Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Iconic NY Christmas Experience


I finally saw the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center for the first time this year. It's much bigger than I expected, and a pretty impressive site. It was even more iconic because the snowflakes were flying pretty heavy when I took this picture.

The crowds really weren't too bad in the city, but it is a bit like walking into a paparazzi storm with all the flash bulbs popping. Also, if you show any bit of hesitation - you'll get hit up by at least 50 happy couples, "Would you mind taking our picture?" Which, I don't, because I'm an amazing photographer.

Merry Christmas from east coast mark.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

East Coast Cribs

This week I gave myself an early Christmas Present, and had a flat-screen TV installed in my bedroom. Nothing helps celebrate the birth of our Lord like 40 gleaming inches of High-Definition programming.


It's actually a pretty sweet setup, with all the cords hidden in the wall, and the components neatly hidden in the next room. In the grand scheme of things, the TV itself wasn't all that expensive. What really gets you is all the extras: the wall mount, the electrician to install an outlet 6 feet up the wall, the Blu Ray player, the HD-DVR,....it goes on.

The other cool toy Best Buy put me on to was the Harmony 890 Universal Remote. In order to have all the components hidden in the next room, you need a remote that can send a signal through walls and cabinets. It's got a million features, and you actually plug it into your computer to program it. Additionally, there are these little sensors you apply to everything you want to control with it. Apparently it will also turn on your fireplace, dim the lights, and perhaps prepare a romantic dinner for 2.

I had purchased all these components a couple days before the Geek Squad could come out to put it all together - so my apartment looked like an electronics storage depot. Normally I'm pretty handy with the home improvement and electronics projects, but I get a bit squeamish about hanging thousands of dollars on the wall with just a few screws - so I let the pros do it.

While I was waiting for the big install day, I decided to plug in the Blu Ray player and see if it lived up to the hype. After the test run, I innocently forgot to take the DVD out before the installers got here. A few days later when the guys got everything all hooked up - they turned the power on ...and sure enough, there it was. Cocktail (and Tom Cruise) in all their gleaming bartending glory. Personally, myself and the Geek Squad guys thought this was extremely awesome. You, gentle reader, may draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes

Luckily for me, the world is apparently filled with all sorts of people who never have to go to work...and can spend their days making brilliant video compilations like this one. If you watch this video, and then immediately pound a Red Bull, I guarantee you'll finish a marathon later that day. Or go home with that hot waitress. Or whatever you're into, sicko.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jim Gaffigan on Christmas



I was at Target the other night, watching the crazy people try and pick out Christmas ornaments. I said to myself, "Why are all these people drunk?"

You can stop watching after the first minute or so. Or continue through the whole thing. It's your life man.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Your Weekend Moment of Zen: The Greatest Music Video Ever?

Over the holiday break I accidentally saw the movie 'Twilight'. I know, I can hardly look myself in the mirror. However, since then I've been on a quest to find other equally ridiculous forms of entertainment. In that light, here's a treat for you - a music video that might just be the greatest thing ever:



This video has everything. Here's the play-by-play:

  • Knight wearing guyliner rides horse through stream
  • He meets a medieval lady
  • He valiantly defends her from some sparks
  • And then the sword-wielding vampire ladies come
  • Don’t point that thing at me, bitch is you crazy?
  • Bad guy split screen!
  • Hooded guy in a mask on fire!
  • Two sword ladies!
  • Wild horses wildly running
  • Good guy split screen!
  • And then the snow angels show up.
  • They’ve got candles.
  • For the lovers to drip crotch wax, you see.
  • Snowy mountains
  • Matching robes!

You get the picture. And that was only the first 1:20 or so. From there we get pirates, a ship exploding, a ghost romance, more explosions, a gang of pterodactyls, a crocodile… hold on. Yep, I'm gonna need a new pair of shorts.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Get Bent, Toyota

Anyone who has watched any TV this year has certainly been inundated with, then grown tired of, then enraged by Toyota’s “Saved by Zero” commercial. Esquire.com’s Peter Schrager was one of the first to delve in-depth into the irritating phenomenon, and now the AP is even picking up on the widespread loathing for the ad.

There’s a lot of info in the article (with good news like we’ll be seeing it again this weekend), but I just wanted to share this one quote from Toyota marketing spokesman Joe Tetherow:
I think the fact that it’s being talked about is good, because the message is out there,” Tetherow said. “The [car dealerships] like the program, and customers do too.”
Joe Tetherow. I’m going to remember that name. That way, if I ever meet Joe, I can crush his windpipe and smash his orbital bones until his eyes have been reduced to a useless goo.

And guess what, Toyota? I will never buy one of your cars. Ever. Because of this one ad. I now hate your company, and the only way I might ever re-consider that position is if everyone in your marketing department died in a fire at the office holiday party, leaving their families to grieve through that Christmas and remember it bitterly the rest of their lives. So tell me again, Joe, is it good people are talking about your ad?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace

Earlier this year, 12,000 people in San Francisco signed a petition in support of a proposition on a local ballot to rename an Oceanside sewage plant after George W. Bush. The proposition is only one example of the classless disrespect many Americans have shown the president.

According to recent Gallup polls, the president's average approval rating is below 30% -- down from his 90% approval in the wake of 9/11. Mr. Bush has endured relentless attacks from the left while facing abandonment from the right.

This is the price Mr. Bush is paying for trying to work with both Democrats and Republicans. During his 2004 victory speech, the president reached out to voters who supported his opponent, John Kerry, and said, "Today, I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."

Those bipartisan efforts have been met with crushing resistance from both political parties.
The president's original Supreme Court choice of Harriet Miers alarmed Republicans, while his final nomination of Samuel Alito angered Democrats. His solutions to reform the immigration system alienated traditional conservatives, while his refusal to retreat in Iraq has enraged liberals who have unrealistic expectations about the challenges we face there.

It seems that no matter what Mr. Bush does, he is blamed for everything. He remains despised by the left while continuously disappointing the right.

Yet it should seem obvious that many of our country's current problems either existed long before Mr. Bush ever came to office, or are beyond his control. Perhaps if Americans stopped being so divisive, and congressional leaders came together to work with the president on some of these problems, he would actually have had a fighting chance of solving them.

Like the president said in his 2004 victory speech, "We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America."

To be sure, Mr. Bush is not completely alone. His low approval ratings put him in the good company of former Democratic President Harry S. Truman, whose own approval rating sank to 22% shortly before he left office. Despite Mr. Truman's low numbers, a 2005 Wall Street Journal poll found that he was ranked the seventh most popular president in history.

Just as Americans have gained perspective on how challenging Truman's presidency was in the wake of World War II, our country will recognize the hardship President Bush faced these past eight years -- and how extraordinary it was that he accomplished what he did in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.


*By Jeffrey Scott Shapiro of the Wall Street Journal

H.N.I.C.

Mr. Clark from 'Lean on Me'


President Barry O.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Great Endings

I couldn't sleep tonight, so I stayed up doing some work and watching some movies ("Money never sleeps, pal"). Really, the movies were just playing in the background for some ambient noise. Though, with a good 6 hours to kill until I could start calling my customers, I needed some longer movies to fill the time. I picked Godfather III to start things off.

Now, a lot of people praise Godfather I and II (justifiably so), but like to sweep Godfather III under the rug...much in the way people are doing with the horrendous new addition to the Indiana Jones trilogy quadrupology.

In contrast to popular public opinion, I happen think Godfather III is actually quite good - and for me it does a really nice job of tying the whole story together. In particular, there's a scene right at the very end - showing scenes of Michael Corleone dancing with the great women in his life. For my money, this is one of the most touching and sadly poetic scenes from any movie. Every time I see it, I can't get over how masterful that scene is at symbolizing the entire arc of the whole series. 30 seconds of joyful dancing, which stands in such stark contrast to how everything turned out in Michael's life. The tragedy of Michael Corleone is summed up in the juxtaposition of the joy seen on his face in those fleeting moments, compared to the true sorrow he knew in his life...and losing everyone close to him.

I've got the clip here, but unless you've seen the movies - you won't feel the same emotions, because you won't understand the 9 hours of storytelling that have just preceded this scene in the movie. Anyway - spoiler alert, so don't continue if you don't want to see the very end...



If you're wondering, the music being played is the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana. Do yourself a favor and grab it on iTunes.

And if you're looking for gift ideas for east coast mark this holiday season, The Godfather "Coppola Restoration" has just been released on Blu Ray.

Feel free to leave your comments with other great endings to movies.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Don Draper's Guide to Picking Up Women


Hello, I'm Don Draper. I've been fortunate enough to have affairs with many women. Some say, "Boy, Don, how do you do it?" Well, it's simple. And you can do it too if you follow my 4 easy steps:

Step 1: When in doubt, remain absolutely silent.

Step 2: When asked about your past, give vague...open ended answers.

Step 3: Have a great name.

And finally, Step 4:

- Look fantastic in a suit
- Look fantastic in casual wear
- Look fantastic in anything
- Sound good
- Smell good
- Kiss good
- Strut around with supreme confidence
- Be uncannily successful at your job
- Blow people away every time you say anything
- Take six-hour lunches
- Disappear for weeks at a time
- Lie to everyone about everything
- Drink and smoke constantly


Basically, be Don Draper.

This has been Don Draper's Guide to Picking Up Women.

[Mad Men Season 2 Finale, Sunday October 26 - 10pm EST]

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Octopus

Work week getting you down? Well, it's Thursday - so the beatings are almost over.



Just because.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Resurrection



In a shocking turn of events, Britney Spears is hot again. Really hot. east coast mark from the year 2000 is extremely excited about this - as I have a number of unrealized fantasies that had to be put on the back burner for a few years.

Let this serve as a lesson to you ladies out there: You can go crazy, get fat, shoot out a couple of kids....but we'll come back to you as long as you get back in bangin' shape, wear sexy wigs, and parade around in minimal clothing. All you ladies with clothes on, what is your problem? What is your deal. Why you gotta be all stuck-up?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Your Marathon Recap

After a meager yet sufficient 3 hours of sleep, I popped out of bed, turned on the weather channel, and saw an ominous bright yellow blob moving toward Minneapolis. "This should be interesting," I said to myself. And thus it had begun...

Breakfast of Champions, 6:00am: 2 glasses of diet coke, 2 blueberry muffins, banana, 2 Advil, Glucosamine, and one packet of Gu. Gu, yes, it's called Gu.

Pre Game: Outside the dome there are 40 port-o-potties. Each has 15 people in line. We ritualistically take our turn in the pre-race purge. Next, we open up our mobile medicine cabinet, and lube up with Vaseline and Icy Hot. Band-aids for the nipples: check.
A last minute decision is made that it's warm enough that we can get by without our long sleeve shirts. A fortunate decision as it would turn out.

Starting Line: Corralled in the starting pen, I notice we're surrounded by a disproportionate number of 5o year old men. One joker on the sidelines hoists a sign that says, "Almost Done!" I noted his facial features so that I could track him down and end him later in the day.

Mile 1: It took about 7 minutes for us to cross the starting line after the gun went off. Within 10 minutes, the three of us are strung out along the streets of downtown Minneapolis. I realize that after 6 months of training, we had failed to discuss a race day strategy. Was I supposed to be running with my 2 buddies? Did they prefer to run alone? Brandon pulls up along me within a minute, but Josh stayed back. I figured he was taking it slow and would pull even before we hit mile 1. I figured.
Brandon notes: "I guess this is the only time I get to run with abandon through the middle of the street in a major American City."

Mile 2: "What the hell happened to Josh?"

Mile 3: Hitting a pretty solid pace, I note that I'm slightly ahead of my pace from last year. Feeling strong.

Mile 4: "I think I just felt a rain drop." Brandon and I make eye contact, and a collective 'gulp' rumbles through the field.

Mile 6: The majority of the field is around Lake Harriet, and we are in a full-on downpour. This is the kind of downpour that you'd sit in your car and let it 'blow over' before you got out to run into the mall. Not us, we were sprinting down the narrow streets, hurdling puddle after puddle. Once I feel a small lake has reached equilibrium in my shoes, I figure there's no point in dodging puddles anymore. At one point, the rain flooding the streets is so bad that the spectators jumped in and diverted people to a shortcut around one particularly flooded part of the street. My memories of these 6 or so miles are pretty cloudy, as my eyes were barely open.

Mile 10: The rain has tapered to a light sprinkle, and my shoes seem to dry out quickly. I am pleasantly surprised.


Half Marathon: I note to Brandon that this is the fastest half marathon I've ever run, beating my previous training best by a good 15 minutes. For the first time I realize we could be onto something special...

Mile 15: The spectators are starting to flood back onto the course, and we are offered a constant buffet along the course. Bananas, oranges, licorice, vaseline, beer. Brandon and I are still cruising along, no sign of Josh. We wonder aloud if he's dead. I call dibs on his TV.

Mile 18: For the first time I do the math and realize we are on pace to finish under 5 hours. I'd never even considered finishing that fast, but the cool weather and a running partner are helping things greatly.

Mile 19: We cross the bridge to St. Paul, and we are caught by the 5 hour pace group. I am momentarily disheartened, as I figure there's no way we can keep pace with that group...and we'd maybe not be able to finish under 5 hours.

Mile 20: I'm still shocked at how well we are running, even 20 miles in. We've only slowed our pace maybe 20 seconds from mile 1. Surprisingly, the 5 hour pace group is still right in front of us, and we're easily keeping pace. I say to B, "We're finishing under 5 hours. I'm telling you right now." B has the look of death on his face, but agrees.

Mile 21-24: Probably our hardest miles of the race. These miles are straight down Summit Avenue, but it's all slightly uphill. My quads are screaming and are one darting movement away from cramping up. We keep going though. We're still pushing pretty hard to keep up with the 5 hour pace group, only about 100 yards in front of us. At one point B fell back about 10 feet - I thought maybe he was gonna have to slow it down. He managed to pull back even.

Mile 25: The sides of the course are littered with people stretching out their sore legs. Cramps and charlie horses are everywhere. We also see a girl dry heaving. We seem to be the fastest people on the course at this point, and since we're still going strong - we cruise into our last mile.

Mile 26:We see our first glimpse of the finish line by the State Capitol, and kick it up a notch. We zip by my parents who give us a cheer, and head down the final chute to the finish.

Mile 26.1:I momentarily consider sprinting ahead of B, just to finish 2 seconds ahead of him and hold that over him for the next year. Our whole friendship is based on spite, why stop now? We come to an agreement to cross the finish line at the same time, and we zip across the finish.

Finish: There are 2 emotions that went through my head when I finished: "Unbelievable!" and "I finally get to stop."
I was completely in shock that we finished under 5 hours. I'd estimated that if everything went really well, maybe I could finish in 5:15. Our final time was 4:57. I'd shaved nearly an hour of my personal best. I had a huge grin on my face, and actually got a little emotional before I snapped myself out of it.



The only thing I said to B at the finish was, "I can't believe we did that." Good stuff.

It turns out Josh wasn't dead, just had some leg issues that forced him to slow his pace.

We all finished, and then spent the next 2 days limping around like a flock of 80 year old men. When you finish, you don't even want to think about running or anything relating to running. However, now a few days later I'm already thinking about what marathon I might run next.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Marathon, Part Deux

Tomorrow morning at 8am I'll be running my second marathon - the 2008 Twin Cities Marathon. All the training, long runs, and dieting are done. Now, it's just a matter of getting to the finish line in one piece.

I'm surprised at how many people I meet don't seem to have a clue about a marathon - so for those of you uninitiated, a marathon is 26.2 miles, and should take me around 5 hours+ to finish. Also, everyone asks me, "So what are you raising money for? Breast Cancer?" I'm not raising money for anything. People who do 2 mile fun-runs raise money for underprivileged cats and stuff like that. Those who run marathons do it as a personal challenge, pushing yourself past what you think is possible, and for achieving the pure sense of accomplishment.

Last year when I ran my first marathon, it was a freakishly warm day in October (86 degrees), which needless to say was sadistic for a first timer. This year, it should be much cooler - probably around 48 degrees at the start, and 60 by mid-day. Some risk of showers, but I guess we'll cross that puddle when we get to it.

Two of my friends, Josh and Brandon, are running as well. Assuming we all finish, there should be plenty of post-race debauchery in celebration. Specifically, I plan to indulge in all the things I've sacrificed over the past 4 months....french fries, beer, desserts, meth, etc.

Today I had a Chipotle Burrito to load up on carbs, and have been pounding bottles of water and Gatorade all day in an effort to stay hydrated. The day before the race is great - they suggest you just sit around all day and do little to nothing. I will oblige.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

Going out to the 2008 Minnesota Twins, and my onset depression...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Twins Sweep Chicago; Mayhem Ensues

Hot damn that was an awesome baseball game.


That was easily the best Twins game since Game 5 of the 2002 ALDS vs. Oakland, and over the last 3 days - my MLB DirecTv Season Package has more than paid for itself.

Tonight the Twins completed a thrilling amazing scintillating comeback after being down 6-1 early, to finally seize victory 7-6 in the 10th inning - and sending the Twins faithful into a polite Midwestern mayhem.

