Thursday, November 30, 2006

And now the news

The NaturalBlog inbox was jam-packed yesterday with links to stories of varying importance. Thanks to my army of news spotters all across Massachusetts and its little friend Rhode Island.

The success of this plan is inevitable. Inevitable! The U.S. is out with new trade sanctions against North Korea. We're going to bring the Communist dictator ship to its knees by withholding Ipods, Rolexes, and Cognac -- all apparently favorite purchases of North Korean president Kim Jong Il. It's thought to be the first time sanctions have been used to annoy a foreign leader. Apparently, America is banking on the fact that President Kim won't realize he can easily get this stuff on e-bay, or in duty free shops.

What's next -- pink slips for idiots? A guy from Cape Cod is suing his former employer, the Scotts lawn care company, because it fired him for violating its policy against smoking, even off the job. I was totally on this guy's side, until the quote that read "What's to make them stop at just cigarettes? ... What if you don't want to hire women, so if you have Y chromosome in your drug test you fail?"


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Apparently, it turns it out he can

Fox took a gamble when it named its 1990s Ferris Bueller ripoff "Parker Lewis Can't Lose." After all, the show had lost its contract with the network after just three seasons.

Most of my memories of this show are a little hazy -- a few catchphrases here and there ("Gentlemen, synchronize Swatches"), an odd recollection that the woman who played principal Grace Musso had a thing for guys with big hands, and of course a gnawing fear that guys like Kubiak awaited me in high school.

None of the three main characters went on to great stardom. Parker Lewis played by Corin Nemec is probably most notable for having a name that is an anagram for "I concern me." His sidekick Mikey Randall, Billy Jayne in real life, hasn't been spotted since a guest appearance on Bernie Mac in 2003. And aside from a spin as a Reese's Pieces pitchman, the nerd Jerry Steiner played by Troy Slaten was unable to convert Parker Lewis stardom into a viable career.

Who would have thought that the bully Francis Lawrence Kubiak (Abraham Benrubi) would have the most post-Parker success -- with a 12-year stint on ER and character actor roles in Twister and Miss Congeniality 2. Maybe he was the most talented one in the show, though I suppose that's hard to know for sure since his lines were basically limited to grunts and half-formed sentences that lacked articles.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm famous. Eat my food

I'm awfully disappointed in Lee Iacocca. He had a once-in-a-lifetime chance for humor when he created his own buttery spread, and he totally dropped the ball.

He decided to name this "healthy, delicious alternative to butter and margarines" Olivio, because it's made from olive oil.

I can't believe he didn't call it Lee Iacocoabutter, because its made from Lee Iacocca. I mean, who wouldn't buy that -- especially if the picture on the cover were of Lee himself all buttered up.

Just the pictures on like Paul Newman's products, just creepier, like at top left.


Monday, November 27, 2006

How could anyone hate sunshine

I found myself on the Rachael Ray bandwagon about three months ago, when she was everywhere to promote of her new show on ABC. Usually, all those extra letters in her first name (well, just one extra letter, I guess) would have been enough for me to dismiss her outright, but not so this time.

Good thing, too, as it appears she needs all the fans she can get -- to counteract the pure evil of Rachael Ray Sux. Rule No. 1 in this community of hate: "You must be anti-Rachael!" Also: "Do not flame other members. Save your hate for Rachael!"

To be fair, some of the posts -- uncovered yesterday in the NYT -- make me laugh, like this one from Nov. 25: "OMG she just used her knife to cut open her package of chicken and I swear to god, she threw the knife right back into the drawer. Gross!"

That is gross, but not as gross as her ex-husband's desire to be with spitting lesbian hookers, according to the National Enquirer, anyway.

I can see this post is going down a dark path, so I'm going to wrap it up with this nice picture.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Humming the Notre Dame fight song

This is the only weekend of the year I can wholeheartedly and unreservedly cheer for Notre Dame, because it is the weekend they play the University of Southern California.

I can only hope tomorrow's game will be as exciting as last year's, but without the goal-line cheating by Matt Leinart to rip the game from the Irish.

And while I'm on sports, a couple of thoughts...

I'll never complain about the Yankees payroll again. The Red Sox are inching toward a deal with World Baseball Classic MVP Daisuke Matsuzaka. They'd better, since they paid $51M simply for the right to talk to him. This was such big news, I heard about it in Italy.

The key was leaving the country. In my two weeks away, I went 2-0 in my fantasy football league, and moved into second place in my pool where we pick games against the spread. I think this shows I over-manage.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

I'm thankful for turkeys

This year's turkey award goes to Michael "Kramer" Richards. What an idiot.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NaturalBlog News Roundup

Candy shop. Just a few weeks after winning back control of Congress, democrats in the house are already showing a stunning lack of self control. Charlie Rangel wants to bring back the draft, and Ed Markey wants to revisit Don't Ask-Don't Tell. These are not winning issues, nor are they winnable ones. Have democrats learned nothing from the Administration's Iraq policy: Don't get bogged down in fights you can't win. Show some discipline, people. Who's the majority whip? Barney Fife?

Damn straight. George Clooney is People Magazine's new sexiest man alive. I'd be lying if I said I wanted to look like Clooney when I'm 45 -- it's more accurate to say I want to look like Clooney now.

Stranger than fiction. The many corporate hands of News Corp. have given up on O.J. Simpson's hypothetical tell-all "If I did it." I answer this with my own hypothetical: If I cared.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cuban cigars: Don't believe the hype

My trip to Italy allowed me to sample the forbidden fruit of the American cigar smoker: The Cuban.

Freed from the U.S. embargo against the Communist island, I bought a handful of Cohibas and smuggled them back in my luggage. Not before I removed the labels and threw out the receipt, of course.

The thrill of doing something illicit aside, I'm afraid the Cuban left me quoting Freud: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. The Cohiba (Siglo I) was a little harsh for my taste -- as indelicate and unyielding as U.S. policy toward Cuba, as bold as Castro's beard.

Keep your Cubans, I'll stick with my sweet Dominican Griffin 300s.

Good thing I was able to enjoy my Cuban with some duty-free Chivas Regal 18-year, which makes most anything enjoyable.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Italy Unanswered

My honeymoon to Italy allowed me to answer many nagging questions -- is the Pope's hair really that white (yes), is Michaelangelo's David everything it's made out to be (moreso), would I be bold enough to try the bidet (no).

But there were many imponderables in Europe. We may never know why Rome's wine bars only play hits from the '80s (Tusut me, Wham never broke up in Italy) or why nuns across the world are all so short.

But more vexing than either of those was why the French are so rude. Mrs. NaturalBlog and I took Air France via Charles de Gaulle airport to Rome, and while we were impressed with the food (and wine -- a nice viognier) we thought the service left something to be desired. Maybe it's because we didn't even try to speak French to the staff, and our assumption they would speak to us in English rubbed them the wrong way.

I changed my game plan after we landed in Italy, asking people in my broken Italian if they spoke English. The answer always came "Yes" or "A little" or sometimes a polite "Not really."

So on the trip back I worked on my "Parlez vous anglais." The answer: "Oui" -- as if I were asking because I was taking a survey, not because I was a helpless tourist in a French airport.

Whatever. Keep you attitude, French people. I'll take Frenchy over you guys any day.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

TomKat? More like CopyKat

Some people might be miffed to have major celebrities (like Suri) so blatantly rip off their honeymoon plans, but I feel honored that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are in Italy to get married, just a few days after Mrs. NaturalBlog and I got back from Italy on our luna di miele. After all, imitation is a form of flattery.

I even have some tips for the happy couple.

Tom and Katie -- be sure to try and eat at the Ragno D'oro Trattoria (Via Silla 26 in Rome). It's near the Vatican and came on the recommendation of a coworker. I'd call ahead for a prenotazione, though. We were there on a weekday night and it was packed.

You'll probably be spending some time in the countryside. Be sure to seek out Le Vigne de I Selvatici, which is a winery in the hillside Tuscan town of Montevarchi. Have the Vin Santo, which got a 98 in Wine Spectator. If you're lucky you'll even get to try the 1956 vintage. I'm sure you'll get along great with the proprietor who couldn't stop talking about how Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Rothlisberger came by over the summer to taste some wines. Big Ben even bought the '56, a bargain at 500 Euro (~$650) for a 500 ml bottle. Of course, there are only 200 left, so maybe it was worth it.

Finally, you should try to sneak in a visit to the Papal blessing, on Wednesdays in Saint Peter's Square. I know you guys practice a different religion, but it couldn't hurt to snag a blessing for that little baby of yours.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Jet lagged

I go away for three weeks, and all heck breaks loose -- Doogie Howser is gay, A.C. Slater apparently is not, and Britney is single again and hot. Next thing I know, you'll tell me Donald Rumsfeld resigned.

I've got to let this all sink in, but I'll be back next week with some thoughts on Italy. Consider this post your apertif.

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