Thursday, July 31, 2008

News Roundup: You can't make this stuff up

A simple "No" might've sufficed. Vitaly Kovtun, 22, faces aggravated felony assault charges in Salt Lake County, Utah over a kind of road rage incident. It went like this.
Driver 1: "Excuse me, sir, do you have any Grey Poupon?"

Kovtun: (Pulls gun out of glove box, cocks it.) "Here's your Grey Poupon, roll your redacted windows up."
I've been unwittingly contributing to that scientific journal for about ten years now. Researchers in France say the louder the music in a club, the more patrons will drink. The working theory is the louder it is, the harder it is to talk in a bar, and faster people sip their beers. The research appeared in the Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

No word on whether Juan Carlos will hug it out. The stranger-than-fiction world that follows Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took another absurd step forward when he promised to give Spanish King Juan Carlos I a hug. It's noteworthy because Juan Carlos notably exclaimed to Chavez last November, "Why don't you shut up?" Chavez's long-delayed response came on his weekly TV show, "I'd like to give the King a hug but you know, Juan Carlos, that I am not going to shut up."


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Just in time for Discovery's Shark Week, we learn this week that man-about-town and early frontrunner for Douchebag of the Decade Ryan Seacrest was attacked by a shark in Mexico Sunday.

The New York Post's Page Six says Seacrest "had no time to be scared. He saw it swim away, he got out, took aspirin and called it a day."

On his radio show yesterday, Seacrest said the shark's tooth was like a splinter.

That's the last time I hire a reef shark for a hit. From here on out it's great whites and great whites only.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We have moved to Scrabulous Threat Condition Red

I've been joking for some time that if Facebook ever got rid of Scrabulous, the unauthorized Scrabble knock-off, I'd probably stop using the site altogether. Well, my bluff may have been called.

Scrabulous is down, just a week after the makers of the original Scrabble sued the two computer programmers who created the online Scrabulous game.

I don't know if the lawsuit is why the game isn't available this morning, but it seems like a reasonable conclusion.

This is welcome news to Bean Stringfellow and Mrs. N-B, both of whom were about to lose to me. It's bad news for my sister, who was destroying me (again).


Monday, July 28, 2008

That's great -- but what does being a Mathlete get me?

My personal HR guy told me about a study that said playing sports once a month will boost your salary as much as an extra year of schooling.

Economic data from thousands of Germans between 1984 and 2006 found those who played sports saw extra annual income to the tune of 1,200 Euros (about $1,900 today) compared to people who didn't play sports. It's a five to 10 percent increase in income, which is about equivalent to getting another year of higher education under your belt.

Some of you may know that I'm a decidedly average softball player in two coed intramural leagues. Plus, I was the best setter on my advanced-beginner/low-intermediate softball team earlier this year. So between those three teams, I figure I'm seeing a 25 percent increase in earnings.

I think I give all of this back in the lost productivity playing fantasy sports. Except of course for my fantasy baseball team, which I actively ignore.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Dead or Alive: Shadoe Stevens

I'm going to take the suggestion of a longtime reader and finally start running a "Where are they now?" series, which I will title "Dead or Alive." We're going to start at the very top, which is to say we start with Shadoe Stevens.

Right off the bat, I'll break this news: Shadoe Stevens is alive.

I know him as the announcer and regular guest on The New Hollywood Squares from 1986 to 1989, but he has found work in the intervening 19 years. Most recently he was the announcer of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Shadoe Stevens is not his real name, by the way. He's actually Terry Ingstad of Jamestown, North Dakota. He was billed as the world's youngest DJ when he had a show on KEYJ at age 10, way back in the 1950s. That honor has since been given to a seven-year-old British boy.

When he's not making money with his golden pipes, he's trying to make money as an artist, at least according to this web site. On the left is a work called "The Inexplicable Perplexity of Vertical Pandemonium."


Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Ravages of Age

I've noticed a lot of things changing now that I've turned 30. The personal crises accompanying the advent of my fourth decade aren't really blog-worthy, but I thought I would share one: The weed-like growth of my eyebrows.

Up until a few months ago, there used to be just one wiry brow that grew askew, necessitating a biannual plucking. But now he's got two companions and together they make a dense forest of unkemptness over my left eye.

At least they're not grey. Yet.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Estelle Getty, 1923-2008

Picture it: Brighton, 2008. A plaintive wail rises up to the heavens from my home after I read that Estelle Getty, who played the equally lovable and irascible Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls, has died.

"Why God -- why didn't you take Bea Arthur instead?!?!"

Estelle Getty was 84, which means she was only in her 60s when she was on the Golden Girls back some 20 years ago. The AP obituary says she failed her first two auditions because she didn't look old enough. On the third audition she told a makeup artist, "To you this is just a job. To me it's my entire career down the toilet unless you make me look 80."