Really, all you need to know is that I, a grown man, was jumping around my apartment like an 8 year old on more than one occasion this evening. It was one of those games where everything was going wrong, and there was really no sense that this one was going to come back around. Then things started happening....

Hot damn that was an awesome baseball game.

We don't have the pennant yet, but now we control our own fate going into the final 3 games of the season...and I like our chances.

And now a video montage tribute this evening's events:

In a word...



The Tearjerker...



The Inspiration...Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Completely Gratuitous

In honor of the Vikings first win today (and because I wanted to get that picture of the dancing dork off the front page) - here is a look at a few of this year's Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders.





Saturday, September 20, 2008

Your 2008 Minnesota Twins: A Video Interpretation

This video compresses the Twins 162 game season into a short 60 seconds:



So close. Right up until the end.

I'm still holding out hope.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Digital Shorts: The Space Olympics

The year is 3022, and this galactic sporting event is having some financial difficulties.



As I mentioned before, if not for Andy Samburg - there would be almost nothing worthwhile about SNL. Michael Phelps as host was wretched. He's like an awkward stoner that's never been out of small town USA. See what happens when he meets the big city lights. Rated R.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The 4 R's of Saturday

Run
With the Marathon only 21 days away, today was my longest training run of the program - 20 miles. It was a steaming 82 degrees for most of the run, but cooled off later into the afternoon. Somewhat amazing (alarming?) the things you have time to ponder while you're running alone for 4+ hours.

I lost 6 pounds during the run. Went through 4 bottles of water and 2 Gatorades. Sucked down 4 Energy Gels, and had to hurdle one giant* snake that took up residence in the middle of the path.

Ribs
The aforementioned run burned around 2,500 calories (about 2 days worth) - thus I treated my emaciated frame to a gut-busting dinner at Famous Daves. Aside from Chipotle, there may be no greater combination of carbs and proteins for the young male. As an added bonus - I can still smell the barbecue sauce on my fingers hours later.

Ron Jeremy
Later in the evening, I decided I wanted some dessert - so I strolled up to an Italian bar/restaurant up the street from me. While I was standing at the bar enjoying a delicious Budweiser, I look up - and see Ron Jeremy standing next to me. Yes, that Ron Jeremy. Fittingly, he was with some chick that was WAY to hot for him - which, I applaud. Turns out there's a major Porn Convention in the next city over - and all the 'big name' pornstars are staying at a fancy hotel here in my city.

Republicans
The season premiere of SNL was also tonight - and Tina Fey opened the show with a spot-on impersonation of Sarah Palin. Given that Tina Fey started the whole 'hot girl in glasses' trend - it was a fitting role. Aside from 'Digital Shorts' and Weekend Update, the rest of SNL is almost unwatchable. Michael Phelps was the host - and I think we all enjoyed him destroying the world in the pool this summer - but let's be honest, he's a douche. Some things are better to be seen and not heard.

And more Tina Fey, just because I can.


*giant snake may have been no more than a foot long, but at the time it looked like a damn Anaconda. (Insert Ron Jeremy Joke)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Leaked RNC Convention Footage

CNN has just released this previously un-aired footage of John McCain getting BarackRoll'd at the RNC Convention earlier this month.



I can't stand the "O-Bama' chant - but east coast mark and John McCain can laugh along with a good joke. Laugh all the way to the White House.

BRB - I have a mooseburger on the grill I gotta flip.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Get Some


"I guess a small town Mayor is sort of like a Community Organizer....except that you have actual responsibilities."

- Sarah Palin, delivering the bitch-slap to Obama on Wednesday night


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Vice President MILF

John McCain announced his VP running-mate today, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. I love the pick - and what a great chess move. This lady is hard nosed, sincere, likeable, and believable in all the ways that Hillary isn't. She's got an 80% approval rating, and arguably more experience than the Dem's Presidential pick.

I must admit I had a sentimental hope that Governor Tim Pawlenty of my home state of Minnesota would get the nod - but I knew he was never the best pick for the ticket.

Sarah Palin is a slam dunk, and what away to put a foot on the neck of the 'Obama Superstar Spectaular' that went down in Denver last night. I think the VP debate is going to be more intersting than the Presidential debates.

A few notes from Wikipedia:
Palin was the point guard and captain for the Wasilla High School Warriors, in Wasilla, Alaska, when they won the Alaska small-school basketball championship in 1982; she earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" because of her intense play. She played the championship game despite a stress fracture in her ankle, hitting a critical free throw in the last seconds. Palin, who was also the head of the school Fellowship of Christian Athletes, would lead the team in prayer before games.

In 1984, after winning the Miss Wasilla contest earlier that year, Palin finished second in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant which won her a scholarship to help pay her way through college. In the Wasilla pageant, she played the flute and also won Miss Congeniality.

Palin holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Idaho where she also minored in politics. She married her high school sweetheart, Todd Palin, on August 29th, 1988, and briefly worked as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations while also working as a commercial fisherman with her husband.


She hunts, eats moose hamburger, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, and owns a float plane. Palin holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association.

Right Now!!



And Craig Ferguson...who was ahead of the pack on this...


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Golden Girls




Tiger Walks on Water

Apparently some huge flaming nerds video game enthusiasts discovered a glitch in EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour '08 which allowed Tiger to play shots out of a water hazard. Well, EA Sports has responded with a new promo for the '09 version of the game.



Sure Tiger can walk on water, but did Jesus ever win the Jerusalem Open on a broken leg with jacked up tendons? Tiger: 1, Jesus: 0.

Friday, August 15, 2008

As Nastia as She Wants to Be

My new favorite past-time is to try and come up with puns regarding the Olympics. You gotta be pretty quick - because ESPN is always on the case. For example, Michael Phelps wins a gold medal? "Golden Boy" or "Good to Gold". You get the idea. Feel free to post your own gems in the comments section.

After watching Nastia Liukin take the Gold Medal on Thursday night, I came up with the gem you see above. Puns!

