Monthly Archives: November 2009

Obligatory Thanksgiving Post

Let’s demystify Thanksgiving with an amazing array of facts:

1. In a gesture to commemorate the safe passage across the Atlantic the year prior and to give spiritual thanks for surviving one year on the new continent, the Pilgrims celebrated with a feast in the autumn of 1621.

2. The Wamponoag Indians forged a friendship with the Pilgrims; teaching the Europeans how to cultivate and live off the land.  Pilgrim Governor William Bradford  shows his appreciation by inviting the Wamponoag to their celebration.

The Indians RSVP immediately, arrived early and stayed late.

3. The original Thanksgiving feast lasted three days.  The feast ceased to become known as a celebration and officially became a part-tay!

There were no leftovers.

4. The Pilgrims supplied the beer.  (The proprietors of Bacon Makes It Better have decided to refrain from inserting a culturally insensitive joke at this time).

5. President George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation 1789, and later, in 1795.

6. In 1817, the state of New York officially made Thanksgiving into an annual custom.

7. Abraham Lincoln, not to be outdone by Washington, issued his own Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1863.  This officially set aside the last Thursday of November as a National Holiday for Thanksgiving.

8. Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the Thanksgiving holiday to the THIRD Thursday of November in an effort to expand the Christmas shopping season and do some economic stimulation.  Congress has since moved the holiday back to Lincoln’s proclamation.

9. The Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October.  They then emigrate to the US and celebrate OUR Thanksgiving, too.  This is a blatant double-dipping of partying.  Sneaky, Canucks.

10. Benjamin Franklin lobbied for the turkey to be the national bird of the United States.  He was ardently opposed by Thomas Jefferson.  It is believed that Franklin perpetuated the term “tom” when referring to a male turkey, a stealthy rebuttal to Jefferson’s opposition.  The term still exists today.

11. Almost 88% of Americans said that they eat turkey during Thanksgiving.  It has been estimated that 46 million turkeys– one-fifth of the annual consumption total– are eaten during Thanksgiving.

Made you look!

12. Cranberries are one of three fruits that are completely indigenous to American soil.  The blueberry and the Concord grape are the others.

Cap’n Crunch Berries, while unique to the US, do not count.

13. The Detroit Lions have played a football game during every Thanksgiving since 1934 (except during World War II).  The first televised “Turkey Bowl” game was in 1956.

14. It is estimated that 38.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or greater from home during the Thanksgiving holiday.

15. Now go out and share your gluttony of new found knowledge to your friends and relatives during Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day!

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The ‘State of the Blog’ Address

Sez Me Street

2009 milestones:

Sesame Street turns 40.

The Berlin Wall came down 20 years ago.

Bacon Makes It Better receives its 3ooth visit.

It’s been said that maintaining a blog is a lot like a visit to the Grand Canyon; you shout your viewpoint into the open abyss, hoping for an intelligent reply, but the only thing you get in return is the sound of your own voice.

It is an apt comparison.

The proprietors of Bacon Makes It Better understand this frustration.  The daily ritual of checking the Blog Stats on the Dashboard can feel like studying the charts of a cardiac arrest victim.  My graphs would flatline for what seemed miles, taunting me in every measure, like a visual model of my own lifeless writing career.

I started to think maybe, I should just give up this blogging thing. My ‘fight or flight’ instinct was leaning towards the latter.

Then something funny happened.

Someone– other than my wife– actually read my blog!  Days later another poor soul stumbled upon my site.  Then another.  And another.  Soon, comments appeared and asked for my moderation.

If being an artist means that you’re able to provoke an emotional response with your chosen medium– my blog posts, in this case– then mission accomplished.  I’m ready to get all bohemian, start shopping for ascots and chop off my ear in the name of art.

But I’m not quite finished yet.  There’s still so much to write about; I feel like I’m just getting warmed up.

In this special edition post, I’d like to recognize the key moments in the short lifespan of Bacon Makes It Better:

Most popular post

1st Place- Pick a Team, Any Team.

2nd Place- Deja Vu All Over Again Or:  How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Accept The Yankees.

Most Controversial Post- Flower Power.  It’s all in good fun honey.  Honey?

First Ever Comment- Wretcheddollface about Magic In a Bottle.

Favorite Comment (Tie)- Shoutsfromtheabyss about The Obligatory Holloween Post:  An Open Letter to the Trick or Treaters in my ‘Hood.

