Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bittersweet, Sort Of

I've been so inundated with work that I've been falling asleep prior to managing some sort of measly, inept attempt at continuing to fill these pages with something other than pornographic-laden meta tags. Well, that's not actually correct; I've been awake. It's just that my timing has been completely thrown on its side. Normally I head to bed around 12:30 and get up around 7. Over the last few days I've been getting into bed around 11 and waking up around 6.

The change in timing isn't that big a deal, but it's -- I 'm sure -- a result of the suddenly overpowering heat that we've been experiencing in the Northeast (actually, all over the country). It went from quasi-Spring, with 65ish degree temps, to between 80 and 90 the last several days. This past Saturday, I nabbed a car and went and visited my grandmother and had we not had an opportunity to sit by the water and enjoy the breeze, it would have been too warm to be outside.

However, the weather and its effect on my sleeping habits is even more boring and sleep-inducing than this space's typical fare, so onward and upward, so to speak.

I've managed to catch some Yankee games on TV when I'm not fully focused on work at night, and I've been pretty disappointed that the Yankees are looking extraordinarily typical. When you watch a team that seems destined for greatness -- either that particular season or a multi-season thing that the 1996 Yankees seemed to embody -- you get a feeling that no matter how much adversity they're facing, they'll find a way to get through it. Not these Yankees.

These Yankees seem to find ways to bore their fans. They're technically capable; they're talented, they play relatively good defense, and their hitting -- sometimes -- is solid. But they don't have a swagger or a quiet confidence that recent Yankee teams have sometimes displayed.

That's a bad sign, despite the fact the season is relatively young. I 'spose we'll need to see more to confirm their (lack of) direction, but I'm not holding my breath as to their deep run into October and November baseball.

Speaking of deep runs, another balloon burst tonight -- or two, actually.

Tonight's game 7 playoff between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals, predictably, resulted in a Rangers loss that -- again -- eliminated them from the playoffs. Why this is relevant is that the Rangers originally held a 3-1 lead in games against the Capitals, and yet they managed to beat the Rangers four straight games to win the series. I guess some could suggest that the Rangers choked, but the fact is that they had no business being up 3-1 against the Capitals, who, despite mediocre goaltending and defense, were a much better offensive team than are the Rangers. I think the Capitals are going to be soundly eliminated in the next round and I further believe the Stanely Cup Finals will feature the Detroit Red Wings beating the Pittsburgh Penguins. But between now and then, and, eventually, next season, it's becoming increasingly boring watching the Rangers limp into the playoffs and get bounced in either predictable or surprisingly predictable fashion. The surprising part, of course, is not just that the Rangers managed to be in a position to finish the series in 5, but that they also managed to score tonight's first goal of the game. Typically, the team that scores first wins the game.

Leave it to the Rangers to throw a monkey wrench into that supposition.

The only real saving grace, and the sweet matched with the bitter as indicated in this post's title, was the fact that tonight's other game 7 featured the Devils and the Carolina Hurricanes, the latter of which eliminated the former. It sort of goes without saying that Ranger fans enjoy seeing the Devils lose almost as much as they do watching the Rangers win. So while I didn't get a chance to see my team win tonight -- nor did I expect them to do so -- knowing the Devils also lost made taking the actual news about the Rangers that less painful.

In either case, I've got to get back to sleep. I faded around 10:30 after the game and woke up with my face in a file for a condominium awaiting my eventual review tomorrow. I wanted to get a headstart to make sure it all gets wrapped up tomorrow, as it's a big matter involving a lot of money, both in terms of savings for my client and in fees for me.

It has been nice avoiding the throngs of morning commuters by hitting the office a half-hour or more earlier than usual, but the trade-off is falling asleep before the late-night newscasts come on. Not that I watch them, mind you, but I'm used to falling asleep after midnight, not an hour or two before.

Oh well. Back to the day, the night, and tomorrow.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

New and Old Memories of The Future

I withheld comment about yesterday's events for several reasons: first, I wanted a day or so to pass before it sank in and I had time to ruminate on the subject. Second, I was of the mind that I needed to reflect on the historical event I'd just experienced, both in a personal and an "institutional" sense.

The event which I'm talking about is, of course, my father's and my first visit to The New Yankee Stadium.

We'd been hearing about it for the better part of 18 or more months. Neither of us was especially excited per se; we loved the old Stadium, even if it was not quite as shiny as it once was, or as other -- newer -- ballparks around the country. Camden Yards in Baltimore's a nice venue, Arizona's park is a good place to catch a game, and even the cross-town (blech) Mets got themselves a new place to play baseball.

So why not Yankee Stadium II?

Wellums, first of all, all the other stadiums around the country, with the exception of Wrigley in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston, are just outdoor arenas for baseball and other sporting and concert events. That means they can be torn down, relocated, spruced up, and -- essentially -- nobody gives a shit.

You revamp or rework Yankee Stadium and people around the world -- and not just baseball people -- take notice (and chime in with their opinions, anecdotes, et al).

You propose to knock down the old Stadium and build a new one -- with or without taxpayer dollars -- and people will take notice BIG TIME.

It's not just that the old park housed some of the biggest of the best legends ever to play baseball. Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, Mantle, Reggie, Thurman, Billy Martin...the list goes on and on and continues on to present day (Derek Jeter will have his number in monument park someday, hopefully not too soon).

So when you say you're not going to revamp the Stadium but build a new one and destroy the old one, a lot of people pay attention. As did we.

Personally, I wasn't thrilled -- inasmuch as I knew the old Stadium needed a facelift, we loved the place. We walked those cement floors as if we owned the place -- in a good way. We knew a lot of the people around the section in which our season tickets were located, and we always enjoyed our time at the park. Invariably, my dad and I would go to both regular season and playoff games during the week (usually Wednesday afternoons) as well as some night games here and there. Here and there we'd meet at the Park -- him by car, me by subway -- and we'd spend four hours watching baseball and kicking back.

So when we heard they were indeed going to destroy the park, we were worried about rumours of $2,500 tickets, luxury boxes and prices for concessions and food going through the roof. When the economy imploded we were increasingly concerned we'd be priced out of the season ticket subscription completely.

Well, happily, we were able to retain tickets -- albeit in a section farther into left field -- that, surprisingly, offer almost a better vantage of the game than our old seats. Not only that, the new seats are more comfortable and give us a better sense of the game as a whole, especially because we can see just about the entire field (our old seats were occasionally blind-spotted by the left-field foul wall).

We arrived a few minutes before yesterday's first pitch and were quickly awe-struck at the clean, shiny lines of the faded white concrete and the faint blue overtones surrounding the exterior facade. My dad got a little choked up seeing the whole entrance from inside, as the atrium was semi-open -- meaning you can just barely see the field from only a few steps into the structure. And walking through the new areas, rather than getting the claustrophobic tunnel sense, the entire space is open so air and light are free-flowing and you feel as if the entire structure is an almost organic, living thing.

Which it is.

Once we finally arrived at our seats, we were amazed at how nice the new field is; while the same grass is used here as it was in the old park, the layout is radically different. The dimensions are, more or less, the same, but the seating and the layout is completely updated. Rather than describe it, I posted a shitload of photos here, so if you haven't seen the interior of the Stadium but want to -- and somehow managed to avoid seeing same to date -- knock yourself out.

We were really impressed at the shiny new sense of old-meets-new. But for both of us, we were most impressed by the facade which rings the entire top of the Stadium. It's an updated yet similar white fencing that existed in the old Stadium, but it's even more majestic than it was in the old park, and it just shines. I was really blown away by it.

The new "Yankee Stadium" logo, as well as the retired number wall in center, were also nicely presented. And while Monument Park was a bit subdued -- it's hidden below the bar located right behind the blackout (for batters) in center field -- we know that the Yankees made sure that Monument Park is treated as well as any current and past Yankee.

But overall, it wasn't the details which were most special to me. It was the fact my Dad and I were able to share our first visit to the new Yankee Stadium. Visiting a place like Tampa, Cleveland, Chicago or LA and seeing things together is one thing; but since we both bleed Yankee blue, Yankee Stadium is an institution. So the fact we were able to see it for the first time together made the game, and the event, very special to me. It could have been just another game, even our "first" game, in the new park, but that we shared the day was what made it most important to me. I may not remember that the game dragged on to 14 innings, or that Melky Cabrera's home run won it in walk-off fashion. But I will remember that we both really enjoyed seeing this new place that will remain in our hearts forever.

There are complaints from within and without. Some people are worried the home runs are flying out of the stadium at an alarming pace (and compare it to Coors Field and some other parks, like Rangers Ballpark in Arlington). But I think part of the issue is the open-air aspect of the front gate (Gate 4, specifically) as well as the fact that the old Stadium is throwing off the wind currents that formerly were not there (in other words, with the Old Stadium still standing, the wind is different than it will be once the old Stadium is torn down).

Another complaint, and this is one with which I concur, is that the new place won't have been the original location where Babe, Joe D, Mickey and Thurman played their ball. But the truth is that the ghosts of these great players will not have far to travel -- across the street -- and the old Stadium's footprint will serve as baseball parks for kids. What better way to celebrate the game and these greats than to create places for more kids to learn and love the game?

Finally, the issue of finances. Regardless of the economy -- which is actually a fairly dumb thing to admit -- the tickets for the new Stadium are astronomical. Front section seating (ie the first 20 rows from the field) from first base to third base start -- START -- at around $2,500 a ticket. That means a family of four -- before parking, sodas, pennants and hats -- will be charged $10,000 to see a Yankee game.

That's fucking insane.

I'd love to attend a game with my dad and sit behind home plate just once. But I'd much prefer using that money to put a down payment on an M3 or an S5.

The tickets aren't the only pricey thing on the menu; speaking of which, the food is expensive, the beer is expensive, the merchandise is expensive, and the parking is expensive.

Unfortunately, that is the cost -- no pun intended -- of fielding a top-notch, expensive team in a top-notch, shiny new Yankee Stadium.

Most importantly, aside from the prices of everything, with the new dollar structure, a lot of people who frequented the games won't be able to afford to do so anymore. That means a lot of old-time fans are going to be watching games at home, in bars, or with friends (or a combination thereof).

That means, between empty seats and the "old-time" fans not in attendance, that the new Stadium is a lot quieter than was the old Stadium. And that is a shame. Looking around us, I would say there were about 10-12,000 empty seats during yesterday's game. However, a mid-week matinee rarely gets a huge crowd, especially when it features a mediocre opponent (the Oakland A's) on a rainy day.

Having said all that, though, seeing so many empty seats and being in a quiet park was a bit of a shock to us. While we had a blast and enjoyed the game -- all but the last six outs of it -- it was a little different than what we're used to.

I suppose the real way to tell what kind of a place this is is to keep visiting it to get a better sense of the "real" Stadium. And hopefully, that includes visiting during the playoffs.

But even it had been a lousy game on a shitty day, I'd still happily have spent the three or four hours with my Dad at the park. And even if the new Stadium had been a letdown and the Yankees got blown out by 20 runs, it would still have been a great day because we got to see it together. And each time I go from this point onward -- whether with my father or anyone else -- yesterday was the first and best memory I'll have of that place, not because of where we were or what we saw but the fact we were there together.

And like my love of the Yankees, that will stay with me forever.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Time In, Time Out

I'm not sure where to start, other than to note that I'm buried with work since this past Thursday. It was a great weekend -- weatherwise, anyway -- but I spent most of it working. I had a pretty significant meeting this AM downtown and I got everything done I wanted to but the big wheel keeps on turning, as they say. More stuff, more details, more paper, more work.

A perfect example is tonight's agenda. I had originally planned on kicking back after today's busy one-place-to-another routine, and with the Yankees and the Rangers both hosting visitors, I was pretty certain I'd be able to keep my mind relatively occupied (it takes very little to keep me occupied). But no. First, since the rain is pounding the East Side with a controlled and relentless vengeance, the Yankees aren't playing in their new park (even if it were beautiful weather, the argument could be made they aren't playing anyway. More on that later). So the Rangers are my only hope for real entertainment. Sure, there's the plethora of Chuck Lorre stuff on CBS (Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, etc.) but I need some visceral thrill, and watching the Rangers and the Capitals -- and hopefully some malice-formed bloodspill -- might solve the problem.

But no.

I've got two women in my building who need me to do some work for them tonight. One's a pain in the ass of the ultra magnitude, asking ten-minute-long questions that should take about ten seconds, and keeping me going in circles and making my head spin. And not in a good, wow, that's Pam Anderson sunbathing topless sort of way.

The other woman is a nice, down-to-earth lady who is easy-going and the complete opposite of the other client, ie high-strung and too busy talking to listen. Sooooo...I've got two different clients and, most likely, one long night. Plus, after that's over, I've got to review a 25-page bankruptcy agreement prior to sending out a biggie proposal tomorrow AM, get retained and then sign off on the agreement and move forward to preparing some paperwork that should have gone out last Tuesday but, thanks to Passover and Easter, everything got pushed back a week, including my retainer check.

But I digress.

And did I mention the Yankees have been worse this year -- in their new coliseum of baseball and money -- than they were -- ever? The other day they surrendered 22 runs in a game and allowed 14 in the second inning, which represents the largest number of runs they've ever surrendered in a game. I'm beginning to wonder if a) there is indeed a reversed curse, and b) if not, why the fuck they have pitchers who should be slinging Slurpees at 7-11, not fastballs at Yankee Stadium.

I'd love to know the answers to these and other questions, like whether it's ever going to stop raining tonight or whether I'll be able to use the new probe thermometer I bought at Amazon can handle cooking temps above 400 degrees. I 'spose answers to both of those questions -- and many others -- will be apparent sometime. In the meantime, however, I'll remain puzzled and await the start of the Ranger game -- and get back to work.

By the way, I do have another conclusion with respect to the Rangers-Capitals series that I didn't reach until watching these last several games: Alex Ovechkin is a talented hockey player who is also a big-time piece of shit.

Sorry for the downturn, it simply had to be said on the official record.

Party on, Garth.

Back later.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Some Good Technology News...For A Change

Damn good news, and about damn time.

This article discusses the fact that Time Warner has -- for the time being -- abandoned its plan to meter net usage.

Of course it's good news for those of us who spend a lot of time online. For power users, it's beyond good news. As I discussed earlier (click here for the link if you missed it -- and shame on you if you did), the concept of metering internet usage is a bad move on several scales. It's Draconian, measuring and spying on peoples' use of the net -- and let's face it, we know what we're doing online is already watched to some degree -- but limiting its use is the antithesis of what the Internet is about in the first place. It's the -- in theory -- limitless frontier. So why should we be limited in how we explore it?

Let's also keep in mind that whether or not Time Warner had moral issues with this issue -- which they certainly didn't -- it's clear that the bottom line was, basically, the bottom line. They knew that by putting this practice into place they'd see far more defections than happy, satisfied power-users like me embracing this added burden. They knew that their customers who would be zinged by this futile attempt at overcharging would wind up biting them in the ass, not helping them maintain or improve their network. And frankly, and this -- to me -- is the biggest kick in the ass of all -- most of their customers use far less of the Internet than what their budget expects.

Put another way, if there are "Internet brown-outs" it's not because everyone is going 110% online, it's because the servers need to be properly maintained as per the original subscriber agreements. If I'm online and I have a problem, it's not because 40,000 other people are going to YouTube to see some mustache-wearing woman singing for the's because someone between here and the mustache-woman's video someone screwed something up.

Finally, Time Warner does offer additional options beyond my basic RoadRunner service. I can bump up my existing service -- which hits up to 1.0 MPBS download speed -- to 1.5. Big whoop. I'm mostly satisfied with my service. It's not perfect and I am less-than-thrilled when I am forced to wait 40 minutes to speak with a Level 3 tech. However, if these problems persisted with a plan costing three times as much, just how long do the folks at Time Warner -- or any other ISP -- expect to keep said customers?

Let's put it this way: for every minute I spend on hold, listening to the best of Lionel Richie in spanish, I am considering (depending on the time of day or night) which infomercials to watch, whether I got my mail when I arrived home; and finally, why I am still a Time Warner subscriber.

Paying an extra $100 a month for the same service I have now wouldn't improve my moods over the extended hold times. And it would prolly amp up my consideration of the above topics.

I'm glad they gave up -- for now, anyway -- on this plan. I've already been considering migrating to a new company for some or all of the Internet, cable and phone service to which I subscribe. Today's news, for the time being, allays most of my immediate concerns.

Now about that crappy pixelation on some HD channels after 11PM during the week...

Ah, nevermind. It's not a time to nitpick, it's a time to celebrate ;-)

The Empty-Head Triangle Trade

Brooke Anderson, an entertainment reporter for, recently discussed the events surrounding some fairly crude comments by Jamie Foxx on the latter's Sirius Radio show this past weekend. Essentially, Mr. Foxx and his crew decided to rip into Miley Cyrus. I'm not sure why she was a target of discussion -- on this show or any other, natch -- but the two things which seemed to be emphasized in Ms. Anderson's critique (LOL) of the contents of the aforementioned radio show were a) the suggestion that Miley Cyrus needs a gum transplant; and b) that she should make a sex tape.

Now, before I delve into the sludge that all these reclinate personalities seemingly dwell, let me say this: Miley Cyrus is a 16-year-old kid with an empty head (Billy Ray Cyrus) as a father, so anything that she does is filtered through parents that, clearly, aren't on the cusp of MENSA membership.

However, having said all that, is it appropriate for Mr. Foxx and his crew to rip on a 16-year-old girl -- her looks or her predication to trashy appearance? Not particularly.

Is it appropriate for Ms. Cyrus to dress and portray herself as some barely-legal vamp who would be better suited to porn than musical performance? Not particularly.

And is it a legitimate day-job for Brooke Anderson to get paid to, essentially, cruise the Perez Hilton websites for gossip and news that has no more significance than the back of a cereal box? Not particularly.

Let's put it this way...I have weighed in on this issue before this post, and I'm certainly not reticent to share my opinion or backtrack if/when necessary, but: the fact that our society treasures and respects empty, vapid female sexuality -- whether it's a trashy, low-end porn star like Jenna Jameson -- or some trashy, white-trash, empty-headed kid dressing like a Hollywood Boulevard hooker -- like Miley, or even Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera -- says as much about our society as it does about these "women." Keep in mind that the futility of the existence of Paris Hilton, Kimberly Kardashian and the other do-nothing celebrities of the world don't even factor into this discussion.

First, inasmuch as these women feel the need -- or that it's appropriate -- to comport themselves like white trash is an unfortunate by-product of our society. Aside from Christina Aguilera, none of these women I've mentioned have any real discernable talent -- unless being photographed in compromising, demeaning ways constitutes talent -- and I can understand people who are relatively disgusted by our society's embrace of the morally-bankrupt, talentless respect for the lowest common denominator.

But at the same time, Mr. Foxx, et al, really ripped into Ms. Cyrus in a less-than-sophisticated way. Despite the fact that Mr. Foxx really impressed the hell out of me with his role in "The Kingdom," his attack was a bit low-end as well and reminds us that someone who gets paid to speak someone else's words doesn't automatically earn the label of intelligent, sophisticated or mature (see Gibson, Mel, for further clarification). I can see someone describing Miley Cyrus as a cheap, white-trash harlot -- which she is -- but saying she should get a gum transplant is cheap and just as low-class as is her behavior. I don't disagree with his conclusion regarding her behavior (or Britney's or any of the other cupcakes that have flourished under our relaxed moral code), but I disagree with his methodology.

Fer chrissakes, the girl's 16, and between she and her father, their IQ barely reaches 100. It's one thing to tease, but it's another to shit all over. In other words, even if some or all of his observations were true, they were neither appropriate nor fair, and were completely unwarranted.

And finally, with respect to Brooke Anderson and the other legions of bobble-head "journalists" who get paid to analyze and discuss these happenings, what does it say about people who are paid to actually discuss this crap in minute detail? Personally, it repulses me to even discuss these people -- both the actual dimwits and the dimwits whose coverage of said dimwits falls under the umbrella of "legitimate career."

However, while I am repulsed, I do believe that this type of triangle trade -- the gossip-makers, the gossip-followers and the gossip-reporters -- are an -- unfortunately -- accurate barometer of where we are as a society. Whether we've always been this shallow and ignorant of the best use of our energy -- mentally and otherwise -- is barely worth debate. But watching this circle-jerk of emptiness both entertains and saddens me, in a guilty-pleasure sort-of way.

Now please excuse me while I wash this sludge off me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Avast, Ye Mates...There Be Pirates About!

If you need a link to one of the 48,000 news stories we've seen over the past week regarding Somalian pirates attacking, seizing or attempting seizure of ships, you're lucky you managed to open up your browser and land here.

Well, not exactly lucky -- you could have landed somewhere far more interesting. But neither here nor not here...

The point is that -- for the time being -- the media has chosen the Somalian pirates story as The Story. There are some exciting side-stories, especially the rescue by the SEALs of the captain who was held hostage, as well as the story surrounding the French hostage that was killed in an attempt by authorities to recapture another seized vessel.

Unfortunately, while these stories seem to clog up every possible outlet for news there is -- the Internet, e-mail blasts, cell-based text updates, elevator news/info screens, taxi-based news delivery -- this isn't the most important story out there.

North Korea just booted the IAEA out of the DPRK. Iran is working on its centrifuge. And Osama Bin Laden is, in theory, still breathing.

Hint: anyone reading this who owns or works for an entity that owns vessels who operate in any region within firing range of these pirates, budget an extra $100k or so and get yourself some mercenaries with good hardware. I'd recommend Heckler and Koch MP-5's, Beretta 92-F Competition models, and plenty of ammunition (mercury-tipped hollow-points go a long way, and go through a lot).

Put four military types on your ship and have them operate in round-the-clock six-hour shifts. Each man should be stationed in the cockpit with high-resolution security cameras aimed fore, aft, starboard and port. If the guy on duty sees a ship a-comin', he a) grabs his gear; b) alerts his fellow security guys so they can wake up and get their gear; and c) they get ready to fire on the incoming vessel.

It would help if one or more of these gents had an M72 Law (better known as a Laws Rocket) handy. If you've ever seen the Dirty Harry film "The Enforcer," you'll know the Laws Rocket is a portable, one-shot bazooka that is certified to destroy most 1970's era tanks. My guess is that there are more powerful weapons out there, but my guess is also that if a few of these Somalians see a Laws Rocket pointed business-end at their vessel, they'll probably -- really, really quickly -- rethink their career choice.

Once word gets around that civilian ships are being protected by non-civilians, this problem will dry up and blow away. Being that many of these accosted ships are in international waters, issues with gun and munition laws should be relatively minor.

So quit yer bitchin' and get you some gear and some guys and keep on truckin''.

And fer chrissakes, CNN, give it a rest. Go back to talking about the shitty economy, GM, Bin Laden, or that cute little project the kids in that school in Oklahoma designed for Easter using only "Peeps," Krazy Glue and Edible Underwear.

Or tell us about the transsexual hooker who was mortally castrated in a folding-couch accident.

Or at the very least, show some dreary, poorly-dressed procrastinators standing in line at the post office at 11:45 tonight to beat the deadline. Show one guy with a flannel shirt and a bow tie with bad teeth and a missing shoe saying how busy he was this year. Then zoom in on the clerk who looks just about ready to whip out her Glock and close the branch for good.

Enough with the Somalian pirates. Seriously.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Dead Pool Revisited

If you had any of Marilyn Chambers, Harry Kalas or Mark Fidrych, you're in good shape. If you had all three, than your omniscience is to be respected and feared, especially because each of these three deaths were far from expected.

The first on the list, Marilyn Chambers, went from being an Ivory Snow model to one of the country's first mega-pornstars. If you have Cinemax, than her name should familiar to you. While Robin Byrd is the queen of late-night softcore porn (at least in NYC), Marilyn Chambers pretty much is and will always be the de facto second.

Harry Kalas, the broadcaster for the Philadelphia Phillies (as well as doing the narration for NFL Films), collapsed before last night's game against the Washington Nationals. He was 73, so it's not a complete shock, but still...

Finally, Mark Fidrych, the former Tigers pitching great, had an accident with a truck on his farm. I'm not sure what exactly happened, and neither are police, but since he was in the middle of nowhere, they're assuming it wasn't anything other than a bad accident.

Celebrities die in threes, or so goes the saying. In this case, these three people died within hours of one another, and yet, the grouping of these three people was a tad odd.

In either case, let's hope this is the last of these stories we read for awhile.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The News Is In

Robyn Gibson, wife of notable anti-semite Mel Gibson, filed for divorce today, citing irreconcilable differences.

In her filing, she failed to blame the Jews for destroying her marriage, starting the world's many wars, or being in control of the majority of the world's wealth, which caused even more consternation on Mel's part. But, hopefully, someone will send Mel a cheap bottle of wine -- or even some really good moonshine -- and he'll have another DUI and do an on-camera backseat soliloquy regarding his failed marriage and how the Jewish people were responsible for his marriage's failure.

And then he'll call the (female) arresting officer Sugar Tits -- or Street Meat -- and we can, hopefully, say goodbye to Mr. Gibson's career -- and him, as well -- once and for all.

That is, unless some asswipe studio head decides to green-light his newest pet project, The Passion of The Christ 2: Easter Bloody Easter, a Rambo-esque journey in which JC, his post-resurrection moniker, goes on a vengeful murder-spree, killing all Jews he can find before the Romans try killing him yet again.

Yep, that should be appearing in theaters sometime soon.

Good luck,'re really a swell guy whose genius was never appreciated. None of us really think you're a drunk, spineless piece-of-shit anti-semite.

Well, almost none of us.

And just in case, keep that Honorary Member of the Klu Klux Klan membership uniform hidden when the deputies come to the house to assist your soon-to-be ex in getting her belongings.

Just a suggestion.

Some Technology News You Can't Afford to Ignore

Before there were iPods, mp3 downloads, cars that spoke and responded to spoken words and when people actually bought compact discs in things called "music stores," the word "geek" had a surreptitiously condescending overtone, unless it was used as self-deprecation in advance of -- or the aim of the user to achieve -- pity sex.

These days, however, with no more Tower Records, when movie theater attendance is dwindling against ever-increasing purchase of home theater systems and Blu-Ray discs, and when Apple and are among the biggest music retailers left in this country, the term "geek" has a decidedly different tone: it's one of veiled respect.

Why this is all important to the reader, more or less, lies in the knowledge that these days, with computers, television and life itself intertwined with few, if any, boundaries, it's hard to avoid the use of a computer in one form or another in our daily lives. While this may be debatable for some, for most it's hard to dispute how the 'Net has affected us and has become ubiquitous, in even transparent ways, to our daily lives.

Having said all that, there are two pieces of technology-related news which hit my virtual desk this weekend and which I think should be shared with the masses -- and while they still stubbornly flock to large sites like and Gawker, I'm doing what I can to share the wealth, so to speak.

