Friday, April 30, 2010

MVP! MVP! Fare Thee Well, Old Friend

We at Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Luke would be remiss to let this day pass withough acknowledging the retirement of the New York Football Giants most consistent player of the last 7 years, Jeff Feagles. Referred to affectionately by real Giants fans (well, me and Diesal at least) as The Feag, he has been a staple in the Giants' special teams and, in all honesty, may be the best punter in the history of the game.

This guy is 44 years old, played in 352 consecutive games, and never missed a game in his 22 years in the league. He has a knack for pinning teams inside the 20 and he rarely let go a bad punt for the Giants. He was a great player and will be missed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Of the Mets, Nicknames, and Beltran . . . . F*cking Beltran

The following is an edited version of a discussion Open Bar and I had earlier today. As you can see, I am right and he is wrong. As usual.

Side Bar: god forgive me for saying this, but signing pedro after the all-star break could make a lot of sense for this team

Open Bar: not a bad idea; hell I'd trade Oliver Perez and John Maine right now for a bag of nails

Side Bar: it's too bad, because this is going to be a really good team 40% of the time (Santana and Prelf), a so-so team 20% of the time (Niese) and a shite team 40% of the time (Perez and Maine). If they could move the Perez or Maine spot out of the shite column and into the decent column, we'd have a shot at the playoffs.

Open Bar: and if my grandma had balls she'd be my grandpa; those two are just plain bad

Side Bar: yep

Open Bar: it's been the same shit for years, why should we expect anything different?

Side Bar: I was at the games last night -- Perez just totally stinks

Open Bar: painful to watch

Side Bar: And the problem with bumping Maine from the rotation in favor of Takahashi is that then you have 4 lefties in the rotation; that's trouble

Open Bar: I don't know about that

Side Bar: who, by the way, totally deserves to be starting on this team

Open Bar: it's quite clear he's better than those two shitheaps. I hate to bitch like this when we're doing well for once, but the future is staring us in the face. This team, as constructed, is not very good

Side Bar: other than 4 and 5 in the rotation, I disagree

Open Bar: Is Gary Matthews Jr. on the team?

Side Bar: bullpen is solid, just negligently overused (due, in equal parts, to Jerry Manuel and the fact that the starters can only go five innings at a time)

Open Bar: What about Frank Catalonotto?

Side Bar: ok, so you want to upgrade your role players a bit, fine, no argument from me, but that's on the fringes. The core of this team is very young and very good. Wright, Reyes, Davis, Frenchy (another walk yesterday!), Santana, Prelf . . . and then F Mart, Dillon Gee, etc.

Open Bar: the bullpen's OK, let's not get ahead of ourselves

Side Bar: they are overused; who is out there that you would replace the shitty bench players with?


Open Bar: I would love to see Fernando (don't use FMart, please) and Tejada. And Josh Thole over your boy Blanco

Side Bar: you cannot bring up rookies unless you are going to play them every day; I think that is horrible for their development

Open Bar: ok, fair point

Side Bar: so yeah, if it's August and we are out of it, I agree 100%, bring up FMART and let Tejada get his feet wet at second base, but not before then.

I hope Beltran never puts on a Mets uniform again . . . I really cannot convey to you how much I hate that guy (though pagan has sucked it up lately).

Open Bar: I love how you hate our best player

Side Bar: how can he be our best player if he never plays; that is exactly why I hate him so much; he is soft; he is always hurt, and he puts himself ahead of the team; how can you possibly justify him having that surgery in January?

Open Bar: 2005: 151 games

2006: 140

2007: 144

2008: 161

Side Bar: 2009?


Open Bar: he got hurt last year, simple

Side Bar: also, why is 7 out of every 8 games impressive for "our best player"? Maybe if he had played 10 more games in 2007 they would have won the division, after all he is "our best player"

fuck him

I fucking hate him

Open Bar: 149 games a year average is more than 7 out of 8

Side Bar: but 140 out of 162 is not

Open Bar: everyone gets hurt from time to time

Side Bar: not me

Open Bar: what he shouldn't have done is come back last September for no reason; your "soft" player played even when he probably shouldn't have, which almost certainly led to his having to get surgery in Jan

Side Bar: He never wanted to come here, and it shows. I get the sabremetrics thing, I do. The Mets need to a better job of brining in guys on numbers, and not because Omar thinks "he's a solid guy."

