wine by the color

Monday, December 31, 2007

As an FYI, should you ever need to find someone who has been hauled away by the New Jersey State Police at the Meadowlands, you'll have to go between Gates A and B to retrieve him.

Just a helpful hint this holiday season from your friends at Wine by the Color.

My disappointment with our state law enforcement runs high this morning. The overwhelming opinion was that they were determined to make an example of someone, and they did - a young kid who was at least 50 feet from the Gate D concourse ramp, who made an almost inaudible wisecrack to his friends as he headed to the escalator and was immediately grabbed by three state troopers and thrown against a wall. A mediocre lawyer should easily be able to get the charges dismissed.

I did enjoy the NY Times story about the goings-on in East Rutherford yesterday...

According to stadium workers and season-ticket holders, the unruly behavior, which was brought to the team’s attention by an article in The New York Times on Nov. 20,

The behavior was not brought to the attention of the team by The New York Times. The Jets were aware of this for years.

“It’s good because now you don’t have all kinds of maniacs out here,” said Frank Mitchell, a 35-year-old Jets fan from Fishkill, N.Y., who attended the game with his girlfriend. “Listen, you want to come to a game and enjoy yourself. You don’t want fans shouting at your girlfriend. It’s very uncomfortable.”

Mitchell’s girlfriend, 22-year-old Margaret Gallo, said...

Twenty-two years old. Nice work, Mr. Mitchell.

The Jets and the sports authority might have been helped by the cold and wet weather. The 80,242-seat stadium was about a third full, and a stream of fans headed for the exits at halftime as a steady rain fell. Perhaps they were fed up with the Jets’ 12 losses this season.

I think the "third full" might be overstating matters. Conversely, a "stream of fans" heading for the exits at halftime is certainly an understatement. I'd call it more of a gush. I know - I particpated in the exodus.

Several fans were upset for another reason. They noted that the halftime ritual at Gate D had been the only thing left to cheer about during Jets games.

Asked about this fan sentiment, Higgins said, “We’re going to work hard in the off-season to give them a lot to cheer for.”

Good luck with that, Mr. Higgins.

As for Herm's return, how does a man go from this...

to telling his current team's fans to get over their shitty season in five short years? That doesn't sound like someone who's playing to win the game (as a sidebar, oh fabulous YouTube, how I love you so).

And finally, Kerry Collins? Really?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

When the NFL released the 2007 schedule last spring, three games stood out on the Jets' home sked for me: the season opener against the Patriots, the late-season tilt against Cleveland and the finale against the Chiefs, an NBC Sunday night game.

Well, the Pats game was a complete debacle, featuring Spy-gate. While I am enjoying the Browns' unexpected success this season, watching their game against the Jets was an exercise in torture in miserable weather (although I did have the opportunity to verbally mix it up with a Meadowlands usher, an exchange I certainly got the better of).

So that leaves us with tomorrow's Herm-bowl. Our expectations are low, outside of a guaranteed good time at the tailgate. Fortunately, the NFL took pity on Jets fans and moved the game to 4:15 instead of making us suffer through a night game.

All in all, it has not been a standout year for Gang Green supporters. The 3-12 record would be enough (seriously, if you had told me before the season that the Jets would be 3-12 while the Packers would be 12-3 and the Browns would be 9-6, I'd have suggested you put away the crack pipe), but then throw in Spy-gate, the Gate D brouhaha, and the parking situation, and I think we're all just about ready to put the '07 season in the rear-view mirror.

Looking ahead, the Jets' opponents are known for 2008 ... home games: New England, Buffalo, Miami, Denver, Kansas City, Arizona, St. Louis, Cincinnati; away games: New England, Buffalo, Miami, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tennessee. Nothing really catches my eye there. Perhaps a nice road trip to San Diego.

I'd like to write more, but I must seek medical attention immediately. I'm afraid my bleeding ears will never be the same after listening to Misters Gumbel and Collinsworth for the past few hours.

Speaking of the Patriots-Giants game, one last Jets-related link...

And I have no words for this. No words I'd want my mother to read, anyway...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My family doesn't do Christmas dinner. Instead, everyone makes a few hors d'oeuvres and we snack all afternoon.

This year, I decided to make rice balls. Someone at the Jets games brings them to the tailgate (his mother makes them), and my brother loves them. So I got the recipe from my fellow tailgater so I could make them as a treat for my brother.

This is what happens when you get a tailgate from someone you drink with before Jets' games. It's written in chicken scratch and includes no measurements or specifics whatsoever. For instance, it said "use white rice" and "cook some meat." No amounts. It also does not include any information about how long to cook them, or at what temperature.

But they are made. And that was a royal pain in my ass, and involved some hand burning.

I'm not sure how they're going to turn out, given the lack of cooking guidance. I'll post an "after" photo later.

But if my brother doesn't eat every single one of these and sing my praises as he does, we may seriously brawl in the middle of the living room.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bruce Springsteen and I wish you and yours a very merry...

Also, the crazies and I did a little dance for you...

Have a wonderful Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

As I watch the Browns demonstrate how not to execute the two-minute drill, I'm reminded of this classic moment in Browns-Bengals history...

Good times. The Browns' effort today? Not such good times (although the fourth quarter was rather entertaining).

And don't get me started on what transpired in Chicago today...

Which means the only possible bright spot for me in this week's NFL action is the Jets. I'm sure that'll work out well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So after a good night of sleep Saturday, I returned to the Dublin air strip early Sunday to welcome Becky. Her flight was due to arrive at 6:45 a.m. and I thought it would be nice to help her find her way, given that I was by then a savvy veteran of the process.

After her uneventful arrival, we returned to the hotel for some breakfast (which I honestly believe would be the only time we ate an actual breakfast until the day of our departure). We then decided to do a little wandering, which led to what would become our routine for the next week: a few hours of culture and history followed by countless hours of carousing.

As we left the hotel that morning, I let the Beckster know that should she tire at any point, due to her lengthy night of travel, to just let me know and we'd retire to the hotel for a rest. That was around 11 a.m. We returned to our posh accommodations shortly after midnight. She promised she would be raring to go, and indeed she was.

Sunday's culture included a walk through St. Stephen's Green and a visit to Trinity College to see the impressive Book of Kells.

After our first walk along the River Liffey (in absolutely bitterly cold temperatures)...

it was finally pub time (around 3 p.m.). We hit a few places before settling in at Kehoe's, which was outstanding.

The pubs in Ireland are quite different than the bars here. Almost everywhere we went, there were no televisions nor any blaring music. This lack of assault on the eardrums allowed for actual conversation, which we enjoyed with a variety of folks night after night. In Kehoe's that evening, we met a local couple who provided us with a bevy of recommendations.

We also enjoyed with them the first of countless conversations we had during the week about US politics. Honestly, the Irish people are more informed about US politics than the majority of people in this country. And they really, really want Hillary to be the next president. They hail Bill as a hero for his involvement in achieving peace in Northern Ireland, and they would like nothing more than to see another Clinton in the White House.

After several hours at Kehoe's it was on to a few more pubs before finally arriving at O'Neill's, which would serve as our guiding light for the rest of the week. Dublin was at times confusing, with winding streets and alleys all over, and we were forever getting turned around (which I'm sure had nothing to do with the 10 or so pints of Guinness each day). But every time we'd start to think we were actually lost, O'Neill's would be there, showing us the way home.

Upon our return to the hotel, Becky realized she hadn't called her husband to let him know she had safely arrived. So she called him as I got into bed. As she made small talk, I started hollering, "Buckeyes! Ask about the Buckeyes!" I had been unable to determine the fates of Missouri and West Virginia and was quite eager for information.

So I listened to her side of the conversation as she reported that both West Virginia and Missouri had lost. And then I started yelling at her to pay better attention, because I assured her she had to have heard wrong as there was no way WVU would lose to the atrocious Pitt Panthers. I went so far as to accuse her of being too drunk to listen properly, or realize when her husband was pulling her leg.

Well, it took until Tuesday, but when I finally got my hands on a USA Today, I learned that despite nine hours of drinking, her auditory skills were just fine, and OSU was indeed going to its second consecutive national title game...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I've taken some slack, and deservedly so, for the delay in recapping our Dublin antics. My apologies. I've been very busy with a variety of holiday-related activites and have been spending a good deal of time with CN#2 the past few days, which makes any blogging a secondary concern at best.

