Monday, December 31, 2007

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

Back when the NaturalBlog started in November 2005, I set up a statastics tracking service so I could spy on my readers. I figured the last day of 2007 is a good one to share some of that info. Here's a graph that charts unique visitors by week.

I'm not sure what made April '06 so good, though I do think the blog was funnier back then. Judge for yourself, if you like.

I had 9,320 unique visitor this year, up about five percent from 2006. If I keep that up, I should get close to 10,000 in 2008. I think I'll give No. 10,000 a set of a steak knives.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sad... Eli?

Thanks to the Patriots' 38-35 win over the Giants and on the suggestion of a reader who was there when it all began, I'm proud to present my first ever "Sad Eli."

Sure, it lacks that understated beauty of a Sad Peyton. Especially since Eli had four TDs last night.

Here's a special Patriots Perfection bonus: A football separated at birth. Randy's Moss's hands and a starfish.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

This is what I play for

Fire up the duck boats -- I have brought home a championship in just my third year of fantasy football. I squeaked by a fearsome opponent whose team was named after a pair of tiny dogs to lock up first place last weekend.

In past years, all of the decisions I made for my roster seemed to go the wrong way, but this year I had the Midas Touch down the stretch -- 11 straight victories, including a pair of playoff wins that avenged regular season losses.

I'd like to think I had something to do with it, but to be honest I owe most of my success to Clinton Portis, and the fact that Reggie Bush got hurt, thus allowing Aaron Stecker to go nuts the last three weeks of the season.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday Cocktail

You can also season with a dash of vermouth.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Separated at some crappy cartoon

It's been more than two years since I inspired vitriol by saying I don't like the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special you see every Christmas. Having just watched it once more, I was surprised that it made such good Separated at Birth fodder.

As soon as I saw the cartoon narrator Sam the Snowman, I thought of that old Norelco ad with Santa using a razor as a sled. I wonder which came first?

Here are Hermey (Hermie? Herbie? Herpes?) and his blonde doppelganger Macaulay Culkin. Both have been in holiday classics, and that's close enough for me.

Happy Christmas to all.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Global warming saves lives

After three snowstorms in the last week or so, the Boston area's sidewalks are pretty much impassable. (So are the streets, sometimes, but that's mainly because of the cars, not the ice.) So the trouble is that pedestrians are walking in the street, and they're getting mowed down by plow operators.

It's happened three times now, and in two of the cases the plow drivers haven't stopped. Won't someone please stop the bloodthirsty rage of snowplow drivers? Who's behind the wheel, anyway?


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fertility, thy name is Spears

Jamie Lynn Spears has gone and spoiled the most-anticipated countdown to 18 since Natalie Portman.

The 16-year-old actress and sister of Britney Spears tells the gossip magazine OK in a WORLD EXCLUSIVE that she's a couple weeks pregnant.

Asked what sort of message she might be sending to her teen fans, she said, "I definitely don't think it's something you should do; it's better to wait. But I can't be judgmental because it's a position I put myself in."

The position she's referring to, of course, is supine.

There are a couple reports that Jamie Lynn's mom, Lynne, let the girl live with the boyfriend. At age 16. And to think this news surfaced only after Time named its Person of the Year. Mamma Spears would've been a shoe-in.

Jamie Lynn plans to raise the baby in her home state of Louisiana -- "so it can have a normal family life."

Another good reason to move there is to avoid statutory rape charges for her 19-year-old boyfriend Casey Aldridge.

I never thought I'd say this, but let's just hope Casey's as good a dad as Kevin Federline.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I thought it seemed quieter

Marshall Herff Applewhite doppelganger Dick Vitale has finally shouted too much. The ubiquitous 68-year-old basketball commentator had surgery in Boston to treat an ulcer on a vocal cord.

Last night's Kansas-Georgia Tech matchup on ESPN (Rock Chalk!) was apparently the first day of work he'd missed since going to the network nearly 30 years ago.

He'll be back in February, just in time to get warmed up for NaturalBlog's favorite time of year, March Madness.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Talk about advocacy journalism

The Lewiston Tribune newspaper in Washington state played an inadvertent role in capturing an alleged wallet thief. They ran a surveillance video picture of him, right below a feature photo of the same guy decorating his storefront.

Take a look. (You can click on this image to enlarge it.)

Is this irony or coincidence? I can never remember.


Monday, December 17, 2007

You can be my Yoko Ono

One-time NaturalBlog crush Jessica Simpson has been going out with the quarterback of America's Team, the Cowboys' Tony Romo. She attended yesterday's game against the Eagles in Dallas, where Romo had three interceptions, two fumbles and hurt his right (caressing) hand.

Tony's got back luck when his girlfriend is in the stands. Last year, he choken when his flame Carrie Underwood came to watch.

See that's why I like Tom Brady. He's always his best when the pressure is on, like when you only have one shot to conceive before breaking up with your girlfriend.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

McNamee names names

George Mitchell's report on illegal drug use in baseball leaves me thinking, "So now what?" After 20 months and $20 million, all we get is two trainers flipped by federal prosecutors and footnotes that cite Jose Canseco's book? I think I could've put together the same report using Lexis-Nexis and my own imagination.

I'd been dreading that members of the 2004 Red Sox would be on Mitchell's naughty list, so I'm pretty relieved that Nomar, Nixon, and 'Tek were nowhere to be found. Even so, I don't think Mitchell's report is complete, nor do I think all the guys mentioned actually used steroids or HGH or whatever else.

Sadly, this is a situation where I root for no one, not the players union, not the team owners, and certainly not Bud Selig.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Separated at Decider

It's another melding of my two signature series, Separated at Birth and You are the Decider. These were both passed along by readers.

Do you think the surging Mike Huckabee looks a little bit like Kevin Spacey? The Huck plays guitar, while Spacey sings, as he did in Darin. I say close enough to put it on my blog.

Why on earth does a guy taking as tough a line on immigration as Mitt Romney put a Che Guevera-inspired image on a t-shirt? What is going on here? Has the whole world gone mad? Yes.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Secretary General Battle Royale

Let's take a quick glimpse inside the head of the NaturalBlog. What occupies my mind for great stretches of the day? Well, this morning I was imagining a fight between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and NATO's Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer over who has the better name.

Ban Ki-Moon sounds a lot like a table game in the Foxwoods high-roller room, but the cadence of Jaap De Hoop Scheffer reminds me of one of my favorite early '90s treats, "Here Comes The Hotstepper" by Ina Kamoze.

Please enjoy.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What happened, Castlebar?

There was this nice dive bar in Brighton where I used to drink Bud Lights and play darts back when that was what I used to do. It was named Castlebar, though some people called it the "Black Lung Lounge," for even after the state banned smoking in bars, there still seemed to be a haze that lingered beneath the drop ceiling.

The typical Friday night clientele was paint-spattered, drunk and often singing Irish songs over the strains of the juke box.

But because the neighborhood is increasingly full of people like me, the bar decided to upgrade. I lament the passing.

The two tiny, tinny 13-inch TVs are gone, replaced by half a dozen flat screen HD panels. The taps are new. There's a Big Buck Hunter video game in place of the second dart board.

The saddest part of the whole thing is the drink special I noticed with a friend of mine earlier this month: The Pumpkintini.

We asked the bartender, maybe incredulously, "You sell a lot of those?"

"I could sell a Eat-Shit-and-Die-tini, if I put it up on that board."

Guess you can take the dive out of the bar, but not the bartender.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Beyonce must've upgraded him

Yesterday's Pats game was enough of a blowout that I was able to appreciate the little things, like head Coach Bill Belichick's new outerwear.

Somewhere, a sleeveless grey hoodie weeps.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

How to spend a Saturday morning

It's either this or deal with the scalpers, I suppose.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Everything's coming up Milhouse

It's rare when my fantasy sports, eliminator, and side-wagering worlds all line up, but last night was one of those wonderful times.

I needed Clinton Portis to have a good night against Chicago's defense so my fantasy football team Bollinger's Bombers (10-3) can advance in the fantasy playoffs. And I needed the Bears to lose so I could get closer to winning a $20 bet that Chicago will miss the actual football playoffs.

Portis had 122 all purpose yards for 12.2 fantasy points. The Bears fell to the Redskins 24-16.

If only the game had been on a network I got, I could've actually watched it.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007


The Primate Research Institute in Kyoto, Japan, pitted chimpanzees against some college students in a memory game.

Each got to see the numbers 1-9 on a screen. Once the numbers disappeared, you had to remember where they were and touch the spots where they used to be in the right order.

Advantage: chimps.

Both groups performed well when given about .7 seconds to look at the screen. But given just .4 or .2 seconds, the chimps won.

Fine, chimps. Enjoy your victory. Wanna run my blog for a week? Really, you can have it.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

She's my fave

The NaturalBlog's nominee for Teacher of the Century is back in the news.

Former Tampa teacher and pin-up girl Debra Lafave, she the "ice-blue eyes and flawless complexion" (as the St. Pete Times put it), is in trouble for violating her parole.

Under her sentence for having an affair with a 14-year-old male student a few years back, she wasn't allowed to have unsupervised contact with minors. The violation involves girl-talk with a 17-year-old coworker at Danny Boys' Restaurant. Her probation officer says the topics included "non-work related issues such as family problems, friends, high school, personal life, boyfriend issues and sexual issues in ... private one-on-one conversations."

I don't know if the 17-year-old in question reads the blog. But if you do, please don't take advice from this crazy lady.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I thought it would be more fun than this

When the football team you root for scores a last-minute touchdown to win a Monday Night Game, it's supposed to be fun. But not so for the 2007 New England Patriots.

Nineteen-point road favorites, the yoke of a perfect season hanging from their necks, the Pats were marked men last night in Baltimore. The Ravens gave their best shot and came thisclose to pulling an upset that would have had the national sports media pooping their pants in excitement.

I'm only a casual fan, and I'm upset every time they give up a first down, or fail to score on a drive. Imagine how long-time fans must feel. Is this what it's like for Yankees fans? It kind of sucks.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Live free, die, or maybe both

Since no one was hurt, I'm now going to make fun of the dude who took hostages at Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire campaign office last week. He'll be arraigned today for kidnapping and other charges.

The suspect wore his Sunday best for the hold-up: slacks, white shirt and red tie. Neighbors say that was his usual get-up. Well, that and a drunked stupor.

He hatched his plan to go talk with Hillary while drinking rum and Cokes with his son-in-law.

His list of demands were pretty straightforward: cigarettes, soda, and alcohol.

Sounds to me like he's gunning for a deal as a booze spokesman. He's definitely got a little Cap'n in him.