But you can't completely discount personality, chemistry, and intangibles, either.


Side Bar: Beltran has no heart. He is a paycheck player.

Open Bar: proof? evidence of any kind?

Side Bar: My observations as a fan. I watch virtually every Mets game.

Open Bar: Do you also read his psychological reports?

Side Bar: Of course I cannot get inside his head, but I can compare his style, his demeanor, his quotes, and his attitude with what I observe of every other player.

Open Bar: Look, I hate his mole too

Side Bar: I can see him stealing third base when there is no reason whatsoever to do it.

Open Bar: I think you're being a bit unfair here

Side Bar: I can see him never, ever, ever get frustrated when he strikes out in a big spot, and I can compare that with the anguish on DW's face when he strikes out with men on base. I can see him talk shit about the fans, and refuse to take a curtain call until Julio Franco practically drags him out of the dugout to do it. I can see all the little things that he does and does not do, compare them to other players, and make a semi-informed judgment.

Open Bar: and I can see him gracefully patrol center field like no Met ever

Side Bar: fine; but I still hate him

Open Bar: I just don't know if all those subjective observations add up to enough to discount his objective performance

Side Bar: the fans love Reyes; LOVE him

why is that?

why do fans let Reyes off the hook for every mistake, but boo Beltran if he doubles instead of triples?

Because they are sheep? Yeah, sort of.

Open Bar: because he smiles a lot and has all those handshakes

Side Bar: But also because it is beyond question that he wants to play for the Mets, and is devastated when he cannot do it

Open Bar: and speaking of injury-prone

Side Bar: EXACTLY; that's the point

I see no evidence that Beltran wants anything out of the game than a paycheck, and it makes me crazy.

With Reyes, Santana, Wright, I see so much more, and that I why I fucking love those guys, and I will never give them shit when they struggle.

Open Bar: I understand what you're saying

Side Bar: Fine, Beltran is an incredibly talented player.

But the Yankees have proven that alone is not enough.

Open Bar: I guess I'm just not as personally offended by Beltran's demeanor

Side Bar: God damnit. Now you have me all worked up

I fucking hate him

Open Bar: when he comes back, the Mets will be a better team and win more games

if I want a more personal connection to a player, I have wright and Reyes

Side Bar: I never said he wasn't better than Pagan . . . I just do not like him.*

*Editor's Note: Between having this conversation and posting it, Angel Pagan has hit a two-run triple. Thus confirming without further need for debate or evidence of any kind that I am right.

I've always said the 2010 Mets were World Series-bound

Following yesterday's doubleheader sweep of the Dodgers, the New York Mets find themselves in ... first place?

NY Mets129.571-10-52-48969+20Won 68-2
Philadelphia119.550.53-38-610784+23Lost 33-7
Florida1110.52415-46-610297+5Lost 15-5
Washington1110.52417-64-490105-15Won 15-5
Atlanta812.4003.55-43-87785-8Lost 72-8

What? How?

Easy answer: The Mets fucking rule shit and Phillies fans can all die in an earthquake.

Real answer: Thanks largely to some effective (and quite lucky) starting pitching lately, the National League team in NYC that actually pays Gary Matthews Jr. in exchange for baseball services has racked up eight wins in their last nine games, with a sweep of the Pope-defending Braves in the middle. Johan and Big Pelf have led the way, giving up one whole run between them in their last 46 innings.

This, obviously, cannot stand.

While 6 innings, 0 runs looks good in a box score, if you watched yesterday's game you know Johan wasn't really that great. It took him 115 pitches to get through those 6 innings against a miserable, Manny-less Dodgers offense. It took him 9 pitches to retire the opposing pitcher at one point. And what's up with this middling 89-90 mph fastball? Anyone who thinks that pitch is still gonna be gettin' fools out in August is plain dumb.

But the pitching overall has been pretty fantastic, with one major flaw. Here's how the Mets rank in several pitching categories:
  • ERA: 3.11 -- 3rd
  • runs allowed: 69 -- 3rd
  • HR allowed: 11 -- 2nd
  • strikeouts: 170 -- 1st
  • walks: 106 -- 16th (out of 16)
Anything in particular jump out at you there?

Last night, for example, was some vintage Oliver Fucking Perez: more walks than innings pitched. In the earlier game, Johan walked three guys in his 39-pitch second inning -- the kind of inning every Mets pitcher seems to have had at least once in every game for the last three years.

What is the deal with the Mets and walks? Every year it's the same damn problem. Last year, the team had the second-most walks; the year before, the third-most; the year before that, the fifth-most. Someone again remind me why Omar gave Ollie 3 years / $36 million?

Anyway, things are going well now, so sorry about the bitching.

Oh, and one more thing: Will all you jerkstores immediately cease this booing of David Wright? Mets fans can be so retarded sometimes, it's infuriating. And why in fuck-all do people chant "Yankees suck" at Citi Field? That's just embarrassing. All those people should go visit Philly on Earthquake Day.

(concluding paragraph)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Two Women I'm A Little Bit In Love With

With apologies to my lovely wife, I feel like I'd like to put this out there. I don't feel too bad about this because, as I say, it's really that I'm only a little bit in love with them. Also I know that my wife is also in love with one or two people. In fact, if Paul Rudd were to come up to my wife and ask her to run away with him, not only would I understand, I would actually be happy for her because she loves him so much. So anyhow, here are the two women that I'm a little bit in love with.

First, Zooey Deschanel.

Second, Rashida Jones. Based on the first paragraph, you can see why my wife and I went to see I Love You, Man on opening weekend.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Old School Album of the Day: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

Now, I call this old school because the album was released in 1998. The truth is, however, I only heard it for the first time about 3 weeks ago. This band is called Neutral Milk Hotel and this album is called In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. I just want to say fuck you to everyone on Earth for not telling me about this album for the last 12 years. (This is especially true for Open Bar if he has heard of them before just now. I can't expect Side or LJT to keep me appraised of indie music happenings.) It's a little bit like how no one watched The Wire until the show had actually ended its run, but now that you've seen it you know how the world actually works (incidentally, that post about how The Wire is the greatest show in the history of television is noticeably missing from this blog. Although at this point the entirety of the post might just consist of the sentence "The Wire is the greatest show in the history of television." To be honest, I would write the post, but something inside me really wants to hear what Open Bar has to say about it.)

Anyway, this Neutral Milk Hotel album is genuinely one of the most beautiful records ever released. The lyrics are so strange and interesting and really stand out while at the same time blending in really well to the music. They also make really great use of the trumpet throughout the whole album. I don't know that I've ever really heard the trumpet used in such an interesting way. Especially in rock type music. Relatedly, you can definitely hear how this band would go on to influence Arcade Fire in the following years. Arcade Fire also has some strange instrumentation and ear filling sounds and awkward lyrics that somehow weave into the songs.

But this isn't really like Arcade Fire. Kathy says it reminds her of Bob Dylan. I can see that, although I don't know if I neccessarily agree. It definitely reminds me of Arcade Fire, as mentioned. It's a bit like Radiohead's quieter stuff, but at the same time not really. But it also really kindof stands out on its own. I would suggest that everyone go and download this on iTunes right now. It's that good. (YP, MP, I don't know all this industry jargon. What movie? Open Bar don't ruin it for everyone.)

There are lots of Open Bar shout outs in this post.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ok, That One Was Pretty Good


Student: "Mista, what do I need to do to pass?"
Me: "Have you done all your homework?"
Student: "Seriously, mista, you need to give less homework."
Me: "Why?"
Student: "Because, you heard of that No Child Left Behind, right? When you give homework and I don't do it, you're leaving me behind."

This Just In, National Televion, The Mets Suck

For Mets fans there is reason to at least be hopeful. Mike Pelfrey seems to be in the midst of recovering from his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad 2009 season. Johan has been good and so have, amazingly, John Niese and Oliver Perez (but he's just so day to day, I'll believe in his consistency in about 2 years). John Maine was not awful in his last start (if that's the barometer, then you know it's going bad, but still) and he says that he discovered a mechanical flaw that is residual compensation from his arm injury that he's in the process of working on. So long as the pitchers stay somewhat consistent and they can lean on Johan and the Prelf, the offense should be good enough to win them some games (not that it has, but it should).

They finally gave up on Mike "Fucking" Jacobs and brought up Ike Davis. (And frankly, if he hits even a little bit, I'm all for quitting this Daniel Murphy positioning experiment. Murphy is clearly only suited to play third base, just trade him for something, anything.) Jeff Franceoeuoeur has quadrupled his career walk total in these 15 games so far, and Jason Bay actually had an RBI the other day. Angel Pagan has finally started to play every day and he'll probably be good long enough for Beltran to come back.

The question, though, is who on Earth would want to watch the Mets play other than Mets fans? The Mets played three consecutive games on national television last weekend. They were on the Fox national broadcast (which turned out to be a great game in fairness), then the next day they were on Sunday night baseball, and then the next day after that they were on Monday night baseball. I wonder when was the last time Gary Cohen had two whole days off during the season? (The Monday game was on both ESPN and SNY.) And then they are scheduled for a second week in a row to be on Sunday night baseball this coming week. There is no reason to believe that they are going to compete in any given game unless Johan is pitching. Unless they can get a guarantee that Johan is gonna pitch, there's no reason for these guys to schedule Mets games on national TV.

Maybe the argument is that even if they just draw regional viewership, the Mets audience is bigger than they would get for some other team. But at this point I would think the nation as a whole would be more inclined to watch the Phillies (an actual exciting team), Angels, Cardinals (the Mets opponent on both Saturday and Sunday, probably those two teams together equal pretty big ratings), Twins, (Devil) Rays, or Red Sox. I'll leave the Yankees out of it, I guess. And since I get to watch all the Mets and Yankee games anyway, I'd personally like to watch the occasional Twins game or even the Phillies (who I clearly dislike, but who also put on a pretty good baseball game).

PS - I was tempted to put this picture up in the corner there, even though it has nothing to do with anything.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Things That Are Overrated: The Ivy League

One time I went to a job interview and there were two people there and they were apparently choosing between me and some other guy and they were sortof thinking out loud while I was right there and the gist of the conversation was, "well, all else being equal, this guy went to an Ivy League school. It feels so right it can't be wrong. Do you want the job?" I didn't end up taking that job, but the point is that the only reason they offered me the job was because I went to an Ivy League school. That's wack. It's especially wack for the other guy who was just as qualified.

I am not trying to suggest that the quality of the education at the Ivy League schools is deficient in any way. In fact, the education I got at my Ivy League school was spectacular, and I'm thankful to have gotten it. When I went to college I really had no idea what I wanted to be. And when I left college I still really had no idea what I wanted to be. But still I ended up with an education that was applicable to really any field that I was potentially interested in. My studies in no way represented those of one who would one day become a math teacher, but when i decided that was what I wanted to do, I was qualified to do it based on my undergraduate coursework.

What I would like to suggest, however, is that the education available at almost every other school is as good, or, depending on your focus, perhaps better, than any Ivy League school. This is especially true at the undergraduate level. And what I've realized after teaching at an inner city high school that would under no circumstances be related to the Ivy League of high schools for seven years is that school is really what you make of it. If you want to study hard and make something of yourself, then you will. The concentration of those kids at Ivy League schools is high. At a state school, perhaps less so. But it's certainly not nonexistent. And we could make a list of colleges that would go on forever where the quality of the education and the student body is on par with any Ivy League school.

I could really go on and on about this.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Please To Explain: Masters Coverage

Dear whoever decided this,

You're aware of an invention called television and on this invention they show shows? One of those shows is the Masters golf tournament which is taking place this week. The tournament starts at 8:00 in the morning or some such thing. Tiger Woods tees off at like 2pm. Why in the world is the live covereage only going on ESPN from 4-7pm? ESPN shows more garbage on all their various networks than many other networks put together. Between 2pm and 4pm yesterday all they did was live updates every 5 minutes of every shot Tiger took. Can't you gies just pay a little more money or whatever it would take in order to actually show Tiger's whole round?

