Monday, June 30, 2008

Tony Stewart was Robbed!

I just got back from a NASCAR race, and boy are my ears tired.

The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway was pretty amazing. It's hard to sum up, so I'll try to break it down by sense.
  • Sight. This one goes to the fans. I saw some real local color in New Hampshire, and by local color I mean rednecks.
  • Sound. The noise of 43 NASCAR engines accelerating out of a turn is sort of like a swarm of bees where the bees are powered by airplane engines.
  • Touch. A toughie. I'll go with the feel of buckets and buckets of rain, which led to a shortened race.
  • Smell. It was as though I was wearing gasoline-inspired cologne. (Even given oil prices, this cologne would still be cheaper than Polo.)
  • Taste. Hops and barley are more clear on the palate when you have them for breakfast.


Friday, June 27, 2008

You are the Decider: Gimmickry Edition

Where better to stage political theater about unity than a place called Unity, N.H.?

Barack Obama and his vanquished competitor Hillary Clinton will share a stage today in Unity, where each drew 107 votes in January's democratic primary. Doesn't that seem like a long time ago?

I don't really have anything to add about the event. I just wanted to say every time I hear the name of the town, I can't help but think of Dave Chapelle's classic Rick James sketch, the one where Chapelle-as-James wears a unity ring.

Watch the video here.

Prescient sidenote: While I'm making fun of it now, I'll be longing for these simple days of Unity rallies when we're neck deep in a race-baiting, ageist campaign this October.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

This space left blank

While you wait 24 hours for me to be entertaining again, ponder why there's an Indian chief on this logo. I've never been able to figure that one out.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More spam, delicious spam

I continue to draw inspiration from the Spamusement web site, which bills itself as "Poorly drawn cartoons inspired by actual spam subject lines."

Today... Big Dicks get all the Chicks.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ugliest Dog Redux

It's become something of an annual tradition on the NaturalBlog. About this time each year, I document the World's Ugliest Dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin fair in California.

I'm pleased to report that the Chinese Crested breed has again resumed its rightful place on the throne of ugly, after a crested-chihuahua mix usurped the honor last year.

But give me the goods already. What does this beast look like?

Ladies and gentleman, I present Gus, of St. Petersburg, Fla. He has just three legs and just one eye.

I guess he's pretty ugly, but I stand by my contention that Gus and all the rest are just pretenders. There is only one ugly dog, the late great Sam.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin (1937-2008)

In honor of George Carlin, whose seven forbidden words routine figured in a landmark Supreme Court case, I offer this somber remembrance.

#$%^, *@&$#, /^#!, *#@^, *&^)%$(#@!, @+(*%$&^>/~$, and ^%#@.


Friday, June 20, 2008

This is a must-share

A man in Florida allegedly demanded $50 from a store clerk in a hold-up. The suspect was armed only with his wits. And a palm frond. Here's a pic:

You'll notice he's already wearing a striped shirt, so he's prison-ready.

You can link to the full video of the robbery, and see him shaking the palm frond menacingly, at this web site.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Blast from the past

My friend at The Fourth Out wondered if he'd found the strangest Sports Illustrated cover ever. His choice wasn't bad, but here's my submission.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A monumental day in Boston sports

I'm excited today to write about a landmark day that Boston sports fans will likely remembr for a long time. I refer, of course, to the Red Sox 3-0 shutout of the Phillies last night in Philadelphia.

Jon Lester was in fine form -- 7 IP, 0 R, 5 K with an efficient 99 pitches. Coco Crisp homered in the win.

One other item of note. I think the Celtics also won last night.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Random childhood memories: Vol. III

I think I was in the second grade when my parents started letting me ride my bike to school. Google maps tells me it was 1.4 miles, but it seemed like about 30 at the time.

I rode with a group that varied in size from two to six, all kids who lived in our figure-eight shaped neighborhood. At eight, I was the youngest in the group.

One time, one of the kids from the group that rode with us, Jenny Peggs, I think, had to stay after school for about a half an hour. Our instructions were to wait for her and all ride home together in a group. I always followed instructions.

It must've been the first time I'd waited after school, because I remember being struck by how desolate it became after just 15 or 20 minutes. It was a giant, quiet expanse. It would've been eerie, if it hadn't been the middle of the day.

There were a few of us waiting, Jenny's little brother Adam, who was my age, and two other kids Danny and Kevin. Danny and Kevin were a bit older. The racks where we were waiting were empty, except for a single bike that Kevin and Danny recognized as belonging to a kid they didn't like.

They decided to vandalize it a bit, letting the air out of the tires. They wanted something more, and coaxed me into giving them some crayons that I had in my backpack. They smeared the crayon on the bike's black seat, which was hot enough after a day baking in the Florida sun to melt the wax in about two seconds.

At about the time a sickening fear about being complicit in such an act began to rise up my throat ("How would I feel if someone did this to me?" my brain kept shouting), Danny spotted the kid whose bike they (we?) messed with coming out of the school.

Petrified at getting in trouble ("Might this go on my permanent record?"), I grabbed my backpack and pedaled home as fast as I could. I don't think I looked back.

I swallowed my guilt that afternoon, but found that same sick feeling rising in my throat returning that night. It came back every night, actually. For whatever reason, my Snoopy stuffed animal was how I dealt with the guilt. I would hold him and think about how sorry I was for letting Kevin and Danny use my crayons to foul up that kid's bike.

I don't really know how long this guilt went on. I seem to remember months, but kids have as much trouble judging time as distance, so maybe it was just a few days.

One night after bedtime, when the guilt had finally eaten me up and I couldn't take it anymore, I went to my parent's room and told my mom what I'd done. The mellowness of her reaction -- no anger, certainly no yelling, not even a look of hurt disapproval ("I can tell your sorry, and at this point there's probably not much more you can do about it than that.") -- came in such contrast to the guilt I'd already felt. I was more confused than relieved.

Maybe it wasn't such a big deal. Maybe I'd been sleepless all those nights for no reason.

When I got back to bed, I saw the Snoopy who'd been my partner in crime. He was the only one who I'd let know of my shame, but it took just an instant for him to turn from a my sole confidant to a symbol of what I'd done wrong. I kicked him to the foot of the bed and never played with him again.


Monday, June 16, 2008

I like to move it, move it

If I had to pick an upside to half a dozen friends moving away in the space of a month, I'd say it's all the exercise I'll be getting from helping people move furniture and load boxes.

Yesterday, I helped throw a couch off a third-story balcony, and today I'm helping load a Pod. Hopefully my friends don't have a heretofore secret air hockey table.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Back to the bathroom

This post may help explain one of yesterday's comments.

I'm pleased to report that the men's room at the widget factory where I'm employed is once again in full working order. For nearly two weeks, this was the situation, more reminiscent of a bloody crime scene than a room for quiet repose:

Needless to say I'm relieved everything is back to normal. I gave that right-hand urinal a test run after service was restored yesterday. To be honest, it left me wanting a little more. It was out of order so long, I guess I was hoping for a gold-plated handle, or at least a more powerful flush. I'm angry about it, but I wouldn't say I'm pissed.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

You are the Decider: Actually He's Still Deciding Things

It's time again for my occasional political series, You are the Decider. Please enjoy this trademarked graphic.

Today, I'm going to talk about the fella whose command of the language inspired the name of this series, Pres. George W. Bush.

I'm pleased to report his bizarre behavior around German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues. In Germany on his farewell tour of Europe (Every time I hear "farewell tour" I think of Bush as an aging rocker), the President made an important declaration to the assembled media:
For those in the German press who thought I didn't like asparagus, you're wrong. The German asparagus are fabulous.
That's right, people. Asparagus.

You may remember about two years ago when Bush gave Merkel an impromptu massage at a G8 summit in Russia. I'm not making this up. Check the tape.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A meme? I'm on board

There's a funny group of pictures online where people draw up charts and graphs to illustrate songs. That sentence may not make any sense, so check it out.

I tried my hand with a pair. What do you think?

. . .


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Here & There

It could be 100 degrees in Western Massachusetts this afternoon, the fourth day of a New England heat wave. I'm not complaining, though, I don't so much mind the heat.

And I'd rather have super hot temperatures than the six inches of snow that was expected in Snoqualmie Pass, Wash., last night.

Unfortunately the skiing there is already closed for the season. That picture over there is from last night, so maybe those bare spots are covered over by this morning.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Yesterday's animal news today

He'll be made into the McRib. A chicken that had bravely taken up residence outside a Temecula, Calif., McDonald's has been rounded up after a four-month reign of terror. The chicken managed to elude the capture since the winter, but eventually got too comfortable in its environs. The bird was captured after it slept on the drive-through window. It will not be made into McNuggets because those don't come from chickens.

Also, puerile. Monkeys using nothing but their brains were able to control a robot arm, using it to reach for food. This scientific magic was made possible by tiny sensors in the monkey's brains. One of the monkeys used the robot arm to write out a note reading, "Please stop dressing us up like people. We find it pedantic and callow."


Friday, June 06, 2008


The Red Sox and Rays rekindled the fire of an old feud with a fight in last night's 7-1 Sox win at Fenway Park. This wasn't one of those everybody-stand-around-with-your-arms-folded fights. It was a serious punches-thrown, punches-landed brawl. Take a look at instigator Coco Crisp taking a swing at pitcher James Shields.

There have been some great Boston-Tampa fights since the year 2000. I'm thinking about the time Pedro hit the first batter, then had a no hitter until the 9th, or maybe the time Trot Nixon threw his bat at a Tampa pitcher. But I think my favorite was this one, when my favorite moonbat Julian Tavarez decided to regulate in a spring training game.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Game On

A lot of the blowhards are talking about how tonight's NBA Finals matchup of Celtics-Lakers harkens back to the great history of the league.

Blah blah blah. There's only one thing I miss about the history of the NBA -- the NBA on NBC theme song. It was penned, no joke, by John Tesh. I'm not the only one who loves that little ditty:

What does Tesh have to say about this hilarity? Find out.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

You are the Decider: Then there were two

I'm bringing my occasional series chronicling the three-year battle for the presidency, You are the Decider, back for a second day in a row, but I won't use my "No Bull" graphic. If you really want to see it, scroll down a bit.

If last night's speeches are any indication, this will be a mismatch and a half. John McCain, surrounded by what seemed like 15 to 20 supporters, struggled to read his teleprompter. A few hours later, Barack Obama speaks before thousands in Saint Paul, Minn. -- the same spot as the Republicans summer convention. Here's last night's imagery.

While McCain's speech wasn't bad, his packaging needs a major overhaul. Might I recommend something less green.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

You Are the Decider: Freakin' Decide Already

Today's the day when Montana and South Dakota are the deciders in the race for the democratic presidential nomination. Well, not really. That honor belongs to party insiders, not voters.

But that's not what you should decide today. I need you to decide whether a joke from Vice President Dick Cheney is funny. Speaking in Washington about how there are Cheneys on both sides of his family, he said "And we don't even live in West Virginia," before adding, "You can say those things when you're not running for re-election."

Not bad, I guess.

West Virginians weren't enthused. Sen. Robert Byrd, 90, is so upset he's hospitalized.


Monday, June 02, 2008

Manny being Manny

Congratulations to Manny Ramirez for becoming just the 24th player in Major League Baseball to hit at least 500 career homers.

I'm still waiting for my first career homer at any level. Maybe I can get one in softball Thursday night.