Thursday, May 31, 2007

What is it about Toronto that inspires infidelity?

The New York Post's latest tale of woe for the Yankees -- yesterday's cover story suggesting Alex Rodriguez is cheating on his wife -- has a great beginning ("A-Rod's a Yankee Doodle Randy") and an even better ending: "As the doors to an elevator opened, he and the blonde got in together, the witness said. The doors then closed, and they disappeared upstairs."

How poetic.

I wonder if there's something about the Canadian dollar that inspires committed men to come unhinged (though the Post does point out that A-Rod did wear his wedding ring on his date with the "mystery blonde"). Remember a few years back when Ben Affleck was linked to Toronto strippers, hastening the inevitable end to his romance with Jennifer Lopez?

At least that story has a happy ending -- the stripper in question is now a teacher. Sort of.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Drinking habits of the super wealthy and powerful

If you're anything like me, you stay up nights wondering what sort of alcoholic beverages are found in the liquor cabinets of readers of The Economist. Fortunately, alert reader K-Don sent me this chart, which answers my burning questions.

Believe it or not, my drinking habits generally fit the magazine's profile, even if my age, income and education do not. One question, though: Whither limoncello?

Enjoy other demographic graphics here.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My favorite building in town

Today I shout it out to the Landmark Center in Boston, which I am officially designating my favorite building in town. As you can see at right, it stands tall and unbending, hints of art deco against a sun-streaked sky.

It sure is pretty now, but I think I liked it even more 10 years ago, before a major rehab that brought a Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Blue Cross.

Why is it that I liked that building better when it was battered and broken -- windows with no glass, a flagpole with no flag -- I can't say why. Maybe because I like potential over practice. Or maybe because at that time, I didn't realize how horrible its parking garage is.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Um, yeah. That one was my bad.

After giving up a home run to the first batter he faced this season, Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima was pretty much untouchable. He went 19 straight apperances without allowing a run, picking up two saves in the process.

So what did I do? I totally jinxed him by adding him to my fantasy baseball team. It took less than 24 hours for his scoreless inning streak to end.

To drive this point home, here's his line before I acquired him:
21.1 IP, 1 ER, 24 K, 4 BB, 0.42 ERA.
And after:
1 IP, 1 ER, 0 K, 2 BB, 9.00 ERA.
Sorry, Hideki.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dangerous R.I. criminal to live, work in Boston

It's hard to believe it's been something like 64 months since former Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci went to jail, but here we are. Seems like he just went in. To me, anyway. It probably seems longer to him.

So what will Buddy do upon his release? He's going to work in sales and marketing at a swank Boston hotel known as XV Beacon, while living at a Boston halfway house. "He's going to have an office right inside the hotel," gushes the spokesmen for a long litany of people who've done something wrong, George Regan. My guess is that office will be in the back room.

I hope they give him a stove so he can still sell his sauce.

And what about the criminal enterprise he used to run out of Providence City Hall? When does that start back up? (As if it ever stopped.)


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Leave them wanting more

A wise man once said you should always leave them wanting more. In the last week or so, I've seen one guy I admire following this advice, and another totally ignoring it.

First up, the cheer goes to Brian McGrory, who has left his post as a metro columnist for the Boston Globe to become the paper's deputy managing editor for local news. I'll miss his understated hilarity, but hopefully that will begin to seep into the daily coverage in the paper.

Second up, the jeer goes to Brett Farve, the Packers quarterback who reportedly said he wanted a trade after his team failed to upgrade in the offseason. He denies it now, but I think the damage is done. I think he's gotta hang it up.

Labels: ,

Monday, May 21, 2007

Something wicked this way comes

The New York Times styles section buries the lede in its take on Paul Reubens' life after Pee Wee Herman, waiting til the 30th graf to tell us Pee Wee is thinking about a comeback.

Sure, Reubens has found sporadic work in the post Pee Wee world, notably in Blow (2001) and Mystery Men (1999), but true Pee Wee connoisseurs have been left wanting more.

The wait may be over -- Reubens wants to secure financing for a third Pee Wee Herman movie, about how Pee Wee becomes a rock star but loses touch with his small-town sensibilities, with hilarious consequences.

At first I was worried about a Pee Wee with flecks of grey hair to match his grey suit, but then I thought that a third installment couldn't do any more damage to the brand than 1988's Big Top Pee Wee.

Bring it on, Paul Reubens.


Friday, May 18, 2007

And so ends an era

A heavy heart and a lump in my throat accompany this sad blog posting. The Price is Right is no more, at least not as I knew it. Bob Barker, looking just a fraction of his 83 years (that fraction would be, say, 7/8ths), has decided to retire his skinny little microphone.

The plaudits pour in, and I'll jump on the bandwagon by sending you back to a TPIR post I did last year.Goodbye yodeler game, goodbye inspiration putt, goodbye Plinko.

"And Plinko?"
"Yes, NaturalBl0g?"
"I won't miss you."


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rock Paper Scissors: What might have been

A couple months back I went to one of my local bars because I saw they were having a rock, paper, scissors tournament, with the winner advancing possibly to a national competition in Las Vegas. I excel at non-aerobic competition, so I figured I was a shoo-in for victory. Unfortunately, the tourney's coordinator never showed, and I was stuck with my hands in my pockets.

So you can imagine how bittersweet it is for me to see that the world has crowned its rock, paper, scissors champion, a Texas nurse.

The winner got $50,000, by the way. Which is an impressive feat for winning a kids game. I wonder what strategy was employed in the final round: The avalanche (three straight rocks), or maybe the bureaucrat (three straight papers). I would've gone with play known as the denoument (rock, scissors, paper).


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Peter Griffin 3, Man-sized chicken 0

Fans of the Family Guy know that protagonist dad Peter Griffin has a long running feud with a chicken. Or possibly a man in a chicken suit, it's kind of unclear. In case you missed it, they've done a third installment of the ongoing fight, which totally blows the first two fights away.

All three are below. Please enjoy responsibly, when you've got 15 minutes free, and try to spot all the sly movie references.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The decider has been chosen and it is you

Do you need a political fix before tonight's debate among the 3,412 people running for the Republican presidential nomination? Fear not. Here is another installment in the occasional NaturalBlog series known as You are the Decider. Fire up the graphic:

Those are bulls pooping, by the way.

So what do we have today? We have a cute little look inside the candidates' lives, courtesy of the Associated Press which asked each contender "What home task needs tending?"

Easy enough. Let's see what their responses say about themselves.

CandidateWhat they saidWhat they meant
Hillary ClintonOrganizing my closets.Hey look at me. I'm a woman. I have a lot of clothes.
John EdwardsClearing paths in the woods.Hey look at me, I'm a man. I do manly things.
Chris DoddMy 2 year-old who wakes up beginning at 3 every morning!I'm virile.
Duncan HunterFinishing the rebuilding of our house that burned down -- a big task.The only way you'll vote for me is if I guilt you into it.
Mitt RomneyClean the gutters.I fired the illegals who'd been doing that task.
Tom TancredoChristmas lights.Unlike those Mormon freaks, I believe in Santa.

Tancredo wins, a feeling he'd better not get used to.


Monday, May 14, 2007


Washington Nationals pitcher Jason Bergmann took a no-hitter into the 8th inning against the Braves tonight. Sensing something noteworthy, ESPN started broadcasting the game at about 8:44. That was enough to jinx him -- It took exactly one pitch for Bergmann to lost the no-hitter (and the shutout, since it was a homer to Brian McCann that he gave up).

Ouch. If I were Begmann, I'd blame ESPN.


Three wishes

If a genie popped from a bottle and granted me three wishes (with caveats about asking for more wishes or money), I'd be able to give my answer pretty quickly.

1. Draw. I'd really like to be able to draw. I think I could be really funny if I could draw.

2. Languages.
I'm afraid I don't have much natural aptitude for learning languages, so it would be nice to have the kind of mind that picks new languages up right away.

3. Curve ball. I want to be able to throw a sweeping 12-6 curve ball with about a foot and a half of break that I could drop into the strike zone. If I could do that, I'd probably not have to worry about money too much.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Low on ideas, energy

I'll be back with a vengeance Monday.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Separated at Birth jumps the shark

Ok how about everybody's favorite wizard Harry Potter and everybody's favorite pimp Deborah Palfrey? I guess it's the glasses, or maybe the fact that Harry becomes known as the Hogwarts Ho'master in J.K. Rowling's upcoming Potter installment.

Sign you're a dweeb: The newly elected French president Nicolas Sarkozy reminds you of Kid in the Hall Kevin McDonald. Both are foreign, and that's close enough for me.

Tired of simply matching people with other people, here's a look at Providence's Oyster Bar (photo courtesy) and the Drunken Clam, which is the bar from the hit cartoon Family Guy, which is set in Rhode Island. Pretty close, but the animators put the hydrant and lamp in the wrong spot.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

How soon is now?

It's rare that science makes me stand up and say "Holy crap." After all, Brave New World is one of my favorite books. But twice in the last few weeks I've gotten a glimpse of what's to come and I'm ready for my "Holy crap" moment.

First up is some crazy headgear. No, not the kind that straightens geeks' teeth, but the kind that lets geeks play video games. Take a gander.

This device reads your brainwaves. When you're focused and concentrated, you can make a light saber glow. In the future, you might have to be in a state of sublime concentration to sink a putt on Tiger Woods golf, for example. Freaky stuff. I just wish you didn't have to look like an idiot while doing it.

But wait there's more. I read yesterday that machines that can fabricate three-dimensional items -- cell phone batteries, or rubber duckies, say -- will soon be available for reasonable dough. The idea is that there's a printer that knows the chemical composition of what you want to make and creates it for you.

The New York Times story on the discovery jokes "It’s not quite the transporter of 'Star Trek,' but it is a step closer."

Um, no. This isn't at all like the transporter, which is like a fax machine for matter. This is much more similar to the replicator systems that starship travelers to make food and gifts. Duh.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Lane markers in the sky

Back when I worked 9-5, I used to sit on my third floor porch and watch the sun set over the trees and houses to the west.

I always loved watching jets mark the sky with their contrails, like moments frozen in a time lapse photographer's lense. My enjoyment of those little white fingers in the heavens lasted until my roommate told me that the contrail is actually pollution.

Sometimes, the less you know about something, the easier it is to be happy about it.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Say it ain't so, Hoff

You may have seen a drunk David Hasselhoff wolfing down some food on a video that's circulating on the Internet. I come not to bury the Hoff, but to support him. But for the grace of God there go I, which is to say I'm glad nobody had a video camera at our annual Kentucky Derby party this weekend.

A lot of people say, "Hey, N-B, what's the secret to a good Kentucky Derby party?"

The answer? This much booze:

Labels: ,

Friday, May 04, 2007

"The finest steaks ever cooked by man since he discovered fire."

A thoughtful reader sent along some funny spam she received. It's a personal email from Donald Trump, as ubiquitous as he is gross, touting his personal line of steaks available only at the high end toy store for the wealthy, The Sharper Image.

I never thought I could lose my appetite for delicious beef, but the sight of Donald Trump pointing that creepy finger at those poor innocent steaks has me thinking about becoming a vegan.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Did Gisele buy you that hat?

It's hard not to describe the Boston Herald's reaction to the sight of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in a Yankees hat as apopleptic. I guess it was a slow news day.

I don't really care what Tom Brady wears on his head, so long as he remembers how to beat Peytom Manning this season.

For what it's worth, I tried on my cuz-in-law's Yankees hat one time and it just felt wrong.

Like wearing women's clothes, or at least how I'd imagine wearing women's clothes would feel if I ever wore women's clothes, which I've never done.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Random childhood memories: Vol. I

Those who know me well (or who read yesterday's post) likely know that I've got a touch, just a touch, of obsessive compulsive disorder. Nothing major -- I'm not running around licking light switches like David Sedaris -- but I do have a hearty appreciation for order, efficiency and routine.

I'm happy to report this touch, just a touch, of obsessive compulsive disorder has grown milder over the years. Today I'll recount my earliest memory of it.

I was going to Kreative Kids, my day care in Florida. (Sidebar: Why is it that day cares always have misspellings? Doesn't it seem like children should be taught correct spellings?) Mom had given me my children's chewables Flintstones vitamin (I think it was one of the purple ones that day, but I can't be certain) and for whatever reason that day I decided to see how long I could save it in my mouth.

Those vitamins are so sweet they're sour, and as I held against my cheek on the way to school, it left me puckered and almost grimacing. About halfway to Kreative Kids, I was feeling very uneven, very uncomfortable that Fred Flintstone had soured only one half of my mouth.

And it was then that tragedy struck: In the transfer from the right side of my mouth to left, I chomped. Fred, already soft and small, was obliterated. My left cheek went from watering in anticipation to screaming out in anger that it would be left out.

I was unsettled the whole day.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Stuff I root for

Sometimes, when people watch a sporting event, they'll root for something like a home run, or maybe a grand slam. I like to take it one step further. Actually, about 30 steps further.

Before attending a game, I like to pick something that is exceedingly rare -- like a steal of home, for example -- and root for that. Once a couple years ago when I saw the Red Sox play the White Sox at Fenway Park, I decided to root for someone to hit for the cycle. David Ortiz (6 RBI) did his best to oblige, but the ball hit in his fifth at bat was his second homer instead of a triple. If only it had hit off the centerfield wall, we could've had a chance.

I thought of this because my similarly obsessed friend Bean Stringfellow decided to count how many double plays the Mets turn this year.

When you're as strange as I am, it's always nice to have a friend who's stranger.