She had suffered from advanced dementia before she died early yesterday at Shady Pines. In the west wing.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Apple, tree, etc.

What is it with presidents and their golf carts?

That's John McCain with George H.W. Bush yesterday in Maine. Reminds me of Golf Cart One, which I made fun of about a year ago.

Does the former president really have such a problem with people taking his golf cart that he needs to put a sign on it?

That's pretty passive-aggressive, but not as passive-aggressive as the coworker who posted in the office kitchen an advice columnist's response on how to deal with people who whisper in the workplace. Who does that?


Monday, July 21, 2008

Appreciation: Tour de France

The Tour de France has an amenable schedule for someone who gets up in the middle of the night, so I've enjoyed coverage of the last two weeks or so on the Versus network on cable.

I still don't entirely get the stratgy behind the race, but one thing I do appreciate is the peloton. It's like a living organism winding its way up (and down) the Alps.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Alert the media!

If you're like me, you're a fan of the 2007 Internet sensation "My New Haircut," where a guy from the tri-state area makes fun of other guys from the tri-state area. I can't do it justice, so why don't you take a look for yourself. Watch out, though, since there's some foul language in there...

Pretty good, right?

Yeah, it's funny, but I liked it the first time, when it appeared under the headline "Look at My Striped Shirt!" on the web site PhatPhree, way back in 2005.

Here's what I mean.

New Haircut (2007)Striped Shirt (2005)

This is my new f'ing haircut... My boys, they're coming out. They all got the same haircut.

Look at my button down striped shirt! My boys are coming out with me tonight! They all have striped shirts too!
I'm gonna drink Heinekens and Jager Bombs all f'ing night. Jager Bombs? I f'ing shower in that shit.I can almost taste those Jager Bombs right now!
Not now, chief, I'm the f'ing zone.I will call female bartenders "Babe" and male bartenders "Chief!"
I'm gonna grind on every piece of redacted that walks through that door.I'm gonna grind on girls' redacted tonight!
[Girls] love my haircut, and if they don't... f'ing skanks.When I do not hook up with a girl at that club, I will say that the place is "full of skanks!"

I'd say the case for plagiarism is pretty clear. Not now, chief, I'm in the zone.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I demand what I was promised

Among the many promises that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney failed to deliver was when he warned in 2004 that Massachusetts would become the "Las Vegas of same-sex marriage" thanks to the state supreme court's legalization of gay marriage.

When he uttered this line to The New York Times, my ears perked up and I saw dollar signs. If we were to become the Las Vegas of gay marriage, I could finally dust off my Elvis jumpsuit and open the drive-through wedding chapel I've always had my heart set on.

I'm happy to report the full promise of the glitz and glamour of gay Las Vegas may finally be coming this way, four years hence, thanks to new efforts to make out-of-state gay couples welcome in Massachusetts.

Tell me, why does this wedge issue emerge like clockwork every presidential election year?


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

NaturalBlog News Roundup

Let's take a walk through the headlines, you and I.

Most of them drive hatchbacks. I heard about a new trend in California (where else?) of getting environmentally conscious singles together for speed dating. I imagine the ads read something like "SWM, 36, seeks SF to share bike rides, granola, patchoulie. Must have Nader sticker on your Prius." Well, you know what they say about a guy with a big carbon footprint.

Oh crap. A woman in Florida is facing charges after she assaulted her boyfriend because she found him smoking cocaine. Her weapon of choice was a toilet seat. Not bad, but still not as good as a previous toilet seat story (Item No. 3).

Oh, Michigan. Who is stealing manholes in Flint, Mich.? The city reports that nearly 400 manhole covers and grates have been stolen. This is as good a time as any to tell you that "manhole" is one of my least favorite words. The only way to make it worse is to couple it with "exploding."


Monday, July 14, 2008

New World Order Restored

I'd been holding off on congratulating the Tampa Bay Rays on their hot start until the All Star Break, in the hopes they would completely fade by now.

Their June swoon came late, but they did lose their last six games before the break to fall into second place behind the Red Sox. I'm still stinging from the Rays' sweep of the Sox last week, so I'll take a half-game lead at the break and be on my way.

A lot of analysts attribue the Rays' good start to quality young pitching and maturing hitters. But I like to think it's that they banished the Devil from their name this season.

They also have good senses of humor (when they're not taking swings at people), as evidenced by this video.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Take a long hard look at yourself

Sometimes I wonder what has happened to me.

I saw a wire story yesterday about Jamie Lynn Spears unveiling her baby daughter in OK Magazine. Apparently, she had her kid three weeks ago, but I didn't find out about it until yesterday.

Have I really fallen that far down the gossip food chain? Celebrities used to be a staple of this blog's diet. If you're a new reader, take a gander at what this link wroughts.