The first piece of quasi-relevant news is that CompUSA will soon be back as a brick-and-mortar retailer. You may recall they shuttered all of their stores last year in what seemed to be a fairly significant declaration of defeat. Perhaps their disappearance from America's retail landscape was less signficant than that of the aforementioned Tower Records or even Circuit City, or even perhaps the closing of the Virgin store in Times Square. However, before the American economy hit the toilet, it was clear that the major retailer of all things music-, home theater- and computer-related was without a doubt Minnestoa-based Best Buy, Inc. Best Buy, guarded by their legions of blue-polo-and-khaki-wearing minions, have ingratiated themselves into our technological routine moreso than any of the other above-listed entities, and while their staff is less-than-remarkable, I think that their smattering of offerings -- in terms of computer, music and video hardware and software -- and the prices thereof -- are fairly hard to beat.

If I need something technology-related I typically opt to purchase it from Since the local CompUSA closed, I almost always get stuff from Newegg unless I need it immediately, in which case I either get it downtown at J&R Music World or at one of the myriad Best Buy stores in the City. Newegg's main competition in online technology -- both in terms of offering and pricing -- is a company called Tiger Direct. Tiger Direct is the company that purchased and opted to re-open a bunch of CompUSA stores.

Given that CompUSA had a pretty shitty reputation while it was still a brick-and-mortar entity for its lousy service, lousy staff and -- for the most part -- lousy prices, I'm not sure whether this move makes any sense for Tiger or for the CompUSA entity (they have retained their web presence and online store despite the closure of their retail locations).

But given that Best Buy has struggled over the past 12 or so months -- again, more a tribute to the economy than, likely, anything else -- I'm not sure if more competition in the unnecessary electronics department is what this situation needs, or if this is just going to be a case of fiscal deja vu.

Why it's important to you: because anyone who wants to buy a compact disc, a digital camera, an iPod, a television or a computer without having to do so online doesn't have much choice these days other than Best Buy. And of all the people I know, none of them do without music, a camera, an iPod or other music player, a TV and a computer. Not everyone has all of these goodies, mind you: but everyone has at least three or four thereof. So next time you need to consider replacing one of these aforementioned items, you may have a legitimate choice in where you go to obtain this stuff, and you might even pay less -- either because of the economy, competition, or both -- as a result.

There's more news, which is equally significant but in a much more, or less, meaningful way.

Time Warner, one of the nation's largest cable companies, has, like the other members of that short list, announced it will begin testing out download limits for its internet users. That means that anyone who subscribes to Time Warner's Road Runner internet service will, at some point in the next 12 to 18 months, be forced to decide on what "technology" package they'd like. It's sort of like choosing how many cable channels you get, except the premium pricing is only for serious power-users. For people whose internet use is casual at best, most likely the rates will stay the same and there will be no need for panic or change. For people who spend a lot of time online at night and on the weekends -- and who do voice- and/or video-interactive stuff -- this may affect you. And for those people who download music (through iTunes, etc.), movies (through iTunes, Netflix or anywhere else) and other high-bandwidth-requiring stuff, figure on being on the outside looking in.

That means, for that last group, your rates -- at least for Time Warner's "unlimited" package -- will soar from $50 a month to $150 a month for unlimited downloading.

Now, in the spirit of Passover, we'll ask four questions.

The first question is "I don't subscribe to Time Warner, I have X, so why do I care about what Time Warner is charging their customers?"

The first answer is that for anyone who subscribes to Comcast or Cablevision's Optimum Online, this pricing structure and these graded limits will affect you as well. Because once Time Warner has gotten away with screwing their customers in this way, the other two will jump on the bandwagon quicker than a bunch of LA Dodger fans (which is to say, pretty much toot sweet).

The second question is "Whether or not I'm a Time Warner subscriber, I don't do much downloading, so why should I worry about this?"

The second answer is you may not do a bunch of downloading now, but within the next five or so years, the industry which supplies music via CD and movies via DVD and Blu-Ray will, as a result of piracy, increasingly move to deliver content electronically. Some bands have tried selling their albums via USB flash drives, which has failed miserably. Yet there has to be a correlation why iTunes and Amazon have become our biggest national retailers for music. If we have learned anything about the pernicious bite piracy has taken out of the RIAA and the music industry in general -- and the music retail landscape of this country -- we can expect the same to happen to easily-duplicated DVD's (and Blu-Rays, once PC manufacturers find a way to sell BD-Rom drives cheaply and the blanks to go with them at a reasonable cost).

Point being, now that it's clear that everything is moving to internet-based delivery, by the time this change has completely superceded the retail environment, you will be downloading everything: music, movies, and games. And then, once these Internet limits are in full effect and no longer able to be challenged, you'll be forced to spend $100 or more for unfettered access to your favorite crap, whether it's the Foo Fighters, Ocean's 19 or the newest Call of Duty release. And given that everything is occupying increasing amounts of storage, we'll be talking about terabytes, not gigabytes, and the network that supports the Internet will either have to be upgraded -- with you increased subscription dollars -- or it will experience brown-outs. Either way, there will be a bite. It's just a question if you're willing to accept a meter on your Internet usage like you accept to measure your consumption of electricity or cell-phone minutes. 'Nother words, it's all relative.

The third question is "Suppose they DO charge extra rates...prices of everything will go up, so what's the big deal?" The big deal is that just like our physical highways, the Internet will need to be maintained. As machines become faster and cheaper, more and more people will be taxing the world wide web of interconnected machines as have cars increasingly clogged the nation's roads, especially in large metropolitan cities. Add to that the cheap -- and hugely popular -- embedded use of cellphones through the internet (we're talking web-enabled phones, skype phones, and regular plain-old cellphones here), and we're talking an exponential increase in usage over the next five years. From regular cellphones (text messages and picture messages as well), blackberry handhelds, Skype-enabled portable handsets (in Europe and elsewhere, they're the coming wave of coolness) and good-old fashioned netbooks (uber-portable, cell-net-equipped PC's) and you've got a huge network that's going to need more power.

Briefly, let's assume that cable companies don't take every dollar they charge you and put it back into the quality or the upgrade of their hardware.

That means they'll be charging you and I shitloads of money and making money hand over fist without -- in theory -- reinvesting in their networks. Given the history and the attitudes of cable companies over the past thirty years, these are pretty safe assumptions. Companies don't typically strive for quality unless they're high-end, respectable companies. Most delay improvements and spending money to improve their performance until they are either a) pushed to do so by the government; or b) their service is so sub-par (coughcoughSprintMobilecoughcough) that they have no real choice.

That means we will be forced to pay more for less.

Ah, I love the smell of a burned consumer in the smells like...the Bush Administration.

The fourth and final question is, simply put, what can we do in response to these practices by cable companies to try to measure our internet usage?

The answer is not very much. Personally, I anticipate this choice and have already begun exploring other options. If Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon FIOS and Cablevision collude to force users to swallow these increases and this monitoring, my guess is there will be a severe backlash, but in reality only 20 to 25% of these companies' users will jump ship. However, I'll be one of them. The reality is the power-user will likely defect whereas the light internet user will most likely ignore this issue because the increases will theoretically have -- on the surface -- little or no affect on him or her, despite the discussion above. The real problem will happen when these companies lose their biggest users and -- while their networks will be less taxed as the power-users go elsewhere, they will -- in the long run -- lose customers. And the high-bandwidth users will go to a more power-user-friendly environment, which we can guarantee will spring up in the cyber-wasteland. By the time this all is completed, I expect one of the aforementioned big three -- Time Warner, Comcast, Cablevision -- will be split into separate units focusing on Internet, Television and Phone service (as they should have been and should be in the first place).

In either case, if all this seems like the lunatic ravings of a ridiculous, insane mind, and if my observations seem to you to be better-rooted in the fourth installment of a Matrix or Terminator movie, don't sweat the details.

And enjoy your 8-track tape deck. I'm sure Britney's new album will be released in a format that you'll recognize, even if you won't be able to play it back or find a place to buy it, or afford the fee to download it ;-)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Welcome to The Berlin Zoo...

...Here is our Polar Bear Exhibit.

And over here is our newest exhibit: The Shithead.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Heckler In The Peanut Gallery

Take an hour or so out out of your day or your night or sometime in between and check out "Heckler," a Jamie Kennedy documentary which focuses on the role of the heckler and the critic within the realm of pop culture. Jamie Kennedy is a comedian who starred in "Malibu's Most Wanted," which was a relatively bad film, and has since been filleted by hecklers at his appearances in comedy clubs and critics, bloggers and pop-culture reviewers on the Internet.

Half of the documentary involves snippets of interviews and discussion with comics and personalities from all walks of life; Andrew "Dice" Clay, Jon Lovitz, Bill Maher, Perez Hilton, Paris Hilton...the personalities within the project are as varied as it gets. As far as the comics involved herein, they span two or three generations and the documentary reminded me of "The Dirtiest Joke Ever Told," another comedy documentary spanning a number of comics focusing on one minute aspect of the world of stand-up comedy.

This project, however, was somewhat self-indulgent but mostly -- and genuinely -- a way for Jamie Kennedy to let people know that people in the spotlight feel pain when we -- the public -- take anonymous shots at them, whether as masthead-shielded critics or as members of the increasing number of keyboard commandoes, ie people who attack others from behind the anonymous comfort of a keyboard attached to an Internet-connected computer.

Personally, I never considered myself a fan of Jamie Kennedy's. What I've seen of his work doesn't do much for me, and, more or less, I find most of what I've seen of his work to be fairly low-end. However, it says a lot that I found this particular project to be interesting and worth watching.

What I found most interesting about this entire documentary wasn't what I expected it would be; when I first saw this in the digital channel guide on my cable system, I presumed this was simply an analysis of the interplay between stage comedians and the people who find it appropriate to give them shit while they perform. While this is not something that many "civilians" need to think about, I wasn't surprised to find that, essentially, all of the comedians that were interviewed for this project admitted that they had all, at one time or another, been the victim of some random, quasi-faceless heckler in a crowd, and, according to Arsenio Hall, one of the myriad comics interviewed here, all of them, at one time or another, lost his or her temper in dealing with these people.

You might recall Michael Richards, aka Seinfeld's "Kramer," and his meltdown at the Laugh Factory in LA when he repeatedly called a black man heckling him during a performance a "nigger." If you do a YouTube search, you'll be in a position to squirm through the entire incident. I'm not sure why you'd want to; most of the audience in attendance that night promptly walked out of the club once the disgusting, vitriolic diatribe commenced, and the bulk of them, aside from, likely, the people involved, followed soon after.

Considering the fallout at the time, it's not surprising that Michael Richards hasn't done much, if anything, since the incident (November, 2006).

But this project goes far beyond that ugly, unfortunate incident. It also dissects the symbiotic relationship between celebrities -- from the top to the bottom of the ladder -- and the online- and offline critics, from magazine reporters to newspaper reporters to TV news critics to those in the land of The Blog.

In addition to the more respectable critics -- the late Joel Seigel, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel (and Richard Roeper), Gene Shalit -- there are an infinite list of unofficial, faceless, nameless critics that populate the Net each and every day, and the number -- without a doubt -- is growing daily. The thing is, and this was addressed in the documentary, everyone has an opinion. Whether I thought a movie was incredible or the worst piece of shit ever committed to film, digital or otherwise, is inherently my opinion. Unless I'm being paid with tax-funded dollars, my opinion is and should be mine to express. However, with the advent of the faceless, nameless critic, the population of people critiquing another's work -- film or something similar -- has suddenly, overnight, been given credibility.

The problem is this: this space, as well as any other blog hastily assembled by some half-witted shitbird -- some might suggest these are one and the same, incidentally -- occupies the same screen real estate as Rotten Tomatoes, The New York Times, and any other number of sites whose legitimacy is recognized by degrees by the reader. Some out there might agree with my take on a particular film or performance -- or album, or book, or band, or politician -- and if my opinion differs from that of a particular institution -- the New York Times, the Washington Post, Roger Ebert, et al -- then my opinion suddenly, somehow, is given credence.

The problem is that thirty years ago -- and all the way back to silent movies leading to thirty years ago -- the critic was generally regarded with some measure of respect, and as such, treated those whose work he critiqued with similar respect. If you want a better, cleaner expression of this, check out the "Ego" monologue at the tail end (no pun intended) of the movie Ratatouille, wherein a feared, vaunted, vitriolic restaurant critic describes his job and how, after eating at a particular restaurant in Paris, he saw the proverbial light.

The point is -- after all is said and done -- there is a difference between those who express their opinions with some measure of respect and those who simply exist to make themselves appear better by shitting all over someone else and/or his/her/their work. A good example of this, for you Top Chef fans, is the newest of the Top Chef judges, Toby Young, a London food critic known for his especially acerbic, sharpened wit. Top Chef is one of our favorite shows, but it seems to me -- especially while watching Toby Young savagely shred the participants of the show -- he spends more time considering how to rip someone's efforts than actually critiquing -- constructively or otherwise -- them. Put another way, while his judging is memorable in its savagery, he goes well above the call of duty and he takes every opportunity not out to describe what was good or bad about something one of the participants prepared but solely his intention to appear clever and creative in his attack on someone's work.

In retrospect, especially given the nature of the latter half of Heckler, anyone who uses their creativity to be in a spotlight presents him- or herself for criticism. Whether or not that criticism is fair or warranted or legitimate, once an individual presents something which requires another's opinion, it's a virtual guarantee that there will be vitriol, whether it's a comic on a stage in the middle of nowhere or LA, or an artist whose life's greatest achievement is hanging on a wall in a gallery somewhere, or an actor seeing his work in a suburban movie theater. The concept is that we as a society tend to build people up only to want to knock them down. Our society -- and perhaps humans in general -- seem to exhibit this behavior whether they are connected to the Internet or, simply, each other. The most recent example of this is Barack Obama. Prior to his victory, he was the very embodiment of progress and hope; now and another half-dozen "legit" sites question his progress and note that his approval isn't as high as it was earlier. I'm no Obama fan, but I think he's doing well, all things considered. I'm a Republican and I'm not salivating over the issues and problems he's facing within his cabinet or his administration; I want him to do well and to succeed. It says a lot about us as a culture how, despite the economic turbulence of our world, we still -- as a society -- seem to angle for ways to knock him to, inexplicably, make ourselves feel better.

Essentially, Jamie Kennedy's "Heckler" project had only one real shortfall: when he attempted to meet his more vocal critics in person, part of his argument with their words -- even if their opinions were warranted -- was questioning why their critiques appeared to be personal. Many of same, incidentally, appear targeted at him rather than his work. After asking that question, he would ask his critic(s) whether they cared about the fact that their attack(s) hurt his feelings. Personally, while I sympathize with him and many other celebrities who get roasted for little or no reason, I reacted to his request for some restraint in considering that many of us would happily and without hesitation forfeit our day jobs and careers to be celebrities. To many people, celebrity is the end-all, be-all of existence -- why then do so many people spend their time, energy and their lives in pursuit of people like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian and their ilk? The fact is that people in the spotlight will always be put on a pedestal and be remunerated for their position in society, whether deserved or not, and will also be targeted by those people who need to make themselves feel better by knocking and/or deriding others, the work of others, and the achievements -- legitimate or otherwise -- of others.

Incidentally, as I explained to Kaia, what I found most interesting about this project, in retrospect, was that I was less interested in the fact that Jamie Kennedy was spearheading this particular project and more interested in what I perceived it to be about. Having watched it and having been, admittedly, surprised by the fact that it was far more intruiging than I expected it to be, I confessed to her that I hadn't been able -- or interested -- to watch Jamie Kennedy's movies or appearances prior to this watching documentary for more than a few minutes, as I found his work to be less-than-enthralling. With respect to this project, I didn't change the channel, nor did I consider doing something else -- aside from using the bathroom. Not even once.

And, given the nature of this project and its focus, that -- I believe, anyway -- is saying a lot.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

'Tis The Season...for Matzah and Snow

Little did I know that today, the precursor to the first night of the Jewish holiday of Passover, would bring such excitement.

Not only was there some chilly weather greeting us this AM, but in addition, there was some light, brief snow dusting midtown around 11. Notwithstanding the fact that today is April 8th, it was definitely chilly enough for snow, and the Man Upstairs made it happen. It was only a light dusting, but had I had my camera with me, I could have documented it with images as well as words.

Beyond that, I've gotten a bunch of stuff ready for the trip to Jersey for tonight and the day-trip (ie round-trip) to Connecticut for tomorrow night. I've got way too much at work and outside work happening, so for everyone that celebrates Passover, enjoy the matzah...I know I will try. For everyone that celebrates Easter, don't break too many eggs.

And for those of you who don't celebrate anything, enjoy your diminutive non-celebration(s).


The Fare of The Fair

I inevitably equate sunshine and happiness with the warmer weather. I'm not sure if that's appropriate or if I need some introspection on the subject, but I suppose -- like most people who can be accurately described as a kid at heart -- I prefer warm, sunny weather to dreary, shitty winter dreariness.

Part of why I love New York is its inevitable plethora of things to do: no matter what time, what type of weather, or where you are, as long as you have a little bit o' cash there's something to keep you occupied. Even if it's crappy weather -- in which case the above remains true to a lesser extent -- there's never a dull moment, unless it's of your own volition.

To that end, part of my exposition into the City is the many street fairs that seem to populate the warmer weekends here. Like a lot of other New York experiences, it's pretty much the same thing, despite the varied locations. In the case of street fairs, it's unique foods -- corn on the cob, chicken kabobs, popcorn, juices, pretzels, hot dogs, sausage and peppers, and the inevitable cotton candy -- stretched over a ten-block run that also involves at least one snake-oil salesman -- a magic broom, ginsu knives, a new type of garden tool, or some sort of laundry assistant -- and the innocuous t-shirt booths, replete with the same old sayings: "Fuck You, You Fuckin' Fuck" is among the more memorable, although in recent years the Sopranos -- especially a t-shirt advertising the fictional "Bada Bing" club -- has, I believe, edged it out.

There's also, typically, a variety of housewares -- sheets and bedding-related stuff including blankets, pillows, mattress covers, etc. -- and there's jewelry. Typically it's cheap crap that pull women towards it with gravitational magneticism. Of course, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other similar chazerai make their appearance as well, and inevitably women flock to these vendors with the aplomb of bees dancing through the sunlight to an open, unguarded pot of honey.

Each year -- or rather -- each warm-weather season -- street fairs seem to pop up without warning or cause. Of course there's an annual, pre-set schedule bearing locations and dates and times, and invariably if there's a sponsor the schedule indicates that as well. But overall, nothing really ever changes -- it always seems to be the same faces, the same schtick, the same gimmicks and the same stuff each time.

Now, lest I be accused of cantankerous stodginess, it's not that I don't enjoy walking around street fairs. To the contrary, I more than not like them a lot. But I wish someone would find a way to make each fair worthwhile on its own. Aside from San Genarro, nothing really changes -- and even the San Genarro festival can be a complete and utter waste of time. In fact, for the most part, it is. Drinking lukewarm beer out of plastic fraternity party cups and fighting throngs of people, strollers, dogs and odors previously inexperienced and barely human isn't the stuff of legend. More importantly, why would anyone travel more than a few blocks to experience it? Even more importantly, why would anyone experience it, period?

I suppose because with each year and each new annual arrival of nice, warm days -- as opposed to excessively hot, humid ones -- the itch to escape the four walls reinfects each one of us. Some people head to the Hamptons, others to the Jersey shore, and some of us are stuck within the confines of the City. Hence we accept the shenanigans that accompany games of "chance," the funnel cakes on paper plates, the screaming children, the semi-drunk, hung-over floaters, and the overly-salted roasted corn on the cob, for better or worse.

And with all those complaints fresh in my mind from last year and years past, I think it comes down to yearning for the summer weather. I don't need a handmade baja pullover, action figures from The Incredibles or Disney characters, and I definitely don't need a 40x60 black and white poster-print of Al Pacino in full Scarface guise with the words "Say Hello to My Little Friend" narrating the scene of the muzzle flare of his M-16A.

Inevitably, for the most part, I don't wonder whether I'll be excited to hit the first of the street festivals in the next six or so weeks. I will. What I do wonder is how long it will be before I begin wishing for October, for cooler weather that requires me to consider bringing a jacket once the sun goes down.

And whether it's in our nature as humans, or simply mine, to always look to that which isn't quite here but will, someday soon, be ready for my consideration and my predilection to want something else.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Cold, (Not Room-Temperature) Turkey

Quitting cold turkey, apparently, has some measure of peril.

I'm not sure from where the term "cold turkey" originates; there's indication that the skin of an individual who abruptly gives up heroin begins to resemble the skin of a cold turkey. Whether or not that's bullshit or an old wives tale is irrelevant.

What isn't irrelevant is in our modern existence, we as a nation consume, absorb and/or otherwise ingest drugs, chemicals and foreign substances in increasingly alarming numbers. I doubt even the most proactive white-coat-wearing geek could accurately quantify the vast amount of chemicals, preservatives and other non-human-friendly substances we encounter with regularity. That is to say, it shouldn't surprise us that cancer and heart disease are our top two killers. If it's not the chemicals that eventually destroy our bodies from the inside out, it's the pressure (or the french fries) that eventually lead to our breakdown. Either way, a sledgehammer to the face and other non-subtle deaths seem to be decreasing and the silent ones, ie from the inside out, are on the rise -- or at least at the top of the list.

What I found interesting, at least on some level, was this article which addressed perhaps the most dangerous of our addictions. It's not nicotine, crack, heroin or porn; it's caffeine.

This past June, I had an epiphany and -- finally -- stopped drinking Diet Coke. Without question, I was a full-on addict; I would go through at least one two-liter bottle a day. Where other people felt the need to suck down a glass or two of wine at the end of a day, I found myself parked in front of a television or my computer with a piping-cold bubbly glass filled with heavily-chilled Diet Coke. Invariably, I would regard the nearly-frozen cauldron, watching the bubbles pop an inch above the surface of the liquid, with the fascination of a child experiencing his first snap, crackle and pop. And I would -- without hesitation or thought -- go through an entire bottle -- if not more.

The article referenced above addresses the withdrawal symptoms of caffeine. I'd had surgery so I didn't exactly have the opportunity to suck down a bottle or two of Diet Coke on my "quit" day or the next day, but I can tell you the biggest, toughest part of giving up caffeine isn't the symptoms of giving it up but realizing that it is something that requires effort and commitment to stop. And since it's not an evil like smoking cigarettes, nor is it illegal like cocaine or heroin or crack, and since it's not controlled like alcohol, it's hard to avoid grabbing a 20 oz. bottle of liquid gold on every corner of the City.

Nonethemore, now that I've forsworn off caffeine, I suck down, give or take, ten glasses of water each day, and I'd add another four or five if it's a workout day. I typically keep a bottle of water with me wherever I go -- typically flavored with Crystal Light (fruit punch or cranberry pomegranate) -- and I am happy to say I've easily remained caffeine free since June. If you can get past the first few days -- and make the conscious decision to stay away from it -- each day gets easier.

And the best part of it is you can sleep a lot easier, although you fall asleep faster at night. Waking up isn't the problem -- it's getting enough sleep so you can actually wake up in the morning.

I found this article interesting because there are so many health risks, issues and missteps which require us to climb a proverbial mountain to defeat. Beating the caffeine addiction really requires nothing more than the commitment and the understanding that it's something which can -- with very little difficulty -- be eliminated. The hardest part isn't the physical aspect of the addiction but the mental one.

Good luck ;-)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Mow The Lawn

Not content to be a distant third behind shaving giants Gillette and Schick, Wilkinson Sword, a company that makes shaving acoutrement, opted for a unique marketing campaign for their new Wilkinson Sword Quattro for Women Bikini. The video is even more (sic) classy than the actual concept. Go here for the commercial...and while it should be NSFW, it isn't, so enjoy.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Invariably, when I return, like a properly-thrown boomerang, to the HoB to decry some foolish behavior on someone's part -- be it a celebrity, a so-called "TV personality" or some random douchebag I encountered on the bus or the train -- I usually have more than enough logic propelling my decision to rip said individual a new one.

I've had plenty of opportunities to wax condescending on a variety of the aforementioned daily encounters over the past ten days, and yet these pages have, thus far, remained fallow.

Why, pray tell, do I not rail on those who err in their daily lives, when such action practically begs for some sort of written record of such stupidity, and especially when said action affects me on some adverse level?

First and foremost, I've been extraordinally busy. Merely suggesting "work has me slammed" isn't quite sufficient to describe the mental head-banging-into-a-wall sense I've been enjoying. Having said that, I, for better or worse, prefer the balls-to-the-wall (or was that head-banging-against-the-wall) pressure that comes with my daily existence. Even if I didn't, it's an accepted fact that that's the way 'tis, so I've become used to it.

On top of that, I finally pulled the trigger on a new couch. I'd been meandering over the notion of replacing "Blackie," a sleeper sofa I've had since the Nixon administration (just kidding), that was in relatively good shape. The problem was the cushions were starting to look like a bit worn, and I decided -- finally -- to put Old Glory out of her misery.

And misery is more appropriate than even I would have thought.

I put an ad on Craigslist and no one seemed to be interested. Couple that apathy with the call I received from the delivery company advising me the couch was ready to be delivered.

More pressure.

I rescheduled the delivery a week after I'd originally hoped to receive the new couch, and put yet another ad in Craigslist, offering Blackie for free. "Just come and get it with a friend and it's yours."

I got lots of interest but apparently no takers. Bad economy my ass.

Another week, another call to the delivery company advising me of a new delivery date that would have to be delayed yet again.

Finally, after having a bunch of e-mails and one used couch, I had a couple guys who work in my building help me move the behemoth out to the curb. So as of 6PM this past Friday, I rearranged half of the apartment to make room for the exeunt of the Black Beast, and as of 6:30PM, the couch was resting comfortably on the sidewalk with the rest of the quasi-trash from my 10-floor apartment building.

And as of 12:30 AM -- only six short hours later -- Old Glory had disappeared. Apparently someone decided that my ad extolling the virtue of my sofa, protected in the warmth and comfort of my apartment, was not quite adequate, and only after she had reached the curb did someone -- finally -- show interest.

Personally, half of me takes comfort in the fact that someone will make use of what remains a really solid, well-made sofa. And the other half of me is a bit tweaked that I couldn't give the fucking thing away.

And yet another half of me is wondering if someone just nabbed it to carve it up and use the leather to make g-strings or something.

I suppose we'll never know.

Speaking of meandering, I was about to delve back into why I have been too busy to call out those individuals who have ingratiated themselves into my not-so-good graces. And I've been so busy with the tale of Old Glory that I got sidetracked, and, therefore, will have to return another day to finish what is, in theory, this train of thought.

More to come.

Oh, and Happy April Fool's Day to every- and anyone reading this. I'd rip out a kickin' joke or something akin thereto, but the fact that you, the reader, have made it this far and continued reading suggests that, clearly, the joke is emphatically on you ;-)

More to come...

PS RIP Z Gallerie in least for now.