Monday, April 30, 2007

Nice time remind me to bring ear plugs

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine was fun filled, despite the Yanks blowing chunks against the Sox. Although I did go to Saturday’s game which was won by the Yanks, 3-1. Bridget and I went to the game and I swear at least half the stadium was Red Sox fans. There were red shirts everywhere. Despite the game being entertaining (and the Yanks finally winning for once) our experience was sort of soured by the two young females sitting behind us. Young as in the under 10 year old young. Young as in their voices still hit shrieking levels that are as ear-splitting to humans as dog whistles are to dogs. For four hours we were subjected to “Let’s go Yankees, let’s go!” and “Derek Jeter” chants and screams. Which became incessancy annoying and louder as the game wore on, especially since they got into a shouting match with the two young boys in front of us (Red Sox fans). Their voices were so piercing that Bridget and I nearly swore off having girls should we ever decide to populate the world someday.

I mean the parent should’ve stepped in and told the girls to quiet a little. There was no reason to scream “Let’s go Yankees” between innings. I mean as if our holding our ears weren’t an indication of how loud they were screaming. I mean it’s great to bring your kids to a game and all, but like a crying baby during a movie, sometimes as a parent in that situation you just need to shut your child up! Now I can see why people bring earphones to the game! Could you imagine how loud their screams would’ve been had I been using the “Listen Up” device??

I think they should enact a rule similar to ejecting people for being drunk and belligerent. If your child shrieks to the point where other peoples ears start to bleed, they and their parents should be ejected from the game. Or forced to watch the game in a rubber, sound proof room where they can yell and scream as loud as they want. Maybe something to keep in mind for the new stadium?

Anyway, Saturday was a lonnggg day of drinking but kudos to the crew (you know who you are) for hanging in till 2am! And happy bday once again to Bridget! Our trip to White Castle at 3am definitely helped soak up the alcohol we consumed and we’re happy to report we have another Chicken Ring fan in the way of Bridget! Congrats and welcome to the club!

The Chicken Ring Club has another member!

For those “not in the club”, I’m telling you, if you haven’t tried them…do it. The White Castle chicken rings are much better than those Chicken Fries things at the BK! Plus you get like 20 of them in a sack for only $6. Can’t beat that!

One of the funnier repeated sayings of the weekend was from the new ESPN commercial featuring Jorge Posada and David Ortiz. If you haven’t seen it, it’s hysterical. The premise is Ortiz is caught by the Red Sox mascot, Wally, wearing a Yankees hat.

I love the line by Ortiz: “No Wally, No. It’s not what you think.” Good stuff. Pretty funny, especially if you’re in tune with the whole Red Sox vs Yankees rivalry. If not, then you probably won’t be as amused by it.

Anyway, it’s back to work to tend to more SPAM business. That and I need to work on a Gore-Tex proposal. Although every time I think of Gore-Tex I think of that Seinfeld episode where George is wearing the Gore-Tex jacket and knocks over everything in the wine store. In my opinion it’s one of the best episodes of Seinfeld ever.

Although it’s more famously known for being the episode about two other things: the debate on chocolate vs cinnamon babka and the infamous “Look to the Cookie” line where Jerry relates racial equality to a black and white cookie.

Although looking back at the clip maybe Michael Richards (Kramer) should have said that line instead of Jerry? That could have saved him some trouble recently. Hey-oh.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Now That’s a Turkey!

So, last weekend one of my co-workers, Mara, went on her first hunt. She got invited to participate in a turkey hunt with a team of world renowned hunters known as the Drury’s. The Drury’s are best known for their hunting videos and programming, called Drury Outdoors

Anyway, Mara had never hunted before in her life, and the fact that she got to experience her first hunt with a distinguished group of experts was a great learning experience. We were in the same hunter safety course together a few months ago and see was the first out of our group to have the opportunity to hunt (I’ve only gotten to shoot clay targets – unless you count playing Big Buck Hunter at the bar!).

There was tons of pressure on her, since undoubtedly she was nervous being that this was her first hunt. Also having to hunt with a team of expert hunters adds to that pressure since you basically don’t want to look like a fool. If that wasn’t enough to make your hands tremble, her hunt was also being filmed for television! Yikes. Nothing like getting thrown to the wolves (no pun intended).

For those who have never hunted turkey before it’s pretty intense. You have to be fully decked out in camouflage from head to toe since turkeys tend to notice florescent colors (normally you would wear hunter orange for safety, but for turkey hunting orange is a bad thing). You have to be incredibly quiet and still and shoot quickly. Since the target of a turkey is much smaller than say a Whitetail, you have to be accurate with your shot as well, lest you want turkey feathers flying around everywhere.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that Mara’s hunt was an incredible success! Not only that, but she took down a 29 pound turkey! That’s right. 29 pounds! Unreal! Most of the hunting experts, and some on staff here, have never taken any turkey over 25 pounds and most people don’t even get to see birds that size!

Mara’s turkey was bigger than her!

View more pictures of the bird and learn more about her hunt here

Could you imagine how many people you could feed with a 29 pound turkey! That puts any Butterball turkey to shame, that’s for damn sure! How would you even fit that in an oven? You'd need an oven at least four times the size of an Easy Bake Oven to fit that turkey in it (a little Zoolander reference for you). Hopefully she'll bring some leftovers in the office. I could use a few "Trips to Phan" right about now!

I know most of you out there are probably anti-hunting, especially those who were born and raised in the city, but for those that are “more forgiving” about hunting, you’ll probably appreciate a story like that.

On the lighter side of “news”, today is Friday (yippee!) and thus it’s What Pushes My Buttons video day! Woohoo.

Today’s video comes courtesy of Avi, who forwarded me this rap video parody of George Bush taking shots at Kanye West. Pretty humorous. I particularly love the part where Bush is wearing the bandana. Also there’s a funny part with Cheney and a shotgun (which ties in nicely to the turkey hunt story!).

Besides that I’m off to stadium on saturday to watch the Yankees undoubtedly drop their 7th game in a row courtesy of the Red Sox. And having the guys come down from Boston this weekend to rub it in should make the loss feel even better. All I can hope for is another trip to White Castle for a Crave Case to make me feel better! Maybe I can improve on my 9 burger showing from last time. Although this time around, its all about the chicken rings baby! uh huh.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Not half bad!

So yesterday I took a walk for lunch to Madison Square Park (those will remember that my last time in the park I ran into a begging squirrel). On my way to the park I stopped at Subway (largely thanks to the $1.99 6” sub coupons I have at my desk). It was hotter than hell in the Subway for some reason and when I looked down at the cold cuts it looked like they were wilting away. So instead going with a cold cut sandwich like an Italian BMT or a Subway Club, I asked for grilled chicken. Lo and behold they were out of grilled chicken. Crap. (They were also out of coffee – brawl ensued. Airplane movie reference if you don’t get it). Scrambling, I saw the chicken cutlets and since they looked like the only healthy (as in appearance) alternative, I decided to go for a chicken parm.

Yes, a chicken parm. At Subway. I know, I know…I’m a Brooklyn boy. Getting a chicken parm at subway for me is like someone from New England ordering a Manhattan Clam Chowder. It’s just not right. I got the sandwich on Italian bread with provolone cheese (since they don’t have mozzarella cheese at Subway) and they toasted it in their “ovens”.

Unconfirmed reports say Subway chains use Easy Bake Ovens to “toast” their sandwiches

For toppings I got tomato (added some sweetness) and green peppers (added some crunch). I got a drink with my sub and decided on a “crazy concoction” of ice tea, lemonade and fruit punch (talk about a sugar rush). After passing on the chips and cookies (although I love the cookies at Subway – very underrated. Especially the white chocolate macadamia), I ventured into the park searching for an open seat. I passed the Shake Shack which had an hour long line yet to order food no one was at the pick up counter waiting for their order. Hmm…bizarre. Maybe they ran out of meat! (another brawl ensued). Anyway, after searching through the entire park I finally found an open bench, plopped down and prepared myself for a disappointing lunch option.

I took my first bite and you know what…it’s not half bad! The bread was nice and crispy. The chicken was actually edible and not too rubbery. The tomato sauce was nice and sweet. The green pepper gave the sandwich an extra crunch. I looked at the sandwich in confusion and took another bite. Same result. Pretty good.

Even Mikey would like Subway’s version of Chicken Parm

Now I’m not about to say it comes close to any “authentic” chicken parm hero, but if you were in a pinch and needed a chicken parm fix, Subway was actually not a bad alternative. It was probably more to do with the crispiness of the bread from their “toasting”, but all in all it’s probably one of the better things I’ve ever eaten at Subway. I’m sure if Jared were around, he’d wholeheartedly agree!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Knee Deep in "SPAM"

Sorry about the delay in posting this am. I’ve been knee deep in “SPAM”. No, not spam e-mail, but the actual product SPAM. You know, as in the canned meat. We’re in the midst of trying to develop a creative idea for SPAM that reaches the crux of our audience (the readers of Field & Stream and Outdoor Life). SPAM has this new single serving pouch that they’re taking to market and will be supporting the launch with an ad campaign this fall.

The new SPAM single serving package

I know most of you are disgusted by SPAM, and truth be told I’m not the biggest fan of it either. As a child, all my father ate were SPAM sandwiches – cold ones at that. He used to tell me all the time I was fortunate that we were able to enjoy and afford warm food like White Castle and KFC for dinner. But on occasion he’d whip up some SPAM sandwiches for me to remind me how fortunate I was. I cringed and protested, but ate them begrudgingly. And with lots of ketchup.

I noticed that the Spanish deli across the street from me has tons of SPAM cans on the shelves, so I know it’s still popular in some hoods. But by and large, for those living in the metropolis areas of NYC, LA, Chicago, etc, SPAM is on the lowest end of the food chain. Some people and some restaurants probably would resort to eating dirt before they ate SPAM. Regardless, in the heartland, SPAM still goes strong.

Actually I found out through a colleague (and SPAM expert – he co-authored the SPAM cookbook) that the Asian community, specifically in the northwest, has taken quite a liking to SPAM. Maybe it’s because of its “tofu-like” texture, or the fact that like most Asian cuisine, SPAM contains ridiculous amounts of sodium. In fact, this single serving package I have on my desk has 730 mg (or 30% of your daily allowance) of sodium. Actually out of the 210 calories contained in this 3 oz. serving, a whopping 140 calories of fat. Ouch. However it is a “low-carb snack” (only 2g of carbs) and does contain 14 g of protein and 4% of your necessary iron for the day. So it’s not that bad for you (unless you’re watching your cholestoral of course).

Although I’ll give Hormel (the parent company) their due. They have come up with an easy and convenient way to eat SPAM on the go. Much like the tuna manufacturers have developed easy-tear pouches for tuna, the SPAM single serving is great for those in need of a quick, portable snack. Actually SPAM lists a whole “SPAM Idea O’ Wheel” of ways to eat your SPAM single. The ideas include a SPAM Egg & Cheese on a muffin, a SPAM mac & cheese, a “SPAMburger” and even a SPAM necklace. Although they recommend using the package to make a necklace, not the actual piece of SPAM to make the necklace. Although if you’re ever in the mood to get mauled by a dog or a pack of hungry wolves, then by all means make yourself a SPAM necklace.

Anyway I’m gonna get back to creative thoughts about SPAM. We have an idea centered around the annual SPAMARAMA event in Austin, Texas. Next year is the 30th anniversary of the event so we’re thinking one lucky winner can win a trip down to “SPAM heaven” and delight in eating nothing but SPAM for a few days. Personally, I’d take a White Castle or Popeye’s trip of the same variety…but hey, how often can you get to eat sweet & sour SPAM?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Look out below!

So for those who take the 6 train south of 42nd (Grand Central) you know that the train conductors love to whip the train around the corner leaving 42nd street on the way to 33rd (that’s also when the train shifts from Lexington avenue to Park avenue). Anyway, most “straphangers” are ill-prepared for the train whipping around the corner and almost without fail, every day someone loses their balance and smashes into other people. Most people end up bracing themselves against getting toppled over and after the train straightens, everyone is back to their normal standing positions. However despite years of seeing people get tossed around like rag dolls, I’ve never seen anyone get knocked over - until today.

This unassuming young male, about 5’8” and big build was standing against the subway door nonchalantly. There were several older women, very short (probably no taller than 5’1”) standing in front of him. As the train doors closed, the train sped out of the station and around the aforementioned corner. The young male went flying forward at the force of the turn, smashing against the older women. One woman grabbed a bar to brace herself, the other wasn’t as lucky as she went crashing to her knees. The young man felt terrible and lifted the lady up after the train straightened. It was hard not to laugh, albeit I felt bad for the old lady….but it’s one of those “train wreck” moments (no pun intended) you can help but chuckle at. Anyway no one was injured and there were smiles all around afterwards. Why is that “blogworthy”? Well it’s really not…except that it made me laugh – so thus it’s blogworthy.

Anyway, I’ve finally gotten over my disappointment about the blank Good Humor bad I received on Sunday. Since there was no considerable taste difference between the etched bar and the non-etched bar I guess I can’t really complain about it too much…except that the fun was sucked out of the experience.

Speaking of experiences, I came across this article on this am titled “Say Yes to SoNo”. I was like, they can’t be talking about South Norwalk, CT could they? Well after clicking on the article the answer was yes.

While I agree South Norwalk has a hip scene with cool restaurants and trendy places galore, what the article FAILS to mention is that there is not ONE place to eat breakfast there on a weekend morning. Think I’m kidding? When Coogan, Charlie, Dan and I went to the MAAC Tournament championship in Bridgeport, CT in March we went looking for places to eat on Sunday am. Since we hung out in SoNo on Saturday night at the Black Bear Saloon, we figured there must be some diner or other breakfast place open given how alive the scene was on that Sat. night? Nope. There were like two gourmet coffee shops serving coffee and imported chocolates.

Any bagel place? Nope. Donut shop? Nada. Diner? Fuggetaboutit. We drove and walked around for an hour with not a place to eat in site. And this wasn’t at 9am mind you. Nope. This was at noon. Noon. As in lunch time. As in hello you have 20 bars and not one of them is open for lunch on a Sunday? Ridiculous. For an “up and coming” neighborhood to want to be taken seriously as a residential option that is piss poor. Yeah, it’s great for those “out of towners” who want to visit for the restaurants and trendy/gourmet scene. But good luck if you happen to be stuck there overnight and want something to eat besides imported chocolate from Bulgaria.

Anyway, sorry to go off on a side rant there. I’m getting “cabin fever” sitting inside on another gorgeous day. It’s hard to be funny or concentrate on work when it’s 70+ degrees outside and you’re stuck inside cubicle heaven. Then again millions of us out there are stuck in the same world. Trapped. On days like this I’m actually tremendously jealous of Heather Armstrong from Dooce. Why? Because she makes $70,000 a year just by blogging. From home.

If I was a stay at home paid blogger I'd probably look something like this

Don’t believe me? Check out her site. She makes a ton of money off advertising on her blog. She’s a stay at home mother and supports her and her family through her blog. Must be nice right? And honestly, while I like her tone and her style, I don’t think her blog is one of the “best things I’ve ever read” on a day-to-day basis. But don’t tell that to the thousands of mothers who read her blog and follow her word like it’s the gospel. Am I bitter? Just a little. Wouldn’t you be if you basically know that there are people out there who make a great living just by sitting at home on their ass writing about nothing in particular?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bitterly Disappointing

Well the weather wasn’t disappointing this weekend. That’s for damn sure. The Yankees were extremely disappointing this weekend. But that’s to be expected since Joe Torre over-manages each game to the fullest. Plus it’s not like the Red Sox haven’t faced Mariano Rivera 1,000 times in the past 10 years. No surprises there. I don’t care if he’s the best closer ever. When you face a team a gazillion times they are gonna know you like a book. But I’ve said my piece about that to whoever would listen to me over the weekend.

But the most bitterly disappointing moment this weekend came at the hands of one of my beloved childhood memories, the WWF Wrestling Ice Cream Bar (or WWE Ice Cream Bar as it’s now called).

Firstly, you know how passionate I am about Good Humor based on my post just a few weeks back on how Good Humor should sponsor Good Friday. Knowing that Mr. Softee now reigns supreme in the Big Apple, we were extremely shocked that we saw a Good Humor truck on Sunday outside Carl Shultz Park on the UES. And frankly we were a little disappointed since we were hunting for a Mr. Softee truck so Bridget could get a shake. But who can be disappointed when the Good Humor truck is around?! I was especially thrilled since I haven’t seen one in a long time. Bridget, Avi and Lauren probably could’ve cared less, but nonetheless shared in my excitement over getting any ice cream on a warm April day.

Searching for Mr. Softee, we came across the rare NYC Good Humor truck

The choices of course were endless. The Strawberry Shortcake, the Chipwich, the Chocolate Éclair…all of the favorite Good Humor Ice Cream’s from day’s yore. Lauren opted for one of the frozen flavored pops (lime flavored). Avi went with the classic King Kone. Bridget opted for a Chocolate Éclair and a Chipwich (to share with me of course). But I my friends hit paydirt. Lo and behold, a WWF Ice Cream Sandwich bar!! Holy fucking shit. They still make them. And they’re only $2 to boot! Just a 50 cent markup from 20 years ago! Unreal! How many products can you say where just 50 cents more expensive than 20 years ago???

The ice cream bar, unlike its predecessors, came in a cardboard box rather than a plastic wrapper.

As Hulk Hogan was on the cover of the sample bar on the front of the box, I figured I may get a Hogan imprint on the cookie side of the bar (the bar is a sandwich of chocolate, ice cream and cookie dough for those not in the know). Although a picture of John Cena (the current WWE champ) was pictured on the box so I thought maybe I’d get him. Even though I longed for one of the classics, like an Andre the Giant, I was willing to settle for a John Cena or Rey Mysterio bar.

I ripped open the box like a 5 year old rips opens a Christmas present. I see the chocolate side first and then turn the bar over. And the wrestler is…………………

Blank? Blank???? The bar is fucking blank!!!! Are you fucking kidding me??? I felt immediately let down and rejected. That’s probably the most disappointed I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I put my head down in shame and shuffled my feet. I was practically inconsolable. Tears welled in my eyes (ok, maybe not that far, but if I was alone they may have!). I can’t believe it. All that excitement. The buildup. The nostalgia. And the bar is fucking blank.

So a big fuck you to the WWE. No wonder why your product sucks and no one watches you anymore! Bastards. Way to ruin a 29 year olds day. And not to mention the HUGE false advertising on their behalf!! Why put a picture of an imprint of a bar on the outside of your packaging and then have a blank inside? That’s like Oreo basically giving you a picture of an Oreo imprint cookie on the outside of the packaging and then when you take a cookie out you get a smooth, plain, no imprint chocolate shell on the outside. What fun would that be? You think people would enjoy Oreos if the chocolate wasn’t imprinted with the brand name? Definitely not. Cause then you’d be eating a generic chocolate cookie with cream filling. That’s essentially what this was. A generic ice cream bar. I mean are times at the WWE that bad that they can’t afford to imprint their wrestlers on a cookie?? Unreal.

I think I was more disappointed about the stupid ice cream bar then about the Yankees losing. I expected the Yanks to lose. I didn’t expect to get a blank ice cream bar. Major disappointment!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Sun?!?! What is it?

Is that the sun we have shining? Can't be!

"The Sun! What is it?"

"It's a big, fiery ball in the center of our solar system, but that's not important right now!"

(10 bonus points for whoever names the movie reference)

It feels like the last time I saw the Sun I was in Aruba

Anyway it's seriously been like what a month without having mostly cloudy skies and rain? I was beginning to think we were living in Lower Uncton! (very random Married with Children reference if you didn't get it.)

Anyway, not to gross anyone out, but my stomach was killing me for some reason this am. Maybe it was the combination of having a few beers last night along the plate of hummus I ate for dinner combined with an omelette this morning and a large tea. Anyway, to spare you the details the results weren't pretty in the bathroom this morning. As I'm walking out of the stall to wash my hands, a guy walks into the bathroom unsuspectedly. Now, I don't know if the stench was all that bad since the shit basically just exploded out of my ass, but the guy walked into the same stall I just used. Sorry dude. My bad.

That's probably one of the worst feelings. Knowing you've basically just walked into a trap. And that unwanted "warm toilet" feeling (I touched on this subject last month if you missed it.) The worst part was someone had basically clogged the other toilet so this was the only option he had (in case he needed to switch stalls).

I know I've touched on this subject many times before (much to your dismay I'm sure) but bathroom stalls should have a warning system on them that notifies you how long its been since the last person used the stall. Maybe the door can turn red if the stall was just used (as a red warning light to not go in there). Maybe an orange colored door would mean be warned, the shitter was just used within the last 15 minutes. A green colored door could mean that coast is relatively clear, shitter hasn't been used within 30 minutes.

Something to think about maybe if you're a bathroom stall door manufacturer?

Anyway, since it's Friday, its time to humor you with a funny video. Today's video comes courtesy of Bill Simmons' Sports Guy blog. An american baseball player gets hit by a Japanese pitcher and charges the mound. Unlike baseball in the states where the pitcher stands in and tries to defend himself, this pitcher decides to turn tail and run away. Pretty humorous, especially the teammates trying to cut the enraged player off so he won't get to the pitcher.

Enjoy your weekend of fun in the sun (for those who haven't seen it in a while like anyone living in NYC). Go Yanks - Beat the Sawx!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Rock the Vote

As we come closer to the one-year anniversary of "What Pushes My Buttons", I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have been loyal readers of my blog over the past year. Whether your an active participant in the discussion or just a casual observer, I hope that you've enjoyed your reading experience here thus far and at the very least have gotten a few laughs out of it along the way.

If your the kinda person who notices "tags" on blogs, you'll notice that certain postings have been tagged "top blog candidate". These are the posts I believe to be the funniest (or most distasteful) writings that have appeared on this blog so far. But that's just in my humble opinion. It's time for you to decide on that.

We're looking for you to vote on the post that made you laugh the hardest. Or nearly throw up on your desk. Or simply shake your head in disbelief. In the spirit of American Idol, YOU have the chance to decide.

What does the winning post get? Well, frankly not much, other than the distinction of being voted as posting of the year. What do you get? Well, frankly even less, other than the chance to voice your opinion. And these days, who doesn't want to voice their opinion!

So without further adieu, here are the candidates for the 1st annual What Pushes My Buttons Post of the Year (drum roll please):

Those are your candidates for "WPMB blog posting of the year". To vote in this all-important "election", on the top right hand column of the page will be the voting box.

Go ahead. Rock the Vote!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Vinny Goombaats

So I was at the Rangers playoff game with Rich last night (which was an absolute blowout, 7-0 blueshirts). Between periods we always hang out in the lobby landing with a nice view of the 8th avenue/34th street area (especially from the “blue” section which is way at the top for those who haven’t been to the garden before). Anyway we’re standing there talking to a bunch of people about the 1st period and this guy is lingering around the beer cart waiting for his beer to be poured. He was your typical contractor type guy -100% Italian, a stocky build (probably like 5’8”, 240 lb) and very “hey, how you doin’ ish"). He even had on his company’s T-shirt, I forgot the name of the construction company and this guy gets closer to us and says “Hey...yo, you happen to be Nets fans?”

If he was really eavesdropping on us he would’ve heard me say I hate the NBA. Maybe he needs one of those Listen Up devices. Anyway, we all kind of respond we hate the NBA and continue to talk about hockey.

Well what does Vinny Goombaats do but keep talking to me about basketball. Didn’t you just hear what we said?? Anyway, this “blowhard” (as Rich called him) starts telling me that he just remodeled Jason Kidd’s granite countertops in his kitchen. Rich and the other guys wisely turned away from this guy but I was trapped. Figures. “Yeah, it was like 400 square feet of granite…$50,000 worth of granite. His countertops are bigger than this whole area” says Mr. Goombaats. I nod in a half I don’t give a shit, half “good for you spider”. Well does he stop there…nope…he proceeds to tell me how Jason Kidd gave him courtside tickets for the Nets games for the season. “You look for me courtside…I’m the one sitting behind Jay-Z”.

My life is now complete. I met the guy who does Jason Kidd's kitchen.

"You know, I'm doing his garage do. All tiles. $25,000 job. I'm doin' it for free. He gave me 2 courtside tickets all season. I'm doing the job for free."

Dude…if you’re trying to impress me, I really don’t give a shit about your courtside tickets. Am I jealous? Sure. But honestly I’d be more impressed if I was 15…not 30. Anyway, he goes on and on about how he hangs out with players and all this bs. I’m sure he was telling the truth, but he was just one of these guys who likes to flaunt his big shot status.

After trying to ignore him doesn’t work, Mr. hot shot proceeds to ask me if I watch the Sopranos. I tell him I don’t get HBO but he proceeds to tell me two of the Sopranos are at the game tonight, he was hanging out with them before the game. Ok…I get the point. You’re “important”. Now just leave me and my Guinness alone.

Our friend Tara and her friend come over to talk. You think this guy would get the hint and walk away. Nope. He continues to pester me with questions. Like there’s not 18,200 other people you can talk to right now.

“Hey, you like the Yankees right?” No shit Sherlock, I’m wearing a Yankees hat. I give him a nod and point to my head knowing where this is going.

“I live up in Larchmont. My wife’s flower shop delivers flowers to Joe Torre’s wife twice a week. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Anytime we need tickets we slip a note with the flowers saying hey Joe, gimme two. Bamn, (he gives me a 'hand on the counter' sign for emphasis) next time we deliver, we got 2 tickets, right behind the dugout.” That’s great…glad scumbags like you get the good seats while good people like me have to buy season tickets just to sit in the bleachers.

He taps me on the arm. “Hey. You know what Jeter and Bernie drive? They have a no motorcycle clause in their contract. They drive mopeds. I went out to dinner with them last year. Nice mopeds too.”

What else you gonna tell me next? George Steinbrenner sucks you off every Friday? You were an extra in Goodfellas?

Surprised that "goomba johnny" didn’t tell me he just did the cast of Goodfellas' kitchens.

After a brief delay so he could chug his beer he taps me again. “Hey, you like clams?”. I mean seriously, what is it with this guy?

I decide to indulge him. “Yeah, I grew up in Brooklyn, I love clams”. “Man you gotta come up to this place in New Rochelle. You know New Rochelle?” I indulge him with a nod yes. “Man, you gotta go. It’s right off the docks. You know that factory near the docks? Down the street from there. Best baked clams. I go there every week. I know the owners. If you want to go just tell them you’re here to see John.”

I basically tuned out the rest of his verbal barrage about this place in New Rochelle so I didn't remember the name of it. After about 20 seconds of pretending to listen I check in again. “You know, if you like Jazz and good food, come down to Oakland New Jersey. There’s this place Ruga. R-U-G-A. Great Jazz on Friday night. Are those your girlfriends?” he asks while pointing to Tara and her friend. “No, just friends of ours” I reply. “Oh, ok, well if you want, bring your friends down to Ruga. Ask for Johnny. I’ll take care of you. I’m there every Friday night. Come look for me”.

At this point I seriously had enough. Thank god the period was about to start so this asshole finally left me alone. Rich turns to me and says “Dude, what the fuck was that about?” Unreal…he basically talked my ear off for 15 minutes. I told Rich he was some hot shot who was friends with Jason Kidd and the Sopranos stars and Joe Torre. Then we look at each other and almost at the same time ask, “So if he’s so important, why the fuck is he sitting in the blues?” I mean if this guy is such a hotshot surely he could’ve gotten tickets up front? Or on the bench even? I mean the way he was going I was expecting him to say he was doing James Dolan’s kitchen. Or banging Brendan Shanahan's wife. (Yeah, you know Brendan. Yeah, I'm banging his wife).

Anyway, I guess you had to be there to see this guy in action. Luckily he didn’t come back to chat between the 2nd and 3rd periods. Maybe he found another friend to talk to.

Anyway I’m surprised I remember the restaurant. Maybe because he mentioned it 20 times in 30 seconds. The website is The place looks cool although I don’t think I would ever go there thanks to this idiot. Last thing I need is to go there and have this schmuck on wheels see me and talk to me for 2 hours.

Stuff like this only happens to me though. Seriously. I must have a sign above me that says talk to me. Impress me. Blow smoke up my ass. Unreal.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ultimate Shower Songs...Part Deux

Ok...because many of you have asked for a new list, and it’s been nearly a year since the last list was “published”, it’s time for The Ultimate Shower Songs, Part Deux!

To those new to the blog, please view last year’s Ultimate Shower Songs list.

For those who have been faithful followers of this blog since day 1 and have waited almost a year for a new list, without further adieu, here’s part two of the best songs to sing in the shower (in no particular order):

Say, Say, Say. “Say” what you want about it, you know you love this duet between Sir Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. It’s a good “warm up” song in the shower since McCartney’s vocals are pretty mellow and easy to replicate. Once your vocal chords are raring to go it’s time to rip into Michael’s part: “What can I do, I’m so in love with you…baby! Eee heee”. Gotta love Michael in his bas ass years!

McCartney and Jackson team up to produce a great shower song for you

Other good Michael Jackson songs to sing in the shower are Billie Jean, The Way You Make Me Feel, Man in the Mirror and Pretty Young Thing. Actually most Michael Jackson songs are great shower songs. I’m gonna go ahead and give him a lifetime Shammy achievement award! Congrats Michael, well deserved.

Don’t Know Much. Once you’ve exhausted yourself with Michael, you can mellow it down with some Aaron Neville. For those who have the vocal range you can also sing the Linda Ronstadt parts of the song. But Neville is relatively easy to sing in the shower thanks to his nasal-like tone. Plus it’s a good warm up for singing Neville’s famous cotton commercial. You know the one: “The touch, the feel of cot-tin. It’s the fab-rick of our lives.”

On The Wings of Love. Staying on the mellow theme, and because you just saw one of those Time-Life infomercials at 1 in the morning with the 100 greatest love songs, this smash by Jeffrey Osbourne is sure to eat up some of the hot water in your building. Plus the deep, resonating vocals bounce off the shower walls nicely. Although similar to Caribbean Queen, all you know is the hook of the song so that’s all you sing over and over again. You know, “On the wings of love, only the two of us together flying high. Flying high, on the wings of love”.

The smooth stylings of Jeffrey Osbourne lend itself to good shower singing material, even if you only know two lines of the song

Another song you only know the hook to is Never Gonna Let You Go by Sergio Mendes. So that’s all you sing over and over again. You know the words. “I'm never gonna let you go. I'm gonna hold you in my arms forever. Gonna try and make up for the times I hurt you so. Gonna hold your body close to mine. From this day on we're gonna be together. Oh, I swear this time. I'm never gonna let you go”. Awesome stuff. Just awesome. Good song to extend your stay in the shower to.

For those itching for the summer months you can bust out a little Cruel Summer by Bananarama. “It’s a cruel (cruel) cruel summer. Leaving me here on my own”. Good stuff. You know you even hum the instrumental riff of the song. Very feel good shower song to get you ready for tanning season (or to make you feel bad about how white you are going into beach season as you wash your body). Other good “summer” songs are Summer Girls by LFO, Summer Wind by Sinatra and Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince. Although don't readily admit you know the lyrics to Summer Girls by LFO...could be condusive to having your ass beat in some corners of the earth (more on songs that could get your ass beat later).

Other good songs to get you in the mood for good weather are Break My Stride by Men at Work (also sung by Matthew Wilder). “Ain’t nothing gonna break-a my stride, ain’t nothing gonna slow me down – oh no – got to keep on movin”. (Although please don’t sing the Puff Daddy version. Or anything by Puffy for that matter. As they say in my hood, he’s a “beat biter – a Pac style taker – I’ll tell it to (his) face he ain’t shit but a faker”). Getting Jiggy Wit It by Will Smith and This is How We Do It by Montell Jordan also are prime songs for getting in a “good mood” for nice weather. Plus if you do the Getting Jiggy With It dance while rinsing, you’ll be able to wash off the soap that is trapped between your rolls of fat. If you have rolls of fat of course.

Perhaps the most underrated Shower Song band is U2. Largely because everyone knows the lyrics to most of their songs and their style is very condusive to shower singing. With or Without You is a particularly great shower song, especially that section where Bono kicks it up a notch. “I can’t liiiiive. With or without you…..oh oh oh oh”. Great stuff. It’s the kinda song you want people down the hallway to hear you sing. Another great U2 shower song is One. “Love is a temple, love the higher love”. Powerful. Good song to pause whatever you’re doing in the shower to belt out the lyrics.

Congrats, U2! You’ve earned a Shammy for achieving greatness in shower song music

Back to the mellow stuff (and because the Time-Life commercial just popped in your head again). When I See You Smile by John Waite is a great shower song to sing, especially if you just scored a big hookup the night before. Plus this song helps you score bonus points if you’re trying to impress upon your live-in girlfriend or the hooker you let sleep over last night. Nothing puts a “smile” on a girl’s face like hearing “When I see you smile. I can face the world. Oh you know I can do anything”. Although if you’re living with another dude you may not want to bust this one out for fear that the gaydar would go off the charts.

Speaking of off the charts gaydar, other songs not to sing if you have a male roommate around include anything by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Especially Sherri or Big Girls Don’t Cry. So what if you just saw the promo for “Jersey Girls” for the hundredth time, Valli’s songs should only be sung by those without any males within earshot (unless they happen to be musical theater or broadway actors – then you’re ok). If you choose to try the high notes of Sherri baby you best be comfortable with your own masculinity!

Other songs to avoid with a male around are A Whole New World by Peabo Bryson. So what if you watched Aladdin with your niece for the 50th time, singing this song is grounds for getting your ass beat by your roommate if he hears you singing it. Even if the vocals sound cool in the shower, sing this one at your own risk. Same goes for Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About by Bonnie Raitt. Although while you may get mocked and beaten by other males for singing it in the shower, you know damn well that after they’re done insulting your manhood minutes later they start humming the lyrics to themselves. Even if they won’t admit it, they should. The song is catchy.

Bonnie’s got your back if any male gives you shit for singing her songs

If you need to restore some of your male pride and save face, some good songs to turn to in the shower are Pearl Jam’s Jeremy, Creed’s My Own Prison, Metallica’s Enter Sandman and Nirvana’s Rape Me. Although you may wanna stay away from Rape Meif your male roommate recently completed a stint in prison.

On topic, songs to avoid if you’re trying not to violate parole for child molestation include anything referencing teenage girls, such as I Saw Her Standing There by the Beatles. “She was just 17 you know what I mean” may be tough to justify. Although in your defense you can say you were just at a game at the Garden since that’s a MSG hit (not so much for the she was just 17 part as much as the: She wouldn’t dance with another…OOOOOOO”, that everyone belts out at once).

Another song to be weary of if you’re a convicted child molester is Into The Night by Benny Mardones. Why you ask? Um, how bout the lyrics:

“She's just sixteen years old, Leave her alone, they say....But I want you to know, If I could fly, I'd pick youuuuuu up. I'd take you into the night, And show you a love…like you've neverrrrr seen. Ever seen”.

If that doesn’t scream child molestation I don’t know what does! Although it won’t stop me from singing it in the shower simply because it sounds cool acoustically. The lyrics invoke passion and are souful, despite the messaging.

Much to his dismay, and his smash hit, Benny Mardones has been placed on most child molester watch lists

That completes this list of the Ultimate Shower Songs, Part Deux. Feel free to comment on your own personal favorites and let the debate begin!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Listen Up!

Since this weekend was pretty much a wash out, there was nothing much to do but stay in on Sunday and watch some television. Bridget and I flipped around the tube and found an old movie on Channel 55 starring Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase called "Seems Like Old Times". The movie was pretty funny actually (I had never seen it but Bridget had), typical Chevy Chase deadpan comedy routine if you're a fan of Chevy Chase. Anyway, on this "Channel 55" there were infomercials galore. Then again that shouldn't surprise me since Channel 55 might as well be broadcast from my apartment since it's that obscure. Actually I may be the only person who actually gets the channel. I'll look into that.

Anyway we saw this one infomercial for this product called Listen Up. It was your typical "Made for TV" commercial, made in the mold of the "I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up" classic infomercial from days yonder. The commercial features old people having problems hearing, people being annoyed by the loud sound of televisions blaring and other hearing impared situations. But the funny part of the commercial is at the :45 second mark. They show a guy who appears to be "not quite old enough to require heading assistance" at the gym. He has his Listen Up product on and can hear a conversation two females are having across the gym about him.

Bridget and I looked at each other in disbelief. Isn't this basically just a form of spying or eavesdropping? Aren't hearing aids supposed to benefit those who are hearing impared? When did they suddenly become eavesdropping devices? And if that's the practical use you were to get out of them, why would this company advertise that? You're basically saying "buy my product and you can hear what people are saying about you from across the room or across the street"?

If that isn't enough I went on the website and lo and behold here’s the following statement in bold:

Umm...excuse me? Isn't that sort of illegal? Or if it isn't, it's extremely unethical. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to hear what people say about me behind my back (and I'm sure most of you would as well. Honestly. Don't lie about that.) But still, there's something just creepy about it. Especially with the guy in the gym in the commercial...he has the biggest shit-eating grin on his face when he hears the women talking nicely about him. But what if that backfired? What if they said "eww...look at that loser over there, I bet his dick is about 2 inches small". Would he enjoy the benefits of his "Listen Up" then? Would he??? No, he'd be embarrassed as fuck.

So the bottom line is some things are better off left unsaid...or in this case unheard.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Poor number thirteen

Ah...the number thirteen.



Δέκα τρία



However you say it, the number thirteen has long been considered "unlucky" by most. Most buildings forgo the thirteenth floor. There’s no number 13 horse in horse racing. There’s even a fear of the number 13, Triskaidekaphobia. The number 13 might as well be the red headed, freckled kid at a grade school dance.

If the number 13 was a person, it would most likely be a "ginger"

So as we exist here on this Friday the 13th, I'm happy to say 13 is my favorite number. Like my favorite basketball players Chris Mullin and Mark Jackson, I wear 13 on my jerseys. I always play it in the lotto (not that I ever win of course). I love the "bakers dozen" (who doesn't love getting an extra bagel or donut!). But honestly I don't know why people have such a fixation with the number that prevents them from embracing it.

Obviously there’s some cultural, religious and historical significance behind the number that would invoke fear in some and hope in others. Actually there’s much more to the number 13 than I thought. Check out the for a detailed listing of 13's significance throughout history.

Anyway, why is this important? Well it's not. Just felt like saying the number 13 gets a bad rap sometimes. That's all. I know it was an awkward age for many…especially boys because that's when puberty starts to set in. That and for us jewish kids, 13 is barmitzvah time, which is a train wreck in and of itself. But for others, don't be a playa-hater. Embrace the number 13. Love it. Cherish it. Enjoy it. Make love to it. (Okay, maybe that’s going too far, but you get the point!)

Anyway, it's Friday so we should have some fun before the weekend. Some of you may have seen these “unlucky” moments before, but I actually haven't seen most of these clips. It's really funny and good for a cheap laugh or two. And who couldn’t use a cheap laugh?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

No more “nappy”?

So hearing the rain pelting my window this morning I quickly realized I left my umbrella at work (good place for it to be). So I donned my "water-resistant" rain jacket and headed out the door. I might as well have been wearing a sponge because apparently water-resistant = water absorbent. Not that I would expect a water-resistant garment to stand up to a monsoon, but at least some protection would have been nice. At least now I can compete in our weekly wet T-shirt contest at lunch!

Anyway so I take my soaking this morning while I walk the 7 or so minutes to the subway. I’m about to descend the staircase to the said underground transportation mechanism when this "ute" is in front of me, walking slowly down the stairs. He has his umbrella opened and there’s no room to pass him so I wait patiently behind him and continue to "absorb" water. Some girl like 10 feet behind us yells out his name "Yo-Dee Shawn". So what does the "ute" do but whip around with his umbrella open, nearly giving me lasik surgery in the process. Seriously, I think the tips of his umbrella grazed my eye lashes. Then this "nappy haired ho...........odlum" decides to walk back up the stairs past me. Instead of saying "excuse me" or "yo, my bad, I almost took your eyes out" he pushes past me like I’m the one in his way. Fuckin lil' prick. You’re lucky I was so waterlogged from the rain if not I would’ve knocked you on your ass, you little punk.

Wait...what was that? Sorry just got a call from the FCC. Apparently the words "Nappy Haired" can’t be used anymore. How’d they know I even wrote it, I haven’t even posted this yet! I kindly asked Mr. Censorship why I couldn’t use those words and apparently some guy radio personality named "Imus" just caused an uproar after he referred to a women’s basketball team from New Jersey as a bunch of "nappy haired hos". Thanks a lot "Imus" or whatever your name is. Way to ruin the words "nappy haired" for the rest of eternity! Wait...I think I remember your name now. You're the "other shock jock" besides Howard Stern. Ohh...gotcha. My bad. I thought you died like 20 something years ago? Huh. Well that makes sense, I guess that's the last time I listened to morning radio.

Well Mr. Imus, you couldn’t pick another word to use? You know how important the words "nappy haired" are to my existence? I mean every morning my hair is nappy. Now thanks to you I can't say it's "nappy". I now have to say it's "disheveled" or "unkempt". Cause you know nothing is cooler than calling your own hair "unkempt".

So Mr. Imus, I just did a google search on you cause you know I thought you were dead and all. Not for nothing, based on the pictures I saw of you, I wouldn’t be calling other people "nappy haired". Have YOU looked in the mirror recently???

Hard to believe that this character "Imus" is calling other people "nappy haired"???

Anyway, the FCC has slapped my hands and wants me to re-write the above paragraph. So here it goes:

I’m about to descend the staircase to the said underground transportation mechanism when this young fellow is in front of me, exhibiting the utmost safety and caution as he descends down the stairs. He has his umbrella opened and I give him the proper space to swing his umbrella around at will, while I continue to bask in the rain water which is beneficial for my attire. Suddenly some female near the staircase gently calls out his name "Deshawn". What happened next was completely my fault as I impeded his ability to swing his umbrella around freely. I apologize that my head was in the path of your umbrella kind lad. I realize you're having a bad day since your hair appears to be all out of sorts. Allow me to move out of your way so you have freedom to swing your umbrella and walk up and down the stairs as you please. Next time I promise to give you plenty of space to do with as you wish. My deepest apologies.

There, FCC is that better??? Hopefully I won’t have people boycott my blog now because I used the phrase “nappy haired”. I apologize profusely to my viewing audience. I hope you can forgive me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What a relief!

Whew! In case you haven’t heard, according to DNA testing Larry Birkhead was declared to be Dannielynn’s father (Anne Nicole Smith’s daughter)! Thank god that ordeal is over with, I was so sick and tired of being questioned about my relationship with Anna Nicole. I mean, so we shared one wild and drunken night downing a bottle of Hypnotiq and popping some Trim Spa. That was like 7 years ago! Get over it. It was impossible for me to be the father!! Fuckin idiots.

Anna after our night of partying several years ago. I told ya I wasn't the baby's daddy!

Anyway, I happened to catch the tail end of American Idol last night. I really haven’t watched the show in a few seasons (ever since I called the whole Taylor Hicks winning season in my very first blog). I caught Sanjaya’s song and the recap of the other contestants. Even though I know there’s the whole "keep Sanjaya on even though he sucks conspiracy", I gotta say he wasn’t that bad last night. The song suited him perfectly, even with that porn star moustache he was flaunting last night.

If Idol doesn’t work out, Sanjay can appeal in some sleazy Cuban mafia movies

In the recaps, I wasn’t really wowed with the other performers. Then again, J-Lo was their “teacher” this week, and we’ve seen the great decisions she’s made with her life recently! First there was Gigli and now she’s married to a rat.

I don’t think J-Lo is qualified to give advice given the decisions she’s made in life recently

I would say the last good thing J-Lo's done was star in the Wedding Planner. Although Matt McConaughy really stole that movie from her. And the only reason I’d say she was "good" in that movie was the one line she had about M&M’s: "I only eat the brown ones because they’re pure" (which is much funnier when I say it in my Rosie Perez accent from White Men Can't Jump).

Anyway, if I had to pick my American Idol favorite this season based on the auditions and the little that I’ve seen of the show, I’d go with the beat boxing Blake (who doesn’t love a beat-boxer!). Especially with the popularity of J.T. right now, Blake could be riding Justin's coat tails a bit. I know LaKiesha and Melinda are the two most talented singers, although can you see the American public voting in a “Doo-little” as their Idol? Dunno about that. Anyway, Sanjaya wasn’t half bad last night so I think that the conspiracy phenomenon definitely lives on this week. Especially after Simon gave him a disgruntled, half-hearted “that wasn’t so bad” feedback on his performance. I think either Richardson goes or the girl who was wearing close to nothing goes But then again I haven’t really followed the show this season so I don’t know who is getting the “popular” vote.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Queer Eye for the Subway Guy

So last night I was taking the 6 train downtown at the 33rd Street station. I had just missed a train so I was reading our latest issue of Field & Stream and leaning against one of the subway stations posts. No one was really on the platform so it was nice and empty for a change.

After a minute or so of standing there I hear some footsteps coming towards me. I look up from the magazine and see a very well dressed man about 25 feet away in a blue, 8 button trenchcoat and khaki pants walking towards me. His hands were in his pockets and he was walking very briskly with a proper, upright walk. I see combed-back blond hair and a slightly tanned complexion. I squint (I didn’t have my glasses on) and oh my god…it’s Carson Kressley from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy!

Carson brought fashion to the 6 train last night

No, it can’t be? On the subway of all places? I look down at my magazine and look up again…and he’s now 10 feet away from me. He shoots me a quick look and then looks straight ahead. I must have given him a deer in headlights look as I tried to confirm it was definitely him. Before I could say “Hey Carson” he continues his brisk walk down the subway platform.

Is this terribly exciting? No not really, except for the fact I never have celebrity sightings. Let alone actually recognize a celebrity in the first place. Although I’m sure Carson took one look at me and saw a tragically dressed figure with my $29.99 black Slates pants from Macy’s with one of the hems falling off the cuff, a $50 pair of imitation designer black dress loafers bought at DSW, my 4 year old grey crew neck Banana Republic Sweater that is so stretched out Professor Klump could fit in it and my blue and white Columbia ski jacket on. Figures the one person in this world who makes a living judging fashion and there I am, dressed worse than most homeless people! I’m sure his pair of socks probably cost more than my entire outfit!

Professor Klump looked like a GQ model compared to how I was dressed!

I’m not the one to be star struck having been around “celebrities” for most of my teenage years working in the Catskills (if you consider the likes of John Pinette, Howie Mandel, Air Supply, Frankie Valle, among many others “celebrities” of course!). And actually I probably would have asked Carson how the show was doing or if they needed another male volunteer for the show (my wardrobe could use some serious help!). But thanks to not having my glasses on and not expecting the celebrity sighting, I may have missed my one chance to get a fashion makeover! Dammit.

Oh well…pretty funny though, he’s the last person I’d expect to be riding the subways. It appears that he got off at Union Square so I’m sure he was hounded then by all those “hippie chic NYU-sters”. But it was nice to see a celebrity for a change. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t see them running around!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Now that's a long taxi ride!

Hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend filled of jelly beans, easter eggs and ham! I injested enough sodium this weekend to kill most elephants so I'm a little sluggish today. Hopefully a few walks home after work will help offset the extra pounds I undoubtedly gained this weekend.

Before I get into today's "rant-du-jour", what a crazy weather weekend it was! It was sunny and hot in the sun, but freezing cold in the shade. Watching the Yankees game yesterday was crazy. The sun was shining, yet the game was being played in a blizzard-like condition. The players were getting snow in their eyes, pretty funny. Although it could have been worse. In Cleveland, the entire weekend of games were snowed out! Crazy stuff.

Umm...I thought the Cleveland Browns didn't start playing until November?

Anyway, saw this story this morning and had to laugh. Apparently this retired couple is moving from NYC to Arizona and are taking a Taxi there:

Couple Hail Cab for 2,400-Mile Ride
NEW YORK (April 8) - Betty and Bob Matas have retired and are moving to Arizona, but like many New Yorkers they don't drive, and they don't want their cats to travel all that way in an airliner cargo hold.

Their solution: "Hey, cabbie."

They met taxi driver Douglas Guldeniz when they hailed his cab after a shopping trip several weeks ago.

They got to talking about their upcoming move, and "we said 'Do you want to come?"' said Bob Matas, 72, a former audio and video engineer for advertising agencies. "And he said 'Sure."'

It was initially a gag, Matas said, but as they talked over the ensuing weeks it became reality.

They plan to leave Tuesday on the 2,400-mile trip to Sedona, Ariz., with Guldeniz driving his yellow SUV cab 10 hours a day for a flat fee of $3,000, plus gas, meals and lodging.

They're getting a break. The standard, metered fare would be about $5,000 - each way, according to David Pollack, executive director of the Committee for Taxi Safety, a drivers' group. But city Taxi and Limousine Commission rules direct drivers and passengers to negotiate a flat fare for trips outside the city and a few suburban areas.

It's also a good deal for Guldeniz.

"This job is not easy, and I want to do something different," said Guldeniz, 45, who has been driving a taxi for two years. "I want to have some good memories."

The Matases will ride in relaxed comfort in Guldeniz's sport utility vehicle while their cats ride in the back in their travel cases. A mover will haul their belongings.

"It's a little unusual, but it will be fun," said Betty Matas, 71, a retired executive administrative assistant.


Are you kidding? When I lived in Riverdale, most cabs didn't even want to leave the city to bring me to the Bronx. And some cabs won't even go downtown if you're too far uptown and vice versa. I mean we always joke around that we want to get into a cab and say, "take me to Atlantic City" or "Mohegan Sun please". And maybe...just maybe for the right price, one out of every hundred taxi drivers would consider the offer. But good luck otherwise trying to get a cab to go to Westchester, Jersey or Long Island. Most will close the window and take off on you.

I think it's even more ironic is they had that much of a conversation with this cabbie that resulted in getting the cabbie's number to call him back in the first place. How many cab drivers can you say that about? But good for this taxi driver. I'm glad he's willing to take a road trip and get out of the city. I think personally he should have gotten the $5,000 that the metered fare would cost...but I guess since he's getting his meals and hotel rooms paid for that's a good deal right there. Especially getting gas paid for.

For the couple its a good thing that this cabbie has a new SUV cab. Could you imagine trying to take that trip in a old school Ford cab? It would probably overheat as soon as you got out of the Lincoln Tunnel. That and leg room would suck!

It's a good thing the retired couple is not traveling 3,000 miles in a "regular" cab

Seriously, I hope some tv program films this as a reality show. It'll be interesting to hear the conversations that happen in the cab. I'm sure they'll talk about religion and politics and culture. Although with all of the truck stop diners they'll be stopping in along the way I'm sure the flatulance will be flying left and right. Good luck with that one. And its a good thing the cab driver appears to be normal. Could you imagine driving 3,000 miles with a driver who didn't believe in wearing deodorant? That would suck! Although that would make for some great reality TV!

You know what I would request if I was taking this trip in a cab? I'd request the Cash Cab! For those who aren't familiar, Cash Cab is a show on Discovery Channel were contestants get into a cab and have to answer a series of questions correctly before their destination for a chance to win money.

If I'm taking a cab to Arizona, damn skippy I'm taking the Cash Cab!

Similiar to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" they have a lifeline to call someone on the phone (or even on the street!) and they get three strikes. If they get three wrong, the cab pulls over and they are dropped off on the spot with no winnings. If they reach their destination without getting three strikes, they are given the chance to go double or nothing with a video bonus. It's a pretty cool game show if you haven't seen it. If you haven't, here's a clip of one of the segments on YouTube:

Anyway, could you imagine the cash you could rack up on a 3,000 mile trip! Some contestants can win like $750 bucks with a 50 block cab ride. You'd probably be talking in the millions with a 3,000 mile ride! Although I would hope that you would get 100 strikes or so...i'd hate to have to be dropped off in the middle of Iowa after getting a few questions wrong. Anyway, even if you played without money it would be pretty entertaining. It would beat the hell out of the old license plate game!

Friday, April 06, 2007

"Good Humor" Fridays?

While I have nothing in particular to complain about on this "Good Friday", I have an interesting thought. Shouldn't Good Humor, the ice cream company, sponsor Good Friday?

For those who have never heard of Good Humor it was a staple of my childhood in Brooklyn. You'd hear the bells ring and you ran inside to get whatever loose change you could find to buy your $1 Toasted Almond, Strawberry Shortcake, King Cone, Buffalo Bill, Fat Frog, Chocolate Eclair or Astro Pop, among other tasty treats on a stick from the Good Humor man (those who were "richer" could splurge for the $1.50 ice cream cookie sandwiches or those WWF Superstars of Wrestling bars they came out with back in the 80s). I personally liked Buffalo Bill because it had a vanilla and chocolate ice cream and as an added treat, a gumball for a nose - extra sugar rush!

This may or may not be a picture of me enjoying some Good Humor as a child!

Mike was our Good Humor truck driver for 20 years. Business started hurting once the Mr. Softee truck came around, but back in the day, no one cleaned house like the Good Humor man. The one benefit was that the Good Humor truck came down our blocks, which for those who have visited Gerritsen Beach before know how tiny the blocks are (for those who haven't, our "blocks" or streets are pretty much driveway sized, with only room for a car to park and a car to pass). Mr. Softee only stayed on the "wider" avenues (which was probably a smart decision anyway to save on gas money) and let the children run to him rather than have the truck come to the children. I also found it very shady that Mr. Softee sold Good Humor product in addition to their soft serve cones, basically rendering the Good Humor man obsolete.

The Mr. Softee truck blatently selling Good Humor ice cream product, causing the demise of the Good Humor truck

Anyway, there are some instant synergies between Good Humor and Good Friday:

1) The name "Good" is already there.

2) Ice cream is allowed on Good Friday as long as it doesn't contain any meat.

So naturally, there's a connection. But taking it one step further, the reason we loved Good Humor so much was that once you finished your ice cream there was a printing on the stick. Some of the sticks were "lucky sticks" and if you had one you'd get a free ice cream. You were also the shit if you got one - you felt like the king of the block. And everyone knows there's nothing better than some free ice cream!

Anyway, getting back to the point, as a special prize, Good Humor can work with the Catholic church to distribute special "lucky sticks" for the holidays. Instead of getting a free ice cream with your lucky stick, these specially made Catholic Lucky Sticks can be your "get out of not eating meat" card for the day. How cool would that be? I mean I'm not religious at all so I don't really follow the rules, but I've always thought the whole "not eating meat on Friday thing" was a stupid idea. Like if you eat a piece of steak on Friday's for Lent, God would smite you? I'm sure he/she/it is up there somewhere eating a nice, meaty Filet Mignon tonight with a big glass of Merlot, laughing at the rest of us.

Anyway, since people by and large "play by the rules" and follow their religion, Good Humor would be the "savior" by stepping in and issuing these "lucky sticks" which would be your pass to eat meat for the day. Good Humor would benefit because ice cream sales would go through the roof (and maybe the Good Humor truck would regain popularity and start taking away market share from the Mr. Softee truck). The Catholic church would benefit from all of the PR their "Good Humor Fridays" campaign would generate (and lord knows they need the positive PR these days). Of course we would make sure none of the priests were driving the Good Humor trucks. That would be a nightmare for obvious reasons!

An extensive background check would ensure no priests were masquerading as Good Humor men

So Mr. Pope Benedict Arnold, or whatever your name is, if you're reading out there...this may not be a bad idea to consider!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A simple "Thank You" would've been nice

So I’m walking into the side entrance of my building this morning after acquiring my morning breakfast. Our side entrances are magnetic key card entry only. I open the door and look back to see if anyone is coming towards the door to save them the hassle of digging up their ID card. I see this guy about 25 feet away coming towards the door. He’s carrying a coffee, a newspaper, his briefcase and another bag with his breakfast presumably. I see that he’s struggling to walk so I wait by the door and hold it open for him, figuring that he'd probably drop his coffee or something if he tried to open the door himself. I wait about 4-5 seconds and he comes to the door.

He enters the building and I say nothing and start walking. Although I expected something. A "thank you". Or "thanks". Or "much appreciated". Nothing. Not even a head nod. I would have taken the simple nod as a sign of appreciation. I mean I waited at least what the "acceptable" waiting time for holding a door for someone would be.

What is acceptable door holding waiting time you ask? Well that depends. Generally if you know the person is coming into your building behind you within the next 5 seconds, it's a given that you should at least attempt to hold the door open for them (unless you happen not to like that person). Anything over 5 seconds is very generous. Ten seconds is a great gesture. Anything above 10 seconds is very generous although not completely necessary, unless you:
a)know the person
b)see they have a lot to carry and would struggle to open the door
c)see that they have a physical handicap

But if the person is able bodied and you don't know them...if you're holding the door for more than 15-20 seconds you're being extremely generous. Either that or your just jonesing for a compliment. Or you're just trying to "pay it forward" and hope that good karma comes back to you later in the day.

Anyway, so this prick basically didn't say anything. I decided to let it slide since it's in the morning and he had a lot in his hands.

I swipe myself into my building and go into the elevators. We have two elevator banks, a local and an express. My floor (10) is both a local and express stop. But normally I take the local cause its less crowded. Our elevators wait on the ground floor until another elevator in the bank comes down before that one goes up. So I'm waiting in the elevator for a good 15 seconds and finally the doors begin to close. Suddenly I see someone walking towards the door so I put out my arm to open the door. It's the same guy, with his coffee, briefcase, newspaper and bag. What do I get as a thank you? Nothing.

Fucking nothing.

No "thanks". Or "thank you". If he was a fuckin mute I would have accepted a head nod. Nope, just a blank stare after he pushed the button for his floor.

Are you fucking kidding me? I held the door open for you not once but twice. And you can't even respond with a simple thanks? Fucking asshole. I mean I could have easily just let both doors slam in his face leaving him to fend for himself. But nope, I saw his hands were full so I decided to help him out. Maybe he didn't want my help? Well that's not my fault. He could have acknowledged that I made his life a little easier this morning and saved him from spilling his precious Starbucks all over himself. Even if he was an arrogant scumbag (which apparently he is) a quiet nod of appreciation would have been a nice gesture. Am I wrong here?

I saw what floor you got off on asshole. You work for New York Newsday. Your paper sucks dick. Fucking prick. Why don't you fall between the cracks of the LIRR and the platform and just end your miserable life. Asshole. I love it when these "tough guys" from Long Island come into the city and act like big shots. You know damn well if this was Great Neck or Ronkonkoma or wherever they're from on the island, they would have held the door open at their precious little coffee shop and said "thank you". Or "good day". Nope...they come into the "big, bad" city and they need to act like fucking pricks.

Anyway, maybe he was in a sour mood because it was flurrying this morning. Or his maid showed up late. Whatever. He's still a fucking asshole. I hope you choke on your cheaply produced paper. Your lucky I don't remember what you look like. Cause next time I'll slam the door on your fuckin face.

Have a pleasant day everyone...and remember to be kind to each other out there.

Post blog note: As of 2pm EST i’ve held the door open for 5 different people and they all said thank you.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Time "Killing" Game of the Day

Since its a gloomy and rainy Wednesday here in the NYC, its a great time to cheer yourself up with a family friendly game! Today's "time killing" game comes courtesy of Adult Swim (kudos to Juliana for the find!).

The game is entitled: 5 Minutes to Kill Yourself.

Why are you killing yourself you ask? Well your boss just asked you to come into another waste of your time meeting and frankly you've had enough. So you use anything in your reach, staplers, scissors, lighters, talking to other coworkers, etc, to expediate your death.

Not that I'm condoning such behavior, but as a game it's fairly entertaining. Definitely worth a play or two. Or ten.

Anyway, now that I've helped destroy corporate productivity in the workplace today, I'm reaching out to all of my British friends out there. In May, I'll be making my first visit to London and I'm looking for any suggestions on fun things to do or good places to eat. I know the obvious "must-do" tourist attractions are Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, etc...but anything else you suggest I should see or do while I'm out and about in England is more than welcomed! You know fun things like swimming in the Thames, punching a Bobbie in the face, handing out Beckhams are Gods pamphlets, you stuff like that. I'm sure I'll have plenty to talk about regarding British pedestrian behavior and the vast world of the underground, but anything "out of the ordinary" or off the beaten path you'd like me to check out I'd be more than happy too. Although if it leads to any jail time I'm knocking on your door for some bail money!

In other world news, I was deeply saddened to see that Pippi Longstocking passed away today. I've been a long time fan. Although I was surprised to see that she was living in Asia (Hong Kong) and she had her hair darkened and her freckles removed. Although it was no surprise to me that she was the richest woman in Asia, all those royalties she made off her movie and books deals must have been astronomical! But nonetheless she'll sure be missed!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 an office

So yesterday evening around 5pm, Bridget called me to tell me a funny story. One of her ex-coworkers now works for Google in New York and apparently one of the office employees' python was missing in action. Why someone brought a python into the office is beyond me, but nonetheless I guess they make quiet pets (the occassional hiss is much quieter than the occassional bark). But losing a 3 foot long snake is pretty hard to do, no? I mean its not something you can miss easily.

Anyway, given Google's penchant for playing April Fools Joke's apparently a lot of employees in the office thought it was a joke. But, nope, not so. Here are the internal emails that got circulated to the staff:

Sent: Sunday, April 01, 2007 10:24 PM
Subject: [Everyone-ny] Pet Snake Missing in NYC office

Dear Googlers:

The timing of this email could not be more awkward. Over the weekend, a pet snake belonging to a Googler was released from its cage in a 4th floor cubicle near the Tech Stop. The snake is a 3-foot long, brown and grey ball python named Kaiser. Ball pythons are nonvenomous and are commonly kept as pets. Our exterminator, with Google's security team and the snake's owner are searching for it. Should you see the snake, please do not attempt to touch it or pick it up. Call security immediately.

Tempting as it might be, this is not an April Fool's joke! We are sending this message to alert you to the situation and to let you know what to do in the event you see the snake. We will send an update to all New York Googlers at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2 and post signs at office entrances. Should you have any particular concerns, please contact your immediate supervisor.

As a reminder, the pets policy of Google New York allows only dogs to be brought into the office by Googlers. Permission must be obtained from management before any other type of animal can be brought onto the premises.

Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 8:41 AM
Subject: [Everyone-ny] Pet Snake still Missing in NY office

Dear Googlers:

I want to let you all know that Kaiser, the 3-foot ball python, is still missing from its tank on the 4th floor next to the Tech Stop. This morning, we will be putting up signs in the microkitchens with a photograph of a ball python so that you know what Kaiser looks like. Ball pythons tend to be shy and to hide themselves in small, dark spaces, while curled into a ball (hence the name "ball" python). Again, should you spot Kaiser, please contact security immediately.

Thank you,

Here's the link to the article:

Ha...I love the fact that "the pets policy of Google New York allows only dogs to be brought into the office by Googlers". Clearly someone didn't listen. Although how long until the box office sequal to "Snakes on a Plane" comes out, this time in an office setting? I give the hollywood studios a year. But any office that allows dogs is cool in my books. I mean pythons are pretty cool as well. At least its a live animal unlike all of the "dead" ones we have in my office (Mounts of deer, antelope, bear, coyote, goat, etc). I think the most live animal we have is the stuffed pheasant I bought at Target on sunday in Brooklyn.

At least my pheasant helps me with my paperwork...more than that lazy, "shy" python probably does for Google's staff

My pheasant has a squeaker that makes a pheasant type sound. Why they were selling this in Brooklyn is beyond me. Downtown Brooklyn no less. At Target. They also had stuffed waterfowl, pheasant, squirrel, rabbit and prairie dog. I mean its not like you see those animals running around the city. Like someone is walking their varmin around on the street as a pet. When's the last time someone went into Petco looking for some Waterfowl?

"Welcome to Petco how can I help you today".

"I'm looking for a bird, preferably some type of upland bird that I can cultivate and fatten up for a few months before setting him free and shooting him down with my .20 gauge shotgun".

"Ahh yes, upstairs, aisle 5".

The funny part is some of the writers here play around with call boxes testing them out (for those hunting illiterate, call boxes imitate wild calls so you can lure an animal towards you). Anyway, they were playing around with a turkey call the other day so I answered with my pheasant squeaker. Pretty funny. I heard one of the guys ask "where did that come from?". I guess you have to be here to appreciate that.

I'm toying with the idea of removing the pheasants stuffing and replacing it with a motorized engine that will help it fly around the office. Now that would be hysterical. Except here, since someone will probably shoot it.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Adventures in Brooklyn

So yesterday Bridget, Rich, Erika and I took a road trip to Brooklyn to visit Deb in her new neighborhood (Cobble Hill). Being that I used to reside in Carroll Gardens this was a little of a homecoming for me. Although the area is MUCH trendier than when I lived there 8 or so years ago. For example, Smith street is now lined with trendy cafes and shops instead of pawnbrokers and “mobfronts”. The 5 of us had brunch at this trendy place called Apartment 138, which looks like it was once someone’s actual apartment. The place was hopping and the food was really good. $10 got you any brunch special plus a drink (choice of Bloody Mary, Mimosa or Pabst Blue Ribbon. Not quite sure where the PBR fits in, but nonetheless it’s awesome they even offer it as an option).

Any place that serves PBR for brunch is ok in my book!

The food at Apartment 138 was definitely return-visit worthy, as the portions were large and the quality was high. I had fluffy buttermilk pancakes that filled me up before I could even finish. Eating a few fresh corn muffins for an premeal snack i’m sure didn’t help any. I tried the omelette which was good as well. They actually sauteed the onions and mushrooms and used roasted red peppers in their omelettes which was a different touch. The bacon was extra crispy (huge bonus) and the potatoes were flavored nicely. The Bloody Mary’s went down smoothly too…and the fact that I didn’t get charged for my 2nd one was definitely an added bonus! The main dining area gets busy so its good they have a bar available for those long waiting periods (we actually sat in this side nook which was nice…it was like our own private enclave). They also have a downstairs game room with a Foozball and Pool table, so there’s fun for the kids (or adults) if you’re waiting an hour for your table! But overall the experience was very good! And very reasonable, since brunch for 5 only cost $58 plus tip (and since Rachel Ray was no where to be found, we were able to leave 20% instead of 20 cents).

But the real adventure came when we tried to find Buffalo Wild Wings.

For those who haven't seen their ads, they've been playing them on tv constantly...with the female waitress who trips and loses her tray of buffalo wings in the air. However she recovers in time to make a diving lunge and collect all of the wings unharmed on the tray. Afterwards she gets a standing ovation by the patrons. Anyway, Rich and I were talking about the place last week after Rich saw the commercial for the umpteenth time and decided to look it up online. (Btw that's so annoying...when national restaurant chains advertise in your area and you know there are none within a 100 mile radius. For example, Sonic. How many times have you seen their ads? Where's the closest Sonic to NYC...Phoenix?). Well lo and behold BWW actually has two New York franchises, one in New Rochelle and the other in Brooklyn. Well when Rich told me the news about the Brooklyn location (we were at the Rangers game at the time) I had Bridget look up where the location was, and sure enough it was in downtown Brooklyn. I mean growing up in Bklyn there weren't too many chain restaurants, nor should there be, especially since we have enough top-notch mom and pop type operations. However they have been springing up recently (mostly due to gentrification and the influx of big box retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe's, Target, Costco, etc). But a Buffalo Wild Wings? That's just completely random. The only other chains in Brooklyn are Applebee's, Friday's, Outback and Houlihan's (at least that I know of). But their new location makes sense, since its right in a mall, and right across the street from where the new Nets arena is being built.

Anyway, the place was nice...not as fancy as the Houlihan's next door to it, but definitely a sports bar type of place. It was empty, albeit it was a Sunday afternoon with no sporting events going on. Even though we just ate brunch we figured we had to sample the wings while we were there. We had some honey bbq and regular buffalo mild wings. They were ok...definitely tendy and had some meat on the bones. The mild sauce was more tangy than spicy but nonetheless tasty. They have this thing called a blazin challenge, where you have to eat 12 of their blazin wings in six minutes without anything to drink or any dips (ranch, blue cheese, celery). Similar to Cluck U chicken, their blazin sauce is a habanero based sauce with cheyenne peppers added in. Eddie, our cool server, brought over a little sampling of the sauce for us. Having had the Cluck U chicken sauce before I was ready for the heat. It was definitely spicy and attacked the taste buds and your lips, making your mouth tingle. However wasn't uneatable...although I wouldn't want to eat a dozen without the relief of beer or blue cheese. Anyway, if you complete the challenge you get your picture on the wall and a T-Shirt. Although they don't give out any Tums to the losers.

I just tried searching for the official commercial on YouTube but to no avail. But found this rather humorous "homemade" commercial produced by two kids who were obviously very bored one evening:

But all in all seems like a cool place. There are tv’s galore and at least 8-10 of them are big screens so plenty of viewing room. Definitely a place to spend an NFL Sunday or a March Madness day in. Especially since you don’t even have to go outside, you can take the subway to Atlantic avenue (1,2,3,4,5,Q,B, among others) to Atlantic Avenue and pop upstairs directly to the mall. Definitely worth checking out at some point for a road trip if you want to venture out of the city. Plus there’s a Chucky Cheese in the mall as well, so those who have any children can feel free to venture there.

In other news, 10 years ago this past weekend we were trapped by a major snowstorm in Poughkeepsie that cut out power on the Marist College campus and left us "homeless" for a few days. It was a fun few evidenced by this newspaper clipping. The day after the snowstorm was like 60 degrees which was crazy. Especially since we were able to get a few days without classes and plenty of time to just mess around. Anyway, know that's not newsworthy or anything, just felt I'd mention for nostaglia's sake!