18-5). I tried again with the Cardinals and got to the 4th inning, but a 2 run double ruined the shutout (final score 13-4).

In my frustrations I took a break. I regrouped and decided for one more run using the "pitching rich" Dodgers. I drew the Royals as an opponent, so my odds of throwing a shutout instantly increased (granted this is 1985 baseball when the Royals were decent).

In order to make the game go quickly and to concentrate on pitching, I bunted pretty much all game to get easy outs. Such went the top of the first, where i made three outs quickly. The Royals were the home team, and they threatened to end the shutout early with 2nd and 3rd and 1 out. But the generic lefty Dodger pitcher rose to the challenge with back to back strikeouts to end the threat.

The Dodgers went 3 up 3 down in the top of the 2nd as did the Royals in the bottom of the 2nd with 2 more strikeouts.

The third inning I decided to swing away and smacked a solo homerun to center field. I bunted the rest of the inning to keep the lead 1-0. Bottom of the third the Royals hit a leadoff double, but a pair of pop outs around a strikeout ended the threat. The middle innings were quiet, with the Royals picking up singles in the 5th and 7th, but getting no further. I decide to keep 1-0 lead in hopes the computer "cheat" would try to kick in if i had a big lead built up.

The bottom of the 8th brought drama as the leadoff batter for the Royals blasted a shot to left center. However I jammed him just enough to keep the ball in the park as it just hit the top of the wall for a double. After a clutch strikeout on a 3-2 count, an infield single put the Royals on 1st and 3rd with one out. The pitcher dug deep and after working a 2-2 count with mostly curveballs, I blasted a 90 mph fastball in on the hands to get a clutch strikeout. With two outs I kept lobbing in curveballs and induced a bouncer to the pitcher to end the threat. Whew.

I decided to keep the lead 1-0 going into the bottom of the ninth. The anticipation of being so close to my first Nintendo shutout was starting to make my palms sweat. I knew the computer was gonna come out swinging and they did, fouling off numerous pitches down the lines. I dug deep though and froze the first two batters with slow curveballs to two strikeouts looking. I had made both batters look like Beltran in the NLCS frozen by slow knee bending curveballs. I was beyond amped at this point.

Two outs. Bottom of the ninth. One out away from achieving a "life-long goal"...or at least a goal I had since I was a child.

My first pitch was an inside curve ball. Too far inside to nick the plate. My second pitch was an inside curve that hit the corner. Third pitch was fouled off deep to the right. Holy crap. That was close. He was on the curve. Do I go fastball and try to mix speeds up? It seemed by his swing he was looking fastball but got curved and fouled it off.

Then I made the fatal mistake of deciding to record this moment for infamy. In lieu of using my video camera since it's non digital, I decided to use my cell phone. I had to position the camera in my lap to record the moment. I decided to go curveball inside to set up a fastball if the curve got fouled off. I was more worried about recording the event that I didn't put as much snap on the curve as I wanted too. I wanted the pitch to go in and curve back. It was in on the hands but here's the result (click to play):

Are you fuckin kidding me??? What an asshole I am. I knew that by recording the moment it was just asking for trouble. I could've just struck him out, took a picture of the screen and went from there (although some could've said, well you could have just been playing two player and "cheating"). So I did it legit and paid the price. Man, talk about clutch. I knew I should've went fastball. Devasting. So close. One strike away from a goal being fulfilled. Thanks to no extra innings in Nintendo baseball the game ended 1-1 after I struck out the next batter.

Although it did make for one of the best "live video game moments" of all time. It wasn't like I grooved him a fastball down the middle. I was going for the strikeout and he basically crushed the ball off his hands. All it would need is Vin Scully's voice to make it more dramatic. If I was a dork I would have audio tracked it, but don't have that kind of time on my hands (maybe next time :)

I'm also willing to say that that's one of the most dramatic and clutch homeruns of all time. Definitely ranks up there with Gibson's HR, Puckett's or Carter's HRs in the World Series. If it had been a game winner could have been in the pantheon with the Yaz foul poul shot or the Bobby Thompson "Shot Heard Round the World". Even if it didn't take place on the "grandest stage", those who have played Nintendo baseball know how high scoring the game is and how its very hard to throw a shutout.

