Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Boston Radio Station, Gag Order, Gets Weird New Intern: Me

Readers, I've been absent from blog posts in the last week and for that I apologize. But, I have news and a new sort-of job and a new way to ball hard on a budget without a case of the morning afters so, you know, keep reading words.

Through a friend of a friend with a friend, I managed to rustle up a new internship to fill my funemloyment time. The gig is pretty straightforward, contributing social media for a start-up internet radio show while we try to get picked up by a larger, more money filled entity. IT RULES.

The first day I showed up for my interview the producers sat me down on the couch in the tiny 16th floor office of the Pru and there I was, part of the show, in the middle of the mess and making a mess mostly but I think I did alright cause they asked me back.

Last week we made fun of Floridians, Canada, Manti Te'o, had a rapper from Cleveland swing through one day, a motivational speaker the next and watched a girl suck her own tampon dry (google Giovanni Plowman if you're brave. VERY NSFW) all live on the air. I can't get enough.

For those working 9-5, this is just the sort of pick-me-up I always needed around 2:30-3 o'clock  working in an office and it'll keep you smiling all the way to Happy Hour (the most irreverent segment on the show).   It's a great little mix of news and humor that always toes the line of appropriateness. Pop on the live stream, throw in an earbud and giggle secretly to yourself while  doing data entry and your co-workers start saving up for Kevlar vests.

Give the show a shot, if you like it tell your friends and everyone you can, it'd be huge for us. In return I'll do my best to be as ridiculous as possible on Tuesdays, Thursday and Friday when I'll be in on the show. Follow along, it'll be fun.

Bonus: Ball out on a Budget and never have a hangover again with The Last Round. It's a bold statement, I know, and I was skeptical too when asked to plug Gag Order's sponsor on twitter but this stuff works. Here's the deal, it's a green-tea based dietary supplement that looks like a 5 hour energy, and tastes about the same but less sugary. If you have one right before bed after a night out-NO HANGOVER! I've tried this thing four times now since last Tuesday and have yet to feel like death even though I clearly deserved to based on my bar habits.  I don't know how the thing works, but it's supposed to help scrub your system of alcohol while you're busy passed out in your pants and shoes with the lights on. Wake up and not feel crappy, great.

We do a promotion with the sponsor through the radio station so anyone who's curious, or drunk enough to give it a shot can do so without paying full price. If you follow the link above and use the promo code: gagorder25 for 25% percent off your total purchase. If you're not that curious, find me one night for a drink. I keep one on my nightstand now for emergencies and some extras around the apartment for whenever the mood strikes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Kings Dethroned By Oilers in Overtime

If you missed the third period of the Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers game Thursday night, you missed one of the best finishes to a hockey game in the past few years.

Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick had held the Oilers scoreless for nearly 59 minutes of the game when Oilers top-liner Ryan Nugent-Hopkins rifled one to the back of the net making the game 1-1.  However, the goal was then called back because of an apparent goaltender interference by Edmonton's Jordan Eberle.  With a minute to go, and the game on the line in Edmonton, the no goal call turned Rexall Place into a madhouse.

Trash rained down onto the ice.  Boos thundered through the arena as the scene above the ice looked like a hurricane with all the debris flying.  The scorer's table had to be toweled off after it was covered in beer and soda.  When the rowdy crowd finally cooled its jets, the game resumed.

The Oilers netminder Devan Dubnyk was pulled, giving them a six-on-five attacking advantage.  The seconds ticked away, and the home team's hopes became more dire.  Finally, with just under five seconds to go, Nail Yakupov got a pass down low and wristed a rocket over the shoulder of Quick.  Tie ballgame, sports fans.

The game went into overtime, and the Oilers were riding high, they poured pressure on Quick, and scored the game winner rather quickly, sending the Kings to their locker room, tails between their legs.

Hockey this season has been absolutely amazing.  The blog now has access to NHL Gamecenter Live, has been keeping up with all the action and is ready to pass it on to you readers.  Stay tuned and don't forget to check our Twitter page, @threeifbystrike!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

SNL Combines Lance Armstrong and Mati Te'o Stories Into One Hilarious Skit

The entire sports world this past week has been absolutely abuzz about two stories. No, not the return of the NHL or even the NFL playoffs.

Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey and the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax.

One story is more ridiculous than the next.  Armstrong's confession seemed to be half-hearted, showing no real feeling for the damage he did to himself, the cycling community and his foundation.  The whole Te'o story is just embarrassing really.  Who meets someone online anymore?  And why was everyone lying about knowing her and seeing her and sending her things?  I don't even want to get into the details because of how stupid he and everyone involved is.

