Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Buttoning Up 2008

This IS the future. I've noticed that many of the old sci-fi movies from as late as 1980 were set in the early 21st century. I see no flying cars, but then again this isn't a post apocalyptic wasteland either.

It has been 9 years since the Y2K scare. Cable / Satellite TV has been with me for 30 years.

You don't see much of the New Year's baby anymore. I used to wonder if anyone was checking in on him in mid July to see how he's getting along. You only saw him as a tot and then as shriveled up old man on January 31st.

I miss Guy Lombardo.

January 1 as the date starting a new year is completely arbitrary, as is the year being numbered 2009. I always laugh at the quick joke in Back to Future when Doc Brown temporarily sets the time machine to the day Christ was born. The date: December 25, 0000.

I'm not much of a college football fan, but all the big bowl games (including the so-called national championship game), need to be played on New Year's Day.

Tomorrow is Bosco's birthday (5). He's getting a box of Milk Bone small breed biscuits. Just another day for him, though. He has the right attitude.

This will be post 182 for the year. Hard to believe I could write so much about so little.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Aroma and such

Woodwick stencher oil came in the mail and provides the amount of smell good I desire. A couple of candles received as Christmas gifts do a good job too. They appeal to my tendancies toward pyromania.

Looking for the right moment to open my bottle of Lagavulin. This has to be the drink of choice in heaven.

New cell phone (LG Vu) makes texting and dialing a snap.

You have to see the model of the USS Buchanan (DD 484) that Brenden built for me. My father served on the ship during WWII. This was a truly special gift,

Patti finally got some warm and fashionable socks.

A long session of Tide of Iron with Brenden yesterday has me geeked up for playing war games. Ron and I plan to battle it out at Ponyri with Memoir '44 tonight.

Patti is actually using her digital camera.

On the way to 1000 iTunes purchases. Gift cards will help get me there.

Thank You all. Your company was the best gift of all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

From the mouths of babes ...

My memory was jogged today. Back to December, 1977.

I was getting my 6th graders ready for their choral performance in the Big Christmas Program. We were assigned to sing the somewhat obscure, "When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter" and then get off the stage. Piece of cake. Right? Not really. The words and melody are pretty simple, but standing tall on risers, singing with mouths open and at least pretending to being happy about rendering a holiday song proved difficult.

We must have sang -

When Santa Claus gets your letter
You know what he will say
"Have you been good the way you should
On ev'ry single day?"
When Santa gets your letter
To ask for Christmas toys
He'll take a look in his good book
He keeps for girls and boys.
He'll stroke his beard
Hs eyes will glow
And at your name he'll peer
It takes a little time, you know
To check back one whole year!
When Santa Claus gets your letter
I really do believe
You'll head his list
Yu won't be missed
By Santa on Christmas Eve.

- 163 times.

On take 164, the over rehearsed class sang in unison:

When Santa Claus gets your letter
He'll throw it in the trash.

I had to laugh. I laugh again today.
I had to admire the coordinated uprising of that class.

There were no more rehearsals.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fuming Insense Stencher

I still can't find Renuzit pillar candles. The website still shows them, but the site probably hasn't been updated since 2003. I saw somewhere that they were toxic and /or a threat to the environment. A real shame, they actually smelled strongly of After the Rain. Nothing has come close from a simple candle.

An oil warmer we have really pumps out the fragrance given the right oil. It's a bit bulky and is a girly-looking contraption that fits in well with the pink and white colors in Patti's den. Not in MY den, though.

I've resorted to incense, which does permeate the room, but is smoky. I get the urge to put Iron Butterfly on the turntable and relive the late 60s. I noticed the return vent is a bit dirty. Even Renuzit didn't do this. Incense = bad idea.

I now seek an oil warmer that blends in with my den's decor. All those I've seen look like they came from Palace Neuschwanstein.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pre Christmas Housecleaning.

One way to keep the tidy household that I insist upon is to sort through my personal belongs in anticipation of incoming Christmas gifts. Whether or not I get any gifts is irrelevant. It's still a good practice. I'm anti-clutter and this annual purge is a perversely enjoyable chore.

First of all, I can find items worthy of regifting or moving on eBay. It can result in significant holiday savings. Secondly, I may discover that an item on this year's letter to Santa is one I already own. Best of all are the items that scream - "Why the hell did I buy this piece of crap to begin with!"

No,I take that back. Best of all are the keepsakes that I rediscover. Dwelling over an old picture or a souvenir brings back pleasant memories and makes it worth packing the object away until next year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not Cult Leader Material?

Evidently, those who have Twitter accounts can garner "followers". A subset of those are labeled " following". I've been enrolled for over a day and yet to have even one follower. I see that fancypance, for example, has 99. What charisma!

I attribute my lack of disciples to various factors.
  • Most of my friends check their e-mail once a week, and that's about the extent of their online presence.
  • Twitter sounds gay. Normally, I'd avoid it like a pink shirt if I didn't know better. My inner circle of old farts aren't going enter Twitter in their search engines.

Like I said, most have no Internet savvy. If they want to visit a site you have to dictate the URL to them and they must write it down. The chance that they will actually go to the site is remote.

  • I've been staying at home too much.
  • Those who are close friends and family see and hear enough of me as it is. Why follow me on Twitter, when they could be doing something constructive?
  • Who wants to be some one's ONLY follower. It is much like having an invisible friend or being a personal lackey. No one has stepped up to break the ice.

So why Twitter? I like doing this blog, if for nothing else, to go on record. There's something therapeutic about chronicling one's day-to-day actions and thoughts. Going public makes it a commitment. It's like going to Weight Watchers. Twitter handles those mental notes and comments that aren't beefy enough for a paragraph or two. Sticking with the dieting analogy, Twitter takes care of that handful of m&ms that usually does not get tallied in the calorie count, where as the blog handles meals.

Then again, being a cult leader can bring benefits. It certainly could lead to a boost in retirement income. Twitter may become my first step in building a large base of blindly allegiant followers.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fake Beards

Just when I thought I've seen it all from "As seen on TV" products, along comes this. Watch the video. Tell me, are these real Amish folks? Do the Amish have anything at all to do with these space heaters in a flamable enclosure? Especially rich is the Amish request to limit two per customer. Note the horse-drawn buggy delivering the heaters to your home. Are the Amish craftsmen akin to Oompa-Loompas? I'll let you find the other problems with this ad. It's as easy as finding the five-legged horse in the Highlights for Children puzzles.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Check,check, check . . . Done.

I haven't been out of the house for the purpose of Christmas shopping, yet all the people I am responsible for gifting have been taken care of.

No sales tax, no shipping, deep discounts, no clerk, the shipping box serves as a head start on wrapping the items. Everything was purchased on line.

I have to point to The Onion's store. Eight bucks is a long way to go for a joke. But these gift boxes are hilarious. I was tempted to put YOUR present in one of these.

My wish list?

Lagavulin 16-year Scotch
Smoked salmon
Strong smelling candles
iTunes gift card.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cookie Party

Yes. I went to a cookie party. It was actually more than that with bite sized treats everywhere. It was put on by Patti's calligraphy guild and there were maybe 40 or 50 guests. The bourbon balls ( Yowzah! ) made the day.

Patti sais I behaved myself, so I think we stand a good chance of being asked back next year.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Man, That's a Big Monocle!

How is it that I sat through a gawdawful direct-to-cable movie? The remote was in hand with fully-charged batteries. Yet, I could not look away. "Cyclops" aired on the SciFi Channel tonight and I saw it ALL.

Cheesy monster movies have always been a weakness of mine. There hasn't been one quite like this since the 1970s. The premise is that an evil Roman emperor (Eric Roberts) procures a 20 foot tall cyclops and puts him to good use in the arena. All the while there is a slave rebellion, a commander turned gladiator / champion of the people, intrigue among the senators, and a semi nude slave girl. Every spear and sandal epic ever made was plagiarized in an attempt to produce a vehicle for the star of the show, the Cyclops.

A plot is not necessary. If the cyclops is not on the screen, the film stalls, but provides enough fodder for fish-in-a-barrel wise cracks by the hundreds of viewers watching in dorm rooms and retirement homes all over the continent.

Redundancy at its best: "I now present the one-eyed cyclops!"

The film's mood is derived by a woeful short-fall of extras. The big slave revolt numbers all of 8. The Roman arena is a venue more suitable for a Pampered Chef party than the emperor's anniversary games. It's an epic story done on a vignette budget.

The Cyclops, however, rules! He rips off no less than 20 heads during the movie. I lost count of the dismemberings, squashings, and disembowelings wrought by the fairly well rendered computer cyclops. Did I mention that he likes to eat his victims? Gore like this hasn't been seen since From Dusk 'Til Dawn.

So what happens is that the former military commander befriends the cyclops before they have to face off against each other in the final round of a convoluted playoff system. The Cyclops learns to talk, spares the commander, is cut loose, runs amok, kills the emperor and his pals , while those in attendance slaughter the skeleton crew acting as security. The emperor's chief sycophant nails the cyclops square in the eye with a spear and kills him, but the commander proceeds to chop ofF the assailant's head. The head rolls around the arena while blood spurts from the neck of the unusually lively torso like the Fountains at the Bellagio.

I was thoroughly entertained.

Brain Cramp Costs Area Man Time and Money

I violated three of my self imposed edicts today.

1. Don't shop for groceries on Saturday or Sunday.
2. Don't shop when hungry.
3. Avoid panic situations like impending snowstorms, the day before Thanksgiving, etc.

So I'm ready to eat a frozen dog, more snow is predicted, and it's late Saturday afternoon and I show up at Meijer.

Everyone and their uncle was there. Meat and produce, for the most part, was sitting around since Wednesday or sold out. Luckily a new shipment of pork and chicken arrived and I picked up chicken breasts right off the meat guy's cart.

The aisles were congested. All those gigantic kid rides / shopping carts in the shape of a truck were in force as were the scooters for the infirmed, disabled, and sometimes just lazy patrons. All decided to converge and drive right down the middle of Canned Vegetable Lane. Screw it. I bought frozen instead.

Don't ever ask a store employee this question, "Where do you keep your nuts?" I did. Luckily he wasn't a smart ass like me because I would have said, "In my pants. Why? Where do you keep yours?"

The line was very long at the checkout. I was lucky to quickly divine which would move the fastest. I have scouted the various clerks and know which can keep a line moving. Some lines are artificially long because the whole family is attached to just one cart. Note: Men shoppers = speedier checkout. Sorry, but that's the way it is. Still, all the lines were long and I had to wait 10 minutes or so. This is far more time that I usually find acceptable, but wasn't bad under the situation that I blindly walked into.

I saw my honorary nephew, Shawn, with his wife, Tiffany, and their new baby, Austin. This helped pass the time in line as did the impulsively purchased Diet Sprite that I yanked out of the refer. The clerk scanned the empty bottle.

OK. I said I was hungry. Big mistake One hundred, thirteen flippin' dollars. That had to be a record. But thanks to turkey and the chuck 'o pork, I hadn't bought serious groceries for about two weeks. Even so, a box of cookies, Sun Chips, peanuts. Spaten Beer, extraneous side items that didn't match up with the entrees, and 3-for-the-price-of-1 items, needed or not, probably could have been left of the shelves.

We'll see. There's enough here for 9 days of eating. If it all lasts that long it may have been worth the effort.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hooray For Santa Claus

I left this nugget off my 2007 list of favorite Christmas songs.

It's not one you'll hear on the Wal-Mart P.A. system or as background music when a dupe of a husband lays an expensive diamond necklace on his wife in a Christmas tree lot. It was from the film, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. I just found the original rendition which was done by a small choir of children (Milton DeLugg and the Eskimos), but I have been enjoying a delightfully raw version done by an outfit called Sloppy Seconds. Either way, screaming little heathens or punks can only do justice to this tune. Celine Dion will never cover it.

It makes no pretence about the anticipation of getting gifts that fuels most of our episodes of 'Christmas Spirit'. No magic, no wonderment, no bells, no warm hearth, no mention of family. It's all about the toys. They don't come any more secular.


Thursday, December 4, 2008


Actually, yes. I thoroughly explored the subject of the Christmas Holiday last December. There was a mention of the most annoying Christmas tunes on CNN. I starting thinking about this then realized I had chimed in the previous season with my picks. So here's last December's seven entries, which saves me from repeating myself.

and November

Modern Marvels

I've always been a friend to technology. I don't fear it and mostly put it to good use. I offer a few comments on the gadgets and appliances that make me appreciate the age I live in:

I never was much into using VCRs, they served merely as a playback device for rented and purchased VHS tapes. The quality was low and the switch to DVDs relegated my VCR to being available for the copying of old home viseos to DVD. Once DVRs did HD, I jumped in. Now I can't do without. Everything from time shifting to avoid commercials to saving episodes for late-night viewing (without the hassles of tapes) is beneficial. Replaying a bit of dialogue if interrupted is a plus.

Wireless Home Network
Three computers, a printer and an iPod touch are all connected. No more being chained to the big desktop. The laptops / iPod become ready fact checkers while watching TV or settling an argument.

iPod Touch
A must if you have wireless at home. Not only can you carry photos, music and video around, but you have plenty of little apps, adequate browser and other conveniences within the reach of this little wonder. No big fee for data like on the iPhone.

Digital Camera
I'm not much for pictures and Patti is slow to migrate from film. Our camera was pricey a few years ago and a similarly capable model can be had for under $100 now. This is one purchase that has not panned out.

HDTV / Home Theatre
I'm very picky about such things. Sure, a 19" tube would do just as well. -BUT- this one thing I treat myself to. I'm spoiled. I won't watch standard programming if at all possible. I even shy away when something isn't in true 5:1 digital.

I shop mostly online and won't buy anything until I've researched first. As mentioned before, fact checking is at the core of my online experience. I also maintain a web site, and run a very small business online.

This is one area where I am content with low tech. The convenience of a cell phone is great, but all I need to do is talk on it when necessary. No texting, no walking around with a dorky ear piece, no surfing the mobile web while driving. Dial, answer, talk, hang up. That''s all I need.

Ink Jet Printers.
Get a photo printer and a color laser printer. Ink Jet printing is expensive and of far lower quality. I'll never have another.

Got a factory set up in the car. I forget to use it half the time, but it has enough utility to it to make me glad I have it.

Satellite radio
Being doomed to listen to the same old classic rock tunes, yakity-yack radio "personalities"and strings of commercials was frightening. Hopefully the price won't be jacked up too high after the XM / Sirius meager.

The calculator
I don't always need to go to the spreadsheet. Nothing beats negotiating a price on the phone with calculator in hand. Believe me, I came up thinking slide rules were amazing and actually know how to manually find the square root of a number or determine the standard deviation for a population. This is the most amazing thing to come along in my lifetime.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Pork Goes On

Thick pork chops tonight. This is probably the prime portion of the now legendary C.O.P. We knocked off five of them and have 4 more in reserve. A simple cooking in a stick-proof pan with a dash of cajun seasoning was all they required.

One more pork chop dinner, and probably a big two-day western rib feast remain. It's going to be tough to pay more than $1 per pound for meat after the supply in exhausted.

The End of the World

Prophets. I put them in the same bargain bin as psychics, sports touts, stock brokers, and Grandpa's weather-predicting bunion. This includes stars of The Bible like Elijah, Micah, and St. John the Divine.

You heard right. I say, take these guys out of the scriptures and The Good Book would be ... gooder. As far as some evangelists are concerned, few if any, of these prophecies have came to pass.(Bad for businesss, if they had.) So wouldn't you want to see a few predictions pan out before getting behind a soothsayer?

Mostly, the vague prophecies, are proclaimed as fulfilled when coincidental events are shoe-horned to match the prediction, or the prediction is reshaped to fit the event. If you have the stamina to sit through a Nostradamus show, you'll see what I mean. All it takes is the mention of any conflagration and you can easily find a match to a skirmish, war, or natural disaster. A similar sounding word, like Hister comes out to mean Hilter. Then there's the contradiction prediction where a prophet is right half the time on every set of predictions. It's an old handicapper trick. Tell half the people the the Cowboys are a lock and the other half that the Eagles are a sure thing, and you have half your clients thinking you are a genius.

This has been a golden age for sooths with economic problems, Barack "The Antichrist" Obama, weird weather, the dawn of the 21st century, and the extraordinary number of Jesus sightings in ethnic foods.

Back to The End of The World. Would this largely unread blog gain more readers if I were to start predictin' stuff? Perhaps.

OK, I predict the End of The World (That being The Earth) will come on a day when we no longer have the same calendar and are on some sort of metric time. The inhabitants of the planet will be humans whose DNA has been fused with that of the durable cockroach. You wouldn't recognize the place or would want to live during the period. Send me $50 and I'll tell you more.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

All Quiet

A burning candle, good Scotch, HBO Boxing, followed by reading until 3:00 a.m. What better way to spend a 'dead' Saturday night?

Friday, November 28, 2008

We Had Turkey

I cooked it as part of a deal with sis-in-law Julie. She hosted. Everyone came except Danielle (in Arizona). A routine affair all the way around. The three tots in attendance came well-rested and held up pretty good. A Barbie video for the twins and a truck for 1-year-old Tyler kept them occupied. Plenty of leftover turkey. I overbuy and serve only the breast meat. I took home the dark meat for a weekend break from the Chunk O' Pork.

As Ice Cube once said.
Today I didn't even have to use my A.K.
I got to say it was a good day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Commercial Rage

Is that all they could come up with? Humm? Dry scalp medicine? - I got it! SCALPacin. Thank goodness, we didn't have the same marketing team name Viagra. Bonercil? Cockmax? ...

Girls Gone Wild always notes that the drunken skanks on their videos are college girls. How does level of education figure into boob flashing, and faux lesbo action? ..and isn't it time to put the term coed to rest? Women have been going to college in equal numbers since my long memory can recall.

I've been here before. They are disgusting animals and I wouldn't raise them even if I thought doing so would move me to a higher tax bracket. I once pissed off a member on a forum by saying that the production value of a certain product was as bad as that of an Ecuadorian snuff film. He took issue because he adopted (purchased?) a child from that country. He went on to say that Quito is a beautiful city and the people of Ecuador are very friendly. Be that as it may, I said that Ecuadorian snuff film had a better ring to it than Bolivian, Venezuelan, or Peruvian. The choice was arbitrary... and further more, Ecuador is known for its lucrative cocaine trade, and those nasty alpacas. I wouldn't say that despite the nice people, that the place is beyond producing low quality and disgusting porn. That pretty much shut him up, but a third person jumped in defending the alpaca. I won't relent. Alpacas, llamas, and any other camelish creatures are repulsive to me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chunk O' Pork - The Saga Continues

I'm hell bent on getting the most out of my ninety-eight cents per pound pork score. The package was divided and frozen before I left for a long week in Las Vegas and finally was opened for consumption.

The first to be rolled out was a strange roast that looked as if it was accidentally hacked off of the hog rather than removed by a skilled butcher. It has rib bones in it, a familiar pork chop bone, and a knuckle-looking thing embedded in a casing of fatty material. It did roast up well and rendered a few prime slices of tender meat.

Today I took to carving bits and pieces off the bony portion and came up with about a pound of meat. I was thinking of making a stir fry or perhaps a stew. The hour was late and I didn't have time to buy the other ingredients. I spotted a big can of Bush's baked beans. I seasoned the meat, put a dash of hot sauce in the beans and slow cooked it for about 30 minutes. It didn't turn out that bad. There's enough for tomorrow too. It begs for cornbread or biscuits.

I'm not sure what "Living high on the hog" means exactly, but this must be living on the lower side. Regardless, I see 4 - 6 more meals coming from this purchase.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Las Vegas XXI (2008)

I'm more familiar with The Mirage than I am with many Indianapolis attractions. Most of my week during this trip was spent in the poker room, sports book, California Pizza Kitchen, and Carnegie Deli - all within a few steps of each other.


Hot Pastrami Sandwich
75 degrees and sunny every day.
Return to Gambler's General Store
Good luck at the poker tables.
Metro Pizza
Fake Hofbrauhaus (but real beer and food)

Not so good:

I miss The Stardust and other old classic casinos
No Nova lox in the buffet.
Old Las Vegas museum at the Tropicana is closed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Chunk O' Pork

How could I pass up 13 pounds of assorted pork cuts at $.98 / pound?

It will be like a kill on the Serengeti around here. We'll be feasting on the carcass for days.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Now What?

It's like the day after Christmas. I'm coming down from last night's high.*

I'm glad I live in a blue state. The electoral vote map looks like a civil war map and I don't want to be in the Confederacy or in the western territories.

What's MSNBC and Fox News going to do to fill the time?

Barack Obama has to be bad news for Bush impersonators, and comedians in general. He doesn't offer much material for jokes.

Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin. Now only good as answers to Trivial Pursuit questions for the nostalgic 2000s edition. Their 15 minutes are up.

McCain needs to become an independent and tell the RNC to kiss his ass. They ruined any chance of an honorable man running an honorable campaign.

I did have a celebratory glass of my Lagavulin 16-year Scotch. One of the commentators on MSNBC was a Republican official who said that he was going back to the staff room because he had an appointment with a Doctor Smirnoff.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Christiane Amanpour is a woman I admire. Her short blog entry on CNN pretty much sums up why I am so giddy about today's election.

It's On!

There was a very short line at my precinct's polling place today at 12:30. I was voter 384 on the scanner. I'm in.

It's time for the rest of you to put up or shut up. Vote for whoever, and if you don't care for anyone, toss a protest vote toward the Libertarian.

We had company last night and were talking of past presidential elections. Here's my memories:

1948 - I cannot recall. A one year old generally doesn't get into politics that much
1952 - I only remember that my teacher said a new man named I-zen-how-ur was the president. It took the class three or four tries to get the pronunciation right. What was the big deal anyway?
1956 - I was flabbergasted. How could anyone not vote for The President of The United States? I also thought the electoral votes were electrical votes, reasoning that if you had money you could upgrade to one of these special high energy votes.
1960 - Too young to vote, but I was extremely interested in this election. Kennedy-Nixon became a civics lesson. Until this year, that race was the most inspiring.
1964 - Goldwater - Johnson. The tone was set for the political unrest for the late 60s. No one could pick up the pieces after JFK was gone.
1968 - I'll say it to this day that Hubert Humphrey was the greatest statesman of that generation. He received my first vote for president. Nixon was able to sneak in due to a shattered Democratic party. (RFK killing, Chicago Convention, Dixiecrats' last stand.) I saw many of the candidates speak in person during that year's primaries. Shook hands with Robert Kennedy and John Glenn.
1972 - Four more years? McGovern wasn't the answer. You know how that one turned out.
1976 - Two nice men that you knew were doomed to mediocrity. I don't remember who I voted for.

Although I voted in each of the subsequent elections, none of them featured candidates that I could really get behind. It was more of an anti-Reagan, anti-Bush vote, although I did step out and vote for the elder George Bush.

I went to Bob's for an election day haircut, but the place was packed. There was no place to sit down. Ol' Bob had Fox News on the tube (Literally a tube - No LCD at Bob's. That would be just plain wrong.) and the boys in the shop weren't talkin'. They were looking at each other like gunfighters in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The crowd and the potential for a brawl if the wrong thing was said was daunting. I'll come back tomorrow.

I can hardly wait.

Tomorrow I vote.

If I don't - I'm full of shit.

If I don't - I'm a piss-poor citizen of a free country.

I'm truly moved by seeing the long lines of people waiting for hours to cast their ballot. Although I have voted in every presidential election, I would be particularly ashamed if I failed to act tomorrow.

I'll take my iPod and a good book with me and wait for however long it takes to get the job done.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's not over until it's over

There must be an axiom that says that the skits on SNL get weaker as the show goes on. This seemed to be the case last night, but I hung around until the very end hoping to get a scrap of amusement.

I got much more. I was literally LOL over this gem:

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Skeleton Didn't Cross the Road Because He Didn't Have The Guts.

Friday night, perfect Autumn weather, and it is Halloween. We expect a heavy turnout this evening. This has to be a boost to the economy. The candy aisle at Meijer was packed this afternoon. Folks were grabbing treats even before they were put on the shelf. I wonder if I could get tax relief for the charitable contributions I'll be making this evening?

The dogs are ready, This is their favorite night of the year. They go nuts each time someone comes to the door. Some of the tots are startled by our little critters, but the kids who live near us all say hello to Bosco and Smooch. The doggies wear bandannas. They're dressing up as "reptiles" again. The pattern on the bandanna cloth is of green scales. Scary stuff. The F.B. I. (Bosco and Smooch - Food and Beverage Inspectors) get a treat each time they stand down while the candy is handed out. Visiting dogs also get treats.

I actually like this silly event. I used to hate it when I taught. The kids were geeked up on October 31st and in a stupor for days after the sugar crash.

Sorry about the scary picture. It's just for fun.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Double Take

Wasn't the movie, Zack and Miri titled Zack and Miri Make a Porno last week?

It's true.

John McCain served time in a prison.

More legless statements than this have been suggested by the RNC and their robo candidates about Obama. OK, fine, dirty politics have been with us since ancient times. I'm more troubled that so many folks seem to believe such statements. I've been all over their ignorant asses for many months on this blog for non-political misdeeds.

These kind of folks latch onto buzz words and catchy mantras like tapeworms on an intestinal wall. Many can't grasp the logic as to why the unfair comment is a zinger. Obama is a terrorist. Good enough for me. He's going to take your money and give it to all the Negroes. Just as I figgered.

For the most part, these people are harmless. They buy ShamWows. The believe that Sasquatch is real. They spend money to text in a vote for reality show contestants. They boast that they will make 250K per year despite the lack of a plumbing licence.

These people have intertwined ignorance and fear. They are the consummate sycophants. They are the masses that chant in support of their repressive dictators. Exploiting these poor souls for the benefit of winning a presidential election is shameful.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I am not prog rammed for humor

I got my first political call this week from the RNC. Without so much as a "hello", the diatribe commenced. Obama this, Obama that. It was same old lies, innuendos, and half truths that have been dispersed by the right-wing, baby-baby-amen-amen, nut job branch of the once Grand Old Party.

This went of for a minute or so before I interjected, "Are you a robot?"

"No", came the answer.

Said I, " Thanks for the call, but I have to tell you that the negative campaigning and that poor excuse for a running mate, Palin, has blown any chance at all that an independent voter like myself would even consider McCain."

I continued, "Please pass this on to someone in your organization." The lady seemed a bit taken aback. I'm sure it wasn't because I'm voting Obama, but because I asked if she was a robot.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Flirting for Cash

There's a checkout girl at corner supermarket that goes up and beyond the store's friendly customer service policy. She told the old geezer ahead of me in the line that she liked his hat and called me "sweetie". Note: I'm geezerly myself. I wouldn't even think for a minute I have any appeal to cute 20ish-looking girl any more than the hat that the guy ahead of me was wearing was worthy of any comment. I have no objection to the friendly service, however.

Shame is, grocery store folks don't work off tips. I have a feeling she might have waited tables at one time. Like I've told Patti many times: If a waitress calls be "hon" , "sweetie", or in any other way perks me up, it's worth a 5% larger tip.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.

Have you ever voted for a candidate only because you saw a sign on some one's yard?

I didn't think so, or else I hope not. So why do people have extra large Mitch Daniels signs in their yard? Well - I saw your small sign and it didn't faze me, but since this one is like way bigger, you got my vote. Yeah, right.

Then there's the yard that has all the signs for every candidate on their party's ticket. This can number 15 - 20 signs. Maybe just one "Vote Democrat (Republican)" sign would do.

What a waste of money . What an eyesore.

Let me just add that if you have a political bumper sticker on your vehicle and I pass you, take a long look at you, and decide you are a dolt, goober, nut job, cretin, dip shit, dork, pecker head, pinhead, lowlife, pervert, diseased worm, snot, dingleberry, goofy-looking sonofabitch, or an atavistic throwback, I ain't voting for your guy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thousand Dollar Car

The Bottle Rockets tune, Thousand Dollar Car, came to mind today after I unpacked a 12 dollar candle that I purchased today at Brown County gift shop.

It's supposed to be sandalwood scented and has a bumpy look as if it had cake icing on it. Great price for a big candle. What the hell. I bought it.

Got it home and it smells like - nothing. Neutral. Not while at rest, not while burning. In better light, it looks like a congealed ball of vomit. The flame (even after a wick trimming) shoots up a good four inches and resembles an acetylene torch. It smokes like a film noir character.
I pissed away 12 bucks in a tough economy and I'm red faced.

Link to the song:
Thousand Dollar Car

Right side - Song 5.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

...and yet you insist on bottled water.

WARNING: The following entry has explicit, repulsive, and gag-a-maggot language. This is necessary to make my point here. If you read on, remember. I did warn you.

Hot tubs are disgusting. I won't go in one, any more than I would share a tooth brush with a trench mouth victim.

Every time they advertise these abominations, there's a fellow with 6 naked ladies sitting around drinking cocktails. I have no objection to 6 naked ladies, nor, off hand, the concept of sharing. But the reality of the situation paints a different picture: Orifices. Biology. Bodily Fluids.

Does everyone wipe well enough to suit me? I'd insist on everyone hitting a high-velocity bidet loaded with rubbing alcohol before entering. There also has to be a few pubes floating around. You know that drop or two of pee that you just can't shake off? It's in the soup. Foot fungus is a distinct possibility. Stick deodorant fragments dissolving and releasing underarm bacteria into the water has to be common. Smegma? You betcha. Dried up spooge. Ball vinegar. Lord knows what's oozing from some of the vaginas and pecker holes. Pustules, dead skin, perspiration, must I go on?

I might mention to all those wanting a hot tub - six naked ladies are NOT going to be joining you; let alone six disease-free volunteers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Recap

On the whole, a good one. IU and the Colts were bad. Cut the grass. Got things done. Nice weather. Got out of the house a little. Still, a forgettable two days.

Though this vestige remains:

Shoot a mother-humpin' moose eight days of the week
Now you dead
Now you dead
because I'm an animal
I'm bigger than you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Football Weather

When folks have nothing to say, the weather becomes the topic. Bear with me.

Finally a cool sunny weekend here in Indiana The leaves are beginning to turn. A jacket can be worn. As it said in the title, I'm tempted to go down to Bloomington to see my alma mater's team at Indiana University take the field. A post game trip to Nick's English Hut would be in order too. Boola Boola.

I'm most giddy during this time of the year over the fact that tomorrow may be the last day I need to mow the lawn. But Wait! There's more.

Apple Cider from Adrian Orchards is at its prime. I'll be going back for a second batch.

Cool weather invites foods that just don't hit the spot during the warm months : chili. Swiss steak, hot tea, soup, roast beef , fresh baked bread . . .

Candles. Nothing warms a room in my 68 degree home like a fragrant flame.

Sweat pants. Best comfort available for the "husky" man.

Bugs die.

Driving with the sun roof wide open.

So with no real drama going on; nothing to piss and moan about; all my affairs in order; I leave you with a uncharacteristically upbeat entry.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Last Night's Winners

Philadelphia Phillies
Barack Obama
Leanne Marshall
Wendy Testaberger

A sweep for the good guys. It was refreshing to see that Leanne's talent and workmanship prevailed, given her quiet demeanor. Much better result than Season 4 when that obnoxious little bitch, Christain Siriano, won Project Runway.

Watched ballgame. DVRed Project Runway. Caught debate between innings and on rebroadcast. South Park also DVRed.

Mythbusters also had a new show, so it took some doing to get to see all these conflicting television programs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NOT stalgic

The "good old days" were not good. My list of shitty facets of life in the 50s, 60s and 70s would require extensive use of the middle button on your mouse in order to scroll to the end.

BUT there is one thing I miss:

Pictures of criminals in the post office. Today, there is nothing to read while standing in line at the post office. I used to follow the Top 10 Most Wanted as closely as I did the records on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey. Checking the fellow patrons out to see if they resembled anyone on the FBI list added to the fun.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Life Imitates Art

Tonight was the annual bonfire at the in-laws. Patti's mom made a terrific pot of baked beans with plenty of onion.

If you remember Blazing Saddles . . .

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Different Paths

Muddy Waters came up in the car's iPod rotation. Despite Patti's white bread upbringing, I thought for sure that 20+ years worth of exposure to my blues-heavy music library would make her at least aware of the classic blues standard, Hoochie Coochie Man.

She had heard of Muddy Waters (so she said), but never heard this song - AND to top it off, thought Muddy Waters was a Motown artist! Yikes!

On the other hand, I don't know squat about weaving, so I shouldn't be so shocked.

A Curiosity

Somehow the notion held by some that gambling is wicked, while "investing" is righteous, doesn't hold much water these days.

Not to brag, but I've won more money through playing poker, fantasy football, and sports betting over the last year than I would have been as the most astute of day traders.

Monday, October 6, 2008

An Approach-Avoidance Conflict

Yes Man trailers hit my TV this week. It has been declared frequently and vociferously that I cannot stand Jim Carrey's brand of comedy. The film also features Zooey Deschanel who, beside being a real cutie, played good roles in Weeds and Almost Famous. I like her.

Sitting through a Jim Carrey movie is as tedious as balancing a checkbook to me. [ Man on the Moon being the lone exception ]. . . . And isn't this movie very similar to the one where he couldn't lie anymore?

This one looks like a DVR special after it hits HBO. I can watch the Zooey D. scenes and go X60 though the rest of the picture. If they're both on the screen at the same time I'll be able to weigh whether I like Zooey Deschanel more than I dislike Jim Carrey.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Lost Art and An Unlikely Fan

Way back when, in the days which free range kids were abundant, the South Bend parks department set up recreation centers. Kids could come and go as they pleased and take advantage of the free activities. I was on the baseball team*, they had table tennis, quoits, dances, shuffleboard, and crafts. I enjoyed braiding plastic cord. You started with flat braiding and moved up to square braiding, and as an expert you could take on round braid. Boys and girls alike enjoyed the activity. It bordered on being a fad in my neighborhood. I mentioned this to Patti and she vaguely remembers, if at all, what this craft was all about. Obviously everyone else has too. I found very little about it online.

* Hardly any adults. A road trip involved hanging your mitt on the handlebars, wedging your bat under your bike seat and peddling across town to another park.
Tim Gunn is one of my favorite TV personalities. His new show is every bit as good as his stints on Project Runway. He's a genuine dandy, but a perfect gentleman. I love his little huzzah fist pump when he says "Make it happen. " His pointed criticism is effective, yet kind, and he has a magic touch when it comes to motivation.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Craps is a game of chance. Pure and simple.

I am well aware that each roll of a pair of dice is an independent event. The roll before has no bearing on the current roll. One shooter is not more skilled than another. There is no such thing as a craps expert. Once one understands the odds on all the possible bets and manages their bankroll, it's all up to Mr. Mathematics, in Lady Luck drag. Make the right bets and you almost have an even chance vs. The House.

The game is frantic, chips are flying everywhere. It has the atmosphere somewhere between a cock fight and the floor of a commodities exchange. Probability be damned, the game is rife with superstition, mojo, the occult, and even religion. We (our poker club) were talking about this the other night, discussing all the omens, curses, and blessings that seemingly affect the dice.


The dice leave the table
Black guy under 30 years old shooting.
Box man selling chips to a newcomer in the middle of a hot run.
A tear in the felt.
Stick man soliciting C&E and Hard Ways
Shooter playing from the dealer side of the table
Somber and empty table.
Newlywed male shooter
Having a friend stand behind you when you're on a hot streak
2 way tips when YOU are shooting.
Any interruption (shift change, pit boss ruling)
Green Dice


Lady shooter - first time only.
Boisterous drunk guy shooting.
Spinning die
Newlywed female shooter
Loud and crowded table.
Shooters with entourages.
Red Dice
Asian stick man.
Wrong way bettor has dice
Cigar smokers.
Refusing a free drink.

In addition, some casino's tables are cursed: O'Sheas, Bally's, Ceasars, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo. Mirage. Some are enchanted: Harrah's, Flamingo, Imperial Palace. Slots-O-Fun, Casino Royale.
This is what makes the game fun.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Blow it Out Your Ass

Everyone is an economic expert these days. The shit storm over a crisis that few can define, let alone solve, continues. Talk. Talk, Talk. Talk is cheap. I don't want to hear what you think, and please don't ask me what I think. I'm as partially informed as the next guy.

Economic ruin? Loss of my savings? Not good. I will be madder than a burning pit bull if I have to cover for a bunch of deadbeats who don't pay their bills and can't manage their money.

If this is so bad; if everyone is as pissed or afraid as they seem to be , then why aren't torch carrying mobs gathering on the mall in Washington D. C.? Mobs do not need to understand anything , they just need to be angry. A baboon war mentality is in order. Nothing like a violent uprising to get the attention of the government.

Hell, I need the exercise. Chucking the traditional rocks and bottles at targets of opportunity should provide a good workout. Walking while chanting revolutionary mantras can cleanse the soul.

Take to the streets, brothers and sisters! Go 60s on their asses. (or just shut up.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nein, Non, Nyet, Nem, Nie, No.

Saying "No." comes quite naturally for me. I have tried hard to be civil about it, though.

"Thank you, not now."
"I don't see it exactly that way."
"I'd rather not, but thanks for asking."
"Not my style."

Polite answers like these are given when I need to be more emphatic. I don't work with the public anymore. so why should I leave any doubt that your question or comment is totally offensive to me? That remaining doubt bothers me. It's like doing a quick housecleaning. The house is cleaner , but I know that the job was not finished. I have to carry it around with me. It's also not honest to mislead others. I don't need to be mean, but I need to be absolutely clear.

I've put this new policy into practice this week

Telemarketer: Hello, how are you this evening, I'm Dickie McDickDick from The Indiana Troopers Association, and I'd ....

Me: Look Jack, you're on of about 900 police funds that call my house. I will not give you any money. Quit annoying me and don't call here again!

Friend: Do you think the Cubs will win this year?

Me: I hope not. I hate the fucking Cubs.

Mother-In-Law: Rush Limbaugh made some good points about the financial crisis. Did you listen to him this week?

Me: No. I think he's an idiot. I'd like to punch in that gas bag's fat face.

This seems to be working. I shouldn't waste an ounce of my good will to soften situations like this. I can be nicer and more loving the rest of the time as a result.

Just say NO !

Friday, September 26, 2008

Gobble! Gobble! One of Us.

Sure, I'm considered a senior citizen in some establishments, an old fart if there ever was one, but I refuse to join the corps. I am not going to buy a big-assed Lincoln or Buick. I am not going to play slot machines for hours on end. and As I held today, I am not cruising Sam's Club just to eat all the free samples in lieu of lunch.

The place was packed with roving clusters of humanity looking for the next handout. Some didn't bother with a shopping cart, as they knew they weren't going to buy anything. Some feigned interest in a nearby item until a new batch of bite-sized cuisine was ready to serve. Some took no chances and waited while the product cooked in fear of being shut out. The more polite sauntered slowly in front of the cooking station looking forlorn, hoping to be invited over for a sample.

Not me. I avoided eye contact and sped by every food kiosk. I got caught once and was asked to sample a piece of fish. I dropped a polite " No Thank You." on the hostess and moved on. I know what fish tastes like. I wanted to dispel the stereotypes surrounding everyone over 60.

I'm not saying it will come to this one day for me, I'm just saying, "Not just yet"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What he said.

Now it seems Atlanta is out of gas too.

I have on site reporters in Nashville who said stations are out of gas because the townfolk are hording it in containers, following tankers around town, waiting in line for hours, etc. Pure panic. All on rumors. There would be enough gas if folks would just settle down.

I suspect it is the same case in Atlanta, which continues to be my choice as the seat of American ignorance and bizarre behavior. The simple solution might be this. But no.

I fear my town may be next. Indianapolis is a city that largely fears anything that was not in the mainstream in 2003. The first time more than 3 inches of snow is predicted each winter, many invade food stores to stock up like we are going to be under siege for months on end. Yep, we had folks sealing their houses with duct tape after 911. Remaining calm and thinking through the situation in a time of crisis, real or imagined, is not an option exercised by many around here.

A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.
Agent Kay - Men in Black

Monday, September 22, 2008

Do Not Attempt . . .

Driving a Mazda 6 through a door into a gladiator arena surround by hundreds of chanting fans
Driving like a bat out off hell over hills, dunes, river beds and other terrain with the whole damn family having the time of their lives. The Jeep ad says this is the kind of fun you can have.

Come on. How fargin' dangerous is it to drive through a wide open door and do a little spin on loose dirt?
What's the fun in having a Jeep that you're not supposed to drive off road?

Buy a car. But don't attempt to drive it.


Wasn't that one of the characters from Masters of the Universe?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


There's a number of items here that do not warrant their own entry.

I know another reason why I don't like college football. The exposure to incessant drumming of the band's percussion crew causes background stress.

The end-of-the-world-as-we know-it atom smasher is broken. The cocksure scientists who assure us that this thing won't implode the planet didn't see this coming. I'm still worried.

Fuck Wall Street.

Next to Atlanta, I rate Nashville, Tennessee as having the largest concentration of Goobers.

Please stop having football announcers talk about upcoming network shows.

Any football announcer who says "3rd down - coming up", is not, I repeat, not fully qualified to do a nationally televised game.

The NASCAR season is way too long.

Ultimate Fighting Championships look gay to me. (I'd rather be pounded senseless than have a guy park his package on my chin.)

Baseball is now my 4th favorite sport. I'm losing even more interest as the years roll on.

The Mac guy on the PC vs. Mac commercials? I'd like to smash his face in.

People falling down or getting hit in the nuts is not funny.

If comics have to use mutahfucka more that once in each sentence, they are not funny.

Sorry, Carl. I've lost my taste for them French fried 'taters.

Friday, September 19, 2008

That's My Girl!

Gonna smash the face of the next pirate I encounter.
Talking like a pirate is ever so queer
and I have a headache!

I swell with pride.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Little Red Rooster

too lazy to crow for day

too lazy:
to clean up crappy photos dumped on my hard drive
to transfer phone pictures and photos to the same disorganized folder
to back up my iTunes onto DVDs
to play my guitars
to refinish my desk
to put in all the presets on my car radio
to learn all the features on my cell phone
to play Strat-O-Matic baseball
to read today's paper
to watch unwatched DVDs
to make chicken gizzards

I'm certainly not too busy, but these enjoyable tasks don't seem to get done.

If you see my little red rooster, please drag him home
There ain't no peace in the barnyard
Since the little red rooster been gone

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Power of Prayer II

An anecdote:

During one of my fantasy football drafts, one of the league members was not happy with the team he selected. He was wondering if he could get any help from his congregation. Made me laugh.

I could see it during mass -"For Marc's fantasy football team"... "Lord hear our prayer."

If the Lord indeed hears prayers like this, places of worship would be jammed every NFL game day with fantasy football players, handicappers, dieheard fans, and the Detroit Lions.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Power of Prayer

Pregame prayers by sports teams are silly. So I thought. What if The Lord actually listens to this drivel and guides the team with the best invocations to victory? How would I feel if someone was praying for me to lose? Here's a news item that demonstrates what happens when sports and religion's affect on it are taken too seriously.

This also brings up a more weighty issue. I'm sure folks in New Orleans were praying that Gustav went somewhere else, and that our fellow Americans in Texas were praying that Ike would also change course. Like maybe to Mexico? So do hurricanes land at the weak link in the coastal prayer line?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Noodle Coodle

That's what we're calling it. Noodle Coodle is an on-the-fly concoction I threw together for tonight's supper.

The name comes from The Simpsons. In an episode, Mr. Burns is running for governor and his advisers set up a dinner at Homer's place. The idea is that Burns would appear to be reaching out to the common man through the televised and staged event. Monty Burns and Waylon Smithers show up at the door. Burns holds a casserole dish and announces, " I brought Noodle Coodle."

Noodle Coodle is the politically correct dish that the common man eats. It has noodles in it, and there is no doubt that Campbell's Soup is involved.

My version of Noodle Coodle has the key ingredients. That being noodles (Kluski) and Campbell's Cream of Celery Soup. I tossed in boneless and skinless chicken thighs, fresh mushrooms, mixed vegetables, almonds, and a topping of French's French Fried Onions.

Voila! Noodle Coodle.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Whoa There, Mr. Scientist.

I like science. Science is good. Science can clone millions of 14 pound chickens. Science can stick my head on another body if it gives me more life. Science can claim I evolved from Trilobite poop. Science can colonize other planets. Science can stem cell the hell out of any non-living human they wish. Science can play God all it wants as long as it expands knowledge and improves life for all of us.

That is, except in the case of this 9 billion dollar (6 billion Euro) particle accelerator that is supposed to dick around with unknown bits of matter and energy. If you ever watched any of the shows like The Universe on the History Channel, you'll notice much of the discussion is about dark matter, black holes, pulsars, quasars, gamma rays and other nasty cosmic shit that would exponentially go beyond totally fucking us up - should it come near us.

Never mind the 9 billion dollars, my simple-minded logic says:

Scientists assure us that the experiment(s) will be harmless.
An experiment is designed to find out what happens.
If they know the experiment is harmless, then why do the experiment?

I do not want a black hole, anti-matter, or an undiscovered-until-now, cosmic killer floating around on my planet.

The problem is that after we are reconstituted into the soup of matter and energy after the experiment goes haywire, in this life, no one will be around to blame and no one will be around to call these guys out for destroying Earth.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Your Prize? Two Months of Living Hell!

It continues.

I have an unhappy wife. She went to some sort of teacher appreciation dinner and won a prize package which included a free trip to a hair salon. Patti was persuaded to change her look. She looked great to me, but I guess I just accepted the fact that she was happy about her appearance too.

I have to tell you. The hardest thing to do for a husband is to have your wife coming home with a new hair style and having to answer the question, "How do you like it?" I cannot lie. It was pretty bad. I said so. She agreed! But, she added, it was a work in progress that would require future trips to her new stylist. These follow up visits would not be free. So where was she going with this? A few weeks later, the situation worsened. Patti's hair, which grows like kudzu, looked like a cat was sleeping on her head. Just terrible.

OK, she cancelled the follow up appointment and went with heart in hand to her regular hair place to fix the situation. There wasn't much to work with. It turned out to be a train wreck. To get the hair back to its original beauty required more hacking and more growing in the right places. Patience would be required.

Meanwhile, this distraction has caused her to back into a van and to get a ticket with my vehicle while her car was being fixed. She wakes every morning in good spirits only to have to get her day squashed when she has to deal with the amorphous growth on her scalp.

But today, all is well. Her hair looks very good after another trip to her old beautician. Different, but better than before. Easy to care for, comfortable, and suitable for the particular head. The smile on her face helps too. Patti is back.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Dog Thing

Wendy the Dog arrived for a sleepover with Bosco and Smooch. I was sure the circumstances would be fodder for a long and entertaining blog entry. What a let down.

Shortly after Brenden and Sarah left Wendy behind, it was as if Wendy had lived here for months. She paced around at first and barked when she thought she heard a car coming to pick her up. That was about the extent of the fuss. My doggies went about their normal business with Wendy stepping right in.

Dog protocol was used to work through a few issues without human intervention.

It doesn't matter anymore that the Golden Retriever, Wendy outweighs each of our Tibetan Spaniels fourfold. Smooch let it quickly be known that this was her house. She flopped down on Wendy's bed and hogged it up for a good hour or two before allowing Wendy to claim it for the night.

Bosco was guarding me and growled when Wendy got too close. But later, Wendy and Bosco played chase and the incident was forgotten. Smooch ate Wendy's food. Wendy ate Smooch's food. Wendy helped herself to Bosco's toys with Bosco's blessing. They had a real mi casa es su casa arrangement going. Treats all around with no stealing. No malicious peeing from Bosco. No power barking from Smooch. Wendy was the perfect house guest.

Good dogs, all.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Geting Drunk In a Sluggish Economy

An ad for Payless Liquors caught my eye in today's paper. I'm always looking for a good buy on Patron Silver or Chivas Regal . Not bad. Patron was $39.95 and Chivas was priced at $54.99 for 1.75 litres. Among the extensive menu of spirits, one item popped right off the page. The big 1.75 litre bottle of Kamchatka Vodka was going for $8.95.

Eight Dollars and ninety-five cents! That has to be the cheapest buzz / blitz in town. You could drink yourself to death for a mere nine bucks. For the sophisticate, Crane Lake Wines are selling for $2.99 for a 750 ml dose. Hardly the punch of the Siberian delight, but if you can't invest wisely and don't have enough money for the vodka, it might do in a pinch.

Ketel One Vodka is listed at $32.99. Perhaps it is overpriced. I'm sure it tastes better and goes down easier than the $8.95 elixir, but I'm confident that a government agency has some standard in place that first, allows Kamchatka to be labeled as vodka and second, has determined it to have an acceptably low percentage of blinded drinkers to be considered safe. So, if you're on a budget or are planning on an extensive bender, go with Kamchatka.

I pass this on as a service to college students, bums, and anyone buying liquor for their son's wedding.

In my youth, Mogen David 20/20 (a.k.a. Mad Dog 20/20) was my broke-and-lonely-on-a-Friday-night drink of choice. It went for about a buck a bottle and it took a day or two to completely wear off.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Tables - Let the Games Begin

How to play games requiring more space than a card table and keep the round or oval shaped and cumbersome dining room table open for its designed purpose of presenting and eating food?

Problem solved. Four of these sale priced tables at Sam's Club They are light and fold up to a 2 x2 package complete with carrying handle. Our sprawling 36 x 36 inch combination coffee table storage cabinet, dog sanctuary fits under two of the tables which provide a comfortable 4' x 4' (actually 120 x 120 cm) gaming surface. With four, a big 8' x 4' layout provides enough room for naval battles.

They have other uses, but keeping the kitchen / dining area in full operation while playing a game is very desirable. The storage requirements are minimal (2'w x 2' h x 16" deep for all) and I can set them all up in under 5 minutes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Today's Primetime Pissers - Technology

In no particular order:

Mail-in Rebates
Divining the true price of the item (after rebate), stuffing the envelope with proofs of purchase, and the unexplained 6-8 week wait hardly makes it worth the effort. While I'm at it, entering codes for Pepsi and Coke bottle caps translates to about 75 cents per hour of my time for crap I wouldn't buy at a yard sale.

Symantec - Norton
The protection is worse than the virus. A swap of mobos has necessitated a removal and reinstall.

Live Updates
Norton, Adobe, Apple, Java, and others seem to always pop up when I'm trying to get some real work done. And NO! I do not want Google Tool Bar!

HD Channel Counts
I do not get all the promised 100 buttzillion HD channels. Many are only available in certain regions and many that are HD channels show nothing but poorly converted SD.

Blister Packs
Still cutting the poop out of my hands. Shooting shoplifters on the spot is a safer method of dealing with pilfered USB cables.

Convoluted Service Plans
Can't we just say what we want or don't want and get a price? I'm tired of paying for Jesus channels, shopping channels, and redundant showings of Law & Order. I'm still not sure what I'm getting from my wireless service. Give me a true ala carte price or give me the works.

MLB Blackout Rules
More baffling than the concept of dark matter.

Monday, August 18, 2008

GenCon 2008

It's over - four days of walking, parking garages , eating overpriced junk food, and being detached from the real world. It was almost like one of my Vegas poker trips. I awaken the day after and find a pile of unread newspapers , a full inbox, uncut grass, and a refer devoid of everything except condiments and a small ball of wilting lettuce. It will take me all day to right the ship and maybe a day or two before I can enjoy the spoils of my Gen Con quest.

So here's the recap:

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Blasphemy, The Race for the Cross!. This is a game that you had to see to believe. Don't just glance at the web site, as the theme is not sacrilegious, nor is it a fundamental Ned Flanders presentation. I didn't plunk down the $90 for it despite the highest quality components primarily because my credit card had yet to cool off from earlier purchases.

Another item of interest was a $10,000 gaming table. See for yourself. It looks like something Goldfinger might own.

The place was packed. I think there were more people there than last year. The free stuff was in shorter supply (I'm told it's called swag.) and the celebs were of little interest to me. Compare The Mythbusters from an earlier Gen Con to this year's "Bud" from the old Married with Children show. The hot female models were in shorter supply too. Maybe the number of salivating Geeks became a problem or perhaps the slow economy had something to do with it. The celebs I could do with out, but a few more well constructed ladies in skimpy outfits would be appreciated.

New additions to our game library:

Moto Grand Prix
Conflict of Heroes

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gen Con - One Year Later

Last year's post was no more than an observation that Gen Con turned out to be more fun than I thought it would be. I spent a part of each day walking around the exhibits simply surveying the available games. I added a few titles since then to my game library which, at the time, consisted primarily of Monopoly, Scrabble, and a checkerboard.

The much anticipated 2009 edition of Gen Con has already provided two full days of action. Besides running around the exhibition hall and picking up the items on my shopping list, I have actually played in organized game sessions. I played in a 6 man game of Fantasy Flight's Wings of War which is a WW I combat with miniature airplanes. I had a personal play through of Memoir '44 with one of the game reps of Days of Wonder. This is a game I acquired last December that offers a relatively simple way to play WW II combat game. Some of the rules were clarified for me. The dim light in my head was jacked up to its full wattage and I now fully appreciate the subtle strategies. The game's designer, Richard Borg dropped by and a I had a brief chat with him about his games. How good is that?!

Today I was allowed to get in a long session of naval mini play with veteran tabletop admirals. The ships were German and British dreadnoughts from World War I. The fun came from a discussion of the technology of the day, how the ships were given their names, and working with my British team in repelling a German raid. Very little detail was sparred , but Harry Pratt, the game master made it easy to grasp the battle system. The experience lent itself well to cementing the information I've picked up from my recent reading of many books on the subject.

Tomorrow brings Patti to the event. She's going to play Ticket to Ride and join me for some more Memoir '44 and BattleLore action. Patti wants to look at the game art on display as well as just seeing what all the fuss is about. I secretly hope she gets the bug too. A night of gaming each week would provide a "cheap date" for us in the face of this sluggish economy.