Monday, November 30, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

On This Thanksgiving

Here's a picture of me with a Swensons cheesburger with everything (pickles, mustard and onions), which is just moments away from becoming intimately acquainted with my digestive juices.  Also, notice that I'm wearning a Cleveland Browns winter hat (ca. 1985), signifying my loyalty to the Cleveland Browns football team.

McBone will be settling for turkey and gravy today.  Tomorrow, we take our act to another legendary Akron burger joint: Whitey's.  Stay tuned.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Swensons, Here We Come!

Thanksgiving is drawing near, gentle McBoners, and of course this is the time of year when we are taught to reflect on everything we have to be thankful for.  This year, I choose Swensons.  Swensons!  Positively the greatest burger joint in the known McBoniverse.

2009 marks the 75th year that Swensons Drive-ins have been feeding hungry motorists in the greater Akron area.  I can only imagine what an empty, desolate, horrible place the world must have been before 1934, when Pop Swenson started selling his slightly sweet, buttery burgers on the western edge of town.  Thankfully, I didn't have to live through that.  Hopefully, no one will ever have to again.

It may seem odd to gush about hamburgers when a Thanksgiving feast is on the horizon, but any Akronite living in exile will surely sympathize--once you've had Swensons, life without it hardly seems worth living.  So this Wednesday at lunch, I will simultaneously be giving thanks for and devouring:

A cheeseburger with everything
A second cheeseburger with everything
A side of rings
A small mocha milkshake

Have a happy thanksgiving everyone, and don't forget to stop at your favorite burger joint* soon.


*McDonald's doesn't count

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Forget Dasher and Dancer; Only Vixens Here

My loyalty to Bob Dylan runs deep.  There's no record of his that I don't own, and some of them are really pretty awful.  I've even got that crummy album from when he got all saved on us.

His latest album, however, is not Christian Rock. No sir, it's something far more frightening.  It is, god help us, Christmas Music.

I enjoy Christmas music about as much as I enjoy a poke in the eye.  My wife, however, adores the stuff, and she ordered Dylan's Christmas in the Heart as soon as it was available on Amazon.  Due to our household embargo on Christmas music that runs from January 1st to November 30th, she has yet to pop Bob's new release into the old hi-fi.  Them's the rules 'round here.

However, I have had a chance to peruse the contents of the packaging, and I have to say that, while Bob's picture is nowhere to be found, I approve wholeheartedly:

In fact, I'm going to just go ahead and dust off the old McBone Seal of Approval for this one: McB.

Ah, Christmas, Bob Dylan and sex.  You know, just this once, we may have to lift that embargo.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

McBone: 20,000 and Counting

Sometime today, the McBone hit counter will crack 20,000.  Though I'm sure there are blogs out there that register twenty thousand hits in about five minutes, McBone is overwhelmed by the continued and growing support of the McBoners.  Truly you are the stars of the McBoniverse.  Every day our little counter assures me that we're not just throwing these words to the wind. 

After almost 3 years and some 400 posts, we continue to stand behind:

The eradication of mayonnaise and mayonnaise-based foods
Cleveland sports
Liberal politics
Alcohol consumption
Northeast Ohio
Welcome to Falling Rock National Park
Gay rights
Anything else we feel like blogging about

We thank you, McBoners.  Here's to 20 thou' and counting.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Here's a New Moon for You

As a wintry drear settles over the Midwest, we naturally lament the summer days when we could shed layers and bask in a warm wealth of sunlight.

However, some layers are better left unshed.  Check out this waxing gibbous, spotted downtown in Lafayette, Indiana on a broiling summer afternoon:

Short days and lousy weather still got you down?  Look closer.  If that deep, dark, fetid chasm doesn't make you pine for sweaters and coats and a -30 wind chill, nothing will.


Photo courtesy of Jessica

Shaquille Foliglio

The McBoners have spoken!  Allow us to introduce you to little Shaquille Foliglio, although maybe little isn't the right word.  Click the photo to see just what we mean:

Baby Shaq should be sliding his way through the birth canal sometime next April, just in time to watch his namesake in the playoffs.  In honor of this naming ceremony, we present one of the early (only) works of his father, McBone Poet Laureate Micheal Foliglio, from The Diz-aster Book of Poems:


lony lony lony
lony lony lony
OH what a lony
I hate lonies
lony lony lony
lony lony lony
lony lony lony

Though scholars remain divided as to what exactly a lony is, this short piece remains among the most admired in his canon.  Lyrical and blithely dark, "Lony" distills the fears and follies of a generation in seven lines of apparent whimsy.  As with most of his work, the fluttering, staccato gaity is but a costume that thinly shrouds a world gone wrong, at least in the eyes of the famously irascible bard.

May young Shaquille be blessed with a less tortured soul than his father's.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mephistopheles 1997-2009

I knew a 3 AM phone call that jerked me from my slumber could have only meant terrible news.  Sure enough, Mom's voice, a thin, weepy whistle, confirmed my fears.

Mephistopheles, my cat, was dead.

Alex, in a not unprecedented moment of clairvoyance, had asked me not 48 hours earlier how long I thought my cat would live.  A few more years, was my reply.  Little did I know, she was already on the brink of death.

Mephisto came to me as a kitten during my junior year at Ohio University, the bright idea of a onetime flame.  I was reading Faust at the time, and thought the name of Satan's imp perfect for a cat.  The girl didn't stick around.  The cat did, and for the next 12 years, Mephisto was my faithful friend. Though a string of moves and Alex's allergies kept Mephisto at Mom's house, our intermittent reunions were always loving and affectionate.  I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't always there for Mephisto.  To her credit, she never held it against me.  Late at night, as I watched a ballgame, she would nestle into my reclining torso, her claws kneading, kneading my skin into a raw, bloody patch.

I always felt guilty whenever we packed up for a new adventure, knowing it could be a year or more before I saw my cat again.  Not that she had it bad, mind you.  No, with the whole of McBone Headquarters to roam, she was free to stalk all critters she pleased.  Chipmunks were her favorite.  On more than one occasion she would bring a dead rodent from the woods, limp in the grip of her jaw, and devour it right in front of us.  Crunch, crunch went the bones.  Inevitably, she would regurgitate the semi-digested blob of fur and muscle.  Sure it was an ooey-gooey mess, but the dog was always there to scarf it up again.

I'll never forget the time Mephisto gave birth to stillborn kittens on my then-girldfriend Kendra's lap.  We didn't know who knocked her up, or that she was even pregnant--my bad for not having had her fixed. Kendra, whose jeans and sweatshirt absorbed much of the slime, was a real sport about it.  I have no idea what kind of memory cats have about such things, but it never seemed to phase her.  Nothing did, not even when she got stuck in the muddy hole the neighbors had dug for a swimming pool (I always think of that scene in Poltergeist).  True to her species, Mephisto dragged herself out and crawled home, too tired to groom herself for days.  I supposed she used up two or three lives in that episode, but she just kept on keepin' on.

Finally, though, the lives ran out.  A series of spasms brought Mephisto to the brink of death.  Lethal injection finished her off.  I should have liked to say goodbye to my cat in person.  Instead I'll send her off McBone style.  I don't know how long it will be before I can exhume her little skull and claim it as a desk ornament, but hopefully not long.

Adieu, Mephisto.  Until we meet again, my dear, neglected friend.


Monday, November 16, 2009

McBone Presents: The 2009-2010 Aunt and Uncle Standings

With the polls closed, the ballots cast and counted, it's time to unveil the 2009-2010 Aunt and Uncle Standings.  While rumors of widespread corruption made a costly and drawn-out recall vote seem probable, McBone-appointed diplomats have managed to avert such a crisis.

As always, the results, based on the judgment of a nonpartisan panel, are absolute.  However, with the holiday season just around the corner, McBone would like to remind all eligible aunts and uncles that it's never too early to start thinking about next November.


1. Gail - Single-handedly put on one of the most bitchin' weddings in recent memory.  The 40 gallon vat of clam chowder she concocted for the event remains the single best soup ever made by humankind.

2. Fay - This high water mark in her aunting career has a rejuvenated Aunt Fay sniffing next year's title.

3. Susan J. - Eroding skills?  Another pedestrian finish for a three-time champ.

4. Denise - Plenty of talent.  Needs to work on fundamentals.

*5. Ann - A hot apple pie bought her last year's title.  This year's banana-lime Jell-O mold with Cool Whip could not hold onto it.

6. Susan G. - In fact, her all-around aunting performance was much improved after last year's dismal finish.  Would have placed higher but for unsightly goiter.


1. Don S. (no longer in family) - I haven't seen former Uncle Don for like 25 years.  But sometimes, less is more.

2. Al - Remains the tallest of the uncles.  Also, the only uncle who can breakdance.

3. Ed - Impressive finish after finally retiring Fun in the Sun 1982 t-shirt earlier this year.

*4. Glen - A serious dip for funneling money to the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party.

5. Jeff - His recent, loud declaration of loyalty to "Team Edward" left family members stunned and disturbed.

6. Pete - Steep decline reflects his decision to salvage long-coveted Fun in the Sun 1982 t-shirt for himself.

7. Don H. - Widely regarded as the LA Clippers of uncles, 2009-2010 figured to be the year Uncle Don climbed out of the cellar for the first time.  Indeed, an hour's worth of sound financial advice last summer was factored in to the final tally.  Uncle Don's mind boggling 19th straight year in the basement represents a continuing refusal to stop dipping the mayonnaise knife in the mustard jar.

Past results



*Denotes last year's winner

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Wife's Popularity...

is up 163% this week.


You Win, Leaves

Hey, leaves, I give up.  You not only win, you own my ass.  You are the Steelers, I the Browns.  There isn't a single one of you left in the trees, and yet, by some unholy curse, the lawn keeps filling up.  Armed with my trusty rake, I have now been gathering you into large piles for the past 5 weekends.  Oak, maple, birch, matters not, for the trees are in league against me.  Did Sisyphus suffer so?

So here I am, bowing down, a true supplicant kneeling before his Masters.  You may be thin and brittle, but by sheer numbers you become a mighty force of nature.  Like the million drops of rain that make the flood, you have turned my lawn into a parti-colored sea that even Moses would be helpless to part.  I beg you to stop, have mercy, desist, but know you answer to no earthly entreaties.

Truly, this day I am humbled.  I am bound to this task, and I await next Saturday not with dread, but resignation.


Friday, November 13, 2009

What Happens When You Mix Leather Goods with Crystal Meth?

I'm not sure why this stuff always happens when you combine Nate, Alex, Craig and Jessica with some sort of fair--state, county or otherwise.  I was going to just let this one go.  Take the high road.  Forgive and forget.  Turn the other cheek.  Let bygones be bygones.  Live and let live.

Can't do it.

Sweating, smelly and belligerent, this guy ran the Leon Leather shop at the Indianapolis State Fair with all the welcoming warmth and charm of a kick to the groin, and he must forever live with the wrath of McBone.

'NO PITCHERS!'  He barked as Jessica snapped this photo.  Meanwhile, he swatted the hands, sticky with fairgrounds comestibles, of customers who browsed through the panoply of leather goods--purses, vests, chaps, belts, wallets and, the object of our visit, cowboy hats.  He was like the perfect hybrid of a den mother and a big, sweaty asshole.

"How much is this one?" Alex asked.  The question was innocent enough, but it set off a firestorm.

"Fifty dollars," he growled, his bloodshot eyes darting here and there in a sort of frenzied malice, barely contained. 

'That's expensive,' one client noted under her breath.

'IT'S LEATHER!' boomed the voice of our bellicose friend.  'LEATHER COSTS MORE!'  His moustache bristled.  Sweat poured from his sun-broasted face.  For one fearful moment, I thought he was going to slug the poor woman for the affront. 

As he became more and more unhinged, it was clear that this purveyor of leather goods was in dire need of something to huff.  In terror, his clientele scattered, fairgoers in search of friendlier confines than Leon Leather.

We don't know what became of our leather peddling misanthrope.  We can only hope some merciful soul has put that poor t-shirt out of its misery.

Pictured: Alex risks life and limb by trying on a Leon Leather cowboy hat.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The McBone Babe Award

Though my brother and I (and Google) wield total power at McBone, we like to think of ourselves as a democracy first and foremost.  So when the idea suddenly hit me to select the first ever McBone Babe of the Month, I naturally gravitated toward running a monthlong poll.  Let the McBoners decide, I thought.  That's the McBone way.  Then it occurred to me that it really was no contest.  And then I wondered why on earth I would ever qualify this thing.  Babe of the month?  Preposterous!  To a star that pierces the firmament, one month is as the life of a lit match, and ne'er shall this star burn out of the McBoniverse.

Loyal readers remember her best as the former vice presidential nominee and current member of the revamped Cleveland Indians.  Oh yes! Yes, you know who she is.  Maybe she occupies your dreams as well.  She is a part of McBone lore, our near-mythic fairgrounds gamine.  Without her, the McBone babes are but a ragged ensemble of pretenders.

She is the Sheffield Lake Girl.

McBone is proud to bestow the first and only McBone Babe Award upon the Sheffield Lake Girl.  Wheresoever she tramps, we know not, but of this we are certain: where the Tilt-a-Whirl tilts (and whirls), she is there; her spirit leans ever toward the vast, paved places where funnel cakes and corndogs fry.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Spammers Beware

Ok, spammer who tried to post Viagra ads in the comment section yesterday, I don't know what kind of asshole blog you think this is, but you are now officially on notice.  Just what sort of operation do you think we're running here?  This isn't some ordinary, everyday, halfpenny blog you're dealing with, and we don't conduct business in the back alleys and basements of cyberspace.  This is McBone, and you know what?  McBone is pissed.

Hear me and hear me good, you mayonnaise chugging, Yankees loving, McDonald's grubbing piece of shit--the comment board is for McBoners only, not scrubs with nothing better to do than harass bloggers and the readers of blogs.  I'm not sure what you were trying to accomplish here anyway, because McBoners are smart; if they need Viagra, they're not going to click on some virus-ridden link embedded in the comment section of a blog.  

So I'm calling you out, fucker.  I dare you to try that again.  In fact I want you to try again, because I'm telling you now, there will be consquences the next time you attempt to post your Viagra links on McBone.  In the words of Liam Neeson from the greatest godawful movie of all time:

That's a promise.  Are you listening, shithead?  Me and a very special set of skills are waiting.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Dark Day for Akron

McBone is proud of its Akron roots, but today the disappointment we feel in our hometown is profound, as incumbent Akron Municipal Court Judge Stephen Fallis, who has been like a second father to me for all of my 34 years, lost his seat to some no account challenger named McCarty.

A man of unshakable integrity, Steve has held the post since his appointment by Governor Ted Strickland in February.  Nowhere will you find a person better suited for a job that demands fairness, honesty and impartiality.  Guess those weren't the qualities that Akronites were looking for today.

I regret that I am not a registered Summit County voter.  Casting a vote for Steve would have been one of the honors of my life.

Your loss, Akron.


Monday, November 2, 2009

This is Why I Want Kids

Trees can be serious a-holes sometimes.  Yes, I know how important they are with this business of inhaling carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen.  Obviously you gotta love how they breathe in what we breathe out, and vice versa; it's kind of like one of those symbiotic things they kept trying to tell us about in Star Wars, Episode I when all we wanted was for the movie to stop sucking so bad.

Let's also not forget that trees give us much of the fruit we eat and all that paper and wood for our daily needs.  Best yet, trees provide the shade that those barefoot dudes in flannel shirts liked to sit in at Ohio University while they strummed the guitar.  Oh, trees are beautiful too, no doubt about it.

But for a few weeks every year the trees (I'm talking to you, deciduous) decide to get shitty and make us pay for all that good stuff.  Take a look at my weekend:

Here's the wrath of the trees from another angle:

And that's just the front yard.  Seriously, is there a better excuse for having children than the sea of leaves that these douchebag trees annually deposit on our yards?  I can't wait until I get to yank the cord of Junior's PlayStation 8 from the wall and tell that kid to get off his lazy ass and rake those goddam leaves and get me a beer while you're at it!

In a related note, here is our Concord grapevine, still alive after more than 2 months.

Why is this significant?  Probably because everything I've ever planted has an average lifespan of about 10 days.  Here's a quick breakdown of my herb garden as we near the first frost of the dormant season:

Basil - dead
Jalepenos - dead
Cilantro - deceased
Rosemary - ransacked by chipmunks
Sage - dead
Thyme - way dead
Oregano - on life support
Parsley - dying

I'm frustrated, but the word 'quit' isn't in the vocabulary of the NOML 2007 moustache growing champion.