Archive | February, 2009

Eat, Pray, Love, Frozen Waffles, Supermarket

21 Feb

As the Hangover careened down the frozen food aisle with a full cart, little did he expect to find a cardboard display selling Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.  How does a writer this good wind up just past sub-zero waffles, pancakes, and breakfast sandwiches?

It’s obvious as to why a supermarket would be an effective spot for selling the biggest and best piece of chick lit written this century.   The Hangover bought the book for the missus two Christmases ago.  She loved it.  And it has to have been read by every women’s book group in the country by now.  But to reach the five or six females in every town who  may have somehow missed it, the grocery store seems a dream venue.

Gilbert is no Michael Crichton or Nora Roberts, whose trashy paperbacks formerly comprised the top echelon of supermarket literature.  Gilbert can write–extremely well.  That she has to be placed in the vicinity of  TGI Friday’s jalapeno poppers and Jackie Collins’ Fabio-covered drivel is unfortunate.  On the other hand. while the rest of the economy is tanking, Gilbert’s personal GNP continues to rise.

Although The Hangover has not read  Eat, Pray, Love (yet), I have read and enjoyed her fiction.  Stern Men, set in Maine, is a rollicking, funny novel with depth.  It’s John Irving-lite, and that is meant with no disrespect.  Pilgrims,Gilbert’s short story collection from 1997,  is brilliant. Gilbert’s a sharp, incisive writer and her stories are tough, humorous, and engaging.

While eschewing Oprah-ness, Pilgrims should still appeal to the same women who enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love.  Here’s the opening from the story, Landing:

“I lived in San Francisco for three months and only slept with one person, a redneck from Tennessee. I could have done that back home and saved myself a lot of rent money. A city full of educated, successful men and I went after the first guy I saw wearing a John Deere hat.”

Or how about this one from, Come and Fetch These Stupid Kids

 “Margie and Peg were arrested after they got drunk on the chef’s cooking wine and went into the parking lot and rubbed butter on the windshield of every car parked there.  It was late at night.  It was also late in September, and long past the end of tourist season.”

The Hangover can live with the shock of seeing Gilbert placed in the neighborhood of French toast, onion rings, and Danielle Steele.  Now if the powers that be could only see fit to add Pilgrims and Stern Men to the kiosk, they’d be doing their customers a real service.

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Bud Selig: Baseball Hero

13 Feb

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has come out with this definitive statement on the Alex Rodriguez steroid scandal:  A-Rod   has “shamed the game.”   The reverberations of Bud’s comments will shake the foundation of the sport to its performance-enhanced roots.  What shortstop pocketing millions of dollars could live with himself knowing that if he shoots himself in the ass with  HGH he’ll cast a shadow over the game?

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt was recently suspended for saying that Selig was “someone who looks like a computer programmer, substitute teacher or government worker” and that Selig’s 18.5 million dollar salary caused Van Pelt to choke on his own vomit.  Van Pelt continued by stating that Selig was a “pimp for real. He probably has a chalice with ‘B-U-D’ spelled out in jewels and diamonds. You drink from a chalice if you’re a pimp.”   Van Pelt couldn’t have been more wrong.  Pimps have girls and hookers and whores.  Bud only supervised drug users.  He just didn’t realize it.   And no one can blame him for that:  He was a car dealer, not McNulty from The Wire.   

There was no way Bud could have known that drugs had infiltrated his sport.  He was not yet commissioner and wasn’t in Fenway when 30,000 Sox fans chanted “STER-OIDS” at Jose Canseco in the 1990 playoffs.   Apparently, the average drunken Bostonain realized something that neither baseball executives  nor sportswriters could figure out.  But the well-above-average intelligence of Northeasterners should not reflect poorly on Bud. 

Of course, there were the proportionally increasing size of players and home run totals.   Starting in 1999, the record for number of homers  passed 61 (established in 1961) with Mark Mcgwire’s 65, eventually landing on Barry Bond’s 73 in 2001.   During that time McGwire went from ” big guy” to “muscle bound freak,” and a once-normal Bonds turned into the Incredible Hulk with a Volkswagen Bug for a head.   One can surmise that Bud was busy investigating if baseballs had become too tightly wound and why there were so many bad pitchers, the most likely explanations for all the long balls. 

Ultimately, however, Bud can take credit for exposing the performance enhancing drug problem in the sport.  If not for Selig’s complete ignorance of the issue, Jose Canseco’s memoir, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, would have never had the impact it did.  Upon the book’s release, Congress felt compelled to step in and address the problem, with Bud doing his best impression of Captain Binghamtom in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  No, Bud didn’t come off as knowing anything or having a clue, but by the nature of his exemplary ineptness, he brought about the machinations that have begun to clean up the sport.  

Now when Bud talks, baseball listens.  Right after it stops laughing.

Capt. Wallace B. Binghamton and Bud Selig

Two American Heroes: Capt. Wallace B. Binghamton and Bud Selig

Kurt Warner Misses Jesus at Super Bowl

2 Feb

After the NFC Championship game, Kurt Warner thanked Jesus for his performance and the Arizona Cardinals’ win. In yesterday’s Super Bowl, Warner was nearly great, throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns.  But he also gakked up a game-changing interception for a Steeler TD at the end of the first half and then fumbled in the closing seconds when heaving a Hail Mary to god-like wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald could have provided victory.  In post-game remarks, Kurt did not thank Jesus for this lesson in humility.

The question remains, why would Jesus abandon one of his biggest supporters in his time of need?  Perhaps Jesus was worn out from nefariously influencing NBC executives into banning PETA’s harmless “Vegetarians Have Better Sex” commercial.   While NBC’s shows are populated with hot actresses (the awesome Friday Night Lights anyone?), apparently they are not allowed on-screen with broccoli, asparagus, and pumpkins.  Irregardless, the Hangover hopes that the meat-eating, having-lousy-sex citizens of Pittsburgh are enjoying themselves.   

As for the rest of us, time to start ordering salads: