31 August 2005

Bags Escorts Lady Owls to Sox Game

Never the shrinking violet, Bags totally immersed himself in an unintentional ladies night, escorting Auntie, LP and I to a barn-burner of a Sox game. The evening started out ripe with potential disaster. Humid air hung over Fenway like a damp towel, threatening severe thunderstorms. Some questionable GI tract issues flared up after rapid consumption of buffalo wings and garden burgs at Boston Billiards. The Sox were down 5-0 in the second inning and we had an angry yeller sitting next to us who wouldn't shut up. Worse, we appeared to be sitting in the busiest (and chubbiest) row of the stadium. Patrons continually shuffled their largesse up and down the aisle, their butts inches from our faces. But just when you thought all was lost. The rain held off. Cocktails cleared up the GI issues. Trot Nixon and David Ortiz led the Sox to a dramatic 7-6 victory. A fantastic night all around. Thanks to the Funbags for the tickets and ride home. Maybe you can take us for pedicures next week!

(photo: This is the kind of crap photo that results when an angry yeller takes your picture)

(photo: "We will always go dancing," Bags assures the Owls.)

(photo: "How about a hot dog, Tiger?" LP asks her 12-year-old daughter)

Angry yeller's finger: The exact opposite of a gleeful foam one.

26 August 2005

Cream Shop Friday: Wine Doggy Bags

(photo: Bring your wine home in a "stay-fresh" pouch)

It's refreshing to see that our legislators have their priorities straight on the issues that count. A bill is making its way through the State House that would allow restaurants to doggy bag unfinished bottles of wine for their customers. I spent some time in the Cream Shop on this one because, as a tremendous wino, I can't believe the notion of taking home unfinished wine NEVER crossed my mind. I realized shortly thereafter that I never considered it because I've never left a bottle of vino unfinished. But now that I am a 'burbanite and can no longer fold myself into a cab, I may benefit greatly from this legislation as will many others who take the drink. Drunken driving could decrease statewide as pressure to finish an $85 bottle of wine is lifted. That is, as long as the driver doesn't raid the doggy bag and polish off the leftovers on the ride home.

25 August 2005


Two of the coolest white people and one smashing couple are making it official! Congratulations to our good friends, Tom and Dawnie. There's nothing better in the universe (pointy or otherwise) than seeing two people who belong together get it together.

22 August 2005

View from the Cul-de-Sac

(photo: The Today show's "surburban correspondent" would uncover controversial slices of suburbia like this nail-biter of a pinata bashing somewhere in middle America)

In its search for a surburban correspondent, the Today show is asking suburbanites to submit a videotape detailing the "dish" going down in their neighborhoods -- be it the poignancy of a lawn tractor or a couple of soccer moms kicking the crap out of each other. Since it's unlikely neighbors will willingly air their dirty laundry on national television to satisfy somone else's narcissistic aspirations, this endeavor is the equivalent of upskirting your cul-de-sac with a camera phone. The suburban dweller chosen as the Today show correspondent will likely be exiled from the community by an angry mob of neighbors wielding pitch forks and flaming bags of dog poo.

Personally, I'd enjoy a fly-on-the-wall peek into some of the quietly-twisted neighborhoods out there, ones like Lisa K's whose residents include a relentless trash picker and cat leasher, as well some aberrant casserole enthusiasts under age 30.

In my neighborhood, it's unlikely I'd find any clandestine key parties or dog brothels. We do have Lou and Nancy who go out EVERY SINGLE NIGHT but that's about it. I've come to the realization that if someone in our neighborhood tries out for this Today show gig, my family will be central casting. Our neighbors who live a few doors down passed our house in their green SUV three times today, growing more perplexed with each drive by. The first time, Caroline and I were doing jumping jacks on the front lawn, warming up for extreme, high-impact Ring around the Rosie. The second time they drove by, Caroline was wailing and pointing at the mailman's truck. She'd mistaken him for the ice cream man and had come up empty after requesting a Hoodsie. The third time, I was walking back and forth across the electric fence boundary with Vito's PetSafe collar in my hand. I wanted to make sure James hadn't cranked it up unnecessarily. James, in turn, asked me if I was auditioning for Jackass. The neighbors pretended not to see us.

Six Feet Under 2001-2005

I wanted to steer clear of the death cliches here but if there is ever a TV show to be "mourned," it is Six Feet Under. I was saddened to learn the series was ending this season because I felt its untimely demise would leave many stories untold. I took for granted I'd have more time with the psychedelic mess that is the Fisher family. Ruth, Nate, David, and Claire -- all deeply flawed characters that were not living life as much as dying of it. Even the sideshows -- the lovably indignant Federico, crazy-as-hell Billy -- had storylines that were equally as entertaining and disturbing.

Each season, I got to know the characters more and more but instead of understanding them better, I found them even more unpredictable. Their lives were constantly swerving. One moment in the throes of despair, the next twirling carefree through a meadow. The plot twists -- like the bus that hit Nathaniel Fisher's hearse in episode 1 -- you never saw coming. Some weeks I'd watch the show just to see what Ruth was going to do - have a cup of tea? carjack a van?

Other times, I'd tune in to catch a glimpse of Billy off his meds, twitching and speaking gibberish.

But mostly, I watched to see Nate's self-sabotage play itself out in his string of failed-rekindled-failed relationships. First there was Brenda, the female version of Nate. Maybe soulmates, maybe not. Then Nate's wife Lisa, the passive-aggressive hippy-despot, who goes missing and -- fulfilling Nate's dearest wish -- winds up dead. Watching Nate grapple with his grief over losing Lisa alongside his guilt about being happy she's gone was the best thing happening on TV in 2003.

At last, Nate seemed to have kicked his self-sabotaging ways, but a few months into his marriage to Brenda, Quaker Maggie surfaces with her own stories of personal tragedy. Nate gravitates toward Maggie because she is "deeply kind" and decides to give Quakerism a shot. Then, in the deeply kind, Quaker tradition, Nate and Maggie get it on doggy-style while pregnant Brenda waits for them at church. Many viewers -- especially Auntie -- wanted to eradicate Maggie's unapologetic sheepish grin with an anti-bacterial handwipe.

Luckily, Nate collapses while putting his pants on and dies the next day; his cycle of sabotage shattered by his own death. DAMN! The only way to truly change is to die.

Just when things go from sad to ridiculous-sad, the show offers reminders that love too can transform. Keith, once a semi-abusive hothead, evolves into a supportive paragon of patience while David falls apart.

Claire the cynical artist (and Annie look-a-like) falls in love with, and finds a muse in a "deeply-unhip" Republican who blared Christian rock music while she snapped nude photos of him. The show was never warm and fuzzy but was not all death and doom either. Thankfully, the writers indulged the audience in the final episode tonight, showing us how all of the characters' lives play out -- including exactly how and when they die. While the show was heavy on death, I think the central message was to enjoy life while you're here. In short, live a little. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Just ask Nathaniel Fisher.

Read SFU Obits

19 August 2005

Cream Shop Friday: Pimpin' Preps

(photo: Local media whore Gary Z strikes a pose for preppy style)

Cream Shop Friday is a feature on this blog detailing the biggest distraction of the week.

In a bit of shameless self-promotion, I direct you to yesterday's Living/Arts section of the Boston Globe. A story on preppy style, inspired by grown men in whale pants on Nantucket, is this week's central feature. But, the true double-take came with Gary Z's enormous, almost 3D photo on the second page. Like T-Bag wearing cat-eye sunglasses and obscenely tight denim at the Boarding House, Gary Z tarted himself up in satiric tribute.

17 August 2005

Confession: I Miss Smoking

I know, I know, I know. Peter Jennings, Dana Reeves, Nora Reardon (one of my parents' friends and a non-smoker who died from 'the lung cancer' last week). Lung cancer is the leading cause of death for both men and women. In 2005, about 163,510 people will die of this disease. Smoking causes more than 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer. Yet tonight when I was finishing up work, I really felt like a cigarette. It's been more than three years since I've lit up but I was thinking our well-ventilated, screened-in patio downstairs would be the perfect location to have one. Instead of indulging, I decided to blog a confession (I didn't have any cigarettes handy)


I know I'm not supposed to feel this way. I'm supposed to turn into one of those sanctimonious anti-smoking Nazis who tsks-tsks all those who take nicotine. You know the kind -- the hypocrites who closet their own bad habits but self-righteously judge others'. Boo. Booo. Boooo.

