Sunday, December 09, 2007

This Is Not A Retraction

No, I haven't backed down on the comments I made about A-Rod in my last post merely because he re-signed with the Yankees. He really thought he could get $300 million from some sucker GM, then came back to suckle on the Yankee teat when no one was buying. Yes, I'm sure super-scumbag agent Scott Boras deserves some, or even most, of the blame, but A-Rod hasn't shown any loyalty to his team this offseason. I won't be booing you, Alex, but rest assured that my cheers are first and foremost to the uniform. The uniform, and the fact that you have the best chance at restoring legitimacy to the now-tainted career home run record.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Expired Thoughts

I had a number of things that I'd intended to be individual blog posts over the last week, but I never got around to it, and now they're well past their expiration date.  Nonetheless, take a whiff from the curdled milk carton that is my mind:

- The Giants came through their game in London without any major injuries, a minor miracle in and of itself.  Soccer is not like football, and a soccer pitch is not a good football field.  British fans don't care about football (as evidenced by the closed seating sections) and don't understand it either (as evidenced by the whistles coming from the stands and by the boos at the end of the game when the Giants killed the clock.)  Hopefully the NFL learns a lesson and leaves American football in America where it belongs.

- Joe Torre needs to look up the definition of "insult".  Hint: it's not $5 million with a $3 million incentive bonus when you haven't even won an AL title in seven years.  I just hope you don't take too much of our talent out to L.A. with you. 

-  So long, Mr. April (a.k.a. A-Rod).  I hope you end up making less money because your wife takes half of whatever contract you sign.

- Fido is a fantastic movie, recommended for fans of zombies, fans of '50s sitcoms, fans of Billy Connolly, and fans of satire.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Book Review: Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay

I'm a big fan of justice, and most of the time mere revenge is an adequate substitute. And while often times neither is possible in the real world, I love tales of justice and revenge in fiction. So it should come as no great surprise that I'm a fan of both incarnations of Dexter--the uber-graphic serial killer saga on Showtime and the series of novels that inspired it. The show is back, and appears to be diverging from the plot of the books (a good thing, since I spoiled the end of the first season for myself by reading the first novel). But the latest book in the series? Eh....not so much.

Oh, stylistically, not much has changed. Dexter is still a sharp, sarcastic, soulless sonuvabitch--Jeff Lindsay's still got the knack for writing the protagonist's inner standup comedy routine down cold. No, the problems here are all in the plot. Up until this point, the books have unfolded exclusively from Dexter's first-person narration. In the third installment, Lindsay experiments with interludes with the villain's (or is that villains' ?) from the third-person "omniscient narrator". This would work....except for the antagonist itself. Dexter has been compared to Batman before (and even refers to himself sarcastically as the Dark Knight this time around), but just like Batman, Dexter is a mere mortal, and likewise the foes he deals with. His "Dark Passenger" that drives him to kill and provides him with the insight to find the worst of society's predators for his victims, up until now treated as a mere psychotic trick of the mind, is now revealed to be something more, something supernatural and older than time, changing Dexter from a brilliant-yet-demented detective into a possessed-yet-still-in-control bystander, and moving the book's feel away from Batman and more towards a Spider-Man-with-the-symbiote-costume. All in all, a disappointing entry in the book series, recommended only to the most die-hard Dexter fans. Here's hoping Lindsay can get the series back to basics in the inevitable next volume.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Drink Review: K Cider

For the most part, I'm strictly a beer-and-Scotch guy when it comes to my drinking. I certainly enjoy a nice bottle of wine with dinner from time to time, but I wouldn't be caught dead drinking a Zima, wine cooler, or other fruity beverage (fruity referring to both their flavor and their target demographic.) But my girlfriend came to Delaware for a visit over the weekend, and since her tastes are somewhat different from mine, I thought it best to have something other than Penn Oktoberfest in my fridge. If I'd have bought a container of Seagram's wine coolers, I wouldn't have been able to show my face in my local liquor store ever again, so what to buy? Then inspiration hit me--cider! It's the one fruit-ish beverage that even I enjoy, especially this time of year, and I found a beauty of an import tucked away in the store's "girlie fridge". It's an imported hard cider from the U.K. that goes by the simple moniker of "K", and it's far superior to the American offerings on the market. The likes of Woodchuck and Hornsby are OK, but overly sweet--closer in taste to a Zima than a nice mug of spiced cider. (The beer list/guide at Monk's Cafe in Philly refers to American ciders as "sugar water".) That's not the case here--K seems to have almost no sweetness to it whatsoever, giving it a crisp, tart flavor that's not to be missed. Highest recommendation for the cider aficionado.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Blogrolls: Hot Sauce Blog and Straight Cash Homey

I've added two new sites to my blogroll for this Monday afternoon. The first one covers a subject near and dear to my heart(burn), hot sauce and spicy foods. I've followed this one for a while because my pal Squidly is a contributor over there, but recently I've been reading the RSS feed of the Hot Sauce Blog on a daily basis, so I thought I'd throw it up there for anyone who reads my blog and hasn't heard of this wonderful site (as if such a mythical creature as a regular reader of this drivel existed.)

The second one is a fun site for spotting people who wear out-of-date or simply ridiculous sports jerseys. We're not talking about the throwback powder-blue Mike Schmidt Phillies jerseys that can be seen around C.B. Park--we're talking about the Eagles fan who bought a green Jeff Garcia jersey while McNabb was hurt last season, and is still wearing it in spite of the fact that Jeff is winning games for Tampa Bay now. And it's named after a terrific Randy Moss quote to boot--go check out Straight Cash Homey.

Friday, October 12, 2007

An Inconvenient Prize

Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize, sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in both cases for "their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change." What exactly this has to do with the purpose of the prize stipulated in Alfred Nobel's will ("fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses") is completely beyond me, but heck, after they awarded it to Yasser Arafat, it really doesn't have much credibility left anyway.

