Monday, February 27, 2006
Friday, February 24, 2006
Thursday, February 23, 2006
I arrived a bit early with my mother at the pediatrician's office, but not to worry because I got to spend some time in the pediatrician's waiting room. After flipping through copies of Ranger Rick from the early '90s and surreptitiously stealing the cardboard trading cards from the middle of SI for Kids, I built a fort out of cardboard red bricks. But after a few blissful minutes in the fort, I was told to go to the bathroom. I urinated into a cup and then wrote my name on it with a red wax pencil.
I was then ushered into the patient room, where i stripped to my boxers. My mother-fully clothed, of course- was there too. When Dr. Gallagher entered the room, she immediately got to the examination:
Dr. Gallagher: So tell me what's wrong, Danny.
Me: I've got this slight pain in my abdomen, I think it may be intestinal.
Dr. Gallagher (looking at clipboard): Uh, huh. Well, I just took a gander at your pee-pee and it looked pretty clean. Could you bend down a little, Danny?
(Dr. Gallagher runs her hands through my hair)
Dr. Gallagher: And your scalp is 100 percent lice-free.
Me: No, the problem is in my abdomen
Dr. Gallagher: Open your mouth wide.
(Dr. Gallagher sticks a swab down my throat and then looks at it)
Dr. Gallagher: Well, you don't have strep throat either.
Me: No really, it's in my abdomen, like my stomach area.
Dr. Gallagher: Looks like you're healthy as a horse. Here's a Power Rangers Band-Aid and some Robitussin for good measure.
My Mom: Robitussin, Robitussin?! You're trying to turn my son into a drunk driver, you MONSTER! That's it, Daniel, we're going to a grown-up doctor.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The stressful part was not the eating, but rather the choosing of portion sizes. I never know how much to get of these things. Most of the time I feel as if I could eat an infinite amount of guacamole and an infinite amount of fresh mozzarella. Does this mean that I should just grab as much as I can of these things and run (Note: They are super cheap in the NFL cafeteria)? The problem is that I don't want to be wasteful...I want to finish all that I take. Also, what is the right chips to guacamole ratio? Can someone help me out here?
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Sorry for so long an absence dear readers. I have spent the past fortnight in cross-Atlantic transit after a long Autumn and Winter Season in
His story: Chef X hid for three days under a mountain of oyster shells before he could make his way up the North Atlantic Seaboard and onto a Barnacle-ridden trawler headed for
Dedicated to our readers of the fairer sex, I bring to you on this Valentine's Day the most treasured of Munz's Sonnets,
Sonnet 141: La Belle Dame Sans Merci
O, shrimp doth teach the torches to burn bright!
With thy buttery goodness upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in a lover's ear;
Succulence made from thy passion, for earth too dear!
The tender morsel here I take in my trembling hand,
And smell the aroma, so far from bland.
Did my mouth water till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er tasted true Scampi till this night.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
“Give a man a burrito and you feed him for a day; give a man an El Guapo Grande Burrito and you feed him for two days, maybe three depending on whether there’s guac.”
It is taken as a given among modern writers, from Arthur Miller to Eugene O’Neill, that the American Dream is dead. Edward Albee even wrote a play entitled The American Dream, the sheer absurdity of which mocked the very notion of the American Dream. Yet ironically it is here in
On an unseasonably warm Tuesday in November, I saunter into the Bulldog Burrito restaurant. At first glance, I don’t see what all the hype is about. It doesn’t seem different from any of the dozens of Mexican joints I frequent in
At 33, Jason Congdon is not handsome in the conventional sense, but he has the boyish good looks of a Breakfast at Tiffany’s-era Mickey Rooney. He looks like the kind of upstanding young man your mother would want you to marry. And indeed, Congdon is gracious to a fault when interacting with customers or with friends outside of the restaurant. But when it comes to directing his employees, Congdon conducts himself with the cocksure, almost imperious, mien of a seasoned general. Donning his chosen uniform of a Bulldog Burrito polo and jean shorts, Congdon, like Grant at
Yet while it is hard to imagine now, this bustling café at the corner of
The question of how the failure of Mexicali Grille became the success of Bulldog Burrito is a contentious one. Officials within the Levin administration claim that after the closure of Mexicali Grille, the President ordered senior aide Walter Geerston to replace the restaurant with a very similar business. A vocal minority in Dean Betty Trachtenberg's office even contends that Levin specifically issued orders pertaining to both a new emphasis on guacamole and the addition of a cantina happy hour as a requirement for any replacement. Congdon dismisses such claims as "an insidious lie perpetrated by bureaucratic bumblers unwilling to acknowledge my innovation." Mazza himself maintains that Bulldog’s triumph is not the product of Congdon’s business acumen, but rather the result of shifting dynamics in
When I ask Congdon about Mazza’s claims, he rebuts them by rattling off a wide range of innovations, from the introduction of shredded chicken burritos to the replacement of Coca-Cola with Pepsi in the soda fountain. In Congdon’s mind, Mazza is just one of the many assorted cranks who wish to belatedly take credit for an achievement that is entirely his. Offhandedly quoting John F. Kennedy, the Bulldog owner remarks, “Victory has a hundred fathers; defeat is an orphan.” A moment later, when I inquire about the competition he faces from the nearby Roomba burrito cart, Congdon observes, “Sun Tzu once said, ‘If you know yourself as well as your enemy, you will come out of one hundred battles with one hundred victories.’ Though the translation doesn’t do it justice.” At this point it is apparent to me that Congdon is a veritable one-man
Underneath the clippings of “Howard and Nester” cartoons from decades-old Nintendo Powers, Congdon’s desk contains photographs from
Eager to learn more about Congdon’s unique reliance on guacamole to financially support his entire operation, I talk to Brandon Gibbons, Vice President of Economic Consulting at McKinsey Consultants. After reviewing only a handful of Bulldog Burrito’s financial statements, Gibbons decides he’s seen enough to come to a conclusion. “Mr. Congdon,” determines Gibbons, “is completely delusional. His own records show that guacamole orders represent a mere 1.3% of his total sales. If, as he claims, he is losing money on all other items, then he would be hemorrhaging cash. Yet these documents show steady profits for Bulldog.” Gibbons continues with a highly technical discussion of the
At this point, I feel I have a firm grasp on all the complexities and nuances of Jason Congdon the business visionary. But what about Jason Congdon the man? I decide that the key to Congdon’s character must be tucked away somewhere in his upbringing, so I visit Congdon’s boyhood home.
Casa Congdon, as it is affectionately known, lies on a sleepy street in the Dunwoody section of
Mrs. Congdon returns to the living room and hands me a photo album. “When Jason was a child,” Mrs. Congdon begins, “all the other kids in the neighborhood would put up lemonade stands or hold bake sales just to make some pocket money. And boy, Jason didn’t like that. He hated that these kids didn’t care about their food and didn’t have any sense of customer service. So Jason decided he’d set up his own stand. And Jason’s passions, well they lay more in sauces, dips, spreads, that sort of thing.” Mrs. Congdon points to a faded Polaroid photograph. A young Jason Congdon is smiling the kind of shit-eating grin he still gets when he makes a big catering sale to the Yale Herald, as he points to a handwritten cardboard sign that reads, “Jason’s CONGDON-MENTS.” “So what kind of bread did Jason sell to put the condiments on,” I inquire. “Bread?” Mrs. Congdon replies bemusedly, “Oh heaven’s no. Only condiments. Jason was very adamant about that. But boy could he close a sale. And you know, the folks around here, they really took a shine to him. He ended up doing pretty well for himself. And look at what he’s got going for him now. This hi-definition television, the surround sound stereo, that was all bought with burrito money. Sorry, guac money.”
Although he lavishes gifts on his mother, Jason lives modestly in a one-bedroom apartment above Bulldog Burrito. He could undoubtedly afford a spacious house in
So there you have it—a young man from a working-class background pulls himself up by the bootstraps through a combination of entrepreneurial spirit, hard work, and determination. Though he lived with limited means as a child, in adulthood he provides amply for his beloved mother, himself and his future wife and children. To those who dismiss this as an isolated success, I stress that Jason Congdon isn’t some pointy-headed MBA. No, if you scoured this great land from the
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
A Busey-Zane career massacre?
Who knew Gary Busey and Billy Zane were so hard up for roles?
Even Hollywood liberals may be shocked that the American actors took part in a Turkish film that portrays U.S. troops as savages who slaughter Iraqi civilians.
"Valley of the Wolves: Iraq" shows G.I.s crashing a wedding, where they gun down dozens of innocent guests, shooting the groom in the head and blasting away at a boy in front of his mother.
The soldiers drag the ones who live to Abu Ghraib prison, where a Jewish-American doctor (played by Busey) disembowels them - explaining their organs will be sold to rich people in New York, London and Tel Aviv.
Zane plays a rogue American officer who calls himself a "peacekeeper sent by God."
Zane and Busey aren't known as outspoken critics of White House policy. So why did they take the parts?
A rep for "Titanic" star Zane didn't return our call.
A rep for "Buddy Holly Story" star Busey told us: "It was basically a payday for him."
Anti-American feeling has been brewing in Turkey since a 2003 incident in which U.S. Army troops held Turkish special forces officers captive because the G.I.s thought they were Iraqi insurgents.
Friday, February 03, 2006
For example: Last week I had to hand-deliver a package across the street to the MLB offices. After talking with a woman at the front desk, I was told to go around the corner to the messenger entrance where someone would come out and escort me upstairs.
When I approached the door that I supposed to be the messenger entrance, I peeked through the little window at the top and what did I see? I saw four women in uniform gyrating, dancing, and laughing hysterically in a small office. Inspirational, no? After I entered and the women were suitably embarrassed, I met one of them around the corner and we entered the elevator together.
Woman: It's not what you think it was. We were doing our impressions of that Nextel commercial.
Me (playing along): That's exactly what I thought it was.
Woman: Don't you just love that commercial, it is so funny!
Me: So, what residential college are you in?
And these are the people protecting our buildings?
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
I can, however, pass on a document that Lester has obtained. Lester is going to use this document to PROVE that the Munz scribblings on Immortalized were not "false posts", but rather the pure, unvarnished truth, as written by the man himself. The Munz lawyers tried to suppress this document, claiming it was protected under doctor-patient privilege. That attempt failed, since in this transcript Munz describes his innermost visions not to a certified psychiatrist, but rather to the wispy-haired She-Man at Ivy Noodle. So without further ado, a glimpse into the Mind of Munz
Ivy Noodle She-Man (INSM): You onlah one puhson, you sit at countah!
Munz: I had a dream last night. A prophecy if you will.
INSM: What if nice famiry want sit down, 5 peoples. They no wanna hear about how Mahk Warnah play in Frorida panhandle!
Munz: I was sitting in my room watching television. I tried to turn on CNN. But it wasn't anywhere to be found. I tried to turn on Food Network. It too was nowhere. I panicked. I flipped through TV Guide. Neither channel was listed. It was then that I noticed a new channel I'd never seen before. I flipped to it. And there, on the television, I beheld the most glorious programming known to man. CNN and Food Network had MERGED into one mega-network. No more politics OR food- I now had politics AND food!
INSM: What you want? I have othah customah to deal with.
Munz (eyes closed, in a trance-like state now): I saw Lou Dobbs. He, he was telling me that Walter Mondale ate paella on the night before the '84 Democratic Convention. And there was Emeril, my sweet Emeril, in the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. "Bush lied, soldiers died. BAM!" he exclaimed.
INSM: If you keep talking rike this, I no refill your watah.
Munz: And I saw Joe Biden. He told me that La Tolteca has the best taco in North Delaware. Then Rachel, my edible princess Rachel Ray, she was on too. She was in Brookline, hometown of Michael Dukakis- the Massachusetts Miracle. And Rachel was saying "The Daily Kos wing of the party is hurting our appeal in the suburbs. I say keep radical ideas in the kitchen, not in the public forum- radical ideas like chocolate-covered shrimp!"
INSM: Hey, bloggahs have point. Democlatic Pahty need some spine.
Munz: [Unintelligible wail]
[Munz drools uncontrollably and has a seizure]
-End of Transcript-
I feel pretty confident that this evidence will vindicate Lester.