"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Monday, July 30, 2007


I'm in sort of a "post weird stuff" mood lately. That's what happens when you don't have much going on from a CE standpoint personally. Although I do need to set a date in September for the Big Daddy Luke Burger Showdown in Philly with Carey and Ian.

Anyhow, I'm a big fan of zombie movies, so I found the Zombie Food Pyramid below kind of funny. I couldn't be a zombie. I really don't like brains and organs. I especially don't like gristle. I'd be the zombie invading the Old Country Buffet moaning, "Neeeeeeed salisbury steak. Saaaalisbury steaaaaak!!"

A story on The Onion reports that Dr. Albert Rossum, director of the O'Bannon Institute For Postmortem Nutritional Studies, recommends an "all brain diet" for zombies. "A daily three-pound serving of brains supplies all the vital sugars, neurons, and ganglia essential to promoting zombie fitness and slowing the decomposition process," said Rossum, adding, "Braaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnns!"

Thursday, July 26, 2007


A co-worker and fellow competitive eater just told me about an ice cream eating contest happening this Saturday in Manheim (about 45 minutes east of Harrisburg). Unfortunately, I'm going to be out of the area and can't participate.

It's at Kreider Dairy Market at 5:30 p.m. That's about all I know. Not sure about pre-registration or anything. I do know the first to finish half a gallon of ice cream gets $300. Or there's $300 in prizes. Either way, first place is getting a decent prize of at least $200 or so. Hopefully someone (Carey) can throw down on this and take home some money for the UEPa.

(By the way, did you know the term "brain freeze" is trademarked by 7-11?)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


This is just an odd video. The announcer voiceover is weird too. Three times he mentions "the band." What is he talking about? Was this some sort of inspirational video shown to high school bands prior to competitions? Also, I haven't decided if this video makes me hungry or not. I'm leaning toward yes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


This is pretty much how every Coney Island trash can within a 1,000 foot radius of Nathan's hot dog stand looks on July 4th. Love the old lady who's sort of caught in the act.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


History is full of great inventions. The television, sliced bread, the Heimlich manuever, Jessica Biel. Brace yourself for another product of human genius, guys. Seriously, this thing could change your life. It's called BACON SALT. Just sprinkle it on anything you'd normally put salt on and presto! It now tastes like bacon! (Thanks to Liz for bringing this blessing to my attention.)

Imagine the possibilities. Bacon salt on fries. Bacon salt on burgers. Bacon salt on mac & cheese. Bacon salt on bacon.

The best thing about Bacon Salt (besides the whole bacon thing) is that it contains zero calories. I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean you can just scarf it down straight out of the jar. At least not without whatever happens when you consume 800 percent of your daily allowance of sodium. (You get really thirsty?)

You can buy it by the jar ($4.49) or you can get all three flavors (Original, Hickory and Peppered) for just $12.99. I've already bought 12 jars. I plan to give them away as really awesome but inexpensive Christmas gifts. Sort of like scratch-off lottery tickets, but without all of the losing. Get some for yourself here and let the life changing deliciousness begin. For those of you not confident enough to purchase some on the sheer awesomeness of the concept itself, I'll post a full review when my shipment comes in.

Friday, July 20, 2007


God, I really need to watch Family Guy more often. I only watch it about never now, but I check out the clips on YouTube and it makes me laugh so hard I cry. Here's a disgusting one. It's sort of like an eating contest in reverse. Peter and gang drink some vomit-inducing ipicac and the LAST one to hurl gets to eat some pie.

It's not eating related, but this clip is also great.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


This independent contest was mentioned on Eat Feats a few days ago. It's a dumpling eating competition in Queens, NY and it pays a hefty $1,000 first prize ($500 for second and $300 for third). I like the promotional flyer (below). Contests need more promotional flyers. Especially if they look like this.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Not long ago, Liz made a series of kick ass competitive eating related buttons, some with obscure CE phrases on them like "I'm not OJRifkin" and "I love HDBs." References only about one in a million people would get. I got to thinking about some other competitive eating related one-liners that would be good on a button. Here's a few I'd like to see:

"Rhonda Evans for President"

"Mrs. Janus"

"I might be Anonymous"

"Where's Seaver?"

"??? is the new ??"

"Gyaruru ROCKS!"

"I'm a hot dog woman"

"I'm a bun man"


"Kiss my AICE"

"Koby reversed!"

"I applied to be a bunnette and all I got was this lousy button"

Saturday, July 14, 2007


On Friday for lunch about 12 of us went up to the Jumbo Chinese Buffet here in Harrisburg. We normally don't lunch in such large packs, but the spectacle was our first annual (and hopefully last) Jumbo Buffet Eating Contest.

Long story short, it was the closest I've ever come to a post contest reversal in the parking lot. Eaters know what I'm talking about. Right before you get into the car, you look at the door handle, then you look at the ground, then back at the door handle and think of that long ride home (or, in my case, the long afternoon of work ahead of me). Then you look back at the ground and think about making a target out of that cigarette butt with lipstick on it.

In the end, I did the right thing and used the 10 minute ride back to the office to tally the totals for each of the five eaters. When all was counted and double checked I edged Beau by a quarter pound to take the title: 4.27 pounds to his 3.92. Other totals included Josh at 3.4 pounds, Billy at 2.9 pounds and Dave the IT guy at 2.5 pounds. About one pound of my total was pudding. Beau ate two big plates of pudding; one pound banana and one pound chocolate. Other eaters tried various strategies. The giant plate of fried rice, giant plate of runny mashed potatoes, giant plate of meat on a stick, whole baby squids (Beau showing off).

By the way, the running joke about eating Chinese food and being hungry half an hour later? Not always true.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


The IFOCE gave us all a little gift by announcing the post-Nathan's rankings a little earlier than expected. It's the first time the rankings have been updated in eight months.

The biggest story, which isn't really surprising and also not agreed upon by everyone, is Joey Chestnut taking over the number one spot from Takeru Kobayashi. Good job to Joey for bringing the title of "World's Best Eater" back to American soil. Pat Bertoletti is number and three and, for the third time in the past year, Sonya has slipped one spot, this time to number five to make room for Eater X at number four.

Perhaps the biggest snubbing is the absence of the rookie upstart, Brad Scullio. Eagle eyed followers of the sport will remember he ate over 6 pounds in the recent Shoofly Pie Eating Contest to finish in the money at 6th place. Five days later he ate 26.5 HDBs to finish just 5.5 HDBs behind Bob Shoudt in the West Chester Nathan's qualifier. His deuce-plus was the second highest HDB count of the season (behind Brian Subich's 27.0) to not get a spot at the final table on Coney Island. It should be noted that both totals are more than Pat Bruss put up, who has a similar level of MLE experience, in shoofly and his Nathan's qualifier. Bruss also got a ranking of 23. Not saying Bruss didn't deserve it, I'm just saying Scullio deserves more love than that.

(UPDATE: The MLE rankings have been revised to include Brad Scullio at number 27. I should add, he's a Pennsylvania eater. UEPa!)

And I won't even get into some of the records of those lower ranked eaters. Actually I will. Sean Verma (#50) has only been in one contest (Nathan's Philly qualifier) and ate 10 HDBs. Richard Foley (#49) has only been in one contest (Krystal qualifier NINE months ago) and ate 17 burgers to finish 7th. Bert Chi was in one contest (Nathan's San Fran qualifier) and ate ?? hot dogs. A couple of those other guys, including Jesus Cabrales (45) and David Cohn (44), have no records whatsoever. At least according to OJRifkin's database, and if OJ doesn't have numbers on you, you pretty much don't exist.

I'll end on a positive note. HUGE congratulations to fellow UEPa members Steakbellie and Pete Miernicki. Steak vaulted WAY up in the rankings to #22 (he'll keep moving up this year) and Pete got his first ever ranking at 37. Both deserve it because they're easily among the ten most dedicated eaters on the entire list.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


While Koby and Joey battle it out for the top two spots in the soon to be released MLE eater rankings, the next position up for grabs is, according to my math, number three. That spot currently belongs to Pat Bertoletti and, when the rankings are announced later this month, it will continue to belong to the mohawked man they call Deep Dish.

Hear that? That's the sound of no one arguing because out of all 50 names on the MLE eater rankings list, Bertoletti's position as the third best eater in the world is the easiest to call. But here's something worth chewing on: I wouldn't be surprised if Bertoletti is ranked #2 come judgment day. Here's why:

Most people think Joey Chestnut will be ranked number one. He wins 8 out of 10 contests he enters, demolishes records at every table he steps up to and, oh yeah, he beat the once invinceable Takeru Kobayashi in a little contest called Nathan's. But guess who Joey Chestnut's last two losses came from? That's right, Pat Bertoletti. Including a 98 to 75 beat down in the final jalepeno pepper round of the Saint Patrick's Day Showdown. (And don't say Joey isn't a "jalepeno guy" because he narrowly beat Bertoletti earlier in 2006 in the GoldenPalace.net Jalepeno Popper Contest.)

So if Joey is number one because of his nagging habit of winning so often, shouldn't the man who beat the man who beat "the man" have a shot at #2? I'm not saying it'll happen. But if it does, you can say I told you so.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Check out this post on Erik "The Red" Denmark's blog. Some good insight into the whole Nathan's Koby reversal controversy from a man with a spot at the table. Don't miss his observations about Koby's quick post-contest costume change and Joey's HDB count being off by several hot dogs throughout the contest. Could it have been intentional to keep the race exciting for the viewers at home?

Monday, July 09, 2007


Many within the competitive eating community are holding their collective breath in anticipation of the new MLE/IFOCE eater rankings. The rankings are typically updated twice a year; once after Nathan's and again after Krystals in early November (though in 2006 they were also updated in the spring). Last year's summer rankings were released on July 25, which gives us a little over two weeks to debate the biggest question of them all in the wake Joey Chestnut's upset of Kobayashi on Coney Island: Who's #1?

The consensus over on EatFeats seems like a coin toss. Old timers like Rhonda Evans favor Koby. New faces, like Carey and Anonymous give the edge to Chestnut. Joey supporters are willing to admit one loss shouldn't be enough to warrant Kobayashi being knocked from his perch atop the competitive eating world. Instead they point to Joey's high levels of activity and ass-kicking since last year's Krystal Square Off (11 contests and 8 wins, including a record-breaking victory in Wing Bowl 15) compared to Kobayashi's track record during the same period (one contest, no wins).

Tough to argue with that, but I side with Rhonda on this one. It's damn hard to rationalize it after looking again at those recent numbers, but the numbers I'm leaning on go back a lot further than November 2006.

Kobayashi has been number one since just about forever. Until last week the only living creature to beat him on American soil was a Kodiak bear (record here). Chestnut, on the other hand, hasn't shown the same level of invincibility (record here). I'm even willing to ignore his rookie year (2005), when he was beaten 10 times, but in 2006 and 2007, Joey was beaten 10 more times: three losses to Kobayashi and seven defeats at the mouths of his fellow countrymen (and women).

Now I'm not saying Koby's flawless record should earn him unfair consideration or cause the powers-that-be to look the other way come ranking time. Every king's reign must come to an end at some point. I'm just saying a career chock full of complete and utter domination should earn the guy the right to lose one without worrying about giving up the empire he's worked so hard to build.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I was poking around Flickr for pictures of this year's Nathan's contest (just search "Nathans" and after the results are tabulated, organize them by "most recent"). It's cool to see the contest from various perspectives -- someone from the press box, someone who got backstage and met the eaters, someone buried deep in the crowd. Here are a few of my favorite shots of this year's action.

George Shea hamming it up. That's so unlike him.
I like how Sonya appears to be swallowed up by an avalanche of Nathan's logos from the back and a wave of Foot Locker employees from the front.
The crowd. Wish I had been part of it. Note the street signs. Surf and Stillwell, of course.

Great picture of Eater X in action and keeping tabs on Kobayashi to his left. This shot would be perfect if not for the Bunnette's arm obscuring George Shea's face.

After cross referencing this shot with my TiVo'd copy of the Nathan's telecast, I've determined that this photo was taken moments after the now infamous reversal and the expiration of the contest. That means the Bunnette's tally of "62" for Koby is grossly inaccurate, which was the case on TV as well. According to USA Today, Koby would eat 65 HDB's but would be discounted two for the reversal.

There's so much happening in this picture. It reminds me of that famous photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby. MLE Commissioner Charles Hardy's hands are raised as he mimics Kobayashi's illegal use of hands after the buzzer. I wonder what he's saying? Joey is business as usual. Pat Bertoletti watches Koby like a hawk. George Shea, like approximately 1.5 million Americans watching on TV, looks slightly disgusted. And the Bunnette looks like she'd rather be anywhere but on that stage, holding a sign for a hot dog eating contest. If Liz were that Bunnette, she'd look a lot more enthusiastic (and would probably be giving Kobayashi an earful for illegal use of hands).

Larger version of this photo here.

The champ with, I assume, 66 hot dogs and a one bitchin' trophy.

Friday, July 06, 2007


It's funny, when I got back to work yesterday, everyone was making small talk about Nathan's; asking me my thoughts on the whole debacle. And then I asked them if they watched it. "No," they replied, "I just saw the hightlights on The Today Show."

I began to get angry at how many people didn't watch it. Don't they know how culturally significant it is? Aren't they the ones who forwarded me links to stories about Kobayashi's jawthritis and Joey's 59.5 qualifier? How could they NOT watch? I became less irritated when I realized that I'm part of the 0.1 percent of the American population who actually gives a shit about this stuff. My mom doesn't get mad at me for not watching the Westminster Dog Show. My co-worker friends in the IT department don't get made at me for not going to ComicCon.

In other news, there's a lot of talk in the competitive eating blogging community about Koby's reversal during the Nathan's hot dog contest. People are asking about the enforcement of rules. People are asking why the rules aren't written down for all to see and follow and live by. They blame this make-it-up-as-you go strategy for why competitive eating is struggling to gain acceptance as a legitimate sport.

It's a legitimate sport, right? At first I wondered why they ran a segment about the Coney Island freak show during the Nathan's telecast. Some guy pounding a nail into his face? Some woman eating fire? Did someone change the channel? What the hell does that have to do with competitive eating?

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I watched the contest live yesterday with friends. We grilled hot dogs and drank too many beers. They cheered for Joey. I cheered for Koby. We were all amazed at what we saw. The record-breaking. The Koby spewage. The guy pounding a nail into his nose at the freak show.

I TiVo'd a re-run of the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog contest last night, hoping to more closely analyze and photograph Koby's alleged moment of reversal, but I guess ESPN has "standards" because the "vomit seen round the world" was edited out, replaced by a wide shot of a wildly cheering crowd. Our only clue that an upheaval had occured was in Rich Shea's words: "OH! I believe that could have been...that could have been a DQ. That's a Kobayashi reversal within the framework of the competition. I'm afraid the judges are going to call that. That is up to the judges, we have two judges, and that, Paul, is the spray zone."

(The photo above would come from an online source discovered by an eagle-eyed Billy from SuperSizedMeals.com.)

Even minutes later, when Rich narrates an on-air slow-mo replay of the moment of impact ("Here it comes...OH, that's offputting."), the footage they show is of Koby eating with both hands covering his mouth. Shame on you, ESPN. It's sports. Things happen to the human body. Bones get broken. Faces gets punched to a bloody pulp. Eagles quarterbacks vomit on the field during play. Why edit out what will be the most talked about moment in the greatest competitive eating contest of all time?

I spent a lot of back-of-my-mind time yesterday searching for the right words to describe what we all witnessed on Coney Island yesterday. I came up mostly empty but as a baseball fan, I compare Joey and Kobayashi's obliteration of the hot dog record and battle to the finish to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's great home run chase in 1998.

Both men thrilled a nation, grabbing headlines throughout the summer. Sammy (Koby) represented another land, and chased the all-American McGwire (Chestnut), matching the humble working man homer for homer throughout the race until Big Mac pulled away at the end. Both men blasted through the previous homer record, but McGwire would pad his entry into the record books with four homers on the final weekend (similar to Joey's mysterious three dog credit after the buzzer). The final tally: Sammy 66, Big Mac 70 and one stunned nation.

Here are a few more highlights from the 2007 Nathan's contest:

THE DEUCE - For the first time in Nathan's history, every finalist topped the 20 dog mark. Great job to everyone including Tim and Pat's double deuces and Sonya's new female HDB record (39).

DROPPING THE DONG - Rich Shea calling the great Japanese home run champ, Saduhara Oh, a "fraud" and talking about Gedde Watanabe who played Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles ("Donger needs food just like Kobayashi and I don't want to get all Sean Hannity on you Paul, but honestly the way Detriot's been treated by Toyota lately, I think these fans here want to see the belt come home to the U.S. of A."). Maybe he was just trying to win a bet to see if he could work the word "donger" and "Sean Hannity" into the same sentence. He won. We lost.

SQUEAKY CLEAN - Eater X flashing a new haircut and...whistling? For a full 13 seconds the camera is focused on Tim Janus singing like a bird. He glances once at the camera while Pat Bertoletti cavorts in the background.

POST GAME VIDEO - If you want to see Koby's downfall for yourself, check out this video. Koby's first alleged reversal occurs with 40 seconds left in the contest (the 4:20ish mark of this video) and again at the end (5:00 minute mark on this video). Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Better late than never, but I wanted to get my predictions in for this year's Nathan's contest. I feel like I should be talking about Nathan's more on this blog, but I haven't. It's not that I'm not excited about it. I totally am. Tomorrow we're gathering at Beau's house where we'll grill some dogs (Nathan's of course) and watch the contest. I've vowed to eat one dog for every 10 dogs Joey eats. Yeah, I could try to eat TWO for every 10, but I don't feel like it.

This year's contest is definitely the most talked about Nathan's event in history thanks to a combination of Joey's obliteration of the record and Koby's "injury." I must have had about a dozen friends send me links to Kobayashi injury articles over the last week or so. It's amazing how ingrained in American culture this event has become.

Anyhow, here's my predictions. They're based on several factors and several random guesses. For returning eaters, I took a look at how well each eater has performed in their qualifiers from years past as compared to the main event. Some perform better on July 4th while others seem to fade a bit under the pressure of the day. Peak 2007 qualifying totals are listed in parenthesis.

60.0 Joey Chestnut (59.5)
49.0 Takeru Kobayashi (NA)
48.5 Pat Bertoletti (46)
42.5 Tim Janus (41.5)
38.5 Sonya Thomas (36)
36.0 Chip Simpson (39.5)
32.5 Rich Lefevre (34)
31.5 Bob Shoudt (32)
30.0 Hall Hunt (28.75)
29.5 Arturo Rios (27.5)
26.5 Tim Brown (25)
26.0 Erik Denmark (26)
26.0 Juliet Lee (26)
25.0 Allen Goldstein (26)
24.0 Pat Philbin (27)
22.5 Crazy Legs Conti (24)
22.0 Dale Boone (21)
15.5 P. Theyagarjan (NA)

After reviewing my predictions, I realize most of them are pretty safe guesses. No major dissappointments or breakout performances predicted, unless you count the top two. If Koby performs, I don't think he'll be at 100 percent which not only means Joey will cruise to a victory, but Pat Bertoletti will have a chance to topple the champ as well. Thirteen hours and 28 minutes until game time!

Monday, July 02, 2007


This Japanese game show combines eating and intense running with a side dish of humiliation. It's no wonder no one can run fast enough to reach the last plate. What is that? A peanut? Please. I'd give up too. I like how the guy in the white runs. He never even stood a chance.

After you're done watching this goofy video, go check out Steakbellie's blog to find out what those damn Shea brothers did this time.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


My parents are visiting today (they live about 45 minutes away) and they've offered to take Heather and I out to dinner. I'm not one to pass up a free meal, so I offered the obligatory "What? No, you don't have to do that." before caving in to their demands.

By the way, has anyone ever changed their mind after the half-hearted "You don't have to do that. Are you sure?" Let's say you're at a restaurant and they grab the check and offer to pay. "Are you sure," you ask. "Hmmmm," they ponder your question before replying. "Actually you're right, you pay half. In fact, can you just pick up the whole thing...I'm a little strapped right now."

My mother asked for restaurant suggestions. I hemmed and hawed and said I'd think about it. I guess I thought about it too long because she called me yesterday and told me they want to take us to that big Chinese buffet up by the Harrisburg Mall. I told her it was called the "Jumbo Chinese Buffet" and from the tone in my voice she could tell I wasn't exactly thrilled by the decision. But what could I do? They were paying.

So we're off to the Jumbo Chinese Buffet today, which is okay because I've been meaning to scout that place because it's the site of our next workplace eating challenge. I'm trying to remember if they have a mongolian barbeque. I don't think they do. But they do have chicken feet on the buffet line. Maybe I'll scarf one or two in honor of Arturo's pig's feet win last week. Oh, who am I kidding. I'm not going near those things.