Monday, January 31, 2005

Sensationalism R Us

Although the story isn't all that sensational, today's Daily News special report "Next calamity awaits; Red tape stopping inspectors from wiping out city's firetraps" (print version: "Deadliest Dens; Fireman deaths highlight illegally split apts.") certainly amps up the angst, and it conveniently runs the day after another fire death in Queens. I'm not complaining, of course. Just pointing out how things work around here.

Also, it's written by some dude named Harrison.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Secret Sharers

A fascinating blog with a sampling of some 600 postcards from a Washington DC arts festival that invited attendees to share a secret anonymously. Makes you wonder about a lot of stuff, not the least of which is how lonely, troubled and weird people can be. And even those that are most definitely made up ( as if you could distinguish) make you wonder why.

And this is the "before" picture...

Crystal Meth Portraits

If there were a no-holds-barred, steel cage, chains and switchblades, ultimate fighting battle royale to determine a poster child for the hazards of crystal meth, these folks couldn't come out looking any worse.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Twinkies Sushi

Fresh Daily From the Hostess Sea

The 50 Most Loathesome People in America

Though I don't agree with everyone on this Beast list (and wonder where the hell Michael Moore is), I gotta admit that it's damn funny. And mostly true.

Remember Hockey?

Is it me, or is the demonization of NHL owners completely illogical?

Led by the perpetually booed commisioner Gary Bettman, the owners are sticking to their demand for a hard salary cap and are completely prepared to scrub the season (and a chunk of next season) to do it. Isn't that obvious? And, perhaps because he hasn't had anything to write for months, Larry Brooks browbeats the owners for PR moves and bad faith negotiation.

Question: What is wrong with a salaray cap? The owners and the players are in this together. It's not either group's exclusive fault that salaries have launched out of control. It's the system--one in which owner's outbid each other to remain competitive and players' agents drive up the price for their clients. This system would work fine in a league with limlitless funds at its disposal, but the NHL has been bleeding cash for years. And pointing to the owners' other, primary streams of revenue misses the point.

The NHL should be self-sustaining. NHL Players Association President Trevor Linden and Executive Director Bob Goodenow work hard for their money. But does anyone seriously believe that they should be sharing in money that Vancouver Canucks owner John McCaw earns from his other businesses?

Owners and players can legitimately argue over the best way to divide the NHL cake, but restrictions need to be installed. Because it is only one cake they are dividing--and one for which the distracted, but lucrative American audience only has a limited taste. The players can't demand that the owners bake a second tier just because they can.

According to former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt's NHL-commissioned report, the league lost a combined $273 million in 2002-03. Forbes issued its own report saying that the figure was more likely $123 million. Still bad, no? Especially when you consider that two-thirds of the league's 30 teams lose money and 75% of revenues are tied up in player salaries (compared with a maximum of 64 percent and minimum of 54 percent in the NFL, 60 percent in the NBA and 63 percent in Major League Baseball).

Something isn't right here, and patchwork solutions and negotiation tactics won't solve it. The NHL needs a complete restructuring and it will surely need to get sicker before recuperating.

A salary cap doesn't prevent players from making what their are worth. It simply sets a more realistic value on that worth for the health of the league. A league, that few people really seem to miss these days. Except for restless rabble-rousers like Brooks.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Dream Jobs

I compiled this list a long time ago, but now as the formal education of D. Bones has officially ended with a useless master's degree, this is as good a time as any to muse upon:

Dream Jobs...If Time, Money, Talent and Reality Were No Concerns (With Apologies to Nick Hornby)

  • LW for the NJ Devils
  • Syndicated Columnist
  • Newspaper/Magazine Movie Critic
  • Novelist
  • Freelance Multidisciplinary Writer
  • Jazz Pianist
  • Rock Musician (anything but lead singer, keyboard player, backup singer or ancillary percussionist)
  • Blues Singer/Guitar Player
  • Folk Troubadour
  • Rock Writer
  • Record Store Owner
  • Rumpled, Disgruntled Lawyer in the mold of Al Pacino in …And Justice For All
  • Cynical Idealist
  • Amsterdam Coffee Shop Proprietor
  • Beach Bungalow Proprietor, Ko Pa Ngan, Thailand circa 1980
  • Greenwich Village Bar Owner circa 1960
  • Con Man
  • NY Jets or NJ Devils Beat Writer
  • Tropical Resort Head Lifeguard
  • Time-Traveler
  • Master Sushi Chef
  • Nielson Family Member
  • Bruce Springsteen's Personal Valet
  • Free-form radio D.J.
  • Navel Gazer/Contemplator
  • Screenwriter
  • Couch Potato
  • Organic Cannabis Farmer
  • Staff Writer for “The Simpsons” circa 1992
  • Pizza/Calzone/Chinese Food Deliveryman in a College Town
  • Ice Cream Magnate
  • Lottery Winner
  • Philanthropist
  • Career Game Show Contestant (ie, Jm J. Bullock/Center Square)
  • Girl Band Guru
  • Celebrity Houseguest (Freeloader)
  • NFL Assistant Coach
  • Sleep Research Subject
  • Famous Recluse
  • Video Game Designer/Tester
  • MAD Magazine Contributor circa 1983
  • Jedi Master
  • Healthcare Advertising Account Executive (Just Kidding)

Rabbit Suicides

Just like the title says: here are a bunch of rabbit suicides for your amusement.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Flakes Bring Flood of Calls

Well, it's not my headline. But a nice little snow story in the Daily News nonetheless.

Hey, why aren't there more scrunched three-word combinations like "nonetheless?" Why not "allthemore" or "olderandwiser?" Whatthefuck?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Top Five Songs About Incineration

5. Smoke on the Water, Deep Purple
4. Fire on the Mountain, The Grateful Dead
3. Great Balls of Fire, Jerry Lee Lewis
2. This Wheel’s on Fire, Bob Dylan and The Band
1. Burning Down the House, The Talking Heads

Honorable Mention: Fire by Bruce Springsteen, Fire by Jimi Hendrix, Light My Fire by The Doors, Into the Fire by Bruce Springsteen, Burn Down the Mission by Elton John, The Unforgetable Fire by U2, Lake of Fire by Nirvana covering Meat Puppets, and Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Do You Have Any Weed?

Jim Emerson's Kathy Griffin-worshipping, Star Jones Reynolds-bashing Golden Globes wrap-up for does the event the injustice it deserves.

Bill Gates circa 1984: Isn't he dreamy?

Come and get my floppy disk, big boy

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Irony Kills UNL Student

Derek Kieper, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who wrote a column for the school paper attacking seatbelt laws as intrusions on individual liberties, was killed when flung from the back seat of the car he was in. He was not wearing a seatbelt at the time.

The driver and passenger, who were both wearing seatbelts, survived the accident.

This is only funny 'cuz I don't know him.

From his column in the Daily Nebraskan:

"It is my choice what type of safety precautions I take. There seems to be a die-hard group of non-wearers out there who simply do not wish to buckle up no matter what the government does. I belong to this group."

Take that, Alanis Morrisette.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Hello! You play to ALMOST win the game!

The Surreal Life of a Jet Fan

A guest Gang Green blog from KHbirdman with my response:

The Brady Bunch said it best: "When it's time to change, you got to rearrange, who you are and what you're gonna be." Well, it is time to make a change with this Jets coaching staff. We have had games to win over the last 4 years and COACHING as lost us many of them with their conservative approach, lack of time management skills, and awful play calling.

Yes, Doug Brien MUST make one of those two field goals. The first one hits the front cross bar and it was a 47 yarder on the road in the freezing cold. The second one was a horrible kick. BUT, I can't fully blame the kicker. We had 56 seconds left in the game and we did NOT really try and move the ball closer. It is NOT a sure thing for a kicker to make a 40+ yard field goal. Coaching lost this game. Instead of trying to get closer, we had two pathetic runs and then a kneel down only because Santana Moss called time-out prematurely. Didn't Marty Shottenheimer blow the game last week with the same conservative approach in OT?