Sympathy cards can be posted here if necessary or emailed to speedycdj@aol.com

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Tallest P*ssy Ever

Ok...no, for those amped up on hormones it's not what you think. I'm talking about a certain 7 foot tall basketball player from a certain academic institution that I happened to graduate from a certain number of years ago.

Since I'm not one to hold back anything, his name is James Smith and he's a 7'0" center for the Marist College Red Foxes. Now for those that know the MAAC Conference, know its a mid major (albeit on the lower side at times). The better known teams in the conference recently (those who have made it to the NCAA's) include Iona and Manhattan. Marist is long known for it's only NBA player representative, long time Indiana Pacer Rik Smits. The last time the Red Foxes made the NCAA Tournament was 1987, which was a first round loss at the hands of John Salley, Mark Price and their Georgia Tech squad. Marist nearly made the NCAA Tourney in 1995, but perhaps the worst officiating call of all time (calling a phantom foul on a 3 pointer by Mustafa Barksdale with 7 seconds left in regulation) pushed Monmouth to the conference championship game and Marist to a date in the NIT where they narrowly lost to a URI team led by Lamar Odom.

Anyway, getting back on topic, I have seen Smith play before, and was up on campus on Saturday watching him play in a "bracketbusters" game vs. Colgate. Since this game wasn't televised on ESPN, there was less buzz in the arena that night. And subsequently the game wasn't a sellout either like originially expected. Anyway, Smith had a 4" height difference over Colgate's starting center. You think game plan's A, B and C would involve pounding the ball down Colgate's face until they cried mercy. I mean if I was coaching that's what I would do. However when you have a roll of Charmin playing center who rather shoot a 3 pointer than mix it up inside, that game plan goes by the way side.

Smith, to his credit, is a very good 3 point shooter (40% from downtown). However he's in love with the three. This season he's made 48 out of 119 three pointers which is a better three point percentage and more three pointers made by Marist's point guard Jared Jordan (who by the way is in line to become the second Marist player drafted in the NBA http://www.roadiehoops.com/JaredJordan.htm)

However Smith's love for the three has made him a soft center. He's routinely getting bullied inside by shorter, stronger forwards and centers. His rebounding skills are quite average for a 7 footer. The ball sort of finds him due to his height, rather than him going out to get it. He has only 179 rebounds on the year, good for a 5.2 rpg average (in comparison, Jordan has 170 this year as a point guard, good for a 5.1 rpg average). So that's telling you something when your point guard is arguably a better rebounder than your center. Smith also fumbles the ball a lot. During the Colgate game the ball was routinely knocked out of his hands. So much so that Marist Coach Matt Brady pulled him out of the game in favor of a more aggresive 6'8" forward named Wilfred "Spongy" Benjamin.

Smith, at 7 feet, getting outjumped by someone about 4 inches smaller

Ok, so you can make the case that not every tall guy is a good rebounder. However wouldn't you agree that a 7 footer in a less than powerhouse conference would be able to run ramshod over the competition. Especially when you have a 3-4 inch height difference over your opponent game after game. I mean at the very least he should be touching the ball down low 20 or so times a game, which would inevitably lead to close jumpers, hook shots, layups and maybe (gasp!) an occassional dunk? Also you would think that a 7 footer playing against small guys would get hacked quite often and spend half his night at the charity stripe. Well he's the skinny on Smith:

He's taken 256 shots thus far this season. 119 have been three point attempts. That's 46% of his shots from three point range!

He's taken 45 free throws this season. 45! Jordan has taken 147. More than 100 more free throws taken by your guard than your center. If you make the argument that Jordan is an aggressive PG, which he is, then how about the backup center/forward Spongy Benjamin taking 52 free throws thus far this season while averaging 8 minutes less per game than Smith? Or how bout the backup guard Gerald Carter, who averages 12 mins a game and has taken 34 free throws already? There's no excuse for a 7 foot center to make more 3 pointers (48) than he has free throw attempts (45). None. No matter how good of a three point shooter he happens to be.

I can beat this argument to death, which I may of already have. So onto the good story. While at the Colgate game I was voicing my displeasure for Smith's game (as were the people around me). I noticed a lady sitting a few rows in front of us (we were in the last row) shooting me nasty glares. I know, it's not normal to heckle your own team in your home gym, but I've never been one to boo or voice my displeasure even for my home team (as evidenced by my dislike of Jorge Posada). But I was just making an observation, that our center was playing like a p*ssy.

So, during one timeout, coach Brady pulled Smith off the court and reprimanded him for missing his pick assignments. I yelled out "Sit him down Brady!". Suddenly the said woman turns around and scowls back "You better watch what you say, that's my son out there". I felt bad for about, oh 1 second, and then blurted out, "maybe your son should play a little harder". Ouch. She was less than thrilled by that one. Anyway I continued to ride Smith all game, and more telling was the crowd's lukewarm reaction when he would check in/out of the game. That and how in the 4th quarter he had more fouls than points and thus sat his ass on the bench. The most telling part is that when he's in the game, the guards penetrate and don't pass to him. Ever. Because they know he won't go strong, he'll just dribble out or pass out for a three. I mean for christ's sake take it strong. At one point he had a wide open dunk. So what does he do? He dribbles around and gets tied up by a guard. Unreal.

Smith getting chewed out once again by coach Brady

I'm not the only one with this opinion mind you, its an observation made by many. For a team that's picked to go to the NCAA Tournament this year, and for a team that has scouts at every game due to its NBA ready point guard, you think that a 7 footer would want to dominate night in and night out. Show off some skills, even if he's not a prospect himself. Take advantage of the fact that he's 4 inches taller than everyone else on the court. But nope. He's too much of a mama's boy (as evidenced by his mother waiting outside the arena for him after the game with a cigarette in her hand). Am I being too harsh? Maybe. But I know that if I was 7' tall I'd take advantage of that situation and bust my ass to make myself a good player and perhaps an NBA prospect. Then again, that's just me.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The real "All-Star" game

So NBA All-Star weekend has come and gone. Those who knows me know I dislike the NBA recently because of the players by and large getting overpaid and the overall quality of the game slipping (with the exception of LeBron, Wade and the like) but that's another blog. Anyway, loved the dunk competition, especially with Gerald Carter going old school with the Dee Brown jersey and the blind dunk over Nate Robinson (i'm sure its on NBA.com or YouTube if you haven't seen it).

The three point contest was won by Jason Kapono, the former UCLA "standout". Although it seems that besides Bird and Price "second tier" players always win the three point contest. Tim Legler, Craig Hodges, Jason Kapono. Very weird. Anyway
the skills competition was kinda stupid. Dribbling slalom and passing into a net. Very "Pro-Bowl"esque and kinda doesn't belong. I'd rather see a couple of scantily glad show girls play 5 on 5 full court rather than watching Wade dribble around cones.

The actual All-Star game itself pretty much stunk. I mean we all saw how much it was a mismatch even without Steve Nash running the West. Not even LeBron and DWade could save the day. I think the West was up by 40 at one point. Plus how poorly did everyone shoot? Jesus. I mean these guys make millions right? I know you don't have to care since its just an All-Star game and I know no one plays defense (as evidenced by the slashing dunks and the endless alley-oops), but everyone was clanking left and right. Too much partying in vegas I guess. But at least in the olden days guys made shots on occassion. In fact Bill Simmons just recently relieved the greatest all star game ever played, the 1987 All Star Game (Read more here)

Anyway, now in the basketball mood, I decided to recreate the all-star game on my own using the power of video games. I went to the most graphically intense video game I know....no, not NBA 2k7 or any other new console bball game. I went to the best team basketball game of all-time, Double Dribble.

To recreate the "mismatch" between West and East I decided to use the fast paced style of the West using the Chicago team vs. the talented, yet plodding East Coast style which would be played by the computer driven Boston squad. Here on forward I will refer to Chicago as East and Boston as West.

To start the game the sellout crowd poured into the arena and a trumpter with no name plays the national anthem. Already i'm liking the trumpet more than Wayne Newton. The East controls the jump ball and the West quickly steals the ball and after a few passes a nice reverse dunk by the West gets the action started.

The West feed off the energy of the dunk and go on a 18-4 burst to start the game.
The East quickly cuts the lead to 18-10, but the West goes on a 30-4 run to put them up 48-14. Being that Isiah Thomas is on the coaching staff for the East, the action continues without a timeout to stop the momentum. The West continues to pour it on, draining shots from everywhere on the court and owning the offensive glass. Every miss from 3 was followed up by a strong offensive rebound and putback. Passes were crisp and on the money, whereas the East turned the ball over constantly thanks to the West's pressure defense.

The scoring is out of control as the East looks lost on the court. The West is unstoppable, constantly running off 20 point runs and causing all sorts of fits from the East's coaching staff. Isiah was seen leaving the building after the lead hits 100 at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter brings a 30-4 West run and the route is officially on. The only thing the East has to look forward too at this point is the Las Vegas style halftime show featuring the Double Dribble dancers. The West do not relent on their attack and it's decided on the West's bench to push the lead to 200 before the half. The team responds by scoring 14 points in the final 60 seconds, and achieve that goal, going into halftime leading 260-58.

The East could have called it quits but they are troopers. However in retrospect, they should have stayed in the locker room. The West rip off a 40-4 run, capped off by a vicious Dominque-like Tomahawk Jam off a fastbreak.

The crowd is in disbelief at the rout they are seeing. Some even flee to the exits in horror. The West is slowing as well as they start missing shots due to fatigue. However they push the lead to close 300 by the end of the 3rd Quarter. The East basically become walking zombies on the court in the 4th Quarter, while the West starts playing around with falling out of bounds, off the backboard jumpers and crazy passing sequences where everyone touches the ball twice in 10 seconds. It's high comedy time as the West finds a second wind with their bench players and starts to put the attack in overdrive. By the 9 minute mark of the 4th Quarter, the West reach a 400 point lead, up 494-94.

The rest of the game was spent by the West trying to hit crazy shots from half and full court. The East didn't take too kindly to the West's tactics but the West continued to humiliate the East regardless. While the West backed off the scoring a bit, they held the East in check. The East was able to break the century mark, much to the West's dismay. Final score, 559-114.

The West has already vowed next year to hit the 600 point mark while holding the East to under 100. Stay tuned to see how that plays out!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Beat boxing flute player

Ok so now that that beatboxer is through on American Idol to the top 24, it seems beatboxing is back in the limelight. Justin Timberlake is the only one recently to beat box in the public eye, but now with this guy Blake in the American Idol fold, it seems we may get more beatboxers, like this guy who beatboxes with the flute while playing the theme to Inspector Gadget.

Pretty cool i guess...although he's no Mid-Range from Showtime at the Apollo's amateur night who won multiple weeks in a row by beatboxing, playing the trumpet and rapping. Never seen a white guy get an ovation like that at the apollo. Then again, it's half white in the crowd there now, so the Apollo management is basically just a bunch of sellouts. But if I can ever find that Midrange clip I'll post it here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

View from the top

On Saturday, Paul, Ann Marie, Bridget & I played tourist. We took the NBC Studio Tour which I haven't done since Jr. High School. It was fun...went into the dateline studios and also the NBC Nightly News studio. Anyone who knows me knows I enjoyed that one, since the whole Tom Brokaw/Opie and Anthony skits are one of my favorites. I busted out a few "Tom Broke kaw, NBC, Knight ley News" that brought a few chuckles from the group. Ok, maybe only from myself. But it was funny. Trust me.

Anyway, we happened to see SNL filming one of their segments which was fun. Although we were behind the pane glass windows so couldn't hear what was going on.
Unfortunately for me no Don Pardo sightings although I did see him last time on the tour 13+ years ago, in which I blurted out "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night" in my Don Pardo voice (i have one of the best Pardo impersonations I know of - just ask Coogan). Paul got to be a volunteer to read the news from a telepromter which was funny. I passed on being a volunteer, although I could have done the weather like Ollie from Family Guy (ITS GONNA RAIN!). But I'm sure no one would've gotten the joke besides Paul and I.

Then we went over to the Top of the Rock which I hadn't been up to before. It was really cool. I like the fact that their are multiple levels to view the city from so not everyone is crammed together. Also they have plexiglass to shield the wind in certain spots which is definitely cool. You can also sit indoors and admire the view as well. I think it's actually better than the Empire State Building because a) you can see the ESB b) you have the view of Central Park. Definitely worth it. Here's some of the pics I snapped on my cell phone of the view (click for a larger albeit low res view):

Coming soon...I was recently asked by Erika what the best chicken parm place was in the city. I blurted out my favorites, Bella Napoli, Magniero's for chicken parm hero. My chicken parm, Bella Napoli, Coppola's, Tony DiNapoli's, as some of the favorites for chicken parm plates. But I want to go on a quest to find the best chicken parm in the city (much like Time Out New York did to find the best pizza). So if you know of any places or have any suggestions please let me know.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

For the Dogs

So like all of you animal lovers out there I'm sure your eyes were glued to the Westminster Kennel Club 2007 Dog Show last night on USA. With all of the Grammy and Oscar hype, the dog show gets lost in the mix a bit. Although I think its sometimes just as good of a show and some of the dogs are a lot better actors and singers too!. Would you rather hear a spaniel bark or Shakira sing? Case rested.

For those who haven't been paying attention, last night an English Springer Spaniel named James won Best in Show. And I was excited because James appears to be a normal dog and is not one of those "fashion poodles" that look like Billy Ray Cyrus with a bad mullet.

Two such poodles were in the best in show ring last night and i'm happy to report neither won! Thank god. There's nothing worse than a primped out dog scampering around the show ring saying "look at me, i'm pretty". I mean it takes hours each day just to groom these poodles. Poodles were made to retrieve waterfowl, not primp in the mirror for hours a day. But whatever floats your boat I guess.

Anyway I was pleased and shocked to see that on Monday during the group finals, my sister's dog made it into the non-sporting group! Well not her actual dog, but his breed, the good ole American Eskimo. Although I can definitely vouch my sister's dog Max is a non-sporting dog. He neither retrieves nor fetches. He is very active though, and a lot better looking than those stupid poodles.

But glad to see Eskimos are finally getting their due!

Anyway, happy Valentines Day everyone. A special shout out to my sister Abe who is celebrating her 21st today. And a big shoutout to "my significant other" Bridget on our 4 year anniversary!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Grammy Observations

So I watched the Grammy awards last night for the first time in eons. Pretty entertaining as most of the program is dedicated to actual music being played rather than 2 hour long acceptance speeches. Anyway, it was still a long program, but here are some of my observations:

Shakira is a terrible singer. I know, she's hot. And the girl can dance. But seriously she sounded terrible on the Grammys. I know she has a "distinctive" (i.e. Nasal) tone but without the help of a recording studio it sounded terrible. Maybe she should stick with belly dancing. If it wasn't for Wyclef I probably would've hit the mute button.

Smokey Robinson got some work done. I mean he's 125 years old and he looks more plastic than Ken (of Barbie fame). Now we know why his new album is called Timeless Love. Maybe he's been hanging out with Kenny Rogers too much. Hard to see from this picture but just trust me on this, he didn't look good. His eyebrows were definitely lifted something fierce.

The Dixie Chicks get on my nerves. I said it. Kudos to them I guess for winning 20 Grammys but I think that was all part of a political "we hate Bush" voting scheme drummed up by the academy. I mean everyone wants him out of the White House right...who's his biggest enemy?? You guessed it - The Dixie Chicks. I smell conspirarcy. You're gonna tell me their record and album and song was better/more popular than JTs "Sexy Back" or Chili Peppers "Dani California". I think not.

Gnarls Barkley has a great voice. But did he have to come dressed like Murdock (Kareem Abdul Jabbar's character) from Airplane? Didn't get the whole pilot look. Anyway Bridget made the observation of the night when she said Barkley looks like Slimer from Ghostbusters. I think you'd agree! (Click for a larger image and tell me what the difference is!). Did anyone check to see if he was drinking Ecto Cooler last night???

Best vocals of the night are a tie between Mary J. Blige and Christina Aguliera. Both of them belted out heart felt renditions. Both sounded great as well. Well done ladies.

John Mayer is very talented, but he needs to cut his hair. Him and Jessica Simpson are turning into freaks. Literally. Watching Mayer perform during the Grammys and seeing some of his facial reactions, he started to remind me of Edward Sissorhands.

That's a few of the comments I had so far. Enjoy your Monday. I'm Ron Burgundy?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Bears Revenge

So after the Bears dropped to the Colts in the Suuuuper Bowl, I figured I'd give Tecmo Bowl another shot to see if i can go through the season undefeated and without giving up a single point. (See the December 30th post to view the last time I tried this. Last time week 5 I was scored on, and gave up 26 total points on the season).
A daunting task I know, but I was extra amped for it considering I was going to help the Bears take revenge. Also I wanted to face the Colts in the Tecmo Bowl, to see who the real winner of the game should have been. Without further adieu, here's the results:

Week 1: vs Miami.

