Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Birthday Ruiner

The plan for today was to go to work, come home around 7:15pm and give out candy to trick-or-treaters, and then take my mom to dinner for her birthday with my brother.

I went to work and finished at about 6:15pm. I got into my car and was ready to go home. I pulled out of the parking lot. The car was struggling to back up. I parked a few spaces away and got out to see what was going on. I had a flat tire. I don't think there's any correlation between being Jewish and not knowing how to change a flat tire, but it's a good indication of one's ability to do so.

I called AAA and they said they'd send somebody out to help me. I was in Haymarket, Virginia. They may claim that they're only a few miles outside of Washington D.C., but to me, it's the middle of nowhere. I called at 7pm to ask when was the estimated arrival time of the tow truck, because they never called back to tell me. The guy said 7:30.

It was getting colder and I really had to pee. The trick-or-treaters were out in full force, having fun, rubbing it in my face. I had three options: 1) Go back to my student's house, tell them what happened, and ask to use their bathroom. But that involved human contact, so that wasn't on the radar. 2) Pee behind a small structure that held the streets mailboxes. Normally that would be fine, but there was a lot of people because it was Halloween and for some reason there was a house jutting out and facing that spot. Plus, if I got caught, I'd get fired and possibly be labeled as a sex offender because there were so many kids outside. 3) Take my chances and maybe pee in my pants. Number 3 looked like the best option until I finally just peed behind the mailboxes.

It was 8:30 by now. I heard the song Sweet Home Alabama blasting from somewhere. That song sounds a little different to me. I hear it, "Sweeeeet home Al-a-bama. You're not welcome here, Jew." I was still pacing around, fairly cold. I had nothing to read. I hadn't eaten a meal all day.

Twenty minutes later I got a phone call. It was the tow truck company, "The guard won't let us into the community. You have to do something." The problem was I didn't live there. I got in my car and drove on the flat tire until I could see the gate. Then I ran to the gate. Out of breath I tapped on the guard's door. This guard had given me a dirty look every time I came to the there. The first time I came to this community I had my other student in the car and the guard didn't believe that I was a tutor and this was my previous student and I was on my way to my next student. I could understand why he didn't believe me. I look like I might be in high school just like my other student.

I explained to the guard what happened while panting from being out of breath. He asked me, "Why didn't you call in?" I replied, "I don't live here!" The driver was let in and he put on a spare.

Then I drove all the way home from Haymarket on the spare, going 40 mph the whole way. If you're ever driven on the highways around DC when it's actually not rush hour, you know people don't appreciate someone going 40mph. I usually go 80.

I got home at 10:30pm. I totally missed dinner with my mom, but my brother took her out. At least she brought me back some food for my first meal of the day. The moral is: Don't be friends with me, I'm bad luck.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

NBA Predictions

Finally. We have the greatest thing humans have ever created back. Basketball.

Atlantic Division
Boston, NEW YORK, New Jersey, Toronto, Philadelphia.
Southeast Division
Orlando, Washington, Miami, Charlotte, Atlanta.
Central Division
Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Indiana, Milwaukee.

Southwest Division
San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, New Orleans.
Northwest Division
Utah, Denver, Seattle, Portland, Minnesota.
Pacific Division
Phoenix, Golden State, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Sacramento.

East (record-wise, the NBA switches the seeding system every year)
Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Cleveland, Orlando, Washington, NEW YORK, New Jersey.
Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas, Utah, Houston, Denver, Golden State, Memphis.

My friend Mike and I have a bet on who will finish with a better record, Seattle or Portland. I've got Seattle. Bet's off if Durant gets hurt. We bet a Pizzone. If I had to pick, I'd say San Antonio will beat Detroit in the Finals. But really, how can you tell so early, even before they played a game?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Baseball Year in Review

The Boston Red Sox won the 2007 World Series. Mike Lowell was the series MVP. Baseball has been a game of big bucks of late and Boston's corronation continues that trend. If your team has a small payroll, you won't be playing in late October. The business of baseball has surpassed the game itself in importance. Even the shrewd small markets such as the Oakland Athletics don't have a chance against the high priced Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels just to name a few.

The main story of the year was Barry Bonds breaking the career homerun record. Alleged steroid use stayed with the story like a foul stench. Unfortunately, Bonds has been singled out as the representative of the steroid era. During the same summer, Alex Rodriguez, the epitome of the percieved modern athlete- overpayed, selfish, and a choke-artist in the clutch- was lauded for being the youngest player in history to reach the 500 homer mark. It's peculiar that the same suspicion doesn't hang over his head. Or over the heads of Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, or numerous others. It feels that it will be impossible to ever enjoy baseball with the same pure enthusiasm as I did growing up. It's sad.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

World Series, Game 3

In 2004, the Boston Red Sox finished the ALCS with 4 wins, all facing elimination. They then swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. This year, the Red Sox won 3 games to finish the ALCS, all facing elimination. They've taken the first 3 games from the Colorado Rockies in the World Series.

