Thursday, December 31, 2009

Girls of Cancer: Miss New Year's


In a glaring sign of this blog's popularity, no female cancer patient or survivor took up my offer to publish her photo, bio, and cancer story (scroll to the bottom of Girls of Cancer: Miss November for details). So, I have decided to dedicate the final month of my Girls of Cancer calendar to all you beautiful babies who have cancer, or had cancer.

Though cancer may run you down and make you whitish-pink like a piglet, and force you to implant bumpy plastic called a "port" below your collarbone, and make you never want to do your hair or makeup again, assuming you still have some follicles, we know you are gorgeous on the inside.

And when you complain about the pain, or hunger, or lack of McDonald's in the hospital cafeteria, we know that is part of the process.

And when you nag about asking too many questions, and then not enough, we understand that, too.

And when you ask others to fetch your water or TV remote when you're off chemo and not neutropenic (i.e. relatively healthy), we know that you've earned it and we may or may not force you to watch college bowl games.

Here's to you, Girls of Cancer, for a happy and healthy 2010.

And here's to T-Woods, Bron Bron and myself for a happy December 30th birthday. Hopefully, T-Woods will have a less dramatic 2010. However, something tells me he received more birthday "wishes" than me and LeBron combined.

Happy New Year, ladies!

Leia Mais…

Monday, December 28, 2009

'Avatar' Transports You to New Worlds

Avatar movie posterThe “Technology Quarterly” edition of The Economist, which publishes four times a year, displays new technology that most people aren’t aware of. I first learned about wireless mobile phone recharging (Palm Pre), completely electric cars (Nissan Leaf), and virtual autopsies (likely to appear on CSI soon) in Technology Quarterly. That’s also where I learned about 3-D computer monitors and televisions. I still can’t wrap my mind around that.

James Cameron’s blockbuster, Avatar, exhibits 3-D like moviegoers have never seen before. You still must wear glasses, but not those nauseating red and green ones. You forget you’re wearing them as soon as you see the alien moon, Pandora.

We watch movies to share culture, and for something to talk about, and just for something to do. The good ones trigger an emotional response like happiness or inspiration. The great ones sweep us to a new reality and make us forget that we exist as we live through the characters, and see what they see. Avatar, which is estimated to have cost $300-400 million including marketing, succeeds with this in two ways.

The three-dimensional world of Pandora comes to life like Planet Earth only wished it could. You can almost feel the creatures’ snarling breath, and the rain dripping off the huge leaves of the forest. Halfway through the movie the person behind me dripped soda on me, and for a second I actually thought it was from one of Pandora’s broadleaf evergreens.

And without a single dull second in its 160 minutes, Avatar allows you to live through the hero and heroine. Though considered a science fiction/action/adventure flick, Avatar is much more of a love story (even Cameron’s The Terminator was a love story masked by a sci-fi action classic starring Lord Schwarzenegger) with its typical storyline: guy fools girl to get something he needs, falls in love with her, and then wishes he hadn’t fooled her. Most movies, books, and songs revolve around a guy trying to find a girl, or vice versa. Avatar succeeds because it is so creative, and you feel the characters’ pain and adversity.

My family was supposed to see Avatar with all the other Jews and Chinese on Christmas, but it was sold out by 11:00 a.m. for the entire day. When I checked times later that day for IMAX showings on December 26, Avatar was already sold out, so I settled on non-IMAX (but still 3-D). The movie is truly revolutionary, and if you do not see it in the theaters in 3-D then you are the fool.

I have attempted to be objective in my ranking, and even tried separating the movie from the 3-D, which is probably impossible since they are intertwined. Assuming I can mentally remove the 3-D, the standalone movie is still the best of the year, followed by Transformers 2 and Zombieland. Including the 3-D, it was one of the most enjoyable cinematic experiences of my life. That is a bold statement, one in which I try hard not to make, but I cannot stop thinking about it and wishing I was re-watching it right this moment. “Just remarkable,” my dad said upon exiting the packed theater.

James Cameron surely made many millions of dollars for this project that he’s been working on for some 15 years, but the aggregate value that we consumers receive far exceeds his payment. There is rumored to be one or two sequels, and so long as Aquaman is not simply an Entourage creation, Cameron best get cracking.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Aloha: A Picture Story

I slurped water from the fountain, and then headed to the bathroom. After all, we can reduce the airline's fuel consumption if everybody emptied their bladders before flights, and then airfare would be cheaper.

I entered and saw someone standing at a sink to my right. I halted and did a double take—my eyes met hers bouncing off the mirror.

That was the second time in my life I stepped into the wrong gender's bathroom. It was also the first "stupid thing" registered on our trip. Greek, JD, and I were headed to Hawaii to meet our other friend, NoCommonSense, for a week-long vacation back in August. It was assumed that the most stupid things and voice cracks would boil down to me and NoCommonSense. I ran away with the voice crack battle within the first day, but surprisingly Greek performed the most stupid things.

NoCommonSense is an Army doctor who lives in Kailua, on the island of Oahu. Despite its high cost, when my brother, JD, invited me on the trip, I couldn't turn down this "life experience."

NoCommonSense had a forest in back of his apartment, which we heard come alive every morning through the open screen, as we lost gallons of sweat since he never turned on air conditioning.Forest in Hawaii
I wanted to broaden my horizons on the trip, so at Dukes—a popular restaurant—the first night, I ordered white fish and ate raw ahi tuna, both unprecedented. I would later try sake (Japanese wine), Thai food, and complete a bet to eat a bowl of ginger. I ate without first washing my hands (psychotic by my not-quite-OCD standards). At a sushi restaurant, I couldn't bring myself to try sushi, and instead ate duck (delicious).

Three of us were shirtless when we hiked a trail near the coast. "We're not gay...really," we were prepared to say if we passed by pretty girls. Not that there's anything wrong with that.Beautiful landscape in Hawaii
The three of them kayaked to two very small islands. NoCommonSense tried to help a married couple get their vessel through the break and into the water. He got a running start and pushed their kayak forward, when a wave threw him back on his ass, the kayak toppling him. I had a bird's eye view from my beach chair. Looking back, that should have counted for about 100 "stupid things."Clear ocean in Waikiki, Hawaii
We checked out the nightlife in Waikiki. NoCommonSense saw a very well-maintained bar called Hula's and brought us there. He thought Hula's flag and tiki torches were cool. Before entering, we looked closer at the flag and saw the clearly defined rainbow—Hula's was a gay bar. That should have counted for 1,000 "stupid things." (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Hawaii interstate road signOn one of the interstates, which don't even connect the islands, we headed to the North Shore, a legendary surfing hot spot where Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed at the resort, Turtle Bay. On that day, the waves were peaceful and caused little disruption while we threw the football. I felt a rush playing quarterback in our two-on-two game as I was brought back to the old days when I'd bomb it out for NoCommonSense. However, I nearly led him to his death as he dove for my poorly thrown pass near a rock down a small hill.

