Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!!

Happy 2007 everyone. 2006 had it's ups and downs, but 2007 promises to be a great one. Thanks to everyone for reading LIFE ON THE EDGE and I'll be back blogging on January 3rd!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Chevy Who?

(Chevy Chase has to be the most talentless comic alive today, unless you actually count people like Pauly Shore, Andrew Dice Clay and Carrot Top as comedians. This schmuck is so unfunny that I almost get ill even talking about him. He got a lucky break when he was on Saturday Night Live, where people like John Belushi, Dan Akroyd and Gilda Radner were 1,000 times funnier than he was on their worst days. Think about this -- can you name ONE funny movie Chevy Chase has ever been in? I can name at least a dozen duds right off the top of my head (Can anyone say, "Fletch?") And don't say "Caddyshack," because that film was funny because of guys like Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield, so that one doesn't count. Gerald Ford was an All-American college football player at Michigan, and he tripped and almost fell a couple of times when he was President, primarily because he had a bum knee. To take that and turn it into a series of sketches was unfunny and unfair, but Ford took it in stride. For Chevy Chase's name to be spoken in the same breath as a great man like Gerald Ford is a disgrace and a travesty.)

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 27) - Comedian Chevy Chase, who became famous in the 1970s portraying Gerald Ford as an amiable klutz, praised the former president Wednesday and said they later became friendly in spite of the biting comedy routines. Chase, 63, was an original cast member on the trend-setting late-night comedy television show "Saturday Night Live" and frequently opened the show pretending to be Ford stumbling and falling. The parody in 1975-76 helped reinforce a popular image about Ford's clumsiness, even though the president had been a star athlete in college. "He had never been elected period, so I never felt that he deserved to be there to begin with," the actor said about Ford, who died on Tuesday at age 93. "That was just the way I felt then as a young man and as a writer and a liberal." "Later on we became friends and he was a very, very sweet man," Chase said in a telephone interview from a Colorado ski resort. "He took my wife and I on a whole lovely trip through Grand Rapids to show us where he had been as a child and what not. We kept in touch and he was just a terrific guy." Chase, who has since starred in many film comedies, said Ford helped boost his career, but said another politician could have just as easily become the comedic punching bag in such politically turbulent times. Chase was initially hired as a writer, not an actor, but the humor he wrote mocking Ford helped change that. "I wrote all those Gerald Ford jokes and (producer) Lorne (Michaels) put me on the air," he said. "Doing the stunt falls and stuff ... started me." "As far as making my career, it could have been anybody who had been a Republican after Nixon and pardoned him."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dear Santa: My Sports Christmas Wish List

My Sports Christmas Wish List is short and sweet, for one basic reason. I haven’t really been all that good this past year, so if Santa decides to put coal in my stocking he’ll be totally justified. In the hopes that Old St. Nick will forget my transgressions in 2006, here is what I wish for in the world of sports in 2007.

I wish that….

The City of Los Angeles finally gets an NFL expansion team. It’s a shame and a travesty that one of the country’s biggest markets doesn’t have a football team they can call their own.

Ken Griffey plays a full season without getting injured…again. This poor guy has been on the disabled list eight times since coming to Cincy. How do you break your hand playing with your kids, anyway?

Allan Iverson gets along with everybody in Denver and decides to show up at an occasional practice.

Barry Bonds breaks the all-time HR record outside of SF and gets soundly booed by opposing fans.

Mark McGwire gets into the Hall of Fame “Steroids Wing.”

T.O. grows up and stops acting like a kid who just lost his allowance for talking back to his parents.

The Boston Red Sox and LA Dodgers play in the World Series, payback for all of the aggressive free agent moves they made this past winter.

Annie Duke wins the World Series of Poker because I think she’s hot….and smart – a deadly combination.

Kobe scores 101 one night.

Somebody (Howard or Pujols?) hits five home runs in an MLB game.

An MLB pitcher wins 30 games for the first time since Denny McClain did it in 1968.

The New Orleans Saints show the world that their city is back after Katrina, with a Super Bowl win.

Florida upsets Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game, thereby creating more controversy and provoking serious talks about a playoff series.

The San Jose Sharks get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs (which will be tough with the Ducks playing like they are.)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas Everyone: An Inspirational Message from LIFE ON THE EDGE

Make it a special Christmas this year. Tell someone you love them. Open lots of gifts. Take a minute to look at your beautiful Christmas tree. Put anger, anxiety and doubt aside for the entire day. Eat like a pig. Laugh your ass off. Smoke a cigar and break wind. The average person in this country only gets about 68-72 Christmas Days per lifetime, unless you happen to get hit by a moped or choke on a turkey bone, in which case the figure is considerably lower. So have a great Christmas (while you can.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On Christmas Vacation

I'm on vacation until January 3rd, 2007. If I get a chance, I might post something here, but my intention is to take a break and just relax. Have a wonderful Holiday Season and thanks for supporting LIFE ON THE EDGE in 2006!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More Yuletide Yuckfest Photos

The Yuckfest Band, Chubby's All-Stars, rocked the house this year with Viv Savage, the keyboard player from the legendary band SPINAL TAP. Thanks again to all the members of Chubby's for the best performance yet! I can't wait for the 10th Annual Yuletide Yuckfest next year. It will be a blast, baby! And remember, as Viv always says, "Have a Good Time All the Time!"

Monday, December 18, 2006

The T.O. Show is Getting Old

I have to say that I am so very, very tired of Terrell Owens, his attitude, his issues and the circus he creates wherever he goes. If the man wasn’t an amazing athlete, he’d be just another self-centered, immature punk. T.O. should wake up every morning and thank God that he possesses the ability that he does. Last night during the Cowboys’ 38-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Owens became frustrated when defensive back DeAngelo Hall talked some trash, so he spit in his face. (or is it spat?) This would be shocking if some other player did it, but with T.O., it’s just another incident in a long list of stupid things the man has done. Every time he comes to play for a new NFL team, it’s the same scenario with T.O. – he starts out okay, but within a very short period of time, he’s whining, arguing with teammates and coaches, sulking and then acting a fool. When he was with the San Francisco 49ers, I know for a fact that there were a bunch of guys on that team who wanted nothing more than to kick T.O.’s ass. After his escapades in Philly, The Eagles held a parade leading him right out of town. When it’s all said and done, the NFL will have to allow expansion franchises to enter the league, because at this rate, T.O. will have played for every team currently in existence within the next several years. Pretty soon no one will want to have anything to do with this self-absorbed prima donna, regardless of how good he is at catching passes. One of the main problems is that the guy has the ability to completely destroy team chemistry. He’s just not a team player, bottom line. There were instances in SF when the team would win, but Owens would be in a funk because he didn’t get enough catches. It’s always all about T.O. The man has an ego the size of Texas, and for a while it looked as though Coach Bill Parcells might be able to rein him in. But, that’s basically impossible. Eventually, T.O. will screw the pooch no matter where he’s playing, because football is a team sport and the man is only looking out for himself. His outstanding ability as a wide receiver attracts teams looking for some instant offense. But, once they get to know him as a person, they realize that his instant offense comes with a price that’s instantly offensive – both on and off the playing field. It’s called an ego. T.O. needs a timeout. He needs to learn how to play with others. And he must realize that the football world does not revolve around him. His boorish behavior is getting old and soon he’ll be history in Dallas. Stay tuned for more excitement from T.O. This last incident is just a spit in the well. The Terrell Owens Show is a strange combination of Punk’d, Jackass and Teletubbies. It was entertaining for a while, but the ratings are dropping fast!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Goodbye & Good Riddance to Judith Regan -- She's Our Douche Bag of the Month!

(I was so happy to read this yesterday. Judith Regan has specialized in publishing sleaze for a long, long time, and her complete lack of class finally caught up with her. Regan has been responsible for the trashiest, most low-class pieces of so-called "literature" ever printed. The woman earned zillions of dollars publishing garbage. The O.J. Simpson debacle was the final straw and now she's history. The sad thing is -- she'll probably show up somewhere else pretty quickly, with another publisher that covets her crap, maybe someone like Larry Flynt. There's no doubt about it, Judith Regan is our Douche Bag of the Month!)
NEW YORK (Dec. 15) - O.J. Simpson's would-be publisher, Judith Regan, was fired Friday, her sensational, scandalous tenure at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. ending with the tersest of announcements. "Judith Regan's employment with HarperCollins has been terminated effective immediately," HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman said in a statement. "The REGAN publishing program and staff will continue as part of the HarperCollins General Books Group."
Regan's firing comes less than a month after Murdoch's cancellation of Simpson's hypothetical murder confession, "If I Did It," a planned book and Fox television interview that was greeted with instant and near-universal disgust when announced.
An industry force since the 1980s, when she produced best-sellers by Drew Barrymore and Kathie Lee Gifford for Simon & Schuster, Regan has been labeled a "foul-mouthed tyrant" and the "enfant terrible of American publishing." She is also widely envied - if not admired - for her gift of attracting attention to her books and to herself.
Since 1994, she has headed the ReganBooks imprint at News Corp.'s HarperCollins, an ideal fit for Murdoch's tabloid tastes. Regan has published a long list of racy best-sellers, including Jose Canseco's "Juiced" and Jenna Jameson's "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star," and is the rare publisher of interest to gossip columnists, notably for a rumored affair with former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
She often clashed with her more temperate peers and is widely believed to have had tense relations with Friedman. Last year, Regan moved her offices to Los Angeles, further distancing herself from corporate officials in New York.
Regan has often complained that her more literary side has been overlooked, pointing out that she has published books by Wally Lamb, Douglas Coupland and novelist Jess Walter, whose "The Zero" was a finalist for the National Book Award in November. The Simpson project, announced the day before the awards ceremony, quickly overshadowed the nomination.

Friday, December 15, 2006

This Week's Restaurant Review: Juban in SF

Every so often, I enjoy eating at a restaurant that involves a little more than just sitting there and being served. I call these places participation restaurants. Fondue restaurants and places where you get to grill your own food are two types that come to mind. The standard modus operandi for eating out can get old. You sit down, order some things off of a menu, and then your server brings the food to you. Granted, it’s a tried and true method with a centuries-old track record of success, but it can get stale just the same. The other night we went to a place called Juban, located in San Francisco’s Japantown. Juban is a Japanese barbecue restaurant where you get to grill your own food at the table. This experience can best be described as “the thrill of the grill and the agony of burnt meat.” To some people, this is a cool experience, while other folks go out to eat so that they don’t have to cook, in which case they won’t like Juban. I personally enjoy cooking, so for me it’s like making dinner at someone else’s house. Besides, they do all the prep work and all you have to do is the grilling part. Juban is what they call a Yakiniku House in Japan. The way it works is that you order a bunch of raw items and then grill them. You end up eating things in small batches after they’re done being grilled. The extensive menu features everything from Beef (Waygu: rich in marbling and very tender); Filet Mignon (marinated in miso sauce); Pork Kalbi (pork garnished with lemon); Kobe Beef (these cows are treated better than most people while they’re being raised, living in small cattle condos and eating only the best produce); Beef Ribeye; Yokussen Kalbi (short ribs); Tan Shio (beef tongue, most definitely an acquired taste); Yaki-Shabu (thinly sliced beef); Liver; Ika (marinated calamari): Garlic Steak (cubed steak marinated in a Shio-Negi garlic sauce); Chicken; Ebi (prawns); Hotate (scallops); Lobster Tail; Veggies (including Shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, onions, carrots and bell peppers), and Ninniku (garlic roasted in butter.) At Juban, they advise you to flip the items that you’re grilling just once, don’t ask me why. Since we were rookies, we burnt a few things until we got the hang of it. Because everything is sliced paper thin, it cooks really fast. Also, if you crowd too many items onto the grill, you can get flare ups. Burning down the restaurant is considered very bad taste in Japan. If you order one of Juban’s dinner combinations, you get soup, salad and steamed rice along with your meal. The salad was mediocre and the egg drop soup forgettable. The meat, poultry and seafood are excellent, however. You can tell the beef especially is of high quality. The only criticism I have about the place is that it’s pretty pricey. Dinner for three with tip was roughly $140.00, and we didn’t even order any wine. I could almost hear my credit card screaming out in pain. But, in a tourist trap like Japantown, what do you expect? I imagine that if we ordered the same meal in the country of Japan itself, it probably would have cost more! Juban is at 1581 Webster Street in San Francisco. Their phone number is: (415) 776-5822. I am told they also have locations in Burlingame and Menlo Park.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wow Bao! The Tallest Man in the World is So Cool! He Saved Two Dolphins!

(This is such a great story. This guy stepped up and saved these animals' lives. Bao Xishun isn't just tall, but the man has a huge heart as well.)
BEIJING (Dec. 14) - The long arms of the world's tallest man reached in and saved two dolphins by pulling out plastic from their stomachs, state media and an aquarium official said Thursday.

The dolphins got sick after nibbling on plastic from the edge of their pool at an aquarium in Liaoning province. Attempts to use surgical instruments to remove the plastic failed because the dolphins' stomachs contracted in response to the instruments, the China Daily newspaper reported. Veterinarians then decided to ask for help from Bao Xishun, a 7-foot-9 herdsman from Inner Mongolia with 41.7-inch arms, state media said. Bao, 54, was confirmed last year by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's tallest living man. Chen Lujun, the manager of the Royal Jidi Ocean World aquarium, told The Associated Press that the shape of the dolphins' stomachs made it difficult to push an instrument very far in without hurting the animals. People with shorter arms could not reach the plastic, he said.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bush, Young & Leinart: Proving Themselves in the NFL

Although it’s taken pretty much the entire season to transpire, last year’s Big Three draft picks– Reggie Bush, Vince Young and Matt Leinart -- have stepped up and emerged as top-tier rookies in the NFL. All of them came along with huge expectations, but as anyone with any knowledge of the concept of potential vs. reality can tell you, just because you did well playing college football doesn’t mean you’ll make it in the NFL. As former coach Jerry Glanville once said, the NFL stands for “Not for long” if you can’t adapt to the speed and fierce competition of the Greatest Show on Turf. Just ask guys like Ryan Leaf, Brian Bosworth, Lawrence Phillips, and Andre Ware, just to name a few. First there’s Reggie Bush, the player that the Houston Texans didn’t covet. Not only has Bush brought a new excitement to the New Orleans Saints – he’s also done everything he could to embrace a city that really needs him. He’s selflessly donated his time and money to help the state that was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. He gave a local high school a new football field, and has tirelessly made himself available to help the city heal. If his performances against the 49ers and the Cowboys over the past couple weeks are any indication of what Bush is capable of doing in this league -- well, we’re in for a lot of exciting moments. Vince Young, who many NFL teams passed on, has also come into his own, putting the Tennessee Titans on his back and carrying them through a modest winning streak. A one-man show, Young is learning the game more quickly than many people thought he could. The rap on him during last year’s draft was that the man wasn’t that smart. Well, he’s bright enough to win games, and at this level, that’s all that really matters. The man can throw, he can run and he has a football instinct you can’t teach. With the Titans’ recent winning binge, he may have also saved Head Coach Jeff Fischer’s job. Leinart may not be able to save Dennis Green’s job as coach of the Cardinals, but he sure is on his way to making a name for himself in Arizona. It’s “I told you so” time for all the teams who passed on him. Leinart is a prototype QB with all the skills required to take Arizona to the Promised Land. He makes quick decisions, has learned to read the complex defensive schemes in the NFL, and is improving every quarter. Last week, Arizona beat the Seattle Seahawks, the caliber of team that in the past they had no clue against. With a new stadium and young talent throughout their roster, the Cardinals are chirping about next year already. Bush, Young and Leinart – they should have been selected 1-2-3. They’re doing it for their teams, the ones who were smart enough to pick them, while those clubs who passed on this talented and rapidly improving trio are left crying in their beers.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Fat Flush Diet -- Will It Work for My Fat Ass?

Right after the new year, I'm starting a diet called The Fat Flush Diet. I sure hope I can do it. A good friend of mine swears by it. I need to do something, because I'm getting fatter again. At one time I was hugely obese (340 lbs.-plus). Then, I started working out (swimming, primarily) and eating less, and in just five months I got down to 270 lbs. Now, I'm back to 280. I have to get back on the right track, and I'm hoping this diet will do the trick. In exactly 21 days, I will embark on this diet. Until then, I will eat like a PIG!! If anyone out there has had success with this diet, please let me know!

DAY ONE (1/3/2007)

Wake up: 8 oz cranwater + 1 tsp psyllium husk

Before breakfast: Hot Lemon water

Breakfast: One piece sprouted bread with a veggie scramble: two eggs, spinach, green peppers, scallions, parsley, and cranwater to drink.

Mid morning snack: ½ grapefruit

20 min. before lunch: 8 oz. cranwater

Lunch: 4 oz. salmon with lemon and garlic; warm asparagus; green salad with broccoli florets and cucumber and Flush dressing. 8 oz. cranwater to drink.

Snack: one apple (men add 2-4 oz. leftover salmon from lunch)

20 min. before dinner: 8 oz. cranwater

Dinner: 4 oz. cider turkey (1 lb. skinless turkey breast cut into 1 in. cubes and cooked fully in 2 tbsp no-salt –added chicken broth. Then add mushrooms, red peppers, and ¼ cup apple cider vinegar and cook until veggies are soft. Garnish with parsley if you like.) Add to that steamed zucchini and a green salad with flush dressing, sliced carrots and tomatoes.

After Dinner: Hard boil some eggs for the week.

