September 15, 2013

Take Me Out To The Bargame, er, Ballgame. Ballgame is What I Meant…

Long-time readers may recall that yours truly is a diehard Boston Red Sox fan.  To that point, two actual conversations from this past week with my toddler son:

Conversation 1:

Son: I want to grow up to be a mommy.
Me: Well, that will require surgery.

Conversation 2:

Son: I like the Washington Nationals.
Me: What?  No! You do not. You like the Red Sox! Understand, the Boston Red Sox is our team! Boston! Red! Sox!

A father has to know where to draw lines.

I come from a long line of Red Sox fans, and so to celebrate my father’s birthday (if memory serves, his 1000th or something), my brothers and I decided to take him to a Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park.

We looked into getting some rooms at the Fenway Howard Johnson but given this was a very special occasion, we first had to carefully consider each and every pro and con.


Across the street from Fenway.


Bad restaurant
Closed pool

The decision kind of made itself. 

(As an aside, if you come across a review of the Fenway HoJo that starts with, “Was in Boston for a business conference,…” you can stop reading right there.  It’s like reading a review of a Greyhound bus station that starts with, “Stopped by for dinner with my wife on our anniversary…”)

Having squared away our hotel room (months earlier, of course) and securing some very nice seats, the only open issue was our meals. When we all finally arrived in Boston the day before the game, my father offered to buy us all lunch at the Eastern Standard.

Eastern Standard

I offered to buy dinner.

Tasty Burger

My father purchased the rest of the meals.

Of course, no visit to Boston with your half-Irish brothers would be complete without spending a lot of time in bars and we stumbled (literally at times) across a couple of interesting ones.

Bleacher BarThe Bleacher Bar is a little bar tucked into Fenway (accessible from the street) where I understand the old batting cages used to be and offers a view, through a metal grate, of the outfield.  We thought this just might be one of the finest bar concepts ever conceived by humankind.  We are also morons.

Jerry Remy Roof Deck BarAnother one was Jerry Remy’s roof deck bar, next to the Howard Johnson’s.  It was a great place with a view of Fenway but it did pour rain for part of the time while we were there. Do you know what the first thing an Irishman does when he gets caught in a the pouring rain while drinking his beer? 

He gets wet.

While Fenway is over a century old, it has been updated with the very latest in technology including advanced digital displays that are extremely helpful in letting casual fans who may not understand all of baseball’s many arcane traditions and intricacies, know who won.

Red Sox Win

Overall, a truly fine and successful trip.

In the meantime, the Russians brokered a peace deal with the United Nations.

Really, I can’t turn my back on you guys for a moment.


September 15, 2013 at 05:56 PM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 30, 2012

2012 Washington DC Auto Show

We take a break from our day-job-imposed semi hiatus for our annual report from the Washington DC Auto Show.

As we have reported for several years now, the organizers of The Washington Auto Show have been attempting to lend the event more of a Washington flavor, the better to reflect the unique culture of our nation’s capital. In furtherance of this goal, they decided to reorganize the way you enter the hall. In prior years, when you entered the Washington Convention Center from the Mt. Vernon Square Metro, you simply hung an immediate right. This year patrons are directed to go straight down a long hallway and then turn right. 


And then turn right again. 


And then turn right again.  Careful readers with a natural affinity for spatial relations (and a high resistance to nodding off into boredom-induced comas) will note that you end up in the exact same place, just in a more complicated and circuitous route to no obvious purpose.

Welcome to Washington!  Our customs may appear strange at first, but it's just our way.

We did note that along this new route a bag-screening room had been set up, as apparently organizers got IMG_5239wind from Pakistani intelligence that there was a plot brewing to disrupt our nation’s attempt to wean itself off imported oil, perhaps by blowing up a Honda Fit EV.

We did not have a great deal of time to spend at the auto show this year, partly because of the half mile we had to walk just to purchase tickets, but here are some of the things we saw.

Ford is in the process of trying to revive the Lincoln brand and restore it to its former glory when every red-blooded American dreamed of one day being rich enough to park his vehicle in the living room.


Likewise, Chrysler is turning to the storied “Dodge Dart” moniker in an attempt to combine the muscle car heritage of Mopar with the design acumen of Kia.


If you’re a Fiat marketing rep trying to convince Americans that the 500 isn’t a ridiculously tiny toy-like car unfit for American highways, you know what probably isn’t a good idea?  Providing interested customers the chance to drive a Fiat 500 in what for all the world looks like a carnival bumper car ride. 


“Weeeee!! Look, mommy, it’s just like driving a real car!” 


Car makers love to show off “concept cars” at auto shows, not that they’ll ever get built, but to serve as “engineering platforms” to develop technologies that will one day make it into production vehicles.  Take this futuristic entry from Ford for example.


We’re pretty sure that that innovative wax job might just make it onto a Ford Focus some day.

The Washington Auto Show is, as always, a good time, and runs through this coming weekend. Just be sure to bring your running shoes and maybe do a little cross training ahead of time if you're planning on entering from the Mt. Vernon Square Metro side.


January 30, 2012 at 01:35 PM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 02, 2012

Key West 2012

Yes, it's the same time, same day, and same drink. It is, however, an entirely different airport.

I think it's good to take a walk on the wild side from time to time.


Key West 2012

January 2, 2012 at 09:57 AM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 01, 2012

Weekend in Pictures – Holiday 2011 Edition

The Question is, Did They Use Snow Krab or Blue Krab? 

Krab Dip

You know what I really hate?  Imitation krab meat. If you’re going to make krab dip, use real krab, not the fake stuff.

When You Think About it, They Already Kind of Walk Like Zombies

Toddler Apocalypse

Like a scene out of a preschool version of the Walking Dead, we came across this Apocalyptic vista the morning of New Years Eve.  What could possible have driven these youngsters to abandon their peddle cars and flee in such disorder?

Toddler Apocalypse 2Why, even the authorities were apparently driven to panic, abandoning their posts and joining the rest in vacating the area.

We’re thinking cooties outbreak.

Bad Business Plan

Bad Business Plan

In a world where having a job is a right, we suppose it makes sense to sell kids a carnival with two workers and only one customer. But that's just for pretend, after all. Right?

Atkins Would be Proud


What’s a perfect side dish for a sausage and egg burrito?  Sausage, of course. (In hindsight, I should have gotten eggs, too. And scrapple)


Tea Choices

In rural Pennsylvania, you have a variety of choices in bottled tea, no matter whether you like it sweetened, or really sweetened.

Happy New Year, everyone.  I’ll be back… soon.


January 1, 2012 at 03:11 PM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 14, 2011

Now If Only They’d Bring Back The McDLT

It was a bad week for ‘80s-era icons here at Planet Moron.

First, our alma mater was rocked with scandal when it was revealed that legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno treated a credible eyewitness report that his long-time assistant had sexually molested a child with the same sense of urgency and moral outrage one would have accorded to reports that he had been discovered stealing ketchup packets from the dining hall.

Second, and perhaps even more grotesque and stomach-churning, I ate a McRib sandwich, currently making one of its rare limited-engagement appearances on the menu at McDonald’s.

Now, before you jump to conclusions, I should point out that I worked at McDonald’s in the summer of 1979, before the introduction of the McRib, and was impressed with the company’s focus on quality and extensive use of fresh ingredients. In fact, I had trouble convincing people that we used honest-to-goodness eggs that had to each be individually broken open to make Egg McMuffins as if they assumed that the yolk in the center was made out of some kind of advanced polymer (that’s what we put in the milkshakes).  No, in my experience, McDonald’s used a surprising number of wholesome ingredients as found in nature.

The McRib was not one of them.

While I never had the distinct honor of making a McRib (after all, I did not have a chemistry degree), I happily indulged in the BBQ-slathered pork-inspired product as a customer, purposefully ignoring the fact that the perfectly formed rib patty was totally devoid of ribs. I never questioned why they put pickles on it (Answer: Shut up, that’s why.) I simply allowed its processed goodness to caress my young palate, which at the time had all the nuance and subtlety of a Michael Bay movie.

And so this weekend, in particular need of the comforting embrace of nostalgia, I purchased my first McRib sandwich in nearly thirty years.

McRib Box

Hey, new packaging. I like it.

Tangy Temptation

Now that really is a tangy temptation!

McRib Box Open

Okaaaay. Well, let’s take a good look at the side.

McRib Side View

That doesn’t look anything like the picture. Fine, let’s open this sucker up…


Oh. My. God.  What kind of sadist would make this?  What hell-spawn jackal of a demon monster would ever…

McRib Bite

Hm.  Not bad.

Okay, so the patty was pretty vile, and every time you crunch into an onion or pickle you think it’s gristle (It isn’t. I think.) but the bun was pretty fresh, the sauce was indeed tangy, and, well, it’s a McRib sandwich. Sure, it’s not as good as I remember it, just like the music from the same era wasn’t as good as I remember it either (Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car?  Really?).  But for a few moments there, Joe Paterno was respected, $200 billion deficits were considered “large," the damage Barack Obama could do was limited to poorly organizing a communty, the World Trade Center was standing, and I still had brown hair.

We will meet again McRib.


November 14, 2011 at 05:54 PM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 16, 2011

Weekend Pictorial – College Football Pregame Edition

What could people possibly be waiting in line for at 8:59 AM on a Saturday morning? 

Waiting in Line

The release of the iPhone 4S? 

A DOE solar energy loan giveaway

The answer is actually more pathetic:

First Call at the Skeller

It was the highly anticipated routine 9:00 AM opening of the Rathskeller, a famous dive bar in State College, Pennsylvania, home of the Penn State Nittany Lions.

I had just come from my favorite local coffee shop (following a 200-mile drive up from Washington, DC) and so had a muffin and a coffee with me.  Regardless, I fell into line, walked by the sign that said, “No outside food or beverages allowed,” gave a “you obviously don’t need to see my ID” nod to the bouncer, ordered a shot of whiskey, and settled in to enjoy my Macgyver Irish coffee..

Joined later by some friends, I went through all the normal motions of a pregame college Saturday tradition, one I have followed for longer than I care to admit, with one exception:

I decided to skip the game part.

For years, Penn State has saddled its fans with ever rising ticket prices, parking fees, a building spree that has pushed tailgaters farther from the stadium and a web of increasingly petty and nonsensical rules including one that forbids setting an EZ-Up tent on pavement and another that forbids the drinking of beer on grassy areas. That resulted one wet Saturday morning in our party having to set  up our tent on the median, but having to stand in the rain to drink our beer.

At least when professional sports teams vacuum money out of your wallet they try to throw you a bone, say, more comfortable seats or upgraded beer choices and food.  At Penn State you squeeze yourself into the same awful bench seats (seemingly engineered to properly handle the average sized Japanese female), the same awful food and NO beer!

While the stadium still fills up, we did notice an old favorite bar of ours unusually deserted that afternoon:

The Den at Peak Time

Maybe President Obama was scheduled to speak there.

Regardless, I’ll still make my way back up there another Saturday this fall.

I’d hate to not miss a game.


October 16, 2011 at 04:43 PM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 03, 2011

Weekend Pictorial – Art on the Avenue 2011 Edition

We had a Planet Moron family outing Saturday to the annual “Art on the Avenue” festival in the Del Ray section of Alexandria, Virginia.

Urban Holsters

Urban Holsters

Butch Fanny Pack In a desperate attempt to butch up the widely derided fanny pack, a local artist has created the “urban holster.”  Like the “European satchel” which attempted to make it okay for a man to carry a purse, the urban holster appears to be riding a new trend that hopes to rebrand items that are not considered particularly masculine.

You can try this yourself.  Too embarrassed to tell the bartender you want a wine spritzer?  Tell him you want a “greenhouse gas grape bomb.”  Do you drive a Toyota Prius? No you don’t. You drive “canned lightening.” You like to wear lipstick?  That’s a .44 caliber cartridge of color, pal.

It could work.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

LSD Hippo

Question:  Who did the most drugs? The artist?  Or the Hippo?

Tots for Tyrants!

Moran Balloon

What did my son make a beeline for the moment I turned my back?  A balloon promoting the reelection of our embarrassment of a congressional representative.  Not even two years old, and already he’s rebelling.  Mrs. Moron later claimed she “lost” the balloon while picking up a boot that had slipped off his foot. 

Hey, “accidents” happen, right?

Does it Come With Corruption Cole Slaw?

Pork Barrel BBQ

Pork Barrel BBQ StandPork Barrel BBQ” had a stand set up in front of their restuarant.  They had a stand set up rather than just open the doors to their restaurant because the restaurant, which was started in 2009 with an expected completion date of this past summer, still isn't open.

We think maybe they're taking this whole government-themed thing a little too far.

Regardless, it was a fine, if wet day, and we probably spent as much money on art as we did on food.



October 3, 2011 at 10:08 AM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 19, 2011

SNARK(ing) Day

In case you were wondering why it was more difficult than usual to find a parking space last Friday, it might have been because of “PARK(ing) Day.”

If you are like most Planet Moron readers, your car is currently being held as evidence by the authorities, and so you might not have noticed, however PARK(ing) day is universally known as having possibly the most awkward name of any event in the history of humankind with the possible exception of “24 Hours of Reality.”

It is also::

“An annual, worldwide event that invites citizens everywhere to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks for the public good.

Finding a place to park is not in the public good, of course. As an article in Smithsonian Magazine recently explained:

“If aliens were watching the Earth from space, they might well assume that cars are the planet’s dominant species. Humans, they’d quickly observe, seem to exist in order to feed and groom their well-armored masters, and propel them from place to place.”

Keep in mind we are speaking here of profoundly stupid aliens, who despite having mastered technologies beyond our comprehension, still retain the cognitive abilities of a three-year-old.

“The image long peeved Matthew Passmore.”

Imagine how frustrating it must have been for Mr. Passmore to have to observe his fellow citizens going about their daily lives rather than spending their time in more productive pursuits such as “exploring the full dimensions of urban social ecology.”

And so in 2005, Mr. Passmore began the very first PARK(ing) Day. According to organizers, the event is necessary to:

“Challenge existing notions of public urban space and empower people to help redefine space to suit specific community needs.”

There is a possibility that these people have never heard of zoning commissions.  But then, we have to remember:

“Cities are built for people, although in past decades large swaths of urban space have been dedicated almost to the storage and movement of private vehicles… that serve a relatively narrow bandwidth of the “public.”

And by “a relatively narrow bandwidth of the ‘public,’” they mean “the majority of the public” in every single major American urban area except New York.

Here at Planet Moron headquarters in Arlington County, Virginia, the local boondoggle known as “Artisphere,” (a name that doesn’t so much roll off the tongue as mugs it) enthusiastically sanctioned the event and even offered to participate:

Dance Exchange will perform “Rest Easy,” a site-specific installation element of ‘Hammock’ in which Dance Exchange artist Sarah Levitt will seek rest in repetition from 5pm-6:30pm on September 16.”

Alternate title: “Public Employee Union.”

“The stage version of Hammock strips away the high-tech production elements of modern performance, instead focusing on the human body and the stage space they inhabit. Choreographed by Dance Exchange artists Sarah Levitt and Benjamin Wegman, Hammock explores rest as a defiant and aggressive act. The artists describe their process as one that “shifts between rest and productivity, talking and silence, being seen and disappearing, virtuosity and ‘that doesn’t look like a dance,’ changing the world and giving up for good.”

One of the things PARK(ing) Day hopes to promote is “unscripted social interactions.”

It would be interesting to hear the unscripted social interactions of taxpayers once they discover they’re paying for someone to get in and out of a hammock.

But we must remember:

“The vast majority of outdoor urban space is dedicated to the private vehicle, while only a fraction of that land is allocated to open space for people.”

We don’t mean to sound alarmist, but we think the organizers of PARK(ing) Day have been taken over by aliens.


September 19, 2011 at 09:44 AM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 10, 2011

If I Didn't Go to the Beach...

The terrorists would win.

If I Didn't Go to the Beach...

September 10, 2011 at 12:30 PM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 05, 2011

Labor Day 2011

Like many Americans, we here at Planet Moron visited with family this holiday weekend, in our case, traveling to Pennsylvania to partake in a traditional Labor Day feast.

Meat Products

Mmmm, brats and hot dogs.

And what better to accompany meat sandwiches than a big old side dish of meat.

Meat with a few Beans

We were told these were “calico beans.”  While I did not look up the meaning of “calico” I assumed it loosely translates into “not a lot of.”  This is Pennsylvania you understand, and we don’t go in for these new dietary fads most of which seem to involve an awful lot of things that are not meat. 

Of course, if anyone absolutely insisted on having a vegetable, there were carrots. 

Daily Vegetable In the carrot cake.

Speaking of things that are not carrots, if anyone is interested, we noticed as we drove by that the Wesley Yeager VFW Post 606 in Fort Loudon, Pa is having a “meat raffle” in early November. 

Have I mentioned lately that I love Pennsylvania?

For those of you who choose to celebrate Labor Day by engaging in endeavors that do not primarily include the consumption of meat, may we suggest that you pay tribute to the original meaning of this great American holiday and join together with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

And buy Canadian!


September 5, 2011 at 03:44 PM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack