wine by the color

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm not sure what it is, but I am really enjoying this commercial lately...

Monday, May 18, 2009

My sister-in-law and I took a little road trip Friday to the land of chocolate to see Springsteen and the E Street Band. Although it's always a little different to see Springsteen outside the confines of Jersey, it was an outstanding outing. The weather was perfect - perhaps the nicest night we've had all year. We were treated to a solid setlist and amused ourselves people watching (central PA, with its hoopies, ranks just below NYC and Disney World in terms of people watching as a spectator sport.

But the highlight of the evening came from the drum set, as Max Weinberg's 18-year-old son Jay filled in for his father and was simply incredible. We saw him guest-drum during "Born to Run" in the Meadowlands last summer, which was amazing, but to watch him rock out for the whole show was really terrific. Springsteen really seemed to enjoy having him behind the drums and commented on his skills repeatedly.

Eighteen years old. Incredible. His "what I did on my summer vacation" report should be quite a read.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I know it's only May but can we talk a little football?

Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback remains one of my favorite reads, even in the off-season. This past Monday, he rated all 32 teams as he currently sees them, from first to worst.

This seems about right for the Jets (although this ongoing nonsense with Leon Washington and Thomas Jones is troubling)...

16. New York Jets
They were 8-3 last year after 12 weeks with a quarterback playing well but not great, and they only fell off the face of the earth because Favre couldn't throw well down the stretch. The key will be whether Mark Sanchez can adapt to Brian Schottenheimer's offense and digest it in time to play very early, like opening day. Because what coach Rex Ryan is aiming for is clear. Speaking of Ryan, the Jets will be a fun team to watch because he's going to make some lesser lights shine in roles they've never played before. It's a fun defense, and his troops will eat it up. I could see the Jets anywhere between 6-10 and 11-5.

But the real shocker of this list came at #32, when King picked the Cleveland Browns to finish DFL, behind even the winless-in-2008 Detroit Lions. Depressing.

King also relayed the following anecdote about the new Jets QB:

I continue to be amazed at the response. The other night, my phone rang. "Mr. King,'' the voice said, "it's Mark Sanchez.'' Stop with the Mr. King business, I interrupted. Then he said he'd read about the benefit for Zim and wanted to know what he could do. This is Mark Sanchez, hardly a child of the Zim generation. Zim was writing Super Bowl game stories glorifying Joe Montana when Sanchez wasn't even in the womb yet. Sanchez wondered if he could do anything, and I said, "Well, a signed jersey would be nice.'' And so it happened, and you can visit our auction site,, today and bid for the jersey.

And speaking of Jets quarterbacks, then (pause so I can take a deep breath), there was this...

6. I think I don't have much illuminating to say about Brett Favre, the will-he-or-won't-he man of the moment, because the cake's still in the oven. It's not done yet. Favre has not decided yet whether to play.

A couple of important points: The right biceps near his throwing shoulder isn't right, dating to last year with the Jets. He also has to decide that he'd want to train the way he did two years ago, when he had a live-in trainer for much of two months at his home in southern Mississippi.

I feel sure the Vikings want him and will put up with this long hiccup, regardless of the outcome. If they think he can be healthy come August, and he wants to play, they'll have him. And if Favre feels that by August he could play with no pain in the shoulder -- either after having surgery or it going away naturally -- it's likely he'll play. No matter what is said this week, it's not over now. Even if Favre says he's decided not to play, it's not over, because he's ruled by emotion.

Now, could the Vikings tell him no thanks, unwilling to be held hostage by the emotion of the moment? Yes, of course. But they shouldn't. What Brad Childress should do right now, simply, is tell his quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels, "Look, we're exploring signing Brett Favre. The guy was playing well last year 'til he hurt his arm, and we owe it to the organization to cover our bases here. So just keep working, and I'll keep you posted on what happens.''

Then he should announce that the Vikings are going to give Favre the time he needs to see if he wants to play and can get healthy enough to play, and then the Vikings will see if it's a smart idea for the franchise to make a deal with him, and everyone's just going to have to be patient while this process plays out.

And then...

7. I think you might be wondering how two news organizations, Yahoo! Sports and ESPN, could have such disparate stories 24 hours apart last week. Yahoo's report said Favre called Childress and told him he's not playing. ESPN's said Favre will play if his shoulder's right.

Having been around Favre a lot over the last decade, I can tell you why these stories happen, and why there's a very good chance both are correct: Because it's hard for him to make up his mind (no crap, Sherlock!), and he keeps his own counsel a good deal of the time, and there are very few "sources close to Favre'' who have a good idea what he's planning to do at a given moment -- and even then, he could change his mind about what he's likely to do.

Good example: Last year, I sat with him for a few hours five days before he signed with the Jets. It was a discussion about everything -- playing, not playing, venom about the Packers' decision to not allow him to come back or start or release him. And when I walked away from that meeting with him, I remember telling someone who knew I'd been around him, "He's going to play hardball with the Packers for a few weeks, at least. One of the reasons is he doesn't want to go to the two teams that want him -- the Bucs or Jets.'' I told a beat-guy friend of mine covering the story: "He's not going to the Jets.'' Eleven days later, he's posing with a Jets' jersey at a press conference. Moral of the story (painful for me because I'm supposed to know the guy, and I keep getting his fate wrong): Write your stories about Favre with a big eraser on the end of your pencil.

People, brace yourselves for a big break-up between me and His Holiness. It's coming, and it is NOT going to be pretty...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

For the past week and a half, I have been rising daily at 5 a.m. to go to boot camp. I wasn't sure about it going in but signed up because Debbie asked if I wanted to do it together and I am nothing if not a supportive friend.

People, I was born to do boot camp. I love it. LOVE it. it's like gym class for adults. Lots of cardio, strength training, plyometric exercises. It's challenging but great. In fact, some days it's really challenging - today as I left I sent the Captain a text suggesting that the instructor was trying to kill me. But after just eight days, I can see changes in my body and I love being done with my daily exercise by 7 a.m.

But getting up at 5 a.m. sucks. Given a robust social calendar lately, I've really been burning the candle at both ends. In the past three nights, I have gotten a total of eight hours of sleep. But for good reasons. Last night, I made my inaugural visit to Citi Field, accompanied by the Captain and the Colonel. The park is beautiful (and kudos to the powers-that-be for rerouting the path from the subway to the stadium), the night was chilly but nice and the game was a good extra-innings Mets victory that featured the first streaker in Citi Field history.

But all this nonstop activity has left me absolutely exhausted. Today I actually awoke at 4:30 a.m. because the Captain needed to be to work by 6. So by mid-afternoon, I felt like I had been awake for two days. I couldn't remember going to boot camp this morning - it seemed like another day. I hope to get some sleep tonight and tomorrow because Friday night features a trip to central Pennsylvania to see a 60-year-old Jerseyan rock his ass off.

This is all a long-winded way of saying I knew it would take something special to get me back on the blog train. And today, my brother provided just the inspiration I needed when he forwarded this gem from a friend.

Too busy to do your own browsing? Here, I'll just take you right to the trainwreck highlight.


My family has a great sense of humor, and we can be a little wacky. But under no circumstances - and I mean NONE - would this have been considered. Seriously, if someone offered my parents a million dollars to dress up like this, they would have declined.

There is no way those kids aren't on drugs, in porn, or in jail for killing their parents.

Two other sites also made their way to me recently, and they are somewhat related. I'd encourage you to check out Texts From Last Night and What Not To Share. The second one is particularly amusing. I have one Facebook friend whose status updates could fill this entire blog.

But I think This is Why You're Fat remains my favorite web site. Several recent entries have led me to suspect the proprietors of TIWYF might be based in Jersey, including one submission from the Grease Trucks and the previously mentioned Potachos from Stuff Yer Face. Today, they offered the Monte Cristo, one of my favorite diner staples. But they kicked it up a notch, deep frying the entire sandwich and covering it in raspberry preserves and powdered sugar.

It's a real shame we haven't had a nutrition analysis at boot camp. I'd love to list things like this.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The weather forecast wasn't great - with the likelihood of rain more than 60 percent - but when's the last time a meterologist was right?

Um, today.

During our ferry ride from Staten Island to Battery Park for this year's Bike New York, we realized we were probably in for a soggy day. The Verrazano was almost invisible due to the overcast conditions, as were the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan.

Our hope was that the rain would pass quickly and turn into a sunny day, something that happened one of the first years Debbie and I tackled the ride. No such luck for the 2009 edition.

The drizzle picked up steam as we waited in lower Manhattan for the ride to begin. Here's a nice puddle on 6th Avenue at 8 a.m. You can imagine the size of the lakes that had formed in the streets six hours later...

One of the only back-ups we encountered during the day was getting onto the Queensboro (59th Street) Bridge...

which normally would have been annoying but on this day provided a nice respite from the rain...

These things looked ridiculous but I bet this gent's feet were nice and dry at the end of his 42 miles...

Guess whose weren't?

I started the day wearing long pants that held the rain at bay or a while but eventually my legs felt like they were encased in wet saran wrap.

The rain fell steadily throughout the day. At times I would call it a drizzle, at others it was an outright downpour. At times it was raining so hard it was ridiculous and laughable. My uncle and brother were temporarily concerned it might be hailing. But fun was had nonetheless. My brother was riding for the first time and although he's vowed he'll never do this again, I think he's kidding. He did particularly well for a first-timer and my uncle, outfitted with a new bike with 21 functioning gears (as opposed to last year, when he rode the entire 42 miles with two gears) had his best-ever ride.

Eventually, we employed a "just get it done" approach so after a quick break, it was on to tackle the beast, the Verrazano.

The steep, lengthy ride over the bridge was pretty smooth, no small feat given the effort it took to fight the headwinds and pelting rain on the Belt Parkway. Once in Staten Island, the clouds really rolled in, making the bridge almost invisible. But we certainly knew it was there...

Mission complete, I managed a smile despite being as cold and wet as I can remember...

Upon returning to the car, we peeled off as many wet layers as we could without risking an indeceny charge. When I arrived home and started to remove my belongings from the bike bag, I realized everything was soaked through, including my money...

I now have about nine hours to recuperate from today's exercise trauma before I arrive for Day 1 of the boot camp Debbie and I are starting tomorrow. Originally it was supposed to start next Monday but the instructor moved it up a week. I've already warned her I might not be at the top of my game tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

No matter what, I hope it works out better than things do for poor Scarlet here (and yes, I am a terrible person because this makes me laugh very, very hard)...