Monday, September 29, 2008

Paul Newman, McBone Hero, 1925-2008

Paul Newman. McBone. Icons both, but what more do they have in common, aside from global superstardom? A lot more than you might think. Sure, we at McBone are fervent admirers of his work in film (I'd like to meet the person who isn't), but I'd like to point out a few similarities that may or may not be coincidental.

McBone is dedicated to all things Cleveland, where Paul Newman was born in 1925.

He attended Shaker Heights High School, the very school where Nate Bowler suffered an ignominious defeat in tennis at the hands of this wimpy kid named Brad Karfeld. I'll never forget that name till the day I die. If you're out there Brad and you're reading this, I hate you forever! Likewise, Paul Newman once finished second in a major sporting event--the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where, incidentally, Nate Bowler lived for a year.

Paul Newman, like Nate Bowler, had a Jewish father who owned a successful sporting goods store.

Paul Newman and Nate Bowler shared an addiction to half-sour pickles.

Nate Bowler co-founded the Northern Ohio Moustache League. Paul Newman wore a moustache on and off through his career.

Nate Bowler graduated from Ohio University, the same college from which Paul Newman was expelled for unspecified "unruly behavior." Rumor has it that he was caught one too many times in a women's dormitory. Another says that he crashed a beer keg into the president's car. McBone likes to believe it was a combination of the two.

Like Nate Bowler, Paul Newman was devastatingly handsome and known for a pair of piercing blue eyes.

Paul Newman, like McBone, was devoted to the drinking of beer.

Both Newman (#19) and McBone (#47) found their way onto Richard Nixon's list of enemies.

Paul Newman was an ardent liberal who supported gay marriage, one of McBone's hallmark causes.

McBone's mission is to free the world from tyranny, one mayonnaise jar at a time. Paul Newman's charitable line of food, Newman's Own ($250 million raised!), contains no mayonnaise or mayonnaise products.

Newman joins Gregory Peck (also a Nixon enemy) and Audrey Hepburn (enemy to no one) on the very short list of actors who realized that there were more important things in the world than themselves.

Join us this month in celebrating the life of a man who actually left the world a little better than he found it. McBone recommends:

The Hustler
Cool Hand Luke
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The Verdict
Absence of Malice
Nobody's Fool
Road to Perdition


Thursday, September 25, 2008

S.E. Rogie, the Cure for Election Year Blues.

I've never tasted palm wine in my life, but what a wondrous beverage it must be, to inspire music such as this:

S.E. Rogie, the guitarist from Sierra Leone, was a master of palm wine music. He was also a man of infinite wisdom. When asked what stimulated him in life, his answer was simple: Sex. Beauty. Soft, melodious sounds. Sounds right on to me.

Now, nothing highlights how fucked up the world is quite like election season does, and nothing else makes bad situations seem hopeless like two candidates smearing each other instead of finding solutions. Sometimes I get so mad thinking and writing about ugly things like Sarah Palin that I have to sit back, crack open a beer (en lieu of palm wine) and let soft, melodious sounds like Rogie's make me remember that the human race has given rise to some beautiful souls. Click here for further proof.

I stumbled upon Rogie's album, Dead Men Don't Smoke Marijuana (was there ever a better title?) when I wandered into Tower Records in New York to kill time between classes. I listened to a twenty second sample of the first song and was instantly hooked. I regard that purchase as one of the more fortuitous of my life. Ten songs, 45 minutes of bliss--enough to make me forget about these cesspools of hypocrisy called campaigns for a while.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Cavaliers 2008-09 Season: The McBone Preview

Team Capsule

Hello: Mo Williams, J.J. Hickson, Darnell Jackson, Lorenzen Wright, Tarance Kinsey, Ronald Dupree(???)

Goodbye: Damon Jones, Joe Smith, Devin Brown, Billy Thomas

Last season: Finished the regular season 45-37. Lost 4-3 to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Coach: Mike Brown. Career record: 145-101. Playoffs: 26-20


Here's the thing about last season for the Cleveland Cavaliers: it stunk. The trouble started with the ludicrous holdouts of Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic (thanks, agents), was exacerbated by myriad injuries and culminated with a late season trade that, yes, rid us of Larry Hughes, but also never allowed the team to gel. The sum of the equation was a seventh-game, second-round exit from the playoffs. But for all that, the Cavs gave the eventual NBA-champion Celtics all they could handle. If not for a horrid 2-18 shooting night from LeBron James in game one, the Cavs might have been hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy. Alas, that is ancient history.

This year is already shaping up quite differently. The Cavs signed free agent guards Delonte West and Daniel Gibson to multi-year deals and avoided any messy holdouts. What's more, everyone is healthy entering camp. Danny Ferry drafted and signed an intriguing pair of rookies. LeBron James, coming off a gold medal olympic run, is primed for another trip deep into the playoffs. The icing on top is a major offseason aquisition that could prove the missing piece of the puzzle. To get where they want to be, however, the Cavs will have to get through an Eastern Conference that has mostly gotten better:

The East's Elite

The Celts earned the title "team to beat" after an historic season and a hard-fought trip to the finals. I hate Paul Pierce, but he had an amazing game 7 against LBJ and Co. I'll give him that. Still, how far can this team ride the big three? I believe that depends on Ray Allen, who has declined.

The Pistons remain a aging but viable threat. I think. Maybe. Maybe they're too old. They have to get too old someday, right? Maybe this is the year they fail to make the ECFs.

The Sixers are young and explosive and added a star in Elton Brand. Paired with all-time underrated point guard Andre Miller, this team is legitimate.

The Magic will win a lot of games as usual, but Dwight Howard needs to get better to deserve his nickname.

The Wizards will lose to the Cavs in the first round of the playoffs. Again.

The Raptors took a chance on Jermaine O'Neal, and I don't think it will pay off. If it does, though, an O'Neal-Bosh frontcourt is scary.

Scrubby playoff contenders

The Heat. Are a healthy Dwayne Wade and Shawn Marion enough to propel this squad to the playoffs? They very well may be.

The Bulls were a mess last year, but may rally around their new point guard. I'm not betting on them.

The Bucks swapped Yi for Richard Jefferson. Big deal. They will struggle to make the postseason.

The Hawks had a rough summer losing Josh Childress. They are, in my opinion, going to take a step back.

The garbage

The Bobcats, Pacers, Nets and Knicks are lottery-bound scrubs for sure.

Now, let's take a look at the Cavs roster, position-by-position.

Starting Five

PG: Mo Williams. In a major coup, Danny Ferry excised perennial loudmouth Damon Jones and Joe Smith for Milwaukee's Mo Williams. Damon Jones' tenure with the Cavs is mercifully over. While he may have hit a big shot here and there, I don't think anyone will lament Damon's missed jumpers or his annual, late-season benching for lax defense. Joe Smith is another story. I never realized what a sweet player Smith was until he was in a Cavs uniform. The Cavs will miss his jumper, his rebounding, his defense and just his general presence on both ends of the floor. Still, you'd trade an aging Smith for a young Maurice Williams a thousand times without hesitating.

And in Williams, the Cavs finally have their point guard. I spent a lot of time hating Mo Williams while he absolutely killed the Cavs all last season. Now he brings his 17 points and 7 assists to a team desperate to add another playmaker. Know what? Williams is a good rebounder too at the guard spot. While his detractors say he won't fit into Mike Brown's defense-first philosophy, I beg to differ. This kid is an athlete. He can learn. He'll fit in or LeBron James will have his head roasted and served on a platter with rosemary potatoes.

And the best part of this pickup is that Williams is only 25. His best years will coincide with James'.

I love this move no matter how you look at it. Williams brings a hefty contract, but if you look at his production, the dollar amounts are right on.

SG: Delonte West. While Williams and West are really both combo guards, Williams is the better ballhandler/distributor, while West is better suited at the two. I was never a West fan until I saw his gritty play in the playoffs last year when he seemed to make strides as a player as the games got more intense. West will sell out on defense, hit a clutch three, drive to the hoop, and make a nice pass. He does nothing great, but everything pretty darn well. While I'd prefer Sasha Pavlovic in this role because of his size and sheer ability, Sasha has to start living up to his talent before he gets his job back.

Delonte and Mo in the backcourt give the Cavs two guards who can bring the ball up floor and get the offense going. Put them together with LBJ and watch the offense take off.

C: Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Sportwriters just love to say that LeBron needs a Robin to compliment his Batman. I say, what about Big Z? I don't care what the national media writes about Ilgauskas' age, or slowness, or frailty. All of it is bollocks. Big Z is coming off his finest season as a pro, notching a career high in rebounding and continuing to be one of the most talented offensive centers in the Eastern Conference, all at the age of 32. Ilguaskas will give his team 14 points and 8 rebounds per contest and will antagonize oppenents all day with his offensive rebounding. No one in the league is a better tip artist than Z, and that 10-18 foot jumper is, as ever, automatic.

SF: LeBron James. James has already been anointed the next MVP by ESPN, which doesn't mean much. That he hasn't already won the trophy shows what a farce it is. Anyway, in LeBron the Cavs have, simply put, the most talented and, yes, best player in the NBA. Always a beast with the ball in his hands, the addition of Williams will allow LeBron to play off the ball, maybe even post up more. James is an excellent rebounder too and an absolutely terrifying defender. I don't know if I've ever seen a player defend the fast break better than LeBron did all last year. Ask anyone who never saw LeBron coming until after he swatted their easy layup into the tenth row from behind.

Basicallly, the entire season depends on LBJ staying healthy, which hasn't been much of a problem in the past. While the addition of Mo Williams may reduce his offensive numbers, you can still pencil in 28,7,7 on a nightly basis. Throw in defense and leadership and you have your MVP.

PF: Ben Wallace. Everyone knows that Big Ben has lost more than a step. At 34, he's slower and doesn't seem to be able to jump at all anymore. That said, Wallace did help the Cavs when he was acquired just before the trade deadline. He defended Kevin Garnett admirably in the playoffs and created a lot of problems for opposing offenses with those long arms and quick hands. If Wallace's back holds up this season, he will be a valuable presence in the starting five, an intimidator whose length and knack for the ball can still wreak havoc.

Still, Ben is indisputably on the downside of a great career. His free throw shooting makes him a fourth quarter liability. Look for him to start games and give around 20 minutes. He won't see too much fourth quarter action, I predict.

Sixth Man: F/C Anderson Varejao. Varejao's name comes up almost every time in discussions of a midseason trade. I don't think the Cavs have any intention of trading the Brazilian big man. Yes, he had a frustrating, sometimes maddening season last year. But people forget that before suffering a bad ankle injury, Varejao was easily, easily the Cavs' second best player. While he brought his trademark rebounding and defense off the bench, he also provided a nice jumper and a great ability to finish around the hoop. All that changed after 1) a high ankle sprain, when he lost much mobility, and 2) the acquisition of Joe Smith, when he lost his mind and suddenly thought he was Earl Monroe.

Now Anderson is healthy and, from all indications, happy. Smith is gone. Drew Gooden (whose baseline jumper will be missed, if not his tendency to space out) is gone. Wallace is old. Hickson and Jackson are very young. If the Cavs have a weakness, it's depth in the frontcourt. Varejao will get 35+ minutes a night at the 4 and 5. His play will largely determine how far the Cavs go this year.


G: Daniel Gibson.
I hope the addition of Mo Williams means that Daniel Gibson is done running the offense, which he does passably, sort of. Boobie's great talent is spotting up for jumpers and and hitting teardrops in the lane. After only two seasons in the league, he has made a bunch of big time, high-pressure, clutch playoff threes. He too was struck by the injury bug last season, but Gibson is fearless and one of LeBron's very favorites, so him staying healthy is critical.

G: Sasha Pavlovic. For three seasons I've been expecting Sasha to explode into the player I know he can be. There have been flashes, to be sure. Last year he did himself no favors by holding out and missing training camp. Then he suffered a sprained foot and never seemed to find a rhythm at all. Still, he remains a tantalizing piece. At 6'7", 240, he is a real physical specimen, one who bangs regularly with LeBron in practice. He's known for his offense, but he's really a gifted defender, a lock-down type player with a mean streak when he puts his mind to it. Let's hope this is the year Sasha learns how to finish at the hoop and to stroke his jumper at about 45 percent. Ideally, he is the starting shooting guard, just like he was when the Cavs went to the finals in '07.

G: Wally Szczerbiak. A fan favorite, an Ohio boy, Wally will be one of three guards called up from the bench and asked to burn on offense. In spite of last season's inconsistency, Wally is a career 50% shooter and there is no reason why he can't do the same as a Cavs backup. He is also one of three guys who will be looked at as a starter at the two. His poor defense isn't as bad as advertised (he made Ray Allen all but disappear in the playoffs), but he's not going to keep up with the quicker twos and threes in the league, which is why he belongs on the bench. If anyone is trade bait this season, it's Wally and his outrageous and expiring 13 million dollar contract.

F: J.J. Hickson. Few Cavs fans knew much about Hickson when he was drafted out of North Carolina State. After a standout summer league performance, expectations are high for this young forward, who led his conference with a 59% shooting percentage. The Cavs will take it slow with Hickson, but hopes are high for what looks like a first-round steal.

F: Darnell Jackson. The Cavs had the future in mind when they drafted Hickson. Same goes for Jackson, another big man with a big upside. Jackson made a major leap his senior year at Kansas, but he is raw and could see time in the D. League.

F: Lorenzen Wright. A career underachiever, the Cavs added Wright as an insurance policy. If he gets minutes, it means the Cavs are in a blowout or there have been some major injuries.

C-F: Dwayne Jones. Dwayne Jones is one of these guys who is always just a step behind. He has good size and a good work ethic, but unfortunately he is a bit short in the talent department. Because of injuries, he was pressed into action WAY too much last season. Let's hope that doesn't happen again. Please.

G: Tarance Kinsey. I don't know much about Kinsey, other than he's a young, athletic guard who won't get many minutes.

F: Ronald Dupree. This journeyman forward is expected to sign with the Cavs, and I'm not sure why they want him.

G: Eric Snow. Will never play another game in the NBA. Still on the Cavs roster, riding out that decades-long contract he signed before I was born.

C: Lance Allred. Will be cut soon.

Head Coach: Mike Brown. I love Mike Brown. I love his defensive, let's-win-in-the-playoffs-when-it-counts mindset. He won't win any awards for his offense, and who cares? All he's done in three seasons of coaching is win as many playoff series (5) and two fewer playoff games (26) than all other Cavs coaches combined. Critics have long bemoaned his unsophisticated offense, and not always without justification, but the addition of the dynamic Williams is certain to mask some of his shortcomings in ways that Larry Hughes never could.

Prediction. This is the year of the Cavalier, the year it all comes together. The Cleveland curse will be broken; the drought will end. The Cavs will win no fewer than 55 games, capture their division (for once) and they will beat the New Orleans Hornets in the NBA finals in 6 games. LeBron James is the real deal, a leader, a superstar and a champion in the making. Now he has a crew that can help him get there.

Go Cavs!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sarah Visits C-Town!

While Alex and I are very comfortably situated in Indiana, McBone laid its roots in Northeastern Ohio. We're proud of that fact, but we recognize that the region has seen better days. Last week VP hopeful Sarah Palin had the nerve to visit a city in which her party will be lucky to garner 35 percent of the vote this November. What the hell was she doing in Cleveland? Good question. Let's break down the numbers and see exactly why she had no business setting foot in the Forest City.

-Cleveland is annually listed as one of the two or three poorest cities in the United States.

-The per capita income in Cleveland is just over $14,000, compared to a national average of almost $39,000

-Over 25 percent of the population of Cleveland lives below the poverty line.

-Cleveland is 53 percent black and rising.

-Cleveland is 8 percent Hispanic and rising.

-Cleveland is 38 percent white and falling.

-A great many Clevelanders rely on welfare to survive from month to month.

-Cleveland, like many cities, has been decimated by suburbanization.

-Ten percent of homes in Cleveland are vacant.

-Cleveland public schools are among the worst funded in the nation.

-Cleveland is listed as the 7th most dangerous city in the United States.

So, poor and black. Sounds like a republican's dream right? Republicans, who thrive on helping the underprivileged and rebuilding cities. Republicans, who love pumping billions into public education. Republicans, who embrace diversity. Republicans, who have the best interests of our minorities at heart.

Whatever. Palin spent much of her visit avoiding reporters and sitting down with towering imbecile Sean Hannity for a high-pressure interview in which she touted the benefits of--get this--tax cuts and controlling government spending.

Sarah Palin, former mayor of a city of 6,000, governor of a state of 683,000. Her designer glasses represent about 5% of what the typical Clevelander earns in a year. What does she know about the needs of our crumbling urban centers? Nothing. Personally, I'll take Barack Obama, who cut his teeth as a community organizer in Chicago, in the fight against urban blight and poverty.

Go back to Alaska, Sarah Palin, and stay the hell away from Cleveland.


Good LORD!

What in the name of all that is holy...

I cannot pretend to understand the world we live in. The time has come to be afraid, McBoners. Be very afraid.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Last Things on Earth You'd Ever Want to Use Mayonnaise For

You've heard the term "all-purpose" before, right? It applies to many things. Household cleaners come to mind, and all-purpose flour is a must in any kitchen. However there is one item found in most refrigerators to which all-purpose does not apply. While we condemn mayonnaise use in any form, we feel compelled to issue a special warning against substituting the White Menace for any of the following:

Thirst quencher
. If you have a mighty thirst, put the mayonnaise jar down and try water instead. Other, more sensible solutions include Gatorade, juice, milk, coffee, malt liquor, pickle brine, Tabasco sauce, molasses, seawater, human blood, paint thinner, raw sewage.

Coffee creamer. Out of milk or your favorite non-dairy creamer? Suck it up and drink your coffee black. Believe me, stirring a blob of mayonnaise into your hot beverage is not a wise choice.

Donut filling. Imagine biting into what you thought was a warm, custard-filled donut, but what gushes out is not custard at all.

Toothpaste. Your dentist would tell you the same thing: use an ADA-approved product like Crest or Colgate instead.

Mouthwash. Want your mouth to feel clean and minty-fresh? Don't swish with mayo!

Lip gloss. Somehow, this nauseates me more than all the others.

Suntan lotion. That squeeze bottle of Hellmann's may look a little like Coppertone, but Mayonnaise does not block harmful UV rays. It also tends to start smelling funny when it's out in the sun too long.

Underarm deodorant. A dollop of mayonnaise will decidedly NOT guard against odor and wetness. This will also ruin every shirt you own and destroy your social life.

Whipped topping. How 'bout a little mayo to top off your banana split, pumpkin pie or hot fudge sundae? Didn't think so.

Shaving cream. Want to clog every pore on your face? Want an oily complexion? Want to repel women and attract flies? Then lather up with mayonnaise every morning.

McBone also strongly warns against the use of mayonnaise as a salad dressing or sandwich spread.

The preceding was a public service announcement paid for by McBone and the AMA.


Monday, September 15, 2008

The McBone Beer Journal: Two Hearted Ale

They say necessity is the mother of invention. That's especially true of beer. We all need it, and, in fact, life without it hardly seems worth living. British colonists in India knew this truth all too well.

In the olden days before refrigeration, beer exported from England to India would often arrive having skunked or been spoiled by bacteria. As it happens, hops are a natural deterrent to microbes that are fatal to beer. So to remedy this problem and to ensure safe, drinkable supplies of beer to hot, thirsty and increasingly desperate colonists, an ale was crafted with a high alcohol and hop content. India Pale Ale (IPA) was born, and the world would never be the same. Hops may well have been recruited as a preservative, but they also lend a beer a very particular flavor and aroma. The bitter IPA proved a smashing, refreshing success, probably to the chagrin of the native Indians. Who knows? Without IPA, those pesky colonists might have packed up and called it a day. But as this journal entry is devolving quickly into post colonialism, I'll stay on point. Today, in the refrigerated age, some 200 years later, IPA is alive and well, as evidenced by the latest entry in the McBone Beer Journal: Two Hearted Ale.

Like any good brewer, Larry Bell began his enterprise by crafting small batches of beer in a soup kettle. Today Bell's Brewery is a slightly larger operation--exporting to 15 states and in 19 varieties of which Two Hearted Ale is among the most popular. Right now I have a thirst to rival any British colonist, so let's hop to it, shall we?*

I think it best to start with the advantages, and they are many. "Two Hearted" Ale is an obvious reference to the Two Hearted River and, of course, Ernest Hemingway's famous short story. What's more, a bass graces the label. I get it: Michigan, the outdoors, rivers, fishing, Hemingway--these are lofty aims, and what remains is to see if the beer lives up to the premise. Quaking with enthusiasm, I pop the cap.

Two Hearted Ale pours into lovely 1/4 inch head that remains for the duration of the drinking experience. The color, a deep orange, tells me that this is no ordinary IPA. All at once I am beguiled by the distinctly hoppy citrus and floral notes rising to greet me, but I'm not one to waste many words on the nose. The first sip (gulp) does not disappoint. In fact, after a few satisfying swallows, I realize that I'm in the presence of beer excellence. Not greatness, mind you, but excellence. Refreshing, as an IPA should be. Bitter, but just so. Hoppy, but not so aggressively hoppy that the warmer malt undertones are subdued. A very satisfying smack of alcohol, but, again, not obnoxiously so. This is a flavorful, complex and well-balanced beer that I recommend on a hot day or any day whatsoever. I'm sure it must be great with bass, especially one you've just caught yourself.

Two Hearted Ale is well worth the slightly higher price tag (around $8.95 in Indiana) and certainly proves worthy of the label IPA and, indeed, the memory of Hemingway himself.

Rating: 4.5 McBones.


*I apologize and promise to never use another pun.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Cleveland Browns: The Most Depressing Team in Sports

Penalties, dropped passes, bad passes, turnovers, horrible clock management, gutless play calling, injuries, equipment malfunction and just general ineptitude. What does it add up to? Yet another loss by the Browns at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers--this in a game in which yardage and time of possession stats were nearly identical. Usually, home-field advantage swings games like this in the favor of, well, the home team. Unless that home team is the Most Depressing Team in Sports, the Cleveland Browns.

And by God are the Browns depressing, but their problems against Pittsburgh go way beyond this most recent, Sunday night 10-6 humiliation. Let's look at some of the happy facts in the recent history of this storied rivalry:

-Since their rebirth in 1999, the Browns have earned exactly ONE playoff berth, in 2003. Who was their first-round opponent? You guessed it. The Browns squandered a 24-7 third quarter lead and, worse, a 33-24 advantage with less than four minutes left in the game. The Steelers won that excruciating contest by 3, which is exactly how many times they beat the Browns that year.

-How many times have the Steelers made it to the postseason since 1999? Five, including one Super Bowl victory. Of course the road to the playoffs is a lot easier when you can basically count on two automatic wins per year.

-The Browns are about the only team that can win 10 games in a season (2007) and not make the playoffs. Why did they not qualify? In part because they lost both their games against the Steelers.

-The Browns have lost eight consecutive games at home to their arch nemesis and division foe. Overall they have lost 10 straight. Since '99 the record is 17-3 in the Steelers' favor. The Steelers beat the Browns so often and in so many ways that by now the Browns have learned to like it. On December 28th they'll be in Pittsburgh asking for another.

-The Steelers' 10 wins in a row is the longest current streak between two NFL teams.

-Which modern coach has had the most success against the Yellow and Black? Chris Palmer. Palmer had a combined overall record of 5-27 in his two years at the helm. His record against the Steelers? A sparkling 2-2. Since then it's all been downhill. Butch Davis? He was 1-8. Romeo Crennel, in seven tries, has beaten the Steelers roughly as many times as I have.

-Recent history suggests that maybe this bitter rivalry is no rivalry at all. Yet dating back to 1950 the teams are deadlocked at 55-55, revealing these teams are indeed rivals and have always been. But until the Browns start acting like a real member of the NFL by beating Pittsburgh at least once a year, they don't deserve a slot in the postseason.

The Browns have now lost two games at home to start the season. I say last year's 10 wins were a mirage, considering the ease of schedule. The schedule this time around is brutal. Romeo Crennel and Co. are beat up and battered already. Neither the offense nor the defense are working and even QB Derek Anderson's helmet radio has been malfunctioning. Fourteen games remain in which to turn it around and show the league and their infuriated fans what they're made of. Doubtful it will happen, but let's see.



Don't Fall for the Hype

Cronyism, global warming denial, secrecy, excessive spending, anti-gay, ultra Christian and a LOT of time away from the capital. Haven't we had enough of this kind of crap from the executive branch? Sarah Palin is a snake. Read about it in the New York Times, or in an open letter from Wasilla, Alaska resident Anne Kilkenny, who has known and observed Palin since 1992.

Obama '08


Thursday, September 11, 2008

"7 pounds 3 ounces, 21 inches of perfection"

Although Josh Gippin and Shane Wynn went to high school together, they were in fact not high school sweethearts. On the contrary, some might be surprised to learn that, during their two-year acquaintance at Akron Firestone, Josh and Shane sustained a long and mutual loathing of each other. As a nonpartisan bystander, I observed a casual dislike (which, as I recall, erupted over a disputed last hotdog in the lunch line) escalate into a flat-out enmity that would bring the entire school to its knees. The impact of their animosity was far reaching. Firestone was divided into a West Akron equivalent of Bloods and Crips. All were forced to take sides, nerds and jocks alike. Teachers were helpless as rival gangs took over. When negotiations proved futile, all-out war became imminent. Fortunately, graduation intervened. Josh and Shane were college bound. No blood was spilled.

So how was it, you ask, that Josh and Shane reconciled years later and eventually married? I don't really know, but I suspect that beneath all those layers of hate a passion was kindled that for years lay smoldering within their respective bosoms. Josh and Shane reunited not as deadly enemies, but as husband and wife, and today we celebrate the fruit of that union in the form of their first child, Amelia Rose (it remains altogether unclear whether Amelia is a Gippin-Wynn, Wynn-Gippin, Wyppin, or otherwise). Amelia was born on September 7th. Here are her statistics, McBone certified:

Weight: 7 lb. 3 oz.

Length: 21 in.

Time of birth: 8:03 AM

The choice of Amelia recieves the highly desireable McBone Seal of Approval: McB for conjuring imagages of the following people:

Amelia Earhart

Amelie Poulain

Emile Durkheim*

McBone, the NOML, the NIML and the AMA are united in issuing a hearty McBoneulations to Josh and Shane. May their truce endure through the ages, and a healthy, happy and long life to Amelia Rose!


*I have no idea who this is, but he's cool as hell.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Our Rotten Garbage

The year grows late, and with November approaching, the Bush administration winds down 8 years of environmental contempt that has included, among other offenses: attempts to roll back already insufficient clean air and water standards, denying global warming, and catering to the energy and logging industries. Meanwhile, ordinary folk like you and me try to do little things to save our planet from certain doom. While the efforts of a single person may seem futile in the whole coal-and-oil-burning scheme of things, the collective actions of many can, in fact, make a huge difference. Example: the average American creates over 4 pounds of garbage per day. That's twice as much as any other developed country. Just think what a positive environmental impact it would have if everyone made a conscious effort to reduce waste by, say, a half pound per day. That would keep 150 million pounds of trash out of our overburdened landfills and oceans every single day! Here are some other highly disturbing facts about trash.

Fortunately, we are not helpless. Here are some ways Alex and I are trying to make McBone Outpost #1211 more eco-friendly.

-Switching from wasteful incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient compact florescent bulbs.

-Taking reusable bags to the supermarket instead of using the plastic or paper ones provided by the store. Doesn't it drive you nuts when they put like 2 items in a bag, and then double bag, so that you end up with 38 plastic bags, and then you realize that plastic bags are made from petroleum and that we're at war over petroleum so that each plastic bag we use has contributed in its small way to the death of thousands. Am I ranting here? Oh yeah, and plastic is not biodegradable.

-Keeping the McBonemobile in the garage as much as possible.

-Recycling. It boggles my mind that some people still don't recycle. What the fuck?

This week Alex and I are going to continue our greening project by eliminating biodegradable matter from our curbside garbage. How, you ask? Composting! And why is composting so great? Because food, while biodegradable, does not break down properly in the low-oxygen confines of a landfill. Food in a compost bin turns into rich, fertile soil that is ideal for gardening. Food in a landfill produces methane--a notorious and totally smelly greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

And composting is easy! Just click here to see the 100% recycled-plastic composter that I just purchased online.

So in 3-5 days our endeavor begins. Our composting goals are to:

-create soil for gardening

-reduce landfill waste

-reduce greenhouse gas

-annoy the neighbors with the wafting smell of decay

-attract vermin

OK, so I was just kidding on these last two. In reality a properly balanced compost pile does not smell and will not attract animals. I'm told this is done by including ample yard waste (dead leaves, grass clippings) in the bin. We'll see how it goes and I will certainly keep you, gentle McBoners, posted.


Pictured above: me looking handsome as I drop a pear into a bucket of assorted food scraps.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

This Sarah Palin Thing is Really Galling Me.

You know, I really don't think that John McCain stands a snowball's chance in hell of winning the election in November. I believe that Barack Obama is history in the making and that McCain is a crusty old tax-slashin' conservative who tries not very convincingly to paint himself as some sort of moderate/maverick/thorn in the side of his own party. Yeah, he talks about the environment and the need to end bipartisan squabbling in Washinton, but by now he's backtracked on so many of his former stances like abortion and the religious right, and he voted almost every single time with worst president in the history of the universe, and anyway don't you get the feeling that, like any good conservative, McCain has a permanent hard-on for Ronald Reagan? Anyway, the point is: John McCain is like a moth in the face of an advancing storm, so why, especially after eight years of having the Antichrist in the vice president's office, is it so galling to me that McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate?

If you pay as much attention to the news as I do, then you too have noticed that Barack Obama is black. Moreover, his main adversary in the democratic primaries was a woman. One of these two was going to change history by becoming the first non-white male to win a major party's nomination. How does the Republican party react? By doing as they always do: pay lip service to progress. After all, it's the Democrats who were making the headlines while the Repubicans shuffled out a field of eight tired old men. They had to do something to pump some life into their campaign, right?

Apparently McCain and the Republicans think so little of the intelligence of the voting public that they thought they could choose this unknown governor from Alaska and that we'd mindlessly swallow the idea that she was the one they thought best qualified for the job. I mean, it's so obvious that, in the wake of the despicable Dick Cheney, in the face of all that's happening on the Democratic front, they came up with a list of potential women candidates and chose the most telegenic of them. Did they think a whole bunch of Hillary Clinton supporters would jump ship and swim toward any random female candidate? I think Clinton supporters are astute enough to do a little research and see that Palin is no substitute for Hillary.

Now, all this is not to say I don't think they should have chosen a woman. Sarah Palin may have a great smile, but I gotta believe there were better choices out there.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

In a World Where...

Most likely the name Don LaFontaine doesn't mean much to you, but if you've ever seen a movie trailer, particularly one beginning with the immortal phrase, In a world where... then you certainly know the sonorous baritone of the man nicknamed "The Voice of God."

Don LaFontaine, author and voiceover artist of some 5,000 movie trailers, died Monday at the age of 68, ending a career that spanned four decades and included work on such films as:

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Dr. Strangelove

The Godfather, Part II

The Terminator

Terminator 2

Batman Returns

And countless others. Please enjoy the following trailer of which LaFontaine was proudest, from David Lynch's "The Elephant Man."

Hollywood has lost one of its most enduring and anonymous icons. Rest in peace, Don. Your voice will be missed every time I hit the cineplex.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Cliff Lee's Amazing Season

The Cleveland Indians have had many great pitchers in the 100+ year history of the ballclub. Consider the following roster of Hall of Famers and all stars:

Addie Joss, Cy Young, Stan Covaleski, Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, Sudden Sam McDowell, Wes Ferrell, Mel Harder, Luis Tiant, Bert Blyleven, Herb Score, Gaylord Perry, Jim Perry, Mike Garcia, George Uhle, Anatole Stanko. What do all of these great Indians pitchers have in common? All of them won 20 games at some point in their careers. Not one of them was ever 20-2.

In fact, you have to look long and hard to find anyone in the history of the game who was ever 20-2. Yet 20-2 is exactly what Cliff Lee is tonight after tossing yet another masterpiece, this time a 5-hit shutout of the division-leading Chicago White Sox. In the midst of a miserable summer on the shores of Lake Erie, Cliff Lee has single-handedly made his team watchable by putting together one of the finest seasons that the Major Leagues has ever seen.

Here are a few impressive statistics from Lee's remarkable run.

-His won-loss percentage of 91% currently ranks him #6 all time for a single season.

-In 27 starts, Lee has walked exactly 27 batters.

-His ERA is a MLB best 2.32

-He has been getting better as the season wears on. He went 5-0 with a 1.86 ERA in August. In his last ten starts, he is 9-0.

-His 20 wins account for 30% of the Indians' paltry total of 66 in 2008.

-He has given up a miserly 8 home runs all season.

Not bad for a guy who spent much of 2007 in the minor leagues after being demoted for much needed mechanical and attitude adjustments.

What's different? Lee cites mental toughness and a strict, mayonnaise-free diet as major contributors to his success. When asked whether he made the switch to Miracle Whip, he replied curtly: Miracle Whip is mayonnaise.

Lee is the first Indians pitcher to win 20 games since Gaylord Perry posted a 21-13 mark in 1974. Perhaps most amazing of all: when Perry won game #20 that year, he too pitched a five-hit shutout. How mysterious the Sports Gods are. Man, I love baseball.

From the beginning of the year Cliff Lee has been the very best pitcher in the major leagues, and he should be a cinch to win the Indians' second consecutive Cy Young award. A lot can happen in one month, but with the way Lee has pitched, I don't forsee a major letdown.

McBone congratulates you, Cliff Lee, for your remarkable and historic 2008 season.