I've also probably heard the story about what Michael Phelps eats for breakfast about 10 times in the last day and a half. Pretty solid stuff, tubby. He eats more in a day than the entire U.S. Women's gymnastics team has eaten in their entire lives.

*Dibs on Nastia Liukin

**Dude, she's 18. It's cool.

***Fine. But people were calling dibs on the Olsen Twins when they were 16. Just saying.

****When does Track and Field start? It's like I'm stuck in the movie Groundhog Day - and I keep repeating swimming and gymnastics over and over, day after day.

*****
James Blake. Tennis anyone?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Still The Best

Watching the USA clean up in the pool at the Olympics has been pretty awesome to watch. And that men's relay where they powered from behind was easily the best swimming race I've ever seen. In fact, it's probably the only Olympic moment I can recall where I've jumped out of my chair and started yelling at the TV.

Anywho, whenever I see the medal ceremonies - I can't help but think of the best version of the National Anthem ever - Whitney Houston at the 1991 Super Bowl.



Goosebumps every time.

"Look"

I'm fascinated by interpersonal communication. Being in Sales for a living, I find I'm very aware of the way people try and sell you on their idea. People 'sell' each other all day long - even if they don't realize they're doing it. For example: you want Mexican for dinner, but your girlfriend wants Chinese. It's up to you to sell her on the benefits of tortillas vs. the pitfalls of MSG.

One of the latest trends I've noticed people using to make their point is to start a sentence with the word 'Look'. It's everywhere. I bet I hear it 5 times a day - especially during this election season where the candidates are pitching us all day long. The jury is still out - but I think 'Look' is here to stay, mostly because it's just so effective.

When you start a sentence with the word 'look', especially in an argument or debate - it's very final and declarative. It's a way to say 'this is the final answer to this discussion' - and it's very hard to continue a debate after you've been 'look'ed. However, you do need to be cautious in your tone - because if you're not careful, it can come off a bit rude. Still, in the hands of a silver-tongued charmer..the 'look' is a knockout.

John McCain, and more so Obama, are huge users of the 'look'. Just listen to either one of them in an interview, and I guarantee you'll start to notice it more and more. Or anytime you see a couple talking heads debating a point on TV - I guarantee you'll see this trend play out as well.

So as a little experiment - I tried working 'Look' into a few different Sales visits last week, and the results were amazingly positive. As a 'close' (as we say in my business), I found it was very effective because 'look' in essence gives me the last word - and I'm giving the final outline as to how things are going to play out.
"Look, if you don't make a commitment to furthering your research by evaluating my technology - you're going to be passed by your competitors who are."
It's so final. The 2 different people I tried it on were putty in my hands - because it's so hard to come back from a 'Look'. I watched closely to gauge their responses, and the best way I can describe it was "Well, I guess you're right." And who doesn't like to be right?

So, try it out. And keep your ears open - I think you'll be surprised where it pops up - Machiavellian as it may be.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mad Men, Season 2


With The Sopranos over, House on summer vacation, and nothing else new being churned out by HBO this summer - my DVR has had some serious gaps to fill.

Last weekend, AMC ran a marathon of the entire first season of their much acclaimed drama, Mad Men, and I decided I'd dip my toe in the water. I realize I'm a bit late to this party - but I figured it's not too late.

Living up to the hype, it's definitely one of those dramas that you get lost in. The show is set in a 1960's advertising firm on Madison Avenue (hence, Mad Men). It follows the womanizing, boozing, chauvinist office-dynamics of a non-PC America in the booming years following WWII. Mostly, I just love the suits these guys wear. I'm not sure if I can pull off the skinny tie look - but I'll be damned if I'm not going to give it a try this week.

Season 2 debuted tonight (Sunday) - and I think it's worth checking out - if you're not already a loyal fan. My guess is that if you set your DVR to just record every episode, you'll probably catch up on season 1 pretty quickly with the repeats they show.

If you don't have a DVR yet - then it's almost like you're living in the 60's anyway, so this show is all the more perfect for you.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What You Get For the Money

For the past 2 weeks I have been telling anyone who would listen that they need to support Anhesier-Busch, as they fended off a hostile takeover bid by Belgian Beer-Conglomerate 'InBev' - who was attempting to buy out our last major American beer producer. You may not know it, but Miller is owned by a South African company, and Coors is owned by a Canadian company.

Budweiser put up a good fight, but in the end they squeezed an extra $5 Billion out of those wood clog wearing, windmill making dancing-nancies - and now our National Pastime of Beer is owned by Europe.

Well, here's what they're getting for their $52 Billion - I present the top 5 'Real Men of Genius' songs:

Mr. Foot Long Hot Dog Inventor


Mr. Grocery Store Cart Wrangle
r


Mr. Silent Killer Gas Passer

Mr. Nudist Colony Activity Coordinator


Mr. Really Really Really Bad Dancer


Hey Belgium - go choke on a waffle.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

No Respect

Rodney Dangerfield:


Justin Morneau - HR Derby Champion and game-winning All Star Run:

Friday, July 11, 2008

5 for 5

Arby's Roast Beef Sandwiches



Justin Morneau at Detroit on Thursday

Friday, July 4, 2008

America, F*** Yeah!

The US has been awesome for 232 years now, and so today all of us bad ass motherfuckin' Americans will celebrate by putting our hot chicks in bikinis and shooting fireworks at each other. Also, my condolences if you're not American. I read in the bible that if God didn’t make you American, it’s because he hates you, so you’re kind of screwed.



Also, big ups to Joey Chestnut for defending his Nathan's Hot Dog eating Title. USA! USA! USA!

I kinda want to go blow something up, and then oppress someone. Maybe a field trip to Guantanamo Bay would hit the spot.