A random, sandy dog named Kona moseyed to our location and lay in our shade. He was about as ugly as non-infant mammals get. Kona stayed with us until we reached our car when we left for the afternoon. Sadly, I'm not surprised that nobody claimed Kona. I was a little afraid to touch him.Ugly dog on North Shore beach
We rented a military boat on a bay.
Cloudy Hawaii
Some bastard buzzed us.
Goose: No. No, Mav, this is not a good idea.
Maverick: Sorry, Goose, but it's time to buzz a tower. (Top Gun)Naval base exercise in Hawaii
We anchored in the shallow and played a game to see how many volleys we could get without the ball hitting the water. They couldn't reach 100, but after I joined we got 295 in a row. It should be noted that Greek probably volleyed about 80 of them to himself.

This is what rain looks like from a distance.Rain pouring from clouds in Hawaii
JD vehemently refused to hike "Stairway to Heaven."Stairway to Heaven in Hawaii
Instead, we hiked "3 Peaks." NoCommonSense claimed that all three peaks wouldn't take very long or be difficult. We quickly learned to add several hours to NoCommonSense's time estimates. I turned back after two-thirds of the way through the first peak because huge clouds from tropical storm Felicia freaked me out. What if it pours and the water rushes down the mountain and takes us with it and drowns us? Greek turned back before completing the first peak because he was more out of shape than I thought a Navy captain could possibly be.Three Peaks hike in Hawaii
The soil decomposed too quickly for roots to take hold underground, so buttressed roots formed. In my not-even-close to expert opinion, this is a the definition of a rain forest.Bamboo forest near three peaks in Hawaii
Bamboo forests are noisy when windy tropical storms arrive.Bamboo forest near three peaks in Hawaii
The three fools tried surfing in Waikiki. I snapped many photos to test my camera's quality at the full 10x optical zoom. I couldn't tell who was who that far out. I had thought maybe this was NoCommonSense below. When I reviewed my photograph, I saw that it was not.Surfing on Waikiki beach
This was more like them.Surfing on Waikiki beach
The birds (and bikini-clad girls) were much more captivating.Birds on Waikiki beach
Hilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio: one of the nicer hotels I've stayed at.Hilton Waikiki Prince KuhioHilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio
Here is the yacht JD will purchase after his bar takes off.Yacht near Waikiki
NoCommonSense wanted to take us to restaurants we'd never tried. "There's a really good place called Gordon Biersch."

"There's one of those at Tysons Corner two seconds from my house, you fool!" JD responded.

NoCommonSense also thought that Cheeseburger in Paradise was indigenous to Hawaii.

We went to karaoke night (or what NoCommonSense's Asian girlfriend pronounces "kah-rah-oh-keh"). Greek and NoCommonSense sung a few songs, which amounted to Greek (left below) kicking ass and NoCommonSense (right below) standing there and pretending to sing. Nice job, NoCommonSense.Karaoke in Hawaii
We visited the USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor. I may be able to fit in the 50 caliber gun barrels.USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor
We couldn't resist going to Buffalo Wild Wings (BW3s), which even NoCommonSense knew was a favorite destination in the continental U.S. We packed so many activities into our trip, that just chilling was a pleasant reprieve. Actually, we wished we could stay at BW3s for the remainder of the afternoon. That's something we'll keep in mind during future vacations.Buffalo Wild Wings in Hawaii displaying Hawaiian football players
Because of Felicia, we didn't get a chance to swim with sharks. However, we had to visit Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island, likely the only time we'll ever see an active volcano. We flew to the Big Island, slept for a couple hours, and then met "Keith Lava," the boat tour operator, at around 3:30 a.m.

NoCommonSense guaranteed he'd get seasick because he always does. He told us a disturbing story of puking on his sister during a car ride when they were kids. Not even Dramamine prevents his motion sickness. I'd never gotten seasick, so I felt comfortable laughing at his misfortunes.

To get through the break, the boat had to gun it. Within the first 20 seconds I wanted to puke. It took 45 minutes through very choppy waters to reach the volcano, then 45 minutes at the site, and then the trip back to shore. It was bar none the most miserable $300 experience of my life. It was worse than getting chemo without Zofran. The increased swaying when we stopped to see the volcano was actually worse than the trip there.

I took some 50 pictures of the lava, but most are blurry because I was nauseous and shaking. We had great tour guides who hammered into the molten rock, and even let us hold it. JD and Greek were smiling widely in the pictures of them holding the rock. NoCommonSense and I were greenish and wishing we could stand on the volcano because it moved less than the boat.Kilauea Volcano lava on the Big IslandKilauea Volcano molten rock on the Big IslandKilauea Volcano molten rock on the Big IslandKilauea Volcano lava on the Big Island
It took some time after reaching stable land before I felt better. This view of the ocean helped.Sunrise near Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island
We had gone straight from the Hilton to the airport before the lava trip, so I had stuffed my wet clothing in a bag and left it in NoCommonSense's car. When I opened the bag after we re-checked into the Hilton, the odor was nearly as nauseating as the boat ride. JD left a couple articles of his next to mine outside, and they absorbed the scent. He considered just throwing them away on the spot.Wet, smelly clothes in Hawaii
We spent some more time at BW3s, Waikiki beach, and a Mexican joint which to NoCommonSense's delight cannot be found in Virginia. One of us who will not be named fell asleep at a bar standing up because he woke up at 2-something a.m. that morning.

Special thanks to NoCommonSense for housing us, hauling our asses around, finding activities, and ultimately having to take precious time off work. With the exception of being so isolated and far away, I could see myself living in Hawaii. It is quite spectacular, like a different world at times, and yet more "Americanized" than you'd expect.



Inside jokes, including acronyms:

PEDs: Performance-Enhancing Drugs

CB: Cold Beer

GCB: Good Cold Beer

HB: Hot Beer

Boats and hoes! (Step Brothers)

I'm on a boat! (Andy Samberg)

I would give $50 to see JD try to surf again and scrape himself so much that it looks like a living organism is growing inside him

I would give $300 to see a certain somebody "Hulk Up" again

Somebody may owe somebody something for "Hulking Up," though the latter person may not remember after having "Hulked Up" two or three times

Somebody may have the most hilarious photo of somebody lifting his shirt up and looking like a fool after having "Hulked Up" two or three times

Shuffleboard is incredible

Despite my small stature, I out-ate everybody

Apple pancakes and pumpkin muffins are heavenly

Super special thanks to Greek for forgetting to send me a CD containing all his photos, like he was supposed to, which is the reason it took me four months to publish this story. I still don't have that CD which would contain a photo of NoCommonSense puking a little bit after the lava tour. I somehow managed to contain my chunks.

Keep reading:
Aloha: The Lost Stories and Photos

Leia Mais…

Monday, November 30, 2009

Girls of Cancer: Miss November

Deanna Favre

Deanna Favre was born in Mississippi, attended grade school with a guy named Brett, dated him as a sophomore in high school, gave birth to their first daughter at 20, moved in with Brett when he was the quarterback for the Packers, stood by him during his struggles with Vicodin and alcohol, and now is happily married to him, was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, underwent five months of chemo and a lumpectomy, created the Deanna Favre Hope Foundation which supports breast cancer education, women's breast imaging and diagnosis services for all women, and wrote a book in 2007.

Whew, what a life-in-a-sentence. Now, onto Brett. This won’t be the lovefest displayed by Joe Buck during Minnesota Vikings broadcasts, but it may get close. Brett Favre is not the best quarterback ever—he holds most of the all-time passing records, but he’s also thrown the most career interceptions with 313.

Brett is also awesome—most touchdowns, completions, yards, MVPs (tied with Peyton Manning), and most consecutive game starts by a non-lineman or kicker with 282 (304 including playoffs). Brett is in his seventeenth consecutive year without missing a game.

Brett is even more intriguing off the field. He reveals himself in front of cameras while most athletes put up a wall. He always seems happy and jokes with his teammates. He fakes his retirement every year and has found his way onto the Vikings out of spite for the Packers, an archrival. He’s historically been dreadful playing in domes and also, lately, in the playoffs. Brett has overcome addictions. Above all, the day after his father died in 2003 he had one of his best performances, passing for 399 yards and 4 touchdowns and shedding tears when it was over. It was one of the most incredible sporting events I’ve seen.

Brett and Peyton may end up splitting the MVP this year, leaving them both with four. It is mind-boggling how well he’s playing at 40 years old. His Vikings are 10-1 and have a chance to win the Super Bowl. I will be rooting for Brett and my boy, Super Randy Moss, to meet in the big game.Deanna and Brett Favre

I welcome all female readers who are either cancer survivors or patients to be featured as co-Miss Decembers. If interested, please submit a short bio including your diagnosis, any funny stories, and a photo of yourself (at any age—cancer, pre- or post-cancer) to bmrubenstein (at) I will publish all submissions. You all deserve some winter and Hanukkah love.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lather and Repeat

Rub bar of soap onto soaked washcloth. Put soap back on holster. Clean self.

This is my preferred method of bathing, in which, had I been the only person using the soap, a single bar would last many weeks.

Enter my female roommate, Vina. The lifetime of our shared soap bars is just a few weeks. I think water may transform Vina into a lioness or a different clawed animal—I can't tell if she peels clumps for bathing, to create a potpourri of sorts, or for some kind of sacrificial ritual to the Goddess of Clean.

Soap bar

Leia Mais…

Monday, November 9, 2009

Refill, Re-buy, Recycle

My dad is a bit misguided on the motto, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." He takes pleasure in filling the trash can. He doesn't like different foods touching each other and uses separate plates—normally paper. He rarely separates the two or three paper plates stuck together.

He grabs a stack of napkins for all meals and snacks, even something as dry as pretzels. He needs silverware with his meals, even if it's only a sandwich. He gathers such an abundance of materials that at fast food joints I reiterate, "Dad, please don't get me ketchup, silverware, or napkins—I'll get my own."

He leaves lights on even when he won't re-enter that room until many hours later—to turn them off before going to bed.

He's always bagged his groceries in plastic, but used to grab no fewer than five paper bags on his way out of the supermarket to add to his stockpile. He uses the brown bags to collect the newspaper for recycling each week. I once conservatively estimated he had compiled over 30 years worth of them.

After all his waste, he is surprisingly adept at recycling. He makes sure to recycle all bottles, aluminum, and newspapers. He seems to think that his recyclables compensate for overuse, despite me telling him that only about 35% of recycled materials are reused.

Like all Americans, my carbon footprint is enormous relative to most of the world, but I do my best to reduce it. I bring snacks to work every day in a brown bag. My dad uses about three of these per day, and then throws them away, but I've been using the same one for several months. It now resembles the skin of a 110-year-old woman who's been smoking for 97 of them.

Reused brown paper lunch bag


According to UNDP, Human Development Report 2007/2008: Fight Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World, the United States is the world's highest per capita emitter of carbon dioxide with over 20 metric tons per person. China—the source of much hostility from conservation groups for overtaking the U.S. as the world's top overall emitter—spews out a mere four metric tons per person.

The greenouse effect aside, there is no debating that pollution effects water, air, ecosystems and human health. Many people think they're entitled to overconsume and waste, and that it is not their responsibility. I urge people to make simple concessions like switching to energy- and fiscally-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.

And when my book comes out, you can purchase it in e-book format if you'd like. Or, just read it over and over again—I'll give you credit for "Reuse."

Leia Mais…

Thursday, November 5, 2009


The following is a text message conversation between me and my friend. I was on the Metrorail headed for work.

Friend: I just farted so bad that I smoked myself out of my office.

Me: Make sure to leave a trail.

Friend: They're spraying Febreze in the hallway now. That can't possibly be because of me.

Me: Wow, that sounds like one of those once-in-a-lifetime rips. Be proud. That's lethal.

Friend: It's actually a little embarrassing.

Me: Are you sure you didn't poo yourself? Better check yo self.

Friend: That's my next move. As soon as I finish e-mailing an apology to the whole office.

Me: Did you claim that fart as your own or did they smell your brand?

Friend: No, you don't claim those. I don't think they know it's me for sure. But, I think they suspect someone.

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


"Do you think you're going to write another book," my mom asked.

"Absolutely not," I said. "The first one has consumed my life for five and a half years."

And yet, just days later I was already thinking about segments that don't quite fit in my first book. I even considered writing them down.

I played with potential first chapters, the hook that is meant to corral you readers with your hundreds of thousands of book options, and why read mine?

Would the second begin right where the first leaves off, much like My Friend Leonard following James Frey's megahit, A Million Little Pieces? Or would it plug some holes of the first book—the stories behind the stories of the cancerslayer, from Superman himself?

Leia Mais…

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Girls of Cancer: Miss Halloween

Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates discovers a crashed automobile on a snowy, New England road. The driver—James Caan—is an author who Bates is hugely fond of. After being “rescued” by Bates, Caan finds himself drugged, beaten, and at her mercy.

I have never heard of Misery, the 1990 thriller starring Bates and Caan. I probably should have—it grossed $61m, was based on Stephen King’s novel, was directed by the same guy who did When Harry Met Sally, and features Kathy Bates, who won an Academy Award and Golden Globe.

Kathy Bates was a scary mammajamma in Waterboy, playing Adam Sandler’s deranged mother. Are you surprised by this eerie trend? You shouldn’t be. An urban legend has been circulating about Kathy Bates for years. For those who scare, proceed with caution.

It began on Halloween sometime in the 60s when Kathy was a teenager. Her friends had stopped spending time with Kathy—they thought she brought down the group’s rep. Instead of partying in one of her classmate’s basement with everyone else, she sneaked around neighborhoods stealing Snickers bars.

Every Halloween thereafter, Kathy increased her destruction: snatching bags from little kids, smashing pumpkins, and setting lawns alight. It is said that, at twenty, she spotted a rabbit in the woods at precisely 11:59 on Halloween night. The rabbit was as white as a ghost with white pupils and white claws. The rabbit summoned Kathy and spoke in tongues about the species taking over the world and harvesting humans.

The rabbit population began to shrink as Kathy collected those in her hometown of Memphis. People close to Kathy thought she had a taste for the gamey meat. Really, she was preparing for the worldwide takeover. The date was planned for October 31, 2005.

But the plan changed in 2003 when Kathy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, though she didn’t reveal her disease publicly until 2008. Later, Kathy said that she wished she went public sooner. She could have helped others, she said, since ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose early.

In truth, she waited to disclose her illness to cover up the white rabbit’s ultimate plan. “Now, they’ll never see it coming,” the rabbit said, in tongues, of course.

The plan to abruptly alter the world’s dominant species without abiding by the rules of evolution is still in play—Kathy’s cancer just pushed it back four years, to October 31, 2009, at the stroke of 11:59, which also happens to be your last opportunity to grab a free Black Jack Taco from Taco Bell.

Facing Armageddon, I’m strangely not in the mood for artificially-colored crunchy tortilla.Kathy Bates holding a knife

Leia Mais…

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Damn Yankees

"Tonight we feast like the Romans,” I said to my dad.

He and I were headed to Long Island. There’s a restaurant off Hempstead Turnpike named Colony Diner, which looks like all other diners—chrome siding, lots of windows, and jukeboxes at the booths. But this is no ordinary diner.

My family used to take annual trips to New York to visit relatives and my grandparents’ gravesite. We would hit all the attractions—The World Trade Center Towers, Empire State Building, United Nations, Jewish delicatessen in Brooklyn, bagel and cookie bakery—but Colony Diner eclipsed them all.

The last time I had been was in 2000, a month before being diagnosed with my first cancer. Each year that I didn’t go, Colony’s prestige grew. In my mind the plate of roast beef drenched in au jus became a tableful. The matzo ball became the size of my fist. The tall slice of strawberry shortcake became the size of my head.

My dad and I hit terrible traffic, and the normally five-hour trip turned into seven-and-a-half. My dad and I discussed Colony on the way. Would we even be able to finish all our food? Was it going to be the best meal ever? Would the Jose Canseco-lookalike still be working there after all these years?

When we finally arrived, we sat at a large, plump, red booth. We ordered cherry Cokes, which at Colony amounts to about half Coke and half grenadine. Our challah bread and sesame sticks arrived. Then came the matzo ball soup. The main course followed.

My dad ordered half a roast chicken, apple stuffing, a baked potato and broccoli. He left some of the stuffing so that he’d have room for dessert. I came to gorge and that’s exactly what I did: a large, round plate with stacks of medium roast beef lying in a pool of au jus. A baked potato smothered in butter. A bowl of steamed broccoli. A second cherry Coke. There was just enough room for my slice of strawberry shortcake with mounds of whipped cream. Little had changed over the last nine years.

The next night I outdid myself: a 20-ounce prime rib topped with frizzled onion straws, corn on the cob, a plate of French fries, matzo ball soup, two cherry Cokes, challah bread, and the second largest slice of chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten (after a $15 slice at The Palm in Vegas). I certainly wasn’t feeling tip-top while watching the USC-Ohio State game later that evening.


It’s surprising that after having visited New York some 10-15 times in my life, I’d never been to old Yankee Stadium.
Old Yankee Stadium before demolition

I wasn’t going to allow that to happen with the new $1.5 billion coliseum. New Yankee Stadium looks like a castle from the outside, with “Yankee Stadium” inscribed in gold-colored letters. The inside looked like a monument to past Yankee greats with banners drooping from the ceiling. We took the elevator to the upper level, where the field looked immaculate and the high definition scoreboard bigger than I’d ever seen (though, it may not compare to Jerry’s Dome in Texas). We walked past Nathan’s hot dog and New York-style pizza stands.
Brand new Yankee Stadium
Brand new Yankee Stadium
Brand new Yankee Stadium
Brand new Yankee Stadium
Brand new Yankee Stadium giant scoreboard
Brand new Yankee Stadium
Brand new Yankee Stadium Memorial Park

We saw my Baltimore Orioles beat the Yankees on a cool, wet afternoon. Brian Roberts hit a grand slam and I stood and cheered wildly in the midst of silent New Yorkers.

I was happy with the outcome of the game, but something didn’t quite feel right. It brought back memories of my one autumn with the Yankees back in 2000 when they comforted me during my first month with cancer. I couldn’t help but root for Derek Jeter the day after he surpassed Lou Gehrig for the most hits in Yankee history, as the former public address announcer, Bob Sheppard, proclaimed, “Shortstop...Number 2...Derek Jeter...Number 2.”

My brain knows that I hate the Yankees. But deep inside of me, all the way down in my appendix I think, I didn’t forget that autumn many years back. It felt like an infection, spreading to my gallbladder and igniting my gallstones. My umbilical cord-donated white cells tried to beat back and kill the infection, but they could only contain it, sort of like Valtrex and herpes.

I hate the Yankees, with their unchecked spending, enormous fair-weather fan base, and constant winning. I hate the Yankees, I hate the Yankees, I hate the Yankees…

But, while Jeter, Pettitte, Posada and Rivera are still playing, there will always be a chance that the infection picks up its pace and spreads throughout my bloodstream. My first-grade immune system can only fight it off for so long.

After all, I hate the damn Yankees.


Postscript: Have you ever seen a better mullet?
Man with mullet at Yankee Stadium

Leia Mais…

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One-Million STRONG

Drew Carey said that he would donate one million dollars to LIVESTRONG if he got one million Twitter followers by the end of the year. He currently has over 103 thousand followers.

I will follow Drew if I get 15 Twitter followers by the end of the month, doing my part in funding cancer research. I currently have ten.

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Girls of Cancer: Miss September

Kate Jackson

On the day after Thanksgiving, nine years ago, we wanted to see Meet the Parents. Sold out. How about The Grinch? Sold out. How about...Charlie's Angels? We were better off driving home.

Cameron Diaz is overrated and has an annoying laugh, Drew Barrymore sucks as I've said many times on this blog, and which was the attractive Angel from back in the day with that popular hairdo and poster? Kate Jackson is the Angel who was always overlooked.

Kate was a southern girl. She was born in Alabama and attended Ole Miss. In the 1970s she teamed with Aaron Spelling to star in Charlie's Angels, a very popular television series which also starred Miss March, who has sadly passed away resulting from anal cancer.

Now, I wonder why Kate was not also cast in Aaron Spelling's Beverly Hills 90210, where, surely, she could have played Tori Spelling's mother. Maybe Kate wanted the role, but Tori complained to daddy about losing airtime and a diminished sex symbol status because of her TV mommy and threw a temper tantrum. Yeah, I'm positive that's what happened.

And then Kate became furious at Aaron and wanted to kill kill kill Tori. Kate wanted to prove that she was still hotter than Tori despite the age difference, and wanted to pose for Playboy, but then realized that Miss March already posed and Kate was tired tired tired of being overshadowed.

But then, Kate remembered that life is short and she survived two stints of breast cancer. After her cancer recurrence, she received a partial mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Kate's upbeat outlook was endearing. “I’m never going to have the perfect body," Kate said, "but I can wear a strapless evening gown, a bustier or whatever is required for a part.”

Today, Kate stands all alone as Miss September.Charlie's Angels' Kate Jackson
*Note: As always, much of this information came from Wikipedia. Some may also have been imagined. That, combined with a photo I found using a Google search, makes this the single most illegitimate blog story ever. Please don't tell the cops.

Leia Mais…

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Will You Be My Friend?

I have finally caved and joined the trendy "it" thing, Twitter, a social networking service.

Follow me on Twitter here!

Become my Facebook friend here!

Buy your beauty products from my mom here!

Check out my brother's Bar and Grill in Myrtle Beach here!

Call my mobile phone on this number...


Leia Mais…

Big Brother

Portable color LCD televisionFor my bar mitzvah over 12 years ago, Aunt Flojo bought me a portable color LCD TV. On the rare occasions that I left my couch on the weekend during football season, I brought my TV with me. I cursed at the little thing in 2003 as I watched UVA lose to N.C. State, 51-37. I remember heading to Aunt Flojo's Hanukah party in 2002 and watching beer bottles rain in Cleveland after the referee overturned a last-minute call, giving Jacksonville the victory. "We feared for our lives," Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith later said.

This past Saturday night, as I rode with my parents to my cousins' house for Rosh Hashanah dinner, I turned on my portable TV. Virginia Tech was playing Nebraska in a close game, and I wanted to see Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor continue to throw poorly.

I turned it on. The TV scanned for stations, but it didn't stop on ABC like it was supposed to. It didn't stop on any station. Then I remembered that the government forced broadcasting stations to go digital in June, leaving my wonderful bar mitzvah gift useless.

In 1997, my technologically-advanced LCD TV probably cost Aunt Flojo $200-300. Calculating for inflation, that would be $267.25-400.88 in 2008 dollars. After accounting for depreciation and technological advancement, I estimate it is currently worth $30.

I'll be expecting my check, Obama.


Postscript: According to some websites, I may be able to get a government coupon for a portable TV converter box. I take back what I said, Mr. President. I will accept public money to purchase a converter so that I can use my twelve-year-old television once every year or two. Thanks for the money, my dear blog readers.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Hip CT Scan

I received a CT scan to measure my leg length discrepancy resulting from my cancer surgery over eight and a half years ago. I know what my hip looks like—I've seen X-rays over the years. However, I had never seen this.

"This is science at its peak. It's incredible. How in the fuck am I still able to walk pain-free?" I wrote in an e-mail to my friend, Hamburgers. I attached the CT picture. "Don't worry, you can't make out my junk. It just looks like a bulge," I wrote.

I clicked Send.

Forty-five minutes later I peeked at the picture again, and realized I could enlarge it. I clicked the magnifying glass icon, and could now see my clearly defined genitalia. "I take it back—you can totally see my donger if you zoom in," I wrote back to Hamburgers. "I highly recommend you not zoom in, but your personal sexual desires are your own prerogative."

So, that's what the "smudge" function is for, huh?Benjamin Rubenstein skeletal CT scan showing Ewing's sarcoma resection

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Girls of Cancer: Miss August

Adamari López Toro

We're only eight months into my Girls of Cancer Calendar and I’m already digging deep for cancer-surviving hotties. I blame this on Melissa Etheridge. Every time I search for famous cancer survivors, she pops up, and I’m forced to quit my efforts and gargle with Listerine—the brown, burning kind.

My searches eventually led me to Adamari López Toro, a stunning Puerto Rican actress who has never appeared in American media and, unfortunately, has no relation to Benicio Del Toro. Adamari is famous for being in Mexican soap operas including Camila and the megahit, Amigas y Rivales. What, you haven’t seen them?

Adamari is a favorite target for the paparazzi and gossip magazines. She was also featured in People en Español’s Los 50 Más Bellos (The 50 Most Beautiful) in 2007. I should have never stopped at Spanish 4.

At 4 feet 10 inches, Adamari is, by some classifications, considered a little person. In 2005, she was diagnosed with “stage 1” breast cancer and underwent surgery. She is now in remission. The five-year survival rate for stage 1 breast cancer is a whopping 96-98%. In other words: women, please do whatever you can to detect it early.

I don’t mean to play favorites, but if this Girls of Cancer Calendar was real—meaning that I invested my hard-earned (well, at least earned) money into the production of glossy calendars with pictures of women who survived cancer, one of whom has sadly passed away (Farrah Fawcett as Miss March)—then I would likely choose Adamari for the cover.Adamari López Toro

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Push it to the Limit

I set out with a seemingly simple goal: reduce my body fat to 8%. I expected the process to take two months. It ended up taking 18.

I made quick progress in the first five months, when I eliminated processed foods and consumed more fruits and vegetables as part of a broader, healthier lifestyle change. I strictly counted my calories and had an iron will.

I went to Bob Evans with my parents last summer and ordered one of the lowest-calorie entrées, and substituted vegetables for starch. I ate none of the rolls and biscuits. I even managed not to order strawberry shortcake, my favorite dessert.

“Wow, that makes me kind of sad,” my friend, T2theZ, said after I told him.

Food constantly occupied my mind, disrupting my work and, sometimes, my sleep. The stomach pain I could easily handle. It was my passion for food and taste that hurt.

I had lost many pounds, and was confused why I hadn’t yet reached my goal. Only a few more weeks before you can eat whatever you desire, I’d continually assure myself. I was already thinking of my first victory food by the third month. I obsessed over whether it would be pizza, and if so, what kind of pizza, and where the pizza would come from, and which toppings it would have. Would I mail order a frozen pie from Giordano’s in Chicago, or eat it fresh from Roman Delight Pizza in Manassas Mall?

I encountered setbacks. On my family vacation at Virginia Beach last summer I ate a few pounds of Candy Kitchen fudge. I’m surprised weight gain was the only nuisance that caused, and not the explosion of my gallbladder.

I would eat strictly during the week and then splurge on the weekends, thinking that five prevails over two. But, the marginal gain from one naughty day will always overshadow a perfect day. You can burn only so many fewer calories than you consume before you lose mental energy and your body slows down. And you can consume three-fourths of a day’s worth in a single hamburger from Ruby Tuesday (Boston Blue Burger with 1,424 calories).

When my weight stagnated for six months, many questions ran through my head. Am I already at 8% body fat, though I don’t yet look anything like Will Smith? Does my body not want me to push further? Why am I punishing myself, being hungry every day, famished, when it doesn’t amount to anything? I wonder what rabbit tastes like?

I spoke with my friend, Vodka/Benadryl, about my lack of progress. “Back in high school, we’d have to cut for wrestling,” he said. “We had intense three-hour workouts and ate only 1,200 calories a day.”

Vodka/Benadryl suspected that if I stayed focused, I’d complete my goal in two months. I had been intensely dieting for 15 months, but somehow 2 more seemed unthinkable. Plus, it broke my three-weeks-to-completion estimate. It takes 3,500 calories to gain or lose a pound. The process is much slower than you’d think.

I re-dedicated myself and have more or less reached my target. I feel weightless, figuratively speaking, and elated. I don’t recommend anyone attempt this punishing endeavor. At times it felt like it controlled my life. I deprived myself of certain foods the way cancer treatment had so many years ago.

And besides, it will all have been for naught after I consume everything I’ve been itching to this past year and a half, like brick oven calzones. And Pizza Hut P’zones. And butter-soaked cinnamon sugar pretzels dipped in icing. And Mountain Dew Volt. And fries and burgers and fried chicken. And tacos. And nachos. And boneless chicken wings dipped in ranch. And Double Stuf Oreos, or Golden Oreos. And Starburst Jelly Beans. And Jelly Belly jelly beans. And Gushers. And gummy worms. And cherry Twizzlers. And Twizzler Sourz.

And another Chipotle burrito, because I already ate one as my chosen victory food.

And fucking strawberry shortcake.

And after I eat all of this, I will need proof that this tiny glimpse of time, when my body fat was 8%, was genuine and not imagined. Thus, I share this cropped photo that was taken of me, for historical purposes, and not to brag or be self-serving or be narcissistic.

Eat your heart out, Paul Walker, Ryan Reynolds, and Lance. Eight percent body fat abdominal display
Postscript: I provide only a taste of my sweet 15-inch scar in case I can later get money or publicity from it. I have no problem whoring myself out. I am waiting for a call from Mr. Hilfiger. I am also willing to provide a "before-and-after" to infomerical companies. Wait until I eat all the above foods, and I'll have a perfect "before" shot.

Leia Mais…

Friday, July 31, 2009

Girls of Cancer: Miss July

Geralyn Lucas

The authorities in China would be pissed if they did a Google image search for Geralyn Lucas. She can be found completely topless on the first results page. No porno terms needed. I just made the day of my teenage male readers. And for everyone else—I swear I’m not a perv.

Geralyn did a topless photo shoot for Self some years back while promoting her book, Why I Wore Lipstick. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was relatively young, twenty-seven years old, and had a mastectomy to remove the tumor. Her nipple was taken as part of the surgery, and she considered getting a cosmetic replacement, but instead went with a tattoo where her nipple used to be. Though I’m not condoning using the internet to view naked pictures, for those boys who just now reconsidered Googling her, shame on you! People come in all colors and sizes, and discrimination will not be tolerated simply because Geralyn lacks a nipple.

Her memoir was recommended to me when I was querying literary agents. There are about a million cancer memoirs, but she was sort of famous (a producer for 20/20), and her book had recently been released and sold fairly well. The opening scene is captivating. Geralyn visits a strip club for the first time in her life as she grapples with the decision whether or not to get a mastectomy. The other 180 pages are a cryfest. You can purchase it on Amazon for $10.94 if you’re into that sort of thing. And no, her topless photo cannot be found in her book. That can be seen without dropping 11 bucks.

Geralyn has been cancer-free for over ten years. She is married with two children, lives in New York, and works as an executive at Lifetime Television, which, in 2006, aired a film version of her book. If my book ever turns into a Lifetime movie, feel free to punch me in the neck.Geralyn Lucas' Why I Wore Lipstick memoir cover

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

My One Autumn with the Yankees

My dad’s family stared at him, horrified. It was the spring of 1958, and their beloved Brooklyn Dodgers had just moved to Los Angeles, leaving them devastated. The relocation didn’t bother my dad as much as his parents and older sister. The rebellious thirteen-year-old proudly wore his brand-new New York Yankees jacket to the dinner table.

My dad has always been a bit confused when it comes to team allegiance. He grew up a New York Giants fan, became a Redskins fan when he moved to the Washington area, but made my brother, JD, wear a Cowboys shirt when he was a little boy. JD would rather not talk about it.

My dad’s NFL order of teams goes Redskins and then Giants, and he generally doesn’t mind the Cowboys. He’ll even root for the Giants when, toward the end of the season, a New York win will harm their divisional rival Redskins’ chances of making the playoffs. “It’s up to the Skins to get the job done,” he’ll say. “Why would I root for the Chiefs over the Giants? I probably can’t name three guys on that team.”

When I was an early teenager, my dad’s favorite baseball team was the Baltimore Orioles, with the Yankees coming in second. JD and I investigated. In the 2000 season my dad always rooted for the Orioles, except when they played the Yankees with Roger Clemens, David Cone, Andy Pettitte, or Orlando “El Duque” Hernández as the starting pitcher. That occurred 9 of the 12 times the two teams played each other.

My allegiances are more clear-cut: Redskins for life, Seattle Mariners before Ken Griffey, Jr. left for Cincinnati, and then the Orioles. There’s just one blemish.


I got cancer at the perfect time of year—the NFL season was in its first month, and the baseball playoffs began just days after I started treatment. Like usual, my Orioles didn’t participate, and Griffey had recently departed the Mariners, which swept the White Sox in the first round. Without a horse in the race, I just watched, allowing my favorite childhood sport to take my mind off disease, chemotherapy, and dangerously low blood counts.

My immune system hit rock bottom on the first Saturday in October, in 2000. I spiked a low-grade fever late in the afternoon. I turned on the Mets/San Francisco Giants playoff game as I frantically collected my things. My heartbeat was rapid, more from the fear of not knowing what happens next than from my acute anemia. My doctors were of the opinion that fevers equal potential death, and that’s all I knew.

I stuffed my bag faster than my parents packed theirs, so I begged them to hurry, wondering if these empty minutes brought me closer to the mortal demise my doctors described. My mom drove on the nearly-empty highways more concerned with getting me to the hospital safely than my ticking time bomb.

We arrived to a calm hospital staff and not the frenetic one I expected. The nurse put me in a regular hospital room devoid of intensive care equipment. Nothing had to be resuscitated. Dr. Dunks looked me over, noting the acne that had spread across my back was worse than J.J. Redick’s. I hadn’t been eating much the past week. I missed going to school, and my friends, and my old life that was wrenched away from me.

Engrossed in the baseball game that was now in extra innings, I ate the entire chicken sandwich my dad had fetched for me, forgetting I hadn’t had an appetite. In the bottom of the 13th inning, Benny Agbayani crushed a homerun to catapult the Mets to a 3-2 victory.

My dad walked me down to radiology to get a chest X-ray. We got to talking about the Yankees, and how, even if you hate them, it’s hard not to respect some of their players’ postseason performances. Through 1999, Derek Jeter had a .326 batting average in the playoffs. Through that same time period, El Duque’s ERA was 1.02 and Mariano Rivera’s was a staggering 0.38 with 13 saves. Rivera hadn’t given up a single run in his last 18 postseason appearances, including 6 World Series games. He may be the best postseason pitcher ever.

I was sixteen years old and needed something to hold on to during that first month of cancer treatment. With Jeter, El Duque and Rivera, the Yankees weren’t going anywhere until they would beat the Mets in the World Series on October 26. I adopted the Yankees as my team, sharing them with my dad who rooted for them three-quarters of the time against his “favorite team,” the Orioles.

JD bought me the red Yankees hat that Fred Durst—lead singer of Limp Bizkit—made famous. He later got me a green one, and my aunt—the same one whose jaw dropped at the dinner table so many years before—bought me a Yankees World Series hat. I wore my hats around school with pride as all my hair fell out, carrying a note in my pocket authorizing me to wear them because hats normally weren’t allowed at school.

The following season was Cal Ripken, Jr.’s last before retirement. His rejuvenated play and storybook home run in the 2001 All-Star game restored my love for the Orioles, and, naturally, my hatred for the Yankees. But I’ll never forget how, that autumn, baseball in general and the Yankees more specifically renewed me with joy when all seemed so lost.

Leia Mais…

Monday, June 29, 2009

Girls of Cancer: Miss June

Kylie Minogue

Crikey is Australian-born Kylie Minogue attractive, despite how annoying her 2002 smash hit “Can’t Get You out of My Head” was. Though I hadn’t heard of her until seven years ago, Kylie reached fame in Australia in the late ‘80s with her role in a soap opera, and then as a singer. Kylie has sold over 60 million records and has a bronze statue in Melbourne, Australia, which is bowed to by horny teenage boys.

Some of Kylie’s critics say she is a terrible singer, and that she uses her fame, revealing costumes, and sex symbol-status to cover up her lack of talent. I can’t agree or disagree—the few times I caught part of the boring and highly unpopular show American Idol I thought singers were good when the panel claimed that they sucked. I do think Kylie’s music sucks though I’m also not her target audience. I was her target audience seven years ago when I considered purchasing a plane ticket to Melbourne, as well as a small rug to protect my knees on the concrete.

Kylie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. Kylie and the local Australian government went to great lengths to keep her situation private, but through extensive research (two websites, neither credible) it appears that Kylie underwent the full range of treatment: surgery, chemotherapy in France, and radiation. She reportedly compared chemotherapy to experiencing a nuclear bomb, which is the same thing women say about copulation with American Idol’s William Hung.

At forty-one years old, Kylie is still gorgeous and successful. She has an upcoming album and will appear in the biggest budget Bollywood film ever made. If you look hard enough you can find young American men facing Melbourne during prayer.Kylie Minogue

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Men's Bathroom Etiquette

“Keep your eyes on the wall,” Ho-Train said. “No matter what, keep your eyes on the wall.”

My friend, Ho-Train, was sharing his most important rule of the men’s bathroom in an article I wrote for my high school newspaper, The Yellow Jacket. Ho-Train’s quote was one of the few I used in my articles that I didn’t fabricate and randomly credit to classmates.

More rules:

  • No talking unless all the communicators are on the same plane: at the sink, urinal, or in the shitter. If you and your friend are peeing, and you finish before him, your conversation must pause until he rejoins you at the sink.
  • Never touch handles with your palm.
  • Take an end urinal if available. If possible, leave two unused urinals between you and the other dude, but no more than three or you risk looking like a pansy, with the exception of the end unit. If you have to saddle up next to another dude, keep your elbows tight. If you’re going to have to squeeze between two dudes, broach the urinal extremely slowly in the hope that somebody will finish before you arrive.
  • If a dude farts at the urinal, it is appropriate to laugh, so long as your eyes don’t move from the wall.
  • For goodness sake, wash your hands after shitting.
  • If two friends are shitting in adjoining stalls, they are permitted to hold hands. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  • It is strongly encouraged to ridicule dudes who spend significant time in front of the mirror.
  • Never ridicule a dude who takes too long at the urinal. Stage fright will be sympathized with, even downright respected, as opposed to the dude who left four or more urinals between the next dude.
  • Any direct and intentional sight of another dude’s wang may result in death.
  • Always give a dude room when he’s pulling valuables out of his pants.
  • Pulling out through the zipper is the best method. A full unbutton and unbuckle is authorized. Dropping trousers to the point where the ass crack can be seen is not permitted.
  • A shitter will be chosen that eliminates the aggregate awkwardness. This will be a judgment decision. Factors to be taken into account include adjacent open shitters, a workable lock, and farthest distance from the bathroom’s common area. Of course, selfish factors will also be taken into account such as cleanliness and fully-stocked toilet paper.
These are universal rules that dudes know instinctively. Centuries ago they were passed down from father to son. Through survival of the fittest, the unaware civilizations died off, and by way of evolution these rules are no longer learned.

At my last job some of these rules were bent and some outright broken. One dude would unbutton, unbuckle, and completely untuck his shirt just to pee.

Dudes took a urinal in the middle when the end was available. Dudes took the urinal next to me when they could’ve chosen one with a buffer.

Dudes began conversation upon entering the bathroom, while I was in the middle of peeing. This is a serious problem on two levels: (1) we weren’t on the same plane; (2) by saying hello they forced me to turn my head to the right. If another dude was urinating next to me, and suspected that I peeked at his wang, then he could try to kill me.

One dude would greet upon arrival and continue conversing from the shitter. This put me in a terrible bind. I didn’t want to seem rude, but I also didn’t want to be around when the noises began. He was the Alpha Dude, with a complete lack of natural shitter-inhibitions.

When it comes to the shitter, there are fewer rules than preferences. Dudes would flush and then wait to come out until the bathroom was empty in an attempt to conceal their identities. Dudes would exit the stall inconspicuously, wash up, and leave the room as quickly as possible. Dudes would wait to tuck until after exiting the stall, proudly displaying their pooping success.

One dude tested the flushing capability beforehand. He was The Clogger. Some dudes let loose without a care, while others restricted their expulsions to mere squeaks. One dude prayed that the bathroom was empty before entering to shit. If not empty, he would pretend he came in to pee and come back later to poop.

And me? The last rule: don’t relieve and tell.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Meet Gregg Valentino, who clearly drinks his orange juice. He looks like a challah bread. I feel like I should eat him with my Manischewitz wine Friday night.Gregg Valentino looks like challah bread

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

'Terminator' Misses Target... at First

Terminator Salvation movie posterI knew something was off from the start. The theme song from 1984’s The Terminator had been tweaked for the previous two sequels, but nothing like this. Terminator Salvation director, McG, and his composer obliterated it. The theme song was the sole reason I tuned in to the first episode of the TV show, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It was also the sole reason I changed the channel after five minutes, because the song was not in the show.

The new installment to the Terminator series was disappointing. I can be nitpicky, like there was too little background music during the action scenes. But the dialogue was also very weak, and the acting fairly poor. For the second straight summer, Christian Bale was outdone by his costar. Sam Worthington—is he human or something else?—was the shining star of the film, receiving as many scenes as Bale, who played humanity’s savior, John Connor.

We first saw John Connor’s character in 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day as a boy played by Edward Furlong, who would later star in American History X. I couldn’t move from my couch after seeing American History X; it’s the most powerful movie I’ve ever seen.

Nick Stahl was Connor in 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. He and Furlong gave Connor’s character personality. They showed fear and humor, and we felt sympathetic toward them. Christian Bale didn’t do much of anything, except speak in the deep, dark voice we know as Batman. Whether it’s Bale or McG to blame, John Connor’s character, too, was destroyed.


I was a Schwarzenegger fan as a boy, watching movies like Twins and Kindergarten Cop. It wasn’t until my dad showed me The Terminator, widely considered an all-time classic, as a teenager that I saw what my dad saw: Arnold was indestructible. We loved Arnold even more than we loved mocking him—“Get to the chopper!” “Stop whining!”—and were disappointed when he chose to give up acting for politics. There are plenty of trash politicians. There’s only one Arnold.

Terminator 3 hit theaters during my second long hospital stint in Minnesota. I was subjected to the bed more than 23 hours each day. After a couple episodes of Saved by the Bell each morning, I watched the Food Network, though I couldn’t eat anything. I couldn’t even salivate over the prepared meals because my salivary glands had stopped working.

Rarely had I ever been so helpless, lifeless. My relatives came to visit. They stayed in my room briefly and then left, sensing I wanted nothing to do with them.

The NBA playoffs had ended. Basketball is what had kept me going the previous couple months. Now I had nothing, with one exception: every night there was a different Arnold movie on TV in preparation for the upcoming Terminator release. “Arnold is the best,” my dad and I always say. That summer he was more than that.

I am surely holding the new Terminator to a higher standard. It callously breaks from the core of the original, and that really bothers me. But it redeems itself with a great ending, one worthy of calling itself Terminator Salvation, and even has a brief Arnold cameo. That doesn’t make up for the film’s failures, but maybe it will make McG recognize how to do the next one the right way. I promise you this: Terminator will be back.

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