Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Goulet, and goodnight.

I'm sorry if I'm the first to tell you that Robert Goulet has died at age 73 in a tragic wakeboarding accident. One fact in that sentence is wrong. I'll let you pick.

I've said in this space before how much I like Goulet, not only for his Red Sox fandom (he sang the national anthem on opening day this year) but for this hilarious nut ad.

What's a shame is that my enduring memory of Robert Goulet isn't even of Robert Goulet, but of Will Ferrell making fun of Robert Goulet. For posterity's sake, I post it here.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It will never be this good again

The Red Sox are the World Series champs for the second time in four seasons. The Patriots are undefeated and make otherwise worthy NFL teams look like prep squads. Boston College is No. 2 in the nation. The Celtics are a sudden powerhouse in the East. And even the Bruins don't suck as much as everybody thought.

The only team that's lagging is the BU hockey squad, 0-4-1 on the year.

But even so, I recognize that this is the high water mark for sports in my entire life. It will never again be this good to be a sports fan in any city ever, and I need to remind myself to soak it in.

It's a sports orgy right now, prompting me to coin a new word: Sporgy.
You: N-B, I didn't know you invented new words.
Me: Sure enough. I've invented four or five in the two years the blog has been around. Click on that link down and to the left that says "New Words" to see the others.
You: Wow. You've thought of everything.
Me: I know.

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Monday, October 29, 2007


--"You aren't gonna dump your girlfriend now that you're a World Series hero, are you Jon?"

--"Yeah, about that. We're through."


Friday, October 26, 2007

Separated at Birth: Baseball playoffs edition

The baseball playoffs are fertile ground for "Hey, doesn't he look like that other dude?" activity.

Let's start with the World Series. Watching Jeff Francis get killed by the Red Sox the other night, I thought he looked a little bit like former Met pitcher Ron Darling (both pictured below). Hopefully Francis and the Rockies don't do to the Sox what Darling and the Mets did in 1986.

It was pointed out that Indians manager Eric Wedge kind of looks like actor Martin Kove, the love-to-hate master of the Cobra Kai dojo in the Karate Kid. Had Fox miked him during the ALCS, we might have heard him telling C.C. Sabathia (not a music factory but a pitching factory) to sweep the leg.

And finally, the piece de resistance. Jowly Josh Beckett, seen here in the embrace of another man, is a ringer for animated Glenn Quagmire of Family Guy fame. They've also dated the same number of women, roughly 65,397. Awww, yeah.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

FEMA, take me away!

I caught some video on CNN this morning of a dude getting a pretty rigorous massage. While the NaturalBlog doesn't really like the idea of strangers touching him, it did look pretty relaxing (I have a lot of tension in my back).

I was pretty surprised to learn I wasn't looking at spa b-roll (jargon explainer) but footage from the wildfire evacuation in Southern California.

Oh, to be an evacuee -- not only massages, but free fancy energy drinks, ethnic cuisine, even free magazines. It's the most opulent evacuation in the history of man.

Only in Southern California would the largest American evacuation since Hurricane Katrina include acupuncturists at the ready. The only thing that's missing is a sushi bar and high-colonic stand.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

You are the Decider; Sorry, Chuck Norris Decided for You

This may come as a disappointment to fans of my occasional series chronicling the 2008 presidential race, coyly named "You are the Decider." What's the bad news? Chuck Norris has weighed in, and I'm sure as heck not going to cross him. In fact, I've even changed my schmancy You are the Decider graphic. Take a gander:

Norris has decided to endorse my favorite evolution-denier in the race, Mike Huckabee.

I'd like it better if Chuck himself ran. He joked about it in an online column in June. His platform?

  • Turn the Rose Garden into a new fighting ring for the World Combat League, in which liberals and conservatives will fight for legislative leadership and priority.
  • Cut spending by dismissing the Secret Service, at least for my eight years in office. Why would I need them?
  • Personally smoke out bin Laden by myself and round-house kick him all the way back to America.
Run, Chuck. Run.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kevin Youkilis apparently engaged to Enza Sambataro

I'd known for a while that Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis (.405 lifetime BA in the playoffs) was romantically linked to former Ben Affleck flame Enza Sambataro.

I didn't realize until today that the two are apparently engaged, at least according to a gossip column. Sure enough, this picture from the Herald does seem to show a diamond ring.

I hardly even recognized Enza from her time as the better half of "Benza." Gone is the overdone eyeshadow and gratuitous burberry. Presumably her bad driving record is still intact.

Every other time I've mentioned Kevenza on the NaturalBlog, I've gotten some hate-filled comments about Enza. I'm interested in what today's post will wrought.

P.S. If you're person whose name is Kevenza and you googled yourself again (7th item), welcome back.


Monday, October 22, 2007

No Sleep 'til Denver

A Red Sox pennant win feels pretty good. If we could throw in a Sad Peyton tonight aginst the Jaguars, I might be as close to sports Nirvana as ever.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Vice advice

You may remember way back in February, when I suggested a mutual fund with a portfolio made up only of companies that serve people's vices. I'm about ready to call my experiment in the markets a failure, since I'm down 4.34% since the fund's debut.

Compare that to the S & P 500's 6% increase in the same period, and you have to wonder whether there's money in vice.

MGM Mirage was my best bet, up nearly 40%, but Molson Coors and Starbucks are killing me, off 37% and 20% respectively.

I guess the lesson is clear: Invest with your head, not your heart. Or at least pick a better beer.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Drew Carey Show

Drew Carey had some big shoes to fill when he stepped into hosting duties on the CBS daytime juggernaut The Price is Right this week, and I'm pleased with how he's done.

Aside from a few opening week jitters (he seemed a little like an over-eager party host, or maybe a guy on an awkward first date), he seems to have settled in pretty nicely. For example, when a contestant who won the pricing game came up on stage with an "I love you, Drew!" He shot back with an "I like you as a friend, Aura." Not bad.

Not to say he wasn't without stumbles. He referred to Phillips Magnesium, a "remedy" in TPIR speak, as "caplets for constipation stuff." He also seemed to rush through the rules for the games. But those things are easily fixed, and he showed progress even by Wednesday's show.

The hardest part will be duplicating Bob Barker's showmanship. Bob had a knack for knowing when to rush because the contestant had lost and when to draw out the anticipation before a big win. Not an easy thing to duplicate, but Carey has comedic timing, which should help him along the way.

Bob's shadow looms large, too. A game where you have to decide which price is a better deal is called "Barker's Bargain Bin." In his debut show, Carey wisely addressed the elephant on the stage, saying the game was "named after The Price is Right founder, Ezekiel Barker."

Carey already passed my first test: He decided to keep Barker's skinny microphone.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Keep the fire

Remember when the Red Sox beat the Indians in game one of the ALCS and national sportscasters were posing the question: "Can Boston even be stopped?" Boy that feels like along time ago.

I try to keep an even keel during the baseball season. Because it's so long, three-game losing streaks and three-game winning streaks don't mean a whole lot. But the Sox only get one more loss, so now I'm a little worried.

However there is good news: Since 1999, the Red Sox are 11-3 when facing elimination and an even more impressive 13-3 in elimination games. That picture up there isn't from October 16, 2007, by the way, it's from October 16, 2004, when the Sox were clobbered 19-8 by the Yankees in ALCS game three.

See you in game seven.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hey Chuck? Go back to the drawing board

I've been meaning to blog for some time about these annoying ads from Charles Schwab. I've been seeing them every 15 minutes or so during the baseball playoffs, which is why I'm finally writing about them now.

You may have seen them -- basically it's a person lamenting their current broker, but instead of it being an actual person, it's a strange Dick Tracy-type animated figure doing the complaining.

Apparently the process of turning a real person into a cartoon is known as rotoscoping. You may remember it from the greatest music video ever made, Take on Me. Rotoscoping was great for A Ha, but I just find it creepy in advertising by brokers.

I guess Schwab was trying to stand out from the crowd with these ads, but what's the point in standing out from the crowd in a creepy way? That's the strategy I used in junior high, and it didn't seem to work very well.

If I could talk to Chuck, I'd suggest he stick with that winning formula from a few years ago: Mary Jo Fernandez.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Day off? Who takes a day off?

I'm not really fishing. I think it's too cold for that anyway.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Retro Week is the Decider

Gimmicks collide when Retro Week and my occasional political series You are the Decider mark the beginning of a beautiful friendship. If the NaturalBlog existed in 1992, what sort of political commentary may have followed?

If I could vote, which I won't be able to do until the next presidential election, I might want to cast my lot with Ross Perot and Admiral James Stockdale. Those two guys are a riot.

I laughed so hard when Stockdale said at the debate that he had his hearing aid off. I actually didn't mind the "Who am I, why am here?" thing, and his gridlock joke was hilarious.

Who would've thought somebody at a vice presidential debate could make me laugh harder than Dan Quayle?

Speaking of that debate, I'm going to keep my eye on that Al Gore guy. His tireless efforts as a Senator will one day make blogging possible.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Retro Week: It's yo time

Retro Week fans will remember I was something of a nerd. I'll do nothing to dispel that notion in today's blast from the past, all the way from 1990, with a look at the up and down history of a fun hobby. What might I have written about the yo-yo, had I been blogging 17 years ago?

I'm prepared to say that of all the kids in my grade, I'm the best one when it comes to yo-yo. I mean, I can walk the dog, skin the cat, even build the Eiffel Tower.

I guess I have something of an unfair advantage over everyone -- I've been yo-yoing since I was a kid. When I was so short the yo-yo hit the ground, I stood on my dad's office chair to get some extra height.

I'm thinking about going pro. I think there's a lot of money in it.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Retro Week: I'll take the physical challenge

Always a devotee of game shows, NaturalBlog enjoyed watching Double Dare after school. Had blogging been around in 1986, here are some thoughts I might've shared.

I'm pretty sure that if I was ever picked to go on Double Dare, my parents would make me take my sister as my partner. Well, not make me, but just make me feel guilty if I didn't.

Of course, I'd rather take my friend Adam Peggs, who would definitely give me a leg up during the physical challenges. I'd take the trivia, he'd take the sliding through all that goop. I don't really like to get dirty, so it's a good match.

Double Dare is a pretty good show, but I'm disappointed that Danger Mouse disappeared from Nickelodeon as soon as Marc Summers showed up. I wonder -- did Marc kill DM, the way Greenback never could?


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Retro Week: That's a tasty burger

NaturalBlog's tastes have changed over the years. What if this blog had been around 22 years ago -- what delicious fast food items might have earned my praise?

Goodbye, McRib. Hello, McDLT!

I can't even explain how excited I am that there's a new sandwich at McDonald's that keeps the hot side hot and the cold side cold. I ordered one the other day and could see how skeptical my Uncle Eddie was that I'd be able to finish it. I showed him. He even said later, "You did a pretty good job on that burger." Yeah, I did.

I like the ads, too. That guy singing about the sandwich is pretty funny. I bet he'll really be somebody.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Retro Week: Hop on board

Retro Week has come back to the NaturalBlog. The premise is simple: I set out to answer what I might have blogged about, had my blog been around at different points in my life. Equal parts simple and hilarious. We start in 1983, with a shout out to the USA Network's Saturday Morning Cartoon Express.

I think this cartoon on USA is so totally rad. It's called Turbo Teen and it's about this guy and he got hit by a special ray and then he turns into a car! Just turns right into one. That is so awesome. I wish I could turn into a car sometimes. I would turn into a Mazda RX-7. Or maybe a Lamborghini. I don't think I'd ever turn into my mom's Cutlass Supreme, though.

Until I can turn into a car, I guess I have to settle for riding around the neighborhood on my Dukes of Hazzard Big Wheel.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Oh October, I'd forgotten your spoils

It's not easy working first shift during playoff season.

Wednesday night's ALDS opener (Red Sox 4, Angels 0) was as good as it will get: 6:30 p.m. start time and a game that last just two hours, 27 minutes. Thanks, Josh. I was asleep by 10, a feat that shan't likely be repeated as long as the Sox continue playing in October.

The Sox may be able to dispatch the Angels in under three hours, but if they're fortunate enough to advance to the pennant series but unfortunate enough to draw the Yankees, I expect those games to average about six hours.

Throw in the fact that Fox will schedule the games to start at 9:15, and I'll be able to sneak in a half-hour nap between the last pitch and my alarm going off. I fullheartedly embrace this bleary fall.

But I'm getting ahead of myself -- first the Sox must top the Angels.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

NaturalBlog News Roundup: All the news that fits

Laces out! The backup punter from Northern Colorado will spend seven years in prison for stabbing the first-string punter, in the hopes of winning the starting job. Prosecutors said the 22-year-old was "obsessed with being the starting punter" in the hopes of being "the big man on campus." Yeah. I'm sure that plan would've worked.

Spoiler alert: Failure ahead. The world's oldest man, 112-year-old Tomoji Tanabe of Japan, is setting himself up for a disappointment. On his birthday last month, someone asked him how many more years he wanted to live. The old dude said: "For infinity." Unlike a lot of old people, he doesn't drink or smoke, though he is known to guzzle milk.

America needed a hero. He stepped forward. The Cambridge, Mass., police department called Thomas Gannon a criminal for allegedly stealing more than 100 parking meters, but I call him a freedom fighter. It seems like a lot of work to use a drill bit and saw to steal a couple quarters, so I can only assume Gannon was striking a blow against parking tyranny. I'll be starting his legal defense fund.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Boy am I hungry

The news out of Burma, er, Myanmar the last week or two has got me thinking. Not about the sacrifice that thousands of people are willing to make for the rights I take for granted. No, it's got me thinking about how much I love Crab Rangoon.

Who'd've thought that fried cream cheese would be so delicious? Any people smart enough to figure that out are certainly smart enough to ditch their junta and give power to the people.

But what with Burma, er, Myanmar's changing name, should I call this dish Crab Yangon?


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Yeah, that's how I felt too

You have to find the cached page, but please do check out these pictures taken after the Red Sox won the AL East, thanks to a Yankees loss Friday night. I wish I had been at Game On, the bar near Fenway, so Rookie of the Year favorite Dustin Pedroia could pour me a drink.

Far better pictures are on the Bar Stool Sports page.


Monday, October 01, 2007

What's that? I can't hear you from all the way up here in the standings.

You're probably expecting me to write about the Red Sox first division title since the late 20th century. Heck, I've even had the title I wanted to use ("Start spreading the news") in my head since 2005.

But I think I'll hold off the Yankees taunting for now, because I don't want it to come back and bite me in the ALCS.

So instead I'm going to talk about the Blue Jays. Sure they finished with a disappointing 83-79 record, but a 5-2 surge in the final week of the season was enough to push me into first in Bean Stringfellow's baseball eliminator pool that I do.

It capped a second-half rally that moved me from the middle of the pack to first place overall, and earned me more than enough money to cover the total disaster that was my fantasy baseball season.

If you're interested in Bean's "New Baseball Pool," let me know. He'd be happy to have you.