Thursday, July 05, 2007

Frank-ly Blogging: Today Show Nathan's Redux, The Science of Competitive Eating

NEW YORK, July 5 — NBC's Today Show this morning reported Joey Chestnut's historic win in Wednesday's contest and previewed a National Geographic special on the science behind competitive eating. Of competitive eating note, Tim "Eater X" Janus, put down 10 donuts in a minute as a demonstration. He didn't reach his goal of 12 donuts.

Of further note, Today Show Host Meredith Vieira claimed, "The scary thing is, I probably could eat 12."

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Big Apple Musing: Powell Green

B.S. editor's note: Here we begin an occasional series of Big Apple Musings, comments and observations on the crazy, fantastic city where we have lived before and are now living again. This first post is more than a year old, but it's worth a read.

NEW YORK, March 22, 2006 — This afternoon, I was about to leave Duane Reade #131 after picking up my prescription refill (note for the New York un-savvy: Duane Reade is the leading pharmacy in the city, with what I would describe as an almost-monopoly on the market — think CVS on South Crouse within walking distance of campus and multiply it by the Big Apple and you've got Duane Reade and its couple hundred stores with lousy service and long lines; and they are all numbered). As I headed from the exit after coming up the escalator from the basement level pharmacy section into the convenience-store part of the store, I encountered an individual who in ferry-speak and law-enforcement-lingo might be referred to as an "EDP": emotionally disturbed person.

Now, EDP is typically reserved for those folks who the cops or our security personnel think are real threats to themselves or others (read: they might jump off the boat just out from Governor's Island or hurt someone). The individual I encountered today at Duane Reade #131, just up Whitehall Street from the ferry terminal, however, was a more mild EDP. Maybe just an emotionally confused or impaired person. Or maybe he was drunk or high or just starving and cold. It happens in Lower Manhattan — we have a growing homeless "problem" at the Manhattan terminal.

As I headed for the exit, Mr. EDP was coming in through the opposite door, and he looked at me, before I looked at him, and called out to get my attention.

"Big man!" I looked his way. He was a black man, probably in his mid- to late-40s, and while he was tall enough that some might consider him big, I was, as it happened, taller than him. He was, as our competing heights would have it, correct in calling me big man.

"Powell Green!" he exclaimed, using his emphatic, if indoor, voice. "Powell Green, Powell Green."

Confused, I kept moving toward the exit, and I mumbled, "I'm sorry," thinking that he could be only asking for money, or that I had no idea what he wanted because I couldn't figure out his cryptic message.

"A'ight," Mr. EDP replied, and I headed out the door toward the #1 train.

As I walked to the train at Rector Street, I puzzled over what EDP could have possibly meant. Who was Powell Green? Did he think I was Powell Green? Is Powell Green even a person? Was he possibly saying "power of green," with it coming out as "pow-a-green," and me mishearing him? Is "power of green" a street phrase referring to the importance of money? Why did he ask me?

Wikipedia doesn't know Powell Green. Google doesn't do much better. Power of Green returns mostly clean energy sites. Do y'all know either of them? Maybe EDP was Powell Green lookin' for some Power of Green.

That's the end of B's Big Apple Musing for today.

Frank-ly Blogging: “Chestnut is the champ.”

NEW YORK, July 4 — American Joey Chestnut, 23, ate 66 hot dogs and buns today at the 2007 Nathan’s Hotdog Contest to win coveted Mustard Belt, the greatest prize in all of competitive eating.

Chestnut defeated six-time reigning champ, Takeru Kobayashi, 29, of Nagano, Japan, who put away 63 dogs and buns.

Both Chestnut and Kobayashi shattered the previous Nathan’s record of some 53 dogs and buns and eclipsed Chestnut’s world record of some 59 dogs and buns. Chestnut reigns as Nathan’s champion and world champ.

More details here in our liveblog of the competition.

Frank-ly Blogging: 2007 Nathan's Hotdog Eating Contest

NEW YORK, July 4 — "My jaw has refused to fight anymore," Takeru Kobayashi, the reigning, six-time Nathan's Hotdog Contest champion, has been quoted as saying in recent days. The world shall soon see whether he can fight through the pain or whether newbie, American Joey Chestnut, can bring the Mustard Belt back to the States.

We were going to watch the competition live at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues, but with a threat of showers and a late-rising blogger, we opted to liveblog this famed contest from the Manhattan Valley, in the relative comfort of the apartment. The view will probably be better from here anyway, thanks to our friends at ESPN.

Without further adieu, let the liveblogging begin.

12:07 Kobayashi is on scene, after reportedly receiving some last-minute acupuncture to relax his arthritic jaw and arriving in a private car with a petite Japanese girl in tow.

12:15 ESPN commentators are estimating that there are more 30,000 spectators at Surf and Stillwell. Patrick Bertoletti reportedly beat Joey Chestnut in a jalapeno-eating contest and could be a threat to win today. Eater X, last name Janus, is also a contender, ESPN reports.

12:19 ESPN filler about Coney Island — As you may know, this is “the last summer” of Coney Island, with a luxury residential development slated to go in starting in fall 2007. More on that from your faithful blogger here at B.S. after a visit.

12:22 Joey Chestnut is the world champion in gyoza eating (Japanese dumplings). 212 in 10 minutes. We’re full after six.

12:24 ESPN cuts to commercial, promising introductions upon return, and noting their reporters have not been able to find Kobayashi in the last few minutes.

12:28 Introductions have begun: wild-card Tim Brown, burrito specialist; former-baloney eating champion of the world; Dale “Mouth of the South” Boone, reindeer sausage-eating champion and direct descendant of Daniel Boone; Crazy Legs Conti, from the Lower East Side of Manhattan; Juliet Lee, 11 slices of pizza in 10 minutes; Erik “The Red” Denmark, world fry bread champ; Patrick Philbin, 360 pounds, four pounds of corned beef in 10 minutes, 27 hot dogs in previous competition (ESPN commentator: “They call Iverson the answer, I call this guy the question”): Arturo Rio Jr., a rookie; guy who ate 23 grilled cheeses in 10 minutes; “Humble” Bob Shoudt, who only eats in sanctioned competitions and only eats meat in competition (vegetarian otherwise); Rich “The Locust” LeFevre, birthday-cake eating champion, 63-years old; Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, eats 10-percent of her body weight, and jambalaya-eating champ of the world, among other titles; Chip from Birmingham, Ala., ; Tim “Eater X” Janus, 2004 rookie of the year, claiming that Hermione dies in Harry Potter VII; Patrick Bertoletti, 177 jalapenos in 10 minute; Joey Chestnut, the new threat; and from Nagano, Japan, the six-time reigning champion, Takeru Kobayashi.

12:38 With the competition to get underway shortly, our prediction is that we’ll be able to tell within the first few minutes of eating whether Kobayashi will be able to continue his reign as champ. We, and the world, will be watching his pace closely. More to follow.

12:41 And they’re off.

12:43 Chestnut is at 10 dogs in 50 seconds.

12:44 Two minutes in: Chestnut 20; Kobayashi 18.

12:46 Four minutes in: Chestnut 35; Kobayashi 29.

12:48 Half-way through the eating: Kobayashi is pulling closer; Chestnut 43; Kobayashi 41.

12:50 Four minutes left: Chestnut 51; Kobayashi 49.

12:52 Two minutes left: Chestnut 57; Kobayashi 56. The entire free world is watching, ESPN reports, and Bertotletti is dedicating his eating to Nicky Hilton because she lives in Paris’s shadow, while Bertoletti eats in the shadow of the champ.

12:53 One minute left: Chestnut 60; Kobayashi 60.

12:54 And the winner is: too close to call.

12:55 The winner is up in the air. Joey Chestnut had 63 at the close, and Kobayashi seemed to have put 63 in his mouth, but there may have been what the competitive eaters call a “reversal” at the last second, with Kobayashi spitting out some of his consumed food. The champ had his hands over his mouth during the alleged reversal, and the crowd could see water come out through his fingers, but it’s unclear if he lost dogs and buns too.

12:57 Unofficial results: Joey Chestnut, 66 dogs; Takeru Kobayashi, 63 dogs.

12:58 “In first place, with 66 hotdogs and buns, Joey Chestnut.” The announcer could be seen saying to Chestnut, just before announcing him as the champ, “Put the flag up,” handing him an American flag. Joey says to ESPN, “If I need to eat another right now, I could.”

ESPN commentators: “It’s just an emotional day for Joey, a great day for America.”

Final Notes:
When it was clear that Joey Chestnut had an edge and could bring home the Mustard Belt, ESPN commentators declared it would be “the greatest moment in the history of American sports, if the belt were to come home to Coney Island.”

Continuing, ESPN’s commentators said, “He may indeed have changed the course of this nation. He is a true American hero.”

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Blogging NYT: (Good?) News from NOLA

NEW YORK, July 3 — The New York Times had a pair of stories yesterday about New Orleans nearly two years after Hurricane Katrina. More analysis to follow, but our initial reaction, mostly based on the headlines, is that NYT finally has moved forward on its NOLA coverage, with the stories' headlines, Patchwork City: Largely Alone, Pioneers Reclaim New Orleans and Aching for Lost Friends, but Rebuilding With Hope, showing that the Times maybe understands that for all the negative news out of NOLA, there is also some optimism and hope. More later, we hope.