Saturday, April 28, 2007

Feliz Cumpleaños, Gorda!

Though McBone has nothing but contept for corniness, I hope McBone Nation will forgive me for indulging just once is sentimentality.


You have shared eight of your thirty years with me, and I want to thank you for them. Thank you for finding a common species of Ohio boy and making his life an adventure. You have taken me from New York to Boulder, from Caracas to Copenhagen, taught me languages, shown me great art and opened my eyes to the fact that there is a world that exists beyond the confines of a baseball diamond. You have been a muse to every page of a 600 page novel (except the bad pages: those are my fault). You have introduced me to salsa and merengue and taught me to dance (the salsa still needs work, of course). You have indulged my boyish side at every turn and endured grumpiness that I know sneaks out more than it should. You have watched 10,000 movies with me and seen about a billion paintings. You were there bringing me out of the depths after we saw 9/11 together, when I wondered if I would be happy again. You have been interesting. You have been weird. You have never once been boring. You have surpassed in beauty, intelligence and sophistication even my wildest and most self-indulgent dream of who my wife would be, and I thank you, above, for loving me. Happy, happy 30th birthday. Je t'aime para siempre.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Rob Parker, Shut the Hell Up.

So, Hank Aaron won't be there when Barry Bonds breaks the all time home run record. Columnist Rob Parker has a problem with this. I won't go into the minute details of his article here. You can read it for yourself. Suffice to say Parker called Aaron a coward and he believes that by not acknowledging Bonds' accomplishment, Aaron is tarnishing his own legacy and engaging in the same kind of negativity that he himself once faced.

There are so many ways I could react to this ludicrous bit of journalism. I want dismiss, laugh at and slap Parker all at once. Let me just rattle off a few things that come to mind when I think of Bonds and Aaron and the home run record, in no particular order.

1) Henry Aaron, when he was approaching the record, was doing so while playing in the deep south in times of great civil unrest. His career was contemporary with the civil rights movement and the backlash of the white south. He received death threats and hate mail and he played and comported himself with grace the entire time. Barry Bonds has been a pampered, A-1 prick for his entire career. He too has faced much hostility from fans and the media, much of it justified, because he has a personality that hovers somewhere between Dick Cheney and rancid pork chop. I would hardly call their respective pressures comparable.

2) Henry Aaron hit every one of his home runs the natural way. Barry Bonds has been fueled by steroids since at least the late nineties, when he began hitting homers in abnormal quantities. Also abnormal is the way the shape of his head has changed. This is not the result of lifting weights and working out. Is there anyone that even entertains even the slightest doubt that Bonds took/takes steroids? Why else does he look more like he should be grappling with Andre the Giant than trotting around the basepaths?

3) Henry Aaron represented himself, his team, his race and his country with constant dignity. Barry Bonds has done about as much to endear himself to his public as George W. Bush has to the international community: zero. Example: we once stayed in the same Cincinnatti hotel as the Pittsburgh Pirates during a playoff series. The entire team was very patient and gracious to the two young boys seeking autographs in the lobby. Every single player we asked signed, except Barry Bonds, who swept past my seven or eight-year-old brother with a brusque "no." Forgotten somewhere in that lump of a head is the fact that Bonds gets paid more than god because people like watching baseball. What an asshole.

4) The home run record was once the most coveted in baseball, and probably in all of American sports. Since professional baseball began in the 1870s, only one man has hit more home runs than Bonds. Why does no one care that this record is about to fall? Because Barry Bonds is a lying, cheating schmuck. He, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and others have, in a single decade, rendered the record books insignificant and sabotaged baseball's most magestic play.
5) Baseball is a sport where a certain amount of cheating has always been expected. Spitballs and corked bats give the game color. Steroids, otherwise known as drug abuse, do not. Just take a look at Ken Caminiti, dead from a drug-induced heart attack at age 39.

6) Are there any sportswriters left, besides Parker, who support Barry Bonds? Do we really need a Bonds apologist? My guess is that if Parker spent five minutes as the Giants beat writer, he would quickly change his tune.
7) I hope Alex Rodriguez makes short work of Bond's record. Me rooting for a Yankee, folks, tells you how much I hate Bonds.

Yes, Bonds is a great player. Yes, it takes incredible skill and talent to do what he has done. Yes, he is one of the greatest players, blah, blah, blah.

Why the hell would Henry Aaron participate in this sham? This man has earned the right to not be called a coward by hack journalists looking to make a wave.
For further reading, click the links for articles by Jamele Hill and Todd Boyd.
McBone Inc. does not recognize any records broken by Barry Bonds.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cavs Lead Two-Zip!

Not surprisingly, the Cavaliers have taken a quick two-nothing lead against the decimated Washington Wizards in a series that has none of the drama and excitement of last year's matchup of the same teams. The Wizards are playing scrappy basketball, and the Cavs are winning in spite of the 50% effort they are putting up.

This is no complaint. The Cavs are going to be thankful for these easy games once the real postseason begins: in the second round against the Nets, I predict. To get to the invitable eastern conference matchup against the Pistons, the Cavs and especially Mike Brown are going to have to realize some obvious truths:

1) Eric Snow can't play. The "reliable" Snow made a horrible turnover in the final minute of game two, allowing the Wizards to get within three points when the game had been all but locked up. His typical stat line reads something like 0-1-1 every night. His defense is way overrated, but his offense is a real Cavs killer, more potent than any opposing team's defense. Get Daniel Gibson some minutes instead, or Damon Jones even.

2) Cavs big men can play. I have said all along that Zydrunas Ilgauskas has plenty left in the tank. He is not quick (but maybe quicker than Snow), and not a great defender, but when healthy, he is this team's second most consistant scorer. He is the league's elite offensive rebouder, and the Cav's best midrange jumpshooter. He has also developed an effective, if ugly as hell, hookshoot. He's good for a block or two a night also, compensating somewhat for his lack of speed.

I dream of the day that someone figures out that Drew Gooden needs plays run for him. He is a skilled offensive player whose defense intensifies when he gets a few touches. Case in point: game two, when he absolutely dominated the second quarter of play and basically sealed the game for the Cavs. Why waste such a dynamic, athletic player?

3) McBone Inc. has long been a Sasha Pavlovic supporter. Look at this kid: he's nearly the same size as LeBron, and has explosive talent that rivals any other Cavaliers not named James. He is streaky yes, but has proved a reliable defender, a skilled shooter, a slasher who moves well without the ball, and an adept passer. This guy, in spite of prior defensive shortcomings, should have been getting big-time minutes for the past three years. Instead he has rotted on the Cavs bench until now, when he is suddenly good enough to be starting in the playoffs. Play him.

If the Cavs fail to reach the Eastern Conference Finals, Mike Brown must be tarred and feathered. Or fired.

Go Cavs!!!

The above commentary is supported in full by the NOML, the NIML, McBone Inc. and all subsidiary groups.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

McBone Makes a Revolting Discovery!

Mayonnaise. Creamy. Moist. Disgusting.

But where does the White Menace (thank you, Kid Shay, for coining this adept phrase) come from?

France, of course, and if you believe what Wikipedia has to say about the origins of world's worst condiment, you will have, like so many, been deceived. After making a startling discovery, it is my duty to discredit this spurious history.

As many of you know, my sometimes-popular wife and I live in the French city of La Roche-sur-Yon, which translates literally as: The Rock on the Yon River.

Now, the people of La Roche collectively are called the Yonnais. The French language having two genders, and the feminine gender often being declined with an "e" at the end of an adjective, a woman from La Roche is thus called a Yonnaise (see where this is going?). The world ma means "my" when it preceeds a feminine noun and hence the French word mayonnaise can be translated as "my woman from La Roche-sur-Yon."

The creator of mayonnaise was clearly smitten with a Yonnaise woman, and one can only conjecture what kind of woman would inspire such an insipid substance. Such a muse could only have been of the most hideous sort, possessed of a countanance and disposition so grotesque, so heinous and vile that the result was no great culinary masterpiece, but a plague that has for many centuries wreaked havoc on the whole of the civilized world.

I, McBone co-Captain McGraw, was horrified to discover that I live in the birthplace of the great bane. However, I will not let my revulsion overwhelm me. I will not let fear prevail. Rather, I regard this revelation as essential to my undying mission in fighting the White Menace. I have now a critical advantage. I know my enemy and whence it has come, to that place it shall return and perish.

McBone Inc

In less significant news: the field of presidential hopefuls in France has been narrowed to two after today's election. The race now stands between ultra right-wing xenophobe scumbag Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist Ségolène Royal. The over 80% turnout was France's highest since 1965, and puts American voter turnout to shame.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Krystl!

On April 17th McBone sister Kristin Bowler celebrated birthday number 38 with husband Spencer Tunick and daughters Seda Moon and Isla Sun (in utero). Though McBone does not condone Kristin's pro-mayonnaise lifestyle, we commend her for being a talented, intelligent, sophisticated and beautiful ray of constantly sparkling light.

On behalf of the entire McBone community, we wish you, Kristin Bowler, a very happy birthday. Your brothers love you so much, they could possibly throw up from it.

Pictured: Nate Bowler with Krissy, in less pregnant times.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Voyage à Cognac!

Down in the Caves at Otard

It has been a week and a half since McBone mother-in-law Antonieta arrived from Caracas, and we've been making the most of it, exploring western France, visiting coastal towns such as Nantes, Les Sables-d'Olonne, Pornic and the sublimely beautiful, medieval city of La Rochelle. We spent three exhilarating, exhausting days in Paris, two in Le Mans visiting McBone extended family members, the Roquains (my personal French tutor/English student Huu was kind enough to make a trip up from Tours just to see us), and somehow we managed to squeeze in a day at the grand chateau at Chambord. Along the way there were brief (de)tours in Angers and Tours.

There have been three experiences, however, that stand out for McBone co-Captain, Nate Bowler, and each deserves a separate post. Today's post is dedicated to Cognac.

I thought a drive to Cognac was too far for a day trip, more than two hours in our borrowed Mercedes. Luckily the cooler head of Alex prevailed, and we were off, headed south toward Cognac, land of the celebrated liquor* of the same name.

Since La Señora Antonia's arrival we have enjoyed hour after hour of driving through the French countryside, and the trip to Cognac was no exception. Fields of yellow flowers were bright on the cloudless day, and we zipped through villages, all of which seem to have some church or castle or something that beckons one to stop and spend a day. However, we were bound for the city of the sweet, sweet nectar, and were contect to watch the little towns disappear into the distance. As Cognac neared, we passed dozens of vinyards and stores attempting to lure tourists like us.

After three hours we arrived and followed signs pointing us to the old town. There we crossed the Charente River and were quickly able to find ample parking. As fate would have it, our parking lot was just across the street from Valois Castle, home to the Otard cognac distillery. The imposing gray stone of Valois was highly inviting, and just inside the castle gate we learned that a tour would begin at four o'clock. While the Hennessy distillary stood but fifty paces away, we decided that the lesser-known, less commercial Otard would be more interesting. The 4:00 schedule would give us time to take a stroll and have a picnic lunch by the river.

The City: Cognac became an notable city in the time of Francois I, when the Charente became an important trade route for salt and later wine and brandy. We passed a couple of hours wandering the city's medieval section, a maze of cobblestone streets wandering amid stone and half-timber houses.

The Chateau: Valois Castle was originally constructed in the 10th century as a defence against Norman invaders. It was subsequently fortified and expanded through the centuries, most notably by Francois I around 1517, when, among other things, a grand ballroom was added, complete with a ceiling designed by Leondardo Da Vinci.

Otard's presence in Valois gives the tourist a unique historical experience. Alternately serving as a castle, palace, prison and distillery, its walls are steeped in concomitant war, suffering, splendor, commerce and luxury.

By 1795 the castle was in a state of disrepair. Baron Otard (of Scottish ancestry), looking for a suitable locale to distill his eau-de-vie, purchased the castle due to the favorable conditions of its cellars. The Otard legacy was thus begun, and the castle's preservation and restoration owe mainly to the presence and contributions of the Otard distillery.

The Brandy: Cognac is a brandy made from white grapes grown in the Cognac region, influenced by the humid Atlantic climate. They are pressed and distilled into an eau-de-vie and to become cognac, the liquor must be aged in oak barrels made from wood from two forests within the region. The rich, dark, reddish-brown color comes from barrels themselves--charred on the inside with flame.

The Caves at Valois: Because of their proximity to the Charenes River and the thickness of their walls (among the oldest in this ancient city), the caves at Valois castle are cool and very humid year-round--ideal for aging cognac. Over time, however, certain problems have arisen, most interestingly the insects. The wooden casks used for aging the eau-de-vie is favored by termites, and the solutions to the problem are nothing short of fascinating. A more delicious wood is placed in the caves to lure the termites away from the precious barrels. Since no chemicals may be used at any point in the production of cognac, pesticides are off limits. In their place, a species of spider was introduced to the caves. Their webs cover the casks, and thousands of arachnids can be seen spinning their webs wildly, almost drunkenly, as our tour guide pointed out.

Another interesting side effect of cognac production (though not unique to Otard) are the millions of tiny, black mushrooms that typically grow in a cognac cave, due to the release of gasses during the aging process.

As we walked among the dusty barrels, I inhaled the heavy, fruity smell seeping up and pervading the castle. It didn't take long for me to realize that the scent was nearly identical to the one that once filled the basement of my grandparent's house, where my grandfather used to ferment wine.

At last, as the tour was ended, it was time for a little degustation. We were treated to a sampling of the V.S.O.P. and its fruity, flowery aroma and taste. We all agreed that the cognac was especially complex, but not harsh, and easily enjoyed straight up. After sampling two other vintages, my suegra Antonieta, in her infinite grace, bought two bottles, one for herself and one for me.

Fine food and drink are extremely important to me, without question my favorite aspect of learning a culture and a region. Our visit to Otard was a spiritual experience, illuminating, educational and even nostalgic. I thank my wife and mother-in-law for indulging this dream, one I shall not soon forget. As always, I thank you, gentle McBoners, for reading.

*McBone endorses the use of alcohol.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

I love Cleveland...And here is why

Those who know me well understand that I live my life vicariously through the Cleveland sports teams. They are my passion and will always be a central part of my existence. These same people will also know that when I set goals I achieve them no matter how much of an underdog I am. I played college basketball even though my high school coach stuck me at the end of the bench until my senior year and when everyone around me besides my family said I wasn't good enough. I have told people I would work for the Cavs at some point in my life, and although I had no favors to cash in or contacts to help persuade someone to hire me, I got it done.
I think this attitude mirrors the attitude of Cleveland; its people, its businesses, sports teams and history. Cleveland has been bruised and battered. It has been through the best of times and the very worst. Everyday is a struggle to free itself from the destructive poverty and crime created by weak economic structure. None of this stops the people from expressing their passion and love for their city.
This was never more evident then yesterday, opening day for the Cleveland Indians. As usual nothing came easy for the prideful Cleveland citizens. The elements dominated the game and the people brave enough to attend. It was cold (15 deg. with the windchill), it was windy and it was snowy as hell but the fans still flocked to local bars to celebrate another hopeful Cleveland team kicking off its season. The passion and optimism was bursting as everyone, even if for a few short hours, were joined together on a united front to watch their treasured Indians. Maybe this will be the team that finally brings a championship back to Cleveland, maybe it won't, but the pride of a historic city drinking lagers and screaming, "Let's Go Tribe", was enough to make anyone be proud to be a Clevelander.
Hope is an important thing for the people of this city, and our sports team play a huge role in that feeling.This city, like myself, will never stop fighting for what it believes in and for a chance to make EVERYONE be again proud to call Cleveland home.
Go Tribe.


Friday, April 6, 2007

Sumtimes Stabbone Can Be So Dum

Sumtimes Stabbone is so dum. It was so easy to find out the secret code to his lair. The funny thing is when Stabbone thinks he is like a trillion times smarter than me. That's crazy, beecuz he's real dum. The boys think he's dum to.


Thursday, April 5, 2007

500th Hit!

Gentle McBoners,
Nate and Jeff Bowler would like to thank you for making our 500th hit possible. We at McBone constantly strive to bring you a better blog expierience. We've added new features such as live, up-to-the-second NBA scores,'s word of the day, and a new header to spruce up our appearance. As always we welcome comments and criticisms to our blog, and we remind you to stay tuned to our ever-improving site. While you're here, take a moment to sign our guest map, log onto our sports forum, or cast a vote on our McBone Poll.
Again, McBone, the NOML and the NIML thank you for all your past and future visits. Without you, McBone wouldn't be possible.
McBone, Inc

Monday, April 2, 2007

France vs. USA Part II, the Revenge

The story of our unfit-for-dogs former apartment continues!

On Sunday night our charming, sophisticated, anti-American neighbors started up again. At one the morning or a few minutes past, a banging sound commenced, followed by shouts of “stop!” The banging did not cease, however, but only became louder. The cries of “stop!” became accordingly loud and after ten minutes it was time to once again phone La Roche-sur-Yon’s Finest.

As two police cars pulled up, our downstairs neighbor (a quiet, unassuming student) came flying out of his window, crying and pleading with the police that he was afraid. The drunken louts were knocking at his door, pounding actually, with a HAMMER.

The, police, attempting to calm things down, instructed everyone to return to their homes and go to sleep. Everything was calm, they insisted. Except it wasn’t. Our quiet, downstairs neighbor wasn’t calm, Alex wasn’t calm, and I wasn’t calm. The drunken upstairs neighbor with the hammer and an open bottle of beer wasn’t calm, and the drunken downstairs neighbor, for whatever reason, was taking out his trash.

No arrests were going to be made, the police explained, because there wasn’t proof that any hammering was going on, even though the drunken upstairs neighbor had said instrument in his hand.

Finally, when it became clear that things were not calm and were not going to be calm, and when Alex broke down crying, arrests were made. We went inside and called our landlords, the Bessons (more on these useless fuckwads in a moment), and were greeted by their answering machine.

On Monday we found a new apartment, and we spent the next two nights with goddess-uebermother-angel-friend (and Nate Bowler's personal coiffeuse), Roselyne Beltran-Lopez. In addition to sparing us staying any more nights in our godforsaken, filthy, unhealthy, dark, dingy, smelly, sticky apartment, Roselyne lent us her car to move into our lovely new home, and is lending us her car for the duration of Nate Bowler’s mother-in-law’s visit. Nate Bowler, Alex Hidalgo, the NOML the NIML and McBone salute Roselyne Beltran Lopez and thank her for getting McBone co-captain and his wife through a difficult time.

Nate and Alex would also like to extend a hearty thank you to friends Matt Bartko and Julien Girard for housing and feeding us for two days so we could get to work during the week.

Finally, on Saturday, the day of the big move arrived. In Roselyne’s tiny Mercedes we managed to pack up our belongings and, in a few short trips, we were installed into our new, clean, almost paradisiacal home. That evening we were to meet the Besson’s, our aforementioned elderly, incompetent, senile, asshole landlords. After a brief inspection (aced with flying colors) we were ready to part ways. There remained only the small matter of our deposit. We would not be getting it, since we failed to give them a month’s notice. They, we reminded them, failed to protect us from our abominable, drunken, racist neighbors. They argued that they did all they could, posting notes in the hallway and issuing warnings. After a twenty minute long dispute, we parted ways. Alex and I are certain that we will not get the money back, but 350 Euros, while meaningful to us, is a small price to pay to break any association with our gruesome, predatory, neglectful, unwashed, disrespectful and, thank god, former landlords.

Now comfortably situated in our new home, we hope our remaining three months in La Roche-sur-Yon are as uneventful and lout-free as possible.

Drunken lowlifes, whether French or American, suck big time. And oblivious nincompoops are even worse.