Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Roy Hibbert's spin on the Art of Seduction

Sadly, I'm not on vacation like the rest of the staff of G:TB. Oh yeah, you're at meetings in Chicago TJ...sure. Do those meetings include deep dish pizzas and cans of Old Style? Anyway, since I'm at not on vacation and am around my normal environment its seemingly been left up to me to keep this corner of the interwebs updated. I'm not sure what I'm expected to update or even who I should be updating. All I do know is that I was told to keep G:TB updated by TJ (prick) and that nobody wants another post that includes a picture of Rob's stubby little hooves.

So, with that in mind, I figured we'd make today about the big fellas. Because, isn't that what this blog is really all about in the first place? So here's friend of Gheorghe and enemy of Geoff (Because who doesn't like somebody who Geoff hates? Except for Estefan...fuck that bitch.) Roy Hibbert proving to us that he's not only in better shape than ever, but that he loves Seinfeld and isn't a afraid to put a new spin on a classic pose.'s a little something Greg found in between combing for crabs thats both funny and about a tall guy named George (close enough, right?).

I'll try and get something up here of substance tomorrow...maybe. Isn't the suspense just killing you?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bob Huggins: Baseball Ambassador

No, dear readers, there is not a typo in the title of this piece. Just as Jesus was a reluctant messiah, Huggy Bear is BASEball's misplaced missionary. Not only has he brought back the true meaning of student-athlete to West Virginia's storied "University", but he's renewing the black community's interest in baseball. We salute you sir, and here's a giant Bear Hug from Gheorghe to you! Please click the link below to read more...

**Editorial Comment - Please do not email the G:TB staff with uninteresting "facts" such as, "Bob Huggins didn't recruit those guys" and "one of those guys is white". We're not interested. Like one of my former mentors once told me; Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Boba Fett? Boba Fett? Where?

I'm shuffling off to Chicago for the next few days, so hopefully Mark or Whit or Dennis can provide something topping my usually filler. But before I go, here's something that made me mildly chuckle (a ringing endorsement I know):

Don t Make Fun of Boba Fett

Monday, July 28, 2008

The mugshot really makes this one

It's stories like this that make a Monday bearable:
MILWAUKEE (AP) - A Milwaukee man was accused of shooting his lawn mower because it wouldn't start. Keith Walendowski, 56, was charged with felony possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle and misdemeanor disorderly conduct while armed.

According to the criminal complaint, Walendowski said he was angry because his Lawn Boy wouldn't start Wednesday morning. He told police quote, "I can do that, it's my lawn mower and my yard so I can shoot it if I want."

A woman who lives at Walendowski's house reported the incident. She said he was intoxicated.

Walendowski could face up to an $11,000 fine and six years and three months in prison if convicted.

A call to Walendowski's home went unanswered Friday morning.
I'm pretty sure the call went unanswered because the phone was full of buckshot.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Taking you into the weekend...Florida style.

Ever since I met TJ and he figured out that we worked in similar capacities at similar organizations, we've spent far too much time emailing ridiculous stories to one another throughout our respective workdays. I do not believe I am alone here. I imagine TJ's typical workday consists of him looking up various "news articles" on the ebays and sending them off to any number of friends and former colleagues. Followed by him trolling youtube for approximately 4 hours, a long lunch (which may or may not include three beers) and finally, about fifteen minutes of real, actual work. So basically, TJ is like everybody else who works in the District of Columbia.

Anyway, TJ's favorite thing to email me are the many wildly ridiculous and unbelievable stories that are produced by the population of my home state, Florida. Now, I'm fully aware that Florida is a disgusting cess pool of rednecks, immigrants, retirees, inbreds, annoying transplant northerners and people so dumb that they should have their genitalia removed via a blowtorch. I'm also well aware of what a joke Florida has become nationally because of its inhabitants. That's why I live two blocks from the beach and never, ever venture more than 20 miles inland unless I'm visiting Gainesville or Orlando (I even try to limit my Orlando trips now...It's like LA sans the whimsy...and if you replace the Mexicans with Puerto Ricans).

With all this said, TJ's decided that I should start posting some of these stories of Sunshine State absurdity semi-regularly here at G:TB. So, consider this post and it's various links the introduction to this new and, surely, short lived G:TB feature.

Did that guy just chuck a baseball into the other dugout?

I'm stuck in work meetings all day, but I had time to find video of this fantastic minor league basebrawl last night. Enjoy:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

G:TB In the Public Arena

A hearty welcome to all my fellow citizens of Virginia's 10th Congressional District. Seems the Right Honorable Frank Wolf (or, more likely, the bot that's running his Open Congress website) saw fit to recognize my ode to my own feet from earlier this week.

I don't really see eye to eye with Rep. Wolf on many things (as he's much taller than I, and a pretty darn conservative Republican), but I think we can all agree that America needs more pictures of my feet. I'm off to Cape Cod tomorrow to give the people what they want.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Official G:TB Olympics Preview

Gheorghe: The Blog loves it some Olympics. Our Romanian heritage means we're required to dig on gymnastics, but frankly, we celebrate the entire catalogue. We're suckers for the pomp, pageantry, and - most importantly - the competition. We'll be glued to the coverage from beginning to end.

In our own inimitable and haphazard way, G:TB today begins our coverage of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. We promise that our reporting will be biased, mostly uninformed, and generously sprinkled with jingoistic flavor. Just like that of NBC, come to think of it.

Our first installment then, is a preview of Team Handball, which is a sport Americans really should love, chock full as it is with speed, tons of scoring, random physicality, and the occasional 70 mph ball to the head of an unsuspecting goaltender.

In a nutshell, Team Handball is a soccer/basketball hybrid played on a shorter field (40m x 20m, which by my metric-to-English calculations is about 3.32 miles x 1.61 miles – I could be off by a few feet). Teams of 7 (6 field players and a certifiably insane goaltender) advance the roughly volleyball-sized ball by dribbling and passing (only three steps are permitted before dribbling, so LeBron James would be right at home). The object of the game is to throw the ball into the 2x3m goal – roughly the size of a 6-story building, I think. Games last 60 minutes, with teams in international competition routinely scoring 25 or more goals in a contest.