And the entire game, the play calling was pathetic. Lamont Jordan, a HUGE threat to take a long run when he touches the ball only touched the ball twice. And, worse was in overtime, it's 3rd & 7 and we call a 2 yard out to Chrebet? Does Hackett understand the rules of the game? In order to get a first down, you MUST throw the ball the amount of yards needed to get to the orange flag. Two yards means PUNT. Seven yards means the drive continues.

Enough is enough already. I'm done with Hackett's pathetic conservative play calling. The offense doesn't work. We need a change. We have a $64 million dollar quarterback and some decent receivers but we don't get them the ball. We have a horizontal offense and we need to have a vertical offense.

And then we have Herman Edwards. I'm sick of his cheerleading. You want to be a cheerleader, put on a skirt and grab some pom-poms. He's famous line was "We play to win the game." That is the biggest BS line in the world. Sometimes he plays to TIE the game at best. I have yet to see him play to WIN the game. He's the head coach. He is responsible. We had a chance to beat a 15-1 team on the road. It was all there...I was smelling 60 minutes to the Super Bowl. Brien should have made the kick but this loss rests on the coaching staff.

Absolutely right. I'm mad as hell at this coaching staff, and Edwards is in charge and should be ultimately responsible. But I wouldn't fire him. Say what you will about the games he's lost us with poor time/situation management and conservative gameplans (or not simply stripping control away from Hackett). But he's gotten us to the playoffs 3 times in 4 years. His playoff record is 2-3. This is better than most coaches in the league.

And most importantly: aside from maybe that second game against New England, this Jets team NEVER GAVE UP. They played 60 minutes every Sunday (or Saturday or Monday). They are always prepared and play with heart. They have been one of the least penalized teams in the league during Herm's tenure and near the top in turnover ratio. It's unfortunate that they hardly blew out teams and were forced to play this grind-it-out, playoff style all season. But it likely made us a better, more hardened playoff opponent. We should have beaten a 15-1 team at home in the playoffs with this style of play.

I'm more concerned about our quarterback. I'm not sure if the problem is his shoulder injury, his arm that was weak to begin with, or Hackett's conservative play-calling. But there is something horribly wrong when an NFL quarterback simply cannot hit a receiver in stride. Every ball is high or behind his targets. Santana Moss is built for speed. He's a potential game breaker every time he touches the ball. Can you remember a single time this season he caught a ball across the middle and actually took off running for a big gain? Maybe this happened twice in 18 games.

Watch what Mark Bulger does when he sees Tory Holt running free across the field. Maybe it takes more of a gun to throw these passes, rather than trying to anticipate everything and float one of those candy-ass Pennington specials with his overly articulated, limp-wristed Lamar Latrell throwing style. I dunno.

But it's not like you need a strong arm to place the ball in front of your receiver so he's in position to make a play when he's five yards away from you. Chad completely blew a play like this in the fourth quarter after that miracle Bettis fumble. That's when a real team goes on a drive and takes the game away from a broken and demoralized team. Instead, he was tentative and weak. And if Pennington can't correct this severe problem, the Jets have given $64 million to the wrong guy.

Your "Brady Bunch" quote is even more apt, considering that a real clutch quarterback with a professional arm, who goes by the name Brady will almost surely be taking his team to another Super Bowl. By comparison, our brand of football is like watching Peter Brady nursing Mini-Me as he pees on the living room floor on "The Surreal Life"

And I know that you were as sick as me after this game. That evil indigestion that sprouts from an emptiness of knowing that you should be 60 minutes from the Superbowl (a game I can't even conceive of the Jets ever playing in my lifetime). And you know what? I didn't even come back from a wrist injury and a shoulder injury and I didn't sweat out those two-a-day practices in August or study all that game film and take all those hits. So why was Pennington smiling and laughing with Ben "Big INT" Roethlisberger after the game?

In Hofstra, there is problem. And that problem is the Chad.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Daily News

The happy ending of a missing boy story.

Nothing like waking up a 9-year-old kid from the Hunt's Point section of the Bronx who got home at 5:30 in the morning after 14 hours in the New York City subway system by sticking a camera in his face and greeting him with questions about why he flipped out. Ah, tabloid journalism.

Friday, January 14, 2005

In His Country There is No Problem

Leave it to the Forward to point out the truth of Kazakh antisemitism. Where do these writers get their sense of humor?

And on an even funnier note (not really), here's an item about a new curriculum and cool interactive website devoted to Eastern European Jews prior to World War II.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Swimming With Plastic Jesus

Maybe the most harrowing thing you will read this year. Sent to me by a friend of a friend, it's a personal account of the tsunami in Kao Lak, Thailand by Paul, an American diver who was separated from his wife after jumping off the roof of his house and who rode out the rushing mayem to survive and help others.

A sample:

My brain shut down when Karin disappeared, and now all I can do is survive. Something triggers and I swim. I swim to avoid the trees which will trap me, possibly kill me. It seems that I am atop the crest of the tsunami, which is less like a wave than a flood. From on high I can see the water hit buildings, then rise, then watch the buildings collapse into piles of concrete and rebar. I swim to avoid these. Left and right I paddle, looking ahead the whole time trying to figure the hazards. None of this is conscious, this isn't me thinking it out, it's some recessed part of the brain coming out and taking control. I was busy seeing the weird things, like massive diesel trucks being rolled end over end. Or the car launched through the 2nd story wall of a former luggage shop. Or the person high up in a standing tree in a lurid orange thong. Or the older foreigner that got stuck in the wood and steel wrapped around a tree, and then his body torn off while his head remained. I couldn't

I was pulled under, my pants caught on something, I decided that this was neither the place nor time for me to die, and ripped my pants off. I surfaced into a hunk of wood which cut my forehead. A 5 gallon water bottle sped by, and I wrapped myself around it like a horny German Shepard on a Chihuahua. I was passing people with bleeding faces and caked in refuse. Some people reached out to me, and I back, but the water was too fast and erratic.Some people screamed for help and I told them to swim. Some people just stared with empty eyes, watching what happened, but seeing nothing. Some were just floating bodies. At some point, I passed a guy, cut on his cheek, holding onto big piece of foam. We just made eye contact and shrugged apathetically at each other. Then I turned ahead to watch fate. When I looked back he was gone.

Trees were pulled down, and their flotsam added to the flow. I was hit by a refrigerator and pushed towards a building that was collapsing. I swam and swam and swam and swam and still was pushed right towards a huge clump of jagged sticks and metal. I was pulled under, kicked towards the mass, cut my feet and kicked again. I popped up on the other side, spun around and pulled under again. Down there, I knew it was not the time, and I pulled my way up through the floating rubbish o! f my former town. I pulled and pulled and my lungs ached for air. I flashed on Star Wars, the trash compactor scene, and had some big grin in the back of head as I popped up. Sucking shitty water and air deep in my lungs. This went on for weeks. Time simply left the area alone. I grabbed the edge of a mattress and floated. Breathing, just breathing.


A fairly comprehensive and well-written blog post detailing everything you always wanted to know about sleep.

And contrary to what I recently told someone, apparently total sleep deprivation can kill you. It kills rats in 28 days.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Before & After

Stunning before and after pictures of the tsunami's re-making of coastlines in Indonesia. As though someone colored over all of the green with a brown marker.

Sex With Someone They Love

A breaking news story from the South African town of Tzaneen reveals police indifference to masturbating street urchins.

From one of the 14-year-old boys who was not arrested for doing his little thing with his little thing in public:

"I feel very happy after masturbating next to a woman with beautiful legs and wearing see-through clothes," the boy said.

"There is no girl out there who wants a filthy glue-sniffing street kid so the only way to relieve our sexual appetite is to masturbate," he explained.

God bless the child, who's got his own...

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Herm Edwards: Moses or Little Bo Peep?

Herman Walker Edwards

I'm not looking to get into an angry political discussion on the day after the Jets won two playoff games in the stretch of a single maddening evening. It was a rousing win, one I hadn't expected, punctuated by some bold play-calling by the (rightfully) besieged little brain Paul Hackett and featuring a strong-armed throw by Chad Pennington, that in one exaggerated motion, might have resurrected this team's confidence and fortunes.

But for the second straight week, and who-knows-how-many times this season, Coach-In-Chief Herman Edwards has proven himself as bungling and hapless as anyone running anything in this country not living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Where to begin? Actually, let's start where it should end. Harry Truman had a plaque on his Oval Office desk proclaiming "The Buck Stops Here." Unlike President Bush, Truman knew that the hallmark of leadership is to accept the blame for anything that happens under his command. A true leader wouldn't blame the generals for inadequate troop strength like Bush did in the second debate. A true leader wouldn't reward incompetent underlings like Bush did when bestowing The Presidential Medal of Freedom on such stellar performers as Tommy Franks, Paul Bremer, and George Tenet (a man recently blamed for pre-9/11 intelligence failures by his peers).

And so the buck should stop with an NFL head coach. When Bill Parcells coached the Jets and the offense sputtered, he took over play-calling from offensive coordinator Dan Henning. Even perceived wimp Jim Fassel did the same when Sean Payton's circus offense was getting the Giants nowhere a few years back. Does anyone doubt whom the final authority is in New England?

I'm not saying that Herm doesn't accept the blame (or willfully deny the existence of unqualified failures as Bush does). But here in New York, Coach Edwards simply cannot manage his team and too often seems dumbfounded by the simplest gameday coaching decisions.

To wit: For two consecutive plays in the second half, the Jets lined up 10 men on defense. For those of you unfamiliar with American football, we play 11 to a side here. Blame defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson? Defensive captain and signal-calling NFL Defensive Rookie-of-the-Year Jonathan Vilma? No. The buck stops with Herm.

He's got that useless fogey Dick Curl tugging at the hem of his skirt for the first 28 minutes of each half before consulting him for insights obvious to even a casual fan. Um, why not give him the additional responsibility of maybe counting the players before each snap? Or one of the water boys, even? How can this happen in a playoff game? It's not August, for fuck's sake.

A shouting match with running backs coach Bishop Harris? Granted, Herm refused to divulge what this insanity was all about and passed it all off as a "family" quarrel. But what could these two possibly be arguing about during a game? If, as some have surmised, it was about the occasional insertion of Lamont Jordan over NFL rushing champion Curtis Martin, I have two questions. The first is: why is the running backs coach making gameday personnel decisions? If Herm wants to run Curtis or run Lamont, this should be his call to make. There should be no question. What he says goes. And the second: Is Lamont Jordan not the best back on this team?

Perhaps this is sacrilege to all you Curtis-lovers out there. Although Curtis has been the Jets' MVP of recent years, isn't there ample evidence that when given the chance, Lamont out-performs him? There were several runs last night when Curtis had an opportunity to turn the corner on San Diego's slow secondary, but as though in slow motion, he just couldn't get there. Flash-forward to Lamont's 19-yard, game-winning run around the left side (with a beautiful block by Jerald Sowell). Does anyone see Curtis making that cut upfield and accelerating through traffic? Has Curtis broken a tackle in the last 5 years? Isn't it obvious that Lamont has an infinitely greater upside? We'll continue this argument in the coming months after the Jets lose #34 in free agency, likely to a division opponent that will stuff him down our throats for years to come.

But the most beguiling Strom Herman moment came at the end of regulation when San Diego was driving to tie the game. Once it became 4th and goal with under one minute to go, because the Chargers still had a time-out, the clock ceased to be a factor. It was a 1-down game. The two most likely scenarios were a Chargers touchdown or a game-ending stop. There was no way to predict, nor should one plan for Barton's Gastineau imitation on Brees' head.

An intelligent coach, with the ability to actually think a play ahead, facing overtime on the road with no momentum and almost a full minute on the clock MUST CALL A TIMEOUT. Instead, Marty Schottenheimer let's the clock run all the way down to about 20 seconds before they call their own timeout, ensuring that the Jets would have little to no time after the score is tied to set up a game-winning field goal in regulation.

If anyone doubts the wisdom of this decision, ABC cameras caught Edwards mouthing to Donnie Edwards in feeble admission that he should have called his own timeout before the Barton play.

Why this was an afterthought, when the entire room of football fans I was with -- none of whom are paid millions to coach in the NFL-- understood this well in advance...just baffles me.

But then, the buck stops with Herm. Let's just hope there aren't any football decisions to make next weekend.

Park Ave Batmen

Nothing like that first news clip in a New York daily newspaper. And although its small and I reported on it without writing it and feel great about it...something tells me the dude who took the bat to the head doesn't feel the same way.

One small step for Bones...

Friday, January 07, 2005

Top Five Songs About Infidelity

5. Don’t Explain, Billie Holiday
4. Stolen Car, Bruce Springsteen
3. Suspicious Minds, Elvis Presley
2. I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye
1. You Can Go Your Own Way, Fleetwood Mac

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A Short Plug

The January/February issue of The Independent Film & Video Monthly is on the stands, with a decent article about short films that are turned into features. Unfortunately, it's not available on the web site. But check it out at your local Barnes & Noble or similarly well-stocked newsstand, why don'tcha. We can use the cash.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Herm's team is a show about nothing

Herman's Hermits

No true Jet fan is an optimist. Not if he's seen any chunk of the last 36 years of futility. Shula conveniently misplacing the tarp in '82, E.J. Duhe's 2 INTs, dropping 5 straight after a 10-1 start, a fake spike, Ritchie Kotite, paralysis, concussions, Belichick's one day on the job, Don-Boyd Odegard.

If anything, the Jets are the source of all my cynicism in life. Place faith in these guys? I'd sooner believe in a John Kerry-Hilary Clinton ticket in 2008. But such is the calamity we face when entrusting a portion of our happiness to 53 strangers.

But if only these 53 were led by a man whose know-how matched his charisma. I like Herm Edwards. I really do. A few years back, when he railed at beat reporters asking about a supposedly lost 2-5 season, with his infamous "Hello? We play TO WIN THE GAME" tirade it was a moment of clarity in the fog of Jets delusion. When he speaks matter-of-factly and from the heart about what it take to be a winner--and more importantly, a man--it can generate chills.

But something it takes to win in the NFL eludes Herm and his simple exhortations to "just win a game." Sometimes, you have to know what the hell you're doing. Part of being a good coach is, you know, actually coaching the game.

We can't blame him for the bruised chicken-arm of a quarterback he has or the confused, obvious play-calling of his offensive coordinator (although he should have fired him last year as opposed to this coming Sunday after Saturday's sure loss in San Diego). Should he be blamed for the confusion on defense when rookie linebacker Jonathan Vilma took a play off? Maybe.

But a 2-point conversation when you've taken a 5-point lead late in the third quarter?

At the time, I thought this might have been a borderline call. But then, I was intoxicated. There is NO REASON to go for a 2-point conversation unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. You use it when you're behind in the fourth quarter (and only then, when it's your LAST RESORT). You use it to stay out of reach when your opponent might get one last possession. There is no sense in running a play with a league-average 50% success rate (0% for your team) with a whole quarter to play against a team on pace for 450 yards passing.

Maybe it's not the positive thinking Herm likes to blind himself with, but you simply can't assume that your opponent will not score again with over 15 minutes to play. Especially when you can't stop them. They're gonna score again, and you're gonna need that point.

The extra point they would have kicked might have allowed them (there's no way to play it back and see what might have been) to kick the game-winning field goal at the end of regulation instead of sending it to overtime.

It's typical of the "play with your heart and your will, men" coaching that neglects what it is that allows a heart to beat and a will to assert itself: a brain.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Midnight in Manhattan

It's a mad-dog's promenade... (extra credit for anyone who gets the reference)

This is actually very cool. Panoramic shots of Times Square New Year's Eve. All the fun of being there without the bladder issues...

Out With the Old...

Lake Superior State University (don't ask) has published its annual list of banished words for 2005, including such election-year aggravations as "red-state, blue-state," war talk like "pockets of resistence," and the ubiquitous "wardrobe malfunction."

I happen to love "wardobe malfunction," and if Justin Timberlake actually coined that himself--without the help of some publicist wordsmith--he has gained even more credibility in my book than he got for ditching Brittney before she spiraled into a cheeze-doodle chomping white-trash home-wrecker.