And I'm not necessarily just interested in Tiger. I'd like to actually see all the live coverage of as many gies as possible. This really doesn't make any sense to me. I'm sure there are a ton of old retired gies who would sit and watch this all day and you could show your commercials for Viagra and retirement services. There's got to be something that can be done about this.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Please To Explain: Crossword

Can someone explain to me please why there is a huge jump in difficulty between the Wednesday and Thursday crossword puzzles in The New York Times? I understand the concept that the puzzles get more difficult from Monday through Sunday. I like the idea so you can challenge yourself more and more. I'm down with all of that.

The problem is that the difference between Wednesday and Thursday is huge. I can always do Monday and Tuesday no problem. Wednesday I can do always to 90% and usually to 100%. Then on Thursday, like every Thursday, I can't even get a foothold. Usually on Thursdays I'll get 10-12 random clues that are not connected or anything. Rarely I'll get a section done and that will lead to getting more and more of it done, but finding that starting point is nearly impossible. I almost never even try it on Fridays. And the weekend is right out.

Today's theme (a Thursday) was words that were invented by Lewis Carroll in the Jabberwocky poem. They gave you his intended definitions and you had to fill in the made up words. How am I expected to be able to do that?

I get the feeling that you're really supposed to have to Google shit in order to finish the ones from later in the week. Is this not the case? Does anyone know the New York Times crossword philosophy? Am I supposed to be able to finish it on the weekend without having to look shit up? I know at the very least you have to actually put some effort into looking at the answers the next day and going over the clues again to understand how they put clues together and eventually improving at doing it on your own in order to have any hope of getting those weekend puzzles done. That's far more effort than I'm really willing to put in. But assuming I did that would I eventually be able to finish them, or am I expected to do the crossword in front of my computer?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Not Penny's Boat

Spoiler alert. If you are into Lost and have not seen last night's episode . . . blah blah blah.

This has never been a Lost blog, and it is not going to become one now so close to the end of the series. But with only seven episodes left (assuming you count the two-hour finale as two episodes, otherwise there are only six left), the show officially entered the gun lap with last night's installment, "Happily Ever After."

For those of you who came to the show in the traditional manner, watching each week and waiting several months in between seasons, your long-running frustration and love-hate relationship with the show has been well-chronicled here. And for those of you who, like me, came to the show via shortcut, the advantages of that approach are noted here.

Either way -- whether you are a dinosaur like Open Bar who watches TV the old-fashioned way, or a cutting-edge techie geek like me -- you could not help but appreciate "Happily Ever After." I will not try to do a long exegesis of the episode (and besides, this guy did a much better job than I could anyway). Instead, I will only say that with this episode, we are starting to see glimpses of where the show might be headed for its grand finale.

Perhaps the biggest question of this season -- other than the obvious "how's it going to end" thing -- is whether and to what extent there is any connection between the people who are on the island, and their mirrors in the so-called "flash sideways" scenes. When Daniel Faraday/Widmore tells Desmond that he thinks he already blew up a nuclear bomb, and when Desmond gets into his car and tells his driver that he wants to find the other passengers from the Oceanic flight, we know that the "flash sideways" sequences are going to unfold in a way that is not at all disconnected from what is happening on the island. (side note: did you recognize the driver? He was George Minkowski - the sick communications officer from the freighter in the Season 4 episode, "The Constant" (which is the single best episode of the show, in my opinion). "The Constant" is the other episode in which Desmond becomes vaguely conscious of the fact that he is vacillating between two realities, and in which his love for Penny anchors his ability to manage the strain of that experience. A nice juxtaposition there).

In fact, in addition to the significant development of the plot (indeed, one of the biggest criticisms of the show is that nothing happens -- questions are raised, never answered), there were a number of wonderful juxtapositions in this episode. The above-mentioned return of Minkowski, now as driver, but still a "guide" for Desmond as he navigates between two realities. Also, in the scene in which Desmond finds Penny running in the stadium, we see a complete reversal of the scene from Season 2 where Penny finds Desmond there, and they plan to be apart (he is preparing to leave for the yacht race) rather than together (for a cup of coffee, in an hour). Lastly - and by far most poignantly - as Desmond tries to rescue Charlie from the submerged car, Charlie places his hand on the glass . . . revealing, but not really, those fateful words from the Season 3 finale:

Not Penny's Boat.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Opening Day 2010: 3rd place, here we come!

If Omar Minaya ran a 7-Eleven...

Hard to top Mets Extra’s headline regarding the outlook for the 2010 New York Mets: To Mediocrity, and Beyond!

A .500 season seems like all we have to hope for. Maybe we’ll put up a fight for third, but the Marlins shouldn’t be what scares Mets fans. The idea of looking up at the fourth-place Nationals in a few months is my primary fear.

It’s a shame, too. A team with David Wright, Jose Reyes, Johan Santana and Carlos Beltran shouldn’t ever fear the cellar. Perhaps my pessimism is a bit exaggerated, but after the McDowell’s Law (2nd graf) of last season, I’m well aware that anything can happen. As long as anything includes only really bad things like season-ending injuries.

Take a look at the Mets' Opening Day starting lineup. Keep in mind that a team’s starting lineup – I know this sounds obvious – is comprised of its nine best players, and, well, here:

1. SS Alex Cora
2. 2B Luis Castillo
3. 3B David Wright
4. 1B Mike Jacobs
5. LF Jason Bay
6. CF Gary Matthews Jr.
7. RF Jeff Francoeur
8. C Rod Barajas
9. SP Johan Santana

In other words:

1. Sucks
2. Sucks
3. Awesome
4. Sucks
5. Pretty good
6. Sucks
7. Sucks
8. Sucks
9. Hits better than 1, 2, 4, 6-8 (but then again, so could a well-motivated plant)

That’s seven automatic outs every time we cycle through the lineup. You know how in baseball, the goal of the offense is to score runs? This lineup scoffs at such conventional wisdom. “Watch as we pile up the wins by actively refusing to get on base!”

The league average on-base percentage is .330-.335, with .300 being terrible and .370 being very good. So in this day and age, when even ESPN has accepted the validity of OBP enough to include it in its Sunday Night Baseball programming, would someone please explain to me this: WHY THE BALLS IS ALEX CORA AND HIS GODAWFUL .295 OBP LEADING OFF?

Batting Alex Cora first pretty much translates to Jerry Manuel saying “We would like to start out every game already having one out. Yes, I know we only get three per inning and outs are extremely valuable and one shouldn’t go around giving them away willy-nilly, but hey, go fuck yourself, logic.”

Up next is the notorious soft-popup-behind-3rd machine Luis Castillo, who actually had a stellar 2009 OBP of .387. Why he isn’t batting first is unclear other than that it would make sense, though maybe Jerry Manuel got a little freaked out by Luis’s running style, which could be described as “Johnny From ‘The Wire,’ Only More Retarded-Looking.”

Okay, enough doom and gloom, for the moment. Before long, the Mets will get Beltran and Reyes back, and they will be dramatically better. At that point the top of the lineup will look like this:

1. Jose Reyes
2. Luis Castillo
3. Carlos Beltran
4. David Wright
5. Jason Bay

Which is actually damn impressive. Even with the bag of dicks hitting behind them, that fivesome is gonna produce some runs. Unfortunately, unless Johan’s pitching, it probably won’t be enough. (I wonder how many 3- or 4-game losing streaks Johan will be called upon to stop this year. My bet is 100.)

All joking aside, it’s Opening Day, which is as close as I get these days to how I felt on Christmas as a kid. Hope springs eternal, as they say, and although I’m sure watching the Mets “play baseball” this year will probably take an extra year off my life, I know I’ll be rushing home for every game, rooting my hardest for Alex Cora and Jeff (“Frenchy”) Francoeur and Oliver (“Fucking”) Perez, even as Side Bar and I try to one-up each other on who can most creatively slander their families.

It’s gonna be a long season, but hey, it’s baseball. Anyone want to go to a game this week?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'm A Quitter

I guess all of us have vices. Some of us like to smoke or others may like to drink or do crack or whatever. Does one "do" crack? I suppose one smokes crack. Anyhow. I am a pansy and so I do not have a good vice. I do, however, have a propensity to do some things that, all else being equal, I'd rather not do. In that vein, there are three things in my life that I have managed to leave behind in recent days (Edwina, had a feeling....but it wasn't until recent days...sorry...You know, an explanation of this whole sordid mess would make a pretty good blog post). Two of them were easy, the third was not.

The simple ones. I have lamented in the past on this blog about how somehow, in spite of myself and my better judgement, I was an avid watcher of Grey's Anatomy and similarly a watcher of American Idol. I am proud to report that I have quit both of those shows. If you add this to the time I quit 24, then I've really been paring down my TV watching. I think the only new shows I've picked up recently have been Modern Family (which is awesome) and Parenthood (which is really really really good). I have to say I don't miss American Idol even a little bit. Also once I stopped watching Grey's Anatomy I didn't really see a need to start again. I happened to miss an episode and decided to take advantage of that and just make a clean break. Both of these, no big whoop, but I'm happier because of them.

On to the tough one. If you know me, then you that it's sortof a big deal that I have quit McDonald's. The last time I had McDonald's was on July 22 of 2009. I know the date because it was my birthday. (Full disclosure: I go to the McD's drive through at like 6:15am once or twice a week and get coffee. Only coffee. I do not consider this cheating.) The reason I quit was because I realized that I was just making deals with myself relative to my McDonald's consumption and I wasn't actually doing myself any good. I had struck a deal where I was going to limit myself to McD's once a month only. That would turn into once a month and also if I was in a real hurry somewhere or if it was already late and no one wanted to cook or some other reason why it's so much easier to eat McD's than anything else.

Here's the thing. I can count the number of times I've been to Burger King and Wendy's combined since 2000 on my fingers, but my relationship with McD's is different. I have an odd psychological relationship with McD's that is somewhat difficult to explain. I know that it's bad for me and everything like that, but I love it. Not like, "Yeah, I love that movie", more like "You love him and you wanna have like 10,000 of his babies." (what movie?) I have, in prior blog iterations, lamented the fact that I needed to let McDonald's go, but found it hard. (That post has the same title as Where's Luke's most famous post. I didn't realize that until just now. Also, I should update that post, as I, in fact, have even more Adidas now.) That post also sheds some light into the McDonald's sign that adorns this post. (Also, interestingly, that post reads fairly similarly to this one, despite the fact that I didn't even really remember writing it until I was looking for the image of the sign.) Whatever genius was in charge of the McD's marketing in the late '80s got into my brain and planted a seed of love from which I have never fully recovered.

So with that being said, after I ate McD's on my birthday last year, I decided that would be my last time. Not for a month or anything, but forever. Here's what I've learned since then. McDonald's is ubiquitous in American culture. If I had a dollar every time I drove past a McD's, I'd be rich, as would everyone else in America. The other thing I've learned is that quitting McD's is both easy and hard. Literally every time I drive past one I think to myself, "Wow, I love McDonald's." But at the same time I'm never actually tempted to stop. There have been many times in the last few months where I definitely would have gone to McD's if I hadn't decided to just quit altogether. And that is precisely why I quit. If the option is just off the table, then there are no deals to make with myself. Now I'm not comparing this to quitting smoking or anything, but I will say that I do understand the notion of psychological addiction.

Also, to be filed under "correlation does not imply causation", since July 22 of 2009, I have lost around 20 pounds. The McD's thing is obviously part of it, but that decision was part of a larger decision to just eat better in general. And the best way to do that was to just cut out those trips to McD's. That's not to say that I've only eaten healthy things for the last few months, but mostly (He's only mostly dead). The few times where I felt like I simply had to have something decadent I have gone to a diner or to 5 Guys (not really any better than McD's, I know) and gotten a cheeseburger or some such thing. But I don't really see those as loopholes because I don't have a specific relationship with those places like I do with McD's. And also those times are much more infrequent now.