Monday, June 30, 2008

Fantasy Baseball Hopes And Dreams

We all live a quarter of our lives in Dreamland.

There, we meet our heroes, our arch-enemies, our deceased pets, childhood friends, and sexy ladies with the heads of aliens from Star Trek.

Countless books have been penned to aid in analyzing our dreams. Dream theories abound - from the fields of psychiatry, neurobiology, Scientology, and crazy-ass-ology, among others.

Through all of this, it seems that one thread of truth weaves it way through all of our dreams. That being, if it’s important enough to be on your mind during the day, there’s a damn good chance you’ll be dreaming about it at night.

You study all week for a tough exam. You’re nervous as hell - the recurring dream being you show up late and miss the test.

Or, you’re nervous about getting fired because you’re in the shithouse with your boss. So you dream of being trapped in a latrine with your boss.

Sometimes our dreams really do mimic life.

But in my case - my own totally baffling and completely anomalous case – I never ever dream about fantasy baseball.

How is this possible?

When you expend over 80% of your brain’s processing power analyzing pros and cons of roster moves and potential trades, for days and weeks on end – basically the entire baseball season – how do you not dream about it?

If I don’t dream about trading my father for Manny Ramirez, and marrying my mother off to Alex Rodriguez (for some sweet Yankees tickets), then how can I analyze my deepest Freudian feelings?

It’s frustrating, really. But perhaps my subconscious is trying to tell me something. Something like, “You know Mill, you’re a real jackass for thinking about fantasy baseball every waking hour. I just don’t have time for it. You’ll be dreaming about an improved design for the hydrogen fuel cell tonight! We gotta kick our oil habit!!!”

Twenty bucks says I dream about fantasy baseball tonight.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Waterfalls Of New York

There's a strange thing happening in New York City.

Four moderately large waterfalls are flowing along the East River - moderately large, when compared to normal waterfalls that one might encounter on a hike in the jungle. But I guess the new NYC falls are downright huge compared to the typical waterfall normally seen in the city; i.e., an overflowing sewer spewing murky water over a pile of old sneakers and into a large pothole.

That type of scenario can produce a vertical drop of over 8 inches. But these new waterfalls are as high as 120 feet.

Don't believe me? Check out the photos below. Jaimi took them. With a camera.

We went down to the Brooklyn Bridge today to check out one of these local falls, which is coincidentally, the largest of the four.

You're still probably wondering what this is all about. A celebration of the Giants Super Bowl win? An elaborate alien landing beacon? The result of Mayor Bloomberg's intense rivalry with the mayor of Niagara Falls, NY?

The answer, I'm afraid, is none of the above.

Rather, a Danish madman/artist named Olafur Eliasson, in cooperation with the Public Art Fund of New York has constructed the waterfalls for the delight of visitors and locals alike. And when I say for visitors and locals alike, of course I mean almost entirely for tourists - and their money.

My opinion? The waterfalls are kinda neat - at least the one under the Brooklyn Bridge, as we didn't bother to see the other three. But I would not travel anywhere out of my area code (shout out to the 917 - holla) to visit this attraction.

As you can see from the pictures, the set up is nothing more than some scaffolding with a whole bunch of water pouring from the top. The volume of moving water is impressive, and it was probably no small task to set the thing up. But it is, in the end, a little too simple for my tastes.

Build me a mini mountain, complete with mini trees and mini wild elk stalked by mini jungle cats, or something. Then have the waterfall flow right through the middle of all that phony, mini nature stuff.

Or, if you want to get a little abstract, carve a mountain-like shape out of a single, massive ingot of aluminum. Scatter a million or so LED's across the aluminum mountain's facade, turn the spigot and let that water fall! A real tourist attraction.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Man Hides Phone In A Place Where No Phone Should Go

I'm sure you've already seen this story.

The details are rather straightforward. The motive is entirely inconsequential.

