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.

Monday, November 13, 2006

This Week's Restaurant Review: The Matterhorn in SF

I have not been to Switzerland or even Europe, for that matter. The closest I’ve come to seeing the real Matterhorn was at Disneyland, but when I was about 10 someone told me it wasn’t a real mountain and I was quite upset. Much later in life, I also found out that Mickey Mouse wasn’t real, either. But, back to the point -- there’s a restaurant in San Francisco called The Matterhorn, and for those who can’t afford to go to Switzerland or Disneyland, this is surely the next best thing. The Matterhorn is essentially a fondue place. The atmosphere is kind of like a Swiss chalet with yuppies in it. It’s Zurich meets Pacific Heights. Toboggans morphed with BMW’s. When I initially walked into the place, I fully expected the little Swiss Miss gal to walk around the corner at any moment and lay some nice hot chocolate on us, but it never transpired. The Matterhorn is located deep in the bowels of a commercial office building, but once you get inside, it’s a whole lot of fun. I love unusual food in a different setting. I am so tired of the tired old Italian places with checkered tablecloths and bottles of empty Chianti with candles in them. I can’t stand all of the chain eateries in malls that look exactly alike no matter what part of the country you’re in – places line Chevy’s or P.F. Chang’s or The Cheesecake Factory. The Matterhorn feels unique and homey – not formulaic or contrived – and that means a lot, at least to me. The basic faire consists of two main offerings – cheese fondue or meat fondue. The cheese fondue ($34 for two people) contains roughly a half dozen selections. “The Original” which is a mixture of emmenthal and gruyere cheeses with wine, is apparently the Matterhorn’s signature cheese fondue. You can also get fondues featuring French raclette or camembert cheeses. The cheese fondues are hot but won’t burn your mouth. They give you chunks of bread to dip into the fondue pot, but you can also get things like potatoes, apples, mushrooms and sausages to dip. We had the taters and the sausages, and they both tasted excellent when submerged in the fondue. The other main choice is the meat fondue ($43 for two). Instead of a pot of melted cheese, you use a pot of boiling oil with the meat fondue. You dip thinly sliced beef or veggies in the pot and they take about 15-30 seconds to cook to perfection. It’s fun to cook your own food at the table. In addition to the dipping items, you also get a variety of sauces and sides. You can also order additional items to dip, like fruit, more veggies, prawns, scallops, chicken or pork. If you’re not up for the fondue festival, The Matterhorn also has a regular menu of Swiss favorites. We didn’t try any when I was there, although the Pork Tenderloin with a Bacon and Onion Crust looked tasty. When you’re done with the main course, the chocolate fondue looks pretty amazing, but we were too full to try it. It will be a mandatory selection next time, no doubt. The only bad things I can say about this place are that they charge $20 for corkage, which is highway robbery. When restaurants pull that stunt, it’s like they’re saying, “Buy our wine or just whine.” Ridiculous! How much time and effort does it take to open a bottle of wine? I feel like saying, “Hey, hand me the corkscrew and I’ll give you five bucks!” In addition, our waiter didn’t re-fill our water glasses without being asked. I hate that because I drink water like Dean Martin drank scotch – copiously! Thirdly, the maitre d looked like he was at the end of either a 12-hour shift or a 2-day bender. To say he was gruff is an enormous understatement. Fondue is more fun with a big group of people, so I would recommend The Matterhorn for when you want to go out with a bunch of friends and get a little wild. Don’t’ forget that there’s a flaming cauldron on your table, though, or you’ll burn a whole lot more than just your mustache. (Which I did) Also, if you’re in a large group of diners, be sure to use the color-coded fondue sticks, because otherwise you might accidentally use your neighbor’s stick and pick up whatever strange, incurable disease they’re carrying. (A free health message from Ed) The Matterhorn is located at 2322 Van Ness Avenue in SF. Call them at: (415) 885-6116 for reservations. I give this place three loud yodels and one resounding cheesy belch.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My Crazed Art

I like to do these strange sketches. I don't know where they come from, but I am pretty sure my shrink could have a field day with them. It's good therapy for me to sit down and draw them, because I don't have to think about anything and I can let my problems fade into the background. Tell me what you think of them. Be brutally honest if you want to.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Dogs that Talk

Check out this video:

These dogs can talk. I wonder what my dogs would say to me if they could speak. Probably stuff like:

"Give us people food!"
"Why do you blame us every time you break wind?"
"If you walked us more, you wouldn't be so fat."
"Spring for the better dog biscuits once in awhile, you tightwad."
"How would you like to wear a shock collar?"

