Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Clustery Goodness...

Me old stompin' grounds   I took a look at my tiny cluster map on the bottom of my About Me section, and I saw a little blip from across the pond in a place that is suspiciously close to my old stomping grounds of Eindhoven, The Netherlands.  It's a little tough to tell, actually.  I mean, it could be Luxembourg or Belgium, and well...  In order to avoid an international incident, I'll just say that I love the waffles, the Trappist monks, the beer, and I'm dreadfully sorry about the mess I made the last time I was there.  But, for the record, you DID unleash Jean-Claude VanDamme on us, so what do you say we call it even?

    However, if it IS Eindhoven, then I am secretly hoping it is a few of the friends I've made who have fortunately kept this ugly American out of a comfy Dutch jail cell during our many ramblings up and down the Stratums Eind (Seriously, the Dutch are famous for the relaxing comfort of their penal system). 

     The people I'm most hoping to see visit from that part of Europe would have to be my friends Peter the sax-playing somelier, Robert and Bertol the greatest bartending duo in Noord Brabant and Bertol's brother Gerwin who, although a good bartender in his own right, is not afraid to throw back countless slippery nipples or lunch-boxes until we find ourselves eating some sort of deep fried, death-food pulled out of a wall at three am. in some brightly lit, painful Dutch automat. 

     Yep.  I miss my friends on that part of the planet terribly.  It's been a long time, after all. 


Thanks Everyone...

    Thanks everyone for the helpful hints for the migraine relief.  The wooden vise does sound absolutely de-flippin'-lightful.  That pleasant little realignment of my cranium sounds as delicious as the feeling one gets from a perfectly cracked spine that travels up one's backbone with those wonderfully warm numbing little waves.  Mmmm...

     As for the ice cubes on the gums, I've never heard that.  I do know I'm well past my teething stage, and well, right now I think I'm at the age where the most effective method of using ice cubes to cure a headache is to drop them in a glass of gin with tonic.  But, that's another story. 

     What I normally do when the headaches get unbearably brutal may sound unbelievably masochistic, but it's oddly effective. 

     First, I make a pot of insanely strong coffee, pour myself a cup, take a drink and wince as I head into the basement where I have my little studio set up.  I throw a countless number of switches, pick up one of my acoustic electric guitars while the tubes of my amps and PA warm up, and, lastly, flick the switch on my wireless, step up to my mic and start playing (I can't use guitar cords.  I move around a lot, and for some inexplicable reason, even when I stand perfectly still, the cord will inevitably knot itself into something that looks like a two-year old's first attempt at tying his or her shoelaces).

     The strange thing is that, in order to get rid of the aching melon, I can only play songs from the Dave Matthews Band.  I don't know why that is.  I've tried to play tunes from many other artists, but they don't seem to work as well. 

     My current theory for this odd form of therapy is that, in order to play Dave tunes, I've really got to remove my brain from the equation and think about as few things as possible.  The second I start to wonder what my fingers are doing, they'll wind up in a tangled mess whose chaos will cascade into my brain and turn my singing into a stammering mess that sort of sounds like Jimmy Stewart impersonating Dave Matthews.  So, normally, when I play his music, I tend to think about things like what color to paint the bathroom, how much gas is in the tank of my Jeep or whether or not I can make the thumping subwoofer behind me rattle the change in my pockets.  In fact, as I was playing "Crash Into Me," earlier, I was actually trying to remember whether or not I'd given my cat his heartworm pill. 

     I know.  It's pretty odd, but it really works wonders.  I do wish it would work when I cover other artists, but I don't know why it doesn't.  Strange, huh?



    Allow me to whine for a moment...

    For the last couple of weeks, I've been dealing with what seems to be a rather large collection of gnomes who've moved into my head and have taken up chiselling upon the dense mass of my inner skull as though it was a granite quarry.  They seem to be getting closer to daylight, however, as I can feel their progress upon the backs of my eyeballs. 

     So, needless to say, I'm kind of grumpy, and staring at the bright blue entry form for this journal is shredding my patience.  Also, my mood is so grim that I am watching a rerun of Judging Amy, while deconstructing the dialogue, and I find myself thinking that it would be pretty damn entertaining if someone dumped a a bucket of water over Tyne Daly's head --better yet!  Put her in a dunk tank full of vodka.

     Don't get me wrong, I like Tyne Daly.  I think the old bird's got moxy, and she seems to be a genuinely nice lady.  It's just, right now, the smarmy, staccato of her character's condescending and pretentious banter is enough to make me contemplate sticking a plastic fork in my aching head. 

    I know.  I should change the channel, but all that's on are my ridiculous local news anchors who chatter like senseless little squirrels, cheesy home makeover shows and Paula Dean's cooking show, and any one of those is more than enough to send me into an insanity from which I know I'd never be able to return. 

   Okay...  My whining is over. 


Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day...

     When I woke up this morning and looked at the thermometer, I originally thought I'd slept, not only through Memorial Day, but through the entire month of June. 

      "Seventy-five?!?" I thought.  "The last time is was this warm on Memorial Day was...  well...  never!"

     It should be noted that Memorial Days in Wisconsin can be one of the most brutal holidays weatherwise.  I mean, I've suffered through grilling in mittens and a parka while being pelted by sleet carried on a gale force wind.  I've played many muddy games of softball in a fog so dense that my throws from second base to home plate had all the accuracy of a scud missile launched by a moron.  To wake up and see such a pleasant morning sent my entire body into a spastic, trembling shock and as I made coffee, I tried to contain my giddiness at actually being able to get outside and enjoy an enjoyable holiday with, most importantly, enjoyable weather.

     It was a beautiful day until, of course, the moment I began to get my charcoal started.  Without warning, an armada of heavy, gray clouds crept in carrying with them the thunderous reminders of Memorial Days past.  And, as the wind picked up, my coals began to blaze, and I dumped them from my chimney starter into the belly of Fireball, my ever-dependendable Weber grill.  As I ran into the house to get my steaks, I felt the first few drops of Memorial Day fall, and when I came back outside with my pile of soon to be perfectly grilled meat, those few drops had turned into an utter downpour. 

    "Ah-ha!" I thought as the dirt beneath my feet turned to mud.  "This is more like Memorial Day."   

    I huddled around Fireball as small whisps of steam became a bellowing cloud.  I would have enjoyed the barbecue facial had I not been preoccupied with the relentless, demoralizing "tink... tink... tink..." sound coming from my beer can as raindrops dripped steadily from my nose. 

    I flipped the steaks, and rather than be greeted by the pleasant sound of a much approved sizzle, my head was rattled by a flash of lightning and the crack of a thunder-bolt. 

    Eventually, with the steaks cooked, I flipped my upside-down plate over (a trick you learn when grilling in Wisconsin on Memorial Day), and I trotted into the house, set the steaks down to rest and changed into some drier clothes before feeding the growling collection of friends that had stopped over.  

    As I sat down to devour my dinner, the skies cleared and the sun beamed in through the dining room windows.   In the distance, between our laughter, we could hear the rumbles of Memorial Day drifting slowly away, and I told myself the same thing I've told myself since I can remember:  Next year will be better --that is, of course, if it isn't snowing. 

    The thing is, regardless of suffering through my dreadful weather, I honestly don't mind because I know that there are many out there who would rather be home now, rain or shine, and because of them, and a great many who've come before them and the sacrifices they've made, I can stand in my backyard in the pouring rain and still feel thankful. 

    So, how did you enjoy this holiday?  I know some of you have soldiers in your family, and when you see them or speak to them, tell them all thank you for me. 


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Sneak Peek...

Hi folks!

    It's been  a busy couple of days, but in between writing and running and screwing around, I managed to start work on a new, hopefully-improved, blog over at Blogger.  

    I've been toying with the notion of putting one up there for awhile now.  And, no.  I haven't any plans to abandon my AOL journal.  I'm actually pretty happy and impressed with the ease-of-use of AOL and AIM Journals, and I plan to continue my posting here.  However, my HTML curiosity has gotten the better of me, and I needed something with a little more freedom with regards to content, layout and whatnots.  It's always interesting learning new things, I suppose. 

    Right now, it's pretty incomplete, but I'll be adding much more soon.  But, if you'd like a sneak peek, here's the link:

               The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind

     Stop by, give it a gander, and please offer up some comments and pointers.  Right now, I've got a bothersome "sizing issue" with my page, and if anyone's got an idea on how to mend it, let me know. 


Still Alive?

    Well, contrary to the predictions of the super-wonky, doomsday psychic, the world seems to still be in about as good as shape as it could be, I suppose.  In fact, this psychic's fraudulent claims were confirmed by a phone call I received yesterday. 

    The caller-ID noted that the call was a "New York call," and when I answered, the voice on the other end spoke in a blur about the joys of refinancing my mortgage.

    "Are you in New York," I asked.
    "Yes," the excited woman replied. "We are in New York."
    "Are you under water?"  I asked. 
    "No?" She said in a very confused voice.
    "Thank you," I said and hung up the phone.

     For a moment, I felt somewhat guilty for toying with her emotions.  I'm not a mean person, by nature, and I tend to strive for politeness when dealing with telemarketers.  However, when the call comes at dinner time, all bets are off, and my guilt was quickly erased at the thought of this poor telemarketer sitting on the other end with the dial-tone dully humming in her ear and wondering just what the hell had happened. 


P.S.  Yes.  That is an eagle banging its head against a rock.  It probably has something to do with the eggs, I'll bet.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Playing With Polls.

    Earlier today, Paul did a poll regarding homeopathic medicine, and I suggest you all go over there and vote early and often.  After all, Paul is one hoopy frood, and if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be aware that today is Towel Day, and also, ironically, the end of the world (surf's up, Manhattan!). 

    Anyway, I thought I'd tinker around with polls for a bit and add one to my journal.  So, here goes:



Thanks For Ruining Music For Me.

Conservative Top 50 - New York Times

     I think the poor folks at the Conservative rag, The National Review, were seriously scambling to come up with Fifty Conservative Rock songs for this list.  I mean, their only justification for putting Iron Maiden's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" on the list is because it quotes a literary classic.  And, even sillier is that they put Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man," on the list because Hillary bashed it, and well...  you know...  women should just shut up, stay home and bake cookies, I guess. 

     Anyway, from what I've seen of this list, they probably should have just called it "The Fifty Conservative LINES from Rock and Roll (and Tammy Wynette)." 

How Many Candles?

Top News - Husband, Wife and Child Share Birthday - AOL News

     Now, this is definitely one of those really odd family stories.  Granted, it's not creepy-odd like George Foreman naming all his kids "George," but this is still pretty weird.  Let's just hope that when they are all celebrating their birthdays, they don't get the gifts mixed up. 


Monday, May 22, 2006

This Guy Deserves a BIG Contract.

NFL - Gado Wants to Run for Pack, Treat Sick - AOL Sports

     I think this is a great story, and it's really a statement that there actually are truly good people in the world of sports.  So, whatever the Cowboys are paying T.O. for his ridiculous prima-dona nonsense, I think the NFL and the Green Bay Packers should pay Samkon Gado at least three times as much for trying to be a real representative of humanity's good side. 




    *ATTENTION*  For every five-thousand times you visit this journal, you will receive a free piece of stale Fruit Stripe chewing-gum!
    Some days are such a hassle.  Earlier today, I decided I needed a package of five delightful, tasty treats known as cheddar-wursts.  Yum-yum. 
    So, I hopped into my Jeep, fired up the motor, heard the requisite number of "bings" and set out on my quest for tasty smoked sausage and cheese.  Shortly into my trip, however, I heard an extra "bing," and looked down to see the little, red needle of my gas gauge hovering precariously over E.  Damn!  I needed gas too. 
    I pulled into the station, undid my gas cap, grabbed the nozzle, jammed it into my Jeep, pushed the big, yellow button that read unleaded, and nothing happened.  So, like any deep thinker, I smacked the yellow button a little harder and still got nothing.  
    Eventually, I stopped slapping the foolish gizmo, and with my fingers tingling, I looked at the smudged LCD display in search of instructions on how to draw blood from this stone.  
    Are you a rewards customer?"  It read.  
    "No," I whimpered.  "I'm not a rewards' customer, and I don't have time for your damn riddles!  I want gas!"  
    After gawking at the infernal little keypad beneath the display, I noticed two ridiculously small buttons which read "yes" and "no."  I pushed "no," heard a collection of beeps, and was prompted to select my desired fuel grade.  I smacked the yellow button again, and suddenly, miraculously, with its secrets unlocked, gas began to flow from this puzzle and into my thirsty car. 
    Once the nozzle clunked to a stop, I removed the hose, and stepped inside to pay.
    "Good morning!" The woman behind the counter said even though it was well after noon. 
    "Hi," I responded.  "I have about a million dollars in gas on pump number five."
    "Do you have a rewards card?"  She asked.
    "No," I said.
    "Do you want one?" she persisted. 
    "Are you sure?"  she asked, still smiling in spite of my angry look.
    "You get great things," she said. "free coffee, and even dinner at Applebee's if you get enough points."
    "Oh?" I asked sarcastically.  "How many points would I need for a free cup of your delicious, gas-station coffee?"
    "Five hundred," she said happily.
    "And how many points would I have now?" I asked.
    "Ten," she said. 
    "No thanks." 
    Now, from the gas station, I could see my destination in the distance.  However, between the grocery store with my beloved cheddar-wursts, there was a Blockbuster.  And, the only thing that could make a cheddar-wurst better would be to eat it while watching a movie.  Yippee!
    "Find everything okay?"  The man asked as he scanned my membership card.
    "Yep," I said as I thought about picking up some Twizzlers to go with my cheddar-wurst. 
    "By the way," he said.  "Do you know about our rewards program?" 
    "I'm not interested," I said, trying to sound friendly.
    "You sound pretty adamant about it," he said. 
    "I am," I said.  "I am adamantly against your rewards program." 
    "Are you sure?" He persisted.  "For only twenty dollars a month, you get unlimited rentals."
    "Oh?" I said.  "Does it tell you how many movies I've rented from you in the past six months?  I need to do the math."
    "Including this one," he said. "Two."
    "No thanks."
     Finally, with my stomach now growling wildly, I made my way to the grocery store, picked up some buns and my beloved cheddar-wurst and hastily beat a path to the do-it-yourself checkout. 
    "Welcome!" the perky female computer voice said as I pushed the start button.  "Please scan your first item to begin." 
    I dragged my package of buns across the scanner, and the machine recorded my purchase with a happy, little beep. 
    "One-dollar, thirty-five cents," the machine said.  "Please scan your next item. Or press pay to finish."
    I then dragged my package of cheddar-wurst over the scanner and it was confirmed with another satisfying beep.
    "Three-dollars, seventy-five cents," the machine said. "Please scan your next item, or press pay to finish."
    I pressed the button that said "pay" and stuffed my hand in my pocket to pull out some money. 
    "Have you scanned your frequent-shopper card?"  The machine asked. 
    I pulled out my wallet, retrieved my little card, and swiped it over the scanner. 
    "Frequent shopper account activated," the machine spoke.  "Total savings this trip:  zero-dollars and zero cents." 

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I... umm.. WHAT?!?!

AOL News - Axl Rose Says Hilfiger 'Just Kept Smacking Me'

    Now, I don't know whether Tommy Hilfiger was trying to boost his "street cred" by beating up on Axl Rose, or if he was just drunk and looking to impress his girlfriend by crawling around on the floor after getting his teeth knocked out.  However, one thing's for certain: at a party where Mickey Rourke, Kid Rock, and even Lenny Kravitz were in attendance, I'm thinking Tommy Hilfiger probably chose wisely by going after Axl Rose.  Still...  Sometimes you just have to wonder what the....? 


Friday, May 19, 2006


    Earlier tonight, I was learning how to fix internet contests over at Monponsett's Sports Blog, and suddenly, without warning, I heard music. 

    What is this?!?  I thought.  Have I finally lost my marbles?  If I have, insanity has one hell of a nifty soundtrack!  Who knew going crazy would sound so cool?

    However, somewhere in the inner-workings of my melon, a solitary spark of lucidity danced upon my last functional dendrite, and I found myself scribbling a quick note to the wild-child from Normandy in search of answers. 

    Anyway, she directed me to Brandi's journal with all the information a dope like me could ever need when it comes to this sort of thing. 

    So, thanks a bunch to Monponsett and Brandi for the help. 

    Now, as for the music, it's not going to be something I really do a lot of.  I don't really want to force what I listen to onto people who probably are already listening to something else.  I just was more interested in seeing if it could be done.  I've been having a bit of fun lately learning all this nifty HTML stuff and whatnots.  A little geekery is good for the soul, methinks.   

     As for the song that's on there now, that's me just noodling around on one of my acoustic-electric guitars (cat-vacuuming for musicians, I s'pose).  If you like it, please feel free to steal it.  If you don't like it, I think pressing "esc" will stop the torture. 



An Odd Thing, Indeed.


    Now, I've got a lot of junk in my house, and I'm certain if you looked hard enough, you may even find the Holy Grail mixed in with my collection of coffee cups, beer steins, and other trinkets which have fallen into my pockets during my travels.

    Anyway, for this Weekend Assignment, John Scalzi wanted to know what we have in our houses that other people probably don't.  I don't know about you, but on this end, you literally can't swing a cat in this house without hitting something that just doesn't belong.  I live in an abnormal world.

    I had a hard time deciding on what to throw in here.  I've got bricks from the Roman Aquaduct that "fell into my pocket" during a trip to Trier, Germany.  I've got a man from a foosball table on a shelf in my kitchen.  Heck!  I've even got a gong in my dining room.    

    On the other hand, all that is simply kitch compared to the display of petrified porcine glory that I have in the living room. 

    Yes folks!  It is a concrete pig.  And, it is a damn heavy one at that.  In fact, I'd estimate it to be well over one-hundred pounds.  I think it's kind of cool, and I've given it many names from Rudy to Wilbur; however, I've never quite been able to settle on one particular affectation for my porky little chum. 

    Not only is this thing a great conversation starter, but one of the perks to having this beast in the house is that I can move it around and freak out the cats.  For example, the last time I moved it into the middle of the room, my deaf and mostly blind cat spent about an hour hissing and swatting at the poor piece of stone before she realized it wasn't a threat.

    Originally, I had wanted to put the thing in the yard.  In fact, I wanted to get another one and put them on opposite sides of the front steps.  I mean, some people have lions guarding their stately manors.  I can have pigs. 

oink oink!



Thursday, May 18, 2006

Can I Get My Security Deposit?

   There's really nothing I can say about this.  It pretty much explains itself. - News - Tenant Leaves Behind 70,000 Beer Cans

OGDEN, Utah -- When a Utah man moved out of his townhouse, his landlord found quite a collection -- an estimated 70,000 beer cans.

The landlord said the man had been living in the home for about eight years and never threw away a single can.

After a massive clean-up effort, the cans were recycled for about $800.

All of the cans were Coors Light. The man said he has quit drinking and now has a job.


Worm's eye view.

Here's a worm's eye view of my cat for John Scalzi's photo assignment


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

You'd Better Bring It...

ESPNsoccernet - World Cup - Togo coach: 'Skilless' Germany have no hope

    Now, I'm not an expert on soccer.  In fact, I know next to nothing about it, and I watch the World Cup to see only two teams:  The U.S.A., and The Netherlands. 

    On the other hand, when a country such as tiny Togo starts talkin' smack and callin' out Germany --the host nation, I think this can only be seen as a damn good thing in the world of international competition, and I certainly will do my best to keep an eye on this World Cup "sleeper."

Togo's gonna bring it, beyotch!

    I have to admit, I love a good underdog story, and I'll be rooting for this 59th seeded nation to bring the soccer smackdown to any country foolish enough to get in their way. 

   Oh yeah.  Togo all the way, baby!


World Turnin'

    I don't know if you noticed the spinning Earth in my "About Me" section or not (kind of hard to miss), but you might not have noticed that it's also a link.  And, currently, the plan is to direct that link to odd, world-related stuff such as websites to random towns, scenic webcams, silly planetary projects and whatever else pops into my head.  Right now, I don't really plan on having any sort of timetable for when the link will change, but I expect it'll stick around for a few days before I move on to something else.  Also, you're welcome to email me with your own links and suggestions.  It may be fun.  And, if it's not, well...  at least the spinning earth looks kind of neat, huh? 


Links used to date:

the Degree Confluence Project

Casey Station Webcam - Australian Antarctic Division


AfriCam - Africa Safari

Jail Cam

Mongolia - Camel Riding - Gobi Desert


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I Love This...

AOL News - BBC Interviews Wrong Man as Expert

    Ya know?  I've had some bad job interviews in my day, but nothing --and I mean nothing-- can really compare to what this poor gent went through as a result of a BBC bungle.   

Please, help me!

     Apparently, the BBC had planned on interviewing Guy Kewney about internet downloads; however, when Guy Goma arrived at the station for a job interview, things seem to have taken a rather bizarre turn, and the BBC literally wound up interviewing the wrong Guy (ba-dum-bump).  What follows is classic British comedy at its best.

     Personally, I think Mr. Goma deserves his own show with how well he handled himself during this interview.  I mean, just the picture alone is worth a million words. 

     Ahh... The horrors of the dreaded job interview, huh?  I mean, this beats the time an interviewer developed a bloody nose during my interview and bled all over my resume and writing samples before all was said and done.

     In retrospect, I should have asked for that stuff back once the blood dried.  I could have used that to my advantage in my next interview. 

    So, how about you?  Do any of you have any job interview horror stories? 




Monday, May 15, 2006

Eau du Doh...

AOL News - Love That Play-Doh Smell? Get the Perfume

    Now, I know there are people out there who do like the smell of Play-Doh (personally, I'm more of a Silly Putty man, myself), and perhaps there are people out there who wouldn't mind putting on a little dash of "eau-du-Doh" before a night out on the town.  But, let's not get out of hand, okay?  I mean, too much of this stuff wafting through the air, and I'm certain we'll soon find ourselves wrestling with nostalgia for all things Kindergarten and pre-school.  And, I don't know about you, but when I reminisce about the joys of Kindergarten, two things come to mind: milk and crackers and nap time.   

    Another drawback is the fact that if I am out on a date with a woman who smells like this ersatz-modeling clay, I don't know if I'll be able to successfully fight off the urge to put her on the floor and roll her out into a gigantic snake --the limit of my Play-Doh sculpting abilities. 

    On the other hand, if you'd like a nice, spine-crackling massage, this might just be the stuff to fool your man into giving you one.  "Honey?  Just close your eyes and pretend you're building a Play-Doh race-car." 


Sunday, May 14, 2006

For My Mom.

    Hi mom!  I know the weather has been dreadful, and there's a pretty good chance you've not seen the sun in quite some time.  So, here's a picture just in case, like me, you've forgotten what it looks like.  Let's hope it'll put in an appearance today because we all know you deserve a nice, warm, sunny day to put your feet up and reflect proudly upon the fact that the seven boys you brought into this world have not utterly destroyed humanity --although, we certainly tried.  Personally, I think the world owes you a huge debt of gratitude for keeping mankind safe from our petty squabbles with nothing more than a simple, angry look and a wiggle of a wooden spoon.  The world definitely needs more moms like you. 

    Fortunately, this year I actually had time to put some thought into your Mother's Day gift.  I know that last year you were only pretending to be happy and excited when you opened my gift of malt liquor and a membership to the local shooting range.  This year, you are going to love your present.  I know..  I know...  You keep telling me you don't want or need anything, but I really can't think of any other way of showing you just how great of a mom you really are. 

    Happy Mother's Day, Mom. 

With love,



Saturday, May 13, 2006

I Knew There Was a Reason... :: View topic - brew city walk ( er crawl ... as it may be .)

    Yeah.  Apparently, I was a day-late and a dollar short when I woke up this morning in full-blown, brain-eating, zombie mode. 

    The funny thing is, I've never before heard anything about this sort of thing until my neice called earlier, and I didn't know they were planning one here in Milwaukee (right up the road from me, in fact) tonight.

    I guess these things are sort of like "flash mobs" where a gaggle of urban people get together spontaneously and just hang-around.  However, with these mobs, they dress up as zombies.  Unfortunately, this is Milwaukee, and zombified pub-crawls are not exactly a new thing. 

    Talk about a spooky coincidence, huh?  Perhaps May 13th, is just Zombie-Day or something?



I See Nature...

   What is it? 

    It kind of looks a little spooky, doesn't it?  I mean, in the right light, and under the right circumstances, upon seeing something like this, one could easily scream out with the sort of panic that would make Alfred Hitchcock squeal with glee. 

    Yes!  It's a bird.  You'll notice it's got a beak.  However, I did not snap a picture as this confused bird was plowing itself into my window.  Trust me, I have better things to do than sit around with my camera in hand waiting for some daft, old bird to come along and smash into the house.  Nope.  I was sitting around watching a grueling game of golf on TV. 

    Anyway, now that we know it's a bird, what the hell is the bird doing, you ask?  Well, let me give you a hint.

    I'm sure you're all familiar with the concept of a salad-bar, right?  If you're not, well...  I don't know what to tell you.  But, at these salad bars, they tend to hide the bacon bits in the back row.  So, if you want yummy, salty, bacon-flavored bits on your salad, you've got to crawl under a bulletproof panel of Lexan known as the "sneeze-guard."

     Now, imagine for a moment that you possess absolutely no short-term memory, and, while in persuit of your bacon bits, you forget where you are, and you suddenly find yourself trapped beneath this mysterious barrier that you can see through but can't manage to get past.  Obviously, you are going to panic as the realization sets in that you will die in a world of wilted lettuce and ranch dressing. 

    So, considering that, here's what I saw when I stepped outside earlier:

     Yes.  That's a bird trapped inside the bird feeder.  I'm not sure what his thinking was, but my guess is that he started on this side of the feeder.  Then, he saw the seeds on the other side of the feeder, and rather than fly around like a smart flying creature, he decided to crawl beneath the two pieces of plexiglass and stuff himself silly on the crunchy goodness of so many wonderful seeds waiting just on the other side.   However, midway through the journey, it would seem that the bird forgot what he was doing, stood up and suddenly realized just how utterly screwed he really was. 



     Eventualy, I stopped laughing, and I opened the lid and let the poor, dim-witted bird fly free.  I didn't expect a thank you or anything, but it would've been nice. 


Morning Zombie.

    This morning, I woke up dead.  And, like any good zombie, I had an unholy craving for brains.  However, after wandering through the house for ten minutes with a toothbrush in my hand and foamy, Mentadent spittle running down my chin, I soon realized that brains were in short supply in my house.  Damn! 

    With my unfortunate lack of gray matter, I tried my best to satisfy my other undead desire --coffee.  "Gaaa!"  I said as I set down my toothbrush and dumped the first scoop of coffee grounds onto my foot and into my slipper, "I need brains!"  

     Eventually, with a lot of practice and a slipper full of French Roast, I managed to get my asthmatic little machine wheezing and it dribbled with all the speed of a glacier as I gaped like a labotomized fish at the gurgling little contraption.  "Gaaa!  Faster!"       

     Once I finally did get a cup of coffee, my need for brains ceased, and I spent much of the remainder of the morning trying to assemble pancakes. 

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Goin' WAY Over The Hedge?

AOL News - Odd Bear Confirmed as Polar-Grizzly Hybrid

    Now, I'm not going to judge, and if a grizzly wants to get his freak on with a polar bear, I'm not going to stop him.  Sure, I feel kind of bad that they had to shoot the poor beast.  It's a unique animal, but from what I gather, this sort of thing is not altogether unusual in the animal kingdom, and there are probably other "Prizzlies" running around out there.  As for the polar bear?  Well, she's probably spent quite a bit of time regretting that unfortunate moment of lust with the amorous Mr. Grizzly.  But, as I was looking through the pictures, I came across the story of a zebra that really must've just been drunk.

     A donkey?!?  I mean, you're a zebra, for Pete's sake!  Have a little self-respect (although, I will admit the offspring is pretty cute with the Pippy Longstocking legs).  Still...  As a zebra, you'd have to have a really crazy fetish to hook up with a donkey.  If you can't find a horse, take a cold dip in a pond or something. 

It Really Wants to Be a Hurricane.

     Hey!  This morning I woke up to a Nor' Easter --in Wisconsin.  And, for us lake-people here in the ol' Dairyland, that sort of thing doesn't happen all that often.  Normally, weather such as this just rolls through on its way to pester the people of Michigan.
    Now, as far as nor' easters go, the hearty, always-drenched New English, such as Monponsett, are probably laughing themselves silly over their morning cups of chowder and lobster bisque as they see this.   And, I suppose it is pretty darn weak by East Coast standards.  I mean, let's face it.  Although our lake is a Great Lake, it's not even a drop in the bucket when it comes to the big, briny blue mass of the Atlantic.  Still, this is a cute nor' easter.  And, it's cuteness is supposed to hang around until Monday or Tuesday, dumping a lot of rain on us and smacking us poor cheeseheads around with 50 mph winds.   
*UPDATE*  The people on the local news said that because of the excessive rain, people in Milwaukee are asked to take steps to conserve water.  I've been told to install low-flow shower heads and not do laundry.  Also, meteorologist Roy Eckberg warns:  "Anyone brave enough to try surfing on Lake Michigan will have to deal with the significant rain that will threaten to overwhelm the sewerage district's treatment capacity."
    *UPDATE*   As of 3:30, this little mid-latitude cyclone seems to be turning into a nice, winter storm.  See the snow?  Isn't that pretty?  It's been such a long time since I've seen snow.  I hope it snows here.  I am so excited to wake up tomorrow in a freakin' winter wonderland.  And to think, I just mowed the lawn the other day in shorts. 
    Now I know why the Swedish drink so much. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dummy Olympics...

Crash Test Dummy Olympics

    In the mood for a little Dummy High-Jump or Crash Test Dummy Curling? 

    Yes.  It's mindless, but who doesn't like to launch a dummy out of a car from time to time?   It's oddly amusing in a strange, destructive sort of way. 



Food Stuff...

    I yanked this from Paul's journal.  I'm always stealing things from my friendly, Canadian neighbour. 

You Are an Excellent Cook
You're a top cook, but you weren't born that way. It's taken a lot of practice, a lot of experimenting, and a lot of learning.
It's likely that you have what it takes to be a top chef, should you have the desire...


Tuesday, May 9, 2006

A Quick Thought...

AOL News - Man Ends Cross-Country Health Trek, 100 Pounds Lighter

    Now, I think it's great that this guy finished his quest to walk across the country, and to lose 100 pounds is really amazing.  It really is an inspirational story.  However, I am sitting here wondering:  How in the hell is this guy going to get home? 



Ten Minutes of Wild Kingdom.

Here we see the cat, standing at the door and wistfully looking outside.  He silently prays for me to set down the camera and use my thumbs to open the door for him.  In his mind, I am certain he is thinking about shredding the top of my Jeep in retribution for my complete lack of haste.  Soon, he will start his odd, little series of barks and whimpers, and when that is still met with inaction, he will heave a great sigh like a captured, defeated felon.
   Then, with the frustrated wail of a spoiled child in a toy-store, he appeals to me as if to demonstrate that the universe within which we live may very well shred itself to pieces should I refuse to open the door.   
    Eventually, I give in to his tantrum and accept the fact that this beast will probably never be content to simply stay indoors and make me jealous by sleeping on the couch.  So, I open the door and grant him the breath of freedom he so desperately craves.  I expect him to go flying into the wilderness of the front yard with a wild, excited leap, but he simply steps out slowly, takes three steps and sits down to wash his paws which obviously had become soiled and filthy during his vast exodus from front door to front porch --a grueling journey of about four feet.  
    While he's having his little bath, I grab a cup of coffee and my curiosity leads me to follow him.  And, as if waiting for me, when I step onto the porch, he barks, walks down the steps and I follow him around to the backyard where he spots an unsuspecting shrub and decides to slink up to it.      
    I am amazed by his instinctive predatory skills as he moves slowly upon the unsuspecting tuft of decorative grass.  For a moment, I find myself wanting to scream.  I need to warn this tuft ofvegetation that its life is in danger.  But,I remain silent.  This is life inside the foodchain of my backyard, and I must not interfere with way of nature.  The cat will only attack the slow and the sick of the herd of grass that makes up the lawn; thus, insuring a stronger backyard in the future. 
    As an observer of nature, I must remain neutral in this never-ending battle for survival.  Many times, as a part of its natural defenses, I've watched the tuft of decorative grass use its camoflage in order to appear as a boring piece of lanscape foliage, thus baffling the cat to the point that it loses interest.
    Unfortunately, as it is caught unaware, and with no time to react to the cat's presence, the foliage is quickly overcome and soon captured within the sharp claws and biting fangs of the cat. 
     Yes.  It is a gruesome display, but who am I to question the way of nature?  I am merely here to document the eternal struggle for survival which exists between Cat and Tuft of Decorative Grass.  It is a struggle as old as the backyard itself.  The mighty Cat and Tuft of Grass have been locked in this battle since man first planted Tuft of Grass in the backyard.  
    Here we see the cat, having completely overtaken the unfortunate tuft of decorative grass, now perched in a regal display of triumph and backyard supremacy.  It is at this time that the observer must be very cautious as the cat is very protective of his recently captured prey, and a simple swipe of the razor-sharp claws can easily give the perceived usurper a nasty scratch that could very-well get infected.
    Yes.  I am afraid.  But, my fear is lessened by the fact that I am documenting one of the genuine wonders of the backyard animal kindom. 
    Unforuntately, as I approached the cat, the wind suddenly shifted as it often does upon the backyard, and the cat caught wind of me.  And, as he realized the presence of opposable thumbs in the area, cat stepped away from his recent catch and ran toward the back door to whine and wail in demand to be let in from the wild. 
    Fortunately, I was able to capture one final picture of the cat as he abandoned the defeated tuft of decorative grass.  I then followed the cat into the kitchen where my thumbs were put to good use by opening a can of Trout Feast.  There are no fish upon the stark, open space of the backyard, and apparently, the cat was in the mood for seafood. 
Milwaukee Expedition: 2006

Monday, May 8, 2006

A Little Rarity.

    I don't usually take part in John Scalzi's Photo Assignments, but this week he made it a "grab-bag" with the hopes that we would post pictures that would make him say "whoa."  So, with that in mind, here's a picture I took some time ago when gas was cheap, and the road trip I was on found me bouncing around Mount St. Helens.


    The strange thing is, I get the same look from human mothers as I drive by when their children are playing in the road.  Don't worry.  I'm careful, and I completely understand that sometimes it's next to impossible keeping the kids in the yard.  But, judging by the look on the doe's face, it seems like this sort of thing happens a lot.   

    But, I do get a kick out of how the little fellow has all four wheels off the pavement and seems to be having the time of his life.  Wheeeee!



Joe Six Pack (redux)

    Now, being from Milwaukee, my people invented the six-pack.  In fact, my family once owned a brewery that went belly-up during the time of Prohibition, and, as a result, my ancestors had to sober up and get real jobs.  So, in honor of those former beer-makers, the theme of this Six-Pack is "People I'd Like to Have a Beer With."  So, here goes:
  • Aurora Walking Vacation    --Not every Canadian eats raw seal meat and lives in an igloo.  Some of them have a house, a crazy sense of humour and a great talent for getting people to understand all sides of any issue. 
  • Welcome to My Life     --Holly is funny --strike that!  Holly is REALLY funny.  If you can read her blog without cracking a smile, then you probably should check your pulse.  If you find that you are without a pulse, then you might be interested in reading her Fictional Vampire Journal.  She caters to both crowds. 
  • Rachael Anne Rules the World    --I think everyone should have a beer with at least one free-wheeling theologian at some point in their lives, and, to me, Rachael is a constant reminder that, in the right hands, religion can be a very good thing.  So, stop by here, say hello and give Kimo a virtual scratch behind the ears. 
  • Passer domesticus    --If there is such a thing in this world as a "reasonably domesticated gypsy," it's this woman and mother.  In reading her "100 Things," (currently at #121) it's clear that this life is not so much a moveable feast, insofar that it's kind of like a perpetually relocating kegger with great snacks and a lot of laughs. 
  • Eau de Humanity!    --Lee's a great guy with a great sense of humor, a sharp wit, and a knack for the comical side of all things logical.  Plus,you never know what kind of silliness you'll stumble across on this blog from time to time. 
  • HEY, I'M COUNTRY!    --Amanda is barely old enough to drink, but her observations on life and the world around her is just a lot of fun to read.  She strikes me as someone who never stops laughing.  But, more importantly, she's really finding her talent in this world, and I have a feeling that her readers may one day say, "I knew her when she was just a country girl who wrote a lot about shoes." 
    Well, here are just six of the many many people out there with whom I would enjoy sharing a beer.  There's a lot more out there, I'm sure. 
P.S.  I agree with Paul.  I also think Joe needs a haircut (Still...  I wouldn't mind having a beer with Joe either, but posting his blog in my six pack could achieve a level of redundancy from which humanity might never be able to escape the clutches of its infinite loop).   


    I swear, some of the things people pull out of their heads is simply baffling. 

    When I was reading the news this morning, I came across the following piece that had me scratching my head:

    Movie News - Cardinal Urges Legal Action Against 'Da Vinci' - AOL News

    VATICAN CITY (May 8) - In the latest Vatican broadside against "The Da Vinci Code," a leading cardinal [Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria], says Christians should respond to the book and film with legal action because both offend Christ and the Church he founded.

    Now, I don't understand what sort of "legal action" he's contemplating, but what if I were to say that I would like to take legal action against the Catholic Church for offending me with almost two-millenia of human-rights abuses, censorship, the suppression of free thought, and the time that I almost blew out my ACL during a six-hour Catholic wedding?         

    There are many people out there who consider the Bible to be a work of fiction along the same lines as Dan Brown's book, and no one is required to give either book any weight whatsoever in their personal lives or their personal relationship with whatever God they choose to worship or not worship.

    Cardinal Arinze goes on to say:

    "Christians must not just sit back and say it is enough for us to forgive and to forget," Arinze said in the documentary made by Rome film maker Mario Biasetti for Rome Reports, a Catholic film agency specializing in religious affairs.

    "Sometimes it is our duty to do something practical. So it is not I who will tell all Christians what to do but some know legal means which can be taken in order to get the other person to respect the rights of others," Arinze said.
   "This is one of the fundamental human rights: that we shouldbe respected, our religious beliefs respected, and our founder Jesus Christ respected," he said, without elaborating on what legal means he had in mind.
    Hopefully, I am not the only one who sees the glaring hypocracy of these statements.  He doesn't want respect.  He wants to silence other beliefs.  By calling for the censorship of a set of beliefs which differ from his own, Cardinal Arinze is demanding that Christians violate the very "fundamental human rights" that he himself is expecting us to respect.  It's baffling how this man is looked upon as a learned member of the Catholic Church when he openly displays his complete and utter lack of both tolerance and understanding.  It's ridiculously arrogant and ignorant to assume that Christianity is the ONLY belief-system that deserves respect in accordance with human rights. 
    Personally, it's infuriating to see that there are members of the Catholic Church who still have yet to free themselves from the mindset present during the days of the Inquisition.  And, considering Cardinal Arinze's statements, it's clear that he is perhaps the LEAST qualified to discuss "fundamental human rights."   
Okay, now I can end my rant.... 

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Too nice...

   I'm sorry, but it's just too darn gorgeous outside today.  Plus, I've been looking for an excuse to play with my chainsaw, and rather than unleash a maniacal, pajama-clad, 2:00 am spree of destruction upon my neighbor's ridiculously loud Harley Davidson, I think it's time I deal with an unruly apple-tree that's been begging to have its lifeless limbs tossed into the fire pit to sate my selfish pyromaniacal side. 

    Let's see...  It will take a chainsaw, some matches, a bottle of wine and probably some sort of charred meat before all is said and done. 

   I love Sundays.  Don't you?



Assignment #110

    Great.  Just wonderful.  I've got a blistering brain-ache, and John Scalzi's poking around in my head for this weekend's assignment (why the guy can't develop a "normal" hobby like tennis or molecular biology, is beyond me).  This time, he's asked about the dreams we've recently had.  So, get your therapist on the phone; this is going to be one, silly trip...
    Some of the more reasonable dreams I've had lately consist of my ex-girlfriend running around setting my house on fire while I'm trying to read my email and eat my lunch.  She moves around me with inhuman speed as she silently bounces from room to room setting things ablaze in her typically cute and adorable little way.  Finally, when the house was consumed in smoke and flames, I woke up.
    Last night, I had a dream that I was pedaling my mountain bike down a dusty road in Wisconsin's backwater farmland, when I rode up behind an old woman who was also out getting a little exercise on what seemed to be a very pleasant day.  
    However, the odd thing was, the old, gray-haired woman was dressed exactly like me.  And, try as I may, I simply could not pass her.  So, me and my geriatric doppleganger continued along, and all the while I kept pulling out to pass, and she kept turning my pleasant ride into a brutal, body-breaking workout.  And, when I woke up, the first thing that popped into my mind was, "why didn't I just jam my tire-pump into her front spokes?" 
    Now, as for the extra-credit:  "Sleep to Dream Her," by The Dave Matthews Band (do I get bonus points for using BOTH words? 
Carry on Citizens,

Saturday, May 6, 2006

The Perfect Vacation...

    Recently, I received a questionaire in my email.  You know the ones.  They usually contain questions like, "have you ever loved someone who made you cry?"  And "what's your favorite food" --simple, useful interrogatives designed to delve deeper into the lives of those with time-enough to answer.
    However, within this quasi-Proustian set of questions, one lept from the page and tickled my brain:  "What is your dream vacation?"
    I had to think about that one as I found myself scrambling for places I've been, and places I'd like to see.  I searched my collection of pictures and memories.  Venice popped to mind.  I've always had fun in Venice, and they really dig me at the Hotel San Marco, as I've been known to hang out the window of my room and strike up odd conversations with anyone foolish enough to pass beneath.  But, there was something wrong with that. I've done that, and I'd like to think my "dream vacation" would be something new, exciting and far more unique than the typical ugly, drunk American who's had too much Averna and Peroni.  Been there, done that, and I've got the stains on my shirt to prove it.
    Antarctica?  I thought.  I've never been there, and I do have this funny desire to set foot on all seven of this planet's continents.  Plus, penguins seem kind of cute.  There's plenty of sun and lots of really good fishing.  But, I live in Wisconsin.  I am familiar with the cold enough to know that I really don't like it, and from what I gather, it's pretty damn cold on the South Pole.  Global warming would be a huge boost to our planet's polar tourism industry, but it's such a long way off that making any sort of travel reservations, at this point, might seem kind of foolish. 
    Then, while watching an episode of House with my a head full of Benadryl ultra-Fog, drool-in-your-lap alergy medication, my dream vacation sprung happily into my mind, and I found myself growing giddy at the thought of it.  
    I want to be put into a medically-induced coma for two weeks.  Think about it?  No packing.  No jet-lag.  No perky, little travel agents who chatter like happy little muppets in an attempt to make a Czech oil-refinery an attractive must-see on any itinerary.  And, no mind-baffling exchange rates designed to benefit the Swiss and some guy in Singapore with too much time on his hands.  It is, in my opinion, the world's most-perfect destination. 
    After all, why do we take vacations?  We take them for rest, and what's more restful than non-stop sleeping for two weeks?  I don't even have to get up and fumble my way across a foreign landscape in order to use the bathroom.  This friggin' rocks!  Just plug me in, hook me up, knock me out, and forgive me for my lack of postcards. 

Friday, May 5, 2006

Coincidence? I don't think so...

    After causing an "incident" with our friends in Canada, Flat Scalzi is now visiting Stacey in New England.  And, unfortunately, it's clear that Flat is, once again, up to no good.  I awoke this morning to see the following headlines:
    Am I supposed to believe that our little two-dimensional traveler is NOT behind this?   Something must be done to stop this 14-inch tall, bald, cardboard menace as he carves his trail of chaos from sea to shining sea. 
    Earlier today, I made some calls, drove to a particularly seedy bar in a lousy part of town, and it was there I met with someone who, not only has some very large guns, she also has the uncanny ability of thinking like a two-dimensional being. 
    I would like to introduce you to Flat Lara Croft (don't ask about the beads.  Like I said, it was a very seedy bar).  Should you see her as she stalks the flat, little fellow, you are advised to stay out of her way.  Rumor also has it that Flat Scalzi once spurned Flat Lara's amorous advances, and it's clear that hell hath no fury like a cardboard woman scorned. 
     After his exploits in Canada, and his now alleged kidnapping of the Pillsbury Doughboy from a supermarket in New Hampshire,it's clear that Flat Scalzi is one, tough cookie who simply scoff's at the laws of our three-dimensional world. 
    Let's hope that Flat Lara Croft can apprehend this menace for questioning before any further damage can be done.  Gumby is also wanted for questioning in this case. 

Danger! Danger! Danger!

Why does this remind me of that part in Ghostbusters when the paranormal containment unit exploded? 
"[Spokeswoman Fran Curtis] denied, however, that the 62-year-old rocker would require a drill through his skull to drain blood from his brain, as some news reports have suggested."

Thank God!  That's definitely a Pandora's Box that you do not want opened.  Poking around Keith's brain is something far beyond our current medical and scientific capabilities.  Who knows what might spill out?
Don't get me wrong.  I love Keith Richards, and I'm glad to hear he's doing well.  I just sleep much better at night with the knowledge that whatever is in Keith's head, stays in Keith's head.  I mean, for all we know, once you drill a hole in that noggin, what tumbles out might be an army of high-priced, angry hookers hell-bent on demolishing a Toy's R Us in Peoria, Illinois. 
So, please!  For the sake of humanity, just stay out of Keith's head! 

Thursday, May 4, 2006

A new job?

    I'm not sure why, but I was poking around in my spam-folder, and it's clear to me that I now have to adjust my settings.  I almost missed out on this incredible opportunity before it wound up in the vast nothingness where most deleted emails go.  Look!  It's got a reference number and everything!  How can this not be legitimate?  Plus, it's China!  And, you know how strict they are about the internet. 


    But wait!  There's MORE!  It's got pearls, diamonds, gems and jewelry (calm down, ladies!  I havent been hired yet).  Yes!  Precious jewels!  So precious...  They likes us.  They wants to give us the PRECIOUS!    



Ref: UK/9420X2/68


We deal in mining and supply of jewel products and export into America and Canada. Our head office is located in China. I am interested in employing your services, to work with me as our payment agent who can help us establish a medium of receiving payment on our behalf for goods supplied to our customers in America and Canada.  Please if you are interested in transacting business with us we will be very glad.  Further more you will be entitled to 10% of every payment that you are able to receive for us from our customers. Please contact us for more information. All you have to do is send me your full name, detailed mailing address, telephone and fax numbers.
(The following are questions from the email with my answers in red)
1. Full Name: Zongo the Magnificent
2. Full Contact/Mailing Address: Maytag Box #4 behind Gus's House of Boiled Goat.
3. Phone and Fax Numbers: I'm currently between Phone and Fax Numbers.
4. Date and Place of Birth: The Tuesday that it rained. Lome, Togo.
5. Next Of Kin: My only significant other is a tuna-salad sandwich.
6. Present Occupation: Bastard step-child.
7. Average Yearly Income: Oh. That sounds like math to me.




 Keep those fingers crossed for me, okay? 

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

One-Hundred Things...

    Alright.  I was over at Paul's blog, and I stumbled upon his 100 Things meme.  And, after reading it, and pretty much laughing like a giggly, little gnome, I decided to see if it was actually possible to compile a list of 100 things about me.  So, I'm going to be a self-absorbed, ego-centric nozzle for a bit and see what I can come up with here.
  1. I live in Wisconsin.
  2. I like cheese.
  3. No.  I really, really like cheese.
  4. I like beer a little more than cheese.
  5. I used to brew my own beer.  It never lasted long, because...
  6. I am good to my friends. 
  7. In college I spent my summers in Europe.
  8. I stole a couple of bricks from the Roman Aquaduct.
  9. My favorite Euro-beer is Oranjeboom.
  10. I stole a huge Oranjeboom banner from a soccer game in Eindhoven.
  11. I don't like soccer.
  12. I have weird pets.
  13. My cat loves Roquefort cheese. 
  14. I drive a Jeep.
  15. I've driven across the country twice for no particular reason.
  16. I drove the Lincoln Highway (Hwy. 50) from Ocean City, MD to San Francisco, CA. 
  17. If you live anywhere near Hwy 50, I'm sorry I didn't drop in and say hello.
  18. It took me ten years to write my first book.
  19. I'm hoping the next one takes less time and is easier to sell.
  20. I wrote a play called "Static Chatter" in 1996.
  21. People laughed so hard they had tears in their eyes.
  22. That's not really about me.
  23. I think American Idol is the worst thing to ever happen to music.
  24. I kind of like Kelly Clarkson.
  25. I'm ashamed to admit that.
  26. I play guitar.
  27. I own more than twelve guitars.
  28. I went to the same music school as Liberace --not at the same time.
  29. We were both sixteen in our first years. 
  30. The similarities end there because I'm not gay.
  31. I sometimes miss my ex-girlfriend.
  32. I always miss her daughter.
  33. I'm trying to quit smoking.
  34. I'm a good cook.
  35. My favorite sauce is beurre blanc.
  36. My favorite steak is a rib eye --medium rare.
  37. I like smoked eels. 
  38. I once saw a lady who ate only the heads off shrimp and tossed the tails away.
  39. I don't like eating shark.
  40. I once jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.
  41. I landed safely.
  42. I'm a terrible bowler.
  43. When I was eight, I spent half the summer in record heat with two broken arms in plaster casts. 
  44. I also broke my arm playing hockey when I was 14.
  45. I don't like hockey.
  46. My most favorite author is Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
  47. I can't believe I just said "most-favorite."
  48. I once failed high-school English. 
  49. I wrote about it for the school newspaper.
  50. I have six brothers --one of them is a twin.
  51. I'm #6
  52. My birthday is June 6th.
  53. I don't go to church.
  54. I watch the Packers on Sunday.
  55. I'm not the anti-christ.
  56. I read banned books.
  57. I'm stuck on number 57.
  58. I like Heinz ketchup on my burgers.
  59. I'm addicted to Swedish fish. 
  60. I like herring.
  61. I once gave a speech in front of more than 1,500 people.
  62. I was pretty damn nervous.
  63. The speech inspired the bartender to finish school. 
  64. I felt good about about that.
  65. I can't dance.
  66. My singing isn't so good either.
  67. I love getting lost.
  68. I'm a hopeless romantic.
  69. I had fun in college.
  70. I had a geology professor who never blinked.
  71. I once thought he and I both blinked at the exact same time. 
  72. I'm a fan of Stargate SG-1.
  73. I'm ashamed to admit that too.
  74. I like to go for walks.
  75. I once walked home from a party 24 miles away.
  76. I used to speak German.
  77. I don't like the number 77.
  78. I think Tony Mandarich (#77) was the worst thing to ever happen to Green Bay.
  79. I think Brett Favre was the best.
  80. I wish Jerry Rice could have played for Green Bay with Favre at QB.
  81. I can't think of a football player with the number 81.
  82. A friend of mine used to own a bar.
  83. Sometimes I would go there just because I wanted someone else to control what I was watching on TV. 
  84. I have great friends.
  85. I play a mean game of foosball.
  86. I have no respect for spinners.
  87. I hope Randy Newman never stops writing songs.
  88. I hope Keith Richards stops climbing trees.
  89. I miss Lowell George, Warren Zevon and Rory Gallagher.
  90. I can't believe there's only ten more to go.
  91. I want to record an album someday.
  92. I laughed like crazy when Reggie White threw Chris Carter at whoever the Vikings had at QB at the time.
  93. I've only thrown one punch in my life so far. 
  94. I think the world is a fascinating place.
  95. I love to travel.
  96. So far, my favorite spot in the world is Maria Alm, Austria. 
  97. I'm currently reading Etgar Keret's book, The Nimrod Flipout.
  98. I hate Karaoke.
  99. I can't stand the phrase "know what I'm sayin'?"  
  100. Finally...  I hope you're all smiling. 
    Well, there you have it.  Any questions?
See ya,

This sucks...

     I need a new Shop-Vac.  And, insofar as I'd love to tell you all that my old one expired by dramatically transforming from a once powerful vaccuum into a flaming heap of sucking and wheezing plastic slag, the truth is, I plugged it in, turned it on, and got nothing. 

    So, after wiggling the wires and taking it apart several times in several different ways (one of which included a hammer), I sadly realized that there was nothing more I could do for my beloved "Big Red."  In my heart, I knew that sucking little beast would rather have gone out trying to digest a four-by-eight sheet of drywall or emptying the cats' litter-box in scant seconds; however, in the end, like a character in a Hemingway novel, in spite of its glorious life of workshop machismo, it simply died quietly in its sleep.  And, outside, it rained. 
    Anyway, I have but ONE simple requirement for my next Shop-Vac: It must capable of sucking up and devouring the cap from a bottle of beer with as little fuss and protest as possible.  I don't know if this is a testimonial to my somewhat sketchy workshop ethics, or an effective litmus test for pure sucking power.   Nonetheless, it's clear that not only do I need a new Shop-Vac, I now need a six-pack of longnecks.  I love shopping!
    Now, after picking up the necessary six beers needed for this quality control endeavor, I came home and did something I rarely ever do, and have never done in persuit of the perfect piece of hardware:  Research!
    Getting down to business, I cracked open a bottle, crammed the cap into the pocket of my jeans and hopped online to gather information on my perfect little sucking machine.  Soon after scouring the Shop-Vac website, I found this little monster and my heart swelled, my head spun, and it was clear love was in the air.
    Not only can this puppy can suck-start a motorcycle, it can also move an unlimited quantity of water from the toilet to the bathtub with a simple flick of the switch and a garden hose.  It's a miracle!
    Imagine my sheer glee upon reading all the wonders of this little beast.  And, with beer in one hand and the mouse clicking happily away in the other, I came to the following and stared blankly at the screen before me like a traumatized fish:
        "Where to buy:  Wal-Mart."
    "How can this be?" I thought.  My beloved little helper is hidden like a damsel in distress somewhere inside the labyrinthine catacomb of Dante's 9th circle of consumer Hell. 
    Why couldn't it have said Wal-Mart & Sears?  Or, Wal-Mart & Ace?  Or even Wal-Mart & Louie's House of American Vaccuum Cleaners in Kyoto, Japan?  Why did it just have to say Wal-Mart and nothing else?
    Soon after, panic set in as I realized that I had only bought a meager six-beers, and it's going to take far more than that to get me through the doors of Wal-Mart.  I don't care if the Holy Grail is hidden somewhere between housewares and pet-clothes; the only way to even get me into the parking lot is if I am drunk and blindfolded with a bong hanging out of my mouth and a sucking chest-wound that needs immediate medical attention, and even then, that's iffy because the last thing I want is to be found dead in a Wal-Mart parking lot.  
      Fortunately, I have time, and there are several folks out there who owe me a favor or two.  Call me evil, but in this time of crisis, certain sacrifices must be made.  Oh yes!  I will soon find out who my true friends really are.