Saturday, April 28, 2007

Old Skool Saturday

I bought two chairs and a table for my 'deck' today. OK, the 'deck' is really a glorified fire escape.

As Rick Mckay and I sat out on my new furniture, a girl from across the way blasted a whole collection of Mary J. Blige's and Biggie Smalls' songs.

One of the songs, took me was back to 1992, when i was just fourteen years old - "Real Love".

What a great song. I think I actually wore the tape out.

It was Ms. Blige's first of many hits and the remix, see below, featured the debut of the one and only Notorious B.I.G. (my cyber-blogging name-sake) who just happens to be the greatest MC of all time in my humble opinion.

Two great performers early in their careers on a great track:

Taking Stock

I was sitting in a seminar the other day and various things regarding business operations of insurance companies was being discussed - don't worry, I'm not going to get into the bowels of an insurance company's engine. We were discussing how we can generate money - and from a more macro view - how any company can generate money.

There are three ways, generally, for any company: 1. Selling whatever your product is (and keeping costs low enough that you turn a profit), 2. Investing that profit wisely to generate more capital and 3. Selling stock.

In the course of the conversation, someone in the seminar mentioned that my company's (whose name shall remain nameless) stock had hit an all time high that day. This was widely agreed to be a very good thing by all in the room. It seems like a fact of life that if you're a company and your stock goes up, that's dope. Right? No one really would question that.

Given the above, I got a few strange looks when I posed the question: 'Why do we care about our stock price?' But, given the lengthy answers that followed - maybe it isn't such a stupid question.

Here's the thought that prompted my question: If you're a company, when you do your IPO (Initial Public Offering), you're selling stock in what you as an entity previously completely owned. So, all that's income right? After your stock is public, though, you don't own that anymore. So if you sell your stock during the IPO at, say, $50 a share, you've made however many millions, it's yours, in the bank and that it. Once it's sold, it's not yours. You don't own it, you don't make income on it. If it triples in price, then it's dope for the person that turned a profit - but it's not an income generator for you (the company) anymore - so why do executives and employees care about their stock price?

The analogy I drew was this: If you're a baseball player and you sign with Fleet, Topps, or whoever for for the rights to print your baseball card, you get paid whatever the agreement was. After the agreement is completed and you're paid - the value of your card may go up or down depending on if you have a career year or pull a Chuck Knoblauch. Regardless of how you do, you're alraid paid though so it doesn't really affect your bottom line.

After much discussion, I'm not sure I entirely understand - but this is what seems to be the case as far as I can tell:
  • Self Preservation: The executives managers of a company all answer to the Board of Directors, chosen by the stockholders. The officers, answer to executive managers and so on. Ultimately you have to keep your boss happy and the ultimate boss of a public company is its shareholders. You, your boss, their boss, their bosses' boss, and their boss' boss' boss want to keep their jobs so they have to keep the next guy up in the food chain happy - this chain continues up until you get to the shareholders. Poor stock performance probably means management shake-ups at best or a hostile take-over at worst.
  • Self Reflection: People buy shares because they think they can sell it for a profit (buy low, sell high). They also buy based on what the dividends will be - which is linked to how they company itself is doing. If people want to buy pieces of your company it's most likely a reflection on how you, as a firm, are doing.
  • Self Interest: Many people in a company own pieces of that company, whether it be in the form of a mutual fund, a 401(k) plan, outright stock or stock options, so it is beneficial for them directly for the share prices to increase.
  • Self Respect: Simply put, it's ego. People want to feel like the best, so it's a somewhat pride thing to know that you're working for a company that's trading at high prices.
  • Self Owned: I'm not sure if this is true but I assume that most companies own a significant percentage of their own stock. Good performance of their stock probably means they get to count whatever dividends they pay as income. Also, they can always sell their own stock for capital if they so choose.
It appeared to me like it is a somewhat involved answer to what would seem to be a simple question.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Classic Video: Super Mario Bros. Is Frustrating

Anyone who played Super Mario Bros. (the original on Nintendo, that is) knows that sometimes during the game, you'd encounter a particularly frustrating part. Once you were good enough -- and if you knew where all the warp zones were -- you could avoid these sections, but there were those times where you just wanted to get past that one fucking section, but you kept dying and dying and dying...

The following is a video of a guy (with an amazingly humorous accent too) who can't get past this one particular part. On top of the screen, it says it's World 1-2, which it clearly isn't. That's a bit odd, and so is the time counter, but anyway... The video is long (over 11 minutes), but I didn't really get bored watching it, having gone through these exact same feelings before.

Also, I love the counter showing how many lives he has left. It's those symbols that you get after you get hundreds of 1-Ups in World 3-1 at the end when you repeatedly jump on the turtle coming down the steps right before the flagpole at the end of the board.

Here are my favorite quotes of frustration in this clip:

"This is fucking worse than anything that's ever happened. This is a fucking horsecock in a tiny mouth."

"I hate everything that has ever existed. Everything."


"Who builds a castle like this, with no floor? Who builds a castle like this with fuckin' bouncy things and a fuckin' turtle that can only go like a fuckin' foot and walk backwards next to a flame stick. Who builds...FUCK YOU!"

