Tuesday, May 23, 2006


There's nothing more frustrating than planning your entire evening around your team's game against their biggest rivals and then having them lose. Unless it's having them go down 9-1, make two quick outs in the 9th inning, then score four more runs, just to get your hopes up before they pop out to end with a loss anyway.

And it's going to get worse before it gets better. Just take a look at the laundry list of injuries they're dealing with during this series:

SP Carl Pavano - bone chips found during rehab start, likely out for the season
RF Gary Sheffield - heading for a minor league rehab start after injuring his wrist
LF Hideki Matsui - out for most if not all of the season after breaking his wrist
CF Johnny Damon - relegated to the DH slot with a broken foot bone
1B Jason Giambi - playing through a neck strain
RP Tanyon Sturtze - out for an indeterminate length of time with a shoulder injury
SP Shawn Chacon - out with a leg injury
OF Bubba Crosby - out with a hamstring injury

That's almost enough to start a completely new baseball team. At the rate they're going, their next homestand will be in Columbus instead of Yankee Stadium. My prediction of a Yankees wildcard berth slips away a little bit as each of these guys gets dinged up.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Beast's Cookbook: Whole Grain Pasta with Seafood Sauce

seafood pasta

A recipe of my own creation. I was actually aiming for something a bit hotter as I was making it, but I was very pleased with how it turned out. The marsala wine gives it a very unique flavor.

3 28 ounce cans tomatoes, peeled and pureed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup marsala wine
4 stalks celery
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
6 ounces tomato paste
8 ounces scallops
8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 ounces crab meat, shredded
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 pound whole grain pasta

In a blender, puree the tomatoes with their juices. In a food processor, chop the onion. Chop the celery by hand. In a large pot, heat the olive oil until it just begins to smoke. Put in the onion and garlic and sautee until almost transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and sautee for about a minute. Add the Marsala wine, stir. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, stir. Bring mixture to a near boil, stirring. Reduce heat and begin to simmer. Add scallops, shrimp, crab meat, and spices. Stir until well mixed. Simmer until seafood is cooked (about 30 minutes to an hour), stirring frequently. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, top with sauce, serve with whole wheat bread and salad.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Chasing Babe Hank

Barry Bonds trails Babe Ruth by only one home run on baseball's all-time list, having been robbed of #714 last night by Astros' centerfielder Juan Pierre. Barring a complete breakdown of his body or an act of God, Bonds will catch the Bambino, and overtake him soon. After that, the all-time home run crown of Hank Aaron is well within his sights.

Of course, all of this hoopla is generating its fair share of controversy, for a couple of reasons. Bonds has gained the rep over most of his career as an ass, especially towards the media--a bad move for anyone in the public eye, since they'll be the ones shaping the world's opinion of you. But that's really neither here nor there in most discussions of the home run record. What's really got everyone buzzing is Bonds's connection via his personal trainer to convicted steroid distributors BALCO. Should his records count? Should they be marked with an asterisk to denote his steroid usage?

Much as it'll irritate The Blowhard, my answer is no. First off, Bonds really didn't confess to anything, nor has he been caught. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a hallmark of American justice, and shouldn't it apply to the national pasttime as well? Second, and more importantly, moreso than any other sport that I can think of, baseball is a constantly evolving game. There are things in each era of the major leagues that make some aspects of the game easier, and others harder than in other eras. Hitters in Ruth's day didn't have to face the likes of Dontrelle Willis and Pedro Martinez simply due to their ethnicities. On the other hand, you didn't have the late-inning relief specialists you see today in Ruth's day, or even in the early days of Aaron's career. Pitchers tended to throw more innings more often, with less opportunity to rest their arms. And with far fewer teams in the league than there are today, the cutoff for pitchers who made it into the majors was far higher. The fifth starter for the Kansas City Royals (I looked it up--his name is Jeremy Affeldt) would be kicking around the minors at best in the 16-team major leagues in Aaron's rookie year of 1954. The old records make a great benchmark for players and teams to test themselves to try and reach, but there just isn't a case to be made that all eras are created equal--they're apples and oranges, and you really can't compare them, except over drunken "what-if" contests with your buddies.

Am I rooting for Bonds to take the home run crown from Aaron? Hell no. I'm rooting against Bonds every step of the way--"innocent until proven guilty" only applies to punishment, not suspicion--but you just can't take away his records or mark them with an asterisk. At least not until he fails a piss test.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Album Review: Stubbs the Zombie Soundtrack

I find some of the best stuff while I'm on "the throne". I was idly flipping the pages of a very old issue of Computer Gaming World, when I saw a preview for a video game called Stubbs the Zombie--and more specifically, its soundtrack's unique concept. The game is set in a 50's vision of the future, and the soundtrack follows this with Baby Boom-era pop songs sung by modern alternative artists. I was first drawn in by the cover of Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night" by Cake--they're one of my all-time favorites in spite of lead singer John McCrea's shoddy treatment of his audience at a show I was at a few years ago. They do a great job with the song, as I expected, but so does pretty much everyone else on the album. You just have to get past the "poof factor" of some of the songs, and enjoy them for the pop culture kitsch that they are. If you're going to head to iTunes for the best songs on the album, I'd go with the aforementioned Cake cover, followed by the final three songs of the album--Clem Snide's ska-ified version of "Tears On My Pillow", Milton Mapes's twangy rendition of "Lonesome Town", and the Phantom Planet original "The Living Dead". Just to round out the top songs to a square 5, let's go with Death Cab For Cutie's surprisingly faithful remake of "Earth Angel". The only outright miss on the album is the muted vocals of the Dandy Warhols on their cover of the Everly Brothers' "All I Have To Do Is Dream". All in all, this unique concept album gets a high recommendation from me for fans of oldies or indie-punk-emo rock.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Day Without Immigrants

The immigrants aren't coming to work today--they'll show us what silly geese we are for wanting to know who's living in our country. They'll make us feel really bad for ensuring that those who come here legally get the protections of minimum wage, and even those who break the law to get the basic freedoms of the U.S. Constitution. We're sure going to miss all that money they spend to stimulate the local economy--never mind that many illegal workers only buy the basic necessities here and send the rest back to their native countries.

But if they must go, let's hope they go all the way. Let's hope that in addition to boycotting their jobs, they boycott hospitals and free clinics. Let's hope no illegal children are in our public schools today. Let's hope they move out of their HUD-discounted housing. Let's hope they boycott all of the publicly funded services available to them.