Thursday, July 28, 2005

Am I Cultured Enough For You? (or "Can You FEEL Me?!")

In 2002, Rolling Stone Magazine came out with a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. I wanted to see how my collection stacked up with the supposed pantheon of 20th Century music. Turns out I have exactly 99 of them in my possession, that's nearly 20%. Not too shabby. The number of these I have actually purchased with my own money is a mystery that continues to baffle authorities.

1) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (The Beatles)
3) Revolver (The Beatles)
5) Rubber Soul (The Beatles)
6) What's Going On (Marvin Gaye) +
10) The White Album (The Beatles)
12) Kind of Blue (Miles Davis)
13) Velvet Underground and Nico (The Velvet Underground) %
14) Abbey Road (The Beatles)
15) Are You Experienced? (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) #%
19) Astral Weeks (Van Morrison) #
23) Innervisions (Stevie Wonder)
25) Rumours (Fleetwood Mac) %
29) Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin)
34) Music From Big Pink (The Band) #
36) Tapestry (Carole King)
41) Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (Sex Pistols)
43) The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)
45) The Band (The Band) #
47) A Love Supreme (John Coltrane) %
48) It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (Public Enemy)
58) Trout Mask Replica (Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band)
63) Sticky Fingers (The Rolling Stones)
65) Moondance (Van Morrison) #
66) Led Zeppelin IV (Led Zeppelin)
69) Superfly (Curtis Mayfield) %
70) Physical Graffiti (Led Zeppelin)
75) Led Zeppelin II (Led Zeppelin)
86) Let It Be (The Beatles)
91) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)
94) Bitches Brew (Miles Davis) %
96) Tommy (The Who) %
102) Giant Steps (John Coltrane)
110) The Bends (Radiohead)
118) Stand! (Sly and the Family Stone) #%
128) Marquee Moon (Television)
133) Ready to Die (The Notorious B.I.G.) %
134) Slanted and Enchanted (Pavement)
135) Greatest Hits (Elton John)
137) The Chronic (Dr. Dre)
144) Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A)
145) Aja (Steely Dan)
148) Deja Vu (Crosby Stills Nash and Young)
149) Houses of the Holy (Led Zeppelin)
154) The Low End Theory (A Tribe Called Quest)
162) OK Computer (Radiohead)
173) Something/Anything? (Todd Rundgren)
176) Rocks (Aerosmith) %
177) One Nation Under a Groove (Parliament/Funkadelic)
187) So (Peter Gabriel) +
193) Dookie (Green Day) +
206) Tea for the Tillerman (Cat Stevens)
207) Ten (Pearl Jam) +
210) Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (Pavement)
217) Licensed to Ill (Beastie Boys) %
219) Loveless (My Bloody Valentine)
227) Paid in Full (Eric B. and Rakim) %
228) Toys in the Attic (Aerosmith) %
238) Can't Buy a Thrill (Steely Dan)
239) Let It Be (The Replacements)
246) The Shape of Jazz to Come (Ornette Coleman)
248) Reasonable Doubt (Jay-Z) %
253) Trans-Europe Express (Kraftwerk) #
259) Crosby Stills and Nash (Crosby Stills and Nash)
260) Buena Vista Social Club (Buena Vista Social Club) %
266) Quadrophenia (The Who) #%
274) Mothership Connection (Parliament) %
292) White Light / White Heat (The Velvet Underground) %
293) Greatest Hits (Simon and Garfunkel)
297) Weezer (Blue Album) (Weezer)
300) Fear of a Black Planet (Public Enemy)
305) Odelay (Beck)
309) Nothing's Shocking (Jane's Addiction) +
314) The Velvet Underground (The Velvet Underground) %
320) Pink Moon (Nick Drake)
326) Disintegration (The Cure) #
328) Exile in Guyville (Liz Phair)
336) Superunknown (Soundgarden) +
341) Play (Moby)
346) 3 Feet High and Rising (De La Soul) %
364) American Recordings (Johnny Cash) #
367) Is This It (The Strokes)
385) Pretzel Logic (Steely Dan)
386) Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers (Wu-Tang Clan)
390) Elephant (The White Stripes)
397) Rain Dogs (Tom Waits)
400) Illmatic (Nas)
403) Radio City (Big Star)
419) Dummy (Portishead) %
435) To Bring You My Love (PJ Harvey) #
438) Number 1 Record (Big Star)
440) Sea Change (Beck)
442) Boys Don't Cry (The Cure)
444) Criminal Minded (Boogie Down Productions) %
455) Synchronicity (The Police) %
459) Strictly Business (EPMD) %
468) Elton John (Elton John)
477) The Score (Fugees) %
478) Radio (LL Cool J) %
497) Yo! Bum Rush the Show (Public Enemy)


#: Listened to less than 5 times
%: On Cassette
+: Rage's, not mine

Interesting* trends:

  • 5 Jazz albums
  • 6 Beatles albums
  • 17 Rap albums
  • 16 '90s Pop/Rock albums
  • 3 albums from the 2000s
  • Most recent album: #390 (2003)
  • Highest rated Rap Album (entire list): #48
*Not actually interesting

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Best Show on TV

Your ass better start watchin' it this season. Do yourself a favor and rent the Season One DVD. You will likely buy it when you are done. If Home Improvement could last like 7 seasons, surely you all can help Arrested Development out.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Medical studies have shown that a person can have a stroke from constant fake-smiling in a disingenuous manner.

All that charisma wasted...looks like the Pats are going to have to find a new heart and soul of their defense.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Fare Thee Well...

I always liked Travis Henry. One of the unheralded running backs coming out of the 2001 draft with the likes of Deuce McAllister, Michael Bennett and LaDanian Tomlinson, Travis had a workman-like quality that I thought was admirable.

Now one of the most overused cliches in all of sports is that Buffalo fans are "blue-collar." This is a pretty condescending phrase, I think. I know people mean it like, "These people are real," but what it really means to me is, "These people are not really bright, so they have to work blue-collar jobs." You never hear anyone say something like, "Los Angeles Lakers fans are white-collar." It's stupid.

But maybe blue-collar is the best way to describe Travis. He's a good runner inside, legs always churning, never giving up. He gets yards where there aren't any. He doesn't have blazing speed, but he's a good cutback runner, and a decent receiver out of the backfield.

Travis Henry

He was the Bills' MVP in 2003 (as voted by his teammates), and it was well-deserved considering he played with broken ribs and a couple games on a bum leg. Fumbles a little too much, but an excellent player.

But I have to say, I always thought his attitude toward Willis McGahee (the Bills' new running back, and a potential superstar) was pretty poor. From day one, when Willis as drafted (some said too early at the time), Travis never was quite able to get over it. His first words on draft day were that it was a "slap in the face." It showed a lack of killer instinct. If someone is out there trying to take my job, I am gonna fight for it. It always seemed like Travis couldn't quite do it; he took a fatalistic attitude toward Willis.

Willis McGahee

In 2004, when the Bills were 0-4, and Travis got hurt, they finally put McGahee in. He had a huge game against Miami. Travis had been pretty ineffectual anyway early on, but McGahee sparked the offense. The team went on a 9-3 run to end the season. Willis is clearly the future of the team.

I liked Travis, and would have loved to see him have a better attitude. Because if he did, this could have been a pretty incredible backfield. But if you have to pick one, all you had to do was watch the Bills last year. They were a different team with McGahee in there. Not a slight against Travis, just a fact.

Travis had four solid years with the Bills, and I truly wish him all the best with the Tennesee Titans, but he's gonna have to learn to welcome competition instead of succumb to it.

Monday, July 18, 2005

A Shining Example of Inpenetrable Moral Superiority

Ken Mehlman, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, said that the "angry left" -- including (repeatedly) John Kerry, Hilary Rodham Clinton and Howard Dean -- is launching a smear campaign against Karl Rove and they owe him an apology. (Mehlman has become good at the idea of apologies, admitting that his party -- the party of Abe Lincoln -- played racial politics in 1968 to use it as a wedge issue with Southern voters.)

Claiming someone is launching a smear campaign against Karl Rove is like accusing someone of saying something inappropriate about Eminem.

It's not like Rove has done anything to earn a reputation for being unethical, is there? Oh wait theres...

  • ...the time he broke into the office of Illinois State Treasurer hopeful Alan Dixon in 1970, stole campaign stationery, and created fraudulent invitations promising "free beer, free food, girls, and a good time." Oh, but that was just a prank.(Read)

  • ...the time during the 1986 Texas governor's race when he claimed (with no proof) that his office had been bugged. No proof was ever discovered.

  • ...the time around the 2000 Republican primaries where he accused John McCain of having a black child out of wedlock (Read here, here or here, or even here) (it was actually his adopted daughter from Bangladesh, and of course the Bush camp denies it).

  • ...the time he accused McCain's wife Cindy of being a drug addict (Read)

  • ...when he publicly questioned McCain's "war hero" status (Read) (and remember, these are fellow Republicans!)

  • ...that time he was actually fired by the campaign of Dubya's daddy, George H.W. Bush, in 1992 for leaking key information to (guess who) Robert Novak about some Texas Republicans. Read here and here)

  • ...that time in March of 2001 where he, while a member of the Bush White House, successfully facilitated a merger between Intel and a Dutch company. Coincidentally, he had $100,000 in Intel stock at the time. (Read here or here.)

  • ...way back when Enron was still a working company, and Rove (holding between $100,000 and $250,000 in Enron stock), was helping the Bush White House create energy policy. (Read here here or Congressional Records, here.) Probably no conflict of interest there...

  • ...when he said that "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," (Read) even though the entire U.S. Senate unanimously (Note: that includes Democrats too) agreed to using force (Read).

Luckily, Bush has changed his mind about whoever could have leaked the information. Instead of firing anyone who leaked any information, now he will wait to see if anyone broke the law by leaking information. Whew, wouldn't want to make a decision without having all the facts or thinking it through, woulda ya, W?

With a record of integrity and honesty that spartan, how could anyone question this man's words at face value? Anyone who would question this public servant's commitment to the truth is a traitor and should be sent back to whatever country they came from. Mr. Rove, I salute you! You make me proud to be an American!

Ken "Talking Points" Mehlman

Do not speak to this man face to face, or you may be sprayed with the constant bullshit spewing from his mouth.
 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 16, 2005

So bad for you... Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


You will find few more fervent defenders of religious freedom than myself. I think "Under God" should be in the pledge of allegiance, I think "In God We Trust" should be on our money. I think you should be able to have a cross or Star of David or whatever you want on your own property. While I don't think that government should push religion, I think it should respect it. I think a lot of religion gets a bad rap in this country.

I think aetheists who dedicate their lives to the separation of church and state are rather sad. But...

I don't understand why when it comes to Islam -- even radical Islam -- suddenly every government official and media type wants to become the face of understanding and tolerance. When there is a terrorist attack, which are, let's face it, done by Islamic extremists lately, one of the first things government officials say is "We know that most Muslims are peace-loving people and this religion does not represent the majority of them." (Great article by Mark Steyn of the London Daily Telegraph on this.) I am certainly not trashing the religion of Islam, but I am perplexed as to why Islam gets a free pass when it comes to hate crimes.

If a radical Christian idiot bombs an abortion clinic, Christianity as a whole takes a hit. Much of the media (left and right) will attribute the act as some kind of byproduct of religion, as opposed to a bastardization of it or an anomaly. (Note: I think the Christian Right is as crazy and facist as anyone, so please don't think I'm justifying their sometimes abhorrent actions.) We never hear anyone say "the Irish Republican Army has hijacked Christianity, we realize that most Irish Catholics do not support this and are a peaceful people."

Yet, when something as horrific as the 7/7 London Bombings happens, we are so quick to defend Islam and the hate that some branches of it can sometimes produce. I am not saying that Islam is a religion of hate, but I don't see anything in the Five Pillars that mentions loving one's neighbor. Where the Ten Commandments has a bunch of "Thou Shalt Nots" (yes, some do find this off-putting), the Five Pillars are mostly about duty. Fine. But why are people so quick to defend Islam, when they would never be so quick to defend an atrocity that was borne of a different religious denomination?