Rookies Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia were the catalysts and the major contributors for the Red Sox in Game 3. Ellsbury had 4 hits, the most for a rookie in the World Series since Joe Garagiola. Joe Garagiola, that takes me back to my youth. I'm only 25, but I had a weird childhood. Another rookie, pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka threw well enough. Despite a Matt Holliday three-run homer, Boston won easily, 10-5. Brad Hawpe had a huge misplay in rightfield late in the game. The killer H's have been killing their own team thus far.

I used to hate announcer Joe Buck, but he's gradually become more tolerable over the years. An example took place last night. Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba tagged out Manny Ramirez on the hip at home. The home plate ump moved to see if Torrealba still possessed the ball and then called Ramirez out. This confused the other announcer Tim McCarver greatly for some reason. I screamed at the tv. Joe Buck calmly explained to Tim McCarver exactly what I was screaming at the tv (with fewer bad words though). Good Job.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Braun Should be the ROY

The Colorado Rockies have made the World Series and suddenly everyone loves Troy Tulowiztki. He's very good, but he shouldn't be the NL Rookie of the Year. He hit .291 with 24 homers and 99 RBIs. His OPS was .838 and he played a very good defensive shortstop.

All of that is a good indication of what kind of player he will become.

Ryan Braun hit .324 with 34 homers and 97 RBIs. The difference is that Tulowitzki played 155 games. Ryan Braun was called up on May 25 and only played in 113 and he still hit 10 more homers and had nearly as many RBIs! Braun's OPS was 1.004!

So why is Tulowitzki even be considered for the award in the face of those overwhelmingly favorable numbers for Ryan Braun? Because Braun is Jewish. America doesn't want to see Jews succeed in sports. Success might encourage other Jews and transcend the impression that we are a physically weak people.

Of course the Red Sox will sit Jew baseball player Kevin Youkilis when they travel to Colorado for Game 3 of the World Series. He's hitting .396 this postseason and .444 since Game 1 of the ALCS for Christ's sake. He's a superior first baseman and they're sitting him? It must be a conspiracy.

I say give Youkilis the AL MVP (why not?). Maybe .288, 16 homers, and 83 RBIs aren't the best numbers, but c'mon, he's Jewish. That should count for something. I say pass over Matt Holliday and give the NL MVP to Shawn Green (it would certainly make that night different from every other). He had a 10-10 year (10 homers and 11 stolen bases), that should be enough.

Friday, October 26, 2007

World Series, Game 2

Rookie Rockies pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez, had pitched well in his duel against the Red Sox veteran star Curt Schilling. The Rockies were down 2-1 in the top of the 8th with 2 out. Matt Holliday just smacked his fourth hit of the night. This latest one was off of the Red Sox phenomenal closer Jonathan Papelbon.

With Todd Helton coming up as the possible go-ahead run, Matt Holliday took his lead off of first base. Where is he going? He's too far off, isn't he? He was. Papelbon turned to first freezing Holliday like a deer in headlights as futilely tried to get back to the base. Jew baseball player Kevin Youkilis caught the pick off attempt and tagged him out.

It was one of the worst mistakes since the Iraq war. The only mistake that could be worse is if Troy Tulowitzki is voted NL Rookie of the Year over Ryan Braun.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

World Series, Game 1

The Boston Red Sox thoroughly destroyed the Colorado Rockies in Game 1 of the 2007 World Series by the score of 13-1. Even the Jew, Kevin Youkilis, played well. It got me thinking of other matchups that are really no contest.

Black Leader
Boston Red Sox - Tavis Smiley
Colorado Rockies - Armstrong Williams

Women's Rights Advocate
Boston Red Sox - Bella Abzug
Colorado Rockies - Phyllis Schlafly

Jewish Hip Hop Artist
Boston Red Sox - DJ SoCalled
Colorado Rockies - 50 Shekel

NL Rookie of the Year
Boston Red Sox - Ryan Braun
Colorado Rockies - Troy Tulowitzki

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ten Favorite Neo-Nazis

Here is a list of my favorite Top 10 neo-nazis:
10. Tom Metzger - He's so racist that he carefully extracts all of the "colored" M&Ms and throws them away. Makes you wonder why he buys M&Ms at all.
9. William Pierce - There was a guy by the same name in my grad school. In fact I had a class with just him, me, and the professor. But that William Pierce wasn't a neo-nazi, didn't write the Turner Diaries, and could spell.
8. Robert Jay Matthews - He was a famed genius at multiplication, but only if one of the numbers was 1.
7. Richard Butler - He wasn't a real reverend, but he was a real behayme.
6. David Duke - Another Duke for people from Maryland to hate. He has pure white crabs in his pubic hair.
5. Timothy McVeigh - Despite the racial bias of the SAT, he still did worse than every black person who has ever taken the test.
4. Bob Heick - The original slogan of the White Aryan Resistance was "W.A.R. what is it good for? Absolutely nothing." The slogan was later changed.
3. Kevin Alfred Strom - He was arrested on charges of child pornography.
2. Matthew Hale - The overlooked protagonist in For the Love of Hate, The Riccio-Hale Story.
1. Bill Riccio - If you google Bill Riccio my story For the Love of Hate, The Riccio-Hale Story is on the first page! Go ahead, google Bill Riccio. Searches of Bill Riccio have accounted for about 40% of all of this site's traffic and that percentage is sure to go up now.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ellen DeGeneres Developments

The HaraQuack Times has done some investigative reporting and uncovered more on the Ellen DeGeneres dog adoption scandal.