Super Mario Brothers Is Frustrating pt2 - Click Here for more great videos and pictures!

If you liked that one, you can check out another one of this guy's frustrating Super Mario Bros. experiences here. In that one, my favorite quote is definitely, "Oh, good thing I have W Blue Sky lives left." (Another symbols joke.)

Update: Joe had just recently posted a link to this. Go check out his site. He's a sexy bastard with great pecs and and even better wit.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Am I The Only One Who Thinks These Two Look Alike?

There's a bit of a resemblance here in these photos, but I really see it when they talk. Whenever I see Ice-T on TV it just reminds me immediately of MMG. I think it's something in the way their mouths form words. I can't quite explain it. It's almost like a little bit of asymmetry while they're talking and something with the tongue. I can't put my finger on it, but it's definitely there.

I was looking for a video to embed to prove the point about the talking, but the one that best represents the resemblance has embedding disabled. But if you want to link to YouTube and watch it, then go ahead.

While I was looking through YouTube to find a good video, I came across this one. You can see the resemblance here a little bit, but really I'm posting this video because it's just insane. It's was clearly taped circa 1989, and there's mad characters hanging out at Ice-T's house, including Everlast. He's got the presursor to Cribs happening on top of that. And they're playing Tecmo Bowl on the original Nintendo. And look at Ice-T's outfit while he's showing off his car. And look at his first wife in the video compared to his new wife now. (Photo of Ice-T with new wife under the video)

Friday, April 20, 2007

A brief history of A-Rod

Yes, A-Rod is playing at a superhuman level right now. Since it's impossible for him to keep it up all year, the questions remain of when will he revert to: 1. His normal, albeit still phenomenal, production level, and 2. The guy who can't come through when you really need him. I can't disparage a guy who's put up the numbers he has so far, and I suddenly can't knock his clutchness, after his hitting two walkoff homers already this year. But I can still say a few things about him. 1. All those numbers, and the yanks still sit in 3rd place with a sub-.500 record; and 2. History tells us that wherever A-Rod goes, team success does not follow. Unless you count places he leaves; in that case, success does follow him--to where he was before.

In 1998, Kevin Garnett signed a 6-year, $126-million-dollar contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the biggest contract ever given to a professional athlete. Following the 2000 season, Scott Boras engineered a $252-million-dollar contract with the Texas Rangers for Alex Rodriguez. It was not a coincidence that A-Rod's contract was exactly double Garnett's. (Interesting how, even now, both those guys have long been considered among their respective games' best players, yet neither has won it all.)

Going into the winter of 2000, A-Rod was already widely regarded as not only the best all-around player in baseball at the time, but since he was only 25, the fact that he had not even entered his prime yet made him possibly the most attractive free agent ever. Numerous teams went after him hard; the Mets made a particularly strong effort under the leadership of their impossibly brilliant GM, Steve Philips (who went on to give truly, truly dazzling analysis on ESPN's Baseball Tonight). This push made sense, since 1. The Mets had just been to the World Series, clearly an attractive team that was there to win; 2. As a big-market team, the Mets had the money to compete with anyone; and 3. A-Rod grew up a Mets fan. All logic led you to believe--especially if you were a Mets fan--that we were gonna get him.

Regardless of what Steve Phillips did and said ("Signing him would make this a 24-and-1 team," describing what A-Rod/Boras was allegedly demanding), the Mets did not acquire A-Rod. He went to the Texas Rangers, who were willing to give him that unprecedented (and, unmatched since) contract. I was really pissed at the time--especially considering our then-shortstop (Rey Ordonez)

Couldn't we please make him our Designated Fielder?

couldn't get a hit even if the opposing fielders were blind, mosquito-sized girls--because everything led me to believe that this A-Rod guy, the best player in baseball, really wanted to be here. I couldn't see what the breakdown was. Was it just the money? Really?

Eventually I got over it, and Steve Philips soon got the boot when the Mets followed their World Series appearance by making a series of terrible decisions. From Mo Vaughn to Roberto Alomar to Art Howe, everything Philips did turned to shit. A World Series-caliber team became a joke awfully quickly. The ensuing years were very painful. You go to hell, Kevin Appier.

This bitter prick picked the Mets to finish 3rd this year.

But during that time, Alex Rodriguez was a Texas Ranger, and his team did about as well as we did. But on an interesting note, immediately after A-Rod's flight to Arlington from Seattle, the Mariners managed to win 116 games in 2001, tying the highest win total in baseball history (Cubs of 1906). 116 wins. Right after A-Rod left.

When A-Rod arrived to great fanfare in Texas, he managed to lead the Rangers to three straight last-place finishes from 2001-03. After (somehow) winning the AL MVP award in 2003, A-Rod wound up being traded to the yankees (I wonder how players have been traded following an MVP season.), following an bizarre and controversial negotiation with the Red Sox, the commissioner's office, and the player's union.

