Apr 27, 2012

Testing, testing...

Hey kids, I got a favor.

If you haven't visited my site in the past day or so, please pop in and let me know if you are having any issues with the page loading. There one person, who shall remain Slyde, who can't access my blog either at home or at work. But I haven't heard any problems from anyone else. Could be that he is just stupid.

Yeah, that's probably it.

If not, please let me know.

PS - Obviously you won't be able to leave a comment if you can't access the site. So email me at babyburke at aol dot com if you can't get in. Thanks!

Meh, whatever...

OK, I didn't really try to change the layout of this thing all that hard. Spent maybe 5 minutes on it. It's better than it was, but it's still not inspiring me to pretty up the joint with clever words and the like.  Maybe I'm just going through one of those phases. Oy vell.

Let's fuck some shit up with some bullets, shall we?
  • The baseball season is closing in on being a month-old now, and it's been a whole heap of fun. My Yankees have only been a mild disappointment. Mild in that they aren't unbeaten at this point, but I'll take it. The cross-town Mets have been a pleasant surprise in that they don't suck as much as I thought they would. They just swept the Miami Marlins, and that was a real nice series for them. But I think I'm most surprised by the dominant starting pitching of the Washington Nationals. They might be my new favorite team to watch who don't wear pinstripes.  Very cool.
  • This season of Survivor is easily the worst that they have produced thus far. I'm still enjoying it, but it's almost as if they select people specifically with the criteria that they either must have a low IQ or that they must have no concept of how the show works.  Because that's what we were given this year. The stupidest players in the stupidest season so far. I'm still a fan, but I can't wait until this one is over.
  • Tried Jim Beam/Red Stag Honey Tea bourbon last night for the first time. It was delicious! Very similar to the Honey Jack from Jack Daniels. A little too sweet for me to drink straight, but it goes very well with mixers. Actually, mixing it with sweet tea would be a good idea. A big kick at 80 proof, it doesn't taste nearly that strong. I definitely recommend it. The Red Stag flag is an interesting concept. So far I like the Honey Tea and hate the Black Cherry.  But I'm willing to give the Spiced Cinnamon whiskey a try.
  • I don't care that some people thing Jim Beam is white trash liqour. Fuck those people! I like Jim Beam and I'm gonna drink Jim Beam until it fucking kills me. Not literally. That would be sad.
  • I've been ignoring this blog recently, but I've REALLY been ignoring my/our food blog. From the looks of it, so are the rest of the contributors. I plan on remedying that soon. Watch for it.
  • Speaking of food and recipes, I joined Pinterest recently. I don't really get it. I wanted to use it as an online repository for recipes that I like or wanna try, but it's just not organized very well from what I've experienced. Maybe I'm just using it wrong. Probably I'm just using it wrong. We'll see if it sticks.
  • I've also been using Instagram since it became available for Android and I'm really enjoying it. A really easy way to post pictures from my phone online and onto Twitter, if I so choose.  Do you Instagram? I have no idea how it's worth a billion dollars to Facebook, but that's another story.
  • By the way, how is Facebook worth so much? I recently watched The Social Network (good movie, by the way), and I don't get it. I mean, I'm not ON Facebook, but I know a bunch of people who are. Just how are they making all that money? I don't get the Internet sometimes.
  • Speaking of Facebook, I always that Sean Parker and Shaun Fanning were the same person. I'm stupid. Both were involved with Napster, but only one was involved with Facebook, right? I'm stupid.
  • We have this one mis-matched fork in our cutlery drawer. It doesn't match any of our other cutlery, but it's the only one that I like to use. It's sturdy, and the tines aren't too long. I have no idea where it came from. I'd like to find a matching set, but there is no insignia. If we ever lose that fork, I'm going to be very sad.
That's all I got. I think I finished on a high note. Talking about a fork.Well done, Earl.

See you next time!

Apr 23, 2012

Hate it

Was messing around with my blog layout last week, and this is the result.

I hate it.

So I plan on a total re-do of the old Verdant Dude this week at some point. New masthead, new background, new layout. Something that will make me want to visit the old gentleman a bit more often.

Suggestions and/or criticisms welcome.

Except from Slyde.

Apr 18, 2012

Food Cart Heaven

Had a great experience with some food cart, um, food last week.  A place called Garbo's Grill in Key West.  I had done a little web reconnaissance before heading there, and I was surprised to see that this little food cart was the highest rated "restaurant" in town on Trip Advisor.

I wasn't surprised for long.

I got down there a few hours ahead of some friends on Tuesday, so I decided to check it out on my own. Figured if it was good, I could be a hero to my buddies by introducing it to them. If it sucked, well...only I would be worse for the wear.

Turned out to be a huge mother-fucking win! Of epic proportions. I was there for 5 days and ate lunch at this food cart 4 of those days. Wish I had eaten lunch there the other day too. Plus some snacks here and there. All of the rest of the crew ate there at least once as well, most of them multiple times. Everyone loved it. Check out this menu:

click for mouth-watering goodness

Very simple, but with the freshest ingredients possible. Everything was stored in coolers that served double-duty as seating for the crowd waiting for the delicious goodies.  I had the Cayo fish tacos twice, the Yum Yum shrimp tacos (Cayo-style again) once and the Mango Brie quesadilla with Jerk Chicken the last time there. All were awesome.  I also tried some of the Kogi Korean BBQ tacos that another friend ordered. Incredible!  And the couple that own the cart are some of the nicest folks you will ever meet. On my second day there, I already felt like a regular with them yelling out my name when they saw me every time afterward. Good stuff.

I think I love a good food cart. Especially when it's run by a couple of foodies like this one here. And there are a TON of supposedly great food carts in NYC, but I really don't frequent them. I really think I should, based on this experience. At the very least, I'm going to do some research into the ones that are getting some good press.

But Long Island is a barren wasteland for delicious food cart, um, food. I've just never seen nor heard of any really good food carts out here.

I think I'm going to make it my new obsession. Find a great food cart here on the island, or find someone willing to open one. Because this kind of food? It's my kind of food. And I don't think I can ever go back to a world that doesn't have this kind of food in it anymore.

How about you? Any good food carts near you that you love?

Apr 17, 2012

Been busy

Life hits ya like that sometimes. Nothing gruesome, just busy.

Back to regular posting shortly, but in the meantime...here's some music.

Apr 9, 2012

NCIB - Week 1 Recap

Note: Every Monday, I'll be posting some notes about the new fantasy baseball league called No Crying in Baseball that I'm hosting. Feel free to read and comment, but it's mostly for the members of that league. And this goes against the Golden Rule of fantasy sports which states "No One Cares About Your Fantasy Team", but I don't give a crap. So read on, or don't...I'm jake either way.

A long time ago in a fantasy league far, far away, I used to do a weekly write-up of the league happenings. A list of goats (not Sea Goats), heroes and the Hester Award for the manager who left the biggest fantasy stud on his bench the prior week. Named after a member of that league who was known for that. He would struggle with his decisions so much each week, but would be guaranteed to pick the wrong guy. Besides the award, the process itself is referred to as "hestering" in a very small circle. Now you get to join in on that fun.  So here we go.  Let's have some fun with this.


Let's face it. After just 3 games, the standings don't mean a hell of a lot right now. So I'm going to ignore them this week, except for a hearty congratulations to The Gotlanders for being in 1st place. There was much rejoicing....yay! Obviously, no one is out of it yet. Keep on grinding, kids.


1. Chad Billingsley (Otis Day & the Knights) - 8.1 IP, 1 BB, 11 K for a total of 53.17 points.
2. Jered Weaver (The Miracles) - 8 IP, 10 K for a total of 52.80 points.
3. Nick Markakis (Kill Moose&Squirrel) - 5/9, 1 3B, 2 HR, 3BB for a total of 49.00 points.

Would have sworn that Josh Beckett and his 5 HR train-wreck of a start would have taken the top spot here, but Yovani Gallardo managed to out-doo him. Wow. Those are two very good pitchers with two very bad games there. Oh yeah, nice way to start the season Alex Gordon. Dude is anchoring my outfield in BOTH of my leagues. Thanks a lot!

1. Yovani Gallardo (The Miracles) - 3.2 IP, 4 HR, 5 BB, 3 K for a whopping -45.97 points.

2. Josh Beckett (Shagging Flies) - 4.2 IP, 5 HR, 1 BB, 3K totaling -42.87 points.
3. Alex Gordon (Chisolm Moonbeams) - 0-13, 1 BB for -10.00 points. Yup.

Hester Award
The first Hester goes to Shagging Flies for having Ryan Dempster and his 10-strikeout game on his bench. Dempster had a total line of 7.2 IP, 3BB and the aforementioned 10 K for a total of 42.43 points, the 5th best total for a pitcher in this truncated week. Except that they didn't count because he was on the bench. Bravo, Shagging Flies! You win the first Hester of the year!

Apr 6, 2012

New Coat of Paint

A little Tom Waits. Just because it's Friday. Just because...

New Coat of Paint 
Tom Waits

Let's put a new coat of paint on this lonesome old town
Set 'em up, we'll be knockin' em down.
You wear a dress, baby, and I'll wear a tie.
We'll laugh at that old bloodshot moon in that burgundy sky

All your scribbled lovedreams, are lost or thrown away,
Here amidst the shuffle of an overflowing day
Our love needs a transfusion so let's shoot it full of wine
Fishin' for a good time starts with throwin' in your line

Apr 3, 2012

Hobo Beach

So what's the plural form of hobo? Hobos or hoboes?  Eh, for the purposes of this story I'm gonna go with hobos.

So we are out visiting my family yesterday. Some paperwork for my mother, a little Sunday dinner...you know the drill. I'm in the dining room doing her taxes while the rest of the family is in the living room chatting about whatever. I'm doing my best to block it all out and finish up so we can have dinner.

That's when I hear my mother say that the public beach down the street from her house has become dangerous because of "hobos living there at night." Hobos. She used the word hobos. Probably to refer to the maybe one homeless person who has actually spent a night or two down there.  The cops are by all the time, so I doubt they can take up permanent residence there.

I was just jazzed at the thought of hobos living on the beach, though. Railroad-riding, eating beans out of a can, red bandana tied to the end of a stick to carry their valuables, grilling hot dogs over a fire, real-live hobos!

I'm sure I'll refer to that little beach as Hobo Beach in the foreseeable future.

image credit

Apr 2, 2012

No Crying in Baseball: Draft Re-cap

Note: Every Monday, I'll be posting some notes about the new fantasy baseball league called No Crying in Baseball that I'm hosting. Feel free to read and comment, but it's mostly for the members of that league. And this goes against the Golden Rule of fantasy sports which states "No One Cares About Your Fantasy Team", but I don't give a crap. So read on, or don't...I'm jake either way.

The NCIB fantasy league had our first draft this past weekend, and it was hella fun.  25 rounds of action in just a little over an hour. It almost went too fast for my liking. I barely had time to think about my next picks.  In my other league, a head-to-head fantasy point auction league, our auction took over 4 hours.  And a bunch of players on each team were protected from previous years.  Something comfortably in between would be ideal. 

All I know is that the plan I had going into the draft went out the window by the 3rd round.  I blame that squarely on the manager of The Gotlanders, who was loading up on starting pitching at an alarming rate. I had planned to wait until the 10th round or so before picking up any starting pitching.  This is a FIP-based league, after all.  And a lot of value can be found in the later rounds for pitchers who might be elite with some better luck or defense behind them. But I panicked and grabbed Zack Greinke in the 3rd round.  Then went with more pitching in the 7th-11th rounds. So yeah...that plan didn't pan out.  The Gotlanders, by the way, have the sickest starting pitching in the league.  And an offense that could be among the the best in the league if several of his picks work out the way he thinks they will.

The manager of Otis Day & The Knights did stick to that plan though. To the extreme. Drafted all offense and relief pitchers until the 22nd round. Not knowing that you need 6 starting pitchers on your squad probably had a lot to do with that, however.  He still wound up with some really good starting pitching and picked up a few more after the draft via free agency.  That's the idea with this plan.  Load up on offense and scavenge for pitching. It can really work if you stay diligent. And a team built around an offense with Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Upton is pretty daunting.

Two managers, Sea Goats and Shagging Flys, didn't even make it to the draft. And, frankly, they wound up with really good teams each.  Maybe that was the way to go. Kinda disconcerting, seeing two teams that are probably better than my own that were picked by a computer.  That's the way it goes sometimes. The Sea Goats wound up with the incredible Albert Pujols and an outfield of Curtis Granderson, Carlos Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz.  All players I coveted. Same with Shagging Flys and Miggy Cabrera, although his outfield is littered with the often-injured Josh Hamilton, Carl Crawford and BJ Upton. A starting rotation of Dan Haren and Cole Hamels helps offet that extremely well.

There were two fantasy newbies who participated in the draft as well. The managers of Phoo Phighters and The Blue Labels. Both did very well, in my opinion.  Barring a couple of admitted mistakes from the manager of the Phoo. Hehehehe.  She had some fun drafting a bunch of palyers from her hometown Cincinnati Reds, and it worked out well for her. Having the likes of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips on your team is never a bad thing. The Blue Labels went strong with offense and some terrific FIP-inspired picks in pitching.  And maybe the best bench, therefore the most flexible team, in the league.  Well done to the two noobs.

The two teams at each turn in the draft, Mudville 9 at the #1 spot and Kill Moose&Squirrel at #11, put together some fearsomely awesome teams with their draft strategies.  The Mudville 9 made the suprising choice, to some, of selecting Dustin Pedroia with the 1st overall pick. Wasn't surprising to me. I was planning on taking him in the first round as well. Second base, after the first couple of guys, was the shallowest position in the draft. Had he waited, he would have missed out on the big 3 of Pedroia, Cano and Kinsler. Kill Moose&Squirrel really did his homework. Constantly screwing myself and others out of some excellent choices that I thought would have lasted longer. Damn you, Boris Badenov!!!

The Miracles and Je Je Je Jeetah rounded out the 11-team league, both doing very, very well. The Miracles went with wOBA All-Stars like Ryan Braun and Mike Napoli on offense, a strong relief corp and underrated and strong starting pitchers like Jered Weaver and Yovani Gallardo. Je Je Je Jeetah picked just enough Yankees for the huge Yankees fan that he is. While building a formidable team around Jose Bautista on offense and Justin Verlander and Tim Lincecum for pitching.