Friday, May 29, 2009


The Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee is one of my favorite sporting events of the year. You may not consider it to be a sport, but anything that has ESPN's Erin Andrews asking contestants questions on the sidelines ("What was it about conchyliated that confused you?") qualifies as a sport in my book.

Thirteen-year-old Kavya Shivashankar from Olathe, Kan., is the 2009 champ, after correctly spelling the proper adjective Laodicean, which means lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics. She's the second straight Indian-American student to win the bee and the 7th out of the last 11 champions.

I knew she was destined for greatness when she nailed blancmange in Rd. 8, despite the nearly silent B.

Despite those heroics of French derivation, I was rooting for Kennyi Aouad of Terre Haute, Indiana (right). He was all business at the mic, but hammed it up for the ABC cameras in between rounds. Hopefully he got Erin Andrews' number.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Several loyal readers flagged this one for me.

At the risk of turning this into European week on the NaturalBlog, here's a story about a study by Britain's Department of Health about drinking.

It found that people in the media drank more than those in any other profession, consuming the equivalent of more than four bottles of wine or more than 19 pints of beer a week, which is bragable. Media folks are also most likely to report feeling pressured to drink by colleagues.

According to the study, the next highest professional category (IT workers) trails widely. Service-sector workers and finance people come in third and fourth.

This must just be a British thing, because I'm a member of the liberal media (just the regular liberal media, not the liberal media elite), and I don't know any U.S. journalists who drink.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Well, that explains the slogan

I wish I had seen this story before I got back from my big-time European vacation.

Authorities in Germany say they found trace amounts of cocaine in Red Bull's new cola drink. It amounts to 0.13 micrograms of cocaine per can, and according to Time you'd have to drink 12,000 Red Bulls to feel the effects. Even, so the Health Institute in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia is recommending a nationwide ban.

It's just another case of life imitating art; Dave Chapelle did this bit on his Comedy Central show ages ago.

Chappelle's Show
Tyrone Biggums' Red Balls Energy Drink
Buy Chappelle's Show DVDsBlack ComedyTrue Hollywood Story


Friday, May 15, 2009

Oh my

I conclude this picture heavy week with a screen shot of google. Check out the suggested searches when you type "Do men" into the search bar.

I guess people are using the web to search for advice.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Little Mac is Back

Dinosaurs like myself remember the excitement of the original Nintendo, despite its now rudimentary controls, blockhead graphics, and cheat codes that were somehow readily accessible even though there was no Internet.

That's why this Internet video from Nintendo brought back so many great memories of Mike Tyson's Punch-Out.

The new Punch-Out is getting good reviews. I wonder who you fight at the end now that Tyson is no longer affiliated with the game. I wonder what he's up to after fading into Bolivian.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Now the News

It's been a while since I've done a news roundup. This either means the news has been less funny, or I have been more lazy.

Life imitating art imitating life. The commander of the Atlantis space shuttle mission to repair the Hubble space telescope is formerly a stunt pilot. He's Scott Altman of Pekin, Ill. You might recognize his middle finger, which had a cameo in Top Gun when Tom Cruise was "keeping up foreign relations" with the Russian MiG. That's right. Tom Cruise does his own stunts but won't give someone the finger. Crazy Scientologist.

Justice is blind, big-breasted. Britain's largest clothing retailer, Marks & Spencer, has admitted a decision to charge women more for larger bras was a bust. There was a $3 surcharge for bras sized DD or larger, but the company gave the idea the heave ho after 14,000 women complained. Justice was obviously served here. I can't help but remember when former Attorney General John Ashcroft ordered the boobs on the statue of justice covered at a press conference.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

E is for Error

Mrs. N-B snapped this pic at the Government Center MBTA station. How does a sign-maker spell a word correctly and incorrectly on the same sign?

I'll give them the benefit of the doubt -- Maybe leaving the "e" out of "trolley" is a mnemonic device to remind you not to take the E train.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Rock of your-joke-here Bus

I've been seeing this RV around my neighborhood for about a month now. Here it is on Washington Street Saturday.

You may have to click on the picture and enlarge it to read what the Ohio vanity plate says. Anyway, I had dream that this RV was Dusint Pedroia's. What could that mean?


Friday, May 08, 2009

Trek is back

Some of the people who read this blog have known me long enough to know I'm a fan of Star Trek. I'm now willing to come out of the geek closet for the rest of you.

I mention this today, of course, because the new Star Trek movie directed by J.J. Abrams opens today.

As a way to mitigate this nerdiness, I offer this short list of famous people who made cameos in my favorite of the Star Trek iterations, The Next Generation.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (I realize this doesn't necessarily help my case)
  • Famke Janssen (as Kamala in the episode "The Perfect Mate")
  • Kelsey Grammar (in 1992's "Cause and Effect)
  • Christian Slater (I swear he was in "Redemption" but IMDB lists him as only appearing in the sixth movie)
  • And finally, the lovable Ashley Judd (twice -- once as Wes Crusher's love interest in "The Game" and also in one of my all-time favorites "Darmok")
See -- if all those famous people like Star Trek enough to appear in the franchise, it can't be solely for nerds, right?

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Dom Deluise, RIP

I know that many of you are still waiting for my Bea Arthur obituary, but I'm just too torn up to write about it. In the meantime, I have this remembrance of Dom DeLuise, the larger-than-life actor, comedian and chef who died this week at age 75.

Perhaps not surprisingly, DeLuise died of high blood pressure and diabetes.

There are lots of reasons to love him, but mine will always be for his work in the Cannonball Run series of movies. These Burt Reynolds vehicles had great ensemble casts, but DeLuise's star was always seemed the biggest.

I'll give the final word to Gene Wilder, who wrote of DeLuise: "He was the funniest man, in person, that I've ever known."


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Long Overdue Props, Vol. XVI

In my 16th installment of the occasional series Long Overdue Props, it's time for me to give some love to starter-reliever-hall of famer-broadcaster Dennis Eckersley. He's filling in on NESN Red Sox broadcast in place of the ailing color man Jerry Remy, and his wacky ramblings have made the games quite watchable.

He lacks the poise, respect or decorum of most broadcasters, and for some reason that's a nice change of pace for me.

Even absent his 197 wins, 390 wins and breezy broadcasting verisimillitude, he would still be eligible for this series based solely on his hair/mustache combo, which is firmly stuck in the year he won the Cy Young and MVP award ('92).


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I have got to get to the Kentucky Derby

I glanced through some photos of the assembled masses at the Kentucky Derby this weekend, and culled out a few winners. As if the mint juleps alone weren't enough, check out all this talent.

That lovely lady on the right gave her name to an AP photographer as Randi Baremore. I bet.


Monday, May 04, 2009

Words of wisdom

I couldn't help but think of Seinfeld when I saw this sign.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Do I really wanna be a part of it?

For the first time in my life, I had this thought: "I kind of miss visiting New York."

What could this possibly mean? I can't help but think of one of Kevin Costner's lines from The Untouchables: "I have become what I beheld."