Video Clips Rejected from the “This Is Our Country” Commercials

* Rugged-looking men in cowboy hats at a diner argue over how to split a check seven ways.

* Amelia Earhart suppresses a belch.

* A man proudly polishes his classic convertible, oblivious to the rusted undercarriage that has completely destroyed its resale value.

* Apple-cheeked kids choose up sides for a sandlot baseball game, with the one unpicked child running home to write a devastating three-act play about isolation and despair.

* Abraham Lincoln pulls an ambulance out of a ditch thanks to the amazing towing capacity of his Chevy Silverado.

* A tearful elderly veteran salutes a parade, unaware it is a part of local Gay Pride Day festivities.

* Football fans in a sports bar cheer as the opposing quarterback suffers a torn Achilles tendon.

* Hippies dance barefoot in a verdant field, are tear-gassed by National Guard troops.

* An office worker laughs nervously at his boss’s vaguely racist joke.

* President Warren G. Harding waves to an unseen crowd, the weary smile on his face indicative of the physical and emotional toll of the Teapot Dome Scandal.

* Middle-aged men enjoy river rafting while contemplating the benefits of natural male enhancement.

* Giddy newlyweds burst through a church doorway, pursued by angry parishioners.

* Grainy kinetoscope footage of Thomas Edison, where it totally looks like he’s flipping off the camera.

* A woodsman takes a break from his hard work, rests on a stack of felled trees, is promptly attacked by wolves.

* Construction workers mill around at a job site, wondering where the hell the new guy is with the coffee.

* Teddy Roosevelt returns an ill-fitting pair of jeans to the Gap, without a receipt.

* A grandmother leaves an apple pie at her kitchen window to cool, sighs, looks deeply and utterly hopeless.

* Bobbysoxers scream for Frank Sinatra, are tear-gassed by National Guard troops.

* A carefree young girl blows bubbles, triggers a unexpectedly violent allergic reaction for her mother.

* Enraged man punches temperamental office copy machine, injures his hand, brings unwanted attention from his supervisor.

* Vince Lombardi kicks Saddam Hussein in the crotch.

Shake for Me, Baby

Once again, I have been delinquent in updating the site. But at least this time, I have a perfectly legitimate excuse for my delinquency: 6 lbs 4 oz to be exact. I’d love to post a picture of our little bundle of loudness, but knowing the evils that lurk on the interweb, I’m sure my jpeg would wind up the victim of some nefarious Photoshopper.

How are the first few weeks of parenting? I touch another human’s feces on a daily basis. I’ve gotten about 20 minutes of sleep within the past 12 days (which is probably 20 minutes more than The Wife has). And despite rarely getting sick, exhaustion has allowed my immune system to accept the worst cold I’ve had in years. So sleep deprivation, sickness, and humiliating tasks–it’s kinda like being a POW, but I’m surrounded by pacifiers.

Continue reading Shake for Me, Baby

NFL Week 10 with Rush Limbaugh

Two words for last week’s picks: Ug-Lee. Week 9 had a lot of underdogs winning, and a lot of overdogs either choking or deciding to win their games by razor thin margins. Hey, Eli Manning–Plaxico’s not on the field; try throwing a pass that’s not 11 feet in the air. And see if you can beat the fucking Texans by more than four points. Asshole.

The tallies for week 9: win/loss 7-7; points, 5-9. That brings the season’s grand total to:

Win/Loss: 84-43
Points: 62-63

So for the first time this year, I’ve fallen below .500. I would blame my guest picker, but he had a hard enough week as it is. I tried to get now-ex-Senator George Allen to contribute, but he’s a tad bitter about pigskin right now; carrying a football around to every damn campaign stop did him no apparent good. So instead, I turn to ex-Monday Night Football commentator/right-wing radio yakker/acceptable drug addict Rush Limbaugh.

Buffalo at Indianapolis: I admire Peyton Manning’s commitment to excellence almost as much as I do his commitment to free enterprise. He’s set to break Tiki Barber’s all-time season record for commercial endorsements. If you remember that DirecTV ad where he tells the viewer to turn over to another, more interesting game, I think this contest will resemble that spot. Indianapolis by 8.

San Francisco at Detroit: A bet for the 49ers on the road is a bet for Nancy Pelosi and her San Francisco values! Detroit by 6.

San Diego at Cincinnati: With the Democrats back in power, expect to see a return to the revolving-door justice system of years past. For a preview of this grim new world, just look at the incarcer-rific Bengals, who’ve logged more trips to the pokey than offensive yards. The Chargers will be more than a match for this band of convicts, even without Shawne Merriman, a talented young man who got a bit too zealous in his self-medication regimen. Look, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? San Diego by 5.

Continue reading NFL Week 10 with Rush Limbaugh

Stand Up! You Are an American!

I’m a terrible American.

Tuesday marked the first time since I’d turned 18 that I didn’t vote. Like many an antihero, my patriotic impulses were thwarted by bureaucratic BS. My car was up for inspection this week, see, and I had no time before D-Day to get it checked out. My father-in-law offered to take it to a guy he knows, but in order to do so, I had to drive the car over to his place after work yesterday. This took a good chunk out of potential voting time.

Plus, I hadn’t re-registered in my new neighborhood. So in order to vote, I’d have to go back to Greenpoint, which is nigh impossible to do in the evening without a car. Beyond rush hour, the local buses run like a fat asthmatic kid with a torn ACL. Long story short, time, tide, and the affairs of the DMV conspired to thwart my civic duties.

But if I’m honest with myself, I can say that if I really, really, really wanted to vote, I would have found a way to do so. I didn’t.

Continue reading Stand Up! You Are an American!

ESPN Countdown: The Debate Rages!

berman.jpgCHRIS BERMAN:
Boomer here, barking atcha for another slam-dangle, froo-farah,
mama-say-mama-sha-mama-kusah edition of NFL Countdown LIVE! Or whatever
the hell we’re calling it now. There’s a full slate of roast-’em
tenderize-’em down-ya-go action this Sunday, but rather than focusing
on all the exciting matchups, we figure our audience would rather watch
ex-players in suits scream at each other. The big battle this week is
happening in foxy Foxboro, Taxachusetts, where the Ponies gallop in to
take on the Patriot Act. Of course, my question has no real answer, and
one could make a case for either side depending on personal
preferences. So let’s debate it as if it’s a friggin’ North Korean
nuclear summit. Who is the better QB, Peyton “Place” Manning or Tom
“Three Times A” Brady?

I wanna tell ya Chris, [unintelligible] Colts [garbled] not T.O.’s
fault [possibly Sanskrit] “White House” [still garbled] so that wasn’t
my pipe, know what I’m sayin’?

You’re right, Boomer, there really is no answer here. Manning and Brady
are both excellent quarterbacks. Manning is a more gifted athlete, of
course, but Brady has the rings, so…

ditka.jpgMIKE DITKA:
Ron, allow me to interrupt you and completely dismiss you as a human
being. The NFL is about winning, unlike all other sports leagues. Brady
has won three Super Bowls, while Manning’s barely won any playoff games
at all. Until Peyton can capture as many championships as Brady, he’s a
worthless piece of shit who should thank whatever horse-headed pagan
god he believes in that I haven’t killed him yet.

So Coach “I Know What You” Ditka “Last Summer”, you’re saying that Tom
“A Very” Brady “Christmas” is vastly superior to Peyton Manning “The

By your logic, Jon Kitna is a much better quarterback than Peyton
Manning simply because he rode the Ravens’ defense to a Super Bowl ring.

The ring proves it. In this league, jewelry trumps natural ability.
Brady’s Pats could lose 85-0 to Manning and Colts, and Brady would
still be the better QB in every way.

Just so I’m clear, you just said,using your brain and your mouth, that
Brady could lose to Manning badly, like he did last year, but still be
better than him. [shakes his head violently]

I wanna tell you, you wanna talk about the championship bling, Brady’s
got it. [grumbling, throat clearing] interception [ancient incantation
that almost awakens a demon] mink coat [an car engine backfiring] It’s
snowin’ backstage, you feel me?

For the record, I think that Peyton “A” Manning “For All Seasons” is
better than Tom Brady “Brook Farms Turkey”, because saying so allowed
me to use two more wacky nicknames.