Between the end of the 2003 regular season and the 2004 World Series, several noteworthy things happened, directly related to A-Rod:
  • A-Rod's Ranger team went from 71 wins and 91 losses in 2003 to 89 and 73 in 2004--an 18-game improvement after he left; keep in mind that the season after A-Rod left the Mariners, their win total jumped an astonishing 25 games (91-71 to 116-46)
  • By 2004, A-Rod had been to the playoffs twice, both with the Mariners, in 1997 and then 2000, advancing to the ALCS in '00, only to lose to the yanks. His play during both of those postseasons was unremarkable--not terrible, not great, but definitely unmemorable.
  • On July 24, 2004, at Fenway Park when the Red Sox were reeling and in danger of falling out of contention, Jason Varitek blatantly picked a fight with A-Rod and single-handedly turned around the Red Sox season. This isn't really A-Rod's bad; Varitek just went after him. It led to the whole Pedro-throwing-Don-Zimmer-to-the-ground thing, taking a rivalry that had already reached the boiling point to a bloodthirsty Athens-vs.-Sparta-level affair.
"There's a bee on your face. Wait, I GOT IT!"
  • By the grace of God, the two teams met in an ALCS rematch. In the first three games, A-Rod tore it up, and the yanks took a seemingly unbeatable 3-0 lead. A-Rod's performance was impressive: 6 for 14 (.428 avg.), 7 runs scored, 3 RBI's. BUT...
  • When the Red Sox somehow (thank you, Dave Roberts) managed to win Game 4, A-Rod disappeared. His stats in the final four games were 2 for 17 (.118 avg.), 1 run, 2 RBI's.
  • Perhaps the most memorable A-Rod "achievement" in the 2004 ALCS came during Game 6, when he ran down the first base line and tried to slap the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's hand as he ran to first base. According to the rules of baseball, you're not allowed to do that--it's cheating--and when the umps made the call, A-Rod got upset and slumped off to the dugout. Why he didn't just try to run Arroyo over like Albert Belle did to Fernando Vina in 1996, I don't know. As fucked up as what Belle did was, it's within the rules. Trying to knock the ball out of a guy's glove with your hand is not only against the rules, it to put of the most pussy things I've ever seen.
What. A. Bitch.

The 2004 postseason, A-Rod's first year as a yank, will go down in history for two things. It depends on your prior perspective to determine which is more important, more memorable, more unbelievable. But there are two facts that must be observed:
  1. Champs. For the first time in 86 years, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. Obviously, A-Rod had nothing to do with the Curse of the Bambino, but the fact is, a long-suffering franchise overcame its demons, and did it against the tallest odds you can imagine.
  2. Chokers. The 2004 New York yankees committed the biggest choke in baseball (sports?) history. No Major League Baseball team had ever blown a 3-0 lead in any postseason series. On top of that, there was the memory of the 2003 Game 7 Red Sox collapse. Then there's the fact that the yanks were Sox' longtime rival, having repeatedly inflicted severe heartbreak upon the citizens of New England. And finally, the yanks had a 3-2 lead in the 9th inning of Game 4--on the verge of an utterly dominant sweep--with the greatest closer in baseball history on the mound. Without a doubt, God put the Red Sox--and their fans--on the very edge of the cliff. But then came the walk to Millar, the Roberts steal, the Mueller single, and the Papi home run. The rest is history.

In 2005 and 2006, the yanks didn't even get that far into the postseason, and A-Rod's numbers have been just as pathetic. In a preseason interview this past March, A-Rod apparently "came clean" about his troubles with Derek Jeter and how they don't have as many sleepovers anymore, and many a yankee writer declared that as being the cure-all for A-Rod's problems. To date, this prediction looks accurate. But will it in October? September? May?

The biggest reason the yanks sit at 8-9 at this point has been their atrocious pitching, which even the biggest offensive season in history couldn't overcome. But eventually their pitching will come around and A-Rod will come back to earth, and the yanks will be trying to win games 3-2, rather than 8-7. When that happens, will A-Rod still be the man yankee fans want up there in the bottom of the 9th down by 2? History says probably not.

And following this season's inevitable early playoff exit by the yanks (if they even make it that far), A-Rod's subsequent opting-out of his contract, and his arrival in L.A. or Chicago for the 2008 season, will the yanks finally make it back to the World Series? I still hope not, but I think history shows us it's fairly likely.

Pictures of Cats With Words Is...Really Funny?

Somehow, yes it is. Maybe you'll hate this, but I thought it was great. I don't think you have to be a cat person for this, but it had me cracking up. Something about how the writing on each pic reflects the way the cat in the pic looks--there's such a good match between the thoughts being written, and especially the way that they are written--spelling and grammar errors that cats clearly would make--and the facial expressions and situations in which the cats find themselves.

I would naturally lead with this one:

What a nasty eye-booger:

That mouse should know better than to trust a cat:

And in honor of 4/20:

That suspicious (and fat) cat is just...perfect--those eyes!

It really looks like the cat is speaking here, too:

I love the wave good-bye, like a true cat-stronaut:

Where are this cat's limbs?

I wondered if this was Photoshopped or just a luckily timed picture, but who really cares?

How great is that scene in Office Space when this song plays?

Could that cat open its eyes any wider? And some great writing with "F00DZ."

Great timing, and a great idea with the bike.

That's gotta be one huge sandwich, especially for a cat.

