Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stanford Tree redux

After publicly professing my fanhood, I friended the Standford Tree on facebook, and now I have access to his (her, its?) pictures.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

John Updike, 1932-2009

John Updike has died at age 76. No jokes, just a poem of his I like and excerpted here a few years back.

Sunday in Boston
The fags and their gay dogs are patrolling
the Garden; on Boylston the blacks,
hollow-backed, demonstrate styles of meander
in this hearttown theirs by default.

The winos on Commonwealth, wiser than wisdom,
blink eyes pale as bottle bottoms;
sun-pickled and lined fine as maps, their faces
beam from within this particular nowhere.

Pistachio George sits high. July bed bloom.
The Ritz's doorman sports his worn maroon.
Above us like a nearer sky great Pei's
glass sheet, cerulean, clasps clouds to its chest.

And, unapologetic in their pallor, girls
in jigging halters and sordid shorts parade
festive colorless flesh regathered from
its Saturday spill, the bearded lover split.

Brick Boston, city of students and drunks!
In Godless doggy righteousness we bask.
The suburbs send us their stifling cars, and we
in turn give back the hollow sound of bells.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

For the defense...

I love impeachment. One of my favorite things, really. So I'm thrilled the Illinois state senate is moving ahead with the impeachment trial of democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, accused of trying to auction off a U.S. Senate seat.

What thrills me even more is how Blagjovich is dealing with it: By going on national TV in New York.

Here's a long clip of Rod and the lovely ladies of The View.

Call me crazy, but I think he's laying the groundwork for an insanity defense.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Let's make like this tree

The Stanford Tree is quickly becoming my favorite college mascot. Sure, he lacks the cartoonish lovability of the Syracuse Orange, the staying power of the UGA bulldog, or the understated creepiness of Vandy's Mr. Commodore.

But what he lacks in traditional appeal, he more than makes up for in drunken antics.

He was busted for being wasted at a Stanford/Cal basketball game in February 2006 (he blew a .157), and then was banned by the NCAA a few months later.

I guess I can't be sure the tree was drunk (on gin, I'm assuming) in the photo above, but I'd like to think so.


Friday, January 23, 2009

News Roundup

I've been scouring the Internets for the most important happenings in our world, and this is what I've found.

So that's what teen spirit smells like. A juror in Massachusetts was dismissed because her body odor was of "such a magnitude that other jurors who had already been picked... indicated discomfort," in the words of a thoughtful judge. "The other jurors would be put at a distinct disadvantage in their efforts to concentrate," the judge said. Her decision to remove the juror was upheld on appeal.

Hopefully he never misses a flight. A six-year-old boy in Virginia missed the bus and was worried he'd be late for PE, so he did what any resourceful kid would do. He took his mom's car and drove it to school. The trouble came when he pulled out to pass someone going too slow in front of him, jerked back into his lane when he saw a tractor-trailer coming, and hit a utility pole. He was about a mile-and-a-half from school.

Like anyone will want to remember this decade. Like a prospector who seizes up land in the hope there's gold in them thar hills, some dude has trademarked the term "Naughty Aughties" in the hope that the phrase will one day be used to describe the decade from 2000-2009. He has also trademarked Aughties, Naughties, Naughts, and Aughts. "Become an official licensee," his web site says, "and capitalize on this once in a century opportunity."


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Conspiracy Redux!

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts's furtive effort to undermine the Obama Administration by flubbing the oath of office Tuesday has been foiled by an overabundance of caution by Obama's lawyers.

The two met up in the White House map room yesterday to do a second try on the oath, this time with the words in the right order.

There's only one conclusion to draw here: That Obama read my blog yesterday, saw my prediction that the mistake would undercut his legitimacy, and decided to act. Well played, Mr. President, and thanks for reading.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009


It's funny that the worst case of nerves at yesterday's presidential inauguration belonged not to the new president but to Chief Justice John Roberts, who flubbed the lines Barack Obama was to repeat in taking the oath of office. (Sidenote: Obama used the same Quran as Abe Lincoln!)

Roberts put "faithfully" in the wrong spot. A gracious Obama paused in order to give Roberts a chance to fix the mistake.

I guarantee this mistake leads to a lawsuit claiming Obama isn't actually president because he didn't properly say the oath. Y'know, from those same patriots who say Obama is a terrorist Muslin half-breed.

One other note from the inauguration festivities. When I saw Dick Cheney in a wheelchair (because of a back injury sustained while moving to his new place -- riiiiiight), I couldn't help but think of Mr. Burns. Not really sure why.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Act now and they'll throw in a Snuggie

I plan to commemorate today's presidential inauguration the only way a true American consumer should: I'm going to buy every single piece of crap I can find with Barack Obama's picture on it.

I'm going to buy the Barack Obama presidential commemorative coin. I'm going to frame it, then I'm going to sit and admire it while I eat from my "Change has Come" commemorative plate and sip coffee from my B.O.-MLK mug set, all while I bask in the warm glow of my official commemorative poster, which I've affixed to my fridge with the Obama "Yes We Did" commemorative magnet. When I'm done with that, I'll have friends over to play poker with my new Obama commemorative poker chips. I'll remember what day they're coming over by marking it on my Obama commemorative calendar.

Join me in buying America's way out of the recession. Together we can.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Stewart Gilligan Griffin

Family Guy has been around about 10 years now, if you include that early '00s hiatus. And in that time, the animators still haven't figured out how to draw Stewie from the side without making him look completely ridiculous. I think the hair is the problem.

That is all.


Friday, January 16, 2009

If the seat cusion turns into a flotation device, why doesn't the plane just turn into a boat?

It goes to show that when it all goes down, you want a guy named Sully on your side.

US Airways Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III (at right, known as "Sully") landed an Airbus A320 on the Hudson River in New York yesterday after a double-engine failure. No one was seriously hurt.

While the NTSB has yet to begin its examination of the plane, which was fished out of the river and is "docked" along the Manhattan shoreline this morning, early indications are that Canada geese are to blame -- they were apparently sucked into the engines, causing the failure.

Who has the right of way between an airplane and a flock of geese, anyway? The geese have been around longer.

Talk about a flock of geese has got me thinking about my other favorite flock.


Thursday, January 15, 2009


The New York Times bought the Boston Globe back in the 1990s, with the promise they'd have a hands-off approach for five years. They lived up to the promise, then after five years sent "storm troopers" into the building and cleaned house, as a colleague once put it.

Their newsrooms remain separate, though that argument is sometimes tough to buy, especially when you see such similarities as the one above.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I guess this means he's really gone

While reading a 200 Miles from the Citi, I came across this picture of the Red Sox introducing free agent outfielder Rocco Baldelli.

There's Baldelli on the left, manager Terry Francona in his winter best in the middle, and matured boy genius Theo Epstein gazing into the future on the right.

The most important part of the picture, however, is the jersey. It appears Baldelli will wear No. 5 for the Sox, just as he did for the Tampa Bay Rays.

No. 5, of course, belonged to Nomar Garciaparra before the Sox dumped him in a deadline deal in 2004, on their way to a world championship. Plenty of fans got down on Nomar after that final injury-riddled season, but I never did. He remains one of my favorite Sox, despite the decline in his career.

So I'll be sad to see another player wearing his No. 5. I never expected the Sox to retire Nomar's number. I guess I just hoped they wouldn't issue it again until he was out of baseball.

The only bright side here is that Baldelli is a likable player.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Saluting everyday heroes

A real life ninja is out there, and he needs cash.

Police in West Palm Beach, Fla., are looking for a man who wears all black over his beer gut and has tried to rob a pair of ATMs. I have a sneaking suspicion this guy isn't a real ninja. I mean, wouldn't an actual ninja have been successful in avoiding detection of a security camera?


Monday, January 12, 2009

Separated at Birth

It's been too long since we've been Separated at Birth, you and I, so let's get back to that one-time staple of the NaturalBlog. Here are a couple facial repeats spied at last night's Golden Globes.

(Quick aside. This is what it's like to watch the Golden Globes with me: "Wait,
who is that?" "Is she famous" "What was he in?")

Okay. On to the pics.

On the left is Mark Osborne, director of Kung Fu Panda with a blonde lady. On the right is Boston-area car salesman Ernie Boch with a blonde lady. I think the glasses are the key to this bit. No specs and they'd be unseparated at birth.

How about actor Shemar Moore from CBS's Criminal Minds and Jason Taylor of the Washington Redskins. I thought Taylor had retired, but I guess I was wrong.

A face so tight from plastic surgery. Blonde hair that wants to be darker. Renee Zellweger definitely reminds me of Cindy McCain. They both sort of look like this train wreck.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Snow pants malfunction

This weekend is the first ski trip of the winter for me. Hopefully I don't end up like this poor dude in Vail.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Offstage, everything was falling apart

I've got to say I'm worried about my band. I know we've got the talent, but will petty egos get in the way? Will we be ready when the big break comes? Will the rigors of the road leave me a broken shell of a man?

Heady stuff, I know, but it comes with the territory when you're as dedicated to music as I am.

I refer of course to the video game Rock Band, to which I've recently become completely addicted. I'm the drummer. The fact that I'm not that bad is all the evidence you need that the game is clearly not an accurate representation of an actual band.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Dead or Alive: The Professor

It's taken six months, but I'm finally back with my second installment of the NaturalBlog's "Where are they now?" series, titled "Dead or Alive."

So here's your pop quiz. Russell Johnson, the professor from Gilligan's Island -- dead or alive?

Alive, and I know this because the 85-year-old is now doing radio ads for FreezeAlarm, a device that gives you a phone call when the pipes in your vacation home freeze.

"The Professor knows a little bit about being away from home for a long time, so who better to promote the FreezeAlarm, a product that protects your home while you're away?" asks a press release touting Johnson's endorsement.

Who better indeed. Maybe somebody who wasn't so inept he couldn't plug a hole in a boat for 98 episodes between 1964-1967? This blog debuted in November 2005, so I know a thing or two about three years of failure. I guess the trouble for the professor is that his ineptitude lives forever thanks to syndication.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Oh, Charles

I've so far withheld public comment on the Scottsdale, Ariz., arrest of former NBA star Charles Barkley for drunk driving, but the details that continue to emerge in the case make it impossible for me to keep my lips sealed. Here are the facts of the case, as laid out by police, prosecutors, and gossip web sites.

Fact*: Barkley was arrested early Dec. 31 while running an errand, which is a nice way to say he was picking up a hooker.

Fact*: Barkley had spent the night drinking at a private table at a nightclub called Dirty/Pretty in Scottsdale and tipped exactly 20 percent, $360 on $1,800 worth of "table service."

Fact*: Barkley had been in the company of not only former pro football player Michael Strahan but also "actor" Jaleel White, who played Urkel on Family Matters.

The best details of the case come from the police report, which offers these gems:
He told me he ran the stop sign because he was in a hurry to pick up the girl I saw in the passenger seat. He asked me to admit that she was "hot."
The report also says Barkley was "respectful" of the processing officers. What qualifies as respectful?
He told a civilian Gilbert PD employee, "I'll tattoo my name on your ass" if it would get him out of the DUI. He laughed and quickly corrected himself and said, "I'll tattoo your name on my ass."
I think he should've stuck with the original offer. Sort of like a permanent signature.

*May not be an actual "fact."


Monday, January 05, 2009

All is right

Sure, Tom Brady is lame, Matt Cassel is golfing and the man behind the curtain Scott Pioli might be bound for out-of-town. But times are good for Pats fans, on account of the Colts first-round exit from the playoffs.

The Indy defense just couldn't find a way to stop Darren Sproles (5"6', 181 lbs., 105yds rushing, 2 TDs), and the Chargers bounced the Colts 23-17 in overtime.

So even though it wasn't Peyton Manning's fault, I'm still going to pile on and post my (almost) annual January photo. The NaturalBlog proudly presents Sad Peyton.


Friday, January 02, 2009

This is the dimension of imagination

I caught part of a Twilight Zone marathon on TV on New Year's Day, and I can report the series is still sufficiently creepy to seep into your subconscious as you drift off to sleep. What is it about talking dolls that makes me so scared?

The pace of the episodes is a little laconic by today's television standards (if they ever reprised the show, they'd have to put two episodes in a half hour instead of just one), but I'm a fan of understatement so that doesn't bother me.

I'm also impressed by how many of the show's themes hold up -- original sin in the case of an astronaut marooned with a woman on a distant planet, mob mentality that sets in when the comforts of life disappear, and of course the ever-present threat of gremlins.

It's also nice to be reminded that William Shatner was once a young man.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Resolved: Make it Big

My New Year's Resolution this year is to finally create a must-have product that can be hocked by Billy Mays on ads that air in the middle of the night on cable channels in the 200s.

Sometimes resolutions are a stretch, but let's be honest here -- the bar for these sort of products is pretty low. We've got the ShamWow (nice headset, by the way), the Snuggie, and the downright frigthening PedEgg.

The best product idea I've come up with so far is a chute you can use to put potatoes into boiling water so you don't get splashed. But don't worry, I've got plenty more on the drawing board.