Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Pressing the reset button

Four ridonkulous links about the original, eight-bit Nintendo Entertainment System:

Check out The 20 Worst NES Games of All Time.

When you're done laughing at NES' not-so-greatest hits, check out a site dedicated to the best football video game... ever and a page full of said football game's best bloopers (My buddy Andrew Brand and I can attest that it was notorious for its occasional gaffes). For the latter link, scroll down the page about one-third of the way down until you see the subheading called "THE PLAYS" and download some awesome vintage clips of actual gameplay.

And, perhaps the best for last, the mashing up two of my favorite things: old-school Nintendo and a cappella. You have to see this to believe it.

Worst. Traffic. Ever.

There's very little hyperbole in that heading. Between the rain, flooding, accidents and rush hour traffic, this was the worst gridlock I've ever been in as a driver since I got my license.

The proof? A commute home that normally takes 35 mintues took 2 hours and 30 minutes -- delays so substantial that they wound up contributing to the cancellation of tonight's Unsung Heroes rehearsal.

The irony was that the rain was really not that bad by the time I hit the roads, but according to my employer, it was enough to knock out most of the main north-south thoroughfares in Westchester County -- including the usually traffic-defiant Metro-North train system:

Flash floods wreak havoc on region
(Original publication: June 29, 2005)

A fierce thunderstorm is lashing the region with rain, forcing Metro-North Railroad to shut down the Harlem Line north of North White Plains and causing intense flooding that has already knocked out a number of roadways in the area.

The following sections of highways were reported closed as of 6 p.m., according to WCBS-2:

• Saw Mill River Parkway from Grant Street to the New York State Thruway via Interstate 287
• Northbound Sprain Brook Parkway at Route 100 in Hawthorne
• Taconic State Parkway at Stevens Avenue in Mount Pleasant
• Bronx River Parkway at Main Street in White Plains
• Route 9A at the Saw Mill River Parkway in Hawthorne

In addition, flooding had closed down the right lane of westbound I-287 just past exit 4 in Greenburgh, and all lanes of the Hutchinson River Parkway at Lincoln Avenue in Mount Vernon were subject to closures due to extensive flooding.

Motorists also were being rescued from their stranded vehicles along many area roads.

Meanwhile, Bee-Line buses were reporting delays between 15 and 30 minutes.

Unsportsmanlike conduct

The debate rages on.

New England Patriots Owner Bob Kraft showed Russian President Vladamir Putin his Super Bowl ring, which the world leader then pocketed. It's unclear what combination of the following possibilities occurred:

A. Kraft meant to give the 124-diamond ring to Putin as a gift.
B. Putin isn't worried about returning it, regardless of intent.
C. The exchange was a misunderstanding.

I'm thinking it's Choice C, but hoping for Choices B and C.

June 30 Update: Evidently, Kraft said it was Choice A. But I'm still thinking it was an international incident the rich team owner smartly wanted to avoid.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Why ya gotta go and make things so complicated?

So Avril's engaged, apparently. I was kind of hoping she'd marry some random preppy dude instead of a SK8R Boi.

No particular reason.

Monday, June 27, 2005

More Sarcastic Felt!!!

I can't wait to see Statler and Waldolf reunite to lay the smack down on current movies!

Statler: I'm Statler.
Waldorf: I'm Waldorf. We're here to heckle "The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D."
Gate Guard: Tell him it's down on the left. Private screening room B.
Statler: Private screening?
Waldorf: Yeah, they're afraid to show it in public.
Statler: I like this movie fine so far.
Waldorf: It hasn't started yet.
Statler: That's what I like about it.


UPDATE (2:32 p.m. June 27): After searching in vain for a few hours, here's the link to the Statler and Waldorf review site!!!

UPDATE (1:17 p.m July 4): Finally watched the first installment of the S&W review. A few funny zingers, but basically six minutes that should have been cut down to two. I think there's a reason that S&W were there only for the one-liners.

Pooh Boo-hoo

It's not quite Jason Alexander and Michael Richards dying in the same week -- and no, that didn't happen -- but this is an interesting coincidence that the voice-over artists for Tigger and Piglet died one day apart from each other.