In other news, Red Sox LF Manny Ramirez was named the NFL Player of the Week for his contribution to the Patriots' dominating win over the Browns, Martin Scorsese won the Best Actor Oscar for his direction of The Departed, and Cowboys QB Tony Romo was awarded the Best New Artist Grammy award for dating Carrie Underwood during 2006.

Hey, they all make as much sense as Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize! Feel free to post your own in the comments section.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Annual Beast's World Halloween Rant

We're just a couple short weeks away from my least favorite holiday of the year, Halloween. Oh, sure, the horror-movie-fests on IFC are fun to watch, but having my evening interrupted by packs of germ-ridden neighborhood children, the oldest and most obnoxious of which often don't even bother to wear costumes, is just the worst. Then I heard about a great new program this year, and I'm thinking of signing up. Absolutely free of charge, you get:

  • A sign for your house that says "No Candy at this Residence"
  • To stay in your house from 6 PM on Halloween night until the next morning
  • To not have to answer the door to your house for all that time
The only catch? You have to register as a sex offender.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oh, No, Joe!

My Yankees have made an early exit from the playoffs, and Joe Torre's career as their manager may be over. Never mind that this team was circling the drain and leaving skidmarks for the first third of the season, hitting bottom at 14 games out of first place, yet Torre still rallied them into the playoffs and damned near yet another division title. Never mind that he's never not made the playoffs as the Yankees' skipper.

You can hardly blame Torre for the Yankees' pitching woes. He's not responsible for age catching up to Mike Mussina, nor for the multimillion dollar contracts handed out to certain washed-up, way-past-their-prime pitchers in both the past and present. And he's not responsible for the statements made by George Steinbrenner (or, if you believe this character assassination, his "handlers") while the team was still fighting to salvage their season. After the miraculous rebound the Yankees put together during the regular season, Torre deserves at least one more chance to show he's still got what it takes.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fond Farewells

I just removed a pair of sites from my blogroll--Cox and Forkum and the Brooklyn Blowhard. C&F has announced their retirement from editorial cartooning and daily updates, although they intend to keep their site alive. I'm not sure where the Blowhard went, but his address has already been squatted on by a porno spammer. Hopefully he'll resurface somewhere else to rant another day--his space will be warm for him if he does. I'm looking for other daily reads to take their place--suggestions are, as always, welcome!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Blogroll Link: Big Blue Interactive

The good folks in the alt.sports.football.pro.ny-giants newsgroup turned me onto a great blog-style site for info on my beloved New York Football Giants some time ago, but with the site getting a redesign and the Giants picking up their first win over the weekend, I figured today was the perfect time to add them into my blogroll and give 'em a plug. If you're any sort of fan of the G-Men, add Big Blue Interactive to your daily reading list (or your feed reader).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

O.J.!


O.J. Simpson arrested, charged with robbery and kidnapping


Who would have ever thought that a sociopath who stabbed his wife and her friend to death could stoop to such a low level as robbery?

Maybe he's just setting up the sequel to his bestselling work of speculative fiction.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Indiana Joel

No real updates this week as I struggle through a sleep-deprived week that began with a weekend trip to the Indianapolis area to visit my lovely girlfriend and give her a little break from the rigors of her PhD program. Following that, I finally got the pictures from the weekend up on my Flickr site. There's lots of good photos up there--much better than the often-lousy ones my own camera takes. But there's one in particular that's my personal favorite:


Yes, that's me with the actual Vince Lombardi Trophy, the very same one that was awarded to the Colts after they won last year's Super Bowl. Much more impressive than my friend Pat's picture with the Red Sox World Series trophy.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

King Talk-y Tiki

My beloved Giants are inching closer to their first regular season game in the post-Tiki Barber era, but retirement evidently hasn't stopped the former running back from creating controversy for the 2007 season by attacking the Giants' coach and quarterback. When I first heard about Tiki's impending retirement in the early weeks of last season, I was a supporter of his, ignoring the criticism that the timing of his announcement was a distraction and self-serving. After all, he didn't call a press conference or go through any great fanfare; instead, he gave an honest answer to a single question asked in a postgame locker room interview. As much as I thought at the time that the team would miss him in 2007, I thought that any real Giants fan had to admire him for his past contributions to the 2000 NFC champion team and support his desire to walk away from the game while still able to do so, especially when you hear about the dire straits faced by some ex-NFLers.


It's only natural that a newly retired player-turned-commentator will be asked to provide some details about his mostly-intact former team, especially when they lead off NBC's national Sunday Night Football lineup. I'm just disappointed that Tiki wouldn't show the same class and dignity he showed for most of his playing career and save the badmouthing for behind closed doors. I have a bad feeling that the Giants are going to have their hands full struggling for a playoff spot this season without the external pressure coming from outside their locker room.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Enemies List: NAACP

NAACP official on Michael Vick, August 21st, 2007: "As a society, we should aid in his rehabilitation and welcome a new Michael Vick back into the community without a permanent loss of his career in football."

NAACP press release on Don Imus, April 13th, 2007: "The NAACP was part of a coalition of organizations that participated in the CBS meeting that led to Imus' termination. [...] The NAACP also wrote to management of XM and Sirrius [sic] satellite radio asking them not to become a "safe haven" for racist commentary by picking up the Imus show or others."
What can we learn from these two statements? Well, torturing and executing animals is obviously nowhere near as bad as telling one slightly insensitive joke while trying to entertain people for a living. It seems like the NAACP has no problem applying a different standard of behavior based on race. So much for their stated objective of "ensur[ing] the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all citizens."

Congratulations, NAACP, you've earned a permanent link in my sidebar. Too bad it had to be as part of the Enemies List.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Resolute

The appearance of my blog on my monitors has been bothering me for a while now, particularly the amount of unused space that I always see on the left and right sides of the screen. Apparently the default templates on Blogger.com are optimized for dinosaur computers that are only capable of 800 x 600 screen resolution. Well, even my tiny iBook runs at 1024 x 768, and most of my computers are at 1280 pixel width or higher, and I'm a selfish bastard who thinks only of myself, so the mediocre content of this blog now covers much more of the screen. Sorry if you end up with a horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of your browser, but that's just the way it has to be. I'm thinking of changing the template completely to get some color in here, but I haven't made up my mind yet. Somehow that seems just a little too Queer Eye for me.

Friday, August 03, 2007

We Don't Swim In Your Toilet


We can all agree that in most cases, age discrimination is a bad thing. But there are exceptions. Mandatory testing for elderly drivers is one good example. And this is another.

Do you want to swim in a pool filled with other people's bodily excretions? I sure don't. Even as a kid, I was creeped out by diapered babies splashing around in the shallow end of the swimming pool. And everybody knew that the baby-sized wading pool was the place you went to fill your squirt gun when you were going after someone you really had it out for because everybody knew that pool was filled with tinkle-water. Is it discriminatory not to want to swim in fecal water that might as well have been piped in from the Third World? If it is, then put a cowboy hat on my head and call me Don Imus, because when I go swimming, I want to be sure that the brown thing floating in the pool really is a Baby Ruth.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

In Memoriam: Bill Robinson 1943-2007

Baseball has lost one of its classiest individuals over the weekend, as former player and coach Bill Robinson passed away suddenly at 64. His playing days, of course, were before my time, but I had the privilege of getting to know him during my teenage years working for the Phillies' AA club in Reading, PA. "Robby" was the batting coach for the 1995 Eastern League champion team, and became the manager the following season. I worked there both of those seasons, and even roomed with him on a road trip to New Britain, CT in 1996, and can honestly say that Bill Robinson is one of the kindest men--and most talented teachers--ever to grace the sport of baseball. He will be missed, and I extend my condolences to his family. Godspeed, skipper.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Barr-oid Bonds

As I write this entry, Barry Bonds is one single, solitary home run away from tying Hank Aaron's all-time home run record, and two away from having it all to himself, and at this point, there's little I can do but resign myself to the fact that it's most definitely going to happen. His knee is simply not going to explode like a firecracker stuffed with tendons and ligaments before he puts two more on the board (and if that should somehow happen, I'll begin prognosticating atrocious fates for the likes of Bin Laden, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad.)

There's all sorts of debate going on, of course, about whether or not Bonds did steroids, and whether or not he's tainted the record books if he did. In answer to the former, I present the picture above of Bonds playing for the Pirates in the early part of his career contrasted with his current freakish appearance. Sure, he might have gotten that big by saying his prayers, taking his vitamins, and believing in the Hulkster....but it seems far more likely that those vitamins are the same ones Hogan himself admitted to taking. And I don't buy for a second the comparison between steroids in baseball and other drugs in music and literature. Chances are you have that friend (or relative)...the one who says things like, "Dude, (the Doors/Fear and Loathing/Baby Beluga) would have sucked if (Morrison/Hunter S. Thompson/Raffi) hadn't been on drugs", possibly in between bong hits, and implies that this somehow excuses the conduct of baseball's steroid abusers. Wrong--art doesn't have rules and quantifiers to decide who's the best--that's a matter of personal choice. Sports have definitive rules (although steroids weren't officially a violation until recently) and cut-and-dried statistics to make questions of "who's the best" more objective than in other forms of entertainment. It's just an invalid analogy all around.

That said, Bud Selig is doing the right thing attending the home run chase. He's the commissioner, Bonds hasn't been caught or confessed to breaking any rules, so as the commissioner, he needs to be there. It's too bad the only he's going to see is a freak show leaving a warm, steroid-positive urine sample all over baseball's most coveted record.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Three Dog Night

I couldn't believe it myself when it happened, but for once in my life, I actually agree with kooky senior U.S. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) on something. If you've seen any of the dogfighting footage they've shown on the TV news, then you know just how disgusting it is, and just how much Michael Vick deserves to be suspended from the NFL if he's convicted of the charges for which he's currently under federal indictment.

Of course, Byrd couldn't possibly have any other, unspoken motive for coming out against one of the NFL's highest-profile black quarterbacks, could he?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Genocide In Darfur: Brought To You By The Yankees?

I'm sure that I have more than one regular reader here who believes that the Yankees are pure evil and that rooting for them is akin to cheering for the Empire in the Star Wars movies (although if Emperor Palpatine were our head of state, I guaran-damn-tee you that the Iraq situation would have long since been resolved by now). But in case you don't read the comments I sometimes receive, here's a link from my Boston-born friend Pat that's a bit of a reach even for him.

I actually wanted to smash the author of the article for jumping to such an absurd conclusion, but I checked out some of the other things he's written, and they're actually not half bad. And he actually makes some conciliatory points in the article itself, rather than ranting and raving like a delusional moonbat with a single, narrow-minded agenda. The author himself concedes that "[t]he Yili Group, to be fair, has a good corporate reputation: by Chinese standards they treat their workers well, and aren't having Sudanese merchants slaughtered to make way for their line of snack crackers." And let's face it, we've got a much better recent history of bringing about civil change through economic partnership than military force. George Steinbrenner (who is becoming ever-more well known for his charitable works and contributions) now has influence with a powerful player....and that can only be a good thing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New photos

"Quarter Mile to Nowhere", an original photo.

Quarter mile to nowhere
I finally retrieved my camera after leaving it in Reading, PA after a Memorial Day fishing weekend in Potter County. I got some great shots of this beautiful area, which you can view, as always, on my Flickr site.

Monday, June 18, 2007

My All-Stars 2007

Here's my picks for this year's MLB all-star game (I definitely have a slight Yankees/Phillies bias):

American League
1B: Kevin Youklis, BOS (write-in)
2B: Placido Polanco, DET
SS: Derek Jeter, NYY
3B: Alex Rodriguez, NYY
C: Jorge Posada, NYY
OF: Torii Hunter, MIN
OF: Maglio Ordonez, DET
OF: Ichiro Suzuki, SEA

National League
1B: Derrek Lee, CHC
2B: Chase Utley, PHI
SS: J.J. Hardy, MIL
3B: Miguel Cabrera, FLA
C: Brian McCann, ATL
OF: Matt Holliday, COL
OF: Shane Victorino, PHI
OF: Eric Byrnes, ARI

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Whattaya Say, Al?

NBC weatherman Al Roker, writing about Don Imus on his blog, 10 April 2007:

"I, for one, am really tired of the diatribes, the 'humor' at others expense, the cruelty that passes for 'funny'[...]The "I'm a good person who said a bad thing" apology doesn't cut it[...]a two week suspension doesn't cut it. It is, at best a slap on the wrist. A vacation. Nothing."
The same Al Roker, on NBC's Today Show, 7 June 2007:
"Remember that controversial Olympic logo for the 2012 Olympics in London? Some folks have complained that the campaign actually sent them into epileptic seizures. Well, we asked you to weigh in on our Web site in an informal poll; those of you who could get up off the floor after shaking around were able to actually log in . . . "
Seems to me that if Al practiced what he preached, he'd have the stones to resign. Oh, that's right, he didn't follow through; he just issued a mealy-mouthed almost-apology. Pretty hypocritical of you, Al.

I don't want him to resign because of a joke he made--I believe in free speech for everyone. I wish he'd quit because then I could have titled this post with a better Caddyshack quote:
"How would you like to mow my lawn?"

Friday, June 08, 2007

Value-Priced Pearl Jam


With Opie and Anthony finishing out their XM suspension and Ron and Fez gone once more from the public airwaves, I've had a bit more time than usual to check out some new tunes, so maybe that explains why the music entry in my Recent Experiences sidebar has been getting updated a bit more than usual. And this week, my nostalgia trip back to my high school years continued (God only knows why, my life sucked until I was about 21) with Pearl Jam's greatest hits collection Rearviewmirror. (In the interest of full disclosure, I enjoyed their first three albums (Ten, Vs., Vitalogy) very much as they were being released, No Code sucked hard, and the last Pearl Jam album I bought was Yield, which was so-so compared to the aforementioned Big Three.) Also, I have no problem differentiating an artist's work from their political views, so if you're going to post "PERL JAM SUXXX GEORGE BUSHH ROX" in my comments, then skip the rest of this post, go back to threshing the hayfields, and come back next week when I make fun of Hilary or Obama or something.

Rearviewmirror is a 2-CD set with all of their "big" songs, cleverly divided into a disc of hard rock and a disc of mellower stuff. As a "fan dropout", there were quite a few songs on here that were new to me, but nothing on here to change the opinions I'd already formed about their first five albums. I did enjoy a couple of the post-1998 tracks on the hard rock disc, but was reminded of how much I despised their cover of "Last Kiss" and how overplayed "Wishlist" was back in its day. The saving grace of this CD is its low price tag--$11 on Amazon.com for a double CD isn't too bad. It's worth picking up if you've skipped a couple of their albums (it's far cheaper than iTunes on a per-song basis), or if you lack the capability to rip your CDs (or work your way onto the RIAA's "naughty" list) and burn your own compilation album.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lil' Jimmy Norton

I saw a great show in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night--I was fortunate enough to be in the audiences for a taping of comedian and Opie and Anthony Show member Jim Norton's upcoming hour-long HBO comedy special. Jim absolutely killed, with an hour-plus of great material. My only disappointment is that he closed with a story about Ron Jeremy that was his closer last year too. The rest of his material was completely new; my only concern is that some of it may even be too edgy for HBO in a post-Imus world; I'll be very interested to see the final cut. According to the man himself on yesterday's O&A show, the special is currently scheduled to air sometime in October; it gets my highest recommendation (unless you're an easily offended politically correct scumbag).

After the show, we had some great chili dogs and cheese fries next door to the theater at the famous Ben's Chili Bowl restaurant, and we even got a chance to say hi to Opie in between Jimmy's two shows--he actually stopped himself from being hustled inside and came back around a corner to give me a wave and a "hello", which I thought was really cool. He certainly would have been more than justified to have simply disappeared without ever acknowledging my existence.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Lord I Was Born A Ramblin' Man

No updates for my loyal readers this week--there's not much going on in the news (other than a couple of travel snafus--just what I want to hear about as I head over bridges and through tunnels down to Washington, D.C. for the weekend.) Add to that two straight weekends on the road (my aforementioned trip to see Jim Norton's HBO taping this weekend and my annual trip to my family's camp near Ulysses, PA), and the blog has really suffered. But never fear, I'll be back next week spewing off a whole new round of inanities--'till then, enjoy the weekend, and check out the great new pics from my recently relocated pal Faxman's Flickr site chronicling his move to the Houston area.

Monday, May 14, 2007

V.I.L.

That's Very Important Link, and it pertains to the newest addition to my Blogroll section. It's a new nonprofit organization that I felt was important enough to move to the top, even over the blogs of my closest friends, at least for now. (Those two need to post some updates anyway!) It's a group called People Against Censorship, and it's an anti-special-interest-group special interest group. They're out to counter the vocal minority led by the likes of the Revs. Jackson and Sharpton, and more recently, the Organization of Chinese-Americans, who last week got yet another radio show taken off the air by being a vocal minority.

If you're as tired as I am of having other people dictate by what you are and are not allowed to be entertained, then follow the link to their site. Even if you can't participate in their rallies and events, you can help their cause just by registering for their site--in the battles the PAC is fighting, numbers matter a great deal.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I Feel Like Chicken Tonight...

Or at least I did, until I found this delicious treat sitting on my backyard picnic table bench. I can't figure out where it came from, unless there's a nest on my roof that I can't see, and even then the trajectory to have it end up there is one in a million. Yuck, now I've got to go clean this mess up.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Yellow Journalism

This is the type of garbage that's passing for news in my local paper. Is it any wonder that print media is dying? This article would be right at home in the editorial section, but no, you can find it in the local news section of the Wilmington paper (just about the only option for local news in this part of the state). Small wonder that illegal immigration remains such a problem when media outlets are sympathizing with lawbreakers. A few choice samples:

"Undocumented immigrants like Bernadino and his wife, Dominga, live with the constant fear that "la migra" -- slang for immigration officers -- can strike anytime, anywhere."
Way to make an agency of our duly elected government sound like a South American dictator's death squad.
The stepped-up enforcement has put Delaware's undocumented population -- concentrated in jobs in the poultry and mushroom industries -- on alert, creating a heightened level of fear that changes everyday life.
Everyday life for a fugitive isn't and shouldn't be like everyday life for law-abiding citizens.
"We're working, we're innocent," [a Guatemalan illegal] said.
Guess again, honey. You're not innocent; you're guilty of violating federal immigration law. And shame on this newspaper and reporter for portraying the situation any other way.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Rage Against Rage Against The Machine

Rage Against the Machine is back together after a long hiatus, at least long enough for a mini-tour this summer. I for one hope it leads to some new album releases--in their day, they were some of the most innovative musicians in rock & roll, particularly guitarist Tom Morello. Not surprisingly, though, this left-wing politically charged band created some controversy at their first performance this week. The president and his cabinet as "Nazi war criminals"? Not exactly original, guys.

But be that as it may, I'd be hypocritical if I joined the masses calling for them to be investigated, prosecuted, or otherwise censored after supporting Don Imus's right to free speech during Nappyheadedho-gate. The fact of the matter is that while I couldn't disagree more with their opinion, they didn't come anywhere near the line of inciting actual violence. Lead singer Zack de la Rocha did call for the the death of a president, this is true. But read the true transcript:

"A good friend of ours said that if the same laws were applied to U.S. Presidents as were applied to the Nazi's after World War II, then every single one of 'em, every last rich white one of 'em from Truman on would have been hung to death, and shot. And this current administration is no exception. They should be hung, and tried, and shot. As any war criminal should be."
The italics in that quote were added by me, to point out what keeps it unquestionably protected speech: what's being advocated here is not murder, but execution, a legitimate judicial process. And that's a threat that needs to be a viable option for us all.

And in keeping with this week's pro-free-speech post, I've changed my Recent Experiences album this week to Rage's greatest album, instrumentally speaking, 1996's terrific Evil Empire. Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Imus and VT

I guess I've about missed my chance to comment on the Don Imus situation, since it's been replaced by the Virginia Tech story in America's ADD-paced media spotlight. There's not too much I can say about it that hasn't been said anyway--I'm a fan of Imus, I'm not a fan of Sharpton or Jackson, and both advertisers and media outlets are too quick to capitulate to threats from special interest groups of questionable effectiveness. The taking of our free speech rights isn't coming from the government, it's coming from corporate conglomerates. And isn't it wonderful how everyone rushed to come out as an "insider against Imus" once he was safely fired and there was no danger of rebuttal? Olberman and Russert, I'm looking straight at you.

But that's nothing compared to the "soft targets" that are about to come under attack in the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Get ready for another round of calls for tougher gun laws, in spite of the fact that a single armed civilian could potentially have lowered the casualty count by stopping the shooter more quickly. And as information about this shooter gradually becomes available, watch for extremists from both parties to take pro-censorship stances if it's revealed that he ever watched Natural Born Killers or ever played a game of Doom (yes, I know that's a dated reference, but it still seems to be the one that the politicians still like to use, fifteen years after the game's release), ignoring the sea of people who patronize the billion-dollar entertainment industries without ever committing a violent crime themselves (myself included). The only way to avert tragedies like this is to continue to try and identify mentally ill individuals (as this man obviously was), and get them out of the general populace and into treatment before they hurt others.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

New Link: Screwballs

I've added another blog I'm really enjoying to my blogroll list, the lighter-side-of-baseball site Screwballs, currently featuring A-Rod homosexuality and a pedophile mascot (who's a ripoff of Oscar the Grouch). Go on over and give 'em some traffic.

Hat tip to my blogless pal Zeb for the link.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Playoffs? Don't Talk About Playoffs!

OK, Coach Mora, I won't dwell on them for long. But I'm excited about the start of the NHL playoffs tonight--I've gotten back into this sport in a big, big way after taking last year off as an "F-U season" following the previous year's lockout. Of course I'll be rooting for my New York Rangers, hoping they can carry their mostly positive momentum forward from the second half of the season. Of course, should they get knocked out, look for the logo to the left to be replaced with one for my brother's Pittsburgh Penguins.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Gangsta Style

Gizoogle - see the web in Doggy Dogg style!

And just in time for Easter Sunday...

Jeebus Is God - the gangsta's Bible.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

All A-Twitter

Yep, another new feature here at Beast's World for all my fine readers today. Over the weekend, my blogging buddy Squidly posted a link to a short-form blogging site called "Twitter", used to share the mundane details of what you're doing Right This Minute™. It's meant to be used with cell phones and instant messengers, but I don't have the former and seldom use the latter, so instead of where I am and what I'm doing, you'll mostly get my random short-form thoughts that don't merit a full-fledged blog entry. Of course, if you're a true fan, you'll want to read the archive, and add me as a friend so we can read each other's drivel right on our own pages.

Monday, April 02, 2007

2007 MLB Predictions


I love baseball season, and it kicked off last night with Squidly's Mets giving a sound thrashing to the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals. My beloved Yankees open up the season this afternoon against Tampa Bay. It should be an easy series win on paper, but for some reason the D-Rays always seem to cause us problems, especially tonight's starter, Scott Kazmir. (I say tonight because I'll be watching on my MLB.TV archive--so don't ruin it for me!) That being said, if I'm going to do a prediction post for the season, I probably should do it before I actually start to watch the games (although I could buck the trend and be the only blogger to make a prediction post during the All-Star break.)

American League

AL East:
Does anyone think believe this division will be anything other than Boston and New York battling it out for the pennant? They both have great pitching rotations (if they can keep them healthy), but I think hitters will start to figure out Dice-K's gyroball as they get good looks at it, and I also think the Yankees' bullpen is just a hair better than that of the Sawks. Division champ: Yankees in a squeaker.

AL Central: The Tigers won't catch anyone by surprise this year, but last year's young players will only continue to improve. Chicago is over, and the Indians will have Detroit looking over their shoulder at the All-Star break, but this division won't be competitive by the end of August. Division champ: Tigers all the way.

AL West:
The A's have lost their best pitcher to free agency, the Rangers and Mariners will be fortunate to finish at .500, thus leaving the division open for the Angels...if they can stay healthy. Division champ: Angels.

AL Wild Card: Red Sox.
Cleveland will give them the toughest run for their money and Oakland will be there through mid-September, but Boston always seems to flip that switch when they need to.

National League

NL East:
I made the mistake of overestimating Atlanta and underestimating the Mets and Phils last year--a mistake that won't be repeated here. Philadelphia's stronger starting rotation and more powerful bats overcome the Mets' deeper bullpen in a close race. Loser of this division takes the Wild Card even if I end up having the order backwards. The other three teams in this division will be lucky to finish with a winning percentage over .400. Division champ: Phillies by a nose.

NL Central:
St. Louis repeats, that much isn't in doubt. (At least as Tony LaRussa refrains from taking a drunken power-nap in the dugout.) Injury-prone Chicago will start strong but won't be able to hang in there. Out of the other teams in the division, watch for the Pirates to be this year's Tigers, making a surprise run at a Wild Card berth. Division champ: Cardinals by default.

NL West:
San Francisco improves, but I'm picking with my heart here and predicting that Barry Bonds's knees give out, he's unable to catch Hank Aaron, and 'Frisco falls short against the Padres. I also predict that Randy Johnson still sucks, and hence the Diamondbacks finish with a losing record again, along with the Rockies.

NL Wild Card: Mets over the surprise Pirates. The Dodgers and Cubs will be in this race as well.

AL Playoffs
ALDS: Yankees over Angels, Tigers over Red Sox
ALCS: Tigers over Yankees

NL Playoffs
NLDS: Phillies over Padres, Cardinals over Mets
NLCS: Phillies over Cardinals

World Series: Phillies over Tigers in 6


We'll be back to this post in October to see how I did. Don't forget to leave your own predictions in the comments!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I Can't Drive 55


I'm making this post from the living room of my parents' house near Reading, Pa. after watching tonight's NCAA action further jeopardize my pool-winning hopes. The road I took from my office in Delaware is a winding two-lane that passes through what used to be some idyllic country and is now McMansion developments and strip malls, and can be frustrating, as passing zones are few and far between. Many's the time I've arrived stressed and angry, in search of a first Friday's scotch, and with the light drizzle tonight, my drive started off as another of those, at least for a while. In the interest of avoiding potential legal repercussions, I did not perform any of the actions listed here; I merely offer advice to my fellow two-lane travelers.

Few things can be more frustrating than being stuck behind an Amish horse and buggy. I respect their right to practice their religion, but their proverbial right to swing their fists ends when they hit my proverbial nose, and there's just no place for the horse and buggy on the modern road. (I speak in parable in case someone prints this post out and shows it to them, and the printout doesn't cause their eyes to spontaneously burst into flames.) Fortunately, I've found a simple enough way to encourage them to remove themselves from in front of you. Simply place the most explicit rap CD you can find in your car stereo, roll down the windows, and turn the volume up to the point where every filthy dirty curse word is plainly audible, but before the bass distorts and drowns out said lyrics. DMX is good, but he has a tendency to use a word that probably doesn't upset the Amish very much, owing to their lack of melanin. Even better is Eminem--he compensates for his inability to use the dreaded "N-word" by tossing out extra helpings of F-bombs.

Almost as annoying is the old folks in a jalopy who insist on driving at least ten miles per hour below the posted speed limit. (Folks, if either you or your car can't go the limit, then at least one of you doesn't belong on that stretch of road.) You might think it's a good idea to helpfully flash your lights at them to let them know you're back there and need to get by before riding up on their tailgate. However, this might cause the old man driving to wake his dozing wife in the passenger seat and say something along the lines of "Get 'im, Flossie!" This, in turn, may cause her to take her camera, point it at your car through their back windshield, and snap off pictures so that the flash makes you back off in terror. Should you be faced with this life-and-death situation, begin by making a Vulcan "V" with your four fingers (your index and middle fingers will suffice if you can't do it with all four), then flick your tongue in and out rapidly in the middle. Should this not sufficiently diminish her aggression, make a fist, press your thumb and index finger to the right side of your lips, bulge out your left cheek with your tongue, and move the fist to and fro. Finally, should this fail to adequately motivate, make a "thumbs-up" sign, rotate it ninety degrees, and drag the thumb across your throat from left to right while laughing hysterically. Bonus points if you actually draw blood with your thumbnail. This will cause them to turn into the first available Wawa bathroom to change their now-soiled-with-terror Depends.

Follow these tips and you too can navigate a two-lane road to your destination with sanity intact. Not that I've tried them myself, mind you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cavemen

Geico's cavemen to get ABC sitcom pilot

This news doesn't make me sick so much as sad. I'm not a card-carrying member of the PTC, so I'm not going to use my soapbox to call for a boycott, or an advertiser protest, or complaints to the FCC. I certainly wouldn't dream of watching this infomercial-with-commercial-breaks (the only infomercials I watch are the ones with Ron Popeil). But in a free economy, we get the shows we deserve, and the ones we deserve are whatever people are willing to watch so that the networks can sell commercials. This show is looking more and more likely with every news report and blog post (yes, I'm guilty too) that gives it free publicity before it even comes out, and while I can hope and pray that it dies a swift ratings death, I'm reminded of this old chestnut. We get what we ask for; we get what we deserve...and the next time you're bemoaning the cancellation of an intelligent, original TV show that you love, thank all the knuckledraggers who think shows about advertising pitchmen are entertainment. If I want to see cavemen, I'll set my Tivo to search Boomerang for this guy:

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Rats Food Nation

I'm a little disappointed by all of the media hype surrounding the film of rats running all over a New York City KFC restaurant. It feels like there are similar stories released a couple of times a year, if not more frequently. It's just a fact: New York City has rats, and the critters love nothing more than infesting restaurants--after all, there's no more abundant food source. Should the restaurant be closed down? Absolutely. Should the inspector who failed to do so after the rats' droppings were first found be suspended? Definitely--she'll be lucky if she's not fired outright. But stuff like this happens so often, it's really not even newsworthy (although the video in this case makes for good YouTube watching). I've seen some things that are just as bad, if not worse right here in Delaware.

My first personal horror story is also KFC-based--to be specific, the KFC/Taco Bell on Naaman's Road in Claymont. I stopped there with my then-girlfriend to grab a bite one evening. I ordered an extra-crispy combo, sat down, took a bite of my breast piece, and noticed they'd given me regular instead. I took the my plate back and asked the nice hippo lady to correct my order, which she did--then took my original chicken and put it back on the shelf with a nice big bite out of the breast. I did finish my meal, but have not returned to that KFC since.

Even worse than that, though, was my experience in the Subway on Main Street in Newark. I used to patronize this crap shack fine establishment frequently--they're walking distance from my office, and they used to offer their "every 9th sandwich is free" card. That changed on the hot summer day when I went in to find their doors propped open, the lids off all of the ingredients (including the ones the so-called "sandwich artists" weren't using)....and flies crawling all over the meats, cheeses, and "fresh" veggies. This time, I didn't bother staying to eat the food--I beat feet back to my car and went to a local sandwich chain instead. (They deserve a plug--Capriotti's makes the best damn sandwiches in Newark. They're all over the DE-PA-NJ tri-state area, and are starting to expand out west as well.)

In both cases, I went to the trouble of finding the 800 numbers to contact the corporate parents with complaints, and in both cases I got the runaround. I'm sure there are a million other stories like this out there that haven't made the news--maybe we all need to start taking YouTube videos everywhere we go to eat.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ch-ch-changes

You've probably noticed that I've been rearranging and changing the layout of this here blog, especially all of my sidebar content. Well, I've bought into Google's hype, and I've upgraded this site to the new version of the Blogger.com software. This means it's easier for me to make changes, and easier for me to add new content and features (now with 60% more Red Sox bashing!) Thanks for bearing with me as I sort all of this new functionality out.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Beast's Cookbook: Mustard Garlic Flounder

I realize it's been a while since I did a cooking post, so here's a simple recipe I tried out last night. I adapted it from one that called for dijon mustard and capers, but I think my version came out just fine. This goes great with any vegetable; I paired it with some steamed zucchini.

mustard garlic flounder

2 to 4 flounder fillets, about 1/4 pound each
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard (such as Mr. Mustard)
2 tablespoons garlic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter in a baking dish. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, and garlic into a sauce. Place flounder in the baking dish; spoon sauce evenly over both fillets. Bake for 15 minutes or until flounder is flaky.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

2006 NFL Prognostication Review

Time for me to get some cheap content by reviewing an old post--back in September, I made some predictions for the 2006 NFL season. Now that the Super Bowl is over and done with, let's go back and see how I did:

AFC East - I got the Patriots right, but didn't predict how well Mangini would do with the Jets or how poorly Culpepper would do with the 'Fins. I underestimated the young Bills, too, but I still think their QB situation is somewhat shaky.

AFC North - I was wrong about Steve McNair's Baltimore redemption, and Cincinatti and Pittsburgh both underperfomed this season. At least I got Cleveland right.

AFC South - I got 3 out of 4 right here--the Colts, Jaguars, and Texans. Who saw Vince Young having a breakout rookie season to put the Titans on the verge of playoff contention? Not me, that's for sure.

AFC West - I'm way off here, as the rest of the Chargers protected their third-year rookie quarterback on their way to the best record in the conference, Jake Plummer proves he is, in fact, Jake Mistake in Denver, and the Chiefs back into the last wild card berth. Thank God for the Raiders--pick them for last place and you're guaranteed to get one right.

NFC East - The Giants consistently underperformed for the second half of the season, the Eagles won with Jeff Garcia at QB, and Tony Romo got the Cowboys into a wild card berth. Much like the Cowboys, the Redskins give me one team correct for this division.

NFC North - I got the Bears right (but their record very wrong), and I successfully predicted the mediocrity of the rest of the division. Only the Packers did better than I expected.

NFC South - I missed the Saints' rise, but who didn't? Steve Smith and DeShaun Foster didn't stay healthy the whole season, and the Panthers fell short of expectations, and the Falcons did do pretty much what they did in 2005. I completely whiffed on the Bucs, though.

NFC West - I put Seattle correctly in the top slot, but missed on the other three--the 49ers and Rams did better than I predicted, while the Cardinals did worse. When will I learn?

Wild cards - 1 out of 4 ain't bad. Wait, it is. And the one I got right was the Cowboys. Yuck.

Super Bowl - Neither of my predicted teams even made the playoffs. I suck again.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Enjoy the Show

24 is back on TV, and not surprisingly, controversy has followed with it, with the show coming under attack from two camps: those claiming it's anti-Muslim, and those who claim that the show is "right-wing propaganda". Both claims, of course, are patently ridiculous--the "good guys" within the political administrations have been Democrats since Day 1 back in 2001--in fact, the only Republican president that the show has had turned out to be one of the "bad guys". And the claims of anti-Islamic bias either haven't seen the show or purposely ignore characters like the former-terrorist-turned-terrorist-hunter, the head of the Islamic group who goes undercover to get information for the FBI, or the Arab-American who works directly for CTU with Jack Bauer. Maybe if these people were a little more concerned with the Arabs who were playing terrorists on September 11th, or those who play terrorists in Israel and Iraq now, they wouldn't have to worry so much about their portrayal on 24.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

2006 Giants Postmortem

The conference championships are upon us once again, and once again, my New York Football Giants are nowhere to be found, as they haven't been for the last six years. At least I got to watch the Saints knock the hated Eagles out in a Reading, PA bar--albeit one with enough other folks rooting for the Saints that I was disappointed there weren't more people there to rub the loss in to. (It probably saved me a beating, though--there was a higher concentration of gold chains, IROCs, and mullets
this side of a Jets pregame tailgate party or Shea Stadium.)

Nonetheless, that was a small consolation after the performance of my own chosen team since early November--from 6-2 with talk of a playoff bye, home field advantage, and a Super Bowl appearance to 8-8 and just barely squeaking out the last wild card playoff seed with a less-than-impressive win against the horrible Redskins, then an early exit from
said playoffs in the first round. Here's my take on what needs to be improved for next season.

Offense: Eli Manning definitely took a step backwards that became much more pronounced when #2 receiver Amani Toomer went out for the season with a knee injury. He has a tendency to overthrow receivers, and gets away with some throws that he shouldn't (and won't, in the long term) because Toomer, Plaxico Burress, and Jeremy Shockey are taller than many other receivers. One thing's for sure, he won't continue to improve with Kevin Gilbride (that would be the Chargers head coach who brought the world Ryan Leaf as the quarterbacks coach. Gilbride is rumored to be in line for the vacant Giants' O.C. post, where I think he'll do much less damage than he did as Manning's QB coach. Failing that, he needs to be fired outright. Tiki Barber gave us a great final season, but Brandon Jacobs also proved that he deserves a shot at being the #1 RB next year. He reminds me of a stronger Rodney Hampton--I just hope his career can last a bit longer. The offensive line played well right up until Luke Petitgout went out for the year with a broken leg, and the pathetic Bob Whitfield stepped in, combining the physical breakdowns of a veteran with the hotheaded personal fouls of a rookie to prove once and for all that the Giants still need to add depth on their line. Burress was (rightfully) seen on giving up on plays after Manning threw interceptions, and Shockey at times seemed to be the only one who cared about how this team's season turned out despite putting up mediocre-for-him numbers. Overall grade: B-

Defense: The defensive line was so banged up at one point this season that first-round DT bust William Joseph was starting games at defensive end. Despite that, Osi Umenyiora was his typical solid self (when healthy), as was Fred Robbins. The two rookies on the line, Barry Cofield and Mathias Kiwanuka, both made good contributions--Cofield was an every-week starter, and Kiwanuka proved he has the physical tools to be one as well, so long as he shapes up his mental game. The linebackers played well enough, with the exception of Carlos Emmons, but they have enough talent there that they shouldn't need to go looking for a free agent replacement, provided they can hang onto all of the 'backers they've got right now. The secondary--well, that's a different story. Sam Madison reminds me of Will Allen with worse hands. McQuarters has the speed to be a nickel corner, but seems lacking as a starter. It's still too early to judge Corey Webster, especially as he can't seem to stay healthy enough to stay on the field. The safeties were average-to-below-average throughout the year--Gibril Wilson still hasn't lived up to his rookie season, and Will Demps started out below expectations but played better toward the end of the season (when the rest of the team started to slump). Coordinator Tim Lewis is gone. Hopefully, he's taken his soft zone coverage and lackluster blitz schemes with him. Overall grade: C

Special teams: From a kicking standpoint, Feagles was his usual outstanding self (hopefully we've got one more year before he retires to a life of family and golf) and Feely was reliable (appearing to have overcome his Norwoodesque performance in Seattle last year). The Giants lacked a standout kickoff returner, but they were surehanded, as was punt returner Chad Morton, at least until his injury. Coverage was about average, with tackling being somewhat below average. Overall grade: B

As a team, I'd give the Giants a B- grade overall for the year, avoiding slipping down into the C ratings only by virtue of the fact that they made the playoffs--which is more an indictment of the NFC than a credit to the Giants organization. Hopefully, new general manager Jerry Reese and some new coordinators and assistants can get a little more out of the talent that they have and improve some of their weaker areas--in the era of the salary cap and league parity, there's only a small window to make the Super Bowl before needing a major overhaul, and the Giants' window is closing fast.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hip Hip Hooray For Christmas Vacation

I'm back at work this week after 11 and 1/2 days off for the holidays (God, I love working in academia.) So I took a little vacation from this here blog thing, too, while I was at it, and...wow, did I miss out on the Christmas of celebrity deaths for me to comment on. So here goes--because better late than never.

James Brown--The Godfather of Soul. What more can I say? I can't claim to be his biggest fan or anything even close, but I'm very familiar with his work, and a lot of songs that I enjoy were at least indirectly influenced by him. At least he outlived Apollo Creed.

Gerald Ford--God rest the soul of a former President. He was before my time, and he was able to see the country safely through the period between Watergate and the late '70s gas crisis.

Saddam Hussein--Rot in Hell, motherfucker. The only negative I can think of about his execution is that I wish the Iraqis who carried out his execution had at least been wearing uniforms and actual hoods instead of fatigues and ski masks. I'm not big on death scenes (you'll never see me browsing rotten.com or ogrish.com), but I did watch the YouTube vid of Saddam's execution, and didn't even flinch, but it looked like he was about to be beheaded by Al-Zarqawi instead of executed by a legitimate government. But hey, who am I to tell another country how to carry out their executions? May your 72 virgins ram you up the ass with a strap-on for all eternity.