Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bigotry at McBone?

All right McBoners, I've been letting this sit idle for a few weeks, but the time has come to have it out. While our latest polling reveals an overwhelmingly liberal climate in McBone Nation, there is a small segment of loyal readers who have a more conservative bent.

I can forgive the seven McCain supporters. I don't pretend to understand how the guy garnered a single vote on November 4th, considering how unhip it is to be a republican these days, but, you know, whatever. Actually, no. Screw that. I take it back. I'm not letting you off the hook so easily. I mean, what the hell? You had a choice between Obama and McCain and you actually picked McCain? Come on, people. I can't even figure out how the Republican party still exists after an unmitigated eight-year debacle. Even that old 'Party of Lincoln' stuff has to be running on fumes by now. I have a strong feeling that if Lincoln had risen from the grave and lurched zombie-like to the nearest polling place last month he would have: a) been dazzled and perplexed by the touch-screen voting, b) eventually cast his vote for Obama, and c) gone on a flesh-eating rampage.

So, I guess I just don't get it. And what I really don't get is how someone clicks onto McBone and has the audacity to condemn gay marriage, and even go so far as to call homosexuality satanic. Cripes, you three people, what's the deal with you? With this laundry list of things that are wrong with the world, do you actually think homosexuality would be high on His list of priorities? And what the hell is your problem with homosexuality anyway? I mean, I suppose it's an interesting civil rights issue because homosexuality, unlike skin color, can be a choice. I have a strong inclination toward women, but I could easily shag a dude one time and think 'OK, I've shagged a dude and it was interesting and that's that.' But then there are all these millions of people who are gay and there isn't too much they can do about it. Well, obviously they can lead heterosexual lifestyles and I'm sure many people spend a whole lifetime fighting against their nature in order to conform to whatever they feel the need to conform to, but who wants to live like that? Not me.

The point is, these people think being gay is bad because they were told by a minister or a parent or someone that being gay is bad. But if any one of them was stranded on a desert island with another member of the same sex, don't you think they would eventually do it? You BET they would do it! How do I know? Because everyone wants to get their rocks off on way or another. People have sex. They always have. They always will. Come on, you three conservative McBoners. Stay Republican if you must, but get over the gay thing.

nwb

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Journey into the Heart of Darkness



To any English major or avid reader of classic literature, the phrase Heart of Darkness probably conjures images of a tiny boat navigating waterways through deepest Africa. In this setting, Joseph Conrad portrays the very worst of the human condition: colonialism, cannibalism, madness, human heads on stakes--all pretty nasty stuff.

But I'm certain that if the author had lived long enough to click on the link below, he would have quickly reassigned his invention to a suburb on a certain island nation in Southeast Asia. Warning! The images and words contained in this site are highly disturbing.

Brace yourself!

While a mayonnaise-rimmed cocktail is an abomayonnation of the highest order--perhaps too ghastly for even Conrad's pen--this atrocity is symptomatic of a far greater problem. Mayonnism in Japan is rampant, nearing epidemic proportions. That a restaurant like the Mayonnaise Kitchen can operate under the protection of the law shows that Japan's moral compass is broken, perhaps irreparably. McBone and the AMA advise extreme caution when visiting Japan. If accosted by a suspected mayora, don't panic. Bow politely and try to extricate yourself from the situation. Remember, mayonnaise offenders are unstable and look for any excuse to uncap their vile condiment. If necessary, deploy your anti-mayonnaise defense mechanism. Should that fail, more drastic measures may be necessary.

nwb

Pictured above left: Kewpie is a popular, legal brand of Japanese mayonnaise. Right: a secret cache of unregulated, black market mayonnaise.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's the Crap-Crappiest Season of All

Let me preface this by saying that I like Christmas. I do. Every year I enjoy getting together with friends and family to feast and exchange gifts and celebrate the birth of a guy that I basically don't give a good god damn about.

But every year around this time I tend to get a little blue. Although I don't really get caught up in that "true meaning of Christmas" stuff, I find that all the shopping and commercialism does get a little sickening. Holiday sales and traffic and underpaid retail employees who work long thankless hours...not very merry. Still, jaded as I sometimes can be, I always manage to get into the spirit of things. I'm not a Scrooge, after all. You can't even call me a Grinch.

This year, though, I can't get over this Wal-Mart thing. I mean, I detest Wal-Mart on any given day, but when I think of Jdimytai Damour, who had been hired as a temporary employee, and had been sent to the front lines as the clock neared five on the morning of Black Friday, and who held his ground as ravening shoppers began beating and leaning on the glass doors so hard that they began to bow under the weight...when I think of this poor 34 year old, who just wanted to earn a few bucks, who must have been terrified trying to stem the tide, and who was hurled back and trampled when raging bargain hunters finally broke through, well, I just don't know what to make of that. I do know that I want to cry for this guy who met an end as horrible as any I could imagine.

And when I read that, in the face of tragedy, these maniacal bargain hunters, so blinded by whatever impulse would send us to Wal-Mart at 5:00 AM in search of discounted garbage, refused to leave the store. An employee had been trampled to death by an ugly, stampeding hoard, and the stampeders, in an unfathomable display of inhumanity, wanted to keep shopping. Jdimytai Damour's life was worth less to them than an additional 15% off whatever shit found its way from a sweatshop in Bangladesh to the aisles of the world's worst retail chain and, at last, into the cart of a shopper whose shoes had just flattened a temporary, minimum wage employee.

Merry Christmas.

nwb

Monday, December 8, 2008

McBone Recipes: The Old Fashioned

In a world where apple martinis and pomegranate vodka reign supreme, it's a comfort that we can still find refuge in the simplicity of a rocks glass, a bottle of bourbon and a few basic ingredients.

In his seminal tome The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (which is, incidentally, the snobbiest, most opinionated, passionate and, yes, greatest book ever written about drink mixing or any other subject. Honestly, this book deserves its own post, and it is recommended reading for drunks and teetotalers alike) David Embury outlines six basic cocktails upon which the foundation of all drink mixing is laid. They include: Martini, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Daquiri, Sidecar and Jack Rose. I don't know much about the Jack Rose, or any drink made with applejack, but the first three he nailed right on the head. Today we examine the Old Fashioned.

Now, the proper way to make an Old Fashioned is a debate as old as time and with all the social significance of Roe v. Wade. Here is Embury's recipe:

12 parts American whiskey
1 part simple syrup
1-3 dashes Angostura bitters

In an old fashioned glass, add bitters to simple syrup and stir. Add about 1 ounce of whiskey and stir again. Add two cubes of cracked, but not crushed, ice and top off with the rest of the whiskey. Twist lemon peel over the top and serve garnished with the lemon peel and a maraschino cherry.

Our grandfather, William, was an ardent disciple of Embury. His refrigerator was always well supplied with simple syrup, which, as far as I can remember, was the only thing he ever used the stove for. However, in the art of Old Fashioned making, grandpa departed ever so slightly from his idol. To his cocktail he added a splash of freshly squeezed orange juice. By the time I reached cocktail swilling age, my old man was the one pouring libations. His recipe features one variation on his father's, with confectioner's sugar substituting for simple sugar. Having downed many hundreds of these exquisite preperandials, I can tell you that I would stand this Old Fashioned up to anyone's, and I deem it a worthy cocktail to outline in detail for the benefit of McBoners everywhere.

Bill Bowler's Old Fashioned

Fill an Old Fashioned glass one third of the way with a good quality bourbon or Tennessee sour mash. We prefer Maker's Mark or Jack Daniel's, but in these trying economic times, you can't beat Jim Beam for quality and value.

Squeeze in the juice of a fresh orange, but not too much! Embury would tell you that a cocktail too heavy with juice will dull the appetite, which is of course counterproductive. About a teaspoon will suffice. *IMPORTANT* Under no circumstance should you ever use anything but FRESH orange juice. Don't defile your bourbon with frozen concentrated OJ. Better to pour the whiskey right down the toilet than add Minute Maid to your drink.

NOTE: the practice of 'muddling' an orange slice and a maraschino cherry with a pestal in the glass is a perfectly acceptable alternative for squeezing in fresh juice.

Add a few dashes of Angostura Bitters. Originally concocted in Venezuela to combat yellow fever, Angustora Bitters are now a popular aromatic bitter that is used to enhance many cocktails. Again, don't overdo it. A few drops is plenty.

Now add half a teaspoon of your sugar syrup, or a teaspoonful of confectioners sugar. Again, less is more here. You don't want your drink to be too sweet. A cocktail is supposed to sharpen your appetite before dinner.

Fill glass with ice and stir. Some bartenders will top their concoction off with a splash of soda water. This practice is an abomination and should be avoided at all costs.

Finally, garnish with a maraschino cherry.

You now have a perfect cocktail in your hand. With all due respect to the great Embury, we believe that the addition of fresh orange juice propels a merely excellent cocktail to the ranks of greatness, on par with the Manhattan or even the Martini. Here we have bourbon balanced impeccably with citrus and sugar and veritably bursting with aromatics--an ice-cold glass of heavenly bliss.

Take a sip. Drink it down. Pour another. Gaiety abounds.

nwb

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

To the Villains and Fiends, I Sing


To a writer, the world is not a boring place, nor are its inhabitants, good and bad. Though we curse and condemn them in poetry and prose, we also owe a debt of gratitude to those who refuse to play by the rules, who lie, cheat, steal or are simply hellbent on world domination. What would storytelling be, after all, without antagonists? A honey-sweet and sickening mess of beneficence and goodwill. Who the hell wants that? No one picks up a book hoping for 400 pages of happiness.

Evildoers are the ones who color our world, who are so constant and generous with their misanthropy that our creative wells shall never run dry. And so today we salute you, the:


1. Ne'er-do-wells
2. Popinjays
3. Scoundrels
4. Nogoodnicks
5. Charlatans
6. Slyboots
7. Malingerers
8. Mountebanks
9. Rascals
10. Rapscallions
11. Rabble-rousers
12. Hucksters
13. Shysters
14. Hooligans
15. Conspirators
16. Rogues
17. Rednecks
18. Philistines
19. Wastrels
20. Interlopers
21. Dastards
22. Dilettantes
23. Turncoats
24. Ruffians
25. Vagabonds
26. Hellions
27. Phonies
28. Pessimists
29. Pilferers
30. Misanthropes
31. Sluggards
32. Poseurs
33. Nincompoops
34. Ragamuffins
35. Strumpets
36. Coxcombs
37. Rakes
38. Churls
39. Cheaters
40. Boors
41. Braggarts
42. Vulgarians
43. Vixens
44. Pirates
45. Blusterers
46. Freeloaders
47. Villains
48. Vandals
49. Hustlers
50. Courtesans
51. Sneaks
52. Brigands
53. Miscreants
54. Blackguards
55. Trespassers
56. Malefactors
57. Megalomaniacs
58. Lallygaggers
59. Louts
60. Tramps
61. Pickpockets
62. Boobs
63. Meddlers
64. Scalawags
65. Hussies
66. Oafs
67. Lechers
68. Libertines
69. Naysayers
70. Nitpickers
71. Trollops
72. Tricksters
73. Fiends
74. Cads
75. Blatherskites
76. Scapegraces
77. Sycophants
78. Gadflies
79. Curmudgeons
80. Reprobates
81. Degenerates
82. Maniacs
83. Racketeers
84. Confidence-men
85. Sinners
86. Hypocrites
87. Swindlers
88. Prodigal sons
89. Grifters
90. Frauds
91. Doublecrossers
92. Sharpers
93. Thieves
94. Bullies
95. Tyrants
96. Troublemakers
97. Deviants
98. Nemeses
99. Plunderers
100. Mutineers

nwb

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mayo Labs: A Growing Menace

Hello McBoners. I hope we are all sufficiently recovered from our turkey-induced stupors to discuss a matter of grave importance. Actually, holiday time is the perfect opportunity to renew our battle against the White Menace. Thanksgiving leftovers abound. Turkey sandwiches are in high demand. We all know what that means, right? Sure we do: turkey, lettuce and tomato on wheat, and just a dollop of something to give your midnight snack a little moisture. The mustard is right there in the fridge, but most Americans reach for quite another jar, which begs the question: just where did that mayonnaise come from?

By now McBone has clearly outlined the ill effects of mayonnaise and mayonnaise consumption to our billions of readers worldwide, but perhaps we've been remiss in not detailing just how easy it is to manufacture this destructive and habit-forming substance right at home. The raw materials are dirt cheap, and most kitchens are equipped with the necessary means for immediate production. Please observe the following video. Warning: what you are about to watch is disturbing and may induce continuous and possibly fatal vomiting:



Now, one of the really typical responses I hear whenever I voice my abhorrence to the White Menace is that mayonnaise is somehow acceptable because of the innocuous nature of its ingredients. It's just eggs, oil and vinegar, they say. And to that I say, sure, and heroin is just poppies. Crack cocaine is just coca plants. And Twinkies are just enriched wheat flour, sugar, corn syrup, water, high-fructose corn syrup, vegetable and/or animal shortening, dextrose, whole eggs, modified corn starch, cellulose gum, whey, leavenings, salt, cornstarch, corn flour, corn syrup solids, mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, polysorbate 60, dextrin, calcium casenate, sodium stearol lactylate, wheat gluten, calcium sulphate, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, sorbic acid (to retain freshness), yellow #4 and red #40.

Totally harmless, right? McBone knows better, and so does our mayonnaise offender, who operates under the nom de guerre 'Chef John' and wisely hides his face in the video. Don't be fooled by his casual banter and inane joking. Instead, pay attention to the crime he commits with these otherwise lovely ingredients, whipping them into a pus-like substance with which he then defiles an innocent slice of bread. And how he taunts us by shoving the Condiment of the Damned directly into the camera and, thus, our faces. His manner may seem genial and his kitchen looks clean enough, but make no mistake: mayo labs are highly toxic spaces. Houses that are raided are almost invariably declared uninhabitable and demolished. Even neighboring homes are at risk. Buyer beware. Do you know what's cooking next door? Better be sure before you sign that mortgage agreement.

Tragically, every neighborhood has a Chef John or two. The scary part is, you never know which house might contain a secret mayo lab. If you suspect a possible mayo lab in your area, contact our emergency mayonnaise hotline immediately. The AMA will dispatch a unit immediately. Together we can reverse this terrible trend and reclaim our streets from ruthless mayonnists everywhere.

nwb

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Sarah Palin Turkey Massacre

One small regret about Obama's victory on November 4th: we're going to miss out on countless hours of Sarah Palin entertainment. Here is just a small glimpse of what might have been. Thanks to good friend Craig for bringing this priceless video to McBone's attention.



And what better choice for NOML Moustache of the Month than this wildly smiling executioner?

nwb

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

McBone Presents: The 2008-09 Aunt and Uncle Standings

Another year gone by, another year of aunting and uncling in the books. As expected, several solid performances were turned in, while others were somewhat wanting. Like always, the Aunt and Uncle Standings were compiled by a nonpartisan panel of nieces and nephews (me). Results are based on a full, twelve-month year of aunting and uncling and are in no way influenced by last year's standings.

Aunts

1. Ann - Aunt Ann's meteoric rise to the top will no doubt raise suspicions in rival aunts concerning a certain hot apple pie that was delivered to McBone HQ earlier this year.
2. Susan
3. Fay
4. Gail
5. Denise
6. Susan Good - Though recent revelations that she has been a longtime member of the Republican Party, the NRA and the Church of Scientology were not enough to cause such a shocking and catastrauphic fall, Aunt Sue has been unable to live down a quote that has dogged her since election night: I f---ing hate Obama.

Uncles

1. Glen - His understated yet rock-solid uncling skills have him back on top after an uncharacteristically poor showing in '07. Uncle Glen's accomplishment is even more impressive in light of the recent erratic behavoir of his wife, whom he has called a loose cannon and unstable.
2. Don Sims (no longer in family)
3. Pete
4. Al
5. Jeff
6. Ed
7. Don Holm - Uncle Don's patented brand of poor uncling has him mired in last place for the 18th consecutive year. His habit of dipping the mayonnaise knife into the mustard jar has only worsened in his advanced age, and should keep him glued to the bottom for the forseeable future.

nwb

Monday, November 17, 2008

Garish Pink Gown Holds Country Music Star Captive

On Saturday McBone field agents in Nashville, Indiana spotted a giant pink dress that appeared to contain country music legend Loretta Lynn. The dress, flashing sequins, emerged suddenly on the stage of the Little Nashville Opry, blinding many of the unsuspecting patrons and beguiling others with a thousand pinpoints of hypnotizing light.

