Friday, November 1, 2013

Some Holiday Cheer, Walmart Style

Today is the day that the additional SNAP allocation runs out, as that provision from the 2009 federal stimulus package expires.  That's devastating news for people struggling to feed themselves and their families.  The Greater Lansing Food Bank reports that demand has not waned through the economic recovery.

Though this cut in funding should please the people with an eagle eye for the single mother with a smartphone who is buying a carton of cigarettes, the fact is wages are low, the weather is turning, and people are facing the very real choice of paying their utilities or buying groceries.

Some would argue that a government lifeline translates into a loss of freedom and an disincentive to work hard.  Freedom is great, but practically speaking it has very little nutritional value.  Since we can't have people going hungry:

Donate to the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank here.

Donate to the Cleveland Food Bank here.

Donate to the Greater Lansing Food Bank here.

Oh, and just for fun, here's the net worth of several members of the Walton family, America's biggest latter-day plantation owners:

Christy Walton & Family - $35.4B

Jim Walton - $33.8B

Alice Walton - $33.5B

S Robson Walton - $33.3B

Four Americans from one family worth nearly $140B, and there are still more Waltons among the richest 400, according to Forbes.  I wonder how many of their employees stand to have their food assistance reduced today.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

McBone Presents: The 2013-14 Cavaliers Season Preview

I don't have much time, so this will be brief.  Mike Brown is back as Head Coach, and he's got a lot of young, eager, unaccomplished talent to blend with a dose of some very accomplished talent.  Three years in the cellar were enough.  This basketblogger is ready for a return to the playoffs.  Collectively, the team appears to be in great shape following a rigorous offseason workout regime led by its point guard, the exception being their blob of a #1 draft pick.  How will this group fare?  Glad you asked!


Kyrie Irving - PG: Was an all-star selection last year.  Time for him to play like an all-star this year, by which I mean: guard the ball with purpose and make his teammates better.  We know he can score on anyone.  Can he win 45 games?  Can he win 50?

Dion Waiters - SG: Another canny scorer who needs to defend.  He will, or his minutes will diminish.  Underrated facilitator.  I'd want to see him average 16+ PPG, 4+ assists and get in his opposite number's shirt all game long.

Andrew Bynum - C: Top-shelf talent on both sides of the court.  It now appears he will, indeed, play.  If he stays healthy, we've got ourselves a top 3 center in the league, which alone could be good for a 15-game improvement over last year.  I would not bet my life on him playing 60+ games.

Earl Clark/Alonzo Gee - SF: These are two serviceable forwards who will hearken to Coach Brown's call to defend.  Otherwise, they are keeping the spot warm for whomever replaces them next season's starting three.

Tristan Thompson - PF: Overrated as a defender last year, underrated as a scorer.  Should make the biggest leap of any Cav in his third season.  I've never heard of anyone switching their shooting hand mid-career, but the dude is shooting better from the floor and the stripe.  Weird.


Anderson Varejao - 6th man: If he and Bynum can stay out of the Cleveland Clinic, the league will have a very hard time dealing with our tandem of centers, both of whom have NBA finals experience.  Elite rebounder.  Perfect Mike Brown big.  Needs to play <28 a="" br="" minutes="" night.="">

Jarrett Jack - G: Tremendous pickup.  Efficient guard who will excel on both ends of the floor and in the locker room.  If he's starting for any extended amount of games, however, that spells trouble.

Earl Clark/Alonzo Gee - SF: see above.

CJ Miles - G/F: Streaky shooter whose defense will improve under Coach Brown.  Strictly a role player whose volume 3s can be an asset or a impediment.

Tyler Zeller - C: Who the hell knows?  Zeller will probably be a proficient backup center, but he was overwhelmed and exhausted last year as a starter.  I'd like to see him playing 16-18 minutes a night.

Anthony Bennett - Rookie PF: A physical freak who will show flashes of the big time scorer/rebounder he will become, as he did in the preseason.  Insanely long arms.  Shoulders a mile wide.  Good instincts, especially on interior passing.  Currently fat.  Will one day justify the #1 pick.

Sergey Karasev - Rookie G: Intriguing mix of athleticism and b-ball acumen.  Not convinced he will ever be much of a defender, but he appears to have a natural shooting stroke to go with good court vision.

Carrick Felix - Rookie G: Played 5 minutes in the preseason, so your guess is as good as mine.  Solid defender, apparently.  Good attitude. 

Matthew Dellavadova - Rookie PG: Not sure what this guy brings, aside from feistiness.  I do not want to see him on the floor, unless we are up 20.

Henry Sims - C: Should be able to carve out a career as a journeyman center.  Another dude I don't want to see playing meaningful minutes.


Mike Brown: In his second tour of duty with the Cavs, Mike Brown is charged with turning the worst defensive squad in the league into one of the best.  That will be a gradual process that won't be fully realized until next season.  I really don't give a shit about offense this year, as long at we're not squandering 20 point leads and regularly surrendering 110 points.  I'm glad he's back.  Expect some 84-78 losses, and a lot more wins than last year, which leads me to the...


This team has many key players with histories of getting injured.  The talent is there.  A relatively healthy year could produce 48 wins.  I predict a slow start, at least one catastrophic injury, a 40-42 record, a 7-8 seed for the playoffs and a hell of a series in the first round, past which they will not advance.  This year is all about next year, but it should be a fun year, nonetheless.



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Magic and Loss

In the winter of 1996, I came back from winter break to find a yellow Post It on my dormitory room door.  The note had been dashed off in the excited hand of my old concert-going comrade, our resident Musicologist.  It read: 'McGraw, do you want to see Lou Reed in concert this Wednesday?'

When you're in college and you have the choice between seeing Lou Reed in concert, which may never happen again, or attending your Survey of Western Civilization class, which will happen four days a week, every week, you very politely give class the middle finger.  On that holy January day, we made the 4.5 hour journey from Athens, OH to Cleveland's Playhouse Square.  Had it been necessary, we would have driven to Mars.

I had no idea what to expect.  Lou was legendarily unpredictable as a performer, but it soon became apparent that he had left his comatose stage days somewhere back in the 1970s.  Lou was loud, his guitar was growling and his band was tight.  He had ditched the clean-cut, short-hair-and-spectacles look of his late '80s New York period for a glorious full-blown mulleted Afro.  He was the only man alive who could have gotten away with this style in 1996.

I don't remember every last detail from the setlist, but he did several numbers from his Set the Twilight Reeling album: Hooky Wooky, New York City Man, Finish Line and the title track.  He tossed in some classics, of course: Dirty Boulevard, Satellite of Love, Sweet Jane.  When at one point he admonished the audience to 'clap in time,' I would have sworn he was glaring right at me.  Notwithstanding my affront to the proceedings, Lou seemed to be having a pretty good time.

And when, in his second encore, the low twang of the most famous bass line in history started, that's when the crowd lost its marbles.  At last the band made its exit.  The curtain fell with the hall echoing 'Louuuuu.'  Had our rating system existed then, the show would have easily garnered 5.0 McBones.

I never did get to see Lou in concert again, one of the many reasons I count that night among the great blessings of my life.  I'll wager our Musicologist agrees.

Five lessons that Lou Reed taught me:

1) There's more to life than sports.

2) Gender is nonsense.

3) Graduating from college is fun.

4) Drag queens are superheroes.

5) New York is the greatest city in the world.

So here's my sendoff, Lou.  I'm not sure I have anything too profound to say, so I'll just say this:

Good night.

I love you.

I'll miss you.  

Most of all, thanks.  Here's hoping that clipper ship you ordered is waiting.

I wish that I was born a thousand years ago
I wish that I'd sail the darkened seas
On a great big clipper ship
Going from this land here to that
In a sailor's suit and cap
Away from the big city 

Where a man cannot be free
Of all of the evils of this town
And of himself, and those around
Oh, and I guess that I just don't know
Oh, and I guess that I just don't know 


Thursday, October 10, 2013

McBone Hero of the Century

This 16-year-old makes me want to be a better, more tolerant and more passionate person.  I'll teach my children about her one day.  I hope they will look up to her too, and strive toward her example

This is not to make Malala a saint.  We don't go for that here at McBone.  What she is is a good and decent young woman, and decency is a heroic trait in these strange days.  Her mission is education, but her wisdom can be spread far and wide.  Right now politicians are fighting over whether our citizens should have access to affordable healthcare.  Our democracy is sputtering.  Demagoguery rules the day.  I wish our leaders could sit down and talk to Malala, hear her story and have it dawn on them just how petty they really are.

Congratulations Malala Yousafzai, 2013 McBone Peace Prize Winner.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Fuck You, Verdi

Handsome Lou
What the fuck does Verdi know?  Here's what that Schweinehund of an organ grinder had to say about Beethoven's 9th Symphony upon hearing it for the first time:

...marvelous in its first three movements, very badly set in the last. No one will ever surpass the sublimity of the first movement, but it will be an easy task to write as badly for voices as is done in the last movement.

Badly set?  Some aficionado.  Listen, amico, you may have dashed out a competent opera or two, and Beethoven may not have been the OG of vocal works, but when it comes to the most immortal movement of any symphonic work ever composed, you got it exactly wrong.  The first movement is sublime, true enough, and yes the first 3 movements are certainly marvelous, but I can't but pity you, a man of considerable talent, if you somehow didn't get this part.  Here's hoping the choral bit grew on you with time.

Understand, gentle McBoners, that I didn't intend to begin this post with a rant, but darn if that old bearded vulture didn't get my dander up.  What I wanted to do was point out how much space I've dedicated over the years to exalting Bob Dylan, while plugging 'Beethoven' into our search bar turns up precious little.  That seems odd, because Beethoven occupies at least as high a tier in my estimation.  That is to say, he's my co-favorite.

The fact is, I have been listening to less of LvB in recent years.  I don't know if I'll ever recapture the exuberance of discovering the symphonies with our resident oudist (when we probably should have been trying to meet girls), but do I miss having the melodies running through my system at all hours of the day.

Because that's what it was like back then.  Beethoven's phrases wouldn't just rattle around in my head, to be recalled in idle moments or hummed on a whim; they were pervasive, saturating me down to my very last atom.  How magical that at any hour of any day, waking or sleeping, long and complex recitals would be taking place in my brain.

That gift is long absent, and I miss it.

Furthermore, I think it's crazy that I've loved this man's music for more than 20 years, but there remains so much of it I have never even heard, in fact the majority of it.  I've got a fair grasp on the most important stuff.  In the symphonies, piano concertos, piano sonatas and late string quartets I'm well versed.  But I've never listened to his lone opera.  String quintets, cello sonatas, dozens of songs, airs and bagatelles...there are hundreds of works I don't know.  Who would have thought he composed a sonata for French Horn?  I love the fucking French horn!

It has occurred to me: what if I should live my life having never heard my favorite composer's entire canon?  That would be, on a very personal level, a tragedy.  Kind of like if I had never bothered to spin Dylan's Street Legal album.  Perish the thought!

So I'm starting at the beginning.  I'll hear everything ever published and recorded, every Opus, Hess and WoO on any media I can find them.

The journey has begun.  I can tell you that the String Trio in E-flat major (Opus 3) is a minor masterpiece.  Check it out, if you get a chance.  The 9 Variations on a Theme by Dressler (WoO 63) are utterly forgettable.  Check them out anyway!

And yes, I'll listen to the symphonies again.  The long path leads to the 9th.  And when I get there, I will not dwell on Verdi's shortcomings (I like Verdi); I will look for new reasons to love it.  They are there.  First I'm going to try to understand why my grandfather treasured the 3rd movement, so subtle and restrained, above all else.

This is going to be fun.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

CLEVELAND BROWNS FANS! Deep Breath....And Read

Browns Nation was sent into a state of hysteria yesterday with the trading of our number three overall draft pick in 2012, Trent Richardson.  I'm not going to count, but I'm guessing I've exchanged about 200 text messages in the past 12 hours.  Not to mention facebook messages, tweets, and conversations over beers at dinner.  I wonder how many households in Cleveland were discussing this at the dinner table last night?  From 6:00 p.m. yesterday until now how many texts, tweets, and facebook messages have been exchanged?  I would guess millions, because that is just how passionate Browns fans are about their team.

Not that I am really surprised, but most of my close friends have reacted very negatively to this move.  Radio stations and callers on the local sports shows at this point have been fairly split on their opinions.  Same with the media and sports talk show hosts.  However, the people that are on the side of this being a terrible move are absolutely losing their minds in frustration.  Hard to really blame them based on the anger, disappointment and utter exhaustion we've all experienced rooting for this team the last fourteen years. Pouring our pride, passion and money into a franchise that is seemingly in an endless cycle of losing and rebuilding.  I am sure it is very difficult for many Browns fans to truly believe that we will finally emerge from the vicious spiral that Cleveland Browns Football is in.  I've heard so many of the phrases that have become the mantras of Browns fans....."Here we go again", "I can't believe we're back here", "We suck", "Yet another disasterous move made by my Browns",  "I'm done, not wasting another minute or penny on this team"....You get the point.

Browns fans are tough, resilient, stead-fast.  Those characteristics are exactly the reason why it will be difficult for me to curb their emotions right now, or try to get any of you that are angry to see why this was the right move.  That doesn't mean I won't try.  There is hope.  There are reasons for us to be optimistic, and most importantly right now, today....there are 19 reasons why this was absolutely, unequivocally the right move at the right time.....and here they are:

1. Ty Detmer, 0-2.
2. Tim Couch, 22-37.
3. Doug Pederson, 1-7.
4. Spergon Wynne, 0-1.
5. Kelly Holcomb, 4-8.
6. Jeff Garcia, 3-7.
7. Luke McCown, 0-4.
8. Trent Dilfer, 4-7.
9. Charlie Frye, 2-3.
10. Derek Anderson, 16-18.
11. Ken Dorsey, 0-3.
12. Brady Quinn, 1-2.
13. Bruce Gradkowski, 0-1.
14. Jake Delhomme, 2-2.
15. Seneca Wallace, 1-6.
16. Colt McCoy, 6-15.
17. Brandon Weeden, 5-11.
18. Thaddeus Lewis, 0-1.
19. Brian Hoyer, 0-0.
Nineteen quarterbacks that went on to be back-ups or insurance salesmen after their tenure with the Browns. THIS HAS TO STOP, and now it has (we hope!).  You can not win in the National Football League consistently over a period of time unless you have a franchise quarterback.  You have ZERO chance to ever win a Super Bowl unless you have a leader behind center that can make plays in clutch situations. I don't need to expound on this any further because that list above speaks for itself.  This organization can either continue to fester in mediocrity, 5-11 records, and horrendous quarterback play, OR, they can finally have a regime that knows they need to do whatever it takes to get the franchise QB. 
That doesn't make it any easier for us as Browns fans to live through another dreadful season.  Once again, I know how difficult it is to actually believe we have a front office that knows what they are doing.  Everything that has happened for the past decade and a half probably should make us feel exactly the opposite, throw our hands in the air in disgust, and quit on this team. To say, "why is this any different?".....
In my heart, in my mind, I sincerely feel this is different.  They have had nine months to run this team.  I don't love every move they have made but I can name quite a few that I do.  Hiring Chud, Norv and Ray. Signing Bess, Bryant, Kruger, and Groves.  All have played well and will be solid pieces for years to come.  They have acquired 10 picks in the 2014 draft including three in the top 35, and retained cap space and flexibility to sign players next offseason.
MOST IMPORTANTLY - They have finally stood up and made the most significant statement that any front office has made since we've returned.  This season is about one thing: That nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important than acquiring our franchise quarterback.  Certainly there are no guarantees.  They still have to make the right choice and select a QB that  will become the player that we need him to be; but the alternative is another 15 years of meaningless football.  This move, along with others, provide all the proof you need to understand their plan is to lose every single game this season so there is no question they have the #1 or #2 pick.  We all know how much that hurts to think about, and much more painful it will be to watch.  Could we have still had a high draft pick while retaining Trent?  Maybe.  But most likley if you play Trent and Weeden all year (and by playing Trent I mean 20 carries a game), we win four or five games.  Especially considering the progression of our defense.  We can't afford to take that chance.  We can't afford to not do everything in our power to get the QB we need.  That only happens if we pick #1 or #2.  Trent may turnout to be a good player, GOOD PLAYER, but he is not the difference between this franchise becoming a contender.  That happens if and when we finally get the guy behind center that becomes the leader of this team. 
The reward of this whole process is the euphoria we will all feel when this team becomes a winning franchise again for decades to come.  When we have a guy taking the snaps we are actually confident can go out and win us a football game. The risk, of course, is that we continue on the same path.  Wouldn't you take that risk at the chance that we can finally be the football team that we all dream about? 
I'm an optimist, you all know that.  But I have looked at this objectively and I truly believe we are finally on the verge of restoring this franchise to the greatness it once enjoyed. You may think I'm misguided.  That my blind faith is ridiculous. A year from now, two years from now if I'm wrong you can throw it back in my face.  I don't really care because regardless, at the end of the day, I am Browns fan.  I am Clevelander and this is my team.  You can sit around and feel sorry for yourself and be pissed off. Say you're done.  Say this is the same old BS.  Or you can pick your jaw up off the ground and move forward as the die hard, tough, passionate, stead-fast Browns fan that you are.  Every bump in the road, every road block, all the adversity that we've experienced will only make it that much sweeter when we are watching playoff caliber football. Today we are one step closer.  Today I can clearly see the plan laid out by this regime.  We all have the choice to believe it or not.  That's your right as a fan.  As a human being.  But I will be there a year from now when this team drives down the field and our franchise QB throws his first NFL touchdown.  Most importantly I'll know that I never lost faith, that I never left, that I never gave up hope in something that is such a huge part of what makes us Clevelanders.  OUR SPORTS TEAMS!  GO BROWNS BABY!!!  
To the Browns Front Office (Sales & Marketing Team) - Keep your heads up, stay positive and stick together.  You are all going to be a part of something very special, very soon, and the feeling you'll have when you get there will be well worth the journey.  We're behind you.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Wahoo Chop

I love Cleveland and I love baseball, but watching a team with jerseys and caps adorned with this dumbass image:

play a team whose fans do this fucking thing on a nightly basis:

is pretty hard to take.

After cringing my way through nine innings last night, I had to wonder: why is this kind of stereotyping of Native Americans embraced, when we wouldn't tolerate it for any other race?  Or am I giving people too much credit?  Would most of us be fine if the ballclub in Cleveland changed its name to the Chinks and slapped a smiling, slant-eyed, yellow-skinned buffoon on the hat?  Would we buy the merchandise and wear it with pride?

I like to think not, but the rabidity with which fans defend Wahoo and the Chop makes me wonder.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Michigan, FTW

Typical Indiana roadside billboard:

Typical Michigan roadside billboard:

I'm in the right state.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Advantages of Working from Home

Here's a confession I will doubtless be made to regret: I miss my coworkers.  There, you bastards, I said it.  Five years is no small hunk of time to spend each day with more or less the same group of people, and I can say with a straight face that I grew fonder of them as the days went by.  A few times a year, things would get pretty hectic around that old bookstore, but my friends were always there to pick me up.  And of course nothing was better than when Marcelita showed up with some of the good cooking she should be serving at her own restaurant.

That said, you can't beat working from home!  Though I've only been at it for three weeks, the advantages have already begun to reveal themselves:

More time spent with my sometimes-popular wife.

More time with the McBonerito.

25-minute driving commute reduced to 3.5 second walk to office.

Gas-chugging McBonemobile stays parked.

No fucking fax machine.

Record player essential office equipment.


Nerfoop brainstorming sessions.

Two hour YouTube breaks.

Three martini lunches.

More festive meetings:

Naps on office futon.

No pants required.

No hygiene required.

Yep, a guy could get used to this real fast.  So, while I lament the absence of the fine folks from Ivy Tech, I think I'll stick with this new gig for a while.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Got No Beef with Pork

I'm a picky eater.  That is not to say I don't like a lot of stuff.  Unless it's got mayonnaise in it, I'm willing to give most anything a try.  I'm not a health nut, either.  I'll defend the consumption of sugar, salt, milk, cheese and bacon until the day I have a massive coronary, and there is nothing that will convince me that an egg is anything but good for the heart and soul.  Alcohol is my beverage of choice.  Gluten?  I eat it by the bowlful.  I was a vegetarian for almost 5 years.  Been there.  Done with that.

No, when I say I'm picky, it's because I want an ingredient list to look something like this:

Compare that to the Johnsonville brand:

Pork, water, corn syrup and less than 2% of the following: salt, dextrose, spices, extract of paprika, monosodium glutamate, natural flavors, BHA, propyl gallate, citric acid.

I don't want a lot of crap in my food, and I'm not comforted by the 'less than 2%' qualifier.  Keep your propyl gallate the fuck out of my sausage.

Clearly Dr. BEEF'S got it going on, even when it comes to pork.  I can't wait to grill these up tonight with some peppers and onions.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The McBone Beer Journal; 'Merica Farmhouse Ale

After drinking 'Merica Farmhouse Ale, crafted by the lunatic pair of Oklahoma brother-brewers at Prairie Artisan Ales, I felt changed.  Not because a sizable quantity of alcohol had splashed down into my empty gut.  No, this change was foundational.  The beer didn't just make me drunk; I was a different person after drinking it.  I don't know why, and I'm still trying unravel how.  Probably I'm a little more introspective now, and perhaps I've gained a more cynical view of the world.  On the other hand, drinking 'Merica felt something like a rite of passage--traumatic, yes, but edifying in the end. Only this is certain: I'll never quite be the same again.

Usually I try to write a review while in the act of drinking the beer.  This one required some time, distance and a chance to reflect.  Though weeks have passed, I remember the experience with total clarity, the same way I remember exactly where I was and what I doing the day Don Knotts died.  Am I ready to write this?  Let's say I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

A dinner invite to Jenny and Thomas's house would introduce me to a number of beers. Thomas suggested we start with the 'Merica.  He claimed never to have sampled it before, but it occurs to me now there was a twinkle in his eye as he spoke.  Then again, that may be the 'Merica thinking for me; you see, I'm less trusting these days.

The beer almost plopped rather than splashed into the glass.  What was left following the "pour" was an opaque orange-yellowish concoction, like an Indiana sun corrupted by the haze of a nuclear dawn. I was excited, but wary.

After a moderate white foam subsided, I sniffed what appeared to be the inside of an ancient cheese box, but one inhabited by a family of rodents.  Thomas, somehow unafraid, was the first to sip.  'That's pretty funky,' he commented.

To say the least.

Finding descriptors seems a futile gesture, but I will try to approximate the chaos that was unleashed in my mouth. Yes, there were some surface citrus and floral notes, but I don't give a damn about that.  Here's the important stuff:

Barn floor
Limburger cheese
Boiled cabbage
Freshly baked sourdough bread

I can draw no conclusions other than this: 'Merica Farmhouse Ale is the greatest beer I have ever tasted.  Prairie Farmhouse Ale is the worst beer I have ever tasted.

My sometimes-popular wife has this to say: It was one of the most remarkable drinks I've ever had, in part because it started as one thing, but ended as something completely different.  Sort of like a movie that starts as a somewhat toothless romantic comedy and halfway through becomes a poetic zombie flick.

For my part, I'd say that 'Merica Farmhouse Ale is to beer what Finnegans Wake is to novels.  In fact, I should like to read Joyce's work paired with this befuddling ale.  Perhaps one would help unravel the secrets of the other.

Official McBone Rating: 5.0 McBones and 0.0 McBones.

This double rating is unprecedented, and perfectly reflects that night of agony and ecstasy.  Would I do it again?  In a second.  Would I recommend it?  Depends.  Are you ready to look your demons straight in the face? 

Drink 'Merica at your own risk.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Final Count, Outpost #1211

I'll miss many things about West Lafayette, Indiana, but none more than the house we occupied for nearly 5 years.  Though McBone Outpost #1211 at times seemed a mysterious, uncanny sort of place, a vast hall filled with shadows and unexplained refrigerator pins, mostly we'll remember it as a comfortable, messy, happy pink domicile where we worked hard, ate well and watched the McBonerito take his first steps.  That house is also where I started to really get interested in birding, and a combination of black oil seed, thistle, suet and nectar kept our yard singing and chirping throughout the year.  There was the occasional mishap, of course, and one very memorable near miss, and that host of flea-ridden miscreants to contend with, but the avian element was an overwhelmingly positive one.

Hackish amateur though I remain, I was able to identify 55 of the species that took up occupancy on the grounds or merely swooped in for a bite.  

Birds sighted at McBone Outpost #1211:

House finch
House sparrow
Black-capped chickadee
Red-bellied woodpecker
Chipping sparrow
Mourning dove
Gray catbird
American goldfinch
Tufted titmouse
Ruby-throated hummingbird
White-breasted nuthatch
Blue jay
Red-tailed hawk
Turkey vulture*
Brown creeper
Hairy woodpecker
Dark-eyed junco
White-throated sparrow
Downy woodpecker
Cedar waxwing
Common flicker
Hermit thrush
Brown-headed cowbird*
Cooper's hawk
Carolina wren
American tree sparrow
Rufous-sided towhee
Chimney swift
Purple finch
Rose-breasted grosbeak
Indigo bunting
Mallard duck
House wren
Yellow-bellied sapsucker
Red-breasted nuthatch
Pileated woodpecker
Great blue heron
White-crowned sparrow
Magnolia warbler
Swainson's thrush
Scarlet tanager
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
Eastern bluebird
Pine siskin
Yellow-rumped warbler
Ruby-crowned kinglet
Yellow warbler
Bald eagle

As for Outpost #1353?  Considering we will only be feeding the hummingbirds, our new residence is working at a disadvantage.

But what the hell.

Birds sighted at McBone Outpost #1353:

Ruby-throated hummingbird
House sparrow

It's a start.


*Indicates a villain bird

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Northern Climes, Better Times

McBone Outpost #1211 has been shuttered.

Outpost #1353 is open for business.

Things are churning.  Posts are forthcoming.  Tonight, though, I am sipping whiskey and listening to baseball.  The Indians are losing.  Again.  That is one of the many topics we will address in short order.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Issue 2 of Falling Rock Is Here!

Friends, today our genial postman had a treat in his daily delivery to McBone Outpost #1211.  Among the clutter of envelopes labeled 'Past Due' and 'Final Notice' was Issue 2 of Falling Rock National Park.  Yes, though our artist in residence and partner blogger Kid Shay has suspended his daily Falling Rock strip indefinitely, he has continued the adventures of Ernesto, Carver, Pam, Melissa and Ranger Dee in comic book form.  Let me tell you, the Kid has elevated his game to match the larger format, and as great as Issue 1 was, the second installment, filled with ghosts, confused shoe store managers and a jaw-dropping montage of a prairie dog habitat, will be an even tougher act to follow.

Official McBone Rating: 5.0 McBones

Now, don't think that just because I've read it once I'm going to hand over my copy.  The good news is that it's not too late to buy a subscription of your own!  And while you're shopping, you might want to pick up a collection or two of the Falling Rock daily.  No need to ask me which is the best; as something of a Falling Rock connoisseur, I recommend them all.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Homemade Pie Delivered!

On Thursday I posted a simple plea on Facebook: "Can someone please bake me a pie?"

On Saturday the call was answered:

Our resident baker, Spronk, whose leftover lunch is decaying right now in our fridge, delivered a homemade blueberry pie this very afternoon.  Before ever taking a bite, I can guarantee that this is one of the greatest pies ever made.  My plan is to have the pie for dessert with a hot cup of black coffee.  I plan to have another slice of pie tomorrow morning for breakfast, again with a strong cup of black coffee.  I defy you to find a flaw in any of these plans.

Any doubts as to whether I am the luckiest person in the world have now been erased.

I love you, Spronk.  You can store your lunch in our fridge as long as you like.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wait for It...Wait for It...

It felt official after the graduation ceremony, but now that the dissertation has been successfully defended, I guess you could say it's officially official.

And so McBone officially presents, in all her brilliance, Dr Hidalgo:

We celebrated as one should: eggs Benedict, Champagne, and a stroll through Celery Bog Nature Area.  There, the birds and beasts feasted upon the sight of Dr H in her most electric, zig-zaggy frock, the only garment in her wardrobe that could adequately reflect the excitement of the day.

Please do join us in extending a hearty McBonulations to my sometimes-defensive wife.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Motherly Triumvirate

From left: Actual Mom, McBonerito's Mom, Mom-in-Law
Today I'm one hell of a lucky guy.  Why?  Because I get to spend Mother's Day with all three of the moms in my life.  Indeed, this weekend McBone Manor is so crammed full of moms, it's quite the challenge just keeping track of them all. 

Here's a quick breakdown for you:

The Mother-of-My-Child Mom - You know her as my sometimes-popular wife and mother of the McBonerito.  The woman who has redefined the art of parenting over the past 18 months today joins her fellow Purdue graduates at the 2013 commencement ceremony.  Understand that my wife excels at everything she tries.  She's brilliant, she's beautiful and she'll charm your pants right off, but I have spent the last year and a half witnessing her at her greatest vocation, which looks a little something like this:

The Mother-in-Law Mom - My favorite mayonnaise offender traveled great distances to be with her daughter today.  This graduation represents the fourth and final that my suegra will have to attend on her eldest child's behalf, which is a shame, because she always brings a bottle of Venezuelan rum when she visits.  Anyways, it's a husband's natural right to have a problem with his mother-in-law, yet, after 14 years I still can't find a single thing wrong with her, aside from the fact that she once made her own mayonnaise, which is bad, but she knows what she did was wrong and we've moved on amicably.

The Actual-Mother Mom - Middle children are notorious moaners.  Not me.  One so gifted with brains, sophistication and debonaire good looks can only thank his mother for the supply of high-quality DNA and the upbringing that resulted in such a magnificent specimen.  Dig it:

Moreover, my mother's 1983 decision to never make tuna noodle casserole again ranks as one of the finest parenting maneuvers of the decade and possibly of all time.

I couldn't live without any of these women.  It's rare to have them together in one house, and I aim to enjoy it.

Happy Mother's Day, Moms!  I love you, individually and en masse.


Much of Me, Is Mom....

This will be a short yet hopefully sweet tribute to my mother.

I would venture to guess that most of the people in my life that have spent a significant amount of time with me, and know my family well, probably think that much of who I am comes from my father.  There is no question that I take after my dad, in many facets of my life and of my personality.  However there is much more of me that is my mom than you think, and that becomes more and more apparent the older I get.

My mom is a tough gal, and toughness is a virtue that I value very much.  She had her first child at age 22, and carried my sister while my dad was away in Vietnam.  She went through a miscarriage, which coincidentally is the only reason I am here today. She has put up with my dad for close to 50 years and I can assure you, very much like me, my dad can be a handful!  I get strength from both of my parents, certainly, but much of my ability to navigate the ups and downs of life come from my mom.  When you fall down, you pick your ass up off the ground and move forward.  Don't cry about it, don't sit there soaking in your own self pity.  You find a solution and you don't look back. That is the mentality she taught me. 

My mom was in sales.  She was an executive for Arhaus furniture for 25 years.  One of the most well known and well respected furniture companies in Ohio.  She worked full time, quite successfully, while also raising three children and maintaining a more than comfortable home for her family.  I am in sales, and have used that ability to drive my career to where I am today.  Not a coincidence, I am sure.  There is no question that a lot my success can be pointed directly to the skills I inherited from my mom.

Next to my Grandmother Bowler, my mom is the most unbelievable cook I have ever been around.  She makes even the simplest of dinners taste like a five-star meal.  My prowess in the kitchen is not even in the same category as Jean, but my passion for food and cooking certainly have been derived from watching both her and my grandma cook for so many years.  I can't wait to be able to make dinners for my family like my mom always has for all of us. 

In that same category most of you know that I am very passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and sports certainly are characteristics that were encourgaed every single day in my house, especially by my dad.  But without question I learned how to eat healthy from my mom, and I am extremely thankful for that gift.  I was the kid with lunch envy every day at school because my lunches didn't have fruit roll-ups, gushers or doritos.  I had apples, carrots, a sandwich and maybe some pretzels. We always had at least two vegetables at family dinner and there was never an abundance of junk food in the house.  Just ask my friends that would sleep over in high school.  I learned very early on the value of eating the right way and how impactful this can be on your life.  This is a trait I try to pass on to people in my life now, and will certainly do so for my family in the future.

Women.  I can't sit here and tell you that I have always treated everyone in my life with the respect they deserve.  I've made some mistakes in that category without question.  However, my mom has always been adament about the way she expected her son to treat the women in his life.  My mother, grandmother, sister, girlfriend, wife....those people were to always take precedence over anything else happening in my world.  Treat them like queens she would say.  Treat them as if they are the most important people on the entire planet.  I am very thankful for the women that surround me, and very excited to make the woman who gives birth to my children a life more amazing than she can possibly imagine.  A lifetime will not be enough time to repay a woman for the amazing gift of giving birth to a child.  That is what my mom taught me about women.

So much more of me comes from my mom than I think I even realized until the last few years.  She is an amazing woman, an amazing human being.  So on this Mother's Day, 2013, I simply want to thank my mom for imparting in me so many of the good things that make me who I am.

Happy Mother's Day Jean Bowler, and to all the other amazing women in my life who have the gift of motherhood.  Love you all.


Monday, April 29, 2013

McBone Hero of the Month: May 2013

Bravery = 1 openly gay athlete in 4 major sports.
Because you had the guts to be first, Jason, when you knew there would be reactions of all kinds, many of them savage, base and utterly batshit, you are our hero.

No, you are not a sinner, in spite of what Cleveland-born, Oberlin-educated former Akron Beacon Journal columnist Chris Broussard says.

And yes, it is a big deal.  Ignore those trying to dismiss this as a non-story.  There is a reason it took until 2013, and there is a reason a journeyman center with a 3.6 career scoring average finds himself on the cover of the country's biggest sports magazine.  Even in retirement, only a small handful have come out.  Your career has been a modest one, but you belong in the Hall of Fame.

As for you, Chris Broussard, we officially revoke your credentials as a NE Ohio native and your degree from Oberlin.  You are now a Liberty University grad from Topeka.  You may apply for reinstatement when you can prove that you've come to your senses.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

McBone at 100K, Welcoming the Newest Member of the McBone Cast and Crew

Last week, to great fanfare, McBone notched its 100,000th hit.  Naturally, there was a tremendous hullabaloo about the whole thing.  Congratulations poured in from all corners, from lands far and wide.  Even South Dakota, who once shunned us, dropped a line to say well done!

And maybe you caught this tweet from my Doppelgänger:

major shout out 2-nite to my twin brother from another mother.  100,000 hits!  #loyalmcboner #denzel #handsomestmanalive

We promised to mark the occasion by inaugurating the newest official member of the McBone Cast and Crew.  Hopeful McBoners have waited over a week for the announcement.  Can you blame them for their impatience?  After all, the C&C is sparsely populated, and it's no small feat getting in.  The fact is, more people have landed on the moon than have entered our hallowed and immortal halls.

We did not take this consideration lightly, but after weeks of deliberations, the answer became clear.

The newest member of our Cast and Crew is Spronk.

Spronk, pictured with the McBonerito and my sometimes-elegant wife.
McBoners have been reading about Spronk's leftover lunch for years now.  The little Pyrex container filled with once-edible leftovers was deposited in our fridge sometime in October of 2010.  With firm instructions that the contents should not disposed of under any circumstances (yet no explanation as to why we were to be their custodians ad infinitum), we left the modest repast to its devices.  Somewhere, in the deepest recesses of our icebox, that Pyrex still sits.  I doubt Spronk has any intentions of reclaiming the vessel at this point, let alone eating the undefinable slurry within, but an order is an order.  I'm not getting rid of it.  I reckon I'll just leave it for the next tenants and let them deal with the consequences of tossing it out.

But there's more to Spronk than a rancid lunch.  Spronk is an intellectual, a geek, a web designer, a fashionista, a photographer and a baker.  Oh, the magical things that happen when Spronk mixes some ordinary ingredients and puts them in the oven. Why, here's a picture of scone she baked earlier today:

I ate the living hell out of that delicious scone.  Oh, and she just happens to make the best goddam pie in Indiana.

More to the point, Spronk has been our very dearest friend since we took up residence at McBone Manor in 2008.  We've shared countless meals and a million laughs.  She suffers through the Oscars with us every single year.  She is the McBonerito's favorite babysitter, and, it bears repeating, she makes the best pie I've tasted since my old gran baked her last.

Mostly though, when we think about Spronk, we think about the glass container with its distended blue lid.

So congratulations, Spronk, the newest star in the McBoniverse.  You deserve it.  We're going to miss you when we go.  Perhaps you can swing by one last time.  And maybe, just maybe, we can persuade you to finally take home that science experiment of a putrefied leftover fucking lunch!

McBone odds and ends at 100,000:

Last week also marked our 30,000th hit originating from a Google search of trough urinals.

To date, not one person has lost their virginity while reading or because of reading McBone.

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher logged on to McBone (hit #100,104) seconds before her fatal stroke.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

McBonebeat Poll: OHIO Sweatshirt: Good or Ghastly?

My sometimes-unreasonable wife and I don't have a long history of fighting, but in the 14 years we've been together, I would estimate that 90% of our disagreements have revolved around the pictured Ohio University sweatshirt.  She was there when I bought it, and she did everything in her power to dissuade me from purchasing a garment she found aesthetically and rhetorically deficient.  Aesthetically because of its color scheme and oversized block lettering.  Rhetorically because the word OHIO, in her reckoning, did not adequately signify Ohio University to the casual onlooker.

I have long objected.  In my estimation, this pullover is THE Ohio University sweatshirt.  Green and white happen to be Ohio University's colors (I'll never understand why she chose a gray hoodie with blue lettering), and the lone, proud OHIO emblazoned across my athletic torso is a more than satisfactory identifier.  If the symbolism is lost on the uninitiated, I can't worry about it, and I'm sure as hell not going to spell it out for them.  I'm too busy being cool.  And as for Ohio State?  Listen, Ohio U was founded in 1804, OSU in 1870.  If any student body can lay claim to OHIO as an identifier, it's ours, so you Buckeyes get to muck your sweatshirts up with all the extra words.  We Bobcats don't have to.

Well into our second decade of matrimony, we still have not settled the debate.  So we turn to you, gentle McBoners, and ask that you weigh in, in poll form, on whether my OU sweatshirt is a good sweatshirt, or, in the words of my sometimes-hyperbolic wife, a ghastly one.

Thank you,


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pretty Girls and Fancy Ketchup

I've never been one for a lot of heavy makeup and perfume, but did you ever notice how naturally pretty girls are even prettier with a bottle of fancy ketchup?  It's true!  Behold this dark-eyed enchantress, illumined by the compact florescent glow of her pretty friend, Melinda:

Need more proof?  Just ask my partner blogger and resident cartoonist, Kid Shay, who, along with his pretty wife, Isis, turned a potential catastrophe at their local burger joint into something magical.

If you find yourself still unconvinced by our meme, take a look at my sometimes-melancholy wife with an everyday, ordinary, unfancy brand of ketchup:

Pretty, yes, but so forlorn without her fancy ketchup.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Snow Day Skirmish

A rare snow day afforded us the chance to frolic in the 6 inches blanketing the homestead this morning.  I thought a snowman might be a fun activity, or perhaps a fort complete with tunnels and battlements.  Instead, the McBonerito chose to pick a fight. 

With my back turned, my treacherous son uncorked a fastball that whizzed past my ear.  Though his aim was poor, his intent was clear: the kid wanted to knock my fucking head off.

Thanks to my sometimes-popular wife, the cameras were rolling just in time to catch my retaliation to his craven attack.

I'd say the old man showed him a thing or two.  Maybe he'll bring his 'A' game the next time he wants to start some crap with Dad.


Thursday, March 21, 2013


I hoped things might change when the McBonerito was born.  The Cleveland sports landscape has been pretty bleak since LeBron gathered up his vast talents and vacated the premises after a 61-win 2009-10 season.  Like any sports fan, I'm superstitious, and I thought maybe, just maybe some new blood would stir things up, reverse karma, recalibrate whatever machinations make some teams winners and other losers.  I've even taught the kid to say 'Go Cavs!', a phrase he's liable to spout a couple dozen times a day.

Here's how we've fared since 11/6/11:

Indians: 68-94

Cavs: 43-91

Browns: 6-17

Total: 117-202

Winning percentage: 36%

Playoff appearances: 0

When it comes to sports, the McBonerito is apparently not a lucky charm.

So, kiddo, this is it.  If the Indians don't have a winning summer, it may be time to talk siblings with your sometimes-pregnant mother.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Lamenting the Joy of Lousy Gum

I bought a pack of Bazooka the other day, just for old time's sake.  The way I remember it growing up, a piece of Bazooka gum was hard, tasted terrible, lost its flavor in about half a minute and contained a corny Bazooka Joe and his Gang comic strip.  I loved it.  The comic came with a dumb, punny fortune, and Bazooka even offered the chance to redeem the comics for novelty items, say, a pair of x-ray specs for 20 wrappers and $1.95 shipping and handling.

My 12-pack cost $0.95, and I wasted no time.  I was mildly annoyed that the gum was easier to chew than I remembered (I owe my powerful, bone-crushing jaw to years of Bazooka chewing), but pleased that the taste was as awful as ever.  The mail-in prize being replaced by 'VISIT BAZOOKAJOE.COM TO COLLECT COOL STUFF!' didn't bother me much, though I did miss being enticed by erector sets, decoder rings and real cameras.  No, the comics themselves were what killed the experience.  Not because the jokes were bad, or because the fortunes were bad--I expected that.  No, what got me was that, after 4 pieces, I had just two different comics, including the same three in a row.  A fluke, I was sure, until the next piece was another repeat.  Same for piece #6.  Frustrated, I unwrapped another.  Finally a new comic.  The next was a repeat, as was the next, and all the rest.  By the time I popped #12, I had almost a whole pack of gum in my mouth, but just three different Bazooka Joes on my desk.  Four of each.

With my gums receding and my inner child dying, my question was: when did Bazooka start mailing it in?  The stuff is still manufactured by the Topps company, the same folks who removed the brittle, terrible stick of gum from its packs of trading cards sometime in the 90s.  That's when people started taking baseball cards too seriously, handling them like Fabergé eggs, searching for flaws and acting like a photograph on a piece of cardboard has any real value outside of a child who loves baseball mutilating a card with sticky, adoring fingers.  When I got a new pack of Topps, I chewed the fucking gum.  I liked that one of the cards was stained with sugar.  I rifled through the stack hoping I'd get at least one Cleveland Indian.  To me, netting a 1983 Alan Bannister as my teeth and saliva reintegrated a dozen shards of shattered pink gum was the height of bliss.

So when baseball cards became glossy, when they stopped printing full career statistics on the back, when they ditched the gum in favor of holograms, that's when I checked out.

Do I digress?  Only slightly.  It's no fun to collect comics if the collection ends at three.  If I'm a kid who's just scored a 12 pack of Bazooka, I want 12 different comics.  I think Topps could figure out a way to make that happen.  If I buy my son some baseball cards, I think there should be gum in the pack.  I don't want some adult telling him to be careful because the cards might be worth something, someday.

Are you listening Topps?  I want my gum back.

And here's what 9 pieces of Bazooka look like, in case you were curious: 

Do not chew 9 pieces of Bazooka at one time.  You will be sick.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Crib Notes, Volume 3

This is going to be short and sweet, I just have a random thought I need to put in writing....

WHY ARE WOMEN SO CONVINCING?  I am probably one of the more stubborn people you are going to meet.  I typically live life by my own rules, do things my own way.  You can ask my parents and they'll tell you I've pretty much been that way since I was upright. I'm nostalgic, somewhat traditional in that I very much value the traditions my family had growing up. Not a big fan of change when it comes to those things. More on this in a future post.  If my mind is set on something it is very hard to convince me otherwise.  I got cut from my 8th grade basketball team, but that just made me want to play basketbal even more.  My parents would tell me all the time not to do things, and I would do them regardless, (Which many times ultimately led to disaster).  In my present life I am very confident and steadfast in my business philosophies and my approach.  It can be difficult to convince me to stray from an idea or concept that I feel strongly about.  In my social life I don't really succumb to peer pressure, in part because I am often the one leading the charge, but it takes a lot to convince me to do something I didn't already want to do on my own.

All of that being said, and I'm discovering this more and more as my life progresses, women can literally convince me to do just about anything.  A man could come up to me and say, "Hey Jeff you have to try this product," and typically I'll just say ok and never actually do it.  Five seconds later a woman will come up and tell me the same thing, and I'm probably going to the store 10 minutes later.  I've obviously experienced this personally but I would venture to say this is pretty much par for the course in the typical life of a man.  Certainly there are exceptions, and that example may be a slight exaggeration, but my point is that women at least in my experience have about 100 times more convincing power over me than men.

Now lets state the obvious and get part of this out of the way.  In some instances the answer to this question can certainly be traced to some type of sexual instinct. Especially if it is someone you are sleeping with or attempting to sleep with. Women are amazingly beautiful, loving, nurturing,  tempestuous, caring people,  and provide a gift so amazing to this world that can probably never be fully appreciated enough by men.  Being able to give life to another human being is a truly incredible thing.  So let's all agree that some of the convincing power can probably be attributed to all those factors.  However, I want to take that part of it completely out of the equation. Even women I have absolutely no desire to sleep with, could be a stranger, friend, or a colleague, and they are still twice as likely to convince me to do something, or to change my mind about a thought I already have.

I can't explain it....I can try, as I have some thoughts, but I think I will get myself confused if I even attempt it.  For me it is probably a saving grace so I don't completely lose myself in my own overconfidence, stubborness, etc...But it still baffles my mind sometimes when I find myself doing things I had absolutely no intention of doing, simply because it was a woman that told me to.  Life is so funny some times. 

Ok maybe not so short.  Could write on this for a day. 


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rhee & Zhee

Last week a good friend came to town, the preeminent documentary filmmaker Rosy Rhee.  As a bonus, she brought her beau, let's call him Dr. Zhee, all the way from California.  Plenty of laughs were shared and yarns were spun, and it was great to introduce them to the McBonerito, but mostly what I'll remember about that short visit was, once the kiddo was asleep in his crib, the four of us getting our Twinkie on:

Ever notice how good friends and stimulating conversation make food and wine taste even better?  I've discovered that nothing, nothing can improve the taste of a Twinkie. 


Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Spartan Life

My sometimes-employed wife went out and snagged herself a job this week.  No big deal.  Assistant Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Cultures at Michigan State University.  Full time gig.  Salaried position.  Nice benefits.  No heavy lifting.

Though it hardly qualifies as news at this point, I thought an achievement of such magnitude deserved a more lasting tribute than a heap of Facebook 'likes.'  Only a blog post is forevermore, so allow me to rhapsodize for a moment.

My sometimes-overworked wife earned her place among the MSU faculty after 5 years of reading and writing and filming and teaching in the pressure cooker that is the doctoral program at Purdue's Department of English.  Along the way she's made documentaries, published articles, helped launch a journal, passed her prelims and got some dissertation chapters written.  Looked good doing it too.  Oh, and she wedged a childbirth in there too, just for the hell of it.

If, by the miracle of technology, I should live to be 1,000, I'll never understand how she managed it all, and with such grace.

But she did, because she's amazing, so you'll forgive me, McBoners, for using a few lines to gush. 

Michigan beckons.  Soon we'll be saying goodbye to West Lafayette and hello to East Lansing.  A dissertation alone stands in the way of her degree.  Soon that obstacle too will lay vanquished on a path to glory that started back in '07, when she waltzed into the University of Akron's English Department and asked if they needed some help with the kids.  They did, and that hiring led to this hiring.

And I would also like to point out that the following correspondence from an Ohio university of some renown arrived last week in the mail:

Apparently I've been spelling my spouse's first name wrong all these years.  Been spelling the last name wrong, too.  And wouldn't you know it, it seems that, to my surprise, I accidentally got one of those gay marriages.  It doesn't matter.  Love is love, and I love my husband.

Congratulations, Mr. Hilalgo.  I'm so proud of you, dude.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Monsters Shake

You had to know that this was coming.  In our world at The Q, we work our asses off, sometimes 15 hours a day, weekends, holidays, etc. etc. So if we can't have a little fun while we're at, then not sure why we would even bother!

Love what I do, love that we don't take ourselves too seriously.

Introducing, the Monsters version of the latest craze..........


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Crib Notes - 2nd Edition

Did you know that Cleveland was awesome? I'm guessing the answer is probably one of the following:

1.) Yes because I live here and I can't believe what is happening..THE RENAISSANCE HAS ARRIVED!

But more likely...

2.) No, can you believe the weather?
3.) No, didn't your river catch on fire, like 30 years ago?
4.) "No".  Why not?  "Well never been, but I read that it snows there, your sports teams haven't won a championship in a long time and I heard someone call it the mistake by the lake once."

Either way, I don't really care.  Come live with me for one week, just seven short days, and the world that you previously lived in will be changed forever.

However, spending one week with me in Cleveland may cause the following side affects:

1.) Going home with one of these:

2.) Having the most fun you've had since you were in college
3.) Enjoying some of the finest dining the culinary world has to offer
4.) Meeting incredibly beautiful, bright, talented, and authentic people that will make you smile every day with their passion and energy
5.) Extreme regret - for any negative, uninformed or uneducated comments you had made previously about this city
6.) An increase of one or two points on the toughness scale. 
7.) Calling your boss to ask for the following Monday off so you can look for places to live in Tremont for your now pending move to Cleveland
8.) Memories like these:

*crib notes are the unadulterated, unfiltered and often times confusing thoughts of Jeffrey Bowler made at the hours of the night when the thirst for writing has become stronger than the need for sleep.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Sleepless Nights - 1st Edition

I sit in bed quite often and think about...well quite frankly....I think about a lot of different things. Where I'm going, where I've been, sometimes just reflection on the day.  It is a relaxing and almost meditative subsitute for sleep, since I find that to be highly overrated.  And with my current leg injury, almost impossible to sustain longer than 30 minutes at a time anyway....

So as I am laying there I usually come up with a few things that I want to write about, and then I often forget the next morning as I prepare my mind for other priorities at hand.  So I think I'll start writing them immediately once in a while. Need to come up with a catchy name for them...Crib notes?

Tonight's thoughts:

I, for the life of me, will never understand three fundamental flaws I see happening so often....

1.) Why people choose to be negative when they could just as easily make the choice to be positive.  Bad things happen to all of us. We all have days that seem like they are going to finally break us down. I am well aware that life can be unbelievably tough sometimes.  But I can tell you this with absolutely no uncertainty whatsoever; negativity is a lethal disease that can cause irreparable damage to you and those around you.

2.) Why so many chose to hate one another instead of helping one another. Love is the driving force of human nature, why do we fight it?  LOVE EACH OTHER.

3.) Why so many people choose to let life and opportunities pass them by instead of letting life and opportunities be the driving force for every decision that they make.  My dad would have thrown me out of the gym himself if I would have ever tanked on a basketball court, and so maybe on some level that has just carried over into every other part of my life. I just don't understand how so many people can be so scared of life that they forget to live it... 



You Wanna Little Thumb with That?

Well, I cheese grated the living hell out of myself tonight.  Luckily, I'm left handed and won't miss the skin, tendon and ligament that once comprised the knuckle of my right thumb.  It happened when I was shaving Romano onto my sometimes-Italian wife's bowl of spaghetti.  I suppose I was being too cavalier with that block of hard cheese and what apparently is a very dangerous kitchen utensil.  To her credit, my wife did not panic at the sight of blood.  She calmly devoured her supper, knuckle and all, as I tended to my gushing wound.  The meal was 'delicious,' she later commented, though she 'could have done without the chewy bits.'

This spells the end of my thumb's functionality, and any hope of solving Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (when I was sooo close to beating the second Don Flamenco).  I might as well have the sucker chopped.  I'm thinking wood as a replacement, or maybe Obamacare will pony up for one of those lightweight aluminum models.