July 31, 2003

Blog Roundup!
Why I Don't Work for Entertainment Tonight. I just got back from seeing Seabiscuit with my sister, and while I can't in good conscience review the film on account of me having fallen asleep during one of the thirty or so soft-focus excerpts from some Ken Burns documentary about the Depression, I did learn that Seabiscuit was beloved by 40 million really poor people during the 30's (most of whom crowded the infield at Santa Ana to watch him race). He was a hero to the underdogs everywhere because he fought back from great odds, showed terrific heart, saved two babies from drowning and apparently created the Works Progress Administration. Oh, and apparently he was a horse, and not any kind of a biscuit at all.

But that's not what I wanted to write about tonight.

The reason we went to see Seabiscuit is because the movie I really wanted to see, Desperately Doomed Career Destro— I mean, Gigli — doesn't open until tomorrow night, and frankly, I can't wait. Like most people I come into close contact with, there's nothing I enjoy more than a good train wreck or car crash. I've been known to pull my car over to the shoulder, pull a lawn chair out of my trunk, and just set a spell watching a particularly juicy pileup.

So when there's not only gonna be a huge train wreck, but a scheduled one with multi-million dollar ad/PR budget...well, folks, I'm gonna be there.

I'm sure you've heard some of the posionous buzz and reviews, so it's time to look past the actually existence of this sure-to-be-bomb (my brother tells me that his multiplex is only showing it one small theater, as opposed to the three or four large ones normal for big openings) and look at the aftermath — namely, who is this gonna take down?

There's the obvious candidates, like Jennifer Lopez, who must be in full diva fury right now. At the supermarket yesterday Angelina Crazyeyes was staring at me from just about every single magazine cover (which is fine with me, by the way) while, during what should be a huge month for her, J-Lo is about as visible as Woody Allen's colleagues on "Take Your Daughter to Work Day."

And then there's Jersey's own Kevin Smith, that poor bastard, who's spent the last two years thrilled to death that he's snagged two of Hollywood's biggest stars only to now realize he's in post-production on Ishtar 2.

But most of all there's Ben Affleck. And folks, just the mere mention of Ben-Aff's name makes me a little sad, and a little angry. There was a time, not that long ago, when Affleck and Matt Damon seemed like decent guys, fun guys, ones I'd enjoy hanging with, and now... I mean...why, Ben, for God's sake, why?!?! Why would someone who seemingly had everything a man could want — a promising Hollywood career, good pals, an Oscar, good looks — throw it all away to become the Most Whipped Man in America (MWMIA)? I mean, one minute the world is your oyster, and the next you're looking like a tool in front of pissed-off Vegas dealers and you can't even go to the Super Bowl unless you rent the place next door for your girlfriend and her freakin' mother!

Slate tried to explain the pairing last month.
Until recently, J. Lo was tarting around with the sleazy P. Diddy. By hooking up with Captain America Ben Affleck, and endlessly milking their relationship for publicity by co-starring in movies, posing for magazines, and discussing wedding plans, J. Lo has sweetened herself. She is a darling again. (What does Ben get out of it? He gets to sleep with J. Lo.)
But really, is it worth all that? Sure, it would make sense Ben were somebody like...well, me. If I somehow found myself in a relationship with — and I'm just gonna throw a name out there at random — Jennifer Connelly, it would make perfect sense for me to be a pathetic lapdog. "What's that Jennifer? You want me to cancel my poker game to make sure that I'll wake up early in order to act as your personal snooze alarm, buzzing soothingly every nine minutes from 5:30 a.m. until 7? No problem!" I mean, that makes sense!

And even if you think that J-Lo is the ginchiest, you know, there's a ton of damned-fine-looking women in this world, a high percentage of which are attainable should you happen to be Ben Affleck. Walking across 14th Street last week I passed by at least five incredible women who almost compelled me to remove my shoe and rhythmically smack my head with it while screaming "Ah-OOO-gah! Ah-OOO-gah!" And I've taken several trips to LA, and can confirm that its visionary breeding experiment, which has involved over 75 years of importing small-town beauty queens and pairing off their offspring, has worked spectacularly well. So the women are out there, lots of them, many of whom don't mind if you go a few weeks without buying her entire family new Bentleys.

Ah well, there's a lot in this crazy world I don't understand, and the inner workings of the famous is part of that lot. But maybe the next few days are gonna cause Affleck to step back for a second and think about what has happened, how this infatuation has caused him to accept roles he can't play in terrible movies just because his girlfriend wants to spend more time together, how he can't see his friends anymore, how he's a punchline to everybody but a few eleven-year-old girls. Or it could bring the two of them closer, like manatees in a foxhole. In any case, whatever happens, I just realized I've written something like 800 words about these two goofballs, and frankly, I'm a little frightened.

July 30, 2003

Hey: on the off chance that I should perish in a fatal car crash on some major highway, please don't commemorate my life by putting up ribbons and flowers on the telephone pole I crashed into. I mean, plant a tree or paint a mural or something, but don't leave some saggy-ass depressing ribbons and photos to fade and discolor in the sunlight and exhaust. I mean, c'mon, it's not exactly like that pole was my favorite place in the world, ya know. If I got hit by a bus you wouldn't name that bus after me, would you?

July 28, 2003

I doubt that this Boro6 petition is gonna get much support, but just in case, I've already reserved the "www.jguido.com" URL.
For those of who who want even more dirt on the social event of the season, the Jersey Shore's premier Maid of Honor (made of what?!) has way more details [here and here and probably some other places] regarding Saturday's nuptials, which I officiated. Shockingly enough, D'Lish's recap has way more sex than mine.
Oh, I think I also forgot to mention that my car's intermittent air-conditioning troubles actually turned out to be the harbinger of some fairly massive engine trouble, which ended up (after a whole bunch of other stuff like a new timing belt and tune-up were added on) costing me enough cash to put the kibosh on an upcoming vacation I have begun to plan for?

No, well how about the fact that Tootsie Roll's new Fruit Smoothie Pops (a box of which I won on Saturday) are extremely tasty? Yeah, maybe we should just focus on the candy...

July 27, 2003

Gosh, I almost forgot! Not only did the Juli Murphy win a giant stuffed banana for me, a fantastic event which I celebrated by performing Peanut Butter Jelly Time for many confused passers-by on the Seaside Heights boardwalk, but Murph and Juli presented me with the one, the only, the official Illuminated Donkey (whose story is offered here), which now sits here proudly in Donk HQ, looking down upon me as I type. *sniff* It's just like old times, except that the ID has never actually been in Jersey City, but still...
A couple of baseball elders have been on the baseball transaction wire lately, with Jesse Orosco being traded to the Yankees and Rickey Henderson leaving Newark to sign with the Dodgers. Friend of the Donk Keith forwarded me the following chain that puts the 46-year-old Orosco's longevity in perspective, to which I added a similar exercise for Rickey.For those of you who like this sort of thing, Baseball Primer had a similar piece a few years back focusing on Mike Morgan, "the Nexus of the Baseball Universe."
Congratulations (Patrick) Murph(y) and Juli!!!

I'm back in the heart of Donk HQ after a long, lovely weekend down the shore in Seaside Heights, officiating the wedding of Patrick Murphy and Juli Dobosh, two dear friends of mine. For various reasons, they did not wish to have a traditional, religious ceremony, and asked me, their former Seattle roommate, to perform the ceremony. Folks, if you can imagine a greater, more humbling honor...well, please feel free to let me know.

Well, an online certification, quick organizational trip to Seattle, and a consultation with the smokin' Maid of Honor later everything was arranged for the social event of the season. But first, the heavy drinking and Skee-Ball!

It was one of the many brilliant ideas of the happy couple to have the wedding guests stay in a Seaside Heights motel, giving Jahna and me the chance to show them out-of-town Bennies what the Jersey Shore is all about! Much fun time was spent on the boardwalk with Jahna's beau Joshua (who kept asking where the Guidos were), Juli's brother and sister Ryan and Claire, Jeremiah "The Claw" Bennett and his ladyfriend Marni, brothers Joe and James Murphy and James' cute-as-a-button son Ryan, and various other assorted Murphys and Doboshes and such.

My luck at the games was pretty bad all weekend, though I did win the big NJOpen Skee-Ball challenge, beating the tough LA and Indiana opponents with a clutch 360 (nine 40's in a row), though I do regret my subsequent taunting. I was able to introduce Joshua to zeppoles, and he kindly reciprocated by enlightening us with the hottest pickup line sweeping the Midwest:
Pickupper to Pickuppee: Hey, I was wondering...do you have your tickets to the show?
Pickuppee: Um...what show?
Pickupper [Spoken while flexing arms energetically]: THE GUN SHOW, BABY!
I guarantee that this will not fail, though I unfortunately have yet to roadtest it. The night was filled with laughs and jokes and snacks and games and strong drinks with odd names...ah, you shoulda been there.

Fast-forward to yesterday morning, at the Huisman Gazebo in Belmar. The months of preparation, the writing of the ceremony, the motel reservations...somehow it had all passed, and there I was, standing there in my best suit, papers in hand, waiting for two of my best friends to walk up the aisle so I can unite them forever...it was all pretty wonderful. The weather was perfect, everybody was smiling or crying or manning film equipment...and then it was up to me. Hopefully it'll be okay with the newlyweds if I include a little of the ceremony here, to tell you a little about them:
[I was asked to officiate this ceremony because] I was Patrick’s roommate during the four years I lived in Seattle, during the time when Patrick and Juli first met, and was a witness to their relationship from its earliest days. Even during those first few months I understood that there was something very strong building between Patrick and Juli, a sense that each one had found something very good in the other, qualities that they very much liked, and wanted, and needed.

During my friendship with Patrick I have known him to be an incredibly strong person, with a finely developed sense of what is right and what is wrong. From baseball and Springsteen to ethics and philosophy, he has taught me a great deal about life, and I know that there is nothing he would not hesitate to do for somebody he cares about.

As for Juli, from the moment I first met her I have always been amazed by her boundless energy and her limitless capacity for caring and love, for her friends and family, for the children she has taken care of at her various jobs, for her favorite dog Cal or any other pet she passes on the street, for the countless plants that fill her home, and of course for Patrick.

These are two special people who have grown together almost seamlessly, to the point where I now cannot imagine one without the other. It would, in fact, be almost pointless to try to imagine one them apart, since they have not spent 24 hours apart in over five years. We have seen them grow close, creating a union built on love, on caring, on humor, on complimentary strengths, and have seen them follow this path that has brought us all here, on this most special of days.
Yep, that's Murph & Dobosh (one of the hardest parts of the weekend was calling them by their first names, surrounded as we were by many other Murphys and Doboshes around), folks I'm happy to call my friends, and delighted to call husband and wife.

The reception was a small, sweet affair in the Murphys' backyard, so lovely and fun that it made me think that should I ever get married I'd want an intimate reception rather than one of those wallet/soul-crushing behemoths that cause so much grief. (And while I'm wishing for things that look fairly unlikely, I suppose I should say that should I ever gain the ability to fly I'd like white wings rather than bright or multi-colored, since the white goes with more outfits.) Lots of laughs, lots and food and drink, lots of kids running around...just a delight. It was just a wonderful day, and I'm glad and honored that I could be a part of it.

July 23, 2003

Well, I'm off to the shore to get a couple of friends of mine married. Don't wait up.

July 21, 2003

Summer Mondays are somehow worse, because of the options.

July 20, 2003

Hitting the various towns today with the not-oft-mentioned Brother-of-the-Donk Dave, followed by some quality time with the oft-mentioned Little C-Za. Maybe some mini-golf, maybe some skeet-shooting, maybe some stand-up comedy...who the heck knows? While I'm out, though, I just wanted to pass along word of the following extravaganza:
4 or 5 Stories About "Doing It"
a solo comedy written and performed by Bob Powers (of Girls Are Pretty fame)
Monday, July 21st, 9:30 PM
at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater
307 West 26th Street, @ 8th Ave
Reservations are bitchin': 212-366-9176
I've seen him perform once before, and it was a laff riot, lemme tell you! And in my position as the official GAP sponsor, I'll treat two people out there to this sure-to-be-fine performance. That's right, I'm Mr. Moneybags today! Just leave a comment saying "I wanna go!" and then shoot me an e-mail; we'll take care of details later.

Oh, and as long as we're all here: if you love The Illuminated Donkey but have thought, "It's good, but I sure wish that Ken was even more of a gambling degenrate," then go and check out Jeremy's Love & Casino War. Tons of poker content, bad beats, tournament reports, gambling news, bestseller charts, and just about anything else related to those games of chance.

July 16, 2003

Folks, let's all give a big Illuminated Donkey welcome to our newest blog-neighbor, Boro 6: Jersey's Bridge & Tunnel Blog. Located just a mile or two down JFK Blvd., Boro 6 promises to offer everything the world needs to know about such vital Jersey topics as Springsteen and the PATH train.

July 15, 2003

Now that was a heck of a baseball game!
Still More Baseball. One interesting sidenote I found in the course of my Game 7 research below is that visiting team victories in Game 7 are far more likely to be blowouts than Home Team wins. The margin of victory in the 16 visiting team wins was 4 full runs, while the home team MOV was only a little more than 2 (and much of this came from St. Louis' 11-0 win in 1985).

And heck, as long as it's All-Star day, I figured this would be a good time to pass along news of U.S.S. Mariner, an excellent blog devoted to my favorite baseball team. Check out the First-Half Review for great lines like "If there was an actual Jeff Cirillo bandwagon, it has officially hit a tree." and "It’s the Willie Bloomquist Show! He’s cute, he’s white, and he’s from Port Orchard! Ignore the years of evidence that shows that he can’t hit! We Love Willie!" Granted, after reading it, you won't believe for a second that they'll be able to hold off the A's.
Home-Field Advantage in the World Series. With all the hullaballoo over the new plan of awarding the All-Star Game winner home-field advantage in the World Series (which is shockingly creating even more buzz than the powerhouse matchup of Esteban Loaiza vs. Jason Schmidt), FOXSports went and did a quick check to find out just how much home-field really means in the World Series.

Interestingly enough, they found out that it means a lot. In the 98 World Series played since 1903, the home team has a 56-42, for a .571 winning percentage. Continuing the theme, I did some research on my own and found that in the 35 Game 7's (one of them was actually a Game 8, caused by a tie in the Series), the home team has a 19-16 record, for a similar .543 winning percentage. This slight but not overwhelming advantage seems in line for a sport where home-field advantage probably means less than it does for any other major sport.

Now, these stats are actually hiding a fairly massive shift in the game during recent years. From 1903 through 1981 there were 78 World Series played (there was no Series was played in 1904), and the teams with home-field advantage were actually at .500, 39-39. Continuing this theme, for the first 31 Game 7's the visiting team counter-intuitively had a winning record, 13-16.

I hadn't actually heard too much about this subject before the last few weeks, when people began to really think about the ramifications of the new All-Star Game rules, and it got me to wondering just what could have caused such a massive shift in the very foundations of the game. And once I started looking into it, the answer was fairly obvious: the Designated Hitter.

The DH was first introduced in 1973, and made its World Series debut in 1976 (Dan Driessen of the Reds holds the odd distinction of being the first NL DH). For the first ten years of its World Series existence the DH was alternated like home-field advantage (though, perhaps in an attempt to even out the factors, it was only used in seasons when the NL had the advantage). Starting in 1986, however, the rules changed, with the DH being used in all of the games played at the AL team's park.

What this means is that starting in 1986, for perhaps the first time, the team playing at home actually has a real advantage in the World Series, since fundamentally different games are being played in AL and NL parks. The home team gets to use players and play a style of game they are intimately familiar with, with the visiting team being forced to learn a new game at precisely the most important time of the year.

Perhaps because of this, in the 16 World Series played since this rule went into effect, the team with the home-field advantage has a 14-2 record, including an 6-0 record in deciding Game 7's. And for this reason, the fact that home-field advantage has become such an important part of the World Series, I can't be in favor of it being decided by an exhibition game. In this case, I think that alternating is fairer.

July 12, 2003

Oh, but before I go, if anybody wants Jahna's work number so they can leave fun messages like this, just drop me a line.
Here, I'll combine both of my posts today into one:
David Arquette, Joe Pantoliano and Stephen Dorff weren't the only celebrities at the Borgata opening last week.

Actor Vincent Gallo, who starred in the great Abel Ferrara film "The Funeral" as well as "Buffalo 66," said he was "just hanging out with his friends" as they rolled the first dice at the new casino. Gallo said he liked the new casino "very much" and was very approachable as he stood in a crowd of press and executives.
There was actually a great photo of the group in the Post or something, but I can't find it online. And now I'm gonna get drunk.

The staff of The Illuminated Donkey, trendsetters. It was one thing when Gawker jumped on the NJGuido bandwagon, but when they start horning in on our Vincent Gallo action, well then we're (and by "we" I mean my sister Nancy, originator of GALLOrious) gonna have some words, especially when Vinnie leaves Gawker a voicemail message!
"It's Vincent Gallo. Ri-chard John-son goes traveling...and this is the best you guys can come up with? An unknown looooser band from Brooklyn's insults about a guy who's made oooooone or twoooo indie films and hasn't been in New York in six months. Remember New York when it was good? And Page Six was good? You guys should stick to your gossip about parties in the Hamptons or something—whatever crap you guys write about. And can't you use photos that look a little like the people you're gossiping about? [Reading slowly] A Brooklyn band...named Wide Right...has a gripe...with Gallo. Wow. That's where we are."
We're not so much jealous as we are extremely envious.
Yep, more gambling. Took a quick ride down the Parkway to check out the Borgata, Atlantic City's first new casino in 13 years. Located away from the main boardwalk strip, on the marina, the Borgata easily fulfills its not-that-difficult task of being the swankiest casino in AC. With a "wagon-wheel" design and muted earth tones, the casino is reminiscent of the finer qualities of Connecticut's Mohegan Sun and the Bellagio in Vegas.

There was a definite buzz in the air, with the casino floor crawling with Guidos (the new hipsters) and the music system was playing tunes by such rarely-heard-in-casino artists like Radiohead and Belle & Sebastian. I was having a fine time just walking around the casino floor, which is good, since the blackjack dealers were apparently playing some sort of special no-dealer-busts-allowed form of the game. The slot machines work on a much-publicized "no coins" system, where the machines print out vouchers that players cash in at several centrally located machines. I'd explain this further, but I never actually took any money out of a machine.

The design of the poker room is especially similar to the Bellagio: attractive, roomy, comfortable chairs, though unfortunately at least 10 degrees too cold. The poker room, along with the race book, is located downstairs away from the main casino, which I liked but others at my table thought was too isolated. The staff was obviously still getting used to the new space, and there were a number of annoying glitches. The dealers' trays were almost empty and fills were extremely rare, while at the same time the cashier windows weren't selling chips, meaning that players basically had to buy from other players (and let me tell you, there's few things that make you feel worse than losing a big hand and then having to immediately pull out your wallet to buy your chips back from the winner).

The staff also seemed to have difficulty handling the computerized waiting lists, starting a new must-move game (meaning that players "must move" into the main game when seats become available) while our main game had two open seats. Frequent calls to the floor to bring new players went unanswered, though this lack of communication will hopefully be remedied as time passes. And, of course, a lot of these small problems are more than offset by the extremely hot waitresses.

Rumors that the room (and the casino as a whole) was to be a haven for high-limit players were untrue, at least during these first few weeks. There were several 3-6 and 6-12 games in the room, while constant calls to get higher-limit games going seemed to go unheeded. Of course, it takes a while for a room to build a high-limit clientele, and these players might be sitting out a few rounds until all the glitches are worked out; word is that the Taj Mahal's room will be most hurt by the Borgata.

Allen Baruz is more of a trendsetter than me, so check out his Borgata notes from last weekend. I didn't check out the decor nearly as closely as he did, largely because I'm a filthy degenerate, so that might have to wait until Little C-Za goes down to AC with me.

July 08, 2003

Daily Negation: Well...nope.
Daily Affirmation: Maybe today will turn out to be the best day of my entire life!
The Social Security Administration's annual update of America's most popular baby names has been compiled and released, and while Peggy Orenstein of the New York Times has already nicely covered the big-picture angle ("Where Have All the Lisas Gone?"), she seems to have ignored one of the most shocking revelations from the survey: namely, the continuing and shocking collapse in popularity of "Kenneth."

This venerable name, which ranked 16th for the entire decades of both the 40's and 50's, 21st for the 60's, 31st for the 70's, and 46th for the 80's, has now actually fallen completely out of the top 100, lagging behind such pretty-boy names as Bryce, Hayden, Devin, Trevor, and — god help us all — Dylan. Seriously, in about 40 years when you need to see a doctor, would you rather put your life in the hands of a Kenneth or a Dylan.

It's almost enough to make me pull my life together both physically and mentally, try to become capable of maintaining an adult relationship, meeting a woman I can share my life with, then fathering a child I can name "Kenneth" just to reverse this trend even a smidgen. And then I can go back to whatever the hell I'm doing now.

July 07, 2003

This is the summer of The Guido.

And we're all just living in it.

July 06, 2003

And now it's all over....*sniff*

July 05, 2003

You know, I just realized I made it through this entire day without speaking a single word to anybody.
But you know, as fine a time as Frankie and I had yesterday, I can't help but feel I'd be standing a little taller and feeling just a tiny bit better about the good ol' U S of A if I had been able to make it back down to the Summer Redneck Games, which were held again today down in East Dublin, Georgia.

Straight from the mudpit belly-flop, the future-Ex-Mrs. Goldstein.

Folks, you still don't know just what in the hell you missed...
Happy Birthday, America!

I always take off my hat to show respect to kickass fireworks.

July 03, 2003

Happy, happy vacation!
Stupid, stupid work.

July 02, 2003

A Modest Request. Folks, I don't ask you for a lot, but when I do ask I sure as hell expect you to do it. And right now I'm expecting you all to head over to the Glamour Job website to learn about official Friend of the Donk Juliette, AKA Jewlez, and vote for her to appear on their TV show. I ain't asking for a lot here, you know. Sheesh. Would you just do it already?
Can it be?!?! Yep, it's Wednesday again, and that means it's time for another episode of Nancy Goldstein's GALLOrious!

This week my sister Nancy has tracked down an oldie but still GALLOrious bit of sniping at his former co-star, Christina Ricci.
When the [New York Post Page Six columnist] mentioned Ricci to [Gallo], he snapped, "It was OK when she wasn't drunk on the set. I think she's an alcoholic — it was either that, or she was on cough syrup the whole time."

Gallo, who also snidely claimed that Ricci lost weight on the set because he limited her diet, seemed to spit fire. "I don't like her," he continued. "She's an ungrateful c--t. But it was OK. She's basically a puppet. I told her what to do, and she did it."
Some brief notes on the subject:Anyway, this has been another excellent installment of GALLOrious! Thanks, Nancy!

July 01, 2003

Click here for the shocking story of how Jahna D'Lish knocked me right out of bed.
Happy Canada Day to all of my Canadian friends out there! Even though I once spent a Canada Day in Vancouver with honorary Canadian Little C-Za I'm not really sure what exactly it is, other than some sort of "day" that "Canadians" like to have. Fortunately, actual Canadian Angua is back to blogging, checking in with a special Canada Day Super Linktacular! Enjoy.

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