Friday, March 30, 2007

No spoon for you!

So, I go to buy some Chicken Noodle Soup (not for the soul but for my throat) from Silo Cafe yesterday (which is simply been packed to the hilt recently thanks to its vast array of culinary options including a build your own pasta station, pizza, hot sandwiches, cold sandwiches, salad bar, build a salad, sushi bar and other treats. Shameless plug I know. But honestly the place doesn't need a plug. Its hopping!). Anyway I return to my desk and take out said soup. I dig into the bag and pull out a fork.

No spoon for me!

Wait...fork? No spoon? Umm...Oswipe? Fork? Thanks...thanks alot. Good thing we have spoons here if not i'd be bobbing for noodles. Actually I ended up pretty much just drinking down the broth anyway. But still, even a spork would've been useful.

Anyway, I'm sure our friends across the pond saw this...but the rest of us may have not. This guy skiied down the longest escalator in the London Tube.

Nearly a million people have watched this video already. God bless the internet. Makes you famous in a nanosecond. Although his stunt has drawn outrage from British officials and British media, deeming it "dangerous" and "life threatening". I happen to think the stunt was cool...although why would you want to ruin a pair of skis that way? Anyway, I won't condemn the stunt because I've videotaped myself skiing before. Although unlike him I didn't have a helmet cam. Nor was I hurtling full speed down an escalator. What would have been funnier is if he knocked some people over on his way down. But I'm sure what you don't see is people being held back from the scene for safety. You mean to tell me no one was on the escalator? I think my favorite part is the looks he gets from people. Like what the hell is this bloody wanker doing with skis on in the tube.

I'm sure we'll have tons of copycat stunts around the world now. Actually there's a pretty long subway escalator on the E/F train transfer at 51st Street. Maybe this guy can ski down that! Although since that's been there, done that, how about someone attempt to jump over the Great Wall of China on a skateboard? Or jump off the Empire State Building with a parachute?

Uh hmm...Dr. Evil. That too also has happened.

Shit. Throw me a frieken bone here people, ok? I'm the boss...need the info.

Ok, so how bout this. Has anyway ever skied down one of the pyramids in Egypt??? Anyone? Huh? Thought so!

Of course I don't want to take the blame if someone actually does that stunt. But would be hellacool to see!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

No better feeling there a better feeling than going to your office bathroom early in the morning to take your morning shit and the seat hasn’t been used yet? I mean really, there’s nothing better than taking the first shit of the day on a toilet. The bowl is all clean and pristine and inviting. The seat has a nice coolness to it (I think the worst feeling is sitting on an already used, warm toilet seat not even knowing how many asses have sat down before you). I think taking the first shit on an unused toilet is the most underrated, underappreciated feeling a man can have. I’d argue the same would apply to women, since you make your livelihood sitting (or squatting). Much like men, I’m sure you’d like to have first piss sitting. Correct me if I’m wrong here?

Getting the "all clear" sign that the seat hasn't been used yet today!

Anyway, the subways have been absolutely atrocious the last few days thanks to that building collapse I guess. Although they have been more packed than usual for some reason. Going down to racquetball on Tuesday I had to wait for two 6 trains at 33rd before I even had a shot at getting on. And last night I was going to walk to the bar which was about 25 blocks away, but being that my legs were still sore from playing I’d take the train. Um, yeah, ain’t gonna happen. Couldn’t fight my way onto two straight trains. Ridiculous. Plus I lacked the arm strength to push people out of my way. So instead of starting fights and getting frustrated, I got out and walked.

Yes, walked. Perhaps some of you lazy assholes don’t know that concept but walking is when you put one foot in front of the other and move forward (or backward). But even though the weather has been warm it seems less people want to walk and just cram into the subways to go 3-4 stops to their homes. Which leads me no choice but to enact “nice weather” rules for the subway in effect IMMEDIATELY.

The rules are: if the weather is reasonable 60+ degrees (f) and there’s no inclement weather (i.e. rain, gusty wind, dust storm, etc) and your commute is less than 30 blocks and you are without physical or mental limitations to do so, your ass is barred from taking the subway. Exception to those who have to take the subway to transfer or those who are in an extreme rush to get to their destination (i.e. dinner reservation, theatre, pick up your pet, house is on fire, etc) anyone traveling within a 30 block radius must walk. Save the space for those who have longer commutes or have someplace urgent to be.

Why does this rule make sense? Because by the time you fight to get in the subway and take the subway 3-4 stops (approx 30 blocks) and factoring in the typical rush-hour delays in service, you figure that ride door to door will take about 20-25 minutes on average. Now, if you walked home, say that at a leisurely pace you can walk a block a minute (quick walkers like myself can knock out blocks in about 30-40 seconds). If you averaged a block a minute, 30 blocks would mean you’d be home in 30 minutes. So that would be a five minute difference. And you know what, walking that mile or so is healthier for you and you’ll feel better about yourself, especially since you didn’t spend 20 minutes getting someone’s bag shoved up your ass while you hung on desperately to a pole for balance with your pinky finger. Make’s sense right? For those fat asses who need further motivation, think of the Twinkie you can rip into when you get home as a reward.

For those needing motivation, think of the Twinkies lining the sidewalk on your way home

So next time you’re gonna hop on the subway at Grand Central and get off at 68 street, think again. Your precious $1.5 million one-bedroom apartment isn’t going anywhere. So what if your maid steals some of your jewelry. You’re probably rich enough to afford more anyway.

In other news, in case you didn’t see this, Eddie Griffin (the comedian) crashed a $1.5 million dollar Enzo Ferrari while practicing for a movie.

Watching the video it looks like he drove straight into the wall. Whether he lost control or if this was just a glorified publicity stunt we’ll never know. But this is what bothered me the most about the story:

“The Enzo, valued at around $1.5 million, was owned by the executive producer of ‘Redline,’ Daniel Sadek, whose exotic car collection is featured in the movie the director of the movie made...Only 400 Ferrari Enzos were ever produced, all between 2002 and 2004.”

Griffin standing next to the Ferrari he wrecked

Ok let me get this straight. You own an exotic car that is very rare in quantity and you allow a “B” actor at best with presumably no real race car driving experience to “test drive” a $1.5 million dollar Ferrari out of your own personal collection?? If this is a marketing ploy to increase sales at the box office was it worth it to crash a car that was only produced 400 times? I mean really…the fuckin $10 million your movie is gonna make at the box office is not worth wrecking a Ferrari. The stunt worked in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for shock value...but its not like they publicized the hell out of that scene before the movie came out.

I say we all boycott this movie (“Redline”) just because of the stupidity of the stunt. I’m not saying the crash was definitely intentional…but it doesn’t look like Griffin made much effort to steer the car away from the barrier. And I love Griffin’s pose in the picture above. It looks like he’s proud of what he did. Good job Eddie and Daniel...way to piss off all exotic car enthusiasts. Hope your movie goes well for you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sauget DOES NOT equal Heaven.

Figures. On a night where I wanted an easy match I get a tough one. I knew it was gonna be tough because I couldn’t loosen up. No matter how I stretched my shoulder was still tight. It affected my backhand tremendously. That and the guy I played was in his mid 20s and quick as hell. So any passing shot I hit he got. Any ceiling shot I hit to move him backwards he was fast enough to get back for. I really felt my age last night, which was kind of disappointing. I know I haven’t played in a long time so I’m still rusty. But you know that feeling when you know you’re better than someone but you lose anyway? I guess maybe Al Gore knows how I feel. Da-dum-dum. Hey-oh!

Ok. So I have a confession to make. Apparently I was wrong. Sauget, IL does not equal Heaven as I previously stated. In fact it looks like it's the exact opposite based on this description:

"This is Sauget, Illinois. I mean that literally. Aside from a small knot of trailers and small houses just south of here, this is the entire town. East St. Louis's neighbor to the south is nothing more than a refinery that spews pollutants at the city's inhabitants day and night and gives them zero tax revenue in return. "

Ouch, so I guess I should adjust my statement then. I mean Sauget does have its good qualities. Apparently they are all for free enterprise. And they are very pro business. But I’m going to adjust my statement nonetheless.

Heaven = The Gateway Grizzlies.

That's more appropriate given that
a) the team’s owner/marketing department invented the burger not the town
b) Gateway can be identified as the gateway to heaven.

So my apologies to the residents of Sauget, IL. Didn’t mean to anoint you “holy status”! Sainthood has been reserved for the Gateway Grizzlies.

In other news, I went out to take a walk during the 70 degree day we had yesterday and I went to one of my favorite lunch spots (no, not the strip club or the bar) Madison Square Park. Being that I used to work one block away from the park (and now work 8 blocks away) I took the leisurely stroll and grabbed a Roast Beef & Muenster sandwich from my old eating haunt 80 Deli. I went over to the park and as you could imagine the benches were jammed with people. So I sat on the outskirts of the park on 26th between Madison and 5th.

I sat in the middle of this row of 5 benches and the guy at the end was sitting smoking a cigar. I looked more closely to what I thought was a pet sitting next to him. It was a squirrel. Sitting on the bench. No more than one foot away from him. And the man was hand feeding the squirrel. I’ve seen people feed squirrels before but never one that’s sitting next to you on a bench.

The squirrel took his morsel and ran away. Minutes later the squirrel hops back on the bench and checks the man again. He’s out of food so what does the squirrel do but hop on over to me. He sits next to me and looks up at me. I talk to him (because you know squirrels speak too) and say Hey Buddy, you want some food? What happened next was crazy. The squirrel hopped off the bench and sat in front of me. He got on his hind legs and lifted his two front paws in the air begging for food! Insane. I’ve never seen a squirrel actually beg for food before. They must be taking clues off the dogs in the park.

I went to grab my camera phone but that spooked him off. So I took out a piece of Smartfood Popcorn I was eating (the White Cheddar flavor is good stuff) and held it out. He came scurrying over and sat in front of me. I tossed him the piece and he took it and sat against the tree nibbling away.

A friendly, begging squirrel enjoying some Smartfood White Cheddar popcorn I fed him

The bastard pigeons must have saw this and came swooping down around the bench. And you wonder why I want my hunting license! After successfully shooing the pigeons away another squirrel came over. I fed him said popcorn but alas he wasn’t a fan.

Anyway, that was crazy. I can’t believe a squirrel begged for food in front of me. Good for the squirrels, they’ve come a long way. Perhaps I’ll need to get one as a pet!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Return to the other hardwood

Continuing with my ambition to get in better shape before my 30th bday, last night I made my vaunted return to the hardwood of the 4 walled kind. Yep, after a several year layoff, I have returned to the competitive racquetball circuit, having sucked up my long standing boycott of NYHR&C (New York Health & Racquet Club) to join their racquetball ladder. Why the boycott. Well why have Racquet in your name if all of your courts formerly used for racquetball have been turned into spinning classes and yoga studios? Anyway, being I’d have to travel to the armpit of Brooklyn (Canarsie) or up to Jonkers (Yonkers) to play, I decided to bite the bullet and join the evil empire of NYHR&C (I did NOT however sign up for membership, thank you. Paying enough just to play racquetball).

For those who don't know I played collegiate racquetball for three years at Marist College. Yes, we had a team and yes we had a league, competing in the ECRC (Eastern Collegiate Racquetball Conference). Here's an article from the mecca of journalistic integrity "The Circle" to prove we had a team!

Marist has since lost their team, thanks in part to the sports medicine department ripping down the courts to build a new state of the art training and medical facility for the other "student athletes". But back in the day we were very competitive in racquetball, playing the likes of Army, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Providence, RPI and national champion Nichols College, among others. We mostly played on the road since we only had two terrible courts at Marist, so part of the perks of playing were road trips to Happy Valley, Providence College, West Point and Albany. Plus we had no coach, so no one to really breathe down our necks. Not to say competition wasn't intense, but we had a more relaxed attitude during the events since we were flying solo. Think of it as VCU going in as a team without a coach to play Duke w/ coach K.

I played singles and doubles at Marist. Our doubles team (Nick Kost & I) were known as "Air Marist" due to our bodies flying all over the court to get the ball. (See the below articles for more info about "Air Marist"). Most of our matches had blood delays and I can't think of a match where our knees weren't bloodied from diving on the floor. If our dive count wasn't high that meant we probably weren't in the match. Of course that's led to permanent scarring on my knees and legs but at the time it was well worth it!).

"Air Marist" getting some ink

I played some semi-pro after college at a league in Brooklyn but once I moved out of Brooklyn there went that league. So now, 4 years later I decided to make my return to the sport I once loved. NYHR&C has a ladder system where you can move up and down the ranks. Instead of throwing myself to the wolves right away, I inserted myself into the B division for now. The divisions are Open (the top level, next level down from professional), A division (excellent players who don’t necessary want to play Open ball), B division (advanced players), C (intermediate) and D (beginners). Due to my past experience I’m starting the season ranked #20 in both the Whitehall Street location and 56th Street location brackets.

I got to the courts an hour early last night to warm up and hit a little before my match. The pro met me at the court to introduce himself and we watched a match going on between two A level players. He told me my opponent tonight was one of the better players in the league at the B level. Watching these A players I could tell they were definitely great players. But watching them I got a feeling I could hang with them, especially being I used to play against the best players in the country.

After their match was done, I went into the court to warm up. Can you spell rusty? I was as rusty as a pier in the Brooklyn Navy Yards. Every ball I was hitting was waste high coming back (for those who don’t know the game well in racquetball you want to keep the ball low as possible to “kill” the point). After about 5 minutes I finally got my stroke back and was hitting the ball a little better. Suddenly there was a knock on the door and it was one of the A division players I was just watching. He wanted to have a match with me. Mind you, my official match wasn’t starting for another 30 minutes but being that stamina is a big issue having not played in 4 years, I was asking for trouble if I overextended myself. Anyway, being that I can’t back down from a challenge I took the offer for the match. Might as well just jump right in right?

One thing I noticed is I had a lot more power than him. My racquet (E-Force) is a heavy hitters racquet but lacks control (my other racquets are more control and less power). Granted these racquets are 5+ years old so I’m sure they’ve made a lot better advancements in the racquet technology (side note: later on in the evening one guy commented that my racquet was a relic and the “top of its game” during its heyday. Ouch). Anyway, I held my own against this fellow but I was more concerned about getting my court awareness back (positioning, angles, etc). There were a few shots I messed up but that was ok with me because the idea was there. We played a match to 15 and I ended up losing 15-5. I played myself out of a lot of points with bad shots that gave him easy shots. But overall not bad considering I wasn’t playing full tilt yet and that I was basically starting from scratch.

A few minutes later I go back into the court to take a few more shots and the other player from the match I was watching wants a match. Jesus, maybe it was a conspiracy by the guy I was supposed to play to wear me down before our match. Nonetheless this guy was apparently the top player in the entire league so I wanted to see where I stood against him. Again, I hung in there with him scoring a few points on my forehand and backhand much to his surprise. We played to 11 and the score was 11-6. I had a bunch of unforced errors which ultimately did me in. But I was happy that I was playing better. I definitely pushed myself a little more during that match knowing he was the best player in the league and wanted to put on a good showing.

My match finally showed up and I was gassed a little at that point. But I figured that if I could hang with the best player in our league, I could definitely hang with someone in my own division. Much to my dismay though my opponent was a fellow lefty (I’ve made my living playing against righties as a lefty – a definite advantage for me). So now my whole gameplan was shot to shit because I really don’t have a good serve to lefties and all of my passing shots would basically have to go to the other side of the court.

The first few points were hard to come by for both of us as we adjusted to each other’s playing styles. After being down 4-1 I went on a mini-run to make the score 8-4. We traded points but eventually I pulled ahead 13-6. I was killing him with ceiling shots, which basically consist of hitting the ball off the ceiling, having it take a high bounce and backing the opponent up all the way to the back wall. Shots like that are defensive shots that allow you to establish court position. Although if your ceiling shot is off it leaves your opponent with a chance to make a kill shot. Anyway, I don’t think he was ready for those shots and I was putting them on his backhand which made it even harder for him. Final score of set one, 15-9.

We took a quick break and I was definitely out of stream having played hard to put him away in the 1st set. The second set my footwork abandoned me like a red headed stepchild and I began to make unforced errors. I battled for points but he was getting great bounces off the wall on his serve (the ball was basically dying off the wall making the ball unhittable). After giving up 7 straight points I finally smoked a backhand to get back on serve. I went on a mini-run to make the score 7-3. However another error gave him the ball back and a few more unhittable serves coupled with some great shots by him pretty much was the set. I went for more kill shots than ceiling shots which was definitely a bad strategy since my shots were off a bit due to fatigue. Set two went to him 15-5.

In hindsight I should have called a timeout but wasn’t sure how these guys would take to that. So I basically just sucked it up on the court and was completely spent. I guzzled down a bottle of water between the 2nd and 3rd set knowing that I needed to get something back.

The start of the 3rd set was much like the second set for me. I went down early 4-0. Finally I got a second wind and rattled him with a mix up in serves (I started serving to his forehand which threw him off). After battling back to 4-4, he went on a run to make it 8-4. Instead of going for more kill shots I decided to switch back to a defensive game like set 1. Using ceiling shots and passing shots, I was able to hang in and cut the lead to 8-7. Back and forth we went as eventually he took a 13-8 lead. At this point I knew I had to step it up a notch if I wanted to win the match. I started taking to the air much like the days of yore and hit a few beautiful diving shots to win points. I got more aggressive and played up front on the court, forcing him to try to hit the ball past me instead of playing back and letting him put touch shots on the wall. The tactic worked as a cut the score to 13-12. After just missing a kill shot he got his serve back and scored a quick point to go up 14-12. At this point I thought that win or lose I played great and I’ve officially gotten back into the game and only stamina and lazy feet because of being tired were my downfalls. I got the serve back and ripped off a nasty serve for an ace to make it 14-13. The next point went on for a good 2 minutes back and forth but finally I was able to make a diving backhand in the frontcourt that just was out of his reach to tie it up at 14. Laying on the floor I smiled knowing that getting down and dirty was just what I need to pump myself up.

I tried to put him away with a drive serve but the serve was long (hit the back wall first). Next serve left too much of the ball for him to hit and he killed it to get his serve back. Fortunately for me I broke his serve and got my serve back. Back and forth we went for 4 points as we both laughed each time serve was broken. It was truly a spirited match and win or lose it was definitely a good battle. He was on serve and we had a volley going. He hit a ceiling shot to back me up but the ball came down short in front of me. I had two options. Hit a ceiling shot right back or go for a kill. I decided to go for the kill. Bad decision. The ball missed the corner by inches and skipped short. I let out a frustrated yell and then laughed knowing that was my fault. Third set goes to him, 15-14.

We leave the court and he tells me that’s the best match he’s had in 3 years. Since that’s the only match I’ve had in 5 years I tell him the same to some laughter. I packed up my bag and got more water and much to my surprise he went right to the pro to tell him how good the match was. I definitely took that as a compliment knowing that he was one of the better players in my division.
If I could hang with him and almost beat him, I have a decent shot to move up the ranks quickly.

Tonight I have match #2. My knee is a little sore from diving on the floor and my muscles are tight. But you bet your ass I’m gonna go in that court tonight and try to smoke my opponent like a hash pipe. Either that or I’ll need to smoke up afterwards to relieve all of the muscle pain.

P.S. Sorry for the “not funny blog” but who said all of my blog postings had to be funny?? :)

Monday, March 26, 2007

It sucks to blow

Not in the way you're thinking. Sometimes it sucks to blow your nose. As in when your nose is really dry and then because of that dryness, after you blow your nose it starts bleeding profusely. Not that this has happened to me oh in the last 15 minutes or anything.

Anyway, now that I've stopped doing my best Gerry Cooney impersonation, and continuing on this theme of "disgustingness", I got an email from one of my friends this morning (his name will remain anonymous for the sake of everyone involved and for the sake of his own safety). But those of us who know him know he's very crude in his description of things...much more crude than even me! (hard to believe, i know). Anyway he's given us some doozy stories over the years, but I don't think anything tops this mornings email we got from him. It left me shaking my head. Had it come from someone else it would be hard to believe, but coming from him, nothing shocks me anymore. So read the following at your own accord.

WARNING: THIS IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. EXTREMELY SICK SCENE COMING AHEAD. Remember, I didn't say it so don't hold it against me!

"Last week, I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico for training. While out there, I was showering and had to take a shit. Now, most people would wait to get out of the shower and then shit, which I have done many times. The only problem with that is the fact that my ass would not be clean. So, I decided to shit in the shower. Anyone try that before? I've heard about it before and never tried it, especially in my shower. But, I figured I was in NM and figured, what the fuck? So here I am, standing and shitting, in the shower. I was a bit excited to do this and try it. For you who have thought about doing this before but never tried it, here are my thoughts. While standing and shitting, it took a bit to come out as I was not on the bowl. After it came out, I felt good. Until the smell hit. Fuck, did it stink. Showering is supposed to be this beautiful cleansing time without any issues, but the smell was almost unbearable. In a toilet, the smell is contained in the bowl. In a shower, the smell is contained in the shower. Anyways, I squished the shit down the drain with my toes, which afterwards, had to be properly cleaned. So, needless to say, I would not recommend shitting in the shower. I should have waited til I was done showering to shit in the bowl. The only saving grace about shitting in the shower was that my ass was clean after shitting!"


Oh man. Could you imagine finding this in your email inbox first thing on a Monday morning? I won't even attempt to analyze what he said.

Once I get my appetite back I'm going to grab lunch. Although next time I shower I may not help but laugh. And then be totally disgusted. And then laugh :)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Heaven = Sauget, Illinois

Ok, so why wasn’t I informed of this sooner?? Friends? You out there? No one heard about this? Apparently there’s a minor league team in Illinois (Independent League) that has a themed food item every year they sell in their concession stands. Last year the team had a burger called “Baseball’s Best Burger” which was a burger topped w/ cheddar and bacon. Before you think that's ordinary, the bun was no ordinary bun. It was a…….drumroll please…..sliced Krispy Kreme donut! That’s what I’m talking bout! Use this link to view the story about the Krispy Kreme burger.

"Baseball's Best Burger" with a Krispy Kreme for a Bun!

In past years this minor league outfit has used unusual food items to draw crowds to their games. In the past few years they have had themed hotdogs. In 05 they had a concoction called a “Swiss Brat”, which was a Brat w/ melted swiss cheese and sauerkraut. In 2004, they launched their themed food tradition with “Baseball’s Best Hotdog”, a black angus hot dog with bacon, onions and cheese sauce. As Rachel Gay would say, “Yum-O!”

So for this year the team decided to go after my own heart. They are using a term dubbed “Baseball’s Best Sliders”. But they are not just using any old ground beef or a frozen "Topps" patty. Nope. They are using a WHITE CASTLE burger!!! (those who read this blog know that's my favorite). As if just serving the White Castle burger wasn’t enough, they are battering the burger and deep frying it!!! (unfortunately they’re not wrapping it in a pepperoni pizza like Taco Town does).

Could you imagine how good this must taste? Well, the folks at CNBC had a platter of the fried White Castles in their studio for a taste test. Darren Rovell, one of their reporters, put together the story on his blog, Sports Biz. Click the image below to view the article and video of the segment they did on the air with a taste test.

I may have to make a side trip to Sauget when I make a trip out to Sparta, IL either this summer or in August. They only make them in small batches each game so I’ll make sure I’m first in line. Although not sure if I’ll be able to polish off these bad boys like I do regular White Castle’s, especially since they’re estimating 600 calories and 40 grams of fat per serving (two burgers). Could you imagine trying to polish off a Crave Case? That shit would be insane. If you got a Crave Case (30 pack) of these deep fried sliders, the caloric count would be 9,000 calories, 600 grams of fat! Awesome! At least if I drop dead on the spot due to my arties clogging, I’ll be dying in “heaven”.

Anyway, time to gear up for more NCAA basketball action this weekend. If last night's game were any indication, we're in for some nail biters this weekend!


Thursday, March 22, 2007

If The Food's So Bad For You, Then How Come There's No Fat Chinese People in Chinese Restaurants???

First off...what did I say about a Bialy??? It needs to be TOASTED and crispy. Not soft and mushy. For fuck's sake. My tomato was crispier than my bialy. Thanks a lot for ruining my breakfast assholes.

Ok...onto today's topic du jour. I'm not saying there's NO fat chinese people in this world, but isn't it EXTREMELY rare to find a fat chinese person working in a chinese food restaurant or take out joint? Think about it. It's not like John Pinette is behind the counter making your Moo Goo Gai Pan.

If Pinette worked at a Chinese food restaurant would he look more like Bruce Lee?

The reason behind this question you ask? Well, just came across this doozy of a story from the associated press:

Chinese Restaurant Food Called Unhealthy
Study Casts Critical Eye at Typical Menu
AP WASHINGTON (March 21) - The typical Chinese restaurant menu is a sea of nutritional no-nos, a consumer group has found.

A plate of General Tso's chicken, for example, is loaded with about 40 percent more sodium and more than half the calories an average adult needs for an entire day. The battered, fried chicken dish with vegetables has 1,300 calories, 3,200 milligrams of sodium and 11 grams of saturated fat. That's before the rice (200 calories a cup). And after the egg rolls (200 calories and 400 milligrams of sodium).

"I don't want to put all the blame on Chinese food," said Bonnie Liebman, nutrition director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which did a report released Tuesday. "Across the board, American restaurants need to cut back on calories and salt, and in the meantime, people should think of each meal as not one, but two, and bring home half for tomorrow," Liebman said.

The average adult needs around 2,000 calories a day and 2,300 milligrams of salt, which is about one teaspoon of salt, according to government guidelines. In some ways, Liebman said, Italian and Mexican restaurants are worse for your health, because their food is higher in saturated fat, which can increase the risk of heart disease.

While Chinese restaurant food is bad for your waistline and blood pressure - sodium contributes to hypertension - it does offer vegetable-rich dishes and the kind of fat that's not bad for the heart. However - and this is a big however - the veggies aren't off the hook. A plate of stir-fried greens has 900 calories and 2,200 milligrams of sodium. And eggplant in garlic sauce has 1,000 calories and 2,000 milligrams of sodium.

"We were shocked. We assumed the vegetables were all low in calories," Liebman said. Also surprising were some appetizers: An order of six steamed pork dumplings has 500 calories, and there's not much difference, about 10 calories per dumpling, if they're pan-fried.

The group found that not much has changed since it examined Chinese food 15 years ago. That's not all bad, Liebman said. "We were glad not to find anything different," she said. "Some restaurant food has gotten a lot worse. Companies seem to pile on. Instead of just cheesecake, you get coconut chocolate chip cheesecake with a layer of chocolate cake, and lasagna with meatballs."

The group says there is no safe harbor from sodium on the Chinese restaurant menu, but it offers several tips for making a meal healthier:

Look for dishes that feature vegetables instead of meat or noodles. Ask for extra broccoli, snow peas or other veggies.

Steer clear of deep-fried meat, seafood or tofu. Order it stir-fried or braised.

Hold the sauce, and eat with a fork or chopsticks to leave more sauce behind.

Avoid salt, which means steering clear of the duck sauce, hot mustard, hoisin sauce and soy sauce.

Share your meal or take half home for later.

Ask for brown rice instead of white rice.

Wait...did you just tell me that my order of Steamed Dumplings is 600 calories and it's only another 60 calories if I get them fried???? Are you fuckin kidding me? All these years I've been going steamed cause I thought it was heathlier? Fuck that...fry those bitches for me from now on. Shit, for an extra 60 calories I'll walk around my apartment a few more times to burn it off. And you want me to lay off the duck sauce?? Yeah, right. Egg roll meet Duck Sauce. Duck Sauce meet Egg Roll. Plus have these people ever eaten brown rice??? It sucks. No flavor. It only has flavor when you add Soy Sauce.

Egg rolls are a lonely bunch without duck sauce

And that comment about eating your food with a fork or chopstix to help leave sauce behind? When’s the last time you saw someone take the plate to their mouth and pour the General Tso’s chicken down their throat? Am I missing something here? I’ve never eaten Chinese food with a spoon unless it was Wonton soup…and even then its hard to grab the Wontons and pork on your spoon. How else would you eat the fucking food? I understand the whole "sauce on the side" thing. I get it. But the eat with a fork or chopstix to leave sauce behind...what the fuck does that mean?

You know what I think….this is uncovering a conspiracy by the Chinese to get the Americans fat and lazy with their food so we won’t pay any attention to them until they have taken over the world! Americans will drop dead from all of the fat and sodium in Chinese food, which is by far the most popular type of food in America. Plus in light of the recent regulation of fast food restaurants, you don’t see Chinese take out restaurants having to alter their menus with dehydrogenated oil or whatever that shit was that McDonalds needed to switch too to make their food “healthier”. Am I right? I didn’t see the Wok N Roll come under scrunity like McDs, Wendy’s or KFC did. I think our government is in on this too. Yep, the U.S. government secretly wants us all to drop dead so they too can share worldwide domination with the Chinese. Need proof? Look at Hillary Clinton’s confirmation name. Don’t know it? Her full name is Hillary M. Rodham Clinton. The M? Stands for Ming. As in Ming Dynasty.

Hillary with her "secret" Chinese liasons plotting to take over the world

So what else isn’t the government telling us? There has to be more to the story right? The answer is YES (said in a Marv Albert, Ewing just hit a jumper and got fouled giving the Knicks the lead in the 4th quarter of game 7 of the NBA Finals voice).

Being that I'm a sleuth, I've decided to be proactive and do some "classified research". Thanks to a few sources, some threatening now that I’m a licensed hunter and a few boxes of Twinkies as bribes, here's some of the surprising facts that our friends in the guberment aren't telling us about calorie consumption (WARNING: THIS INFORMATION IS EXTREMELY CONFIDENTIAL, BUT I WANTED TO SPREAD THE WORD AND SHARE THESE FACTS WITH YOU SINCE YOU ARE MY FRIENDS. AT LEAST I ASSUME YOU ARE. IF NOT, THEN YOU ARE MY READERS AND THUS YOU ARE MY FRIENDS. EVEN IF YOU HATE MY GUTS AND WANT TO STAB ME IN THE EYE WITH A RUSTY SCREWDRIVER, THE FACT THAT YOU STILL VISIT MY BLOG SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US DOESN’T IT? ADMIT IT, YOU NEED ME. SO JUST LET YOUR HATRED GO AND BE MY FRIEND)

Holding a pen in your hands contributes to sodium intake.
Yep...the simple act of holding a pen in your hands allows the ink to penetrate the skin through osmosis. The ink turns into sodium once inside the skin at a rate of 10 mg of sodium for every second the pen is in your hand.

Walking barefoot on crumbs can contribute to calorie intake
Walking in your kitchen barefoot? Better put on those slippers. Each crumb you walk on seeps into your skin contributing to your caloric intake. Each crumb contributes 10 calories to your daily intake. Unless the culprit is coffee cake crumbs...then you're looking at 20 cals per crumb stepped on.

Soap is nothing but saturated fat
This was a big secret. The liquid soap you use in the shower is made with pure saturated fat that just oozes into your skin. Use a loofah? You're just doubling the amount of soap you're pushing through your pores. How bad is it? Lets try 5g of saturated fat for every ounce of soup used. Bar soap is slightly better for you, but still contributes 2.5g of saturated fat for every ounce rubbed into your skin.

Toothpaste is full of sugar
Brush your teeth and they feel cleaner, right? Well you may as well run while you brush. Each squeeze of toothpaste on your brush that you clean your teeth with contributes 30 grams of sugar to your system, which instantly turns to fat - the kind of fat that is never, ever broken down. Surprised? Well, have you ever noticed why the Brits are thin but have bad teeth?

Wanna know how Austin stayed thin? He never brushed his teeth.

Looking at food adds weight
This was the biggest shocker of all. Just the act of looking or thinking about food was more likely to cause the waist line to expand. “Just looking at fattening foods like chocolate cake or a greasy pile of nachos was like injecting a gallon of fat directly into your skin” said one scientist in the classified study. “The fat from these foods apparently is able to enter the skin through the cornea of your eye” said the scientist, claiming that he once put on 5 pounds just by staring at a piece of German Chocolate Cake.
I found out through my sources that the government is secretly working with Ray Ban to develop special “UVF” sunglasses which will block the fat rays emitted by fattening foods from entering the body through the cornea. The government is currently testing these special glasses on Delta Burke and Louie Anderson.
Louie Anderson recently told CNN in an interview he was test piloting special “weight reduction” glasses for the government

There are many other fun facts our government isn't sharing with us. Make sure you spread the word about these injustices being done to the American peoples.
In the meantime, I need to tend to an order of sweet and sour chicken, pork fried rice and an egg roll that has my name on it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Poor decision by CBS

I had thought I heard about this earlier but wasn't sure until I just got the official confirmation. Gus Johnson, the excitable play-by-play man for CBS' college basketball will not be broadcasting any of the Sweet 16 matches this weekend. Instead, James Brown, the former FOX NFL studio host will be doing play-by-play instead. Why you ask? Apparently as part of the deal to come over to CBS for their NFL studio coverage, Brown wanted to be included in CBS' coverage of March Madness, including doing play by play for a few of the NCAA March Madness games.

I listened to Brown do a game last weekend and he sucked. In fact there was one point in the action where he said nothing for a good 30 seconds. And it wasn't a good kind of nothing either. I've done play-by-play before and know its very difficult. And I couldn't imagine the pressure of having millions of viewers listen to your every word like it was the gospel. But dude, if you don't got it you don't got it. Gus Johnson, for those who don't know him, is a CBS homegrown talent and has been covering March Madness on CBS since 1996. He has made some of the most memorable calls of upsets in recent memories, and his known for his voice rising to fever pitches as the action escalates in the game. He says what he feels and you can sense the excitement in his voice when he calls the action. If you need proof, just look at Ohio State and Xavier's battle last weekend where Ohio State was on the ropes with 10 seconds to go (click the image to launch the clip):

Do a YouTube search and you'll find his call when Princeton defeated UCLA, when West Virginia made their run (I still have his "It's Pittsnogle!!!" call etched in my head) and countless other upsets. He routes for the underdog, but not in a "homer" kind of sense. He brings excitement to the telecast and it's almost like he's the one who wants the ball in the tie game with the last shot. The great broadcasters thrive off that situation, like Vin Scully, Marv Albert, etc. You remember their voices and phrases (any sports fan remember's Marv's "Jordan over Ehlo - YES!" call when the Bulls beat the Cavs in the 90s. Or Vin Scully's call when Kirk Gibson hit the homerun for the Dodgers in the World Series). As a fan, their words are like the gospel and if the call is done right, the call can almost be more famous than the action itself.

Anyway, CBS' decision to give their big games to Brown rather than Johnson is like the Yankees having Miguel Cairo play shortstop in the World Series over Derek Jeter. You bench your star in favor of an average player. Yes, Brown is a great studio guy. But it's easier to moderate conversation in a studio and offer insight about action that has already happened, than it is to call action as it happens. I'm not the only one who has this opinion. Read Bill Simmons' blog or the New York Daily News article last friday that detailed CBS' poor decision.

Needless to say this weekend, the close game won't be as exciting with Johnson's voice. Maybe, just maybe, Gus can do the play by play from home and pipe it through the sound systems of every bar. No offense to Bill Raftery, Verne Lundquist, Billy Packer, Jim Nantz, Mike Breen, etc...but Johnson brings the passion with every call. It's just not an upset without Johnson calling the upset.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Good: Marist Women's Basketball. Bad: Cafe 31

So last night I was at the Rangers game with Rich and the text messages were coming in fast and furious about the Marist College women's basketball team winning their second round game in the NCAA Tournament vs. Middle Tennessee St. While this may not seem like a big deal, Marist is a #13 seed (or heavy underdog to those who don't follow college basketball). They had just defeated heavy favorite Ohio St. with their star player Jessica Davenport who many project to be the first pick in the WNBA draft. Anyway, the Rangers game ended with a last second goal for a big win for the Blueshirts (now in 7th position in the playoffs...maybe the Isles can overtake the hurricanes for the last spot). So on our way out I figured I'd run to a bar to catch the last seconds of the women's game if it was still on.

We exit the garden and the closest bar is Cafe 31 (on W. 31st btw 7th and 8th). We walk into the place which we had never been too before and it resembles more of a fancy restaurant than it does a sports bar. You can tell the place definitely had a complex since the white tableclothed seating mismatched with the winding sports bar with plasma tvs. Anyway there was only about 7 people in the place when I asked the bartendress if she could change the channel to ESPN2 so I could catch the end of the game. Most of the TVs were on Versus network with the Rangers postgame...other tvs were on the local news or something like that. So its not like I was asking the bar to switch out of a game. Plus the 7 people there looked like they had plenty to drink and couldn't even lift their heads off the bar.

Of course the bartendress barely speaks any english and goes over to the owner. The owner is this large greasy portly looking man with graying slicked back hair. He's talking to a few Rangers fans at the end of the bar when the bartendress tells him a customer is asking to change the channel. He throws an attitude that she bothered him so I yell over do you mind throwing on ESPN 2 for 30 seconds, I'll even buy a beer. After talking to his buddies he finally bends over (must have been a chore for him) and puts on ESPN (which was on commercial). I wait the 3 minutes of commercial time thinking something is wrong. When the game resumes, its NIT men's basketball. Rich walks over to him and tells him he put on the wrong channel (I was too infuriated at the scumbag at this point) and he says he put on ESPN2. Rich tells him he didn't and the owner says he did. I walk over and say no, you didn't. He bends back over (again a chore) and now puts on ESPN2. On the screen is the last seconds of the post game interview with Marist's point guard and they cut away to the next game. I tell him thanks alot asshole you missed the 30 seconds I was looking for.

Basically all I wanted to see was the last 30 seconds of the game. With the joy on the players faces as they celebrated going to the sweet 16. I know no one gives two shits about women's basketball, but having been around our women's program for all four years at Marist and knowing the head coach when he used to coach at Our Lady of Loudes HS in Poughkeepsie, as an alumni it was a great moment to see. A program that had gotten crushed in the tournament in their last 2 appearance was now miracously headed to the sweet 16 with 2 major upsets (Middle Tenn St had won 28 straight games coming into the game last night). If the bar was crowded or a game was on I could see him not switching over. But no one was in the fucking joint. And the fact that this asshole basically told us we were wrong, with an attitude no less, basically pissed us off.

The kicker was this fat ass was wearing suspenders. And not only suspenders, but suspenders with a printing of Heineken bottle caps on it. Rich and I got a few good laughs out of that. It's like dude...go out and buy your own $1 suspenders off the street. And he walked around like he was god's gift to the world (probably has enough people kiss his ass being so close to the garden).

I grew up hanging out in the Good Old Days, which was a bar on the corner of 8th and 32nd (where Bar Local now stands). They were the epitomy of a sports bar. Every famous athlete that had played the Garden had stopped in their for a drink or a bite to eat (to this day they still have the biggest burgers I've ever seen. They served them on Italian bread and you basically needed to sit on them to fit them in your mouth). Joe Louis had autographed boxing gloves. Same with Ali. Hulk Hogan autographed his wrestling trunks. Knicks...DeBuechere, Frazier, you name them autographed jerseys. Pennants from every team hung from the walls. Autographed pictures of every athlete. The place was the mecca of sports memorabilia as far as I was concerned. It was THE sports bar of the garden. Then when the Garden was undergoing renovations, the bar had dwindling business (plus you didn't really venture around Penn Station in the 1980s unless you were talking the train out of town). With no events for 6 months due to renovations and the fact that the Queen of Mean herself, Leona Helmsley owns that property - instead of giving the bar relief, she forced them into Chapter 11 and eventually a shutdown. She helped open some Chinese place called the Beema Grill which I refused to step foot in. Now I refuse to step foot in Bar Local out of everlasting protest since the property is still owned by the evil witch Helmsley herself.

Anyway, point being, I have a special affinity for bars around the garden. I spent every weekend at the garden thanks to my dad scoring tickets to whatever event was in town (Knicks, Rangers, the circus, wrestling, etc) in exchange for him servicing the bar's refrigerators and airconditioners over the weekend. So the place has meaning to me. I graduated H.S. at the garden. Watched Hulk Hogan defeat Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff and Sgt. Slaughter defeat the Iron Sheik. Watched the Knicks futilly attempt to defeat the Spurs in the NBA finals. It has history to me in the 26+ years I've been visiting the garden. So I take anything around the garden as sacred ground. So the fact that this scumbag basically runs this pisspoor business and can't do me the one simple favor of changing the fucking channel for 30 seconds pretty much breaks my heart. Because bars around the garden are supposed to cater to the fans. You're a sports bar, Cafe 31? Then why the white linened tables with fancy silverwear? Sports bar around the garden means lots of tvs, beer on the floor, drunken patrons arguing about who was the better old time Knick or Ranger. It means jerseys on the walls and old mementos of days yore. It means putting the local team on TV (in this case Marist is local enough) when their game is on. Not giving patrons an attitude when they "bother" him to change the channel or then lying to them about what channel is on.

As we were leaving this other guy was like "Thanks guys, see you soon". My response, "See you never". Fuckin asshole. So I'm asking all of you to boycott Cafe 31. There's other bars in the area. Molly Wee pub on 30th and 8th. Or Jake's on 31st and 8th. Hell go to the Blarney Stone for all I care. Just don't give this scumbag the satisfication of going to his bar because "its the closest" to the Garden. Hell, it's next to a parking garage, so you know the place has rats. Perhaps they take after their owner?

Anyway, the good news, the Women's team advanced to the Sweet 16 of the Women's NCAA Tournament. The local news covered the story on the 11pm news, although Len Berman couldn't pronounce Poughkeepsie (kept saying Pro-crip-see) much to Sue Simmons' delight. When they announced the victory at ABC there was applause in the studio (some Marist grads are running around there for sure). Over on ESPN News an elated JW Stewart interviewed Marist coach Brian Giorgis over the phone (JW is a Marist grad and used to be the sports writer for the Poughkeepsie Journal. I know JW, he's a great guy. I used to stand next to him when he interviewed Giorgis when Giorgis team played their big games at Marist. If you've missed the story, here's a link to get you caught up and some video of the highlights:

Also here's an article that ran in the New York Times after Marist defeated Ohio St. on Saturday night:

Next up is the winner of the Tennessee vs Pittsburgh game tonight. We can hope that the Panthers pull the upset, but most likely Marist will face Tennessee and their season will end. But at least Cinderella is getting her story told for the week. After all those losing seasons in the late 90s with solid teams that underperformed, redemption for the Red Foxes is spelled: G-I-O-R-G-I-S.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Hope everyone had a good St. Paddy's day weekend of drinking and fun in the slush (for those in the east coast). That little thing called "March Madness" took up most of my time over the weekend. Between running my office pool and rooting on the Red Foxes (who lost to N.C. State on Fri night to end their N.I.T. run) it was a busy weekend. Luckily the Marist women represented and upset #4 seed Ohio State on saturday and play again tonight for all those interested:

Anyway, since I'm all basketball'd out today, I have a comment regarding errands. I went to the bank today to deposit some money around 3:30 (afternoon break) and noticed that everyone moves at a different speed during the day. I know this is not a shock to anyone since those who are out during the day either have no jobs, have part time jobs, or have jobs that require them to be out (messengers, delivery guys, personal shoppers, etc). But for everyone in a "non urgent" work related field they move slow as molasses. I know you're in no rush if you have nothing to do, but don't slow things down for the rest of us. I mean just a simple errand of running to the bank takes twice as long due to people moving slow to the bank, in the bank and behind the counter. Its like people, some of us have to go back to work today. Sometimes I think that some people are hired just to run people's errands (i know some of the wealthy have that - someone to pick up their laundry, do their banking, food shop, etc). And I don't blame those people for not hustling. But for everyone else I think there's a conspiracy by the government to pay people just to look busy during the day and get in everyone elses way. To show a city as "bustling" instead of dead. I know, I'm probably way off base, and frankly I'm too tired to list my points for and against my argument. Just annoyed that any errand, no matter how small, seems to take an hour during the working day. Don't believe me. Next time you're at the...

Post office. Look at the line for stamps/package mailing during the day. Ridiculous.

Food shopping. Double that line from the post office.

Clothes shopping. Better give yourself 2 hours at stores like the Gap where people just hang out all day.

Coffee at Starbucks. Take a half day.

Adult peep shows. umm...wait...that doesn't belong...but i'm sure the line is just as long!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hunter Safety

So those who aren't aware, I completed and passed my hunter safety course a few weeks ago. Pretty exciting actually, considering I had to sit through 10 hours worth of classes and take a 50 question test. I ended up getting a 98 on the test (not sure what I got wrong), but was pretty proud of myself. I mean the test is mostly common sense, but being a Brooklyn boy, that's something we often lack!

Granted I probably won't have much opportunity to use a hunting license in NYC (Although there's about 10,000 pigeons I have my eyes on!), it's still good to have just in case I want to shoot anything besides clay targets. But the funny part was the other day I was out with Bridget, Juliana and Tanya at Tracy J's Watering Hole (on 19th btw Park and Lex). I had never been, but my father was friends with the owner Arthur (he used to do their air-conditioning) who happened to play for Duke back in the day. Anyway, they had Big Buck Hunter in the front of the bar. Bridget wanted to play so we pumped a few dollars in and went on an Elk hunt in Alaska.

Bridget took down a triple bull on her first round, which was pretty impressive since I've never gotten more than a double buck. It's my turn and I grab the gun. I instinctively, thanks to my hunter safety, grab the gun with two hands like it was loaded (rule #1, always treat a gun like it's loaded). I held the gun with one hand under the forearm and the other on the butt of the gun with my finger off the trigger in the two-handed carry position. As soon as the elks pranced on the screen I drew my gun up to my shoulder and fired. My form was perfect. Although the pump action of the gun on the game is annoying, and I only took down one buck. But it's funny how ingrained hunter safety and proper gun handling was in my head even playing buck hunter. I never did quite catch up to Bridget after her triple buck round, although I did hit plenty of buck but didn't take them down (I blame the gun!). I did fare better in the Dove round however (perhaps it was my championship form that aided me in those rounds!). Anyway I don't think I'll play Buck Hunter the same ever again!

Tonight starts the Madness. Time to let the beer flow, the wings go down and lose your voice screaming your heart out for the underdog even though they just destroyed your office pool! I love March Madness!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Upset City...Baby

Said in the infamous words of Dick Vitale. For those who care enough about college basketball know this is the best time of the year. Nothing beats March Madness. Although the N.I.T has been regulated to the "Not Important Tournament" in recent years, back in the hayday, the N.I.T. was more important than the NCAA's. And some (like myself) may argue that the competition in the N.I.T. is tougher game after game because teams of even keel are playing each other, rather than having the #1 team play the #150 ranked team. That being said, maybe I'm bitter that Marist wasn't in the NCAA's and had to basically settle for the N.I.T. But I said all along that they had a better shot in the N.I.T. due to the playing field being very even. This year's N.I.T. teams include snubbed from the tournament Syracuse, Airforce, Drexel, West Virginia, Michigan, Florida St, etc. You can view the complete N.I.T. bracket here.

Anyway, Marist got a tough draw in the N.I.T. having to face Oklahoma St. in the first round. Those who follow college hoops know OSU is known for their gritty defense and physical play. Also they have an outstanding home record against non-conference play. In fact they were 137-2 in non-conference home games coming into last night's game. 137 wins and 2 losses. That's crazy. And given that Marist is more of a finesse team, that will shoot the 3 until the lights go out, I figured they would have little to no shot of winning. In fact I was willing to bet our wussy center would be crying in the first 5 minutes after getting knocked around by the bigger OSU team.

But much to my (and everyone else who follows Marist for that matter) shock, they pretty much blew the doors off OSU with a barrage of three's, and a tough zone defense that forced OSU to settle for long jumpers. With OSU Big-12 stud Mario Boggan averaging 7.6 rebounds per game you figured they'd absolutely crush Marist on the glass. But not so. Marist got to every loose ball and rebound, holding Boggans to only 6 rebounds on the night. Marist outrebounded OSU 39-27. It was obviously OSU didn't watch any game film because they let Marist shoot the 3 at will. At one point Marist had a 17 point lead and OSU's coach and crowd were shocked. Even the announcers (who I didn't hear cause of music at the bar) were in shock.

OSU should have beaten Marist in their sleep...but watching the game Marist clearly wanted the win more than they did. Here's the recap from the announce team:

After the game, OSU coach Sean Sutton (son of former and legendary OSU coach Eddie Sutton) pretty much attacked his team's will:

"[This] was a great example of one team that wanted to play, that cared about being in this tournament, and one team that had a few guys that would rather be on spring break," Sutton said.

"Marist deserved to win. They played with passion. They were having fun. They passed the ball around. They executed and they out-hustled us to rebounds. How do you out-rebound Texas A&M and Texas then get beat (on the boards) by 15? Effort. Anybody that saw us play in the Ford Center saw us hold Nebraska to 19 points in the first half, Texas A&M to 28, and Texas to 31. This team comes in and has 37 in the first half. They deserved to win. They played better and this game seemed a lot more important to their guys."

Ouch. Especially considering OSU was probably ticked off about being left out of the tourney...but still no excuse to come out and sleepwalk through a game. Especially at home. And especially when you've only lost twice in 139 tries at home vs. non-conference opponents! To equate this to the NCAA Tournament, this win would be the equivalent of a #13 seed knocking off a #4 seed. Pretty big on the upset scale.

Article recapping the game

Believe it or not, this was the first postseason win ever (EVER) for the Marist Red Foxes. They had been to the NCAA Tournament in 86 and 87 with the Dunking Dutchman himself Rik Smits (but lost to Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech in those games). In 1996 they got hosed by the refs in the NEC conference tournament and settled for the N.I.T., only to narrowly lose to a URI (Rhode Island) team that had future NBA'ers Cuttino Mobley and Lamar Odom. So odds weren't in their favor. But they pulled it off. Next up is the N.C. State Wolfpack, who nearly pulled off a big upset of their own in the ACC tournament, losing to UNC in the final. Another somewhat impossible game, but it's a 6 seed vs a 7 seed so you never know. The game is 9:30pm on ESPN U on Friday night for anyone who's interested. Of course that goes against the NCAA Tournament and Women's good luck trying to get the bar owners to switch the game! Go MARIST!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Frisky Dingo

So for those who haven't seen this show on Adult Swim...which I assume is most of you, you're missing one of the better animated comedies to come out in years (except for Family Guy of course). Even better is that it's a comedy that appeals to the heart of us media professionals.

The quick synposis if you're interested: the story is centered around a villian named Killface. Killface is plotting to destroy the world with a $20 billion dollar device he's built. He hires a direct marketing team to get his message out informing the world of their impending doom. That's the basis of the two clips below (first episode in the series, broken into two parts). Other characters are introduced throughout the series, including Killface's son Simon (who resembles Kenny from South Park, Xander who is a rich tycoon's son and Taqu'il (a mogul rapper). You can find more episodes to view on either YouTube or on Adult Swim

Even if you're not a fan of animated comedies, those in the advertising profession will laugh at some of the jokes, including the usage of the term media buy, the calculation of households reached in both a television and a direct marketing campaign and a shot at postcards, which Killface refers to as "the dry hump of marketing campaigns". Hysterical. Anyway, if you haven't seen, this is the first episode of the show...broken into 6 minutes segments. Enjoy and hopefully you'll get hooked like everyone else has!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Restaurant Shutdowns

So those who saw the Taco Bell debacle in the city (as published here on this blog) with the rats who invaded the place, know what a PR nightmare that created for Taco Bell and the NYC Health Inspectors at the Department of Health(who just one day prior gave that infamous store a passing grade). Well, the DOH got slammed (and rightfully so) for that one, especially being that the whole world saw the clips of the rats running wild inside the restaurant. Since then the NYC Health Department has been on a blitzkreig, re-inspecting restaurants that may have had "minor" violations in the past and shuttering them at the sign of the smallest violation (i.e. sink being too far away from cooking element, etc). One to feel the city's wrath was famous John's Pizzeria on Bleecker Street :

Note on door of John's Pizzeria

Another spot that was shuttered was the popular Blondie's on the UES (92nd and 2nd). A sign on their door said they were "on vacation" with John's Pizzeria and had the articles posted on the door from the New York Post. For Blondie's, this couldn't come at a worst time considering thursday starts the NCAA Tournament which is any sports bar's busiest time of the year. Glen, the owner of Ship of Fools on 82nd and 2nd once told me that 20-30% of his business comes from March Madness alone. So closing down for a violation during this time period is basically a huge blow.

I must say in my humble opinion the DOH is being way too harsh with the penalties. They were embarrassed by the Taco Bell debacle and now are using that to basically set the tone PR wise. My father, for those that knew him, worked in the restaurant (air-conditioning and refrigeration) industry. He told me all the time how basements of restaurants were rat-infested because food was left around, cans were left open, etc. This hasn't been a surprise for as long as restaurants have been serving food. And it wasn't just the "dive" places that had problems, most upscale restaurants met the same fate (cracks in basement walls, food stored improperly, trash laying around). This was just all part of the restaurant life. And no patron ever cared what went on in the basement so long as the food was good and the atmosphere enjoyable. Did knowing that rats ran around the basements of restaurants or that food was poorly stored stop me from eating there? No. As long as it wasn't a blatent violation that was visible in the restaurant itself or the place was at least on the surface clean and orderly I was fine. It's like an attic or a garage, you don't expect it to be in perfect condition. If it is, it's a bonus, but if it's a bit messy and unkept you still go in anyway, right?

Personally I think the DOC needs to get off their high horses and ease the restrictions a bit. I'm sure you can find a violation in every restaurant (most of us probably have a violation in our own apartments!) but as long as it's not impeding or affecting my food nor eating environment i'm cool with it. So what if a sink is 11 feet away instead of 10. Or that the basement has a crack in the foundation. John's Pizzeria's building is like 150 years old for christ's sake. It's gonna have cracks. Basically NYC Health workers have put themselves on par with traffic cops...they have a job to do, but most of the time overexaggerate the violations so they "look good" in front of the city coffers.

And that's the way the cookie crumbles (just don't get any crumbs on the floor if you're a restaurant owner, you could get a violation that will shut your doors for good!)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Return to the Hardwood

So before I talk about my vaunted return to the hardwood last night, on the way to work this morning I had a little comic interlude. Seems like I didn't quite see this patch of ice on the ground right before the curb. My feet flailed out from under me and I did one of those cartoon slips on the ice (you know, where the feet flail as you're trying to keep your balance). Well those who really know me know my penchant for falling on ice. In fact I swore off ice skating when I was younger since I usually spent more time on the ice than skating on it (I'm proud to say I've gotten a little better - no triple lutz triple toe loop combos though). Anyway I was able to somewhat keep my balance this morning but had to put my hand down on the ground. So tenth of a point deduction for me. Although some of the ghetto hood rats got a kick out of it. At least I made some people laugh this am.

Anyway, last night I returned to the basketball court for the first time in quite a while. HBO has a league in which Time Warner employees are invited to play. Two years ago I played...not too well, but most of the guys on my team and in the league for that matter are not fun to play with (ball hogs, show offs, ex college players who are still holding out for that NBA contract). Anyway I decided since I'm a fat ass and need to get back into shape, I should probably do something to get me going.

I busted out a new ensemble for my triumphant return. New sneaks (a nice black and white And 1 sneak), new shorts and new performance under wear from Under Armour (my first UA purchase - good stuff). Anyway I looked the part, which was half the battle.

I was more concerned about stamina than anything since I haven't run anywhere in a while. Surprisingly I was able to make it up and down without too much problem. My arms got more tired than my legs surprisingly. Well, actually not surprisingly since all I do with my arms these days is lift beer mugs to my mouth.

Since I've played in this league before and most people know me, the first two games we played I ran with the high B level squad. Very good players for the most part. I'm happy to say despite the two year layoff, court presence wise I was on the money. Always in position (either man-to-man or zone) and did the little things, set picks, diving for loose balls, tipping rebounds to a teammate, dropping dimes, etc. Scoring wise however I was really rusty. I missed a ton of open looks and layups (either too strong or too soft). So that was frustrating. Comical but frustrating. And my dribble was a little off as well. It's funny that as you get older you need to remember that you're not a 21 year old PG/Sharpshoot anymore, and that when you get older your game reverts to a Charles Oakley type performance. Especially with the extra weight i've put on, I've resigned myself to banging it out in the low post, boxing out, etc.

Anyway, for me it was a decent return to the game and I'm happy to report I dropped several quintuple-singles. That's having at least 1 in 5 different categories for those "sports deficient". Each of the two games I ran with the B squad I had about 2-4 points, 4-5 assists, 3-4 rebounds, 1-2 steals and 2-3 blocks. So at least I was all over the stat sheet. That and I had this nasty block on this kid who thought he was a hot shot. It was all ball and basically stuffed him down to the ground with the ball still in his hands. Dikembe Mutombo would be proud. I also had a few no-look assists and even got a chance to bust out the Wesley Snipes fake from White Men Can't Jump (and it actually worked!). But most of the time running with the B squad I was probably the 3rd or 4th best player on my squad. Which while disappointing personally, allowed me to do my grunt work and set up everyone else who were the playmakers.

The third game I was pretty much out of gas and ready to leave. However I got pulled into a C level game which was good because my legs and arms were getting tired. I was pretty much the tallest person on the court, except for another kid who was 6-2 (but he was a ginger - how many ginger's play basketball well? Any? Brian Scalabrine?) Anyway we played zone and I played center. The other team laughed at us playing zone but after we ran off a 8-1 run, they weren't laughing. I felt like I was 7' tall out there. In the first sequence I had 3 blocks alone. I ran the fast break and dished out assists left and right. I felt completely rejuvenated. At one point I came off a screen and hit a three pointer from way downtown. I don't even know if I was in-bounds. I was shocked. Of course minutes later I lost my energy and started hanging back. But for those 4-5 minutes it was nice to show signs of "greatness". Granted the playing level on the court was average, I needed a game like that as a confidence booster. After beating the team 11-2, they wanted a rematch. We were tired but oblidged. This team I let me teammates do the work and just hung out down low and blocked/altered shots. Its fun being the big man. No one wants to come strong and if they do they throw up wild shots in order not to get blocked. We won the 4th game 11-7, mainly thanks to pure exhaustion.

So all in all it was a good night on the hardwood. Except for the fact that both of my pinky toes blistered, that I got floor burn on my knees and elbows, that I got kneed in the thigh, jammed some fingers and then in the locker room after the game cramped up in my legs. I could have filmed one of those cheezy Ben-Gay commercials when the athlete is all worn out in the locker room and unable to stand. Something like this:

For the record I'm really disappointed I can't find any images or movie clips from either Major League or White Men Can't Jump on this "world wide web" that back up my points above. I wanted a pic of Harris applying the Ben-Gay in the locker room from Major League or Wesley Snipes' famous ball fake from White Men Can't Jump. But nada. I thought everything was available on the web. Big thumbs down to the billions of people in this world. Not one of them could take the time to capture these things??? Anyway, if I get my hands on either of these clips, or if you can find them please send them along. This is a sad day in my blogging life.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Rules of Pedestrian Engagement

So now I think I'm ready to vent about pedestrian engagement. Especially after this morning when I was stuck behind a few women walking extremely slow without any reason besides laziness (and without any apparent physical deformities I may add) through the subway turnstiles and then down the stairs. They were walking three aside so it impossible to get around them and basically caused a huge traffic jam into the stairway. Then suddenly they hear the train doors open and now they decide to walk like normal humans and try to run down the stairs and get the train. Of course they and the 20 or so people backed up behind them just missed the train doors closing. Then they bitch about how the train always leaves just when they get there blaming it on the MTA. fuckin lazy fatasses. Maybe if you actually walked instead of just shuffling your feet in laziness maybe, just maybe you'd make the train next time. I'm not saying you have to run. But it wasn't like these people were 400+ pounds and had problems walking. They were just lazy fucks.

So here's my proposal. There should be an International Pedestrian Fellowship Organization (IPFO). Basically this would be the governing body for all issues related to pedestrian behavior, including proper conduct when walking on sidewalks, in groups, in narrow areas, etc. Everyone who is an officer in the IPFO can walk around with handheld GPPID (Global Positioning Personal Identification Devices) units in which they can scan the person who is committing the violation and type into the device what the violation is (for those naysayers, this IS possible since all humans have microchips planted inside of us for identification purposes). There would be a point system assigned to violations (similar to traffic/speeding tickets) and then when the violator reaches a certain point level they would be punished accordigly. Like be beaten over the head with a bag of sand or eventually lose their walking priviledges all together! Likewise pedestrians can be commended for their behavior and receive bonus points which will go towards special priviledges. Such priviledges include getting gold stars, halos, government issued hover boards or having forcefields built around them so no one can infringe on their PWS (Personal Walking Space).

How would this system work you may ask? Well its simple. Those ladies today for example would have been scanned and given a three point deduction on their walking permits (if people need a permit to drive they should have a permit to walk too. What are there more of each day, pedestrian "accidents" or vehicle accidents?) Their violation today would fall under a few violation categories including blocking free flowing pedestrian movement and walking three aside in a narrow space. Plus they would receive a deduction for pure laziness. The laziness carries a 1 point deduction, the others are good for 3 point deductions each. So that's 7 points for their violation this morning. If they were driving, their licenses would be nearly suspended. But since there are more pedestrians than cars, the point system would need to be adjusted (see more on the point systems below).

So what would be considered violations? Glad you asked? Well there are hundreds of ways a pedestrian can violate the IPFO laws but here's some of the more common violations:

1)Persons in groups of three or more who are walking together side by side without giving proper pedestrian flow. If the sidewalk is wide enough to allow three or more pedestrians to walk side by side then that is legal. If it is not wide enough and other pedestrians walking either towards or behind these pedestrians do not have enough room to freely walk around the group, all members shall be hit with a violation of points equal to those members in their party. So a group of three would receive 3 point violations a person. Groups of four would receive 4 point violations and so on.

The proper way to adjust to this situation in groups of three is to have one of the three members either fall behind or ahead of the other two giving a free passing lane to those pedestrians coming from either direction. In groups of four or more, the formation should by 2 in front of 2 in congested/narrow sidewalk situations. Failure to comply with these rules will result in point violaitons. The person(s) who chooses to fall behind or jump ahead to rid themselves of being an obstruction would be awarded 3 points for their actions.

2)Persons in a group of two walking together side by side with more than two feet between them on a small sidewalk. If the sidewalk is narrow or if there are sidewalk obstructions (construction, sidewalk cafes, newsstands, etc) and the two pedestrians have more than two feet between them which impedes traffic flowing through or around them shall be given a 2 point violation. All pedestrians walking two aside in a small area should limit the space between them as much as comfortably possible so pedestrian can freely pass coming towards them or walking around them. All pedestrians complying with this rule would be awarded 2 bonus points.

Proper side-by-side walking technique

3)Persons walking in the middle of the sidewalk slowly in a crowd. Especially in groups. These people tend to be tourists or just lazy assholes, and severely impede normal traffic flow especially during rush hour or in crowded areas. If you follow normal traffic laws, slower traffic always stays to the right. Same should apply for pedestrians. Unless you're turning left into a store, in which case walk on the far left. But stay out of the middle. All people caught in violation will receive a 5 point fine and can be Tasered on site should an elected IPFO official witness the violation. All non IPFO officers can smack these violators in the back of the head for lack of common sense.

There are hundreds of other violations but I don't have enough time nor space to go into the full details. Most of the rules are based on common sense (which most people don't have). All officers of the IPFO can report violations through their GPPID while those who earn points for commendable pedestrian behavior can eventually earn enough points to have their own GPPID.

IPFO Point Deduction System
10 points: Written warning

20 points: $100 fine and second warning

30 points: $250 fine and pedestrian put on alert on all tracking systems

40 points: $500 fine and pedestrian put on walking probation

50 points: $750 fine and pedestrian loses license for a month. Their kneecaps are also smashed with a baseball bat by Jeff Gilloly

Jeff Gilloly will personally smash the kneecaps of any violators reaching the 50 point deduction mark

75 points: $1,000 fine and pedestrian loses license for 3 months. They must wear a sign that says "Bad Pedestrian Walking" and anyone who spots the sign is allowed to hit them over the head with a bag of sand like Homey the Clown

Homey the Clown won't play around if you hit the 75 point deducation mark

100 points: $5,000 fine and pedestrian loses their walking privledges for a year. To ensure this both of their ankles are broken and their kneecaps are removed. They are also put on wheelchair probation and must slither along the street like a snake.

For those pedestrians who comply or go above and beyond to exemplify proper pedestrian behavior here are the awards given.

IPFO Rewards System
10 Points: Written certificate acknowledging proper pedestrian techniques

25 Points: Silver star awarded

50 Points: Gold star awarded and pedestrian has a halo above them to identify that they are outstanding examples of proper pedestrian conduct. These pedestrians can also notate violations made by other pedestrians and report them to the IPFO.

75 Points: Pedestrian is award forcefield in which anyone in violation of the PWS (personal walking space) will receive a shock.

100 Points: Pedestrian is awarded a state of the art, government issued hoverboard which will allow them to coast along the sidewalks and streets with ease. They are also issued a handheld IPFO device in which they now can report violators.

A hoverboard awaits those who have achieved greatness in pedestrian behavior

Anyone who needs a full list of rules and violations please let me know and I'll send one out to you. And next time you find yourself in a position where you're committing a pedestrian violation think about the consequences. I'll be watching!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Do you work out in the nude?

Only when I'm naked (a little National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon I reference for you to start your Wed morning).

Anyway, I was ready to have this whole blog posting about the rules of pedestrian engagement and a proposed new system I have to penalize people who perform annoying or stupid pedestrian acts, but I came across something more disturbing that derailed my train of thought for the time being (but no worries...the pedestrian story will be unveiled very soon!).

Apparently, a gym in the Netherlands decided to open up Sunday's as a nude workout day. Yes, nude. I mean not that this would happen anywhere besides the Netherlands (actually, strike that, it would probably happen in any country who embraced nudity unlike the good ole' prudish U.S.A or most Middle Eastern countries where even exposing an eyelid is forbidden). But not too shocking that this was transpiring in the Netherlands.

Nude gym goer in the Netherlands

Now, while this is very disturbing in many ways, including seeing some guys junk flying all over the place while he's on the treadmill, if a gym wants to have a naked day so be it. You may not find me there, unless it was supermodel day or something. Then again I'm not in any shape to be seen in a gym, let alone workout naked. But if you're the kind of person that would enjoy such a thing take a trip to the Netherlands sometime. At least you'd save having to purchase a gym locker for the day!

Although I do have some issues with this whole naked thing.

Issue 1) I'd want whatever equipment I was using fully sterilized after a naked person used it. I don't need to sit on a bike naked that some naked ass already sat on. The bike would be all sweaty and have ass residue. I don't need that shit (literally). So I'd want some lysol, formula 409 and any other type of industrial strength cleaner at my disposal.

Issue 2) What happens if you're lifting weights??? Is the person spotting you fully nude as well? I mean at that point you're practically getting teabagged by the person spotting you. Like I want to look up and see some guys hairy balls dangling in front of my face while I'm bench pressing. No thanks. (Side note: Actually I think I just grossed myself out, which is pretty hard for me to do.)

Issue 3) For those that attach their ipods to their clothes. Where do they put them? I guess an armband is fine...or at least the shuffle can clip onto your nipples. No comment. I'm still disturbed by the bench pressing teabag reference.

Ok...yeah, on that note...end of discussion. This naked gym thing is a bad...baaaaad idea.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Restaurants and Calorie Listings

So there's been a recent flurry of activity regarding restaurants having to divulge their calorie counts on dishes to customers. The fast food industry has long complied to these regulations, showing that us fat asses who eat fast food will consume 800+ calories on an average burger/fries/drink combination. And to date that information has been available online or on pamphlets for those who actually care enough to look.

Now, the new push is to put the caloric information on the big in essence next to the #1 value meal at burger king you'll get a Whopper, Fries, 16 oz. drink and 1,000 calories (will they charge more for extra saturated fat??? hmm...) Anyway the restaurant industry is fighting these laws (back in december a law was passed to outlaw transfats in food which you probably heard about). But some policy makers want this regulation to not only hit the fast food industry (the Arby's, Roy Rogers, McDonald's, etc of the world) but also the regular restaurant industry as well.
But for now the fight has been with the fast food industry since that is deemed by and large to be "unhealthier" than regular restaurant offerings. If you need to catch up on this story at all here's some worthwhile reading material on the subject:,1,55590.story?coll=la-health-nutrition-news

Anyway, my take on this is that when you go out to eat for the most part you're throwing calorie count to the side and enjoying your meal. Whether that pertains to fast food or 5 star restaurants, I don't think i've ever scuttled on menu options based on calorie count. Maybe i've chosen to get a salad rather than a chicken parm or a penne ala vodka but I don't think i've ever made that choice based on calories (of course those on weight watchers will base it on calories but they make judgement calls on that themselves). Anyway, the point is I don't want to see what the calories of a dish are when I order it. I know that my average steak dinner with potato and vegetable will probably net out at least 1,000 calories. Or that my fried calamari appetizer will also hit the 1,000 calories plateau. I know these things. I could see blame ignorance and say "gosh, I didn't know that eating a 20oz steak and double baked potato soaked in butter was 1,500 calories!!". But I don't really care that it's 1,500 calories, as long as its good. And it's not exactly a secret that chefs cook with butter and other natural fats to make food taste better. That's why for the most part chef's are overweight. Most of them don't skimp out on the lite stuff when prepping their meals.

Anyway, I could argue this all day and night, but I figured I'd leave you with a couple of WOW facts you may not have known regarding calories of certain menu items at your favorite restaurant chain. Again, not that this will ever deter me from ordering these items, but I may think twice about it knowing that bikini season is just around the corner! You can read more of the article and view some additional nutritional facts here:

Pizza Skins: Pizzeria Uno
Calories: 2,050
Saturated fat: 48 grams

Romano's Macaroni Grill: Twice Baked Lasagna with Meatballs
Calories: 1,360
Saturated fat: 38 grams

Stone Cold Creamery: Founders Favorite
Calories: 1,740
Saturated fat: 48 grams

Ruby Tuesday's: Fresh Chicken & Broccoli Pasta
Calories: 2,060
Total fat: 128 grams (the company won't say how much is saturated fat)