Friday, June 29, 2007

Ray Allen Allan Ray

(Yeah, yeah, I know. This post was supposed to be about saving Darfur. What can I say. pick up a newspaper and read some alternative news websites. This is clearly more of a sports etc blog than it is a social justice blog. Oh well. I suck.)

I'm excited about the fact that the Celtics now have a backcourt consisting of a guy named Ray Allen and a guy named Allan Ray. That's pretty cool. Has that ever happened before? AR won't play much, but still. I like the trade, assuming (and this is a big assumption) that RA can come back from off-season double ankle surgery and be an effective 2 guard. We didn't get Oden, Durant, KG, O'Neal, Marion, or Amare, but we also didn't give up Big Al, Gerald Green, and Theo's expiring contract and we didn't gamble on young question mark that would take a few years to develop and would piss off our marquee player in his prime leading to him sulking and demanding a trade. Could have been worse and they can still pick up another decent player with their trade bait. Pierce/Allen/Jefferson is a pretty good scoring combo with Rondo feeding them all the ball. 6th or 7th seed in the East?

(And to the VTK reader who just subcontracted me for the summer to do some graphic design work, don't worry - my photoshop skills are better than that.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

AMFC and the Blogging Wall

Air to the Mu'Fuckin' Conditioning. It's gettin' hot in here, up in my 3rd floor perch in Central Square. Like 97 degrees hot. After suffering through another hot night, faced with the prospect of baking here all day with my toasty little laptop underneath my hands, I broke down and busted out the AC. Joy. Sweet delicious coolness. I'm enjoying it while I can because I'd say the odds on Area 4 getting a blackout this evening have to be at about 2 to 3. Fuck you, NStar, fuck you.

That's all there is to say about AC in my post about AC, which brings me to part II of this post: I think I'm hitting a blogging wall. There are plenty of things I can bitch about in the sports world, but the VTK is not strictly about sports and some of my readership gets a little testy when I get too sporty. I haven't had any good crackpot theories or epic stories of drunken debauchery lately. I pass funny little clips along when I find them and think they're VTKworthy, but a couple of my sources have dried up in that department (and one now has his own blog for his web finds) and I don't seem to have as much time to surf for pointlessness/creepiness as you would think a self-employed artist who gets up between 8:30 and 10:30 in the AM would have. I could post some art, but the website's right there to your right and I don't want to post too much on the BCSDDB (on page 134, btw). I saw an interesting sketchblog yesterday. Maybe I'll do some of that. One of the original ideas of this blog was to have a place to put stuff that I didn't necessarily want on the site. I was thinking about political cartooning back then and I did a couple but lost interest. Which is also why there haven't been too many posts of a political nature - I've been generally uninterested in politics recently. I was going to whip one up on and FidelityOutofSudan about my former employer, but ... but what. why wouldn't I post about that? because I'm a privileged apathetic white american? I don't know why. But there are the links. Check them out and make your voice heard like I did. I guess I felt that in order to post, I would have to research more than I have and give an exhaustively succinct synopsis of the issues and apparently I'm a lazy privileged apathetic white american. Clearly now I'm going to have to do that since I've written it out loud and have chastised myself publicly. And clearly I can add asshole to that list of words describing myself since I'm whining about doing that. And now I'm going to have to erase all this out of embarrassment. But you haven't written a post about Darfur on your blog either, so I don't feel that bad.

anyway, point being: what to blog, what to blog...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cisco - Live Blogging

My roommate Sean brought me home a bottle of Cisco yesterday and I decided that it was a product and an experience worthy of live blogging. This afternoon, we maowed major ribbage at the Phantom Gourmet's ribfest at Gov't Center, along with a few beers, as documented on Sean's new blog, The Practical Slacker. That sent me into a major pork/beer coma for a couple hours but now I'm back and raring (sp? etymology?) to go, so what better way to kick off Friday night:

8:25 - I've taken the before photo and twisted off the cap - yoinks! What a smell. Strawberry. Not surprisingly, the smell reminds me of Welch's strawberry soda, a bottle of which I used to buy from the Mini Mart down the street from my house, along with a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, which was fairly new at the time. My diet consisted largely of these two items and twizzlers in 1988.

8:31 - blogging, loading picture, letting Cisco breathe - this is important. Ok, here goes...

8:32 - hmmm. interesting taste. I can't tell if it's delicious or disgusting. It's either one or the other. I'm quite sure it's nothing in between.

8:37 - loading second picture, drinking second 1/2 glass, laughing at the "THIS IS NOT A WINE COOLER" disclaimer on the bottle.

8:40 - chillin', reminiscing about high school haircut with the three stripes shaved above the ears, connecting in the back. If the mullet was "business in front, party in the back", that haircut was "business on top, party down below".

8:46 - notice how the second photo of my pouring the first drink is referencing the live blogging in the background? Now loading another deliciously clever self-referential photo. Also, Sean just took a photo of me loading that photo and is planning on live blogging my live blogging. it's getting ridiculous in here! and I'm getting a little strawberry sweet buzz!

8:53 - all this blogging is distracting me from the goal at hand - gittin' ripped on Cisco. That said, I did just feel like there was a bug on my hand and there wasn't. The 'co is cracking me out! Still debating delicious or disgusting.

8:55 - working on my 3rd glass - totally wasted.

8:59 - yeaaaaaaaah...

9:01 - I just drunk dialed my mom. I love her. I really do.

9:05 - When Cisco first hit the market in Pittsfield, I was about 15 and still a bit green around the gills when it came to fine hooch appreciation. I hadn't quite tapped the 12 year old whiskey market yet. Mostly we drank anything we could get. I once mixed some vodka and red wine - two of my father's faves - together in a tupperware container and drank it with a couple friends on top of the parking garage on North Street. but wine coolers, Southern Comfort, and MGD's were not uncommon either. So at some point, in those high school years - 89 or 90 probably - Cisco rolled into town. There were rumors. There were stories. A stomach or two may have been pumped. A car accident and a brawl may have broken out. But I hadn't run across any myself. Then one morning, my high school principal was doing the morning announcements when he broke out with something along these lines:

"Now I want to talk to you about something very serious... There is a new alcohol on the market, called 'Cisco'. It is a very sweet drink that tastes like candy, like a wine cooler, but is very very strong, like a liquor. This is not a wine cooler. This is a very strong drink that doesn't have the bad taste of most strong liquors. Therefore people are getting more drunk than they think they are. This is a dangerous drink. We don't condone any underage drinking, but I'm particularly warning you to stay away from this drink."

9:14 - Madison Avenue couldn't have dreamed up a better marketing strategy. Is that crazy or what? I can't remember if we got some at lunch or waited until after school.

9:20 - Sean has a contact buzz in the next room. He just refreshed his own blog to see if he had added anything new. For my part, I have my mouse on my knee and I just tried to move it across the screen by moving my leg. no, dan, no. doesn't work like that. Sadly, the bottle is only 375 ml and I'm reaching the end, which means the end of this live blog (unless I continue pounding beers, go to The Field, and come back and try to continue this live blog). I fucking love you guys!! Peace out!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The New Dicky Dirt

Oi mates! Check out the new Dicky Dirt! Not a bad look for the Franz Klammers. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you're a merchant banker and you're clearly not familiar with cockney rhyming slang. But what do I know. I'm just a septic.

In my last post on West Ham United, I said that I hoped Tevez would remain with the club, so that I didn't just consign myself to a lifetime of supporting a random team on the basis of four months of play by one player - most of which I didn't get a chance to actually see outside of youtube clips. Well, he's not going to remain with the club. I'd say there's a 95% chance that he's gone. But I'm holding out hope. And just now on the World Soccer Daily podcast, I heard a rumor of the Hammers making an effort to pick up the transcendent Juan Roman Riquelme. Villareal are officially done with Riquelme (though they still have him under contract), because of his problems with the coach and the rest of the team. He was sent on loan to my other favorite futbol team, Boca Juniors (Riquelme was on the Boca team that I saw play in Buenos Aires back in 2001), where he excelled and led them to their 6th Copa Libertadores championship yesterday, by scoring 3 of the 5 goals in the tie against Gremio. After his great performance this year, it's doubtful that Boca will be able to afford him again next year. Villareal will be entertaining much higher transfer fees from major clubs in Europe. Could West Ham afford him and would he want to go there? They could probably afford him since they've reportedly been given tons of money by ownership to spend on transfers and they struck out to the tune of 17 million pounds on Darren Bent while they were going after other players at the same time. I think if they really wanted to pay the money for a Tevez or Riquelme, they could afford one of them. Would either of them want to play for West Ham? I don't know. Probably not. Tevez has been rumored to be going to Inter, Madrid, Man U, and others. Riquelme's also been rumored to be going to Napoli or Juventus. Seems like the Argentines love the Serie A. Inter's got 4 players that play on the Argentine national team! But I've still got my fingers crossed for the Hammers. Check out this compilation of Riquelme's absolutely brilliant midfield work at Boca over the years:

You have to love youtube. 10 minutes of Boca Jr highlights right there. Bueno.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Well Done, Massachusetts

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate my state of Massachusetts and award them/us the Miss Gay Boston First Runner Up 1981 - 82 trophy that crowns the detergent rack downstairs in my apartment building's laundry room. As reported in the Globe, the Phoenix, and the bostonist, a joint session of the MA state legislature voted 151 to 45 to defeat a proposed constitutional ban on same sex marriage, preventing it from getting on the 2008 ballot. The next possible opportunity for people who like to walk around with "God Hates Fags" signs to get a constitutional ban question on the ballot would be 2012 and I don't think there's any realistic chance of that happening. With each passing year that the sky doesn't fall, people will become less and less interested in preventing people who love eachother from marrying eachother. And hopefully the rest of the nation and world will eventually follow suit. Could happen. Until then, I'm proud to live in such a tolerant and brave state. Even if that means tolerating Red Sox fans. Kudos MA. And kudos again.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


First of all, on an unrelated topic (though Jersey is Yankee territory), the Sopranos Finale: WTF. Seriously, WTF. I'm trying to think of something else to write, but ... eh! WTF. The spoiler alert is on for anyone who ventures into the comments section.

And now on to Yankees.6.7:

Good times, my friends! The SOtY is much better than it was last Y.X.X post. I'm not saying we're out of trouble yet, but I'm liking the direction we're headed in. The Bombers have won 9 out of the last 11. 6 in a row. A week and 1/2 ago we were 14.5 out of first place. Now it's 9.5. And only about 5 out of the wild card race. There are 20 game until the All Star break and I think we can get that down to 7 and 3. And I like our chances with that and a half a season to go.

So, what to say ... oh yeah, the Rocket. Saturday brought the return of Roger Clemens to the New York Yankees and a glorious return it was. It wasn't quite a lucky 9 and 2/3 inning no hitter, but it was a great start. The owner of World Series rings from 1999 and 2000 chucked 108 pitches in his first start at the age of 44. He did give up 3 runs, but it was only on 5 hits and 1 walk. And the former fireballer who supposedly now doesn't rely on strikeouts notched 7 K's, putting him back ahead of the biggest 6'10" douchebag in the game (though the white trash beanpole may have passed him striking out Red Sox today (conspiracy theory)). But Roger's not the whole team (though I like the fact that he has captivated the team). Here's my breakdown on the team:


1. Wang - inconsistent at first, but better recently. The Ace. And I'm good with that.
2. Pettitte - He's been great. 3.11 era. I'll take that all year long.
3. Clemens - tbd.
4. Mussina - shaky. very. His fastball is dipping down to 85 (tops), which is making the rest of his stuff ineffective. You can solve all the NYTimes crosswords you want, but that's not going to get your arm where it needs to be.
5. Clippard - like him, don't like him, like him, don't like him, etc. is this the next Sam Militello? OK, maybe that's not a fair comparison, but c'mon.

wild card - Hughes - tbd.

relief staff:

Mo - Better. Way better. I'll take Mo any day. And you would too.
Farnsworth - Not impressed and I wish Joe wasn't so obsessed with him.
Proctor - I like his stuff and wish Joe would leave his starters in longer.
Bruney - The best middle reliever in the pen.
Vizcaino - crap.
Villone - Let's go U Mass, clap clap clap clap clap!
Meyers - Get your one out, Mike.
Henn - Britton should be here instead of you.
Britton - Should be here instead of Henn.

1 (dh) Damon - He's been hitting better recently and the old man and his chicken arm could use some time out of the center. Thank God Giambi's laming out. I like Giambi, but the occasional HR is not surpassing his other shortcomings.
2 Posada - What can you say about the Other Captain? The man is one of the best game callers in baseball and he's batting .358, which, for my non-sports-fan readers, is really goddamn good. He's the MVP of the team so far. A great leader.
3 I'm going with Miguel Cairo here, because the Yankee vet and quintessential utility infielder has been brilliant in the last 4 games, since D-Mink got injured. I'm calling for the unconditional release of Minky and Phelps and the establishment of Cairo as their permanent first baseman.
4 Robinson Cano, who was named after Jackie R and wears 24 because it's the inverse of the famed 42 (and btw, MLB mandated that every team retire 42 with the stipulation that if a player was already wearing that #, they could wear it until they retired, and there is only one player left in the league wearing 42. who? Mo.). Mattingly is in love with his swing, thinking he's the next Rod Carew. He had a rough start but I think he's coming around.
5 Alex Rodriguez - he's pretty good. 24 HR and 63 RBI through 61 games.
6 Derek Sanderson Jeter - The Captain. .338. Always. The hitter.
7 Hideki Matsui - He's back.
8 Melky Cabrera - He's back. and is great in center.
9 Bobby Abreu - He's back. Actually, he's wicked back. wicked wicked.

let's go Yankees, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.

Friday, June 08, 2007

From Vietnam to Paris

Could this possibly be true? I can't believe this is true, I really can't, but blogalistic integrity be damned - I'm passing it along. In a moment of mind blowing, historical, pop cultural surreality, it appears that the guy who took the soon to be famous pictures of Paris Hilton being sent back to jail (after her bullshit early release on grounds of mental fragility and potential impending nervous breakdown) in tears, is the same man who took the iconic photo of the girl in Vietnam - Nick Ut. I mean, this couldn't be true, could it? Sourced from who got it from who got it from, as in The Atlantic Magazine. Gawker and Jezebel, eh? But the Atlantic? That's kind of a legit source, no? How about the Associated Press? "AP photo/Nick Ut"

As I've said before, I shy away from posting about the celebutante phenomenon here on VTK, not wanting to propagate it, but hey, it exists. It's hold on the culture of the world's dominant empire is undeniable. I'm not even ready to explore the metaphorical ramifications of this. I'm just going to let it settle in for a bit.

update from Gawker: "For those interested in coincidences, the pictures were taken one day shy of 35 years apart."

Monday, June 04, 2007

Man vs Beast

Here are the other competitions from the Man vs Beast reality show (Kobayashi vs the bear is in the last post).

Sumo wrestler in a tug of war with an orangutan:

Olympic sprinter racing a giraffe and a zebra:

And of course, 30 little people against an elephant in a race to pull a jet across the finish line:

Hot Dog Ho Down 07

The Hot Dog Bar has been risen (mmmmmmm, Hot Dog Bar...). For 6 years, the International Federation of Competitive Eating's marquee event, the Fourth of July Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition, has been anything but competitive. Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi has been a man among boys and girls when it comes to scarfing down franks. He turned the sport of hot dog eating on its head when he shoved 50 dogs in his mouth in 12 minutes, doubling the consumption of eaters 3 times his size. For the next couple years, no one got close to touching him in IFOCE events like the Nathan's event or the reality tv show, The Gluttony Bowl. In fact, the only time he has ever lost was on the reality show Man vs Beast, in which he was bested by a 1000 pound kodiak bear (see video below). It now appears that he has some serious competition in human form. Joey Chestnutt, who made a legitimate run at the coveted mustard belt last year, has just broken Kobayashi's 12 minute hot dog record by chowing 59 in this year's qualifying round. That's a full 5 hot dogs (with buns of course) over the previous record. It is officially on. I'll be hosting the second annual Hot Dog Ho Down here at the complex on July 4th, so please feel free to come on over early afternoon (exact time tbd), for some casual frankfurter grazing or some ravenous face stuffing - your choice. As was the case last year, I'll have 5 different types of hot dogs, including two vegetarian options and plenty of mustard.

Friday, June 01, 2007

First of the Month

In honor of the first of the month, The Legend of the Rent:


I'm trying to process what I just saw from LeBron without slipping into Simmonsonian hyperbole. Certainly one of the greatest individual playoff performances I've ever seen, in any sport. And that's me trying not to slip into hyperbole.

48 points, 54 FG%, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. That's pretty good, but "jordanesque"?

How about, he scored the last 25 points of his team's points in the game - 29 out of the last 30 - to win a double overtime conference final game 5 on the road with the series tied at 2. what?

29 pts, 11 of 14 from the field, from the 4th quarter on. 2 lane driving dunks to end regulation? fall away threes? All that said, he's still able to drive the lane for a game winning layup? huh?

How the hell does something like this happen in a conference finals? He got the ball every single play. There was one stretch of 3 possessions where 2 other lame-o Cavs tried to take shots but no one other than LeBron had taken a shot in so long that they had gone cold so they missed. The Cavs then had the common sense to realize that they had gone too far down the LeBron path to do anything else so they went back to him and he hit like 5 more shots. In double OT. I don't think I've seen anything like it in the NBA since Jordan went for 63 against the Celtics in 86, losing 132 - 131 [a game which I watched in the guest room of my grandparents' house in Detroit during my grandfather's irish wake - how's that for 2 memorable experiences coinciding]. Now, yes Jordan's team lost and LeBron's won, and it was obviously a higher scoring game in those days, but I'd still have to say, in the spirit of non-hyperbole that the Jordan game was the better performance. He did that against one of the 2 or 3 best teams of all time; this Pistons team looked pretty pathetic trying to defend LeBron. Maybe that's to his credit, maybe that's to their (and coach Flip Sauders') discredit. In the post game interviews, they were talking about how they double teamed him, but it didn't really seem that way to me. He seemed to be going one on one against Prince, Billups, or Rip, and then he'd either hit a fall away outside shot, or he'd drive right down the lane and someone would collapse on him totally ineffectively. That's not double teaming. I literally gasped with his second to last dunk in regular time when he was isolated against Maxiell or Maxwell or a 55 year old Cedric Cornbread Maxwell or whatever his name was at the top of the key, crossed him over, blew by him, and dunked to take the lead with a minute left. How the hell does that happen? Then he dunks again, driving past a legit defender in Prince, and could have gotten the and one. The Pistons can say all they want about he was on fire and you can't stop a guy like that, but here's a thought: triple team? No. Wait. How about legitimate double team? It was 1 against 5 out there and 4 of the guys weren't guarding the 1.

So, the Pistons suck, but that shouldn't take anything away from this performance. Best individual playoff clutch performance I've seen since Vince Young took over the Rose Bowl and willed his team to victory. I'm excited to see what happens when LeBron gets a better supporting cast than Eric Snow, Drew Gooden, Pavlovic, and Donyell Marshall. Check out this photo I found on Deadspin which shows the game winning and last of his 25 straight points (see any other Cavs?):