Of course you can make the argument that Tom Brady is one of the best
“field general” quarterbacks of our era. But the debate is less clear
cut when you consider…

No no no no, I will not waffle on this issue. You are dumb and wrong
and you used to play for the Eagles and you’re wrong. Peyton Manning
will never be better than a piece of dog shit stuck to the bottom of my
shoe–unless and until he wins the next seven Super Bowls on one
last-second Hail Mary pass that also somehow rescues a little girl from
a burning building.

They gonna be some Patriot Games up in Foxboro, you feel me?
[irrecoverable error, some data may be lost] Cleveland steamer [static
between radio stations] y’all remember that group EPMD?

jaws.jpgJAWORSKI: Jesus fucking Christ, are all of you people retarded?

tjackson.jpgTOM JACKSON : I’m not, Jaws. I just wanted to come on the air and say that Tiki Barber is dead to me. You hear that, Unibrow?

Okay, when we come back, another useless, unresolveable debate: Is this
the week that we finally make a passer out of Michael Vick “Of It All”?

irvin.jpgIRVIN: Ron Mexico!

The point of being a quarterback isn’t to pass–it’s to win ballgames
for his team, and Michael Vick always does that, except when he
doesn’t. Even when the Falcons lose, he helps his team win.

jaws.jpgJAWORSKI: [swallows arsenic tabet]

NFL Week 9 Picks by Karl Rove

rove.jpgI finished up my year of NFL picks at MSN Sports Filter on a decidedly sour note. Two bad weeks in a row; my week 8 tallies were 7-7 win/loss, 6-8 points. That showing brought my tally on the season to:

Win/Loss: 77-36
Points: 57-56

Obviously, I need some high-powered help. So this week, is pleased to welcome a guest handicapper for our NFL picks. You may remember him from such unbridled successes as “the Valerie Plame scandal”, “the Mark Foley cover up” and “you forgot Poland”. Here’s Republican strategist/pork vacuum Karl “Turdblossom” Rove.

Atlanta at Detroit: A good solid red state versus a city full of, um, traditional Democrat voters. Try and guess who I’m picking! I don’t know if Michael Vick will continue his chuck-tastic ways, but it won’t matter much against the toothless Lions. I know Vick’s a lefty, but I forgive him. Atlanta by 8.

Continue reading NFL Week 9 Picks by Karl Rove

Attention All Personnel: Incoming Fashion!

cojocaru.jpgHere to preview this fall’s hottest fashions is Ivan Billotte, design guru/professional gay stereotype perpetuator.

I’m back, darlings! Autumn is my favorite time of year, except for all the others when I get paid to tell women what to wear! The leaves are changing, the temps are dropping, so you know what that means: The top designers unveil their latest soups!

Look: You can’t be seen out there with just any soup, can you? Of course not! You want to walk around with some Chicken And Stars on your arm? What is this, the Midwest? Or get caught in a deli sipping Split Pea And Ham like some homeless Nebraskan? Gag me!

Luckily, you won’t have to make decisions for yourself! I got a sneak peek at all the latest brews at the annual opening of Soup Week here in Manhattan, and honey, I’m gonna set you straight on the hottest soups this season! They’re gonna warm you up–with fashion!

Carrot Ginger, Cosi: I tell you, everyone, but everyone was waiting to catch a glimpse of this one on the runway. We were not disappointed. So bold with the orange, but so right! And the tartness of the ginger brings it right back around. Just the kind of saucy number for a take-no-prisoners night on the town! Mm-mm good!

Seafood Bisque, Au Bon Pain: Smaller bites, Au Bon Pain–you’re ripping off more than you can chew! I pull up my spoon, I see all these little tentacles and bits of clam. Too much! Apparently, they didn’t get the memo–we look to you guys for “simple and unpretentious”, not “swimming with bottom feeders”. Stick to Jalapeno Asiago bagels, honey!

Broccoli and Cheddar, Hale and Hearty: The green, the yellow–it’s almost a little too 70s for me. I was ready to run away screaming, but then this little number came right back from the edge and redeemed itself. Perfect for the office or just kicking it with the girls over Sunday brunch. Accessorize with some oyster crackers, and you’re ready to take on the world, sweetie!

