I Hope The Red Sox Don’t Sign Pablo Sandoval Because Then We’ll Have To Deal With Shit Like This

The Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants are reportedly the favorites to sign slugging third baseman Pablo Sandoval. I love Pablo Sandoval. He’s built like a fire hydrant that eats a box of donuts every four hours, but he’s surprisingly deft with the glove, he’s got a bazooka for an arm, and he’ll swing at pretty much anything–and usually hit it. Plus, he’s got a fantastic nickname: Kung Fu Panda.

It’s that nickname that makes me wary. Sure, it’s funky and cool and kind of cute…but just imagine what would happen if the chuckleheads at NESN got a hold of it. We’re talking about the evil masterminds behind the Wally Wave and those graphics that tell everybody Daniel Nava’s favorite restaurant is the Cheesecake Factory. Giving them a player nicknamed Kung Fu Panda is like handing them an incantation that’ll open up a portal to the deepest realms of hell. It’d probably go something like this…

Don Orsillo: Coming up to the plate…the Kung Fu Panda.
Jerry Remy: What did you say, Don? Something about Chinese food?
Orsillo: That’s Pablo Sandoval’s nickname: Kung Fu Panda.
Remy: Really? When I was playing guys had nicknames like Spike or Smoky.
Orsillo: It’s a new day, Jerry. Second basemen standing in right field, instant replay, players named for cartoons.
Remy: What cahtoon?
Orsillo: It’s called Kung Fu Panda. Your grandchildren haven’t made you watch it?
RemyI don’t know. I usually fall asleep. Is that the one with the fish?
Orsillo: No. He’s a panda, and he learns kung fu.
Remy: That’s like karate, right?
Orsillo: Kind of, Jerry. They’re both martial arts.
Remy: So why do they call him Kung Fu Panda?
Orsillo: Well, I bet it’s because he eats a lot of eucalyptus, like a panda. But now, let’s throw it down to Gary Striewski with a special report. Gary?
Gary: Thanks, Don. Panda-monium is sweeping Red Sox Nation. Today, NESN and Pablo Sandoval…well, we helped him make a new friend. Check this out!

Cue footage of Pablo Sandoval and Wally at Franklin Park Zoo with an actual panda. Wally offers the panda a high five and it stares at him blankly in response. Sandoval smiles awkwardly like he thinks he shorted.

Gary: Looks like the pandas had a great time! Back to you, Don!
Orsillo: Thanks, Gary. I almost couldn’t tell them apart!
Remy: The green one was Wally, Don.
Orsillo: I’ve just been told we made an error earlier. Pandas do not eat eucalyptus. They eat bamboo. Thanks to Twitter user @RedSoxSweetie for helping us out. Who knew?
Remy: Bamboo? I had that in a salad once out in Pittsburgh. You think Joseph Abboud’s ever dressed a panda, Don?

…and so on and so forth until your humble narrator hangs himself from the back porch with his David Ortiz jersey. So please, Mr. Sandoval, stay in San Francisco.

The Top Four Places in the Boston Area to Get Loaded Fast

Maybe you had a bad day at work. Maybe you’re having relationship or lack-of-a-relationship issues. Maybe it’s just Tuesday. Maybe all those Avril Lavigne songs you downloaded aren’t cheering you up like you used. Maybe–like your handsome narrator–you refuse to go to the God damn grocery store sober. Whatever the reason, sometimes you just need to get shithoused as quickly as possible. If you’re in the Boston area, I can help with that.

4. The Newtowne Grill
Order a mixed drink. Make it a double. Gaze in slack jawed wonder–and a little bit of fear–as the no-nonsense bartender fills your glass three quarters of the way up with booze and spritzes it with a mixer or two. Settle back, buy a Keno ticket, and discuss whatever game’s on the TV with some crusty drunk. Pray to whatever deity, force, or spirit you think might be listening that you don’t wake up next to any of the clientele the next morning.  Fun facts: the food here’s pretty good for the price and this may be the only bar in the 617 where it’s socially acceptable to wear your favorite Looney Tunes sweatshirt.

3. Rudy’s
If you really want to get trashed, don’t waste your time or your money in Davis Square. Walk the extra ten minutes to this old standby in Teele and bomb a couple margaritas. The majority of their house margs are under ten dollars. If you want to pace yourself a little, the hearty food will easily absorb about a margarita and a half.

2. Zuma
Let’s face it: going out for an after work drink downtown absolutely sucks, especially on a Thursday or Friday night. Seems like you’re going to be surrounded by business casual douche bags with portfolios and plastic skanks trying to get into those portfolios regardless of where you go. Luckily, there’s one fantastic exception to this rule: Zuma. Located in the basement of a building beside Faneuil Hall, most people don’t even realize it’s there. Hope you don’t mind tasting the tequila in your margaritas.

1. The Friendly Toast
Take two Deaths on the Installment Plan and thank me later. It tastes like a chocolate milkshake. It kicks like you’ve got an intravenous feed pouring liquor straight into your bloodstream. If you get a table, make sure you ask not to sit next to the creepy moving baby on the rocking horse.

Top Chef’s Boston Season Could Be A Lot Better

Top Chef’s latest season takes place in Boston, Massachusetts. Challenges so far have involved all sorts of touristy garbage, like cooking in Cheers and using “One if by land, two if by sea” as a means of determining ingredients.

I am not impressed. We need to fix this atrocity immediately and use the power of televised cooking competitions to show off the real Boston with the following challenges:

  • Cooking in a Dunkin’ Donuts using only the ingredients and equipment inside. It worked for Fred the Baker, so some sous chef with years of training should have no problem whipping up a delicious coq au vain in there. Winner gets $500 in Dunkin gift cards.
  • Cooking using only the ingredients the competitors can find on the Orange Line. No, I don’t mean in stores near Orange Line stops. I mean in the damn trains themselves. Winner gets to abandon one other competitor outside the station of his or her choice.
  • Each chef gets assigned a theme based on one of Route 1’s lovely establishments. Because nothing says fine cuisine like the Kowloon, Hooters, or the Golden Banana. Winner gets a mai tai and a Keno quick pick.
  • The cast is divided into teams of three. Each team gets a sausage cart and spot in Faneuil Hall at two A.M on a Saturday night. Winning team gets a private party at Coogan’s with bottomless Sam Light.
  • Cooking using only the ingredients Donnie Wahlberg was able to steal from Market Basket. Winner gets a parking spot in Southie.

Get Me Out of Here

Normally I have no problem being in a bar by myself. In fact, I quite enjoy it. Reading while nursing a beer or a cocktail with the hum of a busy pub around me is one of my favorite things. Yeah, I’m strange.

Saturday night, though, I encountered a solo bar situation that made me downright uncomfortable. I’d been sick for a few days, and I was tired of being sick so I pretended I wasn’t and headed for the closest pub, P.J. Ryan’s. The place was packed. I decided to walk back along Holland toward Davis Square until I found a place that wasn’t.

The next place I passed wound up being my ultimate destination: Spoke. It’s a classy little wine and tapas bar I’ve heard nothing but good things about. I hadn’t been in for food before because I tend to forget that entire block exists.

The hostess gave me a bit of a stink eye when I walked in. I wasn’t exactly dressed for the occasion – I might be the first person who’s ever strolled in there wearing a Patriots hat and a pair of sneakers. I ignored her, found a spot at the bar, and settled in with a cocktail, an order of duck meatballs, and my Kindle. Everything was very good and the service was attentive, but I couldn’t shake the feeling I didn’t belong.

The clientele consisted entirely of couples on dates or lonely middle-aged women with three cats and several knitting projects sheepishly looking for dates. I scanned the room and saw nothing but people who looked back at me in confusion. I don’t have a vagina or any knitting needles, so my presence made no sense. I’ve never been so cognizant of not fitting in somewhere.

I bailed after one drink.  I’ll probably try Spoke again on some random Monday or Tuesday, sans hat and with nicer shoes. The food alone is worth giving it another chance. I can’t believe this is what Somerville is turning into.

I Love the Royals/I Hate the Royals

The Kansas City Royals are headed to the World Series. Had you told me that at the beginning of the season, I probably would’ve asked you if you knew they weren’t in the National League. They had the look of a good-but-not-great ball club, the sort that might sneak into the Wild Card and then get swept in the first round. Except that didn’t happen, and the entire Kansas City metroplex (you know, all the way out to Farmer Johnson’s grain silo) is busy singing that song Lorde wrote about George Brett. Yeah, that’s a thing.

I don’t remember the last time I was this conflicted about a baseball team. Normally I’m quick to lump every club into the league into one of two easy to define bins: They’re Fucking Awesome! and Shit, They Suck!  The Royals are somewhere in the middle for me. Why am I overthinking this so badly? Well…

I love the Royals because they’re a small market team that built a championship caliber squad The Right Way: by developing talent from within, by making smart trades, and by not breaking the bank in free agency.

I hate the Royals because their manager is basically a humanoid cauliflower who blew more important decisions this year than your average drunk girl on Tinder.

I love the Royals because their designated hitter is nicknamed Country Breakfast.

I hate the Royals because they rely so heavily on base running and small ball.

I love the Royals because Alex Gordon is basically what a bunch of brilliant scientists would cook up if they were told “make the perfect left fielder.”

I hate the Royals because Alex Gordon bats sixth.  He racked up a .286 Tav and 5.5 WARP in the regular season. The five guys hitting ahead of him right now, in order: .255 and 2.5, .267 and 1.0, .269 and 2.9, .262 and 1.4, .256 and 0.0. Remember what I said about that humanoid cauliflower?

I love the Royals because third baseman Mike Moustakas,  a supposed washout of a former top prospect, has completely revitalized himself and started cranking homers like it’s going out of style.

I hate the Royals because I own Mike Moustakas in a keeper fantasy baseball league and he’s totally going to go bust after I spend too much of my budget to keep him around.

I love the Royals because Yordano Ventura reminds me of a young Pedro Martinez and they have waterfalls in centerfield.

I hate the Royals because  I can’t help wondering how they would’ve dealt with an Athletics team with its rotation intact and Yoenis Cespedes in the middle of its batting order, a Tigers squad that still had Doug Fister, Drew Smyly, Austin Jackson, and Jose Iglesias, and an Orioles club not playing a bunch of ham-n-eggers where Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, and Manny Machado should’ve been.

I love the Royals because they’re making this tough for me.

I hate the Royals because they’re making this tough for me.

So fuck the Royals. This is too hard. Go National League.

 

Stop Messing with Chicken and Waffles

Seriously. All you have to do is take some goddamn fried chicken, put it on a great big motherfucking waffle, and cover those bitches in enough syrup and butter to make a lumberjack cry. That’s it. Maybe you put some hot sauce on the side. If you try to do more than this, you are doing it wrong. Ergo, lots of restaurants are doing it wrong and their villainy must be stopped.

If you’re trying to “make it your own,” you obviously need to learn humility and how to recognize perfection. You’re probably one of those people who’s never satisfied. Stop it.

If you’re trying to “jazz it up,” I can tell you don’t have much luck on Tinder and no one’s responded to your ad in the casual encounters section of Craig’s List.

If you’re trying to “put a new spin on an old favorite,” you need to put down the pomegranate puree and back away slowly so no one gets hurt.

If you’re “reinventing a classic,” you’re messing with the balance of the Force and the Jedi will be arriving soon to stop your Dark Side nonsense before it spreads. The last thing the galaxy needs is the return of Darth Waffles.

Waffles. Fried chicken. Syrup. Butter. That’s all it takes. And for chrissakes put a wet nap on the damn plate.

 

 

 

I Want to Like the New Rosebud

Davis Square’s got a new place to eat and get loaded. The Rosebud American Kitchen opened a week and a half and ago in the space formerly occupied by the Rosebud Diner and the Rosebud Bar & Grill, merging the dining car out front with the bigger room in the back. It’s owned and operated by the same crew responsible for the square’s two best establishments, Posto and the Painted Burro.

It’s a nice place. The food and drinks are perfectly fine and the beer list is moderately interesting.  Entrees and cocktails are a little on the pricy side but not out of line for the neighborhood and the sandwiches are surprisingly affordable. The pisser’s nice and clean. There’s just one thing keeping me from giving the place the Scott Colby Seal of Alcoholic Approval: the location.

The problem here that I can’t quite get over is the fact that despite its interesting exterior, the Rosebud really isn’t any different from the other restaurants in Davis Square. It’s like someone shoved Orleans, Five Horses, Saloon, or the Foundry into an old diner. It makes no sense. With an exterior that cool, the inside really ought to be the most fun, kitschy place in the neighborhood. Instead, it’s just boring like everything else in the square.

This is a missed opportunity, doubly so given that Davis Square’s nightlife absolutely sucks. I know; I live there. When Sligo’s your neighborhood’s best option for an entertaining Saturday night adult beverage, your neighborhood has issues. Davis is supposed to be one of the most eclectic, fun parts of the greater Boston area – so why do Somerville residents have to go all the way into Cambridge to get to bars that fit that description? Why isn’t there a Charlie’s or a Friendly Toast or a State Park in Davis Square?

I’ll probably end up hanging out in the Rosebud regularly anyway, but I don’t have to like it. There’s a pie list. And it’s good. But that’s small consolation.

Report on MBTA Savings Missed a Few Things

According to the American Public Transportation Association’s August Transit Savings Report, an individual in a two-person Boston household can save $13,045 a year by using the MBTA and living with one less car. These numbers are based on savings in gas, parking, insurance, and the like.

This is obviously shoddy science and flat out wrong. The savings were calculated primarily using the price of a monthly transit pass. This math obviously fails to account for the hidden costs of riding the MBTA:

  • $722 a year in dry cleaning bills. Because you sat in gum. Or the air conditioner broke on a 90 degree day in July. Or some wildebeest wedged himself into the seat beside you and the thigh fat that wound up in your lap oozed cottage cheese all over your khakis.
  • $513 a year in soap and hand sanitizer. See above. Plus the fact that you never know what the hobos and BU kids have excreted all over the hand holds.
  • $2549 a year in additional liquor. Because the goddamn red line was late for the third time this week. Or there was a switching problem at Park Street and hitting up the Beantown Pub for a few pints sounded more fun than standing on a platform jammed with angry people in their business casual best.
  • $827.87 a year in entertainment costs. You’ll want to have a book with you for when you inevitably get stuck between Central and Harvard for half a fucking hour.
  • $1200 a year in medical costs. Because packed buses and trains are basically big metal petri dishes on wheels during flu season. Plus you never know when some jerk is going to use a baby carriage as a battering ram.
  • Fuck it, tack on yet another $1000 for booze. Because you never know when regular service is going to be replaced by a fucking shuttle bus. Make sure you budget for it.
  • $623 a year in taxi costs. Because sometimes you don’t want to have to take a bus to a train to another fucking bus. And sometimes you have to get to Jamaica Plain. And sometimes the bus just doesn’t show up.
  • $45 a year in shoe laces. It touched the floor of the orange line? Burn it.
  • $26.33 a year to give to Keytar Bear. Face it, we all get sucked in eventually.

Well, well, well – doesn’t that put a serious dent in our supposed savings? Those additional costs total $7506.20, which knocks the real savings down to $5538.80. I can’t believe they screwed this one up. It’s just basic math.

 

Summerslam 2014 Results and Analysis

It wasn’t quite the “biggest party of the summer” as it’s often billed, but Summerslam was a fun show – and it undoubtedly set up the next few months of WWE programming in interesting and unexpected ways.

Dolph Ziggler won the Intercontinental Championship from the Miz – I really, really didn’t think this was going to happen. Normally guys who come back from an extended hiatus get to win for a little while. I don’t think this is a sign the writers are getting behind Dolph again as much as I think it’s a sign Bad News Barrett is coming back for his belt soon.

Paige won the Divas Championship from AJ Lee – I whiffed on this one, too, but I can’t say I’m disappointed in the result. Paige has brought a refreshing amount of violence to her pay-per-view matches. There’s always an absolutely brutal outside spot when she wrestles in a big match, which is a welcome change from the typical Divas bout where the biggest move is a slap or a rollup or that running hair pull thing. These two work really well together.

Bray Wyatt beat Chris Jericho – It’s about time Wyatt got back on track, although I can’t help wondering why his opponents don’t just jump on top of him when he’s doing the upside-down spider walk. If it creeps people out that badly, maybe I should do it on the subway to get some extra seat space.

Seth Rollins beat Dean Ambrose in a Lumberjack Match – I can’t decide whether I think this was a dumb clusterfuck or fun and chaotic. They used the lumberjacks well in a few spots and awkwardly in others. It mostly worked, though, and it should progress the beef between these guys nicely.

Stephanie McMahon beat Brie Bella – Steph carried this one. Everything from her outfit to her facial expressions to her wrestling was spot on, but the match definitely suffered from its lack of a compelling or empathetic protagonist. I find it hard to get behind Brie Bell. She’s just kind of there, and when she finally started to turn the tide against Stephanie was about the time I started playing with my phone. In the end, Brie’s sister turned on her to set up the next few months of bathroom breaks. Can we have Stephanie vs. AJ now?

Roman Reigns beat Randy Orton – This wasn’t nearly as dull as I worried it would be. Orton continues to be the most natural looking wrestler on the roster. Reigns gets better every time out.

Brock Lesnar won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from John Cena – Holy shit. This wasn’t a match; it was a mugging. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a match with the build and high profile of this one turn into a legit squash. It sets Brock up as an absolute beast with no obvious rival. I can’t help wondering if they pushed him too far; there’s no one on the roster who would seem to have a realistic chance of beating him one-on-one. Orton? Maybe if he goes into absolute evil shit mode. Reigns? Not ready. Daniel Bryan? Maybe. Cena in a rematch? Sure, but that would defeat the point of this one if it happens too soon. Whoever finally beats Lesnar is going to get one hell of a rub. It’s exciting stuff.

(Update 8/18 at 4:30 pm) And Rusev beat Jack Swagger in a supposed Flag Match I forgot about – The Russian’s fantastic selling of an ankle injury inflicted by his opponent’s Patriot Lock really made this one. He had to half-ass the Accolade the first time because it hurt too much to put his weight on that ankle. He didn’t make that mistake the second time even though he looked like he was in absolute agony. I like Rusev and Lana and I’d like to see both in higher-profile matches.

Shit I Learned Looking For an Apartment in Cambridge

I don’t often play anthropologist, but when I do my findings inevitably rock the establishment and drive professionals in the field to drink. What can I say? I’m a revolutionary, baby, and I don’t play by your rules.

Case in point: I’ve spent the last month and a half or so looking for a new apartment for September 1, most of it in the apartments of Cambridge, Massachusetts. This makes me the country’s newest expert on both the rental market and the living habits of the average 25 to 35-year-old Cantabrigian. Let me drop some knowledge on ya, son.

  • People in Cambridge are content to overpay for a dumpy apartment. You wouldn’t know it from looking at them, but most Cantabrigians are independently wealthy lords and ladies who work shitty jobs at startups and nonprofits just for fun. They’ve got nothing better to spend their money on, so they just give it all to their landlords as a sort of charity act.
  • People in Cambridge can’t tell when shit’s not level or when something needs to be fucking painted. Approximately 99.67% of the rental units in Cambridge need to be completely gutted and renovated, but none of the city’s residents realize that. I’ve also discovered that previous generations of Cantabrigians had a thing for floors that rolled like sine waves. Flat flooring simply wasn’t cool fifty years ago. There’s simply no other explanation for all the shitty floors I saw.
  • No one in Cambridge has cable TV. In fact, the city’s erected fortifications three stories tall for the sole purpose of keeping Comcast and RCN trucks out. Cable company employees are stopped on sight and lectured about how much better it is just to listen to NPR.
  • The rental agents are routinely memory-wiped to ensure obedience. I responded to an ad for a studio in Inman Square. The address I was given was actually in Union Square. Yeah, that’s right, in fucking Somerville. I had to show the agent where the place was because she hadn’t been since her latest memory wipe, and she proceeded to insist we were actually in Inman. I hope she remembered where she parked.
  • People who live in Cambridge are cold blooded. Every apartment I visited was at least 90 degrees inside, regardless of what the weather was doing. I swear I got swamp ass just from ringing the doorbell of a few places. There’s only one logical conclusion we can draw: Cantabrigians are, in fact, a race of cold blooded reptilian humanoids living among us in disguise. What are they after? Where are they from? Sadly, we won’t know until it’s too late and they’ve eaten us all.

There you have it, readers and science dudes who are going to steal my work! Sure, there may be a bit of small sample size bias here, but I’m sure my observations will prove true and I’ll put a few nerds out of business. Don’t worry about those fools: they’ll make great rental agents!