It turns out that Iggy is not the first dog that Ellen has adopted and subsequently given away. For years, she had been adopting dogs that simply never seemed to get along with her cats. So she donated the dogs to her good friend and animal-lover, Michael Vick. When Vick plead guilt to federal dog fighting charges over the summer, Ellen was visibly shaken.

Sobbing uncontrollably, Ellen bellowed, "I feel totally responsible for it and I’m so sorry." Further accepting responsibility for the Vick dog fighting ring, Ellen continued, "It’s not their fault. It’s my fault."

That's very big of Ellen for admitting her own guilt, but how come she isn't being prosecuted for her role in the dog fighting episode? We are able to report that Ellen DeGeneres and Michael Vick haven't spoken with one another for a while.

We're also working another investigative report. Early findings show that if the ALCS had somehow gone to an 8th game, Casey Blake would have fucked it up then too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bills Hold On

The Bills were able to keep the Baltimore Ravens at arms length and walk away with the win, 19-14. Trent Edwards was his usually steady self. It's easy to be optimistic about his future. Marshawn Lynch ran effectively against a tough defense. Lee Evans finally neared 100 yards receiving in a single contest for the first time this season.

The importance of this win is not just in beating a potential AFC playoff team, but in the ability of this young team to comeback in their first game since the Dallas debacle. That shows a resilience that you rarely find in a youthful team led by rookies at QB and RB. I like head man Dick Jauron more with each game I watch. This season I've been quite fortunate to watch more Bills games than I have in a while. I saw the Steelers game because they just happened to show it here. I saw them beat the Jets because I was in New York at the time. I caught the Monday Night game while I was in Quito, Ecuador. Often times they show Ravens games in the Maryland part of the DC suburbs.

2-4 is not a great record, but considering who Buffalo has faced and the direction the team is going, there is cause for excitement for Bills fans.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

My Talk

I pattern my speech in some form or fashion on the following:

Grandpa, my Maryland peers, Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Newhart, Marv Albert, Jon Stewart, Bill Cosby, George W. Bush, David Letterman, John Facenda, Marv Levy, Rodney Dangerfield, Talib Kweli, Jackie Mason, Cornell West, KRS-One, David Stern, Muttley the dog.

Somehow, when you combined all of those styles, you get a man who can hardly speak English.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sam Brownback - A Closer Look

Sam Brownback is a senator from Kansas and a former candidate for the Republic presidential nomination.

Here are some of Brownback's points that I like:
  • He's no longer in the race

Here are some I don't like:

  • He's still in the senate

Here are some irrelevant fun facts:

  • Favorite insect: WASPs
  • Enjoys bologna, but can't spell it
  • Jerks off to pictures of his mother-in-law
  • Thought Jerry Falwell wasn't enough of a homophobe
  • Family acquired their last name exactly how you'd guess:
  • By doing something gay

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Indians and Redskins

The Red Sox took Game 5 of the 2007 ALCS in Cleveland. Josh Beckett pitched wonderfully, despite the fact that his ex-girlfriend sang the national anthem and God Bless America. Kevin Youkilis, a Jew, started the scoring onslaught for Boston with an opening inning homerun.

But the Cleveland Indians are still up 3-2 headed back to Fenway. That got me thinking, the Indians team name and logo is a fucking racist abomination. It really makes me ashamed. Let's just get rid of both immediately. I don't know a whole lot about Cleveland, but here are some humble suggestions for alternatives:
Cleveland Dobys (after Larry Doby)
Cleveland Feathers (keep the feather in the racist mascot as the logo)
Cleveland Drums (you can keep the drum in the outfield)
Cleveland Ohioans (sounds funny)
Cleveland Shitty Cities (self-explanatory)

The hometown NFL team, the Washington Redskins (whom I despise) are also fucking unbelievably racist. It's easier to find a replacement for them. Just call them the Skins. Change the logo to one of their old ones. I like the R with the circle around it, but make it an S. Then maybe some of us sports fans with a conscious would be able to sleep at night.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Up In the Rockies

The Colorado Rockies were on an incredible streak, winning 15 out of 16 games when I left for Ecuador. They didn't lose while I was out of the country.

Their string has been one of the most remarkable in baseball history. They've been helped by the addition of the wild card a bit over a decade ago, otherwise their streak would've been moot.

They've done it with a good core of young talented players, a few veterans, a pitching staff that fits Denver's thin air, and the right manager at the right time. Matt Holiday is one of the game's best. Todd Helton is the face of the Colorado Rockies. Troy Tulowizki is their rookie phenom (Ryan Braun should still be the NL Rookie of the Year though). Clint Hurdle is the manager that makes it all go.

The Rockies are legitimately a good team. But there are a lot of good teams in the majors. Momentum, a rare commodity in baseball, has been the difference in getting them to the Series. The question lingers, will the 8 day layoff squash their momentum? Will the similarly built, but more talented Indians or high-priced Red Sox be too much for the Rockies to handle? We'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

And Home

I'm back home from Ecuador now. I was quite impressed with the places that I visited in Ecuador. Traveling is a good replacement for ignorance. I'd like to thank Kristen for showing me a wonderful time in Ecuador!

The fact that I did so poorly during that hellish bike ride still doesn't sit well with me. Ironically, the fact that I did so poorly on that hellish bike ride is also the reason why I can't sit well.

I spent most of my time in Ecuador wondering when is the appropriate time to switch from usted to the tu form. What if I'm too presumtious and the other person is still in the usted mode? What if I get a tu thrown my way, but I'd prefer to leave the s's off of my verbs with that particular person? These are the tough questions.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Baños to Quito

In Baños they have a band reminiscent of the Dodger Sym-phony and they play during random spurts throughout the town. At least dem bums play bee-yoo-tee-ful.

Today I did some more hiking in Baños, which probably wasn't a good idea. I was sweating a lot, which might be normal for Rush Limbaugh near a pharmacy, but not for me. I also didn't bring any water or anything because I'm a moron. But everything was fine.

Later I ate cuy, which is guinea pig. It was fucking delicious, right down to the paws.

Kristen and I took a bus back to Quito. At one of the stops in Quito, the woman sitting in front of us got up to get off. Her boyfriend however had other plans. He was sitting directly in front of me and was fast asleep. She shook him vigorously and was screaming her head off to try and wake him up. Nothing worked. After trying for a bit, she gave up, cussed him out, and got off the bus. Everyone around him was shocked, confused, and laughing. When we arrived at the bus station, the guy was still asleep, even as we all walked by him, sometimes bumping him on the head. I don't think he was dead, because he was moving slightly. Kristen said that sometimes people will put things in candy and when you eat it, you pass out for a couple of days (and the candy-givers steal your stuff). But who knows.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

In Baños

On the way to Ambato last night, a guy from Colombia sat in front of Kristen and I. He talked to Kristen about the value of the Ecuadorian currency (which is actually US currency) and about the various state quarters. He also said that I didn't look like I was from the United States at all; I look like I'm from Colombia. Polish-Ukrainian Jews get that a lot. But it furthers my theory that every groups pretty much looks like every other group, or at least there's significant overlap.

In Baños I heard a voice, ¨Have you recovered?¨It was the Irish guy who watched the final minutes of the Bills' collapse Monday night in my hostel with me in Quito.

I walked up to the Virgin de Santa Agua or something like that. It's apparently 614 steps up and my body did not appreciate 612 and a half of those steps. They make taffy here by slamming it against a nail in the wall and stretching it out. I bought some. it was very hard on my feeble teeth. We tried to get guinea pig for dinner, but it turns out it's more of a lunch thing. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wouldn't Wish It On You

Last night Krsiten and I went to the bus station on our way to Ambato then to a small town called Salinas and then on to Baños. Turns out there were no buses to Ambato. So we decided to go bike riding with the people that Kristen stays with and some friends.

The day began before 7am. We drove down to Latacunga to rent the remaining bikes that we needed and work out logistics. I was a bit nervous because I don't really know how to ride a bike. When we got there, we rented the bikes, packed into the backs of two different trucks, and were on our way. I stood up in the back of the truck as we flew down the highway, thinking this would be a cool experience.

We arrived and unloaded our bikes. Turns out we were on a highly advanced path at Cotopaxi, which is where you wanna be if you don't know how to ride a bike. I struggled terribly at first, but eventually got the hang of it enough to keep on moving. I even rode right through one large water puddle, though my feet got soaked.

I was falling off the bike a lot, sometimes even falling over the handle bars. I tried to heed the words of Rocky and get back up no matter how much it hurt. I ran into many bushes on the side of the path. I had trouble even getting on the bike, which left my ass a bruised mess. We reached another large water puddle and I was determined to ride through it. I had trouble starting, but eventually did, and I was doing it! Until halfway, when I fell right into the water, soaking everything.

It became colder and colder and my body was extremely tired from putting so much energy into trying to start the damn bike again and again. And from falling numerous times. I was drenched. It started to hail and rain hard. The temperature drops rapidly here in Ecuador when that happens. I was freezing. We all were, but I was the only one to fall into a giant puddle of water.

I was exhausted, frustrated, and ashamed that I was holding up the group. We were walking along train tracks and there wasn't enough room for me to start the bike and balance. As it turns out, we were lost. At least that wasn't my fault.

I got rid of my soaking wet t-shirt after sweet, mild-mannered, would-never-hurt-a-fly Kristen yelled, ¨Put on my fucking jacket!¨ at me. She grabbed a spare sweatshirt from her roommate. So there after, things started to look really bad. I wondered what would happen if we didn't find our way back. As it turned out, I wasn't alone in thinking potentially morbid thoughts at that moment. Then we saw a fire off in the distance. We went to it and it was a logger by the name of Jose, cutting down trees with his family. Our bikes were loaded on Jose's truck and we were all ready to go (Kristen yelled at me again, to sit inside the truck) when we realized some of our party was missing. We spent what felt like eternity by the fire trying to warm up. We all were soaked and freezing. Finally everyone was there, but by then I gave up my spot inside the truck.

Instead I sat in the back, still very cold and wet, with a bent nail stabbing me in the back of the head every once in a while. I don't know how long that truck drive was, but it felt like it took a really long time. Jose dropped us and our bikes off by the highway. We were still over an hour away from our new base in Latacunga. Someone phoned a truck that had taken us to that horrible mountain in the first place. It took him over an hour to get to us as we all froze waiting, trying to stay warm. When he finally arrived, we packed all the bikes and all but three of us into the small back of the truck. I was lodged between a bike and the edge of the truck. When the truck started to move, it was so windy and cold that we all ducked for cover. I hid the top half of my body in between the bikes, while my bottom half was still jammed between the side of the truck and another bike.

Finally we made it to one of the survivor's home and his parents gave us hot chocolate and grilled cheese sandwiches as we changed into any dry clothes we had with us. Afterward, Kristen and I boarded a bus for Ambato and then transfered to Baños, which is where I am now.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Then Came the Rains

So I asked Kristen to write a couple of emails in Spanish for me (I would dictate in English) to try and impress friends (into thinking I can actually speak Spanish). Well, it totally backfired. Kristen was very tired and not too thrilled to comply and one of my friends emailed back shitting all over (what she thought was) my Spanish (but was actually Kristen's, who is probably as profecient as the other friend). Nevertheless, I think the whole thing is hillarious.

I checked out of my hostel and walked around old town here in Quito again. I went into the big ass basillica here and the marcado central. Outside of the basillica, a man driving his car stopped in front of me and asked me for directions. Evidently my ¨No se¨wasn't good enough because he replied, ¨Sorry.¨ I can't seem to find an Ecuadorian Hip Hop CD anyway here. When I ask, the vendor just looks at me like I'm nuts. But I've seen some graffiti with the names of local Hip Hop groups around town and I saw one for Hip Hop Radio on 99.3.

I ate at a fast food place called Gus. I figured that would give me a good chance to find someone who spoke English. Nope. Or at least to be able to change a $5. Nope. Some lady went crazy because I think something was stolen from her and another women starting screaming at the help, for what I don't know, but she was in front of me in line and I could tell she was crochety. I've never seen this before, but a vendor walked right into the fast food place and tried to sell his strawberries.

You can tell when it's going to rain a couple of hours before it does here. I was walking towards the sunlight when I got caught and ran for the hills. It rained so hard and started hailing, it was like India or something. That kind of rain equalizes all of us. It doesn't matter how much money you have or how little, you only have one thought at that moment, shelter! It rained for about 40 minutes as hard as I've seen (it just stopped). I ran for some shelter and under a canopy up on the second story across from the Ministry of Economics and Finance on August 10 Ave.

So that's my story. It looks like I'll be traveling for the next few days.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

2-4-6-8, No Hablo Español

Yesterday was a lazy day. It rained a lot. I went for a rather long walk, a bit into old town here in Quito, and it drizzled on me. It was quite cold too. My friend Kristen met me and we went to the heart of old town for dinner. Kristen also helped me write some devious emails in Spanish, because unlike me, she can speak 2 languages. She's here in Quito volunteering as part of her master's degree in Conflict Resolution, so she's all around awesome. I think I've brought bad luck to her, because along with my arrival, winter and a heavy travel load for work have followed. She's already gone to Ambato (twice) and San Pablo (near Otavalo), and will be going to Ibarra and Baños, before I leave.

Today I walked to the same place where we had dinner, which was next to the president's house. There was a small protest going on, by some indigenous group I think. I couldn't really understand them. There were about 25 protesters screaming slogans outside the president's front steps and many more onlookers. Whereas new town, particularly Mariscol, features post-modern (kind of out of place) buildings and tons of tourist, old town has a consistant colonial style and far fewer tourists.

I saw a baby on the corner today. I said, ¨Hola niño, vas a su casa.¨ The baby said, ¨¡Silencio! Compro los weed.¨ I was like, ¨¡Dios Mios!¨ On the way to the internet place I was offered some cocaine. I declined.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I watched the Bills game in the tv room at my hostel here in Quito. The Bills got off to a quick start thanks to Brian Mormon faking a punt and running for a first down and later, kicking a perfect punt. That led to an interception by the Bills former wide reciever and current starting safety (because of all the injuries) George Wilson, who returned it for a TD. Further along, Chris Kelsay batted a Tony Romo pass attempt into the air, where he caught it for another defensive TD.