Emo sucks and does indeed deserve to be belittled.

I think it's the spelling of the last word that completes this one. And the cat's ear positions.
Again, great spelling, plus it's tremendous the way the cushions pull back the cat's eyebrows. (Do cats have eyebrows? I guess not, huh.)

I wonder how many cats actually do this.

Almost makes me want to cry...

You can see a lot more here.

Friday Classic Video: Car Prank

Jesus, guys, what's with all the super-serious shit lately? Don't you even know what day it is? Yeah...4/20. Niiiiiice. Maybe we could do some sort of weed theme today. Or not. Whatever man. It's cool.

Here's something to put a smile on your face.

That is the face of genuine terror!

The Culture of Life

"The partial-birth abortion ban, which an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress passed and I signed into law, represents a commitment to building a culture of life in America," - George "Dubya" Bush commenting on the the Supreme Court's ruling on "partial birth abortion".

"Because a society is measured by how it treats the weak and vulnerable, we must strive to build a culture of life. Medical research can help us reach that goal by developing treatments and cures that save lives and help people overcome disabilities." - GWB

"To build a culture of life, we must also ensure that scientific advances always serve human dignity, not take advantage of some lives for the benefit of others. We should all be able to agree on some clear standards. " - GWB

"It's important to promote a culture of life. A hospitable society is a society where every being counts and every person matters." - GWB

"I will lead our nation toward a culture that values life -- the life of the elderly and the sick, the life of the young, and the life of the unborn." - GWB

"I believe that life is valuable, even when it is unwanted, even when it is physically imperfect. I believe our society has a responsibility to defend the vulnerable and the weak." - GWB

How can you be pro-life and yet want to go to war as a first or second option and not your last?

How can you be pro-life and support torturing people?

How can you be pro-life and let let thousands of people be left stranded in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina?

How can you be pro-life and want to cut taxes to save rich people money and cut programs for the poor?

The Republican Party is a marriage of fiscal conservatives and Christians. How do they live under the same roof? If you're a hard-core Christian, wouldn't you be pretty close to socialist? Wouldn't you hate war?

I mean, GWB talks like believes life is sacred and yet he's made decisions that resulted in literally the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. On top of that, he doesn't appear to show any remorse at all.

These people will go all out to ban abortion but it seems like the second you're born - you're on your own.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's All About The Timing With Abortion

First of all, I was scrolling through the top stories sites on Yahoo! in order to find the article regarding the Supreme Court's decision to back the federal ban on partial birth abortion and I couldn't find it. I scrolled through stuff about the crazy dude who killed all the people, Alberto Gonzales testifying, A-Rod hitting a walk off HR (he's on fire, by the way), and what Sanjaya's plans are after American Idol, but the abortion story was not on the fron page. I had to search the news section in order to find the article. I thought that was pretty interesting.

Anyhow, I like the title of this post. It works on a lot of levels and that's pleasing. I guess my point, really, is that it's pretty interesting that this case came down so soon after Bush's repacking of the court (yes, I know it's not actually court packing, for those semantic sticklers). I wonder if there was an effort to hold it back in lower courts and what not in order for the new court to hear this case. I couldn't find the evidence, but apparently there was a very similar case regarding partial birth abortion when good old Sandra Day was on the court and her deciding vote made it 5-4 in favor of not restricting abortion rights. Now she's gone, and Alito is the new O'Connor, and all of a sudden the vote goes the other way.

I'm interested in the Supreme Court essentially hearing this case twice. I mean, if they heard a case about partial birth abortion in the past, isn't this established law? Constitutional experts? (That's you, Side Bar.) It seems like the Supreme Court doesn't have any rules. They can just do whatever the fuck they want. And when the other branches of government fuck up, they're the ones who preside over the hearings and what not. That's a pretty fucking good job. There's lot's of fucks in those last three sentences. Probably unnecessary. My point, though, is that why can they hear this case again? Or at least one that seems similar. They get to choose what cases they hear so obviously they could choose to throw this away saying that they had already ruled on that matter, but instead they chose to hear the case since it was more favorable for the conservative cause.

I am fascinated that this seems to be something people get really fired up about. I'm not sure why people want to go all out of their way the intrude on other people's lives. If you don't believe in abortion, then don't have abortions. And that's it. If someone decides to have an abortion, then, well, I guess it's irresponsible, but I guess you can justify it as just an extreme form of birth control. I'm not really a fan of abortion, but I'm also not presumptuous enough to name myself someone else's moral arbiter. If you want to think less of someone because they had an abortion, then I guess that's your right. But if you want to kill the doctor or firebomb the clinic, then you really just need to find something better to do with your time.

Also worth mentioning is that the people who are all fired up about being pro-life are the same people who complain about single mothers on welfare and kicking them off the dole. It's like, "hey fuck you...and did I mention fuck you?"

I'm rambling, I meant to talk more about the case. Isn't there a rule or something that specifies when they can and can't rehear cases?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Some disturbing videos

Since we seem to be slacking off today, I thought I'd mail it in by posting a couple of videos. But in my defense, these are some oddball choices which leave room for interpretation and clever commenting.

Video Number 1: In the past, Kermit has certainly shown he can get a little melancholy ("Rainbow Connection," "It Not Easy Bein' Green"), but I never knew how hard Jim Henson's death was on him. Until now.

That's fucked up, Rowlf. Here's the main site for this thing.

Video Number 2: Everyone always says children are precious, but those people are dead fucking wrong. This little shit is one scary bastard. As a parent, can you even be proud of something like that? I'd be busy thinking of ways to trick it into drinking a milkshake mixed with cyanide.

From now on, I'm definitely using a condom every time. I swear.

(Thanks again to With Leather.)

Video Number 3: Just who is that handsome devil with the bananas? Someone give him an award. An award for unsurpassed awesomeness.

Those guys at Girard Street rule!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Red Sox fans are crazy bastards

You may have seen this already, but if you didn't hear the commentary by Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo on Boston's NESN, you missed the best part. When they come back from commercial, it's great.

Apparently the two guys had been arguing, with the one guy saying you shouldn't be eating pizza at a baseball game--only hot dogs.

Thanks to With Leather, an excellent sports blog.

29 Years and Still Winning It

Happy Bday Rickle . . . . good show.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Good Fuk

Tuesday, September 19th started like any other day. I went to work, walked cross town, drank my coffee and started work. I did, however, have two things to do: 1. go to the doctor for the results of my STD/HIV test, and 2. replace my broken cell phone.

I hadn't been tested in years and, despite the fact even when I was single (which I hadn't been in about a year at the time), I was no Dave Juan Demarco. I was a little nervous. If you've ever been tested, you know what I mean. But when you make whoppee with someone new, you never know for sure.

I had actually been tested two weeks ago, but you can't get the results for, well, two weeks. I had kind of forgotten about the whole thing, but as I began my walk to the doctor's office, I started to wonder just a little. It's fine....I'm almost positive....I hope.....What if?....Oh whatever, it's fine. By the time I arrived at the MD's office--Dr. Fuks, by the way--I was officially concerned. (I had actually picked this doctor because of his name. I thought it was funny to say, "I'm going to see my doctor, Dr. Fuks." Is there a worse reason to pick a doctor?)

I entered the office, and the nice lady at the desk directed me to the couch to wait. Over the next 10 minutes, I went from concerned, to more concerned, to kind of concerned, to definitely worried. I half flipped through magazines, but my thoughts were firmly elsewhere. One article in some entertainment magazine had an article about Iggy Pop and an accompanying picture. I sort of fixated on this for a while, thinking how bizarre Mr. Pop looked.

"Mr. Testa", the nurse called. I dropped Iggy and the magazine like they were hot and quickly walked to my doctor's personal study, which was a cheap desk and some chairs. Dr. Fuks was a Russian. He had a thick accent and very little tact. Two weeks before, he told me that if I didn't lose weight I wouldn't be able to come back. "Why?", I asked. In a thick Russian accent--think Ivan Drago--he replied, "Because you won't fit in the door." Ouch.

So, I walk in and Fuks is chillin' like a motherfucker. Not a care in the world. I sat down and looked and him. He looked at me, but I couldn't do anything but look at him. A moment passed. "How are you doing?" he asked, in his Drago-voice. How was I doing? You know better than I do, motherfucker! I thought to myself for the split second I blurted out, "I don't know, how am I doing?" in a barely contained shout.

Drago laughed, seeming a bit amused. "Ha, Ha, Ha. Your tests have come back...negative."

Whew, life was good. We made small talk for a minute, I thanked him and walked out the door and into the warm early-fall day.

I may be fat but I didn't have AIDS.

Things could be worse.

With much lighter steps than I had walked in to the doctor, off, I went to get my new phone.

I don't know how they do it

When I think of truck drivers, I tend to think of guys like that hooked-hand dude from Adventures in Babysitting. Remember him?

Handsome John Pruitt, that was his name. Oh those truckers and their irony! Half of the truckers in the world are also nicknamed "Tiny" when--in fact--they're actually really big!

But anyway, I think there are certain truckers who possess superhuman abilities. And those truckers are the ones who drive around in Manhattan.

I suppose if you're in Texas or Wyoming or some other place with--wait, what do you call it? Oh yeah, space. If you're someplace with space, it must not be that astounding to see a trucker make a right turn or back up a few yards without committing manslaughter.

But in Manhattan, the streets are so narrow and packed with cars, pedestrians, bikers, and those idiots who pedal you around in those stupid whatchamacallits, I often stare in amazement at a trucker pulling off what anywhere else would be a fairly simple endeavor.

For example, I was just outside of my office on the east side of 6th Avenue (and fuck everyone who actually refers to it as the "Avenue of the Americas"), and there was this giant 18-wheeler standing out one lane over from the curb with his right blinker on. (Also, in the window was this little chihuahua staring out; again, the irony! Trucker with a chihuahua! Call Alanis!). This truck was literally half as long as the entire stretch of curb from 39th Street to 40th Street, and since there was a FedEx van parked a little further than halfway up the street, I slowly came to realize that this truck was about to try to parallel park into the "spot" behind the van. Now here's where it gets interesting.

