Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I didn't win anything...

... so why should I be happy for you?

Not, YOU, but people on TV game shows who compete for cash and prizes. Case in point is the World Series of Poker.

While I was was grinding away in my local poker room, the WSOP was being shown on ESPN. Players are being knocked out of the tournament and still leaving with 90K. The winner of this massive tournament gets something like 8 million bucks. Some of my fellow players are actually cheering for particular WSOP contestants. Not me. I'm cheering for me at the real game at hand. I want that $50 pot! Some putz that I don't even know wins big and I'm supposed to be excited? I don't expect to be given a taste of the jackpot. I don't care.

On shows like Wheel of Fortune (a.k.a. Wheel of Noise), which I inadvertently watch when forgetting to switch the channel after the local news or tune in early for Jeopardy, I actually love to see people screw up or make a bad spin. I'm cruel that way. The show is taped, so no mojo, karma, jinx, hex or curse sent out by me will have a bearing on the outcome. With the IRS taking a chunk of any winnings on game shows, hoping everyone loses is an outlet for any anarchist leanings within my political conscience.

I am happy for those who successfully completed NaBloPoMo in which I fell short of the post-a-day in November goal. I think this post makes it 28/30 for me. Congratulations to all who meet challenges when no significant monetary gain is to be had.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Danger Lurks

We get this letter from some guy in the sub division who claims he was beaten by two Black (possibly gang members) youths who knocked on his door, forced their way inside, and then started hammering on him. They broke off from the attack, jumped in a waiting car then drove off.

The victim was obviously and understandably upset and sending this letter to all his neighbors probably helped him get past the incident. I don't think he has an agenda, but his sending a notice around has some folks lathered up beyond reason. The letter ends with an all-caps warning not to open your door at night and to take any legal means to protect yourself. I'm calling this irresponsible. It's not his call to put out an APB for two average looking black kids. Just hinting at 2nd amendment solutions to the problem is dangerous. Besides, anyone who has lived in an urban area for any length of time knows not to answer the door for strangers. That's what the little peep hole is for. See who is out there. If you see no reason to open the door, a simple and stern, "Who are you, and what do you want?" will usually suffice.

The letter was printed in MS Comic Sans. A crime in itself if you ask me.
I have no big finish here. Just saying I think the guy could have handled it better.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Knife Show

If you stay up until 5:00 you might just catch The Knife Show on one of cable's many channels. I tuned in thanks to the good people at ION who continue to offer top-flight entertainment.

The show is impressive. You get to see hundreds of knives in varieties that bewilder the mind of this layman. One bundle offered has 100 knives plus three fancy-looking swords for a mere $100. Two nights ago a free ceramic knife was thrown in and last night you got a complimentary sling blade with your order (The one Carl calls it a kaiser blade.) The guy hawking these knives (Tom O'Dell) sells his ass off. Who for example, is even thinking of buying knives right before dawn breaks, let alone loading up with 100 items? Yet I'm transfixed. I stop short of picking up the phone knowing that I may be facing mammoth shipping charges or some other financial catch that might max out my credit card. Then I snap out of it and realize that only a knife thrower, or perhaps someone who regularly has larger crowds over to debone fish and eat tough steak would require 100 blades.

The Knife Show does sell smaller bundles of knives and an occasional big ticket item that goes for maybe 75% off. The script calls for the deal to get sweeter and sweeter until the timer counts down to when the deal expires. It's intense. You have to hold, hold, hold, until you think that the final offer is made, then hope your call gets through in time.

I have pictured one of the product sets. I am not sure if this particular type of knife has an utilitarian function. I remarked on Twitter that it might include the only tool on the planet capable of cleaning a coelacanth.

Regardless, props to Tom O'Dell of Cutlery Corner and his continuing effort to educate, entertain, and supply knives to people of the night.


I Usually put together a couple of lists during the year as do many real journalists who are desperate to meet a deadline.

http://trmink.blogspot.com/2009/05/punching.html gained a little bit of popularity and for a few months it became a weekly feature on this oft renamed, reinvented, and periodically idle blog space.* So here's an updated list of those who currently require a virtual right hook.

The Glenn Beck** List of People I'd Like to Punch in The Face

1. Mike Tirico is the worst announcer evah! He works ESPN's second-rate Monday night football broadcast, when everyone knows Sunday Night Football is the true game of the week. Tirico doesn't know dick about football. Particularly annoying when he says that "3rd down is coming up" when it IS, in fact, 3rd down. I've e-mailed him about this and he keeps doing it.

2. Bret Favre needs to get his tired media-hogging, interception-throwing, team-ruining , old ass off the field.

3. Michael Kors is a bitch. He's mean for the sake of mean. Mondo should have won project Runway and not that prima donna, Gretchen.

4. Sarah Palin represents all the Tea Party flavored politicos. I don't have the time or edurance to collapse the face of every ignorant sonofabitch that "wants their country back."

5. Mitch McConnell and his 40 obstructionist fellow GOP thugs that would rather see the country go in the toilet than let any Obama-backed legislation pass.

6. Nancy Grace brings more drama than I can take. Her voice grates on me like someone sharpening their teeth on an emery board

7. Brad Paisley wears a cowboy hat. Funny thing happens to all the great country music that is penned in Nashville, then is processed and molded into Music Row's idea of what will sell. Not hating on Brad in particular, but generally anyone who has to submit ot wearing a cowboy hat so people know that they are listening to approved country music. Same with fakey, cutesy cute southern accents like the one acted out by Miranda Lambert. I've actually seen both perform and they are very talented. Would like to hear them do an acoustic version of songs that they like. I wish they would do like Steve Earle did and tell the West End to fuck off.

8. Paul Teutul Sr. is suprisingly still on the air. American Chopper has worn out its welcome and his grumpy old man schtick has gone stale.

9. Kristen Wig is the weakest link on SNL yet gets the most air time. Whenever "Gilly" comes on I switch channels.

10. Cesar Milan could not train my dogs. They're too smart for his bullshit. Besides I can't stand anyone telling me or another living thing to shush. Shhh. Shhh. Shhh. A Pit Bull needs to bite his ass clean off.

Dishonorable Mention: Liz Cheney, Mamoud Ahmedinejad, Jerry Lewis, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Jessica Simpson, LeBron James, Alan Greenspan, Dane Cook, Dr. Oz, Bob Rohrman

Next Up: People I actually like.

* Yup. I missed a couple days of Nabplopomo because of Thanksgiving. While not claiming success, I will blog on for the rest of the month anyway.
** Glenn Beck has been permanently retired as the #1 punchable person in all eternity.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

News for the Sake of News

In my best Andy Rooney: Ever notice that on holidays there is very little news reported?

Like tonight. The headline story is about another little tiff between the Koreas, that was BIG news yesterday. Although the problem continues, the chatter has subsided. The Palins press to stay in the limelight, but many folks here in the US are turning their attention to their own families tonight. They couldn't get enough of Bristol last evening

If news can be turned off like a faucet, one has to wonder if news is only supplied to meet the current demand. As pointed out by Rachael Maddow, reporting on what someone said is not news. Events are news. Without events, there is no news.

I've always thought that news shows should last only as long as needed or at least fill the program's time slot with lesser but newsworthy news rather than fluff.

I have no news tonight. I do not want to pull a stunt like my crowd dive yesterday just to have something to blog about and I'm quite sure that you care not about how I feel about "The Corydon situation." Star Trek 2.10 or any other subject.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Incident

It happened a couple of hours ago at The Pacers vs. Cleveland game.

With about 6:00 minutes left in the game, Boomer, the Pacer's mascot, rolls out a T-shirt cannon. The apparatus uses compressed air to blast the rather cheap shirts up into the crowd. The fans go wild over this. Something about getting something for free brings out the beast within almost every human being in the field house. It's fun to catch one in front of thousands of other fans, but the shirts mean nothing to me. I've caught 2 so far and gave them away.

I sit on the aisle and have an edge over my seat locked competition. Tonight there was a tall youngster right in front of me who wisely stepped part way into the aisle to our right and had effectely blocked me out. It was going to be tough. The shirt coming from the tube aimed right toward us sailed way over our heads. It appeared that any chance for a free shirt was over. But wait! A shirt was coming right toward me and high enough so the gangly dude couldn't reach it. It started to fade to my left. I reached out and it went just out of reach. I must have overextended.

I couldn't get my right foot back down. I slowly toppled over my dear wife's lap and slightly forward. My upper torso wound up in row 14 and my legs were danging in row 15. I was face to face with a shocked four-year-old. I couldn't plant my feet to get back to my proper row and my arms couldn't immediately find a place to push myself back onto my feet. If one didn't see it go down, it looked like I had dived in front of the little fellow in 14 and attempted to snatch the $2 shirt from his cute little hands.

Outside of an apology to all the fans who I nearly squashed, there was little I could do.

As mentioned the other day, I'm a walking disaster - A true bull in a china shop. Once I brushed into a stack of glassware at Crate & Barrel causing the display to wobble. Wife told me to wait outside before we have to buy the whole store.

Today was another one for the book.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bouncing Back

As of 7:00 PM

This is one of those days. I'm not in a grumpy mood nor am I particularly unbalanced. I just want to put my mind in neutral and take care of mundane business and seek things interesting more than thrilling. I have no political opinions at present and don't care what your opinion might be. I switched off msnbc about 10 minutes into Chris Matthews. Too tiring. Agitating.

Sports? meh I don't know who is on MNF and don't care who wins. Even my beloved Pacers are not getting me fired up for their seemingly lost cause in Miami tonight.

I'm not hungry for anything in particular. The left-over turkey leg and broccoli casserole I had for dinner suited me just fine.

I'm looking for engrossing, yet pointless entertainment. Something that comes to me. I don't want to get emotionally involved.

It might be the weather, the aftermath of a full moon, or a flat biorhythm. I don't know. I don't care. Don't tell me I'm depressed. I'm not. I don't need a life coach. I'm happy sitting on the bench watching the game of life. Don't try to cheer me up. I'm quite content. Anything pressing can wait until tomorrow.

Just leave the man alone.

as of 11:00 PM

It's such a wonderful world! The Pacers beat the living shit out of the Miami Heat. My favorite baseball player was named NL MVP. Barbara Bush told Sarah Palin to stay in Alaska. I watched a DVRed presentation of Great Migrations. I'm reading a terrific book, "Japanese Destroyer Captain." Bosco is done being mad at me for accidentally closing him in a back room for about an hour. There's ice cream in the fridge. I got a lot of boring jobs done today.

You may now approach me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

She Bends Time

That would be my dear mother-in-law. Case in point. Thanksgiving is today. Yes, Sunday November 21, 2010 will be just like your Thanksgiving, except on a different day. We have celebrated Christmas with the in-laws as late as January 2nd. Birthdays usually fall on the best available day within a reasonable time after the fact. According to the MIL's calendar, I changed astrological signs last year.

The poor woman is so nice and so accommodating. She wants to make sure all friends and family can gather as often as possible for these bashes. Finding a date that suits the schedules of many is difficult. Thanksgiving had never been moved before, but she has knee surgery lined up for Wednesday. OK, so there it is. I'm fine with breaking free of the arbitrary holidays set up by churches and governments.

From a cosmologists point of view, our local anniversaries only coincide with an approximation of where the Sun is in relation to the Earth.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One-Armed Juggler

Halftime at the Indian Pacers usually features a performer of some sort. On Thursday night, it was a one-armed juggler. Really. I apologise for even thinking about the possible wisecracks that I could have made and those that I couldn't resist letting out. The fellow was pretty good considering that I often can't hold an object in both hands without dropping it.

I've seen many unusual acts during these half times. They had some acrobat spinning wildly by her teeth last week. I feared that she was going to let go and wind up in the cheap seats. Frisbee catching dogs are fun to watch. My dogs can't catch and tend to run off with whatever is thrown toward them. The worst act of all time was by the Cowboy Monkeys. Some cruel person had bolted or tied monkeys on the backs of dogs. A self parody of a Hollywood Texan did lasso tricks and told kids not to do drugs.I imagines that the monkeys and dogs were caged and neglected after the humiliation of the show had ended.

Regardless, very few folks pay attention to the performances. The crowds are somewhat sparse these days. Take away those out relieving themselves or buying over-priced snacks and the audience is basically those would rather talk among themselves than be entertained.

This is the bottom rung on the show biz ladder that performs at the games. I'm saddened. These hard working people can't be scraping out much of a living as an unappreciative audience looks on.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'll be pepped up when I'm damn well ready to be.

Blat - Blat - Blat, Blat-Blat. Blat - Blat - Blat, Blat-Blat. Blat - Blat - Blat, Blat-Blat. BLAT BLAT BLAT!

Yeah, that little rouser. The staple of every pep band that plays incessantly at almost every sporting event in the country. Over, and over, and over. Make it stop! It must be royalty free, otherwise someone is making a container ship worth of money or else is getting screwed out of beau coupe royalties. I'm not a fan of the 'Deeeee-Fence Deeeee-Fence' chant either. I've heard enough of 'Here we go DickHeads, here we go.' I will not obey the command flashed on the scoreboard to "Make Some Noise." And, by the way; fuck 'The Wave.

Last night's Pacer's game had a band that only knew about 5 rah-rah songs, recorded organ music playing every other Pacer's possession, and of course the hired cheer squad from Roy Hibbert's Area 55 was in good form. A little bit of atmosphere is always welcome to warm up the crowd. Last night's barrage of pep was intrusive. It was the Los Angeles Clippers who were in town. It was Thursday night. Both teams were missing a few key players. It was a blowout win for Indiana. I cheered when the situation called for it and I enjoyed watching this young team improve each game. Pardon me for just wanting to view the game in peace and quiet.

Call me Waldorf.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Danger is Everywhere

Last night I nearly took a tumble, but somehow danced my way out of it like a ballerina hippo. The culprit was a Milk-Bone small breed biscuit on the wood floor. Instant roller skate as I stepped on it with the edge of my heel.

The other week A USB cable from the external HD was plugged into the desktop PC. I was barefoot and when getting up, the cable was snared in the gap between the two largest piggies. That would be the market pig and the home pig if I remember correctly. Feeling the resistance and attempting to save the whole computer apparatus from being ripped apart, I pulled back my foot and hopped across the room and landed against a table that spilled all that was on it all over the place.

These are just the last 2 incidents. I've been felled by the most innocent of household objects. The dangerous items like knives or electricity never seem to harm me. I always take precautions with those. One cannot make a home totally safe.

Same for airline flights Security can't catch everything even with the most invasive procedures. If I can hurt myself with any object, a would-be terrorist can turn any item into a weapon. And once on the plane, anything can became harmful.

Imagine if McGuyver was a terrorist. Think about convicts who can turn a toothbrush into a shiv. You can buy Asian ceramic knives for $19.95 plus if you act now get 2 Yoshi Blades. One for home, one for your get-by-metal-detector needs. Even the nudists pictured above can turn a fun-filled week of sun worship into a deadly situation.

Then there's me. I am not a terrorist, but somehow I could bring down a plane by just getting out of my seat.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Purchasing Music: Best of the Beatles

The catalyst for this observation is iTunes offering Apple Record's catalogue (Beatles and few lame-assed acts like Badfinger and Mary Hopkin) here in 2010. My first iTunes purchase was April 29, 2004. CDs have been around in any sort of quantity since 1983. Radio and phonograph records go back to long before my debut. So just now we're having the Beatles offered legally for download?

A little late for me. I'm not in the market for Beatles music. This doesn't mean I dislike their music, nor am I condemning anyone who hails iTunes's announcement with an open wallet. I simply have no reason to purchase.

I've heard most Beatles songs hundreds of times. I purchased a few of their LPs on vinyl and a few more on CD (some repurchases). I ripped the best of the CDs into my collection of mp3s and picked up the other favorites from Napster before it was closed down and since reinvented and made totally legal. The songs that I kept are ones that you just don't hear much anymore. I do not find myself of having a need to listen to the likes of "Let It Be", "Day Tripper", "Help", and many other of the hittiest hits. The lone exception may be "Ticket To Ride" which is too good not have a copy of your own.

The Sgt. Pepper's album is one I never picked up on CD. Had it on vinyl, but consider it perhaps worthy of a purchase. Being a concept album, it requires listening all the way through, when "relaxed", and definitely with quality headphones.

Here are my favorite Beatle tunes, that I would buy if I didn't have them already.

1. Strawberry Fields
2. Ticket to Ride
3. You Can't Do That
4. Back in the U.S.S.R.
5. I Me Mine
6. Honey Pie
7. Oh Darling
8. Cry Baby Cry
9. Another Girl
10.Rocky Raccoon

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Motivation to Clean House

Just misplace something.
-like a wallet.

As the search widens and deepens, more and more out-of-place objects turn up. What is my Norelco shaver doing in my sweatshirt drawer? We haven't had that TV for years, so why is the remote still being kept? Hey! There's a doggie chew toy under this cushion. What the HELL is this thing? A screwdriver is found behind the toaster oven. Well, whadya know. Here's that utility bill we never got in the mail last year.

Add in all the unfinished projects sitting about and I realize that despite taking pride in being organized, all is not in its proper place. Wallet is found in my change box. For some reason the tip off the modeling glue that since dried up is also in there.

One day, I'm going to go through all my stuff, piece by piece. Every paper clip, pencil, dog toy, coupon, key fob, Q-Tip, cheap calculator and USB cable will a have a place. One day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pot Roast Fail

So I make this fantastic best-evah English roast a few weeks back. I have no recipe, just a little common sense and a natural ability to devine the right way to cook various cuts of meat.

Pot roast number two last month was a let down. I used a chuck roast instead of an English roast and it came out a little too greasy and seemed to be more boiled than roasted. I think I used too much oil when browning it and added too much water. Maybe the cut of meat was to blame.

The rubber match was last night. Back to the English Roast. I forgot in in-laws were coming for dinner at six and didn't get home until 5:30. They decided to come early and were there waiting. I do all I can to duplicate Pot Roast I. I toss it is the oven for only 90 minutes because it is a bit smaller. The folks are patient and the time goes by quickly. I take out Pot Roast III and it JDLR (just doesn't look right). The potatoes and carrots are tender, but the meat doesn't have the proper texture. It's too solid and looks dried out.

We eat it anyway and it gets lukewarm reviews. I tastes fine, and isn't all the dry thanks to my fantastic gravy, but it is a bit too tough. Thank god we had unfuckupable ice cream and brownies for desert. So what went wrong? The lid on the casserole dish wasn't on squarely and I had the temp at 375 instead of 325. Get in a rush, and this is what happens. I'm 1 of 3 for recent pot roasts and have decided to work with poultry the next few times out.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Three Ways to Gag a Wife

It's funny when my dear wife says " Eew! Sick!"and means it. Funnier still is when whatever set her off is not at all offensive to me.

This week it was Popeye's Chicken that spawned completely opposite reactions. They are offering deep fried craw fish. I love those yummy little beggars and always have been a fan of chicken houses that cater to Southern tastes like Popeye's, Church's and BoJangles. Of course, I see the TV ad and am ready to drive twenty minutes to the nearest Popeye's despite already have eaten supper. She considers crawfish to be closer to crickets than crab when it comes to ingesting them. After a little good-natured teasing and an over-the-top reaction by the wife, the moment passed quickly.

About 15 minutes later, she came back in the room and I was watching Modern Marvels again which featured a coin operated live bait vendor. As if on cue, a fisherman reaches into a container full of live craw fish. "Eew! How can you eat those things?", she says while shuddering. I explain that they're just little lobsters and quite tasty, but to no avail. She's almost gagging and is forced to leave the room. " Tell me when that part's over."

So I submit three other foods that I enjoy, but disgusts the wife.

besides craw fish...

1, Fish with heads still attached.
2. Sardines packed in olive oil, even without heads.
3. Chicken gizzards.

And to be fair, you can make me gag because of:

1, Pickles
2. Mayonnaise
3. Asparagus
4. Cottage Cheese

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stupid Liquor Laws

I was watching a Modern Marvels episode about coin operated machines. One segment dealt with a vending machine in Pennsylvania that dispensed wine to supermarket customers. I was a cool machine. that looked more convenient than squatting and reaching in front of poorly organized shelves or pulling the bottles from a rack to check the price / contents. The bottles were clearly displayed in a well-lighted glass case and you saved yourself the time by not having to wait in the check out line for a pure wine run.

Not so fast, Thomas. The machine had you slide your credit card and driver's license into a slot, then took your picture. The narrator went on to say that the company that invented the system has on record every customer who has used the machine. All because this was alcohol and because it seems that grocery stores can't sell wine in the same way they do soda and unhealthy snacks.

More effort is spent enforcing the law than it is worth. Here, In Indiana, one can buy whiskey at most any grocery store. We are not without our own idiotic legislation in these matters. One can still not buy package liquor on Sunday. A few years ago, beer could not be sold in 16 oz. cans. (Fear of drinking too much? I dunno.) In Shelby County, taverns cannot advertise alcohol produces on the outside of their establishments.

I plan to run a search on crazy and convoluted liquor laws, right now. I know Indiana and Pennsylvania are not the only locales that have them on their books.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I apologize to my team, my family and all the fans I have let down.

This post is backdated. But to due circumstances well within my control, I spaced last night's post. The point of NaBloPoMo (http://www.nablopomo.com/ ) is to post every day in November. Every day. Not just 30 times during in November, but every freakin' day during the month. I got my reasons for not just dropping out of contention but instead continuing on so I can claim the honor.

I've already accomplish the feat twice before. I did it honestly, although some of the posts resembled Twitter tweets. Keep that word "tweets" in your head for later. I was determined to deliver 30 beefy daily blog posts this month, but missing one day has made that impossible. Isn't that a shame? How tragic! Really! Why should I give up over one lousy day? OK, you have a point there, but shitty blog or not, I consider myself still in the running for Nablopomo honors.

I had half of a rough draft , which you will see in a few minutes, that I was going to clean up and publish, but something happened. I took a break to watch "The Soup." During a commercial break, I reached for my iPhone and took a look at what was in the app store. I needed something in the way of a cheap time-waster for when I get stuck waiting for an oil change or anytime else I'm held captive. There it was, Angry Birds. It had a perfect rating and it had been number 1 for weeks. I am not one of great thumb skills, and I don't need the aggravation of any real time action. This looked like a more passive activity. Only ninety-nine cents? OK, they got me.

My Angry Birds session ended at about 3:00 a.m. Much too late to finish my blog of the day.

Five hours, folks. Five hours, playing a time waster. Five hours trying to knock a log onto a pig's head by flinging suicidal birds out of a sling shot. Do not buy Angry Birds. It is crack. It's an electronic lobotomy. Only buy it if you intend to use it while you are on the clock at a crappy job.

I sincerely apologize, but for those who have been sucked into the black hole that is Angry Birds, I know I have your forgiveness and can claim a mulligan in this years' NaBloPoMo challenge.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The BIG Question

One or two of my Bonus Coverage readers (around 50%) have commented / responded to a question put forth on Tuesday. "If a zombie bites a vampire or vice versa, what would be the result?"

Much like telling one of Mudd's androids that you always lie, the above question, if pondered too long will put one in danger of a head explosion.

My field notes:

Vampire bites Zombie
Do zombies have blood?...If so, are vampires persnickety about who they bite?... zombies would have to be bitten three times to become a vampire, doubt if any respectable vamp would allow a zombie into the club... A killing bite wouldn't kill the zombie unless the brain was eaten - zombie would just be more jacked up than before... Zombies, being dead, do not regenerate tissue or grow - once drained of blood - no chance for 2nd or third attacks.... Tom Cruise was messed up after drinking dead blood...

Conclusion: Vampires would not have any reason to bite a zombie. They might kill them by conventional means due to zombies horning in on the fresh blood supply. A zombie bitten out of desperation would gain no abilities nor would be any less cursed.

Zombie bites Vampire:
Vampires a strong and agile... only the weakest of vampires are in danger of being bitten or eaten... Zombies limited to nighttime attacks... Bitten vampire's immune system determines whether it dies again or not... Either vampire becomes a zombie and loses all vampire powers or bite simply disfigures vampire. I say it dies, much like from a wooden stake, but has the benefit of waking to a new curse. Completely eaten vampires, however, must die. Still too elusive to allow this to ever happen. Do vampires shape shift? Can they self heal? Think so.

Conclusion: Implausible that a zombie would ever get a chance to bite a vampire. If so vampire would die, become a zombie and forfeit all vampire powers and good looks.

After this (What's the opposite of extensive?) research, a twitter friend put an end to the speculation with the perfect answer.

Q: If a vampire bit a zombie or vice versa, what would be the result?
A: Larry King

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Canned Laughter

I watched only five minutes of "How I Met Your Mother" before switching off for good. Sorry NPH, but nothing can overcome the laugh track that is employed every time a character says or does something that has even a .0001% chance of being funny.

The recorded laughs are terrible. The simulated audience starts laughing all at once and cuts off the chuckles instantly. Notice too ► there are no dynamics. All the laughs indicate an equal reaction to each producer-selected joke. A squirt-milk-out-of-your-nose-because-you-are-laughing-so-hard piece of comedy gets the same reaction as a knock-knock joke.

Let me decide what is funny. Don't even bring a conditioned- response, B.F. Skinner pidgeony, brainwashed dolt-filled "live" audience that has someone coaching them.

This mini-rant was instigated by Green Acres showing on the blood draw center's waiting room TV. That show was not funny. Today it plays as sexist, xenophobic, and incites class warfare. To think even recorded audiences were guffawing at it, disgusts me.

Coming up: More on the zombie vs. vampire mind-bender. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Disaster Mode

The astronaut pen that I bought in the 1990s at a NSA gift shop is broken. You know the one featured on Seinfeld that writes upside down? The very same.

It was Sunday afternoon at 12:45 p.m. Boing! Little pen parts go flying across the room. In attempting to recover them all I spill coffee on my desktop. I return with a paper towel, sop up the coffee and go back to the business of getting my last minute fantasy football changes submitted before the 1:00 p.m. deadline. That didn't happen. Time has expired. Michael F. Bush becomes my running back. Now I return to the pen. I reassemble it and once again I let the spring flip parts here and there. The ink cartridge finds its way between two file cabinets. I need to get a long rod or stick and flick it forward. I have just the thing, but it's locked in my car. Now I can't find my keys. Oh yeah, in my pants pocket. While pulling the keys from the pants that I'm not wearing at the time, all my change spills on the floor. I gather up the change and get the stick from the car. A few minutes later I have the cartridge. I return the stick thing back to its proper place. I put my keys where they belong, put the change in the change tin and sit down for some NFL football.

Fast forward until tonight. I need to tally the league stats for the fantasy football leagues. There are the pen parts on my computer desk except the spring. I crawl around on all fours and miraculously find it. The pen goes together, but it appears that two of the parts were once bonded together. No problem. I go to the garage and get the modeling glue, but knock over a box of bases I use for mounting miniature soldiers. It takes five mintes to put the bases back in the box. Finally, a spot of glue. Pen clamped and hopefully fixed. Glue returned to proper place in modeling tool box.

Punch line: I find out that by not making the fantasy football substitution on time yesterday, I have lost my game by 1 point. Stupid fucking pen.

What is this glue cap doing on my desk?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Problems with Zombies

All is well here in Indiana. Don't be alarmed by this post's title. No zombies around here. It's just that the nerd / geek in me is strong today and I was staring at the ceiling last night thinking about the zombies featured in Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead on AMC.

The zombies in The Walking Dead are the classic slow movers with a staggering gait. They sport rotting flesh, dangling entrails, and have atrocious table manners. In other words, zombie zombies. This is my kind of zombie.

There are three questions I have about zombie dynamics.

1. Why don't zombies eat other zombies? Eventually there will be a point when fresh human flesh is depleted and alternatives need to be found. I find it hard to believe that there is a taboo among the undead against cannibalism. I suppose they would eventually turn to eating each other. I just don't see zombies being put in the middle of a moral dilemma over this. Eventually the last remaining living beings could wait until the zombies ate each other, then kill the last one.

2. Where do they put it all? Some of those staggering about are missing key components of their digestive system. Secondary concern: Can zombies gain weight?

3. If a zombie bit a vampire or vice versa, what would be the result?

Anyway, The Walking Dead is fantastic entertainment.

Enjoy the first episode here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Five a.m. Fixation

The best part of my day is between midnight and six in the morning. It's my time. Sometimes I enjoy uninterrupted reading. It's also a perfect setting for doing work that requires a quiet house such as paying bills online. Mostly though, It's an ideal time to watch television that: a) requires concentration or b) I'm to embarrassed to admit I am watching

The television landscape changes after 2:00 a.m. One will see commercials that rarely appear during the daylight hours. This is how I came to loathe alpacas. One commercial has me intrigued and very close to actually making my first ever purchase of a product off a TV ad.

Introducing: The Yoshiblade.

Why THIS knife? Other offerings of seen-on-TV cutting tools have failed to arouse me (see knife, Ginsu). My current collection of quality knives cuts just fine. But - This Yoshiblade, I am told, is make of a ceramic material. Ooh, and it sounds like it originates in Asia. Perhaps Tojo Hidecki used a Yoshiblade to slice his tomatoes? The assemblage of ordinary ladies in the extended commercial are making short order of various foodstuffs with a relative lack of effort considering that the Yoshiblade appears to only be six inches long. I am also aware that other ceramic knives cost a whole bunch of money. This may be my only shot at getting an affordable, albeit diminutive and underpowered (possibly Asian), ceramic knife.

What the hell am I waiting for? One Yoshiblade can replace my entire drawer of knives, despite the fact that you get two Yoshiblades and a complement of other Yoshiesque kitchen tools for $19.95 plus the purposely vague shipping and handling costs. It's overkill if you ask me.

But it's five a.m. Operators are standing by. They stayed up just to take my order. I just want to experience the age-old Asian tradition of torturing vegetables with a ceramic knife. How could I go wrong?

I can't bring myself to order. The urge subsides until later this morning when like being in a bad episode of The Twilight Zone, I will be tested again by this persuasive ad.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Make no mistake about it, I like playing games. Board games. Card Games; Something that challenges the mind, but not so much that you spend your life mastering it; Above all, something fun.

Pay attention if you too enjoy playing games, but the thrill of Monopoly, Clue, Chutes and Ladders, Risk, or other widely sold titles, is gone Read on if you dread it when someone brings out a social interaction game that conflicts with your misanthropic nature. Read on if you don't like dumb luck determining the winner. Read on if you like to win because you are the superior player, but if you lose you want to keep playing until you do win. Read on if you want a game that is easy for friends and family to learn and compete.

There are many games in a category called European style games. These games feature systems that involve little or no luck, strategic interactions with other players, easy and simple rules, and high quality game components. Dominion is one of these.

So far, any group of friends to which we have introduced Dominion has enjoyed playing, and better yet asks us to bring it along when we visit. Not so with some other games. Word games or games that involve general knowledge usually finds one or two players dominating and discourages the more casual gamer. Dominion is not a game that drags on because the time between turns is too long and either bores your guests or annoys those who wonder why it takes so much time to contemplate a move you could have been thinking about while you were waiting for your turn to come up.

The skinny on Dominion is that it is a card game that is won by acquiring and managing resources in order to secure the most victory points. Players buy cards that are the tools that are needed to get the cards that are needed to win.

Here are links to Dominion and other Euro style games that I recommend. They are a bit pricey but are a great value.

Review of Dominion

Dominion On Board Game Geek

Settlers of Catan

Ticket To Ride

Friday, November 5, 2010

Don't Mention It

There's plenty of chatter at my local poker room, especially among those who happen to be winning that night. Players are prohibited from talking about the current hand, but can speak about any other subjects

I've heard stories about serving jail time, being on a reality show, life in foreign lands, tall tales; you name it. I've heard some of the rauchiest dirty jokes. I hear hundreds of retellings of historical events that occured at card rooms from all over the world. I find out about card players who had died, been arrested, got into a fight, or left town for "personal reasons."

The unwritten rule is that there is no talk of politics or religion. A few ignorant racial or homophobic remarks slip in, but there's so much diversity in the room that someone will tell the bigot to ease up.

Despite the barber shop atmosphere, there are times I pack my iPod and noise blocking ear buds so I don't hear a single word. Some tables' conversations are boring and annoying to me. . Here is the short list that may explain why I've decided to listen to music instead of tuning in to your riveting narrative.

I don't want to hear about:

1. Your fantasy sports team. I only care about my teams. If you are not in my league, it doesn't matter that you grabbed Kenny Britt off the waiver wire and he's your leading wide receiver.

2. Ex girlfriends, wives, husbands, boyfriends, blow up sex dolls, etc. It's pitiful. If something is defined by the prefix "ex", then you shouldn't give a rat's ass about them, let alone assume that I do.

3. Famous friends. Oh, Peyton Manning once stood at the next urinal over from yours? Which brings us to...

4. Anything to do with your stuff or anyone else's. I don't need to elaborate, do I?

5. How wonderful you are. Self depreciation plays much better at a table full of fellow losers.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rosetta Stone?

I have a burning desire to learn Latin American Spanish. Everytime we visit our favorite Mexican eatery, El Jaripeo, the motivation to learn surges forward. I swear I know half the language already. I can read most of the signs posted for Dos Equis and Modelo. The waiters call me amigo. I can kind of order beer in Spanish "uno cervesa, por favor."

Add in those nouns that require an a or o tacked on to its English counterpart plus everything I've picked up from watching boxeo on Telemundo (e.g. peso ligero) and I have have a great start. I'm almost fluent! Can I put together a complete sentence? No. Can I understand a conversation between two native Spanish speakers? No, pendejo, you cannot. You are not fluent. You can only effectively speak one language. Another embarrassed US citizen I am. Everyone else in the world can speak multiple languages, yet the prevailing xenophobic attitude in this nation does not deem it to be important. I feel ignorant.

So you know I'm all ears when it comes to a Rosetta Stone commercial. Although I'd rather take a pill, or have minor surgical modifications done to get instant Spanish, Rosetta Stone seems to be my best shot. Yes, I took the minimal requirement of 10 hours of German. I picked up a few words of Polish from my old neighborhood, and I even took an intense summer course in advance of my trip to Hungary. I did OK with Hungarian after a few days of immersion while visiting my cousins , but soon afterwards, I forgot most of it.

At least there are opportunities to hear Spanish spoken on TV and among a few of the East Side citizens. I could get the basics down and build by watching novellas on Univision. Rosetta Stone may be the way to go. All I need now is to find $600 and the will power to go through the course correctly. Then I look at some of the other projects I abandoned over the years and think of what I would do if $650 (price of Rosetta Stone plus the $50 that I think I lost yesterday) fell out of the sky. Right now, a set of Yoshi Blades and $570 worth of food sounds like a better alternative.

The other down side would be that after completing the Rosetta Stone courses, the folks at El Jaripeo would laugh and point at me saying that I talk with a thick and confusing Rosetta Stone accent.

Perhaps going to Mexico City, being kidnapped, and learning the language from my captors is my best bet.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Crappola! I have to scare up some dinner in ninety minutes. And pick up a prescription. And mail a package. And gas the car. Last stop in the grocery store. Cheap meat? Pork Loin. Chicken thighs. Oh, Diet Pepsi. Shit, no side dishes, Frozen corn, Nah, casserole tonight. Rice. Mushrooms. Celery carrots. Soup. Canned French fried onions. Wait! Out of orange juice. Where's my freaking list. Screw it. Apricot halves. Long line. Long line. Bingo. Short line. Wham. wham. wham. Damn. Low on cash. Pay with debit card. Cash back? Spent some to mail package. Yes. $50. Grab bags. Toss in cart. Rush home. tote in groceries. Shit! Forgot to get gas. Prescription? Only one is here. Have to go back and get the other. Later. Unload groceries. Toss out bags. Where's my keys? On car seat. OK. Groceries up. What the hell is the canned soup doing in the fridge? Put casserole together. Forget to turn on the oven. Find wallet in pantry where soup was to go. Turn oven on. Casserole works out fine. Forgot to feed dogs.

This morning I get up and look in my wallet and something isn't right I only vaguely remember getting the $50 cash back. Receipt says I received it. Wallet says no. Sure it was 20-20-10. I see a 50. Not sure if it was there from before. New round of fluster and panic set in. Xanax.

All is well. Still not sure if I lost fifty bucks but have rationalized that in the scheme of things all the money one finds is about equal to what one loses. If someone would tell me where it went or if it was ever lost at all, I'd feel better. But what the hell. It might turn up and looking for it will do little good. Checking the trash can tomorrow. Maybe the freezer. Maybe in a coat pocket. If the money is here, it aint going anywhere. If it fell out of a pocket it's gone. Hope someone in need found it.

Thank you, Xanax.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vote for Sale

Billions of dollars are tossed into election campaigns. I seems to be to a literal waste of money for the losing candidates and a bad value for the winners. I have yet to be swayed by a TV spot. Mailing me a piece of paper won't change my mind. My neighbors' yard signs serve no more purpose than to reinforce the fact that they are either blockheads or reasonable people (like me).

I did a search on "cost per vote" and in some cases, candidates spent nearly $200 to secure each vote. You're way ahead of me. I could use two-hundred extra bucks deposited directly into my wallet, how 'bout you?

No moral dilemma either. All candidates pay us. It is only stipulated that we vote for somebody. No TV ads, no litter, no unsightly lawn signs, maybe even less money spent on campaigns. Winners all-round. Pragmatism at its best.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Left to Our Own Mnemonic Devices

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
February has twenty eight alone
All the rest have thirty-one
Except in Leap Year, that's the time
When February's Days are twenty-nine

So how many days in November then? This poem, one of the many atrocities passed down to us from old England (including, but not limited to, the King James version of the Bible) does little to answer my question.

This is a particularly bad mnemonic device. December also rhymes with September. I've see many people screw up the singing of The US National Anthem, so not getting the words right to this forgettable little poem must be common. December, in some people's minds, must have 30 days. This would put the kibosh on New Year's Eve and prevent Christmas and New Year's Day from being exactly one week apart. I question too, whether memorizing these 32 words is more of a task than just remembering that November has 30 days or procuring a calender and / or utilizing the wonderful calender provided by your computer's OS

I relied on the knuckle method for years. This works pretty well if you are not wearing mittens. The trick is making sure the pinkie knuckle is tapped twice to insure that the Roman emperors each get their full 31-day month. Follow the link for the detailed instructions on how to perform this cute trick. Give up? November has 30 days. Much easier isn't it?

I fell sorry for those who operate solely in the lower regions of the cognitive domain. Mnemonic devices are often used by these folks to fortify useless or easily obtained information. Thinking and creativity take a back seat to banality. Mnemonic devices clutter our brains just as much as the knowledge they help us recall. I wish I was free from them.

I leave you with: