Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Barf. Seriously, barf.

Since I seem to be the only one in this city at a terminal today, I’ll post something that surely won’t be read until tomorrow. A little favorite something-something here at the Pyggy site. Pseudo-live blogging of the Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Championship.

This is considered a Great American Event? Apparently so, as it’s been given that classification by the producers at ESPN.

The commentators are predicting a new record either Kobayashi or some new guy named Joey Chestnut? Eww. They just mentioned that the rookie Chestnut is from the asparagus circuit, which I have to imagine has the worst smelling purge rooms in all of the Major League Eating arenas. They also mentioned he’s the current grilled cheese eating champion. They’re really up in Chestnut’s jock.

The ESPN graphics department has wisely chosen a mustard bottle for their wipe effects. I approve as mustard is the most superior of all condiment. Ketchup has no business anywhere near a hotdog. However, I don’t approve of the number of commercials they have so far run. I got places to be! Little bits of America to blow up! Let’s get to the eating!

Man, there some pretty obnoxious jingoism going on here by the commentators. You know that’s always been the problem with the professional eating MSM, they are so slanted toward the US gurgitators. The just called the Americans the Axis of Eating and Chestnut the great American Hope. They are desperately willing the Mustard Belt back to the United States with their pathetic words. I don’t like much about Kobayashi, he’s vain as hell, but I’m starting to root for him out of spite for the announcers.

More commercials.

It looks like they’ve brought all the contestants to the site on Cooney Island on a bus for some reason. They’ve also dressed some guy as a Secret Service agent to provide fake security. This whole production has the feel of a college access TV show and they’re just throwing any gimmicks they can think of on camera. Except they have expensive mustard graphics and crane booms for wide sweeping crowd shots, which are totally unnecessary.

They just grabbed Chestnut for a sideline interview
Guy: How have you been training?
Chestnut: I haven’t eaten a real meal in several days. I’ve been drinking a lot of water.
Guy: When you hit the wall, what must you do to beat Kobayashi?
Chestnut: I must embrace the wall.
Jesus, I can’t tell if these guys are for real. The actual eaters seem to be having a fun time with all this, yet they’re still focused on the competition. But I have no idea if the commentators are saying these terrible things in jest.

Alright. They just cornered hometown favorite and the only female competitor Sonya Thomas or THE BLACK WIDOW! as she's known out on the road. (That has to be the worst and most unoriginal nickname for a woman. At IFOCE committee nickname meeting, "Black hair, unknown Asian descent? Let’s go with Black Widow." However, looking at the list of other names in the eating community shows there isnt an original one in the bunch. ) If memory serves, she’s actually a neighbor of ours from Alexandria and works as a manager at the Burger King on Andrews Air Force Base when not smoking fatties in chicken wing devouring contests. Sho'nuff.

She was asked if the heat up in New York is going to bother her.

“The heat doesn’t bother me. I love the hot.”

She loves the hot.

(I have a friend who stumbled into a bar the same night one of these contests was happening. The picture of him and Thomas is now in his safety deposit box along with his passport and his autographed Ron Jeremy VHS cassette.)

According to the on-screen graphic there are three different styles of eating – Solomon, Dunking and Tokyo. But the thing wasn’t up long enough to take note of the difference and a quick Google search didn’t produce a clear explanation of each. But I think Kobayashi employs the Solomon method in which you split the wiener (like a baby) and consume each half at the same time. Eating the buns and hot dogs separately is called the Tokyo style or “Japanesing” and I assume the dunking is when you submerge both in water so they slide down real easy.

Favorite moment of speculation so far: “Oh, we’re definitely going to see some 8 dog minutes. But I’m actually expecting some 10 dog minutes.”

Again, I can’t tell if the commentators are joking around: “He (Kobayashi) is the finest practicing athlete any where in the world right now.”

What this whole thing needs is the reverent tones of hushed British analysis; appeals for quarters asked and none given, wheat bidding farewell to the chaff, etc. Anything more subtle then this exaggerated American braggadocio would be appreciated.

Cutaway to the crowd reveals the hand drawn sign “Chestnuts are for boys. Hot dogs are for men.” I don’t exactly know what that means but I’m on board for any jab at Chestnut. I predict the rookie will crumble like every other American who’s faced international competition in the last few months.

They’re introducing the other contestants by announcing their current World Champion titles. One guy holds the green bean crown. Sonya Thomas has the Turducken belt, among others. Another guy seems to specialize in desserts, ice cream and key lime pie. But he didn’t get the clean sweep because there’s still another older guy who has the claim on the birthday cake championship.

(So far birthday cake speed eating is the only one of these I’d be willing to try either proffessionally or as a hobby. I’d bring entire sheet cakes to work and the new guy would be like, “Why is that guy eating an entire cake? Is he going to share?” and the old timers would be like “No, you can’t have any because he’s training” and the new guy would be like “Damn. Because it’s my birthday too.” And then I’d feel bad and let him have a piece with a candle in it because I would naturally now carry birthday candles in my shirt pocket. But I would also be quietly pissed because it would have thrown off my schedule. I’ll have to double up on a wedding cake tomorrow. Stupid new guy.

I’d also eat them when I drive, but not in stop and go traffic because it would probably get in my hair.)

Okay. This one competitor is trying to claim that he’s a vegetarian and only eats meat when he’s on the hot dog circuit. I’m a bit rusty on the levels of vegetarianism but I don’t think that cuts it.

Sonya Thomas: The Gloria Steinem of the gullet? That’s the claim.

My sarcasm-psychogalvanometer needs realignment because I’m having a real hard time getting a reading from these announcers. Can that Steinem claim be for real?

Here we go!

Best lines during the actual 12 minutes of eating…

  • He is going to cement his place with other great Italian athletes like Tomba, Andretti and DiMaggio!
  • He’s starting to show fatigue. Not jaw fatigue but mental fatigue. See how his head is shaking?
  • Kobayashi’s looks like he’s slowing down. +He’s not Japanesing or solomoning. It’s not good to change your style halfway though. OH! There’s a double Tokyo style!
  • Now it all comes down to hot dog management, Paul.
And in a frothing panic of 4th of July nationalism…
  • Joey Chestnut has the blood of patriots in his veins.
  • He is the best eater America has ever seen.
  • If Joey can win this, then the nation will take notice. This is the kid who’s doing it for the USA. He’s got a brother in Iraq and he said he really wanted to bring it (The Mustard Belt) home for him.
And we have a winner! Like I predicted, Chestnut withered but it was a good showing for the rookie and apparently the most hot dogs shoved down your maw ever by an American. In the end it was Kobayashi’s day and his sixth consecutive championship ties him with Lance Armstrong as the greatest athlete in the history of non-gilled breathing. Or at least according to the announcers.

Now, let's go watch the Germans cave in the literal final seconds.

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