The wonderful thing about Tigger was that Tigger was a wonderful thing.

I want a recount. Another one.

Okay, so let me get this straight: The runners-up to the Greatest American vote on Discovery Channel were Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, George Washington and Ben Franklin, finishing Nos. 2 to 5, respectively. Certainly wouldn't make an argument against any of them.

Finishing ahead of them, first overall? Ronald Reagan.
Finishing just behind them? George W. Bush.

Can we still recount that 2000 election? Please?

Friday, June 24, 2005

King of New Media

One of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures is The Howard Stern Show, which airs on K-Rock (92.3 FM) in New York in the mornings and on the E! cable television station at night.

But this week it was announced that Howard and E! are breaking up after a 10-year engagement and have announced intentions to see other people. It's frustrating for everyone involved, it seems, as the show is the network's highest rated and scores of people are expected to lose their jobs, including default Stern Show personalities Scott DePace and Robin Radzinski. The last new E! show airs July 8 and there's no set date for how long that network will run reruns.

While imperfect, E!'s television format for Howard has been reliable and true to the spirit of the show. Frankly, there are things on the radio show that don't translate exclusively through radio speakers. A recent example of events that result in hysterical laughter on the radio without play-by-play description of what's going on could be, oh, the time that Richard Christy ate a strawberry from a crevasse.

SpikeTV is rumored to have the inside track for the next television broadcast rights, which, probably will be about the same quality as E!'s shows. However, with Howard making the jump to Sirius sattelite radio Jan. 1, the already bawdy material might make rebroadcasting uncensored material virtually impossible, especially in an era when the FCC has cracked down in unprecedented fashion and more Americans seem willing to waive First Amendment rights with passive acceptance of the PATRIOT Act and censorship tactics.

So the natural question is, why doesn't a premium cable network like HBO agree to a contract with Howard? On the surface, it seems like a perfect match:

1. HBO and other premium networks that require additional payment above standard cable fees have far fewer censorship laws apply to them, because consumers must pay to acquire the service (as opposed to terrestrial radio, which is free, and cable networks, which are a part of most American households). So racier material on Sirius would have a much better shot of being rebroadcast in its entirety on a premium channel, compared to E! and similar networks that choose to pixelate private parts and bleep expletives.

2. TimeWarner is perceived to err on the side of liberal media (i.e. CNN); Howard, although a self-proclaimed independent, has slammed George W. Bush and his administration over the last three years.

3. HBO ratings are down, according to an article that I cited earlier this week. With "The Sopranos" contract set to expire next year, millions of young men might not have enough incentive to subscribe to the premium cable network.

But as this week's CNN article about Howard states, "HBO already discontinued its discussions with Stern." Quite a shame.

After being perplexed by Howard and Co. not seeing eye-to-eye with HBO, I realized a few reasons that talks might have ended before they started.

HBO is not exactly free-spending, focusing more on content than star-power. As my very intelligent brother pointed out, "The networks learned that when they gave big name actors sitcoms, (they) flopped."

As a result, when James Gandolfini asked for a $1 million paycheck per episode (on par with the overrated cast of "Friends" in one of their final seasons), the impasse lead to a March 2003 halt in the production of the show, an ugly mudslinging contest and battling lawsuits. The impasse ended with a settlement somewhere in between the actor's salary request and HBO's hard "no," but needless to say, the network isn't quick to pad the salaries of talent when commercial advertisements aren't a part of the revenue collection.

So when Howard Stern, who secured a five-year deal purported to reach half a billion dollars, mulls production value and personal revenue, he's got no shot to convince HBO suits that he's worth more than what Gandolfini got. It's hard to believe that a man who has more than a few arguments supporting his "King of All Media" moniker doesn't have the executive clout of Tony Soprano, but I think that happens to be the case.

Howard's also a bit of a control freak: in good ways (limiting show merchandising) and bad (the limited release of decades of previous material). HBO probably would want more control over the show that has been Howard's baby since its inception. With a far less popular powerhouse lineup, SpikeTV probably would be more willing to concede some ground to land the Stern Show.

Anyway, I just hope someone picks up Howard soon. There's no edgier comedy on television.

I love being wealthy in the Hamptons

Some spot-on commentary about pompous humor, courtesy of the rockin' site McSweeney's:

Roy Futterman

"You are doing something unusual, Harold!"

"I certainly am in a bar with other businessmen."
"This desert island is a bummer."
"I love being wealthy in the Hamptons."
"I'm saying a cliché in a different context, Pam."
"Boy, I sure do like intercourse."
"I'm thinking something incongruous to what I'm doing."
"Wanda, we are doing some nutty things in this picture!"

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Another 'Sopranos' season?!

HBO Chairman Chris Albrecht says there's a "50-50" chance that "The Sopranos" season starting in March won't be the last.

Needless to say, I'm always excited at the prospect of more Uncle Junior.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

My SNL Dream Cast

Okay, this is an edited reprint from one of my recent e-mails, but it's definitely worthy of a VB post.

One of my favorite columnists is Bill "Sports Guy" Simmons, despite his love for all teams Boston (except BC, because he's a Holy Cross alum) and hatred of most things New York -- especially my beloved Yankees. He's a brilliant humorist who knows what he's talking about when it comes to pop culture (although his taste in music is questionable).

Back in 2001, he was asked the following question by a reader:
It's just a matter of time before The Sports Guy gets asked to host SNL. Who do you select as the musical guest, and which 12 cast members (from any era) do you have on your show?

Sports Guy opted to revive dead alums for his show, so -- inspired to create my own version of the same list -- I afforded the same opportunity to myself and my friends. I also extended the cast list to 14 cast members, because that's the number of cast members featured for 2004-05.

Without further ado, here's my list in alphabetical order and a few apologies to some who didn't make the cut:

Dan Aykroyd - Set the standard for being the SNL straight man. Co-wrote my favorite movie. Bass-o-matic!
John Belushi - Blues Brothers, Samurai, everyman. Genius.
Jimmy Fallon - Unlike most SNL purists, I loved when he cracked himself up. Nomahhh.
Chris Farley - Superfansss. Matt Foley. Gap girl. I'm Chillin'. You can't help but root for him.
Will Ferrell - 21st-century Aykroyd. No one worked harder for a laugh. Always up for more cowbell.
Tina Fey - Brilliant writer; fantastic delivery; mysterious scar. Hot. Favorite Weekend Update anchor.
Phil Hartman - The chameleon. Sinatra Group. Clinton. Ed McMahon. No one delivered a line better.
Eddie Murphy - Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood. Buh-weat. HOT TUB! The best years of his career.
Bill Murray - My non-negotiable #1 pick. Played my favorite all-time movie character. Cracks me up. Surprisingly subtle.
Mike Myers - Best original characters: Wayne, Dieter, Linda Richman. Astounding attention to detail.
Amy Poehler - Literally throws herself into almost every role. Background in "alternative" comedy (UCB). BC alum. Hottest SNL woman ever.
Chris Rock - Best work happened after show (my favorite stand-up) but still funnier than most SNLers.
Maya Rudolph - Vastly underrated; possibly the funniest SNL woman of all time.
Adam Sandler - Annoying as he is now, hilarious work on Weekend Update and as Cabin Boy.

Musical guest: The Police.


Odd man out: David Spade was the last one I cut. Wanted to keep him in there because no one was gutsier than he in terms of busting chops and cutting people down. But he was not terribly versatile, so that wound up being the deciding factor.

Other painful cuts:
Horatio Sanz (Farley and Belushi are funnier big men, but Gobi and the Telemundo host kill me.)

Rachel Dratch and Molly Shannon (Versatile, memorable and hysterical. I find the other three women just that much funnier.)

Chevy Chase. Funny, but not THAT funny. Even then. His movies through the mid-80's were better.

(Gasp!) Gilda Radner. Definitely funny, but I laugh more at Rudolph and Poehler.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bachelor's burden

It's no secret that being a single guy with an active social life costs money. But recent articles on MSN seem to indicate that it's far more important for bachelors to invest in expensive toys than for bachelorettes.

Let's compare the costs to achieve all 10 goals on these lists. The prices either accompanied the original articles or were the first ones I could find online:

1. A Top-Notch Coffee/Espresso Maker: $250 ($230 + $20 coffee grinder)
2. A Lamp in Your Bedroom: $99
3. Swiffer Sweeper + Swiffer Cloths + Swiffer Wet Cloths: $15.99 + $9.89 + $4.29
4. A Comfortable Couch: $400
5. Nice Underwear: $12 each x 7 (let's make it a week, shall we?) = $84
6. A Key-Ring That Can Fix, Cut, and Open Anything: $34.99
7. $150+ Jeans: Um... $150
8. $200+ Dress Shoes: Um... $200
9. 300-Thread-Count Cotton Sheet: $120
10. "The Joy of Cooking": $22.05
Total cost of upgrading bachelor status, according to MSN: $1,390.21

1. A fabulous photo of yourself: $0.50
2. A pretty pair of heels: $100
3. An Eminem CD: $9.99 on iTunes
4. A great pickup line…and a way to blow 'em off: Free
5. A six-pack of good bottled beer: $10
6. Bathroom reading: $5
7. A business card: Usually free
8. Earplugs: $6
9. A straight male friend on your speed-dial: Free
10. A condom: $1
Total cost of upgrading bachelorette status, according to MSN: $132.49

I'm not even going to go into why I find the earplugs suggestion insulting -- and I don't even snore.

The irony of all this is that I don't even MIND spending the money on a fun date. But a list featuring a 10-to-1 spending ratio not only hurts men's wallets but sets feminism back 60 years. Three of the bachelorette suggestions are usually free (Pick-up/rejection lines, business cards, and straight male friends on speed-dial), while five of the 10 bachelor suggestions are practically guaranteed to exceed $100.

I'm surprised No. 11 on these lists wasn't "a penthouse apartment" for bachelors and "toothpaste" for bachelorettes.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Restroom schmoozing

Maybe I've been covering local elections too long, but I found this Onion layer to be particularly pungent:

Politician Awkwardly Works The Bathroom

Also of note is the fact that this encounter allegedly took place during the "Battle Creek Rotary Club's annual Unsung Heroes luncheon." Funny, I don't remember us gigging in Battle Creek, Michigan. That punch must have been awfully strong.

Why Scarlett is cooler (and hotter) than Katie



Thankfully Scarlett Johansson escaped unharmed.

It's okay, Scarlett, fall into my arms and tell me all about it.

I got a fever. And the only prescription is more fast food.

Horribly rude and genuinely addicting Web page that I sifted through for 15 minutes. Worth it for the Christopher Walken image alone.

Learner's Ointment!!!

The latest in the Teen Girl Squad series is pretty funny, (although not the strongest in a tough-to-top series), but the nonsequitor reference to Babbage's alone makes viewing worthwhile.

Other highlights:
1. Driver's Ed'ed. Dead.
2. The true meaning of B.F.F.
3. Staple Sauce. Repeat: Staple Sauce.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Viva La Bam!

Had Unsung Heroes rehearsal tonight, then hit up the Living Room, which is one of my favorite way-too-trendy bars in Manhattan on the seventh floor of the W Hotel in Times Square. Anyway, while I'm using the facilities there, Bam Margera from "Viva La Bam" and "Jackass" strolls in and does the same.

I genuinely enjoy his show, so at the sink I asked him where Don Vito was and, with some serious eye contact, Bam said something like, "He's on his way; he's comin' in tomorrow." I followed that up with "Love your show, man." He smiled, said "Thanks," and I went on my way.

Seemed like a cool enough guy. Viva La Bam!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

So what makes a band name funny?

As mentioned in yesterday's Varsity Basketweaving post, my friend Paul relaunched the Worst Band Names page on his Web site, which reminded me of the best criterion for coming up with a funny band name.

Some might argue it involves a bad pun, imagery that mixes the abstract with the concrete or gimmicks involving misspelled words, but for me, it's very simple. The rule of "Is this a funny band name?" can best be explained in Madlib form.

Picture yourself at a concert for one of your favorite up-and-coming bands at your neighborhood rock club. Like you, there are about 100 or so people swarming in front of a stage, waiting to see your new favorite local band, but while you're waiting, there's this Emo/punk/metal guy fronting another band and moping over a microphone in between songs. He's listless, cranky and just wants to wrap up the set so he can return to hitting on the bartender who wants nothing to do with him. Four songs into his set, he puffs on a cig and drones:

"Hey, we're __________. Thanks for coming out tonight. This will be our last song but come say hello afterwards. Or whatever."


Okay, now try this with some of the names I've come up with over the years. See which ones make you laugh:

"Hey, we're Love Compartment. Thanks for coming out tonight. This will be our last song but come say hello afterwards. Or whatever."

"Hey, we're Manual Lewis. Thanks for coming out tonight. This will be our last song but come say hello afterwards. Or whatever."

"Hey, we're The Homeless Romantics. Thanks for coming out tonight. This will be our last song but come say hello afterwards. Or whatever."

"Hey, we're Fatslapper. Thanks for coming out tonight. This will be our last song but come say hello afterwards. Or whatever."

"Hey, we're The Alabastards. Thanks for coming out tonight. This will be our last song but come say hello afterwards. Or whatever."

"Hey, we're The Social Moors. Thanks for coming out tonight. This will be our last song but come say hello afterwards. Or whatever."

"Hey, we're The Fuglies. Thanks for coming out tonight. This will be our last song but come say hello afterwards. Or whatever."

"Hey, we're Woolery Mammoth. Thanks for coming out tonight. This will be our last song but come say hello afterwards. Or whatever."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


As a former soccer player, I'll be the first to admit I don't watch the sport outside of USA-related World Cup matches, but check out this fascinating story about tentative plans to embed microchips in World Cup 2006 soccer balls in an attempt to determine with certainty whether or not a ball crosses the goal line.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter looks like a tool with a possible argument against the microchip: "The technology will take away the fun of discussing whether the ball went in or not. They will be missing out on something."

Yeah, like unnecessary heart attacks and fistfights.

Worst Band Names: The Triumphant Return!

My buddy Paul has launched a new site for Worst Band Names, one of the funniest concepts I've seen on the 'Net since, well, the last time he launched the site. Based on a 2000 Saturday Night Live skit with hysterically funny fake band names on a movie soundtrack CD, Paul got the idea to create a Web site for people could offer their own suggestions and vote on them. Brilliant!

Thanks, Paul! You rule!

UPDATE: The Worst Band Names site is no longer active. (Sigh.) It will be missed.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Victoria's Secret weapon

Forget baseball players injuring themselves running out a close play at first base. How about getting hurt trying to get to second base... with a woman? (Hint: Look for the item involving Roger Craig.)

JUNE 20 UPDATE: The original AOL article expired and could not be found, so I replaced the original link with a 2002 ESPN article with the same crazy-but-true Roger Craig information.

Context is everything

Reporters are often told in so many words: "You took what I said out of context!" Sometimes these complaints are viable, but usually, we shrug them off as sour grapes or naive, because technically all journalism is out of context to some degree. If it weren't, articles would be mere transcripts.

Well, I suppose it's my turn to take the same stance. But this version's kind of fun.

Yes, it's true that I wrote this line in a recent story about Robert Sullivan's book, "Our Red Sox," but it was meant to explain that he has written about topics other than baseball. Not appearing in this "review" is a subsequent explanation that Sullivan, a deputy managing editor for Life magazine, has profiled Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan and Frank Sinatra, among others. In short, the book publishers plucked a line I intended to be objective and made it mildly subjective.

Still, it's fun to see my words next to an "Our Red Sox" review posted in Sports Illustrated. And I do like Sullivan and his book, so I suppose it's a win/win for everyone involved.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

See you on the flip-side

One year when I was bored, I had a fit of creative energy that needed to take the form of graphic design. So I decided to create logos that would be identical if you flipped them over 180 degrees.





And, of course:

SERICO. If I ever open a chain of high-end
Italian restaurants, this will be my logo.

Five-year reunion, revisited

Now that I finally have a moment to breathe, I've decided to offer my take on my five-year Boston College reunion last weekend. BC invites graduates from every fifth year (2000, 1995, 1990, etc.) to attend each summer. Too many details to cover, so I'll just have to cover the highlights:

First impressions: So I get to campus, which isn't that big a deal for me, considering I had just been there a month earlier for the Acoustics' annual Alumni Weekend, which includes the current group's Final Show. So I've seen all the new buildings, shaken my fist in the air over all the improvements I never experienced and laughed at the fact that the Plex still exists.

Playing hooky: The weekend included a few Super Seminars, which I naively thought would be packed to the gills at the start and diminish as the weekend went along. Reality kicked in when I showed up late to the first one and found half the seats empty and filled with, um, lots of alumni who didn't graduate in the last 20 years. So I did my best "I have to go do something important" charades at the front door by looking at my watch and walking around campus in search of arriving friends.

Campus crawl: It was great running into all sorts of people, starting with the usual How-are-you-What-Are-You-Doing-Where-Are-You-Living prerequisite and moving onto the You-Still-Dating-That-Guy-Girl awkwardness and finally relaxing into the Did-You-Get-The-Chappelle's-Show-DVD territory. By early evening, BC hosted a wine-tasting event in Gasson 100, which seems like a nice idea except for the fact that it was a sauna in there. I got my Coppolla, downed it, mopped my forehead and headed outside to the cooler, 85-degree weather. Jeez!

Evening Under The Stars/Who's On First: So BC hosted this nice little event in the Quad as the sun went down called Evening Under The Stars. Not bad, but skewed a bit toward the older crowd (as the wedding band seemed to indicate). A vast majority of the Class of 2000 bought tickets to this event at a notorious BC bar called Who's On First, famous for its, um, "open-door policy." Anyway, my friend Tamara and three other BCers from our year catch a vintage London taxi that takes us to Who's for FREE (thanks to the good people at the Alumni Association) and we enter the dragon affectionately known as Who's On Who. Perhaps not the best night to wear my suit jacket, but it was a really fun night. It was especially fun witnessing uninhibited conversation and aggressive flirting tactics due to the brevity of the weekend.

Celebrity? So while I'm talking with a friend-of-a-friend at Who's, I meet a girl who said she would have loved to have dated me in college, but she was intimidated by my "celebrity" status. A sweet comment for sure, but amusing for two reasons. One, she's married now. Two, the perception of a singing dork as hot commodity cracks me up. I suppose we singer won't quite get the groupies that the Division-I athletes do, but it's nice to know that singers aren't exactly ignored. Especially since I still sing on stage.

Flipcup: Apparently, I am a far better Flipcup player than I remembered. As the mob returned to campus to party it up in Walsh, I came across a flip cup table in the middle of the hallway and proceeded to wipe the beer-soaked floor with my madd flipp cupp skillzzzzz. I was beyond en fuego, repeatedly landing each blue Dixie on its head on first and second attempts.

Which got me thinking. What are my best alcohol-themed sports that I've played?

1. A**hole - Not only do I dominate the competition, but the smack-talk is off the charts.
2. Flipcup - For a game I rarely play, I fare extremely well.
3. Kings - Neither here nor there, considering luck plays a huge role.
4. Quarters - A very, very streaky game for me. Just ask Mark.
5. Beirut/Beer Pong - With the exception of one Aaron Boone-esque miracle night last year, the most humiliating of my beer-related sports.

Last weekend's Flipcup wins were getting embarassing, so I decided to meander and talk with more 2000ers until about 4:30 a.m. Attempts to sleep were squelched by the worst housing-assigned snorer in history, but I held up okay the next day.

Sports Huddle cameo: So because I had no trouble getting up due to the public address snorer Housing assigned to the same room as me, I grabbed perhaps the greatest sausage-and-cheese omelette in history at the dining hall and headed up to Devlin to catch the athletic director talk about the future of BC sports in a well-attended seminar. The AD is a very well-respected man among the alums, from what I can tell. So it was particularly cool to see Lesley Visser, a BC alumna, and her husband Dick Stockton stroll in to the lecture. Visser spoke for about three minutes at the end and I reintroduced myself at the end; we had met about three years earlier and shared a couple of laughs at a BC Sports Nite function in NYC. She's very cool and definitely a pro. I successfully resisted urges to drop to my knees and beg for a sports commentator position at CBS, but it wasn't easy.

Meditation: After the Sports Huddle seminar, I headed toward the Burns library lawn, where the school built a labyrinth that was dedicated in 2003 to the alumni who died in the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. The labyrinth is said to be conducive to medidation, especially when followed with a deliberate pace, so on the beautiful sunny day, I turned off my iPod and slowly strolled in circles with the path taking me on a 20-minute journey that, as the crow flies, is about 10 yards from start to finish. I wasn't quite in the right frame of mind to meditate, but it was a nice, peaceful moment to myself in an otherwise hypersocial weekend.

Plex Party/Casino Royale: Okay, so remember those high school dances that brought everyone to the campus gym that wasn't air conditioned and featured a dance floor empty other than 10 drunk girls and two of their unlucky dates? That was pretty much how the party at the aforementioned Plex went. Don't get me wrong, it was a lot of fun, but it was way too hot, nobody danced and it was way too spacious for people to interact. It also featured a fake casino in the back, which lacked the real money and scantily clad servers that make the experience complete. I fared very well, actually, doubling the fake chips I went in with. But then I realized I was neither winning actual money nor hanging out with people I may or may not see again at the 10-year reunion. So I bailed on that and got in as many laughs as I could before they shuttled us out the door at 11:30 p.m. for more Walsh partying.

Hallway madness: Okay, so remember Friday night? Saturday night was even crazier. The entire third floor was a river of Bud Light and everyone was covered in an equally thick layer of sweat. And it was SO much fun because there was no room for cliques or BS. It was just grab-a-beer, catch up and talk some smack. Continued to catch up with old friends and meet up with new ones, but frustratingly, my sophomore-year roomie Mike stopped by to look for me and didn't have my cell phone number. So now I owe him a few beers during my next Boston visit, because that was an awesome, unannounced gesture on his part.

Aces Up My Sleeve: So someone bought Class of 2000 playing cards that had fallen on the hallway floor. Leave it to me to pick up a couple of aces and tuck them under the rolled-up left sleeve of my purple button-down shirt. It was funny to see who understood what the hell I was doing and who was downright confused -- and who was both. But I got a kick out of it. And strangely, I was sober at the time. Went to bed at about 4:45 and the snorer had stopped snoring, miraculously! Got some sleep that I had missed the night before.

Duck Tour with John Lennon: So while most of the alums who remained on campus the morning after headed to see the Sox-Angels game, I opted not to punch myself repeatedly and instead go on one of those Duck Tours that I had heard so much about during my undergraduate years. So we get to Copley, where our regular bus drops us off and an amphibious vehicle lets us on. Because all of the drivers/sailors dress up as characters or celebrities, I cracked up as our tour guide was a DEAD RINGER for John Lennon, complete with the wire-rimmed glasses and pink suit from the Sgt. Pepper's era. The tour was awesome and something I wished I had done years earlier. Highly recommend it for history and sight-seeing buffs.

Cookie Karma: If you're still with me, here's my last tale from the weekend. The Duck Tour dropped us off at the Hard Rock Cafe, where the Duck Tour ticket purchased me a cheeseburger (big surprise, I know) and these absolutely melt-in-your-mouth cookies for free. Since no one else at the table wanted the cookies, I got to take all four of them with me in a take-out container. Somewhere between claiming my bag at Walsh and taking the T to South Station, I left the cookies behind. Expletives followed.

Fast forward three days to Wednesday night's Unsung Heroes rehearsal, where the ultra-sweet Juliana approached me at the end of the night and said she had a thank-you gift for taking her to a Garbage concert earlier in the year. She hands me a bag of awesome, home-made cookies. You gotta love that. I sure did.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

U2 ... again!!!

So I'm going to see U2 again Oct. 7. This time, terrible seats, but this time at Madison Square Garden! Boyeeeeee!

Here's the setlist of the May 26 show I saw with my buddy Sarah at the building-formerly-known-as-the-FleetCenter:

Setlist :
01. City of Blinding Lights
02. Vertigo / Walk this way
03. Elevation
04. Gloria
05. The Ocean
06. Beautiful Day
07. Miracle Drug
08. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
09. Love and Peace or Else
10. Sunday Bloody Sunday
11. Bullet the Blue Sky / The Hands That Built America
12. Running To Stand Still
13. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
14. Where The Streets Have No Name
15. One

First encore:
16. The Fly
17. Until the end of the World
18. Out of Control
19. With or without you

Second encore
20. All Because Of You
21. Original of the Species
22. Bad

Songs from 8 U2 albums were played during that show (snippets not counted).
· How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (7 songs)
· The Joshua Tree (4 songs)
· Achtung Baby (3 songs)
· All That You Can't Leave Behind (2 songs)
· Boy (2 songs)
· The Unforgettable Fire (2 songs)
· October (1 songs)
· War (1 songs)


Monday, June 06, 2005


So, I'm listening to iTunes as I wrap up this week's police blotter and the only streaming station that seems to work on my computer is a Z100-like station called Club 977. Before I talk too much smack about it, I have to say it's a good way for me to keep my finger on the pulse of "popular" music. Which finger, however, depends on the song.

While "What You Waiting For" was playing on the headphones, I thought about a recent Garbage concert, where Shirley Manson gave props to Blondie's Debbie Harry, who was in attendance that evening. Although the Shirley-Debbie comparisons are legit to a degree, I think Gwen Stefani's similarities to Debbie are striking. Both blondes broke ground in various distinctive genres and appealed to fans of all of them; for Debbie, it ranged from punk ("One Way Or Another") to disco ("Heart of Glass") to rap ("Rapture") to reggae ("The Tide Is High"). Although Debbie's the trendsetter in this case, Gwen's resume is even more impressive: ska (the entire self-titled No Doubt album), pop ("Just A Girl"), power ballads ("Don't Speak"), rap ("Hollaback Girl"/"Let Me Blow Your Mind"), reggae ("Underneath It All"), alternative ("Hella Good"), etc.

So yes, Gwen Stefani is a modern-day Debbie Harry. But in many ways, Gwen's surpassed her.

Yes, it's bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

Five years later

So I just got back from my five-year reunion at Boston College. And I thought I had enough energy to post a detailed blog about the whole weekend. No such luck. However, I am going to leave a few teasers to keep you hanging (and also so I don't forget a few of the topics I want to cover):

Who's On First
Sports Huddle cameo
Plex Party
Casino rumblings
Hallway madness
Aces Up My Sleeve
Duck Tour w/ John Lennon
Lost cookies

That is all.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Jeter's the man (but you already knew that)

Great piece by ESPN's Tim Kurkjian about Major League Baseball's most marketable player, who has three more rings than most of the current Red Sox.

I need articles like these in years like this one, when the New York Streakies are driving me cuckoo.

Deep Throat denial

Finding out the identity of Deep Throat is probably the most exciting reveal to a 20th century mystery that doesn't involve a Zapruder film. That said, I'm a little tired of the coverage. I get the feeling members of the media are far more interested in this story than commonfolk, considering most of us reporter types have seen and/or studied "All The President's Men."

But what's even more annoying are the comments from the losers who did time because of Watergate. I just find it funny that they find fault in someone serving as a whistleblower when they're the ones who should feel the guilt. Displacement, meet denial. Denial, displacement.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I'll have the Samuel Jackson

It'll getcha DRUNK!

Having spent the second half of Memorial Day watching Season Two of "Chappelle's Show," I'm quick to say it's been all I've anticipated to this point. I'm about halfway through the 13 episodes and it's easily one of the best DVDs I own. In all seriousness, I hope Dave takes his time in South Africa, centers himself and returns for a triumphant third season. "It's a celebration!"