The men’s field for the 2008 Games is dominated by the traditional European powers, with defending world champion Germany joined by Denmark, Poland, France, Iceland, Spain, Croatia, and Russia. A bunch of pretenders round out the field, with host China, Egypt, Korea, and Brazil serving as fodder for the Ivan Drago-lookalikes in the Euro contingent. Women play too, apparently.

G:TB’s Team Handball staff likes the Croats to knock off the Germans in the Gold Medal match on August 24, with Denmark taking the bronze. And if that happens, I’ll eat a handball.

Should I be this hungover on a Wednesday?

Regardless of the answer, part of my binge drinking last night revolved around the best opening scenes to movies ever, and since we all know I have an unhealthy love of the YouTubes, I thought I'd put up my Top 2...well, they're the Top 2 I came up with after copious amounts of Miller Lite...but I think you'll enjoy. And a comedy rhombus is welcome in the comments.

Numero a large margin:


Number 2 was the beginning of New Jack City, but I'm too fucking hungover...oh wait, I did find me some Nino Brown:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Consider my liquor poured...

The comments section of Gheorghe was in the middle of a typical day today when "Jerome" (so, that's not Jerry?) burst in with some truly tragic news. Emmy winner, philanthropist, sexpot and former pirate Estelle Getty had perished at the tender age of...really fucking old. (Come on already, does it even matter once somebody's past 80? Of course it doesn't).

Of course, Estelle being older than most American universities doesn't obscure the fact that she all around awesome broad. I mean, could Bee Arthur have pulled off Estelle's role in Stop! Or My Mom will Shoot ? Hell to the no, she's a damn foot taller than Stallone for Christ's sake. And don't get even me started on that whore Betty White. Annnnywho, this is all really an excuse to show the remix to the Estelle Getty Workout video that was posted over at EDSBS earlier today, which is possibly the world's greatest blog with a University of Florida graduate on staff, excluding this one, natch. So without further ado:

Anti-Gheorghe of the Week

I've got daughters. I want them to grow up believing that they can do just about anything, but I'd be a terrible parent if I encouraged them to do things where the most likely outcome by a long, long stretch is that they look like fools. Clueless, naive, desperate fools.

B.J. Wie, you, sir, are a dick.
Michelle Wie plans to play in PGA Tour event

Shortly after a disqualification on the LPGA Tour, Michelle Wie has decided to tee it up against the men — again.

Wie will play in next week's Legends Reno-Tahoe Open in Nevada, the first time she will compete on the PGA Tour this year, tournament organizers said.

It will be Wie's eighth time in a PGA Tour event, and she has yet to make a cut. Wie, who is from Honolulu, made money playing against the men on the Korean Tour in 2006 at the SK Telcom Open.

"It's not every day that a woman is given the opportunity to play on the greatest Tour in the world," Wie said in a statement. "This is a tremendous opportunity for me to learn from these great players and take those lessons into the future to becoming the best player I can be on any tour. This is another step in the process of making me a better player."

Who needs Raquel Welch...

...when you've got Jenny Craig:
HEMPSTEAD, Texas, July 21 (UPI) -- Waller County, Texas, Sheriff's Office deputies said they believe a man lost 30 pounds as part of an escape plan to squeeze out jail through a vent.

Officials said Norris weighed 160 pounds at the time of his arrest, but dropped 30 pounds -- allowing him to squeeze through a one-foot-wide vent in his cell at the Waller County Jail, KTRK-TV, Houston, reported Monday.

Norris had been arrested on suspicion of murder in the April killing of a convenience store owner.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lame Excuses for Posting Pictures of My Feet

G:TB readers in Virginia's 8th Congressional District will be delighted to know that they reside in America's longest-lived jurisdiction, according to the folks at

Since I'm stuck out in Frank Wolf's 10th District, my strategy for reducing stress and adding a few precious months to the grand total looks a lot like this, which not so coincidentally reminds me where I'd so much rather be right now than my current deskbound location:

The latest thing to annoy me about the airlines

Last night, after completing the cattle call process Southwest Airlines calls "boarding", I slumped in my seat, ready to devour some hard hitting magazines (Entertainment Weekly and SI) on the supposed hour-long flight from Albany to BWI. Of course, when a plane circles Long Island Sound for over an hour, a short, painless flight becomes a 2.5 hour nightmare, but whatever, that's actually not what I'm here to bitch about.

Rather, I wanted to let the masses know of the newest stupid ass policy of the airlines, something I was sure was so f'ing dumb that it couldn't be true. After going through the "if we crash and the air bag deploys" routine, the flight attendant (he might've been the worst flight attendant in the history of ever, and potentially deserves his own post, but it's a busy day down here at Kramerica, so we'll see) says, "Also, new airline regulations prohibit placing any magazines, drinks, food, or anything really (his actual words) in your seat back pocket. The seat back pocket is only for the emergency cards, the Southwest magazine and the Sky Mall catalogue. You CANNOT (his emphasis) place anything in these seat back pockets. It's a rule. Don't put anything in that pocket."

I mean, really, airlines of America, can someone please explain to me why the fuck I cannot place my Entertainment Weekly in this pocket in front of me after I finish the Chelsea Handler feature? If I do, do the terrorists win?

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Two all beef patties, special sauce...

Give me the fucking keys, you fucking cocksucking motherfucker, aaarrrghh.

...lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!"
MIAMI (AP) - A Miami man who held up a McDonald's at gunpoint in 1994 is now promoting the restaurant's signature sandwich in song. Tamien Bain is among five finalists in the fast food chain's contest for a new jingle promoting the Big Mac.

Bain was arrested on Memorial Day 1994 for the holdup. He served 12 years in prison, where he became interested in making music.

The 29-year-old Bain says he was up front with contest officials about his past when applying for the competition.

The public has until Sunday to vote. The winner gets a trip to Los Angeles and their song featured in a national McDonald's ad.
I strongly urge all G:TB readers to vote for Mr. Bain.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow

dol·drums [dohl-druh mz]
–noun (used with a plural verb )
1. a state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art: August is a time of doldrums for many enterprises.
2. the doldrums, a belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
3. a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.
—Synonyms 3. depression, gloom, melancholy, dejection.