I don't think I miss smoking as much I miss the camaraderie of smoking. I miss that low-key intimacy among friends who 'got it' when we were first ushered, then ostracized, from civilized society. Don't get me wrong -- I'm happy to return from a dinner downtown without the additional death threat of secondhand smoke (or my hair infused with the stench of it). But, I must admit there was nothing like sitting outside at a sidewalk cafe in the summer with a cigarette and a coffee (or a martini); the sense of peace and calmness coursing through my veins. It's a feeling that the dispassionate and those whose pulses never race could ever understand. I have a feeling that Caroline has the emotion and racing pulse of her mom. That said, my own self destruction has been put on hold indefinitely.

16 August 2005

Lightning Strikes

(photo: Vito says "up yours" to disabled fence before taking off)

Three days into his training, it appeared as though Vito had outwitted the pet fence as he bombed through it three times yesterday completely unaffected. Since this occurrence seemed as likely as Vito standing on his hind legs, wielding a spatula, and grilling himself a cheeseburger, we placed a call to Carl at PetSafe for answers. Apparently, lighting had struck the fence over the weekend and shorted out the system. Carl returned to fix the problem and Vito's training is back at square one, but not before enjoying another day of unrestrained bumrushing.

15 August 2005


(photo: Vito's eyes light up at the sight of Paulie goin' upright)

Boulos or "Bunkledunk" as Caroline has begun calling him started the drunken-sailor shuffle this weekend, keeping us on our toes and 911 on speed dial. He toddles almost exclusively around sharp right angles, leaving us clenched beyond belief by the constant vigilance required to keep him out of the ER. For weeks, we've been putting it off, trying to curb his ambulatory tendencies but after witnessing his joy, we decided to grow the f up and start fostering his growth. Or as Caroline barked, "Let Bunkledunk do it self!" Way to go, Paulie!

(photo: Paulie uses yoga - and the dishwasher - to prepare for his first steps)

13 August 2005


(photos: 1. Machete bandit incarcerated. 2. Justice for Cyrs.)

The search for the alleged “Machete Bandit” who perpetrated three armed hold ups on the South Shore is over. All will be relieved to learn the suspect is not SAC or any other member of the Cyr family as originally suspected. Last Wednesday, a masked intruder held up a Mobil gas station in East Wareham wielding a machete. He snatched a customer’s purse and made off with $750 from the cash register before ditching his incriminating clothing and disappearing into the night. The thiefing was captured on the Mobil’s security cameras and broadcast nationwide. The offender’s smooth-as-Lou-Rawls footwork and enthusiastic pillaging cast suspicion on the notoriously mischievous Cyr clan who had arrived in the area two days prior to the incident. However, all Cyrs are exonerated this evening with reports that police have arrested 28-year-old Sandy Little, a Pillsbury Dough Boy-esque thug with a shaved head and mock jowls from Lynn. Miles away from Milton, and I’m not just talkin’ geographically.

12 August 2005

Cream Shop Friday: Google Earth

Cream Shop Friday is a feature on this blog detailing the biggest distraction of the week.

I saw a news story yesterday morning about Google Earth being a potential threat to our troops. Being a map and weather geek, I was compelled to investigate this national security menace. For those who live under rocks, Google Earth is a program that allows you to navigate the literal mapping of the earth. It provides specific longitudes and latitudes of each area along with the locations of the nearest Burger Kings. To put it plainly, it's friggin awesome. I flew over Fenway Park and was able to zoom in on the baseball diamond in real-time. Then I went to Nantucket. I continued south and flew around Manhattan for awhile before jetting across the pond to Killarney, Positano and Riyadh. When I looked up at the clock, I realized I'd spent two hours in the Cream Shop instead of working on an encroaching deadline.

11 August 2005

Fenced In

(photo: "This is bullshit," says Vito sporting his new PetSafe collar.)

Vito's reign of unwelcome bumrushes has come to an abrupt end. Carl from PetSafe arrived today, installing our invisible fence and kicking Vito's re-education into high gear. Carl was no stranger to pugs, telling us he'd just installed a fence for a family with six pugs on the Vineyard. However, he'd never seen a pug quite like Vito. "Man! His neck is like a funnel," said Carl as he tried to adjust the PetSafe collar. As we began the initial training this evening, Carl assured us each dog's learning is very primal and Pavlovian and has nothing to do with intelligence. He told us the training should take about 10 days but I think Vito is already catching on. I even spotted James praising him by the shed for his good work. No longer will we have to worry about Vito getting squashed by a landscaper's speeding pick-up truck, or be forced to apologize to runners who've been traumatized by Vito's ambushes. We thanked Carl for his wisdom as he pulled out of our driveway. Minutes later, I logged onto the Commonwealth of Mass's sex offender registry to make sure Carl wasn't on it.

09 August 2005

Deere John

(photo: Runaway Bride's Ass is Grass)

Whenever my brother and I would leave all the lights on in our house, my mother would shake her head in disapproval and say "Thomas Edison is laughing his head off." I never truly understood the negative connotations associated with this expression. However, as I was uploading the Runaway Bride's photo to the blog tonite, a different kind of lightbulb went off over my head: I'm doing exactly what Jennifer Wilbanks wants everyone to do. I'm paying attention, I'm writing about her, I'm uploading photos of her to the Internet. Jennifer Wilbanks is laughing her head off right now. I realize now the expression is about exploitation. (Basically, my mother was suggesting my brother's and my gluttonous use of electricity made us the bitches of Thomas Edison.) Anyway, Wilbanks started her community service today, mowing the lawn outside a probation office in Lawrenceville, Georgia. In her county-issued orange vest, she pushes an awkward, uncooperative lawn mower. Like all of Wilbanks' antics over the past few months, this image is supposed to inspire sympathy for her, position her as a victim. We're supposed to feel sorry that this fragile bird is being hounded relentlessly by the media during her time of humility and penance. However, Wilbanks alerted the media and had to sign waivers for every photo taken and every minute of video footage shot. It's clear she continues to court attention and embarrassing notoriety. At least we didn't have to watch her scrub turlettes.

06 August 2005

All that Sound: Coldplay@Tweeter Center

(photo: "Look at the Stars." Chris Martin breaks it down for the devotees and the converted)

I've been feeling a little cynical around shows these days with all the whoring about of brokers and scalpers. I knew my cynicism had reached new heights when I actually considered writing a "thank you for not screwing me over" note to the guy on eBay who sold me the fabulous 10th row tickets. I realized others were just as tentative when I heard gleeful sighs of relief as fans were granted access through the Tweeter turnstiles -- and confirmation that their tickets were indeed real. Di, Annie and I almost turned cartwheels. James was quietly ecstatic, keeping his feet on the ground and herding us toward the concession stands. It's a sad state of affairs when you actually jump for joy when events transpire as they're supposed to. And it takes a lot to wipe out cynicism when it reaches these proportions but Coldplay has done it for me.

First, X&Y just may be my favorite Coldplay album yet and I'm happy to see Chris Martin didn't fizzle into obscurity like so many artists do when their joy eclipses their pain. Their live show, while always fantastic, has been reinvented into a souped-up, more energetic version of soulful shows past. On this tour, they've proven their concerts are not only spectacular because of proximity; they effortlessly translate to a larger venue. I loved the show so much I think it actually made me taller.

Hearing the entire crowd singing in unison to "The Scientist" and "Kingdom Come" and "Don't Panic" altered my brain chemistry. Chris Martin still plays that piano like he can barely stay in his seat, but he's given into his impulses and has become QUITE the dancer. He was practically hanging from the rafters, bounding off the stage and running up and down the aisles through the Pavilion. I nearly strained myself trying to keep my eyes on him. Other highlights: "Yellow," "Swallowed in the Sea," and "Everything's Not Lost."

The last song of the night was "Fix You" which feels like it was was made to be the last song of a stellar night: "Lights will guide you home..." And we all floated on a tidal wave right out of the Tweeter Center - which more than compensated for their not playing my favorite song, "X&Y." I'm going to let Steve Morse take it from here, before I degenerate into another Westerberg moment. View setlist here.

(photo: "The Devotees." James, Di, Code Red and I enjoy a pre-show parking lot nosh. Code Red makes a mean penne salad)

(photo: "The Converted." Neighboring tailgater, "Beauty Judge Chuck,"
thinks Coldplay is "fierce," especially because Di thinks so. Chuck was all right!)

05 August 2005

Cream Shop Friday: Ham Tongue

Cream Shop Friday is a feature on this blog detailing the biggest distraction of the week.

Our lawn is rapidly turning the color of french fries so James decided to devise an intensive sprinkler strategy to green it back up. Deeply engrossed in equations involving open channel flow, he is distracted by a sight that his engineering mind instantly recognizes as an anomaly -- a woman jogging with her pug. James is all too familiar with the pug's propensity for sloth and general shunning of exercise. He chuckles to himself, enjoying a private dig on Vito. Then he realizes, it IS Vito. Not running with, but chasing the woman jogger. The woman was oblivious to his short-lived pursuit. Vito ran out of steam quickly, and lay down beneath a tree with a massive ham tongue. James, all grumbly, retrieved Vito and immediately called PetCo to have them come install our electric fence next week.

03 August 2005

What Happens in Vegas...

(photo: Gif grips-and-grins with Tony Orlando in the Green Room at the Bellaggio)

Although the lovey-dovey picture suggests otherwise, Gif did NOT marry Tony Orlando in Las Vegas. But, a bond was forged nonetheless. Last year while attending a Sundance party, Gif met with Joe Jaworski from Showtime and suggested putting together an "industry band" for VSDA's Home Entertainment party in Las Vegas. Jaworski thought it as a great idea and voila - Gif compiled an all-star rock band, with its own private dancer, called The Replicators. Their first gig was opening up for Tony Orlando and Dawn at the "Music & Magic Under the Stars" party at the Bellagio Pool. Anyone who's had the opportunity to see Gif perform knows Tony must have been sweating like a whore in church when he caught the act he was slated to follow. Catch Gif with his local bands Bang Box and Lulu's in Crisis. I definitely plan to the next time I can stay out past 11 p.m.

01 August 2005

Guest Blog: MONDO MUNDO!

(photo: WMD finds Telemundo senoras moy caliente)

Well it appears once again that I haven't been taken
seriously. All I did was post some comments under
"Living La Vida Arab" and Senora Jackson responded
that she thought they were "funny" and asked if I'd
write a guest blog. As I thought my comments were
serious, this "funny" reaction was like being pantsed
and onlookers saying "Awwww, cute". Take me seriously

Telemundo is serious business. Personally I've logged
1,800 hours or so (the 800 hours in my posting must
have been a typo) of Spanish TV and am well qualified
to preach the gift that is Telemundo. Disclaimer: all
1,800 were LONG before meeting the lovely LP.

The women on this channel are as good as it gets and
it kills me to admit it but the men are almost as good
looking as the women. There I said it, see what you
made me do? I've just had to grab my crotch, spit on
the rug and say "boobies" ten times in my head to feel
better... muuuch better. I feel this blog is being
written for the ladies out there because every guy who
has held a remote knows what I'm talking about. For
every sitcom line where a good looking foreign guy
says something to a woman and she says "I have no idea
what he said but I love the way he said it" there are
a hundred guys watching Telemundo saying "I don't care
what she's saying, they're always in bikinis!"

Yes, beautiful people, in ridiculous shows and soap
operas. I've taken enough Spanish that I can follow
along a bit. I first started watching when I worked
with a woman who was from Guatemala. She would make
me practice my Spanish by speaking it to me and told
me to watch her favorite soap opera "La Mentira" (The
Lie). Well let me tell you what kids, BONUS! It was
all hot people and goofy plots. We'd talk about it at
work and she'd tell me if I had it right. It was
great training for getting into the other shows like
"Caliente" (Pool/beach dance party + bikinis + latin
music = Hypnotic.) or "Lente Loco". This is
Telemundo's Candid Camera hosted by Alys, you guessed
it, a bombshell (sorpresa). If this sounds a little
weird, it can't be. I'm not the only one. I lived in
a house with six guys and on Saturday afternoon
between 1-2pm, anyone home would say "Caliente" and
channel 17 would be on in a Havana-minute. Guys hear
mention of Telemundo they'll say something positive
about it and probably include the word "dude".

Alas this is not a double standard that guys win
because I know you women could shift from watching the
scores of Latin players on this channel to looking at
us scratching our arse while trying to reach our drink
without getting off the couch and think to yourself
"Soy tan afortunado!!

Buenos tacos,