Saturday, May 31, 2008

Eigth Grade Dance

Eighth Grade Dance
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
My son went to the 8th Grade Dance last night. Not sure I like that he's growing up so much. Gonna take some getting used to.

Friday, May 30, 2008

we just got him another shelf because he has too many trophies

Man: You know I used to swim too.
Boy: Where you any good?
Man: No.
Boy: What was your best stroke.
Man: Breast Stroke, I wasnt bad at that.
Boy: How many medals did you win?
Man: None.
Boy: How many races did you win?
Man: None.


Boy: (frustrated) Didnt you play soccer too?
Man: Yup, for twelve years.
Boy: How many trophies do you have?
Man: None.
Boy: How many goals did you score?
Man: None.
Boy: (exasperated) You didnt score ANY goals in 12 years? Thats more years than I've been alive!
Man: Yup.

(silence, as boy eyes man trying to figure if he's being lied to)

Boy: Where you good at ANYTHING?


Woman: You take after Mommy, honey.
Man: Yup.

gripping sand (American Sonnet)

they are leaving
one by one

with all my desperation
holding myself
and rocking back and forth
i cant think of words
or actions
that can stop them
from growing up
and away

do they know
that I am a fragmented core
of fraud
and fear

Late Commute (American Sonnet)

She has stretch mark spidering across her upper arm
and shoulder

Tattooed over top of these marks:
‘The Truth’

I am fascinated by her
I wonder about the night she chose those words
and does it mean the same thing to her
as it did back then

it’s two stops before I realize that she isn’t out of breath at all
but quietly crying

tears streaking down her face
from beneath her oversized sunglasses

I wonder where she’s going
And where she’s been

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lace em up!

Saturday marks my first Athletic Event of the year. I had wanted to run the 10 Mile Broad Street Run, but got all scewed up with the surgery and all. So this is a humble 5K and I'm really not all that prepared. I'll finish easily but my time will be pretty horrendus. Oh well.

My sons are running this too. For the first time I expect all three of them to beat me. New Milestone in my decline.

The 14 year old can run a 5:21 Mile, and I will try my best to not have my time be DOUBLE his. Fat Chance.

The funny thing is that the run goes through my neighborhood and past my house. After paying for the four of us to run this Saturday through our own neighborhood, I pointed out that the race is free if we choose to run it on Sunday. No laughs. It's either not funny or nobody understands me anymore.

I'm considering running the Philly Marathon again this year, so if Saturday is successful (I dont die) then I might consider doing that mess to myself again.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Her Name is Earl

Actress Sharon Stone just pondered if the Earthquake in China was a reaction to Bad Karma built up over China's treatment of Tibet. What a freaking disconnect from humanity this woman must have. Nearly 100,000 have died and MILLIONS are without any kind of shelter. Those are figures to massive for us to really understand, but we can still have compassion for a stranger. Sharon Stone thinks Tectonic Plates were moved because of some Polical Decision. We'd be in more trouble than China if that were the case.

I can relate to Karma in a small way. If you do bad things to people, you probably hang out with bad people. You have an increased likelyhood of bad things happening to you yourself because of the environment and conditions you put yourself in. "Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword" Somebody will want revenge for what you have done, or one of your bad people friends will turn on you.

Thinking that there is some sort of Accounting of good and bad and then some sort of Justice done, is just a backhanded way for an Atheist to believe in God. A Genderless, Raceless, Humorless version of course. It's not a far reach to 'Intelligent Design' from there or even 'Intelligent Gravity' for that matter.

A few Christian Televangelists made similar disgusting suggestions saying that Hurricane Katrina was caused by Homosexuality. God was punishing us for being bad. How come he doesnt pushish people that tell lies to start wars? Now that would be a religeon I would send my money to.

Want to know my ideal version of Karma?
George Bush lives in a Toxic Katrina Trailer with nothing but Jesus, for Healthcare.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Three Hundred Miles of What Went Wrong

A Short Play

A bearded man wearing a kilt is in a convenience store in Pittsburgh. In his shopping cart is five yellow paper plates with five cooked hot dogs and buns on each. The cashier is a very attractive girl and is watching him place each plate on the checkout belt.

Cashier: "Wow, thats a lot of Hot Dogs, are those all for you?"
Man: (Confidently) "Yeah, I figure this should be enough, it's hard to satisfy me ya know"
Cashier: (Impressed) "Are you from around here, I think I'd remember you"
Man: (still placing plates on the belt) "I'm actually from Philadelphia. I travel around alot. I'm a pretty big deal deal."
Cashier: "What's that you're wearing?"
Man: "This old thing? It's my Kilt. I'm half Scottish"
Cashier: (Smiling) "Wow..."
Man: I'm also Hungarian, but I like to tell people I'm only hungry on the inside"
(They both laugh out loud)

Cashier:" Thats $25 for all those hot dogs"

Man fumbles through his Sporan. Finds a bill but is still looking for more money. More people get in line. The Cashiers smile becomes stressed.

Man: (Embarrassed) "Gosh, I dont know what happened, I must have left the rest of my money at home, I have a Twenty Dollar Bill though, I'll just get twenty hot dogs this time, Twenty is still alot of hot dogs.

Cashier: (slightly annoyed) "Yeah, thats alot"

Man hands the Cashier the Twenty and starts to put away his wallet.
Cashier: "Ummmm..."
Man: "What?"
Cashier: "This is a Canadian Twenty."
Man: (flabberghasted) "Huh?, I uh..."
(Next person in Line Sighs Audibly)
Cashier: "You can only get Seventeen Hot Dogs with this"
Man: (Completely red, wanting to just leave) "I guess I'll just bag these up myself"
Cashier: "Nice Dress"
Man: "Right"

Yesterday, I drove out to Pittsburgh to Compete in the Nathans Qualifier held out there with Wing Kong and US Male. Typically we eat at the Philadelphia Qualifier on Memorial Day, but tried to be clever and go to a city that we had a chance of winning.

I brought EVERYTHING I had and it just wasnt enough. This year for the first time I have been eating into the Twenties with every practice run. I typically do even better in a contest than in practice, but it just wasnt the case. On the ride home we discussed what happened. Everybody's totals were down. There was some differences in the Hot dog style and preparation that may be the reason. We fretted.

What we did agree on that whatever it was, the winner, Juliet Lee wasn't affected by it. She was prepared for anything and found a way to get those cold rubbery dogs down. She's the Champion of the Iron City because she was able to overcome the unexpected. I have alot of respect for that.

Rich Shea was the announcer and was pretty awesome.

Juliet Lee 29 Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 Minutes (11 competitors out of the 16 that signed up)
Jim Reeves 19.75
Wing Kong 19
Steakbellie 17
Big Brian 17
US Male 13
Mike Landrich 12
Disco Iskoe 7

Friday, May 23, 2008

Great Kid, Dont Get Cocky

Tomorrow is my first regular contest of the Competitive Eating Season. I'm trying to Qualify for the Nathans Hotdog Championships. You've got to WIN the Qualifier to make the Finals.

I ate my last meal, last night and will not eat again until noon tomorrow. My last meal was of course, Hot Dogs. It was a training run and despite the new shorter 10 minute limit, I ate more hotdogs than I've ever eaten. I'm not going to tell you how many, but it was ALOT. I felt GREAT afterwards. I was actually laughing, because there was still room. Room to improve.

Today I woke up pretty salty from all the sodium and it's a reminder of why I dont eat like this normally. Lots of water today to flush the bad from my body.

At lunch I ran along the River.
I raced a Freight Train.
I ran the Art Museum Steps and did the Rocky Dance at the Top, like every other asshole.
I ran to the Leif Erikson statue on the River.
My sweat was super salty and burned my eyes.

Tomorrow I'll be wearing my Kilt, and an AWESOME Han Solo Belt Buckle that was a gift from KatRocket. I'll even have my Wookie, Wing Kong competing with me. If you notice, I've started a list on the right side of the blog called "Shit That NeedsTto Get Done!" I have an opportunity to cross THREE things off that list in a single day!!!!

I'm prepared to suffer.
I'm prepared to Win!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

doors are closing

The stainless steel door closes behind me and I am left standing in the car without a seat. I’m grateful to feel the pull of the engines that will take me away from misery towards home.

My imagination sends me images of a train crash, and decide to lean against a metal panel so as not to hit it at 40 mph. Be Prepared.

I stare blankly at a woman sharing the aisle with me. She is yelling into her phone, over and over, sometimes in German. “Hello???? Hello????” She keeps fiddling with the buttons and looks desparate and confused. She is smartly dressed.

I’m tempted to tell her we’re underground, but god, I’m just too tired to do anything but watch her with the rest of the defeated...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

i am trying too hard
and you

might as well be monday (eight words)

daily dread.

nobody wants
to live
like this.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Your Questions Answered

The last post has brought about some questions about Competitive Eating.
"Can you train with Broccoli?"
Lots of eaters try to find something more helpful to train with. Boiled Cabbage is a classic example of a filling food that doesn't have alot of calories. Some of you might remember me training with Oatmeal a few years ago. I hit 10lbs at a time and hard some very harrowing experiences (to say the least) Hot Dogs however really must be used for a Hot Dog contest.

"Why did they change the contest from 12 to 10 minutes"
A lot of the Eaters were surprised by this. Most people had been practicing for weeks by the time it was posted. The IFOCE said it was to go back to the original contest in length in the 70's. I think the best guess was posted by CE SuperFan Rhonda Evans. She thinks the IFOCE was concerned about the Marketability of Competitive being damaged when former World #1 Kobayashi puked on National TV ESPN last 4th of July in the 11th minute. It's pretty rare for one of the pros to puke, I've never puked, so they get worried when the worlds best can push himself that far. That sounds feasible to me.

For those of you who are new to Competitive Eating here's a YouTube of me and my pal WingKong training for the wing Bowl. It's pretty funny.

Here's a Video of Me Qualifying for WingBowl the same year in the local radio studio. This is one of my favorite stunts:

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hot Diggity Dog!

Post Contest Misery
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Some of you are kind enough to follow my career as a Competitive Eater. There’s a lot of Hub Bub going on right now because it’s HotDog Season! Many people have seen or heard about the Nathans Famous Hot Dog Contest Finals held in Coney Island on July 4th every year since 1916. Well in order to get there you must win one of the 18 Qualifiers held around the world, but mostly in the North East US. ALL of the best Eaters compete in this one.

These Qualifiers have been going on for a month now, and my first one is next Saturday. I’m allowed to compete in 3 Qualifiers, so that’s 3 shots at crossing off one of my goals in life. This is my third year trying, and I don’t want to wait a whole nother year. It has to happen this year.

There’s some changes this year to the contest and they directly effect me. The first is that this years contest will no longer have a Wildcard Category. If I want to get in I must win a Qualifier, no matter who shows up. In years past they allowed in 2 people with very high totals but who didn’t win.

The other change affects my dream of eating 20 Hot Dogs and Buns in 12 Minutes. This year the Qualifiers have all been shortened to 10 Minutes. Many of you remember the last 2 years me trying to do ‘The Duece’….well it just got a lot harder. I am certain I would have done it this year if it was 12 minutes and I hope I am not showing too much Bravado by saying I will STILL be able to pull it off in only 10.

Now this contest is the most physically demanding of all the regular contests. Hot Dogs take rhythm to eat in large numbers. It’s painful for your throat and stomach. The salt, fat and chemicals are overwhelming to your concentration. You become satiated within 3 minutes. Uncomfortable within 8 minutes. Utterly Miserable after 10.

I should be happy it’s been shortened. It’s like someone giving me 2 less minutes of Water Boarding…but I’m not happy about it. There’s at least 20 years of records with the contest at the 12 minute length. Changing that will be like making a major change in Baseball and having all the records have an asterisk from now on.

I propose that the 11th and 12th Minute of this Contest should be kept BECAUSE it is so hard. Two years ago I would have won the QVC Qualifier if it was only 10 minutes. I was leading, and smacked into a wall of meaty misery and was passed with a minute left by the great Seaver Miller and Buffalo Jim. They were able to make their move at the toughest part of the contest, when most of the contestants had completely stopped eating.

Traditionally I have had very poor performances in the last two minutes, and may even be that I win a qualifier this year BECAUSE it’s shortened, but I’d still like to keep the tradition of modern eating and go for the whole 12.

I don’t like change (unless it involves my underwear)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

How I know I made it

Goto 10

Boy: You always make things up.
Man: Is this because you're jealous that I'm famous?
Boy: You're NOT famous.
Man: I'm in the Guniess Book of World Records. Thats Famous.
Boy: What for?
Man: I once stacked crayons really high. Higher than anyone.
Boy: No you didnt.
Man: I also made the Sweetest Jello ever once.
Boy: Thats not a record
Man: Sure it is. It was like really sweet.
Boy: You dont like sweet things!
Man: I know...but I made it anyway.
Boy: You always make things up.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

No Incentive

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Parenthood is a funny thing.

Early on there’s lots of Accounting of the Children. We know every last detail of their universe and can recite them to all interested (and uninterested) parties.

*my son weighs 8lbs 1oz.
*he ate 2 bottles of formula and a small jar of rice cereal
*he has 3 teeth
*he knows 7 words
*he shit green

This brief finite world is perfect for trading stats with the other haggard Parents. I mean what else can we talk about?
*she can walk 2 steps
*she knows 4 colors
*she can roll to her belly
*she shit green

Soon their lives get more complex and you lose track. They get more teeth, some of them fall out. Some new ones come in. I have no idea how many teeth my kids have now. It’s just too much information at this point and if I’m expected to know every last detail, I’ll never have time for mowing the lawn or jerking off. Actually, I have no idea how many teeth I own either, but I’m sure it’s a lot.

The next thing they do is write a play.

My 14 year old son wrote a play.

The middle school put it on.

Now while I was vaguely aware that he was writing a play, I didn’t read or ask him what it was about. I was afraid of intimidating his creative process, I'm just impressed he was writing something. I’ve seen him Perform in plays and sporting events, but nothing of his own pure design. This was exciting.

The other piece of information is that he didn’t tell us that his play was selected to be performed by the school. Some Mom congratulated us, that’s how we found out. Alarm Bells?

Sitting in the dimmed theater I review the playbook and see the cast-list of characters. There’s a Mom, Dad and Son. A wave of Paranoia crashed over me. What if all these years my beautiful son actually hated me, and his first teenage act of defiance was to skewer me and my wife in front of the town?

I read more while people were seated.

There’s Hostages.
There’s a Bank Teller.

By the time I saw the Mafia hoodlums listed, I knew that I was in the clear, this would be fun. It's not about us.

The mom is an overworked nurse who has taken a loan from the mafia, before leaving the Father. The Father is an unemployed drunk, who is still in love with the Mom and tries unsuccessfully to get her back. The mafia wants it's money back but she spent it. The Dad decides that he will rob a bank to pay off her debt. The son agonizes over the split and tries to keep the family together.

When the robbery goes bad, the Dad is forced to take the bank customers hostage. The son is able to sneak past the negotiating Police and enter the bank, almost getting shot by the Dad. Infuriated, the Father promises the Police that the next person that walks through the door will get shot.

The son tries to talk the Father out of the bank and the Mom sneaks past the Police when she learns her son is in the bank.

The Father turns without looking and fires 3 shots into the Mom.

The play ends.

The other two plays performed that night were sweet and had happy endings, where people learned lessons, or the Popular kids learned to be friends with the Geeks. I can’t tell you how happy I was that he didn’t fall into that. His dialogue was hilarious, and like any good tragedy had lots of laughs.

My favorite line had the son concerned about the Father while they were waiting at home.
“Dad, I’ve noticed that you’ve been drinking a lot.”
“I’ve been thirsty.”

So I learned something new about my son for the first time in awhile.

*he shits green
*he can write!

post-american (haiku)

roaring off the tracks
falling, twisting carts of junk
driven into dirt

Monday, May 12, 2008

Irony Man

"There's no telling how many people have lost their lives as a result of the slow response."
- George W. Bush about the Aid response to the Cyclone in Myramar.

You're doing a Heckava Job Brownie!

Iron Man

This was awesome. I actually collected this comic as a kid, and would have been very critical if they screwed it up. They treated the storyline with great respect, and Robert Downey Jr. is beautifully cast as Tony Stark.

You dont have to know anything about the Comic to Love this Movie.

I'm inspired to build something in my basement.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wednesday, May 07, 2008



Monday, May 05, 2008

If you build it they will eat

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
I worked in my garden yesterday. I got the last of the cucumber plants in. My goal this year is to make pickles like my Mom used to make. I remember she had this big brown crock and the cucumbers sat in there will all kinds of smelly things and a Piece of Rye bread on top.

Best damn pickles I can remember ever eating.

I'm growing Brandy Boy Tomatoes (Big Pink Ones), Sweet Baby Girls (Cherry Tomatoes), Black Beauty Eggplant, Genovese Basil, Anaheim Hot Peppers, and Garlic Chives. I also have Spinach, which is probably my favorite food. I grew it 2 years ago and would go out at 6AM to pick some for breakfast. I'd heat it up in a cast Iron pan with Garlic, Olive Oil and Salt. That was an awesome breakfast.

I wasn't a good gardener last year and didn't spend much time caring for the plants or weeding. I didn't do a good job preparing the soil and the crop wasn't that great. It was better than 'store bought' but not as awesome as other years. I was apologetic when giving away the surplus. I wasn't proud of it so I didn't enjoy giving it away like I normally do.

If you spend a good amount of time on soil preparation, there's really not all that much more you need to do to have an awesome garden. I mixed in lots of Manure and grass clippings this year. I don't use weed killers and will use very little chemical fertilizers. My soil is well Aerated.

Last night I dreamt about gardening. It was a quiet slow dream and I watched myself create a second row of plants in the middle of my back yard. I tilled it, placed stones around the outside and put up a metal fence to keep those fucking dogs out. My hands were dusty brown in the dream.

I got up around 3 AM and took a piss.

When I went back to bed I had the exact same dream.

I really didn't mind, it's good to get your hands dirty. I like gardening because I think about my Mom. I think about my Dad when I mow the lawn. It's her birthday today so maybe thats part of the recurring dream.

In the dream I grew different types of colorful and textured lettuce in the new garden. Maybe it's a sign. Might not be too late.....

springtime (eight words)

all night
i dreamt
about my