Today’s awash in doldrummery, the worst single day in the American sporting calendar falling on the eve of the 15th Annual Outer Banks Fishing Trip to create a stultifying cocktail of ennui. In an attempt to break out of that boredom/anticipation-inspired funk and elicit comments from people who undoubtedly have better entries in this category, I give you the 5 most memorable (not greatest, mind you) sporting moments I’ve witnessed live and in person. Some are historic, some far more personal and quirkily original:

Carl Yastrzemski hit the 400th home run of his Hall of Fame career on July 24, 1979, and I was sitting 30 feet away from where it landed in the visitors’ bullpen at Fenway Park. Dennis Eckersley pitched a complete game to beat Oakland, 7-3, but all I remember from the game is the majestic arc of Yaz’s milestone bomb as it seemed to come directly at me.

The historically awful William and Mary men’s basketball squad was actually slightly better than dreadful in the 1992-93 season (finishing with a 14-13 overall record), but they sure didn’t play that way during the first half of their game against the 15th-ranked University of Virginia Cavaliers on January 25, 1993. UVA eventually built a 23-point second-half lead on the Tribe, but even as the William and Mary Hall crowd filed out in silent approbation, the trio of (Kurt) Small, (David) Cox, and (Derrick) Peters helped the home team scrap back. Small’s fadeaway 3-pointer at the buzzer capped the frantic comeback, sending the game into overtime and the remainder of the crowd into delirium. And the Tribe got blitzed in the extra session. Natch.

In September 1991, the Tidewater Tides took on the Richmond Braves in the final week of the season. G:TBer Whitney, our friend Chris and I made the short trip down I-64 to meet Whit’s mother and stepfather for a leisurely afternoon at the ballyard. Normally, a late season minor league ballgame wouldn’t hold much allure, but two events made this one noteworthy. First, by the 3rd inning of the game we realized that the Tides’ Tim Bogar was switching positions every inning. He took the mound in the 9th having played everywhere on the field, and then proceeded to strike out the leadoff man before hitting the next batter in the head. At which point the entire stunt took on a decidedly less whimsical bent. Far more amusing than Bogar’s misadventure was the action that took place in the stands.

The aforementioned Chris stands roughly 6’6” with a wingspan to match. Midway through the contest, lefty Kelvin Torve lofted a lazy foul ball towards our bleacher seats midway down the third base line. Were we not there, the ball would have landed in Chris’ seat. The big fellow stood to his full height, spread his legs in a textbook block out of Whitney’s mom, and clapped his hands together while talking a full menu of shit – and he’s an accomplished shitriloquist. The ball descended gracefully, landed in his waiting (and freakishly large) mitts…and bounded 15 rows forward into the waiting hands of an 8 year-old boy. Whitney’s mom led the parade of grief givers for the rest of the game, and when we returned to campus to share our story, the local sportscasters beat us to it, showing footage of our friend’s ignominious moment at 6 and 10.

I was in attendance on April 14, 2005 at the first home game in Washington Nationals history, and the first professional baseball game in Washington, DC in over 30 years. George W. Bush threw a seed to the plate in what is arguably the greatest accomplishment in his 8 years in office, nine old-time Washington Senators took the field before being replaced by their Nationals counterparts during the pregame ceremonies, and RFK Stadium positively glowed with a ‘Field of Dreams’ vibe. My most vivid memory of the evening was unrelated to anything that happened on the diamond, though. The seats immediately in front of mine were occupied by three 50-something men in old, old Senators jackets. Their unmitigated glee at returning to the scene of their youthful sporting rites of passage was contagious and a reminder of baseball’s unique ability to connect generations.

On August 1, 1996, I sat in the front row of Atlanta’s Olympic Stadium, precisely at the turn for the 200 meter final, as Michael Johnson blazed to the gold medal in 19.32, a time that remains the world record today. My friend Jay and I slapped five with him as he did a victory lap while carrying the American flag. I’ve never been closer to an elite athlete performing at the peak of his powers, except for that time TJ got really hot in horseshoes after 11 beers. It gives me chills to think about even today. The Michael Johnson thing, that is.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Springsteen Pays Tribute to a Fallen Friend (Long)

I'm not sure how many ardent Springsteen fans there are among the multitudes of G:TB readers, but I thought this story was worth relaying.

G:TB has always been a big fan of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. Sadly, the band recently lost their long-time keys player, Danny Federici, to a fatal form of melanoma. Bruce gave the eulogy at the funeral. The speech is so good that it warranted inclusion on this web site. Bruce came through in a giant way to pay tribute to his long-time friend and bandmate. The text of the eulogy is included below. We hope you enjoy it.

Bruce Springsteen's Eulogy to Danny Federici
April 21, 2008
Red Bank, NJ

Let me start with the stories...

Back in the days of miracles, the frontier days when "Mad Dog" Lopez and his temper struck fear into the band, small club owners, innocent civilians and all women, children and small animals.

Back in the days when you could still sign your life away on the hood of a parked car in New York City.

Back shortly after a young red-headed accordionist struck gold on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour and he and his mama were sent to Switzerland to show them how it's really done.

Back before beach bums were featured on the cover of Time Magazine.

I'm talking about back when the E Street Band was a communist organization! My pal, quiet, shy Dan Federici, was a one-man creator of some of the hairiest circumstances of our 40 year career... And that wasn't easy to do. He had "Mad Dog" Lopez to compete with.... Danny just outlasted him.

Maybe it was the "police riot" in Middletown, New Jersey. A show we were doing to raise bail money for "Mad Log" Lopez who was in jail in Richmond, Virginia, for having an altercation with police officers who we'd aggravated by playing too long. Danny allegedly knocked over our huge Marshall stacks on some of Middletown's finest who had rushed the stage because we broke the law by...playing too long.

As I stood there watching, several police officers crawled out from underneath the speaker cabinets and rushed away to seek medical attention. Another nice young officer stood in front of me onstage waving his nightstick, poking and calling me nasty names. I looked over to see Danny with a beefy police officer pulling on one arm while Flo Federici, his first wife, pulled on the other, assisting her man in resisting arrest.

A kid leapt from the audience onto the stage, momentarily distracting the beefy officer with the insults of the day. Forever thereafter, "Phantom" Dan Federici slipped into the crowd and disappeared.

A warrant out for his arrest and one month on the lam later, he still hadn't been brought to justice. We hid him in various places but now we had a problem. We had a show coming at Monmouth College. We needed the money and we had to do the gig. We tried a replacement but it didn't work out. So Danny, to all of our admiration, stepped up and said he'd risk his freedom, take the chance and play.

Show night. 2,000 screaming fans in the Monmouth College gym. We had it worked out so Danny would not appear onstage until the moment we started playing. We figured the police who were there to arrest him wouldn't do so onstage during the show and risk starting another riot.
Let me set the scene for you. Danny is hiding, hunkered down in the backseat of a car in the parking lot. At five minutes to eight, our scheduled start time, I go out to whisk him in. I tap on the window.

"Danny, come on, it's time."

I hear back, "I'm not going."

Me: "What do you mean you're not going?"

Danny: "The cops are on the roof of the gym. I've seen them and they're going to nail me the minute I step out of this car."

As I open the door, I realize that Danny has been smoking a little something and had grown rather paranoid. I said, "Dan, there are no cops on the roof."
He says, "Yes, I saw them, I tell you. I'm not coming in."

So I used a procedure I'd call on often over the next forty years in dealing with my old pal's concerns. I threatened him...and cajoled. Finally, out he came. Across the parking lot and into the gym we swept for a rapturous concert during which we laughed like thieves at our excellent dodge of the local cops.

At the end of the evening, during the last song, I pulled the entire crowd up onto the stage and Danny slipped into the audience and out the front door. Once again, "Phantom" Dan had made his exit. (I still get the occasional card from the old Chief of Police of Middletown wishing us well. Our histories are forever intertwined.) And that, my friends, was only the beginning.

There was the time Danny quit the band during a rough period at Max's Kansas City, explaining to me that he was leaving to fix televisions. I asked him to think about that and come back later.

Or Danny, in the band rental car, bouncing off several parked cars after a night of entertainment, smashing out the windshield with his head but saved from severe injury by the huge hard cowboy hat he bought in Texas on our last Western swing.

Or Danny, leaving a large marijuana plant on the front seat of his car in a tow away zone. The car was promptly towed. He said, "Bruce, I'm going to go down and report that it was stolen." I said, "I'm not sure that's a good idea."

Down he went and straight into the slammer without passing go.

Or Danny, the only member of the E Street Band to be physically thrown out of the Stone Pony. Considering all the money we made them, that wasn't easy to do.

Or Danny receiving and surviving a "cautionary assault" from an enraged but restrained "Big Man" Clarence Clemons while they were living together and Danny finally drove the "Big Man" over the big top.

Or Danny assisting me in removing my foot from his stereo speaker after being the only band member ever to drive me into a violent rage.

And through it all, Danny played his beautiful, soulful B3 organ for me and our love grew. And continued to grow. Life is funny like that. He was my homeboy, and great, and for that you make considerations... And he was much more tolerant of my failures than I was of his.

When Danny wasn't causing chaos, he was a sweet, talented, unassuming, unpretentious good-hearted guy who simply had an unchecked ability to make good fortune and things in general go fabulously wrong.

But beyond all of that, he also had a mountain of the right stuff. He had the heart and soul of an engineer. He learned to fly. He was always up on the latest technology and would explain it to you patiently and in enormous detail. He was always "souping" something up, his car, his stereo, his B3. When Patti joined the band, he was the most welcoming, thoughtful, kindest friend to the first woman entering our "boys club."

He loved his kids, always bragging about Jason, Harley, and Madison, and he loved his wife Maya for the new things she brought into his life.

And then there was his artistry. He was the most intuitive player I've ever seen. His style was slippery and fluid, drawn to the spaces the other musicians in the E Street Band left. He wasn't an assertive player, he was a complementary player. A true accompanist. He naturally supplied the glue that bound the band's sound together. In doing so, he created for himself a very specific style. When you hear Dan Federici, you don't hear a blanket of sound, you hear a riff, packed with energy, flying above everything else for a few moments and then gone back in the track. "Phantom" Dan Federici. Now you hear him, now you don't.

Offstage, Danny couldn't recite a lyric or a chord progression for one of my songs. Onstage, his ears opened up. He listened, he felt, he played, finding the perfect hole and placement for a chord or a flurry of notes. This style created a tremendous feeling of spontaneity in our ensemble playing.

In the studio, if I wanted to loosen up the track we were recording, I'd put Danny on it and not tell him what to play. I'd just set him loose. He brought with him the sound of the carnival, the amusements, the boardwalk, the beach, the geography of our youth and the heart and soul of the birthplace of the E Street Band.

Then we grew up. Very slowly. We stood together through a lot of trials and tribulations. Danny's response to a mistake onstage, hard times, catastrophic events was usually a shrug and a smile. Sort of an "I am but one man in a raging sea, but I'm still afloat. And we're all still here."

I watched Danny fight and conquer some tough addictions. I watched him struggle to put his life together and in the last decade when the band reunited, thrive on sitting in his seat behind that big B3, filled with life and, yes, a new maturity, passion for his job, his family and his home in the brother and sisterhood of our band.

Finally, I watched him fight his cancer without complaint and with great courage and spirit. When I asked him how things looked, he just said, "What are you going to do? I'm looking forward to tomorrow." Danny, the sunny side up fatalist. He never gave up right to the end.

A few weeks back we ended up onstage in Indianapolis for what would be the last time. Before we went on I asked him what he wanted to play and he said, "Sandy." He wanted to strap on the accordion and revisit the boardwalk of our youth during the summer nights when we'd walk along the boards with all the time in the world.

So what if we just smashed into three parked cars, it's a beautiful night! So what if we're on the lam from the entire Middletown police department, let's go take a swim! He wanted to play once more the song that is of course about the end of something wonderful and the beginning of something unknown and new.

Let's go back to the days of miracles. Pete Townshend said, "A rock and roll band is a crazy thing. You meet some people when you're a kid and unlike any other occupation in the whole world, you're stuck with them your whole life no matter who they are or what crazy things they do."