The music icon, held captive and possibly under the command of the ornate and extremely pink gown, launched into a set of her own country standards, including One's on the Way, You're Looking at Country and Coal Miner's Daughter.

The demon garment, no doubt sewn by a sinister archfiend from some evil nether-realm, is reportedly still at large. If confronted, extreme caution should be taken. Under no circumstance should the Loretta Lynn dress be approached, addressed, or stared at for extended intervals. Remember, the Loretta Lynn dress has a will of its own, and should not be underestimated.

Pictured above: McBone agents disguised as outlandishly dressed background singers attempt to extract Loretta Lynn from her hideous pink dress.

nwb


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cliff Lee, Cy Young Winner

Wednesday McBone mourned a former Indians left hander. Today we salute a current one. Congratulations to Cliff Lee, who yesterday ran away with the American League Cy Young award, the second year in a row the award has gone to a Tribe lefty. In going 22-3, Lee put up numbers that were not only Cy Young worthy, but also legitimately rank as one of the great seasons in baseball history. Even more incredible is that his achievement follows a season in which Lee was injured, demoted to AAA, finished with an ERA over 6, and was left off the Indians' postseason roster. There was no postseason for the Tribe this year, but for long stretches, Lee almost single-handedly kept his team respectable. With Lee, the Tribe's record was 81-81. Take away Lee's record and the club's record is 59-78.

I was almost certain that Lee would be traded before the start of the year. Now his landmark season has me excited for 2009.

Congrats, Cliff, and keep it up.

nwb

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reason #97 to Love Cleveland Sports: Herb Score

When Herb Score took the mound against the New York Yankees on May 7th, 1957, he was, at age 24, the best left-handed pitcher in baseball. Two years earlier he had run away with the American League Rookie of the Year Award after posting 16 wins, a 2.85 ERA and 245 strikeouts--a rookie record that would stand for almost thirty years. The 1956 campaign saw Score ascend even higher. Armed with a blazing fastball and curve that was nigh unhittable, the lefty notched 20 wins, saw his ERA fall to 2.53 while his strikeouts rose to league-leading 263. When Hall of Famer Bob Feller retired his right arm in 1955 Herb Score had already taken his place as the game's most dominating power pitcher.

The 1957 season began according to plan. By May 7th, when Yankees infielder Gil McDougald stepped to the plate, Score had another spectacular month of baseball on his resume. Moreover, he was the anchor of a strong pitching staff, and with a young all-star named Rocky Colavito in right field, the future of the ballclub looked secure. Then, McDougald, the second batter of the game, lined a pitch directly into Herb Score's right eye. The young lefty's nose was broken. The bones around the eye were shattered.

Score missed most of the next two seasons, and he would win only 17 more games in a career that ended before he was 30 years old. When Rocky Colavito was inexplicably traded after the 1959 season, the Tribe found themselves without their two cornerstones. The club would not be competitive again for another 35 years. Quite naturally, the protracted era of futility was precipitated by the New York Yankees.

For the first two decades of my life the name Herb Score and Cleveland Indians were inextricably bound. His voice was so familiar over the airwaves that for a long time, I didn't even know he had been a pitcher. Every summer Herb Score on the radio was as dependable as the rising and setting of the sun. Any broadcast of an Indians game featured his understated calling of balls and strikes, his knowledge of the game past and present, and always, always an on-air gaffe. He was never flashy and he eschewed cornball expressions that so often make announcers obnoxious. No gimmicks. Nothing cute. Just baseball. So what if he sometimes mixed up a player's name? Or what city he was in? He was unpolished, unassuming and 100% ours.

More than 10 years later I realize that Herb Score was more like a steady hand whose value you don't realize until it's gone. Who knew that when he first took to the booth in 1963 that he would remain there, calling Indians games, for thirty-five years? Who knew how hard it would be for the Indians to replace him once he was gone? A decade has passed by and still I miss hearing his voice, particularly in the 8 or so seasons he paired perfectly with the more emotive Tom Hamilton, himself a beloved broadcaster who calls Herb Score his mentor.

Score retired in 1997 after game 7 of the World Series, when Jose Mesa ripped out and feasted on the still warm and beating hearts of Indians fans everywhere. He never did see his team win it all, not as a player, not as a broadcaster, but at least he got to call two pennant winners in his final three seasons. And did he deserve it. No one ever watched more bad baseball than Herb Score. And no one more deserved those great Indians teams of the 1990s.

Life after baseball took a calamitous turn 1n 1998 when he pulled out in front of a semi-truck and was nearly killed. He did manage a recovery that allowed him to throw out the first pitch of the 1999 season at Jacob's Field, but health problems would follow him throughout his retirement.

Herb Score died yesterday after a lengthy illness. He was never bitter about what happened to his career, and he was always grateful that he was able to earn a living in the game he loved so much. That, I believe, is what endeared him to fans, and that is why, when Herb Score died, Cleveland lost one of its true icons.

We love you Herb!

Below is a tribute to the great lefty, featuring The Ballad of Herb Score, by Terry Cashman.



nwb

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America and McBone Nation Have Spoken, Sorta

We at McBone like to think we have our finger directly on the pulse of the slice of American society that can be classified as 'flaming liberal,' and our most recent poll reveals just that. When we asked McBone Nation in a month long poll who it would be voting for last week, Barack Obama collected a whopping 26 out of 37 votes cast, good for 70 percent. With John McCain garnering a miserable 7 votes, he actually finished much closer to third-place finisher, Constitution Party candidate, Chuck Baldwin (2 votes).

Knowing Obama is an avid reader (I'm a McBoner, he recently confessed) who often plumbs the McBone archive for wisdom and guidance, McBone would like to send a warm and hearty McBoneulations to the president elect, along with a mandate.

America sent a clear message on November 4th, one that says we've moved beyond our bigoted past and are ready to embrace a more compassionate, inclusive culture. That is, until Californians rained on the parade by approving the decidedly not compassionate Proposition 8, defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. McBone firmly believes that the will of the people should be reflected in the law, EXCEPT in the case of civil rights issues. On May 15th of this year, the California Supreme Court did what was right by stating that a ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional. Last week 52% of the Californian citizenry announced that it didn't care about equal rights. Never mind that marriage is a legal union between two people and that separation of church and state is one of our country's founding principles. No, instead 5,668,960 Californians decided that a certain small segment of the populace should have fewer rights than the majority. McBone says: that's fucked up, California.*

Like anyone with a pulse, heart, sense of history or the smallest drop of humanity in their veins, I got a little emotional when I watched Obama take the stage with his family on the night of November 4th. I was proud that an inspiring young black man beat a cranky old white man like a drum. I was relieved that 8 years of horror were finally, finally coming to an end. I was hopeful that we had chosen someone wise and dynamic enough to end the war in Iraq, to right our sinking economy, to make a real commitment to the environment and to ensure affordable health care for everyone. More than anything, though, I marveled that in half a century we'd gone from separate drinking fountains to electing a black president.

Inspiring? Oh yeah. But a message of Change, unless acted upon, is, after all, only a slogan. President Obama, denying gay marriage is neither American nor constitutional (nor, if you ask me, is it particularly Christlike). You owe it to all those who paved your road to the White House to side with equality in the civil rights issue of our time. No more bans on gay marriage. No more bigotry written into law. No more backwards bible thumpers deciding what two people in love can and cannot do.

nwb

*Don't even get me started on Ohio, who chose to ban gay marriage and re-elect Bush on the same goddam day.
I said that our country would never elect a black man. Fuck me.




nwb

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Poet/Recluse M. Patrick Foliglio Sighted at Obama Rally

In a rare sighting outside of his heavily fortified compound in western Ohio, famous poet/recluse M. Patrick Foliglio was recently spotted at Bowling Green State University attending a rally for presidential candidate Barack Obama. The poet, standing just to the rear of vice presidential nominee Joe Biden's right shoulder, can be seen in this short clip laughing maniacally and parading a poster that reads, 'Chan.' What or who Chan is remains a mystery. To his immediate left is Heather, one of Foliglio's seven wives. None of his 29 children appear to be present.

His appearance at a Democratic rally places in doubt Foliglio's purported affiliation with certain other, more extreme political activist groups. The author of more than 18 poems, including Fart, Fart, Fart and Ho Ho Moe (translated into more than 200 languages) had last been seen at a small religious gathering in Toledo, Ohio.

McBone, which has obtained the rights to all of Foliglio's collected works, here presents a lesser known piece in the author's canon, Box:

see those kids in a box
they look like Robots but
their not cause they
are just in a box.



nwb

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Candy Corn

Obviously we at McBone spend a disproportionate amount of time railing against the evils of mayonnaise, and rightly so. Perhaps though in our rather single-minded quest we lose sight of the fact that mayonnaise is just one of the "foods" that have found their way onto our boycotted substances list.

With Halloween drawing near and Thanksgiving on the horizon, this seems an opportune time to discuss candy corn. Fortunately for research purposes, my wife annually buys a bag of candy corn, which invariably ends up in a cupboard mostly uneaten and utterly forgotten until about July, when we throw the bag away. This year she has procured a bag of Brach's, which proudly calls itself 'America's #1 Candy Corn.' Also conspicuous is a purple label featuring a beehive and a buzzing bee surrounded by the words: 'Made with Real Honey.' Real honey? That's not a bad place to start, and so perhaps it behooves us to examine the ingredients a bit closer. They read: sugar, corn syrup, salt, honey, gelatin, confectioner's glaze, dextrose, artificial flavor, titanium dioxide color, yellow 6, yellow 5, red 3, blue 1. Personally, I try never to leave titanium dioxide color out of a recipe.

OK, truth be told, I've seen longer and more horrifying lists of ingredients. This candy corn will never be mistaken for something all-natural, but mostly we're talking about loads of sweeteners. Oh, and let's not forget about the honey, which thus far is the only draw I can think of. Because, let's face it, what is the lure of something called 'candy corn?' Corn that's been candied? Yuck! And just look at the stuff. Does candy corn really look like anything to eat? It's tri-colored, yes, but how appetizing is white, orange and yellow? The colors are evocative of fall, I suppose, and pumpkins and, yes, corn, but more than anything, when I see a piece of candy corn, I think of the awful cupcakes that moms made for the Halloween party every year at King Elementary. Orange frosted cupcakes that invariably had a single candy corn rising from the center, like a candle. By the time it made it to us kids, the candy corn had leached some of its color into the cupcake, and really even thinking about it is causing my teeth to decay.

And speaking of candles, candy corn is also cone shaped and waxy to the touch, not unlike a miniature candle. While most candy corns contain carnauba wax, Brach's achieves waxiness without the need for the carnauba palm derivitive. Of course wax and candles, even tri-colored ones, don't exactly make my stomach growl. But I enjoy many foods that may not look too appealing, so I'll move to the next phase.

I stick my nose in the bag, half-expecting to be enticed by the smell of honey. Instead, an artificial, sort of sickening, prefabricated sweetness parks itself in my nasal cavity. I gag but am undaunted. I pour a small amount onto the table and hear the little corns click-clacking like a pile of Legos. Again I inhale. Lurking beneath all that sugar is something plastic, as if the candy has absorbed the scent of its packaging and the machines that made it. This stuff is so manufactured that any semblance to real food has been processed into oblivion. I recognize other unfoodlike aromas too. Silly putty. Polyurethane. Legos.

The last thing I want is to put one of these things in my mouth, but as a service to you, dear McBoners, I will. At first I taste nothing. The sensation truly is like having something plastic in my mouth. Then, I chew. As my teeth and saliva work hard, too hard, to break down the sugars, an unmistakable candy-corn flavor is released. My first reaction is: where's the honey? And if there is any real honey, I wonder why they bother, because I sure don't taste it. Corn syrup, among the cheapest of all sweeteners, is closer to the mark, and why not? It is candy corn, after all. During this assault on my erstwhile cavity-free molars, I find little to recommend it. To be fair, though, I will attempt to discern with some attention to detail a few of candy corn's characteristics. Plastic is certainly the predominant flavor. Also present are staleness (18-24 months), wax, artificiality, and processed (is 'processed' a flavor?). What about the texture? Again, plastic and wax, these followed by grit--grittiness being one of the truly unpleasant mouthfeels I can think of. Against every impulse, every survival instinct, I swallow. Let my stomach acid try and deal with this stuff now.

After a mere three pieces I feel a strong urge to brush my teeth for an hour. The ordeal should be over, but lingering on my tongue is something truly unnatural, almost unholy--kind of like the aftertaste of a diet cola. My mouth is not happy, and may not be for weeks; it demands fluoride and floss.

In conclusion, I want to make one thing clear: candy corn is not mayonnaise. While undeniably and almost ineffably awful, candy corn has few of the truly menacing qualities that have made mayonnaise McBone enemy #1. Still, McBone strongly urges you to avoid candy corn this holiday season, whether Brach's or any other brand of this sham of a candy. If you're desperate for something sweet, I think you'll find a spoonful of actual honey much more satisfactory.

nwb

Monday, October 27, 2008

McBone Chooses the Black Guy!

Today Alex and I voted at our local polling place (Kroger) and, after absolutely no deliberating whatsoever, chose the black guy. Now, we may not be the most informed voters in the world, but neither are we ignorant fools. We don't vote for a candidate based on one issue, and we like to think ourselves above voting for skin color. But let's face it: Obama's candidacy is important because of his skin color, and his victory will be important because of his skin color. Why? Because the fact that an African-American candidate for president can be leading in the polls so late in the game tells us that we have come so very far since these degenerates held political sway:


Obama's rise is important because it means these guys didn't die for nothing:


Obama's imminent victory is important because it means there is hope for this couple, and maybe not just in Massachusetts, California and Connecticut:


And it's important because civil rights are about gender too. Let us not forget that black men had the right to vote in this country before white women did, and let's never forget that this year's Democratic primary was truly unprecedented, boiling down to Obama versus:


In terms of politics, I'm ambivalent about Barack Obama. I believe what the world needs more than anything is for the United States to take a hard tack to the left. I also understand the need for moderation and mass appeal during election season. I hope he's a little more liberal than advertised, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

In one respect Obama is fortunate; his presidency abuts directly that of George W. Bush. Whoever is elected is bound to look pretty good next to eight years of unmitigated failure. Ultimately, though, the shortcomings of one administration cannot be a measuring stick for future ones. History will decide. Obama's presidency will be judged by how much he did to combat global warming and poverty, on how well he repaired the situation in the Middle East, on whether health care became accessible to everyone, and on how he handled an economy that is hanging on by a thread. Times are tough. People compare Obama to Kennedy. I want FDR.

Yes, policy is paramount, and I can't imagine myself voting Republican, no matter if the candidate is black, brown, yellow, red, white, or green with antennae and tentacles. I'm just saying: Obama's racial makeup is important. In light of that fact, we must remember that we cannot accurately call Barack Obama black. His mother, after all, is white. Obama is something of a hybrid, and for that reason he may just be the symbol of our time. Will Obama be one of those rare galvanizing symbols that are common in fiction but sorely lacking in reality? Hard to say, especially in an age when reality has become so sensationalized. I'm hoping that the word he has uttered over and over again from the start, the word he has made the centerpiece of his campaign, is not as empty as most campaign slogans (anyone remember "compassionate conservative?"). Change is needed. Barack knows it. Can he deliver it? In a way he already has. I just hope he doesn't lose because of his skin color.

nwb

PS: Is this post a little corny? I hope not.

Pictured above: Alex votes for president for the first time ever.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Carter-Cash/ Alex Photo Gallery

Being the preeminent Venezuelan-born scholar on the Carter-Cash family, my darling wife, Alex, has had ample opportunity to brush elbows with members of the legendary musical family. McBone invites you take a few moments to browse the Carter-Cash/Alex photo gallery.

Here's Joanne Cash, Johnny Cash's sister. We met her in Akron, Ohio, not far from McBone HQ. She gave a great concert, which was followed by a sermon by her husband. As I recall, he denounced evolution, but we won't hold that against him.












Joanne Cash and Alex, Dec. 2007



This next photo is of Alex and Carlene Carter, June Carter's oldest daughter from her first marriage to Carl Smith. We met Carlene last night at a concert at the Little Nashville Opry in Nashville, Indiana. Carlene gave a great concert which was not followed by a sermon, which was Ok by me.












Carlene Carter and Alex, Oct. 2008



Finally we have Alex and Unit One, Johnny and June's tour bus. Here Alex is basking in the warm glow that June left behind in her personal quarters. While Unit One may not in fact be a living breathing member of the Carter-Cash family, it's pretty close. Incidentally, we stumbled upon Unit One outside the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year in the month of June.












Unit One and Alex, June 2008


nwb

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The McBone Beer Journal: Harp

Sometimes in life you have to read the fine print. Harp Lager, the label boasts, comes "from the brewers of Guinness." Maybe so, but the bottle in my hand did not come from the St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin, nor even the Great Northern Brewery, Dundalk, where Harp was born. Nay, this lager was not crafted in Ireland, as illumined by the inconspicuous lettering on the side of the bottle: "Brewed and bottled by Guinness Brewing Company, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Product of Canada." Also, both Guinness and Harp are controlled by the parent company Diageo, a multinational firm that owned at one time--God help us--Burger King.

Should this bother me? I don't know. Is drinking a Harp the equivalent of scarfing a Whopper? I have an increasing love for local beers crafted in small batches. On the other hand, Guinness is a world-class stout with a worldwide demand. That demand is met by building breweries overseas. I would rather have Canadian-made, Diageo-owned Guinness than no Guinness at all and really I don't think I would even be having these issues if Harp weren't such a humdrum beer.

The problems begin almost right away. Nothing wrong with the bottle, of course, and the label is elegant and pleasing to the eye. Not so pleasing is the pale color of the lager itself, reminiscent of a certain American counterpart that begins with the letter "B." The pour produces a thin head and there is no nose to speak of, and from first sip to last this beer is stubbornly bland. What flavors are to be found, and boy was I searching, are so inconspicuous as to be irrelevant. Maybe a malty tone here, a half of a hop there. Bitter? Only very, very slightly.

It's not that Harp doesn't know what it wants to do, it's that it doesn't seem to want to do anything. Really though I'm sloshing the stuff around my mouth and mostly detecting certain tell-tale unpleasantries: that sort of imported macro-brew staleness that indicates maybe the bottle has been sitting around too long, has maybe traveled too far, perhaps underwent a temperature change or two and basically was made and handled without any love whatsoever. While there is slightly more flavor to be found here than in a typical American lager, the whole experience really smacks of the lamer "imports" of the world, like Heineken. One could argue that Harp is great with Guinness in a black and tan, but I say: codswallop! Don't ruin a good stout with a weak lager. Use Bass Ale instead.

Look, Harp is a somewhat serviceable beer and not too expensive. But really, why bother? The promise of the Guinness name is made early, and quickly proves hollow.

McBone Rating: 1.5 McBones.

nwb

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Forty Ounces of Lard!

$4.54 won't get you much in today's economy. Fortunately, we can always count on the low, low cost of rendered pig fat. Slap down five dollars at Kroger and you can walk away with a 40 ounce tub of lard and some change. Oh, the fun I am going to have with my very own bucket. Won't you join me?



Ah, lard. Lard has so many, many uses. Baking. Frying. Manufacturing soap. Me, I like to find a nice comfy spot on the sofa, pop in a movie and go to work with a spoon. I'm not above using my finger to find those last little gobs at the bottom. I also like to sneak up on old ladies in the park in the afternoon and smear lard on their faces. My wife absolutely hates it when I do that, and she would certainly prefer that I got a job, but I just ignore her threats to divorce me and go to bed each night clutching tight my favorite 40 ounce tub of goodness.

nwb

Monday, October 20, 2008

Red Sox Go Home!

Any baseball season in which the Indians fail to qualify for the postseason is a bad season. The consolation prize is that the Yankees, in the final year of their precious little shrine of a stadium, also failed to qualify. Yes, every spring I cast a couple of prayers to the Baseball Gods, hoping they will see fit to bless my Indians, and that a horrible, flesh-eating plague will be visited upon the New York Yankees. God, if I have to read one more article about that goddam Joba Chamberlain...

And how sweet is it that the Red Sox were eliminated this week by the Tampa Bay Rays? Very sweet, for I loathe the Red Sox with a hate nearly as pure as that which burns for the Yankees. I loathe Youkilis and Pedroia, Papelbon and Beckett. A pox upon this team, and every Red Sox team to come.

Now, let's get Charlie Manual the World Series ring he deserves.

McBone Most Hated Sports Franchises:

1) The New York Yankees. The Evil Empire has been pounding my Indians for 100 years and counting. Most hated Yankee: Derek Jeter.

2) The Boston Red Sox. Seeing a team with Manny Ramirez and Coco Crisp beat the Tribe and win the world series is a blow I'll never get over. Most hated Red Sox: Jonathan Papelbon.

3) The Pittsburgh Steelers. Someday, somehow, the Browns will beat this team again, and the old rivalry will be restored. Most hated Steeler: Terry Bradshaw.

4) The Boston Celtics. The Yankees of basketball. I throw up in my mouth every time I think about this team winning a title in the LeBron James era. Most hated Celtic: tie, Danny Ainge and Paul Pierce.

5) The Denver Broncos. Three times the Browns faced John Elway's Broncos in the AFC championship game. Three times, Elway won. To this day, I would love to break John Elway's teeth. Most hated Bronco: duh, Elway, always and forever.

6) The Detroit Pistons. Always an antagonizing team, whether featuring the likes of Laimbeer, Mahorn, Thomas and Rodman, or the modern gang of miscreants, Billups, Hamilton, Prince and Wallace. Most hated Piston: tie, Bill Laimbeer and Rasheed Wallace.

7) The Florida Marlins. In their short history, the Marlins have won as many World Series as the Indians have since 1901, including one against the Indians. Disgusting. Most hated Marlin: Craig Counsell.

8) The Chicago Bulls. Five times Michael Jordan eliminated the Cavs from the postseason. Five. As in Five times in five attempts. Most hated Bull: Michael Jordan.

9) The Dallas Cowboys. America's team? Screw that. Who outside Dallas ever wants to see the Cowboys win again? Most hated Cowboy: Pacman Jones.

10) The Oakland Raiders. There has always been something disgusting about the Oakland Raiders, probably due to the pure evil streaming from its owner. Most hated Raider: Mike Davis.

nwb

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Playing Chess, or Checkers, with Death

As anyone who has ever seen Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal can attest, Death grants no pardons. He can, however, be forestalled for a time:



Sure, Death will eventually win--that's a bit of false modesty when he calls himself "quite a skillful player"--but a clever chess enthusiast like Antonius Block can buy himself a few precious hours, days or even weeks if he can manage to put together a solid game.

Clearly chess, a game of endless strategy, is the ideal way to postpone the inevitable. What few people know is that Death has been known to play many games. More than anything (aside from ushering you and me to our dooms) he likes a good challenge, even if he is confident in his superiority (he's also a devilshly good cheater). For those with no skill in Chess, the Grim Reaper will happily go head-to-head in any of the following:

Scrabble
Mousetrap
Electronic Battleship
Operation
Twister
Tiddlywinks
Three-Card Monty
Miniature golf
Jenga
Connect-Four
Hi-Ho Cherry-O
Tic Tac Toe
Thumb wrestling
Cornhole
Hungry, Hungry Hippos

Just remember, you don't have to be a chessmaster to hold off Death for a while, and the above list is certainly not comprehensive. He's not picky about the game he plays. Challenge him, and when he wins the first time, call it best two out of three.

nwb

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Whatever Happened to Jeff Bowler?

As millions of loyal McBoners know, McBone began as a joint effort between brothers, a multi-purpose blog dedicated to liberal politics, Cleveland sports and the complete and utter annihilation of mayonnaise. And if an occasional recipe or movie review found its way into the archive, so much the better. Above all, though, we vowed never to rest until the Republicans were run out of office, Cleveland won a championship in any of the three major sports, and mayonnaise was wiped off the face of the planet.

We've made strides, to be sure. Democrats have won back the Senate, the House and, soon, the White House. The Cavaliers advance deep into the playoffs year after year while the Indians have become competitive again. Even the Browns, perennial laughingstocks of the NFL, have gained an air of--dare I say it?--respectability in recent seasons. Best of all, mayonnaise consumption is down 5-8% among international bloggers. The world has McBone to thank.

All this takes a lot of work, and it's not easy to do alone. Hardly a day goes by that I'm not stopped in the street by fervant admirers. Usually a medium to large crowd forms. Traffic stops as the throngs press upon me, all wanting to know two things: 1) What makes Nate Bowler tick, and 2) Whatever happened to Jeff Bowler?

The first question is a study of many, many posts, and I shall not attempt to answer it here. The second? Difficult to say, and it takes a Herculean effort at times to quell the conspiracy theorists. Let me just answer some of the more virulent rumors now. No, Jeff Bowler is not a closet McCain supporter. No, he has not become a Yankees, Steelers or Celtics fan. No, he is not secretly spreading the White Menace on his ham sandwiches. No, he has not checked himself into the Betty Ford Center. No, he is not dead.

So, where is he? Perhaps not coincidentally, Jeff Bowler's contribution to this blog began to decline when he accepted a job with the Lake Erie Monsters. Perhaps his involvement with someone he affectionately refers to as his "girlfriend" has also been a distraction (yes, Lauren, it's YOUR fault, woman!). But whatever the case, the bottom line is this: Jeff Bowler's probing insight has vanished from the sphere. His self-imposed exile has left a gaping hole which, despite my best efforts, has not been filled.

Today is Jeff Bowler's 27th birthday. Surely at this advanced age the spectre of Death weighs heavily in his thoughts. Time waits for no one, and with the new Cavaliers season and a presidential election drawing nigh, it's time for Jeff Bowler to throw himself back into the fray. I'm not saying quit your job and/or dump your girlfriend. Just give the McBoners what they want: McBone as McBone was meant to be.

I urge all of you McBoners out there to raise your voices. Raise your voices, and Jeff Bowler will answer the call.

nwb

PS: Happy birthday, idiot.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Three Giant Bottles of Booze

This weekend my parents came to town, and not empty-handed. For my 33rd birthday I was gifted an extraordinary amount of the good stuff. I'm talking hard liquor here. Booze. Whisky, gin and vodka. I'm in business now, so, from here on out it's gonna be martinis, Manhattans, old-fashioneds and Bloody Marys all the way. I may even take a few snorts straight up. Hell, that's what puts hair on your chest, right?

When supplies run out in a couple of days and I'm found newly tattooed and filthy in some ditch just south of the Mexican border, I'll say, thanks Mom and Dad, thanks for getting me all @#*!-ed up.

nwb

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Throwing Up in Film

What is it about throwing up that inspires? Could it be the sheer ridiculousness of purging a load of half-digested food and stomach acid through the mouth? How about that smell? Maybe it's the way vomiting often induces vomiting in a witness. Or maybe it's the helplessness of the victim, immobilized by his own digestive system, face grotesquely contorting as the body contracts and relaxes--an agonizing heave, then relief, heave, relief. I don't know for sure, but I do know that vomiting is tough to depict in film. In honor of my favorite bodily function, I present here two scenes from moviedom that have made a great impression on me.

Here's one from my youth:



This scene from Stand by Me is memorable for its obvious sensationalism. Fountain-like and blue, this over-the-top take on vomit nonetheless taps one universal truth: vomiting begets vomiting. That small seed of authenticity lends an air of credulity to an otherwise fanciful tale, and lets us forget that the vomit is clearly propelled mechanically from behind the actors' mouths. Director Rob Reiner doesn't bother with realism, and he makes the right choice; the moviegoer is meant to enjoy the scene's absurdity. I like to think that the long, forceful and abundant stream of vomit inspired Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, where blood sprays endlessly from severed limbs.

Here's another more recent depiction:



Obviously, the victim from Team America is a puppet, which oddly enough works to the advantage of the filmmakers, who are freed from the limitations of a human actor's body. Quite often, throwing up in film is a disappointment. Either the vomiting is done off screen and is signified by that unmistakable "throwing-up sound," or the actor simply dribbles a load of fake vomit from his mouth. Clearly the second option is preferable, even though it is usually over too quickly, and one rarely gets a good look at what the character might have eaten that day. In Team America the puke is realistic in color, consistency and, for a little while, quantity. I've never thrown up drunk in a back alley before, but when the vomiting commences in this scene, a definite sense of pathos develops. Suddenly, I'm there in the gutter with our hero. He's a puppet, yes, but I feel what he feels. The genius of the scene, of course, is when the flow of vomit doesn't stop. The music swells to a crescendo. Realism is displaced by the absurd. Tragedy launches into high comedy, and our pity is supplanted by laughter. At last the drunk collapses into a veritable pool of vomit. Pathetic? Yes, but funny too, and hence the viewer is torn between emotions. That's powerful.

What we can deduce from this is that vomiting is easier to portray as comedy. Personally, I'd like to see a director rise to the occasion by offering a realistic depiction of this fascinating bodily function in a drama. Hey, puking is a serious matter, and in the age of CGI, this should be well within our capabilities. Or perhaps this task would call upon an actor to actually throw up. I say: if that's what it takes. Aficionados like me would appreciate it.

nwb

Monday, October 6, 2008

Darth Vader Was a Stutterer

James Earl Jones can make a pretty good speech. I think it's safe to say that I could spend the rest of my life studying elocution, diction and grammar and never be one tenth as captivating as James Earl Jones. Yea, should I spend hours before the mirror, rehearsing, refining my voice, I'm pretty sure I could never approach in eloquence or power the rich, rolling, sonorous baritone of James Earl Jones. You know what I mean. It's a voice that bellows as if from deep within the earth, or from long ago, when thunder gods called to each other from distant worlds. Surely Zeus must have sounded a bit like James Earl Jones. Put it this way: if James Earl Jones was your father and he told you to clean up your room, by god you'd do it and you'd do it now. My voice? Flaccid. The thinnest wisp by comparison.

Not that we started out on level playing fields. Nay, until he reached the age of 14, I would have had the big guy licked. James Earl Jones was a stutterer. Hard to believe, right? And just how did he overcome such a barrier to become perhaps the best-known voice of his generation? That was the crux of the lecture Alex and I attended the other night at Purdue.

The house was packed. More than a few geeks like myself crammed into the auditorium to see one of the more distinguished and recognizable actors of the past 50 years. He was introduced, quite naturally, as such--a master of the stage and the silver screen who had made his voice legendary in works such as Dr. Strangelove, The Great White Hope, King Lear, Conan the Barbarian, Field of Dreams and Cry the Beloved Country. Oh, he also had a voice role in an obscure space trilogy, but none of the presenters saw fit to mention that insignificant work in which Jones played an almost negligible part as the nondescript villain who nevertheless haunted my childhood and changed my life.

But I veer off course. The subject of the night the dilemma of illiteracy. Nearly mute for more than a decade, Jones overcame his handicap when a high school teacher discovered in his student a knack for writing poetry. Jones was made to recite a poem in front of his classroom, and, though petrified, the worlds flowed as they never had--without a stutter. The written word performed, a poem about grapefruits in the style of Longfellow. I can only imagine what his peers must have thought when such a voice issued from an erstwhile closed mouth.

Reading, writing, recitation. Education was his cure. Jones cited others with disabilities: Frederick Douglass and Helen Keller, those oppressed by ignorance and later freed by education. Yet, in spite of our right to a free public education, he spoke of the dilemma in the present tense. He never said as much, but I imagine he had in mind our crumbling schools and our disadvantaged inner-city youths, and I believe he was speaking of not just illiteracy, but of semi-literacy and poor education in general as a modern problem. The speech seemed headed toward a call to action, and I wish he would have given his audience a directive. Believe me, we were listening. Alas, after 30 minutes, none was forthcoming. That for me was the one missing piece in a mesmerizing half-hour.

But my complaint is a small one. The evening was profoundly enjoyable, and it was not all gravitas. Jones has the wit and charm to match his voice. When asked what roles were his favorites, he said (half) jokingly that he just loved his work for Verizon. After a quick Q&A, the voice was silent, and he exited the stage to a standing ovation.

Thanks to Laurie and Kate for the tickets!

nwb

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah

So, after listening to almost two hours of her down-home, chicken-fried brand of debate and speechifying (how many times can she say the word darn?) here's what I can deduce about Sarah Palin.

1) She's from A-LAska, by golly.

2) She supports tax cuts. This pretty much comprises one half of the Republican credo, even though taxes pay for our infrastructure, even though the economy was undeniably in better shape before the Bush tax cuts, even though many of the most successful nations in the world have much higher taxes than we do, even though so many of our citizens live without basic human needs, like health care, while CEOs are rewarded millions in severance for driving their companies into the ground.

3) She says the surge is working, but believes that a 16-month plan to withdraw from Iraq (Eye-rack) is "waving a white flag of surrender."

4) She insists that she's just like any other "Joe Six-Pack, hockey mom" American who wears a pair of 700 dollar glasses.

5) She supports energy independence, which is of course why it's SO critical that we win in Iraq and stay there for who knows how long. She also mentioned alternative fuels a total of zero times by my count.

6) She doesn't mind that same sex couples exist, just as long as they don't expect to be treated like straight couples.

7) "Nukiler." "Nuliker." "Noo-liquor." Whatever. She can't pronounce the damned word any better than that shithead president Bush. And she doesn't really care for diplomacy with countries she considers a threat, even though a lack of diplomacy created the greatest foreign policy catastrophe in recent memory. Of course "looking back" at past mistakes is something only losers like Joe Biden do.

8) Coming from the only arctic state, she has seen first-hand the frightening reality of global warming, and yet she doesn't really believe in it.

9) Hence she wants to drill, baby, drill!

10) She supports more regulation on Wall Street, even though she's on a ticket with a guy who has always endorsed deregulation.

That's about it for now, folks. I've been swilling martinis and I can't really keep this coherent anymore. Sarah Palin sucks. It's so obvious. I'm going to bed.

Alex's take: Obviously I think Biden is a zillion times better, but I'm kind of mystified that no one saw fit to mention the poor at all. These speeches were directed at the middle class and it seems to me that the reason for the omission is that they don't think the poor vote, so why bother? But then why would the poor bother voting if neither one of the VP candidates bothers addressing them even once?

nwb

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I Haven't Slept in Like 3 Days, McBoners

I don' t know what the hell my problem is, but I haven't slept in like 3 days. I'm getting kind of punch drunk at this point.

Anyhow, happy October.

nwb

Monday, September 29, 2008

Paul Newman, McBone Hero, 1925-2008

Paul Newman. McBone. Icons both, but what more do they have in common, aside from global superstardom? A lot more than you might think. Sure, we at McBone are fervent admirers of his work in film (I'd like to meet the person who isn't), but I'd like to point out a few similarities that may or may not be coincidental.

McBone is dedicated to all things Cleveland, where Paul Newman was born in 1925.

He attended Shaker Heights High School, the very school where Nate Bowler suffered an ignominious defeat in tennis at the hands of this wimpy kid named Brad Karfeld. I'll never forget that name till the day I die. If you're out there Brad and you're reading this, I hate you forever! Likewise, Paul Newman once finished second in a major sporting event--the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where, incidentally, Nate Bowler lived for a year.

Paul Newman, like Nate Bowler, had a Jewish father who owned a successful sporting goods store.

Paul Newman and Nate Bowler shared an addiction to half-sour pickles.

Nate Bowler co-founded the Northern Ohio Moustache League. Paul Newman wore a moustache on and off through his career.


Nate Bowler graduated from Ohio University, the same college from which Paul Newman was expelled for unspecified "unruly behavior." Rumor has it that he was caught one too many times in a women's dormitory. Another says that he crashed a beer keg into the president's car. McBone likes to believe it was a combination of the two.

Like Nate Bowler, Paul Newman was devastatingly handsome and known for a pair of piercing blue eyes.

Paul Newman, like McBone, was devoted to the drinking of beer.

Both Newman (#19) and McBone (#47) found their way onto Richard Nixon's list of enemies.

Paul Newman was an ardent liberal who supported gay marriage, one of McBone's hallmark causes.

McBone's mission is to free the world from tyranny, one mayonnaise jar at a time. Paul Newman's charitable line of food, Newman's Own ($250 million raised!), contains no mayonnaise or mayonnaise products.

Newman joins Gregory Peck (also a Nixon enemy) and Audrey Hepburn (enemy to no one) on the very short list of actors who realized that there were more important things in the world than themselves.

Join us this month in celebrating the life of a man who actually left the world a little better than he found it. McBone recommends:

The Hustler
Cool Hand Luke
Hud
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Hombre
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The Verdict
Absence of Malice
Nobody's Fool
Road to Perdition

nwb

Thursday, September 25, 2008

S.E. Rogie, the Cure for Election Year Blues.

I've never tasted palm wine in my life, but what a wondrous beverage it must be, to inspire music such as this:



S.E. Rogie, the guitarist from Sierra Leone, was a master of palm wine music. He was also a man of infinite wisdom. When asked what stimulated him in life, his answer was simple: Sex. Beauty. Soft, melodious sounds. Sounds right on to me.

Now, nothing highlights how fucked up the world is quite like election season does, and nothing else makes bad situations seem hopeless like two candidates smearing each other instead of finding solutions. Sometimes I get so mad thinking and writing about ugly things like Sarah Palin that I have to sit back, crack open a beer (en lieu of palm wine) and let soft, melodious sounds like Rogie's make me remember that the human race has given rise to some beautiful souls. Click here for further proof.

I stumbled upon Rogie's album, Dead Men Don't Smoke Marijuana (was there ever a better title?) when I wandered into Tower Records in New York to kill time between classes. I listened to a twenty second sample of the first song and was instantly hooked. I regard that purchase as one of the more fortuitous of my life. Ten songs, 45 minutes of bliss--enough to make me forget about these cesspools of hypocrisy called campaigns for a while.

nwb

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cavaliers 2008-09 Season: The McBone Preview


Team Capsule

Hello: Mo Williams, J.J. Hickson, Darnell Jackson, Lorenzen Wright, Tarance Kinsey, Ronald Dupree(???)

Goodbye: Damon Jones, Joe Smith, Devin Brown, Billy Thomas

Last season: Finished the regular season 45-37. Lost 4-3 to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Coach: Mike Brown. Career record: 145-101. Playoffs: 26-20

Overview

Here's the thing about last season for the Cleveland Cavaliers: it stunk. The trouble started with the ludicrous holdouts of Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic (thanks, agents), was exacerbated by myriad injuries and culminated with a late season trade that, yes, rid us of Larry Hughes, but also never allowed the team to gel. The sum of the equation was a seventh-game, second-round exit from the playoffs. But for all that, the Cavs gave the eventual NBA-champion Celtics all they could handle. If not for a horrid 2-18 shooting night from LeBron James in game one, the Cavs might have been hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy. Alas, that is ancient history.

This year is already shaping up quite differently. The Cavs signed free agent guards Delonte West and Daniel Gibson to multi-year deals and avoided any messy holdouts. What's more, everyone is healthy entering camp. Danny Ferry drafted and signed an intriguing pair of rookies. LeBron James, coming off a gold medal olympic run, is primed for another trip deep into the playoffs. The icing on top is a major offseason aquisition that could prove the missing piece of the puzzle. To get where they want to be, however, the Cavs will have to get through an Eastern Conference that has mostly gotten better:

The East's Elite

The Celts earned the title "team to beat" after an historic season and a hard-fought trip to the finals. I hate Paul Pierce, but he had an amazing game 7 against LBJ and Co. I'll give him that. Still, how far can this team ride the big three? I believe that depends on Ray Allen, who has declined.

The Pistons remain a aging but viable threat. I think. Maybe. Maybe they're too old. They have to get too old someday, right? Maybe this is the year they fail to make the ECFs.

The Sixers are young and explosive and added a star in Elton Brand. Paired with all-time underrated point guard Andre Miller, this team is legitimate.

The Magic will win a lot of games as usual, but Dwight Howard needs to get better to deserve his nickname.

The Wizards will lose to the Cavs in the first round of the playoffs. Again.

The Raptors took a chance on Jermaine O'Neal, and I don't think it will pay off. If it does, though, an O'Neal-Bosh frontcourt is scary.

Scrubby playoff contenders

The Heat. Are a healthy Dwayne Wade and Shawn Marion enough to propel this squad to the playoffs? They very well may be.

The Bulls were a mess last year, but may rally around their new point guard. I'm not betting on them.

The Bucks swapped Yi for Richard Jefferson. Big deal. They will struggle to make the postseason.

The Hawks had a rough summer losing Josh Childress. They are, in my opinion, going to take a step back.

The garbage

The Bobcats, Pacers, Nets and Knicks are lottery-bound scrubs for sure.

Now, let's take a look at the Cavs roster, position-by-position.

Starting Five

PG: Mo Williams. In a major coup, Danny Ferry excised perennial loudmouth Damon Jones and Joe Smith for Milwaukee's Mo Williams. Damon Jones' tenure with the Cavs is mercifully over. While he may have hit a big shot here and there, I don't think anyone will lament Damon's missed jumpers or his annual, late-season benching for lax defense. Joe Smith is another story. I never realized what a sweet player Smith was until he was in a Cavs uniform. The Cavs will miss his jumper, his rebounding, his defense and just his general presence on both ends of the floor. Still, you'd trade an aging Smith for a young Maurice Williams a thousand times without hesitating.

And in Williams, the Cavs finally have their point guard. I spent a lot of time hating Mo Williams while he absolutely killed the Cavs all last season. Now he brings his 17 points and 7 assists to a team desperate to add another playmaker. Know what? Williams is a good rebounder too at the guard spot. While his detractors say he won't fit into Mike Brown's defense-first philosophy, I beg to differ. This kid is an athlete. He can learn. He'll fit in or LeBron James will have his head roasted and served on a platter with rosemary potatoes.

And the best part of this pickup is that Williams is only 25. His best years will coincide with James'.

I love this move no matter how you look at it. Williams brings a hefty contract, but if you look at his production, the dollar amounts are right on.

SG: Delonte West. While Williams and West are really both combo guards, Williams is the better ballhandler/distributor, while West is better suited at the two. I was never a West fan until I saw his gritty play in the playoffs last year when he seemed to make strides as a player as the games got more intense. West will sell out on defense, hit a clutch three, drive to the hoop, and make a nice pass. He does nothing great, but everything pretty darn well. While I'd prefer Sasha Pavlovic in this role because of his size and sheer ability, Sasha has to start living up to his talent before he gets his job back.

Delonte and Mo in the backcourt give the Cavs two guards who can bring the ball up floor and get the offense going. Put them together with LBJ and watch the offense take off.

C: Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Sportwriters just love to say that LeBron needs a Robin to compliment his Batman. I say, what about Big Z? I don't care what the national media writes about Ilgauskas' age, or slowness, or frailty. All of it is bollocks. Big Z is coming off his finest season as a pro, notching a career high in rebounding and continuing to be one of the most talented offensive centers in the Eastern Conference, all at the age of 32. Ilguaskas will give his team 14 points and 8 rebounds per contest and will antagonize oppenents all day with his offensive rebounding. No one in the league is a better tip artist than Z, and that 10-18 foot jumper is, as ever, automatic.

SF: LeBron James. James has already been anointed the next MVP by ESPN, which doesn't mean much. That he hasn't already won the trophy shows what a farce it is. Anyway, in LeBron the Cavs have, simply put, the most talented and, yes, best player in the NBA. Always a beast with the ball in his hands, the addition of Williams will allow LeBron to play off the ball, maybe even post up more. James is an excellent rebounder too and an absolutely terrifying defender. I don't know if I've ever seen a player defend the fast break better than LeBron did all last year. Ask anyone who never saw LeBron coming until after he swatted their easy layup into the tenth row from behind.

Basicallly, the entire season depends on LBJ staying healthy, which hasn't been much of a problem in the past. While the addition of Mo Williams may reduce his offensive numbers, you can still pencil in 28,7,7 on a nightly basis. Throw in defense and leadership and you have your MVP.

PF: Ben Wallace. Everyone knows that Big Ben has lost more than a step. At 34, he's slower and doesn't seem to be able to jump at all anymore. That said, Wallace did help the Cavs when he was acquired just before the trade deadline. He defended Kevin Garnett admirably in the playoffs and created a lot of problems for opposing offenses with those long arms and quick hands. If Wallace's back holds up this season, he will be a valuable presence in the starting five, an intimidator whose length and knack for the ball can still wreak havoc.

Still, Ben is indisputably on the downside of a great career. His free throw shooting makes him a fourth quarter liability. Look for him to start games and give around 20 minutes. He won't see too much fourth quarter action, I predict.

Sixth Man: F/C Anderson Varejao. Varejao's name comes up almost every time in discussions of a midseason trade. I don't think the Cavs have any intention of trading the Brazilian big man. Yes, he had a frustrating, sometimes maddening season last year. But people forget that before suffering a bad ankle injury, Varejao was easily, easily the Cavs' second best player. While he brought his trademark rebounding and defense off the bench, he also provided a nice jumper and a great ability to finish around the hoop. All that changed after 1) a high ankle sprain, when he lost much mobility, and 2) the acquisition of Joe Smith, when he lost his mind and suddenly thought he was Earl Monroe.

Now Anderson is healthy and, from all indications, happy. Smith is gone. Drew Gooden (whose baseline jumper will be missed, if not his tendency to space out) is gone. Wallace is old. Hickson and Jackson are very young. If the Cavs have a weakness, it's depth in the frontcourt. Varejao will get 35+ minutes a night at the 4 and 5. His play will largely determine how far the Cavs go this year.

Bench

G: Daniel Gibson.
I hope the addition of Mo Williams means that Daniel Gibson is done running the offense, which he does passably, sort of. Boobie's great talent is spotting up for jumpers and and hitting teardrops in the lane. After only two seasons in the league, he has made a bunch of big time, high-pressure, clutch playoff threes. He too was struck by the injury bug last season, but Gibson is fearless and one of LeBron's very favorites, so him staying healthy is critical.

G: Sasha Pavlovic. For three seasons I've been expecting Sasha to explode into the player I know he can be. There have been flashes, to be sure. Last year he did himself no favors by holding out and missing training camp. Then he suffered a sprained foot and never seemed to find a rhythm at all. Still, he remains a tantalizing piece. At 6'7", 240, he is a real physical specimen, one who bangs regularly with LeBron in practice. He's known for his offense, but he's really a gifted defender, a lock-down type player with a mean streak when he puts his mind to it. Let's hope this is the year Sasha learns how to finish at the hoop and to stroke his jumper at about 45 percent. Ideally, he is the starting shooting guard, just like he was when the Cavs went to the finals in '07.

G: Wally Szczerbiak. A fan favorite, an Ohio boy, Wally will be one of three guards called up from the bench and asked to burn on offense. In spite of last season's inconsistency, Wally is a career 50% shooter and there is no reason why he can't do the same as a Cavs backup. He is also one of three guys who will be looked at as a starter at the two. His poor defense isn't as bad as advertised (he made Ray Allen all but disappear in the playoffs), but he's not going to keep up with the quicker twos and threes in the league, which is why he belongs on the bench. If anyone is trade bait this season, it's Wally and his outrageous and expiring 13 million dollar contract.

F: J.J. Hickson. Few Cavs fans knew much about Hickson when he was drafted out of North Carolina State. After a standout summer league performance, expectations are high for this young forward, who led his conference with a 59% shooting percentage. The Cavs will take it slow with Hickson, but hopes are high for what looks like a first-round steal.

F: Darnell Jackson. The Cavs had the future in mind when they drafted Hickson. Same goes for Jackson, another big man with a big upside. Jackson made a major leap his senior year at Kansas, but he is raw and could see time in the D. League.

F: Lorenzen Wright. A career underachiever, the Cavs added Wright as an insurance policy. If he gets minutes, it means the Cavs are in a blowout or there have been some major injuries.

C-F: Dwayne Jones. Dwayne Jones is one of these guys who is always just a step behind. He has good size and a good work ethic, but unfortunately he is a bit short in the talent department. Because of injuries, he was pressed into action WAY too much last season. Let's hope that doesn't happen again. Please.

G: Tarance Kinsey. I don't know much about Kinsey, other than he's a young, athletic guard who won't get many minutes.

F: Ronald Dupree. This journeyman forward is expected to sign with the Cavs, and I'm not sure why they want him.

G: Eric Snow. Will never play another game in the NBA. Still on the Cavs roster, riding out that decades-long contract he signed before I was born.

C: Lance Allred. Will be cut soon.

Head Coach: Mike Brown. I love Mike Brown. I love his defensive, let's-win-in-the-playoffs-when-it-counts mindset. He won't win any awards for his offense, and who cares? All he's done in three seasons of coaching is win as many playoff series (5) and two fewer playoff games (26) than all other Cavs coaches combined. Critics have long bemoaned his unsophisticated offense, and not always without justification, but the addition of the dynamic Williams is certain to mask some of his shortcomings in ways that Larry Hughes never could.

Prediction. This is the year of the Cavalier, the year it all comes together. The Cleveland curse will be broken; the drought will end. The Cavs will win no fewer than 55 games, capture their division (for once) and they will beat the New Orleans Hornets in the NBA finals in 6 games. LeBron James is the real deal, a leader, a superstar and a champion in the making. Now he has a crew that can help him get there.

Go Cavs!

nwb