Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sidney Poitier Is One Handsome Man

Sidney Poitier.  Some consider him to be one of the finest actors of his time.  Others consider his performances to be slighly overwrought.  One thing that cannot be denied, however, is that Sidney Poiter is one hell of a handsome man.  Check it out:

Sidney Poitier is so handsome it makes me mad.  It makes me mad that my parents gave me such butt-ugly looks in comparison.  Criminy, if there was ever a handsomer man born on Earth, I haven't seen him.

And about that acting.  In the Heat of the Night has always been one of my favorite pictures.  Every scene is dripping with sweat and saturated with the deep-south racism of the 1960s.  The best moment is right here, courtesy Mr. Poitier and Rod Steiger.

A moment of overacting between these two gentleman? Possibly.  Is it completely awesome?  Yeah, yeah, yeah!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

McBoneBeat; Poll Closes with McBoners Split

After a mad, eleventh-hour rush to computers and portable devices, the latest McBoneBeat poll has closed. Two points surprise me:

1) Twenty people actually voted.

2) Of them, ten believe that Chief Wahoo isn't offensive.

I sort of get it about not changing the name.  Well, not really, but I'll let it go for now.  But Chief Wahoo?  Can anyone look at this thing and tell me it is NOT a hideous representation of Native Americans?  If you can, I beg you to look again and, please, tell me why.

I know you all are probably sick of me writing about this, but I've been fed up with my baseball team's logo for at least twenty years.  Yet, every time I watch a game, or visit the team's website, I'm greeted by this phenomenally awful image.  I really don't see any argument for maintaining this monstrosity for another second.  Yet, the arguments keep coming.  Here are some of the most common I've come across.  You'll notice that most of them do not constitute arguments at all:

Chief Wahoo is tradition - This is no justification.  Something so fundamentally wrong does not deserve a prolonged lifespan simply because it is a few decades old; it deserves to go away, and should have about 50 years ago.  Or rather, it should never have been.

Chief Wahoo honors Indians - The protesters who have been showing up at the ballpark for more than 30 years would beg to differ.  Personally, I find a stupidly grinning, buffoonish, lobster-hued caricature with a feather to be a pretty poor tribute to both the vast array of people and cultures that were wiped off the planet forever and to the ones that have survived.

There are more important problems to worry about - I would counter that smearing a racist image all over a public space warrants a lot of attention.

Chief Wahoo makes people happy - So did minstrel shows.

I am part American Indian and Chief Wahoo doesn't bother me - Then you need to wake up, revisit that part of your heritage and become aware of the devastation that has been visited upon Native Americans for half a millennium.

What about the Notre Dame 'Fighting Irish?' and all the pirate and Viking mascots out there? - Maybe you're right.  Maybe we just shouldn't go there.  I would argue though that white people nicknaming themselves after white people is slightly less problematic than white people nicknaming themselves after people they massacred through centuries of disease and violence.

PC-ness is destroying the country - I've heard this multiple times, and I'd call it a slight exaggeration.  I'd also argue that political correctness is rooted in racial and cultural sensitivity.  If that's what we call destroying the country, I say destroy it.  We'll destroy it into awesomeness.

All this is just liberal whining - If so, I am a proud whiner.  Better to be whiny than blind.

If any of you agree with me and would like to join the campaign and happen to be on facebook, click here!

Disagree?  I'd still like to hear from more of you.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Owen Wilson, Stop Making Bad Dog Movies

In 2001 a movie called The Royal Tenenbaums hit the theaters.  It was co-written by and starred a young actor named Owen Wilson and it was awesome.  In fact, it was so awesome that I regard it as one of the two greatest comedies of all time (the other being Kind Hearts and Coronets), and yes, I have seen them all.

Owen Wilson made his first dog movie in 2008.  It co-starred Jennifer Aniston and some dog.

Owen Wilson's second dog movie, based on the daily newspaper comic Marmaduke, is coming soon to theaters.  If you've ever had the misfortune of reading Marmaduke, you know it's a terrible cartoon.  Essentially, it involves the daily hijinks of a big dog.  Usually the hijinks revolve around eating 'people food,' as illustrated in the above panel, or destroying the house in which he lives, or both.  If Marmaduke was a real life dog, he would be taken out to the woods by his owners and very lovingly shot.

Well, someone saw enough potential in this lousy single panel comic to merit a whole feature-length movie.  Once they realized that a hungry dog wasn't satisfactory for a two hour film, they decided that Marmaduke should be a talking hungry dog.  When this still wasn't enough, a talking cat was recruited.  When that still wasn't enough, hundreds of talking dogs were brought in.  Naturally, someone had to do the voice work for these roles.  Enter Owen Wilson.

Warning to Owen Wilson fans, or anyone over 3 years old: watching this trailer in its entirety will make you weep for humanity:

Did you make it through the line dancing?  If you did, congratulations.  You have successfully not barfed on your computer.

Now, please don't misunderstand me.  I know that Owen Wilson has had some problems, that he survived a suicide attempt and clearly has some grave emotional issues.  He's also made some questionable choices along the way.  We can forgive that.  But we're calling for a moratorium on the dog movies.  I know the guy has talent.  I know he's creative.  If I had one wish right now, you know what I'd wish for? I'd wish for the real Owen Wilson to come back.*

Or maybe I'd ask for a daily comic about animals that actually makes me laugh.


*Not true; I'd ask for a million more wishes!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

S.E. Rogie, Why Did You Have to Die?

Best singer, best guitarist.

Heartbreak is among the most fundamental human miseries.  Personally, I've never heard an emotion more perfectly articulated.

Music like this makes me remember how essential and how human it is to feel blue.

I love you, S.E. Rogie, wherever you are.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

McBone Nation Divided

Though it's only been up for a day, I admit to being a bit startled when I checked the status of the latest McBone pole.

I was startled because to me it's just seems so obvious.  When I see Chief Wahoo, I see this:

And I see this:

And this:

I think most of us would agree that, nowadays, the above images simply wouldn't fly in a public space. Yet, aside from a few mostly ignored protestors, Chief Wahoo continues get a free pass.  The McBoners are divided in the early going of this poll, and I want to know why.  If you find Chief Wahoo to be an offensive caricature of a Native American, give us your reasons.  To those who find neither the mascot nor the name problematic, feel free to post your rationale.  If you don't feel comfortable with the topic, you can always leave an anonymous comment.



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Profiles in Evil; The Living Brain

Robots.  Their uses are many, but they are a constant liability.  One tiny malfunction can hopelessly scramble the programming of even the best-intentioned machine.  A freak lightning strike, an errant splash of water, an acute blow to the mainframe and suddenly you don't have a robot on your hands; you have an out of control kill-bot.

No robot better illustrates this reality than Spider-Man's mortal enemy, the Living Brain.

Don't let the blocky green carapace fool you: the Living Brain is as high tech as it gets.  A miracle of robotic engineering, every circuit and tube was designed with one purpose in mind--to create the ultimate supercomputer, capable of calculating the answer to any question that our puny human minds can conjure.

But the Living Brain isn't merely the height of artificial intelligence, nor is it simply a one-dimensional yet potent sex machine.  Positioned atop two rollers, this robot is highly mobile, capable of traveling at speeds exceeding 8 miles per hour.  In a stroke of lunacy by its creator, Dr. Petty, the Living Brain was also fitted with a pair of powerful swiveling arms, each featuring a fingerless 'hand,' that bears a much closer resemblance to a wrecking ball.  

When Dr. Petty decided the time was right to show off his masterwork, he choose the most logical place to demonstrate its virtually limitless potential--a high school science class.  After a brief demonstration of its capabilities, a pair of roustabout workers see opportunity knocking.  Naturally their designs to steal the Living Brain for their own lowlife pursuits at the racetrack lead to a disaster of near-catastrophic proportions.  When, in a scuffle with Dr. Petty, one of the degenerates jolts the computer's control panel, an inevitable short circuit ensues.  Suddenly, the Living Brain's super-advanced intelligence center is focused on a single objective: DESTROY!

Untethered by any sense of morality, the Living Brain rampages.  With arms gyrating and students in peril, there's only one hope to save Midtown High--Spider-Man, who, in a moment of supreme canniness, flips off the robot's power switch.  The Living Brain is subdued, but not before major structural damage to the school that will no doubt be billed to John Q. Taxpayer.  Dr. Petty, needless to say, is ruined.

So, let the near-tragedy of the Living Brain be a lesson to everyone. Terrible things tend to happen when we play god.  All robots have an evil side, and Spider-Man can't be everywhere at once.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cleveland's Beloved Indian Chief

McBone first denounced the Cleveland Indians' racist logo, Chief Wahoo, a couple of years ago.  I took that post and submitted it to the Akron Beacon Journal and Cleveland Plain Dealer and asked them to consider publishing it in their respective sports pages.  I was very courteously and roundly rejected.

No matter.  Figuring the article would reach hundreds of thousands of McBone readers anyway, I let it go.

But, dammit it, every time I see that god awful thing, it bothers me.  I root for the team, but always with the hope that they will soon rid the franchise of its despicable mascot.

Yesterday I took my concern to that haven of tolerance and progressive thought and good grammar, Facebook.  I casually remarked on an Indians fan page that I was, 'so sick of looking at that racist Chief Wahoo logo.'  Here are some of the responses I got:

-too bad with it..better yet go harrass the atlanta braves or maybe the chicago blackhawks....effin cry baby liberal

-I love Chief Wahoo, you effing creep. When I walk to the stadium past the protesters I finger that love right in their faces.

-I love Chief Wahoo,too!! I only buy Indians merchandise that has Wahoo on it. Political correctness and libs, with their cries of racism, are ruining this country!

-Chief Wahoo is NOT a racist logo. He is a happy, friendly face. What is so racist about that? Those of you that want to bring your extremist politics into baseball should get a life!!

-Am I the only one noticing that Dolan is slowly phasing out Chief Wahoo? First, he got smaller on the hats. Then he was not included on the alternate jerseys or hats, except on the sleeve, next hes off the spring training hats. Finally the other day, i got a Tribe Schedule and he is NOWHERE on it. My opinion of Dolan sinks with each waking moment. Chief Wahoo is nothing more than a cartoon character, no different from Ziggy. And I am a proud LIBERAL

-Same thing here in DC...every couple years someone cries about the Redskins logo.

-Nathaniel, you think Chief Wahoo is racist, but you support Gay marriages? How sick are YOU? What an a-hole!

-Nathaniel, there are real problems in this country. Go fight for a cause that matters.

-What the hell are you doing here in the first place ??

-Gouge your eyes out, plug your ears, sit on your hands, and stop whining.
An American soldier died so that you could have the right to your opinion.
But, if something else is bothering you... don't let the door hit you in the ass, leave the country, see what happens when you bitch elsewhere

-I love Chief Wahoo too, and I'm tired of hearing about it. If anything, Chief Wahoo is a boost to the Indian race. They even got the national spotlight in 2 movies. How many of these jerks were complaining when the Tribe was winning? I say, GET A LIFE!! and.... GO TRIBE!!!!!!

I was expecting some hostility, but not such uniform hostility.  The one that really gets me is the LIBERAL guy.  He's basically saying, 'I'm a liberal and therefore have the moral high ground and if I say Chief Wahoo is ok, then he must be ok.'  The rest is pretty much par for the course on an internet comment page.

It was probably petty of me to toss a political remark into a baseball forum, but more and more I have a hard time ignoring this, and wanted to test the northeast Ohio waters a little.  Every year native people gather for opening day at Progressive Field to protest a mascot they find offensive to their culture and history.  Every year they are ridiculed and mocked by passers-by.  Call me an effing, bleeding-heart, tree-hugging, gay-marriage-supporting liberal if you want, but I believe that when something is offensive to one ethnic group, we should all be offended.  If any of you McBoners out there are with me and think that a race of people who were essentially wiped out by disease and violence deserve better than a grinning, idiotic, red-faced cartoon, I invite you to join the Facebook group I started.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ahh, Finally

From our front yard:

Saturday, March 20, 9:00 AM

Saturday, March 20, 1:50 PM


The Mysterious Case of the Missing Coffee

I never expected this saga would continue beyond last night.  I thought one expletive-filled rant would diffuse my rage enough that I could drive to the store and replace the coffee I had given up for lost.  By the time I woke up this morning, it was behind me.

Then I found the pin.

I'm not sure what to make of all this.  In the movies, this sort of subtle 'clue' usually foreshadows ghostly terrors to come.  The thing is, I don't believe in ghosts.  At least I don't think I do.  Like anyone, I've had some spooky encounters in my life, but nothing that would ever make me believe definitively in paranormal activity.  I'm much more likely to suspect someone is messing with me.  I doubt that is the case this time.

As I amply illustrated in my previous post, I have over years become a certified caffeine addict.  So, like the millions of other caffaholics in the world, the first thing I do in the morning is gravitate zombie-like to the coffee maker.  This morning being no different, I brewed a pot and then opened the fridge in search of some breakfast.  Well, wouldn't you know it, there's the vanished coffee from last night, in the spot in the door normally reserved for butter: 

This in itself is nothing strange.  I keep the coffee in a cupboard, but certainly could have, in my absent-mindedness, stuck it in the fridge the last time I used it.  The thing is: I looked there last night.  I looked everywhere.  I was, after all, desperate.

But whatever.  I grabbed the bag and was about to shut the fridge when I spotted this lying on the bottom shelf:
Now what the hell?  A pearl-headed pin?  I'm fairly certain that this object came from the sewing kit that belonged to Alex's late grandmother.  I'm absolutely certain that the pin wasn't in the fridge last night.

Normally, I would have appealed to my wife.  She's the only one who uses that sewing kit, which is kept in the hall closet.  It seems unlikely that she would leave a pin in the fridge, but these things happen.  The only snag there is, Alex has been at a conference in Louisville, Kentucky since Wednesday.  I'm all alone here, and I've been in the fridge at least a dozen times since she left.

I have no good explanation as to why these two items mysteriously appeared in a refrigerator that I scoured last night in a fruitless hunt for coffee.  Either there is some sort of supernatural activity going on--Alex's grandmother leaving a message, perhaps, or a former resident of the house having a bit of fun?--or I'm as blind as a bat.

I'm at a loss.  What do you think, McBoners?


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Where the Fuck is My Fucking Coffee?!?

All right, I know I had a goddam pound of coffee in the kitchen.  I know cause I brewed some last night.  The bag was practically full.  Now I can't find it.  I'm officially fucked.

How the hell am I supposed to write tonight?  I have about a billion pages of this textbook I need to crank out in the next few days and it sure ain't getting done without coffee.  I've torn the kitchen apart looking for this goddam fucking douchebag coffee, but it's just gone.  What the hell happened?  A bag of coffee don't just sprout legs and walk off, does it?  DOES IT???

What's that?  Calm down, you say?  I AM CALM.  Calmness isn't helping me find my coffee.

Drink tea?  Tea doesn't do it.  Never has, never will.  Fuck tea.

Maybe I need to cut down if not having coffee affects me so much?  Bite my ass.

Now I have to drive all the way to the fucking store. 


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Night of Darkness, Did I Qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records?

Yes, that's right, I'm pretty sure I qualified.  Although the Guinness Book staff claimed they were too busy covering the Cavaliers "Snuggie" night to be present for this event; you will soon certainly agree that I should be inducted into the book.  In their defense, I guess no one could have predicted what was about to happen on the night of March 13th, 2010 at approximately 10:30pm.
It happened so fast.  One minute I was enjoying a Bombay martini and watching a fantastic MAC championship game, the next minute I was right smack in the middle of my worst nightmare.  YES, on this night I was faced with the all-time and permanent #1 McBone Enemy, MAYONNAISE.  An enormous, white, pasty, disgusting glob of the nastiest substance on the face of the Earth.  My loving girlfriend standing there practically wetting her pants with enjoyment from my distress.  My competitive nature and devotion to the city of Akron got the best of me.  I made a foolish bet and put my life in jeopardy.  Yes, the Bombay was mostly responsible, but I never thought the Bobcats could pull it out.  I had to take the chance, knowing the reward would be seeing one of the pickiest eaters on the face of planet ingest Anchovies.  I made a mistake that will live with me for the rest of my mayonnaise free life.

I would say Lauren had about 2 tablespoons of the white menace on that cold metal spoon.  Just that morning I had used that same spoon to devour a delicious bowl of Captain Crunch.  Now it was set to deliver a knock-out punch that may in fact send me to the hospital, or worse.

After five minutes of stalling and pacing throughout the kitchen, I knew I had to confront my demons.  So the moment was upon me.  Lauren lifted the spoon towards my mouth and the mayonnaise passed my lips.  I closed down and she pulled the spoon back.  I barely had time to realize that two tablespoons of mayonnaise were currently inside of my body before a light brighter than the sun flashed in front of eyes. I found myself floating above my own body wondering what possibly could have just happened.  I lost consciousness.

When I came to about 10 minutes later only the witnesses of this atrocity could fill me in on what happened. Allegedly the mayonnaise lasted less than a half second in my mouth before I projectile vommited into the sink.  I contest that if a representative from the Guinness book of World Records would have been present, and if there was a record for fastest puke time, I would have blown the record away. My body had obviously already anticipated what was about to happen, and summoned my gag reflex to protect against any white devilish paste that would try to enter my stomach.  Not one single drop was actually ingested but that certainly does not make up for my egregious lack of judgment. 

So far I've only had three nightmares about that night, but hopefully those will subside with time, intense counseling and self-reflection.  I want to make a formal apology to a few people in particular:  McBone Nation, all of the McBoners and McBloggers, The Northern Ohio Mustache League, the Anti-Mayonnaise McBones and McBoners, and most importantly to the executive front office and staff of McBone Inc.  I ask simply for your forgiveness and understanding during this horrific time for my family and me.  We ask for your privacy and consideration as we try to move forward and put the pieces of our lives back together.  In the meantime I believe it is only right to take a temporary leave of absence from McBone, and concentrate on me. 
Thank you all for your continued support.  The outpouring of love and understanding from our fans has been overwhelming.  I can promise you one thing; when I return to McBone I will be a better, stronger and more fierce McBoner than ever before.  McBone will continue to grow and flourish under the direction of our staff and supporters.
Thank you.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Ode on the Hamburger

Hamburger, hamburger,
Beef patty 'twixt bun,
I like 'em cooked rare,
No, please not well done!

A third of a pound,
Of ground beef, grade A.
Trust me, you won't throw
One morsel away.

Heap on the extras,
Toppings galore,
Pickle, onion,
Mustard and more.

Cheeseburger with mushrooms,
All melty with goo,
A side of French-fried
Po-tah-toes, too.

Three strips of bacon,
And grilled onions, hoss.
And, hey, while you're at it,
Some barbecue sauce!

The dominion of burgers
Has a dark side as well:
Burger King, Wendy's,
From Hamburger Hell.

McDonald's hamburgers,
That shit's no good.
I sure don't eat them.
Nobody should!

But mostly hamburgers
Are juicy-delicious,
Utterly beefy,
And fairly nutritious.

So fry 'em up, hurry!
Grill me some chow.
I got a cravin'
For ground-up dead cow.

For more lousy, food-related poetry:

Ode on the Anchovy
Ode on Beef Jerky


Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

Let this be a lesson to all of us about what happens when you combine alcohol and overconfidence:

My idiot brother, co-captain of this very blog and sworn enemy of the White Menace, was so confident that the University of Akron would prevail over Ohio University in yesterday's MAC title game that he agreed, while under the influence of gin, to the terms of a bet* with his girlfriend Lauren that would require him to ingest a spoonful of mayonnaise in the event the Zips should lose.

Quite naturally, the Zips lost, and so did Jeff.  Of course the bet is immaterial when you consider what he really lost:

His dignity

His credibility

His soul

His lunch

This scandal has already had widespread implications throughout the McBoniverse.  My brother's commitment to the anti-mayonnaise movement has rightly been called into question.  Some of you have demanded his immediate resignation.  Others want his head on a plate.  I say, let's not be so quick to judge.  Jeff, who has gone into hiding, understands the seriousness of this situation.  He also knows he has the aftermath of his betrayal to clean up.  A long road to redemption lies before him.  The journey begins when a contrite Jeff Bowler steps forward to face his loyal McBoners.

Let it be known that while a significant quantity of mayonnaise did in fact pass his lips, none was swallowed**, as his stomach immediately discharged a payload of 2 pounds of delicious barbecued pork ribs.

I would now like to take this opportunity to congratulate my alma mater for its rousing 81-75 overtime victory and advancement to the NCAA Tournament.  Go Bobcats!


*Had the Zips won, Lauren would have been required to eat a spoonful of anchovies.

**Alex has opined that this fact renders his punishment null and void and necessitates a redo.  However, because all betting parties were satisfied with the outcome, his debt is considered paid and no further action will be taken.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Indians Offseason; Change You Can Believe In

After the Indians disappointing 2009 season that saw them finish a ghastly 65-97, the Tribe brass knew it was time for change.  But not just any change.  We're talking the real, serious kind of change.

So when General Manager Mark Shapiro took the stairs three at a time to owner Larry Dolan's office for their annual offseason powwow, he wasted no time asking what the budget for 2010 was looking like.  Dolan stood up, emptied his pants pockets and dumped a modest pile of coins into Shapiro's cupped hands.

What's this? asked Shapiro, counting about $1.37 in nickles and pennies and a linty piece of Bazooka.

Dolan blinked.  Whaddya mean, 'what's this?'  Don't you recognize change when you see it?

But how am I supposed to build a winner with this? 

You tell me.  You're the basketball genius.


Whatever.  I just write the checks.

This isn't a check.

That's right; it's change.  Real change.  That's what you said we needed, right?  Now quit wasting time, kid.  Go get me some thoroughbreds.  And let me get that gum back.


Dolan, seeing Shapiro deflate, threw an arm around his beleaguered GM.  C'mon, kid, smile. This is 2010.  You read the papers, right?  Who's a free agent in 2010?


Haha.  Stop fooling.  You know who...that one kid.  He plays for Cleveland.

This is Cleveland.

Right. Wait, what? I'm talking about that James King kid.

You mean King James?

Yeah, that puppet kid.  Heluva player.  Sign him.

He's a basketball player!!

Don't be stupid.  How can a puppet play basketball?

And so, with a sigh, Shapiro slumped away.  After ownership once again busted open the coffers, the Indians will go to training camp having lured the following marquee free agents to Jacob's Field:

Jamey Wright - Nothing says 'committed to winning' like signing a 35-year-old Royals castoff.

Mark Grudzielanek - Nothing says 'commited to winning' like signing a 38-year-old Royals castoff.

Mike Redmond - The 38-year-old Redmond cited the triple he legged out last season as proof that there's a lot left in the tank.  The triple was his third in a 12-year career.

Austin Kearns - Tribe deep thinkers hope Kearns, a .198 hitter for Washington last year, can bounce back to the Kearns who tore the cover off the ball at a .266 clip in 2007.

Shelley Duncan - Scraped from the bottom of the Yankees rubbish heap.

Jason Grilli - Journeyman bullpen bum.

Saul Rivera - Another bullpen guy who couldn't cut it on the Nationals.

Luis Rodriguez - Will compete with Grudzielanek to fill the gaping hole left by utility man Jamey Carroll.

Russell Branyan - At one time, when the Indian's farm system was churning out big talent, Branyan was the Indians third baseman of the future.  This time around, the Tribe found the journeyman strikeout artist in a bin at Odd Lots and figured he could fill in at DH should Travis Hafner's freefall continue.

Currently, the Indians are 5-0 in Cactus League play.  Here's predicting a 60 win season.

Oh, and Chief Wahoo is still on the uniforms.

Go Cavs


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nathaniel Ayers, Official Bassist of McBone

This is Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Jr, Cleveland native, one-time Julliard prodigy and subject of my favorite movie of last year, The Soloist.

Ayers' immense musical talent earned him a scholarship to the most prestigious music school in the land.  Tragically, schizophrenia prevented him from ever reaching the heights he seemed destined to reach.  By the time he was discovered by journalist Steve Lopez, he had drifted to Los Angeles, where he was living under a bridge and out of a shopping cart.  His battered violin, which he played for nickles and dimes, had two strings.

Today, at age 58, things have improved for Ayers, who takes it day by day and sometimes jams with the LA Philharmonic. With the help of a few friends, he has moved into private living quarters and has managed to salvage his life to a pretty impressive degree, all things considered.

Schizophrenia is a terrifying disease.  Nathaniel Ayers is, if anything, a survivor.  For this we admire him, and see fit to name him the Official Bassist of McBone.  We think you'll find he has all the qualifications:

Northeast Ohio pedigree
Musical genius
Particular fondness for Beethoven
The first name 'Nathaniel'
Cleveland Indians hat, indicating loyalty to the Cleveland Indians baseball team

Check out this 60 Minutes feature, which highlights the friendship struck up between Ayers and Lopez.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Or better still, see the excellent movie.


Why I Will Never Forgive CJ; How One Man Single Handedly Doomed a Baseball Franchise

They say to forgive is divine.  Piss on that, says I.

Back in the fall of 1997, the Indians and the Florida Marlins were locked in an epic, seven-game struggle for baseball dominance.  The Tribe had beaten the highly favored New York Yankees in the division series, and then, against all odds, took out the powerhouse Baltimore Orioles to win the pennant.

Over in the National League, the wild card Florida Marlins emerged triumphant.  The stage was set for the battle of underdogs.  After spending two playoff rounds developing bleeding ulcers, I was bracing for a full fledged gastrointestinal rupture. 

On the mound for the Indians was rookie-hero Jaret Wright, who throughout the playoffs had been asserting himself as a budding superstar by mowing down opponents in increasingly high pressure games.  Now his number was being called in game seven of the World Series.  Florida countered with Al Leiter, touched in his last start for seven runs.  By all appearances, the Tribe was poised to end Cleveland's then 35-year championship drought.  I was confident, yes, but cautiously so.  I knew the steep price a Cleveland fan pays for hubris. 

I had planned on watching game seven alone and in the comfort of my own home.  I bought a 14 ounce strip steak, to be seasoned, grilled and devoured in the event of a victory.  I had enough beer to drink myself back into the Stone Age in case they lost.

The phone rang about an hour before game time.  My buddy Brad invited me over to watch with him; beer was in plentiful supply and he would even grill the steak for me.  I wasn't sure.  As a registered atheist, I'm not prone to superstition.  When it comes to sports, however, I'm as superstitious as they come.  I live in fear of the sports gods.  The Tribe had been doing quite well with me watching from my sofa.  Why upset things?

Brad persisted and, finally, lured by good company and a big TV, I conceded.  Good move.  Things were going great on this October night.  The Indians had built a modest two-nothing lead.  Wright was in top form; the Marlins couldn't touch him.  On the whole, the Tribe was playing good, crisp, efficient ball.  As the game progressed, it looked more and more as though I would finally be able to remove the jagged bit of metal that Cleveland sports had been twisting beneath my ribcage for 22 years.

Then doom came knocking at the door.

In popped our mutual friend, and native Chicagoan, CJ, and at once I could see a sort of bad luck, shit-colored aura of defeat surrounding him.   Brad, in spite of my protestations, let him in.  Two seconds after the door shut, Bobby Bonilla launched a home run off Wright.  The Marlins had cut the lead in half, but I knew what the score was.

When Jose Mesa started throwing 55 foot curveballs in the 9th inning in his hopelessly jinxed attempt to save the game, I looked at CJ, the countanance of Belial smeared across his face.  In a panic, I demanded that he leave at once.  Threats followed but I was paralyzed by delirium.  Old CJ just smirked as he scooped gobs of French onion dip with his finger.  "They're gonna lose," he casually announced, and, oh, I can smell them still, words carried upon a noxious vapor--onion and sulfur, burning, burning.  My nasal hairs curled.  A thousand worm-ridden carcasses would have been like nutmeg and cinnamon next to this unholiness.

The Marlins tied the game, but the gods were too cruel to end it there.  They twisted the metal, let the agony endure for eleven innings, until old stalwart Charlie Nagy was called on to keep the score even.  Tony Fernandez booted a routine grounder.  By the time Edgar Renteria singled and Craig Counsell crossed home plate with his fists raised in victory, I was on the floor, reduced to a tears and contemplating the most torturous murder I could devise for my "friend."  His arrival had upset the scales, and the gods, watching from celestial box seats, were angry.

And not just angry--vengeful.  Jaret Wright, future hall of famer, saw his mighty arm reduced to overcooked rotini.  Dick Jacobs sold the team and died.  The Indians have not made the World Series since, and now find themselves sinking into the festering, putrid bog that is Dolan ownership.  The highlight in 13 subsequent years?  A 2007 ALCS meltdown against the Red Sox after building a 3-1 lead.  When does it end?

It ends now.  Are you listening, CJ?  I place the blame for all of this squarely on you.  That's right.  I love you, but I will never forgive you, and I'm not putting up with your goddam hex anymore.  That's why, tonight, I'm going to burn your image in effigy.  I offer this up to the sports gods, in the small hope that our teams may be freed of your pox.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

McBone Presents: The Third Annual McBone Awards

Another year of moviegoing come and gone, and we find ourselves on the eve of the dreaded Academy Awards ceremony.  The idea of rich people giving each other awards makes me want to cough up a hairball, but, as always, I'll be glued to the tube, in an advanced state of intoxication, decrying the whole decadent mess at every turn.

Before I begin, allow me to sing a sad lament for all the movies we didn't see this year, whether because of the lack of independent movie theaters here, or because Hollywood would rather fill the cineplex with Nicholas Sparks adaptations.

I've said my piece.  Without further delay, the McBoners go to:

The Soloist--Best film. This already forgotten gem that was released in that nether period between Oscar years is one that has haunted me the most, and emerges from a pack of strong contenders that includes District 9, Where the Wild Things Are, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Inglourious Basterds and what was probably my favorite movie of the year, Watchmen.  Part of me just loves The Soloist because it is infused with some of my favorite Beethoven scores.  But there's more!  The story of Nathaniel Ayers' descent from Julliard prodigy into schizophrenia is told by director Joe Wright with a mastery that is matched by its two leads, Jamie Foxx and Robert Downy Jr.  What I really appreciate is that Wright takes the high road by not turning Ayers' tragedy into a feel-good story.  We have billions of movies about heroic white people coming to save the day, and Wright could easily have had us reaching for the barf bags.  Instead, he delves as deep as he can into the struggle that people (not just schizophrenics) face just to survive one day to the next (as illustrated by Downy).  Then Wright, in taking us through a journey through Ayers' mind, asks us to consider how impossible it must be for the mentally ill. Well done and bravo.

Christoph Waltz--Best Actor, Inglourious Basterds.  Am I cheating?  I don't think so.  Inglourious Basterds is driven, in my opinion, by three lead roles.  Waltz's turn as a terrifying, quadrilingual Jew hunter stands out as not only the single best performance of the year, but one of the greatest of all time.  Jeff Bridges will win the Oscar in this category.  That's cool.  Waltz will win for a supporting role.  That works too, but I believe he deserves better.

Mélanie Laurent--Best Actress, Inglourious Basterds.  Lost amid all the praise that Waltz is receiving is Laurent's role as the hunted Jew.  Tarantino loves a good revenge story, and Laurent is up to the challenge, filling her performance with muted pain and cold calculation.  The scene when she and Waltz share a strudel is one for the time capsule.  She edges Carey Mulligan from An Education, and Gabourey Sibide from Precious.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan--Best supporting actor, Watchmen.  In just a few scenes it is Morgan's job to play what really amounts to the central role of the film.  What he does is construct the most villainous hero imaginable, and you can't take your eyes off him as he runs roughshod over everyone he encounters.  Morgan beats out two tremendous performances from the latest entry in the Harry Potter saga, Alan Rickman and Jim Broadbent.  Oh, and I would like to mention Leonard Nimoy as well, who single handedly made that new Star Trek worth watching.

Mariah Carey--Best supporting actress, Precious.  I can't really believe I'm doing this, but she deserves it.   In about five minutes of screen time, Carey defines exactly what a supporting role should be--small, essential and unforgettable.  She edges Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart, Catherine Keener (is there a better actor alive?) from Where the Wild Things Are, and wallops the overrated Mo'nique from Precious, who has pretty much been anointed the Oscar winner.

Zach Snyder--Best director, Watchmen.  Never did get to the book yet, but I love movies that reward multiple viewings.  Every time I see Watchmen, I am more impressed by the care that this guy put into his film, how every frame is filled with meticulous detail.  For all its faults, and there are many, Snyder's ambition mostly pays off.  He beats Jason Reitman for Up in the Air and Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds.

Quentin Tarantino--Best screenplay, for Inglourious Basterds.  No one writes better dialogue than Tarantino.  There is a LOT of talking in this film, and it's all awesome.  

The Fantastic Mr. Fox--Best art directionAvatar may be the most impressive, and will certainly win the Oscar, but I prefer the aesthetic of Mr. Fox, which had me laughing out loud.  Apologies to Coraline.

That's it, folks.  Think I'm a total idiot?  Take a look at the Alex Awards:

This year we didn't get to see The Last Station (which is about my favorite writer Tolstoy and has my beloved James McAvoy in it, so it probably would have been up there in the awards for me) and Invictus.  Not to mention all the foreign films and all the documentaries--except for the spectacular Food Inc--since bloody West Lafayette is allergic to such films and they're nowhere to be seen on Netflix yet. 

Best film: I'm going to go with Precious for its amazing courage and beauty.  The power and sincerity of all the actors and the fantastic way in which they get inside Precious's mind affected me more than any other film this year.  I also can't deny that from a political standpoint, I am eager for more stories like Precious to be told.  Obese and illiterate African American women rarely grace the screen, not to mention doing so under such loving care from everyone involved.  Here's to hundreds of films like it to come (let's hope!).

Best Actress: Gaborey Sibide gets my love here.  She nailed the brilliance of a mind that refuses to be beaten down in spite of living in the worst conditions possible.  She glows as she gets to live, really live, for the first time in this film. Carey Mulligan was fantastic too, and comes in a close second.

Best Actor: I have to give it to George Clooney for being the suavest and most brokenhearted of corporate sharks on celluloid.  A brokenheated man who thinks he's actually happy is a very tough role to play, and he does it with great dignity and sadness.  I must also give a big smile to Alec Baldwin, who played the most charming ex-husband-back-in-love-with-you bastard/not-really-a-bastard ever!  It's Complicated has gotten some slack from the critics but I saw screw them.  I had a marvelous time and much of it came from Baldwin.

Best Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick is my gal for this one.  She embodied corporate ambition and vulnerable youth so brilliantly.  From her uptight posture, to her rapid-fire speaking, to her devastation after firing her first peron, Anna embodies her character and makes us love her against our better judgement.  I also second my husband's praise of Mariah Carey.  That last scene in her office is pure devastating magic.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz is not to be beat here.  To take such delight in being evil, to do it so charmingly.  Oh, the milk, the strangled movie star, the joy of betraying the Fuhrer.  No, I can't say that anyone comes close.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow please, please, please!!!!  Sure, I'm a feminist and I'd love for this, only the fourth woman ever to be nominated for this award, to win for political reasons.  However, there is much more to it.  The Hurt Locker is the first film I've seen about Iraq or Afghanistan that captures the war with reality and compassion.  When you can create such devastating fear simply out of people looking out windows, you are a masterful director and it should be rewarded! 

Best Original Screenplay:  This has to go to my man Quentin for rewriting history with such delightful flare in Inglourious Basterds.  I think this may be my favorite Tarentino film because of its attempt to engulf the world in all those languages and the fabulous meditations on the destructive (explosive!) power of film.

Best Adapted Screenplay:  An Education gets my award here for giving us a charming, yet profound and rug-pulling tale.  You don't always get this much suspense in a love story, and you certainly don't get such loving attention to dialogue and how people relate to and deceive one another in most films.  A close second is the wonderful Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which captured the book's magic with arguably as much flare as Cuaron's version of the the third Potter film.

Best Art Direction: I will have to agree with my husband on The Fantastic Mr. Fox.  Who can forget the foxes eating or the confused eyes of the possum?  Close seconds go to Harry Potter and friends and to Where the Wild Things Are for their gorgeous and frightening universes.

Previous winners:


nwb and AHA

Googling McBone

A couple weeks ago, McBone posted for the 500th time.  Significant?  Perhaps so, considering that when we started out we were pretty sure this whole internet thing would have blown over by now.  Hey, with technology there's always something cooler out there.

Anyway, the net has endured, and so have we.  In commemoration of this (colossal?) achievement, we present, courtesy of Google Analytics, the top ten Google keyword searches that have landed cyber surfers, usually for intervals of .04 seconds, at McBone.  Included are links to some of the posts that have made us darlings of the search engine.

1) Kristin Bowler - notice that none of the administrators of this blog appear on the list, which is headed by our sister, an admitted maker of homemade mayonnaise.

2) Trough urinals - An astonishing number of visitors to McBone were really just looking for a place to pee.

3) Mustard vs. Mayonnaise - Keeping tabs on the battle of Right vs. White!

4) Recipe for a happy marriage - Corny people in search of corniness.

5) What is in Miracle Whip? - Poison, filth, high fructose corn syrup, etc...

6) Is thousand island dressing bad for you? - No need to Google it.  The answer is yes, YES, YES!

7) Love Cleveland - Because not everyone thinks Cleveland sucks.

8) Mayonnaise coffee creamer - I don't like to imagine what kind of lunatic craving could motivate a Google search like this.

9) George Washington Abraham Lincoln to Heaven - Heaven: the down-low for dead presidents.

10) Carlo Rossi Burgundy - What T.V. dinner pairs best?  Salibury steak or turkey with gravy?

Curiously, Chan Marshall was nowhere to be found on this list.

Thanks, McBoners, for your continued support of the McBone.  Without you, I'd probably be living under a bridge.

See you in another 500 posts!

nwb (on behalf of jab)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Heaven Help Me, I'm out of Gin!

I don't know how I could have let this happen, but I am completely out of gin.  I don't mean that the bottle is getting dangerously low; what I mean is, I don't have a single solitary drop left in the house.  This may seem a trifle to you, but understand, dear readers, that my blogging strength flows from gin.  Without it, there are no martinis.  Without martinis, I'm powerless, reduced to a trembling, craven wretch.  Already my senses begin to fail me.  By this time tomorrow, I may be dead.  Alas, my eyes are veiled by a grim, misty shadow.  A spectral laugh curdles my blood.  My dear, dead cat Mephistopheles awaits at the mouth of an endless tunnel, her little paw beckoning me towards who knows what end.  Good god, why did I have to give her that infernal name?

Vodka, you say?  Sure, I could drink vodka.  While I'm at it, should I try breathing mayonnaise instead of air?

This could well be my last post.

Farewell, gentle McBoners.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The McBone Malted Miracle Diet

Every year at this time the McBone mailbag fills up with letters from flabby weaklings who marvel at my uncanny physique.

Well, boys, the chiseled, bronze, oiled Adonis you see each year in the McBone Swimsuit Edition didn't get that way by accident.  In fact, over the past year I noticed that I had tacked on a few extra, unwanted pounds.  Did I panic like some crybaby loser?  Hell no!  I knew what had to be done.  Eschewing the dozens of gimmick diets out there, I sprang to action and concocted a strict regime of my own.  The results were so amazing, I knew I couldn't keep them secret.

The McBone Malted Miracle Diet

Want to transform yourself into a McBone-certified beefcake?  Stop being such a wimp and follow these simple steps:

1) Avoid breakfast!  The liberal media would have it that the so-called "most important meal" is a way to kickstart the metabolism and give you the energy you need for the day.  Our research team has discovered that eating a regular breakfast is dangerously overrated, and may be a leading cause of many ailments, including but not limited to: obesity, depression, gout, ringworm, scoliosis, leprosy, syphilis and worse.  You want energy?  Start your day instead with five cups of strong black coffee.  If you absolutely, positively MUST eat something, stick to the basics.

2) For lunch, allow yourself exactly one malted milkball.  McBone recommends Whoppers (do not confuse with Burger King's signature sandwich), which pack more vitamins and minerals into one little brown ball than you'll get eating an entire side of beef.  As an added benefit, Whoppers are made with milk.  Milk, as everyone knows, is loaded with calcium.  Calcium builds strong bones.  Whoppers: the little malted miracle food.

It is important to know that, while fun-size Whoppers come in packs of three, you should resist the temptation of eating all three malted milk balls at one sitting.  Stick to the Aristotelian credo of moderation in all things.  That includes even the most wholesome and nutritious of foods, like malted milk balls.  If you are still hungry after lunch, treat yourself to a delicious zero calorie, zero cholesterol cigarette.

3) For dinner your choices are wide and varied. Unfortunately, none of these choices apply to this diet.  Eat your two remaining malted milkballs.  That may seem like a scanty portion, but remember, eating slowly makes you feel fuller.  Don't bolt your food.  On weekends, reward yourself with a decadent recipe: Remove the cheese packet from a box of Kraft Macaroni n' Cheese.  Discard pasta.  Dissolve powdered cheese in hot water.  Drink.

Five foods to avoid:

Raw, organic vegetables
Olive loaf
Human flesh

McBone guarantees 100 percent satisfaction.  If you have not lost 50 pounds of unsightly fat after two weeks on the McBone Malted Miracle Diet, that may be indicative of not having what it takes.