Before bed: 8 oz cranwater + 1 tsp psylium husk

Fat Flush Shopping List

Most of these items can be found at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s
· Alvarado St. Bakery Sprouted grain or essential flax bread
· Unsweetened cranberry juice (Trader Joe’s is best deal)
· Apple cider vinegar
· 32 oz water bottle with measurement markings (REI is a good place for this)
· Spices, seasonings, herbs: cinnamon, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, parsley
· Fruit (organic): apples, grapefruit, pears, tomatoes, nectarines
· Fresh and Frozen organic berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.
· Veggies (organic): Lettuce (romaine or spring mix baby greens), asparagus, artichokes, fresh spinach, peppers (any color), scallions, broccoli, cucumber, radishes, zucchini, mushrooms, baby carrots, Chinese greens, bok choy, water chestnuts, bean sprouts.
· omega-3 enriched eggs
· Organic salmon filets
· Organic lean beef: London Broil or Top sirloin
· Organic turkey breast and organic ground turkey
· Organic low sodium (no-salt-added) veg, chicken, and beef broth
· Lemons and Limes

These items are ready for you to pick up at VitaSport downtown Los Gatos between Double D’s and Pedro’s on N. Santa Cruz Ave.
· GLA supplement (one 1000 mg capsule of borage oil twice daily)
· high lignan organic flax seed oil
· Optional: Cromium Picolonate (follow directions on bottle)
· Optional: L-Carnitine (follow directions on bottle)
· multi vitamin (follow directions on bottle)
· Stevia Plus sweetener
· whey protein (vanilla bioplex is good)
· Powdered psyllium husk

Fat Flush Dressing: Even parts apple cider vinegar and flax seed oil (one tblsp of each will serve two people)+ add garlic (fresh is best) and lemon juice to taste.

Cranwater: In a 32 oz bottle mix 4 oz unsweetened cranberry juice and 28 oz water. Add stevia to taste

Long life cocktail: Add 1tsp psyllium husk to 8 oz. cranwater morning and night. This is a high fiber plant so if you’re on birth control or other prescription medications, take them at least 2 hours before or after the long life cocktail. The fiber can interfere with the absorption of the medication.

Lemon water: 8oz hot water + juice of ½ fresh lemon (or lime if you prefer)
Fat Flush Shopping List

Most of these items can be found at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s
· Alvarado St. Bakery Sprouted grain or essential flax bread
· Unsweetened cranberry juice (Trader Joe’s is best deal)
· Apple cider vinegar
· 32 oz water bottle with measurement markings (REI is a good place for this)
· Spices, seasonings, herbs: cinnamon, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, parsley
· Fruit (organic): apples, grapefruit, pears, tomatoes, nectarines
· Fresh and Frozen organic berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.
· Veggies (organic): Lettuce (romaine or spring mix baby greens), asparagus, artichokes, fresh spinach, peppers (any color), scallions, broccoli, cucumber, radishes, zucchini, mushrooms, baby carrots, Chinese greens, bok choy, water chestnuts, bean sprouts.
· omega-3 enriched eggs
· Organic salmon filets
· Organic lean beef: London Broil or Top sirloin
· Organic turkey breast and organic ground turkey
· Organic low sodium (no-salt-added) veg, chicken, and beef broth
· Lemons and Limes

These items are ready for you to pick up at VitaSport downtown Los Gatos between Double D’s and Pedro’s on N. Santa Cruz Ave.
· GLA supplement (one 1000 mg capsule of borage oil twice daily)
· high lignan organic flax seed oil
· Optional: Cromium Picolonate (follow directions on bottle)
· Optional: L-Carnitine (follow directions on bottle)
· multi vitamin (follow directions on bottle)
· Stevia Plus sweetener
· whey protein (vanilla bioplex is good)
· Powdered psyllium husk

Fat Flush Dressing: Even parts apple cider vinegar and flax seed oil (one tblsp of each will serve two people)+ add garlic (fresh is best) and lemon juice to taste.

Cranwater: In a 32 oz bottle mix 4 oz unsweetened cranberry juice and 28 oz water. Add stevia to taste

Long life cocktail: Add 1tsp psyllium husk to 8 oz. cranwater morning and night. This is a high fiber plant so if you’re on birth control or other prescription medications, take them at least 2 hours before or after the long life cocktail. The fiber can interfere with the absorption of the medication.

Lemon water: 8oz hot water + juice of ½ fresh lemon (or lime if you prefer)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bash Brother Getting Bashed

Mark McGwire will never be in the Baseball Hall of Fame because 1.) He took steroids and 2.) He wasn’t honest about it. People as a rule are a pretty forgiving bunch. We forgive crooked politicians, philandering celebrities, drug-riddled athletes and all sorts of crimes committed by people in the news. But, if you aren’t honest and contrite after being caught or exposed for a wrongdoing, folks will hold it against you for life. Some prime examples are Pete Rose, O.J. Simpson and Richard Nixon. Pete Rose lied about gambling until he thought he had a shot at being in the Hall of Fame and getting back into baseball, but by then it was too late. O.J. has never admitted murdering Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, and America hates him now more than ever. And Nixon never clearly explained the Watergate situation and all that erased tape, so he goes down in history as a liar and an unforgiven man. The truth is that you can do crank with gay hookers while watching satanic porno and hitting on pages and people will forgive you if you come clean. But, McGwire chose another route and the end result is that he’ll never reach the pinnacle in Cooperstown. If it weren’t for the steroid issue, the former bash brother would probably be a first-ballot slam dunk selection. He hit 583 career homers, which by itself should be enough to get him there. But, if you analyze his stats a little more closely, there are arguments for his absence in the Hall. He played 16 seasons and got 1,626 hits. There are only 13 players currently in the HOF with less. Then, add in the fact that he hit .263 lifetime, and the case against him becomes stronger. A lot of players with lower averages are in the Hall, including huge names like Harmon Killebrew (.256) and Mike Schmidt (.267). But, both of them played longer than Mac did and had more career hits. When you look even more carefully at McGwire’s career, you’ll see he wasn’t a big doubles guy (252), nor was he much of an RBI man (1,414). The latter is an indication that the man hit a lot of solo dingers and/or wasn’t a real run-producing threat. When questioned by Congress Mark McGwire stated that he didn’t want to “talk about the past.” Big, big mistake. I’m not suggesting he should have pointed his finger and vehemently denied the entire affair like Rafael Palmeiro did, but I think he should have at least admitted to some culpability, like Jason Giambi did. Is anyone harping on Giambi now? Hell no. People think he’s a mensch. And they’ve lost all respect for McGwire, who just eight years ago was America’s darling and baseball’s savior. And that’s why he’ll never get into the Hall of Fame. Mac is destined to stand outside the sacred shrine of baseball superiority for an eternity, peering forlornly through the window, alone and uninvited to the big party. That is, of course, unless the powers that be decide to build a Wing of Shame sometime soon!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Beware of this Internet Scam

There are several companies out there who are scamming people over the Net with so-called "quick surveys". What they're doing is offering these very tempting gifts, like a $500 gift card from Best Buy, free iPODs, flatscreen TV's, etc. In their junk, unsolicited e-mails, they say all you have to do is answer a few questions and the gift is yours. Well, you know what they say -- when something seems too good to be true...Well, the scam part is that they make it literally impossible for you to complete the surveys. And if you don't sign up for stuff, you don't get the prize. Some of the surveys go so far as to request your social security number as required information they need in order for you to complete the survey. I spent at least 35 minutes going through this labyrinthe of surveys and offers for things like Columbia Music Club, Verizon, Coca-Cola, etc. The catch is that even after you're unable to jump through their obstacle course of hoops, and, of course, thereby fail to qualify for their dangling carrot of a prize, you are still signed up for all these offers. These companies now have your e-mail address, your home address, and, in some cases, your home phone and cell phone numbers. So, now you're going to be inundated with sales calls from companies bugging you, all because you went for a prize gift you had literally no chance of getting. I should know better!
The name of the place is:
Exclusive Gift Cards
13900 Jog Road, Suite 203-251
Delray, FL 33446
(561) 674-9700

They are a complete rip-off!! Beware!!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

More of My Wacky Artwork

My art is getting mixed responses. The last time I posted some, people commented extensively. Some were surprisingly complimentary. Others were brutally critical. Here are some more of my pieces. Judge for yourself.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Bruination of USC

I still cannot believe that USC lost to UCLA. I’m always torn when the two teams play each other. My mom went to UCLA and my brother recently graduated from Southern Cal. But, there was no way I thought the Trojans were going to fold up like a cheese omelet the way they did last Saturday. It just proves a point – never underestimate the power of a long-time bitter rivalry. UCLA and USC hate each other. It goes all the way back to O.J. Simpson and Gary Beban and the fact that John Wooden’s Bruins basketball team spanked USC for so many years. The two schools are so different. You can see it in their student bodies, alumni and fans. USC people are more corporate. They wear their red sweaters and talk business when they’re not taking football. They’re more grounded and less creative. They are also a little arrogant. Bruin supporters are more whimsical. They’ve got a laid-back attitude, but are still very competitive. They are more likely to get a little wild and do crazy stuff. USC is like U.S. Steel. UCLA is like Google. USC fans drink wine and mixed drinks out of nice cups and eat steak and lobster at their tailgate parties. UCLA fans drink beer and Red Bull out of the can and prefer ribs or barbecued chicken at their tailgaters. This game was a classic example of how teams tend to look past an opponent they don’t respect. The Trojans were thinking about Ohio State in Arizona, not UCLA. They failed to finish, and nobody respects a non-finisher. The biggest surprise is that Pete Carroll let the team lose its focus at exactly the wrong time. You can talk about how Booty blew it, or how the Trojan’s defense didn’t step up, but the bottom line is that I blame the coach in a situation like this. So, now the Trojans get sloppy seconds and have to play a strong Michigan team that will be looking to take Southern Cal’s heads off. I predict a major letdown on the part of USC. They were so close, but they screwed the pooch by not being prepared to play a team that is obviously inferior. When we look back at the biggest upsets in college football history, this one will really stand out. In the end, I don’t think it matters, anyway. I believe that Ohio State is by far the most dominant team out there this season, and that no one ever had a chance to beat them in the championship game. I predict that they’ll spank Florida by at least 14 points. But, to think that USC’s season was essentially ruined by the Bruins is a tough one to swallow – they were so close and yet so far.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

This Week's Restaurant Review: McCovey's in Walnut Creek

Sports bars are rarely known for their cuisine. We’re talking burgers, sandwiches, salads and a lot of finger food. People go to sports bars to drink and watch sports. If they get drunk enough or get the munchies, they’ll usually settle for sub-par food, as long as their favorite game is one on of the TV’s in the joint. I have never had spectacular food at a sports bar. Some of it has been pretty decent, but the majority would best be described as very mediocre. That’s why I’m not surprised but I am quite unhappy to say that I recently went to a highly renowned sports bar where the food can only be described as totally inedible. The place I am referring to is called McCovey’s, a trendy spot located in the yuppified section of downtown Walnut Creek. The atmosphere here is remarkable, with one of the most comprehensive collection of baseball memorabilia I’ve ever seen in one location, except maybe at the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame. I am a huge baseball fan, and when I go in McCovey’s I feel like I’m in a baseball museum. They have autographed bats, balls, jerseys, artifacts and artwork that is unsurpassed on the West Coast, in my opinion. But, that’s where the McCovey magic stops. First, let’s address the service. I am not a real complainer when it comes to restaurants, as anyone who reads my reviews knows. Give me decent food and fairly attentive service, and I am a happy camper. But, when service is really bad, I go out of my way to say something about it. If it occurs once, I can be somewhat forgiving, but I have been to McCovey’s 3-4 times to watch games and meet clients, and the service has been atrocious each and every time. The wait staff there seems to specialize is forgetting you exist. They make you wait a good 10-15 minutes before they realize you’re there and then they let you sit with nothing on your table for another 10. When they do take your order, it’s invariably wrong, and then you have to send stuff back and wait all over again. Then, the food is not good. They serve all of your basic sports bar items – from pizzas to burgers to hot dogs and the like. They also try to do some other higher-end items at McCovey’s like Ahi Tuna and Prime Rib. But, overall the food is less than all-star quality. The other day I was in there for lunch and I ordered the Fish & Chips. The fish was undercooked and the fries were limp, even though I requested that they be extra crispy. To add insult to injury, they had to be the most expensive Fish & Chips this side of London – a whopping $16.95! You would think that for that kind of money, you’d at least get something other than cold cod and potatoes. McCovey’s isn’t a total shutout – the beers on tap are decent and the drinks I’ve had were good. But, overall the place is surely not a home run. I would rate it somewhere between a pop up and a bunt single. Go in there to watch your favorite team and then venture down the street where Walnut Creek offers a plethora of superior food alternatives. McCovey’s is located at 1444 North California Avenue in Walnut Creek and their phone number is: (510) 268-7050.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

More Yuckfest photos

Photo 1: The Marines were out in full force.

Photo 2: Grateful Don kicked ass as lead vocalist for Chubby's All-Stars

Photo 3: Every year, it's great to see Mad Dog, the roadie for Chubby's All-Stars

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Yuckfest Was a Success!

Last night's Yuletide Yuckfest was a complete success. The comics were great, and Chubby's All-Star Band kicked ass. The highlight of the evening had to be the appearance of Spinal Tap's Viv Savage (pictured at right). Thanks to everyone who was there to help Toys for Tots!!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Dine and Dash Olympics

(I did a little dining and dashing back in my crazy days. It's actually quite a rush. I remember one time I got my fat ass stuck in a bathroom window trying to flee from a Denny's. This waiter came in, saw me and grabbed one of my legs. I kicked him and the motion sent me right through the window and into the parking lot in the back. My friends were waiting in their Pinto to drive me to safety. Obviously, dining and dashing has developed into an art form in Qunicy, Massachusetts. This poor IHOP owner has decided to run his place using Gestapo-like tactics. If I was a 20-something d&d'er, I'd go to this place just for the challenge. The IHOP logo (pictured here) should say, "Come hungry. But, bring $$!")

QUINCY, Mass. - John Russo has been a victim of identity theft. So when he was asked to fork over a photo ID just to be seated at an IHOP pancake restaurant, he flipped.
"You want my license? I'm going for pancakes, I'm not buying the Hope diamond,' and they refused to seat us," Russo said, recounting his experience this week at the Quincy IHOP.
The restaurant now has agreed to reverse the policy of requiring customers to turn over their driver's licenses before they can order — a rule that was enacted to discourage "dine and dash" thefts.
WCVB-TV in Boston reported the Quincy restaurant's policy had been enacted without corporate approval.
IHOP Corp., based in Glendale, Calif., released a statement Monday night to WCVB that said an employee felt the policy could eliminate the problem of people leaving without paying.
"This was done without the knowledge or approval of management. ... We apologize to any guest who was inconvenienced," the statement said.
Russo said a security guard at the restaurant had "at least 40" licenses in hand when he arrived to eat.
"Identity theft is rampant. I wouldn't want to give my license, with my address or Social Security number to anyone that I'm not familiar with," Russo said. "I'm going just for breakfast."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Barry Bombs

The San Francisco Giants rejected Barry Bonds’ request for arbitration yesterday, which means there’s a very good chance they don’t want him back in 2007. Instead, the team is making a big play for Manny Ramirez, after losing out on bidding wars for players like Soriano, Carlos Lee, Gary Matthews and Juan Pierre. I really can’t blame them. Take away all of the steroid stuff, put the records aside, ignore all of the bad press the guy has received, and the bottom line is that Barry Bonds is no longer an everyday player. He can’t play in day games that follow night games, and last season he would always miss at least one game each weekend. He’s also become a real liability in the field and cost the Giants several games last year with his bad fielding. I live in San Francisco, so I got to see Barry a lot last season, and to be honest, he looks like a man who is sticking around just to break a record. With a career total of 734 home runs, he needs just 22 more to make history and pass Hank Aaron as the all-time leader. But, now it seems like no one wants to have anything to do with the guy. The way I look at it, he brought all of this upon himself. I have been in Barry’s presence a couple of times. I saw him play for Serra High School in San Mateo many years ago. He had an entourage way back then. I met him once when I was producing a TV commercial for Fox Sports and I sat down with him one time when I was covering a charity event for a newspaper I was writing for. Both times he seemed withdrawn, sullen, self-absorbed and acted like somewhat of a jerk, basically. I saw him ridicule people and refuse to sign autographs for little kids. I know he’s had a lot of problems with the press, but when I met him, I was totally willing to approach him like just another human being. He wanted none of it. So, the bottom line is this – where will Barry Bonds end up in 2007. The Oakland A’s showed interest at one point, but now it looks like they are going to sign catcher Mike Piazza instead. The Rangers were in the market a while back, but who knows now. The American League obviously makes more sense for Bonds, because he will be able to help a team a lot more as a designated hitter. Teams might be clamoring for the man a little more if he had shown any signs during his career of being more of a clubhouse leader. A club might sign him so that he could mentor their younger players. But, Barry’s attitude and reputation make that impossible. What on earth could any rookie learn from him? How to distance yourself from your teammates? How to assemble an entourage that will specialize in kissing your rear 24/7? How to be surly and snap at people? These are not the qualities of a person that anyone would ever want to be around, regardless of the profession. I hope Barry Bonds ends up with Kansas City or Tampa Bay. Let him get his tainted record with a last place team, because the man doesn’t deserve anything better. And he did it all to himself.

Friday, December 01, 2006

This Week's Restaurant Review: Consuelo In San Jose

Mexican food can either be magic or tragic. It’s rarely anywhere in between. Some of the best and worst meals I’ve ever had involved cuisine south of the border. I am not a big fan of the gelatinous combinations of cheese, rice, beans and mystery meat that you’ll find at many Mexican eateries in Northern California. I have eaten Mexican food at the most expensive restaurants in the Bay Area and have had horrible experiences, while I’ve also eaten at remote taco stands that can best be described as shacks in faraway places like Ixtapa and Mazatlan, and encountered some of the most delicious food on the planet there. Good Mexican food can cause me to wax poetic, while the bad kind can make me religious -- causing me to fervently worship the porcelain god to the point where I swear off the stuff forever. Fortunately, the Consuelo Mexican Bistro, located in San Jose’s Santana Row, serves the former. This food is muy, muy bueno, to say the least. Consuleo is a beautiful Mexican restaurant with about 120 seats both inside and outside on their well-appointed patio. They serve authentic Mexican cuisine using lesser known ingredients and they do it to perfection. Everything is served tapas style and meant to be shared. The place is lively and busy pretty much all the time, but that never bothers me. My fiancée hates loud places, but I figure it’s a trade-off situation. If a place is noisy, it usually means that A.) the patrons are chronically hard of hearing or B.) the place serves damn good food. Consuelo has a very high, red-tile ceiling with yellow walls and booths made out of wood and leather. When you walk in, it makes you feel like you’re in a really nice five-star restaurant in Mexico City or Acapulco. The whole atmosphere of the place says “class” – from the iron chandeliers to the beautiful plates and glassware – Consuelo is a feast for both the eyes and palate. The best thing about Consuelo is the tortillas. They make them on the premises and you can tell. They are soft and hot and works of art. The place doesn’t skimp on these little wonders, either – keep asking for them and they’ll keep ‘em coming! We started off with the Guacamole ($7), which they make for you tableside performance style. This incredible concoction consists of avocadoes (duh!) Serrano chiles, onions, tomatoes and a bunch of other amazing fresh ingredients you won’t find in any other guacamole. The Quesadillas ($7) are a flavorful combination of Oaxacan cheese, poblano chiles (semi-hot, so beware, you gringos!), accompanied by a trio of mouth watering salsas (mango, tomatillo and roasted chiles) that yell, “Fresh!” The Ceviche de Pescado ($10) is one of the best I’ve ever tasted, consisting of fresh chunks of white fish, marinated in lime juice mixed with diced tomato, jalapeno chile, onion, green olives, cilantro and olive oil. The soups are also fantastico. Try the Pozole Verde ($9), a chicken and hominy soup served Sinaloa style, with jalapeno chile, tomatillo, spices and topped with radish, avocado and onion or the Sopa de Tortilla ($7). I thought the best tortilla soup was served at a place called Pancho Villa’s in Los Cabos, but this is truly el superior. It’s a robust pasilla and spice puree with tortilla strips, avocado and cheese. For entrees or Especialidades, I recommend the Mole Poblano ($11), one of the legendary dishes at Consuelo. It’s a blend of spices, chiles, nuts and chocolate in a rich and flavorful sauce, served over chicken that is tender and moist. The Chamorro de Cordero ($14) is a Colorado lamb shank marinated in a spice Muscat paste, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed to perfection. Something I have every time is the Carnitas ($13), Michoacan style marinated tender chunks of pork, served with a chile guajillo and arbol salsa. If you want side dishes, you’ll have to order them, because nothing at Consuelo comes with the obligatory rice and beans. They have a wide selection of rice dishes, bean selections and more. Consuelo Mexican Bistro is at 277 Santana Row (right across from the movie theaters) Suite 1125 in San Jose. I would recommend always calling ahead for reservations. Their phone number is: (408) 260-7082. There are a lot of Mexican restaurants in the Bay Area, but Consuelo is head, shoulders and several sombreros above the rest. If I could, I’d eat there every week, which would mean my nickname would change back to Gordito in el minuto!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Killer Act!

(This killer whale was probably thinking, "Hey, I have to perform every day and this crowd never tips. Let's see what kinds of tricks my handler can do." People forget these are wild animals that have been captured and turned into performing slaves, essentially. I see no difference between this creature and an organ grinder's monkeys. You mess with animals from the wild, you take chances. This trainer is lucky to be alive. Next time they're going to have to feed this killer whale a human beibng to satisfy him -- may I suggest Osama Bin Laden, Kevin Federline or Michael Richards? -- just kidding. You notice that in this article they don't mention the killer whale's name. I guess they don't want other killer whales to do the same thing in order to get cheap publicity.)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - A performing killer whale attacked a trainer for several minutes Monday at SeaWorld Adventure Park as thousands of stunned park visitors watched.
The victim, Steve Aibel, walked away from the incident uninjured, according to WOAI-TV.
Justin Lecourias, a member of the audience who witnessed the event, said there was clearly something wrong in the lead-up to the attack.
He said the whale kept trying to bat the trainer under the water before apparently trying to take a bite out of him.
Trainers were eventually able to calm the whale, and the show was halted. Officials canceled “The Shamu Adventure,” shows for the rest of the day.
The trainer has said he intends to go back in the pool with the whale when the shows resume.
Veterinarians believe the whale is near breeding age and felt threatened by the trainer, perhaps a result of the effects of adolescent hormones.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The NFL: Wannabes, Pretenders & Coulda Beens

The NFL seemingly has a few contenders this year, but upon closer scrutiny, almost every one of them falls squarely into the pretender category. I am having trouble thinking of one playoff-bound team that doesn’t have any glaring deficiencies. Last weekend, the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars all dropped games. These are teams that I thought would be improving and playing better as the season progressed, when, in fact, they are falling faster than Kevin Federline’s street cred. The San Diego Chargers got a gift call late in their game last Sunday against a weak Oakland team to win by a touchdown, while the Steelers and Eagles are officially dead. Of the upper tier teams, all have holes in their presentations that you could drive a fleet of Hummers through. The Colts can’t stop the run; the Bears offense looks like a frat flag football team; the Cowboys are playing well, but they lack depth and their QB has about three weeks of starting experience; the Seahawks’ defense is softer than any one of Coach Holmgren’s six double chins; the Chargers are wafer thin in their defensive secondary, and the Ravens offense is about as impressive as Michael Richards’ standup comedy act. All in all, there isn’t anyone who looks like they are going to be able to dash through the postseason and waltz into the Super Bowl. During years like this, usually a wild card entry comes along and messes things up for the division winners. Fortunes will change drastically within the next few weeks, but if they don’t, it’ll be another Shootout at the NFL Corral when the playoffs get rolling in January. I’m so happy I quit betting on games, because the bookies are going to clean up big-time!

Monday, November 27, 2006

I Hate Wimpy Coaches!

Why do some NFL coaches play it so conservatively? Why does it seem like these guys are playing not to lose badly as opposed to being in it to win it? What’s the difference between losing by 20 points or losing by a single point? Both still end up in the “L” column. I saw two calls yesterday that I thought were so weak. If you don’t show any confidence in your team, than who will? In both cases, teams had a chance to either tie games or put them away late in the game and instead opted for easy field goals. The first one happened in the Rams-49ers game. The Niners were leading 14-13 with 3:54 left and were looking at a 4th and 1 deep in Ram’s territory. A touchdown in this situation would have put them ahead by 8. You could have even gone for the 2-point conversion after scoring the TD in that situation to take a 9-point lead and put the game completely out of reach. Instead of going for it, 49er coach Mike Nolan decided to let Joe Nedney kick a 24-yard field goal, which gave Ram QB Mark Bulger more than enough time to take his offense all the way down the field for the winning touchdown. The 49ers were running through the Ram’s defense with ease all game long, and then at the very end Nolan loses his juevos and it costs him the game. Pathetic. The other instance of a coach wimping out occurred in the Bears-Patriots game. With the score at 17-10 with 3:36 left, the Bears had a 4th and 6 at New England’s 14-yard line. Instead of going for the touchdown, Bear’s coach Lovie Smith decides to let Robbie Gould kick a 32-yard field goal. What the hell good is that? You need a touchdown to tie, not a field goal. What Lovie Smith was telling his offense (and more specifically his QB Rex Grossman) was that he had a lot more confidence in his defense than he did in his offense. What a great way to build team morale! What a joke! What ended up happening is that by the time Chicago got the ball back, it was a desperate situation, and Grossman threw another interception. The man’s confidence, if he had any, was broken and I don’t blame him. Lovie Smith showed no guts and deserved to lose. I hate it when coaches play that conservative game. Get out there are roll the dice and go for the decisive win rather than try to avoid looking bad. You’re paid to win, and sometimes that means taking chances!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Mensch of the Month: Kathy Griffin

(I know I've been doing a "Douche Bag of the Month" column, so now, to be fair, I am going to recognize people who do good things or are talented in their own right. I am calling it "My Mensch of the Month.")

I hate to say it, but there aren't many female comics that I like out there. Gretchen Rootes, Carla Clayy are a couple of local SF ones that I think are funny. Ellen DeGeneres is okay and I love Margaret Cho. But, overall, I find female comics to be pretty predictable and not cutting edge enough. Very few of them take chances. I'm tired of hearing jokes about women's periods, hairstyles and shopping, because, frankly -- I can't relate. But, one female comic who totally stands out is Kathy Griffin. She's the best! Maybe you've seen her when she was on NBC's "Suddenly Susan," as Vickie Groener, Brooke Shields' annoying and acerbic colleague. She also did a lot of guest starring roles on "Seinfeld" and "ER."

She has a bunch of HBO specials and recently did a very funny reality show called "My Life on the D-List" on Bravo. What I like about her stand-up act is that she makes fun of and blasts celebrities, who, in my opinion, deserve it. And she doesn't do jokes, she tells stories. Very funny, extremely irreverent stories. She bascially doesn't care if you like what she says or not. I really have a lot of respect for her in that regard. She's also a HUGE supporter of Toys for Tots, she does a TON of charity work and she went to Iraq to perform for the troops (see photo). How many comics did you hear about doing that? Hats off to Kathy Griffin! She's My Mensch of the Month!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The British Grocery in SF: It's Brilliant, By Jove!

There is a wonderful store in San Francisco's Portero District that sells British food and other items from England. Established by Evelyn Alexander in 1969, the British Grocery offers everything British -- from frozen food to pharmaceuticals to chinaware, serving items, imports and collectibles. Patrick Alexander and his daughter Simone run the place, and are both very helpful and informed on everything English. The busiest time of year for the British Grocery is Christmas, when Brits in the Bay Area and throughout North America yearn for all the great traditional items -- like Christmas puddings, mince pies, boxed chocolates, English tins and toffees, teas, Devon cream, and gift pack assortments. As they like to say in Britain, "This place is brilliant!" There are a lot of people from Britain in the Bay Area (someone told me 70,000, but don't quote me) and the British Grocery offers them all the things they know and love from the Mother Country. Although I am not British myself (1/2 Italian and 1/2 Irish) I truly appreciate a lot of the culture's food and drink, especially the chocolates, which I'm not supposed to eat. One of my favorite traditions at Christmas revolves around the British cracker, which is 160-years-old and more popular than ever. Crackers are little tubes, festively wrapped, that pop when you pull the string that's attached. Inside you'll find Xmas decorations, jokes, little trinkets and all kinds of special items. They are just so frivolously fun that I never tire of them! Christmas puddings are also a lot of fun -- they aren't like the puddings we eat in this country -- they're more like cakes than puddings, really. They have one that's actually called "Spotted Dick" -- I'm not lying. But, they sure are delicious, especially with some Devon cream, which is thick, clotted cream that is marvelous atop anything sweet. The British Grocery is located at 726 15th Street off of Portrero Avenue. They're open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5:30 pm. Their phone number is: (415) 552-4399. They can ship you anything they sell anywhere in the world. To find out more about the British Grocery, visit their web site at: Cheers!

Is Tomlinson the Best Running Back in NFL History?

LaDainian Tomlinson is sure making a case for being the elite running back of all time in the NFL. By scoring 100 touchdowns faster than anyone else, quicker than both Emmitt Smith and Jim Brown, he’s rapidly making an L.D. believer out of me.

He’s also rushed for at least 1,000 yards in every one of his six seasons in the league. Only Barry Sanders, Eric Dickerson, Curtis Martin and Corey Dillon can say that.

And the best thing about him is that he’s the “Anti-T.O.” – a self-effacing team player who is more concerned about winning than whining. People have described him as “dedicated,” “concerned”, “sincere,” “focused,” and “genuine.”

Chargers Coach Marty Shottenheimer has seen a lot of running backs in his day, and he says that there’s no doubt L.D. is the very best. I say the jury is still out on the subject – but not for very long. If Tomlinson can put together another 1-2 seasons at this level – the debate will be over, as far as I’m concerned.

I always thought Barry Sanders could have been the very best if he had stayed around a few more seasons, but the point will be moot in the very near future if L.D. keeps playing at this level. If he isn’t the MVP this year, I’ll eat Paris Hilton’s thong (with A-1, fava beans and a nice Chianti) on national television during halftime of the Super Bowl. That should get better ratings than Justin Timberlake disrobing Janet Jackson any day.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Big Question in College Football: Ohio State vs. Who?

(First off, I'd like to take a Turkey Day opportunity to thank everyone who has been reading his blog. When I first started it, I was getting an average of 20 hits per day. Now I'm getting more than 150 per day. Thanks for reading and I hope to keep entertaining you throughout the holidays!)

Who should Ohio State play in the BCS Championship?

In early January, when the undefeated Buckeyes of Ohio State go for the BCS title, who should be their opponent? Michigan? USC? Notre Dame? Arkansas? Florida? How about Wisconsin? And don’t forget the only other undefeated team in NCAA D-1 Football – Mighty Boise State! It’s the $60 million question, because that’s how much it can mean to a college football program and the university as a whole. The people who are saying Michigan should be there at the end must be smoking a volatile mixture of crack, Froot Loops and Wolverine feces. There is NO WAY that the BCS should be a rematch of the game we saw last Saturday. The bottom line is: If you don’t win your conference, you don’t deserve to be in the final. Michigan got the benefit of 3 gift fumbles in that game, but they couldn’t capitalize. They had their shot at the big one and they blew it. So, the question is: Who should go? If USC wins its last two games convincingly, I say they should get the shot. Notre Dame shouldn’t be mentioned at all, even if they beat the Trojans, because Michigan stomped them and their schedule is easier than North Dakota State’s. Instead of the Fighting Irish, they should be re-named the Bitch-Slapping Irish for their weak and inconsistent play this year. Whichever team comes out on top between Florida and Arkansas should also be entitled some consideration. But, to say that Michigan should be in it is a disgrace. There’s a secret hidden chipset in the BCS computer that quantifies wealthy and influential alumni. And that is the ONLY reason anyone is talking about the Wolverines and the BCS Championship game in the same breath right now.
To read all of my sports opinion pieces, you can visit:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Viv Savage: Musical Legend & Genius!

(Viv Savage, the former keyboard player for the legendary heavy metal band Spinal Tap will be performing with Chubby's All-Stars on December 3rd at the Yuletide Yuckfest at Rooster T. Feathers in Sunnyvale. It should be a wonderful evening of music, comedy and fun, with all the proceeds going to Toys 4 Tots. Here is a recent interview with Viv:)

Hello, is this Viv Savage?Yes, this is Viv.
So you are alive, then? The guys in Spinal Tap claim that Viv is actually dead.No, no, I'm alive and extremely well. I'm taking a sort of Tap sabbatical. I had a great gig with the Guttersluts recently at the Cactus Club in San Jose, where my friends started a Save Viv movement. We've got 150 signatures so far, and I'm Xeroxing some more sheets — we're hoping this could turn into quite a pesky little monster.
They say you're actually an impostor, making a lot of money as The Viv Savage Experience.Well, that story would be convenient for them, but reality speaks its own language.
Have you got a new band?Yes, I'm doing occasional gigs with the Guttersluts, and I'll probably be producing their next record. I'm also involved with the Model Citizenz, who play some excellent originals and some covers. We've been playing around the East Bay, polishing our chops, so look for us to be getting together something soon. Also, I've been a producer at S.F. Beat Studios, with Michael Ingram. Have you ever met Michael Ingram?
I don't know who he is. If you met him you'd remember him the rest of your life. He's a fantastic person. He's been my songwriting partner since the early Seventies, and—
Have you guys written any songs I might have heard?Not really, but we have a lot of songs out on demos that are making the rounds. There's a female rapper with a single of ours at three L.A. record companies right now.
Does Spinal Tap know about the Save Viv movement? I don't know. It's possible — I did a public service announcement for H.E.A.R., and we called Spinal Tap's management to get approval. But there seems to be some legal problem.
Any hard feelings towards Tap? No, no hard feelings at all. I had such a great time with them, I'm just hoping they might consider me coming back. I'll keep plugging away, barnstorming with my various musical projects.

This Week's Restaurant Review: Hawg's in Campbell

I’ve been to Hawg’s in Campbell over 300 times, and I must tell you I have never had a bad or even a so-so meal there. Nor have I seen anyone ever send anything back to the kitchen or really ever complain about the food or the service. I’m sure it’s happened, because some people are never happy. I was at a restaurant the other night, and I overheard some woman bitching to the waiter. She said, “I expected this dish to taste one way, but it doesn’t taste like I expected.” Oh so, the restaurant has to take it back because you had unrealistic expectations? That’s so ridiculous. That’s like someone saying, “I ordered meat loaf but I was expecting it to taste like filet mignon.” Or “ I ordered crab and wanted it to taste like lobster.” Give me a break! That’s why I would never want to own a restaurant. People can be so difficult when they eat out. Their attitude is “serve me like the royalty I wish I was.” They get a sense of power by treating waiters and restaurant personnel like crap because their own lives are so mundane and meaningless. Hawg’s has consistently fresh, well-prepared seafood and other dishes that are always delicious. The place has the ambiance of a real marina cafe. A bar with high wooden stools encircles an open kitchen of gleaming stainless steel. Miniature bottles of red Tabasco sauce highlight the white counter. The high ceiling, smartly emphasized by spotlights and potted plants, makes the place look bigger than its 10-table capacity. The menu is vast and eclectic, featuring something sure to tempt every palate, but if you’re in the mood for a steak, you’re in the wrong spot. Hawg’s Seafood Bar is all about stuff from the sea, and they serve up generous portions of outstanding continental seafood dishes. From appetizers to desserts, you can't go wrong with anything from the Hawg’s menu. First, the appetizers are in a class by themselves. I have a few particular favorites, including the Seafood Quesadilla ($9.95), a wonderful combination of shrimp and crab with melted cheeses nestled in a corn tortilla. I also covet the Cheesy Garlic Bread ($4.95), which is so caloric and decadent that you can literally feel your ass getting bigger while you’re eating it, but who cares? The Sashimi Ahi ($12.95), the Hawg's Calamari ($9.95) and the Baked Oysters Asiago ($12.95) are all incredible. Sometimes when I go to Hawg’s with a group of friends, we just order appetizers and don’t even get to the entrees. They’re all that good! One thing I have to mention is Hawg’s “Newhattan” Clam Chowder ($3.95/cup or $5.95/bowl). I have had a lot of different clam chowders in my day, but this chowder is by far the best that has ever crossed my palate. They call it “Newhattan” because it’s a combination of both geographic chowders. It has a cream base with a hint of tomato; chock full of big juicy clams, carrots and small bits of potato. They also put some spices in there, and even though I’ve tried to figure out what they are – the boys at Hawg’s (Steve and David or Scott ) aren’t giving up the secret. The entrees at Hawg’s are incredible as well. I recommend the Paella Valenciana ($16.95) with roasted chicken, rock shrimp, sausage, clams, mussels, and fresh fish over saffron rice. The Fresh Grilled Salmon ($17.95) served with a creamy potato-corn sauté and yellow pear tomato and wasabi sauce, and the Cajun Pasta ($17.95) with sautéed prawns and scallops, and fresh tomatoes in a creamy Cajun sauce over linguine is also a treat. I would also suggest that any time you go to Hawg’s that you ask about the daily specials. The chefs there (Roberto in particular – ask him about his awesome Chorizo dish!) really do most of their most inventive work with the specials. Hawg’s in Campbell (and with a second location in Downtown San Jose) is a special seafood paradise with great food and really personal service. I love this place. I’ve recommended it to over 100 people over the years, and ALL of them are now regulars there. That has to tell you something!! Hawg’s in Campbell is located at the corner of Campbell Avenue and San Tomas Aquino Road in the Kirkwood Shopping Center. For large parties, you’ll need to make reservations, so call them at: (408) 379-9555.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Search for Nicole's Killer Continues

(They are pulling OJ's pseudo confession off the air. It turned out to be just too offensive. OJ is hurting so bad because even though the man has no heart -- he still has a soul, I guess. I heard a rumor a long time ago that Simpson actually confessed to Rosey Grier a few years back. And now that he can't be tried again, it must be tempting for him to come clean. It's so obvious that he did it that he should just really tell the story, get the $$ and give it to his kids and the other victims. But, not yet -- not this week or any time soon. OJ is off the air and that's that.)

The OJ Simpson show will not be televised. A dozen Fox affiliates had already said they would not air the two-part sweeps month special, planned for next week before the Nov. 30 publication of the book by ReganBooks. The publishing house is a HarperCollins imprint owned — like the Fox network — by News Corp.
In both the book and show, Simpson speaks in hypothetical terms about how he would have committed the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Goldman.
Relatives of the victims have lashed out at the now scuttled publication and broadcast plans.
"He destroyed my son and took from my family Ron's future and life. And for that I'll hate him always and find him despicable," Fred Goldman told ABC last week.
The industry trade publication Broadcasting & Cable editorialized against the show Monday, saying "Fox should cancel this evil sweeps stunt."
One of the nation's largest superstore chains, Borders Group Inc., said last week it would donate any profits on the book to charity.
Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of murder in a case that became its own TV drama. The former football star and announcer was later found liable for the deaths in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Goldman family.
Judith Regan, publisher of "If I Did It," said she considered the book to be Simpson's confession.
(Judith Regan is one step above a prostitute, but just barely.) The television special was to air on two of the final three nights of the November sweeps, when ratings are watched closely to set local advertising rates. It has been a particularly tough fall for Fox, which has seen none of its new shows catch on and is waiting for the January bows of "American Idol" and "24."
The closest precedent for such an about-face came when CBS yanked a miniseries about Ronald Reagan from its schedule in 2003 when complaints were raised about its accuracy.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Killer Seal in Aquatic Park

(I swim in Aquatic Park every week pretty much. The seal hasn't bothered me, probably because he thinks I'm a bigger seal or a baby whale.)

CBS 5 / AP) SAN FRANCISCO San Francisco's Aquatic Park Lagoon remained closed for swimming Thursday due to reports of a sea lion repeatedly biting local swimmers, maritime officials said.Officials estimated at least 20 swimmers were bitten since Monday, including 13 on Wednesday alone at the Lagoon, which hosts two swimming and rowing clubs and is a favorite spot for swimming along San Francisco’s northern waterfront.No one serious injuries were reported. City health officials aren't recommending rabies shots, but victims were advised by the Marine Mammal Center to take antibiotics to ward off infection.The very first incident involved a woman who was bitten by a sea lion while swimming in the Bay around 4 pm Monday. Celeste McMullin said she saw the animal lurking nearby before her swim but didn't think much of it.Web Extra: Unedited Interview With Swimmer Bitten By Sea Lion"I was a quarter-mile out swimming along, felt a brush under my feet, and I think, 'These feel like whiskers,' " said Celeste McMullin. "I realized it was an animal. So I stopped, and he popped up and looked at me."McMullin then tried to swim away, but the sea lion "followed me the whole time, bumping me and nipping" continuously until she made it back to shore. She ended up with six bites - two puncture wounds and four cuts - and was advised to go to the hospital to have the wounds cleaned.Original reports had the woman bitten by a harbor seal. But a spokesman for the Marine Mammal Center said the attacker most likely was a sea lion, because they are more aggressive than seals.Since that attack, "the park has received reports of multiple bite incidents in the last two days," said spokesman John Cunnane. "For the time being we're advising people to stay out of the water until further notice, until we find out more about it."Omer Thompson believes the animal he saw was a harbor seal that looked like it was playing in the Bay."He was leaping over the top of people's feet, swimming really fast, and coming clear out of the water like a dolphin comes out of the water," Thompson said. "As soon as somebody would come back in the water, it would take off and play with somebody else."Don Reid, a 30-year Dolphin Club member, got a chunk taken out of him Wednesday while swimming in the bay."(The sea lion) attacked and bit me on my left calf, and it drew blood," he told CBS 5 while on his way to see a doctor.Lou Marcelli said he was brushed by a claw before he could get bit, but even that left a nasty bruise."I get half way back to the dock, and I feel something," he explained to CBS 5. "I don't know what the hell it was. It felt slimy. So I just kept going. As I got to the end of the dock, the lady from next door said, 'You better get out of there, because there's a sea lion right after you.' "The Acquatic Park staff are working with other agencies to identify the sea lion and determine the reason for the animal's behavior. Longtime swimmers said they believe it's a sick sea lion who has become aggressive.Biologists suspect the rogue sea lion is either protecting his harem of mates, or has suffered some sort of brain damage from toxic algae.Marine Mammal Center veterinarian Frances Gulland said the animal may soon leave the area and advised swimmers to avoid the Lagoon in the meantime."The migration has started, and the animals are moving north to Washington state and Oregon," she said.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Two Bigs Ones: My Pix

If you’re a college football fan and you’re not excited about today’s two big games, then you must be in a coma. This is what the college football season is all about, baby! With an hour to go until kickoff, I’m making my picks. Here’s how I see it:


Identical records (11-0, 7-0). The drama surrounding the death of Michigan coaching legend Bo Schembechler. Heisman hopeful Ohio State QB Troy Smith. Jim Tressel vs. Lloyd Carr. And the fact that the winner gets a ticket to Arizona for the BCS Championship Game. They’re so many different things going on in this game that it’s hard to keep track of them all. The last time a Number 1 team played a Number 2 team was seven years ago, when #2 Florida State beat #1 Florida, 24-21.

Here’s what’s going to happen:
Both teams will play tough, stingy defense, until the second half, when special teams and a major turnover will result in two scores for Ohio State. The huge crowd and the unrelenting emotion will prove too much for the Wolverines. Michigan will make a gallant comeback, but it will fall short. Troy Smith will have a mediocre game, and the Buckeyes will shut down Michigan RB Mike Hart.


(After game comments: Well, I guess I blew that one. although I was pretty close on the margin of victory. Whatever happened to defense? This looked like an arena game!)


This could have been just as big a game, except Cal lost to Arizona and USC lost to Oregon State. Even though both teams have losses, it’s still a huge contest in relation to the Rose Bowl and the BCS. Cal hasn’t been able to get by the Trojans in the past, and this is probably the closest they will come. USC is ranked fourth and Cal is 17th, but you can throw the rankings out the window because these two schools don’t like each other.
Pete Carroll is a great coach, but his team and his QB John David Booty, have been inconsistent all season. Cal has the offensive power with QB Nathan Longshore and RB Marshawn Lynch.

Here’s what’s going to happen:
USC will crush the Bears. Cal just doesn’t have enough big game experience. The Cal defense will get run over by Southern Cal’s enormous offensive line and USC RB Chauncey Washington will look like the reincarnation of Reggie Bush. John David Booty will pick apart Cal’s secondary all day (and into the night) and USC’s defense will make Longshore wish he was watching the game on TV instead of actually being there.


(After game comments: You have to admit, I hit that one pretty much right on the head!)

Friday, November 17, 2006

First They Kills Dogs, Next It's People

(Ratdog isn't the only one upset about what the Chinese government is doing to dogs. Man, when will these idiots ever get it together? It's sad to see third world countries go through this crap. If they can't regulate something as simple as vaccinating animals for rabies, how are they going to react when a really serious disease that affects humans comes along?)

This is another story that will break your heart:

BEIJING (Nov. 16) - Elaine Loke is shutting down her dog boutique and will spirit her golden retrievers Hippy and Bally out of Beijing to escape the city's sweeping anti-rabies campaign.
Dog owners like Loke have been scrambling to hide their pets in the face of a new crackdown which allows only one dog per household and bans breeds taller than 14 inches. Fears have been fueled by graphic Internet pictures and witnesses who say police are beating to death strays and dogs that run afoul of regulations.
"I can't believe this is happening," said Loke, 33, who keeps the curtains in her first-floor apartment drawn to ward off prying neighbors and walks her dogs in an underground parking lot. "It's so stressful. In the morning, I hear dogs barking and people talking outside my home and I think the police are coming."
The pressure is so bad that Loke is returning to her native Hong Kong and closing a business she has had for two years.
In China, dogs have long been seen as a source of meat as much as companionship. But the current crackdown has touched a nerve in the rapidly modernizing capital, especially among its burgeoning middle class.
"What kind of rules are these? I don't expect everybody to love animals. But I do want to have my rights to keep pets," said Clare Xiao, an account manager at an advertising company. She sent her larger Brittany to a kennel run by a friend and kept her Pekinese, a stray she found on the street.
"What the government is doing is just disappointing, cold and emotionless," said Xiao. A sharp increase in rabies cases nationwide has prompted the renewed vigilance. Only 3 percent of China's dog's are vaccinated against rabies and the disease is nearly always fatal in humans once symptoms develop, though it can be warded off by a series of expensive and painful injections.
Officials have extended the 2003 rules to cover not only Beijing's center but some outlying areas. The clampdown, announced Nov. 6, gave owners until Thursday to comply or the dogs would be seized and the owners fined.
One owner Zhu Qiao has moved three times since 2001 to find areas where her black-and-white dog, Gou Gou, could be raised safely and within the law.
"He's part of my life, he's my friend and family," said Zhu, 30, a television producer. "If you want to impose a law, you have to get the opinion of dog owners and experts. You can't just take them away."
"I can't move again. There's no option but to hide him and if he gets taken, I'll go with him."
Another owner had his Labrador retriever taken away Wednesday because she was too big.
"She is a very amicable dog. She never barked," said the owner, a businessman who would give only his surname Yang. "If they don't allow me to raise her here, I will find another place. I will get her back."
Witness accounts and photos on the Internet have shown dogs being captured in nets and pummeled with wooden and metal sticks. But authorities have vowed to carry out a "strict but civilized" campaign that police hoped would not anger dog owners, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
"I have never heard of dogs being culled after they were caught by police. Dogs are a man's best friend and we treat them as friends, even when we have to lock them up for the sake of public security," Xinhua quoted a Ministry of Public Security official, Bao Suixian, as saying.
Many owners have sent their dogs to kennels outside the city. Some are handing them over to friends and family.
Joyce Wang gave one of her dogs to her sister and is keeping Ding Ding, her fox terrier, close by her side. She said she had heard that the government was offering $25 to people who reported on rule-breaking dog owners.
"I'm scared and worried. Now I don't take him outside during the day," Wang said. "Even in the evening, we will take a detour if we see people in the compound we live in."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ratdog Speaks Out Vs. China

Girardi Gets the Last Laugh

Joe Girardi won the NL Manager of the Year Award yesterday, six weeks after being fired from his job with the Florida Marlins. He did a masterful job last season keeping the rookie-laden Marlins in the NL Wild card race right up until very close to the end of the season. He took a team of no-names with a payroll of around $15 million, and led them to a respectable 78-84 record. But, because he wouldn’t take crap from team owner Jeffrey Loria, he ended up getting canned. The team replaced Girardi with Fredi Gonzalez, someone who I guess Loria feels will take his criticisms, no matter how unfounded they may be. I think we’ve all had a-hole bosses at some point in our lives, and can all agree that life is too short to tolerate jerks, especially if you have to work for one. The best part of the whole thing is that now Loria has to pay Girardi a bonus for winning the award, which must be pissing off the clueless owner big-time. This is only the second time something like this has happened. Davey Johnson won the AL Manager of the Year Award in 1997, but had already resigned from the Baltimore Orioles. This is slightly different because Girardi was fired, while Johnson quit. Loria’s problems with Girardi started earlier this season when the owner began criticizing umpire’s calls in the press. Girardi asked Loria to please keep his mouth shut, and told him that bashing umpires would only make it worse for the team down the line. This is just another example of the fact that you can pick your team, but you can’t pick your owner. When a franchise gets into the hands of a jerk like Jeff Loria, a man who knows as much about running a baseball team as I do, then things can get sloppy, poor decisions become the norm, and the person who suffers the most is the fan. Girardi is a top-notch skipper. His players were devoted to him, he knows the game inside and out, and he started the season at a definite disadvantage trying to manage a team with a payroll $20 million less than any other team in the major leagues. He has since decided to work as a Yankees announcer next year for the YES TV network, but don’t be surprised if he’s back managing again real soon. Girardi has two major flaws as a manager -- he refuses to put up with idiot owners and he refuses to kiss ass. This award makes Loria look exactly how he should look – like another dumb-ass sports team owner who is cheap and deserves to finish in the cellar until he gets a clue. The only problem is that the people who suffer are the loyal fans of the Flordia Marlins, all 5,000 of them. And they deserve more.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Bill Cosby Moment

(My buddy comedian Brian Copeland got a chance to meet Bill Cosby recently and the experience for him and his two kids was memorable and meaningful. People give the Cos a hard time for his jello commercials and the fact that he is so straight, but the man is really dialed in when it comes to helping kids. This is a story that warmed me up even more to the guy and I thought you might enjoy it. Brian does a one-man show called "Not A Genuine Black Man" that is the longest running one-man show in the history of SF, and he just wrote a book with the same title.)
"Bill Cosby was playing at the Luther Burbank Center (pardon me…the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts) in Santa Rosa. After watching a hilarious ninety minutes of standup (the man is 69 years old! How does he do it?) my 17 year old son, 15 year old daughter and I were invited to come backstage after his show for a quick ‘meet and greet’. As we made our way through the receiving line, Mr. Cosby shook hands took photos with admirers and politely sent them on their way. When our turn came, he shook my hand and looked at my kids.
"Who are these two young people?" He asked.
"My son, Adam and my daughter Carolyn," I said.
"Sit down," he told us as he pointed to a table and chairs in his dressing room.
We did as he requested and we spent an hour that none of us will ever forget. He talked to the kids about the importance of education. He spoke of the responsibility that they have as both Americans and African Americans to contribute positively to society. He warned them to beware of people who will try to pull them down, blacks who will tell them that they are ‘trying to act white’ by studying and working hard and whites who will not give them their full due based upon their skin color. He warned Carolyn to beware of boys with a smooth line and no ambition and Adam to watch out for ‘TTs’ (Trollop Tramps) as both will keep them from reaching their full potential.
He told us how he has been speaking to schools and organizations in the black community, trying (mostly in vain) to get them to stop blaming slavery and racism for everything and to start taking responsibility for their lives and their circumstances. He spoke of how distressed he is by the number of young people with no drive or desire to make anything of themselves being raised in poor circumstances by parents with no desire to do anything.
I asked him about the criticism that I have received about not being ‘a genuine black man’.
"That’s just bourgeois baiting," he said. "That has been going on as long as there has been a black middle class. It makes people doing nothing feel better about themselves by tearing down those of us who are."
He turned to my kids and said, "You are middle class black children and you will hear that nonsense."
"What should we say?" Carolyn asked.
"You look them straight in the eye and say, ‘And what are YOUR goals.’ I guarantee you that they won’t be able to answer you because they have none…other than trying to tear down yours."
As we were preparing to leave, Mr. Cosby had his assistant make copies of a poem for the kids. He then had them read it out loud line by line, stopping them to explain the significance of its meaning and how it relates to them.
"Read this every day," he said. "Remember who you are and be proud."
We have been reading it daily and I’d like to share it with you.

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you But make allowance for their doubting too, If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master, If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breath a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much, If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!--Rudyard Kipling
Quite a fellow that Bill Cosby."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Newest U.S. Weapon

This is the newest, most high-tech and sophistictaed weapon that the United States military has ever had. It's called the K-9 Pooch Pummeler Missile and it's currently in use in Iraq and Afghanistan. It seeks out the legs of our adversaries with its incredible sense of smell and humps them until they can no longer fight. One of these babies actually got inside Bin Laden's secret hideaway and pooped on the carpet. This amazing new weapon has been added to our arsenal at a cost to American taxpayers of $4 billion dollars, two boxes of doggy biscuits and 40 chew toys. During his last hour in office Donald Rumsfeld okayed two more weapons using advanced canine technology: The Boxer Bomb and The Collie Collider.