Friday, July 31, 2009

Bob Dylan vs. Neil Diamond

While I'm appalled, appalled that Neil Diamond garnered a single vote on the latest McBone poll, I am pleased to know that 94% of all McBoners agree: between the man who revolutionized music and the guy who penned the corniest song in the past 50 years, there is no choice. What song is that, you ask? Just take a listen to this:

Hurts, right? Quick! Quick! The antidote:


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WTF Larry Dolan?

Let me preface this by saying I'm getting really sick of writing negative posts about Cleveland sports, but here we go again...

A few years ago I crowned the Cleveland Browns The Most Depressing Team in Sports, and with good cause. The Browns have never won a Super Bowl. They have not won a championship since 1964. Hell, they haven't even played for a championship since 1964. They moved to Baltimore, became an expansion team, and have spent the subsequent decade inventing new definitions of the word suck. Staph infections, motorcycle accidents, vehicular homicide. You name it, the Browns have done it, all the while playing horrific football.

Well, I may have been a bit premature in my judgment, because the Cleveland Indians are well entrenched in the Larry Dolan era of ownership, and they are in a dogfight to regain a title they held during almost 4 decades of baseball ineptitude. Oh, the Indians could never match the Browns off the field. On it though, they are quickly closing the gap.

Today's trade of Cliff Lee to the Phillies marks the second consecutive season the Tribe has dealt a Cy Young Award winner for a batch of minor leaguers. Think for a moment about how remarkable that is. Just winning the Cy Young award is a tough enough feat. Usually it requires a combination of sustained pitching excellence and enough consistent offensive support to pile up a lot of wins. Boasting two Cy Young winners in consecutive years is rare but not unheard of. But to trade two Cy Young winners in consecutive years? Unprecedented, and I seriously doubt it will ever be duplicated.

Now let's look at it from another angle. The Indians currently have the worst ERA in baseball. The remedy? Trading their best pitcher.

Yet the real tragedy here may just be that General Manager Mark Shapiro couldn't even use his ace to pry top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek away from the Phillies. Instead he settled for second best: an 18-year-old A-ball pitcher fresh of the disabled list.

The baseball renaissance that Indians fans enjoyed in the '90s lasted about six seasons. That was in the Richard Jacobs era of ownership, back when the ballpark was a great place to be, tickets were hard to get, and the team was in contention every single year. Ownership in those days was willing to shell out for quality players, too. Dennis Martinez, Eddie Murray, Orel Hershiser, Julio Franco, Jack McDowell, Roberto Alomar, Kenny Lofton--all these guys were top-shelf talents signed to help the Tribe win the Series. Never happened, but that team got oh, so close, and, man, were they fun to watch.

Nowadays? Since Dolan bought the team from Jacobs, the Indians have made the playoffs a couple of times, even made it to the brink of the world series in '07, but recent history has more often seen the best players traded away for unheard-ofs and never-will-bes. The stockpile of talent built up in the '90s has wasted utterly away. Hell, this team even jettisoned the modestly talented, very popular overachiever Coco Crisp a few years ago because they didn't want to pay the dude, what? 3.5 million a year? And that's just a microcosm of this modern trend: team introduces young player, player becomes good, player enters prime, Indians trade player for prospects. Cliff Lee was following one of the great seasons in major league history (22-3, 2.54 ERA) with another tremendous year on a team languishing in the cellar. The Indians were bad, but every five days you knew they had a good shot at winning. Fans received their usual reward for caring: the privilege of never watching Lee pitch in a Cleveland uniform again.

So the fire sale is on. Position players Ryan Garko and Ben Francisco have been dealt as well. So has bullpen workhorse Rafael Betancourt. Who's next? How about Victor Martinez. He's certainly the prime candidate--all star catcher, popular with fans and teammates, entering the final year of his contract in 2010. Certainly there is a legitimate team out there willing to trade a few teenagers for a proven player in his prime.

So, basically, Larry Dolan, I ask: what's the point of your ownership? Do you delight in alienating the fans? Do you prefer a nice quiet empty stadium? Because you've got one. By trading Lee now, you've already raised the white flag on next year. You can talk about rebuilding all you want, but what, precisely, is being rebuilt? The 2007 Indians? An aberration of a team sandwiched between perennial losers? Why are we paying you to watch this endless, awful cycle of player rotation? Why are we turning on our televisions and radios? I place no blame on Shapiro or manager Eric Wedge, who have been trying to win for almost a decade with a spare parts approach. Young, talented players are nice, as are free agent bargain finds. But if you want to win come October, you're going to have to pay big bucks for some studs. And don't talk to me about this 20 million dollar deal for Kerry Wood. That signing represents THE big free agent splash the Indians have made in the 21st century. More indicative of the current state of affairs is this motley crew of bums and has-beens we've been subjected to: Jason Michaels, David Dellucci, Trot Nixon, Roberto Hernandez, Joe Borowski, Aaron Fultz, Jorge Julio, Masa Kobayashi, Guillermo Mota, Aaron Boone and the great Carl Pavano.

Christ this gets old. Give me the Cavs. A real professional sports team with a real owner, one who is obsessed with winning title and ending Cleveland sports misery once and for all.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Holly HawthoRNe

This is my friend, Holly (with husband):

Holly is a recent graduate of the Ivy Tech Community College's nursing program. Now, if you can imagine her black, attractive and married to Will Smith, you'd probably end up with something like this:

Anyhow, Holly has a new blog, and while it may at times contradict McBone's hardline atheism, we applaud this creative endeavor and hope it enjoys a run that will be as long and successful as her burgeoning career as a nurse.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Babe Hagopian

I never knew my cousin Babe very well, but she was Armenian and she was close to my grandfather and she always had a big hug for me whenever an event, usually a wedding, brought us all together. So I'm sad to learn that Babe passed away a couple of days ago, and also a little sorry that I didn't get to spend more time with her.

I don't know where people go when they die, and I'm not sure if they have internet access there. I have no idea if Babe was ever into blogging or if she ever heard the word McBone in her life. But if you are reading this somewhere, Babe, I just want to say goodbye, good luck, and say hi to Grandpa for me.


Pictured above: cousin Babe with much, much, much, much younger cousin, Megan

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The McBone Secret Recipe for a Happy Marriage!

Alex and I have been happily married for almost 9 years. That's saying something in today's society, where the average marital union lasts slightly longer than seven weeks. How do we do it? Well, it's not always easy, but our love is built on a strong foundation. For years we've kept the recipe for a happy marriage secret. Finally we realized how selfish were were being. The recipe itself is simple, as long as you have the right ingredients.

In a large casserole dish combine:

2 cups love
1 cup understanding
2 lb. ground beef, sauteed and drained
1 tsp. patience
1 large onion, diced
12 oz. Velveeta, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 dash communication

Add a pinch of caring and sprinkle generously with hugs, kisses and French's fried onions. Bake for a lifetime in a 350 degree oven and click this link.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

All Over. Sausage Patties Win!

When it comes to breakfast meats, Americans don't fuck around. We want it greasy, we want it salty, we want it hot, and we want it right now. Nothing exemplifies these virtues more than the sausage patty, as McBoners everywhere know. So give it to us whole hog or you can shove it up your ass!

In honor of its recent and sweeping victory by the newly crowned King of Breakfast Meats, we would like to list a few of the ingredients that have been cranked through a grinder, stuffed into a tube, shipped to your grocer's freezer and, finally, fried up in a cast-iron skillet.

Black pepper
Red pepper
Artificial smoke flavor
Monosodium glutamate
Shredded newspaper
Cigarette butts
Stray cats
E. coli
Jagged metal
Bubble gum
Migrant workers


Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert is my employer, yes. He is the person who is ultimately responsible for my paycheck being auto-deposited into my bank account every other week. But that is not the reason why I think D.G. is the most important person to come into the Cleveland scene since Lebron James in 2003.

Don't know why? Don't know who Dan Gilbert is?

Dan Gilbert is the founder and owner of Quicken Loans Inc. A 20 billion dollar residential mortgage company with over 3,500 employees, and one of the only substantial mortgage companies that WASN'T writing bad loans for the past 10 years. By the way, it has been voted one of the top 100 best places to work 6 years in a row by credited sources such as Fortune Magazine.

Here is the reason why I respect and admire what he has done for the magnificant city of Cleveland:

1.) He is the principle owner and operator of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland is a sports town. When we go through hard times people turn to sports so that the struggles of day to day life can be ignored if just for a few hours. The Indians stink. The Browns stink. But Dan has turned a dying basketball franchise into one of the most influential sports teams in the world. The Cavaliers have the best player in the world, they play the league maximum of 33 games on national TV, they have influence overseas so much so that 26 other countries aired our games this season. We have Quicken Loans Arena, one of the best venues in all of sports, a newly built 30 million dollar practice facility and an owner that is willing to spend even more money to win an NBA title. Browns and Indians, what do you have to say? Think it is a coincidence the Cavaliers are so successful? Lebron James, yes, is a huge part of this, but without Dan Gilbert the Cavaliers would undoubtedly have already lost the King. Think of the money that floods downtown Cleveland for people eating, drinking, parking, buying hotel rooms and buying merchandise simply to support the Cavaliers. It is difficult to even put into perspective the economic affect the Cavaliers have on the city. Especially during these trying times. Think people are doing the same for the Browns or Indians? Think again. Just ask some of my local hotel manager clients. They will tell you all you need to know. All the Indians and Browns need to do is take a drive to the corner of Ontario and Huron. It is pretty clear what they are doing wrong and what the Cavaliers organization is doing right.

2.) He brought over 300 jobs to Cleveland by putting one of his Quicken Loans, Inc. call centers right downtown. 300 jobs means 300 more people eating, drinking and living in Cleveland. Enough said.

3.) He is the owner and operator of our newest sports franchise, the Lake Erie Monsters. An American Hockey League club. Guess what. More jobs, more people coming downtown to eat, park and play. This franchise has allowed me and many others an opportunity to build a career in the industry we are passionate about and allows me to do it in a city I love. So what have we accomplished? 9th in the league in attendance out of 29 teams in just two short years. We've had the highest attended game in the entire AHL in both of our first two seasons. We have the largest staff and the nicest facilities of any team in the AHL. Again, not a coincidence. Leadership breeds success, attitude reflects leadership. Dan Gilbert is a strong leader. The people that work for him carry those same qualities.

4.) Like it or not. Dan Gilbert is a strong proponent of bringing a casino to downtown Cleveland. "More than 34,000 new Ohio jobs and $11 billion in economic impact would be generated during construction and the first five years of operations if the ballot issue authorizing casinos in Ohio's four largest cities is approved by voters in November," a new study from the University of Cincinnati shows. Cleveland needs a break. It needs something big to resurrect a city run by poor politics for decades. It needs something different. Think not? If you don't know, take a walk down East 9th street or the Flats. Empty skyscrapers, homeless and countless other deserted restaurants and buildings will tell you otherwise. If this happens it will help this city, and Dan Gilbert will have been a huge part of making it happen.

So cheers to a man who has pride in being from the Midwest and truly wants to make a difference in cities like Detroit and Cleveland. Cities often ignored and crucified in the national media.

Lastly - Here is a link to Dan's newest company that was just announced today. He is a dynamic businessman always looking for the next opportunity. This newest endeavor is a perfect example. Please feel free to try it out as we have been asked to post this on any personal blogs, Facebook etc. This is currently in a private beta test site so it is not live to the public. You can leave any feedback on improvements or errors you spot on the site itself. Feel free to try it out.

Here is a short description of the company just sent to us by Dan this morning. He can articulate better than me:
StyleCaster is a new website that will change the way you look at fashion. It’s your very own 24/7 personal shopper that gives you personalized style tips, the low-down on the latest fashion trends, access to a large catalog of cool clothes and the ability to buy your favorite items with a few clicks of your mouse.

The best part? StyleCaster doesn’t tell you what’s fashionable based on the latest runway style or celebrity endorsement, it actually learns from YOU and serves up outfit ideas, product suggestions and premium content from the top fashion editors and stylists based on YOUR tastes.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Sometimes you just wake up

And realize how lucky you are....But I think most of the time we wake up and live each day often forgetting about the gifts we have been given. The people we have met.

My thoughts go out to the Gordon family.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a community where the relationship you had with your friends, was not all that different then the one you have with your true family. The parents, brothers, sisters, grandmothers and grandfathers...whomever...of all my hometown friends always treated us as their own. Protecting, guiding and often times even scolding....My family and the extended family of where we lived made us the people we are. It is the reason why we all still have such a close bond, even if we don't see or talk to each other for days, months, years.
The Gordon family was one of those families...One that I know touched so many of us. So thank you.

These are the things that motivate me, every single day. So that I can give my children all that I was fortunate enough to receive. I love my community, I love all of you that touched my life and made living in Bath, Richfield and Akron the greatest memories of my life.

So I choose to be thankful. Mom, Dad, Krystl, Nate, Alex, Spencer, Seda, Isla.......I'm thankful for you. Even though you're all idiots...and some of you like mayonnaise.....I love you.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

It's a Dead Heat!

With only three days left to vote, the heavily favored bacon and sausage patties have surged to the lead, leaving behind dark horses steak, ham, and an apparently inferior form of sausage, links. Bringing up the rear are pork chops, catfish, and, in a surprisingly poor performance from our neighbor to the north, Canadian bacon.

Who will emerge the winner in the great breakfast meat debate? Will bacon sizzle and spatter its way into the lead? Do patties have enough spice to get them to the finish line? Only time, and the McBoners, can tell.

Drawing from a vast, international pool of voters, this poll is by all means definitive, absolute and incontrovertible.


Set List, The Bob Dylan Show, July 10th, 2009

Last night Alex, suegra and I hopped in the McBonemobile and raced over at warp speed to Fifth Third Field in Dayton, Ohio. The Bob Dylan Show featured another pair of legends, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cougar, and the venue was the cozy home of Class A ballclub, the Dayton Dragons (currently languishing at 6-9 in the Midwest League). While we love Willie Nelson (and are 100% indifferent to Mellencamp), Bob was the reason we made the three-hour drive. Full of hotdogs and beer and piss and vinegar, we found a good spot and parked ourselves on the outfield grass. Here's the set list from his completely awesome performance:

Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
Lay Lady Lay
Lonesome Day Blues
Love Sick
The Levee's Gonna Break
Beyond the Horizon
Honest with Me
Make You Feel My Love
Highway 61 Revisited
If You Ever Go to Houston
Summer Days
Like a Rolling Stone*
All Along the Watchtower

This marks, by my calculations, the 9th time I've seen Dylan in concert. How does this one rank? Pretty near the middle, I'd say. I'm not sure he'll ever surpass a certain night in Columbus in 1996, when he redefined the meaning of transcendence, but this was really, really, really good. Mostly he stuck to his post 1999 output, a pretty even mix of songs from the last four albums with a few classics thrown in for good measure. The band, a bit loose at the beginning, was in top form by the time they cranked out Lonesome Day Blues. From there it was a rollicking good time. Great crowd, great band, and the ultimate musical genius pounding the keyboard and blowing harp. Why, he even picked up his guitar for a couple of numbers.

*Like a Rolling Stone--it's the song that made me fall in love with Bob Dylan. Has it become a cliche? I would say yes, if Bob didn't refuse to let it become cliche by constantly finding new ways to deliver it to us. Honestly, I don't think I've ever heard a better performance of the song, and several other equally stunned people around us were making similar comments.

Official McBone Rating: 4.0 McBones.

The evening also provided an unexpected delight from Alex's Dayton years--an encounter with old friends Fran and Ralph.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Fifty Ways You Can Accurately Describe Mayonnaise

Legend has it that, moments after signing the Declaration of Independence, Button Gwinnett of Georgia took ill and collapsed. After languishing for three days in agony (though calling all the while for freedom from oppression and a BLT on wheat), Gwinnett succumbed at the young age of 42. Subsequent autopsies revealed that the left ventricle of the statesman's heart was filled nearly two-thirds of the way with mayonnaise.

Two hundred and thirty-three years later, we still we haven't kicked the habit. With the fireworks of July 4th come and gone and so many digestive systems contending with those extra helpings of potato salad, it's time once again to reflect on just how disgusting Mayonnaise is. Tragically, the White Menace remains legal in all fifty states. In protest, here are fifty ways you can describe mayonnaise and other mayonnaise-based products.

1. Gross
2. Disgusting
3. Nauseating
4. Revolting
5. Atrocious
6. Sickening
7. Rank
8. Vomitritious
9. Heinous
10. Vile
11. Abominable
12. Crap-tastic
13. Noxious
14. Offensive
15. Execrable
16. Horrendous
17. Repugnant
18. Unholy
19. Satanic
20. Repulsive
21. Foul
22. Appalling
23. Despicable
24. Contemptible
25. Icky
26. Evil
27. Odious
28. Unappealing
29. Malodorous
30. Nasty as fuck
31. Objectionable
32. Putrescent
33. Reprehensible
34. Depraved
35. Slimy
36. Unappetizing
37. Awful
38. Unclean
39. Toxic
40. Inhumane
41. Greasy
42. Ghastly
43. Grotesque
44. Immoral
45. Sulfurous
46. Unconstitutional
47. Vulgar
48. Base
49. Uncouth
50. Abhorrent