Friday, June 29, 2007

Do you Know What a Gel Pen Is?

When my niece said that she just HAD to have one of these new gel pens or that she would just die, I didn’t even know what a gel pen was. These youngsters today always have to have the coolest new things – the newest cell phones, iPods, clothes, music and even pens. So, after doing a little research, I found out that there are basically three types of pens – roller ball, fountain and gel. The gel pens are the most recent innovation in pen technology. Both Bic and Papermate make them and they’re growing in popularity all the time. Who knew?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

With Koby Out, Can Chestnut Win?

The competitive world of eating is already gnawing on this morsel of tasty news: The hot dog eating champion isn’t feeling all that hot.

Takeru Kobayashi of Japan, the six-time champion of the annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, could possibly be sidelined for next week's event due to an arthritic jaw.Last year, the 165-pound Kobayashi won his sixth straight Yellow Mustard Belt at the Independence Day competition in Coney Island, N.Y., by devouring a then-world record 53 3/4 frankfurters in 12 minutes.

That mark was surpassed earlier this month by Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., who gobbled up 59 1/2 hot dogs and buns at the Southwest Regional Hot Dog Eating Championship at the Arizona Mills Mall in suburban Tempe, Ariz., -- one of the qualifying events for Coney Island.Chestnut almost defeated Kobayashi last year, gobbling down 52 hot dogs and buns at the contest, which is sponsored by Nathan's Famous Inc.

Chestnut must feel the same way that NFL QB Steve Young felt when he learned that Joe Montana, the 49ers first-stringer, was injured, allowing Young to seize his moment in the sun. Chestnut has been eating in the shadow of Kobayashi for a long time, and he has to be ecstatic over the fact that now he will finally get a chance to assume his spot in the winner’s circle atop competitive eating’s center stage.

"Already I can't open my jaws more than just a little bit," Kobayashi wrote. "There's no pain only if I open my mouth about enough for one finger. More than that is painful and I can't open it."A specialist diagnosed him with arthritis of the jaw, he wrote."To tell the truth, I'm desperate about healing completely before the July 4 contest," he said, adding that he had begun receiving treatment at a hospital and from a chiropractor.

On Tuesday, his United Food Fighters Organization said on their Web site that Kobayashi has found a doctor he can trust and was "creating an environment in which he can dedicate himself to healing.""The contest is coming up soon, and we'd happy if everyone kept him in their thoughts," the group wrote.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ms. Right is Wrong This Time

Elizabeth Edwards pleaded Tuesday with journalist Ann Coulter to "stop the personal attacks," a day after the conservative commentator remarked that she wished Edwards' husband, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, had been killed by terrorists.

Ann Coulter is a guard dog for the Republicans. Whenever they want to get at someone, they just say “Sic ‘em Annie,” and like a dutiful little mutt with a bad case of rabies, she growls and barks in their direction. Her vicious remarks aren’t just mean, but they’re also destructive, and in many cases, baseless as well.

Coulter’s snarky comments are getting old. Time and again, she gets away with saying really nasty things, supposedly all part of the never-ending battle called partisan politics.

It used to be kind of cute and amusing. It was like, “Wow, look at this tough, assertive woman who pulls no punches.” But, when she starts spewing hate -- like saying someone should have been killed by terrorists – well, that’s going way too far, in my opinion.

Ann Coulter needs to be gaited a bit. She needs to slow down. Maybe she should take up a hobby that will mellow her out a little. Like gardening or hot air ballooning. A lot of folks are doing this scrap booking thing. She might like that.

I am one of the first people (me and Larry Flynt) to defend Freedom of the Press. But, name-calling and labeling is not responsible journalism. And the terrorist remark wasn’t even hers. She stole it from Bill Maher. So, she’s not even original!

Elizabeth Edwards said she did not consult her husband before confronting Coulter on the air, adding that she felt the pundit's remarks were "a dialogue on hatefulness and ugliness."
“The things she has said over the years, not just about John but about other candidates, lowers the political dialogue at precisely the time we need to raise it," Edwards said by phone on MSNBC's "Hardball" program, where Coulter was a guest.

"It debases political dialogue," Edwards said. "It drives people away from the process. We can't have a debate about issues if you're using this kind of language."Coulter responded with a laugh and charged that Edwards was calling on her to stop speaking altogether. She questioned why

Elizabeth Edwards was making a phone call on behalf of her husband, and she criticized John Edwards for "stealing doctors' money" during his successful career as a trial lawyer."I don't think I need to be told to stop writing by Elizabeth Edwards, thank you," Coulter said.

On ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday, Coulter was asked about a March speech in which she used a gay slur to refer to Edwards."If I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot," Coulter said Monday, picking up on remarks made by HBO's Bill Maher. Maher suggested in March that "people wouldn't be dying needlessly" if Vice President Dick Cheney had been killed in an insurgent attack in Afghanistan.

(Some portions of this article were taken from

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Quality Blinds Can Make a Room

At Blinds Chalet they carry the finest quality window treatments at discount prices. These folks will never sacrifice quality just to offer a low-quality blind. Every one of their window blinds and shades must measure up to their high standards before they will ever sell them online. You will not find a better quality window covering for the price anywhere. With over 25 years of experience in the window coverings industry, they know that their customers will always be happy with their decision to choose Blinds Chalet. Good blinds can completely change and dramatically upgrade the look of a room. Give these guys a try.

A Rehab Miracle

If you’ve got a substance abuse problem, there’s a drug rehab center in Malibu where they can really help you. I had a fraternity brother who was badly hooked on drugs. I won’t go into detail, but he was on his way to an early grave. He went to this place called Cliffside Malibu and kicked his habit. The best thing about it is that he hasn’t relapsed. He’s been able to change his life and really turn things around. It’s a miracle, because he was pretty much lost to us before going into rehab. And now he’s back – for good!

Should Barry Bonds Play in the All-Star Game?

With the All-Star game at AT&T Park only two weeks away, the debate over whether or not Barry Bonds belongs on the field for the Midsummer Classic is gaining momentum. People in this town are buying into the all-star hype. There hasn’t been this much baseball-related excitement around here since the 1989 Bay Bridge World Series between the Giants and the A’s.

As Barry nears the record for career home runs, the local media is pushing for fans to vote for Bonds. But, it doesn’t look good. The voting closes on Thursday and Bonds is currently in fourth place among NL outfielders, trailing Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs by more than 120,000 votes. It would take a ballot stuffing frenzy of Jeb Bush-like proportions to get Bonds elected now.

So, the question at hand is – should he be selected by the NL manager (Tony LaRussa) to be on the squad? How can MLB keep the greatest hitter of the last 50 years out of a game being played in his own stadium? Doesn’t Barry deserve to be there based solely on his career stats?

The arguments are strong from both sides. From the opposition’s point of view, Bonds isn’t having the kind of season that warrants a spot on the team. has him rated as the 10th best right fielder in the National League. He hasn’t fielded well, his batting average is less than spectacular and he’s playing for a last place team. If you also take into account that the guy is strongly disliked by many non-SF fans and part of the whole steroid controversy, it makes sense to keep him off the team.

Bonds supporters are saying that he needs to be an all-star because he’s a baseball legend, regardless of what he’s doing this year. In addition, they’re asking this question -- who else on the SF Giants deserves to be on the team if not Bonds? It’s a good point.

Every team has to be represented in the game. It’s a rule. Even Tampa Bay gets one representative. So, the next question is -- who is more qualified than Bonds to be the Giants’ lone all-star? Barry Zito surely doesn’t belong there. The only other player worthy enough to merit consideration might be starting pitcher Matt Morris (7-4, 3.38 ERA).

There’s little doubt that Bonds is by far the best player on a bad team. He’s played in 69 of the Giants’ 75 games and has made some decent defensive plays on occasion; including a great catch up against the wall recently against the Oakland A’s in interleague play. He also leads the league in intentional walks, which shows that he’s still one of the most feared batters in baseball.

I think the people of San Francisco deserve to see Bonds in the all-star lineup on July 10. Let him enter the game after the third inning and pinch hit. It will be the man’s final moment in the spotlight. With all the controversy and bad karma that surrounds Barry Bonds, he’s still entitled to be there when The City by the Bay is watched by the entire professional baseball world. It’s just the right thing to do.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Why Younger Women Should Date Older Men

I've been writing for a very funny blog called The 15-Minute Dating Blog. They just published my second piece entitled, "The Top 50 Reasons Why Younger Women Should Date Older Men." It's the new thing -- young hotties going for guys who are over 50. I'm engaged, so it's not a big part of my life. But, I can't say I'm opposed to it!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Yes, It's True. I'm Excited About Yard Markers!

The creativity and variety you’ll find in the wonderfully amazing, spectacular and ever-evolving world of yard markers is a truly something to behold. Not only do they allow you to distinguish your yard from your neighbors’, but they also tell people who you are and what your attitude about life is. If you want to be sophisticated, there’s a wide range of yard markers for you. If you want to show folks that you’re fun and have a great sense of humor, there are also some great yard markers for you to choose from. I know some of you might think I’ve gone crazy gushing about yard markers, but it’s true. I love them and I really don’t care who knows it!

Friday, June 22, 2007

It's a Monster Problem Called Monster Park

After a recent series of meetings between the NFL and San Francisco 49er officials, it looks like wherever the Niners finally decide to move, it’s going to be at least a decade before a new stadium is a reality. Whether it’s in Santa Clara or at Hunters Point, the team’s fans are going to have to be satisfied with clunky, unappealing Monster Park for a long, long time.

The whole affair is a travesty and a disgrace. Monster Park is old and should be put out of its misery. The bathrooms stink with flooding toilets, the seats are uncomfortable and the entire place looks like a mall from the '70s. They should put a dome over it and make it into a prison. The Giants were smart and got out of there a long time ago. They've been playing better ever since.

San Francisco is the only city in the NFL with a sub-par facility. Ten years ago, former 49er owner Eddie DeBartolo and General Manager Carmen Policy had a very workable plan for a new stadium. Then, DeBartolo got caught up in a Louisiana gambling scandal and was forced to sell his share in the team. Policy saw the writing on the wall and fled to Cleveland to become part owner of the Browns.

Everything has gone downhill for the Niners since then. Eddie DeBartolo won a ton of Super Bowls and built a legendary dynasty. He ran a first-class operation and his players loved playing for him. Now the team is owned by Eddie’s sister Denise and run by her husband, John York.

The Niners have spent the last decade being less than mediocre and the fans are getting antsy. With a new coach and a young promising quarterback, last season was a positive one for the team and the future looks fairly bright -- except for the stadium situation, which is looking bleaker all the time.

The major dilemma here is that it’s basically impossible to get public money for a sports facility in California. We have 15 professional teams in this state and not one of them plays in a stadium or arena that was built using state money. California can’t even build proper roads, so how the heck is it going to come up with the cash to build a stadium?

Cities aren’t any better. After three unsuccessful ballot measures, the SF Giants finally built a park with their own money. AT&T Park is the only new stadium in the Bay Areas since the Oakland Coliseum opened in 1966.

So, it’s pretty evident that any new stadium for the 49ers is going to have to be funded with private money. Anyone who knows Denise DeBartolo and John York is convinced that they’re way too cheap to kick down.

So, until the planets line up perfectly, the fans will have to sit in the cold and wind – stuck with a stadium that is outdated and unacceptable by NFL standards.

It’s a monster problem and it’s called Monster Park.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Chris Daly Show Should Be Cancelled

Mayor Gavin Newsom categorically denied ever using cocaine Wednesday and blasted Supervisor Chris Daly for raising the allegation during a jammed Board of Supervisors meeting a day earlier, saying his City Hall tactics had brought San Francisco politics to a new low.
Newsom, who earlier this year entered rehab for a drinking problem, angrily responded to reporters' questions about whether he has ever used coke, saying, "Absolutely not."
"I am associated with something that I don't do, never have, not even in the realm of reason should someone even accuse me of this," Newsom said.
The Chris Daly show is getting really old. He has opposed everything Newsom has done over the last few years and has a personal vendetta against the man. It’s okay to fight for what you and your constituents believe in, but to make allegations like this goes way over the line. To accuse someone of doing illegal drugs without definitive proof is highly irresponsible.
Where is Daly’s proof? Did he see Newsom doing coke? Did our mayor have a little white stuff on his nose one day while in City Hall? Maybe Gavin had just eaten a doughnut with powdered sugar on it. Maybe he had just powdered his nose before going before the news cameras. Seriously, these are serious accusations that Daly is making here. If he doesn’t have conclusive evidence, than he shouldn’t make the charges.
Chris Daly is a jerk, in my opinion. He loves to get his name in the papers by saying outrageous things and now he is promoting a lynch-mob mentality by saying things he can’t back up. The man should definitely be censured for these latest remarks. He is turning City Hall into a circus and he wants to be the ringleader. Newsom should sue the guy for libel.
Daly, a former housing-rights activist who is praised by many for being a passionate advocate and disliked by others for having a volatile temper, raised the allegations during a speech Tuesday at a board hearing on $6 million in proposed cuts by the mayor's office to next year's Department of Public Health budget.
The supervisor, whose district includes the city's Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods, said Newsom was eliminating substance-abuse treatment funds for poor people while he "artfully dodges every question about allegations of his own cocaine use."
"Where does Gavin Christopher Newsom get his substance abuse services, and how much do they cost the city and county of San Francisco?" Daly asked. The question was met with enthusiastic applause from the people who had packed into the board chambers to oppose the budget cuts.
In February, after Newsom admitted to having an affair with an aide who also was his campaign manager's wife, he said he was pursuing treatment for alcohol abuse. After these revelations, Newsom, 39, gave a television interview during which he was asked about whether rumors circulating at City Hall about him using cocaine were true. Newsom, however, did not directly answer the question, instead calling the rumors "absolutely laughable."
But on Wednesday, Newsom fired back at his political rival for broaching the subject publicly and called the allegation "so gratuitous, so erroneous that it's just patently false." He also sent a letter to Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin requesting that the board address Daly's conduct.
The cocaine comments created yet another scandal in City Hall, overshadowing Supervisor Ed Jew's headline-grabbing legal troubles. Jew faces criminal charges for allegedly falsifying records to meet residency requirements to run for supervisor last year, and the city attorney is seeking approval from the state attorney general to file a lawsuit to force Jew from office for not being a resident of his supervisory district. He also is a target of a federal public corruption investigation for accepting $40,000 from businessmen facing city permit problems.
Daly's statements ignited a whole new brouhaha, with Newsom on one side infuriated about having to answer questions about drug use in an election year and Daly on the other, saying he stands solidly behind everything he said and will not apologize.
The comments were so controversial that they drew widespread media coverage and prompted some of Daly's colleagues on the board -- many of whom typically relish any opportunity to publicly chastise the mayor -- to distance themselves from him.
"I don't see how allegations about someone's personal life furthers the public policy goals he espouses to promote," Peskin said. "The entire episode is conduct unbecoming an elected official."
Barbara O'Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at Cal State Sacramento, said there is such a thing as below-the-belt in politics, and raising allegations of cocaine use without evidence to back up the claim certainly qualifies.
"This is why the public hates politicians," she said. "They view it as people playing by different rules and civility doesn't always prevail. It's almost like reality TV in City Hall. But this isn't Jerry Springer. It's a City Hall budget hearing."
It's hardly the first time Daly, 34, has been at the center of City Hall controversy. In 2004, he escaped censure by an 8-2 vote. The push came from Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier after he had told the audience at a board committee meeting to "f- off" and walked out.
Last week, Peskin booted Daly from his post as chairman of the powerful budget committee because Daly had been engaged in a bitter public conflict with Newsom over budget priorities.
On Wednesday, Daly said he appreciated the mayor's direct answer to questions about his alleged cocaine use but said he still believes Newsom uses or has used the drug.
During an interview in his City Hall office, Daly said he had heard the rumors about cocaine in City Hall, referred to the television interview in which Newsom was asked about cocaine and also mentioned a pending lawsuit by disgruntled San Francisco police officers whose lawyers want to depose Newsom and ask about his drinking and about drug use.
Asked if he thought he owed the mayor an apology for the remarks, Daly said, "No. Any more yes-or-no questions?"
He said Newsom's political team has engaged in a smear-campaign of its own. On Wednesday, the mayor's re-election campaign sent an e-mail to supporters calling Daly's behavior irrational and said he had turned the budget process into a political circus.
Daly, on the other hand, posted a link on his city Web site to a flyer that has a picture of Newsom standing behind a bar serving drinks under the headline, "Meet the real sicko! Drug treatment for the rich and famous."
"I'm going to do my job here to defend the things that I and my constituents care about and that includes trying to stop cuts to heath programs," Daly said.
Daly had said he would run against Newsom this year if no other challenger stepped up to do it, but the supervisor backed down because he and his wife are expecting their second child shortly before the November election.
Newsom called Daly's comments about cocaine offensive, sleazy, and the cheapest of cheap shots.
"That's how low politics now has gotten in this city, and I seriously thought it couldn't get much worse," Newsom said. "He's taken it to a whole new low."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What Are You Going To Do, Ed Jew?

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom turned up the heat on Supervisor Ed Jew Tuesday, proclaiming that there is evidence that suggests the embattled lawmaker does not live in the district he represents. Newson said that the anti-Jew bandwagon is rolling down the track a little faster every day and urged him to provide a reasonable explanation quickly. Jew is in trouble, there’s no doubt about it.

The fact that Ed Jew hasn’t resigned yet has a lot of people downtown scratching their heads. Does the man think that if he just hangs on for a couple of weeks and keeps a low profile that it will all just go away? He’s deluded if he does. His attorney has accused Newsom of rushing to judgment before getting all the facts. Well, what is Jew waiting for? If I wasn’t guilty, I would present the evidence of my innocence as fast as I could. Jew is stalling and it’s pretty obvious.

Ed Jew is like a guy who got caught crashing a party and won’t leave.

Newsom expressed apprehension about Jew continuing to cast votes while the legitimacy of his claim to his office has been called into question and said he is reviewing city law to understand exactly what power he has to force Jew out of his seat.

'"The fact that I am reviewing the charter and my role ... is suggestive of the fact that there are concerns," Newsom said, adding that he found the results of a city attorney's investigation into Jew's compliance with San Francisco's residency requirements "very damning" and "quite condemning."

He asked Jew to come forward quickly with evidence that he has lived in the district in which he was elected. "Prove it," he said.

Jew was present at the weekly Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, the day after City Attorney Dennis Herrera took what is believed to be the unprecedented step of asking the state attorney general for permission to file a lawsuit to oust a sitting supervisor.

Herrera's investigation found that while Jew has claimed his primary residence is a home owned by his father on 28th Avenue in the Sunset District, the supervisor moved to the house only recently, after media reports began questioning his residency. City law requires supervisors to have lived in the district they represent at least 30 days before filing papers to run for office.
Jew's attorney, Steven Gruel, said the mayor should not be concerned that the supervisor continues to vote on board matters. "You're drawing a conclusion without all the facts," Gruel said.

The monthlong scandal involving the freshman supervisor is in the hands of Attorney General Jerry Brown, who will decide whether the city attorney's office can sue Jew to remove him from office. That decision could take weeks.

The supervisor's troubles began in May when FBI agents raided his City Hall office, his Chinatown flower shop, the home on 28th Avenue and another home in Burlingame where Jew says he and his family spend part of their time. The federal investigation is centered on $40,000 Jew received from Sunset District businessmen who were having permit troubles in San Francisco.

Last week, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris filed felony perjury and election law charges against Jew for allegedly lying under oath and falsifying paperwork when he claimed in candidacy papers and other documents that he lived at 2450 28th Ave.

On Tuesday, Newsom was peppered with questions about Jew during a press conference on another matter.

Under San Francisco law, Newsom has the authority to suspend and eventually remove Jew for official misconduct through the city Ethics Commission and Board of Supervisors. But the mayor said he will not take action until Jew submits to the attorney general a response to Herrera's request for authorization to sue for the supervisor's removal from office.

Jew has 15 days to make his case to the attorney general, but Newsom said he plans to encourage Jew to respond to the attorney general well in advance of the July 3 deadline.

"He should step up to the extent that he feels he is in the right and explain it in a public way," Newsom said. "I don't know that it's that complicated to explain residency. I don't know why you need 15 days. You don't need 10 days. Just come forward. Prove it. It seems like an easy thing to prove."

On Tuesday, Jew voted on a variety of city matters during the board meeting. He refused to answer questions from reporters and had to be escorted to the board chambers by a sheriff's deputy who cleared a pathway for him to walk through a throng of media.

Gruel said Jew would like to be able to discuss the allegations against him with the mayor and resolve his concerns. However, he said, the filing of criminal charges by the district attorney makes that impossible because the supervisor would put himself at risk of saying something that could be used against him by prosecutors.

"If he did have a chance ... I think (Newsom) would have been satisfied with the explanation," Gruel said.

Gruel said he and Jew's other attorneys are considering going to court to bring a halt to the city attorney's investigation until the criminal case against Jew is resolved.
Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin has asked Newsom to step in and oust Jew from the board, but Newsom has repeatedly said that he was waiting for the various investigations to be complete. Now that the city attorney's investigation is finished, Newsom said he is waiting for Jew to provide a response.

"I've tried to be very independent-minded here, and I read that report, and it's not good," Newsom said.

Both the city attorney's report and similar evidence cited by the district attorney to obtain the arrest warrant against Jew seem to offer "overwhelming evidence" that Jew does not live in the Sunset District, Newsom said.

"The accusations are codified in two reports and suggest that Ed Jew needs to step up now and make it clear why they are both wrong," Newsom said. "And he needs to do that well before the 15 days because we need to make a determination sooner than later."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Brunching It Up in San Francisco

I just added two new brunch places to's Top 10 Brunch Spots in SF. I love a good brunch! Here are the two restaurants with excellent brunches in this city:
1701 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 362-6421
Hours: (Tues-Sun) 8:00 am-3:00 pm
This legendary North Beach/Washington Square corner brunch spot always has a long line on the sidewalk out front but it’s more than worth the wait. The place is tiny, parking is sparse and they don’t take credit cards, but those are mere distractions when you consider that the breakfast offerings are amongst the very best in the entire city. Signature favorites include Cranberry-Orange-Walnut French Toast, Hash-Browned Redskin Potatoes, Crab Benedict, the Monte Cristo with Raspberry Jam and a wide range of fluffy omelets, poached egg creations, fresh-baked breads, to-die-for pastries and world-class pancakes. Service is fast and efficient in a spot that is constantly busy.

Estimated cost per person for Brunch: $10 - $20

Holiday Schedule: New Years Day-Closed, Valentines Day-Open, Easter-Open, Thanksgiving-Open, Christmas Eve-Open, Christmas Day-Closed, New Years Eve-Open

Hotel Nikko San Francisco, Second Level
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 394-1100
Hours: Breakfast: (Mon-Sun) 6:30 am-11:00 am; Lunch: (Mon-Sat) 11:30 am- 2:00 pm; Dinner: (Mon-Sun) 5:30 pm-10:00 pm; Brunch: 10:00 am-2:00 pm.
Located on the second floor of the renowned Hotel Nikko, Anzu is fresh and different and cuts no corners when it comes to putting on the ultimate brunch. Their “Smooth Jazz Champagne Brunch” features the finest in local live jazz with a different theme and completely new menu every Sunday. Blending European and Japanese cuisines, it’s East meets West in a fusion explosion of flavors and textures at Anzu. Highlights include Louisiana Crayfish Potato Salad, Dim Sum, Sushi, Roast Ribeye of Beef at the carving station and an amazing Chocolate Fondue Fountain with a plethora of dipping options. Brunches include free fruit juices, champagne and mimosas. Service is professional and experienced and there’s two hours of validated parking, which is like gold in San Francisco.

Estimated cost per person for Brunch: Adults: $50; Children: $28 (Ages 5-12)

Holiday Schedule: New Years Day-Closed, Valentines Day-Open, Easter-Open, Thanksgiving-Closed, Christmas Eve-Closed, Christmas Day-Closed, New Years Eve-Open.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Tiger is Human After All!

All of the great golf legends throughout history can breathe a sigh of relief. No matter how great you are at this game, it always has the potential to jump up and bite you on the ass. Tiger Woods has spanked the golf world for a very long time. He wins major tournaments as effortlessly as John Daly downs beers.
Woods has continually made a mockery of a very difficult and demanding game. He’s snubbed his nose at the golf gods as if to say, “What’s all the fuss about?” Well, after this weekend the whole world knows – Tiger Woods is human after all. He’s not invincible. He’s capable of choking like anyone else. The man is infallible. Woods can get rattled. He can be had.
Angel Cabrera hit all the perfect shots when he needed them most to hold off Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk by a stroke on Sunday at the U.S. Open, shooting a 1-under-par 69 at an unforgiving Oakmont and giving Argentina its first major championship in 40 years.
For the second straight time in a major, Woods played in the final group and couldn't get the job done.
Woods squandered birdie chances with his wedge and his putter, and Furyk paid for a questionable choice of driver on the 306-yard 17th hole and fell out of the lead with a bogey.
That left Cabrera all alone at the end.
The only other Argentine to win a major was Roberto de Vicenzo in the 1967 British Open at Hoylake. He was equally famous for signing for the wrong score a year later at the Masters, keeping him out of a playoff.
"It is very difficult to describe at the moment," an elated Cabrera said. "Probably tomorrow, when I wake up with this trophy beside me, I will realize I won the U.S. Open."
Cabrera made his share of mistakes – no one played spectacular golf on this brutally tough course outside Pittsburgh - but he overcame late bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes with a perfect tee shot and a par that gave him the victory.
Woods, a runner-up to unheralded Zach Johnson at the Masters, played the final 32 holes at Oakmont with only one birdie. He missed a birdie putt from 6 feet on the 13th, and the only clutch putts he made on the back nine were for par.
"He put a lot of pressure on Jim and I, and we didn't get it done," said Woods, who closed with a 72 and extended his dubious streak of never winning a major when he wasn't leading going into the final round.
Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, ran off three straight birdies on the back nine and was tied for the lead when he opted to hit driver on the 17th, where the tees were moved up. He hit so far and enough left that he had no angle to the pin, and the lie was so deep that he didn't even reach the green. His 8-foot par putt caught the lip and spun away.
Needing birdie on the final hole, Furyk dropped the club after contact, and his long putt never had a chance.

Sunday, June 17, 2007 Mini Reviews

Here are two restaurant mini-reviews that I did recently for They are my personal additions to Chowbaby's list of the Top 10 Most Romantic Restaurants of San Francisco. I would highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a good place to eat anywhere in the United States.

615 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 693-0941
Hours: (Mon-Fri) 11:30 am-10:30 pm; (Sat-Sun) 5:00 pm-10:30 pm
Phillipe Jeanty, one of America’s finest chefs, has created a restaurant with an intimate atmosphere featuring classic French bistro cuisine that is expertly prepared and magnificently presented. Located in a three-story building that was constructed in 1864, Jeanty at Jack’s has 14-foot high ceilings, lace curtains and a brass-railed spiraling staircase. Signature dishes include an appetizer called Petit Sale, consisting of cured pork belly with a foie gras ragout; Jeanty’s famous Coqauvin, with chicken, mushrooms, bacon and red wine; Kobe beef ribs and an exquisitely tender Cote de Porc pork chop. Service is executed to perfection with a wait staff that is experienced and attentive. Jeanty at Jack’s provides an ideal setting for first dates, anniversaries and other affairs of the heart.

Estimated cost per person for dinner: $50 - $60

Holiday Schedule: New Years Day-Closed, Valentines Day-Open, Easter-Open, Thanksgiving-Open, Christmas Eve-Open, Christmas Day-Closed, New Years Eve-Open

1 Ferry Building, #3
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 861-8032
Hours: (Mon-Sun) 11:00 am-2:30 pm Lunch; (Sun-Thurs) 5:30 pm- 10:00 pm Dinner; (Fri-Sat) 5:30 pm-10:30 pm Dinner
Located in the northeast corner of the famous restored Ferry Building, The Slanted Door has a stellar reputation for serving incredibly inventive food in an awe-inspiring setting. It’s a modern Vietnamese restaurant that features local produce and ecologically farmed meat, game and poultry raised at farms throughout the Bay Area. The food is the star of this gig, but the Riesling-driven wine list, the full bar with its unique selection of specialty drinks and fresh squeezed juices, and the hard-to-find Chinese teas, makes this gem a destination for food lovers from all over the world. The specialties of the house include Spring Rolls with peanut sauce; a Green Papaya Salad with rau ram; Shaking Beef stir-fired with garlic and organic onions and a wood-oven roasted whole fish with spicy ginger fish sauce. Every food experience should be just like this – unforgettable and wondrous.

Estimated cost per person for dinner: $55 - $65 (Prix Fixe Menu: $38 per person for lunch and $45 per person for dinner)

Holiday Schedule: New Years Day-Closed, Valentines Day-Open, Easter-Open, Thanksgiving-Closed, Christmas Eve-Closed, Christmas Day-Closed, New Years Eve-Closed

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Kid's Insurance For Just a Buck

A lot of people who have kids are getting them children insurance as soon as they’re born. It’s a great investment and a perfect way to get them the security they need. The rate is based on your child's current age and is guaranteed for the rest of their life. And because it is a whole life insurance policy, it builds cash value. By starting your child's policy today their coverage is guaranteed regardless of future changes in age, health or occupation. There is no medical exam, just a few Yes/No health questions, no waiting period and no agent. It is simple — one dollar pays for the introductory period for up to $20,000 coverage.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Old Rock Stars Never Die

A few years ago I met a homeless gentleman on the streets of San Jose, California named Leonard Carlton. Leonard was the singer and drummer for a band called Bad Inflection, a group that had one minor hit in 1965 called “Desert Howl.”

When I met the man, he was a complete wreak, the result of having done too much of every drug imaginable. Besides being a performer and a musician, Carlton produced a lot of records for various bands in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. I talked to him recently. Well, he talked and I listened. Here is an excerpt from that interview:

“Yes, it’s true – I’ve been through it all. You name it and I’ve been there. Tons of drugs, four failed marriages, enough booze to fill Lake Tahoe, several car crashes that almost killed me, more and more drugs. But, I’m a tough lad, and I’ll be just fine. When my music career came crashing to its unfortunate conclusion, I was strung out on heroin, vodka and naked twister.”

“Yes, I fell hard and it was a harsh awakening, believe me. One thing I’m happy about is that I’ve been able to help struggling young musicians over the years—blokes I came to know on the way up and then again on the way down.”

“Like KC and the Sunshine Band. I tried to tell those guys – hey, KC, the music is solid, but the lyrics, man—they just don’t cut it. I mean, “That’s the Way I Like It,” that song had like a grand total of 10 words in it. It was “That’s the Way I Like It, Uh-uh, Uh-uh.” I said, KC, you need more meaningful lyrics, man. Put some fricking words in that tune. Search a little. Delve a bit. Why is that the way you like it? What are the overall repercussions of liking it that way? The tune leaves a lot of questions unanswered, you know? It’s frustrating more than anything, really. Of course, the song went number one, with just those few words. I thought “Put the Lime in the Cocoanut” was going to be a big hit, so what do I know?”

“Here’s an interesting fact for you. The group, my group -- Bad Inflection was misnamed, a lot of blokes aren’t aware of that little tidbit of nostalgic trivia. The group’s name, the name we selected as a band, was supposed to be Bad Infection, but our publicist at the time was doing a lot of Secenol, that was the drug of choice back then, and he accidentally gave us the moniker of Bad Inflection, which was a bloody stupid name and suggested that we didn’t have it together, like we had problems speaking or something. Which was true, of course, I mean, we never annunciated; nobody ever understood any of the words to our songs. Hell, we didn’t even know them ourselves the majority of the time. It was a completely absurd situation. For years, we were stuck with that silly name.”

“I mean, the Who, if you’re trying to be grammatically correct, should really be the Whom, shouldn’t it? Bands change their names. It happens. Yes was once Maybe. Then they changed to Probably, then they were Most Likely, but that made them sound like a bloody bunch of poufs, so they went back to being Yes.”

“If folks are talking about me today in the context of “Where Are They Now?” all I’ve got to say is -- I’d rather be famous for one minute than spend my whole life being known to only my neighbor and the dry cleaners.”

“Where am I now? I’m right here. On the streets of San Jose, California. And lovin’ every minute of it, thank you very much. Thriving and surviving. Like someone said, it’s better to burn out than fade away. And boy, brother, did I ever burn out. But I never, ever faded away. That’s on record, man. Look it up.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Poker Pro Phil Hellmuth: Winner or Whiner?

Poker pro Phil Hellmuth has once again proven that he's truly the undisputed king of the poker table after winning the World Series of Poker’s Event #15 and his 11th WSOP golden bracelet.

Hellmuth is now the sole owner of the most WSOP bracelets won by a single player, moving ahead of poker legends Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson, who have both won ten bracelets each.

Playing nearly perfect poker from start to finish, Hellmuth was never out of contention and finished off an experienced final table with a focused, error-free quest for the win and the record. In addition to the elusive gold hardware Phil received $637,254 in cash. Andy Philacheck finished second, winning $369,594.

Congratulations to Phil Hellmuth for a great WSOP record-setting win. He also holds the record for most WSOP cashes at 60.

Phil Hellmuth was born in 1964 in Madison, Wisconsin, and has won 11 World Series of Poker bracelets, more than any other player, including a main event win in 1989.

Hellmuth has been at over 20 final tables at the World Series of Poker and has won over 4 million dollars there. At age 24, He was the youngest player to ever win the championship no-limit event at the WSOP.

When not at the tables, Hellmuth lives in Palo Alto, California with his wife, who is a psychologist, and his two sons. In 2006, he was chosen to replace Phil Gordon as the new co-host of Celebrity Poker Showdown.

At the 2002 World Series, after getting knocked out by Robert Varkonyi, Hellmuth swore Varkonyi could shave his head if he won. Varkonyi did indeed win, and Hellmuth did indeed his opponent to shave his head.

"I said the other day that I'd pay a million dollars to win another bracelet, but (I) had to win it. I didn't know if I'd get there because I came close three times this trip. I'm just so, so happy."

If you’re not familiar with Phil Hellmuth, he’s known throughout the professional poker world as a brat, a whiner, a gloater, a blowhard and a poor sport. Many people call him the John McEnroe of poker. That’s an insult to McEnroe, in my opinion.

Hellmuth is a sore loser and a worse winner. Every time he loses a hand, he calls his opponent lucky and questions their poker skills. He is arrogant and acts like he invented the game. The man has made a fortune producing how-to poker DVD’s and through his web site. He’s the guy poker fans love to hate.

And now, he’s the best in the history of the game. There is no one else out there who has achieved what Phil Hellmuth has in professional poker. But, he’s also one of the most despised men in the sport.

What can I say, results talk and everything else can walk. The man is the best and there’s no denying it. I just wish Chan or Brunson had set the record, because they display a lot more class and are probably better spokesmen for the game.

It just proves that Leo Durocher was correct when he said that “nice guys finish last.” Or in this case, they end up in second place.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's Time to Flip the House that LeBron Built

Tony Parker scored 30 points, Manu Ginobili had 25 and Tim Duncan added 23 as the Spurs showed the Cleveland Cavs how championship basketball is played for 3½ quarters, overpowering the young Cavaliers 103-92 in Game 2 on Sunday night to take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals.

San Antonio clearly illustrated just how superior they are in almost every way conceivable -- building a 29-point lead and then cruising in the fourth quarter -- when the Cavaliers stormed back within eight points before the Spurs finally put them away late in the game.

"That's why sometimes I don't like to have a 20-point lead," Parker said. "I'm not going to complain. I'll take it." The Spurs, playing team offense and stepping up on defense, were up by 28 in the first half and were embarrassing the Cavaliers, who are in their first finals but didn't show up until it was too late.

"I think they just took their foot off the gas pedal," Cavs center Zydrunas Ilgauskas said.

The Spurs' Big 3 of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili combined for 43 points -- 10 more than the Cavs -- in the first half. From that point on, it was academic. Those in the know are now predicting a sweep.

One sign in San Antonio said, “Bring out LeBroom!”

The bottom line is that the Cavaliers are not yet a championship caliber team. They have LeBron James, arguable the best player in the NBA, but the rest of their squad consists of players who are washed-up, slightly injured, completely inexperienced or just plain mediocre.
Drew Gooden is a promising player and will continue to improve for the Cavs. Larry Hughes (who didn’t make one field goal last night) has a foot injury, but even when he’s healthy he’s no solution. After that, it’s a cast of pretenders and wannabes who are either several years away or past their prime. Some of these guys never even had a prime, at least not in the NBA.

Until the powers-that-be get a supporting cast for LeBron, this team will never get closer to an NBA championship than they are right now. The good news is that King James is the best building block any team can have. He’s the foundation, but right now the rest of the House That LeBron built is falling apart.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Will Tony Get Whacked Tonight?

With the final episode of The Sopranos airing tonight, viewers all over the world are speculating how the carnage, confusion and betrayal will come to an end. Arguably the most popular cable series ever, The Sopranos never completely jumped the shark, although it dig bog down for short periods of time during the third and fourth seasons, in my opinion. But, if this evening’s episode is a good one, and packs any kind of wallop, all will be forgiven. If it isn’t, bodies could start showing up – most likely those belonging to HBO executives.

Creator David Chase has continually frustrated many fans by not feeding them the formulaic television that they’ve grown accustomed to. Plot lines are left hanging, characters come and go inexplicably and things aren’t always clearly explained. But, that’s the way life is. We’ve grown to expect neatly packaged story lines where issues get resolved. Where good guys triumph and bad guys get their due. But, that’s not reality and David Chase refuses to give in to network pressure. HBO has given him final cut from the beginning and he’s done it his way from day one.

Some people who have watched the series from the start -- back when Tony was skinny -- might be frustrated by all of the questions that have been left unanswered. For instance, is Andriana really dead? We never actually saw the body. What happened to the Russian in the woods? And isn’t there money hidden somewhere in the original Soprano home; the one Tony grew up in?

The burning question right now is how the series will finally end. Who will get whacked? Is there another rat in our midst? Has anyone been cooperating with the FBI that we don’t know about? Will there be any surprises or plot twists? Or will Chase do exactly what he’s done in the past, and give us some silly dream sequence episode that tells us nothing? Will Chase go completely off his rocker and make the finale a musical? (That would be awesome!)

I looked online earlier and I have never seen so many people speculating about how the final show will end. There must be 500 so-called “spoilers” out there. There are some hints from earlier trailers that Phil Leotardo gets whacked, but that might just be an attempt to misdirect viewers. One guy claims that he was on the set when they filmed the last episode and goes into great detail about what happens. He says that the Soprano house gets blown up and that Meadow is the victim of a car bomb. One couple came up with an interesting scenario where Tony turns on the family and becomes an FBI informant. Supposedly, by the end of the episode, he’s living a legitimate life under the name of Kevin Finnerty, the same moniker he dreamt about when he was in a coma after getting shot by his uncle earlier this season. Still other speculate that Paulie Walnuts is either a rat or a double agent.

My personal opinion is that Tony Soprano gets whacked. James Gandolfini doesn’t want to come back and do this show again. He’s been quoted as saying that he wants to make movies and spend some time relaxing. To give the series some closure and make sure that no one attempts to do a Sopranos reunion show in a few years, Tony will have to go.

It will work out well for several reasons. A lot of folks didn’t like the way Tony killed Christopher and he hasn’t been making a lot of friends for the past two seasons with his impulsive and selfish behavior. Not whacking Phil Leotardo earlier was a sign of weakness. Every tragic hero has a flaw and Tony Soprano has several, so it’s going to be adios Antonio tonight. At least that’s my theory. And until someone sends me a fish wrapped in newspaper, I’m going to write what I think!

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Will Someone Please Help Me?

My delightful fiancee Angelina loves to re-arrange everything. Every single piece of furniture has migrated in and out of each room in this spacious three-story house. Couches, tables, every single chair, cabinet, desk and bed -- nothing is safe. Now I know how the people who worked for Sarah Winchester felt. I'm living in a modern day version of the Winchester Mystery House. Help!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

No More Sexy Time for State's Cats & Dogs?

On Wednesday night, the state Assembly passed a bill requiring Californians, with a few exceptions, to have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered – or pay a $500 fine. As the bill moves on to the state Senate, people with pets have plenty to say about the pros and cons of spaying their pets.
The bill, proposed by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys (Los Angeles County), would allow some breeders and owners of guide dogs and purebreds to get an exemption by paying a fee.
The bill poses serious problems for public safety and disaster preparedness, said Mark Herrick, a search-and-rescue dog handler with the California Rescue Dog Association and the Alameda County Sheriff's Search and Rescue K9 Unit. He noted that 95 percent of search dogs come from home and hobby breeders who won't be able to get an exemption.
“I think it is a bad move,” said Irma Barth, a 66-year-old bag lady in San Francisco’s Mission District who has two Chihuahuas. “My dogs should be able to get freaky with other mutts and enjoy the same kind of sexual freedom that I experience. My little one Mackie likes to hump cats. Why should that pleasure be taken from him? It’s not fair.”
Many people think that the bill will make it almost impossible to find good-quality, genetically sound working dogs. "If we don't have good dogs who can work eight to 10 hours a day to go through the rubble, how many lives will be lost?” Herrick said. “Only the puppy mills will be breeding dogs -- and they breed really inferior dogs."
He also added that canines that have been neutered lose interest in life and end up lying around the house; overeating and reading Dog Fancy magazine or watching reruns of The Dog Whisperer on cable. "If they're neutered, they just don't have the same zip and drive," he said. (I would say that’s probably true for everybody – human or beast.)
What will happen if this bill passes? Will we have more control over our pets and limit the numbers that end up at the Human Society? Or will we end up with a bunch of sexually frustrated, angry animals? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Working Hard: It Sucks, Doesn't It?

I haven't had a chance to post these last couple of days because I've been on the road working. My parents always told me that there is no substitute for hard work, but there is -- it's called leisure! Every time I get tired or stressed out, I tell myself that it's not that bad. I could be a coal miner, a crab fisherman or even worse -- a Muni driver in San Francisco. That helps me keep my sanity and gets me through the day!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Forge a Great Vacation at Pigeon Forge

There’s a great place called Pigeon Forge in Tennessee that is a beautiful vacation spot. If you can’t afford to go to the more expensive vacations destinations – like Vegas, California, Florida, Chicago, Hawaii or New York – why not consider the beauty and serenity of a place like Pigeon Forge. Pigeon Forge vacation rentals are a cost-effective alternative and will still provide you and your family with an unforgettable experience! These log cabin rentals have Jacuzzis, pool tables, huge decks from which you can view Mt. Le Conte, the highest peak in the Smoky Mountains, fireplaces, big comfortable rooms and more. When you’re considering the vacation possibilities for this summer, consider Pigeon Forge!

Bugliosi Says Oswald Acted Alone in New Book

I saw Vincent Bugliosi speak at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco this week. He was in town to talk about his new book that claims Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. For the last eight years, Bugliosi has worked on the book, entitled “Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.”

In his book, Bugliosi laughs at all of the conspiracy theories associated with the JFK assassination. "Pure moonshine," he calls them.

Mr. Bugliosi, 72, the former Los Angeles County deputy district attorney who won a conviction of Charles Manson in 1970 and then wrote the best seller “Helter Skelter,” says he's written the definitive account of Dallas' darkest day. Over the span of more than 1,600 pages, he works with a prosecutor's skill to disassemble every conceivable theory and has allegedly proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Lee Harvey Oswald alone killed the president.

But many of us, including myself, aren’t convinced. The most recent Gallup Poll, taken in 2003 on the 40th anniversary of the president's death, found that 75 percent of Americans believe in a conspiracy. Only 19 percent believe the Warren Commission, which, in my opinion, was a kangaroo court of the highest magnitude. Is the public completely deluded or is there something to this conspiracy thing?

Mr. Bugliosi says his book "settles all questions about the assassination once and for all."
"No reasonable, rational person – and let's italicize those words – can possibly read this book and not be satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that Oswald killed Kennedy and acted alone,” Bugliosi writes. “So, the vast majority of reasonable conspiracy theorists are going to be swayed by this book. But those on the jagged margins of the conspiracy community are allergic to the truth, and they will not agree with this book."

I think Bugliosi must not be thinking clearly. For him to completely discount all of the conspiracy theories just isn’t logical. There is more proof now than ever before that someone fired shots from the grassy knoll; that Oswald was a patsy; that Ruby had mob connections; that the autopsy was tampered with and that more than one type of bullet was fired at JFK.
Bugliosi reminds me of someone who gets rolling in one direction and works so hard to come up with a particular conclusion that he becomes blind to all of the other credible evidence that exists.

As forensics become more sophisticated and people delve even more deeply into this mystery, I truly believe that we’ll eventually know who killed John F. Kennedy on that tragic day in Dallas. And we’ll be able to use Bugliosi’s book for something useful – like a big paperweight or a door jam.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Kissimme is a Great Vacation Spot for the Whole Family

Kissimmee in Florida is a totally excellent place to take a vacation. There isn’t anything actually like a Kissimmee vacation, believe me. Travelers in enormous numbers have sought out Kissimmee since its earliest days as a center for agriculture and cattle ranching, and today the region’s popularity as a destination at the center of immense leisure, business and sporting pursuits is unmatched. If you’re looking for the complete package – somewhere where families, single people, male, female, young and old can really have an unforgettable experience, no other place has it all like Kissimmee, Florida.

He Wrote "Bang the Drum Slowly"

Mark Harris passed away recently. He was a great writer and a good friend. I met him through my membership with The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). His most famous book was “Bang the Drum Slowly,” which was later made into a wonderful film starring Robert De Niro. Here is his obit. The man will be greatly missed.

Mark Harris, author of the acclaimed baseball novel "Bang the Drum Slowly," which he adapted for the 1973 movie starring Michael Moriarty and Robert De Niro, has died. He was 84.Harris, a retired Arizona State University professor of English who lived in Goleta, Calif., died of complications related to Alzheimer's disease Wednesday at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, said his son, Henry Harris.The author of 13 novels and five nonfiction books, Harris was best known for his four baseball novels narrated by Henry Wiggen, the ace left-handed pitcher for the fictional New York Mammoths: "The Southpaw" (1953), "Bang the Drum Slowly" (1956), "A Ticket for a Seamstitch" (1957) and "It Looked Like For Ever" (1979)."Bang the Drum Slowly," named one of the top 100 sports books of all time by Sports Illustrated, was the most popular of the four.The tragicomic tale of Wiggen and catcher Bruce Pearson, who is dying of Hodgkin's disease, "Bang the Drum Slowly" was adapted for a live 1956 segment of "The U.S. Steel Hour," starring Paul Newman as Wiggen and Albert Salmi as Pearson. In the movie version, Moriarty played Wiggen and De Niro played Pearson. The novel also was adapted as a stage play."Bang the Drum Slowly" has been praised for succeeding on two levels."Henry's deadpan vernacular account of life in the dugout is refreshing, lively, and often uproariously funny," a critic for the New York Herald Tribune Book Review wrote. At the same time, "his reactions to his doomed friend are poignant and profoundly touching."Cordelia Candelaria, the author of "Seeking the Perfect Game: Baseball in American Literature," has rated Harris' "The Southpaw" and "Bang the Drum Slowly" among the top five baseball novels ever written.Candelaria, who taught creative writing at Arizona State University at Tempe, said that Harris' contribution to American literature was not limited to his baseball writing, though his greatest influence, she said, was through the character of Wiggen."He's every bit as permanent and important as Huckleberry Finn, as Ishmael and Ahab in 'Moby Dick,' and as Nick Adams in Hemingway's short stories," Candelaria said. "Henry Wiggen struggles with his individuality, his place in society and the moral dilemmas he faces. All of those struggles are as much about him as an American character as they are about baseball."Harris, who played baseball as a boy and often wrote nonfiction pieces about baseball, was known for writing realistically about the sport in his novels."I can't stand fantasy, especially in baseball," he told The Times in 1994."It has to be real for me. I think people make fantasy of it who don't know how it works realistically. That is a demand I made when I was a kid — that baseball has to be done right.""Diamond," a collection of Harris' baseball essays written between 1946 and 1993, was published in 1994.Although his father was "most widely recognized for his baseball literature," Henry Harris said Thursday, "there are other novels in his canon that he felt were equally validating of what was important to him: He was a lifelong pacifist and proponent of racial justice."Harris' first novel, "Trumpet to the World," about a young black man who marries a well-to-do white girl, was published in 1946.Added Henry Harris: "I think he expressed his pacifism in a uniquely dark way through a novel called 'Killing Everybody' in 1973, which was about the suffering of parents who had lost a child in a war."Born Mark Harris Finkelstein in Mount Vernon, N.Y. on Nov. 19, 1922, Harris legally changed his name in the 1940s when, his son said, "he was advised that his career as a writer would take better root if he did not go by a Jewish name." After serving in the Army during World War II, Harris worked as a newspaper and wire service reporter and as a writer for Negro Digest and Ebony magazines. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Denver in 1950, followed by a master's in English a year later. He received his doctoral degree in American Studies from the University of Minnesota in 1956.He taught in the English departments at the University of Minnesota, San Francisco State University, Purdue University, California Institute of the Arts, USC and the University of Pittsburgh, among others.Among his nonfiction books are "City of Discontent: An Interpretive Biography of Vachel Lindsay," "Mark the Glove Boy, or The Last Days of Richard Nixon," and "Saul Bellow: Drumlin Woodchuck."Harris was a professor of English at Arizona State University at Tempe, where he also taught creative writing, from 1980 to 2001.In addition to his son Henry, Harris is survived by his wife of 61 years, Josephine Horen; his daughter, Hester Harris; another son, Anthony; a sister, Martha Harris; and three grandchildren.

Friday, June 01, 2007 Wine, Dine & Find It Online!

I am proud to announce that writing restaurant reviews for my blog during the past year (48 total) has finally paid off. I recently landed a great gig doing reviews for an exciting Web site called This is the ultimate site for foodies and people who like to eat out. Their tagline is “Wine, Dine and Find It Online.” I have never seen such a comprehensive listing of restaurants in my life. Name a city in the United States and has numerous restaurants with reviews from that city on their site. Not only that, but they also have a wide range of additional features, like where to find catering companies; an online bartender that will tell you how to make any cocktail you could possibly think of; wine reviews; and a wonderful set of food and beverage glossaries, defining terms on sushi, coffee, cooking, beer, tea, wine, spirits and cigars. As I write more for, I’ll keep you updated about this great site. I’m really excited to be working with them! If there’s one thing I like more than writing it’s food!