A guy (Mr. Jeffrey Barrier, from Cincinnati, Ohio) was seen taking photos of nude patrons in a tanning salon, using his camera phone. When he learned he'd been caught, he inserted the weapon (his camera phone) into a dark, dirty orifice (his rectum).

The cops were initially unable to find the undoubtedly oblong and awkwardly wide device. Upon further inspection, it turned out it was up his butt.

The article does not specify whether it was an iPhone (about 4.5 inches X 2.5 inches X 0.8 inches), a Motorola Razr (4 inches X 2 inches X 0.7 inches), or the much more comfortable and naturally-shaped Samsung Juke (3.8 inches X 1.2 inches X 0.8 inches).

Samsung Juke: The only choice when you need to hide your camera phone from the cops - in a hurry.

Let's hope it was the Samsung.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

High Gas Prices Means Less Beer?

High gas prices – they totally blow, right?

Well, my car gets about 35 mpg, so I don’t really care too much. But even so, I can imagine how those of you with personal tractor trailers or 18 passenger vans could be well injured by the skyrocketing prices – if you drive more than 200 miles every day, that is.

Think about it. If gas were 1 or 2 dollars less per gallon, how much money would you really save on a weekly or monthly basis?

Allow me to use myself as an example.

I drive 40 miles to work each way, an average of 4 days per week. That’s 320 miles per week. Account for the occasional 5 mile ride to Costco, a 12 mile trip to the Bronx to stock up on some crack (just kidding Mom!), and the already planned 2 AM joy ride down the Jersey Turnpike when the Phillies win the World Series this year – and we’re looking at less than 350 miles per week.

That’s 10 gallons in gas – about 45 bucks at today’s prices. No doubt about it, this $4.50/gallon gas most definitely sucks. But last year at this time, I still would have paid about 30 bucks per week for gas.

Is that extra $15 per week really keeping me from doing all the amazing things I was able to do last year – such as driving my 8 mpg Ferrari from Maine to Miami every weekend, while feeding Dom Perignon to $1200/hour hookers, wearing nothing but kobe beef bras and solid platinum hot pants? (To be clear, that’s what I’m wearing, not the hookers.)

Don’t be ridiculous. Kobe beef is super-expensive no matter what the price of oil.

But seriously, I understand the frustration that comes with soaring gas prices. I fill up at least once a week.

My point being, is this really the worst of our problems? Or is it an excuse to complain, and divert our attention from the real problems associated with the looming energy crisis.

Let me help put things in perspective.

It's been all over the news lately - at least the news that I read. And my greatest fear is becoming a reality. Beer prices are on the rise, and will continue to rise as long as the cost to transport beer's main ingredients - barley and hops and magical goodness - keeps going up.

And since grains, hops and magic all travel by truck, that means gas prices will continue to hit me directly where it really fucking hurts - my beer budget.

The only answer? Grow your own hops and barley on the roof, and brew beer in your basement or bathtub.

This, my friends, is how best to tackle the oil/beer crisis of 2008.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Baseball's Firing Spree - Who's Next? Me?

It seems that firing managers is all the rage these days in Major League Baseball. Just last week, the Mets, Mariners, and Blue Jays fired their skippers.

It’s been an unprecedented deluge of pink slips, which begs the question – Is anybody safe?

It makes me paranoid - which is a relatively unfamiliar state of mind for me. Last time I felt this nervous was when I took a ballpoint pen home from my last job – accidentally – and didn’t return it for over an hour. I was scared stiff.

But now – am I at risk to be fired from my fantasy baseball managerial role?

My team, “Brokeback Outfield,” is in next to last place. We’ve been there pretty much all season. But before the season began, Brokeback was an outside favorite – the educated critics’ pick, if you will – to make a run for the championship. Instead of challenging for the title, my team has been an unmitigated disappointment for the past 3 months.

Nightmare - plain and simple.

I’ve insisted on believing that my players would break out of their season-long slumps any day now, and refrained from making any big trades or free agent pick-ups that could potentially change my team’s chemistry for the better.

My bad luck has astounded me and the rest of my league. And there’s no sign of a breakout from this all encompassing fantasy baseball recession. Pitchers, hitters, fantasy batboys and ballgirls. They’re all playing like crap.

And maybe it’s my fault. How else can one explain it?

Why, just the other night, my team went 2 for 59, with one run scored and one RBI. You couldn’t orchestrate a worse performance if you tried. I don’t even remember how my pitchers played, but I’m sure it wasn’t much better.

The only member of “Brokeback Outfield” who’s actually having a good year is Mariano Rivera, and with my luck - and with Rivera’s age – his arm is bound to detach from his shoulder socket the next time he throws a split-finger fastball.

Mo Rivera's been awesome this year - a lone bright spot for my team. But when will that arm of his snap off at the elbow?

Alas, my only comfort is that this is all for fun. Fantasy baseball is not real life, and there’s nobody who can actually fire me from my managerial position. At least, I’m 90% certain that’s the case.

Sometimes the line between fantasy and reality is blurred, and I get confused. In a perfect world, I’d keep both my fantasy baseball job, and my real job through the end of the season. Still, I can’t help but feel that only my real job is secure – as long as I don’t take any office supplies home with me.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ikea Is Like The Bird Flu

It’s not everywhere yet - but wherever and whenever it pops up, it makes a huge splash.

For example, the new Ikea in Brooklyn, or the Indonesian bird flu outbreak in 2006.

People take notice. Newspapers run front page stories. Those living in the direct vicinity of the Ikea grand opening or bird flu epidemic complain and worry about the traffic congestion or high mortality rates, respectively.

Ikea and bird flu seem to most affect young people – those between the ages of 18 and 35 - with strong immune systems and weak furniture budgets.

If I had to say which of these is a greater threat to mankind – and as a big fan of fabulous bargains and austere Scandinavian design – I’d have to say the avian flu is the scarier of the two.

If you catch it, you’re pretty much fucked. That’s why my apartment is stocked with a full supply of Tamiflu, 100 years’ worth of canned bacon, and enough toilet paper to stretch from Brooklyn to the moon and back 40,000 times.

The only way to avoid bird flu AND get your recommended daily allowance of bacon is to stock up on these cans.

If anyone comes down with bird flu in the state of New York - heck, anywhere in the western hemisphere - I'll be snug as a bug in my apartment until it all blows over.

If a new Ikea lands in your neighborhood, you might have to put up with increased traffic, but it’s unlikely to be a serious threat to your health – unless you eat too many of those delicious Swedish meatballs!!

An army of Ikea employees prepares to battle high prices, and sling some meatballs.

So all in all, I think Ikea is a reasonably good addition to the neighborhood, especially in comparison to bird flu.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Don't Know What This Does, But I Want It

My best guess?

It not only grinds tubs.....but also busts hay!!!!

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Monday, June 16, 2008

10-Year College Reunion Recap

I’ve given myself a full week to mull over the results of my 10-year reunion.

I pretty much think it was a success – albeit a slightly depressing, humbling, and uncomfortably humid success.

It was exciting to be back on campus, and to see many familiar faces from my bygone college days – those legendary days of yore.

There was the time I drained an entire keg of beer into my mouth and then tore the keg in half with my teeth.

Additionally, I scored straight A’s in all of my courses, while a triple major in Particle Physics, Multivariable Linear Algebra, and Far East Asian Women’s Studies, with a minor in Raucous Ridiculous Partying.

Or so I’ve been telling people for the last 10 years.

But if the 10 year reunion taught me one thing, it’s that a lot of people that I went to college with now live in New York, and some of them even live very close to my apartment in Brooklyn. And there seems to be a pretty damn good chance that we’ll run into each other at some point – either socially or professionally.

Basically, I’m just worried that I could get called out by one of my classmates for one of my tall tales, and get in a shitload of trouble.

So, no more tall tales of my college adventures. I’m going to tell it like it really was - I studied more than I would have liked, and met fewer girls than I care to admit. Also, I didn’t dress very well, and my hair was way too short.

There, I said it.

Before I get to the reunion itself, I need to pause for a moment to give shout outs to a couple of my bros whose names rarely appear on the internet.

Mike May and Rich Seltenrich – this Bud’s for you. And cheers to their lovely wives, Tierney and Elizabeth. Thank God someone’s willing to put up with their incessant bullshit and whining. It was touch and go throughout college, and for several years thereafter.

I’d also like to congratulate Brian Lavery for finding an Irish wife to go along with his Irish accent (he grew up in Greenwich, CT).

The most notable observation from my college reunion is that most people look basically the same as before. The last 10 years have been fairly kind to my classmates.

Sure, there are a number of guys who’ve shaved their heads in some weak attempt to hide their hair loss. And then there are those who’ve discovered a shockingly successful weight loss program and/or have undergone a successful gastric bypass procedure (Keegan Walden falls into both of these categories).

But all in all, the Class of ’98 has exercised regularly, avoided being burned by hot oil in a fryer accident, liberally applied sunblock, and eaten a sufficient amount of Vitamin C to avoid scurvy.

Well done, my friends.

We may not all be successful business people, published authors, or professional athletes (although I do have this super-hot blog, ranked 2,230,976 in Alexa rankings) but we’ve all managed to successfully take care of our bodies and faces.

If you’re wondering, I myself follow a strict routine of avoiding direct sunlight, and keeping my body chilled to 68 degrees, by staying in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible.

With hair plugs and a carefully fitted control-top girdle, I should be able to maintain the same youthful appearance 15 years from now.

And that, after all, is what’s really important.

25th reunion, here I come!!

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day 2008 - Every Dad Deserves A Ferrari....

But we only got him a Bluetooth headset. And to complicate matters, he doesn’t even have a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone.

He’s waiting for the new iPhone to come out – July 11th to be exact.

Now, we’re ALL waiting for the new iPhone to come out, so that we can watch Dad enjoy/break/lose/figure out how to use his Father’s Day gift.

The headset we bought is called The Jawbone. Somewhat disappointingly, it turns out it’s not surgically implanted into your jaw, as the name would imply.

And no, it’s not carved from an actual piece of human jaw bone either. I think that would make it WAY more expensive than it is.

It’s quite simply the sleekest, most modernest, and bestest sounding headset on the market today – according to The Jawbone website.

My Dad will soon be as cool and stylish as this lady. I just hope he doesn't start wearing her eye shadow as well. The color would clash with his eyes.

And now we have to wait 3 weeks to find out if it lives up to the hype.

A Ferrari would have been a much more immediately satisfying gift - as we could have watched Dad peel out and lose control of the 500 horsepower machine, launching it over a school bus and into the river - straight out of a James Bond movie.

And just like James Bond, Dad would survive by breathing air out of one of the tires until help arrived.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ripped Off At The Tap

It turns out that your favorite pub may be committing the worst of all possible crimes known to man – cheating you out of a small amount of your beer.

That’s right, according to this article.

I won't make you read the whole thing on your own. They use some big, multisyllabic words like "bartender," and "profitability." So here's the gist: An increasing number of barkeeps are cheating their customers out of at least 2 ounces of precious, disease-curing, life-sustaining beer per serving.

How do they do it?

More foam? No. That would be too obvious.

Dilute the beer with water or rubbing alcohol? No. Too obviously offensive to the taste buds, unless you’re used to drinking Olde English.

Magic joke pint glasses that appear normal but are actually slightly smaller than normal? Well, yes. That’s exactly what they do. Except it’s no joke. And the magic involved rests in the fact that the bottom of the glass is thicker than normal, thus making the volume of the glass slightly smaller.

I guess that’s not really magic at all. It’s really nothing more than a dirty little trick.

