Not so surprising, really, to find out Charlie Bronson has died.
I hear he had a death wish.
Pretty funny T-Shirts at Neuroses to a T(ee).
Some of these are funnier than others. Others are so goddamn true it's painful.
It comes with great sadness to report to you on the 10th and 11th tour stops on the Asses of Fire Tour.
Why sadness? Because these are the final destinations for a while.
There are plans to restart the tour - details to come later - but for the moment, this is the end, my friends.
And I have to tell you, I know what Robert Downey Jr. feels like when he's in rehab. The addiction to the wings is that strong.
TOUR STOP NO. 10
For the penultimate stop, my wing colleagues Mitch, and Rommie traveled long distance to get to The Stadium in New Port Richey.
As Rommie tells it, there was a glitch. Namely, the lack of a tool to record the event photographically.
OK, I screwed up. Royally. I forgot to bring my camera. I’m an idiot. Believe me, there’s nothing you can possibly say that would heighten the shame I already feel.
Getting [to The Stadium] involves driving all the way to B.F.E., then you take a left, a right, another left, another right and then you keep driving until you see the fork in the road, where you bear left and keep driving.
The place is two minutes away from Mitch’s house. He makes this circuitous drive on a daily basis. He must spend the GNP of a third-world country at the gas station each week.
Anyway, the place was a traditional sports bar with jerseys and neon signs on the walls and trading cards under the table varnish. I get the feeling there isn’t much in New Port Richey that couldn’t be described as “traditional.” Maybe Mitch’s earring.
The wings were of the big-ass variety, crispy fried and coated with a pretty tasty sauce. When they arrived at our table, they were so hot (like, temperature hot, not spicy hot) that we couldn’t pick them up. It was like sitting around a bonfire. If I’d had my acoustic guitar handy, I would’ve led a round of “Oh Susanna.” Unable to touch the wings, we were forced to drink beer from frosty mugs instead.
Oh, by the way, remember how we decided at Kazbor’s that The First Rule of Sports Bars is you can’t play Tiffany songs? At The Stadium, they pipe in easy-listening favorites from some lite-rock radio station. While there, we heard the Little River Band, Air Supply and Sinatra, among others. “Strangers in the Night,” dude. Great song, but not for wing eating, beer drinking and gas passing. It was about as discordant as Alex doing “Singing in the Rain” while he beat the shit out of that guy in “A Clockwork Orange.” I’ll never hear Sinatra the same way again. If I’m lucky, I’ll never hear Air Supply, period.
All in all, the wings ranked somewhere in the middle of the upper tier. They weren’t anywhere near as good (or as hot) as the Brewing Co., but they were way better than Kazbor’s or Dogwater or even Legends. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of Firehouse, which isn’t bad company.
My only regret is the camera thing. Adopting Chris Farley voice: “I’m so STUPID!”
Relax, my brother in wingage. All is forgiven. The sauce has obviously made you contrite, and for that, you are absolved from your photographic sins.
TOUR STOP No. 11
Wild, rabid chickens with fricken laser beams couldn't have stopped me from attending the final tour stop (if only temporarily so).
For that one, we traveled to Brandon's best sports bar, Barnacles .
First thing you have to understand is that Barnacles is all about overindulgence. How so? Consider that there are 457 televisions in the place.
That's right, 457.
What better spot to celebrate overindulgence than this?
As we walked up the sidewalk to the front door, I tried to prepare my compadres for what they were about to experience. I told them that the first time I walked through the door, I started to openly weep at the display of cathode ray tubes and big-screen projection technology. I felt like Mike TeeVee, the kid in "Willie Wonka" who gets sucked up into the screen and broadcast in a million pieces.
Despite my best efforts, nothing could have prepared them. Rommie's first glance dropped his jaw toward the floor. Mitch let out a gutteral stream of "Holy shit"s and "Goddamn"s.
"Welcome to Attention Deficit Theater," I told them.
Once we got to the table and we adjusted our bearings for so much visual stimulation, we ordered 30 wings, which come spicy and plain with extra hot sauce on the side. Oh, and a plate of loaded French fries.
While I was supremely confident beforehand that the TVs would floor my friends, I was a tad nervous about the food. I liked the wings, but the tour stops prior to this had featured some wonderful surprises. I remembered Barnacles wings as being good, but not awe inspiring. That may have been the reason I ordered the supplementary fries, now that I think about it. Insecurity is so unattractive.
Our waitress, whom we nicknamed Miss LaRue for reasons we won't go into here, brought us our meal. It was devoured posthaste with the aforementioned hot sauce on the side.
The wings were good plain, but they were better with the sauce. It wasn't hot enough to make you curse Jesus and his angels in heaven, but on a scale of 1-10, it was about a 6.5.
The fries were a good call. They tasted like a loaded baked potato, once you got down to it.
There have been many a priceless moment during this gastronomic journey. Most of which were supplied by Walt.
During one meal, he told us about having interviewed the Olsen twins.
"One of them is more aggressive than the other,'' he said. "I don't know which."
At another meal, he described how a man in St. Pete had sued a rather over-endowed stripper for what could best be called mammicide.
In a voice that was louder than a bullhorn, Walt said, "AND SHE BRUISED HIM WITH HER TITTIES.''
The family of four with two teenage daughters behind us enjoyed that pronouncement, I'm sure.
But for my money, the photo above is what will remain as the iconic image of the tour.
There sits Rommie, filled with chicken flesh and soiled with sauce. He is not shameful. He is not disgusted. He is merely humbled by their perfection and unwilling to wipe their residue from his aching soul.
He is every man.
When I said that there were 457 TVs, I meant it. This includes the billiards room. At the moment after this was shot, we noticed a man holding a pool cue with one hand and, for some reason, rather rapidly manipulating his genitalia down the waistline of his pants with the other. My guess is that it was a response to some sort of rapid-eye and billiard overload.
And while I applaud that kind of dedication to a goal and ability to multitask, I did not offer to shake his hand.
This was taken on the ride home. Why is Rommie smiling? For many reasons.
First, his belly was filled with quality spiced poultry product. Second, he had just relieved himself of a gaseous buildup, a volley lobbed during what could be described as a Rectal Emission Cold War with Mitch, who was in the back seat.
And third, he realized he had a sun roof that allowed the noxious fallout to avoid our nasal passages and escape into the ozone.
As for the tour, well, it was a time of great glory and passion. But all things must end, and so this shall.
One day. Eventually.
But not now.
To be continued...
Could it be that the flash mob idea has served its purpose and is now destined to join The Pet Rock, CB radios and the Rubik's Cube in the dustbin of history?
Perhaps we are just that lucky, if the Tampa mob's experience is any indication.
Apparently by the time they got to University Square Mall on Saturday afternoon, the security guards outnumbered the participants.
As one mob member wrote:
The damn security was out at university like we was going to rob the place. I counted at least 10 rent a cops, and another 7 sheriff office roaming around the food court. I don't know what they could do leagally, but they sure was ready to stop us in our tracks. You know we would not want to offend some of the on lookers with our bad voices, and cause a panic!!!!! It's sad to see the cops waste so much man power on a "marching HI - Ho" group :(. Props to the small 7 or 8 that completed the mission, I over heard some of this from one of the rent a cops "It might be getting ready to happen down stairs", and on the way out a HSCD said this to another "It looks like was able to stop them"...
Stop what???? Eww we are not aloud to walk and sing Hi - Ho , Hi HO (sic)."
Hmmm. I wonder who could have alerted them to the group's plans? I wonder...
It couldn't be the inanity of the idea that killed it. I'm sure it had everything to do with security. That's it.
It gets worse: apparently Yahoo kicked the group's message board off the service. They're all huddled over at MSN now, awaiting instructions for their next "big" event.
I've got an idea: How about doing something creative in a place where there is no security or air conditioning????
Nah. That wouldn't work. Not enough publicity for them. Or at least, not enough for their fearless - and clueless - leader.
Since I wasn't taken up on my offer to sell my overpriced tickets to Thursday night's Buccaneers preseason game against the Houston Texans, I decided to relieve myself of the responsibility of commerce and just use the damn things. It was the second Bucs game in five days for me. Arduous doesn't begin to address how difficult it is to stomach eight quarters of football by your favorite team, but I knew that if I pushed past my boundaries of personal comfort, I could achieve my goal.
I asked my buddy Drew to come along. Drew had just gotten back into town the day before after an extended trip to the "-Stans," as he puts it. (Kurdistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, etc.) Considering the distance he traveled and the airport security bullshit he had to deal with at every stop, I doubt there was anyone who needed football and beer more than Drew that evening. Still, he had to deflect some heavy surface-to-surface artillery from his lovely wife, Susan, who accurately pointed out that it was his first full night back in the States with she and their three sons. You've got to respect a man who knows how to make the hard choices.
We got there a bit late, but we did see the first defensive series of the game for the Bucs. It was clear that the Texans were overmatched, but it was great to see the defense clamp down on them just the same. Since most of the first and second quarters consisted of a chain of three-and-out series for them, our offense got a lot of work that night.
The scoreboard at halftime says it all: Bucs 27, Texans 0. About half the fans streamed out at this point, since it was a school night and work beckoned for most the next day. The rest of us stayed because, you know, there was beer and cheerleaders and cannons and human collisions and stuff.
To see more photos from the game and from earlier in preseason and training camp, click on my link to an online photo gallery.
I check in from time to time with The Anchorage Daily News, the paper that bought out the Anchorage Times, where I worked from 1989 to 1992.
The ADN likes to think of itself as high-tech. For Alaska, anyway.
They send out e-mail alerts, to keep readers informed of the latest breaking news. Mind you, this is a paper that essentially uses the Associated Press like another one of its bureaus. Its aversion to local news is that strong.
So, when I got an e-mail this morning that read, ADN E-MAIL ALERT, I knew it had to be important.
It was. Oh, sweet mother of pearl, it was.
WASILLA GIRL GROWS FAIR'S BIGGEST CABBAGE
8-year old uses Miracle-Gro to raise 77.6-pound winner
An 8-year-old Wasilla girl won the giant cabbage weigh-in at the Alaska State Fair on Friday night.
Thank God we have the technology to bring us this information as soon as possible.
A couple of years ago, a sketch comedy show on MTV called The State came and went in a blur. They did some funny stuff in that span of time. This site has every episode of the show, if you were a fan, or if you missed it the first time.
Thanks to The Ultimate Insult.
I don't usually suggest TV shows for people to watch - well, not often, anyway.
I would suggest you watch Nightline tonight. Here's what they're offering:
Covering the death and destruction that seem to have become part of our everyday life gets wearing on us too. There was a huge car bomb attack in Iraq, the death toll is rising, and the carnage are playing out on the televisions in our newsroom. And sometimes we just want to say "enough." We make our livings covering that kind of thing. Crisis, conflict, and let's face it, human suffering, constitute news. And it can be exhausting. We like to have a little fun too.
So tonight we're going to ignore the bad things that happen today, or at least we hope we can ignore them, and just do something lighter tonight. So we're going to take a look at a movie that all of us love: Animal House. For the last couple of days, people here at Nightline have been throwing out their favorite lines from the movie. It's amazing how many people can quote extensively from the movie. And it really did set the tone for countless other movies that came after, some good, some terrible.
Just remember, Britney, when you French kiss Madonna, you're not only French kissing her, you're kissing the entire membership of the NBA, NFL and Canadian Football League, not to mention the touring company of "The Producers," the residents of Greenwich Village between West 10th and Bleeker streets, Sigfried, Roy, their tigers and the Sons of the Fraternal Order of Moose, Lodge No. 416.
A side note: I'd like to congratulate Justin Timberlake for winning the I Can't Believe I Got Rid Of That Skank In The Nick Of Time Sweepstakes.
Undeterred by the stupidity of their last quacking event, the Tampa flash mob is about to spring forth yet again. This weekend's unsuspecting target?
University Square Mall in Tampa at 4 p.m. Saturday.
As with last weekend's duck walk around International Plaza, the instructions for this week are just as insipid.
Start to arrive at around 4 p.m. and park in the area of Ruby Tuesdays and make your way to the Food Court area of the mall. If you have never been there before feel free to ask anyone where the food court is.
The no-shit quality of these directions astound me, really.
Feel free to purchase yourself a refreshment from any of the restaraunts in the food court and eat all of the samples of food that are being handed out.
Gee, do you think these instructions have been lawyered in any way, say, to keep from being arrested as trespassers?
Take a seat anywhere in the food court and act natural as not to be noticed by any bystanders. Do not talk loudly about the event. Keep it hush hush.
And on the Q.T. Just like last time. Got it.
At 4:21 P.M. SHARP stand up and head towards the down escalator. Start singing "Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Work We Go" as soon as you start walking. Fall into a single file line and head down the escalator.
Oh, this is rich. Add another dwarf to the group: Dumbass.
Here are the lyrics to "Hi Ho, Hi Ho"
Hi-ho, Hi-ho It's off to work we go
Hi-ho, Hi-ho, Hi-ho
You know, if you're too stupid to know the lyrics already, do me a favor and stay at home. We don't need people like you behind the wheel careening your way toward University Square.
Continously sing the song as we travel down the escalator and during the march in a single file line down to the front of The Disney Store!
Let me stop this train here for a moment.
So, it's not bad enough you're doing something that, technically, should prevent you from attracting sexual partners for the next three decades. You're going to voluntarily pimp yourself out for the gods at Disney in the process?
Hold my hair while I vomit, will you?
Once at the bottom of the escalator make a u turn and head toward the center of the mall. Take a left once you reach the center and the Disney Store will be the right. Once at the front of the Disney Store form a semi circle facing the front of the Disney Store. When the last "dwarf" is in place finish singing the last "Hi Ho" and pause for 3 seconds. Then start to sing The Mickey Mouse Club Song.
Damn. I was hoping to sing "I'm A Complete And Total Corporate Tool."
If you need to , print a copy of the lyrics and keep them in your pocket.
Please see note above.
Here are the lyrics to The Mickey Mouse Club Song:
Who's the leader of the club
That's made for you and me?
Here comes the heaving again.
Oh the humanity!
Hey, there! Hi, there! Ho, there!
You're as welcome as can be!
Mommy, make them stop...
For the love of all things holy and sacred...
Mickey Mouse! Donald Duck!
Mickey Mouse! Donald Duck!
This must be the psychic and symbolic connection with last week's stupid-ass event.
Forever let us hold our banners high!
High! High! High!
This part of the song always struck me as being Nazi-like. As if they were just an L away from saying "Heil!"
Come along and sing a song
And join the jamboree
Oh, do I hafta?
Keeee-rist, what a bunch of losers.
At the end of the song we all take a bow toward the Disney Store then turn away from the store and take another bow. Then we break into a 1 minute applause and after we head out on our own way.
Could this get more masturbatory?
I'll spare you the rest of the instructions. Suffice to say they include admonitions against making purchases of large packages that would inhibit participation and instructions on how and when to address the media.
What's funny is how this thing has morphed since the last event. There's been a proposal to buy a banner ad. Someone bitched about it only being on weekends. Another offered to host it at his store. (How charitable and profit conscious!)
Oh, here's one last morsel of directions goodness:
Remember this is our 3rd event and we now have over 400 members. This will continue to grow and we will be
having many events planned in the future. They may be events during the week and at many times of the day. Just make it to all of the events that you can.
I already am, pal. I already am.
Alan over at the newly updated and spectacular Hudsonian sends along these photos taken at Dodgertown during his last trip to see the Vero Beach Dodgers for the season.
Unless it's a spring training game, souvenirs don't exactly fly off the shelves at Holman Stadium. I don't want to say that this lovely woman didn't have a lot to do, but as Al put it, "I interrupted her Reader's Digest story."
I'm all for dog-friendly ballparks. As minor league stadiums go - and from a canine point of view - this one would be a great place to lift your leg. But honestly, couldn't they have done better for a dog bowl than that recycled Thanksgiving grease pan?
This has to be the dog equivalent to the meeting on the pitcher's mound in "Bull Durham."
Tour Stop No. 9 in the Asses of Fire Tour took place, sadly, without me, for the reasons mentioned in the post below.
Harboring a dedicated sense of purpose, Mitch and Rommie soldiered bravely on to Rubens Pub & Grill.
As Rommie writes, "That's Rubens, plural. As in more than one Ruben. No apostrophe, please. The owner's name is Ralph.''
A different sign promised karaoke and live music at the joint. Alas, it was not to be.
"There was no karaoke or live music during our visit, but one patron ran out to his truck and grabbed his new Harley Davidson Confederate flag to show off around the bar,'' Rommie reports.
The boys sampled the Freakin' Hot Wings, which were good enough that they ponied up the coinage to buy a jar of Rubens sauce to take home for a little private dipping.
You can see the rest of Rommie's Reubens pictorial by clicking here. The chicken trophy they won at a wing contest is worth the click.
A note for all of you keeping track at home: Only two more tour stops left.
Sorry about another day with a dearth of postings, but I was busy shepherding my mom through the bureaucratic maze that is day surgery.
Mom needed a prosthetic joint in her thumb to replace the arthritic one that was giving her a case of the vapors every 45 seconds or so that she tried to use it.
Now, I have nothing but love for the surgeon who spoke with almost monastic efficiency when describing the surgery over the phone: "It's over. Went well." Click.
And I adored the sweet nurses that tended to her needs. As a former healthcare employee, I can testify that nurses are the bedrock of a hospital.
But what the hell does it say about the assembly line nature of healthcare and the overwhelming fear of a surgical fuckups that I had to take a purple marker and write on my mother's aching limb (pictured above) just so the monosyllabic surgeon would know which one to work on?
That was a rhetorical question, by the way.
A post-surgical note: my mother was most pleased in her after-surgery narcotic stupor that there was no need to mangle the French manicure she got yesterday. She obtained said treatment just for the surgery.
"A girl's gotta look her best, even at the worst of times,'' she explained to Nurse Sue.
Go get 'em, mama.
A good start.
This supposedly is a photo of the blackout from shot from space.
Someone needs to get this guy some help. Pronto.
These old computer ads are pretty funny.
Thank God someone is keeping track of bad acting in video games
Apparently people like to look like inflatable asshats in every country. It really is a small world after all!
I'd walk a mile to chew a Manhattan.
The ball drop on the gastronomic roulette wheel that is The Asses of Fire Tour landed squarely on The Dogwater Cafe on West Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa.
This spot held promise, if only because of the sports pub's unique canine theme and resulting motto: We treat you like the dog you are.
Circa-1991 Andrew "Dice" Clay-isms notwithstanding, it seemed cool at first to consider eating chicken wings out of the pub's customary dog bowl serving trays. But after a while, and with very little dog-like at the bar except the waitress (did I say that out loud?) uniforms with the paw prints on the ass (oh, okay, that's better), the dog bowls seemed like a weak affectation. Oh, and the sign for the men's room read, "Pointers." How subtle. I'm surprised it didn't read "Humpers."
Bottom line: If I want to feel like a dog, I'll do the all-you-can-cram meatloaf buffet at Buddy Freddy's. Or go hit on a Hooter's waitress after three pitchers of beer.
As per the aforementioned wings, the heat level for ordering included honey barbeque, medium, hot and "Cujo." We split 10 of the honey, 10 of the hot and 10 Cujo.
As for taste, they were... eh. Not bad, but not great. They had a nice smoke flavor like they had been cooked on a grill instead of fried within an inch of their little chicken lives.
As for heat, they didn't come close to the Brewing Company's Hellfire Wings, but they did have a little zip in them. And of the various flavored wings we've tried (garlic, etc.), the honey barbecue were pretty good. Negative points were accrued, however, for the weak bleu cheese and celery portions and the crap songs someone kept playing on the jukebox. No lie, someone played what had to have been a 140-minute block of Yes. The song lasted longer than the band was together.
All in all it was a relatively successful jaunt. We didn't get killed getting there in a downpour. We didn't crash into anything in the horrendous West Tampa rush hour traffic. And there was no evidence that the mole on our waitress' upper lip had shed its exoskeleton in our food while she was busy chatting with friends and not serving us our wings, beverages and napkins.
Sorry, no posts today. Not in the mood.
The Salad bowl will return tomorrow with plenty of croutons.
There are grand entrances, and then there are the kind like Simeon Rice made last night when he was introduced for the first time at Raymond James Stadium since the Bucs won the Super Bowl.
He shook his shoulders. He shimmied. He then rolled his helmet about 10 feet in front of him like a bowling ball and danced to the side of it like he was dancing down the aisle on Soul Train.
The crowd went nuts.
That was about the loudest they got last night. The game was lackluster, a whopping 10-6 win against the Jaguars. But it was still fun to be in the stadium the first time the team played after winning the Lombardi Trophy.
For more photos of this year's team, I've created a 2003 Bucs gallery here. I'll keep adding to it throughout the season.
Today could hold a watershed moment for The Sombrero Project. I'm going to the Bucs versus Jaguars game tonight with my son.
I'm thinking, what with the red and black brim, that I should be able to find any number of drunkards, hooligans and rowdies to put the damn thing on and pose for me.
We may need to add a wing onto this thing, after I get through.
It was a little out of our way. Okay, it was way the fuck out of our way. But when wings are the prey during The Asses of Fire Tour, not even the hassle of going to a a hole-in-the-wall place like Norman's Hideaway Lounge can dissuade us.
When they call it a hideaway, they ain't kidding. They had to use a D.O.T.-orange awning to draw attention to the damn lounge. This place is so tucked away, D.B. Cooper might be living out back.
The event got off to a flying start when Rommie decided to test the integrity of the walkway bannister with his testicles in an effort to shortcut his way from the car to the bar. The bannister won.
As the sign out front attests, this is a smoker-friendly bar. But that barely scratches the surface. People were chain-smoking with such fervor, you'd have though it was a rehab clinic. Albeit one with alcohol. I could have sworn I saw someone dragging on a Lucky Strike through her tracheotomy hole.
The bottom line: The wings were good. Spicy, but not debilitatingly so. I don't know that I saw a lot of nasal seepage or misty eyes induced from the sauce, but sometimes a slow burn is better than a wildfire. Or something like that.
For more photos from No. 7 (you've gotta see the guy at the video game machine), click here.
The next stop: Raymond James Stadium. Why? Because Wing Zone only delivers. What better place to deliver to than to the home of the world champion Buccaneers?
Just found something called The Knockoff Project, which catalogs album covers that are derived from previous, more famous versions.
Here are a few examples:
I'm having difficulty. I really am.
There's a part of me that wants to applaud the random acts of strangers for pulling off the kind of thing that becomes a flash mob. I really do.
But something stronger in me wants to screw with the people planning the next Tampa flash mob on Aug. 23 at the International Plaza mall. Especially when I get this kind of detailed e-mail:
The title of this event is "Gone Quackers"
Okay, strike one, Groucho. But I'll let this one pass since you're so new at this. Understand, though, that the tolerance leash is getting shorter by the moment.
First thing that you do is Saturday Morning sync your watches with the time at the official U.S. time clock. That will put us all on the same time frame: 1:00 p.m. That is very important!
Okay, time out, Chachi. You seem to have forgotten that this is an informal event. I can appreciate precision as much as the next man. I'm a sucker for a watch that runs well. But synchronizing watches to zero-hour? This isn't 'Mission Impossible.' It's a flash mob.
Start to arrive at around 12:40 P.M. and park in the area of the Bay Street entrance and make your way to the Food Court area of the mall. If you have never been there before feel free to ask anyone where the food court is.
Feel free to purchase yourself a refreshment from any of the restaraunts in the food court and eat all of the samples of food that are being handed out.
Thanks. I couldn't have handled that detail, pal. Good thing we've synched our watches.
Take a seat anywhere in the food court and act natural as not to be noticed by any bystanders. Do not talk loudly about the event. Keep it hush hush.
Is it okay if I keep it on the QT instead? Or would I have to sync my watch again?
At 1:05 exactly get up and QUICKLY AND QUIETLY form a single file line from the corner where Haggen Dazs is located.
QUICKLY AND QUIETLY? Good. I think I would've overlooked the directions had they not been in caps.
As soon as the line is formed we all put our thumbs under our armpits and flap our Duck Wings as we WADDLE AND QUACK our way along the DUCK TRAIL!
Oh, will we? Can I stop at Haggen Dazs for a scoop of dignity while we're at it?
If the line is too long just fall inline at the rear.
Well, if that isn't optimism...
The DUCK TRAIL will proceed in the direction as follows: Take a right at Haagen Dazs and head toward the elevators. When you reach the front of the elevators take a left. Then proceed to the walkway bridge and take a right. Once you cross the bridge take another right and head toward the escalators. Board the down escalator and at the bottom gather do not leave. Continue to waddle around and flap your wings in the area in front of the fountain and pond until the last duck is at the bottom of the escalator. Once the last duck reaches the bottom of the escalator we all break into a 1 minute applause and go on our own ways.
Nice. Simplicity and subtlety. Just what I like.
REMEMBER WE ARE ALL DUCKS AND MUST STAY IN CHARACTER.
You know... I... Nah. I'm gonna let this one collapse under its own ponderous weight.
If anyone trys to stop you from walking just continue on past them quacking the whole way! No talking during the duck walk. Ducks do not speak english!
Apparently ducks are unable to spell tries. They also fail to capitalize the word English. They do, however, capitalize condescending directions.
Have a small piece of paper in your pocket with www.TampaMobProject.com in your pocket and if anyone asks you after the walk what was going on just hand them the piece of paper and say, "Quack, Quack," and smile!
Is it okay if I shit myself? You know, the way a duck does when it's about to be accosted? Because I think that would really help me explore the sense-memory of my non-English waterfowl character, Stella Adler.
I hope that you all show up and bring along your husbands, wives, boyfriends, children, neighbors, friends, families, or anyone else that you can bring along. Just make sure to inform them of the plan!
Funny. I didn't know ducks had girlfriends, mistresses and lovers.
Wait. Here's my favorite part.
There will be media attention on this event. Do not talk to any media until after the event is through. If you would like to make statements to the media about the event and why you signed up and attended feel free to do so. Just remember to mention www.TampaMobProject.com in your interview.
There are several points worth noting about this paragraph.
No. 1: He's obviously alerted the media about an event that is supposed to appear spontaneous. Well done. It's obviously not about the experience any longer, it's about garnering the largest amount of attention possible.
No. 2: The directions tell when and when not to talk to the media, assuming they show up on a Saturday when they have the least number of reporters and photographers available.
No. 4: You are thereby granted the freedom to make statements about the event. Gee, thanks. In fact, I think I'm doing so right now.
No. 5: Oh, and if you do choose to speak to the media, assuming they show up on a Saturday when they have the least number of reporters and photographers available, by all means, plug the Web site.
The hubris of all this is making me woozy. All these flash mob vapors have taken me ill and I must retire. This is so beyond stupid, I'd need a Sherpa to guide me back to normal.
Alan at Hudsonian sends along more photos from another recent jaunt to Vero Beach. (Al, if you attend any more games in August, they're going to take out a temporary restraining order.)
This gentleman was manning the ticket turnstile. Given that he's brought his trusty folding lawn chair, I'm guessing he doesn't think he'll have many tickets to tear tonight.
Another example of the high-tech security being employed at Dodgertown. Being busted by them would be like getting arrested by the two old guys in the balcony on the Muppet Show.
Note the gaggle of cheerleaders in the background. "The Vero Beach Cheerleaders held a practice and a Dodgers game broke out,'' Al says.
Minor league ball being what it is, you don't always get to view the best pitching in the world. Here, Al captures the precise moment that a wild pitch threatened the career of a sturdy batsman. If you look closely, you can see the ball has been deflected about 10-feet above the field, just above the third baseman.
Dodgertown doesn't even have dugouts, much less a clubhouse for players that is easily accessible from the field. Players have either the choice of a long metal bench or a well-groomed patch of field to sit on. That said, there are no amenities for players. These two felt the need for a batch of nachos, apparently, during the 7th Inning Stretch. The kid on the right has a look on his face that says, "Oh, shit, I hope that's not a scout."
On a different night at the park, Al arrived to find that the game had been rained out.
"I was there with a bunch of fans who waited to see if they called it around 7:30 p.m. When they announced the game was cancelled, they offered Dodger Dogs for a buck for the road -- and I indulged. A kid snagged three dogs and told me as he pumped mustard out of the big handle, 'This a great deal!' Amen, little man."
You can't imagine the consternation and frustration this engenders in a true ballpark stalker like Al.
It prompted him to write this short story:
Happiness amid the rain
It was about 30 minutes before game time when Jimmy Kerr reached for his Vero Beach Dodgers ball cap. It was sitting upside down on a coffee table, with his keys and wallet cradled inside. Jimmy was 67 years old and lived in a studio apartment on the arterial that cut the city of Vero Beach in northern and southern halves.
The ball cap was ragged. But Jimmy loved the worn, royal blue hat nonetheless. It had the Vero Beach Dodgers insignia of a grapefruit with the letters, "V" and "B," sticking out of the fruit like rabbit ears. He lifted the upside-down cap by the bill, then clutched the keys to his Pontiac Grand Am and stuffed his wallet loaded with Vero Beach Dodgers ticket stubs into the back pocket of his baggy, khaki shorts.
Jimmy lived by himself, and he enjoyed his independence. He grew up in north New Jersey and was left back a few grades because he couldn’t keep up with letters and numbers in grammar school. He was slow in class, but his happy demeanor made him popular with other kids. Even now, Jimmy is on a first-name basis with all the Vero Beach Dodgers staffers – Lou the ballpark public address announcer, Steve the general manager and Joey the marketing and promotions director.
While he drove to the ballpark at Dodgertown, which is sandwiched between the local airport and golf course, Jimmy thought about all the foul balls he retrieves in the stands during games. With a normal crowd of only several hundred people, it was easy for Jimmy to get foul balls batted into the stands and hand them to the little kids who would beg for the Florida State League-sanctioned ball like squirrels looking for handouts in a city park. He knew the batters so well that he would sit in the stands where he predicted they’d hit the foul balls. It was usually good for a half-dozen prizes for kids per game, courtesy of Jimmy.
On this night in early August, charcoal-colored clouds were rolling in from the west. It was about 6:45 p.m. and the clouds were interlocking into one giant ominous blanket in the sky. Jagged bolts of lightning were nature’s signal to the Vero Beach Dodgers that the game would be delayed, if not cancelled. It didn’t matter to Jimmy. He arrived at Holman Stadium at about 10 minutes of seven and hoped for the Single A Dodgers to play ball.
He parked his Pontiac in a grassy area along a fence outside the ballyard and strolled to the gate nearest the ticket booth. The ticket takers in blue pants and a blue shirt to match knew Jimmy by his shuffle-like gait.
Rain was drizzling at Holman, but they tried to play the game. Jimmy shuffled thought the turnstile and made his way to the wide concession area behind home plate.
“The usual,” Jimmy told Edna the hot dog lady, who was standing in the window of the food stand.
Edna grabbed two Dodger Dogs out of a metal box that kepted the hot dogs warm. The hot dogs were pre-wrapped in white paper, so it was hard to tell they were Dodger Dogs until Jimmy slowly unwrapped the paper and took a few sniffs like a wine taster smelling a Chardonay.
“Smells good Edna. Better keep a few more for me when I get hungry during the game,” Jimmy said, ignoring the steady rain.
He pumped the mustard handle sitting on the condiments shelf and dropped some chopped onions on to the hot dog.
“All these workers here – they’re my brothers and sisters,” said Jimmy, who actually might be younger than the ushers at Holman Stadium.
The rain intensified and it soon began pouring. It was a garden-variety Florida thunderstorm; that is, it felt like you were walking in a car wash. Jimmy found dry haven below a canopy off the concourse.
By now, only a dozen fans were left as team officials waited to see if the storm would end and the sun would shine.
Golf carts from the neighboring links sat on the edge of the nylon tarp that was covering the infield. Puddles of water began to collect in the outfield.
Around 7:30 p.m., Lou the stadium announcer declared the game was cancelled and that the contest with the Jupiter Hammerheads would not be made up.
Jimmy was among the last three fans to leave the stadium. The young team assistants were handing out blue “free game” coupons to fans. A ticket costs only four bucks.
Jimmy looked out at the field while slowly shuffling the concourse that sloped to the exits.
“At least I’m coming back Thursday – there’s a Gulf Coast game to watch.”
The Asses of Fire Tour continues its caravan across the landscape of Tampa Bay's chicken wing frontier today.
The gents plan to venture to Norman's Hideaway Lounge on St. Pete Beach, a place to which our Supreme High Priestess Chief Poobah drives almost 60 miles to dine. Then they're going to a Devil Rays game. And since the Rays are playing good baseball lately, they won't be able to blame any dyspepsia on the team. It could, however, be a crucial error in strategy, since any gasses they expunge as a result of their dinners will be trapped inside the confines of the Tropicana Dome.
I unfortunately won't be able to join them, but I will be posting an account as soon as I get one.
Side Salad rolls out the welcome mat to a new reader, Helen, over at Everyday Stranger.
It's worth a visit to read about her horrific experiences with a used VW Bug she bought:
Monday this week, it all went horribly wrong. I was stuck in a traffic jam for 50 minutes. 40 of those minutes were spent with the brake light on and the car beeping at me with a high pitched beep in regular intervals of three times every two minutes. I couldn't turn around, I couldn't pull over, I was simply stuck in traffic. So it should come as no surprise that when I got home I was in a rage not seen since...oh, maybe a week ago (I tend to be a very angry person). I got out of the car, screaming, throwing the manual at the car. My partner unit just calmly observed me from the yard.
I can't tell you how comforting it is to read such things in light of my purchase of a new VW Jetta wagon in March.
Stretching our gastric constitutions to the brink of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, The Asses of Fire Tour nonetheless continues to march like Sherman through the various restaurant plantations of Tampa Bay in search of the finest chicken wings the area has to offer.
The latest stop: The Greenery Pub.
You can do a lot of things to prepare yourself for eating spicy foods. You can take a Pepcid. You can drink some milk to quell the oral flameage. You can pace yourself in a way that provides a comfortable, yet stimulating, eating experience.
One thing you can't prepare for: seeing someone mining for nasal McNuggets in the car next to you on the way to the restaurant, as this petite Florida flower was doing along Fletcher Avenue:
As Rommie subsequently noted: "I give her an 8.8 on technique, but a 9.5 on difficulty. That’s a sweet backhand move."
Once we actually arrived and were able to purge that image from our brains, we enjoyed these wings a lot. They weren't as hot as the Hellfire Wings at The Tampa Bay Brewing Co., but the hottest of the hot still packed a punch while providing flavor as well.
As you can see from the above photo, Mitch, left, and Rommie, right, were a tad hungry and took to performing with wings what would have been considered syncronized swimming had this been done in a pool. The symmetry of their eating patterns mesmerized Dirk, center.
The wings and drums were also of gargantuan size at times. The one in the photo above was so large, we deemed it The Steroid Wing. It may have been injecting andro, for all we could tell. As this picture clearly shows, the drummette was as large as Rommie's head. For the record, I have no idea what he's looking at.
All was not well, though, after the meal. The cumulative effects of having eaten two plates of molten wings two days prior at the Brewing Co. caught up to Rommie in a big way. He even apologized for having to let the waistline of his pants out a little. Rommie doesn't usually apologize for such things, so we know it had to be bad.
The belching and the rectal emissions became so pronounced in the car - mind you, this was only mere minutes after leaving the pub - that when this truck passed us...
...we weren't sure if the truck's exhaust had just backfired or if one of us had just blasted our own catalytic converters.
All in all, it was a successful and satisfying adventure, if you overlook the fact that we did irreparable harm to the lining of our stomachs, colons and duodenums.
Heading toward the weekend, I thought I'd share a little correspondence:
**I've had quite the week at work. In an effort to turn back my foul mood - and because she has to sit next to me while I'm in that foul mood - Karla sent me this tidbit from the news:
The coach's name (Wally Butts) graces the school's athletic hall of fame along with that of former coach Harry Mehre. Locals are always careful to pause in the middle of the name of the building ... Butts-Mehre.
That's right, Butt Smear.
Thanks, Karla. I may not have laughed immediately, but I've been laughing about this one ever since. It was the best part of that day, believe it or not.
For the record, Karla is the one last year who noticed a woman in the news whose hyphenated last name was Penix-Johnson. She flew into such a hurricane of gut-wrenching laughter over that one that she was dabbing her eyes for close to two hours. "I live for that kind of thing,'' she proclaimed.
**Alan passed along this news item, slugging it in his e-mail subject line, "THE CRUTCHMAN OF DELRAY'':
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A disabled man used his crutches to fend off a man who tried to force his way into his car and demanded his wallet.
Larry Klein, 53, said he was returning home from visiting relatives when he noticed that a car followed him into his apartment complex. The driver and a passenger blocked his car and the driver confronted Klein as he was still sitting in the driver's seat.
"I kept on jabbing at him with my canes," said Klein, who wears a prosthetic leg and carries metal-tipped crutches. "I was being threatened. I wasn't just going to give up my wallet."
Seeing as he was driving, here's hoping it was Larry's left leg that had the prosthetic on it. Although, knowing Delray and it's residents as well as I do, it was probably his right.
**Katherine sent along this link to a mug shot and story about a bride who was arrested on her wedding day. Ah, I can almost hear the strains of "Daddy's Little Girl" just looking at her booking photo.
**Willie passed along this news story from a North Carolina paper:
News of nude neighbors sets crossroads on its ear
Chatham folks atwitter at clothing-optional camp
By MARTHA QUILLIN, Staff Writer
BONLEE -- As new business owners, Neil Stovall and Harry Irby were relying on word of mouth to promote their young enterprise, a campground they're carving out of an overgrown former farm, one shaded site at a time.
They didn't necessarily expect the word to be fire and brimstone.
In a culture clash that might be described as Bible Belt vs. no belt, Stovall and Irby are learning that not all their neighbors approve of their business plan.
Many residents of this southwestern Chatham County crossroads were surprised as they sat in church one recent Sunday night to learn that Twin Oaks Campground is a clothing-optional men's resort and its proprietors, Stovall and Irby, are a gay couple. The news made some sit up in their pews.
"This is the kind of thing you'd expect in California, not here in a rural area like Bonlee," said Don Daniels, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, who preached a sermon on Twin Oaks. "But here it is, right close to home."
One woman called on the men's private line and demanded to know whether they were Satanists . She didn't give a name. A neighbor has expressed fears that children might inadvertently see something sinful behind the campground's 6-foot privacy fence.
"The word that would describe how people feel about it is shock," Daniels said.
Stovall and Irby say they have never tried to conceal the nature of the business. On the contrary, they created a Web site for it and planned to advertise in newspapers as soon as they had more amenities in place. The sudden attention the campground is receiving is still a bit premature; the pool has been installed, but decking and landscaping are incomplete, and construction has only begun on an enclosed bath house.
Fifteen tent sites are open. Parking for recreational vehicles should be ready in a week.
The campground opened two years ago, shortly after Stovall and Irby bought the circa-1860 farmhouse and nearly 27 acres of land about 3 miles from the main intersection in Bonlee. The pair had been planning the venture for eight years. It took that long to research a location, find a property and save the money they would need to get started. In the meantime, Stovall, 43, worked a series of restaurant jobs, and Irby, 35, helped manage retail stores.
A year ago, Stovall's 68-year-old mother, Betty Summers, became the third partner and is now the only woman on the property. Besides helping clear the tangled brush and replant with fruit, flowering and canopy trees, Summers is responsible for coffee and cookies. Eventually, she plans to sell her homemade jellies and crocheted doilies in a gift shop on site.
Company policy, which prohibits any openly sexual behavior, also keeps Summers outside the fence. Inside, guests 21 and older can feel free to swim, sun or walk the grounds in the altogether.
"They don't have to worry," Summers said of the patrons. "I know where I'm supposed to go."
Stovall and Irby say they came to North Carolina on the recommendation of places-rated books.
"We narrowed it down to Pensacola, Fla., and Raleigh-Durham," Irby said. A visit to Florida quickly knocked that state out of the running.
"Fire ants," said Stovall, who shuns shoes.
Once in the area, they began to look for affordable property large enough to provide a sense of seclusion but small enough to manage. Bonlee, they discovered, just 45 minutes from Raleigh, is a short drive from the North Carolina Zoo near Asheboro and the pottery center of Seagrove, and about three hours from the nearest beach, in one direction, and the foothills in the other.
In town -- consisting of a hardware store, a feed mill and a small handful of other businesses -- Twin Oaks has been the subject of much discussion, not all of it harsh. Lacking a restaurant, residents gather to talk at the "gossip bench," a green-painted church pew under the awning of Bonlee Repair. As the town mechanic works on cars in the cool garage, a half-dozen men and women come and go. One arrives on a riding lawn mower.
"It don't bother me one bit in the world," said Joe Stutts, who has lived in Bonlee for 20 years. "I'm not going over there, so what should I care? I'm kind of glad we're getting a little excitement."
"I just want to know if they need propane," said a local businessman.
Even the preacher wants Stovall, Irby and their guests to feel welcome.
"They can come to our church anytime," he said. "They can drive up in an RV and park it in the parking lot if they want to, and come in and share the word of God.
"But it's not clothing-optional."
You know, it's usually at this point that I make some sarcastic and dry remark.
And so I shall.
My problem is in knowing where to begin.
No. 1: There is no such thing as a "clothing-optional men's resort." As a man, I can tell you that for us, the entire world is clothing optional. Just as the world is our toilet, it also is indeed our changing room.
No. 2: I wasn't aware that California had the sole franchise rights to nudism, gay resorts or the combination of the two. I guess Pastor Daniels figured that the Ag inspectors at the North Carolina border just stopped that stuff at the state line.
No. 3: I wasn't aware that nudism, gay resorting or the combination of the two were building blocks for Satanism. I always had pictured Satan in Australian rowing shorts, but I didn't necessarily think that made him gay. I just thought it made him stylish.
No. 4: A note to the neighbor who feared that children would see something sinful behind that 6-foot privacy fence: Ma'am, I can guarantee that this will happen. That is, if they can take their eyes off of you and your one-toothed husband getting your freak on in the bed of your 1978 Camaro in the middle of the afternoon.
No. 5: It took eight years for these entrepreneurs to research this resort venture, during which time one worked in a restaurant and another worked in retail. It's no wonder that their idea sailed under the canny radar of these humble North Carolina folk. It's obvious that their backwoods gaydar was on the lookout for florists and hair artists not waiters and store managers.
No. 6: Stovall and Irby settled on Bonlee after considering Pensacola and Raleigh-Durham. Why not Florida? "Fire ants,'' Stovall says. Of course he's using fire ants as a euphemism for "rednecks."
No. 7: I'm shocked that the nearby town of Twin Oaks has a green-painted "gossip bench" church pew in front of its hardware store. I bet they had to search far and wide to find a church pew in that part of the country, much less one suitable for gossiping. Just because you find an available church pew doesn't meant that it can easily convert to idol rumors and innuendo.
No. 8: Pastor Daniels says Stovall and Irby can park their RV at his church anytime. I think we all know what he's suggesting here.
Based on the trends that my site's search statistics can glean, I can deduce the following:
**It can only help drive traffic to your site if you mention Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. According to Google, I'm the sixth most-popular site for mentions of their name, even though I only have mentioned it once (now twice). Guess I better do it again: Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.
I can only imagine what happens to your site traffic when you mention Anna Kournikova. Or Pamela Anderson. Or the words "nude," "naked," "semi-nude," "quasi-clothed" and "semi-quasi nude and naked and unclothed." Guess I'll never know.
**I am the fourth most-popular site for Google when searchers plug in the word "salad." I can only pray that the word "tossed" wasn't part of that search as well. If you know what I mean.
For the record, I prefer syrup.
**I am the second most-popular site on the Web for the phrase "she'd be getting herself pregnant by halftime." I have no idea what that trend would indicate, other than the fact that NBA players must be surfing the Web quite a bit in the off season.
**There are a ton of you out there looking for a Tampa flash mob. A word of advice: Get a life, people.
...for the amount of time this game will suck from your day.
...Or is it nature striking back?
Editor's note: The above image was the first one I ever Photoshopped to blend two photos as one. I'm quite proud.
Go take a look at Jen's cool redesign. If you're a Bucs fan, you're going to love it.
The woman has some skills, I tell ya.
Just got a message from someone claiming to be the Tampa Flash Mob Founder notifying me that the account I posted of Saturday's flash mob at the Citrus Park Mall was false. The real Web site for the project is at TampaMobProject, I was told.
As I explained, I didn't go. I couldn't therefore take pictures. I relied on the account of a friend who said he went. I believe that friend and I believe his account of what happened. Just because it doesn't match your account doesn't mean he is wrong.
Now, if you don't like his account, I'm sorry. Really. To the bottom of my heart.
If his account was wildly inaccurate and offended you in some way, again, I'm sorry. To the bottom of my heart.
But don't you fucking dare use my site to gather the Web addresses of my readers - many of whom have been so unbelievably generous that they've added their comments to my site when just reading the damn thing is a chore. I do not operate a blog so that you can build a lame-ass e-mail address list for spamming them with your rantings.
Yes, I'm happy your mob was a success. I think it's a neat little phenomenon and I'd like to be there for the next one. Really and truly.
But please accept my invitation to leave your mob mentality at the mall. And leave my readers alone.
The beer: Indian Pale Ale. The location: Tampa Bay Brewing Co.
The wings: medium, hot and hellfire.
And when they say hellfire, they mean it.
The Asses of Fire Tour was conceived as a celebration of delicacies that are so simultaneously pure in their goodness and detrimental health effects that they are worth wrecking an intestinal tract just to enjoy them.
The Hellfire Wings truly belong in that category.
I only ate one fully dunked wing, and let me tell you, the sauce exploded on my taste buds. My eyes watered, my mouth throbbed, my sinuses evacuated their contents and my endorphins had a little Mardi Gras in my brain. I could have sworn some of them bared their breasts for beads.
It was a beautiful thing.
We could call it a day after this one. The search is complete. The grail has been captured.
But no, the quest continues.
On Wednesday, A.O.F. Tour Stop No. 6: The Greenery Pub.
May God have mercy on our bowels.
After flatlining for a couple weeks, it appears that the project has found new energy. It doesn't hurt the effort to take it to a party where adult beverages are flowing.
The project has filled it's space allotted for Part Quatro. We're about to embark on Part Cinco. There's no telling where this will take us.
There are some fascinating blackout photos at a photoblog kept by a shooter in New York City. Definitely worth a look.
I liked the shot of the Hasidic scooter rider.
Directions to today's flash mob:
At 4 p.m. arrive at the Citrus Park Mall, head over to the statues of the baseball players that are toward the west end of the mall. You can park between the middle of the mall and Dillards. The statues are near Williams Sonoma.
Come dressed as you would to a Little League baseball game. Bring a Lawnchair, gloves, wear a ball cap. When you arrive, sit down and act as you would at the begining of a baseball game. Then at 4:05 begin random baseball cheering, at 4:07 start booing the umpire, at 4:08 storm off.
For more information, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reading Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback column on ESPN.com's Page 2 is the one thing I actually work my schedule around during football season. It's that funny.
The good news for those of you who give not a damn about football: it often has very little to do with the game and everything to do with pop culture.
Here are some of his pre-season gems:
Best Movie Title: "Final Destination II." Next up, "End of the World: the Sequel."
Jeff Fisher Was Trying to Purchase a Gas Grill at Home Depot When an NFL Lawyer Called to Say That Would Put the Titans Over the Cap: On March 29, 2003, the Tennessee Titans had $1,178 in salary cap space.
Isn't This Like a Woman Saying You Can Pay for Her Dinner But Not Take Her Out?: Starbucks issued a card that allows customers to pay for coffee before entering the store.
Waiter, I'll have What Ashton Is Having: The mega-babe of the offseason was Demi Moore, whose cheesecake scenes were the best part of the incomprehensible "Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle." Fashion writer Robin Givhan rhapsodizes about Moore's bod and declares the 40-year-old actress the winner of the bikini showdown scene with 30-year-old Cameron Diaz.
The tabs rediscovered Moore, too. "Us Weekly" ran a cheesecake shot with the headline, ASHTON AND DEMI IS GETTING SO HOT - MIDNIGHT ROMPS, SEXY DINNERS OUT. What's a "sexy dinner out," did she go to the restaurant topless?
Today's stop: Kazbor's Sports Grille in Plant City.
Pray for us. Rather, pray for our colons.
Whew. That one had a tail on it.
One would think that these instructions would be unnecessary. Especially considering, you know, they live in Atlanta! Hello?
On second thought, isn't that the bank where Richard Jewell works?
Date to remember: Nov. 6.
Why? Because that's the day Dave Attell and Lewis Black come to Tampa.
Tickets go on sale tomorrow. Don't say you weren't warned.
Once again, I've missed National Underwear Day.
Gotta hand it to Rolling Stone. At least they're honest about catering to the pop-culture-loving pedophiliacs out there.
Nice cover, by the way. Only Jann Wenner could try to mash the Olsen Twins, fall fashion, men's tennis, rap, comedy and then Neil Young on the cover.
For all you pervs out there, the countdown to legal boning age is hovering in the neighborhood of 300 days.
But then, if you're the kind of perv who cares about such things, you've likely penciled that day in on your Mary Kate and Ashley 2003 Swimsuit Calendar, Mitch.
Follow along with Ed Grimley as he makes his way around the world. Or at least while his lifelike figurine does.
Regular season football is approaching, and with it comes the requisite pre-season interviews that pop up in magazines like Playboy (paging Jon Gruden and his jock) and the like.
The latest Q&A comes from the ever-loquacious Simeon Rice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Among the gems from his interview in FHM magazine:
(On whether having a Super Bowl ring helped with attracting women)
"If you're counting on a Super Bowl to get you some pussy, then you're a sad-ass cat."
(On what he thinks about having a woman on his team)
"Is she hot? Because if she was, then she'd be getting herself pregnant by halftime."
(On who gives him inspiration)
"Walter Payton and Michael Jordan. And Bruce Lee-he was an ass-kicking son of a bitch and his philosophy was the best thing going. I see myself as a combination of the three."
And when asked if his "boys" have a home in his trousers while he's on the field of battle, he responds:
I'm definitely not freeballing. My nuts are precious. The jewels are kept in the safe and I will not relinquish the information to that safe.
There. I think we can all sleep better now.
Concurrently and in conjunction and at the same time as the Hulk Hands Project and the Sombrero Project, I and many of my colleagues are endeavoring to find the very best wings in the Tampa/St. Pete/Metropolitan Lutz area. Why? Because God gave us mouths and they should be used for recreational consumption.
Anyway, we've set a goal of eating at about a dozen places that aren't chains like Hooters or general public retail dining establishments like Denny's. The goal is to get our colons in shape for football season so that, you know, we don't pull a muscle gnawing on a drumette or something equally as tragic.
And because we know that there will be gastric repercussions from this culinary Bataan Death March, we have dubbed the laudable - if foolhardy - effort The Asses of Fire Tour.
Clever, I know. We're considering having T-shirts made to commemorate the project.
So far we've visited:
**Elmer's Sports Cafe in Ybor City.
**Legends Bar & Grill in Carrollwood.
**The Firehouse bar and restaurant.
Among the restaurants that the rest of the itinerary is scheduled to include are:
**Barnacle's Restaurant in Brandon. (Home of 450 televisions.)
**The Tampa Bay Brewing Co. (Motto: Beer Is Your Friend.)
**Norman's Hideaway Lounge on St. Pete Beach. These were strongly suggested by our boss.
**The Wing Zone south of Fowler in Tampa. Get it? Fowl-er? Nevermind.
**The Dogwater Cafe, where they promise to "treat you like the dog you are.''
It's an ambitious plan, to be sure. But we're fairly convinced that by the end of the tour we'll either be qualified to consider ourselves true wing connoisseurs or we'll qualify as rectally aflame from a condiment and chemical standpoint.
To see visual proof of our efforts and keep track of our progress, go to this online photo gallery. I can't promise that the results will be attractive. You may get a contact coronary out of it. But I do guarantee that you will observe the gastronomic decline of several otherwise rational adults.
Following in the grand tradition of The Sombrero Project and its subsequent parts (Dos, Tres and Quatro), comes the much anticipated Hulk Hands Project.
Now, you might think that it would be much easier to get people to put on an oversized pair of green foam hands and trigger the sound effects buried in the wrists by punching them together than it would be to, say, put a three-foot-wide hat on their head.
You would be wrong.
Perhaps because of the public and worldwide humiliation they suffered during the aforementioned Sombrero photo shoots, my co-workers are increasingly less willing to get their Hulk on.
Which, of course, makes these all the more special.
For my money, no one tags pop culture weirdness better than the Washington Post's Joel Achenbach.
Here's a sample of his latest story, in which he cogitates over the fixation on Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopes:
It's every bride's nightmare. You've got the big rock on the finger, you've picked the date, you're lining up the preacher, the band, the valets, the florists, the photographers, the videographers and the publicists. You've hired the chopper for arrival and departure. All the lawyers are on board. Prenup is signed. Studio execs have green-lighted your choice of mate.
But then your new movie bombs, it's "Ishtar"-bad, it leaves the biggest crater since Mexico's Chicxulub; and then your fiance, the jerk, goes to a strip club, and suddenly there are screaming tabloid headlines saying "BEN CHEATED," and the tawdry events are detailed at every supermarket checkout line in America. The tabs dredge from the dark, abyssal depths of society the stripper, the blonde with implants the size of cantaloupes, with whom the alleged cheating occurred.
And now there's not a soul on the planet who thinks your marriage could possibly last longer than a tube of lipstick.
For many of us, the current difficulties of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, also known as Bennifer, or Ben-Lo, or Jennufleck, are a source of cruel amusement. It's a fabulous double helping of schadenfreude.
This raises a philosophical question: Is our little thrill at the misfortune of these people a reflection of our larger, bloodsucking, pathetic love-hate relationship with celebrities, or do we have some objection to this specific coupling? This time, is it personal?
First, we must note that although the Lopez-Affleck union seems to be firmly in the category of "pre-failed" and the Vegas over-under on its duration is measured in days, it is possible that this is a momentary hiccup in their relationship, that the wedding (date not publicly announced) will go off as planned and that they'll settle down to a long, happy, fecund and faithful partnership that years from now will be seen as a model of how two people can reconcile superstardom and domestic bliss. We live in an age of infinite possibilities (i.e., "Governor Schwarzenegger").
Second, we should note that there is a distinct hysteria to the reporting of the Bennifer difficulties.
"This is a blip on the radar. One movie that tanked and some insanity in the tabloids," says Affleck's spokesman, the wonderfully named Ken Sunshine. "Everyone in the real world knows that it's nonsense."
Sounds like the fun was a-poppin' at the Hillsborough County School Board last night:
Some Hillsborough County School Board members want to bring back spanking to punish ``the brats.''
Both the state and district allow corporal punishment. Hillsborough has given principals the authority to discipline students by hitting them on their behinds with a wooden paddle, but as far as anyone knows, principals haven't done so for more than a decade, said school officials said.
A couple of Hillsborough principals even ended up on the state registry of child abusers in the past for their actions, said board member Glenn Barrington, who sparked the discussion at a Tuesday workshop meeting Tuesday that tackled discipline issues.
As board members expressed frustration at a lack of consequences for misbehaving students, Barrington recalled his days as a teacher and administrator when he could ``slam 'em up against the wall and counsel them.''
Board member Jennifer Faliero quickly took up the cause for harsher measures for such students, saying, ``Most of them are just brats.''
They will continue misbehaving "until we slam 'em against the wall and put the fear of God into them,'' she said, picking up Barrington's cue.
"We can't do either,'' board member Doris Ross Reddick chimed in, as Faliero said she wasn't serious about the "slamming against the wall'' reference.
"We can paddle them,'' Faliero said. "We have not done that.'' The reason, she said, is because "somebody's afraid of being sued.''
Superintendent Earl Lennard sat silently, looking shocked as Faliero tried unsuccessfully to get a board consensus to encourage principals to use corporal punishment.
Faliero prompted one of the district's hearing officers, Harold Clark, for his opinion, as because he presides over expulsion hearings.
"I believe in spanking,'' Clark said, noting that it is "a way of getting the parents' attention.'' It seems to work best for younger students, he said.
I love how the schools have spent the past 20 years teaching conflict resolution and eliminating weapons and violence in schools and telling them to treat each other with respect before taking a moment to deliver the caveat, "Well, except when we're delivering the ass-jacking."
I think they should test this brilliant theory by beating the crap out of the board members who support paddling. Just so they can see how it feels.
BABY, THAT'S WHAT LOVE IS FOR
I've heard of many o' fetish in my time.
But glorifying the jawbone of a pop singer?
Tha's a new one.
I SAY IT AS A PRAYER... LOWENSTEIN
Repeat this mantra until you truly believe it.
OH SHIT, NOT ANOTHER GEEK
FORM OF ARTISTIC EXPRESSION
From the nerds who brought you the glorified hide-and-go-seek game of "geocaching" (Did you miss that trend? So did everyone else.), comes GPS Drawing.
I'd like to explain it in easy-to-understand terms. I'll let the geeks speak for themselves:
What is GPS Drawing?
Large-scale digital mark making using GPS satellite navigation technology. In essence GPS Drawing is about recording lines using ones journey as a mark making medium. The GPS receiver automatically records your journey like a geodesic pencil. A GPS receiver is a navigational aid that reads timed signals from a network of more than 24 swarming satellites to calculate a position on earth.
Why do I detect the odor of a glorification of technology that was doing just fine functioning with a purpose on its own?
HEADLINES FROM THE ONION DAY-BY-DAY CALENDAR
Heat Wave Forces Johnny Cash To Don Black Shorts.
Guitar Instruction Manual Has Eddie Van
Halen On Cover, 'Go Tell Aunt Rhody' Inside
Why She Can't Find Someone
Newcomer Changes Small Town's
'I'm Like A Chocoholic, But For Booze.'
Take a little break and refresh your eyes with a visit to the Phoot photo gallery.
Full with crystal-clear large portraits of flowers in bloom, black-and-white photos of toes dangling from a bed, and shots of power lines bisecting a frame from all angles, looking through the site is like putting in a fresh pair of contacts.
If you're a fan of photography or just interested in daring design, you'll enjoy this one. And if you're blind or have no taste for the visceral pleasures life has to offer, you won't give a shit and you'll move on with your life.
This is a great site for people who love New York City and all it's little quirks and historical niches. I've only been there once and damn if the site didn't interest me.
My friend Al at Hudsonian sends along this postcard picture from Holman Stadium at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla., spring home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the summer hangout of the Vero Beach Dodgers.
During the game, Al wandered around and saw a bronze plaque erected at the stadium following the then-Brooklyn Dodgers's visit to Hiroshima, Japan during a goodwill trip.
The plaque, which is bolted on the side of the concession stand behind home plate, reads:
WE DEDICATE THIS VISIT IN MEMORY OF THOSE BASEBALL FANS AND OTHERS WHO HERE DIED BY ATOMIC ACTION ON AUG. 6 1945. MAY THEIR SOULS REST IN PEACE AND WITH GOD'S HELP AND MAN'S RESOLUTION PEACE WILL PREVAIL FOREVER, AMEN.
Al wrote, "Notice the atomic reference. Neither 'bomb' nor 'war' is mentioned, but 'action.'"
His other observations:
It's still the best place to watch baseball.
They were playing Springsteen's "Glory Days" after the hometown Dodgers emerged victorious, 4-3, over the Fort Myers Miracle in 10 innings. A pair of beers and Dodger dogs to match made it a successful evening. After the game, the Miracle catcher was using a lot of obscene language with his friends to explain how the winning run scored against his club.
The Miracle is owned by a New Jersey guy named Marv Goldklang, who along with characters Mike Veeck and Bill Muray, own four other minor league clubs. Here's the funny connection to the Hudson Valley -- Goldklang traded general managers this summer between his Fort Myers and Hudson Valley (N.Y.) clubs!! I think both guys (general managers) wanted the move -- but the "trade" of general managers made for some fun AP copy and national national headlines last month.
I got in the car for the 35-mile drive back to Melbourne. And what's queued up on my casette player in my car? "Glory Days" on my Springsteen's best-of casette.
So with the symmetry in place, I rode off -- another Vero game in the books.
Welcome to the blog neighborhood Nick at Mr. Pezident.
Be gentle with him. He's a nice kid.
A great site called Who Would You Kill runs a poll of visitors asking which cast members of various crap TV shows should meet their maker, and how they would propose they die.
Some are fairly obvious choices. Miss Piggy would meet her maker, if the site's visitors had their way. Mr. Howell would apparently be leaving Gilligan's Island at room temperature. Ally McBeal would be Ally McDead, no doubt the result of shrapnel from some explosive pouting episode.
In one amazing statistical dead heat - especially when you consider the possible error rate of plus-or-minus 1 percent - Butt-head would take a dirt nap before Beavis.
You know it's football season (yes, there's a Bucs preseason game tonight in Miami against the fish) when the boys at the Times Football League start debating the relative merits of Totino's frozen pizzas.
For the unitiated, the TFL is the hardest of the hardcore private rotisserie football leagues. They have their own Web site, their own media guide and, in about three weeks, they'll be meeting in Buffalo for their annual convention and draft. Two years ago, it was in New York City. One of the guys looked out his hotel window to see smoke coming from the World Trade Center towers. I was once a member, until I had a hissy and stormed out like a 7 year old girl. I'm such an ass.
Anyway, the Totino's chatter gets a little thicker as the season approaches. Consider this exchange between two friends, Scott and Mike:
Scott: Like I need to argue about the perfection of Totinos. May as well argue about gravity.
Mike: The only argument to be made about Totinos is what's the best flavor. I say the Combination, with Hamburger running a close second. But as I've said many times in here, what sets Totinos apart is not the toppings, but the patented baffled crust.
Scott: I'm a Combination man through and through. And I agree, the baffled crust is the key.
But here's the thing. For you heathens who claim Totinos is a marginal food source, listen closely: you have to cook Totinos directly on the oven rack. Yes, it makes a mess. But excellence requires sacrifice.
Mike: It not only leaves a mess, but cooking a Totinos directly on the oven rack creates some tense moments when it's time to transfer the pizza from oven rack to plate. It always sticks a little, so you've got to give it a strong nudge from behind with a large knife. If you put too much force into it or don't position your plate correctly, the pizza is apt to dislodge all at once and go flying out of the oven and onto the kitchen floor. This has never happened to me, but I've had some close calls. I'd be curious to know how others have dealt with this hazard.
Scott: I've been refining my Totinos extraction technique for over a decade. Here are a few tips.
1. Pull the oven rack itself out around six inches. This is best accomplished using the wrong end of a butcher's knife blade. With the oven rack pulled out, you have better leverage and you won't feel the intense heat of the oven as much.
2. Using the sharp tip of the butcher's knife, slide knife beneath the pie at 6 o'clock. Pull up until you sense the pie is about to rip. Repeat same technique at 3 and 9 o'clock.
3. Have a plate or cutting board ready in your left hand, just below oven rack level.
4. Slide the butcher's knife directly beneath the center of the pie until the tip is at 12 o'clock. Lift pie a half inch, tilt tip of knife up another inch or so, and back her out. The pie should never be lifted more than an inch above the rack during extraction.
5. Cut pie into four triangles. Stuff triangles into piehole. Enjoy.
Mike: I'm still waiting for a guy on death row to order a Totinos as his final meal.
It's difficult to conceive, I know, but these men have jobs and girlfriends.
I was a massive fan of Spy magazine in the late 1980s and early 1990s. If there's a Rosetta stone for modern humor for me, that's it.
Gawker reports this interesting bit of news:
The Observer reports that Kurt Andersen and (E.) Graydon Carter, the co-founders of SPY magazine, are thinking of putting together a book anthology of pieces from old issues. Progress, however, appears to be slow. Andersen: "Thus far, it's been a couple of codgers looking back on our youth. It's more like 'Hey, wasn't that great?' and 'Yeah, that was really great!'" (Which is exactly what the entire industry has been doing for the last year or so. "Hey, wasn't SPY great? Yeah, SPY was really great! Let's do another one! No, we can't. They went out of business. Clearly there's no demand. But wasn't SPY great? Yeah, SPY was really great!")
Be sure to catch Tampa Tribune columnist Kevin Walker's story on blogging from today's paper, along with the accompanying list of links.
A neophyte to the world of blogging, Kevin did a great job capturing the spirit and variety of the landscape.
You may notice some similarities in the links and the links here on Side Salad. There's a reason for that. I won't go into why.
Yes, it's Peanut Butter Jelly Time.
Unless ... you want ... the cruel shoes.
Tip o' the hat to J-Walk.
I remember when I used to get a little shavot night fever.
Folks, I present to you the beverage stylings of Peter Bennett.
I just had to throw out my son's non-functioning lava lamp. Might have to make him one of these as a replacement.
I promise, promise, promise this will be my last Bucs-related post for a while.
After all, it would be hard to top this morning.
I got up at 5 to watch the kickoff of the Buccaneers vs. Jets game from Tokyo. That was, of course, after I put on my 40 million beads, my No. 40 Mike Alstott jersey. Oh, and of course it was after I plugged in the 6-foot-tall inflatable and illuminated Buccaneer player on my front lawn and pushed my "HOME OF A BUCS FAN" sign into my yard.
Then I mixed me one spicy and potent Bloody Mary - complete with celery stalk - and settled in for the game.
At halftime, I made a scrambled egg-white burrito with salsa and cheese and watched a very efficient second and third-string squad mop up the Jets 30-14.
After that, I went with my family to a VIP opening of a new Krispy Kreme store in Brandon for about an hour, (remarkably I only gnawed on three of those bad-boys with a cup of coffee spiked with Krispy Kreme flavoring). Then we drove to South Tampa to pick up two unbelievably cool new teak chairs we bought last week at Rickshaw Garden. On the way home, we stopped to visit my son Brian's great-grandmother Chick and then I biked about 8 miles home.
To recap: Bucs, Bloody Mary, burrito, bitchin' doughnuts and bicycling.
If there was a better way to spend a morning, I can't think of one.
GEEK BIKE JOKE OF THE DAY
Two engineering students, Lennie and Virgil, were walking across campus when Virgil said, "Where did you get such a great bike?" Lennie replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, 'Take what you want.'" Virgil nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."
This made my eyes water.
Everyone is doing The Jeff.
Whatever the hell that is.
You can leave your friends behind. Or not.
In that case, you can make Paul do your dancing for you.
Really. Go ahead. Pull all of them.
Don't know what that means? Then you're probably not freaky-deaky Dutch.
Here's a site where you can learn to swear in 114 languages.
And if you don't like it, you can aake mere desi bund chaat. If you're Punjabi, of course.