If we didn't play together, the E Street Band at this point would probably not know one another. We wouldn't be in this room together. But we do... We do play together. And every night at 8 p.m., we walk out on stage together and that, my friends, is a place where miracles occur...old and new miracles. And those you are with, in the presence of miracles, you never forget. Life does not separate you. Death does not separate you. Those you are with who create miracles for you, like Danny did for me every night, you are honored to be amongst.

Of course we all grow up and we know "it's only rock and roll"...but it's not. After a lifetime of watching a man perform his miracle for you, night after night, it feels an awful lot like love.

So today, making another one of his mysterious exits, we say farewell to Danny, "Phantom" Dan, Federici. Father, husband, my brother, my friend, my mystery, my thorn, my rose, my keyboard player, my miracle man and lifelong member in good standing of the house rockin', pants droppin', earth shockin', hard rockin', booty shakin', love makin', heart breakin', soul cryin'... and, yes, death defyin' legendary E Street Band.

Don't Pity the Fool

While Rhyme-o finishes up what appears to be War and Peace Deux, and before I go watch clips of Josh Hamilton's Home Run Derby assault, I thought I'd share this gem with you. I find myself saying this a lot with our latest interweb offerings, but really, there are no words:

Did B.A. Baracus just throw a bible at two kids, FROM A TANK?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Bastille Day

I hate to push Biz down the page, but if there was ever a day to use this rob- and Whit-friendly clip, it's today. Go and tell your master that we have been charged by God with a sacred quest...

Givin' Him the Bizness

So I'm watching Yo Gabba Gabba with the girls on Saturday morning, sucking down coffee in an unsuccessful effort to clear the wine-induced cobwebs from my head, when what should pop onscreen but the most excellent children's segment this side of They Might Be Giants' Podcast for Kids?

Boys and girls, I give you Biz's Beat of the Day. Teejay will soon be recreating this for G:TB.

Bpfff haah, bpfff haah, bpfff, haah, indeed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ganders, Geese

G:TB is nothing if not an equal opportunity source of information. And since our friends over at Queen Beaches took a very gender-specific approach to this topic, we find it only fair to celebrate the distaff side of the rock and roll aisle. (Although, ladies, a less fey picture of Rhett Miller might help his case a bit more. And I love me some Rhett Miller. In a purely heterosexual and totally jealous way.)

My tastes run to singer-songwriter types, generally speaking, so the following list omits some of the more bubblegummy pop chanteuses of our time, as well as Lita Ford and Wendy O. Williams. ‘Zombie’ makes me want to break things with my bare hands, so no Dolores O’Riordan. Kate Pierson just turned 60 (!), so I’m afraid she just misses - I compensate for my shallowness with self-deprecation and charitable works. And my work ethic runs to lazy, so the list will almost certainly whiff on a few obvious entries. (Hey – that’s why we have a comments section.)

And so, in no particular order, one blogger’s take on the female singers that tune my guitar.

Michelle Branch didn’t do much for me until she teamed up with Jessica Harp and started recording as The Wreckers. ‘Leave the Pieces’ was one of the great tunes of 2006, and its’ singer charted on this all-important GTB list immediately after the song’s release. ‘Course, the Wreckers are no more, so she may fall off this list after we forget we’ve done this once and try it again in 18 months or so.

As will become apparent, the late 80s/early90s were the formative years in my appreciation for lady lead singers, starting with Tanya Donnelly of Throwing Muses, the Breeders, and Belly. (That’s a hell of a trifecta.) ‘So take your hat off, boy, when you’re talking to me/And be there when I feed the tree’. I have no idea what that means, but I like the way she sings it.

I’m aware that this is a cliché, but most clichés have legitimate roots. Liz Phair stands about 5’0” and used the lyric ‘fuck like a volcano’. So there’s that. She’d be higher on the list if she hadn’t recorded that inexplicable (and dreadful) pop album a few years ago.

From a purely vocal standpoint, this argument begins and ends with Neko Case. Her voice will raise the hairs on your arms and make a strong man need to take a seat and think about his place in the world. Combine those pipes with that sultry look and playful range, and I’m more than sold.

G:TB has already celebrated her once this month, but Jenny Lewis is always welcome here. Smart lyrics, big, big voice, and a smoking hot, um, guitar.

Heading back to the 80s again for Belinda Carlisle. Remember that ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ video? Me, too. Me, too.

And finally, the winner and still champion, the Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs. That tiny, vulnerable voice combined with just the right amount of dirty girl and those killer eyes? There’s no sense in fighting it. She’s topped my list since she walked like an Egyptian, and even though the competition’s getting fierce and she’ll be 50 next year, she’s still number one.

Happy Birthday to The King

And I do not mean that overly creepy mascot Burger King keeps assaulting us with. I of course mean the King of Siam himself, Mr. Yul Brynner (well, sure, we can't actually wish him well, since he's been dead for 23 yrs, but rob and I were sure our target demographic was dying for some Brynner song and dance):

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ernest Evans must've really needed the money

Your morning entertainment, courtesy of Prince Markie Dee, Kool Rock-Ski and Buffy the Human Beat Box:

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ponson is Hervey. Hervey is Ponson.

After The Wonder Years ended in 1993, the cast of this fine show went in several different directions. Fred Savage ("Kevin Arnold") started seeing Phish shows and smoking bowls in the crowd. He eventually moved behind the camera and directed an Academy Award winner in the epic Daddy Day Care. Josh Saviano ("Paul Pfeiffer") became the inspiration for the character Millhouse in The Simpson and (allegedly) became Marilyn Manson. Or a friendly Pi Lam named Spector.

And what about veteran child actor Jason Hervey ("Wayne Arnold"), you might ask? Well it appears that he tired of the fame and adulation he received in Hollywood. He changed his name, moved to Aruba, ate a lot of fried food and learned how to throw a baseball. And throw it hard. Eventually, he got noticed for his throwing skills. The Orioles gave him a shot at becoming a big-league pitcher. As did the Giants, the Orioles (again), the Cardinals, the Yankees, the Twins, the Rangers, and the Yankees (again).

Ponson is Hervey. Hervey is Ponson. Some extra Ponson photos are included below for comic relief. Enter your favorite title for both photos into the Comments sections. Funniest entry wins a date with Teejay!

Themes to Me

You know what you don't hear much any more? Not that we listen to the "radio" these days, but you don't often have a TV show with such a good theme song that they play the extended version on the radio. Back in the 70's and 80's, it wasn't uncommon for a good show with a catchy theme song to have it heard around the dial. Joey Scarbury's "Believe It or Not (Theme from The Greatest American Hero)" getting the airtime it did is clearly a phenomenon of days gone by. And it got me thinking . . . what are the best TV theme songs of all time?

I guess for me, the best ones are generally the themes most like real rock & roll tunes. And yeah, there are some obvious exceptions to that rule on my list. But let's be clear, when I am compiling this best-of, I want good songs, not songs that remind me of good shows. Cheers is is my favorite show of all time, and its theme song has been fundamentally involved in a couple of the silliest stories in my arsenal, but Gary Portnoy's piano bar classic isn't on this list. It's mellow, soft, and kind of lame when not leading into Sam, Norm, and Screaming Vikings. "You take the good, you take the bad" might conjure warm memories of sleepovers and doing each other's hair (Teejay), but that doesn't make it a very good tune.

As always with any definitive list the Gheorghians produce, there are inevitable omissions based on my being intoxicated at the time of compilation (now), so feel free to chime in with your favorites. And we'll tell you why you're wrong. In the meantime, here goes:

The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

Honorable Mention:

Hill Street Blues - One of the songs I was talking about that spent a good deal of time on 1980's radio. Great show, good song, but a bit too close to elevator music to make this list.

The Equalizer - A Stew Copeland electronic percussion-fest for an underrated show. Close to making the Top 20, but Sting paid us to snub his former drummer.

All In the Family - Such a good show, and such a classic element of it, it'd be easy to include the Carroll O'Connor/Jean Stapleton duet in the upper echelon. But how often would you pop it on the hi-fi?

Magnum, PI - Vintage 80's guitar-based instrumental, and the sight of TC's chopper would be incomplete without this audio backdrop. Watch TJ air-guitar it for a special treat.

The Odd Couple - Neal Hefti composed this standard for the film; it was so good they reprised it for the TV show, and it's still damn solid.

The Pink Panther
Speaking of theme composers, they don't get much better than Henry Mancini. We've already heard from a few outraged G:TB readers that this song deserves inclusion in The List, but we opted for a different Panther-related theme -- a better one.

Sesame Street (1970's Closing Theme) - The Gheorghers had to dig deep for this one, but it was worth it. Back in the day (that'd be our heyday, our formative years) the PBS cornerstone had a fairly funky, fairly rockin' tune as the closing credits rolled. Not too many folks recall it, but those who do remember it well. We've got an mp3 of it at G:TB HQ for the reminiscent or curious.

CHiPs - Superlative cheese. Synthesizers emulating motorcycles. Awesome.

WKRP in Cincinnati -
Baby, if you've ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me . . . that's crap spelled with a K-R-P.

Taxi - "Angela's Theme," as it's formally known, is too soft for our Dick Clark Rockin' Top 20 Countdown, but for fans of this Whitney Top 10 show, it's a classic. (Editor's Note: there's a borderline questionable phrase in that last sentence, but we're comfortable enough with our bedside stamina to leave it in.)

Starsky & Hutch - Very cool dudes, very cool car, pretty cool theme song.

Barney Miller - One of the most retardedly funny stories of my college years involved Abe Vigoda as Fish; sad to say, it's a fairly inside joke, but I'll tell it to any takers over a few beers.

Laverne & Shirley - Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated. In case you ever wanted to know how those words are spelled.

What's Happening!! -
Bown, bown, bown . . .

The Young Ones - Not as good as the musical guests they had, but better than Cliff Richard.

The Munsters -
Yeah, the Addams Family's song was more memorable, but the Munsters' was better.

The Andy Griffith Show - Nope, it didn't rock, but it was pretty friggin' good. Did You Know??? Rob could not whistle until college.

The Twilight Zone - A creepy kind of cool. Like Teejay after a few trips to the papal elector pew.

Bonanza - True Fact: Bonanza's theme song original words, words that included:
"We chased lady luck, 'til we finally struck, Bonanza. With a gun and a rope and a hat full of hope, planted a family tree. We got hold of a pot of gold, Bonanza.With a horse and a saddle, and a range full of cattle, how rich can a fellow be?"
So now you know why they went with the instrumental.

Get Smart - There was only room for one spy show theme in the Top 20, and Maxwell Smart's tune missed it by . . . yeah, hilarious.

The Muppet Show - Extra points for inventing words in your theme song ("muppetational"), and you know how much we at G:TB love the muppets. So I'm not sure why this didn't make the list. But I've been dkrgning too much to care. (Typo left intact for effect. Wow.)

Beverly Hills 90210 - Rob absolutely loved this song. He'd do the queer little hand claps at the beginning. This is a fairly mediocre theme song, but I just wanted to mention that part about Rob.

Quantum Leap - Okay, so this may be a case of liking the show and therefore including the theme. I seem to remember it being something akin to muzak. Oh, that Ziggy.

Law & Order - Funky slap bass in the middle of the song really does it for me. Logan & Briscoe, best team.

Crime Story - A poorly done remake of a stellar 60's song, but still pretty cool.

Bosom Buddies - A poorly done remake of a stellar 70's song, but still pretty cool.

The Office (US or UK) -
Both versions of the show have/had excellent theme music. I forget now which goes with which, so I'm lumping them together and recommending them both.

The Young & The Restless - Dear Credibility, It's been nice knowing you. Take care. Yep, I like this song.

The X-Files - Taking a page from the Twilight Zone, a theme to match the tone of the show. Nerds loved it.

NYPD Blue - I think this was Mike Post's last good theme song. Or maybe he didn't do this one. Or maybe he's done something more recently. Teejay, get me some backdata, stat.

Wonder Woman - Dear Credibility, It's been so long, I hardly remember what you looked like. Say hi to Steve Trevor for me.

Love Boat - Aaaand, love . . . won't hurt any more. It's an open smile on a friendly shore. Kudos to whichever Airplane! movie celebrated this one.

Greatest American Hero - An all-timer, but it's really not as good a song as you remember it. Sorry.

Special Honorable Mention

Benny Hill - File this one thoroughly under "Juvenilia," but there is simply something about the Benny Hill theme song that makes me laugh every single time. Mere mention or imitation of the song makes me think of fast-motion scenes of Benny chasing scantily clad co-eds in some ridiculous scene that culminates in that little old bald guy looking bug-eyed at the camera. So wonderfully lowbrow. So good. [Also somewhat of a had to be there situation, but I audibly, repeatedly (10x) "sang" this song in the direction of Vidal Sassoon's dinner table while I was shnockered to the gills in a New Orleans restaurant. 'Cause, you know, he looks like that little old guy. Yeah, my wife and Vidal's cronies found it just as unfunny.]

And here we go... The Top 20

20. Hong Kong Phooey - The number one super guy had a whale of a theme song. Scatman Crothers crooning over some gongs seems like it wouldn't hold up . . . but it does. Fan-riffic.

19. Night Court - Funky 80's theme is a surprise choice here, but we'll stick by it. Claves as a theme song instrument is uniquely successful. Quon Lee as a character was not.

18. The Sopranos - A3, aka, the Alabama 3, aka we got our break with The Sopranos theme song and did nooooothing with it. Woke up this morning, got myself a gun.

17. The Incredible Hulk (Closing Theme) - Yeah, so this one goes against my earlier claim of songs that rock. It's just so good. You'll get teary just thinking of David Banner thumbing it down the road after another attempt to fit in. I have another inside joke story about this one - also involving New Orleans.

16. The Dukes of Hazzard - Waylon Jennings. 'Nuff said.

15. Batman - Neal Hefti gets a mention once again. The old Adam West show was one of my boyhood favorites, and the theme song was an all-timer. Pow.

14. The Inspector - This cartoon was an underling to The Pink Panther, and as a show it doesn't quite hold up in recent viewings, but the theme song is worth TiVoing and replaying. Trust me.

13. Sanford & Son - My wife got me some sessions with a personal trainer in February, and he hurt me so bad I couldn't walk. At a cocktail party soon thereafter, this song came on the iPod in my honor as I ambled around like Fred Sanford. Yeah, yeah, very funny, but I was just impressed that I wasn't the only one who had this song handy.

12. M*A*S*H - Suicide is painless, it brings on many changes. And the actor best suited to play Rob in Gheorghe: The Blog: The Movie is undoubtedly Gary "Radar O'Reilly" Burghoff.

11. Welcome Back, Kotter - John Sebastian's song actually spent some time atop the charts if I'm not mistaken. It resonates with me now as I have returned to the town where I was deemed Class Clown (as good a lyric as any) lo those many moons ago.

10. Simon & Simon - If you think Magnum had a better song, you're wrong. If you thought Jameson Parker was destined for more success than Major Dad, you were wrong. If you don't dig on the rollicking guitar work of this 80's theme, you are so very, very wrong.

9. Monday Night Football - Hell, no. Not Hank Jr.'s rendition. Not even close. I'm talking about dun-dun-dun-DUN, the faux-horn-based ass-kicker from the 1980's that actually gave grown men chills when it aired before a big game. I love Junior and his rowdy friends, but the switch to his crap from this classic was criminal.

8. Knight Rider - New wave synth techno crap. Awesome. Hasselhoff.

7. The Lone Ranger - Dan Rather once quipped, "An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger." I concur completely, and let me just say that this is probably the only time Dan Rather will find himself quoted at Gheorghe: The Blog. (Excepting the transitive properties enacted if I list my 20 favorite R.E.M. songs.)

6. Miami Vice - Jan Hammer, where are you now? Though cigarette boats, jai alai, and that girl with the fruit hat's gargantuan cans occupy your visual, the music sticks with you. Worth sticking around for if you stumble across the opening scene of any Vice episode.

5. Mission: Impossible - The definitive spy show song. It's the James Bond Theme of TV. This blog will self-destruct in five years, by the way. I blame TJ.

4. Hawaii Five-O - It's not just Jack Lord's 'do that has me tuning in. It's not the long awaited "Book him, Dan-o." It's not a Chin Ho sighting. It's the song. So great.

3. Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids - Heyba, heyba, heyba, whaddaya sayba. How those kids could make music this good with an old radiator and some garbage was always beyond me. I wasn't careful, and I did learn something, but never that.

2. The Kids in the Hall - Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet never ascended much beyond "the band that did the Kids in the Hall theme," but no matter. Their place in history is now etched in the annals of G:TB. So says the Flying Pig.

1. The Rockford Files - Could it be any other? Really? This Mike Post masterpiece is the one you'll scan the TV listings just to watch the opening theme. It's the one that they played on the radio in three-minute extended version form in the 1970's. It made Jim Rockford cooler just by association. It's the song I heard that made me want to write this inane post. It is . . . The Greatest TV Theme Song of All Time. Probably.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Ceai Complet: July 7, 2008

Courtesy of the fine folks at Defamer, we present to you yet another YouTube clip involving Muppets and/or audioanimatrons:

Friday, July 04, 2008

Gheorghe loves America...duh...

Since we decided to honor Canada Day a couple of days ago, it would be a minor travesty if the good folks here at Gheorghe didn't at least spend a minute or two honoring America on our nation's Independence Day. There's really nothing I can say that hasn't been said a million times over already. America's great, patriotism is underrated and boozing all day and watching shit blow up is about the finest way I could ever imagine to celebrate this glorious nation of ours and all the liberties it affords us. So, do your part today. Eat too much, drink too much and laugh your ass off when your drunk buddy nearly blows his hand off with a pack of black cats. Sure, you can do that any day of the year, but can you do it and not be a full fledged neighborhood pariah whilst doing so? On July 4th you can...

America...Fuck Yeah!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

It's the End of the World As We Know It

Sometime in August, a scientist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) will flip a switch on the innocently named Large Hadron Collider, and millions of infinitesimal particles will race in opposite directions around a 17-mile tube. Two months or so later, many of them will collide, and a) scientists will begin learning an immense amount about the physical world or, b) the resulting black hole will crush all Earth-based matter into a ball the size of this period. Either way, it’ll be a big moment for humanity.

I’ve read Angels and Demons, so I have a healthy skepticism about both scientists and the Swiss. All this scientific method/neutral party business is a perfect front for all sorts of nefarious undertakings. Recall, if you will, that it was a Swiss firm that offered the NCAA $1 billion to market a college football playoff system – a move that allowed the NCAA to claim patriotism in declining the offer. Without the Swiss, we’d have a real playoff system today. And I don’t know which is worse: the BCS, or the instantaneous destruction of an entire planet.

G:TB brings this issue to your attention today not to frighten you, but to give you a unique opportunity. If we’ve only got a few weeks to live, let’s go ahead and do it right. Kiss that girl. Get that tattoo. Tell your boss what you think. Sing Avril Lavigne songs out loud in public (okay, toughguy, as if that picture doesn't make you think dirty thoughts). Invade Iran (like that ship hasn’t already sailed). Dance like you’re drunk and drink like you want to dance. In the (somewhat ironic) words of Michael Hutchence, “live, baby, live”. And then when nothing happens, just point people to this post and you’ve got a built-in excuse. Gheorghe: The Blog, delivering win-win solutions since 2003.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

When I Win the Lottery

I’m gonna donate half my money to the city, so they have to name a street or a school or a park after me.

Wait, no. That’s what David Lowery’s gonna do. I have no real desire for public acclaim. My tastes run more to the experiential. So when I win the lottery (for the sake of argument, let’s say I walk with an after-tax lump sum of $100m, because, really, anything less isn’t worth the effort, and let’s assume I can get 5% a year on that money in a CD of some sort, giving me at least $2m after taxes in income each year, even though it’d be less if I spend some of the lump, and let’s further assume that this parenthetical thought will end at some point in our lifetimes, freeing us all up to keep reading), here’s what I’ll do:

I’ll quit my job. Natch. Sort of a no-brainer, that one. But I don’t want to sit around and do nothing all day, as I get bored really easily. To combat the boredom, I’ll buy a minor league baseball team, preferably one in or near either a coastal location or a college town on the East Coast. The Charleston (SC) RiverDogs fit the bill, and have the added benefit of being in Charleston, which is a terrific town. Cost: $3m or so for a Class A franchise, according to a recent survey.

Since I’ll be spending a significant amount of time in Charleston, I’ll need a condo there, which will probably set me back $1.0m or so, ‘cause I ain’t goin’ out like no punk bitch.

And while I’m not really into fancy wheels, my current ride does have 130,000 tough miles on it and I can’t be spending my hard-earned money and newly-valuable time heading back and forth to the auto mechanic’s shop. So maybe a Tesla S for kicking around town and Mini Cooper for commuting between my world headquarters in Northern Virginia and the new Charleston compound. Let’s pencil in $100k for automotive purchases.

I’ll set up a personal distribution system for Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, CO, so they can send me product on a regular basis. I figure a donation of $50k should keep me in Dale’s Pale Ale for the foreseeable future. And since I'll want a place to drink it where everybody knows my name, I'll buy a restaurant/bar for my friend Johnny, which is something I've always wanted to do. Call that another $1.5m.

A pause for pragmatism here for a moment, if I may. I’ll set aside $2.5m to take care of educational expenses for my children, my nieces and nephews, and the children of a handful of friends. If you’re not sure whether you’re one of those friends, you’re probably not. But you should remember this pledge when you see me next, because you never know where my magnanimity may land.

I’ll be making an annual trip to a major music festival, be it Jazz Fest, SXSW, Bonnaroo, Bumbershoot, or one of several others, and I’ll be bringing friends. We’re springing for luxury accommodations, because a man my age can’t be sleeping in the muck with all the neo-hippies. I figure $50k a year for the whole shooting match gets 15 of us to at least one great set of shows annually.

Because I won’t be driving to New Orleans, Austin, Whereverthehell, Tennessee, or Seattle, I’ll buy a fractional ownership in a Gulfstream for $250,000. I’ll also need it to go to the NCAA Final Four and the College Football National Championship game (but only after the BCS is abolished – I’m boycotting it until then).

I almost forgot about The Compound, the place we've always pledged to build if one of us strikes it rich. That's gonna take $20m or so to get up and running (less if real estate values out here in the country keep falling), but it'll have housing for at least 5 families and an inexhaustible supply of silliness and recreational equipment.

Man, $100m is a shitload of money. I’ve only dropped $28.5 large and I’m struggling to come up with new stuff to buy. I’m not a gadget guy. I don’t need a lot of fancy clothes since I won’t be working and all the t-shirts I need I can get at the aforementioned rock shows. I don’t care all that much to winter somewhere warm, because I like a little diversity in my seasons. I guess I’ll get a really good mountain bike ($5k), spring for an HDTV ($3k), and grab Red Sox and Nationals season tickets (the Gulfstream will come in handy for trips to Boston) for another $10k. I’ll set aside another $250k for travel, which leaves me with nearly $72 million with which to play. Okay, $60m – I suppose I’ll set up the Gheorghe: The Blog Foundation and give away a bunch of cabbage to organizations dedicated to making the world a sillier place (we'll focus heavily on kids' causes), and I'll establish Gheorghe: The Political Action Committee to funnel money to Gheorghey politicians (who will, admittedly, be hard to find). But at the end of the day, kids, I’m gonna need some help spending all this money.

Now I just need to start playing the lottery.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Jay is Gheorghe?

Not many people would imagine that rap superstar Jay-Z would be the kind of guy who would embrace the mission statement of this fair blog. Though, admittedly, that might have more to do with their collective ignorance of this blogs existence than their feelings and/or thoughts about his personal philosophies. Whatever the reason, Jay proved he is indeed truly Gheorghian in his take on life after Oasis' Noel Gallagher (he's still alive?) bashed the selection of the former CEO of Def Jam as the opening act at the legendary Glastonbury Festival in England by calling it "wrong".

As you'll see in the clip, below, actions truly can speak a thousand words and, in this case, provide a few hearty guffaws as well.

Bravo. Welcome to the world of Gheorghe, good sir.

Happy Canada Day, Redux

I am your father, Luke. Give in to the dark side of the force, you knob:

This bonus clip was requested by rob, eh: