Monday, October 27, 2008

Stranger in a Strange Land...

Welcome to the "City of Brotherly Love," right? ...

This gem was in the Center City neighborhood in Philadelphia this weekend. The clever, but apparently very angry, parkist jammed the kitchen knife into the coin slot to tie this masterpiece together.

I decided to visit Thanatos in Philly and enjoy the World Series atmosphere with the Rays in town to take on the Philthies. I sported my D-Rays t-shirt Saturday... and of course got some strange looks and comments.

We watched the game at this downtown sports bar where I'm fairly certain I was the only person there rocking any Rays gear.

The place was packed to beyond capacity with rabid Phillies fans, who gradually noticed my shirt throughout the night. I think a lot of people saw it and were just confused... especially since it had the old logo.

For the most part, the people were just sort of fascinated. I think I heard the term, "You got balls man," about 50 times.

Since I was greatly outnumbered in a drunken Philly bar, I was well-behaved and didn't talk trash (not that there were many opportunities in Saturday night's loss...) So it ended up being an interesting experience to say the least. I definitely didn't mention too often that I was also rooting for Ohio State over Penn State in the game that was also going on. That just would have been reckless.

For the most part, people were just sort of baffled and intrigued at my presence... though one very drunk girl noticed me on my way back from the bar and started punching me on the shoulder... I just kept walking and never saw her again.

Now, if the Rays had won, it probably would have been different and a lot more hostile. Philadelphia fans don't exactly have the best reputation... but we all know how that game turned out so it didn't matter too much.

Of note, the bar blasted the Rocky theme at the beginning of the game as well as at the beginning of the bottom of the ninth, which was pretty cool. The crowd, of course, went wild both times.

The rest of the weekend was drunkenness and eating, as per the usual in Philly.

I wonder if Philly has something like Overheard in New York? If it does, something kind of like this might show up after this weekend...
Obvious transsexual Philadelphian: Where's the Liberty Bell? The Liberty Bell is everywhere, it's even in your soul.
Dashing young man in town from New York City: Yeah, the Liberty Bell is in your heart, your soul... and your colon.
Obvious transsexual Philadelphian: Yeah, that's why your butt has a crack.

-- Center City

Overheard by: I thought they cancelled Beavis and Butthead?

It went something like that, but as you might have guessed from the conversation, my memory of it might not be, shall we say... crisp?

One thing I noticed in Philly, it looks like the current economic crisis has made an impact on Philadelphia's undertaking industry, which has apparently had a serious trickle-down to the hearse industry.

Either that or perhaps the little Smart Car is for environmentally friendly midget funerals.

Also kind of neat this morning, I had to swing by the Time-Life Building in the Rockefeller Center in Midtown. That was kind of neat and the place where I spent the morning was like a little museum to Time and Life magazines with covers, pictures and little exhibits featuring things dating back decades. So that definitely counts as a neat little New York experience.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phillies star out for series with feminine illness

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Philadelphia Phillies star closer Brad Lidge will miss the rest of the World Series after recent test results showed a minor yeast infection in the area of his Lidgina, team officials revealed this afternoon.

“I’m a little surprised and bummed that I won't be playing anymore this season, but this has actually happened a few times before,” Lidge said. “But I trust the club’s OB/GYN.”

The announcement came on the heels of the Phillies 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays here in game one of the World Series, in which Lidge recorded the save. The Phillies now lead the series 1-0 with game two being played tonight at 8 p.m. at Tropicana Field here.

The diagnosis was a result of the Phillies routine annual team-wide fall pap smears, which the public was previously not made aware of.

It's unclear how many Phillies in the past have needed treatment after the fall round of tests because the results don’t tend to come in until mid to late October – not a time when the Phillies are usually still playing ball and in the spotlight.

"I guess if I had known we were going to be in the playoffs I could have postponed the tests, but I honestly didn’t expect the Mets to have such a spectacular collapse to end the season – especially for a second straight year in a row,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Heck, some of my players were in elementary school the last time we made it this deep into October, you know?”

Philadelphia’s young ace pitcher Cole Hamels balked at the idea that Lidge’s infection might cause him any trouble, but wasn’t too certain about the rest of the team.

“I think I’m good shape since back in spring training the guys gave me a free cootie shot, though I was the only one on the team that got one,” Hamels said. “Plus, I don’t go over to any of the sleepover parties Lidge has.”

Phillies spokesman Larry Shenk wouldn’t comment on the possibility of other team members being in any danger from being around Lidge, or Lidge’s “sleepover parties,” but did say Hamels would be no safer than the rest of the team since his “free cooties shot” was actually a twisted joke planned by Lidge and the team’s resident practical joker Brett Myers.

“It was great,” Myers said. “Hamels actually let us inject him with a syringe filled with nasty water from the bottom of the SEPTA station near the ballpark. He kept asking if we might know why he got real sick.”

When the joke was mentioned, Hamels later claimed he knew of the fakeness of his "cootie shot" all along at a mid-day World Series press junket that seemed to continue to get stranger and stranger by the minute.

“Uh, yeah, of course I knew it wasn’t a real vaccine,” Hamels said defiantly. “Don’t worry I’ll get back at them. I’m not saying I had anything to do with Lidge’s current situation since I wouldn’t want to hurt our World Series hopes, but I’ll definitely get them back. I know where there families are. It’s all good. Judgment day comes for all,” he said trailing off.

More pressing to the Phillies clubhouse than practical jokes, vengeance and alleged sleepover parties at the moment is their bullpen, and Manuel knows it.

As for who Manuel says will be in the closer spot for the rest of the series?

“In a perfect world? David Price. Did you see him in game seven of the ALCS?” Manuel said of the Rays rookie pitching phenom. “Unfortunately he’s on the other team, so I put a lot of thought into it and I’m going to give the ball to the one true Phillie when it’s all on the line.”

Phillie Phanatic has only one mound appearance, which came in 1999, and his stats from that game don’t seem to support Manuel’s decision. He has spent most of his 30-year career with the Phillies performing his mascot duties.

Phanatic brings with him an infinite ERA, as he has allowed 74 runs and has never actually gotten a batter out.

“The last time I remember seein’ him take the mound was like a decade ago,” said longtime Philadelphian Paulie Pennino, 68. “He couldn’t get anyone out and the little kids at the camp just kept getting hit after hit. He got killed out there. He was a crumb bum.”

Rays batters sounded caught off guard when asked how they felt about possibly batting against Phanatic for the rest of the World Series.

“What the hell are you talking about?” asked Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. "How did you get in my house?"


I basically wrote that up on the train ride into work this morning. I'm sure if anyone was reading over my shoulder as I scribbled the draft they probably would have thought I was crazy... and of course been right.

Maybe I should submit this to CNN's iReport, since apparently they'll throw their name behind anything...

Also... Ironically, the St. Petersburg Times posted a thing today about The Onion stories involving the Rays, many of which are of course hilarious.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I can vote here now... hooray?

I got another sign that I'm officially becoming a part of the city... I got word in the mail today that the New York City Board of Elections has processed my voter registration.

It tells me the districts I'm in for different elections, city council, state assembly , etc... all that fun stuff, but it doesn't tell me any candidates or anything.

I guess I'm not too surprised that they didn't send like a sample ballot, but it sure would have been nice. They don't even really have anything online telling me who is running for any positions I'll be voting on.

I've been looking around, and I've barely been able to find out even who is filling the positions right now... craziness. From what I can tell, it looks like most of my reps have been parked in there seats for a pretty long time and/or show no signs of going anywhere...

Here's a quick look at the motley crew that allegedly represents me and my interests, or something like that...

My Congressman - Charlie Rangel - A lot of you may have actually heard of and/or recognize Rangel. He was first elected to "represent" Harlem and my nearby neighborhood in 1970 and is a pretty, shall we say, outgoing politician and his name gets out a lot. Also, he finds himself pretty regularly caught up in scandal after scandal...

My State Assemblyman - Herman D. Farrell, Jr. - Like with Rangel, it always provides a special comfort knowing that someone has been parked in the same political positions since long before I was born. I'm not a big proponent of term limits, but wow, 34 years in Albany? That's probably long enough to spoil someone who even started with the best of intentions. It probably doesn't matter since it's not too likely anyone else is running for the seat anyway...

My City Councilman - Robert Jackson - Seems normal enough I guess. I'll have to see who, if anyone else, is in this race.

My State Senator - Eric T. Schneiderman - I like how if you go to the bottom of the biography you can see how he just barely kept his seat in the 2006 election by beating the Republican challenger 51,202 votes to 4,270. Talk about a nailbiter.

Neither of my U.S. Senate seats are up for election this time around... though as I understand it neither Chuck Schumer nor queen carpetbagger Hillary Clinton are in too much danger of losing their seats anytime soon.

I'm already pretty jaded on politics in general, since it really tends to be about the slimiest thing there is, but realizing that my votes are likely pointless even in the more local races is just icing on the cake. Thinking about the overall sliminess reminds me of one of my favorite Reagan quotes:
"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."

Don't worry, I'll of course still end up voting anyway though...

Heck there are still other citywide races that I understand are pretty heated that I need to look into. They may actually prove interesting to research, things like comptroller and such.

Hopefully as I look more into the local races I'll find some of the more obscure races to look into. Like when I was in Kentucky I got to vote on the county coroner (and even covered the public debate between the two coroner candidates, which was definitely interesting to say the least... the newcomer accused the longtime coroner of directing more than a fair share of the indigent bodies to the funeral home he owned... weird, scandalous stuff)

Unfortunately though it's getting late, so that kind of in-depth research will have to come some other time...

Monday, October 20, 2008

AL Champs, WORD!

I just got home from a neighborhood pub after watching the thrilling Rays game 7 win in the ALCS. How awesome is that!

World Series, here we come!!!!

P.S. I have a new superstition... When a friend of mine came up to the city and we went to see the D-Rays at Yankee Stadium, she brought me a Rays shot glass and mug, so I decided to bring the shot glass to the bar with me and do a shot every time the Rays scored (or did something that was just awesome, like end that eighth inning without giving up a run) in the Rays shot glass.

The bartenders look was priceless when I first explained my plan, but once he figured it out, he was cool with it... and as we all know, the Rays totally won the game!

The bar wasn't too well stocked, so eventually the shot ended up being one part vodka, one part peach schnapps and one part cranberry juice... pretty delicious if I do say so myself.

The important thing is that we won, and now I'll have to bring that shot glass to the bars with me as I watch the World Series... and see the bartenders' reactions, hehe.

But the real most important thing of course is Go Rays! Word dizzle!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Back from Texas, but not without my hotel spoils...

Ahh... the spoils of any long hotel stay. I know, I'm a weirdo, but I love to horde hotel toiletries. There are worse habits, right?

As for a last interesting Texas thing... I originally rented a car in Fort Worth, Texas, and then drove it down to the Houston area where I spent the rest of my time. So I wasn't sure exactly where I was supposed to drop it off in Houston since there are all kinds of rules and potential fees associated with "one-way" rentals. So as I'm combing my rental agreement, I notice some fine print on the very bottom...
"For rentals originating in the City of Arlington: The City of Arlington
requires that an additional tax of 5% be imposed on each motor vehicle rental for the purpose of financing a portion of the Dallas Cowboys complex development project approved by the voters of the city on November 2, 2004."

While different, creative public funding methods are not uncommon for stadiums and such, it still made me laugh a little bit. I'll have to ask my friend from Arlington if she remembers voting on the issue.

Of note, I went to a Rangers game while I was briefly in Fort Worth and it's right by the new Cowboys stadium under construction and that thing is looking pretty schnazzy (and expensive looking).

At least in Tampa when they got the voters to approve sales tax increase to support the new stadium (Raymond James), they included money for schools and etc., too... since when they previously put just the school tax to a vote without the attached stadium tax, the vote failed... which is kind of sad, right?

So they practically had to trick the citizens into supporting education by sneaking it into a vote on a new football stadium. That way the folks who wanted a new stadium, but hated children voted yes and the people who didn't want a stadium but knew it was the only way to get the education money also voted yes.

And folks wonder why other countries may be giving us a run for our money in the global economy in a lot of ways, hmmm...

Anywho... so my cable was out when I got home... an I'm still not sure why. It has just solidified my decision to just stop paying for cable, since I don't watch enough TV to warrant it.

I had read on the Houston Chronicle's site while in Texas that CBS was going to start putting full episodes of classic shows on YouTube, and for some reason I was thinking I had read that included Knight Rider. I was mistaken. It was in fact MacGyver I was thinking of... so when I looked for some full Knight Rider episodes, this is what I found instead...

I remember people saying something about a burlesque dancer being on the "America's Got Talent" show, but I didn't remember the Knight Rider strip. Classy.

Heck, in all honesty, the clip was probably better than watching a whole episode anyway... it had the awesome music, KITT, the Hoff and a stripper all packed into under two minutes.

So while there were no full Knight Rider episodes... I eventually found the MacGyver episodes but they didn't have the one where he ends up in medieval times and hangs with Merlin (which I swear was always the one on TV when I was home sick from school), so I decided to skip on watching one of MacGyver's ingenious escapes and looked to see what other shows they had... and they totally have original Star Trek episodes, which is kind of neat.

I watched the one where they end up in the 1930's. A classic of course.

I think on of my favorite parts has to be where Kirk explains Spock's appearance to a cop by saying he is Chinese and his ears are pointy because they got caught in a mechanical ricepicker when he was a child. The political correctness was overwhelming.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Back in the city...

So my Texas-sized adventure has officially come to an end.

I've left the endless miles of industrial refineries as far as the eye can see to come back to endless hives of apartments as far as the eye can see.

So I just got home from the airport... and I'm pretty exhausted, so I'm just gonna follow the Rays game and hit the hay. (A win tonight means we go to the World Series! Word?!?!)

Well, g'night!

Plus, what the heck... here's a few seemingly appropriate Overheard in New York quotes just for fun since I flew into LaGuardia...

Pilot flying into LaGuardia: If you look out the right side of the plane, you can see the beautiful, famous downtown skyline of Manhattan. [Pause.] And if you look out the left side... [pause, sighing] New Jersey.


Flight Attendant: Thank you for flying US Airways, and have a happy... happy... what the hell holiday is this? Columbus? Psssh, that ain't no holiday. Have a good week!

--LaGuardia Airport

AirTran flight attendant over intercom: We hope you ladies and gentlemen had a nice flight, and we ask that you all press your faces against the windows so Delta can see what a full flight looks like.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Radio Ga Ga - Texas style...

So I rarely ever listen to the radio in New York... my iPod is pretty much attached to me at all times and I only ever listen to the radio if I have to drive out to a site in upstate New York or over in Jersey (Jersey I have so far been able to avoid...)

So here in Texas, I'm back to a normal commute by car, 30 minutes each way, and today I drove out to Bridge City (basically where Texas meets Louisiana), which was hit pretty hard.

The trip was about two hours each way... which of course gave me the chance to surf through the radio stations in search of music to listen to on the road. (Commercials aren't acceptable, as my brother probably remembers, whoever was in the passenger seat of the car would get yelled at if commercials were on the radio for more than two seconds... so it's like a pavlovian reaction to turn the dial when commercials come on the radio now...)

With the seemingly limitless selection of songs put out over the years for all the stations to choose from, you'd think I wouldn't hear too many repeats right?

Well, of course, you would be very, very wrong.

Before I get into some specs on the songs from today, I'd like to make an overall observation on the radio so far in my Texas adventure...

Apparently Def Leppard's Hysteria is still treated like a new release, which is pretty awesome.

I mean, the album only has 12 tracks... and I've heard at least seven of them on the radio here (most of the several times) since I got here.

Pour Some Sugar on Me, Love Bites, Armageddon It, Women, Rocket, Animal (Most of Def Leppard's videos are admittedly pretty dumb and or overly simple, but I almost didn't link to the Animal video because it is just so damn stupid, seriously.) and, of course, Hysteria.

What? No love for Run Riot? That's cold.

Actually the seven I've heard repeatedly for the past week or two were all seven of the hit singles released from the album. Yeah, seven hit singles, which is no wonder it sold 12 million copies...

Anywho, back to the today, which I spent a large chunk of in the car flipping through radio stations.

Here are just a few songs that come to mind that came on enough times today that I started keep a count (and no, I'm not including current top 40 songs, because they of course were looped continuously)...

* 3 times - Here I Go Again - Whitesnake... though it's always the pop-radio edited version here without the guitar solo :(
* 3 times - Oh Sherry - Steve Perry
* 3 times - Ironic - Alanis Morissette
* 4 times - Don't You Want Me - Human League
* 4 times - That Nickelback song... though I may have heard two or three songs of theirs and just not known the "difference"...

Other notably random ones include Poison's Unskinny Bop (yes, women are still kind of sort of fighting over him, season after season) and someone sending out a request for Nelly Furtado's Say It Right to an injured high school football player. ...? I'm sure there is some fascinating explanation to that one...

However, overall, the big winner of the day though? I'm sure much the chagrin of my buddy in Philly who says he will forever be beyond tired of this song...

Drum roll...

With a whopping total of seven times! ...

Living on a Prayer!

I feel closer to Tommy and Gina now today than I ever have before. I hope things worked out for them...

And yes, that count was just for today (it's been on plenty of other days too). Don't worry though... the rest of Bon Jovi's library was
well represented throughout today including I'll Be There For You on the way back to my hotel.

I bet if Jon Bon Jovi donated his Texas-related ASCAP earnings to the Ike recovery effort, he could actually make a pretty at least a little bit of an impact. He really is somewhere on the radio here like all day.

Oh yeah... it really only seems appropriate to put a Radio Ga Ga link somwhere in the post, right?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I'm still alive in Texas...

Hey, I saw this story and it was just so random I figured I post it real quick... thus also providing proof that I'm still alive.

Just click it, it's just one of those truth is stranger than fiction kind of things.

Also, I'm keeping plenty busy in Texas and I'm trying to eat plenty of Mexican food while I'm here (since they really do outnumber folks like me where I happen to be working...)

Lately I've had lunch at such hot spots as "Pepe's Taco House" off the side of the highway, "Taqueria," and "Tacos y Tamales." They were all pretty good, but none were as good as the place in Fort Worth.

I've also gotten to try Jack-in-the-Box and Whataburger (both firsts for me).

So... is it a bad thing that my travels seem to always revolve around eating and getting drunk? Oh well, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it I suppose.

Also... go Rays! I'm hoping the Red Sox win tonight, because if they do, the Rays game will be moved later and I'll be able to watch at least some of it after work at my Hooters here! We'll see what happens with that.

On that note... I've got to hit the hay. G'night!

Oh yeah... and it really isn't uncommon to see folks wandering around with cowboy hats on at all here. I didn't realize how common that actually would be... and I seriously heard this guy yell out "Dad-vernit!" while the Texas Longhorns game was on at Hooters. I just found that interesting... and chuckled a little bit because it caught me off guard.

Well, g'night for real now!