wine by the color

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

As part of the ongoing “Why I Love Newspapers” series at Wine By The Color, I offer this (and for once, I’m including the name of the accused, because he deserves full credit for this stunt move)…

DRUNKEN DRIVING: 3:40 a.m., Jan. 20: Edwin Crossley Jr., 39, of Levittown, Pa., was charged with drunken driving after he was seen driving erratically on Hancock Street, police said. Crossley was found with an open liter bottle of rum, a bag of ice and several empty soda cans, according to a police report. Police suspected Crossley was making rum and cokes while driving. Crossley was changed with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, failure to keep right and possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.

Well, if you’re going to get busted for a DUI, you might as well make it worth your while. I do appreciate that the police threw in the “failure to keep right” charge. Because being a tavern on wheels wasn’t enough.

Also, my horoscope was, for once, rather insightful today.

The natural flow of friendship is to drift apart and come together when it’s right for both people. So don’t worry too much about whether or not your friends still love you. They do! They really do!

I don’t want to discuss that any further, except to say it comes at an interesting time.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Let me assure you I am NOT the Jersey girl being discussed here.

Carry on.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I think it's becoming quite clear who Sweetie Pie Princess is going to look to as a role model...

Hey, some babies like hard icy things for the purposes of teething. The infant in my family chose a beer bottle. What can you do...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Given how much I travel, people frequently ask if I ever don't know where I am when I awake. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it is NOT good times.

Since returning from Hawaii, I've had some trouble readjusting to East coast time. Well, that's not entirely true. In December, when I was on vacation/not working due to the pinched nerve for more or less the entire month, I reverted to my college sleeping schedule - up until 2 a.m., sleeping in late. Late like 2 p.m. But I'd gotten myself somewhat back on schedule upon returning to work after the holidays, and it just fell apart with the Hawaii sojourn.

So last night, I was awake until 2. I set the alarm for 6 a.m., hoping to get in a run before heading to the convention center at 8:30 for nine hours of meeting and greeting. Apparently, I was so tired I didn't set the alarm properly. Thus, when I awoke this morning and looked at the clock, it read 8:45, which threw me into a complete panic. I jumped out of bed and looked around furiously, trying to determine just where I was. I had no idea. After I stopped freaking out, I finally realized my location. And then started to laugh at myself. What can you do...

On an unrelated note, for anyone who wonders where I got my wacky sense of humor, consider this e-mail from my mom today:

I was afraid that I would forget this tidbit of IMPORTANCE if I didn't share it with you right away.

At 4:00 this afternoon, CBS News used as their tease residents warned about eating squirrels. I, of course, wondered why they were picking up a West Virginia story for the local news. It turns out that they were speaking of northern NJ residents, especially in the Ramapo Mountains. Squirrels have been found to be loaded with lead, so there are now new dietary guidelines from the Health Department for the local Ramapough (?) Indians. Children can only eat the meat once a month, pregnant women twice a month and I don't remember how often for adults. Who would have thought!!!

Of the many things for which I am thankful, having a mother who recognizes good shtick when she sees it is very high on the list.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

To finish my Hawaiian adventure...

After working Saturday and Sunday (as a sidebar, this is the loosest interpretation of the word "working" you'll ever see. Yes, we did work hard and our efforts were quite productive, but it's hard to use the word "working" seriously when this is the view from the "office"...)

Anyway, after flying to Oahu Monday morning, we made quick stops here and here. From there, it was on to the North Shore, where we watched surfers conquer the Banzai Pipeline:

Then it was on to Roy's, where we enjoyed what will no doubt be one of the best meals I'll eat this year - macadamia nut crusted blue nose snapper. Bellies full, we returned to HNL and enjoyed several drinks in the president's club, which was a fine prelude to the nine-hour flight back to Newark.

After a scant 22 hours at home, it was time to return to EWR for a flight to Orlando, where I am now after an incredibly pleasant flight, complete with the first-class bump. Given how easy my travel has been of late, I am due for a real doozy of a mess sometime soon.

For anyone who is not a fan of the F word, I would recommend you not check this out (Mom, this means you, and I'm not kidding). For everyone else, read and enjoy.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A quick look at Friday...

4 a.m. - Alarm goes off. String of profanity. Turn on TV. Start to get out of bed. Realize "Cheers" is on. Settle back into bed.
4:20 a.m. - Get in shower.
5:05 a.m. - Look outside. Realize it's snowing. A lot.
5:27 a.m. - Head into snow, which is falling sideways.
5:54 a.m. - Drive by massive truck fire on interstate.
7:10 a.m. - Board flight bound for IAH. Enjoy settling into seat 1A.
7:15 a.m. - Order a diet Coke. Man in seat 1B orders a vodka on the rocks.
7:27 a.m. - Man in 1B orders another vodka on the rocks.
7:37 a.m. - Man in 1B falls dead asleep.
8:10 a.m. - Plane is de-iced. Always an unsettling experience.

