Monday, December 31, 2007

In the end, we're lucky to get 2 paragraphs. 2 Books wouldnt be enough either...shrug...

CHARLES DENES , 99, of RED BANK , formerly of Perth Amboy, died Saturday, Dec. 29, at Navesink Harbor Assisted Living in Red Bank. Born in Perth Amboy, he lived there for most of his life, moving to Red Bank in 1993. He was pay master at DuPont in Parlin, Sayerville for 45 years, retiring in 1973. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Perth Amboy, where he also served as a trustee, and a Deacon and member of the choir. He was also a member of the Red Bank Baptist Church and the Perth Amboy and Metuchen YMCA. He was an Eagle Scout at Troop 15 in Perth Amboy, a former member of the Olive Street Seniors, graduate of Perth Amboy High School Class of 1926, and a graduate of Rutgers University.

He was predeceased by his wife, Ethel Jorgensen Denes in 1984. Surviving are two nephews, Robert and wife, Jean Denes of West Allenhurst and Richard and wife, June Denes of Hopelawn; a niece, Cynthia and husband, David Livingston of Freehold; seven great-nieces and nephews, Eric, Susan, Joseph, Richard Jr., Sherri Lee, Amy and Susan; and six great-great-nieces and nephews.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Charles Denes

My Great Uncle is dying
right now
He's 99
He was my Grandfathers younger brother
He didnt have any children of his own, so he became like a second father to my mother when she was growing up
I'll bet it was hard for my Dad, to have two Father in Laws at first
Uncle Charlie and Aunt Ethel were like a bonus set of Grandparents for me
He and my Grandfather were both Eagle Scouts
My brother and I are both Eagle Scouts
I just searched his name on the web and was happy to see this come up first in google
I recognize many of the names from conversations with him and my Grandfather
My grandfather is listed as a charter member too
I remember that patch
They are all dead now, everyone but him
When I visited his house, he'd sleep with me in the guest room
and make up stories about the pigeons sitting on the white picket fence
he'd talk until I was asleep
When Aunt Ethel Died, I was in Sixth Grade
I was watching MTV when the call came in
it was a band named RAINBOW
the song was "It Cant Happen Here"
He moved in with us for awhile after that
Slept in my room with me
He cried himself to sleep every night

I have a son named after him
We call him Charlie

Friday, December 28, 2007

everything you asked for

everything you asked for
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
christmas was.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2nd place (eight words)

sick or not,
that boy can really fight

what am I really spending my days thinking about? (eight words)

i cant
get my
lawn thick
and green

torn (eight words)

half finnished
but never really started

This is really, really bad.

The murder of Benazir Bhutto is potentially a tipping point in an area of the world that we are already in trouble with. I'm really scared of the fallout from this. Iraq is nothing if Pakistan enters Civil War.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

something to look forward too

A year and a few days before we can begin the hard work of rebuilding this great Country. Its been painful to watch.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

An illness I understand

I am always the very last one to let go.

Here's a man that took a photo of himself, everyday for six years. That makes sense to me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Creme Filled (eight words)


following the Whitman Sampler Map.

please help.

"Moderation is a Fatal Thing...." (haiku)

complete combustion
spectacle overloaded
give'em what they want

Monday, December 17, 2007

I wont spoil the movie for you, I promise

I am Legend.

I saw it yesterday.

My wife and sons treated me to a movie and dinner to celebrate my birfday. I've survived 37 complete rotations around the sun...why not have a burrito?

It was good....but the draw for me was something I've been mentally chewing on my entire life. The movie shows scenes of NYC a few years after a plague has killed everyone. I've always been fascinated by the deconstruction of man's accomplishments by nature. One of the scenes that the movie commercials showed Will Smith Hunting in Times Square for Deer. The asphalt has cracked and given away to tall grasses. THAT's the scene that drew me in. Somehow it's comforting to know that nature will recover, even if we screw ourselves. Why did that scene draw me in? Here's something I wrote a year and a half ago

Temporary Permanence

This summer a book was released called 'The World Without Us' and it documents what would happen to our world, (cities, forests, buildings, houses, subway systems, nuclear bombs, paintings, if all of humanity just disappeared. They follow our stuff for weeks, months, years, decades and then Millenia to see what made it. They give specifics on NYC. I'm so in love with NYC and am just drawn in when people discuss it's past and future.

I've read two reviews of the book, and heard two separate interviews with the author but am too cheap to buy the damn thing in hardback. Go Figure.

Xmas Shopping at the Big Mall (eight words)

i loathe
my role
in this
killing machine

Saturday, December 15, 2007


run babies, run
and see all that there is to see

when that blackness catches you
you keep running
tears and all

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm In! I'm In! I'm In!

Pretty much down to the wire to get it all down. 5:25 I practiced with cold hamburgers but they didnt get as congealed as the ones I bought last nite for the stunt. At home I was hitting it at 5:00 flat. I was hoping for some more airtime, but they had overbooked eating stunts and were running behind.

Wing Kong continues to impress with 5 cans of Spagetti-O's in 1:15. The guys an animal.

THANKS for listening and all the support, I'll post the video in a couple of days when I get it!

WOW, I'm in Wing Bowl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My WingBowl 16 Stunt has been approved!

I am scheduled to be on the air this Thursday, Dec 13th at 7:30am. You can listen at 610 WIP AM or on the web at and clicking on 'listen live' (it's in the upper left hand quarter of the page) They classically run late so it may not be exactly at 7:30, but hopefully it's close.

My stunt was inspired by Dave Shoeffner of the Eating Blog Mega Munch. Maybe over a year ago he suggested that it might be a fun challenge to eat the entire "McDonald's Dollar Menu". At the time it was 9 items. My local McD's has 13 items! WIP say I need to eat it in less than 5:30 minutes to qualify for WingBowl 16.

An important requirement of the stunt is that I cant dunk the items in water/soda. That can really make it more difficult. This stunt was fun to think about, because I had to come up with the order that I would eat the foods and why. It really does make a difference.

I think whats difficult about this stunt is that you dont have enough of any one food to ever hit a rhythem. There is a constant change of texture, temperature and flavor. I'm testing it again tonight and may change the order slightly, but here is the list, in the order that I intend to eat them.

Small Soda - I'm going to be taking sips off this through the whole first half of the challenge

Double Cheesburger - The heaviest Item by weight. I want to get all of the biggest stuff down first. Hamburgers however are fairly easy for me.

McChicken Sandwhich - Also heavy, and the exterior is kinda crunchy.

3 Cookies - These are new on the menu. You get three for a dollar and they are much bigger than I expected. Without doubt, they are the HARDEST thing to eat on the menu! My mouth hurt for a full day after this...scratchy!

Parfait - I will likely be alternating spoonfulls of this with the cookies

2 Apple Pies - I forgot they even made these anymore. Not terribly hard to eat, but heavy enough to make a difference in my time.

IceCream Sundae - A welcome break at this point

Small Fries - who likes cold fries?

Side Salad - Not too hard but a completely different feel than anything else on the menu

Apple Slices - These are preskinned and slicled, and are treated with something that keeps them very fresh and even alittle too firm. Should be easy to stuff in at the end.

Of course the downside of all of this being that it'll take me a week to balance out the calories on this! SUPER-SIZE-ME!

I guess we have ALL burned ourselves on a McDonald's Hot Apple Pie at one time or another! I will be picking up the food late tonight for tomorrows stunt. The warm foods will be room temp when I eat them which can be much more difficult. Realizing this, I only practiced with cold food.

I tested this stunt again last night and it isnt a shoe-in. It really is difficult and the roof my mouth is still sore.

As the great Eater Ian 'The Invader' Hickman pointed out, any food stunt can be much harder when 'Picnic Rules' Apply. Picnic rules state that you eat the food the same way you would normally. You can drink a lemonade while having a hotdog, but you wouldnt dunk it in a cup of Lemonade first.

A couple of important milestones for my stunt:
I'll need to have both the Double Cheeseburger AND the McChicken Sandwhich down before the 1 Minute Mark.

The 3 Cookies HAVE to be down before the 2:00 minute mark or it will be close at the end. They have been so difficult to get down in less than a minute.

ALSO Wing Kong will be doing his Stunt at 6:45AM. FIVE cans of Spagetti-O's in less than 2's AWESOME!!!!

We will be filming the stunts for posterity.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

From the Ether

I sense a disturbance in the Force

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The SnowCones of Kilimanjaro (haiku)

now that it is done
how can we remember you?
did you write it down?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It's Steakbellie, Bitch

warming up the jeep (haiku)

white breath and exhaust
falling snow dampens the sound
everything feels close

dont outrun your headlamps (eight words)

the older
i get
the slower
i drive

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wing Bowl 16 is Coming

Well it's that time of year again. The national Competitive Eating Circuit tends to dry up from December to the end of February, so alot of extra attention gets paid to Philadelphia's Wing Bowl.

Some of you have been with this blog long enough to remember that this will be my 3rd Year in the contest (assuming I qualify again). I've got 2 Qualifying stunts that I've prepared and I'm going to be calling in tomorrow for an On-Air Time Slot with 610WIP AM, the radio station that runs the contest. WingBowl typically has about 25-30 Contestants (including an automatic admission for the top 5 Eaters in the World)

I'll give you the details of my stunt, once the concept is of them is really freaking gross though....because it's a Radio show, I like to pick things that people can identify with or even duplicate if they think they can beat me. I want the hosts to be able to describe an acurate picture of whats happening.

Last year I ate a 2ft Wawa Hoagie with Turkey, American Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato plus a small bag of potato chips and a half Gallon of Wawa Lemonade in less than 3 minutes and 30 seconds. I wasnt allowed to dunk the food. Wawa's are on every corner in this part of the world so it was something that every listener could identify with. I'm trying to duplicate that feeling this year and offer a stunt that is accessable to anyone who wants to give it a try. You can watch last years stunt below. Thats WingKong in the background!

This years WingBowl will be on February 1, 2008. Tickets go on sale December 12. They typically sell all 34,000 seats in a day!

From the Ether

That Day is coming.
Today is not that Day.

Monday, December 03, 2007

From the Ether

Sometimes I pretend I can play Guitar.

Not Air Guitar, just pretend Guitar. I think about it in my head. I spend far too much time trying to figure out what songs I would play at my next gig and what they would sound like.. It's incredibly silly that I put myself through this, I'm calling my pretend agent to say I'm going solo.

Heard in the House of Boys

"Please put your Penis away"

and they continue to haunt me (eight words)

all my dumb ideas
seemed cool
before testing

Sunday, December 02, 2007

rush (haiku)

an unseen sunrise
ignoring the miracles
how much do we miss

Friday, November 30, 2007

Evel Kenevil Has Died

I am not kidding when I say I am upset. This sucks.

update:I just called my wife to share the news, and she said that she thought he had already died. cruel world where Dick Cheney outlives Evel Kenevil.

update2:If he knew he was dying, why-o-why did he not try to shoot himself over Snake River Canyon again in the RocketCar? He could have made it this time.

What's left for the future now? nothing good, anyway.....

update3:I still have the same Ross Eurosport (with front freewheel!) that I bought with my own goddamn money in 6th grade. Tomorrow I will jump a tray of 50 hotdogs off of my sons Skateboard ramp in honor of Evel on that blue bike..

Thursday, November 29, 2007

half-yard stare (haiku)

it could have been great
it could have been different
but it was the same

From the Ether

If you granted me more time,
I'd waste that too.

Headlines from the other Angle (eight words)

Missing Porn Star may have been a Student

Monday, November 26, 2007

From the Ether

Mr Jesus,
Please take Mr. Cheney to Heaven with you.
Let him run in your forever fields with his childhood dog, Blackie.
I don't want him to suffer any more down here.

The Turkey Bowl Video!!

It's posted!
KatRocket Keenly pointed out that I was the cleanest eater of the bunch. On review I think that's correct. See Mom! I learned Something!

Major League Eating - Chowdown - The Turkey Bowl - Full Competition

Posted Nov 20, 2007

The world's best eaters compete in a Thanksgiving feast.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

at the local drunken card game. 1am

SB: "I'm sorry I said that stuff. I was just trying to piss you off."
Leo: "Yeah, you really got my Irish Up!"
SB: "I thought you were Italian?"
Leo: I think that's why I'm so upset!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

boys fight (eight words)

a guy
just wants
to shit
in peace

thanks (eight words)

thanks for being you, asshole
no really.

Spike's MLE Chowdown 2: The Turkey Bowl

In celebration of the airing of Episode 2 of my Las Vegas Eating Adventure this thursday November 22, 2007 at 11am and again at 7pm on SPIKE TV, I invite all of you to blow off work for the day, invite your relatives over and eat and drink all that you can.

We will be eating 20lbs Whole Turkeys and cans of jellied Cranberry Sauce. I recommend that you eat something similar but in more enjoyable quantities.

If you missed the first episode you can see it here

I great this episode with excitement and nervousness. I havent seen it yet, but the quality of the first episode was wonderful. I ate during the first half of the show in the Undercard. We were given whole cans of jellied cranberry sauce to eat, and you may be surprised to learn that this was by far the most difficult food for me to eat in mass. Worse than Jalapenos. Really.

While I have eaten in sweets before (twice in Shoo-Fly), I believe that the Complex Carbs in the Molasses, while extraordinarily sweet, didnt realease it's full sugar rush at once. The refined sugar in the cranberry sauce was brutal, and I could feel the effects by the 4th minute. My wife said that the other eaters looked like they were having a rough time too. I cant wait to hear the commentary!

The main event is a whole Turkey eating contest. I've competed in this discipline once before and it's a great food to eat competitivley. It involves hand skill to find the most meat on the carcass, jaw strength to chew the food up enough, and considerable swallowing strength as even moist Turkey is drier than most foods at high speeds.

The big questions to be answered:

Will Japanese HotDog Sensation Kobayashi be able to overcome the Jawthritis he's been hobled with this year.

Will American Eating Champ Joey Chestnut, be able to defeat inspired upstart (and current Turkey Record Holder)Pat Bertoletti?

Do you get sleepy after eating a 20lbs Turkey?

Monday, November 19, 2007

He Said, She Said

She Said: "Did you get your hair cut differently? It looks really good lately"

He Said:"Naw, it's the same haircut...I think it's just falling out in a more pleasing pattern now..."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I was tagged

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
I was tagged....and I have a headache.

I have been tagged by Blanche to write about certain topics in blocks of 8. The first four of any list are easy, 8 took some thinking.

8 passions in my life
My wife & kids
Bicycle Racing
Competitive Eating

8 things to do before I die:
See the Tour de France
Win the Wing Bowl (i know...i know...but you cant stop your heart)
Pay off my house
Take my family to Scotland, Hungary & Germany
Write a book
Stand on a Glacier
Ride my bike 200 miles in a day (I've done 100 miles half a dozen times)
Run a Marathon in under 4 hours

8 things I often say
I Love you
Go to Bed

8 Books I read recently
On the Road (original Scroll) - Kerouac
The Glass Castle -Wahls
Water for Elephants
Catch-22 (Reread) - Heller
Galapagos - Vonnegut

8 songs that mean something to me
It had to be you - Harry Connick Jr
Thunder Road - Bruce
Say What! - SRV
I will be heard - HateBreed
Head Up - Deftones
Low Self Opinion - Henry Rollins
Summer Wind - Frank Sinatra
Strength - The Alarm

8 Qualities I look for in a friend
Sense of Humor
Big Cans

8 people who I'm passing this on to
Steve Caratzaz
Mega Munch
Wing Kong

Friday, November 09, 2007

On The Road

On The Road Cover
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
I dont read alot, but I read enough to know that I am a slow reader. I jealously watch my wife fan through books in a sitting or two. How can she possibly take the information in that quickly and understand it???? I must be painfully selective in what I read, because it's a committment possibly of weeks or even months to finish a single book. Does it mean I dum? Probably.

My favorite Author is Kurt Vonnegut, although ironically his books probably only rate 4th or 5th with me on most influential. Charles Bukowski means alot to me too. The books that had the greatest impact on my life are: Catch-22, The Bible & On The Road.

If a book can be considered 'Chick Lit' than you can say that Jack Kerouac's On The Road is written for late-teenage-dreamer-boys. Not that you have to be in that group to enjoy it, but that's probably it's most receptive audience. The book is written in a very free style and there's a chance you'll just hate it. I didnt realize until my most recent reading that it had completly effected my writing style all these years since I first read it.

The book is based on a series of Road Trips that Jack Kerouac had taken accross America with his now famous friends: Allen Ginsberg, Neil Cassady, and William S. Burroughs and was published in 1947. All of the names were changed but it's easy to research who's who.

The book also has some myth and legend surrounding it and it's cast. The story goes that Jack Kerouac wrote the book on speed, in a two week period, furiously typing on a single long piece of paper, a scroll.

The Original Maniscript
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Most of that is true....well the scroll part anyway. He actually spent many years taking notes and writing small 30 page short stories about the characters. The scroll was the first complete draft of 3 that would be needed between editing and publishing. You can imagine how crazy the publisher must have thought he was to deliver it in a hand typed continuous roll of paper!

For the 50th Aniversary of the published work, they have released the original draft in book form. It is a similar story to the Final, but has the names of the actual people still intact, and has a few additioanl scenes that were omitted because of excessive drug use and some Homosexuality.

For me, the biggest obstacle was that this version is written without paragraph breaks, or even chapter breaks. Each page looks identical, double justified and goes on in one long long stream of consiousness. In regular life I will rarely read anything that doesnt have paragraph breaks, my eyes get lost on the words and pull in too much information at once. Surprisingly, I was able to get through the book anyway, but with alittle more care than usual.

If you havent read 'On The Road' I recommend that you get the final version in papaerback, hop on a bus or train, and go somewhere while you read it. The story remains frantic and beautiful, and will give you a glimpse of that burning blood we had as teenagers....the desire to get out of whatever you were in and never look back.

If your already a fan, than you will find this new version, very interesting as it also contains lots of analysis between the various versions of the story and wordings and some insight into the actual events behind it.

I only regret that I finished it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Where were you when the music stopped? (eight words)

The Lonely Wingette
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.

Years from now,
we still
wont have

This Shouldnt Be

Study: 1 out of 4 homeless are veterans

Where are the Comapssionate Conservatists? Where are the people with the 'Support Our Troops' bumper stickers? Shouldnt helping these poor men and women, be a part of our War Spending?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Oprah Wept.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Kissel (eight words)

in some ways,
I miss the

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oh, Sal Paradise....

"So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars'll be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty. "

evidence is mounting (eight words)

no longer
know what
is normal
and sane

everybody wants to be on reality TV

On Monday I watched 'Good Morning America' while getting ready for work. It was the first show since that horrible beach-house fire that killed 8 college students. In typical GMA format they had gotten one of the dead's roommates to talk on camera about the tragedy so we could watch these poor people's hearts break. Diane Sawyer will get some factual details and then walk them right to the emotional edge until their voices crack and their eyes well up.

We see it, every tragedy. Every Shooting. Every Car Wreck with the Captain of the Football Team. "How are you holding up? What was your last Memory of Johnny? Cry for us, Kid, feel this pain."

What was weird was that this girl was smiling, and trying her best not to. She was dressed up like she was going to a wedding, with pearls and her hair just perfect at 7am, 23 hours after her roommate burned to death. She said all the right things, but the delivery was practiced, and devoid of any strain. Incredibly Polite.

This was her chance. The cameras are here.

"I just KNOW, she's smiling and looking down on us right now"

Maybe the kid just doesnt know how to deal with something so huge. I dunno, it just seemed like she was completely uneffected. The good part was that it seemed to fluster Diane Sawyer abit as she tried to ratchet up the questions, until she had to back off, so not appear badgering.

calous (eight words)

nobody lies anymore

are just


It's all up to Wendy and Marvin (eight words)

Superman got
the flu

Today Crime
will pay

Halloween or the day after (eight words)

who wouldnt
look fine in
the money shirt?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Every Friday (eight words)

mismatched garbage cans
ten overflowing bags

suburban shame

Thursday, October 25, 2007

fatherhood (haiku)

how is work today?
so when are you coming home?
the babies miss you

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

my secret ramen coaches (eight words)

they have them
they dont have you

forget yourself (haiku)

keep my coffee warm
somehow this rain should heal me
i'm gonna go play

flash glasses (eight words)

red so red,
that black
deep green

inertia (eight words)

i had enough.
but the sun
still came.

equity (haiku)

the girlz gone wild
go home and do their laundry
when the lights come on

Monday, October 22, 2007

My Contest in Vegas

Here's the video from the First Episode of SPIKE's MLE Chowdown!!!!!

Major League Eating - Wedges & Wings - Episode 1 - Full Episode

Posted Oct 18, 2007

From Las Vegas, it's the debut of MLE Chowdown: Wedges & Wings, featuring Takeru Kobayashi's highly anticipated rematch against reigning champion Joey Chestnut.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Its about to Start! I hope I win this time!

update: ABout the Ketchup, some of you noted that I got called out for bringing Ketchup as a dunking agent by comentator, CrazyLegs Conti. I think he said something like "I'd have to question the strategy of eating MORE food..."

Because I couldnt be completely sure how dry the potatoes would be, I figured I'd keep it in reserve next to my water cups. The water was good enough to get the wedges down, and with 2 minutes left in the contest I started to dip every fouth wedge to combat the 'flavor fatigue' that was setting in.

Great call by Crazylegs though, I cant believe he spotted it from the broadcast booth!

everybody knows that guy (eight words)

takes the
football game
too seriously

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

phthalocyanine air bath (haiku)

aileron, no step
i can see your house from here
your roof needs some work

Monday, October 15, 2007

Look Mom, I'm Famous!

So we're home from Vegas and back to work. Missed the boys an aweful lot.

If you ever take up Competitive Eating, I dont recommend doing 4 contests in 5 days. I was either starving or extremely full and never got to even go to a single Vegas Buffet.

The most ironic thing was that I lost 9 pounds this week. I attribute it to long days of being busy and then a shock of food that the body didnt know what to do with. Either way, that made me laugh the most.

If you are interested in seeing the first show, it will air this Thursday at 11PM EST on SPIKE TV and then will be rebroadcast Saturday at 7PM EST. It's called MLE Chowdown: Wedges and Wings.

It's an hour long show that features the first 2 contests of the Tournament. I ate in the Potato Wedges part. They were good! The Wings were Mango Habenero, very spicy and yummy! I hope at least alittle of my interview makes it to the screen.

The Crucible

Those are real Bulls
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.

The moment of introspection comes as I'm drinking a glass of milk.

"What are you doing with your life?"
It's really not a bad question to ask, just maybe not the best time to ask it. Many times I've gotten into stressful situations and that voice always seems to kick in.
"How did you get here? What the hell are you doing???"

I take another sip of the milk and stand up fully. It's really refreshing. Gosh, I love milk.

milk, milk, milk.

In front of me are a few thousand people that are looking at me with wide eyes. Some of them are yelling in Spanish. The people are tan and have the dark features and happy smiles that I associate with Mexicans. There is alot of noise and some dust that is kicked up by the excitement. I see some Mexican flags in the crowd confirming my suspicions.

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
In the middle of the crowd is a large circular pen that holds 4 or 5 bulls. Each must weigh over 1,000lbs. They walk around in clumps and the Mexicans and the bulls dont seem to mind each other.

Now this certainly sounds like some kind of waking dream. If it were really a dream I'd look down and be naked, but I'm not...I'm wearing a kilt.

So the real problem is that I am 4 minutes into a Jalapeno Pepper eating contest and I have eaten 40 of the peppers already. Actually, I've only Swallowed 30 peppers and now I have the last 10 sitting in mouth getting chewed over and over again. My stomach has protested this burning mash and has instructed my throat not to let anything else down that is not milk or maybe Haylon.

My stomach is so much smarter than my brain.

I take another swig of milk and consiously force myself to swallow. I repeat this 3 or 4 times to clear my mouth. There is a wild ticker in my head that wants me to put more peppers in....dont lose ground...Do it. Do it now.

Typically I am able to compete without noticing anything, but my concentration is blown. I look around some more while trying to clear my mouth.

The contest is being MC'd by a man named Ryan Nerz. He is dressed like a 1900's carnval barker in a sportjacket and straw hat. His job starts a full 30 minutes before the contest as he tries to 'fill the tent' with people interested in seeing a spectacle. In years past it would be the bearded lady or the fat man. Today it is people eating Hot Peppers. Ryan darts right to left accross the stage, recounting past contest and various Eats of Strength into the microphone. Today there is a second MC who translates Ryans commentary into Spanish. The crowd only reacts to the Spanish MC.
"Sonya Thomas, once ate 11lbs of Cheesecake"
"Sonya Thomas, una vez que se comió 11lbs de queso"

Ryan promises them something they cannot see anywhere else in the world. Ryan promises them the rapture. I have a theroy that he's crazy. He has a theroy that I'm a Competitive Eater.

I take a moment to listen to Ryan talking wildly about the current contest. He inserts all sorts of references that no-one will get in the translation. There is a mention of a 'Wide-Stance' that makes me almost chuck the remaining peppers from my mouth. He talks and talks with great emotion and I think he'd be as feverish talking to 3 people as he is talking to a thousand.

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
To my left and right are a who's who of Competitive Eating. I had hoped that noone would want to eat in this contest, Noone would want to hurt themselves in this way....but there they are bent over their plates chewing and swallowing while I stand here with a vinegar chin, enjoying my glass of milk.

I finally get rid of the roadblock and decide to continue competing. I've come, all the way out here to Chicago for this, and it's too late to save my digestive future anyway. The deed is done.

The peppers are 20 to a white styrofoam plate, and you are required to eat right down to the stem. Because they are pickled, they are juicy and full of vinegar, each bite creating an explosion of mess and seeds. A cameraman from the evening news looses a clean lens to some spray.

My eyes roll back and I sink back into my game.

Suddenly there is commotion and I'm forced to resurface. So many peppers have been eaten by the 15 eaters, that the sponsor has run out. The contest has to be called at the 6:30 mark.

I've eaten 61.
It's not 100 like I had hoped, but that was a pie in the sky number. I'd be happy with 100 anything because it sounds like alot.
100 M&M's
100 Ocelots
100 Jalapenos

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
The winner is Pat Bertoletti. He held the current record of 160, and now had smashed it by eating 190. It's hard to justify my total against his, but it wasnt bad. If I did it again I could add 20% just with what I learned.

The eaters file off the stage and we talk about the contest with animated gestures. Wing Kong says his belly is burning from 90 some peppers. Justin Mih says he's hurting and I hope so because he beat me by 3 Peppers. Erik the Red doesnt seem effected at all. There's some eaters I hadnt met before like Tim Brown and The Sicilian (who did quite well), and we try to cram as much as we can in a few minutes. Jim Hammrick, An Eater we met last year in Memphis offers us a ride to the Airport, and we go before things get too bad.

Within 30 minutes I'm sweating and my stomach is making all kinds of threats. Each Antacid creates a huge Volume of CO2 and I wash it down with more milk. I have a bag full of chemistry and I'm trying to turn this lead pile of file into gold.

We have huge ice-creams from Ben & Jerrys and are forced to take residence in several airport bathrooms. It's bad. Think about how bad it might be. It's worse. Wing Kong and I share a bottle of Pepto. And a bottle of Mylanta. And more Antacids. We finish it all.

There's a point that I urinate, and it burns. I'm fascinated.

I think about the winner of the contest and the 190 peppers he's dealing with. I wonder how much TP you can buy with the prize money.

Despite all the fear, I dont have a any problems on the flight. I was sweating vinegar, but I think thats the worst that happened to the poor girl stuffed between us. Thats not to say I wasnt white-knuckled for the whole flight. Just that everything was ok. I seriously question the effectiveness of the TSA though, what was to stop me from wiping out that whole plane?

Within 12 hours of the contest I was a new man, who had all the parasites burned from his body. Really if you can survive that, what cant you do?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

ok, so I've been drinking but it's Vegas right?

Today (well actually's 3am) I did alot of video and interviews for the contest. I told the truth and made things up that sounded funny. I talked for 40 minutes and I expect maybe only 2 or 3 lines to make it into the final show.

We then did a walkthough of the contest for the camera guys. They have built a HUGE beautiful studio stage in the middle of Freemont Street and that is our home fo rthe next three days. We are staing at the 4 Queens which is immediatley located.

There's some bitching in the CE community of who got chosen to attend. I'm 36 now and cant make excuses for anyone else. It's likely that I will be dead in weeks, so I cant pass up this opportunity thats been handed to me. If it's not weeks, it might be years or decades...but I decided 2 years ago not to wait on life, and I wont.

That being said, I have a responsibility to try my hardest, and you can bet your ass that I brought it all to the table tonight. I will write a full explantation of this contest, but I dont feel it's appropriate to release the details until the sponsor airs this first show on SPIKE on Oct 18 "Wedges & Wings"

It truly was an all-star cast, and what I can tell you is that today I ate to the best of my ability. I had no mechanical problems and avoided my most problematic issues (chipmunking halfway through). I ate for 8 minutes straight for the second time in a week, and I'm finally happy with myself as an eater. I feel like I'm finally filling some of the basic requirements that a 'pro' should have.

Greater, is the relationaships that I've allowed to grow here. People I didnt know or understand, are now friends...friends, now I can rejoice in there acomplishments or feel for them in their failures. We talk over beers, first about Eating, but always, always it spills into the bigger issues of life. The hurt, the love, the laughter. Two tough-acting sweethearts trying to decide on the best dunking solution for a particular food. We all hide behind something.

My wife is ablessing for me in these things as she cares for these friends too, and can share the empathy. She likes CE because I like it, and that just rocks. She's here by my side, and she's the only voice I can here cutting through the crowd. "Eat Faster!" I heard it! I Did!

All of you have been so sweet in your support of this adventure and I look forward to telling you all of the details as soon as I feel comfortable.

I have 2 more contests in the next 2 days. We're all on a journey out here and I'm ok with everthing if this is a learning experience.

Allen Ginsburg once said this to Jack Kerouac:
You’ll all go flying to the West Coast and come staggering back in search of your stone.
Surely we should, and if we're awake, we will

Say something nice to somebody; instead.....

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Las Vegas

I havent been allowed to talk about this til now. I was one of 16 Eaters chosen to compete in Las Vegas for 3 separate TV Specials on Spike TV. I flew straight from the Hmaburger Contest to Vegas

The big announcement was supposed to be that I was running the Vegas Marathon in December. I trained all through the end of the summer, but then this thing came up and ironically was in Vegas too. It's burning a week of vacation time, but they are putting me up and paying my wife flew out to enjoy the time and the people.

Thats the whole reason I havent been posting the last few weeks. I've had a million projects I had to finish before I could take a week off and I was all wacked out with excitement because I couldnt talk about it.

I dont think I'll be able to give any details until the shows air, but I'll give everyone a heads up before each one is scheduled. Kobyashi (the hotdog guy from Japan) is here! I'm going to meet him today!

We are very very busy so far filming small segments and graphics. It's soo much fun! I'm competing on camera tonight!

Steakbellie Eats 31 Hamburgers and Feels Better About Himself

Second Place in Georgia!!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

aint THAT the truth (eight words)

its amazing
what you
can get
used to.


I'm a complete lunatic today, but I need you to do me a favor. I know you dont owe me a favore ESPECIALLY after I havent finished the Jalapeno Post (it's half written, half in my head, all spicy). But I swear in the next couple of days it will all make sense where I've been and why I havent had time to post.

So here's the thing I need you to do. I need you say this fact if you can sneak it into a conversation it's even better:

"I need to Eat at Least 30 Hamburgers this Weekend To Keep From Embarrassing Myself"

Are you smiling? It's Silly...RIGHT? Well thats my life. I need to eat at least 30 Hamburgers this weekend to keep from embarrassing myself. I'm totally serious. I'm flying down to Perry Georgia with Wing Kong to compete in a qualifier for the World Hamburger Championship on ESPN. 30 Hamburgers in 8 minutes?

You'll remember last year, Wing Kong and I flew down to Memphis and I only ate 23...boy THOSE were the simple days huh?

Krystal Burgers really runs the best competition on the circuit. They treat you like a million dollars, and they take extraordinary measures to ensure that the contest is fair. Every eater I know really appreciates their efforts.

So if you're interested in reading about the contest go here:

If you're interested in reading about my results on Sunday and not waiting for me to post them when I get a chance go here:

If you'd like the results texted to you right after the contest go here:

Or if you want to watch it on their webcam (not sure if it's working though)

I've been training my ass off since I got back from Chicago, and I intend to make you all proud....

So believe me when I tell you this...this isnt even the biggest announcement I have to make! Not even close!!!

Monday, October 01, 2007

ok, but then what? (eight words)

lets just
be happy.

who could
stop us?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

how old are you? (haiku)

humility now
still cant get it together
insert laugh track here

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Artie Lange in Chicago
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.

We are exiting at the top of a long escalator into a gaggle of 4 Moms with strollers. They are located in an inconsiderate spot for those who wish to exit the escaltor cleanly. "Lady, I Hate Your Baby..." Says Artie Lange, outloud to everyone and noone as he manuvers between their intent conversaions.

I am snickering at the comment, as it is the kind of humor I only get when hanging out with Artie Lange and Wing Kong. We are 3 Dads with Jobs and Mortgages set loose in a foreign town, and instead of drinking beer and chasing women, we will be drinking beer and telling fart jokes for most of the night.

We are in a Department Store in Chicago buying sweatshirts and it is 40 degrees outside. This morning we were in Philadelphia with a seasonable 75 degrees. How is it THAT cold in Mid-September?

Chicago from our Room
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
There is a long serious conversation about how awesome we would look in matching Addidas Jumpsuits.....White tops and bottoms with triple green stripes up the legs and down the arms. I settle. for a Bears sweatshirt, while Wing Kong gets just the Addidas Top.

Wing Kong and I are in Chicago for the La Costeña "Feel the Heat" Jalapeño Eating Challenge. All you can eat Jalapeños for 8 minutes followed by the most harrowing 12 hours of your life. I convinced Kong that nobody would show for this and that we'd have an easy job of placing first, second or third. We're not purposely ducking people, but it can be exhausting to show up at a contest and have to face the top 8 in the world....every time. We are small fish in the very biggest of ponds.

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
It should be noted that a year ago I convinced Kong to fly to Florida for a pretzel contest under the claim of "Who wants to go to Florida in January? (I actually said that) You've got this locked up!" As you might suspect that wasnt the case.

Artie Lange is meeting us here by complete Happenstance. He's in town on business and is kind enough to allow us to crash in the Posh Digs of his Hotel. I mean the hotel is nice....really nice and from the Twenty-Eighth floor we can look down over the Navy Pier and out into the water. It's the kind of nice, that usually wouldnt allow me in the front door. The free room and the cheap flight has made this trip reasonable, and easier to enjoy.

I dont have any real memories of the Great Lakes and I am just astounded how much it is like an ocean. Artie loves architecture and shares his passionate affection for this city as we walk down Michigan Ave. Chicago is the most amazing of towns, and there is a new skyscraper going up on nearly every city block.

Real Deep-Dish from Giordanos
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Now typically, it is my preference to fast for 24 hours before an eating contest. That doesnt work for everyone, some people just fast for 3 or 4 hours. In this case however I listened to advice from the holder of the Jalapeno 8-Minute World Record and made sure I had something in me for those hot peppers to land on. Deep Dish Pizza.

Why cant they make Deep Dish Pizza like this anywhere else? Do you need special air or water that only exists in Chicago? WHY??? Will I be doomed to trek back to Chicago the next time I need a slice of Heaven? We ate at Giordanos and I've never had anything like it. The crust was something you WANTED to eat.

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Later we went to Millenium Park and saw "The Bean" It's an enourmous mirrored coffee bean that you can walk up to and touch. Artie thinks it's such a great piece of artwork, because of the way it draws people to it. We look all around and there are hundreds of folks poking it, tpuching it, standing under it...all of them interacting with it and taking pictures. Because it's reflective it takes on the properties of the city, in fact if you wanted to paint or drawn it, you would be defining the Bean by drawing the reflected city. Put this thing in a field or suburbs and it will look very different. Having been an illustrator, I find The Bean fascinating and come back in the morning to watch how the light changes it.

The Bean
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Artie is very familiar with both our careers and comes to nearly all our local events. He knows the cast of characters and the latest news of who has won what. In the days before the contest we've learned the names of many top eaters who will likely show, and it has become apparent that this is not a gimme. We talk contest strategy, what's the best way to eat a pepper, how much chewing before you can swallow. How much can you hold in your stomach before something bad happens.

The Wicked Witch of the East
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Having never eating that many, we are mostly concerned about the aftermath and how we prevent an ecological disaster happening on the flight home 4 hours after the contest. I have no fear about the contest itself. I know that it would have been smarter to stay the night in Chicago, possiblly at the Hospital or Firehouse, but I was expected at work the next morning.

Kong in the Bean
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
My theory is that the volume of pepper mash is going to run through me like a "The China Syndrome" where a nuclear reactor goes critical and burns a hole straight down through the middle of the earth. I spend the day drinking shots of Malox and milk products. I take antacids. I figure I need to coat my entire digestive tract with some kind of base to chemically counteract the coming fire. There's lots of jokes, but really, this is scarey.

Oh Boy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Blues

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Floyd, The tattoo on my arm still applies to you.

feeling it (eight words)

good news
has gotten

go get 'em!

where are your priorities?????

so busy I havent had time to finish the Jalapeno write-up or even talk like a Pirate yesterday. Thats sad.

Monday, September 17, 2007

more eveidence that I am alive

I flew in from Chicago last night at 2am and somehow made it to work this morning. The Jalapeno Pepper Contest went well and more importantly I survived the plane ride home without embarrassing myself any more than normal.

I'll write about this experience tomorrow as it was very rich and needs some time taken with it.

I'm completely in love with Chicago.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This Weekend's Hot Pepper Contest

I'm getting the inklling
that I'm going to learn
what all of you
already know.....

the hard way

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Heat

A year and a half ago, I wrote a funny article on things you shouldnt eat (but that I had).

When I was in grade school, I would stare into the fridge when I was bored. If there was nothing to eat, I'd take hot sauce and put it on a piece of bread. I'd keep eating Hot Sauce & Bread until I was sweaty and in pain. See? Boredom Gone.

My ability to withstand & actually enjoy hotsauce grew with me over time and by college people would bring me hotsauce the same way you might buy a friend a bottle of wine or beer. I always assumed that I would find my way into some Hot Chili Eating Contest at some Texas Sate Fair or something. I hadnt thought about Competitve Eating.

This weekend I continue my Competitve Eating career with a Jalapeno Eating Contest. If you like Hot Peppers, than you consider Jalapenos to be Entry Level stuff. These ones will be pickled, so the heat wont be too bad. The problem of course will be in the QTY.

I've been so bogged down with freelance work and life I havent had a chance to properly train for this, but I hope to get a run in soon to see whats involved. The world record is close to 200 Peppers. I would like to eat more than 100, but that's an uneducated guess as I've never competed in them before. It sounds like a good number though.

I expect to get sweaty and also for the boredom to be gone. More later.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Patronus is a Beer Can (American Sonnet)

we came together and remembered each other with urgency
there was touch and long clutching hugs meant to last forever
and eye contact in the simpliest of goodbyes

old friends used the word 'love', baffled by the distance a day before
and swore to never let the gap widen again

we knew time, and cried together for strangers who died in fear
choking at the stories of those who could be courageous
wondering in our beds, how we would have fared in that burning debris

People acted in defiance of hate and made comitments of love
Can you remember how wonderfully human we were?


We've calloused since and added to the crime, one-thousand fold
Liars impress us with their bodycounts and stay the course to hell

The dust cloud is approaching fast and the Dementors are circling
Summon My Patronus

WTC Skin

virtually impotent

Saturday, September 08, 2007

go go go (haiku)

angels wings prop wash
dont be scared, be inspired
your last chance to live

Thursday, September 06, 2007

boredom (eight words)

i tire
of kicking
the retards.
join them?

somewhere out there (haiku)

my oldest
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
wearing the good shoes
leaving defeat behind him
he headed out west

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

First Day of School (eight words)

she worried
he would
eat lunch

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My Labor Day Weekend

I've been building a Particle Accelerator in my basement over the last year. I told my wife that it was the Hot Water Heater.

Since it went online a month ago I've been spending my weekends down there. I'll invite a few guys from the neighborhood over and we'll get drunk and fire off streams of alpha particles at atoms of Gold or Strontium hoping to split it apart and maybe make some 'Anti-Matter' or something cool. It does make little sparks but I'm not sure what they are.

The neighborhood guys dont know much about Nuclear Physics either but they get a kick out of the noise made from the two ton, rotating electromagnet. I constructed it out of 40,000 refrigerator magnets and an 400 AMP wire straight from the pole. The sound is like a super deep growl of some predator and makes the hair on your arms stand up. Micah says it reminds him of his Mother-in-Law.

Everyone has to remove all of their jewelry and coins before they come down the steps or get sucked into the thing. It's already got a couple of cases of bottle caps stuck to it. I'm worried about someone getting hurt or my accelerator looking kind of 'low-class'. They probably don't have these problems at CERN.

My next-door neighbor is a real douche-bag. He's house is for sale because my kids walk on his lawn. He'd flip if he knew about the accelerator. Somtimes I aim the stream of sub-atomic partics up through the ground into his parked car. It doesnt do anything, but make me feel better.

A couple of nights ago we fired the thing into a slice of old meatloaf that had been sitting in my fridge for awhile. The Meatloaf disappeared immediately but showed up again a few minutes later with a bite taken out of it. That was weird.

Rob took a bite of the Meatloaf and declared it was 'Anti-Meatloaf'. I told him it was still just regular Meatloaf but that my wife had used crushed up 'Honey-Nut Cheerios' instead of Breadcrumbs. I don't think he was convinced.

My Dog, Larry, ate the rest of the Meatloaf so we'll never know. Rob says we should look around the backyard for some 'Anti-Poop'.

More Later

Skot Helt, Email Me

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Message Sent

I have successfully given blood and it was easy. I feel good, and I learned a bunch. My pint of blood weighs a pound. My blood is red. My red blood count is 39. My one pint can be used to help up to three different people. I shouldnt have sex with men born or living in Africa. I shouldnt have sex with Republican Senators either.

I did choose to send a Bio-Chemical Message to the receipient, however. It wasnt the 20 HotDogs.

The Message was this: Ham on Rye.


I'm donating blood in a few hours. I havent done it in a few years, but I saw a Red Cross person in my office building signing people up for appointments, and I think it's a good habit to get into....Especially if I want to consider myself a Humanist.

It's got me thinking about the recipient.

I want to send them a message, but I doubt that the Red Cross would include a haiku on my blood bag. I considered sending a Chemical Message by eating 20 HotDogs about an hour before donating. That would be funny, but in reality a hotdog hangover is probably not a good idea for someone in need of blood. Maybe I'll just think happy thoughts and allow some endorphins to flow out with the red stuff.

So what am I giving them?
Lots of good things, even some of my antibodies from the diseases I've fought over my lifetime. I wonder if their body can utilize them?

I'm probably also giving them some bad things. Lead, Mercury, Iron, maybe some active sickness like a Cold. I stopped taking my Blood Pressure Medicine for acouple of Days so I dont give them uneeded Pharmaceuticals. I can remember my Dad donating Blood when I was a boy, and that he would take a Vitamin beforehand. I thought that was considerate.

I took a vitamin this morning too.

Whoever you are. Enjoy this stuff, I made it myself!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Methinks the lady doth protest to much (eight words)

gay hating
Senator actually
just gay.

any more?

Monday, August 27, 2007

people can fight over anything (eight words)

your shoe
is here,
where you
left it

go (haiku)

how do we get stuck
clutching to dumb dumb details
missing all the fun

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.

How can I ever thank you enough (eight words)

this is the world's
carbonated water

Sunday, August 26, 2007

from Kurt

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

context is everything (eight words)

can you hold it
till we get home?

now why would you do that? (eight words)

we save
our cruelest
words for
loved ones

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

shitsstorm in the server room (eight words)

at least
pretend to work urgently

for me

Monday, August 20, 2007

Then There's That OTHER thing (eight words)

Only the
little people
pay taxes
- Leona Helmsley

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Pretzel Nub that almost saved a Million lives (American Sonnet)

All of the 'Values Voters'
have scratched off the Bush/Cheney 04 stickers
hoping to blend in and that we might forget
all the times they said 'love it or leave it'

They called us unamerican for questioning their president at all

Now they just give a stupid shrug
when we ask about the war they voted for

They smirk because they know that we are stuck sharing the blame
we screamed that we didnt want it
with impotent fury
but because we couldnt stop them
history will not be kind to us

order me up some of your Freedom Fries, Asshole
better SuperSize it

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

you better, you better, you bet

When I said 'Thats a great idea'
I meant to say 'I Hate Your Fucking Guts'
but I misspoke
sorry for the confusion

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Glass Castle

My wife and I are extrememly careful never to read the books we recommend for each other. I made an exception with this book because it was short and I figured that people in glass castles might sometimes walk around naked.

Great freaking book. It's about the Author's childhood. It's a HORRIBLE childhood but when seen through the eyes of a little girl who didnt know any different it was sweet in some ways. I wont ruin any of it for you, it's worth reading the back cover if you come accross it.

It's Chick Lit but no shirtless Fabio Sex Scenes. Sorry.

I'm reading 'Water for Elephants' now on her recomendation too and laughing.

Monday, August 13, 2007

dreaming of something new

kicking around a few ideas for what i could do with the rest of my life. I think I'd like something where I make a difference on a Human Level, and not necessarily just a Financial one for some Corporation.

I think I could be a teacher. I like the schedule and am familiar with the role. I know many teachers and feel comfortable with them. I think I could be an effective Junior High Science Teacher.
1. Summers Off,
2. Being a man, I could probably have an edge to getting hired as most teachers are still women.
3. Summers Off
4. Home before 5pm!
5. Could probably get an Emergency Cert if I agreed to teach in one of the Horrible City Schools.
1. Wouldnt make enough money to cover my current expenses.
2. (From Birdy)Thankless work to reach the one or two kids that care and deal with the bullshit of the 15 or 20 that think you're stupid and don't know what you're talking about.

I would probably be a very good nurse. I thrive under pressure, and can be empathetic.
1. Some science involved
2. LOTS of hospitals in Philly in need of Nurses
3. Comfy work clothes
4. Everyone will assume I'm a Doctor
5. BUSY enough to keep the voices out of my head.
6. Decent money these days
7. Get to poke people with stuff
8. (From Birdy) job security
1. A few years of schooling to make the transition.
2. Wacky schedule
3.(From Birdy)sickness and death and depression

I've always thought this would be a great job
1. Get to kick down doors
2. Get to do something very physical and expend energy
3. Hold onto a speeding truck
4. Fire
1. Dont know if they make enough money for my current level of expenses.
2. Dont know about schedule

Thursday, August 09, 2007

feel free to drive home drunk too (haiku)

wear your own perfume
celebrate your clothing line
you deserve our praise

shiva (haiku)

the unfinished work
spiraling into ether
not to be realized

Wednesday, August 08, 2007



a week ago I was riding my bike up a mountain.

I've got a chest cold now and mixed with the unbelievable heat/humidity/pollution I'm having a hard time walking a full block without getting out of breath. This must be what Asthma is like. Wow it sucks.

Kinda interferes with my running plans.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

refusal (eight words)

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
my body
is trying
to kill me


Monday, August 06, 2007

Be Patient (eight words)

you thought
you hit
the bottom?

so sweet.


Friday, July 27, 2007

For Now and Eventually for Eternity

lake pleasant
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
I'm going on Vacation.

YAY for me.

This will be my 37th Consecutive Summer visiting this lake in Upstate NY. My wife has gone for 15 years. My Dad has gone for about 40 years. My Mom wins the prize for going for 60+ Years!

Eventually my sons will get to dump my ashes in the middle of this Lake, and then I wont have to endure the 6 hour car ride each way. I'm hoping that they will launch me out of a Potato Cannon if it can be arrainged. They are creative and will think of something cool by then. So it goes.

Camp always marks the begining of the Year for me. Happy New Year Everyone! Thanks for the kind words and thoughts....

and beyond

Seems some of these Astronauts get loaded before a launch.

They are highly trained in what happens during a launch, and with that much power shooting through their assholes....I think it's probably humane to allow them to get loaded first.

It's not like they have to even do anything but breathe and pretend they didnt shit themselves for the first few hours anyway. Come on's to the Crew!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Table 3 - Hilton Hotel - Islen, New Jersey 2007 (American Sonnet)

you know in New Jersey
the bride and the groom
are still introduced
to Bon Jovi's 'Livin on a Prayer'

they are so young
and so in love
you cant help but
stand on your chair and yell

if we could dance to
'Thunder Road'
we would

take my hand
we'll make it
I swear

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Steve Caratzas Interviews Steakbellie

Steve Caratzas, perpetual perfector of the eight word poem, has wasted his time sending me 5 Interview Questions. Here are my answers

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
The very first thing I ever wanted to be was a Garbage Man. A little girl who lived next to my Great Uncle was going to work with me and we'd get to hold onto the back of that truck as it drove up and down the streets of the neighborhood. I still think it would be an awesome job. I was probably 4 or 5.

Later on I wanted to become a Astronaut or Astronomer...

2. Andy Warhol: genius or charlatan?
I dont know if I can answer that directly. He contributed alot to Pop-Art and got some people to talk about Commercial Design being represented as actual art. I take it as an extention to DuChamp's "Ready-mades". Anytime you can put art or a concept into the hands of the everyday person it's progress.

I know alot less about his social life and outside of imagery projects. I think he screwed with alot of people though, and just wanted to see how far he could go and still be taken seriously. I think thats pretty funny. I'm more likely to put him in the genius category just for screwing with everybody.

3. Action movie preference (you must choose one): Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Segal or Chuck Norris.
It's offensive that you have to ask that question. Chuck Norris, duh.

4. Please create your snuff film star moniker by
taking the first name of the first person you hated
and add it to the last name of the last person you
borrowed money from.

Steven Steakbellie'sMom

5. Worse instrument to be used in a rock setting:
flute or xylophone?

I think potentially it's the flute. You really cant get much volume out of it and it's all whispy and awkward looking. I played trumpet, I like something you can get all brash and creshendo on.

Put Neil Pert on an Xylophone and I think you can rock the house.

Another Brilliant Card from INDEXED

Monday, July 23, 2007

No cancer found in Bush's colon

That was an actual AP headline today. I imagine it was good news for some, it was humor for me.

anticipation (eight words)

worst day of your life?
theres still time.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Found Her Mate!

Plan B
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Some people notice cars.
Some watch birds.
I pay attention to bikes.

When a car flys by on the Highway, I'll speed up to see what bikes are on the roof rack. I check out the frames on bike trails. Bike Races.

I dont know if it's still the practice, but TREK would release it's bicycles in a color that was specific to the year and the configuration. I've seen 20 Trek 1000's of the same vintage and a dozen 1200's. I've seen 2 1420's, but in 15 years I've never seen another 1991 Trek 1400, in fact it's a pretty rare bike in any year. (the newer 1400's are Carbon and I dont consider them in the same lineage as these Aluminum frames.)

So yesterday, I am CRANKING my ass out of Philadelphia and into the headwinds of a coming storm. I see a bike that looks a hell of alot like mine 8 or 9 cars up. I catch the guy by the next light, and wow! It's the same freaking bike!

How does something so stupid make my whole week??????


As my wife will testify from many years of agrivated observance, I dont talk to or meet new people very well, in fact it scares the shit out of me. The fact that I was so moved as to say anything to this guy was it's own miracle that will soon be recognized with a Federal Holiday.

Because I start out in Center City, the first twenty minutes of my ride home are the most hectic as there is no time to warm up. I have to sprint as soon as the first light turns green. At 5:30 the road is radiating all of the heat it collected that day with the mixing car/bus exhausts it just feels like there is no oxygen to be had. Being a fatass doesnt help either.

Like a Neanderthal marveling at the caves of Lascoux, I point a wet arm at his bike frame.

"SWEET" I say.
He's about my age but instead of biking clothes he is in just shorts and a t-shirt. He looks at my frame and is visibly shocked (and out of breathe as well).

The light turned green and I went as fast as possible to stay ahead of the SEPTA bus that was trying to kill me. He must have stopped or turned.

I often think about that day (ok it was yesterday) and wish I had said something more, but I'm not really what more communication would have been possible other than "UGHHH"

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Day 4

I took yesterday off from biking because it was storming when I woke up. I was back at it today and very happy to see I had more gas in the can then in previous days. Nice to know I havent completely lost my ability to improve my fitness level. Cant wait to ride home...just gotta endure all the bullshit between rides...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

bored (haiku)

caffeine wont help this
with vanilla indifference
my eyes are closing

we all expect some basic things (eight words)

if i shit my pants,
will you mind?

rattle, clunk (eight words)

Your robot revolution
is sadly lacking
any flair

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
So there's news. Twice a year the IFOCE updates their rankings for Competitive Eaters. The big news is that everyone is talking about is that I've just moved from 39th up to 22nd. (OK, nobody is really talking about it but my kids because the BIG news is that Joey Chestnut is finally ranked above Takeru Kobayashi (the Japanese Hotdog Guy))

There was alot of debate if Joey should move ahead of him after only defeating him in a single contest, but I think this is fair as Joey competes several times a month (and almost always wins let alone set new world records) and Koby has only shown up in the US once since the last rankings. They are expected to meet again in the fall in the Krystal Burger Finals.

For me though, it's kind of cool to be ranked this high. The higher the ranking the more thought and math went into the decision. While I think 1 or 2 people behind me should ahead of me, I also think 1 or 2 ahead of me should be behind me. It's a pretty fair ranking.

There still a HUGE disparity between the top 8 (or so) Eaters and all the rest. In some cases they are exponentially better. I went to a wing contest a few months ago and Joey Chestnut ate more than me by a factor of 3! Next time I eat against him I will try to only get beat by double. (isnt that crazy????)

Wing Kong is 18th!!!!!!


Plan B
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
I'm back to riding my bike to work again. By Friday evening I will have pedaled 100 miles this week. It's only day 2 and I'm freaking beat....happy but tired...that heat just sucks the power out of the legs.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Time for a 'No President Left Behind"

How the hell is hitting zero of sixteen benchmarks a 'mixed' report card? Not one? You couldnt get ONE thing done?


So the party was good?

Thirty Gallons
of Gin and Tonic
cant be wrong

Friday, July 13, 2007

Equal Quantities (eight words)

Water currently on Mars.
Beer currently in Fridge.

For those of you that believe everything happens for a reason (American Sonnet)

Always the signs:
I have stood in the corn at the 'Field of Dreams' in Iowa
and wrote 'Baseball is from Satan' in the Guestbook

Days later I biked to Chicago and sat with the Players Families
At Wrigley Field I saw the Cubs beat the Phillies

People always give me Baseball Tickets
And I always go, despite everything

God is sending me to the Phillies game tonight, Friday the 13th 2007
I am to bear witness to them as they earn their 10,000th loss
I dont even know who they are playing

This horrible game has been around long enough to achieve that?

I am Jonah about to be spit onto the beaches of Nineva
Finally, tonight I let them all know
What I really think of them

Like I Said....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Look! Something Shiny!

President bush is in some serious trouble with his ratings and his inability to conduct any kind of business in a legal way. Look for that stoopid colored Terror Warning Scale to come back bigtime like they used it when they needed people scared before the election.

Somehow seems appropriate

"I've got the world up my ass
and i'm gonna move fast
be the first
won't be the last
i've got the world up my ass"

-Circle Jerks
"World up my Ass"

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
this is me 60 minutes before the Nathans Qualifier

Monday, July 09, 2007

End of a hot day

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
I fall into the chair and you crawl into my lap and feel bad for me that I dont get the summer off. The sorrow is so genuine that it's sweet. I love that you can have compassion.

Your sun-bleached hair smells like the summers of my own youth.

Chlorine and Sunscreen.

It's so familiar, and rushes images of running barefoot in the grass and getting in trouble for cannonballing the shallow end. My feet got hard and smooth from standing on Blacktop.

Mom would pack sandwiches, and I'd get a bomb pop from the snack bar. I'm proud that you can have the same, and makes my long days worthwhile.

Friday, July 06, 2007

cant get away (eight words)

really annoying
the shit
out of
myself today

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Originally uploaded by Liz is Working.
I have to tell you how humbled I am with Joey Chestnuts performance yesterday. Sixty-six Hotdogs and buns in twelve minutes is just unfathomable. We can all laugh because it's really just a guy eating Hotdogs, but I marvel at how the Human Mind and Body can be trained to perform such a feat.

I dont think I could COOK sixty-six Hotdogs without getting sick.

The show was pretty fun and Wing Kong and I had many laughs with my wife and sons during the pregame show. Some of my favorites:

A newly Clean-Cut 'Eater X' standing in from of the camera whistling. I mean who whistles anymore? Wing Kong on his new shave and haircut? "Looks like somebody has an interview on Thursday"

Tim Brown showing up to eat at the table wearing a suit!

During introductions, Crazy Legs Conti started pulling a ribbon from his mouth like a magic trick, and pulled a good 15ft out before he reached his spot at the table.

During introductions, Eater X held up a sign saying 'On the 7th Day God created Hartford' a referemce to his Qualifing City and probably his dedication to the now defunct Whalers Hockey Team. Pretty Tame stuff....until at the last second he flipped the sign over and it read 'hermonie dies...'. That of course is reference to the Harry Potter Finale and all the speculation that surrounds what will happen at the end. I was so caught off-guard that I laughed for several minutes thinking of 100,000 13-yearold girls screaming. Brilliant!

Humble Bob flashed his belly during the intros, teasing how some of the skinny Eaters like to show off their stomachs.

During the Ten-Second countdown to the begining ESPN, thosands of chanted 'Six, Five, Four...'at which point Pat Philnbin, the comic from Opie & Anthony (who is famous for Mugging at the crowd Three Stooges style DURING competitions) gets up and walks AWAY from the table as if he's oblivious...and not getting back to his plate moments after the contest started.

I had to get out of my chair for the contest, I was so nervous/excited.

In the first 60 seconds of a contest I can eat 5 HotDogs and Buns. I'm really proud of that. I go way down hill from there, but I had always assumed that Joey and Koby ate about 7 in the first minute. They each were above 10 in the first minute and Joey was at 20 at the 2 minute mark. WOW. Thats hard to imagine....

This was the first contest in which EVERYONE broke 20.

I think in the end it was pretty clear that Koby wasnt injured in any way as he added 10 HDB's to his total. He had a slight reversal at the end, and probably should have been DQ'd, but it's good for CE if he wasnt. It's bad for Pat Bertoletti though who only gets $2,500 for third as opposed to $5,000 for second.

Koby waited 6 years for someone to be able to eat as much as him, and now that he's been dethroned, I anticipate him to come roaring back for a rematch next year. That was really fun to watch, but the reality is that I would rather have been there competing. I dont mind losing, it would be an honor to lose to those guys!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

2007 Nathans Hotdog Championship

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Tomorrow is the biggets event in Competitive Eating. While not the best run (I'd vote for Krystal Burger) or the most money, it remains the most visible contest in CE. This is the contest to be in. Eaters pay their own way to go to up to 3 different Qualifiers to reach the finals. The Finals are held accross the country (and world) and it can be expensive to find one that isnt loaded with top competitors.

If you watch it on ESPN, the coverage should start at 12 noon and show lots of background and intros. Most of the contest will cover Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi's rivalry. I also expect a subplot pitting America's top 2 female Eaters Sonya Thomas and Juliet Lee at odds.

There are many wonderful people at this table besides these four, and despite not getting any camera time or even having a shot in hell of winning, they will push themselves as hard as they ever have. Prize Money is finally being offered but only for the top 5 finishers. I think they should offer prize money down to the last Eater for the finals, so that there is incentive to come in 11th instead of 12th...otherwise why bother? An eater named Jed Donahue only ate 1 HotDog last year in the finals. I was angry at first but then respected what he did...why hurt yourself when there is zero at stake? I think that helped start the rallying cry amongst the Eaters for actual prize money.

Takeru Kobayashi lives in Japan and doesnt speak English. He comes to the US 2 or 3 times a year to compete in some of our contests. He is revered by the other eaters for his accomplishments and for his insistance that CE be treated like a real sport. Kobayashi himself treats it like a Professional sport, and now most of the Eaters emulate his fitness and training.

Three things happened this year that have drummed up a wave of excitement about this contest.

Kobayashi's Mother passed away in March. There was speculation on a Japanese Blog somewhere that Koby was depressed and not even training anymore. Someone translated it roughly into English and the American Eaters gabbed like School Girls.

Joey Chestnut ate 59.5 HotdogsEveryone but the Champion must requalify each year to make the finals. The old record was 53.75 set by Kobayashi himself at the finals. Joey did this at his qualifier this year. Once again HUGE speculation amongst the eaters, Kobayashi has NEVER been beaten in America, Joey has risen to Koby's level, can Koby rise even further or has his capacity peaked?

You may have heard about this a few months ago when it happened, it was all over the news and a big deal in my neighborhood, as Joey came out partying with us after the WingBowl. Everybody loves him now.

A story broke that Koby has Lockjaw Another rumor based on something written in Japanese on a blog. While it may be based on a seed of truth, it's been pushed very heavily to generate excitement over wheather he will rise to meet Joey's challenge. Idont know any of the true facts here, but I expect
koby to compete and prepared to win.

Here's what Major Leauge Eating (the IFOCE) has to say about the contest.

"Since 2004, ESPN has covered the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at 12:00 noon on July 4th. This year's contest may well be the most highly anticipated matchup in the event's storied 92-year history. Takeru Kobayashi, the Japanese eating sensation who has won the contest for the past six years, has finally met his match. Joey Chestnut, a baby-faced boy-next-door from San Jose, California, has accomplished the impossible - not just breaking Kobayashi's record of 53.75 hot dogs and buns (HDBs), but shattering it, downing 59.5. American competitive eating fans sense that the coveted Mustard Yellow International Belt will finally return to American shores. This year, Nathan's Famous is putting up $20,000 in prize money to inspire and drive the competitors to their full eating abilities."

Here's the line-up and where they qualified (HDB stands for 'HotDog and Buns'):

Takeru Kobayashi, 53.75 HDB's, 2006 Champion
Always the favorite. He will be sitting in the center of the table. I've never competed agianst him or even met him.

Joey Chestnut, 59.5 HDB's, Tempe, AZ
A great guy out of San Jose. Only 23 years old, and is the only person ever to rise to Koby's level. He's eaten 2x of what I've eaten and more in some competitions. He looks like he's in serious pain when he eats, and you can damn sure bet he is willing to push himself when you and I would stop. When I first heard that he ate 59.5, I was so stunned that I stopped training for two weeks. Joey will sit next to Koby. My favorite Joey moment was when he drank a gallon of milk in 43 seconds to get into the WingBowl.

Pat Bertoletti, 46 HDB's, Las Vegas, NV
A culinary student from Chicago. You'll recognize him by his Mohawk haircut and headphones. Another favorite in my town for partying with my friends after WingBowl, hopefully he'll get some respect from ESPN, I mean 46 Hotdogs????? I cant help but smile when I see Pat. Afew weeks ago he ate 15.25 lbs of Strawberry Shortcake in 10 minutes.

Tim Janus, 41.5 HDB's, E. Hartford, CT
Tim paints a facemask on his face for events that is typically color coded to the event itself. A good guess will be Red White and Blue for the forth of July. The facemask is remeniscent of 'The Ultimate Warrioir' in Wrestling. He's been credited with many innovations in CE and I that comes from a Scientists curiosty about the world. Hypothesis, Test.
MTV has featured him in a documentary and surprisingly he's somewhat reserved and quiet in mixed company. He's always said nice stuff to me.
Women LOVE him.

Chip Simpson, 39.25 HDB's, Sunrise, FL
Chip just earned a doctorate in Physical Therapy this year! (Mom, How bad could this be if a Doctor is doing it?) Chip is built like an athlete, and has a stone face when competing. He wants to win. Everytime. I expect Chip to eat over 45 dogs at the table.

Sonya Thomas, 36 HDB's, Philadelphia, PA
Probably the second most important person to Competitive Eating. Sonya only weighs 100lbs but can eat more than 5 men. People who watch her eat NEVER forget what they saw. She is sweet and friendly when away from the table. They call her 'The Black Widow' My favorite stunt of hers was when she ate 65 hardbpoiled eggs in 6 minutes!

Rich LeFevre, 34 HDB's, San Francisco, CA
Rich is a retired Accountant who lives in LasVegas with the lovely Carlene. He's probably the only guy here that doesnt even train. He's in his Sixties and is always a fan favorite. Probably only weighs 130lbs. They call him 'The Locust'

Bob Shoudt, 32 HDB's, West Chester, PA
Bob is the best Eater out of Philadelphia and PA for that matter. He's always been kind and encouraging to me and Wing Kong. I'm always impressed at how he can do this at such a high level and still be a family guy. (he's the first one listed here that has children that I am aware of) Just my fooling around with this sport has proven stressful on the family, so it speaks alot about the support he gets from his wife and children to do this for 3+ years. They call him 'Humble Bob'

Hall Hunt, 28.75 HDB's, Charlotte, NC
Hall is possibly the proudest Florida Gator you'll find. A year ago I would have told you that he was about my level and somebody I could beat on a good day. His improvement to 28.75, made that claim pretty hard to live up to. Hall listens to the soundtrack of 'Repo Man' continuously prior to competeting. I dont get it.

Arturo Rios, 27.5 HDB's, New York, NY
'The Natural' grew up a couple of towns away from me in New Jersey. He's a father of three, and really is a natural Eater. Two weeks ago he ate 21 against me at the Molly Pitcher Qualifier. A week later he improved to 27.5 whatever....

Pat Philbin, 27 HDB's, Cranbury, NJ
Pat is one of the few Big Guys at the table. Watch how he eats, he starts out slow, and keeps the same pace as all the sprinters get full and stop. He's a comedian and has a large fan-base from being on the 'Opie and Anthony' radio show.

Erik Denmark, 26.5 HDB's in regulation, 3.5 in OT, Flushing, NY
I know Erik only through email as he lives in Seattle and we dont go to much of the same contests. Like Hall, I was sure I could beat him on a good day. He improved so much it would have to be a VERY good day. Like Chip Simpson he seems to have mental toughness and I would not be too surprised (only jealous) to see him break 30.

Juliet Lee, 26 HDB's, Norfolk, VA
Juliet's two daughters and her husband travel with her to all of her competitions. She's been doing this less than a year and has already made a huge impact. I dont know why there arent more women competitors, but I'm grateful to have her at the table. You'll remember she beat me at the contest I went to in Myrtle Beach a few months back. Look for them to possibly seat her next to Sonya, so they can stoke the rivalry.

Crazy Legs Conti, 24 HDB's, Bloomington, MN
A special person to CE, Crazy Legs has been around for more than 6 years, in a sport that wears people out in 2 or 3 years. He has competed in nearly every type of food and holds or has held records of all types. I appreciate his wit and am always impressed by his ability to talk on camera. There's a documentary about his life that played at the TriBecca film festival, and I believe that it has just gone on sale as a DVD.

Dale Boone, 21 HDB's, Atlanta, GA
I've never met Dale, but he's said nasty things to many people I respect. He plays the badguy, and is a loudmouth. He wears a Coonskin hat and rings a big bell. A positive thing I can say is that he isnt afraid to sign his name to mean comments, when others just post anonymously.

Allen Goldstein, Avg. of 25.33 HDB's, Wildcard
An 'Old School' Eater out of New York. One of the first people to prove that you dont have to be a fat-ass to do this at a professional level. Allen is built like a tank, and has worked hard year after year to get his numbers this high.

Tim Brown, Avg. of 24.67 HDB's, Wildcard
I dont know a damned thing about Tim other than he's from Chicago. I hope to meet him this year.

So there's alittle about the people at the table. I will try to add links to their photos for the ones that I have. All of them are very interesting!

I will be watching (and feeling left out) from home with Wing Kong, and we will be eating Hotdogs and yelling at the damned TV with a bunch of kids and barking dogs. Enjoy!