But I digress.  Above is a video from last night's edition of "Saturday Night Live," with the opening sketch parodying "Piers Morgan Tonight."  He interviews Armstrong and Te'o (and Jodie Foster at the end which isn't funny), and the cast does a great job of making fun of these two ridiculous and embarrassing situations.  Enjoy.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Don't Look Now, But The Blog Has a Twitter!

Three If By Strike, in its efforts to create a global empire, has finally extended into the Twittersphere.  Long overdue, we know, but better late then never, they say.

The Twitter handle is @Threeifbystrike, and we'll be promoting all our posts as well as getting quick information out that may not warrant an entire blog post.  We understand that people lead busy lives, so we're here to get you your sports and entertainment news in a fast and easy way.  We are a blog of the people.

So hop over to Twitter, follow us and let us know how we're doing!

Let's Go.

Well, boys and girls, today is the day. Saturday marks the opening day of the 2013 abbreviated NHL season.

NBC has the first game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the in-state rivalry is one of the best ways to start the season.  Following the matinee will be the Boston Bruins hosting the New York Rangers at the TD Garden.  Another game that you should glue yourself to the TV for.

Being a huge Bruins fan, and sitting here writing this in my Adam McQuaid home black and gold jersey, I have to pick them in the game tonight.  Their exit from the postseason at the hands of Joel Ward and the Capitals was inexcusable, and they look like one of the hungriest teams coming into the season.  Bruins win 3-2.

As for the Battle of Pennsylvania?  We may see six or seven goals in this one, with both teams sporting the league's best, namely Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell on the Flyers and Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby for the Pens.  Flyers win 5-3.

Of course those aren't the only games on tap for today.  The Ottawa Senators take on the Winnipeg Jets, while the Chicago Blackhawks take on the defending champion Los Angeles Kings.  The Jets are a strong offense made stronger by picking up the likes of Olli Jokinen and Alexi Ponikarovsky, and they'll need a 100 percent effort to beat all-star defender Erik Karlsson's Senators.  Jets win 3-1.

As for the Kings-Hawks game, the Hawks need to score early to put struggling goaltender Corey Crawford at ease.  The Kings were the eighth seed in last years playoffs and pulled off a great Stanley Cup run, but playoff Kings hockey can be much different than regular season Kings hockey with coach Daryl Sutter tailoring his lines to have just one scoring line up top.  Kings win 3-2 in a shootout.

Those are my top games for opening day, and here are my remaining guesses/predictions.

Toronto at Montreal, Habs win 2-1.

New Jersey at Islanders, Devils win 2-1 in overtime.

Washington at Tampa Bay, Capitals win 5-4.

Carolina at Florida, Hurricanes win 4-2.

Detroit at St Louis, Red Wings win 3-1.

Columbus at Nashville, Predators win 2-0.

Phoenix at Dallas, Coyotes win 4-2.

Colorado at Minnesota, Wild win 5-1.

Anaheim at Vancouver, Canucks suck.

For all the hockey action today, you can check out my Twitter, @JonToddVanDamme, for live updates, fantasy tips and everything else hockey.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ray Lewis Dances on the Side of a Hotel


How awesome is this?  The Ray Lewis pregame dance immortalized by a laser light show on the side of a hotel in Baltimore.

Hopefully they can transport that and get it to the top of Gillette Stadium to shine on the field after another victory for Lewis and the Ravens.  With that image in mind, now is a good time to explain my Super Bowl picks.

The Ravens and the Falcons.

Look, yes Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick are good.  And before you Pats fans freak out that I mentioned Kaepernick next to your god, just know I respect Brady ('s acting career) and mean no offense.  The Patriots offense is even better than top notch, with or without players like Rob Gronkowski -- out with a broken arm for the rest of the playoffs -- and Danny Woodhead.  However, the Ravens defense is deserving of the same adjectives that you could use to describe the Pats' O.  It will be an all-out battle between Lewis and Brady. 

On the offensive side for Baltimore, Joe Flacco leads nearly the exact same offense onto the field as he did when Billy Cundiff missed a field goal to send them to the Super Bowl.  Well, minus Lee Evans who, if he had just caught the ball in the end zone, could have won them the game anyway.  The Pats secondary seems to be getting better game by game, but the Ravens receivers are white hot right now.

As far as the NFC side of things goes, I couldn't really care any less.  Matt Ryan looked like a champ in the first half of the Falcons eventual win over the Seahawks, but then whoever the crazy man inside his head is decided that he just wanted to continue to be terrible in the postseason.  Yada yada yada, they won by a field goal.  Not a strong case for them, I understand, but I'll get there.