Friday, June 27, 2008

My Argument With God

How I went from Jesus-loving Christian to fun-loving infidel…in one afternoon

By: Ricky Gervais

I loved Jesus. He was my hero. More than pop stars. More than footballers. More than God. God was by definition omnipotent and perfect. Jesus was a man. He had to work at it. He had temptation but defeated sin. He had integrity and courage. But He was my hero because He was kind. And He was kind to everyone. He didn’t bow to peer pressure or tyranny or cruelty. He didn’t care who you were. He loved you. What a guy. I wanted to be just like Him.

One day when I was about 8 years old, I was drawing the crucifixion as part of my Bible-studies homework. I loved art too. And nature. I loved how God made all the animals. They were also perfect. Unconditionally beautiful. It was an amazing world.

I lived in a very poor, working-class estate in an urban sprawl called Reading, about 40 miles west of London. My father was a laborer and my mother was a housewife. I was never ashamed of poverty. It was almost noble. Also, everyone I knew was in the same situation, and I had everything I needed. School was free. My clothes were cheap and always clean and ironed. And Mum was always cooking. She was cooking the day I was drawing Jesus on the cross.

I was sitting at the kitchen table when my brother came home. He was 11 years older than me, so he would have been 19. He was as smart as anyone I knew, but he was too cheeky. He would answer back and get into trouble. I was a good boy. I went to church and believed in God—what a relief for a working-class mother. You see, growing up where I did, mums didn’t hope as high as their kids growing up to be doctors; they just hoped their kids didn’t go to jail. So bring them up believing in God and they’ll be good and law-abiding. It’s a perfect system. Well, nearly. Seventy-five percent of Americans are God-fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-fearing Christians. Ten percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists.

But anyway, there I was, happily drawing my hero when my big brother Bob asked, “Why do you believe in God?” Just a simple question. But my mum panicked. “Bob,” she said, in a tone that I knew meant “shut up.” Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a God and my faith was strong, it didn’t matter what people said.

Oh…hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour, I was an atheist.

Wow. No God. If Mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? Yes, of course, but who cares? The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my newfound atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. Not a world by design, but one by chance. I learned of evolution—a theory so simple and obvious that only England’s greatest genius could have come up with it. Evolution of plants, animals, and us—with imagination, free will, love, and humor. I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer, and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.

But living an honest life—for that you need the truth. That’s the other thing I learned that day, that the truth, however shocking or uncomfortable, in the end leads to liberation and dignity.


I hope I haven’t offended anyone with this article. Okay, that’s a lie.


Ricky Gervais created the award-winning TV shows The Office and Extras . This fall, he stars in the romantic comedy Ghost Town opposite Téa Leoni.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Boston is Retahded


I've never liked Boston. Even before I moved to the New York area, I didn't like Boston. For so long that city sucked, at everything, and people liked them just because they were the loveable losers. But really, they've been winning sports championships for 8 years now, and the smug machine just keeps getting worse. I've never liked the, 'well, we deserved it' defense either.

I have these 2 friends that live in Boston. I sort of like them because they're loud and enjoy a tasty beverage. I also like them because they let me do my Matt Damon/Good Will Hunting Boston accent, and they don't get mad. I can't meet someone from Boston without saying "Irrrreeeegaaaaadless" a good 20 times. I love watching them get madder and madder as I start talking about how 'there's too much wataa in the pier' and 'I mow lawns for the paaarks depaahtment'. I went to this wedding a few years back, and the groom was from Boston. His Boston buddies came, and they were the biggest group of insufferable suckasses I've ever met. "Wow guys, it's sweet how you all have the same frayed and faded Boston Red Sox hat. So cool right now."

So, aside from my two friends, I've had just about enough of Boston's winning sports teams and the overwhelming self-satisfying shit smug-storm that's sweeping over the nation like an itchy wool blanket. Bill Simmons is the Conductor, and the entire Red Sox team are taking it in the ass bringing up the rear.

The only other redeeming factor is that Minnesota's Kevin Garnett got his championship ring. He was a straight up good guy for a long time in Minnesota sports, and he did the right thing in his post game interview when, very emotionally, the first thing he said was, "This is for all the people back in 'sota". Classy move, because he knows Minnesota did him a favor by trading him to a contender to give him his shot at a ring.

Ugh. Boston. GFYM.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Neither Relevant Nor Newsworthy

Fight Club is one of my favorite movies, and if you'd be honest with yourself for just a moment - you'd realize that it's one of your favorites too. That said, I found this little clip that never made the movie nor any of the DVD special features. It's extremely awesome in a 7th grade sort of way.

You might want to turn down the speakers if you're at work, or if you're a Pastor. Makes me want to dust off my guitar and learn to play this, just because it's perfect for the after-bar party. Enjoy:



So why wouldn't this be included in the DVD special features? Even as a hidden easter egg? Well, apparently Frankie Avalon - who's original song 'Venus' was the basis for this clip, wasn't nearly as amused. The DVD Producer said,

"The Penis Song was something everyone wanted on the disc. Everyone, that is, except Frankie Avalon, who wasn't amused by the parody of his song Venus. He promised to sue if we used it, so there you are."
And, I say this with an unblemished record of heterosexuality - but Ed Norton and Brad Pitt are still two of my favorite actors. Nonetheless, I'm going to pass on The Hulk.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Snobama

Maybe it's me, but everytime I hear Obama speak - I can't help but think he sounds a little bit like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island. Raising his nose and emitting the snobbery. I'm just waiting for Snobama to turn to his wife one of these days and say, "Lovey Dear, don't you think it'll be smaaaashing to dine with the Prime Minister?"


This clip is way too long, but you can get a taste in the first 45 seconds.



More here at Authentic GOP.com

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Things I Can't Travel Without

I flew to Minnesota this past weekend, and I was reminded that I don't fly nearly as much as I used to. There was a period during 2004-2006 where I was flying somewhere every other week on business. When you travel that much, you accumulate a lot of items that make traveling easier. Even though I don't travel for business nearly as much now, I still pull out all these goodies out whenever I fly - and I couldn't live without them:

Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Dress Shirts:

These are actually about the only dress shirts I wear, but they're particularly good for travel. I've had other 'non-iron' shirts, but the Brooks Brothers ones truly are worth the price. You can pack these in a suit case, hang them up in the bathroom when you shower in the morning at the hotel, and they'll look like they just came from the dry cleaners. I recommend buying the 'slim' fit shirts for a much more tailored look. $79 - $139 www.brooksbrothers.com

Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Headphones:

I absolutely cannot be on a plane without these headphones. Nothing irritates me more than the sound of people coughing and babies crying. With these noise-cancelling headphones, they put you in a silent little bubble of relaxation. I plug into my iPod, and I fall asleep in about 5 minutes. When I have to take them off to give the flight attendant a drink order, it sounds like I've walked into a beehive. They also come in handy in 100 other situations where there are loud and annoying people or sounds. $299 www.bose.com

Nike+ Running Gear:

I get a little stir crazy sitting in hotel rooms or my parents' basement, so I try and get out and run whenever I can. Problem is, in a strange city it's often hard to find a running trail - and harder still to figure out how far you've gone. The Nike+ running chip that connects to my iPod tells me exactly how far I've run, and uploads the run to a website that tracks all my mileage. I remember a particular run through downtown St. Louis - great way to see the city, if you don't mind the occasional bum and all the guys wearing Nelly headbands. http://www.nikeplus.com/ $300 for the works, including iPod and shoes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Well, this rules.

Fred Astaire doing Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal. Pimpin' ain't easy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New Batman Trailer Same as the Old One?

I found this little side-by-side comparision of the trailer for the original Batman movie in 1989, compared to the trailer for the new 2008 "Dark Knight" movie. Pretty interesting how closely they line up. Judge for yourself - but this couldn't be just coincidence right?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Marathon 2.0

This past week I officially registered to run my second marathon. The 2008 Twin Cities Marathon will be on Sunday, October 5th at 8:00am...about 5 months from today. Most normal people don't willingly choose to pay $100 for the priviledge of running 26 miles - but, we here at east coast mark have never proclaimed to be normal.

When I ran my first marathon last year, it was a very challenging yet rewarding experience. Sadistic as it may sound, I actually enjoyed the discipline and demanding schedule that training for a marathon requires. I was eating salmon 4 days a week, excercising 6 days a week, gave up drinking for most all of the summer, and even laid off the hookers and blow. I know - life is a series of compromises.

Along the way I dropped about 15 pounds, went through 2 bottles of Icy Hot, and became intimately acquainted with the blight of 'jogger's nipple'.

This year, two more of my buddies are going to be joining Paste and I - brining our mob up to 4 'runners'. Not since the first men's olympic basketball 'Dream Team' has such a finely tuned group of athletes been assembled as the 4 of us. Truthfully, not wanting to finish last in the group and be called 'fatty' for the following year is half the reason we all get out and train each week.

You'll be able to track my daily/weekly training runs with the little widget below, which will hereafter be anchored on the sidebar -->


Friday, April 4, 2008

Q Squared

This week I Quit my job at Qiagen. In business terms, "I submitted my intention to resign because I have accepted a more lucrative position with another company." I'll wrap up my current responsibilities next week, and then take my new post mid-April.

The decision to leave my current job wasn't an easy one, and definitely required more thought and contemplation than any other job decision I've ever made. (One time in college I quit a bartending job because my Manager dared me to.) My new position will still be in Molecular Biology/Biotech Sales, though I'll now be an 'Account Manager' - selling an advanced Electrochemiluminescent Technology to the various Pharmaceutical Companies. I wasn't particularly looking to leave my current job, but this new opportunity came up - and it was too good to pass up.

I mentioned in a previous post that I don't believe in taking chances, but I do like taking calculated risks. It would have been easy to just hang out in my current job, take a decent paycheck, and coast through the year. However, I've always been someone who's searching for what's next...or what bigger is out there for me. My new job will challenge me in new ways, require some serious effort, apply plenty of pressure....but also offers con$iderable reward$ to those who work hard and make things happen.

Those of you who have my current e-mail address and phone number....those will be disappearing next Friday. If I deem you worthy, I'll be getting in touch with you to give you my new contact info. If not - leave a comment here on east coast mark....and I'll let you know how to find me.

Word of my resignation has been slowly leaking out around the company, so I've been fielding calls almost hourly this week that start off with, "Dude! What the hell! I heard you're leaving!?!" It's kind of like breaking up with a girlfriend 5 or 6 times a day. "It's not you, it's me...." "We can still be friends...." "We had some good laughs though, didn't we?" "Maybe we can still hook up once in awhile...you know, if it's not weird..."

Anyway, my only advice is always to keep your eyes open...you never know when a new opportunity is going to present itself.

To take you off into the weekend, here's something that is sure to make you smile.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I Think I Love My Wife - a late night movie review.

Pre warning: This is a 5am movie review. Read accordingly...

Every Saturday night, HBO airs it's 'movie of the week'. It's typically a new release - something that's been out of theaters about a month or two. I typically just set my DVR to record the new movie every week, regardless of what it is.

This week's offering was Chris Rock's "I Think I Love My Wife." I remember when this movie came out about 6 months ago - and I can recall thinking that this was another in a long line of 'black' comedies - i.e. 'Who's Your Caddy', 'Norbit', etc. The kind of movie that you expect to see in an uproarious theater of African Americans....laughing at jokes and colloquialisms that you don't quite get.

Fast forward to late Saturday night, and I was in a foul mood - for reasons I can't quite explain. This happens about once every 3 months or so - I call it Male PMS. But, I digress. Anywho, I decided to throw on I Think I Love My Wife, and found it really good. Maybe it was the 5 or 6 Captain Morgans...or maybe just good-hearted soul food.

I find the most intriguing social and psychological dynamics are those having to do with choice, infidelity, consequence, and fate. Not for any personal feelings of guilt or remorse, but these choices are so hightened and piqued - it just brings about really interesting raw emotions. I frequently site 'Vanilla Sky' as one of my favorite movies of the last decade. I think I liked 'Wife' because it plays in many of the same themes....the consequences of your choices.

One of the most empowering emotions a man can conquer is overcoming his own desires. When two people admit they're attracted to each other - they're no longer in control. The relationship has to play itself out. We're all faced with temptation every day...not just with good looking women (or men), but with career choices, breaking the speed limit, pepperoni or sausage. How do these seemingly small decisions in life impact the greater symphony? Stuff like that fascinates me.

Long story short - this was a movie I'd mock people at Blockbuster for renting, and never would have picked up for myself. But after a late-night viewing, I gotta say it's pretty solid. Chris Rock for the first time plays a serious role that really highlights his talents beyond just dick and pussy jokes. And anytime a movie makes me really think - or drives me to write a 9 paragraph blog post...it can't be all that bad. Maybe check it out.

The quote of the movie:
"You know, some people say life is short and that you could get hit by a bus at any moment and that you have to live each day like it's your last. Bullshit. Life is long. You're probably not gonna get hit by a bus. And you're gonna have to live with the choices you make for the next fifty years. "

I used to review movies for fun; maybe I should dabble again. Maybe I should just go to bed and shutup.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Hijinks - The Hawaii Chair

I saw this infomercial the other day, and now Ellen has taken the lead and given us a first hand review of the new Hawaii Chair.



Typically we don't link to Ellen here on east coast mark, but a person can only take so much Hillary/Obama nonsense.

Have a good weekend kids.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

OBAMA SMOKING CRACK.....CAUGHT ON TAPE!!!!!

OMG! This just hit all the news sites. Unbelievable!

Click here to watch the video before it gets yanked!!

This is really gonna spice things up.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Adventures in the Midwest

east coast mark took off for Minnesota for a few days. The day I arrived, Mother Nature dropped 6 inches of heavy, thick snow. I guess I like to announce my presence with authority.


One of my Jersey friends recently asked me, "So, do you live on a farm?" I suppose it's not a completely out-of-line question; because before I moved to the east coast - I would have asked people in New York, "So, have you ever seen grass?"

This weekend I've been systematically hitting up my favorite restaurants, bars, and old drinking buddies. Also, whenever I come home - I suddenly become Mr. Home Improvement. My mother has a list waiting for me of little odd jobs they can't quite figure out. So far, I've replaced a light switch, fixed the doorbell, and re-wired the Internet. It's like fantasy camp for aspiring handymen.

Tomorrow I'll be going to church for Easter - and I am already dreading it. I'll have to see 200-some people that haven't seen me in 6 or 9 months. This invariably leads to me recounting my 'story' 50+ times. "So Mark, where do you live now?" "Do you still like your job?" "Do people talk faster?" "Do you know Elliot Spitzer?" "Do they have grass in New York City?" It goes on and on....and not that I'm not happy to catch up with people, but after you've recounted your life story 50 times...you kind of get sick of talking about yourself.

Who am I kidding. I love talking about myself. I created a blog for God's sake.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Irregaaadless

Irregaaaadless, it's fackin' St. Paddy's day, and east coast maaark loves tawlkin' in a Bawston accent. I get a longin' in my haahhht for all my Irish kin! Get 13 or 14 Sammy Aadams' in me and I feel strawng as a fackin' awx!! I've got on mah Irish kilt, and just picked up a bran' new foam shamwrack fingahh.

Just gonna finish waatchin' Tha Depaated - then me and Tawmmy Braydee ahr gonna go uht and round up some hawties. Gonna be the best St. Paddy's day evah!! ALL THE MILLER LITE YOU CAN DRINK FOR JUST $200! BEAT THAT, SHITBAWXES!

Oh, and this is what happens when Muppets get bombed on Guinness.


Now lets get hopped up and make some bad decisions.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Legend of The Hoff

I tried out a few different names for this blog post:
- "I Am Legend"
- "OH MY GOD! YES! YES! HOW?!!?!! YES!!"
- "Turn The Lights Hoff When You Leave"
- "The Miracle Worker"
- "The Events of 3-14-08"

Last night, the Gophers of my Alma mater, The University of Minnesota, were playing #20 Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament. The Gophers had already lost twice to Indiana this season, and really had no realistic chance of winning the third time around.

However, the upstart Gophers came out strong - and even built a 16 point lead at one point. Still, any true Minnesota sports fan knows that disappointment is lurking around every corner - so you mentally tell yourself, 'they'll blow it'. We've become a generation of sports pessimists. We expect Gary Anderson to miss field goals in the NFC Championship Game. We expect our best players to choke in big games and then be traded away in the off season.

And true to form, Indiana took a 1 point lead over the Gophers with 1.5 seconds left; on a preposterous series of events that doesn't ever happen outside of Hollywood movies or 2nd graders playing make-believe on the playground.

With all hope ripped from our chests, the only chance the Gophers had was to make a full-court pass, hope to catch it, and a prayer...all this mind you with only 1.5 seconds on the clock. Enter Blake Hoffarber...



Hoffarber caught a long pass with 1.5 seconds left Friday night, spun away from a defender and hit a 14-foot left-handed shot at the buzzer to upset No. 20 Indiana 59-58 in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.

I was so unbelievably shocked, I jumped about 5 feet out of my recliner, let out a war cry, and jumped around my apartment looking for someone to hug. In the process I spilled a beer, nearly sprained an ankle when I stepped on a shoe, and probably led my neighbors to believe there was a murder in progress.

As they say at the end of the Maltese Falcon, "The stuff dreams are made of."