Miami broke the scoreless streak against the Bears in week 5 last attempt so there was plenty of revenge on the Bears minds. Sparked by that memory, Dennis Gentry returns the opening kickoff 82 years for a TD (who needs Devin Hester). That set the tone for the entire game as the Bears Defense swarmed Dan Marino and Lorenzo Hampton. Mike Singletary had 10 Interceptions. Yes, 10 interceptions in one game! Two of which were returned for TDs (25 and 18 yards). In fact Singletary had more INT return yards than Marino had passing yards. Jim McMahon was on fire all game connecting on 7 TDs, 6 of them going to fast Willie Gault who had TDs of 65, 14, 32, 45, 25 and 23 yards. Ron Morris caught the other TD pass (14) and Walter Peyton added 3 TD runs (1, 1, 13).

The result was a Tecmo Bowl record for myself 91 points!!! The final score: 91-0. My goal is still to try to hit the 100 mark vs. the computer. Hopefully one of these days I'll pull it off. But here's the proof of the 91 spot for those non believers/haters:

Week 2: vs San Francisco

Fresh off the record setting points win the Bears looked to avoid a letdown vs the 49ers. Montana was game, but the Bears defense led by Singletarys 7 INTs shut down the Montana to Rice connection. Roger Craig had 12 carries for -3 yards as the 49ers went nowhere all game. Offensively Jim McMahon continued his gunslinging ways, although he was intercepted once by Ronnie Lott. Willie Gault was once again the star hauling in 6 TDs (21, 18, 10, 23, 23 and a 38 yarder as time expired). Cap Boso hauled in 2 TDs (8, 4), Ron Morris added a 4 yard TD grab on 4th and goal and Walter Peyton punched in a 3 yard TD run as well. Final score: Bears 70-0.

Week 3: vs. NY Giants

The Giants are next up with their strong D led by the real L.T., Leonard Marshall and friends. The Bears priority was shutting down Joe Morris and they did, with Morris rushing 15 times for -7 yards. Phil Simms did no better as he was intercepted 8 times by Mike Singletary. The McMahon to Gault connection was once again lethal, combining for 7 TDs (23, 32, 18, 23, 14, 22, 27). Boso (1) and Morris (15) added TD grabs while Peyton rushed for a TD (3) and caught a TD (4). The Giants did manage to block one extra point, to keep the final score a "respectable" 76-0.

Week 4: vs Cleveland

The Browns put up 7 points on the Bears last go around in the Divisional Playoff Game (week 9). This time the Bears get the Browns earlier in the season which spelled trouble for Kosar and company. Dennis Gentry returned the opening kickoff for a TD, his second of the season. Kevin Mack was the main focus of the Bears D, and he was stuffed on the ground. However Mack did manage to break into Bears territory a few times on screen passes from Kosar, however Singletary shut the door on those drives, totaling 5 INTs on the game. Gault had a "quiet" game catching 4 TDs (48, 20, 12, 23) while Boso (3) and Morris (9) added a TD a piece. Peyton punched in a TD (2) and took a McMahon screen pass 38 yards for a TD. Final score, Bears 63-0.

Week 5: vs. Washington

Week 5 was the week the Bears' shutout string was broken last time around by the Dolphins. Doug Williams, Timmy Smith and the crew don't have the offensive firepower like the Dolphins but the D led by Dexter Manley and Darrell Green is more formidable. The Redskins D slowed down the Bears offense, and Manley picked off a McMahon pass, his 2nd INT of the season. The Redskins even blocked a 58 yard FG attempt by Matt Butler, his first attempt of the season. McMahon however was able to connect on 3 TD passes to Gault (24, 13, 11) but the game belonged to Walter Peyton who bullied his way in for 5 rushing TDs (2, 24, 3, 4, 10). The Bears put together a few long drives after forcing the Redskins to punt often. Timmy Smith had 10 carries for -4 yards as the Bears rolled, 56-0.

Week 6: vs Seattle

Week 6 brings the Seahawks as the Bears look to keep the shutout streak alive. Seattle's offense is led by Dave Kreig and Kurt Warner (RB). The Bears focus their attention on stopping Warner and they deliver, holding him to 15 carries for -5 yards. Singletary gobbles up 7 Kreig passes for INTs as he blanketed Steve Largent all game. Gault catches 5 TDs from McMahon (35, 13, 21, 11, 33) while Morris adds 2 TDs (1, 13). Peyton punches in 2 TDs from 2 and 10 yards as the Bears roll again, 63-0.

Week 7: vs LA Raiders

Last time around, the Bears faced the Raiders in the Tecmo Bowl and the Raiders gave them fits scoring 13 points and holding the Bears to 45. The Bears remember that game well and switch their game plan a bit to focus the Defense on the secondary led by Dave Duerson, leaving Singletary to focus on Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen. Gentry nearly returns his 3rd opening kickoff for a TD, getting tripped up at the Raiders 4, leading to a 4 yard Peyton TD rush. Bo Jackson gets hammered all game, as the Raiders tried to pound Bo up the middle to no avail. Bo's total: 16 carries for -14 yards. Ouch. Marcus Allen meanwhile only carries the ball once, a 3 yard gain. With Bo shut down, Duerson went to work in the secondary picking off 8 of Jay Schroeder's passes. Duerson had one key interception while the Raiders were driving deep into Bears territory to keep the shutout streak alive. That INT was followed by a Walter Peyton 54 yard scamper, setting up a Peyton 3 yard TD run. Peyton later added another 3 yard TD run his third of the game. McMahon was efficient in the air, tossing 5 TDs to Gault (16, 5, 14, 10 and a 32 yarder as time expired). Morris caught a TD (10) and Peyton took a screen pass 12 yards for a TD as the final score was Bears 70-0.

Week 8: Denver Broncos

With the Raiders out of the way, the Bears needed to stay sharp as Elway and the three amigos were next on the list. Gentry was up to his old tricks again, this time returning the opening kickoff 70 yards for a TD, his 3rd of the season. However, Denver's offense was certainly potent enough to break the scoreless streak and they nearly did, driving into Bears territory several times during the game. However Singletary was up to the task as he intercepted Elway 3 times during the game, twice in Bears territory. The Bears shut down Elway and the offense the rest of the game, forcing 5 Broncos punts. Tony Dorsett went nowhere either as he had 20 carries for -14 yards. The Bears were forced to put together long drives all game, as McMahon was forced to check down over the middle due to blanket coverage on Willie Gault. McMahon was frustrated into throwing an INT on the goalline by Rulon Jones stopping one Bears drive. However McMahon was able to hit Gault (1) and Morris (3) for short TD passes and McMahon notched his 1st rushing TD of the season on a 1 yard QB sneak. Peyton added two short TD runs (1, 2) as the Bears won 42-0.

Week 9: vs Minnesota

The Bears are two games away from acheiving their perfect season without giving up a point. The Minnesota offense isn't the most potent, led by Anthony Carter (WR) and Darren Nelson (RB). Tommy Kramer (QB) was effective but not as deadly as Elway. Carter however was a dangerous return man. The Vikings D was tough all game, led by Chris Doleman. They shut down Gault, forcing the Bears to concentrate on short passes and the ground game. McMahon hits Boso (9) and Morris (10) for TD passes while Peyton has a good game on the ground connecting on 4 TD runs (17, 2, 6, 1). McMahon even runs for a 4 yard TD. The Bears contain the Vikings all game with Singletary notching 4 INTs. However it was a missed INT by Singletary in the 4th Quarter that set up a long completion from Kramer to his TE Jordan putting the Vikings deep in Bears territory. The Bears focus on Nelson, but he's able to bust through the line and break two tackles en route to a 25 yard TD scamper, ending the Bears scoreless streak at 27 Quarters. The Bears block the extra point in frustration. The Bears respond with a TD of their own but Anthony Carter nearly returns the ensuing kickoff the distance. A Kevin Butler shoe string tackle saves the TD, stopping Carter on the Bears 30. The Bears D stiffens and forces a 4 and out to save any further points from being scored. The Bears tack on a 53 yard FG from Butler as time expires to notch a 52-6 victory.