Well, better late than never for me to make fun of the Spears family.

According to OK, the delivery of little Maddie Briann was "perfect," and that the baby has made 17-year-old Jamie Lynn's fiance Casey Aldridge "so happy, and that made me the happiest person alive."

Aldridge is identified by the Associated Press as a pipe-layer. I'll say.

Jamie Lynn says her mom Lynne Spears is a hands-on grandmother. "Just follow your instincts," Lynne told Jamie Lynn. "You're the mother and you know what your baby needs. That's what I've done and it seems to have worked."

Damn straight it worked. One daughter is a mother at 17 and the other is a certifable nutcase. Way to go, Lynne! Parent of the Year!


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bad moon(bat) on the rise

One of my favorite headcases, pitcher Julian Tavarez is back in the majors, signing as a reliever with the Braves. You might remember Tavarez when his traveling road show hit your town, especially if you root for one of the now 10 he has has played for: Indians, Giants, Rockies, Cubs, Marlins, Pirates, Cardinals, Red Sox, and Brewers.

The Sox let him go after he put up a 6.39 ERA in nine games this season. Then the Brewers let him go after he put up a 8.58 ERA in seven games for them.

But the numbers lie. This guy is worth having around, especially if you need a pugilist in your bullpen.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I present your 2008 All Stars

Let's hear it for Kevin Youkilis.

The Red Sox first baseman, seen here with his wife Enza Sambataro and her son from a previous marriage, is the starting first baseman for the American League All Star team, one of seven Boston players selected to the squad.

It wouldn't have been a stretch to predict he'd be an All Star this year, after setting career highs in average, HR, RBI last year, along with winning a gold glove and a second World Series ring.

But would you have predicted it five years ago, like's John Sickels? Writing about future all stars, Sickels said:
Youkilis is a sabermetric darling, due to his incredible plate discipline.... the crystal ball says he has one All-Star season in him, and it might as well be '08.
Not bad. Get that man the official drink of Kevin Youkilis: Slump Buster.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Mr. Butch remembered

It was just about a year ago that a homeless fixture of Allston-Brighton, Harold "Mr. Butch" Madison Jr., died in a scooter accident in the neighborhood he called home.

I snapped this picture of a guy remembering him last week on Brighton Avenue, at a memorial near the spot where he died.

The composition is okay, but I wish I hadn't cut off his feet. Oh well. It was on a camera phone, from a car at a stoplight.

What's up with those creepy dolls, I wonder.

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 03, 2008

And now the news

Here's a pretty good pair.

It's a cluster, alright. A fella from Oregon is going to fly to Idaho this weekend. Not very notable, except that he's going to do it using 150 giant helium balloons attached to a lawn chair. He calls it cluster ballooning. It's his third attempt to accomplish this meaningless feat. I'd say he's a poor man's Steve Fossett.

The site does not indicate who their hairstylist is. A lot of people have emailed me to ask how they could get the prarie dresses popularized by the women from the Texas polygamist religious sect at the center of that child custody battle. Ok, no one has emailed me to ask that. But if you did, I would direct you to the new FLDSDress web site, where you can get dresses, overalls, trousers, and edible underwear. One of those things was a joke.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Oates update -- But whither Hall?

I think this story comes from the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction file.

A production company is working on a pilot cartoon starring smooth rocker John Oates, who is pulled out of retirement at the urging of -- wait for it -- his mustache.

Billboard writes:
A dying David Crosby appears and with his last breath warns Oates of a mysterious secret group of mustache wearers bent on killing other mustache wearers. ...Oates summons his own mustache with a fist pump that simultaneously changes his clothes from conservative attire to pink pants and white boots.
Sadly, pants and boots are not pictured in the illustration provided. The voice of the mustache is provided by the scruffy comedian Dave Attell.

Speaking of mustaches, please enjoy this take on the greatest sports 'staches.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A long-awaited Separated at Birth

It's been too long since we delved into the world of facial repeats, so please enjoy this edition of Separated at Birth. Each of these pairings was suggested by readers.

An eagle-eyed coworker suggested that Spain's King Juan Carlos and its foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos are reminiscent of Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets. One of these duos has appeared on the blog before.

A long-time reader I've never actually met suggests that singer Clay Aiken and criminal suspect John Karr could be long lost twins, thanks to "sculpted eyebrows and flat hair." One of them has been on the blog before.

And finally, my patient reader The K-Man offers up this triple. He says that Vice President John C. Calhoun (VP from 1825-1832) looks a lot like actor Willem DeFoe, but with the hands of Mr. Burns. The K-Man notes, "Unfortunately for posterity, he was the first Veep to have his photo taken."

Please don't forget to to check out previous Separated at Births via the label link that's below this text.