Friday, December 21, 2007

Loose Ends

I said I was going to list the worst Christmas songs of all time. It is also possible that some folks were left hanging by my mention of the song Grandma Grunt. So let's get all this settled before the weekend takes over.

MSLOE's Worst Chrismas Songs

1. The Little Drummer Boy - It drones on forever and is a revisionist version of the Christmas Story

2. 12 days of Christmas - This includes all parody versions. This song is no more than a holiday version of 64 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.

3. Winter Wonderland - Thank you, Ricky Hatton. After hearing his band of British hooligans singing "ro-ro-ro Ricky Hatton" instead of : "In the lane are you list'ning" - continuously, it called attention to how crappy Winter Wonderland is to begin with. Floyd Mayweather thankfully beat the living crap out of Hatton, so we shant be hearing the tune again, I hope.

To end this in a positive note, my 5 favorite Christmas recordings are.

1. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
2. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love
3. Please Come Home For Christmas - Charles Brown
4. Blue Christmas - Elvis
5. Here Comes Santa Claus - Gene Autry

Grandma Grunt was a rousing and catchy tune that allowed boys to actually whistle in class and girls to sing "tra-la-la-la". The title alone made it worthy. I can't find anything about it. If I do, I'll post the link.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Not Cute

I thought it would be a good idea to make a trial batch of pigs-in-a-blanket today instead of going directly to the public. It turned out to be a great idea.

I had "a little trouble" with the crescent rolls. I opened the package and was greeted with a tube of dough. There were perforations scored, but somehow I couldn't start peeling away what I hoped were thin preshaped triangles of doughy goodness. Instead I inadvertently pinched off a big glob of dough. I panicked and would up with 4 or 5 globs that couldn't be peeled apart.

I decided to flatten the dough out with a rolling pin. Seemed OK. The recipe said the tube of rolls should make 32 pigs. I would up with about 15. Thick ones.

They are very tasty despite their appearance and as one would expect, a little heavy on the blankets. I think I'll have Patti instruct me before I do the real batch.

These little guys will be good to dip into mustard, sweet and sour sauce, or something cheesy. Ugly as they are.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cute Food

A rogue neuron fired somewhere in my brain. I am suddenly fixed on making pigs-in-a-blanket.

Why? I don't relish them. In fact, I don't recall ever eating them. Yet I have crescent rolls and mini sausages on my shopping list for the big feast next Tuesday. I guess the thought process went from the idea of having various snack items, treats, and delicacies for the holidays rather than a Big Ass Ham, escalloped potatoes and other traditional fare that eventually gets pushed to the back of the fridge and undergoes chemical changes until it is chucked out on Martin Luther King Day, to brainstorming on what items to prepare. PiaB popped in somewhere after Swedish meatballs and before teeny tiny sandwiches. Of the three, it seemed the best.

So there it is. I always wondered what the point was of miniature sausages. I will find out next week.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Old Business - 500 Years So.

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Believe it or not, I have issues with this; the second verse of "The First Noel".

Put the stones down. I like the song. Unlike those that will appear on my list of the worst Christmas songs, this one has tradition, a pleasant melody and a joyful message. It's very hard to screw up, even by your local church choir or a glitzy country music star.

The problem goes back 50 years ago when it was mandatory for my elementary school class to sing The First Noel for The Christmas Program. Like I said, it's a pretty hard song to screw up, even by a bunch of squirrelly nine year-olds. OK. We breeze through the first verse but then when the shepherds look up to see the star to open verse two, the music stops. Mrs. Greene, the lady to whom I will forever be ingratiated for teaching me the tune, "Grandma Grunt", said, "No, no, no. It goes like this: They look -ked up , not looked."

What? It says looked. It rhymes with cooked, not crooked. We knew how to read. In fact, bring look-ed to the reading circle and you'd get corrected on the spot. Something that the "top" reading group (We knew who we were.) considered a great indignity. The argument lasted only a few minutes before Mrs. Greene and centuries of tradition imposed their will.

I did a search and found out the carol came from 16th century England. I'm positive the lyrics have gone through some revision over the years and are not exactly as originally penned. Why couldn't this awkward bar be cleaned up to match the cadence of the song? 'They all looked up" would work.

But no, the lyric remains screw-ed up to this day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No Head - No Post

I had an inspiration for a good post last night, but it will have to be mothballed because a key component cannot be found.

I desperately needed a picture of Earl Scheib's head. Not a picture of Earl Scheib. Not a description of his budget auto painting franchise. No, just his head. Not a portrait showing his upper torso. Not his head with neck. Just his head. It is crucial to the post.

I searched last week for a good picture of The Crawling Eye as it appeared on screen. No luck with that either. Google Images have let me down two times in a row.

I did find a chihuahua head (no body, no neck). It will have to do until someone brings me the head of Earl Scheib.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Crawling Eye

I am drawn to movies like this. I used to watch them two at a time on Saturday afternoons a long time ago. The formula is simple:

Something mysterious and troubling is caused by a monster that eludes detection by the scientific and military / law enforcement agencies. We see more and more of the monster until it is fully revealed. Only after it breaks into the room where a pretty girl is housed and makes her scream, do the authorities figure out how to whack it.

I was a treat watching this plum today without interruption. I was too afraid to go see it in the theatres in 1958. The thought of a crawling eye didn't set well with me back then. It was kind of creepy at first when I saw it today, so it may have been wise to avoid it 50 years ago.

Although bad science, cheesy special effects, and cornball plots are to be expected from this genre of cinema, I have an unresolved issue with the film that can't even be sloughed off as campy.

The Crawling Eye(s) as it turns out, are not like the eye shown on the poster. No, this is an eye ball alright with tentacles replacing the optic nerve and connective tissue, but the crawling eye is equipped with a relatively normal-sized eye so it can see. The Crawling Eye is not a product of intelligent design. A giant eye that requires an eye to see just ain't right.
Spoiler: A British jet fighter is called into the Bavarian Alps to incinerate the optical menace. I thought BB guns would have worked just as well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Beep Beep

Two Ellen Feis moments around here in the last week:

Patti is trying to get her prescription filled though an automated phone system. The Rx and benefit number must have 15 digits each in them. Naturally, a wrong number was pressed. She had to wait 10 minutes just to get on the system. After 2 or 3 incorrect entries she was booted off the line. Twice. The second time she went into Joe Pesci mode, cursing and pounding the phone on the counter top. Cool. The tirade must have been just what she needed because she waltzed through the process on the third attempt.

I got a call Monday night from Patti's doctor. It's one of those automated messages with an appointment reminder. I listened to the message. Patti knew about the appointment. I went on with the business of retrieving voice mail.

So today, Patti calls and announces, "You cancelled my appointment!" She's calling from across town at Doc's office.

"I did?", "I guess I did." "Shit." "Sorry." That's all I had in the way of a defense. Seems I cancelled by giving the message the old "337". This sequence skips ahead and deletes the voice mail message. But, no, it was a first generation recording, not a recording of a recording, as I thought it was. I guess it said press 3 to cancel, and I did.

Even so, I like key presses better than voice recognition. Once I answered, "Did this help you with your problem.?" with "Hell, No" instead of just plain "No."

The automated answer was, "I'm sorry, I didn't get that. Could you please repeat your response?"

We always try to buy durable telephones in this household.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

On the other hand...

Last night's mini rant stands. There are plenty of annoyances associated with the holiday season and soundtracks to Christmas commercials may lead the way. I retract nothing.

"OK then, Mr. Grouchy Man", you ask, "Is there anything you actually like about the ever lengthening and overbearing season?"

Sure. Plenty of things:

  • I like watching the little kids getting geeked up over Santa.

  • I like the smell of cookies baking on December 24.

  • Midnight mass in an old, big church

  • A drink of whiskey with the men.

  • Candles.

  • Over-the-top decorations on houses.

  • Watching the 1950 version of "A Christmas Carol" - Same for "A Christmas Story"

  • Santa riding the Norelco razor.
  • Large family gatherings.

It's all good. But not in November!

It's a Freakin' Miracle!

Ahhhhahhh. Tinkle. Tinkle. Ding Dong. Wooooewww. Ahhhhh.

Yep. It's that wondrous. glorious. miraculous mystical. magical, enchanting, touching, and joyous music that is played constantly throughout the holiday season. You know what I'm talking about. Little elves scurrying around when the Mrs. gets some 10K diamond necklace from her guilt-ridden-cheating-husband, or when Santa lays a Lexus under the Christmas tree, that's when you hear the music. The choir, bells, sappy strings...

...annoys the living shit out of me.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Well kiss my shiny metal ass!

Yes I do have something else.

I may be the last to know, but I found out that Futurama is coming back. They say it will be on Comedy Central and prereleased on a series of direct-to-DVD movies.

I didn't watch it much during it's original run on Fox, but I have it scheduled for the DVR every night off [adult swim]. I have to say, if it has a cult following, I'm in the cult. In turn I consider Bender to be my spiritual leader.

I shouldn't laugh, but...

I spotted the news article about insurgents posing as bride and groom in order to elude the authorities. Life imitates art here. In Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Pee Wee successfully disguises himself as a young bride to get his convict friend past a roadblock. Funnier still if the Iraqis involved in the incident got the idea from the movie. Funny at least because the "bride" in the news story is pretty damned ugly. Pee Wee was much more convincing. If you are not schooled in the world of Pee Wee Herman, well, sorry,

Let's see if I have anything else...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Newton's First Law

1967: Four television channels and you had to get up and turn the knob.

2007 - Scores of channels and remotes for everything. Even so, there's nothing of interest to view so I decide to watch a DVD. That is, until I realize that I have to get up and physically put the DVD in the machine. Too much trouble. No DVD tonight.

Did old, fat, and lazy people change channels very often 40 years ago?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Death By Randy

Office Depot.

I've been in the store three days running. It was ample time to realize that the employees of Office Depot are being tortured.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Taking Care of Business" was blaring over the tinny Office Depot P.A. system. No big deal. Most places anymore blare such ditties. It is widely held that every white guy over 50 likes classic rock and only the 8 or 9 songs that have been playing on classic rock stations for 30-plus years. Count me out. Put me in the I-was-tired-of-theses-songs-after-the-first-one-hundred-times-I heard-them category.

So, I'm contemplating what label-printer to purchase and BTO is on again. They didn't even cycle through Styx, Kansas, or Bob Seeger. Then they cut TCB short. Thank God! Maybe the day manager is taking his cassette (or eight-track) home.

The next day, there it is again. Randy Bachman and his boys sing a bar or two up until just before the "working overtime" part of the song. The checkout line is long on this day and 10 minutes later, some female voice does some blah-blah-blah and then more "takin' care of biz - ness (everday) - takin' care..." Holy shit! They run this every ten minutes ALL DAY LONG!" How can they do this to these poor people? They're going to have to lock down all the scissors, paper cutters, shredders, letter openers, and the more powerful staplers. Someone is going to snap.

This isn't the first time Bachman-Turner Overdrive has been used as a torture device. In Las Vegas, the pit with the "Let It Ride"table game , plays BTO's song of the same name with the same regularity. Vegas is a 24 hour operation. Hopefully the union doesn't allow double shifts in that area.

The next time I go in to Office Depot, I'm taking ear protection.

related entry

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Your kind isn't welcome here..

Man. Have I received some downright dirty looks at Micheal's, Jo Ann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby from some of the customers lately. In pursuit of materials suitable for putting together my "boats" game, I have wandered into these joints looking for such things as vinyl, doll house parts, sewing boxes, and any other item that can be used in making and managing my own game components. That's why I'm there.

Why the bad vibes? The clerks treat me very well because I don't chat for 20 minutes about how my centerpiece will look, or ask about the allergens in the Styrofoam Christmas reef bases. No, if I find what I want, I have payment ready, and am gone quicker than Keyzer Sose.

Maybe it's the fact that a man is on the loose without his wife keeping him in tow, or maybe its because I'm invading some kind of private club. I certainly don't try to sneak a peak through any of the sweatshirts with turkey appliques and embroidered pilgrims all over them to catch a breast shot.

I have started giving the icy stare right back, as if to say, "I feel sorry for your husband, the poor sonofabitch."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Instant Humor

Want to make me laugh?
It's easy. All you need to know are:

"__on wheels"

I laughed out loud last night when I saw "Werewolves On Wheels" was playing on MonsterVision. Just put anything on wheels and I'll at least grin. Golden Retrievers on wheels, Dumbasses on wheels, Republicans on wheels. Simple, isn't it?

Then there's brickhead, shithead, cheesehead, fathead, doghead ......

If you want me to lose bladder control due to laughing, roll out Gilbert Gottfried.
Stop it, you're killing me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Now you see them.....

Recognize this guy? No? Maybe you're not a fan of junk science shows that run on Discovery Channel and the like. This fellow is Stanton T. Friedman. He only shows up on programs dealing with UFOs. He's the house expert that rehashes his conjectures about alien visitors on seemingly every show.

You never see him otherwise. He's like eggnog. Ever see eggnog in July? Didn't think so. Friedman seem to be put into storage until the next UFO show is aired.

There's plenty of Friedmans. Don King must be packed away in a Las Vegas warehouse until he is needed in the boxing ring to wave his little American flags around. The Detroit Lions only seem to exist as a participant in Thanksgiving's early game. Marcia Clark is always standing by in case there are O.J. troubles.

Just thought I'd point this out.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Now I AM offended!

In my youth, the fallout from the Victorian age and the iron hand of Pop Pius XII prevailed. Those are the days when Lucy and Desi slept in twin beds (Smoked unfiltered Phillip Morrises nonstop, though.) Roy Rogers wouldn't say shit or crap even if he stepped in a pile of Trigger poop. and kissing on the first date was thought by some to be pushing the envelope.

Despite these mores, folks still managed to pass gas with pretty much the same regularity as today. Trouble was , we couldn't call them farts. Everyone had to bend over backwards to come up with a polite term for an impolite event. My parents decided they should be called "stinkers". What!? That's worse than fart. Fart is a nonsense syllable that makes no mistake about what has happened. Stinker, on the other hand, not only implies that the particular cheese cutting has an offensive odor, but, in my opinion, adds a bit of vulgarity to the situation. I point this out as case where the substituted word or phrase is more offensive than the one it replaces.

I find this to be true today of "N-Word". When someone says "N-Word", does anyone have to scratch their head before determining what the N-Word is? The connection is made at once and the real N-Word is processed immediately and contemplated. "N-Word" has to go too. It's a real stinker.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's Uncle Fred's Favorite Place

Sarah, Brenden, and I were making fun of the people of Indianapolis and their concept of Chinese food. Mind you, we probably would be made fun of by some for our limited exposure to Food of the World, but we are giants among midgets in this land.

The locally popular Chinese buffets that go by the names like "8 Lucky Buffet" serve up the most unimaginative oriental-themed dishes since La Choy. Every one of these establishments seem to be the same. This leads me to believe that the food is the same and is distributed from some central location.

Pictured is a Sesame Chicken delivery at one of the Chinese buffets.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quote this, Bartlett.

Last night was poker night. After the great state of Indiana decided to crack down on independent gambling operations we are forced to go back to the home games. Ours is more of a league, where we play for points every week to settle on who is the Player of the Year. Wake up! I'm getting to the point.

Sometime during every game someone pulls out a quote from "Rounders". This is a movie from a few years back with Matt Damon, John Malkovich and Edward Norton. A good film in its own right, but one that is partially reponsible for the boom in Texas hold 'em. "Sorry, John, I don't remember." always comes up when someone asks what hand a player had. More Rounders

Some movies get watched over and over, largely because of the great lines. I go around repeating dialogue from these films assuming that everyone has seen them. So if I come up with speech seemingly out of context I offer this short list:

Pulp Fiction
Napoleon Dynamite
Blazing Saddles
Glengary Glen Ross
The Godfather
Full Metal Jacket

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween in Two Days - Yikes!

This is a lame observance. I didn't even like it when I was a wee lad. I never was much for:

1. Dressing in a costume
2. Begging
3. Sickening sweet, cheap candy.

As an adult, you don't get a day off for it, and as a retired elementary teacher, the real horror was facing 30 sugar-crazed heathens the next day.

I really don't like it when adults get involved. For the most part, I think it's merely an excuse to get out the sex role-playing, and S&M gear for public display. It's kind of a Freak Pride Day.

The only good thing is that the dogs enthusiastically greet every group of kids that show up at our door and sleep soundly the next day. OK, and the little kids are kind of cute. Especially the toddlers that have no clue about what is going on. They're just glad to be involved.

Better go out and get some cheap candy.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Playing Chicken

I want to cut the grass just one more time in 2007 . It could use it now, but if I cut it too early, then it might mean still another mindless walk about the yard this season.

I can still see the dogs' heads above the growth, so I think I'll wait.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

War at Home

Patti relented and we played Memoir '44 tonight.

I may have to go to an art fair soon because of this, but I was happy that she actually played a war game and did it with all the grace I've come to expect from her.

The first few moves were, as expected, slow and cumbersome - but something happened after I failed on an attack and she countered and took out one of my units. Not only did she laugh and flaunt her victory, but now the game's rules and objectives became suddenly clear. She was a hardened warrior at that point and it was on. We slugged it out for a few turns but she eventually got the upper hand and wiped out 2 units and took the bridge in a single swoop to win the game.

I spent the afternoon looking at ideas for my miniature naval games setup with Brenden and was treated to a game with his beautifully rendered high-detail miniatures and battlegrounds. I'm at the brink. Only a lack talent in the modeling end of the hobby keeps me from jumping in. This hobby is very similar to my lifelong sports sims passion. The combination of background reading and illustrating history through the game makes it fun. The collecting aspect adds to the enjoyment.

It's hot right now, anyway.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Two weeks, gone.

The blame goes squarely on my new interest in tabletop war games. . I'm fascinated with two games in particular. Axis and Allies War at Sea (called "Boats" in this household) and Memoir '44 (Army Guys). Brenden (as seen on the FancyPance blog) has been over to play them a couple of times. Great fun from my point of view. Hopefully Brenden wasn't bored playing against a novice tabletop admiral / general.

I always liked the idea of combat games, but the cheapo components and the multitude of rules found in older titles kept me away. The games I saw at GenCon last August have well-illustrated rule books, high-quality components, and a welcoming presentation. Memoir '44 is the most inviting of the two, but I love the aspect of the miniatures in War at Sea. I've been spending my online time searching for deals on miniatures and looking into other games. Meanwhile there has been a draught in MSLOE.

I didn't even mention that a tree branch poked me in the eye and led to a trip to the ER. Nothing serious, but it was on Saturday night and Doc said "Go." I had a small cut inside my upper eyelid and a scratched cornea. Location is everything. A mere boo-boo if it was anywhere else but in the eye. After a day or two of itchy crustiness and a few days of drops, I was healed.

The dogs did a bunch of cute things that would normally spawn a topic, but I've already forgotten what they did. The annual bonfire at Patti's folk's place was last night and as much fun as always. I was annoyed by news stories at the usual rate and I even had a run in or two with people who dare walk in my world. All unrecorded due to my recent fixation with "Boats" and other games.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Shaking My Head

Another reaction to a news story.

This one involves the apparent loss of nine skydivers in a plane crash. The loss of human life alone is tragic. I'm troubled more so by the cruel irony of the situation and the lack of wisdom of those who needlessly risk their precious lives for a thrilling experience.

I'm not being a smart ass when I note that a sky diving team, by nature, should have parachutes available. If there was any warning at all of a potential crash the chutes could have been employed. The cruel irony comes into play if the parachutes were all used for the skydive and none were available for their utilitarian purpose.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Prime Time

October may very well be my favorite month of the year. It used to be July, when going shirtless on the beach was an option and my birthday was anticipated.
October marks the end of lawn mowing. It means apple cider. It's the month with lowest utility bill. Indoor and outdoor activites are both viable. The three major sports are all played in October - NASCAR too. There are no holidays, but there are days off for teachers.

Pesky insects die off and the house can be aired out. With windows wide open, carpets can be cleaned, walls can be painted, and windows can be washed.

It's easy to get people together. No one is on vacation. Winter and its holidays aren't getting the way.
Everything in October seems to be - fresh.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Look what fell out of my ear!

This morning, 8:00 a.m. I'm in that murky zone between sleep and being alert and I'm still stewing about bumper stickers. I begin to wonder if there are any bumper sticker ideas left untapped, if folks pay money for these ideas, and if I had to display a bumper sticker by losing a bet or through some other extraordinary circumstance, what message would I smack onto my tailgate?

Seemingly hundreds of ideas swirled around my head until I broke away from the loop of restless sleep. The one that emerged as the winner was:

Ask Me About My Goiter

Boola Boola

It's a sunny and cool (at least cooler) Saturday afternoon. It's a perfect day for college football. I am tempted to drive down to Bloomington and see IU play. This urge hits on one Saturday each year. This is that Saturday. Trouble is, IU is at Iowa and the mood will have passed by next week. I can't remember the last time I saw a college football game live. It may have been 20 years ago. One of these years I'm going to see it through and and see a game in person.

I'm left with Notre Dame on TV. Maybe if I open the windows and turn the sound way up, I can scratch this itch.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bumper Sticker Rant of 2007

Rainy day. Stuck in the house with two restless dogs. Worse than the old teaching days when I had to supervise "indoor recess". They're bored, yet aren't motivated to do anything but pester you into offering entertainment that they, in turn, reject. Finally, it's dinner time. Oh, wonderful. We're out of kibble. So I'm off to Pet Smart, not in the best of moods.

Maybe this is why the notion crossed my mind to take issue with the occupants of a car plastered with bumper stickers. They were all of the usual glib Jesus the Conservative variety. "God Is My Co-Pilot", "My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter". You've seen them. One indicated that speaking English is patriotic. Any space uncovered on the back of what appeared to be a Ford SUV was filled with every ribbon decal imaginable. Not being of a member of this particular flock, these messages were especially annoying.

I don't like most bumper stickers. Even if one says we need to socialize medicine, legalize pot, disband homeland security, or support any one of the political opinions that I hold dear, I don't want to see it.

Here's why I draw the conclusion that anyone who decorates their car with a multitude of bumper stickers comes off as an idiot.

1. No one is going to be swayed to your way of thinking by simply pasting a bumper sticker on your car. It is more likely that some crazy person is going to be upset by the mantras you purchased and kick your ass. A bumper sticker could conceivably cause you to be killed by a pro life advocate. There are plenty of unstable persons out there who may be already aggravated by having to go on a kibble run. A faded Bush / Cheney sticker may push them over the edge.

2. A political / social issue of any magnitude cannot be done justice by a bumper sticker. If these controversies were that simple they would have been resolved long ago.

3. It's obvious that the bumper sticker on your car was created by someone else and you are just parroting their thoughts.

4. Bumper stickers fuck up the appearance of your car.

5. I don't care where you've been, if you'd rather be fishing, what number to call to lose weight, or what you "heart".

6. The joke on your bumper sticker appears on thousands of other vehicles and t-shirts. I've seen it before.

7. Thanks for telling me who you're voting for. Who is running against this person? That's who I'll vote for.

8. If I'm a deity, wouldn't I consider it a bit of an insult to have my name and word displayed on the back of your F-100, while temples and monuments of great magnitude have been built in my honor? Tacky.

I can handle some bumper stickers. The name of the school you attend is fine or advertising a community event is acceptable. Is it understandable if you are covering up a rusted out area on your trunk? Maybe.

The dogs have been fed and are sleeping. A little Old #7 and a good book should ease my mind. Thanks for reading my rant.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Last word on recent topics.

  • Thanks to Sarah, I've located and purchased a WoodWick candle. It has adequate stench and puts on a big show thanks to the wide (what else?) wood wick. It snarls, pops, and flames. It's like a mini fireplace.

  • The yield on tonight's poop roundup was down about 50% There are many Tibbie mines left hiding among the aeration plugs. The problem is real.

  • Finally, I looked around to see if anyone else is as amused as I am by the toxin-removing foot patches. I think it's a pure scam and the crud on the patch is simply cleaned from matter that accumulates in the small crevices on the feet. BUT - The overwhelming majority seem to think these patches really work. There was even an ad for these patches on Web M.D.

I will say that negative ions carry some weight with me. Standing by the misty indoor waterfall at the Mirage in Las Vegas perks me up when I take a break from the poker tables. I'm still skeptical. I'd buy a set on foot patches just to see how much gunk came off my feet. Under no circumstance would I like to see any one else's foot residue.

Thar's Gold In Them Thar Feet

Sunday night. Late. Slim pickings for TV viewers, even those with hundreds of available channels . After Sunday Night Football, I took one more trip around the horn to see if could squeeze out one more bit of entertainment before calling it a night.

Eureka! I stopped clicking on a new (to me anyway) and captivating infomercial that belongs in Miss Cleo's Hall of Fame. It was for some sort of pad that one puts on their feet while they sleep. The pads are said to remove these toxins from your body. (e.g.) Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, Asbestos, Barium, Benzene, Cadmium, Chlorine, Cobalt, Copper, Fluoride, Formaldehyde, Gold, Isopropyl Alcohol, Lead, Mercury, Methyl Alcohol, Mold, Nickel, Parasites, PCBs, Platinum, Radioactive Materials, Stainless Steel, Thallium, Tin, Titanium, Uranium, and much more.

I can't believe what I saw!

The images shown in the ads are of a kind not seen since Pink Flamingos. The "After Use" image is one for the ages.

Here's the link. See for yourself. I can't find the words.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Where's Waldo?

Look at the picture.

This is the result of today's lawn aeration. The photo was taken in the backyard where Smooch and Bosco roam. Tell me, how am I going to be able to spot and scoop Tibetan Spaniel poop among these thousands of plugs in the yard?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Candle Opera - Act II

I have already documented the thrill I get from shredding stuff. I fear I may also have a mild case of pyromania.

Still no RPCs today despite a desperation trip to Wal-Mart. It may have been a matter of throwing good money after bad, but I bit on a Glade oil candle kit. Fresh Linen is the scent. The package boasted that it would fill the room with aroma after only a few minutes.

Right from the get go I realized what was missing from the Wisp flameless candle. That being the flame. Real fire. Accept no substitute. Can you imagine, for example, a tribal celebration with Glade Wisp Flameless Candles accenting the ring where the fertility dance is being held? Me neither. Lighting matches and setting something on fire is fun. Watching the flame - is fun.

A few minutes have passed and my den smells like a laundromat. The gods are appeased.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Candles in the Brain

There's just a hint of Autumn in the air. Football season is underway. It's time to kiss summer goodbye and start thinking about the winter routine.

Candles. They are a requirement for my den in the colder months. I'm picky about my candles. Yankee Candles and their cheap imitators are unacceptable. I do not like the wasted wax and the charred glass when the candle is burned only half away. Yankees are expensive. My main complaint is that them Yankees don't give out enough scent. The candidates have been weeded out over the years and Renuzit pillar candles are preferred, if not demanded.

I don't know what the deal is, but I can't find a single RPC (Renuzit Pillar Candle) in any of the lovely scents. Perhaps it's just the off season. I hope so. I intend to call the company as soon as I finish this entry. I hope too that the product isn't discontinued. I'll be particularly upset if some fecal-brained individual did something perverse with an RPC that resulted in injury, subsequently causing the product to be pulled from shelves. A fraternity prank gone bad, and in turn, negatively impacting my candle experience, would be devastating.

Plan B:

I picked up a flameless candle. This thing is funny. Funny, ha ha, and funny weird. You put a battery in the apparatus and it sends a periodic charge into a vial of oil. The thing emits a fragrant puff of smoke every few seconds. You can hear the "poof". Even the unimaginative would be able to conjure up a silly simile to describe this nonsense. Wait! There's more. If you press down on the top, it has a tiny LED or something that activates, giving the illusion that there is indeed a flame deep inside the frosted glass. It flickers. It smokes. It is not the answer.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Parts Unknown

This is the week of fantasy football drafts. I'll surface again around September 10. I'm fine and am being treated well.

The most boring thing in the world is having to listen to tales about someone else's fantasy football team. I wouldn''t dare subject anyone to this torment. Better that I ignore everyone and everything in the real world this week.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Today's Sermon

I had to go my neighbor's house today and ask if I could borrow some beer. He had only two. Despite my reluctance to wipe out his supply of holiday suds, he insisted that I take them. A little later he corralled 4 more bottles for me from his in-law's fridge.

Press [1] if you want an entry about how neighbors rise to the occasion in a time of need.

Press [2] if you are wondering what kind of person goes door-to-door borrowing beer.

It appears that everyone pressed [2]

Bear with me. I live in Indiana. This is a state that prohibits package liquor sales on Sundays. Our bratwurst and corn feast was a last minute dealio. No beer. I have never been to any social event where sausage was the main course and of beer was not one of the beverage choices. What would my guests think? I'm in a tough spot because of still another bullshit Indiana law.

I guess it is bad to drink beer on Sunday because it's supposedly the Lord's Day. This was a mere inconvenience when I lived in South Bend. Michigan was only 10 minutes away. If someone was down to their last case or two, they could count on State Line Liquors being open early Sunday morning.

Living smack dab in the middle of this backward state, I had to go the WWJD route. I know what Jesus did in this situation. Problem was that Jesus wasn't coming to the cookout and the chance of me turning tap water into Budweiser was nil. Although I don't share the view that beer is evil, I thought it might be wise to save my prayers for a time of greater need. So I called on a great friend and neighbor who I knew would understand the situation. He did.

What could be more Christian than lending a neighbor your last beer? I am truly inspired by this act of generosity and kindness.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One Temporal Lobe Short of a Brain

About one year ago, I suddenly lost my taste for popcorn. Just like that. I went from a bag of microwave corn every night to nothing. It wasn't a conscious decision. I didn't realize that I wasn't eating popcorn until a month or two later. I tried a bag. I picked around and ate about half of it. This was a far cry from the old days of cramming kernels into my mouth with both hands. The quantity of the popcorn that I was genetically programmed to eat was reached. I no longer require or desire pop corn.

This illustrates that sometimes enough is enough. This is true for humor. Jokes get old. I'm not talking about a particular joke but a type of joke. For example, "You're mama's so fat that..." jokes. Worn out. Even though all the permutations of this joke's ending have not been explored. It dawned on me to day that stupidity metaphors have reached this point of saturation. "He's not the sharpest knife in the drawer." is a common stupidity metaphor. I cringe when someone on television throws out a stupidity metaphor. Worse than that is hearing the same joke the next day from some yutz who saw the show and is passing the joke off as his own. "Fred is one taco short of a combination plate.", he jests.

Does anyone want the rest of this popcorn?

Monday, August 27, 2007

You'll Eat It and You'll Like It.

Randy, in the movie, A Christmas Story, complained, "Meat loaf, smeat loaf, double beet loaf, I hate meat loaf."

I'm with the kid on this one.

Meat loaf is an abominable dish. Perfectly good ground beef that could be better served in chili, spaghetti, or even with Hamburger Helper, is ruined through the addition of marginal ingredients, a round of manual squeezing into the "loaf" and being baked until the DNA in the scattered bits of meat has been chemically changed into something "else".

I catch plenty of hell for this view. I bristle when Patti suggests that I cook it for dinner. She really loves the stuff. She orders it in restaurants. I suppose that eating meat loaf for some is a ritual that binds families like so many old eggs and stale bread slices. Not for me. I've had my fill of meatloaf.

It was in my family's dinner rotation at least once a week in the colder months, usually on a Thursday. This meant back-to-back clunker meals. Friday meant no meat. We weren't flying in sushi grade yellowfin tuna in those days. It was salmon patties, tuna salad, macaroni & cheese, or fish sticks. But, you had to hand it to dear old Mom who could feed the four of us on a few bucks a week and work miracles with what was available. Even so, I feel no sense of nostalgia for those meals spawned from a somewhat limited budget and a depression era mentality.

Sure. I can make meatloaf, but why? Mom didn't even fix it after the kids moved out.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Super Weed

My apologies to all the stoners who were sucked into reading this entry. This concerns a weed of a different nature. This weed stings. It is ugly. It grows while everything else in my yard dies. I have had no luck in eradicating it.
The culprit is the Canada Thistle. You can Google it yourself to find out what I already know. Herbicides will only weaken it. Chopping it down has no effect. It actually can grown from each fragment of root left underground. The roots spread to form a network of plants. One site says that years of chemical treatment and hacking at it will eventually bring it under control. Encouraging.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Go Ahead, Eat My Brain.

The heat is back and worse than ever. I dare not leave the house. Zombies roam the streets. Their presence is felt even in the safety of my home. It has an effect.

It's too hot to think, let alone synthesize any sort of weighty contribution to MSLOE. I'm going for the easy target: A television commercial.

The Toyota ad with keys falling from the sky troubles me. Make no mistake about it, the situation is not plausible. Even a smartassed sixth-grader will point out that the people in the ad do not have keys embedded in their skulls or that metal objects traveling at terminal velocity are not penetrating umbrellas. Where do the keys come from? Was this the planned eighth plague readied in case Ramses II didn't cry "No Mas" after number seven? The OCD me asks" Who is going to clean up this mess?"

I understand that Toyota is not suggesting that this will or ever has happened.
This commercial is not a good fantasy. (No sense of wonderment) It is not clever. (Crosses the fine line noted by David St. Hubbins) It is not funny. (And I laugh at almost anything.) It is not effective. (I had to Google "keys falling from sky" to determine that it was indeed a Toyota commercial.) Enough already. I'm dehydrated from forcing piss breaks to avoid watching it.

The next time the keys fall from the sky, I'm stepping outdoors. How bad can a Zombie attack be?

Monday, August 20, 2007

My World is a Better Place

I set my V-chip to block Fox News.

Friday, August 17, 2007

My Geekend

I went to Gen Con today.

I'm an outsider. I like board games and I am particularly interested in how a game is designed in terms of strategy and the mathematical truths that drive it. I am not immeresed in the world of trolls and other mythical creatures, rather favoring realistic themes like military history and sports. It was still worth the hefty admission charge and being jostled by galactic warlords and elven wizards.

The game pieces and playing boards are, in some cases, works of art. Many of the exhibitors will proudly tell you about the fascinating games they have created. I enjoyed myself.

I'm going back tomorrow. There's a foam rubber mace I'm eying. I also want to demo some of the products on sale.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Once Upon a Time In America

Springfield, Illinois
Summer 1956.

It was a family dinner at a all-purpose restaurant adjacent to one of those AAA approved motels on Route 66. I heard the most amazing song coming from the jukebox. It was the kind of song that bristles the hair up on the back of your neck . The Notre Dame Victory March was the only song that had caused such a maelstrom in my adrenal cortex until this musical moment.

"Don't Be Cruel" Elvis Presley RCA Victor 47-6540

Monday, August 13, 2007


With Shark Week over until next season, cable / satellite viewers turn their attention to Elvis Presley this week. I look forward to the celebration far more than I used to.

I became aware of Elvis right before he started with RCA. I was a little guy visiting my father's family in northeastern Arkansas. Memphis was not far away. My cousins were well aware of Elvis Presley and introduced me to him. I was only eight and I hadn't really began to soak up music like I would the next year or two. I heard plenty of Ernest Tubb, Hank Locklin, Carl Smith, and Webb Pierce at that time. Patti Page, Rosemary Clooney, Sinatra, and others got plenty of radio time in our home, but I had no concept of choice, musical tastes, what was good, what was bad. The radio played it. You listened. For some, this seems to be way it is to this day. I liked the songs, but didn't see what the big deal was.

It wasn't until some of he older folks started carrying on about how Elvis' music was trashy and it hurt their ears, that I took notice. It sounded OK to me. Hanging out with my older cousins was more fun than sitting around with the old folks. They liked Elvis.

As I grew. I noticed that people who were fun to be with had the best records and listened to the best stations. By then I had been introduced to R&B and the flood of Rock & Roll that followed, but I enjoyed Elvis' music until the time he joined the Army. Even so, I was not a big fan.

A few years ago, Sarah visited Graceland and reported that it was something that I had to do. I happened to be in Memphis soon after that and did spend some time on Beale Street and went to Sun Studios. I didn't have time for Graceland, but my interest in Elvis was piqued. I read Peter Guralnick's two-volume biography of Elvis Presley and came to appreciate the impact of EP on American culture. I returned the next year with Patti and I finally went to Graceland. I was half expecting to see a tacky carnival-like display with hordes of nut cases fawning over every scrap of Elvis memorabilia. This wasn't the case. The tour was fascinating, even inspiring and, dare I say, touching. I visited his family graves and showed genuine respect for the man and his devotion to his family and craft.

Long live the king.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Remembered for Fifteen Minutes

I arrived late. I'm begin to pick up on things that veterans of Internet self-expression have long realized. It has dawned on me that if you read some blogs regularly, you can pick up on the underlying mental state of the author. The manic-depressives are especially easy to monitor. The working stiffs' Sunday night postings are more reflective and staid than their weekend anticipating Thursday night entries. The single folks who post at 2:00 a.m on Saturday morning usually do so drunk and on a social snide.

I assure all that I have taken all prescribed meds and I am in a steady state, tucked comfortably under the summit of the bell-shaped curve of mental wellness. That being pointed out, death is today's topic.

CNN and Fox News decide. On the day that you die, are they going to be running a story about a chihuahua that plays a harmonica, or are they going to tap in to the tragedy of your passing? Face it. A dog with musical talent is news. Your death is not. That is, unless the circumstance of your death is such that it wrestles the limelight away from el perro musicalmente telented.

Case in point: Getting trapped in a mine is a good way to get attention. People are drawn to stories like this. The Utah mine story was featured this week. A day or so later, three Indiana fellows are killed in a mining accident. Ding! Ding! Ding! Did you say mining? Mining disasters are hot right now! Breaking News on CNN! Breaking news for about an hour. Come to find out that the accident only happened at a mine. The poor fellows were not trapped and were already dead. The story was gone before nightfall.

If you want perfect strangers across the USA to grieve your passing, it's going to take something special to get noticed. Shark attacks are always good in August. Pit bull attacks have merit these days. Being a murder victim is a good start. Being a white murder victim helps. Being a white person with money is even better. If you are a rich white person who is killed by another rich white person, eureka! It helps to be snuffed on film. I suggest power boat racing if you want to push the issue. Disasters are good too, but be careful not to have too many others involved and be sure that the disaster happens on US soil. Nothing like a bizarre death to get the press you desire. What if you died while trying to catch Barry Bonds' 756th home run ball? That would work. Killed by a harmonica playing chihuahua? Now, that's a lock.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

From the Archives: Smooch and Bosco

The heat continues and I'm still in the holding pattern of staying indoors and watching far too much television. On slow news days, you see a gaggle of human interest stories that may have happened weeks ago, but have been queued up and readied for such as occasion

Same deal here in MSLOE. I'm running an animal story today.

You may have met Bosco briefly in the Wonder Dog entry. Smooch is his older half-sister. Bosco's Dad, Oliver, had a fling with her a few years back and produced her second litter. These dogs' genealogy can get convoluted. Suffice to say that Tibetan Spaniels are far and few between Every time one of them appears on a televised dog show, it's almost a sure bet that the doggy on TV is related to Smooch and / or Bosco in some way.

Anyway, Bosco came to us as a puppy. He was great around people, but lacked social skills in the dog world. We asked the breeders if they had another Tibbie to join Bosco. Smooch was offered and we took her. Smooch was a retiring champion and a two-time mother. Smooch apparently dominated at the kennel. What we have is a no nonsense diva. She patrols the house and greets all with disdain. Only after she determines that you can do something for her, does she warm up . She struts around the house and demands that you acknowledge her beauty. A treat or a belly rub is always welcome. Her relationship to Bosco is somewhere between mentor and dominatrix. Bosco knows the ropes now, but at the price of getting pinned to the ground when Smooch decides he his getting an undue share of dog power.

Bosco is bigger and can kick Smoochie's butt any time he pleases. I've seen him do it when he's motivated. Mostly though, he lacks the moxie to dominate on a consistent basis. Bosco has, for the most part, become my dog, and Smooch favors Patti. If food is involved, all bets are off. Charles Manson with a piece of meat would win their favor.

Smooch and Bosco do work together and are best of friends. One of their enterprises involves Bosco stealing an item like a slipper and hiding under a large piece of furniture where he can't be reached. Smooch stands by in the open. To get the prize back, you must give Bosco a suitable treat and must also pay Smooch, his agent, off.

Pictured are Smooch and Patti.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Lost Weekend

It's hot outside. Too hot to work. Bad for asthma. UV rays a plenty. I haven't been out of the house for much more than a trip to the grocery store and a serving of strawberry fields salad at Friday's. I'm not crazy. I simply require AC - constantly.

I haven't posted since Wednesday. Some computer work, a few indoor chores and more television than usual have filled my days. I'm not one to offer still another opinion about politics or current events that was formed from second hand information gleaned from television. I won't do the old 5th graders' routine of asking me, "Mr. Sparkle, did you see Full House last night? " If I say "No", I get a complete summary of the show. If I say "Yes", I get a complete summary of the show, with the added preface to every sentence being "did you see the part when....?"

You will get the skinny on what I saw live and what was stored up on my DVR. This is all I have.

Marquez - Vazquez fight. Patti comments, "Why do they let them hit in the face?" It was a whale of a fight between two tomato cans.

John From Cincinnati - I still haven't decided if I like it, if I'm being conned, or exactly what the hell's going on. Don't interrupt me when I watch it. I'm mesmerised.

Futurama - Never watched it first run. Funny at 2:00 a.m.

Anthony Bourdain - No Reservations. makes me feel I'm cheating myself by sitting on my ass and not going more places or trying more new foods.

Big Brother 8 - Guilty Pleasure. Never miss it. I'm a fan of Jen this year. She has her priorities straight. It's all about Jen and only Jen.

NASCAR - Kurt Busch made it a snoozer.

Weeds - Right up my alley. Second time through and it's still funny.

It's Alive - I, II, and III. Fanged babies killing people wearing leisure suits is somehow funny to me.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Baby. She Calls Everybody, Baby

I've had it with this woman.

The lady that lives inside the u-scan at the Meijer store has pissed me off for the last time. I'm a pro when it comes to getting what I need at the grocery store at the lowest prices and getting out of there within minutes. When I scan the first item as directed, I have it headed for the sandwich-bag sized tote before the scan beep stops reverberating. Despite this near-light-speed transfer, I still get "Please place the item in the bag".

"It's already in the bag", I say. No apology from robo girl. Nothing.

Beep, beep, beep. I have something light like hot dog buns and I get, "Please remove the last item from the bag and rescan it."

"Bullshit, lady. I'm not paying for this again!"

If you remove the item or do nothing you get, "Please place the item or items back in the bag."

"It's already in the bag, Dear."

After I finally get my stuff scanned and bagged, I go through a demeaning series of prompts about inserting bills, picking up my items, grabbing my receipt, going to the attendant for change. On and on. Meanwhile those going through the lanes manned by the often marginally trained are on the way to their cars.

My GPS / Navigation system has one of her cousins working inside it. She has a slightly more pleasing voice, but still tends to take the scenic route to some destinations. The male voice talks like I imagine Smilin' Bob would talk on the Enzyte commercials. He creeps me out.

The only computer babe I seem to like is the Coin Star girl. She talks with a Scandinavian accent and I imagine her as being pretty hot.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Just One Word

I say this word way too much.

I was once told that if I made an ugly face, it would stick that way forever. The curse must also apply to purposely contorting one's diction to include fad phrases or what, at the time, seems to be a cool word to say. When we got Bosco and Smooch, we loaded up on Tibetan Spaniel books and general guides about dogs. It seems that every paragraph in the books had require in it. (i.e Your Tibetan Spaniel may require a daily walk. This breed requires one cup of food per day.) I started going around saying things like "I require a glass of water."; My car may require gasoline. and "No, I do not require a second helping."

This has happened to me before. I once talked like Snagglepuss for at least 6 months. I must have said "far out" a few thousand times in the 60s. Then there's the faux, er, falsos, Spanish habit where one sticks on an "o" after every word. I had that.

Require is going on 3 years as a staple of my spoken language. I think part of my aging brain has set like concrete and require has been locked into that region. So it is.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Data Recovery

The song "Tossin' and Turnin'" by Bobby Freeman and its opening line "I couldn't sleep at ALL last night" rang true at 6:45 this morning when I said, "Piss on trying to sleep"

I jumped out of bed , got dressed, and we went out for a big breakfast. At the restaurant, Patti asked, what do you think about when you're lying awake all that time? I hadn't thought much about it and frankly couldn't remember much at all about what I contemplated through the long night. (It was actually only 4 hours because I watched Big Brother After Dark until 3:00 a.m. - more on this passion of mine later. ) One thing did stand out. A neuron fired at about 4:30 a.m. that unlocked a lost memory. It was of the Presto Hot Dogger.

I had one of those in the pre microwave days. Presto boasted that it could cook a hot dog in 6 seconds. It could. You took the wiener of your choice and stuck one end into a a spiked electrode and did the same with the other end, bridging the gap between the two electric skewers. You turned on the power and zapped the dog. Six seconds later, you had up to 6 fully-cooked dogs. The ends were usually charred and all the fat was burned off. leaving them smoking and withered away. If you left a budget dog on too long, you could produce a flame. The time saved cooking was given back and then some during cleanup.

I don't know what became of the old Hot Dogger. Most likely it was sold at a garage sale or thrown out. It may even be lurking somewhere in my old house. This is what I contemplated. Where have the Hot Doggers gone ? Since the safety device of having to close the lid before the power would come could be easily circumvented, I wondered if this had been tried. I never attempted to grab both spikes and turn it on or know of anyone who did. But like I've always said, "If one can think of it, someone has already done it. "

In the wrong hands, I imagined, all kinds of mischief could be wrought. Torture device? Rodent control? The ultimate whoopee cushion? My brain ran with this for a disturbingly long amount of time. I am not proud of the many diabolical uses for a discarded Hot Dogger that I mentally listed. I hope I sleep well tonight.

News: I'm an uncle again! Tyler James weighed in at 10 lbs 2 oz. when he debuted yesterday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Changing Colors

I'm declaring myself to be a Cincinnati Reds fan. I was a St. Louis Cardinals fan from the time I was a wee one until maybe, yesterday. Maybe earlier. I do know that I was cheering for the Reds this week during two televised games and that I watched them instead of the Cardinals and Cubs game. I also know that when the Cardinals won the World Series last year I wasn't nearly as geeked up when the Cardinals were in the postseason in earlier years. In fact I simply had a "that's nice" attitude. Eh.

This isn't a matter of being a front runner. In fact, the Reds are the worst team in baseball right now. I was a Cardinal fan in keeping with a strong family tradition. My grandfather and father were Cardinal fans. Being from northeastern Arkansas, it was a matter of geography for them. In my father's later years he wasn't as enthusiastic as before about the Cardinals. With free agency, 30 teams, and players moving around so much, it became a mater of rooting for the "shirts" as Jerry Seinfeld once noted, rather than the players who filled the shirts. One of the last Cardinal thrills was the Mark McGwire 70 homer season. Besides that feat now being tainted and the record broken soon thereafter, it still was like McGwire was on loan from the Oakland A's. My father is gone now, and I'd like to say that he died a Cardinal fan, but in all honesty, he really didn't give a shit about them anymore. He was more of a White Sox fan because he was able to see them on TV in South Bend. Baseball has long since abandoned many traditions and all bets are off when it comes to team allegiance.

Fantasy baseball has also eroded my loyalty to the Cardinals. Sorry, but if Tim Lincecum shuts St. Louis out, that's good for me. The current collection of players gathered in St. Louis are the enemy on that night when my fantasy team's pitcher faces them. I guess that goes for the Reds too, but the Cincinnati Reds are now the local team.

The Reds have started showing their games in HD. I can see just about every game on TV. The drive to Cincinnati is only 90 minutes and there are always "many good seats available".

The Reds will do just fine as my new favorite team.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Special Seating

We did see the IRL race completed on Sunday. It was a good race that didn't disappoint. Danica finished 3rd, which made Patti happy. This was our day to drive home. We had planned to vist the Maker's Mark distilllery in Kentucky on the way back just to fill in the day. As it turns out, we arrived home about the same time as we had originally expected. No problem. We'll catch The Bourbon Trail next time.

Thanks, Jack for being a patient and gracious host.

Pictured is the ideal seat for guys like me that don't care much for crowds. I seldom go live events because someone seems to always be doing something to annoy me. Yes, I am a aware that perhaps that I'm the one with the problem. I'm working on it. For now, the "seat" would be the solution. No more people getting up and excusing themselves to pee every 10 minutes. No more being the middle man in beer transactions. No more folks on their cell phone. Maybe I'm not totally the problem after all.

Putting a sign on the chair that says. "I'm watching the race, dammit." would make it the perfect seat.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nashville: Part Three (Double Ought Chance of Rain)

Later on Saturday:
Nashville Superspeedway

As mentioned yesterday, we are just a bit late and Jack has to settle for a semi-shitty parking spot in the handicapped lot. We have ample provisions and are also well outfitted for viewing the race. Everyone grabs all they can and we make the trek across the hot, hot, hot fan area outside the entrance to the grandstand and up multiple flights of stairs to our seats.

The shade on this sunny day is over us early in the Indy Pro race. After the JV is done racing, we enjoy the wait for the main event. Beautiful day. As race time nears, we endure multiple displays of demonstrative patriotism and the introduction of what seems to be the entire work force of Bridgestone / Firestone. Then it happens.

"See that cloud over yonder?", remarks one of the local fans. "That's rain comin' down from it." Sure enough. Menancing rain clouds are converging on the track. Our Southern-talking friend then adds a bit of scientific background: " It's comin' from the skah."

The skah opens up with a heavy downpour, dousing everything. The idiot P.A. announcer proclaims, "We're just moments away from racing!" (We decided that the announcer 's job has been outsourced and he's somewhere in India.). We seek refuge under the stands. Big mistake. Soon the water pours in on us through the cracks of the bleacher style seats.

We go home soaking wet and grumpy after another shower rolls in on a day that Nashville's Channel Five predicted a ZERO chance of rain.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Nashville: Part Two (Endangered Newts)

Saturday: The Race

The cornerstone of this trip was joining our good friend, Jack, at the IRL's Firestone 200 at the Nashville Superspeedway. If you are interested in Indy racing and want details about the race, you can bail out now. The race was rained out.

We arrived at the track at 2:00. It was a bit later than Jack had wanted because Patti and I had to get a cooler and fill it with food, drink, and ice for the long day ahead. Our cooler is M.I.A. It was left at one of the in-laws' shindigs or was mis-taken at a pot luck affair. Who knows? Who cares? We wind up at Wal-Mart.

This is not your typical Wal-Mart. It sits on the edge of the affluent town of Bentwood, TN. It's far fancier than the Wal-Mart in my neighborhood with a facade that makes it look like a medical arts building. It's a big sucker too. The drive up to the parking lot reminded me of the entrance to the Biltmore House in Asheville, N.C. We cross a satellite parking area, go over a bridge and pull up next to the store only to find that the small lot next to the building is almost exclusively handicapped parking. We have to turn around and place our car deep in the satellite lot. It is hot. Southern hot. They should have shuttle service, but don't. We transverse the parking lot, trudge across the bridge and weave through the disabled peoples' vehicles. Finally - We enter.

The coolers are maybe 5 football fields or more away from the food. We split up. I grab the first cooler I see and hurry back to help gather the food. Patti is auditioning fresh peaches and has yet to make a selection. ( No comment. ) We are still many minutes away from the lengthy walk back to the car and the rendevous at Jack's house. It's astonishing, but we're only about 15 minutes late.

Jack tells us that the Wal-Mart is set up that way because:

1. Bentwood didn't want the Wal-Mart there to begin with.
2. To halt the move, some of the citizens claimed that there was some kind of endangered newt that lived in the trickle of a stream that runs right through the property. It was ruled that this habitat could not be destroyed.
3. Wal-Mart simply throws a few zeros on the contruction cost and builds a bridge across Newt Land.

Our newt-related tardiness was only the beginning of an unusual day.