Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Na na na na na na na Batman! I mean...Leader!

Nope. No. Nah. Not. Nein. Never. Just some common words that start with N.

Here are some other words that start with N. You know the drill.

Norbert: One half of the two costars of the great 90's Nicktoon "The Angry Beavers." Suave, cool, fun-loving, and voiced by Nick Bakay (aka Salem the Cat), he was by far my favorite character on the show. Sure, Daggett (Richard Horvitz aka Zim, Billy on Billy & Mandy) was awesome too, but Norbert just seemed better. He was the voice of reason, liked to give biiiig hugs, and had a lavender nose to boot! Yes, his profile from Nick Magazine listed his actual nose color as Lavender. Norb was also the older of the two, being born four minutes before Daggett.

I liked his name so much that I adopted it as my internet moniker. Norbert5ca@aol.com is my official e-mail address (please no spam), and up 'til 2006 I was registered on several sites, including X-E as Invader Norbert. It's the amalgam of "Invader Zim" and, well, Norbert. If you go to some well-known websites and find that name (or something involving Norbert), it's a good chance that it's me.

New York: The state that I live in. Sky-high taxes, the fact that Rose O'Donnell & Bill O'Reilly are both from LI, and the stereotype that we're all rich, snobbish jerks aside, it's pretty much one of the best states ever. It's divided into three main regions: Long Island (where I am), New York City (if you need to be told what the 5 Burroughs are, press that X in the upper right corner now), and Upstate. Yes, the main part of the state is actually referred to as Upstate NY.

Unlike the congestion and expense of The City and the blah-ish suburbs & coastal areas of Long Island, Upstate is mostly the mountain region that seems to be a completely different state in itself. Upstate is mountains and wilderness. The Catskill and Adirondack mountain ranges are both here, not to mention the Finger Lakes, the Hudson River, the US half of Niagara Falls, and Lake Placid. (the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics with the "Miracle" Hockey game) It's one of those places that is fine to go on vacation, but not a place I'd rather live than here. My parents aim to disagree with that claim. It's also a place where the phrase "It's cold and there are wolves after me" is an actual concern and not a hilarious quote from a Simpsons episode (Cape Feare, season 5).

If Long Island with all of NYC attached decided to secede from New York, it would be the third smallest state and the 12th most populous, thanks to Manhattan and the other four Burroughs.

New York is also the only state with an actual Upstate. You may think that your state has an Upstate, but it doesn't. It's simply the northern part of the state. So stop calling it Upstate unless referring to Upstate New York. The only state that can possibly make a case is Michigan, but I don't think they refer to that fish thing as an Upstate.

Nathan's: But more specifically, it's annual 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. Held at the chain's flagship Coney Island eatery, it's the highlight of the now-well-known Competitive Eating Circuit. It all started in 1916 where the first champ ate 13 hot dogs & buns in 12 minutes, and it blossomed from there. A far cry from current record holder Joey Chestnut, who ate 66 of them last year. It was quite feat to beat 6-time champ Takeru Kobayashi from Japan, who consumed 3 hot dogs & buns less than Chestnut. All due to developing an arthritic jaw of all things.

It's all thanks to this contest that people made a sport out of Competitive Eating. It's mostly a fun spectacle, but the people involved in these events give these events the same amount of seriousness as hockey and horse racing. It probably makes it even funnier. There's even an official organization for these contests: the IFOCE: The International Confederation of Competitive Eating. If it can be consumed, they've made an eating contest out of it. Other top competitions include the Wing Bowl in Philly, the Key Lime Pie Eating Contest in Key West, and the Krystal Burger Square-Off.

But there's another that I want to focus on. Sunday was Father's Day, and I witnessed the second annual Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest at the Strawberry Festival in Mattituck. By pure luck and coincidence I also witnessed the first ever contest the previous year. The winner both times is a guy by the name of Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti. This year he ate 14 1/2 lbs of Strawberry Shortcake in 8 minutes. Not bad considering last year's 15 1/4 lbs. "Damn" either way. I must admit they stretched an 8-minute contest into an hour. Aside from Chestnut and the Japanese, pretty much anyone who was anyone in the IFOCE was there. They had performances by two of the eaters, Eric "Badlands" Booker (a Suffolk County native, and not that bad of a rapper), and "Beautiful Brian" Seiken, who sang his own song so terrible it hit in the range of "Satirically Humorous." His "album" was even titled "Stick To Blogging," and everyone watching agreed that he stuck to that. Then they had to draw out introductions to every competitor (at least 15), and even sang the National Anthem. I regret not waiting 5 minutes in line to get an ear of roasted corn before the event, I would've eaten the whole thing before the contest even started!

In case you're wondering, my favorite competitive eater is this guy:

"Crazy Legs" Conti. He's the most entertaining of the competitive eaters out there, with his White Man Dreads and his signature hat and is the #11 ranked eater in the world. He doesn't hold too many records, but he sticks out like a sore thumb at the many ones he's been to. But I don't care if he wins or not, he's awesome and hilarious. He placed third in the Strawberry Shortcake contest, eating 9 1/2 lbs of it. I even got a pic of him on my cell phone. I hope he somehow stumbles upon this so I can meet him in person.

Numa Numa: If you don't know what this is, welcome to the Internet! Literally on Page 1 in the "Internet Fads For Dummies" book that is not written yet, this song achieved unexpected fame in the pre-Youtube days on sites like eBaums. It all started when a fat kid named Gary Brolsma recorded himself dancing & lip-synching to a Romanian pop song and sticking it online as a joke. This "joke" created the largest internet sensation of all time. Yes, it's official, at least by VH-1. Look it up on Youtube and see how many hits you get. The current count is 59,900 videos. 59,894 of them are awful.

I must confess: I managed to keep myself away from the original video until Numa Numa Kid was among the Internet Icons featured on the "Canada on Strike" episode of South Park a few months ago. Now I'm obsessed with it.

Here's a full video of the actual song:

The song's real title is "Dragonstea din tei," which is seemingly a love song about a painter who says his "colors fade to gray" without this girl in his life. The "Numa Numa" part is simply nonsense that sounded good to the song's beat. You keep telling yourself that, Romania.



Dan said...

Ah Two Angry Beavers! Another great cartoon that left us before it's time. I always wondered where the Invader Norbert name came from, thanks for clearing that up for me!
And damn you for getting that song stuck in my head! It's too damn catchy for it's own good!

JoshC said...

Two Angry Beavers is another show I now need to track down because of one of your posts, I don't know whether to thank you or cry about my dwindling bank-account.

And I too only decided to chek out the Numa Numa dude when I saw Canada on strike.
By the way, we all talk like that here guy.

DC said...

I enjoyed visiting New York. We spent most of our time in Manhattan, where I made sure to flip off the Trump towers as I walked by. I didn't get a chance to go to Nathan's which I really wanted to, but I plan to head east again probably in a couple of years.