The Ugly Truth: Why I Really Won the T-Bones Restaurant Mascot Race

Dramatic action scene of the most critical turning point in the Steak vs. Cactus Restaurant Mascot Race. (Photo courtesy of New Hampshire Fisher Cats)

Dramatic action scene of the most critical moment in the T-BONES Steak vs. Cactus Jack’s Restaurant Mascot Race. (Photo courtesy of New Hampshire Fisher Cats)

So perhaps you’ve heard of the 1919 Black Sox scandal?  Pete Rose betting on baseball? Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa using steroids?

Hold on to your seat cushion, because I am about to reveal the most outrageous sports scandal in the history of outrageous sports scandals.

But you’ll have to read all about it in New Hampshire Magazine!

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Filed under New Hampshire Magazine, Sports

There’s No Place Like Home

That’s a “Wizard of Oz” reference with visions of the Green Monster landing on the Wicked Witch’s ankles.

tornado fenway 2

Last night, as my friend Mark and I were enjoying dinner before the Red Sox-White Sox game, we were told there was a tornado warning in effect for Fenway Park. As we walked from the Prudential Center to Lansdowne Street, the skies got darker and there were a few flashes of lightning.

(Source: JamesBushey/Instagram)

(Source: JamesBushey/Instagram)

I LOVE rainstorms and enjoy getting drenched — especially during or after exercising — but tornadoes are a different story.

Mark and I ducked into Jillian’s pub and bowling alley and watched the pregame show on TV until they announced when the game would start. I had a root beer float.

Surprisingly, Fenway was still packed on a rainy tornado-ridden weeknight, but we managed to find seats in the last row of the grandstands behind home plate (with our bleacher tickets).

The weather hysteria was far more enjoyable than the game itself. The anemic Red Sox only managed to get two hits all night.

Here’s the best commentary on the situation:

fenway tornado basement twitter

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Filed under Fenway Park Tornados

My New Job: Official Mascot of the Paleo Diet?

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Sprintin’ Sirloin — Making a dash for the finish line in the New Hampshire Fisher Cats T-Bones vs. Cactus Jacks Mascot Race.

Why is this steak smiling?  Proud that New Hampshire has its very own meat mascot in the tradition of the Milwaukee Brewers Famous Racing Sausages and the Pittsburgh Pirates Racing Pierogis, I recently got inside the T-Bones restaurant costume to find out.

I’m sworn to secrecy about the outcome of the race until the August issue of New Hampshire Magazine hits the newsstands later this month. But I can tell you why the steak’s (my) hand is in front of his mouth below.  It’s not because he’s bashful or because he’s burping.

It’s because that mesh screen above the steak’s eyebrows — the costume’s only ventilation and visibility window — kept bouncing up and down as I ran, leaving me blindfolded if I didn’t pull the costume taut over my face.

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Rock Cats outfielder Eduardo Nunez, on a rehab assignment from the Minnesota Twins, watches his turf get invaded by a steak, a cactus and a fisher cat — all of them in running shoes.

Thanks to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats for humoring me with this athletic opportunity.  For baseball trivia buffs, that’s Minnesota Twins “Super-Utility Man” Eduardo Nunez watching the race action above as he pretends to be focused on his warmup tosses. We also ran straight past Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks, who was on rehab with the Rock Cats as well.

More to come…

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Filed under New Hampshire Magazine

I guess I’m a schmuck for only eating regular generic celery

Biggest Loser Celery in the produce section of my local Walmart.

Biggest Loser Celery in the produce section of my local Walmart.

Are YOUR vegetables endorsed by a reality TV show?

I tried contacting the American Celery Council for statistics on celebrity-endorsed celery, but that trade organization tragically appears to have fizzled out in the early 1990s.

Walmart’s celery bullet points, however, are very helpful.

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Filed under Health

Do You Believe in Good Luck?

Bumblefoot's Hamsa -- The longer I live the more I accept that anything is possible.  Can I truly attribute some good fortune to an amulet?  I don't know.  If I don't know, I have to be open to the possibility.  The power of *belief* is something real.  It's a beautiful gift from a friend, and the kindness of this gift on its own is strength for the soul." (Photo courtesy of Ron Thal)

Bumblefoot’s Hamsa (Photo courtesy of Ron Thal)

This photo was a late addition to my backstage blog post about Guns N’ Roses, and I didn’t want it to get lost in the abyss.

I’m not superstitious, but I love stories about baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs drawing a “Chai” symbol in the batter’s box for good luck before he faced a pitcher — and when I’m at the gym, I will grab locker #18 or #36 if they are available.

So I was intrigued when GNR guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal proudly showed off his hamsa backstage, proudly announcing that it came from Israel.

“The longer I live, the more I accept that anything is possible,” he later explained in an email. “Can I truly attribute some good fortune to an amulet? I don’t know. If I don’t know, I have to be open to the possibility. The power of ‘belief’ is something real. It’s a beautiful gift from a friend, and the kindness of this gift on its own is strength for the soul.”

Deep stuff. I think of every souvenir shop on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda Street when I see that necklace. I love those souvenir shops.

As an aside, I carry a “Good Luck” coin on my keychain from the 193os.

Legendary "Hell Driver" Lucky Teter gave out lucky coins at his stunt shows in the 1940s.

Legendary “Hell Driver” Lucky Teter gave out lucky coins at his stunt shows in the 1930s and 1940s.

I had the privilege of chasing amateur “Hell Driver” daredevils around the country for a year with filmmaker Peter Koziell. We sucked in a lot of exhaust and burning tires in between interviews for our documentary, “Hell Drivers: America’s Original Crash Test Dummies.”  Anything for the story.

Lucky wasn’t so lucky. He died during one of his stunts. His good luck charm reminds me to never deliberately crash my car into brick walls AND represents a hope that I’ll eventually be able to make the time and chalk up the resources to produce another documentary film.

Maybe I should add a hamsa to my keychain, too.

 

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Filed under Rock Star Good Luck Charms

Backstage with Guns N’ Roses is like… Hebrew School?

Rock stars and I don’t often mingle in the same circles.

So when I recently found myself unexpectedly snacking on organic blueberries with Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal — and being treated to an impromptu acoustic performance of the Israeli national anthem — you could not wipe the permanent smirk off my face. More on the relevance of the Jewish “Star Spangled Banner” later…

At the Hard Rock Las Vegas, I honestly thought I was disqualified to be invited backstage because:

1. I am not an attractive 22-year-old woman (and never will be).

2. I do not have ANY pole-dancing skills.

Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose and guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal at the 2013 Rocklahoma Festival in Oklahoma, roughly a year before I was invited to sample the GNR cheese-and-crackers platter. (Photo by Ilya Mirman)

Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose and guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal at the 2013 Rocklahoma Festival in Oklahoma, roughly a year before I was invited to sample the GNR cheese-and-crackers platter. (Photo by Ilya Mirman)

Take a look at the blurry action shot below taken at the GNR concert on June 7. If you squint long enough, you’ll see two bikini-clad women dangling from poles and two bikini-clad women who prefer to dance on the ground (how odd). This is the narrow demographic I expected to exclusively see backstage.

Welcome to the Neon Jungle -- The 2014 Guns N' Roses "Residency" at the Hard Rock Las Vegas. (Photo by Ilya Mirman)

Welcome to the Neon Jungle — The 2014 Guns N’ Roses “Residency” at the Hard Rock Las Vegas. (Photo by Ilya Mirman)

Although there were no shortage of traditional female groupies at the pre-concert party, I also met a bunch of guys with no ulterior motive beyond a souvenir photo or a classic Chris Farley moment.

Bumblefoot shattered one of the classic rock-and-roll stereotypes. Instead of choosing his guests by their breasts, he picked people he thought would be interesting conversationalists. (In a similar shocking development, check out this Guardian story about how “Rock Stars Don’t Trash Hotels Anymore.)

Sharing the couch with me and my friend Ilya was the owner of a local tattoo parlor, the founder of a new crowdsourcing website for indie artists, and the former drummer of The Cult.

What did we talk about?  Mostly burgers, inspired by an earlier visit that day to the controversial Heart Attack Grill, where everything is cooked in lard to increase the shock (and caloric) value. Keeping kosher, I won’t eat lard, but also would avoid it no matter what for obvious health reasons. Bumblefoot, a strict follower of the Paleo Diet, provocatively countered that lard “may actually be healthier than we think.” (I’m not buying it.) And he shared his fascination with IN-N-OUT Burger — a chain with locations only in the Western U.S. — inviting us to join him there later after the show.

SO HOW DID I WIND UP BACKSTAGE? Continue reading

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Creepiest Baby Ever

Typical Scene on Fremont Street in "Old Las Vegas."

Typical Scene on Fremont Street in “Old Las Vegas.”

In Vegas last weekend, not far from Dora the Explorer and the Transformers, I saw this skeevy adult baby posing for tourist photos for tips. I actually didn’t see him pose with anyone, but there must be a market for this since he seemed like an experienced baby who had done some location scouting and demographic research.

He did approach me for a photo-op, but I politely told him I was “all set.”

Yeah, I am being a bit judgmental. There are so many other respectable jobs out there. This would NOT look good on LinkedIn.

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Filed under Travel Gems