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.