In the past 36 hours, I have taken in his performance in the nursery school pageant and we have jointly done some shopping, gone to the car wash, visited my office (where we delivered Christmas cookies while one of us demonstrated our newly learned karate moves and repeated our Christmas list to anyone who would listen), watched hours worth of Superfriends episodes, and enjoyed one meal at a local luncheonette (including a shared slice of blueberry pie, his favorite) and another at a "fancy lunch place."

Speaking of cookies, might I pat myself on the back about a new endeavor this year, the glazed almond bonbons ... I was delighted with how nicely these turned out...

When Freakgirl, my sister-in-law and I someday get our bakery up and running, rest assured that these will be on the menu daily.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

If I were to admit the Evil Empire activated my tear ducts during its year-end show, would my credibility be completely shot?

I mean, come ON. Does that little girl not just melt your heart?

As if that wasn't enough to raise the dust level in Casa Magnolia, read this, then watch this and tell me, what am I supposed to do with that?

And in the event you haven't had enough, might I recommend this week's SI cover story?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'm not sure what this face is up to, but every time you ask crazy nephew #2 what he'd like from Santa, he offers the following list:

1. A submarine
2. A bow and arrow
3. A gun

We're all quite curious to see what he has planned once he amasses this collection of artillery.

(And before you ask, of course I bought him a bow and arrow.)
When the Beckster and I decided to employ a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants approach for our Ireland adventure, we did so knowing we'd be traveling together and thus able to use our combined travel savvy to find our way.

Continental Airlines quickly blew a huge fucking hole in that gameplan when it at first delayed and eventually canceled Becky's connecting flight from CMH to EWR. Given the turn of events at her office 24 hours prior, a colossal travel fuck-up was not what she needed. Freakgirl, upon hearing about the double whammy of the job and travel woe, said via e-mail: "Thank god you will be in a city that celebrates drinking your cares away."


During some 30+ status-updating phone calls between 7 and 9 p.m. that Friday, Becky and I discussed the options. At one point, I tentatively (but sincerely) offered, "Dude, you've been through a lot in the past 36 hours and if you don't want to go, I'll totally understand." Her response: "WE'RE GOING. I NEED TO GO." But because flights to Ireland only depart EWR (as well as JFK, LaGuardia and Philly, as we checked everything) at night, she would thus be unable to get across the pond until early Sunday morning.

And that's how I wound up arriving in Dublin almost 24 hours before the Beckster.

Now, if forced at gunpoint to find a bright spot in the whole mess, it would be that there was an empty seat next to me for the overnight flight. That proved to be particularly handy when my gastrointestinal tract went nuts halfway through the flight, necessitating a mad dash from my seat to the restroom. Damn cocktails and altitude of 30,000+ feet.

Anyway, to demonstrate how little research I'd done regarding our trip, I did not know the time difference between the US and Ireland. I had no idea about the exchange rate between the Euro and the dollar (answer = not good). And I certainly didn't have a clue as to how to get to our hotel. But I happily learned all these things and more in my 24 solo hours. I also bought a new winter hat (it's hard to describe how bitterly cold it was upon my arrival), ate the first of many Italian meals and watched this.

But I also did a lot of sleeping, knowing that when Becky finally arrived, she would be a woman on a mission. As I said to her during one of our many phone calls Friday, "God help Dublin Sunday night."

To be continued...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

So how was Dublin?

Among many highlights, my favorite day was Wednesday, when the Beckster and I started the day with a visit to two churches and a castle. The cultural portion of the program completed, we moved on to lunch, where we shared a bottle of wine, then on to Jameson's, which included a whiskey tasting. It was then time for an afternoon pint. And the next thing we knew, it was 4 in the morning and I was dancing to Michael Jackson tunes in an after-hours lounge with an Irishman named Quinn. And finally noticing, as I put my head on the pillow, that the clock read 6:56.

That pretty much sums up Dublin (although there will be many details, stories and photos to come).

And thanks to the many friends and readers who notified me of this during my absence. I didn't check e-mail or have cell access while over there, but immediately upon my return I was inundated with messages about this.

People, it warms my heart to know how much you care. You are looking out for me, and it is appreciated.

Also, details regarding how I found out about this will be included during the Dublin wrap-up because the words, "West Virginia lost? That can't be right. Pitt is awful. You must be really drunk." should be placed in their proper context.