When the 49ers made the switch from Alex Smith to Kaepernick, I thought they were going to fold.  Very wrong, as it turns out.  I'm not a believer in Kaepernick, because I don't believe in anyone who wears a baseball team's hat with the wrong colors on it.  He can run, so if they can hold him to less than 180 yards, we'll see...

Either way, my picks are based off of two people.  Ray Lewis and Tony Gonzalez.  Both of these players, veterans of 33 combined years, will be calling it quits whenever their playoff runs end.  One of the greatest tight ends of all time running routes covered by one of the greatest linebackers of all time in the Super Bowl?  Come on, that's an awesome story.

Live Action Toy Story

It's the whole movie. The WHOLE movie. My mind's blown.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Strikers, exciting news! I was on Joseph Gordon Levitt's twitter half an hour ago and followed a link on a whim to the new Dan the Automator project, Pillowfight. It's really fantastic. Like, I-can't-stop-listening-to-it-on-repeat-and-I-just-bought-A$AP-Rocky's-new-album levels of fantastic. For some context, I've been waiting for Live.Love.A$AP for months and months and now it sits completely forgotten in my iTunes library.  This doesn't happen to me often and when it does I know better than to fight it. Pillowfight is goddamn great.
I know there's a lot of stuff out there on the internet that's tempting besides this but please please please give it a shot.  The sound is elegant and dope, with Dan's handcrafted beats filling in the cracks around Emily Wells' seductive crooning, this supergroup oozes cool out of every pore.  Every song makes me think of an old jazz bar complete with smoke, scotch, and a lonely songstress crying every night over the microphone. Except this time her backing band has turntables and 808's.

They're also brand spanking and shiny new on the scene and came out of nowhere. Their twitter has not even 200 followers and before yesterday they'd only released two tracks. One of which is the ardently earnest, "Get Your S*** Together" which is not to be missed. How this came together under the radar with the mind that helped bring the world Deltron 3030 and Gorillaz is beyond me. Listen to the rest of the new album on huffpost that was released yesterday. Thanks JGL for the heads up on this one. Get in on the ground floor with Pillowfight and watch this rocket take off.

 Bonus: This is what comes up when you google Pillowfight

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hawks Season Ticket Holder Defies Physics

Hitting a half court shot is tough, but using some sort of magic and making the ball stop on the back of the rim after being hurled 40 feet has to be impossible, right?

During halftime of Atlanta Hawks home games, they have recently started their "Money Shot" promotion, where season tickets holders get a chance at $1000 for making a shot from half court.  Sunday's contestant was a guy named Kevin, who was "feeling pretty good" about the shot.  You know when something is so rare they say its one in a million?  I'm going to go ahead and say this is one in about a billion.

First of all, Kevin clearly shot long there and should've missed.  But since inside the Phillips Arena you can bend the laws of gravity, his shot just sat on the back of the rim until the emcee helped him out, showing off his ups and grabbing the net.  Sounds like $1000 for the assist if you ask me.  Much higher success rate of a pass from half court than a shot.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Deja Drew All Over Again

Boston Red Sox and free agent catcher Mike Napoli agreed to a three year, $39 million deal on Dec. 3 of last year.  However, with pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, we still don't know if Napoli will be joining the team.

There have been several snags in negotiations with the former Texas slugger.  There are rumors surfacing of issues with Napoli's hip found during his physical which has sent up red flags for the organization, and consequently there are rumors that the deal will now be for just one guaranteed year.  Hmm, a player with an injury problem that the Sox are spending too much money on?

General manager Ben Cherington has seen this before, although he was not at the helm when this deal was being made.  Current Cubs GM Theo Epstein was the mastermind behind signing outfielder JD Drew in Boston, a contract worth $70 million that took 52 days to complete after the two sides agreed.  As talks dragged on, Epstein reportedly sent flowers to Drew's family.

"In the situation we had with Drew, you talk it through, try to use a lot of empathy, make sure he knows you realize it's an awkward situation and it's as awkward for them as it is for you," Epstein said.

"Just keep talking and try to find a mutually agreeable solution and remember that fairness is important.  Leverage can go back and forth at different times during the negotiations, but it's always important to remember that fairness matters in the end."

Epstein expressed his confidence in Cherington during his Hot Stove/Cool Music event last Friday, but as for now, the Napoli situation remains a mystery.  Also baffling is the Red Sox courtship of players like Adam LaRoche and more recently Michael Morse.  Its tough to see where their priorities are, and working on "back-up plans" seems suspect, leading to the belief that these talks may not be going the way the Boston front office had hoped for.

Friday, January 11, 2013

How Will the Bruins Fare in the Shortened Season?

The NHL gets back to business as unusual on Jan. 19th when they begin a shortened 48-game season.  For Bruins fans, just seeing the players back on the ice in black and gold will be a success, but for the players, they must be licking their chops for the 2013 season.

The B's won the Lord Stanley's Cup for the 2010-11 season, and most of that same roster til laces 'em up at the TD Garden for home games.  The Bruins have young stars like Tyler Seguin, 20, Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic, 24, as well as elder statesmen like Andrew Ference and Shawn Thornton, 33, and captain Zdeno Chara, 35.  Age has never seemed to slow the Bruins down, and Ference and Chara have been playing for over a month already overseas, so in 2013, that's not a concern.

After a few concussions, the most famous of which came at the hands of Canucks defender Aaron Rome, B's winger Nathan Horton is ready to rock.  According to Lucic, Horton looks more game-ready than ever some of their teammates playing overseas.

"We had a little scrimmage to end [Thursday's practice] and on our side there was only five forwards.  we were huffing and puffing, but he looked good," he said.  "He looks to be back on track.  He's in really good shape and I'm excited to get back out there and play with him."

Horton's condition shouldn't be a problem this year, but one player to keep an eye on will be goaltender Tuukka Rask.  Poised to be the starter between the pipes after Tim Thomas lost his marbles, Rask aggravated his groin against playing in the Czech Republic.  It was not as severe as when he originally injured it last March, but took himself out of a few games as a precaution.

The only other injury on the team right now appears to be to perennial all-star snub defender Adam McQuaid.  Darth Quaider has had multiple surgeries to correct blood clots around his collarbone and arms, and will hopefully be ready by the end of the month.  Watching the Bruins won't be the same without McQuaid crushing faces on the ice.

All in all, the Bruins look to be in an excellent position to finish at the top of the Eastern Conference this year.  With an embarrassing first round exit after losing to the Capitals, the Bruins will come back faster, stronger and hungrier for another championship. 

I'm predicting Seguin will lead the team in points, followed closely by linemate Patrice Bergeron and second line winger Lucic.  If Seguin and Bergeron find their rhythm like they did last year, they can again be one of the most electric lines if Marchand is up to the task.  A lot of Lucic's points come right down in front of the net, allowing Horton and Krejci to use their skills to fire pucks on net for Looch to slap home on a rebound.

Defense has always been a strong point for the Bruins, if they get out to a hot start on the pillows of Rask, that should be all it takes to fuel a playoff run.  The first test will come right away against the East favorite New York Rangers on opening night  Its tough to judge with a 48-game season, but I'm gonna say the Bruins can get 29 to 31 wins.  Doesn't hurt to be optimistic, right? 

Don't forgot to join Three if by Strike on Jan. 19th for the Bruins opener live blog!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Flat Tire on the Road to the Hall of Fame

Somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout.  But there is no joy in Cooperstown - every candidate has struck out.

For just the eighth time since 1945, there are no players entering into baseball's Hall of Fame.  A seven-time MVP*, a seven-time Cy Young winner* and 3,000-hit player are all on the outside looking in after their first year of eligibility.  What's that?  Oh, the asterisks?  Well, that's just how things go when it comes to baseball's legacy these days.

Twenty-six former Major League Baseball players received votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), yet no one passed the 75 percent threshold required for immortality.  Five voting members submitted entirely blank ballots, and one member voted for starting pitcher Aaron Sele, who had a career .569 winning percentage.

Baseball has come a long way since it was known as the National Association of Base Ball Players in 1857.  It has gone through the Dead Ball Era of the early 1900s, racial integration in the 1940s and 50s, the Marketing Era of the 80s, a few lockouts and even "Disco Demolition" and "10 cent beer night."  But since the 1990s, baseball has been gridlocked in the Steroid Era.

A shadow has been cast over the past 20 years of the sport, making it all but impossible to disseminate cheaters from those who followed the rules.  Curt Schilling, a starting pitcher who received 221 votes (38.8 percent) in his first year of eligibility, made an interesting point saying, "Everyone was guilty, you either used [performance-enhancing drugs], or you did nothing to stop their use."  And he's right.

BALCO, the Mitchell Report, Greg Anderson and Victor Conte became household names, just like Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa.  Because of all the controversy, those three players only received a combined 38.2 percent of votes from the BBWAA.  Palmeiro still garnered 50 votes even after he was the first major player to be banned for PEDs in 2005.

But what matters now is not whether these players are guilty or not.  What truly matters is how many times they can get a check mark next to their name on the 569 ballots submitted by writers.  Craig Biggio topped the list this year with 388 votes, just 39 shy of entering the Hall.  Barry Bonds, current career home run king finished with 206 votes, and Roger Clemens, with 354 wins and 4,672 strikeouts (third all time) earned just slightly higher with 214.  Baseball is destined to go spinning around in circles for years to come, possibly even all 15 years of players' eligibility for some if they do not come up with a solution.

"With 53 percent you can get to the White House, but you can't get to Cooperstown," BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O'Connell said. "It's the 75 percent that makes it difficult."

There's problem number one.  It is understood that this is baseball immortality we're talking about here, but three-quarters of writers from all over the country having to agree on even one or two players seems a little ridiculous, doesn't it?  They're writers, there is going to be some bias whether they admit it or not.

Personally, I hate Bonds.  I think Jason Giambi crying to the media never actually mentioning the word "steroids" was the most embarrassing thing I've ever seen an athlete do.  I think Palmeiro was, and probably still is a terrible liar.  But I'd be lying through my teeth if I said as a kid, watching the home run race in 1998 wasn't the best summer of my eight-year-old life.  I had a McGwire poster next to my bed, a Sosa book sitting on my desk that I would show friends when they came over my house, and whenever I'd play wiffleball, you better believe I spun my hat around backwards like Ken Griffey Jr in the Home Run Derbies.

Its time to face the facts: what players in the Steroid Era did for baseball was incredible, and it was a completely new look the sport had never seen before.  Having the debate over the voting system or over whether or not certain players cheated could rage on for hours.  You can't please all the people all the time, which is why I'd like to see some compromises put in place.

So Bonds, you want to be in the Hall of Fame?  Then throw an asterisk next to  the number 754, not 762, and give Hank Aaron his crown back.  Clemens, how about you?  Then keep your stats and give back your Cy Young's, and we'll have your face cast in bronze.  McGwire, you fancy a trip to Cooperstown?  Admit that you used a substance that was legal at the time... Oh, wait a minute.
In the waning years of the Steroid Era, Cooperstown is feeling the effects more than any, and it looks like the small upstate New York town of 2,000 won't be getting any new citizens this year.  The bottom line is, if baseball wants to keep up this steroids witch hunt, it would be like fighting fire with fire and we might be seeing as many shutouts in January as we do in April.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Good News, Bad News, News as Big as Your Head

A lot is going on in the sports world this Wednesday evening.  Some of it good, some of it bad, some of it kind of middle of the road.  Well its time for our first installment of...  Good News Bad News!

For every piece of good news, we'll give you a piece of bad news.  If there's no bad news, then we'll give you some indifferent news.

GOOD NEWS:  The NHL's Board of Governor's has unanimously ratified the new collective bargaining agreement.

BAD, well no, INDIFFERENT NEWS:  The players have still yet to vote, but its not really bad news because everyone in the world pretty much knows it will pass on their side.

GOOD NEWS:  Carmelo Anthony got suspended one game for waiting for Kevin Garnett outside the Celtics team bus.

BAD NEWS:  Brandon Bass ha an open lay-up, unguarded to cover the spread tonight over the Suns, and CHOSE NOT TO TAKE IT.

GOOD NEWS:  Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were denied entry into the Hall of Fame, each receiving less than 40 percent of the vote.

BAD NEWS:  Everyone else on the ballot was also denied entry to the Hall, only the eighth time in baseball history that has happened.  Craig Biggio received the highest number of votes with around 68 percent.

GOOD NEWS:  The Buffalo Bills are still undefeated in 2013.

BAD NEWS:  Its not January 19th yet.

Can't leave you hanging with some bad news, so here's one last good news for you.

GOOD NEWS:  This video still exists and is still funny..

Raiders Linebacker Rolando McClain Gets Pulled Over for Tinted Windows, Gives Cop Fake Name

On Tuesday, former first round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders, Rolando McClain, was pulled over by a police officer because the tinting of his windows was too dark and therefore illegal.

Alright, that's a bad situation, but nothing that couldn't at least be helped out by a simple conversation, right?  Well, not if you're Rolando McClain.  McClain has had a few brushes with the law before, like in November of 2012 when he held a gun next to a man's head and pulled the trigger right next to his ear.  Strike one, but luckily that guy didn't press charges.  But here we are now, on the side of the road, and here's how it went.  The officer asked to see McClain's license, and what was his response?

"You know who I am."  So, counting the first swing and a miss in November, looks like this is strike two.

The officer explains he has pulled McClain over for the tint on the windows, saying it is illegal because of how dark it is.  McClain responds that he has a doctor's note allowing it because of his "photosensitivity" and that he needs "maximum ultraviolet radiation protection."

Foul tip, on that one.  He stays alive.

Not written on a medical prescription, the note had no merit, so the officer informed McClain that he would just need to present the note in court and then the whole case would most likely be thrown out.  A citation was written and handed to McClain to sign his name.  McClain handed the slip back to the officer.

The name read. , "F*** y'all." That's strike three, sir.

Falsifying information was the straw that broke the camel's back in this one as McClain was hauled off to jail.  Luckily, he posted $1,000 bail and is now free to roam the streets once again.

Roll Tide.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back Bay's The Salty Pig

On Friday the 21st, I had my last day at my first big person job and entered the world of the funemployed.  Saturday morning, I was supposed to catch an 11:45 a.m. bus from South Station home and was running late. At the station, I got to stand in line and hear the n-word play ring-around-the-concourse while the Greyhound agent told me my 11:45 train left on time at 11:15.


Off to Back Bay I went with plans of over-expensive train tickets on my mind. An extra $70 behind me and a 2 hour wait ahead, I made my way to The Salty Pig across from Back Bay station to kill time.  Here's where my day took a 365 degree, 24/7, turn for the better.  What started as a beer and a chance to re-read Jurassic Park turned into a conversation about music over the bar and an unexpected brunch with a light buzz.  Go. To. This. Spot.

Reasons to put The Salty Pig  your "Go-To" list:
Stats:  130 Dartmouth St, Back Bay/South End Boston-  Open since July '11 under head chef Kevin O'Donnell.  O'Donnell, whose recent postings include working as sous chef under Mario Batali in NYC and overseas in Paris, imports cured meats and other fine ingredients from southern California and worldwide while also preparing a fresh pig each week. Look for their signature meat, cheese, and jam pairings

Drinks:  The Pig boasts a wine list, sherry list, rotating drink list and a small, but impressive, collection of drafts.  Between an Imperial stout and a wheat-y double IPA I went with the $5, 8.2% ABV, tastemonster Lagunitas Maximus. A very solid brew, strong without being overwhelming and speaking as an IPA fan, you can't go wrong with Lagunitas.  They do hops right.  I was going to follow up the Maximus with a Gin Gin Mule but since the Salty Pig only has a limited liquor license, I looked to the rotating drink menu and saw a Pimm's Cup variation.  A drink new to me, but not to my excellent bartender Patrick, (btw this guy was awesome, ask for him) who was more than happy to mix me a refreshing Pimm's classic.

Food: Before ordering, I asked Patrick if the $9 grilled cheese on the brunch menu was actually worth $9.  He said yes...I ordered...he was right. At at least 3 inches of girth and served buttered and gooey out of the brick oven, that was definitely a $9 grilled cheese.  I can't speak to the other dishes on the ever fluid menu but the brunch charcuterie certainly had my eye for my next trip.

Ambiance/Music: Cozy and wide open from kitchen to counter, The Salty Pig welcomes meat nerds and beer buffs warmly and while I wouldn't normally comment on the music of a place, the lineup I caught while I was there was just so on that I can't help it. Enjoy along with me!
Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do-Sigur Ros
Simple Song- The Shins
I Want You (She's So Heavy)- The Beatles
The High Road-Broken Bells

Bathroom Ambiance*Warning* This section is meant to be complimentary but might come off gross.  That being said this was the absolute tipping point from "Good" to "Go To" for me.

Grisly warnings aside, during my brief stay at The Salty Pig, I found reason to make use of the water closet, so's I took a piss.  And what a piss it was, for plastered around the walls of the bathroom are countless Far Side comics!  While washing up and drying off, giggling at the silly one panel comics, I made an executive decision and took a seat to let nature take it's course.  I didn't have pay tribute to the porcelain throne before for I went in but 10 more minutes of reading Far Sides and I was glad I did. Refreshed, refueled, and with an empty afterburner, I caught my train and enjoyed the rest of the holidays with a smile. 

Take a date, take a parent, take a grandparent, or just take yourself to lunch like I did and be ready for a game changer. Whatever the reason is you end up going, be sure to tell them who sent you when the check comes, I wanna stay on their good side.

Alabama Rolls Over Notre Dame

Well, that was ugly. 42-14 Crimson Tide over the Fighting Irish. Not okay.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How Many More Reasons Do You Need To Root For Notre Dame?

After watching this video, the answer to the title of this post is: none.

The Jungle Bird has risen to fame following his appearances at the U.S Open and the Notre Dame-Michigan State game in Ireland earlier this season.  Since being on the field with the Irish, he has become a fan and has followed them all the way up to their National Championship game tomorrow versus Alabama.

Not much else to say after the video except...

GO IRISH!  Catholics versus Cousins Monday night in Miami for the 2013 BCS National Championship game.

NHL is Back

Finally.  113 days and over 500 missed games later, the NHL lockout appears to be over.

"We still have a lot of work to do," said Emperor Gary Bettman, "but it's good to be at this point."

The collective bargaining agreement is for 10 years with a mutual opt-out clause after eight years.  There is also a new contract term limit of seven years for players.  In order for this deal to become official, it must be ratified by both the NHL board of governors and NHLPA membership.

The season has two possible starting dates: a 50-game season starting Jan. 15, or a 48-game season to start on Jan. 19.  Either way, a full playoff schedule will take place, extending to the end of June.

Teams can spend up to $70.2 million in the first year of the deal, but the 2013-14 salary cap will drop down to $64.3 million.  There are a lot of other details to sort out about the deal, but the important part is that the lockout appear to be done, and we will see NHL hockey by the end of the both.

Now for the tricky part.  To me, there is no better sport to watch than hockey.  Being at a college basketball game or a baseball game comes close, but the pace and intensity of an NHL game cannot be matched.  That being said, I highly doubt I will be in attendance at any game this season.  The higher ups in the NHL treat their fans like trash, and being a Bruins fan, there is no bigger example of that than Jeremy Jacobs

Sources claim that he was one of the biggest reasons the talks kept dissolving, and only a scumbag like him would give huge contracts to players like Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin knowing that the lockout would nearly all but cancel them out.  I will still watch hockey and TV, and still root for the Bruins wearing my Adam McQuaid jersey.  As pumped as I am for the start of the season, I know that it just starts the eight year countdown for another idiotic labor dispute to start up again.

Syracuse's Doug Marrone Taking the Helm in Buffalo

This Buffalo Bills haven't had a winning season since 2004 and haven't made the playoffs for 13 years.  When they fired head coach Chan Gailey after going 16-32 over three seasons, at least the fans hoped that the team would be headed for a better future.  But when they hired former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone just shy of a week after Gailey was shown the door, it became clear that the 2013 season would not be full steam ahead.

Marrone, in his first head coaching job, went 25-25 in four season with Syracuse.  The Bills, who interviewed former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt and offensive coordinator Ray Horton, former Bears head coach Lovie Smith and Oregon head coach Chip Kelly decided to take a coach who plays in the same market, just over two hours away.

Now for the pros.  Marrone won two Bowl games -- both Pinstripe Bowls in 2010 and 2012 -- and finished 8-5 this season with the Orange.  He served as the New York Jets offensive line coach from 2002-2005, and the New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator from '06-'08.  That's about it.

The Bills had the opportunities to go with someone who was NFL ready.  Bringing in Marrone should be better for their offense, but going with someone who has been out of the NFL for four seasons is a high risk.  Marrone will have the luxury of picking his own staff, which could be an issue if he pulls from a mediocre Syracuse coaching staff.  Time will tell how the Bills form around the new coaching staff, but going with Marrone was far from anyone's first, second or third choice.

Here's to Hoping This Won't Be Ray Lewis' Last NFL Game

If you haven't seen this video yet, you've been missing out.

Ray Lewis has no connection to Stanford or its basketball team, but after this speech, the bond has been forged forever.  Lewis is in a dogfight with Andrew Luck and the Colts in the first round of the NFL Playoffs that could prove to be Lewis' last game of his 17-year, 246-game career.  Join me in praying that its not.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Personal Foul: Unnecessary Fat Joke, Ed Werder

 Making fun of Rex Ryan for being overweight is okay because he's a jerk and has a tattoo of his wife wearing his quarterback's jersey.  Making fun of Andy Reid for no apparent reason?  Shame on you, ESPN's Ed Werder.

On Sportscenter, Werder was covering the deal between the Kansas City Chiefs and their new head coach Reid.  For whatever reason, he decides to take a jab at Reid's weight.  I mean, yes, he's a large man, but I don't recall him doing anything to warrant an insult.

As you watch the video above, listen to what happens after Werder makes the joke, he kind of stutters, probably thinking, 'yeah, that was a terrible idea.'

Yeah, that was a terrible idea.

Sexy Rex-y Shows Off His Ink

Following the Jets disappointed season, Rex Ryan took off from the Bahamas, probably hoping the sound of waves crashing to shore will drown out the "TE-BOW, TE-BOW" chants he has ringing in his head.

While catching some sun on the beach, one cameraman snapped a few photos of the beached wh--...of Ryan, and noticed some pretty interesting tattoos on the head coach's right arm.  It appears to be Ryan's wife... and is she, wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey?

Yes.  She is.

Not sure what Ryan was thinking on this one.  I mean, its one thing to have a tattoo of someone, like your wife, but its a completely different thing to have her wearing the jersey of your terrible starting quarterback.  And much speculation has been made about her Tim Tebow-ing-esque pose...  Too weird to even try to explain.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Marquette Battles UConn, Big East Schedule Off to a Bang

UConn trailed by 10 points on two different occasions Tuesday night, but stellar guard play form Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright -- a theme so far for the 10-3 Huskies -- kept them in the game, even taking a three-point lead with under six seconds on the clock.

Napier had a game-high 29 points, including four three-pointers and eight rebounds, really coming to life whenever the game seemed to get away from the Huskies.  While UConn showed a lot of heart and hustle, the game was theirs to win in the final minutes.  Early on, the battle was all Marquette, getting outstanding minutes from their bench players like Davante Gardner, who added 18 points -- going 10-for-10 at the free throw line -- with 6 rebounds.  But even as the game raged on, Marquette had little trouble staying in the thick of it, eventually taking the game 82-76.

UConn is not a team with great size, getting out-rebounded again, 39-29, and 11-5 on the offensive glass.  What they lack in size, they make up for in great speed.  Marquette assistant coach Brad Autry echoed head coach Buzz Williams' (serving a one-game suspension) sentiment that if the Golden Eagles "turned the game into a track meet," they would get run out of the building.

Marquette was able to get a lot of good open looks, passing the ball around well to get inside the three-point arc and ran UConn ragged in the first half.  But UConn played very aggressively, taking big transition three's and other risks that luckily paid off.

Marquette benefited from 41 attempts at the free throw line, sinking 30 of them, while UConn only had 25 chances and hit 17.  Senior guard Junior Cadougan, who played a team-high 35 minutes hit the team's first three pointer on their 17th attempt as time ran out in the second half.  The Golden Eagles outscored the Huskies 13-7 in overtime, giving them their first win in conference play, and evening their overall record with UConn at 10-3.

Biggest Hit Of 2013 Won't Be Beat the Next 364 Days

I don't think I have ever seen a hit this hard.

In the 2013 Outback Bowl between Michigan and South Carolina, SC's Jadeveon Clowney put a hit on Wolverine's running back Vincent Smith, forced a fumble, and recovered it himself.  As if the hit wasn't enough...

This was just one of the awesome bowl games from yesterday, including the Rose Bowl, Florida Citrus Bowl and Orange Bowl.  Sugar Bowl on at 8:30 p.m. tonight between Florida and Louisville.  Should be another great one.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Supporter Submission - Coda on Columbus, South End

Last night, my uncles treated my sister, cousin and me to a wonderful holiday meal, because he will not be able to share Christmas with us this year. We went to Coda on Columbus Ave in the South End Neighborhood of Boston. The meal that we collectively devoured was one of the best I have experienced in a long while. From the appetizers to the main course to the after dinner spirits, everyone was glowing with satisfaction.

We arrived at this cozy little restaurant in the South End and were seated in a corner booth by the window that was intimate but still allowed us to be a part of the greater restaurant environment and feel the overlying energy (important because we are social diners). The menu was overwhelming at first because there were so many delicious choices available. 

We ordered the sweet and spicy citrus calamari and the charcuterie with pickled veggies for our appetizers. The calamari was perfectly cooked (not rubbery and tough) and wasn't greasy or heavily fried. I felt it was closer to a nice sauté. It was served in a sweet and spicy citrus sauce with a citrus aioli, but I don't even think it needed the aioli. It was a very creative take on traditional calamari. The charcuterie contained and assortment of cured meats (prosciutto, a ghost chili infused cured pork, and rendered duck fat spread) with spicy mustard, pickles, pickled carrots and onions, and some crostinis. The charcuterie was divine.

I had an extremely difficult time choosing my entree as there were many amazing sounding choices including: herb-crusted haddock with Quinoa and kale and a squash puree, a fisherman's stew and a chickpea stew with fried eggs. I ended up deciding on the braised lamb shank with mashed sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. 

Let me just say that my knife was unnecessary...

The perfectly cooked and seasoned lamb fell off the bone and melted in my mouth with every bite, and the sweet potatoes and sprouts provided a perfect contrast in flavor and texture. It was a meal that I wished would never end. The portion size was perfect. There were a lot of sweet potatoes and sprouts to supplement about 4-5 oz. of meat (not including the large bone). It was not overly-filling and settled nicely. With dinner we enjoyed a beautiful Qupe Syrah that paired perfectly with the lamb. My uncle and cousin ordered the smoked pork chop served with pork belly, creamy grits, and spaghetti squash. I tried a bite and it tasted out of this world, the fat perfectly blending with the pork, cooked "pre-war" style as my uncle pointed out.

Finally, we finished off with a couple of 12-year scotches, Glenlivet for my uncle and Glenfiddich for me, Prosecco for my sister, and genuine good conversation. The experience was everything I could have asked for, and I will definitely be back. I would recommend Coda to any foodie or civilian alike.