Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sprawling Wallscapes

This was the view from my desk in my old office:

Old office

Spectacular, right?  I know!  I was loathe to say goodbye to this slice of enchantment, until I got an eyeful of the view from my desk in the new office:

New office

As if I wasn't stimulated enough!  It's gonna be hard to get any work done facing this ocular smorgasbord eight hours a day.

nwb

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The McBone Birdwatching Journal; Green Heron

This is a low quality, super high def video of a green heron jettisoning its payload and commencing a catlike hunt for aquatic delicacies.



Note the stealthy approach, the cool poise, the utter stillness before the kill.  Not sure what scared the heron off in the end.  Some predatory threat?  Or was it the pack of brats squealing at their negligent, texting parents?

nwb

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thomeh

The Indians are not going to catch the Tigers.  They showed that last week by entering a critical three-game set with their division rivals and getting very neatly swept.  One week later and 6 games back in the standings, a hero of yore was summoned to save the day.


Part of me, the sentimental guy still clinging to notions of loyalty and pride, wants to like this.  Thome's Hall of Fame statue will surely wear an Indians cap.  He owns many club records, most importantly the all-time mark for home runs.  Barring a roid scandal, his place is more or less cemented in the annals of Indian lore.  After all, why not a homecoming for an icon in his twilight?

But something here stinks, because I can't forget a dude turning down the equivalent of Eritrea's GDP to make a few more bucks in Philly.  

Maybe I should just turn off my cynical side and enjoy the tidiness of a reconciliation, but like I said, there's no catching Detroit.  Instead of a pennant race, I see a reputation getting polished and a few more seats filled with asses.

How's it working so far?  The 'Welcome T/home' signs were waving tonight.  Between the DH and dollar dogs, the park was sold out.

Well played, sirs.

nwb

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Season Six!

As a slave to ritual, I tend to spend my summers in the grip of a prolonged malaise.  While others are running and playing and finding ways to soak up vitamin D, I shutter myself in with a steady diet of Donettes, strawberry milk and internet Scrabble.  With the pallor and gait of the walking dead, I shuffle back and forth between computer and fridge.  Weight is added.  Kidneys deteriorate.  My sometimes-pregnant wife rebuffs any amorous advance in unqualified disgust.

Whence come these deep depressions?  The source of my funk is easy to explain.

A typical day at Casa McGraw begins with me brewing fresh coffee and bolting straight to my MacBook.  Most any time of the year I am at this glorious moment treated to a house flooded by the new rising sun and the latest few panels of our official comic strip, Welcome to Falling Rock National Park.  Packed with wholesome goodness, four anthropomorphic animals and one fetching park ranger, Falling Rock, not unlike chocolate cereal, has everything a body needs.

But in the forsaken months of summer, Falling Rock goes on hiatus.  I, slumming for humor elsewhere, anywhere, plunge into melancholia.  I'm sure my coworkers are aware that something is off during that forlorn stretch between May and August, when a typical morning exchange goes something like this:

Coworker: G'morning!

Me: Fuck your mother.

This summer was no different, except that, at one point, my paucity of morning humor was coupled with a solid month of crippling heat.  Just imagine the renewal I felt when Falling Rock opened its sixth season last week.

Exhibit #356 - Kid Shay wants a piece of Lincoln
Boy did it feel good to dust myself off.  By Wednesday, I was feeling lean and mean--quite like my old self.

And the comics?  Artist and partner blogger Kid Shay continues to innovate, as those of you familiar with the strip are sure to notice.  Never one to sit on his laurels, the Kid is pushing his skills to the very brink by using a brush as his new inking tool.  The early returns are in, and let me tell you, the fictional southwest has never looked better.  Neither has my comic crush, Ranger Dee.

And for you McBoners who are late to the party, if you haven't yet made a visit to the desert park, now's the time for your first ramble!  A warning to you, though: this is the stuff of addiction.  Beware the long, lonely summer when Kid Shay packs up his pens, gasses up and hits the road.

nwb

Monday, August 22, 2011

Show Us Your Tats

How dedicated are we to Cleveland?  Just ask my brother, Stabbone, who etched the love right into his skin:



Tattoo by Brett.

nwb

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Salad Days and Spronkberry Pie

Strip steak, baked potato, tossed salad, corn on the cob.  That's a pretty well rounded, all-American (aside from the stridently socialist beverages) meal to christen our brand new (used) dining room table.  This may seem a tiny milestone hardly worth a blog post all its own, but the event marks, by my reckoning, the first time in eleven years of marriage that my sometimes-pregnant wife and I have sat down to a civilized meal in our own home.

Gone are the milk crates, plywood, cinder blocks, Scrabble board--all the makeshift stuff upon which we have ever dined.  In their place are a matching table and chairs.  For good measure, we busted out place mats, napkins and even the cutlery that is not plastic sporks and used chopsticks of Chinese takeout.

After a few photos, we tucked in.  We both found that eating on a clean, flat surface really enhanced the meal.


Here's a piece of juicy rare perfection.  And the steak looks pretty good too!


As a major bonus, I came home today to find that Spronk, of leftovers fame, had deposited a few slices of homemade blueberry pie on my desk.  Here's a picture of me about to devour my all-time favorite dessert with coffee.  See that frenzied gleam in my eye?  That's 100% not fake.

 
I was nervous though.  All blueberry pies share the misfortune of having to stand next to my grandmother's, rest her soul.  She made the best pie of all time, almost always eaten at her dining room table with matching chairs.

How did the pie rate?  4.0 McBones.  The dessert was unimpeachable, but I did not see white light while eating it.  Keep trying, Spronk!  Keep trying.

nwb

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Truckin' in Indiana, Vol. 3

En route home from work, this Dodge pickup pulled in front of me with an assertive, borderline hostile maneuver.  Enraged at first, my anger quickly turned to delight as I scrambled for my phone.

Can you tell why I was so eager to snap a photo?



See them?  No?  Well then take a closer look at the big, silver set of testicles dangling from the tailgate!


These rear-bumper nuts are the last word in good taste and sophistication, hearkening to other classy trucks I've seen.  I wish now I had pulled up next to him; I know what this guy was packing in his glove box!

nwb


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The McBone Birdwatching Journal; European Starlings

European starlings are the bird kingdom's equivalent of the Hell's Angels.  Traveling in large, noisy, packs of pure misanthropy, starlings invade a territory, bully the locals, glean every last morsel to be found and then swarm to another unsuspecting locale.  True to their antisocial leanings, starlings do not warble, chirp or sing; rather they groan and growl like drunken louts looking to bust up a bar.  They are graceful neither walking nor in flight, and with plumage like a parking lot oil slick, they ain't much to look at, either.  Even their speckling looks like the work of a fifth-rate jailhouse tattooist.

Here is a unusually small flock of three doing what starlings do best: plunder, waddle and pillage.  Check them out in spectacular HD video:



OK, so maybe we've caught them in a postgluttonous, hangover state of relative calm, but you can be sure that these ruffians are merely resting up for another day of reprobate binging.

Starlings!  God may have made them, but only the devil could love them.

nwb

Monday, August 8, 2011

Shoveling the Poo

So, let me get this straight: a small pack of S&P dudes sitting around a table in a Manhattan office decides that the US government runs the risk of being insolvent at some indeterminate date in the future and thus lowers its credit rating for the first time in history, a move that figured prominently today in the Dow's 600-point plunge?

Is this for real?  Can so few really have so much influence?

Apparently so.  I recently heard an NPR piece, The Lie that Saved Brazil, about a small group of men charged with turning around Brazil's reeling economy.  They managed the feat by basically tricking the populace into believing the nation's currency was worth a damn.

Couldn't these S&P dudes have been similarly insightful?  Couldn't they have gotten together with the other dudes at Moody's and Fitch's and said, hey, instead of lowering the rating, why don't we talk about how confident we are in the government's ability to pay its bills?  In fact, why we don't we pretend that we're SO confident that we've devised a whole NEW rating: AAAA platinum plus...with sprinkles???

Mightn't that have given markets a shot in the arm?  Couldn't the Dow instead have enjoyed a day of robust trading and growth that sent ripples through the entire economy?  Couldn't it at least have slowed the bleeding?  Who gives a fuck if it's true or not?  I mean, aren't these dudes full of shit anyways?  Aren't these the dudes who were so careful and precise in their analysis of the government's debt that they bungled their numbers by two trillion?  And aren't these the dudes who have been so prophetic in their speculating that they considered no less than Enron to be a sound credit risk, right up to its infamous bloodbath of an end?

Why, dudes, why?  Why did you have to choose pessimistic?  If had you have no credibility to begin with, why not bullshit us in a way that might help us out of this mess?

nwb

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Father's Moustache; A McBone Memorial Salute

This is my father's moustache.  Note the confidence it imparts on its wearer, the way it frames his easy smile.  Calm, prepossessing, here is a man completely in tune with himself and his surroundings.  The picture was most certainly taken in the moments between a long, cool drag on a Pall Mall and a satisfying sip from an 18-year-old Scotch.  The future is bright for the young attorney, and he knows it.


My father took a Gillette to his no. 1 asset sometime in early 1977.  Though he and a generation of men could not have felt it at the time, there was in that instant a change in the wind.  The decline and fall of the moustache was begun.  The 1980s saw tens of millions do the unthinkable.  By the time 1990 rolled around, moustaches were the domain of a persecuted few.

Let this serve as a eulogy, then, to forgotten follicles and lost dreams, and to the devil-may-care days of true American dash.

nwb

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The McBone Birdwatching Journal; Ruby-throated Hummingbird

This afternoon a female ruby-throated hummingbird zipped in to carbo-load at our feeder.  What luck that the cameras were rolling!  While she supped on the sweet, sugary nectar, we were capturing the whole thing in beautiful HD:



Clearly pleased with the concoction, the emerald lass flicks her tongue after every draught.  If you blinked, you may have missed her take a shit before splitting. 

Thank you, technology, for showing us nature at her most elegant.

nwb

Thursday, August 4, 2011

McBone: A Field Guide

For the uninitiated, McBone can be a strange, vast, almost dreamlike realm, a place where the principles of time and space have no meaning and nothing is quite what it seems.  Of those McBoning for the first time, even the savviest of blog aficionados have described a feeling akin to 'floating on water' or 'tripping on acid' or 'spending too much time on the internet.'  Yes, it's easy to get lost in the McBoniverse.  That's why we've devised a convenient field guide* to help the novice McBoner navigate our subtle ebbs and flows.

CAST AND CREW 

McGraw
Co-Captain, frequent contributor, moustache/tennis champion.  Not a baby blogger.

Stabbone
Co-Captain, yearly contributor, moustache runner-up.  Career oriented. 

Sometimes-Popular Wife
Bride of McGraw.  Editor, photographer.  McGraw's blogging conscience.  Sometimes pregnant. 

McBonerito
McGraw progeny, rare subject of blog. 

Kid Shay
Partner blogger, official cartoonist.  Bearded.  Married to Isis. 

Slider K Shaftacular
Partner blogger, MD.  Wears fleece.  Believes in global warming. 

M. Patrick Foliglio
Poet Laureate/ recluse.  Godfather of McBonerito.  Progenitor of poems (19) and children (30). 

Chan Marshall
Involuntary spokeswoman. 

Stephen Foliglio
Judge, jury, executioner. 

The Sheffield Lake Girl
Babe.  Long legs, short shorts, smoker, drinker, mother. 

Mr. Sniffles
Pet. Vicious, evil, paranoid, delusional.  Leans republican. 

Dino
Nemesis blogger.  Greek.  Has ponytail.  Plays soccer. 

Cressica
Big game hunters, drinking partners, bad influences.  Not the godparents. 

Spronk
Geek. Baker. Babysitter. Can be corrupted.  Her leftover lunch sits in our fridge.

McBoners 
Raison d'être 

RESIDENCIES

Brandon - Oudist

Than - Aquarist

Darin - Musicologist

Nikki - Chef 

FORCES OF GOOD 

Cleveland
Promised Land. 

Akron
Home base. 

Indians, Cavaliers, Browns, Monsters
1964 and counting. 

Gin
Elixir of life, source of power. 

Birds
Meditative, melodic.  Bonk into windows. 

Bob Dylan
Patron saint. 

Pee-wee Herman
Court jester. 

FORCES OF EVIL 

Mayonnaise
Wrecker of sandwiches, salads, humanity. 

Squirrels
Remorseless problem solvers.  Eat food meant for birds. 

George Steinbrenner
Sauron 

Yankee Stadium
Mordor 

New York Yankees
Orcs 

GOP
All that's wrong with __________________. 

McDonald's
Death camp for food.  Cheap, unhealthy, atrocious. 

PARTS OF SPEECH

Noun: contraction of Stabbone and McGraw, name of blog - Welcome to McBone!

Verb: the act of reading McBone - Yesterday I McBoned for 5 hours straight.

Noun: one who McBones - I'm a McBoner.

Adjective: a McBone-like state of being - That sandwich with no mayo was McBoneriffic!

Gerund: McBoning as noun - Let the McBoning begin!

We hope this handy roadmap will prove useful as you steep yourself in the edifying tides of McBone.  Use it wisely and remember, in South Dakota it is illegal to McBone and drive.

nwb



*I ripped this idea off one of my partner bloggers, but that's love and theft for you.