Monthly Archives: June 2011

I’ll be back…

Too soon? I apologize if I offend any Maria sympathizers out there in my limited following, but I can’t help but immediately think of Ah-nold clad in leather and toting a gun whenever those three words come to mind.

Your fearless author will be off mooning his honey for a spell, but stay tuned.  Time away should refresh and revitalize, and my highly-anticipated return should serve to increase your enjoyment of my future posts – think of it like abstaining from sex for a little while (be it intentionally or, more likely, due to external forces outside of your control)…when you finally get back in the saddle, so to speak…well, you know where this is going.



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Five for Fixing, Part Deux…..

1) Every gas station should be required to install and maintain Purell (or at least generic) hand sanitizer stations at their self-service pumps.  It is disgusting enough that we have to get gasoline residue and grime all over our hands every time we fill up AND pay ridiculously high prices for gas on top of that.  But those pump handles and the keypad buttons (both credit card and gas grade selection buttons) on the dispenser are touched every day by god-knows-who and are the most repulsive, nauseating things the average person is required to touch on a regular basis.  (Brief aside:  Writing that sentence reminded me of the scene in Trading Places where Penelope bails Winthorpe out of Jail, and on the jailhouse steps the following exchange takes place – and picture Penelope’s whiney, superior, upper-crust voice:

P:  Louis, you’re making a scene.

L: The good news is I’m innocent. I’ve never done anything resembling this.

P: Louis, you look awful.  I’m so ashamed.  Those clothes and those shoes and…you’ve been fighting….and you smell.

L: I smell?

P: Penelope, do you realize where I’ve been since yesterday?

Well that classic line where Penelope ridicules Louis’ wardrobe, bruised face and putrid stench and the amazingly horrified face she makes as she unleashed those lines on him illustrates exactly how anyone should feel when touching a gas pump at the average filling station.

I know, we should all take responsibility for our own hygiene and carry hand sanitizer in our cars and in our purses/brief cases.  And I don’t disagree.  But gas stations are cash cows. In the 1950s and 1960s they were well run establishments that prided themselves on service – and somehow, over time, our expectations of what a gas stations should be and the levels of cleanliness and sanitation that we are willing to accept has taken a nosedive.  Most of us spend more money at gas stations in a week than anywhere else but the grocery store.  And they all gauge us at the pump. It is an outrage…and we just bend over and let it happen. The least they can do is offer an opportunity for us to regain our sense of humanity after suffering the awful and often humiliating and raunchy experience of filling our gas tanks. And don’t get me started on their lavatories, god forbid you ever have an emergency on the highway.


2) Disclaimer: I realize homelessness is a worldwide epidemic, and that if there is really something to be fixed here, it is that no human being should have to be without shelter and sleep in the freezing cold, pouring rain and sweltering heat that so many are forced to endure each and every day. In writing a blog intended to entertain, at least on some level, it is sometimes difficult to maintain a modicum of reality, instead opting for a more surreal and humorous approach to a situation. So I ask my reader(s), please understand that this answer should read “to eliminate homelessness in the world.” That said, and as long as homelessness continues to exist, please also take your humble author’s recommendation below with the proper side order of sodium:

Homeless people should offer a receipt with a distinct logo or signature when you give them money so that you don’t have to feel guilty the next time that same exact homeless man or woman approaches your car at an exit ramp or as you walk by them on the street and do not give them anything.  There are certain routes that all of us take regularly, be it our walk to and from work or the subway, or our drive to and from work, etc.  If there are homeless people that have staked out a location on this route, you are bound to see them a few times a week, if not every day.  This receipt plan (or a reasonable facsimile) would ensure that you get the credit you deserve when making a selfless gesture (important to note: this assumes you actually do give money occasionally), and also allows you to drive/walk by the less fortunate at other times armed with validation that you care, and guilt free that you are not feeding their drug and alcohol habit on this particular day.

3) I think if you are homosexual and live in a state that does not have equal laws for homosexuals, including marriage laws, you should not be required to pay state taxes in that state.   I understand this would necessitate increased state spending in ensuring certain constituents do not take advantage of this law, but who cares?  If something is unfair for certain people, it should become a burden to everyone…raising taxes statewide may just provide the kick in the ass a majority would need to vote for change.

4) The rule in the NBA that allows a team to call a timeout and then advance the ball to their offensive end of the court is ridiculous and needs to be eliminated.  Imagine if you could do this in any other sport.  Call a timeout in football and advance the ball across midfield?  How about in golf?  Call a timeout and take a free drop on the apron of the green?  In hockey, call a timeout and get an offensive zone faceoff?  And what about in baseball?  Not even sure how you could do this, but imagine if you had an 0-2 count as a batter, and then could call a timeout and reset the count to 0-0.  That would pretty much be equivalent to the absurdity that takes place down the stretch in an NBA game.  And the most ludicrous wrinkle about this “rule” is that the rule does not exist in any other basketball league in America, from little league, to junior high, to high school to the NCAAs.  Basketball players in all other competitive leagues are required to bring the ball the full length of the court, each and every time down the floor, even after a time out.  So why are NBA athletes exempt?  Obviously this rule was myopically instituted to make the endings of games more competitive and exciting for the fan.  But the end of NBA games, 9 out of 10 times, are anything but exciting.  They feature seemingly endless clock stoppages due to intentional fouls and a limitless cache of timeouts.  The final two minutes of a closely contested NBA game can take 20-30 minutes in actual elapsed time.  Even lopsided games, in large part due to this timeout ball advancement rule, can take much longer to end than they should.  Bottom line, if a team dominates a game for 46 minutes, there shouldn’t be a loophole rule akin to something you would find in a game of Monopoly (you know,” go directly to jail,” or “pass go and collect $200”) that allows the trailing team to have a better chance to get back into the game.  Especially considering that rule doesn’t exist in NCAA basketball, which offers some of the most exciting, down-to-the-wire games every year in its conference and NCAA tournaments.


5) Stable, sober, presumably loving married couples are often unable to reproduce (due to age, infertility, genetic issues, etc.) while abusive, substance-abuse-riddled and poverty-stricken, unwed couples and one-night flings from broken homes reproduce like insects.  There is even a farcical youth movement sweeping our nation, which is glamorized, as most ridiculous fads tend to be, on MTV.  I am sure there are scads of couples and single women in their late 30s and 40s cursing as commercials for 16 and Pregnant taunt them from their television screens.  I do not have all the answers, but it would be great for everyone in the world if this was corrected.  Unfortunately, of the five items discussed here, this may be the most difficult problem to repair.



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If you try sometimes….You realize a rock singer-songwriter from Indiana is a genius…

Nobody likes to come up empty handed. The best of us shoot for the stars, but not all of us are armed with this:

And so some of us settle, or at least grasp at the lower hanging fruit.

Countless songs have been written over the years about our hopes and dreams, our true desires, and our basic necessities for survival.

This entry focuses on two primary categories – The best songs ever written about what we “want” and the best songs ever written about what we “need.”

The rules are simple:  The word “want” (or an acceptable variation) or “need” must be in the title of the song (sorry to the likes of “Box of Rain,” “Somebody,” “Where the Streets Have no Name,” “Just a Friend,” “Dead or Alive,” and “Young Lust” – all great songs with lyrics featuring our buzz words, but alas, rules is rules).  Also, the song must be great – at least in your humble author’s opinion – sorry if my taste in music offends you.

We will begin with the best songs with “want” in their titles – these songs greatly outnumber those with “need,” well, because we all desire more in life than we actually require to get by.  So without further delay, please find the top 25 songs in recent memory that focus on our wants, counting down to the best from number 25:

25)   I Want to Break Free – Queen

24) Tie: All She Wants to Do Is Dance – Don Henley /

What Do You Want From Me – Pink Floyd

23)   I Want It That Way – Backstreet Boys

22)   All I Want For Christmas – Mariah Carey

21)   Tie: Any Way You Want It – Journey /

I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith

20)   If You Want Me to Stay – Sly and the Family Stone

19)   Baby I’m-A Want You – Bread

18)   I Wanna Rock – Twisted Sister

17)   Wanna Play That Game – Hall and Oats

16)   I Want Candy – The Strangeloves

15)   All I Want Is You – U2

14)   I Want to Hold Your Hand – The Beatles

13)   You’re the One that I Want – Grease Soundtrack

12)   I Want You Back – Jackson Five

11)   I Want to Know What Love Is – Foreigner

10)   I Want You to Want Me – Cheap Trick

09)   If You Want to Sing Out – Cat Stevens

08)   Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – Michael Jackson

07)   I Want a New Drug – Huey Lewis and the News

06)   I Want Your Sex – George Michael

05)   Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cindy Lauper

04)   I Wanna Love You – Bob Marley

03)   Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want – The Smiths

02)   I Want You – Bob Dylan

…And the greatest song of all in this category, the one that inspired this entry in the first place and the perfect segue into the next section….

01)   You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones

As previously mentioned, based on the slim pickins of song titles that feature them, our needs are evidently not nearly as prolific as our wants.  Or at least they aren’t as interesting for the creative minds of lyricists and song writers.  I had a great deal of trouble finding enough gems to balance our lists, and so I did the best I could creating a smaller (but no less impressive) list of songs about what we need in life.  Below are the top fifteen, starting with number 15:

15)   I Need Somebody To Lean On – Elvis Presley

14)   I Need A Doctor – Eminem Featuring Dr. Dre

13)   Baby I Need Your Loving – The Four Tops

12)   I Need You – America

11)   All I Need – Jack Wagner

10)   You’re All I Need to Get By – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

09)   Tie: I Need A Hero – Bonnie Tyler /

Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

08)   Love’s In Need of Love Today – Stevie Wonder

07)   I Need You Tonight – INXS

06)   I Need to Know – Tom Petty

05)   I Need Love – LL Cool J

04)   I Need A Miracle – Grateful Dead

03)   A Man Needs A Maid – Neil Young

02)   All You Need Is Love – The Beatles

01)   I Need a Lover (That Won’t Drive Me Crazy) – John Cougar Mellencamp

You might find you got what you needed from today’s ramblings.  Or maybe not so much.  Either way, I am sure you are fuming over some of your author’s selections and rankings. Still, if you have any opinions, feel free to voice them below.

Til next time,


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Ben & Jerry’s Presents: Ron Swanson’s All of the Bacon & Eggs You Have

This was too good not to repost:

Ben & Jerry’s Presents: Ron Swanson’s All of the Bacon & Eggs You Have

You may have thought you heard me say I wanted a lot of bacon and eggs, but what I said was: Give me all the bacon and eggs you have.

(via panicbasket)

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Yeah…I went there – An open letter to David Tyree

Sure, I admit that to some, we are witnessing a time period that may seem a little strange.  A black man is president, a white man is MVP of the NBA Finals and a white RUNNING BACK graces the cover of Madden Football.  But those facts, odd and extraordinary as they may be, do not give anyone the right to assume that our society now runs entirely counter to all accepted norms and common decency; that the expectations of civility, shared experience and solidarity with those who have suffered in kind should all be tossed out the window; and, for the millionth time in the past few years, just because somebody puts a microphone in front of somebody’s lips doesn’t obligate said person to open their mouth – even and especially if the microphone is possibly one last stepping-stone back into a once bright but short-lived spotlight.

For those of you who don’t know, here’s a brief overview of this entry’s antagonist:  David Tyree literally used his head in making one of the most dramatic, unlikely and memorable catches in recent Super-Bowl history, a catch that turned the tide in one of the NFL’s most shocking upsets of all time as the New York Giants defeated the heavily favored, undefeated New England Patriots.








Unfortunately, Tyree failed to use his head in the past few days, instead opting to blather on about a delicate subject, arguing a point difficult enough to defend in and of itself, but as a member of a minority group, his stance remains utterly and embarrassingly hypocritical and, frankly, despicable.

If you don’t have the foggiest clue what David Tyree has said over the past week or so, please refer to the following hyperlinks: from ESPN here, and yesterday’s even more ridiculous follow-on from USA Today here.

Bottom line:  How dare you, David Tyree?

No matter what you may believe as it relates to another human being’s right to marry, based on religion, economic ramifications or “common sense” as Tyree calls it, you need to keep it to yourself, unless you are arguing the other side and trying to usher in long-overdue change to some archaic and indefensible marital laws.

But if you yourself are part of a minority group, a group that has only recently gained long-overdue changes in archaic and indefensible civil rights legislation itself, then HOW DARE YOU publicly question and dishonor another minority group’s effort to effect similar change.

As a black man, you should be ashamed of yourself.  Even if these comments were made entirely from a religious point of view – which you admitted they weren’t – you need to understand a few crucial points:

1)    The scripture you quote and rely on as your ultimate truth also heavily features slavery throughout;

2)    The general populace that supports and bolsters your logic are by and large the very people who once owned slaves themselves in our country, who don’t believe in evolution, and the same Red State Bible-thumpers who elected GWB not once but twice – a president who set the civil rights movement and African Americans in general back decades during his administration;

3)    But most importantly, even if you are so convinced that you are right regarding some religious objection to gay marriage that it hurts you inside, you still should keep your friggin’ mouth shut and disconnect your social media accounts because, according to you and the rest of the ignorant homophobes, God will cast final and eternal judgment.  You need not judge or act in any way, for a homosexual’s time on earth is minimal compared to an eternity post-damnation.

And god did not “orchestrate” that freak play so that one day, nearly four years later, you would have a podium to regain the spotlight that faded so quickly after you made that catch.  Your talent was marginal to begin with, and therefore luck was imperative for you to ever make a play of consequence. Without the talent to maintain a career in the NFL, you needed to focus on you, David Tyree. Not others. You. But looking in the mirror every day became unbearable, didn’t it.  Where did the attention go?  Why isn’t my mug on magazine covers anymore?  Why doesn’t anyone talk about me?  And so you needed to go find the attention again, didn’t you? And what better way to secure the limelight than to open fire on another minority group by weighing in on a polarizing argument.

And then you had the audacity to ask the bleeding heart Bible Belt nation to pray for you because you are being targeted on all sides – despite the fact that you opened yourself up for the backlash over and over again by daring rational humans to refute your ridiculous rhetoric.

But your unbelievably moronic arguments and rants didn’t limit themselves to just religious reasoning.  No way. You used political arguments too, didn’t you?  A choice jewel in your original rant was the following enlightened musing regarding the possibility of gay marriage becoming legal: “What I know will happen if this does come forth is this will be the beginning of our country sliding toward, it is a strong word, but anarchy. The moment we have, if you trace back even to other cultures, other countries, that will be the moment where our society in itself loses its grip with what’s right.”

These wise words, spilling from the lips of a black man, whose ancestors marched and protested and fought for their own liberties, and certainly for his right to earn millions of dollars in the NFL playing a game for a living.

But this is no game David Tyree.

Finally, religious and political reasoning be damned, you went for the trump card, didn’t you?  You argued your point on the grounds of “common sense.”  And it is in the twisted logic of this unreasoned argument that you truly incited me to write this open letter and air my grievances with you and all the rest of the ass clowns out there who continue to boggle my mind with what can’t be described any other way than as insight into the decline of Western civilization.

“This is what I do know, you can’t teach something that you don’t have,” Tyree said. “So two men will never be able to show a woman how to be a woman. And that’s just simple. That’s just for a lack of better terms, common sense.”

Oh My Fucking God!  I can’t believe a 30+ year old man and graduate of Syracuse University could say such a thing.  Frankly, I can’t believe a learning disabled 4 year old could say such a thing.  But you did, didn’t you, David Tyree?  You played the common sense card.

Fact:  According to the U.S. Census, from the perspective of children’s living arrangements, over 50 percent of African American children lived in mother-only households in 2004, again the highest of all racial groups.  Even today, more African American children are raised without a father or father figure than any other ethnicity in America.

So again, David Tyree, an African American yourself, HOW DARE YOU?!

Homosexual men have mothers and sisters, and we all know they have female friends. So while your concerns are noted, they are pointless.

You battled alcoholism and crack addiction throughout your adolescence.  In 2004 you were arrested for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.  And when you were released from prison you discovered your girlfriend was pregnant with your second child.  She presented you with an ultimatum, and you “found god” in an effort to turn your life around.  A noble act indeed – I fully support your decision.

But your newfound spirituality was YOUR ticket back to the path of the righteous.  It has nothing to do with anyone else. YOU made mistakes. YOU jeopardized your own life and the lives of those close to you. It is YOUR own actions that precipitated and necessitated a spiritual change. Why are you concerned with the actions of anyone else as long as said actions cause nobody any physical harm? What are you worried about? Are you homosexual yourself and simply expressing your disgust and confusion regarding your own feelings by lashing out?

Once upon a time, you used your head to make a great catch David Tyree. Luck was certainly involved, but there is no doubt you made the catch that changed the game.

Now please, I beg of you, and all those who vocally and publicly agree with you, use your head again and keep your mouth shut.

We would all prefer to remember you, David Tyree, as the man who made the spectacular catch to help the Giants win Super Bowl XLII, and not the man who used his fading celebrity to endorse a cause that is wrong on every possible level, and even more so by a man of your color.



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Crimson, White and Indigo…….

Happy Flag Day Everyone.  Here are some of the greatest flags (and images of flags), IMO, of course:

Betsy Ross presenting her masterpiece to George, Thomas and Benjamin

Planting Old Glory on Iwo Jima

got some dust upon [his] shoes…”]

One Love for Jamaica’s flag, mon…especially this one (RIP RNM)






Hatikva – the beautiful Israeli flag, simple two-tone majesty, symbolizing strength against all odds.  The photos above seem to capture the tortured history of the people the flag represents, enduring and longing for peace.

Ah, the Stratego Flag, how thou distracted me from anything productive at times throughout my youth

At least the outdoor version of Capture the Flag allowed us to commune with nature while frittering away the hours

And then there are the Freak Flags, ushered in by the freewheeling, revolutionary hippies of the 1960s – Even Neil almost cut his once upon a time…

Not sure Betsy Ross had this in mind back in the day….but I’m also not sure she didn’t

The post-911 patriotism across the USA evoked Francis Scott Key’s mindset when he penned his opus – chilling to say the least

But for my money, there are few images more powerful than Old Glory being hoisted above all other flags to symbolize victory in the Olympic games, which is accompanied by our national anthem as the winning and losing athlete(s) stand at attention and marvel at the moment.  The above shot of the medal ceremony in Lake Placid, NY in 1980, after the USA Hockey team shocked the USSR (and the world), may be the single greatest awe-inspiring moment featuring the American flag to occur in my lifetime.

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Five for Fixing, Part I…..

Every now and then I will offer a list of five policies, trends, inventions, phenomena or general ways of the world that require anything from a slight tweak to a major overhaul.  It will be my version of Peter Griffin’s “You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?” segment.  I will not rank them.  Some will be more serious than others.  For some I will offer my own recommendation for how to fix the problem, or at least how to begin the process.  For others, I will just shake my head and pray.  Feel free to comment, or add your own ideas to the discussion.

So here are my first five for fixing, in no particular order:

Driving in the left lane of a multi-lane road or highway needs to be policed.  For crying out loud, left-lane protocol needs to be required learning to gain a license to operate a vehicle in this country.  But more importantly, tickets need to be given to drivers that fail to adhere to it – and driver’s education courses should be required to be retaken if one receives a second citation for left-lane negligence.  The left lane of any road is for passing, and for making a left turn if necessary – period.  If there are three or more lanes, the policy still holds true, and any driver in the left-most lane that is not passing cars to their right (or gaining on them rapidly to imminently pass) must move over one lane to the right.  I know cops already need more money than they collect from speeding and other traffic violations, as is evidenced by the ridiculous parking ticket policies of most urban and even suburban communities, but imagine the increase of police revenues if this policy were to be enforced.   And it really needs to be.

