Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 Year Ender

It's my final post of 2006, so please indulge some rambling inspired at least in part by the events of the last 12 months.

In the year that brought us a Hollywood love pentagon (featuring David Spade, for Pete's sake) the fire crotchtroversy, and Rosie vs everybody, I suppose I shouldn't complain about celebrities' bad behavior, since it gave me so much to write about.

Let's just hope the coming year will bring more moral judgements from our own present-day Atticus Finch (Donald Trump), more leisure sports to consume me, and enough silly gimmicks to fill in the weeks when I run out of ideas.

I do have some resolutions, one of which is to start using spell check. You'd think I'd be able to get grammar right, but writing the first draft of history (on deadline) isn't as easy as most people assume.

I'd also like more inanity, but why wait til the new year to start:

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

It's about time

What a handsome guy
I blog in a brave new world, one in which my new MacBook takes my hand and gently guides me through the dense forest of the Internet.

I can't even explain how easy this thing is to use. It took 30 seconds to download my long dormant vacation pictures that had waited so patiently on my digital camera for a year or more. No more struggling against my computer knowledge that was state of the art in 1990 but has long fallen behind the times.

Bless you, Mac, you'd be perfect if you had a backspace key.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Late night posting -- I'd hate for you to get this from Stone Phillips

...and France destroyed by a giant fireball.Gerald Ford dead today, devoured by a pack of wolves. No word at this hour on whether he was delicious.

Too soon to joke? Hell no, I've been waiting ten years for this.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

News Update -- The irony is killing me edition

Who else was going to build it? A company that was building a border fence to keep illegal immigrants out of the U.S. got in trouble for -- wait for it -- using illegal immigrants to build said fence. I mean, I can't say I'm surprised, really. Comedian Carlos Mencia did a whole routine about this months ago. It was just a matter of time before it happened.

So much for his (relative) privacy. A guy wrote into The New York Times ethics column to ask whether he should formally come out of the closet to friends, even though he is a "relatively private person." Then he signed his actual name and hometown. I guess he killed two birds with one stone -- getting his answer from the ethicist, and coming out of the closet in one of the world's most widely read newspapers.

Friday, December 22, 2006

"They've got pizza stuff in them"

I haven't been this excited about an ad since The Snickers Song.

Please take a gander at these spots for Combos, one of my favorite unhealthy treats.

I won't bore you with a description of the ads, but I will share the tag line: "What your mom would feed you if your mom were a man."

And don't forget to check out the Man-Mom web site, where you can submit your own Man-Mom pics.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

The taste of Christmas

Of course, my grande peppermint mocha (that means "tasty treat" in Fritalian) formula up there isn't all good news. Just take a look at this analysis from the jokers at Nutrition Data. Twelve fat grams, more than half the calories from carbs, and a glycemic load of a whopping 18.

No wonder Santa is so fat.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Pam's cute even when she's madI'm something of a party juggernaut this time of year. In the last week, people have seen me and Mrs. N-B at my work party, parties thrown by the mayor, the governor, the left-wing media, and even an environmental group. From this experience, I've culled some holiday party do's and dont's.

  • Drink early, drink often. On the night of my ill-fated 2002 work holiday party, back when I was a hack, I managed to avoid being made fun of the next Monday at work by being so inebriated I had to leave at 8:30 p.m. This left another 2+ hours for people to do things more embarrassing than my dance with my boss. Someone complied by dancing on a table, falling off, and bruising her coccyx.

  • Don't force the small talk. I learned this in 2001. Getting a little facetime with Acting Governor Jane Swift, I nearly made a joke that would have inadvertently referenced the time she used a State Police helicopter to fly home for Thanksgiving. I stopped myself at the last minute, when the Checkpoint Charlie in my head realized I was about to not only put my foot in my mouth but swallow it whole. Score.

  • Have cash. Another 2002 tidbit. If you're too drunk to figure out an ATM, you'll never manage to pay your cabbie. Tough lesson.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Time Magazine Totally Cops Out

Well, you *and* your momYou probably heard that Time Magazine has selected this year's person of the year and that person is me. Well, me and you. Or just you. And everybody else. The magazine selected "You" as the person of the year. Something about the way you control the information age, I guess.

So it appears Stephen Colbert got his wish, kind of anyway. He has as much a claim to the award as you.

I think it's pretty clear Time couldn't decide, so just figured they'd punt this year.

Of course it's easy to complain when you don't have to pick one yourself. I've narrowed my list to three. I proudly present the NaturalBlog Person of the Year finalists:

What, no Kim Jong Il?
Suri Cruise. This year's most awaited arrival.

Lindsay Lohan. Rehab at 20. Fifteen days sober!

The Hoff. He's soared to great heights and sunk to great lows this year. How could he not be a finalist?
Hard to argue with those finalists, but somehow I feel shallow for not offering a more substantive choice. In fact, the more I think about it, the more clear it is who the winner should be.

Please don't muss your hair, batman
I mean, think about it, in the last year George Clooney won an Oscar, was People's sexiest man, and even had some time to help out the U.N. in Darfur. Plus, he did all these things with great hair. I'm kind of disappointed Time didn't give him his due.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

NaturalBlog: Bold, brave, undaunted, and foolish

As we all know, the world changed on 9/11. By that I mean that in this post 9/11 world, you can't go into a stadium without a college dropout earning $11 an hour frisking you to make sure you're not carrying polonium.

Such was the scene at Gillette Stadium a few Sundays back when I saw the Patriots take on the hapless Detroit Lions.

But long before the Pats' stirring fourth quarter comeback to seal a 28-21 win, a much greater drama unfolded at the stadium entrance.

Picture it. I'm wearing wearing loose fitting khakis and my puffy ski coat. Spurred by rumors of $7 Budweisers (and $10 Sam Adams, for pete's sake), I've loaded my person with booze the way a settler taking the Oregon trail would have packed his wagon, before he died of dysentery.

In my back left pocket, a Sam Octoberfest. In my inside jacket pocket, another Sam. Tucked into the waistline of my pants, a 6 oz. flask with a rooster decal on the side. And then the stroke of genius: the decoy water bottle casually hanging out of my front jacket pocket.

In line, I practiced holding up my arms to see how the jacket would fall and fold, and then the moment was on me.

The cursory pat down failed to yield my 30 ounces of contraband alcohol, but the sacrificial lamb was spotted right away.

"You can't take that water in here."

"Oh, that's too bad. It's from the tap anyway."

Score: NaturalBlog 3, Gillette Stadium 1.

Of course, the victory would have tasted much sweeter had I remembered to bring a bottle opener. Oh well, live and learn.


Friday, December 15, 2006

NaturalBlog Animal Roundup

Maybe it's global warming, but there is some freaky stuff happening with aquatic life these days.

First up, you've got the crazy case of horny manatees. Never before have I seen something so innocent and wonderful twisted into something so base and evil. Thanks, Conan.

But that's not nearly as freaky as the 7-foot-9 Chinese herdsman tapped to save dolphins because of his long arms. You can't make this stuff up. Two things to say here: Doesn't his arm look fake in this picture? Also, how glad do you bet he is that he got to go through their mouths, instead of the other way.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

You are the decider

It's about that time of year, which is to say that the mid-term elections are finally settled, and we can really start getting excited about the 2008 presidential race. So I'm happy to usher in an occasional political series you'll see between now and November 4, 2008 (if the blog lasts that long). I call it "You are the decider" and I've even come up with a schmancy graphic:

Downright Fox News-ish, right? Those are bulls pooping in those red circles, by the way.

Alright, on to the thoughtful analysis.

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich is in, people. I wonder if he was ever out, though. I seem to recall that he never released his delegates in 2004, because he refused to concede even after the voters waived the white flag and picked John Kerry.

Anyway, I'm ready to go ahead and anoint Kucinich the democratic nominee.

That is, unless the coronation of someone else is already underway (at right). But how could a freshman senator even consider running for president? Ludicrous.

Illinois Senator Barack Obama's efforts to spell out an agenda notwithstanding, he does have the most powerful asset any candidate can offer: He is largely a blank canvas on which voters can project their hopes and ambitions. He is also unencumbered by a long Congressional voting record that would make him an easy target for opponents. He is also not a divisive figure whose negatives poll in the 40s.

Maybe I was too quick to declare Kucinich the winner.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thoughts on celebrity photo shoots

You may have heard that celebutant Nicole Richie was arrested for bad driving. She came in at a whopping 85 pounds in her post-arrest weigh-in. Scales at the police department? Must be a California thing. Anyway, I think she looked pretty good in her mug shot, at left. Did she toussle her hair that way on purpose, or are the half-bangs simply good luck? I'd also like to see if she's just wearing a wife-beater, or if there's a clever slogan on her shirt. "Little Miss fill-in-the-blank," perhaps.

Funny, she looks better in her mug shot than she does in tabloid magazines. She is definitely in the upper echelon of mug shots. For comparison, take a look at Yasmine Bleeth, Carmen Electra, and my fave of faves Vince Vaughn, all arrested while allegedly drunk.

As Borat might say, "Not so much." I can actually smell the booze on Vaughn from here.

Of course, none of those three can even hold a candle to the patron saint of mug shots, Nick Nolte. He was arrested in a joint operation between the state police and the fashion police, who charged him with crimes against humanity for his shirt and hair. The booking agent must have been laughing so hard, he just snapped a photo in front of some wall and a door, instead of the usual blue background.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

News Roundup. Boys Rule, Girls Drool Edition

It's on Larry Summers' Christmas list. A neuropsychiatry professor at the University of California at San Francisco has published a new book that says the female brain gets high on gossip. The hormone at play is Oxytocin. I'll let you make up your mind about how you feel about such research, before you learn the professor's gender.

They'll take their balls and go home. There was no surprise in a new study that said the Massachusetts workforce is shrinking. That's what unreasonable housing costs will do. But there was this finding: more men are giving up looking for work, in part because the growth sectors are in fields traditionally dominated by women -- health, retail and service jobs. What we need in Mass. is a boom in men jobs, like professional beer drinking and maybe burping.

And finally. A restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill has angered nurses, who say the skimpy nurse outfits worn by the busty waitstaff are an insult to the profession. You think they'd be happy, since the 8,000-calorie Quadruple Bypass Burger is sure to help drum up business.


Monday, December 11, 2006

The most easily attainable record in all of sports

The San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for three touchdowns Sunday to bring his season total to 29, a new single-season record. He eclipses the record set last year by Shaun Alexander of the Seattle Seahawks, who eclipsed the record set just two seasons before that by Priest Holmes of the Chiefs, who eclipsed the Rams' Marshall Faulk's record set three seasons before that.

If the speed at which this record gets broken continues to increase at this rate, someone will break Tomlinson's record before he's done setting it.

Almost to prove how easy it is to score touchdowns, Tomlinson rushed for another TD -- while I was writing this yesterday. I'm not making that up. I had to go back up to the top and change it to say he broke the record instead of just tied it.

Is there another record in sports that is broken almost every year? Does this record even mean anything any more? Can somebody who knows more about football than me explain why it keeps getting broken?


Friday, December 08, 2006

NaturalBlog Christmas List

I don't really play video games anymore, haven't owned a game system since before the Playstation came with 2's and 3's after it (late '90s, believe it or not), and can't remember the last time I felt the tug of wanting to buy a new one.

Until now. The "Sneak King" video game, available at Burger King, makes me want an XBox 360 for Christmas.

Spending $399 so I can play a $3.99 game is probably not a wise way to spend money, I admit. But I've always wanted to be the King, and the plot of the game -- you have to pass out burgers to hungry people before they faint -- would help me realize that dream.

So if you're shopping for me for Christmas, I want an X-Box, or a Red Rider BB gun.

Or a pony.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The not-so virgin Mary

Not that Mary Cheney sought the prying eyes of the public, all she ever did was have the misfortune of being Dick Cheney's gay daughter.

But when the vice president's lesbian daughter is pregnant, that's totally blog-worthy. No one is saying by whom of course, which is a good part of the fun.

Some people say it was that handsome George P., but I say it was immaculate. That would certainly make this easier on the delicate palate of the right.

I guess we can all hope this will soften up the vice president a bit, but that seems like a long shot, since the five grandkids he's already got don't seem to have turned the trick.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shut up, Pepperidge Farm

I'm sorry to say that my enjoyment yesterday of the new Milano double cookie from Pepperidge Farm was severely inhibited when I read the copy on the side of the cookie bag.

No there wasn't a mistake that my brain sought to copy edit, but rather cookie poetry:

The Art of the Cookie™
by Pepperidge Farm
Begin with a baker's soul. Seek the finest ingredients. Explore nature's infinite variety of flavors and textures - sweet, crunchy, rich…oh, and chocolate. Entertain inspirations.
Embrace decadent cravings. Reward yourself.



Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Not so anonymous

The lovely Lindsay Lohan is in rehab, according to her mother. This follows L.Lo's bizarre Blackberry message to the family of Robert Altman after the director died, in which she advised loved ones to "Be adequite."

I think it's ironic (sad, maybe?) that when a celebrity goes to alcoholics anonymous we all know about it. I guess it's like alcoholics conspicuous for her.

I realize I may be part of the problem by bringing this up on the blog, which is ready by literally dozens and dozens of people. Well, dozen and dozen, about 25 a day, I guess.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

The BCS is still screwed up

If only John David Booty had been able to lead the Trojans past the Bruins, we might have avoided this whole thing. But USC lost to UCLA on Saturday, Florida won the SEC crown, Michigan and Ohio State sat idle, and when the dust settled we ended up with the Gators earning the right to play undefeated OSU for the college football championship.

I'm sure there are a lot of people whiners who'd rather see a Michigan-OSU rematch, but I don't think that's fair to OSU. It would mean the Buckeyes would need to beat Michigan twice to win the national championship, but that Michigan would only have to go 1-1 against Ohio for a win.

Of course this would all be easier if there were a playoff. And until there is, I'm declaring all the undefeated teams champions: OSU if it beats Florida, Boise State if it beats Oklahoma, and the Boston University Terrier football team, undefeated since 1997.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Funk on the grill, I bid you adieu

Sometimes people ask "What are the benefits of getting married?" When the question was posed at the NaturalBachelor Party, the only thoughtful answer came from my married friend who said "It makes my daughter legitimate."

What we didn't mention is all the great stuff people give you off your registry, no matter how ridiculous. A $17 ice cream scoop, with antifreeze? Sure. Cheese dome? Damn straight.

In the upper echelon of these gifts is the Cadillac of grills: The Weber Performer carbine action grill with a sight and a compass in the stock with a sundial.

I think it has more moving parts than the space shuttle, due in no small part to its status as a double-threat: It's charcoal, but has propane that ignites the charcoal. This way I can still claim to be a grilling purist, while no longer secretly relying on the crutch of lighter fluid.

Of course, the victim in all of this is our old grill -- the 22" Charbroil that has been a brave soldier for four years but seems like a kids' toy when it stands beside my new bohemoth.

It's taken countless nights to get the funk on this grill at the right level, and it's a shame to have to start over. I'll miss you funk on the grill, but not you're ever-present threat of e-coli.