The rest of that flight was uneventful. I watched a by-the-numbers teen flick, "John Tucker Must Die," and took a quick nap. We landed at IAH around 11:15 central time with a 12:20 p.m. departure to HNL, which my friend John and I figured gave us plenty of time to grab something to eat and a beer. We were wrong.

While enjoying a Shiner Bock (perhaps the lone bright spot of being in Texas) and waiting for our food while sharing tales of flights missed in the past, we realized our flight was boarding. A mad dash with our food in styrofoam containers, and we were safely seated on flight #2.

IAH to HNL (where I'll now transition to time remaining in the eight-hour flight):
8:00 - I'm so happy to be heading to Hawaii that I'm not at all bothered by the generous girth of the dame sitting next to me, which precludes the armrest from going all the way down.
7:40 - Holy crap, David Caruso is god awful.
6:50 - Are you kidding me? How can they air an episode of CSI Miami that ends with "to be continued?"
5:15 - No more CSI. Time for new entertainment. "Flicka?" No. "Little Giants?" No. Didn't they expect any adults on this flight? I guess I'll try "Without a Trace" episodes.
5:10 - The guy who just got kidnapped looks really familiar.
5:09 - Oh, Dean McDermott. Mr. Tori Spelling. Why on earth do I know that? I need to get out more.
3:41 - The entertainment pickings are getting slim. Hmm, a 45-minute documentary called the "Chocolate Wars," about the decades-long battle between Hershey and Mars. Sounds better than Gomer Pyle.
2:30 - There is nothing else to watch. I guess I'm actually going to have to read. Time for my favorite trick - pulling out "Us Weekly" and the "New Yorker."
1:06 - My neighbor, a woman in her early 30s, is watching "Little Giants." For the second time.
:51 - My neighbor mentions that her next flight is going from Honolulu back to Vegas. She doesn't have a good explanation as to why.
:03 - There's a rainbow over the mountains as we approach Oahu.

After our close call in Houston, we decided not to tempt fate and headed directly to the gate for our third and final flight of the day. The 20-minute trip to Lihue was uneventful save for the family of three grandparents, two parents and two children that could not figure out their seating arrangements and would not sit down, thus delaying us. And almost raising my blood pressure. Almost.

We arrived in Lihue at 7:32 p.m. Hawaii time (12:32 a.m. NJ time), 20.5 hours after I woke for the day. You might think such a long day would have made me cranky when we realized our bags didn't arrive. Nope. I couldn't have cared less. Within an hour, we were sitting on our friend's beautiful back porch, wine in hand, mahi mahi on plates.

For the record, I made it through the long day without any Vicodin. I'm making no guarantees for the trip back...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I'll warn you now ... tomorrow has lots of potential.

Let's look at the variables:
1. Shitty weather
2. A 5:30 a.m. departure from Casa Magnolia
3. Four airports to visit (including the most hateful place on earth, Houston Intercontinental Airport)
4. Three flights, filled with all sorts of annoying people
5. A bottle of Vicodin
6. Arrival at 7:32 p.m. Hawaii time

I promise a full report.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

guf·faw (n) [guh-faw] a loud, unrestrained burst of laughter

There's not much that makes me laugh harder than the audition episodes of "American Idol."

Carry on.
I'm always amazed when I see people driving like madmen (or madwomen – dames are equally guilty and I don't want to be gender biased) while operating vehicles with a phone number on the side – service or delivery trucks, etc. How can someone be so stupid as to drive dangerously or irresponsibly while advertising an easy avenue for complaints? I guess they think people are too lazy to call and complain when they have been wronged on the roadways. I can be quite lazy, but not concerning things like this.

Today, I was run off the road by a school bus. The bus was going at least 15 miles above the speed limit down a tight, windy road near my office, and its reckless path gave me two options: 1) a head-on collision with the bus; 2) driving off the road. I went with the latter. I'm sure Mr. Bus Driver thought he would just continue on his merry, speedy way. He was wrong. I performed an outstanding k-turn, followed him and wrote down the bus and license plate numbers.

It has not been easy – because the incident happened on the border of two towns and the vehicle was a company bus instead of one from the school district, it took some internet searching and four phone calls – but I finally got the proper person on the horn. We enjoyed a pleasant chat during which I expressed concern for the safety of the children on the #27 bus as well as motorists such as myself, and he profusely apologized. All in all, a satisfying conversation.