The party system in American (and presumably global) politics needs to be eliminated.  I find it incredibly hypocritical when people criticize the BCS in college football but fail to recognize that it was basically created using the same philosophy that perpetuates Big Elephant and Donkey – our capitalist country (like the BCS) will continually screw the little guy, the average voter, the unaffiliated, and the voiceless in order to feed the big, well-oiled machine that pays its bills, and is willing to overlook corruption, cheating, graft, disparities, and the general undercurrent of “the rich get richer at the expense of the poor,” creating a situation where the only true winners are those well-heeled few with enough resources to influence, control and perpetuate the parties themselves.

I have no problem with capitalism, but I have a huge problem with a two-party system founded on archaic principles, backed by ridiculous extremists and so firmly entrenched in our political landscape that it is virtually impossible for a candidate who subscribes to intelligent policies and platforms inherent to both schools, or even ideas outside the scope of either school to gain the requisite backing and political foothold to win a meaningful American election.

In college football, the BCS system creates a scenario where teams that do not play for the “rich, powerful” BCS conferences that run the system similarly have the odds stacked firmly against them, and therefore, the 2008 Utah Utes, who convincingly dismantled the BCS darling Alabama Crimson Tide (who won the national title just one year later), not only were unfairly kept out of the BCS Championship game, but never really had a legitimate shot, all things being equal, of getting there in the first place.

Maybe a rich and powerful sports fanatic, like Mark Cuban, will one day dislodge the powers that be in college football and create a playoff system that includes all schools equally and fairly, but even so, I have far less faith that the same will ever be done to supplant the American Two-Party Political system.  But one can hope.

Our once-great nation has been in slow denouement ever since the Cold War ended.  We need a swift kick in the ass in many areas, including our banking and small business lending practices, social security and Medicare reform and redefining the role of our military; and some radical changes in many others, such as education, health care, tort reform and gay rights, to name a few.  These changes cannot and will not ever be diagrammed and effected unless the party lines are removed and our political machine joins together to work for the common good.  The current parties and their respective casts of heavyweights spend countless dollars and hours squabbling with one another, mudslinging and looking for the optimal opportunity to pin the latest scandal on their opponents in order to wrestle or maintain majority control of their respective branch of government, be it at the Federal, State or even Local level.  Red Tape grows thicker and longer, and momentum in either direction becomes harder and harder to slow, let alone reverse.

A place to start would be a universal elimination of parties in American Politics.  Then significant campaign reform, including the outlaw of negative campaign ads.  Platforms and issues should define our candidates and their campaigns.  Nothing else.

The sizes of cups and containers available to consumers for soda, French fries and popcorn at fast food restaurants, convenience stores and especially movie theaters need to be regulated.  The government has already begun to regulate the levels of saturated fat and healthy food options restaurants are required to utilize and offer its customers.  The next step is a logical one.  As the most obscenely obese nation in the world, there is no way a child should be able to walk into a movie theater to see Toy Story and buy a soft drink that is larger than a fire hydrant (and that is the small!)  Also, children should be limited to one drink – forget free refills unless used for juice or water.  This second part may be difficult to enforce, but our children live in a country where it is “normal” to glut oneself in one sitting with enough high fructose corn syrup and carcinogenic diet drinks to fill a bath tub.  We are all going to have to pay for the ramifications of this ridiculous and unhealthy phenomenon.  Make it stop.

The way airplanes are boarded needs an overhaul.  I understand first class pays extra, so they can board first if they want, but all planes must be designed so that the door is behind first class seating, so that any first class passengers boarding a plane early do not interfere with a new policy:  STRICT Rear-first boarding.  Passengers should be called by rows, beginning with the back three, then moving forward – there should never be people shimmying into their 5th row seats while 300 people wait for them to place all of the crap in the overhead compartments, and then tend to their four infant children who have taken to a game of tag while their overwhelmed parents are distracted by all the awful game of Tetris that is cramming a too-wide bag into a narrow slot above.

I have no problem with handicapped people and those with small children sitting up front, but they should wait to sit.  I am pretty sure the handicapped and small children do not need any more time than they will already have being cooped up in an airplane coach class seat.  The less time on a plane, the better for them, and all of us really.  And Southwest Air needs to change things too – Socialist airline rules aren’t the worst thing I ever heard of, but let the heavy lifting happen organically online prior to printing everyone’s boarding pass.  The winner of seat A1 gets 1st pick of seat, and so on, on the seating chart prior to printing out the boarding pass.  If you fail to choose your seat ahead of time, you will be seated last, after all those who did choose online are seated.  Then we wouldn’t run into the awful situation of every friggin’ aisle seat taken through the middle of the plane, then back filling the window seats through mid-plane, then aisle and window seats in the rear of the plane and finally the middle seats, starting in the front of the plane.  As incredibly inefficient as the boarding process is in general, it is even worse on Southwest.  Overall, airline boarding creates ridiculous amounts of wasted time, undue stress for everyone, including airline employees and generally makes humans look foolish.  Aren’t foresight and the ability to think and plan supposedly a few of the differentiating traits of mankind?  Every time I find myself involved in the boarding process of a commercial plane, I cannot believe the general disorganization, chaos and stress-filled bullshit that goes on.  I guarantee that a more-efficient boarding system outlined above combined with a first class door redesign will add hours of time back onto the lives of even infrequent travelers, and a great deal more to frequent flyers and airline employees.