TECMO BOWL: vs. Indianapolis

Well, look what matchup we have here. Bears vs. Colts. A chance for revenge for the Superbowl XLI loss. The Bears were fired up thanks to their scoreless streak ending. But they weren't about to take the Colts lightly. Gentry ignited the team returning the opening kickoff 75 yards for a TD, his 4th of the season. McMahon was patient all game although he was intercepted once by Jon Hand. McMahon tossed TD passes to Boso (2), Morris (19) and a pair to Gault (12, 13). Peyton found room to run en route to 3 TD rushes (20, 2, 7). Singletary and the D put the breaks on Eric Dickerson, holding him to 22 carries for -11 yards. Singletary picked off three Trudeau passes as the Bears forced the Colts to punt 7 times. The Bears ended a Colts drive late in the 4th Quarter and the McMahon to Gault 13 yarder with 3 seconds left but the Bears up 49-0. It appeared that would do it as the Colts kick returner Albert Bentley was not the most premier kick returner. The Bears were celebrating on the sideline as Bentley marched upfield, somehow breaking three tackles and eluding a tackle from Butler. Bentley broke two more tackles and to the horror of the Bears fans and special teams coach was able to avoid getting tackled at the 10 to take the kickoff 103 yards for a TD as time expired! Unreal. The Bears had only given up 6 points until the last second of the game until a miracle type return by the Colts made the final score 49-7. The Bears were excited to get revenge on the Colts but certainly steaming mad about the ending and vow revenge on the Colts next season.

On the season, the Bears outscore their opponents 698-13. That's a 25 point improvement over last year, while giving up 13 less points. Pretty good, but again, a few tackles away from going through the season with a shutout.

However we'll leave it up to you guys to vote on the Bears MVP for the season. Is it:

Mike Singletary
58 INTs (10 in one game)
2 INTs for TD.

Dennis Gentry
4 opening kickoff returns for a TD

Jim McMahon
65 TDS
5 INTs
2 TD runs

Willie Gault
45 TD Receptions

Walter Peyton
27 TD rushes
3 TD receptions

Dave Duerson
8 INTs in one game

Vote now by posting your comments to this article!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Text to Speech

So got this link forwarded to me the other day. Pretty cool. It's a text to speech converter.

The link to the site is here:

Basically you type in any text you want, hit "Say It" and the voice on the screen will respond with your saying.

It's available in many languages, including: English (both american and british accents), Chinese, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, French, etc.

It's good for some mild amusement, especially if you want to type in "Dirty Words" - not that i'd ever do such a thing.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"Sioux Per Bowl Party"

So my annual Sooper Bowl party came and went and a good time was had by all. The wings were flying, the burgers frying and cupcakes all around! And I'm happy to report I wasn't in violation of NFL rules since I:

A) Didn't show the game on a screen larger than 44" (my measley tv is only 27")

B) Didn't charge my guests at the door to make profit off the event. (although by conducting a "pool" of boxes I probably violated some NFL laws.)

Confused by why I'm mentioning this? Well perhaps you didn't see the news regarding the NFL and Churches.


There was a big story last week in which a few churches were promoting "Souper Bowl" parties at their churches on a big screen. Apparently the NFL Nazi police saw a promotion for the party and threw a hissy fit (I guess they want people to watch in their OWN households to drive ratings up, rather than having 50 people watch on one tv.) The NFL rules prohibit such gatherings that promote the event without the prior blessing of the NFL, even within houses of worship. Cause you know the NFL is more powerful than GOD.


For groups that want to host Super Bowl parties -- other than sports bars and businesses that normally show televised sports -- here are rules the NFL says must be followed:

• No admission fees (even to pay for snacks).

• Only one television (55 inches or smaller).

• No use of the words "Super Bowl" in promotional materials.

• No exhibition of the game in connection with events "that promote a message."

So luckily I was in the clear with my annual party. Although Bridget wrote Super Bowl XLI on the cake so I guess she's in clear violation of NFL rules. Let me call the commissioner now and plead for her mercy. If they want to confiscate the rest of the cake they can, although we'll just smear the icing so they'll have no proof it was written!

From now on I'm refering to it as the Sioux Per Bowl party...although I'm sure Sioux Indians will take offense to that. So I'll go with Soup Per Bowl...although I'm sure Cambells and Progresso will sue me for illegal use of Soup in a promotion. So I guess I'm on to Repus Lwob party....although then I'm sure the Dyslexia Society of America will sue me for taking their name. So how bout I call it "My annual party in which my friends gather around a television set no larger than 55" to eat my famous wings, drink their favorite beverages and watch a 4 hour set of non amusing commercials and a contest between two teams from certain cities that play a sport involving a oblong pigskin with laces". I think that works, right NFL?