This was at about 6 P.M. on a Monday. In the middle of midtown. The amount of evening-rush traffic would seem to negate even the remotest possibility of success here. Think about it: Not only does the trucker have to handle all the traffic to his left going up 6th Ave. at this hour, he needs to back up across 39th Street, then move forward to get into the spot. But behind him are all the people walking across 6th Ave. He's fucked either way: If he waits for a red light at 39th so that the traffic going up 6th stops and he has the room to begin, then all the pedestrians start crossing behind him and he won't be able to back up before pulling in.

I know that large trucks such as this one make that beep-beep-beep-beep-beep noise when they back up to alert those behind them, "Hey I can't see you, so I hope you're not back there for the next few seconds!" But come on, that's not gonna stop a bunch of stressed-out, iPod-wearing, need-to-get-to-happy-hour-NOW New Yorkers at the peak of rush-hour insanity.

But this trucker, as I said before, was superhuman. Just after the 39th Street red light began, he pulled forward and to his left, creating an angle from which to begin backing up. As he did this, he came about an inch away from ramming an SUV stopped at the 40th Street light. Then, lightning fast, he threw it in reverse and starting moving. Back, back, back--holy shit, he's gonna run over all those bastards crossing the street behind him! Nope. Calm as a canary (?), he stopped. And not a split second after his full stop, one of the aforementioned iPod-wearing guys came walking out from behind the truck. It had missed him by about a foot, and he didn't even seem to notice. This lady who was standing next to me let out a little shriek before yelling, "Do you know what almost just happened to you?" iPod-wearing dickbag didn't notice her either.

Then, just as the last person was finished crossing and the light was switching to allow traffic up 6th to resume--I have no idea how he could be certain enough to begin again--he continues his backward march, fully crossing 39th Street, hooking the wheel as he barely misses the FedEx van and stops. All the traffic going up 6th has been flowing as smoothly as it would had this giant vehicle not been there at all.

He puts it back in drive and gently pulls up to about two feet behind the FedEx van, the back of the trailer a good three to four feet in front of the corner at 39th.

I have friends who claim to be excellent parallel parkers, but I've never seen a performance like this. I really don't know how they do it every day. Do you know anyone who's ever been hit by truck in New York? I never hear any stories like that.

I can only think of one other trucker I know who would be capable of this:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rainy Sunday Mets Musings

Moises Alou and Shawn Green are 40 and 34 years old, respectively. Shawn Green is a former home run hitter who now struggles to hit the warning track and looks ancient in right field. Moises Alou is going to be 41 before the season is over and is clearly not getting any younger, or more agile. Least year Shawn Green hit roughly .270 between Arizona and New York, hit 15 home runs, and 66 RBI, which is frankly God awful for someone who's not even that good in right field. Moises Alou was actually still productive with San Francisco last year hitting .301 with 22 HRs and 74 RBI, but he missed 64 games due to injury. Actually, hitting 22 HRs and driving in 74 is pretty good for only 98 games, but he was clearly missed in the games he didn't play.

All of this begs the question: Why isn't Endy Chavez playing more regularly? He started his first game of the season yesterday and had 2 hits, a leadoff triple (didn't score even though Beltran, Delgado, and Wright were behind him) and a double. And on top of that he made a great play in left field to save a certain double. Last year Chavez hit .306 in limited action and had 22 doubles and 5 triples. He's not a power hitter, but he definitely hits for average, hits left handers just as well as right handers (actually hit .333 vs left handers last year against .298 vs. right handers), and is a threat to steal, drive in runs if there are runners on, and otherwise add to the Mets lineup. Not to mention the fact that he's probably their best outfielder, which is saying a lot given that Beltran is also spectacular in the field.

As much as I love Paul LoDuca, isn't the Mets lineup even scarier with Chavez in the #2 slot? He's got speed, can steal bases, and the combination of Reyes, Chavez, and Beltran is downright lethal. They could generate runs for days if the three of them were at the top more consistently. I mean, if Reyes gets on base, then Chavez could a) bunt him over, b) let him steal and drive him in, or c) hit and run since Chavez is more or less a contact hitter (44 Ks in 353 at bats last year) and Reyes could steal the base even without contact. And if Reyes doesn't get on base, then Chavez might, and then he could steal the base and let Beltran drive him in.

The drawback to this is that LoDuca's role in the lineup would be essentially scratched out. The things he does well are putting the ball in play, and moving the runner over. He rarely strikes out and he's not a bad #2 hitter, even though he's not a prototypical #2. Moving him down in the lineup probably would just make him a net zero since the bottom of the order has no speed. But I think Chavez would add far more to the lineup than is taken away by LoDuca's absence. They would be far more dynamic in the 1-6 slots just by inserting him in there.

Imagine a lineup of Reyes, Chavez, Beltran, Delgado, Wright, Alou, LoDuca, Valentin, and the pitcher. I like that a lot even more than their current configuration. I know they are playing a lot of money for Shawn Green, and the general feeling is that Endy Chavez is not an everyday player because he gets lazy when he plays every day, but I feel like he got over that last year when he got extended time due to injuries from Beltran and Floyd. He has adjusted his swing for base hits as opposed to looking for just power, which is why the Phillies and Expos ultimately gave up on him. Chavez is 29 years old, in his prime, and is, for my money, the best option they have in the outfield.

