Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thanks, everyone

Effective immediately, I will no longer be regularly writing my column. I feel I can no longer dedicate the time necessary to make it worthwhile to those who still read it. I also feel I can better use my time to other projects.

This is not to say that I will never write one again, they will just no longer be every Wednesday, they may not even be monthly. Writing my column has always been one of my favorite things to do, but I decided long ago that if I couldn't put the time into it that I needed, I would set it down.

I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and followed me, and I encourage all of you to read SeriouslyGuys.

Good day.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Just playing dirty

I write this upon completion of the 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Pittsburgh, PA at PNC Park brought to you by Chevrolet: An American Revolution, a presentation of FOX Sports. It’s no surprise that the American League won for the fourth time in a row.

Yes, the American Leaguers came from behind off a ninth inning Michael Young triple to win 3-2. This secures home field advantage for the beginning of the World Series, which by most forecasts will happen this fall.

It’s times like this that we must ask ourselves, why is there even a National League? Does anyone follow it? While I admit, I have witnessed a National League game, and even two inter-league games (which are illegal in Arkansas). Let me tell you, they were snooze fests, all of them. Due to the lack of the designated hitter rule, the game is less exciting and has less of a point.

The National League brand of baseball willfully foregoes the batter who knows how to hit and instead sends up its pitchers to bat. They might as well be sending up the batboys. It is because of the designated hitter rule that we--

I’m sorry, I’m being told that this is not a sports column, this is a humor column. Whoops.

Well in that case, enough about sports. Let’s talk about soccer.

We all know that this adorable hobby was played on the international stage recently in Germany. Rumors have spread to even the United States of its pageantry and mirth as displayed by its followers. Fortunately, the United States doesn’t care about soccer, or “football”--what a silly name!

However, there is a distant cousin of the game, born in Europe. The game is called swamp soccer. The game, though it has a similar name to its cousin, soccer, is vastly different.

For example, the playing time for each match is 24 minutes, that’s 12 minute per half for those of you who are too drunk for math at this hour.

Other swamp soccer rules include:

--It’s played in the mud.

--The number of substitutes is unlimited.

--All free kicks are indirect.

--And of course, players in each team much wear the same color top, fancy dress is allowed.

Simply stated: this is soccer, in the mud, potentially with guys in skirts.

As crazy as we are here in the United States, the Europeans appear to be crazier. What if the same crazy ideas were applied to other sports? Swamp baseball would be pretty boring until someone had to slide into base. There’s no telling where they would end up.

Swamp basketball? Every time someone would dribble the ball the mud would splatter everywhere. Not to mention all those twisted ankles on the landings after slam dunks. It would not be that interesting, really.

That is unless it was played exclusively by women, but that would apply to any mud-based sport, wouldn’t it?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Happy Independence Day

In recognition of the holiday. I'm taking a holiday this week. But you should head over to SeriouslyGuys.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cooking with virtually nothing

In our college days, meals were easy to come by. Sure, they weren’t as easy as when you had them made by your mother every evening, but they were pretty close. Your next meal was as close as the nearest dining hall, vending machine or 24-hour convenience store, and later, a bar.

Then, suddenly, you were thrust from the magnificent, Easy Mac-laden womb of college and born, bloody and screaming, into the real world, where you no longer have a meal plan, nor do you have the money to stock your mini fridge the way you used to.

You have to reinvent how you eat, or starve. You have entered the realm of the real world. If only you had paid attention in that cooking class you took in high school.

Have no fear, for I am about to provide you with a guide to dining in the post-college world, if you can even call it that.

First, you must have the essentials. These being: grains, meats, fruits and noodles. Coincidentally, these are often the cheapest things to buy. I think I should have my own cooking show:

Hello, and welcome to Don’t Burn Your Place Down, I’m Bryan McBournie. Today, we will be discussing some of the finer types of cuisine on a less than meager budget.

For our first meal, we take a box of pasta, almost any kind can do, they’re less than a dollar per box, bring to a boil. Melt some cheddar cheese in a small pan and place it on top of the pasta, then chop up some lunch meat. Done! Bologna alfredo for one!

Next up, a hot pocket. Simply take it out of the box, remove the plastic packaging, place the pocket inside the cardboard holder. Heat for two minutes and serve. Be careful! The inside of the pocket can be very hot.

This, more or less, is how cooking is done around my place. Another key factor in making anything a tasty treat is to make it really spicy. The reason for this is simple: if it’s spicy enough, you won’t be able to taste anything else anyway.

I would like to be able to say that this is not how I have eaten, but I cannot lie, at least not in a convincing manner. Here are some of the usuals around my neck of the woods:

Ham sandwich: Covers most of the basics, grains, meat, cheese, ummm … mustard?

Salad: They put this stuff in bags. Just stick your hand in there and pull some out and douse it in the creamiest and fattiest dressing you can find.

Baked chicken breast: Own a chicken? Split it in half and cook it. Then put it on a plate and eat it. Smother it in mayonnaise is you so wish.

Soup: It comes in a can. Open the can, pour it out. Heat in microwave.

Pizza: This one’s tricky. Find the number of your local pizza place. Take your phone and dial the number. Then tell the person on the other end what you want. Wait until they bring it to you. You can do anything you want while you’re making your pizza. Just remember to tip.

So while eating in the real world is not a very economical or healthy choice, it is often necessary. Go ahead and try to go without it, you food addict. You’ll be back for another hit. Take my advice, eat cheaply and save the money for the booze.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The new face of trees

This past weekend I was in a craft store. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I was not there to find fabrics so I could sew myself a cute dress. I did that last week. This time I was there because my girlfriend Liz needed to buy an electronic Sudoku game as a Father’s Day present for (guess who!) her father.

Speaking of which, where did this “Sudoku” thing come from? The first I heard about it was when the newspaper I work for began printing it a few weeks ago. I remember thinking, “Wow, this is just a bunch of squares with numbers in some of them,” and tossing it aside.

Then, just last week, Liz started playing it online instead of paying attention to me. So naturally I decided I would see what all the fuss was about. Here are the rules of Sudoku as I understand them:

1. You see the numbers that are already in the little squares? Good.

2. The object of the game is to put little numbers in the other boxes.

3. They must be single digits.

4. You might as well just put them in a random order, because you’re going to be wrong anyway.

In any case, it’s big with people who have free time on their hands.

We were having some difficulty locating the electronic games of this craft store. But this was no ordinary craft store; this was a craft store near Liz’s parents’ place in New Jersey. (SHHH! Stop making fun of New Jersey, she can hear you.) To the best of my knowledge, craft stores don’t carry electronic things, they carry unpainted wooden knickknacks and such.

We nicely asked a lady who worked there if they had the electronic Sudoku games, and she flatly gave us a “No.” But that wasn’t good enough, we had to search over the store. So we split up. Liz began searching the shelves from one corner to another, while I acted like I knew what I was looking for. I wouldn’t know an electronic Sudoku game if it tapped me on the shoulder and said in its Japanese accent, “Herro, Mr. McBournie. I the erectronic Sudoku game.” (Side note: My new favorite word is “erectronic.”)

During my search, like so many guys who search for things in a store they have little or no interest in, I stumbled upon something completely random and for some reason intrigued me. What I found was a product called Forest Faces. I was so shocked I took the picture below with my cell phone.

My assessment of the product was this: after purchasing Forest Faces, a person, presumably stricken with degenerative disease of the mind, takes this home and sticks in on his or her favorite tree.

This makes sense. I mean, how many times have you been having one of your six-hour long conversations with your favorite tree and thought to yourself, “Gosh, Woody, if only you had a face I could talk to. I don’t know where to look when I talk to you, for I am afraid of staring at your private area and not know it.”

I know I have said that many a time.

But seriously, I know that craft stores are filled with otherwise useless crap that looks cute, but faces on trees? Didn’t they have those on H.R. Pufnstuf?

Aside from broadcasting to your neighbors that you are a few munchkins shy of a baker’s dozen, what practical purpose can these things serve? The best I can come up with is to keep children out of your yard.

That’s right, little Timmy and his friends will stay off of your property when he sees that your trees are watching him, and they do not appear pleased.

That still doesn’t explain why they had an electronic Sudoku game in the craft store.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

If only drinks were as cheap as MP3s

Apologies for not having this up earlier, the website was down when I tried to post before work this morning.

I know it I’ve been doing these a lot lately, but it seems that there has been a great deal of stories related to alcohol coming out in recent weeks. Perhaps it’s the warmer weather, perhaps it’s the impending sense of doom. In either case, it’s time for Booze News!

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY—In a land known mostly for vodka consumption and overall hairiness, it seems that liquor is not the drink of choice for everyone in the country. In fact, some of the country’s hairiest have taken a liking to the wine.

According to Reuters, monkey and apes at the local zoo pound back 55 liters of red wine annually. It makes the tourists easier to deal with. No seriously, it helps boost their red blood cells, which makes sense. Drink red wine, increase red blood cells, drink white wine, increase white blood cells. Who needs medicine when there is self medication?

Budapest Zoo spokesman Zoltan (yes, Zoltan) Hanga said the apes and monkeys do not drink fancy wine, instead they drink “simple table wine.”

New term for cheap wine: Monkey Merlot.

WHEREVER THAT DAMN APPLE COMPUTERS COMPANY CALLS HOME—I remember my college days, way back to as long as five years ago. There was alcohol everywhere. The most common thing was cheap, urine-flavored beer that came in cases of 36 for roughly $4.75. It was the illegal Mexican worker of brew; incredibly cheap and will get the job done. It pretty much came out of the water fountains, and was certainly visible on campus. At any time of day.

I guess times have changed.

USA Today, a newspaper known for covering topics in the USA that actually took place the day before, college students prefer their iPods to booze. I suppose I can picture that—guys going out to a frat party, seeing girls in the corner and trying to get them drunk off the latest download from the Young Jeezy. That always leads to bad decisions. Or doing iTunes stands. This is a maneuver in which your friends hold you upside down at your computer while you download songs. There are also various downloading games, many involving a deck of cards. The loser of each round has to download a Michael Bolton single. The real insult there is that they will have to go through life knowing that they paid for that crap.

I have an iPod, and I have beer. I think you all know which one I would choose.

ORISSA, INDIA—Think there’s no such thing as justifiable homicide? Think again, hippy.

According to the Times of India, Lingaraj Behera, a resident of Jajespanga village in Phulbani district (of course) came home after a long day of work and asked his wife, Kanjak, for money to buy liquor. Women in the village have been protesting men’s drunken behavior and try to deny every man’s multi-appendaged god-given right to drink.

Kanjak was upset about her husband’s squandering of his pay on alcohol nearly every day. She felt it was going too far.

So naturally, Lingaraj, hurt by Kanjak’s reaction, grabbed an axe and killed his wife.

Was that last one bad judgment? We report, you decide.

In any case, that’s the way the world looks like through beer goggles!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Myspace: where the pirates are

More than a year ago, I wrote about the hottest thing to hit college campuses (or is it “campi?”) at that time. It was a site called Since I wrote about it, they seem to have dropped the “the” from their name. My guess is that it was too cumbersome.

When I wrote about that web site, back in January of 2005, facebook really was the hottest thing out there. Everyone was getting into it, it was in everyone’s instant message link. Hell, even I had a profile on there, I still have it now.

But when I wrote the column 17 months ago, there was a new, cooler, hipper thing on the Internet on the rise. Something so cool, so customizable, so incredibly addictive, it made facebook look like ratemyprofessor. The website lurked in the background, slowly enveloping souls day by day. It rose to be the most popular social website out there. It was called myspace.

In my facebook column, I even mentioned myspace, saying that it had creepy people on it. This was months before any of the stories came out about stalkers and pedophiles and 40 year-old Harry Potter fans with profiles on the site.

Since then, it has grown to be a monster, a virtual paradigm (take THAT, word I don’t know the meaning of!) of what the world could be if anyone cared to learn about people. Myspace has become so big that it’s too big for just me to handle, that’s why my good friend and myspace aficionado, Pirate Pete, dropped in to say ahoy.

ME: Welcome back, Pete. It’s been too long.

PETE: Yarrr, that is has, matey. How be ye? Still fancy the plank?

ME: This isn’t about me, this is about myspace. You’ve been getting a pretty good response since setting sail on the myspace seas, haven’t ye—I mean, you?

PETE: I have indeed. There be a lot o’ pirates on myspace.

ME: Why do you think that is, Pete?

PETE: Pirates have always been out there. Most wouldn’t know it, but they be around every corner. Most o’ the time they be on the search for treasure.

ME: So why myspace?

PETE: Why not, matey? Myspace be a place where a pirate can be a pirate, without fear o’ gettin’ arrested and hanged by the local guards at whatever port he be in. On myspace, pirates can discuss plunderin’, pillagin’ and drinks to their hearts’ content.

ME: So, it acts as a gathering place for pirates?

PETE: Aye. Now let’s get back to ye. Have ye told yer crew that ye be a poop deck swabber?

ME: That’s not appropriate. I’m not really even sure what that means, but I’m sure that it can’t be good.

PETE: Come now, lad. If anyone knows ye fancy the menfolk, it should at least be yerself.

ME: That’s enough, Pete! I have a girlfriend. Every time I bring you on here you make some jokes about how I am supposedly gay. This interview is over.

PETE: Oh ye, think so, do ye?

ME: Yes, see? I stopped writing down your answers to my questions. I will no longer be asking questions and you will no longer be answering them.

PETE: That means nothin’, matey. All yer readers can still read what we say.

ME: I don’t believe you.

PETE: Go ahead, look for yerself.

ME: How the hell did that happen? How are you doing that, Pete? I order you to stop at once!

PETE: Harrr. Ye of all people should know that I take orders from no man. More so, that I can steal anythin’. See ye next week, folks.

ME: Not if I have anything to say about it.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Happy birthday to me

There's no column today because I am way too hungover was out of town for the long weekend and yesterday was my birthday. Fear not, the column will be back next week!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Pick your poison

It’s almost Memorial Day weekend. That means that Americans across the country will be celebrating the long weekend with their friends and family. And what brings friends and family closer than alcohol? It’s time for Booze News!

PALM BEACH, Fl.—With the temperatures rising, everyone needs a cool drink to cool them down. The question is, what drink will Americans choose? Here’s a hint, don’t believe the beer ads.

According to the Palm Beach Post, a recent poll showed that Americans prefer to drink wine over beer. Great, now we’re one step closer to being like the French.

That’s right, in between swishing around the contents of their glass and sniffing it, Americans said that they would prefer a chardonnay to a good old American beer that tastes remarkably like urine. What is happening to society, and why can’t I get paid to do surveys like that?

Last year, wine sales reached a record $26 million. That is a 115 percent increase over wine sales in 1995. That reaches about 14 bottles per adult. The good news there at least is that we as a nation are boozing more, even if it is in the most pretentious manner possible.

EDMONTON, CANADA—Though Americans may have turned their backs on beer, it is clear that Canadians have not. But then again, their beers are stronger anyway.

According to the Edmonton Sun, the most ironically named newspaper in history, hockey fans in Edmonton are putting quite a strain on local beer supplies. More so, liquor stores are busier right now than they are at Christmas, which is traditionally the boozingest holiday of the year (“Hey guys, let’s get hammered with the baby Jesus!).

What this is all aboot is that the Edmonton Oilers are in the NHL playoffs. So, naturally, Oilers fans, and there are a great number of them, flock to local bars or liquor stores for a libation or twelve.

The strain is so much that bars have had to place emergency orders for beer, as they are in danger of running out. They also send employees out to liquor stores to replenish their supplies. Maybe Canada isn’t all that bad after all, eh?

LOS ANGELES—Is your drink of choice something strong and none too tasty? You may feel like you’re a better drinker for drinking something stronger, but you might be wrong.

According to Reuters Health, because Los Angeles is considered one of the healthiest cities in the world, drinks with artificial sweeteners can result in higher alcohol absorption. Plainly put, that Smirnoff Ice, if it had more alcohol in it, could get you drunk faster than shots.

The reason is that the artificial sweeteners can make your stomach empty faster, resulting in the alcohol getting into your system faster. A group of Australian scientists (Many people do not realize this, but L.A. is really in Australia.) did an experiment to test their theory.

Eight male subjects drank an orange flavored vodka drink with sugar and 478 calories. The next day they drank a diet mixer with the same amount of alcohol, sugar and 225 calories. Blood samples were taken every half hour. “The peak blood alcohol concentration was significantly higher with the diet drink than with the regular drink. The blood alcohol concentration was also higher with the artificial sweetener than with the sugar-sweetened drink.” Start buying artificial sweetener to put in your drinks, folks. Don’t worry about stares from people at the bar, you know what you’re doing and they don’t.

And that’s the way the world looks through beer goggles.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Keith Richards: picture of health

Since the dawn of time, humans have believed in myths. In an attempt to explain that which had no ready explanation, humans made up stories and theories about things we know to be false, like dragons, mermaids and the female orgasm.

Today, we know myths better as “urban legends,” which sounds more like an exhibit at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Yet even though we know myths are often untrue, we are still drawn to them and pass them along to friends. If enough people believe it, maybe Elvis really is still alive. My friend’s former roommate’s coworker said she saw him at the grocery store last year. The King was buying toilet paper and raisins.

Yet for those who believe in these tall tales, it’s been rough lately. Urban legends have been given painful and rather public deaths. I know what some of you are thinking, and no, the Irish Curse is not one of them.

Aliens are real, just ask Tom Cruise. However, if you ask the U.K. Ministry of Defense, little green men, do not, in fact, exist.

According to BBC News, a confidential report done by the Ministry of Defense in 2000 set out to see if reports of unidentified flying objects had any merit. The answer they found: no, aside from several reports of a woman flying around by the handle of her umbrella.

The 400-page document, titled “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the U.K.” bears the stamp, “Secret: U.K. Eyes Only,” which is exactly why it is not a secret and has been seen by non-Britons. It finds “No evidence exists to suggest that the phenomena seen are hostile or under any type of control, other than that of natural physical forces.”

“Bloody hell!” has been the response from the English UFO community.

The report continues, “Evidence suggests that meteors and their well-known effects and, possibly some other less-known effects are responsible for some unidentified aerial phenomena.”

OH SNAP! Take that UFO community!

But to be fair, the U.K. was one of a handful of Western governments that claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction leading up to the subsequent 2003 invasion of Iraq.

For those of you with your DoM scorecards playing along at home, that’s:

WMDs: Yes.

UFOs: No.

Some are calling it a medical miracle, others are calling it just plain weird, while still others are mumbling incoherently from behind a cigarette. According to E Online News, a hotbed of the news that really matters, Keith Richards’ brain is just fine.

Recently, Rolling Stones guitarist and walking corpse Richards whacked his head on either a coconut or a Jet Ski. I often get those mixed up myself. Jet Ski-flavored rum definitely does not taste as good as coconut rum.

Richards whacked his head pretty hard. He was on vacation in Fiji. According to some reports, Richards fell while he and band mate Ron Wood picked coconuts (ROCK ‘N ROLL!), another story involves a crazed Jet Ski whacking Richards on the ol’ noggin.

Lizard lips himself sustained a concussion and was hospitalized (Wood was not injured in the vicious gravity/ Jet Ski attack), tests showed that there was no other damage to his brain. Those are facts. The wording is questionable, but it sounds like Richards’ brain had normal function.

Said Richards, “Mmmnuh ruullmmm alllaayyyerrrr, roight?” Richards then laughed at a joke only he got.

The incident was not the first gravity-involved accident Richards has had. In 1998, Richards fell off of a ladder while trying to reach a book in his library in his Connecticut home. This lead to another dispelled myth about Richards: no matter how high he gets, he can always drop like a Stone.

(Now, I would appreciate it if you filled out the survey on the right.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Technical difficulties

The ol' computer is giving me troubles this week, so there will be no column today. Rest assured, it will be back next week!

Until then, head over to SeriouslyGuys.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The gassiest nation this side of Mexico

Some of you may have heard about the recent jump in gas prices. I personally have not had to deal with such issues, as I have an alternative form of transportation. However, week after week, I get a clamoring to discuss this issue. So, being the stubborn and hard-headed person that I am, I am giving in to public pressure.

The most common question is this: why are oil prices going up all of a sudden?

Good question. As we all know, all of the oil in the world is controlled by one corporation, OPEC. Wait, OPEC isn’t a corporation, nor does it control all of the oil in the world. Oh well, I’m sticking with it.

As I was saying, over the past few years, OPEC has been taking more and more oil for itself. Why? They need oil to light their magic lamps. Otherwise Robin Williams will come out and start singing songs about what a great friend he is.

This means that this summer, our SUVs sitting in gridlock with the AC cranked will have to find some way of cutting back on our gas. The US has never had such problems. In fact, just a century ago, oil was so plentiful it was even found in whales!

Your parents may tell you about the big bad days of the Oil Crisis, when gas stations were sold out for weeks at a time, and restrictions had to be placed on who could buy gas and when. Fortunately, those stories, much like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or space flight, are all made up and told to you to make sure you behave yourself.

Hippies might tell you that there are alternative forms of fuel out there. They will say stuff like, “bio diesel could save us.” Oh really? So explain to me how we are growing to grow all that corn, not eat it and then transport it to gas stations? Corn belongs in the only one place: distilleries in Kentucky.

However, some of you may point out that I have not solved the problem at all, merely danced around the issue. That is why I have compiled a list of ways for you to get around this summer.

Hitch hike. You know how they always do that in movies? Never mind how those movies end, you just know that they start off with a hitch hiker. There is nothing safer and cheaper than hitch hiking. To insure that you get picked up, don’t have a beard, be a young blonde girl and wear short shorts. You’ll soon be at your destination for no charge at all!

Buy a skateboard. After you buy the skateboard, learn how to ride it. Learn the balance of it, and make sure you learn how to speed up. Then, grab hold of a car’s bumper when it’s at a stop light. Crouch down so the driver can’t see you. You’re off and going to wherever the car is. Hey, it worked in Back to the Future. And don’t worry about buying pads and a helmet, those are for losers!

Befriend a dolphin. I will admit, this one only seems to work if you live near the ocean. If you don’t, befriending a dolphin might have a completely different, and quite possibly illegal, context.

“Dude, I’ll get you next time.” A couple weekends ago, my compatriots and I assembled at a favorite bar of ours. Natch, we needed a place to crash for the weekend. Our host was more or less broke. Being paid the glorious wage of a real life journalist, and my friends being of equal pay grades, we decided to sport him for the weekend. I personally bought the guy, whom I still refuse to name, drinks. I even bought him a pack of smokes. Then what does he do? He gets us kicked out of our favorite bar for taking a nap then goes AWOL by midnight. The following night, the unnamed subject goes missing yet again by midnight. Our host had drunkenly abandoned us two nights in a row. That’s that you have to do. Ensure your chums that you’re good for it and that their services will be repaid. Little do they know.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Beatle from beyond the grave

I think of myself as a realist more than anything else. Basically, that means that I don’t believe in crazy notions like psychics, mediums or peanut butter (how can they possibly make is spreadable?). I don’t believe it’s possible for anyone to communicate with the dead unless they present hard evidence.

Then I heard about EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomenon. Some of you may have seen the movie White Noise, starring Michael Keaton. For those of you who have not seen it, you’re not missing anything. However, the movie is based upon EVP, the phenomenon of modern electronic devices picking up the voices of people while tuned to static. The only catch is that you have to play it back, and there is never a guarantee of picking anything up.

Still the phenomenon at least brings across some evidence. The AA-EVP, or Alcoholics Anonymous EVP, has a website that has several recordings of what appear to be drunken dead people answering questions (most common response: “booooooooze”).

OK, maybe they’re not drunk; maybe the AA stands for “American Association of.” But I like my idea better.

At any rate, white people with a great deal of spare time have been into EVP since electronic devices could record sound. So will it take long for the rise in EVP interest to be capitalized upon further for an ever-believing public? If you answered yes, slap yourself.

Earlier this week, in an In Demand special, a séance was held to contact John Lennon from beyond the grave. The $9.95 event was brought to you by the same people who brought you 2003’s failed attempt to contact Princess Diana. Apparently only English people do TV specials after death. I look forward to hearing from Shakespeare in my upcoming interview. Only problem is, I can’t tell if I have a response until I play back the tape.

ME: Oh great and powerful ghost of Shakespeare, we implore that you bring thy most literate soul forward. Wherefore art thou, Shakespeare?

SHAKESPEARE: You ignorant fool! Do not you realize that ‘wherefore’ means ‘why?’

ME: If you are out there, oh Shakespeare. I must admit to you that I am not a big fan of yours. I found your plays good fodder for bedtime and little else.

SHAKESPEARE: Ye strumpet! May Zeus himself send down a bolt to strike from your head such a notion.

ME: I did, however walk past your Globe Theatre. It looked to be a nice place from the outside. I am sure you enjoyed putting on your plays there. Also, I went to The Anchor, a pub you frequented in London in your time. I am still not sure I understand the warm beer thing you limeys like to drink.

SHAKESPEARE: Clearly thy tour guide makes a poor workman. Both of those buildings burned down, the Globe Theatre in 1613 and The Anchor in the London fire of 1666. Truly, the buildings you entered were not the same as I.

Anyway, apparently the Lennon organizers had better luck this time around in contacting the dead and famous. According to Reuters, audio crew members, a psychic and an expert in paranormal activity claim they made contact with Lennon via EVP.

The show’s organizers say during the séance, held in La Fortuna restaurant, frequented by Lennon in life, the psychic’s voice feed cut out momentarily. When they went back to listen to the audio again, they found the EVP.

“Peace … The message is Peace,” Reuters quoted Lennon as saying.

I wonder if George Harrison is hurt no one thought to contact him.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Nothing this week

Sorry folks. You should head over to SeriouslyGuys this week. I have stuff on there.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sauce: the final frontier

The other night I was curled up with the Good Book, and I do not mean a bartender’s manual. As I lay there on my bed I came across a verse that caught my eye. I think it has given me new hope. I would like to share it with you:

“Give strong drink to them that are sad and wine to them that are grieved in mind, Let them drink, and forget their want, and remember their sorrow no more.”
-Proverbs 31:06-07

It was then that I realized it, God wants us to drink. That’s why I’ve taken up a new hobby, boozing with the Bible. But enough of that, it’s time for Booze News!

BELGIUM—When you were in school, did you ever want to drink in class? Better yet, did you have the huevos to make it happen? In Belgium, the dream lives on for what could be an entire generation of sloshed students.

According to IOL, a South African online newspaper (because when I want the latest on Belgium, I head to South Africa) a Belgian organization called The Louvian Beer Therapists believe that schools should serve children beer. The argument is that low alcohol beer would be healthier for children than soda or punch. Low alcohol? Kids have to start somewhere, I suppose.

"Why don't schools put a bottle of light beer on the table anymore like they used to do?” said spokesperson An Frankie.

Ah yes, that take me back to my days in middle school. I would get to the lunch table, sitting with Chris, Trevor, Jake, Brad, John and David, and we would start the timeless tradition of trading drinks. I remember one time in 6th grade I traded my Keystone Light for Trevor’s Guinness. That was a good lunch.

ITHACA, N.Y.Cornell University is trying to regain their title as number one party school in the nation, and leading the way are horticulturists. At first I thought this was a dirty word, then I looked it up, turns out it means “one who studies the science of growing plants.”

Naturally, one would think that if a horticulturist was making news about partying, it would be more likely covered in High Times than Booze News, but not this time. According to the Associated Press, William Miller, director of Cornell's Flower Bulb Research Program, if you want a small stem and leaf but a normal size blossom on your plant, don’t give it Miracle Grow, give it moonshine.

Miller found that giving plants a diluted form of liquor stunts the growth of the stem and leaves of a plant, but does not affect the size of the blossom. This means that if you like miniaturized trees, get them trashed.

So far Miller has only tried it on daffodils, but promises results on other types of flowers, as well.

"Maybe, instead of charging $1 for a bulb. You can market that $1 bulb with a mini bottle of Tanqueray, insert a little card with some history and instructions, put it in a fancy package and charge $10 for it,” said Miller.

Perhaps Miller should be the head of Cornell’s Business Department instead.

PARIS—As it turns out, if you think you’ve been to every bar on Earth, you’ve still got more to hit. Only thing is that it’s going to be a hell of a walk.

According to Agence France Presse, astronomers say they have found a cloud of alcohol in space. I swear this is true.

The cloud is roughly 288 billion miles across. Which theoretically, could supply California with sauce in space for roughly a week. It is shaped like a bridge, as well. A bridge to blacking out with black holes.

Britain's Jodrell Bank Observatory made the discovery. So let us all raise a glass to them. The bottom line is that you, too, can drink with the stars!

And that’s the way the world looks through beer goggles.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spring is the time for picking flowers, then beating people with them

As some of you know, I am a reporter in real life. That pretty much means I live the life of a rock star—25 cent pasta for dinner every night, regular gas and not going to bed until well after 11:30 p.m. So you can safely assume that as a reporter, I have seen it all. I thought I had, too.

That is until I was once again awestruck by the arrival of spring.

I think everyone likes spring, baseball arrives, the weather is warmer and drinking outside become chic again (take THAT, neighbors). But what I think most people like about the coming of spring is the sense of rebirth. Everyone one looks, there are buds on trees and the grass is quickly getting greener. The rebirth of the world reminds us of youth and in turn, reminds us of young love.

In springs past, the former reason had eluded me. I just didn’t care about the way the world looked, nor did I get a warm, fuzzy feeling all over (not since puberty, anyway). Then earlier this week, I saw young love at work and it came to me in the form of a press release from the Queen Anne’s County (Maryland) Sheriff’s Office.

For those of you who are not familiar with Queen Anne’s County, it’s fairly rural, but only an hour away from DC and Baltimore. This means, it has all the perks of a white trash community with the certifiably insane drivers of an urban area.

In this suburban paradise, I saw all the other signs of spring, brush fires, multiple-car accidents and, of course, drug arrests. One thing I had never seen, was pedestrian hit by a car.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, a 16 year-old girl was talking with her 18 year-old ex-boyfriend. In the spirit of spring, they were trying to start anew and work out their differences. That is until the ex-boyfriend decided to hit the girl with his truck.

Instantly, my reaction was, “ah, to be young again.”

Apparently, the impact was at a low speed, because the girl was fine and the ex-boyfriend was charged with first degree assault. Nothing says “I love you” like imprinting the Ford symbol into your lady’s forehead.

And it seems that spring fever is spreading across the world, except in the parts where it is now turning fall. What more romantic a place to be in spring than in Paris?

Ah, Paris, where one can rise in the morning, walk out to their window overlooking the city, and be greeted by the smell of tear gas. I know it chokes me up every time I smell it.

Masses of young people have taken to the streets of Paris to protest the new youth labor law recently signed into law. Protesters say the law will make it harder for them to get a job. So, they began to burn cars do other rioty things.

There was is one difference between these daily protests and the protests of other western countries: there was a wisp of pretension in the air along with the tear gas. Though some protesters were peaceful, they still made their grievances known as snottily as possible.

The Middle East had an early taste of spring in the past few months, but it seems they may be hitting an early summer now.

You know what that means, barbeques, lemonade and genocide trials.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sabbatically speaking

No column this week. See you next Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Patrick, patron saint of the bar tab

I am a proud Irish-American. My family has been in this country for four generations. We Irish have had an important part in America’s history, we fought in the Civil War, we built skyscrapers and we dedicated ourselves to the community by becoming police officers and firefighters. It’s a shame that St. Patrick’s Day had to come around and ruin that, making the Irish people stereotypes of drunken miscreants.

These are the thoughts that passed through my head as I celebrated the day by drinking copious amounts of whiskey, dancing, singing and fighting.

St. Patrick, who was born in 387, was made famous for driving the snakes out of Ireland and explaining the Holy Trinity of Catholicism to the barbarians by using a three-leaf clover to explain. St. Patrick died on March 17 around 460. To celebrate St. Patrick’s life, the date of his death was made a holiday, thus beginning the long tradition of the Irish obsession with death.

So where did the stereotype come from?

During the massive influx of immigrants to the U.S. in the 1800s, the Irish were coming in droves. Americans who didn’t like the Irish immigrants saw the Irish as subhuman, almost ape-like drunkards.

I tried to kill that horrid thought from my mind as I took a sip and listened to a traditional Irish song:

Now whiskey is the life of man,
Always was since the world began.

Whiskey-o, Johnny-o,
Rise her up from down below,
Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey-o,
Up aloft this yard must go
John rise her up from down below.

Now whiskey gave me a broken nose,
And whiskey made me pawn me clothes ….

And still I had no idea what perpetuated the stereotype. The land of happy wars, sad love and most likely the cause of emo rock today, did not seem to in any way suggest why such racism would come about.

I hear American-Indians complaining about racism in being made into stereotypical mascots. Irish-Americans suffered a similar fate. Just look at the depictions of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish or the Boston Celtics. Yet through it all, the brave Irishman marches with his head held high, I told everyone in the bar.

We all raised a glass to the proud Irish-American pride and tradition, and to St. Patrick, and to our proud ancestors, and to Ireland herself, and to the boats we came over on, and to Larry Bird and to Shaquille O’Neal.

After all of the toasting was finished, the crowd finally let me make my point: we are not stereotypes, we are proud and accomplished people who look to the past for advice and look to the future for inspiration and that spirit shall never—

It was at that point that I fell off my stool.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Women make more than men, it’s just usually in $1 bills

Hello, I’d like to talk to you about your personal finances. I would also like to talk to you about your sex life, your job, and your gender. I know what you’re thinking, and no, this column has not been sponsored federal government (motto: “Saying ‘Da Bomb’ on a Cell Phone Means You Are a Terrorist”).

Everyone knows that women make 76 cents per dollar that men make. Personally, I found this shocking. I thought it should be much, much lower than 76 cents. Eventually I came to grips with the numbers. I no longer think it should be lower, I think it should stay right where it is.

Who has to buy the drinks at the bar? Who has to buy the dinners, tickets, gifts, engagement rings and roofies? If you answered “both guys AND girls do, you chauvinist,” then you need to lay off the weed, hippie.

I was comfortable with the 76 cent thing until I read an article that said that that statistic, wherever it came from, was misleading. Apparently, that statistic is based on the comparison of the median earnings of all men and women. I took some math classes, and passed with flying C’s, so I know that that is probably something misleading.

According to CNN, the problem is that the statistic doesn’t compare “equal work, equal training, equal education or equal tenure. Nor does it take into account the hours of overtime worked.”

All of a sudden I was unsure of my world. Aren’t I supposed to make more than my female counterparts, regardless of my effort? Should I start making women open doors for me?

Then CNN hit me with another startling fact: according to their survey, 43 percent of couples said they were more likely to fight about money than fight about sex. I was taken aback. People argue about sex? Do they argue about whether or not to have it, or what activities should be done? Would it even be worth arguing over?

I’m still not sure I understand that one, but luckily, they produced two more statistics to calm me down: 51 percent of those same couples said they were more likely to fight about doing chores than money and 41 percent said they would argue about the kids more than they would about money.

Good. This means that the average American couple doesn’t care about money. They care more about who is going to take out the garbage or who is going to tell Bobby where babies come from.

I can see it now:

BOBBY: Dad, where do babies come from?

DAD: Well, I think that’s really something you should ask your mother.

MOM: Oh, don’t you start with that one, mister! You know damn well it’s your job to tell him about the birds and the bees since you never take out the garbage!

DAD: Fine. OK, son, when two people love each other very much, they—um, well, you see ….

MOM: Yeah! That was your explanation for your performance last night, you jerk! You keep getting “stage fright” and it’s over, mister!

DAD: Hey, he’s your kid, too, you know! If I paid you $60 would you talk to him for me?

MOM: Oh, don’t get me started on money, Charles!

BOBBY: I’ll be outside.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Drunks of the world, stagger together!

The back of your throat is a bit dry. Your tongue is salivating and you don’t know why. That’s when you realize that you’re actually quite parched. It can only mean one thing: it’s time for Booze News!

WASHINGTON, AND I MEAN THE CITY, NOT THE STATE—It’s a city that is known for its architecture and sober sense of duty. OK, maybe just the first one. Yet now one of the city’s numerous historical sites is in danger of being gutted into another apartment building. That building is known as the “house that beer built.”

Believe it or not, it’s not made out of empty beer cans.

According to the Associated Press, the Brewmaster’s Castle, located near local hot spot (for homosexuals) Dupont Circle, a 31-room Victorian building built in 1894, is in danger of being sold to the highest bidder unless $250,000 is paid for the mortgage.

The Brewmaster’s Castle was built by German immigrant Christian Heurich, who wanted to build his new home in the style of the castles in the land of his birth. His beer was served to presidents. This was in the glory days of breweries, when breweriess were as local as wineries were and still are today.

The building, which I drove past daily last year and only recently found out what it was, has numerous inscriptions painted on its walls, such as the classic, “He who has never been drunk is not a good man.”

Does this building deserve to be ruined? It’s time to organize, followers of the bottle.

WEST BEND, Wis.—According to the AP, a semi truck was stolen recently. It was found a few days later by authorities. Needless to say, it was empty. However, the plot twist comes in when you find out that the truck was loaded with nearly $26,000 worth of Miller Lite beer. Keep in mind it’s a cheap beer, so that is large amount of booze.

It just might be the perfect crime, that is, if they can find a getaway driver sober enough to drive.

Among the missing (and presumed dead) are:

-384 24-packs of Miller Genuine Draft cans

-560 18-packs of MGD 12-ounce bottles

-980 18-packs of MGD 12-ounce cans

-40 24-packs of Miller Light 16-ounce plastic bottles

In other news, I swear I have never been to Wisconsin.

MILWAUKEE, Wis.—There is nothing more boring that a classy art museum. So, in order to make it appealing to the public, the Milwaukee Art Museum showed off its new Santiago Calatrava addition by hosting Martinifest. You already know where this one is going.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, those who attended the formal event were given unlimited, yes, unlimited martinis for $30.

“Hindsight is 20-20 . . . it was probably too cheap,” said Kerry Wolfe, a local programming director for Clear Channel, who organized the event. Let’s just say if you have enough belts in you, you might get the artwork a little better.

“It was crazy. People were shoving people over. People were getting sick, screaming, shouting, messing with the artwork,” said Kathleen Christians, in what is so far the greatest quote of 2006.

The Sentinel Journal reported that two artworks were being reviewed for damage.

And that’s the way the world looks through beer goggles, until next time, drink up, there are starving children in Africa!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What happens in Gettysburg stays in Gettysburg

Gettysburg—as any child in public schools can tell you, it was where George Washington signed the Declaration of Independence, thus ending slavery. Without a doubt, it is one of our nation’s most important landmarks. I’ve been there myself, and let me tell you, it certainly is a large, grassy area.

OK, I just Googled Gettysburg, looks like it was some sort of battle during the Civil War that was inspired by a TV miniseries of the same name. I, of course knew that, as I was a history minor. Now, developers are looking to turn that waste of land for something more useful: casinos.

But for some reason, this has people, in particular Civil War buffs. You know, the middle-aged men who think it is fun to lie still in the hot summer sun pretending to be shot dead in the middle of a battle. The Civil War Preservation Trust placed the battlefield on its top ten most threatened sites in America.

“Hallowed ground, where more than 600,000 Americans gave their lives, is being paved over in favor of shopping malls, housing tracts and even gambling casinos,” said, James Lighthizer, the trust’s president.

Waaa. Waaa. Waaa.

These Civil War hate mongers are forgetting what the Civil War was all about: property rights. The South wanted to keep their property (slaves), and the North wanted to liberate that property and let the property do whatever it wanted to do (as long as it wasn’t near white people). The Internet tells me that the North won the Civil War. The Internet also tells me that hot young women want to be my friend. Whether or not they had a hand in the battle of Gettysburg’s outcome is uncertain.

It seems to me that the Civil War Preservation Trust is going against the very foundations of the North’s cause. By trying to control the property and keep it the way it has been for 142 years, the trust is doing the exact same thing that the South was doing. Constitutional fact: a battlefield has 3/5 of a vote, which is controlled by the battlefield’s owner. If a battlefield owner has several battlefields, that owner gets to cast the appropriate amount of votes for its battlefields.

Is this what 50,000 men made the ultimate sacrifice for? Did these men gamble with their lives to never allow gambling on that hallowed ground ever again? And how does that metaphor fit in with the “house always wins” cliché? What do you have to say about that, America?

And why is it when there is a battle that we can never use that land again for anything ever again? Maybe we shouldn’t have battles at all, since the soldiers will only mess up the terrain. Do you realize this means that we can never make Iwo Jima the island paradise God made it to be? For shame!

Let us all keep in mind that gambling was a pastime for soldiers, as it is today.

Fact: Amputations were common when treating injuries to limbs. Surgeons would often sever hundreds of limbs in a single day. Prior to the surgery, the injured soldier was issued a shot of brandy before having a limb hacked off by a saw still dripping with other soldiers’ blood. This gave rise to the myth that Civil War soldier couldn’t hold his booze.

With all of these Civil War soldiers walking (or hopping) around with missing limbs, would it not be appropriate to honor these brave, if inebriated men by installing one-armed bandits around the battlefield?

Keep up the fight, brave soldiers of the Union. You fight for freedom—and a bucketful of quarters.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Off the cuff, off the rocker

I am about to try something I have never done before. Stop your thoughts right there, because I am NOT going to make out with a dude. Perverts. I am about to pick some random stories. Random to me, random to you and random in topic. I will attempt to make the column interesting, but more importantly, I will try to tie them all together. I will do all of this with my hands tied behind my back.

OK, maybe not that last part. I need my hands to type.

BERLIN, Germany—They are organizing a parade in Berlin. Your instinct is probably one to run or call the United Nations, but you don’t need to this time around. It’s a Love Parade, and apparently they’ve done it in the past.

Founder Matthias Roeingh (your guess is as good as mine) told Reuters that they expect 1 million people to attend the Love Parade on July 15, which is six days after the least-cared-about tournament in the U.S., the World Cup.

The parade doesn’t seem to really have a march in it at all, which is odd, because the Germans love to march. Instead, it will just be a block party. Booths will be set up for vendors, streets will be blocked off, and techno, the arch-enemy of the hangover, will be blasting.

This probably means that ugly Euro trash like the ones in fthis picture from Love Parade 2003 will be there. Count me out.

THE INTERNET—Everyone knows that the Internet has made our lives so much easier. Now, we can say LOL instead of actually laughing on the phone, and we can Google ourselves all night long. Now we can order pizza online while we look at porn. It truly is a magical invention. Yet somehow, the Internet got even more magical with the advent of social websites.

Now, even I can be friends with Mr. T and let the world know that I own a Mandy Moore CD. Web sites like and let you post a picture of you drinking, in a large group of people or just plain heavily photoshopped. Some websites even let you post blog entries about how miserable you are.

But could they be bad for you?

According to the Associated Press, they could, if you are a teenager. Apparently, these social sites aren’t just for one’s peers, it is also for stalkers. Adults can readily see any information a teenager posts on their myspace account, including the town they are from and their age.

In Connecticut, two girls were sexually assaulted by people they may have met on myspace, and rumors seem to crop up every time there is a new teen murder that they met on the largest social website on the web.

Case in point, I met my girlfriend on myspace, and she has no idea that I plan to kill her, aside from the fact that I tell her constantly.

NEW YORK—According to Billboard, Barry Manilow topped U.S. charts recently for the first time in nearly 30 years. His album is a bunch of 50s covers. I am still too shocked by this to make any jokes. Read it for yourself.

OK, so we’ve got the Love Parade, myspace and Barry Manilow. This is a tough one. How am I going to bring the three of these together? Well, the Germans tried to take over the world (twice), myspace, with 2 ½ times Google’s traffic is taking over the World Wide Web, and Manilow once sang Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got the World On a String.” I’ve got it! They’re all taking over the world!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everybody. Eat some candy, I'll be back next week.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Valentine's Day is for parrots

Now that Christmas and New Year’s have passed and brought those with people who care joy and generally warm feelings, how will society make the lonely want to kill themselves? What is next on the horizon? Ah yes, St. Valentine’s Day, the day couples fondly commemorate the massacre of seven gangsters in Chicago in 1929. Awww.

In any case, V-day is here once again, and that can me only two things: a boost in condom sales—and it’s time once again to learn the lessons of love the hard way!

V-day is the celebration of love and for being with the one you care about, right? Wrong, dumbass. It’s a day for being a jerk. According Business Wire, one divorce lawyer says it’s the busiest day of the year for them.

“Valentine's Day brings out the best and the worst in human nature and is a hugely popular day for filing divorce papers, scheduling hearings and generally wreaking legal havoc,” said Beverly Pekala, whose soul was consumed decades ago in the fires of Hell. “Many clients want everything squared away before the 14th because they're packing their bags and going to Vegas to marry the new girlfriend or boyfriend.”

Lesson learned:

You are behind in your plans to have Elvis marry you and the hooker you met last week.

India is often called the largest democracy in the world. It is also called the place where they worship extra-limbed elephants. Yet in this overpopulated country, V-day is not celebrated as it should be. In fact, in one area, it’s just the opposite.

In a part of India called Shiv Sena, those who celebrate V-day are punished. At least they used to be. According to Mid-Day, an Indian news corporation, a man named Raj Thackeray is something of a big deal in Shiv Sena. Though it’s not clear from the article if he has any sort of elected office, it is clear that he has power.

In the past, Raj has denounced V-day as “Prostitution Day,” and ordered his henchmen to vandalize stores that targeted couples. However, it seems Raj has changed his mind about the holiday. He has announced that he will not support it or protest it. Perhaps the prostitutes finally warmed Raj’s heart to the holiday.

Lesson learned:

Powerful men in India seems to behave like classic “Batman” villains.

Sometimes V-day is about the love of animals—wait, that came out wrong. I mean that sometimes the appreciation of one’s pets is more important than appreciation of one’s significant other.

According to CNN, a British computer programmer could count on his African grey parrot, named Ziggy, to keep an eye on his apartment and to guard his girlfriend while he was away. The parrot’s owner was very affectionate of his intelligent bird. He even taught it how to talk.

One day, Ziggy said, “I love you, Gary.”

The only problem was that the owner’s name was Chris Taylor.

It turned out that Ziggy had learned to imitate Taylor’s girlfriend’s greeting of the man she was cheating on him with—Taylor, not the bird. Ziggy had even learned to mimic the way Taylor’s girlfriend answered the phone, “Hiya Gary.”

Taylor eventually found that his girlfriend, Suzy Collins, had been cheating on him with her coworker, whose name, obviously, was Gary. Taylor kicked out his cheating girlfriend. Ziggy was hailed as a hero.

The only sad part was that Taylor was forced to sell Ziggy.

“I love him to bits and I really miss having him around, but it was torture hearing him repeat that name over and over again. I still can't believe he's gone. I know I'll get over Suzy, but I don't think I'll ever get over Ziggy.”

Lesson learned:

Invest in a parrot, and try not to sound so creepy when being interviewed.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Drunken State of the Union

It’s sweeps week, all the networks are pulling out all the stops on their shows to get ratings. And no better example of that than the executive branch’s effort to boost its ratings, last night’s State of the Union address. I know all of you were watching and taking notes, so I won’t bore you with discussing every single point. But like any good journalist, I cannot cover an event without making you think what I think.

Rules: Take a shot every time President George W. Bush says “free/ freedom,” “terror/ terrorists,” “evil,” “Iran,” “education,” “nuclear (or derivative thereof),” “trade” or “tax.” Those who wish to play the full version of the game, take a shot every time there is a standing ovation, a special guest is on camera, a Democrat is on camera, the Supreme Court is on camera.

Here are the highlights:

Isolationism, a word the American people haven’t heard since World War II, was revived for Bush’s address. In fact, the word was said three different times. Other words revived in the speech were “moxie,” “toots,” “keen” and “Jap.”

There was an unmistakable change of tone for the president’s speech. In previous States of the Union, Bush had adopted an “I hit you because I love you,” tone. This time around, with sagging poll ratings, Bush aimed to swing dissenters back over by appealing to both sides of the political spectrum.

In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country. We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom (SHOT) – or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life. We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy (SHOT) – or shut ourselves off from trade (SHOT) and opportunity. In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting – yet it ends in danger and decline.

Later on, terrorism was brought up:

Their aim is to seize power in Iraq, (SHOT) and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world. Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists (SHOT) have chosen the weapon of fear. When they murder children at a school in Beslan, or blow up commuters in London, or behead a bound captive, the terrorists (SHOT) hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth. (Reference to the Bible, SHOT) But they have miscalculated: We love our freedom, (SHOT) and we will fight to keep it.

… The same is true of Iran, (SHOT) a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists (SHOT) in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon -- and that must come to an end. (Standing ovation, SHOT) The Iranian (SHOT) government is defying the world with its nuclear (SHOT) ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian (SHOT) regime to gain nuclear (SHOT) weapons. … Tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran (SHOT): America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom (SHOT). And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free (SHOT) and democratic Iran (SHOT).

Everyone knows that the State of the Union address is annual game of Simon Says between the president, or “Simon,” and the legislative and judicial branches. (He finished a paragraph; that means we have to stand up and clap!) But not since Vice President Dan Quayle has anyone been called out. That is, until last night.

Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security – (the Democrats give a standing ovation, SHOT) – yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away. (The Republicans give a standing ovation, SHOT.) And every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse.

You see what Bush did there? He just called out all of the Democrats. They all had to sit in the corner and wait until the end of the speech before they could get up and play again.

But in every State of the Union address, there is one topic that is included as a curveball. In years past, it has been the man on Mars mission, the proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage. This year, “America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.

An understatement, but nonetheless, a different topic for Bush.

So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative – a 22 percent increase in clean-energy research – at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy.

Alright, he’s giving you an extra $15.3 million. A drop in the bucket by federal standards. Now you can go out to lunch more often.

The speech ended with a standing ovation (SHOT). Bush then left the podium and began his handshaking out of the room. Bush’s entourage trailed behind him, and as he had been on the entrance, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) was at his side like a groupie. This guy is running in 2008.

Are you still conscious?


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The end of Days

Howie Day is the devil. By this time, all of the Howie Day groupies have stopped reading and are about to write me an e-mail—you’ll find it if you click on my picture to the right of this, by the way.

For those of you who don’t know who he is, you are lucky. The man is a threat to humanity as a whole. Look at him, he has that “I am the devil” look in his eye. OK, well you can’t see it in that picture, but if he was facing the camera, it would engulf your soul.

I knew I didn’t like the guy from the moment I saw him about a year ago. My friend Bryan S., who worked for Sony BMG, had promotional items with Day’s name on it. There were Howie Day messenger bags, pins, stickers, even refrigerator poetry magnets. How much fun is it to make sentences out of words like “collide” and “you?”

On the promotional stickers, I saw him. He was lying on his back looking up at the camera, which a look that said “I am going to commit all seven of the deadly sins before the next time you brush your teeth.” The man was clearly pure evil.

Who goes by the name Howie, anyway?

Then came the summer of 2005. That song, “Collide,” was everywhere. I couldn’t stand the “doo doo doo,” repeated throughout the whole song. I did, however, appreciate hearing the phrase “doo doo” in a mainstream song, the first such in 50 years (the last one was The Beatles’ “Love Me Doo Doo”).

All poop aside, “Collide” was everywhere. It was on the radio, in clothing stores, it was probably in magazines. I am almost sure I have never heard the entire song, and that is OK with me. The song seemed to follow me, I absolutely hated the song. It just sounded so contrived, like it was written specifically for the reason of getting on a date movie soundtrack. I was right.

The funniest part of it was that I went for several months without knowing that the song was by Day, I didn’t even know the title of the song. I just knew that I couldn’t stand it.

You’re probably wondering what evidence I have that Day is the devil. Here’s some:

1) He built his fan base on being a homespun songwriter and his hit song wasn’t even written by him alone. It was co-written by Kevin Griffin, who you may remember as the front man of Better Than Ezra.

2) “My good friend Jay Clifford came up to visit often and we'd work out new melodies and lyrics, swim in the lake, eat jalapeno, tomato and onion pizzas, and drink blueberry ale.” He said that on his website, go look for yourself.

3) I am almost sure Day is responsible for this.

4) He let Discovery Health Channel use “Collide” for its new show, “Rebuilt: Human Body Shop,” a show about amputees. This may not sound like a problem until you take into account that the first episode features a girl who had lost a leg, and Day’s song contains the lyrics “even the best fall down sometimes.” Not to mention the fact that many of the people on the show lost their limbs in collisions.

It seems that I cannot get away from that song. I can truthfully say it is the only song of Day’s that I have ever heard. I am OK with that. Every day has been a constant battle to keep from obeying the subliminal message to take an ice pick to my eye. Keep strong everyone. We will expose the demon soon enough.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Controversy causes cavities in Big Easy

New Orleans has been hit with another storm, I am sad to say. This one is a storm of controversy. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin made comments in his speech on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Before I go any further, let me state that I have always been a long time fan of sweets. I in no way have ever said or done anything against it. I think Halloween should be a federal holiday.

That being said, let’s move on.

Nagin said that New Orleans must be rebuilt, and when it is rebuilt, it must be a “chocolate New Orleans.”

Clearly seeking money from M&M Mars, Nestlé, Cadbury and other Big Chocolate corporations, Nagin said again and again that New Orleans must be chocolate. From what I can tell, his comments were not at all out of line, I am pretty sure that to get to New Orleans, you have to go south on the Hershey Highway.

But critics like the PC police, most of whom are diabetic, found Nagin’s remarks offensive.

One of those critics was New Orleans resident Alex Gerhold said, and this is true, “He used the wrong dairy product to describe us. We're more Neapolitan, not chocolate. It doesn't do the city any kind of justice.”

Gerhold was making reference to the fact that in pre-Katrina New Orleans, the blacks, the whites, and the pinks were separated into thirds in the city, never to meet unless one dragged a spoon from one end to the other.

Obviously, Nagin’s remarks were not out of line, despite the fact that they drew fire to the New Orleans mayor. Every city across the country is laid out on plans based on some sort of sweet.

New York: Rocky Road

Los Angeles: Mocha chip

Chicago: Almond Joy/ Mounds

Miami: Orange Sherbet

Minneapolis: Snickers (also called the “Not Going Anywhere For A While?” plan)

San Francisco: Strawberry shortcake

Boston: Clam chowder

It is time that the people of New Orleans got the help they have been asking for for so long. The kind of help that women crave when they are experiencing the mysterious “time of the month.” One of these days I will get the courage to ask what that means.

Nagin later defended his comments when he said to reporters, and this is true, “How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about. New Orleans was a chocolate city before Katrina. It is going to be a chocolate city after. How is that divisive? It is white and black working together, coming together and making something special.”

There you have it, from the mayor himself. Chocolate is a drink. Mmm, I am getting thirsty for a big cup of chocolate right now.

Luckily for Nagin, this is an election year for him, and he is sure to win now that he is in the pocket of Big Chocolate. Perhaps next time he should dodge criticism by saying “milk chocolate” instead.