Friday, February 29, 2008

Ali Velshi: All Hat, No Cattle

CNN's senior business correspondent Ali Velshi is known for his big beautiful bald head and impeccably styled vests.

But as part of the run-up to next week's presidential primary in Texas, CNN has dispatched its best-dressed host to the Lone Star State, and Velshi has decided that while he's in Rome he'll do as the Romans do.

That's what he usually looks like, on the left. On the right, he's trying to blend in.

Get that man to a haberdashery. And fast.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

News that's not useful even a little

Foreclosure crisis hits peak. A 2,800-acre ranch in Santa Barbara County, Calif., that features a mock-Tudor style mansion, a Ferris Wheel and a merry-go-round is set to be auctioned. The property at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Rd. in Los Olivos will go to the highest bidder unless the owner can come up with the $24,525,906.61 he owes on his loan. The home is known as "Neverland" and is owned by a musician who used to be very popular.

Writing checks he can't cash. A hot-shot pilot flew this brand new plane just 30 feet off the ground (with his landing gear up). As you may have learned from Top Gun, you need the tower's permission for this sort of stunt. There were about 60 people on the plane, including the airline's chairman. The pilot is looking for work.

No. 1 lonely, expensive. A real estate mogul from the United Arab Emirates bid $14 million for UAE license plate No. 1 over the weekend. I got to know these kinds of folks in my time as a motor mouth. We called them plate nuts.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I sing the body electric

I'm having a static electricity problem. In my office at work, I generate a charge ever time I even come near something metallic -- printer, door frame, ancient electronic equipment.

I would estimate the power of my electric charges at 1.21 gigawatts, give or take one lightning bolt.

How bad is it? I'll tell you. There's a machine that looks like this in my office:

I shocked it so bad that it actually registered an error message on its antique display. Such is my power. Beware.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Danica schills for junk, trunks

When I think luggage, I think of IRL racing. At least I do now, after I noticed racecar driver Danica Patrick does Samsonite ads. She also has deals with Peak antifreeze and helmets made by Bell.

And let's not forget her turn as a spokesmodel for the questionable Internet domain clearinghouse GoDaddy. Fox pulled it from the Super Bowl because it was too risque. (Risque or just stupid? You can decide for yourself.)

I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon that says Patrick won't be a good racer until she wins a race. She finished 7th in points in the Indy Car circuit last year, with a second place finish and two third-places.

But I do wonder why on earth she's picking these products to endorse? Isn't there something classier she can schill for? Somebody get her in touch with Peyton Manning's agent.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Long Overdue Props: Vol. Beer

Like many discerning beer drinkers (read: snobs), I for years turned up my nose at British beers. I thought they were too bitter and too uninspired, and for some reason I held it against them that they are served too warm in Britain, even though I was drinking them at the right temperature domestically.

This changed in the last year or so, when I tried about 10 different British beears at an expensive Boston bar. I'm happy now to recognize British beers in my here-and-there series Long Overdue Props.

I don't know why it's taken me long to appreciate these beers. After all, if it weren't for British beer drinkers occupying India, the world would have been denied delicious IPAs, which were hopped so heavily so they'd keep during the long journey around the Cape of Good Hope.

British beers, I salute you.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Walnuts with your pancake?

A couple of questions sprang to mind almost immediately after seeing Paulie Walnuts late of Sopranos doing ads for Denny's. That is, of course, after my brain got past the initial shock of thinking "Wait. Paulie Walnuts is doing ads for Denny's?!?!?"

It appears actor Tony Sirico has kept his skunk-like hair coloring. I always assumed he dyed it for his role in the Sopranos, but maybe his hair is that way naturally. Otherwise it's hard to imagine why he'd leave it that way.

I guess maybe it make sense that Paulie would eat at Denny's. He was always kind of cheap, and his white pants-white loafers look would fit in there pretty seemlessly.

Are there are endorsement opportunities out there for other former Sopranos? I'd like to see Tony in a Paxil ad -- y'know, the one with the happy rock.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Indiana Jones

Did you know there's a new Indiana Jones movie coming out? I'm pretty excited about it, because I'm a big fan of the first three films in this series, as well as the short-lived TV series spinoff "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles."

The new one is called Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a title that doesn't make a whole of sense to me. Maybe they should've called it Indiana Jones and the Quest for Geritol. (Harrison Ford is turning 68 this year.)

Here's the trailer. Take a gander then read below to see if we noticed the same thing.

Did you notice "Roswell" was stamped on one of the cases in a chase scene? Do you think that means he's battling aliens? Does that mean he's going to team up with his old gang?


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Maybe he'll give me a tip

My bartender won the lottery.

He's a 25-year-old who works at a bar in Kenmore Square called Cornwall's. I've been going there off and on since college, but a lot in the last three years or so. He makes a mean black and tan if you're in the neighborhood. There's also a picture of this cute dog on the wall, so it's a nice place.

Anyway, Billy the hatless bartender won $1 million on a $20 scratch ticket that's part of the Massachusetts Lottery's new Billion Dollar Blockbuster game. That's an expensive scratch ticket, for sure, but it worked out for him. He gets $50K a year for 20 years, which he said works out to about $36,000 annually after taxes. He's going to keep his job.

I don't really play the lottery, but I love thinking about what I'd do with the money if I won. Curse of the Lottery aside, I would of course travel and buy a couple houses. But I think my real dream would be to buy a vineyard and begin a career as a vinter.

How about you?


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dictators on Parade

Each year America's last bastion of quality journalism, Parade Magazine, puts out a list of the year's worst dictators. Kim Jong-Il of North Korea unseated Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan for the No. 1 spot.

I like to think that all the dictators get together for a party where they unveil the new rankings. Can you imagine how pissed Iran's Sayyid Ali Khamenei is that he fell from third to seventh? I can just hear him complaining "How many public executions must a man orchestrate to remain in the Top 5?!? C'mon!"

I understand that Fidel Castro was so ticked off he's not even on the list anymore (his brother Raul is No. 18) that he is actually getting out of dictatoring altogether.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Wait, that's it?

NBC's reprise of American Gladiators has already wrapped up. Even more shocking than how quickly the series ran its course is the relative pint-size of the two winners. The champions are Monica Carlson (5'7", 130 lbs, a sports model) and Evan Dollard (5'10", 160 lbs, an athletic instructor).

How did these two best gladiators with fearsome names like Mayhem, Fury, and Hellga? I mean, just look at this dude. His name is "Justice Smith." He's 6'8" and 290 lbs.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Your long wait is over. NASCAR has returned

This has come up a couple of times, so it's not exactly breaking news, but I'm ready to publicly state that I am a fan of NASCAR.

Those who've known me for many years can probably remember a time when I'd make fun of NASCAR and its fans, but those days have passed me by faster than a Jeff Gordon qualifying run.

I started watching it last year, because a friend talked me into a fantasy league (naturally). This year, I'm up to three fantasy leagues, though I'm happy to report I have foregone a $100 entry fee in one of those leagues.

I'm pretty pumped for Sunday's Daytona 500, but not as pumped as this kid.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Spring

Red Sox spring training camp starts today. It's always a nice thing to see, because it means that warm weather is now just four months away in Boston.

Some of the pitchers and catchers have already gotten to camp. I wish I could say they're all in good shape, but Josh Beckett's gut says I can't.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hooray beagles!

I enjoyed watching the Westminster Dog Show last night. I like to think of it as a chance to take a look at the dog menu and figure out which ones I might like, if Mrs. N-B and I ever get a dog.

There was history made, as Uno the beagle became the first beagle to ever win Best in Show. Harlan Pepper couldn't be reached for comment. Beagles everywhere rejoiced.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I guess this means Mose Schrute will return

Ladies and gentlemen, our long national nightmare has ended. A 100-day strike by Hollywood writers is over, and the nation is free to once again laugh, cry, and enjoy canned laughter in 22-minute increments.

I may be overstating it. Since I mainly watch sports, I didn't even really notice the strike. (I have gotten hooked on American Gladiators, but as anyone who has listened to the contestants' cringe-worthy mic work can tell you, that show can't possibly have any writers.)

There's only one program I regularly TiVo, which is NBC's The Office. But to be honest, this season's pre-strike episodes weren't all that great. Jim & Pam finally getting together has sapped the show of its most enduring storyline. Most of the episodes take place out of the office now, and they've somehow managed to turn Dwight into a sympathetic figure. Shark jumped.


Monday, February 11, 2008

The offseason can't end fast enough

I had nothing to say when Roger Clemens taped a phone conversation with his former trainer Brian McNamee and played it for the press.

I had nothing to say when Brian McNamee claimed he saved DNA evidence linking Clemens to steroids and HGH.

But I am no longer able to stay quiet about this theater of the absurd, not now that McNamee says that Clemens had him inject Mrs. Debbie Clemens with HGH prior to a Sports Illustrated photo shoot.

I'm sorry. What?

If you wrote this into a screenplay, it would be rejected as too far fetched. I have gone to great pains not to take any glee in Roger's troubles, because it's just a matter of time before a player I like is in this same steroid spotlight. But this is just too rich.

If this is true, which it can't possibly be, I would have loved to have been there for the conversation where Roger asked his wife to do this. It must've been like that cell phone ad they did -- Honey, just say the word and you don't have to do it.

Pitchers and catchers report Thursday. It can't happen quickly enough.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Krewe Day

If you're not busy drinking on the street in New Orleans, or throwing confetti in lower Manhattan, please remember to vote this Super Tuesday. Remember: You are the decider.


Monday, February 04, 2008

The five stages of grief

Denial. I can't believe the Patriots lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl. I can't believe that catch David Tyree made against his head on their final drive. I can't believe a Manning has ended the Pats season twice in a row.

Anger. I hate Super Bowl XLII MVP Eli Manning. Eli Manning? Super Bowl MVP? Just typing that makes me hate myself. Is this the twilight zone?

Bargaining. I'd give all the hoodies in the world for another shot at that game. Even this crazy shiny red hoodie, which is apparently unlucky.

Depression. What's the point of even watching football? It's just a silly game. None of the football players in high school would be my friends, and my college doesn't even have a team.

Acceptance. Oh well. That was quite a season. Who'd've thought 18-1 could feel so bad? The worst it means is that the 1972 Dolphins retain relevance. C'est la vie.


Friday, February 01, 2008

This is why they play the games

I'll admit I'm a little nervous about Sunday's Super Bowl. I'm pulling for the heavy favorite. It will be a crushing disappointment if it doesn't work out. Much will be lost.

I am of course talking about my Super Bowl Squares game, where I drew double zero and 3-7. Mrs. N-B got 6-7 and 7-7. In the words of my Squares MC Bean Stringfellow, "I cannot envision a scenario in which [they] don't win."

Of course I'm also rooting for the Patriots. In a blatant attempt to appease the gods of karma, I will now post a flattering picture of Eli Manning, with whom I have no beef.

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