Anyway, the only surefire way to avoid this is to bring your own glass to the bar - which is what I recommend. You can keep it handy in your fanny pack or man purse.

If anyone mocks you for carrying a fanny pack or a man purse into that bar, explain to them that it’s the only way you can defeat tyranny and defend the Beer Drinker's Bill of Rights. And proceed to rant about how these beer criminals must be stopped immediately.

Shout about your sorrow over the injustice of an absolutely full pint of beer not ending up in the stomach of its rightful owner. And stand up on the table, stomp your feet, and scream at the top of your lungs, "A PINT IS 16 OUNCES, UNLESS THE BAR IS GOVERNED BY ABSOLUTE EVIL - AND THEN IT'S 14 OUNCES....LET'S GO FLIP OVER SOME COP CARS!!"

Then just grit your teeth, close your eyes, and prepare to be tased.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

McCainiac Or Obamaniac?

And so the debate begins.

Southern whites and Ted Nugent like McCain. Urban elitists and John Cusack love Obama.

How do you choose when both candidates are so damn cuddly?

You need to look deep down inside, and choose the candidate with the cooler voice or the stronger jawline. But before you make up your mind, watch the following video.

If you can sit through the whole thing, then you should probably vote for McCain. If you find yourself snapping your fingers, clapping your hands, or stomping your feet, then you should probably be on his Vice Presidential candidate short list.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Beware Of ATM Fraud, My Friends

The Mill A Victim Of Identity Theft?

Well, not quite.

I’m not so sure anyone could effectively simulate my unique combination of insecurities, impeccably ironed clothes, and offbeat sense of morality. They could try to steal my identity, but I’m pretty confident that any half wit at the bank, or the DMV, or wherever would know that this is a Mill impersonator, and not the genuine article.

No. My identity was stolen. But my ATM info was.

Not kidding.

I ran a routine check of my bank account today and noticed a tiny, little, almost imperceptible transaction that just seemed a little out of place. Did I really spend $24 at Old Navy last week for 3 pairs of pants, 2 shirts, and 4 bathing suits?

Okay fine. That purchase was authorized.

Oh wait a minute. What about the $500 ATM withdrawal from the Bank of Montreal last week? Seems like an awful lot of cash to take out of any ATM. Not to mention, the last time I was in Canada (basically the only place you’ll find a Bank of Montreal ATM) was…..let’s see…..Never.

I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing: The fact that I’ve never been to Canada, or that someone stole my ATM card info and withdrew a half a G without my knowledge.

In any case, Wachovia’s fraud department was very helpful. They not only quickly canceled my card and refunded my money, but also offered some insight into how the crooks may have captured my card info (thus perhaps inspiring my readers to try it themselves).

It’s called “ATM Skimming,” and it’s been around for a number of years – mostly in places where there are no laws or police. Apparently though, this crime has made it to the shores of Brooklyn.

The evildoers simply install a card-reading device on the front of the ATM, which looks like the regular card slot – camouflaging its presence. The unsuspecting, handsome, smart, and lovable patron is victimized when he uses the ATM as normal, as the attached device reads the information from his card and transmits it to the evildoers. Simultaneously, a camera records the user’s PIN as he types on the keypad.

Some asshole puts a phony front on the ATM, enabling the jerk-off and his dickhead friends to steal my ATM info. What a cockface this guy must be.

I bet this is the same jackass who put that fake card slot on the ATM. Now the fucker is installing a tiny camera so that he and his douchebag buddies can straight up plagiarize my PIN. What a bunch of shit-eaters.

It’s basically as heinous as murder, although instead of the victim being killed, their bank account is brutalized.

It didn’t feel good.

But I’m better now, and dealing with the aftermath.

From now on, I’ll pay closer attention to any suspicious-looking attachments on the front of the ATM, and check for any small spy cameras within sight of the ATM keypad.

Beyond that though, it’s mostly back to business as usual – which includes writing my social security number and mother’s maiden name on my forehead, and opening every single email attachment I receive…especially those from Zimbabwe and Thailand asking for help transferring money.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Perfect Day For A Run

With the heat index hovering around 99, and with me recovering from a successful college reunion DJ/Dancing/Drinking extravaganza (more on that in a later post), it seemed like a great time to go for a run.

After all, I DID get about 3 hours of sleep last night - and maybe a little less the night before.

Did I fail to mention that I haven't exercised for several weeks, and as of Friday I was convalescing from a 2 week-old nasty cold? My hacking cough could still make public health officials instinctively reach for a tuberculosis test and a quarantine tent.

So all in all, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go for a vigorous jog.

A while back, I wrote about how fast I think I am (see here) - but this time, it wasn't going to be about pure speed. This wasn't a race.

If anything, it was a competition between my willpower/firmness of character, and my cardiovascular system to see who would quit first. Judging from the fact that I'm here at the computer and not in the hospital, it looks like my willpower lost. Congratulations heart and lungs. You won. This time.

There's something about exercising in extreme heat and humidity that makes me feel tough. While I'm out there in the intense jungle heat of New York, I begin to believe that I could survive without air conditioning, just like they did in the olden days.

I'd still need my car to be air conditioned. And mass transit. And movie theaters. But for some of the time, at least, I'd be able to survive in the ambient, non-refrigerated air of the atmosphere.

But a very important part of feeling tough out in the heat is not collapsing from heat stroke. You really look like an asshole if that happens.

So, whenever a heat wave rolls through town - which naturally means I'll be going for a run - a major concern of mine is dehydration. And I don't mean the elderly or babies. They should have people taking care of them. I'm talking about myself.

If I don't hydrate, no one else is gonna do it for me.

So along with some quick stretches, a glass of water, and a careful selection of the perfect jogging outfit, I also downed a shot of pickle juice.

I've read that actual athletes on actual teams during periods of actual training drink pickle juice to keep themselves hydrated. If it's good enough for them, it's gotta be good enough for me.

And the verdict?


The pickle juice may or may not have helped at all. My guess is that I would have been fine without it.

I only ran for about 30 minutes, but during that time I got a real good sweat on. Also, I didn't pass out, and I feel better about myself for burning off 4 of the 50 or so beers I drank this weekend.

All in all, a successful high-temperature run.

It looks like it's going to be even hotter tomorrow - a high of 96 or 97 by midday, with a heat index over 100.

And therein lies the problem. How do I take advantage of that ultra-hot part of the day when I'm supposed to be at work, in my climate-controlled office? Maybe I'll just bring my running shoes with me, and streak out of my cubicle as soon as the mercury hits 95.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Night With The Yankees

I went to see the Yankees play the Blue Jays on Tuesday night - the special occasion being that I was one of the first to respond to an email that went around work with an offer of free baseball tickets.

I've always been one of the quickest draws in town when it comes to email responses - especially when free sports tickets are on the line. I'm also lightning quick to respond when invited to dinner, offered free air travel, or notified that my car is parked illegally.

And so it came to pass that I was blessed with some pretty sweet seats to see Joba Chamberlain start his first Major League game.

Robinson Cano throws totally like a girl during warm-ups, but then slowly transitions to throwing more like a man as the game wears on.

So I'm not exactly a big Yankees fan. But I'm also most certainly not a Toronto Blue Jays fan. Under normal circumstances, I'd be rooting hard as hell for the Yanks. To throw a wrench into the works this time was the fact that Roy Halladay, the starter for the Jays, is my top fantasy baseball pitcher.

The seats would have been much better if they came with a catheter. so you didn't have to get up at all during the game.

I needed him to pitch a good game, and get the win, and strike out 20 Yankees batters - including A-Rod 5 times, and Jeter 5 times. And somehow hit a few home runs even though the pitchers don't bat in the American League.


I had to covertly root for my fantasy pitcher, while outwardly cheering the home team. Anything else would be disrespectful to those who gave me the tickets, and to the fans around me.

You can almost see the guilt in my eyes as I secretly cheer for the Blue Jays.

To add to the realism of my fictitious fandom, I decided to boo the shit out of Scott Rolen - former 3rd baseman of my hometown Phillies, and current player for the Blue Jays. He had a serious falling out with Phillies management several years back and refused to re-sign with the team for any amount of money.

The general manager of the Phillies at the time was Ed Wade. I can only imagine what sour memories Rolen has of Wade. I think it got pretty ugly during their break-up.

So I screamed "ED WADE!!" each time Rolen came to bat. If you watch a replay of the game, you'll hear it pretty clearly - especially during the 7th inning, by which time my vocal cords had been thoroughly lubricated with beer.

Rolen went 1 for 5 with a strikeout.

Mission accomplished. I got inside his head.

But for the most part, it tore me all up inside - this internal conflict. Cheering for someone, yet secretly wishing for failure. I was Hillary Clinton, to Joba and the Yankees' Barack Obama.

How do you resolve this kind of fantasy/reality incongruity?

The only way would have been to bench Halladay, or not go to the game.

With Halladay pitching lights-out over his past few starts, and the aforementioned super-sweet seats being offered up for free, neither of those was about to happen.

So the answer is - as Shaquille O'Neal once famously said, "'s like the Pythagorean Theorem. There is no answer. "

What Shaq meant by that is, well, sort of unclear. But what we can all learn from his unintentional wisdom is that, just like Pythagoras, we need to persevere until we find an answer to our problem - fantasy sports-related or otherwise.

In the end, I got my fantasy baseball win and had a great time at the game. But to all those thousands of true Yankees fans who joined with me on the cheers for Jeter and the boos for Rolen, I have to say I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I can't promise I won't lie to you again, but I assure you that it will only happen if the fantasy baseball stakes are very high.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Excellent Magic

Try this sweet interactive card trick video.

It seems to work every time, except if you don't actually choose a card, or lack dynamic magical powers.

I watched this trick around 9:30 pm tonight - here's how the rest of my evening panned out:

9:31 to 10:29 - I spend minutes heaped upon minutes trying to figure this one out. Watch the video over and over. My eyes are bloodshot. My teeth are sore from chewing on my "think hard pen" and I am crestfallen. I can't tell how they do it.

10:30 - Jaimi watches the video.
10:31 - Jaimi tells me how it works. It's frustratingly simple. Anyway, can you figure it out? I feel like I may have eaten a lot of lead paint as a child, or lived too close to that nickel and cadmium smelting plant during my formative years.

Either that, or I can blame it on Aunt Mom and Uncle Dad. Somethin' about their jeans done been too close together or somethin'.


Monday, June 02, 2008

"Deadliest Catch" - Deadlier For The Crabs

“Deadliest Catch,” the smash-hit reality show on the Discovery Channel is full of non-stop excitement, and hundreds of thousands of tons of delicious crabs.

For both of these reasons, it’s one of my favorite shows on TV. If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch, you’re long overdue.

When you think about it, it’s really the perfect combination of adventure, stormy weather, fascinating personalities, and delicious seafood.

Crab legs are one of my favorites. Admittedly, those big, burgundy, gnarly-looking king crabs don’t look so appetizing straight out of the briny deep. But after a quick 15 minute boil, and a little cup of melted butter, they are truly a treat from the deep.

Terrifyingly delicious - This large crab almost killed the man on the right before being subdued with 16 rounds from a shotgun, and 5 hand grenades. The guy on the left is still missing...

Perhaps I digress. Or do I?

I believe the main reason I love “Deadliest Catch” is because of the fantastic crabs these guys are catching. It’s so comforting to know that Captain Sig Hanson of the “Northwestern” and Captain Phil Harris of the “Cornelia Marie,” just pulled into Dutch Harbor, Alaska to offload 370,000 pounds of fresh Alaska King Crab.

And they’re only halfway through their quota.

In a world where we’re surrounded with dwindling fish stocks, or mercury-laced tuna, or ever-increasing numbers of endangered species, it’s great to hear about a very delicious animal that’s not about to be wiped from the face of the earth.

The fleet seems to do a pretty good job of fishing in a sustainable manner. And Discovery Channel does a great job of showing us what it’s like to fish in the Bering Strait.

It looks like it really sucks.

And people do indeed die from time to time during crab season. Although I wonder if the “deadliest” moniker refers to the crabs or the people. I doubt that any of these crabs will be kept alive as pets, so it’s extra deadly for them.

Still, I can’t help but imagine myself out on that boat - the icy waves crash across the deck, a steady blast of wind-whipped sleet lashes my ruddy cheeks, a camera crew in my face, and thousands of tasty crabs await their imminent capture.

But then I remind myself of my tendency for seasickness, my loathing of cold rain, and my fear of live crabs.

The dog looks even less thrilled than the crabs.

It’s best that I just sit on my couch and watch from the warmth, safety, and stable floor of my own apartment.

So grab a cold beer - and some warm, drawn butter - and sit down for an action-packed episode of “Deadliest Catch” on the Discovery Channel. It’s on like 10 times a day, so you practically can’t miss it.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Brooklyn Beer and Barbecue Festival Sells Out - Time To Get Creative

The Brooklyn Pigfest was held this past Saturday in Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, right near the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a celebration of swine and beer, unmatched in its simplicity and deliciousness.

Great barbecue and great beer together again, as the good Lord intended.

I’m not sure if heaven exists, and I don’t know if I’ll eventually end up there even if it does. But for the record – and God, if you’re reading this blog – my idea of heaven would be a lot like the description of the Brooklyn Pigfest, except instead of only lasting for 5 hours it would last for all of eternity, and I wouldn’t gain any weight from all the food and beer.

I only learned of the Pigfest’s existence a day or two before the event. Tickets were 85 bucks a pop, so clearly this wasn’t a no-brainer. Although in retrospect, a full afternoon of all-you-can-eat barbecued pig and cow, along with a nice variety of delicious beer from Brooklyn Brewery – also all-you-can-consume – is probably well worth that price of admission.

The website warned that the event could sell out. But with thunderstorms in the forecast, and the $85 price tag planted firmly in my brain, I just didn’t take that warning very seriously.

Let me skip to the chase. It was sold out by the time I decided to go.

I was crushed.

It felt like an anvil to the crotch, mixed with a ball peen hammer to the forehead – know what I mean?

But my friend Greg and I had already psyched ourselves up to the point where we NEEDED to have beer and meat during the afternoon. So we decided to have our own Brooklyn Pigfest.

We made like MacGyver and fashioned an afternoon of drinking and eating out of nothing more than our will to survive, a rubber band, a battery, a handful of sawdust, and some chewing gum. Oh, and our love of beer.

At the heart of it, we just needed an excuse to drink beer during the day. And even though we didn’t make it to the official Brooklyn Pigfest, we did achieve our ultimate goal.

We thoroughly enjoyed numerous great beers and some good food at a couple of high-quality local establishments: Pete’s Waterfront Ale House in Cobble Hill, and another place in Cobble Hill, the name of which escapes me - as is so often the case towards the end of any beer-fueled adventure.

A few choice beers sampled during our most recent excursion:

Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold
Brooklyn East India Pale Ale (EIPA)
Sly Fox Quad Ichor (sickly sweet, and strong as hell)

And many more.

And the final cost of the do-it-ourselves-two-man-beer-and-meat festival was quite a bit less than $85 per person.

I hope to make this more regular than once a year, because that's just not often enough. Sorry Brooklyn Pigfest, but looks like you're not the only beer and meat festival in town.

We'll call ours "Men, Meat, and Malt."