Thursday, July 24, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
PS: Go McCain!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I'm talking about beer, of course.
Now, ever since my parents let me start having a beer or two with dinner (age 13 or so), I've had an affinity for that special fermented blend of malted grain, yeast and hops. Sure, I love a martini from time to time, and my travels in France certainly gave me an appreciation for wine. Naturally, I'll drain a bottle of cough syrup when I get desperate, but, given a choice, I'm usually reaching into the fridge for a ice-cold bottle of beer.
That said, not all beers are created equal. I learned that almost 11 years ago when I traveled to Austria for a study abroad program. Already looking forward to an endlessly flowing stream of world-class beer, my friend Brad, a grizzled veteran of one Austrian study abroad campaign, revealed my ignorance. Just wait, he said, until you try Edelweiss.
I cringed, remembering a terrible experience I had when I was 16. Not interested, I politely informed him, but Brad was persistent. I only became mildly intrigued when he told me that Edelweiss was more than a high altitude flower; it was his favorite brand of Hefeweizen.
Hefe who? A quick German lesson revealed that Hefe means yeast and Weizen is wheat. Hefeweizen is an unfiltered wheat beer that has a cloudy appearance and a distinctive, almost fruity flavor. Well, that sounded reasonable enough for me. Why not give it a whirl?
I was not led astray.
From the very first sip I was hooked. In that moment the sky seemed to open up. White light pierced the heavens. Golden trumpets sounded, clarion calls heralding a procession of cherubs, naked and wielding wheat beer-filled cornucopias.
For 1o weeks I got while the gettin' was good, but back Stateside I've yet to find its equal. Not that I haven't tried, mind you. Verily I have risked the health of my liver and kidneys, sacrificed billions of brain cells, even had run-ins with the law and, once, a fellow named "Twist."
I realize now that my quest was too narrow minded, too framed within the context of an exhilarating first trip to Europe. I should not have been seeking Edelweiss' match all this time, for the holy grail has no rival. So, I'm starting anew, sampling great beers from around the globe, and I'm doing it for you, McBoners. I'll be rating them all for posterity--ales, stouts and lagers, a beer journal of sorts. No beers shall be excluded, except the perversion of low-carb varieties.
Ratings shall be based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to: taste, aroma, color, head, price and label. All factors will be tabulated in the supercomputer that is my brain and presented in the simple but highly accurate McBone Optimized Rating Format, or McBORF for short.
I'm not expecting to find another Edelweiss this time, but maybe, just maybe, I'll stumble upon that Twist guy again.
Monday, July 14, 2008
7:55 AM. Awoke after long, sensual dream about tax cuts. Got up and purchased Quicken on Amazon. Began drooling uncontrollably.
8:30. Read the Wall Street Journal instead of the usual sports page and funnies.
8:51. Looked at New York Times. Threw up.
11:45. Overwhelming desire to have a power lunch and broker a deal. Remembered I have no suit. Or job.
11:52. Got nervous about not having job. Tried pulling bootstraps. Couldn't find them.
2:38 PM. Had fit of nostalgia contemplating my past as a flaming liberal. Quickly tuned into Rush. Fit subsided immediately.
3:14. Bob Dylan record curiously offensive. Switched to Toby Keith. Strong urge to stick my boot up the ass of a terrorist. Settled for dog.
4:40. Veterinarian successfully extracted boot from the ass of dog.
6:30. Dinner conversation with freedom-hating, immigrant wife turned into shouting match:
Wife: This is stupid, baby. You're a liberal.
Me: Oh, go back to Mexico.
Wife: I'm Venezuelan.
Me: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Have another taco.
6:38. Drove around block to cool off. Passed by Planned Parenthood. Wished I knew how to make Molotov cocktails.
7:13. Returned home. Did internet research on how to make Molotov cocktails.
8:45. Emptied recycling bin into regular trash.
9:38. Emptied regular trash into Lake Erie.
10:19. Decided I hate unions.
10:20. Wrote angry letter to NBC about the liberal use of profanity ("damn," "darn," "jeepers-creepers,") in their programming. Wrote angry letter to CBS about Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. Wrote complimentary letter to Fox about the expert journalism skills of the huggable Bill O'Reilly.
11:30. Went to bed imagining I was waterboarding towelheads with Ann Coulter.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Well, with only a week remaining before Alex and I make our move to the solidly red state of Indiana, I find myself ill prepared for five years entrenched in such heretofore hostile environs.
I'm also curious. That's why, as of now, I am officially and temporarily changing my allegiance. That's right, I'm jumping ship, pulling the old switcheroo, joining the dark side, as it were. I'm going to find out what it takes to be Republican for a month. And to whip myself into shape, I've compiled a list of activities, a daily regimen that I hope will bring out my latent conservative tendencies. They will include:
● Burning more fossil fuels. No more turning off lights just because I'm not using them. And the fuel efficient McBonemobile is going in the garage in favor of something decidedly less responsible:
● Denying global warming. What a relief it will be to finally not have to believe in this silly hoax just because it's supported by science.
● Not letting this guy steal my job:
● Voting down school levies. No more giving away my hard-earned money just for the sake of some crummy, underfunded public school.
● Supporting the war. I guess some taxes aren't so bad.
● Being afraid of homosexuals (or "homos," as I'll be calling them this month).
● Bitching about the size of government. Come on, people, let's privatize everything.
● Loving America. This means loving a lot of things, like freedom and liberty.
● Hating the terrorists. I'm going to spend all month hating the haters of freedom and liberty.
● Pulling myself up by my own bootstraps. This month I'm not accepting handouts or charity from anyone. Just don't even look at my bootstraps, all right?
● Watching Fox News.
● Praying the black guy loses.
● Observing the second amendment (see right).
● Defending my family (right again).
● Squeezing off a few rounds (yep, right).
● Not burning the American flag. I'm shitcanning this daily ritual of mine for a few weeks.
I know I have a challenge ahead, and I know it won't be easy. I'm counting on you, gentle McBoners, to keep me in check. Got anything else to add to my routine? Just list them here.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
This spring the Indians offered C.C. Sabathia a four-year contract to the tune of 18 million per. Not enough, apparently. So instead of getting burned, GM Mark Shapiro dealt the reigning Cy Young Award winner to Milwaukee for top prospect Matt LaPorta and three other minor leaguers. Wise decision, because no way was Sabathia going to sign with the Tribe in the offseason. Here's why:
● Because of their limited budget, the Indians don't hand out long term, 100+ million dollar contracts, especially to pitchers. They just don't, and they shouldn't. Shapiro knows that such contracts are the kiss of death. Just ask Barry Zito, Kevin Brown and Mike Hampton, all 100 million dollar busts.
● Sabathia called Cleveland "home" on numerous occasions, which is code for "not really my home." He also said he wanted to "test the market" in the offseason. That's code for, "I want the biggest, fattest, greasiest, most disgusting contract I can get my hands on."
● Everyone knows Sabathia is a Californian through and through. Look for him to move west when the Brewers don't sign him at season's end because they are a small market team, too.
Now, let's get something straight. Yes, Mark Shapiro has made some gaffes in his tenure as the Indians GM. The execrable left field platoon of Jason Michaels and David Dellucci when he could have re-signed Kenny Lofton (or not traded Coco Crisp) will forever live in infamy. BUT the Indians' deep playoff run last season, when they were one win away from the World Series, can be credited largely to Shapiro, who pieced together a team using a solid veteran core, young talent, castoffs, retreads, duct tape and baling wire. Small market teams rely on ingenuity and a whole lot of luck to win games. Their margin of error is much smaller than it is for teams like the Red Sox and the Yankees, who can and do throw heaps of money at whomever they please. One or two injuries can ruin a season for a team like the Indians. So can a faulty bullpen. The success of a small market team can fluctuate dramatically one year to the next, as evidenced by the Indians' free fall this summer to last place. In fact, check out the win totals of Shapiro teams over the past six years:
2003 - 68
2004 - 80
2005 - 93
2006 - 78
2007 - 96
2008 - 66 (projected)
So, before we line up for Shapiro's head, think of other clubs in the same financial boat. Teams like the Pirates, Brewers and Royals that never seem to get anywhere. Shapiro will retool this summer, but signing Sabathia to an exorbitant contract would have severely limited his flexibility in future seasons, and long-term success is what Shapiro is all about. Will the Indians offer Sabathia a contract anyway? Maybe, just for fun, but they needn't bother. He's long gone.
Clearly, I was way, way, way off when I predicted a World Series win in Cleveland, but I don't think the Tribe will repeat this long, excruciating, injury riddled summer in '09. So, as much as I hate to see Sabathia go, I have to give this trade the McBone Seal of Approval: McB. Matt LaPorta is a promising young power hitter, which is the single greatest need of the weak hitting Indians. If Sabathia doesn't want to play for the team that drafted him and groomed him into a Cy Young winner, and for the fans who love him most, all for the handsome sum of 18 million a year, then screw him.
*Of the three traitors, only Ramirez has won a World Series. Belle and (to date) Thome never played in another postseason game.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
While it's no secret that Helms and Falwell were two peas in a pod, the casual citizen may not be aware of just how deep their connection was. Luckily, McBone's top-shelf research team has been working nonstop to connect the dots between these two polarizing figures. Here are some of our early findings.
Homosexuality. Helms and Falwell were stridently anti-gay. Helms refused to support AIDS funding because of his belief that the disease was spread by "disgusting" homosexual behavior. Falwell went as far as to blame the 9/11 terrorist attacks on gays. The two teamed up to condemn Ang Lee's 2005 film, Brokeback Mountain, as "homosexual propoganda," although both lauded the picture for having "captured the singular beauty of the Canadian Rockies and Anne Hathaway's naked torso."
Civil Rights/Segregation. Helms, a former Dixiecrat in the Strom Thurmond mold, was no champion of civil rights. He opposed affirmative action and filibustered against making Martin Luther King Jr's birthday a national holiday. Worse still, Helms once campaigned for segregationist senator Willis Smith, and is rumored to have been responsible for ads that read, "White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories?" David Broder called Helms "the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country." Falwell, for his part, preached openly against desegregation, claiming it would destroy the country. In a 1964 sermon he warned: "a pastor friend of mine tells me that a couple of opposite race live next door to his church as man and wife." Don't agree with the reverend's objection? Check out the above photo of Halle Berry to see the hideous result of intermarriage between races.
Appearance. Pudgy, doughy, squeezable, virtually indistinguishable. Helms and Falwell were known to wear big, goofy-looking glasses that made them seem hopelessly out of touch with reality. Which they were.
Ronald Reagan. The three met on the set of Reagan's 1940 masterwork, Tugboat Annie Sails Again, and formed an immediate bond of friendship that would last until all three were, alas, dead. Both Helms and Falwell were ardent Reaganites, and Helms famously blamed Reagan's failure to capture a single Academy Award nomination on "Hollywood Jews, queers and commies."
Oh yeah. Helms and Falwell supported Reagan in the political arena as well.
Commies. Helms was one of the more outspoken opponents of communism throughout his career. Falwell, in his own attempt to block a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, joined the conspiratorial movement attacking King for having supposed extreme left-wing connections. While the US Constitution grants any citizen the right to be communist, it is unknown whether Helms or Falwell were aware of the document.
Martin Luther King was not a communist, incidentally.
Liberty University. Jerry Falwell founded this religious university in 1971. In 2004 LU christened its school of government The Helms School of Government. Liberty University, ranked a fourth-tier university by US News and World Report, is a sometimes-accredited institution of higher learning with programs in creationism, intelligent design, bible studies and, for its female students, home economics. The McBone research team continues its search for any notable faculty or alumni.
Christianity: Obviously, these dudes were hardcore Christians. Few know that they compiled a Nixonian list of enemies whom they considered prime candidates for an eternity in hell. A sampling: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, RuPaul, Noam Chomsky, J.K. Rowling, Michael Moore, Robert Mapplethorpe, Paul Newman, the Teletubbies, Ron Reagan Jr., Al Sharpton, Bruce Springsteen, Shirley MacLaine, Stabbone, McGraw, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, blacks, Mexicans, Canadians, the French, illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, liberals, moderates, communists, socialists, feminists, hippies, beatniks, union workers, the ACLU, the poor, the educated and the entire staff of Welcome to Falling Rock National Park.
Bono. Later in life, Helms eased his stance on AIDS somewhat and formed an unlikely friendship with U2 frontman, Bono. Together they established a charitable alliance dedicated stopping the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Meanwhile, Falwell and Bono formed a garage band, cutting a pair little-known albums before finally splitting up due to "creative differences" and an "irreconcilable loathing of each other."
Mayonnaise. Helms was a noted mayonnaise user and was known to smear the condiment on everything from hamburgers to pumpkin pie. He kept a crock of potato salad in his desk at Capitol Hill, which he insisted was best enjoyed "a little above room temperature." Falwell often sermonized against mustard and called mayonnaise, "God's dressing."
PS: Jesse Helms died on July 4th, just like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, apropos not because Helms was a great patriot, but because Jefferson and Adams were slave owners.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Now let's have some BBQ, get drunk, watch some fireworks and try not to think about those poor kids fighting in Iraq.
May God continue to bless America.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Indeed the NOML seemed to go on permanent vacation after the controversial conclusion of the 2006 Moustache Growing Championship. Nate Bowler, the reluctant winner, accepted his championship trophy only with the promise that he would have the chance to defend his tainted crown the following year. Jeff Bowler, meanwhile, went into hiding after his humiliating forfeit, and has not been seen in public since. Neither of the erstwhile contestants are reputed to be sporting moustaches currently, and the championship remains on hiatus.
Well, officials at the NOML's parent organization, McBone, Inc., want to assure everyone that the NOML is alive and kicking, and what better way to resuscitate the floundering league than by reviving one of its most popular institutions, the NOML Moustache Hall of Fame?
To commemorate the resurgence of the moustache in northern Ohio, we have nominated five candidates for induction to the hall. And here is where you come in, gentle McBoners, for it is you who will decide which moustache will be immortalized in 2008.
Your nominees are:
Goose Gossage - The all-star relief pitcher is already a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Now the Goose tries to join an even more elite company in '08. (Note: Gossage's association with the vile New York Yankees will not be taken into consideration).
Wyatt Earp - The American lawman, gambler and saloon keeper most famous for the gunfight at O.K. Corral figures prominently in wild west lore. Accordingly, his moustache is the stuff of legend.
Hulk Hogan - While the professional wrestler has played both hero and villain in his long and storied career, his moustache has remained constant. Ever blonde, the coloring of his fu manchu is every bit as authentic as his sport.
Albert Einstein - While busy thinking up the theory of relativity and winning the Nobel Prize, Einstein still found the time to groom what is perhaps the finest moustache in all of modern science.
Friedrich Nietzsche - The philosopher/poet changed the course of western thinking forever. His moustache, like his writings, remains a critical influence.
Worthy candidates all, but the NOML Moustache Hall of Fame only has room for one. Whose portrait will hang among the original ten inductees? Think long and hard, McBoners, and choose the moustache you deem most worthy. Polls will close at midnight, July 31.
Thank you for your continuing support of the NOML.