If you have the Ten Commandments (including "Thou Shalt Not Kill") in front of your courthouse, you had better be prepared to take it down. But if someone from the local Mosque firebombs a subway or kidnaps a truck driver, the first thing anyone standing behind a podium will say is how peace-loving most Muslims are. I'm sure that 90% of Muslims love peace and are fine people. I don't actually know any Muslims, period, but I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt. But if we can attack the entire Catholic way of life, and (often justifiably) criticize its culture over a bunch of priestly-perverts, why can't we even call into question Islam (or at least the modern interpretations of it by fallible men) and hold Muslims and their culture to the same standard?

Around the time the latest Iraq war started, there was a massive protest in Washington, D.C. that I caught on C-SPAN. They had several people come out to criticize the war and voice their disgust. I had no problem with this. What I did have a problem with, was a certain Muslim speaker of indeterminate Arab descent, who was carrying on like a madman, screaming and yelling, thumping his fist and carrying on. His tie was flapping in the wake of his spastic movements, his unkempt hair was flying all over the place. One of the themes he kept repeating was, "Peace be unto you." I think this is a great message. I think we should all strive for peace and encourage dialogue and understanding in all aspects of life, leaving violence and confrontation as a last resort. But this man said (and I'm paraphrasing) "Peace be unto you! Islam, which came thousands of years before George Bush, was the first to say 'Peace be unto YOU!!!!'"

Anybody who knows me knows I didn't vote for Bush either time, so this is not a defense of him. But for this gentleman to suddenly come out on the side of peace in the name of Islam is like a Red Sox fan say he's always LOVED Derek Jeter because he was just traded to Boston. (Don't have a heart attack Will or Javen, this didn't really happen.) Where was this guy on 9/11, denouncing violence and spouting all the tenets of peace? Why wasn't he decrying those who committed cowardly acts of murder in the name of Allah, whom he loves so much? Maybe he was busy that day.

I really have no problem with any religious person who is sincere in their belief, thoughtful, open-minded, and pious. But what's good for the goose is good for the gander. But let's stop hiding behind faux religious appreciation. Government leaders are using this disingenuous call-to-tolerance so as not to come off as racist; it's not a religious issue, it's a racial one. Of course, maybe if any of our government leaders gave a damn about people of color (and yes, that does include you, Bill Clinton), we might have tried to stop all that, y'know, ethnic cleansing that went down in Rwanda in 1994.

There are encouraging signs that the Muslim/Arab world is starting to tire of the constant violence and terror, but signs of some leaders still justifying the attacks remain, saying that somehow we as citizens reap what our (sometimes corrupt, historically imperialist) governments sow, as if it's the West's fault. And maybe it is, but if terrorists think that the U.S. or Great Britain is suddenly going to capitulate to terrorism (as, sadly, Madrid did in 2004), then they don't understand how it works. There is no way that any government worth a damn is going to operate on a quid-pro-quo basis, terrorism in exchange for a hands-off approach.

It can't be done that way, and it should never be done that way.

You can't react in a way that rewards terrorism. The only -- ONLY -- reaction can be to squash the bee that stung ya, then go after the rest of the goddamn hive.

If Islamic extremists can say, "The U.S. is creating more terrorists by their occupations in the middle east" then why can't we say, "Terrorism is going to result in violence against Muslims and more oppression in the Middle East"? We can't say that because it's stupid, and it doesn't justify anything other than the two-wrongs-making-a-right theory. So why do we pay this kind of simple-minded terrorism-justification logic any credence?

I'm speaking in generalizations to prove a point. I'm disgusted by people who try to justify cowardly, dastardly bombings and terror attacks. I would hate to see innocent Muslims hurt in retaliation of 7/7 or 9/11, but we have the right to place blame. We have the right to be angry. And in times like this, we shouldn't feel the need to temper our anger with, "Okay, we know this isn't everybody, but...." If one fourth grader is chewing gum, the whole class puts their heads down on their desks.

We DO NOT have to accept this or apologize for being attacked. We DO NOT have to accept terror as a form of political discourse. We DO NOT have to understand terrorists or find out WHY they resort to terror. We in the West are right to criticize them, since so many in the Islamic world (even if they agree that terrorism is a horrible act) are so reluctant to do it. If we try to explain terrorism, or see it as "their only option" then we are accepting it by our rationalization. The only way that terrorists will stop resorting to violence is not by our understanding, but by our (and more importantly, other Muslims') contempt. A martyr is not a martyr if no one "celebrates" his death.

"London Can Take It". But they don't have to take it alone.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Me, Danny and Javen

Nobody Cares What I've Been Drinking while Bojanglin'

Click here for more pics.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

All Aboard the Pain Train

Okay, so here was my weekend...

(For the first leg, from Toastie's, Danny's and Jitter's early start, click here.)

Friday, June 1: Syracuse to Philadelphia

+ Willie and I leave about 10:45 for Philly. Driving is very smooth, little incident into the city itself.

+ Willie and I get lost about .5 miles away from our hotel (which would be the first of several times on this trip). We go into the airport and then end up driving around the ghettos of S.Philly for about an hour. We eat pizza off the hood of my car.

+ Willie Moe and I look for something to do, so we go to the McDade Mall in Suburban Philly. To call it a mall might be stretching it, but we use the restroom and plot our next move. While in the KMart at the mall, we find out that Sandra Day O'Connor had just resigned, and outside, within the last 5 minutes, a torrential downpour had erupted. We look out the window, and sure enough, it's cats n dogs.

+ We are soaked as we go to a McDonalds to ask to look at a phone book to call the hotel. The lady behind the counter says they don't have one. Willie calls information, where we get the address, 1600 Bertram. Turns out there are two Bertram Roads in that very section of Philly. We spend an hour driving up and down the wrong one. We cross railroad tracks while the lights are flashing and the safety arms are down: it is exhilarating!

+ We get to the hotel, open up the rooms and each take a dump. Shortly thereafter, Jitter, Danny, Jeff and Toastie show up, and boy can they make an entrance! They bring beer so we get the party started (even though I did sign that "No Parties" waiver at the front desk). Phelpsy soon shows up, then Javen (who suddenly has the new nickname G-Baby), Tucker and Dunford after that. Just the ten of us.

+ We eat some cheesteaks, change and cab it to Chickie's & Pete's where we have more beers and the most delicious cheese sauce I've ever had. We are all drunk and began singing TV theme songs (as is our specialty) outside the restaurant. We were all completely stumped on the first line of "Parents Just Don't Understand" and kept confusing it with the first lines to the opening song on "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." I was afraid we would have our Philly passes revoked. Our cabs showed up very late, and we all got back to the hotel and crashed.

Saturday, June 2: Philadelphia to Baltimore

+ We wake up, slightly worse for wear, and without food. We all drive to the park and do some tailgating with the frisbee and a few beverages. Phelpsy, while usually correct, did miscalculate the traffic, as we were to the park in 15 mins flat without any rush. He had figured that Live 8 would have brought traffic to a standstill, but it was in a different part of town. Still, better to err on the side of caution I guess.

+ The ten of us go to the Phillies-Braves game. Beautiful day. Beautiful stadium, Citizens Bank Park. Willie and Phelps get "Build-a-Phanatics." Great cheesesteak (with provolone, though Phelps prefers the Whiz) and very good beer. They had Red Hook, Anchor Steam and (oh my!) Victory Hop Devil! Where were we? A baseball game or a brew-fest?

+ Phillies win. We leave the stadium. Some weird knock-kneed guy cuts off half a dozen people on the way to the restroom, including yours truly. We get pictures at the stadium and in the parking lot, then head back to pick up cars at the hotel, then we bid a fond adieu to Phelps, and the City of Brotherly Love.

+ Straight shot to Baltimore, under 2 hours. Nice drive. We get to the hotel, where we put all our stuff and plan. We think of going to a place to eat, but the local joint is packed. A limousine nearly takes the front end off a minivan in the parking lot. We buy beer and head back to the crib.

+ We are all hungry, so we go to Ruby Tuesday's, home of the Buy-One-Get-One-For-A-Penny special/scam. We rack up huge amounts of beers, and are seated in a very reasonable amount of time.

