Super Bowl fever

A Super Bowl super poll reveals that a super majority of U.S. super fans are super stoked for today’s supercharged juggernaut of supermodels, superstar athletes and super-sized commercials. Also known as the Super Bowl. Aka the Bud Miller Ford Chevy Coke Pepsi Cheetos Doritos Viagra Cialis Super Bowl. “Super Sunday” comes but once a year – a super showdown between elite, body-armored millionaires, a Roman-numeraled orgy of all-American overkill. Consumerism, commercialism, cannibalism (wait, no cannibalism; that was fake news). Recreational violence with a VIP sideshow. Super Suspense! Will halftime headliner Lady Gaga sneak a salute to Lord MAGA ?!? TV officials say elevendy billion people worldwide will jam the virtual coliseum. And FOX promises several full minutes of action packed into the evening-long Super Telecast, which will carry optional subtitles for viewers in Moscow, Beijing and parts of Mississippi. It will be close-captioned for the pigskin-impaired. The annual avalanche of advertising excess provides a compelling side drama in which corporate executives shell out $5 million or more for 30-second spots urging you to buy trucks, chips and beer, and truckloads of chips and beer. Lots of other interesting stuff too. (SAMPLE AD: Do you suffer from post-orgasmic stress disorder? Restless hand syndrome? Adult onset celibacy? Ask your doctor about Fornica!) But before you tune in, the NFL – in partnership with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Chicken Wings and the Committee to Prevent Cheese Breath – offers these important safety tips. To avoid sustaining an “NFL-style” concussion during the game, do not “head butt” fellow fans, even after witnessing a particularly exciting “flea flicker” or “Hail Mary.” Less knowledgeable fans may avoid mockery and possible stiff arms by refraining from asking such questions as, “What’s a punt?” “Why is that man touching that other...

One L of a Super Bowl

Share By John Breneman Ladies and gentlemen! Strap on your helmets, gobble down a bunch of steroids and gear up for America’s annual celebration of beer, trucks, sex and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It is time to get pumped up for the 50th Super Bowl – aka the Bud Miller Ford Chevy Coke Pepsi Cheetos Doritos Viagra Cialis Super Bowl. “Super Sunday” comes but once a year – that special day when the world’s only true superpower deploys its most elite, body-armored millionaires in a Roman-numeraled orgy of all-American overkill. Consumerism, commercialism and recreational violence with a VIP sideshow. As the Cavalcade of Concussions unfolds on the playing field, the annual avalanche of advertising excess provides a compelling side drama in which corporate executives shell out $5 million or more for 30-second time slots urging you to buy trucks, chips and beer, and truckloads of chips and beer. And, of course, sex pills. (SAMPLE AD: Do you suffer from post-orgasmic stress disorder? Restless hand syndrome? Adult onset celibacy? Ask your doctor about Fornica!) TV officials say elevendy billion people worldwide will jam the virtual coliseum and CBS promises several full minutes of action packed into the 18-hour super telecast. Betting on the game is, of course, illegal – to the tune of an estimated $4.2 billion, enough cash to provide health care for … ha-ha, just kidding. During the game itself, popular conversation topics will include speculation about whether Denver quarterback Peyton Manning’s freakishly gigantic forehead has grown even larger now that he has become the national spokesman for Human Growth Hormone. But before you tune in, the NFL – in partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Chicken Wings – offers these important safety tips. If you should...

Hub fans bid curse adieu...

(Note: I’m blessed to be at Opening Day at Fenway today. I wrote this tribute to the 2004 World Champion Red Sox, and snapped this photo, on Opening Day 2005, as the Fenway faithful celebrated the team’s first championship since 1918.) By John Breneman Diamond rings the size of a baby’s fist. Fighter jets tearing across the sky and soldiers in wheelchairs rolling across the Fenway grass. A Red Sox championship banner billowing from the Green Monster. All of a sudden, 1918 doesn’t seem so long ago. Not when Johnny Pesky (circa 1942 Sox) is standing right there soaking it all in with Dom DiMaggio, Dewey and Yaz – and the rest of us 35,000 lucky stiffs, all crammed into this hallowed baseball artifact – the one John Updike called that “lyric little bandbox of a ballpark” – swept up in the emotion of a shared dream. Everything is new this spring. The 2004 Sox made history, choked the Yankees, broke the curse, swept the Cards and made grown men cry. World champs. And now the Yankees are back in town. Now that another New England winter has frozen the exhilarating memories of last October into Red Sox lore, it’s time to come out and play once more. But first we have a couple of small matters to attend to. You know, handing out gaudy chunks of etched white gold. Singing songs to honor the glory of Red Sox past and present. Unfurling gigantic World Series banners … in their smug Yankee faces. Or cheering like idiots when the announcer calls out “Mariano Rivera.” You didn’t have to be at the park to hear Fenway erupt with a standing O honoring the monster closer’s autumn misery. We were almost done saluting our...

Oyster poetry and raw pleasures at Row 34...

Just had one of those once-in-a-lifetime dining experiences. You know, the kind where one of your best friends from childhood is a lobsterman whose cousin is an amazing chef slash restaurant entrepreneur who happens to be opening a cool new oyster bar down in the section of town where new brick buildings have been springing up right and left? Row 34 is the sister restaurant of Row 34 in Boston, and brother is it good. Chef/co-owner Jeremy Sewall and his partners describe the original Row 34 as a “workingman’s oyster bar.” And co-owner Garrett Harker has been quoted as saying, “When we were digging out the foundation of the building, it was all oyster shells underneath.” The new one is an upscale, street-corner pearl nestled in Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s swanky new Hotel District. Shiny but not too fancy (fans of brushed stainless steel will love their rugged, construction worker condiment basket), it is an oysters and beer bar with ties to Island Creek Oysters (mission statement: “Grow the world’s finest oysters and have the best possible time doing it”). At the May 22 soft opening, we were invited to grab a pen and write some numbers into the circles next to the names of an array of raw bar delights. Amid the sensory overload that ensued – half-shelled delicacies, succulent shrimp cocktail and scallop ceviche – my taste buds raced ahead of my mind’s ability to remember the description of the mmmm-licious smoked salmon. Fresh-shucked mollusks from Duxbury and Great Bay made my companion’s first true oyster experience a memorable one. Love those Fat Dogs. Oysters have the most wonderful names, don’t they? Peeking at Row 34’s raw bar menu today, you find these verbal morsels – Rocky Nooks,...

Remembering Gramma Jo

Editor’s Note: My grandmother died on Thanksgiving Day 2004 at age 94. She was feisty and funny and sweet. Below is a piece I wrote for her on her 90th birthday. By John Breneman This is about a few things — a million-dollar baseball card, a 64-cent pocket watch and a $1.75 rocking chair, as seen in the 1909 Sears Roebuck catalog. But mostly it’s about my grandmother. She’ll be 90 on Tuesday, but you could easily mistake her for a lot younger. She made me lunch the other day, and I think I was more impressed than she with the nifty birthday card she received from the White House. She was born in 1910, so I’ve always had that date in my head. William Howard Taft was president. Good man, Taft. Huge man. He weighed 325 pounds during his White House days, maybe even more by the time he made chief justice of the Supreme Court. On April 14, 1910, Taft was the first president to throw out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game. Well back in those days, there was no finer ballplayer than Honus Wagner, the future Hall of Fame shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Honus had won seven of his eight batting titles by that time and his Pirates were the defending world champs, having beaten Ty Cobb’s Detroit Tigers in a seven-game series the previous October. (Purely by coincidence, a friend recently gave me a 1909 Sears Roebuck & Co. catalog. So I thought I’d sprinkle in an occasional reference to what things cost back then. For example: baseballs started at 5 cents, bats a dime, mitts at 18 cents for a boy’s). Anyway, I guess when little Josephine Findora Hooper...

Slick-fielding feline robs A-Rod by a whisker...

  Amazing! I just learned that my cat, Elwood, played center field for the Tigers back in 2007. Here he is robbing Alex Rodriguez of a game-winning home run in a 2-1 win over the Yankees.  (AP PHOTO)   Share   Related story: Hub fans bid curse adieu More graphic design by Triple Action...

The Heineken Maneuver

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Extreme Father’s Day makeovers...

This is a piece I wrote back in 2008 for the Boston Herald, featuring amazing artwork by Jeff Walsh.    ...

Roast Ox Smoothie recipe...

Though some folks favor homemade lemonade, root beer floats or vodka tonics, old-timers know there’s nothing quite like a refreshing Roast Ox Smoothie to take the edge off on a sweltering summer day. INGREDIENTS 1 600-lb. ox, freshly killed 2 dozen cloves of garlic 3 large sacks of onions, cubed 9 gal. Worcestershire sauce 1½ fistfuls of paprika 8 oz. plain yogurt Sprig of anchovy Hurl the onions and garlic into a mixing bowl and thrash them viciously with a studded leather belt until they begin to resemble a pile of severely abused chunks of onions and garlic. Rub some of the garlic and onion mix onto your teeth and gums to ward off evil, then place the rest in an all-weather trash bin. Fling the paprika on top and seal with duct tape. Next: Decapitate, skin and gut the ox using an ordinary household oxen shiv, medium-sized chainsaw or a crew of illegal Mexican laborers. Lightly brush the grotesque uncooked flesh with Worcestershire marinade and cover with a tarp to protect from flies and maggots and neighborhood dogs. Dig a hole in your back yard and fill with wood, coal and construction debris. (Environmental enthusiasts may prefer to substitute alternative fuels such as switch grass, Duraflame logs or oxen dung). Construct a makeshift oxen spit, then muscle the bloody carcass onto the contraption. Douse the bonfire pit with lighter fluid or gasoline (at least 89 octane for best results) and ignite, making sure flames do not exceed 15 feet in height. Cook for approximately half a day, continually rotating the gigantic slab so it chars evenly while the center remains pink and tender. Remove from heat and trim into blender-sized slabs. Shovel ingredients into industrial-sized food processor and...

Last-minute Father’s Day gifts...

What’s that, chum? Father’s Day kind of snuck up on you again. Well, no need to panic. Heartfelt gifts for Dad can be found just about anywhere — from Walmart to the corner Pump ‘n’ Pay. These last-second surprises are sure to let Dad know exactly how much you care: Tube socks: Dad’ll feel like a million bucks in these buck-ninety-nine ($1.99) beauties — each emblazoned with the three horizontal “racing stripes” that say “he’s the man.” Tie: Wait’ll the boys at the office get a load of Dad in this swell corporate-looking necktie — fashioned from durable, non-flame-retardant polyester. Coffee mug: His eyes’ll twinkle like they did on the day you were born when he sees this one-of-a-kind “World’s Greatest Dad” mug. Pack of smokes: This one’s a no-brainer if Pop’s a smoker. Sure they’re unhealthy; but hey, who cares what that bossy Surgeon General says. Dad’ll love how the intoxicating blend of tar and nicotine makes him feel manly and super cool. Slippers: Comfort is important to hard-working dads in their leisure time and these lightweight Taiwanese “mock-asins” are perfect for kicking back in the La-Z-Boy. (Newspaper not included.) Can of mixed nuts: These generic morsels pack a party in every can. Coupled with a Post-It note reading “I’m nuts about Dad,” this item helps you express the true meaning of Father’s Day. Roll of duct tape: Perfect for household projects or Homeland Security preparedness, this space-age super-product will help Dad feel like the ultimate handy man. Greeting card: Though it actually requires some thought, devoted offspring often like to compose a personalized message for Dad on his special day (example: “You’re a champ, Pops!”), while creative types may add a “heart” symbol to underscore their affection....

I love graphic design

                  Click here to see more of my graphic design work. — John Breneman

.44 Magnum Cum Laude

(Excerpts from Clint Eastwood’s commencement address) Thank you. You have honored me by inviting me to be your commencement speaker today. So I promise to shoot straight with you as I share a few hard-earned lessons about the good, the bad and the ugly. Tomorrow is promised to no one. And nothing can truly prepare you for the sudden impact of life after college. Out there – in the line of fire – you’ll face a gauntlet of challenges, yellow-bellied sidewinders and grimy armed gunmen. Not to mention extreme prejudice. … It’s the Wild West out there. And before you can say “Make my day,” I’m gonna be wrapping up this speech and yelling at you smartasses to get off my lawn. Pampered million-dollar babies with your pretty little caps and gowns, and your fancy college diplomas. You probably figure you’ve earned the right to belly up to the bar and tell the man, “Whiskey.” Well that’s just fine, but you better sober up quick because it’s time to get out there and make something out of yourselves. Just try not to sell your soul for a fistful of dollars, or mortgage your dreams for a few dollars more. And remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. Because if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is. … In a perfect world, you’d all get good jobs and five or six shots at the American dream. But those days are gone. Nowadays, everybody’s gotta scrape together a living any which way you can. Yes, the world is a violent place...

Godzilla among us

Awakened by the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Godzilla has returned — in a world fraught with homeland insecurity and geopolitical peril, indiscriminate barbarity and relentless scoffing — to give humanity a fresh taste of his ancient wisdom.                                    ...

Why is this cat flying?

In his younger days, my cat Elwood was known to soar through the air with the greatest of ease. Share Click here to see his New Year’s...

Happy Earth Day to you

By John Breneman Happy birthday to Planet Earth. Yes, according to the earthling calendar, April 22 is Earth Day, so allow me to dish up a heaping tectonic plate of metaphorical Earth Day cake. The earthday boy doesn’t look a day over 4.54 billion years old — created by a supreme benevolent being, or perhaps formed from highly charged bits of matter and a nebulous cloud of gas. Sure it’s wheezing a bit (from smog), battling a receding hairline (deforestation) and running a bit of a fever (global warming). And its risk of cancer is greater than ever (ozone deterioration). My quadrennial State of the Planet address also reveals a rash of psycho weather patterns battering coastal communities worldwide, with some blaming the carnage on climate change. State of the planet? We have nothing to fear but the biosphere itself. Science has enabled us to better understand our planet, to cruise the universe and take small steps on the moon. But we are only beginning to make the giant leap toward respecting our home turf enough to reverse a long, shortsighted cycle of self-destruction. The Earth has taken good care of us humans. So now that it is getting on in years, we must take better care of the Earth. For some reason, this concept seems easier for children to understand. And fortunately, many of today’s kids are fascinated with the idea of recycling and caring for their planet. They learn in school that it’s fun. Natural. Necessary. Then they come home and teach their parents. Their carbon footprints are smaller, but their hearts and minds seem more open to regarding Earth as a living, breathing miracle. As we breathe in that sweet, free oxygen, Earth Day helps us...

Valentine’s Day fever...

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The holiday when hopeless romantics – moved by love and panic – bust out candies, candles and cards filled with sweet talk for our significant others, crushes and flames. Yes, Romeos and Juliets. Chill the champagne and stop and smell the roses – for February 14 is a national day to woo your true love. Because love is like oxygen. You can’t buy it. It is a many splendored thing, and if you abuse it you’re gonna lose it. It has been described as a “battlefield” and other B-words. According to popular lyrics love hurts, and occasionally stinks. It can strike under the boardwalk, on Blueberry Hill or in an elevator. It can feel like a rollercoaster. And it makes the world go round. It has even been suggested that love is all you need. Certainly it has inspired words of wisdom (and advice for the lovelorn) from history’s greatest hearts and minds. Jesus suggested I love my neighbor, but turns out I only liked my neighbor as a friend. Next we check in with Gandhi. After all, throughout the span of humanity, who looks more dapper in a diaper than Mahatma and Cupid? “Where there is love there is life,” said he. Ah, leave it to Gandhi. So deep and yet so sexy. However, some have expressed a more cynical take. For example, Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher/bon vivant, let it rip from the hip when he said: “Love is a serious mental disease.”* (*Full disclosure: I got these “quotes” from the “Internet” and did not actually witness nor hear the speakers make the comments attributed to them herein.) But for true Valentine’s Day cynicism, you’ve gotta go straight to early 19th century American man...

Introducing Triple Action News...

Hello, I’m John Breneman from Triple Action News. This video, filmed at Triple Action News global headquarters in Portsmouth, N.H., is my pitch to the people of Alpha Loft to grant me a place in their Accelerate NH program. The innovative nonprofit Alpha Loft is uniquely positioned to help me realize my dream of harnessing my creativity to make a living...

Single Man’s Housecleaning Playbook...

“The Single Man’s Housecleaning Playbook” By Sidney Showalter After his cleaning lady left due to a broken arm, one football-loving bachelor was left to tackle … housework. Though the book offers little insight into how the cleaning lady broke her arm, the author diligently compiles an informative reference book on how to “pick up” where she left off, before her apparently career-ending arm injury. Combining “funny anecdotes” with “comprehensive charts outlining housecleaning in football terms,” but little information about the ex-cleaning lady’s medical condition or how the mangled arm affects her future earning potential, this bachelor’s guide promises “a detailed, yet down-to-earth, approach to making a home shine.” “Cleaning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” – Vince...

Writing samples

By JOHN BRENEMAN Ozzie Sweet: portrait of an artist One of the profound honors of working as a journalist is the privilege of peeking into the lives of fascinating human beings. Showing up with a pen and some paper. Sharing a conversation. Then telling their story. I spent about three hours with Ozzie Sweet at his home in York Harbor back in 2001. I had never heard of him, but I understood I would be meeting a man who, in addition to his legacy as a pioneering sports photographer, also created images from private moments shared with such 20th century icons as Grace Kelly, Jimmy Durante, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Albert Einstein. Ozzie was famous for putting his famous subjects at ease – getting them to relax so, in an age peopled with stiffly posed portraits, a true-life image would emerge. Now my job was to create a picture of him. A black and white. Made up of words. Read more … *   *   * Shipyard prison project: The Next Brig Thing Hey Apple. Hey Google. What would be cooler than locating your new East Coast genius lab in a crazy, century-old prison castle inspired by Alcatraz and featured in an infamous, Oscar-nominated Jack Nicholson flick? Newsflash: The U.S. Navy is once again looking to lease the magnificent island fortress known as the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard prison. The breathtaking oceanfront site is currently ranked by Triple Action News as one of the top 5 top-secret real estate opportunities in the world. Long story short, the Navy is looking for a few good companies – anchor companies – so I wanted to put our prison on your radar screen. In my capacity as self-appointed talent scout slash marketing wizard, please...

Batman and Robin

(aka, Batman and Shazbot Man) Robin just keeps on inspiring. I was watching Billy Crystal’s tribute on the Emmys when — Holy Jumanji, Batman! — this image popped into my photoshop brain … Batman and Robin Williams Good morning, Gotham City! Share — John Breneman (one of the millions who enjoyed the gift of laughter from the extraordinary, hilarious, sweet, brilliant Robin Williams — may he rest in peace) ALSO: Speed Racer busted for speeding, possession of...

Cat whisperer

I am currently in the midst of planning an elaborate surprise party to celebrate the 11th birthday of my faithful and trusty sidekick, Elwood. So when I overheard someone mention the term “cat whisperer” this week, it set off an involuntary internal analysis exploring the phrase for its rich comedic potential. First, I considered what animals would be the most challenging with which to develop a “whisperer” type relationship. These included: rattlesnake whisperer, snapping turtle whisperer and great white shark whisperer. Also: Komodo dragon whisperer, electric eel whisperer and, of course, Portuguese man o’ war whisperer. Next I examined those that just struck me as sounding funny, such as vulture, skunk and wasp whisperer; or perhaps cockroach, porcupine and Tasmanian devil whisperer. Of little surprise to those who know me, I quickly moved on to those that were mildly suggestive or vaguely naughty: woodpecker whisperer, sperm whale whisperer and ass whisperer (hey, I’m talking about donkeys here). As the cat whisperer stream of consciousness continued, I pictured a stand-up comedian explaining: “Actually, I think I’m more of a cat shouter.” The imaginary comic would then scream, “Get down off the counter, Whiskers!” and “Stop clawing the carpet, you mangy bag of bones!” Me, I never raise my voice to the little guy. That would violate a very important claws in our master-pet pre-nup. Stay tuned for details on Elwood’s upcoming new book “Nine Habits of Highly Effective Felines,” his much-anticipated sequel to “The Human Whisperer.” — John Breneman Tweet...

Brown-bagging it in New Hampshire...

PORTSMOUTH — Some say Scott Brown’s bid to weasel his way back into the Senate by moving north from Massachusetts is doomed because Granite State voters will see him as a “carpetbagger.” But others feel New Hampshire may jump at the chance to elect a handsome pickup truck-driving senator who as a young man posed nude in Cosmopolitan and who even inspired a “Saturday Night Live” skit about how sexy he is (with “Mad Man” stud Jon Hamm playing Sen. Brown). This means Jeanne Shaheen, whose deep Granite State political roots include three terms as governor prior to her 2008 election to the Senate, is not dealing with just any carpetbagger. To paraphrase the esteemed political pundit Austin Powers: “He’s a shagadelic carpetbagger, baby!” Unfortunately for Brown — a one-time Republican rising star who famously won “Ted Kennedy’s seat” in a 2010 special election before losing his job to Elizabeth Warren — his much-anticipated announcement Thursday night at the Sheraton in Portsmouth was preceded by several vintage gaffes. “Live Free AND Die,” Brown says in one video clip, butchering his new home state’s signature motto, “Live Free or Die” — words that underscore New Hampshire’s reputation for having a skeptical, independent-minded, politically savvy electorate. Perhaps he was tired from his whirlwind move from Wrentham to Rye, but he’s also on video telling a reporter he believes Granite State Republicans are thankful for his efforts to “raise awareness as to the issues that are affecting people not only here in Massachusetts, uh, in New Hampshire …;” Granted, Brown’s decision to tweak the state motto once more at his official announcement on Thursday was not a gaffe, but it did feel like the work of an intellectual lightweight in search of...

Hacker who stole nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton revealed to have world’s smallest penis...

Share Photographs obtained from the computer of a hacker who stole and then posted nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and other female celebrities reveal that the hacker possesses what appears to be the smallest penis in the history of mankind. Meanwhile, some theorize that the scandalous theft of private images is actually the work of a ring of hackers, each with extraordinarily tiny genitalia. Sources say the size of the hacker or hackers’ nearly nonexistent tallywhackers helps explain why someone possessing such a high level of technological skill would use it to crudely violate women’s privacy. One leading Internet psychologist suggested that the mosquito-dicked individual or individuals responsible are likely wracked with despair that their mini-manhood will never grow larger that that of, say, the rare dwarf pygmy weasel. Such individuals, who may have endured cruel taunts about the size of their one-eyed trouser filament, often believe the only way they can have contact with women is by worming into their computers and peeping at their private property. Forensic analysis of the photograph of the lead hacker’s micro-schlong reveals that its size is somewhere between that of a poorly endowed hummingbird fetus and a prepubescent paramecium....

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