The Bills defense and special teams played great throughout the whole game. Terrence McGee returned another kickoff for a TD. But the Cowboys strangely never seemed to go away. Romo threw 5 picks in all and added a fumble to his team´s turnover number. If there is a criticism, it´s that the Bills couldn´t sustain as many drives as they did against the Jets. Trent Edwards did play well again though. Anthony Thomas threw some key blocks throughout the game. Through it all, the Cowboys worrisomely stayed in the game.

The end of the game featured the most bizarre, unbelieveable, and heart-breaking set of cirmstances. It seemed every play garnered a different reaction, from horror to elation and back again. The Cowboys scored with about 20 seconds to go. They were down 2 with a 2-point attempt to go. Jabari Greer made another great play to strip TO of the ball. The Bills looked destined to win. But the Cowboys recovered the onside kick and moved the ball into field goal range. Their fucking kicker made it, but Bills coach Dick Jauron called timeout first. Whew. When play resumed, the fucking kicker made it again. FUCK!

An Irish guy who wanted the tv after me was in the room. He tried to be nice, but I just wanted to strangle him. I went to my room and threw a fit. I calmed down and got something to drink and then went back to my room and sat in the dark for a couple of hours.

I was thinking that the Bills didn´t really blow this game, even though they dominated and the score was frighteningly close throughout. Sure they needed to sustain a drive or two at the end. Edwards interception, his lone mistake, hurt bad. Lee Evans husteled to make the tackle and the Bills soon intercepted Romo again, but it took possible points off the board for the Bills. McGee´s drop of Romo´s apparent 6th interception also hurt bad. The final mistake was giving up a short 5 yard dump that put Dallas in field goal range on the second to last play. It seemed that the Bills were playing too far off on that play. But for the most part, they did all you could ask of Buffalo.

I woke up and it was raining. Evidently I brought winter when I came last Wednesday, but this was the first day it´s rained in the morning. Fitting, I suppose.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Power Went Out

Quito is a bit more chaotic than Otavalo, although the latter has random dogs and kids running around all over the place. Otavaleños refers to everyone from the town by the way. The indigenous people are part of some tribe that I'll look up and out here.

I had lunch today at a fancy place for $2. It was the first time I've ever had a three-course meal at a restaurant before. I had no idea what I ordered. I thought I was eating some kind of exotic seafood, but instead it was an appetizer of potato balls and lima beans. Yuck!

Afterward, I just walked a round for a while. There are tons of (this is where the power went out. Now I'm writing a couple of hours later. Because of the loss of power, the three of us in the place at the time only had to pay a quarter because the guy didn't know how long we were on. I paid a dollar anyway, because I knew I was on longer than that. But I don't think I was on a dollar's worth.) spray-painted political sayings all over the walls. Most are pro-socialist. I think the swastika that I saw a few days ago related to fascism and not necessarily anti-Semitism, but still, c'mon, it's a freaking swastika!

My new hostel room has three beds even though I asked for a single. I hope they still give it to me as a single. A window is also jammed open. I just came from eating Indian food. It was good, but tasted a lot like corn. Soon it'll be off to try and find a tv where the Bills game is being shown. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Back in Quito

A couple more things about Otavalo. As I was walking around in the market, two dogs decided that was the perfect moment to start having sex. It felt like a three-some. After, I was just walking around a bit outside the market when some dude said words to the effect of stupid tourist (I think, I don't really understand Spanish too well). If he did, what the fuck, I didn't do anything to you. In fact, I got off the sidewalk to clear the way for you douchebag. I was also bumped into three times and then the guy give me a dirty look. Other than the last two small things, everything else was cool in Otavalo.

I waited for my friend in a restaurant in Otavalo for a couple hours. She was late on business which wasn't a problem except that I got kinda worried at some point. She also gave me the name of the restaruant, but meant the one next to it. Fortunately she was so late that the restaruant I was in closed and I found a phone and called her. Trying to get back to Quito, we couldn't find the right bus stop immediately and my friend Kristen was pretty nervous. In Quito, we got off a bit too late and she was a little nervous again. I wasn't. I guess I'm like every American man. We all have illusions that if someone tries to rob us, we'll punch him in the face and take his money! If we're liberal we'll give the money to charity and if we're conservative, I guess invest in some stocks.

Today I played basketball with some random older guys. It was cool. They spread out on the court more like a soccer game. You have defenders who hang back, forwards who don't usually play defense, but of course it's not as exaggerated as that.

