Monday, April 30, 2007

Robert Goulet is back and better than ever, baby

I somehow didn't mention Robert Goulet when he was the star of the funniest Super Bowl ad of the year, nor did I give him the love when he sang at Opening Day at Fenway.

So please forgive my tardiness in calling to your attention just how awesome this guy is.

A new ad campaign tries to build on the success of his Super Bowl ad, in which he messes with your stuff when you run out of energy in the afternoon. The earlier ad suggested Emerald Nuts as a way to keep Goulet at bay, so Goulet is now out with a candy bar to put you to sleep: The Snooze Bar. "One bite will have you counting sheep on enchanted beach off the coast of Thailand," he sonorously intones on the web site touting the fake product.

Something you maybe didn't know about the Emerald Nuts ad: If they didn't get Goulet, they were going to go with Jeff Goldblum. Thank God Goulet is willing to be made fun of.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Totally true tales (illustrated ed.)

A drunken German needed a respite, so he parked his horse in a bank vestibule. If you think I'm making this up, then look at this photographic evidence:

This is the cover of a real, actual book. Inside, find the answers to your burning questions, like "I’ve never changed a baby’s diaper before. How do I 'swab the poop deck?'"

In other news, I'm a better dancer than the President. Or I'm at least no worse than he is.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Haters hate, players play, but what do the player haters do?

I'll be the first guy to admit that Curt Schilling, 6'5" 235 lbs, is a tough guy to love. But he earned a lifetime pass from me in fall 2004, when he had the Red Sox doctor twice stitch a loose tendon to his ankle bone so he could pitch in the American League Championship Series (above left) and the World Series.

But I guess not everybody goes so easy on Big Curt. Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne said during the broadcast of last night's game (Sox 6, O's 1, Schilling 7 IP 1 ER) that it was paint, not blood, on Schilling's sock that night.

Thorne claimed Sox backup catcher Doug Mirabelli told him so, leading to a diplomatic response from Mirabelli: "He's %$#*ing lying."

This isn't the first time naysayers have cast doubt on the Legend of the Bloody Sock, notwithstanding the fact the stinky footwear is currently hanging in the National Baseball Hall of Fame (above right).

I say we put these questions to rest with some DNA testing. Send Gil Grissom into the Hall with his little flashlight, send the sock to the lab, and we'll have an answer before the evening news.

Think I'm nuts? There is precedent. The Hall tested some of Sammy Sosa's bats from his historic 1998 season, after he was caught corking in 2003. Sosa was cleared.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A couple of random thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head recently

Has anybody else noticed that the early 1980s hit "Down Under" by the gone but not forgotten band Men at Work has been on the radio a ton lately? I can't go a day without hearing it. I'm thinking that by this time the Men at Work are more like Men without Work.

I think Volvo ads are about to get a lot better, now that they've hired Arnold Worldwide to do their advertising. It's a boon for Arnold, too, which lost its VW automotive contract a while back. Good for Volvo, bad for VW.

If you watch Red Sox games (and everyone can, because they're nationally televised every weekend), you may have noticed the strange growth on the face of first baseman Kevin Youkilis. I guess it's a fu manchu. Anyway, during Saturday's radio broadcast of the game, I overheard Yankees backup catcher asking Youkilis when he came to bat, "So you like having that thing on your face?"

I couldn't find a great picture, but here is one that at least has the principles of the story.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Online Scrabble? It's Scrabulous!

Following is an incomplete list of words my sister has used to beat me in e-mail Scrabble over the past week or two.
INTWInE (70)
Her vocabulary rivals many three-named authors, such as Edgar Allen Poe or David Foster Wallace. Don't believe me? Take a look at a game:


Monday, April 23, 2007

The first in our summer grillmaster series

Warm weather finally upon New England, I fired up the grill yesterday. But first I sought advice from the grillmaster under whom I apprenticed (you might know him as "Anonymous," which is the name he uses when he comments).

I suggested that he give me a pep talk, like what Bear Bryant might have told the Alabama football team before the start of the season.

The answer was equal parts measured and sage: "Win one for the griller."

I would be remiss if I did not give a shoutout to Bean Stringfellow, Mrs. Stringfellow, Some Guy, and some other guy who doesn't have a N-B handle. Their largess brought me my new grill, and they are always welcome for some or all of the cuts of meat below.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Once more to the mountain

I've whined and complained for about three weeks that it was too cold in Boston. So now that it's going to be near 70 degrees tomorrow, what am I going to do? I'm going to the Sugar Loaf ski area in Maine, which got 55 inches of snow this week.

The key to a successful weekend will be to get through it without being distracted by stupid sexy Flanders.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

As Yogi Berra said, that place is so crowded nobody goes there anymore

Those of you who know me can imagine how excited I must've been when I found out that one of my favorite bars, The Publick House in Brookline (Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen Tripel IPA on draught!), had begun to host one of my favorite pasttimes, bar trivia.

I thought it would be like peanut butter meeting chocolate for the first time, but what ensued on a recent Sunday was downright awful. The bar was far too crowded despite a recent expansion, and it was as though the surly waitstaff had never handled a crowd. The trivia jockey looked lost.