+ The poor waitress ("...that POOOOR WOMAN...") gets the punishment of serving the 9 of us, and on her 3rd night working there no less. We are relatively well-behaved, though we do get strange looks from a group of old people. ("This man is an attorney, so you better be careful" said one in a half-joking way.) We all eat nice meats, except for Toastie and Dunford, who load up on salad. Toastie becomes jealous when he sees all the meats that he turned down.

+ Dan starts feeling badly, then stands up to go to the restroom, but hits his head very hard on the lamp hovering over his head. "Are you okay?" asks the waitress. Danny replies, "Yes, I just don't care to hit my head when I stand up." He says it out of frustration, not to be mean. However that doesn't stop the entire table from doing an impression of Dan screaming at the waitress and recreating the moment. We finally leave (probably followed by a sarcastic standing ovation from the Ruby Tuesday's staff).

+ Not everyone is feeling well, so we head back to the hotel. I am in the mood to go out, but no one else is. I get pouty and bitchy about this when it becomes clear that no one wants go to out. But I have my own reversal of fortunes when I discover the game of Dang-It! (later renamed "Frisbeer"). The object of the game is to knock other people's beer cans down with the frisbee. This would result in a "Dang-It!" where the person whose beer you just toppled would have to finish it. This led to a great evening of clean fun, though we were ordered off the front lawn of the Red Roof Inn by an angry staff member there, who threatened to call the cops. Since we're not allowed back in the state of Indiana anymore, we decided this was not a good idea.

+ We went inside, and partially, I assume to spite the man who kicked us out, got even more rowdy, downing more and more beers, and getting more and more rambunctious. We created the Uber-bed, which was the act of pushing the two queen beds together to create one giant collosal bed. Lots of homoerotic subtext going on, but nothing happened. Seriously.

+ Toastie took his shirt off and began the most hilarious pantomime in the history of the world from the outside of the hotel. (At one point, we open the door only enough to hear him say, "What do you want soundbites?" only to slam the door on him.) He did the classic "falling down the stairs" routine. Epic. This is all a little hazy but there is video available.

Sunday, June 3: Baltimore

+ We wake up for another game of Frisbeer, this time with perhaps a hint of regret. We don't all remember what happened last night, but we know it was probably less than pure. We lifted Toastie's ban on the Bob Evans chain of restaurants and chowed down.

+ We saddle up for the Orioles-Indians game. We get to the ticket machine for the train into Baltimore, but for some reason the machine won't take Dunford's coins. Thank God we got there when we did, because the line queued up pretty fast once we got there.

+ We get on the train, which takes us right to Camden Yards. It's a beautiful stadium with a lot of old-style charm. We walk the interminable ramp to get to our seats, but decide to join Danny and Jeff down in left field. We make some friends, including a guy in a yellow Len Bias jersey and a guy who shouts "Go home, Indian!" to Jitter, who is wearing his hometown Cleveland cap. Tribe beats the Birds.

+ After the game we go to Fuddrucker's for some huge hamburgers and all conversation stops. Plenty of ballgame left, gotta pace ourselves. Jeff leads us into what we think may be the belly of Baltimore's Little Italy, but we end up in a well-lit bar district.

+ We start at a sports-bar type place, which really isn't our style, but we get a table and everyone sits down. I go to the bar to try and order a pitcher or two, but the bartender never even looks at me. I stand at the bar for literally 10 minutes and not a sniff. The place isn't busy. We say F this and leave. A waitress asks, "Leaving already?" to which Danny yells, "Well it would be nice if someone would take our $^%&@!% order!" A bit harsh? Perhaps, but we all felt his frustration.

+ After window shopping a couple of pubs, including one with a 25 cent ladies night (Bouncer: "It's 25 cents for ladies only. You guys got boobies?" Javen: "In a way.") We end up at a place called Reefers (I think?), which had a sea theme. We start off drinking $2 plastic cups, but realize this might not be the way to go. The $7 pitchers were much more economical. The place suits us perfectly. We have one entire side of the bar to ourselves, there is music playing loudly, but not so loud that we have to scream to one another. Suddenly ...

+ The music comes on, and then the words: Just two good ol' boys, never meanin' no harm... Reverse dang-it. We erupt into a 9-man chorus of the Waylon Jennings classic. We then get a string of very sing-a-longable songs, which is all we need. Amazing how something like that can suddenly light a spark. We have re-railed...

+ We start racking up pitchers. One after another after another. The barkeep says he is impressed by our binging on a Sunday night. He says the record for pitchers is 25, and if we get to 25, he'll buy us a round of shots. Upon reflection, I question the authenticity of this so-called record, as the only evidence of its existence was a hand-written sign that said 25. But the gauntlet had been thrown down.

+ While it may be true we spilled a pitcher's worth of beer on the floor at this place, we racked up 30 pitchers. Thirty pitchers for 9 guys is more than three pitchers a piece. And that isn't even counting the one we ourselves vetoed because Dunford gave some to some girls at the bar. Talk about integrity! We told everybody that Toastie was getting married the next day.

+ The rest of the night is a haze. I thought I lost my cell phone, then proceeded to send Willie a text message, even though he was standing right next to me. I think I ate a slice of pizza, but cannot be sure. I think we took a cab ride home, but am not positive, though I think we did because I kept telling Toastie in the cab ride that he better treat that girl right. And Danny said to the cabbie, "I don't care how you get home, just keep it under $25." Thank God he was there. Danny also pretended to break up a faux fight between Toastie and I. Good stuff. As Will said later, "That's what you call committing to the material."

+ On a personal note, I was so bombed that I couldn't fall asleep, so I got my iPod and sat outside the hotel room in the fresh air. I was either in my underwear or pajama shorts, but I don't remember which and I didn't care. I kept playing the theme song for "G.I. Joe" on my iPod, and I don't know why. There was something soothing about it, and it made me less apt to vomiting. It worked because I didn't puke. Go Joe!

Monday, July 4: Baltimore to D.C. and back to Syracuse

+ The next day was especially painful. We split up for our last journey to the same destination. This time it's RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. My head is spinning and even a Big Mac and fries is not helping. I get disoriented and have to call Javen to ask him how to get out of our hotel complex.

+ The drive is only about 45 minutes from the BWI area to the stadium, but one thing I never even thought of was the need for cash to pay for parking. It was $10 and Willie and I were flat broke. We had credit cards and post-dated out-of-state checks, but no cash. So instead of being able to park, we had to search for an ATM. I went to a gas station, but the man behind the bullet-proof glass said they didn't have ATMs. I went to a shopping district down the street, but the man in the National Liquidators said their ATM was out of money. These places are all in a relatively not-good section of town. Finally there was a Safeway with a working ATM. When the money finally came out I felt like a slot winner at a casino.

+ We finally make it into the stadium and to our seats. RFK is one of the old multi-purpose "cookie-cutter" stadiums that were all the rage in the 1970s, but are now being replaced with baseball- or football-only stadiums (see Veterans Stadium in Philly, Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, etc). It doesn't have a tenth of the charm of the other two ballparks we saw, which is a good reason that D.C. should build a new stadium. Outstanding attendance, though.

+ There were about four Mets fans sitting a few rows ahead of us, and they were being really loud and obnoxious. They are yelling at girls and making fun of the beer vendors. Toastie started to get annoyed with them and started yelling, "Oooo, I'm so tough. I got my shirt off." Toastie and Jitter began countering every one of their cheers. So you would hear: (THEM) Let's go, Car-los! (US) Strike out, Car-los! They were pretty built dudes, but there were still 9 of us, so I wasn't too worried. Danny said to Toastie, "Dude, THEY are US when we're not hungover." While this is true, I realized that the difference is we are not mean-spirited guys, and we primarily act this way to entertain ourselves, not draw attention to ourselves. If attention comes our way, so be it, but it's a byproduct, not our goal. Mets end up winning.

+ Toastie and Will are clearly ready to head back to Syracuse. So we leave immediately after the 7th inning stretch. It's a 6 hour drive, but we find a way to make it in 8 hours, due to some clever wrong turns and bad decisions on our part. Still, the drive through Pennsylvania was much nicer than usual due to the backroads and scenery we were able to see, forgoing the usually nightmarish 4 hour death march up through Route 81. We got home about midnight. And then I started typing this.