Friday, October 27, 2006

This is it, people

The blog is going on hiatus for a couple weeks. Please enjoy some selections from the vault while I am gone.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Managing expectations

During a weak week like this one, when my reserves are empty and I'm blogging from the hip each morning, I'm glad I never set the bar that high.

Few articulate this better than my man Calvin.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Nice pictures, Wall Street Journal

I've always enjoyed the Wall Street Journal's line drawings of newsmakers. There's something nicely old fashioned about it. But I've noticed recently that when they draw someone with whom I'm familiar, it doesn't really look like them.

Take this example, of the two leading candidates in the Massachusetts governor's race -- Republican Kerry Healey on the left and Democrat Deval Patrick on the right.

Can't you just imagine the conversation in the Journal's right wing art department?

"Yeah, so we need a drawing of Kerry Healey. She's Republican, so take a couple years off her face, get rid of those bangs, and don't make her nose look so much like a hook."

"And Patrick?"

"What's he leading by? Twenty-five points? Make him fat."


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I'm gonna need a bigger snooze

Does anybody know where I can find an alarm that looks like this?


Monday, October 23, 2006

Separated at Birth Vol. MCMXXXVII

That's Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley on the left at a puplit in Rome. It's the pulpit that's been separated at birth -- from Virgin founder Richard Branson. I've always thought he was rather chiseled. I guess this proves it.

On the left is CNN correspondent Dana Bash. On the right is actress Cheryl Hines of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Hey I just thought of a joke. Horse walks into a bar. Bartender says, "Why the long face?"

How about Zach Braff and Jon Stewart? Stewart's probably funnier, but Zach Braff's girlfriends are more attractive. He also gives a better scowl.


Friday, October 20, 2006

One dose of NaturalBlog (iocus medium)

It's been about 10 years since the FDA started letting drug companies advertise on TV, and about half as long since people started spoofing these ads. Some of these spoofs are actually really funny.

I'm not talking about the locally produced ones (The ad for "Exerciza" available at the Dedham Athletic Clubs comes to mind), but rather the new one for the Nissan Versa, a compact car that promises to treat auto claustrophobia.

But better than that are these two jobbers: One that advises against the many dangers of tequila ("Alcohol may cause pregnancy, and is a major factor in getting your ass kicked."), the other that makes fun of those ads with the sad little rock. I laughed so hard at the second one that I had tears in my eyes. At work, no less.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Take a lager drink, take a whiskey drink

Those of you outside of Massachusetts will have to forgive me for being so provincial, but isn't provinciality what Boston is all about?

Tonight, the four candidates for governor of Massachusetts face off in a debate at Boston's Faneuil Hall. The last time they met, it was a staid affair heavy on policy. So to avoid a repeat, I present the 2006 Gubernatoral Drinking game.

I suggest playing with both a beer and a bottle of whiskey, which is to say -- that's how I'll be watching. Failed 2002 candidate Barbara C. Johnson ("BJ for Governor" -- I kid thee not) watches that way, too.

Ok. Take a drink if...
  • Anyone says "When I am governor..."

  • Deval Patrick talks about the "politics of hope"...

  • ... or the "politics of fear"...

  • ... or the "fiscal shell game" his opponent has played...

  • ... or the "stunning lack of curiousity" about the Big Dig.

  • Kerry Healey appears wooden, or stiff, or bored.

  • Grace Ross (Green Rainbow) wears the same jacket for the third debate in a row. Take a shot if she uses the same blouse, too.

  • Christy Mihos turns to face Healey before launching an attack.

  • Mihos jokes about financing his campaign with his children's inheritance.

  • Healey tries to duck Mihos again by asking the moderator if they're out of time.

  • Willie Horton makes a guest appearance.
And finally, in a rule sure to get you blizted, drink each time
  • Mihos talks about his sure-fire salve to all the state's woes: "Christy's Proposition One."

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bring it, mother nature

Have you seen how much snow Buffalo, N.Y., got earlier this month? Send some this way, so I can suit up:


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In the news this week

The balance shifts back Friday Nov. 3. They say married couples are now in the minority of households in the U.S. This is probably because Americans are lazy, and weddings, I've recently discovered, are a lot of work.

Wait -- Lou Piniella is Hispanic? Fox Sports fired Steve Lyons after the commentator allegedly made inappropriate racial remarks about Lou Piniella's Hispanic heritage. I put the allegedly in there because, even though the remarks were caught on tape, I'm still trying to figure out who, if anyone, should be offended. It pains me to report Tim McCarver still has a job, even though his grasp on reality grows more tenuous with each passing day. Go Mets.

And finally. This is gross, but you have to see it. Burger King gets in on the snakes fad.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Will L. Lo age gracefully?

You see a lot of ads with pretty, post-menopausal ladies talking about aging gracefully. There's Sally Field telling you how to keep your bones strong, Andie McDowell telling you how to keep your hair from going grey, and Diane Keaton telling you to buy some other old lady product.

This got me thinking...

What will these ads be like in 50 years, when today's budding starlets have aged gracefully.

I'm afraid that in 2056, we'll see Pamela Anderson-Lee-Rock-Hasselhoff-Swayze-Trump schilling for discount tattoo removal, Britney Spears in absinthe ads, and my honey of honeys Lindsay Lohan selling OTC hepatitis-C medication.

Be still my heart.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Boston Globe, quit macking my style

Two weeks back, I gave college football some love in a quiet way.

Today, the Boston Globe shamelessly copies me, but does it all bold and over the top.

I like my version better. Less reading.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Clammy hands. It's a good non-specific symptom

I'm under the weather, taking a rare sick day from work and blogging.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

If I'm this good at predictions, why am I .419 against the spread?

I have said before that one of the many reasons I started this blog nearly a year ago was to make wild predictions that would later come true.

And when it comes to my sports predictions, I have been pretty close. I predicted the White Sox would miss the playoffs in April, called the emergence of curling on the national scene, and even foresaw the annual 12-5 upset in the NCAA tourney.

So why oh why am I so dismal in making my football picks each week? I went a staggering 3 for 14 last week. Worst part is -- it's not even my most futile effort this season. I was 2 for 16 in week one. What gives?


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Google gives no time to heal

I did a google news search just now for information on the death of major league baseball pitcher Cory Lidle, whose private plane crashed into a Manhattan highrise today.

Google mixed old stories and new, and apparently has no algorithm for tact.

Click to enlarge.

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NaturalBlog News Update

The truth shall be your defense. Actress Sienna Miller has apologized for referring to Pittsburgh, where she's shooting a movie, as "Shittsburgh." Let me be the first to call on her to retract the apology, and amend her original statement with "... and the Steelers suck!"

I want one right meow. You may have heard that scientists claim to have come up with an allergy-free cat. It's called it the "Holy Grail" of the pet industry. Going price: $4,000. The scientists are still working on a way to make cats friendly.

NaturalBlog stock options now available. I read that Google will buy You Tube for $1.65 billion. You Tube has has 30 million monthly visitors, meaning Google is paying about $55 a user. According to my latest spy tracker report, I average 731 users a month. If my math is right, this site is worth $40,000. Make an offer.

And speaking of dough. Some guy has a quarter million dollar contract to play video games, his lack of a high school diploma notwithstanding. Says Tom Taylor: "Michael Jordan was born to play basketball. I feel like I was born to play video games." It seems Gary Larson waxed not ironic but prophetic, with this cartoon some 20 years ago.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Long Overdue Props, Vol. III

Balki Bartokomous, fictional character from TV's Perfect Strangers, I'm so happy to give you these props, I will do the dance of joy.

Late of Mypos, the progenitor of Borat, the Hobbes to Cousin Larry's Calvin, you took on the hustle and bustle of Chicago, and found it no match for your simple ways. You dispensed your wisdom weekly from 1986 to 1993, and for many of those years gave me reason to say TGIF. Though I suppose you are not perfect, as you begat Family Matters, which begat Urkel.

I was so happy when you moved on from Mr. Twinkacetti's junk store to go work at the newspaper. Happier still when you taught Cousin Larry that valuable lesson about patience and perseverance in that one episode.

I still remember the lyrics to the bibbibabka song, which I will transcribe for posterity:
When you rolling out the dough/
Just be sure to roll it slow.

If you make the dough to quick/
Bibbibabka make you sick

When you pour the filling in/
Please make sure you wear a grin

When you smile on what you bake/
Bibbibabka turn out swell.

Keep rolling Balki. Keep rolling.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Ad Watch

Lee Iacocca he ain't. Chrysler is dumping Dr. Z. The chairman of its German parent DaimlerChrysler AG, Dieter Zetsche, will no longer appear in advertising for the struggling U.S. automaker. I guess Chrysler realized too late the American political climate is not such that foreigners are trusted. Also, Germans can be tough to like. A better plan would be to show Jeeps festooned in American flags rolling over French protestors.

So easy a blogger can do it. Geico is back with the fourth installment in its caveman series. This one is nice because instead of hitting you over the head with the joke and dragging you back to the cave, it backs off a bit and lets you slowly realize the joke. And as I always say: Nothing's nicer than a simple understated caveman using a moving sidewalk in an airport.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Retro Week: I can't believe this CD club is only a penny

In the final, and most embarrasing, installment of Retro Week, let's see what I might have been writing about, had the NaturalBlog been around in 1991. Let's take a listen...

I'm pretty psyched that mom and dad let me join the BMG compact disc club. And it costs only 1¢! Can you believe it? It's almost like they're giving me these CDs for free. All I have to do is agree to buy four more CDs at regular club prices in the next year, then I can cancel at any time. At any time!

So I'm totally filling out my CD collection. No more dubbing songs off the radio for me.

I got to pick six CDs to start, so I went with (in no particular order):
Vanilla Ice's To the Extreme
MC Hammer's Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em
Nelson's After the Rain
Janet Jackson's Rhythmnation
Paula Abdul's Spellbound
Wilson Phillips' Wilson Phillips 1, 1a
I just can't wait these 4-6 weeks for them to arrive.

1. It may seem like I'm making these up to be funny, especially the last one. But I'm not. These are the actual CDs I ordered from BMG.

1a. In my defense, Wilson Phillips was the No.2 album on the Billboard pop chart in 1990, so it's not like I was alone.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Retro Week: Urban legends be damned

What if the NaturalBlog had been around, say, 16 years ago -- what might I have been saying? These questions are answered, as Retro Week takes a trip to 1990, and slaps on the latest fashion trend.

I wish I were old enough to buy stock, because I would totally buy in to the maker of these slap bracelets.

Everybody has them. Have you ever seen anything so cool? I can't believe that they're three for $1. It defies logic.

I wonder what's inside this crazy multi-color neon fabric? Is it part of a Venetian blind? Is it something even more exotic -- like something else from Venetia?

I heard in school from this one kid that this other kid he knows who's in the 9th grade put one on and accidentally slit his wrist and had to go to the hospital. But I totally don't believe that. That's why I keep buying them.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Retro Week: The 3mm mechanical pencil is the holy grail of mechanical pencils

Let's look all the way back to 1988, when NaturalBlog was at the height of geekdom. If blogging had been around back then, where might my pencil have taken me?

Of all the mechanical pencils I have in my collection, the 3mm mechanical pencil is by far the rarest and most valuable. It is clearly superior to the 7mm pencil that everybody -- and I mean everybody -- has. You can find those 7mm's just about anywhere. Even the drugstore.

But hunting the 3mm takes skill, patience, and a little bit of luck. It took a trip to the Office Depot store 45 minutes away to find mine. But boy were they jealous when I pulled it out of my Trapper Keeper by MEAD. They didn't know what him them.

When that 3mm pencil hit my paper, I felt like the king of the world.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Retro Week: We are totally winning the Cold War now

Retro Week on the NaturalBlog continues today with a trip back to 1985. Had I been blogging way back then, what might I have said? Rocky IV would've gotten some love...

That's it. It's over. We are totally winning the Cold War now that I've seen Rocky IV. I'll try to keep Eye of the Tiger out of my head long enough to put down some thoughts on why.

I don't know how exactly a filmmaker can make the U.S. seem like an underdog, what with its superior firepower and awesome executive branch leadership. But Rocky IV manages to do just that. And when you think there might be trouble for Sly Stallone, like when he's training off in the woods when the Russian is in that super cool gym, you are in for quite a turnabout.

I don't care how hard that Russian's punches register on his fancy machine or how Eastern Bloc his girlfriend looks -- It is over when Rocky steps in the squared circle.

Thanks, Rocky IV, for making me so sure we're gonna beat the Russians.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Retro Week: Why Face is my favorite A-Team member

This week, the NaturalBlog uses the wayback machine to go back in time, to see what I might have written, had I been blogging at different points in my life. First up: 1983 and the A-Team.

If they asked me to be on the A-Team, it would be a tough day for Lt. Templeton "The Faceman" Peck. He would obviously be the guy they'd kick off to make room for me.

I mean, think about it. Face and I are both sauve, smooth in tough situations, and good with the women. All the girls in first grade like me. You can just tell. He drives that awesome Corvette with the red stripe, and his real name is Dirk.


Sorry, B.A., but Face is the guy that I want to be.

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