Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Cleveland Cavalier Pride

This should hold Cleveland fans over until we can retire Lebron's jersey:
Cavs retire World B. Free's jersey

A Toast To The Pope

Congratulations on your first official pontiff decision. And what a doozy! Banning all openly gay men from the priesthood. Well done, sir. This puts a stop to anyone celibately thinking about anyone but females. And that is what God wants, right? I suppose it makes sense for a religion with a history of preaching the teachings of Christ while, at the same time, clinging to tradtional prejudices.

I'm not decrying catholicism. I think it's great in a lot of ways, but I think catholicism, like a lot of organized religions, get caught up in the minor sentences instead of the bigger picture. For instance in Christianity, instead of focusing on a few sentences in the Bible (when a couple of those sentences actually refer to the raping of men after battles for the sheer demasculinization of it), why not look at what Jesus said was the number one priority of all of us here on earth-to love one
another and to treat people the way we want to be treated. How amazing is it to think that people from all walks of life, all orientation and color, believe in the same thing as you (and no matter what religion you are, that is true)? And to bar someone from participating in any part of the religious experience, especially if they're willing to make the same sacrifices, is wrong. It's hard to imagine Jesus walking through all possible candidates for priesthood and asking, "Do you like girls or
boys?" In fact, it's hard to imagine women not being in this group of candidates. Because, frankly, none of that should matter.

Oh well, um-to you Pope Benedict! Congratulations on your first official pontiff decision. May your next few correct the errors made in this one!

Am I Depressed Again?

Well, I stopped going to therapy and taking zoloft and all, so the most likely answer is "yes". But depression has it's upsides. Notably, getting a prescription to swim with dolphins.

Turns out swimming with dolphins can have a significant impact on depression symptoms. The study backs a theory known as Biophylia- the notion that a human's mental health is closely tied to their relationship with nature. In a fit of revisionist patient-ism, I'll state that some of my brightest moments when I was really depressed were when I was in beautifully non-urban settings, like the mountains of Idaho, the pine parks of Washington, or the Appalachian foothills. Playing with my sister's dogs always made me happy, and the mere idea of purchasing a cat had me floating for a couple weeks.

Sorry there's no joke to be found here. I just really thought the idea of swimming with dolphins being healthy was really neat. *sigh*

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Yeah, it's old news, and yeah every blog on earth has found it funny enough to mention, but I'd like to add another layer to the cake of mystery that is Karft's "Crumbelievable®" campaign for their cheese crumb products.

For those who don't know, Kraft recently released a bag of cheese crumbs, and the commercial for them uses a re-imagined version of EMF's hit, "Unbelievable". Yes, they changed the lyrics to "You're Crumbelievable®". Something so awful would be rather funny if the Kraft people would play it as such, but they're deadly serious about making people think their cheese crumbs are, in fact, crumbelievable®. The poor singer packs tons of emotion into that line; "You're so crumbelieveable®, OH!", trying his hardest to make you forget what an awful, awful idea the commercial is.

You know how sometimes you'll hear the studio musician hired to re-do an instantly recognizable song for a commercial, and you swear you can hear their soul dying? Like the Citizen's Bank commercial that redid "Speeding Motorcycle", or the National City one where they redid "I'm Special"? It's like that. Note, the famous Hootie Burger King commercial does not count, as it was an instant parody of itself and it looked like everyone knew that going into it.

But that's all old news. What I want to add is this: You may have noticed I didn't link to an online version of the ad. Given the "viral ad" craze, every single commercial ever released pops up on the internet within a minute and a half of it's first airing. Yet the Crumbelieveable® spot is nowhere to be found, which leads me to believe that Kraft Foods is deeply, deeply ashamed of it. And what's not to be ashamed of? The lyrics, please:

The things you crave, that big cheese taste that blows you away
The things you crave, that's what I eat them more
The things you crave, that big cheese taste that blows you away
The things you crave, they're crumbelievable (oh)

Animal Club Turns 110

Our MySpace page has just collected our 110th friend. Frankly, I have nothing to do with the MySpace account; Tornetta more or less runs that with Shane. And maybe Ruth? I don't know. Anyway, we've got a hundred and ten friends, and here are some of my favorites:

• Cities: Only Pittsburgh and Chicago so far. If I cared about our MySpace page, which I don't, I'd try to get more cities. Like Nashville. And Gainseville. And Johnsville.
• Famous People: There's only one Stevie Nicks. And one Brian Posehn. And one Beulah. And we're friends with them, which means we can crash at their places when we're on the road, right? "Stevie, it's the Animal Club. You know, from MySpace? Yeah, we're going to be in Wherever You're From, and we need a place to stay. MySpace. It's a thing on the internet." I still don't care about our our MySpace page.
• Arrested Development Characters: Steve Holt, Tobias, even Franklin are our friends. Crashing with them will be tougher, though, because when their show gets cancelled, their world will disappear. This is why I really hate our MySpace page; it's powerless to stop Fox from canceling Arrested Development...
• Save Arrested Development: One of our friends on our MySpace page, which I don't care about, is Save Arrested Development. If it works, I might care about our MySpace page, but I doubt it.

Even though I obviously don't care about our MySpace page, you can still go there and become our friend. I don't care. About our MySpace page.

Air Guitarists, Meet Your Harold Hill

At long last, those of you who never learned how to play guitar (and those of us who never learned how to play well enough to properly rock) can, no, WILL be rockstars. New Scientist reports that Finnish scientists have created a computerized system that recognizes air guitar moves, and translates them into actual guitar riffs.

I'm totally excited about this. So many sketch ideas pop into mind; Dueling Air Banjos, Air Guitar Orchestra, that's more or less it, but those are two solid ideas. Also, I've been trying to figure out the solo in john Pizzarelli's "I Wouldn't Trade You" for a very, very long time. I could totally see myself playing the rhythm part and singing, and then, when the solo came up, throw the guitar down, stand up and Air Guitar it. In short, there is nothing about this scientific achievement that is anything less than totally awesome.

thanks, slashdot

Monday, November 28, 2005


apparently, there's someone at the International Doping Agency named...wait for it...dick pound.

i'd suggest a leno-off, but it would be too blue. maybe a pryor-off? nah. i'm too depressed about the steelers loss to encourage anyone else to have fun.



140 hours= # of hours of sworn testimony collected by GOP controlled Congress on the issue of Did Bill Clinton Use White House Christmas Card List To Identify Potential Democratic Donors.

12 hours= # of hours of sworn testimony collected by GOP controlled Congress on the issue of Prisoner Abuse at Abu Gharib.

via and suburban gorilla

emusic acht-mented

It's emusic time again, and my trip to Pittsburgh meant a visit to Paul's CD's and to Joe Stile's house, which means I have even more music to tell you about. Here's what's served up so far:

Vashti Bunyan: Lookaftering: A crisis of confidence in the 1960's kept Vashti from following up her debut until 2005. Recent guest appearances on Animal Collective and Devendra Banhart albums gave this album terrific run-up press, and it doesn't disappoint. An hours worth of trans-classic folk with a delicate, pleasant voice makes for great winter listening.

Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane: Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane: The recent Carnegie Hall release put T-Monk and J.C. on the map again (as if they ever left), and this classic sprouted up on emusic as well. Hipster jazz. Gotta love that.

Pianosaurus: Groovy Neighborhood: This is a band that plays only toy instruments; toy drums, toy pianos, toy guitars, etc. It makes for an interesting story, but it's almost impossible to listen to the whole way through.

Junior Senior: Hey Hey My My Yo Yo: I'm going to be honest here; Joe gave me this one, and I don't know if it's an actual 80's CD or a group that's just riding the style. Either way, it's as fun as a booty shake could be, and laugh out loud funny at times.

Palace Music: Viva Last Blues: I'm a huge Will Oldham fan, and haven't had this album since the mid 90's. I've missed it dearly. Now it's back, and I can rock out to "Work Hard/Play Hard" all I want. huzzah!

Mogwai: Government Commisions: Culled from several Peel Sessions over the years, this is as fine a collection of live Mogwai as I've ever heard. Sad math rock, yes, but still pretty awesome.

Animal Collective: Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished/Danse Manatee: This two album set leaves only "Here Comes The Indian" left to complete my AC collection. Spirit is much stronger than Danse. Hey! That's like a poem! Or a maxim!

There's much, much more, but I haven't had time to listen to much of it. Plus, I still have like 30 tracks left to download. Onward!

SkyMall, part 1

On the flight back from Pittsburgh, I spent most of my time gawking at the SkyMall catalogue. Anyone who's ever flown is familiar with it, and like me, probably noticed that it hasn't really changed in seven years. Since we were stuck in a holding pattern over O'Hare for about an hour, I got intimately familiar with the catalogue, and a couple of products struck me as amusing. I'll be posting them from time to time, and to get us started, I've got this wonderful piece of product, The Dog e-Tag.

This digital identification tag does what no analogue dog tag can do- run out of batteries. Are you tired of just having your dog's name and your phone number on their tag? Well now, you can program the tag to tell the guy who finds your lost dog how big of a schmuck you are for spending $40 on a dog tag. The item is proclaimed as "The World's Only Digital Dog Tag"- there's a reason for that. You might want to think twice before announcing to the world "We're the only company dumb enough to think this was a good idea". Finally, the description of the tag suggests you program something fun into it, like "Rub My Ears" or "I don't see well", claiming that such information will get the dog back to you faster, reducing stress on you and your dog. Somehow I think trying to navigate 40 lines of information with pointless gobbleygook like "I don't like riding in cars that much" would take more time, not less, than looking at a tag, reading a phone number and calling it. But, hey! It's DIGITAL! It's CUTTING EDGE! Therefore, it's in the SkyMall catalogue.

This is but a taste of the pleasure an in-depth reading of the SkyMall catalogue can bring. For more, stay tuned, and you can request your own perfect-bound book of fun here.

Yes, The New Yorker

I picked up a copy of the latest issue in the airport the other day, and it just so happened to be the annual cartoon issue. Of all the regular features in the New Yorker, the cartoons are my least favorite, just behind Goings on About Town. My value system, however, took a punch in the gut this week, because I actually saw a cartoon in the New Yorker that I liked. In fact, I laughed out loud. Here it is:

The issue of New Yorker cartoons being explicitly unfunny was covered in an episode of Seinfeld where Elaine got the editor to admit that even he didn't get the cartoons, so I won't delve into that. Still, it's a mystery to me that one of the two great sources of literary wit in America (the other being McSweeney's) could have cartoons that are so, I don't know, meh.

Also, please enjoy this shout and/or murmur from the same issue, a fun run on the theme of college essays.

Now go enjoy a constitutional or art exhibit. You know, be metropolitan.

Are YOU ready for some football?

I'm changing the inflection of that good old Hank Williams song, if only to ask, with all sincerity, if YOU, gentle blog viewer, are in fact, ready for some football.

Now THAT was great over-usage of the comma.

Those that ARE ready for some football can meet the Animal Club, and our Naked Friend John La FlamBoy, his girlfriend Theresa, our favorite costume maven Vicki, and the ever-present Dalla and Ean at the Dark Horse in Wriggleyville for HOT Steelers vs. Colts action.

Those that are most definitely NOT ready for some football may wish to get pumped up in order TO be ready for some football. Here are a few articles about FOOTBALL that are SURE to get YOU READY for some FOOTBALL!!!

Wikipedia entry on American Football
google results for "football is awesome"

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Regarding a picture of Chuck Norris...

That wasn't a picture of Chuck Norris.

So, here's the story. I blogged about Chuck a few posts back and I wanted a picture of him. So, I searched Google for some images and found one that I thought suited the post. So, I posted it. Wasn't really thinking anything except that it was a good picture. Suppose there's more to it when you're dealing with crazy assholes because this came from someone's personal website and they weren't cool with the whole sharing thing (you know, like a kid in pre-school). I didn't realize how possessive someone can get over a Chuck Norris picture. So, this person changed the picture so it came up something obscene on our blog (something involving the A-hole area). I have learned a lesson I suppose.
So, here's a toast to assholes and my sincere apologies to anyone who might have been offended.

so there was that...

um. there may have been some ugliness involving grossness here earlier, but that's all behind us now. pun DEFIANTLY not intended.

the plot of this post is as follows:

i just got back to chicago from pittsburgh, am very tired, but have a napkin full of blog ideas to go through later on. most, but not all, of these relate to the Air Mall Catalogue. is this source deep enough to warrant multiple blog posts? only time will tell.

additionally, since this is officially the grossest day in the animal club blog history, i'll have you know that the nine-year-old girl sitting next to me for my flight threw up while we were landing, which means i sat next to a girl who sat in her own vomit for upwards of fifteen minutes.

happy thanksgiving, indeed.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Arrested Development Petition

I know I've been pretty vocal about the loss of Arrested Development, but it's a great loss to our TV world and I feel it's my duty to link up to this online petition to save this most brilliant of comedies:

Save Arrested Development

Cannibal Squirrels!!

So, here's the thing. Yesterday, Thanksgiving morning, was the second time someone in our household has spotted a carnivorous squirrel, making us all thankful that at least squirrels have yet to develop a taste for human ankle.

But, Tom burst into our front door, blanched white and screaming, "Oh my God! Oh my God!" He had caught a glimpse of a squirrel with something furry in its mouth. At first he took this to be a cat-like way of transporting a baby, but when the squirrel dashed up a tree in an attempt to flee the scene, Tom could see the dead rat hanging out of the Squirrels mouth. And now that the squirrel was safe high up on a tree branch, he looked into Tom's eyes and took a bite of his rat feast.

And sadly, this has happened before. Balzer and Ruth spotted a squirrel resting across our porch rail, another squirrel's tail protruding from its mouth. When the squirrel realized he was being watched, he tried to play it off like he hadn't just swallowed his best friend whole, but to no avail. No matter what he said, he couldn't cover up the evidence hanging out of his mouth. He, too, fled the scene.

Could these be the same squirrel? Perhaps. But, one thing is for certain. We have some serious squirrel problems here. We've also had not one, not two, but three squirrel break-ins over the past few months and that doesn't even count the squirrel that walked into Tom's room and died under some clothes. They stare passers-by down and sometimes even charge you. And the funny thing is, no matter how tough you are, if a cute little furry squirrel maniacally charges you, you'll find yourself screaming and running like you were being chased by a bengal tiger.

So, what can we do? Squirrels can't be allowed to take over Rosemont Ave.

Why not hollow them all out and put liquor bottles inside them? That's what this guy does. And maybe that justifies the squirrel anger towards people (although the carnivore/cannibal incidents still go unexplained).

Chuck Norris

Check this site out for some facts about Chuck Norris. Some of my favorites:
Chuck Norris died ten years ago, but the Grim Reaper can't get up the courage to tell him.

The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

When Chuck Norris plays Oregon Trail his family does not die from cholera or dysentery, but rather roundhouse kicks to the face. He also requires no wagon, since he carries the oxen, axels, and buffalo meat on his back. He always makes it to Oregon before you.

Chuck Norris once ate three 72 oz. steaks in one hour. He spent the first 45 minutes having sex with his waitress.

A Surreal Moment

This surreal moment is brought to you by Capri Sun:

Capri Sun-when you want a surreal moment, you probably want a Capri Sun, too.

So, I walked into the bathroom at work the other day and standing at the urinal was none other than me. At least, he looked like me from the back. As I was leaving, I was of course able to grasp the reality that it probably wasn't me, but I still can't explain why I was so convinced otherwise. Because I, honest to God, had that eerie Twilight Zone feeling in my spine. And what do you do when you're peeing next to yourself? Do you talk? Or do you bow your head and pretend like you don't notice that you're peeing next to you? That's what I did.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


During a holiday like today, it's important to remember a guy like this

Takeru Kobayashi, a hardcore eater with a super-slim waist, who can now add the World Hamburger Eating Championship to his shelf of trophies. What a steal! Kobayashi ate 67 Krystal hamburgers in eight minutes. Even crazier, is that his chief competitor in this competition was tied with him at 60 hamburgers with 37 seconds left to compete. That means Takeru pounded seven hambugers in 37 seconds. Takeru has won the hot dog eating championship, the pizza eating championship, and is a chief contender in the Loew's saw horse and the MLB's utility infielder eating championships. So, today, when you're sitting at the table with your stomach gurgling a threat to rip out of your skin, quit being a pussy! Loosen that belt, put a smile on your face, and pack that plate high! And know that somewhere Takeru is smiling-perhaps even crying in sheer joy.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Stress Testing Hijinx

Anyone who's ever run on a treadmill knows it can be an awkward, comical experience. Anyone who's had an EKG knows that there's wires everywhere, and they ask you specifically to be as still as humanly possible. Lastly, anyone who's had an echocardiogram knows that they use sloppy, slippery gel to make the images come out cleaner, and BONUS! there's more wires involved. This is why I think Patch Adams invented the stress echocardiogram, which I had this morning. Only a doctor who is a clown at heart (no pun intended) would dream of combining these three elements into one rarely-conclusive test.

Today's test got off to a great start. The Indian gentlemen who was handling the EKG component of my test lived in PIttsburgh for seven years, so we made half-naked small talk about my hometown while we waited for the Echo tech to arrive. Ten minutes later, The door bursts open and a rather attractive Russian lady comes running in, catches the pocket of her labcoat on the door handle, and falls backwards in what would have been a great prat fall, were it intentional. She's the echo tech, and while pleasant sounding, is rather forceful about my body position and such. "No. No. Arm over head. No other arm. Like this. No, this. Okay." Then, as she did the baseline echo, she would yell rather loudly when I was and wasn't allowed to breathe. "Okay, out, OUT! HOLD IT! HOLD! HOLD! Now. Breathe now."

After fifteen minutes of this, the substitute doctor arrived (my regular doc is pretty awesomely non-conversational), and i started running on a treadmill. Of course he asked what I do, and I told him I'm a comedian, and all three of the people in the room now expected me to make them laugh. I would, but it wouldn't be for another ten minutes, and it certainly wasn't on purpose.

Unlike regular stress tests and regular treadmill running, when you have a stress echo, there's no cool down, no getting used to the ground not moving anymore, no nothing. Basically, you fall off the treadmill, are caught by one or more of the professionals in the office, and thrown back onto the echo table. When my time came, I was quite disoriented and dizzy. I proceeded to do a 360 degree spin, which caused me to wrap all the EKG cables and blood pressure thingy around myself, and fell on the floor. The professionals yelled at me, "Get up! Get Up! NOW HURRY!", because if you calm down too much before they do the echo, you have to exercise again.

After finally guiding me to the table, and experiencing another Screaming Natasha session about how to position my dizzy, confused self, they did the stressed component of the echo, and once they knew the test was usable, they proceeded to laugh at the abject silliness of the whole experience. Then, said the doctor, "Ha ha, ha ha, you have heart disease." And, frankly, since I already knew that and really do appreciate the ironic things in life, I didn't mind.

I hope I'm not the only heart patient in the world with an irresponsible, cavalier attitude about their illness. I honestly believe that if there were more of us, hospitals wouldn't be such a depressing place.

pictured (top): 80's lady performs an echo on an invisible patient
pictured (bottom): an old guy goes for the gold

There's No Chanty For This

As I was driving down lake shore drive to my stress echo at Northwestern this morning, I had a thought.

Fishermen are hyper-competitive, right? Do you think that the fishermen that worked the Great Lakes had an inferiority complex? Like, at the FisherCon, they all get together and tell stories about their fishing and what not....(dream sequence noise)

FISHERMAN 1: Arr! Forty foot waves! Wind gusts of 60 knots! And we snagged 46 tons of king crab! Arrr!

FISHERMAN 2: ARR! Well WE had FIFTY foot waves! Wind gusts of 75 knots! And we snagged 70 tons of king crab! ARRR!


LAKE ERIE FISHERMAN: We caught some trout. I think they're poisonous. *weeping*

In case you couldn't tell, I can't separate my seafaring stereotypes. If you work on a boat, you talk like a pirate. Also, I'm assuming there aren't any fish left in the great lakes, which is why I used past-tense when referring to Great Lakes Fishermen. And, according to the internet, The Great Lakes are just as deadly as any other body of water. So, there's not a whole lot of merit to my thought- but once one gets the image of a Fisherman Conference in their head, it's hard to stop the intellectual bleeding.

Monday, November 21, 2005

If You're In Atlanta...

swing on by the world's largest aquarium to find out exactly what kinds of fish will eat each other.

I'm sure the marine biologists and college interns who picked out which fish get to go in the aquarium thought it out in advance, but I don't care what they say: if a shark is hungry and a beluga whale swims by...CHOMP!

It should boost attendance, though. I'd go back day after day, if the promise of a sea turtle and an octopus trying to eat each other was dangled in front of me.

*note: it now occurs to me that there might be multiple aquariums,properly separated to prevent this ultra-darwinism. Maybe i should start reading the articles I link to.

Lest We Forget

Where have you gone Christian Okoye?

Here's a sweet little deal of an article that mentions Christian Okoye, but really it's just a sweet little deal of an article.

Stop Breaking My Heart, Steelers

Actually, I'm dealing quite well with Sunday's loss. My intensity for football is due mostly to the contracted nature of the season- you have to pack six games of caring into one week, if you want to compare it to baseball, three or four games for basketball and hockey.

I'll say this right now; if Big Ben plays a full season, the Steelers are 9-1. There's no way they lose to Jacksonville or Baltimore. And we'll see just how good the Steelers are next Monday night, when they play the unbeaten Colts.

Anyway, the point of this post was that I think I've settled on a Steelers bar. I used to go to Durkins in Lincoln Park, but frankly the place is pretty inaccessible by car, and it's freaking huge. So this week I met Dalla, Ean, and Tom at The Dark Horse in Wrigleyville, which is ultra-convenient, and was pleasantly surprised. It's a small place with cheap beer and an owner/bartender who hails from our old college neighborhood of Oakland.

The place was filled, and I mean filled, with former Pittsburghers. Just about everyone there used to call the Steel City home, and that was a nice feeling. That's not a put-down to non-Pittsburgh Steeler fans, it's just an affirmation of how wonderful it can be to hear a Yunzer dialect that isn't a joke.

So, I lost a game, but gained a bar. I'll take that, especially with Ben coming back next week.


Now I'll have to get a Tivo. And a new iPod. And a car, while i'm at it.

furry gouters!

Whenever I daydream on my halcyon days in Britagne, my thoughts invariably prance about, from the fortified walls of Concarneau, to the outdoor markets of Hennebont, to the middle-age harbor charm of St. Gustan, but the one constant that guides my wandering nostalgia is a cheap bag of french cookies known as Furry Gouters.

"Furry what?", you said. "What gouters?", said others. Furry. Gouters.

Furry gouters are basically just cookies, but they're dirt cheap. The last bag I bought was before the days of the Eruo, and came in at just under 4 Francs, which translated to about 50 cents. That's for a whole bag of gouters, mind you, not just a single or double wrapped Little Debbie job.

I was talking with Chad Bender, the ex-Animal Clubber now working in France, and he mentioned that Furry Gouters have taken a back seat to a new product: Gouters. Just gouters. These cookies are, in Chad's exact words, "awful", and you have to "cover them in nutella to make them" palatable.

So here's to Furry Gouters. Wherever they may be. Please, please, please don't be gone forever. When I land in Paris in March, I fully expect you to be there, holding a sign that says, "Balzer. Taste, right this way."


via atrios

Friday, November 18, 2005


scientists make FEARLESS MICE

via /.

Fun With KB

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon-The Inanimate Objects Addition

Kevin Bacon


Go Cart

Kevin Bacon was in Beauty Shop (2005) and so was a pair of Scissors

There was a pair of Scissors in Edward Scissorhands (1990) and in it, Kim's jock boyfriend wore a Letterman's Jacket

There was a Letterman's Jacket in All The Right Moves (1983) and also a Football

There was a Football in Rudy (1993) and while working in the steel mill, he wore a Welder's Shield

There was a Welder's Shield in Flashdance (1983) and in the bar Richie flips Hamburgers

There's Hamburgers in Heavy Weights (1995) and when they go to fat camp, there's GO KARTS!!!!!!


Go ahead and try to stump me! I dare ya!

pitchfork gets fun-nay

pitchfork did a countdown of the worst album covers of all time. pretty awesome. not much else to say.

not so much

So yeah, today's project: insomnia is not quite living up to wednesday's . I really wish I had slept. It's only 10:30. I've been at work for three hours. My concentration is Picabo Streeting (read: controlled slippin' and slidin' with possible endorsements for chapstick if I play my cards right), and I forgot my delicious lunch at home. How delicious could it have been, you ask? Feast your eyes on this feast of I's: (that was a bit forced. sorry.)

• cucumber and lettuce salad with catalina dressing
• turkey sandwich on stale white bread with processed american cheese flavored food product slice
• half-baggie of week old harvest cheddar sun chips
• remainder of a 24oz. coke
• vanilla Snack Pack
• yoplait boisenberry yogurt

So maybe it's not the four-star lunch I made you think it was. But I still made it, and left it on the counter in my kitchen, which means I'll have to throw the salad, sandwich, snack pack, yogurt, and coke out. And the smart money is on Ruth eating the sun chips. In fact, Ruth, if you're reading this blog, you can have the whole lunch. Happy Broken Foot!

Guess Who's Awake 2!

Yeah, I forgot to sleep again.

I've got to get back on sleeping pills.

Also, I played along with a joke on another blog and created this.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hall of Fame!

I'm crunching some numbers at my bad day job (soon to be replaced by my awesome day job...more later, as in when it actually happens), and the research data i'm cleaning right now is from...COOPERSTOWN!

WOW! I've never crunched hall of fame medical data before! Who knew the cradle of baseball was such a big fan of Certain Brand® Thrombrolitic Delivery Devices?! It casts a whole new, more baseball related light on interventional angiography! Were I of proper mind, I'm sure I'd come up with a list of baseball metaphors for cardiac applications, but seeing as I haven't slept in (time check) 30 hours, my reference levels, even on such things as close to me as baseball and cardiology, are suffering. I think I can come up with one, though.

If scrubbing into your electrophysiology lab is knocking the dust of your cleats, using a self-retracting, drug dispensing catheter with attenuated peripheral movement to sever ancillary electrical pathways is knocking it out of the park AND saving a life!

related: in the ongoing NCAA football naming crusade, Shane and I pulled out my 1988 Panini MLB sticker album, and named not one, but TWO NCAA teams (University of Louisianna- Lafayette and Middle Tennessee State) with obscure 1980's baseball players! Oh the highlights! Brook Jacoby the lineman, Don Sutton the strong safety. Angel Salizar the halfback, Jim Eisenreich the tight end. I could go on forever, but I've got Hall of Fame cardiology data to clean!

pictured above and to the right: a cute Don Mattingly on the cover of the Panini 1988 Baseball Album

Le Show

Hey ipod geeks. I'm listening to le show by Harry Shearer. It's where it's at. Today's episode featured this great line, referring to Pat Robertson's threats to PA voters who booted Intelligent Design from their curriculum...

"Robertson said, 'God is merciful, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever'. Hey! God has an eye! And you can stick your finger in it!"

I won't know until tomorrow whether this is actually funny or i'm just awash in a pseudo-conciousness. For the record, it's 11:43 and i'm about to cross the threshold into the painful part of the day-after-an-all-nighter. Maybe I'll go play with sharp things for a while.
pictured above and to the right: a cute, young Harry Shearer. Maybe.

Keeping Score?

Otters: 1
Man: 0

pictured to the right: a really cute otter

First, Picture Me, Smiling Wider Than You've Ever Seen Me Smile


That's all. Hey, I promised you a slide into delirium, and a slip into delirium is what you're gonna get.

not pictured: a cute photoshop of my smiling face on the Boston space-guitar-city thing album cover

the boss, continued

I'm listening to "Born to Run", more or less incessantly. Four plays in less than two days. That's quite a lot, when you consider it's up against 5000 other songs.

A very memorable moment in "Born to Run" is when Bruce is begging his girlfriend Wendy to leave Jersey with him. At one point he tells her to, and I quote: "Strap your hands across my engines."

Now, I'm no grease monkey, but aren't engines powerful contraptions made mostly of moving parts like gears, belts, fans and pistons? At the very least, engines get really, really hot, and I don't imagine any of those things mix well with hands. ESPECIALLY hands that are bound in place.

So what gives, Bruce? I mean, if you love her so much, aren't you supposed to set her free? Or was that a Sting song? It doesn't matter. All that matters, really, is that you got my $1.98. And I got this blog, my "last chance power drive", the one thing that might get me out of Jersey.
pictured above and to the right: a cute Bruce Springsteen

look who's awake!

The dreaded insomnia bug hit me again last night. It's a quarter to six, and I've already showered and made my bed. I didn't sleep last night, choosing instead to google "heart disease" and look at empty message boards.

I feel very attractive right now. And by attractive, I mean "painful razor burn". I really must switch the blades in my Mach 3.

You may have noticed this post (title aside) has impeccable spelling, punctuation, capitalization and, perhaps, grammar. It's all part of my "It's a Whole New Baz" project. As I continue my ascension from the depths of depression, I find myself standing on the edge of a relapse. I can sort of feel when things are getting out of control, chiefly expressed as disproportionate emotional responses to everyday (and extraordinary) occurrences. I thought a fun way to try to stave it off until I can get my therapy sessions and Zoloft® prescription back in good standing is to start breaking my sloppy writing habits. For a long time I treated grammar and punctuation the same way I treat fashion- no need to dress it up; if it's attractive you'll know it. But reading over some recent posts of mine, I was frightfully inconsistent with my choice, and it just led to unreadable messes. So, with every once of will I have, this post will have no uncapitalized proper noun I's, and I promise to think my commas out in advance.

As an added bonus, you blog readers will get to witness my slow decent into sleep deprivation-feuled madness! I have a full slate at the office today, and I'll blog often. Watch my mental status gradually slip into cognizant silliness, followed by heavy-headed analyzation, absurdist delirium, and finally a car crash!

Well, as you can see, I have a busy, busy day ahead of me. Wish me luck! (in seven different languages, no less!)

buona fortuna! (Italian)
goed geluk (Dutch)
bonne chance (French)
viel glueck (German)
boa sorte (Portuguese)
buena suerte (Spanish)
祝好运 (Chinese, Simplified Han)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Borderless Puzzle

This is sort of a long-overdue plug, but while we were in Pittsburgh, we got a chance to see some of our friendly musician friends in the heart of steel country and if you get a chance, check out these guys:

The Borderless Puzzle-Our boy, Joe Style sings mad vocals (he can bring the house down covering Ween's Freedom of '76). The entire band (Jason Fisher, Eric Brannon, and Josh Clary) blends together, melding their talents into a soundscape that leads you away from all your problems. Their show was an all-out engaging night of sound-emotion just flowed from their fingertips.

Watch out for these guys. They're coming your way soon.

Help Wanted

Who's unemployed? Who likes to cry? Who likes Taiwan?

If you answered "me" to at least one of those questions than, boy do we have a job for you!!! The mourning business is alive and thriving in Taiwan (no pun intended)!! Families have paid up to $30,000 for professional entertainers to wail, scream, sob, and generally carry on for a loved one's funeral. Why? Just to be prepared in the event no one cries. Taiwanese believe that if no one cries than the person doesn't die-I think?

Easy Listening

Working in a healthclub has brought me to light with a grouping of songs that have survived the test of time (many unfairly, I might add) through PA systems in gyms, grocery stores, and elevators. These are songs like John Mellencamp's almost-forgettable Wild Nights. A song that I wouldn't even call the best song on Human Wheels-one of the weaker albums
in a fairly weak career. This is a song whose lyrics go:

Well, everything looks so complete
When you're walking out on the street.
And the wind it catches your feet
And sends you flyin'.
Ooo ooo
Ooo Wee

The lyrics are not only questionable in regard to being piss-poor, but also for a sense of falsehood-as it's not necessarily a wild night, but a windy night. Apparently it makes for good shopping/floor transporting/bench pressing music, though.
My gym is also known for including Gary Jules' Mad World to help people pump up and run an hour and a half. Mad World may be familiar to many people as it was used in the movie Magnolia's soundtrack. It's just a bare piano and a haunting voice singing:

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad.
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had.

Now, picture forty people running on treadmills in full sprints with those words lullabying in the background. It's an interesting experience.

hail, hail to old point park U

as the madden '04 season winds down, attention turns to the upcoming nfl draft- starring YOU!

as we've said before, shane and i, and to a lesser extent the rest of the house, have taken to naming every single college football player in NCAA 2004. We've also taken to themeing some of the teams, and here are the more fun ones:

Colorado: South Park characters (C: eric cartman, RG:uncle jimbo)
San Diego Sate: Arrested Development characters (starting QB: michael bluth, starting P: buster bluth)
Cal: Hollywood Legends (RB: george burns, SS: johnny carson)
Tulane: Monsters of Literature (MLB: walt whitman, TE: louisa may alcott)
Baylor: Characters of Monsters of Literature (RB: Phillip Parrip, FB: Flat Stanley)
Army: combination of actual army guys, movie army guys and GI Joes (QB: George Patton, FB: Gung Ho)
Navy: combination of actual navy guys, movie navy guys, and GI Joes (WR: Alan Sheppard, WR: Wet Suit)
Wake Forrest: Presidents! (QB: geroge washington, DT: William Henry Harrison)
Boise State: The Team with the funny nicknames (QB: Honker Billingsly, SS: Lil' Mac Hackinsack)
Northwestern: IO People (DE: Rachael Mason, HB: Dave Pasquesi)
Illinois: Second City People (QB: Norm Holly, DE: Ranjit Souri)
Eastern Colorado State: Video Game Characters (OLB: The Cop From NARC, CB: Link Thingstabber (from zelda)

new ones yet to be done:
UCLA: Game Show Hosts or names that sound like Game Show Hosts (ie: Tark Giddleson, Hank Hardwood)
Fresno State: C-List Celebrities (ie: Freddie Prinz Jr., Carrot Top)
Wyoming: LOTR characters (ie: Dark Lord Sauron, Tom Bombadil)

could YOU be on the next roster? chances are, yes, because we've almost run out of people we know to put on teams. are YOU already on a team? ask and ye shall find out.

the boss

jeez. yesterday the boss was all over talking about "born to run", this morning he was on fresh air, again talking about "born to run".

what's going on? is he releasing a box set of it or something? oh. yes he is. sorry. it all makes sense now.

*note: the bombardment worked. i bought "born to run" and "tenth avenue freeze out" on itunes yesterday, and i still have no idea why.

video baz on the prowl

if you are, for some reason, a big fan of my video work, feel free to check out godshow at Second City's Black Orchid theatre sunday nights. Second City mainstage and etc alumn tim O'Malley wrote this play about his comedy career and how drugs and alcohol didn't necessarily help it out.

i put together the video cues for him, and frankly there aren't many of them, but if you're one of those baz video groupies, this show is your best bet until we get around to announcing our next run.

i've done it!

i thought a thought and felt a feeling that was at once egotistic and self-depreciating!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Say It Ain't So...

By now, I suppose it's common knowledge. Arrested Development got the pink slip and ABC's Freddie did not. Hmm. I take back my apology from my previous post when I thought the rumor was a false alarm and reissue the calling to write to Fox and complain. Call it Tyranny if you like. It's a big word. If you want to use a little word, use dickless which is technically a bigger word, but the definition is smaller.

Somethin' To Watch

Watch THIS. It's a poignant statement for a poignant time.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

ten essential albums for 2005

for the next seven minutes, the animal club blog has been recast as a music blog, and the event you've been waiting the whole life of this blog for is here: baz's top ten of the year.

since i don't believe in anything being number one, these not necessarily ordered by bestness. luckily, most of them are available on emusic, so it's conceivable you could buy the whole list for under $20. enthused? ecstatic? read on....

Sufjan Stevens- "Come on Feel the Illinoise
As far as I can tell, no album this year generated as much well-deserved hype as "Illinoise", Sufjan's third solo effort, and second in his one-album-per-state project. Sufjan's strolling songwriter approach to the album pays off big time, creating an album that bounces around styles like nobody's business, yet manages to deliver a throughline. It's really a remarkable feat of both songwriting and orchestration.

Devendra Banhart- "Cripple Crow"
As the freak-folk movement gains steam, this youngster (three years my junior, to be exact) is responsible for the genre's definitive first landmark album. the album's laden with contributors and, quite possibly, hangers-on, but it retains an intimacy that really helps the record along- whenever devendra breaks off into his native spanish tounge, or the gang of sillies in the background are doing their dylan-recording-studio-shennanigans shtick, you at least feel like you're in on the joke.

Architecture in Helsinki- "In Case We Die"
The neighborhood swimming pool of my youth was shaped like an "L". One end was the "shallow end", no deeper than three feet for the waders, the kiddies and the folks who hadn't quite yet figured out the buoyancy thing. We'll call this the "Polyphonic Spree". perpendicular to this was the "deep end", nine-feet of chlorinated air mattress to cushion your cannonball, suicide or sitter. This shall be known as the "Arcade Fire". joining the two was the four-to-six foot deep middle section, not so deep your rational fears of abysses would be brought up, not so shallow the novelty of wet knees wears off after an hour or two. It was the section godilocks chose, and it's called "Architecture in Helsinki".

Animal Collective- "Feels"
As great an album as "Sung Tongs" was, some of us Animal Collective fans thought the band might be primed for a letdown or a massive departure from their established camp-freak style. What we got was both neither and everything we could hope to hear. "Feels" brings back two other members of the collective, and sees the group bringing more electricity into the fold, without losing that kids-improvising-songs feel that made "Sung Tongs" so great. Also, they use words somewhat less as percussion instruments, still being playfully abstract with their lyrics but with a stronger sense of literary purpose. On top of all that, it's just fun as all get-up to listen to.

Okkervil River- "Black Sheep Boy"
Caught somewhere between Woody Guthrie and the Geroge Harrison Beatles, Okkervil River keeps the alt-country rock derivative kicking with this album that rocks just as hard as it tells stories. There's also shades of old-school Palace Music thrown in, and the record never loses it's sense of melody, even in the harsher tracks.

Animal Collective- "Prospect Hummer"
Yeah, they're my one of my favorite bands right now, and as such if they can put out two good albums in one calendar year, both will make my arbitrary and completely worthless list. This four-song EP features reculsive 60's brit-pop folk icon Vashti Bunyan, and is a damn site closer to the "Sung Tongs" vibe than "Feels". I can't say this enough- I love what Animal Collective has decided music is capable of. No structure is taboo with them, and unlike some other post-rock pioneers, they maintain a strong sense of melody throughout their explorations, which in my mind makes all the difference.

Antony and the Johnsons- "I Am a Bird Now"
The first fifteen seconds of "I Am a Bird Now" made me cry, almost uncontrollably. Immediately. I don't think I've ever heard emotion laid so bare as on this album. Lead singer Antony's story is worth reading, so I suggest you google him before listening to this. His voice is unmistakably unique- a vibrato so sharp you'd think it could cut diamonds- but when it's belting out such simple beauty as "Hope there's someone who will take care of me/ When I die/ Will I go", the combination just wills you to understand what he's feeling.

The Decemberists- "Picaresque"
In the sea of musical experimentation, broad genre exploration and intimate vulnerability I've been lost in this year, it was mighty hard for a good old fashioned rock and roll record to make the cut, but the Decemberists are working at the top of their game. I honestly didn't think too much of "Her Majesty...", but "Picaresque" works the same angles as the awesome "Castaways and Cutouts"- mixing unbridled fun ("The Sporting Life") with histrionic melancholy ("Eli the Barrow Boy") and gleeful protest music ("16 Military Wives"). There's still some of that theatrical story-song stuff that filled "Her Majesty...", but the enhanced production and cleaner orchestration greatly helps.

Mice Parade- "Bem Vinda-Vontade"
On the exact opposite end of the musical spectrum, Mice Parade's Adam Pierce has made a name for himself by focusing on musically statuesque patterns and brilliant rhythmic experimentation. His latest sees him folding lyrics and melody into the mix, and although it seems to have disappointed some of his hard core fans in the press, I dig where he's going. "Nights Wave" is bar none the most accessible Mice Parade song ever, and if that song hadn't been so distinct, "Bem Vinda-Vontade" would have been another casualty of having too large a digital music collection. As it were, "Nights Wave" caught my ear, and introduced me to his whole back catalogue of wonderful experimentation.

Andrew Bird- "The Mysterious Production of Eggs"
Not being an Ani DiFranco fan, I hadn't very much exposure to Righteous Babe Records' stable of artists, but this Andrew Bird guy is the shiz. The rest of the world knows him, and knows him well, but it took a chance encounter with good friend Joe Stile of the borderless puzzle to get me on board. Joe had been singing the praise of Mr. Bird for some time, and he gave me a copy of "Eggs" which more or less blew me away. I've since grabbed the rest of his albums, and like Sufjan Stevens, he's one of those artists who's moving in the right direction, each album better than the last.

honorable mention:
Stephen Malkmus- Face the Truth
Spoon- Gimme Fiction
Of Montral- The Sunlandic Twins
Arcade Fire- Funeral

There she is. Like i said, you can most likely get this entire list for under $20 at emusic, and all this wonderfulness is available on itunes as well. Enjoy!