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The Modest Beginnings of a Great Orator

Posted by evankessler on April 20, 2011

Getting a reputation as a great orator is as simple as making but a few memorable speeches. While my reputation for delivering inspirational speeches to crowds of people who would go onto lead/leave nations has long since been earned thanks to inspiring gems like the “Let’s go to the food court” speech at Nanuet Mall in 1992, the “I had a crazy dream last night” address at the Sadler Dining Hall  circa 1998, and the “Internships Are Important” monologue delivered before an enrapt class of Seniors at Mepham High School in the late winter of 2011, the fact remains that all elocution and bombast-related  legend must have it’s point of origin. Recently, I stumbled upon mine own.

Thumbing through the contents of the bedroom drawer in my childhood home, I came upon the first speech I ever delivered to a captive audience. Indeed there was something presidential about it, as it helped me to get elected to the highest political office in Mrs. Hutt’s 1st Grade Class at Lime Kiln Elementary School.  Below are its cherished contents:

"Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down That Wall!"

While my core values from that period have remained in tact, I more freely associate the regulatory policies discouraging the running in the classroom and throwing of paper airplanes with the Democratic Party instead of the Republican Party– which is listed above as my affiliation circa 1985. Regardless of which party line I was towing, it goes without saying that my rousing speech and campaign platform listed above, along with the slogan “Kess is Best,” afforded me a landslide victory in the election and helped mold me into the successful person I am today.


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As American As Apple Pie

Posted by evankessler on July 8, 2009

Despite the words gracing the title screen, there was no apple pie to be had this past weekend, but that didn’t make it any less American.  The arrival of Independence Day weekend boasted an opportunistic array of good time revelry steeped in Patriotism and marinated in beer.  As most of the local working folk had Friday off on account of the holiday, the games were able to begin at a reasonable daylight hour on July 3rd. The celebratory mood wasn’t necessarily due to the fact that if you were to cut one of our arms open, you might just find red, white and blue dripping out; rather it was the 30th birthday of my roommate…one Laura B.

Laura had originally been unaware of the festivities that awaited her on her special day, but due to a certain lack of alertness about the general nature of birthday surprises, she began the day fully cognisant of the fact that she would spend a portion of her evening at the Brooklyn Cyclones game.  Aside from that, the day was a blank slate with a big baseball diamond in the middle of it.

Prior to leaving Park Slope and heading for the amusing confines of Coney Island a few of us sat on the stoop waiting for a special signal to finally head deeper into Brooklyn.  Myself, Eric G, Andy, Jessica,  Laura B, and Kelly R just hung out in the hot summer sun in the hopes we could take off soon.  I, personally had no idea what it was that would trigger the beginning of our birthday jamboree.  I assumed we were waiting for someone to show up before we could take off.  I didn’t want to guess though as there was obviously some surprise that I was not privy to in the planning of the birthday event.  At some point Laura inquired as to what we were waiting for.  Just that moment a car in front of us pulled a U-turn and settled into a parking spot just in front of our stoop.  Someone (I think Kelly)  jokingly commented that the car was exactly what we were waiting for.  Little did we know, but this was the actual truth.

From an open window came the words, “hey Laura.”  The words were uttered by Laura’s friend Erin’s mother in the front seat.  Erin, her mother, and her father exited the vehicle and proceeded to greet the party.  Laura’s college friend had made the trip for the special day from the distant land of Danbury, Connecticut; a far cry from Park Slope.

Just like that we hit the road.  Kelly, Laura, Erin, and I hopped aboard the 7th Avenue Q towards Coney Island.  I flaunted Laura’s Brooklyn Cyclones foam fan finger the whold way down in anticipation of some dynamite Single A class baseball from some minor-league Mets.  We were a joyful squad if there ever was won.  Laura was glowing with anticipation at what the rest of the night held, and we were happy to be apart of it.

We got off the train at Stillwell and Surf and Kelly led the way to our first stop, a bar on the boardwalk the name of which escapes me.  Upon entry Laura was greeted by a rousing ovation from her friends.  Andrew M, Matt, Judy T, Maureen, Stephen, Andy, Eric, Renga, Mike H, Dan, Dan’s sister Emma, Robin, and more folks too numerous to recall them all.  The merrymaking began with Coney Island lagers and Renga dispensing gift bags to party participants.  Mine had a panch, a snickers, a map of Coney Island, a USA necklace and some vampire teeth. Score!

Next on the agenda was the blowing out of the birthday candles.  For that portion of the afternoon/early evening we were going to need something cakey.  Luckily, there were an array of cupcakes from Renga and a fantastic cookie cake, which was made by Eric.

Laura Makes A Wish

Laura Makes A Wish

After doing her part to extinguish the 30 flames atop soft and sweet treats; Renga made the birthday girl read the message on one of the set of cupcakes.  It read, “You’re throwing out the first pitch!”  Laura immediately kind of freaked out in a fun and totally natural manner. I was instantly jealous.  My roommate was going to throw out the first pitch at a minor league baseball game.  It’s not that I’ve ever had that dream before, but it seemed like a perfectly awesome thing to do on your birthday.  I immediately wanted someone to tell me that I’d be doing the same thing in November.  Alas, there is no baseball in November.  Que sera sera.

This day, however, was not about me.  It was about Laura.  If she wasn’t in a great mood already from being surrounded by her best friends, the first pitch thing may have put her over the top.  I wanted to coach her and show her how to pitch in the off-chance she needed my assistance, but then again, I’ve never been a pitcher.  The closest I’ve come to being a hurler was in my ten visits to Dorney Park as a camper (and then counselor) at Camp Westmont.  I used to play the speed pitch game where if you correctly guessed the speed of your third pitch; you’d win the helmet of your choice and then whilst wearing it people would repeatedly pound the top of your head repeating the mantra emblazoned in small letters on the back, “THIS IS NOT A PROTECTIVE HELMET!”  Ah, Those were the days.

So anyway, after grabbing a few beers at the boardwalk bar (and a slight torrential sunshower) we went for a bit of a walk ourselves as our birthday balloon-toting birthday girl led the way.  A few minutes into our stroll we lost her inside the amusment park as she split with Maureen and Laura to get a fake tattoo.

The lot of us were getting a bit worried.  We were supposed to be at the Keyspan Park at 5:30pm and we had lost Laura.  We didn’t want to be late to grab our tickets and we didn’t want her to be so late that they wouldn’t let her throw out the first pitch.  Rather than wait for them, the majority of us headed to the park and hoped they’d be on time.  We looped around to the front entrance of the stadium via the boardwalk and hung out at the entrance in front of the blood drive van.  I briefly put in my vampire choppers and planned to leap unannounced into the plasma collecting vehicle demanding their entire stock, but I decided against it.

Several more fans of Baseball and Bassett met us at the front gate to the stadium;  Trish, Patrick, and Brian among them.  We had a full motley crew of ‘Clones fans ready to root to our heart’s content.  Filing in in an orderly fashion we scanned the stadium for our seats, but first set about collecting our free hats that came with the special deal we had partaken in, not to mention the fact that it was also Jersey pillow night.  This was either an all-inclusive steal or highway robbery.  Our money bought us one free beer, a free hat, and a free dog; not to mention the opportunity for the afore-mentioned first pitch for our newly-minted 30-year-old [Editor’s note: actually, it was three days before she turned 30]. It didn’t really matter though.  We were so completely psyched for the first pitch that all of the peripherals were gravy.

Scenic Keyspan Park

Scenic Keyspan Park

There was a brief period after picking up our snazzy new Cyclones caps that we took to our seats, but with the prospect of Laura’s minor league pitching debut at hand, we chose to line up behind home plate to get as close as we could for the big moment.

'Clones Fever: Catch It!

'Clones Fever: Catch It!

When the time came we were parked directly behind the dish.  Laura was not the only one however, throwing out the first pitch.  Apparently two other people had arranged for the honor.  They saved the best for last though. Once the first two pitchers had gone, our excitement level was certainly palpable when the announcer was about to trumpet Laura’s name and the fact that she was celebrating her 30th birthday.  One problem though, instead of announcing Laura B’s name, he announced Renga’s.  The rest of the evening we congratulated Laura as if she was the other Laura celebrating her 30th year.  I don’t think this got old. Despite the misidentification, Laura pounded a heater right  into Pitcher Darin Gorski’s strike zone or something like that.  Why the pitcher was catching, I have no idea.

Not A Belly-Itcher

Not A Belly-Itcher

Back in our seats we caught quite the outstanding amateur contest.  It was a hard fought match from start to finish; the kind that really makes you appreciate our national pastime. The Brooklyn Cyclones were engaged in a hard fought battle with the Tri-City Valley Cats.  We weren’t sure which three cities they were from, but we think Troy and Schenectady were involved.  Whenever they were at bat I kept yelling for them to go back to Utica, Ithaca, Rome, or wherever they were from.  Minor league games are fun to heckle at.

A Bidding War Over The Rockford Peaches and Racine Belles Would Ensue

A Bidding War Over The Rockford Peaches and Racine Belles Would Ensue

Maureen Maintains Her Brooklyn Pride Despite Living on The Left Coast

Maureen Maintains Her Brooklyn Pride Despite Living on The Left Coast

The game was tight the whole way.  Both teams scored a run in the 2nd inning.  Tri-City took the lead in the 6th, but the ‘Clones pulled it out in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the 9th thanks to big time hitting and ultimately the heroic bat of pinch hitter Nick Santomauro.

Dan's All Too Effective Rally Cap-Jersey Pillow Combination

Dan's All Too Effective Rally Cap-Jersey Pillow Combination

Clutch Performer Nick Santomauro

Clutch Performer Nick Santomauro

The vibe after leaving the game was an ecstatic one.  We felt as though we had witnessed one of the more exciting games in Cyclones history and it lifted our already high spirits.  On the way out, we were handed tickets to have a go at the speed pitch booth, only the radar gun was broken.  It didn’t matter though, I was jonesing to throw a few pitches after Laura’s big moment.  I got the lead out with a few slowballs through strike zone.  It was somewhat therapeutic and a bit of an adrenaline rush at the same time.  I was ready to continue partying as was the rest of the crowd.

We certainly didn’t slow down as we made our way through the site of the next day’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, past a big load of horse crap, all the way to our surfside sanctuary Beer Island.  Beer Island is a beach-themed Coney Island bar that looks like it could exist in Daytona Beach or Paradise Island, save for the Port-o-john’s.

The Mgical Land of Beer Island

The Mgical Land of Beer Island

Our party found two tables to place together and the revelry continued at our Coney Island paradise.  Classic rock blasted throughout our surroundings, but eventually it was eclipsed by the din of fireworks being released over the confines of Keyspan Park.  The pyrotechnic splendor was visible over the horizon and we soaked in the sparks and a few more drinks before deciding it was time to head back to the neighborhood and keep it going in The Slope.

Matt, Andrew, Mike, Brian, and I headed back on the Subway and made for the Union Street abode before heading out for a night-cap with most of the rest of the crew at High Dive (a.k.a. the bar formerly known as The Lighthouse Tavern).  The night didn’t end there.  Some of the crowd had dispersed after finishing one or two beers, but a group of us headed back to the house to put a cap on top of our night cap.  Laura and I partook in some of the Bailey’s I had acquired on my trip to England and before heading off to bed we took in some of my new DVD of The State.  The last part fell out of favor very quickly as the letter “Z” seemed to be catching up with everyone.

We had partied all the way through to the Fourth of July and the next morning shouldn’t have been as easy as it was.  Thankfully after plenty of rest, I was able to sidle out of bed in relative comfort, prepared for a big day of BBQ.  It was around 2:40 when I started to walk towards Kishore’s to commence the celebration of this great nation’s 233rd anniversary of Independence.  I figured it would take a while to grab some food and beer and walk all the way over to Fort Greene.  I was partially right, but I was still the first person to arrive on site.

It was a little after 3pm.  The party was supposed to start at 3.  I know that my friends are usually fashionably late, but it seemed like such a shame on such a beautiful day to have to really get the party started when the sun was on the downside of it’s daily cycle.  I was content to sit in the yard by myself even if no one was around to enjoy it with me.  Kishore, Jeni and Pat were inside preparing food and I hung out in the garden drinking a beer and texting people.  Soon enough though I was rescued from boredom by Jason and Kayvalyn, who seated themselves at the table and started the day’s conversation.  Little by litle the floodgates of visitors opened: Rich, Suli, Lauren, Rosario, Ajay, Morwin, Miller with half of the population of NYC Ron Paul supporters, and so on.  It was now officially a party.

The Beginnings of A Good TIme

The Beginnings of A Good TIme

The only problem with this celebration of America however, was the music.  Kishore had put on a playlist of lounge-y electronica, and Indie DJ music that seemed best suited for a nighttime lounge.  This was America’s day not smooth euro DJ day.  Normally, I wouldn’t raise a stink about someone else’s music, since I’m more than sympathetic with the idea of wanting your own music to play at your house.  Any other day, I would’ve been fine with the selections, but this was the 4th of July.  It’s the day you’re supposed to hear Toby Keith, Bruce Springsteen and Boston.  It’s the day to rock out, with your Red, White and Blue cock out.  I tried to put on Bruce’s Born in the USA album but was quickly rebuffed after two or three songs.  Ajay was supporting my efforts to patriotize the party, but the host certainly was not.  I made another brief stab at things with “More Than A Feeling” but once the song ended, my mix was given the boot Toby Keith style.

Ajay Approves of The Boss and Boston

Ajay Approves of The Boss and Boston

The music went back to soothing, sexy lounge style for awhile and I sank into a bit of boredom.  Ajay, Suli, and myself kept discussing how America had to win out musically in this party.  A little while passed when I finally made a last stand stronger than that of General George Custer.  My mix finally hit the airwaves and the people at the party were proud to be Americans whether or not they were born in this land.

Snappin' Along to American Tunes

Snappin' Along to American Tunes

From then on the party felt a helluva a lot more lively.  The conversation seemed more sprightly and the good times rolled.  I filled up on meat and beer relatively early in the night, but I kept drinking beer anyway.  I didn’t get drunk, but I felt relaxed as the night skies rolled in and the music ceased being patriotic again.  I didn’t mind though as the new music fit the nighttime mood just fine.  We didn’t get to see any fireworks, save for the few who went inside to catch the televised explosions, but that generally seemed all right by us.

Morwin and Jason in Sparklerz '09!

Morwin and Jason in Sparklerz '09!

The crowd slowly dwindled down throughout the evening, there were a few unexpected arrivals as Andrea and Enisha eventually joined the crowd and subsequently left.  It was rather late when we filed out.  Suli, Rich, and I were among the first to arrive and some of the last to leave.

Sunday was none too productive.  I think I did some reading adn some wandering, but that was about it.  If there was anything momentous about the day I do not remember it.  I think I went for a walk and grabbed a slice of pizza and that’s about it.  I was resigned to letting any potential excitement slide by the wayside for one day.  I had had enough patriotic fun for a few days.  When the next weekend rolled around, I would almost certainly still be an American.

Posted in baseball, BBQ, birthdays, Brooklyn, holiday, New York Mets, Patriotism, Weekend Recap | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

We Sure Did. Now What?

Posted by evankessler on January 21, 2009

Obama Inauguration

With the exception of Superman, not many people get to work their first full day and see on their to-do list after “Set up email” the daunting words “save the world,” but with all of those inspiring speeches that helped get him here a thing of the past, Barack Obama is now the leader of the free world.  The former Illinois Senator’s stint as numero 44 kicked off yesterday in grand fashion as the Queen of Soul belted out a heart warmingly beautiful version of My Country Tis of Thee on the frigid steps of the Lincoln Memorial…and if the white waitress who stood next to me crying was any indication, the mood of a nation  was transformed from utterly dour divisiveness under it’s previous leader to one of supremely positive unity as a result of it’s latest political savior.

While the latter attitude might be marked by somewhat wishful thinking, we’ve more or less entered the “now what?” phase known as the actual Obama era. We certainly owe it to our new President to give him the benefit of the doubt for at least the next few months as he tries to at least partially undo this mess done by the previous regime, but we must never give our leaders the power to operate with a carte blanche mentality, because it’s that sort of thing that got us into this in the first place.  It’s important to realize that our system of checks and balances exists for a reason, and while it may be tempting for us to pray that President Obama can undo the wrongs of the past in one fell swoop, we must have an enduring patience, because changes made in too much haste might end up being as sloppy and as poorly thought out as the decisions that put us in our current situation.   In the greater scheme of things we should try to view things with a glass half full and with the confidence that this current leader will not pervert our system of government as his predecessor had done  and will give our institutions the proper respect and due process they deserve.

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A Dog Eat Dog World

Posted by evankessler on October 14, 2008

Chihuaha x Paris Hilton = Please Help Us Canada

Chihuaha x Paris Hilton = Please Help Us Canada

I’m not quite sure what this fascination is with talking dogs, but it seems after 2 weeks filmgoers are still captivated by Beverly Hills Chihuahua against all rhyme or reason. The film raked in another $17.5 million this week. Maybe this is all just a bizarre form of escapism from our current economical woes. People probably just want to see dogs talk because they know it’s a lot less real than the prospect of losing everything they own when the volume of the Dow Jones Industrial inevitably reaches zero sometime before Christmas and The Royal Canadian Mounted Police invade the US in order to create the Socialist States of America, handing out health care to everyone who stands in their way.

I’m not really sure I want to live in a country where a movie about a Beverly Hills Chihuahua and a show where Paris Hilton searches for her new BFF are mutually exclusive anyway.  And who’s to say the Canadian takeover didn’t begin long ago.  What with the National Hockey League having been in existence since 1919 and the league’s slow but sure encroachment on into some of our warmer environs; I say the non-hostile gerrymandering of country lines was set in motion well before Pamela Anderson replaced Farrah Fawcett as the standard for pin up models and began to repeatedly marry our rapidly depleting stock of hepatitis c addled drummers.

If John McCain wins the Presidential Election on November 4th, that will be the last straw.  I will outstretch my open arms towards our nanooks to the North, entreating them to join our two nations together.  And if they respond favorably to that moment, I will greet them as liberators, eh.

Posted in Celebrity, economics, entertainment, movies, Patriotism, Politics, Pop Culture | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Undecided Special

Posted by evankessler on September 17, 2008

The thing that always gets me fired up around election time is the amount of meaningless drivel that gets spewed into the ether by the candidates and their campaign teams.  In TV ads and debates everyone’s so busy telling why the other guy sucks so much that you never really hear anyone’s competence or willingness to fix a problem asserted.  They just know that the other guy can’t do it.  While I think Barack Obama’s campaign initially tried to sidestep this method his campaign has been just as guilty of rolling with the negative as McCain’s crew has, as evidenced by the “Seven” commercial.   I understand that the easiest way to get people on your side is to discredit your opponent, but to attempt to prey on the weak-minded is the eqivalent of treating a nation of constituents with utter disrespect in assuming they don’t understand the issues and therefore cannot make up their own minds.

However, if you are currently undecided as to whom you want to vote for in November and need an advertisement to tell you, maybe you are a weak-minded idiot.  If you don’t know who you want to support between The War Hero with Experience and The Pretty-Folksy “Reformer”  or The Progressive Minded Hope-monger and his Ballsy Veep choice, maybe you don’t deserve to vote.  The differences in their policies are night and day and maybe you should take a night and a day to familiarize yourself with them so you can spare the world your indecisiveness and reconcile your leanings by actually becoming decisive on the matter.

If that doesn’t sound like fun…maybe you can play a fun election game on the internet that will tell you who you should vote for based on a few statements about the issues.  If five minutes of clicking on quotes that you agree with sounds more fun than reading up on the candidates and the issues, you’ll be delighted to know that ABC has a wonderful little tool called the Match-o-Matic to tell you who you should vote for.

My Match-O-Matic Told Me I Should Support Obama!

My Match-O-Matic Told Me I Should Support Obama!

And getting back to the issues. I was actually delighted today by Obama’s new ad addressing the current financial crisis, that instead of harping on McCain’s senility, actually addressed one of the more important issues facing our nation head on.

Isn’t it refreshing to hear someone discuss an issue.

In the meantime, here’s an utterly ridiculous, nothing to do with anything non-issue heavy McCain Campaign ad.

While I have no doubt McCain’s campaign will come out with a more measured response to the Obama ad in the coming days, I’m pretty glad Obama had the chance to play the adult and have the audacity to actually admit that something is very wrong here as opposed to McCain’s insinuation that “the fundamentals of the economy are strong.”

As someone who has had their share of hard times finding employment, this is an extremely troubling time.  It’s my hope that with forty eight days to election day (and my birthday) that the issues start coming to the forefront moreso than John McCain’s years in a VC prison and Barack Obama’s community organizing…all heroic and positive things, but not the things that will ultimately shape our nation.

Before I finish I have one final request of the candidates, even though no one outside the people I know will probably read this.  It’s my hope that during the debates when the candidates are asked that first question of the evening they spare the pleasantries and don’t waste five minutes thanking and naming everyone under the sun who had a hand in putting together the debates.  We get it, you’re thankful that some college or civic center let you have a debate in their auditorium..and we know you love your families but not thanking them for allowing you to skip dinner that night doesn’t make the world any more or less likely to explode under your watch.  Please just discuss the issues.  Thank you.

Posted in Patriotism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Rudy Giuliani Day

Posted by evankessler on September 11, 2008

Remember seven years ago today when Rudy Giuliani did all of those great things.  I don’t really remember what it was about, but it was something about Rudy Giuliani not negotiating with terrorists because he was a Republican and a really great Mayor.  That was a day that gave him so much experience and made him such a better person than everyone else who might run this country. He really showed us that we knew where he stood on the issue of National Security.  Surely no other person that could’ve served as mayor that day and been as great as Rudy Giuliani was.

Well it’s Rudy Giuliani’s favorite day yet again and he’s no doubt celebrating in style.  He’s probably hosting a $911 a plate gala for himself with 911 guests and giving one helluva a speech in which he’ll attempt a world record by repeating the phrase nine-eleven, 911 straight times (he already holds the record for saying the actual date non-consecutively which stands strong at 911,000 not sure if that will ever be broken).   That Rudy Giuliani surely knows how to party.  While Rudy Giuliani gets his 9-11 on, no doubt taking some time to let everyone know how ill prepared any democrat is to be mayor of the country should 9-11 happen next year or the year after that, there are plenty of families missing loved ones who probably don’t care who was Mayor on 9/11/2001 anymore.  Either way, Rudy Giuliani is sure to keep reminding everyone about his triumph on New York’s darkest day, whether it’s during a presidential election or lunch at Katz’s delicatessen, for the rest of his life.

So in keeping with the fact that Rudy Giuliani will never stop reminding us that he was the Mayor of New York on 9/11, I suggest that we name 9/11 Rudy Giuliani day.  That way we “never forget” his contribution to American history.  All in favor say aye.

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The Dork Days of September

Posted by evankessler on September 4, 2008

The circle of life.  As one sport winds down it’s season another one begins anew.  With summer in the books and the 2008 baseball regular season nearing it’s end with Urethra Franklin (my fantasy baseball team) firmly entrenched in a first round playoff battle, it’s time to make a new start…or two new starts.

The past two days have been filled with extreme pragmatism in determining the direction of these fresh foundations as I spent both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings attending to the needs of not one but two teams in two separate fantasy football leagues.

Tuesday’s festivities took place at The Lighthouse Tavern as a largely unfamiliar cluster of owners took to the bar’s backroom to draft the squad which they will count on to carry them to the pantheon of Fantasy Football greatness for the 2008 season.  I was in the fortunate position of drafting third for my team The New Clear Hollow Cost (if you think really hard you can figure out what they were called last year) and thus was confident my first three pics would be of high caliber.  Seated with Adam, his girlfriend Kelly, and Cory; familiar faces from last year’s proceedings, I rattled off my first three picks.  Brian Westbrook, Braylon Edwards, Reggie Bush.  In the past, I would’ve never picked someone such as Brian Westbrook a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, hated rivals of my beloved New York Giants…but this is a business and when it’s business time this GM picks the best player around

Hated Philadelphia Eagle, Beloved Member of The New Clear Hollow Cost

Brian Westbrook: Hated Philadelphia Eagle, Beloved Member of The New Clear Hollow Cost

I was quite pleased with myself the way the proceedings were going until I reached a crucial decision in the fourth round.  Debating the merits of two running backs,  Julius Jones vs. Thomas Jones, and having not read enough on either of their teams the previous two days I picked the former, a crucial error as Julius Jones would be splitting his workload with two other players.  Round 5 resumed business as usual as I scooped up Green Bay Wide Receiver Greg Jennings.  While I’m not exactly thrilled with my two quarterbacks, I’d say the rest of the affair, while lengthy, went off without incident.  I may have even picked a sleeper to compensate for my earlier mistake in a certain Baltimore Ravens Running Back.  Only time will tell if I was redeemed and it’s certainly a long season.

Wednesday evening was quite a different story.  Curled up on my couch with the horribly disturbing and distracting Republican national convention playing in the background, I sat with my computer and my cheatsheets not typing in a lot of idle chatter in the draft room, simply trying to select the very best players to make up the team I affectionately and hilariously (at least I think it’s hilarious) named Who Favre-ted?  I was not blessed with the best order as I was given the eight selection and often found the players I planned on picking were gone by the time it was my turn.  I was however fortunate to score some reasonably big names in the first ten rounds, the biggest victory being St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson lasting until the eighth spot.  Hallelujah.

Steven Jackson

Who Favre-ted?: Steven Jackson

Somewhere in there though I was quite distracted by the TV goings on as the douchebag Republican delegation started chanting “Drill Baby Drill!” in response to a call for more offshore drilling to decrease dependency on foreign resources.  I thought to myself, this is a sensitive environmental issue that requires real discussion, it’s not as if you’re cheering for the fucking mindless Go Cornhuskers Go chant to score a touchdown.  Drill baby drill?  Really?

Anyway, I think I sort of lost my concentration at this point but ended up with a decent draft here too.  Again, it is a long season and every little bit of information and the results of all of the non-scientific research relied upon are subject to change on a dime.  Half of these guys probably won’t be on my team by year’s end…but for 5 shining hours over two days, I spent my precious time selecting them to be part of my elite few.

Are you ready for some football?  I am.

Posted in Fantasy Baseball, Fantasy Football, Football, Park Slope, Patriotism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Courtesy of The Red, White, and Blue

Posted by evankessler on July 8, 2008

(sing the following to the first minute and a half to Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of The Red, White and Blue”)

American Girls and American Guys Got Together This Weekend With Some Indians and Thais

There were even Pakistanis there

We don’t discriminate

So we could marinate steak to talk about as something we ate.

We threw on those charcoals and piled them up high

There was asparagus in butter… and lemon ready on the side

There were Dips…and veggies…and different kinds of meats… to grill up and enjoy on this day we had free.

We sat on people’s roofs and in their yards in the back

We joked around a lot but we never played hacky sack

Soon as we got hungry and ready to dine

Yeah we lit up that grill, it was the 4th of July.

Uncle Sam put our name at the top of his list

To enjoy a hearty meal without raising a fist

We had a few beers it really was swell

To hear mother freedom ringin’ her dinner bell

In this land she made just for me and you

Brought to you Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue


Wow, now if you have never heard that Toby Keith song…You’d have no idea what I was trying to do there. Anyway, this weekend was the 4th of July as evidenced by that little lyrical re-imagining of one of the most patriotic songs ever, minus the “boot in yer ass”, plus the date being July 7th it would only be natural for me to be recapping the 4th of July weekend now.

However, with most of America having the Friday the 4th off, the weekend began in earnest on July 3rd. And in keeping with the spirit of pretty much the entire summer so far…faced with pleasant weather, there was BBQing to be done. Our Thursday night BBQ outing took place at Kishore’s yet again…and yet again I was one of the early guests to arrive. Actually, this time I was the first arriving slightly after the advertised time of 6pm. People slowly began to arrive though and Kishore and I were joined by Andrea, Andy, Ajay, Enisha, Kayvalyn, Rich,Suli, Jeff, Morwin, Lauren, Ahmad, Erika, Lauren, and Rosario to pretty much round out the crew and send the evening off to a roaring success.

Before we coasted into the evening activity though, there was food to be prepared. Andrea and I created burgers from scratch using our magical ability to conjure meat, pepper, garlic, jalapenos. and other assorted flavorings. There was also corn, steak, chicken, and plenty of chips. Once the festivities moved outside the conversation turned to Bryan Adams for one reason or another and I set up my iPod to play “Everything I Do, I Do It For You” but Rich spoiled the fun by shutting it off even though Andrea and Andy were sharing and intimate moment reminiscing over junior high dance steps.

A Traditional Array of BBQ Meat-age

As the sky grew dark the conversation became intensely focused on figuring out the long standing puzzle of how the hell everyone in our group of friends actually knew each other. Apparently Andy had taken upon himself to create a flow chart more or less explaining the connections. It was a master work if I have ever seen one. He might end up taking a Nobel Prize if he ever proves it to be correct.

Andy And His Masterwork

From heated conversation emerged a heated competition in the form of a game of quarters. Most of the party went inside to partake in drinking game hi-jinks of the kind that I continually refuse to partake in. It’s not that I don’t like fun. I just don’t like drinking competitively and vomiting. I consider myself to be a man of leisure, not a savage combatant in matters of the gullet. Anyway, the evening eventually ended. Someone ended up vomiting as a result of the game and Kayvalyn and I ended up walked towards our area of Brooklyn together sometime around 1:30am.

The next morning, was July 4th. I woke up around 11am. John and Zerna were having early BBQ festivities at their Williamsburg abode but I was a little slow getting up. I made plans to meet at Kishore’s place at 1pm, but before making it over there I decided I would go online and download some American songs. I only ended up actually getting two, Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” and Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band”. Fresh off my patriotic music triumphs I made my way over to Kishore’s so that I could get in his automobile along with Kayvalyn, Enisha and Andy and travel to our point of BBQing. It was a while before we actually left on account that not everyone showed up at 1pm…but I didn’t really expect them to.

When we arrived at John and Zerna’s there was already a fine display being worked out but we left to go pick up some additional goods from the grocery store in the way of beer and tonic (not to mix together). From then on the party was in full swing as Baby Lea partied in the splashed around in her kiddie pool…the older kids stood around in the sand pit and Rich, John and Kishore did their fair share of grilling. I even put on my two American songs, though they didn’t get the enthusiast response I was hoping for.

Miller and His Un-American Beer

When Miller arrived I chided him for bringing unAmerican beer (Corona) on our nation’s big day. He was also reading a book about an Austrian Trade Theory. Methinks Miller is plotting something.

It wouldn’t have been a BBQ in Williamsburg without a bit of hipster sport and wouldn’t you know it, we brought a long a badminton net so that everyone could bang the ol’ shuttlecock around. After about two and a half hours of John and Zerna’s action…our group, largely consisting of the previous evening’s crowd made a move for their other forth of July festivities.

Knockin’ The Shuttlecock Around

4th of July Crew#1 As Amurrican As Apple Pie

I jumped on the G train back to the slope and in what seemed like no time I had arrived at Goody and Chris’s 4th of July Rockin’ eve. I can’t really say it was all that different from the last BBQ I had been there for other than it didn’t really rain this time around. It was still an excellent time with fine folks like Josh R, Chris M, Hope, Reva, Katie, and of course our hosts Chris and Goody amongst others. I’d say the highlight of the evening was towards the end when we engaged in a game of pin the tail on Rob’s window or the picture of “The Donkey” that was on Rob’s window. I was the reluctant first contestant and though I don’t think I came close I was a sport of a guinea pig. The evening ended without really taking in any fireworks but that didn’t make in any less American. As long as one can eat meat and drink budweiser, it’s a July 4th worth remembering.

Hope and Chris M…All-American…All The Time

Oh…I’ll Pin The Tail On That Donkey

A Donkey Unscathed

Saturday morning felt a lot like Sunday…and with obvious reason. It was already the third day of the weekend and with two consecutive days of drinking under my belt I was plenty exhausted. I could’ve spent the entire day in bed, but rather than operate for 24 hours without a purpose, I spent the majority of the morning and afternoon fixing my living space in preparation for the birthday celebrations for my roommate Laura B. Not that anyone would be lviing it up in my room, it was just that we were having guests over and I thought my slavenly appearance ought not to be accompanied by a room that resembled that compost room on the Death Star in Star Wars, so I did my best Rosie The Robot impression and picked up what amounted to an awful mess.

It was around 6:30pm when the crowd began to roll in and a lively bunch it was. Andrew Morton, Renga, Trish, Kelly, Mike H, Greg C, Pete F, Stephen and Katie H were all on hand for the festivities. We had all done our part in making the festivities edibles. Mike helped prepare the Pork Loin, Laura made the guac, Renga and kelly made sidedishes and other folks brought on the alcohol. Before we dove headfirst into the meal, we need to get ourselves suitably lubricated with alcohol and so we used Danny Devito’s Limoncello margerita recipe and got our drink on. Renga also made a punch with ground up strawberries that was delicious.

The Birthday Girl Concocts on Danny Devito’s Limoncello Margaritas

With alcoholic beverages in tow and the meal yet to come…the piece de resistance made it’s debut appearance. Renga had made Laura’s birthday cake…It was a buttcake… and it just may have been one of the greatest cakes of all time in both appearance and taste.

The cake was fashioned out of brownies, rice krispy treats, and frosting to account for the skin color and thong decorations. It was pretty much a work of art. I can’t really say enough about it so I won’t. I’ll just let the picture do the talking.

Behold The Buttcake

After our heart meal of Pork, Potatoes and various sides we all gathered in Laura’s room for some film viewing. The original plan was to screen a movie on Dan’s projector but Dan never made it because he spent all day repairing the door in his apartment that had been knocked off when it was broken into merely hours before. Luckily for Dan, he had installed video camera a few days before and actually caught the intruder/thief on tape and busted him, but alas he never made it in time for buttcake and to take in an episode of the classing early 90’s TV show: MST3K as they viewed the cult film Manos: The Hands of Fate. Well, a few of the folks watching were too drunk to enjoy and fell asleep, but the majority of us spent the entire hour plus laughing our asses off and going back for buttcake seconds.

It was an evening full of simple pleasures…alcohol, laughter, and buttcake. It came to a relatively early end around midnight but several of the revelers decided to keep their buzz alive by hitting up the bars…but not me…and not Andrew…and not Bassett. We called it an evening as we had certainly celebrated enough.

Sunday pretty closely resembled the early part of Saturday save for cleaning. Not a lot of activity…mostly hungover…blah…blah…blah. Renga and Andrew came over around 7pm and along with Mike and Matt we gathered to watch the downfall of American culture that is VH1’s “I Love Money.” That’s how the weekend ended…and we liked it…and if you don’t…we’ll put a boot in yer ass…it’s the American way!

Posted in BBQ, birthday party, birthdays, Brooklyn, drinking, holiday, Park Slope, Patriotism, Weekend Recap | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

God Bless The U.S.A.

Posted by evankessler on July 4, 2008

Happy July 4th everyone.  I’d like to say a few words about this great country of ours, but sometimes words aren’t powerful enough.  Sometimes you need lasers to accompany those words.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the laser equipment to make a kick ass laser light show that says just how much I love this land, but luckily I don’t need it, as the folks at Audio Visual Imagineering have done a wonderful job getting those sentiments across without my guidance.  However, I would appreciate that if in the future, those same folks at Audio Visual Imagineering need to get any sentiments across, they would seek out my guidance before putting something like this together.  I’ll let them off the hook this one time as they’ve done a pretty wonderful job relaying just how wonderful this country is with a combinations of laser visuals and song.  Anyway, without further ado, Audio Visual Imagineering’s presentation of “God Bless The U.S.A.” laser module.  Happy 232nd Birthday America!

Posted in holiday, music, Patriotism, technology, visual art, YouTube | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »