Friday, February 29, 2008

Defending Barack

It's always fun to listen to talk radio, unless you make the mistake of listening for too long. If the droning blab of the host doesn't get to you eventually, the callers are bound to. Where do some of these people come from? After tuning in to Akron's own Howie Chisek for a few days and hearing all the drivel spewn by his callers, I'd like to clarify a few things to all those people out there who will never read this:

1. Barack Hussein Obama is not a Muslim.

2. Wearing a turban does not make him a Muslim.

3. Being a Muslim is not illegal, even in the US of A.

4. Muslims are allowed to run for public office, even in the US of A.

5. The words Muslim and terrorist are not synonymous.

6. If you replace the "ar" in his first name with "l," and the "b" in his last name with "s," you get "Black Osama." That may scare the living shit out of you, but it still doesn't make him a Muslim, or a terrorist, or a Muslim terrorist. He is, however, black.

7. This is a pretty cool picture of him.

No, he's not my favorite candidate, but since I'll probably be casting my ballot for him in the general election, I feel I gotta stick up for the guy.

nwb

Monday, February 25, 2008

Nate's Monday Sports Extravaganza!

Cavaliers

OK, the more I think about it, the more I get it. I've shaken off the initial shock and am ready to give a sober assessment of the trade pulled off by Danny Ferry and the Cavs.

By now we all know what we get-got-from Drew Gooden. Great offense at times, excellent defense at times, and many lapses at both ends. I love Drew, but rarely does he dominate a whole game. That doesn't sound like a cog in a championship team to me. So he is replaced by Ben Wallace, who has few offensive tools but will be expected to shoot (read: dunk) only when LeBron and Z are double-teamed. What he provides is: constant hustle, rebounding, steals and blocked shots. Teamed with LeBron, Z, Anderson Varejao and newcomer Joe Smith, Wallace solidifies a mighty frontcourt. This crew will be hard to beat on the boards.

Oh yeah, and Wallace has a ring.

Another reason a Gooden for Wallace swap makes senses: Tony Parker had absolutely no fear in driving the lane in the finals. THAT is why the Cavs were swept. Think Ben Wallace would give Parker an easy path to the hole? No way. Wallace also reinforces the Cavs against the likes of Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, Rasheed Wallace and any other dominant big they may encounter. And in the playoffs when everything slows down and gets physical, the real value of the this frontcourt will emerge. Boston counters with KG, Paul Pierce, Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe and Glen Davis. For the Pistons? It's Rasheed, Tayshaun Prince, Jason Maxiell, Antonio McDyess and Jarvis Hayes. Orlando trots out Howard, Adonal Foyle, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis and Brian Cook. I'll take the Cavs' unit every time.

Perhaps the real coup here was bringing in Joe Smith, who probably deserves a place on the NBA all-underrated team. Smith is a better midrange shooter than Gooden, so he should account for Gooden's frontcourt scoring and then some. He'll also rebound and defend and generally be a great big off the bench.

Now, as to the Sonics imports: who would you rather have shooting the ball? Larry Hughes or Wally Szczerbiak? Who would you rather have running the point? Larry Hughes or Delonte West? Szczerbiak's 46% shooting replaces Hughes' unnerving 38%. West had 6 assists in his first game as a Cavs, matching Hughes' season high. West is a tough perimeter defender, something coach Mike Brown loves. Szczerbiak, along with Daniel Gibson and Damon Jones, will feast on open jumpers.

All in all the Cavs have toughened the interior defense and improved the outside shooting. In one fell swoop, Danny Ferry filled these gaps and got rid of Hughes' contract, one of the worst in franchise history. Look, the Cavs won a lot of games with Larry. He played hard and often played hurt. But the reality is: he missed a hell of a lot of games, and when he did play, he chucked major bricks. He rarely got to the line, was not a good passer, and, worst of all, wanted out of a team that went to the finals.

So I get it. I really do. In fact, I feel ready and willing to stamp this deal with the official McBone Seal of Approval: McB.

The Cavs have thirty games to get the pieces back and gel. Should be plenty. Now if they can just stay healthy...

Indians

The topic du jour is: who will emerge as the fifth starter on this ballclub? The competition is between Cliff Lee, who is the odds on favorite, Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey. All three are southpaws, and all three have seen success as members of the Tribe pitching staff.

The buzz is that Lee has the best chance because, between 2004 and '06 he won 46 games. Last year he was tattooed to the tune of a 4-6 record and a 6.29 ERA before being demoted to AAA Buffalo. While I certainly hope he can find the stuff that made him an 18 game winner in 2005, I have more confidence in Jeremy Sowers, who has excelled at every level, including the majors, until a disastrous '07 campaign that found him in same Buffalo rotation as Lee. Apparently, though, Sowers has fixed the flaw in his delivery that was robbing him of velocity. Sowers was 7-4 as a rookie in 2006. He has a nice mound presence and a thinking man's approach to pitching. He also seems very amenable to coaching. Lee, on the other hand has not always been so agreeable, nor do I like how hittable he has been against lefties throughout his career. He is, however, 54-36 for his career and should not be written off just yet.

Laffey is the dark horse here. He filled in admirable when both Lee and Sowers were torched last year. He doesn't get rattled and he has a nice, heavy little breaking pitch. He doesn't throw hard, but seems to get a lot of ground ball outs, like a lefty Jake Westbrook.

So, look for Lee to win the spot, but not necessarily to keep it. Hence the opening day rotation should look something like this: C.C. Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, Jake Westbrook, Paul Byrd and Lee.

Even so, one or more of these pitchers will no doubt falter or get hurt, and the services of Sowers and/or Laffey will be called upon this season. The Tribe should be feeling pretty good about starting pitching.

Coco Crisp would like to be traded? Bring him back now!!! He is a major upgrade in left field over the platoon of Jason Michaels and David Dellucci. If not, Kenny Lofton is out there! Come on Mark Shapiro, spare any more of this failed outfieldplatoon experiment, for criminy's sake.

Browns

The Browns done real good when they signed RB Jamal Lewis to a three year deal. Hats off to both sides. The Browns didn't break the bank and Lewis realized how nice it is to play behind a terrific offensive line. He should be good for another 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns or so.

Lewis is a punishing runner who will come to camp in great shape. If he gets hurt, the Browns have capable backs Jerome Harrison and Jason Wright ready to step in.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

McBone Presents: The First Annual McBone Awards.

On the eve of the Academy Awards, McBone is proud to present the first annual McBone Awards. No red carpet. No gowns. No bad jokes. No sickening aftertaste of pomp and excess. No interest from the general public whatsoever. The McBone awards are based solely on the opinion of a panel of judges (me).

And in a truly banner year for film, the McBoners go to:

No Country for Old Men--Best film. Barely beats out There Will be Blood. And I mean just barely. This film is a poem.

Daniel Day-Louis--Best actor, in There Will be Blood. It kills me not to give this award to Josh Brolin for his flawless portrayal of Llewellyn Moss in NCFOM, but DD-Louis is transcendent and terrifying as Daniel Plainview.

Ellen Page--Best actress, in Juno. It feels odd to give this award to the star of a film I was lukewarm about. That's just how good Page was in this role.

Javier Bardem--Best supporting actor, in No Country for Old Men. Bardem's Anton Chigurh is one of the ten greatest villains ever to menace the screen. What else needs be said? "Call it." I should note that Philip Seymour Hoffman is the hard luck loser for his superb work in Charlie Wilson's War.

Vanessa Redgrave--Best supporting actress, in Atonement. I wanted to give this to Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton, but Redgrave defines what a great supporting actor should do--make the most of a minimal part. Her five minutes at the film's end are mesmerizing.

The Coen Brothers--Best director, No Country for Old Men. These guys have made many unforgettable films, and NCFOM ranks near the top of them. Flawless in nearly every way.

Don't agree with me? Maybe The Alex Awards will be more to your taste:

Best film: Atonement

Best actor: James McAvoy in Atonement

Best actress: Keira Knightley in Atonement

Best supporting actor: Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton

Best supporting actress: Vanessa Redgrave in Atonement

Best director: Joe Wright for Atonement

A NOTE FROM ALEX: I apologize for the ridiculous one sidedness of my selections, but in a film year like no other I've ever witnessed, where going to the movies felt miraculous over and over again, Atonement was the one that cut the deepest into me. I have yet to get away from its tragic, beautiful spell and I hope not to do so for a few weeks yet. It is not going to win any of the big awards tonight, but it gets all of mine! Do watch it!


nwb

Friday, February 22, 2008

God as We Understand Him

Once, many moons ago, when we were but wee lads and classmates at King Elementary School, Josh Gippin's mom took us to see Police Academy 4 at the drive-in theater. I suppose that night must have made quite an impression on Josh, who is now a filmmaker in his own right. Check out the trailer for his latest documentary, God as We Understand Him, a study of Alcoholics Anonymous--the worldwide twelve-step program started right here in our hometown of Akron. Watch closely; I think you'll see the subtle influence of P.A. 4 in this short piece:



While you're at it, click on JoshuaTreeVideo.com to learn more about Josh and his endeavors in documentary film.

Also, Josh's wife and creative collaborator, Shane Wynn (yet another former classmate), is a talented photographer. Please take a moment to peruse her work at Shane Wynn Studio.

Thanks!

nwb

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, McBone!

One year and 188 posts later, McBone would like to thank all of our faithful readers who keep this venture going. Believe me it helps to know we're not just typing messages into cyberspace.

McBone. Anti-Bush, pro Cleveland.

McBoners of the world, unite!

Down with mayonnaise!

nwb

Cavs Make a Deal!

Boy was I wrong. Not just wrong, but utterly and phenomenally wrong. The Cavs not only made a deal before the trade deadline, but they dealt six of their players in so doing. In fact, what Danny Ferry achieved is nothing short of the proverbial blockbuster.

So, what exactly did he achieve? Three teams, including the Bull and the Sonics were involved. Here's the rundown as concerns the Cavaliers:

Cavs deal: G Larry Hughes, G Ira Newble, G Shannon Brown, F Drew Gooden, F Cedric Simmons and F Donyell Marshall.

Cavs recieve: C Ben Wallace, G Delonte West, F Joe Smith and F Wally Szczerbiak.

While I can't pretend that I'm ecstatic about this trade, it does qualify as, um, interesting. The centerpiece, of course is Ben Wallace, erstwhile defensive enforcer and master rebounder. Big Ben is a long way removed from his days of low post domination in Detroit. He's 33 and appears, to my eye anyway, to be running out of gas. Never a shooter by any stretch of anyone's imagination, his shooting percentage has hit rock bottom this year at a very disturbing 37%. That's disturbing considering that Wallace scores predominantly on dunks. Wallace never seemed to hit it off in Chicago from day one. He clashed with coach Scott Skiles over, of all things, a headband. While he helped the Bulls into the second round of last season's playoffs, his production never matched what he achieved in Detroit. And yet, and yet...if Wallace found the b-ball culture in Chicago not to his liking, perhaps he'll like Cleveland better. Perhaps he'll be motivated playing next to a superstar who is hellbent on getting a ring.

Wallace bring obvious toughness and playoff experience, and the benefit of knowing the Detroit Pistons roster, barely changed since his time there, up and down. That will help come playoff time. He will bring a defensive presence where Drew Gooden too often fell asleep. And, while he hasn't Gooden's soft touch around the hoop, nor his effective baby hook, nor his steady free throw shooting, he is by far the superior shot blocker, man-on-man and help defender. He will certainly match Gooden's offensive rebounding, a trademark of the team as a whole.

And let's not forget that he has a ring.

The big questions marks, though, are really, really big. How does Wallace, a center, fit in with center Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Can Wallace and Anderson Varejao play on floor together, or will their respective offensive deficiencies make such a tandem impossible? Does Wallace have enough left in his tank to push the Cavs deep into the next few postseasons? Does his bulky contract prohibit the Cavs from improving further in the short term?

I really dunno.

Then there's Wally Szczerbiak (takes me ten minutes to type that name), coming in from Seattle. This is a nice pickup. He's got a fat contract, but his shooting is lights out, which is always nice when you're running with LeBron James. He gives the Cavs explosive offense on a bench that already features Daniel Gibson and Damon Jones.

Delonte West joins his Sonics teammate Szczerbiak. I've never been a fan of Delonte, but I suppose I have to be now. He can't shoot, except for an occasional three, and he's not a great passer, but the Cavs need someone who can reliable handle the point whose name is not Eric Snow. Maybe West will finally find a niche in the NBA. He will defend, and that is what has been sorely lacking this season for the Cavs.

Joe Smith is a solid veteran forward, who, like Wallace, will not commit Gooden-like boners on defense. He's a dependable rebounder and mid-range jumpshooter who is a significant upgrade over Donyell Marshall. And if he doesn't work out, his contract is up this year anyway. Let's hope the presence of Wallace and Smith means we won't see any more of Dwayne Jones, at least not when Varejao returns.

Although Larry Hughes was playing much better of late, Danny Ferry pulled off a big coup in shedding his obscene contract. Hughes has been hurt again and again in his 2+ seasons here, and it's safe to assume he will be hurt again soon. He never fulfilled his promise in a Cavs uniform and too often was a malcontent in Mike Brown's system. He played hard and helped the team win a lot of games, but ultimately, the experiment is mercifully over.

Drew Gooden is perhaps the bigger loss. His low post scoring cannot be accounted for by Ben Wallace. Still, Gooden was clearly not the best 4 on the team. He was the starter, but Anderson Varejao finishes games for a reason.

It seems like Ira Newble had been on the Cavs since sometime in the early eighties. He was constantly injured. While filling in admirably at guard and forward this season, he will not be missed.

Nor will Donyell Marshall, whose shooting was never all it was cracked up to be when he signed a four year contract in 2005. He did lead all bench players in rebounding in 2005-06, but he's a few cheeseburgers and shakes removed from those days.

Shannon Brown, if you ever want to have a career in this league, learn to pass more and dribble less. Good luck.

Cedric Simmons? Who knows what he can do in this league. As of now, he's not much of a player.

Ultimately, it seems that the Cavs have bolstered their frontline and outside shooting. They shouldn't miss the players they dealt too much, but really, everything is riding on Ben Wallace and his 33 year old body. Overall, I don't feel comfortable rewarding Danny Ferry with a McBone Seal of Approval. Not yet anyway.

Wait and see.

nwb

Monday, February 18, 2008

Nate's Monday Sports Extravaganza!

Sorry, McBoners. I know I haven't been faithful to my weekly sports column. What can I say? I will try to remedy that failing in the future.

Cavaliers

The Cavs hit the all-star break with a very respectable 29-22 record. Not phenomenal for the reigning eastern conference champions, but acceptable considering that the following key personnel have missed significant time due to injury or otherwise: LeBron James, Anderson Varejao, Sasha Pavlovic, Drew Gooden, Daniel Gibson. That's five rotation players out of eight. Consider that when James does not play, the Cavs are 0-6. When their starting five are all in the lineup? Try 11-1.

What does it all mean? a) Mike Brown has done a great job plugging holes. b) LeBron has kept his preseason promise to not let his team play bad, in spite of player absences. c) When the Cavs are healthy, they can roll with anyone. d) When they aren't healthy, they can still pretty much roll with anyone. Even with patchwork rotations featuring the likes of Ira Newble, Dwayne Jones and Eric Snow the Cavaliers have peeled off impressive road wins over Dallas, San Antonio, Orlando and Portland. They have beaten the Celtics twice.

Don't expect the Cavs to make a blockbuster deal before the trade deadline. The Cavs have little to bargain with, and will not move the two guys that teams want: Daniel Gibson and Anderson Varejao. Also the Cavs don't make big trades, and haven't since shipping Terrell Brandon for Shawn Kemp. That was in 1997. No, the Andre Miller for Darius Miles deal doesn't count. Why? Because we ended up with Darius Miles. Of course Darius Miles' inept play led directly to the right to draft LeBron James, so maybe I'm dead wrong. I take it back! Andre Miller for Darius Miles was the single greatest trade in franchise history.

Do the Cavs need to pull off a coup of a trade? Not if Larry Hughes keeps up what he's done in the past five games, which is average 21-5-2, including one 40 point explosion against Orlando. This is the kind of production the Cavs paid a shitload of money for, and if it keeps up, and the team gets and stays healthy, expect another deep run in the postseason. I hold to my preseason prediction that the Cavs will reach the finals again, and I do so without reservation.

I hate the all-star game. Every time I attempt to watch it, I can feel precious minutes disappearing from my life. Double that for the slam dunk contest. Depressing. Dunks are impressive in games, when people are trying to stop you from dunking. Humbug!

That said, congrats to LeBron James for his second all-star game MVP award, and to Daniel Gibson, who took home the honor in that game against rookies.

Indians

The Indians and ace pitcher C.C. Sabathia have agreed to put off contract talks until after the season. This is code for C.C. Sabathia will soon be playing for another team. I love C.C. and all, but the Tribe should do with him what the Tribe does so well: trade him for a gang of prospects. No way does this team pay 20 million a year in a long term deal. Nor should they.

Why any team would invest as much in a pitcher as, say, the Giants have in Barry Zito, or the Mets have in Johan Santana, is beyond my comprehension.

Now, I suppose Mark Shapiro and co. will hold on as long as possible with C.C. If the Tribe is in contention, they will ride it out for the remainder of the year. If not, C.C. will be gone. And someone will be selling prospects for a pitcher of C.C.'s caliber, boatloads of them.

HGH

Nice to hear Andy Pettitte's contrite attitude about his use of HGH. Are you listening Rocket?

Browns

Kellen Winslow wants to restructure his contract? Maybe he should fall to his knees and thank the fates that he's still alive after his boneheaded motorcycle accident three years ago. Then he should thank the Browns for putting up with his career and, indeed, life threatening antics. Winslow had a hell of a year. He should shut up and get ready for the next one.

This is tardy, but I can't resist. Former Browns head coach Bill Belichick and his Patriots failed in their pursuit of a perfect season. Excellent. Of course Belichick, the man who trashed our city's most beloved team and unceremoniously ran off perhaps the most popular player in franchise history, will forever have the last laugh. He, after all, has three rings. Still, there is a certain satisfaction...

nwb

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ode on the Anchovy

Oh, anchovy,
Hairy fish...
Slightly salty,
So delish.

Eat them chopped,
Eat them whole,
One by one,
Or by the bowl.

On your pizza,
Salad too,
Caesar, Greek,
To name a few.

So buy a tin,
Break the seal,
Peel the lid,
And have a meal.

nwb

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tartar Sauce: An Urgent Message from McBone

Hey everyone, it's the time of year when many of us, according to our religion, are required to make a sacrifice. Lent is upon us, and very often we observe this 40 day period of self-denial by giving up meat. Not coincidentally, the radio and TV airways have been flooded with McDonald's and Wendy's commercials, with both mega chains touting their fried fish sandwiches.

McDonald's, for instance, is offering this deal of deals: two filet o' fish sandwiches for three dollars. Sound tempting? Well, friends, before you do anything rash, take a closer look at what's actually between those two buns.

They start with a crispy (soggy), golden brown filet (pressed square) of fried fish (fishlike food product). Then comes a slice of melted American cheese (again, cheeselike, but I'm splitting hairs). Then, on top of this harmony of imitation flavors, is a sauce. This sauce is off-white in color, but more than just mayonnaise. It's chunky, but not quite thousand island. Think you're safe? Think again.

It's tartar sauce.

That's right. This isn't about McDonald's trying to shove toxic food down our throats in an endless 40 day wave of commercialism. Tartar sauce may seem harmless enough, but the Anti Mayonnaise Alliance wants everyone out there to know that the concoction known in Europe as sauce tartare is a clear and present danger.

Just take a look at a typical tartar sauce recipe:

Copious mayonnaise
Pickle relish

Combine ingredients and stir.

Often, futile attempts are made to disguise the sauce's base ingredient. Chopped egg. Capers. Onion. Vinegar. Even that king of condiments, mustard, is shamelessly blended in. The result, however, never varies.

Now, most everyone loves fried foods. Be it chicken, potatoes, onions or cheese, almost everything tastes great after being submerged in 350 degree oil.

Fish is no exception.

And rarely is a fried food eaten without some sidekick of a condiment. Chicken goes great with hot sauce. French fries and ketchup are natural allies. Mozzarella sticks and marinara. Sauerkraut balls and honey mustard. But somehow, somewhere along the way, something went terribly wrong with fried fish.

Poor, poor fish. Why do we smother our finned friends from the sea in this degenerate, mayonnaise-based, semi-chunky, greenish-yellow abomination? What kind of fate is it for an innocent fish, to be caught in a net among thousands, gutted, scaled, boned, filleted, battered, deep fat-fried and, at last, ignominiously doused in a thick, whitish coating of shame?

McBone and the AMA endorse the consumption of fish, be it broiled, baked or fried, but we are compelled to add its usual bedfellow to the newly compiled McBone list of boycotted substances:

Mayonnaise
Thousand island dressing
Tartar sauce

The preceding public service announcement was paid for in part by the NOML, the NIML, a grant from the McArthur Foundation, and readers like you.

nwb

Happy Lent!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Saturday, February 9, 2008

McBone Recipes: Lasagna

I'm not the most complex person in the world. If asked to describe myself I would say: it's easy; just remember these five things:

1) I'm from Northeast Ohio.

2) I like to write.

3) I'm married to a hot Venezuelan babe.

4) I recently won the 2008 Australian Open tennis championship.

5) I make a killer lasagna.

That last detail is important. You'll meet a lot of people who claim they make a killer lasagna, but half the time they're full of crap. Often it's underseasoned, bland, or, worse, loaded with a bunch of garbage that has no place in a lasagna (a red flag should go up whenever you hear someone boast that they've made a vegetarian lasagna. That usually means they jammed a lot of carrots and broccoli and other shit in there. Carrots! Good god in heaven). I'm not trying to be arrogant here, people, but my lasagna really is good. Don't believe me? I understand your skepticism. You've been duped before. We all have. But why not give mine a try?

For the sauce:

Just forget using a jarred sauce right now. This sauce is outta sight. It takes time, but what's the rush? You'll need:

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
1 large can of tomato puree
1 small can of tomato paste
1 lb. ground beef
1 white onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, diced
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion is soft. Add ground beef and cook through. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Do not burn! Add water if it gets too thick. Adjust seasonings to taste, esp. salt, pepper and sugar, which cuts the acidity of the tomatoes.

For the lasagna:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 box of lasagna noodles (don't use those infernal no-boil noodles, people. Good food must be made with love. Love!)
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (essential!!!)
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (grate your own for best results)
1 1/2 lbs. grated mozzarella cheese (again, grate your own. It will be way better if you don't use bland, pre-grated pseudo-cheese from hell.)
salt to taste

Boil lasagna noodles in well-salted water. Do not boil until fully cooked! About halfway is enough. They will cook through while baking. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water for safe handling.

In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, nutmeg and a dash of salt.

Butter a lasagna pan and spread a layer of sauce on the bottom. Follow with a layer of noodles, then about 1/3 of your ricotta mixture. Add 1/3 of your mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Continue adding layers in this order, until your ingredients are used up. If you don't end with a layer of cheese on the top, I don't know what to tell you. Kill yourself.

Cover with foil and put in oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Serve with a tossed salad, crusty bread and, of course, a nice red wine.

This recipe is guaranteed to score you a hot Venezuelan babe.

If you have any questions or concerns, please post them. Made a McBone lasagna? Let us know how it turned out.

nwb

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My Shame

My friends and fellow McBoners,

I have offended, and I seek forgiveness.

Imagine Super Bowl Sunday, if you will. Like so many people, we had a party. Envision the people coming and going, the conversation, the laughter. The drinks...maybe I had one too many.

There were hors d'oeuvres as well. Several of them, some prepared at home, some brought by guests--people I thought were friends.

People I trusted.

But I cannot in good conscience blame others. It was a party. I was drinking, feeling good. So maybe I let my guard down. Does that make me a criminal? A psychopath? Some sort of depraved lunatic with suicidal tendencies? We all make mistakes, don't we? It could happen to anyone at any time.

No. I'm making excuses when I promised myself I would not. What happened was my fault and mine alone.

Nate, have you tried the crab dip? asked a guest (let's call her "Carol V.") out of the blue, aware, no doubt, that I am a cook and have a keen interest in food. "I got the recipe from epicurious.com. Do you know it?"

Epicurious? Sure. They've got some good stuff.

Well, I should have run to my computer right then. The recipe was in cyberspace. Two minutes was all it would have taken. Her manner, though--it was so innocent, so without the malice that must have been lurking beneath that placid and guileless smile.

Ever striving toward politeness and temporarily forgetting my own rule to always be suspicious of any "dip," I popped up from the sofa, seized a pita chip, scooped a tiny glob of dip and sealed my fate.

I ate it.

I wave of nausea rushed over me at once. My throat constricted. I began to sweat profusely, but I dismissed these symptoms as a reaction to the Mitt Romney ad that was running on TV.

It was not until an hour later that my wife, Alex, called to me. By then I was desperately ill, beset by some terrible malady. A fever. No, worse. Avian flu. Rabies.

Baby, did you try the crab dip? she asked with a glint of mischief in her eye. Next to her, barely able to contain her sinister delight, sat Carol V.

Yeah.

Did you like it?

Yeah, I lied. It was good.

Do you know what it has in it?

Bolt upright I sat. Panic gripped me, and I knew beyond any doubt of what, exactly, was in it. Crab dip?!? How could this have happened? What had I done? Crab dip! Nate, you fool! What is always in crab dip??

Mayonnaise!

Both Alex and Carol V. shrieked with delight while I howled in dismay. What to do? Through the alcohol I could feel it, coursing ever so slowly through my veins, infecting every inch of me. I fled to the bathroom and stuck two fingers down my throat--to no avail. The alcohol must somehow have suppressed my gag reflex. All I could do was climb into the shower and stand under scalding water, trying to cleanse myself, knowing that the toxins had already begun to do certain and irreparable damage. How many years of my life were forfeited in that one moment of unawareness?

That night I went to bed early. How I wept.

After four days I'm still paying for my lack of vigilance. Night after night I awake in horror--dreams, dreams that yellowish-white worms are eating me from the inside, and others too ghastly to speak of.

And now, gentle McBoners, I offer you my apology. I know that as a co-founder of the Anti-Mayonnaise Alliance, it is my sworn duty to be aware of all dips, salads and sauces, and of any places the white menace may be hiding. I failed in that charge. I vow not to again.

I am sorry. The healing process begins with those words, which I hope in my heart of hearts you will embrace. I offended, but I am no mayonnaise offender.

Forgive me, and let my tragedy be a warning to you all.

nwb.

Pictured above: Carol V's offending dip.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Steve Turns 60

McBone and all subsidiary groups wish a very happy 60th birthday to prominent Akron attorney and 3 time NOML all-star, Stephen Foliglio. Steve celebrated the big six-oh with family and friends at Papa Joe's restaurant, followed by drinks and cake at home.

Special thanks to Genie for organizing the b-day bash.

To those of you McBoners who are unacquainted with the moustachioed barrister, here is a handy guide to tell you all you need to know:

Favorite color: lilac

Favorite cocktail: cosmopolitan (extra pink)

Favorite musician: Celine Dion

Favorite food: creamed corn

Favorite movie: Enchanted

Favorite sport: synchronized swimming

Favorite accessory: gentleman's purse

Hobbies: Combing his moustache. Having knee surgury. Counting his liver spots. Trying to remember things.

Hero: Spiro Agnew

Most bizarre physiological trait: grotesquely oversized calf muscles.

nwb

Sunday, February 3, 2008

West Lafayette Bound...



On Thursday my brilliant and beautiful wife, Alexandra, was accepted into Purdue University's PhD program in rhetoric and composition. Even better, Alex was awarded a doctoral fellowship and therefore will enjoy a full ride with pay for the duration of her matriculation.
These well-deserved honors are the result of months of tireless labor: slaving over GRE vocabulary, writing essays and filling out form after interminable form. She managed all this while teaching a full load at the University of Akron. Never once did she lose hold of her sanity.
This news came on the heels of an acceptance letter from the academic journal Open Words, which plans (pending changes) to publish her article in their upcoming issue.

McBone and all its subsidiary groups are unanimous in congratulating the newest Purdue Boilermaker!
nwb