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Metro: This was a stunning, just stunning tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. A perfect representation of their fighting, spicy spirit, or something. I really have to hand it to Metro–they really know how to use an enormous human tragedy in order to make soup.

Mulligitawny Soup, The Original Soup Man: I’m sorry, he can call himself “original” all he wants, but I’m pretty sure I had this soup same time last year, girlfriend! Listen, nobody has more respect for him than I do. I don’t think anyone will forget his Italian Wedding Soup back in ’03–he officially declared himself the Jimi Hendrix of little tiny meatballs. But it’s time to stop resting on your laurels and get back to making some soup, snookums!

That’s all for now, lollipops! Check back with my in a few weeks, right around Thanksgiving, when I’ll have my report from the yearly Mashed Potato Proms in Paris!

Ivan Billotte earns his living shaming women and dressing like a retarded 6-year-old scarecrow.

Continue reading Attention All Personnel: Incoming Fashion!


Oh blimey.

I was hoping the first Mets-related news of November would be an awesome trade or free agent signing. MINAYA NABS DONTRELLE WILLIS IN EXCHANGE FOR VICTOR ZAMBRANO AND BAG OF BALLS. Or some other bit of good news like PEDRO MARTINEZ’S SHOULDER REHAB MONTHS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE; NEW ROBOTIC ARM CAN THROW 150 MPH, HEAL LEPERS.

Sadly, this is not the case. No, the first Amazin’ headline of the 11th month is late-season acquisition Guillermo Mota, who tested positive for something bad and will be suspended for the first 50 games of the 2007 season.

Continue reading Mota-ta

Time’s a Bastard, Don’t You Know

It seems appropriate that my sports-writing gig should end now, with the baseball season concluded. This is the sports-time of year when I find it hard to get too excited about much
of anything. Sure, I like wasting a Sunday afternoon via football as much as any other red-blooded American. (Although I’m still waiting lab results to prove that my blood is, in fact, red.) I now look forward to making picks and watching them get completely¬† destroyed. I enjoy watching grown men tights try to kill one another for several hours. I even root for the Jets, an act of masochism usually not undertaken by the casual fan.

But I simply don’t live for football the way I do for baseball. I’m under no illusions that one game is superior to the other. It’s simply an end result of growing up in a Baseball-Centric Metropolitan Area, in a Baseball-Centric Family. In my house, football was enjoyed, but baseball was worshipped. If I’d grown up in, say, Alabama, I have a feeling I might feel differently. But I didn’t, and I don’t.

Continue reading Time’s a Bastard, Don’t You Know

Who Wants a Mini Three Muskateers?

Paul Schrader (director/screenwriter, mastermind behind Taxi Driver and buncha other awesome movies) grew up in an extremely strict Calvinist household, one in which any form of idleness was an expressway to damnation. He wrote about going to see a film in a theatre, sweating, panicked, absolutely convinced that this simple act would send him to hell. But he was so transfixed by the experience–obviously realizing that this was his calling–that he couldn’t tear himself out of his seat.

I still get that doomed but defiant feeling whenever Halloween comes around, at once resisting its trappings and wanting to dive head first into it. Growing up, my mother was a Jehovah’s Witness. As I’m sure you know, they celebrate very few holidays for various reasons. In the case of Halloween, the reason is: They think it’s evil.

Ironically, I bet very few people who “celebrate” Halloween truly believe in demons and witches and whatnot. Witnesses do. This is odd, because they don’t believe in Hell, and they don’t have same idea of the Soul that you find in most Christian sects (it’s due to their unique interpretation of the Bible, which would take way too much time to get into). But they do believe in Satan, that he has minions at his beck and call, and that he could sic his cronies on you if you took him too lightly. “Taking him too lightly” includes dressing up as a sexy nurse, somehow.

That’s why, to this day, I have seen very few horror movies. Witnesses believe–no, for real–that anything depicting the occult, the devil, demons, etc. etc., can actually serve as a gateway for the Horned One to enter your mortal vessel. It’s almost like the DARE argument against pot. “Yeah, sure, you think A Nightmare on Elm Street is innocent enough. Then you move on to Friday the 13th. Then it’s Hellraiser. Pretty soon, you’re painting pentagrams in blood on your basement floor! And smoking crack with ghetto people!”

There is a certain age bracket during which you’re anxious to see Retarded Horror Movies. It’s more or less ages 12-16; for some people, it’s longer, and for others, it never ends. See these kinds of films at the aforementioned impressionable age, and they will imprint themselves on your psyche. But if you don’t see Retarded Horror Movies during this period, you will probably never see them, because if you watch them for the first time as an adult, you’ll realize how unbelievably stupid and poorly made most of them are.

At least that’s been my experience. Scary Movies were verboten in our household, for the same reason as Halloween itself, so I’ve always been curious about them. But for every honestly terrifying, well-done piece of Bone-Chilling Cinema, I’ve seen ten flicks that temporarily lowered my IQ 10 points and just left me laughing and scratching my head. “This is what they thought was gonna doom my Christian well being?! I could see the strings on the monster’s mask!”

Most kids have a battle plan on Halloween: what costume they’ll wear, which houses they’re gonna hit, what other kids they’re gonna go with, whose houses they’re gonna destroy with shaving cream and toilet paper, where they’re gonna hide out afterwards. Our family had a very different battle plan. It depended on whether the Evil Day fell on a weekday or a weekend. But in either case, the goal was: Get out of the house. Don’t be at home when trick or treaters arrive. Because we didn’t want to have to answer the door empty handed and face the consequences. Those consequences might be the “trick” portion of “trick or treat”. But mostly, we just didn’t want to be exposed and shamed.

I should note that this was not Standard Witness Procedure. You were all but encouraged to be home, so you could explain to the little tykes who rung your doorbell why you didn’t have any goodies for them. And if that sounds like an invitation to an egging to you, then you understand why my mother decided to skip town.

But beyond that, it wasn’t in my mother’s nature to stick out, to look odd, to not fit in with other people. Her default emotional setting was “out of place”, and she felt no need to invite further potential ridicule on herself or her family. Of course, simply being a Witness demanded of its adherents that they be “in the world but not of the world”. So the faith wasn’t particularly conducive to my mother’s desire to remain unnoticed, which should explain why she eventually fell out of The Truth (as they humbly refer to their theology).

The Family would usually go to a local mall, see a movie, then probably enjoy some fine dining like Pizza Hut or an all-you-can-eat $6.95 Chinese buffet joint. It was a treat, because these weren’t things we did with any kind of regularity. Nothing to do with religion on this front. We were just broke. For most of this period in our lives, my father was only intermittently employed, and my mother worked at a picture framing factory. An outing like this put a considerable dent in mom’s pocketbook, but the investment was worth it simply to avoid the tiny ghouls and goblins converging on our house.

Of course, we couldn’t stay away from home forever. We’d always get home after dark, which was usually late enough to avoid most of the trick-or-treaters in our scaredy cat neighborhood. But there was the occasional hardliner–either really determined kiddies or older punks looking more for trouble than treats.

So for the rest of the night, we’d hole up in the basement, watching the little TV that could only get three channels and eating ice cream in the dark. Our basement was only partially underground. Behind our house, beyond the backyard lawn, were woods that seemed to go on forever. Through a back window, you could see the moon lighting up the gnarled branches of the already bare trees, scraping the sky and bowing in the breeze.

And every few minutes, another person would ring our doorbell, looking for candy. We’d stop moving, sometimes even hold our breath. There’s no way somebody at the front door could have heard us in the basement, but we’d get as silent as if we were hiding from actual demons and goblins.

I spent most of my school life hoping not to get Found Out. There was a time when I truly believed, had faith the same way my mother did. But even so, I was afraid like her of seeming different. I was already a Fat, Weird Dork. I didn’t need to be the Fat, Weird Dork who Didn’t Celebrate Halloween For Reasons That Would Confuse The Average Junior High School Student. If asked, I never lied. But I tried to make sure I was never asked.

And so we all hid in the basement, the only light coming from terrible, flickering TV reception and the moon outside. Hemmed in on one side by the endless woods and on the other by hordes of sugar-jacked zombies seeking sweets. And though none of us believed in it, at that moment we all felt like we knew Hell.

A potentially explosive collection of verbal irritants