DVR recordings that miss or cut-off the end or beginning of shows.  I know, I know.  The ad lobby controls the rules because they are the ones that drive programming budgets.  But fuck the ad lobby.  If people are DVRing their favorite shows and sporting events, they are doing so because of one or more of four primary reasons:

1)      They are busy or otherwise engaged and do not have time/are not able to watch television during the timeslot they are recording;

2)      The program is on at some ungodly hour and sleep is more important;

3)      There is another program or sporting event on simultaneously that they would prefer to watch; and/or,

4)      They are home, really want to watch the show ASAP, but do not want to be burdened by the stupid, repetitive and often insulting commercials that take up 1/3 of every television hour, so they take a shower, do a chore or two around the house, go to the gym, check their emails, grab a bite to eat, have some sex or do anything other than watch the show they are recording in order to generate enough lead time to fast forward through the commercials as they watch the show.

Any way you look at it, if someone is recording a show, they do not want to be burdened by the ads, unless maybe they recorded the Super Bowl.  So ad companies need to adapt.  They already cover every inch of every stadium and arena, including the name of said arena, with ad space – so sports are covered.  And product placement has become so commonplace that it is difficult to watch anything without seeing ten easily identifiable products in each scene.

I know we all can adjust our recordings to capture an extra minute or two before and after a time slot.  But why should WE have to do that?  It should be an auto-feature on every cable company DVR.  Make it happen.

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Don’t call it a comeback….

Last night’s devastating comeback in the Triple A by Dirk’s Mavs, in which the Heat snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, brings some other notable comebacks (or collapses/choke-jobs) in recent sports history to mind.   Sure, last night’s final 6 minutes of one-sided ball, on Miami’s home floor, in the friggin’ NBA Finals, showcased a monumental failure by one side and a glorious, defying-the-odds flurry of previously unseen offensive prowess by the other.  And so, the series-tying effort by Cuban’s true passion is the impetus for wracking my brain this morning, and coming up with a list of sorts…

This is not THE list, ranking all comebacks in the history of sports, nor even the top ten of all time.  No, this list involves only games or tournaments or matches in which I witnessed the comeback in its entirety, live, whether on television or at the event itself.  Emphasis will be given to those events that had greater meaning, such as a playoff or championship or major event versus a regular season game.

So here you go, a trip down my own personal memory lane of incredible (or incredibly depressing, I suppose, depending on perspective) sports finishes:

Football – Eagles vs. Giants, December, 2010. The Stakes: a playoff berth on the line, though not 100% win-and-you’re- in…there were a couple games left after this one for both teams.

I was watching this game in a sports bar.  A Philly sports bar.  Down 24-3 at the half, and 31-10 well into the 4th quarter and the Giants weren’t just winning…they were manhandling a bewildered and seemingly over-matched Eagles team.  People left the bar in disgust as the fourth quarter began.  A friend of mine, a big Eagle fan, said goodbye and told my father and I he had better things to do.  The game was over.

But a long touchdown pass to Brent Celek and a recovered onside kick at around the 6 minute mark changed the momentum of the game.  Mike Vick finally started to make some plays with his legs, which opened up the passing game as well, and the Eagles very dangerous offense, which had not yet reared its head, began to take flight.  A Vick walk-in, a defensive stop and a long drive which culminated in a pretty 5-yard Vick to Maclin TD finished the comeback, and tied the score at 31.

Still, the Gints had the ball with 1:15 left in the game.  Unable to get a first down against a now rejuvenated Eagles D, New York was forced to punt with 12 seconds left on the clock.  Awaiting the punt…DeSean Jackson.  Under strict instructions to keep the ball away from the Eagles’ game-breaker, punter Matt Dodge kicked a line drive directly to Jackson.  A few jukes and a blur later, the Birds pulled off another Miracle at the Meadowlands, would go on to make the playoffs and the Giants would narrowly miss the post-season.  Awesome movie-script ending for us Philly fans…pure misery, disbelief and heartbreak for the New Yawk set.

Golf – Jean Van de Velde – 1999 British Open at Carnoustie – The Stakes: a major championship, and the first open championship for a Frenchman since 1907 … One of the most amazing train wrecks I can remember watching, it literally was painful to witness this Frenchman butcher a hole he had birdied twice in the previous 3 rounds.  Taking the tee at 18 on the final day, Van de Velde held a 3 stroke lead, misfired his drive and forced the viewers to endure awful shot after awful shot en route to a triple bogey, a plummet into an improbably 3-way tie for the lead, and a loss to Paul Lawrie in the play-off.

Football – Monday Night October 16, 2006 – The Stakes: a big, early season upset to potentially turn the season around for a struggling Cardinals team, a perfect season for the Bears, and a Coach’s legacy and reputation.  What I will forever remember as the Dennis Green game pitted a lowly and uninspired 1-4 Arizona Cardinals team against an undefeated and prohibitive favorite in the Chicago Bears, who were a defensive minded team with a scintillating special teams unit, led by the seemingly unstoppable Devin Hester.  The Cards played smart football, held the non-existent Bears offense to a lone field goal and kept the ball away from Chicago’s only scoring threats, the Defense and Devin Hester, to take a shocking 23-3 lead into the 4th quarter.  And then it happened.  Momentum shifted as the Bears D finally wore down the Cards’ weary offensive line, which had been playing out of their minds.  One mistake led to another, compounding on each other to lead to 21 unanswered Bears points, which featured two defensive fumble recoveries and a beautiful 82-yard punt return by “Kick It Out of Bounds” incarnate.  As amazing as the comeback/collapse was, the best part of this game was the post-game presser by Cardinal’s Head Coach Dennis Green, whose now infamous “The Bears are who we thought they were! That’s why we took the damn field! Now, if you want to crown them, then crown their ass! But they are who we thought they were, and we let them off the hook!”  Hours and days of laughter following what truly was an amazing football comeback.

NCAA Basketball – Duke- Maryland, 2001 – The Stakes: Bragging rights in the ACC, a trip to the National Title game.  In the National Semifinals, Duke erased a 22 point first half deficit against conference rival Terps to win going away, 95-84 in the Metrodome.  This was a monumental comeback/collapse by any standards, particularly in a game with so much at stake.  But it wasn’t even the most amazing Duke comeback against Maryland that season.  Just a few months earlier, in hostile College Park no less, Duke overcame a 10 point deficit with less than a minute remaining in the game, sent the game to overtime and prevailed 98-96.  I am sure the confidence the Blue Devils gained in completing the comeback on the Terps’ home floor allowed them to regroup and rally in the Final Four game a few months later. I was reminded of Duke’s sudden offensive barrage and Maryland’s futility that narrowed and erased the gap in the final 54 seconds in January 2001 when watching Dallas defeat Miami last night.  In those moments, it is like momentum actually increases the size of the trailing team’s basket ten-fold while shrinking the leading team’s basket to a size smaller than the ball.

Football – 1993 Wildcard Playoff Game.   The Stakes:  Advancing in the AFC playoffs.  The second Frank Reich Game. Yep.  Frank Reich led two historic comebacks in his day, one in college as the Maryland Terps upended the heavily favored Miami Hurricanes after falling behind big in the second half, and this one: Things couldn’t have been bleaker. The Oilers led 35-3 early in the second half. Bills QB Jim Kelly was injured. Linebacker Cornelius Bennett was injured. Thurman Thomas played sparingly. The only thing that could have made things more depressing would have been a plague of locusts descending from the sky. The blowout was that biblical. Then Reich drove the team for one touchdown. 35-10. Steve Christie recovered his own on-side kick and Reich hit Don Beebe for a TD. 35-17. The Bills D forced the Oilers to punt. Reich hit another TD pass, this one to Andre Reed. 35-24. And it was still the third quarter. No. Freaking. Way. Henry Jones picked off Warren Moon, setting up Reich at the Houston 23 yard line. Another TD pass to Reed. 35-31. The Oilers missed a FG and the Bills got another TD (again from Reich to Reed). The Bills were ahead for the first time. 38-35. The Oilers tied the game to send it to OT and won the coin toss. It looked like they might avert disaster, but Moon threw an errant pass setting up the Bills in FG range and Christie completed the most ridiculous, unlikely, unbelievable comeback in NFL history.

Basketball – Indiana Pacers vs. the New York Knicks, Game 1, 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Stakes: Advancing deep into the playoffs, potentially winning an NBA title, and for Miller and Ewing, possibly solidifying their position as one of the all time greats. Knicks fans hate Reggie Miller with the heat of a 1,000 suns. They hate him so much that ESPN made it the subject of one of their 30 for 30 documentaries. The bad blood wouldn’t be enough to warrant mention on this list, but Miller’s performance in Game 1 of the E.C. Semifinals does. Single-handedly, Miller led his team to a stunning 107-105 last second victory over the Knicks in the Garden. With 18.7 seconds left, the Knicks lead by six points. Miller kicked into action, hit a three point shot, stole the ensuing inbounds pass, dribbled back behind the three point line, and hit that three-pointer. Miller then hit both free-throws to put the Pacers ahead for the win and up 1-0 in the series.

Golf – 1996 Masters – The Stakes:  Winning the Augusta Major and its Green Jacket is perhaps the most coveted golf achievement among anyone who has ever swung a club.  For Greg Norman, who seemingly had a master’s in how to lose the Masters — from ahead to Tom Watson in ‘81, from behind to Jack Nicklaus in ‘86, from nowhere to Larry Mize in ‘87, from everywhere to Ben Crenshaw in ‘95 — this was a chance at redemption. There was even an idea by some media members, after Greg’s seemingly insurmountable 54-hole lead, to hold an 18-hole parade in his honor to “make up for all the broken hearts and second-place crystal he had lugged home over the years.” It would be his payback for having had to wait longer than any champion for his green jacket (16 years).

Greg Norman let a 6 stroke final round lead slip away to the hard charging South African, Nick Faldo.  “If he blows this,” ESPN’s Dan Patrick said on Sunday, “it will be the biggest collapse in modern golf history.”  But from the beginning on Sunday something in Norman’s swing made you squirm. He hooked his drive at 1 into the trees and made a bogey. There was a nasty par save on 3, a bogey on 4 and a god-awful pull on 8.

Faldo, meanwhile, was as steady as rent, making two-putt par after two-putt par. (He three-putted once all week.) He drilled a four-footer on the 6th for a birdie and a 20-footer on 8 to cut the lead to three. Then came the most catastrophic four golf holes in Norman’s life.

It was difficult to watch as Norman slowly and painfully unraveled in the middle of golf’s sanctuary.  The Shark’s meltdown in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and certainly the most hallowed in the golfing world showcased the fragility of the human mind for all the world to see.  His body language was the very portrait of a man struggling with some unknown inner demons.  He slumped as he walked the final few holes, and his descent from landslide victory to agonizing defeat provided one of the most horrifying sports images ever captured on television.

Hockey – 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Stakes: A trip to the Conference Finals and perhaps a shot at Lord Stanley’s Cup; and for both teams, a shot at a first title in more than 3 decades. Though the Flyers and the B’s no longer play in the same division, the bad blood between the two goes back generations, at least to the Broad Street Bullies era. But the hard-luck losses the Flyers handed the Bruins throughout the 1970s couldn’t hurt Boston fans like this series probably did. This will haunt them for the rest of their lives and possibly well into the afterlife. It took a miracle OT win in Game 4 to get the Flyers comeback rolling. Then the Flyers lost netminder Brian Boucher in the Game 5 victory and back-up Michael Leighton stepped up in the Game 6 nail-biter. In a fit of melodrama, the Flyers came back from a score of 3-0 in Game 7, getting the game winner from Simon Gagne, who had come back early from injury (and also scored the OT winner in Game 4.) It is the stuff movies are made of. Bad movies. Unbelievable movies. The kind of movies that are so bad they go straight to video. Philly fans should never whine or complain about their hard luck ever again. And I’m a Philly fan.

And I watched the amazing game 7 comeback win to seal the stunning meltdown by the Bruins in a pub at 4am in Paris France.  The crowd there began the night scoffing at me between sips of wine and beer, preferring to watch soccer, if anything at all as I requested that management turn the hockey game on, even if just on one of their many flat screen televisions.  But as the game wore on, and the Flyers mounted their incredible comeback in this game 7, let alone in the series, the tenor of the crown eerily reminded me of the extras in a cheesy 1980s/1990s Sports movie (like Rocky 4, Happy Gilmore or The Longest Yard remake) where everyone once rooting for one side suddenly shifts, mid-game, match or bout and roots for the longshot/misfit/foreigner.

Baseball – 2004 American League Championship.

The Stakes: Flying pigs, hell freezing over, the continuation of an 80+ year old curse, and of course, a trip to the World Series

Speaking of the Boston sports fans, they also have a big victory on this list, and frankly, knowing Boston fans and the American sports fan in general, they care a hell of lot more about this one than they do the loss to the Fly Boys.  I am sure, since 2004, everybody is beyond their saturation point with the Sox stuff, Sweet Caroline, the Cask & Flagon, the Green Monster, Dan Shaunessy and the Dennis Leary truck ads. But these were New York Yankees we were talking about, a team that had tormented Boston fans for generations and generations, the team that always won in the end, no matter how heroic or beloved the Boston players. The inevitability of the Yankees victory was certain. The history of the match-up, and the fact that the 2004 Sox actually won the World Series, may just rank this comeback among the all-time greats – and for me, as a hater of all sports teams New York – it was a gem.

Don’t think I haven’t forgotten these, which I also saw:

The San Diego Padres collapse in 2010, overtaken by the San Francisco Giants on the final day of the season despite having had the best record in the entire National League at the end of August.

The Jets-Jets-Jets stormed back to stun the Dolphins in 2000, erasing a 23 point second half deficit to win in OT.

And one of my personal favorites, in 2007 as the New York Mets faded and the Phillies rose to win the NL East, avenging their futility in 1964 to make the Mets the biggest chokers in the sport’s history.

The Phillies rallied from seven games down on Sept. 12, matching the biggest September comeback in major league history. Philadelphia and the Mets went into the last day tied for the division lead.

No major league team failed to finish first after having at least a seven-game lead with 17 to play. The Phillies joined the 1934 Cardinals and 1938 Cubs as the only teams to overcome a seven-game deficit in the final month.

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I was peer pressured into doing a fashion-themed entry….

I know, I know.  What happened to me?  A few days ago I wrote an open letter to Tampax’s biggest shill, and now this….

So, gun to your head, which would you rather wear…and why?

Seinfeld’s infamous Puffy Shirt:








Denise Huxtable’s take on a Gordon Gartrell, custom tailored for Theo:





And no, it is not lost on me that Theo and Jerry had virtually the exact same hair style during these episodes, which aired nearly a decade apart.

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