Given the ancientness of Alou and Green, couldn't some sort of platoon situation be worked out where Chavez would at least play 3 times a week? It seems like the plan is for him to play every Saturday, when LoDuca usually rests and Castro catches, and take LoDuca's spot in the lineup. Yesterday he played left field and Alou sat out. Couldn't he take another day of the week and take Green's spot? Green and Alou have not been bad up to this point, but I don't see either of them being consistent performers as the season wears on. I'm hoping Chavez can get some more time if and when these guys start to break down.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Way more racist than Imus

This guy's raging racism almost snuck past me the first time I heard it. This is not some "nappy-headed ho's" joke; this guy is coldly serious. I have no idea what kind of forum he's speaking in, but it somehow got onto C-SPAN. And no one seems to say anything about the guy's fairly drastic idea on how to solve the problems of the world. Someone could at least mention the difficulty in pursuing his recommended course of action. He doesn't seem to address that. Maybe I'll have to buy his book. A-ha! A marketing ploy! Well played, Kamau.

Friday Classic Video: Gross... Just Gross.

But very funny!

Imus in Mourning

Rest in peace, I-man. I always thought you were the best thing on radio . . . a great combination of funny and interesting, with a focus on politics and sports, my two favorite hobbies. I stood by the show when all the defectors went to Stern, and I was still listening when you fools came crawling back. I'm done debating whether or not he deserved it; it happened, it's over, and it's sad.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Mets Lineup, From a Manly Drinking Perspective

For a while now, I've thought about creating a baseball lineup for my favorite drinks. And since I'm unfathomably manly, I knew that only the most manly drinks would make the team. And since I love the Mets as much as I love drinking, I figured I'd combine them into the ultimate lineup--the 2007 New York Mets plus the Manliest Drinks.

(Incidentally, it's a tossup for the 1 and 2 spots on the list of things I love most; drinking and the Mets are clearly 1 and 2, but it's so close. It's sorta like if you're gonna rank the best bands of all time, as long as you have Led Zeppelin and the Beatles at 1 and 2, it doesn't matter to me who's first or second.)

Now on to the lineup. For the purposes of this exercise, I'll introduce the Met first, then demonstrate why the drink matches well with him. (The numbers in parentheses following the drinks indicate my ranking of the most manly drinks, 1 being the most manly.)

Batting first, playing shortstop: Jose Reyes
His drink: Rum. (9)
I figure this is a perfect match. Jose is from the Dominican Republic, where rum is a part of life. And Ernest Hemingway--one of the world's greatest drinkers ever (Not a bad writer either. Was it the booze? Your call. And your call better be "Yes.")--was a huge rum drinker. If you want a drinking lineup, who better to lead off/play short/drink than Jose/Reyes/Ernest Hemingway?

Batting second, the catcher: Paul Lo Duca
His drink: Everclear. (8)
Paulie is from Brooklyn, and he looks and plays like a bulldog--this guy is tough as nails. ("Nails?" you ask. Yes, I'd say he's our new Lenny Dykstra.) If anyone on the Mets deserves the strongest alcohol made in the U.S., it's gotta be him. Lo Duca is the kind of guy who shows up at a party with his own bottle of Everclear, assuming that anywhere he goes, everyone else will be gigantic pussies. If you're at the party with Paul and some douchebag frat-boy fucks with you, then having Paulie Lo-Dukes there with you ensures that numerous frat-boy assholes will end up with broken noses and some severely bruised self-esteem.

Batting third, in center field: Carlos Beltran
His drink: Tequila. (3)
What you want in a center fielder is someone who everyone agrees will ruin any potential triple and reach over the fence and bring back many would-be home-runs; and what you want in a 3-hitter is someone who's gonna strike fear into the opposing pitcher. What you get from tequila covers all: a liquor which everyone agrees will ruin any potential sobriety and bring back many would-be-digested meals; and tequila also strikes fear into your average drinker, even veteran drinkers. Finally, the most dangerous hitter in a late-inning game? The 3-hitter. The most dangerous liquor in a late-night drinking session? Tequila.

Batting fourth, at first base: Carlos Delgado
His drink: Bombs. (7)
What do you ask for in a first baseman/cleanup hitter? Hitting bombs. We're not just talking your average dingers here, we're talking bombs--500 foot longballs. So Delgado clearly drinks bombs. This includes Irish Carbombs, Flaming Dr. Peppers, Jager Bombs, Boilermakers, etc. Anytime you take a shot of liquor, drop it into a pint of beer, and chug the whole thing. Doing that literally cleans up all the alcohol in the area, and thus a perfect match with the cleanup hitter.

Batting fifth, on the hot corner: David Wright
His drink: Whiskey. (2)
With Whiskey, I am including Bourbon, Scotch, Irish Whiskey, Rye--any drink deserving the name "Whiskey." And this is very important: There are no mixers. No Jack-and-Cokes, no Scotch-and-sodas, no Whiskey-and-waters. NO. The only acceptable addition to the art of Whiskey is ice, and please, not too much. And finally, since David Wright is a good Southern boy, you know he loves his Bourbon.

Batting sixth, out in left field: Moises Alou
His drink: Absinthe. (5)
Moises, God bless him, pisses on his hands. Apparently, he feels that it makes him a better hitter. What in the world would lead someone to think that urinating on your own hands could make you a better athlete? Absinthe. That shit fucks you up. It's got this beautiful ingredient, thujone, which creates a hallucinogenic effect and also gives you the clearest drunk you'll ever experience. You drink some good Absinthe, you not only feel a fantastic drunk, you can also suddenly write the world's greatest novels, paint the world's most beautiful art, and play the shit out of left field.

Batting seventh, in right field: Shawn Green
His drink: Jagermeister. (12)
Shawn, I'm sorry. Last week, I expected you to perform big on the first night of Passover (since you elected to skip your sacred duty of going to a frigging Seder), but you couldn't even come up with a hit. So therefore I cannot give you Manischewitz. But since Manischewitz is purple, I figured Jager would be right up your alley. Hey, after a few drinks, things get simple, right? Purple is purple. I know you're kind of an older guy now and probably not so into Jager, but after a few know what I'm sayin'? You're battin' over .300 now, so mazel tov!

Batting eighth, at second base: Jose Valentin
His drink: Mezcal. (10)
The first thing you think when you see Jose Valentin is, What the fuck is up with that mustache? You look like a child molester! So therefore, what would a man have to drink in order to not only wear that facial abomination, but wear it for your entire career? I think the clearest comparison would be like saying, You want me to drink an incredibly horrible-tasting liquor? Fine, and I insist that there be a worm in it! If you truly consider yourself a man, then at some point in your life you must eat the worm at the bottom of a bottle of Mezcal. Jose did, and he somehow gets to have sex with children. What a drink!

Batting ninth, and our Starting Pitcher (This changes every game, so it covers all of them.)
The drink: Beer. (1)
Was there any doubt what drink would be Number 1? Beer is clearly God's greatest creation and, therefore, it gets the honorable role of throwing the first pitch--just as beer begins any watching-of-sports event. Think about it--during a game, you can do as many shots of whatever you want, but you're gonna be drinking beer as well throughout. You want your starting pitcher to be your anchor. If he's not there, then you don't have a chance. Imagine going through your life without beer. Without beer!

As the closer, Billy Wagner
His drink: Moonshine (4)
Moonshine dates back to the earliest days of our beautiful country, and since has had a glorious notoriety as an illegal drink that people still drink. Moonshine, for you dumbasses that have never had any, is amazing. People down South make this shit in their basements and barns, and they've learned to produce all kinds of different flavors and everything. But for my money, unflavored, straight-up 'shine is the way to go. This shit will rock you to your core, no matter how experienced a drinker you are. And you know you are tasting a bit of purely American culture, too. Billy Wagner, another good Southern boy, has surely downed a good amount of this stuff. And think about what you want in a closer--someone people fear and don't quite fully understand. Moonshine and Billy Wagner both fit that bill.

As our pinch-hitter, Endy Chavez
His drink: the Layback. (11)
For those that don't know the Layback, here's what you do: you take a bottle of tequila and a bottle of margarita mix; your buddy puts his back on the seat of a chair (he "lays back" onto the chair), head hanging off, feet on the ground; then you pour both bottles into his mouth until it's full. Once it's full, you stop pouring, he closes his mouth and swallows the whole thing. Then, one of two things can happen: 1. Your buddy downs it all, gets up and yells in masculine ecstasy, or 2. He immediately vomits. If those are the only two possibilities, you know you have a manly drink. Just like when you have a pinch-hitter up--either he gets a hit and everyone calls him the man, or he strikes out and everyone says that he sucks.

And finally, as our Manager, Willie Randolph
His drink: the Martini. (6)
The martini is a classy drink. Many young folks have tried it too early and paid the price. This drink is basically a shitload of alcohol, a tiny bit of flavoring (or none at all), and a really cool glass. There's a good reason this drink is designed for the veteran drinker, and that's why it is the Manager's drink. You don't want the man in control haphazardly throwing back shots of whatever anyone puts in front of him. You want him to drink, yes, and hard, but you want him to show maturity and leadership. A martini is the perfect drink. If you're Willie Randolph, it's fine watching Reyes throw back shots of Bacardi, Wright pounding his Jim Beam, and Johnny "Remember the" Maine doing a 65-second kegstand. But when the players look at the you, the Manager, it must feel might nice gripping such a prestigious drink, knowing that they won't be able to appreciate such beauty properly until their non-drinking hand is weighed down with World Series rings.

To wrap up, here is my list of the most manly drinks:

1. Beer
2. Whiskey
3. Tequila
4. Moonshine
5. Absinthe
6. Martini
7. Bombs
8. Everclear
9. Rum
10. Mezcal
11. Layback
12. Jager

If you feel I have forgotten a proper manly drink, let me know. And as far as my order goes, let the arguments begin. My only thing--as I stated earlier--is that if you don't agree with Beer and Whiskey as 1 and 2, then you either don't have a Y chromosome or are "special" (in the "went to school on the short bus" sense).