I'm leaving for Hawaii tomorrow morning and will be gone until Tuesday, and do not plan to bring my computer. This all but guarantees that His Holiness will announce his plans sometime in the next four days, which means I won't be able to comment on it.

There's no way Sunday's Patriots-Colts game doesn't come down to a Vinatieri kick, right?

For a while, I have been looking in vain for video of one of my favorite football moments of all time. Unfortunately, the search remains unsuccessful but I did come across audio. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The NJ Sports Writers' Banquet is a few weeks away. If I made a call, do you think Nicollette Sheridan would let me borrow this dress?

Monday, January 15, 2007

My original plan for honoring Martin Luther King Jr. - spending the day in NYC - took a hit thanks to the crappy, rainy weather. I like culture and adventurous wandering, but not if it's going to rain on me. So I had to come up with an equally satisfying Plan B. A dry Plan B.

I devised an ambitious four-step plan:

1. Watch a season or two of "Sex and the City."

2. Finish the Great Music Ripping Project.

3. Buy an iPod.

4. Combine the efforts of step two and step three.

It's ridiculous that I haven't bought an iPod. People say that to me all the time (usually as they look at my thousands of CDs) - "how can YOU not have an iPod?" But for me, picking which one I wanted was my Sophie's Choice. I have changed my mind at least 100 times and thus never got one. Until today. Which isn't to say the flip-flopping didn't continue until the last possible minute. Just last week I told the Good Doctor I was leaning toward the 8-gig Nano. Today, I bought the 30-gig video version.

But on what should have been a happy, happy day - skipping out of the store with new toy in hand - everything almost went to shit thanks to the incompetence of an incredibly dim young man named Vic. Never has it been so difficult to spend $300.

Making said purchase required two trips to the iPod customer service desk, two to the cash register and one to the Best Buy customer service desk, to rectify Vic's various missteps. By the time I left, I was so irritated I flipped a motorist the bird as I walked out of the store (in my defense, he had parked on the sidewalk in front of the store because he was "just running in for a minute," and almost ran me over in his haste to pull away from the curb).

Luckily, that 20-minute debacle wasn't enough to ruin the afternoon. The rest of the day has been spent at Casa Magnolia, ripping away. I know my musical tastes are all over the map but seeing it all laid out in front of me in a list on iTunes really bangs the point home. I think my favorite consecutive string of artists is Belinda Carlisle, Benny Goodman, Bernaud Uedre and Big Audio Dynamite II.

As for Friday, getting a shot injected directly into your spine isn't as bad as you'd think. It helps if a woman you've known since elementary school, whose husband was your senior prom date, turns out to be your nurse and helps facilitate the one thing no one else could manage in four weeks of agony - legally prescribed painkillers. The nerve remains as severely pinched as it was a month ago. But now, I don't care as much. And I'm one step closer to having something in common with His Holiness. Not that I'm planning on getting addicted to Vicodin. But I could.

I've also decided not to let it slow me down anymore. Friday night, I went out with the clowns and Saturday I went to AC to see a concert. Sunday, of course, was spent watching football. You know when Chevy Chase tells his assembled family about his desire for a late present in "Christmas Vacation?" I have dreams of a similar scenario involving this man.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Conversation Between Allen Iverson and Jim Mora

Watch out, folks. I've learned how to post YouTube videos.

Here's a beauty. Someone took two of my favorite sports press conferences of all time - Allen Iverson's "practice?" and Jim Mora's "playoffs?" and spliced them together.

Maybe it's just me, but it has provided me with lots of giggles today.
So tomorrow, because I am not a horse and thus deserve to continue to receive medical attention, I am traveling to a surgical center, where a doctor who received his medical degree at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Science (please tell me someone has heard of this place, because "Sophie Davis" sounds like it should be a typing school) will inject a large needle full of drugs directly into my spine.

You know what's coming but I'll say it anyway ... GOOD TIMES!!

Two things worth mentioning...

I am not allowed to eat or drink after midnight tonight. This puts a hell of a burden on Freakgirl, who is driving me to the appointment. I am not the best morning person on many days, but no food or water will surely put me at my crankiest. Did you ever fill out one of those all-about-me surveys, where one of the questions is "What's the first thing you thought about this morning?" Ninety-five percent of the time, my first thought is, "I'm hungry."

When the doctor's assistant called to prepare me for the procedure, she provided me with a list of things to bring:

1. The films from my MRI
2. My insurance card
3. An extra pair of socks


Well, well, well. Thank goodness I was sitting down when I heard this news. I'm shocked.