Then Kristen and I went to the museum of works by the artist Oswaldo Guayasamin. The guide was really nice and gave the tour in English. The exhibit was quite moving and sad. I tried to hide my tears a bit. His paintings showed tremendous empathy for the suffering people of the world.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

In Otavalo

Yesterday in Quito, I continued to be sick. Diarrhea cha cha cha. I had to wipe my ass so much that my asshole resembled Iraq. It was a burning mess. Donald Rumsfeld flew over me though, and assured everyone that it wasn't like all of me was on fire. Here's my list of Ralph Branca-like excuses for why I got sick. I didn't sleep Tuesday night or on Wednesday. There was a loud band playing outside of my terribly constructed hostel. That's what happens when your room is insulated by straw for 2 nights. Even the 2nd and 3rd pigs knew better. The altitude impacted me a bit at the start and the milkshake and chicken wings I downed on Thursday night didn't help. Then on Friday, David was back out there to pitch to Bobby Thompson on 1 day rest.

Today my friend Kristen and I took a bus up to Otavalo, a city known for its markets. There are many indigenous people here who I think are called Otavaños. Is that right, guy next to me? They have some of the most adorable old men and old women here. The men wear cowboyish type hats, sport a pony tail, and sometimes a poncho while the women wear eloborate jewelry on their necks, ears, and wrists, complimented by beautiful and colorful dresses. That, and sweatshirts from the Gap and I Love NY t-shirts. There are markets in the middle of the street that goes on for blocks and there are Sony stores, supermarkets (not quite the quality of Giant, more like a Safeway), and of course, internet shops that are ¨trendy.¨

I bought something from an old woman in the market which goes against my policy of not buying from old women in markets because I'm a sucker for an old woman in a market and I pay more than I should. I walked by a couple of dogs who decided that my presence was the perfect time to get it on with one another. It was awkward.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Send in the Clown

Yesterday I had a delicious blackberry milkshake. I might be paying for it right now. I had diarrhea earlier in the day and I don't feel well now. The music was loud last night and the room was cold. I've heard some (loud) version of the song Guantanamera three times in the last 24 hours.

My bag is at my friend's place and I haven't shaved in a couple days and I look disheveled (more than usual). I've adjusted to Quito's altitude though.

I went to the Indiginous people museum today. On the way I passed by a swastika on Wilson in between 6 de Deciembre and 12 de Octubre Avenues. If I'm in your town and there's a swatika there, I will find it.

I tried to get into the museum but went in the wrong door. A clown followed me. Literally a clown: makeup, funny shoes and all. Then he talked to me in Spanish as we found the correct door. Afterwards I spent some time in a church just because it was shady and there was a place to sit.

So, you know, a typical day.

In Quito

My journey to Quito began in the Dulles airport at 4:30am Wednesday. I was waiting in the security line when I was whisked away and roped off from everyone. After a few brown men lined up behind me I realized what was going on. Throw in a couple of token white women and we were off to the puffinator.

The flight to Panama was highlighted by the fact that I sat next to a baby and his mother. From Panama we ascented to 40,000 feet in order to be fly 30,000 feet about the Andes. When I arrived in Quito, I met my friend and we hung out for the rest of the day. I could hardly stay away as I didn't sleep at all the prior night.

My hostel room has straw where 2 walls and the ceiling should be. I could here the band playing next door. I could feel the 50 degree temperature. But I was too tired to care. They also played old (but good) rap songs from 10 years ago. I woke up and walked around the city during the morning. It was hard to catch my breath, even after walking a short distance. I felt like my grandmother.

I walked around the very touristy area, but it was cool. I expected something more like Mysore as opposed to Philadelphia. I don't really speak Spanish at all, but I tried to ask about recommendations for good restaurants, but instead I said, "Your mother's penis is short and stumpy."

Ok, that didn't happen.
I took a nap during the day and woke up to pouring rain. I really had to pee, but the shared bathroom was outside. But alas! There was a sink in my room. So I peed in the sink. That did happen.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

On Hiatus

In a few hours I'll be on my way to Quito, Ecuador for a couple of weeks. So once again The HarazQuack Times will become a travel blog. The hiatus probably won't last long at all, so check back soon. I'm a little nervous because I speak Spanish like Helen Keller.

I'll leave you with a poem. It's called:

Things I Blurted Out Loud While Alone and Wrote Down
Look up sarcasm and see
I'm actually gonna go, imagine that
Just about any other time
I didn't really understand that
Not really, it's all an elaborate ruse
What's that all about?
That doesn't make it not stupid
I'm a fucking moron
Is that a man?
This guy's crazy
There goes my safety net.

I wonder if they have good mental health institutions in Quito?
Take care everyone, peace and love.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Mike Gravel - A Closer Look

Mike Gravel is a former senator from Alaska and running for the Democratic nomination for president.

Here are some of Gravel's points that I like:
  • Wants to remove all troops from Iraq (in 120 days)
  • Supports gay marriage
  • Supports universal healthcare,
  • Would give choice between federal plan or insurance companies
  • Supports carbon tax
  • Interested in liquid fuel from hydrogen as alternative energy source

Here are some I don't:

  • Would implement retail tax instead of income tax
  • Wants gas prices to stay the same to force alternative energy
  • Wants to electrify entire transportation in US (too much $)
  • Education plan: longer hours of school

Here are some irrelevant fun facts:

  • Girlfriend stolen away in high school by Calvin Coolidge
  • Is the grandfather of that "Don't tase me bro" guy, and is very proud
  • Ended the armed forces draft but created the lottery in the NBA draft
  • Lived in his '85 Chrysler LeBaron for 12 years
  • Called George Bush "S.O.B." and "idiot" and would titty twist him at first opportunity
  • All of his relatives have changed their last name

Monday, October 01, 2007

The 2007 Nats

Some "less intelligent" people predicted that the 2007 Washington Nats would set a new mark for worst record in baseball history. Well, this year's version of the club didn't even finish with the worst record in the three-season history of the club's tenure in DC. The Nats ended the year 73-89, good for 4th in the NL East.

The Nats played into the doubters' hands early on, but ended the season on a roll, including taking 5 out of 6 from New York, aiding the Mets historic collapse in losing the division to the Phillies. Washington's starting pitching came around and that side of the ball led the team for much of the year. Shawn Hill was the ace (4-5 3.42 ERA), utilizing his nasty sinker in order to get batters out. Unfortunately he was injured for a good portion of the year and threw less than 100 innings. John Patterson missed most of the year but managed a terrible 1-5 record and 7.47 ERA. The beautiful flowers that grew out of Patterson's injury were Jason Bergmann (6-6 4.45), 24 year old Matt Chico (7-9 4.63), and Tim Redding (3-6 3.64). Mike Bacsik (5-8 5.64) started 20 games, but pitched better in his 9 relief appearances. He also gave up the career record-breaking homerun to Barry Bonds.

The relievers were far-and-away the bright spot on the field. The Chief, Chad Cordero (3-3 3.36 37 saves) was the backbone. He had a couple of miserable outings, including against Colorado and the Mets, but was his usual solid self. Jon Rauch (8-4 3.61 4 sv) led the team in wins and was the lockdown 8th inning guy. Saul Rivera (4-6 3.68 3 sv) also pitched well out of the pen. Chris Schroder (2-3 3.18) was a pleasant surprise and should get more responsibility next season. Jesus Colome (5-1 3.82) was effective most of the summer, but his slow pace and lack of rhythm hurt his late season performance. Luis Ayala (2-2 3.19) came back from injury to throw 42.1 innings and looked increasingly better.

The young pitchers deserve mixed reviews. Jonathan Albaladejo (1-1 1.88) pitched extremely well after his September call up. Joel Hanrahan (5-3 6.00) has great stuff, but walked entirely too many batters (38 in 51 innings). John Lannan (2-2 4.15) was up for 6 starts. First rounder Ross Detwiler pitched 1 scoreless inning.

The hitters were cold for most of the hot summer, but heated up as the season ended. Ryan Zimmerman (.266, 24 hr, 91 rbi, 4 sb) took a step back with the bat and at times struggled to make routine throws across the diamond, but set his career mark for homers and still made unbelievable plays at third. Austin Kearns (.266, 16, 74, 2) was a disappointment, but had an impressive finish. He is a very overrated rightfielder, but does possess a laser arm. Felipe Lopez (.245, 9, 50, 24) followed the same path as the previous two. He must improve greatly in every category next season. Ryan Church (.272, 15, 70, 3) erupted towards the end. Once the Nats acquired Wily Mo Pena (.293, 8, 22, 2 with the Nats) in August, Church became the team's 4th outfielder and it seemed to wake him up. It'll be exciting to see what Pena can do during an entire season.

Two veteran surprises were Dmitri Young (.320, 13, 74, not-on-your-life) and Ronnie Belliard (.290, 11, 58, 3). They aren't the answer in the lineup everyday if the club wants to challenge in the future, but they provide a positive presence- in different ways- for a young team. Brian Schneider (.235, 6, 54, nope) was an underrated defensive catcher as usual. His backup, Jesus Flores (.244, 4, 24, nada) showed tremendous promise and handled the pitching staff beyond his years. Nook Logan (.265, 0, 21, 23) surged during the dog days and reminds me a bit of Andruw Jones in center. If the Nats choose to move the speedy Logan, his replacement could be young Justin Maxwell, who hit 2 homers and hit .269 in 26 at bats. Tony Batista, Robert Fick, D'Angelo Jimenez and the mostly-injured Christian Guzman all hit 2 homers.

Manny Acta gave this young franchise a swagger. Pitching coach Randy St. Claire was a master. Lenny Harris even got the boys to hit. The Nats move into a new stadium next season, which has the area excited. We're hoping to move forward next year and we have some of the pieces in place, especially the pitching. Our lineup could use some speed, but with Z, Lopez, Kearns, and Church struggling most of the year and Pena arriving in August, the offensive production should be better in '08. We're looking at 2009 to be the year to contend.