The vibe was just all wrong. A bar that was my favorite because it felt like someone's home had pulled in its welcome mat. It was like trivia night was being run by Germans, but without the efficiency and only half the charm.

It was so bad, my friends and I just got up and left our table, which I think is unprecedented.

Maybe the place has become a victim of its own success. But whatever the reason, I'm torn about whether I even want to go back to the place. What's a beer snob to do?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Polar opposites

I've become addicted lately to seltzer. I'm drinking it like it's water.

It got me to wondering, which is the better polar -- Polar Seltzer or Knut the polar bear. You decide.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Separated at Birth -- The Return

It's been a while since we visited the idea of facial repeats. It's good to be back in the saddle.

We'll start with Iranian president Mahmound Ahmadinejad and Steve Carrell as the nation's premiere Proust scholar in the film Little Miss Sunshine. Regular reader Bean Stringfellow pointed out the similarities. Ahmadinejad is an all-around bad guy, but the argument can be made that he runs his country better than Carrell runs The Office.

I owe this one to an eagle-eyed coworker, who compared dopey Don Imus to wise Sam the Eagle of Muppet fame. As I understand it, Sam the Eagle once referred to albatrosses as "matted whores of the sea." Disgusting.

How about actors Dabney Coleman and John C. McGinley? To prove this point I draw from Dabney's experience as a bad boss in 9 to 5 and John C.'s turn as one of the Bobs in Office Space.


Monday, April 16, 2007

And that brings us to tonight's word

It's been a couple of months since I've invented a word. Unhappy that newsmerized, eddiction, and screensdropping haven't caught on, I'm ready now for my next attempt.


This would be a person who's obsessed with wikipedia, the open encyclopedia that anyone can edit. The word describes someone who spends their days and nights creating their own entries, editing others' submissions, and policing wiki vandals.

I tried to create a wikipedia entry for it (above left), but was rebuffed.

Speaking of wiki vandals, a friend who comments on the blog as K-Don (or did, back when he used to comment) defaced the entry for NaturalBlog hero Bob Barker. He turned Bob from an "American television actor" into a "Bolivian marsupial."

It was about two days before a wikipedophile ruined the fun.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Geeks, unite!

When it came to my attention that thousands of information technology professionals are coming to Boston this weekend for a major expo, I wondered what exactly they talk about when they all get together. I mean, besides Apple's delay of its new operating system.

I was able to find these excerpts from their agenda.

11 a.m. -- New thinking in condescension. Why settle for simple eye-rolling? Presenters to give pointers on verbal and non-verbal ways to tell your coworkers you're smarter than they are.

5 p.m. -- Dungeons & Dragons Tournament.

Noon -- IT Fashion Trends. Hike up those pants, conventioneers. Our most popular seminar teaches you how to be the "IT boy" in your office. Topics include "Camo cozies for your pager" and "Glasses: to tape or not to tape."

8 a.m. -- Punching the Clock.
Cancelled due to lack of interest. What IT professional would be up that this hour, anyway?

1 p.m. -- Goodbye Mixer. It's a big party to say goodbye. The boys will be on one side of the room. The girl on the other.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

The spam files

I've been getting some pretty good spam lately. Check this one out:

I bet it's still usury, even though they're Christians.

That one wasn't bad, but I challenge you to find one funnier than this. Spam for spam's sake. Self-referential and high art.

Click to enlarge.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Chris Klein, I like your style

I think it's safe to say that "actor" Chris Klein and I have the same taste in women. He was with Katie Holmes, back before she became insane. And now he's with Big Love star Ginnifer Goodwin, my favorite graduate of Big University (BU). I've liked both of them for a while.

Both have a lot going for them -- cascading dark hair, great cheekbones, successful careers.

Since Klein and I have such similar tastes, I'm a little worried he might come after Mrs. NaturalBlog next. Maybe I should hide her with the remains of Klein's career -- he hasn't been able to figure out where that went for several years.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

"The Parker Brothers took time to think this all up. I think we should respect that."

WARNING: This posting contains spoiler information about the latest episode of the Sopranos. It also contains GV and AC but fortunately no BN.

Fitting that the latest season (half-season?) of the Sopranos opens with a flashback to the 2004 peace summit between Tony Soprano and Johnny Sack. It's almost as if the producers are admitting that nothing happened last season (half-season?), when we were treated to a dozen tired and plodding episodes that went around and around before leaving just how we started, minus one fat gay mobster.

So when Carmela asks Tony "Is this it?" to start the first scene of 2007, I can't help but wonder the same thing. Nearly 80 episodes spread over eight years, layered story lines that benefit from repeat viewings, deep dark character development, and now we're left with what? An hour of Porkchop, Carmela, Bobby, and Janice sitting around being morose.

There were a few nuggets that showed a little promise for this final season (half-season?):
  • Tony's prophetic statement "Eighty percent of the time it ends in the can like Johnny Sack. Either that or the loading dock at Cozarelli's." I'd guess the former, given the feds' ever-growing case against Tony.
  • The foreshadowing in Carmela's story about the little girl who drowned. Water has always represented the family to the Sopranos. Will one of them die this season?
  • The coming of Bobby Baccala. Tony seems to put him on the track to become a captain, but after their fight you have to think he'll be set up to fail. You have to think the next time Tony drives him down a dirt path, only one of them is coming back.
But maybe the most interesting thing in Sunday's episode was Christopher's near-total absence. (Maybe they found out he's been moonlighting as a police detective on Law & Order.)

Last season's first episode started with a bang that put Tony in the hospital, then went nowhere. Maybe this week's quiet start means there's somewhere to go from here. Hope so; if not, I'm just biding my time until Big Love gets back.


Monday, April 09, 2007


I love this time of year. Temperatures claw their way into the 50s, the Red Sox return to Fenway, and the scalpers awake from their long winter hibernation and bloom like daisies. I've long hated scalpers, probably dating to the time I headed to Fenway on my lunch break from my cushy state job and a scalper trying to move a $20 seat for $60 told me "A guy wearing a suit oughta be able to afford that." My reply: "I got this jacket at Marshall's."

I don't know why I was complaining. A 300% markup is about standard. And I don't so much mind that, since I think the market should be allowed to price itself.

What makes me angry is the uneven enforcement of the state's antiquated ticket scalping laws, plus the fact that the scalpers operate in plain sight of police officers, probably because the scalpers are mobbed up, something documented by the Boston Herald a few years back.

You might say they officers are there to keep the peace and not police scalpers, so I offer my au contraire moment: I was trying to get rid of a single seat to a September 2003 Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway. The markup was running around 500% that day -- tickets going for five times face value.

I agreed to sell my $27 ticket to a girl near the Kenmore Square T station for $60, until an ogre of a man came over and asked if I was selling it for face value.

Me: "Sixty."
Him: "Face value," showing his police badge.
Me: Stunned silence.
Him: "You're going to sell that ticket to her for $27, because scalping is illegal."
Me (to the girl): "You're getting a deal."

The ultimate insult came a moment later. "Don't worry. I'm not going to arrest you. I can tell you're not a professional."

Of course not. The professionals were the guys less than half a block away with stacks of 50 tickets who the police never hassle.

Will it change? A Boston police captain was quoted this week saying this would be the year they cracked down, but I'll believe it when I see it.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter


Friday, April 06, 2007


I'm sure this is something most people can identify with. One minute, you're out at a bar watching a game with some friends, and the next thing you know you've bowled five games (including a personal best 151) and you're debating whether the tall guy in the next lane is Celtics swingman Paul Pierce (it was).

This sort of day makes me thing of one thing and one thing only, and that's The Dude.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

NaturalBlog recommends: Gallery of the Absurd

I'm always reluctant to recommend that you visit other web sites that are funnier than mine, but I'm growing more bold now that my recommendation may be the kiss of death.

Anyway, you should check out Gallery of the Absurd. I'd like to think I could be that funny, too, if I knew how to draw.

Too lazy to click on that link? Fine. I'll cut-and-paste at risk of copyright infringement, indolent reader.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Somebody get Kyra Phillips some foundation

CNN anchor Kyra Phillips has been in Iraq for about three weeks now, and I think she's run out of makeup. Take a look at the difference that studio lighting makes.

No matter how bad she looks, though, it won't be as embarrassing as the time she left her microphone on in the CNN bathroom and trashed her sister-in-law.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Lose the weight, but keep your fat head

The new NutriSystem commercials have been around for a while; you'll have to forgive me for taking so many months to make fun of them. Basically, it's your standard before/after weight loss ad, but with athletes-turned-sportscasters as the spokesmodels.

Just look at those blowhards on the right. Among them the've lost 188 pounds -- That's enough for a whole utility infielder!

And not pictured is the fattest ESPN fathead of all, John Kruk. He's easily the star of the ads, thanks to his line "My wife says I'm not as disgusting to her as I used to be." That's an ESPN Classic.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Yahoo! asleep at the wheel

As regular readers know, one off the myriad reasons I look forward to baseball's opening day is the start of the fantasy baseball season. I'm pretty disappointed that Yahoo! has been unable to quench my winter-long fantasy baseball thirst. As of this writing, the site has yet to update with statistics from last night's game.

There is good news, though. The foul-up means I'm tied for first (and last) in each league. The joy of opening day -- I doubt I'll ever see this line-up again.


Marcia Brady: Coke fiend

The periodical of record (that would be People Magazine) says that Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady and thus informed millions of boys what their ideal mate would look and act like, was bulimic after the show ended in 1974. It wasn't long before she found a better way to keep her weight under control, though. That would be a cocaine habit.

What's more unbelievable? The cocaine, or the fact that her husband had never seen an episode of The Brady Bunch before they started dating?

This has all come to light after her appearance on the upcoming edition of Celebrity Fit Club, in which she tried to drop 30 pounds.

I have unfortunately been unable to find you a fat picture of Marcia Brady. So this picture with her cute-but-no-Marcia daughter will have to do.