Most Honored Guest- Donald Mills from Crabbyoldfart.

Most Frequent Visitor- Olympus Monz.

Favorite Accidental Visitor- The person who did a google search for “How do you say ‘trick or treat’ in Swedish.”  This search brought them to this post.  Hope you found what you were looking for.

Favorite Tag That Generated Traffic- R. Kelly tag for An Open Letter To The Swiss:  First You Poke Holes In My Cheese, Now This? Not quite what you expected, huh?

Best Avatar- The Burger King Head from Chappy81 aka Doin’ Work.

Most Bitter Comment- LuisJPena regarding Angel Baseball Fans on Deja Vu All Over Again Or:  How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Accept The Yankees.

Personal Favorite All-Time Post- Greetings From Antarctica:  An Open Letter To The International Olympic Committee.

Thanks, for making Bacon Makes It Better the runaway success that it is!

All ten of you.

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The Box: A Telepathic Movie Review

Dude, where's my career?

telepathy:  (Greek origin)  The sympathetic affection of one mind by the thoughts, feelings or emotions of another at a distance, without communicating through the normal channels of sensation.

In my high school days, The Book of Questions was a sensation.  The book confronted the reader with an endless stream of questions that challenged one’s moral judgment and ethical make-up.

The questions in the book were usually phrased in such a manner, or some approximation, to the following:  If you had the ability to kill a complete stranger in a unique manner– like say, pressing a red button on a mystical box–  in exchange for a million dollars, would you do it?

My buddies and I would gather ’round and pose these questions to each other; our responses were dissected and laid bare for all to criticize.

Controlled substances were optional.

It was a great way to pass the time and delude ourselves into believing we were complex and sophisticated thinkers.

Little did I know that in 2009, popular culture would try to pull that sh*t on me again, this time in the form of the movie called “The Box.”

Disclaimer:  I have not seen the movie “THE BOX”, nor do I have any desire to see it.  I have no affiliation or vested interest in the success or failure of this movie. See * page of this blog.  Nonetheless, I will review this movie with a wink and a hunch.

Five years down the road when I’m having trouble sleeping at 2 in the morning for whatever reason and the only other viewing alternative is some Tyler Perry suckfest on TBS or the late local news and a Seinfeld re-run is a half-hour away.  I have just described the only conditions where I might see any glimpse of this atrocious excuse for a movie called “The Box.”

Spoiler alert!  Do not attempt to read any further!  Spoiler alert!

1. It’s a flimsy star vehicle. They tried to seduce us by casting Cameron Diaz to salvage this mess.  Her career trajectory hasn’t exactly been upwardly mobile these days.  The producers could have found better insurance from that talking lizard.

2. The first twenty minutes of the movie is devoted to boring characterization scenes.  In order for the movie to function we have to buy into the notion that the main character is totally sympathetic and completely redemptive.  Again, Cameron Diaz as insurance.

3. Be prepared for Cameron Diaz in impeccable make-up, soft fill lighting with plenty of obnoxious close-ups as the director has proactively shot the movie in a user friendly film ratio to aid the inevitable data transfer from big screen to TV screen.

4. Despite the seemingly insurmountable moral dilemma that the trailer is projecting, Cameron Diaz will press the red button in the box.  Of course she does.

5. The person that will die as a result of her pressing the red button in the box will have eventual implications on her life.  The only suspense here is if the audience will still be awake or coherent enough to find out.

Let’s recap:

The movie “The Box.”  Why bother?

Here at Bacon Makes It Better, we don’t just rant, we offer solutions, too:

Top Five Things To Do Instead of Paying Good Money To See “The Box”

5. Clean out storm drains.

4. Visit your dentist.

3. Watch something else.  Anything else.

2. Go to the DMV.

1. Stab your eyes out with a rusty screwdriver.

Look!  I’m a film critic/ movie going consultant!

That’ll be $8.50, please.

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Wake Up National League Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Embraced The Designated Hitter

I’ll get to my argument soon, but first a historical analogy:

It was September 1, 1939 and Poland was pissed.

The Germans began an unprovoked show of aggression, invading the Polish border with the ridiculous notion that world domination was their destiny.  The Nazi decision makers decided that Poland would be the first rest stop in this ambitious journey.  So the Poles did what any nation with an ounce of pride would do:  they pooled their resources and mounted a counterattack.

There was, however, one smaaaaall problem.

Those ‘resources’ that the Poles gathered was little more than a bunch of dudes on horseback with pistols and pitchforks; the kind of offense one uses to scare Frankenstein back to his castle.  In contrast, the Germans represented their cause with a healthy arsenal of tanks, planes and other heavy artillery.

Edge:  The Nazi War Machine.

Wait a minute.  You thought you clicked on a post about baseball, right?  If you are still reading to this point, bear with me.  Flash forward to the present day:

The winter meetings for Major League Baseball are upon us.  You know, those critical hot stove meetings that determine the direction of the sport for seasons to come?  Those conferences held by team owners and general managers that the casual fan casually ignores as they are still basking in the afterglow of the World Series?  Anyone?  Anyone?

There is more to these exclusive pow wows than just a bunch of MLB executives sitting around eating lobster tail in between rounds of golf at a swanky country club.  Decisions are made, coalitions are formed and the future of the game is determined.

This year, it is the humble opinion of the proprietors of Bacon Makes It Better that the status of the Designated Hitter be thoroughly evaluated (listen up National League).

To connect the historical analogy at the top of this post, the National League is to Poland as the American League is to Germany.  The difference between the two factions are their choice of weaponry:  The National League, by way of preserving tradition, insists that the pitcher bat for himself.  In contrast, the American League line-up is armed with a skilled hitter batting in the pitcher’s stead.

By giving into this romance with the preservation of baseball history, the National League give themselves a competitive disadvantage in head to head competition against their American League counterparts.  But don’t take my word for it; the statistics tell the most compelling story:

1.  Since the inception of interleague play in 1997, the American League has won 1,673 games to the National League’s 1,534 wins in straight-up competition.  That’s a difference of 139 games– almost an entire single season’s worth of games.

2.  The last time the American League lost an All Star Game was in 1997.  They enjoy a 12-0-1 record in the last 13 mid-season classics.  That is pure domination.

3.  Since 1997, the American League has won 8 of 13 World Series match ups— five of which were four game sweeps– against the National League.  The National League has not won consecutive World Series since they ran off four in a row from 1979-1982.

The disparity in competition between the two leagues hinges on their biggest difference:  the designated hitter position.

The appeasement of its fan base in their appetite for offensive baseball prompted the American League to introduce the designated hitter position into the game in 1973.  The American League first used their new gimmick as a spot to keep aging stars in the line-up (i.e. Minnie Minoso, Al Kaline) in a blatant attempt to boost fan attendance.

Soon, managers began to utilize the rule change for its original intent.  Offensive numbers became bloated like a distended beer gut.  Jim Rice, Frank Thomas and Harold Baines brutalized pitchers and redefined the position.  In 1995, Edgar Martinez became the first DH to capture a batting crown.

Adaptation being what it is, the American League pitcher was forced to evolve or risk extinction.  The result is a different brand of hurler who is accustomed to formidable batting line-ups and resistant to an offensive outburst by the opposing team.  AL pitchers attack hitters with aggressive pitching as they need not bat for themselves in the next half inning, thus avoiding any retaliation.

So focused are National League pitchers on their craft that they neglect batting practice.  The byproduct is the predictable bunt or strikeout in the 9th position of the NL scorecard– NL teams give away FOUR FREE OUTS per game.

It really should come to the surprise of no one that when the two leagues meet in direct competition, it is reminiscent of a chainsaw to a 2 x 4, advantage battle-hardened AL team.

Hold on baseball purists.  I understand the arguments against the DH.  I consider myself to be one of you.

I long for the original aspects of the game when strategy mattered and specialization was a communist idea.  I love timely pinch-hitting, hitting behind the runner, getting the bunt down, taking on a 3-0 count, getting the runner over, six-out saves, taking on a 3-1 count, three-man pitching rotations that pitch on three days and throw BP side-session in between.

But Hideki Matsui was just named World Series MVP (those damn Yankees), more proof that the designated hitter is not going anywhere.

I used to believe that the Wild Card would destroy the game.  It has since proven to be the best thing since the Iced Coffee with Vanilla Powder at the Coffee Bean Tea & Leaf (easy ice).

National League, it is with great reluctance that I type these words:  it’s time to evolve.  Give the DH some consideration.

Stop bringing a knife to a gunfight.

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