Friday, May 30, 2008

The Myth of "Miracle" Whip.

There I was, in our neighborhood supermarket, when I encountered this unspeakable and ghastly sight:

I was scarcely able to contain my horror. Normally, I take great pains to avoid the mayonnaise section of any grocery store. I was little prepared for this devilish tactic, perpetrated, no doubt, by tireless and diabolically clever mayonnists. Here were two crates of the white menace placed smack-dab in the middle of the dairy section of my local Acme store, practically in my back yard.

I recovered my senses and moved closer. My mayonnaise radar (maydar) was telling me that something was different. This wasn't your everyday display of Hellmann's; I was looking at jar after countless jar of an equally menacing creamy white substance.

Miracle Whip.

It was an ingenious scheme. The offending spread was positioned within arm's legth of a small child. Should one have somehow broken, a chain reaction would have been triggered, resulting in a large scale environmental catastrophe and an unthinkable human death toll. I took a quick look around, aware that my mayonnist enemies are constantly watching. The coast was clear. I pulled out my preferred device of high-tech espionage, my "camera phone," capable of snapping and storing up to 5 pictures in a matter of minutes. I captured this shot right as two heavies in trench coats turned the corner. I broke a jar at their feet and lost them in a cloud of noxious gas, but not for long. I bolted to the parking lot, finally eluding my trailers with the cloaking device recently installed in my turbocharged, Mach-11 Honda Civic, the McBonemobile.

Having narrowly escaped to McBone heaquarters, I sent the photo to our lab, where McBone analysts quickly confirmed my fears, that the white spread contained in those jars was indeed Miracle Whip.

Which of course begs the question, what exactly is Miracle Whip? A simple question, with a surprisingly simple answer. Here's a list of ingredients: WATER, SOYBEAN OIL, VINEGAR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, SUGAR, SALT, ENZYME MODIFIED EGG YOLKS, MUSTARD FLOUR, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, POTASSIUM SORBATE AS A PRESERVATIVE, PAPRIKA, SPICE, NATURAL FLAVOR, DRIED GARLIC, BETA CAROTENE (COLOR). That's a lot, eh? Look closer and you'll see some familiar ones, like oil and egg yolks! Oil and eggs blended together. In other words, mayonnaise.

Some miracle.

You are warned, McBoners, not to be fooled by the long list of ingredients. Though it contains mustard flour, Miracle Whip is not mustard, and paprika does not make it Hungarian. Miracle Whip may boast 60% less fat than mayonnaise, but the presence of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup immediately disqualifies Miracle Whip as a health food. Try as it may to offer itself as some kind of ersatz mayonnaise, the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.

I think each and every mayonnaise hater in the world has been asked this seemingly innocent question at one point or another, the one put forth to me this very evening by my cousin-in-law, Graham, while engorging a heaping plateful of potato salad: Do you eat Miracle Whip? The answer, my now-under-heavy-surveillance friend, is a very definitive no. I eat neither mayonnaise nor mayonnaise in disguise.

The agents of evil (K.R.A.F.T.) never rest, but you can sleep easy, McBoners. McBone and the AMA are on the case.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Welcome to the World, Luke Joseph Gardner!

On May 21st the newest McBoner, Luke Joseph Gardner, successfully escaped the warm, gooey confines of his mother's womb. Luke was born last Wednesday to longtime friends Nikki Widner and Dave Gardner. McBone, the NOML the NIML and the AMA are united in issuing a warm and hearty McBoneulations to Nikki and Dave and all those who comprise the respective Gardner and Widner clans.

Official baby statistics (McBone certified):

Weight: 8 lb. 2 oz.
Length: 21.5 in.
Time of birth: 9:05 AM

We fully expect Luke to enjoy a loving and mayonnaise-free upbringing.

The name Luke receives the official and highly coveted McBone Seal of Approval: McB (see left if you can't figure out why). It is understood that Luke Joseph was chosen from a final list of candidates that included: Gandalf Gardner, Anton Chigurh Gardner, LeBron James Gardner, and second place finisher, McBone Gardner.

I am informed by Dave that Luke means "bearer of light" in Hebrew, English, Italian, Spanish and Elvish.

Long, happy life to you, Luke.

We toast you tonight, light bearer, and look forward to the day we meet. May it be soon.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

McBone Recipes: Pot Roast

May in Ohio has been so cold that I've hardly been in the mood to grill outdoors at all. And what better way to combat a springtime chill than with a sumptuous pot roast? Mine is pretty basic, with one or two minor McBonifications.

You'll need:

A 3 lb. chuck roast, or some other cut of beef suitable for stewing. If you want your roast to be really moist and flavorful, don't get anything too lean*
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4 large carrots, cut in big chunks
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 onion, peeled and studded with 5 whole cloves
3 cups beef broth
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons bacon fat
2 bay leaves
all purpose flour, about half a cup
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley, chopped

Start by sprinkling meat with salt and pepper on all sides. Rub with garlic, then dredge in flour, making sure all sides are nicely coated.

Heat bacon fat in a pot on medium heat. You can substitute butter for bacon fat but it won't be quite as delicious. Brown your roast on all sides. You want the meat to have a nice, deep brown color, but please, I beg you, do not scorch it! When the meat is about halfway browned, add your celery and carrots. I like lots of nice big chunks of carrot with my pot roast, because they really soak up all the flavors. Finish browning the meat. Then add your studded onion, 2 cups of the beef broth, red wine and bay leaves. Cover and cook in a 300 degree oven for two hours or until it's so tender you can't stop slobbering all over yourself. After about 2 hours check your roast and add remaining broth and more wine, if necessary. Also, I like to taste the broth and salt as needed.

When finished, slice the meat and serve with veggies and plenty of the juice. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. My favorite way to enjoy a pot roast is with an nice crusty bread and a good bottle of red wine. This meal is easy and delicious and comes with the McBone satisfaction guarantee. Just ask Alex, who says: Exquisite. Best tasting carrots I've ever had.

As always, McBone welcomes any questions or comments concerning pot roast or any of our scrumptious recipes.

Buen provecho!


* Screw low fat.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Toxic Vomit

Thus read the headline in the Akron Beacon Journal this morning, from a wire report:


A farmer who committed suicide by drinking pesticide vomited the poison at a hospital before he died, releasing toxic fumes that sickened more than 50 people, the hospital said Thursday.

Those of you out there who know me know that I have a something of a fetish when it comes to throwing up. I'm sorry for the farmer, but this story put a real smile on my face.

Ain't life grand?

In celebration of this tragic event, I here note some of the best words or phrases synonymous with vomit or the act of vomiting:

throw up, barf, puke, upchuck, hurl, heave, heave-ho, toss your cookies, ralph, spew, regurgitate, purge, yack, blow chunks, retch.

Got any more? Feel free to list them here!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ten Reasons the Cavs Aren't Still Playing

All right, I think I've regrouped enough to finally talk about this. At least, I'm no longer projectile vomiting every time I think about Cavaliers' gut wrenching dismissal from the playoffs at the hands of the Boston Celtics. I predicted Cavs in seven. Right number of games, wrong winner.

I still think the Cavs are the superior team, so what happened? Allow me to break it down in ten points:

1) LeBron James' 2-18 shooting performance in game one. LeBron couldn't score from the perimeter or the paint. No matter what he threw up there, it wasn't going in, including two last minute layup attempts--shots he almost always makes. He finished with 12 miserable points. Twelve. If he had just a bad shooting night, the Cavs would have won. He had a horrific, career worst shooting night. The Cavs went down 76-72.

2) Paul Pierce was just as bad as LeBron (2-14), but the Celtics still shot 40% in game one. The Cavs? 30%. Really, is it SO hard to make a jumpshot on the road?

3) After an impressive first quarter, the Cavs made little effort to do anything in game two. 68 year-old Sam Cassell came in and completely changed the tone of the game with his shooting. Enough said about this debacle of a game.

4) After an amazing quarter and a half in which they played gritty defense and inspired offense and built a 15 point lead, the Cavs inexplicably relaxed on both ends of the court. The poor shooting Rajon Rondo made consecutive, uncontested three pointers to get his team back in the game by halftime. The Celtics very gradually pulled away in the second half, winning the game by seven.

5) Delonte West played one of his worst games as a Cavalier game five. Rondo finished with 21 points and 13 assists. West, who needed to let Rondo have room on the perimeter, instead allowed his opposite number to shoot floaters in the lane or find open big men for uncontested dunks and layups. Inexcusable.

6) Cavs' big men were continually late on rotations and slow on the backboards in game five, allowing Kevin Garnett and, worse, that tub of guts Glen Davis to dominate the middle in the fourth quarter.

7) The Cavs immediately fell behind 14-4 in game seven, a Celtics lead they would cut to a single point late in the fourth quarter, but one they could never surmount, losing 91-86.

8) Paul Pierce, after six quiet games, freaks out for 41 points in game seven. Every shot he took seemed to go in. LeBron, who put up 45 of his own points, could not stay with Pierce, particularly through high screens and picks.

9a) Every single bounce went Boston's way in game seven, particularly when it came to Pierce, from his misfired three pointer that somehow bounced ten feet off the front of the rim and fell through, to a late free throw that almost shattered the backboard before bouncing in. Oh yeah, then there was the Kevin Garnett brick that ricocheted straight out to a squared up Pierce, which he calmly swished for another three. And then, of all things, there were the two fourth quarter Boston airballs that somehow ended up in the hands of 87 year-old, unretired P.J. Brown, both resulting in backbreaking Boston scores. Clearly the sports gods love Boston. Why, I don't know. Paul Pierce said that the ghost of Red Auerbach was watching over them. Piss on you, Paul Pierce! Am I a sore loser? More and more as I write, YES!

9b) Three phantom calls at the end of the first half of game seven became six Boston free throws. I told my brother that if the Cavs lose a close game, look back at those three calls made when the Cavs were in the penalty. I do believe the Cavs lost this game by five.

10) Cleveland shots did not fall late in game seven. LeBron missed an open three that would have given the Cavs their first lead. West missed an even more wide open three. By the time Sasha Pavlovic swished one of his own, it was too little, too late--that geriatric P.J. Brown had already stolen our hope away.

So there you have it, sports fans. Cleveland loses, Boston wins. Again. Yet another punch to the gut courtesy one of our teams here in northeast Ohio. In spite of everything, I'm going to do my best to ditch this loser attitude that Cleveland fans share and, increasingly, thrive on. I know that it won't be long before we win it all, and I still think the Cavs will be the first to break through. So, it follows that I close this post with that common refrain:

Wait'll next year!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Two Down, 48 to Go

This is a bit tardy, but...

Today McBone salutes the state of California. On May 15 the state's Supreme Court overturned a ban on same-sex marriage, correctly ruling that such a ban is unconstitutional.

Many people like to trivialize this issue, but we at McBone prefer to look at same-sex marriage as a matter of civil rights. At the root of this struggle are all the efforts ever made to make this country a place where each person is afforded their unalienable rights in equal measure. To deny two people their happiness based on sexual orientation is to spit on the legacy of every champion of civil rights who ever lived. What California has done represents another hurdle cleared in an ongoing fight to bring equality those living within the borders of the United States.

It is with great pride that I give California's Supreme Court ruling the McBone Seal of Approval: McB. I am ashamed that my home state of Ohio has failed to live up to what Massachusetts started in 2004.

Down with bigotry!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Do You Believe?

Has there been a more difficult morning for me to wake up and go to work? Only a few come to mind that compare to the utter depression I was suffacated by when I awoke at 6:45am. How about the morning after the Indians lost to the Red Sox after having a 3-1 series lead. Yes that was miserable. Or maybe the morning after I flew out to San Antonio for game 1 of the Finals? Yes I arrived back in Cleveland at 4:00am and then had to go back to work at 7:30. That one hurt.

What is the point you say? The point is that despite the unbelievable anger I woke up with this morning, I believe with every fiber of my being that the Cavaliers will win this series against the Celtics. Do the rest of you Cavaliers out there feel the same way? I don't think you do and that is what I am here to change.

With every missed shot by the Cavaliers you've felt the season slipping away. I heard all the pessism in your voices after game 1 and 2 on the afternoon sports radio shows. I even sensed it at the friendly confines of Quicken Loans Arena for games 3 and 4. The smallest 4-0 run by the Celtics brought a quiet panic to the masses. It has been there in your hearts and in your minds since the beginning of the series. You have bought into all the talk by the national media about Boston and how this season is destined to have a Lakers vs Celtics final. Like Kenny Roda put so truthfully yesterday, TNT, ABC and the NBA already have the old video clips of Magic and Bird loaded up and ready to go. They will do everything in their power to make it happen.

Nobody believes. You think the most devoted of Cavs fans doesn't have concern in their minds this morning? They do. I did last night but now it is gone. It has to be. If their is even one shred of doubt in our minds then the Cavaliers will lose. If the Cavaliers can sniff the panic in the tone of our crowd Friday night, do you think it will not affect their performance? Believe me it will. You have no idea how much our crowd and the attitude of the Cavalier fans affects this team. The minute our home crowd believes our season is over on Friday night, that is exactly when it will become a reality. The second Boston goes on a 7-0 run in Game 7, and you change the channel, that is when our season will be over. It doesn't matter if you are at the Q or at home watching. Your attitude and belief is affecting this series.

That is why I emploring any Cavaliers fans out there in Mcbone land to dispose of your negative thoughts today and simply BELIEVE. Why? Lebron James is on our side. We tune in to every second of every Cavs game because he never fails to do something we've never seen before. He has taken us to the NBA finals and allowed Cavaliers fans to restore pride in this franchise. He has taken an organization from the brink of relocation to the promise land of the NBA finals.

You don't think any of this has an affect on the actual outcome of this series? BULLSHIT. You've never competed as an athlete then. A belief of a city and it's fan base can carry a team when their mental and physical abilities would otherwise be exhausted. The players can sense our doubt and translate that into doubt of their own. The Cavaliers are going to win. STOP! Right now - Picture the seen after game 7, Lebron high fiving Z at center court after a masterful victory at the Garden. Can you see it?

People are afraid to make predictions because they will be ridiculed if proven wrong.

Fuck it. The Cavaliers are winning this series and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind. Celtics fans you can write it down, take a picture and throw it in my face if I'm wrong. You guys were all pissing down your legs when we were up 14 in the 2nd quarter. Game 7 you will experience that same feeling except there will be no miracle comeback. Only an empty feeling in your stomach of what could have been.

Believe Cavs fans. We are going to win this series. You have to feel it every single second of these last two games. I will be leading the charge from my usual seat at the Q tomorrow and I hope you're there with me one way or the other.

Let's go Cavs.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Goodnight, Cavs.

Way to play defense in the second half. Fuck you.

Series Tied 2-2!

I don't really believe that one play can change a series.

Or do I?

The dunk speaks for itself, but I feel compelled to put into words the move that just may have changed the momentum of the round two matchup between the Cavs and the Celtics. I was lucky to have witnessed the play in person. Thank you Lauren, for yet another ticket to yet another amazing game.

The Cavs were locked in a game-long nailbiter until, thanks to the three point shooting of LeBron and Daniel Gibson, they pulled away in the fourth quarter, en route to what amounted to a rout.

Then, with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter, LeBron had the ball, shaded just left of the key. Paul Pierce formed the outer defense. James Posey was his backup. In the block, Kevin Garnett waited.

The tandem of Pierce, Posey and Garnett has been doing an admirable job defending LeBron all series, forcing LBJ to take long jumpers and rarely allowing him into the lane. This time, LeBron exploded around a Joe Smith pick and left Pierce a mile behind. There are few guards who can accelerate quicker than the 6'8", 250 lb. James, which hardly seems fair. Posey was next in line. The slightest head fake later and he, too, was out of the play. Kevin Garnett, defending the hoop, tried to foul. He did, but LeBron was already airborne when they met, and the ball was thrown down with such thunderous force that even the referees were rendered impotent. No foul was called. No one cared, least of all the 20,000 plus who knew that the Cavs would be playing at least one more game at the Q in '08.

Now see it for yourself, the perfect combination of speed, agility and strength.

Say what you want about Kobe, Paul or KG. The MVP of the league wears number 23.



Friday, May 9, 2008

Weekend Getaway

Gentle McBoners,

Alex and I are headed to Athens, OH for a relaxing getaway with some old pals. Look for McBone to be back the following week.

Cavs: you've lost two excruciating games in Boston. You know what to do as the series goes back to Cleveland.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cavs vs. Celtics, the McBone Round Two Preview!

Since my original post on the Cavs-Celtics matchup somehow got erased, dammit, I'll be brief:

That swarm of insects calling themselves Wizards is gone. Now the Cavs have a real challenge, one looking to raise a 17th banner to its rafters.


PG: Delonte West vs. Rajon Rondo. two up and coming guards going at it. Rondo is the stronger defender and West is a better shooter. Still, they're pretty evenly matched in all areas. Delonte is going to have to protect the ball against Rondo's pressure or the turnovers will pile up. Advantage: even.

SG: Wally Szczerbiak vs. Ray Allen. Two shooters whose defense is suspect. Ray Allen is obviously the superior player, the Cavs success hinges on containing this dude, who will no doubt hit some backbreaking shots in this series. The key is for Wally to make Allen work for his shot and make him work, work, work on the defensive end. 15 points a game from Wally would really make the Cavs hard to beat. Advantage: Allen.

SF: LeBron James vs. Paul Pierce. No secret that these guys don't care for each other. They've had some epic battles in the past, and both should be primed for this series. I do, however, expect LeBron to put a hurting on the inferior, but still very, very good Pierce. LeBron was a virtuoso in games one and six against Washington, playing some of the best ball I've ever seen in my life. If he can do that against Boston, the Celts will be in trouble. Advantage: LeBron.

PF: Ben Wallace vs. Kevin Garnett: Big Ben is going to have to get into Garnett's face and keep him off the glass as best he can. KG can be rattled, and he loves losing playoff series. Wallace needs to make Garnett shoot those nifty turnaround jumpers from as far from the basket as he can. Advantage: Garnett.

C: Zydrunas Ilgauskas vs. Kendrick Perkins. This matchup really highlights the advantage the Cavs have in the paint. I have a strong feeling that Perkins doesn't want to guard Z on the perimeter. The Cavs need to remember their center all series long. Give him his touches and good things will happen. Advantage: Z.

Bench: For the Cavs, obviously Daniel Gibson needs to keep making that jumper. Aside from that, he needs to protect the ball and not make turnovers on dribble drives--still a weakness in his game. Anderson Varejao will be critical in defending Garnett. Varejao must, must do to Garnett what he did to Rasheed Wallace in last year's conference finals, which is get into his opponent's head. Varejao was absent vs. Washington. The Cavs can't afford that anymore. If West and Gibson struggle to contain Allen, look for Sasha Pavlovic to get some minutes. Joe Smith provides another hustling big man to pester Boston's frontcourt. Devin Brown provides defensive energy, but his erratic shot has limited his minutes of late. For the Celts, James Posey is a three point shooting bastard who I fully expect to annoy the shit out of me. Eddie House, Leon Powe, Big Baby and Brian Scalabrine are all competent. Sam Cassell, as ever, looks like an alien from Mars. Really, Boston's bench doesn't scare me so much. Advantage: Cavs.

Head Coach: Mike Brown vs. Doc Rivers. Forget it. Mike Brown, in just his third season, has a wealth of playoff experience and success on his resume. He has proven he can win the big game and make game to game adjustments. Doc Rivers? Doc Rivers would be out of a job if it weren't for KG, Pierce and Allen. Advantage: Brown.

Official McBone Prediction: Cavs in seven. What it all boils down to is: we have LeBron James and they don't. I know the Celts won 66 games. I know they have three all stars. I know they are a hungry team with an eye fixed on the title. Just remember that the Cavs beat the Celts twice this season. I believe our frontcourt is too strong and that the Celts lack a real championship personality to pull this one out against the champs of the East. HOWEVER, the Cavs must win one of the first two games in Boston. I don't believe they can do to Boston what they did to Detroit last year after dropping the first two games in the conference finals.

The Cavs path to victory, McBone's five point plan:

Match Boston's defensive intensity.
Hit open shots (I'm talking to YOU, Wally and Daniel).
Move the ball.
Don't let Ray Allen freak out.
Get the ball to Z, early and late.



Friday, May 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, Gorda

McBone, the NOML, the NIML and the AMA are united in wishing a happy birthday to my dear, darling wife, Alexandra Hidalgo.

Alors...bon aniversaire, mon amour!

We've come a long way from that scumball apartment for drunken losers in la Roche-sur-Yon, and I'm so proud of all you've accomplished this year, including but not limited to:

Getting a job at U of Akron.
Getting amazing GRE scores.
Starting your novel.
Having your article published.
Getting accepted at Purdue.
Getting accepted at Purdue with a full ride.
Being as foxy a Venezuelan babe as ever you were. Damn, woman!

Not a bad ten months.

So, enjoy your day off. You've earned it. I love you, my June, my Lara (not Croft!), et surtout mon Eladría.


Thursday, May 1, 2008


36% is what the Cavaliers shot from the field in their excruciating, embarrassing one point loss to the Wizards on Wednesday. The Cavs, who had the effrontery to lose while I was in attendance, who had a chance to send the Wizards back to Washington for the summer, will look back on this this game, a game that they led by 5 with a minute to play, as the one that got away, should they lose this series.

Also, I'd like to point out that the hideous yellow (not 'gold' as they would have it) t-shirts they are giving away are doing nothing to improve their chances.

And the ones donning those cotton atrocities, the fans, didn't really bother to show up in person until after halftime. In spirit, they showed up in the fourth quarter. Unacceptable.

And, hey Cavs! Stop playing Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline' between quarters. That song is bad luck to Cleveland. The Red Sox play that song. The Red Sox beat the Indians in the ALCS. It belongs to them, not us. And anyway that song sucks. Big time. Because it's Neil Diamond. Who sucks. Big time.

God DAMMIT!!!!

Pictured above: me in aforementioned hideous yellow t-shirt, which I will never wear again. See all the empty seats? That's about 10 minutes before tipoff. For SHAME, Cleveland!


PS: I should mention that when I got home from the game with Dad, my mother was actually watching a god damned Neil Diamond concert on TV, which was like the final, fatal stab of an unclean, jagged knife into my entrails.