Friday, November 10, 2006

Dwight Fights the White. Will He Ever Be Allright?

Former MLB all-star pitcher Dwight Gooden was released from prison yesterday after completing a sentence he received for violating his probation by using cocaine. The 41-year-old Gooden walked out of Gainesville Correctional and will not be on probation. With credit for time served in jail and in a secure drug treatment facility, Gooden’s total prison time totaled seven months. His original sentence was a year and a day. Whenever I read this kind of story, I always feel sick. So many careers, not just in sports but in every facet of life, have been ruined by the scourge that is cocaine. Like most people my age (48) I went through a period of my life when I experimented with cocaine, back in the 1980’s when everybody was doing it. At first I thought it was fun and exciting, but very quickly I realized that it was essentially Satan in the form of a powder. I remember the parties back during that period of time when all the supposedly cool people with the coke would disappear in the back room and come out sniffling, licking their gums and rubbing their noses. Cocaine messed up more good parties than bad drunks wearing lampshades ever did! Cocaine is an old drug and has been around a lot longer than any team sport in this country. Coca leaves were first used by Incan athletes and were believed to be a gift from the “Sun God.” By 1550, coke became part of the Old World. It became commercially available in the 1880’s. Sigmund Freud used it to treat his patients. Coca-Cola at one time had cocaine it in until they realized that little kids who had consumed the beverage were just having too much fun. In 1906, the federal Pure Food and Drug Act regulated the distribution of the drug. And in 1970, the Controlled Substance Act made it extremely illegal. When I think of all the great athletes this insidious drug has taken down – guys like Darryl Strawberry, Steve Howe, Hollywood Henderson, Lawrence Taylor (although it never seemed to affect his play), Ken Caminiti, and of course, our good friend Dwight Gooden – it makes me even sicker. Why couldn’t these men have fought off this terrible drug? How could they have let it take over their lives? Those are the questions surrounding any addiction, whether it be sex, food, steroids, crank, crack, smack, GHB, Ecstasy, cigarettes, online porno, pot, gambling, even TV. People get trapped by demons in their lives in a wide assortment of ways. But, when it happens to people with amazing ability and limitless potential, it’s really sad. If the janitor at your high school is addicted to say, crystal meth, for example (which seems to be the drug of choice with many janitors) then that’s not such a big deal. Maybe a few floors end up a little dirtier (or even cleaner, for that matter) and he eventually gets fired from a dead end job. But, when an amazing athlete like Dwight Gooden screws up what could have very likely been a Hall of Fame career in professional baseball, then there’s a lot more at stake and the tragedy, I believe, is much greater. Gooden had a career record of 194-112 with a lifetime 3.51 ERA, but you know he would have at least had a shot at winning 300 if it hadn’t been for coke. If I were an athlete with any promise, I would stay so far away from drugs it wouldn’t even be funny. Why mess up a potentially really good thing with a substance that will eventually give you headaches and make you grind your teeth down to their roots? I hope Gooden gets it together. He ruined his baseball career but at this point, his life is still salvageable.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Fremont A's? Why the Hell Not?

Welcome to the complete corporatization of major league baseball, America. The entire sports climate in this country has been moving in this general direction for the past few years, and now it’s finally here. Cisco Systems, Inc. has reached a deal with the Oakland A’s in which the Northern California-based corporation will build the team a new ballpark in Fremont, a city about 15-20 minutes south of Oakland, depending on traffic, which, no doubt, is about to get a lot more congested in the very near future. The agreement would create a 32,000-35,000-seat stadium, which of course will be named Cisco Field, on a 143-acre parcel held by the company, according to the San Jose Mercury News. If the plan is approved by the city, the A’s could be playing there as soon as 2011. A’s owner Lew Wolff declined to speak to reporters yesterday after he left a meeting with four Fremont City Council members, but you know he must be secretly grinning from ear to ear! The City of Oakland blew it and never built a new stadium for the A’s when they should have done a long time ago. And then they let Raiders Owner Al Davis put that ridiculous wall of stands and luxury boxes in the place, so that now it looks more like an overpriced apartment building than a baseball stadium. I went there 2-3 times this season, and it’s an outdated, uninspiring stadium that can’t in any way compare to the exciting new baseball-only facilities of today. It will be a good thing all away around for the A’s. Maybe now they can spend a little money on players. Even though Billy Beane has done an amazing job getting young rookies through the farm system and acquiring old guys via free agency, it just hasn’t been enough to assemble a team that can get into the World Series. An influx of ca$h from a new stadium will mean Beane can throw a few bucks around to get exactly the type of team he’s looking for without worrying so much about the bottom line. This whole thing with companies owning and operating professional sports teams is the wave of the future, anyway. It reminds me of the movie “Rollerball” where teams are owned by enormous corporations representing entire continents. The only two things to ask now are: Will Fremont okay the deal? They’d be stupid not to. There will undoubtedly be a group of citizens from Fremont who will fight it and say the new stadium will be bad for the city. Those folks always exist. But, for a small town like Fremont to reject a deal like this – one that can bring them so much prestige, jobs and mucho dinero – would be municipal suicide. The other question is: What do you name the team? The Fremont A’s? The Silicon Valley A’s? The Northern California A’s? How about the Cisco Kids!? It’s just a matter of time. I can see it now. The Apple Computer Antelopes. The Hewlett Packard Packers, the Yahoo Yankees and the Google Goblins.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Britney & K-Fed: Our Co-Douche Bags of the Month

(I hate to use the term "white trash", but it's hard for me to think of any other term for these two. Britney Spears is the stereotypical example of a woman who will marry men that are the worst possible matches for her. I predict that she will get back with Federline two or three more times before this is all over, that he will get caught cheating at least twice, and that their son will fall out of his car seat at least one more time before it's all over. Then, Britney will find some other loser to marry (so that she can feel superior and fulfill her "mommy complex") who she will then divorce a few years later. Federline will then write a tell-all book about Spears for which he will get paid some ridiculous amount, and will tell us how the abusive, pill-popping, philandering Britney bitch-slapped him while drunk on cheap beer and bad vicodin. The reason Spears should have put on the divorce papers for splitting up with K-Fed should have been so that she wouldn't have to listen to any more of his terrible rap songs. If Federline is a rapper, then I'm Snoop Dog! I would rather listen to tests by the Emergency Broadcast System than be exposed to this clown's noise!)

This was on today:

Britney Spears appeared upbeat, if a little off balance, as she took to the ice skating rink at New York's Rockefeller Center just hours after filing for divorce in Los Angeles.
The 24-year-old pop star cited "irreconcilable differences" in court papers filed Tuesday seeking dissolution of her marriage to aspiring rapper Kevin Federline.
As seen in a video posted late Tuesday by the entertainment Web site, Spears — bundled up in a striped sweater and fuzzy white hat — looked happy as she rounded the world-famous rink. Maybe that's because the curtain had finally fallen on her problem-plagued romantic life, a drama that played out publicly in magazines and on television over the past two years.
Spears wed Federline in the fall of 2004. They had a ceremony in September, but court papers state that the couple were officially married Oct. 6.
It was nonstop drama from there.
Magazines couldn't get enough of the pair, documenting their every tender gesture and teary-eyed fight. The couple contributed to the coverage with their self-filmed reality TV show, "Britney & Kevin: Chaotic." The tabloid depicted him as a party-goer living off his wife's fame and fortune. She was painted as a bumbling mother with fading figure and visage. Her chart-topping career all but imploded.
It was the first marriage for Federline, 28, though he was still dating his pregnant girlfriend Shar Jackson when he met the pop star. Jackson gave birth to Federline's second child just months before he married Spears.
It was the second marriage for Spears, whose 55-hour union with childhood friend Jason Alexander ended in annulment.
Spears and Federline have two children: Sean Preston, who turned 1 on Sept. 14, and an infant son, Jayden James, born Sept. 12. Spears is seeking "legal and physical" custody of both.
She declared in court papers that she and Federline have no community assets, which indicates they had a prenuptial agreement and don't want to disclose their divorce settlement to the court, said Leon Bennett, a Los Angeles divorce attorney who does not represent either party.
The filing came a day after Spears, back in shape after the birth of her second child, made a surprise appearance on David Letterman's "Late Show" in New York by popping up behind him as he was sitting at his desk.
Born in Kentwood, La., in 1981, Spears got her first taste of fame at age 11 when she joined the "The All New Mickey Mouse Club" TV show. Her fellow Mouseketeers included future superstars Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera.
Five years after Spears left the show she released her debut album, "Baby One More Time." In the video for the title track, Spears, still a teenager, dressed provocatively in a skimpy school uniform and moaned "baby, baby, baby." Yet she proclaimed her chastity, insisting she remained a virgin throughout her four-year relationship with Timberlake.
By 2003, Spears had fully embraced her sex-charged image, sharing an open-mouthed kiss with Madonna during the MTV Video Music Awards. That same year, she revealed in an interview with W magazine that she had lost her virginity to Timberlake.
Federline appeared in the 2004 movie "You Got Served" and performed as a backup dancer for Timberlake, Pink and Michael Jackson. He released his debut CD, "Playing With Fire," on Oct. 31. In an interview with The Associated Press two weeks ago, he praised Spears as a positive force in his life.
"Her influence on me has been really big," he said. "She's a strong woman and she knows what she wants out of life and that helps build a strong man. I look up to you baby."
Calls placed to attorneys for Federline and Spears were not returned Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Only 26 Days Until the Yuckfest

Sorry, Shelly -- only humans get to go to the Yuletide Yuckfest. Call and make your reservations today for the Yuletide Yuckfest 2006.

Contact: Ed Attanasio
(415) 595-4555

Yuletide Yuckfest 2006, a Comedy Benefit, to be held on December 3rd at Rooster T. Feathers to Raise Funds for local Toys for Tots

On Sunday, December 3rd from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Rooster T. Feathers in Sunnyvale is hosting “Yuletide Yuckfest 2006,” a comedy show benefiting Toys for Tots and celebrating its ninth straight year. Comics Clinton Jackson, Sherry Sirof, Mike Capozzola, Jacob Sirof, Gretchen Rootes, Carla Clayy, Nick Leonard, Hymie Laredo and many special guests will converge on the stage at Rooster T’s to make people laugh for a worthy cause. Also featured will be music by the band “Chubby’s All-Stars,” with special guest Viv Savage, former keyboard player for the famous band, “Spinal Tap.” Admission is $10.00 and an unwrapped toy, or $15.00 without one. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
Hymie Laredo, whose real name is Ed Attanasio, will host the big event. He sees the show as a chance for comedians to give back to the community, by providing new toys for those less fortunate.
“There is just something about giving kids toys that makes me happy,” Attanasio/Laredo said. “My niece needs a storage locker just to keep all the toys I’ve given her over the years. It’s the little kid in me. It probably makes me feel better than it does the children. I guess Santa Claus must be somewhere down the line on my family tree.”
The comedians featured have been on Comedy Central, VH1, the Comedy Channel, Nickelodeon, the Tonight Show, and more.
Rooster T. Feathers is located at 157 West El Camino Real in Sunnyvale, next to Goodyear Tires. Ample free parking is available. Rooster T. Feathers’ phone number is (408) 736-0921.

Which MLB Team Will Play Kamikaze in the Matsu Bidding War?

Japanese right-handed pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is getting ready to come to America and reap the rewards offered by our crazy, overpriced and financially out-of-control Major League Baseball system. Super-agent Scott Boras is selling the negotiating rights to Matsuzaka (from hereon referred to as “Matsu”) for $20 million, which doesn’t include the money the bidding team will have to shell out to Matsu’s former team in Japan, the Seibu Lions. This guy is one expensive date. It seems like a lot to pay for a player who hasn’t proven he can make it in American baseball. Teams are drooling over Matsu because of the success that Ichiro had in this country, but pitchers are a fickle bunch and if this guy gets a long-term deal and then throws out his arm halfway through his first season here, it will go down in history as a Darren Dreifort moment (Dreifort took millions and millions of ducats from the L.A. Dodgers and was injured his entire career). And to have an agent like Boras is the vile icing on an already rancid cake. When scholars look back on the history of baseball, Boras will be mentioned in the same breath with people like Hal Chase, Ty Cobb and Pete Rose. Sure, they were good at their jobs, but as people they get F-minuses. Boras’s idea of a fun afternoon is working over baseball owners until they cry out in pain (example: $252 million from the Texas Rangers for Alex Rodriguez.) Boras takes pride in ripping off MLB team owners and some organizations now have a strict rule not to deal with the man. Matsu’s record last year was very good, no doubt. He was 17-5 with a 2.13 ERA, which probably would have been good enough to win the Cy Young in either league in 2006. But, he could also be another Hideki Irabu. Irabu was 38-27 with a 2.65 from 1994-96 when he came to the U.S. from Japan. Here in the states, pitching against hitters that made the best players in Japan look like Picahu dolls, Irabu was 34-35 with a Hiroshima-type exploding ERA of 5.15. When Hideki went back to Japan in 2003 – claiming you just can’t get really fresh sushi here – he went back to a respectable 13-8 with an ERA of 3.85. Kaz Ishii was the same story. In Japan, he was 78-46 with a 3.38 ERA. In this country, he went 39-34 with a 4.44 ERA. There was really nothing fishi about Ishii, other than he was just facing much better competition in North America, when compared to the flopping koi he was pitching to in Japan. Matsu supposedly throws in the mid-90s and has six or seven different pitches. He’s a little fella (5’11”, 187 pounds) and he’s thrown more than 1,400 innings over the past eight seasons, so whether he can hold up is also a question. Is he the real thing or just another slick trick perpetuated on the league by Scott Boras? Can you say Kevin Brown? Boras convinced the Dodgers to shell out $105 million for a 34-year-old Brown with almost 2,000 innings on his arm. Talk about a total rip-off! I wouldn’t be surprised if Boras and Brown sit around in their mansions and laugh their asses off over that one. The bottom line is that if I were a fan, I’d hope and pray my team didn’t make the winning bid on Matsu. There are just too many unanswered questions about the guy. When any team deals with Scott Boras, the only ones that win are Boras and the player he’s representing. He makes lawyers look like Mother Teresa and Gandhi combined. Matsu might be as hot as wasabi or as cold as chilled sake, but whatever he does, he’s not going to be worth it. Blind bidding is a dangerous game and Boras is dealing from the bottom of the deck. Stay away!I am currently doing sports opinion pieces for a great web site called: Check it out!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Restaurant Review: Betelnut: Fusion Food that's Not Confusing

Down on San Francisco’s trendy Union Street there’s a fairly well-known restaurant called Betelnut. Since the place is roughly 400 yards from my house, I have been there close to a dozen times. It’s supposedly former President Bill Clinton’s favorite SF eatery, and I know for a fact he has been there several times in the past couple of years. And no, he didn’t bring Jennifer Flowers or Monica Lewinsky with him, either. Betelnut is modeled after a “pejiu wu”, which in Chinese means “beer house.” The cuisine is described as Asian “street food”. It tends to a little spicier than your standard Asian faire, using primarily fresh local ingredients and regional spices. I like it because the food is a mixture of just about every type of Asian cuisine – including Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Malaysian. A lot of fusion food is gimmicky and just doesn’t work. I had American Indian/Mexican food one time, and it was so bad I lost it in both my head dress and my sombrero. One time I had Italian/Eastern Indian food, and that was pretty awful as well. Chicken Tandoori Pizza isn’t my idea of creative food – it’s my version of a gastronomic nightmare. Dick Cavett used to do an old joke where he talked about eating German/Chinese food one night and being hungry for power 15 minutes later. But the fusion food at Betelnut works, because the basic building blocks of all the cuisines that are being combined are basically the same. The chef is Alexander Ong, a highly regarded food artist who worked for the Shangrai-La Hotel and at the Caesar’s Tahoe Ritz-Carlton before venturing to SF to do his magic at Betelnut. Consistently in the SF Chronicle’s Top 100 Restaurants, this place is fun from the minute you walk in the door. The motif is dark wood with bright red accents. Kind of like Chinatown meets a Montana hunting lodge. Betelnut has a wide assortment of exotic drinks and features a lineup of custom-brewed lagers and ales that the Pyramid Brewery makes just for them. For $6.00 a pint, the beer is just as good or better than any micro brewery I’ve been to. My favorite dishes at Betelnut all come on small plates and will serve three people each. I love the Pork Springrolls with “Wood Ear” Mushrooms, Glass Noodles and Szechuan Mustard ($8.50). The mustard alone is worth this one. It’s a mixture of hot mustard with something sweet and tart in it that hits your palate with a gentle ferocity. I also like the Nonya Oyster Omelet with Kecap Manis and Spicy Lime Pepper Dip ($9.85). The oysters are so fresh and buttery you’ll think they are still alive. Putting them in a fluffy omelet with this incredible sauce is pure genius. The Firecracker Shrimp with a 5-Spice Sambal Dip ($9.99) is worth every cent. They’re spicy but not tongue-searing hot, and they bounce off your tongue with an elasticity that is pleasant and not too tough. The Hand-Pulled Mongolian Hoison Pork with Grilled Pancakes ($9.95) is like high-end Asian burritos and a lot of fun to eat. What makes this work is that the pork is super tender and full of flavor. One disappointment was the Satay-O-Chicken with Malaysian Peanut Sauce ($8.25). When I go to a place like Betelnut I expect new and exciting things and this was just run-of-the-mill satay that you might find in 200+ other restaurants in the City. It just wasn’t unique enough. Betelnut is located at 2030 Union Street in SF and their phone number is: (415) 929-8855. They’re open every day for both lunch and dinner, but I would strongly suggest making reservations if you want to go there during the weekend.
If you see Bill there sans Hilary, maybe you can interest him in an after-dinner cigar. After consuming this great food, he might just be in the mood.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Our Last Dinner with Ratdog

This is a short film we did last year. Check it out.
The acting is pretty lousy, but you must admit, it's an awesome performance by RATDOG.
The movie is called, "OUR LAST DINNER WITH RATDOG"
And no -- don't worry, Ratdog isn't dead!

Thinking about a Brazilian Bride? Read this First!

SAN BRUNO, Calif. (Oct. 31) - The lonely, divorced carpenter thought he was going to Brazil to make wedding plans.
Instead, he was drugged and held captive for six days at his fiancee's home while she and another man emptied his bank accounts, according to Brazilian authorities. Then they drove the 56-year-old victim to a vacant lot, where they strangled him with copper wire, doused his body with fuel, and set it on fire, investigators say.
Authorities found Raymond Merrill's charred body in April.
Now, the woman he believed was his betrothed is under arrest, along with a man suspected of helping to kill him.
"He would talk to me about ideal relationships and pure love," said Merrill's best friend, Bill Rauch. "With age doesn't necessarily come wisdom. He was used to doing things his way and, in the end, it did him in."
For months, his family knew nothing of his horrifying end. It was only after a bungled robbery Merrill met Regina Filomena Rachid last year through an online dating service. At the time, he was lonely and depressed, having been dumped by a Las Vegas woman for whom he had bought expensive gifts, according to Merrill's best friend.
Merrill and Rachid exchanged dozens of calls, e-mails and photographs, often enlisting Rachid's 18-year-old daughter as a translator. Rachid was 41, from an upper-middle-class family that was in the real estate business.
"I thought, `This is going a little fast,' but I didn't want to sound critical," said Merrill's sister, Marcia Sanchez Loebick.
The warning signs were obvious to Merrill's friend of nearly 30 years. Merrill gave Rachid $10,000 to start a skin care clinic and bought her a $20,000 sport utility vehicle. She complained it wasn't a fancier, more expensive model, Rauch said.
"This from a man who was tightfisted," Rauch said. "Ray and I would go out and I'd have to buy all the beers. All of a sudden, he's lavishing all these gifts and money on a relationship he's not even close to consummating.
"I said, `Ray, these are so many red flags. I can't believe you're pursuing this,"' Rauch said. "He would just slough it off. He'd say, `She's just a passionate and emotional Latina.' What do you say to a guy like that?"
Merrill visited Rachid twice in Sao Jose dos Campos, an industrial city about 60 miles from Sao Paulo. Both times he stayed a week longer than planned. Both times he notified Rauch, who then drove to Merrill's home in San Bruno to water the plants and collect the mail. On the third trip, Merrill again overstayed his return, but this time he didn't call Rauch to let him know.
Loebick, who lives in Cleveland, said she sent her brother repeated e-mails warning him that their 86-year-old father was dying, but got no response. She and Rauch's best friend called police in California to report him missing.
What happened to Merrill was more awful than either could have imagined.
Sometime after he arrived on March 21, Rachid and her real boyfriend, Nelson Siqueira Neves, drugged Merrill, kept him in a room in Rachid's house, and drained his bank accounts, stealing about $200,000 in all, according to Merrill's sister and Brazilian authorities.
Then, on April 1 - the day he was scheduled to return to California - they hired Evandro Celso Augusto Ribeiro for $5,600 to help kill him and set fire to the corpse, according to investigators. Authorities found the scorched remains but could not identify the victim, and buried the body in a pauper's grave.
But then Rachid - to raise money to pay off the hit man - took part in the holdup of a black-market money changer, and accidentally left her purse behind, investigators say.
The money changer went to police and turned over the purse, which contained Merrill's credit card. Hours later, Rachid showed up at the same police station to report her purse stolen. Police arrested her on the spot. The alleged hit man soon told authorities what happened to Merrill, investigators said.
Rachid and Ribeiro are in custody, charged with armed robbery followed by death.
Rachid's boyfriend was questioned by police in early October but was released under a Brazilian law that says no one can be arrested in the days immediately before and after an election, investigators said. Now he cannot be found.
"I feel a really terrible sense of loss," said Merrill's best friend. "You expect to lose your parents. But you don't expect one of your best friends to die.”

Now read this, from
Brazilian women make much better wives than American women.
An American woman has several fundamental problems that will never go away and that will get much worse a few years after she is married:
Her inherent anti-male bias and pre-occupation with fairness that was drilled into her at high school, college, and through the media. Her constant confrontations and trying to prove herself and to make a point.
Her self-centeredness, her ridiculously high expectations, her sense of entitlement, her high-maintenance, superficial, and stuck up attitude, her snootiness and her sense of superiority. This "princess" syndrome means that she will always think that she is better than you, and that she deserves and she is entitled to whatever she wants from you.
Her general mental instability and psychological disorders.
Her using sex as a weapon and reward to get things.
Brazilian women generally don't have any of these problems. Marrying an American woman simply does not make sense. The ONLY reason men stay with American women is because they did not have enough exposure to Brazilian women. Any man who spent a few months in Brazil will not even look at American women again.
They forgot one big thing: Brazilian women might KILL you!!

Ohio State Who? Michigan Who?

All season long, all I’ve been hearing about is Michigan and Ohio State, over and over again ad nauseam, the Wolverines and the Buckeyes, and how they’re so dominant and how there’s no doubt that they will be the only teams playing in the BCS Championship when it’s all said and done. Since the very beginning, I’ve been more than skeptical. I have just never seen it. And yesterday, my feelings were reinforced and were proven to be justified in a BIG WAY! Sure, both teams won, but they definitely struggled against no-name teams. Michigan beat Ball State by 8, 34-26. Ball State is a team that lost to North Dakota State, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. Their offense looked like the Indianapolis Colts against the so-called mighty Blue and Gold. Ball State had a chance to tie the game with two minutes to go! And Michigan is #2? On the other hand, Ohio State barely triumphed over an Illinois team that lost to non-entities like Ohio, Syracuse, Iowa and Penn State and has pretty much been the embarrassment of the Big Ten. The Buckeyes got out to a fairly impressive 17-0 lead in the first half Saturday and then couldn’t score a single point in the second half against a deplorable defense while giving up 10. Sure, weaker teams are going to get pumped up and play way beyond their abilities when they go up against powerhouse schools like Michigan and Ohio State, and granted they did not lose. But, doesn’t the BCS take poor showings like this into account when calculating their rankings? I guess we’ll see next week. If the BCS is worth anything, Louisville should move WAY UP in points and both Ohio State and Michigan should drop considerably. I’m not saying they shouldn’t stay #1 and #2 respectively, I’m just saying that dominant undefeated teams worth anything play well week after week, and don’t put in the kind of performances we saw yesterday. If Louisville runs the table, there is no doubt in my mind they should be in the BCS Final. But, because they’re not a big school with a big name and $uper rich alumni, just watch the BCS deny them a chance. Until college football picks the top eight teams and has a playoff series every year, teams like Louisville will most surely get screwed. Just watch!

Friday, November 03, 2006


Today was just ugly. I had to work all day and then I got caught in traffic and people were cutting me off and then cussing me out and it rained and then I felt like I was coming down with a cold and my dogs growled at me and then my fiancee was in a bad mood and then I started to get an upset stomach and then there was nothing worth watching on TV so I went to the video store and there was nothing good to rent so I rented something anyway and it was terrible. Now I want to go to sleep but it's too early and I'm stuck with indigestion, two angry dogs, one cranky fiancee and an unwatchable DVD. Man, it was an ugly day!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

My NBA Selections for the Western Division

Yesterday I picked my Eastern Division winners and today I’m headed west, where the sun is brighter, the cheerleader’s outfits are tighter and the blunts are rolled hella bigger!
It’s a Texas hoedown on the Western Front, with all three teams from Tejas weighing in with some huge chances to be there when the cow dung hits the fan.

Here they are and all I can say is Yee-ha!


SAN ANTONIO SPURS: If they don’t go all the way this season, they deserve to be hog-tied and bull-whipped, because they have the best squad, at least in the Western Division if not in the entire NBA. Tim Duncan is no longer the spry young man he was way back when, but he’s still a force night after night and when he’s at his best, he’s unstoppable. Sure, he averaged less than 20 ppg for the first time in his career last season, but he will get his numbers back up to respectability in no time. Rasho Nesterovic and Nazr Mohammed are gone, which is cool because I thought their names were too long, anyway. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli are back, however, and that’s the good news.
Odds to win it all: 2 to 1.

DALLAS MAVERICKS: Granted, the owner is a jerk. (I refuse to print his name here, because he craves publicity and that would only be encouraging him.) Last season, Dirk Nowitzki stepped up and actually played some defense. He will continue to D up more this year, which will help this team immensely. Even though their backcourt is small, they have a great bench, with Jerry Stackhouse, Austin Croshere, Devean George and Anthony Johnson. If Josh Howard can mature and show more discipline than the team’s childish owner, the Mavs will look marvelous in 06/07.
Odds to win it all: 4 to 1.

PHOENIX SUNS: Coach Mike D’Antoni has a bunch of players that can beat any team on any given night, and if Steve Nash can continue to be a leader, the sun will again shine in Phoenix once more. Amare Stoudamire is back from missing last year due to injury, and although he may be a quarter- step slower, he’s probably a little wiser after observing and learning the game from the sidelines. The Suns have to learn to step up during the postseason – they always play phenomenal basketball during the regular season and then crumble under pressure during the playoffs. This may be the year they explode and char the rest of the west.
Odds to win it all: 7 to 1.

HOUSTON ROCKETS: If Tracy McGrady can stay healthy and Yao Ming starts playing tough and ceases being the Kung Yao Chicken in the post, the Rockets are headed skyward at the speed of light. If they learn to listen to Jeff Van Gundy, the coach will retain most of his hair and Houston will be once again in the championship race. Yao is the key to their success – it’s time for the 7-foot-5 former #1 pick to finally emerge as the dominant center in the game. Various foot problems caused the Yao-ster to miss 57 games last year, so hopefully he used some of his yen to hire a good podiatrist of acupuncturist this season.
Odds to win it all: 14 to 1.

Who will be in the NBA Finals?

(Drum roll, please!)

Dallas vs. Cleveland

And Who Will Go All the Way?

LeBron in 7!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My NBA Selections for the Eastern Division

My NBA Pix for 2006/2007

The NBA season always starts out just like your average NBA game – things get going slowly and the most important part of the contest is always invariably the fourth quarter. That’s why they call the playoffs the second season. Injuries, arrests, benchings and quarrels all play a part in the way an NBA season evolves, so to accurately predict who will be there in the end is like trying to guess what Nicole Ritchie will weigh next month – it’s a crap shoot at best. But, because I am a glutton for punishment and hope springs eternal, I will give you who I feel will are the best four teams in each division. Today I will do the Eastern Division and tomorrow I will do the West.


MIAMI HEAT: Pat Riley is the best basketball coach still alive since the recent death of Red Auerbach and this team is loaded from top to bottom. Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal remind me of all the great tandems in the history of the game, like West-Chamberlain, Magic Johnson-Abdul-Jabbar and even Stockton-Malone. If Shaq stays healthy, the Heat will be a tough team to beat. If he gets hurt or loses momentum at any point, they’ll have to rely on Walker and Wade, which will make it a little tougher. No matter what, they’re still the class of the East.
(Odds to go all the way: 9-2)

DETROIT PISTONS: Center Nazr Mohammed has replaced Ben Wallace, which is like Vince Vaughn replacing Brad Pitt. They both do the same job, but one is a serious threat (Pitt) and the other (Vaughn) is about as dangerous as the lint you find in your naval on occasion. The Palace will still be rocking, however, because Detroit fans are the salt of the earth, and the team will contend. But, unless they get some major contributions from people like “Flips” Murray and, the Pistons might be running like hybrid vehicles with no gas in the tank by the time it’s all over.
(Odds to go all the way: 10-1)

NEW JERSEY NETS: The emergence of center Nenad Kristic and the comeback of Vince Carter could spell success for the Nets. Both can play in the post and possess the ability to make a big difference every single night. If Josh Boone can block some shots and provide support for Jason Collins, and if Jason Kidd can quickly teach Marcus Williams how they do things in the NBA, watch for the Nets to snag a few wins down the stretch and pull in some victories in the playoffs.
(Odds to go all the way: 12-1)

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: Why didn’t this team use the off season to surround King James with more talent? Four point guards to feed LeBron is not the approach I would have taken. Larry Hughes is flashy but inconsistent and center Zydrunas Ilgauskas is a very beat-up 31 years old. If Mike Brown will commit to the big Lithuanian, LeBron should get open enough to make us forget about his silly TV commercials. If things go as planned, the fans in Quicken Loans Arena will be get their payback for decades of frustration and false promises that the championship check is in the mail.
(Odds to go all the way: 12-1)