There is currently a thread on a sports forum I visit titled, "Who's the biggest douche in sports?" Bonds, with 22% of the vote, was winning before this revelation, in a close race with Terrell Owens (19%) and Nick Saban (16%). Throwing a teammate under the bus to avoid incrimination should really skyrocket the poll in Bonds' favor.

"He's a horse that wants to live."

Ok. I am done with this effing horse. I love animals as much as the next person, but enough already. I can't imagine how many needy people could have been fed and housed for the money that has been spent on this horse.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My horoscope today:

It's your enthusiasm that makes you popular. Friends call you just to hear you say "Atta boy" or "Go girl!" and they aren't disappointed. Even if they have nothing to report, you find something to praise.

Who in the HELL are they talking about?
The Buckeyes came into the Valley of the Sun with a 12-0 record, bidding to become the greatest team ever at a school where that title is not thrown around lightly. Instead, the Buckeyes will spend Tuesday, Wednesday and the rest of their lives wondering how to explain an egg simultaneously laid by 121 players, nine assistants and one head coach.

That pretty much sums it up. Out-played. Out-coached. Period.

I put forth more of an effort than anyone in a Buckeye uniform last night. I tried everything to turn the tide: changed OSU shirts - twice - during the game; used a Craig Krenzel bobblehead as a voodoo doll; switched from red wine to white; took a walk around the block during halftime; wore my knit OSU hat indoors.


Let's review the high points. That won't take long...

1. At least we had 16 seconds of joy.
2. Sometime in the third quarter, one of my college roommates called, in a similar sobriety-challenged condition. She had decided, while watching the debacle, that the best way to get over such a loss would be a girls' trip to Amsterdam.

Yep. I think that's about it.

And really, that's all I have to say. Don't worry - you don't have to bump Tony Romo to make room for me on the death-watch list. I'll be fine.

Monday, January 08, 2007

And just like that, the Jets' season is over.

And you know what? That's okay. None of us thought we'd be watching the Jets play football in January, so to do so with friends, eating and drinking the day away, was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, the result was neither unexpected nor pleasant. The backwards-pass no-whistle debacle was just ugly and definitely the beginning of the end for Gang Green yesterday.

If I were Mangini, when Belichick came in for that fake "See, I'm not really a dick" hug, I'd have pulled a Mike Tyson and taken a chunk out of his ear and spit it right on the field. But that's just me.

The Giants, predictably, didn't do much better in the afternoon's late game. We were at my cousin's house Saturday afternoon and because it was 71 degrees, we were all outside throwing a football around (yes, despite my ongoing physical agony, I joined them, because if there's anything I love more than watching football, it's playing football, and I figured my arm was going to hurt whether I threw the ball or not, so I just said what the hell). Anyway, every time someone threw an awful ball - over the fence, at someone's feet, etc. - the obvious response was, "Nice throw, Eli." You might have thought that would get old, but it didn't.

Eli has perhaps the best deer-in-headlights look I've ever seen in sports. Coughlin has a great look too - one of "I really don't know what to do next here, so I'll just glare at the field and people will think I'm angry and excuse my incompetence." It's quite a coach-QB combination. But that's not what killed the Giants this year - it was their atrocious defense. What happened to the killer Big Blue D of yesteryear? What a mess.

We also spent a good portion of yesterday celebrating the failure of others...

Good times!! At first, I wasn't sure what happened, because I thought the Cowboys were faking the field goal and trying to sneak it in the end zone. Once Romo landed mere inches short of a first down, I was downright gleeful, as Freakgirl can confirm as she was sitting next to me in a bar Saturday night as the above transpired. Making it even more enjoyable was that everyone else in the bar seemed to be rooting for the Cowboys, making me the lone celebratory voice (along with Freakgirl, who was loyally following my lead).

There's one more little game to watch tonight, which I'll be doing at my cousin's palatial estate. Actually, it's not his estate that's palatial, but moreso his television. So we'll be enjoying a pre-game meal at Carlstadt's finest eatery and then returning to his hut for the game. I've got pre-game jitters already...

Friday, January 05, 2007

A few years ago, a friend of mine was unemployed for a while. I sent him an e-mail at one point to see how he was doing and what he was up to, and he responded: "Just got to the end of the Internet. Think I've read everything."

I know how he felt. Given my current state of limited mobility, I haven't done much but scour the Internet and watch television for the past few days.

Call me crazy, but doesn't this look like a cut-and-paste job? It looks like someone took Lindsay Lohan's head and put it on the body of a small child. Her head seems enormous.

I also went through some of the pictures I took around the holidays. These are two I took at my parents' house just before New Year's. The weather was so mild (as continues to be the case) that the crazy nephews and I went out to skip rocks as the sun set. The first photo is the beautiful sunset, the other is the crazy nephews walking back to the house together.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

In today's medical news...

It seems that what might actually be ailing me is my shoulder, not my neck and back. Thanks to the tried-and-true Jersey way of "knowing a guy," my appointment with the orthopedic specialist, originally scheduled for the 15th, was moved up to today. And not a moment too soon, because I'm just about at my wits' end with this no-sleeping crap, and my unauthorized drugs are not a long-term solution.

So while I do have some back issues, it's minor and can be dealt with later. The doc thinks the stabbing pains of death have been caused by a faulty rotator cuff, and if that's the case, I know exactly when that injury originally occurred - playing in a beer softball league around 1996, which means it's probably been festering for about 10 years.

The doc shot my shoulder full of drugs, which unfortunately only helped for about an hour. Then it was back to the debilitating pain. If it isn't better within a week, I'll be going back for Plan B. If Plan B turns out to be a tear in the rotator cuff or a spur of sorts, we are looking at some good times indeed.

But I'm going to try to limit the bitching until then. I've had enough, so I'm sure you have too. And there are many good things to look forward to in the next week, including the start of the NFL playoffs and Monday's college football national championship.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

So I finally gave in and kicked things up a pharmacological notch last night. Last week, a friend who may or may not be a medical professional decided he'd heard enough about my suffering and shared some pharmaceuticals. I wasn't going to take them, but by 9:30 last night I was in such bad shape I decided it was time to admit defeat.

(Oh, and don't waste your time lecturing me about the inadvisability of taking drugs you haven't actually been prescribed. Unless you've seen me in person sometime in the last three weeks, you can't have any idea how much I've been suffering. Really. Save it for someone who was able to get more than five minutes of sleep during a three-day stretch this weekend.)

Usually, when one takes such a drug, it's a quick route to sleepy-town. Not last night. All because of football. Glorious football.

In a meaningless bowl game between two teams I couldn't give a crap about, despite my narcotic-induced haze, I at one point actually sat up in bed and yelled, "Holy crap!" I have watched a lot of football over the years (hell, I watched almost 10 hours on Sunday and another 10 on Monday) and can't remember a crazier 20 minutes. One of the most insane games I have ever watched, in any sport.

But then I was so wound up I couldn't fall asleep. Then, the drugs started to wear off and my arm started to ache again. But for a few hours, I forgot I had a left arm, let alone one I thought could actually explode due to the pain. I can see how people get addicted to painkillers.

Monday, January 01, 2007

This is the back of His Holiness being interviewed after last night's game. I can't show a picture of the front view, because he's crying, and that's just more than I can deal with on the first day of 2007.

Until the moment pictured above, I was pretty confident he was coming back next season, particularly given how well he played in the Packers' win over the Bears and the vast improvement Green Bay showed this season (finishing at .500 is a pigskin miracle just shy of the one I'm going to discuss below).

Now, I'm not so sure. He was rather emotional if it weren't his last game. I'll share the Evil Empire's brillant Gene Wojciechowski's thoughts, and leave it at that for now.

Let's focus on happier things.

This is what giddy Jets fans look like. I thought that warranted an explanation, given it's not a common sight.

Four months ago I would have bet, at minimum, my house and my brother's dog against the Jets' chances of having a winning record at any point in the season, let alone at the end. The idea that the team, led by its new head coach who is younger than me, would record a double-digit number of victories and make it to the playoffs was beyond ludicrous.

And now, both have happened.

Several months ago, I linked to a story about Chad Pennington's impressive progress recovering from surgery, and commented that I would be impressed when the season was over and he had played in all the games.

Consider me impressed.

Gang Green's win over the Raiders Sunday afternoon, celebrated with champagne in an East Rutherford parking lot on an unseasonably warm final day of 2006, put me in the strange position of rooting for the Broncos to beat the 49ers. As a semi-Browns' fan, it goes against everything I know to ever root for the Broncos. But in this case, Broncos win, the Jets play at Indy next week. Broncos lose, Herm's Chiefs get into the playoffs and the Jets have to go to New England next week.

Thanks to Denver's inability to beat a bad team in almost five quarters of football, Coach Belichick, we'll see you next week.

Speaking of Belichick, he actually did something yesterday I applauded - putting Vinny Testaverde in the game and letting him throw a TD, which extended his record of consecutive seasons with a touchdown pass to 20. The Titans didn't seem so impressed:

"To bring in a 50-year-old guy to throw a little pass, probably the last pass of his career or of his life, I don't know. Whatever."