Saturday, December 17, 2005

random saturday thoughts

- I will watch today's Giants game like a normal human being. That means with friends, with wings, and with beer. For once.

My gut feeling isn't good for the Giants today; for one thing, Antonio Pierce would have been one of the main guys counted upon to stop the frightening Larry Johnson (not the good Knicks kind, either). But like the new LJ's old coach told Ernie Accorsi back in his State days, teams with character win games because of injuries, not in spite of them. And quite frankly, being the elite team the Giants aspire to be shouldn't be easy (and rarely is). Plus, it's not like the Chiefs are the '64 Browns here...

- Message in a Bottle is on TBS right now, and Paul Newman completely blows everybody else in the movie out of the water. It's a little confusing as to what he's doing in this. Which shouldn't really be too surprising when you look at the cast, but it's worth mentioning. His Emmy-worthy turn in the much better movie Empire Falls will always be one of my favorites.

- I like Kris' laugh. Though I don't have a link to it to share it with y'all.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

wayne fucking gretzky

This picture is from the front page of (as of 1 pm on Wednesday afternoon):

Wayne Gretzky must be a good coach. If I were a hockey player on his team, I would do anything - including stick my face in front of a puck traveling at speeds upwards of 100 mph - to keep my childhood hero from making that face at me.

If I were a professional hockey player on the Great One's team, and I couldn't cut the mustard, I think it would go a little something like... this:


"I sure am sorry I couldn't clear the puck out of the zone, Mr. Gretzky. Can I have your autograph?"

coach wayne


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

hey, it could happen

The NFL has just released updated playoff scenarios in the wake of last night's 36-17 Falcons win over the Saints.

Apparently, the Giants are on the cusp of clinching a playoff spot this weekend. All they need is 1) a win over the Chiefs, 2) a Carolina loss to the Saints, 3) an Atlanta loss to the Bears and 4) a tie between the Cowboys and Redskins.

Also helpful would be an unexpected total eclipse of the sun during Saturday's game, a butterfly flapping its wings in Japan just about... now, a Poltergeist-like implosion of FedEx Field during the Dallas/Washington game (somehow involving Craig T. Nelson), and for monkeys to fly out of Wayne's butt.

shameless plug

For days, I've been thinking of a way to write about the newly-launched Jim Davis for Governor (of the state of Florida) website without too much emphasis on the fact that it's run by my big brother from our fraternity at Penn, Matt Thornton (Matt's the name of my big brother, not of the fraternity).

Terry Ryan, Matt's big brother, was knowledgeable enough to write about how the site makes use of ColdFusion technology (but apparently NOT the kind pioneered by Elisabeth Shue in The Saint), so that's out.

Really, all I can offer is a shameless plug... and this: I know Matt, and he wouldn't be working for anybody unless he or she is the real deal. I could say that a Jim Davis victory is essential in finally turning Florida blue; I could say that Davis, unlike the current governor, will fight the right battles for the right reasons. All of these things are true. But I think the best thing I could say about Jim Davis is that Matt decided to help him out.

So check out Matt's campaign blog already!

it begins

As I predicted here yesterday, the spinning of the Giants' nailbiter has begun. Bob Glauber of Newsday applies the first bit of polish.

Just to be clear - this is not necessarily a bad thing. Though it probably left Giants fans exhausted, Sunday's win was the kind that contenders pull out (and pretenders let slip through their fingers). It's tailor-made for the half-hour NFL Films season highlight of a successful playoff team (or, dare I say, a championship team).

One passage that stood out to me:

"Paterno used to say, 'If you have character, you win a game because you have injuries, not in spite of them,'" Accorsi said. "We lost four starters in the first 10½ minutes of the game, and we fought back and won. We've got two new starters on the offensive line, and we had none left. Unbelievable. That's a very good locker room of people. There's a lot of heart down there."

Monday, December 12, 2005

friday saturday sunday

Friday Saturday Sunday, 261 South 21st Street.

Wow. Kris took me out for a romantic dinner here about a month ago, and I've been meaning and meaning and meaning to review it (as reviewing Philly restaurants we try is something I'd like to do with this blog o'mine). So here goes... Friday Saturday Sunday (hereafter: FSS) is known for three things around these parts: romance, reasonable markups on wine, and mushroom bisque. Kris and I enjoyed two of those three together at FSS. Only I tried the bisque, as mushrooms are high up on Kris' "stinky foods" list.

FSS is cozy. The atmosphere reminded me of what I imagine romantic, contemporary-yet-somehow-timeless 1980s New York City restaurants must have been like. In a good way. Whatever that means. Bright, flourescent, black-lit accents stood out in a world of warm, dark blues (especially on the prominent dry-erase board announcing the evening's specials).

We shared a bottle of Clos du Val Merlot for about $30. Kris and I both liked it. There are very few merlots we don't like - this despite the bafflingly popular hatred for merlot inspired by the movie Sideways, in which the main character refuses to associate with two beautiful women unless they're drinking ABM ("Anything But Merlot"). Kris and I like to actually taste what we drink, so we like Merlot. Fuck all y'all - y'all be bullshit.

Anyhoo, for starters, I had the bisque, which retained just enough mushroominess to be extremely pleasing, and Kris had some pate - which I generally don't hate, but don't go out of my way to eat. This partcicular pate was pretty tasty.

For our main courses, Kris had the crab cakes, while I had the chili-rubbed angus steak special. Both were pretty tasty; it's been my experience that there aren't too many steaks that turn out well outside of a steakhouse, but this particular cut of meat wasn't too chewy or tough (the usual pitfalls of ordering steak in strange, new places).

Besides the mushroom bisque, I really got the sense that FSS was selling atmosphere and mood at least as much as the food (probably more so). There are several restaurants in and around Philly where you can get better, more interesting food; rather, it was in our immediate company where one could see the unique appeal of the establishment.

We sat next to a middle-aged couple that has apparently been coming to FSS for dinner every Saturday night for years. They had their choice of wine waiting for them in their corner booth, and the hyperfriendly wait staff feted upon them as soon as they arrived. They were extremely cozy as they looked out upon the restaurant, and they knew exactly what they wanted to eat; I got the sense they felt they were home. They just seemed so comfortable.

And that's what FSS is - it's comfort food. Especially if you're in love.

monday giants blogging

I haven't blogged for a while; partially because of work, and mostly because of my grandfather passing away last Thursday, which has hit me really, really hard.

For my return to blogging, however, I'd like to switch to some lighter talk and ruminate on the Giants a little bit.

First of all, yesterday's 26-23 overtime win over the Eagles still feels like a loss, if only because the Giants looked so poor in pulling it out.

I think, though, that this could be the win that the Giants look back upon in a couple of weeks as the one that saved/defined/whatevered their season. It just feels like time will treat the Giants' performance yesterday kindly. For one thing, Big Blue never plays flawlessly in Philly, even when the team pulls out a win. And the Eagles are still a team made up of proud NFL athletes; coming into the game I thought it was going to be the scrappy affair it was, rather than the Giants cakewalk so many had assumed would take place. The bottom line is that they took a December win out of Philly, which is tough to do regardless of how well or poorly the Eagles' season is going.

I said to Kris during the final minutes of the fourth quarter and during overtime that this would be Jay Feely's redemption game. And despite some gallows IMing with Spector, I never really doubted Feely. Or perhaps I couldn't really imagine him blowing another amazing opportunity to win a crucial road game. Whatever the case, Feely came through, which will no doubt make this gruesomely ugly game an amazing triumph once NFL Films is through with it.

Looking ahead, there are two real areas of concern with this team. I'll begin with Eli Manning, who has seemingly taken a few steps backwards these past two weeks. Now, I've been on the Eli bandwagon all season long, and I'm not about to jump off just yet (as I'm sure many Giants fans already have - "the next Kerry Collins" was a particularly idiotic comment I heard from one rooter). I think Eli is going to be just fine.

Of immediate concern, however, is whether he'll be able to re-establish his game in time for the Giants to have a shot at doing something special in 2005. I'm not really worried yet, but it's definitely something to keep in mind as #10 takes the field on Saturday versus the dangerous Chiefs.

The other red flag with the Giants is in the trainer's room; Big Blue lost four starters to injury yesterday, including both starting offensive tackles (forcing guard David Diehl to move to right tackle - meaning that there were essentially three backups on the O-line). On the other side of the ball, the Giants lost William Joseph and Antonio Pierce (who's been the heart and soul of the defense thus far this season).

You saw just what the problem with backup offensive linemen is yesterday; backup Bob Whitfield came in cold and did his best Luke Petitgout impersonation, taking two crippling penalties on two different possessions inside the Eagles' 10. You never want to say that Petitgout wouldn't have taken those penalties, but if the Giants hadn't had to settle for field goals in those situations, maybe the game isn't as close as it turned out to be.

The Giants could have some real problems down the stretch if they don't get these players back. And even if they do, Eli is once again going to have to prove to the league that he deserves to be here.

The rest of the season starts Saturday in East Rutherford.